Tag Archive: space epic

“Frozen goats of Malvin! Those are the largest, land-based walking shrimp I’ve ever seen!” cried Lieutenant Henley Lipworth, peering between the crevices of the lattice-like, green rock formation on the Planet of the Obscenely Giant Shrimp. The last of the three towering white shrimp was swaying off into the sickly olive-hued distance, its nearly transparent legs sending up little plumes of avocado-colored dust with each step.
Commander Greta Bin-Lector looked through a slightly larger crevice using her authentic Space Command-issue binocularama. The shrimp’s magnified body bumped into her field of vision so dramatically that she gasped at the looming immense smoothness of its pearly covering. “Eye boggling! I haven’t seen so much smooth white curvature since the Biennial Porcelain Festival on Rugger-11.” Bin-Lector readjusted the focus on the viewing device and shifted her position. “There it is, Lipworth. The legendary Crystal Shrimp Palace. They’re lumbering right up to it.”
“Let me see.” Lipworth held out a hand, always eager to see one of the officially registered Shrimp Wonders of the universe.
Bin-Lector looked at him skeptically. “You haven’t even returned my copy of Annals of the Perverse Abbesses.”
“I’m still on the fourth Annal,” explained Lipworth. “I had to re-read annal two a few times. Remember that part with the overfed dog?”
Bin-Lector sighed and handed the device over. “Point it there. Just to the left of that last giant shrimp butt.”
Lipworth did as she directed, scraping his chin on one of the little protuberances of the gnarled rock formation. Bin-Lector held back a chuckle as a somewhat poisonous Mango Bubble Crab scurried across the rock face, nearly brushing Lipworth’s face.
Henley Lipworth let out an impressed whistle as he brought the Shrimp Palace into view. He’d seen shrimp bridges, underwater shrimp tunnels and even multi-leveled, orbiting, self-sustaining shrimp space stations, but this was his first experience with a shrimp palace. It was an inspiring sight, which would’ve been even more inspiring if Lipworth were an obscenely giant shrimp in search of a grandiose seat of government. Four stories of twisting hallways, imposing chambers and tastefully furnished crustacean pleasure dens were all constructed from glinting, transparent, variously-hued crystal, giving the viewer access to the sight of busy shrimp dignitaries, courtiers, servants and commoners scurrying about their business among the chambers.
“Amazing! It’s incredibly complex yet as finely detailed as one of the ancient Potato God cathedrals on the Planet of the Vegetable Acolytes. How do they make such intricate crystal palaces?”
“With their riches made on iron ore investments. Buying up whole planets full of iron deposits, then selling the drilling rights when iron prices went through the roof. Don’t let anyone tell you shrimp aren’t clever speculators.”
“No, I mean physically how do they make them? Shrimp don’t even have opposable thumbs.”
“They were built by slaves,” answered Letitia. “Their unhappy, short Gunnerdal slaves, imported on direct, no-frills flights from the Gunner system.”
Lipworth gritted his teeth. Enslavement was one of his least favorite things. Especially when it involved short people. “That’s repulsive. If these Obscenely Giant Shrimp are going to use their wealth to put up grandiose palaces as monuments to their own nearly limitless power, they should at least pay regular construction crews a decent wage to build them.”
“Save your outrage for the Shrimp King. Now that we’ve discovered their route to the palace, we can put our plan into action.”
“You mean the plan where we dress up as hungry, bedraggled space travelers stranded beside the shrimp trail and then they take pity on us and give us a shrimp-back ride to the palace, where we pretend to recuperate from our travails while actually uncovering the details of their strategy to colonize the Planet of the Recumbent Sages?”
“Yes. Except I’m making a slight change of plans. After seeing these shrimp tear apart those bedraggled rock antelopes for dinner, I no longer have as much faith in their ability to pity weary travelers. We’ll ask for admission to the palace head on. Posing as fine crystal salespeople with a great deal on transparent blue crystal bricks, perfect for shrimp palace add-ons.”
“But I’ve never sold anything,” protested Lipworth. “My cousin’s the salesguy. He could sell a pair of designer sunglasses to a Blind Throbbing Pumpkin Slugworm. In fact, he did sell a pair of designer sunglasses to a Blind Throbbing Pumpkin Slugworm.”
“You don’t have to actually sell anything, Lipworth,” explained Greta. But she couldn’t complete the thought. She was instead rudely interrupted by the piercing, twisted battle shriek of a rearing, nearly-translucent Obscenely Giant Shrimp charging from behind, rearing on a misshapen green boulder, its many surprisingly thick and aggressively kicking legs creating a maelstrom of deadly shrimp appendage action.
Lipworth backed against the rocks with nowhere to go, a shrimp-induced scream of jumbo proportions about to escape from his mouth when a blunt shrimp foot knocked him on the side of the head and his body’s coherency was lost in the bloody pummeling of numerous Obscenely Giant Shrimp limbs.
“I didn’t even know they could shriek. I didn’t even know they could shriek,” muttered Bin-Lector in a trance-like monotone as she saw the unpleasant black eyes of the Giant Shrimp bear down on her and the limbs kick into action to eliminate the last potentially meddlesome intruder attempting to interfere with the internal affairs of the Planet of the Obscenely Giant Shrimp.

