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Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


The Remains
1499 words

I wake in a boneyard. Once a thriving metropolis, now hollow buildings reeking of death, gravestones for millions. My breath forms wispy clouds as I emerge, blink against harsh sunlight, hoist pack over shoulder. Time to hunt.

Nature has flourished since the Uprising; insects, birds, and rodents abound. But hungrier creatures lurk in the shadows. My pistol stays close.

Picking through the debris, I stumble on a dented can—beef stew. My mouth waters. I continue, stuffing my pack with any scraps I can find.

Exploring a ruined shop, I try to forget that day, the screams, the firebombs, my sister's hand snatched away, slickblack grabbing, dragging, watching her vanish, terrified. I squeeze my eyes shut, push it all away. That life is gone.

No tears, Evelyn. Survive. Scavenge. Back before nightfall. But I have no illusions—this necropolis will be my tomb, too. I survive alone, scratching at its bones. I turn, heading back to my shelter for another long night, distant howling the only sound.

I always avoided the city outskirts, but in my desperation I've ventured farther than ever. That's how I find it: a message, scrawled on a crumbling wall.

"Haven. Follow the river west."

My breath catches in my throat. Could it be? Others, surviving out here? A spark flickers back to life in me—a safe haven, a place of sanctuary, safety from the horrors of this world.

Touching the words, I decide. Not my tomb. I gather everything and set out west. Dusklight guides my path into the unknown.

Shadows stretch miles. My clothes stained and tattered, face gaunt, eyes wary. Every step away from the city I know—towards a better tomorrow.

I stumble across two figures in the wasteland. Hands fly to weapons, eyeing me with contempt. Weathered face, jagged scar; young, blonde, fearful eyes; Marcus and Ava.

"You from Haven?" Marcus rasps.

I shake my head. "Evelyn," I whisper, voice hoarse from disuse. "Saw the writing. Need sanctuary."

He nods. "That was us. Two hundred miles west, heard there's a settlement. A fortress. Might be our last chance."

A fortress. My instincts scream caution, but my heart yearns to connect. Can I trust them? I weigh the risks, consider my existence. What do I have to lose? Together, we stand a chance.

"Safety in numbers," Ava says.

I look between them, back at the city. No real choice.

"Alright," I say. "Let's find this Haven."


We march across the wasteland, three figures in a dead world. No sign of life but mutated rats. The relentless sun drinks our water. We ration, sleep fitfully, take shelter in an abandoned farmhouse. Glowing eyes watch us from broken windows.

We avoid forests and cliffsides brimming with beasts. A pack of feral dogs trails us until a blast from Ava's machine pistol scatters them. Marcus teaches us to fight, to plan, to strategize, to maneuver. Ava has a knack for detecting threats and resources. Slowly, I—we—begin to trust.

The terrain grows more rugged. We cross steep hills and raging rivers. Marcus's leg slows him, but he refuses aid: "Still got a few miles left in me."

Snow-capped peaks loom ahead. We march cautiously, weapons drawn. Black clouds on the horizon threaten a storm. We press on, desperate, through the snow, as howling wind stings our faces. Exhausted, yet we dare not stop. Darkness falls.

And then, the ambush.

Reptilian warriors burst from above, surge from crags. Their leader: a horrendous man-monster, his head a lance, his carapace spiked. He runs on knife-legs, eight limbs like a spider, his body black and beetle-slick, his red eyes slits of pure hatred. Impossible. Unbelievable.

I know him.

He roars—and they attack.

Chaos erupts. I fire my pistol—wildly—as claws slash and fangs descend. Ava screams. Marcus shoves her behind a boulder, shielding her with his body. Arrows glance off his makeshift armor as he returns fire.

A warrior lunges at me. I slash with my knife, feel hot black blood spray. Another topples me. I kick it away, scramble back.

"Evelyn!" Marcus yells. I sprint to him.

We're surrounded. The reptilians' howls echo off the mountainsides as they close in.

Marcus slams a new mag into his rifle. "This is it. We take down as many as we can."

Ava trembles. These two are all I have. They will not die alone.

Howling defiance, we charge the enemy. My pistol burns, arrows strike me, but I fight on. Ammunition dwindles, but we won't be swept away by this tide of death.

An earsplitting shriek. A green shape dives, sending warriors scattering. Beating wings create a blinding maelstrom. The reptilians flee, chased by a nightmare.

Adrenaline spent, I stumble, fall.

The creature alights on a mountain peak, gazing at us. We gape. Our savior is a chimera—an abomination of twisted genetic experiments, a viper-headed monstrosity with scaly hide and wings.

Marcus, first to find his voice: "" He bows.

The chimera dips its head, speaks in a voice of burning leaves: "I am Thorn. Your courage moves me. But you cannot prevail against Grimm alone."

Thorn helps bind our wounds. His wings curl gently around us, a protective shield.

"What is this Grimm?" I ask. Marcus scoffs, but I continue. "I...I've seen him before. In the Uprising. He took my sister."

Thorn's golden eyes fix on mine. "Grimm is a tool, crafted as the ultimate predator, pure destructive force, hunting anything that lives and breathes."

I shudder.

"I've fought his kind before," he murmurs. "Always they rise, and always fall—but there is no victory without cost. To survive, you must reach the fortress. I can lead you there."

Marcus frowns. "Why would you help us?"

Thorn blinks slowly. "I too am the last of my kind. Perhaps I see something of myself in you."

I glance at Marcus and Ava. This chimera—our salvation? Or our doom? But we have no choice. To survive, we must trust.

I inhale. "We accept your offer."

He inclines his head. "Then rest. We fly at dawn."

As exhaustion overtakes me—I hope.


Gathering our remaining supplies, we follow Thorn. His wings beat as he leads us through frozen fields and dead thorny forests. His powers ward off potential threats, but we keep a lookout for signs of hostile patrols. Slowly, we come to depend on our strange new ally.

As we near the stronghold, winged terrors harass us with shrieking fury. Thorn drives them off with gouts of flame, but again they return, relentless.

Tension stalks like a serpent through us. Even Thorn flinches at shadows. Around the campfire, he mutters, "This place was once verdant, a cradle of life and light. But now...."

Bloodied and weary, we crest the last hill, to find only horror: shattered walls, collapsed towers, bones and rusted rifles littering the grounds. Our last hope is lost.

"This is what we fought for?" Ava whispers.

I close my eyes, haunted by my family. "We may truly be the last people alive."

"Then we make our stand." Marcus's voice is blue steel. "For humanity."

Thorn regards us solemnly. "And I alongside you. Your resilience is a testament your species."

Hope lingers.

We set to work, setting traps, shoring up defenses. Marcus strategizes, gathers bows and daggers—our ammunition long exhausted—distributes them among us. His confidence makes this desolate place almost feel like home. Ava also helps, but I see her pain. Too much, for one so young.

I can't focus, either. Are we writing the final page of human history? The weight crushes.

