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Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


Prompt: Nevermind

The Hated Enemy
1692 words

Field Group Q got a lead on the fugitive, but kept it quiet. Mostly, we wanted to make sure it didn’t turn out like the time when eight teams of power armored troops ended up arresting a senile grandmother and her three cats. My theory was Munkhtsetseg had died some time since she’d gone into hiding forty years ago and been swept up by a street cleaner, along with the vagabonds and other dregs. But the New Union Party, full of silver hair as it was, told us to find her, so we followed orders.

My partner, Jerson, had his guess. “She probably had facial work done, some black market surgery. Otherwise, cam-drones would have picked her up years ago.”

We were strolling toward the apartment block in our power suits, checking the alleys as we went. The target building was just another concrete tower. Bland enough to be perfect, I supposed. “Or she’s been living off the grid.” I wasn’t married to any of the theories we tossed around.

“No. She’s behind the attacks. No one else has the strategic aptitude to make it all appear so random. So she has to be in one of the cities, coordinating it.”

I couldn’t argue with that. Everyone knew from history that if you sent an army at Munkhstetseg’s army, your army disappeared. She’d won a lot of battles back when the war was on. That was the other reason the New Union wanted her gone. We’d never been able to trace any of the terror attacks to her, though. She was that good.

Our earpieces buzzed. “Jerson? Malic?”

“In position, commander,” I replied.

“Good, Group Q is ready. Ah, the cat’s out of the bag on the operation. Whether or not the tip is the real thing, ah, Department Leader Verat is taking command of this operation.”

I looked at Jerson. He shrugged.

“This is Leader Verat,” came a scraggly, stern voice. “Proceed with the plan. Our support craft are on their way.” That was an understatement. I could already hear propellers chopping up the air in the distance.

“Beginning our sweep now,” came someone over the radio. Inside the apartments, soldier teams were checking rooms. Sweeps were routine enough that the residents wouldn’t suspect anything unusual. On my view screen, I watched as little dots representing the teams swarmed about.

“First floor clear.”

“Movement—East face—ah, poo poo. Sorry, just a crow. East face clear.”

I chuckled, but kept a closer eye on our side of the building.

“Second floor clear.”

“Roof exits secure.”

The crack of helicopter blades came louder. “This is air unit delta, now in pos—”

The radio cut out, and my screen started blinking red. “Does anyone copy?” I asked. No response. “Jerson. Jerson!” He couldn’t hear me through the suit’s helmet. I hand signed that the radio was dead. He signed back that his was too.

That’s when I saw her. A seventh floor window opened, and she used a jetpack to drift down to the adjacent building. Target! I signaled. The choppers’ calamitous blades drowned out everything. No one was looking. I started off after her, digging my suit’s metal fingers into the building side, clawing off chunks of concrete. I caught sight of her as I hauled myself onto the roof. She was heading towards downtown. A lot of cover from the sunshelters and the towers. The helicopters would be useless. I sprinted after her. Mechanical legs pumping, I leapt from roof to roof, watching her silhouette flicker like a ghost in the night.

I started thinking of the lessons I’d learned in school. She’d pioneered electronic warfare, blacking out entire cities, commandeering mechanical armies, all while managing to keep her forces so insubstantial that there was never a solid target to strike. My palms felt sweaty.

A rush of wind and clamor buffeted me, and one of the choppers landed in front of me. drat! They’d blocked my sight of her.

A man stepped out, wearing white and blue armor, the emblem of the party shining bright from LEDs on his arm.

In pursuit of target, I signaled.

No response.

Target escaping, I signaled.

He took off his helmet. It was Leader Verat.

I took off my own helmet. “Sir, I caught sight of a woman, probably our target. She’s—”

“You did?” He looked surprised. He turned to the chopper pilot. “Round up a team, and as soon as communications are back, tell them to get as many drones in the sky as they can. I’ll pursue the target myself.”

“Last saw her moving that way, Sir.”

We sprinted off. With our power suits, and her jetpack’s limited fuel, we were sure to catch her soon.

As we entered the outskirts of downtown, we passed under our first sunshelter. I heard the crackle of an arc-gun charging.

I dove for cover. Too late. Lightning blazed out from the shadows. I felt my suit freeze up and smelled ozone.

The woman emerged from behind a pillar, letting the arc-gun drop back down on its sling. She had cropped gray hair and the eyes of a predator. She cocked her head to the side, examining us. I saw the amaranth flower tattooed on her neck. Munkhtsetseg.

