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scuz
Aug 29, 2003

You can't be angry ALL the time!





Fun Shoe

Never done one of these, might be a good break from bideo gabes.

Am in.

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scuz
Aug 29, 2003

You can't be angry ALL the time!





Fun Shoe

The Benefits of a Penthouse Flat in Kensington (1,249 words)
-----------------------------------------

Falkous knew he was dreaming, and the worst thing was, he knew why.

He’d been killed.

He didn’t know how he’d been killed, or the events precipitating his death, but every time he found himself stubbing out a cigarette in a diner he didn’t recognize and wearing clothes he didn’t remember buying he knew what was going on.

A waitress in a poodle skirt with her hair in curls arrived at his table carrying what could have been breakfast, and before he could find out what he’d ordered, a raven appeared on the waitress’s shoulder. The raven cocked its head at Falkous and asked “Agent Deng?”

Falkous blinked. His vision started blurring, the talking bird, his breakfast, and the poodle skirted waitress started swirling together and falling away from him. His stomach lurched. This part never got any easier.

“Agent Deng, your download has completed.” The bird’s voice came from a thousand miles away, through fathoms of water, distorting to near gibberish. “You may wake.”

Falkous Francisco Deng, Scouring Agent First Class, blinked again. When his eyes opened, he found himself in a room he very much recognized, his master bedroom in his apartment in the Kensington Towers in Boise, Idaho, in a bed that felt as if he’d been born in it, with the raven sitting on his bedpost. The raven flitted to the table beside the bed.

“Welcome back, Agent,” it said.

It was thanks to this android raven, which he’d named Nido, that he was able to remember everything upon each refresh. Falkous had mental backups made before he went out on the job every morning, it was protocol, but Nido retained everything up to the last second of Falkous’s life.

“The Field Marshall expects a report within the hour.”

Falkous sighed and rocked himself out of bed, into his new expedition suit, and out the door.

---

Prevailing science of the time, as well as common sense, predicted that the meteor headed for Earth would put a definitive period at the end of the sentence of humankind. It would erase central Africa and turn the rest of the planet into a frozen wasteland. Probes were sent and they found that the meteor wasn’t entirely meteor. A habitat was discovered on the aft of the object, and curiosity mixed in with the panic. A global effort was made to contact whatever or whoever was on the object, but nothing worked. The mute harbinger collided with Earth, just west of Mount Kilimanjaro, and what issued forth from it wasn’t fire or brimstone, but a choking, verdant cloud of vines, moss, and spores. It spread all over the planet, too fast to stop, and within a month most of civilization had been replaced with jungle.

A few areas had been spared, both of the poles and Chernobyl for example. In North America, Boise, Idaho was untouched. People who were able made the journey towards Boise did so but some were enamoured by the new green landscape. Fruits and vegetables were discovered and some were able to make a living for themselves among the trees and wilderness, calling themselves the Anathema. They were content enough with the new world that years later, when the Boise station of the Global Reestablishment Effort started expeditions into the green wilderness, the Anathema said “no, thank you.” The Anathema were less polite when the GRE began clearing away forest and jungle. Work forces were found at first eviscerated, shot with arrows, or bludgeoned with rocks, but the Anathema started making examples of the corpses. “Keep the Green, Stay the Past” had been scratched on the blade of a bulldozer. The laborer’s heads had been sliced off and replaced with dried excrement. Relations have not improved since.

---

How Falkous was murdered was no longer a mystery and, if he had been more careful, could have been avoided. Nido reported to him and his boss, Field Marshal Bonzatraecia, that an Anathema trap made of heavy vines, two car bumpers, and a trip wire had snuffed him out. Once Bonzatraecia had debriefed and berated them for falling for the oldest trick in the wilderness, they were ordered to prepare for immediate deployment. Scouring Agents like Falkous were sent from Boise into the Green Expanse to dig through the ruins to find things to further the reestablishment’s cause. Falkous’s personal favorite find was a complete set of Topps baseball cards from the year he was born, 2342. Not worth as much to the cause as, say, a portable fusion generator, but worth quite a bit to him. Lately he’d been pulled off his normal foraging runs in order to follow clues about a defector amongst the Anathema, a general. Falkous wasn’t keen on risking his skins to save one of those weirdos, but orders were orders. He checked his new expedition suit’s personal sensors, made sure his stimulant/nutrient pack was full, got his eyes fitted with new infrared sensors and EUD implants, and got on the tram to the wall.

“We will arrive at the wall in 5 minutes, Agent Deng,” said Nido from Falkous’s shoulder. “I’ve updated your EUD’s compass with coordinates to your last known position in the Expanse.” An orange triangle appeared in the corner of Falkous’s vision with a number printed small beside it: “42.39mi.”

“Wonderful,” said Falkous. As many times as he’d seen his old bodies flayed, skinned, half-eaten, or worse, it was still unsettling as hell. “How about we tried to avoid the exact site this time?”

The orange triangle blinked three times and the number changed to “42.54mi.”

“Thanks, Nido.”

Falkous turned to look out the tram’s front window. The orange triangle travelled along the edge of his vision to the top between his eyes as he did, and the number ticked down as they got closer to the wall.

---

Eighteen hours and thirty two uneventful minutes later, the orange triangle’s number read “5.34mi” and was floating in the top center of his vision now, they’d been making good time. The humidity had gone down along with the sun a few hours ago and although his EUD’s infrared was doing a good job keeping up with the terrain, he’d run into enough tangling vines and minor sinkholes that he needed a break.

“Nido,” said Falkous. “Patrol, ten meters.”

Nido let out a short squawk and took flight to circle the area. Falkous sighed and relaxed onto a mossy fallen log and allowed himself to remember his bed in the Kensington Towers of Boise, the poodle-skirted waitress, and just how good real hashbrowns used to taste, and then his EUD went fuzzy. He sat bolt upright, looking around.

“Nido, return,” he said.

The orange triangle was spinning, he felt sick.

“Nido, return!” he said again. He heard no squawk of confirmation, no flapping of his wings, just heavy footfalls that weren’t his and two sharp whistles from behind and in front of him. A tight pinch hit the back of his neck and he fell to the ground, unable to move a muscle. A dart, must have been. A calloused foot rolled him on to his back and he looked up to see three bearded faces framed by miles of dreadlocks. The man in the middle spoke.

“It’s the agent!” the man in the middle whispered.

“So it is,” said the man to his left, who leaned closer to Falkous’s face. “My name is General Anoton Swathby,” he said to Falkous. “I’m so pleased you have found me."

scuz
Aug 29, 2003

You can't be angry ALL the time!





Fun Shoe

Thanks for the crit, seb!

edit: I'll take 15) Borscht

scuz fucked around with this message at Feb 9, 2016 around 14:59

scuz
Aug 29, 2003

You can't be angry ALL the time!





Fun Shoe

Thanks for the crits!

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