Author Topic: EP752 & 753: Chasing the Start (Part 1 & 2)  (Read 1161 times)


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on: October 04, 2020, 04:58:39 AM
Escape Pod 752: Chasing the Start (Part 1)

Escape Pod 753: Chasing the Start (Part 2)

Author: Evan Marcroft
Narrator: Stephanie Malia Morris
Host: Tina Connolly
Audio Producer: Summer Brooks

Chasing the Start first appeared in Strange Horizons (July 9, 2018)


There, quick—the blue sky bleeds. A runner in red tumbles across it, unstoppable, the sun itself shattering against her armor. One leg outstretched, the other flung behind her, vaulting from one moment to the next, and between them suspended in flight for a small forever. You read the number that burns on her armor and you that this is not the end. She is proof that you are not finished yet, a promise chiseled into the diamond of history. She will always be here, always this strand.

You want to say something to her, but she is already gone.

The date is June 18th, 1815. The place is Waterlô. And Sa Segokgo is racing against time.

The treads of her boots scoop up huge tracts of bloody, Belgian soil and thresh it into aerosol. Archaic bullets dart about her like swarming mosquitoes, pinging noisily off her poly-diadmant suit, its staalglas facepiece. An experienced strandrunner, she is not daunted by such minor impacts. Over ridges and craters she leaps, devouring meters with each stride, explosively imprinting the IOvac corporate icon wherever she lands. Her armor does its work, yes, but it is her conditioned body that knows how to exert itself most efficiently. Every movement must barter energy for distance, and profit. There are no pit stops in this sport; to spend recklessly will purchase only a quicker death.

Her brain thinks to itself in the voice of her spotter. ͼ-Sa, on your five, Luboy cautions. Another runner in the strand. Watch out— -ͽ

Sa pings a wordless acknowledgement to her crew, but doesn’t bother looking back. Her lead is enough that this newcomer is irrelevant. You are the Dragonhoof, she tells herself, the Hot Number 99. First place starts behind you.

Ahead of her, the front lines of the French and British armies are crashing together. Wellington on the left hand, Napoleon on the right. Her suit blasts a klaxon that yanks every eye towards her just as the two great waves of bodies meet in the gully between two trampled hills and blast themselves apart. Sa has ten seconds left in this strand; she is going forward, no matter what. Better they see her coming and get out of her way.

Listen to Part 1.
Listen to Part 2.
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« Last Edit: October 10, 2020, 08:43:24 PM by divs »


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Reply #1 on: May 18, 2021, 06:01:28 PM
Good story. I too liked the way the ending scene was foreshadowed in the beginning, but without being heavy handed. Well done!
My only complaint is that using time travel for spectator sports seems rather wasteful to me.