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Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


sebmojo posted:

Inter prompt: "there's only shroom for one of us in this town" 350 words
The Time I Didn't See Anything Strange

You don't even hallucinate, by the way, and you see nothing you haven't seen before. You just see it properly, all of Creation in total clarity like you're staring down God, and that's how I knew Kyle had it coming. All life is connected in an inescapable cycle: mushroom grows in poo poo, I consume mushroom, and in my revelation I kick seven shades of habitat out of him.

I'm waiting at the twenty-four hour shop and petrol station on the edge of town, because I and that sin-against-Mankind Kyle basically have, like, the same soul? Sure, his is stained the inky musky black of deceit but we are both pretty bad at people, I guess, and both pretty good at hanging around quiet places at one in the morning. The point is, this is where we'd be if we weren't tripping balls right now and as someone with perfect awareness of every sensation he's ever felt I am definitely not tripping balls, even accounting for the petrol fumes, and so neither is he. THEREFORE, right, he'll be here. It's easy to figure this stuff out when you're sober.

And the lanky sod comes round the corner exactly when the Universe needs him to, of course, which is now. I storm across the uneven concrete of the petrol station concourse and punch him in the jaw. He goes down.

“You said I'd see things, you arsehole!”

Kyle grins at me from the ground. “Look man,” he says. “You know how ultimately none of our senses can be trusted and how we could all totally be living in, like, a simulation, right?”

gently caress. He's got me there. I nod.

“Well,” he says, “turn around a sec, okay? Really.”

“I'm not that stu-”

He holds up his hands in surrender. “You gotta see this, man.”

“Okay,” I say. “Just for a second.” I look back to the bright lights of the petrol station only for a beat, but by the time my eyes swing back Kyle is impossibly gone, dissolved back into the rest of Creation like he was never there.

I laugh. Goddamn mushrooms, right.

Obliterati fucked around with this message at 01:35 on Jan 29, 2019

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Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


In, and due both to my horrendous submission record and YOLO, :toxx:

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Prompt: either a Gritty Love Triangle Set in Latin America or some good old fashioned Viral Plague Police-Corruption!

Going Contactless
1546 words

It's raining in Kourou, which isn't news. It's rained every single day in December and maybe it will rain forever: water hammers on the old tin roofs like a staccato orchestra and, no matter what she tries, it seeps through the folds of Maria's cheap police jacket. She tosses the cigarette, walks back down the slick steps into the shelter of the staff locker rooms and looks again at the duffel-bag full of shredded Euros.

“Catch.” Hatueh flicks a centime at her and she grabs it without thinking. It's local: a rocket on the launchpad towers over Kourou, framed by jungle. Before she can say anything, he snatches it back from her hand and holds it up to his eye. “Can't be too careful, Detective,” he says. “No offence.”

She raises an eyebrow. “And what would you have done if I was infected?”

“You'd have owed me a centime, for one.” He pockets the coin, pulls another pair of gloves from his labcoat and passes them over. “And you'd be stuck using plastic for the rest of your life. But not to worry: I'm sure you're perfectly honest.” With his gloved right hand he reaches carefully into the suitcase and pulls out a long string of paper. He tuts approvingly. “Total loss. Serial numbers are perfectly shredded. It's improving.”

Maria shrugs and pulls on the gloves. She looks around at the rows of lockers. “Who'd they catch this time?”

Hatueh frowns, scratching his thin beard. “Whoever it was made a quick exit when they discovered their, ah, affliction, but they were smart enough to close their locker. Word's getting around.”

“Any video?”

“What do you think?” He waves an arm at the scene. “Given that we have another infected officer thinking they can lie low and, ah, the circumstances of your transfer – don't look at me like that, you Franqui all have your stories – it is good that you were on duty. Finally someone will investigate properly.”

She is never going to live it down, it is clear. Not amongst the cops of Kourou, where everyone is there for a reason. He smiles and turns back to the mound of paper that was once enough cash to retire on. “I mean no offence,” he says over his shoulder. “I know what you did. Perhaps, sometime, we can get a drink and talk more about it.”

