Space is our destiny
Four mates from Perth, captured in an alien prison! However will our brave Aussie battlers escape this pickle? Stay tuned kids, for the fantastic finale filled with adventure and derring-do!
“A steak and cheese pie,” said Gibbo, “then a can of Fosters, and then I’m gonna kiss my wife.”
He poked his head through the bars. The vile two-headed alien guard was out on a lunch break. They had maybe two minutes. Willie had gotten a plum job working in the chemical baths, and he’d managed to knock together a stick of dynamite. Marvin –using good old Aussie ingenuity– had built the wiring and detonator from random junk lying around in the prison yard.
“Uh huh,” said Damon. Tick tick tick went the pickaxe. They needed to weaken the wall just enough for the blast to take care of the rest. “Not the missus first?”
Gibbo went red. “c-course not,” he said. “Pies and beer and other manly stuff. Riding horses in the desert and whatnot.”
“Uh huh,” said Damon. “Sure. I bet you-”
The dynamite went boom, and took most of the cell’s outer wall with it. There was a distant whistling, then a pitterpatterthud of reinforced concrete redecorating the prison yard.
“Strewth,” said Willie. “Give us a bit of warning next time.”
Marvin nodded. “Ayep,” he said. That was the only word he ever said. Marvin was a bitter of a nutter, to be honest. No sane man was that good at making things go boom. The explosion had done exactly what it was supposed to - not just tear up the wall, but leave a generous hole in the outer electrofence. The prison perimeter was paper-thin: with the wild jungles of Gorthumax for kletons in every direction, where would escapees even go? Well let me tell you, those pesky aliens didn’t figure on plucky Australians!
“Peg it, lads!” shouted Gibbo. They pegged it, thoroughly: sprinting pell-mell out of the prison while sirens blared and lasers blew holes in the concrete all around them. Marvin got out first, then Damon. The other men stumbled around a bit, before the first two lads hauled them through the gap. Within seconds, the brave Aussie battlers had disappeared into the jungle, where they knew the cowardly alien guards wouldn’t dare follow.
“So let me get this straight,” said Damon, “using tree bark, a broken wristwatch, and some shiny beetles, you’ve configured a distress signal that will call the Australian Space Navy to our exact coordinates, so long as we can get to the top of Bloodcreek Mountain, at which altitude the signal can pierce the stratosphere?”
“Ayep,” said Marvin. He held up the device. It looked like a ball of mud with a bunch of LEDs stuck in it.
“Strewth,” said Willie, “I bet you a two-headed alien couldn’t make a machine like that. Bunch of blouses, all of them. Those subhuman two headed aliens don’t stand a chance if we all stick together and buy war bonds! Tell your parents today!”
“That’s right,” said Gibbo, “the war effort needs the help of ordinary folks back home. Just a few dollars will help us to buy guns, tanks and ammunition needed to finish what we started with those two-headed freaks. Space is our destiny!”
“Space is our destiny!” said Willie. “Stewth!”
Bloodcreek Mountain was an extinct volcano. The crater was an ancient holy site for the savage aliens, with dozens of armed guards all around. Whatever will our fine lads do against such barbarians?
“Okay,” said Damon, “so they plan is that we distract them with shiny lights and trinkets, while Marvin sneaks up through the trees to the top and activates the beacon?”
“Ayep,” said Marvin. He was very stealthy. He had a necklace of ears from all the aliens who hadn’t even seen him coming. Not that they needed ears in hell, right? Space is our destiny, not their destiny.
While Marvin sneaked his way through the dense jungle around the lip of the crater, the three friends walked casually out in front of the guards. The foul aliens drew their guns and spouted their incomprehensible babble, but Gibbo held up a wristwatch and said “see? Shiny! It can tell you WHEN you are without even needing the sun.”
The alien dropped their laser blasters to come closer, at which point
SPACE IS OUR DESTINY.
SPACE IS OUR DESTINY.
“That wasn’t part of the plan!” roared Damon as the other aliens shrieked and charged, swinging their bladed forearms. All of them exploded at once - it was Marvin! Standing atop the highest hill, with the sun behind him, wielding a grenade launcher. Gooey chunks of alien body fell everywhere around him.
“Ayep,” he said.
The beacon was lit, and the good old Aussie Space Navy were quick to respond - flying in from orbit to save our brave lads in the nick of time. Remember, no man who goes to war is ever left behind! This is our glorious cause! How can you help? Buy war bonds and always remember, space is our destiny.
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 03:31|
|# ? Sep 20, 2021 17:05|
Location/Mission: Desert/This was supposed to be a simple job!
At the Velocity of the Sun
"Stella-Six is lush. And we're going." Eyerman advanced the screen, displaying a slideshow of steaming jungles, rich grasslands, and pure green valleys. "The whole planet is a paradise."
The mission was easy, he explained. A pleasure cruise with the objective of making contact with first team and harvesting sustainable species for culture. The kind of trip you put in for after busting ten years in craters.
Captain Eyerman closed the shipboard meeting, but gestured for Doctor Arias to hang around. Arias wasn't second in command, but he was Eyerman's confidante. The doctor came to the podium and they spoke freely.
"I need you to look at this, doc. It's the last image they sent over." Arias looked into the Captain's personal display as Eyerman continued. "They sent it a year ago, Arias. What do you see?"
"Switchgrass. And sand?"
Eyerman flicked to another slide apart from his general presentation and spoke. "What if there wasn't good land or good soil?"
There were white-hot dunes on the screen.
Arias spoke up. "This is a year from first landing?" Eyerman nodded and spoke.
"Something's wrong, Arias. So, by authority, we've had a sudden change of crew. A few essential members got shuffled around. Look at your log before we leave tomorrow."
After the meeting, Arias looked down at the new dossiers in his cabin. Their civilian liason had a crew cut. The new informations officer had his right eye burnt out. The galley chief was certified in demolitions.
For official purposes, they had 24 hours on orbit above Stella-Six, but the time was all wrong. The sun spun around the torched planet. Eyerman fixed his eye on a peak and waited for a full rotation. Five minutes later, he'd seen one.
Eyerman sent a message home, far away from Stella. Their superiors responded in a day, while the crew observed the new desert.
"Investigate our investment, full measures."
Their landing site was a port established by the first people at the edge of a green sea. The water was fresh, clear, and cool. They touched down on what was the shore, now a gentle hill in a maw of sand. The settlers had been on Stella a year. Where was the sea?
Arias disembarked softly. The mound they landed on was eroded rock, concrete, worn into pebbles by erosion. Arias picked up a handful and watched it sprinkle down. Eyerman, standing ten feet away, made the same conclusion. Nothing and no one would erode in a year. They made camp as the sky dimmed.
The sun rose again seven hours later without a trace of the whirling they'd seen in orbit. Slow and easy, just like home.
Hitton and Troise were on patrol last night and they were mostly gone. Mostly, as Hitton's arm was still holding his rifle. Arias performed an autopsy on that limb. Hitton's humerus was ripped out of joint, dirtily. Their camp contracted. Then, a week from their landing with no forward progress, they caught a break.
One of their perimeter men had shot one in the night. Arias took it for autopsy, with Captain Eyerman at his shoulder. Arias performed a laparotomy, an incision straight down the middle. On a view of the thing's insides, Eyerman stumbled back. Arias peered into the corpse.
It wasn't a person, not anymore. But there were traces. He had lungs, but lobed and sprawling and filtering dust. The heart was enormous, grown to pump blood against the dirt in his veins. A shot through the right side of its chest had caught a bloated ventricle.
The muscle of his forearm bore a broken, worn dogtag attached with a single nail. It was pitted, beaten, and in the thing's death grip a family heirloom. A last link to home. Arias read it aloud to Eyerman.
Arias moved on. An outsized liver to handle the toxic wastewater. Short intestines for short meals, no distinct small or large bowel. No appendix. Its skin was dark brown with a sheen for the sun. It wasn't Corporal Torres and had never met him but it loved what Torres was.
