Art and words of Josh Burns.

Creature

The Emissary

“The history of advanced races meeting more primitive people on this planet is not very happy, and they were the same species. I think we should keep our heads low” ~Stephen Hawking

Eloise Sharpe stared blankly at a fly slowly circling the dull green fluorescent bulbs of the convenience store she was lucky enough to be night shift manager of. The hum of the lights was deafening. Her co-worker, Paresh was dividing his time between mopping up fountain drink syrup and staring at Eloise’s cleavage. The Friday night bar rush had passed and the slow crawl from three AM to seven had begun. (more…)


Dead or Alive lifestyle

Two centuries ago the Taa’Rukc race were on the verge of venturing off of their planet of Vallen and out into the wilds of space. Their cunning and strength would have garnered them a powerful position in the galactic melting pot.

The Klamat, an alien race whose home planet shared the same system as Vallen, had monitored the Taa’Rukc since their first sub-orbital space flights. The progress was moving rapidly, but withou warning the great “Descent” occurred. The Klamat were master strategists and scientists, they worshiped logic and would even strategize centuries in advance. They would even “Adjust” events to better future generations of the Klamat based on their projections. The impending progress of the Taa’Rukc showed an unfavorable outcome for the Klamat in their projections. (more…)


Exoskeletal Excellence

Science… never solves a problem without creating ten more. – George Bernard Shaw

In the midst of the deadly human cordyceps outbreak, scientists scrambled to find a cure, a vaccine or some way to contain the spores. It was not before half the world’s population was overtaken that they finally discovered a way to stop the spread. The poor souls who were already infected would be lost. but at least the human race would live on. The discovery was a vaccine, the compound was produced en mass in the few CDC facilities that were still operational. Soon after clinics were set up across the entire world. United under the common goal of saving what was left of the human race, countries and governments cooperated without indecent. The vaccine was hailed as the savior of the human race, and the men and women who had created it were regarded geniuses. But our accomplishments are viewed through the eyes of those who come after us. Years after the cordyceps threat had ended, women who would have been children when they received the vaccine started having children of their own. In about fifteen percent of cases the infants were born with a new and aggressive bone disease. (more…)


The Cyborg Canary of Garbage Island

By the mid 2100’s the amount of garbage carelessly deposited into the earth’s oceans had reached unbearable proportions. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch had grown into a floating island twice the size of Texas, it was held together by floating debris and chemical sludge. The island had been a hot-button issue with environmental activists and scientists alike. One attempt to bring attention to the growing problem saw a group of activists docking to the writhing mass and attempting to chart the vast garbage landscape. The group planned to produce a documentary featuring their expedition to “Garbage Atlantis” the name they had bestowed on the island. Tragically the expedition was cut short when a section of the mass gave way and swallowed all but two of the intrepid film makers. All footage was lost and the surviving members never attempted to return. While the environmentalists were bringing attention to the issue, members of the scientific community were attempting to find a solution. In small-scale tests, scientists had observed promising results from very simple robots called  nano robotic separators and nano robotic sorters, or NRSs as they had been dubbed. The simple robot pairs were able to break-down even the most complex compounds and then sort and compile the components into simple forms. The nano robots had originally been developed as a method of cleaning up oil spills and radioactive materials from the ocean. The tough robots were even able to self-replicate as long as the correct resources were present. As a safety measure the devices were unable to break-down living tissue. After the findings were presented to various governments and agencies the project was given the green light. Environmental agencies were split on the proposed deployment. It called for a payload of two tons of NRSs and an additional three tons of support and storage equipment be sunk into the center of the mass. Some thought it was just adding more garbage to the patch. Others were hopeful that project “Sinking Atlantis” would work. (more…)


The Unknown Ones

In the Autumn of 1972 a group of physicists, biologist, mathematicians and artists came together to do the impossible. They had plans to manifest matter by sheer will alone. After three years the men and women participating in the project declared it an utter failure. They abandoned their research and all parties went back to their respective disciplines, with strict directives never to disclose the nature of the secret project they had been a part of. The facility, a century old theater house, was abandoned and Anomalous Research Department of the U.S. government sealed the facility until use of it was needed. The property sat on the books as a government facility for over twenty-five years until, during the Bush administration, an internal auditor discovered the abandoned theater. The building was put up for auction and purchased by a property developer with plans to convert the theater to condos.

