Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 7 of 7

In the past five minutes, I’d learned that my god wasn’t alone in the universe and that my nightmares were created by an evil version of myself.

I also learned that he didn’t fight fair, and how it feels when a bullet pierces your lung.

I then quickly learned what it felt like to get shot in your leg, hand, and shoulder. I reached out with my power tried to pull his soulfire from him. I was too weak.

Convinced this was how I died, I prepared to explode. I could at least take this jerk out with me.

Walking towards me, he smirked again. His sword touched my neck and he said, “You don’t have to die today. I could burn out Sol’s influence and give you a new life with a real god. Denebola is merciful and gives his emissaries gifts beyond your imagination.”

“Your god has more than one emissary?” I asked, coughing up blood.

“Millions!” he replied. I coughed and thought of the implications of having an army of me.

I shuddered at the thought and hoped Sol had some sort of trick to save me. “Phoenix!” I said into the com I’d been keeping open. I also hoped that my crew were listening.

The ship turned itself on and I heard the hum of the engines and suddenly we were in subspace.

Without a fantastic targeting computer, a prophet, or a Precog, you’re just as likely to appear inside a sun as you are to get to your destination. Space is vast and filled with a lot of nothing, but space drives are like tiny pieces of metal and suns are like giant magnets. The reason we don’t go much past our solar system isn’t a lack of power, it’s a lack of ability to calculate where to come out. Even a Precog can make a mistake. A short jump will land you dangerously close to a planet. A long one will almost always land you inside a star.

That’s exactly what happened to the Robinson. My crew lobbed it at the sun. Like throwing a marble down a funnel, we appeared in the middle.

There was a split second when we came out of subspace that the other man scowled and then we were completely engulfed in fire.

I thought I was going to die, but as the ship around me vaporised, I started to heal. All around me was wonderful warmth and love. I could see the beautiful colours of the sun that should have blinded and killed me. It was all wonderful. Of course I was naked again, but I still had the sword.

Unfortunately, so did the other guy. “You knew we could survive inside a sun?” he asked and his words were in my head; they felt slimy.

“Nope,” I replied.

His face fell and looked at me in wonder. It was the first time I saw on his face what I had seen with my power. He was dying. The power was eating him alive. “You are either a fool or you are more powerful than we thought possible.”

“As epic as sword fighting another prophet inside a sun sounds, I don’t like sword fighting naked.”

He laughed and he looked me in the eyes. It was like being hit by a small planet. Our minds locked and I saw a battle that was ancient, and made us seem pitifully small. I saw the stars themselves fighting and the destruction it caused. I saw Sol trying to save sentience while the others tried to enslave it. Then I saw flashes of what was going to happen, what had happened, and what was happening now. In essence, I saw everything and it gave me a headache.

We were no longer fighting as ourselves. We were conduits for the fight between Sol and Denebola.

When it was all over, I knew Sol had won. I hoped I’d helped somehow. The other prophet had the bad form to smirk as he turned back into stardust.

I have no idea how to explain it, but I felt pride from Sol. He was proud of me. The feeling was quickly replaced by a series of visions.

When the visions cleared, I was kneeling in the centre of my ship’s bridge, sword in hand, and still completely naked. Even with the serum, I was weak and needed a little time to recover.

I felt hands gently place a robe over my shoulders and looked up at Suzie. I imagined a million things to say and instead asked, “May I?”

She grabbed the scruff of my hair and pulled me into a kiss. When the kiss ended and the jeering from the rest of the crew stopped, I said, “We have funerals to prepare for and family to notify. How’s Travis?”

“I’m fine. Tougher than I look.” He looked pale and sick, but he had both legs and was conscious so the doc must have done something right.

“Great. We’ll start with Teddy’s parents on Venus.” I hadn’t been back since I was excommunicated and had caused a civil war. “While we’re there, we’ll have to save the Venusian royal family.” Everyone looked at me disbelieving. “Don’t worry, I have a plan.”

They all laughed. It was a wonderful sound and I appreciated it. Things were about to get a lot worse. I had seen the ships coming, each with a crew of nightmare creatures and prophets. Worst of all, their sheer numbers meant they wouldn’t fit in our solar system. We were outnumbered by so many I didn’t know what to call the the number.

Read More Stories


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 6 of 7

Oh, how I hated that smile. It was smug, knowing, and superior. I hated it all the more because I had perfected the same one years ago. The man looked a lot like me, but older and evil. How does one look evil? His eyes were the colour of space with no stars, his smirked tilted in a way that said he knew he was better than everyone, and sides of his eyes didn’t crinkle when he smiled.

I didn’t believe in evil, even when the church I served tried to have me killed, twice. But that changed when I saw the man. I can feel the people around me. There’s warmth to all sentient souls. It’s a reflection of Sol himself. This man was colder than the heart of a black hole. Dispite all that, I could feel the powers of a prophet in him.

“Emissary of Sol. I’m here to kill you,” he repeated.

“I prefer Sun Speaker, Prophet, or just Hal thank you.”

