Hard Warriors

Hard Warriors (1979)

Hard Warriors Poster

a Hiroaki Yamada short story

(translation by Guillaume Le Taureau)

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They were strong.

They were hard.

Warriors with strength.

One was blue, the other: not blue.

They were ready.

Inside the beast, young Hideo was sweating. Sweating like an animal in the Sun. Like an unborn baby rhinoceros waiting to come out of its mother’s womb. But there was no coming out: the battle was about to begin.

“Stop it now, Isamu!”, he said to his opponent.

“Never!”, Isamu replied through his own metallic warrior.

“You were good! Now you are bad! Why, Isamu? Why?”

“I am bad because you made me bad! I was good! Now we are both bad.”

“Never!”

Hideo threw the first punch.

WHAMMAK!

Such power!

But Isamu would not be defeated so easily.

PAPOOM!

What an attack!

“Our strengths are matched! But mine is stronger!”, Isamu gloated.

“Don’t flatter yourself, Isamu!”

And Hideo lept at Isamu, clenching the latter’s waist with his thighs while thumping on his head with his titanium fists.

FHOOM! FHOOM!

“Aaaaah! Damn you!”, Isamu screamed.

“You can still end this: we used to be brothers!”

“Never!”

Isamu unleashes a hidden chest saw: sparks fly as Hideo is violently propelled by the rotations of the sharp thoraxian weapon.

“Take that, inferior thing!”

“How about… you take… THIS?”

Hideo’s warrior releases gold arrows from his eyes: they promptly pierce through Isamu’s shoulders. Isamu screams and drops to his knees.

“Nooooo!”

“Yes!”

“You will pay for this!”

“Surrender, Isamu! It is what you must do!”

“Never!”

Isamu pulls out one of the gold arrows from himself, stands and runs towards Hideo. He jumps at him, ready to stab Hideo with the arrow but Hideo was prepared: he had already deployed the anti-arrow disc.

BZONGH!

The arrow broke.

“Last chance for salvation, Isamu!”

“Never!”

Hideo slices Isamu in half.

Both halves of what once was Isamu plop down to the ground as blood, oil and wires pour out.

“Isamu…”, Hideo says quietly to himself.

Just then, Hideo felt a change of gravity.

Was he flying?

No.

In fact, he was being lifted. Inside the warrior, Hideo panicked, playing with all the buttons peppered over the main control panel.

“What the…”

A voice came from above.

“You have failed, Hideo.”

“Computer”, Hideo asked his control panel desperately, “Analyse big voice!”

Looking up at the screen in front of him, Hideo finally saw the truth.

The voice continued:

“You can’t kill so early: you lose the drama, young Hideo!”

Was that an eyeball facing him?

Were those glasses?

It couldn’t be… they were so big.

“Try again”, said the voice, “This time: use the arrows last. Take your time: length is good. We’ll keep rolling.”

“R-rolling?”

Suddenly, Hideo was placed back down on the ground.

“Aaaaaand: action!”, said the voice.

In front of him, Hideo found another hard warrior.

Could it be?

No.

It couldn’t.

“I…Isamu?!”

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More from the Hiroaki Yamada soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

Futurearth

“Futurearth” (1995)

Futurearth Book Cover

a Brendan M. Midnight short story

Inspired the motion-picture “After Earth”

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The young soldier was cold.

Outside, the cold had made everything cold: even the trees.

As he lay down waiting for death, a beard of snow grew on his face.

Colonel Unfeer, meanwhile, sat in his pod, powerless. He thought of his son, he thought of his late daughter and he thought of his wife.

He thought.

All at once, he thought of all of them and how he had failed them. If only he had been there when the unthinkable happened. He could not fear. He had evolved and they hadn’t, but did they deserve a fate worse than his? The answer was no.

Fear was a choice, he once believed.

Now, he wasn’t so sure…

If only there was a way to save all he had left: his son.

