Welcome to Great Hites # 30 This is a big deal folks is means we are have been doing this for over half a year. I hope you have enjoyed it.
GreatHites is growing and is now available Via Podcast Pickle and iTunes If you enjoy the stories here take a moment to go out and leave a review on either or both, or leave a comment right here. Make sure you take a moment and vote on your favorite story of the week.
So getting down to business:
This week You will hear A Brand New Promo for Mur Laferty’s ISBW, one from Guy David, and A replay of Murder at Avedon Hill By P.G. Holyfield
Speaking of Promo’s there there is now one available for GreatHites In the sidebar.
We have four stories this week and I will continue to play them in alphabetical order with the exception of mine which will be at the end.
This weeks prompt was the “temperature started to rise.”
So, it back, relax, and keep your thermometer handy.
|Great Hites # 30
||THE PARABLE OF THE FROG By: Anima Zabaleta
||Collision Course By: Guy David
||The Temperature Started To Rise By: Robert Jahns
||World’s End By: Jeff Hite
|pollcode.com free polls
THE PARABLE OF THE FROG
By: Anima Zabaleta
Read By: Alex
“Well, well, well, gentleman, we’ve earned this… 3 days on Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet for some much deserved R and R”, rumbles James. “A swimming pool, 3 suns, and alcohol: What better way to relax. I took the liberty to select the scenario… I hope you don’t mind seeing a little skin. How I love 20th century Miami Beach! Drinks for all my friends!”
The man speaking is clad in a speedo bathing suit, lathering himself in an oily substance. The whole time he has been talking, his head has been swiveling, checking out half the other “guests”, the female ones, anyway. His friends are dressed more conservatively. One is an affable man, wearing period sunglasses, board shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, a swath of zinc oxide cream on his nose. The other is a distinguished gentleman in white linen and a panama hat. His skin has an odd pallor to it.
James T Kirk flags down a beguiling blonde dressed in short shorts and a white tank top, carrying a drink tray.
“I’ll have a Cadillac Grande, and get these boys whatever they want. If you keep the drinks flowing, I’ll make it worth your while, heh heh heh”
The AI rolls her eyes, having heard this line from every egotistic space jockey with delusions of grandeur. “Sure, I’ll get right on that,” she says, with a hint of sarcasm, “…and for you gentlemen?”
“A beer would be keeping in character,” says Dr. McCoy, adjusting the antique raybans on his face, eyeing the triple suns overhead like the enemy he knows they are.
“A small amount of fruit juice and seltzer water is the perfect refreshing drink in these climes, balancing the need to stay hydrated and replacing electrolytes. I would advise you gentlemen…”
“Spock! I insist you take a break from all the logic for the next few days! Bring my pointy ear friend a Pina Colada if he insists on being a wuss”, bellows the captain-cum- frat boy. The blonde minces toward the pool bar, accustomed to “boys” on holiday.
Many hours pass, the suns rotate in the sky. The gentlemen have stayed by the pool, drinking and enjoying the view.
“You should be putting on a solar block, JT, instead of that bronzing agent” advises the doctor. McCoy takes another pull on his beer.
“Bones, are you and Shpock gonna snivel like old maids this whole trip? I shoulda invited Chekov. At least he would drink with me.” James is looking a little bleary eyed.
Spock interrupts the belligerent rant. “I remember reading of an ancient human experiment, involving a frog and a kettle of water. Logically speaking, the frog should try to escape as the water in the kettle is heated. But this is not the case. The heat is added slowly; the frog just sits there. As the temperature rises, the frog might feel discomfort, but convinces himself that all is well. James, do you have a little frog in you?”
“Nothing you’re saying makes any sense Shpock, but that’s ok, I love yah, man… Do I smell lunch? Is that bacon…?”
“Great Scott, James”, yelps the doctor, realizing the condition his friend is in, “Pull you together. You’re a Federation Captain, not a French fry!”
“Today, Bones, I am a drunk.”
By: Guy David
64 °F and rising
The voice woke him up abruptly. He set up and tried to focus. His head throbbed. He felt his forehead. There was a suspicious lump embedded in it. “What happened?” he asked, not expecting an answer for some reason. “Looks like we hit an asteroid. We are way off course, in a collision course with the sun.” said a calm female voice on his right. It sounded somehow distant, detached. “Where am I?” he thought. We a start, he realized he had no idea who he was and what he was doing there. “Captain, what shell we do” came another voice on his left, a young male by the sound of it, his voice wavering. Somehow, he knew they where referring to him. He was the captain, and he should act. The words “in a collision course with the sun” echoed back to him and suddenly he was alert. They where in danger and he was the one in charge.
