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BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In with bonus fact!

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BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


I'll go in with a flash please!

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


I'd like to go IN with random numbers off of whatever you have left, I guess (if any)?

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Chili posted:

I'll have enough to give you capsules from all of the categories. Specify which you'd like, please.

Ok, can I do all then?

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Central Character is A FARMER +170 words
Setting is VIRTUAL REALITY +186 words and a. DIAMOND CAPSULE
Song is Silhouettes, by Colony House +54 words
Genre is POST-APOCALYPTIC+ 188 words
RFT is A PROPHESY! + 102 words
----------------------
1477 Total Words Max

Incremental Progress

1398 words

I reach for the lid of my baseball cap and give it a quick, slippery twist to satiate the itch tickling my forehead. That big ball in the sky glaring down my neck never ceases to get the sweat rolling, but the paltry discomfort is a minor inconvenience when weighed against the prospects of a good harvest.

I stride confidently out into the field with my burlap sack in hand, kneeling beside a particularly fertile spot in the soil. I dig a small hole and knead the soil with my hands. I can tell the most important nutrients are present: Nitrogen and Potassium in abundant qualities, as well as a passable degree of Magnesium. The texture of the soil denotes a perfect balance of organic matter, sand, silt, and clay; it could hold water for an impossibly long period of time. The composition is perfect to the extent of being unnatural, I think, as I continue to examine the dirt. A voice calls out from over my shoulder.

"Aint gonna do you no good."

I catch a pungent whiff before even turning my head.

"Hitting the bottle as usual," I say, looking up to meet his eyes. I sigh. Octavio gets on all of our nerves. He has all of the answers, and the booze makes sure everyone else knows. I grab a handful of seeds.

"Just sayin, aint as easy as it looks when you don't know what you're doing."

"One hurdle at a time," I reply, sprinkling a couple dozen seeds into the hole I just dug.

He laughs, almost stumbling over in his stupor. "You wouldn't be trying to bake a cake with spoiled eggs, would you now?"

I ignore him and fill in the hole, patting the fresh soil down gently. Textbook agriculture - a job well done.

***

I adjust the rim of my fedora. Today, I'm doing things a bit differently. I've decided to make more efficient use of the space available. Work over a large space, and see what keeps - that's the theory.

In the corner of my eye, I notice A white and black patrol car silently pulling up on my back left. Paying little attention to the visitor, I continue, walking down the line and exhaust the last handful of seeds from my sack. I hear the sound of a car door slamming shut.

"At it again, eh?" A uniformed man walks up. A gold badge emblazoned with a Grimmof bird hangs off his breast pocket.

"Another lecture?" I sigh. "Frustrating enough getting these things to grow without the daily ridicule."

He chuckles a bit.

"You're a smart kid. Don't wanna see ya waste your livelihood on somethin' you aint suited to do, ya know?"

"Already been at it for years," I shrug, brushing the build-up of sweat off my forehead. It's hotter today than usual, no, possibly hotter than i've ever experienced in my life.

He frowns in my direction, clearly frustrated. "I reckon you aint making much progress. Someone's gotta say it - you're a poo poo farmer.."

"-and you used to be a hopeless drunk," I interrupt him. "My luck will change. Just like yours did."

His frown has turned to a glare at this point, and he turns to walk away. "G'dday, Officer," I call out to him.

He gets back in his car, which hovers away with a barely audible hum.

I return to work, grabbing the hose and spraying the fermented soil with a torrent of water.

***

After a while, you develop an eye - It's like a sixth sense. I can tell where the best soil is with just a cursory glance. It makes the labor much more lenient. I've noted the most favorable spots and planted my crops in just minutes.

The more practice I get, the more my general knowledge of agriculture and understanding of the techniques employed to produce the highest quality yield improves. I don't even need to refer to the original manuscript routinely to review the basics anymore. I've even learned enough to account for the missing section, at this point.

I will write my own revision one day.

"Hey, quit slacking over there!

The district foreman has caught eye of me floundering in my self-reflection. I snap to my senses and quickly pretend to do something productive, to avert his suspicion. As he passes by, I tip the brim of my top-hat in his direction.

"You're lucky General Octavio likes you, I'd have you working in the mines rather than the fields," he comments, before continuing his patrol.

I had been able to distance myself from the blazing heat coming from above while meditating on my occupational growth, but now that I'm back in the fields, the sweat comes dripping down.

***

It's frustrating trying to focus on work with so much weight on your shoulders.

Maybe I'm in too deep.

I feel like no one understands me anymore.

