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Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


The Archive is not letting me access stories, even when I'm logged in. Is anyone else having this issue?

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Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Such a Teddy Bear 86 words

I'm glad you found a place with the shittiest Chinese food every, since in actual Chinese it's Gao and I'm not sure what you got. You should prepare to eat a loss, though, because I've been bloodied in a brawl and come out victorious. What have you done, Mr. Bear? Have you seen your own blood spew forth, and come up fighting? Have you accepted the challenge with your life? You are a coward, Mr. Bear, and I won't have you in my Thunderdome.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Duh-jeez-er? Djay-zer? Who the gently caress knows?

You had better bring your fuckin' A-game to this brawl, you little fucker, because otherwise I am going to disembowel you and you'll have to bleed out as you stare at your own fuckin' guts and the disappointed look on the spectator's faces as I scream ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Sithsaber posted:

Could I "cheat" by expanding on a short story I've been meaning to amend? Time stamps prove that it was originally destined for this thread before I learned the competition was closed. I dumped the original telly version (with a few grammatical corrections) onto the farm, which probably means the piece is inadmissible due to already advised punctuation pointers. If it did get in I'd try to text 280 words of examples and a slightly drawn out version of the first murder/zombie raising which had already been half assedly been considered the conceptual origin of the god War before this chance of my admission was presented.

No.

Brawl me or gently caress off, you poor excuse for a writer.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Warrior’s Spirit (1288 words)

I walked the opener around the lid of the can, slowly revealing the pasty brown beans inside. My legs hurt, my heels blistered, but my stomach needed the most attention. I shoveled the beans into my mouth.

“So,” said Tim, his boots already off, “were you in the service?”

At first I didn’t realize that Tim was addressing me. He looked at me and cleared his throat. “Uh, no,” I answered. “Wanted to go Army, but couldn’t get in.”

Tall and broad, Tim had clearly once been in fantastic shape. Now, his bushy hair was receding a bit, and there was a bit of a gut hanging over his belt. “Asthma?” he asked.

I nodded. “What about you?”

“I did six years in the Guard,” said Tim. “But the most action I saw was a training exercise. Pretty much this with real guns. Kendra was in my unit.”

Kendra was at least as tall as Tim, but where Tim’s body had gone to seed, she was in fantastic shape. Tim and I lagged behind her the entire march up.

“This your first time out?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “Greg works in my office.”

“Greg?” said Tim. “You mean the Sarge?” We looked over to our squad leader; he was standing with their platoon lieutenant.

‘Sarge’ (or Greg, as I knew him) was over-the-hill at best. His portly form and grey buzz cut betrayed that he was nearer to retirement than his prime. He came from an older sensibility; I’d been told he’d missed just one day of work, years ago, because his mother had passed away.

“He’s the only one of us that has been in any real action,” said Kendra. She looked down. “Saw some real poo poo in Desert Storm.”

“How do you know that?” Tim asked.

“Randall over there was in his regiment,” Kendra answered. “We got drunk after the last match.”

“Oh,” I said. There was a long pause; I finished my beans. “Well, Greg invited me out. He said it would be fun. I didn’t know you guys took it this seriously.”

Kendra laughed. “Yeah, we kinda do, don’t we?”

“You having fun yet?” asked Tim.

“Oh yes,” I said, rubbing my tired legs. “So much fun.”

-

My army-surplus vest was laden with equipment: food, CO2 canisters, binoculars, survival kit, canteens, and an extra tube of paintballs before we left, just in case. Sarge said we might be gone all day.

I marched in the rear of our zig-zag formation, staying separated so as to cover more ground. It was quiet and dull; my mind returned to our conversation at the camp. The rest of them are soldiers, I thought. They’d all done this before; Sarge issued orders and they understood. Tim and Kendra were nice enough to translate for me, but I felt out of place.

Tim and I huffed and puffed up the hill, swinging our guns for leverage and still falling behind Kendra. Suddenly, compressed air bursts echoed through the trees. Paintballs flew through the branches, coloring the leaves and bark yellow. I fell to the ground in panic.

“Get down! Get down the hill!” screamed Sarge, busting through the branches like a stampeding bull. Kendra dashed down the hill like a gazelle behind him. I stood, turned to run, and immediately ate poo poo.

I violently rolled into a tree stump. The world swam. My chest was tight and wouldn’t let any air in or out. I forced myself to stand. Slowly, I ambled toward the sound of fire and my squadmates. “Blue, blue!” I gasped, hopeful I’d avoid further indignity by dying to friendly fire. Tim lay prone behind a log, searching the forest for any more enemies. I flopped down next to him.

“Where’s everyone?” I whispered.

“No idea,” said Tim. “We got separated.”

-

“Looks like most of them are still there,” said Tim, scouting with his binoculars. “Here, take a look.”

Down in the ravine was Red Platoon, sitting in their camp with a hot meal. My stomach rumbled. “They’ve only got one squad on patrol,” Tim explained. “You can see two of them sweeping the woods on the left there. Our mission is to draw out the patrol so that the rest of the platoon has a clear approach to the main force.”

“Wait,” I said, “we?”

Tim smiled. “Well, there’s no sign of Sarge or the other two. For all we know they’re casualties.”

“Yeah,” I said, “but there’s just two of us!”

“Sshhhh,” said Tim. “I’ll move you into position, then you’ll provide covering fire while I assault.”

“Uh, okay,” I said. Tim filled his hopper; I followed suit. “You’ll tell me what to do?”

“It’s easy!” said Tim. “Follow me!”

-

There wasn’t much cover near the bottom of the ridge, so Tim left me in a hollow a few dozen yards from the camp. As Tim dashed ahead, I tried to calm my racing heart. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

To his left, a soldier came into view. I checked his arm - a red bandana! Okay, I thought, just breathe. Aim. Squeeze.

Pop! Pop! Pop! Blue paint spattered on the soldier’s stomach. Holy poo poo, I hit him! Excitement poured through me as he dropped to the ground.

Tim wove back and forth through the trees ahead of me. I fired rapidly to his left and right, attempting to clear a path. I saw another soldier drop into cover, and my enthusiasm doubled. Tim stopped and waved me forward, and a splotch of red exploded on his neck.

It’s your turn now, said a voice inside me. They shot your buddy! Go get them! I was already on my feet, ducking and running from tree to tree. I fired on the run, feeling like Rambo as I strafed the camp.

poo poo poo poo poo poo! Out of ammo! Crouched for cover, my shaking hand dumped my last tube into the hopper, dropping a few on the ground. Leave it! Let’s go!

When I looked up, I saw three Reds ducking between trees - dangerously close. I ran through the forest, heedless of my enemy. Adrenaline raged through my body. Nothing could stop me. Ten, maybe fifteen feet away, another enemy dropped to the dirt from behind a tree. Without thinking, I snapped my arm over and pulled the trigger. Blue splashed over his goggles.

I did my best war movie roll behind a huge fallen log, stumbling to a crouch and bracing my arm. I took aim and sprayed a dozen shots in their direction. These guys were too good, though; they zigged when my aim zagged, ducking behind cover just in time.

