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.

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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.”

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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

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 12 Conclusion

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11


Have your say on the 2018 Serial Story
You Vote, I Write 2018


Part 12: An Emu is literally beside himself.

“No seriously. I had to alter the course of evolution in the galaxy, and then I had to alter the history so that this mammal,” The talking emu gestured at Prince Phillip with a disgusted look, “was the rightful Prince of the Galaxy.” The talking emu, who called himself Hagrid, looked at their Hagrid like he was waiting for some sort of reply.

“Wark?”

“Yes, of course we’re the same person. Don’t let the top hat confuse you.”

“I’m not sure about confusing but it’s really adorable,” Sophia tried not to giggle. It hadn’t been that long that her greatest wish was to go to a good university to become an engineer. Since she woke the Prince and headed out on this adventure, people had been trying to blow her up, a lot, she’d been attacked by a shapeshifter and negotiated with a sentient moon. A talking emu was just the last straw; the tiny bowtie and top hat combined with the deep BBC voice was too much. She burst into giggles.

“Hagrid, who is this wretched mammal you dragged with you?”

“Wark, Wark WAARRRK!” Hagrid, the regular one, screeched.

“Fine Fine. Keep your pet, if you like. As long as they don’t get in my way.”

The regular Hagrid looked like he was going to dive at the new one, but Phil put his hand to block him. Saying, “Sir. You can insult me all you like, but Sophia is the best of us. She’s kind, gentle, strong, resourceful, beautiful, and implausibly intelligent.”

A shudder passed through the speaking Hagrid and somehow the tiny top hat didn’t fall off. “Disgusting. I’ll never get used to seeing your kind speaking. Thankfully it won’t be long… Come along me.”

The emu turned around and walked out of the small hanger. Hagrid followed him and the others followed Hagrid.

Walking out of the hanger was a huge shock. The place had looked massive from the outside, but inside it was vertigo inducing. The entire database was shaped like the inside of an egg; a large oblong sphere with nothing but massive structures on its surface. Each looked vaguely like a circuit board or other computer insides. In the center of the galaxy-sized egg was a small yellow dwarf sun.

The buildings were connected by a lattice of steel rope bridges that must have worked as both circuits and a way for the creators to move around.

“This wasn’t built by humans,” Sophia observed, and the top hat wearing emu snorted derisively. She didn’t wait for Phil to say anything and explained, “The door controls are at foot level and all the control panels I can see are made to be operated with a head or beak.”

“You’re not as dumb as you look. This is the Database of Ageless Kings, built by my ancestors as a way of making sure Emus would always rule the universe.”

“How?” Phil asked with a smirk and furrow that Sophia knew was his confused expression.

“How was it built? Or how does it work?” The emu asked but didn’t let anyone answer before he continued, “It took a hundred generations and the brightest minds. It works by quantum entanglement, manipulating the atoms in the core of our galaxy.

“You see, the matter in the centre of our galaxy is under such a strong gravitational field that they work almost completely out of time. That means their entanglement is with the atoms that created the universe and by subtly altering those bonds you can re-write the universe and reality as we know it.

“Unfortunately, the calculations are such that even an emu can’t make the changes without the help of the greatest supercomputer in all of existence.” He finished his monologue as they entered what was obviously a giant control room.

“Wark?” Hagrid said, and Sophia was seriously starting to wonder how smart he really was and who had been taking care of whom.

“Yes. I do need you. You see, when the Ageless Kings built the Database, they added a safeguard to prevent the royal family from destroying the universe with their greed. In order to make any minor changes, you need to sacrifice a part of yourself. If you want to make a large change you must sacrifice yourself.

“At first, I used clones of myself, but turns out they cause the calculations to be slightly off and I haven’t been able to get the universe quite right. That’s when I came to the conclusion that I needed myself.” He sat in an emu-sized chair and reclined. A keyboard appeared at his feet and he started to type something. “You see I needed a version of myself that wasn’t intelligent, that wouldn’t challenge me. It really wasn’t easy getting you here.”

Sophia watched him type and smiled. “Is Phil still considered of royal blood for the Database? Can he make the changes?” She could read the screen and the keyboard. It might have been designed by emus, but it was written in the royal language. The same one she’d been learning since she found the ship. She assumed it was a way of making sure that every royal, no matter the alterations to the universe, could use the Database.

“Absolutely, but he’d have the same cost as I would and I can’t just sacrifice him. It must be me.” He wasn’t concentrating on her, he was concentrating on his typing.

