Science Fiction Fantasies, vol 2

By Bill Eckel

Short stories, Sci-Fi

Paperback, eBook

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2 mins

The Road to Damascus

     The winking red light on my comm unit refused to be ignored. Only a select few had access to the very secure, very private channel and I knew who waited on the other end. Suppressing the indicator, I muttered under my breath, "Not now, I'm busy."

     "What was that, Captain?" asked the helm officer.

     "Get me the Captains."

     "Aye, sir."

     Four holograms pixilated before me. Anshar, Elish, Apsu, and finally, theSecond for this mission, Marduk.

     "We have a tight schedule on this one," I began with a pointed look at Marduk. "No time for grandstanding. Drop in, pick up the cargo, and get out. Understood?"

     My glare continued to rest on Marduk.

     Marduk sat silent, not bothering to hide his scowl.

     "Any questions?"

     "Tell me, Sargon, what good is it being a God if you don't get to do godlythings?" groused Marduk.

     I nipped it in the bud. "At Orpheus 2, you command. On Siris 7, I command. You can wait to be a God until then. Or you can feel free to contact the Igigi and take up your godly ambitions with them." I paused for the briefest of moments before continuing. "Elish, move the ships into position."

     I didn't wait for an acknowledgement. I cut the channel and slammed back into my chair. “I’m going to have to do something about Marduk before Marduk does something about me.”

     Siris 7, the dazzling blue planet on the forward display, was as good a place as any to resolve the issue. The winking red light on my comm unit returned. Give it a break. I rose. “I’ll be in my cabin.”

     “Aye, Captain.”

     I knew what awaited me. Bathaal, the Messiah-prophet placed on Siris 7 to guide the populace into submission. Recently, he had developed a conscious. I retired to my cabin to see what my clone had to say.

     The hologram sharpened into focus. It still jolted me to see the same arrogant stance, the same straight black hair, the same slanted eyes staring back at me. The difference between us being, I would not revolt against orders. That realization sharpened the edge of my frustration. "Yes, what is it?"

     "Father, you are angry with me," said the soft-spoken Messiah-prophet.

     I winced. Several times over the last century, I had tried to get my clone to stop addressing me as Father. It had proven wasted breath. "I don't have time for this. What is your purpose?"

     "To be the gateway and the light. To bring the souls of my brethren to a better place by your side─"

     I immediately regretted my phrasing, "So what's the problem?"

My Crazy Uncle Ba'al

     Ba'al shivered as he closed his office door on the bitter cold of the Gleven See winter. Scientists had recently declared the planet in the Goldilocks zone. Ba'al harrumphed. “If that’s the case, this Goldilocks must be one of the hair-covered Gleven.”

     Gleven See's chief historian shuffled to his desk and flopped into his chair. The weight of his concerns robbed him of more and more of his strength every day. He had to find a successor.


     Ba’al looked up. “Is Darius here already? Is he early? Am I late?” He poured himself a glass of water and reached into his desk drawer for one of the pills his doctor pushed on him. It was for his heart, or circulation, or some such nonsense.

     "Come in."

     Darius entered. Barely a season past his age of responsibility, he still looked an adolescent. Not even his short beard or moustache added age. Only the trimming of his mane, the hand-width band of hair running from the back of his neck to waist, marked his adulthood. He stopped a pace inside the door.

     Ba'al swallowed his pill and picked up his stylus. He tapped it against his chin, studying his nephew. "Well, come closer. I don't bite. Despite the stories." 

     The young man shifted from foot to foot. He surveyed the office. If the ceiling-to-floor bookcases filled with scrolls and books with rudimentary bindings impressed him, he gave no indication. Ba'al withheld judgment, for the moment at least. "So, you're Darius."

     Darius stared back firmly. "And you're crazy Uncle Ba'al."



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