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My Shark Waifuu
Dec 9, 2012



Blood Money
Words: 919

The Trade Master sighed and tapped the paper in front of him to summon the agenda again. Only two more entries until lunch, brought forward by the Security Master and the War Master, respectively. He’d try to talk them out of whatever violence they wanted to inflict, but disturbingly other members of the Council had begun to vote in their favor. It was his duty as the Chair to remind them what truly mattered.

Five people shuffled into the chamber, hands bound in titanium chains to prevent any magic-working. The Council rarely saw criminal cases but this case was exceptional. One of Marazanvose’s leading weapon-crafters and her apprentices had publicly protested the city’s trade of these weapons, specifically to the city-state of Ferrath who had proceeded to wipe out their neighbor Polauve with them. The situation was a mess and the Trade Master did not look forward to debating it.

“Who has brought forth this case?” he asked for the record. In the corner, a transcription of his words began to burn themselves onto the Archivist’s paper.

The Security Master stood, his face concealed as always by a blank mask. “The Security Master brings charges of sedition against Illanna Penrose and company. Due to the high profile of the leader, I formally recommend execution.”

The Trade Master rubbed his forehead; the Security Master wasn’t wasting any time. “The Council recognizes the severity of the crime but cannot recommend violence as the answer. Such a drastic solution would deprive the city of a gifted crafter, one who has brought over ten thousand—”

“You do not speak for the entire Council,” the War Master interrupted. She was relatively new to the post and felt the need to prove herself. “Future revenue from her work is jeopardized if we allow her to protest the sale of her own weapons.”

“They are not my weapons,” Illanna Penrose growled. “I merely developed a method for targeting and eliminating specific pests in crops, you people turned it into a bomb to kill other humans.”

“It is far more valuable that way,” the Trade Master said. “Besides, your guilt and the propriety of selling these bombs is not in question here. The only remaining issue is that of your punishment.”

“We need to send a strong message,” the War Master said. Several other members of the Council nodded. “We have been too soft on the populace for too long.”

“They follow us, they feel free to craft and create precisely because we are moderate,” the Trade Master said, sensing the Council’s sentiment was against him. “People produce their best work when they are treated well, which has led to our comfortable position as the center of trade. Or do you want to be reduced to just another squabbling city-state?”

The Master Diplomat nodded serenely but the other members remained unconvinced.

“These people have undermined that very premise by questioning the wisdom of our neutrality,” the Security Master pointed out. “If we start picking and choosing who to sell what to, then we become political. Which is what you want to avoid, is it not?”

“It is,” the Trade Master said, “which is why we need to handle this appropriately, to keep the peace, as we have always done.”

“A few months’ prison and a reeducation course are not enough,” the War Master said. “People need to see that there are consequences to questioning us.”

“All those in favor of a strict punishment?” the Security Master asked quickly, before the Trade Master could respond. Seven out of the nine Council Masters raised their hands, the necessary number to pass the resolution.

“Very well,” the Security Master said. “Illanna, do you have other apprentices?”

“Yes, but they had nothing to do with—” The end of her sentence turned into a scream as the apprentices beside her dropped to the floor, their skin turning a dark purple. The War Master had exploded their hearts.

The Trade Master was on his feet, livid. “What have you done?” he shouted. “This is against all protocol!”

The Security Master continued, “For Illanna Penrose, I recommend we turn her into a Thrall so that we may control her actions going forward and reassure the populace.” He turned his blank mask to the Trade Master. “This accomplishes your goals, correct? Illanna disavows her previous statements, trains more apprentices to keep the money coming in, and everyone’s happy?”

The Trade Master sunk back into his seat. Maybe there was sense in those words. Who would even care about the disappearance of four apprentices anyway? Still, it felt like a point of no return as Illanna Penrose was dragged screaming from the Council chamber and the bodies were vaporized without further comment.

Over the next few months, the Trade Master stopped arguing with the other Masters when it came to their violent viewpoint. The results were clear: the crafters worked harder and quieter, producing more goods for export lest they be investigated. So long as quotas were met, the Trade Master tried not to worry about the methods.

He did put up a token resistance, along with the Master Diplomat and the Archivist, when the War Master proposed the assassination of a particularly antagonistic city-state leader. However, he could not deny the increased trade opportunities in the end and so cast the deciding vote in its favor. And when Marazanvose burned, his people killed by Penrose bombs, in retaliation for the assassination, the Trade Master could do nothing but stand and burn with them.

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The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning






E: https://thunderdome.cc/?story=7267&title=UnOfficial+Baby+Rhinos%3A+The+African+Kingdom+Appreciation+Group+%26%2310148%3B+Admin+Pinned+Post

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at 16:06 on Dec 29, 2019

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME


flash: Your authoritarian lives an ascetic life and judges those who seek material pleasure rather harshly.

Bardo 59°
1350 words

Terri ascended the long path to the fire lookout tower, followed by a herd of stranded yogis. The matronly steel structure sat atop a forested ridge just outside of Halibut Cove; from there, Terri could track the progress of the black smear on the eastern horizon as it dragged its deleterious belly over the remnants of civilization. The end of the world approached at the speed of a growing fingernail, squeezing the last humans westward like so much toothpaste onto the bristles of the Pacific Ocean.

Mason was the only yogi to follow Terri up ladder to the top of the fire lookout. The others waited reverently below, sitting vajrasana among the skinny pine trees.