Then, Thorn's claw on my shoulder: "Every moment is precious. Do not let fear steal them away."

Twilight. Marcus rallies us with a cry for humanity. Thorn blesses our vigil. We stare into the dark, ready to face destiny.

At nightfall, our enemy appears, a tide of scales and fangs. Grimm’s reptilian horde advances in an unstoppable wave, but we stand firm. Arrows fly, knives swing, flames rise—yet still they come.

Slashed, my side explodes in pain, then despair, cold and dark. I just make out Marcus and Ava, fighting for me, for everyone, frenzied, doomed. They kill many.

Not enough.

It sparks something in me. I stagger to my feet, to face Grimm. He towers above, mandibles clicking, longspear in each arm.

My last stand. I seize my fallen allies' weapons, fight with a ferocity born of desperation.

I fail.

I don't have Marcus's strength and skill. I don't have Ava's keen eye. I have nothing.

The monster rears up to deliver the killing blow.

Then, Thorn appears, blazing in brilliant light. Together, we make the final strike. My blade punctures the chitinous layers to reach his black heart.

"NO!" Grimm's dying scream echoes through the fortress. The remnants of his army scatter into the night.

Grimm, defeated, but at a terrible cost. Marcus and Ava, lost. Thorn, gone—sacrificed, in a blaze of glory? Withdrew, to observe for another eternity? I'll never know.

Alone. Tears run dry. Pack gathered.

World may be forever changed—but

And I walk.


Green Wing
Oct 28, 2013

It's the only word they know, but it's such a big word for a tiny creature

That's time, thanks for playing. Results from the court of the apes or something will come later.

Green Wing
Oct 28, 2013

It's the only word they know, but it's such a big word for a tiny creature

All the animals (the two of them) convened and have decided that the decision of the dome is found.

This was an interesting week - I was worried I'd chosen a very bad prompt, having only been here for three weeks, so was relieved when submissions actually came in.

FlippinPageman takes the win with "Mouths to Feed" - well done, and prompt please!

It was a tight one at the top in my view. Honourable mentions go to Thranguy with "Legacy Code" and Slightly Lions with "Treasure Hunting."

At the other end of the range this week, Fat Jesus will earn a Dishonourable Mention for "Rise of the Memecats".

And in last place The Cut of Your Jib takes the loss for "Blub"

Crits to follow, mine will come later today.

Green Wing
Oct 28, 2013

It's the only word they know, but it's such a big word for a tiny creature

Crits Week 574: drat Dirty Apes!

Either taking the piss or trying to do something clever and failing, my initial reaction was actually being quite annoyed that somebody would throw the week like this. The most generous of readings is that it is attempting to take on the cadence of speech, or that the author actually planned a story then ‘converted’ it, with the arrows indicating the tone of voice. It’s not a story, though. There is no plot, and I can’t even really say I ‘read’ it (though I did see if there was anything here if I tried). I couldn't 'complete' it despite it only being 777 words. Taking on that generous reading again, I think it also fails as an experimental art piece. It reads more like a bad joke, an entire of somebody who thinks that they're very smart "well *clearly* animals would have different language." Yes, very clever. Worst of the week by a large margin. The only advice I can give to improve is to tell a story, not do something that sounds clever as a one-line idea.

Rise of the Memecats
“I sometimes wonder if we’re in charge or the cats are!!” is the point I suppose, which made me groan when I realised that was the angle. This didn’t work for me. Paragraph and line breaks appear random with little regard to whether there’s a thematic or vocal shift. I felt like I understood, “ok, it’s a cat doing cat things” within the first paragraph and nothing developed from there. I found the memecat speak with occasional lashing out into profanity to be more embarrassing/adolescent than anything. No real narrative arc - also feels like there was an idea of "I think this is a funny idea" without a clear view of how to turn that into a story. The advice I would give is to sit down and consider whether somebody might actually read through and enjoy an entire story that does a deliberately obnoxious tone of voice, because I think you'll generally find the answer is no.

I quite liked bits of this one. I think octopodes were a good choice for this prompt, and the use of colour for communication was fun. Up until the first section break I thought this one might be a contender. But then, to me, it starts to plod a bit, and stops showing me anything new. After the initial "oh cool octopus royalty", I think it needed to be tighter. Possibly could have done with not using the whole word count? The ending lets you down. I strongly feel like the ending in flash fiction should illuminate something, that ‘a-ha’ moment that wraps it up and keeps you thinking. This just feels like ‘ok, more octopus kingdoms’ without any indication of why those new kingdoms would be interesting to me. I've already seen one octopus kingdom! The new one might be momentous to the characters, but you haven't shown me why it is for me.

Mouths to Feed
I was hooked on this one. Really quite like the number of mates attached to these fish’s bodies being a point of pride. I’m a sucker for having markedly different cultural touchstones like that, it captures that alien-ness that I hoped this prompt would get to. Humans in tanks! Humans in tanks, big fan, big fan. Did not expect that, did not expect mutual comprehensible communication between human and anglerfish, this story got its hooks in me about then. To me, this really showed that you understood the assignment rather than simply a post-apocalypse story or an animal story.

The different characterisations of the scout and her mate came through. I was uncertain about the all-caps speech at first but together with the lowercase italics, I'll take it. You used the extra word count but it didn’t feel clunky.

I will say that it lacks some of the lush scene-setting that I think I would have liked to see in an underwater trip and the all-caps speech towards the end risks overstaying its welcome.

The vampire squid is delightfully alien and threatening, though. The ending, noting that there is steel from the old world throughout the ocean floor, and the way this is worded, was a good wrap-up.

Out to Pasture
Enjoyed some of the talking through how the hell we ended up with cows rather than the more likely candidates, though increasingly as you continue too cutely conversational for my liking - like a BBC Radio 4 comedy that believes it’s more funny than it is. Like when you namecheck two pieces of media and waggle your eyebrows, or start talking about orcs. When you’re not doing this sort of thing, it’s better. One particular highlight was the cow that built his tower up and up and up and never came down, which was delightful.

Your dialogue, while there isn't much of it, is not as good. Kill the ellipses in your head.

Makes full use of the word count and shouldn’t have, and should have been more liberal in new of paragraph breaks to ease the strain of words. Felt a little like an intro to a story about cows, rather than a story about cows.

Treasure Hunting
I kept tossing up whether this one would win or not. An adventure! During the initial description of the city I was worried this would turn into a description-fest with little else, but was hooked once the Thing arrived. The chase felt tense, and you peppered it well with details of Gomi’s raccoon nature mixing with his sentience. There were a few sentences that slowed down this pace - for example “In that moment Gomi decided he’d had enough.” is a style of sentence I never like to see, it says nothing and adds nothing in my view. There are a few examples of this, needs a bit of a trim.

I think some of the world-building is less building and more *telling* us about the world, to the detriment of keeping us in the action. And again, you have written an *adventure*. Tell us about the world through the adventure, not as cutaways from it. Even so, I really liked this one because when you kept to the action, it was gripping and well-executed. Just no need to go “and now, some facts about this world told out of sequence.”