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The Putrid Moon

“I hate living on the Putrid Moon,” said Commander O’Flaherty. 

He stared out at the deeply pockmarked surface of the unsightly moon over his cup of breakfast powder.

“Think about future generations.”  Second Officer Haifa Al-Rashid stored the packaging of her futuristic space meal for recycling.  As the first one-armed female Arab-American astronaut on the Putrid Moon, she was full of inspiring, optimistic ideas on the future of space exploration.  “One day, our children’s descendants will look back on us as moon pioneers.”

“I’m not having any children with you,” protested O’Flaherty.

“I was using the royal ‘our’,” explained Al-Rashid.

Just then, Ensign Bradley burst into the dining pod.

“Commander O’Flaherty, we’ve detected suspicious movement in the Crimble Zone!”

“You see what I mean!”  O’Flaherty seethed.  “Not a day goes by without some annoyance cropping up on the Putrid Moon.”

Second Officer Al-Rashid faced O’Flaherty with determination.  “You need to show grit, Commander!  The Crimbles could completely destroy our insulated, technologically advanced yet structurally fragile moon base with one well-organized attack!”

“Give me one reason I should care!” cried O’Flaherty.  “This moon is Putrid!  Why are we even here?  Have you taken a look around?  The Great Rundible Cleft is filled with half-solid gray slime that gives off the stench of burnt rubber.  The Wallinger Geyser shoots out burning plumes of orange-brown muck every hour that reeks of rotten potato. Last week, I fell into a gaping pit filled with decaying Crimble carcasses and I still haven’t been able to remove the stains from my uniform!”  O’Flaherty pointed to the seat of his silver moon-colonist radiation-deflecting pants.  “We can’t even invite any galactic dignitaries to visit our colony because the whole place is too goddamn smelly.  Face it people, this moon is putrid!”

Al-Rashid threw a saltshaker to the floor in fury.  “I can’t listen to this!  As the first one-armed female Arab-American astronaut on the Putrid Moon, I must set an example for all the space daughters who’ll follow my example.  This mission is not about nasal aesthetics!  This mission is about claiming a world for human habitation that on the surface is completely hostile and inappropriate for settlement and putting up with endless sacrifices, hardships and unpleasant odors to make that possible!”

Ensign Bradley pointed out the impressive picture window to a spot beyond the bubbling pits of devil-lava that lay around the compound.  “A Crimble scout!”

Bradley was undeniably correct.  In the distance, visible against an olive-ochre horizon spotted with tattered clouds, came the shambling, unappetizing shape of a three legged, large-eyed Crimble.  The Crimbles were yet another hazard of life on the Putrid Moon.  Using their sharp and pointed tusks and glinting titanium claws, a rampaging Crimble could do untold damage to the moon colony habitation with its fragile pink light funnels and architecturally renowned billowing canvas sails, reminiscent of the masts of a 19th century whaling ship.

“We’re doomed!” cried O’Flaherty.   “Doomed!  This ill-begotten mission is on a headlong collision course with a violent, smelly destruction.  All of us are going down to our putrescent unmarked graves on this godforsaken moon!”

“Perhaps the Crimble will stumble into one of the devil-lava pits,” said the inexperienced and recklessly hopeful Bradley.  He was a recent graduate of Space University and his grade point average had not been high enough to secure him a post on one of the less disgusting moon bases.

