Categotry Archives: Joe Monk

FP456 – Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The Ladder

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Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode four hundred and fifty-six.

Flash PulpTonight we present Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The Ladder

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by BoopQuest!

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age - three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we find Joe Monk, the last human and future Emperor of Space, standing in a swamp at the edge of the known universe.

 

Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The Ladder

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

 

As the boxy shuttle touched down, Joe Monk - one-day Emperor of the vast stretches of void and the specks that litter it - patted the multiple pockets of his orange and blue jumpsuit in search of the plastic cubes the locals considered currency. He tipped as heavily as his expense account would allow.

It seemed only fair, the cabbie was actually a runabout from the export station further into the sun’s orbit, and their approach to the shanty town had made it clear there was no chance of a random fare heading back the other way.

The round being that piloted the taxi had been silent the entire trip, yet as soon as the craft lifted off Monk was missing its quiet thereness.

At the edges of the development it was difficult to differentiate what was wild growth and what was constructed shelter. With materials in short supply the inhabitants had taken to burrowing into the massive trunks that rose from the knee-high water, and scattered ladders had been nailed into the hardwood to build skewed platforms on especially stout low branches.

From behind reed mats strung across otherwise open windows he noted large eyes marking his progress

Soon, however, he was passing the homes’ inhabitants with increasing regularity. They were thick-limbed bipeds, their arms overlong for Joe’s liking. Their stout bodies were covered in a short layer of fur - enough to keep them warm during the planet’s chill night cycle, but not so long as to hide their lack of the dangling bits that Monk associated with romance.

While several nodded as he passed, there was enough potential in their muscled shoulders that the human’s simple instincts had him wishing he still carried a weapon. He’d lost the right when he’d been promoted out of his position as an agent of the law for the Council of Ten Stars.

The timber and scrub thinned, giving way to rough-hewn stilt houses. Here was a brown-haired giant dipping barrel legs into the water from a crude porch; here was an almost identical colossus using ropes to clamber up one of the wide trees to collect the fruits in its mist-veiled heights; here was a nearly perfect copy of the other two napping in a ragged hammock patched with moss.

Monk was beginning to spot the subtle differences between the locals. Though there seemed little sign in variation in the length of their fur, they’d taken to shaving their faces and arms in elaborate patterns. Ahead of him stepped a tall-necked Goliath with trimmed bands of broadening width climbing its biceps, and an inverted pyramid of slashes under its ostrich-egg eyes exposing the gray skin beneath. Further along Joe encountered another who’d cut an intricate series of labyrinthine spirals onto only the left side of their face. It did not take a former lawman to note the tight loops must must have required close and careful upkeep.

Between the fern fronds and tin-sheet roofs Joe caught sight of the tower that had guided his landing, and the sound of machinery began to grind through the insect song.

Now he began to see signs of black market activity: Lovely but inexpensive gems harvested from the mine and sold, unbeknownst to the suits that had set up the operation, upon porches and small slat-sided booths - at least until the inventory wranglers could arrive and realize the worth of what was slipping through their security nets; Sickly green ration blocks broken down into stews with a hefty dash of local vegetation despite strict corporate policy against such experimentation; Versions of the identical giant dressed in sliced tarps, their fashion meant to imply a sexuality that their naked forms were incapable of. Though briefly tempted to stop and speak with these members of the oldest profession, if only to determine what kind of services a race without apparent genitalia could offer to satisfy the others of its kind, Monk pressed on towards the mechanical roar.

Finally, with his boots soaked and his jumpsuit slowly filling with muck-laden water, the last human reached the heart of the remote mining settlement.

FP456 – Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The LadderThe rocket had settled as a single stacked tower and its fuel tanks jettisoned to be scavenged to form portions of the housing surrounding him. Two modules had also been deployed, likely in the final stages of descent, to act as outbuildings of a higher quality than anything the neighbourhood’s architects had, given their meager materials, been able to construct.

To the left of the column stood the cap to the open mouth of the mine, the cage elevator and winch system having arrived as a prefabricated whole, and to the right stood a similar shelter, though this half the size of the pit entrance. Its smell was acrid and clung to Monk’s nostrils and tongue, but it was a familiar reek - this was not his first encounter with the sort of trap intended to gather local animal life to be mashed into component parts and reconstituted into what the suits considered useful forms ready for labour.