LOVED the ending. With reference to a comment I wrote on another story - I think that’s what the ending of very short fiction should do. It’s a punchline! A little chuckle, a recontextualising. Maybe it's just the furry in me, but I badly want to hear more about these delightful raccoons and their coffee shop. If this was just a little bit more efficient (or the phase of the moon was different, really was a toss-up) I think it would have won.

Legacy Code
This one was interesting, and I think I gave it an HM not because it was in line for the win necessarily but because it took the prompt in a non-obvious direction, and was the only submission that did. In fact, it took the prompt in *such* a different direction that I had to consider whether it was a DQ. I think I’d be being too hidebound by saying that it is, but it’s pushing it I think.

It doesn’t outstay its welcome, being a rather melancholy (if familiar) story about post-human existence, memories and immortality. I liked it, though I do think it spends this time building up its world and doesn’t go anywhere in particular with it. It’s a sketch of a place and a time - though the ending is well-executed enough that I think it can exist as a sketch. Where I think it falls down is that I don’t think it’s on-theme enough, and I also think it’s a little too much of a “guy thinks of doing something, decides not to” thing. It’s also jus such well-trodden ground that once memories were mentioned I felt like I could sketch out much of the rest of the story in my head from there.

Solid, efficient prose. Just the right length. Just needs a more interesting plot, I think.

The Remains
Generic post-apocalyptic stuff happens. Everybody is rugged and dirty and grim. I was bored, and you didn’t give me anything to excite or interest me. I wasn’t given any desire to care about what happened to these characters - your descriptions of the landscape, of the fall, of even the strange reptile creatures lacked colour.

But! It picks up once Thorn arrives, the chimera added something new. It picks up sufficiently here that I find myself wondering if everything preceding could have been cut down to a paragraph or two, and then allowing the story to focus on what's interesting (the humans working with the chimera) rather than the dull post-apocalypse. Don't worry so much about setting up how your story gets to the interesting bit, just get to the interesting bit. I think because you spent all that time plodding, the sacrifice at the end is unearned and didn't give me any kind of emotional reaction.

Green Wing fucked around with this message at 08:13 on Aug 8, 2023

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


Green Wing posted:

Crits Week 574: drat Dirty Apes!

Huh, maybe. Thanks!

Feb 24, 2023

Thunderdome Week #575: Trade Secrets

I've always been kind of fascinated with employee training videos. Aside from the unintentional hilarity, stuff that is not meant for people outside of an organization to see intrigues me. This week your challenge is to write a story that includes specific details of some occupation, real or imagined. What's it like to be food photographer? An interplanetary real estate lawyer? A roller coaster operator? A marriage counselor for dragons? Take us behind closed doors (literally if you want) and use as much industry jargon/knowledge as you can. Your story does not have to be in the style of a training video/manual, but I want to feel like I really understand whatever this role is by the end. Show me your Grill Skills!

You get 1000 words to start. Ask for a flash rule and I'll give you a random job and 500 extra words. No erotica, fanfiction, or political screeds.

Signup deadline is Friday, August 11 at Midnight EST.
Submission deadline is Sunday, August 13 at Midnight EST.

sephiRoth IRA
Chairchucker (Flash: Hot air balloonist)
Fuschia tude
derp (Flash: Snake wrangler)
Green Wing
Ouzo Maki
Thranguy (Flash: Cake decorator)
The Cut of Your Jib
Lord Windy


FlippinPageman fucked around with this message at 05:01 on Aug 12, 2023

sephiRoth IRA
Jun 13, 2007

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."

-Carl Sagan
I'm in!

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


Flash me please

Feb 24, 2023

Chairchucker posted:

Flash me please

Hot air balloonist.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004



Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy
In gimme a job

Green Wing
Oct 28, 2013

It's the only word they know, but it's such a big word for a tiny creature

In :toxx:

Ouzo Maki
Jul 4, 2023
I will play.

Feb 24, 2023

derp posted:

In gimme a job

Snake wrangler (basically this guy:

Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha


Fat Jesus
Jul 13, 2011

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome



Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
In and flash

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 24, 2007

you don't find a style

a style finds you

In but also

Week 575 Submission

Beginnings and Endings and Naming Conventions
998 Words

Grind. The swirl of heat made me doze. My fingers caught in the spool and if they weren’t already calloused to stone, it would have torn the flesh right off. But it brought me out of the daze and the damage was done.

Spike in the snakepit, where the main ropes ran the masts and the slack was enough, just enough, that a loop dropped to the ground, and when I woke, the tension snapped back. It caught his leg and flipped him upside down.

Well, most of him flipped upside down. I saw the blues and yellows of the rigging ropes running straight and parallel through the pulleys, order within the chaos of his fleshy mess. His leg crinkled like the jigsaw of a Ren and Stimpy bit.

Disassociate and do. Make a joke out of it.

Alastair was at the helm and abandoned post to wake the Skip. It was calm seas. Skeleton on deck. Rest for the rest. Skip was on the radio trying to raise the mainland. It seems like that’s not the first step, but it was. A heli would be hours out. SOS first, then untangle, unmangle.

I loosened all the winches I could. Three aside, two for each sail, I didn’t know what was what. Spike was still wrapped around the steel bars of his prison.

Alastair shouted, it wasn’t much. I subsumed Spike’s role, forewent the harness and just monkeyed my way out. Hell, forgot the actual spike to release the sail clips. Wind starts picking up. The rocking splash is in my face. I can already feel my knees bruising where they’re locked together.

Physics be damned. I wrested the carabiner out and around the mast ring, and the sail fluttered loose. Spike dropped in a clump, slack rope still heavy, piled on top of him.

The Skip and Alastair and the rest were gathered around now. Marla had the most first aid training, and was trying to splint his Greenstick femur even though there wasn’t really enough room in the pit and everybody was scared to move him.

I realized now that I was barely barrel of monkeying on the jib. There was still enough momentum that if I dropped, I’d be lost at sea. It might be for the best. Disappear from the disaster. Disappear from the world. No one would ever have to remember. Twenty knots and six feet under.

But I slimed my way back, and nobody really knew what happened. Alastair was as drowsy and bored as I was when “events occurred”.

The heli hovered and there’s no barrier to discourse when the medic dropped down a rope with his triage board and saw. The faces of the world meet and there’s a universal language. He just said “gently caress” in plain English.

Spike rolls up in Cape Town, and his cast seems too large for him as he bandies about in his wheel chair. It’s against doctor’s orders, but he’s had a pint or five. I sat on the quay sulking.

Skip mentions Good Hope in the morning, and he’s trying to cheer me up. He doesn’t know the half of it. But I say sure. We see ostriches and the van stops for an hour cuz baboons won’t get out of the road.

Fog rolls through the curly-cue of the cape like candy floss. The water is bluer than anything I’ve seen. It’s not just a round horn, there are inlets everywhere and the road snakes through the mountains in a pattern reminiscent of--hmm.

