The shuttle pulled away from its freighter and slow-burned towards its destination. As acceleration-induced gravity took hold of the cabin, Mike Wiggins got his first glimpse of the Tochka Gagarina relay through the narrow viewport. It wasn’t anything special, just a landing gantry with a small centrifugal gravity deck bolted to one end, something of a step up from the work-shack stations that orbited even the most isolated planet, but not by much. Along the gantry was a trio of sleek express courier ships, each a lifeline of interstellar civilisation despite being little larger than the shuttle, and the boxy shadow of a Russian gunship. He fumbled in his pocket and looked over the itinerary sent out by the company a week before. Something big was happening back on Earth, something that needed his presence and specific expertise in person, and it couldn’t wait for the sedate pace of a normal passenger ship. He looked back out the viewport as the shuttle’s own docking rig extended to meet the gantry and sighed. One of those tiny courier ships would be his home for the next few days. He wasn’t looking forward to this.Continue reading →
It had been a clear, peaceful early morning in the city when suddenly Gigantro the Terrible, scourge of all mankind, came looming out of the ocean depths. Innocent civilians fled as the monstrous, back-projected lizard-thing made landfall in what had, up to that point, been a popular resort spot. He cared not that the homes and businesses of thousands were in his way, destroying vehicles and buildings as if they were nothing but unconvincing papier mache props in a cheap monster movie. As he strode across the petrified conurbation like a scaly colossus, his piercing roar echoing off the distant hills to announce his angry progress, striking fear into the souls of his hapless victims and shattering windows a split second too late to be wholly convincing. As he passed deeper in to the city’s coastline, a tower belonging to an overpriced hotel obstructed the beast, and a swift flick of the tail brought it crashing down like so much polystyrene, leaving nothing but smoking rubble. Gigantro truly dominated all he could see, no puny human could ever hope to even slow him down, let alone stop him. Truly all hope was lost to the city.Continue reading →
Excuse me a second as I blow the dust off my blogging engine will you? Ahem. There we go.
Hello, hypothetical audience, it has been such a long time hasn’t it? I figured, since this fully armed and operational… I mean URL’d up blog is actually getting some intermittent content from me once again I might as well hammer keys to circuit board and actually blog again, but more on that later. First, since it’s been such a long time since I did this outside of fiction, how are you all?
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The Clerk edged his way through the double doors into the workshop. He would be the first to admit he had little knowledge of such things, but the heat and noise certainly met the stoat’s limited expectations of such a place. At first it seemed unoccupied, but hairy legs either side of a bushy foxtail poked out from underneath a large frame filled with brass gears and cogs. The Clerk politely cleared his throat.Continue reading →
1 – (N. Physics, Astronomy, Stellar Cartography & Navigation.) A shift toward longer wavelengths of the spectral lines emitted by a stellar object caused by the object moving away from the viewer’s position.
-Schumacher’s Dictionary of Modern Terran English & Related Anglophone Dialects, 3540 Edition, Schumacher Foundation Press, New Dawn, Verne (Nova System), Terran Federacy
Good Evening, it’s Thirteen PM on the fifth of January 3546, here are this evening’s international headlines from FBN News: Alban.
And so there we have it, after long last the second Century23 story is out there in the big, wide internets. To say it took longer than I had originally intended is an understatement. Two years and about a month is how long it’s been since the first scraps of notes hit the page, possibly longer still since the initial inception of the piece. Not that I’ve been idle in the mean time, since I’ve gotten a job and started blogging in the intervening time, among other things, but still. However, now it’s finally out there and making me paranoid as all hell in the wild, it’s now high time for me to share my thoughts about the whole thing, I reckon, and elaborate on where else this setting can go.
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The occupants of the slabster remained silent for a while as they weaved through the back streets of the sector at breakneck speed. Eventually it became clear that they weren’t being followed, and the Englishman slowed to much safer speed and turned to the back seats.
“You alright back there?” he had to raise his voice slightly to talk over the rain drumming on the roof, “there’s a medikit back there, think its even military grade.”
“Got it, much obliged,” came the Sniper’s reply through gritted teeth, “so long as the pain meds are good I should be fine, not too much actual damage beyond the blood. Good job that asshole only got that shoulder, really” He pulled a pack of disposable hypo jets containing some bleeding-edge morphine derivative from the medikit and pressed it against his neck, the drug being forced into his bloodstream with an audible hiss.
“Hows that?” the Englishman replied after a couple of seconds considering the statement as he turned onto a main road.