As he watched a four-legged beast, likely having been lured this far into the camp by food scraps, approached the stench of pheromones and mating musk. Having appeared on its eastern side, an iris no larger than a watermelon slid open and awaited its arrival with endless patience, and before Monk could think to hiss at the compound-eyed animal, to perhaps save it from a gluey fate, the last of its pale green tail disappeared into the enticing tube.

“Dammit,” said Joe, really only to himself, and he was forced to wonder if he was already just as late in assisting the labour force shuffling about behind him.

Shrugging, he made his way towards a similar iris, this one his own size and dominating the face of the central spire.

Inside he encountered the first non-natural lighting he’d seen since arriving. No doubt the mine below was also lit with bulbs strung from the rocket’s core, but apparently there was no energy to spare from the craft’s nuclear heart to light the village that serviced the rock crusher.

The rooms inside were low, segmenting the tube to maximum efficiency. The bottom-most chamber was dominated by a ring of chutes, and Joe knew that if he’d arrived on market day there’d be a crowd of the giants, each carrying a basket, bag, or simply a cloth spread wide to catch their weekly allotment of the food blocks he’d spotted earlier in his inspection. Wedged between two of the chromed channels stood a ladder, but the chamber above was locked. Still, the very reason Monk had been reassigned from his law enforcement position was the cracking of a similar door - one that had been the entrance to a black market garment factory that turned out to be the property of a Planduckian ambassador’s son-in-law. The arrest had been upheld, though the fine was little more than a slap on the wrist, yet the Council of Ten Stars had quickly come back to Monk with the offer of a promotion.

It was only once behind his new desk that he’d realized how limiting his position truly was. He’d been raised in the silence of space, and being trapped on the core worlds, to vote once a week and spend the rest of his time in expensive restaurants in hopes of being seen by social scene columnists, had felt like a step down even if his pay had increased. It was not for a lack of information coming to him - rumours of improper operations abounded - yet how was he to take action when everyone around him was ordering freshly slaughtered shelmdon smothered in lemon sauce?

In the end he’d told Macbeth he was heading out for a weekend of fishing on the second moon, then he’d used his new found wealth to buy a berth on a trawler headed rimward. The complaint file he’d taken with him was simply the most recent to arrive, and may as well have been selected at random.

The lock popped with a satisfying electronic chirp, and the room above had the unsettling look of a surgery. There was a reclining table at the room’s center, large enough to hold the form of one of the mine labourers, and above ran a series of tracks and thick-cabled manipulation claws. The edges of the room were lined with tanks: More of the bodies slowly being formed from the fauna captured in the adjacent module. The tubs also seemed to drain into the chrome chutes he’d seen earlier. No doubt any nutrients left unused in the creation of new bodies was being processed, compressed, and delivered to the hungry mouths below.

For safety reasons - those of the technicians who’d constructed the craft, certainly not his own or the beings it built to labour - the next hatch up had a transparent window, and here Monk had to halt: He was not equipped to enter the bulk cryogenics chamber, he hadn’t thought to pack sub-zero gear while landing in a humid swamp.

Still, the telltale signs of Space Brains were all over the room.

Space Brains, of course, were the press’ sneering term for the frosted neurons of a great many races. Each sentient faction, at some point in its development, attempted to combat death through cryogenics, and it was generally before gaining enough awareness of the space beyond their own solar systems to enter the greater empire. Maintaining other people’s grandparents was an expensive business, and contracts were often formed with corporations looking for cheap labourers, generally to operate under unpleasant conditions. Any excess body mass would be cut away, keeping only the neural core, and then a factory rocket could be fired at any backwater in the universe to pile up resources until such time as a freighter was sent around to retrieve them.

Of course each entity was given an option, upon defrosting, to re-enter cryosleep, but the yes/no interface screen also included a running tally of their bill, and a warning regarding service outages if the total amount went unpaid for too long a window.

Technically such labourers were paid for their time, and it was a frequent talking point of the pro-Space Brain lobby that a non-company body could be purchased on the free market, but the statistics indicated it was almost an impossibility to save for even the lowest quality replacement while already making regular payments on their current body. Reconstitution was, of course, also invoiced.

