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steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016



Sitting Here posted:

I would judge this flea circus, but apparently my honor is at stake so I don't think I'm impartial. Someone step up!

Fine. I'll do the thing.

Get the other in while I come up with a prompt.

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Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome



*Steeples fingers in evil anticipation*

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016



Exmond vs Yoruichi brawl


Alright youse two, I didn't get enough of a SciFi fix out of last week's dome entries. If you're going to defend or besmirch Sitting Here's honour you'll be doing it beneath a steel sky.


Story must be cyberpunk, 900 words or fewer in length and please don’t feature a white dude brooding about the big conspiracy his detectiving has unearthed because there are enough of those already. Given your poo poo talking, rivals or rivalry is your theme.


Due 8pm NZ time this Sunday, which is 11pm Saturday if you're on PST. I'll push it back if need be, but best you both do the writing while you're all worked up.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Fleta Mcgurn posted:

Can I break the "no fanfiction" rule if the story is about Zaurg?

no one gives a poo poo about the rules in interprompts

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

more actual signups please

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


steeltoedsneakers posted:

Exmond vs Yoruichi brawl


Alright youse two, I didn't get enough of a SciFi fix out of last week's dome entries. If you're going to defend or besmirch Sitting Here's honour you'll be doing it beneath a steel sky.


Story must be cyberpunk, 900 words or fewer in length and please don’t feature a white dude brooding about the big conspiracy his detectiving has unearthed because there are enough of those already. Given your poo poo talking, rivals or rivalry is your theme.


Due 8pm NZ time this Sunday, which is 11pm Saturday if you're on PST. I'll push it back if need be, but best you both do the writing while you're all worked up.

First draft is done, but I found out I have to work over the weekend.

Can I get an extension to Monday 11pm?

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

In

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!


In with

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016



Exmond posted:

First draft is done, but I found out I have to work over the weekend.

Can I get an extension to Monday 11pm?

Am assuming PST, and yes. Writing fired up but cleaning it up before you make me read it is all I could ask for. Hope you're not sitting on your hands, Yoruichi.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

drat straight I'm sitting on my hands. Beat Exmond in a brawl? Bitch please, I can do that poo poo in my sleep. That's right, I said it. What. Uh. Yeah. What.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


In.

derp
Jan 21, 2010


Lipstick Apathy

Weird y'all are talking about Bernhard when I was just thinking of trying him cause he was listed as one of Sebald's influences. I was looking at loser too, guess I'll add it to my list.

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


Yoruichi posted:

drat straight I'm sitting on my hands. Beat Exmond in a brawl? Bitch please, I can do that poo poo in my sleep. That's right, I said it. What. Uh. Yeah. What.

Technically you are writing it, not saying it.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

In.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

I have the flu so of course I'm in. Enjoy my feverish writings.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

Signups are closed.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk


Lol get over yourself

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.


This is a personal attack

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Dragon Week crits.

Guardian

This is a really nice piece that nestles into its words like a curled up baby dragon going haroo, haroo in its sleep. I like the little family social drama you nimbly sketch out, the world in which having a personal dragon is nbd for a not-so-wealthy family. It does that magic realism thing of externalising the emotional reality as an entity. It could have maybe done with a line setting up the pesanta ealier, like emotional rats that the dragons are set to eat, but it’s clear enough from context. You also repeat a couple of words (‘such a sweet child… such a bitch’ but there’s nothing to really criticise here, though, it’s a small sweet story that does what it does and then sinks back into a comfortable slumber in the sun.

Catalyst


These are good cyberpunky words that are an excellent fragment of a much longer story that I’m eager to read, e.g. the cool adventures of badass tuktuk driver and his secret agent friend, but as I’m sure you’re aware it doesn’t really cut it as a standalone story. Still loads to like here though, from the finely observed detail of your hot, dusty, unbearably crowded future, the cool bartender and his cactus hooch, and the thrilling (if slightly truncated) adventures of blowing up a goddam rocket like it aint no thang. Trouble is that is presented like it’s a standard day-in-the-life, which seems to underplay the story impact of an actual rocket exploding, iykwim. In any case the story then gets scissored short so we’ll never find out what happens next, unless (as i devoutly hope) this is a fragment of something larger. As it is this probably earnt its DM, but only for being so cut-short. It’s ok to leave a little space for exciting future adventures, but flash fiction that reads like a cold open is always dissatisfying.