“Eli,” she said. “Little Eli. I imagine they still don’t consider you one of them, even though you sold your soul.”

“You whore,” Leader Verat spat. “We’ll find your army. They’ll die. You’ll lose.”

She chuckled. “New Union owns the world, but you still live in constant fear. You always did need an enemy to hate. You’ll need one when I’m dead, too.”

I stared. One of the leaders knew Munkhtsetseg? I fumbled for the emergency release on my armor. I thought that if I strained, I could just barely reach it.

“gently caress you!” Verat screamed. “You and all the Kommuriun!”

“I never hated you,” Munkhtsetseg said. “Even after you betrayed us. I did hope you’d find peace. But enough talk.” She pulled a pistol from her belt and shot him twice in the face.

“poo poo,” I breathed. Her eyes were on me now.

“I should probably kill you too,” she sighed. She raised the gun.

I need to play for time. I could feel my fingers closing in on the release, but the drat gears were stuck. “Wait—what are the Kom-mur-iun?” The word tasted unfamiliar.

“That was the name we gave ourselves. The ideology that opposed New Union and—ah, nevermind. That truth will die with me.” She could see the look of confusion on my face. “They’ve packed your head with so many lies, I couldn’t begin to unravel them.” Munkhtsetseg put her pistol away, then drew out a knife. “I’ll give you three gifts. The first is your life. The second, I’ll tell you where my army and family are—hiding, in a secret complex beneath the Tangshan greenhouses. The third gift is this.” She put her hand up on the metal pillar, then brought the knife down hard on the first joint of her pinky. The finger dropped to the ground. She picked it up and tossed it at me. “An act of kindness--for you, at least. Unforgeable proof that the New Union’s enemy lives. Feel free to lie about how you got it. They never liked the truth anyways.”

Then she turned and faded back into the shadows.

***

Her pinky finger lay on the table in front of General Smith. “I was able to get the jump on her when I released my power armor, sir,” I told him. “But she escaped using her jetpack, and I couldn’t pursue. I attempted to save Leader Verat, but was unsuccessful.”

“You did well,” General Smith said, though he was busy looking at that severed flesh like it was a viper.

“She, ah, let slip, something about her army being hidden near the Tangshan greenhouses. I don’t know if—”

General Smith turned white. A med drone had to come and inject him with something before his color returned.

“She was lying about that,” he said. “I can assure you there’s nothing there. Best to drop it entirely.”

We resumed the search for Munkhtsetseg, but the teams couldn’t find any trace of her beyond a few drops of blood on the rooftop.

***

It took three years before I made it to the Tangshan greenhouses.

“Colonel Malic! An honor to meet you,” the manager of the greenhouses said when we met on a warm winter day.

“Retired,” I told him.

“The man who cut a monster,” he said. “I can’t believe you left after your heroics.”

“I like gardening,” I lied. I’d found lying came easy to me now, like breathing.

I transferred into soil management as soon as I could. I’d read the histories, but even the black market books didn’t mention Tangshan. As far as the histories were concerned, it had been a defensive war fought on the American continent, never on the Asian coast. But even though the party had cleaned their histories, they didn’t clean their records of deployments and logistics. Tens of thousands of men had been sent over.

I suspected General Smith had lost a battle in Tangshan. Still, I wondered why she’d specified the greenhouses.

I started digging in one of the houses, passing it off as a soil study. It took six feet of digging before I discovered it.

Dusty bones and leathery flesh. Skulls riddled with bullet holes. Scraps of Kommuriun uniforms. Munkhtsetseg hadn’t lied after all. I covered the bones back up, then checked under the other greenhouses. More bones. Mass graves, the size of which I couldn’t fathom. It wasn’t just her army. Her family was there, too, as she’d said. All the children’s skeletons and civilian clothes made that clear.

I thought of her eyes again, how calm they’d looked. I wondered how she had it in her not to hate people who’d done… this. I wondered what other truths were buried.

There was no army. No resistance. But she was right. The New Union would need an enemy to face when Munkhtsetseg was dead. And I knew who it would be.

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Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat


Gravy Boat 2k

[Tense error fixed post-competition.]

With Apologies to Some Guy in Montreal
1068 words

Jazz ruined my life.

