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  • Locked thread
Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011



Nubile Hillock posted:

IF KAISHAI AND ECHOCIAN DO NOT SIGN UP THEY WILL FOREVER BE KNOWN AS TEAM SMELLS-A-BUNCH

Your petty threats and insults are meaningless (especially since Kaishai already signed up forever ago).

...But I have an idea now so heck, I'm in with Phantasmagorical Fantasy Fantasia Weekly.

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Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

sign-ups are now closed

The editors of $YOUR_NOMINATED_PULP_MAGAZINE have acknowledged your expression of interest and are eagerly awaiting your submission within 47 and a quarter hours because the usual slushmonkeys are just putting their worthless trash up in self-published Amazon Digital CrapFests and calling themselves authors.

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at 08:23 on May 4, 2013

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning






Sorry for the HUGE delay in providing the critique on the brawl, Noah/Hillock/sebmojo. I JUST finally caught a break today.

The Saddest Rhino posted:

Thunderbrawl (ROUND 2 OF 3) - Noah vs Nubile Hillock vs sebmojo

PROMPT: Visit the Anti-Food Porn thread and choose a food that is disgusting to you. You shall then write a loving culinary porn story revolving that particular dish/abomination that makes it sound amazing and delicious.

RULE: You may not choose a disgusting food you secretly like (like Durian, I actually love that, gently caress Andrew Zimmerman and his inability to discern what food is delicious) (also if you disobey this rule, you know you are only bluffing to yourself and you will never live it down, winning this thunderbrawl on a lie)

1000 words max, submission is the same deadline as this week's TD.


Nubile Hillock posted:

Chickencheese for a Dream

Dish

Some kind of radioactive chicken cooked in a can with the heartstopping gif of it slipping onto a plate, served with sprayed cheese as if you were using Febreze on food.

Critique

I think my most major issue with this story was how it addressed the prompt, which was to write a story about the amazing eating of a disgusting food. What I have noticed is that you have put a lot more effort into the cyberpunk story – especially the last action bit of Brett and Kayla evading the police cruiser – than the actual chickencheese consuming part. Are these two your own established characters / is the environment something you have been worldbuilding?

The chickencheese bits were clearly rushed, although it was loving disgusting enough (I just realized what easycheese was and nearly gagged realizing that Kayla was huffing aerosol cheese) and I did enjoy the description of the muscles and sinews being torn apart. The chickencheese becomes, unfortunately, an optional subplot to the main storyline of the Kayla and Brett doing cybercrimeshotgun stuff, and removed from the story wouldn’t make much of a difference. Once they have finished the chicken, the plot (much like the bones in the story itself) were removed completely and never referred to ever again. Perhaps make it more significant by having the chickencheese relate to their experience further – noted the point where you had Brett saying “real meat” – drive home a little that it was the first real food (in whatever way it was) that they had for a long while.

Can it be served in Top Chef?

Yes, but you can’t just play it safe! This is Top Chef not Top Easycheese.

Would the sight of Padma Lakshmi, the most beautiful woman on this whole wide earth, eating this dish make it palatable?

Yes, subject to Padma dressing up in leather, possessing three tits and living in Mars.

Noah posted:

Blu Velvet

Dish

A petri dish made of aged curdled milk containing insect eggs and a million other types of dangerous bacteria and viruses. You can choose to eat the insects living or dead.

Critique

I know I joked about this being Gay Reluctant Cheese Wheel Thieves, but I actually did enjoy this a lot, notwithstanding the odd decision of having them wearing socks with sandals in blazing hot Sardinia. The description of them eating the cheese was properly amazing, especially how you described the larvae’s tiny movements as “butterfly kisses” (although I was hoping you followed through by describing the larva pupating and emerging as beautiful disgusting butterflies in their mouth/throat/stomachs). I found your description of the consumption of the cheese, going into details on the acidity, the flavor and the aroma to be more successful than Hillock’s. Also, it was clear you did your research in describing how the accompaniments (the apple, the bread and the honey) works with the cheese, and your writing on those bits were so good it actually made the loving thing sounds good. Although I can’t quite imagine gum-tickling larvae to be effervescent.

The only downsides, I felt was (1) there being less writing made with respect to the larvae, since that is the main thing why the Casu Marzu is so unappetizing in the first place; and (2) the story being a slightly clichéd “kids steal great food and get beaten up by the Mafioso”. It’s because of sebmojo’s story being more interesting than yours that you lost out, because otherwise this was really good.

Can it be served in Top Chef?

You are only one step away from winning USD 250,000, a feature in Fertilizer and Wine Magazine and becoming the new Top Chef!

Would the sight of Padma Lakshmi, the most beautiful woman on this whole wide earth, eating this dish make it palatable?

Still undecided on whether I’m ok with Padma’s lovely lips being rubbed with larvae while huffing more weed.

sebmojo posted:

Entomology

Dish

Deep fried Tarantulas.

Do you know this is the only type of food Andrew Zimmern will only eat without complaint on Bizarre Foods? “Oh this is deep fried and I only taste the oil and some crispy batter yep all the taste is masked and I dunno what real spiders actually is like. Also I hate durian because I am secretly a bad person (unlike Anthony Bourdain).” Andrew Zimmern .

Critique

“I’ve had spiders in my rear end for a while.” What the gently caress kind of opening line is this. And of course thanks to that attention-grabber the whole story immediately opens up like a flower. Like a flower smelling of rot and last night’s puke of day-old kebab and vodka and red bull.

There isn’t much on the description of the eating of the spider (the only part being that last bit of breaking off a limb to suck out the meat), but the story behind it, driving forth on how it led to the narrator blowing up his apartment and consuming the spider, was so horrific and catchy that I completely forgot about it. Honestly, that’s my only complaint about your piece –the choice of deep fried tarantulas being uninspired – but once I read your entry it is immediately understood why you made that choice and the striking horror elements that can be conveyed from a filthy apartment full of vermin.

Have to admit though, when you wrote “I licked my long dead fireplace two nights ago” it made me laugh and took me away from the story. I know there is a humour behind the horror in the story (what with the “Emperor of the Arachnids” and the eight legs being “like a Japanese factory robot”) but that was just a little too goofy.

Can it be served in Top Chef?

Joining the finalists, fresh from Last Chance Kitchen, our version of Redemption Island (which everyone hates!)

Would the sight of Padma Lakshmi, the most beautiful woman on this whole wide earth, eating this dish make it palatable?

Padma why are

why are there spiders in your rear end

Padma are those spiders coming out from your mouth

Padma no

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME


Hey so due to reasons I am 99.999 sure I won't be able to get anything done for this week. Scratch me off, I await your derision, etc etc etc.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW



Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME



The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning






Since I’m catching up on all my Internet workload I should also put this forward right now:

CRITIQUE ON THAT PARTICULAR THUNDERDOME WEEK WHERE PEOPLE REWRITE PREVIOUS TERRIBLE ENTRIES TO BE BETTER (AND MOSTLY FAILING)

PRETENTIOUS PREFACE

(NOTE: I realize this is way later than the reasonable critique date and most of you would have heard from the other judges and have improved on these. I just felt I should put this out because I hate owing you guys poo poo. Due to lack of time though I’m reproducing most of my notes to the other judges when considering the losers / winners so it’s not much new to them)

[14:50] SaddestRhino: honestly, this is the week where i thought the most about the writing process because there are just SO MANY PROBLEMS with a number of entries

I feel that a major issue people had in this challenge was thinking "I'm going to rewrite!" but not bothering to write a good piece. It's the same reason why people hate movie/television remakes nowadays which do not capture the essence of the original or, worse, are shot-by-shot remakes of the original (like that Gus Van Sant Psycho remake in 1998). Incredibly, there are some this particular week which managed to be worse than the original losing pieces.

This is of course made more impressive due to this exchange:

The Saddest Rhino posted:

Is there any particular reason why you lot are choosing losing/terrible stories other than to make the judges reread all the worst stories of the previous TD rounds?

CantDecideOnAName posted:

Personally, I picked the loser because I figured it had nowhere to go but up.

This is not calling you out, CantDecide, but to illustrate my point which is: why are there so many people who failed to go “anywhere but up”.

The process, I feel, should have been to read the original and let the idea or the plot sink in first before attempting to rework it. It's not the same as editing each line and making them better, as it misses the major issues of the original piece. It’s deciding which parts can be improved, and which parts act as deterrent and can be removed/reworked. The pieces in what I term the High Pile match those criteria.

Those in the Low Pile – not so much.

This goes into editing your own stories as well. Never treat them as precious babies that must be nurtured line by line. Look at them objectively, find out the big elements of what you want to convey, and find out what is a better way to do it. Would the story benefit from the choices your characters make? Would a completely different direction, location, or time make the story work better? Would it help to be from a different character’s perspective? More importantly, can you get rid of your protagonist without losing anything?

But I’m rambling. Here are my unhelpful critique which hopefully helps you be a better writer. Other than categorizing in piles these are not put in any particular order.



HIGH PILE:

Dr Kloctopussy - Slave and Slaver, Weave and Waver

This addressed some of the issues existing in the original, which was a stream-of-consciousness piece which could be confusing and lacking a little in the ending. The improvement in clarity and characterisation helps a lot.

I had some issues with the teeth, primarily because it was a huge motivation drive for the narrator in the beginning but dropped out of sight at the end when he decided to follow the younger slave to freedom. I would have preferred it being mentioned as no longer bearing any importance, either by action or thought.

Kaishai – Terminus

This captured the much-needed unsettling creepiness so lacking in the original piece and it got rid of all those unnecessary parts, such as Shep’s history in the town, and used the “I am Legion” line the best out of the three. Especially liked the townsfolk moving in unison and the freezer scene (which was cold).

My biggest gripe is the paragraph describing the waitress grabbing his gun: “But the girl snatched at his gun with unnatural speed” slows down the action and tells us it’s unnatural rather than show. I also have a feeling that “Jeff shot his revolver at her” is not grammatically correct.

V For Vegas – The Song

Wow, I had a read of the original and it was HORRIBLE. WHY DO YOU ALL MAKE ME READ ALL THESE TERRIBLE STORIES.

This rewrite eschews all the ridiculous 90s comic fantasy crap of the original and turns it into a magic realism piece – in South America, no less! – and renders the song sequence into something which actually provides nuance and meaning. There is some slowdown during the conversation between Magdalena and Barros in the middle, but the last few paragraphs are good enough to elevate it. Would suggest shortening the middle so that the effect of the song sequence is more pronounced.

Jeza - An object lesson in futility; Or how to gently caress poo poo up but be reassured by the fact you know nothing even matters

Not a big fan of being forced to read two horrible entries especially another of SaviourX’s.

Interestingly, I actually thought your Lucifer bit was better than your worldbuilding parts, which was completely the other way round of what you thought of the entry. Maybe I’m just easily amused by funny things.

he beginning worldbuilding could be briefer, but I appreciate that you were using the WHR piece to describe the structure of the place, which definitely works better here. It does however take a little too long to get to the meat, which I really did enjoy when hidden in this huge, imposing story about myths and creation, it turns out to be a hilarious anecdote about gods and creations. Also, I’m always mindful of adverbs, but “Lucifer raged tinily” makes such an amazing line especially coupled with the ending “He was vexed.” I have to give it an A.

sebmojo – Requiescat

Both the original and revised versions are good piece, so I had to practise some objectivity in trying to read this by itself. Fine use of language and the pacing is just right, and this stands as a fine revision of the original without making any unnecessary improvement/rework like some of the other entries try to.



MIDDLE PILE:

Good news! For both the Middle Pile and the Low Pile I’m giving you foxes a new judging criteria, which is whether Rural Rentboying up your story would actually make it loving better. (Answer: Yes)

twinkle cave - chips beer babies shirts blood

A running theme I have noticed about your stories is that you are obviously drunkwriting all of them.

Seriously, I think you have good ideas, and when you implement them well it kicks you in the guts hard, but its marred by your execution lacking some finesse requiring a lot of editorial work. I found the idea to trailer trash-ise the characters and change the original story (about a man's frustration of not having a child) to a woman exercising her own abortion rather refreshing. However, I didn’t like the long build up it took for the meat of the story – Courtney attacking the man and then getting the other girls to cause her abortion – to turn up, and there were a number of grammatical issues present there. I also didn’t really understand how Courtney became a luchador. If it weren’t for the technical issues, this would be higher.


Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
Eh, if the abortion is a gay janitor maybe.

magnificent7 - Feed the Eye that Bites

Too much exposition and worldbuilding, and I felt that whatever creeping sense of despair that was originally present in the story was removed. This is largely a technique issue – you have not made the scene strange and foreign enough, and the odd character popping up was too unsubtle. The pit appearing suddenly in the end was also too abrupt and unfortunately, caused your story to end up flat.

I’m also not entirely sure how a person falling into a pit has the time to say “I don’t understand wait what — ”

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
The creepy old lady should be a gay janitor because neither are very subtle at all.

systran - The Opera House

Ok, I laughed at KPO no longer being Katy Perry but now a communist party, but this falls into the same traps the original has, i.e. the strange pacing towards the end where she gets attacked and regains consciousness. Yes, yes, the joke is clever. But is it clever enough to make your story work? If you have thought of something amazing and clever and you find yourself writing your way around it rather than it assisting you in elevating the story, then you should consider discarding it and using it for a more suitable story.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
I think homosexuality should be accepted in all societies, including fictional communist ones.

Cancercakes –Skin on Skin

This feels like a really unsubtle 80s action movie mostly due to the dialogue. These are astronauts – why does Trev talk like he was the fodder in a Jason Statham movie? (I am however mindful that there was [url= http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Nowak]an astronaut who drove cross-country in adult diapers in an attempt to kidnap another astronaut[/url], so they are not exactly rocket scientists)

There’s also some confusion about how Trev is talking after becoming unconscious. I think the whole first part can be scrapped and changed to a single short couple of lines, since they don’t add to anything other than Gurpeet being super nice and friendly.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
Yes, replace Gurpeet with him.

Nubile Hillock –Ruble Rentboys

This is another piece that made me laugh, mostly due to the characters now becoming homosexual labourers suffering in an oppressing communist regime. The joke is I am a horrible person.

This was very competent, and well written RIGHT UNTIL where Vasha lost control of his bicycle. His death doesn’t feel like it fits in the theme of the rest of the story, and some of the stranger choices you made (such as the perspective shift) appear to have been done because you wanted to add that last line of the Russian curse, which doesn’t really work anyway.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
YES WHY DID YOU REMOVE HIM although I’m really glad you had him in another piece.

