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Issue 32 October 15, 2007

 Pg. 2
Ray Gun Revival
Table of Contents
Overlords (Founders / Editors):
Johne Cook, L. S. King, Paul Christian Glenn 2 Table of Contents
Venerable Staff: 3 Overlords’ Lair
A.M. Stickel - Managing Copyeditor
Shannon McNear - Lord High Advisor, grammar consultant, listening 5 The Secret Treasure of Dar-Zul
ear/sanity saver for Overlord Lee
Paul Christian Glenn - PR, sounding board, strong right hand
A Jack Brand story
L. S. King - Lord High Editor, proofreader, beloved nag, muse, by John M. Whalen
Johne Cook - art wrangler, desktop publishing, chief cook and bottle 13 RGR Interviews: Jewel Staite
washer by Paul Christian Glenn
Slushmasters (Submissions Editors):
16 Featured Artist: Mike McCain
Scott M. Sandridge
John M. Whalen
18 The Adventures of the Sky Pirate
David Wilhelms
Shari L. Armstrong
Chapter 16, The Message
Jack Willard by Johne Cook
Serial Authors:
Sean T. M. Stiennon
24 The RGR Time Capsule
John M. Whalen
Ben Schumacher
October 1 - October 14, 2007
Lee S. King
Paul Christian Glenn
Johne Cook

Cover Art: “Carrier Assault” by Mike McCain

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Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007 
Pg. 3

Overlords’ Lair

W ithout Joss Whedon’s rousing space Serenity.
opera, Firefly, there may well not be a
Ray Gun Revival magazine. When Lee and Paul Now, please join me in enjoying the issue, and
and myself were in the very earliest stages of with a nod to Jayne, for this issue, ‘let’s be
talking over what we’d like to do with a space Browncoats!’
opera magazine, we spent a little time talking Johne Cook
about the state of space opera and a lot of time Overlord, RGR
talking about Firefly and what it meant to us, Breezeway, Wisconsin
and how it would be to try to capture some of
that vibe and deliver that to a new group of
It is impossible to overstate how important
Firefly has been to each of the Overlords. We
exulted over the production of Serenity, the
Firefly film, and we geek out afresh over any
new positive snippet of Firefly / Serenity news,
and are wounded anew when these spurious
tidbits are revealed to be nothing more than
cruel gossip.
And so, when I heard some time ago that
Overlord fireflyfellow, aka Paul Christian Glenn,
had a line on interviews with some from the
Firefly cast, well, we all geek-swooned. We
called each other on our cellphones and had
our own little virtual shindig.
A lot has happened between that day and this
one, but the time has finally arrived—Ray Gun
Revival is proud to present the first of hopefully
multiple interviews. Paul interviewed Jewel
Staite, Kaylee, the earthy sweetheart mechanic
on our favorite Firefly-class tramp freighter,

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007 
Pg. 4

The Secret Treasure of Zar-Dul, Part One, A Ray Gun Revival Interviews: Jewel Staite The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, Chapter 16:
Jack Brand story, by John M. Whalen “The Message” by Johne Cook
The cast of Serenity has since moved on, but
A mysterious carnival seer reads Jack Brand’s Jewel Staite, who played happy-go-lucky Cooper Flynn has his hands full with a burial at
medalion and sees more than she bargained mechanic Kaylee Frye, took a few minutes sea, a lusty Amazon, a superstitious crew, and
for, including the fate of Jack’s long-missing from her work on the set of Stargate: Atlantis an indomitable, implacable enemy, the Riven.
sister. to talk with Ray Gun Revival about Firefly, the And that’s just before breakfast.
film, and the future.
“They say I have a gift,” Calystra said. “It’s “I killed that man,” I whispered, and my mug
a curse. Do you know what it’s like to see RGR: Every actor wants to grow and find was shaking in my hand.
things no one else can see, hear what new parts that inspire them. How do you
nobody can hear. It can drive you insane!” feel about being associated with a show Mr. Pitt grunted in disagreement. “Chellsey
that has thousands of fanatical followers was already dead,” he rumbled. “You just
“Is there anything you can tell me that who will always see you as the smudgy, put a merciful end to his agony. That was
would help me find my sister?” smiley mechanic? quick, compassionate thinking, and the
“I said I didn’t know when the fire happened,” message was not lost on the crew. Besides,
JS: It’s kind of funny: I’ve met some fans it’s over now.”
Calystra said. “But I know where it at certain events and conventions and
happened. It’s in a place I’ve seen before.” things who say I look “sooooo much better” “Let’s hope so,” I said, softly.
“Where?” with grease on my face and overalls on.
Like, thanks. But at least she’s a likeable “Let’s pray so,” said Bola, devoutly.
“Dar-Zul,” Calystra said, her eyelids slowly character! I never imagined when I signed I wanted to throw the mug in her face,
drooping. “The ancient ruins.” on to Firefly that this would happen. I think but she was bigger than I was, and better
we all knew from the very beginning that rested. “We need to talk sometime about
“Dar-Zul? Where in Dar-Zul?” we were creating something quite special. not fraternizing with the crew,” I said.
“You would never find the place that I saw
in my vision. Not even with a map. The Bola balled up her fists and stuck them on
mystery of your sister’s whereabouts may her hips. “About what?!”
be discovered there.” “Another time, I said,” and walked away. I
“But how can I find it?” was still captain here, despite lust, love,
Riven, or Cyl Himself.
“I will take you there,” the woman said.
I just hoped Bola wasn’t following me.

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Secret Treasure of Dar-Zul, by John M. Whalen Pg. 5
The Secret Treasure of Dar-Zul
A Jack Brand story
by John M. Whalen
Part One wore a black satin gown, and she was beauti- she was ten she fell off a horse and broke her
ful—as beautiful as any Earth woman, Brand arm.”
A fairly noisy crowd stomped and hollered
inside the Blue Sphynx, the only decent
watering hole in the small tank town known
had to admit. Her long, blue hair fell to her
shoulders. A black scarf was tied over her eyes
as a blindfold. She was good at what she did.
“That’s right!” the man shouted. “That’s
as Carsonville. A few off-worlders sat nursing But he couldn’t buy her act. He didn’t believe
their drinks morosely, but mostly  there were “She’s sixteen now,” Calystra said. “She has
in psychics. The Kelorian with the microphone
hands from the oil fields who lived and worked a boyfriend named Jimmy.”
stepped down from the stage and started
in Carsonville—tough loud-mouthed riggers, moving around the audience. “Right again,” the man said. “She told me
hard-eyed drillers, drunken truck drivers, and about him on the vid-phone only yesterday.”
their women.  “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said. “We’ll
need volunteers for this part of the show. “He is a fine boy,” Calystra said. “They will
The raucous crowd applauded enthusiasti- Would anyone care to give me some personal marry one day and you will be a grandfather
cally at what had just transpired on the little object, anything at all? I will take it to Calystra, three times before you are fifty. You better
stage next to the bar. Jack Brand sat alone and from merely holding the object in her finish your work on Tulon and get home before
at a table near the back of the club, a bottle hand, she will tell you things that will simply they start without you.”
of Synth-Whiskey in front of him. He didn’t amaze you.”
applaud. He knew it had to be a fake. He The crowd laughed. The Kelorian took
poured some Synth into his shot glass. A man held up a wristwatch and the Kelorian the watch from the woman and returned it
took it up to the stage. The woman took the to its owner. The crowd was totally in thrall,
“And now, ladies and gentlemen,” a gold timepiece in her hand and clutched it but Brand shook his head. There may have
Kelorian male in his mid-fifties said from the with long slender fingers, the blue enamel on been engravings on the watch that she was
stage. He was not very tall and dressed in a her long nails flashing in the spotlight. clever enough to decipher with her fingertips
black tuxedo-jump suit. He had the light blue that told her everything she needed to know.
hair and eyes and high forehead that were the “It is a gift,” she said, in a low, vibrant voice. Perhaps the man who owned the watch was a
distinctive traits of his kind. The microphone in “From a female. From a female who is not your secret accomplice.
his hand amplified his voice through speakers wife.” The crowd sent up a ribald “Oh!”
in the ceiling. “Who’s next?” the Kelorian said, walking
“And she loves you very much.” Calystra around the tables. His blue eyes fell on Brand.
“The amazing Calystra will now attempt to continued, amidst more hoots from the “How about you, sir?” he said, coming up to
display her incredible psychic powers, as she audience. “She wishes you would return to him. “I don’t know why, but I sense skepticism
interprets the aural vibrations emanating from your home on Earth very soon. She is your coming from this table. Perhaps you’d care to
objects taken from the audience.” daughter.” test Calystra. Do you have some object you
The Kelorian waved a hand at the statu- “Aahhh!” the crowd said, could provide?”
esque female Kelorian in her mid-thirties Brand didn’t respond.
sitting on a stool next to him. The woman “Her name is Cynthia,” Calystra said. “When

