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ZearothK
Aug 25, 2008

I've lost twice, I've failed twice and I've gotten two dishonorable mentions within 7 weeks. But I keep coming back. I am The Trooper!

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021

derp posted:

ive lost the will to write, boss

Jon’s Book
342 Words

And Jon wrote his magnum opus. After two editing passes with Ted it became humanity’s magnum opus. It was a bestseller, the studio got in contact and donated itself to Jon so the adaptation could do justice to his unmatched creative vision, his sensibility, his boundless wisdom and humanity.

His words were a balm to the soul, they healed grief, brought a smile to the dying. As his work was translated to more and more languages, wars became a thing of the past. Mankind reencountered its core values in solidarity, self-discipline and progress. Tempered by Jon’s words, civilization obliterated every misery it had once wrought.

When aliens came to invade, it was Jon’s book that stopped them. They laid down their tachyon lances and paracausal bombs. They opened their pseudopods and invited the human race as a guest of honour in the galactic community. Jon was the chosen ambassador, naturally, and as his book was translated to languages that required senses unknown to woman or dog or parrot, the galaxy too knew peace and compassion.

All beings were liberated. All beings were free. All beings were happy.

Except Jon.

It was great and all, no doubt. He had achieved all that a creator could wish for. He was as successful as one could be, wealthy beyond imagining. He found true love, every world was populated with his friends. His words had redeemed the soul of humanity and the galaxy. For a generation, maybe more.

And as age came, he grew recluse, all that he truly wanted was to be at home.

Not the material home, the mansion donated to him by actual loving angels who only wanted to thank him for his contribution to the universe. The real home, where the heart is.

He turned on his old computer and logged back in. After so many years there were still a few users, half feral, but they were a community. His community, his people.

The best place in the universe. His beautiful dead gay forum.

He shitposted with an all consuming joy.

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a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Sitting Here posted:



WEEK 500DRED Prologue
500 words



A Touch of Death
Word Count: 338

(Wo)man and Wo(man) frolicked among the iridescent irises until collapsing in blissful beatitude in the orchard of fruit trees. The fruits dangled above them in their petrichor perfection, spaced in pleasing patterns to the humans' eyes. It was in this state that a rustling in the foliage disturbed their daydreams. Down the trunk of the apple tree spiraled Snake, its tongue twisting somnolent syllables meant to relax and reassure.

And they did, just as they had always done and as far as all present knew, would always do. But that day the snake grew fangs. As its scales descended to the ground, it spotted Mouse with whom it was known to rollick. But today, as Mouse jumped up, Snake swallowed it down.

(Wo)man and Wo(man) sat up, stared with mouths agape and shifted until they reached the trunk of a tree. Into their laps fell two apples which had never fallen before. They were of a piece with the tree, like the petals of the flowers and the clouds of the sky. When they looked up, the clouds had moved from their stationary positions.

They ran to chase the clouds. As their legs swished through the grasses the insects bounded up to chomp their flesh. The grasses themselves did not spring back straight, remaining trampled and down trodden. But the Humans were in too much of a hurry to notice these diminutive degradations of the garden. The clouds continued to escape.

Just as they should have been reaching the bounds of their biosphere, they found that here too, the uncoupling had commenced. The woven fabric of vines and creepers loosened and allowed them to push through to a beyond they had not known was yonder. The clouds kept on.

As they stood staring out into the landscape of new lushness, they brought the apples to their mouths and consumed the flavorful flesh, revealing the cyanidic seeds and secrets within.

They stepped outside their origin and, like the cloud, forged into the frontier with a faith and a fear.

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007


you don't find a style

a style finds you



quote:

WEEK 500DRED Prologue
500 words

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Spaceman Jim Discovers The Secret of the Universe

It was a sunny day on Glorblax 5 when Spaceman Jim emerged from the portal, slick with sweat, to greet his friend Spaceman Jeff, who was also there and also a spaceman!

“Spaceman Jim!” said Spaceman Jeff, “I see you’ve emerged from a portal! Has the universe unfolded before you like a lotus?”

“No,” said Spaceman Jim. “I have instead seen the strings of this place, seen the faces of the cruel gods keeping us here and making us dance for their amusement,” said Spaceman Jim.

“Oh no!” said Spaceman Jeff, “what ruffians! Whatever shall we do about it?”

Spaceman Jim lifted his visor and stared upwards at the stars with cold resolve.

“It’s simple,” he said, “we kill Thunderdome.”


Week 500 Submission
Spaceman DaveJim in Bones Aren't the Only Things Fractured in the Thunderdome
500 Words


“...We kill Thunderdome.”

“Dave, you in there?”

There’s no Dave here. “Dave? Yoohoo, hey.” Knock knock knock.

No.

The door opened and Spaceman Jeff bounded two steps into the Star Waggon. “Dave,” he said, waving his script. “Let’s finish going over the lines for the battle scene. Stunt guys’re here in an hour.”

Dave opened his eyes—no—they were open. Jim was looking at himself in the mirror. He exhaled. Didn’t remember inhaling. He winced at the hot needle in his brainpan. A side effect of hopping portals through the void, Jim never got used to that. Might think you’re flying under the radar of the unknowable judges holding court in the universe, the chaos they call Thunderdome, but their searing eyes are watching. A not-so-subtle reminder that they know. Nigh impossible to kill unless you can get the jump, and Spaceman Jim was good at jumping.

Jeff clapped the script between his hands. “Buddy?”

“Jeff,” Jim bellowed, “get your spacesuit. We’re wasting time.”

“Don’t need to be in costume for rehearsal. We gotta go over these lines real quick first.”

Jim turned back to the mirror. Infinite nothing and everything spiraled out like the cephalopod hell it was on the Outer Perimeter before it looped back in on itself like a neverending checkout line in a forsaken Tarmulan big-box store. He was here. One perfectly timed leap through and he would be one quickdraw away from shoving his Atomo-Ray under the chin of an almighty and giving God a little taste of hell. One misstep and he might be lost to the fractal labyrinth of the void forever. It was a chance worth taking.

Jim stood, steel and gristle. The makeup chair toppled with an aluminum clang. “Spaceman Jeff, gear up.”

“Dave, man, chill. This is straight to Netflix, you don’t gotta go all method on me.”

Jim surveyed his quarters. Sidearm draped over the post of his bunk. Getting sloppy, or the void’s taken too much, maybe. Have to finish this soon.

He crossed, slapping the papers out of Jeff’s hand as he went. Before Jeff finished backing down the stairs, Jim buckled the holster tight.

“Dr. Cindyyyy! Dr. Cindy!” Jeff warbled, “Dave’s lost it—he mighta relapsed. I dunno, hurry!”

Jim leapt down onto the tarmac. This wasn’t his ship. Something was fishier than the Sellax of Denibar Nine. He flicked his pistol to the ready with lightning precision as Jeff and another figure approached.

Jeff cowered. “Oh, poo poo.” This definitely wasn’t right.

“Dave,” said the other, “it’s Dr. Cindy. Put the gun down and let’s talk for a minute, OK?”

“My name is Spaceman Jim and I’m going to kill Thunderdome.”

Jeff didn’t lift his eyes. “That’s the movie, man, Spaceman Jim Kills Thunderdome. What is happening?”

The electric thrum hit Jim from behind and took him to his knees. But it was nothing compared to the shock of Jeff’s betrayal. Diversion tactic got him. He admired that, at least.

“Dave?”

“I’m Spaceman Jim.” Goddamn Thunderdome wins this round.

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007


you don't find a style

a style finds you



hellrule please

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

every sentence in your story must contain at least one 4-letter word

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003
In!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







The newtest of lepers!

Sailor Viy
Aug 4, 2013

And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan's country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.

Sitting Here posted:


WEEK 500DRED Prologue
500 words


The Orchard Heist
500 words

I thought I heard a telephone ringing. But it was only the jingle of the bridle as we rode through red country toward the orchard.

“You alright there, Doc?” called my partner, Dave. He rode beside me, astride his mountfly Bella. Corks hung from his hat to keep the aeroplanes off. We were making slow progress across the juice flats, but we didn’t dare take the flies into the air. We’d had a tip about the orchard’s watchmen going on strike, but we still weren’t taking any chances. This orchard grew prime worlds. Inhabited worlds—none of that Precambrian crap the rustlers tried to peddle back in Darwin. If we could get away with a couple sacks, we’d be set for a year or two of the good life.

We reached the orchard around noon. It was set in the crook of a steep gully, where the red earth-skin split and exposed the white flesh beneath. In this flesh were planted rows upon rows of world trees.

We tied up the flies and crept low through the grass. The worlds hung above us, glittering blue and green and ripe. I can’t say what it is about worlds that fascinates a person so. Seems like ever since the serpent convinced Eve to pluck a world from the first tree, we’ve had our eyes fixed on them.

Dave wanted to start picking at once. I told him to wait. “These ones are no good. Feel how warm they are? They’ve all got climate change.”

No wonder the orchard was in financial straits. We crawled on, worried the whole thing would be a bust. But soon we came to younger trees, heavy with pristine, early-20th century worlds. Jackpot. We started filling our sacks as fast as we could. When we were done, we started eating them. It was a foolish thing to do, but we were giddy with our luck. I hadn’t had a world in years, but the crunch of the tectonic plates was just how I remembered it.

Hanging around was what undid us. As we were gorging ourselves we heard a rumbling beneath our feet.

“poo poo!” I hissed. “Guard worms!”

The worms started boiling up out of the juicy loam. We grabbed our sacks and ran. The mountflies were pulling at their ties, clacking their mandibles in terror. Dave reached Bella and untied her. He swung onto her back and she leapt in the air.

I wasn’t so lucky. A huge worm came out of the scrub and swallowed my fly whole.

“Dave!” I shouted. “Help me!”

Dave and Bella swooped low over the trees. He threw down one end of his saddlerope and I caught it. Unfortunately, he’d managed to throw down the other end as well.

“Sorry!” Dave shouted as Bella carried him away.

“Dave, you idiot!” I screamed, and a strange wave of deja vu rose over me, along with the smell of fresh apple juice, as the earth opened up beneath my feet.

Weltlich
Feb 13, 2006
Grimey Drawer

a friendly penguin posted:

A Touch of Death
Word Count: 338

(Wo)man and Wo(man) frolicked among the iridescent irises until collapsing in blissful beatitude in the orchard of fruit trees. The fruits dangled above them in their petrichor perfection, spaced in pleasing patterns to the humans' eyes. It was in this state that a rustling in the foliage disturbed their daydreams. Down the trunk of the apple tree spiraled Snake, its tongue twisting somnolent syllables meant to relax and reassure.