“Your preferences make no difference. You will die today and everything in this system will bow to Denebola and The Pantheon.” I could hear both the truth and the capital letters in what he said. There was a lot to unpack there. First, was that Sol wasn’t alone as a god. Second, there was a pantheon of them. Most pressing was that this guy was like me. I’d met my predecessor before I had any connection to Sol. He was the first member of the church to try and kill me. But I’d never met someone like me.

Reaching out, my senses I felt his power; it was slimy like a vegetable left to it’s own devices for too long. He was still in perfect contact with his god even from this distance. Something I wasn’t. There was something else there though, he was powerful but like a wood fire, I could see he was wearing thin.

I had always assumed that Sol was the only god and finding out there were others threatened to send me into a philosophical spiral. I did what I do best and compartmentalised; I’d deal with the fact that my god wasn’t alone and might be weaker than others later.

From my study of my predecessors, they all died rather young. None survived past forty. In this line of work, our connection to Sol, literally made us burn out.

Our Doctor Janet’s miracle serum that let her stay young, had a very different effect on me. I wasn’t reverted to my early twenties, thank Sol, but instead it had allowed me to channel the power without killing myself.

“You busy yourself meddling in the affairs of others, when you should be ruling them.” He stretched out the vowels of ‘ruling’ and lifted his arms melodramatically. The nightmare creatures moved forwards as if pulled by strings attached to his hands.

He glowed a deep green light and smirked. I decided that if that was the way I looked in a fight, I wouldn’t want to fight me. The nightmares attacked and I sliced two of them down. Suzie would have gotten five.

One dove to bite me and I grabbed its head. For a moment I considered wrestling control of them from him. Being inside their heads didn’t seem all that much fun. Instead I pulled the sunlight out of its soul.

We are all made of the same elements, forged from stars over billions of years. Those elements are infused with a kind of spiritual energy. It’s what kept me calling Sol a god. Not his prophetic visions, but knowing that we were formed inside him and he had given us our souls.

Creating fire is fun, it scares people and makes them do what I want. Pulling the Soulfire from something isn’t fun. It was an act of destruction that left me feeling sick and horrified.

From the outside, all you’d have seen is the creature collapse, shrivel, and turn to dust.

“How? No one can channel that power without destroying themselves.” The man looked… excited? Amazed? Aroused? I wasn’t going to ask.

“You can give up now and head back home. Tell The Pantheon we’re good.” If Sol wasn’t part of this pantheon, maybe he was a rebel. No wonder he liked me.

“No! I’ll still kill you.” He pulled out a sword. It was the kind of sword villains carry in bad entertainment vids. Completely impractical in its size and spikiness.

Reaching into the belt of my robe, I pulled out the gun I had taken from the armory on my way up and shot him. The first hit should have killed him. I should have shot him in the heart. Instead, it went through him and the wound healed. I emptied the clip into him and he shrugged it off. It was my turn to be envious. I didn’t heal like that. I can heal by going into a sort of flaming trance, but it takes time.

Dropping the gun, I held the sword in both hands and prepared for his attack. The bastard pulled out a gun of his own and shot me.

“Copy-cat,” I said with a wheeze. I think I felt the bullet rattling around in my lungs.

Read Final Chapter


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 5 of 7

“Hal, you’re an idiot. Get the hell out of there.” Suzie was sad and ignoring it by being furious with me. I couldn’t blame her. I’d told her I loved her and sent her back to the ship with a giant alien monstrosity’s head. If I’d been going for romantic, I should have gone with flowers or chocolate, but it’s all I had at the time.

“Sorry. Sol tells me I’m more likely to survive this.” It was mostly a lie. I’d seen her death, more than I ever wanted, but I hadn’t seen anything about me. Although these nightmare creatures were sure trying hard to get me. I’d managed pretty well so far by slicing with the sword and pushing them back with gusts of heat.

“Fine. Just get to the shuttle. We need to talk before I kill you.”

Clearing his throat, Adric said, “I’m having a little trouble getting a lock on the ship. Can you get to engineering and turn off everything?”

“Sure. Just a walk through a park. An alien, prophet eating, dog park.” I’d been doing okay against the creatures and that wasn’t a good sign. They should have been able to swarm me. Maybe cutting off the big one’s head had scared them? Or maybe something else was going on and I was sure that wasn’t a good thing.

Sure, I had a sword and sure, I had cut a few of them down, but if they all attacked at once I’d be swamped. What were they waiting for?

I moved slowly towards engineering and wished I could stop off at the armory. I killed a few of the nightmares as I went. They were getting less petrifying and more annoying.

It took me much too long to get to the main power shut off. It would shut everything down. Thank Sol for my portable air extractor. It would let me breathe in terrible conditions for at least a few hours.

I saw fresh blood on the ground and Sol hit me with a disturbing vision. “Adric, power’s off now. Is the Doc there?”

“Yeah Hal. I hear you. What’s up?” Janet sounded and looked like she was in her early twenties. It was the side effect of her immortality serum. She should be just over a hundred now.

