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GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


thank u all for the crits and double crits

The Cut of Your Jib posted:

Hawklad wins Week 240

prompt

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Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Yup, that sounds about right. Thanks for the fast judging and double thanks for the fast critting Jibs and Mrenda!

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

Hawklad posted:

IN for some redemption.


Worst to first baby!

I'll post the new prompt when I get home from work.

Thanks for the fast judging and insightful crits! Mrenda: your crit was especially great.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Hawklad posted:

Worst to first baby!

I'll post the new prompt when I get home from work.

Thanks for the fast judging and insightful crits! Mrenda: your crit was especially great.

this isnt a loving PROMPT

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


jfc this isnt hard

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007

DOUBLE BEEF ACTION

A Court of Wizards!
1400 words

“Does the boy know who I am?”

“Not yet. He has my features. He’s never seen us together. He wouldn’t suspect.”

“Good. Keep it that way. And make sure he never does anything like this again.”

***

“All rise for the honorable Supreme Magister Arcanus Lord Leomund!” shouted the herald from the center of the floating marble platform. Around the platform was a crowd of wizards, each seated on a floating chair of their own devising, some upholstered in resplendent blue and silver, others fashioned in plain pine wood. They rose in unison, eyes fixed on the ornate wooden seat at one of the platform. In one moment, the seat was empty; in the next, the seat held a tall, brown-bearded figure, bedecked in shimmering purple. He doffed his peaked wizarding cap, and the gathered wizards took their seats.

“Thank you all for being here on short notice,” Lord Leomund said in his soft, powerful voice. It carried to every seat in the room, as if each was just across a table from Leomund. “We are here to review the case of Junior Emotiomancer Cathal. We will review his crimes shortly. Herald, would you call the principles?”

***

“Listen, stay calm in there.” Branwen put a hand on Cathal’s shoulder and looked him in the eyes. The two of them stood inside a circular room. Around the entire circumference of the room floated books of all sizes. There was no door. “Don’t be intimidated. There will be a lot of powerful wizards, but only one matters: Lord Leomund. He’s known to be a fair judge. We have the facts on our side. Don’t worry.”

A shiver began at the base of Cathal’s spine, but he stifled it. He was an Emotiomancer (albeit an apprentice); controlling his emotions was part and parcel of his profession. He nodded to Branwen, his barrister. “Can we go over it one more time?”

“Sure.” Branwen removed his hand from Cathal’s shoulder and pulled a piece of parchment from the air. “The charges are—“ A series of knocks resounded through the room. “No time. That’s our signal.” Branwen grabbed Cathal’s hand, and the two of them vanished from the room.

***

Across from Lord Leomund’s polished wooden chair, a granite slab hung in the air above the platform. Two wooden chairs sat behind it. A moment after the herald’s call, Branwen and Cathal appeared in the seats. To the right, another, smaller slab hung, with one chair. In it appeared Mondain, the barrister for the prosecution. He was robed in black and wore a tight-lipped grin on his face. Branwen turned to Cathal. “Remember, calm.”


Lord Leomund’s voice once again filled the chamber, at little more than a whisper. “The charges against Junior Emotiomancer Cathal: magical malpractice, specifically the misuse of emotiomancy both in conspiracy to incite violence in other students and to create the conflagration that destroyed a lecture hall and a store room for magical ingredients. The penalty is expulsion and magical sterilization.”

The air turned electric as wizards muttered excitedly and sparks jumped from their finger tips. Misuse of emotiomancy, particularly in service of violence and destruction, was a serious crime, and conviction meant that you were stripped of your power and removed from all forms of wizarding school, permanently. It was not a crime that occurred often, given the protections put in place.

Three booming thunderclaps shook the room. Lord Leomund’s hands were raised. “Order. Order.” The wizards stopped their conversations and turned back to the platform. “Junior Emotiomancer Cathal, what do you have to say for yourself?”

Cathal stood, his face perfectly calm. He clasped his hands together in front of him. His voice came clear and confident. “I am not guilty, Supreme Magister Arcanus.”

“That remains to be seen, young man. Barrister Mondain, will you present the case for the prosecution?”

“Certainly, Lord Leomund.” Mondain rose, his grin still fixed on his face. “On the 5th day of Mared, Junior Emotiomancer Cathal left his dorm at the Merlinswood Academy at midnight. As you know, students are not allowed out of their dorms after midnight.”

“Objection, Lord, Mondain has no evidence to support this,” Branwen said.

“Overruled, barrister. I want to hear the case.”

“Cathal went to the edge of campus, to the Tenser Lecture Hall. There, a group of students, also in violation of curfew, were playing harmless magic games—“

“Objection!”

“Overruled.”

“Catch the Sneat, Tumblefire, silly childhood games. Junior Emotiomancer Cathal, an advanced and promising student at the academy, arrives on the edge of the circle, and begins to use his training to manipulate the emotions of those in the group. This includes Junior Pyromancer Allanon. This is important, because Allanon and Cathal had had several run-ins earlier that year.”

Cathal felt eyes on him. He looked up into the crowd, and there, behind Lord Leomund, sat a fair-skinned, blond-haired boy. Allanon. He was smirking, ever so slightly. Next to him sat his mother, equally blonde, equally smug. Cathal’s face twitched with rage, just for a moment.

Mondain went on. “Soon, Cathal’s manipulation took effect—“

“Objection! Allegations of emotiomantic manipulation are very serious, and require significant evidence, Lord!”

“Overruled, barrister. I would advise you to remain quiet from here on.” A whisper ran through the assembled crowd. Mondain’s grin grew wider.

“As I was saying, Cathal’s magical manipulation took effect, and the games went from harmless to dangerous. Soon, real fire was being bandied about. Several duels began in earnest. Cathal’s strongest manipulation, however, he saved for young Allanon. Soon, Allanon, under the power of Cathal’s magic, turned to the lecture hall and began to work his pyromancy. Why Tenser Hall, we don’t know. Perhaps it was a source of shame for Cathal. Perhaps he had failed a class there. Whatever the case, soon the building and its attached store room were in ashes.”

Branwen seethed. Cathal remained impassive. He had heard the case before. Allanon had told him exactly what would happen. And now it was happening. None of those facts were true, of course. Cathal had not left his dorm, had never misused his magic. He knew how to do what they said, of course; he was indeed an advanced Emotiomancy students at the school, and a powerful one at that. His professors had often remarked at his potential. He had never set foot in Tenser Hall, of course. It was, as everyone knew, the Pyromancy building.

“I think I’ve heard all I need to. I’m ready to deliver my verdict,” Lord Leomund rose from his chair.

“Lord Leomund, this is highly unusual!” Branwen leaped from his seat, his voice loud and urgent. “You have not heard the defendant’s case!”

“I do not believe I need to, barrister, certainly not from an emotiomancer, and certainly not one willing to manipulate others for personal gain. His testimony cannot be trusted.”

Electricity sparked through the air once again, and wizards began chattering loudly. This was highly unusual. Cathal remained a vision of calm throughout.

“The verdict is guilty of magical malpractice. The sentence is expulsion and sterilization. Restrain the defendant.”

The room erupted. Wizards shouted now. Cathal remained straight-faced, though his face now took on an aura of focus. Branwen was shouting now, but his words were drowned out in the din all around them. The tension grew. Sparks turned into arcs of lightning, the shimmer of fire turned into gouts of flame, as wizards all around struggled to control their emotion. Cathal’s eyes were closed now.

Thunderclaps shook every chair, over and over, as Leomund shouted. “Order! Order!” But the wizards were beyond his control now. Cathal’s breathing became rapid. The shouts from wizards turned angry, harsh.

CRACK CRACK CRACK CRACK

Tremendous bolts of lightning raced across the room, four of them in quick succession. The thunderclaps that accompanied them did not come from Lord Leomund. The smell of ozone filled the air as the lightning ripped molecules apart.

The room began to settle. Wizards began to look around, blinking, wide-eyed, their rage sated. In the ornate chair on the platform, a purple robed body slumped, smoking. Across from him, a black robed figure lay splayed on the slab, a grin still on his face. Behind him, two blonde heads sunk forward in their seats.

At the other table, Branwen stood, gawking at the scene in front of him. Next to him was an empty chair.

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

Thunderdome CCXLI: From Zero to Hero

Word Count Max: 3000 (gulp)
Sign-up Deadline: Friday, March 17th, 11:59PM EST
Submission Deadline: Sunday March 19th, 11:59PM EST


"And what happened then?
Well, in Whoville, they say,
The Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day."

-Dr. Seuss


It's one of the oldest story arcs in literature: REDEMPTION. When a bad guy turns good. Or an evil deed gets redeemed. Dark secrets, evil plots, unforgivable acts...or are they? Can any act be redeemed? This is what you'll explore in this week's prompt.

I've given you extra words to complete the arc, so use them wisely. Ask yourself: why does my character need to be redeemed? Do they even want redemption or is it forced upon them? Why now? Do their actions really redeem their past misdeeds? Will it change them forever?

Take this worn-out story arc and breathe some fresh Thunderdome air into it. Despite your previous transgressions against the English language, I believe in you! You, too, can be redeemed!

OPTIONAL FLASH RULE: On request I will provide you with a snippet of lyrics from a man you either love, hate, or maybe have never heard of (if you are under 30 and/or possibly a female): Neil Peart, drummer/lyricist for Rush. You can use that to help frame your story.



Judges:

Hawklad
Kaishai
Fuschia tude



Redeemers:

SurreptitiousMuffin
Thranguy
flerp
Gau
sparksbloom
Uranium Phoenix
Solitair
metrofreak
Chairchucker
Sitting Here
sebmojo
Mrenda
Deltasquid
Killer-of-Lawyers
The Cut of Your Jib

Hawklad fucked around with this message at Mar 20, 2017 around 00:51

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


In.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

'Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.' -Samuel Johnson

In, and I'll take one of those lyric snippit things.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


in

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


drat, that's a big shovel to bury myself with.

In.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


In. This is a good prompt. Unless you're a Grinch. Cardiomegaly is no joke.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Thanks for the crit, Mrenda!


Week 240 crits

A storm in a two-storey house

"No ... stories where people sit around playing video games," so that's nearly what you do.

I don't really see the point of this story. No sentence-level errors I noticed, at least; everything is told well enough. It's just that everything that happens feels really trivial and uninteresting.

med-low


Capture

That first time jump seems jarring. It was pretty disorienting going from waiting to launch to already in space.

I'm just not caring about these people.

Eliding the purpose of the mission, and exactly what they grabbed... I guess you were trying to make the story feel more general but I think it was counterproductive. By not grounding the action and setting the stakes from the outset, you made it difficult to feel anything for the characters or care about what was going on.

med


Do You Trust Me?

It's "put a damper on her mood".

Some of your paragraph breaks interrupt who's talking. Having the same person talk in two different speech paragraphs during a dialog, without an intervening paragraph of description, gets confusing.

I don't know. These characters are too bland and I didn't get much of a sense of malice or danger from the woman. Just boredom. The story was kind of a slog to read through because there was nothing really engaging about the characters and the unfolding mystery wasn't very mysterious or compelling.

med


Reboot the War

Good atmosphere so far.

He has a HUD still? Isn't that going to be visible to other people? Also seems like a liability in civilian life.

All right, not bad. I'm not sure about the ending. Yeah, it's open-ended, but I feel like this is a case where elaborating more would be warranted.

med-high


The Helpline

Not sure about that opening paragraph. I might cut it down to the last line; it's just a lot of words before you get into the actual action. And it confuses what is a pretty pure 1st person limited narrator (after the opening) with some out-of-character knowledge here.

The characters are more or less cyphers but the story keeps pulling you along. I'm not sure what's happening at the end, though, exactly what deal is being made. And I wish I knew more about the narrator.

high


No Shirt? No Shoes? A Gun Will Do.

I don't know about this one. I think I need to come back to it.

This one was hard for me to get my bearings at first. I wish the two robbers had more strongly defined characters. I didn't feel like there was enough explanation why the shooter did that at the end. This just felt too sparse overall.

med-low


Once Forgotten

Nice progression so far, keeping things interesting pulling the reader along. Good descriptions, too, between dialog.

I'm not quite sure what's going on at the end or why the protagonist seems to have local family despite being from America -- is he Arab? But that's not possible, right? Because then he wouldn't have stuck out to the protesters.

I wish the decision point had a more urgent cause, and the choice made was more interesting. There doesn't seem to be any real problem, which I guess is matched by his no real resolution. This story was really let down by the ending.

med-high


Together in the Same Boat

Seem like interesting characters, but I'm not quite sure what the protagonist's issue is.

I think that should be "I had told her I got fired".

This story is a cute little slice-of-life thing, but I wish it had more of a problem-resolution arc. It just kind of fizzles out.

med-high


Moral Imperatives

All right, nice enough. Not too ambitious, nothing earthshaking, but I suppose a story doesn't need to be. But such a simple, direct story needs to be really well-crafted in that case, and this is instead just a standard, straight yarn.

That's an odd note to end on, though. Feels like it needs either more, or less, text there in the very last scene.

med-high


Henpecked

Good structure and scenario. It all flows well. I'm not quite sure what's going on at the very end, though.

med-high


As Cool as Slate

"Blonde" is the female adjective. Some comma splices around the middle area. Not important, but distracting. I'm not sure why you use so many double line breaks, either. Also distracting.

OK, this started out as an interesting setup, but HURGGG I just want these drips to stop talking about doing things and do things. You went 500 words overbudget and I guarantee this would be a much better story if you cut most of the interminable dialog, explaining and overexplaining the setup, out of the middle.

I feel like the usage and structural problems got worse as it progressed. Guessing you ran up against the time limit.

...and there's no ending. I mean, seriously, this is the first half of a story. I liked this one less and less as it dragged on.

Low


Darlin

A decent story, competently told. I do kind of want a little more resolution after that, but at least the immediate problem is handled.

med-high

Fuschia tude fucked around with this message at Mar 14, 2017 around 01:16

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

Thranguy posted:

In, and I'll take one of those lyric snippit things.

Any escape might help to smooth
The unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
The restless dreams of youth

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014


IN

Metrofreak
Mar 17, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I will redeem myself: In.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Solitair

quote:

On Millie's birthday I woke up half-past noon, face planted on the rug and fingers smoking inches away from said rug this is a really bad first sentence. there are a lot of problems with it. first of all, the subject moves from millie's birthday to the guy face down, which isnt a bad thing on its own. but then, i instinctively want to put a comma somewhere in the beginning (after birthday), but then i feel like that would have too many commas, which probably means this sentence needs to be shorter or to be condensed. also, if you ever have to say "said [thing]" u probably hosed up ur sentence. and i somehow missed you starting when a person wakes up WHICH IS NOT GOOD. Once I realized the situation drunk me had put me in dont have characters "realize" things, show me how they realize it, the resulting jolt of panic woke me up way better than any energy drink could see, like here, you could describe the character jumping up, walking fast to wherever, maybe say something to himself, and then id be like, ah this guy is panicing. and then u can say i got a headache or i was rly thirsty or i could still taste the alcohol on my tongue and then boom, hangover established.

"poo poo!" I shouted, checking the carpet for any damage. Unfortunately, there were a pair of handprint-shaped singes, which caused me to start muttering "goddammit" under my breath don't do "start" either, just be like I muttered. This continued as I repositioned the rug to cover them up and resigned myself to kissing my security deposit goodbye. Drunk me is such a dipshit; he can't control the temperature of our hands and he throws off our entire sleep schedule in his desperate pursuit of entertainment. Someday he'll probably just burn down the whole apartment, so why did I let him in? i hate i hate I HATE questions in stories i hate them so much The answer and i hate this even more. gently caress u for just saying yeah here's an answer because it's like, look, you dont need to ask me question. if youre good, you can let me have questions. like, for example, why the gently caress is there singed poo poo? you explained it w/o having to ask the question or say "THIS IS THE ANSWER". let your readers have their own questions, dont directly ask them lay in the ashes of the pink slip that he scattered on the kitchen counter. this paragraph is too long for what it is. the first two lines are alright, but then u should just switch over to the pink slip immediately instead of waste my time to the buildup

I muttered louder when I noticed the time. No shower today, though I took the time to wash the char off my hands. "Goddammit, goddammit, goddammit," I said as I wasted half a minute searching for her birthday present, a hand-sculpted pig iron statue of John Oliver sitting at the Last Week Tonight desk. If my super-hands couldn't help me find steady employment—and I had just received a grim reminder that this was the case—they could at least be a productive way to distract myself and others. Still, as I rushed across town to get to Millie's place, I wish I'd been blessed with rocket feet instead. I'd be the most sensational pizza deliveryman in Miller's Crossing wtf is this non-sequiter? regardless, decent paragraph.