Arias sat with Eyerman after a full scrub, the ship all settled into a comforter of rock. Arias spoke. "The company knew this place was wrong when they sent us out here." He paused. "So, the samples we were supposed to collect?"
Eyerman nodded and spoke, looking up on his back. "You worked on one a few minutes ago." Arias exhaled and laid back. He looked into the unblemished night sky, noticing for the first time that there should have been more stars.
In that week, they lost almost all of the crew. All gone in the night, never returning from patrol. Arias and Eyerman slept back to back in shifts, now. They'd found more of those tan things, dead, near the blood and guts of their men.
Eyerman's gut roiled again as Arias carved through another of the dead ones. He had to step away when Arias looked into its lungs. The Doctor wanted to compare them to a slide he'd prepared and set in the ship lab. Arias mounted the slide when the ground shook. Under the microscope, Arias saw a miasma of cells, three nuclei apiece. He enhanced the image as the ground behind him cracked. The DNA was ribboned and sprawling in little tentacles. It had evolved, been bullied by a baking world.
Behind him, the beast crawled from the sand. It carved into Eyerman. Arias had his scalpel at hand and pointed it at the monster. It looked at him, the scalpel, Arias again, it grinned, and it tore out Eyerman's throat. The descendant of the first people smiled wide, knowing what it had done. Some things passed down directly. Arias dropped the scalpel.
The next team came down gazing at the whirling star. They settled into the dust next to Captain Eyerman's craft. It was a husk now, with its wings chewed by the desert winds. In the night, the forward team saw a heaving shape. A brute with eight arms, eyeless and naked. Their onboard medic performed the study. The morphology was eerily familiar but the organs were blooming. There was a dogtag chained through the muscle of its chest. It was pitted, eaten away by sand and wind and time. Physician: Arias.
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 03:54|
Red Sun At Morning, 1200 words
Vehicle/This was supposed to be a simple job!
"Lagrange Two Station, reading all clear, please confirm permission to extend sails," Carl reported.
At this range, the delay was only a few seconds. "S-172, confirming permission to extend sails. Have a pleasant flight and see you next year."
Carl clicked the mic to acknowledge, and activated the sails. The golden panels expanded and refracted into huge gossamer wings, each with a magnitude more surface area than the shuttle itself. Like a celestial butterfly, escaping from a gray metal cocoon, until they locked into place with a final THUNK. Each sail would collect stray rays of sunlight, creating propulsion for the shuttle. It wasn't particularly fast, but it was the most efficient way to travel long distances.
"Only 12% delta-V, all the way from undocking to extension." Alexi, sitting in the other pilot chair, gave a whistle. "You're wasted out here on these supply runs, Carl. You should leave it to the old-timers."
"Naw, it's too busy in near-Earth. All that hustle and bustle," Carl replied while finishing up. "Besides, they don't have this view in near-Earth."
Alexi waved his hand at the window. "Of what? That little red speck of Mars? Stars? There isn't anything to see out there."
"No, there's Nothing to see out there. Endless, infinite abyss... Almost like you're truly alone."
"Hmph!" Alexi replied. "Well, enjoy the view by your lonesome, I'm off-duty. It's a drat disgrace they couldn't give us a full crew."
Carl smiled and didn't say anything. His first run had been part of a triplet - he had found the constant presence of a co-pilot slightly irritating. It was better to be on a duty alone with your thoughts, while the other crew member slept. Alexi floated out of the cockpit, and Carl settled into his shift.
Carl bolted upright. The shuttle had vibrated strangely, almost violently. That wasn't suppose to happen, not out here. There wasn't anything out here, halfway to Mars.
He was halfway into his emergency suit when the alarms went off, loud klaxons and red lights. What the hell was happening? Where was Alexi?
He was out of his bunk and down the long corridor to the cockpit, practically flying along without touching the walls. It was the longest minute of his life.
"Alexi?!" Carl shouted. His crew mate was in his chair, still firmly strapped in, but his arms floated weightlessly, almost as if the old man was asleep despite the alarms. Carl floated forward and placed two fingers against the old man's throat, but it was pointless. There would be no pulse - Alexi's eyes had the glaze of death. A stroke, probably - workers in space were unusually susceptible to them. Carl pushed off and flipped around to his own seat.
He flipped a few buttons and silenced the alarm - it was far too late. A solar storm had came and went, and the pulse had completely shredded the sails. Alexi had been dead for hours, then. Perhaps Carl had been still awake, reading in his bunk. Perhaps if he had been more social-
No time for that now. "Bravo-Bravo-Bravo. I repeat, Bravo-Bravo-Bravo. Solar sails inoperable, emergency assistance requested." Carl beamed out the message both in front and behind him, and set about checking status of the rest of the ship. His SOS wouldn't reach the station at either Mars or near Earth for a couple minutes, and it would take them a few minutes to reply.
There didn't seem to be anything else damaged - just his sole means of propulsion. They had just about reached their maximum velocity. He'd be quite comfortable as he drifted off into the endless dark. How many hours had he stared into the dark, imagining himself alone? Now his eyes were drawn to the small red dot, slightly down and to the left - Mars. The last lonely outpost of humanity before... well. It didn't seem as romantic, now.
"S-172, sit report received. Why didn't you recess your sails before the storm?" A woman's voice, professional but slightly annoyed.
"Crew member on duty had died." He paused. "That's a stupid question."
The few minutes came and went, with no reply. Carl stared into the dark, thinking over his words. "Sorry, that was unnecessary, Ares Station. Please... please advise."
A few more minutes. "We're working on a course of action, S-172, sit tight. Prepare for further instructions in four hours." A pause of her own. "We're sorry for you loss. Try to get some sleep."
Carl clicked the mic. He turned to the body for Alexi, and the macabre task ahead. Company policy was storange in the freezer until transportation for a proper burial, if at all possible.
"Anya, I understand the math checks out, but this is crazy. There's absolutely no way. The tiniest mistake.. I appreciate the gesture, but I would be putting a dozen lives at risk. Even a few extra kilometers per hour would send the shuttle through the dock like a bullet. I couldn't ask that of them," Carl replied.
The reply-time had decreased as he got closer to Ares Station. "They volunteered, Carl, every single one of them. Hell, Command had to turn people down. We'd all like to believe that, if the situation was reverse, somebody would try to save us even if the chances were slim," Anya argued. The professionalism had gone out the window weeks ago. "Anyway, things are going to get real Pyongyang '36 around here without those supplies. So just go with it, okay?"
"Alright... fine. Let's go over the plan, step by step."
"Are you scared, Carl?" Anya asked. It felt like she was in the shuttle with him, these days.
"No... not really. I've been worrying about this moment for so long that it sort of... became normal, you know? Like worrying about dying - you just stop thinking about it after a while." Carl paused, staring at the barely visible moon.
"Don't tell me you've given up, have you?" Anya asked.
"No." He imagined her, her forehead wrinkled in worry. "God, no, quite the opposite. No."
"Good. We're coming up on the execution point soon. Good luck, Carl."
Carl clicked the mic in acknowledgement. He waited, tense and alert, for the proper timing, and... now! The first sail ejected, thrown free of the capsule. The reactive force slowed the shuttle down slightly, but had set the whole thing into a lazy spin. Now! The second sail flew free, opposite the first and halting the spin. So far so good... the last two would be more dangerous.
Now! The third sail had a far greater effect - in both regards. The centrifugal force was overwhelming, as the shuttle entered a tight and rapid twirl. Carl blinked back the black dots at the corner of his vision and focused on the panel in front of him. Had he missed it? Had he missed it?
The final sail flew free, and Carl breathed a sigh of relief. The deceleration was sufficient. Now, with careful use of Delta-V, he'd have a small window to dock in. He double-checked the math, made sure he had enough fuel, before grabbing the mic.
"Execution successful, Ares Station. Anya, guide me home," he said, smiling.
