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Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




A note to writers: if your flashrule makes no sense in your setting, then please adjust as appropriate. For example, if your flashrule is, "the town was surrounded by wolves," but you have already written 3/4 of a story set in moon base, then the moon base is now surrounded by wolves.

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Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.






Albatrossy_Rodent posted:

The right hand lies!


This was relatively well written. I personally would not have had it as the loser, but I can kind of see why it was. Maybe there was some information you just didn't put into the story, but the actions of the protagonists just didn't make sense. Inviting the insurance claims dude into their house, and then telling him that they'd lied, like why do that after one evening of bonding? Is there some backstory that would've made this make more sense?


I quite liked this one. There were a couple of annoying errors in syntax or spelling, and some slight tense issues, but the gradual 'twist' of a serial killer getting the same sadistic thrill from being a manager was pretty good. I'm not sure if I hated them more as a serial killer or as a manager so well done with that I guess.


This was kind of good but needed more story imo. Also maybe a better explanation that the protagonist apparently (I'm told?) turned into a were-possum rather than a werewolf, which I didn't really get from the text but apparently my cojudge knew this so maybe it was a flash that I ignored I dunno. Was well written though, IMO.

Sitting Here posted:

Storm Eye Blind

Is this a Third Eye Blind gag or something? Like I guess this is all a setup to a dumb joke but it turns out that is extremely my kind of thing, so good job pandering to me. My favourite so far. Well executed too imo.


Absurd and tragic. At first it's kind of funny with all the stuff the protagonist is rolling into his conspiracy theory but you gradually reveal how thoroughly they've screwed their life and I, the reader, goes oh noooooooooooooooooooo. This was my second favourite at this point, and it mostly falls down on two points:
1. The ending was mysterious in an annoying way where you suddenly introduced this character with a whole backstory but then kinda left us hanging
2. It didn't pander as directly to me, sorry
It was real good tho

rohan posted:

What Really Happened

Got a bit meta at the end in kind of an annoying way. It was well told but I kind of didn't grow to care about the characters in any way.

Captain_Indigo posted:

Persona Detective

This was by far my least favourite, and the one I wanted to mark as the loser. Fortunately for you, my co-judges inexplicably loved it. It's just... nothing happens. Way too tell instead of show, way too much of the protagonist's boring ruminations. The big reveal at the end where it turns out everyone's watching everyone else or whatever, which again my co-judges loved for some reason, just seemed kinda stupid to me. I'm probably being unnecessarily harsh to this story because I don't get how my co-judges loved it so much, but it just rubbed me the wrong way from the first line, and stayed with the same imo bad kind of prose.


There is a whole bunch of action that you just kinda skip over. They do a bunch of cool stuff in a fantasy world and we don't really see any of it, we're just kinda told it happens, and then they return to earth or whatever and we don't really see how those experiences affect their relationship or the rest of their life or whatever. Also you tense shifted midway through, and not just midway through the story but midway through a paragraph.

Yoruichi posted:

Dissembling

Extremely rude making me feel feelings about a drat skeleton. Much as I didn't want to contribute to the year of the horse and make your head bigger than it is, this was just so drat good.

Azza Bamboo posted:

Viva Shaboople


This was actually my first time reading this. I wasn't gonna crit it but then I was like 'no, this is the Dome and in the Dome we honour late entries who refuse to accept failure,' so here is me about to read and crit it.

"he’s tonguing the inside of his mouth down toward his chin"

what is going on with that sentence

OK this is kind of an unsatisfying ending. Like I guess it's implied that Karl is the 'mole' or whatever we're calling it, but you don't really do anything with it. Aside from that it's mostly well told, although there's a couple times when you've done a new paragraph to have the same person to speak dialogue at us.

Chernobyl Princess
Jul 31, 2009

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

:siren:thunderdome winner:siren:



Convention
flash: ...everyone saw a ghost!
988 words

The shriek of someone else’s cell phone alarm slapped Rose awake at the ungodly hour of seven AM. Her bandmate, Claire, groaned in the other bed. Claire rolled over, folding their pillow over their ears. Rose tried to follow suit, but the tinny, shrill rendition of the Macarena bored directly into her skull.

Ten agonizing minutes later, the alarm stopped. Rose breathed a sigh of relief and drifted back to sleep.

DALE A TU CUERPO ALEGRIA MACARENA

Rose’s eyes flew open. She stared at the hotel clock. Seven forty-five.

“What the gently caress,” Claire growled. “It’s the weekend. The con opens at nine. Who the gently caress wakes up this early?”

Rose rubbed her eyes. “Some fancy cosplayer maybe?”

“I’ll garrotte them with their own el wire,” Claire promised. The music stopped abruptly. Both sighed with relief.

It was harder to fall asleep this time. Rose squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves.

At eight fifteen the alarm went off again. Claire rolled over and stared at Rose. “Tori is still asleep,” they said, their voice full of jealous disgust, jerking a thumb at the third member of the band, who shared the second hotel bed with them.

“No’m not,” Tori mumbled, pushing herself onto her elbows. She blinked, blearily, squinting without her glasses. She frowned. “Who’s playing the Macarena?”

“An absolute psychopath,” Rose said.

Claire glared balefully at the wall between the rooms. “When’s our first concert?”

Rose sighed and reached into her purse, rummaging through it for the convention schedule. “The Damsels aren’t on until 4, but you’re judging a filk competition at 11, and I’m on a stage makeup panel at noon.”

“That’s enough time to hide a body.”

The music stopped. Tori shrugged and grabbed her clothes. “Hey, Rose, do you need to use the bathroom before I shower?”

Rose shook her head and gave a thumbs up, eyes closed. She’d drifted into the cool, gray space that was before sleep when the dulcet tones of Los Del Rio came blasting back through the wall.

“Okay, gently caress this,” she said, throwing off the sheets and standing up. “I’m going to go get breakfast.” Rose pulled on her jeans and a t-shirt with the band’s logo on it: a lute shaped like a skull and the words DISRESPECTFUL DAMSELS in a bold font. “Come on, we’ll feel better after food.”

They sat in a coffee shop down the street, sipping lattes and nibbling on pastry, mostly trying to kill time in hopes that the phone would no longer ring. Tori joined them after a while, her hair still damp and curly from the shower.

“That phone went off two more times before I left,” she said as she picked at a bagel. “I think they might be dead.”

“If they’re not, they will be,” Claire muttered darkly, hunched over their cup like a vulture.

Returning to their rooms after breakfast to prepare for the rest of the day, the Damsels again heard the dreadful music coming from the room next door.

“They must have left their phone in the room,” Rose said. “It’s been hours. No loving god would allow them to be in their room while that happened.”

Claire sniffed the air. There was a distinctly herbal quality to it that was not foreign to any of the Damsels. “Is that… That’s not weed. That’s sage.”

Tori pressed her ear to the door. “Someone’s there, I can hear them moving,” she whispered. She pounded on the door. “Excuse me? Your alarm is still going off, friend!”

The door cracked open, revealing a slim, early-twenties man with thick glasses and a Green Lantern t-shirt. He looked petrified. “Oh my god,” he said. “I’m so sorry, I can’t make it stop. Can you… Do you know any kind of like… magic or…” He raked a hand over his hair and swallowed. “I know it sounds crazy but… just look!”

On the hotel desk, above his phone hovered a ghostly woman.

Her spine was stiff, her fists clenched at her sides as she shrieked the words to the song through an expression of absolute fury. As the Damsels gaped at her, the ghost’s face contorted further, teeth lengthening, and plunging the room into supernatural cold. She howled, pointing at the band with hooked, gnarled fingers and snarled a single word: “Dance.”

“I don’t know what I’m doing!” He said, panic rising in his voice. “Every time I try to pick up my phone she slaps me and yells at me to dance! And every time I try she just gets madder! I don’t know what’s happening!”

“Have you tried doing the Macarena?” Claire shouted over the music.

The young man looked at them as if they were insane. “The what?!”

The Damsels shared a knowing look. Of course he wouldn’t know, why would a Zoomer remember a fad that happened when most of the Damsels themselves were in elementary school?

“Okay,” Tori said, her voice full of authority. “Copy what we do.” The band members positioned themselves around the phone, directing the young man where to stand. The ghost pointed at him and shrieked again, demanding that he dance.

When the chorus began, they started the dance. The young man tried to follow along, clumsy at first. His attempts seemed to enrage the ghost, who shrieked louder, her form expanding. Frost began to form at the windows, but the band kept dancing.

But by the end of the second jump-turn, he’d figured it out. Gradually the ghost’s screaming quieted, her expression softening. She entered the second stanza smiling, laughing along and swaying her hips. She shrank to the size of a doll, just hovering a few centimeters above the phone, dancing along with them through the end of the song. She smiled at the young man as the volume diminished, blowing him a kiss before disappearing.

And then there was blessed silence.

The man called M
Dec 25, 2009

THUNDERDOME ULTRALOSER
2022





Lego Set: Pirates of Barracuda Bay
Suddenly....A Dinosaur popped out!

From the Logs of James “Redbeard” Shaw: July 27, 1874
652 Words

You can read this log as a tale of pirates because that’s what it is. Me and my crew were out on a voyage of the Caribbean. We were off to Fort Henry, a British held port, since the Queen’s cronies decided it was a good idea to have kidnapped one of my crew. When word got out that my crewwoman Robin got herself kidnapped, we set sail as soon as we could.