Jagermonster – Pursuit of Honour

I didn’t like either the perspective or the tense shifts in this story. It is still better than the original, which I didn’t realise until today that it was so anime that it involved two girls jumping off longboats in the middle of a thunderstorm over an ocean to swordfight, and one managed to kiss the other during that. A bit too much exposition in this, the Vikings have character but their actions make little sense:

ERIK: “HONOUR”
OLAF : “NO HONOUR”
ERIK: “HONOUUURRRRRR”
OLAF: “NOOOOO HONOURRRRRR”

, but it served its purpose of rewriting poo poo into not-poo poo.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
I don’t really think Vikings were that much into hygiene and sanitation.

Fanky Malloons

1. Consequences

Definitely a vast improvement on the original. I thought the description of the unsettling nature of the townsfolk was quite all right, but the action sequence could be tighter, which resulted in a couple of tense issues (or what seemed like it but is due to sentence structuring matters). Not happy with a character’s “true form” breaking loose – how would Shep know that was her “true form”? 2nd out of 3 of the brawl.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
I want you to picture a rough, disgusting and hairy gay janitor mouthing the words sultrily, “I am Legion.”

2. The Shadow over Islamorado

I’m confused about this piece. There are almost line-by-line identical sentences with the original. In fact, almost all the dialogue lines are identical. The only improvement I see is Bronco’s character being given an extra layer by being less open-minded in the original (who was happy to get it on with a post-op dolphin).

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
Not really, since it’s a two-character piece. Maybe the janitor can be a jellyfish?

Nikaer Drekin – The Deviant Machine

Well, this informed me why 2012 me never bothered to read the original, which was horrendous for being a dumb joke stretched to 1500 words. I had the luxury of reading the rewritten version first, so while I couldn’t stand the hokey 80s sci-fi movie vibe coming out of almost everything (AI! SCIENCE!, the monosyllabic chattering of the robot, the clik-click-click-click, Sarah kissing Calvin who turned out to be the bane of all women – a hot gay man) which reads like a VHS tape of a bootleg Terminator movie, I appreciated the joke of the robot turning into a loving otherkin in love with an anime.

Does the joke elevate the story to not being terrible? No, not really. There’s no foreshadowing and the action, such as Mike getting killed and Sarah going into The Matrix, are a little shoddy. I also don’t understand why Sarah wants to be an otherkin robot but like all 80s sci-fi movies, who the hell knows?

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
You know, I probably would have preferred if the robot’s totem animal was a gay janitor and not an anime.

Auroboks – Roadbumps

This is definitely better than the original, and the change of focus to the presidential candidate was a good one. He could be a bit more agreeable and loved in the beginning during the Andy/Phil scene, but I like the sudden, almost off-hand reveal of his political beliefs. Unfortunately the climax of the Jamal confrontation just somehow does not work, with the two acting oddly (especially Jamal, who shouldn’t be allowed into his office in the first place and has no reason to leave at all when he did), and somehow ending with him shooting Jamal. I know you want that last part of the murder easily being explained away, but the action itself needs to be less abrupt.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
Well, Jamal coooouuuuld be a gay janitor and it still wouldn’t make a lick of sense for how he acts.

Black Griffon – Sudden Loss

This was, unfortunately, done in by the word count rule, because it made the latter parts (the pervert getting caught in a clothesline, the cop informing Marian the capture) stilted and sudden. I really do appreciate the effort in trying to turn an anime pervert poem into an actual story, as the first part was a good piece.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
Gay Reluctant Panty Thieves doesn’t really work, no.

Fumblemouse – Tagged For Love

Why did this end with a dream? It didn’t have to! It worked just fine right there to let us know that everything in this dystopian future was inane and depressing! This was in fact very competent up till that last paragraph which just detracts the whole meaning to be derived from the story. In fact this is textbook why “waking up from a dream” works badly most of the time. OH MY GOD I AM SO MAD AT YOU FOR THIS

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
I’m just going to say you should make the girl a gay janitor because I want to spite you for making me mad reading a LA LA IT WAS ME DREAMIN story.

Canadian Surf Club – The End of Us

Nice idea of putting this in a spaceship with aliens, although I am not entirely sure how well the “We are Legion” line fits in here. Still fits better than the original! There are some issues with clarity and it is not as engaging as the other 2 entries, but it is a competent rewrite of what everyone assumed to be unredeemable and a valiant effort.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
Imagine a gay janitor that is made of a million pieces of gay janitor cells who can reform themselves and they bleed gay janitors rather than blood.

Noah – Blue and Pink

This is a nice character piece on Darcy, and I would have loved to see this during the Lucy/Darcy challenge. “This is how ugly I must look when I cry, Darcy thought.” is a good line, and the dialogue between the two are natural enough, but some parts deserve rewriting to allow for better flow and more introspection into Darcy’s character. The glaring mistake is when Darcy was deciding whether she was the mother of Lucy or the dead body which just did not make sense at all to me.

And that genderbending thing which came out of nowhere. Goddamn.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
Not really, actually I would put you in the high pile if it weren’t for some technical issues.

Bad Seafood – Ten Seconds to Midnight

If we want to do the whole videogame route, I would probably have preferred it was more obvious from the language used by Brian and to emphasize that his actions are not very military-trained. This was almost line-by-line rewrite although the tank scene is much better. I think I have addressed, in the same week, that the nuke kills off action, and it does the same thing here so it fell into the same unfortunate trap.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
See, if the nuke was a huge nude gay dude falling into the battlefield…

Martello – Solitaire

I like the first part of the world building, but it’s probably because I’m a sucker for this sort of Warren Ellis like “the near future is technologically impressive but hosed up” thing. I found the latter parts where she started having issues with her virtual fuckbuddy to be a bit too long – in fact, the third portion of Philip and Chinese food can be removed without much consequence so long as you describe his constant smile during the complaints sequence, and the latter bit revealing Gary to be the phone sex worker can be stretched out a bit better.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
“I want my fucktoy to have a personality.” “We can make him gay and scrub your floors.” “I WILL TAKE TEN.”



LOW PILE:

Voliun – 250

This was disappointing, mainly because the original, whilst could be improved, was cleverly-written, had a fun gimmick and one of the most memorable pieces in TD. The problem appears to be that you latched on to identifying what could be a similarly clever idea to incorporate, and then made the mistake of choosing the word count, which (personally) is not very clever at all. The execution also doesn’t reflect the original, where the actual writing informs the gimmick. The only parts addressing the gimmick were the numbers which, as a reader, I won’t be bothered to calculate. Misplaced ambition, unfortunately.

See my earlier critique above on systran’s piece re: cleverness.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
The gimmick is the number of boys the stereotyped gay janitor would pay to have sex with and I can’t remember where I’m going with this, but it was really clever right?

perpetulance – Close Door Button

The original was a problematic piece about a strawperson bugging a man in a lift to subscribe to new age ideologies, unintentionally making the protagonist an rear end in a top hat. I can appreciate you recognising that the man should be an rear end in a top hat, and you rightfully made him a gigantic PUA in this story. Everything is somewhat OK until the girl reacts with the “homeless person” line, and things go downhill from here.

The major issue is, the limited setting of the piece is prime for making this a character study piece, but neither the original nor the revised version offer anything but two-dimensional characters. The characters’ actions do not make sense and I am just left cold.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
This is a two-character piece so I don’t really think so? Unless the girl turns out to be like Lucy/Darcy in Noah’s piece and it turns out she’s a janitor and a dude and gay.

swamp waste - Cherry Job, rewritten as porno

Not FYAD enough and doesn't reach the hilarious parodies that haomo and co does in the FYAD thread, and tries to insert a clumsy reference to a video game in the most low-effort way possible. It doesn’t work. Very disappointing.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
Anything would.

crabrock: Yard Work 2

This is (a) a line-by-line edit and (b) somehow, loses the original intent of the story, which is to build a slow reveal that the yard work was being conducted because he murdered someone. The curtain has been drawn too early and whatever intrigue in the original was lost just in order to add some backstory. Do we need that backstory? (No.)

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
Make them all gay janitors killing and burying each other make it a quantum paradox that threatens the fabrics of time and space.

CantDecideOnAName: Sabotage

This was the prime example of line-by-line editing because it fell into ALL the traps the original had, including the unnecessary exposition of the house, the characters describing their irrelevant functions (E.G. “Yes. I make a point to be five minutes early to every appointment, to make sure there’s a space ready for me. We don’t want to start recording and realize the acoustics in the room are bad, after all.” – this is unimportant and can be easily excised), and the stilted dialogue in the interview. The ending is much better than the original one, so I have to give you that.

Can this be improved by including an irrelevant gay janitor?
The house should be a gay janitor. They are all talking and living in a gay janitor. The gay janitor is the world and they are its playthings.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at 17:20 on May 4, 2013

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Holy gently caress I have zero creative motivation. It's been a goddamn strenuous past few weeks for me. While many a writer would take that opportunity to write, reflect, do something with the experience, all I want to do is climb under my bed and hibernate.

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

magnificent7 posted:

Holy gently caress I have zero creative motivation. It's been a goddamn strenuous past few weeks for me. While many a writer would take that opportunity to write, reflect, do something with the experience, all I want to do is climb under my bed and hibernate.

The editors of Amazing Creeps plan to let a crate of scorpions loose in your house if you don't submit. I hope that serves as sufficient motivation.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Nikaer Drekin posted:

The editors of Amazing Creeps plan to let a crate of scorpions loose in your house if you don't submit. I hope that serves as sufficient motivation.
I always deliver. The idea hits me around 5pm Sunday, I blow a fantastic story out of my rear end, and then rewrite all the excitement out of it, add in a syrupy dose of needless exposition, and end it with an O. lovely twist ending. That's my signature style.

Luckily, I've also got ANOTHER story due this Sunday, and I'm going to be combining them all into this one, steaming pile. I've been reading all the crits, taking notes. This story is going to be a chorus line of gay janitors living in the now.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Submitted to: Enduring Atlas: Tantalizing Tales of Space Bootstraps and the Magnificent Men who Pull People (and Sometimes Aliens) up by Them.

Title: Dr. Honeker's Heinous Heist

Wordcount: 1164 including magazine title and story title.

Captain Paul Peter Ron Rand here to tell you the tale of how I single-handedly defeated the commies on Mars, the red planet, using only American work ethic, some elbow grease, and my father’s spaceship. Like any good Captain Ron Rand tale, this one starts at the climax:

My space bullet erupted from the barrel and zoomed past thousands of Martian commies, all gaping at my right to bear arms while they stood in line to get their state-mandated daily bowl of gruel; the space bullet passed over the campus of Joseph Stalin University and over groups of indolent leeches —students— who heard the mighty roar of freedom ring from my gun, dropped their ration cards, and cowered to the ground; the space bullet finally exploded the head of Dr. Erich Honeker IX, Martian spy and destroyer of the gold standard.

My sexy secretary Alisa, who had just arrived on the scene, said, “Paul Peter, we need to get back to the ship before these reds whine to their government to fight back for them.”

“That will take months,” I said while sauntering toward Honeker’s body. I often sauntered when Alisa was watching me, as she was quite the special lady.

Even though my gun had eleven space bullets remaining, I tucked it under my shirt to exercise my right of concealed carry. The reds let me stroll right past them all the way to Honeker’s headless corpse. I guessed these freedom haters had never seen anyone man up before; they certainly didn’t know what to do against someone who manned up with every breath he took.

I lifted up Honeker’s duffel bag and peered inside: All of my golden golf clubs were there. I spoke aloud to myself, as heroes often do: “Dr. Honeker’s device may have turned all of the gold on Earth into food stamps, but taking my golden golf clubs was a fatal mistake that might yet save the gold standard!”

I sprinted back to Alisa and said, “I’ve got them! Call the ship back down!”

Alisa pressed a button on her watch. “The ship is in laissez-faire mode, it will be down when there is sufficient demand, so any minute now.”

My father’s ship, The Iron Lady, kicked up clouds of rust as it descended toward us.

Alisa shouted over the engines and swirling rust, “Paul Peter, should I activate the tractor beams and pull us in?”

“No,” I said, “Deploy the bootstrap ropes. We’ll climb up. See what these commies think of that.”

Inside the ship, I activated the console to watch the news from Earth. The anchorwoman said, “The Chief Executives of several countries, including the United States, the European Union, and China are now hearing arguments from the Fortune 500 corporations before a vote is held. Preliminary polling indicates that the vote to adopt an ambiguous system where currency has no real value is winning by a narrow margin.”

“Blast! Alisa, dictate this message and send it to the Chief Executive of the United States:
Mr. Chief Executive, I have several pounds of gold and am only a day away from Earth. The gold standard must endure or we will be ripe for communist takeover! Mr. Chief Executive, I urge you to convince the CEOs to wait!”

My adrenaline was spiking, and I needed to calm myself down. We were still thirty light-minutes away from Earth, so it would be at least an hour before I heard a reply from the Chief Executive. There was nothing else to do but putt a few holes and show off to Alisa. I removed my putter from the duffel bag and headed to the ship’s putting range.

“Captain Paul Peter Ron Rand putts holes-in-one or he doesn’t putt at all!” I said out loud to myself, though I suspect Alisa heard and was quite impressed. I moved the club back and then followed through with my putt. The club disappeared. Thousands of small paper rectangles rained down in front of me. I snatched one of the papers out of the air, “F-- F-- F--Food stamps!” I shouted, “...But how?”

The food stamps glided to the ground, allowing me to see Alisa standing at the end of the putting green with a silver-colored device pointed at me. She said, “That was for making me count your strokes all these years... and this is for my father, Dr. Honeker!”

Alisa pointed the device at the duffle bag full of Earth’s last hope, which I had left sitting on the captain’s chair. Before she could pull the trigger, the ship rumbled and we both fell to the ground. I slid across the putting green, rolled into Alisa, and we slid together until we rammed into the starboard wall. The device shattered to pieces.

Red lights flashed as The Iron Lady spoke, “Warning! Meteoroid Cloud! Warning! Meteoroid Cloud!”

Alisa, face-to-face with me as and pinned down by my powerful arms, said, “A meteoroid cloud, at the perfect moment! You talk all day about hard work, but you’re all luck.”

Tears welled up in my eyes until they were large enough for the ship’s artificial gravity to pull them down. The tears splashed onto Alisa’s cheeks as I said to her, “I loved you. I wanted to propose purely religious and non-state-sanctioned marriage to you! The woman I love turns out to be a commie spy, daughter of my arch nemesis, and she leaves me with a putterless set of golden golf clubs... Lady Luck has truly not been kind to Captain Ron Rand!”