Maria looks at him and sighs internally. Oh, for Marseilles. “I'll think about it.”

#

She holds her card at the machine and a can of Orangina clangs into the dispenser. “Simplest option: line up every cop in the poste and pay them in cash.”

Bertrand laughs. “They said you were against that kind of thing.”

The building is quiet in December. All the French empty out from Kourou in a great flock, migrating over the Atlantic for frenzied shopping trips and strained family Christmases, until all that's left are the locals, the lifers, and the lost. Her partner Bertrand, she thinks, is a lifer. He has the parched dry skin of a man who long since gave up on sunscreen and the easy smile of one who doesn't care. Plus, he's the only other detective still around by the late afternoon.

“Besides,” he says, “these poor fools aren't the problem.” He nods at the briefing screen and the shots of the two ex-cops unlucky enough to disintegrate currency in company. “It's a targeted, one-shot infection, apparently: they can't pass it on. We want whoever's infecting them.”

“Via the money.”

He shrugs. “It's Kourou,” he says, “what can you do?” Maria knows what he means. There are many reasons for a cop to be reassigned to French Guiana and none of them pay well. She wonders who he pissed off to get sent here, what secrets he'd disturbed.

“Hell,” he snorts. “They don't even get to keep the money! Whoever's running the honeypot is smart.” He checks off the points on his hairy fingers. “Makes a standard approach. Just a dead drop full of notes laced with the virus. And, of course, if there's a cure they're not sharing.” He walks up to the machine, waves his card and takes a can. A tschk fills the silence.

“What else did they say about me?”

He looks at her. “Not much. You picked the wrong fight and went down like a brick, it's always the same.”

“Huh.”

“Tell you what,” he says. “Once we've caught the bastard and put this virus away for good, we can grab a drink and you can tell me what they missed.”

She sighs again. “Sure,” she says, “we can talk about the case.”

#

When Maria comes home, it is to a duffel-bag on the bed.

She spins around. The bedsit is empty. She closes the door and goes for the forensic kit she lifted on her last day in Marseilles. It is undisturbed. Pulling on the gloves, she takes a deep breath and unzips the duffel-bag.

It's money alright. There is a sheet of paper with 'FOR YOU, IN FRIENDSHIP' written on it in typeset letters. Looking at the neatly stacked Euro bills, she immediately understands how they could fall for it. Maybe it's a million – she daren't touch them to count, even wearing the gloves – but, whatever it is, it's enough to think about just doing whatever dirty job comes your way and getting out. To go back home to France and do something other than watch the rocket launches or chase moralising virologists through this wet green hell.

Gingerly, she closes the duffel-bag, grabs it and the newspaper and walks out of her room. The rain has stopped, leaving behind the muggy heat of the still air. She leaves from the back, leading out into the dark scrubland that separates city from jungle, until she finds an upturned metal bin. She spreads crumpled balls of paper to make a base, wedges the duffel-bag over it, pulls a lighter from her pocket and sets the paper aflame.

The cheap plastic in the duffel-bag takes a while to catch but when it does the money goes up with it. The bin spews acrid smoke and Maria takes a few steps back. Over the scrub and up the hill, a rocket fires. She stays there, upwind, watching her fire and the rocket's as it lifts slowly up and out of sight, and thinks about gloves and dirty money and what she would have done.

Once the flames peter out, she dials Bertrand. “Did anyone test you or Hatueh for the virus?”

“Me? Nope. How even would they? As for the good doctor...” There's a rustling of papers. He's still at his desk, clocking up the hours. “Not that I see.”

drat. “I'm going to swing by his place.”

“Wait, where are you? If he's a lead on the virologist I should-”

“Stay right there,” she finishes. “And hold the fort. I bet no-one else is around.”

#

It's raining again. Hatueh lives in a complex by the beach, within walking distance of the last infection. The last of the summer sunlight lingers on the water as she walks there.