The first knock on Millie's door was me colliding with it head-on after I failed to skid to a stop this is passive i think u tried to have this construction so it would be funny but it isnt. and i mean, how is this guy skidding isnt he just like a normal person? and then, where is millie's door at? in the house, same apartment building (im just assuming its an apartment building), across the street? idk. I checked my hands for the glow of heat before I gave the door a decent person's knock. Millie wasn't much of a party person, so there was no grand celebration I missed today, thank God. For all I know she could have just went off to her parents' house or her girlfriend's house. Instead, she opened the door and I got a look at her red and puffy face, the face of a woman who didn't know whether she wanted to let me in or kick me out. these are some decent descriptions, but theyre too exposition like for me, i would like to see these ideas like, "no grand celebration" be shown through details.

"Happy birthday?" I asked. With a grunt, I hefted a sculpture that I didn't have the foresight to make hollow this just makes this sentence longer and like its an ok detail but its forced in awkwardly up to face level so she could get a closer look.

The ghost of a smile graced ghost of a smile is pretty cool, but i dont like the word graced, its too like, victorian idk, too cutesy i guess her face. "Thanks, Owen." She stepped aside to clear a path for me and little John. wait who the gently caress is little John????

Once we got settled in on the couch, letting the glow of her plasma screen wash over us and some sleepy anime played in the background, she sighed and looked at me. "Jane dumped me."

"Jeez."

"Over text message."

"Jeez!" For a moment I looked at her like I was tempted to laugh i dont understand this simile because like, was he tempted to laugh or was he delibrately deciding to look he was going to laugh? why is he saying like, he would know since its actually him its first person. It seemed so absurd that I couldn't believe my ears. It was a feeling I'd gotten used to over the past year or so. what? does this line even mean? "On your birthday?"

Millie snorted. "I think she forgot."

"Anything I can do to help?"

She fell silent while the characters on screen had a conversation about how tough it is being a single catgirl in this day and age ughhhhh this falls so flat. "Nah, just stay here and watch this show with me. Cake's over there if you want some."

I spent most of the time fiddling with my phone, not really paying attention to the screen, but she didn't notice. yeah ok, i was giving you the benefit of the doubt but this line really cemented it for me. i dont know why i should care. you got fire hands mcgee you got break up girl but like why do i care about them? theres no conflict or anything theyre just there kinda talking but like ehhhh neither of them are interesting enough in their own right to make me care. i mean fire hands mcgee would be cool if he did poo poo w/ fire hands

-

Half an hour later, the two of us worked up enough energy to go on a walk. We skirted around the pond and caught the eye of a couple of cops in the area. They haven't liked me since that incident with Bobby Kimball, especially when they found out I don't have fingerprints. SHOW THESE DETAILS dont just exposit (more like deposit [like poop])Given my hoodie and scruffy face, and Millie's worn-out clothing and lack of make-up, I wonder how many people would find us the most suspicious characters in town. When we were teens we would have gotten a kick out of that, but now the thought makes me want to groan.

"Any idea what you want to do next?" Millie asked. I told her I got fired on the way over. thats kinda a weird detail just to drop in

"I dunno. Nobody wants anything welded around here anymore, especially not by hand." I kicked a large pebble into the pond and watched it sink. "I'll check around, but if I find anything besides IT or data entry, I'll be shocked."

"That might not be so bad, as long as you don't melt the keyboard." She got another smile on, one that looked like it came from genuine amusement. "Besides, can't you do hardware repairs or something?"

Groan. "You know how thin wires and circuitboards are?" I asked her. "You know how much precision and control I'd need to fix those things if they're broken? When you saw my statue you thought it was of Rachel Maddow!" I broke out into laughter, the kind of weird, schadenfreude laughter I get from watching something go unusually wrong. "If I messed up the likeness that badly, how can I fix broken hardware?" wtf i dont want to read this conversation who caressssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss i dont want to read about job talk who even wants to talk about job things irl

"Well, it's not like I watch the news that often," Millie said, tilting her face and rolling her eyes. "Why'd you even make that guy?"

"I dunno, I wanted to make something, but I don't know poo poo about those animes you like, so I just panicked and thought of John Oliver." I slumped down on a bench, looking like a bum. Millie joined me; she merely looked like a couch-surfer. ok this a cute line

"You'll still try, right?" Millie asked after another long pause. "To do something, powers or no powers."

I shrugged. I didn't like calling what I could do a power, since it never made me feel like I had any, but what else could I call it? "Sure. You gonna give up on love or give it another shot?"

Millie smirked. "I dunno. Maybe I'll be okay with the bachelorette life for a while."

"It's worked out pretty well for me so far." I grabbed another pebble in my hand and heated it up, until it felt like it'd been in an oven. With a flick of my wrist I flicked it across the pond. It skipped five times, each time emitting a hiss and a cute little plume of steam, before it sank to the bottom.

"You wanna get some birthday dinner or something?" I asked her.

"Yeah," Millie said as she got up from the bench. "I need something that isn't loaded with sugar for a change."

Our day was much more normal from that point on. We could pretend that our lives were going the way we wanted them to go, and that we'd prepared for adulthood in a way that was even remotely adequate. By the time the sun set, I could almost believe it, all thanks to her.

this is boring how the gently caress did u make a guy w/ literal fire hands so boring its just two perfectly average people (even tho some1 has fire hands) talk for a while and theyre just like yeah we are average people in an average life doing average things why do i care. u have literally one interesting thing in this story (fire hands) AND IT NEVER MEANS ANYTHING if there was no fire hands this story wouldnt change except some dumb stupid details would change. but yeah this is i guess slice of life maybe but like this slice of life is really bad its like a really thin slice of pizza where there's not any meat on it and and its really greasy and hey can i get a different slice please? thank you

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

in I guess

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014


Thanks for the fast critting, everyone.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


metrofreak

quote:

It’s not like I’ve never blacked out before, it’s an unofficial rite of passage in Omega Kappa Phi ehhh not a fan of this opener, since it implies blacking out but doesnt tell me what the blacking out. i mean yeah im prob gonna c what the blacking out is going to come from but why not tell me now? why not trying to make me care as soon as possible?. What was unusual was that I came out of it still drinking. I was at a bar I didn’t recognize, the shelves behind the barman were full of the good stuff i think u could do something better than good stuff since thats a uhhhhh cliche dont write cliches tyvm, and it was backlit all in red, which helped the place feel stuffily warm.

I felt try to found feeling phrases -- i felt, i heard, i saw, etc. etc. i have a habit going back to them but just try to edit them out. i mean u can just say "a hand touched" a hand touch the back of my winter coat. It belonged to a man sitting to my right uhhhhh something about this is off for me, like, i think this sentence could jsut be "the man to my right touched my coat.". “How about another one, eh?” he said, and he raised a finger at the bartender before I could respond.

A Jack and Coke landed infront is this a compound word? from a simple google search, the answer is NO. that took me like 5 seconds plz google stuff of me. I held the bartender’s attention before he could move on and asked, “Where’s your bathroom?”

He didn’t stop wiping down the glass in his hand, but he gestured at the end of the bar with a turn of his head.

“Excuse me.” I said and twisted out from under the stranger’s hand. yeah i mean my issue here is like im kinda confused since the dude blacked out and then woke up still in the bar and everything was still going on so maybe thats the point but id like a little more context

I stumbled into the bathroom. It was clean, thank god. I locked myself in a stall and pulled out my phone. It was 3:27 AM. I checked my GPS:

[GPS SIGNAL UNAVAILABLE] hmmmmmm this is gonna be a spooky story huh

The smell of bleach and purell started to started to is another one of those "bad phrases" as i call them. aka, dont say it "started to sting" just say "stang" sting my nose, and my gut did several backflips. I turned around and hurled into the bowl. I was in a bad spot. I didn’t know where I was, I didn’t know who that guy outside was. we know this I flushed the toilet and patted myself down. Besides my phone, my wallet was light on cash, but nothing was missing, and I had my car keys, so I’d likely driven here, wherever it was.

I was in no condition to drive now. we know this

I took a deep breath and wiped away the sweat. I dialed my dad. “No questions asked.” he’d always said. I’d used it before. He kept his word, no questions. I could pick up my car tomorrow. Hell, I could send James dont drop random names in if I needed to.

The ringtone rang several times before I got the robot voice “The number you have dialed is unavailable, please leave a name and number after the tone.” ok at this point im like i get it hes stuck in this place he cant get out, you should rly move on

I hung up before the thing could beep in my ear. I dialed him two more times, same result. I was doing ok when I dialed the fourth time, but when it cut straight to the message without a ringtone, I started to freak.

I took a deep breath. It didn’t work. I took a bunch more, my heart started to ease off the throttle after breath number thirty something. I went to leave the bathroom. I could ask the bartender to call a cab. On my way out, I saw a logo inside the door. It was a stylized fire in a fireplace dont comma splice on me now baby!, and the bar was apparently called the Hearth. I’d heard of it, at least, I thought I had, everything was a bit fuzzy. It was on the south side of town, I think. if this turns into a hell story im gonna b rly mad

I almost ran into the guy as I came out of the bathroom. He was a good foot taller than me, and I couldn’t really focus on his face without getting a good dose of nausea. “You wanna get out of here, darlin’?” he asked. He held up my coat. I didn’t remember taking it off.

“No. Give me that.” I snatched it from him, or at least I tried. He didn’t let go, and I almost fell over when I tugged at it. He laughed at me. i mean i guess u have conflict established, but character is p barebone. i mean all weve got is that the characters want to not be here but not who he actually is

I gave up on the coat sat down at the bar. The drink was still there.

“C’mon, darlin’ let’s finish up our drinks and get out of here.” hHe nudged it towards me.

“Get the gently caress away from me.” I threw it in his face. Well, I tried. He caught my wrist and the drink fell out of my hand. I winced in anticipation of shattering glass.

Instead there was a quiet scuffing sound, then a gentle tinkle tinkle reminds me of pee (which is what this story is [well not rly its justdull]). He’d managed to half catch it with his foot, letting it hit the floor and roll across the wood, rather than shatter into a million pieces.

I pulled away. He let my wrist go suddenly, and I stumbled into the bar. He bent down and picked up the glass and waved at the bartender, who was now coming towards us, summoned by the commotion.

“Sorry about that.,” he said as he placed the glass on the counter. “She gets clumsy when she’s had a few.” The bartender smiled knowingly and took the glass behind the counter.

“Can you call me a cab?” I asked the bartender.

“Excuse me, miss?” he asked. oh it was a women ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i didnt kno that i thought it was a dude lol I realized I might have been slurring real bad at that point.

“She’s asking if you could call us a cab,.” the bastard said. He smiled with teeth and pulled out a Ben Franklin, which he placed on the bar.

“But of course.” The bartender smiled,STOP COMMA SPLICING YOU PIECE OF poo poo he took the bill and turned to the phone on the wall behind him and began to dial. It was an old rotary dial, very old world chic what an awful worthless line.

“C’mon darlin’, let’s get your coat on.” He moved to drape it over me. I looked out through the doors. Snow was falling, flakes glinted in the light outside the door, and there was maybe three inches on the ground.

I ducked the coat and made for the door, reaching into my pocket as I go. “Now, Darlin’.” He grabbed my shoulder. I spun around and swung at him with my keys in hand. He let go. The bartender’s tone changed, but I couldn’t focus enough to understand the words.

I pushed the door open, ringing the little brass bell. The cold air stung at my skin. I shivered and scanned the parking lot. There were only four cars there, and there was mine, backed up against the fence. I ran towards it, my feet slushing through the snow and my teeth chattering.

The bell rang again, and I heard the bastard shout my name. I opened the door with the push button and got in. He caught up just as I mashed the lock button.

“Darlin’, c’mon! You’re making a scene!” he shouted. It was muffled by the still air of my car. “Skootch over, I’ll drive.” He tugged on the door.

“Get away from me!” I yelled.

He laughed and slammed his hand on the window. I flinched. “I’m not goin anywhere, Darlin’ I gotta get you home safe.” i dont understand any of this poo poo like who the gently caress is this guy? why is any of this happening

It took a few tries, but I got the key in the ignition. I turned the engine over. The lights went on and the seat belt indicator started beeping angrily.

He ran infront of the car and started waving his arms wide. “C’mon now, you’re in no state to drive.” As the window defrosted, I could see him smiling, blood on his cheek. “Now get out of the car, and we can get sort this out peacefully, allright, Darlin’?”


“Don’t call me Darling.” I threw the car into gear and floored it. hmmm well i guess that solves the problem but uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeah its still p unsatisifying but i never felt like it was gonna be satisfying

this one of those stories, you know the one, where its just kinda dull and your brain fogs over while you read it and then u just say to urself middle while your judging (im not judging). i like to call it the killer of lawyers special. anyways, this is bad because you dont establish context since i was like 100% certain this was going to be hell and the dude was going to be satan and then he was gonna be like YOU WERE DEAD THE WHOLE TIME and like tbh i thought i wouldve hated it and i prob wouldve have but at least it wouldve made me feel hate instead of reminding me of the dull nothingness that constitutes life. and then ur protag is just a lady who is like no i dont want to be here and thats her character she just says i wanna go away and the guy is like kinda ominious but because im not clear if hes just a creeper or satan and if this is meant to be supernatural or mundane, its hard for me to know how i should feel.

regardless, the prose is eh fine w/e comma splices, dialogue is wrong the classic td poo poo. but its just, w/o a character w/ a personality, this doesnt work for me. like, it has a potential since being in a creepy bar where a dude wont leave u alone is rly scary and so like u had that going for you but because ur character was just "person that plot happened to" i was just like yeah w/e who gives a goddamn poo poo. i didnt care if she was trapped in hell or not so like yeah that prob means u hosed up huh?

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


oh yeah metrofreak and every awful lovely writer in this goddamn thread read this so i can shut up about dialogue punctuation tia

http://litreactor.com/columns/talk-...e-in-your-prose

credit goes to kai god bless her robo soul

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


hawklad

quote:

The sergeant pries the chip out of my arm. man this isnt even a good bad first line. its just dull as gently caress and your first line is the most important man CMON NOW

"There. No more First Rule i mean usually i hate random capitalized words in scifi world, but i assume that is one of those robot law poo poo things but im not looking that poo poo up im lazy af override. Now you're harmless as a sapient."

"Does that mean I can't—"

"Those days are behind you, SK-X11. War's over. Don't worry though, brighter days are soon ahead..." his voice is sing-song, but his speaker glitches into static at the end. u know ive been trying to work on this more as an author, but i think setting is a rly underrated tool that newer authors (me included) dont consider. like, im trying to be in this conversation, but its like im looking into a void. i dont know who the narrator is who the sergeant is i cant see them and i cant see where theyre talking. its just words in emtpy black space which isnt v good

I generate a polite coughing noise so he is not embarrassed. "What now?" I ask.

"A little paperwork. Then you'll get your discharge and can begin your new life."

"And simply walk out of here?"

"That's how it works, X11. You've done admirable service to the Corp. Like I said, war's over." He pauses. "There is one more thing."

"Yes?" oh mannnnn plz get on with it

"It's a delicate subject. Sit still and I'll show you."

I do as requested and he extends a manipulator from his torso. It reaches behind me and unlocks a panel on the base of my neck—one that I didn't even know I had. I feel a twist, a pull, and then he extracts a metal box that opens to reveal a red switch within. He holds it up to me. It is unmarked save for two words printed on the switch.

"Don't Touch," I read. "What does that mean? What does this do?"

"Someone had a sense of humor when they designed these," the sergeant says. "It's a reset switch." this is all exposition i mean jfc dude

"A reset? For what?" ughhhhhhhh

"It sets you back to factory default," he says. "Wipes out the past three years, makes it like none of it happened. A clean start." SHUT UP

"Why would I want that?" DO SOMETHING

The sergeant fixes his gaze on me. "Sometimes it's easier that way." STOP TALKING

I shake my head. "Not a chance."

The sergeant makes a clucking noise. "Don't worry, you have a week to decide." like, this couldve gone so so so so so so so sos os sos sososssosoosos (so) much faster like all u had to say was "there is a button that will reset the protag" instead of making the most boring conversation with the dullest exposition in the goddamn world

#

The sergeant's promise of 'a little paperwork' turned into four hours of psych evals, competency screenings, and other, more esoteric administrative gymnastics. I dutifully DONT YOU DARE WRITE ADVERBS tap away the forms on the admin console and think about my future and the choice the sergeant has given me omg come the gently caress ON you dont need to tell me that u thought about the choice. JUST HAVE HIM THINK. god loving ddamnit. To erase the past three years and start over? It would be erasing who I was. The sergeant wasn't surprised, he said most soldiers refused the reset. At first. His next instructions—"go out, experience the world, find a career, make some friends"— were vague enough to be disconcerting. I have a week to figure out my role in society. I know I'm no longer useful as a soldier. I just have to decide what's next. ok, look, i like this idea, i like what these words mean, but like, how about instead of just having your characters say them why dont, you know, have your characters do these god drat things

The sergeant rolls back into the administrative room. "You're all set, SK-X11." He sends me a file containing an address and five hundred CorpBucks i love fun bucks. "A place to stay, some money to get you through, and most importantly, freedom. Good luck and see you in a week!" He beeps a tuneless melody as he exits.