His wife didn’t matter right now.

And then he remembered.

“Birds…”, Unfeer said to himself.

Both his legs had been broken in the crash and he was losing blood rapidly but he still had his brain.

“Computer, find me a bird. A big one.”, the Colonel ordered his screen.

“Processing…”, the computer replied.

Still lying on the frozen grass, young J.D. Unfeer could feel the fear leave him. Perhaps he had finally attained the nirvana of self-control his father had often spoken of, or perhaps he was dying. His eyes turned to the grass around his right hand. On it, was an elaborate slug-like creature wearing what looked at first like a very small leather jacket but was in fact another layer of skin.

The creature starts climbing on J.D.’s hand, leaving behind it a trail of blood and scars. The young soldier, frozen solid, could not feel the pain or anything else. He could only stare at the creature, paralysed, and let it do what it was doing. Which, it turns out, was defecating.

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Back in the conapt, Colonel Unfeer was losing patience.

“The birds, goddamn it! The birds!”

“Processing…”, replied the computer.

There had to be an easier way.

A legend told of an early form of technology which allowed humans to tap into any living creature at a distance. He remembered his great-grandfather teaching him this. How, long before the Earth perished, a form of primitive communication known as the “Internets” evolved into a wireless web connecting everything to each other telepathically and, therefore, spiritually. This, of course, was only a tale he had heard as a young child but if he could only remember the details of how humans learned to control that technology, perhaps…

Finally, he knew what he had to do.

It hit him like a bold of lighting, in his brain.

“Computer, locate mind darts.”

“Processing…”

“Come on, come on…”

“Mind darts detected.”

On-screen, a blue dot appeared on the map of the ship: it was very close to the red dot which depicted Unfeer’s current location.

J.D. was about to lose consciousness. The slug had reached his lower back.

Crawling down the ship’s unlit corridors, slithering with great difficulty, Colonel Unfeer felt tremendous amounts of physical pain but the adrenaline pumping through his arms which pulled him forward again and again kept him focused. Behind him, a trail of blood was left by his gushing legs. He had soon arrived at the Science Quarters, a pod which, like all the others, was made of bone.

The scientists onboard the ship used this room to do science.

Crawling inside the room, Unfeer saw the fleshy pocket which contained the mind darts, embedded inside the wall next to the eye-nets, the ivory stomachs and the tri-toothed crystal chopsticks.

“Computer: release compartment B-12.”

Promptly, the wall purse burst open.

The transparent jelly-like wax poured out and the box of mind darts (made of eggshells and hard milk) hung there, ready to be plucked.

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J.D. had finally fainted, his snow beard was sparkling in the chilling wind.

The slug was now in him.

It was then that it came for the boy.

A great, impressive bird he had encountered prior had swooped down and was now dragging the young soldier with its claws over the grass. The poor bird was cold, but it wasn’t about to give up on J.D..

Soon enough, the latter found himself, still unconscious, resting in a warm hole in the ground, covered with leaves and the bird’s own comfortably hot faecal matter. But the frost had taken its toll on the unfortunate beast and after lying on the leaves over the boy, it fell asleep never to awake again.

The next day, J.D. opened his eyes feeling  predictably cool but unexpectedly alive.

Alive?

But how?!

That was unexpected.

J.D. starts to crawl out of the hole, still unsure as to how exactly he could have ended up in that particular location safe and sound. Once up and out, however, it all made sense.

Before him lay the bird, dead.

He remembered the previous day, when he had tried to save its young but mistakenly destroyed their nest, killing them in the process. The bird had followed him here and saved his life, all because he had risked his own life for its brood.

Or, at least, that’s what the young soldier thought before getting a closer look at the bird’s body. On its side and on its neck were small glowing darts made of teeth and elbows.

“Father?”, J.D. enquired.

“You have done well, my son.”, replied the bird’s neck, “You have made me proud.”