Worse, the modular bodies, so foreign from the various races’ originals, were often of shoddy design and prone to rapid disintegration. The climates into which they were sent rarely eased the process.

That said, Monk knew this operation to be below galactic standard in almost every way. Minimum housing necessities had not been met - though rent would no doubt be extracted from each worker’s pay - and any work site of this size was obligated, under galactic law, to have at least a dozen non-indentured oversight foremen to maintain safety standards and proper corporate conduct.

Yet who wanted to ship away from their kids for a year or two on a copper-rich mudball? The distances involved meant a lack of supervision - or inspections - in exactly the places they were needed most. Though such locations were ripe for citation, which low-level inspector had the budget for such explorations, or the job security to indict the same interests that filled the Council’s pockets?

This abandonment also meant Monk didn’t have any shirt lapels to grab and immediately blame - but he had an idea on how to fix that part of the problem at least.

Back on Prendax Prime the cost of a meal at the chop house preferred by the majority of ministers - say a sweet Klebnarian porterhouse and a bitter Jandaxian whiskey, always signed-off on as necessary expense to cabinet business and thus covered by the taxpayers - was such that it was often jokingly stated you could live a year on belter pizzas for what an afternoon in a Prendax eatery would pull from your pocket.

That said, while they’d taken Monk’s gun, they’d also, at least, given him a credit chip.

Stepping from the cold metal floor to slowly settle back into the swamp muck, Joe reached into the depths of his jumpsuit and pulled out the only other item of value his new post had provided him: A small notepad with his position’s seal across the top and a tight block of legalese at its base.

Across the front of the top sheet Monk simply scrawled, “Closed for labour violations,” then he slapped the self-adhering slip to the right of the iris he’d just exited.

Though few in the camp could read English, the block of text at its bottom, translated into the dozen most common languages, clearly set out that whoever held the pad carried galactic authority, and Joe’s hooked thumb did the rest. He did not allow another worker to enter the mine head, instead pointing to the note, then back to camp. These were unmistakable signs in any language, and, besides, there was little eagerness to dispute his claim.

Finally, nearly twenty Earth hours after touchdown, he was sure the last of those below had ridden the cage to the surface module. It had required going down himself, to shout and prod through the small spaces, and it was only his experience of having been raised in the limiting confines of his ship that had kept the claustrophobia of the place from weakening his knees.

By the time he’d completed his roundup he’d gathered a decent surface crowd, including the being he’d come to think of as Left-Side - he or she with the intricately shaven spirals. With little else to do with their sudden free time, the throng seemed happy to help with his undertaking, and Left-Side soon became a fast friend in getting the others organized.

It took a dozen of them to pull the elevator’s cage free of its confines, but it was intended for deep-shaft operations and there was plenty of slack with which to entwine the trap module’s stink. A sound like laughter came from between the teeth of Left-Side and the rest as the button was pressed and the cable tightened its loops, eventually collapsing the outer walls of the protein gatherer. Then the high-powered winch - built to tote heavy loads of ore - pulled the crumpled unit across the muck, halting only once the damaged capsule was firmly lodged in the mine’s open maw.

Monk had considered doing similar to the central tower, but he dare not risk the frosty sentients inside.

The damage was well beyond the automated systems, so the computer had likely already launched a request for a repair crew. By the time the call center had issued a work ticket, however, he would have placed his own request to the Council’s law enforcement arm, and arrests would be made as the specialists touched down. He felt for the maintenance people, but they wouldn’t be imprisoned long: They were union, and the technician’s guild’s lawyers were to be feared. The shark-faced litigators of Fendex would quickly point out that the tool jockeys were simply following orders, and a game of hot potato would begin. Monk doubted it would climb so high as the boardroom responsible, but the stress of the litigation might better the quality of the next instant colony.

He would see at least. Joe planned on finding out not long after it was planted.

There was, though, a lingering pang of guilt regarding the amount of baked flat-bread the shuttle who had delivered him was about to begin shipping between the station and the camp, as it would still be a while before there was anyone at hand who could afford the return trip. He resolved that he’d simply have to tip well for every delivery.

He was, after all, the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Labour.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com - but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

- and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

Extra: Jessica May – March to the Stars (The Joe Monk Theme)

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Joe Monk, Emperor of Space

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FP382 – Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: Preservation

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Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and eighty-two.

