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Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011




I haven't written any semi-serious fiction for about three years. I'm in. Let's get this train wreck a-rollin'.

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Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011




The Arecibo Message
1,131 words
-----
“Well,” Professor William Ingram said, to no one in particular, “Here we are.” He stepped out of his car into the heat of the Puerto Rican summer and began walking toward the large, stark-white complex he knew as work. He turned his eyes skyward, briefly admiring the few clouds drifting lazily by, before catching himself dallying. Straightening his coat, he walked through the sliding glass doors into the crowded lobby of the Arecibo Observatory.

“Buenos días, Professor Ingram!” The always-chipper voice of the resident secretary, Mrs. Alvarez, stuck out through the room's din.

“Buenos días, Señora Alvarez.” Ingram glanced at her desk, noting the papers strewn across the surface. It was messy – well, messier than usual. “Been busy?” he grinned.

“You have no idea, Professor. I've been getting called all morning from news sites, other foundations, blog-kids, the works! I tell ya, whatever you've been working on better be worth all this!” She swept her arms around, indicating the battlefield that is her desk. Right on cue, her phone started ringing.

“¡Mierda! Sorry, Professor, but I've got work to do.” Mrs. Alvarez swore, turning her attention back to the phone and the carpet of paperwork.

“Me too. Take care, Sra. Alvarez.” Ingram waved, and began worming his way through the groups, toward the security doors at the far end of the room.

“Pardon me, Sr. Ingram? Felipe Cruz, reporter for Verdad. Can I have a moment of your time?” A well-dressed Puerto Rican man, a good 30cm taller than he, blocked his way.

“I'm sorry, Sr. Cruz,” Ingram murmured, trying to scooch his way around the large man without drawing any more attention. “I have important business to-”

“Wait, did you say that Professor Ingram is in the building?” A shrill voice pierced the air, and in a moment's notice, Ingram felt the eyes of a nation on him. “I have to go!” he blurted, shoving Cruz out of the way and pressing onward toward the doors of salvation. A crowd of reporters followed close behind, throwing questions at him, hoping they would stick.

“Professor, is it true that the SETI program has finally produced positive results?”

“Sr., can you or can you not confirm the peaceful intentions of any extraterrestrials?”

“How have they contacted us? Answer us!”

Ingram soldiered on, trying to block out the inane jabbering coming from these reporters. Finally reaching the door, he turned around into a series of smartphone cameras going off and a wall of words hit him like a bag of bricks. Gathering all the energy he could, he shouted, “Would Sr. Cruz please come here?” Silence fell across the room. The large fellow methodically pushed his way through the crowds, the quiet slowly replaced with confused muttering.

“First come, first served.” Ingram gestured at Cruz to follow him through the security door. He stepped through and let out a sigh as the large doors locked behind them.

“I take it you are not a fan of crowds, ¿no?” Cruz wiped his forehead. “I am not.”

Ingram had not even stopped to catch his breath. “Can you walk and talk? I'm running late.” he called back as he paced down the hallway.

“Yes,” Cruz said, jogging up to him and clearing his throat with a cough. “I have a few questions for you, if you would answer them?”

Ingram rolled his eyes. “Yes, yes, let's get on with it.”

“A few years ago, a researcher from within Arecibo Observatory reported that the SETI program had finally produced results. If that is true, what makes today so momentous?”

“I'm surprised you know about that,” Ingram said as he continued along at a good clip. “It took a back seat to larger issues, but the short story is we received radio waves from outer space. This isn't normally notable, but these waves, when decoded, formed a distinct audio pattern that was, undoubtedly, a communication of some sort, to someone. We reported our finds to resounding silence back then.” Ingram glanced back at Cruz. “Speaking of, you made off pretty good during the Unification, right? I've read your stuff.”

“I don't know what you mean, Sr. Ingram,” Cruz lied. “I worked for the good of Puerto Rico. I always have.”

“Well, that agenda you've been pushing? You may want to change it, after today,” Ingram stopped in front of another large, gray security door. “Because we got another message, and this time, we think it's addressed to us.” Ingram opened the doors and entered a large, multi-tiered room, not unlike a lecture hall. A few scientists sat at computers, typing away, while others consulted with colleagues. Compared to the chaos that was the lobby, this inner sanctum was calming, in a way.

“Professor.” A young scientist stepped up to greet Ingram. “The decoding team has nearly finished their work on the data. If you would follow me?”