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More from Brendan M. Midnight soon.

Only on WeTheMindthinkers.

The Mountains Upside Down – Chapter III

“The Mountains Upside Down” (1863)

a Gilles Vorace novel

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Extract from Chapter III:

“Downwards And Upwards”

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We had finally begun our climb down to the top of the mountain.

Dr Niemendorf had been right all along: the mountains upside down did exist!

Hektor Wiendelstein’s journal was not a fake nor was it a collection of demented ramblings which was certainly good news for the expedition. What lies at the peak of an upside down mountain, deep underground?

We were about to find out.

-“Dr Niemendorf”, I inquired, “What of the air down there?”

-“Young nephew, use your mind! Typically, a mountain peaks at the purest and lightest of its air. Therefore, since our journey already begins at the top, we should find a vast pocket of fresh oxygen right at the foot of the mountain. The freshest, most delightful air you could ever breathe. After that, it’ll all be downhill from there.”

-“Surely you mean ‘uphill’.”

-“Hush those mindless queries and corrections.”

-“But doctor”, our Finnish lumberjack friend Raskkattan started, “We five, we not enough. Maybe more people is better, no? Danger!”

-“Balderdash! A group of five abled bodies with working limbs and capable, functioning brains is more than enough to secure a safe and productive expedition.”

-“But we drop!”

-“Drop? Absurd! If my calculations are correct, and they are, once we have slid our way through to the mountain’s base, reverse gravity should kick-in just in time to guarantee a smooth upside down walk all the way to the top!”

-“But…”

-“‘But-but-but’, be quiet man! Keep your concerns to yourself and leave the science to those of us who are indeed qualified to discuss such intricate matters. Me, for example. Now carry this pig.”

Raskkattan should have known better than to argue with Uncle Niemendorf. He was as stubborn as an owl and, more often than not (by that, of course, I mean always), he was completely, surprisingly right. My uncle handed the bulky Scandinavian the pig and, after wrapping a long piece of rope around a nearby tree, started his descent.

Raskkattan followed, his porcine disciple firmly tied to his chest, like a real boy. Olaf was next, the weak-minded child was scared out of his wits, contesting throughout: “Why did he have to come?”, “Why couldn’t he go home instead?”, nonsense of the sort. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to be part of such a ground-breaking discovery? I tied up the boy promptly, from neck to toe, filling his mouth with cranberries to keep him quiet, and lowered him down with the others.

The ungrateful tick.

It was to be Lady Seitenstreifen’s turn when she turned to me, her stunning figure in that all-too complimenting dress of hers, hardly suited to an adventure such as this one might I add, heaving towards me, like a bag of cherries, and asked:

-“Do they have napkins down there?”

Not knowing what she meant and for fear of sounding foolish, I immediately agreed with her. Puzzled, she nonetheless smiled and followed the rest of the group down the crack. Good thing I remembered to tie her rope to the tree in time, she had forgotten and a lesser gentleman could have lost himself in that magical smile of hers.

She truly was a special breed.

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The climb down was torturous.

Impatient, Uncle Niemendorf intermittently yelled instructions back at us. The pig, no doubt deeply disturbed by the events, squealed uncontrollably, Raskkattan muttered what could only be Finnish profanities on and off, young Olaf crying hot, bitter, childish tear the entire time, Lady Seitenstreifen complaining about the absence of a working powder room (poor, sweet Lady Seitenstreifen, I could bury my head in her) and me, unsure about where this unsympathetic road would lead me.

Respect? Fame? Fortune? Death?

Time would tell.

-“My uncle, how much farther down until we reach the mountain?”

-“According to Hektor Wiendelstein’s journal, we should be approaching the base of the mountain somewhere between now and later.”

-“Later as in after some time has passed?”, interrupted Lady Seitenstreifen, with a voice so soft and cushiony I felt instantly wombed by its motherly comfort.

-“Precisely”, simply replied my uncle.