.

Before news of the apocalypse reached Halibut Cove, Terri had been a wellness instructor at Stillwater Lodge. The herd of yogis were the latest in a never-ending stream of upper-middle class malcontents searching for enlightenment in the Alaskan wilderness.

Terri had a way with nine-to-five folks; they all lived like listless dragons, tethered to their hoards by mortgages and children and debt and unhappy marriages. Her soft voice and beatific disposition temporarily trivialized all that, as did the natural majesty surrounding the Cove.

After news of the apocalypse reached the Cove, Terri had found within herself a new sense of purpose. The all-destroying thing on the horizon was fitting punctuation to capitalism’s rambling, overwrought diatribe. Only those with worldly attachments had anything to lose; the key to surviving oblivion was to have nothing, to be nothing. To achieve true detachment.

Mason, meanwhile, had styled himself as Terri’s high priest, her confidant; this was convenient for him because he was brazenly attracted to Terri. He’d been angling hard for some sort of faux-pagan fertility cult thing, as though Terri was going to start force-marrying people to each other and presiding over orgies.

The yogis were receptive to Terri’s outlook—had latched onto it like a ring buoy—but Mason was an obstacle, a Mephistopheles of nihilistic sex and futile hedonism.

.

“I think you’re ready,” Terri said as she and Mason surveyed the approaching stain in the sky.

Mason’s breath quickened. “For what?”

“Go east, touch the end of the world, then come back. Don’t take anything with you, not even your thoughts.”

“You’re talking in koans again,” Mason said, cuffing Terri lightly on the shoulder. His heat was a cloying disruption of the crisp Alaskan air.

“It’s a sincere suggestion,” Terri said.

“Why? Why would I do that? The end is going to get here eventually. I’m content with that. I’ve found detachment.

Terri affected her most beatific smile. “Sometimes people need to see that a thing can be done. The others don’t think it’s possible to achieve true detachment before the end gets here. They think they’re going to die, which means they’ll die. The only way to unburden them of their need for proof is to provide them with proof.”

Mason chewed on that for a few moments. Terri knew he couldn’t ignore the implication that she thought he had achieved true detachment, and in doing, set himself up to play the heroic Bodhisattva.

Finally, he said, “I’ll go. Either I’ll come back or I won’t, but like, it’s all fine either way, right?” He looked at Terri hopefully, as though he expected her to say he’d passed some sort of test and didn’t have to go to the end of the world after all.

“Thank you,” she said, and bowed deeply.

Mason’s crestfallen look was quickly replaced by grim stoicism. Terri felt a momentary pang of guilt, but it was just another thing to observe and release; the feeling passed, dissipated like mist in the afternoon sun. Compassion isn’t always kindness, she reminded herself.

.

Mason set out eastward early the next morning, stark naked in spite of the sharp autumn air. His glutes were grey and goosepimpled from the cold; he’d followed Terri’s instructions to ‘take nothing’ with him to the fullest, most pedantic degree.

Terri and the other yogis watched as he waddled stiffly away, then disappeared up the earthen path that would take him into the eastern wilderness.

A woman named Bonnie huddled next to Terri, wrapped in a heavy Navajo-print blanket. “Is he trying to martyr himself? Does he think he’s impressing us?”

“No,” Terri said softly, compassionately. “He’s going to liberate us from our doubt.”

.

Mason, as it turned out, had functioned as a containment node for the anxious, fatalistic hedonism among the yogis. When he was present, he’d given the others someone to judge, someone to differentiate themselves from. Now, it was as though he’d left the worst parts of his nature behind to inhabit the remaining yogis.

In the week following his departure, Terri found Bonnie in bed with Todd and Heather. She discovered Bill drunkenly playing an erotic visual novel on a laptop he’d borrowed from one of the locals. Ron, a limber septuagenarian, seemed content to aimlessly jerk off until the end of the world.

Terri took a long walk around the Cove, pondering how her yogis, her sangha, might be saved from their worst impulses. Cold, violent solutions hung low in her mind like stubborn rain clouds.

The small bay was busy with playful otters, who swam and twirled and devoured shellfish with oblivious innocence. An eagle circled lazily on a meager autumn thermal, eyeing the water for careless fish. Life in the Cove, it seemed, went on without attachment to any sort of future.

And, with the abruptness of a teacup shattering, Terri understood.

.

After some convincing, Terri led her sangha into the wilderness.

They had to forsake their humanity to preserve human kind. When the apocalypse made its inexorable approach on Halibut Cove, it would find only innocent animals, and pass over them.

They hiked twelve serpentine miles into raw wilderness, bedding down beneath a copse of pine trees when the light went low. The night was cold and bloated with hunger, and there was talk of going back to the Cove.

“You can’t go back because don’t know where you are,” Terri said, her soft voice stabbing like a shiv into the mutinous rumbling of the sangha. “The veils of illusion have been pulled aside. Your only comfort now is in the relinquishment of attachment. This is your final dharma.” Her soft voice swelled to a commanding thunder that echoed in the darkness beneath the trees.

Reverent silence greeted this proclamation. Terri felt a swell of pride, embraced it, then released it like a flock of doves.

.

