This was the first Chapter of the book. I envisaged a super Rock Performance taking place in Space with the Moon being used as a stadium.
Hilan Hilzar sat back into the posture form of his couch seat. He was so full of tension that the living contouring did little to reduce the tightness of his muscles. He could not relax. The huge effort of holding back the excitement was making is body rigid. His mind was clamping down on his torso so that the pressure welled up inside him. His heart felt swollen up inside him, writhing around in his chest. His flesh was actually jumping and twitching as if some high voltage current was flowing through his veins. He was worried that it would trigger the seat’s resuscitation unit. It might consider him at risk.
For weeks now his whole existence seemed to have been building up to this climax. At first it had all seemed unreal – an eternity away. It had crawled towards him at a krank-snail’s pace; like it would never arrive. It had devoured his concentration leaving him unable to think of anything else. Then it had simply rushed towards him and the impossible day had arrived.
The journey here was a haze of unreality. He had spent the entire time peering around himself in disbelief. It could not really be happening. Reality was divorced from his body.
He sat back into the seat and took a deep breath as the seat rippled calmingly around him. His mind refused to operate properly. Only fragments of the journey were registering. It was a wonder that he had got here at all. He had vague recollections of boarding the ship and then the jump. Somehow the surge had only barely registered at all. Who could believe that? He had burned through the colour shifts with all the interest of a veteran traveller or some spoilt rich kid to whom hyperspace was a regular event. Instead of being astounded by the brilliance he had just wanted it to end. His mind had not been there at all. Even the re-entry was just a dream that washed over him. It was almost forgotten. It meant nothing. His mind was already ahead of him, dancing at his destination. In his mind he was already there. This entire journey, no matter how amazing, was a necessary nuisance to be endured. The terminal was awash with a multitude of beings as aliens mingled with humans and he was wafted along with the flood of the crowd. They were borne along on a babbling sea of excitement that engulfed them all. It was like he awoke when he entered the arena and he at last dared to let himself believe in the reality. He allowed himself to look around as he was conveyed and deposited into his allocated seat. He was in a trance.
The excitement welled up inside him. He bounced to his feet and found himself jumping up and down madly waving to the various groups of friends in his immediate vicinity, the same friends he had not even registered on his journey here.
After a while he had calmed down sufficiently to settle back down into his seat. He could barely contain himself. There were still hours to wait.
A sun was up casting hard sharp shadows. The sky glowed with a deep violet blue bathing the audience with its soft gleam. It would be nightfall before anything happened. He forced himself to calm down. His body would surely give out if it continued at this pitch. He did not want to burn out before it even started.
The sun set below the curved horizon leaving a crystal clear void sprinkled with a billion stars like fine salt on black obsidian. They hung like a pall of smoke over the crowd. There were no gaps between the specks just differences of intensities. It was so clear that one could imagine there was no air or Plexiglas between them. They were made aware that this was a moon; no planet could possibly have created such clarity.
Hilan decided it was time to drop his tablet of stoma.
Hilan peered round. The arena was filled with diffuse light so that he could see the mass of people stretching all the way from curved horizon to curved horizon, twittering in their seats expectantly. It was incredible to think that only days before this had been a barren wasteland of little import – just dust and rock, airless and unexciting. Now it had become the centre of the entire universe.
Hilan slumped back into his seat in a state of emotional exhaustion. He absently dialled for another drink from the servo-unit. The seat billowed around him to accommodate his new posture and the drink sachet slithered out of the dispenser. He sucked on the nipple and allowed the sweet juice to soothe his nerves and energise his weary mind. The stoma was kicking in, exaggerating the colours and opening his mind up.
A huge grin spread across his face like an early sunrise. He still could not quite believe it. He’d landed the best place on the whole fucking moon! All 900 credits of it! It had taken a lot of sweat and luck to pull this one off. Three months of planning and saving, three months of waiting. This was it! This was finally it! It was actually happening. It was going to be great! MEGA!!!! The greatest thing that had ever happened to him! He was central equator! Fuuuuuuuuccck!! It was the only place to be!
He’d pulled it off. Heeeee’d done eeeeeeet!!! Hilan banged the armrests in delight.
Nothing had gone wrong – all the million and one things that could have gone wrong; all those worries and fears. He had made it. He was actually here. Nothing could go wrong now.
The tension was so great that he could hardly breathe. His chest felt like someone was tightening a pexi-band round it or a whabon was sitting on him. He forced himself to relax and took a couple of deep breaths. He sucked on the juice and savoured the sweetness. The soma sure brought out the flavour. The last thing he wanted to do was to pass out. That would be terrible. The very thought frightened him and sweat broke out on his brow. He wiped it with the back of his hand. He loosened the scarf around his neck. He couldn’t stand this very much more. Please – just let it begin. Part of him wanted to jump up and shout but the rest of him just wanted to collapse into hysterical laughter. The time for doing had passed.