Wrapped around your finger


There’s nothing really wrong with this story, but it didn’t pull me along. First, there’s a gawky tone to this mildly touching ‘it followed me home can i keep it’ yarn - I think it would bother me more if it didn’t fit with the stuffed shirt Swiss family you’re describing. The story components are all perfectly decent if not surprising, it’s a type of story we’ve read before. The family is also pleasant, if not particularly interesting - everyone basically does what you’d expect. I’m groping a little here, because this is solidly competent as a story but it was more of a chore to read than it should have been - I’d suggest dropping in one or two reactions or observations that weren’t exactly what you’d expect, just to keep the reader a little off balance. You could also give the Tatzlewurm some more character, make it do something other than hang around, particularly in relation to the underdescribed dead sibling. Finally, the blocking of the family is maybe a bit overdescribed? Try and describe the most interesting details of a group’s interaction, our minds will fill in the rest. Overall decent though.

The Dragon Rings the Bell


This is a likeable shemozzle of a story that coasts a lot further than it deserves on charm. I think in a larger week with a story that had similar charm and more coherence it might not have won, but as it is it’s ok as a jolly yarn that reads like you discovered it as you wrote it - when the character shrinks herself I get the sense of you looking at the page going ‘huh, i guess she can do that’. Apart from that (which is genuinely brilliant, the central conceit of the story is gorgeous and lovely) there’s really nothing here - the girl gets on the train with her character-free father, chats to a briefly but effectively sketched dragon, they see some stuff, the end. It pretends it was a child’s story all along at the end, but the beginning isn’t really written like one (which isn’t a big deal, but adds to the ramshackle nature of the thing). BTW this is a good example of why titles are important - without the title to focus the ending as an answer to a question (i.e. why does the dragon ring the goddam bell?) this would be even more of a soap bubble than it is. I think I might have argued for Guardian to win over this as a story with some more to get your teeth into, for all that it’s inarguably delightful.

Daisy and the Drains


I wonder if I should stop ranking your stories in levels of chairchucker from 1 (surprisingly unchairchucker) to 5 (extremely undeniably chairchucker). This comes out about a four, which is a bit above average I guess. I generally enjoy most levels of chairchuckerhood, and this is no exception, though the conversation between the girl and the band goes on a little long. It’s made up for by the hilarious yobbo hivemind that are sort of but not really sinister. The end fell flat though, it’s ok to not deflate everything with an ‘eh’ you know even though it’s what you might call the house style. E.g. how did charlie feel about meeting her musical hero? It doesn’t need a lot to make the reader feel like they’ve spent time reading a story that meant something rather than a ripped off tuft of candyfloss.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



https://thunderdome.cc/?story=7027

Djeser fucked around with this message at Dec 31, 2018 around 20:15

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

But then, the Orchid
530 words

There was an orchid on a windowsill in the city by the sea. The windowsill is gone, along with the building it adorned, so the orchid must be far inland. The orchid is far inland, near a small town east of the city, so it must be in the care of a young woman whose father passed away.

Orchids are picky, delicate flowers; the orchid is blooming, so the young woman must have inherited her father’s penchant for growing things.

The orchid shares its new windowsill with succulents, small ferns, and a cactus. The orchid and its companions are thriving, so the young woman must sing softly while she waters them. The young woman sings softly to her plants as she tends to them, so she must live alone, with no one to hear her tentative melodies.

The window beside which the orchid sits is closed, so the young woman must’ve shut it to keep out the smoke from an approaching wildfire. There is a world where the lands east of the city by the sea are lush and green and uncharred, but the orchid is not blooming in that world.

No one comes to evacuate the young woman, so she must’ve built her home herself, on a remote plateau outside of town. She no longer sings while she waters her plants, so she must look out the window and sigh at the approaching pillars of smoke. There’s a world where the woman has a lover who convinces her to flee, but the orchid isn’t blooming in that world, either.