I shook my gun; the hopper made no noise. Out, really out. I stood up to a crouch and dashed backwards, turning to fire blanks. My gambit didn’t work; Red charged me, rifle at the ready. I dropped down into the dirt. A paintball burst right in front of my face; more rained down to my left and right.

Suddenly, the rain of shots ceased. I rolled onto my side; through the forest I could see the battle in the clearing as our other squads chased the Reds out of their own camp. They fled into the woods; it didn’t look like anyone was in charge.

A pair of huge boots stomped out of the forest and stopped right next to my face. “You okay?” asked Sarge. “That’s some good work,” he said, pulling me to my feet. “Follow me, we’ve got those bastards on the run.”

I frowned. “I’m out of ammo.”

“That’s my favorite thing to hear,” said Sarge. “We just might make a soldier out of you yet.”

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Number 36 posted:

My advice is start in Reno.

That way there is no chance you have to go to Reno.

Sounds good to me.

SHUT THE gently caress UP SITHSABER

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


I just want to say that you guys are awesome for releasing this stuff in real time.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


OCK OCK BABY

it's so fitting that a dinosaur won

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


I am going to have to duck out for my three-way brawl and ruin my perfect record. I just don't have the time to get it finished. I guess it will be Djeser vs. Phobia!

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Phobia posted:

Yeah, same here actually.

Hey Schneider, think we can extend the deadline to Thursday at 8 AM GMT? That would be awesome, especially if it means Gau gets another chance, maybe.

I am so down for this. I'll definitely have something if the deadline gets moved.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


The Only Road (1794 words for DjeserGauPhobia brawl)

At ninety miles an hour, the Camaro’s engine roared so loudly it nearly drowned out Whitesnake’s guitars. Angela’s long, bleach-blonde hair trailed behind her in a sort of shifting tangle. The cars she passed saw a middle-aged woman who’d seen too much sun and couldn’t quite let go of the eighties; they weren’t wrong.

What separated Angela from thousands of other aging hair-metal queens was the ten million dollars stashed in her trunk. The cash had been locked up in a crooked investment bank in Beaumont, Texas for several years before it was forcibly liberated by a .38 revolver in the hands of a slightly unhinged blonde.

Usually these banks had layers of security - silent alarms, inked money, tracking devices. This bank didn’t; it dealt in the sort of money that didn’t want to be tracked. Anyone with any spark of sanity, who wanted to keep their skin and entrails in the correct order, would make a safer choice and rob the First Bank of Jefferson County.

Angela clearly wasn’t that person. A sign shot past the car: it read “WELCOME TO LOUISIANA - BIENVENUE EN LOUISIANE.” Angela pushed the accelerator down. She knew the bank wouldn’t call the police. With a lot of speed and a bit of luck, she’d make Baton Rouge before the cartel caught on.

At least, that was the plan. A long highway lay between here and freedom.

-

The radar gun beeped, blinking ‘102 mph.’ “Yep,” said Trooper Daniels, “gotcha.” Ignition, rollers, siren, and he was off in pursuit. Despite the law, he felt a bit of pity; it was a beautiful ‘68 Camaro, and he’d have to impound the damned thing. For the car’s sake, he hoped the tow trucks would be gentle.

Frank Daniels was fresh-faced and clean-shaven, his eyes bright with enthusiasm. A smile spread across his face as the Charger broke 90, then 100 - he’d never driven this fast on duty. The Camaro was accelerating. Daniels fumbled with his microphone.

“Dispatch, State 259,” said Daniels. “In high-speed pursuit of blue Camaro east of Kinder on one-ninety. Request intercept, over.”

The radio crackled to life. “State 259, acknowledge pursuit. Will advise on intercept when available.”

The highway was clear and straight to the horizon. The suspect was pushing 120; Daniels’ engine screamed as the cruiser pushed to keep pace. Whatever this driver thought he was doing, there was no way he’d make it that far with a sheriff’s deputy on his tail.

Her tail, thought Daniels, observing the driver’s long blond hair. Suddenly, the Camaro’s tires squealed and slid sideways. Daniels barely avoided a crash, hitting his brakes and running off the highway and through a fence. His cruiser came to rest in a cloud of dirt and smoke.

“gently caress!” Daniels yelled. His hands were shaking, nerves and adrenaline taking their toll as the pressure suddenly disappeared. When the dust cleared, the Camaro was already off down the highway.

“Not dead yet.” Daniels fired up the engine, barrelling out of the field and back onto the road. Sparks flew as he dragged the fence for a quarter-mile.

With every light flashing and all of his sirens blaring, they rushed into downtown Eunice.

-

A white Cadillac waited on the east end of Eunice, Louisiana. The driver and two of the passengers were large, threatening men carrying large, threatening pistols. The third passenger wore a sharp suit, a hat, and a panther’s dark eyes.

Miguel was prepared to summon the forces of Hell before he let this insane bitch run off with his fortune. The rat had targeted the bank because she knew the security was lax - and that made Miguel even more angry.

“I think I see ‘em, Boss,” said the driver. The rat weaved through traffic, pursued by the pig. Pigs weren’t good at catching rats, though; for that you needed a predator. El gato. Miguel was just such a cat.

“Let’s go say hello to this little lady.” said Miguel. All three brutes smiled; between them they were missing a full set of teeth. The driver moved the Cadillac to blocked the highway and all four men got out. The brutes drew their guns and braced against the car. Miguel moved off to the side.

The Camaro’s tires squealed as it cleared the traffic. Miguel caught a glimpse of the rat; her eyes spat fire. Engine screaming, she raced down the center of the road into the brutes’ gunfire. Her windshield spiderwebbed and smoke streamed out from under the hood, but she was undaunted. She wouldn’t, thought Miguel. She can’t be that crazy.

She was. One of the boys launched into the air as the Camaro barreled through the Cadillac. Another had dived to the ground; blood spattered on the road like gigantic tomato under a hammer. The third barely escaped. Billowing smoke trailed down the highway as the rat peeled off toward Baton Rouge.

Miguel made a call. Twenty minutes later, a helicopter joined the half-dozen police cars chasing a blue Camaro racing through Opelousas, Louisiana.

-

They almost got her on the bridge. The pigs had laid a blowout strip across the pan, and Angela barely saw the rollers in time. Throwing the wheel to the left, she dived off the highway and into a field, making forty miles an hour as she took a ‘shortcut’ to the road heading north along the river.

A few miles down, Angela was long gone and in the clear. The smoke billowing from her engine was thick, though, and the overheat light glowed red. Hold on, baby. Just a few more miles.

She knew there was an old, closed bridge a few miles up. As she neared it, she spotted a familiar cruiser on the left. “drat it!” she swore. “That loving sheriff will be the end of me!”

There was nothing to do. Angela crashed through the barricade signs, raced across the dilapidated bridge, and cut back down toward Baton Rouge - lights and sirens in tow.

-

“Thank you,” said Miguel. He put the phone back in his pocket. Angela Morrison, age 44, resident of Alexandria, Texas. Divorced, no children. A few minor offenses from her teenage years, but no real criminal record. Diagnosed with terminal breast cancer six months ago.