Making a sign to Phil and hoping he understood that she wanted a distraction, she walked to the front of the chair and sat down. She put her arms at the same level as the keyboard.

Phil remembered he had the stun gun and shot the wall. The explosion was flashy and loud but didn’t do any damage.

“Fool! What are you doing?” The fake Hagrid demanded. The real Hagrid took the cue somehow and started running around like a panicked emu.

While he was distracted, Sophia used the keyboard, upside down, and altered his code. She hoped he would be too arrogant to double check his work.

“What are you going to do with us?” She asked loudly and the other two stopped flouncing around like fools.

“You’re so unimportant that I don’t care. Goodbye me and thank you.” He hit a few more keys and then hit the enter key hard.

The lights flickered and a voice said, “Major galactic calibration in progress. Please stand by. Sacrifice accepted. Are you sure about your decision?”

The top hat wearing emu smirked, creepy on an emu, and said, “YES!” and then started to cackle.

“Sacrifice accepted. May the Ageless Kings look after your soul.”

The fake Hagrid disappeared in the middle of his evil laugh.

“What did you do?” Phil asked in awe.

“I switched the target of the sacrifice and nullified all his code. I also made the universe a tiny bit less obsessed with blowing things up.” She said it without looking at Phil. Looking at him would make the next part of what she had to do much more painful.

The disembodied voice of the Database counted down, “Calibration in five, four, three, two, one.” The calibration would have no effect on them so she ignored it and continued to work.

She played with the constants of the universe to make tiny changes. The first was making sure his family hadn’t died and that his sister hadn’t been trying to kill everyone. Second she made sure that Little Sister got her wish; an upgrade and a manual. Last, she made sure that emus wouldn’t be stuck in Northern Ontario.

The changes might result in her never existing and would certainly result in them never meeting. They weren’t big enough to hurt Phil. It would cost him a little blood and that’s it.

“I’m sorry,” she said standing and hugging Phil.

“Minor recalibration accepted. Calibration in Five.”

“Ouch,” Phil said as the sacrifice was taken, “What did you do?” His eyes were wide in panic.

“Four.”

“I’m sorry. You deserve to be happy with your family and your world.”

“Three.”

“But what about you?”

“Two.”

“I love you, Phil.”

“I love you, too!” he replied and kissed her. Their kiss caused every part of her body to tingle with pleasure and she both forgot about the timer and her sadness. If she had to fade out of existence, it might as well be kissing the man she loved.

The kiss continued and nothing happened. Eventually they came up for air and looked around. “Did it work?” she asked herself aloud. A few moments with the keyboard told her that everything had changed the way she wanted it.

“Sophia. The Database is shielded. You’re not going to change if you’re in here. How else would that emu still exist?”

He was right and she couldn’t help but smile. “Your family is alive and so am I.”

Tears streamed down his face and he said, “Since you just wrote yourself out of existence and we’ve sort of got a thing going, how do you feel about moving in together?”

“The ship would fall apart without me.” She replied and kissed him again.

“Wark!” Hagrid bobbed up and down excitedly.

“You okay with my pet emu?” she asked.

“Absolutely. He’s the most important bird in the universe.”


If you enjoyed this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

The Guardian

What is Christmas without a ghost story?


“Honey, she’s doing it again!” I called out to my husband.

Our five day old daughter had opened her eyes and stopped her vigorous nursing to stare up at seemingly nothing. Milk slowly dripped from me, spreading a wet patch on the pillow underneath her.

She didn’t blink, but abruptly turned her head to stare at another patch of nothing.

A shiver raced down my spine and the hair on my arms stood up in response.

I thought that if a person was standing next to my chair, she would be looking directly into their face.

Just as suddenly, she re-latched and started her hmm-ing of appreciation.

Hmmmmmmm – gulp. Hmmmmmmm – gulp.

She sounded like an old dot-matrix printer, the kind that took four passes to print a single line and had the tear-away sides. I doubted she’d ever get to hear one of those. The next generation of parents wouldn’t associate their child with a printer – that’s probably a good thing, I giggled to myself.

Her eyes opened at the sound, and she stared up at me for a second before focussing on her task again.

My husband appeared in the doorway. She ignored him in favour of eating.

My neck prickled.

What could have distracted her, when a physical human didn’t?

I don’t believe in ghosts, I thought. I knew I was lying to myself. But I know someone who does.

I contacted them the next morning.