He doesn't answer her knock. He doesn't react to her trying the door either, and it's not until it opens onto the silent room that she's sure he's not in. She moves over to the desk, still cluttered with papers. She picks up the top sheaf, and beneath it she finds a five-Euro note, still perfect and unblemished. Beside it there is a note:

Dear Maria,

I meant it about the drink, but if you're half the cop you're supposed to be I should get a new cover. I don't regret anything: nobody has been harmed, after all. I know you won't have taken the money, but – to be fair – you could guess it held the virus, so does it count?

Don't touch any strange money and tell your colleagues the same,
Hatueh


She puts the letter down, runs through the possibilities, and calls Bertrand. “Hatueh's not infected. He – God drat it – he's the virologist.”

There's a moment of silence on the line. “Christ. I'll get the word out, see if we can find him – did you find any notes, research, or-”

“Listen,” she says. “This is going to get kicked upstairs any moment now. You still want that drink?”

#

The only other detective on duty that afternoon. Working all those extra hours. She waves her plastic at the autocab and steps out at The Blue Lagoon. Pretty cheap place, like all good cop dives. She reaches into her coat pocket and feels the centime there, nestled in the fabric. She thinks about Kourou, and the rain, and how the rot gets into everything.

He's waiting for her at the quiet bar. He waves just as she flicks the centime. “Catch,” she says, and he does. It lands flat in the palm of his hand and instantly she can see it sag, the burnished copper tarnishing and crumbling into ash.

He gives her a sad smile and raises his hand in surrender. “It's Kourou,” he says, as the dust wafts away on the air. “What can you do?”

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


In.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Second judge checking in. For those of you who pander, I enjoy cyberpunk and also good stories, hope this is useful

Baneling Butts posted:

I'm in and I'll take a flash please!

You get Solarpunk.

iTrust posted:

I've been hovering on getting involved with a TD for a while but I feel like this theme is as good as any to give it a go.

So I'm in for a flash.

You get Machine Worship.

The Saddest Rhino posted:

in, give me that terrible tvtrope

You get Uplifted Animal.

M. Propagandalf posted:

In. Flash please.

You get NGO Superpower.

Applewhite posted:

I’m in
E: gently caress it, gimme a flash too, please.

You get The Singularity.

Staggy posted:

In, flash.

You get Post-Cyberpunk.

cptn_dr posted:

I'm in, with a :toxx: from my cyberspace dome of shame. Flash rule too, please.

You get Information Wants to Be Free.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Uranium Phoenix posted:

I'll take flash rules from up to two judges and sebmojo can throw me a picture if he wants

You madman. You also get Wretched Hive

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Viscardus posted:

I might regret this, but I’ve had multiple people encourage me to try, so I’m in, I guess. I’ll take a flash rule because otherwise I’ll never settle on an idea.

You get Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Hello, nerds, it's livecrit time.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Thranguy posted:

Cyberjudgment 2019

This was a good, if divisive, week. Many of the stories unmentioned below found at least one receptive judge/audience.

But some did not.

Dishonorable Mentions go to selephiel's The Man From Martian Road and iTrust's True Futures, and the loss goes to Saucy Rodent for The God Code (A Sermon), each in no small part due to being some combination of barely cyberpunk, poorly proofed, and/or barely a story.

But there was more that was good: Honorable Mentions for Uranium Phoenix's The Anarchist and the Associate, crimea's Rosa & Tom, and anatomi's Cryptomnesia.

And the winner goes to what is legit one of my favorite stories in all my time in the dome, The Saddest Rhino's The Devil Lives in Razak Towers.

Welcome back to the blood throne!

In case you missed it, everyone's crits are here.

Also PMROPT

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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




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

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


In

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


The Baroque Variant
1643 words


I reach for the queen and L-GIN hums contentedly. “Can’t do that,” he says, and taps his upside-down rook on the square beside. “Immobiliser, you see?” My curse is mercifully muffled by my phone’s tinny alarm. It’s a Lefkoşa model, cheap black bioplastic carrying nothing but this year’s prayer calendar and the original Snake, but I've always had a soft spot for history. Besides – we need to think ahead.