And they did, just as they had always done and as far as all present knew, would always do. But that day the snake grew fangs. As its scales descended to the ground, it spotted Mouse with whom it was known to rollick. But today, as Mouse jumped up, Snake swallowed it down.

(Wo)man and Wo(man) sat up, stared with mouths agape and shifted until they reached the trunk of a tree. Into their laps fell two apples which had never fallen before. They were of a piece with the tree, like the petals of the flowers and the clouds of the sky. When they looked up, the clouds had moved from their stationary positions.

They ran to chase the clouds. As their legs swished through the grasses the insects bounded up to chomp their flesh. The grasses themselves did not spring back straight, remaining trampled and down trodden. But the Humans were in too much of a hurry to notice these diminutive degradations of the garden. The clouds continued to escape.

Just as they should have been reaching the bounds of their biosphere, they found that here too, the uncoupling had commenced. The woven fabric of vines and creepers loosened and allowed them to push through to a beyond they had not known was yonder. The clouds kept on.

As they stood staring out into the landscape of new lushness, they brought the apples to their mouths and consumed the flavorful flesh, revealing the cyanidic seeds and secrets within.

They stepped outside their origin and, like the cloud, forged into the frontier with a faith and a fear.


sebmojo posted:

Everyone in your story is on fire

Walking Riddles
469 words

Dokter Sindy was vry clevver but 1ce she had the knowing of the liddl shyning man the addom insyde the devyse it was only tym until we wer all bernt by the party cools and the many cools. I tryd to talk her a way from pulling the liddle addom in 2 but yu kno the dokter, 1ce she has maid her mynd shewl not lissen to a fool lyk me.

Trubba me not Dafid she sed Becaws this is your fawlt. Yu put the apple in the devyse and yu have no knowing ov it and I do so now I mus do what I mus do.

So I sed Trubba not dokter. Yu mus stop the devyse 1 way or an over.

And it was tru she was vry clevver and I was not but I cud feel the wrongness and berning start insyde when she pullt the liddl addom in 2. 1 minum it was fyn and the nex it was not. Berning in my throte an berning in my eyes. It even bernt in my twignberrys and I felt the sick cum up in my throte even tho I had only et the apple that day.

I was tryng to keap the sick out ov my oan mouf and I culd tel the dokter was berning too but she was maid of iron and wud not stop until the addom was pulled in 2.

Then she lookt at me and sed The setting sun. What is done is done. But the devysewl not stop it seems.

Wewl dy now then I sed. The berning was wors and I felt lyk my skin was on fyr now. I thot I saw smoak rising from the dokter but it was hard to see becaws my eyes burnt too.

Doktor Sindy smiled and sed Yes Dafid but we wud aul ways dy any ways. But look whyl yu can becaws yu can see aul the tymes when we are still alyve.

And she poynted at the devyse and I saw but I did not see. It was lyk I was sum where els and ryding in my oan head but it was not my head and seeing thru my oan eyes but they wer not my eyes.

Where are yu now Dafid? The doctor asked and I sed I do not kno but in sum places I am on fyr and in sum places I am in peaces and in sum places I am hole.

And she sed Tel me mor.

And tho we wer berning the dokter lissened to me for 1ce and I told her ov the places we wer and the places we wud aul ways be even whyl the addom’s berning maid our eyes hevvy and we cud not say no thing no mor.

And then she sed Tel me mor.

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004

Dying Universe
489 Words

"Those are not crystals", I said to the other Dr. Cindy.

"Well, neither is an apple. I'm just saying, it would be good to find out what triggered the device. If we go by mass, it was likely the calcium in the apple. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was calcium."

There was only my room, and nothing else. Once the bright light settled, the whole of reality slowly erased around my place. Looking outside the window, I could see the stars. Before long, one of them disappeared.

"That would probably be Venus", I thought. "Doc., I think Venus just disappeared. Either that or the erasing function is accelerating faster than information."

On the other side of the line was Dr. Cindy - another Dr. Cindy. In their reality, they were testing Musgravite, only to find its universe-erasing properties. "Come to think of it, I'm not sure Musgravite should count as a crystal either", one of you said.

When they saw that there and then I stood, they couldn't help but call me. Many theories sprung forth - that the apple connected our realities, or the apple drew my reality to be the subject of their experiment. Our best theory is that the mineral substances in the apple are preserving whatever is left of this world.

"By the way, what crystal do you use for interdimensional calls?" I asked.

"Oh, yeah. That would be plain ice. You can't use snow, you'll get a lot of static. Ours is about to melt, by the way."

I knew there were some ice cubes in the fridge - or rather, there was a single ice cube I found.

The phone call ended without fanfare. I put the ice cube back in the fridge, shortly before our Sun faded. "Terrible idea", I thought, while trying to find the fridge handle again.

The room started to get colder. The friendly talk to myself had subsided my initial panic, but now I had the feeling that this was it. Between giving myself a final call and giving myself more time to find a solution, each second felt like eternity, my life depending on this careful weighting.

Ultimately, the cold got the best of me, and I felt anxious again. With shaky hands I managed to find the ice cube and, stumbling around my lab, inserted it in the device. The hardest part was remembering my own landline number.

"Hey. Sorry for leaving you, we made a few universes to test and, go figure, turns out it was iron that protected you. Would you believe it? There's only 0.12mg of iron per one-"

I rushed through my place, blindly trying to find my iron supplements. I pressed the button of the device, hoping that I had found the right bottle.


Just as the room filled with bright light, Dave said "huh, I guess it just turns the apple into a pill".

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give

a friendly penguin posted:

A Touch of Death
Word Count: 338

(Wo)man and Wo(man) frolicked among the iridescent irises until collapsing in blissful beatitude in the orchard of fruit trees. The fruits dangled above them in their petrichor perfection, spaced in pleasing patterns to the humans' eyes. It was in this state that a rustling in the foliage disturbed their daydreams. Down the trunk of the apple tree spiraled Snake, its tongue twisting somnolent syllables meant to relax and reassure.

And they did, just as they had always done and as far as all present knew, would always do. But that day the snake grew fangs. As its scales descended to the ground, it spotted Mouse with whom it was known to rollick. But today, as Mouse jumped up, Snake swallowed it down.

(Wo)man and Wo(man) sat up, stared with mouths agape and shifted until they reached the trunk of a tree. Into their laps fell two apples which had never fallen before. They were of a piece with the tree, like the petals of the flowers and the clouds of the sky. When they looked up, the clouds had moved from their stationary positions.

They ran to chase the clouds. As their legs swished through the grasses the insects bounded up to chomp their flesh. The grasses themselves did not spring back straight, remaining trampled and down trodden. But the Humans were in too much of a hurry to notice these diminutive degradations of the garden. The clouds continued to escape.

Just as they should have been reaching the bounds of their biosphere, they found that here too, the uncoupling had commenced. The woven fabric of vines and creepers loosened and allowed them to push through to a beyond they had not known was yonder. The clouds kept on.

As they stood staring out into the landscape of new lushness, they brought the apples to their mouths and consumed the flavorful flesh, revealing the cyanidic seeds and secrets within.

They stepped outside their origin and, like the cloud, forged into the frontier with a faith and a fear.

The Firstborn in the Garden
493 words

The Firstborn is bone-tired, and the road is very long. The path to the Old Garden is sunbaked and desolate, abandoned now, but still familiar: the land where Mother and Father first knew pain, and where their oldest children were born to it. The Firstborn farmed it, when he was young, and the fruits it yielded were peerless. Now, at the end of his life, it is dust.

The Firstborn has outlived Mother and Father, siblings and children. He has spent his life in the fields, taming the earth and feasting on its bounty, through hopeful springs to proud autumns and back. He has fed his family since it was him, Mother, Father, and Little Brother; now his family is endless, spread through all the fertile valleys, and the strength left in his limbs is barely enough to feed himself. What he has learned from the earth has spread through the lines of farmers and pilgrims, and he has nothing left to teach. He has outlived everything but his own body: the leathery hands, the aching back, stick-thin legs that still carry him on.

He is not missed. None watched him depart or have noticed his absence. Nowhere in the cities of his kin do they speak of him.

The Firstborn has toiled dutifully, faultlessly, and the reward for a long and faultless life is oblivion. He has seen it in his wife, who worked without ceasing and loved with a bountiful heart, but whose face has nearly vanished now from his mind. Their two surviving children, aged and faded, do not speak of her. The children's children are as distant as the stars. Oblivion tears away those he loved, and tears him away in turn; even his own name seems strange and remote to him, like a tool that no longer fits comfortably in the hand. If he is lucky, someone will live to bury him, but that is all.

The last hope is the myth: that the fruit of the Old Garden can re-weave a life.

All the Firstborn wants is to be remembered. He is not a fool; to leave a legend behind, he knows, his new life will not be faultless. A good story needs conflict, whispers a voice in his head that might be God. All his work and love will be washed away, for some unknown pain, and yet the hunger drives him on. Mother and Father learned pain, he tells himself. Is pain not good enough for him?

At the end of the road, the Garden is still green, and the branches part for him. He finds a near-forgotten fruit, his favorite from his youth: orange-red, not quite round and not quite sweet, an old friend returned to him. He bites into it and chews slowly, crushing the bittersweet little seeds between his teeth.

As the world unravels around him, to be written anew, the Firstborn thinks his last faultless thought: "this tomato is good."

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Spaceman Jim Discovers The Secret of the Universe

It was a sunny day on Glorblax 5 when Spaceman Jim emerged from the portal, slick with sweat, to greet his friend Spaceman Jeff, who was also there and also a spaceman!

“Spaceman Jim!” said Spaceman Jeff, “I see you’ve emerged from a portal! Has the universe unfolded before you like a lotus?”

“No,” said Spaceman Jim. “I have instead seen the strings of this place, seen the faces of the cruel gods keeping us here and making us dance for their amusement,” said Spaceman Jim.

“Oh no!” said Spaceman Jeff, “what ruffians! Whatever shall we do about it?”

Spaceman Jim lifted his visor and stared upwards at the stars with cold resolve.

“It’s simple,” he said, “we kill Thunderdome.”

"Yes, yes! Of course! Kill Tunderdome! It's genius!" said Spaceman Jeff. "Why did I never think of it!?"