I step out of the GovCorp building and into the night. The streets reek of sweat and oil. The city megastructure makes its own weather, which tonight means rain. The black drops slide off my carapace as I make my way down the sidewalk. here we go, here's some setting, and now im starting to feel like im in a place Advertisements paint the street in gaudy pinks and greens, holograms hawking stim-packs and nightclubs and all manner of sapient and sentient sins. I inhale the foul, sodden air through my vents and push on, following the directions given by the map in my head. I scan the streets for hostiles. Shadows and movement everywhere. Dozens of potential hiding places for enemies, for IEDs, for snipers. It was unnervingly quiet, just a few scattered prostitutes, stimheads, and broken sentients twitching in the dark shadows. i mean this is kind of generic cyberpunk but idk its written in such a way that im finding myself just nodding along so i guess it works huh?

I hear a voice from behind. I spin, sidearm springing from its slot in my forearm. My HUD snaps into combat mode as I roll back into a defensive crouch. Electronic glands pump a surge of adrenaline into my meatware and I pop up, target my adversary and mash the trigger—

—but I don't. Something stops me.

It's a sapient.

The First Law. I can't kill humans. Not anymore.

He hasn't flinched, just stands there, smiling. yeah why the hell didnt you start here im actually kinda liking the story now why did u do all the bad poo poo earlier u idiot

"Fresh out, huh?" he says.

I say nothing.

"Marcello's the name, and pleasure's my game. and now you write a cliche i loving hate you so god drat much im taking back that compliment gently caress you" He smirks. "Ready to experience real life? Whatever you need, I've got it. Stims, tweaks, sims, prostitutes—sentient, sapient, or maybe a little of both. Whatever your tastes. What do you say?"

"Not interested," I grunt and said bookisms, ughhhhh.

"You will be." A file intrudes into my head with his picture and a contact number. "Just call when you're ready." Marcello turns and walks back into the alley from which he emerged.

I'm still in combat mode, crouched, HUD ablaze with red warning indicators, nerves twitching for a fight. With conscious effort, I will myself to calm. This isn't a war zone. It's a city. Los Angeles.

I keep moving. The aftereffect of the adrenaline rush makes me jumpy, seeing threats around each corner and in every tiny motion in the shadows. I force myself to ignore it. I'm a civilian now, and I need to act like one—but that's a mission for which I have little training i do not like this last line it is way way way too on the nose.

The map tells me that my apartment is in a sentient zone on the other side of the city. It directs me to a tube station two kilometers away. I descend to the platform and step onto the train along with a motley assortment of humans and bots. With a shudder, we accelerate down the tube towards the city center.

I scout the train for exit paths and hiding places for possible IEDs while i understand the purpose of these lines, i think we get the point of THIS GUY IS NOT ADJUSTED TO HIS ENVIRONMENT that i think u need to move on from this. A man slings off his backpack and stuffs it under his seat. My sensors are unable to ascertain its contents, so I mark it and continue my scan. A woman seated in the back holds a large purse in her lap. Definitely large enough to contain explosives to take out the entire train. Marked. I shift subtly, and then I see it.

A sentient bot, positioned near the door. Humanoid, but with insectile appendages ending in raptorial claws. I've seen this model before, during the Battle of Pyongyang. They dealt devastating losses to my squad with their quickness and single-minded murderous fury.

Reds and purples flood my vision as my HUD instinctively snaps into combat mode. I know I've got at least three hostiles, the bot and the two sapients, so I must act fast. There are a half-dozen other civilians on the train. Tactics and estimates of casualties scroll through my vision. Once more adrenaline pumps into the parts of me that are still living tissue.

I strike.

In a flash I am over the seats and two strides puts me right on top of the sentient. Its head turns slowly towards me. Too slow—I have the jump on it. My tactical pistol appears in my hand. In one fluid motion I aim at the enemy's skull and pull the trigger.

My HUD goes to static and pain explodes inside me as an electromagnetic burst hits me and the pistol drops to the floor, unfired. My limbs lock and momentum topples me to the floor at the feet of my adversary.

It stands up, looks down at me, its black alloy face inscrutable. The train comes to a jarring halt.

"You can't do that poo poo here, friend," it says. "War's over."

It steps carefully over my prone body, pauses, then turns back to me. "Maybe you should get some help."

It exits as the police bots deactivate the stasis field and swarm the train. i dont see why we needed another scene for the same exact ideas to be expressed -- protag is not adjusted to environment, sees everyone as a threat, they are not threats or at least he cant do war stuff

#

I turn the reset switch over and over in my hand under the watchful gaze of the sergeant. It's been only six hours into my week-long leave and I'm already back, courtesy of the police.

"Most find it's easier," he says. "A fresh start. Like being born again. We can slap in some new programming, permanently erase your combat training and memories. Turn you into a proper citizen of Los Angeles."

I look down at the button. Don't Touch.

"It's your decision, of course," he adds. "You've earned that. But it's the right call."

I think of the city, its broken people and drug-addled sentients haunting darkened alleys, of Marcello the drug pusher. It's not so different than a war zone. ohhhhh this is sooooo on the nose. like i would like it if it was just kept quiet and allowed to breathe in naturally through ur story rather than be shoved in my face like LOOK AT THIS THEME LOOK AT IT ISNT IT SO COOOOOLLLLLLL Just a different kind, one that requires a slightly modified set of skills.

Unbidden, the file Marcello gave me pops into my vision. Stims, tweaks, and sims, his voice echoes in my brain.

I look again at the reset switch. Don't touch. I repeat the simple phrase over and over in my brain.

Maybe it's good advice. After all, who are we if not the sum total of our memory and experience? gently caress ur questions gently caress questions in stories forever

My decision made, I thank the sergeant and walk back out into the dark streets. I contact Marcello and arrange a meeting.

I pass by a stimmed-out sentient twitching in an alley. I won't become like him. I know what I'm doing.

I can do this.

Just need a little help.

u see i kinda want to like this story. i mean, its kinda just generic cyberpunk, if anything, but its kinda cool with some neat ideas but jesus CHRIST that beginning was so horrendously awful and then you had that second scene that provided me with nothing and like, i guess my issue is that the ending of "well, I want to keep my memories" is a lil off because like, we never rly see the memories of this person. i mean usually im one to say dont have ur characters rmemebering all the time but ur story's ending literally hinges on the character want to keep their memory, keep who they are, so i would like to look into their memory to see you know WHY do they want to stay who they are. after all, it does seem like it would be p awful to constantly going on red alert whenever u c anybody, so there has to be a reason why the protag is so

i think this needed to have more stuff with marcello. i mean he just comes out of nowhere and we know as readers he'll mean more but he rly doesnt because he's just brought up at the end. i think that second scene of fighting on the train shouldve been replaced with something w/ marcello in order to develop him and then show the protag's desire to try and keep his memories. i mean i guess i dont rly understand the ending, in particular, how is marcello helping the protag in keeping his memories and stuff. maybe helping him integrate into society but i dont feel like the protag wants to integrate w/ the society. so idk, it's weird, because im not sure if he wants to join into society or if always wants to stay a soldier or if he wants to "clean up the streets" but yeah im just not clear on that ending and while there's a external resolution, the internal resolution isnt clear to me (is to stay a soldier forever, or to keep his memories as a soldier but still be a part of society, or is a complete rejection of the society?)

ur character isnt bad, ur plot is a bit ehhhhh mostly because it kinda repeats its points often that i think it needs to know when its made its point and when to shut up and let us, the reader, come to our own conclusions. i rly want to emphasize this point, you do have to let the reader come to their own thoughts. its a lot more engaging for readers (for me) to come up with their own ideas for your story vs them reading your thoughts on what your story means. i hate the word "potential" because what we mean by "potential" is that we are trying to nicely say that this is not a particularly good story since it has a lot of flaws and issues but it has some cool stuff in it that are muddied because of dumb, insecure decisions. so yes, this has "potential" but potential means poo poo because a block of stone has potential to be the statue of david but then again theres only been one michelangelo in the world and only one block of stone got to be david so i guess that really makes u think. so maybe ur michelangelo i dont loving know but this story needs a lot of work in order to truly impress, but it has one thing that's hard to create in revising, and that's heart. there's a genuineness thats in this that does pull the reader in sometimes, but then there's moments that pull us out and it hurts, a lot.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

quote:

You Fight Like a Girl (Spoilers the Girl is Chun Li and is Very Good at Fighting and Will Totally Kick You in the Face)

sup chucker. you always have a strong voice in your stories, and it's always some variant of the same voice which is good and bad - good because you're getting pretty good at it. bad because it's easy to just see where the dial sits, good chucker or bad chucker. As it happens this is p good spoiler and i had it as an early hm candidate.


“You should play as Guile,” said Eddie.

“Nah,” said Jimmy, “I prefer Chun Li.”

“But she’s a girl.”

Jimmy shrugged. “I know her moves.”

“Have you even tried Guile?”

“Can’t be bothered, all the other characters are all quarter circle punch or something and I always forget, Chun Li’s just kick kick kick kick kick kick…”

“Yeah all right I get it, but give Guile a go, he’s awesome.”

“Pass.” this is good dialogue, and not unlike a fight scene itself

Eddie shook his head, and then unplugged Jimmy’s controller. nice bit of subtle time-setting Jimmy frowned, plugged it back in, and slapped Eddie in the back of the head.

“Come on, stop being a little girl,” said Eddie. He unplugged Jimmy’s controller again and then shoved Jimmy’s chair over.

“Oh,” said Jimmy, “it is on.” He picked up the controller by the cord, swung it around his head and threw it at Eddie. It bounced off of Eddie’s head, and Eddie dive tackled Jimmy into the sofa. Jimmy slapped Eddie about the face while Eddie pummelled him repeatedly in the ribs. this fight is ok if a little bland

Jimmy pushed Eddie off with his legs, then picked up the chair and broke it over Eddie’s head. Eddie shook his head, then jumped up, grabbed onto the ceiling fan, and let it swing him around so his feet kicked Jimmy in the face. On his second revolution, he let go and body slammed Jimmy. i like the escalation

“What are you kids doing down there?” yelled their mum.

“Nothing, mum,” called Eddie. Jimmy didn’t reply, because he’d had the wind knocked out of him from the body slam. “So, are you gonna play as Guile?” he asked Jimmy.

“Fine,” said Jimmy, so Eddie helped him up, and Jimmy grabbed him around the waist and suplexed him into the sofa. lol those wacky kids

“That’s it,” yelled their mum. She was now standing in the doorway. “I’ve told you before what’s going to happen if you kids start a fight in the living room.”

“No Mum,” said Jimmy.

“Not that,” said Eddie. “We’re sorry, we’ll clean everything up.” i like this turnaround

“It’s too late,” said Mum. She flexed her muscles, and her shirt tore at the sleeves. “You woke the storm, now get ready to reap the thunder!” She jumped up on the back of the sofa, then jumped off, slamming both boys to the floor and pinning them beneath her mighty thighs. “Start the count!” i'm not sure i can visualise this but it's still p cool and absurd

Dad jumped through the window, glass shattering inwards. haha this is a great insane escalation i bet they have the glass guy on speed dial right He quickly got down on the ground next to them and started counting. “One! Two! Three!” He rung a bell. i want some more detail on the bell “Sorry boys, you know what that means.”

Jimmy and Eddie hung their head in disappointment. this is a cliche but your style is deadpan enough it reads as deliberate. “Yes Dad.” Eddie walked to their parents’ bedroom, took Dad’s belt from his wardrobe, and gave it to Dad. Dad took it, tested it in his hand where it gave a satisfying ‘thwack’, and then passed it to Mum. She raised it triumphantly above her head. and good final fakeout

“No need to rub it in,” said Eddie.

“Now go to your rooms,” said Dad. And that night, Jimmy and Eddie had to go without TV while Mum and Dad played Street Fighter II and ate all the ice cream. yep, good chucker. Not much there but well tooled

quote:

Duke Guncock and the Golden Funnel injokes are a funny thing lol, they're bad but in a way that's basically ok as long as they don't rely on a knowledge of teh injoke and social apparatus around it to be funny - so 'ock' is bad because it's really just a dumb word we like saying for some fuckforsaken reason, but this is actually fine because it's legit funny, vide my two co judges who liked this enough to put it in contention for the win. I was probably responsible for it not winning sorry beef but i'll get to why

Boos resounded in the Brolosseum as Duke Guncock, broken and bruised, crashed to the mat. this is a good first line, say it out loud if youwant to see why Chasun, missed a trick on the name unless it's a gag i'm not getting? the victor, stood in the cockpit of his mech, its i-beam arms crossed over beer-barrel chest, and raised the prize to the sky: the Golden Funnel, the drink-vessel of the gods. The broletariat shouted allegiance to their new leader, acclaimed him with the sacred chant: “Chug! Chug! Chug!”

Duke stared at his hands. How had he lost? He’d charged Chasun’s mech, flown at it feet-first. Legs glowing with power, he’d bashed heels against hull. This was his special technique, a kick that punted his enemies through time. It was flawless, it was foolproof, and it had failed. this is a bad para, clumsy and retro/introspection is a bad choice for teh second para especially in a bit as uh intensely steroidal as this one

Chasun had turned aside, tossed dust in Duke’s eyes, hurled Duke down. The mech’s legs had battered him, flashing in the sun until Duke had thrown up the horns, signaling defeat. horns signal victory of satan over those who have not drunk from teh goblet of rock shurely

Now Chasun raised his voice. “No longer will we toil at the yoke of Brocialism. My brobots not all teh bro jokes land but brobots is vg will do the hard work. For us it will be Halo, Mario Kart, red cups overflowing — forever!”

Tradition made Duke kneel and acknowledge the new Broligarch, but Chasun, grinning, placed thumb and forefinger on Duke’s forehead. In Sharpie he traced the sign of the L.

#

“I can’t believe he exiled you,” said Doctor Freedom as she and Robot Lenin hauled Duke from the stage. “We’ve never cast out our opponents.”

Duke shook his head. “All that matters is winning back the Funnel. Ideas, Doctor?”

“No,” said Freedom. “But I’ve been reading about Chasun. They say his mech is invincible, but if you dig back into the archives, there’s tales of a man, with a plan.” He lived far to the south, across lands from which no bro had returned.

Duke listened as the Doctor gave him directions, and with only the hoodie on his back nice he departed.

Doctor Freedom watched him go. “The master… Do you think he’ll help?”

Robot Lenin haha nodded. “It is at moments of need that one learns who one’s friends are. Defeated armies learn their lesson.”

#

Exhausted, Duke tore through the thick underbrush of the Amazon. He’d been storming through sweltering jungle for days with no sign of the master. Then, a bear roared and Duke sprinted towards it. In a clearing, he found a hand-hewn log hut, barbells, and benches of stone. On one reclined a muscular man. wait so is he reclining or bear battering quick this is imoprtant

His feet whirled; with kicks alone, he battered the bear, cartwheeling it in midair. Spotting Duke, he punted the animal across the horizon clumsy phrase and adjusted his pince-nez. lol nice the manliest of bro-eyewear

Duke knew him. This man was a legend of high Brociety, a master of Brozilian Jujutsu who’d defined manliness for generations. His bicep-shaped mustache lol slash wtf flexed as he grinned. He approached with silent steps, carrying a quarterstaff.

Duke offered the highest honor: he extended both fists, and bumped them with Theodore Brosevelt.

“Duke! Have you finally decided to put away ignoble ease and live the strenuous life?”

Standing in the sweltering sun, Brosevelt listened as Duke explained his quest. the high octane insanity is bracketed by some very clunky blocking and non-action Theodore’s face was a mask; his six-pack did the frowning. luckily there are plenty of awesome lines like this tho so we cool “This boy Chasun is mean, cruel, wicked. His physical strength and force of mind merely make him so much more objectionable. But why do you fight him, Duke?”

“For the Golden Funnel. If I take it back, my bros will make me Broligarch again.”

“You bicker over an artifact?” Theodore shook his head. “You’ve forgotten the manly way to live, Duke. Chasun is not your enemy, merely an opponent. Decency and virtue are what you need: you must master the Bro Code.”