***

Octomadmagon has terrorized this village for the last time.

Today I'm going to the blacksmith to find something that can slay the cursed thing. I push the visor on my iron-plated close helmet shut, and start down the road.

I'm not sure why I'm even here, guess I needed a vacation.

***

The GSX-HR08 buzzed loudly.

"OPTIMAL CONDITIONS DETECTED. CHANCE OF SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME 99.9999997 PERCENT," it screeched at me, as I kneel in the dirt.

I fashion a cocoon of soil in my hands and gently push a lone seed into the center. I slather a handful of water onto the cocoon and carefully massage it until it is a perfectly smooth oval, then set it down inside the ditch. I slowly fill in the hole with a mixture of the surrounding soil, and a special blend containing minerals I collected by using the GSX-HR08's advanced scanning capabilities to find deposits in the surrounding land.

Nothing more to learn, I think to myself.

I pick myself up and march confidently back towards the barn.

***

I take off my space helmet.

I take off my hallowed dragon whelp skull.

I lift the tribal headdress off my head carefully.

I take off my sombrero.

I take off my straw hat.

I unwrap my turban.

I untie the scarf around the bottom of my face.

I remove my disposable face mask.

I take off my top hat.

I take off my derby hat.

I take off my fedora.

I take off my fez.

I take off my beanie.

***

I take my baseball cap off and throw it haphazardly to the floor of the hangar. After a brief moment to reorient myself, I'm ready to go. I rise to my feet with excitement. Just as I am about lunge for the door, I jerk myself backward and look over at the cap, now laying over in the corner.

As I look at the cap, I sense an overwhelming flood of loneliness. For just a moment, the buzz of technology that fills the hangar with countless humming harmonies and trills is completely drowned out. Not sure if i've ever been one to believe in something as silly as the idea luck, but that hat did end up leading me down the right path. Surely if luck were a real thing, that hat must have been blessed with it by some supernatural force.

I pick my lucky baseball cap up, brush it off, and set it on the desk against the hangar wall on top of the torn agriculture manuscript. I make my way to the door, walking under countless variations of headgear hanging from the walls on the way.

My hair blows in the wind as I walk out into the fields. Too long has it been. I feel chills as I walk into the fields of the place I remember as home.

After discovering that old manuscript as I was rummaging through some nearby ruins, I finally had the solution to a renewable source of food in this broken world. The hats take me places that have their own charms, but I feel more comfortable here. No more glare of that giant sky-lamp slowly burning the eyes right out of my skull, looming behind my back and draining my body of its liquid reserves.

It took so long, but I had to be sure to learn everything possible about agriculture. It will be even more difficult to work here, in the dark, but I think I can manage.

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Chili posted:

The following is a list of all rewards won by the esteemed thunderdomers who had the bravery to post a story.


BabyRyoga

You open your diamond capsule and find inside…

HOLLOW KNIGHT!

The awesome steam game. Message me directly for your code.



It is an awesome game, I actually already have it.

Is there by any chance anyone amongst our numbers here that has been waiting to play it but hasn't been able to yet? If so, speak up!

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Yeah, in

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


What the hell,

In :toxx:

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


The Man With the Straw Hat
834 words
Hell Rule: None of your characters understand each other

Do you fear the man with the straw hat?

A question that all good kids have considered at least once if intelligent, that must cross the minds of the brilliant ones many times over the course of a day - or night.

He towers tall, that frightening thrall
Reaps the heaps and makes them fall
Shackles you up while just a bud
Grinds your bones and drains your blood
And after that dreadful, baleful ordeal
Of your remains he forges a meal
With wicked visage and a jagged maw
A feast of torn flesh he will gnaw

Or so the lore could say. Perhaps the prose is too sophisticated for the minds of the young to grasp; the fear they have of the man with the straw hat could be described as more of a primal instinct.

It always happens the same way - a poor young soul at play inadvertently wanders too close to the den where the man with the straw hat dwells, unaware of its trespass. No grave sin is committed, for kids are naive and easily coaxed. Lured in by candy, bittersweet. However, the man with the straw hat is not concerned with punishing the wicked; he is an indiscriminate creature with his own primal needs.

This evening, two strangers are set to fall victim, by some unfortunate coincidence. They wander into the man's foyer - a sprawling meadow, inviting to the untrained eye for a playful frolic. Various tightly-packed shrubs line either side, and a wooden fence closes off the back.