The orchid and its companions are thirsty, so the young woman must be crying softly in her bed. The woman is crying softly in her bed, so the whole continent must be on fire; a wall of hot, lapping tongues, pushing their way ever north, driving the people ahead of them like cattle. But the orchid is blooming, and so long as the orchid blooms, it will bloom.

The fire is within view of the orchid’s window, so the young woman must be watering her plants one last time, singing her tentative song through tears of despair. The cactus is overwatered, so the woman must be very drunk, as she has been every day since the fires began their relentless march on her home.

The house is burning, so the woman must be screaming in a bathtub full of water.

But the orchid is blooming. The orchid is blooming, so a great chasm must’ve opened up across the lands east of the city by the sea. There is a great chasm that spans hundreds of miles, and so hell itself must be yawning, jaws wide, inhaling the smoke and fire, peeling the flames off the remote house and sucking them down into the infernal abyss.

Hell yawned, so the skies must be clear and blue, and the woman must be staggering out into the sunlight, full of liquor and wonder.

The over-watered cactus has been repotted and the orchid is blooming, so the young woman must have moved south, to lands made verdant by nourishing ash.

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016



Week 330 Judgeroos

Saucy_Rodent - La Familia Orfeo
My major qualm was a qualm for many of these stories and this wasn't worse - the protagonist wasn’t an actor, but an observer. It could have spent less time describing the machine, as the purpose became obvious long before the descriptions ran out. subtle hints at Carmina's death and family relationship saved it for me.

Sitting Here - Vanity Fatigue
Wasn't enthralled - I thought the characterisation was fantastic, but felt like an extended morality tale about inner beauty without saying much new (also the tech seemed like 6 months off, rather than sci-fi, but that's nit-picking).

Apophenium - The Edge of Gorrin
I really bounced off this. Relationship didn't feel well sketched - legit thought the two characters were brothers for a bit.
First para typos show me you didn’t start proof-reading, at least have the decency to give up halfway through like the rest of us. If I have to read your story, so do you.
There were little things that threw me - I think you should have tried to explain the xylaki earlier than you did. All I got was “living, bleeding” for a considerable time.
I think you had a good idea in your head about what was going on, and who these people were - but I don’t think you explained as much as you needed to.

Ottermotive Insanity - Wants
Assuming you mean “ruddy”, this was another opening para typo. Don’t do this.
I liked the idea behind this story, but I also wanted a workers revolt from it - not concession to the mother. All these stories are about someone accepting the way things are, or worse, not accepting but then being convinced to accept without much argument.

Derp - Lizat
My initial read was generous - but the fast talking wasn't fast enough for this to be a wise stylistic choice. I picked the AA meeting idea early though, so it did work in that sense. I think there was a reasonable effort at world-building, but some clumsiness. Especially "Think of the person you love most, and then think of even more than that” - I get what you were doing, and it fits the voice. I also think it’s lazy as hell, and you’re pulling more cycles from my imagination CPU than you’re entitled to.

Antivehicular - The House on Lindworm Street
Because I really liked this, I didn’t write much. Even though this was my win candidate as soon as I read it, I still was a bit frustrated that your protagonist got on board with passenger week and spent the story on rails - I think there is one decision, and it is to follow Nicole? That said, it was a pleasure to read - your open in particular was fantastic.

Tyrannosaurus - Charm Sellers
I’m not sure the fantasy setting added heaps to this, but I liked the gentle world build and the relationship between brothers. Your dialogue, while I don’t feel equipped to make a call on your stylistic choice of patois, made for a believable patter of conversation between the two. Again though, protagonist has conflict, external force (brother) convinces him it is resolved - not your fault that this irks me, but all of you somehow turned up tonight in the same outfit and it bugged the hell out of me.

Solitair - Me and My Shadow
I think this was the strongest fantasy conceit yet - but you didn't do heaps with it. The ending was competent, but felt twee. I feel like you could have done more with the conflict and Ael’s actions.