A hyrax comes right up to me and nibbles at my shoelaces. It’s maybe the cutest thing I’ve seen. The edge of the world is two hundred meters down, and it’s psychedelic in its primary colors.

This is Spike. We call him that cuz he spikes the cleats. He’s brave enough to shimmy out the jib and unlock the sail.

Skip had a heavy Irish accent.

Any of yall match his courage?

It was something hearing a y’all in that accent, maybe affected for us puddle jumpers. TIna called me out immediately when I landed in the Philly office for being a yinzer.

In for a penny, I shot my hand into the grey sky. We were in the Southampton port. I could see France on the misty horizon, just a short ferry away. Could probably swim it. Maybe I should have. I think about that every now and again.

I was strapped into the harness, upside down on the boom, out to clip the sail onto a steel ring that could fit around my neck. The yacht metronomed in the froth, the seas were already wild. Hanging there, knit cap skimming the water one second, then, thirty feet in the air. Pretty simple job to slap the carabiner around the ring and shimmy back. Nerves were the enemy. Once it locks though, under tension, you gotta use a hammer and a steel bar like a chisel to pop it back open. Spike.

It was a 72’ racing yacht. Built for speed. Hammocks instead of beds. Personal kit could max weigh a kilo. Most people brought chocolate and sunscreen, not quite enough to trip around the world. A hundred fifty days, give or take. Party in Boston, party in Cape Town, the rest was grind. Measure the tack to the wake. Two four seven.

Grind is literally grind. Crank winches / adjust sails. By the South Seas, Amber was stubborn and seasick. Relegated to the galley where the rocking wasn’t so bad, but the kettle still slid across the counter like bar shuffleboard. Her camera was already effed from salt spray. Not that there was anything to even see but the shimmer of sun on sea. But so much art lost. Mirages. Fake islands and fake mainland and fake restaurants, through the lens everything is fake.

Feb 24, 2023

Thranguy posted:

In and flash

Cake decorator

Fat Jesus
Jul 13, 2011

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


Thunderdome Week #575: Trade Secrets

Siege Defence for Beginners

1000 words

Well, look what the cat’s brought us. Scrapin’ the barrel, they are. Righto lad, now dry those tears would ye? It’s nay in keeping with a man at arms, for that’s what ye are now. Aye, aye, I know. I didn’t like it much meself when they shut the gates and kicked all the useless like me parents out the first time round, but that’s the way o’ the world. Looks we might be stuck here awhile, there bein’ ten thousand o’ them, and two hundred o’ us. But we’re lucky, ye see. Castles don’t need a lot o’ blokes, or there be nay point to ‘em, would there? Righto, let’s see, this should fit. Ye’ll be needing this helm, keep those boots, don’t seem to be nothin’ that fits ye. These gauntlets should work, never mind the blood. All a bit heavy is it? You can keep the bucket off for now. Watch out! There’s another one. Oh Christ that were close, I hate those bastards. Must have run out o’ rocks, now they’re catapultin’ the dead. We’ll burn that later, help throw it on the pile. Well, don’t just stand about.

Come along, the bastards are goin’ to try again, lets get up the battlements and I’ll show ye what’s to be done. Keep ye head down now, lest ye gain a bolt to the noggin. Righto, them blokes with the fire and cauldron, they heat up the sand, and they’ll give ye a bucket o’ it. And ye tip it.., Oh! They’re comin’ again now with their ladders, God bless ‘em. Bring it here, don’t burn yeself now. Watch it, don’t bump the bowmen for Christ’s sake. Look, look. Six of ‘em are comin’ up, give me that. Like so. See? Piece o’ piss. Isn’t it fun wearing mail when some bastard pours hot sand upon ye? Look at ‘em, rollin’ about like hogs, now watch our bowmen. Oh did ye see that? Jakov got one right up the arse. Well, they’re off. Just testin’ our mood they were. Come along, we’ll cast an eye about.
That bloke, don’t mess with him, he’s the captain. Should he tell ye to piss, ask where and how much, sayin’ please, sir. He’ll throw ye to the hooks on the wall if he thinks ye useless. Let me show ye that mess, it’s up top.
Oh Christ and the saints, ye don’t want to end up with them. Don’t know why he does it, scares us more than it does the Turks. Just givin’ ‘em ideas is what he’s doin’, and trust me, they don’t need any more. Now lad, try keep it off your boots. Wouldn’t be wastin’ me lunch in such circumstance, so ye best get used to such glorious sights. Come along. Would ye look at that? They’re bringing the ram. Here, drink this cider lad, I reckon we got an hour til the fun starts.

Righto, this here’s a halberd, let’s see ye. No lad, don’t chop with it, ye leave ye armpits open doin’ that. See it’s pike? Long and sharp, you thrust it and it goes through all but plate. The choppy thing, it’s if ye miss, ye drag it back high to ye, and try cut or drag the slimy bastard back, so ye mate can run him through. On the other end ‘o the blade is a sharpened hook, you can drag that back low and hook the poor sod’s Achilles tendon apart. Mind they don’t do same to ye, now. Line like thus, shoulder to shoulder, good. And thrust. No lad, not the bloke in front of ye, the one to ye left. The bloke on ye right will watch him. Block the bloke on the left’s polearm to ye right. Think ye can remember all that? Righto, let’s have a drink.
Quite the sight, is it not? It were lovely afore that lot showed. All bloody impaled townsfolk now. Ye should count yerself lucky, it’s as Sodom out there. Oh Christ don’t start again lad, the other blokes will see. We’re all scared, mate, nobody fancies a pole up the bumhole, so we’re goin’ to fight hard. Have another, we’ll be needin’ you in a fightin’ temper. That’s a lad, drink up.
The rams about here, bring ye halberd. Righto then, this is Jan, and that’s Vitomir, Jan’s a crossbowman and Vitomir helps him load, come here. This is your murder-hole. Ye jab the bastards through this slit as they come through the barbican to ram the gate. That shield there, keep it held up til Jan tells you to get busy killin’. Blokes up above are goin’ to unplug the water and flush the shithole on ‘em first. Righto then, watch for that, I’ll be back later.

Did ye have a good time, lad? Three of ‘em? Is that right, Jan? Well bugger me while the Lord looks on, ye be a man now. Well, they’ve pissed off again to point their arse at the Pope, or whatever the bastards do. Righto, come on, we’re wantin’ bolts and arrows, let’s sneak out and pull some from the dead ‘uns while they’re gone. Here, take this cavalry hammer.
Careful now, keep down. Twist ‘em out like this, try not break ‘em. That bugger’s still alive, hit him with ye hammer. Getting used to this, are we? Look, there’s another crawlin’ back to mother. That’s the way, lad, let it all out. Righto that should be enough, bloody gates closin’.
Let’s get back up the battlements and have us a gander, somethin’s going on. Ladders again, the whole bloody lot of ‘em! Put ye mail back on! Oh Jesus, they’re all gettin’ over, fall back and form a line! Righto, just keep ye eye to the man afore ye, don’t look to the lot of ‘em together, otherwise ye won’t go near ‘em. Farewell, lad, and remember, death’s painless and dyin’ aint always bad. Which way ye be havin’ it then?

