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Sixteen In A Row
by Casey Chan

Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate
Chapter 11: One More Such Victory
by Johne Cook

Serial: Memory Wipe
Chapter 11: The Waste
by Sean T. M. Stiennon

Issue 22
May 15, 2007
“What If.....”  by  Ali Ries 

Table of Contents
Table of Contents 2
Overlord’s Lair 3
Sixteen In A Row, by Casey Chan 5
Featured Artist: Ali Ries 10
Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate
Chapter 11: One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook 12
Serial: Memory Wipe, Chapter 11: The Waste
by Sean T. M. Stiennon 29
The RGR Time Capsule:
May 01 - May 14, 2007 38

Overlords (Founders / Editors): L. S. King, Paul Christian Glenn, Johne Cook

Venerable Staff:
A.M. Stickel - Managing Copyeditor
Shannon McNear - lord high advisor, grammar consultant, listening ear/sanity saver for overlord Lee
Paul Christian Glenn - PR, sounding board, strong right hand
L. S. King - lord high editor, proofreader, beloved nag, muse, webmistress
Johne Cook - art wrangler, desktop publishing, chief cook and bottle washer

Slushmasters (Submissions Editors): Scott M. Sandridge, John M. Whalen, David Wilhelms, Shari
L. Armstrong, Jack Willard

Serial Authors: Sean T. M. Stiennon, Lee S. King, Paul Christian Glenn, Johne Cook

Cover Art: “What If.....” by Ali Ries

Without Whom... Bill Snodgrass, site host, Web-Net Solutions, admin, webmaster, database admin,
mentor, confidante, liaison – Double-edged Publishing

Special Thanks: Ray Gun Revival logo design by Hatchbox Creative

Visit us online at

All content copyright 2007 by Double-edged Publishing,  
a Memphis, Tennessee-based non-profit publisher.
Rev: 20070515b

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007

Overlord’s Lair

I’m going to introduce the stories in this issue
first and leave the commentary until last. Stick
around­—I think you’ll agree it’s worth waiting for.
Trust me, there’s plenty else to keep your attention:
loss, romance, impending danger, a battle at sea,
and the introduction of a colorful new pirate. One
hero rises and another falls.
First up this issue is a story I’ve been looking forward
to for some time. A publishing friend of mine Cooper Flynn is gone and Cadet Pitt has lost his
passed this story along—it was developing nicely, way. It would take a miracle to pull him out of
but wasn’t quite the right fit for his publication. his doldrums. That’s when the bloody pirate
Kzan L’ngrae and his captured ship-of-the-line,
It is, however, perfect for Ray Gun Revival. The the Galley Villainy, assemble a pirate fleet and
story is from an author writing with the pen name threaten the academy. Funny how something so
Casey Chan, and is called Sixteen In a Row. Casey bad can put a spring in a giant’s step, especially
has been working on this story for some time, and when he suddenly discovers that he has something
each new iteration has gotten stronger and more to live for after all—the love of an understanding
focused. This story has been a real labor of love woman.
for Casey, and I love how it turned out. Here’s the
tease. The news swept the academy campus as only
carefully guarded secrets can. The rumors reached
A fugitive human caravan awaits the opening of a Pitt’s ears, and he decided something then and there.
wormhole so that it can escape to another galaxy.
Meanwhile, a lone pilot, facing overwhelming odds He stood up suddenly in the darkness, his
as he waits to ambush a squadron of deadly Flies, movement more sensed than heard. Startled by his
argues with his ship’s artificial intelligence about appearance, the chattering young men put hands
to swords. Pitt stalked right toward them, oblivious
the meaning of Louie Armstrong. of their numbers, and they parted before him like
You want to believe that one guy can make a the impetuous waters parting before the bow of the
difference,” Cull said. Galley Villainy.

Starlight and shadows filled the cockpit. A soft red The featured artist this issue is Ali Ries, a noted
light pulsed on the tactical monitor for every new Fly digital artist, and she has a cover that we found
that came within range. He only had to hold them for interesting and thought-provoking. Ali’s work has
fifteen minutes. Cull looked out across the expanse been featured five times on, and we’re
of space, toward a dim cluster of stars. With his aqua very excited to feature her work and her interview
eyes full of love, he imagined he could see movement in this issue.
where the caravan was, where Corrina was…
Finally, we have Chapter 11, The Waste, of Sean T.
This next story is Chapter 11 of the swashbuckling M. Stiennon’s ongoing serial, Memory Wipe.
serial, The Adventures of The Sky Pirate. This
chapter is entitled One More Such Victory, and After an orbital attack by the alien assassin Lashiir,
references the original Pyrrhic victory. I’ve been the three are stranded on the surface of Nihil, over
working toward this chapter since we started in a hundred miles away from the colony town Hope’s
End. There, Takeda hopes to find answers from a man
July of 2006. It’s got something for everybody, but named Cramer Orano...if he can survive one of the
the one thing it doesn’t have is one rather crucial galaxy’s harshest deserts.
explanation. I wrote that first, but it didn’t really
fit this chapter, so I’ve tabled that explanation for Beinnen had a gun in a locked box on the
the beginning of chapter 12 in June. windowsill. The men blocked his path to it. One man
scratched his beard lazily and said, “You treated a
man calling himself Takeda Croster.”

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007 

“I did. Why? Are you police?” Good-bye, Starsky
Again, the men ignored him. “Where are your
records?” For over thirty years, ‘Starsky’ was my best
friend, and we were closer than sisters.
“At my office. Look, maybe I forgot to lock the door,
but I want both of you out. Now. Come to my clinic Now, I have to say good-bye to the best part
tomorrow, and we’ll talk it over.”
of me. My inseparable partner in high school,
The blonde one took a step forward. “We aren’t we even got our picture in the yearbook one
police,” he said, “but we’ve been looking for Takeda
for a very long time... year as Starsky and Hutch.
And that brings me back to the topic I’ve been We graduated together, and our friendship
thinking about all week. never faltered or lessened. If anything, we got
Overlord Loriendil is, of course, a nickname for a closer.
genuine person, Lee S. King, a person as gentle
and giving as her RGR persona is fearsome and My dearest, my best friend, partner, buddy,
mercurial. pal, sister—the best part of my heart, I’m going
to miss you...
This week, Lee’s best friend in the whole entire
world lost her battle with cancer. Lee drove 12 May 2007
halfway across the country to attend the funeral
and minister to her friend’s family.
I’m a guy and I don’t handle extreme emotion very
well. My own imperious and detached persona
reflects something of my own reticence to deal
with emotions. I can be giddy over trifles that
mean nothing—new music or film or books—but,
when genuine tragedy strikes, I stumble around
with my hands in my pockets and try not to
embarrass anybody.
I’m not under any illusions about the genuine
impact of this virtual rag. This is a frivolous bit
of fun that we’re putting out as our homage to
classic space opera, and as a way to maybe keep
something alive that meant something to us
somewhere along the way. But friendships mean
something. They transcend space and time and
Perhaps they can even transcend death. I believe
they can.
Lee, this one’s for you.

Johne Cook 

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
"The Battle for Monday Morning," by Jordan Lapp Pg. 

Sixteen In A Row
by Casey Chan

“Y ou want to believe that one guy can
make a difference,” Cull said.
Starlight and shadows filled the cockpit. A
“20th century trumpet player: jazz musician.”
“That’s right.”
Cull’s voice was strung tight. He was nervous,
soft red light pulsed on the tactical monitor for which embarrassed him, although he did note
every new Fly that came within range. He only that it was ridiculous to be embarrassed in front
had to hold them for fifteen minutes. Cull looked of the computer.
out across the expanse of space, toward a dim “So Louie’s been playing this club in Chicago,
cluster of stars. With his aqua eyes full of love, during Prohibition – ”
he imagined he could see movement where the A.I. interrupted: “We are now within the Flies’
caravan was, where Corrina was… sensor range. We will be within their weapons’
“Your thought’s history is complicated,” said range in two minutes. They will be in our weapons’
A.I., interrupting Cull’s thoughts. “Those who range in three minutes.”
have acted upon it have had varying degrees of The caravan represented the last surviving
success—“ humans. They were civilians, mostly women and
“I’m not the first person with the idea?” Cull children. Cull and the Mr. Momentum represent-
said sarcastically. Some of the Flies were within ed the last of the humans’ once mighty military.
plain sight. They were the last line of defense between the
“No. There have been many, but perhaps Flies and the extinction of the human race. Cull
less than you would expect in nine millennia of looked at a picture on a small, hand-held digital
recorded history,” said A.I. “However, the indi- screen of a beautiful woman, with bountiful,
vidual who ‘makes a difference’, or the individ- curling brown hair.
ual who ‘beats the odds’ is one of your cultures “A.I., can we get a message to the caravan?”
enduring themes. The majority of accounts are “Any communication could be detected by the
of successful exploits. Although this number is Flies’ sensors and would be a grave risk to our
probably not representative, as those who failed mission,” A.I. responded.
are typically unrecognized or forgotten.” Cull thumbed the small crystal screen.
“Let me tell you a story, A.I.” “Yeah, I know,” Cull said, his voice trailing off.
“It is probable that I already know it.” He’d already said everything to her there was to
“Humor me,” Cull said. The tactical monitor say, but he wished he could say it all again.
showed twelve ships approaching. There was The Mr. Momentum drifted toward its
a timer running on the monitor: it now read predators. A.I. had put the ship in an artificial
14:07:22; when it hit 00:00:00, the wormhole hibernation to create the appearance that it was
would open, and the refugees would escape nothing more than a bit of cosmic debris.
through it. Cull returned to his story: “—so old Satchmo’s
“You heard of Louie Armstrong?” Cull asked. the hottest act in town and everybody’s going to

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Sixteen In A Row, by Casey Chan Pg. 

the club he plays. But the local mafia’s losing all gunmen manned deadly cannons. Fly gunmen, it
sorts of dough in liquor sales, because Louie’s not was said, competed among themselves to shoot
playing their club.” anything that moved. It would be funny if they
The plan was to wait until the Flies were within shot me down and never even knew I was here
range. A.I. would kick-start the engine, which to ambush them. Talk about unrecognized and
would initiate a warm-up thrust. The warm-up forgotten, Cull thought. Well, not ’funny’ exactly.
would last ten seconds before the ship would leap “Cull?” A.I. said. Cull hadn’t noticed that he
to full-speed. During these ten seconds, Cull’s job had stopped speaking.
would be to gather souls like the Angel of Death. “Oh, yeah, so—it just goes on like that. Louie
“So one night, Satch gets up on stage to start plays down one trumpeter, and then another one
his set. But just as he starts playing, some cat in stands up. One after another; one after another.
the audience stands up, pulls out his horn, and You see, the mafia was trying to drive Louie out
starts playing too. It was a direct challenge, like of town, and they knew if somebody beat him,
a gunfight in the Old West. Satch isn’t fazed, he he’d have to pack his bags and go back to New
just steps it up a notch and buries the kid—the Orleans. So this goes on for nine trumpeters, for
kid sits down.” two hours. Louie plays every single last one of
Cull could definitely see the Flies now. He’d them out of the club.”
never fought one before, and he was surprised A.I. had turned off the weapons to avoid
how small they looked. The tactical monitor detection. Once they were turned on, they
indicated that there were sixteen of them, moving wouldn’t be ready to be fired for five seconds.
in a double-spear formation. Cull could feel his “Are you analogizing our situation to Louis
heart beat in the base of his throat. Armstrong’s?” A.I. asked.
“But, uh, just as Louie got ready to go on with Twenty seconds, the monitor read. The
his show,” Cull took a deep breath and held it for wormhole timer read 11:15:02.
a moment before letting it out slowly, “another “Well, yeah, I guess. Yes, I am.”
guy stands up, and he’s got his trumpet, and he “But there were nine trumpeters. There are
starts playing. And he’s better than the first kid.” sixteen Flies.”
“We are now within the Flies’ weapons’ range,” “Oh, c’mon! Do you think it would have
A.I. said. mattered to Louie? Do you honestly think he
“Give me a countdown until they’re in our couldn’t have popped off sixteen in a row?”
weapons’ range.” The wormhole timer read “But he was allowed to deal with each of his
12:04:32. opponents individually,” A.I. said. “We will have
“So Louie just lets the guy play for a minute, to deal with all sixteen Flies simultaneously.”
smiles his big old smile—he chuckles. Then he “You’re useless, A.I. You can lead a computer
blasts the guy right out of the house. But right to logic, but you can’t make it think.”
when the second guy leaves, a third guy stands “Also, are you assuming that your skill in combat
up and starts playing.” is equivalent to Armstrong’s skill in music?”
Cull changed his mind. The Flies did not look “Now you’re getting downright obnoxious…”
small; in fact, they were enormous. Cull noticed Cull said.
their distinctive mark, the eyes. On the hull of Seven seconds until weapons’ range.
each Fly were two large-bubbled turrets where Cull’s ears were unexpectedly filled with a