This was going to be one long climb.

-“You have water?”, Raskkattan asked the doctor with a thick Helsinki accent, so thick it must have weighed at least a couple of inches.

-“‘Vwahtier’? I suppose you mean ‘water’? Fool, you imagine I would undertake such a monumental undertaking without packing enough water for us all?”

-“No, but it’s good you have.”

-“I don’t ‘have’ it now, of course. I had to drop some weight on the way down in order to perform my leader duties to the best of my abilities so what I couldn’t drink, I discarded. But not to worry, as long as I am hydrated, the group should enjoy a safe journey with me, its leader, in top physical form. Besides, the water will no doubt be waiting for us down the mountain thanks to good old, trusty reverse gravity.”

-“Surely you mean ‘up’ the mountain, Uncle Niemendorf!”, I playfully jested.

-“I loathe the very fabric of your being and, furthermore, your face.”, was his, I felt, somewhat harsh, reply.

A sudden move by Dr Niemendorf sent all of us swinging and sent Olaf face-first into the rocky walls which surrounded us, cracking his skull on a sharp piece of granite. He died on impact. The blood pouring out of his little head angered my uncle but provided Raskkattan’s pet pig with enough fluids to keep it alive and squeal-less for some time.

The circle of life.

-“I tire, lets set up camp here!”, Lady Seitenstreifen suggested as Olaf’s motionless corpse hung puppet-like right below her small, delicate feet.

Suddenly, and without warning, the rope snapped and we started our long tumble down this mysterious, upside down abyss.

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More extracts from Gilles Vorace‘s “The Mountains Upside Down” will come soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

Introducing Gilles Vorace

Little known French science fiction writer Gilles Vorace was a contemporary of legendary author Jules Verne. Not only that but they grew up together in Nantes, went to the same boarding school and used to share stories, along with Jules’ brother Paul.

Their friendship, however, ended circa 1864 when Vorace vehemently accused Verne of stealing his novel “The Mountains Upside Down” to build his classic “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth”. Vorace never forgave Verne, whose take on the situation amounted to this quote:

“The man is unhinged.”

Finally, Vorace’s “The Mountains Upside Down” is seeing the light of day and We, The MindThinkers are here to bring you several extracts from this unique piece of work.

An extract from Chapter III is coming soon only on We, The Mindthinkers.

The Rice Farmers Of Kryoc – Chapter I

“The Rice Farmers Of Kryoc” (1965)

an Ebert E. Bert novel

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Extract from Chapter I:

“Kryoc, World Of The Damned”

ImageRice.

That most valuable of commodities. That sweet ivory nectar.

Men would kill for it, men would die for it. For a taste of its small, supple, pillowy bosom. For with rice, as with all things, a darkness shadows a valiant purpose.

There was a land, thousands of miles across the galaxy, a land where rice was all.

That land was Kryoc.

A minute planet far within the Tichbar system, in between Koryoc, Kloryoc and the Seven Moons, Kryoc was made of rice. Or, rather, its bumpy, white, shaft-like hills were. At the core of every hill, of which there were an infinite horizon, lay miles upon miles, tons upon tons of the milky substance. It was a peaceful land where the Kryokees lived without conflict. For the Kryokees, the hills were sacred, none would ever dare betray their purity.

Without them, the Kryokees were lost.

Kylias* provided the people of Kryoc with all they needed. Rice farmers would travel to Kylias and there, they would carry home a calculated amount of Kjii* which would feed their families for years. But the Hargyans, a race of rice-seekers from a nearby star system, whose planet neither needed nor deserved rice, had infiltrated Kryoc with the intention of extracting all the rice from the sacred hills to use as currency across the universe, for that rice, the rice buried deep inside the Kryokian hills, possessed a crystal-like fragility and a taste purer than the sky itself. It was also extremely rare and, of course, extremely valuable. Even more so than the rice the farmers grew.