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Secret Treasure of Dar-Zul, by John M. Whalen Pg. 6

“Any object will do,” the Kelorian said. That was exactly right! The two of them the small dressing room at the end of the hall.
“Some jewelry, perhaps. Keys? Anything at all?” served in the Tulon Security Force together. The bald-headed manager stood at the open
How was she doing this? What was the trick? doorway.
Brand was annoyed by the man’s persis-
tence. All right, if he was so determined. He Suddenly the woman gasped. Her com- “All right, folks,” he said. “Nothing to see.
reached inside his shirt and carefully lifted plexion paled. The hand holding the medallion Calystra is just a little tired. She’ll be fine for
out a small silver medallion that he wore on tightened its grip. Brand could see her knuckles the next show at 10:30. No cover for anyone
a silver chain. He raised the chain up over his turning white. who wants to wait for the next performance.
head and held it in his palm. It was a fairly plain Now just go on back to your seats.”
medallion with the figure of a galloping horse “No!” the woman cried. “No! Shooting.
engraved in it. No other markings. He handed Many dead! Evil men. Your sister...” A low rumble of conversation followed
it to the Kelorian. the dispersing crowd as they made their way
She jumped down from the stool, holding back to their tables. A small band played now
“Thank you, sir,” the Kelorian said, walking the medallion out before her, her hand and people started dancing on the dance floor
briskly to the stage. He handed the medallion trembling. “No! Pain! Long captivity! No! No! in front of the stage. Brand remained in the
to the blindfolded woman. She wrapped her Burning! Fire!” hallway after the others had gone. The manager
fingers around it, the chain dangling down spotted him.
between her fingers, and held the medallion the Suddenly Calystra screamed and tore off
blindfold. Her blues eyes were bright and “Didn’t you hear what I said? You can’t stay
out straight in front of her. glowing. She stared at the medallion in her back here.”
“Another gift,” she said quietly, her head hand and crumpled to the floor. Her Kelorian
tilting to one side. This time the crowd remained partner ran up on stage and knelt down next “I need to see her,” Brand said.
silent, while the woman concentrated. “It is to her. “Look, why don’t you just go—”
from your sister.” “Curtain!” he shouted. “Curtain!”
“She has something that belongs to me.”
Brand suddenly felt the hair on the back
of his neck stand up. How could she know sawBrand stood up at his table, half numb, and
“What’s that? Oh, you’re the fellow with
that? There were no engravings, no personal neteller and curtain
the red drop, obscuring the fortu-
her assistant from view. Half the the medallion.”
markings on it of any kind. audience was on its feet, shouting and milling “That’s right.”
“She gave it to you many years ago, when about. Brand tossed down the shot of whiskey
you were both very young. In a place called he’d just poured. He didn’t know what had “I’ll see that it’s returned to you. Just wait
Utah. On Earth.” Brand suddenly realized he’d happened, but he was damn sure going to find at your table.”
stopped breathing. “Her name is Terry.” A wave out.
of emotion ran through him. How was this He started to close the door. Brand put his
possible? # foot in the doorway.

“She gave it to you on your fourteenth “I want to talk to her.”
Brand pushed his way down the crowded
birthday. You were very close. All through hallway. Some of the patrons and many of the “Hey, you can’t—”
childhood. When you came to Tulon she backstage workers of the Blue Sphynx had
followed you. The two of you worked together. followed the woman, her assistant and the “It’s okay, Farley.” It was the Kelorian. “I’ll
I see you and her in paramilitary uniforms.” club manager as they half-carried her back to handle it. Don’t you have a nightclub to run?”

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Secret Treasure of Dar-Zul, by John M. Whalen Pg. 7

The manager gave him a look. “You just The older man shook his head ruefully “A little less skeptical? But still not
make sure she’s ready for the next show,” he and stepped back inside the dressing room. convinced.”
said, and walked off down the hallway. He opened the door wider and let Brand in.
The woman was half lying, half sitting, on an “Let’s say, in my experience, there is usually
The Kelorian stood quietly for a moment, upholstered sofa, pillows stuffed behind her a logical, concrete explanation for everything
looking at the tall, lean man in front of him. He back and neck. She held a half-empty glass of that happens. In cases like this, there’s usually
could see that years of exposure to sun and something in her hand as she watched Brand some kind of mental trick, some way of getting
wind had darkened and leathered the man’s enter. Her blue-painted lips took a sip through information out of the mark that he isn’t aware
skin. He almost looked more like some desert a clear straw, and then she held the glass out of. If that’s what you did to me, I couldn’t see
animal than a man. with one hand. Ziggy ran and took it from her. it.”
“I’m Ziggy,” the Kelorian said. “Calystra calls “Are you sure?” he asked. “Remarkable, isn’t it?” He couldn’t avoid
me her glue. She says sometimes I’m the only noticing the sarcasm in her tone.
thing holding her together. That means I watch “Who’s sure of anything anymore,” she
out for her. Make sure she gets what she needs. said. “Let’s say you have some sort of gift. What
I keep away things she doesn’t need. And after are the limits?”
what happened on stage tonight, my bet is one “Call me if you need me,” Ziggy said setting
the glass down on a mirrored vanity table. He The woman’s eyes were suddenly fright-
thing she doesn’t need right now is to see you.
went out into the hallway and shut the door. ened looking. “I don’t know the limits,” she
So why don’t you beat it?”
The woman pointed to a straight-backed chair. said. “I wish I did.”
“She’s got something that belongs to me.”
“Sit down, Mister—” “What happened at the end?” Brand
“You mean this?” Ziggy held the medallion asked. “What was it you saw that upset you so
out. “Here take it. Take it and go.” “You can tell me my sister’s name just from much?”
holding that medallion, but you don’t know my
Brand took it and slipped it into his pocket. name?” Brand said. She sat up and looked away for a moment.
“I’d like to talk to her,” he said. She smoothed the black satin dress over her
“I’m very tired,” she said. “Are you here to knee and looked up at him. “I’m not sure it
“Sorry. No can do.” test me, or is there some other reason you would be wise to tell you, Mr. Brand.”
wanted to see me?”
“Listen,” Brand said. “I’ve got to know “Look,” Brand said. He took the medallion
something. Some of the things she said. Was it He figured he’d guessed right about her age.
out of his pocket and held it out between them.
all a trick? How did she know what to say?” Mid-thirties, but she had a worn and weary “I’ve been on a search for my sister for quite a
look that made her seem much older. long while. She was taken prisoner after she
“Yeah, buddy,” Ziggy said. “That’s what it is. and I and three other members of our Security
A trick. Now why don’t you—” “Brand,” he said. “Jack Brand.” Force team were ambushed by a gang of Tulon
Nomads. The Wilkerson Gang. Bank robbers. I
“But what happened at the end? Why did “What can I do for you, Mr. Brand?” was shot and left for dead. My sister Terry was
“That was quite a performance,” he said. taken prisoner. I think you saw all that.”
“Ziggy!” It was the woman’s voice coming “When I came into the club I was pretty skeptical Calystra looked at him with no expression
from inside the dressing room. “It’s all right. about you. But after the things you said, I’m—” at all in her blue eyes.
Let him in.”

