Posts Tagged ‘Alasdair Stuart’

EP341: Aphrodisia

By Lavie Tidhar
Read by Alasdair Stuart
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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

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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.

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