All around him the crowd were beginning to quieten down. He sank back into his own cocoon with his heart swooshing in his ears. Peace and calm settled on him. He was alone in the midst of an ocean of people. Everything slipped away. It was a full house of 10 million.
They could all feel it. The background swell of whispered conversation died away as if in response to some subliminal cue. A pregnant hush settled over the huge gathering. Everyone was focussed poised, with every nerve strained to catch it. The excitement was locked up just waiting to explode into hysteria. Twenty million eyes were busy darting out into the milky darkness hunting for the firs speck of action, straining to see it. Mass psychology was at work. All those minds had melded and were straining with every fibre. Senses pierced the vacuum and massed wills urged it to begin now.
Somewhere out there it was about to begin and they all wanted to be the first to glimpse it. Ten million lungs drew breath and held I captive in anticipation. The excitement was bottled up to bursting point.
There was total silence.
It started as a mere pinprick of light in the centre of that starry night. It was barely visible among the crystal stars but was suddenly growing and expanding in a great rush. It was a great flash of energy that hurled its way through the whole sky and obliterated a zillion worlds in a great explosion of light.
Ten million sets of lungs gave forth in a baying scream of primeval ecstasy. Ten million legs thrust their owners into the air with hands straining towards the sky, swaying like wheat before a breeze in what looked like rehearsed synchronicity. The roar rose to an intensity of total washout as loud as absolute silence. The energy burst forth from those lungs like a tsunami.
The sky which had turned gleaming white peaked in intensity and then faded to luminous blue. For a moment it held and then shattered into a mass of flashes and billowing colours. They were caught in a cosmic firework display as the universe exploded around them and galaxies collided in their heads. The whole spectacle rushed around them and through them and washed their cells with fingers of delight and they shrieked their delight back up at it as if daring it to become even greater.
It was not possible but somehow over the top of this crescendo a huge chord began to strum. It began as a soft drone but built into a steady resonating pulse that throbbed through their guts and groin seeming to emanate from within them. It worked its way up to their ears.
The crowd noise rose even louder. The pulse grew and deepened then waned.
A voice rang out as clear as a bell in the centre of their heads; from the centre of space, overpowering the roars of the multitudes.
‘Welcome! – Zargos Ecstasy and the Terminal Brain Grope!’
If the scream of the crowd had seemed maximal before, well now it rose to unbelievable heights. If they had been relying on auditory input eardrums would have been ripped to bleeding shattered shards. Fortunately they were honed into the neural net bypassing such rudimentary biology. Layer upon layer of intensity fused to drive the kids from hysteria into senseless catatonia.
The red suited resuscitation crews scanned their screens in search of customers, dispensed medication to the needy via their servo connections, and were poised to intervene. I was going to be a long and busy day.
From the midst of the swirling, flashing colours four silhouettes separated themselves from the billowing background and stepped forward into full prominence. Explosions tore through these giants and crashed out through the audience as they stooped to pick up their instruments.
Everything slipped away as the sky filled with their presence.
For a moment they stood motionless absorbing the crowd’s psychic momentum and projecting themselves into those millions of minds. The empathy meshed.
The scream built to such a crescendo that it threatened to tear the planetoid apart.
The two characters on the right suddenly swung into action and a pulsing beat ripped through the heart of Hilan and pounded into his brain. The shrieking swelled. The two musicians stepped forward while the other two stood motionless. They swayed as they laid down their primitive beat with sophisticated rhythms. It touched something primal within them. It reached down to the most primeval areas of the brain.
The two weaved their magic and hypnotised those cells drawing the crowd in and getting them moving in time. The subtle interplay began merging in their heads in colourful helices and interlocking lattices not merely heard but experienced, engaging all their senses. It thrilled their cells so that their bodies became instruments. The kids brains were the instruments the musicians played and their cells thrilled to the manic creative wills of the performers in mesmerised ecstasy.
When the merging was complete a third player swayed into action and they shared the stuttering, wailing rise and fall of the xyllostrope – now harsh and angry – now soft and teasing. It played their moods and toyed with their emotions.
The whole sky was full. Galaxies appeared and swirled through the performers in time to the notes of the instruments. They crashed together in kaleidoscopic madness and danced through the performers. The performance resounded through the bodies of the audience. Energy flowed both ways to and fro between the performers and audience in total shared rapport. Inside their skulls each mind peered out and simultaneously looked down upon themselves. The three figures merged with the millions of minds and they became the music.
From the midst of the rapturous eternity Zargos’s eyes flashed and ten million head turned to register the painted mask of his face as he swaggered forward to the front. He stood poised and his mouth morphed into a dangerous grin. ‘Hey, step inside this skull – if you dare!’ it seemed to suggest. ‘This is where the trip begins – step in!’
Every bead of sweat, every pore and crease of his face enfolded them. They were being sucked into the vortex of his trip. They were poised on the event horizon of a journey through the electric, scintillating coiled snake of his slippery cortex.