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Sixteen In A Row, by Casey Chan Pg. 

horrendous buzzing and crackling; the Flies were “Thirteen Flies remain,” A.I. responded. “Struc-
jacking into his communications system. tural integrity is at 70 percent. Approximately
“HALT, TERRORIST,” a voice came through the twenty-five rounds of ammunition remaining.”
Mr. Momentum’s monitors. 10:20:02 remained: 08:45:13
the caravan wasn’t going to have enough time. “Not bad, not bad at all,” Cull said, bringing
“Damn! Engines, weapons, go!” Cull said. The the ship out of its loop, nose pointed toward the
gambit had failed. He would have to improvise. Flies. “Can we get some music? Louie Armstrong,
The countdown began for his thrusters to fire. ‘What a Wonderful World’?”
5 The symphony of violins cued up and
“TERRORIST: POWER-DOWN YOUR WEAPONS meandered up their melodious path; Louie’s
AND ENGINES IMMEDIATELY.” sweet, gravelly voice began.
4 I see trees of green, red roses too…
“Cull, a Fly is firing its lead cannon,” A.I. said. The Flies bore down hard on the Mr.
3 Momentum.
“C’mon, C’mon, C’mon!” Cull yelled at his …I see them bloom, for me and you…
engines. The Flies were nearly upon him. He This time all the Flies spewed fire, and Cull
could see the turrets swiveling and their weapons plunged into it, narrowly dodging one bolt, then
training on him. two—but being hit by a third and a fourth. His
2 tactical monitor burst into flames, and burning
Three Flies unleashed a volley of fission bolts. sparks and metal sprayed Cull’s face and body.
Two flashed by Cull’s cockpit like lightning. One He screamed; his right arm was mangled. Louie
struck like a hammer, obliterating half of the serenaded him.
starboard wing. Cull’s body was jolted, the wind …and I think to myself, what a wonderful
knocked from his solar plexus. world…
1 Cull was underneath the Flies again.
Finally, the engines fired. Cull, choking for air, “A.I., fire, fire, fire!” and the Mr. Momentum’s
began to maneuver the Mr. Momentum. More guns exploded into the hulls of four Flies.
lightning flashing by, Cull desperately slalomed …The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the
between volleys. His frontal assault had surprised sky…
the Flies, and soon Cull was under their black “A.I. full speed.”
metal bellies. He squeezed the red triggers for “Cull, we have lost one engine and the other is
his guns, gutting a Fly with daggers of fire. severely damaged.”
09:23:22 “Just go! Give me everything you’ve got.”
As quickly as he’d destroyed the first Fly, he The Mr. Momentum labored forward at 400
darted under a second, firing into its belly. The kilometers per hour. Two Flies pursued, their
Mr. Momentum ripped out from under the Fly weapons burning up Cull’s tail.
squadron, looping hard at 10,000 kilometers per 06:56:32
hour. Gravity crushed Cull’s body against his chair “A.I., I need navigational overrides disen-
until he was nauseated. gaged.”
“How we doin’, A.I.?” Cull said, his voice “Disengaged.”
trembling with velocity and adrenaline. The Flies were on him, at nearly point-blank

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Sixteen In A Row, by Casey Chan Pg. 

range. Cull wrenched the ship askew from its were literally destroyed. He played until he had
spiraling course, forcing it to lurch and spin nothing left.”
sideways. The torque ripped the port wing from Cull looked about the cockpit, and gave the
the ship’s body, and it spun away into space. Cull’s interior a pat.
head wanted to burst from the furious friction. “Now there you go, A.I. I almost wish I could
The Flies overshot him, unable to change course, hug you,” he said. “Is the nuclear reactor still
and Cull blacked out as he pulled the trigger, functioning?”
shooting down the two Flies. “Yes,” A.I. said, “barely.”
05:04:22 Cull exhaled, and smiled sadly.
As the Mr. Momentum drifted through the “Destabilize the reactor.”
burning remains of the Flies, Cull regained con- “Done.”
sciousness. For a moment, space was quiet, “A.I., tell Corrina…and the baby…”
except for Louie’s magnanimous crooning. His “I know, Cull.”
thoughts drifted to the baby…
I see friends shaking hands, saying how do I hear babies cryin’, I watch them grow
you do. They’re really saying, I love you. They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
…what would its name be? And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
“Cull,” A.I. said. “The Flies are approaching.” Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world
“How many’d I get?”
“Nine, Cull.” 04:19:36
“So what do you think? A performance worthy Cull watched his instruments as the engine
of Satchmo?” core began to heat, then overheat, and then…
“Yes, Cull, I think it is comparable.” Space buckled at the neutron explosion. A
“So what do we got left?” cascade of radiation ripped through the sky. The
“Structural integrity is 7 percent. We have no remaining Flies turned to dust.
engines. We have no ammunition.”
“How long ‘til the worm hole opens?” #
“Approximately five minutes.”
“We need to buy them more time.” 25 years later.
“How?” A.I. asked.
Cull looked out at the millions of stars, and at Children in colorful clothing chased a red ball
the seven black masses looming. through a sunny field. Their teacher, a young
The baby had to have a name! Cull thought. woman, watched them with loving, aqua eyes.
“Think A.I.! Think! What can we do?” She called them to the tiled patio. When they
“Cull,” A.I. said. “Consider Louis Armstrong.” had all arrived and sat down cross-legged, she
“What?!” gave each of them a snack of bread, fruit, and
“By the end of his career as a musician, he had cream. The teacher called out toward the nearby
played the trumpet to such an extent that his lips classroom.

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Sixteen In A Row, by Casey Chan Pg. 

“A.I., could you join us?”
From inside, a large, white globe floated out
onto the patio.
“Children,” the teacher said, “do you know
what today is?”
One of the children reported that it was Fifth
“Yes,” the teacher said, smiling. “But it’s also a
holiday. Today is Hero’s Day. A.I. is going to teach
us a history lesson.”
The white globe floated to the middle of the
half-circle of children.
“Thank you, Louise,” A.I. said to the teacher,
whose curly, bountiful brown hair bounced as
she turned.
“Hello, children,” A.I. said. “I’m going to tell
you about someone who made it possible for us
to be here today. In fact, he was your teacher’s
father. His name was Jacob Culbertson…”
As A.I. told his story, the swirling colors of the
wormhole bloomed in the sky above New Earth.

Casey Chan

Casey Carson Chan is the pen name of Kenny
Ching, a lawyer who loves sci-fi and literary

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Featured Artist: Euka Pg. 10

Featured Artist:
Ali Ries
Name: Ali (Alice) Ries
Age: 52
Hobbies: Computer graphics, watching
scifi TV, digital photography, my
Favorite Book / Author: Asimov,
Heinlein, Piers Anthony, David Weber
Favorite Artist: Dali, David Ho, Giger,
among many others.
When did you start creating art? I have
been interested in art in many forms
over the years, like photography, design
etc. But I have only been doing serious
art since around 1998.
In what media do you work? Total
computer graphics now.
Where has your work been featured?
I have been featured five times on and published in The Best of 3D Graphics. I have been in several online
e-zines, and my current gallery is on deviantART, where I have received three Daily Deviations and
numerous features. One pic has been used for a CD cover in Australia.
Where should someone go if they wanted to view / buy some of your works?
How did you become an artist? I have always wanted to be an artist, but couldn’t draw or paint worth a darn.
With the advent of home computers
and graphic software, I have finally
be able to make all of the artwork
that lingers in my head. I started out
with Bryce 3D, and Micrografx Picture
Publisher, and through lots of hard
work and practice, I finally managed to
create some acceptable artwork. But
I consider myself far from being the
master artiste that I want to become.
What were your early influences?
I think my earliest influences can be
traced to the original Star Trek and all
of the great sci-fi movies I have seen
since then.
What are your current influences?
I would say sci-i still, but I am striving
for more photorealistic space scenes.
What inspired the art for the cover?
Actually my husband did. About five

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Featured Artist: Ali Ries Pg. 11

years back, he created the robot arm model,
and made a pic of man and robot touching
similar to the Michaelangelo painting. I
recently found his pic and redid the theme in
my own style.
How would you describe your work? Retro
sci-fi with a smattering of whimsy, and an
occasional nebula that draws your breath away.
Where do you get your inspiration / what
inspires you? Besides great current sci-fi and
fantasy movies, I would have to say a bunch
of artists on deviantART. Their artwork is awe-
inspiring and pushes me to want to learn more.
Also fractals, which has allowed me to create
my own style of space scenes using them as
nebulae centerpieces.

Have you had any notable failures, and how has
failure affected your work? Hmmmm.. it seems that
whatever art piece I work the hardest on, put the
most time and effort into, seems to bomb with the
viewers. The pieces I love the most are most often
failures with the public. I wouldn’t call them failures
artistically, but they are not what pleases the
crowds. So now when I work, I often do it without
much forethought. I start a piece and go fairly fast
on it, intuitively, and that seems to work better, and
is usually very well received by the public.
What have been your greatest successes? How has
success impacted you/ your work?
I think my greatest success was being published. It
gave me more confidence and now I try harder to
learn and grow as an artist.

What are your favorite tools / equipment for
producing your art? I would have to say that
the graphic programs that I use the most are
Mojoworld, Apophysis, Bryce and Poser, with a
variety of plugins for my post-work, and Universe for
all of my stars.
What tool / equipment do you wish you had?
There are quite a few programs and plugins out
there I wish I had, but most I would love to have
Vue 6 Infinity and PhotoShop CS3.
What do you hope to accomplish with your art? To
make people smile, and for a moment to suspend
their disbelief as they gaze at one of my space
scenes and say, “WOW, I wish I were there.”

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007 
Pg. 12

The Adventures of the Sky Pirate Brief mild adventure language - PG
Chapter 11: One More Such Victory
by Johne Cook

C ommodore Dondely was in his office
working by lamplight when a staffer
knocked twice on the wood doorjamb. Dondely
how thoroughly he had been swept along in the
wake of his former roommate’s swell, however,
with Cooper Flynn gone, he found himself truly
looked up over his bifocal lenses. “Come.” on the outside. Flynn had a way of being outside
“Commodore, a message has arrived from conventional routines and norms, and yet insinu-
Haddirron City for your eyes only.” The staffer ating himself into the very heart of things when
handed the sealed oilskin packet over, saluted, there was any excitement to be had, any infor-
and quit the office, closing the door behind him. mation to be gleaned or traded, any wrong to be
Dondely puffed on his pipe, a cheerful cherry righted.
aroma lingering in the air. He sat back, broke the And now Flynn was gone, destroyed as a pre-
wax seal, and opened the packet. He smoothed ventive measure by Pitt’s own hand in an effort
the parchment out and read the scrawled lines to save the lovely and spirited Deena Prentiss, an
thereon. aspiring physician, or so he told himself at the
His pipe hit the floor with a clatter, spilling time. However, in so doing, Pitt had destroyed
tobacco everywhere. “L’ngrae? Here? Now?” his own place at the academy, and was now truly
He grabbed the parchment and bolted for the rudderless, adrift in the swirling social circles at
door. He threw it open and bellowed, “Summon the tight-knit institution.
the Officer of the Watch!” And yet it seemed as if Flynn was still with
him. Pitt couldn’t decide if he was haunting him
or helping him.
The news swept the academy campus as Either way, Pitt now sat alone everywhere he
only carefully guarded secrets can. The rumors went, equally intimidating people with the size
reached Pitt’s ears and he decided something of his body and the size of the black cloud that
then and there. preceded and followed him. Aware of his uncom-
The gigantic young man was from the Reach fortable status, he was too weary to care, or to
islands, that fiercely independent—neutral attract the object of his affection, Vess Prentiss.
would be the wrong word—group of islands Pitt kept his eyes open for Walenda Darden, his
between the Haddirron waters and Sylvan islands. source for the news that ultimately doomed his
Staunch friends, implacable enemies, Reachers erstwhile friend, but she was nowhere to be seen
were a people unto themselves, an island nation since that fateful day, a fact that he carefully—if
of legends. listlessly—filed away for later mental digestion.
It was early in his third year at the Haddirron If anything, Pitt had abundant time to think.
Naval Academy, and Pitt sat alone in the dark along Pitt frequently pulled KP peeling potatoes
the edge of the commons. He hadn’t realized even though he didn’t do anything worth demerit.