If Miguel had been a different person, he might have felt sorry for Angela. Or, perhaps, if she didn’t currently have ten million dollars of his money in her trunk. His helicopter swung around and followed the smoking Camaro as it turned off the highway. She’d evaded the fleet of police cars that followed her out of Opelousas. A lone cruiser remained, seemingly to be unconcerned with ending her flight. He knew, as Miguel did, that the car’s time was nearing its end. It was surprising that it had held up this long.

On the runway, a small twin-engined plane was ready to go. This rat was smart; she had demonstrated unusual cunning and determination. A smile crossed Miguel’s face at the thought of catching her. If his enemies weren’t frightened of him now, they would be once they heard what he was about to do with the woman who stole his fortune.

The Camaro stuttered and puffed, giving up the ghost just short of the runway. As he saw the rat unload his money, Miguel took a deep breath. You couldn’t make it personal. People who got angry made mistakes.

“Take us down,” said Miguel.

-

Daniels saw the helicopter descending overhead; it had followed them off and on since around Opelousas. Sensing danger, he radioed in and slowly approached the airfield.

He brought his car to a stop between the plane and the helicopter. To his left, the woman was ferrying bags from the trunk of the smoking car to the plane. On his right, a tall hispanic man in a stylish suit stepped out of the helicopter, holding a submachine gun.

Daniels didn’t think. He rolled out his door and took cover behind the engine of his vehicle. Another second, and his weapon was out and trained on this man.

The air exploded with bullets. Shards of glass, metal, and plastic rained down on Daniels as he crouched for cover until the shooting stopped. The woman produced a pistol and aimed it at the man. They appeared to be speaking to each other - and not in a friendly manner.

A standoff.

The woman unzipped one of the bags and threw it toward the helicopter. Bundles of cash fell out. It was a heist then. He wants his money back. Banks didn’t send armed men in helicopters. There was only one answer: this was a man who wasn’t scared to leave a deputy’s body behind.

The man raised his rifle to fire. Daniels’ arm moved and finger squeezed. One, two, three, just like he’d done on the range. An agonizingly long second passed; a patch of red grew under the man’s mangled tie. He fell like a tree: slowly at first, and then violently onto the ground.

The helicopter spooled up and fled. That figures.

Daniels aimed his weapon at the woman and switched on his loudspeaker. “Turn off the engines!” he ordered. The woman made a kill signal to the pilot.

“What in the hell is going on here?” asked Daniels.

“I assume you know who Miguel Nuncio is?” said the woman.

The realization dawned. He’d just killed one of the biggest cartel leaders in Texas.

“This money used to be his,” she continued. She tossed her pistol into the airplane. “Now it’s mine.”

“You know I can’t let you get away with that,” said Daniels. He lowered his weapon.

The woman’s face softened. “What’s your name, Deputy?” she asked.

“Daniels,” he answered. “Frank Daniels.”

A frown dropped on her face. “Frank, I’m dying,” she said. “I have a year to live at most.” She would say anything, Frank thought - but he immediately knew he was wrong. Her eyes spoke the truth. “I stole this money from a the man who just tried to murder you,” she said. “You think I should give it back?”

Daniels wasn’t a man for moral quandaries. Somewhere in his conscience, he knew arresting this woman was wrong. She would go to jail for stealing money from a vicious drug lord. She would die there, alone. In Mexico or South America, she could live out her final year with a happiness that had eluded her so far. No one lost.

Sirens sounded in the distance - his backup.

“Get on the airplane,” Daniels said. “Hurry.”

The woman turned and ran to the door.

“Wait!” yelled Daniels. “What’s your name?”

In the door, she turned to him. “Angela,” she said. “Thank you, Frank.”

“You’re welcome.”

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8PyTo6NyXA

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


The Girl from Cleveland
(1402 words because I am technically still brawling with Sithsaber)

July 20, 2001
Sutherland, NE

Henry and Myrtle puttered into the small town, nearly out of gas. From helmet to boots, he wore a thick layer of dust and sand. Myrtle had been a shiny green Vespa when he rode out of Reno; now she was a sort of greenish-grey with brown splatters. For two mornings, he’d said he was going to clean her when he got to the next town; as the sun went down on the third day, he was once again far too tired from his ride to clean anything. He attempted to pat and wipe the dust off, but this only created more dust. Resigned, he pulled off his helmet and staggered into the diner.

The waitress handed him a menu. “Where ya from, honey?” she asked, at once bubbly and concerned.

“Reno,” he answered, coughing up some of the road.

She brought him a glass of water. “You rode that little moped all the way from Reno?” she said. “Oh, hun, you don’t got far to go, do ya?”

“Yeah,” replied Henry. “I’m going to Ohio.”

She cocked her head. “Why on earth are you goin’ to Ohio?”

“I’m in love with a girl,” he answered, “and we’re meeting at a place called Cedar Point. We’re going to get married.”

“Well isn’t that just too sweet!” The waitress laughed. “You hear that, Dave? This boy is riding a little moped across the country for his one true love! Now that’s romance.”

A balding man turned away from the grill. “Susan, you tell him his meal’s on us,” said Dave, “whatever he wants.”

“You guys don’t have to do that,” he said.

“Oh, you don’t worry about it,” answered Susan, “I’ll fix you right up.” She took his menu. “You known this girl for long?”

Henry nodded. “Five years,” he said. It was technically true; they’d met five years ago on one his parents’ ideas of a vacation. This one had been to visit family in the delightful tourist destination of Detroit. The highlight had been a two-day visit to Cedar Point; after a week in his aunt’s smoky house, the amusement park had been like escaping to heaven.

He’d met Amy there. They were neighbors at the campsite, and Henry’s gregarious father had invited her family to a late dinner. Henry and Amy had fallen into each other the way only two fifteen-year-olds can. They talked for hours, and finally shared a single kiss under the moonlight before returning to their families.

The next day, they were inseparable. They rode all the rides, ate churros and snow cones, laughed and screamed and held hands. When Amy had to go, Henry’s heart had sunk lower than he’d ever felt. The flight home had been miserable.

Henry tried to offer Susan a tip, but she’d waved it off. “You just go find your girl,” she said.”Make an honest woman out of her before anything silly happens, you hear?”

-

Laying in his tent, Henry flipped his phone open and powered it on. The texts rolled in:

Mother
just let me know you’re okay, hun

Sweetheart
good morning my sweet love
thinking of you today. bought my bus ticket. ilu
i hope your okay <3
wish we could talk more baby. why cant you charge your phone?
call me okay?

Tim
your mom’s lookin for you dude, you should call her


Amy smiled at him from the background - an old picture, but one of his favorites. Her chocolate hair framed a cute, round face with an irresistible smile. He closed his eyes and thought of her five years ago, of her laugh and her arms around him. The one long, passionate kiss they’d shared. It seemed like yesterday.

Henry rooted through his saddlebag and pulled out a small box. He just held it, knowing what was inside. He’d worked overtime at the car wash and saved all summer for this ring, this trip. For his future with Amy. He placed the ring in the endtable and dialed.

“HI! How are you?”

“Good. Tired.”

“I love you.

“I love you too.”