“Of course I’ll come visit and snuggle the baby!” they exclaimed.

I didn’t mention my suspicions.

They came over that afternoon, sinking into the well-used couch with a sigh. I passed them the sleeping baby, and she cooed before snuggling into their chest, still asleep.

“Is she always this cuddly?” they whispered, afraid to wake her.

We talked about anything and everything, and as the time for them to leave drew nearer, I got anxious. The baby hadn’t woken, even though we were laughing.

“I think we have a ghost,” I whispered.

Their eyebrows went up. “I haven’t seen any,” they replied.

“She sees them, I think.” I indicated the softly snoring baby.

“If she isn’t afraid, they’re not malicious.” They seemed certain of this. “Keep an eye on her, and I’ll come back another time.”

Every day for the next month, the baby took the time to stare off into space a couple times a day. Most often, it was in her room, next to the nursing chair. Sometimes it was in the living room, behind the couch. Once in our room, at the foot of the bed.

She learned how to smile voluntarily. I watched her smile at empty spaces, and tried to keep the panic at a minimum.

And then it stopped.

She slept less, paid attention to her surroundings more, and I thought that maybe she had been staring at specs of dust. Babies don’t have the greatest vision.

But around Christmas, she let out a tiny squeak and stared into space again, this time for quite a while. I tried to distract her with my breast, but she ignored it completely for at least five minutes, glancing from one spot to another and back.

I contacted my friend immediately. They came over. The baby was awake. They asked to see her room, but there was nothing unusual.

We sat in the living room and played with the baby, until she whipped around and stared beside the couch.

My friend followed her gaze, and gasped, “I see them. Two women.”

My heart in my throat, I looked over at the empty space, seeing nothing. “What do they look like?”

“One is older. Curly grey hair. Rosy red cheeks and a big smile. She’s fairly short, and a bit stout. I think I’ve seen you wear the necklace she’s wearing…thick silver chain? She has a red sweater, and a long kilt in red and green.”

I swallowed hard, tears in my eyes. I tried to speak around the lump in my throat. “That’s my Grannie,” I croaked. I started crying. “She came to meet her great-granddaughter? I miss her so much. Can you tell her that? Does she understand me?”

“She hears you. She put her hand over her heart and is looking right at you.” My friend was crying too. “The other woman is a little younger. Thinning wispy grey hair, small cheeks that pop when she smiles. She’s a bit taller than your Grannie, and much…umm…bigger. She’s wearing a navy blue dress. Her eyes twinkle.”

“My mother-in-law,” I sobbed. “She would have loved her granddaughter. She always wanted a daughter. I miss her too, but not as much as her son does. She’d be so proud of him.”

“She’s nodding and smiling at you. She knows. They’re talking to the baby again. I can’t hear them, only see them, I’m so sorry,” they apologized.

I took a moment, trying to work the words out around the lump in my throat. “Is it normal, not being able to hear them?”

“Quite. I’ve never heard or felt one.”

I got up to get a tissue from the other side of the room. “You need one?” I offered. At the affirmative, I brought the box back over as I sat beside them again. “You’ve never touched a ghost?” I asked, curious. I sniffed and wiped my cheeks.

“No, I haven’t. I’ve never seen a ghost touch a person.” They copied my motions with a tissue of their own, then paused. “Wait. I have, just once. It was a long time ago. A girl was crossing the street, and a car ran a red light. I saw the ghost yank her back out of the way. It was bright daylight, so I wasn’t a hundred percent sure of what I saw, but I think the ghost vanished after saving her life.”

“It’s not exactly like you can conduct an experiment to see for sure.” I gave them a watery smile.

“No, I guess not!” They laughed weakly.

I thanked my friend for both confirming that we were being visited by ghosts, and that they were not only benevolent, but family. “Merry Christmas!” I waved from the doorway as they left the house.

“And Happy New Year!” they called back.

The months flew by. My daughter learned how to crawl, stand, and walk. She babbled at anyone who smiled at her, which made her a joy to bring places.

All too soon, we were getting ready to celebrate another Christmas. We went shopping for presents at a local holiday bazaar, and my husband was carrying her on his shoulders.

What happened next happened faster than your eyes will be able to read this paragraph; my husband bumped into a display of ornaments at the same time as my daughter twisted around to wave at me. He jerked to catch the ornaments, and, her balance thrown off, she launched herself backwards off his shoulders.

I was too far away.

