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Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


IN with Sableye

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Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


Just Business
(1095 Words)


Isa Bakker entered the sprawling manor with a confident ease, a lightness to her step and a smile on her lips, putting forth the image of perfect ease. The staff members that she passed had no idea what her real purpose was for being in the manor, and so she made her way without comment to Meyers’ private gallery. The statue she had been sent to find was just past that door, and with it, the paycheque from the Kenyan government for its safe return.

She smiled a bit more brightly to the guard standing outside the door to the gallery, and flashed him her badge. He leaned in for a closer look at the badge, and said, “What’s your reason for en-”

But before he could finish, Isa slammed her fist down into the side of the guard’s head, sending him rocking to the side. In an instant, she brought her left foot up, connecting with the bottom of the guard’s chin, and leaving him sprawling, unconscious, on the floor. Moving swiftly, she knelt down beside him and removed his key ring.

She had sources on the inside, and so was able to identify the right key for the gallery door, by the brand. She slipped in quietly, making sure to lock the door behind her before looking over the gallery. Her sources did not prepare her for what lay within. She had been expecting something in the model of a museum, white and antiseptic. Instead, everything was cast in low purple, lighting glass-encased displays from beneath, forming chaotic, yet geometric rows, some elaborate pattern that she could only begin to grasp at.

And so she began to move from case to case, searching out the statue, manually checking each display. She came up short, though, at the sight of a painting, the brush stroke and and expressive portraiture denoting it clearly as a Frans Hols: and one she was not familiar with. She reached a hand forward and touched the glass of the display, her breath catching for a moment in her throat.

She remembered summer days studying art history, youthful exuberance, long philosophical discussions lasting into the early hours of the morning. She remembered first kisses and the warmth of the sun on her skin, and when the world seemed open to everything. And she remembered the smiling and laughing faces of Frans Hols watching over everything.

But she tore herself away and continued on her search.

She spiralled inwards towards the center of the gallery, and nearly arrived at the very middle when the statue finally came into her sight. Immediately, she pulled a hair pin from her bun and set to work on the lock at the bottom of the case. Sweat lightly beaded on her forehead, she knew it wouldn’t be long before someone noticed that the guard was down, and then more security, or even the police, would be brought in.

And so, she breathed a sigh of relief as finally the case gave an audible click as the lock came undone. Her heart sunk, though, as that click was followed immediately by the cocking of a gun directly behind her head. She lifted her hands up slowly, placing them behind her head, instinct telling her to seem docile at the moment. A wizened voice croaked from behind, and Meyers said, “That’s enough, young lady. Now, stand up, slowly….”

She complied with the order and turned to face Meyers. The old man sat in a wheelchair, his face marred with wrinkles and spots, his pale, almost milky eyes covered in thick lenses, and in his hand, surprisingly steady for a man of his age, was an extremely large hand gun. “You know, young lady,” Meyers said, “Back in my day, it was considered quite rude to apprehend a person’s belongings. I’d be well within my rights to fire on such a villain, wouldn’t you say?”

“I’m not sure that’s legal, actually,” Isa said. Her expression remained blank, but before before Meyers could respond, she spun out with a kick, sending the gun flying off into the darkness of the gallery. Meyers’ eyes popped open wide, seeming to absorb all of the light within the room, and his hands moved to the wheels of his chair. Again, Isa moved faster than he could react and dashed in, grabbing his hands and pinning them against the armrests of his chair.

Meyers sputtered and struggled, but could not overcome Isa’s grasp. “You’re not going to tell anyone I was here, old man,” she spat the last two words. “You’re not supposed to have that statue, and I’m not going to let you bury it someplace where it can’t be returned to its rightful owners.”

“Rightful owners!” Meyers said. “There’s no such thing. I have it, my family has had it for generations, by all rights it is mine. Who are you to try and take it from me?”

Isa shook her head and leaned in a bit closer, to meet Meyers eye-to-eye. “I’m just a woman with a job.”

“Ah, payment,” Meyers said with a grin. “I understand that quite well. I can meet what you’re being paid. Double it, even!”

