Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Breeding Season
by Sean Mulroy

Personal Artifacts Lost
by Marilyn K. Martin

Lover’s Moon
by Ronald D. Ferguson

When it Comes Around
by Auston Habershaw

by Nolan Edrik

Shuffleboard on the Hubble Deck
by Iain Ishbel

This Perilous Brink
by JT Gill

Only a Signal Shown
by L.E. Buis

Shorter Stories

Thunder Lizard
by William Suboski

Blue Harvest
by Andrew James Woodyard

Heat of the Night
by Gareth D. Jones


From Oshkosh to Tomorrow
by Joyce Frohn

A Primer on Quantum Field Theory
by Eric M. Jones



Comic Strips





Blue Harvest

By Andrew James Woodyard

“SPACE WHALES AIN’T REALLY like the whales they got back on Earth,” a grizzled, potbellied, old star pilot said. He had a flabby, unshaven face and wore a worn-out orange jumpsuit with a patch across his chest that read “Leroy” in faded lettering. A ragged cluster of one-armed, one-legged cosmonauts, long since passed their prime, sat and drank around him. Beyond them a three-legged, six-armed cybernetic woman danced over the bar for a trio of subhuman parasites, but otherwise the rest of the cantina was empty. “They look like ’em,” he continued, “but Earth whales ain’t as big as no asteroid, and they ain’t filled with no blue sludge either.” He took a sip of his drink, then cleared his throat. “We found one floatin’ in deep sleep ’bout ten Earth years back out by the red dwarf Gloombridge 1618, but the last thing you ever wanna do is wake up a space whale. Our skiff was moored onto it’s starboard side with our imagin’ probes rooted into what amounts to the head of the beast, and we was drillin’ deep for cerebrial fluid—the cure all for everythin’ that ails you all across the universe—blue gold some folks call it.” He stopped to take another drink and to eye the cybernetic woman for a moment, then he turned back to his companions. “Me and three other guys were squeezin’ through this slimy, cervical cavity and cuttin’ toward a growth sack when it happened—”

“Did it wake up?” asked a one-eyed drunk who sat across from him.

“Nope,” Leroy replied, shaking his head back and forth, “some other crew cut right into our cavity in the middle of our job. They was hooked to the other side of the whale and drillin’ their own tunnel and goin’ for the same sack. We didn’t detect them when we anchored and they didn’t detect us.”

“Did you shoot ’em?” asked a balding gorilla of a man who sat across from him. The cybernetic woman laughed and began to sing in a high-pitched voice. A holographic screen turned on nearby that depicted a violent sport where men and monsters battled to the death.

The one-eyed drunk turned and watched the screen, but kept listening to Leroy’s story.

“We could have, but they got lasers on us before we could draw,” Leroy replied, his voice sounding scratchier than before.

“Why didn’t you just share the find?” the balding gorilla of a man asked.

Leroy took another sip of his drink. “Are you fracken kiddin’ me? Findin’ a space whale in the middle of nothin’ is like hittin’ the jackpot. You can retire and buy your own moon if you handle it right. Besides, they were corporates and we weren’t lookin’ to make some fat cat on Earth even richer. They wanted it for their bosses and their finder fees and what-not and we wanted it for us.”

“You coulda’ still joined forces; made some sorta deal,” the one-eyed old man said while still watching the death-match unfold on the holoscreen.

“Oh, we made them an offer: two hands work better than one and all. But they refused. I told them not to shoot or they might wake the thing up, but they just laughed through their comms.”

The balding gorilla of a man shook his head back and forth and laughed. “Fracking corporates. They shot at you?”

Leroy covered his mouth to burp, then nodded. “Yup. They burned my co-pilot’s arm right off with a laser pistol, and got another guy right in the head, but they missed me and cut their laser straight through the cavity wall.”

“How’d you get out?” a scrawny figure on Leroy’s right asked.

Leroy turned to him and smirked. “I jabbed a nerve coil with my lasersaw and woke the beast up.”

“You’re lyin’,” the one eyed man replied, looking back at Leroy. “No one’s stupid enough to do that.”

“I didn’t do it on purpose. A sleepin’ space whale is a gold mine; but all Hell breaks loose if you wake one.”

“Yet you got away,” the scrawny figure noted.

“Barely. The cavity started seizin’ and squeezin’ shut. Our world got all weirdly twisted and the walls were movin’ all over the place. I fired up my boot rockets and blasted my way out of the hole all the way back to our skiff with another guy in tow behind me.” The three men watched him intently as he continued. “Got out just before the cavity sealed and our skiff detached. The beast started flexin’ and unravelin’ its coils as we were blastin’ away.”

“It didn’t go after you?” the balding gorilla of a man asked.

“No, we were lucky. I clung to a rung at the bottom of the skiff and watched as the corporate boat tried to blast away, too, but the beast grabbed it and tore it to pieces.”

“You’re lyin’, Leroy,” the one-eyed man said, “You ain’t never even seen no space whale before, never mind drillin’ into one.”

Leroy sat in silence for a moment, then looked straight into the man’s remaining eye. “I ain’t lyin’. You don’t believe me then fly out toward the Oort Cloud of Gloombridge 1618 yourself and you’ll find two things floatin’ around in the void: what’s left of a corporate whaler, and a space whale with two sealed up drillin’ holes on each side of it’s neck, with imagin’ probes stickin’ out of ’em—kinda like the Frankenstein monster.”

The old cosmonauts sat in silence around him while the cybernetic woman danced and the death-match played out.

“Leroy,” the one-eyed old cosmonaut began—

There was a horrible crunching sound, then the air was sucked out of the bar. The walls were torn away in an instant, the group of old cosmonauts pulled from their seats toward a gaping maw that had torn through the far wall of the cantina.

“Space whale!” the cybernetic woman shrieked, before the last of the air was gone, and everything crashed about in silence.

The beast swallowed them while they gasped for breath, froze, and burned in the vacuum. The cantina broke apart, the death-match flickering on and off for a moment, and the cybernetic woman flailed about at random, all swallowed along with the men. Leroy’s last thoughts were the same thoughts he had when he’d finished telling his story: it was true. The space whale had found him. In the emptiness of space it let out a silent belch, extended it’s fins to catch the solar wind, sailed around the sun again, then back toward the Oort cloud. END

Andrew James Woodyard is an artist and writer from Running Springs, CA. His fiction and poetry have appeared in “Phineas Literary Magazine,” and “Morpheus Tales.” His previous story for “Perihelion” was in the 12-JUL-2015 issue.