Flash PulpTonight we present Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: Preservation

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by Nutty Bites

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age - three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight we encounter the youth who will one day be ruler of the cosmos as he seeks privacy above an apparently barren rock.

 

Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: Preservation

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

 

Joe Monk, the last of Earth’s heirs, had spent the majority of his youth in the empty rooms and silent hallways of the ship that had birthed and nurtured him, but, in recent days, the spread of his reputation had called down followers like flies. He could no longer make out the gentle hum of the engine that had mothered him, much less bask in it.

That was why, on an evening deep into his Council of Ten Stars educational tour, he found himself alone in a shuttle at the edge of his unexpected fleet.

Not even Macbeth, his chief counsel, knew of his location - the craboid had been increasingly tight pincered about the human’s doings, and it was not in Joe’s psyche to listen to another hour of his mentor’s nagging.

The armada, such as it was, was spread from the rings of the inner planet, Straws I, through to the very surface of the system’s sun. The halt had been announced to accommodate those ships requiring a hydrogen-rich source to refuel, but, as those crews conducted their gassing runs, the remaining vessels took the opportunity to jettison garbage and run basic maintenance.

It was a backwater of the loneliest sort. Macbeth had complained that nobody would ever linger there unless they needed a pit stop - but the notion of that sort of solitude had been too alluring to the man who would eventually be emperor of all space.

He could not have expected the distress call that would interrupt his isolation.

At first he assumed the source was amongst the heaps that made up his caravan, as it would not be the first time an engine fire had spontaneously broken out on one of the third-hand craft that had been so deeply jury-rigged that their manufacturers would have been hard pressed to recognize their work, but his onboard computer tracked the weak signal to a source on the third moon of the nearby world.

That put him closest by quite a distance; even with the shuttle’s underpowered thrusters he knew he’d be at the site well before the Egg could get itself turned around.

Opening the throttle he dropped the fusion power plant into gear and grinned his way through the g-forces pinning him to his seat.

He was flush with adrenaline as he set down and pulled on his suit, but somehow the subtle tendrils of prudence that had begun to infect the human's maturing brain managed to fire off a quick "I've got this" message before he stepped through his refuge's tiny airlock.

The moon was little more than a barren ball of carbon dust, and that fact could not have made Joe happier. From horizon to horizon there was only a single visible stirring, and that was simply the slow red blink of a light some two hundred feet away.

Joe Monk, Emperor of Space, a Science Fiction PodcastThere was room to run, and the forgiving gravity allowed Monk to turn a trip into a series of belly-laughing cartwheels.

Still, he had presence of mind to strike a stoic pose as he pushed the large crimson button that the winking illumination acted to indicate.

He could not read the signage scrawled across the tube that broke the surface, but he'd experienced enough alien skyscrapers and shipboard transportation to identify an elevator. As such, he stepped inside.

The descent was rapid, but outside his stop all was blackness. He did not remove his helmet - he'd learned the hard way that an atmosphere does not always mean oxygen - yet even through the muffling layers he could hear a forlorn gurgling.

Steeling himself he stepped into the dark, which immediately evaporated. Ceiling-mounted bundles of automated lights began to spread from his position, bringing into view a set of hallways stretching off on either side and a great window directly in front of him.

The room beyond the glass also came alive, and within sat a massive being of stone and purple. It was hunkered low on its haunches, and the area on its chest that seemed to act as its face was buried in the broad rocky planes of its upper hands.

Though Joe did not recognize its physiology, he could only interpret the crackling whimper that emanated from within the stranger’s round chest as the sound of tears.

From behind the third door to Monk's left, a large droid with a body like a vending machine rolled into the hall. It's left side held a trio of arms, each with sharp implement at its end, and the right was dominated by a single thick limb toting a circular saw.

It began to advance on him, its speakers grinding out a tongue the earthman could not comprehend, but which had certain unpleasant characteristics in common with his homeworld's German.

"I'm coming, big guy," Joe told the window, but there was little at hand with which to defend himself.

A second robot appeared then, this one tall and no thicker than a broom, though also on triangular treads. It approached the human with both arms extended, its grasping fingers raised.