Lord Windy
Mar 26, 2010
I am in

Feb 24, 2023

Signups are closed.

Ouzo Maki
Jul 4, 2023
Underwater Welding: Principles and Hazards


Date: August 27th, 2017


EXHIBIT 31: Audio Log Transcript - Merril Offshore Drilling Excursion #717, March 11th, 2013

Samuelson, Timothy - Welder Team Lead
O’Roark, John - Welder
Gonzalez, Tina - Surface Support Staff Lead
- - -
SAMUELSON: OK, Johnny Boy, how’s the nerves?

O’ROAK: Not too bad. Is visibility normally this good?

SAMUELSON: Nope, usually it’s clogged as hell. Must be some weather up top moving the currents around.

O’ROARK: I’ve only been in pools. It’s so cold here! [Laughs]

SAMUELSON: We all got to start somewhere. Go ahead and start slowing your descent, now. Nice and easy.

O’ROARK: Like that?

SAMUELSON: Yep. The leak is about twenty feet north once we reach the bottom. Touch down light, try not to kick a lot of poo poo up.


SAMUELSON: Good job. Go ahead and move up to that area with the lights. Don’t catch your lines on any [intelligible]. Watch out for sea life.

O’ROARK: Did you hear that?


O’ROARK: That grinding noise.

SAMUELSON: Probably just a line dragging on a strut. Anything tugging?

O’ROARK: No. It sounded bigger than that.

SAMUELSON: You’ll hear a lot of weird stuff down here. You get used to it. If nothing feels caught up, let’s keep going. If any of your gear starts to feel off though, you tell me quick.

O’ROARK: I will.

SAMUELSON: Tina, we’re down.

GONAZALEZ: Everything is looking fine up here, Tim.

O’ROARK: I’m there. I see the leak.

SAMUELSON: Yep, I see it too. Now this is going to work just like your standard stick weld up top. First, check your gas gauges, make sure Tina's not asleep at the wheel. [Laughs]

GONZALEZ: Don’t let Tim screw with you too much, John. We’ve got your back.


O’ROARK: [Laughs]

SAMUELSON: When you’re ready, go ahead and get your electrode in touch with the breach. You know where the knife switch is?

O’ROARK: It’s this one?

SAMUELSON: Glad you pay attention when I’m talking. That’ll let you switch out your stinger. Once you’ve made contact, let Tina know you’re ready.

O’ROARK: Tina, make it hot.

GONZALEZ: Making it hot.

SAMUELSON: OK, good. Just like in training. Open the knife switch. You see the bubble?

O’ROARK: Yeah.

SAMUELSON: You’re going to keep that bubble just like you’re doing. Don’t let it collapse on you.

O’ROARK: There’s a lot of gas coming off. Are there normally this many bubbles?

SAMUELSON: Don't get distracted. The only bubble you need to care about is the one on that weld. It's gonna keep your arc protected. As long as the gas isn’t getting trapped somewhere, we’re OK.

GONZALEZ: Still looking good, Tim.

SAMUELSON: -sunk a bit.

GONZALEZ: Tim, repeat?

SAMUELSON: I said, it looks like the ground’s sunk a bit. There’s a lot more space around the pipe compared to yesterday.

O’ROARK: Should I stop?

SAMUELSON: No, keep going. You're doing great. I’m going to check out that section of pipe over there, OK?


SAMUELSON: Tina, there’s been a bunch of movement here. drat, I think there’s another leak.

GONZALEZ: Yates says there was a bit of activity a few days back.

O’ROARK: Who’s Yates?

GONZALEZ: Geophysicist. You’ll meet him when he flies in on Friday.

SAMUELSON: There’s been more than a bit. This section of pipe looks to be under a lot of strain. I knew that moron… What the hell. Tina, make it cold.

GONZALEZ: Roger, making it cold.

O’ROARK: Is something wrong?

SAMUELSON: O’Roark, close the switch and come look at this.

O’ROARK: What’s doing that?

SAMUELSON: I have no goodly idea.

O’ROARK: Where’s it all going?

GONZALEZ: Tim? What’s going on?

SAMUELSON: There’s a sinkhole or something forming down here. Looks like the sand is draining away.

GONZALEZ: How big?

SAMUELSON: I don’t know. I think- Jesus. That scared the hell out of me.

GONZALEZ: What’s going on?

SAMUELSON: The ground is a bit soft here. Nearly fell.

GONZALEZ: Everyone OK?

O’ROARK: Look over there.

SAMUELSON: I see it. Gonzalez, call Yates, get him out today. He’s going to want to look at this. There’s another sinkhole nearby. This ground is unstable. O’Roark, get ready to ascend. I’m calling this one off.

O’ROARK: What’s that noise?

SAMUELSON: poo poo.

O’ROARK: The crack. Look at the crack.

SAMUELSON: Double time, O’Roark. Let’s get out of here. Back to the bell.

GONAZLEZ: Tim? John?

O’ROARK: Help. [Screams]

SAMUELSON: poo poo. poo poo.

GONZALEZ: Someone tell me what’s going on.

O’ROARK: Help. Help. Help me.

SAMUELSON: Grab my hand. Grab it.

O’ROARK: [Screams]

SAMUELSON: No. Gonzalez. I can't- Tina. The line. Help. Tina.

GONZALEZ: Tim. Tim, are you there? Tim, talk to me.

SAMUELSON: [Screams]

GONZALEZ: Oh, Jesus. Jesus.


Qualified transcription services provided by Scribewell Ltd. on behalf of Catherine O'Roark (Plaintiff) and Merril Offshore Drilling (Defendant).

Transcription by: Gloria Stein
Qualified Transcriptionist
Transcription License: RQ388910

I, Gloria Stein, hereby attest that this foregoing transcription is a true and accurate representation of the proceedings as recorded. I have reviewed the transcript for accuracy to the best of my ability.

Date: January 23rd, 2017

Slightly Lions
Apr 13, 2009

Look what I can do!
I will be helping out on the judging this week.

Green Wing
Oct 28, 2013

It's the only word they know, but it's such a big word for a tiny creature

851 words

Little Red Lamp

IF WARNING LAMP IS LIT: The operator, upon confirming aurally that growth is not abating or likely to abate in the enclosure, shall perform the following actions:

1. Depress the plunger and hold.
2. Wait.
3. Release the plunger when warning lamp extinguishes.

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

It was just the two of them in a room designed for one, and a somewhat modest person at that. Raz rather regretted bringing his fish supper to the orientation session, as it would be his colleague who would have to put up with the smell. Zaq’s mood, already seething, would suffer.

“That’s outrageous!” Zaq blurted out, waving the single page of instructions in one hand, his slender fingers threatening to crush it. “An essential role, they called it! ‘Impossible to automate’! You could train an ape to do this!”