“Thank you, Doctor Rivera.” Ingram followed the Doctor, with Cruz in close pursuit. In a side room, hardly more than a conference room, sat four scientists. Their faces were drawn taut; their eyes, glassy. Ingram frowned, then began whispering to Cruz.

“The new find was not radio waves. It was light, in the visible spectrum. Galaxies, out there, are dying. Not going supernova, but just...burning out, spontaneously. But that's not the concerning part.” Cruz raised an eyebrow. “The concerning part is that each subsequent galaxy that burns out is closer and closer to us. And,” Ingram swallowed. “They're speeding up. So we brought on these experts to help find a message in them. We have here, Mr. Osinov of the USSR, cryptography ; Ms. Nagamine of Japan, linguistics; Sr. Leon of Puerto Rico, algorithms; and Mr. Talutah of Dakota, communication.”

The largest man of the four stood up. His features were distinctly Sioux. Sr. Talutah, Cruz thought. He began speaking, with a booming voice that carried both great strength, and great sorrow, but for a moment, Cruz could have sworn that he stuttered. “We just finished looking at the data. It sounds difficult to believe, but the pattern the galaxies were burning out in were, undoubtedly...smoke signals.” Talutah choked. “Smoke signals, indicating with complete certainty, 'It it hopeless. Flee. Do not stay and fight.'”

Cruz felt the life drain from his face and his heart leapt into his throat. Ingram did nothing but nodded to himself, scratching his chin pensively.

“How can you be so calm, at a time like this?!” Cruz screamed, his imposing form towering over Ingram.

Ingram chuckled to himself. “I'm just happy. It sounds ridiculous, but I'm actually happy to hear that, since that means all our evidence is consistent.” Cruz stepped away from Ingram, recoiling in equal parts fear and disgust.

“After all, the audio we decoded those years ago? Screaming. Nothing but screaming.”
-----
I feel like this is pretty rubbish, but I haven't really written fiction in a few years and, hey, it's better than not writing at all!

Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011




sebmojo posted:

:siren:RunningAtThePoisonWallsBrawl for the Honour of not being the Loser:siren:

What's that? Miscreants rummagin' in the garbage again? The cops have been called and only one of you will get away. I require 700 words or less on the theme of escape from a dreadful but well-deserved fate with a clearly described arc - beginning, middle, end.

No science fiction or fantasy, no-one dies.

Get to it - I can hear the sirens already.

due 29 March 2014, 11.59 pm PST

I ACCEPT.

I will fight for the honorable title of SECOND-WORST.

Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011




Thank you goon sir. Time to redraft my brawl with these crits, and I'll try to be less of a waste of air next time.

Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011




And with crits in mind, have a brawl! I intend to either redeem myself in the eyes of my peers, or crash and burn and continue to write poo poo for the rest of my days! Well, the latter one is a given, but maybe I can do the former one!

Blood Stones
(699 Words)
=====
My brother and I? We were like two peas in a pod. Everywhere he went, I went, and through thick and thin, we always knew that the other had our back. So how did I end up with my hands in the air, surrounded by cops? ...well, let's start from the beginning.

-----

It was a normal day, just like any other. Zach and I are – I'm sorry, were – twins, and we've always done everything together. We were roommates, coworkers, colleagues, and comrades. Imagine my surprise when Zach comes up to me, right in the middle of our break, and drops a bomb on me.

“Hey, uh, Adam.” Zach muttered. “There's, uh, something important I need to tell you...” I rolled my eyes, knowing very well where this was leading. Zach wouldn't dance around the question if he didn't mess something up.

“What did you do this time, Zach?” I said, laughing. I fully expected that he messed up a report or an assignment – again.

He chuckled. “You joker!” His smile quickly faded, along with the color in his face. “...sorry, this isn't the time for that.” He gulped. “I made a bad deal. One of my friends was offering to sell me rocks for cheap, and I took the offer.”

I shrugged. “Big deal. Your bad habits are nothing new to me.”

He grabbed me by the shoulders. “I don't think you understand. I was set up! We have to go, now!”

“...I'm gonna regret this. What's our plan?”

“We gotta skip town, lay low for a while. The cops will be looking-”

“Wait, wait, wait. What?!” I growled.

Zach shrunk. “Sorry, bro...You can still back out.”

“Never!”

He grinned. “Let's go.”