128 °F and rising
He was feeling the heat now. He remembered, Captain Isaac Brown, Cargo Ship GD-1024, that was him. The woman on his right was Sara Bolar and on his left was young Jonas Corbas. Somewhere at the rear was the ship’s engineer, Moses Capeton. That was his small and very competent crew. He picked them up one by one himself, and he never regretted it. Now it was his job to guide them carefully to safety. “What’s our status?” he asked, carefully massaging the bulge on his head. It hurt, but not too bad. He would have to examine it at the next stop. “We lost engine one, and engine two is working at half capacity. It wouldn’t last long.” came the answer from the engine room.
212 °F and rising
The temperature of boiling water. This ship could hold up to incredible temperatures, still, it had it’s limits. Diving into the sun wasn’t such a good idea. They would have to somehow steer the ship away from it’s present course. The problem was that a half functional engine wasn’t enough to steer them in the other direction. He was sweating now. While the air conditioning system built into the ship kept everything in a comfortable level, the psychological impact of the fact that they might dive into the sun soon made him feel like he was burning from the inside.
256 °F and rising
He looked to his right. Sara was glazed eyed, as if lost in the distance. She looked detached. Maybe she was shutting herself out as a defense mechanism, trying not to get buried in their predicament before it melted them away. He looked to his left. Jonas was sweeting and looked terrified. He wouldn’t get help from any of them now. Isaac found it hard to think, hard to breath. He concentrated on his breathing, trying to calm himself down, which gave him an idea. He pushed the panic away and took charge.
512 °F and rising
“Moses, listen. Which part of the ship is closest to the sun?” asked Isaac over the intercom system. “The left side” came the answer. “Everyone into your space suits” said Isaac, “and do it quickly, we don’t have much time left.” He had to help Jonas since the lad was shaking and couldn’t operate the suit’s locks properly. Sara quickly put up her own suit, almost automatically. After ascertaining they where all in their space suits, including Moses in engineering, and that the suits where functioning properly, he turned to the intercom once again. “Moses, open all the doors on the left side of the ship. I’m going to use the air pressure to steer us out of danger.” The sound of hissing air sounded within the ship and it started moving.
64 °F and falling
They floated silently. For all intents and purposes, the ship itself was dead for now, but they knew they would be rescued soon and that the ship would be repaired and put to business again with them in it. The distress signal they sent would reach the nearest base, and sent to their company. The cargo they where carrying was valuable, so the company would have more of an incentive for rescuing them as soon as possible and they where a good crew. The company executives knew it. All they had to do was wait. They waited.
The Temperature Started To Rise
By Robert Jahns
Connie sat quietly, staring straight ahead. She did not want to go to the ball game, but Eric was a fan. She went along with him every time, even if she would rather not. He was excited as they entered the hill country. “You wait to you see our guys play today. They have really come together as a team,” Eric said to no one in particular.
She sat there thinking, “I wish this old wreck of an Oldsmobile would just quit. Maybe then he would actually talk with me. Maybe he would listen to what I have to say.”
The tired old Cutlass strained at the larger hills. The temperature started to climb, yet Eric ignored the heat gauge. “It is only another twenty minutes and we will arrive at the ball field,” he mumbled. He hoped and wished that the temperature gauge was broken.
Smoke rose from under the hood. The steamy vapor clung to the dirty windshield. Eric pulled to the side of the road as the engine stumbled and quit. His car looked more like a steam locomotive than an Olds sedan. “That is just my luck! Only another ten or fifteen miles and we would have been there!” The banshee scream from the radiator cap made Connie cover her ears.
Eric didn’t seem worried about getting home, only on arriving at the field to see his precious game. He popped the trunk and pulled out two old plastic jugs filled with water. Raising the hood and pulling off the hot radiator cap, billows of steam greeted the man in a rush. Eric ignored the minor burns to quickly pour the water into the hot radiator. That was a huge mistake. He should have used a bit more patience and avoided the pain of the scalding hot water that hit his face and chest.