“I’m seeing blood in engineering. Either they’ve been spreading our poor teammates around or someone was bit. Check Suzie and Travis out and let me know.”

The creatures all lifted their slimy heads and turned around, leaving me alone in the semi-darkness. I started to wonder where they were going and decided to worry about it later. Making my way back to the shuttle quickly would have been my best bet; but I was worried about a trap. I made a small stop at the armory on my way.

“We’ve locked onto the ship, but we have a problem.” Adric sounded annoyed and didn’t wait for me to say anything before adding, “Travis was bit by one of those things. He says he can’t remember, but now his legs swollen and Doc put him in the fishbowl.” He was talking about the sterile biohazard room that doubled as our jail cell.

Janet started talking, “Something’s attached itself to his leg and infected him somehow.”

“My day isn’t going to be complete until you tell me that one of my crew has alien eggs in him, is it?” I tried to not gag.

“How did you know?”

“I asked myself how things could get worse and this was one of two options. Can you cut it off?”

A sigh from the coms told me she didn’t like the idea, “The eggs are releasing an antitoxin. If I cut off his leg, the toxin that’s throughout his system will kill him. I’m trying to synthesise an artificial version but…”

“I owe that man my life. Do what you can… wait… what about the virus? Could that work? It was genetically engineered to fight these things right? Maybe it could be adapted to cure him.” Travis had been the captain of one of the most impressive pirate ships in the system. They stole from the rich and gave to the poor. The poor were mostly their families, but they gave to others too. They were rotten and wonderful all at once. I’d infiltrated and it hadn’t gone well for him. I’d felt every pain the other pirates put him through before he escaped, and I’ve never forgiven myself for what he went through.

“This isn’t my first medical issue, Hal. I’m already working on it. Get your healing fire ass over here.” She sounded tired and stressed. Without me or Travis to pilot they’d have to take a risky jump or coast to the closest commercial jump gate. One gave them even odds and the other would take a few hundred years.

“My flame cleanse might make things worse.”

“Then do the opposite. I don’t know. Get here and we’ll figure it out.”

It was an interesting idea. If I could create heat and plasma why couldn’t I drain it? Could I freeze these things?

The point was academic. I turned the corner to approach the shuttle and there, standing with a cocky grin, was the man from the cryogenic pod. I stopped walking and he must have taken that for fear instead of shock. Still smiling, he said, “Emissary of Sol. I’m here to kill you.”

Read Next Chapter


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 4 of 7

I have wonderful timing, I mean I’m a bonafide prophet. I spun around and shot not one, but two, of those nightmare dog things in the head without hesitation.

They had no eyes, no nose, they were nothing but dark, slimy muscle and teeth. They seemed utterly quiet until they pounced, then they let off a series of complicated clicks.

“They’re blind and hunt by sound,” I told Suzie as we moved through them towards the shuttle.

“Good thing we have lights,” she said before grimacing and adding, “I shouldn’t have said that.” The light died. We both had enhanced vision built into our suits. It didn’t make any difference other than making the whole situation creepier.

I shot another one and then tried to throw a plasma blast. It hit the closest nightmare and seemed to do nothing.

We fought until heard a screech, howl, and louder clicks. Somehow my plasma managed to feed the damned thing I hit with it, making it grow. It was now big enough to shrug off the bullets I was shooting at it.

They swarmed over every surface. I blasted holes into the floor, walls, and ceiling. They still came towards us, but slower. The big one stayed back, barely moving. We killed them as they came at us. By we, I mean Suzie sliced them and I tried not to die.

“Hey Sunny. Lets get that matter transporter working, shall we?” I yelled into the coms.

“Sure thing boss… I’ll see what I can do.” Adric replied.

“Faster is better.”

“Right. Not something I’m going to rush. Stay exactly where you are.”

We were backed into a corner and I aimed the gun to make the biggest bang. Unfortunately all I got was a click, meaning I was out of ammunition. My trusty blaster did nothing and my super awesome plasma attacks made them grow.

“Suzie… I-”

“Not the time Hal.” She was right. I had terrible timing.

“I’m an idiot.”

“Go on.” The nightmares were staying back, having learnt what she could do with a blade.

“I should have told you before. I’ve been having nightmares about these creatures since before my funeral.”

Sighing, she said, “You talk in your sleep. We all know.”

“I really am an idiot.”

The problem with a matter transporter is that it’s unreliable, illegal, and painful. You’re just as likely to get rearranged into a pile of goo as you are to arrive at your destination. Which, in normal times, isn’t an issue since I can use my powers to know when it’ll work. But when my powers are on the fritz, well, that’s not great.

I reached out and touched her shoulder. I was going to say something, but a vision of her death stopped me. I saw over a hundred versions of her dying before I found a plan that would work.

“I love you, Suzie. I know I’ve been an idiot and I know I don’t deserve you. Just make sure you remember me.”

Her face softened for a moment and she looked at me. “What…”

I gently took the sword from her hand and took two steps to the side. “Now, Adric, now!”