-----

We ran for what felt like hours. Zach was never as athletic as me, but his stamina surprised me. Guess things are different when in danger. We ducked down an alleyway on the outskirts of town, a good twenty-something miles from our office, and promptly collapsed.

“Darn it,” I spat. Zach was splayed across the ground, chest heaving with every greedy breath he took.

“So where are we going, exactly? We can't run forever.” I asked between gulps of air.

“There's a safe place a few more miles away, we'll be safe there until the coast is clear. It's just-” Zach stopped, and put his hand up to his ears. I heard it, too. Sirens, heading our way.

“Darn.” I muttered. “If we stay here, we're done.”

“I dunno if I can keep this up.” Zach panted.

“I'm not gonna leave you. We can still do this, we just need to think smart.” I said, pulling him to his feet. “We can make more ground weaving between buildings. C'mon, let's move.”

We jogged between the nooks and crannies of the city, sprinting across streets, occasionally stopping for breathers. The ever-present wail of the sirens behind us was a constant reminder of what we had to lose. We took one last break a few blocks from the safe house.

“Think I twisted the darn thing.” Zach said, nursing his ankle. I frowned.

“We can't stop now.” I said.

“I know, but – ow!” He shouted, falling to the ground. “I don't think I can go.”

“No, come on. I'll help you.” I hoisted him up, but it was too late for us. The sirens reached their peak, and we could make out the sounds of people moving.

Zach frowned. “I'm sorry, Adam. The rocks are worth more than you.” He shoved me hard. I stumbled, landing on my rear right in the middle of the street. I caught a glimpse down the alleyway as I fell. Zach was running away. Liar.

“Freeze!” An overwhelming voice blasted. Slowly, I climbed to my feet and raised my hands in the air. That was it. Game over.

-----

*riiiiiiiiiing!*
The recess bell rang, and I lowered by arms. The cops cried out in despair. “Maaaan, we almost won, too!”

Zachary skipped back to me, weaving through the trees. “Sorry bro. You know how it is.” he grunted between bites of rock candy. I hope it was worth it, I thought.

Next time, I'll be a cop.

Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011




SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

:siren: PUT YOUR BRAWLS IN MY FACE: BIGGEST LOSER EDITION :siren:

My last foray into the Thunderdome brought shame upon my family. In.

Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011




Ephemeral
(991 words for the Paranormal Romance Loserbrawl)

“Hey, I'm Dave. Tell me a little bit about yourself.”

I reached across the table and grabbed the planchette. The triangular piece of polished rosewood glided gracefully across the Ouija, moving from letter to letter.

I'm Gertrude. I'm 133 years young, and I definitely don't want to be here.

I chuckled to myself, mostly from coincidence; I was in the same boat. Seemed like even in the afterlife, peer pressure is a force to be reckoned with. The planchette started moving again.

Let's cut out the bullshit and get to the point. I'm not interested in a relationship, I'm only here because one of my friends said it would be good to stretch my legs. The wood jumped in my hands, scrambling quickly. Er, you know what I mean.

“Yeah, I know the feeling. I'm not gonna lie, I came mostly for the sights. I mean, speed dating is one thing, but spooky speed dating? At the very least it's worth blogging about, right?” My heart sank as I realized what I had said. ”Uh, you know what a blog is, right?”

Dave, please. I may be old enough to be your great-great-grandmother, but that doesn't mean I don't know technology. Computers are prime haunting grounds, you know!

I smiled. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad.

***

She was the child of two English immigrants that moved here around the turn of the century. Did her civic duty as a Rosie during World War II. Died of mysterious circumstances around ten years later – and they're only mysterious because she wouldn't share the details. But she's been haunting household objects ever since. One thing was certain, though – she was a real chatterbug.

Dave, I should introduce you to my gal Martha sometime. She's a skeleton, and a real knee-slapper, too! Or she would be if she didn't live with so many mutts! While I definitely was enjoying reading her thoughts, holding onto the planchette for so long was killing my arms.

“I dunno, Gertrude. You're pretty funny yourself!” I said, laughing. “So, this is kind of awkward, but is there another way for you to talk? Corporeality does have its downsides.”

Hmm. You know Morse?

“Pardon?” I said.

Morse code.

“I know S-O-S but that's about it, I'm afraid.”

The chime of cutlery hitting glass filled the air, indicating it was time to start the next date.