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Secret Treasure of Dar-Zul, by John M. Whalen Pg. 8

“Yes.” “Dar-Zul,” Calystra said, her eyelids slowly Darryl Farley, the owner and manager of the
drooping. “The ancient ruins.” Blue Sphinx, flicked a switch off on an intercom
“What else did you see? You said something that sat on his desk. He looked across the small
about burning. What was burning? There “Dar-Zul? Where in Dar-Zul?” room that served as his office at a big, heavyset
wasn’t any fire when she was kidnapped.” man who sat on a leather loveseat, smoking a
“You would never find the place that I saw Darlanian cigar.
“I saw a fire.” in my vision. Not even with a map. The mystery
of your sister’s whereabouts may be discov- “Did you hear that, Boone?” Farley said,
“Where? When? Tell me, is my sister still ered there.” wiping a palm over his bald head. “They’re
alive?” going to Dar-Zul.”
“But how can I find it?”
“I don’t know, Mr. Brand,” she said. “She was “I heard,” the big man said, blowing a long
alive at the time of the fire. But I don’t know “I will take you there,” the woman said. blue stream of cigar smoke into the air.
when the fire happened, or whether she’s still
alive.” “You? Why would you want to go there? “Nobody’s ever been able to map that
That’s not an easy place to get around.” place. Too full of labyrinths, tunnels, caves and
“What do you mean?”
“I have reasons of my own. There is secret passages. But Calystra said she could
“I see images, hear sounds, smell odors,” something I saw in Dar-Zul that I wish to obtain lead Brand to the place where she saw his
she said. “They swirl around inside my brain. for myself.” sister. She played it kind of cagey, but it sounds
My mind is crowded with these screaming, like she also knows where the Lost Treasure of
swirling images. It’s difficult to shut them off. “What?” Dar-Zul is.”
Sometimes I lay awake all night with them “Something I saw in my vision,” she said. “You think so?”
burning like ships on fire inside the sea of my “Something I need now more than life itself...”
mind. It’s impossible sometimes even for me “Didn’t you hear her tell him she wanted to
Her azure eyes were so tired, so weary. “You
to understand what they mean.” She sank back must go. The drink I took has a strong narcotic go there to get something she saw in her vision?
on the pillows and she looked at him with eyes that helps me rest. I must sleep before the next Something she needs more than life itself. What
full of sadness. else could it be? People have searched for the
treasure a long time. I’ve been meaning to take
“They say I have a gift,” Calystra said. “It’s a Long blue eyelashes fell over dilated pupils. a shot at it myself. But a lot of men have gone
curse. Do you know what it’s like to see things Her words trailed off into a whisper, and she into those ruins and never come out. I never
no one else can see, hear what nobody can closed her eyes as the drug she’d ingested figured it was worth the risk. Until now.”
hear. It can drive you insane!” rendered her unconscious.
“What do you have in mind?” Boone tapped
“Is there anything you can tell me that Brand stood up. His long, lean body cigar ash on the carpet.
would help me find my sister?” towered over the Kelorian psychic who now lay
stretched out on the sofa, asleep and momen- “They’ll probably start out in the morning
“I said I didn’t know when the fire happened,”
tarily at peace with the world. for the ruins,” Farley said. “It’s a four-hour
Calystra said. “But I know where it happened. flight by Strato-Sled. If we leave tonight, we
It’s in a place I’ve seen before.”
# could get there ahead of them. Find a place to
“Where?” stay out of sight, and follow them into the city.
On the other side of the dressing room wall, When they find the goods, we move in.”

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Secret Treasure of Dar-Zul, by John M. Whalen Pg. 9

“That easy? They’re not going to just stand “I believe there I may find peace. A way to vision?”
there and hand it over to us,” the big man said. quiet my mind in the long dark hours of the
“Especially that Brand. He’s not somebody you night.” She stood up. “I can’t go on taking Zofax Calystra smiled. “Is that what you think?”
want to mess with. I tangled with him once in every night just so I can get a few hours’ sleep. I “I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t think of any
ShyMan’s Bluff. Cost me two years in jail.” have to find a way to shut out the terrible, dark other reason someone would want to go to
forces that are out there, trying to bore their
The bald man grinned ruefully. “There are way into my brain so they can destroy me.” take the risk of going there.”
a lot of people buried out there in those ruins,” “Can’t you?”
he said. “What’s a few more?” “It’s that bad?”
“I just want to warn you beforehand. I don’t
“And Brand?” “Can’t you see it? I’m dying, Ziggy. This may believe there is any lost treasure. I’ve been
be my only chance. I have to go.”
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in you, Boone,” there. There’s nothing but hard rock, empty
Farley said. “Now’s your chance to get even. “All right,” Ziggy said. “Then I’m going too. ruins, and the wind. I’m only going because I
I’m sure you can eliminate any threat Brand My bag’s already packed.” want to see if I can learn something about my
might pose. You can handle him any way you sister’s whereabouts. You say she was there at
want.” There was a knock at the door. Ziggy shut some time in the past. I have my doubts about
Calystra’s suitcase and went over to the door that, but I can’t afford to leave any leads unex-
Boone smashed the cigar stub down into and opened it. plored.”
the ashtray on the table next to his chair. “It’ll
be a pleasure.” “Are you ready to leave?” Brand asked, “I understand,” the woman said.
coming into the room.
“I just hope you understand why you’re
# “We’re ready,” Calystra said. going.”
“But why, Calystra?” Ziggy implored, as he “We ought to be able to get there by early “She said she did, Brand,” Ziggy said. “We all
took a few articles of the psychic’s clothing afternoon,” Brand said. “I’ve got a Jeep to take of us have our own reasons. Now that’s settled,
from the hotel room dresser and put them us to the airport. I’ve got an Air-Sled waiting.” can we get going?”
into a small valise. “Why go there? You know
what that kind of place will do to you. So many “Then let’s go,” the woman said. #
ghosts. Voices. Echoes from the past. It could “There’s just one thing before we leave,”
kill you.” It was a fifteen-minute ride to the airstrip in
Brand said. “Dar-Zul is a dangerous place.
the desert outside Carsonville. They piled out
“I saw something, Ziggy,” the woman said. There are stories connected with it. Tales of of the Hover-Jeep and boarded the Strato-Sled
She sat on the bed pulling on black leather lost treasure, hauntings. People have set out Brand had hired. Brand sat behind the controls,
boots. She was dressed in a lavender shirt for Dar-Zul and not come back. Are you sure Calystra took the passenger seat, and Ziggy sat
and blue jeans. “Something that may stop all you want to do this?” on one of the benches behind the cockpit that
those voices. All those unwanted visitations. “I’ve never been more sure of anything,” ran along the walls of the ship on either side.
Something that will free me from this torment Calystra said.
that I call my life.” Ziggy took a small plastic vial out of his
“Is it for the gold they say is buried there?” pocket and poured some small white tablets
“What? What was it?” Brand asked. “Is that what you saw in your into his palm. “I get airsick,” he said, and tossed

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Secret Treasure of Dar-Zul, by John M. Whalen Pg. 10

the pills down the hatch. “Last night you didn’t seem so doubtful.” said, and he remembered the weird feeling, the
hair rising on the back of his neck when she’d
“There’s water in the canteens I packed on “I have to admit you had me going,” Brand told him his sister’s name. “Like I said, she’s got
board,” Brand said, as he started the ship’s said. “But in the cold light of day I have to something. Something I’ve never seen before.”
engines. “We’ve got several days’ provisions, wonder. I believe you may have some sort of
everything we’ll need.” He turned to Calystra. a gift. I’m just not sure how reliable it is. For #
The sound of the anti-gravity motor revving up example, you said you saw my sister in Dar-Zul,
whined outside the cockpit. “How about you? but you don’t know when she was there. You “There’s something about this place,” Darryl
Do you get air sickness?” don’t know if she’s even still alive. It’s all kind Farley
of vague. That’s more or less how you guys front ofsaid, looking up at the ancient ruins in
The woman smiled and shook her head. operate, isn’t it? Give little suggestions and let him. “I don’t know why, but I get the
“No.” feeling I’m being watched.”
somebody’s imagination fill in the rest?”
“Then let’s go,” he said, and lifted the “Dar-Zul making you a little nervous, Farley?”
“He’s a regular Doubting Thomas,” Ziggy Boone
Strato-Sled into the air. asked. He looked up at the crumbling
said. “Some people!” remains of the city rising up the side of a
He kept the Sled at 10,000 feet and the “It’s all right, Ziggy,” Calystra said. “It’s hard mountain, step by step, in a series of plateau-
speed set at 400 mph. The harsh, unforgiving for people like Mr. Brand to understand things like layers, and shook his head. “If there is
landscape of desert and mountain country beyond the so-called normal word of concrete anything watching us, odds are it’s not human.
rolled under them. There were no signs of life reality. You can’t blame them.” She looked over Anyway, the people that lived here once are
in the Tulon desert, only emptiness and more at Brand. “I envy you, Mr. Brand. To you, there long gone and buried. I don’t think you have to
emptiness. Brand reckoned if oil hadn’t been is only one reality, only three dimensions. Time worry about them.”
discovered here a hundred years ago, when runs chronologically, one hour after the next.
the Terror War was in full swing, nobody from Life is very simple, untroubling.” “It’s a big place,” Farley said. “I can see how
Earth would have bothered with this planet. It you could wander in there and never find your
was hot, arid, and almost uninhabitable. But it She gazed out the cockpit windshield. “I way out.” His eyes traveled along the rising
had Black Gold, and that was what kept the War have seen things that no normal human mind levels of the city, and noted the many caves
Machine running back on Earth. Then when can expect to understand. Worlds colliding and tunnels that were visible. The building and
Digital Atomic fuel was invented and nobody with worlds in thousands of dimensions. Time walls of Dar-Zul seemed to have been carved
needed crude oil anymore, the bottom fell out running backwards and forwards and collaps- out of the red rock face of the mountain itself.
of the oil market and Tulon was abandoned. ing into itself. I’ve seen ghosts rising from their Time had turned the rock dark brown, and the
The Big Shutdown came and those who could graves to take up swords and shields to wreak eternal wind had smoothed out all the sharp
left. Some went back to Earth once the war vengeance on those who buried them. The edges of the buildings and abutments, giving
ended. Others, like Brand, stayed. universe is crowded with forces you couldn’t the place the look of something that was slowly
possibly conceive. Dark forces that seek to vanishing back into the mountain stone.
“You said you had doubts, Mr. Brand,” destroy whatever civilization creates...”
Calystra said. “Doubts about what I told you Boone started up a well-worn path that
about your sister being true. May I ask, then, “Calystra, stop,” Ziggy said. “Brand, do you led up through what once must have been a
why you want to go to Dar-Zul?” mind? I don’t appreciate you upsetting her.” gateway. Farley followed, feeling the weight
of the backpack on his shoulders. He carried a
“Like I said, I have to check out every pos- “Sorry,” Brand said. “Didn’t mean to.” Brand Ruger 575 Plasma Rifle and kept a Colt Electro-
sibility.” was somewhat astonished at what she’d just Pistol in a holster belted to his waist. Boone