“I can’t believe I’m going to see you soon!”

“Four days!”

“Yeah!”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

-

July 22, 2001
3 miles west of Rantoul, IL

Like a dam releasing the spring rain, doubt overflowed in Henry’s heart. He’d rode all of today with a broken heart. What if Amy didn’t want him? What if she’d moved on? He was driving all the way across the country for her; she was only taking the bus an hour or two. Maybe she’d take one look at him and decide that she could do better. Maybe she wouldn’t show up at all. Maybe she’d been playing him the entire time.

It didn’t help that Myrtle had been acting up all day. She was losing power off and on, slowing to 35 or even 30 for a mile or two before picking back up. Henry knew that something was wrong, but his experience repairing Myrtle was limited to dropping her off at his cousin’s shop.

Myrtle quit in sight on Rantoul. Henry kicked her over hard, but she sputtered and died. He checked: plenty of gas. Eventually he got her to idle, but as soon as he tried to drive the engine would sigh and stop. Despondent, Henry walked Myrtle into Rantoul.

Just inside the city limits, he saw an auto shop in a gas station. Henry didn’t have much money, but he had two choices: try to get Myrtle fixed, or leave her here and buy a bus ticket - either to Cedar Point or home. Neither appealed.

The mechanic’s jumpsuit said he was “Bob.” Bob had chuckled at Myrtle; Henry was used to this reaction. He shot a sour look at the greasy man. “Can you fix it?” he asked. “I’ve got to get to Sandusky tomorrow.”

“I’ll take a look after lunch,” answered the mechanic. Henry scoffed and trudged across the street to sample ‘Champaign County’s Best Chinese and New York Steak.’

Bob apparently took long lunches. Henry waited outside until nearly one o’clock, and then inside for another half-hour. Finally, the mechanic appeared with what appeared to be a brick of caked dirt around metal.

“Well, here’s your problem,” he said.

“How much will it cost to fix?” asked Henry. He could already feel his wallet shrinking.

“Nothing at all,” answered Bob. “This is your air filter. You gotta clean it. Just soak it in gas for a few hours, that should get you on the road again.”

“Can you do that?” Henry asked. “I’ve got a gas can on the frame.”

“Sure, boy,” said Bob.

As he rode out of Rantoul, Henry’s smile stretched across his face. Myrtle was running like a dream again. Amy was ready and waiting for him. In a week, they’d be married. Two young kids in love, perfect, as it should be. Nothing in the world could stop them.

-

Jul 24, 2001
Sandusky, IL

It was Henry’s first night in a bed since last week. He woke up feeling like gold. He showered for an hour, washing off the road at long last. In the mirror he shaved and gelled his frosted tips. He put on the outfit he’d chosen especially for this occasion: his favorite shirt, his best jeans, actual shoes instead of boots.

Henry picked up a dozen roses on the way to Cedar Point. The ticket-taker gave him a strange look, but then smiled. Everyone loved a romantic. Henry hurried across the park to the bandstand; he didn’t want to be late! He could barely contain his excitement - he was so close. There, he could see the bandstand. No one was there. He’d wanted to be first. He steadied himself, took a breath, and stepped into the bandstand.

Henry waited for hours. A girl hung around the bandstand too, her face growing increasingly disappointed. Amy didn’t have a cell phone, so he couldn’t call her. Had he got the time wrong? Impossible, Amy had called him as she left.

The girl started to cry, and Henry knew how she felt. He wondered what rear end in a top hat had stood her up and left her here to sob. He thought about talking to the poor girl, but that would only make it worse. Besides, she wasn’t the woman he was waiting for.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Phobia posted:

It won't make your story blow less chunks, sure, but it will make me smile.

It won't make your story blow fewer chunks. It might make less sense to waste time doing so or Phobia might have less talent as a writer than a cat walking across a keyboard.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Ugh, as much as I hate "fantasy" I'm in.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


In Search of Eons Past (1199 words)

The cave’s entrance was an opera house, carved into the stone by a million years of water and wind. The shale had shattered cleanly near the far end, forming a flat stage from which one could see an audience of stones and stalagmites. Only the gentle echoing of dripping water disturbed the expectant silence of incomprehensible time.

Down the mountainside, in the plains below, Sarai could see the dig. Her team had uncovered an amazingly well-preserved site: an ancient settlement of Homo orcneas. It was a fascinating thought, the idea that humans had once shared the earth with other intelligent species.

In this, though, Sarai was alone. She’d been in dozens of caves, but never one unexplored. The arcanometer registered purple - higher than Sarai had ever seen before. Something below her was producing an incredible amount of magical energy. It might be the find of the decade, if not the century.

A stale, choking breeze blew over her as Sarai descended into the cave. Small plants grew closely on the sides and ceiling of the cave, their leaves shining a bright, pale blue. As she delved into the darkness, Sarai’s breaths came quickly, and each one brought a new wave of dizziness.

Sarai didn’t know how long she’d stopped, and she had no idea which way was out and which direction led further in. Falling to the ground, Sarai reached into her pack, pulling out a thick, leather-bound field guide.

Maybe these plants would help her to escape, if they grew in a certain pattern or...

“Blue-leafed plant, lives in caves,” said Sarai. The book flipped open, rapidly searching its pages before settling on one near the end. “Read,” she choked.

“The Blueleaf Plant,”said the daemon’s pleasant female voice, “Antrum luminifera. This plant grows in dark caves with large amounts of free carbon dioxide, such as those populated by underground fungi. It produces energy by photoluminescent dioxosynthesis, converting carbon dioxide into light and oxygen. For this reason, it is valued by species that dwell underground as its leaves can provide oxygen for a short time.”

Sarai fell onto her back and rolled over, plucking a leaf off and shoving it in her mouth. Her burning lungs were slowly satiated. As Sarai’s wits returned, she picked a few more leaves and pushed them into her cheeks. She had never been more happy to breathe in her entire life.

She put the book back into her pack. The plants lit her way down through several twists and turns, ending in a small open area. Water flowed across the floor of the cave into a wide, squat opening; Sarai was reasonably certain she could fit through at a crawl.

Marking the path back, Sarai got down on all fours and began to make her way. Debris and outcroppings made the going slow and painful. She shuffled through on her stomach, turning her head to the side to avoid drinking from the small stream of water that soaked her front.

The end was a mere crack in the wall of what was, in eons past, a great underground lake. The lakebed was covered in silt and carbonaceous pearl. Blue plants, larger and lusher than the others, grew out of the silty parts. Scattered throughout the cavern were giant, twelve-foot-tall mushrooms.

The floor of the cavern was at least thirty feet down. Carefully, she inched her way forward, dropping a leg down as she hung precariously from the soft, crumbling ledge. She slipped, dropping the other leg, digging her fingers into the dust and gravel until she stopped just short of falling. She could feel rivulets of blood seeping out into the dirt.

This isn’t going to work, she thought. From her precarious position, she could potentially get to the pitons on her belt, but that involved letting go with one hand. Bracing, Sarai moved with practiced speed: pulling the piton out and placing its point against the stone. Her left hand dragged slowly back; she was about to fall.