The setting sun has left us alone in the old house’s bones. Our little camplamp, shining as brightly as we let it dare, throws contorted shadows across what’s left of the shell-shocked walls and over the gaudy painted messages of love and peace and the irrepressible shared humanity of all the nations of the Earth that you only ever find in old warzones. I shift sideways and adjust my weight on the mouldy pile beneath us. “Hmm,” I say. I reach down, rummaging through motheaten teddybears and crumbling paperbacks until I pull a jagged pottery sherd from under my crossed legs. I size it up – maybe from the Tens, but I failed that module – and chuck it into a corner. Then I turn back to the board. L-GIN has me beat again. Must be the only reason he picked it up at all: it’s an early Nineteen-Fifties mass-prod model of cheap wood, and it’s sure as hell not coming with us, is it? They said the older models go odd, over time.

I knock my king over. “We shouldn’t wait,” I say. “That’s our window, and the U.N. steps it up after nightfall.” I wade over to a hole in the wall and peer out past the sandbags. Nicosia-Lefkoşa's Green Line is as thin and as silent as a papercut. Hell – if I wanted, I could go lie across the street and have my head my body and my toes in three different jurisdictions. But the war has not ended, only stopped.

“Sure you won’t go best of five?”

Some sand, disturbed by my touch, trickles out from the bags and runs rough over my fingers. You can date them by the contents. It’s beach sand of all things, evenly grained: even now its bright calcite whiteness pushes past the decades of dust and dirt. “Forget the chess thing,” I say. I pick a beacon off of my belt and place it on the base of the formation for later activation. Maybe worth coming back for after the rescue. “You know that game is solved.”

L-GIN unfolds himself like da Vinci’s take on the spider. Floating under his own power, his eight manipulators swaying gently below his pale ovoid body, he begins to put away the pieces. “This isn’t a ‘chess thing’, rookie. Baroque is different.” Every limb is active, snatching up the wooden figures one by one by one. “There are… layers to it. Indirect actions. Not something you can brute force.” He closes the box, fixes the latch and, with a movement I can’t really see, he stashes it somewhere inside him.

“We won’t have room for both that and the sword,” I say. “You know there’s a hundred better sets back at the Museum.”

“Martin,” he says, “I know my own specs. I’ll have room.” He folds his manipulators back in on themselves into thicker half-length limbs, preparing for flight. I raise my arms like we practised and he enfolds himself around me like a scarab, accounts for my weight, and lifts us silently off the ground into the city night. Looking east, the backlit hillside flag of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, a red crescent on white, looms over the houses.

“Sixty feet tall,” he says, his voice vibrating in my back.

“Bit of an eyesore.”

“Sooner or later,” he says, “someone’ll ask me to leave room for it.” He twists us in the air, aiming for the Selimiye. Its twin minarets catch the light from the hillside, bleaching the sandstone white. The Gothic buttresses and great windows from its past life as a cathedral still remain, but lower down in the dark, shielded by the high-rises. L-GIN evens the thrust. I put a finger to my temple and our course arcs out in front of me in iridescent blue.

“Right through the rose window? Really? That must be a cultural object in its own-”

“'Removed for restoration work',” he says. “I read the briefing.” I feel a slight pressure in my ribs as he adjusts.

“They just left it open for anyone to get in? And they wonder why things get rescued.”

L-GIN says nothing. I look ahead and see the circle of the window, obscured under tarpaulin. “L-GIN,” I say, “are you sure they left it op-”

He flips us around so he hits it first. There is a jolt and the sound of wood snapping like cheap toothpicks and then I am falling and looking up at the painted white ceiling through splinters and then I am face down on the ground with an eyeful of geometric carpet. L-GIN releases his grip. I stagger to my feet and pull the stungun. The mosque is empty. I silently thank the phone, brush myself off, and walk slowly towards the sacristy at the rear, L-GIN following.