Several days later, Connie drove back to the Southern Christian Hospital in Hopewell. She saw that her husband was now heavily bandaged, lying on his side, facing out the window. Eric jumped a bit, not expecting any visitors. “Sorry to startle you,” Connie said in a whisper. “I am so glad that the doctors are so kind here. They say that I can stay here tonight with you. If all looks good tomorrow afternoon, we can go home together.” Connie was aglow as they talked for the rest of the afternoon. No great discussions on politics or religion were generated. The quiet talk between a couple that were beginning to rediscover each other filled out the rest of the day.
Connie spoke. Eric listened. Eric asked questions and waited for answers. On the way home, they stopped and bought a new car to replace that Oldsmobile. Eric listened and the marriage was reborn as a different, more personal temperature level was starting to rise.
By: Jeffrey Hite
One: The Day Gabriel’s Horn Didn’t Sound.
Dr. Lee stood in the Russian Observatory that he had called home. He watched the culmination of the last twelve years of work at first with wonder and pride at finding it. Then with horror as he realized the implications. The tiny black hole that he had discovered falling toward the sun was not only falling toward the sun, it was going to collide with it, and soon. He did the the calculations in his head and determined it would be better not to warn the rest of the world. Let them spend the last few minutes, in ignorant bliss.
He fell to his knees and began to pray, “Hail Mary full of grace…”
Two: The Beginning.
Cosmonaut Volinski worked to get the final three bolts for the new solar panel installed. The second one had gotten cross threaded and he was going to have to take it out and start again, but the other two had gone in as smoothly as can be expected. He fitted the wrench on the second bolt again and began to work it in reverse. As he did the he noticed that the shadows all but disappeared. He turned to look toward the sun, but all he could see was the blinding light that filled the entire sky, then the incredible burst of static over his radio.
Three: The Final Heat Wave
As the suns core was pulled in on itself, the outer layers we ejected into space. A blistering wave swept past the inner planets and on into the outer solar system.
For the second time in a little over one hundred years the people of Tunguska looked up to the sky and saw their world coming to an end. This time however, it would effect more than them. The blistering wave that passed by the Earth, in a matter of seconds was enough to melt the the Himalayas and send them spilling across Asia and into the Pacific Ocean. The temperature rose all over the earth for the final time.
Four: The Cooling Begins.
Within hours the sun has collapsed in on itself and the people remaining on Earth have one of the most spectacular views of the galaxy around them they have ever seen.
“Alright, lets have it all.”
“Mr. President, there is no good news. We are already beginning to see the temperature fall. The only reason that it as not fallen further is that when the blast wave hit, it deposited a lot of heat energy into Asia, and that in turn as raised the temperature of the seas around it. It will buy us perhaps three of four more days.”
“And then what?”
“Then, well really it is not about then, it is about what is going to happen. What is happening now. The temperatures are starting to drop and will continue to drop, until we all freeze to death.”
“Seven to eights days maybe. With the extra heat in the oceans it might get us ten. But by tomorrow, most of the world will be below 40 degrees and after that it will only get worse.”
“I understand. Is there anything that we can do to make it better?”
“No. Of the the three colony ships that we had slated to head to the stars one was destroyed. The other two have been loaded and will launch within hours.”
“Thank you. Go be with your families.”
Five: The Deep Freeze
Seven days later the on the Hawaiian Island of Maui the last humans on earth use the last tree that they had gathered before they were snowed in, to heat the room they are in. They fall asleep, in the choking fumes knowing that they will not wake up again. When the fuel runs out the temperature in the room, that was never intended to keep out the cold, will drop rapidly, and they will freeze. Mercifully quickly.
Six: Last Rain
“Captain, we have prepared the last of the cyrobeds we will need to enter them soon.”
“Thank you John, I want to take one last look.”
“Come look for yourself. Computer, can you zoom in and enhance the image of the Earth?”
“Compliance. Magnification now at maximum.”
“If there were a sun to shine on it, it would be a brilliantly bright reflector with all that snow and ice on it.”
“Do you suppose there is anyone still alive?”
“I doubt it. It has been nearly twenty days the temperature…”
“look sir, it appears to be raining, how can that be possible? Could the temperature of the core be enough to.”
“No, Look at the readings,” He indicated the numbers in the upper left corner of the view screen. “That is about the right temperature for the atmosphere to liquefy. What you are watching is air that you and I and everyone on Earth used to breath fall on the planet that we called home as it’s finally rain.” They stood in silence for another couple of moments before the captain said anything again. “I think it is about time we too went into deep freeze.”