The monkey-cousin was too quick, however, and the pull of gravity too faint.

Avoiding its probing pinches, Joe snatched the stick-bot and swung it hard over his head, shattering the bulbs above and plunging its base directly through the plastic panel that made up the box-droid's chest.

The sounds of combat brought the massive captive to a howl behind its barrier, even as those lights that were yet undamaged took on an erratic blink and sirens began to bleat throughout the complex.

At the center of the chaos, Monk stood, legs planted, awaiting a second charge.

Instead, beyond the carnage, the elevator delivered a calm bing.

Before its passenger had even fully disembarked, Monk knew he was in trouble.

“What are you doooooing!?” asked Macbeth in a tone that seemed to realize just all too well what it was he was doing.

“I’m, uh, saving that guy,” answered Joe with a finger crooked towards the window.

“That’s a Brindax, fecal-neurons! They go insane during the third portion of their life cycle and need to be saved FROM THEMSELVES. You haven’t almost rescued some pathetic prisoner, you’ve nearly freed a self-incarcerated madman!”

Joe shrugged.

“It - it was so dark, and he was, you know, crying, and these robots started coming at me…”

“Yes, you’ve successfully managed to destroy thousands of credits worth of antique medical droids. Now get back to your shuttle or I swear I’ll make you repair them yourself.”

Seconds later they were again on the surface, but little could either know that within months Monk would receive his first honourary doctorate. The spread of his tale was only the beginning of a galaxy-wide expose on the neglects of the Brindaxian health care system, though it would be but one more jewel in Monk’s crown.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com - but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

- and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

FP375 – Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The Cuckoos

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Joe Monk, Emperor of Space

Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and seventy-five.

Flash PulpTonight we present Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The Cuckoos

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by We Are Not Here To Please You

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age - three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight, Joe Monk, the last human and one day ruler of known space, finds himself in a seedy bar on the backwater world of Mengi.

 

Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The Cuckoos

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

 

Joe Monk, the man who would one day be Emperor, Macbeth, his craboid counselor, and the small fleet of interstellar craft that had begun to trail their roaming egg of a ship, had landed on Mengi as part of a PR tour on behalf of the Council of Ten Stars. The Council had funded the expedition as an educational venture. It was their hope that the novelty of seeing the last example of a dying breed would hold their youths attention long enough for the man’s simple but altruistic view of the universe to take root in their obviously increasingly degenerate neural networks.

In truth, however, the circuit was as educational for Joe himself as it was for any of the smart-mouthed adolescents who attended his rambling Q&A sessions, though much of his studies took place in the sort of low-cost fermentation dispensaries that grease the grind of a tight travel schedule.

His brief stint as lawman had brought Monk into contact with a dozen races, but the metropolitan worlds of the Ten Stars were awash in shape and colour. He was finding it difficult to keep personal identifiers separate from species names, and more than once a mottled green mouth or purple-furred set of ears had descended at his unintended bigotry.

Still, he had no trouble telling Asbelene and Oshkosa apart, and the fact that they were Krebbles, from the thickly populated jungle planet of Kerees, was very clear in his mind.

They’d told him so when they’d introduced themselves, but the Krebbles reputation was well known.

The vaulted ceilings of the orange-walled bar were lit in a low spectrum so as to be friendly to even the largest eyed patron, but to Joe’s thinking it was as if the night had flooded the room and brought with it the thick booze and high-nosed spices that filled Mengi’s tourist market.

Monk and Macbeth had seen and drank as much of the planet as they could manage, and the earthman had promised the unmarked establishment would be their final stop.

Still, he’d made the promise some two hours earlier.

As their conversation had progressed, Asbelene’s stool had slowly travelled around the bend of their round table. She’d first introduced herself while offering a gloved appendage wrapped in the deep shade of purple that covered her form in a velveteen crush of robes and veil. She knew all about his story, she’d said. She’d seen it on the NewsNets. What a romantic notion, the last of an entire race - but what a sad and lonely one, she’d added.

Monk had only been able to agree. Eventually, however, he tired of talking about himself.

“Been on Mengi long?” he asked.

“Quite a while,” replied Asbelene, “we can’t all hop around in our own ship you know. Besides, it’s warm here and the sun lingers. What more could you ask for?”