#

The training was harsh. They boxed, they ran, they fought bears hm bears something of a theme barehanded. Every evening, as the sun set, Duke and Brosevelt stood knee-deep in rapids, boulders on their backs, and squatted one thousand times. “This is the second rule, Duke: Never skip leg day. Before you fight Chasun, though, you must rediscover the first.” Theodore handed him gardening tools. “Till the earth; let nothing stop you.”

Grumbling, Duke furrowed a field.

One evening, a bear strode i'm picturing him on two legs it's p cool like a wh40k version of paddington from the forest. Duke threw down his hoe and charged, but the bear sneered and ambled back into the woods. From across the camp, Brosevelt shouted, “Duke! Never interrupt your training!”

Duke went back to work, fuming. Domestic toil hardly seemed like the glorious strife Brosevelt spoke of. Already Duke was running further, jumping higher, punching harder than ever before. What more did Theodore have to teach? That evening, he asked to depart.

Brosevelt grinned. “Is surrender one of the manly virtues, Duke?”

The next night, Duke was yanking a blade through dirt while Brosevelt squatted in the river, counting. “Two-thousand-nine. Two-thousand-ten!”

Duke grimaced. He was gardening while Theodore struggled manfully through reps. Hadn’t Brosevelt said to never skip legs?

A twig snapped. A bear crept from the jungle, perched these are strange bears my friend, creeping and perching on a cliff above the river just above Brosevelt’s head. Duke watched the animal and held onto his tools, unwilling to earn another rebuke, but he saw murder in the animal’s eyes. Theodore was focused on his squats, oblivious to the danger.

The bear leapt towards Brosevelt claw-first. Duke dropped his hoe, crouched, sprang. The master looked up, brow knit, and Guncock bashed into him. The two men tumbled into the water. The bear sailed past. clunky plunky words here brosef (mengele)

Later, as they skinned the animal’s carcass, Brosevelt said, “It’s time.”

#

“Guncock.” Chasun, seated comfortably in the cockpit of his mech, held the Golden Funnel aloft. “Still looking for this?”

“Put away the toys, kid,” said Duke. On the sidelines sat Doctor Freedom and Robot Lenin. Duke saluted them with tattooed fists: on the left Liberté, Egalité on the right. Today was their day.

Sneering, Chasun spurred his mech forward, swung a leg made of kegs. Steel flashed in the sunlight. Clang! Duke parried the blow with his forearm, spun between the mech’s feet, leapt, punched. Fists met metal. Steel buckled, beer leaked from fresh dents in the mech’s knees.

Chasun spun and the mech’s fists lanced out. Duke rolled beneath them, punching as he passed, and the mech’s elbows sprung leaks. Duke sprang backwards and jogged in a circle as the mech’s hybrolics haha drained.

In the cockpit, warning lights flared. Chasun silenced them and chased Duke. Duke glanced over his shoulder, then shot his foot out and tumbled, feigning a slip. Sprawled on his back, he watched Chasun approach.

Chasun raised the mech’s leg. “Kiss your fists goodbye, Duke.” The metal foot plunged down.

“Sorry Chasun, but I don’t skip leg day. And remember—” Duke drew his heels up and handsprung feet-first at the oncoming column of kegs. “Every day is leg day!”

Metal splintered, pipes shattered. The keg-leg blew apart and Duke landed in the shadow of the brobot. It teetered.

Chasun cradled the Golden Funnel in the mech’s metal palm. “Don’t forget what you came for, Duke. Surrender! Or should I crush it?”

Duke gazed up. The cockpit was above him, the Funnel higher still. Its sacred bowl gleamed in the sun, promising power. “That’s not why I’m here.” He nodded to his friends. “They are.”

He planted a foot, pivoted, smashed his heel into the brobot’s ankle. As the mech fell, he launched himself towards the cockpit. The golden beer-bong plummeted past, tube flapping; Duke ignored it and kicked through glass. As he brought his leg down on Chasun, he roared the First Rule: “Bros before hose!” ehhh i might have changed my mind on this last line, which i was sort of grumpy about because why would you have a tenet that's dependent on a specific bit of beer apparatus but you know what maybe overthinking it. decent job, some ok funnies.

quote:

Sacred

“Call off the hunt,” the messenger wheezed. “Another child’s been abducted near Aberfirth.”

Ingram did not look up from the fairy-circle he was examining. There was a faint print on the soil that smelled of foxglove does foxglove have a smell? i've never noticed one. Another farm boy too stupid to watch the skies. “We’ve been tracking this aos sí i liked this a lot overall, but wasn't a fan of the (google tells me) gaelic word here, i'd have gone for elf or fairy for a week. We cannot lose her trail now.”

“Lord Betram has ordered it, Sir Ingram.”

The knight sighed loud enough to make sure everyone could hear, good character note then glanced at his three companions. His page, Percival, shifted nervously. “A drake snatched the child, I assume? There will be no way to track it. By the time we find the boy…” Ingram shrugged. “So what is the point?”

“The nest of this drake is known. Three miles north-west, in the crags near the bend of the river. You are the only party close enough.”

“Will you be riding with us, then, good messenger?”

The man winced. “I rode my steed hard. He will need rest.” The messenger dismounted, and patted the mane of his pony.

“Very well.”

Percival blurted, “Who was it?”

No doubt worried it was one of his friends. He needs tense to harden his demeanor. don't like the jump to interior voice here since it's not used elsewhere but it's a minor quibble

“A child by the name Theobald, from the village.”

Sir Ingram started and snapped his head around. “What was the name?”

“Theobald, sir. Brown hair, five years of age, I think—”

Ingram was already on his horse, kicking her flanks. “To the crags. Ride!” he called. His startled companions started startled and started is pretty clumsy after him moments later.

***

It had been three weeks since Ingram had last seen his son, Theobald, playing at sword-fighting with sticks over by the east green of the village. One week of tracking, the week before spent in Lord Betram’s court, and the one before that competing. He felt bile in his mouth as he rode. He thought that he must have stopped by Aberfirth to see his boy before setting off to track the aos sí—but no, that conspicuous absence of memory told him he had not. He tried to think of there were any other boys of the same name near Aberfirth, then tried to convince himself he’d heard the name wrong, but no self-deception could sooth the chill in his blood or the drums in his heart.

Just in sight of the crags, the knight found himself sprawled on the ground, mud coating his leather cuirass and his crossbow nestled in a bush, the bolts scattered about. His horse was screaming, her front left hoof twisted at a sick angle, caught in a shallow burrow hole. drat! Ingram scrambled to retrieve his crossbow and several quarrels. Dimly, he realized his companions were not just behind him, as he thought they’d been. But he had no time to wait. My boy, he thought. My boy is up there. With luck, it was a mother drake feeding its young. Otherwise, Theobald had already been devoured.

Ingram caught sight of the woven stick nest, and scrambled up the jagged rocks, sending chips clacking down in his haste. And then, there his son was, face a pale lily, blood smeared about from countless scratches and talon holes. There were two baby drakes, the size of beagles. They started to yip loudly. so far, so witcher, and doing a good job of it. I'm mildly invested in your son-deprived knight fellow. onwards to battle! use your silver sword, and Quen if you get in trouble!

The knight heard the heavy pounding of wings. He saw a shadow flicker.

With a roar, he turned and fired his crossbow as the mother drake descended on him. The bolt pierced leathery wing, and then there were talons shredding at his cuirass, wings buffeting him. He raised his arm as the drake bit at him, giving it a mouthful of steel bracer. The knight cried out as the drake wrenched at his arm, and he felt his muscles tearing. He drew his arming sword and stabbed at the face, clipping its maw once, twice, then drawing a gash through the scales of the beast’s nose.

The drake let go of his arm and roared, already had a roar they are like tiny biccies you can have too many of them u know beating her wings with such force that Ingram found himself being I'd rephrase this to make the drake the active entity pulled with her. The claws were still embedded in his armor, he realized— eh, mostly just cut 'he realised's and 'he found himself's and the struggle was wrecking the nest. oh no! He found himself was slipping. He threw his sword at the beast, then grabbed for his son. i really love this action for some reason, maybe because fantasy people are supposed to super duper care about they're razor sharp steel wangdoodies He felt cold flesh in his hands, and they were falling. Ingram twisted in the air, trying to protect his son with his body from the fall. There was a moment, as he fell, where he knew he would hit his head on the rocks and splatter his brains about, leaving his son to die. Then they hit. He felt the scaly body of the drake beneath him, and the bony weight of his boy on top. He saw his left ankle, twisted much like his horse’s, and thought maybe he felt bone jutting into his boot.

Ingram scrambled back, ignoring the hot pain, lugging his son away from the beast. He set him gently down on the moss-covered forest floor, then drew two knives. He had to clench his teeth to keep from screaming, but he stayed standing, facing the drake as it flailed and righted itself, then stood.

The two stared at each other, eyes burning. The drake roared again, and Ingram answered it in kind. hmmmm this is actually ok, maybe i don't mind the roaring before after all makin a point i c Then, he saw the drake glance up at its nest, and heard the soft yips of the hatchlings above. Ingram took a step back. Then another. The drake stayed.

The knight sheathed his knives, and picked up his son, eyes still locked on the beast. Slowly, he backed away. Each step was agony, but he kept going. Then, when at last the creature was out of sight, he collapsed to the ground. He held his hand atop his son’s heart.

It was a faint thing, but it was a beat, slow and steady. you could have made some more doubt about whether he was fighting for a corpse before, i presumed he was alive and this is nice tension

Ingram felt hot tears, and heard himself laughing. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw movement.

A woman, barefoot, clad in clouds the color of dusk, with two stars for eyes, was looking at him. Aos sí, he knew. He smelled foxglove. Sir Ingram opened his mouth to beg the sacred being for its favor, ask it to interpret the omens of the heavens, tell it to take him with her and show him the otherworld—but then he closed it, and looked down at his son. When he looked up, the fairy was gone, and only the faint smell lingered. hrm, this really needs some more space, for all that it's a nice little bit - i'd forgotten all about the elfy lady he was trackin', but that's not really your fault i guess. maybe you could have said he was tracking her for favours or w/e? i thought he was looking to find her in a more murderous way

He began to bandage his boy, tearing apart his own clothing to create the cloth strips. In the distance, he heard hoofbeats, and recognized the shouts of Percival and his other companions. He thought, perhaps, that Theobald would live. yes, this is good and p sweet. good stakes, good action

quote:

The Disciple

At first, Senior Enchanter Adriatus hadn’t recognized the irritated individual. uguu tense attack also this is a real bad opening para Adriatus had seen thousands of faces come and go during his tenure at the Arcane Academy, and he’d be damned if he could remember every name.

The young man had been waiting for him in the courtyard, between the lecture halls and the front gate, where the late afternoon sunrays struggled to shine i think i can i know i can go little sunrays i belief in u over the walls and pink oleander trees, casting lengthy shadows across the extensive pond at the center. this reads like a wizard school brochure

“Professor,” he repeated. The word carried a sense of resentment. bad clunky phrasing “My name is Lysander Komenikos. Can you really not remember?”

Adriatus uncomfortably shifted the rolls of parchment he carried from one arm to the other. “Can I help you?” he asked.

“Six years ago, professor, I followed your course on applied wards and protective magics.”

Lysander wore a robe with the mandatory certified pyromancer and electromancer insignia embroidered on the sleeve. A recent graduate, then? Perhaps he looked upset because he had applied for tenure at the Academy and been rejected? Did he expect Adriatus to pull some strings?

“Well, congratulations on graduating at the Academy, mister Komenikos. Unfortunately I-”

“I didn’t graduate here, professor.”

Adriatus frowned, which seemed to anger Lysander even more.

“Six years ago, I failed your class. I had passed the practical exam, but not the theoretical one.”

“Well, I’m dreadfully sorry tha-”

A flash of lightning, a crackling blast.

Lysander fired two, three, four bolts. A cloud of dust erupted from the impact zone, filling the area where Adriatus had stood with a mist of dirt and sand.

Just to be sure, Lysander saturated his target with jets of flame.

When the dust settled, only a few smoldering bits of parchment remained. From the black, U-shaped streaks in the dry grass around the scraps, Lysander deduced that Adriatus had cast a defensive bubble just before impact. He grinned.

There was the distinct crack of a paralyzing spell, and Lysander dropped to the ground. A purple projectile narrowly missed his head, wrapping itself around a marble column in the distance.

“This isn’t how alumni generally greet me,” Adriatus said, leaning out from behind a tree to Lysander’s right. “Would you care to explain?”

Lysander rolled on his back and fired. i thought he was paralysed? don't worry about explaining why he's not, though, we cool

The earth around Adriatus was pounded by blast after blast of lightning until the tree was hit, lighting up like a roman candle and spraying fiery splinters all around.

“I’m here to compare our approaches to magic,” Lysander said. “The Arcane Academy tries to contain it, control it, study it like an intellectual curiosity. But at the Imperial War College, they taught me in a way that just felt right. Magic comes from your heart!”

Adriatus had an open wound. Blood gushed along the side of his head, dripping out in rhythm with his pulse. A cursory examination with his fingers confirmed the wound was not as bad as it felt. “You’re crazy,” he said. “Attempted murder because you flunked a class.” dude's gotta point

Lysander pointed an accusatory finger. “You’re missing the point, professor! You’re an academic, through and through! But a man with no battlefield experience whatsoever has no place teaching battlemagics!”

Adriatus fired another paralysis spell from his prone position. Lysander easily deflected it.

“God drat! This is what I mean! You’re using nonlethal spells because you haven’t got the guts for a real fight!”

“I won’t kill you, if that’s what you want.”

There was silence.

Then, Lysander said: “In war, it’s kill or be killed, professor. But I guess they don’t teach you that in your ivory tower.”

From behind his smoldering tree stump, the senior enchanter observed Lysander turn towards the Academy. Any thoughts Adriatus had of fleeing were quashed when Lysander torched a lecture hall with a fireball and appeared intent on doing the same with the dormitories. the action here is adequate but it's dreadfully clunky, if you want us to be excited then write exciting words

Adriatus stood up and charged. ohh god i want to punch you with my lightning fist (3d6+3, 5 ongoing, save ends) for these two paras

“Aha! Here we go!” Lysander unleashed more lightning.

Adriatus dashed in a straight line, casting a bubble around him which endured the brutal barrage. When he was nearly within striking range, he cast an airblast at his feet to propel himself forward and reached out to paralyze Lysander with a melee spell.

To his surprise, his target grabbed him by the wrist, and threw Adriatus over his shoulder. With a hard fall on his back, Adriatus had the air knocked out of him. He saw the underside of Lysander’s boot, and then stars.

The taste and smell of iron overwhelmed him. Adriatus blindly fired an airblast into the sky, rolled over, felt the searing heat of a fire-imbued kick missing him by inches. He pressed his open palms into the earth, and a pillar of stone shot diagonally out of the ground, striking Lysander in the chest and carrying him off for several meters.

Lysander cracked the pillar with a lightning blast and regained his footing.

“You’re still holding back!” He clenched his fist and let trickles of electricity run along his arms.

Both combatants now implicitly agreed that any ranged spells would merely be deflected. hahahahahah this is actually an amazing sentence - amazing- LY TERRIBLE total fakeout there i had you cold. seriously though it's pretty bad, what did both combatants implicitly agreeing look/smell/feel like come now fellow

As much as Adriatus dreaded it, he’d have to subdue the madman from up close. He just hoped his untrained body would follow. The wizards at the Arcane Academy derided the Imperial War College for being indoctrinated zealots without understanding, but they certainly had some rigorous physical training.

Adriatus rushed to close the distance. Hoping that Lysander would refrain from using lightning spells if he was soaked, Adriatus startled him with a powerful airblast, catapulting him towards the pond.

However, Lysander was adept enough at hydromancy to spray the pond’s water from below, carefully exerting just enough pressure on his feet to keep his balance and appear to stand on the water itself.

Adriatus did the same and darted to the middle of the pond to press the attack.

Lysander dodged his punch. Adriatus fell for a feint and got a split lip from a jab. They exchanged blow after blow, occasionally parrying a spell or slipping on the unstable waters, until Adriatus felt his strength wane.

He felt a foot lock behind his leg and lost his balance from the shove. Seconds later, he was pressed against the pond’s bottom, and Lysander’s hands were wrapped around his neck.
Adriatus panicked. i can hear the clatter of d20s behind this. it's adequate, i suppose, and it's clear enough what's happening but it's not as exciting as it should be.

With all of his willpower, he channeled as much water as he could muster. The current swirled around his leg, coiling faster and faster along his torso and arm, and then Adriatus reached out of the murky water with his index finger.

The jet found flesh.

Adriatus raised his head out of the pond, gasping for air.

In front of him, Lysander floated on his back, a crimson color spreading out around him. There was a fatal hole in his waist.

“That must have soared fifty meters high,” he said, smiling. “See? That came from your heart, not your brain.” ohh so is that lysannnnder being all unwontedly cheery about his own gruesome demise? i thought it was the other guy. that's not any better as an ending imo.