Nobody told me I couldn't make a living from music. They told me it would be a lot of work, and they told me the pickings were slim, but they didn't tell me I couldn't make a living. That was a lie by omission – maybe not a conscious lie, but I know deep down they knew it wasn't going to happen. They also told me a regular old lie: that I should follow my dreams. I should also spend all my savings on lottery tickets. What a Goddamn joke. I know I was a bigger liar than any of them, but I at least had a reason. At least the horseshit meant something to me. What did anyone else get out of feeding me that?

My sax is in the closet. My room is in the basement. I'm 42 and moved back in with Mom and Dad six years ago. When I moved out it was to go to college. Berklee. I was on top of the world; I was going places when I graduated. My band would get signed by a label. I'd get a paycheck. A real, honest-to-God paycheck! Can you imagine that? Of course you can, because you don't play jazz.

I don't play jazz either, not anymore. It makes me want to barf. I won't say that you can't hate something unless you've loved it, because that would be another lie (although a cute and pithy one), but I will say that you can't truly loathe jazz the way I do unless you've dumped everything into it like I did. There's a special kind of hatred that failures and betrayals provoke, and there is no bigger failure or betrayal in my life than jazz.

And at the same time, I can't get away from the Goddamn stuff. I can't sell that sax I never play, can't stop myself from listening to the records, can't help knowing that not playing jazz anymore makes me guilty as sin of something. Jazz trails me like some secret police. I'll feel shame opening my porn folder, not because it's porn, but because porn is such trash compared to jazz – the jazz police look through all my folders of trash, and it all goes in my dossier. My niece Haley will call her grandma to say Happy Birthday, and when Uncle Me gets his turn on the phone, Haley asks about the old band – the jazz police put her up to that, just to gently caress with me.

Of course I play along and tell her about the band. It's not like I could have forgotten. I tell her about the gig I remember best. Some lovely bar (the gig was memorable, but that doesn't mean the venue was), nobody listening, the usual. We played three songs, "Birdland", "Watermelon Man", and one that I'd written myself, "Green Tangerine". Elliott's piano solo in that one (played on a keyboard because he couldn't lug a piano around to every gig) was only supposed to be 16 bars, and then I was supposed to take my turn, but the guy wouldn't stop playing. He couldn't stop. His solo kept building and building, getting more and more frenzied and complex, and I realized I was scared of this. I don't know if he'd planned it out or was just doing it all on the spur of the moment, but we all forgot about "Green Tangerine". By the time he smashed out his final chord (Am6, nothing to do with the original song), everyone in the bar had stopped talking to listen. That was the first time I ever heard applause at a gig. That was when I knew I didn't have it in me, whatever "it" was, because Elliott absolutely did.

Elliott Furner is getting to be a big name now. He's playing with orchestras and with his own band. I think his second album is supposed to come out this May. I don't blame him for leaving my band, because he was far too good for us, and I don't resent his success, but he makes me feel sick anyway. Elliott's a musician, and I just play music. Played music.

The doorbell's ringing.

From upstairs: "Herman, it's for you!"

I come up out of the basement and see Mom, short and old but not fat, by the door, and in the door is someone I thought might come around "someday" but never "now".

"Elliott! What are you doing here?" My shock is obvious, but I think I manage to hide my shame. I want nothing more than to be back in the basement.

"I'm playing at the Crescent tomorrow night, and I remembered that you live here, and... well... I hope it's not too much of an imposition. Just for old times' sake."

"I'm sorry. I don't play anymore."

But the way my voice falters gives it all away. He comes in, and we talk about other things, but it's going to happen now. I'm going to play with him.

We're practicing together. I'm a lot less rusty than I'd hoped, but I can't pretend that I'm good, or at least good enough to listen to along with him.

"No. Can't do it. I'm done with jazz, loving hate it."

"Oh, don't tell me that. You can't hate it if you haven't loved it," Elliott lies.

"gently caress you." Neither of us can believe I just said that. "So I loved it. So I dumped everything I had into it. Look what I got out of it all. Look where I am! Living with my goddamn mom! And you decide to just rope me in for... for what? What were you expecting?"

"I just wanted to do something nice. It's called kindness. Have you forgotten that some people aren't cynics?"

I don't say anything, because I realize that I have.

"How much do you hate jazz? If you're going to hate it, then hate it! Make jazz your bitch!"

It's true. He really believes in me. He's really doing this for somebody he admires in some way. And he's invited me here to let me be somebody I admire.

We come out onto the stage. I take it all in, all the love and pain that have come to a head tonight. The band starts playing. I put the sax to my lips.