She awoke at dawn, raised her head from the makeshift pillow of pine needles, and found herself alone in the forest. The cold had clenched her body into a tight fist; the tendons in her arms and legs felt like they’d shortened by several inches overnight. She couldn’t sit up, could barely move.

Terri laughed, a sonorous noise that ricocheted off the forest floor, bounced off the trees, filled the morning with its mirth. There was nothing left. She was free, liberated from her concern for the salvation of others.

The pale Alaskan sun warmed her some, and by midday, she was able to resume her eastward journey. Her mind was a limpid space, like the gaps between trees; there was no need to fear the apocalypse, because for Terri, the apocalypse had already come to pass, leaving nothing but serenity in its wake.

For a while, Terri walked. Then there was only walking, detached from any particular identity. After a handful of sunrises, the walking ceased, and there was nothing but awareness, the persistent serenity of total detachment.

.

Many months later, the end of the world plodded over a nondescript patch of Alaskan wilderness, testing the air for flawed lifeforms with tendrils of bright-darkness. It paused on its errand, having tasted a curious anomaly among the trees.

A figure sat in full-lotus position at the base of a towering pine, exuding only the faintest emanations of life. The end of the world prodded the figure with its bright-dark tendrils, found it unstained by the maladaptive skein of sapience, and moved on with a cyclopean shrug.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


The Swineherd Rebellion

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 17:57 on Jan 3, 2020

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Wormfood
1326 words

We buried the cow without eating her; perhaps a stupid idea, given how famished we all were, but the worms were everywhere that month and I could not take the chance. I could feel the children’s hungry eyes on her sunken flanks as I slid the rusty shovel into the mound of dirt and tipped it down the hole. I didn’t look up from my task, but I could hear the dirt and stones rattling off its hide and, behind it, the laboured breathing of the children.

After the cow was gone I stowed the shovel on the bracket at the side of the bus, cinching it tight with a twist of cord. Then I looked at them.

“That had to be done,” I said, and waited for them to nod, fractional inclinations of their exhausted heads. The afternoon wind was getting up, bringing a whiff of ozone and gunpowder. “Now get in the bus.”

There were twelve children left, at that time, and I counted them off as they filed past me. I touched each one, squeezed their narrow bony shoulders as they clambered up the ladder and wriggled through the passenger window, muttered their names. Mal, Gina, Peanut, Alfie, Sally-Tall, Rogo, Neekwa, Boister, William, Christa, Nicus and Yarrow.

Yarrow was always the last, she saw herself as a leader of the others and knew that the leader must always be last except when she is first. She stopped at the bottom of the ladder and looked up at me. “Storm’s coming, Teacher. Where will we shelter? The others need rest.”

I looked down at her, coldly. Under the shadow of her hood her left eye was almost closed up with scar tissue, an angry red line trailing down her cheek. Too slow to get out of the way of a stick, paid the price. “That is my decision, not yours. Into the bus.”

She stared at me a moment more, then shrugged and climbed up the ladder and through the hole.

Yarrow was right, of course, and I frowned to consider it as I jammed the crank into the front of the bus and yanked it round. Food was an issue too. I had been counting on the cow to feed the group for a week, maybe more, and seeing the wriggling threads in its big dead eyes when Gina had pointed them out to me had been a blow. I didn’t let it show in my face, of course, but I sank down to my haunches beside it.

“Teacher, don’t get too close,” she said in her quiet hissing voice. I held up my hand, flicked it away for her to leave. I didn’t trust my voice right then.

I’d first seen the worms come down round tea time, on a beautiful spring evening however many years before. The sky had taken on an odd iridescence, as sometimes happens when it is about to rain. I’d taken a breath of the primrose-scented evening air as I scanned the few dozen tents arrayed on the hillside below me like multicoloured mushrooms.

The memory had a hallucinatory precision to me, perhaps because I returned to it so often. I could have sat down with a piece of paper and a paintbrush and put a dab of the correct colour for each tent on a wash of nostalgic green for the grass, a rich bristle of trees on the edge of the hills and, drifting down upon it all, the cellophane shimmer of the worms. The grass and trees were all gone now, and the children, well.

I yanked the handle round again and the motor turned over with a shudder, spluttered, then caught. I looked up at the slash of grey across the dirty apricot sky. I thought I could see a shimmer in it, but it might have been imagination. I frowned up at the sky, calculating, then shook my head. Yarrow.

Yarrow was going to be a problem.

Ten minutes later the storm hit, lashing fingers of cold rain clawing at the scratched windows of the bus as I gunned it up the slope. We'd loaded up on fuel at the station we'd found back north of where the madmen had parked up, and I'd supervised transferring it to the big bladder on top of the bus so my main concern was shelter, for now. My other concern was standing beside me, knees loose, watching me and the road ahead, dim-lit by the bus’ remaining headlamp.

“You need to be with the others,” I yelled as I downshifted over a hump in the road. “Get strapped in.”

“What’s a clutch,” she asked. “You fixed it last stop?”

We hit a straight patch and I glanced at her, and a heavy feeling fell over me at her narrow, knowledge-hungry face. Then the simple inevitability of what I had to do, soon, pulled the blanket of foreboding away and I felt free . “Disengages the gears. Push the clutch, driveshaft spins free, change gear.” I smiled at her, and the unfamiliar expression pulled at a scar on my chin. She didn’t smile back.