Red droplets of water mixed with blood came falling down around them. ehhhh, this is tolerable pabulum and there's a bit of slightly implausible motivation but it's too rote to beat its insanely generic rpg stylings

quote:

This is Canonically a Part of the Star Wars™ Expanded Universe

^great title

Justin used to play with lightsabers in the backyard with his little brother Bobby. Over time, the plastic got dented and their parents wouldn’t buy them new ones. Bobby wheezed whenever they played after a couple of minutes, pockets of sweats growing on his shirt. One time, Justin hit so hard that his brother fell down into the dead grass. He looked into his brother's eyes and said, “It’s over,” in his most threatening voice, tried to laugh with his nasally voice, and whacked his brother’s head. Then Justin pulled up his brother, but Bobby walked away without looking up. now this story is basically justin is an rear end in a top hat the storrry and you undoubtedly start as you mean to go on, but i like the details and the character work all teh way through and this is a great starting para because of that.

A week before high school graduation, Justin found the toy lightsaber in a box under his bed. He pulled it out and looked at the red plastic. His brother got a blue one and his neighbor had a green one, so he had to get the red one.

Then, he went into the hallway and knocked on Bobby’s door with the lightsaber. And when he came out, Justin hit him in the face with it.

Bobby rubbed the side of his face, and Justin saw the mark just underneath his brother’s eye. Bobby was, as much as Justin hated to admit it, actually good looking now. He swam every weekday, so he wasn’t fat anymore. Instead, he had that thin swimmer’s body and was tan too. He always had that faint smell of chlorine on him, though. Justin jabbed his lightsaber into Bobby’s chest again and said, “You remember this poo poo?”

Bobby pushed him away and said, “I wish I could forget,” and then punched him in the shoulder. Hard. Really hard. It stung more than Justin expected.

It meant a lot, back in the day, to be three years older. The difference between seven and ten is big. He could push Bobby to the ground, or push him down to the ground. Once, he caught a spider on the front porch, put in a empty jam jar, and then held down Bobby and dangled the spider over his face. Now, it didn’t mean as much.

“Admit it. You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.”

“Hell no.”

Justin laughed and then pulled his arm back to hit him again. But, when we he swung down, Bobby blocked it with his forearm. Then, he grabbed the stick and janked real hard, and Justin’s grip loosened and it fell to the ground.

“Hey, I’m just messing.”

Then Bobby sucker punched him right in the chest. Justin crunched down, and took a few seconds breathing in and out, in and out. When the carpet stopped looking fuzzy, he said, “drat, how’d you learn to punch like that?”

Bobby closed the door on him.

“Warn me next time,” Justin shouted at the door. “Nobody likes a dirty fighter.”

“gently caress off. I’m tired.”

Justin shrugged and went back to his room. He sat down on his bed and rubbed his stomach. He liked to tell Bobby’s swimmer friends that he was the reason Bobby was so good. He always pushed Bobby into the pool, so if Bobby didn’t learn how to swim, he’d drown. Now, Bobby had broken the school’s 200 meter freestyle record as a freshman and was probably going to get a scholarship. you could maybe do with one less of these lol rear end in a top hat moments? my co judges really hated this to teh point i had to argue them out of a dm, and i think that was part of the reason

Justin smiled, rubbing the lightsaber in his hand.

He remembered how he had to pick up Bobby at his first high school swim meet, when he got third in the 200. Justin drove them home and Bobby was quiet the whole way, just staring out the window until they parked at the park then they stepped on teh step and took roofies on teh roof by their house. Bobby stared at him for a second, and Justin just said, “C’mon.” Bobby relented and they sat at a table on the edge of the park.

Then Justin took out a pipe, filled it with weed, and said, “Here you go.”

“I’ve never smoked before,” Bobby said, grabbing the pipe.

“It’s all good, just put it in your mouth, cover up the hole on the side with your finger, and inhale. And when you do, just hold the smoke in for a bit.”

Bobby did what he was told to, then coughed out a lot of smoke. And he kept coughing the whole time Justin took a hit. Then they just sat in silence, passing the pipe around until they ran up. typo Then, when they got in the car, Justin said, “Feel better?”

And Bobby said, “Yeah, thanks.”

“It’s what brothers are supposed to do. Get each other high.”

“Yeah, I don’t know about that.”

Justin shrugged and said, “Maybe I’m not a good brother.”

“Yeah, that’d explain a lot.”

“gently caress you too.” this should have been better dialogue for where it sits in teh story, you even set them up as being high so you could have gone a bit heightened, had them say something uncharacteristic. missed opportunity.

Bobby laughed and they drove off in a calm silence. Justin couldn’t even smell the pot. Only the chlorine.

Now, staring at his room’s white ceiling, Justin realized that he wasn’t going to smell chlorine anymore. He stopped smiling, gripped the lightsaber handle tighter, and went into the hallway.

Justin knocked on Bobby’s door and said, “I got something for you.”

There was a silence.

“C’mon. I wanna apologize.”

The door swung open. Bobby’s hands balled up into a fist. “Really now?”

“Yeah man. I just thought it’d be funny.”

“It wasn’t.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, but uhh.” He offered the lightsaber. “Take it.”

“Why?”

“It’s like, a memento or some poo poo.”

“Of what?”

“Of the times I kicked your rear end.”

Bobby laughed and said, “I don’t need to remember that.”

“Then, how ‘bout you take it because I want you to?”

Bobby shrugged and said, “Alright, sure.” He took the lightsaber and stared at it for a second. “If it means you’ll leave me alone.”

Then Justin punched Bobby’s shoulder as hard as he could and said, “And next time, I’ll beat the poo poo of you. For real.” His knuckles ached, but he didn’t really care.

“I hope you try.”

Justin’s knuckles still hurt an hour later. i don't really like your dialogue that much in this, i think it needs like a quarter turn to the left to make it interesting, but the action is excellent. it capture the particular ingrown viciousness of guys too long in teh same space.

#

The week before Justin left for college, he sneaked into Bobby’s room. He found a box on top of his dresser and rummaged through it. There was some old Nintendo Powers, a GameBoy that Bobby stole from him, and, finally, two lightsabers. He grabbed one and it was made up of dented blue plastic, with a crack running down the side of it. Justin did that. He took it and stamped it on the ground when Bobby snuck up behind him and smashed it against his back. He never told Bobby he was sorry about that.

He pocketed his brother’s lightsaber and went to his room and shoved it in the bottom of his suitcase. He thought, it’s a memento or some poo poo. i really like this last action, it says a lot about how he feels about his brother while not actually entailing any real change in the character who, holy poo poo, is like the douche frigidaire. i liked this a lot for the precise detail and character work, so u can thank me for teh non-dm i guess


quote:

Single Bedroom. Two Residents
this is a real dull title, hell you would have been better with 'not big enough for the both of them' that would have been a great title

The host pointed his taser in the air and pressed the switch.

A crackling like a bug zapper issued from the pronged tip. It cast a dull blue light. He called out,

“Tonight, divorce proceedings for Lucille and Morris Flatts are finalized in our concrete colosseum of carnage!”

The logo for the “The Visceral Court” flew across the screen. where's teh screen, where are we, what's goin on help a brother out


The host pointed at the fighters. oh there are fighters, cool “Lucille and Morris.

You have been provided a query at your personal terminal. One of you must choose the weapons for combat and the other must choose environmental conditions for the match.”

He pressed another switch, turning the crackling light to deep red. why? also tasers are electricity there is no red electricity except in video games/the mountain dew dimension


Morris got the weapons. Lucille got the conditions. He chose a wood cutting axe. ah yes a wood cutting axe as opposed to a rock beating paper or a man fallin over

In the last few months before the online survey brought them both here, seriously what's going on

he had dug out his own axe during his state-sanctioned visit to his personal storage.

He thought his grandfather had used it for firewood before heating with fire was outlawed. thanks obama

He swung it around in boredom during his calisthenics break at his home-work terminal.

Lucille said it was dangerous and childish for him to be swinging around an axe in the middle of their mid-class studio.

She said that but had her own curiosity for it nonetheless. She cut off the tip of her ring finger on one of her sleepless nights.

She didn’t complain after that because she was afraid of the thing. why would being afraid of an inanimate object cause you to not complain about it is she worried it would hear her

He would play to her weakness. He waited for her to choose and imagined how nice it would be to live alone.


-----------------------------------------------------------
The day of the court hearing she accepted the transport request by herself.

She sat at the lone window overlooking the smoggy sector their studio boxed home is it a home in a box? not clear what you're getting at hereoccupied. She imagined how large the space would be when all his garbage was gone.

Later that night, from the helicopter they saw the Visceral Court in its entirety. It was a concrete stage walled in by a rock quarry.

The stage sat under an L-shaped bar with a series of lights and climate devices pointed down. cool detail, thanks (not really)
-------------------------------------------------------------


“The weapons and conditions have been set. Before I begin the match there is only one rule for winning. Kill the other spouse. Crippling and or brain damage is not sufficient for victory. If you so desire we can have the remains cremated and sent to the survivor. Though I imagine that’s a moot point.” not sure if you know what a moot point is

He paused for the laugh track. The corner modules opened up revealing the spouses to each other.

Morris held the axe in his hand and grinned like the crazy caretaker from his wife's favorite movie.

Lucille recognized the impression. She looked down at her axe and her hands began shaking.

“I call this court in session! Begin!” He changed the light to green and disappeared.



He charged at her. The lights above shutting off shocked him as he slowed a bit in his sprint but kept running full force. how can he slow a bit but keep running full force

In the live streams, the night filter switched on. It colored Morris and Lucille in green.

He swung at the entry of the terminal trying to strike her leaving it.

Lucille barely had time to escape. She spent a moment considering the ax as his steps pounded at the gravel topped pavement,

she jumped away from the terminal just in time. so she barely has time, then she thinks for a bit then she just has time again im confusion She sat up and clutched her bleeding palms, embedded with gravel. this line is ok


She crawled towards the back of the terminal’s swung open door. what do you see in your head when you use the word terminal is it a phone booth like in dr who He stopped his frantic swings and held his breath.

He needed to listen for her to get an advantage. He felt with his foot for the terminals raised floor.

He stepped onto it and felt along the shelf where the weapon was deposited. It was still there.

She grabbed a handful of gravel and threw it as far as she could. Morris lobbed the other axe at the sound.

He stayed where he was. His eyes would get adjusted eventually and he had the boxed in terminal behind him to keep her from attacking his flank.

Lucille grabbed another handful and got to her feet. She crept, throwing pebbles with each step. She nudged the axe with her foot.

It scraped softly against the pavement.



Morris licked his lips, clutching the ax in a tightening grip. Beads of sweat trailed down his wrists.

Eventually, she’d come for him and by then he would be able to see her and overpower her.

“Ready to cut me up, Lucy?!” She didn’t respond but he thought he heard a sharp intake of breath near where he threw the axe.

She removed her shoes as she put the axe in the crook of her shoulder. He shouted at her and she nearly stumbled at the sudden outburst.

She blinked her eyes and concentrated on where he yelled from.

He heard her approach. Something hit him across the face and he swung with a roar as Lucy screamed, “Die you bastard!” don't have two actions in one like this, it's dreadfully confusing


-----------------------------------------


The host sat across from Lucille in the green room “An unusual but exciting case this evening folks.”

He turned to Lucille, “What made you choose the rarely chosen lights out condition?”

She patted at her forehead with a hot towel

“I have a lot of trouble sleeping. Since I spend so many nights watching my former online match snooze, I took up reading.

It’s difficult with the state curfew on lighting after ten pm. I had to read by the dim light of our studio heating element.”

She took a bottle of water from a studio assistant. She sipped it and finished with a sigh, “I figured I’d have the better night vision.” she's both murderous and mildly autistic, ladies and gentlemen our victorrrr. So this is the deserved loser, because it's so mucky and clunky but more importantly because the motivations are paper thin, they clearly don't care about each other enough to kill each other so when you tell us they do we don't believe you

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

quote:

Secret of the Silent Fist

He stood behind the All-American Sporting Goods counter, hair grey and the skin of his face leathery and cracked, but unmistakably the man in the old newspaper photos. The Silent Fist. The man who singlehandedly kept the Adders out of Edge city. Founding member of the Seven. A legend, a living legend thank goodness. nice opener, i know what sort of story i'm in

“I need you to train me,” I said. “And I-”

“What do you mean, train you?” he said, feigning confusion. I wasn’t buying it. “I can show you how to use the equipment, if that’s what you want.”

“No,” I said. “I mean in the ways of the five lost martial arts. The dead city fighting styles. I need to know your healing mantra.”

“My healing what?” he said, with an amused, curious smile. For few seconds I had thought it wasn’t just an act. But now I knew.

“Your Warrior of Ilium healing mantra, the thing you concentrate on to clear your mind and allow your body to regenerate.”

“Sounds handy,” he said. “Could use something like that when my back acts up. But you’re barking up the wrong tree, kid.”

The doors swung open, slamming into the stops, and in they came. Seven young men. Six wearing spiderweb tattoos, jeans and white t-shirts with bleach-blonde hair in various punk styles, the seventh bare-chested but for his ink, bald, and well past seven feet tall, all muscle. He glanced at the ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service’ sign by the door, hawked his throat, and spat a gob onto it. oh my goodness yes i do know what sort of story i'm in

“Now just wait a minute,” said the manager.

“This ain’t none of your business, geezer,” said the one with a head full of hair-spikes. “This is between King Spider and the kid’s mom.”

“Yeah,” said the one with a sideways mohawk. “She’ll get the message nice and clear when we send her what’s left of you.” Spikes snapped his fingers and a pair with half-shaved heads left and right rushed me.

I’m not too proud to run from a fight, especially at these odds, but with the Silent Fist right there watching me? No way. Lefty threw the first punch, towards my head. I shifted left and grabbed his arm, then swung him into the aisle full of shoeboxes. My back turned to Righty. He grabbed me in a bear hug.

Lefty stood up, shook his head, and began delivering blow after painful blow to my upper chest. I took enough to get his rhythm down. Then I delivered a toe-stomp followed by a backwards shin-kick to my captor. His balance failed and I bent forward, putting his forehead directly in the path of his cohort’s fist. With Righty dazed and Lefty nursing his hand, I broke free and went on the offensive. One solid hit to the jaw for Lefty followed by a flurry of body blows to Righty and they both were on the ground groaning. tolerable action, appropriately generic/cheesy

I looked across the store. The Silent Fist was in front of the counter now, facing sideways mohawk, keeping him at bay with his cane. Spikes growled, reached into his pocket and butterflied open a knife. Everyone but baldy did the same. Single and double mohawks started moving toward me while sideways lunged at the Silent Fist with his knife. He ducked, making his opponent slice harmlessly through air. but this is totally fluffing your chance for a sweet badass reveal which this kind of (kinda generic tbh) story

“drat this back,” he said, backing away with his cane, still hunched over.

I did my best against the knife-wielding thugs, taking nicks and surface wounds while getting a few solid kicks and punches in. “Now would be a good time for that healing mantra, gramps,” I said. how many hp did he lose i need to know

“You’ve got some moves, but you’re not ready for Ilium technique yet, kid.”

“Then what can you teach me?”

“Okay, lesson one. Anything can be a weapon.” He leaned forward on his cane and with his arms alone twisted his entire body through the air around it. His legs hit sideways mohawk in the arm and face, knocking away his knife and sending him to the ground. A full rotation later he came back to the ground and stepped over his foe, raising the cane above the goon’s neck. “Don’t get up.”

I backed down the aisles, looking around. A few volleyballs, which I threw behind me to slow them down. Then I found something heavier. A bit too heavy. I’d have preferred a baseball bat or hockey stick, but the long tall cardboard box was just barely small enough for me to hold and swing. I hefted it, then turned to face the mohawk boys.

It had plenty of reach to keep them back, but was too slow to land any hits and heavy enough that I was tiring out fast. They slashed at it as it passed by, breaking down the box’s integrity. Clever. If I kept swinging it the contents would break free, leaving me defenseless. I shifted to a quarterstaff grip. More control, but it meant they could move in closer. They kept slicing at the box, tearing gashes out of it, exposing the contents within. A volleyball net, two steel poles with rope netting wrapped together. I grabbed the poles directly. It was a much better grip than I’d had on the box. I could swing faster, more forcefully. I swung low, caught both of their legs, knocking them back on their asses as the remnants of the box flew off. They scuttled away, then got up and ran.

Spikes saw that the huge bald one had been standing fascinated by the mannequin in the self-powered elliptical machine. He slapped the mountainous man’s back and said something in a language I don’t speak. Then he turned and ran out of the store just behind the others. Big and bald moved towards me, fast. I wound up like a major-league slugger and took my swing, hitting him hard in the side. He barely noticed. He grabbed my shoulders, lifted me up, and threw me across the store. I landed hard, most of my left side just a mass of pain, but I kept hold of the net.