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 04:37|
Hunt It Down in the Shola Forest 1098 words
The tabla drums beat their frantic song into the steamy night. They penetrated Aatreya’s skin, resonated within his bones, and seemed to alter his heart until his whole body thrummed with the message of the drums. Hunt, hunt, hunt…
The full moon cast the rolling hills in stark shadows, highlighting slick flesh and the glinting tips of spears. Firelight flickered from torches held aloft by the small band of hunters. Below the hills he could see the valley forest where that terrible beast lived, that beast that used to be closest to his heart.
The land seemed to hold its breath in the night, as if the animals knew too that this was the night of a hunt, and that it would be wise to stay hidden in the face of such bloodlust.
The drums beat against Aatreya’s temples and his blood felt electrified with anticipation.
Hunt, hunt, the hunt is here!
Aatreya fell in love with Inimai the first time he laid eyes on her.
When Aatreya was a young boy he had wept bitterly when he found out he was to be betrothed. To think, that he was to marry a girl of all things. Determined to see this horrible creature, and mischievous as young boys tend to be, he snuck one day to the other side of the village where he knew she lived. She was out back, helping to tend to the chickens. And oh, how he fell in love with her in that moment! She was a fierce thing, her eyes an astonishing green. Years later, after she had died, Aatreya would meditate on that moment often. Those green eyes, before they became the eyes of the beast, before they became a thing of the dark.
The trees closed around them, covering the moon and plunging the hunters into darkness relieved only by the light of the torches. The drums had subsided to a tense pulsating silence.
Aatreya signaled to the other hunters and crept forward. This above all was his hunt, his spear blessed for the killing blow to stop Inimai’s spirit from coming back in an even more vengeful form.
The only sound was the soft rustle as experienced feet moved through the forest. Aatreya’s palms were slick with sweat. He knew they were close.
He started as he felt something squelch underneath his feet. He cut off a cry as he saw what he had stepped on.
It was a small human hand, perfectly intact, henna still visible on the tiny fingers that used to belong to the little girl that was stolen out of the village the night before.
He heard a yell as one of the men stepped on another lost limb. Before he could react, before he could whisper a warning, the dark erupted in a snarl.
Aatreya had the impression of rippling flesh, of white gleaming teeth, of the stench of heat and death and musk, before he was knocked back. He heard a bloodcurdling scream that was cut off suddenly in a gurgle. Hot blood spattered onto his cheek.
He opened his eyes to a world of flickering light and dark mingled with the cries and screams of man and beast alike. Using his spear as a crutch he heaved himself up.
And for the first time since her death he saw her.
She was a tiger, but larger than any he had ever seen, three times the size of a normal adult. She seemed to be all muscle and fangs, and her claws seemed to shred through flesh like it was the thinnest of silks. She was a terrible sight to behold.
She let out a roar as a spear bit into her flank. She turned towards him, teeth bared in pain.
This was the moment he had waited for. This was his chance to set her free. He leveled his spear towards her.
Green eyes, grotesquely human in such an inhuman face, looked at him. They were Inimai’s eyes. The spear wavered.
She lept towards him. Aatreya felt a deep cold biting in his side. There was screaming in the night. It took him a moment to realize it was he who was screaming.
He had to keep moving forward.
Blood fell thickly from his side, oozed down into his shoes until he was slipping from his own blood. Every breath seemed to sting deep inside his body.
He didn't know how long he had walked into that forest in vain chase of Inimai. He remembered coming to weak and gasping to a scene of blood and fire. A torch dropped had caught the brush on fire. Mangled bodies littered the forest floor. He couldn't tell if there were any other survivors. But he couldn't go back. Not until he had finished what he started.
Smoke drifted into his eyes, causing them to sting and water. He coughed and felt warm salty liquid spatter from his mouth. The fire was getting closer. It seemed to spread around him, as if ringing him into his destiny. A gaur, eyes rolled in fear and fire caught aflame ran past him. He could hear the birds crying out in alarm. Still he kept on.
How he knew where she lay Aatreya could not say, but he moved with a surety that he felt in the core of his being. His heart hammered against his chest, seemed to sing to him. This way, this way Aatreya!
He stumbled into a small clearing. He could see the fire flickering all around him, closing in.
And there she was, that terrible love of his.
Blood trailed from the wound in her side. She panted in pain.
“Inimai!” He called out.
The tiger turned, looked at him with lamp bright eyes. Did she recognize him? Did anything left of her human self remain in this vessel?
Aatreya leveled his spear, swallowing blood and fear. He knew this time his spear would not falter. He would set her free.
“Inimai!” He called again.
She leap towards him, mouth opened in a snarl. Aatreya saw his spear enter cleanly into her chest and out her back before he was knocked back in a tangle of flesh and fur. He saw those beautiful eyes he so coveted, already dulling in death throes, lit like some vengeful god in the light of the fire, before she closed her mouth around his body and he saw no more.
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 04:52|
vehicle! / rescue!
Mistakes Were Made
Peters sat in the cramped dining room, examining the other diners. He had dossiers on all them, of course, but no pictures to match with faces. It would take time, and time was running a bit low at the moment.
"Care for more potatoes, Mr. Peters?" The woman on his left, whose face was shapely and had the characteristic blond hair and fair skin of Belarusian women, smiled as she gestured with a spoon towards the heaping pile of steaming mash.
"No, thank you, and please call me John."
She was Ivana Yakovlevna Raskolnikov, chief torturer for Dr. Werner. Peters would make sure she didn't get off the boat alive.
"So do you enjoy whale watching, or did you pick our ship at random?" The younger man on Peters' right had a glossy shaved head and carried himself with the air of a star athlete. His tattoo gave him away as the former American Olympian Alan Mint, who was Werner's computer genius; who else would have a tattoo based on a child's video game?
"Random, I'm afraid. I don't know very much about whales." The three had been using this whale scientist cover for hours. It's like they truly believed they were researchers! Peters nonchalantly dropped his had beneath the table, fingers tightening around the grip of his Walther, which had had been hiding under his napkin for the better part of an hour.
"Ah, they are amazing creatures! I have been studying their calls for nearly fifty years. We've tracked this pod of humpbacks all the way from Hawaii." Dr. Werner, seated across from Peters, was gregarious and warm and had done his best to keep the agent off his guard. But Peters knew better than that; he knew Werner's thin veneer covered a truly sadistic and violent personality.
Sweat beaded on Peters forehead. All three of the criminals were laughing and carrying on as if the President's daughter wasn't somewhere below deck. Peters clicked off the safety on his Walther.
"So tell us, John, what is it that brought you onto our boat? We normally don't take passengers, but you seemed particularly insistent!" Werner smiled a knowing grin.
So they knew. Had they known the whole time? Was the President's daughter dead?
Peters, with practiced smoothness of having been in such situations before, shot his chair back from the table and bright the Walther into firing position.
"Where is she, Werner?" Peters' face reddened, his grimace belying the calm of his voice.
Werner was a master. The disbelief on his face was so believable, Peters momentarily thought he had made a mistake. But he thought he saw something underneath that mask, something dangerous.
"I- I- I have no idea who you are talking about!" Werner's eyes were focused on Peters. The doctor and his henchmen had stood at the sight of the gun, and Peters swiveled to keep them all in sight.
"Come on Werner, it's over! Tell me where she is!"
Peters had searched the ship over the last two days but had found no evidence of the girl. She must be in the one place he hadn't looked: Werner's personal cabin.
Ivana made a sudden dash for the door. Peters pivoted and his Walther coughed twice. Ivana crumpled to the floor. Alan burst into tears, and Peters could see that Werner's eyes were also wet.
"Last chance. Tell me right now or I will sink this ship." Peters had laid scuttling charges while searching the ship. He had wired them to detonate on a signal from the transmitter in his watch.
"John, please put the gun down. We really don't know who you're talking about. Let's just be calm-"
Peters hit the activation stud on his watch and an explosion ripped the ship, causing it to immediate list drunkenly to starboard. The three men all went sliding into the bulkhead.
"Are you insane?" Werner was screaming. He lunged at Peters, who balled a fist and slammed it into the doctor's throat. Alan came at Peters then, who responded with a vicious front kick, catching the computer wizard in the chest and knocking the wind out of him.
