I’ve been wanting to delve into space opera for a while now. I had originally conceived of a much more standard story, and I will get to that eventually, but this humorous fantasy/sci fi hybrid jumped to the fore and demanded attention. Enjoy (or criticise) the audio clip or read it as you wish.
The many-worlds interpretation of the multiverse
stipulates that all worlds exist in an infinite state across infinite
dimensions. In each of these worlds, including ours, all things that could have
existed do exist in one or more of these worlds.
In some worlds, there are simple or even complex
changes to the history we know on our earth. It is a grab bag of what ifs. What
if Europeans had never come to the New World? What if we had never suffered the
Dark Ages? What if the dinosaurs had never died out and they evolved to be the
What if the earth was populated not just by humans,
but was a Tolkienesque world of humans, elves, orcs, goblins, and other people
and creatures that are mere myth in our world? What if magic had been the
catalyst for harnessing the power that led to great scientific advancement
instead of chemicals? In one of these earths, that is precisely what happened.
CHAPTER 1: Let Them Eat Cake
Lazuli Longstick, Laz to his friends, winced with
every creak and pop the air duct made as he slithered through the narrow
passage. As a faery elf, he had an innate dislike of enclosed spaces, but his
diminutive size made him one of the best greasemen you could hope to employ.
“Laz, what’s your status?” Dirk asked through the
speaker held against his ear by the elastic waistband from a pair of underwear
sacrificed for the cause.
Dirk Dewberry was a renowned smuggler, conman, and
all around rogue. He and his crew had made a name for themselves all across the
known galaxy, their reputation and exploits as renowned amongst the seedy
underground as it was with law enforcement.
“I should be getting close,” Laz said in an unusually
“Any problems yet?”
“Not yet. Shouldn’t be any as long as Punx can keep
the alarms off.”
“The alarms will stay off as long as this collection
of garbage doesn’t take a shit on me,” Punx snapped.
Punx was a waifish girl with a bob haircut parted
down the middle, half cobalt blue and half brilliant pink. Her purple eyeshadow
and green lipstick rounded out her rainbow clown façade. Whatever opinion Dirk
had about her sense of style, he kept it to himself since her hacking skills
were second to none.
A brusque, east coast voice cut in. “Don’t you worry
about my work. That hacker deck is made from the finest cardboard traced in gum
foil you’ll ever find. I sacrificed my electric toothbrush and two sex toys to
build it! It’ll hold.”
Maddeth Redborn, also known as Red, was a dwarven
engineer who could build a spaceship out of general household items given
enough time, duct tape, and chewing gum.
Punx crinkled her nose, which only highlighted the
small wrinkles normally present. “I’m not sure which parts came from what, but
by the smell of them they were all up your ass at one time or another.”
“Don’t you worry about what’s been up whose ass,
“OK, team, let’s focus,” Dirk said. “This one is for
all the money. Laz, you about there?”
“Yeah, boss, I’m there. I can see the package through
“Awesome. Just remember, Punx couldn’t disable the
floor alarm from the circuit she had access to.”
Laz worked the grate covering the air duct free, tied
a string to it, and let it hang open by its hinges. He worked his way forward
until his entire torso was sticking out of the vent before hurling himself out
into open air. His gossamer wings spread out and beat wildly to arrest his
fall. The faery elf hovered in midair a moment as he listened for the sound of
Hearing nothing, he descended the few feet to where
the package lay atop a stainless steel table in the middle of the room. Laz
didn’t know if he would set off the floor sensors if he landed on the table,
but he chose caution and picked up the box without touching anything else,
praying there wasn’t a pressure sensor beneath it. Still no alarms.
He breathed a small sigh of relief as he buzzed back
toward the vent. The package was quite a bit heavier than he expected, but he
was up to the task of carting it away. After all, the heavier the heist the
better the payoff. Pushing the box into the vent ahead of him, Laz grabbed the
string he had tied to the grate and pulled it shut behind him. He secured the
loose end to the duct wall with a wad of chewing gum to make sure it didn’t
fall back open before they could divvy the loot and get away scot free.
It was a long trek through the narrow confines, but
several minutes later, Laz reached the room where his crew eagerly awaited his
return. When the grate dropped open, Brick, an ogre from the Stone Biter clan,
reached up to take the package as he was the only one tall enough to reach it.
Brick was an intimidating sort, standing almost eight feet in height with skin
the color, texture, and resilience of gravel.
He passed the box to Dirk, who slowly opened the lid
as the others gathered around him. Dirk knew there was nothing magical about
the contents, not in the arcane sense anyway, but he swore it gave off the
brilliant glow of a legendary artifact from an age lost to time and technology.
His smile grew even wider as he read the elegant words scrawled across his
prize. Happy birthday, Rakash.
“You idiots went through all this trouble for a
bloody cake?” a tall, fit elf woman demanded.
Jorildyn Valdark was once a lieutenant commander in
the Fay Alliance Navy, but due to a rash action of conscience now found herself
in the current mixed company.