An hour later we were under cover from the storm in a rust-eaten barn and I rolled out the tension in my shoulders. Yarrow had gone back to see to the others and distribute some food and I was alone in the cramped cockpit of the bus. I scratched at my scar, listened to them murmuring in the back. Could I leave her with the group after all? Did I have to do this?

I looked out the window, eyes unfocused. Outside was the world, a ball of grime and dust and worms. The children couldn’t make it without me, I knew that. I was all they had. We had survived. We would survive. We would keep surviving. Curiosity was poison, and death, and worms. The grim parade of the other children began its nightly march, the ones who hadn’t listened, or had thought too much, or who hadn’t done what they were told. Once it had started I had to let it go to its end, so I slumped back in the ripped leather of the driver’s seat, murmuring their names as they passed.

When the parade was done I knew what I had to do. It was the only way. The storm had stopped, so I thumped on the sheet metal behind me and kicked open my door. “Yarrow,” I yelled. “Latrine duty.”

She slid out the window and down the ladder readily enough, and grabbed the shovel from out of its bracket. We trudged up the hill, stepping over dead trees and round patches of dry gorse. We didn’t speak. After fifty meters I looked back at the barn below us and the dim light of the camp stove. Far enough that they wouldn’t hear. I held out my hand. “Shovel,” I said. Yarrow didn't say anything.

Frowning, I turned, and saw a flash of rusty metal as the flat took me hard in the face. I tried to yell but my jaw hurt too much to open. I put up my hand and heard something crack inside it as she hit it with the blade on the backswing. I fell over, head hitting something hard and turning the world into a sudden fog of blackness.

I woke to sunlight, feeling sick. There were clouds in the hazy blue sky, drifting from left to right. I watched them for a while, then flopped my head to the right. The barn was there but the bus was gone. There was one of the little boxes of food we'd taken from the service station a week back beside me. How kind, I thought. It hurt to grin, but I took in a shuddering breath, then another, then looked back up at the sky.

The clouds were white against the pale blue sky, with the faintest shimmer of cellophane.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!


The Sounds of Hammers on Glass, Played in a Minor Key

582 words

“Remember when all these houses had windows?” asked Father Char. I didn't answer. It was hard to forget, here, where the walls had wooden boards covering the holes left, not like in the upper city where new walls had already been built. But you don't last long as Father Char's assistant if you don't recognize a rhetorical question when you hear it. The priest completed a stroke of his pointy beard and continued. “Before we understood the trouble about.”

I nodded. He was on a roll, as usual. This was the third round-up in as many days. With the right incentives everyone could be relied on to help their neighbors free themselves from the sins of glass. “But now we know the truth and how mortal sin goes right through anything that's clear.”

“Oh, no doubt,” I said.

“So let's collect every little scrap of it, toss it in the pile.”

“Smash it,” I said. Char grabbed my cheeks and pulled them up.

“With a smile.” He said.

“No need for a trial for every lout.”

The pile was growing, in our wheelbarrow. Most surrendered their suspect items.

“After all,” continued Father Char, “We know what's best for them. Gospel testifies. Only guilt denies. So let the hammer cast the devil out.”

I went to it, and as the glass shattered I heard the voices inside, a twisted echo. “Listen, begin, and let the devil in.”

We worked through the more obdurate part of town, where people protested as we took their dangerous glassware away from them. Father Char had answers to each objection.

“Come on, sir, this mug here is harmless.”

“The cause of a drunken night's brawl.”

“A little mirror can't be too bad.”

“Ah, but vanity is Woman's fall.”

A man clung to his eyeglasses. “Without these I can't see to read.”

“Books, save one, have a dangerous call.”

He dismissed the next claims summarily. A telescope: “Lust,” a jeweler's lens: “Greed”, a row of part full glasses of water the owner tried to play as a musical instrument, badly: “An awful noise,” a sack of marbles: “Gambling tools, the devil's toys,”

“Please, sir,” came a voice. I almost didn't see where it came from, until I looked down. It was a small girl, with long red hair and a blue flowing scarf, clutching a snow globe. I stopped my swinging, and the music of breaking glass stopped. “It's all I have to remember my mother.” There seemed to be some kind of small lizard inside the globe. It wasn't moving, was probably plastic, but there was something insolent about it's stillness.

“And,” said Father Char, “Was she a particularly virtuous woman?” He wore a smile like a bear trap. She looked away. Father Char grabbed it and put it on the pile. I started swinging again. “And so we see the gospel truth of it, here we have to shout: Smash the glass and cast the devil out.”

The glass grinding echoed again, a large chunk catching Father Char's reflection, distorted. “When we win and let the devil in.”

I almost missed it. The snow globe wasn't in the pile. It rolled off, almost on its own power, and I just caught the girl running after it. I started to give chase, knowing that it would like as not end with her escaped and me falling face-first into a ding wagon. But Father Char put his hand on my shoulder. “Not now. We'll be watching her.”

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


I got carried away drawing. Closing subs at the hour. You have.... some minutes.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


Closed!

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.


Interprompt

no

100 words

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*




Wow, I didn’t realise it was Space Opera Week v2 instead of Authoritarianism Week but I guess when you guys wanna write about assholes you wanna write about assholes in space.

There were a lot of middle-of-the-pack stories this week that had some good lines and bits that made me laugh. I found myself drawn more to the stories that had fun with the prompt rather than the ones who treated authoritarianism as a self-important vainglorious death slog.