“Nonsense,” claimed Al-Rashid.  “We need simply to reach out to these misunderstood creatures.  I will go out and play the Crimble a tune of peace on my Earth-oud.  We must bridge the differences between our species if we ever hope to live in peace with the creatures of the Putrid Moon.”

O’Flaherty watched in seething frustration as Al-Rashid and Bradley set forth with the fragile oud to make peace with the Crimble.  As he could have predicted, Al-Rashid was quickly speared through the stomach by the Crimble’s tusk and Bradley fell headlong into a devil-lava pit.  O’Flaherty beat on the intercom in frustration as the Crimble lumbered ever closer to the compound.

Commander Danvers stared off stoically at the tangled forests of the Planet of the Green Monkeys, rubbing his beard stubble in satisfaction. 

            The Multi-Ethnic Galactic Intergenerational Mammalian Investigation Exploratory Squadron had spent two decades in their quest for the green monkey, usually making their space navigation decisions based on the hunches of Second Officer Luber, a bespectacled whiz kid whose instinctive understanding of galactic geography constantly amazed the crew.

            “Here it is,” piped up Luber, in his perpetually adolescent voice.  “Just like I said.  The Planet of the Green Monkeys.”

            Danvers raised his eyes to the sky, where two ugly purple moons hovered above them.  “You’re quite a kid, Luber.  I’ve been traveling with you for two decades and you still look like you’re twelve years old.”

            Luber blushed.  He hadn’t told anyone on the crew that he suffered from Janger’s Multiphasic Middle School Disease.  Every night he returned to his pod, thinking of stratagems to convince everyone on the ship he was not permanently stunted in his emotional and physical growth at the level of a pre-teen.

            Danvers lit a masculine cigar and made a surly curl with his lips.  “Now we just gotta find us some green monkeys, compadre.”

            Just then, Fourth Officer Layla Oliveros scurried up to them from a gully on their right.  Her space uniform was erotically tattered from her struggles with the promiscuous, luxuriating vines of the Planet of the Green Monkeys.  Her long flowing black hair cascaded toward her legs, making a statement of sensual Latina beauty even here on the far-flung world of the Planet of the Green Monkeys.

            “Commander Danvers,” cried Oliveros, “I’ve found a green monkey!”

            Danvers turned to her with the decisive pivot that had made him a favorite with the instructors at the Space Academy. 

            “Green monkey!  For crying out loud, woman, where?”

            Oliveros took a moment to collect herself and reapply her Passionate Pomegranate lipstick.  “Down there.  In the gully!  He was hanging from a tree branch, just like a monkey!”

            “Goddamn it, Oliveros!  If you’re right, I’m giving you a Space Star to stick on that sensually tattered uniform!  If we can capture and dissect a green monkey, we could gain clues to galactic mammal biology that will make us completely reevaluate our position in the universe.”

            Oliveros pointed again.  “Hurry.  He might escape.  He’s a monkey.”

            Danvers pulled his monkey gun from his holster and ran into the gully, followed by Luber and Oliveros.

            In moments, he was face to face with a primitive, smelly green monkey.  A large-nosed, wild-eyed green monkey who probably hadn’t evolved past his current form for millions of uneventful years. 

            Just as Danvers touched the monkey, Luber pulled out his own monkey gun.

            “Hands off, Danvers!  It’s time I proved my masculinity!  I’m taking possession of this monkey!”  Without further ceremony, Luber shot Danvers at point blank range.  In a slow motion cartwheel of death, Danvers turned end over end until he lay sprawled on the floor of the gully, his mouth open wide and his eyes staring mindlessly into the off-white sky above the Planet of the Green Monkeys.

            Oliveros planted a sensual Latin kiss on Luber’s mouth. 

            “You’re my hero, Luber!  No one but you can bring to life my dual fetishes for men with crippling diseases and unique navigational abilities.”

            “I know,” said Luber.  “That’s why it’s so distressing that I saw you last night fondling Captain Matthews in the storage pod.”

            Without another word, Luber turned his monkey gun on Oliveros and shot her, also at point blank range.

            Oliveros whimpered, then fell to the dirty ground.

            Luber looked at the green monkey, a monkey he had waited years to see.  “This is just the beginning, monkey.  The beginning of a new era on the Planet of the Green Monkeys.”  
            The monkey howled, but Luber just smiled an enigmatic smile.