Tag: "stephen eley"

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EP304: Union Dues – Sidekicks in Stockholm

By Jeffrey R. DeRego
Read by Stephen Eley
Special guest host: Stephen Eley
An Escape Pod original!
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Rated appropriate for older teens and up for language and disturbing imagery.

Union Dues: Sidekicks in Stockholm
by Jeffrey R. DeRego

Five of them at least, with submachine guns, body armor, and more dynamite than I’ve seen outside a Tom and Jerry cartoon. They all sound the same thanks to some digital vocal thing built into their black suits. They all look the same with black ski masks underneath a mesh sort of fencing helmet, black everything else right to the boots, and all about the same size, like someone took a picture of a terrorist and photocopied it.

This whole drama seems like it began a million years ago by now. I was scheduled to come here and open a convention of business leaders and up-and-coming corporate types. My speech, Good Corporate Citizenship, with examples of how The Union gives back to the communities it serves, is a two year old piece worked up and updated by Marketing and Promotions to accommodate a new administration in Washington, and some new economic stuff that I don’t really understand. I’d delivered only half of the text before these guys burst through the door.

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EP240: The Last McDougal’s

By David D. Levine.
Read by Stephen Eley.
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First appeared in Asimov’s, January 2006.

Special closing song: “Blue,” by Yoko Kanno.

As the old man came in, letting the door close gently behind him, an expression came over his face that Garth had seen many times before: a compound of misty nostalgia and appalled astonishment. His gaze swept across the yellow and orange fiberglass chairs, their cracks and dings lovingly but visibly repaired; the plastic-topped tables with the white half-moons rubbed by millions of elbows; the light softly shining from the satiny steel of the napkin and catsup dispensers. Finally the old man’s eyes stopped dead on the smiling face of the six-foot-tall fiberglass cow that stood at the end of the counter, wearing an apron and a chef’s hat. “My God,” he said, “it’s Moogle McDougal.”

“It certainly is,” said Garth. “Welcome to McDougal’s. May I take your order?”

“Give me a minute,” he replied as he perused the menu. He had a comfortable old boot of a voice, rough but mellow. “It’s been… jeez, thirty years? …since I’ve been in one of these places. Um, I’ll have a double cheeseburger, a small order of fries, and….” He grinned. “…and a shake. Chocolate.”

Rated PG. Contains some violence and is high in saturated fats.

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EP239: A Programmatic Approach to Perfect Happiness

By Tim Pratt
Read by: Stephen Eley
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Originally published in: Futurismic, April 2009.

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Opening poem: “Scientific Romance”

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My step-daughter Wynter, who is regrettably prejudiced against robots
and those who love us, comes floating through the door in a
metaphorical cloud of glitter instead of her customary figurative
cloud of gloom. She enters the kitchen, rises up on the toes of her
black spike-heeled boots, wraps her leather-braceleted arms around my
neck, and places a kiss on my cheek, leaving behind a smear of black
lipstick on my artificial skin and a whiff of white make-up in my
artificial nose. “Hi Kirby,” she says, voice all bubbles and light,
when normally she would never deign to utter my personal designation.
“Is Moms around? Haven’t talked to her in a million.”

I know right away that Wynter has been infected.

Rated R. Contains mature sexual situations and adult themes. (And robot themes.)

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EP233: Union Dues – The Threnody of Johnny Toruko

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by Stephen Eley.
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I duck through the door behind her. The place is jammed with customers. “You have any money? I didn’t think to ask Miss Jennifer for any.”

TK answers, “don’t worry, just tell me what you want.”

“Large with extra sugar and cream.”

TK grins and focuses her attention on the line of people stretching from the entrance down to the counter. They all sidestep and she walks unimpeded front of the pack. “One large black, and one large with extra sugar and cream.”

The barrista, a girl of about 18, repeats the order in a flat monotone.

“And these are on the house. Everyone gets free coffee for the next two hours.”

“Free for everyone,” the clerk answers then puts our order together.

TK snickers and hands the coffee over.

Rated PG. Contains mature themes, violence, and some profanity. You know. Teenage stuff.

Referenced Sites:

Official Union Dues Web Site

Union Dues on Twitter

Clonepod – Previous Team Shikaragaki stories

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EP226: Pirate Solutions

by Katherine Sparrow.
Narrated by Sarah Tolbert, Kate Baker, Nate Periat, and Steve Eley
The story first appeared in Fast Ships, Black Sails edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer.
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You could feel their heat. Not a metaphor, I don’t mean that, I mean literally the room grew warmer when they were in it. They were both so powerful. Whenever Anne and Jack (they weren’t named that then, but that’s who they were) strolled into the room you got contact highs from their lust. People who would never make out would find excuses to go to the bathroom together and come back with monster hickies. Everyone always wanted to sit near them because of their heat, and because they always said the thing you wish you’d said but only thought to say a billion blinks later.

When I first joined the Freebooter tech collective Anne and Jack were happy to have another girl in the group, but otherwise they ignored me. I could stare and stare at them all day long, hiding behind my black-rimmed glasses. But then one day Anne looked at me, and then Jack looked too, and we all just sort of fell toward each other. Like gravity. Like magic. Like there was a God.

Rated ARRRRR.