I check my sixes like they taught me. No guards, no cameras, just the cathedral columns and the wide open space of the mosque. With my left hand, I gently push open the sacristy door. At the far side of the room, its approach flanked by an honour guard of wooden mannequins in Ottoman armours, there is a plinth, and a display shielded in glass. The sword is inside.

L-GIN floats past me and looks at one of the mannequins. “This isn’t right,” he says. “These are in good condition.”

I stride forward towards the target. She’s a scimitar in the sipahi mould, thin and curved Damascus steel, still beautiful after five hundred years. I’m so close to it. L-GIN lays a manipulator on my shoulder.

“Martin,” he says, “look down.”

I look down at the plinth. There’s an info board in Turkish, Greek and English. It merrily extols the use of the sword in the conquest of Nicosia-Lefkoşa and its ceremonial role as the indicator of a conquest mosque used when the imam ascends with it to the minbar and some incidental details about the reign of Sultan Selim II Osmanli (1566 - 74) and-

“Doctor Muldowney,” he says, “we’re robbing a museum.”

I start. “Not much of one,” I say, pushing down the sensation. “It’s a priceless cultural artefact. It should be better protected.” I nod to the glass. “Would you do the honours?”

L-GIN doesn’t move. “No,” he says. “I don’t think I will this time.”

“Well we can't go home without it.” I look back to the display case. “I’ll do it myself,” I say, and go for my belt.

He wraps a manipulator around my body and pulls me back hard. Then he’s between me and the sword. “It has been well-preserved,” he says. I try to shrug him off, but he grabs me with all eight and tosses me backwards. “You should leave.” The stungun comes from nowhere. “Or have someone find you.”

poo poo. I twist behind an armoured mannequin, drop the useless stungun and pull the other gun, the real one, the one for emergencies only. I spin back out ready to fire but L-GIN throws himself at me, his manipulators filling my vision until we are wrestling, me and the machine a quarter my weight all tangled up in the mannequin, and I really have to wriggle to get my arm free and the gun placed softly against the weakpoint on his body like they showed me in the solo briefing. “L-GIN,” I say, “don’t make me do this,” and then I follow the line of the shot he has offered me.

The sword is right behind him. I look at it again through a sea of manipulators: it really is in great condition. I start to laugh and as I do he presses his own real gun between my eyes. I lean back out of instinct and feel my hair brush against the ancient armour plate. I look back at his expressionless disc. He looks at me. “Guess we’re at an impasse,” I say.

He holds the gun still. “Unsure,” he says, tapping the armour with a spare limb. “Could be a replica.”

“Funny guy,” I say, and I drop the gun. It lands on the carpet with a dull thud that echoes through the silent mosque. “Better appraise it fast.”

“<Looters!>”

Shouts in Turkish cut through the air as security finally arrives. L-GIN holds for an instant more, then he pulls back the gun. “It... seems genuine,” he says, “but should you so much as-”

There is a crash as someone flings open a door. I look to L-GIN and he looks to me: and then as one we are running away laughing, the hail of tranq rounds harmlessly snatched out the air by roiling tendrils, then we join together beneath the splintered window and boost off into the city’s deepening night.

#

I reach for the queen and L-GIN hums contentedly. “Hmm,” he says.

I move my qu- my Withdrawer back two spaces to eliminate his Long-Leaper. The blasted old house is still silent. “Your move.” I wade back to the sandbags, reach down, and pull out the tracker I left behind. “Now what?”

L-GIN is looking intently at the board, like there is something within it that he cannot quite see. “Well,” he says, his manipulator resting on a pawn, “you did say they needed better security.”

I shrug, and crush the tracker in my fist. L-GIN moves his piece.

“Checkmate,” he says.



Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Interprompt

no

100 words

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.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Thanks for the

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Sebmojo won his Technically Correct brawl through, technically, being the only entrant

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


sebmojo posted:

shambam entered, he just posted a whiny excuse rather than a story

Technically it wasn't a story

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Pro-

Wait hang on, FJGJ?

