I'll take a stab at this. I think I'm in before the extended deadline.
|# ? Aug 29, 2012 15:53|
|# ? Jun 20, 2019 19:15|
New question: I want to include a line break to indicate passage of time. Does that count as a word, or several words, or whatever?
|# ? Aug 29, 2012 16:19|
New question: I want to include a line break to indicate passage of time. Does that count as a word, or several words, or whatever?
|# ? Aug 29, 2012 18:55|
“I hosed your wife.” Waverly didn’t bother looking away from the window.
“What? What was that?” His partner, Rollins, looked up from the bunk.
“I said, ‘I hosed your wife’. I hosed her before we left. It was at that party, the one where Thompson broke that glass table when he was shitfaced. We were in one of the bedrooms while you were passed out.” Waverly drank some water as Rollins stared in disbelief.
The solar storm had been raging for three days. It was completely unexpected and communication with Houston had ceased when a coronal mass ejection had rendered both the on-board and erectable S-band antennas inoperable. This left the two men in silence until the command module carrying the third member of their crew, Herrera, came back around from the dark side of the moon and they could communicate via VHF.
“What in the hell, Ben? You had sex with Emily?” Rollins was on his feet.
“Yeah, Chris, I did. And you know what? It was really loving good. She told me it was the best she had in years.” Waverly had actually been screwing Rollins’ wife for six months.
Rollins shoved Waverly against the wall. A brief scuffle ensued, both men punching and grappling as much as they could in the confined space when Herrera’s voice sounded over the comm.
“-ear me? Hello? You guys there? I… -orm’s interfering-“ The message was breaking up every few seconds, but it did cause both men to cease fighting immediately.
Rollins, breathing heavily, managed to calm himself for a response, but not before getting one last jab in at Waverly.
“This isn’t finished, Chris. We’re not loving done with this.” Rollins pressed the transmit button. “Tony, we’re here. When in the hell is this storm going to let up?”
It took a half hour of frustrating, static-laden conversation, but Herrera managed to convey that the storm would let up in a few hours, and Houston wanted the mission to continue as normal.
When the solar storm finally ceased, Waverly and Rollins set out to complete the mission. They brought out the rover and drove out across the desolate surface. The goal of the mission was to set up a sort of relay across the moon; later missions would include a trip to the dark side to set up a radio antenna that would allow NASA to broadcast without interference from earth-based radio signals.
“OK, make a slight left here.” Waverly was consulting the selenographic map, directing Rollins to the site where they would construct the relay.
“I know, Chris. gently caress off.”
“I’m just following the mission orders, Ben, okay? Listen, I’m sorry you’re so sensitive about this poo poo, it was just physical-“
“Shut up. Shut your loving mouth. I don’t want to hear any of this. When we get back to earth, I don’t want to see your face again.”
It took close to two hours of driving to reach the site. Rollins parked the rover and Waverly started to unload the relay equipment. As Waverly was distracted, Rollins went to the rear of the lander, grabbed a series of wires leading the EVA communications antenna, and ripped them out.
“Chris, are you getting any communication with Herrera? My mic seems to be broken.”
“Tony, this is Chris. Tony, can you hear me? Tony?” Waverly fiddled with his suit for a moment. “Nope, no comms. We’ll be able to figure this out when we get back, let’s just get this poo poo set up.”
As Waverly bent down to attach the cabling to the relay, Rollins gripped the rock he had taken from the lunar surface. With all the force he could muster, slammed the rock into the side of Waverly’s helmet. Due to the significantly lower gravity, however, not much damage was done.
“What the gently caress, man?” Waverly shouted over the mic. “What are you doing?”
“I’m going to kill you, motherfucker!” Rollins screamed, raising the rock again. Waverly jumped, sailing up and away from Rollins. Rollins pursued, resulting in the two men performing a ballet of sorts, dancing across the thin dust of the moon. With a growl, Rollins finally snatched one of the hoses on Waverly’s suit and they both floated to the ground.
Rollins grunted with exertion, trying to unlatch Waverly’s helmet or yank out his oxygen, but Rollins’ gloved fingers did not have the dexterity. Waverly pushed Rollins off and kicked him towards a nearby crater. Rollins managed to stop himself before rolling into the shadow of the crater, where the temperature was deadly cold. Reaching the drivers seat of the rover, Waverly looked back towards Rollins, still fifty yards away and scrambling to his feet. Rollins screamed again, an animalistic expulsion of all his rage over the mic as Waverly turned the rover on, and started to drive away.
“Don’t worry Rollins! I’ll make sure Emily has a shoulder to cry on!” Waverly watched as Rollins dropped to his knees, still screaming. Eventually Waverly was far enough away that Rollins equipment could no longer broadcast. Waverly grinned.
Waverly climbed back up into the lunar module. Pausing a moment, he accelerated his breathing, hyperventilating to appear out of breath. He hit the transmit button.
“Herrera? Herrera! Tony, get the gently caress on the comm!”
“Chris? What’s wrong? You sound loving scared, man!”
“Ben took his drat helmet off! I don’t know, he just took it off!”
“What the gently caress are you talking about? What do you mean he took his helmet off?”
“He said something about being done, and then just took it off! He’s dead, Tony! He’s loving dead!”
“Jesus Christ, Chris, where’s his body?”
“I couldn’t bring it back, he fell into a crater! What should I do?”
“Let me call Houston.”
The lunar module’s rockets ignited. As regrettable as it was, there was nothing Waverly could have done. Houston advised that Waverly just come home.
Rollins stared at the lifting rocket. He screamed, and kept screaming until his oxygen ran out.
|# ? Aug 29, 2012 19:11|
The deadline to enter has passed. Those of you competing must have entries in by Sunday 7PM EST. I hope you're all hunched over your keyboards feverishly typing away.
|# ? Aug 29, 2012 21:14|
“They left me, they really just bloody well left me”.
When it was discovered that the 3.1 billion year prediction for Triton crashing into Neptune was wrong they packed their poo poo up, all 12 billion of them, and pissed off. But one was left behind. He was late for the arc, as he was stuck in the bathroom. Because he was having a wank.
“Typical”, thought Bataar Umbrechtson, the last man left on Triton, “First they cancelled Firefly and now this”.
From the porthole in Bataars appartment you could see the end of existance. As the competing atmospheres of the two celestials tore at each other great seismic twicthes rumbled across the land to the beat of exploding realities.
Resigned to his fate Bataar decided on the only viable course of action left open to him. Back in the bathroom. With the digimag 40k set to bouncy mode, his favourite bottle of extra oily rubbing lotion ready to go and a handy box of tissues on standby, he began his final meditation on life.
“My darling”, screached something. Shocked out of his skull Bataar did nothing hoping it would go away. It didn't.
“My darling, are you there?”. With cold sweat dripping from his forehead he turned around. An etherial figure loomed before him.
“Husband, what are you doing?”.
Bataars jaw fell low and there it stayed, quivering. Something formed in the back of his throat. Sore. Throbbing. Stuck.
“But I'm not married”, every syllable was agony.
“What, really? gently caress”. The spectre placed her hands on her hips and gave a little puff.
“Boris Yakanov?”, she asked the man.
“My useless no good husband. Boris Yakanov. Have you seen him?”.
“Oh, you mean the old guy with the limp? I think he lives across the hall from me”, he told her with a clearer throat. She went on her way but Bataar shouted out,
“You wont find him there though. He left with everybody else. It's just me now”. The ghost stopped in her tracks and her shoulders fell down in defeat.
“Fuuuuuckkkk”, she moaned then turned back towards the man.
“Whens he coming back then?”.
“I don't think anyone is coming back. Both Triton and Neptune are about to be destroyed in a cataclysmic event so I doubt they'd have anything to come back to”.
“This is just so loving typical of my life. I finally get the chance to come back from the afterlife to taunt my stupid husband and now I find the moons about to explode and the smarmy twat isn't anywhere to be seen”.
Then the bathroom door burst open with the power of a mighty boot against its side. One boot entered. Then another.
“Bataar!”, someone familiar sounding shouted, “Bataar we must leave”.
“I'm saved”, thought Bataar who ran up to meet his saviour. But what he saw instead was none other than himself.
“What the gently caress is this?”, he shouted. The leather clad version of Bataar ignored the question.
“I'm your clone”, he yelled at him for no real good reason, “Or maybe you are my clone. I haven't really worked that one out yet. But the thing is one of us is certainly a clone of the other. Or another one of us. Or a sheep. It doesn't really matter OK. The fact of the matter is I have escaped the governments secret laboratory and we must act quickly to destroy it”.
“Why?”, asked the first Bataar.
“Why? Because they will continue to make clones of us if we don't act now”.
“The world is about to end. Why the gently caress do I care about any of this?”.
“Wait, the world is about to end?”.
“Apparently Triton is about to collide with Neptune and everyone but the two of you have been evacuated”, piped in the ghost.
“Why the hell didn't either of us get evacuated?”, yelled the second Bataar.
“I think I know why this one didn't and if you are clones in more ways than one then I know why you didn't get evacuated either”.
“Oh this is just loving typical”, whinged the clone, “first I wake up in a laboratory with no memories and now this. If I knew this was going to happen then I would've come here a week ago when I first figured it all out”.
