New Release: Panic! Horror In Space #3

Christina Engela proudly presents the 3rd volume in a series of horror misadventures in deep space with the crew of the I.S.S. Mercury.

“Panic! Horror In Space” is a series of science-fiction-horror stories in the same setting featuring mostly the same regular characters, with the occasional introduction of new characters or settings. The premise for this concept was to create a horror-sci-fi story in a series of connected short fiction installments. For more detail about this series, visit About Panic! Horror In Space.

While on an otherwise routine deep-space mission to chart new territory on the frontier of unknown space, the Pioneer Fleet starship Mercury is probably the unluckiest ship in history. Not once, not twice, but many times over, the same hapless crew – give or take a few dozen casualties – on a supposed voyage of deep space exploration, stumble into the weird, wake the creepy and trip over the downright terrifying and possibly even supernatural…

Panic! is a sci-fi/horror series, which will have some decidedly sci-fi characters encountering some decidedly horror entities – ghosts, haunted objects, zombies, etc. along with my usual twisted brand of humor! The first two titles are available in paperback and ebook versions on various distribution platforms including Amazon and Lulu. “Panic! Horror In Space #1” and “Panic! Horror In Space #2” were released earlier this year and “Panic! Horror In Space #3” was just released on 18 November 2017!

Buy Now: Paperback  /  Ebook

Edition: First Edition
Published: 18 Nov 2017
Pages: 170
Dimensions (inches): 4.25 wide x 6.88 tall

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Below, brief synopses of the two stories in volume 3, and extracts for you to enjoy! 🙂

MioraAfter a few hair-raising assignments – and some even more harsh treatment at the hands of his skeptical superiors, Captain Flane and the crew of the Terran starship Mercury were only too happy to be sent on a truly mind-numbingly boring assignment: to survey and catalogue every planet, moon, asteroid and speck of space-dust in a previously unexplored star system. There, on a long-dead world scarred by an ancient war of self-annhilation, they discover a deserted alien ship on the surface, stranded since the great calamity that ended the burgeoning civilization that once lived there. The fact that Flane’s best friend and executive officer, Commander Vic Chapman, got all aflap about detecting life on board that ship, didn’t make things any easier.

“In a show of faith, which might have been a little misplaced, Commodore Peters had sent the still-reeling Captain Flane back out again in the Mercury with a replacement crew on a ‘milk-run’ to babysit a small group of paranormal investigators (one of whom had been her favorite nephew) from a famous TV show called “Specter Adventures”. Their destination turned out to be the most haunted abandoned Terran outpost in the galaxy. Milk-run. Right. What could possibly go wrong?

Upon his return to the starbase a couple of days later, tail between his legs, Captain Flane very reluctantly reported that four members of the “Specter Adventures” crew – including the favorite nephew of the aforementioned Commodore – were missing, presumed dead… and handed over a report laced with words like ‘paranormal’, ‘entities’, ‘invisible forces’, and ‘spooks’. What happened next was reflected later in the star-base log as an ‘official reprimand’, although in reality it featured a very frisky sparring session between Flane and the lively ninety-eight year old Commodore Peters (and her favorite nine-iron) across the entire length of the star-base, with six or seven very well-built security marines in hot pursuit, and a short stay in the brig for Flane. Things carried on after that pretty much as before – which was part of the problem.

When Flane really thought hard about it, he realized his most recent reprimand (this time at the hands of Admiral Tawney) had been far less severe than the previous one. At least that one hadn’t featured any golf clubs or threats to his physical wellbeing. Why? Well, aside from the minor detail that one of the loderunner Marconi’s crewmen who was under his care in Mercury’s sickbay at the time – had actually been on fire at one point …that is, while in the actual bed – and that Captain Flane had taken the Mercury on an unauthorized joyride back to Floridia-7 (the site of his previous ignominious offense) the fact that nobody had expired during that little adventure did go a long way to softening Admiral Tawney’s demeanor.”

The Big RainIt’s a funny old ‘verse,’ Stuart Flane – Captain of the Terran starship Mercury, thought. Most people who found out a cursed object was responsible for the untimely messy – and unavoidably mysterious deaths of 13 people, would steer the hell clear of it… but for some weird reason, some people seemed to think that owning it was a smart move – or that it would end well for them! Unfortunately for Flane and his intrepid crew, their latest assignment – being sent to relieve a terraforming plant on Atooin of such a cursed object – things did not go without a hitch – but then, the thing was called ‘the Jug of Death‘, and obviously with good reason…”

“The object had been uncovered by a couple of workers just a year prior, while they were leveling and clearing land which was to be used to expand the atmo-processing plant just south of the main complex. The silver jug was dug out by hand from the dry Atooin soil. It looked like it had been tucked into an alcove in the buried remnants of a low stone wall, which had been described as ‘some kind of foundation wall built of rough native stones’.

The correct procedure when uncovering things of that nature was not followed, in that the Company’s small platoon of anthropologists and other lab-coat-wearing scientists with a keen interest in such things was not notified, and the man who found it kept it quiet and hid it – presumably thinking it was a rather nice keepsake to take with him one day when he returned home again. The foundations were destroyed by the earth moving machinery and never investigated further – and the site now lay beneath Vent Number 12, a towering, hollow cylindrical chimney that spewed moisture into the planet’s air. This cunning little dodge might never have come to light, except that death seemed to follow this antique silver jug. Like a homing pigeon – well, homing.

Its finder died in a mysterious freak accident less than two days later, apparently choked to death alone, chewing on a taco while doing naked aerobics, or so the story went. A little while later, a friend of the deceased found the jug while going through the dead man’s possessions, and decided to keep it for himself. Again, the unfortunate new owner died within a few days – this time of a rather messy industrial accident involving a stone crusher. As though following a strange pattern, the mysterious silver jug was again passed on with that man’s possessions to the next new owner, who shortly afterwards followed the first two in a string of suspicious accidents that rapidly become the basis of Atooin’s growing new local urban legend.

The pattern of mysterious deaths continued, from owner to owner – with no discernible sign of foul play – until the mysterious alien artifact reached its twelfth owner just the day before… and even though someone – presumably one of its previous owners – had marked it with a paper tag that read “BEWARE! THIS IS THE JUG OF DEATH!” the new owner thought it might be a good idea to auction it off that night at the Crazy Eight – the canteen that catered to workers at the atmo-processor! Even more unbelievably, someone actually bought it!

Just thirty hours later, the Jug of Death’s newest owner – number 13, was dead – snuffed out in a mind-boggling domestic accident in his bathtub inside his own locked apartment, involving of all things, a cake of soap and an ordinary kitchen blender – and no sign of foul play. The Deputies – and the forensics department – were completely baffled, and to be honest, a little spooked. So far, the twelfth owner of the Jug of Death was the only person to have had ownership of the item without dying. At least, not yet. Sheriff Yackley was pretty sure Trucilla Gorny – the seller – felt pretty darn clever for outwitting ‘the curse of the Jug of Death’.”

For more detail about this series, visit About Panic! Horror In Space.

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