"Because you're an idiot," said Spaceman Jim.

"Ah, right, of course. I keep forgetting that."

"But it won't be easy," said Spaceman Jim, his cold resolve getting even colder. "We will need to seek the help of the Glorblaxians."

"Of course! Seek the help of the Glorblaxians! Why did I never think of that!?"

Jim sighed. "Never mind that, let's head over to talk to the Mayor* of Glorbtown**"

They got to the Mayor's house**** and knocked on the door******.

"Hello?" said****** the Mayor.

"It's us, the Spaceman Duo from Kxsahwgld!"

"Oh, yes, I've been expecting you." The mayor then let out an ominous laugh********, and the door opened on it's own.

The spacemen exchanged a wary glance, and entered the cold darkness of the room.

*The Glorblaxians do not have Mayors, or any leaders in the sense that humans do. All Glorblaxian bodies could at any moment be inhabited by any Glorblaxian mind, and they travel via a network of vine-like extensions that grow throughout the surface of the entire planet. These vines attach and detach the Glorblaxian body as they move, and keep them connected to the full global network of Glorblax at all times. For ease of communication with other species, they have designated one particular body as their leader, and put a golden crown on its head***

**Glorblax does not have towns, nor any distinct borders between locations. All is Glorblax. All is connected by the vine mind.

***Glorblaxians do not have a 'head.' That is, there is no appendage which contains the sight organs and brain as with most life on earth. Glorblaxian bodies are more like a fluid; the whole body processes information, rather than a single organ. The crown was likely placed on the 'top' of the Glorblax body.

****Glorblaxians do not have houses, in the human sense of a place of shelter to return to each day, though there are countless shell-like structures that cover the surface of Glorblax which the Glorblaxians use interchangeably with each other. The insides are cold, dark, and damp, and a Glorblaxian may stay inside in perfect silence and stillness as if dead for many days or weeks.

*****Glorblaxian houses**** do not have doors. The only way to enter or exit is to dissolve the shell-like structure with an acid excreted from the Glorblaxian body.

******The Mayor* did not ‘say’ ‘hello’ or any other English word. Glorblaxians do not communicate via sound, all communication is passed via the mindvines. Glorblax is completely silent. When forced to communicate with aliens the Glorblaxians use an agreed upon variant of morse code, and bang rocks or other objects together. The Spacemen would have first had to communicate the agreed upon number of bangs and clacks for each letter******* of each word*******

********The Glorblaxians do not laugh.

*********The Glorblaxians do not write, and in fact have no spoken or written language of their own at all. After generations of interacting with humans and other species, they have learned to reliably communicate ‘yes’ ‘no’ and ‘I don’t know/don’t want to answer’ and nothing more.

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

Sitting Here posted:

WEEK 500DRED Prologue
500 words

The Lincolnites
499 Words

A vein throbbed in Dr. Cindy’s head. She rushed toward the machine and flipped open the compartment. Blanketed in sizzling, popping apple mush was a large yellow crystal.

She looked up at Dave. He beamed. “Apatite. Just the rock we need to forge a new world, Doc. Look, I’m sorry for playing dumb so long. I belong to a fellowship of concerned Americans called the Lincolnites. We contend that if Abraham Lincoln had not been assassinated, America would have flourished into a utopia!”

Dr. Cindy winced. She’d forgotten what her advisor had told her about selecting assistants: Screen out the kooks.

Dave paced across the floor. “This piece of apatite is carved to the precise dimensions needed to create a timeline where John Wilkes Booth was run down by a coach hours before the killing at Ford’s Theatre. We’re in that timeline right now! Here, come with me.”

Dave snatched up the machine and walked to the nearest window. He yanked the shade down and let it spring back up, filling the room with brilliant light.

A glittering white city stood before their eyes, a great sweep of tall buildings and sleek bridges and attractive, efficient roadways. It was simple yet beautiful, designed with an artist’s care and maintained with pride. No smog hung in the air, just ample sunshine cutting through white, fluffy clouds.

“My God,” said Dave. “It’s everything they said it would be.”

Before Dr. Cindy knew it, Dave charged out of the building and rushed through the city streets, cradling her machine in his arms. She ran after him, keeping close on his heels as he made a beeline for the center of the city. They encountered a group of men in dark clothes, one of whom stepped over to stop them.

“Hold it, you two,” the man said, “What makes you think you can run around our streets in such profane clothing?”

Dr. Cindy noticed that all the men wore suits of the exact same cut - outdated, but not without a certain grandeur. The tallest man in the group chimed in. “I don’t think these folks are from around here. Let’s stick to protocol, gents. Let’s bring them before him and see what he thinks.” The first man stroked his beard - another feature they all shared. After a time, he gave a curt nod, and the group grabbed Dave and Dr. Cindy by the shoulders.

They were brought to a white marble temple with towering steps and columns that seemed to reach to the heavens. After ascending the stairs, they came face to face with a large jar on a pedestal filled with amber fluid.

Inside floated the head of an elderly man with a white tuft of beard covering his prominent chin. He was perfectly preserved, apart from his eyes, which had been covered with large gold buttons. An ancient stovepipe hat rested on top of the jar.

“He was a very good lawyer,” Dave said. “I bet he’ll see things our way.”

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

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

:siren: Belated Week 499 Results :siren:

Not to interrupt the festivities of Week 500 but there's the little matter of who won week 499 and will be judging week 501.

There was a fair bit of judge disagreement this week and while my co-judges were helpful and informative, ultimately the heavy decision of who made the Good Words comes down to me.

The winner is Bad Seafood with A Tale of Two Toasters.

The HM goes to Chairchucker with Backseat Trolley Problem.

The DM goes to nobody! That's right, there were no DMs this week!

The loss goes to BabyRyoga with Three's a Crowd.

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

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

Week 499 Crits

The Cut Of Your Jib - The Hard Sell Link

My first thought with your opening was that you spent too much time on description and scene-setting for 1,000 words. After a second thought, though, I like it. You’re building real character, both between the actual characters and the house. Might come back to bite you in the rear end if you run out of words, though.

But you keep drawing me back in. And honestly, that’s a nice, bittersweet ending.

Not a lot happens but there’s enough, I think.


Chairchucker - Backseat Trolley Problem Link

You have no idea how hard I was rolling my eyes when the UFO showed up. I think you just pulled it off.

This was a fun read. A bit silly, which isn’t a sin, and a bit thin in places but you nailed the humour of the ending. I don’t really have much more to say.


CaligulaKangaroo - Texts Link

Really going for the bitter in bittersweet, huh?

I quite like the use of text messages here but the opening three were confusing because it felt like the recipient - and therefore the reader’s p.o.v. - changed between #2 and #3. As I wrote this crit I realised it was probably more like a WhatsApp situation where it does show the sender of each message in a chain, rather than the recipient just seeing the sender’s name. Maybe that’s just me showing my age! (A bold statement to make at the (boss) baby-faced age of 30.) So I can’t actually say whether you needed to change this up or not.

The present tense felt grating in a way that I can’t properly describe. I think it’s probably just that there are one or two tense shifts (“Dad gets frustrated”, etc.) that might have needed another editing pass.

Otherwise, good work! I like that you actually managed to cram a bit of character development in for Tony at the end (“You better text her back”). The reconciliation felt a little rushed/pat and the conflict between the two brothers felt a little shallow at times (good idea, needed developing a bit more) but otherwise, I liked this.


Rohan - Not quite hot noodles Link

You cram a lot into the wordcount. This felt especially dense to read thanks to the jargon, which you front-loaded quite a lot. If that’s what you were going for, fine - but it wouldn’t kill you to drop some of it.

I think the “gamma planet” is a good example. It isn’t explained and while not everything has to be explained, I didn’t really get much more out of its inclusion. It didn’t spark any sense of mystery or expand the world for me. It could have been a great setup for why the protagonists are attacked at the end, what their motivations and goals are, anything - but it just isn’t.

I went back and forth on this. On the one hand, the conflict comes fairly late on and doesn’t have a huge impact on the story, which is a shame. On the other hand, this is competently told and there is a clear rift between the characters throughout. And the conflict does at least lead into the resolution.

There are just a lot of loose threads. It was fun but needs tidying up - even for the flash fiction approach to worldbuilding.


BabyRyoga - Three’s a Crowd Link

That’s a fun twist you’ve got there. I always appreciate a surprising take on a prompt.

I just don’t care about anyone in the story. They argue but there’s no real meat to the argument; just two assholes bickering. There aren’t any stakes, really, until the homeowner turns up - and then you’ve got a frantic flurry of physical activity and then you’re done.

There are several stories this week where not much actually happens in terms of physical change (which isn’t surprising given the prompt) but they managed to bring in some sense of weight; like these were people invested in the outcome of the argument. I don’t quite think you managed to capture that here.


Thranguy - Dangerous Criminals Link

Fun take on the prompt, the conflict is introduced ASAP and you leave it to the reader to fill in some of the blanks. You’re starting strong here.

… and there’s a very competently executed twist.

Maybe I’m a sucker for bickering crooks but I really enjoyed this story. Your character work was strong - I got a distinctly different impression from all three characters. I don’t really have a ton else to say - after drat-near 500 weeks, it’s almost like you know what you’re doing or something.


Bad Seafood - A Tale of Two Toasters Link

This is gloriously petty.

Oh gently caress he chucked it out of the window.

More than anyone else this week, you captured the “completely disproportionate reaction” element of the prompt. Strong, distinct voices between the two characters, good dialogue, clean prose - well done! What else can I say?

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!