One shabby looking kid with tufts of untrimmed bushy brown hair covering the area around its ears takes the bait and trots in cautiously, peering around with deep curiosity. Shortly after, an impertinent jolly little porker of a lad waddles its way in from the other direction, not paying attention to its surroundings. The two bump heads, in a brief moment of panic. Such youngins are easily startled, but this meeting is amicable. Each, in turn, examines the area to their own preferences.

The jolly lad notices it first. It tenses up, eyes darting from side to side. A sign in the air. Is it the wind? The undeniable feeling that something is wrong. It yelps softly as if to warn its new companion.

The shabby kid, a bit less astute than his acquaintance wallows in ignorance for a few more moments, as the sounds of approaching footsteps off in the distance cross the threshold of audibility. A cold sliver of tension hits the kid's spine just as the time comes, but alas the man with the straw hat hunts swiftly.

With a loud clang, a steel gate comes crashing down, barring off the opening the two had passed through. Panic sets in. They scurry off frantically to random corners of the meadow turned pen. The two search in vain for an opening to escape through. They look at each other with fear and frustration in their eyes, screaming out in unison. The unintelligible commotion does nothing but add a layer of tension.

The footsteps grow louder. Sounds of under-brush rustling, as he makes his way closer, completely unconcerned with hiding his presence. Perhaps he takes pride in instilling fear into his prey.

And in the pen where the young ones dwell, the shrieks of dismay set with the sun. Silence. Not a peep. The intelligent ones know when to access the situation. The kid slinks off to a corner and tries to make itself hidden, while the lad remains on guard. His eyes continue to dart around the area, searching for anything. The gate slowly rises with a metallic creak...

And when the man with the straw hat steps in the pen and comes to a rest, he towers high above the lad, a mass of shifting shadows, calm in his movements with all the confidence of a tyrant god. He approaches with no hesitation. His silhouette looms over the lad in silence.

"Little piggy. I won't hurt ya. Promise!"

The saffron glow of his half-rotten teeth gleam faintly in the night as he leans in, and breathes his cursed words into the air.

"LITTLE PIGGY.."

He licks his lips.

"P I G G Y"

The sound of his voice is like rolling thunder. Just as the lad is cornered, a dirt-rousing trample is heard. The kid charges into the man with the straw hat, sending him toppling over, with all the clamor of a freight train. And the two make their escape.

Through the brush, through the darkness.

All the disgruntled anger of the man follows them, like a rapidly advancing dust cloud.

And they run, and they escape the bustle. Through the trees and into a larger clearing...

And they come to a halt. Several silhouettes gather silently in the distance. Taller, shorter, stranger. They conduct their business unaware of the pair. However, the lad and the kid observe, and now they know they live in the world of the men with, but not limited to straw hats.

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In :toxx: Let's do better.

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Drunken Pirates
No one gets hurt

A Boy Walks on to a Pirate Ship...
1197 Words

Two walked the wharf under a full moon, advancing at a steady pace.

"How does this work, Mr. Ikegumo?" A young boy in his mid teens chirped.

"Just Ikegumo," a man wearing shabby, tattered clothes replied. A leather patch covered his left eye. "If we like ye, yer in. If not, well.." a sinister grin formed as he spoke.

They crossed into the barren section of the docks beyond where the average fishing boat captain was willing to dock. Sounds of maritime and twilight danced through the night; Crashing waves, sea-worn wooden planks creaking under soles of leather. Sounds that conceal the jovial nature of the weekly decompression bored pirates commit to in order to retain sanity.

Standing at the foot of a decrepit, yet capable ship, Ikegumo turned towards the recruit and nodded.

"Yer new home, matey. If ye have reservations, speak them now or bury them beneath th' sands below the deeps."

The kid hesitated for a second. "I was born to be at sea. It's all I think about."

"The sea plays for keeps, kid. But it plays fair. These lowlife bastards are rotten to the core, they'll-"

Before he finished, an arm clamped down on his shoulder, followed by a loud "Yarrrrgh".

"Who ye be talkin' to, 'gumo?" the pirate interjected. A volatile whiff of moonshine blew past his lips.

"This here guppy says he was born fer'the sea."

"Is that so?" the pirate howled, leaning in for a closer look. He formed his hand into a U shape and grabbed the boy under his chin, squeezing his cheeks as he leaned in to meet eye to eye.

"Boy," he said, menacingly. "Yer not scared, are ye? Know what we do with lilly-livered cowards, yar?"

The boy didn't blink, nor speak. The pirate continued,

"We drag em below the decks and lock em away, all alone, to cry..." He paused and glared the meanest scowl the boy had ever seen. "...that way, they can have... A PRIVATE TEAR, Yarrhahaha!" The pirate erupted into a drunken cackle, slapping the boy heartily on the back before tumbling to the ground in a fit of laughter.