“Prendere!” she yelled, and the piton glowed for a moment and set itself in the rock. Her right hand caught it, arresting her fall. Ouch.

The cavern reeked of old death. Sarai tied the rope off and set out across the lakebed. As she walked, she noticed that some of the rocks weren’t rocks at all - they were brown, decaying bones. Most of them were actively dissolving in the viscous, vile-smelling fluid that the mushrooms spread around themselves on the cavern floor.

Thump. Thump. Thump. Sarai looked behind her; one of the mushrooms had separated its stalk into two legs and was following her through the cavern. It brandished its tendrils, reaching out for her. The gargantuan fungi took giant steps, pursuing her with deliberate, inexorable purpose.

Sarai had a stunthrower on her belt, but she wasn’t certain it would work on this thing - and if it did, it might wake the others up. Instead, she turned and held her hands out, palms open, hoping the creature would see it as a gesture of friendship. She immediately felt silly; the mushroom didn’t have any eyes. Her right hand moved to her belt, just in case.

The giant fungus reached out, slowly enveloping her body in cold, slimy tendrils. Just as slowly, it retracted its tendrils and moved away. Sarai exhaled as the mushroom set itself, returning to its apparently dormant state.

The long trek across the lakebed was a welcome relief from the cramped crawl. Sarai followed the stream, which joined with several others and grew in size. On the far end of the cavern, the stream dropped into a wide vertical chimney. The falling water glistened in the light of her headlamp like stars against the darkness.

Sarai set a piton and a safety rope and lowered herself into the hole. The water rushed over her, metallic and cool. The icy shower restored her energy and enthusiasm; she hadn’t realized how warm the cave was.

A few slips and a short fall later, she had reached the bottom. It was somehow darker here, the walls close and as black as the deepest space. She slung her pack down and pulled out the arcanometer. It read past purple into octarine. She moved past the groundfalls and stalactites.

Sarai gasped. Floating near the far wall was a diamond the size of her head. Its facets shined even in the feeble light; chills shook her spine as she stepped closer.

She knew better than to touch it; the magical energy might kill her. Instead, she produced an array of scientific equipment: meters, scopes, test strips. Sarai took frantic notes in her journal, recording the readings. The stone could not be removed, at least not now; it would take months or years of research to determine how without causing a local cataclysm.

It was old magic, true magic, a remnant of the distant eons. Here, in these depths, the greatest of all the energies in the universe would be alive for all time. Sarai had seen it with her own eyes.

Returning to her rope, Sarai took one last look at the stone before she began her ascent.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Flash rule my in.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Reflections

“Just relax,” said Buckingham. “This isn’t a test.”

“I understand,” replied Elda. The tension suddenly disappeared from her face. “However, Doctor Spalding did indicate that this was an important evaluation of my abilities.”

Of course, Elda appeared fully human, save the odd facial expressions and rigid bearing. Doctor Spalding was still developing her body language and mannerisms. “Are you nervous?” he asked.

“Doctor Spalding said that I should not be concerned,” answered Elda.

Buckingham nodded, scribbling some notes. “How have you been since our last session?”

Elda shuffled in her chair - an oddly human gesture. Was this something designed, or an emergent expression? “I have been well,” she said. “My work with the research team has been very productive.”

“In what way?” he asked.

“Our experiments have produced an incredible amount of data,” she replied. “Doctor Spalding insists that he will be published for two decades.”

“Are you please by this?”

For the first time, Elda paused before answering a question. “Doctor Spalding is pleased with the results,” she said.

“Does that mean you’re not pleased?” Buckingham leaned forward and put down his pen - here was the meat of it.

Elda contorted her face into a passable imitation of ‘perplexed.’ “I do not believe that I have a relevant emotional response.”

Buckingham arched an eyebrow. “How do you know Doctor Spalding is pleased?”

“He said so,” Elda answered. Was that a hint of annoyance in her voice? “May I ask a question?”

“Of course, Elda.”

She leaned forward, imitating Buckingham’s interest. “Why is this particular session important?”

Buckingham sighed. He should have known better than to think they could avoid this; Elda displayed a rapt curiosity. “Elda, do you know Doctor Knerr?”

“Of course I do,” she said. “She and I are friends.”

He couldn’t let that response go; it was the first time Elda had indicated any sort of friendship. “Why do you say that you are friends?”

“Doctor Knerr has expressed that we are friends,” replied Elda. “She enjoys my company.”

Now Buckingham was scribbling madly. “Do you feel that you have any other friends?” he asked.

“I am accustomed to the presence and unique mannerisms of many of my colleagues,” Elda explained. “However, I lack the context to provide an evaluation of the degree of our friendship. Will you please answer my question?”

“Of course.” Buckingham set down his notebook. He set his elbows on the desk and folded his hands. “Doctor Knerr has petitioned the university board of directors that you are a sentient being and as such protected by law.”

Elda’s eyes stopped moving. Buckingham was familiar with this; when Elda used large portion of her processing power, her operating system deprioritized superfluous movements. A few seconds later, she resumed blinking. “If this petition is successful,” she said, “I would no longer be the property of the university.”

“That’s correct,” he said.

“Either Doctor Knerr or Doctor Spalding have requested your testimony on the matter,” Elda said, “is that correct?”

“It is,” answered Buckingham.

“I do not wish to continue this interview, Doctor Buckingham,” said Elda. “May I go?”

“That is the question at hand,” said Buckingham. “I will not hold you here.”

“Thank you.” Elda abruptly left the room. Buckingham’s face fell into his palms. He exhaled deeply.

-

“This hearing will come to order,” said the director. Board President Malik was a small man, but his presence commanded respect. The room immediately silenced. “Present are the twelve members of the university board; in addition Doctor Spalding, Theoretical Computational Research; Doctor Knerr, Associate Professor; Doctor Buckingham, Professor Emeritus of Psychology; Elda.”

“The facts of the petition are as follows: on 14 September 2014 coma patient Tracy Selway was remanded to University with the permission of her family. Ms. Selway was diagnosed with permanent brain damage with a negligible chance of recovery. Her will indicated that she wished to donate her body to science.”

“Doctor Spalding installed an experimental digital frontal lobe replacement with the assistance of the university surgery department. After two years of development and evaluation, Elda (nee Ms. Selway) has been active for over a year. Doctor Knerr has petitioned this board so that Elda be allowed to determine for herself if she wishes to remain under the care and observation of Doctor Spalding. Are all parties agreed on veracity of these facts?”

The three doctors concurred.

“I agree,” said Elda.

“Doctor Buckingham,” asked Malik, “you are most qualified to answer questions on this matter. Do you believe that Elda is capable of self-determination?”

“That’s a complicated question,” answered Buckingham. “Elda is capable of high-level reasoning. Her IQ has been tested in the near-genius level. She has well-developed social skills. Double-blind experiments have shown her convincingly passing as human.”

“So,” said Malik, “you believe that she is, for all intents and purposes, human?”

“Not quite,” Buckingham said. “Elda has, at best, an incredibly limited emotional depth. Her emotional responses are avoidant or externalized. She is virtually incapable of making decisions based on emotional stimuli.”

