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K23 Side Story

K23 Side Story

K23 Side Story: Dead Periods

Hayaden Mucestra, a Deltan elf, loved his job.

Tonight, like most nights, Hayaden would spend most of his nighttime shift as a Coroner’s Office guard at his desk deep in the office’s bowels, snoozing.

The New Delta Medical Center’s Coroner’s Office was a relic of another age. It was obsolete even when the Center was opened in early 9900s, simply called the Coroner’s Office out of tradition. Anyone, provided they had an autopsy tablet, could perform an autopsy. The Coroner’s Office was really a morgue, a vast warehouse of the dead.

Bodies were brought into a holding area where they were tagged and placed into special bags. They were loaded onto a conveyor belt and sent into a cavernous warehouse stacked with walls of refrigerators a hundred feet high. Automated lifts put the bodies into the fridge drawers and took them out.

The Office only saw a fraction of the deaths in the city, which still numbered in the hundreds of thousands each year. All deaths in the Medical Center, murder victims whose killers went to trial and random unclaimed bodies made their way through the office. If bodies were not claimed they were sent into a chute into the sludge at the bottom of the New Delta towers. The bodies dissolved over time, becoming part of the sludge. The sludge was then collected by various entities and turned into a variety of products, the most common of which was aircraft fuel.

Only one group ever bothered pilfering the dead: Necromancers. They raised the dead by infusing a part of their soul inside a body or body part, and were attracted to the Coroner’s Office like Uthirans were attracted to fly-through eateries.

Necromancy was officially banned in New Delta and was hunted vigorously by the Order of Elohim, which called it an abomination. Despite their efforts, necromancy was very much alive. It was just being practiced in secret.

Order priests were originally stationed inside the morgue in Hayaden’s position, but were replaced with other magic practitioners once non-Elohim worshippers started complaining that bodies of their loved ones were being giving Elohim funeral rites. Instead, the Order had a legion of priests stationed everywhere else in the Center searching for them.

Still, despite the heavy security, some necromancers always managed to make it through.

Hayaden’s job, in case the dead started rising, was to alert the Order priests who’d come and kill the necromancer. Once necromancer had been killed, the dead went back to being dead. That was the only way to deal with the undead short of disintegrating them. Taking a zombie’s head off only meant you had a blind and deaf zombie. A necromancer could even resurrect a finger and have it hop around and poke people if they wanted to. The Deltan elf was hired, instead of the more common ogre, troll and orc guards, because he could use magic and could better deal with the occasional violent necromancer.

Hayaden was snapped awake by the terrified screams of scared holding area workers filtering through the maze of fridges to him. Necromancers showed up every five or six days like clockwork. It was had been five days since the last one, so Hayaden wasn’t surprised.

All around in the center of the morgue, the dozens of fridge doors were rattling on their hinges as the dead tried to escape their frigid tombs.  A lift rolled past with a flailing body on a stationary conveyor belt. It stopped in front of a low door which opened automatically. The conveyor belt delivered the body onto the fridge tray inside, and the door slammed shut again as the lift rolled off to continue its work.

A door high up on the wall opened and a zombie human male crawled out and fell fifty feet, breaking most of its bones against the hard tile floors. It continued to writhe on the ground.

While many considered this a nightmarish scene and would flee in terror, Hayaden yawned.

This was business as usual and he wasn’t in much danger. Necromancers rarely had their zombies kill, since if they did, the full might of the Order would be unleashed upon them.

Hayaden reached down and placed a thumb on the biometric scanner built into the desk. A compartment opened and Hayaden was about the press the alarm button inside…but then music began to play over the PA system. It was a dance remix of traditional elven music which consisted of strings and ethereal vocals. The crippled zombies on the floor stopped moving as other zombies crawled out of low fridges and stood in a row. They were all nude and disturbing to look at as usual but Hayaden started to tap his finger to beat as they danced.

Half of them were in varying degrees of rigor mortis and moved stiffly and methodically, while the others moved freely, whipping their limbs to the tune.

Hayaden considered lighting a few of them on fire to watch them burn to ash rhythmically.

Then the necromancer, a Deltan elf with hair dyed into a rainbow of colors and wearing skimpy clothes, appeared and started dancing.

Hayaden was transfixed. This was not the usual necromancer, frumpy old guys who’d have the dead run around for a bit before leaving.

He was torn about pressing that button and she knew it. The necromancer danced her way over and started dancing around and then on the desk.

She leaned back, putting her face close to his. His heart skipped a beat. She spun her body to face his, wrapped her legs around him, and passionately kissed him. Her lips were coated in a tangy gloss, which only heightened the sensation.

But as she pulled away, Hayaden began to feel sleepy.

“I’m Selsidhia,” the young woman said as Hayaden’s eyes slowly drooped shut. “I’m tired of controlling decrepit zombies…” She unwrapped her legs and he fell back in his chair. Her voice became indistinct against the music.