And for the first time in my life, I'm a musician.

Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2018 around 01:51

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

In mortal chains
378 words

Anastasia had pretty much had it with everything including the world and was barrelling down the Northern ringroad to her self-appointed death at a particular bay on the coast when the blue Toyota Caldina came hurtling out of the side road, clipped her bumper, and sent them both spinning off the tarmac and into the ditch.

The sky overhead was dusky tangerine with a single cloud, in the shape of a seagull, drifting. Anastasia stared at it through a hole in the shattered windscreen as she sat, the knuckles on her left hand white on the steering wheel.

The engine ticked as it cooled.

After a while her right hand, which was wrapped around the rear-view mirror, began to ache and she pulled it off and balled it into a fist a few times. Someone knocked at her window. She heard the knocks as a muffled thudding, like she was a fish and someone was tapping on her aquarium.

“I didn’t see you,” a voice said, and when it said the words again she finally processed it as language and turned. A large pale woman with curly hair plastered to her sweaty forehead was looking at her through the unbroken window.

Anastasia pushed the window button and it whirred down. “Hi,” she said. “I should be dead.”

The large woman pulled at the handle and the door opened a little then stuck. “I’m glad you’re not,” she said. She laughed, a back of the throat hiccoughing laugh, then yanked it harder. “You should get out before it… I don’t know. Do cars explode?” The hand she held out for Anastasia was dainty, like a ballerina’s.

“In movies, I think.” Anastasia squeezed out. Her back hurt. “Are you an angel?”

The woman grabbed at her as she slipped on the wet mud, and they were embracing. then, in slow motion, they both fell to the ground, still clasped together.

“I sell cars.”

That struck them both as funny in exactly the same way at exactly the same moment, and they laughed, and then the absurdity of what, and who, and where they were struck them even harder and they laughed like they would cry like they would die, still laughing, as the sound of their laughter curled up to the darkening orange sky.

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

Closing Time

Late entries before judgment will get crits from me though.

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009

I am a real boy.


Ah gently caress. I hosed up. I hosed up.

Somebody fight me.

Aesclepia
Dec 5, 2013
Next verse same as the first.

apophenium posted:

Ah gently caress. I hosed up. I hosed up.

Somebody fight me.

I'll fight you, failure. Oh, and here's the

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009

I am a real boy.


Aesclepia posted:

I'll fight you, failure. Oh, and here's the

Let's spill some blood.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



fresh from my psych ward room where people prolly think im talking to myself, here is recording of the winner of last week (i think, didn't check too hard), twittering machines by flerp. partly to test my laptops recording software (its bad).

short and sweet which helps.

if anyone can guide me to more td experimentalism in the same vein, id appreciate it

im trying

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Aesclepia posted:

I'll fight you, failure. Oh, and here's the

apophenium posted:

Let's spill some blood.

Hello, my name is chili, and I'll be your fudge.

Right now, I'm on a really horrible diet because I feel unhealthy. I can't eat anything that tastes good and my life is stupid. This causes my mind to drift. I think about horrible foods that I shouldn't eat and I feel all the worse for it.

I'm giving you babbies 1000 words and a deadline of 1/22/18 11:59 EST to write me a story about indulgence. The story can be about a syntonic serial killer, a binge eater, an adrenaline junkie... what the gently caress ever. Just give me characters who's willpower is worse than mine so that I can feel better in comparison. Got it?

Also, if you slovenly shitlords want more words, you can ask your opponent for a brutal flash rule. Doing so will net you a cool 500 bonus words. If they provide you with a flashrule, you'll have to incorporate their flash rule into your piece. If they don't? Well, enjoy your 500 words.

Now go, get out of here before I change my mind.

Chili fucked around with this message at Jan 15, 2018 around 18:10

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


spectres of autism posted:

fresh from my psych ward room where people prolly think im talking to myself, here is recording of the winner of last week (i think, didn't check too hard), twittering machines by flerp. partly to test my laptops recording software (its bad).

short and sweet which helps.

if anyone can guide me to more td experimentalism in the same vein, id appreciate it

im trying

thanks

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Boy howdy I sure do love my semi-regular ritual of drinking red wine and livecrittin', yes sirree

Crain
Jun 27, 2007



Obliterati posted:

Boy howdy I sure do love my semi-regular ritual of drinking red wine and livecrittin', yes sirree

Well that's a good crit, thanks Obliterati.