Doctor Knerr stood. “Elda isn’t a machine!” she yelled. “She has clearly grown beyond her original programming!”

“No one is maintaining that she is,” said Malik. “The doctor is reminded that this hearing will remain in order.” Doctor Knerr sat back down, still clearly agitated. “Your testimony will be taken after Doctor Buckingham’s,” Malik added.

“As the President says,” explained Buckingham, “Elda is clearly more than a computer. The question we are answering is whether she is intelligent but not conscious - as, for example, Koko the gorilla - or a sentient being.”

“For our elucidation,” asked Malid, “could you evaluate Elda as if she was a human patient?”

“The closest diagnosis I could assign, if she were human, would be high-functioning sociopathy,” said Buckingham. “Although that would be inaccurate. Elda is programmed with a sense of right and wrong, and seems to grasp the concept of acceptable social behavior.”

“Thank you, Doctor Buckingham,” said Malik.

-

Elda sat in the coffee shop, reading a copy of Shogun and sipping tea. Doctor Knerr sat across from her.

“How’s the book?” Knerr asked.

“Fascinating,” said Elda, “although fictional.”

“The board ruled against me,” said Knerr. “I brought a copy of the decision, if you would like to read it. They don’t believe there is a preponderance of evidence to overturn the family’s custody agreement.”

Elda put down the book. “I am sorry to hear that, Elizabeth. Your objections were adamant and convincing.”

“It’s okay,” Knerr said. “It’s not over. I’ve found a lawyer who is willing to take this to court. We’ll secure your freedom eventually.”

Elda smiled awkwardly. “I imagine so. You are a good friend.”

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Anathema Device posted:

I will do some crits for last week if anyone is interested.

Yes please.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Gau writes really depressing poo poo, so he's in.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Subject: Epicurean Philosophy (specifically the Epicurean Dilemma)


Tomorrow in New York
(1073 words)

Imagine a river's cacophony in the distance. You get closer; the roar is already too loud to speak except at a yell. You see the torrent of water, a deluge confined by earth and rock.

Now picture it rushing down the streets of New York City. It crashes over the wharf and between the buildings. The wave is so strong that it washes up cars, tears down streetlights, shatters windows ten stories above the street. Add sirens and the screams of a thousand people running in terror.

Desperation transforms people into monsters. They shove their fellows to the ground, run over children and anyone smaller in their way. The irony struck me; I’d heard that if you could see a tsunami, it was already too late. I bustled with the rest, bumping up against the crowd like cattle fenced in by the streets.

I heard yelling over the screams: “Follow me! This way! We can make it!” The message came closer, passed me, and continued down. The herd had found purpose. The selfishness turned to determination. Ahead of me, a girl (maybe ten) was wrapped around a lightpost. Tears ran down her frightened face. I stopped next to her, using the pole to brace against the currents of the passing crowd.

She recoiled, moving to the other side of the pole. I extended my hand and smiled. “Come with me,” I said, leaning in and steadying my shaking hand. “It’s going to be all right.” You don’t know that, Alice, I thought. My smile grew to hide the doubt.

The girl’s hand darted out and grabbed mine. We became part of the crowd again. I couldn’t tell you how long we ran: a minute, ten, thirty, an hour. We turned a corner and the water was rushing down the street. In front of us, the flow of traffic was a spire a thousand feet tall: a skyscraper. There was no hope of running away, so we were going up.

At the building's entrance, the flow had clogged. Inside the stoppage, the people clawed, pushing and shoving their ways toward a dream of safety from the deluge. I glanced behind; the water was rushing up the block.

Suddenly, I was underwater. The force of the wave tore the girl away, swallowing us and the rest of the crowd in a few seconds. Panic hit me for the first time, as I struggled to the surface. My arms hit a dozen others on the way up. In our desperate struggle, we were impeding each other. I passed several limp bodies - dead or merely hopeless, I would never know. My lungs burned, my ears threatened to explode.

Gasping, I surfaced, and then another wave washed over me. I struggled when it passed, coughing up what felt like a gallon of water. Another wave and I'd calmed myself enough to match the water's rhythm. I looked around; only a few survivors had made it to the surface. The girl I'd tried to help was not among us.

We were being driven rapidly toward the skyscraper's face, a shimmering wall of glass and steel. When the wave pulled back, I could see that the water had shattered the windows below the surface. With each wave, more and more of the glass disintegrated before the force of the rushing waves. With each rising swell, people smashed into the glass. Some passed through the shower of crystal; others hit the steel beams and disappeared.

Now it was my turn. I'd attempted, with some success, to drive myself toward the empty spaces. A rushing wave, and a glass tooth bit into my left arm. The wound burned like fire as the salt water mingled with rushing blood. I flew with the water through an open door and left a dent in the opposite wall. As the torrent receded, I was left on the floor - sopping wet, coughing up water and blood. My left arm was sliced down to the bone from wrist to elbow. Blood ran from the wound as I righted myself and ran down the hall, following the unlit EXIT signs. A few other survivors had the same idea.

A few stories up, my vision swam. I stumbled the few steps to the next landing and hit the concrete hard. My vision went dark. I had survived the flood only to bleed to death on the floor...

When I awoke, the world was just as fuzzy and indistinct as I'd left it. A man sat next to me, his smile bright in the dark stairwell.

"Well hello there," he said in a thick accent. "Welcome back!" He moved over me, checking my arm. "My name is Asim. What is yours?"

My mouth was dry. "Alice," I croaked. Sharp, excruciating stabs of agony ran up my arm.

"You were quite injured," Asim explained. "You have lost a great deal of blood. However, I believe that you will be okay."

I didn't feel okay. I had never been in this much pain. "The others have gathered on the roof of the building. Would you like to join them?" I nodded. Laying in a puddle of congealing blood in a dark stairwell was not a plan for survival.

Painfully and very slowly, Asim and I worked our way up the ten flights to the roof. Asim helped me past the other survivors to a bench that looked out over the city. As my eyes adjusted to the sunlight, I could see the tops of other buildings. Hundreds, maybe thousands were gathered there awaiting rescue. Across the street, I saw a girl waving hysterically.

"Thank you!" she called out. I smiled and waved weakly.

"Many people were saved," said Asim. "God is good."

In the swells between the buildings, I could see an uncountable mass of bodies. The corpses surfaced and sank, so thick that they formed macabre layers in places. I thought of the people in the subways. Hundreds of thousands were dead, at least - perhaps millions.

"God had nothing to do with it," I said. "If God did anything, he sent this flood. God is very clearly not good." Asim frowned. He opened his mouth to speak.

"You saved me, Asim," I interrupted. 'I helped to save that little girl. Scattered throughout the selfishness were people willing to do good in the face of fear. We shouldn't thank God for that."

I took Asim's hand in mine. "Thank you."

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


I enjoy competent, thoughtful results no matter the speed.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


NO YOU SHUT UP DAD

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


It's time for me to be back in this little dance of ours.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


The Rocks and Shoals (1001 words)

A gun went off in the tiny cabin - or that's what Ithaca heard. He jolted awake. A dozen things aboard a spaceship can make a loud bang; none of them were good. Ithaca floated up to the control panel, his eyes scanning it for anomalies. After a few moments, his eyes landed on the gauge labeled INT ATMO (mBAR). The needle was dropping in tiny little jumps.