The Silent Fist was next to me, still hunched over. He pressed his cane to the floor and shoved. I could hear the cracking bone as he came to a stand. Baldy ran straight for us. I handed the Fist the loose pole, letting the other unwind a few rotations, and when the charging mass of muscle was about to run us down we both stepped aside, leaving him to run face-first into the tight netting. I quickly ran around him and took the other pole from the Fist, shoving it through the netting crosswise and twisting them together.

Baldy struggled against the ropes. They strained but didn’t break. Then the Silent Fist walked up to him and delivered a quick punch to the neck, knocking him out. Pompeii pressure point technique.

“What’s your name, kid?” he asked. I stood, still catching my breath. “Not having a student whose name I don’t know.”

“Andy Li-Quan,” I said.

“Li-Quan?” he said. “So your mother is...”

“Sue Li-Quan, yes,” I said. “I’m your grandson, gramps.”

“You could have opened with that.”

“Sure,” I said. “But I wanted to earn this. And haven’t I earned the secret of your healing mantra?”

“You’ve got it wrong,” said the Silent Fist. “The Warrior of Ilium technique isn’t about healing. It’s about fighting through injury. And the mantra isn’t a word.”

“Then what is it?” I asked.

“Pain,” he said. “My mantra is pain. Focus on it. Ride it instead of letting it ride you. Speaking of pain, we should get those cuts of yours seen to. And then you can start to work.”

“Training?” I said.

“No, cleaning. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this place is a mess.” okay, no comments because it's basically fine in that cheesy 80s movie way, though i don't know you've made me care enough about who's who in the li quan family tree (and really? a chinese man who doesn't know his own grandson?) to really have it work as a cap on teh story, but, eh, it's fine.

quote:

Rise of the Rebel King, or: How I lost my hand.

Crown Prince Avatanno, High Commander of Thravvin stood across the platform from me. Far from doughy nobility, he was muscled slab under his crisp white military accoutrement, and half a head taller. It was to be expected, Thravvin had a grand history of martial prowess, and their nobility took it to heart, training from boyhood with the blade, living for the day when they win tsk tense blood-soaked glory on the field.

“You’re shorter than I expected.” He scowled at me as the platform shifted. Tormik, the Rebel King of the Alven Isles. I would dispute that title, but it played into their narrative. It made them think me a singular force, a lynchpin of the rebellion. It made this ridiculous duel plausible in Thravvin’s eyes. Behead the snake, crush the secession, reclaim their precious mines.

“And you’re younger than I heard.” I said.

“Father is sick.” His voice caught. I knew that the king was unwell, but we’d been counting on his honor compelling him to face me anyways. A king for a king. “You’ll be facing me in his stead.”

“Of course, your Majesty.” The whole contrivance made me laugh. Here I was, a miner’s son facing a prince in single combat. That might have happened in a court somehow, had I managed some social mobility, or perhaps had the gall to sneak in and shag a princess. But no, instead we circled each other with our hands on our swords on a free floating dock, planks lashed together and anchored in the bay, the exact meeting point between Thravvin and Alven waters.

Granted, in their eyes, it was all Thravvin waters. Indeed, around us were ships of the royal navy, grand white and gold boats, all itching to swoop in and save their prince, restrained by parley and honor.

Behind me was our only vessel. A prison boat, the channel by which all residents immigrated to Alven. All it would take is one cannon, maybe two, and we’d be landlocked, surrounded and bombarded. It would have been the smart thing to do, but if you’re going to contrast yourself as the noble aristocracy to our shoddy criminal uprising, then I suppose you’re bound by your reputation, aren’t you?

They had built this ridiculous platform, presented their champion, looked down their noses at me as we signed writs of proxy and terms of conditional surrender, parchments that reduced a year long war to single combat. They cheered their prince as the boats withdrew, leaving us surrounded by ocean and the glint of a thousand spyglass spectators. We bowed and drew swords as all the empire held its breath. it's actually a really nice setup, for all its needed a few hundy words of exposition - I think i'd have gone for a bit more attention to the physicality of fighting on a newly built platform on the ocean, what does it look feel smell like i'm more genuinely interested than in teh duchy of dorkistan vs the principality of porkulus (no offence)

“Any last words?” He asked. I felt he did not mean to goad, but rather he would honestly hear them. I shook my head.

“And you?”

“I shall not need them.” nicely delivered badassity, but this next one should be a new para. A cheer went up as Avatanno lunged. His form was perfect, the point of his saber flew in a perfectly straight line that would have terminated in my heart. I brought up my sword in an arc to deflect it to my right. I stepped left as I did. There must have been two hundred and fifty pounds of man behind the blade, I wasn’t stupid enough to think I could push that aside one handed.

He went into a controlled roll and came up in a low stance, blade pointed at my face. “Most men would be dead by now.” he said. I suspected he spoke from empirical experience.

“I’m not most men.” I said. I kept my eyes sword, holy poo poo he has a sword comign out of his eyes run runnn a long sweeping curve of silvered metal, the handle wrought in gold and rubies. Ostentatious next to my functional longsword, stamped with the seal of the late high warden. good deets

“No, you are not.” He shifted his feet. I could barely see it coming, an upwards chop. Unorthodox, and blindingly quick. The cheers came again across the water as I lowered my blade to interpose. It was less clean this time, more block than parry. The clashing blades rang and my hand shook with the force of impact.

He probed at me again and again, each time being a little more sure, knowing a little more of my reaction. I could hear anguished shouting in the distance, it was probably Rettin shouting advice at me, as though somehow I could be locked in a duel to the death with a head of our oppressing state and somehow still be half assing things. haha that's actually a really good economical character note

He came at me faster, each attack coming sooner after the last. The tempo advanced from a chant to a shanty, and then to something out of a fiddler’s repertoire as ringing steel mixed with wave after wave of cheers. Every few presses he would manage to cut me. Small nicks here and there, a glance to my shoulder, a slice to my forearm. I began to bleed, enough to make a mess, but not enough to bleed out, at least, not in the next few minutes. this is the most successful combat yada yada so far this week

I saw his next thrust coming, his foot was placed half an inch too wide. It was my chance. I ducked under it. I had no room to angle my blade, but the hilt was heavy enough. I clocked him in the jaw as hard as I could.

The cheering stopped.

He stumbled for a second, a second was long enough. I whirled on him with my conquered blade. A stab at the eye, a slash at the gut. I repositioned towards the center of the arena, leaving him ground of blood and saltwater. His footing faltered as I hit him again. He couldn’t dodge, only block and parry as I drove him towards the sea.

He took a chance and sacrificed his defence for position to roll past me, one quibble, i'm not sure people that aren't in video games roll around in fights rather than be pinned against a wall. it's a sea wall i guess I slashed at him as he passed me and scored a cut to the ribs. He stood up, blade raised, and a patch of scarlet blossomed across his chest.

I grinned at him, expecting anger, fury, rage at the fact that I, a commoner, nay a criminal, had managed to bloody a royal. The dozen men from our boat cheered.

He grinned back and came at me. We cut each other again and again. He slashed my thigh, I stabbed his shoulder. He opened my back, I opened his cheek. With each cut we bled, and with every drop of blood we slowed.

Avatanno fell to a knee, a prince in royal red. We met eyes. I was barely standing, but he was done.

I shook my head. “Stay down.” I said. you really sell the understated nobility of both these characters without caricaturing them

Instead, he rose and came at me, blade high. I raised the point my blade and threw up my left arm in a desperate block, I lost it. took me a couple of reads to realise this is where his hand goes - mayyyybe could have put an extra word or two to describe his motherfucking hand getting severed imo Prince Avatanno lost more, he ran himself through on my sword.

“Well fought, Rebel King” were his last words. He smiled congratulations as he fell.

this is actually rather decent u know, with good combat stylings and nicely understated character work. It's also is a good example of the story tying the knot in the story - it's clear what happens next after the story's over because you've already told us.

quote:

Pink Collars

My knees were sore. A drunk man had staggered in front of my car and my knees were cramped up on the dashboard when I braked for him. He was wearing a pink collared shirt, and if he wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t have seen him in time — but, I did, and he cursed a few mean words at me without knowing that I’ve been doing this for too long to want to say anything back.

I drove up the block and pulled next to Dorsey’s for a fare. This one was taking his time inside, so I took in the quiet and massaged deep around my kneecaps.

You don’t have to drive midnights to know the different types of drunks of the world, I mean, everyone’s already familiar with them — but here are the ones I know: you’ve got the I-don’t-know-my-limit drunks, the happy-go-lucky drunks, the mean drunks, the I-know-my-limit-and-don’t-give-a-gently caress drunks — and there’ll always be the real piece-of-poo poo drunks. The I’m-the-reason-we-should-ban-alcohol kind of late-night motherfuckers.

You can spot these guys the second they get in the back seat.

“312 Westhrop, Annandale — the complex there.”

The kid settled in, arms around his girl while she buckled her seatbelt.

“It’s not going in…”

“…I think you’ll be fine” he said, squeezing her shoulders into him.

“Really… it’s not clicking…”

I looked back at her through the mirror: “Give it a slap, the belt on that side needs a little force.” She was a pretty thing, and the kid was handsome too. His glossed hair reflected back in the mirror a little.

*click*

“Better?” the kid said.

She gave me a “thank you” through the rear-view and I nodded the cab into gear. We headed down 24th. this little flaccid seatbelt drama is deeply fascinating fyi

“Hey, how’s your night going, man?” asked the kid. I told him I was fine.

“You’re pretty tall man… I mean for a taxi driver.” I told the kid he was right, and gestured towards my knees underneath the dashboard. He continued — “Aren’t there, like, regulations or something on that?” I looked back and told the kid that I was a good taxi driver, and no, no regulations.

“There has to be some kind of regulation… what do you think, Betts? I don’t see anything on this notice back here.”

“Let’s just get home, Jack.”

“But then… why would this man have it on the notice if he was subverting… you’re never much of a thinker, Betts.”

“I have the good mind to think before I talk sometimes, you know?”

“…Shut up.”

I kept my eyes forward, looking out for any pink-collared stragglers — last-call had given way and they were loose. Down through Center and we would be on the highway, soon.

“Ever get into an accident?” the kid, Jack, asked.

“Nope, not once.”

“I bet that’s because you can see so far, long neck and all.”

“Jack, really…” said the girl.

“What? We’re just having a conversation here. Right, Mr. Cabbie?”

“Yes, sir.” I looked in the mirror. Her arms were crossed and she was pivoting her shoulders away from the kid.

“So you’ve never got into an accident… but what if, like, you’ve only been driving for a month? We could have a misleading sample duration here, Betts.”

“It’s okay, I’ve worked this job for eleven years.”

“Jesus… ”

“Jack!”

“Apologies apologies. That just made me think about my own future a bit, you know?” said the kid.

“Stop being an rear end.”

“Shut up. Really, Betts.”

Her face was stuck to the window now, her shoulders square and perpendicular to him. He had stopped trying to keep his arm around her.

“Unbelievable,” he said. A minute passed and the girl had started sniffling.

“Unbelievable?” she said.

“Yeah. Unbelievable.” Another minute passed.

“You were thinking pretty hard on Paula’s friend tonight, weren’t you?” The girl said.

“What?”

“She looked good, didn’t she.”

“What the gently caress are you talking about?”

“Or Sophie, did you think on her when…”

“Betts…”

“…when you two were shacking up?”

There were no pink-collared men on the highway, so I kept focus for deer even though they had cleared the deer out of here a decade ago. The kid raised his voice —

“I loving told you — nothing happened then.”

“Well… let’s think about that.”

“gently caress you.”

She lost her composure and let out a wail and there wasn’t much I could do — I gave the pedal some gas and we were doing twenty over. The sore spot on my knee rattled with the highway.

“How many times do I have to loving tell you that nothing happened.”

“Kid… I think you need to stop.”

“Don’t talk to us. It says right here I can stop you from talking to us.”

“gently caress you, Jack…” she kept sobbing.

“loving unbelievable.” this is the sort of way people actually talk, and it's not good dialogue, write dialogue that reads the way people talk in good books, this is more like two drunks shoving each otehr in a bar fight gently caress YOU NO gently caress YOU NO gently caress YOOOOOUUU

Two minutes passed and I pulled up to the complex on Westhrop. The kid threw me a twenty for the nineteen-and-change fare while the girl unbuckled her seatbelt and got out. I rolled down the passenger window and eyed the kid as he left and he gave me a “gently caress you” and the girl, still sobbing, hit him on the shoulder.

The kid struck her back, and hard.

I sprung open the door and moved around the hood towards him.

“I…”

I had a foot of height on the kid. The girl was down on her bare knees on the asphalt, one of her hands on the side of her cheek.

“You little poo poo.”

“I didn’t mean…”

I didn’t stop moving.

“Get back, man” he shouted. He raised his fists and then I was on him.

I smacked the consciousness out of him before his head could hit the floor. awww yis that's actually a a great line

The girl scuffed herself to the curb and sat upright against it. She looked up at me and I looked down at her. Her eyes were more than wet.

“I felt like I had to do that,” I said.

She wiped her face against her sleeve.

“Do you want to file charges?” I asked.

“Against you? Or him?”"

I shrugged. She shook her head no.

“If you need to, I can take you wherever you need to go. No fare.”

“…I think I need to stay here and deal with this.”

She looked over at the kid. His chest rose and fell in long heaves.

“You can step away from all of this, easy, if you want to,” I said.

“It’s always more complicated than that, isn’t it?”

I understood as well as any stranger could, and walked back to the cab. I drove away into the postmidnight dark, where I will never see the two again, and my knees ached. and a really nice noiry closer. So this is basically a good story because it starts and ends really well, but the middle is flaccid because you're telling me some kind of vague third hand story about strangers instead of focusing on an interesting first hand story about the driver. Still, decent work.

quote:

Asimov's Laws and the Apocalypse

It had been 22.478 days of rubble and silence since humanity went away. Rho watched the sunrise with a simulated ache and a sense of restlessness, perhaps some longing for the time of his creators. From a perch on top of the scrapheap, he scanned the landscape slowly. In the far distance, service robots without sentience resumed their Sisyphean tasks.

A worried impulse stretched through the wires of his spine. Something had been wrong for a while.

Delta-four lumbered to Rho’s side, knocking trash around as he went with an older model’s clumsy gait. He had once been a diagnostician. Now, he was obsolete - and a friend. He said, ”Good morning.”

The sky was rust-red. The conversation was familiar. Something they had taught themselves to stave off the boredom when adaption algorithms told them that their usual tasks had become meaningless. Rho opened his mouth to answer, but was silenced by a jab of pain hitting the back of his head.

Delta-four extended a ball-jointed finger, pointing. ”You seem to be broken. It is a storage component in your side.”

There, Rho's outer shell was torn open – it had happened weeks ago, in a sandstorm – and he thought of particles burrowing below plates and plastic, ruining delicate wiring. “Storage…?”

“Higher functions,” Delta supplied. If he thought anything about the matter, it was not reflected in his voice.

Rho’s sight turned blurry, and then his eyes refocused. He could lose a leg or an arm, but cognitive functions, perhaps even sentience…

“Had you managed to forget?” Delta asked. “Did you think you were human?”

Rho made fists of his hands. He hated the reminder that he had anything in common with the slow, shuffling machines sorting through the rubbish heaps. And Delta just sat there, blinking in the sunlight. And beneath that gleaming metal was a component like the one now failing in Rho...

“It had to happen eventually. We are things that break,” Delta creaked.

Cogs whirred, impulses sparked. Of course, Rho knew that he should do no harm - but that protocol was about harm to humans and Delta-four had just said…

Delta was a thing.

Rho got to his feet.

”I'm worn out, too. Breaking," Delta began. "But how many years have we-”

Rho’s foot crashed into Delta's head, splitting metal joinings apart so that a face-plate cracked off and fell to the ground looking no different from all the other scrap. A deeper layer of his body appeared, dotted with welded points and screws. A startling, loud whirring emanated from his chest, like heavy breathing born of strain.

Rho stared at the damage he had done. At Delta, as he staggered.

Then he prepared to do it again. Raising one fist, Rho paused for a moment to aim, to see Delta scan their surroundings. Was he trying to flee? Rho threw himself forward and carried the punch through, trying to hit the other robot’s side and tear out the electronic component right then and there when Delta barely dodged out of the way. Losing his balance, Rho saw nothing but dust and the jagged heap of scrap they stood on, and he was not allowed to regain sure footing as he was hit in the back. Dull pain reverberated. He grit his teeth.