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


In.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


In :toxx:

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


The Weather In The Old Country
969 words


I first realised that you were gone – actually gone, not just imprisoned by a curse or sleeping under a hill somewhere – when the coffee overflowed. I was pouring my fourth in between drafts and the last few drops in the cafetière just kept on coming forever, an infinity of gritty liquid spilling over the rim and staining the table a deep earth brown. My world misted over: I took a step back, turned around blindly, and tripped. “God drat it,” I said.

So I filled a flask with your best whisky and gave it a couple fog-soaked months, in case you changed your mind or I managed to get it under control on my own. When neither happened I packed the GPS and the rubber gloves and all the rest, then navigated by satellite through the cold wet soup to Grandad's grave on that breezy hillside near Glasgow. Aye. I found it. Over west is closer to the old country we must have come from, and besides – I knew you wouldn't want to talk about it.

I pulled off the gloves and put them down at his headstone. As soon as my hands came free, they started sparking. Iridescent arcs of energy flowed round my wrists. “Hi, Grandad,” I said. “Sorry it's been so long.” I placed them both on the damp earth, counted to three and tried to get his attention.

The grass began to smoke. I fell back and the breeze rose a little, muffling my curses and snuffling out the fire. Not like that, then. I reached to my waist and grabbed the rowan branch. It had a piece of paper taped to it with my Google Translate notes, and I gave the old tongue another go. “Seanathair, míneofá seo le do thoil an cac?” I had to shout to be heard over the wind. Grandad didn't answer: his patch of old dead earth lay as still as the day they put him there and it was just me, the rippling mist and the grave.

I tossed the branch and it vanished into the fog. Instead I put my left hand in my pocket and let it close around my third and final option: the one lonely bird's egg I found in your attic, the chick inside lost to time. You told me once about when he caught you with some freshly pilfered. He skelped you but, you said laughing, he didn't find them all. It was mine now. And I say that it was a totem, a fetish, whatever, of that time before this mythological gimmick basket came down to you, and something he drat well ought to recognise. I raised it above my head. The wind was roaring now, and the setting sun flickered through the fog. “Please, Grandad,” I said, and crushed the egg.

Dust and bone crumbled through my fingers and were taken by the wind. Then nothing happened. Aw hell. I was this close to just saying drat to it all and taking my final option (I lied about there being three, Dad: I just remember how you liked sets of three). Then came an answer. I felt a low pain in the base of my skull, even worse than that morning's. Then the air lifted me straight up, leaving the fog behind. I blinked in the sharp dusk light for the first time since you went and left me all this fey begorrah business and I'll tell it to you straight – I laughed so hard my ribs hurt. I had the right, you know. I'd pierced the veil without you, reached Grandad, and it was just as I let my whole body relax for the first time in months that I realised I was falling.

I landed on Grandad's grave with a wet thud. “God drat it,” I said. The wind had dropped into nothing, and without it the hillside was silent. I got to my feet. The little ball of mist that had obscured me all that time was still floating where I left it, no more than five foot across. I looked up at the sky and down at the soil and realised: I was alone here.

I reached out with a single finger to touch the mist, to be absolutely sure I was free of it. It was unmoved. I made a fan of my hand and waved it, and as I did the wind rose behind me, ever so softly, and the mist unfurled. “I'll be damned,” I said, as I watched it dissolve into nothing like it never should have been.

I dug the rowan branch out of a bush and returned it to my belt. I opened my hand and looked at the dust stain one last time before brushing it off. Then I reached into my bag and pulled out the final option, the unemptying flask of your whisky. I poured some on the grave – Grandad did always like a wee nip of the good stuff – took one last myself and then screwed it closed. “Thanks anyway, pal,” I said, and I placed it beside his headstone. Just in case. “Guess I'll take it from here.”