I tried to do way too much stuff and I didn't have the space to pull it off. You were dead on about the second part wasting time and then rushing through everything else. I was trying to stay under the word limit.

Also thank you for the best writing advice I've ever gotten:

"You know what, assume your reader is drunk."

Crain fucked around with this message at Jan 15, 2018 around 23:05

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Crain posted:

Well that's a good crit, thanks Obliterati.

wow this is a good post i hope you didnt write anything after this sentence or that would ruin this post!

Crain
Jun 27, 2007



flerp posted:

wow this is a good post i hope you didnt write anything after this sentence or that would ruin this post!

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


Obliterati posted:

Boy howdy I sure do love my semi-regular ritual of drinking red wine and livecrittin', yes sirree

Thank you for the crits and the advice on grammar! Shame on my dialogue tag misusage, I hope to not err again.

flerp posted:

wow this is a good post i hope you didnt write anything after this sentence or that would ruin this post!

Less shitposting more crit posting?

Exmond fucked around with this message at Jan 15, 2018 around 23:19

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

But how are you on the dance floor?


Obliterati posted:

Boy howdy I sure do love my semi-regular ritual of drinking red wine and livecrittin', yes sirree

Thanks for the crit, I appreciate the brutal honesty.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Exmond posted:

Less shitposting more crit posting?

i agree, people should stop posting like poo poo

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



flerp posted:

i agree, people should stop posting like poo poo

but then how would you post?

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

this is what happens when there is slow judging

fast judging good judging

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

this is why interprompts were invented

interprompt:



200 words interprompt or shut up (unless you're saying thanks for the crits [and nothing else])

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

Sitting Here posted:


interprompt:


The man, who Caterpillar trusted because he smelt of the dirt of the open steppe, fell suddenly from his back. Caterpillar bolted away, clearing the edge of the battlefield and only stopping once he was surrounded by a sea of golden grass.

He flared his nostrils, swinging his head around, but his nose was still filled with the stench of death and he could find no scent of other horses on the wind. He whinnied, but there was no responding cry.

A yell and a clanging of metal from behind him made him spin around in fright. The man who he trusted and another, who had arisen from amongst the corpses, were fighting. The man knocked his opponent to the ground and the long stick he was holding flashed in the morning sunlight as he swung it down, again and again.

I wonder why they do that, thought Caterpillar, as he lowered his head to graze.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


Sitting Here posted:

interprompt:



Reasons Why Your Local Crow Might Be Feeling Existential Dread
  • Your crow has been finding lots of food that nourishes him, but is that living? There's so many garbage cans and fast food restaurant parking lots he hasn't checked. What if the meals he hasn't found are better?
  • Your crow has seen his reflection in a mirror or window. Jesus, is that what he looks like? It looks like he doesn't preen. Does he really bob his head like that when he walks? Christ, no one told him.
  • Your crow is alone. I mean, there's other crows cawing, of course, but when your crow caws, do the others really listen? Does anyone know or care about him? All the other crows pair off, but yours sits on the wire, wondering why he can't seem to fit in.
  • Your crow saw another crow get hit by a car. poo poo, she was just eating road kill, and one error... gone. Your crow wonders if it could happen to him.
  • Your crow has been wasting his life.
  • Your crow caws again. It echoes in the winter evening. There's no response. He fears he will die alone.
If your local crow stares listlessly off into the distance, any of these reasons may be affecting him. There's not really anything you can do. Perhaps you could climb up a tree, and caw at him.

Uranium Phoenix fucked around with this message at Jan 16, 2018 around 03:10

sandnavyguy
Sep 12, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER




Paul screamed as he beat his fists against the glass, his bruised and battered knuckles flailing helplessly against the tempered walls. Above him the perched demoness watched with a cocked eye, silent save for the faint thudding of its avian heart. He tried desperately to avoid its gaze, hiding beneath the thick foliage lining the offering box. With a thundering caw and a beat of one mighty wing, the foul beast swept the ferns and bushes from Paul's corner, sending the man flying like a ragdoll into a nearby pile of bramble.

***

The whole of the city watched the live-feed carefully, safe and warm in their secured and reinforced homes. Some still held their crumpled, sweat stained tickets. Others had tossed them out the moment the lottery was over. Everyone, however, stayed silent. Waiting.