“Tell me about it”, the ghost groaned.
“Look, would the both of you just shut the gently caress up. I probably have five minutes left to live before I'm painfuly and ruthlessly atomised and become part of an asteroid belt so I wouldn't mind the oppurtunity to perhaps enjoy my final moments alive. Yes, it involves me having a wank. But is that really a loving problem? Really?
“I don't give a gently caress about your husband, I don't give a gently caress about your unlife, I don't give a gently caress about you being a clone, or about how the government has been trying to kill you or about anything related to you in any way shape or form. The only loving thing I'm interested in right now is playing with my penis until I ejaculate. Alright?”
“Alright”, whimpered the two uninvited guests.
Then an alien burst into the room.
“What the gently caress?”
“Bataar, you are the chosen one. Our Triton civilisation has been sleeping for several aeons, we need you to awaken it”, it communicated.
“Yeah, well its a bit loving late for that, dickwad”. The alien looked confused.
“Typical. First me and my civilisation get frozen in time and now this”, sulked the alien as it left the room.
“Right, now am I going to be the one who suggests we make weird incest, gay clone love or are you?”
|# ? Aug 30, 2012 01:02|
The next three stories must start with the word "Suicide".
|# ? Aug 30, 2012 10:59|
Week IV posted:
sebmojo, HiddenGecko, and Erik Shawn-Bohner running wild around here with me out of the judges seat.
|# ? Aug 30, 2012 13:08|
Suicide was always an option. It beats being humiliated. Randy looked at himself in a wall mirror, his bloodied katana in his left hand. The only sound was the low, steady drone of his mining rig’s CPU fan behind him. This was it. His one and only chance to get a girlfriend. Kill or be killed. If he beat Darryl, he would get to make love to Cassandra that night, if not... well, it was best not to think about it. He would be gone. Dead. He would cease to exist. No more Randy. Darryl would get Cassandra, all of Randy’s Bitcoins and the moon would be all theirs.
Randy took three long, loud slurps of Mountain Dew from the drinking fountain. Darryl was so huge. It would be like fighting a bear. His hands were shaking. He could stop them if he thought about it, but as soon as he looked away they trembled again. He might die.
“And in lighter news, a group of young men from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada have announced plans to establish what they call their own ‘Libertarian paradise’ on the moon; a utopia where people are free to act and think however they like, with electronic ‘Bitcoins’ as a de facto currency. It may sound like science fiction, but it is science fact according to founder and leader of the Moon Libertarian Foundation, Dr. Walter James.
Dr. James has a doctorate in Physics from the California Institute of Technology, and he says he has developed a geodesic sphere that will be totally livable, even in a total vacuum. While Dr. James declined an on air interview, he says he’s able to fly the group of 150, all the materials to build the dome and an advanced aquaponics system to the lunar surface.
In another bizarre twist, Pepsico has pledged to support the project, telling Dr. James that they will provide the group with funding and, ‘As much Mountain Dew as they can take with them,’ provided they set up a giant Mountain Dew billboard when they arrive. The billboard is expected to be visible from Earth with a telescope.
Well, that’s the news in your world for today, December 16th, 2032. For WHBN News, I’m Tom Humpries. Have a great night.”
As Cassandra looked around the passenger deck, she realized something; she was the only girl. How could Dr. James overlook this? How can you have an advanced society with only one girl? She straightened her cat ear headband and smiled. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
Randy screamed at the top of his lungs. A blood curdling roar. He shattered his reflection with the hilt of his katana. If he wasn’t ready now, he never would be.
“Hey man, I really like Cassandra.”
“Dude, no way. I like her too.”
“Just do me a solid, man. Stay away. Don’t mess this up for me. She totally digs me. She smiles at me every time we pass each other.”
“So what? A smile doesn’t mean poo poo. She came to my room and we watched the entire original series the other night.”
“Hey, what are you guys talking about?”
“I think she might like me. Our knees were touching on movie night and she didn’t even try to move.”
He had done it. He had actually done it. Jerome had killed a man. He took his hands, put them around another man’s throat, and just choked him until he was dead. Just like that. It was done. The image of Arthur’s purple face as his eyes rolled into the back of his head was burned into Jerome’s mind. He liked it. Was Cassandra into choking? Of course not. Sweet, innocent Cassandra. Maybe if he just tried it sometime she’d like it. After all, you never know if something turns you on until you try it.
Jerome turned around. It was Randy. He had a katana in his hand. Randy was so fat that he looked like a standard definition show being stretched to fit a widescreen TV. Before Jerome could say anything, Randy stabbed him in the stomach.
“I dunno, Randy. I just think we’re better as friends.”
“But why wouldn’t you want to date me? I’m literally the perfect guy. We like all the same things. Can’t you see how great we are together?”
“The truth is I’m not sure if I want to date anybody. I’m happy just being me. Randy? Randy are you crying?”
Darryl’s chest hair was matted with blood. He looked around. The only one not accounted for was Randy. Just him, Cassandra and fat little Randy. He cupped his hands around his mouth, “Randy! Buddy! I’ll tell you what. We’re going to need someone to scrub the toilets, so maybe we’ll keep you around.”
Darryl walked down a darkened hallway, weaving around the corpses.
Randy crouched, shivering, in a little broom closet. He gripped his katana in both hands. “I will not scrub your toilets!” he whispered aloud. He stood up. It was time to do this. When he put his hand on the doorknob, his knees shook uncontrollably. He crouched down again.
You have to do this Randy. God damnit. You have to do this. Show Cassandra your love. Show her you’d be willing to kill for her. Maybe even die for her. He thought of the time he watched from across the lunch room as Cassandra laughed while she ate. She blushed, covered her mouth, and apologized. Her laughter was like music. Randy wanted to record her laugh and play in on an infinite loop. He wanted to take a picture of her blush and pin it to his ceiling so that it was the first thing he saw when he woke up.
Randy opened the door. Darryl turned around. Randy crouched and slapped his shoulders and thighs with his hands and yelled at the top of his lungs. His voice cracked and went horse, “This ends now, rear end in a top hat!”
|# ? Aug 30, 2012 16:11|
Suicide for Josephine
My Dearest Josephine,
On my final day on Ariel, I gaze into the abyss above me and see your face outshining the stars. Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women. Your love is a beacon that will lead me home. The thought of your embrace warms my soul, consoling me for the cold that will come.
I am sorry, my love, my life, my dearest Josephine. I am sorry that we will not be together again, at least not in this life. I am sorry for the memories I will leave behind that will bring you sadness. Had I the power, I would fill your days with only happiness. I would take your pain and grief within me, that I may suffer in your stead.
Send all my affection to my mother and father. Tell Jomey that the key is behind the mantle; he will know what to do.
In life, days pass, on and on, and we go about believing there is another to follow. Days are miserable, days are joyous, on and on. And then, then there are none. Be not angry about my passing. I will have suffered little. The fault of which should not provoke rage, but hope.
I was homeward bound on the Orchid. After just passing Pluto’s moon Charon, the ship’s water cooling system failed. Repairs could not be delayed; else we would be stranded near Saturn. Without water, we could not wait for rescue.
The situation was dire, indeed, but luckily manageable. The course was set to Ariel, a moon of Uranus. Ariel having an overabundance of ice could be boiled into the water we needed. The low gravity would be little hindrance to the repair crew outside the Orchid. We landed on the dark side, facing Uranus, the start of a new Ariel day.
As you know, my leg injury prevents me from much physical labor. I monitored the endeavor from the brig, anxious to return home. Those working outside the Orchid noticed crystals forming around the ship, looking like snowflakes. As the hours went by, again like snowflakes, the crystals began to accumulate. With no atmosphere to speak of on Ariel, no visible wind or storms currently on the barren ice surface, this was, to say the least, curious. Even more so, the crystal snowflakes were creating shapes and patterns. More time passed, even more peculiar, the Orchid’s insignia was duplicated in the strange Ariel snow.
One of the more impetuous crewman, annoyed that the snowflakes were delaying progress, proceeded to brush them off. He did succeed at clearing some snowflakes and work continued. Then, we saw snowflakes accumulating on the glove hand of his environmental suit he used to brush the snowflakes off. The crewman feverously brushed the snowflakes off, with little success. Another crewman tried to assist his contaminated compatriot, earning himself a layer of snow.
The level headed doctor advised the two to return to the ship immediately, to which they freely obliged. The moment the air lock opened and the two stepped into the Orchid, the snow exploded in growth, covering their entire bodies in jagged crystal icicles. They were killed instantly.
The doctor, now using collecting tools, produced a sample of the crystals from the hull. This caution saved his life, as again the moment the crystals reached the ship, the sample grew exponentially into craggy configurations. Another sample was taken, this time in a container kept at the same beyond freezing temperature on Ariel. Thus, a sample was safely brought to the ship’s lab.
The second earth day of Ariel’s rotation around Uranus, we discovered a few key findings. First, the crystal snowflakes were composed almost entirely of frozen carbon dioxide. The rest of the crystal’s composition could not be ascertained on the ship’s lab. The second, the crystal was alive. Alive, and intelligent.