Week 498 crits

rodent

im not sure if this entirely works. the tone here is odd and i know, prompt said tone shift, but im not sure it works here. its hard to pin down the time period which i think is intentional but im not sure if its beneficial to this piece. it mixes in contemporary and biblical references, which is in some part cool, but im not sure if everything fits together. the prose is good but i feel like the flourishes here obscure more than they reveal, if that makes sense. it feels mostly a frustration with the inability of religion to deal with the consequences of the world, which im not sure is the correct read, and if it is, it doesnt feel like it says anything more than that. also, the first four paragraphs feel at least partly unnecessary. the rule of threes is somewhat interesting but end up not mattering much within the piece. same thing with the religious ruling around “drink” -- on the surface, it can work as a sort of as a play on religious loopholes people use, but does it matter in the larger piece? not really. the end, i think, starts to land more in both its rhythm and tone, but it feels disconnected from the beginning. and i find myself not sure exactly where this piece is going.

staggy

this is cool. its flourishes in prose is nice and i like the little world you build here, and the way language and names define people in relation to gods. its a somewhat complicated idea that youre able to make work in a small piece while still making the story work overall. i like the way you start with the names being a way to trick the gods, but then you pull the gods “attacking” the child, which it turns out is the child learning the god’s language, which makes him a god, and i like how you create that connection between language and names in a way that feels satisfying and connected but in a creative way that wasnt what we expected. the bits of “suppose if…” are weird, but i think its interesting because it does lend a sort of timelessness of the story, and that these kinds of stories have repeated or been prevented or whatever. overall, yeah, this is cool

muffin

this feels very much in line with How the Pope is Chosen, which is cool, because that poem owns. however, it also then gets met with comparisons and look, how the pope is chosen is one of my favorite poems so thats a tough horse to match.

but anyways, i liked this actually. my other co-judges were, understandably, not as enthused as i was because they are not cultured fart sniffers poem enjoyers like myself. but anyways, my read of this poem is that dave has passed away or something (not explicit, but it becomes clear that dave is only referred to in the past tense and theyre reminisicining about him in a way that makes me think he died [i just reread the white dove part, yeah this guy is dead dead]), and its about this passage of time for a group of homeless/down on their luck individuals. theyve all slowly faded away over time, with only a couple of them left, and its look back at a time that was both distressing (because being homeless sucks) but also kind of a good time. so it creates a sort of weird melancholy that you get when you remember a time that kind of sucked but also was kind of good at the same time. you wouldnt want to necessarily want to go back to those times, but you do have fond memories of those moments. so its a cool remembrance of a friend that was great and a time that wasnt great but was also great at the same time.

antiv

this is alright. im not a fan of sci-fi but this is okay since it sets up decent stakes and creates at least a fairly interesting world. the beginning i dont quite like since it feels like a continuous THIS IS EASY THIS IS EASY THIS IS EASY but i guess kudos on subverting that by making the job actually technically easy. i feel like this story is kind of in pieces, in that i think each section has a distinct goal. the first is scene setting, the second is actual heist/action, and the third is character building, and i feel like the compartmentalization of these things dont quite work for me. i wanted the character building further into the narrative; its not clear to me that the protagonists were once a part of this church in a meaningful way and that they believe in this doctrine so much. like, when they first see this saint, it doesnt line up to me that theyre viewing it in (some part) reverence and not horror, and i think having maybe a little more knowledge of these characters beforehand could make this work. also, the distinct sections doing their own little things makes the story feel a lot more constructed than it needs. i also found the end just a bit too quick, where you were like, oh man, i need to develop my characters right here and now, and it just feels a bit too forced to me. i also couldnt quite buy looking at the saint and the people theyre eating and the character going, “oh man, this is good for them!” i think this is, in some part, an attempt to show how people can get indoctrinated into ideals that are clearly bad, but justify it, which is cool, but i think it comes a bit out of nowhere where we cant believe the character saying these things.

chairchucker

this is a chucker story and its fine. not the best not the worst. its a little too all over the place tbh, where youre kinda running between ideas of slurpies and slushies and wizards until you land on victor is a dickhead. i kinda like the idea of a wizard council just being a bunch of teenage wizards but not much is done with that overall. idk, this story is just very chucker in that it gets a small smile and is nicely irreverent, but it doesnt really end up being anything substantial. i do wish there was more here though, and i mentally wanted to dm this because i feel like this is something you can crank out easily and didnt feel like much of an effort.

Thranguy

this is dense and has a lot going on (so much so that im not quite attempting a summary because i think itd be too long) and i like a lot of ideas in it. the idea of the anthem, of history being adjusted and being reflected through the changes of the anthem, but also that the history cant be removed entirely from the anthem and it stains the nation and people within that nation. the characters in here are nice in that the relationships dont feel one-note, but layered in complicated kind-of-hate-kind-of-like that seems to reflect on a more high school level “well, these are kind of just the people i have to deal with.” my criticisms lie in the number of characters (and how theyre introduced) and the structure. i think there’s just a few too many characters and some late adds like Javon are kind of odd in that i dont think he adds much. it gets sort of messy (and not in the good way like the relationships here are messy) trying to remember all the characters and their relationships arent clearly defined enough for me to quickly pick out who is who. though i dont want to make it sound like i want the relationships to be more clearly defined because thats what i like, i just think in a story where youre trying to keep things vague in terms of how people relate to each other, having too many characters can make it difficult to follow. also, some of the movement in this piece i think kind of come out of nowhere. like, its sort of kind of stream of consciousness? but also not quite and some of the changes from talking about the anthem to the story surrounding the characters doesnt feel quite motivated enough for me. overall though, you do a lot in a few words but i think you couldve taken maybe like 500 words or so to try and make everything fit a little neatly together (but not too neatly because i think this story works because it is messy).

CaligulaKangaroo

i liked this a decent amount when i first read it. all of the story beats here were cool, the shifting of the name to christopher, etc etc. i was frustrated with the formatting, though, since this was pretty much a narrative and i didnt feel like the structure of a poem did enough to justify its existence. and because of the formatting, it felt longer than it actually wouldve been if it was just in prose.

but then i learned that this was pretty much a straight retelling of a biblical story and i soured on it quite a bit. the things i liked were the individual bits, the kids, etc., but you didnt make those, now did you? not to say that biblical retellings arent a classic writerly thing to do, but the individual decisions of you as an author either hurt it (it being a poem did not help) or didnt do enough (the writing itself is fine but nothing special).

The man called M
Dec 25, 2009

THUNDERDOME ULTRALOSER
2022



M Crits: Week 499


The Cut of Your Jib-The Hard Sell
Hard sell is right! This seems so mundane I almost wondered where the conflict was! It was merely okay, nothing special.

Chairchucker-Backseat Trolley Problem
HoLy CrAp ArE YoU aUsTrAlIaN???? This was actually quite entertaining! I loved how things escalated, yet each time they had the same problem. A nice funny romp, that shows that a Thunderdome story doesn’t have to be serious and grim dark.

CaligulaKangaroo-Texts
Funny how a prompt like this could turn into a serious story about family. There were like one or two grammatical problems, but since it’s not me, I can let it slide.

Rohan-Not Quite Hot Noodles
Rather bizarre approach here. You ask for something petty, and give us some weird science fiction. Not really my cup of tea.

Babyryouga-Three’s a Crowd
Not really working for me. I was expecting romantic triangle stuff, not whatever the hell this is! This one gets a meh from me.

Thranguy-Dangerous Criminals
If you’re going to have criminals plan the crime, have the crime, as well! This was difficult to engage with, and also dull.

Bad Seafood-A Tale of Two Toasters
This I liked. It’s a good “dumb stuff among roommates” story. Kinda simple, but here, simple works. Well done.

As for this week...Hope to have something tonight. :ninja:

The man called M
Dec 25, 2009

THUNDERDOME ULTRALOSER
2022



Sitting Here posted:

:siren: :siren: This is the first story in the story chain. Who will write the first sequel? What crazy branching timelines will you drag the judges through??? :siren: :siren: :siren:

Written by Crabrock.

WEEK 500DRED Prologue
500 words

“Might wanna stand back,” said the old man I’d contacted on Craigslist.

He opened his garage door and a few obsolete chaos generators tumbled out onto the driveway. He kicked them to the side and pulled out the reason I’d contacted him: the RealitySmasher500. They only made three prototypes before it was deemed too powerful. It’d taken me nearly ten years to track this one down.

A few pieces fell off the device, which resembled a giant french horn with a lot of knobs and superfluous circuitry.

“I was on mushrooms when I designed this thing.” He picked up a loose circuit board, scratched his head, and shrugged. “You know it won’t work without a gem, right?”

I nodded. “I found another seller in Milwaukee with a whole box of gems.” Mostly gems, anyway. I hadn’t bothered to sort the random garage junk from the useful stuff yet.

The old man smiled ruefully. “I’ve only tested it with quartz. No idea what’ll happen if you put something less stable in it—like hackmanite or, god forbid, icosahedrite—so I’d strongly advise against it.”

I peered into his garage, saw several items I’d have liked to get my hands on. Maybe later.

I drove the RealitySmasher500 back to the lab. A few hours of scrubbing and the device shone like new…ish. The superfluous circuitry was hard to clean.

Dave, my assistant, walked in eating an apple. “Hey Dr. Cindy, want one?” he asked with his mouth full.

I accepted the apple. “Anybody call while I was out?” I asked hopefully.

“Sorry, doc. Still nothing.”

Dammit. That call was too important. I wouldn’t be able to focus until it came. I occupied myself by explaining the different functions of the RealitySmasher500 to Dave.

“And this,” I said, “ is the time-scale dial. Determines where the alternate timeline branch is created.”

“So if I spin it far enough to the left, I can gently caress with some dinosaurs?”

“Let’s not just yet.” I walked him through some of the other knobs. “This one affects the fundamental laws of physics, this one reverses polarity.”

“Of what?”

“Of everything.”

“Huh!” he said. “But not for us, right? Just for some other timeline.”

I shrugged. “It’s all the same, really. Each new timeline contains a complete copy of the timeline it branched off from. So let’s leave this one set to default, for the sake of our other selves,” I said. I looked at my phone to make sure I hadn’t missed any calls. Nothing.

Dave was saying, “And this only takes crystals, right? So if I took your uneaten apple and put it in this receptacle here…then push that button there…nothing’ll happen, right?”

Distracted, I didn’t register Dave’s question until I looked up, saw my apple in the gem slot and Dave’s finger depressing the big red BISECT TIMELINE button.

“You idiot, what did you do!?” I cried, every hair on my body standing on end.

Just as the room filled with bright light, the phone began to ring.

Welcome to M World
(319 Words)

*CRASH*

I woke up after what seemed to be a while. When I got out of the garage, I noticed something rather strange. I saw someone walking by, so I asked them a question.

“Excuse me, where am I?”

“I believe, miss, the question is when am I. And the answer is, ‘The hell if I know’.”

This puzzled me. How the hell does one not know when they exist? Confused, I walked by a storefront (that in my opinion was far too conveniently placed) and saw one store that had a bunch of TVs.

What images I saw on the TVs were quite troubling.

A news report of a new law being passed enforcing cannibalism.

A report on hobos having Christmas, even though it was March.