The ship was sinking fast. Peters sprinted out of the room, running down the cramped hallway towards Werner's room. He kicked in the door, expecting to find the girl, but was faced with a spartan room littered with notes and pictures of whale call waveforms. Peters stared in horror at everything you'd find in a whale biologist's quarters.
"Oh, poo poo!"
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 04:59|
It Belongs in a museum / space
Captain Baran’s eyes fluttered open. He gasped desperately for oxygen but there was none. Years of training suppressed that instinctual panic and he assessed the situation.
Cryo-pod malfunction. Emergency release is just above my right hand.
He yanked the cable and the hatch opened with a hiss. Baran stumbled free from the pod and with a gulp of good air, his full faculties returned. The pod’s fuel cell read empty.
The nuclear pill would sustain suspended animation for 10,000 years. Is it possible?
But he couldn’t feel the familiar rumble of the Konstanin’s engines under his feet. Gravity was different too, a little lighter. He was on a foreign planet.
Baran surveyed the cavernous room. High windows allowed a decent amount of ambient light, but there was no power to the interior. “Hello,” he croaked, but the only answer was the faint reprise of his hoarse whisper.
He cautiously stepped over a velvet rope and out of the alcove that housed his cryo-pod. There were similar recesses circling the great hall. A mezzanine loomed directly overhead, but he could see balconied levels stacked to the high vaulted ceiling, twenty or more. A furrowed brow was the only indication of dismay as he attempted the indecipherable sign mounted on a short pedestal.
Frustration turned to anger as he realized: I’m an exhibit in some alien museum!
“Hello,” he shouted. “Is anyone here?”
“Hello-o,” he trailed off. He held his breath and strained to hear anything over the thump of his own heartbeat. A long moment passed as he listened, then he heard a beep . . . beep . . . beep.
He followed the noise past other displays, now tombs for long-expired exotic creatures, until he found the source –a cryo-pod shutting down, power expended.
Without hesitation, the captain rushed to the pod and struggled with the latch. He summoned all his strength and as the release started to move, he heard clacking from inside. He realized in his zeal to rescue the survivor, he hadn’t looked inside.
The occupant was not human.
As the hatch opened, a black blur darted past him. Baran spun and dropped into a defensive stance. The insectoid was twenty feet away, compound eyes staring back at him. Baran raised his hands in a gesture of peace hoping to ward off the ant-thing.
The creature tilted its head inquisitively and moved towards him, arthropodal legs clicking faintly as it approached and circled him. Feathered antennae tapped on the captain’s legs. Its head and thorax rose to a praying mantis posture and the delicate appendages felt their way up Baran’s chest to his face.
“Friendly little guy, aren’t you,” Baran said with a smirk as he brushed a feathery tendril away from his mouth. The creature’s mandibles clattered excitedly. “Alright then, let’s see if we can find any more friendly critters around.”
It backed away a step from Baran and rubbed its antennae together producing a mournful tone. “Not very hopeful, hmm? Song, clicks . . . alright, I’ll call you Sklyx. How ‘bout that?” Sklyx shrugged as best his insect body could accommodate.
They explored through a vestibule and ventured to the outside world. The sky was gray. Everything was gray. In the distance, great towers blended with the horizon. Suddenly, metal cylinders rose from the concrete forming a perimeter around the courtyard. The sides of the canisters receded with a pneumatic whoosh to reveal humanoid robots taller than any human.
The captain’s companion didn’t need any encouragement and was sheltered at the museum’s vestibule before Baran was halfway. The security-bots lumbered from their platforms and tottered after him.
Sklyx followed Baran inside and with power restored, small educational holograms flitted about, bathing the displays in pale blue light. Baran recognized several icons on a floating directory and –
A laser beam whizzed past his ear, crackling with ozone as it melted a hole in the directory. Baran reflexively ducked and ran for the stairs. On the second floor a collection of weapons was housed in a glass case.
Baran ducked behind as he saw the top of the robot’s head in the stairwell, Sklyx
huddled beside him. As the robot made it through the doorway it opened fire, melting a wide swath of glass. Baran grabbed a newly freed laser pistol.
It was bulky in his hand, though familiar. “We’ll have to keep moving while this thing charges. No choice but to keep going up.”
The robot trudged forward, unrelenting. Baran made a break for it, Sklyx on his heels. Laser blasts slagged display after display as the duo weaved their way across the room. As they reached a second set of stairs, the pistol chimed.
Baran took aim and fired. A thin blue beam disintegrated the robot with a flash. Downstairs, more robots were swarming the stairs, so they continued their ascent.
Up and up they ran, until they reached the top floor. Baran stared in disbelief as he saw his very own ship, the Konstantin suspended from the ceiling. From the balcony, he saw the speck of his cryo-pod far below.
The clanking of metal feet echoed in the stairwell behind them. Sklyx scaled the wall and dropped easily onto the ship. Baran scouted for something to use to climb but another security-bot emerged from the stairs. He’d have to jump.
Baran took a running start and vaulted off the balcony railing as laser blasts erupted around him. He landed hard as one of the blasts hit a cable, tipping the ship and sending him careening. He hung by his fingertips as Sklyx rushed to help.
Baran gratefully clasped the hard-shelled forearm and pulled himself up. He tapped in the security code and a hatch opened. Sklyx dropped down in and Baran followed as the Konstantin swung like a pendulum across the great hall, laser blasts firing perilously close.
Under Baran’s deft fingers, the ship systems beeped online. Suddenly, the ship pitched forward and Baran’s stomach was in his throat. The robot had hit the final support cable. With a deep breath, he flipped the final lever and the engine roared to life.
The Konstantin hovered inches from the ground. Baran sighed with relief as he spun the ship’s cannon around and fired, blasting a clean escape route through the side of the building. He hit the accelerator and the ship cleared the building. They zipped up into the atmosphere.
The captain punched in a course towards Earth. “Well, Sklyx, I don’t look to bad for ten thousand and forty. Time to go home.”
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 05:19|
Thirty minutes to the deadline! More than half our domers are safe, but what will become of the trio of toxxers still in the wild: Fuubi, Fuschia tude, and JuniperCakes? It's a race against the clock and against the word count!
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 05:29|
Rescue! in Space
Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 15:17 on Jan 2, 2017
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 05:30|
The Final Depot
Rescue in a desert
“They should have been back two weeks ago from setting up the final supply drop. They need our help. Jan, Kristof, take a sled team and as much pemican, oil, and medical supplies that you can carry. If we can’t get the supply drops set before winter, then we are never getting to the pole.”
Those were my orders. If the failed, all of us would likely lose everything. Karl Jacobson, the expedition leader, had invested everything he had in the in the hope of getting the fame of being the first to the south pole. Not only that, his brother, Otto, was leader of the supply drop mission. Me, I think it is too drat cold here, but I need the money.
“Jan, do you really think that we can make it to the South Pole and can you imagine how nice it will be to get the attention of all the best ladies like your daughter back in Norway? ”
“Let’s just focus on getting Otto or failing that setting up the last depot. Also do not talk about my daughter that way. A penniless cabin boy is no match for my daughter.”
Kristof may have a good heart, but he comes from nothing.
Leaving the base on the edge of the Ross Sea, we set out with a team of eight of dogs. The route the expedition is taking to the pole is untested. I do not know what’s ahead, but it seems to be mostly glacier. We take it slow the first day the way to depot point, less than ten nautical miles a day. We could go faster but we have to keep a lookout for Otto.
It is now day five of our expedition south. Kristof found what may have been dog droppings, but it looked to me that is was just been some discolored ice. There is too much wind and the ice is too bright to see any tracks the sledge runners made in the previous trips south. As there has been no sign of anything I make the decision to quicken the pace a bit to a full 13 nautical miles a day.
“Are you sure Jan? We could miss seeing them if they are just a little of the direct track”
“Winter is coming too soon, we should focus on getting to the depot point and setting it up. I don’t want to be on the ice when the long night sets in. Otto and his team could still be alright just stuck.”
