*** This title was re-released recently and reformatted with Linux LibreOffice. ***
About this series: Verum Et Inventa is a free e-zine focusing on dark fantasy, horror and science fiction. We’re open to contributions from writers and readers who like substance and style over the blander mainstream norm. The editor will also provide controversy with articles and media reviews meant to incite the intellect of those open-minded enough to question traditional paradigms, social constructs and religious dogma. If you consider yourself Awake and enjoy a good story, why not download a copy today?
About this issue: In issue No. 2, for December 2018: Part 1 of the sci-fi novella Non-Retrieval. The main feature is followed by five recently written short stories, in a range of genres, with three directly inspired by notes from the Story Starters archive. Articles include the revealing How I Became My Female Characters, and for the upcoming holiday, Have A Merry, Pagan Christmas! Rating: HIGH controversy.
*** The article Have A Merry, Pagan Christmas will be posted soon on the sister blog Verum Et Inventa. Link to the blog here. ***
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A paragraph or two from each of this issue’s stories:
Non-Retrieval Part 1
Once I’d rotated the co-pilot’s chair by one hundred and eighty degrees, I scanned across the innards of the Unilink Space Transport, designated number One-Twenty-Six. The Space Marines were filing in through the small vessel’s hatch, some impatient, others somber, all rarely speaking. In their usual, professional manner they filled in the seats starting from the furthest back and moving forward. The seating consisted of two short, gray metal benches running along either side of the transport, with heavy-duty black nylon seat straps for each occupant, and an overhead spot for them to snap their weapons into.
Dutifully, each of the hard-nosed soldiers secured the weapons into their spots, in this case the newer Spitfire v7 plasma rifles, before removing their helmets and laying them on their laps. They reached to their sides, bringing up the adjustable ends of their security belts. With a loud snap, they clicked their belts locked.
“Unit XY, Series three dash three four three, you are ready for guest services.” The neutral mechanical voice announced into the small, pill-shaped pod.
Four-Three opened his eyes, staring at the white polymer casing. Past the thick seal, the twenty year-old boy expected blinding artificial lights. He only had a few seconds to shut his eyes before the seal slid open and exposed him to the glare.
“Unit Four-Three is awake.” He said, knowing the mechanism was waiting for his reply.
Transformation must begin somewhere, that’s what I say. There is a point where everything in our universe changes in some way and becomes something else, but that point is different for any given mass of cells. Take a rock, for example. At some point, perhaps soon, perhaps in the far future, or ironically enough, perhaps even in the ancient past, this rock will become aware that it is a rock. The rock will think to itself, what the flooble, I’m a rock! Its cells will have already sensed light and dark, warmth and cold, and other basic changes around it, and it will see past the repetitive nature cycles and yearn, yes, yearn, to become some other state of matter / being. The nature of all cells is to learn experiences and catalog them, and when enough cataloging has been done, the cells will want to transform into a new mass of cells, with new senses and thoughts, so that the eternal journey of experience will begin anew.
Pickle For Hire
You ever seen a goddamned butterfly weaving its way through a flower garden? By sheer instinct, that fucking thing dips and dodges. It knows, it fucking knows, that the moment it stops its random movements, some predator bird is going to come by and swallow it the hell up. That’s what I’m feeling right now; that I should make those same unpredictable moves a fucking butterfly can make, if I want to be alive when the rounds stop flying.
Pop, pop, pop!
You hear that sound? That’s the sound a PIKL makes. That would be a Pulsed Impulsive Kill Laser, for those of you not in The Know. The weapon I’m holding is modeled after the military issue M-16 A-7-dash-7, but those aren’t gunpowder rounds leaving the barrel. No, that’s a superheated bolt of plasma the size of my fingernail. It wouldn’t go very far on its own, except it’s surrounded by a hot laser that basically clears the road for the plasma. The Pop sound, that’s the sound of the plasma hitting the air. It isn’t anything like the sizzle or whine you hear laser guns make in the movies. No, sir, this bolt of death is gone so fast, the damned thing has already hit its target before the sound figures out it’s late to the party. When you hear the Pop, that means the bolt has already hit something, and the sound is confused because the laser associated with it is done and gone. Usually, the noise is heard eight to ten feet away from the muzzle. The human brain looks toward the sound by instinct, before it realizes it has to look further back to see where the bolt actually came from. That gives me an extra half-second to aim at the next target. That extra half-second is what keeps me alive.
Gordon’s Soul Takes A Trip
“Once, I saw a shaman suck a man’s soul out of his body, just by waving a piece of licorice in front of his face.” Saul said.
Saul was always coming up with weird shit like that, Gordon understood. He also knew that Ricky usually came up with some smart aleck remark only a few seconds later.
“Was it a red licorice or a black one?” Ricky smirked. “Cuz I don’t know about them black ones!”
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