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06. ROADTRIP! [with transcript]
You can listen to the Extraplanar Radio Show anywhere you enjoy podcasts. Don’t see it on your favorite platform? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make it happen!
A trip within a trip. Trip-ception.
Written and Narrated by Lashonda Love.
Produced by Jaid Saviero.
Voice of Nova: Rayna Kingston (on Substack)
Transcript for Episode 6 below!
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(Intro music playing)
[CREATURE X]: Hey there Earthlings and Interstellar Creatures, and welcome to the Extraplanar Radio Show.
Creature X here, preparing for transmission.
For the uninitiated, you will be hosting an extraplanar entity for the duration of tonight's broadcast.
So, please secure all belongings, clear your reception space of all non-receiving lifeforms, and finalize emergency and end-of-life plans.
We here at the Extraplanar Radio Show do our very best to ensure all of our symbiotic attachments are completely safe and secure. Though, please be advised that disengaging from symbiosis before the transmission is complete may result in adverse side effects.
stand by for countdown
and remember, it's only fiction.
(Intro music fades out)
(hopeful music fades in)
[CREATURE X]: Today, I am on a road trip to a place called Gate Zero.
For new listeners, Gate Zero is the home of the original humans.
The ones who created all of the human colony simulations you know and love across the universe.
Like Earth, ZIAIA E1, and TELEX 11G just to name a few we have mentioned here on the show.
The original humans sort of stomp around the universe loudly and confidently doing whatever they want and have essentially carved out an entire galaxy for themselves.
A home base they call Gate Zero, though the particularly obnoxious among them tend to refer to Gate Zero by another name: Afterlife.
I am simply going to visit my mother.
She lives under a rock somewhere near the Gate Zero Capitol planet.
The planet is actually named Capitol, but does also serve as the central operation point for all things… human.
It is honestly getting too complicated to catch all of our new listeners up to speed on everything going on at this point, but I will do my best to distill that information for you now.
I have an arch-nemesis.
His name is Jerry.
Jerry kidnapped my best friend.
Jerry also killed an entire planet.
I am going to see my mother to hopefully use her tracking system and stockpile of weaponry to locate and destroy him.
Typically, I try not to serialize my broadcasts this much, but Jerry is making that harder than ever.
And while I work on hunting him, I am finding it quite hard to compartmentalize.
All the more reason to obliterate him.
But first, since we are out and about on the metaphorical space road, I thought it would be a great time to introduce our newest segment.
Several listeners have apparently been inspired by hearing stories from across the galaxy and are looking for travel recommendations.
So, while I am certainly not a tour guide, our Interstellar Hotspots segment is sure to help you plan the perfect vacation or day trip.
And the best part is, it's presented by a longtime, very dear friend of mine.
We will go to her now for more.
(upbeat music begins)
[NOVA]: Hey there Space Babes!
It's Supernova, Nova for short, here to tell you all about the hottest happenings in a galaxy near you.
Let me tell you about The Void.
It's a super secret and exclusive speakeasy located inside a fake black hole.
They have everything here.
There's something called Disco Juice that can simulate the real-life effects of being obliterated by a neutron star collision without actually incinerating you.
They also have a leviathan pup petting zoo, dark matter cocktails on tap, and a photo booth where you can take pictures that show you how you'll die.
But by far the best feature here has to be the Infinity Room.
For the low, low price of offering one of your loved ones for sacrifice, you can enter the Infinity Room.
This chamber is set up so the warping of space-time is literally infinite.
Let's say you did something embarrassing at work and you are so mortified you just wish you could fast forward until everyone forgets it -
In the Infinity Room, you can wait it out for a thousand years if you want!
Or until anyone who knows how tragic and embarrassing you are is long dead and gone.
And it will only seem like the blink of an eye from your perspective.
Let's just hope the void is still open in a thousand years and remembers to let you out!
It's not like you'll know the difference.
I won't tell you where this amazing speakeasy is located, that's why it's a secret!
You will just have to try your luck in finding the place.
But remember, it's a false black hole.
And you'll be able to tell if you're at the wrong black hole because the crushing gravity will rip you its shreds if you attempt to approach it.
So just look for the one that won't completely disintegrate your physical form.
You only get one shot, but hey, high risk, high reward.
[CREATURE X]: Thanks Nova!
I actually visited The Void once, made a few mistakes trying to find the correct black hole and lost a few thousand years to it, but the black matter cocktails were totally worth it.
This has been Interstellar Hotspots.
[CREATURE X]: I do have one last bit of news before we jump into today's program.
Last broadcast, listeners of the Extraplanar Radio Show will remember leaving off on the unfortunate predicament of TELEX 11G, the most crucial planet in Gate Seven.