Three hours after quickening the pace, I hear a crack. Cracking, never a good sound anywhere, is an especially bad sound on the ice. It means the potential for death.
“Jan, have you fallen through the ice when skating?”
I tell Kristof of when I was young, I once accidentally broke a window. In what felt like a few seconds, my father in my face, putting the fear of God in me. I leave out the fact that hearing that crack had put the fear of God’s god on me. We continue on at current pace, I hope that I will see tomorrow.
It is now day seven of our journey. I have not heard any further cracking but the terrain is getting worse. The ice is no longer as smooth as it was previously. We have still seen no sign of Otto. It is still too cold out there. We have to keep going, otherwise I will never see my wife and daughter again as I feel as if I will die out here if I do not keep going. I will never tell this to Kristof. One of us must take the supplies to the depot, and he has so much heart; he must continue even if I do not. One of the sledge dogs is getting weaker, I may forced to put him down.
It has now been two weeks since setting out. I am not holding out any hope for Otto, Kristof has even started to become pessimistic. The terrain has started to become filled with crevasses. These are much more dangerous to travel around.
“Jan, could Otto and his team have fallen down one of these crevasses? Could we even help him if they did”
“It doesn’t bear panicking about about. We have to go very slow any way. If we have to take it slow, then so they would have to also. In some ways this is a good thing.” No deed to be too fatalist, I need Kristof.
We have reached the site for the last depot. There’s a cairn marking the spot and I find that supplies are all stored properly. Otto’s team has at least made it to the supply drop.
“Jan, this is the best thing we have seen all trip, they at least made it this far” For once I agreed with his optimism. “After a day’s rest we turn back, we must have missed him during that windstorm a week back”
We are have been traveling for three weeks since getting to the depot. Otto’s team must have taken a different path if they are still alive. It is not looking all that rosy for us, as the long night it just days away. We are down to three dogs, and are using man-hauling to make up the difference. By my calculations we are just one day from our home base. But the weather has gotten so much worse and so much colder, we have to stop. My own health is declining and I have frostbite. I do not think I will make it.
“Kristof, when you get back to civilization tell my wife and daughter that I loved them.”
I did not hear his reply, I passed into a coma. We are back a home base; Kristof had saved me. Otto’s team made it back mere hours after we left, they had gotten lost in the field of creavasses on the trip back and took a longer route home. It was all for nothing.
I found Kristof and said “I have always wanted the best for my daughter and could think of nothing better introducing her to a true hero.”
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 05:41|
Protect this with your life! in the Jungles of Yucatán.
“Take this.” The old man pressed a gold cross on a silver chain into the boy’s fingers. His hands were dry and rough like sandpaper. Air rasped in his throat.
“And one more thing. Iker. He’s your brother, you know you have to protect him, now. Watch out for him...”
The boy nodded and rubbed away tears.
¤ ¤ ¤
José Maracaibo worked for a construction firm in his hometown. He was overseeing the excavation into one of the cenotes, from a chamber just above. Communities had used them as a natural source of water for centuries, if not longer.
He peered into the screen, showing mostly darkness. Somewhere down there, the bore drill was cutting into the earth.
“You find the face of God in there yet?” It was his brother Iker, wearing his usual smirk. “You stare into it enough.” Iker was the reason José joined this company, to keep an eye on him. Why he didn’t go off to university.
“Nah bro, just looks like the devil’s rear end in a top hat.”
Iker laughed and sat back on the floor. But there was a sudden rumbling from deep below, and José’s feed cut out.
“poo poo,” he said. “We’re going to have to go see what happened down there.”
“I’ll do it.” Iker jumped up. “It’ll give me something to do.”
José was sending the command to move the driller out of the way. “Wait!” he cried, looking up. But Iker was already gone. He double-checked that everything was locked, then followed.
¤ ¤ ¤
José shone his flashlight around the hole. Steam hissed from the borer like a wounded cat. There was nothing visible here, just dark and wet. A sluice stream ran down the side of the borehole.
No sign of his brother. The tunnel dead-ended here, at the sharply sloping hole the machine had been digging. “Don’t tell me you fell down there and killed yourself...”
With his light, he could just barely make out a surface, far down the borehole. They had apparently broken through into a cavern, one that didn’t appear on any map.
“Iker!” he called down. “Are you down there, you son of a bitch?”
He inspected the hole. The edges crumbled, and water leaked from the side nearest the entrance.
José sighed. He had a long rope here. The digger would serve as an anchor.
Slowly, he began to lower himself.
He approached the cavern proper. It was much bigger than he first thought, falling off to darkness in every direction. The rope ended just above the corner of a ledge. He swung, nearly there... and dropped.
He hit the ledge hard, stopped his sliding with his hands. The rock’s surface was rough and jagged. There was something caught in the side of the ledge: a piece of white cloth with black dots. Iker’s bandana. He had been here.
José called out again. Still nothing.
He circled the ledge. There was another one lower down, maybe six feet or so. And it looked like there was a passage leading away from it, into the wall of the cavern. He lowered himself down, gritted his teeth at the strain, and let go. Stalagmites snapped under his feet.
He turned his flashlight on the space around him. There was movement in the depths, writhing in some impossible way, like crowds in a music concert, but all silent. They were millions of small dark fronds, like undersea anemones, gently swaying in the air as if buffeted by invisible winds.
José shuddered. He ducked into the passage.
The tunnel curved, circled around, but always descending. The air grew warm and humid.
As he came to a turn, there was a flickering light up ahead. José turned off his flashlight; he had just enough light to see by. Some vibrating deep hum was coming from ahead. He moved to the opening and looked out into another huge cavern.
Natural pillars supported a massive ceiling, wider than a stadium. The walls were dotted with alcoves and ledges. Torchlights cast weird dancing fields of light and shadows across their surfaces. The ground was packed full of... children? All small, similar haircut, little clothing. And all of them were looking away from his opening, all facing the stone platform on the opposite side of the room, carved from dark cubes of stone. And there, on top, surrounded by more of these strange people, his brother Iker.
A cry died, choked in his throat. He had to do something! He had his little revolver with him, as usual. “You never know,” he always said. But it would be useless to fight so many.
There was movement and aggravated voices coming from the alcoves above. José must have been seen. He decided now was his time to move. He walked out into the crowd and called out—“Hey, Iker!”
The strange people around him jumped and moved away instantly, chattering in a language he had never heard. His brother looked up, then his head fell down once more. Had he heard him?
Some bigger people—they still only came up to his shoulders—started to march him to the dais. They were wordless, emotionless. Their eyes avoided him.
José walked onto the wide flat platform at the back of the cavern. His brother was tied to a wall in the back by some set of lines—were they vines?
“I’ll get you out,” he told his brother.
A big man, covered in black and white paint, took plodding steps forward, and José moved. He took aim at this man who must be the leader.
No reaction. Not even a flinch.
He dropped his revolver at the last second and shot at his feet. He missed, hit only stone, not exactly his intent. But there was a great shower of sparks and stone chips rained down over the crowd. The painted man cried out and jumped back.
The guards that had led José up here looked at each other uneasily. The crowd began to mutter and moved away from the platform.
He untied his brother and Iker nearly fell to his knees before he steadied him. “Can you walk?” he asked.
“Yes...” Iker stood, swaying, when José let go.
The two began to walk.
Then the painted man charged, screaming and brandishing a club studded with small black blades. José whirled and grabbed the man—Iker wobbled but stayed upright—wrapped his arm around the man’s neck and ground his elbow into the man’s arm until he dropped the club. He kept his gun on the man as he edged down, with him under one arm, and Iker leaning on the other.
The crowd parted. By the time they reached the tunnel, the cavern was neartly empty.
“Keep him?” José asked. The man chattered at them, something angry and visceral, like a caged animal.
“I think... no,” Iker said. José kicked the man out into the hall, and they ran.
¤ ¤ ¤
“I don’t think I can make that,” Iker said to José, staring at the ledge above.