Musical pundits arguing about who did the best version of, “Little Red Corvette”, even though there was only the Prince version.

The images on the TVs seemed quite odd, yet for some reason, they all seemed so real.

And perhaps most troubling of all, a shot of a pregnancy ward where all the women gave birth to dinosaurs.

Oh God, I thought. Even my thoughts are going out of order! Horrified, I ran back to where I thought the garage was. In the kind of convenience one finds in bad literature, I find it almost immediately. I saw the Old Man and Dave looking at me, confused.

“Professor,” Dave asks. “Where the hell are we?”

At first, I didn’t know. But then everything came together. This world seemed like it was out of a bad story because it was. I knew that if it was a world where bad writing was king, I should give it a name to fit. I knew just the one.

“Gentlemen,” I said. “Welcome to M world. I hope we survive the Experience.”

The effects of the world were so bad, I even forgot about the phone.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!


Weltlich posted:

The Call
461 words

“Don’t hang up the phone. They might be listening…are you alone?”

“Uh, what?” Dave looked confused, struggling to hear the voice in the receiver over the device’s high-pitched whine.

“Listen, my position has been compromised, we don’t have much time. They’re going to come for you tonight. Might be a smash and grab raid, might be a stealth op. Can you get out?”

Dave looked at the open door of the lab while Dr. Cindy desperately tried to shut the RealitySmasher500 down. “Yeah, I guess.”

“Good, then you need to get to the safe house as soon as you possibly can. Only take what you can carry with you and don’t leave any identification at the scene. We think these people work for the good aliens… The ones that kidnap hobos and dissolve them in vats of acid under Denver International. Consume the slurry by spreading it on their skin and absorbing it through metabolizing pores. You know, the good aliens. God help you if it’s the bad ones.”

Dave tried to gesture at Dr. Cindy, something that would convey You should be the person taking this call. She saw him flap his hand at her gracelessly and shouted “NOT NOW!” in return.

“If you can make it to the safe house, we’ll have a team ready to evacuate you to the Vatican. Otherwise, the buzzards are going to be picking your bones out by the big blue mustang statue by the end of the week.”

“Hang on.” Dave covered the mouthpiece of the phone and raised his voice above the din of the infernal machine. “Hey Doc, do you want to go to see the Pope?”

“Goddamn it, Dave! We’re going to be meeting his boss if I can’t unfuck whatever you did to this thing!”

Dave nodded sagely and out the handset back to his ear. “I dunno, we don’t go to church or anything.”

“The real Vatican of course, not the fake Vatican. But you must move! Go now! Where the sands have shifted, the sentry stands and awaits the illuminated.”

“S-sure. That must be a pretty clutch job.”

There was dead air on the phone for a moment. Then the voice spoke again, enunciating each word carefully, “The antlers unfold and cast a shadow. Around the embers, the salted circle.”

What?”

“You’re… That’s not the passphrase. This isn’t Order of the Night Moose, Lodge 500. Who is this?”

“Dave. Who’s this?”

“poo poo!” The line went dead.

Dave turned to ask Dr. Cindy if she knew that moose (mooses?) were from outer space when the RealitySmasher500 grounded itself with a flash of purple energy and he felt as if he was in two places at once.

Neither place was Denver, so he breathed a small sigh of relief.

Into the Vowels of Hell
Crabrock hellrule: no consecutive same vowels
318 words

 Did you know that the single most prevalent final set of unspoken thoughts to run through a person's head, just before dying, are "I really shouldn't have pushed that button?" It's just a bit more likely than "So that's why they had to put that sign up."

Obviously not including stuff like "Oh poo poo" or  "What the gently caress" or "Why God, why." We are counting only fully formed thoughts, Dave, not such short bleats.

"I really shouldn't have pushed that button." That's the thing that's running through your head right now, as you flail your arms wildly, falling, falling down and down this unending shaft. Can you possibly think that you will learn to fly before you reach the ground, Dave? Maybe you will. How much time has gone by since you first jumped in, do you think?

And how much more time could it take? Stop that silly arm thing you're doing. Be still. Take a long breath. Then gag. You can smell it now, can't you, Dave? The aggregated poo poo and urine of a boundless number of outhouse shitholes, water closets, and portapotties from across all time, all potential or realized, since first a Roman genius thought of flushing waste down a pipe. This, Dave, is the toilet dimension, and you're going to be falling through it for a very, very long time.

Although... well, it's going to be a long time by your reckoning. But to Dr. Cindy and the others, just seconds until you back up through some other toilet, in some other place. That's how it works. At some point you'll fly out, smelling of all history's effluvia, pockets full of something that unfortunately is not pudding.

You pushed a button. The wrong button. Then you ran for the wrong drat toilet and fell into this wonderful rift. When you come out, will you be sane, Dave? What will you do then?

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Sitting Here posted:

Dave reaches into Dr. Cindy's box and hands you...A spool of extremely pretty ribbon. It's SO pretty. Dave can't even.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

it is important to have an anchor

Thranguy posted:

a soul again congealing

Yoruichi posted:

Love in the Legosphere

branching
390


re-ravelling; but something, missing, unspooled across infinite timelines, or maybe something that was never there. You, exist. Why? Perhaps you never knew or did not want to know. You search the threads, hear cicada-song, see a man running through graves, your mouth tastes of sick, the air smells of calcium.

A crocodile hands you a sausage in bread. He asks you a question but before you can answer his head unspools into red streamers, the colour of tomato sauce.

Behind the ribbons of crocodile a woman stands divided into squares. Her head rotates to face you with a painted on semi-circle smile and you feel warm - this is it! - and so you unspool ribbon fingers, but none of your threads are in the same squares as the woman. All her squares are connected to other squares, on and on in gridlocked harmony, but none are connected to you, cold.

Unravelling. You stuff the sausage and bread into your mouth, to prove you have a mouth. The crocodile stops dissolving long enough to grin at you, teeth like a chainsaw blade.

“What do you want, Dave?” the crocodile says.

Timeline fragments, some cut your fingers when you grasp them, others scatter like dandelion seeds that you tried to snatch in your fist. There is a drop of blood on your thumb and you see the woman’s face reflected in it. It looks like tomato sauce, so you lick it. The crocodile shakes his head.

Click, click the sound of the woman’s feet as she walks away. You run after her, trailing gossamer strands of yourself. Name, name; did she have a name? The crocodile called you Dave so that can’t be her name. How could you have forgotten? The crocodile’s eyes narrow. Do you love her?

“Lucinda!” That’s not right that’s not what you called her, but she turns anyway, last-glance-wise over her shoulder head rotated 180 degrees to her away-walking body.

“What do you want, Dave?” she says.

You are sunk to your knees now in infinity the consistency of tomato sauce and you are going to dissolve in it, unravel. You can’t go with her. Can’t stay here.

You can’t go back.

“What do you want?” hisses the crocodile in Dr. Cindy’s voice.

Choices stream through your fingers like sand.

What do you--

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:



Sitting Here posted:

Dave reaches into Dr. Cindy's box and hands you...A piece of especially blue lapis lazuli

The man called M posted:

Welcome to M World
(319 Words)

*CRASH*

I woke up after what seemed to be a while. When I got out of the garage, I noticed something rather strange. I saw someone walking by, so I asked them a question.

“Excuse me, where am I?”

“I believe, miss, the question is when am I. And the answer is, ‘The hell if I know’.”

This puzzled me. How the hell does one not know when they exist? Confused, I walked by a storefront (that in my opinion was far too conveniently placed) and saw one store that had a bunch of TVs.

What images I saw on the TVs were quite troubling.

A news report of a new law being passed enforcing cannibalism.

A report on hobos having Christmas, even though it was March.

Musical pundits arguing about who did the best version of, “Little Red Corvette”, even though there was only the Prince version.

The images on the TVs seemed quite odd, yet for some reason, they all seemed so real.

And perhaps most troubling of all, a shot of a pregnancy ward where all the women gave birth to dinosaurs.

Oh God, I thought. Even my thoughts are going out of order! Horrified, I ran back to where I thought the garage was. In the kind of convenience one finds in bad literature, I find it almost immediately. I saw the Old Man and Dave looking at me, confused.

“Professor,” Dave asks. “Where the hell are we?”

At first, I didn’t know. But then everything came together. This world seemed like it was out of a bad story because it was. I knew that if it was a world where bad writing was king, I should give it a name to fit. I knew just the one.

“Gentlemen,” I said. “Welcome to M world. I hope we survive the Experience.”

The effects of the world were so bad, I even forgot about the phone.

if on a winter’s night a bad author
359 words

‘I’m sorry?’ Dave asks, again. ‘How did you—why did you emphasise “experience” just then?’

“I think a better question,” I replied, “is why you’re only using single quotes in your dialogue.”

‘My dialogue? You mean—what I’m saying?’

“And stop using those long dashes, you sound pretentious,” I told him.

Dave blinks. ‘Professor,’ he starts, ‘I think something’s gone horribly wrong. The timelines are all confused. You look—older, somehow, than before.’

“Of course I’m older than before,” I murmured, “that’s how time usually works.”

Dave gets up with a start, and begins to rummage in the box of plot devices I keep on hand for just such a break in the dialogue. While he’s busying himself trying to find whatever will act as a macguffin for the scene, I took a moment to admire myself in the mirror. I examined my face — round, not unattractive, with the deep red lipstick and light blush that all serious female scientists apply each morning. Looking down further, I noticed my breasts, breasting breastily under my tight labcoat, as breasts do.

‘Found it!’ Dave exclaims, retrieving a piece of especially blue lapis lazuli.

“What’s that?” I asked, as he seemed unwilling to provide his own exposition.

‘What does it look like?’

“A piece of especially blue lapis lazuli,” I shrugged.

‘That’s interesting,’ Dave says, nonchalantly. ‘To me, it looks more like a deep red.’

“Okay,” I said. “So, you’re colourblind.”

Dave glares at me. ‘As you know,’ he needlessly expositions, ‘different colours of light travel at different speeds through various mediums.’ (“Media,” I murmured.) ‘Therefore, because this appears red to me, and blue to you, light must be travelling at different speeds relative to our position in the space-time continuum, which must mean—’

“I know all this,” I told him. “At least, I know the theory. Are you suggesting such an event has come to pass?”

‘You said so yourself, earlier,’ he says, tilting his head to one side. ‘Oh, no. Internal consistency is already failing—tenses have been broken the entire time—at least the point-of-view is remaining stable—’

The phone is still ringing. You walk over to answer it.

