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Escape Pod 865: Spider (Part 2 of 2)

Show Notes

Don’t miss Spider, Part One


Spider (Part 2)

by Patrice Sarath

Nguyen

“Attention. Attention. Stay in your quarters. Attention. Attention. Stay in your quarters.”

The bloody pink light of the station alarm washed over Shane and Ray as they pushed at top speed toward the residential arm. Despite the warning, most of the station population was watching from their doorways, in various stages of ragged middle of the night un-dress, hair floating around fluid-bloated faces.

They encountered the first drifting blood drops as they rounded the corner of the miners’ section. Adrift in the corridor was the body of one of the brothers, barely conscious. Shane reached him first, wrestling the body around so she could run a diagnostic. His face was battered, as if the other brother had tied him to a rail and then kept ramming an oxygen canister at his nose. She fished for his I.D. Rose.

“Where’s Carter, Rose?” She said. His eyes fluttered, but he made no response.

“Where’s medic?” Ray yelled into his mic. “What is taking you guys so long?”

“On our way,” came a voice over the radio.

(Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 864: Spider (Part 1 of 2)


Spider

by Patrice Sarath

Bifrost Mining Station, June 2063
The plan

I knew the two miners were trouble as soon as they pulled themselves into the bar. They looked around and one, I think it was Carter but you try telling the brothers apart, nudged Rose and nodded his chin at me. They came over and slid next to me, one on either side. We floated there, me pulling at my bulb of cheap station whiskey, trying not to show my unease.

“Hawkes,” said Carter. “Good to see you.” He was close enough now to see the scar under his eye, a reminder of when Rose had tried to gouge his eye out. Family.

“Hmmm,” I said.

Carter was unfazed and leaned closer. “We have a proposition.”

My heart sank lower.

Carter said, “It’s your share of five hundred million dollars and a way off Bifrost.”

(Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 859: Pen Pal (Part 2 of 2)


(Continued from Part 1)

Pen Pal

By Grant Canterbury

 

August 8, 2005

Meliari Thulissia

General Delivery

Tharsis Station

 

Dear Thu,

 

Well I officially graduated from high school! And I have been itching to get out into the world for a long time but right now honestly I am not liking the look of it. We had been planning to go to Disneyworld after graduation but we did Disneyland again instead. That was fine actually. Mom and Dad decided Florida was not such a great idea because gulguthroi. And I had to agree with them. It has gotten really bad. They have chameleon skin and they hide in shallow water which is everywhere down there, and they are basically eating up all of the wildlife in the Everglades. And also people. And especially folks who used to own skipperjacks, it seems. Apparently the deep soulful looks that made them popular at pet stores were more like, um, imprinting on future prey. And their big raspy tentacles also work okay at opening doors in the middle of the night. There are like thousands of people who have disappeared. Oh yeah, they made it illegal to own skipperjacks, of course. And so a bunch of pet stores, crooked or dumb, went and dumped theirs in the nearest creek. Christ. (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 858: Pen Pal (Part 1 of 2)


Pen Pal

By Grant Canterbury

December Third, 1996

 

Meliari Thulissia

General Delivery

Tharsis Station

 

Dear Meliari,

Hello!!  My name is Mary and I am nine years old.  I got your name for a pen pal and they said you were the first pen pal on Mars.  This is the first time I have written a letter to Mars to.   So I will tell you about me and how things are here in Oregon.  And if you can tell me about yourself and what Mars is like that would be great!  I am interested in mars but I have never been there yet.  There is a book in the library that has pictures, I like the one with the little boats and orange trees on the grand canal.  I mean the trees are orange not that they have oragnes.  Here our trees are green except in fall.  Right now they have lost their leaves. (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 856: The Princess, NP


The Princess, NP

By Brian Hugenbruch

I sat in the Commander’s office at Hexa Station, in clothes that stank of subspace, and the only polite thing I could do to drown out the universe was compute obscene sums in my head. It didn’t stop the sounds from piercing my ears, though. Metal chairs scraping against plastic floors. A pulse generator’s low thrumming some twenty floors below. The whisper of air recycling through the prefab station. The universe was omnipresent. I could feel it all, and it never ever stopped.

Lullabies were my preferred method of soothing soul and stilling mind. I learned thousands of them in the earliest days of my Conditioning. Alas, people ask the wrong kinds of questions if one starts singing mid-conversation. Math was a precisely imperfect fallback. (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 855: A Home For Mrs. Biswas


A Home For Mrs. Biswas

by Amal Singh

Once she saw the red sands stretch across miles, craters as big as the stadium her father played hockey in, and golden spires shimmering brighter than Amritsar’s Golden Temple, Aparna Biswas didn’t want to live on earth. Of course they were a far cry from her own backyard where, in summers, she would sit on a cane chair and watch the bougainvillaea bloom the shade of a bride’s blush,“string of pearls” flowers wrapped around the wooden railing on her porch, eating a succulent dussehri aam as a pair of ducks swam in the small pond she liked to call her Pacific. But those summers only existed behind a dim haze of memory. She would take a living planet over a dying one any day.