“Dignity, please,” Raz said around a mouthful of barbel, gesturing at Zaq with a little wooden fork. “You know if the boss could have automated it, he would’ve done. It really is an essential part of our work.”

Zaq slumped in the institutional chair he would be graced with for this post, mouthing something obscene and potentially seditious to the side wall. Metal wheels scraped across the crystal floor, friction sending up sparks and licks of green flame. In the cramped surroundings, his knees stroked against Raz’s, and the two of them awkwardly looked off to the side, taking a renewed interest in each individual muon set into the starfield-pattern table.

“It feels like I’m being punished for wanting my job back. Or set up to fail. There must be something more comprehensive than this rubbish.”

“That rubbish took an age to write.” Raz scooped up more of his meal, keeping his eyes down on the schools of fish coalescing into solid, cooked flesh on the infinite lake shore around his chips. “I was on the committee that wrote it, do you know just how agitated the boss can get about the difference between ‘will’ and ‘shall’?”

Zaq shot him a look, then reached over and snapped close the takeaway box. Both it and its contents blinked out of existence in a shattering explosion: fish, chips, miniature lakes and mountains all collapsing into nothing. The space between the two filled with tiny flashes of atomic fire.

“Rude.” Bereft of his meal, Raz pouted and waved a hand to dismiss the lingering ozone scent. “Anyway, it’s not a punishment. And there really isn’t any need for the manual to be any longer.” He reached into a gaping wound in the tabletop and brought forth a thrashing carp, twisting it around his hands like a balloon as he spoke, eyes locked on his underling.

“The point of the system is that we don’t have to go down and speak to the poor wretches and make a judgment. The system does that for us, but only we can bring the curtain down.” The carp took on a glassy quality until it formed an identical takeaway container, this time as though carved from obsidian, full to the brim with spiced fish and chunky chips. “If you think it lacks gravitas, call the plunger a trumpet. Have a little fun with it.”

Raz set the fresh meal on the table as a peace offering, though it went unacknowledged. Slumped in defeat, Zaq turned towards the infinite compartments set against the wall, each one topped by a dull red glow ready to burst into flame.

“I’ll leave you to your work,” Raz said cheerily, beginning to phase out of the room. “It looks like you have your first customer. And do try the food, there’s plenty of it!”

A red beacon was flickering to life above one of the compartments, demanding Zaq’s attention. Shooting daggers at Raziel’s coy smile as he disappeared, the younger Watcher drew the container towards him, the stars within growing to fill his field of vision. He placed his ear to the translucent barrier, and the cries of a million trillion souls rose through the twisted thicket of folded space-time between the universe and the world of the angels. With each passing moment the cries grew more numerous, growth unending. A clear requirement for action.

“Goodness, I wonder if I can remember what the ops manual told me to do,” muttered Zaq bitterly, tapping on the divide with a finger to dissuade one of the more errant galaxies inside from colliding with the universal limit.

Depressing the plunger set above the compartment, the angel named Zaqiel barely glanced towards the countless stars in countless galaxies, instead turning his attention to the gift of a fish supper left for him. The sentients within the doomed creation would have subjective millennia to see their universe collapse in on itself, and yet in all that time would be incapable of perceiving what lay beyond.

And yet, if by some freak accident of circumstance one of them were to pierce the veil, they would see neither malice nor disdain in their deliverance, but the crushing boredom of one waiting for a little red lamp to go out.

Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy


derp fucked around with this message at 01:00 on Dec 15, 2023

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
My Gun Shoots Fondant

782 words

It's an old story. Little town on the edge of civilization in a state of disorder. A stranger with a dark past rides in to set things right with violence, defending an society he can't ever enjoy. Classic western, and I was the gunslinger.

It was a wedding job, of course. Another old story. Two families alike in dignity, which is to say neither one had a crumb of it. Teenagers in love across enemy lines. Some of the elders wanted to use the wedding to bury hatchets. But there's always a few hot-heads running around.

I had samples ready when I got there. White, yellow, chocolate, velvet, even a carrot cake that nobody ever picks. And that was the first trouble. While the bride and groom were tasting and debating, in walks Cliff, the bride's older brother, and straight up decks William, the Best Man. A good solid right hook right on the chin, only a little weak from the hack that William had about half a foot on Cliff. Will takes it and puts his face back together with a smile. "Outside, " says the mother of the bride, and they oblige.

I know a good dentist. Natural alliance and all, tooth doctor and sweets seller. Darla makes house calls when the money is right, and she's the reason why either of those boys could show a smile in the wedding pictures.

So after half a day talking around it they go for a three tier white wedding cake and a one layer chocolate groom's cake, just like just about everyone else. Some interesting decorations at least. I made sketches and they signed off on them.

I had a week to work, which should have been more that I needed. Rented out a kitchen and hired some local talent to help, a couple of young men not part of either side of the feud. Or at least I thought. Caught Little Bagger trying to substitute laxative in the grooms cake and gave him the boot. I don't know if he was paid off or just hated both families. Not my business, but it meant I had to finish up short-staffed.

I wasn't at the wedding itself, but they had it live-streamed at the reception hall for the overflow audience, and we has a screen in the prep area. So we got to take in the drama.

You know that the whole "speak now or forever hold your peace" part is optional? You really don't have to do that. But this officiant either didn't know that or else he just wanted to see what would happen. Probably the latter. I could see a little anticipatory gleam in his eye as he said it. And someone sure did speak up. Four someones in fact. The bride's little brother about years of grade school bullying from the groom. The groom's big brother about the time the bride stole and wrecked his minivan. And each of them had an ex in the crowd who swore up and down that they were the one true love who ought to be walking down that aisle. Which was more of a mess since the two of them were engaged to each other right up to that point. There was a lot of shouting, and people were standing up and getting ready for a full-on brawl until the flower girl and ring bearer both screamed and started to cry right there in the aisle. Nobody wanted to fight bad enough to cross a crying eight year old girl to do it, so things settled down.

I made an audible, put my team into overdrive before the wedding party reached the hall.

The bride and groom were late. The rest of the party got there and started in on the open bar and whatever the caterers had going. An hour in they were getting rowdy. The DJ had her playlist set, which was just about the worst wedding playlist you can imagine. Yes,  Sting was there. Yes, both the Chicken Dance and the Macarena. The Thong Song. But it was Ballroom Blitz that set off the fight. William slammed right into Cliff like a defensive lineman, and it escalated from there.

One of the teens slammed the Bride's grandmother right into the main cake. To be fair, she had it coming. She fought dirty. But that was the exact moment the Bride and Groom came in, his pants on backwards and her dress clearly miss-buttoned.

I texted the mother of the bride. She texted me back. Five times the original fee, of course. And my people rolled in the backup cake.

Darla caught the bouquet, along with six emergency appointments.

