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Nathan Hill 1/17/2024 11:16pm

"Sometimes it's better if we don't try to explain it, sir," Marta said to the captain.

"Oh, nonsense," said the captain. "Have some respect for a fellow airship captain! And his stalwart crew. Welcome aboard, captain!"

This ship's captain stepped towards me and stuck out his hand. It swayed in front of me like a giant log. My wooziness increased.

"Perhaps don't get too close, sir," Marta said.

"Ah, yes, I remember. The twins, right?"

"Yes. The Ricardos."

The captain pulled his hand away.

"Still, better you hear it all at once," said the captain. "I'm captain Raymond Gina Jimenez, and you're on board the Dutch Baby. We're dimensional super lifter, detailed to the Fractal Core Watchdog Group. We're level 57, and you were down there on level 23 -- which in this case means an universe 34 times smaller than ours, exponentially."

"Exponentially?" I asked, getting dizzier.

"Exactly! See, I told you they were sharp, Marta," said the captain. "We're not just '34 times larger,' we're 34 to the 34th POWER larger. So, when we want to meet each other in person, once of us has gotta make a BIG change, if you know what I mean." The captain winked. "And as I've had my hands quite full lately, it made a lot more sense for you to come up here."

It's when he said "come up" that I lost it. Got most of it into Quiller's trash can.

Nathan Hill 10/3/2023 10:45pm

"Captain," Marta said.

"Yes?" I answered, and Quiller elbowed me in the ribs.

"Yes?" said a handsome man at the head of the bridge, not turning away from the panel he was studying. In front of him, the the window was filled with stars.

"I have the extraction from Gridlet 97746b. The Toads Bottom Lane incident, sir."

"Ah, Witch Delivery™ country!" said the captain. That got his attention. He turned to face us.

"Any trouble with the resizing process?" he asked.

"Resizing?" I asked. Now that he mentioned it everyone did feel... really big...

Quiller found a trashcan in the corner and quietly threw up.

Nathan Hill 7/2/2023 9:43pm

The waitress led us though the warrens of decks and lifts of the enormous... ship? It was more like a space station.

"Oh, it's a ship alright," she said. "And you can call me Marta."

"I think I'm going to be sick," First Mate Quiller whispered to me on an especially long elevator ride.

"Your head does look sort of... enormously large," I whispered back.

"Oh! Do you guys have dramamine?" Marta asked. "I'm sorry. I totally forgot to mention."

Marta fished around in her purse.


"And here we are!" said Marta. "The bridge."

Nathan Hill 3/12/2023 9:27pm

"Permission to come aboard," said the waitress.

"Permission granted," said one of the guys in uniforms standing around this little cargo bay. The one we entered after leaving the mop closet.

The waitress started walking out the door of the cargo bay and Quiller and I followed. We went through the door and found ourselves overlooking a vast, vast space, circled with decks like our own as far as we could see in all directions. Decks to the left and right, and dizzying spirals above and below. There seemed to be clouds in the heights and depths.

"Don't worry about the scale," the waitress said. "You're still just very tiny."

Ensign Filbert 12/9/2022 11:37pm

I'd taken the Invictus to a safe distance from the carnage at the Witch Delivery™ Quick Station.

"But the captain!," said Sylvia. "And Quiller! They're still down there!"

Were they crushed in the rubble? The site was already crawling with drones.

We remained at a distance with the transponder down, losing ourselves in the loitering traffic of automated delivery ships and wandering commuter craft. We were scanning the EM band and watching for unusual activity. First responders were going through the wreckage of the Quick Station, but no bodies had been recovered. The haze of the night sky was lit by city light.

"There!" said Sylvia. "35 degrees from the bow. What is that?"

Some distance from the Quick Station, and at a rather high altitude, the underbelly of a ship appeared through the smog ceiling. But it didn't look right. It seemed... huge.


Sylvia was busy with her slide rule.

"Based on the curvature of the hull it's... this can't be right. It's as big as the moon?"

Below the great ship, there was something on the end of long thin cable. Something not much bigger than a phone booth. And it was being reeled in.

"Why didn't something that big show up on radar?"

"It's like it's there, but it's not there," Sylvia said. "It's so large it's almost like background noise..."

"It's got to be Quiller. And the captain. Take us to it, Sylvia."

"We'll be spotted for sure, Flibert."

"Yeah but so will they, and they'll get all the attention."

"Aye aye."

Nathan Hill 9/17/2022 11:06pm

We were in a tiny mop closet in the back of the donut shop.

"The explosion at the Quick Station? That was you?" asked the waitress.

"It was all a misunderstanding. We had a... misdelivery, and--"

"Yes," said First Mate Quiller.

"Your misdelivery," said the waitress. "Kindly old woman? Toadsbottom lane?"

How could she know that?

"How could you know that?" asked Quiller.

"We have access to the Witch Delivery database. You're from the Invictus?" asked the waitress.

"I'm the Captain" I answered. I wanted to let her know just who the boss was.

The waitress lifted up her arm and spoke into her watch. "Ok Tony, pull 'er up!"

The tiny mop closet started to tremble and shake, then suddenly jolted up with tremendous force.