Isa snorted and gripped Meyer’s hands harder, until he squirmed in his chair. “It’s not about the money, it’s about what’s right!”

“Oh, a gentlewoman thief? How nouveau!” Meyers coughed until phlem splattered out onto Isa’s shirt. “But I can tell there is something you want, even if it’s not money.” His eyes sparkled then, crystalline in the purple illumination. “The Hols. I’ll let you have them.”

Isa’s grip faltered, but Meyers remained still, gazing at her with those eyes. “No,” she said. “I can’t. I have a responsibility, and the return of a cultural artifact is more important than my own desires!”

Meyers’ grin turned up at the corners of his lips, a cruel smirk. “Ah, but if you don’t accept my offer, I will burn the paintings.”

Isa froze completely then. She could escape with the statue hidden in her satchel, but there was no way that she could sneak the paintings out. The strength drained from her body and she slumped down. With a laugh, Meyers turned his chair and rolled out of the gallery, leaving her kneeling on the floor.

Ultimately, there was no choice. She pushed herself to her feet and walked over to the case she had just opened and retrieved the statue. The Hols might burn, but she had a job, and there were people who needed her help.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


Yes, I will give this a shot.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


Fuschia tude posted:

I don't understand. Are you in this week?

Yes, I am in.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


Spin me!

And with a as well.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


Fire in the Water
(1192 Words)
Ecothriller-Action-Adventure


Hannah Elsenburg’s fingers tapped repeatedly on the keyboard as she searched the database. She had been on the trail of NovaChem Pharamaceuticals for months now, after noticing unusually high rates of cancer and liver failures in the towns near their factories. The statistics were in line with a tainted water supply, but the factories in question were subject to regular EPA inspection, and each of those inspections had come back clean.

And so Hannah had snuck into the offices of NovaChem headquarters, by posing as the representative of a would-be private investor with hinted-at fortunes ready for the right company. She had found a spot of luck, with the password and username written down and stored in the desk of the computer she was currently at. That said, the data was too thick for easy analysis, and so, with a heavy sigh, she tapped in a command, and the database began uploading into a flash drive.

***

Two months later, Hannah’s morning run was interrupted by a phone call. Panting, she came to a rest at a bench and answered promptly. The voice on the other end was James, a friend of hers with an eye for financial analysis. He spoke in rushed tones. “I’ve finally found something!”

Hannah had come to think of the NovaChem investigation as a dead end. So long had passed with no word that she had just assumed that there was nothing to be found. James said, “There’s a whole lot of junk in there, and almost everything is clean. But get this, there’s this annual payment that’s not attached to any other accounts, and we’re talking a big one. Seven figures! So I cross referenced that with the packet you sent me, and I found that it corresponds, give or take a week, with the inspection review by your boss, Reynolds.”

***

Reynolds was not the sort of person to throw away anything, especially if it was the sort of thing that he could use to hang over someone’s head. And so, Hannah had stayed after her regular hours for overtime and waited quietly for Reynolds to head out for the day. She crept into his office and made her way for the painting on his back wall, the perfect place to hide a safe. Sliding the painting to the side, she discovered a dial lock and pursed her lips in concentration.

It took about a half hour to figure out the code, going through all the combinations of numbers that she had found while researching Reynold’s personal life. Finally, she entered the date of his divorce from his first wife and was answered with a click. She swung the door of the safe open and began rifling through the file folder within, scanning over document titles. Her search was interrupted when the door creaked open, and she spun to see Reynolds entering. “Ah, those additional security measures finally prove useful,” he said.

She resumed her search and spoke to him without looking his way, hoping to keep him distracted. “So, why did you do it?”

“I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Reynolds said. He stalked his way to his desk and began rifling through his drawers.

“NovaChem,” Hannah said. “I know you’re responsible for covering up their leaks.”

Reynolds paused in his own search, and his voice dropped, becoming little more than a whisper. “It’s about the numbers, you see. They save lives. Millions, at the very least. And at what cost? A few hundred, maybe a thousand?”

“Not to mention the millions that you get in compensation.” Hannah finally found a sub-folder that she needed and turned to walk towards the door.