This was Zargos – the mighty Zargos – never a dry seat in the house! He plucked them out of their bodies with his piercing arrogant eyes and drew them to him with a curl of his lip so that they thrilled with every movement of his face and sinuous body.
This was Zargos Ecstasy – the mighty Zargos – The best! You could forget the rest!
The teeth glinted and the mighty throat conjured sound and words with poetry in snarling fury, gentleness in metred love. The voice growled and purred, soared and resonated as he intoned the words that were vehicles for ideas that he pounded into the depths of their cerebral cortex. He spat bile into their minds, exhorted and challenged. They merged with the music to become the song and he played their minds.
This was Zargos Ecstasy – the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roller the universe has ever known.
They knew ever word. They understood the message. All they needed was Zargos to screw it into them and imprint it in their souls so that it seared through them. It was so good it hurt. This was Rock ‘n’ Roll – the new revolution!
‘Marc, yeeeaaah! Fantastic! You were really motorin’ there. They loved you. I’ve never seen you better,’ extolled Stiffen Drossberg, Marc’s manager, sticking out a podgy little hand to grab hold of Marc’s limp arm, patting him on his head with the other while staring admiringly straight into his eyes with her bulging beady eyes like black marbles. Stiffen’s face was split in an insane grin that was not shared by his eyes. The hand guided the exhausted Marc to a nearby chair. ‘You were fantastic!’
Soon all four of them were slumped exhausted in their seats, ragged with sweat and desolated of all feeling. They were drained of every last vestige of strength and emotion. Their eyes were glazed and nothing was registering.
The door edged open and a young face timidly peered around it with wide eyes.
‘GETTOUTA Here!!!’ Stiffen roared. ‘Doncha know better than ta poke ya head in here! SCRAM!! VAMOOSE!!’ He waved his be-ringed hands angrily in a shooing action. The startled face darted back out of sight and the door slid shut.
‘JEEZUZ’ Stiffen snarled. ‘Fucking security round here! Ya pay der earth an’ any bum can buy der way in! Wot iz dis?’
Stiffen proceeded to settle himself back into his seat where he beamed round at his boys – his band. He surveyed the bedraggled quartet with great fondness. He had adopted them when they were unknowns and steered them through the long slog of the back alley days. Now they were big – Really big!! They were the biggest in the whole fucking history of Rock! There was no limit. They had hit he wave and mastered the technology and now there was no holding them back. Ten million today: a billion tomorrow. It was uncharted ground. Nobody had ever done anything like this. This was the stuff of legends. They were already bigger than anything had ever been. They were gonna make him the King.
Jeez it made him feel good. He was riding it too. He was guiding the ship. You couldn’t help but grin. If only his parents were alive. Who would have believed this?
A frown crossed his brow. Maybe he was pushing them a shade too hard. They were looking ragged. Behind the waxy greasepaint he could see the skin was decidedly yellow and tight. He couldn’t afford to kill the golden goose. They’d better last the course. He didn’t want them cracking up on him.
He pushed the anxiety to one side and while he continued to study them anxiously he took comfort from the knowledge that they were young and hence resilient. They could take the pace.
Marc Grabchick, alias Zargos Ecstasy, the superhuman, sneering, strutting mega-idol was looking a little worst for wear. He was completely out of it. And as for that chick Agony, well she didn’t look strong enough to pick up a xyllostrope let alone tote it through one of their marathon epics and she’d been flinging it around as if there was no such thing as gravity. Agony Sexrush – yeah it looked like they’d have to rename her. But the other two looked a little bit healthier. Gazmo Thrust and Phallo Climaztik were already beginning to come out of it. They were visibly recharging. Gaz was beginning to look around and muttered something to Phal.
Stiffen cast another peep at Zargos and Agony. They looked shit. But hell – that was par for the course. They always looked like that after a big gig. It was just the come-down after the show. In an hour or two they’d be bouncing around, off out to hit the town and burning off all that pent-up adrenaline. Despite their fatigue he could see their pupils were still dilated with the excitement of performance.
He grinned to himself. Life was good.
‘Jeez, guys,’ he rumbled, shaking his head slowly and beaming round at them. ‘That was offa diz world! You’re hotter than hell and rollin’.’
All four of them swayed round to focus on the little fat man beaming over at them like some manic owl. Their eyes registered the suit and the huge Terran cigar he was pulling out of his jacket pocket. They skimmed over the rings, hanging jowls and belly. All they saw was Stiffen Drossberg. He was the man who opened all the doors and was busy powering them through the universe. He oiled the wheels. They could forget about business with Stiffen around.
My best Sci-fi books in the USA:
Ebola in the Garden of Eden
Starturn – Intergalactic Rockstar
Sorting The Future
My best Sci-fi books in the UK:
Ebola In The Garden Of Eden.
Sorting The Future
Starturn – Intergalactic Rockstar