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Secret Treasure of Dar-Zul, by John M. Whalen Pg. 11

carried a Sony Laser Rifle. A Smith & Wesson They entered the cave and dragged the “Looks like a big brown wedding cake,” Ziggy
Plasma-Pistol was tied down on his leg. He was animal’s carcass back inside it. Boone turned said. “A wedding cake for zombies!”
a big man and he barely noticed the weight of on his radium torch and shone the green light
the pack on his back. around the cave’s interior. He walked several “Don’t mind him, Mr. Brand,” Calystra said.
yards into the darkness. “About all Ziggy thinks about is food. Are you
They made it to the first level, where a row getting hungry, Ziggy?”
of buildings ran out to the left and right. There “Looks like that Jack-yena was here by
was a small cave at the end of the path that ran himself,” he said. He walked back to the cave “Well, now that you mention it, it’s been a
in front of the buildings. entrance. Farley stood there looking out at the long while since breakfast.”
city. Boone rested his rifle against the wall of
“That looks like a good spot,” Boone said. “Chew on one of your energy bars,” Brand
the cave, took off his pack, and sat down.
“Let’s wait in there. We can see them approach- said. “We’re not going to have time to eat right
ing from here. And it’ll be easy to follow them, “Might as well take the load off,” he said, away. I want to get well into the city, Calystra,
once they start inside the city.” taking one of his Darlanian cigars out of a case. and see if you can find the place where you
“Be a while before they get here I expect.” saw my sister, and get out before dark.”
They started for the cave but froze in
their tracks after only a few steps. Something Farley slipped the pack off his shoulders “That sounds like a good idea,” Ziggy said,
jumped out of the darkness of the cave. A large and sat down, resting his back on the opposite his eyes taking in every detail of the ruins
jack-yena stood there snarling and growling wall. below.
at them. It bared its fangs and snapped its
“Are you sure our Sled won’t be seen, when “I’m not sure we’ll be able to find what
slavering jaws. Farley fired his plasma rifle. The
they arrive?” we’re looking for so easily,” the woman said. “It
bang of the explosion echoed loudly around might take more than one day. Do you think it
the hollow walls and alleys of the lost city. The “Positive,” Boone said, lighting up. “They’ll is not safe to spend the night in Dar-Zul?”
wild dog lay in a smoking heap. come the same way we did. The rocks give
the ship plenty of cover. So relax. Care for a “Well, there have been stories,” Brand said.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Boone asked.
smoke?” “Most likely just superstitious nonsense.”
He stood crouched with the Smith & Wesson
in his hand. He looked back over the desert. “What about?” Ziggy asked.
“No. Filthy habit.”
“Good thing they’re not here yet. The sound of
that shot could travel for miles. Should have let “Well, I sure hope you don’t mind if I indulge,” “People claim they’ve seen things in the
me get him with this. It’s not so noisy.” Boone said with a toothy grin. He pursed his city at night. Most likely shadows. Maybe some
animals in out of the desert. If we have to stay
Farley looked over at him sheepishly. “I lips and blew out a large cloud of smoke. “I’d
hate to annoy you, Farley. I really would.” overnight, we stay. We’ve got weapons, in case
hadn’t thought of that.” there’s any trouble.”
“From now on, when it comes to shooting, # “Sounds like a lovely place,” Ziggy said. He
you better follow my lead,” Boone said. “A slip shot an anxious glance toward Calystra. “Not
like that is all a fella like Brand needs to get the Brand dropped the sled down to 500 feet. too late to turn around and go home,” he said.
edge.” Dar-Zul lay spread out in front of the Sled. He,
Calystra, and Ziggy gaped at it through the Calystra’s indigo eyes were rapt in fascina-
“Okay, okay,” Farley said. cockpit windshield as they approached. tion as she stared at Dar-Zul.

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Secret Treasure of Dar-Zul, by John M. Whalen Pg. 12

“No, Ziggy,” she said. “We’ve traveled so far, voices whispering. They whispered words or the ceiling. There were faint traces of something
you and I. From our home planet of Kelor, to sub-words in a language he couldn’t compre- that had been painted up there long ago. It was
colonies and settlements on planets around the hend. He stopped, and unslung the Winchester now faded beyond recognition—just shadows
galaxies. We thought we were just wanderers, from his shoulder. crawling across the darkened interior of the
like birds living on the wing, that we could dome. As she turned, Calystra’s eyes grew
never land anywhere. But all the while, though “You can hear them?” Calystra asked. wider, and her blue irises began to glow with
we didn’t know it, we were really searching for “I thought I heard something,” Brand said, aher weird inner light. A look of fright came upon
this place. Dar-Zul. It is here we will find our face. “Very primitive. A deity too hideous
turning off the weapon’s safety. The whisper- to comprehend.”
destiny.” ing had stopped. “It must have been the wind.”
# Ziggy grabbed her by the shoulders. “Maybe
“I didn’t hear anything,” Ziggy said. we better get out of here,” he said.
Brand led them from the Strato-Sled toward “Do you have any idea which direction to “So many have died here!” Calystra said
what appeared to be the main entrance to the start in?” Brand asked the woman. breathlessly. “The dark forces are very strong.
city. He had a Winchester Electro-Rifle slung looked upwards. “We must go further The shadows are everywhere!”
over his shoulder, a Beretta Electro-pistol up. She Keep going until I tell you.”
strapped to his leg and a light pack on his back. The brightness in Calystra’s eyes had faded.
He’d given Ziggy a small pistol that the Kelorian They climbed upwards several tiers and She started to say something to Brand, when
wore in an awkwardly fitting holster. Calystra stopped. “We must go this way,” she suddenly the floor gave out under their feet.
said. She pointed to the left and went on The stone slabs they had been standing on
He looked up as they approached, and along swung open on secret hinges, and the three of
the path they were standing on, taking
marveled at the tier upon tier of buildings the lead. them dropped down into darkness.
Brand followed alongside of her and
rising up to the sky. That it was ancient went Ziggy behind.
without saying, but he couldn’t help being
impressed with the immensity of the place and Up ahead Brand saw a building much larger
the ingenious engineering that went into its than the ones they had passed by so far. Most
creation. These cliff dwellers, it was estimated, of those appeared to be dwellings, but this had
lived 10,000 years before anyone from Earth the look of something more significant. There
had ever set foot on Tulon. Who they were were columns carved in the rock around the John M. Whalen
and where they came from, or if in fact they entrance and long high windows looked out
were indigenous to the planet, no one really over the desert. They came to a flight of wide,
knew. They were the first beings ever to live well-worn stone steps leading inside. Calystra John M. Whalen’s stories have appeared
on Tulon, and why the entire race had disap- trod up the steps and the others followed. in the Flashing Swords E-zine, pulpand-
peared without a trace was one of this world’s Inside the building, Brand was amazed at the
greatest mysteries., and Universe Pathways
height of the domed ceiling. It rose up at least
magazine. His Jack Brand stories are a
As they passed through the worn down forty feet above them.
remains of the main entrance, and started up “It was the king’s palace,” Calystra said. She
staple here at Ray Gun Revival magazine.
the path to the first tier, Brand heard a weird turned slowly, taking in the whole room. “He
rushing sound, like the wind rustling leaves. was a cruel king. There was much evil practiced
Only it wasn’t the wind. He realized, with a here.” She kept turning, her eyes looking up at Contact the author here.
chill down his back, that it was the sound of