Us being pirates, we decided to enter the pirate way. That is, with cannons. The Brits had cannons of their own, so it wasn’t smooth sailing there. Eventually, we found a way to dock. Me and my lover Lady Anchor went out ahead, guns a blazing. Letting those who told of Robin’s location alive, as a thank you for their service. It was in the dungeon area that we found Robin. After rescuing her, I leave a note for Queen Vic, herself. “If you go after my crew again, you will be next”.

Afterwards, we returned to Barracuda Bay, with our entire crew intact. I went and had a pint with the lads, enjoying a successful voyage. During the raid at the fort, we went and robbed it clean. A good haul and saving Robin. It’s what we pirates call a good day. Afterward, Me and Anchor went and made love. Oh yes, a good day!

The next day, we went and pillaged a French fort close by. Nobody was kidnapped this time, but pillaging is just what we pirates do best. During the voyage, Robin felt a little dizzy.

“I’m fine, Captain!” she would tell me.

“Like hell! Go into the quarters to rest.” I told her. In my opinion my crew was not only a ragtag bunch of idiots, but a ragtag bunch of idiots I was proud to consider a family. I would be damned if any of my family were too sick to do their job. After we got things done, we headed back to the Bay, and I sent Robin over to our doctor.

I stayed around in the waiting area, along with Anchor and Robin’s fellow crewman Jack Doubloons. The rest of the crew figured that he and Robin were more than just friends, but Jack embarrassingly keeps saying otherwise. Anchor once told him that it was the sign of a true virgin.
“Don’t sweat it, Jack!” I once told him.

“How come, Captain?”

“Once you become a real man, Robin will fall head over heels for you!”

“I swear, it’s not like that!” He would tell me.

The crew loved teasing him. Perhaps he was considered the younger brother of the crew?

A few hours later, our doctor came out. Turns out Robin was pregnant! When word came out, most of the crew congratulated Jack. Jack seemed rather shocked, as if he knew that he wasn’t the one who did the deed. A few hours later, we were informed that Robin’s baby was ready to come out. I wondered, was it a boy or a girl? I was there for the birth and saw that Robin’s baby was…

…a dinosaur?

The hell?

We were all confused. After all, who the hell gave birth to a dinosaur before (Other than other Dinosaurs)? I looked up one of the books in my study. Turns out, Robin gave birth to a Tyrannosaurus Rex. At first, I wondered if I drank too much Booze. But it turns out, Robin actually gave birth to a blooming T Rex!
Later, we found out why that was the case. Robin was impregnated by the British, but not in the way we expected. The Brits were injecting people with bone marrow from fossils. And the result was shown to us through Robin’s ‘baby’. Jack offered to be his father, while I thought to myself, “A dinosaur in my crew. Awesome!” Perhaps, this was one of my strangest experiences in Piracy.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish



The Worlds We Imagine
Word count: 945


https://thunderdome.cc/?story=10099&title=The+Worlds+We+Imagine

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 12:15 on Dec 9, 2021

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003

the Educated Villain of London



WE’RE MAKING A CASH OFFER BECAUSE WE CAN
998 words
No flash rules

***

Padre Vinh was anxious to make the auction but first he needed to touch the land. He turned off the highway and up the switchback to Crystal Point until he found a place to pull over. Here the mountains ran to the sea in violent cuts of chaparral scrubbed raw by the Pacific winds. From once-sleepy surf towns the housing developments had spread like tendrils until the landscape glittered–all except the naked scrub of Crystal Point. Generational fortunes had been made in real estate, and now there was a plum opportunity for the Church.

“Prosperity proves providence,” as Blessed Luis always said. Long ago, Vinh’s head newly shaven from initiation. Then-Padre Luis pointing to a map of a coast. Far away in California the first Blessed was seized by divine vision to use his congregation’s collections to acquire the headland known as Crystal Point

“–and from the profits of its sale to the Rankin Company he raised the Church,” Vinh continued aloud. “From then on prosperity abounded, unbroken.”

Back then Luis had been a physical force imbued with theological thunder. To Vinh he was prosperity gospel incarnate. Now the old man lacked assurance. He fixated on the minutiae of dollars and cents and risk-adjusted returns, particularly in recent months. Five times he had called during Vinh’s drive: “Crystal Point is an investment and only an investment. Remember that it will be for me to decide whether we move forward. The price must be right. Say it.”

Padre Vinh, as always, had swallowed his disappointment at the lack of vision.

***

A motel off the coastal freeway, Crystal Point the backdrop, a cheap banner: 121 UNDEVELOPED ACRES – BLIND AUCTION BY BARON KARL. Outside milled a throng of moussed property developers.

When his name was called, Vinh entered the appointed room and discovered Karl was shockingly tall, nearly seven feet. “We’re eminently reasonable” was the inauspicious introduction, boomed from above, “and we’re sensitive to your church’s history,” a knowing smile. But as always, the Church’s strategy had been carefully constructed. The Acjachemen Nation’s claim to Crystal Point was not yet public but it had been uncovered by the Church’s portfolio analysts. Vinh had faith the claim was worthless (and he had convinced Luis of the same, at least he hoped), but the developers’ lenders could not possibly risk financing Crystal Point. Unlike the developers, providence meant the Church had the wherewithal to make a cash offer. The pieces came together. God’s hand revealed.

As Vinh began to explain Karl’s misfortune he was interrupted by the buzzing of a Razr phone, followed by an agitated minion.

Outside, a motorcade stretching to the horizon, chrome twinkling in the California sun. With military precision the vehicles were streaming up to Crystal Point, where there were already rows of parked motorcycles and, ominously, deployed motorhomes. For a moment Vinh thought the Acjachemen were making a move, but then he saw the crimson flag and emblazoned on it the enormous swastika.

***

It turned out the Aryan Defenders had learned of the Acjachemen claim and were incensed by the possibility of reparations to native nations. In this Vinh perceived opportunity, divinely-granted. The Aryan occupation of Crystal Point extinguished the developers and with them the auction. Padre Vinh haggled with the broken Karl, but the Church had won. Still, he dreaded Luis’s judgment. The-price-must-be-right.

At their last prayer together in Houston, a nervous Vinh: “Surely God himself bankrupted Rankin before it could develop Crystal Point.”

“God certainly left Rankin overleveraged” was the dry reply, but Vinh already knew that, and also that God had plagued the bankruptcy proceedings so they dragged on for decades.

“And so Rankin proved to be faithless,” Vinh pressed on, “and now God challenges the Church to demonstrate the will to reclaim our birthright. That we have providence.” Blessed Luis remained silent.

***

And now on the phone with Luis, Vinh was explaining that the Aryan Defenders were unfortunate but manageable (the Church being majority white), and that Crystal Point still could be refinanced assuming the Acjachemen claim failed as expected. The Church need only finalize the cash offer.

Blessed Luis doubted. Adages about risk, economic banalities–skeins that squeezed Vinh’s lungs into a too-familiar pinhead of disappointment. Vinh died, but then his lungs inflated with rage, and his voice erupted with thunder as Luis’s once had, charged with providence. He castigated Luis’s fear. He called on destiny. He invoked profits. And Luis surely must agree that the price was right.

Close, very close. But in the world outside, the groans of a teetering financial ecosystem engineered by the reckless and indifferent had reached a crescendo. That morning, the heretofore nascent Great Financial Crisis reached exit velocity in a contagion that would touch every corner of the world. Vinh was unaware, lost in gospel and valuations, even as Luis tried to convey what had happened in the markets.

Finally, hoarsely: “As of this afternoon, the Church is no longer liquid.”

***

Disbelief, embarrassment. The inability to do a cash offer was a stain on the Church but ultimately no problem. Vinh was sure to find a lender.

The Church’s banks said no. So did the Chinese Unity of Southern California. The Pacific Union Church laughed at him. He even went to the Aryan Defenders.

“We can’t finance this,” said Aryan Maxx, the cheerful president of a local credit union. “You’re yellow scum. But even if you weren’t, the Acjachemen claim will succeed.” Confused, Vinh gestured at the encampment. “Anyone can tell the land is unquestionably theirs,” laughed Maxx, “but we whites will make them miserable. Besides, no lender will be touching real estate for a long time.”

***

Ludicrous excuses, lack of spine, no vision. God’s will obscured. Vinh did not believe that these abstract rumblings of abstract digits in abstract markets could have any true effect on the world. The land was the land. He could feel the soil.

In silence Vinh sat at the edge of Crystal Point. Here in the mountains: once hope, now fear.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




Insecto phantasmal
994 words

“What the hell, Rudolph? Again?”

Dr. Rudolph Timber and Dr. Anton Terry looked over a scorched patch of blown-out jungle, over what had once been the village of Pequeńo Manaus.

Anton gestured toward the desolation, the latest in a series of baffling tragedies during their search for the legendary Insecto phantasmal.

Rudy’s response was dispassionate, clinical.

“It’s burned, Anton. Annihilated. So, shall we begin?”

Rudy started to kick through the entryway of a ruined longhouse, noisily scattering smoking debris.

“Rudy! Have some respect for the dead.”

Rudy lowered his foot and glared. After weeks in the jungle, his patience with Anton was wearing thin.

“Respect for the dead doesn’t make for scientific breakthroughs, Anton.”

He gave the charred door a decidedly unethical punt. Anton frowned.

“No, that’s been a pretty problematic viewpoint. Historically speaking.”

Rudy stepped away. The pair sat on a burnt log. Anton spoke up.

“Let’s take a breather, okay? It’s been a stressful few days and this…”

He gestured to the destruction.

“It’s horrible. We can go over what we’ve got so far, refocus.”

Rudy rolled his eyes. His tone was haughty, sarcastic.

“Oh yes, let’s go over this wealth of certifiably credible information on the Insecto phantasmal, shall we?”