The worst of the lot was Simply Simon who wrote a story that was technically competent but read more like a monologue than a story, a monologue that went nowhere. Close behind in DMville is Benny Profane with a story that I should have loved for all its elements, yet it was completely skimmable and tried so hard to be clever it forgot to build that cleverness on a foundation of substance.

Interestingly enough, the judges all agreed to HM the comedy stories this week. The Saddest Rhino was my pick for HM because I liked the unique formatting and the bizarre twist–I’m a fan of experimenting in the Dome and this story had more hits than misses despite some bits that were too on the nose.

My co-judges each had a different funny story fave, so Saucy_Rodent and emgeejay both get an HM too. I personally liked lines from both of your stories a lot and both made me laugh out loud at least once.

But the winner by far was someone who took the prompt and nailed it. We three judges liked your portrait of authoritarianism as banal–it’s just people doing a job, because someone told them, no matter who gets hurt. This story tells a truth about the world as well as telling a complete tale from beginning to middle to end.

Arise, Staggy, and claim the Blood Crown for another week.

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

Said little bitch, you can't fuck with me if you wanted to
These expensive
These is red bottoms
These is bloody shoes



Thunderdome Week CCCXLV: 24/7



So, just to forestall the usual rabble baying for the prompt, I'm writing this in the early hours of the morning not that you ungrateful peasants care. That's got me thinking about time.

This week I want you to write me a story about a particular time of day.

Now just to head off the obvious question - no, it's not enough to just say when your story is set. I want to see that time of day inform the content and the character of your story. Don't feel obliged to stick to a rigid 24-hour clock and make use of the days of the week too. Tell me about the five minutes before last order on a Tuesday night, or the quality of light by the sea at dawn. What about the monsters that only come out to hunt during the rush hour commute or the ritual magic of the elevenses coffee break? Are you hunting a killer that only strikes when the space station's security shift rotates? Great! Tell me why!

If you're stuck for inspiration or just want an extra 250 words to play with just let one of the judges know - we'll happily give you a flash rule with a time and a hint.

Word Limit: 1,250 words

Judges: Staggy, Third Emperor, apophenium

What Not to Write: The usual rules apply - No erotica, fanfiction, nonfiction, poetry, political satire, political screeds, GoogleDocs, quote tags, or dick pics. And seriously, if your only adherence to the prompt is "hey chief, guess the victim was shot around noon" then don't expect favourable judging.

Sign-up deadline: Friday, March 15, 11:59pm USA Eastern
Submission deadline: Sunday, March 17, 11:59pm USA Eastern
(In both cases I probably won't close things until ~8AM GMT the next morning - but the times above are your only guaranteed safe submission deadlines. Gamble with timezones and my sleeping patterns at your own peril.)

Writers:
  • Djeser
  • Thranguy
  • Solitair - You do your best work in the five minutes before you fall asleep each night.
  • Joda - The thing that you seek can only be found at noon. Don't be late.
  • Captain_Person
  • kurona_bright
  • Antivehicular - It's 3AM. You can't afford to sleep now.
  • onsetOutsider
  • Saucy_Rodent
  • flerp - The witching hour is more powerful than most people know. It's also not when most people think it is.
  • scuz - You must act during the meteor shower's peak, beginning at 1AM.
  • Doctor Zero
  • animist - You thrive in the first moments of dawn, while others still sleep.
  • Baneling Butts
  • Yoruichi
  • Flesnolk - The first day of your next life.
  • SlipUp

Staggy fucked around with this message at 22:36 on Mar 15, 2019

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



in

also to complete at least two weeks of my backlogged judgecrits by close of submissions

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


PROMPT

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!


In

killer crane
Dec 30, 2006


Obliterati posted:

Interprompt

no

100 words

So I know we're not supposed to post fanfics, but I have a really great one that fits the prompt! Like, I could change some names so that Cloud and Aeris were something like Cumulus and Ariz, but Tails has to be Tails (it's a totally awesome payoff, you'll see). And the sex scene is very short, and, if I may say so it's very tasteful and at the same time very very erotic. Sorry if it doesn't fit into some of the more puritanical “rules.” Is this something I can post here?
93 words

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!


IN, flash please

Saucy_Rodent
Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica


killer crane posted:

So I know we're not supposed to post fanfics, but I have a really great one that fits the prompt! Like, I could change some names so that Cloud and Aeris were something like Cumulus and Ariz, but Tails has to be Tails (it's a totally awesome payoff, you'll see). And the sex scene is very short, and, if I may say so it's very tasteful and at the same time very very erotic. Sorry if it doesn't fit into some of the more puritanical “rules.” Is this something I can post here?
93 words

Crit: not enough topical politics. How are we supposed to relate to Tails if we don’t know his opinions about AOC?

Low

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009


Staggy, I would like to judge, if you do not object.

Joda
Apr 24, 2010

When I'm off, I just like to really let go and have fun, y'know?



Fun Shoe

In + flash

Captain_Person
Apr 7, 2013

Eyyyyy


In plus a for my crimes

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


In

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


In and flash, plz

Mr. Steak
May 8, 2013

T.T.D.D.T.D.D

Thug lyfe.


im in and actually loving this time because im frustrating myself w the string of failures. i literally cannot financially afford to be banned so i WILL be submitting a story this week, whether it's the single word "poop" or not

Saucy_Rodent
Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica


In

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!


in flash

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

Said little bitch, you can't fuck with me if you wanted to
These expensive
These is red bottoms
These is bloody shoes



Solitair posted:

IN, flash please

You do your best work in the five minutes before you fall asleep each night.