“Use the head to figure out the virus. You only have a few months.” The large nightmare creature dove for me but I had already moved out of it’s way. With a swipe of the sword, I cleanly took off its head. It fell where I had been and both it and Suzie were teleported.

“Go into the dark, you son of a third rate pirate!” I heard Suzie’s cursing transition from in front of me to the coms as she was transported to the ship.

When I didn’t say anything, I was too busy fending off the creatures, she asked “Why?” There was a catch in her throat. That catch and the sadness it represented was worse than all the yelling she could have done.

“Because it meant I saved your life. Adric, tow this thing within tossing distance to the sun.”

“Hal No!”

“Last resort, throw this garbage heap into the sun and let Sol work it out.” I was fairly certain that the heat of the sun would kill these things. If they fed off plasma this would kill them from overfeeding and Sol himself should be able to deal with them.

Not to mention my powers would be more… well, powerful. Yes, it was a terrible plan but it was the only thing I could think of. Give me a break; I was fighting of nightmare creatures with a sword on a ghost ship. Sure, it might have been the solar prophet equivalent of wanting my teddy bear when facing nightmares. Thankfully my teddy was a seven thousand kilometre radius ball of fire.

Read Next Chapter


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 3 of 7

Things got worse after we heard Teddy scream. We all just took off running and shamefully didn’t notice what happened to Fry.

When we reached Suzie, she had cut one of the creatures from my nightmare in half. I froze and had to fight off urge to run, puke, or both. When I finally felt confident I wouldn’t, I looked at the thing that had been haunting me for the better part of the past few years.

It looked like a cross between a wolf, an alligator, and a human. Everything about it ate light. My eyes had trouble focusing on it, but what I did see showed that the insides were the same greasy light-absorbing substance as the outsides.

What was left of Teddy was all red with some splotches of brown. I bent over to look at him, but he was dead.

“Teddy shot that thing eight times and it just ate the plasma bolts like they were nothing. Thankfully it couldn’t defend against my sword.” That sword had been made by one of the first Sunspeakers, forged from solar alloys in the heart of Sol itself. I don’t like swords so I gave it to the assassin turned bodyguard who’d been using them for her whole life.

Hoff’s mouth was agape when she said, “This is it. This is the thing the virus was designed to kill. Except it’s not affected. The thing’s body just ignores the virus.”

Suzie sighed, “Great; an unkillable enemy. Let’s get the hell out of here before more of those things show up.” She looked around. “Where’s Fry? Adric do you have a location on Fry?” Everyone was starting to move more frantically. I could tell they were trying to act cool, but it was starting to get to them. After spending enough time around me, people develop a thick skin but this was too gruesome, even for me.

I said a small prayer over Teddy’s body and turned to Hoff. “Take a sample and treat it as the highest biohazard level. Go back to the ship and send the shuttle back on autopilot. Travis, go with her.” Hoff looked relieved and I could see her hands shaking as she took the samples. The command effectively left me alone with Suzie, something I wouldn’t mind, minus the horror show going on.

Travis nodded. He was a mild Precog; enough to be a damn good pilot but not much else. He liked the feel of a pilot’s chair and buttons to press. This was not in his comfort zone and he looked damned relieved to get out. He held his swords out and the two of them retreated to the shuttle.

“Your crew respects you too much,” Suzie said. “Leaving you behind with only me as defense in this situation is a great way to get you killed.”

“Or maybe they’re terrified and want to get the hell out of this place before they die. If I thought you’d listen, I’d have sent you with them.”

“I guess you’re not a complete fool.” She stopped and looked at the man in the cryotube. He was dressed in what looked like robes and he had a calm frustratingly smug look on his face. “He makes me think of you.”

“Oh?”

“He gives off a feeling of power and authority.”

“I thought you said he reminded you of me?” I joked.

“I did… but there’s something missing, something cold. Even asleep he scares me. You’re warm and you only scare me in that you care too much.”

Adric’s voice cut in, “That’s really deep. I found Fry’s signal in the armory. Two levels down.”

“How do you know it’s the armory?”

“I have the ship’s schematics now. Along with how to build those engines.” He sounded inappropriately happy, considering.

Taking off her ear piece, Suzie turned to me and said, “You know he’s probably not alive, right?”

I only nodded. I knew she was right but I couldn’t bring myself to accept it. These people were my family and they far too often died for me. The walk to the armory had me less nervous than before. My enemy was here and now I could deal with it instead of waiting in horror.

When we got to the doors that would lead us to Fry, Adric told us he hadn’t moved and that Hoff and Travis had made it onto the ship.

“I’m going first,” I said and she rolled her eyes. “It’s not a macho thing. I can just take a lot of damage if it’s a trap.” Her eyes rolled again and she gestured with her sword.

The armoury was filled with swords and projectile weapons. It had been centuries since we’d used that sort of weapon. Plasma blasters were cheaper and easier to make.

In the centre of the room was what was left of Fry. Mostly his head and his earpiece. They were precariously balanced on a chair. There was no blood anywhere and the whole scene felt like it was meant to unnerve us.