The last thing Hayaden felt before he lost consciousness was a warm body against him and breath against his ear. “Don’t you worry…you won’t decompose under my control.”

His heart stopped a few seconds later.

Selsidhia wiped her poisoned lipstick on his shirt. She waved; the music stopped and the other zombies just stood there. And then she cast an incantation and Hayaden reanimated as a zombie. His body was still very warm.

Salsidhia started the music back up. She guided zombie Hayaden to the other zombies and started dancing with him.

Then the zombies in the holding area spotted priests rushing towards them.

She released every zombie but Hayaden and stopped the music.

The necromancer and her prize jogged through the morgue to a back corner and pulled up a loose tile, revealing a secret tunnel. They went down and she replaced the tile.

Hayaden would remain at Salsidhia’s side forevermore.

K23 Side Story

K23 Side Story: Being Mudrax the Hung

“So Mudrax, why are you so excited for Big Trolls Small Elves 32?” Rai Cutter, a young reporter, asked as his camera pod rolled.

Mudrax the Hung was a male troll, seven feet tall and pushing three hundred pounds.  He was green and boxy yet muscular. His shaved and rippling chest was on display as he was shirtless and oiled up. The tight leather pants he did wear didn’t leave much to the imagination, but neither did the huge cardboard cutout of him flexing nude, with the troll blocking out the genitals.

“We’re going back to a story based series,” he said. “It’s a touching love story between a lovesick troll played by me and a Teolian elf played by Alexia Buxon.”

“I’m assuming there will be lots of sex in it.” Rai loosened his tie and unbuttoned the top button on his white shirt due to the heat from the bright studio lights.

Mudrax smiled and laughed. “On there’ll be sex all right, fucking from start to finish. It’s got blow jobs, hand jobs, three-ways, gangbangs, reverse gangbangs…“ Mudrax proceeded to list every standard heterosexual porn convention short of BSDM.

Nevermind – it was in there too. Rai felt like he was going to vomit.

There were two types of reporters in New Delta. There were the big reporters like Leyla Linour, the Terrall News Network star reporter. She had access to all the big stories, thanks in part to her husband. She didn’t have to go far looking for scoops. They generally came to her. She made seven figures at least a year and had an office full of awards.

Then there were reporters like Rai, who reported on fluff pieces about celebrities, produced inside stories that didn’t expose anything new, or simply became a cog in the corporate PR machine. He worked for Adult Media News, which reported the latest goings on in the adult entertainment business: strip clubs, brothels and pornography.

So instead of doing meaningful work, the dream of every journalist, he sat in an Intimate Productions PR studio interviewing a porn star about a meaningless porn movie.

Mudrax finished his list of fetishes and waited for Rai to ask the next question.

He shut off the pod via the remote control he had in his hand. Rai uncrossed his legs and sat forward. “Let’s not waste time with this fluff bullshit. Nobody’s going to watch it anyway. I want to know the real you.”

“You know I’m not gay, right?” Mudrax asked calmly, not a stranger to being propositioned by men as well as women. “Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against homosexuals, In fact I’m friends with a few gay porn stars. I just don’t swing that way.”

Rai tossed the remote to the ground. “I want to know the everyday Mudrax. What are you like off the set? Why do you do this? Who do you go home to?”

Mudrax yawned. “You’re not the first AMN reporter to flip out and want to do real journalism. “ He stood up, towering over the still sitting human. ”You think you’re above us porn stars, prostitutes and strippers, as if what we do demeans us. You aren’t. This is a job to me, a fun job, but still a job.” He pointed to the cutout, “I may fuck every hominid race on screen in every position known to hominids, but off screen—“

“Most female trolls won’t even talk to you.” Mudrax stumbled back and fell his into his chair. Rai had him. Female trolls ignoring male troll porn stars was common knowledge but it was rare to hear this from the mouth of a male troll. He picked up his remote and started rolling. “Mudrax, why won’t female trolls mate with you?”

Mudrax sighed and looked sad, as if he was going to cry. “Female trolls are beautiful creatures, toned yet curvy, with long silky black hair and emerald eyes that can melt any man’s heart. We males are ugly by comparison.” He slapped his chest. “I look like a deformed ogre! So the only thing we have to attract them,” he pointed behind him, “is our foot long naturally ribbed cocks that can safely remain hard for hours, then cum on command shooting giant loads. We can have up to three or four consecutive orgasms before we have to stop.”

The studio was really getting stuffy and uncomfortable, but Rai pressed on. “There has to be more than that, otherwise trolls would’ve died out eons ago.”

“There is,” Mudrax said. “Trolls are taught to support their spouses emotionally, to be there for each other, to listen to each other.”

“Strange coming from the deity of death.”