My heart in my mouth, a scream caught in my throat, I watched her tumble headfirst towards the ground. Ghostly hands steadied her fall, tipped her onto her front, and she landed on her stomach, head bouncing a bit on the concrete at the force of impact. My Grannie looked up at me from beside my baby and smiled sadly, blowing me a kiss and waving goodbye before she vanished.

My daughter let out a wild scream, and my legs unfroze, taking me to her side before I had registered the movement.

She was already pulling herself onto her feet, a nasty purple bump swelling on her temple, and buried her face in my neck, sobs shaking her small frame.

My husband, ashen, helped me stand up and led me back to the car to go to the hospital. I knew before we saw the doctor that she would be alright.

Her guardian angel had seen to that, and would visit no longer.

“Thank you for our Christmas miracle,” I whispered.


This story is part of the Renaissance holiday blog roll! Find out what it’s all about here! 

Night of the Sisters

This story takes place five years after the events in Parasomnia

The snow glittered in the moonlight as they travelled through the dark forests of New Albion. No matter how often they travelled this route, Michael still looked uncomfortable.

Putting her hand on his, even through heavy gloves she felt him tremble, Ashley said, “Sweetie. It’s okay.”

“I know, it’s just… I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this forest.”

And why would he, she thought. It wasn’t his world and he had bad memories of trolls in these forests. Even though they were in a carriage and not walking this time.

“Next year you’ll be too busy to worry about it.” She squeezed his hand and patted her belly, or where her belly would be under all the winter gear. She felt like a yurt; she was so big it was hard for her to walk too far or even stand.

He smiled and they both started talking about preparations for the baby.

As the forest started to thin, small cottages and farms peppered the landscape. People stood on the edge of the road and waved at them. For the first time in five years, the rulers of the six kingdoms of New Albion would be all together.

It was the Festival of Yule and that night was the Night of the Sisters. A night where the three Sisters who controlled the fates of everyone in the realms were reborn. It was celebrated by speeches, prayers to the Goddess, a small play, and a huge bonfire. During the bonfire they feasted and sang traditional songs until the sun rose.

Through the towns they went until they could see the great walls of New Apia. The last time they’d been here, the walls had been crumbling and the ivory fortress was cracked and disused.

“Kiri has done miracles for this place.” Ashley was amazed at how pristine it looked and how healthy the people were.

The gates to both the city and the castle were open, the guards looked more ceremonial than defensive in their finery.

Kiri was waiting for them when they arrived. She looked regal under multiple layers.

“Feels like being back in Northern Ontario, eh?” she asked and Ashley threw herself at her friend for a hug. “Hello Michael.”

“Are we the first to arrive?”

“Nope, Tara got here this afternoon. I think she ditched her retinue somewhere at the border.”

A tall woman in full armour walked out of the castle and responded with, “It’s not my fault they couldn’t keep up. I don’t need royal—” Tara was cut off by Ashley’s hug.

The four of them were the youngest of the monarchs and Ashley knew that Tara wasn’t looking forward to seeing her older brother who ruled her home kingdom.

Although the guards looked ornamental and they all joked about not needing them, they were essential. The Six Kingdoms were in political turmoil. The former High King had died shortly after his heir and despite multiple Moots, they had yet to unanimously choose a new high King or Queen.

Tara was declared regent of the former High King’s kingdom, Ansonrock, but the Moot had refused to declare her Queen.

Of the other two Kingdoms, both their monarchs had died during the Worldquake; one had gone through a bloody civil war and declared themselves a republic and the other had gone through eight monarchs in four years.

They had, per tradition, to wait for the other rulers before going into the warmth of the Castle. They had, thoughtfully, arranged a chair for Ashley. At thirty six weeks pregnant she wasn’t going to try and tough it out.  The next to arrive was King Matthew of New Zion.

“Sister,” he said spitting out the word as if it had a bad taste.

“King Matthew,” Tara replied tersely. The fact that he called her sister instead of brother was a good sign that he’d learned his lesson. His country was big on everyone being the same and Tara had been cast out when she came out as transgender.

The next two came and stood in line waiting. After a little while, Ashley leaned over to Tara and asked, “Who are we waiting for?” Tara shrugged.

In a flash of bright light and the sound of a TARDIS, four figures appeared. The cryer who’d been announcing everyone bellowed, “Myrdin of Earth and Aether.” He was a tall man with a long white beard and hair. He was dressed in an old robe, and despite looking ancient, he stood tall. His brown skin had long ago turned a little grey.