Inside, I looked around and tried to figure out why he was displayed. “These things aren’t dumb. They bated us here.”

“Oh great. It’s a trap. I never saw this coming,” Suzie deadpanned.

I instinctively grabbed a weapon and a few cartridges. As I loaded the weapon, I said, “Suzie… I-”

She cut me off by saying, “Not now Hal. For a smart guy with the ability to see the future you have terrible timing for personal talks.”

“But…” I trailed off as she walked away. I followed her out of the armoury and back the way we came.

“I’ve waited two years. What’s another couple of hours?” Suzie quipped.

The lights flickered and I turned around to shoot the first creature in the head as it seemed to fly towards us from behind.

Read Next Chapter


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 2 of 7

The bridge was an interesting design; no captain’s chair, pseudo-military layout. Just a large screen with three rows of four work stations. It looked more like a coding party set up than a bridge.

“Okay Adric, what do we do?”

“Just slap the patches I gave you on the closest computers and let me work.”

“Alright. Adric will poke at the computers, we’re going to explore the darker places. Suzie you’re closest to what should be the flight decks and primary docking bays. Go find me a reason this ship’s empty. We’ll head to crew quarters and living areas.”

“Aye, aye Captain!” Suzie said mockingly. I could picture her face as she said it and it made my heart skip a beat.

The walk was slow and nerve-wracking. Without my visions from Sol to guide me and having no real Precog abilities, I was blind and I hated it. I don’t like being surprised.

The hallways were boring grey and utilitarian. A very Earthen design. I was more used to the opulent, borderline ridiculous design esthetic of the Venusians. This felt like being in a metal box or coffin.

What should be the crew quarters, based off of Sol standard design, turned out to be a giant hold, it held nothing but glass and dried blood. “Everyone back out. Masks on, there’s something viral in here,” I ordered. I could feel a virus trying to take hold of me. The moment the other two left the hold I burst into flames.

The virus wasn’t natural. It had been designed to wipe out something specific. I got a flash of two scientists finishing the virus and then a vision of them being horribly killed by the creatures from nightmares.

The room was now filled with melted glass and ash. I walked out and Hoff gave me a new robe to wear. Fire doesn’t ignore clothes. That’s why I never keep my credit chips on me.

“That virus wouldn’t have affected us. It was designed to attack something specific. I have the genome now but I’ve never seen anything like it.” Hoff had her pad out and was looking at it with a mixture of horror and amazement.

“How did you get that so fast? I wasn’t out for that long, was I?” I was worried. I hated losing time.

“No. I scanned the virus and it had a secondary part that was biotech. It interfaced with my pad and downloaded everything about itself.”

“So we’re on a plague ship with viruses smart enough to interface with our tech?” Fry asked.

“So a few steps ahead of you Fry,” Hoff joked.

Cutting into our conversation, Adric said, “Yes, and it gets worse.”

“What? Did it infect our ship?” I asked, starting to feel a little better.

“What? No. I’m better at security then that. I’m not just stumbling through a ghost ship’s systems without a plan.” He was snarky but not wrong. “I managed to get some data from their systems. This isn’t an original jump ship. It’s a distress call. The Earthen’s settled in Tau Ceti and it looked like everything was fine until they were attacked by ships from Epsilon Indi.” He sent a picture of the ships over to Hoff’s pad. They were the ships from my nightmares. “They’re asking for help but this information is all over a two hundred years old.”

“But where’s the crew?” I asked, hoping he’d found something.

“Looks like they should be in the lower decks where Suzie is. They were in cryosleep. The ship said it tried to wake them, but got an error and shut down to conserve energy. It’s been drifting towards us slowly for two hundred years.”

“Sir, we found the cryotubes. There’s almost fifty and they’re all smashed except for one.” Suzie sounded worried. She never sounded worried, unless it was about me.

“Okay, fall back to the shuttle. Let’s decontaminate and figure out our next move.”

“What about the man in the last tube?”

“He’s been in there for two hundred years, a few more hours won’t hurt.”

Teddy’s com cut off any other conversation, “What the ash is that?” His screams of pain caused us to start running.

Read Next Chapter


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 1 of 7

“Are we going to die?” Fry asked me for the third time since we entered the Robinson’s airlock.

“Shut up, man,” Hoff sighed as she double checked her gun.

“I saw myself dying on a dark space ship and this ship is dark.”

I tried not to say anything. As the prophet of Sol, the deific entity that lives in the sun, I often had visions of the future. More so since I was injected with a serum that should make me live forever.

“What did you see, Hal?” Fry asked sounding less like the walking arsenal of death that he was and more like a scared child.

“The less I say, the better for all of us.” I hadn’t seen anything. I couldn’t see anything. This part of the solar system was beyond Sol’s influence. I felt naked and blind. The only reason I was here was that I’d heard there was something floating past Xanthus from their local Precog, Caro. All they’d tell me was that there was something there and I needed to go look. Even their amazing abilities couldn’t tell me anything more.

