Posts Tagged ‘Alasdair Stuart’

EP382: They Go Bump


By David Barr Kirtley
Read by Alasdair Stuart

Discuss on our forums. 

 

They Go Bump
By David Barr Kirtley

     Ball placed his feet carefully. Walking on rough terrain was treacherous when you couldn’t see your feet — or your legs, for that matter, or any part of yourself. All he could see was the uneven ground, the shady stones outlined with sharp sunlight, drifting eerily beneath him. His boot caught and twisted, and he pitched forward, falling and smacking his elbows rough against the ground.

From somewhere up on the hilltop, Cataldo’s voice laughed. That voice — smooth and measured, with just a hint of sharpness. Ball had never paid much attention to voices before, but now voices were all he had.

Cataldo’s shouted, “Was that you, Ball? Again?”

Ball groped on the ground for his rifle. He felt it, grasped it, and slung it over his shoulder. He clambered to his feet, and wavered there a few moments, unsteady.

Cataldo’s voice again: “How many times is that now? Twelve?”

“Eleven.” Ball groaned, stretched, and looked around. “Where are you?” (Continue Reading…)

EP379: Concussion


By David Glen Larson
Read by Mat Weller

Discuss on our forums. 

For a list of all Escape Pod stories by this author or narrator, visit our sortable Wikipedia page

Rated 13+ for mild language

Special thanks to users costaipsa, iankath, mario1298 and DJ Chronos at FreeSound.org who created and/or recorded the sound effects used in this episode!

Concussion
By David Glen Larson

He scrambled from the fire that was snaking through the corridor when another explosion jolted the ship, and just like that he was dead again. A moment later he was someone else, gazing down with another’s eyes at the mangled green body he’d left behind.

Never before had Tyler experienced such terror. Sure, he’d been afraid—afraid his knee would give out again, sidelining him for the big game; afraid he’d let down his teammates and make a fool of himself—but he’d never been terrified of being incinerated in an alien system countless light-years from the home world he was forced to flee. Not until now.

Staring up at the night sky, the stars were dim under the glare of the stadium lights. Which star was theirs? He caught himself and shook his aching head. It was only a dream, after all. The frog people weren’t real.

The doctor shined a penlight into each pupil. “Any headache, nausea, or dizziness?”

“What do you think? I was just hit by a freight train.” Good old Number 32—the biggest, meanest linebacker in the NFL.

“You may have a concussion.”

Coach Landis spit tobacco juice on the grass only inches from Tyler’s head. “We’re down 22-27 in the fourth quarter with under a minute to go. Montoya’s out, Casper’s out, and now you’re saying I’m out my third string too? Uh-uh, Doc. I need Harden in the game.”

“If he takes another hit—”

“A few aches and pains go with the territory,” said the coach.

“Forget aches and pains. I’m talking stroke or death. Those go with the territory?”

“Ordinarily no, but this is the Super Bowl and I’m out of quarterbacks.”

“I can play, Coach.” Tyler rolled onto his knees and wobbled to his feet with a groan. Lights flashed and popped behind his eyes, some internal wiring knocked loose, but he didn’t let on. “I’m fine.”

Tyler teetered backward, but the coach steadied him, pretending to pat him on the back.

“That a boy. See, Doc? It was just a tap.”

“All right, but I’ll need to check his cognitive function after every play.”

“Whatever you say,” said the coach.

“I’m going to ask you to remember a list of five words. If you can’t repeat them back to me, you’re a NO-GO.”

“Apple, wrench, sombrero, parrot, porcupine,” Tyler said with confidence.

“But I didn’t give you the words yet.”

“Sure you did. Last season against the Colts. It was the only time I played. Number 24 clocked me from behind on our 15.”

“Well I’m glad to see your long-term memory isn’t impaired, but it’s your short-term memory that concerns me.”

“Fine, but make it quick. I have a qweetah to win.”

“Beg your pardon?”

“I said, make it quick. I have a game to win.” (Continue Reading…)

EP364: Techno-Rat


By Brad Hafford
Read by Al Stuart
Discuss on our forums.
Originally appeared in Reflection’s Edge, 2010
All stories by Brad Hafford
All stories read by Al Stuart
Rated 13 and up for language

Audible
Brought to you by Audible!

Techno-Rat
by Brad Hafford

West London was, as always, abuzz. Even at 4:00 AM on a chilly November Tuesday, electric motorcars whirred down Kings Road, zipping people along, early to work or late from parties. The residential side streets, however, were quiet. Lined with parked cars, occasional street lamps, and darkened flats, they dozed peacefully. Ornate houses huddled in gracefully curving queues, awaiting the sunrise with little attention to the two figures loitering outside their narrow, iron-fenced entryways.

“There it is, innit?” the scrawnier figure said, pointing to a parked car. “D’ya see?”

The taller man stared intently at the vehicle. “See what?” he said, his breath misting in the frosty air.

Their eyes were fixed on a car sitting at the curb of a constricted street in Chelsea, part of the fashionable Kensington district. It was a brown cabriolet with a weather-worn faux leather top. An aging example, its low-light number plates showed it to be registered ten years previously. Its MOT and inspection were up to date, but its bonnet was dented and its windscreen cracked. Such an automobile did not belong in Chelsea. But neither did the two men examining it.

The smaller of the two impatiently tugged on the grey flatcap he wore. “Pay attention, Mik,” he sniped. “We in’t got all night.” Clipped words and rounded vowels marked his speech. The bells of St. Mary’s were ancient history and the East End had long since been gentrified, but he was retro-Cockney.

“I’m paying as much attention as I’ve got, Artie. More, really. I just don’t see it.”