For those who don't remember, Gate Seven… was a synthetic solar system within the infamous Dark Galaxy.
TELEX 11-G's fate was almost certainly sealed.
The planet and its inhabitants had quickly fallen to a rapidly advancing infestation of the sentient botanical nightmare that is Deathbloom.
The infected population then attempted to use their interplanetary ships to propagate Deathbloom across the entire star system.
At that point, I completed my broadcast and left, knowing that my ability to interfere was limited at best.
And I trusted that the Dark Galactic Authorities, the primary governing body of the Dark Galaxy, would roll out their standard procedures for a potential mass extinction event.
Not to mention, I was still hot on Jerry's trail whose fault this all was in the first place.
However, it is with great disappointment that I report things have taken a turn for the worst at Gate Seven.
The Supreme Council of Original Humans has announced that in order to stop the spread of Deathbloom, they have induced a supernova at the central Gate, the synthetic star and intergalactic travel port around which the entire Gate Seven society functions.
The explosion has completely wiped the solar system from existence.
The Council stated that this was achieved by focusing a new type of fusion weapon at the gate.
In a rare display of stark opposition to the Supreme Council of Original Humans, the Dark Galactic Authorities have condemned the induced supernova, stating that “the destruction was an utter overreaction which has cost the lives of an incalculable number of humans.”
Their estimates show that the resulting casualties far outweigh any devastation the Deathbloom could have ever achieved.
The DGA seemed particularly concerned about the potential after-effects of the supernova, even citing Supreme Council-certified studies regarding the detrimental effects of runaway stellar radiation on systems in close proximity.
The Supreme Council has declined to acknowledge or respond to these statements.
I know the Original Humans have a reputation for being a bit trigger-happy, but this honestly feels a bit like overkill.
No pun intended.
Although the debate certainly calls the necessity of the supernova into question, we can't be entirely sure of the Original Humans' reasoning.
Surely, this was done for the security and well-being of us all.
This has been The News.
[CREATURE X]: What better road trip activity is there than telling long, rambling stories?
That's why today, I will be sharing another installment of our Listener Stories segment.
This week's story comes from Vorgluk in the Viridian Vortex, which is a little-known wormhole-based commune housed in a large pocket of dark matter.
That would be Dark Matter Pocket #22 to be exact.
Vorgluk and I actually go way back.
She and I used to be camping buddies, and as I understand it, this is a story about a camping trip that I wasn't invited on for some reason.
Anyway, Vorgluk writes...
[VORGLUK]: A few years ago, I went camping with a group of friends on Lumidra.
I don't know if anyone listening is familiar with the spot, but it's one of the most beautiful planets I've ever visited.
Lumidra is locked in a delicate dance with its central star, and it causes one side of the planet to exist in a state of perpetual twilight.
Basically, the sun never rises and never fully sets.
So the cloudless sky stays this sort of dusty orange sunset that fades to a vast black night, and the starfield and colorful nebula trails of the surrounding solar system form a perfect backdrop to the dull glow of the soft silver moons that drift around the planet.
In the dim, quiet dusk, the landscape of Lumidra is a tapestry of phosphorescent shrubs and trees inhabited by all manner of bioluminescent creatures and beasts.
Glimmering patches of various fungi flourish around the numerous steaming hot springs.
Even the slightest breeze will draw a cloud of sweet-scented spores, dotting the landscape in various glowing mists.
And if that wasn't enchanting enough, the luminous petals of giant flowers drip with intoxicating nectars. The flowers themselves sprawl out, wild and uncontrollable even in the darkness.
They actually grow by the light of their very own essence, rather than the light of any star.
So, basically, Lumidra is a dream of a planet.
Oh, I should mention, the nectars produced by those giant glowing flowers are largely hallucinogenic. In fact, they have often enhanced my camping experiences.
And this particular trip was actually meant to be more of a trip, if you know what I mean.
I went with a few friends entirely last minute. We landed on Lumidra and immediately got to the work of finding the perfect camping spot.
A few hours after pitching our tents, a musician friend of mine, Drexia Moon - check out our latest piece, it's streaming all over the place actually - but Drexia led us out on a foraging trip to collect some psychedelic nectar.
It was easy enough, and after a decent hike, we had plenty to keep us rolling for a few days. Not that we'd be able to tell time in the endless twilight anyway, but I just mean we had a lot to work with.
As we made our way back to the campsite, it sounded like something was walking in circles around us, keeping pace just beyond our line of sight.
Now, there are some pretty big creatures out there on Lumidra, and campers should certainly always be weary of their surroundings.
But having visited Lumidra so many times, we were pretty sure it was nothing.
Maybe a bit overconfident.
In hindsight, that was probably the first sign of the danger we would eventually find ourselves in.