“I hate it when you’re cryptic,” Teddy said over the coms.

I had brought a team of six people. Somehow, with the solar system in the midst of a civil war, or three, my ship had gone from echoing lonely hallways to loud and tight. I liked it cramped; it meant I was never alone with my own future. The things I saw when I slept haunted me and for the past two years I’ve wondered when they’d come to pass.

“Can we stay on mission, please?” Adric said over the coms. He was a brilliant engineer and computer hacker; young enough that he still couldn’t drink on most worlds and not fond of chatter when we were exploring ghost ships.

The six person team was me, Teddy our second engineer, Fry head of security, Hoff our bioscience expert, Travis our secondary pilot and swordsman, and Suzie my ex-assassin personal bodyguard.

Just over two years ago, Suzie had told me she loved me. I hadn’t said anything at the time and then I’d been resurrected and we were trying to stop a solar system-wide war and unite the people of Sol in order to face a greater threat… Yeah, I chickened out.

“Team two, this is team one, we’ve reached engineering. Ship’s completely abandoned but everything is still in working order. We’ll try to get the lights on.” That was Suzie; she was with Travis and Teddy.

The lights stayed off. As we approached the doors to the ship’s bridge, I heard a sound that haunts my dreams, a soft clicking noise. It’s the sound of two dried bones tapping each other, the sound of death, and the sound of my nightmares.

In general, I’m a pacifist and don’t like killing or hitting things. I did spend some time in a gladiator Arena so I learnt how to punch.

The piece of the ship’s ceiling that fell next to me didn’t know what hit it. Probably because it was inanimate and because it was disintegrated by my fiery punch.

“What was that?” Suzie asked.

“Hal’s teaching the ship whose boss,” Hoff said dryly.

“Ok. Anyone recognize this ship’s design?”

“Looks Earthen; maybe five hundred years old. From just before they went all luddite.” Adric said over the coms.

“Could it be one of the system jumpers?” I asked. The last fleet from earth was comprised of over a hundred ships. They were escaping the rise of technophobia that had gripped earth and the xenophobia of the other planetary empires. Using extra powerful faster-than-light drives, they jumped into the unknown, never to be heard from again. With a bad calculation, the ships could have appeared in a sun or black hole. They used supercomputers back then and those are extremely unreliable compared to Precogs.

“That would explain the engines,” Suzie said. “They’re absolutely amazing. Like nothing I’ve ever seen. Is this what Earth tech was like before?” The Fall was the name for what happened when half the population of the earth rebelled against the corporate government and demolished the factories that had been destroying the planet. They returned to an agrarian lifestyle. Most of their tech was lost.

“Has anyone seen any sign of life?” I asked, hoping no one had. This whole situation terrified me and I didn’t know why.

“I saw a few escape pods still in their bay. No one bailed.” Suzie said over the coms.

“So where’s the crew?” I asked, jumping as the lights came on.

Read Next Chapter


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Gladiators in SPACE! – Part 6 (Conclusion)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

I ran with the crowd of gladiators towards the weapons cache in the middle of the arena. A quick flash of the future hit me and I started running faster.

When I was almost at the weapons I yelled out, “Bomb!” as loud as I could. My voice echoed as all the combatants stopped and looked at me. “There’s a bomb in the centre of the weapons.” I could see the damage the liquid fire contained in the bomb would do to the combatants. It was a perfect surprise for them. Thankfully I ruined it.

“How do we know he’s telling the truth?” a large man asked.

I answered by running towards the bomb. The gladiators had known me for a month or more now and those who knew something was going to happen ran the other way.

Tripping the bomb released a wave of fire that went far enough to burn eyebrows but no one was seriously hurt. It once again left me naked but fire didn’t hurt me, thank Sol.

Standing on the pile of melted weapons, surrounded by flames and completely naked, I launched into my prepared speech, “Friends, Romans, Spectators;” it’s a classic for a reason, “I am not a false prophet and I’ve had enough of these games. It’s time for them to end.”

The crowd laughed uncomfortably but I continued, “In the name of Sol, I declare this ship an independent colony.” I was using my angry voice and the crowd didn’t make a sound, “Those who wish to remain on my ship place your hands on the back of your heads. The rest of you will be leaving.”

“This is preposterous!” yelled my owner. Turning to him I gave him an angry look and he took a step back before gesturing and yelling, “KILL HIM!” Two snipers were supposed to shoot at me but only one got off a shot, he was part of my army and shot the other sniper.

I gestured at Aly and the two Samanthas, the cybernetic one and the human one. When they were close, I said, “Samantha um…” I pointed at the cybernetic one, “Would you like to become a ship?” She smiled and nodded eagerly. I took the sticky I’d used to talk with Hey Sunny and placed it on her forehead. “When I tell you, reboot the anti-teleportation devices.”

My owner was getting redder and redder as he tried to fight his way down to the arena despite his guards’ protests. He kept yelling that he’d kill me.

“Last chance,” I projected, knowing the whole ship was listening. “Hands behind head if you wish to stay.”