“Even with the rest of the golf clubs, you have no hope of saving the gold standard! There are more of our agents embedded in most of the Fortune 500 companies. This vote to change to a nebulous currency of imaginary numbers is just the first step! How much easier do you think it is to redistribute wealth when it is not backed by the gold standard? From redistribution there will be a social safety net, from there a social democracy, and before you know it... you’ll just be a satellite planet of Mars!”

“Do you mean you will literally make Earth a moon of Mars?” I asked.

“No, I mean that you will figuratively become a satellite state of the Martian People’s Republic!”

“Noooooooooooooo!”

Well, that’s my story. You may think I lied to you, but I said that I defeated the commies on Mars. Once I got back to Earth, everything fell apart just like Alisa said it would. Some of you may think that it was just bad luck that I was duped and then defeated by the woman I loved, but to them I would say: I just didn’t work hard enough.

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 21:27 on May 4, 2013

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

The Saddest Rhino posted:

Fumblemouse – Tagged For Love

Why did this end with a dream? It didn’t have to! It worked just fine right there to let us know that everything in this dystopian future was inane and depressing! This was in fact very competent up till that last paragraph which just detracts the whole meaning to be derived from the story. In fact this is textbook why “waking up from a dream” works badly most of the time. OH MY GOD I AM SO MAD AT YOU FOR THIS

It wasn't supposed to be a dream. She woke up with no memory and took the same, roofied-with-"imprint" medpack again (And not for the first time, that's why her metrics were low). I probably should have had her waking up in a cupboard or something, but I was going for depressing and repetitive. A swing and a miss, maybe, but I swear on all that is tentacular and unholy that I would never intentionally submit a 'woke up and it was all a dream' thing to the dome (unless that was the prompt).

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


It won't ever be.

Remember that, future judges.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning






Fumblemouse posted:

It wasn't supposed to be a dream.

Now that you mentioned it I recall that you responded similarly when Beef or Sitting Here mentioned it. It does make the story better but it just wasn't presented clearly enough, hence my frustration at why it ended up as a dream.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Erogenous Beef posted:

I'll be writing for Brosef Stalin's Yankee Yarns.

Founded in 1981 after the Kent State Revolution by an alcoholic Turk with money from the Moldovan Mafia as a midwestern Gosizdata firm, tragedy struck BSYY after its editorial board were discovered dead beneath an avalanche of Ayn Rand fanfiction in '92. Sold to the lowest bidder, the mag was "reinvented" by the world-famous fanzine authors the Hoopblatt brothers, fraternal Siamese twins from Rolla, MN with a penchant for Wild Turkey and shooting competing editors in the buttocks. The current editor-in-chief is Happy Boy, a badger with heart arrhythmia, who has guided the rag to dominance in the field of hard-boiled post-bropocalyptic action.

Submitted for your approval:

Duke Guncock versus The Man With No Balls (Words: 1196)

The breaching charge blew and Duke Guncock burst through the wall, fists swinging. He obliterated two balaclavaed men, pivoted, slammed a third man into the concrete.

From the corner, Doctor Lucy Freedom shrieked, knife at her throat, a lone anarchist behind her.

Duke advanced, knuckles cracking. “Leave off, or I’ll kick your face into next Tuesday!”

The anarchist pulled the shapely doctor through an open window, tossed a canister behind him. Benjamins clouded the room, slicing into Duke’s bronzed muscles. The greenbacks were burning acid on his skin.

Outside, the huge tires of a monster-Prius chewed dirt and sped emissionlessly out into the suburban wastes, leaving behind nothing but patchouli-tainted dust.

Duke grunted, turned to the now-demolished room. Two bodies lay beneath toxic paper; Duke swept aside the poison and searched them, finding only a half-eaten carrot. He sat down on a bench, face in hands, thick pectorals wriggling with fury. Who would dare abduct the Brain of Brocialism from his own frat-house?

A labkini hung on the wall, limp, unstretched by the Doctor’s Ph.Double-Ds. Only one man would be flamboyant enough to abduct the Doctor and forget her favorite attire.

Duke raced to the motor pool.

A metal man with a gleaming bald chrome head, pointed wire-beard and mini-fridge torso stood over a lifted hood of the house’s communal ride: a cherry-red 1965 Mustang. He wiped grease from mechanical hands.

“Robot Lenin!” Duke high-fived him. “The Man With No Balls is back, he took Doc Freedom.”

Lenin whirred. “History has now confronted us with an immediate task which is the most revolutionary of all the immediate tasks confronting the broletariat.”

“Right on, let’s round up the posse.” Duke popped his four collars and invoked sacred words: “Road trip!”

#

The Mustang roared downhill towards a lone green patch amidst grey, cracking suburban wasteland. Pooling their labor with the Doctor’s brains, Duke and Lenin had revived a few blocks of houses, watering the thirsty earth, repairing precious internet lines rotted by the long, sober ages following Peak Beer. One day, they would re-establish a Broviet state, a paradise of bottomless, shared kegs.

Dilapidated houses slouched between overgrown yards, red cups and brown bottles everywhere. Not a single man lay passed out on the steps, and no drunkenly-unbolted toilets decorated the roofs.

“I don’t like this, Robot Lenin. Where is everyone?”

“It is impossible to predict the time and progress of revolution.”

The frathouse was as abandoned as the street. Halo discs still rested in Xbox trays and dozens of cold, unopened beers were in the fridges. Not a single barf-stain wetted the worn carpets. Robot Lenin brushed aside empty bottles, revealing a CD player. He turned it on.

“Money, money changes everything…”

Duke sprinted across the room, punted the device into the wall. It disintegrated.

“They’ve run off, and they’re playing counter-revolutionary music.” He clenched a tattooed fist, knuckles popping. “Robot Lenin, our bros have forsaken us.”

“Victory will belong only to those who have faith in the people.”

“That disc came from somewhere. One woman has our answers.” Duke stomped on a shard of iridescent plastic. “Cyber Lauper. I had hoped never to see her again.”

“The feeling’s mutual, honey.” A woman stood in the door, hair piled to the ceiling and festooned with fluorescent clothespins, ripped acid-wash jeans hanging to her knees, neon-blue augments glowing in her eye sockets. She slunk into the den. “Don’t blame me for your stupid politics. These boys just want to have fun.”

Duke clenched his quadriceps, choking back raw hatred. “What happened here?”

“Sorry, honey, that’s not how this works.”

Robot Lenin rubbed forefinger to mechanical thumb. Duke nodded. “There’s cash at our house. Thousands.”

“Why, that does change everything, Duke.” The singer pointed.

Beyond the window, a dark bulk squatted on the horizon, shimmering amidst the haze and heat. The accursed Cibola, seven suburbs engulfed by a single enormous mall, before the bombs fell and the beer dried up. A monument to the failure of free trade, a place where no brocialist dare set foot.

Cyber Lauper brushed her enormous locks against Duke’s shaved pate. “You’ll have to drive all night. Need a map?”

#

The mall’s parking lot was a vast desert of crumbling concrete and age-eaten mom-mobiles. Duke rolled between wrecks, searching for a way in. Robot Lenin grabbed his shoulder, pointed.

A huge, muscled man slumped against the wall, sun-leathered face hanging between his knees, crushed Bud Lights scattered nearby.

Duke jumped out of the car. “Robot Lenin, find the doctor!” He bent over the man. “You good, bro?” No answer. He lifted the man’s chin: Chunk, from Tri-Lambda, eyes rolled back. Duke took a sharpie from his pocket, drew a Hitler ‘stache on Chunk’s lip and ‘douche’ on his forehead. “Rest in peace, man.”

A thin, reedy laugh erupted behind him. “Ever the barbarian, hmm?”

Duke turned, squinted.

The Man With No Balls stood sunrise-silhouetted, flanked by bulky, rifle-toting men. “The Free Market enlightened me, Duke, unshackled me from meat and brocialism.” He crossed himself, the sign of the F. “Your flock has heard my gospel and abandoned you.”

Duke shielded his eyes from the sun, fell to his knees, manly tears bulleting down his cheeks. The bros-no-more wore billowing, colorful t-shirts adorned with prancing, colorful horses.

The Man cackled. “Brony Capitalism hums through Cibola’s halls. When the good Doctor finishes her work, I will bring balance to Supply and Demand, and lead the Seven Cities of the Gold Standard to glory anew!”

“You’ll have to go through me first.” Duke raised his tattooed fists. Liberté shone on one, Égalité on the other. Fraternité was downstairs, shared only with the ladies. “Come at me.”

The Man sneered. “No, I don’t think so.” He snapped thin, effeminate fingers and rifles raised, aimed.

An engine roared. The Steel Stallion of the Working Class surfed the Mustang’s hood. “No revolution is worth anything unless it can defend itself!” Robot Lenin pitched a pill towards Duke.

Duke caught it between his teeth, the rifles burped forth fiery death and he gulped down the creatine.

His shirt exploded off his magnificent, sculpted chest. Bullets pancaked against chiseled pecs, each bulging muscle an iron curtain, united with its brother against free-market firepower.

Howling, he launched into the air, slammed his leg into The Man With No Balls. Sparkling teeth flew and the Man vanished in an electric blue blaze, booted long past next Tuesday.

Swole and twitching, he turned to the cowering ex-bros, but Robot Lenin grabbed his arm. “The broletarian revolution is impossible without the sympathy and support of the overwhelming majority of the working people.”

“Duke!” Doc Freedom bounced out of the car, hugged him.

“Good to see you, Doc. Can you help these boys?”

“Nothing a few beer bongs won’t fix.”

“And Chad—“ He caught himself. “I mean, The Man. How long until…?”

She retrieved a calculator from her breasts. “Based on the Cherenkov radiation, five years.”

Duke nodded, wrapped an arm around her waist. “Robot Lenin, we’ll need a plan.”

HaitianDivorce
Jul 29, 2012


Personal stuff has come up and I'm not going to be able to make it this week. Sorry 'Domers.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Dear editors of Tinseltown Terrors: Grim Tales of Hollywood, please publish my story so I can become filthy rich and not write trade paperback crime fiction, thanks - Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi.


Killer Headshots (words: 1149)


Gilroy Flak died with his balls crushed in a scalding hair straightener and his throat serrated from ear to ear. It wasn’t a clean death by any definition of the term, but it made an impression on the young actors and actresses he’d called his clients, their grief mixed with despair as their careers hit an impasse for which there was no clear remedy.

He’d been the fifth talent agent murdered in as many days, and his wasn’t even the worst I’d seen. That prestigious honor belonged to Michael Snead, who’d been found dangling from a lamp post on Hollywood Blvd with his intestines wrapped around his neck like a noose, poo poo trickling to the pavement from when his death throes had let loose his bowels. The whole city felt different after that; the clubs were quiet, the merriment of hopeful artists subdued as their agents went into hiding, hoping to avoid a similar fate. Mr. Flak, it seemed, had not hid well enough.

“What’s your opinion, detective?”

The question brought me out of my contemplations and back to the present, where an entire party had just grown silent, its curiosity centered on me. It’d been the evening’s host who’d made the inquiry, his luminescent eyes gazed in my direction while a sly smile painted his lips, as though there was some subtle joke only he was privy to. Perhaps he saw something humorous in the gruesome details of my investigation, buried underneath the gore, but I couldn’t see whatever it was. I was too busy trying to ascertain why I’d even been invited to this charade, much less what he expected to gain from my response.

“Most of the evidence points to it being a collection of crazed individuals with a vendetta against talent agents—almost like a cult or something. Only thing I can’t figure out is how they’ve been able to pull it off. The killings have been...elaborate, to say the least.”

The man shrugged, his immaculate white suit rising with his shoulders. “Perhaps it’s not a question of ‘how’ but rather ‘why’.”

My eyebrows steeped in suspicion. “Sounds like you’ve already thought up an answer.”

His smile widened and his feet carried him forward on an arrogant gait, the gap between us closing. “Perhaps it’s a warning to others not to take advantage of their clients. Actors and actresses are not the freest of artists, after all; we’re slaves to the whims of bastards who want to dictate how our careers should progress, and that’s only if they deem us worthy of their patronage in the first place. You know how agents choose their clients, detective? They pull headshots randomly out of a stack, tossing the rest away like garbage, unbothered by their genocide on hundreds of thousands of careers.” He sipped his cocktail, his eyes flared with excitement, the prospect of the murders filling him with ecstasy. “Those who wish to leech their wealth off the backs of their workers don’t deserve due process.”

I glanced around and found the other guest’s faces wrought with disdain, their darkened eyes and mischievous smirks aimed in my direction. “Why are they looking at me like that?” I asked.

“Because you’ve showed your hand, detective, and now you can never leave this house alive.”

They charged like predators attacking prey, eyes alight with a fire and fingers coiled into claws that yearned for my throat. Panic rose in my gut and I leapt over a plush leather sofa to barricade myself against the first onslaught. They spilled over the top and gave chase, encroaching like ravenous hounds, complete with wild foam spewing from their gums. The quickest of the bunch received a strike from my boot when they drew near, leaving them moaning in agony on the floor and tripping up the others. I made haste in this fortuitous delay and dashed down an adjacent hallway, glancing back only to briefly catch the eye of the host, smiling and unmoved, before I disappeared into the abyss of the house.

Turning corners and launching myself through doors, I found the interior of the house to be much larger than it seemed from the outside, with a plethora of passageways that led to featureless, empty rooms. Then, at the end of one such hallway, I came face to face again with my host, who materialized out of thin air and impressed upon me a maniacal laugh that reverberated throughout the walls. I ducked away into another room, aware of an ever growing darkness that was encroaching like smoke, and hurried through to another hallway. Somewhere behind me were the squeals of the party guests, tearing through the corridors in furious pursuit, but I didn’t dare glance back to measure their distance.

I came at last to a grey room with no doors or windows, and the entrance slammed shut before I had the opportunity to flee, its deadbolt engaged from the opposite side. I charged at it, throwing my fists against its façade and calling out to whoever was on the other side.

“No one will hear you,” growled a voice, and I spun around to find my host, having appeared again from seemingly nowhere.

“What is this?” I cried. “Why are you doing all this?”

He tilted his head to the side, studying me like a lab experiment. “Because the establishment is corrupt, detective, and it has too long impeded its worker’s rights to creative liberty. By eliminating the agents—and, by consequence, discouraging others from becoming agents—we can stamp out their necessity and put full power back into the hands of the artists. That’s why any agent who has the bad luck of hiring one of us feels the weight of our wrath.”