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 13

He just showed up one night, donned an apron, quarters.”
and shot a silent baleful look at the first one who “I’m glad she’s busy in the out-islands, then.
started to comment on his presence there. From Perhaps the fleet can put paid to her there.”
then on, he just showed up, peeled potatoes— “That’s the thing—the fleet is out on the high
whether they needed peeling or not—and nobody seas. She’s running amok, nearly unchallenged.
mustered the wherewithal to argue with him. And rumor has it that she’s coming this way.”
On this night, the head cook, as broad as she And that’s when Pitt made his decision, right
was tall, shooed Pitt out—not unkindly—and he then and right there. He stood up suddenly in
found himself in the shadows, listless, adrift with the darkness, his movement more sensed than
no land in sight. He clenched and unclenched his heard. Startled by his appearance, the chattering
right hand reflexively, saw what he was doing, and young men put hands to swords. Pitt stalked right
quickly grabbed the edge of the short stonewall toward them, oblivious of their numbers, and
where he sat. they parted before him like the impetuous waters
He wanted to die. parting before the bow of the Galley Villainy.
Salvation came in the form of two chattering #
underclassers. They walked along in the cheerful
light of the incandescent globes recently installed Deena Prentiss was an up-and-coming
along the perimeter of the commons, more physician. Well past the normal four-year
strolling than making any time. maximum, cadet physicians added another ‘tour
“The ‘details’ vary widely but the fact remains of knowledge’ to their training before they were
clear—Kzan L’ngrae and a crew of 150 hardened ready for the field, and Deena was one of the
pirates are cutting a swath through Haddirron brightest minds in some time. She earned her
shipping lanes and taking prizes left and right.” celebrity and carried herself with grace, which
Pitt’s attention was piqued. was fortunate for the gaggle of young bucks that
“Who is this L’ngrae?” surrounded her, a group that seemed bent on all
“Well, rumor has it that Captain L’ngrae has a speaking at her at the same time.
fascination with Commodore Dondely, although “What did you do then?” “How did you keep
nobody knows—or will say out loud—just why.” your head?” “One as pretty as you must watch
“I assume you’ve heard something…” herself among those sorts!”
“Well, yes, but far be it for me to gossip.” A tall, self-sufficient brunette with striking
“Of course, of course.” blue eyes, Deena privately agreed with that last
They passed by, and the next group were sentiment, although not as the speaker intended.
males fixated on the ship. “The Grand Villainy “I cannot stay and chat long, cadets. The one in
carries 34 cannons and a crew of 150.” charge of tomorrow morning’s surgery classes
“She sounds big.” will want me to be bright-eyed for instruction.”
“Well, she’s a three-masted ship. I’d say she That wasn’t a total mistruth, as she was the one
weighs in at close to 300 tons.” leading the class.
“That’s as big as a ship-of-the-line!” The unified burst of protest was almost
“She used to be a ship-of-the-line before she physical in its delivery, and she winced just a little.
was captured by a flotilla of rowboats led by “No, stay!” “You cannot go!” “What will we do
L’ngrae. She’s not fast, but she’s brutal in close without you?”

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Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 14

A great shadow stalked toward them, and the popped him on the shoulder with her fist, said
young cadets scattered with the exception of the “Ow!” to herself, and shook it out. Her lesson
last cadet, who perhaps imagined he still had a learned, she patted his arm. “They call you ‘Pitt
chance with her. the Peeler’ behind your back!”
“Deena…” rumbled a solemn Pitt, stopping as A grin teased briefly at the corner of his
Deena looked past him toward Jel, the cadet. Pitt mouth and then he became impassive again as
turned around and fixed Jel with an impassive he returned to his purpose. “Flynn was your man.
scowl. He would have protected you.”
“Vess Prentiss,” squeaked the cadet, and then Deena cocked her head. “Flynn? Whatever
trailed off as Pitt’s scowl slid into a baleful glare. do you mean?”
“Begone!!” he roared, and the youngster’s Pitt looked like he wished he’d kept his mouth
resolve fractured. Jel fell backward off his feet, shut. “I… heard you were Flynn’s girl.”
caught his balance, turned, and skittered off into Deena exploded in surprised laughter and
the darkness, his fragile self-confidence trailing quickly covered her mouth, stifling the sound.
behind him in tatters. She gained control of herself with effort. “No, I’m
Deena relaxed and smiled gratefully at Pitt. not ‘Flynn’s girl’. It would take somebody with
She raised one lazy eyebrow. “My protector! more gusto than me to catch that otter!”
Thank you, Ven Pitt. My entourage does not Relief followed by concern played out over
normally cling so fiercely. You were saying?” Pitt’s simple features. He seemed very grateful,
“Deena, there are pirates within a week of the and yet was clearly uncomfortable with where
Academy.” this was going. “If you weren’t Flynn’s girlfriend,
She nodded in appreciation. “I’d heard the why did he seek you out so often at night?”
news,” she said dryly. She looked at Pitt with a wry grin. “He told
Pitt shook his head. “They are a genuine you a great deal, apparently. What a rogue.” She
danger. In Flynn’s absence, I will protect you.” shook her head in appreciation. “Flynn confided
Deena took his arm and pulled him over to in you—that much is apparent. So I will, as well.
a nearby bench. She sat and, after a moment’s Pitt, Flynn came to me in confidence because I
hesitation, he sat as well, the wood creaking in have a… relationship…to the commodore. He
protest. She smiled to herself and concentrated gave me information pertinent to the security
on what he was in the process of saying. It wasn’t of the academy, and I passed it along. That’s all,
coming easy for the young giant, but she was tired I promise you. Flynn and I…” She had to stifle
of all the chattering. When Pitt spoke, he didn’t another giggle.
say much, but it was always worth listening to. Pitt’s expression was curiously troubled.
“What about Flynn? His absence since the day “Prentiss isn’t my real last name,” she said. “It
of the hanging of the Sylvan spy has been strange, was my mother’s maiden name.”
but it seems to have hurt you the most.” Pitt’s eyes grew large.
Pitt shot her a surprised look. “It is true,” she said, “that I have an inside
Deena leaned toward him. “Oh, yes. I’ve track to the highest office at the academy. It is
noticed. You look like you lost your best friend. something I keep very quiet for obvious reasons.
They say you’ve been casting about, looking for Cyl only knows how Flynn discovered that, but
something to direct your attentions toward.” She instead of using that information to blackmail

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 15

me, he came to me to quietly pass anonymous while here to avoid any charges of nepotism or
messages to the Admiralty.” favoritism. He agreed. So ‘Deena Prentiss’ was
Pitt winced in confusion. born.
She took pity on him. She laid one hand on “I don’t know how Flynn discovered my identity,
his. “Pitt, Commodore Dondely is my father,” she but he was always a gentleman about keeping
said. the secret. So when he uncovered items he
thought would be of interest to the commodore,
he went through me as a silent third party. The
The young man with black hair and black commodore didn’t know of Flynn’s existence, and
eyes sat on the porch looking idly out over the Flynn didn’t abuse his knowledge of my identity.
water to the west of the peninsula when a speck It was a system.
approached. It got close enough for him to stand “But then he uncovered something bigger than
up and put his fingers together at his lips. He all of us, a Sylvan spy here at the academy.”
whistled a distinct pattern, and it changed course Pitt’s expression had gone blank. “Is there
and flew toward him, landing on the railing in any chance that Flynn might have been the spy?”
front of him. That rocked Deena. “None. His information
He produced a honey-cake from the table next was good, and the spy confessed to us behind
to him and broke off some pieces to feed to the closed doors. Flynn did the academy a genuine
message pigeon, and then removed the message service.”
tied to its slender leg. Pitt’s face turned white. He sprang off the
“Posgor!” he roared, and ran toward the light- bench and started pacing. Deena watched this
house. display with alarm. “Is everything all right?”
Pitt looked at her as he walked. “No.”
“What happened?”
Pitt was stunned. He stalked back and forth
Deena spoke, telling her story. “My mother She stood and put her hand on his arm. To his
died when I was young, so I grew up as something credit, that stopped him mid-stride without him
of a tomboy. I learned sailing from my father from snapping anything. “Pitt—what happened? You
an early age, and stayed with relatives as he went can tell me.”
off to sea and returned with stories, trinkets, and Pitt turned his head and looked down at her.
lots of time just for me. I watched him become “You don’t have a sister, do you?”
the man you see now, a living legend. But he’s “No,” she said, confused.
still just my padda to me. Pitt turned and faced her, fists clenched, the
“The one difference is that Captain Dondely cords standing out in his neck. His fury was
was known for taking lives—when necessary— tangible, but it washed over her without effect.
and I wanted to be known for saving them. We She was curious, not in any way afraid.
both have a sense of national pride, and it was Pitt growled, “There is a traitor here at the
only natural for me to follow him into the service academy, one who has lied to me. I have made a
of the Crown. But he was already commodore grave mistake.”
here when I was ready to come to academy, so Deena reached up and framed his head with
I met with him and offered to change my name her hands, forcing him to look at her. “Tell me,”

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 16

she said softly, firmly. Lovingly. Pitt started pacing again. “I don’t know who
“Flynn is dead,” he said in a voice so soft that it is, but it’s a female. She claimed that you were
she nearly didn’t catch it, “…and I killed him.” sisters, that Flynn lied about the Sylvan traitor,
and that you were next. She asked for my help.”
Pitt’s words rocked Deena. “Oh,” she said.
In his workshop, Chain put the finishing “You killed your best friend to protect me?”
touches on his latest project and started to don Pitt nodded unhappily.
the apparatus. It appeared to be a backpack “How did you… Is there any chance…”
with two sturdy leather straps (hand-sewn by “I held him by his ankle over the edge of a
him) that went under the armpit and over the cliff and dropped him when I thought he was
shoulders, and two others that criss-crossed over lying. He wouldn’t reveal your relationship to the
his chest. Wires ran from a crude circle affixed to commodore. I thought he was lying.”
the central place where the straps crossed. “Which cliff?”
Chain looked at Rocksie. “What do you think? “Rhapsody Heights.”
Are we ready for this?” Deena winced. “Oh, no. Those are jagged
She tentatively wagged her tail once, which rocks down there…” She looked Pitt in the eye.
could have meant anything, but probably didn’t “Pitt, you’re a good man,” she said, “You made a
have any relation to his actual question. difficult decision based on the lie of a traitor. But
The gesture wasn’t lost on Chain. “Yeah, I’m you didn’t know that, and you did what you felt
not sure, either.” He walked to the front of the you should to protect the academy, to protect me.
warehouse and opened both doors so the light That’s a huge sacrifice of conflicting love impulses.
spilled out onto the wood dock and out over the It ultimately came down to what you believed to
quiet bay beyond. be true rather than what you wanted to be true.”
Chain checked the straps, the leather creaking She laid her hand alongside his face. “Thank
comfortably. He squared his shoulders, took a you,” she said, and then she drew his face down to
deep breath, pressed the button on his chest, hers. She kissed him. Pitt, stunned, cooperated
and stepped forward out over the bay. with her. She sighed and laid her head against his
The straps creaked as they absorbed his weight, chest. Pitt was stiff for a moment, unsure what to
and then he was floating! do, and then gingerly wrapped one bear-like arm
There was a loud pop and smoke erupted from around her. She snuggled closer against his chest
his backpack. The floor fell out beneath him and and they stayed there for a timeless moment, lost
Chain dropped like a rock into the bay, disappear- in each other and the still of a summer night.
ing quickly below the water’s surface. She finally stepped back and took his hand in
Rocksie padded over to the edge of the dock hers, gently drawing him back to the bench. They
and peered down at the water. She wagged her seated themselves there again (with another
tail once and settled down to see what happened heroic creak on his side of things).
next. They sat there together on the bench for a
long time, gazing into each other’s eyes, engaged
in quiet conversation.
A calculating look came over Deena’s face. Hidden deep in the shadows, Cooper Flynn
“Who and what put you up to this?” gazed proudly at the two young lovers as he