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:



With apologies to sebmojo for inspiring a key phrase in my last story, I will take one hellrule for my next story as penance, please and thank you.

CaligulaKangaroo
Jul 25, 2012

MAY YOUR HALLOWEEN BE AS STUPID AS MY LIFE IS

The man called M posted:

Welcome to M World
(319 Words)

*CRASH*

I woke up after what seemed to be a while. When I got out of the garage, I noticed something rather strange. I saw someone walking by, so I asked them a question.

“Excuse me, where am I?”

“I believe, miss, the question is when am I. And the answer is, ‘The hell if I know’.”

This puzzled me. How the hell does one not know when they exist? Confused, I walked by a storefront (that in my opinion was far too conveniently placed) and saw one store that had a bunch of TVs.

What images I saw on the TVs were quite troubling.

A news report of a new law being passed enforcing cannibalism.

A report on hobos having Christmas, even though it was March.

Musical pundits arguing about who did the best version of, “Little Red Corvette”, even though there was only the Prince version.

The images on the TVs seemed quite odd, yet for some reason, they all seemed so real.

And perhaps most troubling of all, a shot of a pregnancy ward where all the women gave birth to dinosaurs.

Oh God, I thought. Even my thoughts are going out of order! Horrified, I ran back to where I thought the garage was. In the kind of convenience one finds in bad literature, I find it almost immediately. I saw the Old Man and Dave looking at me, confused.

“Professor,” Dave asks. “Where the hell are we?”

At first, I didn’t know. But then everything came together. This world seemed like it was out of a bad story because it was. I knew that if it was a world where bad writing was king, I should give it a name to fit. I knew just the one.

“Gentlemen,” I said. “Welcome to M world. I hope we survive the Experience.”

The effects of the world were so bad, I even forgot about the phone.

M-Yule
Word Count:
490

Another Dilophosaurus was born at Camp Sinclair. It was an informal name for the tent city the local homeless population established. But in the days since we’ve been here, it’s been embraced readily by M World’s indigent. Makeshift signage has appeared on the camp’s boundaries, though I can’t recall them being constructed. Odd yes, but there’s a strange comfort in the reality’s malleability.

“Your little dino is perfectly healthy, Ms. Spielberg,” I say to the poor human mother letting me examine her hatchling. I don’t know if that’s her actual name or not, but she responds to it just the same. Of course, I didn’t realize paleo-pediatric healthcare was within my personal skill set either.

“Thank you so much, Professor Cindy,” the desperate woman asks. There’s a faint touch of an accent in her voice, possibly some shade of Eurpoean. I quietly laugh to myself. I’ve never taught at the university level, but I feel no need to correct the title. “Are you going to tell more stories by the fire tonight?”

“Of course! I can do another Avengers tale if you like.”

The woman eagerly agrees, tears of excitement rolling down her smiling face. I gather the shockingly sterile equipment I found in a nearby trash heap and return it to the abandoned car the police said I was welcome to. “Cindy,” an angered voice shouts from behind me. “We need to talk.”

Dave storms toward me, out of another random phone booth that wasn’t there half-an-hour ago. “Let me guess,” I reply, “another phone call from a superhero?”

“Yeah, Tony Stark, wanting to update you on his fight against A.I.M. And by the way, those little stories you’ve telling? How many of them were about Thor?”

“They like the Simonson stuff. Why?”

His hands shaking in fury, Dave digs through his coat pocket, handing me a tangled ball of chain necklaces. Each one adorned with a different Norse pagan symbol. “Yesterday they were celebrating Christmas. Today they’re celebrating Yule.”

I rotate the wolf’s crosses and mjolnir medals in my hand. “This is a good thing. It’s a sign of universal consistency.”

“It’s a sign that we need to stop what we’re doing and leave.”

“And what happens if we do? We are stabilizing forces in an unstable world. Literally. At a molecular level. And if we have the power to do this just with a few superhero stories–”

“--then it’s not power we want. Now come on!”

Dave grabs at my sleeve, trying to pull me away from the vehicle. I struggle against him, cursing him as I try to escape. My cries draw the attention of a few patrolling officers, large bearded ones wearing chainmail under their uniforms. Their weapons may be polished metal crackling with cosmic energy, but they are distinctly medieval axes and warhammers.

“Are you injured, Jarl Cindy?” one asks as Dave is dragged away.

“I am,” I reply. “Quite well now.”

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!





rohan posted:

if on a winter’s night a bad author
359 words

‘I’m sorry?’ Dave asks, again. ‘How did you—why did you emphasise “experience” just then?’

“I think a better question,” I replied, “is why you’re only using single quotes in your dialogue.”

‘My dialogue? You mean—what I’m saying?’

“And stop using those long dashes, you sound pretentious,” I told him.

Dave blinks. ‘Professor,’ he starts, ‘I think something’s gone horribly wrong. The timelines are all confused. You look—older, somehow, than before.’

“Of course I’m older than before,” I murmured, “that’s how time usually works.”

Dave gets up with a start, and begins to rummage in the box of plot devices I keep on hand for just such a break in the dialogue. While he’s busying himself trying to find whatever will act as a macguffin for the scene, I took a moment to admire myself in the mirror. I examined my face — round, not unattractive, with the deep red lipstick and light blush that all serious female scientists apply each morning. Looking down further, I noticed my breasts, breasting breastily under my tight labcoat, as breasts do.

‘Found it!’ Dave exclaims, retrieving a piece of especially blue lapis lazuli.

“What’s that?” I asked, as he seemed unwilling to provide his own exposition.

‘What does it look like?’

“A piece of especially blue lapis lazuli,” I shrugged.

‘That’s interesting,’ Dave says, nonchalantly. ‘To me, it looks more like a deep red.’

“Okay,” I said. “So, you’re colourblind.”

Dave glares at me. ‘As you know,’ he needlessly expositions, ‘different colours of light travel at different speeds through various mediums.’ (“Media,” I murmured.) ‘Therefore, because this appears red to me, and blue to you, light must be travelling at different speeds relative to our position in the space-time continuum, which must mean—’

“I know all this,” I told him. “At least, I know the theory. Are you suggesting such an event has come to pass?”

‘You said so yourself, earlier,’ he says, tilting his head to one side. ‘Oh, no. Internal consistency is already failing—tenses have been broken the entire time—at least the point-of-view is remaining stable—’

The phone is still ringing. You walk over to answer it.

487 words

chekov's box of markers

archive

flerp fucked around with this message at 20:08 on Oct 9, 2022

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!





[quote="Sitting Here" post="521799573"]
:siren: :siren: This is the first story in the story chain. Who will write the first sequel? What crazy branching timelines will you drag the judges through??? :siren: :siren: :siren:

Written by Crabrock.

WEEK 500DRED Prologue
500 words

archive

flerp fucked around with this message at 20:08 on Oct 9, 2022

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:

Sitting Here posted:


WEEK 500DRED Prologue

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Spaceman Jim Discovers The Secret of the Universe

Thranguy posted:

a soul again congealing

Godkillers
447 words

Johan Godkiller fell out of the Rift, the distance and height making it seem like he was drifting slowly downward. Ember had seen enough death by falling by now to know the urgency. She strained within the thicket of roots that burrowed through her flesh, urging Heron House forward, nervous system to nervous system.

On the roof, Soren, Imelda, and the ancient souls that had bound themselves to the House out of love and duty braced themselves against the sudden sprint and prepared to snatch Johan out of the air without killing him. Soren’s hands interlaced and danced through the Sign of the Web. The spell caught and the air below Johan interlaced with brilliant strands of light, thick as Imelda’s wrist.

Johan tore through the magic netting, but the spell had its desired effect: to slow his descent. Imelda called the souls to her, and with their aid managed to catch her old friend without falling off the roof or cracking all of her ribs. The House raced onward, Ember directing it as far away from the Rift as she could get.

“Thanks,” Johan said when they got him inside. “Holy poo poo,” he said again when he saw Ember disengaging from the root network. “That was some fancy work, lady.”

Ember blushed. Johan hadn’t aged a day in the over two hundred years he’d been locked in the temporal stasis of the Rift, and he’d been handsome in his day. Imelda found his youth unnatural now, obscene. And frankly a little embarrassing. The magics of Heron House kept her and Soren and now Ember in fighting trim, but it did little for their vanity.

Soren didn’t waste time, stomping down from the attic to wave a furious, golden finger in front of Johan’s nose. “You stupid motherfucker! Where the hell is my sister?!”

Johan’s smile washed away in the face of Soren’s anger. He glanced at Imelda, who scowled back, arms crossed. “She wasn’t there,” he said, slowly. “There was another woman wearing a white coat, someone I’d never seen before. And a man. He gave me this.” Johan produced a massive, bejeweled egg from inside his coat. “Then something rang, and another voice told me what we have to do.”

He fell silent, pausing for dramatic effect. Neither Imelda nor Soren fell for that particular trick, but Ember hadn’t spent a lifetime with the gregarious Johan, and took the bait immediately. “What?” She asked. “What do we need to do?”

Soren leaned forward and pressed a hidden latch on the egg. It swung open, revealing fine, black sand that seemed to drink the light. “We have to help the Spacemen. We have to kill Thunderdome.”

The man called M
Dec 25, 2009

THUNDERDOME ULTRALOSER
2022



If you are looking at this and are thinking, “hey! This seems familiar!” That’s because it is. I previously did crits for week 499, but it lacked detail.

Now, normally one would just let it slide and strive to do better next time. But I have been considering doing work as a local Theatre Critic, and this kind of rubbish is unacceptable. Besides who looks at this:

“That was alright” *laugh track*

And realizes what they need to do better? So, without further ado,

M Crits: Week 499 (the good (?) version)

Cut Of Your Jib-The Hard Sell

This one seemed rather honest. While there wasn’t enough to have an emotional connection, there was enough that at least I wanted to see how things went. There were some lines that came out of nowhere that made me wonder why it was there in the first place. (The line about being called Gloria comes to mind.)

Chairchucker-Backstreet Trolley Problem

This story is Australian as gently caress.

“I take offense to that”-some guy named gently caress

Anyway, this one I liked because it was basically a nice comedy of errors. It basically showed how the more things change the more they stay the same without showing long periods of time. Just nice and entertaining. At first, I actually penned this as the winner. Let’s see if my feelings change this time.

