Author Topic: PC449 / 753: Piety, Prayer, Peacekeeper, Apocalypse  (Read 3840 times)


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on: January 03, 2017, 11:52:35 AM
PodCastle 449: Piety, Prayer, Peacekeeper, Apocalypse

by Rati Mehrotra

read by Stephanie Morris

A PodCastle Original!

Rated PG-13.

Soru Khara had been hunting her death for many years before she arrived at the crumbling old port of Tyron. She camouflaged her skimmer and stalked up to the rusty gates as the sun set over the citadel, the fishy tang of the sea sharp in her nostrils. The smell of childhood – the smell of things best left buried. It was why she usually avoided ports. This time, though, she had no choice. She was to deliver a letter, like a common messenger. She had not questioned the inanity of her assignment. One did not question the Voice of the Star Emperor; one merely obeyed it.

“Halt!” Crossed spears barred her way into the passage under the city walls. A man with the insignia of the Umnia falcon stepped up to her. “No one enters the city between sunset and sunrise.”

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Rati Mehrotra lives and writes in lovely Toronto. Her short stories have appeared in AE—The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Apex Magazine, Urban Fantasy Magazine, and many more. Her debut novel “Markswoman” will be published in early 2018 by Harper Voyager. You can find her online at her website, and on Twitter @Rati_Mehrotra.

Stephanie Morris is a professional fangirl by day and the lone library assistant staffing a college circulation desk at night. She has narrated short stories for PseudoPod, PodCastle, EscapePod, Cast of Wonders, and StarShipSofa, guest-blogged on subjects ranging from book recommendations to zombie turkeys, and performed Shakespeare in a handful of weird churches. Until she suppresses her inner perfectionist enough to create a website, you can find her on Twitter at @smaliamorris.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: September 20, 2022, 06:17:12 PM by Ocicat »


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Reply #1 on: January 14, 2017, 12:49:15 AM
I have some problems with this one.

Good stuff first. The language is well done. The description is evocative.

But I don't think Soru Khara's decisions make any sense. She falls instantly in love with the queen for no clear reason other than she's hot, ignores the queens attempts to kill her, and then refuses orders that seem completely reasonable. As far as I can tell, the star emperor's accusations toward the queen are entirely legitimate, and I feel like I was intended to dislike them and side with her simply because she's human and they are some kind of communal space-arthropod. Personally, I think their dictates were fair and forward looking



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Reply #2 on: January 19, 2017, 02:53:23 PM
Hmmm... this was an interesting one, but... I really think I didn't understand the ending.  How did the queen end up alive and ruling at the end?  Didn't the protagonist say if she didn't do the deed, someone else would?


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Reply #3 on: January 25, 2017, 07:41:06 PM
I have to agree, the world building was very interesting but I have a hard time swallowing this particular story. Even if the narrator does have a death wish, the queen doesn't seem like the person to push her into taking action when she's survived this long already. A one night stand book-ended by various attempts on her life doesn't seem like it would engender that kind of loyalty. Plus the story explicitly said that the nation was suffering because of the waste and selfishness of the rulers. So yeah, I don't get the narrator's motivation at the end.


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Reply #4 on: February 09, 2017, 03:44:31 PM
Maybe her choice at the end was influenced more by the memory of her humanity (through the sights and smells of her childhood world, her physical relationship with the queen, and the recollection of her capture) than by an emotional tie to the queen. The star emperor is perhaps logical and calculating, but in the end, the protagonist embraces her emotional and rebellious human side. She chose individuality and the risk of making mistakes over the control of the hive mind.


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Reply #5 on: September 20, 2022, 06:17:50 PM
This story has been re-run as PC 753: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – Piety, Prayer, Peacekeeper, Apocalypse