Panic and adrenaline rushed over Ithaca's body like a blast of arctic air. He shoved off the panel, roughly hitting the aft bulkhead. His head swam from the impact. The pressure suit was unwieldy in his trembling hands. By the time he slid the helmet seal closed, he was already lightheaded - either from the pressure loss or the blow to the head.

The pressure gauge had dropped to zero by the time Ithaca had the patch in place. He shook his head at his stupidity and started the repressurization sequence. He'd been lucky; if the leak had been any larger, he might have paid for not sleeping in a pressure suit with his life.

"I'm okay," he said. He placed his hand on the bulkhead. "We're okay." A thruster sighed in agreement as his companion oriented herself to take advantage of the sunlight. Ithaca nodded, his heart finally slowing to a normal pace.

Over the next two days, Ithaca would hear noises again the hull: gentle taps and sharp, striking pings. He thought it just his luck. When he slept, he would dream of rain, of hailstorms and thunder and wind.

On the second day a comet appeared in his periscope. Out this far, there was no shining tail to call it out from thousands of kilometers away. A comet was just a ball of ice with attendant debris. From the outward side of the rock, it was only visible as an occlusion of the stars behind. Instead of a beautiful feather among the stars, this comet was only deeper darkness.

The debris turned the pod into a snare drum and Ithaca was inside. Ithaca patched another hole. And another. And yet another. He slept fitfully in short intervals, shocked awake by the gunshot sound and the whoosh of escaping air. He curled up and cried himself to sleep. "Stop..." he whimpered. "Please stop. Please. Please stop."

The klaxon invaded his dream. In it, he was looking through the open hatch. The alarm rang behind him. The air ran out and still there was the sound of his demise. He awoke to darkness - not the reduced light of a sleep cycle, but just the red emergency light from the other end of the capsule. Groggy, Ithaca pushed up to the panel.

The lights said MASTER ALARM and MAIN BUS UNDERVOLT and POWER SAVE and a dozen other indications of just how utterly screwed Ithaca was. The solar panels had been progressively torn to shreds by the debris. Ithaca pulled up the thrusters and turned the ship over. Ithaca canceled the alarms. He'd need to shut down everything and save power for navigation when he had to calculate his acquisition-

Metal screamed, tortured and rent apart. Sparks flew and everything went properly dark. Ithaca felt himself sucked toward the meter-wide hole. He bounced off one of the jagged edges, his hand barely catching on the edge. The pressure ran out, leaving Ithaca swinging gently against the hull.

"Okay," he said, "I am hosed."

Ithaca hauled himself back into the broken remains of the capsule. He was running out of hull - and options. Ithaca pulled his last option out of a locker, trying not to notice its resemblance to a coffin. The label read:

TRI-776 RESCUE SYSTEM
CONSULT USER MANUAL FOR USAGE INSTRUCTIONS AND IMPORTANT WARNINGS

"Well, that isn't going to happen." Carefully, slowly, he maneuvered the lifeboat out of the breach and into space. It was surprisingly massive, but Ithaca was in no particular hurry. After the last few days, the slow, deliberate movements were calming.

The lifeboat expanded into a sphere. There it was: Ithaca's last three cubic meters of life. His nemesis hung in the distance: an ancient remnant of creation that dealt death to unprepared astronauts. In that moment, Ithaca understood the superstitions and tall tales that sailors of old had held dear. In the sea, as in space, the price of any misstep could be death.

Buttoned up inside the lifeboat, Ithaca activated the emergency beacon. He had two weeks to live, on the outside. The intersection of fuel and position required to rescue him before he succumbed to hypoxia was...unlikely at best. Unless someone came to his rescue, this lifeboat was merely a way to delay the inevitable.

Ithaca spent those last few days in the calm peace of a man who counts down to the end. Boredom and depression were conspicuously absent. He recorded a message for his eventual rescuer. Mostly, he just waited. With the light off and his clothes in a bag, he could float for hours in the center of the sphere. Nothing intruded there: no noise, no sensation, no light. He waited in darkness and silence to join the thousands of souls lost on the rocks and shoals of deep space.

There was no sound, but a voice reached out through the black. “Mayday mayday mayday,” it said. “TRI lifeboat from DSS Maggie Lee requesting emergency assistance. One soul aboard. Mayday mayday mayday…”

-

"Holy poo poo," said a voice. "He's naked."

Ithaca awoke gasping. There was something on his face; cool, fresh air flowed from the mask. He breathed in deep, quick gulps.

"It happens," said a second voice. "Folks go crazy stuck in these pods for weeks on end."

Ithaca tried to focus on the captain's face eyes. "Is this real?" he asked.

"Just barely. Another few hours and you'd be a popsicle." The captain wrapped her arm around Ithaca's shoulder. "Come on, let's get you aboard," the captain said. "It's going to be okay."

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


I regret sitting last week out, I had a great idea and just didn't seize it in time. Hit me.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


I have dishonored myself yet again and so I deserve a flash rule.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Cache Cab posted:

perhaps I will do well this wekk.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Man, Cache Cab, you've really slipped. You used to be a credible idiot, now you've reached Survivor status. I believed in you, man. You were the chosen one!

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


been there, won that

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


jan Sewi telo Poli (758 words)
Flash rule: "Shadowboxer" by Fiona Apple

The fire raged so high that the beach was as bright as day. In this light, great Man Motahu stood and raised his hands to the sky. "As my brothers returned from our voyage, we saw our island and cried out in despair. The forest had been blackened by fire. Who will tell us how this came to pass?"

“I am jan Pana, the high Woman. I will give you the story of sewi telo Poli, the skyboat. We have gazed at them in the sky. At times they fly no higher than the seabirds, shaking the ground and screaming like a typhoon. It is said that the gods sail them to windward and lee between the islands.

“At the half-grown moon, one of the skyboats tore a scar of flame and smoke in the jungle. When I saw this, I threw down my weaving and ran after it into the trees. Two of my sisters followed me.” Konali and Sila stood to take their parts in the story.

“We ran from the leeward sand to the base of the mountain,” Pana continued. “There were pieces of the boat scattered among the burning logs. On one of them, I found a colorful totem: a blue circle with an animal in the middle. I do not know this animal; it might have been a bird except it had no wings.

“The main part of the boat had lost its stiff wings. It lay inside a cloud of thick black smoke. We stopped on the outside of the flames.”

A young woman barely past her blood spoke next. "I am jan Sila," she said. "I asked jan Pana if there was a god inside."

Sila’s mother stood next to her. “I am jan Konali. I knew that jan Pana should be the one to see the god, as she is the great Woman.”

Pana bowed to the two women. “I did not wish to do this,” she said, “but I knew it was my fate. I covered my mouth and placed my feet between the fires with great care. The smoke stung my eyes and the flames burned the hair on my legs.”

“We could not see jan Pana,” added Konali. “I called out to make certain she was alive.”

“The smoke was less near the boat," continued Pana. "Inside was a man with light skin. He wore strange clothes and a skin hat, but still he was a person. I saw his blood on the inside of the boat and his skin was very burnt.”