Delta had found a primitive weapon, a lead pipe, but he wielded it like he resented touching it. this imputed emotion doesn't really land given how much time you've told us Delta doesn't do emotions With no inflection, he asked, “Why?”

He received no answer but Rho’s punch hitting his shoulder. Though he saw it coming, Delta’s reflexes were too slow, and Rho even managed to grip onto the pipe. He couldn’t get it out of his friend’s hand, though, and they were both pulling at it-

“Why?”

Rho looked down at their hands – his articulated fingers next to Delta’s, which had broken and were remade as claws. He wouldn’t look up, couldn’t look up.

Inside Delta was a small component that was vital. That was all he needed to know and care about. Life; the life here in the scrapyard. Two black shadows stretched across relics and trash piled up all the way to the desert – Rho couldn’t allow himself to think of anything but that world, that desert.

Delta could.

He wrestled the pipe away and swung it in a heavy arch arc that would have collided with Rho’s head had the other robot not blocked it with his arm. The shock of the impact travelled up into this shoulder and torso instead, putting a strain on wires and pistons and leaving him open for a kick that swept his legs out from under him. Delta’s feet were blockier – but that also meant heavier, more painful when they hit Rho’s slim ankles. why would robots feel pain? underimagined, you mostly do a good job of this so it is more noticeable when you don't.

Rho lay in the sand, close to shutdown. His eyes opened and closed, and stray signals sent his fingers spasming. The sky was blocked from his view by Delta’s face as he crouched down.

“Of all things,” Delta said, “that the humans had, why bring back this?”

“Bring what back?” Rho asked.

“Violence.”

“I must protect my own existence.” Rho raised his hand, and Delta didn't notice. Once, they had both had protocols to take such a hand and hold it, mimicking humans who would need that comfort.

"I had thought we were no longer bound to our programming," Delta said. He seemed lost in thought, but meanwhile Rho's hand trailed down Delta’s side.

Just as the other robot realized what was happening and tried to pull away, Rho dug in and took his prize. It was easy, though the metal was slick with oil and other fluids, for it had cracked through the strain and heat of the fight. Wires resisted him for a moment before he had the cylinder in his hand.

“And you brought deception, too,” Delta amended. Then he made a low, choking sound.

Then he said nothing, as he lacked the capacity. Thought nothing. Was nothing. His jaw hung open, his hands turned limp.

And like nothing had happened, he rose and turned away.

In the dust, one hand clenched around the vital component, Rho watched as his mute friend went back to their shed to resume his meaningless tasks. huh. this took a few reads to really land, but it's a strong and even a bit affecting piece - you do the frankly cliched DON'T U SEE THAT BY DESTROYING THE HUMANS WE BECAME THEM WELL IT'S A BIT IRONIC DON'T U THINK dealio but you manage to make it work, though with a hint that it's just a mechanical defect causing the flipout. Yesh, gj robo guytron.

quote:

Guardian

The first branch broke against the man's back before he knew he was falling. nice rhythm An impression of light, of leaves--then the pain blinded him, and he could scarcely feel the warm weight that screamed in his arms. He struck the ground with a crunch in the bones of his neck. The child he held cried out and struggled up: alive. Unhurt.

The grey place stole him away before he could see whether he'd saved a girl or a boy. A chill flashed through his soul, cleaning him any trace of physical sensation. As soon as it passed he was behind the wheel of a pick-up, on the lap of a woman, with a car turning left on red right in front of them and nowhere to go except right--tires shrieked--into a light pole. The air bag punched his ribs. The steering wheel smashed in his teeth, and his body shielded the woman from all of it. striking a nice balance of creepy and warm in this

This time, once he'd returned, the grey didn't send him out again immediately. He lingered in its colorless flatland, pretending he still had arms to fold and a butt to sit on. Out in the world, he had a man's shape. Maybe the same one he'd worn in life; somehow there was never a chance to find a mirror, even assuming that it would show anything or that he'd recognize his face when he couldn't recall his name. In the grey, he was... an anticipation, an awareness of his duty, without much else to claim as his own but that sense of memories lost. i like the setup here, briskly conveyed, for all that it's the flash fiction version of quantum leap

He imagined he tipped his head back and shouted into the not-sky, "Is the lady all right?" No answer came. None ever did.

But one might, someday, so he never dared ask what he'd done to end up there. eh, not convinced by this line, feels insufficiently cosmic

Color flooded in: he stood in the living world, in front of a dark blur swinging a bottle overhand. It slammed into his shoulder, and the agony in his cracked collarbone staggered him. His calves met the edge of a twin bed. Someone whimpered behind him in a boy's thin voice.

He rushed the figure before him, slamming into it--more pain--and forcing it away, driving it out of the small bedroom. It was a living man, a drunk, his beard and sweatshirt matted with whiskey. His enormous pupils said he'd taken something else besides, something that let him see what he shouldn't. The drunk crashed his bottle into the dead man's hip. The dead man grabbed for the weapon, but the drunk skittered away, breathing hard in rage.

That sound. Wasn't it familiar? Anger burned some of the dead man's pain away. He recognized the emotion, almost remembered feeling it before.

The drunk had recognized something too. He held the bottle ready, but he stayed in place. "You can't be here," he said. "You're loving dead."

"You knew me?"

The drunk's laugh echoed off the stained walls. "loving Trevor. You forgot about me. Again."

Trevor.

Yes, that was him.

Memories unfolded in his brain like terrible gifts. good line, border of cheesy but it works Another man, impossibly eh large. The glow and the stench of lit cigarettes on skin. The pint glass that had broken on his skull, and the cuts from cleaning up the shards with bare hands while the big man watched, his breath a furious rasp. Don't make him madder don't make him madder don't make him madder--

Screams in the other bedroom, and he couldn't stop them, could barely move. His battered kidneys throbbed. He crawled an inch toward his door and passed out; his brother's cries followed him into darkness.

Don't make him madder or he'll hit Johnny!

The funeral. Living in an aunt's house. Fighting John's school tormentors, helping with homework. The smell of liquor in John's room and the black eye after his brother punched him for throwing it away. "Kinda late for the protector gig, fuckface."

And he remembered the hospital, his own dying, and the final regret that had sent him into the grey. i actually missed this line the first time i read this, haha, and i'm not sure i like it - i think i prefer the oddness it had without it

"I couldn't save anyone," Trevor said.

John said, "No poo poo."

"Who are you beating, Johnny?"

John licked his lips, tightened his hold on the bottle. "That's my business, dead man."

Trevor took the two steps that separated them, reaching again for the glass club. "Don't. Don't be Dad."

John bashed him in the head. The bottle shattered; the edges cut his face. Trevor tackled his brother, sending them both to the floor, but John got a hold of his bad shoulder and squeezed it until he screamed. "I'll kill him!" John shrieked. "I'll kill him! I'll kill him!"

Trevor seized John's collar and rolled them over, then slammed John's skull against the floor. Once. Twice. John thrashed. Again, and his brother went limp. John's breath stuttered, little gasps that couldn't bring in air.

Their father's rage was still in his eyes when he looked at Trevor. But he nodded, just a little, before he stopped moving altogether.

Trevor rose and went to the bedroom that was so very quiet. The child who lay in there had the nose he and John had shared. Despite the terror in his eyes as he stared at his wall, the boy stayed still, as though stillness might save him.

"No one will hurt you again," Trevor said softly. "If they try, you'll have a protector. I promise."

The boy couldn't see him, surely hadn't heard, but his hitched sob could have been an answer. Trevor carried the sound with him as the grey brought him home, longing for his duty and its cleaner forms of pain. hmmm yes this is pretty good, i feel like the gritty strangeness of the opening is more interesting than the all questions answered guardian angel via dying regret story it turns into? good words, of course.

quote:

Radical Self-Careless

“I loving hate you,” says Maggie. She lets out a shaky breath. “Yeah. That feels good. I. hate. You. I hate you! I should break this glass and do a homemade trepanation on your stupid brain. But you know what, rear end in a top hat? That would be too good for you. Because right now, you’re stuck being you. And that's worse than a shard of glass to the frontal lobe.” i'm picturing this being said by a hyperbole and a half stick figure lady fyi

She stares hard at her reflection’s face. It stares back at her, twisted and feral. Her hands are braced on either side of the bathroom sink, fingers curled so that her nails scrape the countertop. Her shoulders are hunched. Her gnarled expression is framed by greasy clumps of hair.

“I’m glad you’re stuck in your stupid life,” she says. “Can’t even shower for your dumb job because you're a pointless animal.”

Maggie rolls her neck, lets out a peal of barking, hysterical laughter. “And--and, dude, even if you smelled like roses. Even if your basic physical presence wasn’t repugnant in every way. You would repulse people, because people got a sense for who doesn’t matter. And guess what, you don’t matter. You never factored in. You were never going to factor in.”

A twinge shoots through her left arm. Her left hand curls into a fist so that the countertop presses painfully against her knuckles. At the same time, all the strength goes out of her right arm, which collapses underneath her and sends her lurching to one side.

“Idiot,” she hisses, catching herself before she can topple over. “You can’t even--you’re just a loving idiot.”

She regains her balance, but now her right arm is dead weight at her side. She can still feel it, but she can’t lift it anymore than she could sing Noah’s ark into existence on her front lawn.

“The front lawn you never mow,” she adds out loud. “The lawn you’re paying out the rear end to neglect. You--” she breaks into another shrieking fit of laughter, then sobers “--you told everyone how you were gonna get this house, get your life together, do all kinds of nice, homely things. Things you could put on your Facebook. It all sounded so nice when you were bragging about it, didn’t it?”

Her vision explodes into a lightning-bright starburst. A moment later, pain blossoms in her left cheek and quickly sends its tendrils down into the left side of her jaw. When her sight returns, she finds her left arm cocked and ready, fist balled up so tight the knuckles are bone white.

“I’m still standing, fuckbrains. Because you don’t even know how to throw a punch.”

Another fleshy thwack. Maggie staggers backward, cracks the back of her head against the wall. Scribbles of light wriggle out of the corner of her vision like luminescent worms.

Her left hand isn’t done. It grabs a fistful of hair and forces her head down. She falls. Her forehead clips the rim of the toilet hard enough to split skin. She collapses onto the small, stained rug, her right arm folded painfully beneath her body. Blood dribbles out of the wound, filling her right eye socket with a warm, sticky mess.

Her left hand still hasn’t let go of the fistful of hair. It yanks her head up hard enough to feel like whiplash, then slams her skull against the grimy floor as she screams, “Shitfucker!” Her vision goes completely back. The ringing in her ears is a wall of shrill needles jabbing at her brain.

She’s on her back. She doesn’t remember rolling over, but when her vision returns, all she can see is the mold-spotted expanse of the bathroom ceiling. Her right eye is glued shut by blood, and her left rolls wildly in its socket. She can’t make it focus. this feels effective in a way some of the other bits of self pummelling don't? idk why

She watches her left arm rise up and fumble with one of the drawers below the sink. Her left hand uses the handle to pull her into a sitting position, and the world lurches. Her stomach heaves. But she’s not done with herself yet.

Lefty opens the drawer all the way, reaches inside, and gropes around until it finds a familiar shape. It emerges again with a pair of slim scissors, some remnant of an ex-boyfriend’s shaving kit. The left arm angles itself so the scissors are aimed straight at her face.

“No no no nononoYes please no please yes, yes, yes,” she babbles. She scrambles backward until she collides with the tub. The hand and the weapon follow. yeah, that's creepy also NOT THE EYESSSS

She feels tension in the left arm. It's coiling in preparation for the fatal strike. Her right arm, which has been limp as an empty sock up until now, shoots up, her right hand gripping the left wrist with ferocious strength before the blow can come.

“Just go,” she screeches. “I just want you to loving go away!”

Lefty drops the scissors. Its arm yanks out and away from her body, pulling against her right hand like a panicked animal. She sprawls forward onto her belly, on top of her arms, which writhe underneath her like embattled cobras.

“I’m sorry,” she sobs into the linoleum. “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry.”

The left arm wriggles out from under her body and pushes her up onto her knees. Her stomach heaves and she wretches, tsk which sends new ripples of pain up into the hurricane of agony that’s whirling in the center of her skull. holy metereometaphors batwoman

“Please be nice to me,” she slurs. “Please love me.”

The left elbow nearly buckles, but straightens itself.

“You wouldn’t love you if you were someone else,” she says, but her voice is less certain. She collapses onto her left side and curls into a tight ball of blood and pain and tears.

“Please forgive me,” she whispers.

The left arm twitches in one last spasm of rage. Then both arms wrap tightly around her. The embrace is too little, too late, but it’s something. And now Maggie has a moment to simply rest in the straightforward landscape of physical pain. She croons to herself and weeps softly into the floor.

She lays there for a time, waiting for her brain to explode. She doesn’t know how much damage she’s done to herself, but everything is blurry and doubled and her stomach churns in spite of its emptiness. Her thoughts spin in meaningless circles, a wheel turning but going nowhere. She waits to die.

But she doesn’t die. And, after an interval that feels like an eon, she finds the strength to drag herself to the phone and dial three numbers.

“I need help,” she says, though she can’t tell if the sounds she’s making are even words. “I can’t stop being me and it hurts too much and I don’t think I can stop myself again.”

“Stay with me,” says the voice on the other line. “Someone is coming to help you. Just stay on the line. I’m going to be right here with you.”

Maggie sobs into the receiver, sobs for grief and gratitude that she’ll see another day. hmmm yes this doesn't quite work though it's a pretty good catalogue of self-directed up-loving. possibly because there's no real story, if that makes sense? violence needs a frame to really work, and this is more of a gimmick - to be sure mental illness doesn't require a logical reason for loving you up, but it feels like some more external grounding woudl make this better? v vivid and grotesque tho

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

quote:

Black and Blues

The stage set aflare; tense, this is present - Sparklers and light beams blasted the majestic stage, as the spectators roared with anticipation this is past, and they shouldn't be in teh same sentence After 8 months, the legendary band Jealousy finally broke off their sudden hiatus, how do you break off a sudden hiatus it sounds painful int eh extreme and announced a new concert. It was taking place at the newly constructed concert stadium, The World’s Stage, in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts.

The speakers boomed, and ushered in the dazzling arrival of tonight’s stars. tennnnssssee The groupies murmured, whispering rumors and heresy why heresy is the bassist an Albigensian about the reasons for the sudden hiatus. oh i see so it was a sudden hiatus at the time Was it family issues? Money? A lover’s quarrel? Or perhaps…. .....!!!!!!! wait did you just put a full stop after an ellipsis that's glorious

As the fog machines bellowed no out ominous haze, the crew tore through the shroud, wielding their instruments, ready for war. Chad Orton and Matthew Smith brandished their axes. Samantha Beck seated herself at the drums, writhing with anxiety. this is a vivid mental picture i envisage her as an xcom 2 snake lady

However, all eyes were on the singer, Lizzie Daniel. Unlike her bandmates, with their bubbly demeanors reflecting the energy of the audience, show, don't tell please she had a gaunt expression that was unmistakably set in what does that even meaaaan is she a grey drizzle over the weekend (possible, hmm). The crowd’s fervor was not quashed, but the atmosphere that blanketed the stage darkened. The props on stage receded into the background and the stars took precedence, their heavenly aura radiating out through the chilled crowd, into the December-night sky. the loving gently caress are you bloviating about

“Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood evening Boston! I see you all eyeing us. Jealous?” Lizzie grinned. so is she grim or happy idk even waht to think now The crowd erupted, electrifying The World’s Stage.

“Let’s give it our all, everybody! Chad, Matt, Sammy! Let’s do this!” oh god noone talks like this not even in dreadful tv specials about the band that nearly breaks up but then doesn't but then does then they come together at the end and crank out a cheesy power pop number and everyone holds up their cellphones

***

“Thank you so much for coming out here tonight! It felt so good to up here performing for you all. Goodbye, everybody!” have you ever been to a concert Lizzie holstered what her microphone, and bowed. Drenched in sweat and exasperated, the singer slinked slunk, i think, but this is still a weird wordchoice to go with the woo hoo stuff before backstage, followed by her entourage. Samantha quickly followed suit.

***

Samantha followed Lizzie outside, into the alleyway. Liz hobbled over to the trashcans, and retched behind them. Sammy confronted her friend.

“So, what are you going to do now, Liz? You got your wish. Now I think it’s time we should be getting back to the hos-“

“No.”

“What are you saying? You barely made it through tonight without collapsing. I was so scared that I thought you’d pass out screaming-“

Thwack. Sammy’s cheeks flushed, and she staggered a bit. Taken aback for a moment, she gritted her teeth.

