Crash-Site by Brian Trent is a sequel to a story he wrote and published in F&SF May/June 2017. I didn’t read that first installment, but despite this, Trent is able to create a cohesive futuristic world for first-time readers.
The story follows 3 different people, at about 25 pages, it has just enough room to give each character enough “screen time.”
The first character is a man named Tel-Silag. He has been driven inside by the death of his wife and children. What exactly has happened to them I was never completely sure. I’m guessing it was in the first story, but there is a lot of memories about how they were somehow reanimated and made to dance as their bodies rot. Tel-Silag has also found a type of bio-weapon-gun thing that whenever he shoots it makes plants grow at an increased rate. He has killed someone with it but hitting them in the stomach and making their stomach flora go crazy. Tel-Silag’s goal is to somehow find a way to resurrect his wife–something that is impossible.
Umerah Javed is a space fairing entrepreneur. She uses a technology from her spaceship above the same planet Tel-Silag is on to broadcast her consciousness into a “proxy;” a woman who rents her body out to people off-planet. Umerah finds her old lover on this planet, Harris Alexander Pope (who is a legendary space pirate/conman/fighter guy). With his help, Umerah begins tracking Tel-Silag. It is thought that he knows the whereabouts of a crashed alien spacecraft. Apparently, he got the bio-gun from this crash-site.
Catherine Avellani is the third part. She is a doctor, of sorts, but is just as shifty as anyone else in the piece. She is also looking for Tel-Silag and the crashed ship. She also is cruising around in some kind of weird tank with a cyborg named Bok, who likes killing things with the gun. She want’s the crashed spaceship for research reasons, but is also willing to detonate her body with an anti-matter bomb to stop others from getting it. She has a backup system that will transfer her consciousness to another body–though with no memory of why she died, so she would lose some information if she has to detonate.
Needless to say, all these characters come face to face, but who ends up with the spaceship and a new technology, well. I’ll let you find that out for yourself.
This is a pretty cool story, an interesting world for sure. I just wish I would have read the first installment as I think it would have been more interesting with it. Like so many pieces, this one falls a little short on the ending. I didn’t really feel as though there was ample set up for the conclusion. (C)