(more…)


Wendigo

In the frigid north where the wind can cut and the night can kill, a thing exists. The forests offer little respite from winter’s grip. Many men have fallen prey to its cold embrace. A sad few have resorted to unspeakable acts to survive in dire times. It is said that a man who consumes his fellow man will be haunted. The hunger that preceded the cannibalism would not be sated. No amount of gorging would stop it, and a chill that would cause your bones to ache would nearly always reside. The story-tellers who live in the far north call it the spirit of the wendigo.

Whether the condition is some form of virus, mutation or some malevolent spirit is unknown. What is known is that the wendigo is a dangerous and crafty creature. With the keen instincts of man and an unnatural strength and speed, the wendigo has remained a thing of myth to most. Reports very, but most put the creatures at around eight to ten feet tall with razor-sharp claws. their gray skin hangs off the limbs, and the skin around the face and forearms is dyed red from feasting. The abdomen is concave revealing the bump of the spine below, and the ribcage is expanded outward. The skin of the neck hangs loose all the way down to the clavicle. The eyes are pale and wide, and the jaw is massive, with teeth that continue up the side of the face making a sinister smile. Human meat is the wendigo’s main choice but in times where humans are scarce any wildlife will do. The site where the creatures have fed are easily identified. The snow is melted around where the feeding took place, and only the least edible parts of the prey remain. It is believed that the near instant metabolizing of the meal creates a massive amount of heat, and that is what melts the snow. When kill sites start to appear near populated areas, missing persons reports are soon to follow. (more…)


The Instrument: The Brass Jawed Golem

Toward the end or the 1690’s the creations known as golem were not longer being used by their masters. The High Rabbis, who once utilized the hulks of dirt and sand for numerous tasks, had heard the widespread accounts of the golems turning on their creators. Or had themselves been punished for their misuse. Regardless of the reason the golem was in decline in Europe. A maddeningly brilliant alchemist, Fogdan Demoldov, also used a golem for menial tasks in his work. Demoldov always found the golem to be simple and unpredictable. Before meeting a most unfortunate end, Demoldov went to work on what would become his legacy. He set out to create a golem that was sentient. To achieve his goal, he created a computer of sorts. The device would rapidly cycle through commands in the interior of the golem’s mouth. Traditionally a golem was controlled by placing parchment in the mouth of the creature. This computer bypassed the process. The alchemist fashioned each command to be what he saw as being sentient “Live” “Think” “Intuit” “Learn”. He used the lower half of decorative brass mask to house the un-pious piece of mechanical genius. The inner workings of the device were staggering. It appeared not to follow rules that applied in this world. A cylindrical gear appeared to make a figure-eight when placed in the device. Acute angles appeared obtuse and the whole interior of the thing seemed to be vastly larger than the housing would allow. When the device was completed it was placed on the deactivated golem. The brass jaw whirred softly when it made contact with the still earth of the creation. Demoldov was enraged by the apparent lack of life. The golem sat with its half crumbled face, still as the soil it was made from. The mad alchemist went feverishly back to his notes and books, leaving the unmoving thing to sit. After some time, the discourage creator entered the laboratory with plans to salvage what he could from the failed experiment.

To his astonishment, he found the seven-foot behemoth reading one of the many books in the lab. It’s face had completely reformed and in the black holes that represented the eyes a dim amber glow emanated. The golem worked for about a year for his creator. Demoldov had set his sights on a new goal. To cheat death. This new aim prompted the mad alchemist to delve deeper into the darker side of his craft. He set his sights on the Necronomicon and all of its evil. (more…)