I blinked several times, his statement revealing the frightening truth of the killings. “So that’s it? The sole criteria for choosing your victims is they possess the bad luck to hire you?”

“Every cult needs a code, detective, and its bad luck for you to have discovered ours.” He took a measured step towards me and unsheathed a syringe from within the folds of his jacket.

“So that’s how this ends, huh? A prick of poison?”

“You misunderstand, detective; you don’t fit our profile and thus it would be an egregious sin to kill you.”

My breath caught in my throat, my thoughts jumbled in confusion. “I don’t understand—you said I couldn’t leave alive.”

I felt the cold prick of the syringe in my stomach, penetrating the skin and sending a frigid liquid squirming into my blood. Lightheadedness assaulted at once, and the floor rose up to meet my face as my legs deflated like balloons. In my last conscious moment, as white spots waltz across my pupils, I saw the man’s beaming face invade my vision, his teeth espoused in sadistic pleasure.

“And that’s why we’re going to keep you here...forever.”

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi fucked around with this message at 21:05 on May 5, 2013

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax


Fun Shoe

HaitianDivorce posted:

Personal stuff has come up and I'm not going to be able to make it this week. Sorry 'Domers.



I'm gonna divorce your face, with my fist!

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Dear Editors:

Please consider the following story, "The Blood on the Page," for inclusion in Eldritch Tales of the Uncanny.

My work has previously appeared in Geriatric Dome of Sadness, Song and Story, and The Revision Review.

Thank you very much for your time.

Sincerely,

Kaishai

--------


The Blood on the Page
(1,196 words)

The library tower loomed in the night, and despite the lack of a moon or visible stars, it cast a shadow across the path to its back door. I stood in that darkness, holding the chilled door handle; more than the cold I felt the weight of my colleagues' hatred, as though they could know where I was or what I planned.

The faculty strike was not a week old on that night of October 13, 1989. You might think such a span of time too short to invite disaster; yet I, who had for five years studied and guarded the tomes on the tenth floor, could not leave them unwatched, though it made me a wage slave forever. "Solidarity, Dr. Reeve," the head librarian said in my memory. "It is our key to everything." Not all locks should have keys.

I opened the door. I navigated by the beam of a flashlight; I walked fast past the propaganda posters on the cork board, red triangles and black triangles in brooding pairs. The reference desk lay ahead, and there, as they had promised, Dr. Alicia Vasil and Dr. Gregory Faulk waited for me.

I was polite enough to nod to Gregory before I crossed to Alicia and folded her in my arms, breathing in her scents of books, ink, and orange blossoms. I kissed her. She allowed it, for a moment--responded for a moment, but a moment only, and then her hands were on my chest, pushing us gently apart. "Daniel, we have company."

"And I'd like to finish with this before morning," Gregory said. He was, as she was, a fellow caretaker of the eldritch texts. He had a lean and hungry look, but so had I; knowledge such as we possessed reduced the appetite.

"I want to check all the wards," I said. "All. The building has a shadow."

Both of them frowned; Gregory nodded. "Then we'll begin with the second floor."

The musty papers of the document archive lay placid in their piles. The religious and psychological tomes kept their proper order. But while each shelf on the fifth floor bore a ward sign, gaps pocked the rows of sociology books--irregular gaps, perhaps coincidence, perhaps meaning nothing more sinister than industrious students, and yet I didn't like those black spaces. Like the path outside, the gaps were darker than they ought to be.

On the sixth floor I found propaganda covering a shelf ward. The posters already stained the walls with revolution, and this one had to be a recent addition: the paper was crisp, the colors unrelenting. I tore it loose.

The ward underneath was dead!

Even as ice washed through my veins, my mind worked: why? How? The paint hadn't been disturbed! Mere paper shouldn't interfere with the ward's power when steel and concrete did not, yet its energies were gone! My eyes fixed on the poster. Bloody red, depthless black, it displayed its own powerful symbol: halves of a flag divided. Had the triangles hung just so, in just such a way that their edge had covered--cut across--the sign beneath? Could such chance have ruined us? "Alicia! Gregory!" My summons echoed from the walls.

They came to me. They knew, as soon as they saw the ward themselves. My hands groped for theirs: we stood united in the solidarity of fear.

Then we ran to the elevator. If you call this folly, I won't contradict you. Yet we had to run--toward our terror or away from it, and we chose the former way.

I heard a violin as we ascended. I hesitate to call its discordant sound music. My pulse beat hard as the doors slid open on that citadel of ancient pages, of bindings made from human skin, of old secrets and older blood: the tenth floor. The soft yellow lamps were lit. The missing texts from below lay stacked in piles of the same precise height, outlining three individual paths toward the center.

I kicked them aside. Alicia stepped forward first, but Gregory and I moved to walk abreast with her.

The lights went out then; the unseen fiddle screeched such a note that I cried out. Alicia seized my arm, and I would have seized Gregory's if it had been there to seize; my fingers closed on clammy air. The unholy shrilling stopped. The drum of my heart replaced it, sped to a frightful tempo.

Green light pulsed up ahead, once, twice, beyond an open doorway I knew too well, and it illuminated Gregory as he staggered through.

The glow emanated from the pages of a great book lying open in wait on a podium in the middle of the chamber. Gregory gripped the podium's edges so hard the wood creaked, and his voice was a cry of despair: "Ei vadas n'ghlar ilfenu! Xenti! Ilomen das xenti!"

A stirring beyond the reach of the light--scales shifting on scales--

"Ashath ilomen xenti!"

Impossibly sweet chittering rose at the final word.

Gregory screamed; his fingers snapped; he reached for the book as he collapsed, to claim it or to close it, but he fell without touching it, still and dead. The chittering became chiming inside my head, so beautiful. Alicia let go of me and moved toward the tome.

I grabbed her and held fast, or tried, but she raked her nails across my face with wild fury and tore herself free of me. Her glasses hid her eyes behind a reflection of cancerous green. I snatched them away. I glimpsed her tears before she punched me hard enough to send me skidding across the floor.

Her mouth moved: I heard a song that was never hers. I had my feet under me when her fingers dug into her eyes and clawed them loose. I reached her in time to hold her as she died still calling for the Being in the dark.

And then it was my turn.

I won't! I shouted within my own mind.

You're alone, the chimes sang. Join your friend and your lover. Solidarity, Dr. Reeve.

I looked on the text. The twists of its words slid into my brain and cut the stitching that made me whole. I had no union within myself; every word I spoke split me further; in the void between my fragments a golden eye opened, and it had the square pupil of a goat. I knew What would come into the world.

With nails and teeth I split my flesh. With blood I blotted out the words. I chewed until the red poured from my wrists and washed out the black. I couldn't talk with a mouth full of meat, I couldn't read a text that gore obscured. I couldn't survive the noise of Its screaming.

But my blood dried into new words on the page, these that you read, telling the story, for I am bound to this book and will hide its secrets until there is no one left to find them. Alicia and Gregory are free; that is my comfort. In this space between death and life, I stand alone.

I prefer it so.

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005


Why the gently caress did I chose steampunk? I loving hate every moment of this. gently caress.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Blackgriffon and Mag7, you guys should challenge each other to a Thunderbrawl and then whine about how hard it is instead of submitting.

Symptomless Coma
Mar 30, 2007
for shock value

I love my idea and hate my main character and sort of want to kill him so I can go to bed.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's time....to DIE!"


Yo guys, this is THUNDERDOME, not your loving live journal. Shut up and write a goddamned story.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


systran posted:

Blackgriffon and Mag7, you guys should challenge each other to a Thunderbrawl and then whine about how hard it is instead of submitting.
You should suck my Wang, Chung.

=======================

Dear Editors:

Please consider the following story, "Powerless: The Beginning" for inclusion in Amazing Creeps.

I am a big fan of your magazine! Last month's article "Park Benches In July" had some fantastic recipes.

Thank you very much for your time.

Sincerely,

Chantal Thundertaint.

=======================

POWERLESS: THE BEGINNING
1,123 words

Kate wasn’t always dead, it just happened.

Her mouth was wide with surprise like she was in a choir, holding that one high note forever. This was all a horrible mistake. I just wanted to scare her so she’d stop screaming into the phone. I didn’t expect the bullet to go through a cop’s windshield. Hell, I didn’t expect to actually kill her with a single shot. Maybe I could have talked some sense into her, you know, get her to call the whole thing off.

But it was too late for that now. With Kate dead, my one connection to the aliens was severed. I was stranded down some gravel road in the middle of the night in a pair of speedos and a trench coat.

I pulled off the gorilla mask and put it on the hood of the car. I dropped the gun to the ground, and pushed my hair out of my face.

Headlights bounced along the gravel road towards us through the woods

Snatching up the gun, I scrambled into the woods. Branches scratched my body, and then a limb slammed into my chest. I slipped on the leaves beneath my feet.

Flat on my back, I saw stars through the trees. My chest felt like another seven year old was sitting on it. In a matter of seconds I returned to my feet, but it was too late to run. I squatted down and hid.

Back at the gravel road, brakes squealed like fingers on a chalkboard as the headlights came to a stop.

A door opened, and the interior light came on. It was another cop car. The driver got out with a flashlight, and walked over to Kate’s window. The other cop stood up and leaned on the open door with a phone to his ear.

I was relieved to see the police. I could tell them the entire story. This was all just a huge misunderstanding; a crazy woman took me at gunpoint, brought me out here, I struggled to get the gun from her, bang bang, she’s dead, I’m alive, case closed.

I put the gun in my coat and was about to stand up when the cop on the phone shouted, “Eric says to search her, she's got one of those things, and then we gotta get back to the factory.”

I felt my nuts shrivel into my body. I recognized that nervous high voice. It was Rich. I knew that prick was involved in this mess. How’d he get here so fast?

As the other cop opened Kate’s door, the light came on and the car started dinging.

Rich hung up the phone and headed up behind the first cop.

He said “just hold the flashlight steady, dipshit.” He pushed Kate’s head forward and I heard it thump on the steering wheel.

“It’s not here.”

“Bullshit. She just died, it can’t be far.”

I felt the thing in my hand. I tightened my fist around it and held my breath.

“Here give me that light.” Rich straightened up and flicked the light around the woods. I ducked my head back behind the tree.

The other cop stood up and said “Looks like it was pulled out of her. They can’t be far. Got another flashlight? We can search these woods — ”

“No time, we gotta get back to the factory.” Rich headed back to his car. “All hell’s about to rain down on the city and we need to be in position. They’re dead anyways.”

As he headed back to the car, the flashlight’s beam swung around towards me and froze. Time stood still. I couldn’t see anything except that blinding beam.

The other cop said, “Hey! Are you coming?”

“Shut up I’m calling Eric.”

Rich’s attention wasn’t focused on the flashlight at all. He was dialing the phone. If he’d bothered to look my way, he’d have seen me crouched, on either side of the tree, like Wile-E-Coyote hiding behind a phone pole.

I’d have been caught, the thing in my hand snatched away, and a bullet pumped through my head.

The flashlight flicked away and Rich headed towards the car. He said, “Eric, hey. It’s me. It’s not here. Of course I looked. I don’t know where it went, but we gotta get moving. Be there in ten.”

He slid behind the steering wheel and cranked the engine and they bounced back down the path, back towards the highway.

Kate’s car continued to ding. Once the headlights were out of sight, I stood up, hearing both knees pop and the tingling sensation swimming to my thighs.

“Christ I gotta exercise more.” The sound of my own voice spooked me. I looked around wondering if any other people were out here.

I creeped through the woods, back in front of Kate’s headlights. I held my hand out and opened my fist. A small wad of blood and flesh was there, looking like a crumpled napkin soaked in red wine.

The thing moved a little. I pulled my hand away in disgust, but then remembered it was dead.

When I had pulled the thing from the back of Kate’s neck, I squeezed it until blood dripped from my hand, the way a sponge drips when you wring it out. I was pretty sure it was dead.

I poked it with my index finger and unfurled the two leathery wings, revealing a head shaped like a raisin. Six short stalks came out the top, with a tiny bulb at the tip of each one. Maybe those were eyes?

I looked back into the car, shielding my eyes from the headlights.

“Kate, what the hell were you thinking?”

Through the woods to my left, I heard an explosion, followed by a second, louder one. Probably from the Exxon on the corner. Bandits were making their way through the city, looting and destroying whatever they came across. They were going to reduce the city to a pile of rubble before the night was over.

If I wanted to do something about this, I had to get moving.

Shoving the parasite into my coat pocket, I walked to the driver’s seat.

Kate's head was still laying against the steering wheel. I grabbed her by the hair and pulled her out of the car. I checked her pockets and found a phone, twenty dollars, and her license. The photo in her license was beautiful. That was the Kate I'd remember, not this raving lunatic.

There was a time I’d have done anything for Kate, but that was before she tried to embed a parasite in my skull.

“You drat bitch.”

I got in the car, put it in drive, and headed further into the woods.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at 23:46 on May 5, 2013

Symptomless Coma
Mar 30, 2007
for shock value

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

Yo guys, this is THUNDERDOME, not your loving live journal. Shut up and write a goddamned story.

Ahem.

Submission to the esteemed editors of Time Travellin' Weekly.

Holy Day. 978w.

“The most important thing,” the waistcoated man said, “is no interference. You know in the cinema, when they tell you to turn your phone off, and you don’t?”
My wife giggled, and I sighed at the tour guide’s obvious patter.

“Well, they’re showing a film. This is the real thing. That’s why you’ll see it at the top of the forms.”
His affable gaze hardened, and another icy wave washed over the speedboat.

“No devices. No talking. And absolutely no breaking character.”

I looked down at the yellow form I’d been handed:

TANERA MOR TOURS – THE REAL THING.
I THE UNDERSIGNED DO HEREBY ACCEPT LIABILITY FOR AND WAIVE STATUTORY RIGHTS PERTAINING TO THE-

The text disappeared in legalese as I felt Jane tug the kirtle – some long shirt - they’d given me.

“Daddy, do they eat people?”

“No dear, they d-”
I checked myself. Parents have a special kind of truth for moments like this.

“Well, nobody’s ever heard of someone getting eaten. But if a little girl were noisy and disobedient, who knows what might happen?”

Jane gasped and rubbed the birthmark on her neck: that weird crescent moon she’d been bullied at school for. The wife shot me an angry look, as if I’d single-handedly hammered another nail in the coffin of Liberal Parenting. I’ve never known why the accepted cure for family friction is a holiday – an extended stay in a confined space, with your family.

Waistcoat was still babbling, though his tone had risen back to an inoffensive verbal froth.
“Of course, the most important thing...”
Woden, kill me.
“...is to have fun!” He clapped his hands together, and the families applauded. The speedboat kicked another jet of spray through the air, and fell silent.