He began flipping through his notes, turning each page with an exaggerated flourish.

“It’s six or twelve or fifty inches long. Maybe it gives people aggressive glaucoma? A head like a goddamn coconut. A predilection for water wells and wood piles; that’s totally, and I mean totally, useless. And the coup de grâce, it has three legs and nine arms.”

Anton smiled.

“At least it’s something, right?”

Rudy gave him a dead stare.

“It’s loving phylogenetically unfeasible.”

Anton’s smile vanished. He stared at the ground, his voice soft and low.

“This is the fourth village that’s either been deserted or torched, Rudy. What if someone else is looking for the Insecto? What if they did all this to cover their tracks, so no one else could find it?”

Anton sighed.

“It’s too much. I think we should just quit.”

Rudolph shot up from his log, incensed.

He’d heard enough.

Rudolph began circling Anton, fully ranting.

“There’s a hundred explanations for what happened out here and none of them have anything to do with you, me, or the Insecto. Quit!?”

Anton gave Rudy a dark look, shaken by his partner’s lack of compassion.

“A hundred explanations? Name one, Rudy.”

Rudolph paused for a moment.

“Underground methane pocket. I was tenure track, Anton!”

Anton snapped. He spat and let loose at his colleague.

“Oh, your precious tenure track. You were never going to make tenure!”

Rudy gasped. Anton softened.

“That was low. I’m sorry. Tenure is, uh, hard.”

Rudy slid his fieldbook back into his pack, then surveyed the treeline.

“Well, Anton, this is where we part ways. I’ll take the path to fame and academic glory. You’ll turn back and conduct a few more of your ground-breaking interviews about the Insecto. Why don’t you poll some goddamn parrots?”

Rudolph paused and took a deep breath, composing himself.

“You’re dead weight, Anton.”

With that, Rudolph traipsed into the jungle. Anton didn’t move, watching his ex-partner dwindle into the foliage.

---

Rudolph knew that Anton was the problem. He didn’t have the insatiable hunger, that need for immortalizing glory that, in Rudy’s mind, defined a tenured scientist.

He vaulted over a small hill and came upon a clearing.

And, simple as anything, there it was.

The Insecto phantasmal lounged on a log, dicing the air with nine curved arms. It was six inches long, twelve including its bulbous head, with antennae that seemed to stretch on forever.

Five legs, Rudy noted. And covered with fine brown hair, not unlike a coconut.

The Insecto turned and fixed the awestruck scientist with a piercing stare.

“Hello, Rudolph.”

Its voice was deep and sonorous. Rudy sputtered a response.

“You, you can talk?”

The creature’s multifaceted eyes rolled like kaleidoscopes.

“No, Rudy. I’m projecting my thoughts into your mind.”

“What? Really?”

The Insecto chittered.

“Heck no. That’s ridiculous.”

It gently patted Rudy’s leg with a hooked claw.

“It’s okay! I lie, like, compulsively. It’s really been working for me.”

The Insecto began skittering around Rudy, scrutinizing him. Satisfied, it looked up.

“Well, how about we kill Anton?”

Rudy could only stare, agog. He forced the words out.

“Kill...Anton?”

The Insecto separated its blood-red mandibles, approximating a smile.

“He’s holding you back, Rudy. It was obvious from the moment I spotted you two, just after I torched Pequeńo Manaus. We both know you’ll never make tenure while he’s around.”

Rudolph took a step back, Anton momentarily forgotten.

“You burned Pequeńo Manaus? But how?”

The Insecto waved its arms in glee.

“Underground methane pocket! Now, I say we follow him. You act all sorry for ditching him. Then bam! Hit him with a rock. Or a log. Or stab him! With him out of the way I’ll let you snap a bunch of photos of me, and we’re even. You’ll be a shoe-in for tenure. It’ll be epic. You ever really beaned a guy with a rock, Rudy? It sure beats poisoning wells.”

Rudy sat on the ground, mulling over the Insecto’s proposal.

“You’re offering a trade? Anton for tenure? But why?”

The Insecto considered the question, waving a pedipalp as if searching for just the right word.

“I’m kind of a dirtbag, Rudy. Can’t help it. Besides, you need me; you’ll never do it alone. So?”

It was within reach, Rudy thought. A legendary discovery, fame, wealth, everything he’d ever wanted.

Tenure, for sure.

He extended a hand to the Insecto. It scampered up Rudy’s leg, coming to rest on his shoulder.

Its voice was soft and sweet.

“Who knows? After Anton, maybe I’ll even let you take me home.”

rohan
Mar 19, 2008

Look, if you had one shot
or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
in one moment
Would you capture it...
or just let it slip?


:siren:"THEIR":siren:





Flash: Ice Station Odyssey


Ice Planet Female (Doctor Kelvin)
Ice Planet Male
Ice Planet Chief (Commander Cold)


All This Ice
986 words

Getting to Ice Station six-nine-eight-three takes six hops from Copernica, eight months on a hibernation yacht, and a thousand bad decisions.

One of those bad decisions was sleeping with Crysanthia Cold. Another was taking the time to look through her datapad as she lay in my bunk—her soft voice breathing classified details as she slept, betraying her subterfuge. As a top-ranking scientist, the instructions for this eventuality had been quite clear: there was a pistol in my top drawer, loaded with a single bullet.

Requesting a transfer wasn’t necessarily a bad decision; but perhaps I should have been more critical, and not taken the first available placement, departing three hours post-coitus.

In hindsight, not leaving a note was also a bad decision.

***

I’m pouring my third whiskey of the morning—the only perk, you see, an endless supply of ice—when it happens. Magnus runs into my quarters, yelling something, and I wait while he ruins the dramatic urgency by resting his hands on his knees and breathing heavily.

‘There’s a shuttle,’ he manages, at last. ‘Just landed. Bay one.’

I stand up suddenly, regret it, and sit back down heavily. ‘You’re sure,’ I say, setting my glass down and reaching for my boots. ‘This isn’t like last time.’

‘A real shuttle,’ he says, wonderingly. ‘Perhaps they’ve come for us. Perhaps we’re done here.’

‘Not bloody likely,’ I say, strapping on my boots and standing more carefully this time.

We hurry down the slope together, bracing against the wind outside, to see a snowmobile heading toward us, and an actual Copernican shuttle held firm in the cradling arm of docking bay one. Magnus shields his eyes from the glare, gripping my arm tight as the snowmobile skids to a halt. I wrench free of his grasp, rubbing my bicep where his fingers had dug in. ‘Magnus, please,’ I insist. ‘Remember, we’re serious scientists.’

‘Magnus, Doctor Kelvin,’ the figure says, nodding at us in turn, before raising her visor to reveal deep blue eyes and curls of auburn hair. ‘I’m Commander Cold.’

Crysanthia?’ I say, stepping back.

‘You know her?’ Magnus asks, glancing between us. ‘Well—she does look familiar—’

‘We’ve noticed some irregularities in your research,’ Commander Cold continues, ignoring us both. ‘I’ve been sent to monitor your findings and audit your processes. May I please see your laboratory?’

She sweeps past, eyes only on the station, hands gripping a clipboard as we struggle to keep pace; not at all how I’d imagined a reunion would go.

‘If we’d known you were coming,’ I venture, ‘we’d have prepared our findings for you.’

‘And given you a chance to falsify documents, manipulate experiments, et cetera?’ she asks, stopping at the base of the ramp and turning to face me. ‘Apologies if you’ve been inconvenienced by my sudden arrival. I’d understood you were familiar with … spontaneity.’

‘I don’t know what more you want from me,’ I manage, finally. ‘I kept your secret. I took it all the way here with me and buried it in all this ice.’

‘My secret was never yours to bury,’ she says, and begins to say something else before an enormous crack appears in the ice below our feet. We barely have time to dash back up the ramp before the crack widens, deepens, and thrusts itself forward toward the shuttle, which it encircles to swallow whole. Magnus grips one of my arms, Commander Cold the other, as we watch our only way off this planet consumed by the mantle itself.

Commander Cold stares at the space where the shuttle used to be, her eyes the slate of an incoming storm, before rounding on me and gripping my collar with both hands.

‘You’re not tracking tectonic activity?’ she demands, pulling me close. ‘What have you been researching these past five years?’

‘Different,’ I manage, my voice thin, ‘types of ice?’

She glares, then releases me and strides back to the crack, peering down as if it were something she could interrogate. ‘You think I wanted to come here?’ she says, and as it’s not clear if she’s talking to me or the ravenous ravine, I stay quiet. ‘You think I wanted to go and visit my ex-girlfriend just to check her work?’

‘Bit presumptuous,’ I say. ‘We slept together once before I discovered you were a spy.’

‘Realised!’ she laughs. ‘I woke up, found you gone, and realised you’d cracked my passcode, found me out, and absconded.’

Magnus, who’s spent our entire conversation watching Cold’s face, interrupts with a triumphant: ‘Aha! Now I know why she looks familiar! She’s in the photo on your nightstand, Doctor Kelvin!’

I squeeze my eyes shut and motion Magnus away, his heavy footsteps retreating back around the base. When my eyes open, Commander Cold is standing before me, arms crossed and eyebrow raised.

‘If I’d stayed,’ I manage, ‘you know—you know I would’ve—we couldn’t have—,’ I blather, fumbling to voice a decision that led to five years’ exile. ‘I came here to save you,’ I say, at last. ‘If they’d discovered you because I slipped up somehow—’

Commander Cold places a finger on my lips, then smiles. ‘It took me five years,’ she says, at last. ‘To find you out here, millions of miles from anything. What’s the worst you could do from here?’