***

His lungs collapsed, Paul struggled for air as he thrashed against the exposed glass and thorns. His cries for help carried far but were useless in this suspended tomb above the central tower. The last thing he saw before the world melted out of focus was the swollen red blot, stark against the faded parchment that had been passed down for generations.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Sitting Here posted:

this is why interprompts were invented

interprompt:



200 words interprompt or shut up (unless you're saying thanks for the crits [and nothing else])

You wouldn't believe whats in there. (#126)

The nation watched in horror as a giant crow from a parallel universe stuck its head through a rift over Seattle. The news estimated a 2 million death count in the time it took the military to arrive.

The giant bird twisted inside its dimensional socket and opened its beak. The frantically honking people below pushed smaller vehicles into the Sound so they could save their own skin.

The crow huffed and said. "Ewww. It's gross in here. No wonder we're not allowed in the sewer."

It retracted back into its dimension just as the Jets arrived. The death count was 3 million due to people reacting like little bastards, but that was forgettable. The sick burn however...that stuck.

CantDecideOnAName
Jan 1, 2012

And I understand if you ask
Was this life,
was this all?


Sitting Here posted:

this is why interprompts were invented

interprompt:



200 words interprompt or shut up (unless you're saying thanks for the crits [and nothing else])

I am Crow. I like the skies. This is where humans put their eyes. They put one here! I take a peek. I wonder what it is they seek.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Sitting Here posted:

this is why interprompts were invented

interprompt:



200 words interprompt or shut up (unless you're saying thanks for the crits [and nothing else])

Investigation Report: Puzzle Box 368-A, filed by Agent Skreeaw

Agent received report from civilian nesting on adjacent structure about suspicious box similar to known Terrestrial puzzle-based food storage boxes. Civilian stated that she suspected "serious food, the real good stuff," but was unable to attempt the puzzle herself due to nesting duties. Civilian was rewarded beak's worth of Terrestrial carbohydrate as thanks for service to Great Nest.

Agent found reported box, designated Puzzle Box 368-A (see addendum for magnetic navigation coordinates), and investigated. This agent's belief is that there is little chance of food or puzzle with this box. Puzzle was entirely sealed in hard-cold Terrestrial material, with no obvious apertures or manipulator tools available. Additionally, location is not readily accessible to Terrestrials, suggesting infrequent visits and thus probably no fresh foodstuffs stored there. Agent did not pursue further work on the puzzle.

I'm not quite ready to say this was a wash yet, but this one is going to need a way better puzzler than me. I'm only a 2nd-ranker, after all. Is anyone good at breaking hard-cold? -- S.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Crow
14 words

Crow Crow

Crow

CrowCrowCrow Crow

Croooooow crow crow

Crow cr

Ow cr ow

Crow

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Obliterati posted:

Boy howdy I sure do love my semi-regular ritual of drinking red wine and livecrittin', yes sirree

Resuming this in 20 minutes, no thanks to British Telecoms who are bad at internet connections

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

Thunderdome Week 284 Results

This was a fairly average week, neither exceptionally bad nor exceptionally good.

Let's go from the bottom up: The week's loss goes to Crain for The Porter, for a cold-war muddle of shifting points of view and never-defined stakes.

Just above them fall the week's two Dishonorable Mentions: CascadeBeta's Obsidian Rain, for prose issues and for making the wrong decisions about what to explain and what to leave unexplained, and Exmond's Fleeting Moments of Comfort (which also DQs for length, if that matters to the statisticians). While the egregious easily-caught proofread issues weren't the only things wrong with that story, it's safe to say they played a big role in sinking it.

Skipping over the soggy middle, we move on to Honorable Mentions Flerp's charming ghost(?) story Three Days and Fleta Mcgurn's touching character moment The Sisters take one of those home each.

The decision for the top spot was extremely close, literally tied after the initial evaluations, and coming down to my decision as head judge. The third HM goes to Sitting Here's slow-starting but brightly-burning By Nature, and the winner is Djeser, for the just plain well-done magic realist tale Solstice

The blood throne is yours!

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

prompt

Aesclepia
Dec 5, 2013
Next verse same as the first.

Prompt?

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Who has two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn't cried once today? This moi!



Prompt...!

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat


Gravy Boat 2k

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013




same

CantDecideOnAName
Jan 1, 2012

And I understand if you ask
Was this life,
was this all?


A crit for Exmond's story, since we had discussed it briefly on IRC before he wrote it.