The crystal’s geometric formations revealed design. Later, patterns emerged, mathematical patterns that reminded me of Morse code. Then, the crystals began to interact with the doctor, reforming new shapes when spoken to. The lab containment area that housed the crystal had two arm structures that one could use to interact with whatever was on the other side. When the doctor touched the crystal, the arm structures were pierced, sending crystal growth quickly through the doctor’s body, a crystalline barb piercing through the doctor’s mouth before dissipating into gas.
The doctor’s death was the catalyst that unraveled the better judgment of the rest of the crew. All but the captain exited the ship in their environmental suits, frantically scraping at the ever increasing volume of crystal snow. Eventually, all were overcome, outlines of human husks buried under jagged crystalline ice.
Only the captain and I remained at the end of the second earth day. The captain committed suicide at the start of the third, a gibbering, mad mess at the end. This brings us to the present, near midday on earth, the beginning of a new day on Ariel.
The Orchid is almost completely covered in the crystal expansion. The crystal has disabled the ship. Life support is failing.
I have come to believe that the crystal means no harm. Though it is causing harm, it does not understand that it is. The crystal is just trying to communicate to us, an alien species. I have come to believe all this because I empathically feel the crystal. It is glad to have met us. Ironically, the growth that is destroying the ship is the crystal’s form of a greeting hug. I am not able to convey my fear and worry or the concept of death, but I am able to convey my love. My love for you.
As the final life support warnings blare around me, I stare out the window of the ship. Your beautiful face, from my memory, is being reconstructed by the crystal life form outside. Farewell, my love. Carry me in your heart.
MESSAGE NOT SENT
|# ? Aug 30, 2012 17:04|
Suicide rates had dropped dramatically since the announcement. Something catastrophic was happening, but people felt they needed to see the end result. Astronomers around the world knew the apocalypse was coming both by the burning point of light rapidly approaching and by the news that all man-made probes beyond the orbit of mars were being taken offline one-by-one in a straight line towards earth. A radio relay recently erected on the moon was also picking up something strange; though the relay was built onto the dark side of the moon to avoid interference from earth, it was still receiving what appeared to be an earth based signal.
“… been down too long in the midnight sea…”
The end came in a form no one could have expected. A giant red dragon, engulfed in flames, soaring through space and obliterating everything in its path, had landed on the moon. Despite having died due to complications of stomach cancer in 2010, Ronnie James Dio was riding the dragon; this was confirmed through no less than six independent satellites, with photos and live video.
The questions were many, but the new god Dio had no answers for his worshippers. Instead, from atop his mighty dragon, he drew his mighty axe. Playing the lick that would destroy humanity, Dio sent forth a sonic blast with the force of 7.3×10^28 newtons. Because force is equal to mass multiplied by acceleration, this application of force accelerated the 7.3 × 10^22 kilogram lunar body to 1 million meters per second in the direction of it’s parent planet.
As the moon entered the atmosphere, liquefying the earth’s crust, a single phrase could be heard before you died no matter where you stood on the globe:
|# ? Aug 30, 2012 19:27|
I'm ruling this story as eligible for judgement because it's metal as gently caress.
|# ? Aug 30, 2012 19:41|
|# ? Aug 30, 2012 19:45|
I'm breaking the rules as a triumvirate member. Suck on it.
There will be four judges next week, at most. AYC's metal-as-gently caress entry with sexual physics softened my heart. He could win and make it three on his previous story, but he at least has a seat no matter who wins.
I have spoken. Thunderdome, bitches.
|# ? Aug 30, 2012 19:51|
I am standing at the only window. The cold outside is unfathomable, but here I am swaddled by steel. Warmth is provided in part by my beloved brown liquor that I hold under my nose, touch to my lips, and swallow in gracious parcels. So acrid to some, but I can taste the smoke and peat, the far away soil from which it came—and underneath, the hands that worked that soil.
Filling my vision is that blue marble that we long ago departed, and from which my drink was imported at no small cost. Worth it, of course, since the work of revolution is not for the faint of heart. Hard decisions have to be made; and a glass at the end of the day is a balm.
Arise, the oppressed of the Earth,
For justice thunders condemnation;
A better world’s in birth
The words fall quietly from my lips. Oh happy time, oh how we sang! The memories of those days drive the melancholy from my mind. The cursed NLM—or National Lunar Mining Corporation, as was often pedantically spelled out on their pathetic communiques—they had no idea what we had birthed from their plans. To live and work on the moon was nothing less than a new world for humankind; and we aimed to grow from its cold rocks and dust a womb that would birth true solidarity. The Lunar Miner’s Union was formed, in secret, before we departed. We announced our birth on arrival, and demanded the negotiation of a collective agreement.
The NLM told the people of Earth that there were no allowances for negotiation and that ‘a deal was a deal.’ Privately, they told us our families would suffer if we did not work. We responded by denying them our labour, and they tried to make do with the automata.
The strike came to a stalemate quickly. The NLM lapdogs indicated that they would begin withholding food and oxygen—their control of this sphere made that possible. Negotiation became fruitless. What to do? I was the first to see that this was not defeat but opportunity. We had here the potential to remake society. We declared the founding of the Red Moon Republic. We declared revolution! We seized the means of production, and told the NLM that no He-3 would be forthcoming unless they recognized our legitimacy. When they conceded that negotiations would be necessary, they left the control room. We quickly relocated ‘management’ out of the sphere entirely and into the mining shelters. Without the training we had received, most soon perished. Good riddance to their soft hands.
I take another measured sip and refill the glass.
The NLM had not the resources to land soldiers on the moon without our cooperation, so they commenced negotiations with various Earth governments for aid. But our timely deliveries of He-3 via mass driver to the national space platforms quickly convinced them to negotiate with us instead.
It was at this time that I took the title Red Miner Number One. I am proud to say that it was under my leadership that we had our greatest moment. I made it clear that only through self-sufficiency that we would triumph. This required that we triple our production. Unfortunately, many comrades were traitors to our revolution. I remember many comrades reporting in at the end of each day having failed to meet production targets. Economic sabotage at its most heinous. Even more insidious, some insisted on attempting to use their own personal devices to communicate with family or to read counter-revolutionary materials. The only solution was of course a complete purge of all such devices. I also permanently relocated the workers out to the shelters, and re-introduced the automata to help meet targets. Soon the fruits of our labour were realized via trade with Earth, in forms such as this delicious malt.
Perhaps it was inevitable that our prosperity would lead to bickering, but I think more highly of human nature than that. Whatever the cause, soon I and the others here in the sphere (Red Miners Numbers 2 through 13) were faced with a threat from within our own revolution. The comrades threatened to stop production—a move from economic sabotage to blatant counter revolutionary action. This demanded justice. Prompt, severe, inflexible justice. It was a simple matter to turn the automata against them—I alone maintained access to the remote overrides. To my surprise, the other Red Miners objected to the punishment, claiming that executions were barbarous. To which I replied that to forgive counter-revolution was the true barbarity.
It became clear to me that there would be a break. The revolutionary spirit was not strong enough in 2 through 13. They refused to take their places in the mining shelters to continue production, and thus the revolution. In order to provide motivation, I organized a festival at the base of Mons Piton. As they gathered there, I came down amongst them and spoke with them. I gave them my word, and my blessings. And yet, that next day, they still refused.
It was of course inadvisable for them to take this position while I had sole access to the controls. The few that escaped the initial oxygen purge from the sphere were soon hunted down by the automata.
Ah, sweet machines—you do not question, and you unquestionably produce. Of course, there is only so much they can harvest with only one hand to guide them. They are curiously quiet, and I have come to realize that although they exemplify the spirit of our revolution, they are not men, and never can be.
So now, I have retreated here, to the solace of my bottle and that giant blue eye that hangs over me. It sees what I have done. It knows who I am. The man of the moon. The Revolution continues. I sing softly:
Let each stand in his place,
Unites the Human Race…
|# ? Aug 31, 2012 14:51|
The next story posted is exempt from all other rules, but must be truly terrifying.
|# ? Sep 1, 2012 12:35|
|# ? Sep 1, 2012 22:39|
Is that your submission?
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 02:08|
Harlen cradled his jagged red brick in his hands. The cheap wooden door shook a bit in it's mooring, the dust and mold shook loose from the frame setting a light line on the dark floor. "Verynice, won'thurt, opendoor," the hosed up tinny voice from the other side called. "Feedfood, verygood food, have some. Won'tregret." The corner of the door began to peel off it's hinge, like aged paper, and a single gloved hand reached over into the dark dirty room with balled hand.
Harlen yelped in surprise and held his brick up ready to throw. The hand opened to reveal dark red and bright white chunks, wet and soaking into the wool glove. "Verygood, from lasttenent. Won't missthem, minenow. Yoursnow minenow." The door started go give way and the top crumpled down onto the floor with a dry and resounding crack in the abandoned building. A small thing, no bigger than a child peered through the kicked up dust and the dying air.
Harlan's mouth dried, and he desperately looked for any part of the thing on the other side of the door he could see. He readied the brick and backed up into the empty corner. Nothing but swaddled clothes, coats, scarves and hoods. The only thing he could see in the dark was a mouth. "Verynice now, verymuch. Yoursmine minenow," the teeth spread into a sharp smile, and the bottom of the door fell limply to the dirty floor, "mine."