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
RGR Interviews: Jewel Staite by Paul Christian Glenn Pg. 13

RGR Interviews: Jewel Staite
by Paul Christian Glenn

A nyone who knows anything about RGR
knows that Joss Whedon’s Firefly is a
program close to our hearts. The inspiration
RGR: Let’s begin with the Collector’s
Edition DVD of Serenity. To the chagrin of
many fans, you were absent from the com-
that Joss was pretty specific in wanting to
see me read. Once I had the part and we
started to shoot, it was a bit unclear how
for this ‘zine came, if not directly, at least mentary track. This was due to a massive, bubbly Kaylee was supposed to be. Is she
indirectly from the adventures of Captain ugly falling out you had with Joss, Nathan, just happy or is she more manic? Is she
Mal and his ragamuffin crew, and for that, I Summer, Adam and Ron, right? hiding something and that’s why she puts
will always be grateful. on the happy facade, or is she just drunk?
JS: Not so much massive and ugly but I figured the best route to go was to play
Last month, Universal released a Col- more like large and homely. Seriously, I was up her innocence, her frankness, and her
lector’s Edition of Serenity, the big-screen filming Stargate until midnight the night warmth more than anything. “Out of Gas”
sequel to our beloved series. The film is a before my flight was supposed to leave, and put me straight on the whole innocence
brilliant, sometimes brutal denouement my passport was in the middle of getting thing, so after that I added horny flirt to
that doesn’t just capture the spirit of the renewed and hadn’t come in the mail yet. her repertoire.
series, but expands its universe and takes I wish it was juicier than that, but there is
the characters to places, both literally and no juice with us Firefly people. We all get RGR: One thing we never got to see on
figuratively, that we’ve never seen before. along and love each other and it’s really the series was Kaylee’s life before Serenity.
Serenity is the rarest of specimens: an old- boring. Did you ever imagine her previous life, and
fashioned adventure story that manages to if so, how did you integrate those elements
be both frightening and funny, both heart- RGR: How did Joss originally pitch the into your performance?
breaking and heartwarming, both thrilling character of Kaylee to you, and how did
and thought-provoking. You know—every- that original concept evolve as you brought JS: I did a bit of imagining, but I also
thing that Star Wars used to be. her to life? trusted Joss with any kind of backstory
questions I had. I knew she had a great
The cast of Serenity has since moved on, JS: I read a small synopsis on Kaylee family, maybe not such a well-off one, but
but Jewel Staite, who played happy-go-lucky before I auditioned that basically said she a family that was supportive of her and her
mechanic Kaylee Frye, took a few minutes was a warm, bubbly, chubby, lovely little abilities, otherwise why would they have
from her work on the set of Stargate: individual, and I immediately realized let her go with someone like Mal? That’s
Atlantis to talk with Ray Gun Revival about that they would want me to eat copious one of the things that was most disappoint-
Firefly, the film, and the future. amounts of cheeseburgers once I got this ing for me when the series got canceled so
part, so I made it my goal to be as impres- prematurely; I would have loved to learn
sive as possible. I honestly thought I was more about her life off the ship.
a bit wrong for it at first and I actually
wanted to audition for River, but I was told RGR: On the series, you played Kaylee

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
RGR Interviews: Jewel Staite by Paul Christian Glenn Pg. 14

with a sort of childlike innocence; she was to finally sleep with who, so I thought that been a really great mom.
an optimist who saw the best in everyone. while our moments were important, they
In the film, however, she seems to have were also relatively light and sweet, which RGR: Honesty time: how creeped out
reached a darker place—doubting the gave everything a bit of balance. are you by the more salacious fan fiction
captain, shutting Simon out before he that appears online, and how do you feel
could apologize for leaving, etc. Were these RGR: Every actor wants to grow and find about “fanfic” in general?
simply functions of the script, or did you new parts that inspire them. How do you
feel about being associated with a show JS: I don’t really read the “fanfic.”
make a conscious effort to put Kaylee in an Someone gave me a link to a particular short
edgier place? that has thousands of fanatical followers
who will always see you as the smudgy, story involving Kaylee and Jayne getting it
JS: It was pretty much spelled out in the smiley mechanic? on... and then Kaylee and River getting it
script what kind of mindframe everyone on....and then Kaylee and Inara (not such
was in. The crew has reached a dark time, JS: It’s kind of funny: I’ve met some a huge stretch I guess, considering they’re
they’re sick of being poor and on the run, fans at certain events and conventions both ridiculous flirts) getting it on... and
and because of that, they’re not getting and things who say I look “sooooo much I just thought, “What does this say about
along. Joss writes great dialogue; it’s easy better” with grease on my face and overalls me?” There sure are some creative minds
to take a character into a different place. on. Like, thanks. But at least she’s a likeable out there, but anything involving me and,
character! I never imagined when I signed well, Jayne getting together is just barf-
RGR: On the new commentary track, on to Firefly that this would happen. I think worthy. Adam’s like my dad.
Joss notes that Morena felt she got “lost” we all knew from the very beginning that
in the final cut. With the romance between we were creating something quite special, RGR: Switching gears, what can you
Kaylee and Simon being such an important so when I meet people that understand tell us about your new role as Dr. Jennifer
part of the series, were you disappointed and appreciate it, it feels really nice. The Keller on the upcoming season of Stargate:
that it didn’t get more time in the feature whole experience holds a lot of wonderful Atlantis?
film? memories for me. Like when Nathan put JS: I’m having a lot of fun with this one.
hand lotion under the door handles of my Keller’s such a juxtapositon of so many
JS: Morena’s always lost, so that’s no trailer and laughed at me when I fell down
big surprise. Honestly, that did kind of suck things; she’s this amazingly brilliant doctor,
the stairs. Other than that, I love all those way ahead in her field, well-respected and
for her, because she and Nathan had some guys, and I miss them a lot.
really amazing, really beautiful scenes. But perfectly capable of dealing with almost any
the movie was too long, so a lot of stuff that RGR: If the series had succeeded, how medical emergency, but she’s a scaredy-cat
wasn’t totally integral to the plot had to be would you have liked to see Kaylee evolve? who hates guns, violence, heights.
axed, and it’s a shame, because there’s one She’s really out of her element in the
moment they had in particular that always JS: I would have loved to meet her
family, like I said before, but I’ve always had world of Atlantis. But she’s holding her own,
made me cry. In contrast, I think the amount and becoming braver all the time. She’s got
of romance seen on screen between Kaylee this desire to see Kaylee become a mother.
She’s child-like in a lot of ways, but also a great sense of humor too, and a natural
and Simon was just enough; the movie ease with people. But she’s very different
was about so much more than who gets loving and maternal. I think she would have
from Kaylee. Kaylee’s a lot more confident

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
RGR Interviews: Jewel Staite by Paul Christian Glenn Pg. 15

in herself, while Keller’s a lot more grown Much thanks to Jewel for taking the
up and practical. It’s been really fun getting time to talk with Ray Gun Revival! And for
to know this person and figuring out where those fans who have not yet heard, the Col-
she’s going to go and how she’s going lector’s Edition of Serenity has been selling
to evolve. This season’s going to be a lot so well that, according to cast member Alan
different from other seasons, with lots of Tudyk, Universal is now exploring the pos-
surprises, but I’m really excited for it to sibility of a sequel. You all know what that
start airing so I can finally talk about it! means: if you haven’t yet picked up your
copy of the DVD, run to your nearest retail
RGR: Finally, the upcoming film The outlet and do so! And if you have picked up
Tribe will mark your first foray into the a copy, why not buy a few more? You know,
horror genre. How has the experience been for archival purposes. You never know what
different from all the sci-fi you’ve been might happen.
involved with over the last few years?
JS: The Tribe’s not a horror movie! I’m
not a fan of horror in general, unless it’s
done really intelligently, but even then all
the guts and gore and cheap scares kind of
annoy me. The reason why I signed on to
The Tribe was because it was a story about
letting go of your fears and being able to
take care of yourself. I loved the character of
“Liz”; she starts out as such a meek, nervous
little person and grows into so much more.
I’d call it an action/suspense/thriller rather
than a horror movie. And yeah, it’s defi-
nitely been a different experience—lots of
action, lots of conquering of my own fears, Paul Christian Glenn
and becoming my own person. I learned a
lot about myself on this one. I feel like I can Paul Christian Glenn is an Overlord (Co-
do anything... I feel like Wonder Woman! founder and Editor) of Ray Gun Revival
(They’re still casting that damn thing? You magazine, and has been writing for as long
listening out there?) as he can remember.