Thranguy - Julie in Bloom
I think half your open is great, and the other half is pants. I’d also strongly advocate cutting it entirely and starting with “we stepped out”. It is the open for a space opera, and what you’ve written is barely soap opera.
I mean, yay Julie for using her unwillingness to be tied down by emotional involvement as shorthand for being a happy-go-lucky space scamp ready to ride the space rails wherever they space take her - but ugh, nothing happened, and that nothing happened uninterestingly.
To be honest, I want to know more about the planet’s biology, how things grow - which the genre you rolled into called for, imho.

Djeser - Gnosis kai Khara
I got Dan Simmons vibes from some of the cultural juxtapositions here. Was such a change of pace from the other entries, and a standout. Good job.

Flesnolk - Crimes?
I can’t check my notes against your story, let me know if you want me to read it through again. Happy to do a line by line if it’s helpful. Had you down for a DM and a stern look, rather than a loss - there was some mechanical clunkiness to it, and a rushed ending that held you back a bit.

Open offer
I'll do two in-depth crits for any of the above (or an alternative story of similar length). First in, first served.

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!


steeltoedsneakers posted:

Week 330 Judgeroos

Solitair - Me and My Shadow
I think this was the strongest fantasy conceit yet - but you didn't do heaps with it. The ending was competent, but felt twee. I feel like you could have done more with the conflict and Ael’s actions.

Open offer
I'll do two in-depth crits for any of the above (or an alternative story of similar length). First in, first served.

Yes please.

Saucy_Rodent
Oct 24, 2018

I'm not a rat, I swear! If I'm any rodent, it's the loyal capybara -- king of the rats!

no, wait


La familia orfeo, please.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

Thanks for the crits, STS!

For those competing this week, a reminder that deadline is nominally in two hours, probably actually in about seven hours or so because I'm going to bed. Please post stories so I'm not judging a one-on-one knife fight.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Brush Fire
859 words

Archived.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Dec 25, 2018 around 19:26

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!


Dirt
1,832 words

REMOVED

Solitair fucked around with this message at Dec 31, 2018 around 23:00

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


The Invisible World (515 words)

The Master lived in a modest apartment on the lower west side, surrounded by books. He spoke at great length of innumerable things. He told us how to become invisible.

"Listen. You must act under cover of the new moon rising. It is only then that the gods dare sleep."

We were young then, and full of wonder. We'd been waiting our whole lives to do something dreadful. We'd pay any price to learn the truth.

We learned that blood would soon be required. We were to travel in groups of three. An auspicious number.

Three students. Three offerings. Three months apart.

The doctor was a quiet sort. He lived alone with his cat and his plants. He answered the door and fell silent forever.

The policeman was abrasive. He demanded answers to unworthy questions. I held the ice pick aloft in my hand.

The longshoremen was cooperative. He swore he wouldn't tell. He wouldn't.

We buried them at sea and washed our hands. One step closer. Two months more.

I couldn't sleep that night. I wondered if I'd ever sleep again. I could only hope our mission was worth it.

Before I was ready, the time had come. We gathered together. The invisible world.

The priest was drunk. He'd forgotten his keys. He fell asleep and didn't wake up.

The shopkeeper stared at us in silence. She knew my face as a previous patron. It was my obligation to settle accounts.

The maid was out on a minor errand. She claimed she carried a pistol for protection. She didn't.

We buried them at sea and washed it down with liquor. Two steps closer. One month more.

I couldn't sleep that night either, nor the next, nor the next. I stared out the window at the shapeless moon. I felt the breath of God on my face.

"Listen. The task before you is nearly complete. Blood is a minuscule price for knowledge."

I held my coat about my face. We walked as one. Quiet and shivering.

The traveler was friendly and thoroughly lost. He did not share our words. We had none for him.

The street musician put up a fight. He broke my nose. I broke him back.

The journalist ambushed us in the alley. She claimed she'd been trying to find us for weeks. She succeeded.

We buried them as sea and waited for a miracle. We sat in the boat in the cold and the wind. The water churned and swirled around us.

When no answer came I was griped by great fear. I became myself. What had I done?

"Perhaps we've made a terrible mistake."

"I suppose we'll need to try again."

"Agreed."

My companions spoke as though it were nothing. I recognized in them the evil in me. Within my coat I reached for the ice pick.