“Gertrude, can we chat again later? I had a blast talking with you and want to do it again sometime.”

The planchette lie still for a few seconds, before slowly but surely moving over the two words I didn't want to read.

Good Bye.

***

“Dave, this is Magda. Magda, Dave.”

I shook her outstretched hand. Icy cold, and I definitely saw a waft of smoke from where a ray of setting sun grazed her bare wrist through the blinds.

“Vampire?” I asked, gesturing at her wrist.

“Dhampir, actually.” she replied with a thick Eastern European accent. “It just stings a little. I'll be fine.”

“Magda and I really hit it off during the speed date.” Jason said, wrapping his arm over her shoulder and pulling her close. Jason and I had been friends since high school, and it was his idea for us to sign on for the paranormal speed date. It was his idea to come back to his place for what he called a 'post-mortem'. Ugh.
“What about you? Surely you didn't leave empty-handed. Or maybe you did, eh? You know what I'm saying?” He elbowed me, and I felt myself blushing.

“Oh ho, our Dave has complex taste in women. So, what're the details? Ghost? Specter? Wraith? Oh, maybe a shade?”

“Not hardly.” I sighed, seeing no way out of this. ”She's a poltergeist, and she didn't come with me.”

Jason groaned in faux-agony. “Dave, you're killing me here! All these lovely ladies and you choose one that's only good for parlor tricks.” I looked away. I shouldn't have said anything. The room fell silent, except for a stiff, ominous breeze blowing. Magda began giggling quietly. Jason and I looked at her, baffled.

“What? What's so funny?” Jason said.

“Nothing!” Magda shouted back, holding onto her scarf as the wind picked up. I hadn't realized it, but that wind – could it be?

“Dave, do you know what's happening?” Jason screamed. Of course I did. I shrugged. The wind blew harder and louder than ever.

He kept yelling at me, his face contorted in rage. He pointed at me. Gestured around the room. I scratched my head. He stood up, raising his fists. He fell down, clobbered by a flying chair.

***

I got into my car, incredulous at what happened. Magda made sure that Jason was okay, and told me I had business to finish. I didn't know what she meant, until I saw wooden shards from the chair that spelled an address. It was an old cemetery a good way out of town. Soon enough I had arrived. The lot was old and hadn't been visited in a long time. I carefully made my way through the thick layer of leaves littering the ground, and made my way into the cemetery, checking each grave's inscription. I knew what I was looking for, and soon enough I found it. Brushing aside the moss, I found:

Gertrude Miller, here lies.
Her husband, unwise.
Left her, she cries.
Wedding night, she dies.


Her grave. I knelt next to it. Paying my respects was the least I could do.

Taptaptap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Taptaptap.

I turned around. I knew that pattern. A barren branch of a rosewood tree was tapping against the rusted metal fence. I smiled. “Apology accepted.” I whispered. I snapped the branch off the tree. “You okay?” I asked. The branch twisted unnaturally as if to nod.

“C'mon. Let's go home.”

Pseudoscorpion fucked around with this message at 01:24 on May 16, 2014

Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011




SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

:siren: FINAL ROUND :siren:

You poor bastards. You should've lost. You should've printed off your story and used it as toilet paper, because you're gonna do the thing that all 'domers dread. You're going to do the thing that guaranteed I was never allowed to judge again, because every time there's a tie everybody goes "oh god no not muffin he's going to do..."

POETRY ROUND, MOTHERFUCKER


This one is gonna be pretty open. There are only two stipulations:

1) it must be a ballad
2) it must be metered

or, in non-poetry words

1) it must tell a story; have a coherent plot arc with a beginning, middle and end
2) no free verse. Iambic Pentameter is probably the easy way out, but I like it a lot so that's ok. Other meters are also acceptable. Limericks are acceptable but they'd better be really good. Please complain that you still don't understand in the thread.

It doesn't have to rhyme, but nor is it forbidden. Except heroic couplets, which are for scrubs.

Meinberg, Hocus Pocus, Pseudoscorpion, get your poetry hats on and write me a drat story. SIE HABEN EINEN WOCHE FUR DIESEN SCHRIVENZINGSITZE! ONE WEEK. 11:59PM NEXT FRIDAY, SINGAPORE TIME. DOITNERDS.

Oh fantastic and powerful Muffin,
Know that before I hit the post button,
I won't fake a sob,
I've got a new job;
My challenge you should probably roughen.