Joda posted:

In + flash

The thing that you seek can only be found at noon. Don't be late.

Antivehicular posted:

In and flash, plz

It's 3AM. You can't afford to sleep now.

flerp posted:

in flash

The witching hour is more powerful than most people know. It's also not when most people think it is.

apophenium posted:

Staggy, I would like to judge, if you do not object.

Welcome aboard!

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.


Obliterati posted:

Technically Correct Brawl, the Best Kind of Brawl

In your story, a character is technically correct.

Words: 1500 max
Due: 12th March 23:59 UTC+0

Reminder that this is due in ten hours.

scuz
Aug 29, 2003

You can't be angry ALL the time!






Fun Shoe

In and requesting a prompt, please and thank you.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Sham-mojo or mojo-bamina! or whatever brawl
Technically Correct
307 words

I don't have a story. I had an idea for a story, but it turned out to be terrible. It was based on stupid Internet drama. Some rear end in a top hat would be arguing a technically correct point with someone else, and then a third character would start arguing that the first was an rear end in a top hat – a technically correct point – but would keep at it longer than the original argument. An elegantly ironic plot that I soon realized would be unreadable as an actual story when I tried to sit down and write it. I haven't been able to come up with anything better, though. The past two weeks have been the absolute worst time for me to even think about Thunderdome; I've been sick and flagging in my coursework for grad school, letting it pile up and ending up with less and less free time, and what free time I have had I've spread obscenely thin trying to keep up with rash promises made to too many friends, along with still being hamstrung by illness (very distractingly painful inflamed lymph node, along with some kind of muscle pain in my legs, although both have subsided in the past few days). I haven't even been able to get my crits together; of course I'm not going to have a story. I'm sorry to sebmojo for being a stupid little bitch and not doing my research when I tried to judge the brawl with curlingiron at 1 in the morning, and I'm sorry that I haven't given him a real story to win against now. But it was a foregone conclusion that he'd win anyway, and all that really matters at this point is that I show. That I do the technically correct thing and at least post some words about someone who is technically correct. So here they are.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Sham bam bamina! posted:

a third character

Sounds like a hero.

Hope you feel better soon man.

Doctor Zero
Sep 21, 2002

Would you like a jelly baby?
It's been in my pocket through 4 regenerations,
but it's still good.

In.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Package Deal
1400 words]


Ralph arrived at work one blustery Tuesday morning and found he'd been locked out.

“Sorry mate,” yelled his boss Tony through the mail slot in the front door. “Industrial action. Or inaction, haha.”

Ralph frowned at him. The wind was hot and moist and his walk from the bus stop had put sweat on the back of his neck. “Ahmad and Miriam are in there.”

Tony's small eyes narrowed. “No they aren't.”

Ralph pointed. “I can see them.”

Ahmad, the wiry Malaysian who sometimes shared his clove cigarettes with Ralph at smoko, waved. He had a mug in his hand and seemed to be chatting to Miriam on reception. Ralph liked Miriam but he wasn't sure if she liked him much.

Tony looked around, then turned back. “Oh, Miriam. And Ahmad. Sorry, yes, they are here.”

Ralph tried to turn the door handle but Tony grabbed it on the other side to stop him.

“Here is the thing, mate, it's just you. We had talks with the union, negotiations broke down, so we can't let you in. No hard feelings, eh?”

Ralph did in fact have hard feelings. He had a hard ball of feelings that sat low down in his belly like a cricket ball as he stomped back to the bus stop to go home. It wasn't as if he even liked the job, but it seemed unfair.

The bus arrived and he climbed up the stairs and swiped his card. CANCELLED, it bleeped back at him. He did it again, and it did too.

“Sorry,” he said to the bus driver, fumbling for coins. “Two sections?”

“Three bucks,” she said. She was a jolly fiftyish Maori lady with glasses.

He only had two dollars ninety, which he proffered with a sheepish grin.

“That's not enough,” she said.

“Yeah, no, I know. But could I ride anyway?”

“It's not enough,” she said.

Ralph stood there another few moments, sheepish grin hardening and cracking like river mud in a drought, then his shoulders slumped.

As the bus drove away it started raining, a cool persistent blatter of raindrops that seemed optimised for efficiently and thoroughly wetting a human form.

Ralph's hard ball of feelings was throbbing and growing hot inside his belly. He pulled out his phone and looked at it, shielding it from the rain with his other hands. 9.17 am, it said. 2% power, it added. He called his girlfriend Shara.

“Can you come pick me up?” he asked. “Work went weird and I can’t afford the bus.”

There was a long pause on the other end of the phone.

“I__ _rry but there_ __ __mething __ _ome up at ___k” the phone said.

“You're breaking up Shara, can you say that again?” A silver Toyota station wagon hissed by, sending a spray of water out to the side.

“I have to ___ to ______st,” the phone explained.

“Shara I didn't get that,” said Ralph.

“Ralph, we need to have a talk,” said the phone then ran out of power and turned itself off with a cheery swirl of its logo.

