Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Consulting Editor


When Every Song Reminds You of a Dead Universe
by Karl Johanson

Side Effects of Yeah- Yeah Pills
by A.J. Kirby

A Breederax for Dalia
by Janett L. Grady

by Byron Barton

One of Our Starships Is Missing
by Terry Savage

Help Desk
by Robert J. Mendenhall

Toca la Guitarra
by Wayne Helge

How to Travel Through Time & Space
by Allen Quintana

by Kevin Gordon


Bracing for a Brave New World
by Hunter Liguore

Sizing Things Up
by Eric M. Jones





Comic Strips




A Breederax for Dalia

By Janett L. Grady

SUDDENLY AWAKE, DALIA opened her eyes into a glare of spinning light. The glare was blinding and painful, so she closed her eyes again and lay dizzily in the soft shadows behind her lids. She listened to the Dichotomic clock, listened to the Swiss turbofans in the engine room. She listened to the sound of her own breathing. Then she remembered the night and the night’s violent ending. She remembered the wine, the night of indulgence to celebrate her third, month-long renewal in the Chamber of Life. The focus of the night was Odok’s face. The sound of the night was Odok’s scream. The face was cold and scornful, strange and remote. The scream was a wail, a cry of damnation. In the shadowy spin, now fixed in despair, Dalia held to the slender hope that she remembered a dream.

Needing to know, she opened her eyes, stumbled naked out of her bunk and staggered across the room. Sure enough, Odok was naked on his cot. She had put him there, after crushing his skull with the empty bottle of wine. It was not a dream. She had killed him, and there on the floor was the bottle. She gazed at it and then looked back at the lifeless form, took a deep breath to slow the spin and focus her eyes. She was now faced with requesting a replacement.

Sharon, Dalia’s number one wrangler, a genetic Breederax of Earth construction, had died of heart failure over a hundred years ago. Shem, her hardest-working Breederax, a genetic Klanakedustron creation, had been thrown from his horse, dead with a broken neck. Now her last Breederax, Odok, was gone, and this time it was her own fault, an accidental killing because of a stupid celebration.

Still, there was no urgency to finding a replacement. She was feeling a little remorseful, but felt a kind of indolence in her bones, a remarkable lassitude in her limbs. She had been alone with Odok for two lifetimes, plus thirteen years, more or less, and it was time for a change, time for something new and different, perhaps a female.

She leaned over and picked up the bottle, placed it on the night stand. She stood quietly, with an air of abstraction, gazing down at the penis now without power and purpose. She glanced up at the screen display of deck number two, cringed at the thought of doing Odok’s job. Sharon and Shem were gone, and now Odok. Feeling nauseous, Dalia stumbled her way into the bathing room.

After sliding into a tub of swirling water, she dumped in a generous helping of Tigress bathing oil. Soaking up the heat in the foamy water, she envisioned her times alone with Sharon, enjoying the taste and texture of Sharon’s sexual emissions. She thought of her days on deck two with Shem, having sex with him after watching the bulls mounting the cows, and her nighttime fun and games with Odok. Eventually Dalia felt better, the nauseous feeling in her tummy going away, the spin easing up to the point of being able to keep her eyes open without feeling dizzy.

A few minutes later, feeling more in control of herself, more in control of her balance, Dalia stepped steadily and firmly out of the tub. She slapped on a handful of drying powder, and then hurried out of the room and into the cockpit. She slumped into her seat, the cowhide cold on her bottom. She sat there for a moment listening to the hum of engine, gazing out at the red and green beams of light, red searching, green bouncing off a mass somewhere in the distance. She reached up for the microphone of the Ceres computer, then changed her mind. Cerulia was closer than Klaustron, but the Klaustrons were more likely to have an adequate replacement.

Eons ago, at the very dawn of time, a Klaustron had created the first Breederax. Lightning-like creatures of pure electric energy, Klaustrons were nevertheless a flashy collection of religious beings forever offering gifts and trying to do good.

Dalia grabbed the Klauss microphone, waited for the yellow light and then hit the translate button. The yellow light blinked once and went out. When the green light came on, a voice boomed, coming as if through pipes from an iron vault: “Identification?”

Dalia twisted dials. “Don’t shout,” she said. “I’m not hard of hearing.” No response. “Freighter 666T3,” she said, “from planet Earth. Mission, food supply ... ten thousand head of cattle, fourteen hundred horses, three ten-ton crates of apple seed and six thousand barrels of frozen taters and beans ... to Earth’s new colony in the fourth quadrant, coordinates 42C3-fix-84K2. Power, telesun 6, two magnetic reactors and one cobalt booster.”

“Oh, thou wretched mucilid!” boomed the voice, louder than before. “What is it this time, thou mucilaginous monstrosity?”

“Up yours,” Dalia replied. “Turn it down, will you?”

“Oh, very well,” said the voice in a lower tone. “What is it the excressent humanoid would like this time around?”

“I need a new Breederax,” she said. “I’ll even settle for one of yours.”

“Hearken to Klaustron power, thou puling coagulum, thou snivelous emulsion! In the magnificence of illuminating currents, Klaustrons bestow mercy on thee. Apologize to the gods and thou shalt survive.”