Canty: what kind of story do you want to tell?
Exmond_office: A melancholic one with people confronting things they would rather not, and resolving to be stronger
Exmond_office: like they hosed up but they are gonna get up again

Exmond_office: Yeah, I don't have much of an idea of why they are having a divorce
Canty: might want to figure that out
Exmond_office: I'll work on that
Canty: it'll change the story
Exmond_office: Only defense, It's not so much the point of the divorce, but I think you have a point

Canty: cause and effect
Canty: which, if I recall, is something you've had trouble with in the past

Exmond_office: I want both protagonists to be sympathetic


Relevant points from our conversation are above.

Okay, first point. You wanted to write a melancholy story. That's defined as being sad and thoughtful. So, overall, is your story sad and thoughtful?

Kinda? You clearly have someone facing a thing they don't want to: the woman and her divorce. So check that box off. Is it sad? Kinda. Is it thoughtful? I'm not sure. The entire thing feels shallow, and I think that relates to the second point on my list, which is the divorce. You didn't know what they were getting divorced over, and it shows. They're splitting up because, what, she almost hit their six-year-old? That seems very forced, like you were grasping at straws for the last point: how to make them both sympathetic.

Obviously it's hard to make a child abuser sympathetic, and that's why you pulled your punch. In the future, don't pull your punches. If you want to stay on the route of her beating their child (and believe me, there are a multitude of reasons available for divorce in this scenario, including cheating [like you initially suggested] or emotional distance due to work [if he works days and she works nights, they might never see each other]) then the obvious solution is that she believes in corporal punishment and he doesn't. She argues that it's a cruel world out there and wants to toughen up their kid, while he thinks it's an outdated and needlessly abusive practice. Maybe it's not great, but it's a more solid reason than the flimsy excuse you have here. The trick with sympathy is not that the character has to be a good person. One of the definitions for sympathy is “understanding between people; common feeling.” We don't necessarily need to agree with what she's saying as long as we understand where she's coming from. Beating your kid is abhorrent, but everyone can understand and relate to a desire to make sure your children can face the world on their own.

As always, proofread. I caught a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes. You've got a way to go but you're improving. The beats are all here even if the depth isn't, and this story doesn't have a bear in it.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


There was a gif here, now it is lost to the void

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at Jan 18, 2018 around 04:54

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


Jay Friks vs Exmond brawl
Prompt: Because they had not repented, the angel stabbed the unrepentant couple thirteen times, with its sword.


Tempered Sacrifice
967 words


Because they had not repented, the angel stabbed the unrepentant couple thirteen times, with its sword. Each time the angel slashed the sword warped and twisted to represent another sin of man. My wife had taken all seven sins, myself six. The angel unfurled its wings, holy radiance emitting from them, and lifted the sword high above its halo. The sword glowed red, the metal within it shifting like waves of Jupiter. The final sin - Wrath.


I smiled and the angel plunged the sword into my chest. Images of past-lovers scorned, victories snatched away and a crib, once full of life but now empty, filled my mind. I could feel my soul scream out for vengeance, to give in to wrath. I looked up at the angel, the machination of a master who stole everything from us and remembered why we were here. We would get him back.


My purpose tempered my soul's scream, forged it into purpose. I lifted the sword out of my chest and held onto it. No wound was upon my body, only a single scar across my sternum, my soul bore the rest.


A gentle hand helped me up and my wife glared at the angel. "You have struck us with Gluttony, cut with Greed, sliced with Pride," she said.


I stood up, making sure not to ring any of the bells attached to my robe, and continued her speech: "Carved with Envy, thrust with Lust, beaten down with Sloth and impaled with Wrath."


My wife held my hand and we spoke in unison.


"We have survived your trials, passed your tests. Give us back our son!"


The angel stood motionless, a machine waiting for instructions never to come. Its soulless white eyes did not stir as the clouds parted to reveal a staircase.


We ascended the steps, the pearly gates lying high in the distance, taunting us. Beyond them our son, taken from us too soon. His death had started our dark path down necromancy, our path to resurrect the son stolen from us by god. Each step brought forth memories: the village healer consoling us, telling us it was God's will; dark nights spent reading forbidden texts.


I started chuckling to myself and turned to my wife. "It's funny. Two necromancers ascending to heaven."


She smiled, showing her teeth. "Just wait, we have one hell of a punchline."


At the last step we saw an old man sitting on a chair, behind him a massive gate made of divinity and dreams. My wife walked forward, slapping one of the angel automatons out of her way.