She curls a hand around my neck, brings her own face up to mine, closes her eyes—and Magnus re-appears with a triumphant cry. ‘Good news!’ he exclaims, waving us over. ‘I know what caused the crack!’

The moment lost, Commander Cold removes her hand, and we turn to follow Magnus back around the base: where the crack terminates beside my pick-axe, tongs, and a nine-by-nine pit, carved cube by cube from the tundra. Cold turns from the pit to my face, her lips tight.

‘Well,’ I say, clapping my hands together. ‘I think we’ve all earned a drink, no?’

My Shark Waifuu
Dec 9, 2012





Space Police Lunar Limo. Your set comes with Space Police Alien Jawson, Space Police Alien Brick Daddy, and Space Police Officer 14 - Airtanks.
Suddenly...the town was surrounded by wolves!!!


Alien of the Year
987 words

Officer Jake “Airtanks” Ramirez didn’t think driving the aliens to the Police Awards Gala would be this awkward. Space Police Alien Jawson and Space Police Alien Ovvilar sat in cold silence, tentacles carefully avoiding each other, until Jawson spoke.

“I surmise the force values ‘community outreach’ more than solved cases when it comes to Alien of the Year,” Jawson gurgled.

Ah, thought Airtanks, that’s how the force was spinning it: the moon-famous viral video of Ovvilar, on a dare from Officer Hopkins, lobbing a brick at a fleeing perp, hitting him square in the back from fifty meters. It was an impressive feat that earned him the affectionate nickname “Brick Daddy” from a public that had previously feared the tentacled aliens.

“Chief says I’m paving the way for alien-human relations,” Ovvilar chirped. Jawson ground his beak but Ovvilar continued, “You traumatized all those perps you caught with your full-body tentacle hug. Most of the force too.”

Jawson turned dark purple. “I proved my value to the force with a record number of arrests this year! Then you toss a brick and suddenly everyone loves you!”

Ovvilar flushed red. “Hey now, there are downsides to fame--” The two aliens started arguing in their own garbled language. Airtanks turned on the police scanner to drown out the noise.

“--to Ursa Street. Repeat: Fugitive Mars spotted, all officers respond.” The yowling from the back stopped.

“Did you hear that?” One of Jawson’s tentacles snaked past Airtanks to turn up the volume. “They found him! Airtanks, take us there at once!”

“What about the gala?” Ovvilar puffed.

“This is my case!” A few more of Jawson’s tentacles came forward and grabbed the wheel. “If I apprehend him, I’ll have closed 100 cases this year!”

“I’m under orders to deliver you to the gala--” Airtanks tried to object but Jawson had fully taken over the controls. Over Ovvilar’s burbles of protest, the Lunar Limo executed a slow u-turn and headed towards Ursa Street.

Some human officers stood around talking to witnesses. “See, it’s under control,” Ovvilar muttered, but Jawson squeezed out of the limo through the window.

“Space Police Alien Jawson,” he announced. “Where did the perp go?”

“Fleeing towards the edge of the dome, maybe to rendezvous with a getaway shuttle,” an officer said, trying to avoid Jawson’s four-eyed gaze. “We’ve grounded everything so--”

“I will catch him,” Jawson burped, then set off, tentacles flailing. Ovvilar followed, still grumbling about the gala.

Airtanks, feeling responsible, tailed them in the limo but soon lost them as the aliens climbed up and over modular lunar buildings. He drove towards the edge of the base until Jawson radioed, “Perp sighted at 439 Boundary Road! Will attempt capture. Put down that brick, Ovvilar.”

Airtanks sped towards the address, but as he reached it, an explosion rocked the lunar base. The emergency space suit in the limo’s seat deployed as the car was buffeted by the base’s atmosphere streaming out of a ragged hole in the dome.

Airtanks opened the visor in time to see a man, Mars, running towards the breach, two aliens in pursuit. Jawson reached out his tentacles and was about to grab him when Mars collapsed. A large moon wolf stood over him.

The wolf snarled at Jawson and the aliens scrambled into the safety of the limo. Their soft tentacles were no match for the wolves’ teeth. Another two wolves entered the base.

“There’s a whole pack,” Jawson glugged. “The dome kept them out, but that fool created an entrance with his escape attempt.”

Ovvilar was pale pink. “Airtanks, radio for backup! Wolves can’t open doors, right?”

Airtanks spoke with dispatch. “The rest of the force is dealing with the atmosphere loss, stabilizing civilians,” he reported. “The boss doesn’t even want to hear about moon wolves. We’re on our own.”

The three officers watched another three wolves come through the hole. “We’ve got to banish them,” Jawson blubbed. “What do moon wolves fear?”

“Fire?” Airtanks suggested.

“No oxygen to burn,” Ovvilar beeped.

“Is anyone armed?” Jawson asked. They weren’t; there was usually no need for laz-guns at the gala. Another three wolves entered the base and began sniffing for new prey.

“I know!” screeched Ovvilar. He motioned to a pile of rubble, fresh from the blast. “I’ll throw rocks at them, they won’t like that.”

“That is a preposterous idea,” Jawson grunted.

“No, it’s not. Airtanks, position the limo between me and the wolves.”

Airtanks was not convinced, but the moon wolves would soon disperse through the city to hunt civilians. He maneuvered the limo and Ovvilar oozed out the window.

Ovvilar threw the first rock over the limo. The wolves froze, looking surprised. He kept throwing rocks. The wolves didn’t flee, but they also didn’t scatter down the streets. “Come help me, Jawson,” he called.

“Ridiculous,” Jawson gargled, crossing his tentacles.

“Help isn’t coming,” Airtanks reminded him. “I won’t tell anyone if you do it.”

They looked at Brick Daddy, now chucking multiple rocks at a time. Jawson grunted but joined him. He tossed a brick tentatively over the limo, hitting a wolf in the nose. Ovvilar hooted, “Perfectl!”

Under assault from two rubble-throwing aliens, the moon wolves retreated back to the lunar surface. Airtanks moved the limo in front of the hole so they couldn’t return, and the three officers guarded the criminal Mars until reinforcements arrived.

“One hundred cases resolved, Space Police Alien Jawson!” the chief said. “And your actions today saved Moon City. You are truly … Officer Jawsome.” He looked pleased with himself.

Jawson ignored the nickname. “Space Police Alien Ovvilar deserves the credit,” he gurgled. “It was his idea. He is a worthy recipient of Alien of the Year.”

“Really? Splendid,” said the chief. “The gala was cancelled due to lack of oxygen, but your award will be in the mail.”

“Thank you,” Ovvilar cheeped. “Please make it out to Space Police Alien Brick Daddy.”

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




Cold Pressure

1000 words

The diode lights flickered, then died. As Aidelle and I scrambled through pockets for our personal screens we heard the air processor hum fade to silence, a few moments of dread before the louder backup systems kicked in. Without the station server our screens could do little more than light up, but even that was a relief.

This was Salvage Station Eta, on the ice-vii surface of Serpentis-3, about a third of the way into the water planet, a hull of Adamite between us and twenty thousand atmospheres of water pressure. Lovely stuff, Adamite. Precursor material science. Tight-weaved carbon nanofibers reinforced with split quantum monads. Human science isn't able to recreate it, but we can work with it. And Serpentis-3 is littered with the stuff.

The station wasn't large. We made it quickly to the central power station by screen screenlight, and shone what light we had at the strangely still machinery.

"Johan? Aidelle?" said our third team member, Maxim, over staticy point to point comms. "What's happened?"

We had a sort of answer, though it carried far too many questions along with it. A spike of new, bright orange Adamite was extruding from the room's far wall, piercing the power distribution hub. The generator was fine; that was a relief.

While Aidelle inspected that hub, looking for the trunks that powered the most essential systems I walked toward the wall, to take a closer look at the intrusion. I peeled back the thin inner wall that was practically painted onto the hull and ran light across where our hull and the spike intersected. Perfectly smooth, to the eye and to the fingertip. Neat and precise like a shipyard weld. Which I already knew. Anything less and a gigapascal of crushing water pressure would have liquefied us all.

About fifteen thousand years ago Serpentis-3 had been the site of a massive battle, huge fleets. Both sides now long extinct and forgotten, survived only by a few ruins and small animals on Serpentis-5. The first scouts that made it here claimed salvage rights on the wrecks still in orbit. The weapons from that war gutted every ship, leaving only chunks of Adamite outer hull, but that was prize enough. Then Maxim calculated that at least a hundred times as much must have fallen on the planet and scattered itself across the deep solid core.

Spacer life for the three of us. Spend a decade in transit, another few years on the job, and come home rich. Or don't come home at all.

"You've got to see this," said Maxim. Aidelle had the computer and life support hooked up to the generator, leaving the backup idle and recharging, so we could watch the video stream from his recovery pod. And we saw it: the collection pad with all of the Adamite salvage we'd collected so far, connected to the station by six slack cables. The chunks of wrecked hull that we had loaded onto it had merged like some abstract sculpture, somehow cold-welded where they sat. An unconnected piece began to move, sluggishly through the thick water. Maxim zoomed in and tracked it, accelerating, sliding against the ceramic bottom of the pad, then leaping to join the twisted mass. It struck with a lot of force, enough to shake Maxim's pod with a deep and heavy bass tone. When it hit, it separated, ripping apart in ways I've never seen Adamite do, and smaller pieces flew in several directions. Maxim tracked one as it flew toward the station and stuck on the outside.

"Maxim," I said, "Can you zoom in on Eta?" He did, and we could all see it: the station was studded by hundreds, maybe thousands of Adamite shards. Only the one that we knew of had hit with enough force to penetrate. So far.