Full disclosure I am bad at horror.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 02:34|
21.5 hours until the spiked gates slam shut.
Bolded contestants have already submitted themselves to the brutal majesty of the Thunderdome.
As Nero Danced
Flash Rules will become ever more unreasonable as the final hour approaches. Do not delay.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 02:35|
I just realized I have no idea if we're allowed to fix grammar and errors and what not after we post. I really should not have tried this while off my gourd on cold medicine.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 02:43|
A thousand words and a handful of false starts. Actually had to pad this out to make the word count, which probably shows.
Last One Out, Hit the Lights
The photograph trembled in Alan Campbell’s grip, the lower right corner crumpled under the weight of his thumb. A young boy ran through his memory, down the corridor lined with boxes on identical iron shelves, into infinity. Somehow still, he’d always managed to find his father.
“Hmm? What is it, Alan?”
“What’s this place?”
“…It’s the moon, Alan. Surface of the moon.”
That sparse expanse of basalt against the black fabric of space, the Earth hung low between them, just beyond the quiet hills. It was beautiful to him. The most beautiful.
“That’s why I have to see it for myself.”
“…Really. Not to be nitpicking-”
rear end in a top hat that he was, confined and content to live life secondhand in books and in documentaries, leeching off the experience of others, Sebastian could never understand the compulsion to know, to know personally, that burned in Alan’s heart.
“-But that’s it? Pretty steep investment for a bit of scenery you’ve already got tucked away in your pocket.”
“You just can’t see it, Sebastian. You’re not looking for it.”
“But I have seen it.”
“I’m not talking about this,” Alan tapped the photograph, gently.
“Neither am I.”
It was a brave new century for mankind. The space tourism industry had never been more affordable, more accommodating to the man in the street. But even so, the low-hanging fruit of a lunar vacation was beyond the grasp of Alan’s father’s meager pay stub, try though he might. Alan stared with a rekindled contempt for his classmate, privileged, but indifferent to the gift he had been given.
“It’s not particularly impressive, really. Whole lot of nothing. Empty dunes and-”
They’d had to tear them apart, him and Sebastian, noses and shirts bloodied. But the photograph survived, unblemished, a quiet comfort to him in those dark times.
Alan Campbell had worked this whole life for this moment. Every position, every paycheck. Dead end opportunities, thankless jobs with absurd obligations, anything that paid. His apartment was Spartan, his pleasures few, calculating, collecting interest on as much as he could afford. When the bottom fell out of the economy, it was with tears in his eyes he held the ticket, his ticket to the moon. The very last ticket ever to be issued.
“Alright Mr. Campbell, you got yourself about four hours oxygen there. Give a holler on the radio you want back in early, else I’ll come looking automatically in about three.”
The captain waited awhile before turning, wearily, taking Alan’s prolonged silence as affirmation. The hatch shut, sealing off the last man who would ever set foot on the moon.
Alan’s grip tightened on the photograph, his eyes blurred, blinded by the tears. He grit his teeth, shuttering, and took the photograph in both hands. He peeled back his thumb. He’d punctured clear through the corner and hadn’t even noticed.
The photograph stretched.
A tear appeared, and began working its way down the center fold.
The photograph was reduced to scraps and splinters within seconds. Alan Campbell fell to his knees, tearing what remained into smaller and smaller pieces, but they were never small enough.
Since the Lunar Tourism Board had first opened shop, to the day their financial director was forced to admit they might have a funding deficit, approximately three billion people had set foot on the moon. Each and every single one of them had been immortalized, for all time, in the field of footprints that now covered the moon. Different sizes, different brands, imprinted forever, on the surface of moon. On the surface of his moon.
The once sterile sea of rock and craters, each with their own pattern and shape, had been smoothed, flattened, under the weight of three billion tourists, the uniform treads and competing brand names clustering, spiraling off in every direction. Everywhere Alan looked, he could see only footprints.
He turned to the Earth, rotating softly beyond the horizon. An all consuming rage boiled within his veins as he looked upon it.
“YOU DAMNED PARASITES. YOU’VE RUINED IT. YOU’VE RUINED EVERYTHING. YOU POISON EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH. IT WASN’T ENOUGH. IT’S NEVER ENOUGH.”
He clenched his fists, fingers digging deep into the palms of his suit. His eyes narrowed, fixated on his hated home planet.
“Mr. Campbell, sir? Everything alright?”
He’d left the radio on automatic. The captain’s voice, that distinctive monotone he’d come to know from the short spaceflight, jostled him from his anger, briefly, only to surrender him to another, subtler fury, a dark realization setting in.
“…It’s nothing, captain. It’s nothing.”
“Awful lot of nothing. Awful loud, too. You sure you okay?”
“I’m fine, captain.”
Alan’s breathing gradually returned to normal.
“I’m absolutely fine.”
He’s spun around, at the captain’s voice, as if someone were behind him. But of course, he was alone. Him, and the footprints. Him, and his own footprints.
Alan knelt down, running his fingers through the grooves he himself had left, and no one else. He read the brand label, proudly reiterated with every step. He began to count his steps, backwards, back to the ship. The captain had already opened the hatch for him.
“Scared me a minute there. Had a book, and everything. Getting to the good part when out of nowhere you come on.”
“Sorry. Sorry about that.”
“Sorry? You done, or something?”
“Yeah. I’m done.”
The captain raised an eyebrow.
“…That’s it. That’s all you came for?”
“I’ve traveled further for less. If it’s all the same to you, I’d like to go home now.”
The captain pondered Alan’s words a moment before responding.
“Well, doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to me. I’m out a job regardless what time you clock back. Either way,” he extended a hand, “Thanks for one last trip.”
Alan said nothing, taking the captain’s hand before settling into his seat. The distance remained the same, yet the journey back felt considerably shorter than the journey there.
The moon swung on.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 02:52|
Interesting that we were all afraid to submit a horror story. In my defense I've written three different short stories for this week and was too burnt out to come up with another. Thanks to that though I've written more in the past two weeks than I have in over a month.
Also I've been working on a couple mad max losertars in my spare time. Should I PM them to a judge or just forget it?
Today was Tuesday, I think. I didn’t have a calendar, so I had a one in seven chance of being right. Tuesdays meant I had to go to the east wing and check the museum exhibits. There was a water recycler there that was always breaking, which meant a bit of work. This was all fine by me, it meant I could break out the lunar rover and go golfing again.
The east wing was humid, so I knew I had work to do. I moved the astronaut stand out of the way and set to work. My tool bag was getting worn out; I’d have to stop by the gift shop and pick up a new one.
“Welcome to the Lunar Resort!” Monty shouted. Monty was my best friend, if you could call the mascot that. He was just a cartoon on a video screen, but he had enough of his stands dotted around the resort that I could always talk to him. He was my only friend, but sometimes we argued.
Still, I didn’t like letting the resort go downhill. I was one of the colony’s engineers back when we were open, but that changed when the asteroid hit the earth. I wasn’t alone back then, you see, but over the years people died off. Mostly because they wouldn’t let me fix things like I was supposed to. At least there aren’t any more drat tourists around to break everything.
I looked at the recycler and gave it a good kick. Like a charm, it hummed to life. You can fix anything with a good kick. Air filtration, generators, water recyclers, even a Monty kiosk could get started again with a good solid boot to the rear end.
“The Apollo rover, one of the fastest ways to get across the moon surface!” Monty reminded me as I neared the rover. I put on the suit and jumped on. “Please don’t climb on the displays!” Monty yelled.
“Shut up, Monty.”
Stupid Monty. Security died twelve years ago when the monorail crashed.
Monty kept complaining while I drove to the airlock. He worried too much. The airlock cycled and I was free. I loved riding on the open surface. It meant I got to see Earth again. I crested my favorite crater and climbed out. I pulled out the golf club and gave a few golf balls a go.
Soon I was out of balls. They never lasted long enough. I jumped back on the rover and hunted them all down, but came up a few short. I must have hit them farther than the rest.
As I crested the next crater, my heart stopped. A large metal disc about twenty feet thick and fifty feet across covered with lights. It must have been a space ship! But were these aliens or humans? Was I saved or doomed? I felt a bulge in my throat. Only one way to find out. I grabbed a golf club and drove down to the ship.
The ship had an open airlock, as if waiting for me. I climbed through and the doors automatically cycled over. My life support system read the atmosphere as safe for breathing. I unclipped the helmet and yanked it off.
I made my way through the entire ship, but there was nothing aboard. My fear subsided and excitement took its place. If there are no aliens, then no one can stop me from taking this ship. Monty and I could get out of here finally! We could go anywhere! There were new things to fix!
I made it back to the airlock and put on my helmet. A few minutes on the rover and I was back at the resort. I had to round up enough food and find a way to get Monty on board. I stepped through the resort’s airlock and Monty greeted me. “Welcome to Terra Luna! The best vacation destination on, or off, world! Please stay with the tour group!” That was new. Monty never called me a tour group before. What did that mean?
That was when I saw them. Two aliens standing in the gift shop. Huge, pale squid like things with one compound eye and a white “bulb” where the mouth should be. One was holding up a shirt and another wearing a baseball cap. They were even uglier than Monty.