Naturally, we had to pass the Exclusion Zone under wind power. With the motor off, we slipped gently around the rocks without a sound. For the first time since setting out from Coigach Station we allowed waves to rock the boat, rather than using the boat to overrule the waves, and in spite of myself I loved every second of it. While the tour group huddled below deck and fiddled with souvenirs, I stood on the prow and felt properly Viking. The sun fell behind the distant rocks of Tanera Mor and I prayed to the new gods we’d been given that we could stay in the cove. It might have been a holiday I could endure.

Endurance feels manful, feels like a thing worth doing. Taking your boy out into the woods to make his first kill, sleeping under the stars; activities I’d filed away over the years for a boy we never had. No, the commandment from Leslie (waistcoat had a name, it seemed), from the wife, and from Jane was have fun.

So ‘fun’ we had, when we finally stepped onto the island itself. Believe the brochures: it feels like nothing else. The second my foot touched the beach it felt like “seconds” didn’t exist. The lapping sea slowed like it was thickening, then stopped. My stomach lurched, and I looked around to see fellow tourists grimaced as their bodies tried to adjust to the zero time enclosure. The wife grinned.

The fun consisted of four days of trudging around barrows, posing for tour-approved pictures next to statues of gods I couldn’t pronounce, and leering at the natives from our watch huts. I saw a man of no more than thirty, despondently trudging behind a girl. I wanted to tell him: give up now. Wait a thousand years and nothing will have changed, trust me.

Finally, we were led to the gift shop. The wife pored over “authentic” jewellery (procured I don’t know how) while Jane waved some hessian blur too close to my face.

“Daddy, look!”

“It’s a doll.” I’m rather good at this game.

“No daddy, look. It’s me!”

I could have been hunting. Christ, I could have been sleeping. But the girl kept waving this thing in front of me. Tanera Mor, the island frozen in a quieter time, and all I’d heard since disembarking was yammering voices, demanding-

I smacked the doll out of her hand. Yeah. I've lived to regret that. Jane ran out of the shop, wailing. This behavior is typical of her, but it sent waistcoat into a frenzy. We burst out of the shop just in time to see a ponytail flick above the brow of a hill, and she was gone.

Nobody had told us exactly how big Tanera Mor actually was, and it took Sharon – that’s my wife – and I six days to circumnavigate the rock in search of our daughter. The tour company wouldn’t come with us, instead pointing angrily at a 4-point type line in the contract about ‘caregiving’, so I got my wish. We picked berries, slept under the stars, and mostly wished we could have our phones back. On the sixth day, Sharon crested the hill in front of me, and froze. For a moment, I thought she’d hit the other end of the zero time field. Then she spoke:

“Bruce...”

I trudged up the hill. Sharon’s voice trembled.

“...they aren’t supposed to have cities...are they?”

On the plain before us was the largest collection of huts I’d ever seen; grids of huts, interlocked and extended. Covered in ribbons and flowers, being whipped in the Scottish breeze but still lively. It was a city at festival, with every street pointed like a wheel’s spokes at one hub. A tower. Every building had the same design – on the tower it was largest of all – and I recognized it instantly.

A blotchy, indistinct, but unmistakable crescent moon.

A procession emerged from the base of the tower. On a litter, covered in flowers and, to Sharon’s gasping horror, holding a cruel-looking child-sized sword, was Jane. Her hair matted, her face drawn hard.

“That’s him,” she said. “The man who struck my image.”

Auraboks
Mar 24, 2013

...huh?


Please consider the enclosed story for inclusion in the next balls-to-the-walls action-packed issue of Testosterone Tales.

If you like it, perhaps you'd consider making the adventures of Fist Ferguson a recurring feature of your magazine?

----------

Fist Ferguson, Libertarian Action Hero (1006 words)

City Hall burns behind me. The City Council's plans and records turned to smoke in the night, their base of operations rendered useless. It'll take them a long time to recover from this blow.

Score one for liberty.

But the night isn't over yet. I've got one more target, a big one.

Mayor William "Good Will" Greene. Communist, oppressor, thief. He's stolen millions of dollars from the private sector and wasted them on his worthless public works projects. Kept some for himself too, no doubt. He's got overwhelming support from the voters, or at least that's what the polls say. Like I needed further proof that the press works for him.

Tonight, he'll pay for his crimes.

As I mount my Harley, I spare a glance at the burning building. A symbol of tyranny, turned into a beacon for freedom. Beautiful.

I speed off toward the mayoral mansion, ignoring the fascist speed limits. The Mayor knows I'm coming for him, no doubt. I've sent several letters, warning him to stop his communo-fascist policies. It won't matter how good his security is, though. I'm the unstoppable fist of the free market, and I'm taking him down.

The mansion comes into view ahead, an old, vulgar building. Twenty acres, including the grounds, that no private owner can ever get. A historical site, they call it. I've never heard a more transparent excuse to steal from the people.

I slide the motorcycle to a stop on the lawn, knocking over a sign that tells me to keep off the grass. The guards at the door are running towards me, yelling at me to leave. The door opens, more guards pouring out.

As if that would stop me. I rev the engine and blow past the guards, popping a wheelie as I ride through the open door. Bullets whizz past me, and I leap off the Harley just as one hits the fuel tank. The bike explodes, and the blast throws me into a side room. I land, mostly intact, on a fortunately placed sofa.

There's a stairway here, leading to the upper floors. A stroke of good luck for me — Greene's probably hiding somewhere on the upper floor. I run up the stairs, hearing guards run into the room behind me. I draw my two guns — Reason and Self-Interest — and turn around to unleash a hail of lead on my pursuers. A storm of bullets fills the air as I back up the stairs, firing all the while. I'm nearly hit at least a dozen times, but I keep going, unflinching.

Turns out I brought more bullets than Greene had guards, because the flood of human targets soon thins out. Their bodies form a nice barrier at the bottom of the stairs. It won't be easy for anyone to follow me up here.

The second floor is almost eerily empty, the halls devoid of decoration or furniture. Most of the rooms are just as empty. I've heard that Greene has donated some of the mansion's luxury items to various charity auctions, but I never thought he'd gone this far. Sickening. Those auctions probably brought in enough money to stop dozens, if not hundreds, of people from pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.

Light comes out from the crack under one of the doors, probably Greene's personal study. I kick it open, guns in hand. Greene, that loathsome despot, waits for me inside.

"I'm here to kick rear end and depose tyrants," I say. "And I'm all out of asses."

Greene respons with some Reason of his own, opening fire almost before I finish speaking. Typical oppressor behaviour, turning to violence as soon as any opposition shows itself. He's got better aim than his guards, and his first shot knocks Self-Interest out of my hand. The second hits me square in the chest, and I fall over backwards.

But I'm not dead. The hardcover copy of Atlas Shrugged that I keep under my jacket, close to my heart, has saved my life.

I jump up, lunging at Greene before he has a chance to take aim again. I smash my forehead into his face, and a delightful crack tells me I've broken his nose. I press the attack, knocking the gun out of his hand and kneeing him hard in the stomach. He doubles over, retching, and I finish the fight by kicking him in the head.

Greene is barely conscious, hanging on through sheer stubbornness.

"The gently caress do you want?" he asks, the words slurred and hard to make out. "Money?"

Of course he thinks that. He doesn't understand how silly his government-printed money really is.

"Your fiat currency will be worthless soon," I say. Then again, it wouldn't have mattered even if he'd offered me all the gold in Fort Knox. No one can ever be free while the government still stands, no matter how rich they are.

"poo poo," Greene says, his words somewhat clearer now, "you're the nut who blew up that police station in Atlanta, aren't you. Ferguson?"

"Yeah, and I got your City Hall too," I say with some pride, "and a few public schools. Off hours, wouldn't want to hurt the kids."

"You're nothing but a terrorist," he says. "A madman with guns and an agenda."

I ignore him. It's nothing I haven't heard before. "Sic semper tyrannis," I say, and fire Reason into his head.

This city is free from the yoke of the oppressors now. Tomorrow, its citizens will hear the news and rejoice. The government's media cronies will paint me as a villain, again. To stay and hear the cheers of the people would be a wonderful reprieve.

But there is still work to be done, still people in the world who would take away liberty. My bike is gone, but I can liberate a bus and take it to the next town. New Orleans, I think. There's a branch of the Federal Reserve there, a worthy target if there ever was one.

Fist Ferguson, freedom fighter, never rests.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Here enclosed for your eyes Fantastic Fantasy: Where the Fantasy is Fantastic is a tale with fantastical elements that I think you will enjoy.

----------
What Lies Below (993 Words)

Dan walked down Barks Street towards the home of Stingy Bisset, his uncle and the richest man on the planet. Uncle Stingy had called him, at four in the morning, sounding like his entire fortune had been stolen. Dan thought back on that strange call.

“Hello,” Dan said, the sound of sleep falling off his tongue as quickly as dew slips from a blade of grass after a hound goes running.

“Dan,” Uncle Stingy said, “they got it. They got it all.”

“Who got what, Uncle Stingy,” Dan asked.

“Why those filthy rotten, no good Uncle Sam’s Boys,” Uncle Stingy screamed.

All in all, it wasn’t the strangest call Dan had received from Uncle Stingy over the years, but it seemed urgent and Dan thought it best that he leave as quickly as possible.

That’s why he now found himself knocking on Stingy’s door at five o’clock in the morning.

“Dan,” came a voice from the other side of the door, “is that you out there, boy?”

“Yes.”

“Well don’t be a fool, boy. Get in here and be quick about it.”

The door opened letting a thin strand of light fall out onto the street. Gradually, that strand grew bigger and bigger until it was just big enough to reveal the massive wall of fat that was Uncle Stingy.

He was easily big enough to conceal two men, and Stingy had heard tales of men resting between the flesh of Uncle Stingy’s neck in worse times. Times before Stingy had made his wealth.

Dan walked into the house and noticed, as he often did, that it was almost entirely bare. No rugs, or chairs, or desks. Were it not for the crystal orb sitting on a long wooden leg in the room’s center: Uncle Stingy’s parlor would have been utterly bare.

The crystal orb was at the heart of his Uncle’s wealth. When he had been young and building his empire, he had come across this item during his travels. With it, Uncle Stingy had been able to deduce the secrets of the world’s most powerful men, and then sell them back to the families he’d “procured” them from for a reasonably small fee. If a family said no to his offer, Uncle Stingy would merely take the secret and offer it to that family’s biggest enemy for a reasonably large fee.

After years and years of this spying, Uncle Stingy was richer than Satan and hated more. It was no surprise that Uncle Sam and his Boys had finally decided to strike down on the old man. You make a powerful man angry enough and he’ll send society’s foundation sliding right towards you.

“Move the gently caress along, Dan” Uncle Stingy shouted, “I haven’t brought you here to stare at my bloody loving ball.”

Dan followed his uncle through the halls and into the back rooms and then down into the basement: here his uncle’s wealth was horded. So many gold coins and dollar coins and bills. The room actually looked fuller than ever.

“Well, boy,” Uncle Stingy said, “look upon it and weep. The great Bisset fortune laid bare. They took all of it.”

“All of what,” Dan asked.

“All me money, boy,” his uncle wailed. “They came in here screamin about their taxes and saying that it was fair time I paid my due. Saying that a man like me should be happy to give to their programs for the poor.”

So, that was how Dan learned that it finally happened. The tax man had come down and claimed his share and now Uncle Stingy was gonna be whining about it for the rest of Dan’s life.

“What do you think I should do, Dan,” his uncle asked.

“About getting your money back?”

“No. No. Nothing to be done about that. Morgan Le Fair herself was the one that actually took it. She said all the proper spells and such and whisked it away to their private vaults. No, I mean, about the bodies over there next to me golden ducats.”

The bodies had been crushed by Uncle Stingy himself. He had waited until Morgan Le Fair left, and then when these men were thinking of a way to move the last five percent of the twenty percent of Uncle Stingy’s that was rightfully theirs he’d fallen on them. Using his girth to his advantage the men had been pressed deep into the golden carpet beneath them, and they now more closely resembled two flattened boxes than they did two members of the F.B.I.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” Dan said, “look at what you did.”

“I know very well what I did,” Stingy said. “I was merely walking towards them with this knife when I tripped on this box of greenbacks. Before you arrived it was very messy, but I had Carla down to clean it up.”

Carla was an illegal immigrant with a very slippery grasp on English. Uncle Stingy employed her because she was discreet and cheap.

“Nevermind whatever you’re about to say, Dan. I need you to cover the bodies with the money while I go for me morning lie down.”

Only then did Dan see the shovel next to the bodies. He gathered his wits and picked up the shovel and began to send a steady golden shower upon the men. After five minutes of effort, the shower began to trickle down and Dan stepped back to admire his handy work. The bodies would never be found now for they rested under enough gold to fund the Treasury.

Dan found his uncle lying placidly on a lake of dollar bills. You’d never think he’d just finished crushing two men.

“Well, it’s done,” Dan said. “The bodies are buried.”

“Good, good. Now get out. I made my strike for liberty today. Now you go make yours, boy.”

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005


Dutifully submitted to Four Balls: Treacherous Tales of Steampunk Adventures. Please consider my thrilling story for your next issue.

Breath of Death - 940

Flynn had a policy when it came to business: Anyone who couldn't keep time was worthless.

Mr. Cartan was thirty minutes late.

Flynn had chosen an alley just of Main Street for the exchange. He sat in a small café nestled in the living room of a second floor flat, and he had a perfect view through a small window by his table. Every few minutes he'd pick at the curtains, sending an annoyed glance down both ends of the street, and every time he'd huff, take a sip of rum and shake his head. He suspected the owner was already quite suspicious, but that didn't matter.

By the time Mr. Cartan arrived, Flynn was on his feet and on the way out. He had his hand in his jacket, just about to pull out a knife when Mr. Cartan opened the door. Flynn sighed, left the weapon holstered and held out his hand to Mr. Cartan.

"You're late," said Flynn.

Mr. Cartan shook Flynn's hand, "Precaution."

Flynn led Mr. Cartan to his table, "Sit," snapped his fingers at the waitress, "Explain."

"Lerathan's men followed me the moment I left the factory," he sat down, put his bowler hat on the table, "I had to lose them. That took longer than expected."

"You can't be sure you lost them. Why did you come here at all? Have you gone mental?"

"I'm sure. Not that you're a stranger to attracting attention with that drat metal horse of yours."