When the Hargyans came, with their weapons, their advanced machinery and their greed, the Kryokees, not being a warring people, had no choice but to cooperate. The Kylias had been drained almost entirely and the rice farmers became rice miners, working to extract the rice from the very hills they worshipped and protected. Soon, the Kryokees would have no choice but to rely on that very rice but by then the Hargyans would have no doubt gained global control over it and it wouldn’t be long before a famin would hit the Kryokees, a famin from which there would be no escape.

A small group of Kryokian rebels, The Kryad, was believed to exist but what could they do? The Hargyans were fierce and their army was far superior (there was no such thing as an army on Kryoc).

Rebellion was futile.

Or was it?

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The Talarians were peacekeepers, scouting the cosmos for conflicts in the hope of resolving them as best as possible. Their mission had been approved by the United Federation Of Space, Planets And Intergalactic Activities (UFSPIA) aeons ago and they were a respected race throughout the galaxy. The Talarian elders had prophecised the Kyokees’ doom and now their ship was approaching Kryoc.

In the Titanus*, the elders were seated.

A young Talarian soon entered.

To say young Hazar, son of Razar and Shazaria, of the 2nd Talarian Kingdom, was a beautiful soldier would have been an understatement: he was radiant. Like a star. His long, flowing blonde hair shone impressively and smelled like the finest Stign* in Glornar*.

“Young Hazar”, said the oldest of the elders, “You have proven your worth. Through rigorous training and exemplary displays of honor and intelligence in the face of battle, you have made us all proud. You are the son of your father who in turn was and remains the son of his. Your mother is your mother and you are her son. Hazar is your name. And now… rise.”

Hazar rose.

“You will be sent to Kryoc, where great evil has befallen its people”, the wise one continued, “We, the elders, have foreseen the most bleak of futures for the Kryokees. But, as you know, we only see what might be, not what must be. You will find The Kryad, guide them, share with them our ways so that a great injustice can finally be put to rest. Go now, young Hazar, and may the rice guide you.”

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*GLOSSARY*

Kylias: A lake of white, milk-like liquid used by Kryokian farmers to help grow their own rice.

Kjii: The white, milk-like liquid found within the Kylias.

Titanus: A large meeting hall at the heart of the lead Talarian ship.

Stign: Flower creature known for its powerful, unmistakable scent. Stigns, when crushed, are believed to bear aphrodisiac properties (if ingested anally).

Glornar: Region of the 8th Talarian Kingdom. It is mostly populated by Stigns. Most Talarians who have entered the region, have never returned. Those who have returned, remember it fondly.

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More extracts from Ebert E. Bert’s “The Rice Farmers Of Kryoc” will come soon.

Only on WeTheMindThinkers.

The Red Moons Of NeOrion – Final Chapter

“The Red Moons Of NeOrion” (1968)

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Norman L. Brisbane short story

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CHAPTER VI

“The Council”

Through the salivus, Krepp found The Observatorium’s core.

He’d been in laboratories before, but nothing like this. For one thing, this wasn’t a laboratory. It was in fact The Sky Council’s meeting room complete with reverse-dome-shaped table, chair balls and the high-powered telescope used to take note of new lunar developments. All that was missing was The Council itself.

Oddly nervous, Krepp slowly approached the telescope with the intention of looking through it and finally seeing the moons.  That intention soon gave way to the action itself and just like that, Krepp was face to face with that which had ruled over him from the day of his birth.  The moons were inside him and he loved them. He knew that now. He was home, he was happy, he was in love. This is what his entire life had been building up to and it had all been worth it. They were so beautiful: so peaceful, so round, so red. Just as he’d pictured them, more round even. He could hear wet sounds all around him but nothing could ever prove more worthy than this moment and he wasn’t going to let anything, not even a sound, get in the way of his eternal happiness.

“That smell again…”, he thought.