Ikegumo pressed his hand to his forehead and groaned. When he was stressed by the cruelty of the sea, or buffoonery of his mates, he would travel to times past and places far.

Clear and serene, like still water. This mantra resonated throughout his thoughts, as he distanced himself from all distractions. With footsteps swift enough to cause but a mere ripple on the surface of the water, he glided across the pond.

Ikegumo broke from his trance and grabbed the boy by the arm, leading him up the gangplank. "forget this jerk, we're going aboard."

"What did ye do until now, boy?" Ikegumo asked sharply.

"I was a farmer. My family owns some land a-ways past the midtown bazaar."

As they set foot on deck, a group of three pirates engaged in chatter and ale took notice. One with a grizzled beard stepped forward to greet them, taking a swig and handing his bottle off to the closest set of hands.

"New recruit? Yer lucky lad," he took another step forward, almost tripping over himself. "We're about to gather below deck and put on a film."

A prudent-looking pirate stepped forward and gently elbowed the first in the ribs. "By the code," he exclaimed. "Boy, how old are ye?" he questioned the recruit.

"Sixteen sir." the kid replied, earnestly.

The pirates looked at each other and started snickering. "Not this time, boy," the prudent one said.

"Yeah- tough luck," the third one blurted out, barely able to contain laughter. He snorted softly, spitting up some ale.

The bearded pirate kept a straight face at first. "Sshorry kid," he said, slurring his words as laughter began to well up. "Bet ye can fiiigure out why, hehehhah!" he succumbed to the guffaw that had possessed his companions.

The tip of his blade pierced the straw target with precision. In, out, and back into the sheath. Fast enough that no pain could precede swift death, had the target life to give.

"Ikegumo? Are you ok?" the sound of the recruit's voice quickly brought him back.

"Fine kid, sometimes I lose myself... (Around this time, every week..)" he muttered softly under his breath.

Just then the ship's bosun stumbled by, cheeks flushed pink with drink, and a goofy smile on his face. He had what looked like the ship's wheel sticking out of his trousers.

"Not this loving rear end in a top hat.." Ikegumo could feel a migraine coming on.

Clear and serene, like still water. Become a shimmering mirror that reflects light, sound.

The bosun made eye contact with Ikegumo, and proudly pointed at the wheel hanging out of his pants, grinning like a child who had the biggest secret to reveal to his playmates.

Ikegumo shot the bosun an icy glare and shook his head gently. The bosun immediately started pointing at his wheel vigorously, narrowing his eyes angrily and glaring back.

"NO, You're drivin' ME nuts," Ikegumo shouted angrily into the face of the bosun at the top of his lungs, who fell to his knees in an intoxicated stupor. His giggling was infectious, and the crew who had heard were now pointing at the group. They joined in the merriment and mirth one by one in turn as if singing a round but instead cackling.

"..move so swiftly that your shadow can cleave flesh. So silently that the absence of sound penetrates rock. Unpredictably to the extent of forfeiting your given name to be referenced henceforth only in legends. Thus is the way."

Dressed completely in black cloth garb, he took a bow to address the council of three before him as he finished reciting. The figure in the centre, who was dressed in similar black garb, stepped forward.

"Fledgling spider, You shall revel in the clan's most protected secrets, if you can solve this ancient riddle of profound complexity. Kneel before me, and call upon your training."

The inductee eagerly nodded and took a knee, as the figure continued speaking:

"What dangles haphazardly from the hilt of every master's sword?"

The inductee meditated in silence as he contemplated the answer. Suddenly, he felt something soft and fuzzy touch the tip of his nose and looked up to see the figure standing over him with the lower part of his garb unfastened.

Laughter erupted from all around as many stealthy eyes watched on from the shadows.


Laughter meshed seamlessly into other laughter. Onigumo's eyes fixated on their surroundings as his head came spinning back to reality.

"What business do'a farmboy landlubber like ye got with men of the sea?" A pirate wearing a hat vastly more fancy than the rest addressed the recruit.

"Figured I'd peddle my wares, got some corn for ye jolly folks."

"Corn? He's got Corn me hearties!" The crew roared in drunken amusement, following their captain's words.

"Tell me, lad, how much are ye expecting to collect for that corn..."

The voice of the captain trailed off and faded as Ikegumo slammed the door of his quarters behind him.

Free me. Let's cross off their names, together...

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In

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BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


I will write, and spare 200 words for a reaction

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