The gatekeeper looked up at her and said, "My child-"


It was the wrong thing to say to a mother of a deceased child. He didn't get another word out before she grabbed him by the throat.


"We have rang the bells of Kibeth and Astarael to walk past death, we have danced through purgatory and we have endured the seven great sins of man. Give us our son back."


She released him and he coughed, "Amazing achievements for mortals, but they are nought in God's eyes. Your child has gone to a better place."


In response I channelled a necromantic bolt at the gate. Dreams and divinity held, uncaring and unbending to the necromantic energies I hurled at the gate. Beyond them I saw grassland and a small sleeping boy. He had his mother’s hair, fiery red, and my eyes.


"DAMIEN!" I yelled, but he did not stir.


I lifted the blade and leveled it at the gatekeeper. "Give him back."


My wife braced herself, knowing what was to come. We knew that stealing from the heavens wouldn't be easy. It would require sacrifice. We had played a game of cards to choose; she had won. She was always a better card player than I.


The gatekeeper shook his head. "I cannot. God's will forbids it."


I lifted the sword high above me and yelled for vengeance. The sword shifted, turned red, and waves of Jupiter swam across the hilt.


"God's will be damned." I plunged Wrath into my chest. She may be the better card player, but I was the better liar. My wife let out yell, one of betrayal and grief, as my blood splashed the clouds. The first mortal blood to spill in the heavens.


She ran towards me, tears in her eyes. "I was supposed to-"


The heavens groaned and rumbled. Angels around us tensed, knowing something was wrong. My wife grabbed the sword and ripped it out from my chest yelling, "From every great sin of man there is a chance for great virtue!"


My blood on the sword transformed into red veins and they pulsated in time with each one of my breaths. Blood continued to pour down and onto her hands. She raised the blade and yelled, "I name this blade, Sacrifice."


With one thrust Sacrifice broke apart the gates of heaven. Bars made out of dreams sundered to the blade. Divinity wilted to its might. My wife rushed to grabbed Damien. He roused and looked at me, fear and confusion in his eyes.


"It'll be all right," I said over the angel's anguished screams. "It'll be all right."


She paused for a moment and bent down to kiss me. It lasted a lifetime; it was only a moment. I struggled to try and tell her to run, but only blood came from my lips. Damien let out a small cry, and then she was gone.


I sat there, dying a few feet away from the smouldering remains of the heaven's gates. With a ring of the bell, my child and wife disappeared from the heavens. I died happy as heaven fell around me.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



Thunderdome 285: Tempus Fuckit

This week, you're going to write a story that looks back across the vast gulf of time. When I say 'vast', I'm talking thousands of years. Forgotten, distant history.

Real life is full of this. Egyptians worshipped gods so ancient they didn't even know what they were, just that they were real old, and real holy. Archaeologists dug up Babylonian ruins and found an ancient museum, where ancient archaeologists had preserved artifacts from the ruins they'd dug up. Hell, if you want to get real vast, At The Mountains of Madness is about unfathomably ancient civilizations.

Any setting you like is fine, real-world or invented. Any time period you want to choose works too; there's always been a distant past I don't care whether the bulk of the story is in the (relative) past or present: the story of an archaeologist's discovery works just as well as an ancient story framed by a modern translator's commentary, or a transmission received amid radio static by a probe in another galaxy, or whatever dumb bullshit you want to pull.

If you want to be an insufferable goon about it, I consider about five hundred years to be the lower bounds for "vast gulf of time".

Word count: 1800 maximum
Signups end 11 PM Pacific Friday night
Entries close 11 PM Pacific Sunday night


Judges:
Djeser
CantDecideOnAName
Exmond

Entrants:
sandnavyguy
Uranium Phoenix
CascadeBeta
flerp
Thranguy
Antivehicular
Unfunny Poster
Fuzzy Mammal
Fleta McGurn
Jay W. Friks
Obliterati
sebmojo
crain
Bad Seafood
Okua
HereComesEverybody
Deltasquid
Sham bam bamina!
QuoProQuid
crabrock
RandomPaul
Chairchucker

Djeser fucked around with this message at Jan 21, 2018 around 08:46

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sandnavyguy
Sep 12, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in.

I've always been in. For generations, my bloodline stalked the halls of the great "IN" and the ancient eldritch horrors lurking beyond the veil knew for certain that I. Am. In.

I love ancient horror tales.

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