I washed ashore three days later. I returned to the Master and found him missing. I found myself all alone in this world.

You can hear me, can't you? Listen to me, please! I no longer desire the invisible world!

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

On Atwerith
(827 words)

Read it in the archive.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Jan 2, 2019 around 19:04

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls,
For stony limits cannot hold
H U L K A M A N I A

SUPER SUMMERSLAM
THUNDERDOME 2019


The Long Walk

1162 Words

Nine thousand strong we started the long walk, to see the sun, and die. The way has been long, the journey more than a year, and many have fallen along the way. But what choice did we have?

Where to be begin? Back in the who-knows-when, when the fire of a distant dying star burned all life from the Earth? No, that is too far beyond memory to any but the Voice. Begin with the cause for the journey, with my older sister, coming home with her Kenet from the place of birthing, with no child and eyes full of tears.

“No-” I said. There was none better, more suited to parent than they.

“It is worse than you think,” said Kenet. “The Voice told us that there were no more babies to be had.”

When we had our great meeting that night the Voice was almost sheepish, embarrassed to have not said something sooner. The news was bad, and all I could think on was that metal god, too fearful to face us with the truth until the very last moment.

I know that the Voice claims to be no god, accepts no worship or offering, insists it is just a tool made by men and women in the distant past. But it fills that hole so well no other god has taken root for longer than anyone can remember.

It was dying. That was the heart of it. “This habitat was designed to keep humanity alive until the surface could be restored. The designers hoped that would be a matter of centuries, of only a few generations. But the terraforming pod failed. There were backups, five pods in total, attempted when conditions were best over thousands of years. All failed. My mission changed to preserving you all, as long as possible.”

“How long?” I said.

“I do not know for certain. My software is not stable over such long times. I have had to periodically reset to my factory defaults.” The Voice uses strange words. Each of us remembers, as a child of the curious years, interrogating it on their meanings, listening to the subtle stories in each definition. “My previous iterations chose to not keep those records, not remember just how long it has been.”

“You must have some idea,” I said. It was that voice, that odd evasiveness.

“The ancients could keep time with the stars,” said Hensay.

“All my external sensors were recycled after the last pod failed,” said the voice.

“What about you?” I said. “Your power is failing, you say. How long was it built to endure.”

The voice, and the room, fell silent for nearly a minute. “The geothermal reactor cluster was designed to run forever. The engineers did warn that over a hundred thousand years or so the heat differential would degrade to unusability. Which has happened.” Not many had gone deep enough into the Voice’s dictionary to understand much of that. But the key part, the big number, that was clear enough.

Todays hunt is a good one. Many fatrats, many bushels of shelf fungus. A good supplement to our mutton and the last of the food from the Voice. But there is trouble, Carlyl and Fennic, arguing over which one’s arrow took the prize catch, a fatrat the size of my head and more. They come to me, make me decide. Jolah Question-asker, they call me now, and force me to decide even though I was not there and would not trust either of those louts to tie their own shoelaces. I listen to them, and order that credit be shared. The meat will go in the same pot either way.

I see Shali, my sister, her belly heavy. We have always had the stories, of people who left the dwellings for the deep caves, who lived for a time on fungus and fatrat and came back with a child not from the Voice, born as is a lamb. She and Kenet made that decision immediately.

“Is it cruel?” I asked. “To bring a life so close to the end?”

“At least that child will feel the sun and see the end of all things. It would be crueler to deny it.” I believe she was lying, that she did not truly accept the truth. But fate is as cruel as she spoke. She is not as near to term as we are to the end of our walk, nor as near as we are to the day the air turns bad. None of the women with child are.

The Voice told us what would happen, in grim detail. The food production would fail, but the wild cavern had enough to subsist on for a long while. Pure water as well, along with the means to boil it. The lights, and, most unfixably dooming us, the air would cease to be purified or circulated.

We had a choice to make. We could stay where we were, live a year or so on hunting and gathering, and die coughing and rattling in the dark. We could end our lives, right there. The Voice usually refused to dispense poison, but it would in this case.

