An Adventure of the VK Obsidian
Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

Part Five: The Handoff

Image: Yuri B @ Pixabay

The Visitors’ Hangar sat in a lush valley of pale blue heather. Khopesh and the others gaped with mute awe as the Obsidian was guided gently into the clearing. Their ship settled onto a pad of dark grey silicon and a hum enveloped the craft as a series of pleasant tones played through the ship’s audio system.

“Welcome to Nimbus X,” Qin said. “Our cargo specialists are in position to unload your delivery. Are you ready to proceed?”

Khopesh and Chirwa exchanged confused…


An Adventure of the VK Obsidian
Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5

Part Six: The War

Photo by Jeff Kingma on Unsplash

“Watch the left side!” Fetu shouted, shifting around and leveling its rifle at the hills to the south. It fired three shots and ducked back into the trench. “Watch the left!” Something flew past its head and exploded behind the squad.

Dactyl shook as he tried to peer over the hill. Smoke and noise was everywhere. He glanced at his rifle. White, compact, with the black Wandjina logo on the side. He looked down at his armor; white panels of…


I recently experienced a crisis of despair. Without going into tedious details, I once again tried to gain approval from the Gatekeepers of Culture™, and once again I was rejected. This exhausting and painful pattern has repeated itself for years, and my soul is crushed a little more every time it happens. I like to joke that as a married man, I try to get published in order to experience the rejection I used to get from dating. I love my job as a high school English teacher, but I yearn to be celebrated also as a brilliant author.

To…


An Adventure of the VK Obsidian • Part 1 here • Part 2 here • Part 3 here

Part Four: The Return

Photo by Blair Fraser on Unsplash

Fetu drew a weapon and blasted toward the rear of the cargo hold. A shriek went up as Khopesh and the others jumped to their feet and ran toward it. Fetu shot twice more, calling out whisper-words with each blast.

“Woah,” Dactyl said, grabbing its hand. Fetu barely glanced at Dactyl before flinging him to the side and firing again.

“Cease fire,” Khopesh yelled. Fetu held the blaster aloft and stared at her with a puzzled expression. She threw her hands up…


The indie space thriller has all the right ingredients but makes some notable missteps that hinder its potential

No Code’s 2020 thriller-puzzle game Observation seems like it was made for me. Science fiction, in the vein of Philip K. Dick and Stanislaw Lem? Check. Puzzle game using polished graphics, intriguing locales, and interesting control schemes, like MYST and Ico and Portal? Check. Fun? Good story? [ANGRY LOUD BUZZER]

I’ll admit right up front that the game does many things well, and some elements just aren’t my cup of tea.


A leafless tree in a sea of pink sand
A leafless tree in a sea of pink sand
Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

“I believe that dreams — day dreams, you know, with your eyes wide open and your brain machinery whizzing — are likely to lead to the betterment of the world. The imaginative child will become the imaginative man or woman most apt to create, to invent, and therefore to foster civilization.”

L. Frank Baum, Introduction to The Lost Princess of Oz (1917)

I have always been a creature of creativity and imagination. My parents raised me in a world of books and games and movies filled with fascinating lands and weird characters and wild possibilities. They bought me art supplies…


An Adventure of the VK Obsidian • Part 1 here • Part 2 here

Part Three: The Pickup

Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash

Chirwa gnashed his teeth and cursed and banged on the control panel. “Dammit,” he shouted. Khopesh jumped in her seat and glared at him. “How many hoops do we have to jump through?” he asked.

She shot a look at Dactyl, who shook his head and returned to the map of the Nu Fornacis system on his screen. “It’s fine,” she said to Chirwa. “We just have to …” She paused and scowled. “This is backward,” she said, and pointed to him. “You’re supposed to be…


Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

Story #1 of 3: In 1999 I was a graduate student at the University of Florida. (Go Gators!) I needed a lit class, so I took a course on African-American literature. I didn’t know anybody — most of the other students were undergrads — but I ran my loud mouth as usual during class discussions, bashing white supremacy and the obliviousness of white people throughout American history.

One day the professor told us to sort ourselves into study groups and prepare a presentation for the class. …


An Adventure of the VK Obsidian • Part 1 here

Part Two: The Approach

An expanding bubble in space [via NASA]

“We’ll never make it,” Khopesh said, shaking her head. She climbed into the Obsidian and walked to the dining room. It wasn’t small, but it wasn’t big either. An electronic window displayed a beach from Gliese 581c at sunset. She hit a button on the wall; four slate white stools and a matching table rose from the floor on telescoping legs. She sat on one of them as Dactyl fished maps out of a locker near his control station.

“We should get one of those SmartTops in our next upgrade,”…

Eric S. Piotrowski

Writer and HS English Teacher // www.fbesp.org

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