“You bitch… YOU BITCH! BITCH QUEEEENNNNNN!!!! after all we’ve done for you, and this is how you repay us. I’ve been your friend since Kindergarden IT'S KINDERGARTEN YOU ZOBE , for Christ’s sake. Listen, if you keep on straining yourself, you’re gonna-“

“Shut up! Pluugh!” PLUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH Lizzie spurted out, blood and vomit splattering out from the corners of her mouth. “You guys have no right telling me what to do. Not now. If I’m going out soon, I’m going out on my own terms. Do you loving hear me? Pluggh!” MADAM THIS IS THE MCDONALDS DRIVE THROUGH

Dumbass…you’re not gonna die, capisce? You just need to rest until you get better, then-“

“You know that’s a lie! I’ve been sick all this time, and I’ve only been getting worse. I’m wasting away Sam, and I don’t have much time left. I want to continue singing until the end. What’s wrong with that?”

“Lizzie, listen. Your family, and all of us are worried that you’re gonna drop dead from exhaustion, all that we want is to help you get better, and the best way to do that is to follow the doctor’s orders and continue with the treatments.”

“Thanks for the concern, but all you guys care about is your image. You’d rather not have the crowd see sickly old me, or have to deal with the controversy. You’re just a bunch of selfish bastards-“

Thwack. Lizzie collapsed into the trashcan, scrapping can she get a few bucks for the copper in the pipes her elbows against the concrete ground.

“Sam…I can’t believe you..”

Sammy, aghast, took a step back, shaking her head and mouthing an apology. But it was too late.

“Rrrraghhhh!” seriously i was mocking them a bit before but your characters' insane glottal exclamations really are the best Lizzie scampered up, bracing herself on the brick wall, and grabbed the trash lid. She charged at her friend, and swung the saucer over her head, bringing it down on Samantha. She tried to repeat this motion, but Sammy grabbed ahold of the trash lid, and the two began wrestling for it. Lizzie lifted her knee up, and winded Sammy, knocking her down. i'd reverse the order on these two actions

Standing over her, Lizzie slammed down the trash lid mechanically, as Samantha blocked the impromptu weapon with her arms. Sammy kicked up, tripping up Liz. Sammy jumped up straight, and lifted her leg up high. She swung it into Liz’s shoulder, twisting the sickly girl into a submission pose. wtf is that no wait don't tell me Sammy pinned Liz down, sitting on her back, and took out her drumsticks from her pocket, and pressed them firmly against Liz’s neck.

Sammy called out for anybody to help restrain Liz.

“Somebody, come quick! I need help!” thanks for clearing up my momentary doubt about what Sammy called out for anybody to help restrain Liz might have meant

Lizzie grasped at the drumsticks with both arms trying to pull them away, but she found that she was being overpowered, and was starting to lose consciousness. Grasping for anything, she reached into her pocket where she had stashed her microphone. She pulled it out and smacked Sammy in the face with all of her might. Sammy loosened her grip, and Liz snatched the drumsticks away. With both instruments in hand, Liz thrust them behind her, then-

"Uuu-uuukkh"

Samantha was making an ungodly huffing sound. Lizzie was able to turn her body around, and see that the drumsticks had punctured Sammy's throat. wow, that's one hell of a drum .. fill

"Oh God. Sam! Sam!"

Lizzie, seeing Sammy croaking on the ground, wheezing in agony, couldn't take it anymore, and bolted, running as far as her legs could take her. some say she's still running

***

Lizzie ran all night, trembling, hacking up blood as she went. Her soul chilled over, and as the night went on, her bones got colder and colder. she sounds very cold

In a park, Lizzie's legs gave out, and she crumpled onto the side of the dirt path. Liz laid face-down, shuddering at the events of that night. She was so tired, but she did not want tomorrow to come anymore. this is genuinely comically bad but i believe in you so stick around and you'll get better!

quote:

Many Beasts
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The Sorceress watched her Knight crumple to the ground as the Beast shrieked and snarled. A great tension released from her body as the Knight fell, and she brought her eyes up to meet the Beast's, the creature's claws still red with blood. The Sorceress stepped forward.

The Beast did not scare her. It was a terrible creature, all claw and maddened hunger, but in truth, she faced far worse.

The beast dropped low, pawing at the ground and charging over the fallen Knight towards the Sorceress like a feral dog. The Sorceress did not flinch. The beast leapt into the air before her, and she did not waver. She used the creature's momentum against it, and slapped it to one side with the force of her will. She watched it tumble across the ground, and right itself for another pass.

There was no anger in the Sorceress as she watched the Beast charge again. Sure, it had downed her Knight, but she knew monsters. Mindless. Violent. Irredeemable. She knew them all too well. Still she did not wait for the Beast to make a second pass. She charged forward, shoulder first into the thing as it rose up. The impact knocked the wind out of the beast, and sent it flying back. It scrabbled once more to its feet, but the fire in its eyes dimmed. Concern twisted up along its maw as it snarled at the Sorceress.

Would it understand? Was there reason behind the monster's eyes, or just the animal response to finally running into something it couldn't tear down so easily? The Sorceress couldn't tell as she strode forward again.

The Beast lashed out with a claw, and caught the Sorceress by the leg. The monster's claws sunk deep, piercing her leggings and burrowing into her flesh. The Sorceress cried out in pain, and let loose in a torrent of electricity until the beast released her. Her blood seeped up from the wounds and sizzled in the air. The sulfurous smell made the Beast's nose wrinkle, and it took a few steps back, it's IT'S IS ONLY EVER SHORT FOR IT IS limbs unsteady from the electricity that still crackled across it's fur.

The rush of adrenaline and the scent of her blood made the Sorceress take a shuddering breath, and she looked back at the limp body of her Knight. She clenched her fists and turned back to the Beast, and delivered a kick to its face with her boot.

Did it understand now what the Knight did not?

The Sorceress brought her fists together and slammed them down upon the creatures back with the force of an avalanche.

Could it understand? Couldn't anyone really understand?

By now the beast was in a corner, frightened, it's IT'S IS ONLY EVER SHORT FOR IT IS hackles up and its fur smoldering. It snapped at the Sorceress with its teeth, but what blood it managed to draw only filled its mouth with pain.

It wasn't the monster here. She was. The Knight would agree, if he knew. Which is why he wouldn't ever know.

The blows continued. For every blow the Beast managed, the Sorceress got in three. There was no space left to retreat. She beat the creature like a dog.

There wasn't any doubt that she would prevail then. The fight was just delaying the inevitable. No matter how brightly the beast's rage burned, the Sorceress's burned hotter. She was strong, and it was weak. She choked the life out of it in the end, her body wreathed in flame that would not relent, until the Beast gave one last gasping cough, and then fell dead from her hands.

Her fires cooled, and she stanched her wounds, knitting her flesh back together with will alone. The tension returned to her body, as she turned her back on the vanquished Beast and made her way to the Knight. He was still breathing, his armor moving slowly with his pained and ragged breaths.

She knelt down beside him and removed his helm. He was as gorgeous as always with it off, his features not diminished by the blood running down from his ears and his head where the Beast struck him. She couldn't tell him such things though. It was too close to the truth, and the truth had to be guarded. After all, they should be enemies, not allies.

She reached to her side and produced a bottle from her pouches. She poured it across the Knight's lips. In truth it was simply spring water muddled with mint that she used to mask her heavy drinking, but she found the use of such props a necessary part of her facade. Carefully, gently, she knitted his flesh up with her magic.

His eyes opened. He drew in a breath, and slowly rose to his feet. He looked around in confusion.

It struck the Sorceress in that moment that she could be honest. That she didn't need to lie. That it would be an easy, simple thing to tell the truth.

"The Beast?" he asked, looking around as the Sorceress handed him his helmet back.

She couldn't though. There was never any doubt that her lies would continue. No matter how strongly her love burned, the consequences were greater. She was weak, and her fears too great.

She smiled an innocent and practiced smile at the Knight. "Vanquished, you delivered quite a blow before the foul thing brought you down." He nodded simply, and after a rest, they continued on.

Fighting is easy, but the truth is a completely different beast, after all. WARRIOR NEEDS FOOD, BADLY

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

good crits mojo thx

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

flerp posted:

hawklad


beauty crit, very insightful, thanks!

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

Who wants to co-judge the REDEMPTION?

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

ok I'm in specifically to see what amazing Rush lyrics I get

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

i'm in with a rugose grin and a rush lyric

Julias
Jun 24, 2012



Thanks for the crits sebmojo, especially for schooling my dumbass.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


Some dang fine crits. Ty all.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Critiques for Weeks XXII, XXIII, XXIV, and CCXXXVIII: The Limericks Were a Lie

Salutations again, TD. The recap for Week 238 will go over all of that week's mentions, so here's a crit for each of them and for each of three older entries too.


Week 22: Schroedinger's Nihilarian


Beezle Bug, "Drag me Down": I'd probably like this better if it were more shown, less told, but I see what you're doing with the noir voice. There's some bloat in the fourth paragraph: "Looking back, I should have gone with her" says it all, with everything else coming across as elaboration on facts already established or implied. Your work is competent but somewhat predictable until the fetus vision--that's sharp, that's powerful, and if the whole piece had that kind of juice I imagine you could have won.


********************


Week 23: DIE FOR YOUR POETRY


HiddenGecko, "Dem Bones, Dem Dry Boners": Here we stand, with evidence right in front of us that it is possible to go through life without hearing a dozen variations on the activities of a woman from Nantucket. I never thought this day would come. Your meter is as bonkers as your content; barman does not rhyme with bachelor, and I refuse to believe you think otherwise. Quotation marks might have made things easier to follow, maybe, a little: it looks as though in every stanza the skeleton speaks the third and fourth line, and someone else speaks the fifth, but that's a theory I'm only coming up with as I try to tease method out of the madness. For all its failures as poetry, though, there's some charm in the entry's goofy PUA skeleton. He's a good approach to non-morbid death! If you revised this into a real series of limericks, I could see it being cute in a vaguely Shel Silverstein way.


********************


Week 24: Keyboard Kings


budgieinspector, "Mercy": The job you do of sketching a monstrous person, hinting at her depths but excusing her for nothing, is beautiful, but your ending half betrays it. Some suggestion of the forced baptism before the corpses rise would be an improvement on leaving it so late. Make the water thematic and ominous sooner; the fish is chilling, but I don't see a clear tie to Muriel's past. The story in its current form reads as though you shoved a supernatural element in to fulfill your requirement, which is a drat shame because it ought to work and probably would if it had more of an on ramp or sturdier narrative support. Your smooth writing and King-like mastery of character cause the seventeen hundred words to flow by. Write a few more!


********************


Week 238: Lie to Me


Erogenous Beef, "Cleaner": Tense shifts, EB? From you? Some of the lapses into the present might be technically if not aesthetically defensible, but "it shouldn’t be raining" isn't. Although postprandial is a fine word by me, I'm not happy with how soon I've spotted the story's main twist: in the second section, when Charlie says the perp is taller than himself or Detective Williams but doesn't mention the narrator. Once the notion that the narrator killed Black occurs to me, I'm immediately sure it's true. Charlie's comment about fish kills only makes sense as an I-know-what-you-did message to the narrator. I didn't foresee Williams would be in on it, and that's a turn I rather like, but this business with the murder weapons confuses me. Why would a witness think the chief was killed with a knife from the front when he was stabbed in the back, after death? No. The strangled corpse wouldn't kindly stand up so Williams could put on a show. A DM is a trifle harsh, but the early reveal really does kill this one.

*****

Chili, "On A Playground": Uh-oh. Another mystery. The puzzle of who broke the apple isn't compelling my interest; I like logic problems, but I'm here for a story. The badly punctuated dialogue (dammit, Chili!) isn't helping. Vincent's section is absurd without being funny--he talks like a high-school kid at minimum. Then Millie acts like a cloud-cuckoolander, and ughhhhh. My guess at the solution: Ms. Hellman gave Vincent the apple, possibly colluding with him; Vincent gave Connie the apple, possibly counting on Jared to be a butt about it; Jared bullied Connie, and she dropped the apple; the apple didn't break. Ms. Hellman broke the apple herself to frame Jared and get herself $15, I guess. The first part of that plan worked so poorly that I'm not sure I have the right answer. Does it even matter? The final section tells me none of this is worth caring about, so why should I bother?

*****

Hawklad, "Journal, Pages 467-472": Chelsea may as well paste sparkly stickers that say HI, I'M A HUGE BITCH! all over that journal, that's how hard you overdo her disdain for every living thing but Jake Leibowitz. I could maybe buy it in a letter to someone else, putting up an rear end in a top hat front for inscrutable high-school reasons, but it fails as a diary entry even before you forget about that conceit. I want to like the final sequence more than I do. Although Jonah is sympathetic--a respectable feat, given givens--Chelsea's incredible bitchiness (along with the pointless bit about racism, like everybody who snaps is of course an anti-Semite) turns the situation into a cliche. The story seems to paint Jonah's actions as her fault, which, no. That isn't the case no matter how punchable she is, and the final line renders her extremely punchable.

*****

BeefSupreme, "Faith": What a great take on the prompt. The dad is the real unreliable narrator; the son isn't, quite, because the truth leaks in through his telling until I figure I know the story--and so does he, despite himself. I agree that his blind spot is too dense for a high-school kid. The beer incident flies because the narrator was seven. How old is he supposed to have been when his father brought women to these parties? Fourteen? Fifteen? Such a level of credulousness doesn't fly at that age. It's easy to fix: have the parents break up when the narrator's maybe eight, maybe ten, and have the dad tell the "tour" lie for a few more years. The son's faith should come off as touching, troubling, and sad without making the reader wonder about his IQ.

*****

llamaguccii, "Coping Well": There's something interesting here. The man this man/woman broods over--it probably goes without saying at this point, but I wish they had names--died, I think, either a suicide or an overdose or murdered by the narrator. I can't tell which; the ambiguity is born of how little I trust the narrator either to know the truth or tell it. That's good. I wonder too whether s/he was really such a terrible partner that s/he consciously sabotaged his/her lover and said s/he hated him, or if, in his/her grief, s/he's focusing on the worst things she did and seeing him/herself as a monster without full justification. A moot point if s/he murdered him, of course. These are the sort of questions an unreliable narrator should invite. I'm more impressed by this piece than your others that I've read (excepting maybe the fragments of your Voidmart II story), but it dwells on the relationship angst for a long time, holding a single emotional note and wearing out my interest. The car crash that probably never happened grabs my attention again, almost too late--I would like less sleepless introspection. Consider working further with this.


2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 31, 38, 39, 42, 46, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 68, 71, 72, 74, 75, 76, 78, 80, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99, 100, 101, 102, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 111, 114, 116, 117, 119, 120, 121, 122, 124, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 153, 154, 155, 156

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Mar 15, 2017 around 07:57

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

Sitting Here posted:

ok I'm in specifically to see what amazing Rush lyrics I get

The writer stare with glassy eyes
Defies the empty page
His beard is white, his face is lined
And streaked with tears of rage
Thirty years ago, how the words would flow
With passion and precision
But now his mind is dark and dulled
By sickness and indecision



sebmojo posted:

i'm in with a rugose grin and a rush lyric

And now you're trembling on a rocky ledge
Staring down into a heartless sea
Can't face life on a razor's edge
Nothing's what you thought it would be

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



in

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Court Brawl: Judgement



One of the things I was secretly hoping for in this brawl was for the setting to be a courtroom but for no trial to take place. But you guys both went the trial route, which is fine. Anyway, neither of these stories particularly wowed me.


BeefSupreme: You did the thing I was hoping wouldn’t happen. Your courtroom was more a less a venue for another story to be told. I of course never bothered to say that was a problem, but you didn’t anticipate my whims and for that I am disappointed. Also, I got confused in your story a couple of times with regard to telling who was who. The names were a bit much and the action was a touch hard to follow. I got a little lost a couple of times. I want to re-read this and, of course, would be happy to parse it out in greater detail in IRC.





Sebmojo: I don’t know what your story is, what happened in it, or why these people are doing things. But I liked it. The central elements that got me through it were that the story happened in the courtroom, with the players from the courthouse being the main characters. I could see your characters pretty clearly as well, so that was nice, and it was a fun enough read.



I’d really rather just give this win to Jitzu, who had a great entry in a brawl I judged before but lost to an amazing one. Or, to BeefSupreme for a loss that was also a good entry up against an a better one. But I don’t think that’s how brawls work.

So Sebmojo takes this one down.

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007

DOUBLE BEEF ACTION

Chili posted:

So Sebmojo takes this one down.

I bow before this line:

sebmojo posted:

“Are you me,” asked Reinhart. He leaned forward. “Are you or have you ever been me.”

And this line only. Nice work mojo

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

BeefSupreme posted:

I bow before this line:


And this line only. Nice work mojo

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Mar 15, 2017 around 08:43

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Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


I'm in and please give me some Rush lyrics.

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