One of held up an appendage at me. Was it saying hello? I didn’t care. They were tourists, just like the humans that used to visit before the earth was destroyed. They were going to move right on into my resort, lose all of my golf balls, clog my toilets, take all of my clean towels and trash their rooms. But worse than that, they were going to take their ship and leave me here. I couldn’t let them leave.
“You blinky bastards think you can stop me? That ship’s mine now. I’ve waited two decades to get off of this rock. Monty and I aren’t staying here anymore!”
“I’m Monty the Moon Man!” Monty piped up.
“drat right you are. And we’re getting out of here. “
“Please don’t swear.”
Dammit Monty, learn when to shut up. I kicked the Monty kiosk harder than I ever have. It tipped to the side, crashing into a vending machine. The vending machine wobbled and fell forward, squishing one of the aliens into a pile of goo. Maybe Monty was a better fighter than I thought.
The other alien didn’t like this. It tried to throw a thermos at me, but I still had my golf club. I swatted the thermos out of the air and buried the club in the alien’s eye. It thrashed for a while before slipping in its friend’s remains and fell to the ground.
“I’m Monty the Moon Man and I approve this message!” Monty said from his fallen kiosk. “And I say: Kill it!”
The first thing he’s said in twenty years that makes sense.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 02:58|
I know there's a whole shitposty machismo thing we've got going here but maybe TD needs a safe word, so the judges know if it's gone a bit far. The whole point of the thread is to do some writing and have fun. If the rules get too restrictive, it starts being a chore. There seems to be a trend starting of each judge one-upping the last in terms of difficulty, which can only drive people away if taken much further.
EASE OFF OR I WILL STEAL YOUR CAT AND GLUE TWIGS AND BRANCHES TO ITS FUR, SO YOU THINK YOU'RE BEING FOLLOWED BY A HUNGRY BUSH, YOU WHOREMONGERING PIGFUCKER.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 03:02|
I just realized I have no idea if we're allowed to fix grammar and errors and what not after we post. I really should not have tried this while off my gourd on cold medicine.
What do you think?
Kayfabe aside, I've had some qualms myself about my/our deranged edicts. I'm fine if later judges ease up. But I'm pleased with what it's pulled out of people. And there's always the option of telling the judges to go gently caress themselves and winning anyway, the 'areyoucontagious manoeuvre'.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 03:42|
What do you think?
I think the Thunderdome has claimed my most basic ability to reason.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 03:52|
I think the Thunderdome has claimed my most basic ability to reason.
Errors are bad, but so is editing. You'll have to make the calculation yourself and cast yourself on the slender mercies of the judges.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 04:18|
Yeah OK I guess
One of the frankies had been slacking off. Frankies sure were dumb; they had to know by now that slacking off meant The Sparks. Even through their thick skin, they always felt The Sparks. It was a good thing frankies were too dumb to organise, or they’d figure out they outnumbered their human guards. The foreman smiled as he motioned two of the other guards to come and restrain this frankie. Some of the others had downed tools and were watching them prepare to deliver the punishment. Good. Let them be reminded of the penalty for a lax work ethic.
The slaves should not have been allowed to exist. The research that had led to their ‘birth’ contravened the laws of every remaining territory on earth. Fortunately for Lunarcorp industries, research and development that occurred on the moon did not fall under the jurisdiction of any of these territories. It had taken several years, and thousands of prototype creatures, but the frankies had been worth it. They were tough, and could survive for long periods of time on the moon’s surface without requiring a suit. Their education had consisted of only very basic English and Math; what they needed to follow the orders they were given.
Unfortunately for the few guards, this meant that the slaves could count.
It was too difficult for them to organise a decent signal themselves; they had access to nothing that could be seen and heard all over the quarry. So they’d decided, since the foreman was predictable in his punishments, to him provide them with a signal.
Two guards held the frankie down while the foreman, still smiling a horrible smile, prepared The Sparks. The guards in the tower trained their rifles on this one as well. The foreman struck the frankie once, but once was all he managed.
There’d been three groups of slaves near the tower. The guards had not paid attention to them; they’d been covering the foreman. As The Sparks struck the slave who had been lagging in his work, three slaves were thrown upwards by the groups below. It was like a well drilled cheerleading routine. Well, perhaps a little less graceful and a little more violent. The slaves landed next to the rifle bearing guards and hurled them to the crowd below. The other slaves stomped them into the dirt, then roared and turned towards where the punishment was taking place.
The foreman and the two guards who’d been restraining the punished frankie had heard the dying screams of the guards in their helmets as they’d been crushed into oblivion by heavy feet. The guards instinctively let go, drew their pistols and started firing into their midst. The no longer restrained frankie turned towards his oppressor; the foreman raised The Sparks again, preparing for a longer, more fatal zap, but the frankie moved quicker. He buried his fist into the foreman’s helmet; his forearm got torn to ribbons by the broken sides of the helmet, but his knuckles felt a satisfying crunch and the foreman went limp.
The remaining guards managed to terminate a number of the frankies. While they were at range, they had the advantage. They were not at range for long, however, and they met fates similar to their colleagues.
With half of their number deceased, but with all of the guards accounted for, the former slaves turned their attention to the Lunar Administrative Centre. They were almost certain more of their oppressors would be in there. They’d seen the foreman use a keycard to open the building. After rummaging through his broken remains, and tearing The Sparks into unusable components, they figured out how to open his equipment pouches. A card bearing his face, along with a packed lunch, was among the objects they liberated. After sharing out the peanut butter sandwiches he’d had packed, they formed several lines outside of the airlock door while one of them figured out how to use the card.
The administrative support team and the research team were completely unaware of the events that had unfolded outside. The administrative staff had been filing some paperwork to have the foreman transferred back to earth; his antagonistic approach to motivating the miners, while effective, seemed likely to create a volatile working environment. It was a work hazard, and supplementary training had done little to alter the way he did business.
The research team was actually just one man. The doctor was trying to find a way to make the assets less self aware. It would make the guards’ job easier, not that they deserved it, the stupid grunts. A knock came at his door; it was about time those stupid grunts knocked instead of just barging in. Always nagging him about when he would have perfected the next batch of assets, and could he make them more pliant? When he opened the door, he was greeted by a group of unsmiling assets.
As the doctor was painfully torn apart in his lab, the administrative team were putting the finishing touches on the foreman’s transfer order. It was sent off to Lunarcorp’s earth headquarters, and the staff all congratulated each other and declared it was time for morning tea. They all agreed that, as the most junior member of staff, it fell to Melissa to make everyone else tea and coffee.
Melissa didn’t see why she should make everyone else drinks, but she was new, and didn’t want to make waves; this was an amazing job opportunity. Very few people got the chance to work on the moon. She put her headphones in and turned it up as she got busy with the orders.
The miners’ bloodlust had somewhat dulled; after the last staff member was quickly killed, it dawned on one of them that they needed one human alive to talk to whoever supplied their food.
Melissa, the last human on the moon, returned to find herself promoted to the new position of earth’s first ambassador to the moonmen.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 05:36|
EASE OFF OR I WILL STEAL YOUR CAT AND GLUE TWIGS AND BRANCHES TO ITS FUR, SO YOU THINK YOU'RE BEING FOLLOWED BY A HUNGRY BUSH, YOU WHOREMONGERING PIGFUCKER.
This post was rather rude, SurreptitiousMuffin, and I was rather offended by it. I had thought better of you, but I feel, in a way, betrayed by this lack in judgement.
This thread is a nice, safe place for people to come together and discuss the writing of flash fiction pieces. Let's keep the discussion on target and polite as always.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 06:05|
Mad Dog on the Moon, 1000 words
"Suicide. A goddamn mass suicide. Goddamn it!"
"Jesus, Jones, calm down. Come on, we've only got 48 hours until the shutdown, we need to get this place ready to leave, and... the hell are you drinking?"
"gently caress off, I'm on rec time. You want a sip? It's my own special vintage. Jone's Hobo Moon Wine, Vintage 2036. The first, last, and best year for it, you know." Jones held up a beaker full of some clear liquid that smelled like rubbing alcohol. His uniform was a rumpled mess, and Jones himself looked hammered.
"How the hell did you manage to smuggle in... Jesus, this stuff smells like a Vladimir knock off!"
"Didn't smuggle it, Selina, brewed it. Mind if I call you Selina? No reason to be formal anymore. The whole mission is kaput! Don't need to worry about everybody getting along without going into a murderous rage or rampant loving, yeah?" Jones casually tossed a shot glass - really a miniature graduated cylinder - over his shoulder. In the low lunar gravity, it drifted slowly before shattering against the far wall.
"Christ, Jones, call me whatever the gently caress you want. Did you steal supplies to make that, Jones? You know we can't afford any waste!" Lt. Garcia - Selina - could feel a pounding headache starting in the back of her skull. The last six months had been stressful enough, she didn't need the temperamental engineer pulling a stunt like this. Not when the final exfil was so close.