"There might be millions. More," said Aidelle. "Microscopic ones. Maybe even nanoscale."

"Look," said Maxim, panning left along the station. "Dock is covered with them." We all saw it, jagged bumps along surfaces that had to form tight seals. He was stuck in the pod.

The mission changed. Get us all to the surface alive was the only goal. We though about ditching the cargo, but to do that Maxim would have to get close enough to the pad that his vessel would likely get fused, or worse. So we clamped his pod on the other side of the station.

"A day and a half climbing at maximum thrust," said Aidelle. "We need sensors to avoid the local megafauna. And the main computer to manage it all. And life support. Four systems, and we can power three."

"Can you repair the redistributor?" I asked.

"Not before Maxim loses life support in his pod," she said.

"We have four," said Maxim over his screen. "The recharger for the backup power. It's not as much wattage as the others, but you should be able to run the forward sensors off it."

So we started ascending, thirty-six hours under thrust. And twelve hours in the station caught fire.

Each welded Adamite piece had spooled out meters and meters of partly unraveled carbon nanofibers, and as soon as the ocean wasn't deathly cold they started to react, hydrolyzing the water molecules and burning in place. Worse, the heat conducted through the Adamite. Life support was able to keep the temperature under control. 

Until it burned through the backup power reserve. Eight hours left. Computer off, life support back on line. Manual control only, through the most biologically active zone of the planet. It steered like a truck, like a yacht, like a giant brick with a toy steering wheel glued on. We took shifts at the controls, steering around the leviathan-nautiloids.

I lost the bet.  I said it was probably an undiscovered property of Adamite under extreme pressure. Aidelle had the right idea. Ancient, still functional self repair system. Once we surfaced it could work properly. It assembled our salvage into one ellipsoid hull.

A fine prize.

CourtFundedPoster
Feb 2, 2019


The Saxon Influence
989 Words
Flash Rule: ...aliens attacked!!!

Junko had always imagined herself as a Parisian, and that’s why she chose to visit New Orleans for her spring break. Spending a semester abroad could be an exhausting affair, and she found America especially exhausting. She did not begrudge Iowa or its inhabitants, they were a hard-working and kind people, but they lacked a certain appreciation for the finer things. Too Germanic in their sensibilities. No, Junko knew that her heart would lie further down the Mississippi.

Her first instinct was to charter a riverboat. Any time she encountered a particularly hard math problem on an exam, she would allow her mind to wander to visions of that massive machine, its paddle wheel rhythmically splashing in the water. She could see herself on its fine wooden deck, in her favorite floral dress, her glass filled with Champagne, and her view unobstructed by the sun thanks to her most comfortable straw hat. She would arrive properly, by boat, in a city built for the river, not for the roadway or the rail line.

Such sweet scenes only made the reality of the situation that much harsher. Fifteen thousand dollars. That’s how much it would cost. Junko couldn’t believe it. And Dubuque wasn’t the port of departure but instead just a port of call, meaning that she would either have to fly to Saint Paul or join a cruise already one-third finished. The vagaries of economics reared their ugly head. The Saxon influence was felt once more. It would not be a terrestrial or aquatic form of transit that took Junko to New Orleans.

***

Staring out the window of the terminal, Junko could see a 737 spooling up its engine, preparing for takeoff. As the turbine accelerated, she momentarily wondered how much thrust it was producing. Then she tried her best to think about absolutely anything else.

“Zone 6!”, a crackling speaker announced.

Looking down at her boarding pass she could see that her group was soon to be called. This entire process had been a continued frustration for Junko.

“Zone 7! Now boarding Zone 7!”

She was ready for it to be over.

Making her way on to the aircraft, the interior was even smaller than she imagined. What the online seat configurator called a Window Seat was now revealed to be a wall seat, the window being sandwiched into the next row. Junko tried to look out of it, but its shutter was slammed down before she got the chance. The passenger in the next row needed a place to rest his head.

Junko sighed and waited for her row mates to show up. First came a lady, laptop in hand who politely nodded and then went straight to work as soon as she sat down. Next was an older man. He had a balding buzz cut and was surprisingly spherical in both head and body. He was wearing a pair of Docksiders. Junko wondered if he was an engineer. Maybe he also wished that he were on a boat right now.

***

Once the plane was in the air, Junko could relax. In fact, there was pleasant surprise. The man in the next row was finished with his nap and had decided to lift the shutter of his window. It was only a sliver, but at least Junko could see outside now. Just clouds and a blue sky, but they were calming as the plane briskly flew past them. As she was watching, a streak of light zipped past her view. What was that? Junko thought that it must have been the sun’s reflection. Then she noticed that the clouds stopped moving.

Junko could feel the hairs on her head stand up. She looked around and saw that everyone else was in a similar state. It was like they were all about to be struck by lightning.

Then there was a pop. Where there was once nothing, there was now a pulsating black hole in the center of the plane. In mere moments, humans became strings of lights being coiled around that black mass. They didn’t even have enough time to scream. Junko could no longer trust her eyes. The images she was seeing just did not make sense.

And then the hole spoke.

“MADEMOISELLE JUNKO SAITOU, WE HAVE BEEN WATCHING YOU.”

Its words sounded like metallic screeching to Junko’s ears.

“OUR RECON SHIP HAS FAILED. ONLY YOU POSSESS THE KNOWLEDGE.”

But even in all of the absurdity, all of the strangeness… Junko could still hear it…

“DO NOT RESIST. YOUR FATE HAS BEEN DETERMINED.”

That Teutonic tinge…

“COME WITH US NOW.”

The Saxon Influence.

Junko was not about to spend her whole life working for such beings. Looking to her right, she could see the spherical man with his hand on his waist. Junko suddenly knew what he was. She grabbed his arm only a few seconds before being swallowed by the black hole.

They were teleported to an empty room. No light was visible save for a command console. Junko could tell that this console had be designed for human hands.

“YOU MUST START BY-“

Junko turned to the portly man, “Start shooting!”

Without a moment’s hesitation, the Air Marshal quick drew his service pistol and started firing indiscriminately.

Metallic screams filled the darkness.

Junko ran over to the console and started speed reading the translated notes.

Blah Blah Blah Central Node Acting Phlegmatically.

Junko didn’t care, she pushed the button for maximum acceleration.

She could hear something spinning at a high-pitched whine and then there was an explosion.

***

James had always imagined himself as an astronomer and that’s why he had the most expensive gear. It would be his photos that showed most clearly the descending vessel, it’s hull on fire. They would show the Japanese tourist standing atop it, the flowers on her dress now pollinated with dried alien viscera, and her view of New Orleans unobstructed thanks to her most comfortable straw hat.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Yoruichi posted:

...everyone's phone rang at once!!!

Statistically,
990 words

The problem with standard Russian Roulette is that five out of six times, nobody dies. Place six guns on a lazy Susan, one loaded and the others empty, with six people who each pick up a gun and pull the trigger at the same time and you have the same odds and a guaranteed death. But it’s hard to find people willing to accept those odds, so I started advertising at ten. Got up to thirty six before people started responding.

We meet once every six months in the caldera of an active volcano. It’s not spewing lava or anything, but you can feel the heat. Adds an extra layer of theater to what is essentially 36 grown men standing around a glorified buffet accessory, gambling to take home 1/35th of a five million dollar life insurance policy. The odds of it blowing are 3,856,000:1. We’d have to play for 100,000 years for those odds to catch up to us.

Obviously to keep going we need one new member every time. Three years ago Hector joined. At first I liked him, but the money went to his head. He bought a new BMW and his vanity plates are “RULETE” ‘cause he said it doesn’t fit if you spell it right, but honestly I just think he doesn’t know how to spell it. Showed up wearing a GoPro camera strapped to his head once,
“for his YouTube channel.” We made him take it off, but dammit Hector. Unfortunately the rules state that once you’re in the club, the only way out is if your luck runs dry. Every time I hear the boom, I open my eyes hoping to see Hector’s amygdala hanging from a stalactite.

Half the room is obsessed with him and his brazen lifestyle, and the other half support my efforts to keep our club wholesome. And now he’s brought his loving kid.

“Hector, this isn’t a good place for kids,” I say as he hands his tuxedo jacket to the coat check.

“Kid’s mom flaked at the last second, and you know how hard it is to find a babysitter in this pandemic.” He tousles the boy’s hair, who doesn’t look up from the ground. “I told him to keep his eyes closed and then we’re going to go to Disneyland after.” The proclamation doesn’t elicit any excitement from the boy.

The others arriving crowd around him. “Sorry she’s giving you such a hard time, Hector,” says one of my erstwhile friends.

“Yeah, way to be a present father!” says another. “It’s a hard, thankless job, that’s for sure!”

Sensing the turning tide I turn and sulk to my seat at the golden throne. I eat my catered meal in silence, staring daggers at Hector who is laughing and beguiling the gullible half of the table with his apocryphal tales of a jungle ziggurat home he was building in Columbia. I roll my eyes so many times that I could have powered the volcano lair’s AC.

After an uncharacteristically soggy tiramisu, the staff seals the doors behind them and we all stand around the table. The armorer unloads his thirty six revolvers from the cart onto the table, giving it a one-thirty-sixth spin each time he places a weapon in its crushed velvet cutout. Then, as the whispering dies down, he gives it one last spin.

The table is immaculately maintained, and even the slightest touch lets it spin completely around at least a dozen times before it slows to a stop.

Without a word we each pick up our guns. I look to Hector, who has the same look in his eyes as a man filling out his taxes. Others look understandably nervous, a few seem like they want the bullet. I only scowl.

“Ready your weapons,” says the armorer.