Mudrax closed his eyes, and then sprung them open, “Death without life is life without death: meaningless. To prepare for death without living life is to miss the point entirely.”

“What does any of this have to do with porn?” Rai asked.

“Everything! Unlike every other hominid race, trolls are the only matriarchy. Men spreading their seed around is viewed as a sin by many troll women. I once heard a human porn actress complain that girls are expected to be chaste while boys can sleep around. I replied that she should’ve been born a troll, because the double standard is reversed. She married a friend of mine a few months later.”

“But you’re stronger than they are. Fight back if you feel subjected.”

“Spoken like a human. Who said male trolls are subjugated? Most troll men are too busy getting banged by their hot spouses to care. It’s another thing about trolls: sex after marriage doesn’t decrease, it increases.”

Rai blushed. “Maybe I should marry a troll.”

“Get in line. I’ve seen other hominids literally try to kill each other over the love of a troll woman.”

“Let me guess: troll women can sleep outside the race, but troll men cannot.”

“Nope, plenty of troll men have happily fathered with other kinds of women, though it’s almost always those who can’t find themselves a troll wife.”

“So, do female trolls ignore you?”

“I’m not marr—“

There was a knock on the door. Rai stopped the feed. “Come on in.”

A buxom female troll wearing a slinky black dress and black makeup walked in and across the room. She lay back in Mudrax’s lap, and kissed him passionately. Mudrax grinned. “Meet my wife, Yula the Bountiful.” He groped her. They playfully growled at each other.

Rai dropped his remote, speechless.

“I was watching from the two way mirror over there,” She pointed behind Rai to the tinted widow behind him. “I came in because I didn’t want to have my baby lie about what’s waiting for him at home.”

“How—how much of that was a lie?”

Mudrax supported Yula with his arms as she moved over so he could look at the reporter better.  “All I will tell you is that Yula, like most wives of male trolls in porn, doesn’t care who I screw at work as long as I don’t screw for love with anyone other than her. Since she’s a porn actress herself, she’ll know.”

She ran her fingers over his chest. “Mudrax performs better with me that he does for anyone else. Even in three ways with another woman, he screws me harder.”

“But you said—“

“I never said anything. You said troll women shunned male porn actors, not me. I just decided to play along because you obviously thought you were going to get a big story out of this, one that would get you a better job. But you’re not going anywhere because you obviously failed to do things every journalist should do, like researching the background the people you’re interviewing.”

Mudrax stood up and put her on her feet. They locked arms.

“Come on baby,” she said, “let’s leave this loser to his shame while we prove him wrong, all night long.”

Mudrax’s face suddenly lit up. “I got a better idea,” he said.

She smiled while looking at Rai, knowing what he was thinking.

“How would you like to be a porn producer?” Mudrax asked.

Rai stood up, picked up his remote and stepped back. “Better than being a journalist. Start fucking…” He clicked on the remote. “Now!”

“And cut!” A voice said over an intercom. The camera pods hovering above and around them stopped filming. The troll director walked in. “Thanks for your help, Rai.”

Rai smiled. “Who better to play a journalist, than a real journalist?”

“Come back in three hours for the finishing shots. I know you’ve got other stories to cover but it’ll be nice for continuity if you just didn’t disappear. I hate when that happens.”

“Count on it… but one thing, how much of that was real?”

“Almost all of it. Many women do shun troll porn actors,” Yula leaned against Mudrax.” But I don’t.” Yula was actually married to Mudrax. They were performing a scene together, as they occasionally did, in movie a called Troll Romance 4.

“Being authentic is what wins awards,” the director said.

“So how does the wider troll community view you?”

“Any objections my parents had disappeared when I bought them a new aircraft,” Mudrax said.

“Well good luck with the scene.”

Yula looked up at her husband. “We’ve been practicing .”

Rai walked out of the studio as the director called action. His actual camera pod was in the hallway waiting for him.

Rai might not have had the more prestigious beat, but nothing else would have been so much fun.

Read this and sixteen brand new short stories in Sandworm Rodeo!

K23 Side Story

Bedtime for Elves

Icovara Sareyan sat on her daughter Deenea’s bed with a screen open to a new text she had bought called Stories for Elven Children. Deenea, a four year old Deltan elf, lay expectantly for a story from her mommy before falling asleep. The room was dark and quiet, with only a light so Icovara could read.

“Once upon a time,” Icovara began, “there were white elves called Teolian elves, and dark purple elves called Deltan elves.”

“I’m a Deltan elf,” Deenea said. “You and daddy are too.”

She kissed her daughter’s cheek. “Yes, we are Deltan elves.”

She looked back at the screen. “The white elves were good and pure, while the dark purple elves were…”

“Mommy?” Deenea asked as her mother’s face twisted in horror.

“Let’s read another.” Icovara moved to the next story. “Once upon a time there was an ogre who lived in the woods. He was very strong—”

“And tall!”