"No, no, you think so poorly of me Selina? I'm hurt. I just saved my sugar rations and asked Wolowitz for his. He's diabetic, he didn't mind. Then I borrowed some unused drums, made an airlock out of spare parts, used my personal allotment to get some yeast cultures, let it ferment, and ta-da! Hobo Moon Wine. It tastes like poo poo, but if I did my math correctly, it has 19.8 percent alcohol per volume. Come on, have a shot."
"We don't have time for this, Jones. We've got a tight schedule to maintain if we're going get this place ready for--"
"It doesn't loving matter, Selina. We could leave this place a loving wreck, and nobody would care. Nobody would loving know."
"You don't know that, Jones. The NASA timetables call for a second round of lunar missions by 2040. We need to prepare the base for a future team."
There was a pause. Selina watched Jones pour himself another shot. The engineer observed it closely, like one of his crystal experiments, before violently shooting back down his throat. "BULLSHIT! loving BULLSHIT, SELINA! Don't tell me that you buy that loving load! We're not coming back, get it? If we were coming back, we'd never loving leave! Do you know how much money it took to get this place going? Huh? Do have any loving idea how much it cost? And we're flushing it down the toilet! All that hard work, wasted! It'll cost just as much as before this get this place up and running again! No, no loving way, this is it. I'm the last man on the moon, stuck here with some drat military bitch whose pissed off because she'd rather be blowing up spics down in Nicaragua instead of making history. So don't you loving tell me that--"
Lunar gravity does strange things to the martial arts. The punch was slow, practically telegraphed, by Selina's reduced leverage. It didn't matter though, Jones didn't even see it coming before her fist smashed against his nose. The force was enough to lift Selina a few inches off the floor, while Jones floated through the air like he was in a comic book. Real punches didn't do that to people, but this was the moon, and here Jones only weighed thirty two pounds soaking wet.
"Don't you loving talk to me like that, you dipshit poindexter white boy rear end in a top hat! I had a poster of Ellen Ochoa on my wall! It's all I ever wanted, to be a loving astronaut! I worked hard, I studied hard, I did everything I loving could! So don't tell me that just because I'm the pilot that I don't understand what's loving happening here!"
Jones wiped a smear of blood from his nose, and got up on shaky feet. "So the ice queen finally melts down. You know we had a pool going on how long until you snapped and either killed or hosed one of us? Wolowitz is going to be really happy. But I'm still on rec time, and so are you. I'm not getting back to work until I finish my drink."
She wanted to punch him again, maybe kick him in the balls a few time. She poured herself a shot instead. It tasted like rubbing alcohol, alright, and burnt the entire way down. "You're still an rear end in a top hat, Jones. Just because you'll never get back up here doesn't mean somebody else won't."
"You think that's what I'm mad about? Are you kidding me? I never thought I'd get to outer space. That's not what it's about. I'm getting drunk because the human species decided that change is hard, so we'd rather all kill ourselves instead. The Earth is being used up, and those idiots back home decided that getting another planet is too expensive. Not when cruise missiles cost over a million bucks. The hope for the future of mankind has to wait, we've got a war on."
"They're planning another mission, though. They're planning to come back." Selina poured herself another shot. It was terrible stuff, but the warmth in belly felt nice.
"Yeah, planning. That's why it's suicide. We have two choices, Selina. We could either keep living how we did, and get to Mars before the Earth runs out. Or we could give up on space, realize that we've only got one Earth, and started living like it. But that's not what we're doing. We're a smoker who tells himself he'll quit after the holidays, right until it's too late."
"You're a sad drunk, Jones. Cheers to the last man on the moon."
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 07:35|
Bloodshot eyes reflected in the meter, watching the thin black indicator waggle towards the red line. The eyes compressed into a glare as it drew closer, and then relaxed as it slowed. The pressure on this line was good. He moved on to the next line, using a length of stainless steel pipe to lever a valve open. Underneath the layers of everything-resistant materials and internal temperature control meshes, he could feel his callouses scratching away. Every day they seemed newer to him, as if he'd have recognized them better if they were older. It was the same with his muscles and ligaments feeling sore in new ways every time he had to manually adjust the lines. Beyond the shocks of pain he associated with headaches, he never noticed the wear and tear on his eyes. He wouldn't stop long enough to look in a mirror.
The fields were supposed to be automated, Major Layard knew. It was the last thing Major Layard could consider as having been 'supposed' to happen. It wasn't even his job. The four technicians in charge of operations on base had given up and died, so Layard woke up and did it every morning. Morning for Layard was whatever time it was after eight hours of rest, and rest only happened when it was absolutely required. It was very often absolutely required to rest when his work in the fields would otherwise bring him face to face with a sky full of Earth. Oily clouds swirled around it, distorting what landmasses he could see. It had been several years since global conflict had made it a hell. Returning there was the second to last thing Layard could consider as having been 'supposed' to have happened. He wouldn't stop long enough to look up, very often.
Creating pockets of arable lunar soil, through a series of chemical processes and aeration, and then growing different strains of genetically modified plantlife was one of mankind's truly noble goals. The implementation of this concept, the lunar base Layard had been assigned to, was a joke. A proof of concept at the most, and a comical waste of taxpayer dollars to some-- the base was more of a farm than anything. A prefab building connected to several acres of opaque plastic tarp enclosures. The corner pegs of these tents were designed to be dragged along the ground by small tread mechanisms, stretching the enclosure further as new sections of tarp were woven in. This was designed to be automated, along with the air scrubbing, water recycling, even the angling of the solar panels. Some months after radio silence from Earth, after a series of gut wrenching nuclear strikes, none of these things worked anymore.
He'd cut doors open, rigged whatever hardware he could to support life within the main structure of the prefab building, and gradually pushed outwards, salvaging and securing whatever he could. He had enough water, and could scrub enough clean air, and could grow enough grain and soy and corn to forge a liveable situation. This had all taken dedication, and constant upkeep. The technicians that hadn't killed themselves along with Earth both were glad to help-- programming crude interfaces for the reclaimed sections of the base. Simple switches in the computer to dictate what fields would be watered, which soil needed to be enriched, and just how much power the machines providing these luxuries were allowed to use. Layard was grateful as humanly possible for these tools, but these tools were useless once the technicians gave in to the dismal visage of Earth. Machines wore down, and needed to be jerry-rigged. Even simple tears in the plastic sheets from the occasional micrometeoroid needed to be sealed with a heatgun. And this took legwork. The sort of legwork where every minute of travel time meant cubic square feet of air mixture being lost. Slow and meandering mile long treks hauling bulky equipment. The only noise he'd hear would be his own heart and lungs and the creaking of his knees inside of his space suit. He had trained himself not to think about what noises might becoming from Earth.
Layard checked the lines, and when he saw that Field Eight's pressure was down, he exhaled sharply in sympathy. He strapped his heatgun and spare sheets of tarp to his back and began the moonwalk that he knew would tire him out the more he thought of it. Each bone in his feet reacted alongside their muscles as they flexed, each cautious, conservative step bringing him further out into the field. Rows of grain all to his right, and blank white to his left. A sweep of the perimeter could take hours, and he always started along the left side, putting as much of a green barrier between himself and Earth's perpetual disk of grey. Hours passed, and he hit the edge of the field. He turned right, and continued along the far rim, searching for a tear. More hours and no luck. Turning right again, he began trekking back towards the prefab structure. Half the day spent, and the clean black rip showed itself. This one was not particularly large, and as he stepped towards it, feeling the slight hiss of gasses flowing out onto the moonscape. It was trouble. Earth was aloft in the sky, and he clenched his eyes while repressing an endless scream as his heatgun warmed up.
It wasn't repetition that had made this sort of work dig into his body so harshly. It was the knowledge that he was in a race. The moonbase's systems were not designed to deactivate via some sort of dead man's switch. He knew the mechanism well enough. Someone on that blasted planet above him had sent the code with their intentions planned in full. Layard's hands and his callouses and his muscles and his bones, all working in unison to close off this window to Earth, he worked fast and efficiently. His actions were perfectly automatic.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 10:22|
Jackson glared at the camera in the corner of the room, he couldn’t remember the last time he wasn’t being watched by half the galaxy. He kept reminding himself that one more victory in the coliseum is all they needed, after that his army known as the Seraphim would be free to return home. He looked back down at the table where he had laid out the plan for the final battle.
“Think we’ll get to go home today boss?”
“You definitely won’t pipsqueak, but I’ll be sure to console your mother” Eddie said with a laugh.
“Zip it Ed. We’ll go home if we win today Tony and don’t call me boss, we’re all equals here. Now go get ready it’s almost time to start.” Tony entered the lift for the armory and gave the two others a small smile as he left.
“’We’re all equals’, that’s rich Jax. Tony is weak as hell, not even half the fighter of you or me. That kid ain’t got a chance in hell of making it out of here alive. None of us do really.” Jackson got up from the table, grabbed Eddie by his shirt collar and threw him against the wall.
“I know exactly what our chances are.” Jackson drew his knife out of his pocket and pressed it to Eddie’s neck. “Hope is our strongest ally here Ed. I don’t need you walking around telling people things are over before they’ve even started. You’re my right hand, what kind of message do you think that sends? Take a moment, pull it together, then go suit up.”