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 17

observed them under the cover of moondappled “Aye,” said Posgor, “you’ve counted them, but
trees and the deep of night. It’s about time, he have you named them?” He cackled and it was
thought, and then he carefully faded away into infectious. Dawn broke while they laughed.
the night. Flynn straightened and unclipped the tele-
scoping spy glass. Twenty minutes later, he
whistled and Posgor came over, oilcan in hand.
Posgor Point, on the far southwest side of Flynn handed it over.
the peninsula, was a little shorter than Rhapsody “What do you think?”
Heights to the northeast, but the lighthouse “Three-four-five. I count five smaller vessels
perched at the top actually achieved the tallest in the distance.”
point for miles in either direction. And it was “They could be anything, though, right?”
there Flynn went to next, arriving before dawn at “They could be reinforcements, a trading
the door to the sprawling cottage that served the flotilla, who-knows-what.”
lighthouse. He regained his breath and rapped “Are you expecting anything like that?”
on the door. Posgor took that as a rhetorical question.
Old Posgor himself answered the door holding They took turns scanning the horizon for the next
a steaming mug of tea and what smelled like half-hour, and then Posgor whistled again, a long,
lemon and honey. “You again,” he said, but his low sound.
twinkling eyes belied his words. “Those are not ours,” he said.
“I want to be up there at dawn,” said Flynn. “I “Oh? Why you say that,” asked Flynn, putting
think this may be the day.” the glass to his eye. He saw the big black sails
Posgor—the grandson of the original light- almost immediately, and took his own statement
house builder—smiled. “So you said yesterday, as the rhetorical question. “Posgor, my friend–
and the day before that.” light the flare and flash the codes—they’re here.”
Flynn produced a tiny, curled, parchment. “What are you going to do?”
“The messenger bird finally arrived.” Flynn grinned. “I’m going to go stop them!”
“Who is it from?” Posgor said, “Well, get moving. There are two
Flynn grinned. “If I said ‘the Friar’, would you thousand one hundred and twelve reasons to get
believe me?” started right away, then.”
Posgor grinned right back. “If I didn’t, would Flynn looked over the edge at the water at the
you know any better?” foot of the cliff. “How deep is that water?”
Flynn mock bowed and the two of them started “Deep enough,” said Posgor. “Why do you
ascending the many steps, racing the approach- ask?”
ing dawn to the top. Despite the age of the older “Any rocks down there?”
man, he reached the top first barely winded, “No—we go swimming in that cove as long as
while Flynn was gulping air a little deeper. the tide is up.
“I count…two thousand one hundred and “It’s a long way down. You aren’t thinking
twelve steps,” said Flynn. of…”

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Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 18

“No time to think,” said Flynn, a daring and Kzan L’ngrae had ‘a history’, something deep
statement that would have been more dashing if and dark and worth mounting an attack on Her
his voice hadn’t trembled so badly. He climbed Majesty’s naval academy over.
nimbly onto a rail post and took a deep breath. Commodore Dondely stood on the platform
Then, keeping his ankles together, he leaned and addressed the assembly. He dove right in
forward from his head and pushed off, leaping without preamble. “Listen up. A pirate fleet led
straight out into space, his arms spread out like a by Kzan L’ngrae has been sighted to the west.
gull. He disappeared from view and was gone. They are clearly coming here. They knew when
“Amusing choice of last words,” observed to attack. Our fleet is east of here conducting
Posgor, puffing on his pipe. He stepped to the wide ocean exercises and are not due to return
rail and leaned over to wait for the splash. He for another week.
watched Flynn draw his arms in front of him and Those assembled stirred briefly until Sergeant
then disappear below the surface with the barest Crawse called for parade rest, and those
splash. Posgor smoked his pipe until Flynn reap- assembled assumed their positions and held their
peared some distance away, bobbing up in the tongues. The commodore continued.
waves of the cove. “Our fastest sloop has been dispatched to
They waved to each other, and then Posgor retrieve the fleet, but we must assume they
got busy with the flags and lightbox to warn the will not be able to help us. Sailors, we are on
academy of the invading pirate force as Flynn our own. We will likely wait for L’ngrae to come
struck off for the path up the cliff. close enough to shore to fire on, so all remaining
artillery crews should report to the west coast
batteries and await further orders. Those ranking
The Officer of the Watch received the message officers who remain, join me at the Dock offices
that Posgor had spotted sails from the lighthouse to agree on our strategy. Cadets report to your
and raised the alarm for all hands to gather on barracks until you are summoned. May Cyl be
the Commons. with us all. Dismissed.”
A sergeant stopped by their bench and gave The cadets came to attention, saluted, and
them the news before moving on. Deena kissed dispersed. Pitt stood where he was, thinking.
Pitt on the cheek and followed the Sergeant, and Deena watched Pitt from the back of the dais.
Pitt followed Deena. She stopped and looked When he started walking, it wasn’t toward the
at him. She smiled and took Pitt’s arm and they barracks, but for the paved street that led down
walked there together. to the docks.
Strangely, Pitt felt like he belonged to the This time, Deena discretely followed Pitt.
throng when he was with Deena instead of feeling #
like an ice-cutter slicing through frigid waters.
As they walked, the word raced throughout the The commodore and the remaining officers
academy; the pirate fleet was close: L’ngrae had had a difficult decision ahead of them; how to
finally come calling. Pitt listened to the snatches defend the academy while the bulk of their fleet
of gossip as he strode along. Each rumor was was a week away.
more ludicrous than the last, but the common For his part, Pitt’s decision was easy, if daring
theme was the same: that Commodore Dondely and worthy of court-martial. While the wiser

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 19

heads debated resources and strategy, Pitt calmly step out into the sun.
approached the one remaining warship, watching Wearing a sheepish grin, she stepped
as all hands scurried back and forth making prep- forward.
arations to cast off, if the time came. Pitt said, “Watch this. You know who she
The sun was well up when Pitt walked up the is, and she has been sent to reassure you that
gangplank. He stood on deck and watched all the my orders are genuine. If she waves, we are
activity. He stopped one of the passing midship- endorsed by you-know-who to cast off, and I will
men. “Where is the First Officer?” give you further orders when we are out to sea.
The middie pointed, sketched a salute, and Fair enough?”
scurried off. The first officer liked this not at all, but he was
Pitt put his arms behind his back and strode a good first officer, and finally said, “Yes, Ven.”
confidently to the first officer. “First Officer, I am Pitt looked at Deena and raised his right hand.
Captain Pitt. I was roused from my garden and Deena’s smile stretched from ear-to-ear, and she
have been tasked to meet the pirate L’ngrae with waved enthusiastically.
all invention and vigor. Make ready to cast off.” The first officer nodded once to himself,
The first officer received this news and arched turned to Pitt, saluted, and said, “Captain, the
his eyebrow. “Ven, I don’t recognize you as a ship is yours. I am First Officer Tenchiss.”
captain. Have you orders to this affect?” Pitt returned his salute. “Pleasure to make
“No, I don’t have written orders. Are you your company. I am Captain Pitt. Cast off and
dense? I said I was roused from my garden by the take us out with full sail, Mister Tenchiss.”
news of the inbound pirate fleet. The commodore “Yes, Ven.” He strode off and started barking
saw me, verbally gave me the order to get this orders.
ship out of port, and I came straight here. Make Pitt turned back to the rail and waved at
way!” Deena who dimpled and waved back, throwing
The first officer’s expression became more and him a kiss.
more conflicted. “Ven, I have to have some form Pitt smiled and waved one last time, turned,
of confirmation other than just your say-so.” and breathed a sigh of relief.
Pitt said, “Do you know Deena Prentiss?” So much for the easy part.
The first said, “Yes, we all do.” #
Pitt stepped closer. “Do you really know
Deena Prentiss? Who she really is?” Flynn was still buttoning up his uniform when
The first looked around him, clearly uncom- he made it down to the dock, running carefully
fortable. to avoid the buzz of activity. He arrived at the
Pitt said, “Come now—nobody else will waterfront just in time to see the Regal Lady make
overhear. Do you or don’t you know her real way out of the academy harbor and set a course
identity?” for the southeast. Flynn saw Deena watching the
“I know,” whispered the first officer. departure. He did not see an astonished Walenda
Pitt nodded. “Come with me.” Pitt walked Darden, who stepped back into the shadows as
to the railing and looked around, finally finding Flynn strolled past, looking closely at the ship
Deena standing in the shadows by the corner of herself.
a building. He waved to her and motioned her to Pitt was up there talking to the first officer

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Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 20

and gesturing out to sea. orders back. “Your orders?”
What was Pitt doing? Flynn smiled grimly. “Have you something to
Flynn quickly sized up the remaining ships. write on? Send a runner to the dock quarter-
There were two merchants, a slew of much master to procure these things: buckets of pitch,
smaller craft, and a courier sloop. Flynn made a flint, small arms, and a spool of rope. As soon
his decision and ran behind Deena to the courier as he returns, take us out with all speed. We
sloop. He strode quickly up the gangplank. have a pirate fleet to meet.”
“Where is the captain?” #
“Captain Melquade?”
“I must speak to him immediately on urgent Cooper Flynn? Here? Walenda Darden had
business for the Crown.” thought she was through with him, but he kept
“He is down below.” coming back, like a bad penny, or flatulation after
“Summon him with all haste, please.” beans.
They roused the captain and Flynn met him Darden set her jaw and started making the
as he came up from below. “Captain Melquade? rounds.
Your presence is requested in the Portmaster’s It was time to make sure the reappeared
building. The commodore has need of you.” Cooper Flynn stayed departed.
“Thank you,” said the captain, straighten- #
ing his collar and grabbing his hat. “I’ve been
expecting this summons.” Pitt issued orders to flank the pirate fleet.
He disembarked and Flynn moved onto the “We will come in behind them and attack just
next step. “Where is the first mate?” L’ngrae’s ship. ‘Cut off the head of the snake and
“He is down below.” the rest will flee.’ “
“Summon him with all haste, please.” “Captain, the Grand Villainy is larger than we
They roused the first mate and Flynn met him are, and has twice our guns. We have no practical
as he came up from below. “I’m special agent chance of sinking her.”
Cooper Flynn and I’m assuming command of this Pitt said, “We don’t need to sink her, just
vessel in his stead.” distract her from her primary target, the naval
“Where is Captain Melquade?” academy.”
“He has been summoned to see the “How long do you think we can do that?”
commodore.” Pitt looked at his first. “As long as necessary.”
“I’m going to need to see some orders.” #
Flynn produced his parchment with the
Queen’s Writ, his black eyes sparkling. “I believe The outlying ships made it easy for the Regal
this will serve.” Lady to slip between them and head straight
The officer looked it over. “What does this forward toward the Galley Villainy. In fact, as
mean?” Flynn watched the intricate dance through
“It means I can do whatever I want to save his spyglass, it seemed that the outliers were
the world.” instructed not to impede the progress of any
The first officer looked it over and clucked ship heading for Galley Villainy.
once or twice. Finally, he carefully handed the A cloud passed over Flynn’s sunny demeanor.