“Well, I’m not complaining about those,” Reynolds said. He dashed forward, intercepted Hannah’s path, and pressed a letter opener into her stomach. “You move and I cut. I don’t want to hurt you Elsenburg, you’re a good worker. Very efficient. Very attentive. The agency could use more people like you. But I’m going to have to ask you to put the folder down and forget about this.”

Reynolds twisted the letter opener a bit against her. “Think about the lives,” he said.

Hannah punched him hard in the jaw. Reynolds jammed in the letter opener before he collapsed in a heap on the ground. Hannah limped out.

***

“It looks like he managed to miss all of your vital organs,” James said. He wrapped gauze tight around Hannah’s stomach until she winced.

“I’ll consider it a win, then,” Hannah said. She leaned forward as much as she could to examine the documents she had taken from Reynold’s office. “I got to get these things to the FBI. I don’t know how high things go up in the EPA.”

“The FBI?” James said. “Isn’t that a bit-” A firm knocking at the door interupted him.

Hannah rose to her feet and stretched her side to feel out her most sore parts. “Are you expecting anyone?” When James shook his head, Hannah peeked out the eye hole of the door. On the other side were two serious looking men in black suits, trying to go for an FBI look. But the cut of the suit was just a bit off, and their builds spoke of hired muscle rather than federal agents.

“Is there another way out of here?” Hannah said.

***

Hannah clung to the documents as she rode in the back seat of the taxi taking her to the nearest FBI office. She spared a glance out the back window and allowed herself to relax when she saw the lack of a tail. She still jumped when her phone rang, though. The number came up unidentified and she hesitated, until the driver glanced back at her.

“Hello?” Hannah said.

The voice on the other end spoke with an easy confidence, though was unfamiliar to her ears. “Miss Elsenburg, are you sure that wish to go through with this?”

“Who is this?” Hannah looked out the windows once again, trying to spot something out of the ordinary, but nothing caught her eye.

“I’m just a man with some interests that correlate with your current activities. I can appreciate your commitment to your investigation, but you have to consider the cost.”

Hannah laughed, her voice tightening. “You’re breaking the law. People are dying, and who knows what the long term impact on the environment will be from those chemicals that you’re dumping.”

“You don’t understand how much it would delay all our operations to bring things up to code. Do you have any idea what the toll in human lives will be if we have to stop for so long?”

“I’m sure that there are others just waiting to take on the extra burden. I think we’ll do just fine without you.” Hannah swiftly shut her phone down and slid it back into her pocket.

***

A factory closes and a ripple spreads. Jobs are transferred or lost, funds are shifted and rearranged, capacity is altered elsewhere to adjust for the sliding of the supply and demand curve. A young boy fishes from a river, the water deep and blue and impenetrable.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


Broenheim posted:

interprompt

exploding into poo poo

200 words

Regret
(15 words)

He realized, far too late, that he shouldn't have eaten those sugar free candies.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


In it to win it!

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


It's cool, with all y'all picking losers. Because that's what you are, in your heart of hearts. Losers.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


Broenheim posted:

idk i think im the clear winner getting this masterpiece to work with

Yeah, it's cool, you clearly need all the help you can get. My story isn't even WRITTEN! It's gonna be a major boss for me to take this story and make sweet music* out of it.

*Actual music not guaranteed

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


I think I actually have time to dome it this week. I'm in.

I'll take a flash rule while I'm at it.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


Graduation
(1017 words)

Eric, valedictorian of Westreach High, rapelled down the sheer wall of the chasm in search of illumination in the darkness below. There he would commune with the thing that dwelled below, and gain insight into his life path, in accordance with the precepts of his school.

His feet soon lost traction as the cliff face disappeared in front of him and he tumbled downwards onto an outcropping. The surface above was nothing more than a slash of light, impenetrable at the great distance. Eric shivered in the cold of the depths and cracked a glow stick from his belt. He waved it in front of him, illuminating an opening further into the old stone. With a heavy exhalation, he unclipped his rope and stepped forward.

As he walked, Eric almost wished that he had failed one of his exams. Just one, and his options would have been far more limited. He wouldn’t have had to do this. The quake had opened the chasm only fifty years ago, but it had changed everything: especially the people who descended into the depths.