“I can jump and pull you up.”
“You won’t reach.” Iker looked around wildly. Shouting and clattering noise grew from the tunnel.
José tried it anyway. He reached down—“Take my hand!”
Iker stared. “I can’t!”
“Iker! I am not leaving you!” Then José had an idea. He undid and whipped off his belt. “Grab it!”
Iker took one look down and jumped for it. He hung, swinging, twisting in the air as the tunnel disgorged people. Then, with a grunt, José wrenched him up to the ledge.
They both lay panting on the cold stone.
“They can’t jump that, can they?”
“I don’t think so,” José replied.
“You really come down that rope?”
“I did. Hope you can climb, because I’m worn out.”
“Brother, I need to sleep about a week after this,” Iker said. But he took to his feet.
José started to climb. Iker waited for the rope to swing back to him, then joined his brother in climbing.
The people below spit and shouted, waving hands or clubs. One tried to jump for the ledge, his fingers just touching the surface, before falling and disappearing into the field of soft writhing things below. His cry was muffled, cut short.
José reached the top, waited for his brother to put his hands on the mouth of the hole, and wound the rope up behind him.
“So, what do you think?” José asked. “Will this one work for water?”
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 05:59|
Protect this with your life! in the desert
"I really think we could talk about this," Dan said, backing away from the guard with both hands out. More specifically, the stun baton he had raised in one hand. The sun burned into his back through the window behind him, casting the red light of the setting sun across the hall.
"There's really only one thing I'm curious about," said a slight man wearing a crisp suit and standing behind the guard. "Why medicine? Usually your mark is gold and jewels, sometimes it's information, but it's never been medicine before." His soft voice echoed off the hard marble floors, fluted pillars, and vaulted ceilings of the hall. Loud footsteps came from the stairwell behind him.
"Well, you know. Money can get boring," Dan said, still backing away from the guard.
"Perhaps. It makes me think you were hired, but I haven't the faintest idea who it could be. No one in Djudjubie would be stupid enough to steal from the prince. Well, in the meantime, why don't you hand over the vials? It'll go a long way toward keeping your neck safe from the executioner." The slight man held out a well-manicured hand and beckoned slightly.
Dan reached behind with his right hand. "Just remember that I gave you a chance to talk about this." His hand came out with a metal line and a small hook. In one movement, he crouched, hooked the line on the edge of the window, and pushed himself back through the glass.
The shards of glass flew out, scattering the sun's dying light across the startled faces of the guard and the man, and Dan smiled as he fell. He twisted, the line unwrapping from around his waist and sending the world spinning as he landed heavily into a canopy, then another canopy, then another, and then finally dangling a few feet off the ground for a split second before the hook broke. Dan fell the rest of the way, the air wooshing from his lungs when he landed in the hard, hot sand.
"Hey, mister, are you okay?" A group of kids had been playing a game with a ball in the alley, but this was far more interesting.
Dan sat up with a grunt and peered at the group with one squinted eye while he ran a hand over his ribs. "Sure. Maybe." He winced when his fingers found the third rib. "Probably not." He looked at the kids, then, and said, "Do any of you want to make a few dollars?"
The slight man stood at the window, looking down at the broken canopies. "Aren't you going to follow him?" He asked the guard.
"With all due respect, sir, I'll take the stairs. You can follow him that way if you want."
"Now, do what I told you and there'll be another one waiting for you, okay?" Dan handed the boy a dollar and two vials. "And please keep these safe, okay?"
"Sure, mister." The group of kids scattered like so many scraps of silk into the wind.
A whistle sounded at the end of the street. Dan turned, saw the guards, and immediately ran into the closest alley he could find. His course ran like a corkscrew, ducking and weaving into the labyrinth of the alleyways in Djudjubie.
A moment after one such turn, Dan backed out of the alley and chose another one, then backed out of that one. Guards filed in from every entrance, batons raised. A slight man in a suit walked in behind the guards, putting away a lighter and puffing on a cigarette.
"I didn't really expect you to be quite so easy to catch, you know. I mean, running for the sewers? Everyone does that."
Dan smiled and sat down in the sand. "I must be losing my touch."
Amina opened the door and looked down. "What do you want?"
The young boy raised his hand and opened up his fist. Two glittering vials lay in his palm.
"He said you would give us a dollar for these."
Amina's eyes widened, and she pulled a single coin out of her pocket, dropped it into the waiting hand and snatched up the vials.
"Thanks, lady," said the young boy, and he turned and ran down the street. A group of kids waited there for him.
The door slammed shut, but Amina was already going up there stairs two at a time. She pushed open the door at the end of the hall. A small girl lay in the bed, her breathing shallow and sweat beading on her forehead.
"Jess, I have some medicine for you."
Jessenia opened her eyes and turned toward Amina. "Daddy?"
Amina turned as she reached for a glass of water and brushed away a single tear. "Not tonight, dear."
The slight man in the suit pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and lit it. He was sitting in a small room, the walls made sandstone. A crude table was in the middle of the room, and across from the slight man sat Dan.
"You know, we still don't even know who you are," he said.
"I'm sure you don't," Dan replied. "I don't know who you are, either, though. Guess that makes us even."
"You can call me Samir, if you wish."
"What I wish is to leave, but something tells me that isn't happening."
"Not until you tell us where the vials are."
"Then I can go?"
"Then we can talk about it."
Dan reached into his left chest pocket and pulled out a vial, then dropped it on the table.
"And the other two?" Samir said, laconically reaching for it and holding it up to the light.
"They broke in the fall."
Samir stared straight into Dan's eyes, then sighed. "If you can't produce 3 vials, you'll be executed by the end of the week."
Dan said nothing, but stared straight ahead. The moment stretched out, neither man moving. Then Samir stood up.
"That's it, then. I hope whoever bought it paid you well enough for this."
Dan smiled, then, the first time since he had been captured. "Maybe someday you'll understand, Samir. There are some things worth keeping safe."
"Even at the cost of your own life?"
Dan looked down, still smiling, his gaze seeing a thousand miles away. "As long as it's still safe, Samir."
LITERALLY MY FETISH fucked around with this message at 06:02 on Jul 18, 2016
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 06:00|
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 22:03 on Jan 2, 2017
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 06:11|
Submissions closed! The cave is sealed off!
But to Fuubi and JuniperCakes, the two toxxers who didn't make it, you may still dig yourself free if you submit your story before judgement drops. Snatch that hat before it's lost behind the falling door!
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 07:56|
interprompt 43 words
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 10:54|
An in depth analysis of today's political climate
along the path there tread a toad
who came upon a dark crossroad
"Left or right?" thought he
before he said "gently caress me!"
and his wife became widowed
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 15:08|
that frog has funny ears
|# ? Jul 18, 2016 15:35|
may i interest you in a little recap while you wait for judgment?
This isn't a recap, this is a bunch of adults talking about poop for an hour! Months ago, we were kicking around the idea of Thunderdome listicles. With thousands of stories to choose from, there are bound to be tropes, themes, and subject matter that lend themselves to the listicle format. Naturally, the first of these topics we turned our attention to was The Top Ten poo poo Scenes of Thunderdome! The brave and resolute Kaishai brings us a tale of ten shits, complete with excerpts and commentary! Featuring an urgent and vigorous reading of possibly the shittiest poo poo story of them all.
Remember goons, you have to EARN your poo poo scenes
We're working on a good format for non-recap recordings so bear with us. There is some weird audio stuff partway into the episode, and it turns out that talking about poo poo for an hour is at best a little soul crushing. We have a list of potential topics, though, so let me know if you enjoyed this.
But okay, you want some sincere discussion of fiction because you're some kind of tryhard. That's cool, because I've been sitting on a backlog of recordings like some kind of lazy goon.