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Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 21

“Make straight toward the largest ship and put on able anti-gravity!”
every scrap of cloth you have.” Rocksie wagged her tail half-heartedly.
Genning, the First, said, “Ven, it appears that Chain floated there for a couple of minutes
the Regal Lady is attempting to draw them off.” and then he spoke again. “Hey, Rocksie? I could
“And that is exactly why we must get to get really use a rope here.”
there quickly!” She stretched and yawned, turned, and
“Ven Flynn has a plan?” padded back into the workshop.
Flynn fixed him with a wryly sardonic look. #
“Would we be piling on sail toward a vastly larger
34-gun ship if I didn’t have a plan?” The Grand Villainy bristled with guns,
Genning saluted and gave the order, his face seventeen to a side, and brimmed with sails.
carefully neutral. Still, she paid for all that firepower with speed,
managing a sluggish six to eight knots at best.
Pitt brought the Regal Lady in behind the
In his warehouse workshop, Chain looked at larger ship, and then tacked to her left rear flank.
Rocksie. “Well?” He gave the order to prepare for battle. Deena.
Rocksie’s tail flicked, but she left her head on This is for you.
her paws and watched him idly from her place on They drew up alongside the Grand Villainy.
the floor. First Mate Tenchiss tried not to appear nervous.
Chain walked to the front of the warehouse “Captain, we don’t have enough guns to sink her
and opened both doors. He stepped out onto the with one pass, but she has enough to sink us.”
docks, licked a fingertip to check the wind. He Pitt looked at him impassively. “I don’t intend
checked the straps, squared his shoulders, took a to sink her—I intend to get her attention and run
deep breath, and pressed the button on his chest, away.”
stepping forward out over the bay. The straps “Run, Captain? Away?”
creaked as they absorbed his weight. “Yes, draw her away from the peninsula, away
Rocksie’s ears went up, followed by her head. from the academy.”
She rose and padded to the door. Chain was Tenchiss said nothing more with his mouth,
floating over the water, his legs dangling beneath but his expression said plenty.
him, supported by the leather backpack, his back They slid quickly toward the larger pirate ship,
to her. “It works!” he whooped. drawing alongside. Pitt noticed with a start that
She cocked her head and raised her ears. L’ngrae himself, with his trademark blonde braided
Chain jerked his arms to the left, twisting beard, leaned on the port railing watching them
himself around a little. He did that again until he draw even, a pipe in his mouth. L’ngrae threw a
was roughly facing her. “I’m floating. Operation- mock salute to Pitt and puffed on his pipe. The
al hydro anti-gravity!” He rotated the wheel on bastard even looked amused.
his chest marginally to the left and he dropped a “Fire,” said Pitt.
foot or so. He twisted it to the right and started #
to rise again, going as high as twenty feet before
dropping down to dock level. “Where is everyone,” asked Genning, rhetori-
“The selector wheel is working, too! Adjust- cally.

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Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 22

Flynn said, “I can only assume that they’re larger ship, the seventeen guns on the port side
not paying attention to us because they’re paying belching fury and fire.
attention to someone else on the port side, The great lady shuddered and rocked even
Captain Pitt, no doubt.” harder to port as the force of the assault pushed
“Who?” her farther over. Pitt saw one crewman disappear
“An old friend of mine,” said Flynn. “Threw in a mist of red. The ship’s foremast splintered
me off a cliff once. Good times.” and groaned forward in a tangle of sheets and
Genning looked at Flynn, unsure how to take rope, and Pitt heard the whistle from down below
those statements. Flynn smiled and clapped him that the hull had been breached and they were
on his shoulder. “Get me over there,” he said. taking on water.
“Closer?” Then, as fast as it started, the volley was over,
“Of course!” said Flynn, grinning. “How else and the Regal Lady was already listing, dead in
are we going to get their attention?” the water. Pitt surveyed the carnage on-deck,
Genning nodded to the helmsman, his face and looked over as the pirate ship drew even
troubled. Flynn went forward, gathered some again. He expected to see her heave-to to finish
recruits, and explained what they were going to the kill, planned on it, really.
do. He tied a knot in the end of the coil of rope, But she didn’t.
spooled out a length, and cut the section off. He He saw a small ship, a nimble sloop, punch
pushed six or eight nails through the coil so the through the smoke of the gunfire on the pirate’s
sharp end was out. Then he dipped the knot in starboard side, almost on top of the far larger
tar and set the rope aside. ship. She maintained a recklessly steep angle,
“Give me ten or twelve of these, and make looking almost like she was going to ram L’ngrae.
sure that the brazier is close by. We’re going to The pirate was watching Pitt’s face, but even
need to work quickly when we’re close enough.” the normally stoic Pitt wasn’t able to control his
“Close enough for what?” asked a deckhand. reaction.
“You’ll see,” said Flynn, smiling grimly. And so they both looked over at the same
time and saw the same thing.
There, at the stem of the faster ship, clinging
The Regal Lady’s six cannon fired in order, one to a rope and hanging out over the edge of the
through six, in good military fashion, and Pitt railing, twirling a flaming rope, was a ghost, a
noted with satisfaction that five of six balls found smile on his face, long black hair flapping in the
their mark, plowing through rigging, wood, and wind.
punching two satisfying holes in the side of the It was Cooper Flynn.
hull. #
“Hard a-port!” bellowed Pitt, watching L’ngrae.
The pirate noted the attack with amusement. Flynn said, “Now!” and let fly. Fifteen burning
Then he flipped his pipe over, knocked out the ropes flew across the rapidly narrowing expanse
bowl, and blew through the stem to clear it. He between ships and then the sloop heeled over
straightened and casually raised his left hand. hard to starboard, narrowly missing a collision.
Pitt grimaced in anticipation as his ship heeled The burning ropes slammed into the burdened
frantically to port. All hell rang out from the sails and rigging and started burning.

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Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 23

The sloop’s sheets grabbed the wind and she point. The fate of the academy was now in the
shot away, heading at an angle right toward the hands of a man he had thought dead. He didn’t
peninsula and the naval academy. The whole have time to think about much more than saving
maneuver happened so fast and so unexpectedly the Regal Lady. However, one ironclad realiza-
that the much larger pirate vessel never fired as tion burned in his breast like redemption.
much as one cannon. Cooper Flynn was alive.
The helmsman said, “Will there be further He’d looked not just alive, but vibrant, relishing
maneuvering?” the heat of battle, and the opportunity to surprise
Flynn patted him on the shoulder. “You did a superior enemy with style and cunning.
admirably. Your job is now done. Just hold this Pitt went back to work with a suddenly light
course, and the sea will finish the job for us.” heart, a burden lifted from his shoulders that he
If the helmsman had further thoughts on had not recognized until just now, conspicuous as
the veracity of that sentiment, he kept them to it was by its absence.
himself. “Yes, Ven. Holding course.” #
Flynn strode to the stern and watched to see
the results of their hit-and-run gambit. First Mate Flynn led Kzan L’ngrae on a merry chase,
Genning joined him there. staying just ahead of the much larger ship, always
Genning said, “Captain, she doesn’t seem very working their way closer to the peninsula. The
wounded by our attack. Shall we put on more remaining pirate ships flanked the chase but
sail?” stayed out of the way as directed by L’ngrae’s
Flynn said, “Less, not more. We didn’t need message flags. They sailed on ahead and made
to wound her, just prick her finger.” anchor at the mouth of the academy’s harbor to
Alarmed, Genning said, “Won’t that just make deny access to Flynn there, and otherwise stayed
them vexed?” just out of range of the land-mounted guns.
“Very,” said Flynn, beaming, his black eyes L’ngrae himself stood at the stem of the
sparking, as the Grand Villainy came about and bristling, smoking beast and chewed his pipe,
started her grim pursuit. waiting for Flynn to make even one mistake.
For his part, Flynn stood and chatted with the
Helmsman and waited for his own opportunity,
Walenda Darden’s network was small but very the only confident one on the entire sloop.
well informed. They were so deep undercover, They were a bare mile offshore when the
however, that even she was surprised by the Helmsman broached the subject. “Captain, our
information she uncovered. The pattern that the current course takes us…”
facts painted brought a smile to her face. Flynn put his finger to his lip. “Yes, Helmsman,
Darden struck off in search of the I know where it takes us. But more importantly, I
commodore. know when.”
“When? When what?”
Flynn’s eyes sparkled but he said nothing but
Pitt set the survivors of the vicious volley to “Hold your course.”
work patching the breached hull and tending the The outlying pirate ships stayed at anchor not
wounded. There was not much else to do at this half a mile ahead, arrayed to trap Flynn before he

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 24

sailed much farther. L’ngrae doesn’t.”
Flynn went to the rail and watched intently. “What is that?” asked Genning.
The waves were different here, not the deep Flynn put the spyglass up to his eye and
wells of the ocean. The Helmsman was sweating grinned. He watched the Grand Villainy grow
by this point, but he held his course. Then the large in his view piece. He watched as L’ngrae
waves were calmer and Flynn gave the order. brandished a sword with a jewel-encrusted hilt
“Heave to and drop anchor,” he said. and gesture toward his sloop.
There was a chorus of alarm but he just And he watched as the Grand Villainy suddenly
grinned the wider and repeated the order slower. ground to a halt on the concealed reef, throwing
The helmsman grimaced outright but obeyed and L’ngrae into the forward rail, loosening his grip on
the sloop wheeled sideways, slipping all her wind his fancy sword as it and a number of crewmen
and coming to a relative stop. fell overboard into the shallow surf.
The anchor chain was released and she waited Flynn handed the glass to Genning. “Raise
there as the Grand Villainy bore down on them anchor,” he said, and went to the helmsman to
like an avenging spirit. tell him what they would do next.
“Captain,” said Genning. “Would you say that #
I’ve been obedient thus far?”
Flynn looked at him mildly. “Why yes, First, I It took a couple of days to sort out the fallout,
would.” but the primary message was clear enough; the
“Some of the men hope you know what you’re academy was saved from assault without a single
doing,” said Genning politely. shot being fired on the peninsula’s fortifications,
Flynn grinned and held out his hand for the and without a single pirate from the fleet setting
spyglass. “ ‘Some of the men’ can rest easy,” said foot on land. The report was highly classified,
Flynn watching the larger, slower ship glide right but the news swept the entire peninsula as only
at them, borne on the wings of wind and wick- carefully guarded secrets can.
edness. “I’ve sailed these waters plenty by now, The outlying pirate ships flocked around and
and I know that this is just a few hours past high divvied up a furious L’ngrae and his crew as
tide.” they abandoned the thoroughly beached Grand
“Ven?” Villainy. She would be retrieved and returned
Flynn kept his gaze on the approaching ship, to Her Majesty’s fleet, and L’ngrae’s dreams of
L’ngrae’s eager face clearly visible now in the dominance in the region were shattered. When
spyglass. He had a party of armed men with him word of the method of his defeat raced through
and Flynn could see grappling hooks coiled on the the region, his reputation took enough of a hit
deck. “I know that this pirate L’ngrae means to that he departed and sailed off for unknown
board us himself instead of fire on us. I know that waters, accompanied by a skeleton crew after the
he means to make this a personal statement—he majority defected or died in an abortive mutiny
means this battle to be a message to every ship in attempt. Such was the value of reputation that
the area, a defiant proclamation to the academy, there was no larger feather than an audacious
and a bold claim to ownership of these waters.” victory, and no worse millstone around one’s
Flynn dropped the spyglass and looked First neck than ignominious defeat.
Mate Genning in the eye. “But I know one thing Back that the peninsula, impromptu celebra-

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 25

tions broke out on both sides of the academy For your initiative in our darkest hour, you are
walls, and a special assembly was called the night both awarded the Order of Merit, the highest
the returning academy fleet arrived back in port, academy medal.” The crowd erupted in clapping
and reported that the last vestige of the once- and cheers.
mighty pirate fleet was completely gone from The commodore accepted the medals from
local waters. his aide and pinned them to their uniforms,
Tents were set up around the perimeter of saluting them each in turn. He turned back to the
the commons, featuring delicacies from all over audience. “In addition, I have authority from Her
the region. Pigs were roasting at various places Majesty to award the Star of Haddirron to Cooper
around the commons. A large bonfire behind Flynn for service above and beyond in behalf of
the platform cast warm light over the faces of the monarchy.”
those assembled. ‘Captains’ Pitt and Flynn were He stepped in front of Flynn, and Deena
brought up on the platform, and a brass band stepped forward bearing a velvet pillow on which
played merry tunes in the courtyard. rested a purple ribbon shot through with gold
The commodore welcomed the heroes warmly thread and a large emblem. The commodore
and Deena stood beside Pitt, her arm through his. nodded to Deena with a private wink while his
For his part, Pitt looked truly at peace for the first back was turned to the crowd. He picked up
time since Flynn had met him. On seeing Flynn at the ribbon and Flynn, stunned, bowed his head.
the docks, Pitt had started to speak but Flynn just Commodore Dondely stepped close and placed
shook his friend’s hand, clapped him on the arm, the ribbon over Flynn’s head and the heavy gold
grimaced in pain, and then said all was good, and star fell into place against Flynn’s chest. He lifted
that they’d talk later. his head and returned the commodore’s salute, a
Just before the commodore started the festivi- proud tear in his eye.
ties, a figure called from behind the platform. He Then the commodore stepped forward and
went over and squatted down. They spoke in low spoke close to Flynn’s ear. Flynn’s expression
tones and he looked back at Flynn in alarm. Flynn became guarded, and, for lack of a better term,
caught the glance and looked past him. He saw the old Flynn returned. A calculating look crossed
Walenda Darden’s face retreat, smiling wolfishly, his face and he answered the commodore’s
into the shadows. question. The commodore nodded once, and
A shadow of doubt flitted over Flynn’s face, then, inexplicably, hugged Flynn.
and then the commodore stepped forward and The commodore returned to the podium.
addressed the crowd. “Haddirron Naval Academy, I present Cadets Pitt
“We have survived the greatest threat to the and Flynn!” The crowd roared even louder and
academy in decades, and this celebration is called the commodore stepped aside to let the crowd
to honor the heroes of the day. Cadets Pitt and have a long look at their heroes.
Flynn, step forward. While the pirate fleet sailed Pitt stood at parade rest as the adulation
toward our shores in the absence of the academy of the crowd washed over him, a neutral look
fleet, these cadets took charge of two remaining on his face, and utter peace radiating from his
vessels and, working together, executed a brilliant demeanor.
plan that resulted in antagonizing and ultimately Flynn worked the crowd, looking around
baiting the pirate captain, L’ngrae, into running at those assembled, acknowledging people he
his ship aground on the reef offshore. knew with a wink or a nod, but somehow holding