She lifted back the light veil that covered her brow to reveal a pair of human eyes. They were the same shade of purple as her garb. Joe couldn’t recall reading any books in the egg’s library in which a character had violet eyes.

He smiled.

Joe Monk, Emperor of Space“Oh,” said Joe, “the nomadic lifestyle has its advantages. There are a lot of gorgeous sights I wouldn’t have had a chance to see otherwise. You’re right though, it can be lonely. The scenery doesn’t change much between stops and I find it hard to sleep when I don’t have the thrum of the engines in my ears.”

“That’s funny,” Asbelene replied, “I’ve just travelled in freezer freight, but I’ve always pictured ship beds as tiny and uncomfortable.”

“The people who built my rocket pony had to guess at how big I’d get, so I’ve got room enough for two of me - actually, it may sound ridiculous, but my bed honestly is built for high G maneuvers and sudden impacts.”

Her robes shifted slightly right and she let out a distinctly human giggle.

Excusing herself, Asbelene stood and retreated to one of the personal sanitation rooms nestled in the shadows at the rear of the tavern.

With her purple figure briefly out of view, Joe remembered that he’d arrived with Macbeth. Optimistic at the likelihood of his companion’s own enthusiasm, Monk turned.

Macbeth was not smiling.

Neither was his conversation partner, Oshkosa.

Finally having caught the earthman’s attention, both of the self-appointed mentor’s eyestalks stiffened, and he hooked his large right claw across his shoulder.

“Can I talk to you over there?” he asked.

Joe couldn’t see much of anything but decorative pottery in the corner, but he knew it wasn’t really a question.

Once out of Oshkosa’s earshot, Macbeth immediately took to whispered yelling.

“Do you understand what these girls are!?”

“Friendly?” asked the human.

“Krebbles,” replied Macbeth, dropping the word heavily, as if it were the only response he required.

Joe nodded and tried to look serious. “Okay.”

Macbeth sighed a fermented sigh and nodded, but he still required assurance. “Okay?”

Monk did his best to give it. “Okay.”

“Great, I’m glad we’ve agreed to leave.”

Before he’d finished the sentence, Macbeth was already digging in his satchel for a method of payment that was actually valid in the establishment.

“Uh, you can head back if you like,” said Joe, “I think I’m going to spend a little more time getting to know Asbelene.”

The pseudo-crustacean dropped his bag.

“The Krebble? Do - do you know what their disgusting genetic imperatives drive them to do? They start as piles of formless goo! Goo! Then they steal your DNA! That’s what she was doing when she first shook your hand you know - but that’s not even the worst of it!

“She’s shedding under there. Her gooey, lusty, flesh is drying and flaking, and soon she’ll shed her current shape like a cocoon. She could be in there right now doing it! She simply wants to make herself appear to be a viable mate so she can plunder your breeding juices!

“These filthy Krebbles are built to endlessly evolve their reproductive systems by sucking down the seed of others! She’ll seem the perfect mating partner - rounded in all the ways you like, cooing in just the way you idiot monkeys enjoy - but they’re nothing but masquerading eugenic harlots.

“In terms you might understand, they’re cuckoo women! Cuckoos!”

Joe nodded. “Er, I think in this metaphor it would be the children who would be the cuckoos, right?”

“You. Idiot. Do you not understand what I’m saying?”

“You’re saying I’m in danger of having Asbelene be exactly what I’d want in a sexual partner, and perhaps, uh, misplacing my genetic heritage?”

“Yes.”

“That sounds suspiciously racist, but we’ll talk about it back at the ship - say in the kitchen, around breakfast time tomorrow? That’s when I’ll be back.”

With that, he turned.

It would be only another hour before the last man would see his first womanly form.

He was late for breakfast.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com - but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

- and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.

FP359 – Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The New Guy

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Welcome to Flash Pulp, episode three hundred and fifty-nine.

Flash PulpTonight we present Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The New Guy

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download MP3

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This week’s episodes are brought to you by Mac of BIOnighT

 

Flash Pulp is an experiment in broadcasting fresh pulp stories in the modern age - three to ten minutes of fiction brought to you Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Tonight, Joe Monk, Emperor of Space, considers the nature of change and forward time travel.

