Operatic System

A new sci-fi action comedy Adrenaline Shots anthology tale by Danny Richard, but this time it's in novel format rather than a web comic!

They say that all the world's a stage... corporate exec Larry Turner is about to find out just how true... and deadly... that saying actually is.

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1. PASTICCIO

PASTICCIO - Definition - A form of operatic mash-up where choruses and elements from various different works come together in an entirely new plot.


He tried to move his limbs, but couldn’t.

Strange vibrations travelled from his head down to his toes. Shifting shadows churned slowly around him as his fragmented senses cascaded into one another, enveloping everything. Unfamiliar noises segued into blurred images, as if viewed through a long-broken kaleidoscope.

Had he suffered a nervous breakdown, or some kind of stroke? He’d heard of execs in New York slumped over their desks, their staff too terrified to interrupt them in their office for days, their line manager slowly dying whilst surrounded by oblivious direct reports. Is that what had happened here?

Perhaps he was hallucinating? Possible, but highly unlikely. He liked the good stuff but whenever he indulged he made sure that he did so in the company of others who could look after him in the event of a bad trip. He didn’t sense any familiar presence.

Was he dead? He doubted it: wasn’t death supposed to be some kind of transformative state where you didn’t feel pain anymore? Given that his entire body was in such a heightened state of agony that he couldn’t talk and could hardly breathe that seemed unlikely.

Finally, his tenuous grip on consciousness began to strengthen. The blurred imagery slowly faded away, and as he opened his eyes he was greeted by an unfamiliar scene.

He stood under a bright sky amongst sunlit groves, with an ornate pool surrounded by beautifully adorned fountains dominating the immediate vicinity.

Waves of memory lapped faintly around his mind as he struggled to remember how he had come to be here and, indeed, where here might be.

His skin felt tight and itched painfully.

His short-term memory was coming back slowly, however his long-term memory remained tantalisingly and frustratingly out of reach.

He was Larry Turner, thirty-something Director of Operations for Twilight Life Sciences Limited. Proud father of one, and husband to Linda. Former High School football superstar, now relegated to the less exciting (but far more lucrative) sport of climbing the corporate ladder.

No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t remember how he had come to be in this place.

Out of the corner of his eye, he became aware of movement near him.

Cold fear seized him as the sheer otherworldliness of the small serpentine thing hovering beside him registered. It had no eyes or mouth yet it was unmistakably, alarmingly alive.

Larry’s attention was momentarily distracted by a trio of achingly beautiful voices, rising in volume amongst the other noises. Overwhelmingly sweet and fragile, they reminded him of the soft sound of wind-chimes on a summer’s night.

Remembering the more immediate matter at hand he turned back in the direction of the whirling snake-like thing that had been thrashing nearby only to find that it had vanished…

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