Flynn glared at Mr. Cartan as he ordered a gin and tonic and a slice of meat pie. He spoke softly to the waitress, kinder than Flynn.

"Show me the device."

"My compensation?"

"Fine," Flynn snapped open his briefcase, removed a thick envelope, slammed it on the table, "Show me the device."

With the same softness and kindness with which he spoke to the waitress, Mr. Cartan retrieved a small box from his coat, opened it and produced a kerchief wrapped around something. He set it down on the table, like it was a fragile egg, and slid it over to Flynn. Oblivious to Mr. Cartan's expression, Flynn grabbed the kerchief by one end and shook out the contents.

"It works?" he said.

"Mr. Marchidian says it does."

"Good. Leave."

Mr. Cartan got up and donned hat and coat. He smiled at the waitress, tipped his hat at Flynn and left. Flynn waited thirty minutes before he snapped his fingers at the waitress again.The moment she was close enough, Flynn stabbed her three times and threw the knife at the owner by over by the bar. It hit his throat and he went down gurgling blood. Flynn grabbed the device, leant down and laid it on the waitresses lips. She still had a few breaths left in her, just as he'd planned for. For a moment, just small one, he considered praying.

-

Mr. Cartan was quite safe where he stood, on a balcony some way down the alley, the same couldn't be said for the building with the café and the pedestrians around it. The small light on his watch lighted up; with a breath the device was armed. He pressed a button on the side of the watch.

It started with a small puff that blew out the window by Flynn's table, that was Mr. Cartan's signal to don shaded glasses. He didn't think the initial blast would kill Flynn, just toss him across the room, leave him baffled for just about 3.5 seconds, enough time to see the beginning of the chain reaction. The second blast blew the facade off the building in a huge gout of flame, and in the whining echo of the explosion, the hint of desperate screams could be heard. Flynn's mechanical horse added an almost comical element to the scene as it tried to rise pitifully on two legs. Mr. Cartan left the balcony, and chose a door that exited to Main Street. He boarded his carriage and retrieved the wireless telegraph from his briefcase.

"test complete successful awaiting new orders stop cartan"

The whining from the explotion still remained when he got his answer.

"newcastle stop marchidian"

The wireless telegraph dropped from limp hands. For five minutes Mr. Cartan sat there, staring into empty space. The carriage stopped.

"Get-", the word was barely audible, Mr. Cartan cleared his throat, "Get moving."

The door opened and a tall, brusque woman entered the cab. She sat down oposite of Mr. Cartan, leant back and closed her eyes.

Mr. Cartan got the message. He did the job or he was dead.

-

Ryan donned his gas mask. Air quality was satisfactory today, he wouldn't have to wear the mask in the lunch room. Small joys. He could see the soft sphere of the sun close to the tower of the Newcastle Cathedral. Rare sight.

He boarded the tram and busied himself with prayer on the way to the factory. Official policy was to pray to Mars in wartime, but Ryan had a soft spot for Minerva. He nodded to the supervisor on the way in. Mr. Cartan, nice enough fellow, scared easily if a fight went down on the factory floor, but nice enough. There was a woman next to him. Tall and grim. Ryan hadn't seen her before. The next fellow was not as nice. Tharon, the commissar.

"New gas masks," he said, hate in each word.

Ryan grabbed the mask from the commissar and gave the label a casual glance. "Marchidian Industries, Lot Number 15, Mask 599/2000".

-

On Mr. Cartan's watch, the light went from red to green. All devices armed.

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006


Submission to SciFi Spy Bi-weekly

Utopia 1176

Amy wrinkled her nose as she flew through the detritus cloud. She couldn’t smell the crap and rubbish splattering against her space suit, but just the thought of cleaning it off made her want to barf.

Based on the Frontier design, the central barrel rotated to produce artificial gravity, but approach with care - the tumbling crazed iron work additions could fling a careless person into space with a spiralling arm.

She spotted a clear passage and boosted quickly forward - 30 metres, 20 metres -

She couldn’t see.

A piece of red material completely covered her helmet. She managed to rip away the cloth just in time to see the hull hit her right in the face. A tiny crack appeared in her visor, but she managed to grab on to the station before being bounced off into space.

Her whole body ached as she made her way towards the airlock. lovely job, but it should be simple. Just find out what the gently caress is up with this place, and get out quiet. Easy. First easy thing was the airlock - it was unlocked, she didn’t even need the skeleton key. That’s freedom for you, she thought, as she took her stinking suit off.

Some billionaire had come up with the idea of a libertarian paradise orbiting Titan, and had bought the old research station. For your weight in gold you could get there. With hard work you could forge a place for yourself in a new society.

You could make it there - Utopia.

Despite distant conversation she didn’t find anyone until she poked her head around a corner to a scene of insanity. In front of conveyor belts stood men, women and children in various states of dress and health. Here there was a woman in a ball gown and high heels, coupled with full length cashmere gloves with the fingers cut off. Further down a naked child with red marks crisscrossing it’s back like someone tried to warm up a red pen. Amy retreated to a niche so that her sobs would not be heard.

She crouched at the corner, periodically checking around her and watching the slaves make computer components as a few men in suits, trenchcoats, and fedoras chided the workers when they tired and hit them when they slowed.

Suddenly a ration bar moved into the naked child’s portion of the conveyor belt. The kid stared at it as it slowly passed by, and then snatched it up and devoured it.

“Where’s the big boss?”

A hand grabbed it’s hair and yanked the kid backwards. Amy vaulted over the conveyor belt and set off down another corridor. She didn’t stop until the groaning and panting ceased behind her. Then she walked around a corner and straight into the barrel of a laser pistol, followed by a fist.

-

“You wanted to see me, m’lady?”

She had been dragged into the huge atrium at the top of the cylinder. An amazing view of Saturn’s rings and Titan’s surface moved above her, and she forgot where she was for a second. Then she realised her hands were tied to her ankles and a huge man wearing a suit and a bowler hat leaned into view. His neckbeard was a tangle of ginger hair that flowed down to his top pocket.

“Man, you fat.”

His spotty, blotchy face grinned down at her.

“Yes, I have rather let myself go. Since father left me the business I have been too busy with my great endeavor to exercise.”

“And ugly. Real ugly.”

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that. Lets take you for example. And,” he winked, “I intend to.” Amy made retching noises.

Amy watched a pink tongue slowly lick chapped, blistered lips. She stayed quiet. The fat man raised his voice.

“You have arrived at Utopia, the free station. You are free to do whatever you want. For example you are free to throw yourself into space. Don’t worry, with hard work and sweat you can-

“Why don’t they kill you?”

The fat man ran his tongue across his bottom lip, and a single drip of spittle hung from it, before descending onto Amy’s overalled chest.

“I take advantage of them because that is what the strong do. If they were in my place they would do the same. Each of them believes that with enough hard work and smarts they could be where I am.”

Amy tested the cables that bound her, slowly and carefully.

“And they are right, I made everything here from nothing.”

“Thought you said your daddy gave you some money.”

“Shut up! The gold was all my idea!” Froth appeared at the edges of his mouth. “I am stupendously rich, and all it took was the investment of a space station. And the resources on Titan are excellent.”

Amy hooked the thumb around the bonds at her wrists and yanked. Her freed arm encircled his little weedy ankles and she propelled her head into the fat mans testicles. He went down like a large sack of poo poo balanced on a pair of pool cues. With a one-handed handstand she swivelled and planted her knees in his face.

“That one was for the ugly tree, you dick,” she whispered as she released her hand and feet.

Around her men were drawing hideous steampunk modded laser pistols, and she looped some cable around the fat man’s neck.

“Keep your goons off me, or we can see how well you slobber with no trachea.”

Then it was just a case of making it clear that if they didn’t play nice then the park would get shut. Some nannies would be over presently to ensure a happy transition. Don’t get any clever ideas.

“And anyone who hits kids is gonna get my fist rammed up their urethra. Come on fatty, lets go for a walk.”

She got to the airlock. It was locked. The fat man began to laugh.

“What you gonna do now, whore? Huff and Puff?”

“I reckon I got the right tool for the job.” Amy jammed the skeleton key in his mouth and fishhooked his face into the number pad.

“Now open this door before I rip your tongue out, you loving tool.”

Once in the airlock and suited up, the fat man started to get the picture.

“It’s space out there.” His fat plump cheeks shook and the neckbeard began to glisten with tears. “I’ll die. You can’t kill me. I’m special.”

“Lets see how special a perfect vacuum thinks you are.”

--

The cracks in her helmet were spreading, but she waited until the last possible minute to head for her ship. It really is special what happens to a human body in space.

Radioactive Bears
Jun 27, 2012

Creatures of horrid visage and disposition.


My submission to Romancin' and Wranglin' as follows.

-----

Robbing Galt (1167 Words with title)

I never liked stealing silver or gold. The stuff was too drat heavy, and it seemed easier to just take bills, or watches, or even fine suits from the sons a bitches that ride trains like the ones me and Jaybird tended to rob. Jaybird, though. “We'll need it once the Union collapses,” He'd always go on about it, saying, “Ain't no paper money gonna help you then, Buck.” I thought he was dumber then a bag of bricks when he got up to his ways, all gesticulating and arguing like a child would argue that he needs another cookie. I went along in the end, but I felt mighty stupid carrying a bag of metal and bullshit around, as some Marshal shot at me in the meanwhile.

I ran through carpeted passages, past suitcases and carpetbags toward the end of the car as a bullet flew into my hat, and some real smartly dressed lawman yelled the usual claptrap that gets yelled at train robbers.

I shouldered the door hard enough I'd feel it for a few days, and sprawled out into the open air of the sunset plains. I shot at the coupling keeping the two cars connected, and I tried my damnedest to climb a ladder to the top of the train with a handful of shooting iron and silver. I spied Jaybird on his mangy old horse, and he just beamed at me.

“Marshals ain't got no dominion over free citizens, Buck.” He told me before I got on the train. “We get this haul, and no laws of any government will ever constrain our love again!” I desperately wanted to tell him the fact of the matter was that no matter where we went, governments not amicable to our kind would spring up all over the place, but he just looks so earnest when he talks about this poo poo.

I heard Jaybird yell something that was almost lost in the whipping winds, but his pointing finger got enough of a message across. The Canyon. I told the idjit we'd never manage to get the robbery fully taken care of before we reached Hare's Canyon, but he'd convinced me to give it a shot anyhow with those big beautiful blue eyes of his. His horse skidded to a halt not a hair's breadth from the edge, and I saw the dust beneath me give way to wooden bridgework.

The ring of gunshots in my direction let me know that the Marshal had hopped his way between cars to keep me company. Just my luck. I felt the weight of my gun as I scrambled for a grip on the swaying locomotive, not even bothering to aim as I let the last shots fly from my revolver. My horror at running out of shot was soon multiplied as I felt the bag of silver in my hand suddenly grow light, an errant shot scoring it's side and dropping it's bounty toward the emptiness below. I felt my spirit die a little, watching as empty canyon gave way to flattened desert once more.

Then I looked toward the end of the train, and saw the most wonderful thing I swear any man has seen before, or since. Not the marshal, loading up more rounds to make an effort at dropping me. Not the golden disc of a rapidly dropping sun. It was Jaybird, riding behind the train. I got up with all the grace and gumption of a newborn foal, and began crawling toward the back of the runaway iron horse. The marshal just looked a bit confused for a moment, trying to load some manner of six-shooter from behind the cover of sole remaining car between us.

I don't know at what point I broke into a run, but I suppose I'm lucky I didn't fall from the train and break my fool neck for sprinting across the roof of the remaining cars, as that marshal took his licks at me. I felt the barest of stings as a round passed by my arm, but I was too drunk on hope, piss and vinegar to give half a drat. I don't entirely recall throwing my gun at the tin star's nose, but Jaybird assures me it happened, and it was the funniest thing he'd ever laid eyes on. I just remember Jaybird's hand outstretched, his big blue eyes as full of fear as mine were.

I coiled and jumped, too terrified I'd lose my chance if the marshal managed a clean hit on me to care how close I'd get to Jaybird and that mangy horse. That moment of freedom, leaping through the dry desert sky, is something I will always cherish. The feeling of hitting the ground, hard, and just barely catching Jaybird's hand as he dragged my sorry rear end behind him is something I'd much rather care to relinquish to the sands of time. Even as the ground shredded my clothes and my sides, and I felt a strange lurch as a bullet found a mark in Jaybird's horse, I cannot imagine my smile fading even a lick, now that the safety of the ground had found me.

Me and Jay tossed and turned for a good while in that dust, the Marshal either throwing curses at us, or celebrating what he might as well have reckoned was a fine shot with just enough volume to break through the haze of injury and vertigo. Jaybird got up first, all skittery and quick, like some dumb bastard'd find us all the way out here, or the Marshal'd hop off and slap irons on us. I took his hand in mind, wincing at the raw and bloody skin on my palm, but for all the world I must have looked like the cat that ate the canary.

He broke into a run, breathless and still wide-eyed.
“How much we get? How much you get away with?”

I just tossed aside the mostly empty bag, laughing like a maniac.

He cursed a little while, and kept running till he was out of breath, gasping his words at me

“poo poo, Buck, poo poo! This weren't how it was supposed to go.” He put his grimy hands on the worn-out knees of his blue jeans, and I just put an arm across his back. “Marshals'll be after us now, and we ain't got poo poo to show for it! What're we gonna do?”

“We got by. That's enough.” He looked at me funny, and tried to gasp out something with ragged breaths, but I put a finger to his lips. “You're ruining this sunset, feller.”

Jaybird tried to speak again, but I just took his head in my hand, and pressed my lips against his as hard as I could muster. His cheeks were rough and his stubble scratched, but Jaybird always felt gentle as rain to me. I kept at it for a long while, before we walked toward the miles of desert now before us.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Submitting to:

The Electrocat Purrs All Night
1190 words


The fluorescent lights sputtered into a thick hum and illuminated the operating table in an other-worldly blue. This is the lab of Dr. Krackenvole, the only mechano-surgeon in the tucked away hamlet of Venusian Hollow. While usually bogged down in the monotony of treating and repairing the cybernetic draft animals that tilled the purple soils of Omitron 8, he was occasionally able to indulge in the more illicit activity of biological replacement research.

On the table lay two kittens, smuggled from Earth at great expense, bloodied and almost unrecognizable. The man who had brought them in spoke with a staccato urgency interrupted by short, shallow breaths: “Can you, help them? Gift for, my son.”

Dr. Krackenvole’s polymer gloves lifted the head of the smaller one. Grey matter dripped out onto its crimson stained fur. “This one is gone,” he said. He moved to the next one. The smaller female’s chest rose and fell ever so faintly. “This one is alive, but barely.”