First up, we took a look at Weeks 195 and 196, Inverse World and Molten Copper vs. Thunderdome. We do some introspection about introspective prompts, and discuss the good, the bad, and the WTF. Featuring readings of Mr. Gentleman's goon manifesto, A Story of Salt and Goodpancake's exercise in creative punctuation, Whimsy.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE
Up next, we took a look at Week 197, Stories of Powerful Ambition and Poor Impulse Control. Also known as Fiasco week! Crits are good, guys. Finding ways to incentivize lots of crits is better! This week had a lot to talk about, so we mostly talked about the bad, the ugly, and the WTF. Featuring a vivacious reading of Mr. Gentleman's The End of Some things, with the caveat that this is a stark improvement over the previous Mr. Gentleman story we read. Keep it up, buddy!
Eternal thank yous to Kaishai, Djeser, and Ironic Twist. Questions, comments, or suggestions? PM me, or come to #Thunderdome on synirc.
Episode Recappers Week 156: LET'S GET hosed UP ON LOVE Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser Week 157: BOW BEFORE THE BUZZSAW OF PROGRESS Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 158: LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser Week 159: SINNERS ORGY Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 160: Spin the wheel! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 161: Negative Exponents Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 36: Polishing Turds -- A retrospective special! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino Week 162: The best of the worst and the worst of the best Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino Week 163: YOUR STUPID poo poo BELONGS IN A MUSEUM Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 164: I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 165: Back to School Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 166: Comings and Goings Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 167: Black Sunshine Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 168: She Stole My Wallet and My Heart Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 169: Thunderdome o' Bedlam Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 170: Cities & Kaiju Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 171: The Honorable THUNDERDOME CLXXI Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 172: Thunderdome Startup Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 173: Pilgrim's Progress Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 174: Ladles and Jellyspoons Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 175: Speels of Magic Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 176: Florida Man and/or Woman Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 125: Thunderdome is Coming to Town -- Our sparkly past! SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood Week 177: Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood Week 178: I'm not mad, just disappointed Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 179: Strange Logs Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 180: Maybe I'm a Maze Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 181: We like bloodsports and we don't care who knows! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 182: Domegrassi Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and Bad Seafood Week 183: Sorry Dad, I Was Late To The Riots Sitting Here, Djeser, Kaishai, and crabrock Week 184: The 2015teen Great White Elephant Prompt Exchange Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 98: Music of the Night -- Songs of another decade Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 185: Music of the Night, Vol. II Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 186: Giving away prizes for doing f'd-up things Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 187: Lost In Translation Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 188: Insomniac Olympics Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 189: knight time Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 190: Three-Course Tale Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 191: We Talk Good Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 192: Really Entertaining Minific Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 30: We're 30 / Time to get dirty -- A magical time Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 193: the worst week Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai Week 40: Poor Richard's Thundervision -- Let the ESC begin! Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 144: Doming Lasha Tumbai -- Classic performances Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai Week 194: Only Mr. God Knows Why Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 01:11 on Jul 19, 2016
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 00:35|
Thunderdome Week 206 Results
First, the honorable mentions. Carl Killer Miller's At the Velocity of the Sun is an intriguing bit of sci-fi horror set on a distant planet. Jonked's Red Sun at Morning is a surprisingly personal tale of disaster aboard a supply ship to Mars. starr's Burning Bright follows the raw tracks of a hunt for the malicious spirit of a man's betrothed.
There were three candidates for the win this week:
Thranguy's Showdown on the Scorching Sands, packed tight with action between an adventurer and the assassin she must work with temporarily. The scenes are tight, the setpieces are varied, and the action flows from beat to beat.
The Cut of Your Jib's Old Friends, where a cryogenically frozen captain and his defrosted new alien buddy escape the security systems of the far-future museum where they were both exhibits. These two characters, who can't even talk to each other, have an energetic chemistry, the action is richly detailed, and the story's pacing is near-perfect.
And sebmojo's Orbital Decay, wherein sebmojo shows up every Douglas-Adams-quoting dweeb on the internet with a constant flood of action and humor as Spaceman Jim defeats an attacking vessel with guns, gumption, and a psychic weasel. It's effortlessly funny yet stands as a story in its own right.
Unfortunately, there is no room for a triumvirate. I said the winning story would need both heart and fun so The Cut of Your Jib is this week's winner. For their near-wins, Thranguy and sebmojo receive honorable mentions of the highest blue.
And with the praise out of the way, it's time for the bottom of the bunch. Tyrannosaurus skirts DM by having charmed spectres of autism, and so does FouRPlaY by being mostly too bland to be upset at.
The dishonorable mentions this week go to: Are You Contagious's Mistakes Were Made, wherein the story tells us what is going to happen for six hundred words, it happens, and then the story abruptly stops once it made the joke it told us it was going to make, and Chili's The Big Show, where an rear end in a top hat tries to fake an action scene over a phone and finds a twist ending was sitting in his bag the whole time.
This week's loser is not the story I hated the most this week (Chili has that honor) but the worst-written. Maigius's The Last Depot lacks any dialogue attribution and is filled with typos, omitted words, and clunky prose, and even if it wasn't, the story it tells is a rough sketch at best.
The Cut of Your Jib, the judgethrone is yours.
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 03:13|
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 04:37|
Congratulations new guy. Confused? Look here for answers: http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/newjudge.php
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 04:56|
week i dont even loving remember
djeser's results look all nice like this week was good or something but oh lord were they not. for a week with what, 5 HMs, I nominated 0 people for HMs and only had mojo for my win because it was the best of the boring slop that you all gave to me.
im gonna try out something new here just for this week. because all of you wrote THE SAME EXACT THING, i'm just going to write general things that I saw from this week, give it a number, then im gonna list which numbers apply to your story. ill give some personalized notes as well, but the majority of the actual meaty stuff will be at the top.
1. Make me care about your characters. Seriously. This was so frustrating that I read so many characters that just were not likable at all. Or interesting. Or anything. They were just there. They just did the action and then maybe they died at the end or maybe something else happened or maybe whatever, who even cares, because I don't. They want a thing, they try to get a thing, and then they either don't or do get it. It's so frustrating when I'm reading a story and things happen and there's action but I don't give a poo poo. There's no life in your story if your character sucks. Action is meaningless if I don't care about the character (hopefully) accomplishing their goal.
2. Dialogue and action should intermingle. There were a variety of stories that I was reading that there was just a phrase and it's like "ok, time to stop with the talking time to go with the action." It makes your story feel stilted and odd and also makes it stand out more how much dialogue there is. Which there was. There was a lot of loving dialogue.
3. Make your dialogue interesting or have less of it. I do not know what the gently caress was in the water this week, but when you guys read "Action Week" it made you think "half of my story needs to have talking." I don't know why. I don't know why, either, that you had to have all of your dialogue be boring. Or exist in some world where action and dialogue do not coexist (#2 on the list btw). Most of the dialogue this week was "this is a situation I am in" "this is what has happened earlier" "this is my character motivation." It was so bad. There was no good dialogue this week. None.
4. Actions should show something about your character. I think this is perhaps, the biggest issue this week. All of you saw action, and I'll say that besides for so much dialogue, you all had action in it. But the issue was that most of the action was just that. It was action. People did things. Nobody did interesting things. Nobody did things that made me wonder, that made me consider why did that thing. A soldier shoots something. Oh wow. Your character actions weren't interesting because it never revealed much about them. It was just like "oh yeah he just did this."
5. Be funny. There were some "funny" stories this week. The only story that made me really laugh was the loser because I started reading it out loud and I laughed at how terrible it was. Make jokes. Funny is hard, but it works out if you're actually funny. Read some funny poo poo. Don't fill it with lame jokes. Don't make it obvious.
6. Avoid cliches. For the love of God, stop with the cliches. Every, single, story was full of cliches and it sucks. It sucks. Cliches are so loving lovely. I hate them. I hate it when scifi space man shoots his laser pistol. I hate it when soldier escapes from a jungle prison. I hate it when that's all your story is. If your story is just a cliche, if it doesn't provide any nuance or intrigue to the tired cliche, then it is just a cliche. It is predictable. It is dry. It is boring. Do something new. None of you, NONE OF YOU, were creative this week (ok except maybe one person). You were all tired and boring and uninteresting.