Jackson gave Eddie a shove towards the lift. Eddie rubbed his neck and checked for blood, “the Entites have drat near twice as many men as we do and let’s not forget that they have that freak Zebadiah. But whatever you say boss” Eddie said with a smile as he left for the armory.
Jackson strapped on his armor and picked up his shield, sword and spear. Even after three years Jackson was surprised by how light everything felt, “lunar gravity” he thought to himself. He grabbed his helmet and headed towards the staging area. Tony and Eddie joined him on the platform that would rise to the coliseum floor. After a few moments the warning lights in the staging area began to flash and the platform began to rise. Jackson placed a hand on Tony’s shoulder as the platform rose, and gave him a slight nod. Tony and Eddie shielded their eyes from the light as the platform cleared the ground level of the coliseum. The roar of the crowd was pretty high at this point, every seat had been sold out. Jackson looked up at the scoreboard to see the tallies for the strength of each army.
SERPHAIM - 1035
ENTITE - 1942
“loving bunch of shits. They all come here to watch us die, cheer on every kill. If I could get up into the stands I’d give them something to loving cheer about.”
“Settle down Ed, regardless oh how this goes we’ll never have to see them after tonight.” The other platforms with the rest of the Seraphim army began to clear ground level. Jackson looked at the timer on the scoreboard, “get your game face on we’re starting in a couple minutes.”
Tony handed Jackson a megaphone. He raised it up and shouted “gather ‘round my brothers!” Tony and Eddie stood behind Jackson, and the other members of the Seraphim got as close as they could. Jackson jumped onto an over-turned bucket so that the crowd could see him. “This is it, we’ve come to the end of our journey at last. Three years ago we started this tournament with ten thousand warriors. Together we’ve defeated every army that has been put in our way, and now only one more test remains. The enemy we face is strong, and they nearly double our numbers. The attrition of battle has taken it’s toll, but it’s also hardened you all so that today I stand with a thousand of the fiercest warriors ever known. Every man here is worth ten of theirs!”
“What about Zebadiah? They say he’s bigger than two men combined and can crush a man’s skull with his bare hands,” a voice from the crowd yelled.
“Zebadiah is but a single man. He will fall to our spears and swords you can be sure of that. No man can defeat us, we fight together and together we are greater than any man!” The army gave a cheer, every spectator fell silent. “It’s time to live up to our namesake, lift your voices brothers, strike fear in the hearts of our enemy!”
The army yelled in unison, the sound echoing across the empty coliseum floor and through the stands filled with spectators, “HA-OOH!”
“These Entite mongrels dare to stand in our way! We will not rest until the ground is soaked with their blood!”
“Like the arch-angels of the God of old, we will rain down destruction upon our enemies. We are the mighty Seraphim!
“For our fallen brothers! For our families and homes! For each other! HA-OOH!”
“HA-OOH! HA-OOH! HA-OOH!”
“Charge!” As the Serphaim army rushed towards the Entites, rumbling with a deep battle cry, all of the Entites took a step back.
Jackson pulled his sword out of Zebadiah’s chest. The two of them had battled for what felt like an eternity and he had found himself separated from the rest of his men. Jackson ripped off a piece of his shirt and tied it around his leg to keep the bleeding to a minimum. He gave a quick survey of the battlefield and couldn’t see anyone still fighting. Jackson looked up to the scoreboard and fell to his knees.
SERPHAIM - 1
ENTITE - 0
He began to hear the crowd for the first time since the battle started. Thousands of aliens mimicking “HA-OOH!”
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 11:53|
Funeral for the Rest of the Europan Humankind
I am conflicted about how to feel about Jupiter. The biggest planet in the solar system could not fill the entire sky. I’d learned few months ago that pictures where Big Splotchy Orb reigned the night sky were camera tricks; a ‘lens thing’ that would impress viewers. In actuality Jupiter didn’t fill half my field of vision.
“For every human being who looks up at this moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.”
The end of the speech confirmed my xenophobia. My ears can only interpret their English as from another planet entirely; the syllables they choose to emphasize were almost always the wrong ones. But their heart was in it. They sincerely felt sad at the foreign corpses inside the coffins lining their home. Even though we suspected them. Even though we’ve attacked them. They spoke those words as if they mean something to us.
The main speaker started reciting the list of dead humans. I only recognized three names out of those 212. I hesitated on reminiscing about my relationships with them until their names had been spoken.
The main speaker spoke out the name of a janitor I once shared a cheese sandwich with.
The main speaker spoke out the name of a monk who once asked me where the nearest restroom was.
The main speaker spoke out the name of fellow laboratory user who died by ignoring safety precautions. My lab partner was always ignorant of such ‘bureaucratic non-scientific twaddle’.
I have no idea what to do during the recital of unfamiliar names. All I hope is that confusion can’t last 200 names; I must feel something by then. I tried to imagine the amazing paragraphs written by people on Earth to remember this tragedy. I then realized I can’t imagine well-written epitaphs.
I failed at imagining myself as the grieving family members.
I couldn’t push any water out of my eyes.
I looked at my boots and just went back to the memories of three months of preparation.
The workers stood up from their chairs after the 212nd name had been uttered. They lifted the coffins and inserted it into the rocket. After several failed attempts at helping them they finally impolitely asked me to leave it to them.
I can’t feel sad. I can’t distract myself from not feeling sad by doing things. I’m the last man on this moon and I can’t act human. What can I do then?
212 people. I am not familiar with most of them. How many females are there? At least two. How many are non-Singaporean? At least three. How many –ologies and –ologists are involved in this program? I have no clue.
212 pioneers. The first ones to discover civilization in Europa. The first ones to establish peaceful relationship with said civilization. Most of them are heroes. I should’ve lamented their deaths. It should not be hard for me to be sad over them. I should have cried waterfalls by now. I have the suit that allows me to do that without my tears freezing even in the minus 130 degrees atmosphere.
212 friends. I couldn’t cry over the death of 212 friends. My heart was not warmed by the Europans’ attempts at Earth funeral. Everyone besides me had prepared the stage for my theatrical display of sadness. I couldn’t do it.
Why couldn’t I?
Am I a psychopath?
Have my anti-social behaviour these past forty years shielded myself from human emotions?
Have I left my humanity on Earth?
What do these Europans have that I don’t? How could they cry at the deaths of people from an entirely different culture? It’s sickening. It’s annoying. It’s alien. They are empaths. They can probe into our memories and create perfect copy of our emotions. They are a hivemind that have absorbed all the culture from the literature we’ve brought. They don’t actually have solid forms; they are constructed from what we think humans should be.
Of course they’re loving not.
It’s just…the nature of living beings. Emotions. Sympathy. They all know how sad this should be.
So what is wrong with me?
I screamed. Thankfully, the tele-communicator inside my head-suit automatically cuts off noise above certain levels of loudness. No one can hear these screams of a confused man. I walked towards one of the coffins. This one bore the name of my lab partner. I kicked the coffin.
“What am I supposed to feel for you? Am I supposed to cry? Am I supposed to wail? What do you want from me? What do you expect from me?” I continued kicking the coffin that didn’t budge. “I don’t know you. I don’t know your birthday. I don’t even remember your last name! Don’t think I ever asked...”
One of the Europans pulled me away from the coffin.
“What am I supposed to do here?”
The Europan suggested that I should pray them luck for their afterlife travels. Hah. Like I know their religion. Like I know anything about religion. Like I ever cared. The best I could say is “May you go to Heaven.” And it’s not like I would be able to say that sincerely.
My eyes are still dry.
I cursed at this apathy. I cursed at my lack of social interactions. I cursed at myself. These useless curses can’t even lift my spirits.
The final coffin had finally been inserted into the rocket. Then the musicians began their magic. The ice under the rocket melted from the ignition. And soon they would soar towards the Big Splotchy Orb. The rocket would then explode in Jupiter’s atmosphere and send the ashes towards any of the coloured storms.
I watched as the rest of humankind stationed on Europa flew towards Jupiter. In about 41 hours I will be the only Homo sapiens left on Europa.
My eyes are still dry.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 15:50|
sup Europa buddy
The Europa Sea
The flare shone against the stars. It crossed the disk of Jupiter large in the sky and snuffed out, then a smaller light appeared, almost imperceptible, and began to fall. It grew larger and larger until it dominated even the swollen red light of the Sun, a column of fire from the heart of a dark mass that churned up the water into a cloud of steam.
The vessel came to rest on the seas of Europa.
A hatch swung open on top of the ship and an arm and head levered over the side, clad in a sleek spacesuit. The figure heaved himself out onto the impromptu deck of the ship, then stood up and stared at the star. The red light drenched the dark crags of his face.
“This is it, Daniel,” said the ship inside his helmet. “Old Sol.”
“She’s had better days,” said Daniel. He walked over to the water’s edge and looked down. The water rippled with the ship’s bobbing motion. He couldn’t see any fish, but that would have been too much to ask. “Man. A real, natural water world. Not everyone can say they’ve seen that.” He tapped his helmet and the sound of the moon’s thin winds played in his ears. “They say Earth was mostly water on the surface. But that’s all burned away now. This is the next best thing.” He squinted into the sun. “Ship, can we really not go there?”
“It’s too hot that far in. We could pass through, but not land.” A pause. “Daniel, there’s something you should know.”