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 26

something of himself aside, in a way as mysteri- Flynn’s career here. Starting with this recent
ous as ever. victory, is it true that you commandeered a vessel
A movement over to the side of the platform under false pretenses and without authority?”
caused Flynn to glance over. He saw the Officer Flynn said, “Yes, Commodore.”
of the Guard standing by a group of people. Flynn The list became a litany, Flynn answering in
recognized them all, from various instructors, to the affirmative to each charge.
Chain, to his various contacts. It was as if his “Is it true that you resided with lighthouse
entire information network was standing there keeper Posgor under false pretenses? Is it true
just off to the side of the platform. that you were involved in the clandestine investi-
The last one he saw was Petty Officer Baskins, gation and harassment of fellow cadets? Is it true
staring hate at him, the light of the bonfire that you were accused of these various crimes
reflecting in his eyes looking like the fire was and betrayals and were summarily thrown off a
coming from inside. Baskins smiled grimly, like a cliff? Is it true that you stole personal items from
barracuda circling for the kill. fellow cadets? Is it true that you faked your own
With a stony face, Flynn looked back to the death threat? That you manipulated the schedule
commodore, who looked strangely stricken. The and played instructors off against each other
commodore regarded Flynn and waited. to completely skip all classroom activity? That
Flynn steeled himself and nodded, once. you romanced one cadet while having feelings
The commodore breathed a heavy sigh, and for another? That you helped your roommate
motioned the crowd to subside. “We have cheat on class assignments? That you regularly,
enjoyed a time of historic celebration, and I wish nay, daily, escaped academy grounds for your
we could leave it at that,” he said, “but there is purposes? That you used academy resources
more. Cooper Flynn, front and center!” for personal scientific experiments, planning on
Flynn came to attention and stepped forward. keeping these discoveries to yourself? That you
“Are you prepared to answer for your behavior claim to have in your possession a copy of the
here at the academy?” fabled stolen Queen’s Writ? That you gained
“Yes, commodore,” barked Flynn, firmly. access to these grounds in the first place by a
The commodore took a deep breath. “This ruse perpetrated on our venerable officer of
court-martial now comes to order.” admissions?”
You could have heard a spanner drop. The “Yes, Commodore; yes to these charges, and
only sound was the crack and pop of the bonfire many others that you are not even now aware.”
behind them as a decorated hero’s naval career The commodore gripped the lectern with
went up in smoke. shaking hands. “It is true that some of your
activities can be construed as noble, however,
this litany of disregard for authority and chain of
Commodore Dondely addressed a crowd command, this pattern of self-serving falsehood
stunned into silence with the flames of righteous- and manipulation, cannot be ignored.
ness and military convention burning furiously, “Cadet Flynn, you have given the academy
dispassionately, behind him. its greatest victory, and for that, we thank you.
“One accusation does not unmake a career, But despite your obvious successes, this pattern
however, a history of law-breaking has been of reckless disregard cannot and will not be
revealed going back to the very beginning of cadet tolerated. The joy of victory is buried beneath

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Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 27

a mountain of self-serving reserve and a career she saw a most impudent wink. A guard came
based on one lie after another. As the ancient and took her elbow and she was removed from
writer observed, ‘one more such victory will be the stage.
the end of us all’.” The commodore stepped over to Flynn one
Deena was weeping openly by this point and last time and whispered. “How was that?”
holding Pitt’s arm, who for his part, had clenched “Inspired, Commodore.”
his jaw so tightly that sweat stood out on his “Perhaps you should give her the Jodkins,”
face. suggested the commodore with a wink of his
The commodore looked long and hard at Flynn, own.
and then smiled grimly. He returned his view “It sounds like she’ll have plenty of opportu-
to the crowd. “The person who uncovered this nity to become acquainted with the classics, Ven,”
pattern is cadet Walenda Darden. Cadet Darden, observed Flynn.
please ascend the platform.” “You may be sure of that,” said the commodore.
Darden marched smartly up the steps past “A lifetime, in fact.”
Flynn and came to attention in front of the Cooper Flynn grinned despite himself.
commodore. They exchanged salutes. The commodore said, “Are you ready for
“Cadet Darden, it is my pleasure to reward this?”
your vigilant investigation with a full promotion Flynn’s smile drifted away. “I am your servant,”
to a first lieutenant in Her Majesty’s navy.” he said.
Darden struggled to maintain a neutral expres- The commodore nodded and returned to his
sion, but a smile peeked out behind her resolve. podium. The gravitas of the moment fell again
The commodore continued. “This commis- as thick as night. Commodore Dondely cleared
sion carries with it a salary commensurate with his throat. “Cadet Flynn, it is my observation as
your rank and early discharge from this academy. administrator of this academy and representative
A courier sloop stands ready to escort you to your of Her Majesty’s government that your actions,
first assignment. Congratulations, Lieutenant while sometimes commendable, demonstrate a
Darden. You are now the first female officer to prevalent pattern of recklessness and personal
take up residence at a most important post, the agenda over and above any posture of ‘service’.
storied abbey at Patience Bay.” Therefore, it is my judgment that you be stripped
The commodore brought his arm up to salute, of your rank and your commission. Your tenure
but Darden was frozen in shock. She looked the here is hereby null and void. You are hereby
commodore in the eye and saw such grim deter- expelled from this academy and removed from
mination and humor there that the full realization Her Majesty’s navy..”
hit her while she was summoning a hasty salute. “Cadets, about face!” The assembled cadets
The commodore kept her at salute for a full came to hasty attention and spun in place, facing
minute as the crowd supplied a stilted applause the opposite direction, their backs to the platform.
that rang hollow in her ear. The only sounds were the open weeping from
The commodore released his salute. “Officer Deena and the roaring of the flames.
of the Guard! Have Lieutenant Darden escorted “Officer of the Guard, escort this civilian off
to her ship.” academy grounds. May Cyl have mercy on your
Darden turned and glared at Flynn, who kept soul.”
his eyes front. She turned to go, but not before Flynn made to salute, but the commodore just

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: The Adventures of the Sky Pirate, One More Such Victory, by Johne Cook Pg. 28

looked at him in stony silence, and then turned Johne Cook
his own back.
“You can keep your Cyl to yourself,” said Flynn, Johne Cook is a Technical Writer and a long-time
his eyes flashing dangerously, blacker, somehow, space opera fan.
than the night. The commodore flinched slightly.
The Officer of the Guard came and stood at Johne is an Overlord (Co-founder and Editor) of
Flynn’s elbow. Flynn reached up and slowly unbut- Ray Gun Revival magazine.
toned the collar of his uniform. He continued
undoing buttons until the jacket was open. He
shrugged it off his shoulders, letting it fall with
a thud to the wood platform, his Order of Merit
medal jangling harshly at the collision.
Deena jerked at the sound.
Flynn reached up and removed the Star of
Haddiron and carefully folded it back up the way
it had been, stooped, and replaced it on the velvet
pillow by Deena. Then he squared his shoulders
and was escorted off the platform and out into
the commons.
He walked briskly to the arching black tunnel
leading to the gates and was swallowed up into
the darkness.

Look forward to Chapter 12, the last chapter of
Season One of The Adventures of the Sky Pirate,
coming up in Issue 24, June 15, 2007

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007 
Pg. 29

Memory Wipe Brief mild adventure language - PG

Chapter 11: The Waste
by Sean T. M. Stiennon

The Story so Far: Three years ago, Takeda Zartsi. He had been able to summon enough of
Croster woke up in the city of Greendome on his enhanced strength to make carrying it all
the colony world of Belar with no memories, no strenuous, but not crushing. He remained strong
connections, and no possessions aside from the for the first two hours of walking, striding beside
clothes he was wearing and an Imperial citizen- Esheera and keeping his back straight.
ship card with his name on it. He worked at the But his strength began to fade, leaving him
Silver Sun casino, ignored by most, until one night exhausted and overburdened, with sweat soaking
when he began to manifest superhuman powers his shirt, pants, and the bandana and scarf
in a fight against two corrupt cops: enhanced shielding his skin from the crimson sun. He had
senses, great strength, and lightning-fast reflexes. collapsed to his knees a half-hour later, scraping
He seriously injured both cops. Strange dreams them against the hard ground.
and a feeling of great exhaustion followed the They all had a drink from one of his bottles.
encounter. Then Zartsi took a substantial portion of what
Now, Takeda travels with the Lithrallian remained, leaving him with a slightly larger load
hunter Zartsi, who saved his life after he fled into than Takeda’s. They continued on. The dagger-
the jungles of Belar, and the Vitai Rover Esheera pointed mountains and the battered wreck of the
Nii, who granted them passage for nothing more Ixlu Seer slowly sank over the horizon, receding
than a little money and their life stories. farther back with every step. Esheera hadn’t
Now, after an orbital attack by the alien glanced over her shoulder once since leaving
assassin Lashiir, the three are stranded on the it. The Vitai didn’t have tear glands, but Takeda
surface of Nihil, over a hundred miles away from could see the pain in her eyes.
the colony town, Hope’s End. There, Takeda The Seer had been everything to her—her
hopes to find answers from a man named Cramer home, her livelihood, her most prized posses-
Orano...if he can survive one of the galaxy’s sion, a constant reminder of her people’s legacy.
harshest deserts. And now she had lost it and everything it carried
except for her weapons, a few pieces of clothing,

F ifty kilos of water and twenty more of dry
food crushed Takeda downwards, towards
the baked soil below him. Even with all that
and a few small articles. Her wingwire had been
sucked out into the vacuum along with every-
thing else.
weight, combined with that of his pistol, a full She couldn’t have carried it anyway. She kept
load of bullets, and other small pieces of gear, supplies of emergency food and water stowed
the ground hardly yielded to his shoes. The soil behind the Seer’s bulkheads, and they needed
felt like heated stone. every bit of strength to carry as much of it as
At first he volunteered to carry almost twice possible. Besides that, they had taken nothing
as much as Esheera and twenty kilos more than but weapons and minimal survival gear.