I am here to request an extension,
(as I suffer from some apprehension);
The deadline is soon,
Oh great, wonderful goon,
I hope that this won't cause contention.

Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011





Far to the North
(292 Words)
Far to the North, in Roknulfahr,
lives a Girl who died;
Far to the North, 'neath the Twilight Star,
a grave; an anguished Bride.

Far to the South, the mad royal
A cruel and vile King;
Far to the South, the Rogue makes haste
Bag hides the royal ring.

Far to the North, atop hills steep,
Storm rages overhead;
Far to the North, the Widow weeps,
If only She were dead.

Far to the South, in jungles strange,
The Rogue slithers in shade;
Far to the South, the King deranged,
A bounty! Gold to be made.

Far to the North, a plummet down
Hair whipping through the wind;
Far to the North, Her face a frown,
“Lord, know that I have sinned.”

Far to the North, footsteps echo,
The Rogue running to hide;
Far to the North, He stands just below
The sad, delicate Bride.

Far to the South, a court of fools
A-bicker; a-backer;
Far to the South, He lie down rules,
To hunt His attacker.

Far to the North, the Rogue now holds
The Bride within his arms;
Far to the North, Her heart unfolds;
Her life saved by His charms.

Far to the South, swords are unsheathed
The Hunters have begun;
Far to the South, Their tempers seethed
“There's money to be won!”

Far to the North, the Two lie low
Hidden in the bazaar;
Far to the North, They choose to go
Toward the Twilight Star.

Far to the West, played for a fool,
The Hunters stand confused;
Far to the West, without his jewel,
The King; he passed bemused.

Far to the East, in scalding sands,
The Rogue, She promptly blessed;
Far to the East, He asked Her hand,
And, of course, she replied “Yes.”

*****

Meter: Common meter-ish. It's not strictly iambic.

Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011




gently caress it! In.

Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011





You seem to have conveniently missed me twice, chief :colbert:

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Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011




Prompt: 359: Sea (Naval) forces & warfare - specifically 359.424: Animals in Naval Warfare
MK 9; 1,319 words
*****
Point, two circles, thumb at me. 9-3 knew what it meant. Less than a minute later, the water crests and he emerges, the distinct pink silhouette of the training dummy draped around his dorsal fin. Phweet! I blew my whistle, tossing him a fish from my bucket. I smiled. He was getting it consistently now. I dislodged the dummy and tossed it back to the deep. Point, two circles, thumb at me. Working through the exercises over, and over, until the motions are practically muscle memory.

*****

“Dolphins?” he said, raising an eyebrow as he sipped his coffee.

“Military dolphins,” I corrected between nibbles of danish. “I'm working for the Navy Marine Mammal Program training dolphins to do stuff. You know, recon, area denial, search-and-rescue.”

“And that works? This isn't some 'Free Willy' 'Air Bud' animal-hero bullshit you're feeding me, right?”

“Yeah. They're about as smart as your average dog. You know how smart they are.”

“I dunno! You've met my dog, yeah?”

“Hahaha, good point!”

*****

I stood on the bow of the ship, wind rushing past me as I stared at the far horizon, the morning sun painting the overcast skies a mellow orange. It was oh-five-hundred, doing routine training exercises just off the coast. The night crew sailed out last night, dropped a couple of dummies a few knots apart. It's our job to recover them and get back quickly and safely.

*****

My knife cut cleanly into the salmon. I scooped up a bit of flaky fish into my mouth and savored it. Mom's still got it, I thought. If only I could cut through the silence so easily. My father looked up at me, disdain in his eyes. His words still echoed in my head. Not a real Navy man. Waste of my tax dollars. Useless chum trainer. I grit my teeth and tried not to meet his gaze. I wouldn't let another dinner be ruined by him. Not again.

*****

We were idling a few knots off the coast, lazily waiting for our charge. He was making good time. First target was pretty easy: free-floater, only twenty kilos. Took him ten minutes. Second target was harder. One-hundred kilos, in hazardous terrain. Twenty-five minutes. We'd been waiting for the third target for about forty minutes now.

The crew was starting to get a little anxious. I lit up a cigarette and right as I tried to take a puff, I heard the stomping of heavy boots. One of the crew ran up to me, a panicked look in his eyes.

“We've got a problem, chief. Blood in the water.”