The walls of the tunnel wept, rivulets forming in the smooth, glistening stone carved by centuries of groundwater, but seeming in this moment like the claw marks of a hideous, ancient beast. Eric could turn back, but that would be the worst fate of all. To be offered the chance and then to reject it would mean rejecting the order of things, to be a force of destabilization. It would mean choosing not the graduate.

The wind howled like a wounded deer, roaring from behind him and pushing him forward, ever forward, into the deeper dark that the tunnel promised. The angle of the tunnel was imperceptible to his eyes, but Eric knew he was descending, carving his path deeper into the old stone. The stone that had never seen the eyes of man, or of any of the beings that came before man that knew speech and abstract thought.

He could have focused on the trumpet, and made everything else secondary. Sure, musicians don’t make any money and his parents would have hated it, but he wouldn’t have been here, facing the void, the great nothing. If he hadn’t shown any promise at all, then his path would have been clear. But now, there was nothing but the great confusion.

And then there it was. A grand mass of petrified fungal flesh, filling a cavern that reached higher than the heavens seemed to have been. It towered over him, fragile and still and yet full of ominous potential. His legs quaked and his jaw dropped and his pores exploded in sweat. He stumbled backwards, but the wind was too great, pressing him forward even as he fell back and soon he was laying on his back, gazing up at the lichenous mass climbing above him, coating the walls in a dull grey matte textured like the folds of the human brain.

Faces seemed to emerge from the patterns of the grooves of the thing. “What,” he said. “What am I….” He trailed off, unable to find words. This was it, his final exam, the one that there was no preparation for. Whether he passed or failed, after this he was done and all that would be waiting for him was the wide world, empty and cold and uncaring and full of nothing but twisting mazes more complex than the patterns etched into the primordial stone.

The weight of the petrified mass loomed over him, pressing down upon him, pinning him, suffusing him, blanketing him in nothing but that sense of isolation and broken dreams, of the memories of youthful play and adolescent exploration and juvenile power fantasies that he had sought so long to hold onto, now nothing but dust in the proximity of this nameless thing that probed at his innermost self. He couldn’t stand it.

“What do you want from me!?” His voice echoed through the chamber into discordant shrieks that tore at his hearing.

Silence lifted him. The stone seemed to fade from his back and he found himself floating, gazing at that mass, which seemed to throb and beat with the timing of his heart, which slowed with every instant until everything was again frozen solid. He reached a hand forward, weightless in the infinite gap of space that separated him from everything and the idea of a tendril reached out through the aeons of emptiness and wrapped around his fingers.

In that instant, everything fell apart. He became aware of the passing of untold epochs, of eternities flashing before his eyes, of the insignificance of all human efforts on the cosmic scale. A shuddering gasp escaped from his lungs and he struggled in the grasp of that immense intellect. But his limbs were still and his eyes could only dart over the petrified fungus, which now seemed to pulse with an internal light.

The light spread and intensified, burning into his eyes and searing open his pupils with brilliance until everything vanished into a brilliant whiteness. Spores suffused his lungs and his flesh and he realized that he was gazing down at himself, hanging in that white void, motionless save for the occasional twitch of fingers or toes.

A voice thundered around him and, though he could not understand the language, he knew the intent and the meaning. “Lost. Alone. Confused. Open.”

“Yes,” Eric said. His voice was barely a whisper, raw and ragged in the whiteness.

“Empty inside. Aptitude sufficient. Open yourself.”

“Yes,” Eric said.

“Prophet and speaker. Knife and torch. Sage and demagogue. Spread the gospel. Bind the people. Speak the words. Join the many.”

“Yes,” Eric said. And for a moment, he felt the weight of every other living mind that had been touched by the mass, and in that moment he felt the contentment of his smallness, the glory of being just a part of a greater whole.

***

Eric’s pulled himself out of the chasm and looked to his guidance counselor, utterly calm despite the exertion. “I’m going to be a political science major.”

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


In

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


My Persona is of the Hermit Arcana, so hit me up with a Flash Rule, Broenheim.

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Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


In and hit with me a spell!

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