7. Too much cursing this week, too. Like, way too much for some reason. Use it sparingly (if it all).
8. Your stakes need to be crystal clear. A lot of stories had issues where it wasn't clear what was at risk here, why things needed to be done. If I don't know why somebody does something, you've probably failed.
9. Exposition is terrible. Don't have exposition. Don't have characters explain everything to everyone, nor should you just put exposition in your story. Reveal your world through the details that run through your story. Don't say "THIS IS A SCI FI WORLD." Show me instead.
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9
didnt care about any of this. your characters were assholes.
1, 2, 4, 8
when i said there was one creative person, this was it. this was that story because it had living guns and buildings, but the big issue was clarity. interesting idea, but both the world was unclear and the stakes.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, possibly 6, 9
not a trash story, but not good either. it's one of the oh hey i guess this story is here. it's also not funny, at all.
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9
another scifi story. i really dont have anything to say about this one besides the general notes.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9
i hated this story. this story seemed to flagarant want to waste my goddamn time. it wasnt funny. it takes half of your story to even get to the conflict. then it has what amounts to a non-sequitur where nothing has changed whatsoever. this was a waste. this was an easy DM choice.
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9
another generic story, this time not scifi how exciting. other than that just another pile of words that i read and shrugged my shoulders and said welp there's anotheer one in the middle pile.
1, 2, 3, 8
i liked this story enough. not enough to push for an HM because im of the mindset that im not gonna HM something just because it's ok. i HM things that i think are good. this was alright. your ending was cool. it showed character development. your characters werent rear end in a top hat or too horribly cliched. shame that the story ends way too soon and we dont see enough of these characters to get a real good feel for them. also, besides for the title, it's not v clear what's at stake.
1, 3, 4, 6
idk why this HMed tbh. i read this and i was like ok cool its another story. it did the same thing every other story did. it had a cliche main character in a cliche setting going through a cliche plot. do. not. care.
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8
idk man. i knew these crits would suck but this was just another scifi story in a pile of scifi. generic people doing generic things. dont rly care.
1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9
man this blew. i appreciate you didnt go scifi but other then that, this was boring. the stakes were low (we never even saw the girl), and then its like GHOST but then you fix that problem real quick and most of the story is really just talking and bleh it was boring. surprised this didnt DM.
1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9
yeah dude idk what was wrong with you but this wasnt good. it wasnt like tongue in cheek enough to actually be funny so the ending where it gets like self aware and starts talking to me is really jarring and weird. also these characters just werent very interesting i guess. like, idk, i didnt really care for any of them. they were all generic af.
Carl Killer Miller
1, 3, 4, 9
ok i guess i should ammend the creative thing and say that this was another story where it was kinda creative. other then that, i was stuck between "i dont care about these people" and "what???" i didnt get the ending. i didnt get how this world work. maybe im dumb. that wouldnt have mattered if i cared about any of the characters in this story. i didnt care. this was just another boring story in a pile of boring stories.
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9
stranded space man how exciting. you gloss over the actual kind of interesting part of your story such as the blooming of a relationship between these two people which you couldve punctuated with your action. instead, you focus on some dude in the beginning who i dont even remember who dies and then you say weird things that make me think the two new characters are like falling in love or something but i dont actually see it. couldve been good, this story. its not though. couldve made me care. it didnt though. a shame.
you know what, i thought this story was alright. the big issue was that your character felt blank and lifeless. i didnt feel him, you know? he was just kinda there and while reading it i was like "man if i cared about this guy and this girl this story wouldve been great!" but i didnt. we see their relationship for only a second, and we dont learn much about it. it feels generic, easy, obvious. it doesnt feel real to me. and because it didnt, i didnt even vote for this to HM. you were probably the closest to "getting it", imho.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
dude, gently caress. that twist ending was so obviously telegraphed that i was almost hoping that he would actually be right. but nope. he murders and blows up a ship in cold blood. why would he even blow up the ship if the president's daughter is on the ship? idk. nor do i care. nor do i think you care. you just thought it wouldve been funny if you totally switched it up on us but it wasnt. it was dull and obvious and another easy DM.
The Cut of Your Jib
1, 4, 6, 9
i wanted to love this story. the first 25% was fun, the revealation was cool, and the insect character was likable. your protag was generic, but you avoided the dialogue issue by having no dialogue. so why then did i not vote for this to HM? because it became scifi story #1514294349329 this week after a while. i couldnt follow the action myself and all that good will you got from the beginning didnt really lead to anything interesting. you just kinda peetered out and its well ok then. shrug.
you were doing so well. it was interesting. it had a weird kinda story that made me want to know more. then it was all a dream. . everything your story was working towards fell apart when you did that. why did you do that? i dont know. maybe this wouldve HMed, maybe even had won, if you had ended the story like it shouldve. but you didnt so this now sits in the middle, crying out, saying, why oh why trex did you have to make it all a dream?
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9
man, idk if your ESL or something, but like, read these things out loud. thats what i did. it sounded terrible. it reads awful. your story isnt interesting. idk what your story was even about. you have no tension even though a dude literally passes out. your character just says "i have frostbite" like its nbd. an easy loser.
perhaps consider not going over the word count? ill crit this later.
LITERALLY MY FETISH
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8
i forgot what this story is about. oh now i remember. hmmm this couldve been alright if you showed us the character motivation earlier. it also sounds like the characters know each other but dont? thats odd.
1, 4, 6, maybe 9
like i said, my win candidate but still a bleh story. it was fun and it was like the only story that tried to be funny that succeeded. but other than that, i cant really think of what else to say. not a lot really happens even though i like the plot. there just feels to be a lot of dead air, and theres no real character. spaceman jim is just there and a thing and he just sits there. not much better than the rest imho but i think, compared to the rest, it succeeded at what it wanted to be.
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 04:58|
Sorry that the snore patrol was bored by the fun week
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 05:37|
Thx for the crit.
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 05:53|
Thunderdome Week CCVII - Bottle Your Rage
Wordcount: 1200 words
Sign up by: Midnight EST on Friday, July 22
Submissions Close: Midnight EST on Sunday, July 24
Since shooty pew pew mans didn't catch everyone's fancy, let's slow it down this week with a classic bottle episode. Your entire story must take place in a single room (dining room, bank vault, mineshaft, SPACESHIP, submarine, automobile, etc.) over the span of one hour or less.
Bottle episodes are notoriously cheap, so if you include a gun it can only be fired once (or knife is only good for one stab, etc).
***Bonus flash rules by request***
-i help judge
Thranguy protag overhears one side of a phone call or mishears an eavesdropped conversation
Surreptitious Muffin at least one character must be lying down for the duration
Carl Killer Miller
FAILED TO SUBMIT:
C7ty1 a character lost something (or someone) in your setting
Flesnolk Your protagonist cannot/will not leave your setting
starr literal bottle(s) must play an important part in your story
e: I'm not trying to steer to one genre or time so if the rule mentions a calculator, it can be a computer, abacus, 2+2 scratched in the dirt with a stick, or a magic spell
The Cut of Your Jib fucked around with this message at 13:56 on Jul 25, 2016
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 06:16|
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 06:19|
I n .
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 06:36|
IN sweet prompt
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 06:56|
Big time in.
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 06:58|
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 08:52|
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 13:34|
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 15:10|
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 15:43|
Does this also require a bonus flash rule?
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 17:13|
its up 2 you head judge but generally not
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 17:27|
OK, bonus rules by request.
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 17:38|
i help judge
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 17:43|
NO THIS IS PRIVATE NOW
crabrock fucked around with this message at 18:45 on Jul 19, 2016
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 18:22|
In and I'll take one of those flash rules.
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 19:11|
In and I'll take one of those flash rules.
protag overhears one side of a phone call or mishears an eavesdropped conversation
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 19:24|
|# ? Sep 20, 2021 17:05|
NO THIS IS PRIVATE NOW
you're rear end...
(Cracks knuckles one hand after the other, crack crack)
|# ? Jul 19, 2016 20:10|