Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
As a special treat this year, we're giving you two brand new stories featuring Lady Aesculapius, whom you might remember from the short story in "An Eloquence of Time and Space". One is by me, James Wylder, and the other is by rising science fiction star Michael Robertson!
You're in for a treat. You can download the stories below, in PDF, epub, or Mobi formats, or just keep scrolling to start reading.
From all of us at 10,000 Dawns to you, go be merry :).
"We're coming into range, Captain."
Rita Andros leaned forward in her chair. Through the darkness of space, a vast metal structure was slowly coming into view. It was shaped like a long rectangle, the shortest sides of which had openings for ships. Giant blue neon letters on its longest sides identified it as 'JARREK & JARREK'S SHIPYARD'.
"Start transmitting our security clearance and take us in slowly," said Captain Andros. "Ms Chandra, scan the station and give me a status report."
"Aye, Captain." A woman to the captain's right wearing a matching uniform began tapping away at keys in front of her. She was one of six Centro officers who formed the main bridge crew. Captain Andros sat in the middle of the wide hexagonal room, with three sitting at control panels on her right and two on her left. The asymmetry drove Ms Chandra insane. "Jarrek & Jarrek's. Established in 2449 as a shipyard for repairing and refuelling Centro-friendly vessels, it's since expanded to provide cosmetic modifications."
"Cleaning, paint jobs, even decals." She turned away from her screen to address the captain more informally. "They do things like stick big letters on the side of your ship to spell stuff, or weld on logos or pictures of celebrities."
Andros raised an eyebrow. She opened her mouth, and for a moment no sound came out. "Who would want to put pictures on the outside of their ship?"
"They do a lot of business with younger captains from the Rim's richer families," Ms Chandra continued, choosing her words diplomatically.
"Ah," Andros smiled. "'People with more money than sense'. What's the status on our imminent attack?"
A white-hot explosion burst from the shipyard. The ship shook. Smouldering metal shot through space towards them.
"Red alert!" bellowed Captain Andros. "Mr Best, can you navigate this debris?"
An enthusiastic young officer grabbed the controls. "Aye Captain!"
With thrusters on full power, the ship skilfully dodged and weaved through burning chunks of shipyard, including giant metal As, Bs and Cs, and various garish decals. The crew clung to their consoles as the letters flew through the vacuum and passed by their window:
L A D Y A E S C U L A P I U S
The image of a mysterious woman's face floated through space towards them.
Poet, Playwright, Game Designer, Writer, Freelancer for hire.