“—And tall,” she added in. “One day he saw some pure maidens frolicking in the woods.”

“What were they doing?”

The text didn’t say. It just said “frolicking” so she replied, “they were drawing pictures.”

Deenea had drawn at preschool that day so she giggled and smiled.

“He wanted to draw pictures with them,” continued Icovara. “He waddled over and invited them back to his cave to draw. Being good maidens, they accepted. When they got to his cave, they found he didn’t want to draw as he…“

She skipped to the next story. “This is a good one. “Once upon a time there were funny creatures called brac’tai.”

Deenea giggled. “They ARE funny.”

“Yes they are,” Icovara said. She read, “A brac’tai was floating down a stream when it came upon an elven maiden swimming. ‘Hello,’ the maiden said to the brac’tai. “The brac’tai looked her up and down. He chirped. “‘You want to play?’ The brac’tai whistled.”

“The maiden splashed water playfully at the brac’tai,” continued Icovara. “Soon they were splashing around and when they finished they sat upon the bank of the stream.  The brac’tai laid a tentacle on her. The maiden knew what the brac’tai wanted to do and she…”

“Mommy, go on,” Deenea said.

Icovara put the screen down. “And she spread her arms and the brac’tai tickled her.” The girl giggled and squirmed as her mommy tickled her.

Once Deenea was asleep, Icovara walked in her bedroom to find her husband, Oneren, watching a show. He flipped the screen off as she got into bed beside him. “How were those new stories?”

Icovara proceeded to finish them for her husband.

“You might want to have checked to see if these stories were intended for Teolian children or Deltan children,” said Oneran when she’d finished.

“I knew these were for Teolian children, but I didn’t think they’d subject their children to that stuff.”

She pulled the covers up.

“They have their reasons, but we don’t have to subject Deenea to it.”

“And I won’t. The world’s too messed up as it is.”

Like what you read? Check out the K23 Detectives novellas.

K23 Side Story

The Tale of Mr. Alumooney

Detective Placido Winokur specialized in fraud and scams of all sorts, including insurance, investment and marketing scams. Most of his clients were ripped off by some very sophisticated con artists, like those who had made an art form out of fast-talking mages into buying magic insurance.

A magic insurance salesman claims their insurance will cover a mage in case they miscast a dangerous spell. It isn’t until the mage forks over thousands of credits and gets the final contact does the mage learn the truth. The insurance only covers a mage if they correctly cast a spell but there were “anomalies in the divine energies” which caused the spell to miscast. The odds of this occurring were around one in four hundred trillion. By the time the mage realizes they have been scammed, the insurance company has vanished.

Then there were clients like Estelle Domino.

The elderly human with silver hair and a wrinkled complexion sat across from Placido in his small wood-paneled office.

“It started three days ago when I received an email from a Mr. Alumooney,” Estelle began, “who said he was a manager in charge of a defunct robotics program at Cybrix. He said he still had access to the program’s budget, which totaled twenty million credits.  He said that due to  some accounting error, the research money was still in a Cybrix account but had been marked as spent in the system. He wanted to transfer the money out by using my bank account and would allow me to keep two million out of the twenty. I sent him my information, “she wiped tears from her eyes, “but he stole all my money instead. My daughter had to bail me out.”

“What is Mr. Alumooney’s first name?”

“I believe it was Iwisteel. Yes, his name was Iwisteel Alumooney.”

Placido was utterly in shock.

“You do know you gave your back account information to a man named Iwisteel Alumooney?”

“What’s wrong with his name?”

“Mr. I-will-steal All-your-money!”

Estelle went pale. “I thought he was a Deltan elf.”

Placido kept his contempt in check. “Beyond that, you really thought some Cybrix manager would transfer twenty million credits to some random woman he didn’t know.”

“I was an Ashram-Uriah accountant for thirty years—“

He sighed. “Thank you for coming. I cannot be of service to you.”

“But  why?“

“I’m not going to help a woman who should’ve known better.”

She started to sob. “But he scammed me. You help people who were scammed.”

“I help people who were legitimately taken advantage of by very sophisticated outfits. For example, I just got fifty thousand back for a couple who lost it to an investment scammer who had hired an entire office full of desperately-unemployed goblins. The goblins didn’t actually do anything other than make it look like there was a legitimate business in need of investment. I don’t help greedy old ladies who fell for the most obvious kind of scam there is.”

Estelle stood up, rage flashing in her eyes. “The megacorps have trillions of credits and horde it all for themselves. I should know, I spent my life counting it. If somebody offered you a piece of that, you wouldn’t turn it down and you know it!” She walked out and slammed the door.

“Maybe if they were named Mr. Iwisenu Allotamooney,” Placido muttered.

Time to work on a real case.


Like what you read? Please check out the K23 Detectives novellas.


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