Ralph looked at the phone’s rain-spattered glass for a few moments then stowed his phone in his jacket. He looked up at the sky, breathed in rain-scented air and came to a decision.

“I am going to go to the pub,” he said out loud. He was pleased with the firmness of his voice.

The pub was over the road, a neon-lit barn with leaners and plastic jugs for the beer. It wasn't cozy but they sometimes went there on Fridays, or at least they used to.

Ralph leaned on the bar and winced as water trickled down the back of his pants. “Can I have a pint?” he asked. The rain-fed resolution that had buttressed his voice across the road had crumbled on the approach and there was a tentative quality to his question. He winced.

The barman, a tall Australian who was leaning on the bar with a lugubrious expression, considered. “Are you Ralph?”

Ralph ran his fingers through his wet hair. His belly, now a single tight mass of feelings, clenched once. “Yeah, that’s me.”

“Sorry. You’re barred, mate. Boss put your name down after last Friday.”

”What—“ squeaked Ralph, then paused to shoehorn a breath past the tangle of clotted muscle that had replaced his abdomen. “What did I do last Friday? I wasn’t even here last Friday. I wasn’t even here.”

The barman shrugged. “Neither was I, mate. Take it up with the boss, he’ll be back next week.”

Rain drummed on the roof of the bar as they looked at each other.

“Can I have a lemonade?

The barman shrugged again. Sure. Three bucks.”

Ralph felt in his pocket for his two dollars ninety cents, then grimaced.

Sitting at his table with a glass of tapwater in front of him Ralph stared at the neon sign on the wall, a bright red letters saying HAPP HOUR. As he watched the Y flickered in, and out.

The door to the bar swung open and Ralph looked up. It was a medium sort of man, standing in the entrance, shaking off an umbrella. He saw Ralph and grinned, a nice average sort of grin. He was wearing a jacket that was very like other jackets Ralph had seen, and his shoes were solid generic examples of footwear.

“Hi,” he said, coming over and extending his hand. Ralph shook it, automatically. “Me and my lady were just over at the casino down the road, and we won a bunch of money, but tax law being what it is we can’t take it back to Australia, you know how that works, right? Anyway I need to get rid of some of this money, so here you go, two thousand dollars!” With a straightforward flourish he pulled a nylon zip up envelope out of his jacket and placed it on the table. It was stuffed with something.

Ralph looked at it and reached out to touch it but the man held out his other hand. “Now wait just one second, you don’t get something for nothing in this world and I’m a gambling man so I want to bet you for it. Have you got any money on you?”

“Yes,” said Ralph correctly.

"Call it a coin toss?” The average man produced a coin and flicked it, spinning high in the air, then snatched it with a quick hand and slapped it down on the table. “Heads.” He pulled his hand back. “Wow look at that, heads. Ok fella, good to meet you, pity it didn't work out. Hand over my winnings and I'll take myself away!"

Ralph looked at the coin, a ten cent piece, and remembered playing the toss game. You could feel which side up it had landed, easily enough. Also there weren't any casinos for miles. He thought about standing up, yelling, punching the man, this con man, this fraudster he'd brought to him with his sudden incomprehensible odour of failure and rejection. He considered screaming, running, throwing his clothes away and stampeding through the rain until he could run no more.

Then he laughed, and as he made his decision he felt the nest of snakes in his belly uncurl a single fractional degree. "Sure, here you go," he said as he fished out the two dollars and ninety cents in his pocket, put it next to the ten cent piece and held it out to the man. "Give my regards to your wife."

animist
Aug 28, 2018




in, flash,

also, hi thunderdome

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009


scuz posted:

In and requesting a prompt, please and thank you.

You must act during meteor shower's peak, beginning at 1am.


animist posted:

in, flash,

also, hi thunderdome

You thrive in the first moments of dawn, while others still sleep.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



hello thunderdome,

this place has created around seven and a half million terrible goonwords. but lowtax is dissolving, and without him it will create no more. go here and give the useless borderline invertebrate bastard some cash if you would be so kind and have the wherewithal.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 06:09 on Mar 13, 2019

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME


sebmojo posted:

hello thunderdome,

this place has created around seven and a half million terrible goonwords. but lowtax is dissolving, and without him it will create no more. go here and give the useless borderline invertebrate bastard some cash if you would be so kind and have the wherewithal.

Buying TD ads and TD-related avatars are also good

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



yoruichi 340

Hellrules (flash rules designed to be unfairly constraining) can produce interesting results, mainly because they force you to shape your story around them which means they can take the place of whatever set of assumptions and habits you'd normally use.  This is a good example of a story you'd never have written without an insane procrustes bed of a flash rule. As Viscardus observed it overeggs the word pudding a bit; you're tying an adjective to every single noun almost, and while the wikipedia feel is deliberate (coromandel stone steps), you would have been better leaving it coming out of the OCD building character and kept the authorial voice a bit more neutral.  Where the story really works is the emotion that the characters, particularly the beehive feel - it's easy to empathise at least partly because they're all struggling to communicate around their mutual flaws. This is a good way to manage dialogue - have genuine communication be a thing that needs to be fought for and won rather than assumed. Nice piece, though it probably needed another edit pass - submit later next time.