“Get a life,” Dalia shot back. “Do you have a Breederax, or not?”

“Thou ...”

“Stuff it,” she said. “I’m in no mood. Can you have one ready when I get there?”

“Oh, I suppose so, but you’ll have to give me a report as to what happened to the one assigned. Trade requirements, you know.”

“What do you mean, trade requirements?”

“New rule. K-Council wants a report. Otherwise, you’re not getting one.”

“All right, already. What do you want to know?”

“I want to know what happened.”

“He wouldn’t do his job, so I stopped his clock. Anything else?”

“I see. Male, female, or what?”

“I said he, damn it, and he means male. What else?”

“Chemical or genetic?”


“Of Earth construction, I suppose.”

“Not exactly. I picked him up on Europa, an icy rock not all that far from Earth.”

“I know Europa,” said the voice with an air of disgust. “They altered our creation, reinvented our gift to suit their sinful ways. They no longer even try to procreate, they simply use the Breederax for their own selfish amusement. They’re sinners, forever defying the universal law of all gods.”

“Fine. What else do you want to know?”

“Was it ... was he compatible?”

The thought of how compatible Odok had been caused Dalia to shift in her seat. She thought about Odok’s performance in the sack, recalling how satisfied she had been. “Yes,” she answered after the pause. “At least most of the time.”

“I see,” said the voice. “Was he changeable or fixed?”



“Maintenance, wrangler, and companion.”

“Companion is understood, thou viscous vermin. Thou glutinous existence is well known.”

“Get a life,” said Dalia, biting into the words.

“What do you mean by life?” the voice asked.

“Never mind,” she said. “What else do you want to know?”

“That’ll do it,” said the voice. “When are you going to get here?”

“I ought to be there in about ...” Dalia paused and glanced up at the time charts. “... eighteen months,” she said, “another quick stay in the Chamber of Life and seventeen more months of traveling time.”

“Why the Chamber?” asked the voice. “You sound young and healthy.”

“Trying to stay that way,” Dalia replied. “There’s an organ or two that might wear out. I screwed up and drank some alcohol. You know, wine. It could have messed me up, my liver, kidneys and so forth. I want to make sure I’m fit, or at least healthy enough to handle a Klaustron’s Breederax. I want good company, too, so don’t be giving me one that’s not working right.”

“Blasphemous!” boomed the voice. “They all work right!”

“Let’s hope so,” said Dalia. “Oh, and let’s make it female, and make sure she can keep her trap shut and do what she’s told.”

“Tall or short,” the voice asked, sounding disgusted, “or does it matter?”

“From one to the other, and put some color in her hair, will you? Add something blue, maybe green, to break the monotony ... and make sure she enjoys having sex. If she can’t satisfy me, I don’t want her.”

“I know,” said the voice. “You’re an evil creature, forever seeking pleasure.”

“It’s just a natural craving,” Dalia replied. “It’s a human need and there’s nothing evil about it.”

“Genetic, or do you want to stick with chemical?”

“Gen takes too long,” she said. “You’d never have her ready. Let’s make it chemical.”

“Is that all, or does the lusty humanoid want more?”

Dalia thought about it. Odok’s alterability had worked fairly well; tiny time capsules, chemical implants, had modified bone structure, muscle tone, and body weight, chest size, penis size and the contours of his face every twenty-four hours or so. Europa’s scientists had failed miserably, though, even after it became obvious that a human female commanding a supply run functioned more efficiently when companioned with a talented, hard-driving but subservient Breederax.

“Just make sure she’ll do what I tell her,” said Dalia. “She’s got to be willing to bust her ass, no matter what and no matter when. No bellyaching. No excuses. Just make sure she’ll do what I tell her to do, no matter how dirty the job might be.”

“Ours,” said the voice, “are more obedient than Europa’s.”

“Have her ready, then. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“Thou ...”

Dalia put the microphone back up in its cradle, and switched off the Klauss computer. She thought about all the work she was going to have to be doing. Aside from the management, breeding and doctoring of all the on-board animals, she’d be tending filthy cattle and otherwise getting her hands dirty, not to mention the disposing of dead cows, the ones unresponsive to the organ renewal procedure. Angrily, Dalia stood up and stomped her way back into the cabin.

She glared down at the mess. Odok, his head a shambles, was no longer a muscular blond, nor would he ever again be her dark-haired lover. Never again would he be able to satisfy her natural cravings. Not good. Dalia leaned over, gathered Odok’s lifeless form into her arms, carried it across the room, and then heaved 185 pounds of broken Breederax through a door marked TRASH. “Chips and circuits, nuts and bolts,” she said, “that’s all,” and she watched as Odok sailed away into endless space ... “I messed up,” she said. “We had too much wine, but still, Sharon and Shem would have done it. You shouldn’t have argued about it,” she added. “On a transport, drunk or not, shoveling cow shit was part of your job.” infinity

Janett L. Grady is a senior citizen who lives and writes in Alaska. Her work has appeared in several national magazines, including “America” and “The Saturday Evening Post.” Recently venturing into the world of the strange, her weird stories have been published in “Tales of the Talisman,” “Horror Garage,” and more.