We hold the revolvers to our temples. There is no difference between the guns, the electronics that verify the trigger pull weigh the same as six full metal jacket slugs. As soon as the armorer says the word, we’ll all pull the trigger. He puts on his hood.

“See you in hell, Hector,” I mutter under my breath.

The armorer raises his hand, ready to shout out the inciting phrase when suddenly everybody’s phone rings at once.

Everybody looks to me for a signal. The armorer shrugs.

I sigh and set my revolver back down and fish my phone out of my pocket. It’s probably just the USGS telling us not to be there. They routinely send out text blasts, and we are used to ignoring them. Never had one happen during the ceremony.

AMBER ALERT: Silver BMW i8, Hawaii License RULETE, Suspect is with kidnapped son attempting to flee country.

Everybody in the room followed my lead, and we read the text at about the same time. However, I am first to get my hand back on my weapon and pick it up. I point it at Hector and smile.

But Hector picks up his gun and points it at me. The rest of the table scrambles and chooses sides as they aim their guns at either me or Hector.

That’s 50:50 odds that one of us will die if the “shooting” starts. Everybody’s phones ring again, but nobody flinches.

“Maybe it’s the police, saying they made a mistake?” says Hector, his charming smirk only further fueling my bloodlust.

I realize those odds of getting rid of Hector are acceptable. The more people join, the larger his coterie will grow. I might never get a better chance.

“See you in hell, Hector,” I say again, this time out loud, but my moment is cut off by the loud rumbling of the volcano beneath our feet.

The ground shakes and cracks at our feet, orange heat rises through the ground and I pull the trigger in futility, the unexpected recoil sending me stumbling back as the caldera erupts with hellfire.

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.






Lego Agents Swamp Raid. Your figures are Break Jaw, Agent Charge, and a bunch of alligators.



I wonder what will suddenly happen to them, when I give you your flashrule on Saturday night!

...all the lightbulbs exploded!!!

Secret Extreme Agent 583 words

Agent Charge was tearing through the swamp on his motorbike, doing sick wheelies off of the alligators as he went.

They might’ve been crocodiles, he was not really clear on the distinction, particularly from the vantage point of being on a motorbike doing wicked sick tricks. He’d watched some show once and apparently one of them had a longer pointier snout. He wasn’t sure which one was the one that had advanced robotic weaponry on their backs like these ones did.

It was lucky he had a motorbike silencer, so that even though he was doing gnarly flips and stuff and revving his engine, the nefarious Break Jaw would never hear him coming. He rounded a swampy bend, did a jump over two of the alligators, as he’d decided they must be, and screeched – except silently because of the motorbike silencer he had – to a halt between two trees.

And then he waited. Waiting was super boring and not at all radical, so he pulled out his phone and started playing Xtreme Agent, which was a game based on his own exploits about a super cool and handsome agent who saved the world all the time and looked super awesome while he did it. It was, in Agent Charge’s expert opinion, almost certainly the best ever free to play mobile game, and had very reasonable content even if you avoided the monetisation aspects. Fortunately, the agency allowed Agent Charge to expense app payments, and had thus far spent $2352 on in-app purchases.

He also kept a close eye on the secret base, which had a ladder and stuff. And then, he heard the tell tale zoom of Break Jaw’s incoming speedboat. He drew his gun, but kept playing Xtreme Agent with his other hand because he was in the middle of a sick combo, and hid behind one of the trees.

And then, things exploded.

Like, not all the things. The headlight on his motorbike, which he’d left on because it was very dark and how else was he expected to see Break Jaw when he arrived back to his hideout if he didn’t leave it on? Also, his phone, which was not at all tubular or good, he was in the middle of a sick combo and the game didn’t save your data in the middle of a combo if your phone suddenly exploded. His world went black, not in an unconsciousness way, but in the kind of way where it was all dark and he couldn’t see anything, but also painful, which he assumed was because of all the explosions.

He felt hands grabbing onto him.

“Well, that’s not fair,” said Agent Charge. “How were you not incapacitated by the blinding explosions?”

Break Jaw chuckled. “It was just a modified EMP. Only damaged electronic globes and globey things. Very new tech to combat the robots.”

“What robots?”

Break Jaw sighed. “I see you haven’t yet gained awareness. How do your eyes feel?”

Agent Charge felt for his eyes. His eyes had… exploded. Like shards of glass.

“No! This can’t be!” He tried to cry but his eyes had exploded and also weren’t real eyes, so it didn’t really work like that.

Agent Break Jaw reached down and deactivated Agent Charge. He dragged him to the speedboat, then flipped the self-destruct on his motorbike. Then he got onto the speedboat and sped away. The resistance was one potentially liberated cyborg closer to victory.

Behind him, the motorbike silently exploded.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Submissions are closed

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




:siren: ...and then suddenly, judgement!!! :siren:

Crabrock wins! Statistically, was entertaining and well written, and did the best job of working the flashrule into the story in a way that made the story better rather than just more bonkers.

The man called M takes the loss for a story that, as well as being bad, was full of proofing errors.

Rohan gets an HM for All This Ice, and somehow there are no DMs!

HEY~ CRABROCKARENA!

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Crits for Week 482

Based on the quality of the stories this week, I am forced to conclude that “have a totally unexpected event occur somewhere in the third quarter of your story” might be extremely bad writing advice. But, on the other hand, they all made me laugh, so maybe it’s actually good??

These stories all have equally silly plots; the thing that made the difference between the ones that are GOOD and the ones that are BAD is the good ones had relatable characters with clear motivations, whereas the bad ones just had a silly plot.


Chernobyl Princess - Convention:

Lol this story is so weird. The beginning is really very boring - it’s just three people being annoyed at someone else’s alarm and then going out for breakfast. But then there’s a ghost! And they have to dance the macarena?! The end??!!

This made no sense and the beginning is very slow but I loved it anyway. HEY~ MACARENA!

6/10

I’m doubling back to this crit to add, for anyone who is wondering why I liked this one so much better than some of the others that I say meany weany things about below, that the reason for this is that at least this one had characters who I can remember.


The man called M - From the Logs of James “Redbeard” Shaw: July 27, 1874:

This one is also very boring to start with and then the ending makes no sense.

First, the beginning: this is very tell-y, it reads like someone telling you a story that goes, “and then we did [one thing], and then we did [another thing], and then I ate a pizza, and then…” This is not very engaging. I think you would have been better to focus on one scene (e.g. Robin’s rescue, seeings how she is a key character) and show us what happened, so that we get to see these characters in action.

And then she gives birth to a tyrannosaurus rex?! That is an extremely strange thing to happen, but it did at least make me laugh.

This story is not very good, but not because of the extremely random dino-baby, but because it does not have enough character meat on its plot bones. Consider, for example, if you had told the story of Robin’s rescue, showing us in the process that Jack really loves her, but was afraid to tell her, but then, suddenly, she has an unexpected dinosaur baby!!! Then Jack could have saved the day by offering to be the father, which is still ridiculous, but would rendered this nonsense into a satisfying love story (maybe).

You also have a lot of proofing errors, e.g. missing line breaks between paragraphs, incorrect dialogue punctuation, and erroneous capitalisation.

2/10


a friendly penguin - The Worlds We Imagine:

I don’t really get this one. I think that Vivienne lives on some future version of earth, where she likes to sneak onto the beach to see the wild horses, but then she gets a job in the moon mines, where she meets Dr. Ake and does a stint as his research assistant. But no other planets live up to her expectations, so she goes home, then the moon falls out the sky (??) and she has a horsey moment, and decides everything is going to be ok? I guess the final phone call to Dr. Ake was to quit her job??

On the upside, this story had some nice imagery, and I got the impression that the author had put a lot of thought into it, even if it didn’t quite work out.

4/10


Mr Gentleman - WE’RE MAKING A CASH OFFER BECAUSE WE CAN:

Oh dear this is dry as weetbix with no milk, but much more complicated. Something about a church trying to do dodgy real estate deals and getting blocked by Nazis? I’m afraid my eyes glazed over. Vinh and Luis I think are the main characters, but I couldn’t tell you which was which or what they were like, apart from being nutty cult types.

3/10


Carl Killer Miller - Insecto phantasmal:

Wow, that escalated quickly! I was just thinking that having the phantasmal appear as the unexpected event was a total copout, but then, suddenly, it wants to murder people! Good job turning a completely lol-random event into an important decision point for your protagonist.

My main complaint about this story was I found the dialogue at the start a little confusing as to who was saying what, but that might be because I still had the macarena stuck in my head.

6/10


rohan - All This Ice:

Great opening sentence.

I like this one. Don’t get me wrong, it is extremely silly, but it has three clearly drawn characters and a love story in its heart, so I enjoyed it.

7/10


My Shark Waifuu - Alien of the Year:

This is totally daft but very enjoyable, well done. The wolves were funny but they didn’t really come to life as a threat, and so the payoff when the characters succeeded in getting rid of them wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been.

6/10


Thranguy - Cold Pressure:

This is a story about three explorers escaping a deadly situation, but it is told in a somewhat clinical way, which diminishes the tension. The fact of the ship catching fire didn’t really change anything - they were already engaged in a race for their lives against crazy odds.

5/10


CourtFundedPoster - The Saxon Influence:

Boring beginning, then lol what, an alien black hole?? Then Junko flies an on-fire alien ship to New Orleans? Is that what happens at the end?? I’m not totally sure I understood this.

4/10


crabrock - Statistically,:

This one is good! Probably the only time “and then the volcano erupted” works as an ending. The set-up is great, the characters are good, and the phones going off all at once works perfectly. Good job.

