Genres:

Escape Pod 376: Shutdown


Shutdown

by Corry L. Lee

The alarm blared over the forest’s metallic rustling, and my HUD’s red warning light glazed the view through my faceplate. Ten seconds until the defense scan hit my position. Ten seconds until any motion, any electrical signature would whip vines down from the iron-cored trees, wrapping me as surely as steel cables, pinning me while cutter-bugs took me apart.

My muscles clenched, and I froze. The training sims hadn’t prepared me for the terror twisting my gut, for the way my heart seemed to dance a pas-de-bourrée, its ballerina toes rapping against my ribs.

I didn’t have time to panic. I chinned my skinsuit’s kill switch and dropped to the forest floor. In the silence after the klaxon died, my breather hissed out one final gasp of oxygen. The red glow faded from my faceplate and the forest closed in, dark without the HUD’s gain and unnaturally silent without the suit’s audio pickups. Weak sunlight filtered through the thick canopy, yellowed by sulfur gas, enough to make out shapes but not details. In sims, they’d cut our visual enhancement, but they must have extrapolated badly because the shadows had never been this deep, the shafts of sunlight never so diseased.

I crouched on a patch of dirt, crumpling fallen leaves but avoiding the forest’s ragged undergrowth. I folded my legs beneath me, splaying my arms for balance. My hands slipped on the metal-rich berries that covered the ground as if someone had derailed a freight train of ball bearings. I swept some impatiently aside and rested my helmeted forehead on the dirt. How much time had passed? Eight seconds? No time to worry.

Gritting my teeth, I stopped my heart.
(Continue Reading…)

Genres:

Escape Pod Flash: Semi-Autonomous or ‘For Whom The Warranty Tolls

Show Notes

Rated PG and now available in a wide variety of colours!


Semi-Autonomous or ‘For Whom The Warranty Tolls

By Jim Kling

Hello, you have reached Jim’s semi-autonomous answering machine. Leave a message and I will have him return your call.

Hello, you have reached Jim’s semi-autonomous answering machine. He will be hosting his birthday party on Saturday night. If you plan to attend, press ‘one’ and then speak your name. I will add you to the guest list. Otherwise, leave a message and I will make sure he receives it.

Hello, you have reached Jim’s semi-autonomous answering machine. My records indicate that you have previously RSVP’d for the Saturday night party. Please indicate your alcohol preference. For beer, press ‘one.’ For wine, press ‘two.’ For mixed drinks, press ‘three.’ If you prefer non-alcoholic beverages, press ‘four.’ This information will be used for ordering purposes only, transmitted through my wireless connection to Jim’s refrigerator, which in turn is linked to an online grocery. For more information about AutonomInc’s SmartAppliance line, please view our web site at www.autonominc.com. “AutonomInc: We give a whole new meaning to housework!” If you have a message for Jim, please leave it now.

Genres:

Escape Pod 191: This Is How It Feels


This Is How It Feels

By Ian Creasey

Nathan’s eyes stung as he remembered how Jenny used to do just that: the same jump down the stairs, the same windmilling of her arms as she landed…. The grief swept over him like a palpable wave, making him stagger backward.

“Dad?” Christopher kicked his backpack down the hall to the door. “You all right?”

“It’s nothing,” said Nathan. He rubbed the implant-port behind his right ear. It’s nothing. It’s not real.

But it felt real.