Unfortunately, we just kept trekking on, and when we made it back to camp, we settled in for our psychedelic experience without a second thought.
Drexia serenaded us with an intricate medley of drum songs, played expertly by her many dexterous arms.
Another friend performed some beat poetry, and with the addition of the symphony of woodland animals and various musical plants, the trip was a vibe.
We took our first dose only a few hours after arriving. At least, that's what it seemed like. You really do lose your sense of time on Lumidra, so I can't be entirely sure.
But the drums and the nature sounds continued on and on, and were the backdrop for some honestly pretty nice visuals for such a small dose.
It went on for what seemed like an eternity.
But I'm never looking for a purely recreational experience. I wanted a full spiritual journey and to achieve a higher level of consciousness and so did my friends. So we built on our initial dose until things got pretty intense.
The sky faded in and out and swirled in radiant colors I'd never seen before.
I lost any sense of my body or individuality and was purely on a ride through the stars.
Then I came back down to the surface of Lumidra and I watched the textures of the forest floor shift all around us.
It felt like I kept launching off into the sky and coming back down to the ground and back and forth for eons until a sharp sound drew every facet of my attention back to reality.
It seemed the rest of the group heard it too because we all turned… and it felt like it was on the same breath… to see a strange beast as it emerged from the tree line.
Just a simple creature
But it made unwavering eye contact with us from all the ocular receptors around its head and antenna.
I got lost in its gaze for what felt like the end of time and then traveled all the way back to the present moment.
That's when all of its eyes swiveled to me and the edges of my vision darkened.
Its form shook and twisted.
It slowly raised from the ground and hovered over us where it sprouted several large eyes and tendrils.
Rigid, stick-like arms then shot out towards us, the ends of each coming to razor-sharp points.
I was so frozen in terror, fixed upon this horrifying transformation, that I didn't even notice Drexia had been impaled.
It slowly lifted her towards a single, giant eye in the center of its ever-shifting, ever-changing form.
Blood dripped from the point of impalement, dropping silently from the tips of her feet.
Her choking and gasping was louder than any other sound in my ears.
That is, until the eye of this monstrous abomination opened to reveal a swirling and spinning funnel of fangs.
It unleashed what I can only describe as a discordant symphony of hissing, shrieking, and howling voices housed in one…
and then it threw Drexia into its open cavernous maw where she was…
shreds and other bits of her sprayed across us where we stood transfixed in terror.
The sensation jolted another of my friends to her senses, and she let out a blood-curdling scream.
At the sound, we all scattered and ran as fast as we could, but my body was slow and heavy.
It almost felt like my feet were submerged in mud, and every muscle was fighting to get me out from under the shadow of the looming entity as it grew before my eyes.
[CREATURE X]: But first, it's time for our sponsors.
[CREATURE X]: Today's episode of the Extraplanar Radio Show is sponsored by Mrs. Beast.
She is a changeling who makes content in the Virgo Cluster.
Mrs. Beast originally begged me to do a collaboration with her, a show where I guess she wanted me to live broadcast her as she ambushes various unassuming people, entities, and creatures in low-resource regions of the universe and forces them to publicly accept incredibly generous sums of intergalactic currencies from her own pocket.
To be clear, I don't have anything in particular against generosity.
However, I did find it odd the way she seemed almost rabid about making sure it was live-broadcasted and associated with her name and brand above all else.
It just felt off.
So instead, we settled on this sponsorship.
She isn't putting out a call to action for you to be charitable or kind to anyone around you, nothing like that. She actually just wanted me to tell you that if you follow her - I'm not sure where you are following her to - but you might have the chance to win some of her intergalactic hoard for yourself.
I think she's hoping that people will desperately clamor over one another in an attempt to win a crumb of her currency, all for her entertainment.
To each their own, I guess.
Oh! She also has new merchandise available for purchase.
I guess that's how she affords to give away so much.
I'm not sure.
Anyway, she is selling a t-shirt that simply says Mrs. Beast. So, whenever you wear it, anyone who sees you will know you watch her? or follow her? Where are we following her to again?
Eh, who cares
This episode is also sponsored by my moth-
Actually, it's your mother.
She is begging you to call her back.
And listen, it's not my business - I don't know if you need to cut her off or if you have some weird attachment issues or whatever, but she is pretty insistent on being in your business.
Good luck with that.
This has been Sponsors.
[CREATURE X]: Now it's time for our Q&A segment.
That stands for Questions and Answers.
Today's question is: What's the most terrifying thing you've ever seen in space?
Well, while nothing much scares me anymore thanks to a long life lived across our seemingly boundless universe, I have had one truly chilling experience.
Something that happened early in my life and irrevocably changed me to my core. It still terrifies and haunts me to this day.