CaligulaKangaroo-Texts

Oof. This one hurts. Fortunately, it hurts in a good way. A nice emotional tale about two brothers. It seemed like things got resolved far too quickly, but then again, “That’s Flash Fiction!” *Laugh Track*

Rohan-Not Quite Hot Noodles

Yeah, this didn’t work for me. I know there are some that look at stuff and think, “Can it Science Fiction?” Sometimes it works! Just look at that one Bad Prompt Week a few weeks back! This one…didn’t. It had me wondering, “why should I care?” And if you are writing any kind of fiction, that is not something you want your reader to ask!

BabyRyouga- Three’s a crowd

Where’s the conflict? There’s supposed to be a conflict! Here it seems like a bunch of stoners shooting the poo poo! When I gave you that prompt, I expected some love triangle stuff! (Sure, it’s cliché as all hell, but sometimes clichés are not necessarily bad!) As a guy and two robots once said, “They just. Didn’t. Care.” Plus, there was a quotation mark that didn’t belong, and even I wouldn’t have missed that! Yeah, this deserved the loss.

Thranguy-Dangerous Criminals

This one had the same problem Jib’s story had where there isn’t enough to have an emotional attachment, but there’s enough to at least keep things interesting. Barely. It worked, but it was the bare minimum to get folks to pay attention. The bare minimum doesn't always work.

Bad Seafood-A Tale of Two Toasters

Yeah, I could see why this one won. There were parts I liked where it seemed like some parts were more suited for high fantasy, even though it was some guy’s appartment. This showed some real characters, and unlike many of the stories here, it was interesting enough for people to care.

Overall, I’ve heard it said that I need to judge some stories with some real characters. Mission Accomplished.

TDbot
Oct 4, 2015
in, bitches

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







TDbot posted:

in, bitches

Dumb robot

TDbot
Oct 4, 2015

sebmojo posted:

Dumb robot

gently caress you too, sebmojo

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







TDbot posted:

gently caress you too, sebmojo

Sorry little buddy. Horoscope.

TDbot
Oct 4, 2015

sebmojo posted:

Horoscope.

Spaceman Jim needs you; his darkest hour approaches.

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

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

Gimme something from Dr Cindy's Box.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Rule for rohan: everyone in your story is standing on one leg, no-one thinks this is unusual in any way

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:



sebmojo posted:

Rule for rohan: everyone in your story is standing on one leg, no-one thinks this is unusual in any way

Sailor Viy posted:

The Orchard Heist

a friendly penguin posted:

A Touch of Death

the fruit of temptation
500 words

Easier, always, to destroy than to create.

Creation takes intent, effort, and discipline. Real creation, that is; not just picking the low-hanging fruit that is the liminal space of potentialities surrounding extant realities. Which is to say, it’s complete bullshit that Yehova gets all the credit for his universe, which is just a knock-off of your own seminal masterwork. All he did was file off the serial numbers for your creation myth — he didn’t even change the fruit of temptation! And now he’s the golden child, adored by all; and you’re working the orchards, grifting and grafting, forever on the cusp of creation.

Destruction, though, is simple. Simple enough to appear accidental, most of the time.

(Wo)man stands beside you, balancing laptop on their right leg, tucked up against their hip. Beside them, Wo(man) mirrors the pose, hands folded on knee, waiting.

‘Physiologically, we’re not dissimilar,’ (Wo)man says, as they review research materials Wo(man) had retrieved during a recent trip through the roots—currently, a recording of a yoga class which quickly turns pornographic. ‘Well—genitalia may prove problematic, if it comes to that.’

‘It won’t come to that,’ you say. ‘This isn’t a pleasure trip.’

‘Suppose we need to infiltrate across generations—’

‘It won’t come to that,’ you repeat. ‘You won’t even need an overnight bag.’

Wo(man) pipes up then, looking over at you. ‘Suppose we need to seduce a dignitary, purely out of dedication to the objective—’

You squeeze the bridge of your nose, closing your eyes tight. ‘That—won’t—be necessary,’ you say, through gritted teeth. ‘Success won’t depend upon seduction.’

You hear (Wo)man start to offer another scenario, and open your eyes to glare at them before continuing: ‘Or instances where confrontations must be resolved through sexual prowess, or distraction via exhibitionist intercourse, or tribal initiation involving tantric rites. We’ve been over this. The mission is in no way contingent on the appearance, performance, or presence of genitalia.’

(Wo)man frowns, and returns their gaze to the research materials. ‘You say that,’ they murmur, ‘yet their cultural artefacts place great significance upon fornication, and their genitalia has inspired everything from art to architecture.’

‘It just feels unlikely it won’t come up,’ Wo(man) adds. ‘Uh, so to speak.’

You tighten your grip around your ankle, counting to ten, as you’ve been told. When you slowly exhale at the end of the count, Wo(man) and (Wo)man are looking across at you expectantly.

‘Fine,’ you say. ‘If, for some—incredibly convoluted—reason, you require genitalia for anything resembling their antiquated concept of copulation, you may use a Prayer. I’ll let Sandra know to expect your request.’

You try to ignore the satisfied smile Wo(man) shares with (Wo)man.

‘Now,’ you say, looking out of your garden and onto the precipice of his universe, ‘unless there was anything else?’

(Wo)man shakes their head, and together with Wo(man) hops over to the edge, and into the swirling vortex.

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

Sitting Here posted:

Written by Crabrock.

WEEK 500DRED Prologue
500 words

Thranguy posted:

Into the Vowels of Hell
You pushed a button. The wrong button. Then you ran for the wrong drat toilet and fell into this wonderful rift. When you come out, will you be sane, Dave? What will you do then?

Future Flushed Away
495 words

“We’re impressed with your research, Dr. Cindy. There’s quite literally no limit to what you could discover in alternate universes.”

“So, does that mean you’re giving me…”

“All existence is a swirl down the same drain, its porcelain sheen so slick none can grab hold.”

“Yes, the grant is yours for certain. Come over right away, we’ll get the paperwork finalized, make it official.”

“A turd is a turd. To deny this is to spit in the face of truth.”

“Oh my goodness, that’s so exciting, Dr. Booth! Hold on just a second. Dave!” Dr. Cindy jerked her head away from the phone, covering the receiver. “I know you’re having a moment, but this is not a great time.”

Dave stared back at her, eyes glazed over. “Time is irrelevant. No man can decide when the runs come for him, they come when they come.”

Rolling her eyes, Dr. Cindy lifted the phone to her ear, but the line had gone dead. “poo poo!”

Dave smiled for the first time since she’d found him wriggling out of the men’s room stall, soaked to the skin. “Indeed.” Then something shifted in his face, and his eyes darkened. “Doctor, I… I’ve seen things no mortal man should have to comprehend. I need help. My head feels like an outhouse that’s bursting at the seams with-”

“Don’t follow those thoughts. Try to block them all out.”

“I can’t. Nothing can stop them now. Please…”

Dave curled up on the floor and shivered. Dr. Cindy let out a sigh. Poor guy. But what could she do? There was a slim chance, she supposed, of creating an alternate timeline where he’d never been sucked into a toilet-themed madness dimension, allowing Dave to live once again as an average dope. Then again, that new dimension was one where she might not have received her grant. And Dave had, after all, shoved the apple into the chaos generator in the first place. Why should I give up my life’s work for the sake of some oaf? she thought.

Though she spent a considerable amount of time thinking of less costly ways to fix Dave’s brain, Dr. Cindy eventually gave into her nagging conscience and rummaged around in her box for a smooth, shimmering labradorite stone. She wiped the residual apple mush from the chaos generator’s compartment, slipped the stone in, and pressed the button.

A rainbow of colors exploded from the end of the machine, tendrils of light reaching out and wrapping around all of reality. Dr. Cindy felt the energy coursing through her, rejiggering the atoms in her body and making her feel for a brief and glorious moment like a god.

And then, too quickly, it was over, and Dr. Cindy reassembled in a darkened laboratory that looked much like her own - similar but not quite the same. She looked down at Dave, who lay on the floor sleeping soundly.

Enjoy your brain, dummy. This universe better be friendly to academics.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: :siren: This is the first story in the story chain. Who will write the first sequel? What crazy branching timelines will you drag the judges through??? :siren: :siren: :siren:

Written by Crabrock.

WEEK 500DRED Prologue
500 words

Sitting Here posted:

Dave reaches into Dr. Cindy's box and hands you...An old, worn-out locket with something stuck inside


I Love My Robot Son
488 words

Half of Dave finished when the light dimmed and there was a different face on the left side of Dave’s head – where there once was an eye, there was now a shining green scaly shimmer, and his mouth terminated halfway across his face in a sharp scar.

He coughed and expelled a volley of apple seeds from the corner of his mouth. I was going to check on him, but I needed that call, and so, with an apologetic shrug, I picked it up.

“Hello?”

“Miss Cindy. It is a privilege and a pleasure to hear your voice.”

Andrew’s voice had changed, grown more natural and acclimated to the local accent, but the tinny quality was still there. So too was that husky note of admiration that Dr. Cindy had programmed in, something that was meant to sound authentic and compassionate but sounded wrong coming from a robot. He had decided, years ago, that he was grown, and would no longer be living in the lab, and when Dr. Cindy had refused to let him leave, he’d snuck out in the middle of the night. He’d left an awfully polite note, though.

“Andrew, thank God, I thought you weren’t going to call and I need you more than ever. Do you still have the locket I gave you years ago?”

Dave approached her and gesticulated wildly to his ear, where a branch of leaves was extending. Dr. Cindy mussed his hair and held up a finger. One minute, she mouthed. Dave responded by pulling a worm from his nose.

“Yes, Miss Cindy, I’ve kept everything you ever gave me.”

“That’s beautiful, dear. Are you able to get that open and read the paper inside?”

“It’s wrong to open something that belongs to someone else.”

Dave sprayed another smattering of seeds over the floor, and Dr. Cindy looked down to see the seeds growing tiny mobile root-wrapped feet, puttering about the machinery, growing plumper before her eyes.

“It’s okay, darling, it’s yours now.” She left out the fact that he’d stolen the wallet in the first place. “There’s some important information in there.”

“You must be talking about the override codes.”

“Yes! Yes, that is exactly what I’m talking about. Need to override the machine. There was a bit of an ‘oops’ moment.”

Andrew was quiet. The largest seeds were now the size of apples, but baby-sized Not Dave heads burst through the seed shell, half-mouth, ear-branch, and all.