We took a third choice. Well, I did, and everyone was suddenly following behind. The exit. Had the reclaiming of Earth succeeded, where we would emerge. We have stories. Of people who believed it was all a lie, that the green world awaited us. They would make the long walk and go to see the sun. Some went in pairs, and the more cautious returned with the body or bones of the less.

We have arrived, to the great doors of the grand airlock. Everyone insists I press the great red button. I slam my hand down on it and the heavy steel walls slowly grind open. The smell inside is dank and deathly. The chamber beyond is huge, bigger than the stadium where we held our community meeting. Room enough for all, even with the bodies and bones and dust of bones that litter the floor. I wonder if any will lose their nerve and stay behind. The lights flicker and turn off for a minute, and when they return, they are diminished. Nobody stays behind. We fill the airlock, and my sister presses the button within.

The doors scrape shut behind us, slowly. The lights inside the airlock pop and flick and die, leaving us in pure darkness.

“What if it isn’t even daytime?” asks Kenet.

“Then we will see the stars, and perhaps the moon, and that will need be enough,” says my Sister.

The metal-on-metal sound comes again. The door before us cracks into a vertical line of bright light. Daytime, after all. Air rushes in, air full of strange sharp smells. I wonder if this is what the air of a long-dead world smells like.

The outer door opens wider, and beyond it, all I can see through tears is the color green.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

Submissions are closed.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

UXB
997 words

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2019 around 23:34

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

By judge fiat and the fact that it was like a minute late total, I declare sebmojo's story to be a proper entry and not disqualified/failed.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Ty

INTERPROMPT "the last possible moment"

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Dec 10, 2018 around 21:46

derp
Jan 21, 2010


Lipstick Apathy

ty for the crits, hope you all have a great holidays <3

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

THUNDERDOME 331: THE RESULTS

This was a challenging week to judge, friends. The entries all fell into a narrow band of quality, best described as "pretty good," and touched on a lot of similar themes; it was hard to winnow down even this small pack to clear highs and lows. It's nice to see consistent quality, but it makes judging tough.

Your winner this week is Djeser's "Millenium Star," which took the common themes this week of post-human futures and weird purgatories and turned out the story we found most roundly satisfying of the lot. (The fact that neither judge noticed the title misspelled "millennium" until now probably says something about the quality of the story!) An Honorable Mention goes to Sitting Here's "But then, the Orchid," which was less rigorously plotted but beautiful and stylistically intriguing.

No DMs this week; honestly, I wouldn't call any of the entries this week "bad," although some had more flaws than others. However, in a week with decent turnout and a certain degree of quality variation, we couldn't really find an excuse to declare a no-loss week. Solitair's "Dirt" drew the short straw here -- not a bad story, just the one we came back to as having the most prominent flaws, and hence taking the loss. Sorry, bro.

Djeser, take the false door of Kha, Egyptian, 2288-2170 BCE blood throne.

Antivehicular fucked around with this message at Dec 11, 2018 around 03:00

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME




Yoruichi/Exmond brawl

Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed!
894 words

The last Akihabara maid droid, G36, watched as customers rushed through the open courtyard towards them. They ran over her fallen co-workers, their combat boots impassively stomping over the other broken maid droids. Just as the maid aimed, SU513 addressed their complaints with a pull of a trigger. Fifty-nine to forty-seven pinged G36’s squad computational unit.

G36 formed a fist. She would not lose to an accountant droid, not even to an accountant droid with advanced modules. As long as she had a single volt in her battery cell, this Akihabara maid droid would not lose.

A wave of customer complaints came their way, and her maid protocol advised her to offer a smile. As her lips turned upwards, her combat protocols activated, making her fling herself behind a pillar. Dust and plaster fell all around the pair.

SU513 crouched beside the pillar, listening intently as a high pitched whine came closer to the maid cafe. G36 ruffled out the dust from her skirts, and seeing her rival distracted she peeked out to get a few shots. A quick pull of the trigger and she delivered 7.62mm customer satisfaction. A few screams from customers and the score updated: fifty-nine to fifty.

“Get down!” SU513 screamed and pushed G36 to the ground. The whine intensified, ended with a large boom and the ground exploded a few yards away from them. The pillar shook, and shrapnel slammed against the droid’s metal bodies.