*****

I sat in the claustrophobic room for what felt like an eternity. Complete silence, outside of the gentle ticking of the clock. The sheer metal door slammed open, and a young lady dressed in business professional entered, grasping a binder of documents.

“We have some questions about your charge, sir. MK 9, unit 3.” The woman said, sitting down and rummaging through her files. “Speaking frankly, we're concerned about the quality of his training.”

I opened my mouth, finding my voice caught in my throat. “...how so, ma'am?”

“We've brought other trainers in to fill in schedule gaps, and your charge consistently fails to comprehend instructions.” She said. “We would just like a quick audit of your qualifications.”

God drat stubborn useless chum...no! No...I shook those thoughts from my head. There must be a mistake here. “Of course, ma'am. I'd love to go over my qualifications in detail...”

*****

I dropped my cigarette. “What?! Where?!” I practically screamed at the crewman.

“Just off the port stern! It's too dark to get a good look, but...” That was all I needed to hear. I took off running, making my way to the opposite end of the ship. A good half-dozen crew members were gathered around the railing, oohing and ahhing at the sight like they'd never seen a dolphin bleed before.

“Move it! Make way!” I screamed, my voice like a crack of lightning in the silent morning air. I had to shove some of the idiots of out of the way, before I took a deep breath and dove into the icy water.

*****

I sighed as I left the cramped chamber. Her inquiry into my qualifications was ineffectual. I think she knew that as well as I did, but it still painting a concerning picture. My charge – 9-3, my dolphin – is just stubborn. He knows the instructions, he just chooses to be a petulant little poo poo when I'm not around. ...not unlike myself, I couldn't help but think as I wandered restlessly through the halls of the Systems Center.

*****

I practically screamed at the icy embrace of the water, opening my eyes to adjust to the dark depths. I saw him, 9-3, dummy wrapped around his fin as he flailed, trying to remain stable. Looked like a heavy one, probably dropped in some impossible crevasse.

I swam over to him, gently holding him as I looked for injuries. Sure enough, I saw crimson oozing from his side, above his left pectoral fin. Looked like a gunshot. Poachers? No time to think about it. I quickly unclasped the heavy dummy, dropping it into the black depths.

I internally sighed in relief as I saw him float up to the surface, until I felt a harsh yank against my leg. I look down to see the abyss coming up to meet me, the rescue dummy tangled on my legs, bringing me to a watery grave.

*****

I stepped outside into the warm San Diego air, watching setting sun as I make my way around the building. I rounded the corner, and spotted a crowd, thirty or forty strong, carrying picket signs and screaming harsh nothings. I sighed. The 'hip thing' to do nowadays was protest animal abuse, whether or not any abuse was actually happening.

However, my car lie on the other side of that crowd. I braced myself, keeping a good grip on my gear, and muscled my way through the crowd. I tried to ignore their jeers, but after day-in day-out of hearing the same crap over and over, it starts to grate on you. “Dolphins wouldn't save you if you didn't force them to!” I hear in the distance. I sighed. Maybe she's right.

*****

I looked up at the surface, the orange morning sky just barely visible as I sink further and further down. I felt the last of my breath leave me, feeling myself grow dizzy and losing conciousness. This is it, I thought. Moments before I blacked out, I saw the silhouette of a torpedo, or a shark, or...something, moving quickly toward me.

And then all goes black.

*****

“Well, Mr. Lyons, I must say that's quite the story you've spun. Sinking down, tangled on a dummy, rescued by your fishy friend.”

“Dolphin.” I corrected. “9-3's a dolphin.”

The woman sighed. “Of course, my apologies.” She cleared her throat. “I've brought this situation to the bigwigs, and they want you and 9-3 off active duty for a while. Of course, you're free to visit him, if you'd like.”

I smiled. “I'd like that very much.” It was, after all, the very least I owed him.


*****

I tipped my toe into the cool waters of the pen, before jumping in. 9-3 was lazing swimming about, his flipper healing from the earlier exercises. I tried my best to slowly sneak up on him, but he knew I was there. He knew from the moment I poked my toe in. He swam up to me, splashing water on me. I wasn't sure if he was trying to say 'You're an idiot' or 'I'm glad you're okay', but I knew how to respond. I splashed him back! The day grew into night as he and I relaxed. I smiled to myself. I could get used to this job yet.

Pseudoscorpion fucked around with this message at 23:23 on Aug 31, 2014

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