Before Ashley had a chance to say anything other than a squeak of happiness with the entrance, the cryer continued, “The Three Sisters.”

The crowd and the monarchs gasped in surprise. The three Sisters had never been to New Albion before. They had stayed in Everdome, another Realm or what Ashley liked to call alternate universe, for as long as anyone could remember.

The three women, one bald with metallic gold skin, one with snow white hair and skin, and the last with dark red hair and onyx coloured skin, raised their hands and spoke in eerie unison, “May the Goddess’s blessing drive out the dark and the cold. May your days grow long and warm. May your crops be plentiful and your loves without end.” It was the traditional Night of the Sisters blessing and was normally only performed by priests or the children who play the Sisters in the play.

After the blessing everyone walked into the castle for drinks and mingling. The main ballroom was open for everyone to speak with anyone. It was a tradition that Kiri had instituted for all major holidays. It allowed for people who would be too shy or didn’t think their problems big enough for a formal audience to speak with the Queen or other high level officials.

Myrdin, or as he’d been introduced to her before, Merlin, was standing on his own with a glass of nog. Most people seemed to avoid him. Ashley walked over to him and said, “Why do people always seem to avoid you?”

“I’m weird.” He shrugged as if that answered her question and continued with, “Hello Ashley, it’s nice to see you again. Or is this the first time for you?”

“We met last year.” She’d been told then that he was a little strange and had a tendency to live life out of order with the rest of the realms. “Although it’s been much longer for you hasn’t it?”

“A century to your year. Nothing much.”

She laughed and that made him smile. “Nice work with the TARDIS sound effects.”

“Thank you. I thought no one would notice and it’s nice and dramatic.”

“What’s going on? Why are the Sisters here?” She asked and felt a sharp pain. She mentally started counting to see if it was a full contraction.

“Do you really want me to tell you? You’ll find out soon enough.”

“So, spoilers?”

“Yep. Now why don’t you ask me the question you’re really worried about?” His eyes were kind with more than a hint of mischievousness.

“Is my baby going to be okay?” she said it quickly and fought back tears.

He pulled her into a hug and said, “Your delivery will go fine and the resulting offspring will be perfectly healthy.”

She squeezed him tightly and said, “Thank you!”

“Don’t mention it. I was a parent once too.” His voice was filled with sadness.

As midnight approached, they moved to the castle square where the bonfire was built and awaiting the midnight hour to be lit. There was food and drink and a lot of happy kids. A man dressed as Woden led the children in a wild hunt. There were chocolates hidden around the castle and as he charged the children had to find them and get back into the hunt in order to keep them.

In a few years, Ashley thought, her little one would join them and that made her feel warmer than the fire would have.

“Joyous Yule my beautiful wife.” Michael held a simple brown paper wrapped package.

“Thank you,” she said opening the package, feeling four years old again. Inside there was a book, brightly coloured with a hydra on the front, the title read Parasomnia and was written by S. M. Awdur and K. Price. Katherine Price was a friend who’d chosen earth over New Albion.

“It’s a graphic novel about what happened to us. Kitty wrote it with a famous author. Merlin promised to bring it back with him after we saw him last year.”

“It’s wonderful. Thank you.” Her contractions were starting to get closer together, but she still wasn’t sure it was labour. This had happened before and it had been fake labour. She still had four weeks to go.

If Michael was going to say something, it was cut off by the Sisters. Their voice was like a soft brook had met a Greek chorus and the two were trying to imitate each other.

They each stood around the large bonfire and said, “We have seen Realms be born and Realms die, but every ten thousand years we need to renew ourselves. Our physical bodies die and are reborn. What we are continues but what we were dies. Tonight we die and leave our blessing against the darkness. Tomorrow we are reborn. May your hearts always be warmed by the fires of love and hope.”

With that speech they burst into flames, lighting the bonfire. The crowd was stunned and after a few moments burst into applause.

“That was dramatic,” Michael said.

“Yeah,” Ashley said, and couldn’t help but grunt from the pain of another contraction.

“How far apart are they?” Michael said going into nurse mode.

“The baby is coming,” Ashley replied and groaned again. That’s when the Sisters’s words came back to her. “They said tomorrow they’ll be reborn… MERLIN!”

As if he’d expected her, he appeared. With a furrowed brow and twinkling eyes, Merlin said, “Don’t worry, I’ll help as much as I can. With all three—”

“THREE!?”


This story is part of the Renaissance holiday blog roll! Find out what it’s all about here!