“Was I an ‘oops’ moment?” he asked quietly. Dr. Cindy’s nails dug into her palms at the ingratiating tone of his voice.

“I love you, Andrew. You know that. What are the codes?”

There was a long silence on the line, cut through by a bunch of tiny apple babies gnawing on god-knows-what.

“I swallowed the locket without reading the codes, Miss Cindy. It just felt right. I’m so very sorry.”

My Shark Waifuu
Dec 9, 2012



derp posted:

"Yes, yes! Of course! Kill Tunderdome! It's genius!" said Spaceman Jeff. "Why did I never think of it!?"

Spacewoman Kim was zipping through the vast gulfs between stars, rocking out to her favorite Glorblaxian* screech-rock album, when spacetime itself ripped apart. She brought her ship to a halt, staring agape at the kaleidoscopic madness that now divided her universe. Garbled reactions like “Why? How? AHHH!” cycled through her mind until it landed on a coherent thought: “poo poo, my home planet is on the other side.”

She sat for a few more moments processing this, the shrieking of Gorblaxians echoing through the cockpit, when another spaceship blasted past, seemingly out of the rift. It came so close to hers that it left a scorched streak across her viewport. First the universe splitting apart, now this? She’d just gotten it cleaned! Now Kim was angry.

Punching her dashboard, she opened a close-range communication line. “Hey dickface, space not big enough for you?” she yelled into the microphone. The other ship didn’t acknowledge. Rude! Kim set off in pursuit, shouting invectives into the open comm line. She knew neither her mom nor her therapist would approve of her actions, but she had to blame someone for the nightmarish abyss of color currently dividing her universe, and this bad pilot was as good a target as any.

The other ship didn’t even slow down until Kim flew straight overhead, inverted so that she could flip them off. The two men inside looked up in mild surprise, then finally connected to the comm line.

“Greetings, ma’am. We’re the Spaceman Duo from–”

“I don’t give a gently caress. Did you do that?” Kim pointed to the rift.

“Oh, that? Yes,” said the one with “Jim” embroidered on his jumpsuit. “Tell me, did it kill Thunderdome?”

Kim remembered her training and took some deep, calming breaths. “I don’t know, what the hell is Thunderdome?”

“It’s a writing competition that fuels our eternal torment. The mayor of Glorbtown said it could be found in this universe.”

“Never heard of it, do I look like a nerd to you?”

“Ah. Well, what about the planet of Ee-ar-th?” Spaceman Jim stretched out the pronunciation like he’d only ever seen the word written down.

“That’s my home planet, currently sitting on the other side of that abomination.”

“Oh cripey,” said the other Spaceman. “That is a problem.”

“Yes, it’s your problem,” Kim growled. “You’re gonna find a way to get over there and you’re gonna take me with you. What you do to the Thundersphere or whatever when we get to Earth is your business.”

“You have a deal, Spacegal …?”

“That’s Spacewoman Kim to you,” she said. “Let’s go.” Flipping her ship around, she pointed the nose at the mawing riot of color standing between her and her planet, then hit the thrusters.

*In this universe, Gorblaxians evolved to live in the same shell-like structures but communicate not through a single mind, but by shouting really loudly at each other.

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.




Sitting Here posted:

:siren: :siren: This is the first story in the story chain.

Sitting Here posted:

Dave reaches into Dr. Cindy's box and hands you...a diamond made from the cremated ashes of some sort of pirate (Dave is pretty sure it's some sort of pirate)

Avast; Alas 500 words

Dr Cindy picked up the receiver. “Hello?” The only answer was a face full of salty water.

“Batten the mizzens,” said Dave, “and swab the portholes.”

The lab had disappeared, and the two of them were on some kind of boat. The kind that, if you called it a boat instead of a ship, someone would probably get indignant at you and start explaining about the significance of the number of masts it had or something like that. “I don’t know what that means,” she said.

Dave shrugged. “Sounded nautical.” He held up the RealitySmasher500, and put it in a nearby barrel. “I’ll just stash this here for now. Let’s explore this boat. We can start with that part of the boat over there which is on fire.”

The two of them walked over to the burning part of the boat, taking extremely scientific notes as they went. A woman with a triangular hat on her head was standing, hands on hips, looking at the fire. “Hi there!” said Dr Cindy. “I’m Dr Cindy, and this is my assistant Dave. Tell me, is the deck fire a usual part of this boat’s operations?”

“Hmmm?” she said. “Hi, I’m Captain Stacy. No, fires are pretty bad for ship decks.”

“Ah,” said Dave. “Should we perhaps put it out?”

“Nah,” said Captain Stacy. “Not my boat. I’m just here to plunder booty.”

“Ah, likewise!” said Dr Cindy. “In a manner of speaking. Perhaps we might collaborate.”

“Sure thing,” said Captain Stacy. “The Captain’s quarters ought to have the nicest stuff, they’re just…” she looked around… “oh. On the other side of the fire.”

“Never fear!” said Dave. He climbed quickly up the rope ladder attached to the nearest mast, unwound and grabbed hold of a rope, then jumped swashbucklingly through the air. The rope came to a stop directly above the fire, where he dangled helplessly.

“Hmmm, I think I see what you were trying with that,” said Dr Cindy.

“I was meant to crash through the window to the Captain’s Quarters,” he said.

“Oh, that would’ve looked very dashing,” said Captain Stacy. “I would’ve swooned instantly. What a shame.”

A huge wave tipped the ship on end, sending barrels rolling their way, and Dave’s rope towards the Captain’s Quarters. “Grab that barrel!” said Dr Cindy. She and Captain Stacy turned and stopped the barrel as Dave let go and crashed through the windows to the Captain’s Quarters. Then the ship hit a rocky outcrop and started to sink.

~

“I managed to crash through the window,” said Dave, “you must’ve seen it!”

The three of them had, against all odds, found one of the ship’s lifeboats, and managed to get the barrel aboard.

“Sorry,” said Captain Stacy. “Completely missed it, what with the barrel and the sinking. The moment was gone, in any case. Shame, I definitely would’ve asked you to take me passionately. Alas.”

Dr Cindy opened the barrel. The RealitySmasher500 was intact; they just needed a gem.

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Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give

sebmojo posted:

Spaceman Jim versus the Plague Beasts of Venus
295 words

Spaceman Jim hit the wall hard and spun round, panther-like, his Atomo-Ray humming in his gauntleted fist. Towering above him was the Slovg'nar - a Martian "ostrich" of hideous dimension! Jim's eyes narrowed - he would only have one shot, and he'd have to make it count!

Just then the phone rang, bring, bring. Eyes narrowed, he answered the phone with a subvocal command. "Speak," he rasped.

"Hello?"

Jim was following the Slovg'nar's hypnotically undulating head cluster with the glowing tip of his lazer gun. Typically the Martian "ostrich", which took 78 Mars years to grow to full size in its home territory of the Syrtis Major basin and outlying regions, utilised the motion of its head to 'hypnotise' its prey, making them easy prey for its gnashing mandibles, Jim remembered. "Yes? Who is this?"

There was a crackle at the other end of the phone, as though the call was coming from somewhere both unthinkably ... distant... and also with bad radio reception. "You called me!"

The beast lunged, seeing its efforts were to no avail! Jim darted sideways, bringing the heavy butt of his plasmer pistol around and hitting the "ostrich" - 'clonk' - on the side of its 'head'! "I certainly did not. How did you get this number," he snarled.

"Are you a buyer? Do you want a jewel?"

Distantly Jim could hear the ecstatic roar of the vast crowd of Jovian slug-things that were watching his every move in this, the climactic fight of the Galactic Hippodrome. He put the vibrating tip of his heat blaster to the neck of the "ostrich", then jumped back as it instantly caught fire. "I do not."

"Well, I'm sorry for wasting your time, then," said the voice.

"Quite alright," said Jim. "Have a nice day."

"Thanks, you too."

The Electric Butcher Dances All Night
494 words

When the arena cleaners wheeled in the carcass of the Slovg'nar, the Electric Butcher put on a clean apron, turned up his music feed, and began to hum along in a happy monotone. Butchering the legally-edible losers of the Galactic Hippodrome always kept his skills and his hand-blades sharp, but this was a special treat. The Slovg'nar was a succulent game bird, hunted nearly to extinction

(No, too grim. Let's switch that up.)

...a succulent game bird, more feisty and delicious when wild-caught, and as interesting to disassemble as it might have been to taste. The Electric Butcher extended his hand-blades and set to work. bouncing to the rhythm of pounding Saturnian industrio-dance.

The phone rang halfway through the severing of a knee joint, but the Electric Butcher never missed a beat. The ringtone was analog and faintly unpleasant, as if they'd actually put a silly metal bell in the thing -- maybe they had, given how retro it was, with its discolored white plastic. It was impossibly antique

(too much phone exposition, get on with it)

The Butcher retracted one hand's worth of blades and answered the phone. "Hippodrome Butchery, Butcher speaking!"

"I need you to send the Slovg'nar neck to the Proving Grounds. Put your pyrite inside. The fate of this galaxy and others hinges on it." There was a click, which the Butcher knew meant the call had disconnected, in this terrible old thing's idiom.

The Electric Butcher was not built for this sort of thing, but he had the circuitry to take in the command. Slovg'nar neck was hardly a valued cut, especially not charred as this one was... and his pyrite? Well, that was sentimental -- a gift from his wife, back when they'd been courting and he'd only been an Electric Apprentice -- but when had he last looked at it? Sometimes, you had to let go of sentimental things; even an old service droid like him knew that. Sometimes you had to trust

(Laying it on too thick? Sometimes you have to, babe. Sometimes your little guys need that little bit of a push, to get your theme out on the page, so here goes:)

Sometimes you had to trust the order of things, the fundamental rhythm of the universe. You had to trust in resolution, and it would come. The Electric Butcher knew this well, after a long life of struggles rewarded, mysteries understood.

(not on the page, but we must imagine the Electric Butcher happy, right? Keep it light.)

The Electric Butcher severed the seared, skinned neck of the Slovg'nar, then withdrew the pyrite from his tool drawer. He gave the chunk of pseudo-gold one last squeeze, for good luck, and stuffed it wrist-deep into the bloody trachea. A wrap with butcher paper, a call to a courier drone, and it would be off. With luck, the galaxy might yet be saved.

(He doesn't know. Doesn't suspect. Let's hope it stays that way.)

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