I was once imprisoned in a mirror dimension.
I know this might not sound so terrifying for most entities, but I am a little different.
And I didn't quite know how different I was until this harrowing episode.
You see, I do not encounter mirrors very often and I had transgressed pretty severely in a certain part of the universe which I will not name. So my imprisonment was the first time I came face to face…
with my own reflection.
And not just any reflection, no. My true reflection was revealed to me.
I stared into my own visage for entire ages of the universe.
I cycled through grief, horror, revulsion, denial, and eventually pure fear. So completely terrified of the nature of my existence that I was frozen to the spot.
I had to be forcibly dragged away and rese-
I had to be slowly reintroduced to society once my sentence was served.
It took me a long time and a lot of therapy to recover from the shock of that encounter, of seeing my reflection for the first time.
But I now know what I look like, so when I see that creature in the occasional dark mirror of a placid lake, or the round glass eyes of beings larger than myself,
I know there is, almost, no need to be afraid.
As for any other nightmarish entities that call this vast universe home, nothing much compares.
This has been Questions and Answers.
[VORGLUK]: I tore through the forest as quickly as I could, the legion of screeching voices my only clue that the monster was closing in on me.
The landscape transformed and rearranged itself with every step.
One moment I was running through brambles and vines, with sharp thorns cutting through my flesh. Then another, I was choking for air, splashing through steaming pools.
The screams of my friends sounded somewhere in the distance, followed by the roaring, the hissing, the wailing of this great aberration.
Then visions of tentacles tangling around my legs and arms, thrashing me against rocks and boulders.
The searing, slashing of claws straight to the bone.
Eventually, all of the plants and animals and colors around me merged into one blinding white light.
After that, everything went black.
I'm not sure how long I was gone.
When I finally awoke, it was to the sounds of crunching bones and slurping flesh.
The sight of my shaking hands against a large boulder, behind which I was hiding.
My own trembling breath was overwhelming in my ears.
I assumed the creature was lurking, feeding somewhere just beyond the boulder.
So I tried to steady and silence myself.
I definitely thought to run, but was so scared it would notice me.
One of my friends, I can't even recall who was left, but they must have had the same idea because there was a sudden shuffle as they darted out from behind a large tree across the way.
The creature shrieked and clawed its way toward the sound.
As soon as it was out of sight, I scrambled away and eventually stumbled into some sort of burrow. It could have been the home of something just as dangerous, but I wasn't in my right mind.
I curled down into the hole as far as I could and waited, at least for the effects of the nectar to wear off so I could properly defend myself and flee.
I have no idea how long I hid there, occasionally hearing the distant snarls and screams, the ripping and tearing of ground and foliage and who knows what else.
As I came back down, so did the sound of the threat.
I probably waited longer than I needed to after hearing silence, but I wasn't brave enough to contend with that monster again.
Eventually, I came out of the burrow clear-headed, if very injured and exhausted.
I crawled out of the hole, initially worried that I wouldn't be able to find my way back to our camp,
but the trail of blood and innards was easy enough to follow.
Deep slashes marked the trees and shrubs along the way and massive, clawed tracks sunk deep into the soil and mud in every direction.
There was hardly a camp left, and not a single body to be found.
I didn't wait around long for any survivors to return before I got out of there.
Several days later, I brought a group of hunters to help me try and rescue anyone who might be left, but we just couldn't seem to find the campsite again.
I still have no idea what happened to the others, but sometimes, when I crack my spine or in that moment just before I fall asleep, I find myself transported back to Lumidra…
under the ominous twilight, running for my life through the glowing forest, the screams of the beast in close pursuit.
(outro music plays)
[CREATURE X]: Well, Vorgluk, that certainly sounds like a bad trip indeed.
Sounds like you just weren't in the right mindset. Not that I can relate.
I do know how to handle my substances, so I can only imagine what that was like for you.
Thankfully, imagining is not difficult since you painted a very vivid picture.
I guess I will just wait for you and the others to call me for the next trip? It might have been nice to at least get an invite.
Anyway, that wraps up our broadcast this week.
It seems I have arrived at Gate Zero.
The familiar interstellar highway is packed with space vehicles zooming all around.
Always too much commotion here for my taste.
There does seem to be a stronger security presence than my previous visits.
I wonder if that has something to do with the emergency alert.
It seems a variation of that very alert is currently flashing across the Dome.
That is, the large digital sky that covers the expanse of the Gate Zero system.
It stretches from the gate all the way to...
well, that's odd.
(ominous music playing)
I've never seen that before.
Out in the distance, part of the dome flickers, and red, glitching streaks spider out over...
well, it's over where my mother lives.
I h-have to go.
Until next time, when we talk about other things.
(ominous music fades out)