It should be noted, however, that he has a
notoriously short memory.

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
Featured Artist: Mike McCain Pg. 16

Featured Artist
Mike McCain
Mike McCain
Favorite Book / Author:
George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Tolkien, Heinlein, Douglas Adams
Favorite Artist:
Lots: Sparth, Goro Fujita, Craig Mullins, Paper Blue...

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
Featured Artist: Mike McCain Pg. 17

What media do you work in?
Mostly digital and sketches
Where your work has been featured?, ImagineFX magazine, deviantART
Where should someone go if they wanted to view / buy some of your works? or
What are your current influences?
I spend a ton of time browsing art on and Both are great
online forums for viewing and critiquing concept, commercial and 3D art.
What inspired the art for the cover?
A speed-painting challenge
Where do you get your inspiration / what inspires you?
I don’t get inspired very
much to be honest...
I wish that happened
What are your favorite
tools / equipment for
producing your art?
Photoshop, Wacom
tablet, pencil and paper

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, Chapter 16, The Message by Johne Cook Pg. 18
The Adventures of the Sky Pirate
Chapter 16, The Message
by Johne Cook
The story so far: perform, but we didn’t have a cleric, and given After we finished, Dr. Prentiss touched
my upbringing at the all-male abbey on the my shoulder wordlessly and then went to the
Alacrity takes on crew from a Haddirron medical remote island of Patience Bay, that was fine galley. I didn’t know whether the gesture was
ship, including a doctor, Mr. Pitt’s estranged by me. However, sailors’ superstitions might meant to convey mercy or grace. She didn’t say
wife, Deena Prentiss. wrest that preference right out of my hands. and I wasn’t about to ask, and it hurt my head
to think about all that anyway, so I took a walk
When introducing the new crew, a being And here I thought being captain had all up on deck to clear my head.
disguised as a man, the Riven, killed one man in the perks. It rankled.
gruesome fashion and effortlessly resisted the I saw Mr. Humble and went to where he
others. Bola shot it and it toppled overboard I pulled the twine tight with a brusque stood overseeing work up in the rigging. “Any
into the ocean. snap, burning the skin on my fingers on the trouble integrating the new sailors into the
rough material. watch routine?”
Mr. Pitt dealt with the emotional tumult of
having his estranged wife onboard the ship. I felt a feminine hand on mine. Was it “I thought we might, but they seem taken
rebuke? Was it caution? I didn’t meet her eyes with Miss Bola, Captain.”
Or tried to. for fear of what she might see, but accepted
the gesture in the spirit intended. I smiled. “That’s bad, and that’s good,
although, if I were you, I’d go easy on the ‘Miss’

Dr. Deena Prentiss assisted me with the part.”
ar. corpse despite her anger with me on HMS
It could be widely expansive, including Florence. Perhaps it was because she felt the Mr. Gillings overheard us and stepped
entire nations or hemispheres or planets for physician should be there for that task, and over. “Indeed. She seems oblivious to her own,
reasons of greed or survival or power. Or it perhaps she just didn’t want to return to her uh, charms.” He bobbed his head up in Bola’s
could be as intensely personal as the senseless cabin because it reminded her too much of direction. Mr. Humble looked like he might
death of one sailor whose only mistake was her estranged husband, my first officer, Mr. ask a question but changed his mind, nodded
standing next to the wrong killer at the wrong Pitt. Regardless of which it was, I decided that in agreement, tipped an invisible hat in my
time. I probably wouldn’t want to be left alone in general direction, and started climbing the
his former room so soon after coming aboard, rigging to help. I resolved to ask him about it
After the attack of the Riven and the sub- either. later.
sequent battle, brief but costly, I spent the
early evening musing on these things as I, Therefore, we worked without speaking, Bola and the new sailors were furling sails
myself, prepared Chellsey’s body for burial and it went about as well as possible, all on the yardarm directly above us. Bola was
at sea. There were others who could do that, things considered. It was as if we’d prepared discussing the idea of having another woman
but this one was my responsibility. Early on, I dead people for burial together for years. onboard. “I don’t like it,” she said. “Women
determined to lead by example, even in how I That thought was depressing enough, but was don’t belong onboard fighting ships.”
handled death. nothing compared to what I knew I would have
to deal with at dawn on the morrow. That’s the Bola I know and love, stepping
This was the kind of work that a cleric might firmly where celestial messengers fear to

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, Chapter 16, The Message by Johne Cook Pg. 19

tread. working. armory. At Mr. Humble’s order, they snapped
to salute. Bola handed one musket each to Mr.
She walked barefoot along the rope, Satisfied, Bola returned to her own work, Pitt and Mr. Gillings. On her word, they raised
oblivious to the incredulous looks she was whistling tunelessly to herself. them, and on another, they fired them into the
getting from the new sailors behind her back. air in unison.
Bola was slick with sweat despite the altitude, Mr. Humble saw me eavesdropping on the
and the flickering light from the various pots conversation. He smiled sagely from the rigging Then it was time for some words. I knew
on deck caught her wild hair. and pitched in on the yardarm. what I was going to say, but Bola, of all Cyl’s
children, beat me to the harpoon.
She grasped the rope with her glove, Mr. Pitt approached and stood at my elbow.
leaned back for a moment, and threw back her I sighed and followed him below, silently “Where’s our cleric?” she asked, brightly,
head, closing her eyes as she worked out some bidding farewell to Bola’s chest and those poor, looking around as naïvely as a child.
kinks in her neck. She let her back take the unwitting sailors who neither knew nor loved
strain, which unintentionally drew attention Bola as of yet, although both of those things “We don’t have a cleric on board at this
to her chest. It was clear that, like the other were beginning to look like foregone conclu- time,” I said, hoping that would end the dis-
sailors, she wore no additional undergarments sions if I didn’t say something quick. cussion. I patted my jacket and my breeches
under her shirt, and the new sailors were pockets for the parchment with my scratch-
Cyl help me. ings, but she clattered on.
wide-eyed. Her breasts were a little flatter
than a full-bosomed woman might be in the
# She struck a pose, hands on hips. “How are
way of fit athletes. If anything, her apparent we going to send this man to his Rest without
lack of regard for her endowments just served
I spelled Eggplant at the wheel overnight a cleric?”
to emphasize her rakish tomcat appeal.
and spent a great deal of time with the charts, “Quickly,” I growled, wondering how many
Bola certainly had a rapt audience for scratching notes in a log, making calculations, men she had sent to their Rest without worrying
her show, although she seemed completely and generally avoiding thinking about what I about ‘holy’ men, but holding my tongue. I
oblivious to the effect she had on the new knew was coming. found the parchment in my right inside jacket
sailors. It was clear to me that the fastest way
I put it off for as long as I could, but dawn pocket and launched into my prepared words.
to achieve a full mutiny would be to remove
Bola from her duties among the sails. waits for no man. At first light, I dropped the “I,” I started, and my voiced cracked just a
ship twenty feet above calm seas and opened little. That was enough to bring tears to eyes.
“Women just bring emotional baggage with the port plank rail. With the help of Mr. I tried again with greater effort. “I spoke at
them and complicate what should be simple.” Pitt—who looked as if he’d spent a similarly length yesterday about the things that we
Bola wiped the healthy sheen of sweat off her sleepless night—we put the wrapped body on stand for on this ship. I spoke about the things
brow, an athletic, energetic Amazon, the very the plank. we stand against, but actions speak louder
picture of sexy female competence. She turned
I thought I might get away with it for a than words, and you now know the level of evil
and saw the nearby sailors hanging onto the
moment, but that’s when it happened. that is out there. These are the sorts of things
rope and staring at her as if transfixed. “Don’t we will fight against...”
you think?” One by one, the members of the crew
appeared from below until they were all there, “...and defeat,” said Bola, reverently, head
Taken by surprise, the tongue-tied sailors
even Bola, the sailors in their best naval dress bowed.
nervously agreed, “Oh, yes, yes...” and averted
their eyes, pretending very hard to be seen uniforms, Bola carrying three muskets from the