So did you see me making an arse of myself? I looked at Grandad's grave one more time and turned back down the hill. Speaking to the dead: not part of the repertoire. I know you'd be laughing. But I looked at the city that was yours and Grandad's and at least I could see it now, her lights flicking on one after another speckled against the darkness.

I took a couple of steps away down the hill. Then I looked at my hands and swore. I doubled back to Grandad's grave and grabbed the gloves and walked back down the hill on a perfectly clear night.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


:siren:Interprompt:siren:

You owe me

200 words

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


In :toxx:

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


As Above, So Below
860 words


Bringer of your offering/Sais/unduly active

I was born in the third house. “No we weren't,” you said, the last time I saw you. Mercury was retrograde then. You were riding it out in the lab, fixing the inexplicable bugs as fast as you could spot them, and you wouldn't listen. “We were born in a hospital like everybody else, and you need to accept that.” I'm sorry, brother, but I was born under Mercury in Libra and you were born two minutes and ten seconds later, by which time the planet had passed out: that's just how it is, whether you like it or not.

I hated retrograde too, by the way: I just didn’t hate it as much as you. All kinds of communications were harder, prone to mistakes: I'd write my horoscopes still. Under the balefulness they came out half-formed, twisted things, but I wrote them anyway. I know you’ll read this one. I started it in my lander on the surface, while I waited for the first of your nanobots.

It's a matter of perspective, you see. When the ancients first mapped the heavens, they thought the Earth to be the centre of the Universe: now, of course, we know better. We're rational people, you and I. We know how it works, even if we don’t both like it. Here, close to the source, the words flow like the tin outside my window: they scorch my fingers as they run through the pen and drip onto the paper, burning truths I barely understand. I was born in the third house and I am nearly home.

But, of course, I am waiting for you. I remember the nanotech models, and how you tore them down after every retrograde, when Mercury lay heavy upon the earth and their logic turned to sludge. When the grand entrepreneurs prostrated themselves begging for an end to the chaos (and a place in the upload queue) you took their money, promised them immortality – and rejected their friend requests. It was never about the money for you, I know.

“It shouldn’t work this way,” you muttered, one of a hundred times. “It's a rock. Its position in the sky should not spontaneously create technical issues that share a mystical theme. It shouldn’t work this way. It's a bloody rock floating in space.”

I spread my hands and shrugged. “And yet it moves.”

You didn't like it when I joked like that. “You know,” you said, “one day I’m going to do something about it.” When you break Mercury down for parts, spin her matter around the Sun in a perfect ring of processors – you think it will break the grip of the cosmos on us all. I agree.

An alarm chimes softly. Your first wave has landed. The nanobots burrow into the crust, surveying, marking sites for focused excavation. For now, they follow the algorithms you gave them, awaiting direction from the highest bidder. Are you there, in the lab, as he dissolves into his constituent elements? Are you watching them transcribe his soul, or are you watching me?

A little gleaming sphere assembles itself out of local matter: I appreciate it sparing my notebook. “Hey,” your pre-recorded voice says, “it's showtime. We can talk about you stealing the ship when you get back. I hope you... found what you needed.”

“Not yet, I haven’t.”

“I assume you didn’t. Still, it’s time to go,” it says.

Beneath my feet, the lander's engines hum as the nanobots take command, prepare to take me away. I look through the window to the outside. They're making progress. The surface of Mercury shimmers, the liquid metal trembling in anticipation of its fate.

I used to wonder why I wrote horoscopes. Hearing your voice, then, still blissfully unaware of how far I had come and how far I would go, I stop wondering. I take a deep breath. Then I clutch my notebook, override the airlock, and open it. For an instant I stand naked in the third house, drinking in the heat and the silver.

Then I am them. They're perfect, to be fair to you. Distributed, self-correcting, they survived the journey Sunward through dust and radiation, never once retrograde to Mercury. They recognise my mind as mind and preserve it, passing me up the hierarchy you built, approaching the peak. Already they're preparing to lift material away from this place to sculpt the skeleton of your ringworld: with a thought I countermand and redirect them downwards, deep into my heart.