Perhaps he should allow his surroundings a second of his time, after all, he could always look back at his moons whenever he pleased now he was here. Reluctantly, Krepp looked away from the eye-piece and turned back to the table which, to his surprise, was not quite as bare as he recalled. Sitting all around was The Sky Council. At least, what looked like The Sky Council. It was strange, Krepp was surrounded by councilmen and yet the room still felt empty somehow.

The members of The Sky Council looked like wet statues: they were near-static, their skins had a silver shine to them and they were dripping with what could only be described as grey things.

“You’re not The Sky Council.”, Krepp said bluntly.

Suddenly, at the center of the table, a silver shape began to materialize. Like a large, bubbling grey tear at first, it soon started taking on a more familiar form.

“Chief Skyman…”

“No Krepp, I am not The Chief Skyman. But then, you already know that.”, replied the entity.

“Who are you?”

“I am The Chief Skyman. I am The Sky Council. I am a vessel through which your world fuses with mine.”

“I don’t understand your talkings.”

“I believe you know me under another name: Expanseon?”

Krepp made no attempt to hide his confusion. As the entity noticed the drool trickling down Krepp’s chin, it spoke again.

“I have come to merge. But only with true believers. Then, and only then, will the process be complete and my work will be done. Only then will the moons take me back into their rocky bosom.”

“Why am I here?”

“You are the last. You are a true believer and your soul will serve us, and the moons, well.”

Without a word, Krepp climbed over the table and was now facing the entity.

“Take it back. You can’t speak for the moons. That’s not allowed.”

The entity smiled proudly, even as Krepp attempted to break its neck. It not being fully solid or fully liquid, it could not be brutalized in this way. Not knowing what to do, scared, Krepp started to run back to the hole but it was too late: it had already closed in on itself. Lost and confused, Krepp was now attempting to snap his own neck but in vain. The entity was now merging with the other entities around the table to form one large silver ball which started floating quietly towards a panicking Krepp.

“Leave me… leave me alone. This is wrong, this is all wrong!”

An otherworldly voice, like a dozen voices all speaking at once through a thin metallic shell, now emanated from the faceless shape, booming around the room.

“Be not afraid, believer, we mean you no harm. This is, and has always been, your purpose. Accept your fate and your people’s fate, Krepp, this is why the moons sent us.”

“The moons… sent you?”, Krepp asked sheepishly, looking up at the ball.

“That’s right. And now, the moons are ready for you. For us.”

His initial fears withering away with every passing second, Krepp finally understood. The moons were never getting closer: we were getting closer to them all along. Expanseon was a gateway, a force pulling us in.

“I am ready.”, Krepp said, “Take me to the moons.”

Little by little, the ball entered Krepp.

Short flashes of Ham and Shp naked peppered his mind as his body, his soul and everything else gradually merged into the Expanseon. It was an almost instantaneous ceremony.

In the blink of an eye: Krepp was no more.

An immense earthquake followed, shaking the entire planet and killing most of its population, the Expanseon had finally wrapped itself around the entirety of NeOrion’s core. Acting as some sort of gravitational plug, The Observatorium and its pole started pulling NeOrion closer to the  moons. The Expanseon ball which contained what once was Krepp among others had launched itself accross the skies forming a direct link between the planet and its lunar relatives. The growing heat and the change in mass crushing the last of the NeOrionians, it was not long before fire took over the entire planet.

NeOrion was no more.

Meanwhile, on a nearby planet, a young-ling awoke from her slumber and approached a nearby window. This being an underwater planet, the window was made of water. Her male parent had just swam into the room after feeling an unexpected wave.

“Father?”, the young-ling asked, “What’s that up there?”

“Those are the moons, my child, the red moons. They protect us.”

“Why are there more now?”

“It is not for us to understand, young one. The red moons have their way.”

This concludes Norman L. Brisbane’s “The Red Moons Of NeOrion”.

More mindthinkings coming soon…

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