Wednesday, June 17, 2015

[writing] The Hartufaans and Trifardoon

A few people commented they liked the story yesterday and after +Follow Me, And Die! said he wanted to read more, well, an idea popped into my head. Below is the result. When I reread this it feels darker and almost not-pulpish to me. So, for me, I feel like this is a bit of a failed piece as I was aiming for a much more pulp era science fiction feel. 

At any rate, Dirk is questioning the captured Hartufaan from last episode....

- - Episode Two - -

Hartufaans are disgusting. The whole mouth in your chest thing just creeps me out but more importantly, or more gross depending on how you look at it, is their smell. Absolutely disgusting breath - rotting flesh mix with twelve tons of elephant waste with a dash of five day old cabbage. Jonsey tells me the stench is due to their diet.

The smelly three-headed alien was handcuffed - two of his hands to each other and then one of those further cuffed to the chair - to a chair in the middle of the room. I was sure to keep clear of his breath as I spoke. "Plutharc, I am only going to ask you one more time. Where did you get the information about the Kinsloab? And don't give me that nonsense about Chuck Hinsely, we already know he told your contact. We want to know who sent you. Who did Hinsely give that information to?"

All twenty-four of his eyeballs studied me. "You will get nothing from me, human scum." I had fixed the Transvalator so he now spoke to me in a suitably deep and menacing voice. I thought a moment about changing it to the sultry female. "Nothing you can do will make me talk."

I stood and paced in front of him, "Did you know I was imprisoned on your homeworld?"

His eyestalks twitched slightly, narrowed, and looked at me sideways. I had his interest.

"A great philosopher once said that the best way to understand people is to see how they treat their own. When I was in the prison on Hartufaan Prime, I saw the evil you inflict on your own people," I paused for dramatic effect and studied his faces. He was thinking, trying to guess my meaning, where I was taking him. I let the gears turn a few moments, let his mind wander. I flipped on my comm, "Jonsey, bring in the Trifardoon.”

At the mention of the dreaded Hartufaan torture device the alien became quiet. His twenty-four eyes burrowed into me, glaring in defiance. Behind his eyes I could see his mind turning thoughts over, testing what he knew, what he thought I knew, and how far I would let this go.

“Did not think I would know about that, did you?” I pulled over a small table and put it directly in front of him, but just beyond his reach. Jonsey came in, a white box  the size of a large in his hands. Without saying a word he placed the box on the table then quickly turned and left the room.

“I am not going to lie to you Plutharc. Spending time in the prison on your homeworld was not pleasant. Had Trifardoon had effect on humans I would likely not be here today. Luckily this narcotic is specifically tied your race’s DNA. In a Hartufaan, the drug’s cling to the chemical bonds at cellular level. This creates an immediate, long lasting, and overpowering addiction that turns nearly all Hartufaan into slobbering zombies. But you know that, don’t you?”

I let this sink in. I can see him thinking, wondering if I could really have the drug, outlawed in most systems, here with us now. He looked away, eyes darting across the floor. A bead of sweat appeared on each of his three heads. I had him.

Now to nail in the coffin. “And I know you lost a brother and sister to the drug.”

That did it. He leapt out of the chair and charged towards me. The chain connected to the cuffs stopped him and jerked him back into the chair with a hard thump. He thrashed against his bonds and infernal roar erupted from his large, stomach-mouth. He continued thrashing, fighting his constraints, and howling for nearly three minutes until the alien’s body shook and spittle dribbled out of his mouths.

I removed the lid on the box and removed the syringe and small bottle filled with the yellow Trifardoon. The alien’s many eyes locked on the bottle as soon as I lifted it the box. I placed these on the table immediately in front of him. His eyes never left the bottle.

“So you see my friend, you are going to tell us who sent you.”


  1. That's a little dark, but still pulp. Maybe "Pulp-Noir"? I got sidetracked so with a slow day, I am binge reading your whole serial to date. Still good! Makes me want more!

    1. I thought that too when I wrote it, I was struggling to stay in-genre. I kept wanting to make him more violent and having to back off and go more pulp.