He pushed a button on the side of the table and a large arm extended from the ceiling. The arm uncoiled and the sensitive lens on the end stopped a foot above the struggling feline. A blue wave washed over the kitten as the arm scanned it from head to tail, then curled back into the ceiling.

The table around the kitten sprang to life: heartbeat, EEG, blood pressure, and myriad other vital statistics displayed with undulating pixels.

The doc studied the waves and pointed to one that was flashing red. “See there? Poor little thing’s got a perforated heart. She’s holding on, but I don’t know how long she’ll be able to keep it up. Too bad, she’s a fine specimen.”

Jack paced back and forth, his breath returning to a more normal rhythm. “Is there anything you can do to save her?”

“Well, nothing legal,” Dr. Krackenvole said. “You know that my cybernetic parts are reserved for the Mechano-Farmer’s Guild for their neo-oxen and compu-chickens.”

Being able to repair the animal-machines was imperative to the survival of the colony; even one animal out of order could be the difference between surviving the three months that the planet would be rotated toward the pulsar and dying of starvation in their underground bunkers. Jack, as president of the Mechano-Farmer’s Guild, was not ignorant of the risks.

“Do what you have to do,” he ordered. “If this one dies my kid’ll be a father himself before I can get my hands on another.”

Krackenvole pulled open a drawer and took out an inch-long blue tube. “Whatever you say, boss.”

The procedure was quick and precise; the robotic arm never made mistakes.

“This artificial heart will never wear out, and never get clogged. This thing will outlive your cat, easily.”

Jack picked up the sleeping kitten. It felt oddly still in his hand. “Doc, what’d you do? This thing’s got no pulse.”

“We don’t design parts like Mother Nature: we’re better at it. This is just a simple spinning pump; fewer moving parts and no stress of a racing heart,” Dr. Krackenvole grinned. “But you better get out of here before the inspection droids come in. Do you mind if I keep this little guy?” He motioned toward the dead kitten still on the table. “I haven’t seen a full-blooded animal since school, and never a fresh one. I’d love to get in there and remind myself of how these things tick, you know, in case you need any more work done on the female.”

Jack was already on his way out the door. “Yes, just make sure if you get caught with it that it doesn’t trace back to me.”

Jack returned home and gave his son the kitten. Though his son bonded with the kitten in the way that he had never achieved with his robo-puppy, accidents happen. It was two years later when Mittens was caught under the anti-gravity field of Jimmy’s hover-trike. Jack again rushed her to see the vet, and he again misappropriated a few parts to replace the crushed spine and obliterated hind legs of the hapless cat.

After a while, Jimmy barely even noticed the difference between petting the soft fur on its head and the synthetic microfibers on its back.

Another few years passed until the pulsar had an unexpected burst of gamma radiation and blinded most of the animals working through the night. Jimmy found Mittens caterwauling in the fields with a half-eaten mouse by her side: blind as when she first crawled from the womb.

The doctor worked his forbidden magic time and time again, each time replacing a part of the cat’s natural parts with the mechanical gears and copper wires.

Jimmy still fell asleep every night with the cat curled up at the foot of his bed.

The day came when Mitten’s camera orbs began to roll into the back of her titanium skull, and Jack worried that the doctor’s parts weren’t as reliable as he claimed.

Jack took the cat to Dr. Krackenvole as he had done many times before. “Don’t worry, nothing wrong with her this time,” he said, “This time it’s one of your parts that’s on the fritz.”

Krackenvole looked puzzled. “Hm, that doesn’t seem likely. Let’s run a diagnostic test on her.” He scratched under her chin and could feel the vibrating purr of her quad-shock rotator magnets. He set her down on the diagnostic table and plugged a cord into her belly. The equipment ran through a battery of tests but spit back a clean bill of health.

”Nope, everything checks out. You know there’s only one thing biological left in this cat, and that’s her brain. Some of the natural-brain mechano-animals have this problem. The lepidolite in the soil affects their synapses: makes ‘em get seizures. I’d bet my lunch that’s what’s happening to her. I can fix that you know.”

Jack seemed incredulous. “How can you fix her brain? Then there’s nothing left to call a cat!”

Dr. Krackenvole scoffed. “Nonsense. You just feed her this special mix of cat-chow and her own neurons will slowly replace the endogenous proteins with nano-bots. The chow’s got the gene-therapy chemicals, the nano-bots, and the metal alloys all mixed in already, so it all happens slowly over time. There’s no change in behavior, and she will still love Jimmy just the same. Only she won’t get seizures and she won’t ever have any of the other age-related mental debilitation other animals will. She’ll be perfect.”

Jack took Mittens home with her new diet and Jimmy faithfully gave it to her every morning until sometime in late spring—unbeknownst to anybody, even Mittens herself—she ceased to be even the smallest iota of biological.

Shortly before his high school graduation, Jimmy fell from a ladder and his leg landed on the plasma saw Jack was using to trim iron beams for the new barn. Jack rushed him to the only doctor he trusted. Dr. Krackenvole laid Jimmy on the operating table and hit the button to initiate the biometric scan.

“The femur is completely disintegrated,” he smiled, “But I think I can fix it.”

[edit: fixed a few typos. that's what I get for submitted rushed at 1 in the morning.]

crabrock fucked around with this message at 21:52 on May 6, 2013

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Wrestling the Bear Submitted to 'Arm Wrasslin'. 877.

It was the winter of ‘88 and as cold as people tell you that winter was, let me tell you, it was colder. Just walking outside made me feel like I had plunged into an ice bath. The Mississippi froze right down to the gulf of Mexico. Freak ice storms would sweep across the country and one chicken farmer I knew had emerged after a blizzard to find his cocks had frozen solid.

Well, me and Irondacks, we had teamed up to go west. For some reason or ‘nother we couldn’t get off until late in the year to start crossing the Rockies. Now, Irondacks had assured me that he knew a shortcut across those mountains that would get us through to San Fran’ before the worst of the weather hit. Any other year, he probably would have been right. But that year the snow blew in weeks before the start of the season and caught the two of us with our pants down just as we had reached the pass.

We stood there, watching the stormclouds roll up the foothills.

‘Figure’n we’ll be in for some snow,’ I said. ‘Them clouds are going to dump a load on us.’

‘Figure’n we will,’ said Irondacks. He didn’t sound too worried, although this was the man that went 115 rounds against Teddy Roosevelt out in the Dakota badlands simply ‘cause he wanted to fight "the government". No snowstorm was going to bother him over much! But being of a somewhat more submissive constitution, the idea of being frozen stiff wasn't an appealing prospect for me.

‘I know a place we can hole up,’ said Irondacks, and he trotted off into the trees with me scrambling to keep on his tail. Ten minutes later we were standing at the mouth of a cave as the first snow had started falling. I lit up a kerosene lantern and started to penetrate the dark opening.

The bear had come in on our asses, driven to find shelter from the storm. He was big, black and heavy, engorged from feeding for the winter and was about to start hibernation. He had obviously chosen this spot and didn't intend on sleeping with us.

His roar filled the cave. I grabbed my pack and the lantern and ran further on into the mountain with Irondacks coming up my rear. Then, around a corner, a dead end.

‘Quick, up there,’ said Irondacks, pointing to a ledge about eight foot off the ground. I threw my pack up and over and Irondacks picked me up and gave me the same treatment as though I weighed nothing at all. Flying over the top, I saw that it wasn’t a ledge, but a hole in the wall where the cave continued. Thankfully the floor on the far side was only five foot down from the gap, but it still rattled my bones when I landed.

Like a shot, Irondacks had grabbed the edge of the gap and hauled himself across beside me. Seconds later the grizzly roared around the corner as well, howling in frustration at being denied the relief of a kill.

Holding up the lantern I looked around our retreat. This was a true dead end, the cave only extended another 10 feet before it ended in sheer rock. There was only one way out, guarded by a demon. It looked like our options had narrowed to freezing to death, starving to death or trying beat off our captor.

With a roar the bear reared up to the gap. Thrusting into the hole with a massive arm, it reached for the two of us.

Without hesitating Irondacks stepped up to meet it. With the difference in floor levels, they were both face to face. The bear’s paw was over six inches across, but Irondacks took it easily. Grabbing the matted fur in his equally massive hand, Irondacks set his feet against the floor, put his elbow on the ledge, and began to twist the bear’s arm down onto the granite.

Instinctively the grizzly pushed against the force that was twisting down its arm, raising it back up until the two giants were locked together, straining against each other. In the flickering light of the lantern, it was hard to tell where the man ended and the bear began. How long they were together, I don’t know. It seemed like eternity, or it could have been seconds. But with a roar of his own, Irondacks’ hand slowly, but surely, moved over the top of the bear's as it forced that giant paw down onto the stone. With a crack, the bear’s arm broke, its sinews exploding as Irondacks drove his hand down in victory.

The bear collapsed without a sound. Picking up his knife, Irondacks jumped over the ledge to finish it off.

Well, we rode out that storm with a small fire and a dirty but life preserving bearskin rug. Three days later when the blizzard had passed, we emerged back into the wan sunlight.

I’ll never forget Irondack’s words as we left that cave, stroking the arm still sore from the fight.

‘If I ever wrestle a bear again, I’ll make sure to beat it with my right arm!’

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

V for Vegas posted:

Wrestling the Bear Submitted to 'Arm Wrasslin'. 877.

his cocks had frozen solid.
we couldn’t get off until late in the year
caught the two of us with our pants down
being of a somewhat more submissive
started to penetrate the dark opening.
The bear had come in on our asses,
didn't intend on sleeping with us.
with Irondacks coming up my rear.
Irondacks picked me up and gave me the same treatment as though I weighed nothing at all.
howling in frustration at being denied the relief
trying beat off our captor.
Thrusting into the hole with a massive arm
was over six inches across, but Irondacks took it easily.
the two giants were locked together, straining against each other. In the flickering light of the lantern, it was hard to tell where the man ended and the bear began.


You're not really here for the arm wrestling, are you?

But incredibly obvious editing pranks aside - T minus 2 hours for submissions.
If you've submitted: Well done, you're one failure closer to success. If you're Sebmojo, time to pull yourself away from NeverWinter online and start writing something. You know that game only wants to eat your wallet.

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at 05:11 on May 6, 2013

perpetulance
Mar 24, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

One in Six
Submitted to the biannual magazine Galt's Gilded Tales
1163 words.

The silver chamber spun rapidly. Two pairs of eyes watched it as if it were the most important thing in the world. It gleamed softly in the dim light, visible only through a haze of cigar smoke. The hand holding it suddenly flicked it back into its home, in perfect alignment with the barrel of the revolver, and placed it dead center on the table.

Taking the cigar from his mouth, he took a sip of scotch from his glass. A cloud of smoke escaped from his pursed lips. “Gentlemen, it's time to begin.”

As Charles reached to cock the hammer, his guards racked shells into their shotguns. They tracked the revolver, protecting their boss. The man to Charles' left shook as he reached out to grab the revolver, covered in a thin sweat. He let it rest on the table, making sure not to point it at his employer.

He pleaded, “Charles, this can't be the only way!”

The only response he received was an intense glare. Charles swirled the glass impatiently.

“I'll do anything to repay you. I can't imagine that the accid-”

“That little error of yours cost me more gold than you can imagine. You already had your chance to walk out, now do it like a man. You won't even feel it.”

Reginald picked up the revolver, and slowly inched the barrel to his right temple. His head jumped in shock to the cool touch of the metal. He uttered a silent prayer, and pulled the trigger. The hammer snapped forward.

A heartbeat later he realized he was still alive. He placed the gun back on the table in front of Charles. The cylinder began to revolve again. One in six. Five empty holes and one chamber filled with a hollow-point bullet guaranteed to convert a man's head into a burst of blood, brains, and bits of skull. A tiny carousel whirling in place, ready to read 'double zero' for one of the men at the table. A one way ticket to hell.

The two men sitting at the table with Charles had crossed him. One lost a fortune him in water, the foundation of his empire. The other had the misfortune of having a beautiful wife. He offered them the choice of being exiled to the desert or playing for their lives. They became his entertainment for the evening.

Charles flicked the cylinder back into place. The guards eyed Tom as he reached for the gun with a blank stare. In one clean motion, he brought it to his head and pulled the trigger. Another empty chamber.

Tom laid the gun to rest on the table, then slid it over to Charles. Reginald resumed shaking, but Tom merely took a drink from his highball. His eyes swept over the table to lock on Charles.

He was their employer, and their master. He owned the local water supply for hundreds of miles. He owned every company operating in town. He owned the local police and arbitration house. While the men assembled in the room might not be his slaves, they all owed him enough gold to be cast out of town at any moment for defaulting on their debts. They lived by his whim.

Charles took another puff of his cigar, blowing it across the table. “Let's make things more interesting,” he said. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a second bullet, a twin of the hollow-point already in the pistol. His hands grasped the revolver, opening the chamber and silently sliding the second bullet into place opposite the first. For a moment he laid his right hand, clad in the finest golden rings, on the top of the gun.

“It's a shame. You both are such fine examples of men, but order must be upheld.”

Reginald cried out, “This is a bloodbath! How can you do this to us?”

“You elected to do this, Reginald. You couldn't repay what you lost. Men of this town must know that if they cannot repay their debts they do not deserve to live in this paradise.”

Tom scoffed. “Paradise? What does that make you?”

“Your merciful employer and creditor. We agreed to be ruled by capitalist principles. Perhaps you should have worked more to repay your obligations instead of depending on others to care for you.”

“I don't know a single person in town who doesn't owe you everything. How can we even get the gold to pay off our debts when you only pay in script?”

“Technicalities, my dear Tom. Now Reg, I believe it is your turn.” His hand resting on the cylinder slid quickly to the side, beginning its spin. He pointed the barrel at Reginald, offering him his chance.

“Please boss, I'll work twice as hard. You won't even have to pay me!” He began to have troble speaking, his words coming out in think bursts. “I'll do anything. Please, don't kill me.”

Tears began to well in his eyes as he looked downward, silence filling the room. He began with a whisper. “Someday you'll pay for this. You can't get away with this forever.” He grasped the handle of the gun and brought it to meet his head. Shivering, teardrops ran down his face as he struggled to cock the gun. His finger pressed into the trigger.

A look of euphoria graced his face the moment following the click, a burst of emotion following the brief extension he had received to his lease on life. Chance had graciously granted Reg another few moments to live, just as it had granted wealth to Charles and love to Tom. Now, it would repay them with death at one to three odds.