 

Joe Monk, Emperor of Space: The New Guy

Written by J.R.D. Skinner
Art and Narration by Opopanax
and Audio produced by Jessica May

 

There came a time, before his rise to Emperor, when Joe Monk’s reputation in war and justice had spread to the stars as fresh adventure in a stale universe. His passion seemed a cure to the bureaucracy of the era, and, as the last human, his voice seemed to hold the total weight of his dead world.

Stepping from the shelter of a cave adorned with well-worked pelts, the neanderthal shielded his eyes against the bright yellow glare of Sol.

Joe Monk, Emperor of Space, a Science Fiction PodcastThe hillock on which he stood had a single well trodden path leading downwards, and, at its midpoint, a barrier of wood and stone had been constructed to narrow the approach as added defense against predators.

Atop his ledge the almost-man tracked the drawing near of a small cluster of ten figures.

This was no war party - no, simply a man and woman trailed by their brood of unwashed youths.

Still, the difference was unmistakable: These were not neanderthals at all, but homo sapiens drifting in from some distant grubby hole.

The shelf of the homeowner’s brow fell to a new low and he grunted thrice.

Time slid by, and it was 54 BC.

A Roman galley, bristling with oars, was bearing down on the British coast, its drumbeat moving with sure and steady purpose even as it rose and dove amongst the waves.

The light upon its stern had drawn the eyes of a filthy faced child of twelve who’d been wandering the cliffs in search of a mislaid sheep, and the lad’s long thin legs were soon pounding towards the hut he called home.

Within moments his family and extended clan were beside him at the drop’s edge, pacing the bobbing landing.

Spitting, his taut-faced father laid a blow across the boy’s right ear and said, “gonadh inimriche.”

Time again took on an unlikely momentum, pausing in Earth year 1997 AD.

A man of sixty was sitting on a worn wooden bench that looked to have been built even before the crumbling gas station it sat in front of.

Cracking open a peanut the slouched grandfather tossed the shell amongst the dust at his feet.

From his right came the ringing bell that marked an exiting customer, and a stout figure in blue overalls emerged from the area that housed the loafer’s wife’s cash register.

Stepping back into his rusting white and red pickup, the driver offered a, “gracias,” then turned over his vehicles reluctant engine.

The truck rolled onto the highway, lingering but a moment on the horizon.

The man on the bench said, “goddamn immigrants.”

The landscape shifted a final time, now settling on Joe Monk’s increasingly renowned ship as seen through the viewscreen of a law enforcement tug. A too-round Smegmarian in a Solar System Traffic Cop uniform punched in his scan but could find no contraband on Monk’s approaching space egg.

Dropping a news printout with Joe’s face and vessel splashed across the front, the entity scratched at the pant seat of his uniform - universally hated due to its speed limiting bureaucracy - and grunted, “shhhpffdd ferfferl.”

Monk’s craft became the focus, and the length of speckled black behind it lit up with massive letters.

“Kwarvox has been Planduck’s Senator for the previous 324 years,” they said before being replaced by: “Change Happens. Get Used To It.”

A much smaller addendum floated over Joe’s uppermost engine strut. “This Message Endorsed by the Committee for the Election of Beethbo for Galactic Senate.”

The holoscreen went black.

As illumination returned to the cramped boardroom, the trio of Planduckians that made up the Committee for the Election of Beethbo for Galactic Senate smiled. It was generally very difficult to license the history of an entire people, but Joe’s lone survivor status meant that the collected cultural heritage of the human race had been bequeathed to his estate. It was their hope that Monk’s celebrity status, mixed with their own people’s past as stellar nomads, would strike a chord.

Meanwhile, across the small conference table, Joe’s companion’s mind raced. Macbeth knew it was essential to remain mindful of diplomacy while stringing together his polite mouthful of titles, false compliments, and refusals.

Before he could embark on his finely honed rejection, however, Joe’s jaw finally flapped shut.

“I’m in!” he blurted, and thus began his political career.

 

Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Intro and outro work provided by Jay Langejans of The New Fiction Writers podcast.

Freesound.org credits:

Text and audio commentaries can be sent to comments@flashpulp.com - but be aware that it may appear in the FlashCast.

- and thanks to you, for reading. If you enjoyed the story, tell your friends.