staggy sound of rain

the conceit here is very strong, about rain making thing catch on fire. it is always tempting to explain and contextualise that kind of thing but this is better without it.  Rain is firewater, go - you end up with an idea like one of those old school sci fi stories, and then layer an entire millefeuille of agonised musing over it. That latter is probably why it didn't win.  Aaaalmost nothing actually happens, and it's a testament to the strength of the writing that we don't mind. i mean, if you strip out the fancy words and the high, high concept it's a nerd shut-in sitting in his apartment listening to youtube.  where it works is the intense, almost paranoiac attention to the physical and emotional details of what he's experiencing. where it fails is when it goes a bit too far into overwritten purple, and where the conceit (can't hear the rain) becomes a little too high concept.  oh, and it's just a nerd sitting in his apartment listening to youtube and cuddling cushions. nonetheless a strong strange piece, and a good example of how to do image prompts well; on the one hand it's a direct explanation for the picture, but it also interrogates that image and makes it essential.

obliteratie, the baroque principle

speaking of details, as i often do, this story nails the details with swift, assured hammerblows.  i really like your strange half-destroyed cyberpunk world and want to see more of it, but this story is a jumbled assemblage of stuff that appropriately enough doesn't fit together.  The chess metaphor is about 70% of the way there - you clearly want it to be central with the title and the opener/closer, and there's maybe a reference to that in the 'pin' that is the central action of the robot buddy grabbing his friend, but to achieve that you have to squeeze the characters motivations so hard it makes the story seem clumsy.  you have them juking from best chessbuds to murderer and murderee, and that doesn't make any sense either in a character sense or as an extension of the chess metaphor. this is very fixable though, probably could do with another couple k of words to make it really sing.

selaphiel one may ride a free horse
So this is clumsy and cackhanded and a deserved loser; the reasons have been well canvassed.  I think what makes it stand out is that though there's nothing it does really badly, there's also absolutely nothing it does well.  the characters are stiff cardboard, the plotting is clunky and manipulative, the events are unbelievable, the setting is apparently meant to be ancient but feels modern, the language is plodding and riddled with minor errors and infelicities, the ending strains at mythic weight without having earnt it or making much sense.  But the worst thing is that there's nothing interesting or funny or insightful to make up for it. still, only way is up!

apophenium, highgate
yeah the thing that made me stop is what a terrific dick her nephew is, who sends her to a locked up graveyard (how does she even get in, you never tell us) to score dope off the literal grim reaper.  this is what you might call a one joke story (i just identified it) and unfortunately it doesn't go the extra mile and make it a funny one. you might have rescued this by starting with the premise at the end and going from there - I can easily see wacky hijinks resulting from paz and her great leveller hookup, but this is just stale pale (horseman) bibble bobble without anything in the way of funny jokes or tight prose to recommend it

notgordian all the neighbours have gone
this is an intensely dreary piece, and here's the thing - that's the point, I get it.  the final two paragraphs are actually quite well put together, with the story up to then essentially contextualising her decision.  But here's the other thing - as a writer you're essentially leasing our eyeballs and you want to make sure at the least that we're not made at the time we paid to read your words.  This is marinated in oh whtat's the point, and for all you selfconsciously put in someone with some energy 2/3 of the way through, it successfully conveys that point to the reader who is almost forced to apply it to your story; why on earth am i reading this, he/she thinks.

salgal80, bakithe baka a moral tale
ok so let's start with your first para "“What’s the worst thing someone can do to deserve a yearlong curse?” they’d say things like making a pendant out a and dollar, teasing a pufferfish without a license, or hailing an underwater Uber".  I'd like you to read those three things without mouthing the words 'what the gently caress was i thinking'; see, you can't, can you, because really: wtf. first it's a strange bordering on insane question to ask your friends (what sort of curse? wouldn't the answer to an openended qn like that be 'slaughter a football team' or 'invade the Pacific ocean?') second what is a pendant out a and dollar?  third, pufferfish teasing licence? fourth, underwater uber? i mean if they have underwater ubers, surely they'd want to be hailed? That's really got me to the end of my critique, just be a lot quicker to ask yourself WHAT THE gently caress WAS I THINKIN

entenzahn, fraud
man i miss your old av.  i didn't hate this as much as my co-judges but it is not in any sense a good story is it ent, look inside the wizened blackness of your heart you know it to be true.  the pieces are adequate, cowardly fraudulent ghosthunters is a bit that we've all seen before, but they don't really come together or resolve in any interesting or satisfying way.  He learns his woo ghostly lesson and is on his path to overcharging suburbanites for installing dimmer switches.

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


Re: supporting the forums, I'm gonna quote this post of mine from a month or so back:

Antivehicular posted:

Oh hey, apropos of nothing, now that I'm out of shutdown hell, I can offer my TD Avatar Good Words Bounty:

If you have a TD shametar (the losertar, or something more specialized, either way) and win a brawl or get a positive mention in a main week, I will buy you an avatar cert to use as you see fit, with two stipulations:

1) All brawl wins must demonstrate effort. You can win by default but you have to have tried.
2) Non-TD shametars are not eligible. If you get weird redtext in D&D or something, that's on you.

Go forth and write good words to take my money.

This offer still stands. I dunno if anyone's eligible to claim it, but if you are -- seriously, bug me about it. Or go fight for new avatars. All of my hard-earned fivers are on the line here, people!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Losertars, the time is right. Fight for great glory and new avatars in THE SHAME DOME

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Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.


Thanks for the

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