“It’s a slight vibration, see. An ’ologram shift called glitching. The generator keeps the image dynamic, right. So it has to refresh at a specific rate.” He tapped his nose, a signal that he was imparting secrets. “Oy, there it goes again!”

“I still don’t see it.”

“And you fink you got what it takes to be a Techno-Rat?” (Continue Reading…)

EP341: Aphrodisia


By Lavie Tidhar
Read by Alasdair Stuart
Discuss on our forums.
Originally appeared in Strange Horizons
All stories by Lavie Tidhar
All stories read by Alasdair Stuart
Rated 17 and up for language and sexual imagery

This episode has been brought to you by Audible. Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/escapepod for a free trial membership*.

Audible® Free Trial Details
* Get your first 30 days of the AudibleListener® Gold membership plan free, which includes one credit. In almost all cases, one credit equals one audiobook. After your 30 day trial, your membership will automatically renew each month for just $14.95, billed to the credit card you used when you registered with Audible. With your membership, you will receive one credit per month plus members-only discounts on all audio purchases. If you cancel your membership before your free trial period is up, you will not be charged. Thereafter, cancel anytime, effective the next billing cycle. See the complete terms and policy applicable to Audible memberships.

Aphrodisia
By Lavie Tidhar
It began, in a way, with the midget hunchback tuk-tuk driver.
It was a night in the cool season…
The stars shone like cold hard semi-precious stones overhead. Shadows moved across the face of the moon. The beer place was emptying –
Ban Watnak where fat mosquitoes buzzed, lazily, across neon-lit faces. Thai pop playing too loudly, cigarette smoke rising the remnants of ghosts, straining to escape Earth’s atmosphere.
In the sky flying lanterns looked like tracer bullets, like fireflies. The midget hunchback tuk-tuk driver said, ‘Where are you going -?’ mainlining street speed and ancient wisdom.
Tone: ‘Where are you going?’
The driver sat on the elevated throne of his vehicle and contemplated the question as if his life depended on it. ‘Over there,’ he said, gesturing. Then, grudgingly – ‘Not far.’
But it was far enough for us.
Tone and Bejesus and me made three: Tone with the hafmek body, all spray-painted metal chest and arms, Victorian-style goggles hiding his eyes, a scarf in the colours of a vanished football team around his neck – it was cold. It was Earth cold, not real – there was no dial you could turn to make it go away. Bejesus not speaking, a fragile low-gravity body writhing with nervous energy despite the unaccustomed weight – Bejesus in love with this planet Earth, a long way away from his rock home in space.
Tone, in Asteroid Pidgin: ‘Yumi go lukaotem ol gel.’
‘No girls,’ I said. Tone smirked. Bejesus danced on the spot, nervous, excited, it was hard to tell. Tone said: ‘Boy, girl, all same.’
Bejesus, to the driver: ‘I dig your body work, man.’
Tone shaking his head. ‘Dumb ignorant rock-worm,’ he said, but with affection.
The hunchback midget tuk-tuk driver grinned, said, ‘You come with me, no pay. Free tuk-tuk!’
‘Best offer we’re going to get,’ Tone said, and I nodded. Bejesus passed me a pill. I dry-swallowed. The floating lanterns seemed larger then, like warm eyes blinking high above. ‘Let’s go!’ I said. My heart was beating too fast. ‘Hungry and horny and a long way from home,’ Tone said – a bad poet in hafmek armour.

EP303: Leech Run


By Scott W. Baker
Read by: Alasdair Stuart
Originally appearing in Zero Gravity: Adventures in Deep Space – Released July 27!
Discuss on our forums.
All stories by Scott W. Baker
All stories read by Alasdair Stuart

Rated appropriate for mid-teens and up for violence and mild adult language.

Leech Run
by Scott W. Baker

The inhabitants of Galileo Station parted as Titan moved among them. Not one made eye contact, but all gawked furtively. One of Titan’s dark eyes glared back down at the throng; the other eye remained hidden behind a curtain of stark white hair. Conspicuous appearance was his curse. What bystander would forget a snow-capped mountain of dark muscle? Memorability was not an asset for someone like him.

One body in the crowd moved toward Titan rather than away. “The passengers is aboard, love,” the man said.

“Reif, call me ‘love’ in public and you’ll find yourself very uncomfortable.” Titan lowered his voice so it stayed within the wide berth granted by the populace. “How many passengers?”

“Thirty-two, lo — Captain.”

Titan shook his head. “Hemingway promised fifty.”

“If Hem flew so bad as he scored cargo–”

“Any load of leeches will turn a profit,” Titan assured the mechanic. “But small load doesn’t mean small risk. I want you sharp.”

“As ever, love.”

They continued through the bustling station to their ship, a little cargo runner designed for intra-system transport at sub-light speeds. Of course, a mechanic of Reif’s skill could make a ship reach speeds its designers never fathomed.

Such deviant engineering demanded a pilot with a select set of skills and dubious moral character. Hemingway possessed both. He was waiting for them beside the ship with his ever-present, boastful grin.

“I said there be takers on Galileo, didn’t I?” Hemingway said as his crewmates entered earshot. “I done already told them the rules.”

Titan’s brow furrowed. “Thirty-two? Don’t dislocate anything patting yourself on the back. And there’s just one rule on my ship.”

Titan brushed past his pilot into the cargo hold. It was a small hold, even for an intra-system runner, but it hadn’t always been so. Reif’s touch here made for ideal leech transport. The customized hold maintained a six-foot buffer from all electrical systems, enough of a gap that even a class-three leech couldn’t siphon a single ampere. Despite his extensive precautions, Titan always felt uneasy with such capricious cargo.

(Continue Reading…)