“What?” He turned to look at the main body of the ship.
“While you were in hibernation, the Quershing broadcast stopped. They reported a metaphylum infestation, and then their furnace failed. They’re gone, Daniel.”
A sucking void opened in his gut and spread to fill the world. “They were the last,” he said through numb lips.
“No other colonies are known.”
Daniel took a deep breath, then another, then a step and hurled himself into the air with all the force of his legs against the moon’s weak gravity.
“One giant leap!” He sailed through the air, flailing ridiculously, and came down on the far side of the deck.
“One giant leap!” He lifted up again and carried clear over the side. Suddenly there was only the red water as far as he could see, and it rose up to meet him. He splashed down in the crimson. The water of the sea roiled around him as he thrashed, and he tasted salt in his mouth.
“I stole this thing to get away from those fuckers. And every day, every day I decided again, that I wasn’t going back. And now I can’t.”
His helmet slipped beneath the surface. The red light started to dim into the distance.
“Daniel, are you alright?”
He kicked and swam up. He broke the surface by the ship and hauled himself over, and sprawled on the deck.
“Dammit. Dammit!” He thumped the deck. The ship waited in silence. “They could have used you, couldn’t they?”
“It is possible that with access to my capabilities Quernmore would have survived longer, or despatched me with colonists as an ark to another solar system. However, the late broadcasts suggest increasing civil strife which could have compromised my operational capacity or seen me used as a weapon against...”
“Don’t make excuses for me.”
“Then I will note that they did despatch an ark, with a colonist. In effect.”
Daniel watched Jupiter roll past, then looked at the ship.
“It’s been billions of years. More has happened than we can begin to know. We’ve risen and fallen and watched our children fly the nest and become gods. And then die, or fly away themselves. We’ve been a footnote since forever. Our time at the top was a rounding error.”
He levered himself to his feet. “All we have from those glory days are a handful of empty phrases. ‘One Giant Leap’? Did anyone say that? Who the gently caress knows, I learned it from a file written by a guy who learned it from a file.” The Sun filled his visor and he pointed at it. “That’s burning brighter than ever. But it’s dying. And before it’s done it’ll have burned Earth to smoke. That cradle was the only thing we were ever meant for, and it’s long gone. I think it’s time to give it a rest. Let the others have a go. Whatever, wherever they are.”
“The world is old for you, Daniel. You’re old. But it will be new for the children. That rounding error will have passed again by the time the Sun dies.”
Daniel sighed and grinned. The ship was right. He waited a while to order his thoughts, then looked up at where the main ship was waiting in orbit.
“Ship, your new task is to find somewhere suitable, here or elsewhere, and construct a human civilisation. Let them rule themselves as soon as possible. You can use whatever you like from the cornucopia, but don’t give them histories, and don’t use my genes. Take your body and go do that. But this one,” he stamped on the deck, “I’m keeping for myself.”
“What do you plan to do with it?”
“I’m going back to where it started, to wait for the fire. Nothing better to do.”
Daniel had never used manual before. It took him some time to solve the orbital equations, but time he had. The flare of the main ship had vanished from naked view by the time he input the flight plan and the small vessel lifted from the ocean to make its way inwards.
As it flew it extended a vast mirror in front that gleamed red in the sunlight. Radiator fronds sprouted in the shadow and glowed infra-red. But the heat still rose inside as it went deeper and deeper.
He would be the last man on the moon.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 16:56|
Funeral for the Rest of the Europan Humankind
Pre-emptive pat on the back for completing by bullshit ruling. I didn't think you had it in you!
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 18:11|
I had gotten my story out so early because I knew I wouldn't have time to handle it later this week, but I've still got a few hours if the deadline doesn't shift, so I should have a new story out in time.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 19:37|
3 hours to go. Flash rules coming at 2 hours and 1 hour to go.
Still waiting on Noah, Birdofplay, Sitting Here and Black Griffon.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 21:02|
”I’m not leaving Moon Beez.”
Jongle, a man in his eighties with thin gray hair and sinewy limbs, stood crossed armed. In front of him stood a security guard armed with a grimace. They were located in Dome E, also known as Lunar Lovers Lane, of Moon Beez. Moon Beez was the last amusement park still operational on the Moon. Other amusement parks, located in various craters and plateaus of the Moon had fallen on hard times and had gone out of business. Only Moon Beez still stood, defying the whims of fickle tourists.
”I’m sorry Mr. Bernard, but them’s orders. Everyone leaves. Hell, everyone’s left!” Krunch said.
Krunch’s last assignment as security officer of Moon Beez was to escort all employees to the Shuttle Bay. Everyone had been sullen, but cooperative. Except for Jongle Bernard. Krunch had been at Moon Beez for over ten years, Krunch’s supervisor for over 30, and Jongle Bernard had been there longer than both of them by at least one more generation.
”I don’t care, I’m not leaving,” Jongle said, sitting on a park bench. Krunch sighed. Many of the people he had escorted out had been unhappy, but had understood the state of affairs of Moon Beez. None of them had fought, some of them even had their belongings already packed. Jongle was still sweeping.
”Mr. Bernard, the park’s shutting down. It’s time to go home,” Krunch said. Jongle looked up at Krunch, with his head cocked to the side and one cheek bone raised. Krunch felt his face heat up and flush.
”What I mean to say is, the season is over. You can’t stay here, everything’s getting turned off. We’re packing it all in,” Krunch said. “Everyone’s gone back to their homes, just like we always do, except this time we aren’t coming back.”
“Son, do you even know what home is?”
Krunch’s bottom lip and chin stuck forward just a bit and he raised an eyebrow.
“Of course I do, what do you mean?”
“I’m sure you’ve got a family, a house, friends, pets or what have you. What is it that you think I have?”
”I honestly haven’t thought about it.” Krunch was telling the truth. He honestly thought of Jongle as more of a fixture at Moon Beez. Similar to the pock marked Moon headed mascot that stumbled around Moon Beez scaring children.
“You and every other person here,” Jongle said. “Do you know what I wanted most when I was a boy? To go to space. To be on the Moon. To do something wondrous. And now it’s so ordinary that no one cares anymore.”
Krunch opened his mouth and Jongle stared at him with a hard gaze.
“I have no family. I have no where to go. No one to see. Nothing to do. Just a life of regret and unfulfilled dreams. And now, you little poo poo, are trying to bully me along because I’m not convenient to Moon Beez anymore.”
”Wait a minute—“
“Shut up you. I gave everything to Moon Beez to live out a dream. Do you think my dream was to sweep up trash in a lovely amusement park? My dream was big, big as the Universe. And this was as far as I could get. Now leave me alone, so I can at least be the last man on the Moon.”
Krunch rolled his eyes and pursed his lips.
“Don’t make me get desperate,” Krunch said, reaching for the taser strapped to his belt.
”I don’t think you know what desperation looks like,” Jongle said. Krunch’s face went slack and he straightened up. Jongle flicked the end of his broom, bringing it into Krunch’s groin. A dull, hollow pain shot into his stomach and one knee buckled. Jongle bent and grabbed at the taser holstered to Krunch’s belt. Krunch swatted at Jongle with one hand, his weight one the other as he tried to maintain his balance. Jongle came free with the taser, and pressed it to Krunch’s neck.
The taser crackled and Krunch’s body tensed up. He went stiff and slumped over before his body succumbed to spasms. Jongle fled dropping the taser and broom stick. Several minutes passed before Krunch regained composure.
Turning a bend in the walkway, Krunch saw Jongle up ahead, moving much slower than when he had escaped. Alternating between limping and jogging, Jongle swayed like a drunk on the springy rubberized asphalt path. Krunch doubled his pace to catch up but stopped as Jongle’s movements began to worry him.
With his arms bent at the elbows, but his wrists limp, Jongle kept trying to run. His pace slowed to a crawl and his head lolled backwards. All at once his legs finally collapsed under his scrawny frame and he pitched forward. Krunch ran to his side, grabbing Jongle’s jacket and turning him over.
A weak smile spread across Jongle’s face. Wrinkles formed around his cheeks and loose neck skin. His breath was shallow and light. But he was smiling.
”What were you thinking old man?”
“That I’m still better than you lot, and I could have killed you back there if I wanted to,” Jongle said. He was right, the taser had incapacitated Krunch thoroughly.
“I wanted to be the last man on the Moon,” Jongle said. “And I could have done it if I wanted to, and I let it go.”
Krunch took off his jacket and draped it on Jongle. He didn’t know why, but he felt he had to do something as he tucked it under the collapsed old man.
“Now piss off, and be quick about it, so maybe I can at least have one more thing to be happy about,” Jongle rasped. Krunch stood up and looked down at Jongle. Jongle wasn’t looking at him, but upwards towards the clear domed ceiling where stars were twinkling and the last shuttles departed Moon Beez. Krunch turned and walked to the Shuttle port leaving Jongle behind, staring into space.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 22:02|
I decided to just use a new post to do the story so it's clear I didn't edit the older submission multiple times.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 22:03|
|# ? Jun 20, 2019 19:15|
"I would have written you a shorter letter, but I did not have time."
Word count reduced to 950.
|# ? Sep 2, 2012 22:18|