Flash Fiction: Escape from Io


This week Chuck Wendig has challenged us with pulp.

Crazy pulp shiznit.

Because it’s awesome.

So!

Your task this week is to go apeshit.

To go moonbat.

To go cuh-razy with the over-the-top pulp weirdness.

Whatever that means to you — “pulp insanity” — just run with it. For up to 1000 words.

Perfect, this let me work out a few, uh, issues that I’ve had while listening to an audiobook version of A Princess of Mars.  So join interplanetary adventurer Jack Lincoln in his Escape From Io.

Escape From Io

I pulled great lungfuls of the foul Io atmosphere into my lungs as I ran.  The creatures of this barren moon might be backwards simplistic brutes, but they could run fast when angered.  As I would later learn Manessa, who I bore away on my shoulder, was actually their queen.  She continued her questions, even as we ran.

“Jack Lincoln, What is this ‘love making’ I have heard you humans do?”

“Now is not the time.”

“Why can you simply not show me?  Do I not please you?”  She squirmed, pressing her nakedness against me.

“Really,” I said while leaping onto my five-legged steed, “there will be plenty of time for the proper demonstrations later.”  I could not blame her for asking, considering my exceeding prowess in the activities she inquired about.

Our pursuers closed in.  I could see their beady eyes poking out from beneath their heavy sloping brows.  That a race of such savages could produce a pure beauty like Manessa stupefied me, I would only later learn she was descended from a crashed human colonization ship, lost to Terran memory.  These horrible Io natives then turned these humans into both slaves and monarchs, demonstrating their clear inferiority to humanity.  Especially myself.

I saw my craft in the distance, but the thundering horde behind us was even closer.  I pushed my steed onwards, a creature rather like a horse although entirely unlike anything the human imagination could ever conceive of thanks to its fifth leg, and it trampled over the soft, lichenous ground.  I considered in this moment of flight the entire lifespan of the steed that I rode upon, how they would be trained from the moment they left their mothers pouches to serve only their Io masters, being molded into brutish creatures with the application of the whip and the spur.  The men of Io made them fight for sport, keeping only those who would win these bloody combats and wallowing in the spilled entrails of the losers.  They were hearty, muscular creatures, known for bucking riders off at the most inopportune times, largely due to the seething anger they held from decades of abuse.  Thank goodness it was so loyal to me, the only creature who had ever before thought to treat it with anything other than the back of my hand.  A bullet flew past my ear.

“Jack Lincoln!” one of the subhuman Io natives bellowed, “stop and we will only kill you and not desecrate your corpse!”

It was a kinder offer than I’d heard them make any other prisoner, and yet I still wasn’t interested in what passed for pity in their backwards minds.  Instead I pulled out the short Io pistol I’d been introduced to only the day before, wheeled around, and picked off the Vice Rompat of the tribe with a clean shot between its lower pair of eyes.

It was the perfect opportunity.  I pulled my steed around, keeping a tight grip around Manessa’s naked waist, and faced the people of Io.  “As your new Vice Rompat, I order you to stop!”

They had no choice.  I had slain the second most senior member of their tribe, and with the Rompat not present, I now had unquestionable authority over these monsters.

Manessa held me to my steed, but I quieted her with a look that reminded her just who was a man and who was a woman, even here on this strange and backwards world.  I then slid off and approached the grunting marsupial folk of Io.

“Creatures of Io, we are not too different, you and I.  Certainly you may have been weaned in your mothers’ pouches rather than being nurtured in a placenta like civilized men, but do we not both desire only to live our lives?  But where I come from we have a word called ‘compassion.’  Compassion is what lets me ride your brutish steeds with such precision.  Compassion is what has me taking Manessa away to a life that suits her beauty and grace: bearing my children.  Compassion is what allows me to pity the poor, backwards ways of you noble savages.  I wish only that I could convey to you this glorious emotion that you might add it to those less evolved emotions which you know.  I—“

The pain was immediate and ran through my body.  I sank to the fungal ground, gasping for breath.  I’d been struck down from behind, a cowardly act suitable only to the pitiful people of that moon.  I would later learn that this was considered the appropriate method for assassinating a Vice Rompat.  The life bled out of me as I looked up to who would soon be the new Vice Rompat of these people.  The last I saw was him spitting at me, such a vile thing for such a vile race.

I died wishing only that I could make these men of Io appreciate how truly superior I was.

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  1. avatar

    #1 by Jeff Xilon on May 22, 2012 - 6:00 pm

    Huh, well I’m certainly glad Jake Lincoln took a dirt nap in the end. Having read A Princess of Mars not that long ago I see the influence you mention. I do have one question – How does Jack learn later about the appropriate method for assassinating a Vice Rompat if he dies in the last paragraph? Are there more adventures of Jack Lincoln on Io to come?

(will not be published)


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