I put my hands behind my head as an example and counted down from ten. At one I winked towards cybernetic Samantha, I lied about never winking again I look too good doing it, she reset the anti-teleportation devices. The reset triggered the new software and it scanned for all life that did not have its arms behind its head and teleported it.

“Where they’d go?” asked Aly from beside me.

“They were teleported to the nearest Jupiter Protectorate ship.” I paused before adding, “Along with the wolves and other animals.”

“Samantha can you take over the ship?” I asked.

There was no answer from the metal body. I thought maybe it had been too much for her but the ship replied in her voice, “Yes Hal, we have complete control of the ship.”

“Put me ship wide please,” there was a beep and I knew I was speaking to the entire ship, “This is Hal. I may no longer be the Sun-Speaker but I still serve Sol and he believes that life should be preserved when possible. We have taken the ship. If you wish to leave you can take an escape pod or one of the private ships in the doc. We will be heading to Venus to pick up refugees with a stop at Mars and Earth to drop off those of you who wish to go home.”

A cheer rose up all around me. I turned to the human Samantha and said, “Both of you need to be better than you were or I’ll come back.” She nodded.

We brought Aly back to Mars and they will start talks with her people to try and unite Mars.

At Earth we dropped off Henrick. He would meet up with the future emperor of Mars who was freshly out of diapers.

The ship was well armed enough and large enough to defend and house the refugees. They’d have to  elect a government and sign a treaty with the big governments to be accepted as an independent colony but I knew the Samantha’s were up to the task.

There was something scary coming and my dreams were getting worse. My last day on the Mederei, I woke to the horrifying realization that whatever was coming didn’t just scare me, it scared Sol himself.


If you liked this story, why not read the rest of the stories in the Sun Speaker Universe ?

Gladiators in SPACE! – Part 5

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

The meeting didn’t go unnoticed by my owner. He visited me in my cell that night. He looked around and said, “You know your problem Hal? You’re not appreciative. I’ve given you a place in this galaxy, one where you could be great, remembered for more than just being a false prophet. You give away your sponsors presents and arrange for secret meetings with other fighters. Just ungrateful.” He made a tisking noise and continued, “You could be on some distant Trans-Neptunian mining asteroid, but I took pity and bought your crime from the Venusians. You weren’t cheap you know.”

“Sorry?” I asked.

“You’re damn right you should be sorry.”

I let him ramble about my ungratefulness and tried not to laugh. He might think he was doing me a great favour but I was here on a mission. I was caught on purpose but he would never believe me.

“You’re so smug. I can’t wait to watch you get destroyed in the arena. Actually let’s make it easier on your next opponent.” He snapped his fingers, walked away, and two burly guards stepped into my tiny room. As he left he said, “Make sure he knows what we think of false prophets here on the Mederei!”

The two large guards walked into my cell. One had a large scar across his face and the other was scowling in order to look as tough as the first one.

Scowl-face grabbed me by my shirt and lifted me off my feet. “Don’t struggle,” he grumbled, his voice like two rocks grinding together. He held me up for the scar-face, who poked me with his index finger.

They both chuckled as scowl-face put me down. “We don’t like false prophets.”

Scar-face tried to smile. It was terrifying. He said, “If you see any let us know.” The two just turned around and walked away. I was still trying to process what had happened as they turned the corner and Scowl-face winked at me.

“Ok. I’m never winking again.” It seemed Aly was right and I had friends in both the gladiators and the guards.

A full out revolt would mean a lot of dead people. I didn’t want people dying for me. I had to find another way. I was thinking of different ideas when a messenger brought me a package. It was a bar of Earth Chocolate.

I opened the package and was dismayed to find a piece of plastic and small sticky patch. I put the patch behind my ear and the micro-vibrations permeated into my skull as sound.

“Hal. Can you hear me?” I recognized the voice of my engineer and friend Adric.

“Hey Sunny! How’s the black?”

He chuckled, “You never get tired of that joke do you?” I had named my ship “Hey Sunny” for cheap laughs.

“Nope. Great timing by the way. I need to learn how to hack the anti-teleport devices on here.”

“You see the second sticky? Place that on a computer terminal and I’ll do the rest.”

“I thought you said you couldn’t hack the computers on the Mederei?”

“You wound me Hal. I said I couldn’t hack them remotely.”

“Sorry for doubting you Adric. I need you to hack them and install some new software. It’s in our main memory banks under, ‘I have no idea what this is but I’m sure it’ll be useful someday’.”

“You have a gift with names Hal,” he replied sarcastically before asking, “You ok?”

“Aren’t I always ok?”

“No.”

“I’m fine. I’m dealing with it. What’s the news on the Venusians?” I had tried to save the royal family during the revolution but they had disappeared.

“No word on the royals but the church has taken control of the military and the parliament. The new Sun-Speaker is now as good as a King.”

“What aren’t you telling me?”

“They’re shooting down anyone who’s trying to leave Venus or the Empire.”

“We need to help them. Run the hack and go do what you can. I’ll join you in a few days. Good luck my friend.”