“Beta, I think I might find god there,” she said to her son, tearing her gaze away from the Mars hologram. “Build me a home on that planet and all will be mangal.” She chortled at her own joke. Puns on the red planet had filled the internet, and ever since Sunehri, her granddaughter, had taught her how to use a phone, she kept finding these odd little information trinkets.

“I might have to break all our deposits and still not be able to book a single one-way ticket, Maa,” said Nishant, her son. “Forget about building a home.” In his eyes too, there was a deep yearning to go to the Red Planet. He stood near the window of the living room of his Chembur apartment, looking at the once blue sky, blotted out by an eternal grey smog which was here to stay.

“But our PM said in his last speech there was a lottery system,” she said. “And you know how lucky I am.” It was true. Stories of Aparna Biswas’s luck were splattered on walls of Kolkata, and the gullies of Bombay.

(Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 854: Pickled Roots and Peeled Shoots and a Bowl of Farflower Tea


Pickled Roots and Peeled Shoots and a Bowl of Farflower Tea

By Chaz Brenchley

 

there’s rue for you, and here’s some for me

 

Just that morning, she’d had a novice shave her head for her. He was a promising lad – no, more than promising, he was a promise halfway to being realised already – but still ridiculously young, all awkwardness and angles, nervous of his own body let alone anybody else’s. Let alone hers.

Of course he’d cut her. She’d felt the cold bite of the blade and then its sudden absence as he snatched his hands away, his suppressed cry of self-recrimination, the tentative pressure of a cloth to stem the bleeding. She raised a hand and laid it over his, pressing firmly, teaching him not to be shy. Not with her body, not with her blood. (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 853: 2022 Flash Fiction Contest Winners


Half-Lives

by Andrew Hiller

“Time traveler, eh?”

I shuffled my feet and smirked. The AI that stopped me was short, wore a unitard, mask, goggles, and a badge. I tried to edge away, but it blocked my escape and motioned for me to surrender my booty.

“What gave me away?” I asked.

“You said laser pistol instead of zapper.”

I sniffed and dropped a backpack full of looted tech. It thudded instead of clanged.

“Zappers, huh?”

“Well,” AI Cop laughed before returning to me my emptied property, “the last time I heard someone say laser pistol was in a historical.” I tugged my backpack tight, exposed my traveler, and his expression turned serious, “Should arrest you, but paradox y’know.”

“Yeah, that’s why I only travel into the future. Can’t cause a paradox to a thing hasn’t happened yet.”
(Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 848: An Incident on Ishtar


An Incident on Ishtar

By Brian Trent

Her family tried very hard to never use the word “crazy” with her. So therefore, they didn’t say it was crazy that she was applying for a Venusian post as Tier 3 Balloon Specialist.

She tried explaining her reasons to them:

I have valuable skill-sets for the Ishtar colony.

They countered: you don’t do well with people.

Her response: there are only 612 people throughout Ishtar’s nine modular habitats. There are 2.1 million people here in San Antonio.

Venus is hell, Mom interjected, and you’re afraid of heights, Melissa! Do you hear yourself?

Venus is hell below the clouds but I’ll be living above them, sweeping along with the transterminator currents on oxygen-filled aerostat balloons that provide both breathable air and the lifting gases required. Statistically it will be safer. No chance of making another Terrible Mistake.

The smiling masks of her family fell away. Older sister Diane exploded at her. Is that what this is about? Are you out of your mind? You—

Melissa didn’t hear the rest. She marched out of her parent’s house and took the nearest PDT to the local office of ExtraPlanetary Colony Careers.

Why do you want to go to Venus? the interviewer asked her.

I have valuable skill-sets for the Ishtar colony, she replied.

They were quick to agree. (Continue Reading…)

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Escape Pod 844: The Vaulting Vandals of Termina Celeste (Part 2)


The Vaulting Vandals of Termina Celeste (Part 2)

by Jordan Chase-Young

Our boots echoed through the fuselage as we hurried to the bridge. Nerva lagged behind us, grunting whenever Jacob smacked him with the chrome vaulter he’d taken from the cache.
I ordered Nerva to unlock the bridge door.

When he hesitated, I made the squid tap its poison bone against his nape.

Nerva swore in some Delphine patois and punched a number on the keypad. The latch clicked. I forced the squid to ball up behind Nerva’s head, then sprayed Jacob and myself a couple of light, round shields. Since the spray couldn’t make energy weapons, apparently, I also fashioned us each an arqueblaster and loaded them with armor-piercing bullets.

We hid in the shadows of the antechamber while Nerva made his way onto the bridge, moving carefully, as I’d commanded, to keep the squid out of Hadrian’s view.

“Done already?” crooned the merchant prince from his padded throne at the controls.

“Yes,” mumbled Nerva.

“Had a feeling the spray would take to that one. You can always tell a natural by that flame in their eye.” The throne, which slid on a railgrid in the floor, squeaked and rumbled as Hadrian kicked his way like a child in an office chair from one task to another. “As for Jacob, well, let’s hope his vaulting’s as good as they say.”

(Continue Reading…)

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