The Veteran's Mantra

Plakias Gonates Cave 01She rounded the final bend and saw the tunnel open onto the sea. She stared at the beautiful crystalline depths of the sea she had hoped to avoid, but saw only mockery and defeat. Captain Fisher's ancient survey maps had led her astray. Again.

If only the Old Goat (as she calls the good Captain on a good day) had landed closer to the temple site, but he had insisted on landing at Idyls Downport in hopes of trading. If only the Old Goat had given her his hovercar, but he needed it to haul his stash of gods-damned single malt. If only the Old Goat had agreed to pay for a rental, but all his money was tied up in his hold, and it would take a few days to sell any of his cargo for a fair price.

If only she had insisted the Old Goat pay her something up front, but he had called in a huge favor. Worse yet, he sent his crew's doctor to talk her into bailing his ass out of jail after he tried to bribe a theocracy official with a flask of single malt. Typical. She dragged a hand through her red hair, adjusted her rifle, and exhaled. For the tenth time today, she muttered her less-charitable nickname for the Old Goat, which became her mantra every time she had to pull him out of whatever rathole he blindly ran down this week:

"Duckfucker."

Funnel Photo Finish

This snippet of story, all 800 words of it, exists solely because of the following image, used with the permission of its creator, Robert Cornelius. He does fantastic Photoshop work. Don't believe me? Check out his portfolio and blog. Look for more photo-inspired pieces like this in future posts.

This image screamed "DCC Funnel" to me, so I went with it. Enjoy!

Fight or Flight by Robert Cornelius. Used with permission.
Sixteen volunteers descend those cold and ancient steps in the keep's basement. Ninety minutes later only the Woodcutter still lives, desperate to find a way back up those steps to relative safety.

Eentra, The Goddess Between

Some call her Hecate, but
her name is more ancient.
Most scholars can’t agree on the exact time of day or the nature of the present moment, but all of them agree on Eentra’s status as the firstborn of the Human Gods. Before humanity could talk and before their tribes grew into urban centers of trade, people disagreed with each other. They formed opinions different from others of their kind, and in doing so they created a gap in understanding, a tiny gulf between what is and what should be, an uncomfortable space of simultaneous doubt and conviction. Eentra’s consciousness filled this void the very moment the first two humans disagreed.

Scholars disagree about when Eentra first coalesced, or even how she sprang from nothingness. Personally, I enjoy the thought that a disagreement over what to have for dinner first called her into existence. Berries again, or rabbit again? She has rarely let a mealtime pass since without creating a place for herself well before the food is served.

The Worlds Come Again

The worlds come again.

They nucleate at the bottom of the cauldron holding the turbulent mass of my mind. Their bubbles rise and pop, filling the air above my head with the umami aroma of miso broth and green vegetables. Perfect tiny globes of rock, water, jungle, air, vacuum, and spaceworthy vessel rocket through my mental soup. They demand attention.

After a famine of ideas, they are as welcome as a bountiful oasis shimmering in the desert's heat.

Shuttle Tiberius: A Routine Flight

“Janus, you old bucket of bolts! Good to see you!”

Janus's head pivots until his LED-blue eyes face the approaching human. “Greetings Ensign Decker.” His soothing voice turns his everyday speech into a relaxation program. “I noticed you requested the copilot seat again. Are you still pursuing your Ship's Boat certification?”

Decker claps him on the shoulder and sits. “I am! I really want my Pilot cert, but I'll take what I can get while I'm on satellite duty.”

“It is unfortunate that you lack the opportunity to study what you want.” Janus turns back to his preflight preparations.

“I can study on my own, but it just doesn't stick without actual practice with a real ship.” Decker turns toward the control panel. “Permission to assist?”