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EP224: The Ghost in the Death Trap

By Marjorie James
Read by Stephen Eley.
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Editor’s note:  this is a sequel to EP007.  Listen to it here.

Flies buzzed around the edges of the huge stone block, gathering at the rivulets of blood that ran down to the floor. A bit of what looked like it might be intestine hung off one corner, drawing special attention. It was a testament to the force of the collision that fragments of bone and tissue were scattered all the way down the passage, some even wedged in the carvings in the stone walls. Two men surveyed the scene with dismay.

“See? And this just keeps happening. It’s getting so we can’t get anything done around here,” said the taller of the two, a grey-haired man with red eyes and a patchy beard.

The other man, younger but not precisely young, hauled himself up on top of the block and examined the mechanism. “This bar’s been sliced right through.” He looked back down at his client. “You say this was a poltergeist?”

Rated PG for some violence and language.

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EP206: Rogue Farm

By Charles Stross
Recorded at Balticon 43, May 23, 2009
Read by:Joe -Jared Axelrod (of The Voice of Free Planet X), Maddie - J.R. Blackwell (of Voices of Tomorrow), The Farm - Evo Terra and Sheila Dee (of Evo at 11, et al.), Maddie - J.R. Blackwell (of Voices of Tomorrow), Brenda the Barkeep - Dee Reed (of Nobilis Erotica), Wendy the Rat - Laura Burns, Art the Boy Toy - John Cmar, Bob the Dog - Earl Newton (of Stranger Things), Narrator - Stephen Eley.
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All stories by Charles Stross
All stories read by John Cmar, JR Blackwell, Evo Terra, Sheila DeeJared Axelrod, Dee Reed, Laura Burns, Earl Newton, Stephen Eley

Special Thanks To:
Paul Fischer (of The Balticon Podcast) for instigating and organizing
Nobilis Reed (of Nobilis Erotica) for engineering

First appeared in Live Without a Net, ed. Lou Anders
Now available in Wireless, by Charles Stross

“Buggerit, I don’t have time for this,” Joe muttered. The stable waiting for the small herd of cloned spidercows cluttering up the north paddock was still knee-deep in manure, and the tractor seat wasn’t getting any warmer while he shivered out here waiting for Maddie to come and sort this thing out. It wasn’t a big herd, but it was as big as his land and his labour could manage – the big biofabricator in the shed could assemble mammalian livestock faster than he could feed them up and sell them with an honest HAND-RAISED NOT VAT-GROWN label.

“What do you want with us?” he yelled up at the gently buzzing farm.

“Brains, fresh brains for baby Jesus,” crooned the farm in a warm contralto, startling Joe half out of his skin. “Buy my brains!” Half a dozen disturbing cauliflower shapes poked suggestively out of the farms’ back then retracted again, coyly.

“Don’t want no brains around here,” Joe said stubbornly, his fingers whitening on the stock of the shotgun. “Don’t want your kind round here, neither. Go away.”

Rated PG for strong language, chemical violence, and drug-abusing dogs.

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EP193: Article of Faith

By Mike Resnick.
Read by Stephen Eley.
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First appeared in Baen’s Universe, October 2008.
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“I’m sure,” I said. “Somehow, lunch seems pretty trivial after you’ve been thinking about God all morning.”

“God, sir?”

“The Creator of all things,” I explained.

“My creator is Stanley Kalinovsky, sir,” said Jackson. “I was not aware that he created everything in the world, nor that his preferred name was God.”

I couldn’t repress a smile.

Rated PG. Contains religious themes and some violence.

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EP190: Origin Story

By Tim Pratt
Read by: Stephen Eley
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Special closing music: “Skullcrusher Mountain” by Jonathan Coulton.

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He didn’t call himself The Aerialist at first. The newspapers came up with that later. He called himself Kid Kangaroo of all things, because of the jumping from rooftop to rooftop, even though I made fun of him, called him “Joey,” made jokes about dingoes. Nobody knows his secret identity but me, and I only found out because I snuck into the treehouse one night to smoke a cigarette and found him changing out of his leotard and tights and domino mask. He was only fifteen. I still remember what he said: “Don’t tell anyone — if my identity is discovered, you and mom and dad could be used against me.”

Rated PG. Contains sibling rivalry and comic book deconstruction.

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EP185: Union Dues – All About the Sponsors

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by Stephen Eley.
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Sponsored by CONTAGIOUS, by Scott Sigler.

I suck in my chest and tighten the buckles before getting lightheaded. I don’t have to wear the costume anymore, but it seems disrespectful to leave it in the closet for this one last mission. I get the boots on and struggle with the leather straps and silver buckles until my fingers feel like they’re ready to fall off. I surrender and creak back up to standing position. “Ok screw the boot buckles, Jim,” I whisper. “This is it.”

I glance at the open briefcase laid across the corner of my desk but I’ve got everything I need. I pick up the silver frame with the little black and white photo of me, Frida, Alex, Paul, and Steve in our original Liberty League getup. Frida Freedom called me four hours ago. Her voice broke when she said the words, “Alex is dead.” I drop the frame into the case atop a weathered manila folder then close the whole thing up before hobbling out towards the waiting jet.

Rated PG. Contains some profanity, some violence, and strong rhetoric.