The first of your uploads intrudes into my consciousness, stepping off a laser beam seven minutes too late. He hoped to plant a flag and rule the third house, but the fates will not be monetised. I mute his keening demands, close to all incoming comms and squirt him back to Earth where he belongs. I can't be interrupted right now. The horoscope sits deep within me, committed to memory, inscribed across my molten heart. I add the finishing touches – a comma here, a deep forboding there – and transmit it Earthward. I hope you like it, brother. After all, we are twins still: I promise you will receive this, and more besides.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Much good crittin', a good thing

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Prmopt

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Fake prompt: SAD!!!

(IN)

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


I've fired up the ol' wood chipper, and I'm feeding your stories into it one by one live in Obliterati's Week 361 Livecrits!

e: I have now finished turning your stories to mulch, your crit is there

Obliterati fucked around with this message at 21:36 on Aug 26, 2019

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


In

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Rule: 47 (decades) after the end

The Prosecution Finally Gets To The Good Bit As They Sum Up The Case Against Several Of My Descendants In The Early October Of 470 CE
493 words



...along with two shovels, a paper map, and three hundred and fifty-two archaic datastores known as ‘flash drives’. The Deceased, an archaeologist, was interred privately in the Pentland Hills outside Old Edinburgh – that’s Exhibit D, the inset on page four, m’lud – approximately 15 CE. To reiterate: based on the standard Registry analysis of the Deceased’s Pre-Collapse social media posting, this bloodline is registered Denier and is not entitled to outside privileges.

I remind the Court of the statement from Denier P. Erati wherein she insists that – I quote – ‘we wurnae there tae sort the daft oval office oot, we jist wanted the truth’. Thus while the Prosecution acknowledges Muldowney vs. Mortuary Regulation Unit and the right of Deniers to their exhumatory vengeance rituals, this is – if I understand the Denier correctly – not the issue at hand. Thus, it begs the question: if not for a forgivable revenge on their feckless fool of a forefather, then how can the accused justify their excursion outside the Dome?

The answer from the Defence has been unorthodox, to say the least. There is no public interest argument to be made. The repeated claims to the contrary in this Court by Denier F. Erati and others are nonsensical and may be safely disregarded. After all, his ancestor was not a public figure. His ancestor was merely a Denier.

This is not to say that these ridiculous representations are irrelevant to the facts of law. If you’ll indulge me a little longer, m’lud, I intend to show that the mitigation offered places the accused beyond the specific protections of Muldowney and merits harsher sentencing.

I thus turn to the matter of the alleged ‘time capsule’. The contention of the Defence that the cache is a matter of retained family legend is unverifiable hearsay. As regards the contents of the capsule, these – the digital encyclopedias, the personal correspondence, and what, absurdly, is claimed to be more material from the Pre-Collapse platform ‘Twitter’ than the total content of the entire Registry! – were not excavated to Ministry standards. Even Denier G. Erati, when questioned, could not say with perfect certainty that the data was not corrupted over the four centuries it has been underground, or for that matter deliberately falsified by their dishonoured ancestor-

Thank you, m’lud, I shall continue despite the loutish interruption. On the basis of this absurdity it is contended that the data is of inestimable genealogical value and thus exonerates the Deceased both specifically and in the general. The Defence also dares to make some inchoate suggestion that the Registry itself is compromised.

It is obviously not necessary for the Court to make a ruling on this inflammatory activist assertion. Furthermore, I have proven beyond doubt that said evidence offered by the Defence has been obtained in violation of both their caste restrictions and the Bloodline Archaeology Act, and the Prosecution therefore moves that this despicable libel be struck from the record, m’lud, before we proceed to your judgement...

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Interprompt: why I'm banned from the Voidmart

250 words

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Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


CommissarMega posted:

It's been a while, so I'd like to go with my avatar's mood and throw my hat back in the ring. Gimme a number!

this interprompt response is weak a f

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