Tales from Space Short Story Contest - On Now!

Tales from Space Short Story Contest - On Now!

Aric Drakes Lands in El Noor

Here’s an excerpt from the upcoming GAF novel, An Incident in El Noor, in which the collision of an alien galaxy with our own causes strange and dangerous effects on the most beautiful artists’ colony in the entire Galactic Association of Globes and Asteroids.

In this section, undercover agent Aric Drakes gets his first glimpse of El Noor City, where he must find his contact and try to stop the war:

elnoorskyHere’s where I must leave you,” the Venusian gestured ahead at the great gates of El Noor City. She and Aric were poised at the ridge that ran the north edge of the city where it butted against the mountains.

Thank you,” Aric told her solemnly. They shook appendages.

Good luck, Drakes,” she smiled at him, waggling many of her smaller under-tentacles uncontrolably.

He nodded at the Venusian, looked her in her eye stalks. A frisson passed between them, and as he turned back to the city walls, Aric couldn’t help but smirk a little. Scarlett was a handsome specimen of Venus, that was certain. If he had a bit more time…

– but he never did have a bit more time, did he? The IUS was not like its Old Earth counterparts. It did not allow its agents the luxury of long missions, time to immerse themselves in their environments, enjoy espionage as the first spies had done in the 18th Century revolutions, the Cold War, the Information Wars in the early 21st Century. The IUS knew too well that their agents were far to gifted, clever and dangerous to be given time to set an alias in a wild locale… and disappear.

Aric set Scarlett the Venusian on the list of things to return and check out at a later date. He took a long look at the shimmering city before him.

El Noor City had been half carved out of the mountain on which he now sat, originally to protect the inhabitants from the harsh winds and heat spawned by the planet’s erratic electomagnetic energy. It had been known for several hundred years that this corner of the galaxy was colliding with its neighbor, the Sag-DEB, but Sammarab the Prophet had settled here for the uncommonly strong energies produced by the collision and the water-filled planets of the El Noor System.

Originally, the energies of the planet had vivified the artists and philosophers who settled in El Noor. Their numbers swelled by birth and immigration and they had spilled out into the surrounding southwestern plain beyond the city’s original subterranean construction. The planet had gradually been brought under the control of GAGA EM stabilizers and the artists thrived in the controlled energies on the open plain.

The El Noor quadrant had lived peaceably, a remote colony of the Galactic Association of Globes and Asteroids, for over two hundred years. Up until the last few years, in fact, tourism to this exotic frontier had been steady and lucrative. Cruise ships had toured the areas leading out to El Noor along the HyperDrive lanes as cradles of civilization and artistic wonder tours.

Then, something had changed.

The peaceable philosophy of the El Noorian civilization had turned abruptly xenophobic, paranoid and aggressive. Tourists were looked upon with suspicion and fear; no longer channels to share beauty with the Galaxy. They were now sources of contamination of the El Noorian way of life, dangerous influences bringing the mass media and mores of an increasingly monstrous GAGA upon them.

The outlying artist colonies and natural wonders were shut to off-worlders. Tourists were confined to cities, where they reported to GAGA officials strange sightings of shadowy beings in their hotel rooms and following them down the narrow streets of the marketplaces. Tourists reported that strange events happened in the streets- flashing lights, disappearing, re-appearing vehicles and soldiers, abrupt dematerialization of stalls and tents. Several tourists disappeared; some were caught in these strange phenomena and died in unpleasant ways.

Citizens of the Galaxy grew afraid to visit El Noor. The cruise ships changed their destinations, trade slowed to a trickle and the El Noorians fell in on themselves.

A year later, the terror strikes began.

Aric gazed down at the red brick buildings that formed a maze of corridor streets and alleys worthy of ancient Babylon herself. Lamps glowed in the windows and hung with colored resin lanterns in the alleys. On the rooftops of the buildings, ionic mirrors caught and refracted the energies from the radiations rippling across the sky. They cast psychedlic patterns of shimmering ribbons that made each building seem like a separate universe of color and vibration. It was beautiful.

He was seized by a sense of sorrow so profound it made his breath hitch in his throat. These people were so peaceable, so ingenious in their unbounded creativity. How had it come to this? A war looming on their doorstep, possible annihilation of their way of life, their fledgling race of artists and creators. And overhanging it all like the raging storms of auroras in the sky, was the very vivid concept of total annihilation of the entire Galaxy should Aric allow that bomb to detonate here.

He grieved for the loss of beautiful things that meant no harm and he climbed down the nearly sheer red sandstone of the mountain, dropping through into the very finite city of El Noor.”

You can read the entire novel, An Incident in El Noor, in November 2015. Check back here at gafmainframe.com for links to the order sites from StarkLight Press.

– Tony Stark.

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