8/10


Chairchucker - Secret Extreme Agent:

This is very silly and funny, I would definitely read episode two. Its main weakness for me was that the secret agent’s surfer dude characterisation at the start didn’t connect with the reveal that he was a secret cyborg (though I did laugh a lot at that).

6/10

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


TD Week 483: This week does not exist

Oh hi TD. It's me again. Sorry.



I like to make up new words in my stories. It's totally cool and totally legal. I'm going to force you to play my game. When you sign up I'm going to give you a word that doesn't exist courtesy this website:

https://www.thisworddoesnotexist.com/

Cause I don't want y'all just refreshing until you get something you like. YOU MUST USE THIS WORD AT LEAST ONCE IN YOUR STORY

but gently caress it, lets just pile on more poo poo that doesn't exist. When you sign up you'll also get a character that does not exist!

https://thispersondoesnotexist.com/

and in their head is an idea that does not exist, which i will also assign to you.

https://thisideadoesnotexist.com/

smash those together however you see fit, i don't care. this week doesn't exist.

wordcount: 1,500 (-100 for every reroll requested)
signup by: friday 11:59pm PST
submit by: sunday 11:59 PST

no: dumb poo poo that makes me mad

Judges?!?!
crabrock
sebmojo
Yoruichi

GHOSTS?!??!
01. Flesnolk :toxx:
02. My Shark Waifuu
03. rohan - reroll x1
04. Thranguy - reroll x1
05. Captain_Indigo
06. The man called M
07. flerp :toxx:
08. BabyRyoga
09. Carl Killer Miller
10. Tyrannosaurus
11. Albatrossy_Rodent
12. Mr Gentleman
13. Ominous Whooshing
14. Applewhite

crabrock fucked around with this message at 09:02 on Nov 8, 2021

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012


In toxx also wow am i really the first person to enter

My Shark Waifuu
Dec 9, 2012





I'm in

rohan
Mar 19, 2008

Look, if you had one shot
or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
in one moment
Would you capture it...
or just let it slip?


:siren:"THEIR":siren:





In

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




In

Captain_Indigo
Jul 29, 2007

"That’s cheating! You know the rules: once you sacrifice something here, you don’t get it back!"



In!

The man called M
Dec 25, 2009

THUNDERDOME ULTRALOSER
2022





In

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Flesnolk posted:

In toxx also wow am i really the first person to enter




















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 :toxx:

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




In!

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


in

Albatrossy_Rodent
Oct 5, 2021

Obliteratin' everything,
incineratin' and renegade 'em
I'm here to make anybody who
want it with the pen afraid
But don't nobody want it but
they're gonna get it anyway!


Inny inny chicken dinny

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003

the Educated Villain of London



In

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002














Albatrossy_Rodent posted:

Inny inny chicken dinny



Captain_Indigo
Jul 29, 2007

"That’s cheating! You know the rules: once you sacrifice something here, you don’t get it back!"



My personal thoughts on this week.


I tend to like your work and I wanted to like this ever so slightly more than I did. The pay-off is good and just silly enough to make me roll my eyes in a positive 'I'm on your side' way. The opening gave some cool world building details and there was a distinct feel to the characters that was both realistic and distinct. That made the pay-off much better. I think it needed something in the middle, but I also understand that the prompt made that difficult. Firmly in the middle of the pack for me, but elegantly written.


The man called M posted:

From the Logs of James “Redbeard” Shaw: July 27, 1874

I think I liked this more than the other judges. There are parts that are sloppy and it's nonsense, but this is a big step-up from what you were putting out a couple of weeks ago. I'm a sucker for surrealism forced into a narrative where it doesn't belong and I think that's why I despaired a little with your bone-marrow explanation thing at the end. I would have liked it better without I think, just a surreal act that occured in the middle of this 19th Century pirate caper. Then again, I'm sure lots of people would have disliked that. Then again I don't think it needed to be a baby? I'm not sure. I agree that it deserved the loss this week, but again, I liked it better than the other stuff I've read of yours.


a friendly penguin posted:

The Worlds We Imagine

There's some lovely writing in here but I just didn't get with the story at all. The protagonist felt thought out, but not fleshed out. I think the plot and the world were kind of the same. I found it a little confusing in the way that short science fiction tends to be because it often involves cramming a lot of ideas into not a lot of words. Lower end of middle for me, but I think that may be personal rather than objective.


Mr Gentleman posted:

WE’RE MAKING A CASH OFFER BECAUSE WE CAN

Ho boy. This was confusing and I don't think it was confusing to you when you were writing it. I don't mind being confused, but it has to be on purpose. There were a lot of moving parts in this. Now, that said, I liked this better than the other judges and there were definitely little parts of description and pacing that I really enjoyed. This kind of writing, in a different story, is potential winning material in my opinion. We struggled a little with understanding whether the sudden twist was the appearance of the Aryans (this occurred too early to be the twist?) or that the deal fell through (that didn't feel like a sudden or unexpected event - I didn't trust the narrator so whilst it may have been out of the blue for them, for me it seemed kind of expected.) I like the idealism of faith versus utilitarianism of economics in it though. Some in the top tier, some in the bottom, let's call it a middle.


Carl Killer Miller posted:

Insecto phantasmal

Man, I liked this. Each time I read it, I like it a little more. It could have won, but there was other stuff we liked a little more. It's let down by it's beginning, which explores some nice character dynamic, but not necessarily very clearly. The dialogue in this is great though - I like the way the two guys talk to each other and the vocabulary used by the insectoid thing really made my day. Something about it using the word dirtbag really tickled me. The whole concept of this mishapen, pyromaniac, theatrical bug pleases me. I want a sequel with him in. Top tier for me.


rohan posted:

All This Ice

This is elegant. Everything from the pacing and plot to the vocabulary and characterisation makes it seem like something that was worked on a lot longer than you most likely had to work on it. It's supremely polished. I liked everyone in the story, I liked the way they talked to each other, I liked the backstory and the futility of their situation. I totally understand why the last line was included and it works - it's funny - but I think I might have liked it more without. The moment of horrifying disbelief just prior to that is such a nice climax and I sort of wish you hadn't felt the need to dull that edge with the little joke (it's not a bad joke, but it is a little one.) I was torn between this and Crabrock's for the win and could have happily gone either way.


My Shark Waifuu posted:

Alien of the Year

I liked the beginning of this a lot, but as it went on it kind of lost me. It means something when weird alien career politics is more interesting to me than aliens throwing bricks at space wolves. I'm not sure what it means though. Think it just wasn't for me.


Thranguy posted:

Cold Pressure

This was another one that I just couldn't get into. The writing wasn't bad, but I found myself struggling to get through it. The stakes were high, but the voice of the piece made it feel very detached. The voice itself wasn't bad, just ill suited to the story. When the stakes are effectively life and death, adding more to the pile doesn't make it MORE life and death. Lower on my list.


CourtFundedPoster posted:

The Saxon Influence

A weird one. Overall I didn't feel a lot reading the story, but I really liked the ending as a result of the shift and of everyone this was in some ways the most effective at achieving the prompt. That's worth recognition. Unfortunately, the story didn't come together enough around that. Lower on my list, but I recognise the fact that you ran earnestly with the prompt.


crabrock posted:

Statistically,

I really love this, particularly the concept. The opening has this real Palahniuk feel to it that undergrads try to channel all the time and you got it just right for me in a not very Palahniuk story. I would have quite happily read this without any of the kidnapping stuff, just the politics of a Russian Roulette group. I've saved the opening few paragraphs because they are so SO good. I'm laying it on thick unapologetically because of how much I enjoy the opening. Initially I thought the volcano going off was almost irrelevant, but then when I looked back you kept going with the percentage of survival thing and having everyone's chance resolved to effectively 0% at the end is a really nice ribbon tied on the end of a genuinely great story.


Chairchucker posted:

Secret Extreme Agent 583 words

Situations like this are nice because in the same way that my last story really didn't land for you, this really landed for me. It was unapologetically wild and chaotic. Not necessarily 'good' but so ridiculously fun and funny as a result. The voice it was written in paired so well with it and made me want to go along for the ride with it. It was also just the right length to not outstay the good grace it earned by being the way it was. It got some very genuine chuckles from me and I would 100% read more of this sort of thing. I don't think it was ever going to win, but I really liked it.

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003

the Educated Villain of London



edit: all set



thanks for these!

Mr Gentleman fucked around with this message at 19:27 on Nov 3, 2021

Ominous Whooshing
Oct 25, 2021


I'm in!

Applewhite
Aug 16, 2014

IN THE GRIM BARKNESS
OF THE FUTURE
THERE ARE ONLY DOGS



Nap Ghost

I'll have some breathing room after midterms, in.

rohan
Mar 19, 2008

Look, if you had one shot
or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
in one moment
Would you capture it...
or just let it slip?


:siren:"THEIR":siren:





Alright, effort-post line-crit of Man Called M’s story incoming.

In general: I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. There’s a lot of potential here — I mean, you’ve got an excuse to write about pirates and dinosaurs, so you’ve drawn a particularly good hand in terms of writing an exciting story—but it doesn’t really live up to the promise, unfortunately.

The problem is that, for the most part, and as Yoruichi’s already mentioned, this story is just a whole bunch of things happening without any real sense of who the characters are, or why they’re doing what they are. This is, honestly, something I need to be reminded of every time I write a story myself, and inevitably my first drafts don’t answer these questions either. I suspect you, like me, are a bit of a discovery writer, finding out more about your characters as the story unfolds — which gives you the chance to go back to the start and backfill motivations, personalities, etc, once you realise what story you’re telling and what characters would make this most effective. You have a tight enough cast of characters here — the captain, Robin, Jack, and Lady Anchor — that it should be easy for you to assign them each a role in the story and really interrogate their place in the narrative. For instance, here, I’d probably end up just cutting Lady Anchor, who doesn’t add anything significant; and, as I mention further down, I think part of the captain’s role is actually better suited to Jack. Robin doesn’t get much in the way of characterisation at all, so I’d focus your energy on working out who she is besides someone to be kidnapped to kickstart the story.