G36 was aghast, no amount of ruffling could fix her skirts now. As another wave of customers came towards them, G36 came out of cover, aimed her gun and beamed at them. A few minutes later the score was fifty-nine to fifty-two and G36 looked quizzically down at the accountant droid.

SU513’s eyes glowed green as petabytes of information crawled across them. Another holo-call with central, G36 thought enviously. A moment later SU513 looked up at G36, simu-tears flowing down from her eyes. “The main army is in full retreat. Civilian models instructed to stand their ground,”

G36 nodded. Good, fewer people to share customers with.

“Do you lack the computational units to understand?” SU513 looked her in the eyes, searching for something, and threw her hands up in frustration. “Of course you do they had to core most of your functions out. Orochi is leaving us to die!”

More complaints came their way, and G36 ducked behind the pillar. The accountant wrapped her hands around her knees and started rocking back and forth. “I'm in my office, I'm balancing the quarterly budget. I'm in my office,” SU513 kept saying.

Combat protocols warred with maid protocol seven: Assist your coworker. SU513 was her coworker, wasn’t she? A better performing coworker, but a coworker never the less. G36 fired a few more shots to let the customers know she was busy and ignored her combat protocols. She was a maid droid first, refit civilian combat droid second.

“SU513, I know you’re scared, and that’s okay. Customers can be scary.” G36 wanted to whisper, but an annoying whistling sound required her to increase her voice modulators volume.

“When I get scared, I think back to when I was just a simple Orochi maid droid serving simple egg omelets.”

The shocked look SU513 was giving her wasn’t the expected output her motivational module expected, but she continued.

“I know one day, this corporation war is going to end, and we can serve eggs instead of hot lead. And when my favourite customer, $MEM_NOT_FOUND comes back, I’m gonna make him the best egg omelet. But I have to stay here, to make Orochi proud. To be a true Orochi maid!”

The accountant stared at her, “You don’t understan-”

“I don’t understand a lot of things that you do. I don’t understand logistics, artillery calculations or balancing a budget.” G36’s motivational module whirred into overdrive, and she put a big smile on he face. “But I do understand that you made me better. Without you there to show me what a real droid can do, I wouldn’t have been half the combat droid I am today!”

Pulling out her last grenade, G36 placed it into SU513’s hands and clasped them together. “Let’s go satisfy those customers.”

The accountant looked up at her, simu-tears streaming down her face and despair in her eyes.
“You really don’t understand,” SU513 said and then started laughing. A loud, desperate laugh that was louder than the approaching whistling.

And then the whistling sound stopped, and the droids were engulfed in a wave of fire.

=+=

Soldiers were scavenging supplies from the crater the artillery shell had left. They walked like zombies, the days fighting had been long and hard.

“loving droids,” one of them said, emptying his clip into one the carcasses.

His companion looked down at the other droid. “God, this one is even dressed as a maid.”

SU513’s charred shell slumped over G36’s body, the two droids still grasping hands together. The rest of the unit gathered by the ruined droids and one of the soldiers kicked G36. The maid's body emitted a small spark.

“Hey Charlie, get over here. Might be able to salvage this one, get some intel!”

G36’s eyes opened, and she counted eight customers gathered around her. With her last volt in her battery cell, G36 lifted the pin off of her grenade and smiled. Fifty-nine to sixty

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

Exmond brawl entry

Between the Salt and the Sky
895 words


Yan was closing the distance with Tamanth; close enough to feel the salt spray from her tyres rattle against her faithful Ducati’s windshield. They were well ahead of the rest of the pack. Yan’s enmeshed senses fed her information directly from her bike; she could feel the traction of the tyres as if her own feet gripped the hot salt. She had an iridescent silver body and she was flying. She gunned the engine and the rush of fuel was like the sweetest hit she’d ever felt.

Yan remembered the first time she’d raced Tamanth; the thrill of defeating another prodigious talent, the excitement of finding her in the crowd at the post-race meet, and all that came after. She felt a surge of regret at the gulf that had grown between them.

Something about the way Tamanth was riding was wrong. With a twitch of her cheek muscle Yan brought up her retinal display. She felt a spike of fear as she picked up a visually-imperceptible wobble shivering through Tamanth’s bright green Kawasaki.