Tom's face did not betray his inner thoughts. As he watched his master spinning the wheel of fate, his mind flashed to his wife waiting at home. He imagined her crying in their cot, praying for his return from Charles' mansion. If not for her, he would have gladly braved the wastes. But it would be impossible to survive the trek together. He reached for the gun on the table in front of him.

If only for her. He placed the barrel to his temple and squeezed the trigger.

Tom opened his eyes to look at Charles. His frown showed his displeasure with his continued survival. In that moment he knew that even if he made it through the night, he would never make the month. Marie had caught Charles' eye, and he would never let her go.

The guards began to relax after he took his shot. He let the gun rest on the table, as if he were about to push it back to Charles. One in two, a coin flip. For Marie, he thought.

He suddenly snapped the gun at Charles, and pulled the trigger. The chamber rotated slowly, as if frozen in time. The firing pin struck the cylinder.

Empty. Twin shotgun blasts brought an end to his life.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW



Was about to add that, but the post below too.

Erik Shawn-Bohner fucked around with this message at 05:46 on May 6, 2013

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Fumblemouse posted:

You're not really here for the arm wrestling, are you?


Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's time....to DIE!"


To the editors of Spaced! Outrageous Stories from Outerspace!:

Enclosed please find my submission to your incredible magazine, a 1,146 word short story titled...


Titan's Cowgirl

The rings of Saturn arced over the horizon as L.V. gunned her hoverbike into overdrive. She clung to the edge of the cyrovolcano, it’s first warning eruptions misting her goggles with a fine spray of ice. She used her left-hand prosthetic—an old surgeon’s model—to wipe them off. The grappling hook on her her right arm clamped tightly to the bike’s controls. She hoped the storm was blurring the view from the methane miner they were about to liberate. With a miner, the Union would finally have enough power to run the factories at full capacity, ending the false scarcity driven by the monopolist’s greed. Hell, CorpStat might even increase her bounty again if she pulled this one off.

She couldn’t see the twins through the thick orange clouds and cyromist, but Ben and Becky were racing around the other side of the mountain. They’d come in first and draw the guards attention while she slipped Neil in from the back. loving Neil, she thought. He was always such a weasel. But he was the only member of the Union who could run the mining unit.

L.V. heard the blast of gunfire as she cleared the icecloud. There were Ben and Becky, alright, dodging bullets shooting from the squat cube of the miner, perched on a pathetic puddle of methane. Neil jerked around to look, causing the bike to lurch to the side. She leaned against the motion, expertly righting the bike as they shot out of the storm. Between Neil and the storm, the ride had been almost as rough as breaking bulls back in El Paso, and considerably less fun. At least it was too loud for him to talk.

An explosion rocked Ben’s bike and sent him skittering across the surface of the lake. Jesus, were they suicidal? If the methane caught fire, they’d all be dead! She opened the throttle all the way. With Ben down, it was now or never. She launched her grappling hook at the hatch, catching the handle. She reeled in, hauling the bike, herself, and Neil to the door. The handle turned easily in her grip. It must be her lucky day, someone left the door open.

“Let’s go!” she cried, leaping into the Unit. Neil followed her timidly, but she didn’t have time to worry about that—she hadn’t expected him to be much use at this stage anyway. Following the map she’d memorized weeks ago, L.V. bolted onto the foredeck. The guards were still firing at Becky. She shot her grappling hook at the one on the right, catching him on the shoulder of his bulky armor. Bulls-eye!

The second guard turned and rushed her. She flexed a muscle in her wrist and five scalpel blades instantly tipped her fingers. She raked them across the guard’s exposed face and he went down, clutching his bloody eyes. Feeling the wire on her hook go suddenly slack, she spun back to the first guard. He held a long serrated knife in one hand and her hook in the other. He grinned at her.

“Missing something?” He asked.

“Not really,” L.V. said. She retracted her blades and made a few effortless loops with the hook’s wire. She raised her right arm and the lasso undulated in the air above her head like a halo. With a flick she sent it over the man’s head and shoulders, before pulling it tight. The man gaped and his knife clattered to the ground. She tied up the two guards, gave the all clear, and sent Becky to check on her brother.

“That’s why you don’t mess with the cowgirl,” she said, nodding in satisfaction.

Then she felt the cool mouth of a gun pressing against the back of her head. gently caress, she’d forgotten about the engineer. But when the gunman spoke, it was in a voice she recognized only all too well.

“But I like messing with cowgirls,” Neil said. “Especially ones with such a high price on their head.” L.V. groaned.

“It’s almost too easy,” he continued. “Just wait here for CorpStat’s retrieval ship, hand you over, collect the cash, and retire.”

God, he really was a first-class idiot.

“There is no retrieval ship, Neil.” L.V. said slowly, so there would be a chance he’d understand.

“What are you talking about?” he said, rapping the gun against her skull. “They’ve got to come get the miner before the volcano erupts!”

“If they were going to get the miner, they would have got it already. Open your goddamned eyes, the volcano is erupting. They ran the numbers, and decided it wasn’t worth the risk.”

“But they can’t! There’s people—“ His voice ended with a wet thud, and L.V. felt the gun drop away. She whirled, scalpels extending, and came face to face with the biggest black man she’d ever seen. He took a step back, but didn’t lower the two-foot long wrench he’d used to dispatch Neil so effectively.

“I do believe,” he said, “that this means of production should be controlled by the workers.”

“drat straight!” L.V. grinned and stuck out her hand. “L.V., a.k.a. the Cowgirl.”

“Dr. Richard Bomber.” As they shook hands the floor shook beneath them. Becky and Ben raced up, and L.V. was relieved to see both Ben and his bike functional. L.V. grabbed her hook and tied it back onto its reel. Truth be told, she had missed it.

“Time to go!” L.V. shouted. The sound of shrieking metal filled her ears, and suddenly the floor wasn’t flat anymore. She stumbled against Bomber, who propped her up and steered her to the door. A ceiling panel crashed down, exposed wires dragging sparks against the floor.

“Shiiiit!” screamed L.V. No time to try to save the miner now. “Everyone out! Take the guards!”

“But they…” Ben started to protest.

“They were just doing their jobs. Union won’t kill a man for that. Leave this traitorous bastard though,” she said kicking Neil.

A huge woosh came from the volcano, sucking up the air around them. The ice was coming down in sheets when L.V. and Bomber jumped on her hoverbike. The twins were already 100 yards ahead of them and running fast. She hit the gas as hard as she could and they sped away from the collapsing miner.

The explosion roared behind them. L.V. looked back and watched the unit go up in a glowing mushroom of flame. The shockwave rattled the ground as it grew. It was a drat shame they lost the miner, but now that they had Bomber, she was sure she could get another one.

“Hold on!” she warned. He held on and leaned in as the it hit, helping to balance out the bike.

“Yeeeehaw!” L.V. whooped as they rode the wave of heat across the rocky desert, Saturn gleaming huge in the sky above them.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Flabbergasting Science Wonder Yarns!

A Lucky Break
1200 words

Captain Brock Jockson, Star Ranger, double-timed it down the Resilient’s engine room ladder. “Where’s my space-damned power,” he cried, as his feet hit the textured crystaliron plating. “The Ugs are breathing down our neck!”

Jake "Bolts" McTavish, neck deep in the guts of his machine, waved at him with a grease-stained hand. “Last jump queered us somethin’ fierce, cap’n! Luck of the devil, I’d been meanin’ to swap out the fluxolator but it failed on me. Be ready to go in an hour, more or less, soon as I can jettison the unstable core and fit the new’un.”

Brock bit back a curse, nodded. “You’ve got half that. Make it count,” he said grimly. He slapped the actuator on the bulkhead comm unit as McTavish started banging away in the bowels of the console with his proton wrench. “Scan. This is Jockson. What’ve we got, Tee Niner?”

Up in the bridge T-9xxFB touched a pad with a cool metallic finger. A chandelier of glittering lights arranged themselves around her. “The Ugnauts are closing fast, Captain. They may have locked on our vector when the core went unstable. Unlucky for us. I estimate 31 minutes before intersect.”

“Right,” said Brock. “Keep plotting that course. I need us ready to jump the moment we get Bolts’ go code.” He took his finger off the comm unit before hearing her mellifluous response.

He chewed his lip as he paced down the aft corridor towards the Science lab. A tight scrape – broken ship, inbound foes – but nothing he couldn’t handle. But there was something he was missing, it was gnawing at his mind. He rapped on the lab door. It slid open and he saw Dr Drebulon bent over the artifact they’d picked up on Tau Ceti IV.

“Doctor,” said Brock, “you’ve been tracking comms for our latest round of bad luck?” As he said it something twinged in his head. There was something he was missing, dammit Brock think.

The Doctor looked up. “Yes, captain. Most unfortunate. Happily I have completed my final diagnostic of the Y’ngothnoor artifact. I have prepared,” he said, handing over a data slate, “a summary.”

Brock took it, his eyes automatically scanning the lines of text. Suddenly he realised what he was reading. He looked up, meeting the cool purple of the alien’s eyes. “Does ‘subjunctivising entropic quality sink’ mean… what I think it does?”

The Doctor nodded.

***

Twenty eight minutes later Brock’s sleek starship still lay at rest, its nuclear fires damped and sullen. Commander Zango watched it on the viewscreen of his Ugnaut command cruiser, tapping his chins with a plump, red nailed finger.

“Scanners,” he said. Data spattered across the screen, surrounding the image in ideographs. Zango’s eyes flicked round them, still frowning.

“Your Grace,” said his aide de camp. “Permission to… annihilate Captain Brock’s vessel?”

Zango hawked, spat out a gobbet into a receptacle beside him. “I don’t like it, Saliverous,” he said peevishly. “We chase the fellow across half the spiral arm and when we run him down he just sits there.” The disinto flickered briefly with atom fire as it disposed of his leavings. “Fine, blast him into powder.”

Saliverous cracked his knuckles, a sound like dice in a wooden bowl, and nodded to the weapons master. “You may fire when -“ Lights flared from the console in front of him and Zango raised his hand. “No, wait. A hail. We shall see what they have to say, it should be at the least amusing.”

A picture formed, a human. Zango found it impossible to tell them apart, but this one looked uglier than most with his unattractively white teeth and pronounced jaw mandible.

“Zango!” the figure said in passable Galanglish. “I have what you are seeking. I’ll send it over by message capsule if you’ll let my crew and I leave.”

Zango was not sure how versed the Terran was at Ugnaut expressions, so he was careful not to let his glee show. Obtaining the artifact would buy him much credit in the Empiricon, and having both the artifact and the satisfaction of annihilating this impudent Earthman who dared bargain with an Ugnaut merchant lord…

“Very well, ‘Captain’,” purred Jango. “Send over the artifact. Once we have essayed its quality, we will of course be happy to treat you with all the courtesy you deserve.” He waved his long-nailed hand and the comm shut off.

***

On the Resilient Bolts fastened the last of the electro nuts on the message capsule. “Ye’re sure about this lad? Seems a fearful tight game yer runnin’,” he said.

Brock nodded. “You sure the timing will work out?”

“Ran it twice, cap’n,” Bolts said, slamming the torpedo shaped capsule down into the launch tube and sealing it. “Do the honours?”

Brock leaned over, said a silent prayer to St Armstrong and punched the launch stud.

***

“Commander,” murmured Saliverous. “The capsule approaches. No weapons detected.”

“Excellent,” said Jango. He gave a little happy sigh at the thought of the favours that were soon to rain upon him. “Verify the artifact’s presence, then give our little captain his…’reward’”

Saliverous nodded, then bent to listen to the whispered exclamation of his underling. He straightened with a look of concern on his angular face. “Commander, scans suggest the artifact is present, but the capsule is accelerating faster than expected … and we are detecting a spike of kappa radiation from the –“

Jango felt a pulse of righteous rage fill his display ruff with circulatory fluid. “He tricked us? He dared to trick us?” He ruminated for a few congested seconds then waved his hand dismissively. “No matter. The capsule is doubtless some crude weapon. Destroy it, destroy the ship. A pity to lose the artifact, but our profit was complete when we found his ship helpless before –“

A klaxon started to sound. “Commander,” said Saliverous, “un... fortunately we are experiencing weapons malfunction on all decks, engineering is addressing it.”

A light sparked on the scanner, grew, blossomed into a globe of intolerable white. Jango felt a slap as from the hand of a giant and saw the front of the bridge cave in, opening it to the unthinkable blackness of space. Through dimming sight he saw the warp open for the Resilient, saw it dart away from the doomed Ugnaut cruiser.

***

“I said it was bad luck when we brought it aboard, cap’n,” said Bolts. There was a satisfied tone to his voice.

“Bolts, you say everything is bad luck. You just struck it, well, lucky this time. And it saved us didn’t it?” Brock said with a laugh. Beneath them the teeth rattling hum of a star drive under load testified to the truth of his statement.

Bolts nodded. “Aye captain. Well I think the overloaded fluxolator core we shoved in the capsule might have had summat tae do w’it as well!”

They laughed, together, as the Resilient punched a diamond bright hole in the night.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 10:03 on Aug 5, 2013

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


sebmojo posted:

Flabbergasting Science Wonder Yarns!

A Lucky Break
1200 words

“BOLTS!” yelled Captain Brock Jockson, Star Ranger as he double timed it down the Resilient’s engine room ladder, jumping the last couple of rungs. “Where’s my space-damned power,” he cried, as his feet hit the textured crystaliron plating. “The Ugs are breathing down our neck!”

Jake "Bolts" McTavish, neck deep in the guts of his machine, waved at him with a grease-stained hand. “Last jump queered us somethin’ fierce, cap’n! Luck of the devil, I’d been meanin’ to swap out the fluxolator but it failed on me. Be ready to go in an hour, more or less, soon as I can jettison the unstable core and fit the new’un.”

quote:

Ugnauts are closing fast, Captain

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ugnaught

quote:

“Does ‘subjunctivising entropic quality sink’ mean… what I think it does?”

Obviously.

quote:

Twenty eight minutes later Brock’s sleek starship still lay at rest, its nuclear fires damped and sullen.

All the best ray gun gothic ships run on nuclear fire.

quote:

Brock leaned over, said a silent prayer to St Armstrong and punched the launch stud.

Beautiful

quote:

They laughed, together, as the Resilient punched a diamond bright hole in the night.

Great cheesy ending too. Really good poo poo right here.

gently caress you, Bohner, I'm in a very good mood right now and have nothing negative to say.

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Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


Martello posted:

gently caress you, Bohner, I'm in a very good mood right now and have nothing negative to say.



Target acquired.

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