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Serial: Memory Wipe, The Waste, by Sean T. M. Stiennon Pg. 30

The molten red sun was halfway down the deep Takeda stopped and pulled a bottle from the
blue dome of the sky, but, if anything, it seemed harness on his back. A cold wind had begun to
to have grown hotter as they marched. Esheera blow across the plain, and he found himself
walked in front. A pair of boots covered her feet, shivering as he massaged his burning legs with
and she wore a woven poncho large enough to one hand. His entire body ached. He wanted
shield her arms and head from the sun. nothing more than to sleep.
Zartsi followed at an easy stride, wearing a He tried to speak, but the words dissolved into
cape he had improvised from a spare hammock. a croak. Takeda brought the bottle to his lips and
Takeda struggled to keep up with them— took one, two, three swallows. It was a struggle
perhaps the two weeks of travel made him soft. not to gulp the whole bottle, but he screwed the
He kept his eyes on the ground, watching his feet cap on and put it back.
rise and fall, step by step. Dust rose in slow curls “Are we stopping?”
from every shallow print. The air was painful to Esheera replaced her own bottle and shook
breathe—it burnt his lungs and scraped his throat her head. “Nope. We go through the night.”
raw. Zartsi was turned away, staring up at the stars
Esheera said nothing. Sometimes Takeda with his arms crossed over his chest. “Rover is
thought he could hear Zartsi mutter something right,” he said, as if he felt Takeda’s gaze on him.
under his breath, but it was too soft to even tell “No rest?”
if it was Imperish or Lithrallian. The silence of “Look at it this way, Tak,” she said. “I’m honestly
the desert was so oppressive that Takeda was surprised we haven’t seen our Clordite friend yet.
tempted to talk to himself just to break it. Even I don’t peg him as the type to assume we’re dead
when they stopped at regular intervals to suck without checking. Unless that Hellraiser shot him
water through cracked lips, hot silence covered down, and I don’t believe that either.”
everything. Takeda shivered from more than the cold.
Bit by bit, the sun rolled down, and their “You think he’ll be able to find us?”
shadows stretched towards the horizon. The sun, “The odds of it go down the farther we get
red even at noon, darkened to a deep, rusty color from the wreck. But he’ll know we’re heading for
as it set. The opposite end of the sky was black Hope’s End.”
before it had gone down completely. Streaks of She grunted. “Eat something, Tak. We’ll rest
smoldering scarlet and dark gold stained the sky. for a few minutes. But if you think it’s hard now,
The sunset was beautiful, but somehow it gave it’ll only get harder. Might as well get a night
Takeda the feeling that humans had never been behind us while we’re fresh.”
meant to see it except through glass. Takeda let his legs collapse beneath him. He
Nihil lacked moons. The rising night sky was slumped down onto the hard ground, still warm
scored with thousands of stars, more than Takeda with the day’s scorching heat, and slid his pack off
had ever seen before, glimmering like points his shoulders. Water sloshed as it clattered to the
of polished steel. The sweep of the galaxy was ground. He used the pack as a hard pillow while
brighter than it had ever been on Belar, like a rift he stretched out his legs and back. Now, he felt
of light in the sky. grateful for the ground’s lingering warmth. His
“Drink,” Esheera called, as the last hints of joints burned and his muscles ached. He shivered
deep red vanished from the horizon. “Just a few in the wind.
swallows.” Zartsi thunked his pack down beside Takeda

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Serial: Memory Wipe, The Waste, by Sean T. M. Stiennon Pg. 31

and joined him on the ground. Takeda turned his But Despair had sat for hours in empty space,
head to see the Lithrallian’s snout silhouetted its sensors scrambled by a device little bigger
against the stars. “Tired, Takeda?” he asked. than a human motorbike. Lashiir had thought it
A flash of guilt pierced Takeda. Zartsi’s burden was nothing more than a torpedo, bomb, or even
was even heavier than his, and the light of the escape pod before it began transmitting. He had
stars was enough for Takeda to see a faint sheen managed to keep his weapons and some maneu-
of sweat on his friend’s scales. “I’ll be all right,” vering capability, but by the time he had coaxed
he answered. Despair into full functionality, the new ship had
“Good.” vanished from space.
Zartsi pulled out a couple ration bars—compact Anger smoldered in his hearts, an anger he
mixtures of nuts, dried meat, grain, and fat which struggled to keep in check. Underestimation had
packed five hundred calories and were as hard as cost him victory. Not only that, but it had been
rock. Takeda took one. Every bite required thirty hours before Despair’s systems had been in good
seconds of chewing. enough condition for him to trust the ship with
“Do you think he’ll find us?” Takeda asked. an atmospheric entry.
“He will,” Zartsi said. “But pray not in the open Now, he soared over vast, empty deserts lit
desert.” only by starlight. He flew high up to avoid disturb-
Esheera called them back to their feet after ing the ground with his wake. Despair’s sensors
a few minutes, and they continued on beneath swept across the sand below, seeking any signs of
the stark light of the stars. Every moment Takeda warm bodies, but so far they had found nothing
worried he would see a black shadow fly overhead more than a small pack of apparently herbivorous
and hear the thrum of Lashiir’s engines for a few creatures and one massive heat signature buried
seconds before he incinerated all three of them. several feet below the sand.
He had found the wreck of the Rover’s ship
after darkness, and sent Thomas and Heziah
Lashiir had always been tempted to consider down to investigate it. They had found nothing,
humans a weak species, and frequent evidence and any signs of what direction the three had
gave the urge strength. Rarely in his years on taken were lost to the wind. There had been no
Freedan had any target given him a challenge. signs of burial, though—no recently disturbed
Some had been reasonably proficient with a soil or piled stones. Almost certainly, all three
gun or a knife, but they hadn’t understood the had survived the crash.
way of the hunt. Many had begged for their lives Lashiir had located the human settlement and
while Tsiika’s cold edge touched their thought. plotted three likely routes to it: one following the
Lashiir remembered tears, bribes, appeals to the narrow spine of rock the ship had crashed against,
sadness their women would feel. One had tried another crossing those mountains and proceed-
to offer him drugs. ing on the opposite side of them to a northern
Every one had met the same fate. crossing point, approaching the settlement from
But Lashiir knew humans had strength and the west, or a trek taken along the straightest
ingenuity. John and Thomas, along with the others line connecting the two points. But there were
he had trained over the years, gave witness to uncertainties: many other variations presented
that. He should have learned not to underesti- themselves, some adding or subtracting a few
mate them. miles, others making for lengthy detours. He

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: Memory Wipe, The Waste, by Sean T. M. Stiennon Pg. 32

didn’t know how accurately the Rover could plot much of it. Nocturnal plants, he guessed.
the location of the settlement, or whether she At last the eastern horizon began to smolder
could read Nihil’s sky. with dim red light as the sun rolled back up from
Even if he flew over them, he couldn’t be the planet’s other side. Takeda felt a strange
certain if Despair’s sensors would register them, mixture of dread and relief as it rose—relief that
particularly not during the day when body heat Esheera might finally let him stop, dread of the
faded into the burning light of the sun. And there heat, sweat, and even greater thirst it would bring.
was a great deal of desert to cover. He watched its disk turn from deepest red to a
Keeping his anger from spilling over into his brighter scarlet as it ascended the sky’s shadowy
actions took as much of Lashiir’s will as it ever expanse. The spray of stars gradually faded.
had. “Esh,” he croaked. “Stop?”
She loped on for another ten feet, and Takeda
was just gathering his strength for another attempt
The night passed in a haze of exhaustion, cold, when she answered, “We’ll hit those mountains
pain, and thirst. Takeda’s injuries from the crash first. Don’t drop on me.”
pulsated with every step. His legs felt like logs Takeda blinked. He saw a shark-toothed line of
crudely screwed together and his teeth clattered black silhouetted against the sun and wondered
together in his mouth. Every few minutes he spat how far they had come. Farther than he had
blood onto the sand. God knew where it came thought. But those mountains must still be...
from. Probably his lungs. miles off. Takeda couldn’t think out any more
The temptation to drain liter after liter of precise distance, and he didn’t have the strength
water was constant. Even in the cold he dreamed to continue his conversation with Esheera. He
of water, dreamed of oceans and rivers, dreamed croaked one word: “Water?”
of the endless drinks he had watched being She nodded. “Three.”
served at the Silver Sun. But he knew Esheera Zartsi watched him as he took three precise
was watching him—she glanced back over her swallows, barely wetting his throat, and replaced
shoulder frequently—and he didn’t want her to the bottle reluctantly. It was nearly empty. Esheera
see him drinking without her orders. She also and Zartsi did the same a few seconds later, and
watched how much he drank, and so did Zartsi. they continued on, their pace much slower than
Once the Lithrallian grabbed the bottle out of his the previous day. Takeda saw that even Zartsi was
hand, screwed the top back on, and stuffed it back strained.
into Takeda’s pack, all without saying a word. More hours passed. Takeda felt comfort-
Takeda would have been angry if he had the ably warm for a few precious minutes as the
energy—and if he hadn’t noticed that they were sun warmed the cool night air, but tempera-
watching each other, too. tures continued to rise, and soon his joints were
The night seemed to go on forever. Takeda gummy from sweat. Yesterday he had hoped he
struggled to think about something besides would get used to the heat. During the night he
his pain and thirst. Sometimes he looked up at had almost hoped for it. Now, it seemed to cook
the stars, tracing constellations which he forgot his mind along with his body.
seconds later. Sometimes he felt his boots crunch He barely noticed the mountains slowly
on the ground and looked down to see dark leaves growing larger and larger. He only noticed their
spread on the rock, but he was too tired to think proximity when he stepped into their shadows

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: Memory Wipe, The Waste, by Sean T. M. Stiennon Pg. 33

and realized he had closed his eyes. He looked he could see the flat desert to his right.
up. These mountains were almost identical to “Zartsi?” he asked.
the range they had left behind—mounds of loose “Scouting. He volunteered, so don’t cry to me
rocks at the base, which faded into bluffs and if he cracks his head open somewhere.”
ridges of wind-smoothed stone. Knife-pointed Takeda shook his head. “ we keep
peaks rose high above them. Small mountains—a going?”
few hundred feet high at most. But the thought “When he gets back, I’ll give him another hour,
of crossing them made Takeda want to lie down then we’re going. It’s been six hours since we
and let the desert have him. stopped.”
“Get up the slope,” Esheera said. “Find a “Not enough.”
niche.” She shook her head. Dust rose from her
He obeyed because he didn’t have the energy knotted hair. “We’re still at least a hundred miles
to argue. Climbing loose rock, rough and covered out from Hope’s End. When night falls I’m going
with brown dust, was a new form of hell, espe- to move whether Zartsi’s here or not.”
cially with his pack weighing him down. More Takeda tried to rub the dust away from his
than once he almost toppled back down the slope eyes and regretted it. His hands were covered
or accidentally smashed his head against a rock. too. “Leave him behind?”
Zartsi caught him twice. The Lithrallian climbed Anger laced her response. “I’ve lost my ship,
beside him, guiding his hands, keeping him safe. Takeda. I want to live to buy a new one.”
Esheera found the easiest path. He slumped back against the wall and pulled
He collapsed in the shade of a hard-edged a ration bar from his pack. Esheera had shut her
crevasse in the mountainside, his back pressed eyes and was using her wing-flaps like a blanket,
against hot stone. He barely had the strength to wrapping her torso in them. Takeda chewed. The
drink before he collapsed into a half-unconscious thought of walking again was oppressive, and
sleep. sweat glistened on his skin. Even this crevasse
was hot. He felt the heat of the rock through his
The sun’s light had darkened when he woke, “Sorry, Tak,” Esheera whispered gently.
slanting through the crevasse in red streaks. He swallowed a heavy bite. “What?”
Takeda gasped when he tried to move. His joints “I shouldn’t be getting pissed at you. And I
and muscles had stiffened. He bent his head and wouldn’t want to leave Zartsi behind any more
could almost feel his spine creak. than you. He was the one who told me to walk at
He heard a voice, “Catch.” nightfall if he didn’t show his scales.”
Takeda got his hands up just in time to intercept “So we’re sticking with nights?”
the water bottle she tossed. Esheera didn’t say Esheera shook her head. “I’m not sure. It might
anything, so he took five swallows of the warm actually be harder for Lashiir to find us during the
liquid before lowering it. He looked around. High day, what with everything being at least as hot as
walls of dark rock rose above them on both sides, our bodies. But given what tramps the dunes at
their surfaces carved in gentle contours. About night, I’d rather be on my feet with my hotchoker
twelve feet separated the walls, and the floor close after dark. And we’ll sweat less. Need less
was uneven and covered with dust and grit. It water.”
extended into the shadows on Takeda’s left, and Takeda felt the bottles in his pack. There were