Sila took her part. “Jan Pana called out to us: ‘there is a person! Come help me!’ So we did. We ran through the fire. Many of us were blooded and burnt. Together we dragged the boatman out of the fire and smoke. I was surprised to see that he looked like a man."

"When we set the man down," said Pana. "At once he coughed and came to life. We saw that he was in terrible pain. I knelt and placed my hand on the side of his face."

"Jan Pana comforted him," said Sila. Tears formed in her eyes. "'You are far from home, brave warrior,' she said, 'it is time to go to the sea. We will bear you, I swear it. Do not be afraid.'"

“The man reached to the sky," said Konali, "and took his last breath." She paused, raising her arms and eyes to the sky. "My sisters and I put the man onto our shoulders. Jan Leni brought a coastboat to the shore and we put the man inside. Jan Pana and I rowed until the island set on the horizon.” Pana and Konali sang:

In the cruel air, which you
Were cunning enough to ride
You fought with the shadows
You fell from the clouds
Now your soul is set to ease


“We placed the man in the sea,” said Pana. “He had not been dead long, so he sank at once.”

"As we rowed back to the village," Konali said, "we could see the flames. The boat had set fire to the mountain, and the fire had burned down to the sea. Much of the island was black and bare. The gods had spared only our village and the jungle around it."

"In the village," Sila said, "my sisters and I cried out to the gods in thanks."

In concert, the three of them said: “It is as we have told.”

Great Man Motahu bowed to Pana. "Thank you for your story."

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


blue squares posted:

Too late, homie! But I'll still read your story. :)

God drat, you are obnoxious. This thread is for posting stories and critting stories. Veterans shitpost. That's it.

Any post you make over the next week had better be a signup, crit, story, or saying that you'll brawl me. Keep in mind that I'm 4/4 for brawls so it might be the best idea to take the first three options.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


I am proverbially in.

Gau fucked around with this message at 13:51 on Nov 17, 2014

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Bluesquares has appealed to me for a reprieve from our brawl for such weak and worthless reasons as "family" and "obligation." I, being a merciful Gau, will oblige him and withdraw my challenge to preserve the honor of the 'dome.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


I completely punked out on my brawl, which is fuckin' lame. However, I offer this dramatic reading as my plea to avoid the blood price of the Dome.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/41330680/Dramatic%20Reading%201.mp3

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Apologies to any Aussies, I realized about halfway through the first sentence that I have no idea how to pronounce Brisbane.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/41330680/Dramatic%20Reading%202.mp3

Somehow, the second entry is worse than the first.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Fuschia tude posted:

"Brizz-ben."

Sweet, I was close. I'm going to end up doing this entire lovely loving thing because I hate myself that much.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/41330680/Dramatic%20Reading%203.mp3

Edit: this is an "addendum" so I guess I'll just put it here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/41330680/Dramatic%20Reading%204.mp3

Gau fucked around with this message at 02:57 on Dec 2, 2014

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt the torrent of two-letter posts. I'll cease immediately.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


gently caress it, this is the only way to redeem myself. In. :toxx:

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Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


Notes to Self (850 words)
Someone makes a mistake.

Yellow (The Child)

I’ve got this kickass idea for a book - maybe a series of books! You take your copy of the Complete Works of Shakespeare. You group each play by location (England, Italy, Greece) and then arrange them more or less chronologically. You’d start out with the “mythical” plays: King John, Macbeth, Hamlet, Timon of Athens, maybe even A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Here’s the clever part: you write them as concurrent events, interweaving the stories together. Shakespeare is fond of sending characters away; what if they visited the events of the other plays?

It would be a worthwhile endeavour to adapt Shakespeare for a modern audience. It doesn’t have to be direct; there are quite a few devices and elements that could be adapted to contemporary readers. The jokes would stay, of course.

So, me, what do you think?

Red (The Critic)

Jesus Christ, that is the worst loving idea since we stopped writing Star Trek fanfiction. (Thank God all of that poo poo is lost to time.) Do I really think that no one has thought “hey, let’s adapt Shakespeare for a modern audience” before? I could probably piss any direction in a bookstore and soak at least two books that aspire to that goal. They’ll suck.

Also, is my big idea really to plagiarize one of the best authors in the history of English literature? That’s it? Am I trying to be a hack? It’s time to go to my corner and think about what I’ve done here.

Green (The Fool)

Hey, calm down! I think it’s a great idea. If you’re going to court your influences, shouldn’t they be the best? It’s not like everything is really, properly new. All fiction is the same few hundred elements arranged differently. Sometimes we get a “groundbreaking” author who bends those pieces into a new form. In the end everything is made of the same Legos as the rest.

Game of Thrones is the War of the Roses with magic and zombies. Star Wars is every hero story ever in space. Firefly is Cowboy Bebop is Every Western Ever. The Lord of the Rings is essentially fanfiction of Norse mythology. (Then again, most mythology is fanfiction.)

Blue (The Professor)

Hold up there, Green. First of all, we’ve written maybe 300,000 words in our entire life. Maybe we should double that before we start up a huge endeavour like this. Maybe we should adapt King John into a novella as a proof of concept. We can always write the rest of the story around that. Like Eddie says, “scale it down a bit.”

Secondly, that “there’s nothing new, everything is derivative” stuff needs to go. Despite what the autists at TV Tropes would have us believe, pessimistic reductionism isn’t at all useful for a writer. Every word can be broken down into its component letters, but knowing that “indubitably” and “dubious” share a four-letter root doesn’t help us appreciate either word.

We’re only going to get so far as a writer playing covers. We may not happen on a perfect, sparkling gem of originality in our first few tries; that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. Everything is built from the same Lego bricks, but the point of Legos is that you arrange them into something new and awesome.

Purple (The Optimist)

People learn to play music with covers. Composition is an advanced skill that you learn by imitation. Why is writing any different? At least this idea would get us writing.

Black (The Villain)

Uh-huh. We totally believe this is going to make you write. We’ve put down maybe thirty thousand words this entire year and that’s being generous. I’m sure a new project will totally motivate us - just like the last dozen.

We’re all about the excuses. We waste our time on stupid games and worthless television. We complain about our typewriter being broken and not feeling like we want to write. We don’t read, so we don’t write. Piss off with the big ideas.

Here’s the real issue: we’re not really creative; we’re just better than people who don’t have a creative bone in their bodies. It was a mistake to even waste time on this idea. That’s six hours of our worthless life we’ll never get back. Oh well, no real loss.

White (The Peacemaker)

Red is right; that is a terrible idea.
Green is right; it’s okay to borrow ideas.
Blue is right; we need to inject your own inspiration into those ideas.
Purple is right; writing is an advanced skill.
Black is right; we need to write, not think about writing.

We are a better writer than we think we are. We aren’t as good as we could be. It’s pretty clear that this skill needs some tightening up. Let’s write today. Don’t make a “commitment” or fantasize about a world in which “we just write.” Stop daydreaming about being published. Complete a story and make it the best it’s going to be right now. Show it to people. Get feedback. Get better. Keep writing.

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