“Don’t die!” was the last thing he said before cutting the com.

With my new found business contacts and mini-army it was easy to get someone to slap the sticky on a computer terminal. I had a plan and it would take everything falling exactly into place. Thank Sol I could see the future.

I decided to make my move at the grand melee. It was just me and ninety-nine other combatants. The idea was that a hundred fighters went in and only one came out. Everyone rushed into the arena at the sound of the bell. I sauntered in, trying to project confidence and mischief. I suppose it was a normal entrance for me.

The floor rumbled as the hundred combatants ran towards the large weapons cache in the middle of the arena.

Read Next


If you like this story, why not read the rest of the stories in the Sun Speaker Universe ?

Gladiators in SPACE! – Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

I was sleeping off my fight with the wolves when a woman who had more cybernetic implants than I had thought possible came to see me.

She looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t place her. She looked at me with a combination of anger and embarrassment. “I’m dying,” she said and she was right. As I probed her mind I could see that it was failing, as were all her cybernetics.

“I’ll do what I can.”

“Despite what I’ve done?” That’s when I recognised her. She was Samantha, the assassin trainer from the Maidens of the Antichthon. I thought she’d been killed by Suzie when they’d escaped the Maiden’s mother ship.

“I’ll do what I can.” She lay on the ground and I placed my hands on her. I could feel her body dying and rejecting the cybernetics that kept her alive at the same time. I have pretty powerful healing powers but what happened next was a shock to me.

I concentrated on healing and felt the warmth of Sol wash over me. That’s the part where I burst into flames and need new clothes. This was different than normal, more intense, like I was healing more than one person.

As I healed her I felt everything that had happened to her. They’d brought her back to life and punished her for failing to stop us. They’d taken her apart piece by piece, including parts of her mind. The made sure to dig out the pieces of her mind that had any information on the Maidens. She’d been a horrible person but no one deserved what they did to her.

When the healing was over I was shocked to see two bodies. One was Samantha, put back together and the other was her cybernetics. They had become self-conscious and were accidentaly killing her by trying to become indipendant. There was an allegory in there that I’d have to remember for later.

Both looked up at me and smiled. The cybernetic one cocked her head to the side and said, “I’m a robot. Fascinating.”

***

It took another month for the fighters to open up to me. Each owner owned a couple hundred fighters and there were hundreds of owners. Some of the owners were based on the Mederei, others went from ship to ship. Owners never let their fighters fight each other, which meant I had a hard time getting in contact with my Barsoonian friend.

The more I fought the more people seemed to like me and I started getting gifts. They were indulgences from silk sheets to alcohol and everything in between. I gave it all away except for any chocolate or coffee; I have my vices. The more I fought, the more I had things to trade or give away.

The alcohol was particularly useful for trading. As a mild telepath and strong precognitive, it’s a terrible idea to drink. Alcohol breaks down walls as well as inhibitions. When I studied at the Psionic Clan Academy, I’d gotten drunk and spent the next two days in the hospital seeing one person’s possible lifetimes over and over again. They had to put me into a medically induced coma to save my life. The Psionic Clans may be no better than common thugs with super powers, but they take care of their own. Thankfully they didn’t know I wasn’t one of them.

The alcohol got me a special training session with my friend.

“You again. What do you want?”

“Do you know who I am? I’m here to save you and bring you back to your people.”

They looked around at the guards and locked doors, cocked an eyebrow and said, “Right, what’s your plan? Going to just teleport me out?”

“So you do know who I am. Teleport is out of the question. They have blockers all over the ship.”

“Of course I know who you are, Hal Sun-Speaker. I’m Aly. Why do you want to save me?”

“I’m not the Sun-Speaker. I’m just Hal. I’m here to save you because it’s what Sol wants and it’s what Mars needs.”

“Why in the nine hells would Mars need me?”

“Something is coming and Mars needs to be united. The future Emperor will need you to advise him.” I waved away any questions and asked one of my own, “How many Martians are on this ship?”

“Maybe a couple of thousand…” They looked confused.

“It’s not enough. We need more people.” I started wondering if the other people would help Martians or if humanities natural, and idiotic, racism would get in the way.

Aly laughed a deep rumbling laugh as if I’d said something hilarious, “It’s true what they say about you. The seer who doesn’t see himself.”

“What?” I hate being confused or surprised, it’s just not right and hurt my fragile ego.

“Just because the church disowned you doesn’t mean those who believe in Sol have.” Seeing my puzzled face they added, “Many believe you’re the true word of Sol and would follow you. On this ship, those who’ve seen both your power and your humanity would follow you out an airlock. You say you don’t have enough people but you have an army.”

“An army of gladiators might be useful…” The idea that I had an army made my skin crawl. I don’t like blind obedience, which is why I filled my crew with people way smarter than me, and almost as stubborn. I didn’t want an army but I could use one.

“It’s not just the gladiators.”

Read Next


If you like this story, why not read the rest of the stories in the Sun Speaker Universe ?