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


Stay Inside the Basket 1252 words

The important thing to remember about hot air ballooning, is that you are going to be stuck in that basket with these people for like, thirty minutes to an hour. You’re in demand, if the person you’re talking to seems like a grade a dingus, you should absolutely feel free to just tell them, ‘Oh sorry, looks like we’re all booked out for the next…’ and then pick a time frame that will be outside what they’re willing to wait.

This guy seemed fine on the phone but, spoilers, dingus. I usually like taking couples up, because I’m not yet old and bitter enough to resent people who have managed to find each other, and instead find it kinda cute.

I did not find his half of this equation cute.

“Wait, I thought it would just be the two of us,” he said.

This was a reaction to the news that I, the owner and pilot of the balloon they’d chartered, would be piloting said balloon. He’d taken me aside to have a quiet word. “You need a pilot,” I told him.

“Right,” he said, “well I’ve done some ballooning before, couldn’t I just take it up myself, and save myself some money on hiring a pilot?”

“No,” I said, “if I was even willing to entertain the idea of someone else piloting my balloon, I would need them to pay for the full price of the balloon itself, up front, in case of the extremely high likelihood of them crashing it into a mountain and being too dead to pay for it afterwards.”

I’d tried to make it seem ridiculous, but he was seriously thinking about it, like it was an actual option. “How much would that cost?”

I told him how much my balloon cost. Not that this was an option. He asked me to repeat myself, and I did.

“Huh,” he said, then, “but I wanted this to be a romantic getaway.”

“It will be very romantic,” I said. “The views from up there are breathtaking. I’ll do my best not to intrude unless I need to, to ensure safety procedures are adhered to.”

“Yeah, I don’t know,” he said. “I guess I was kind of hoping that we might…”

He didn’t finish the sentence, just left it hanging there, so it took me a moment. Oh, gross. And the cleaning fees would be hell. “Well, I will definitely ask that you don’t do that.”

“Fine,” he said, in a tone of voice that made it seem like he’d half hoped I’d say that it was totally fine for him to use my balloon to join the mile high club, people did that all the time, and I would even be happy to take some tasteful pictures for posterity.

That awkwardness over with, he went back to his girlfriend, and I went back to prepping the balloon. There wasn’t much to do, I mostly wanted an excuse to be done with that conversation.

Preps all done, tanks all full, mooring ropes secure but not so secure that I couldn’t immediately launch, I summoned my would-be lovebirds and went over the important safety details. Stay inside the basket, yes, I know there’s safety netting there, that’s for emergencies not for you to climb on, if you lose any items over the edge, you’ve already signed a waiver saying that’s your own fault.

And we were boarded, and away.

The dirty secret of hot air ballooning is that most of the navigation is done by computer. Sure, I can override it if needed, but I mostly just tell the app, ‘Go west’, and it goes west. Or I give it coordinates: latitude, longitude, even elevation, and away it goes.

Of course, it’s not yet sophisticated enough to know when those coordinates are inside a mountain, which is part of why I’m not particularly interested in handing someone else the controls. That and, well, it’s mine. You can’t fly my balloon.

Once we were in the air, I thought maybe everything would be fine, and for a while it was. They peered over the edge of the basket oohing and aahing at the scenery, occasionally they asked me if we could go in a certain direction so that they could have a closer look at a river or some trees or a windmill, and I was happy to oblige.

At a prearranged time, I produced a bottle of wine, showed it to him and raised an enquiring eyebrow. He nodded, and I poured each of them a glass then returned to the other side of the basket.

I’d mostly been tuning out their conversation and trying to let them have their privacy, as much as is possible when the three of us were in a small basket, but I couldn’t help but hear her exclamation.

“What are you doing?”

I glanced over, and what he was doing was getting down on one knee.

And, I get it. It’s a romantic getaway, fantastic views, exactly the kind of views that might make for a good story, if both of them were on the same page.

“I told you I wasn’t ready yet!” she said.

Oh no, dude. “But I thought,” he said, “I thought if it was special and magical, you’d see how much you mean to me!”

“If I meant that much to you, you’d listen to me when I say I’m not ready!”

I was trying super hard to make it obvious how interested I was in checking that all the ropes from the balloon to the basket were, like, super secure. Just, unbelievably well tied. But I was also kind of paying attention because this was some spicy drama, I’d not had a failed proposal in my balloon before and honestly, especially given the conversation I’d had with this dude earlier, I was thoroughly enjoying it.

“Will you just,” and he pulled the box out of his pocket and opened it up, “will you just have a look at the ring?”

“I told you,” she said, “I wanted to be involved in picking anything that I’d be wearing for the rest of my life.” And she grabbed the box from him, and cocked her arm back, and I turned, and I don’t know what I even thought I was going to say, but I didn’t get the chance because it was already out of her hand and flying through the air. It bounced off the netting at a weird angle, then tumbled from sight.

There was an uncomfortable silence. “Sir, would you like to…”

“Take us down,” he said.

I nodded. The trip down was a lot quieter and less fun. Neither of them were talking to each other, and I didn’t want to be the one to break the ice. I landed us back where we’d started, and started tying up the balloon. She waited in the car while he came over to me to settle up. I didn’t give the usual ‘I hope you enjoyed flying with us’ spiel. However, I did scribble some numbers on a piece of paper and hand it to him.

He raised an eyebrow. “Is this your number?”

I shook my head. He really was the worst. “No, it’s the coordinates.”


I shrugged. “That’s where we were when…” and I made a kind of gesture, and he nodded.

“I doubt I’ll find it, but thanks.”

I shrugged again, and he turned, got into his car, and drove off.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


How to Surf the Multiverse
999 Words

Step right up, folks! Welcome to the marvelous multiverse with me, Jules Hartley, your trusty tour guide!

Doing this may seem dangerous, but fear not. Whenever I've needed to think on my feet, it's turned out well, like the time I calmed a raging forest with compliments. I am your galactic encyclopedia, sharing my expertise on interdimensional etiquette and temporal anomalies. And regardless of the situation, I remain calm—even in the face of temporal anomalies and probability portals. I'd sooner flare my wings by a black hole than let you see me sweat.

Or, take my most recent voyage. One passenger, Rob Baxter, dripping with arrogance, demanded we visit a reality deemed off-limits due to temporal instability.

"Rob, my friend," I said, "that reality is a minefield of antichronological chaos! One misstep and time folds in on itself, the paradoxes flip you inside out before you even realize you have a headache."

But Rob's stubborn as a transdimensional mulesnail. Against my better judgment, I relented.

"Buckle your hats, folks," I announced, "because we're diving headfirst into the unknown!"

And dive we did! We stumbled right into an all-out war between two factions of our very own doppelgängers. Yes, you heard right—us against us! It was like gazing into a funhouse mirror filled with strife, laser rays blasting.

Rob's lookalike, Robulon, led the purple-clad rebels, and mine—Jules-Omega Harlowe—led the orange-suited loyalists. The rebels wanted to preserve their timeline; the loyalists sought to tear it apart.