A mop fell on my head.

Nathan Hill 7/5/2022 11:57pm

The men in serious suits left the donut shop, and a few moments later woman at the register came out to wipe the table next to us. She dropped a folded paper napkin on my lap when she moved on to the next table.

"Ok, but the donuts and coffee make up for the service, am I right?" I asked First Mate Quiller.

"It's obviously a note, dummy. Put it on the table, naturally. Like it's your real napkin."

"But I have my real napkin... oh. I see what you mean."

Casually, I unfolded it on the table. "Can you read it?" I asked. "I feel like I shouldn't look down at it. I'll just look at you. Can you read upside down? I can--"

"Door next to restroom. Employees only. 5 minutes."

Nathan Hill 4/9/2022 11:57pm

First Mate Quiller wasn't enjoying her donuts.

"No cameras, see?" I said, trying to cheer her up. I turned my head in an exaggerated fashion in all directions. "These old independent places can't afford them, and this part of town is safe enough they don't get robbed enough to need 'em."

First Mate Quiller relaxed her shoulders.

"This coffee is terrible."

"But it's the perfect match for these donuts. Here, you need the non-dairy creamer and a couple sugars."

The donut shop had steady business. People coming in, people going out.

"I'm sorry that Witch Delivery™ turned out this way," she said. "I just assumed they were a legitimate outfit. I mean, they're supposed to be going public in a few months. How could a company that does all this--"

"No, no, I get it. I didn't have any qualms either, did I? I mean, ok the blood taking part was weird."

"I mean, how much more of this am I bought into and don't even know it?" she continued. "Like, if Witch Delivery™ is bad, then what about 10 Basic Boxes, or Funniest Favorites? I mean, they're all big businesses, so of course nobody trusts them, but really we do trust them, which is why we just forget about the boycotts or whatever and keep on living like it's all normal."

Something in the energy inside the donut shop changed. I glanced over my shoulder at the register and saw a couple of big men in serious suits talking to the clerk, showing her their padds. I could tell by the look in her eye that she hated them, and wasn't going to give us up even if she did recognize us.

"Split this maple long john with me?" I asked.

Nathan Hill 2/1/2022 10:29pm

"You'd think we'd be safe and sound back on the Invictus by now, wouldn't you?" I asked First Mate Quiller.

We were standing outside a grungy doughnut shop on a grungy street. We were still dusting off debris from the explosion. We could see our breath.

"I don't think we had an actual plan, Captain."

She was right about that. We lost contact with the Invictus after they tore a hole in the wall of Witch Delivery™ Quick Station #9962384. Too much smoke. Too many tall buildings.

"They have cameras in those Quick Stations," she continued. "They have our pictures. They have three dimensional models of our bodies. And our voices. And probably of our personalities. They're probably running simulations right now against the immediate surroundings and predicting our outcomes and setting up the final traps as we speak!"

The doughnut shop smelled good. Or at least warm and greasy. And it was late.

"Hey let's get some doughnuts," I said. "It's on the ship."

WDQS STATION 9962384 12/9/2021 11:56pm

Welcome to Witch Delivery™ Quick Station #9962384

Are you a customer or a team member contractor?

I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Are you a customer or a team member contractor?


"Oh, uh, team member contractor."

Thank you. Please present your Witch Delivery™ pendant app with the screen facing up to the vibrating tube sensor.



Welcome team member contractor 62492YG724. Just a moment while I review your status.

... ...

Order number 249272292Zq27. Package undeliverable due to vagrant action. Can you confirm?

"Well, we didn't think they'd get blown up like that."

I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Please say yes or no.


... ...

Please place the undeliverable package on the measurement transducer.

"Uh, what?"

Please place the undeliverable package on the measurement transducer.

"Oh, you mean this table here. Quiller, could you give me a hand?"

Thank you. Just a moment while I scan the package.

... ...

At Witch Delivery™, we value the safety and well-being of our trusted team member contractors. Have you been within one meter of this package for more than thirty minutes?

"Well, it was on the bridge with us, and I might have sat on it a little during our trip to the South Shakes..."

I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Have you been within one meter of this package for more than thirty minutes?


... ...

Please wait here for the next available Witch Delivery™ Cleansing and Sterilization Drone to complete your ticket.

"Oh, well, this is our last job. We just wanted to drop this off and be on our way..."

Please wait here for the next available Witch Delivery™ Cleansing and Sterilization Drone to complete your ticket.

"Captain, the doors won't open..."

"Eh... computer? Er, what can I call you?"

You can call me Terry. How can I help you?

"Terry, the doors somehow got locked. Could you open those for us?

Please wait here for the next available Witch Delivery™ Cleansing and Sterilization Drone to complete your ticket.

"Captain, I don't like this..."

"Terry says we just need to wait..."

Commencing countdown to cleansing and sterilization. All customers and non-quarantined Witch Delivery™ team member contractors are recommended to leave the area within three blocks. 30. 29. 28.

"Captain we need to go. Ensign Filbert, do you copy? We need a 450 on the front door immediately."

"Filbert here, mam. A 450? We haven't..."


"Ok! You two take cover!"


"Get down, captain!"


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