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: Memory Wipe, The Waste, by Sean T. M. Stiennon Pg. 34

plenty left, but he had probably drunk at least eyes burned. His companions were little better
five kilos of water. Esheera and Zartsi had taken off—one of Esheera’s wing flaps had a three-inch
just as much. tear that leaked blood and fluid, and a patch of
Zartsi returned some time later. His chest scales had been torn away from Zartsi’s head,
heaved and his scales were pale with milky Lithral- showing red flesh beneath. He kept his wounded
lian sweat, but he spoke evenly. “Couple hours eye half-closed.
over mountains,” he hissed, “with dunes after.” They descended slowly and painfully in the
The sun’s rays had darkened to a deep crimson shadows. A wind blew into their faces from
glow, filtered through the desert’s dust. Takeda the dunes. Zartsi led them along a path he had
guessed that less than two hours of daylight mapped out earlier in the day.
remained. “We’ll walk through the night?” Esheera paused suddenly as they descended
“That is best, Takeda.” a slope of jagged boulders. Takeda saw her ears
He felt a shudder run over his skin despite tilt upwards in the dim light, and her dark eyes
the heat. “Walking Evils hunt at night. I read that widened slightly.
somewhere.” “What is it?” he asked.
“True,” Zartsi said. “Better to be on feet than Zartsi halted his descent and turned to Esheera,
sleeping if one walks.” having to rotate his head to bring his good eye to
“Agreed,” Esheera said, her voice still hoarse. bear.
She had cleaned her hotchoker, making sure the “Quiet,” she answered.
fuel canal was free of dust, but now she picked it Takeda had time to inhale and exhale three
up and stuffed it back into its harness. “You found times before he heard her hiss, “Hide. Anywhere.
a path?” Just get out of the open, fast.”
“Yes. Saw the dunes.” Zartsi started to say something. She cut him
“Then let’s get moving.” off. “A ship, damn it!”
The pain of standing, of moving his legs, was Takeda strained his vision and felt his power
intense, but Takeda ignored it. He had to ignore it, come. His eyes penetrated the darkness, searching
pretend that it didn’t exist. It didn’t really matter for anywhere they could hide. There was only one
anyway. He could either walk or die. ship that might be doing fly-overs of this barren
# “There,” he called to his companions, pointing
They crested the mountains as the sun sank towards a broad overhang of stone with a two-
towards the western horizon. The peaks cast foot hollow beneath it. Zartsi bounded towards
long shadows over an ocean of pale sand that it, leaping over rocks, and Esheera ran at Takeda’s
stretched to the eastern blackness. The sand side. They scrambled in, bellies scraping in the
was gently rippled—no large dunes—but he dust. There was barely room for the three of them
thought he could see dark blotches on its surface: and their packs. He smelled Esheera’s warm musk
nocturnal plants whose leaves withdrew under- and felt Zartsi’s breath on his face.
ground during the hottest hours of the day. “Can’t hear it,” Zartsi whispered.
Takeda’s palms were scraped raw from “Vitai can’t outfight you but we can outhear
climbing up loose scree and ridges of saw-edged you. It’s high. Almost too high for me.”
stone, his knees were battered beneath the Takeda reached for his power again, struggling
fabric of his dust and sweat-caked pants, and his to enhance his hearing. He succeeded well enough

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: Memory Wipe, The Waste, by Sean T. M. Stiennon Pg. 35

to hear a faint whine so indistinct he might have yes, but not as dramatically as Beinnen would
been imagining it. The noise approached rapidly. have expected. He had already known there was
Takeda wondered how good Lashiir’s sensors something unusual about himself. It was why he
were. had asked for an exam.
The ship passed overhead, a shadow of Beinnen walked down the hall and took a
deepest black against the stars, and continued lift to street level. The clouds broke just as he
out across the dunes. It had no engine flare, but pushed the building’s door open. He buttoned up
the air behind it was distorted into a haze of light his jacket and strode out onto the dark sidewalks.
and dark. It traveled quickly and vanished into Ahead of him, a couple men in dull yellow
the night. overcoats were chatting casually, haloed in the
Esheera squirmed out first. “Let’s keep glow of a streetlamp. Beinnen crossed the street
moving.” and walked briskly towards his apartment, three
blocks east.
Croster had left and passed out of Beinnen’s
Ten days earlier, on Freedan... life. But he hadn’t been able to get his mind off
Doctor Lawrence Beinnen shut the door to the incident. His old partner Cramer had seen
his office and locked it behind him. He glanced at something like it before. Cramer, with his night-
his watch—10:16 p.m. Matilda had left over three mares and his drinking. More than once Beinnen
hours ago, officially closing the office for the day, had considered trying to get in touch with him on
but he had stayed on, seated behind his desk with Nihil, but last he heard, Nihil didn’t have an inter-
a stack of papers. At first he had done useful work, stellar array set up. They were isolated except for
analyzing data he had on a couple tricky patients, the usual cargo ships and anyone crazy enough to
preparing for tomorrow’s appointments, catching fly out there.
up on the journals. Poring over the data he had collected on
But then he had reached for a file that had Croster hadn’t helped matters. He had gleaned
been on his mind for days. The data on Takeda more details, certainly, and made some connec-
Croster, which he had kept in the back of his tions he hadn’t before. But there was still nothing
cabinet, labeled with a red tag. And he had spent to tell him where it had all came from. Croster
two hours poring over it. wasn’t sick.
The dour, dark-skinned man had come in asking Cramer climbed the stairs up to the fifth
for a routine physical examination. Beinnen had floor, pulled out his keys, and unlocked number
never seen him before, but he had no objection 23B. He hung his jacket on its hook, crossed a
to treating walk-ins—he made most of his living room carpeted in dull red, and sank down in his
with them. He had thought it would be quick and faux-leather armchair. A glass of water from that
painless, the usual tests followed by recommen- morning sat on the coffee table. He drank it.
dations for better health, maybe a prescription for He had found hints of one thing, something
something or other. Cholesterol meds, maybe. that disturbed him more than anything else.
But, instead, he had discovered that Croster There was evidence that Croster had undergone
wasn’t quite human. He had organs, bone struc- surgery so extensive it made Beinnen’s mind whirl.
tures, and vessels no human did. Beinnen hadn’t They’d have had to slice open every inch of skin,
seen anything like it in a lifetime of medical do horrific muscle reconstruction, and perfectly
education and practice. Croster had reacted, integrate entirely new organs into the man’s body.

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: Memory Wipe, The Waste, by Sean T. M. Stiennon Pg. 36

Beinnen didn’t think the medical technology that him, so I’m sure you have some idea why.”
would allow such procedures even existed. Not He removed his hand from his pocket and
on any world he knew. tugged off a tight black glove. He reached for
He realized that he hadn’t eaten since noon Beinnen, expressionlessly. That hand was immac-
and went to his kitchenette. There were some ulately clean, with a gold bracelet around the
hamburger patties in the fridge. A good cheese- wrist.
burger might get his mind off everything. He was Beinnen stepped back. He felt his heart pound,
busy cooking it when he heard the door open. For and the words stuck in his throat. “What do you
an instant, he didn’t think much of it—just his want from me?” he shouted.
wife coming home after a late night at her office. “Nothing,” the man said. He smiled faintly,
But no. Janet had died two years ago. Beinnen flexing his fingers. “Nothing at all.”
held his breath and listened. He could faintly hear Beinnen stepped back and heard the
two pairs of shoes coming down the hall, walking hamburger sizzling behind him. He reached
softly. Burglars? No—they would have known behind himself and grabbed the handle. The
someone was home. pan was made of heavy stainless steel. Beinnen
He left his hamburger on the range and swung it at the blond man’s face, splattering the
stepped out into the living room. Two men faced floor with hot grease. The man’s eyes remained
him, dressed in matching, dull yellow coats. They locked on Beinnen.
had been on the sidewalk outside his clinic. Both There was a clang. A curved blade colored
towered above Beinnen, with broad shoulders something halfway between bone and slate gray
and square chins. One had a thin, dark beard that had exploded from the man’s arm, blocking the
looked like it had been drawn on his face with a pan and slicing through the sleeve of his coat.
pencil. The other had blond hair buzzed close to Beinnen stared.
his scalp. It was identical to a structure from his images
“Get out,” Beinnen growled. of Croster’s forearm. The pan dropped from his
Both ignored the command. “You are Lawrence limp fingers.
Beinnen,” the blond one said. His eyes were the “Goodnight, Lawrence,” the man said, reaching
color of slate. out his bare palm.
“I am. What do you want?” The last things Beinnen experienced were a
Beinnen had a gun in a locked box on the win- flash of blue light and a sensation of intense heat
dowsill. The men blocked his path to it. One man before his soul departed and his corpse slumped
scratched his beard lazily and said, “You treated a to the tiles.
man calling himself Takeda Croster.” #
“I did. Why? Are you police?”
Again, the men ignored him. “Where are your Five-Five watched the smoking ruin of the
records?” doctor’s skull thump against the floor as he pulled
“At my office. Look, maybe I forgot to lock the the glove back onto his hand.
door, but I want both of you out. Now. Come to “Will there be anyone at the clinic?” he asked
my clinic tomorrow, and we’ll talk it over.” Four-Two-Six.
The blonde one took a step forward. “We “No,” Four-Two-Six said. “There’s a female
aren’t police,” he said, “but we’ve been looking secretary, but she left before he did.”
for Takeda for a very long time. You’ve examined “Good. We’ll go now.”

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
Serial: Memory Wipe, The Waste, by Sean T. M. Stiennon Pg. 37

Five-Five pulled shelves out of the doctor’s Sean T. M. Stiennon
refrigerator and stuffed his body into it. That
would keep it from stinking and hopefully Sean is an author of fantasy and science fiction
increase the time before the corpse was novels and short stories, with many publica-
found. Not that it particularly mattered, tions under his belt. His first short story collec-
but his training had taught him to keep his tion, Six with Flinteye, was recently released
business clean. from Silver Lake Publishing, and he won 2nd
Four-Two-Six fused the apartment door place in both the 2004 Short
shut behind them, and they left the building Story Contest and the Storn Cook Razor-Edged
together. Fiction Contest with his stories “Asp” and “The
Sultan’s Well,” respectively. “The Sultan’s Well”
has been published in the anthology Sages and
Swords. Sean’s short story “Flinteye’s Duel”
Next month... Chapter 12: Ghost Town was published in Ray Gun Revival, Issue 01.

Sean’s work tends to contain lots of action and
adventure, but he often includes elements of 
tragedy and loss alongside roaring battles. A
lot of his work centers around continuing char-
acters, the most prominent of whom is Jalazar
Flinteye (Six with Flinteye). He also writes tales
of Shabak of Talon Point (“Death Marks,” in is-
sue #9 of Amazing Journeys Magazine), Blade-
master (“Asp,” 2nd place winner in the 2004 Contest), and others who have
yet to see publication.
Sean loves to read fantasy and science fic-
tion alongside some history, mysteries, and 
historical novels. His favorites include Declare
by Tim Powers, the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn  
trilogy by Tad Williams, Stephen Lawhead’s
Song of Albion trilogy, and King Solomon’s
Mines by H. Rider Haggard. He has reviewed
books for Deep Magic: The E-zine of High Fan-
tasy and Science Fiction, and currently reviews
books at

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007
The RGR Time Capsule:
Jolly RGR Pg. 38

May 01 - May 14, 2007
Sci-Fi news from the past two
weeks in the Ray Gun Revival forums

RGR Date: May 03, 2007 RGR Date: May 10, 2007
Science fiction becomes science fact: Luke Skywalker’s Sizzling Hot Planet
Remember Luke Skywalker’s amazingly lifelike arm re-
placement in The Empire Strikes Back? A similar type of
realistic arm may be in store for injured soldiers.
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
in Laurel, Md., announced Thursday that its team has
developed a breakthrough prosthetic arm for the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency Revolutionizing Pros-
thetics 2009 program.
The DARPA program is an initiative to produce by 2009 a
mechanical arm that closely mimics the movement and
sensory perception of a biological arm. It would then be
provided for military personal hurt in the line of duty.

RGR Date: May 05, 2007
Remember that Minority Report glove interface?
BOSTON, MASS.--Remember the Minority Report scenes in
RGR Date: May 10, 2007
which Tom Cruise and others used their hands to manipu-
late data on giant computer screens? George Lucas developing two new live action SW films
One man is on a mission to make that gestural interface Lucas, by the way, says he is readying “Clone Wars,” an
technology commonplace on every desktop. animated series for TV that’s derived from “Star Wars.”
John Underkoffler, the founder and chief scientist of Ob- Many “Star Wars” characters appear in “Clone Wars,” but
long Industries gave a talk called “Cinema, Science and voiced by other actors.
Innovation” on Friday night at the Museum of Science in And here’s a little news: Lucas tells me he will make two
Boston. more live-action films based in the “Star Wars” era.
“The mouse has had a good run but it’s time to say good- “But they won’t have members of the Skywalker family as
bye,” said Underkoffler. characters,” he said. “They will be other people of that
His company has an operating system, based on hu- milieu.”
man-hand gesturing, that allows the user to explore in a The two extra films will also be made for TV and probably
3D plane. The system responds to the pitch, roll and yaw be an hour long each. But, like “Clone Wars,” Lucas doesn’t
movements that come naturally to the hand and works know where on TV they will land.
with cameras that track the positions of targets placed on
gloves. RGR Date: May 05, 2007
The top 25 best sci-fi of the last 25 years

Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 22, May 15, 2007