Dirk ran a finger through the icing and popped it
into his mouth. “Nope. Chocolate!”
“Thank the gods,” Punx drawled. “You never know with
trolls. It could have been made of baby arms or something.”
Red grinned and gyrated his hips. “If it’s a baby arm
Rafael Fansler, a vacant-eyed half-elf and the last
member of Dirk’s crew, stared longingly at the cake. “Oh man, this is going to
go so good with the toilet wine I made. Or the urinal meth. Either way, I got
some serious munchies going on.”
Jorildyn shot them all a disgusted look. “What I mean
is that you violated innumerable rules—”
Dirk waved a hand. “Rules are made to be broken.”
“Rules are made to create a lawful and orderly
society. Regardless of the rules—”
“That’s my motto!”
The elf glared at him. “Regardless of the rules, what
happens if Rakash finds out you stole his birthday cake?”
Dirk spoke as he cut the cake into equal-sized slices,
except for Brick’s who had successfully argued that he required a larger piece
due to his size, as he talked. “For one thing, Rakash won’t ever find out we
took it. If anything, he’ll blame, and probably murder…and possibly eat, the
kitchen crew. For another, even if he did somehow find out we ate his cake,
he’s locked up in the supermax ring and couldn’t get to us if he wanted to.
Barring a long spacewalk without a vacsuit, the only way to get from the
supermax ring to genpop is through a single, very secure and well-guarded
connecting corridor. We’re fine.”
“Rakash has nearly as much pull in this prison
station as the warden,” Jorildyn said. “He wouldn’t even have to come here and
kill us all himself. He could get one of any number of his gang to do it, or
even one of the bloody guards he has on his payroll!”
“Are you saying you don’t want some cake?” Dirk asked
as he passed out the pieces. “I’m sure Brick would love have your piece if your
overly vaunted sense of propriety recuses you from partaking of this bounty.
What’s on the dinner menu for tonight, gruel and protein bars? I’m pretty sure
it’s gruel and protein bars given that that’s the only thing they serve here
for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
Jorildyn’s face reddened. “It’s an overly vaunted sense
of self-preservation not propriety.”
Dirk held up a piece of cake. “I’m pretty sure it’s
both. So, no cake?”
The elf snatched the chocolatey confection. “Yes I
want the goddam cake!” Her knees nearly buckled as she took a bite. “Oh gods,
this is worth dying for!”
“See! Even if Rakash finds out and wants to take
issue with it, Brick already kicked his ass once. Bit his fuckin’ ear off,
right, big guy?” Dirk beamed as he took a huge bite of cake.
Brick was Laz’s polar opposite. Where the elf faery’s
voice was unusually deep for his diminutive size, Brick’s voice was
surprisingly soft and carried a slight lisp.
“That’s right,” Brick replied to the elf’s
questioning look, “…and his penis.”
Dirk barely got his hand up in time to catch the cake
he involuntarily spit out of his mouth. Jorildyn’s eyes widened to the size of
saucers, Red stopped chewing and stared, and Punx’s jaw hung down, her
half-chewed bite of cake rolling out of her mouth and onto the floor.
“I’m sorry, what?” Dirk asked, certain he had heard
Brick shuffled his feet. “I…bit off his penis.”
“You remember I told you he jumped me in the shower.”
“Yeah, you said you bit off his ear. You didn’t say
anything about biting off his cock!”
Brick flicked his eyes to his disgusted yet
enraptured audience. “You see the judgmental looks you’re all giving me right
now? That’s why I didn’t say nothin’. No matter the circumstance, you tell
someone you had another man’s penis in your mouth, you get all kinds of
judgement. No matter what else you do for the rest of your life, you’ll always
be the guy who bit off a man’s penis. I want to be more than that guy.”
“You’ll get no judgement from me,” Red piped in.
Dirk went to rub his temples before remembering he
had a chewed up piece of cake in his hand. He popped the soggy remains back
into mouth and swallowed. “How exactly did you come to biting his dick off? I
mean, I’m just trying to follow the chain of events that led to you having
his…rocket dock with your airlock.”
Brick shrugged. “When a naked man tries to choke you
out with a poorly executed leg lock, you’re gonna get your penis bit off. It’s
a basic cause and effect situation.”
Dirk slowly nodded his head. “I can see how something
like that could happen…now.” He grinned. “So did you merely trim his branch or
go clean shorn?”
“Beg pardon? I don’t follow.”
“You know, was it just his dick or did you get the
Brick gave Dirk a horrified look. “What? No! There is
no situation anywhere in the universe where putting a man’s balls in your mouth
would ever be an appropriate response! What the fuck is wrong with you?”
Dirk held up his hands and took a step back. “Sorry,
I didn’t realize there was such a division between the two.”
“Yeah, well, there is. A pretty fucking big division.
An ocean-sized division.”
“I should hope so.”
There was a full minute of awkward silence before Red
said, “I can think of a situation…or two.”
“Ew, gross,” Punx replied.