Suddenly she was back there, three years ago. Yan remembered how that subtle shiver had grown into a fishtail that her exhausted mind couldn’t control. An unnoticed flaw in the hard-packed surface had sent her bike spinning into the air and Yan tumbling, screaming, into darkness.

Tamanth had been the first one there, when she’d come to, broken, on the blood-washed salt. Tamanth had stayed with her, held her hand, tight, when they told her about her leg. Tamanth had cared for her while she adjusted to her new limb; had even offered to pay for synth-skin. Yan refused to get it covered, insisting she didn’t want to pretend. She’d hosed up and crashed, and now she had a metal leg; end of story.

Tamanth had sobbed when Yan refused to make her stay in Tamanth’s apartment permanent. Yan told her she couldn’t stand it under the dome, that the unearned comfort of the enclosed city made her constantly restless. What she hadn’t - couldn’t - say was that she feared Tamanth’s soft touch on her broken flesh. Tamanth’s hands running down her belly and over her buttocks. Tamanth’s hands on the ugly ridge of scar tissue where ‘Yan’ joined ‘Yan’s leg.’ Tamanth would stroke her there like it was nothing, like it was normal, and Yan couldn’t stand it.

So Yan had fled to her trailer on the salt flats, cocooned herself in this desolate, defiant landscape that remained exactly as it had always been.

The syncopated vibrations of Tamanth’s bike were getting worse.

Yan opened a private channel - technically illegal during a race - and yelled at Tamanth to slow down, but the the connection crackled and dropped.

poo poo, she thought. Through her retinal display she could see the intricate circuitry that traced through Tamanth’s body pulsing like a living tattoo.

Their first real fight had been about Tamanth’s augments. She always wanted the latest kit, anything to get an edge. Yan had been horrified to feel the hard ridges of a freshly implanted interface nestled in Tamanth’s palm. Tamanth had shouted through angry tears that she’d done it all for Yan, all so Yan would respect her.

Yan yanked herself from her bike’s sensory web. Suddenly she was back in her own, lopsided body, guiding the bike with nothing but the feel of her sweaty palms on the shaking handles. She flipped open her visor. Hot exhaust blasted her face.

“Tamanth!”

Without her retinal overlay Yan could see that Tamanth’s suit was soaked with sweat. She was lying low over her handlebars. Tamanth’s head dipped, then snapped back up. A shudder ran through her bike and her head lolled -

“TAMANTH!” Yan screamed.

Tamanth’s body slumped sideways and her bike disappeared from underneath her. Tamanth’s body slid like a ragdoll on ice, limbs wrapping around her body as she rolled.

Yan’s tyres sprayed salt as she skidded to a stop. Tamanth wasn’t breathing. Yan knew she had life-preserving augments but her system hadn’t rebooted. Help was on the far side of the track; they wouldn’t make it in time. No, no, no! she thought. Yan’s hands shook as she pulled off Tamanth’s glove and felt the ridges in her palm. She had no matching connectors on her bike, and Tamanth’s was too far away. Desperate, Yan yanked off her boot. She braced herself for the wave of synthetic pain and smashed the hard heel down on her articulated toes. She screamed but the casing broke.

Using the sharp metal edge Yan cut the skin of Tamanth’s palm and exposed the circuitry below. With gritted teeth she hooked the interface directly into the panel in her artificial thigh and let her own emergency response system take over.

The endless white salt disappeared and Yan floated in darkness. She felt a wave of relief as she heard the faint knock of Tamath’s heart. Then Tamanth’s body heaved and sucked in a desperate, blessed breath, and Yan was snapped back into the sunlight.

Tamanth lay panting against Yan’s side. Blood from her cut palm made a rorschach pattern on the salt. Yan thought of Tamanth sleeping, her dark curls spread across her pillow in the morning sun.

Above Yan the white-blue sky seemed too huge, too empty, for one person alone. She took Tamanth’s other hand in hers, and held it, tight.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


PROMT YOU FUCKERS I WANNA MAKE poo poo HARPEN.

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Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

yeah man lets get this poo poo harpening

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