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, Chapter 16, The Message by Johne Cook Pg. 20

“Yes. Yes. These are the sorts of things we “We are agreed,” they intoned in unison. side-passions, the things you like doing in your
will fight against and defeat as we progress on free time.”
our journey together.” “May his soul be at peace,” I said.
“Why is that, Captain,” said Smyth, “if you
My voice rose. They slowly and reverently pushed his don’t mind me asking.”
wrapped body out until it slid down the board
“I did not know Mr. Chellsey, but if he was and slipped beneath the waves. “For two reasons, Mr. Smyth, is it? We want
anything like you men, I would have liked him to get to know you as sailors, yes, but we also
very much. I don’t know what he liked, or what “We are agreed,” I said. The crew starred want to get to know you as men, what you like
he didn’t like. I do know that he was serving his themselves and prepared for the day. and what you dislike. We also want to get a
nation, putting himself in harm’s way so as to handle on the extra talents each of you bring
As they filed past, each of the remaining
make a difference with his time on the world. to the table.
sailors—Smyth, Murfree, Donkins, and Yhen—
I know that he didn’t deserve to go like that. I stopped and quietly shook my hand, all looking “Take Mr. Gillings here. I understand that
know that he deserves our very best effort, our me in the eye. That meant a great deal to me, he is quite good on the violin. Or take Mr. Pitt
most committed unity, our cleverest invention although I wouldn’t come out and say so out here—he knits.”
of ideas and energy, and our deepest convic- loud.
tions. He deserves our heartiest laughs and This drew a laugh that cut through the
our bitterest tears.” Bola was last. “That wasn’t too bad,” she mood of the morning.
said, shaking my hand. Then she leaned in close
I spoke strongly now, letting the parchment and whispered in my ear. “...but if we’re going Murfree showed some interest in the
in my hand drop to my side. to be doing this with any regularity, the crew controls of the ship and was a pilot at New
“He represented innocent life snuffed out will need a dedicated holy man, or there will Hemston harbor, so Eggplant took him to the
for no other reason than being in the wrong be unrest.” She playfully cuffed my shoulder, wheelhouse and showed him how to return to
place at the wrong time. We will hunt down which did no more than rattle my teeth. cruising altitude. He then started showing him
and defeat the Riven, and those who reaved the controls of the ship. I gave him a single,
“Have a nice day,” she said, and winked. grateful nod.
them. We will carry the spark of life to the dark
corners of the world and shatter the darkness And I was undone, just like that. I needed Heading downstairs, I saw Bola in the
with that holy light.” a cleric like I needed a paddle up side of my galley and prepared a simple breakfast of
head, the very thing I’d tried so hard to stave biscuits, sausage, and black kava for us. While
Now I was thundering, and the people were off. Blast. the particular characteristics of the flotation
with me!
process provides hot and cold elements (which
“I am not a holy man, but if there is a god of # were specifically junctioned in the galley, thus
the air and of the sea, Cyl-willing, Mr. Chellsey providing both baking / freezing conditions),
will be avenged! After breakfast, I took the opportunity to it just seemed the sort of morning for kava,
quickly address the new sailors, instructing black.
“We commend this man’s body to the deep them to really get to know Mr. Humble, telling
and call for his spirit to go free.” him their specific talents onboard. “Captain,” asked Bola, “ you mind if I ask
you something?”
“In the name of Cyl...” said Bola, head “I’d like you each to also confide something
bowed. to Mr. Humble about what you’re good at, your I nodded, trying to spread a frozen chunk

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, Chapter 16, The Message by Johne Cook Pg. 21

of butter on a biscuit, but mostly destroying I took them aside and waved Bola to join us. probably better to err on the side of caution
the biscuit in the process. “Bola and I were talking in the galley and I need and assume that it can get around in the water,
to ricochet what I’m thinking off somebody. just in case.”
“I have questions about what happened Setting aside for now the questions of what
yesterday,” said Bola. “Many questions.” the Riven is, where it’s from, and how it got “If that’s the case,” said Gillings, “where
aboard the HMS Florence—we’ll come back to would it go? When it fell into the ocean, we
“Such as what, for instance?” I answered, were miles from everything.”
that in a bit—let me ask you this: where was it
wearily. I really wanted nothing more than to going?”
dash some water on my face and fall into my “Not everything,” mused Bola mostly to
bed, but I didn’t see that happening anytime “Before or after you sliced its palm with herself.
soon. your sword and I shot it in the back of the head The three of us looked over at her and then
with my muzzle-loaded pistol?” said Bola,
“Such as, where did you learn all that with at each other.
the sword? I’ve seen some fancy sword work
but that’s not the sort of thing you learn in “Oh, bilge,” said Mr. Gillings.
Mr. Pitt looked at her and then up and
Her Majesty’s academy. It’s not the sort of to the right, thinking. Then he said, “She’s “Turn the ship around,” I said. “Gillings,
thing they use on the street, even. I’ve never right. That’s really two different questions. find Mr. Humble and tell him to prepare. We’re
seen the like. Also, how did you know that that Where was it going when it was on the HMS going back. I’ll go notify Eggplant.” I turned
thing was Riven and not a sailor? How long Florence...” and sprinted to the Wheelhouse, my breakfast
have you known about the Riven, where is it sitting like a lump in my stomach.
from, where was it going, what is its source of “...and where is it going now that it’s back
energy, who did it work for, how many of them down in the water,” said Mr. Gillings, finishing
are there, and are we going to have to fight the thought with a distraught look on his face. #
them again?”
“Do we even know it can swim?” asked We spread charts out all over the place.
Something she said rang oddly in my sleep- Bola, more anxiously than usual. The fact that
deprived head. I looked up at her, trying to Bola was unnerved hit me hard—I wasn’t used “Where was the Florence when we boarded
work it out in his head. “What was that again?” to seeing her afraid of anything. her?”
And then I had it.
I said, “It has at least some metal under “Here, Captain,” said Eggplant.
“The sword or the Riven?” she asked, but I actual flesh and blood. That should make it “I want you to chart two courses, one for
was already heading for the door, looking for Mr. much heavier than a normal man given the if she turned around like the captain said, and
Pitt and Lieutenant Gillings. “Many questions,” same body frame size. It’s possible that it one if she kept going as she was.”
she finished to herself, and then trundled along couldn’t swim even if it wanted to.”
after me, deep in thought herself. It looked like “Yes, Ven.”
it pained her. I fought back a smile as I left the “Are you comfortable making that assump-
galley. tion, Captain?” asked Mr. Pitt. “Assuming you want us to intersect her
course, which one should I make for first?”
“Mr. Pitt! Mr. Gillings!” They turned around I shook my head slowly. “No. You’re right.
from what they were doing, talking with Mr. If it was too heavy to swim and fell to the “Lay in a course as if she’d doubled back to
Humble and his sailors. bottom of the ocean, it’s out of our jurisdic- port. If we don’t find her there, we can track
tion and off our collective minds. However, it’s forward from there.”