“That shoulder’s all carbon fibre and augmetic polymer muscles, miracle of 23rd century tech or some shit. Only bit that’s still natural is the blood, and even that’s part-controlled by bionics,” He pulled himself up to see out the window, “Used to be in the army, my last tour was with the Peacekeepers down in what used to be Southern Chile after the ceasefire,” he paused and let out a deep sigh as the painkillers kicked in, “That’s the shit. Uh, anyway, the local insurgents were alright but they’d brought in some heavy support from some merc outfit that didn’t mind sniping at blue helmets when they got bored. Was the sniper for a patrol securing a village when some Russian asshole got the drop on us, I swear he used an anti-tank gun on me or something, nearly ripped my arm clear off.”
“…christ,” the Englishman winced at the thought.
“Yeah. Got airlifted back to a MASH in Puerto Montt and had the world’s cheapest bionics stuffed in me at the tax payers expense. Ruined my military career so I got invalided back to old ‘Lantia, and here we are. Never thought I’d be grateful ‘till now.” He settled back to lying on the blood stained upholstery and thought for a second. “Y’know it strikes me that the Overlander guys got our plates as we left.”
“More than likely. Don’t worry, I borrowed this from a friend who’s prepared for this kind of stuff” the Englishman pulled the car into an alley and stabbed at a button that had been hastily patched in to the dashboard with little care for neatness. In a split second electronic smart pigment in the cars paint job pulsed and transitioned between black and metallic blue, with the license plates shifting to match. As the process finished, he reversed out of the alley and back onto the street, as the Sniper managed a pained laugh from the back seats.
“Huh, and I thought this was some dime-a-dozen YoHo piece of shit. Pays to have paranoid friends, huh?”
The world stood still for a few seconds in total confusion.
The Sniper still had his finger on the trigger. That shot hadn’t been his. By the time this thought had fully processed, a second shot rang out and the bullet buried itself in his right shoulder, throwing him back into the room. Almost instantly a third shot shattered the window, the bullet ending its flight in the ceiling. A tense few seconds of calm passed as plaster dust rained down upon the hotel room, then the Englishman let into action. In an instant he was back at the window side, pulling the sniper out of the field of view. Taking his life in his hands, he risked a glance out the window, into the street. Behind the Omnihaul stood a man, not the skinny, fake-tanned datashark they were both expecting, but a tall, blonde man in a long brown leather jacket, staring directly at the balcony. More significantly, he had in his right hand the distinctive bulk of a Garreffa heavy revolver. The newcomer caught sight of further movement in the hotel room and methodically took another shot with the Italian pistol, the bullet ricocheting off of the window frame back into the night’s sky. As soon as the Sniper was clear of the window the Englishman unholstered his twin pistols and fired blindly into the street, desperately trying to keep the flimsy outer wall of the hotel between him and any return fire.
“Sorry you got mixed up in all this, Limey” Paul Quine piped up, with a tangible insincerity in his voice, fidgeting with his ill-fitting fake designer suit, “You and the Sniper. Didn’t mean to get anyone killed. You guys could have just let me go and we’d be done with it”
“You think this’ll just end here, Quine?” From his chair the Englishman glared daggers up at the smug, fake-tanned visage of the datashark, trying to free his hands from the rope binding him to the chair again, “I won’t be the last to come after you, you can count on that, you turncoat little shit. Don’t think you can ever rest easy, Weißmann’s gonna want your head on his desk one way or another”
“Yeah, well, if you’re the best of the best looks like I’ve got a fighting chance, don’t you think?” Quine grinned an overconfident grin, pacing impatiently between his Texan bodyguard and the Englishman, “Killed with one of your own guns, pretty powerful message if you ask me.”
“This is all very fascinating to watch, gentlemen, but I’ve got a contract to fulfil,” The Texan raised one of the Englishmans pistols and flipped the safety off, “Say goodbye to our friend mister Quine”
“See ya next lifetime, Limey!” The datashark gave a sarcasting wave at the hitman tied to the chair, chuckling at his apparent good fortune. As the Texan walked across the room towards him, the Englishman closed his eyes, ready to accept his fate. He heard the pistol’s hammer click back…
…A single shot rang out.
Hello Hypothetical Audience, did you have a good Christmas-solstice-whatever and New Years? Brilliant! But now we must face facts, accept that 2015 has now occurred and get on with things once again. So, for the first column of the year I thought I’d share some thoughts I had while watching films over the break. Over the last few weeks I’ve been watching an awful lot of films that have come out of the Marvel film studio, and for the most part they’ve been very good (the only dud I’ve seen so far being Iron Man 2, which was merely a passable filler), and they’ve been attempting to do what the comics have been doing since time immemorial by tying all the characters and events in to a single shared universe. This is a departure from how this has been run previously, mostly due to the fact that all the licences are now being held under a single studio rather than the mess that previously existed, allowing for multi film-, and even franchise-, arcs to exist. This is certainly the first time something like this has been tried with such a large scope, however it may not be as good a thing as it sounds, depending on how it’s handled, and I shall tell you for why after the read-more-thing.
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