The Waltzing Mathilde Archives

October 3, 2007

Jim: Keeping Quiet

At the Waltzing Mathilde, Jack sat in a darkened booth, nursing a mug of something almost like beer and listening to the drone of conversations all around him.

All over the Belt, people were talking about ‘The Nightmare’. It seemed everybody had it – the dream in which a claw ripped the dreamers out of their homes and into space.

Only Jack knew it was because of his accident with the tiny life on Asteroid Kansas. How could he have known that Kansas wasn’t just another barren rock?

Jack could never tell anybody about what happened. He would not be found!

Comments (6)     Bookmark: del.icio.usDiggreddit

October 4, 2007

Jim: Wherein Bradley Begins A Rescue

Kara was a dream-reader: somebody who could ‘see’ other people’s dreams and remember them. It took a bit of effort but there were many Normals who paid good money to have their gobbledygook dreams written down for them.

So when ‘The Nightmare’ spread like a blanket over Pallas, a lot of people blamed Kara. After all, if she could read dreams, maybe she was writing them, too.

With arc-lamps and tasers, they hunted Kara through the tunnels. And they were closing in.

A young man stepped out of an inky cloud. “Come with me,” he said.

Kara took his hand.

Comments (1)     Bookmark: del.icio.usDiggreddit

October 5, 2007

Jim: Drowning The Nightmare

“Where are we going?” Kara whispered to the young man leading her through half-finished tunnels.

“To the upper dock where my buggy’s parked,” he hissed back. “Then to a bar.”

“A bar? Slow down there, Tiger. I don’t even know your name.”

He stopped and looked at her. “Huh?” he asked. Then, grinning, “Oh. It’s Bradley. And yours is Kara.”

“I can’t go into a public place like a bar,” she said softly. “I’ll be recognized.”

“Naw,” Bradley shook palm-forward hands. “They won’t even know you’re there. Didn’t you know that the bad dream doesn’t touch you if you’re drunk?

Comments (1)     Bookmark: del.icio.usDiggreddit

October 11, 2007

Jim: Home to Roost

A massive plasteel bunker, unused since the Mars rebellion was quashed a century ago, lay nestled under a mile of Antarctic rock and snow. In this bunker, System Admiral Tanamura met with his officers.

“Earth just turned down the Belt’s request for independence last year.” Tanamura waved a hand at a map showing impact zones around the planet. “So how did the Belters pull this off?” he pleaded. “It takes decades for an asteroid to get here.”

“Direct incoming,” a non-com interrupted.

“Shoot it down!" Tanamura yelled, "Blow it up!”

Surprisingly calm, the non-com replied, “We’re out of missiles, sir.”

Comments (4)     Bookmark: del.icio.usDiggreddit

October 12, 2007

Jim: Of Mice And Mutants

“Not far now,” Bradley said quietly. At first, he’d held Kara’s slender hand to guide her through Pallas’ murky, unused back passages. This corridor near the public dock wasn’t quite as dark but he had found no reason to let go.

“Is it safe?” she asked.

Bradley grinned. “I’ve got some friends watching the buggy.” Then, far down the tunnel, they saw the bodies: four of them, now a haphazard pile of torsos and limbs.

Even at this distance, Kara saw they were mutants. She gasped. “Your friends?”

Eyes watering, Bradley nodded dumbly.

“So it’s become a pogrom,” Kara mourned.

Comments (0)     Bookmark: del.icio.usDiggreddit

October 15, 2007

Jim: Frozen Assets

Greeley stared bleary-eyed at the schedule. “Forty-seven deliveries today and only two pilots?” he asked.

Dora shrugged and stifled a yawn. “It’s the nightmares, Boss,” she replied. “They can’t haul ice when they’re passed out from exhaustion.”

“Don’t those deadbeats know that people will die if we don’t make these ice deliveries?” He pointed at the schedule. “How will these asteroids get air and water?”

Dora shrugged again.

I can fly a buggy, damn it!” swore Greeley. “Have them load the ice for the Ceres run!”

“I can’t,” Dora said. “All of the comet miners took a sick day, too.”

Comments (0)     Bookmark: del.icio.usDiggreddit

December 13, 2007

Jim: Simon's Viaticum

Floating in his pressure suit, alone in ebony darkness pinpointed by the bright diamonds of far away stars, Brother Simon had time to reflect on how the Church had changed over the years. Today, technology replaced many of the icons used in sacred rites.

Instead of a book, the Scriptures were now stored in vid units.

The candle had been replaced by an electric lamp.

And the bell… Well, it was still a bell, pealing excommunication’s soul-wrenching vacuum and chiming promise of a short life apart from God’s favor.

Dumping the heretic to slowly die in space was new, though.

Comments (0)     Bookmark: del.icio.usDiggreddit

December 18, 2007

Jim: Old News

“Amazingly,” the history teacher explained, “the first asteroid to strike Earth was one of the last of the rocks ejected from the Belt; its trajectory carefully planned and executed by one of our scout ship pilots.

“That rock was black as coal and the slingshot around Jupiter sent it hurtling in a wide orbit at hundreds of miles a second. Thirty years later, the cumulative effect of that one, tiny push was the complete annihilation of Earth Force’s Central Fleet orbital station, and a ten mile crater where Geneva used to be.”

“Bo-o-ring!” yawned Mandy to a chorus of nods.

Comments (0)     Bookmark: del.icio.usDiggreddit

Continue reading The Waltzing Mathilde's Archives:
« 1 · 2 »