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, Chapter 16, The Message by Johne Cook Pg. 22

“Aye, Captain.” out into the world. And nobody ever suggested bored, one was tired, one was furious that
that these...things...were masquerading as he was onboard a ‘pirate’ ship. However, one
I left the Wheelhouse and made my way human again.” followed my every move, my every word, my
back down to the Galley for some hot kava. I every slightest motion. It was satisfying at first,
noticed Bola hanging around. “How about it, I stared into my coffee mug, looking for and then unnerving, until it became the sort of
Bola? Did you get answers to all your questions a sign in the depths of the liquid. “There’s hunch that you’ll never expect to pay off. His
earlier?” no telling how many of these things are out eyes not only never left me, they were flitting
there even now. There hadn’t been an actual about ever so slightly, like those of a bird. He
“Hm? Oh. Well, there is one more, I guess. confirmed sighting of Riven in their native missed nothing. He...”
How did you know that Krewes was...was... form, much less caught in the role of a normal
How did you know?” human sailor. Until now. Just think if one of I trailed off. “Bottom line, all I can say
those things snuck onboard the wrong ship. is that it was intuitive, the niggling thought
Mr. Pitt walked in, and I wordlessly handed Just think if one gained entrace to Her Majesty’s that it might be something, even though my
him a kava mug, wider on the bottom than the court.” conscious brain informed me that it was a
top to keep it from sliding around on pitching ridiculous question.”
galley tables. I thought about her question for “But what are they,” asked Bola.
awhile and then answered her in this way: “I’ve It’s not clear what Bola saw then, but she
spent the better part of the night avoiding that “The stories I’ve heard are that they’re said, “What is it, Captain?”
question, but it kept coming up. Finally, I could humans who volunteer to become machines.
duck it no longer.” Metal is grafted to their bones and they are She was good, more perceptive than I
given nutrients to quickly regrow their flesh would have thought, given...well, you know.
I took a healthy hit from the mug. “We again over the top. The pain of the process is “I’ve been thinking all night, wondering if that
used to hear horror stories of the Riven when so great that they are said to literally lose their man would still be alive if I hadn’t challenged
I was in the fleet in the line of work where I minds in the process, thus, the Riven. Think him?”
was. The stories were treated like ghost tales, about it—the speed of the one we saw, the
nameless, shapeless horrors with no real metal palm he had under his flesh, the incred- “Coop, if you hadn’t noticed and forced the
purpose. Some said they were ghosts. Some ible strength he had, bowling the sailors over, issue, just think—he would have been free on
said they were animals. Some said they were the absolute cunning and lack of remorse. our ship to kill us all. You did the right thing.”
machines. Nobody ever suggested that they Bola, you nailed him point blank at the base of
were human.” “I killed that man,” I whispered, and my
his skull with a musket blast, and all it did was mug was shaking in my hand.
tear off the flesh by his head—it didn’t actually
“Or used to be,” said Mr. Pitt. damage him, just knocked him overboard into Mr. Pitt grunted in disagreement. “Chellsey
“Exactly.” I cradled the mug to give my the sea. With that much metal, let’s hope he was already dead,” he rumbled. “You just put a
restless hands something to do. “There’s sank like a stone.” merciful end to his agony. That was quick, com-
always the stories of a mad genius working for passionate thinking, and the message was not
“But Captain, how did you know what it
the Steamdrivers, conducting horrible experi- lost on the crew. Besides, it’s over now.”
was? Where do they come from? Where do
ments, engineering nightmarish devices to be they go to?” “Let’s hope so,” I said, softly.
used to conquer Menorra, and then the world.
Nobody ever suggested that they were experi- I looked up at her, eye-to-eye. “It occurred “Let’s pray so,” said Bola, devoutly.
menting on human subjects. Nobody ever to me while I was speaking. One sailor was
suggested that they were sending these agents nearly sick but stood his ground. One was I wanted to throw the mug in her face, but

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, Chapter 16, The Message by Johne Cook Pg. 23

she was bigger than I was, and better rested. “Why do you suppose it fired the ship? I drew my sword and held it aloft. “We go
“We need to talk sometime about not frater- Wouldn’t that just alert everyone that to war!”
nizing with the crew,” I said. something was wrong and draw attention to
Bola balled up her fists and stuck them on
her hips. “About what?!” “That’s what it wanted,” said Gillings,
almost to himself.
“Another time, I said,” and walked away. I
was still captain here, despite lust, love, Riven, “What do you mean,” asked Mr. Humble. End of Chapter 16
or Cyl Himself.
I walked to the railing and regarded the The Adventures of the Sky Pirate continue next
I just hoped Bola wasn’t following me. ship’s death throes, dread coursing through my month.
veins. “It’s sending us a message. ‘You didn’t
# kill me—I’ll be back. I’m killing innocents that
you failed to save. I’m still alive, still wreaking
We found the Florence two days later when havoc, and there’s nothing you can do to stop
eight bells tolled after midnight. It wasn’t hard, me.’” I turned and looked at those assembled.
“Of course, that’s where it’s wrong.”
seeing that she was on fire and visible from
miles away across the open ocean.
Johne Cook
“You know how to stop this thing?” Bola
She was roughly on the same course she’d said, skeptically. Johne is a technical writer, help author,
been when we’d boarded her. Maybe the creative writer, and editor.
“Not yet,” I said, thinking, “but something
captain of the Florence was bluffing, maybe his will occur to us, just you watch.” I turned to
sense of duty won out over practicality, maybe face them. I thought of the cursed holy man He likes prog rock, space opera, film noir,
he was just willful. being jammed down my throat. “The weight of
the Riven’s wickedness will be his undoing. If and racquetball.
We’d never know the exact reason. All we
did know was that the ship was engulfed in there is a god, I’ll be there to deliver the mercy
flames when we arrived. There was no point blow to the Riven this time instead of some
in putting down or sending a boarding party, innocent bystander.” I was rather proud of that
so we just tried to make ourselves as useful as statement. I even managed to keep a straight
possible from the safety of the deck. face. Perhaps that’s how holy men do it, too.
By lying.
“A boat is missing,” said Mr. Humble, looking
at the burning ship through the spyglass. Bola asked, “What do we do now?”

“Just one?” I asked. I looked around thoughtfully. “Dawn waits
for no man. We set our course for Sylvan waters
“Yes, Captain—that’s how it appears.” to make our presence felt,” I said. “Riven alive
or dead, holy man here or not, it’s time for us
“Keep a sharp lookout for the next couple to start to fulfill the promise of a unique vessel
of days. If it’s out on the surface in a rowboat, like this. The only way to end a war is to finish
I want to know about it.” it ourselves. It’s time we started that process.”

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007
 Pg. 24
The RGR Time Capsule
October 1 - October 14, 2007
Sci-Fi news from the Ray Gun Revival forums
RGR Date: October 03, 2007 RGR Date: October 02, 2007
Because you can never have enough Theremin 2-May-Happen-6547.html Twenty sci-fi writing mistakes (we all make)
Quote: According to the guys over at Moviehole, Sci-fi author E. E. Knight put together a list
Tudyk told them that a sequel could be hap- of things you shouldn’t do in SF writing, and
RGR Date: October 04, 2007 breaks out a tasty Shaun of the Dead refer-
The Space Age Began Today— pening. Alan says, “They had to put [the new
50th Anniversary of Sputnik DVD] out because they’ve been selling out of ence in the process. the other one and so Universal’s like ‘So, let’s Quote:
Fifty years ago, the Soviet Union launched do another one’. And now… there’s now a #5: Non-comedy of manners: Commonplaces
the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, and the chance there’s going to be another movie.” substituted for dialog. Polite interchanges,
Space Age began. That’s great news if you’re a Browncoat or, greetings, exchanges of compliments, good-
like me, a sensible person who simply loves a byes (unless it’s the villain saying goodbye to
“We take a rightful pride in the fact that it great science fiction movie. James Bond as he’s strapped under the laser)
was our nation which opened the way to the -- usually these can be discarded. Now some-
stars for humanity.” times you can get some characterization
- President Vladimir Putin out of it, as with Leeland Gaunt’s charm and
elaborate pleasantries to his customers in
Here’s a great Russian-style song and video King’s Needful Things, but if you’ve already
to celebrate this historic day: got King’s chops you’re probably only read-
ing this blog to snicker at me.
surprise-sputnik-sails-giggling-through.html Then there’s #5’s corollary, meaningless ac-
tion. Mystery Science Theater is fond of mak-
Happy Birthday Sputnik! ing fun of directors who always show their
actors pulling into a driveway, parking their
RGR Date: October 05, 2007 car, getting out of the car, going to the door...
Alan Tudyk talks Serenity 2 same thing appears in flabby writing. Un- less there’s something interesting going on
in the character’s head, or there’s a zombie
We’ve heard this rumor before—that strong apocalypse raging on in the street and the
Serenity CE sales could lead to a Serenity 2. character is too hung-over to notice (stole
I don’t care if it’s big screen or straight to that from Shaun of the Dead), or we know
DVD—I want more Firefly. there’s a crazed killer waiting inside the now
lightbulb-free house, don’t weigh me down
Oh, and I dispute the ‘Serenity flopped in the- with this.
aters’ bit—it’s just not true.

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 32, October 15, 2007

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