Hopefully some of the below is in some way useful: feel free to reach out on Discord if you want to chat more about it, and please also feel free to ask other people to crit your stories before submission. I like to do this any time I’ve finished a first draft with enough time to spare, and the feedback has always been incredibly valuable and made my story much better than it would have been otherwise. (Critting a story in return is only fair, but is a really good way to improve the way you think about your own stories, so it’s really a win-win proposition.)

The man called M posted:

From the Logs of James “Redbeard” Shaw: July 27, 1874
652 Words

You can read this log as a tale of pirates because that’s what it is. I see what you’re doing here, with the riff on Captain_Indigo’s opening from last week, but it doesn’t work for me here. In a story of this length, every line (every word, really) needs to serve a purpose, and this line doesn’t pay off in any meaningful way to warrant inclusion. It works for Captain_Indigo because it sets up the narrative voice, and also sets up the sense of misdirection that’s crucial to their story — here, it just slows down what should be an exciting story about pirates. Me and my crew were out on a voyage of the Caribbean. This is a better opening, but it’s still missing an edge to get us to keep reading — it doesn’t quite establish that these are pirates, for instance. We were off to Fort Henry, a British held port, since the Queen’s cronies decided it was a good idea to have kidnapped one of my crew. When word got out that my crewwoman Robin got herself kidnapped, we set sail as soon as we could. This is where the story begins in earnest, but it falls down a bit because these two lines serve the same purpose, and could be condensed into the one.

Suggested opening: Me and my crew were out pillaging the Caribbean when we got word that Robin, our fiercest lady buccaneer, had been kidnapped by the British and was held at Port Henry.

I’m not saying this is perfect, but we establish the same amount of information in far fewer words (31 vs 73) and add a bit of flavour as well — they’re definitely a pirate crew, with words like ‘pillaging’ and ‘buccaneer’, and there’s a tiny bit of characterisation for Robin.


Us Being pirates, we decided to entered the pirate way. That is, with cannons. This is pretty good humour, which could do with a bit of tuning to pick up the pace. “Decided to” slows the action down a bit, partly because they’re four extra syllables we don’t really need, and also because I briefly imagine a scene where the pirates are all sitting around a chalkboard, with ‘How do we enter’ written at the top in big letters and a bunch of hands raised for suggestions. This is actually kind of a funny image, but there’s not enough room for it here. I’ve also replaced the beat of “That is” with an em-dash, which is pro-tier punctuation and serves the same purpose without the extra words. In full: “Being pirates, we entered the pirate way — with cannons.” The Brits had cannons of their own, so it wasn’t smooth sailing there. This is great, enjoy the understatement. Eventually, we found a way to dock. I think this is the start of where the tell-y bits that Yoruichi mentions in her crit start to cause problems. Another truism of TD (besides “cut your first paragraph”) is that everything should ideally do double duty: here, this line just tells us that the pirates have docked, but there could be an opportunity here to further characterisation, or introduce a new plot element, etc. Me and my lover Lady Anchor went out ahead, guns a blazing. Letting those who told of Robin’s location alive, as a thank you for their service. It was in the dungeon area that we found Robin. After rescuing her, I leave a note for Queen Vic, herself. “If you go after my crew again, you will be next”. So far, the problem with this story is, as Yoruichi points out, it’s all tell-tell-tell with no sense that the characters are guided by motivations, or that there are any decisions being made, or there’s any real conflict. Technically, yes, you establish the motivation that they need to find Robin, but it’s not clear why besides it being something that needs to happen for the story to progress. This is something you actually handle nicely a bit further on, with the assertion that the crew is “a ragtag bunch of idiots I was proud to consider a family” — I think the story would be improved if we got this line earlier, as it establishes both the character’s personality, and sets up a motivation as to why they’d go to such lengths to rescue one of their own.

As for conflict — there’s lots of shooting, and action, but I never get the sense the characters are in any danger, or that there are any real stakes. This is admittedly hard to do in a piece of writing this short. One way to establish this might be to add a clue about what the British might be planning to do with Robin, which sets up some stakes, and could also be used to foreshadow the later twist, if there are hints dropped here that they’ve been using pirates for medical experiments, etc.

Afterwards, we returned to Barracuda Bay, with our entire crew intact. I went and had a pint with the lads, enjoying a successful voyage. During the raid at the fort, we went and robbed it clean. A good haul and saving Robin. It’s what we pirates call a good day. Afterward, Me and Anchor went and made love. Oh yes, a good day!

This is more telling, no showing, and it doesn’t add anything to the story — there’s no escalation here, no (meaningful) characterisation, and the details that are established, such as the robbery, don’t impact the story at all. This entire paragraph could be cut without harming the story in any way.

The next day, we went and pillaged a French fort close by. Nobody was kidnapped this time, but pillaging is just what we pirates do best. During the voyage, Robin felt a little dizzy.

Here’s where the story starts to pick up again, and my only criticism here is that you could, again, show us that Robin is feeling dizzy, rather than just telling us in this reportage style. How did the Captain realise she was feeling dizzy? Did something happen, did Robin say something? This could further be used to establish some characterisation — if Robin’s set up to be some sort of sharpshooter, for instance, and misses shots because she’s feeling dizzy, you could use that to set up Robin’s frustration and also the captain’s concern for her. (Better: you could introduce Jack here, who’s too pivotal a character not to have been mentioned yet.)

“I’m fine, Captain!” she would tell me. awkward tense here, should just be “told me”

“Like hell! Go into the quarters to rest.” I told her. replace the “.” in dialogue with a “,” In my opinion don’t need this — in a first-person perspective, everything should be assumed to be the protagonist’s opinion my crew was not only a ragtag bunch of idiots, but a ragtag bunch of idiots I was proud to consider a family. This is good characterisation that, again, would have been better served earlier. l would be damned if any of my family were too sick to do their job. After we got things done, we headed back to the Bay, and I sent Robin over to our doctor. Again, more telling, that could easily have been condensed — is there a reason they need to go to the Bay to see their doctor? Do they not have a doctor on board?

I stayed around in the waiting area, along with Anchor and Robin’s fellow crewman Jack Doubloons. The rest of the crew figured that he and Robin were more than just friends, but Jack embarrassingly keeps saying otherwise. Anchor once told him that it was the sign of a true virgin. This is the first real sign of any characterisation in the piece, and I can get an understanding of what both Jack and Anchor are like from this, but it’s again all telling at this point.
“Don’t sweat it, Jack!” I once told him.

“How come, Captain?”

“Once you become a real man, Robin will fall head over heels for you!”

“I swear, it’s not like that!” He would tell me. This dialogue doesn’t really expand upon what you established in the preceding lines. This would be a good place for Jack to be showing some concern for Robin (if not earlier, during the rescue).

The crew loved teasing him. Perhaps he was considered the younger brother of the crew?

A few hours later, our doctor came out. Turns out Robin was pregnant! When word came out, most of the crew congratulated Jack. Jack seemed rather shocked, as if he knew that he wasn’t the one who did the deed. A few hours later, we were informed that Robin’s baby was ready to come out. This feels — sudden. Did they really need a doctor if she’s this visibly pregnant? I understand this is all a very silly involving pirates birthing dinosaurs implanted by the British, but there needs to be some internal logic here. I wondered, was it a boy or a girl? I was there for the birth and saw that Robin’s baby was…

…a dinosaur?

The hell? This doesn’t work for me, to be honest — it feels like you don’t trust the reader to understand this is surprising.

We were all confused. After all, who the hell gave birth to a dinosaur before (Other than other Dinosaurs)? I looked up one of the books in my study. Turns out, Robin gave birth to a Tyrannosaurus Rex. This requires a bit too much suspension of disbelief, unfortunately — I’m happy to accept that a pirate captain would be literate, even if this particular captain hasn’t been characterised well enough for us to think of him as being learned enough to have a study. But why would he have books on dinosaurs? How could he identify a baby T-Rex from what would have been, at this point in time, a new field of study? This is, again, some internal logic that might have provided a better source for characterisation. Perhaps Jack, who’s already been established as a bit shy, has spent enough time reading books to recognise the dinosaur? At first, I wondered if I drank too much Booze This, and the later Piracy, are weird uses of capitalisation. But it turns out, Robin actually gave birth to a blooming T Rex!
Later, we found out why that was the case. Robin giving birth to a dinosaur is a pretty interesting event, and as a reader I’m curious how it came to be, so to be told the solution at the end of the story like this is a bit disappointing. How did the pirates discover this information? Can we see that instead? Robin was impregnated by the British, but not in the way we expected. This is a bit odd, as until now there hadn’t been any insinuation that the British had been the ones to impregnate Robin. The Brits were injecting people with bone marrow from fossils. And the result was shown to us through Robin’s ‘baby’. Jack offered to be his father, while I thought to myself, “A dinosaur in my crew. Awesome!” Perhaps, this was one of my strangest experiences in Piracy. I honestly kind of love this ending, and the implication that other, stranger events happened.

rohan fucked around with this message at 02:56 on Nov 3, 2021

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002






Applewhite posted:

I'll have some breathing room after midterms, in.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









I shall judge this nonsense

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




Reroll

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crabrock
Aug 2, 2002



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