"Greetings!" I hailed, wearing my trademark disarming smile. "I'm Jules Hartley, Interdimensional Tour Guide. We took a wrong turn; if you can point us to the nearest trans-reality express lane, we'll be on our way!"

Jules-Omega glared. "Fool! Now you'll never leave!" He said, and aimed his plasma cannon directly at us.

But Jules Hartley doesn't back down. I've navigated through realities where time flows backwards and gravity doesn't exist. A quick hail and two of our doubles, Julian and Robbie, offered to escort us; others, like the gentle yet mysterious Bobby, asked to hop aboard. But I soon realized they were leading us the wrong way: into, not out of, this twisted aetherworld.

As the spacetimeship descended into the war-torn reality, I fretted, studying the conflict, every detail and nuance, mind racing, trying to anticipate our counterparts' reactions. Then I hailed our doppelgängers to negotiate in person.

I tried to find common ground, and I was making good progress, too. Then it all fell apart.

Turns out Bobby held a dark secret. He'd been feeding the loyalists information behind our backs, reigniting the conflict we'd worked so hard to extinguish. The fragile peace shattered like a pane of glasstic as both sides exchanged phaser fire and electron torpedoes. The rebels were being wiped out.

Enter Roberto, wildcard among the doppelgängers. With a carefree grin, he revealed a weakness in the weft of this reality—small tears, fractalizations caused by all the interdimensional travel. The very fabric of the universe, ripe for manipulation! Oh, what a tantalizing notion—exploit the instability, forge a temporary ceasefire, and slip away in the calm!

Seeing no alternative, I took the plunge. But instead of salvation, my actions created ruination: a rift in time, cascading outward, rippling through the multiverse, chewing at the edges of reality itself. If I didn't think fast, I and everyone everywhen would be lost to the howling maw of a chronicular vortex!

I was alone, floating in the vast emptiness between realities. The swirling rift I had opened yawned behind me. My short-lived friends, all perished. All but me. Doubt crept in. One figured loomed above everything: Jules-Omega, the yin to my yang.

I steeled myself, knowing that I was all that stood between Omega and complete domination. Gotta find an angle, rally the troops—what was left of them.

No time to waste. I jetted through the space between spaces, landing in a pocket dimension I'd picked for our rendezvous point. Whew, they were still there.

"Time to change tactics!" I outlined a dangerous plan. "Understanding myself—strengths and weaknesses—is the key to beating Omega." They nodded, ready.

We flew back to Omega's base, where he waited, smug. But now I had an ace up my sleeve: I knew myself.

"Round two?" I quipped, bravado to mask my nerves. "Let's end this."

"Who better to challenge me than myself?" Jules-Omega growled, teeth bared.

My fighters engaged his, leaving the two of us to square off. My knowledge of multireality gave me an edge; I outplayed him with wiles and words.

"Remember when we first discovered our ability to navigate realities?" I taunted, using a shared memory against him. "We fumbled around in the dark, but look at us now."

"Ah, nostalgia." Jules-Omega scowled. "But I've learned so much since then. You're no match for me."

Our verbal clash grew more intense. But this was my only chance to bring peace and freedom from this intercosmic chaos.

Rob watched, wide-eyed, at the display of mental acuity and cunning, a side of me he'd never seen.

"Face it, Omega," I declared. "You may have my memories, but you don't have my heart. And that's the difference."

Jules-Omega conceded defeat, outmatched by my own will. But my triumph came at a heavy price.

"This is a new dawn," I announced over the vidscrewer. "We will restore harmony to all our 'verses."

Rob and I emerged from the multiverse, the same yet different. "We've been through something unimaginable," I said.

Rob nodded, and in his gaze I saw he finally understood the power of choice in navigating alternate realities. "Don't I know it," he said solemnly.

Maybe he even meant it.

So, dear traveler, are you ready to embark on an adventure like no other? Join us, if you dare, as we explore the boundless realms of the cosmic frontier, where reality bends and twists, and the extraordinary lies around every turn. The multiverse beckons. Don't keep them waiting.

Feb 24, 2023

Submissions are CLOSED. Judgements to come.

Feb 24, 2023

Week 575 Results:
The higherups at Bloodthrone LLC have completed their evaluations and issued the following judgements.

This week's win goes to derp for "anti," a compelling character study of a figuratively and literally toxic snake-obsessive that felt sickeningly real. You've got moxie, kid! The corner exsanguination chamber is yours.

Honorable mentions to FatJesus for "Siege Defence for Beginners," Thranguy for "My Gun Shoots Fondant," and GreenWing for "Little Red Lamp," all of which featured memorable voices and creative takes on the prompt.

DM to Chairchucker for "Stay Inside the Basket" and a loss to Fuschia tude for "How to Surf the Multiverse." I guess it's my own fault for accepting these late but I still think you could have done better.

A thorough chewing out for no-shows sephiRothIRA, QuoProQuid, and Lord Windy. Get OUT of my OFFICE!

Thanks to everyone who submitted, and to SlightyLions for co-judging. My crits will hopefully be up before this Thursday.

Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy
:siren: Week 576 Travel and Travel :siren:

They say a good way to travel is to read a good book, but why not do that while actually traveling?

For this week when you sign up you will get a random city and your story will take place in that city. It can be at any point in history or in the future, but do try to capture some essence of the city. Most likely you will not have ever been there, google street view and wikipedia are great tools for writing!

You'll also get a not so random book which will probably be one of my favorites. You obviously don't have to read the book, look at a synopsis somewhere, or just the description on amazon, or even just the title, whatever inspires you.

Combine these two things and give me a story of 1500 words max.

usual rules apply, signup deadline friday night PST, entry deadline sunday night PST

this week there will be no negative mentions. if you really want to figure out which story i liked the least, you'll have to surmise it from the crits.


Ouzo Maki
The Cut of Your Jib
Toaster Beef
beep-beep car is go
Chernobyl Princess
Fat Jesus
green wing
Slightly Lions

derp fucked around with this message at 02:01 on Aug 19, 2023

Oct 6, 2021

Obliteratin' everything,
incineratin' and renegade 'em
I'm here to make anybody who
want it with the pen afraid
But don't nobody want it but
they're gonna get it anyway!


Ouzo Maki
Jul 4, 2023
Yeah, ok, in

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 24, 2007

you don't find a style

a style finds you


Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

city: Stockholm Sweden
book: an episode in the life of a landscape painter, by Cesar Aira

Ouzo Maki posted:

Yeah, ok, in

city: Seattle Washington
book: The Peregrine, by J.A. Baker

City: Istanbul, Turkey
book: The Rings of Saturn, by W.G. Sebald

Toaster Beef
Jan 23, 2007

that's not nature's way

Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

City: Toronto, Canada
book: The Blind Owl, by Sadegh Hedayat

beep-beep car is go
Apr 11, 2005

I can just eyeball this, right?



Chernobyl Princess
Jul 31, 2009

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

:siren:thunderdome winner:siren:


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