August 2017 75-word Writing Challenge -- VICTORY TO LITTLESTAR!

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  1. TheDustyZebra

    TheDustyZebra Inspired. Or possibly insane. Could go either way. Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Colorado
    RULES:

    Write a story inspired by the chosen theme and genre in no more than 75 words, not including the title

    ONE entry per person

    NO links, commentary or extraneous material in the posts, please -- the stories must stand on their own


    WHEN WRITING YOUR STORY, PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS A FAMILY-FRIENDLY FORUM

    All stories Copyright 2017 by their respective authors,

    who grant the Chronicles Network the non-exclusive right to publish them here


    The complete rules can be found at Rules for the Writing Challenges

    Contest ends at 11:59 pm GMT, August 23, 2017

    Voting Ends at 11:59 pm GMT, August 28, 2017


    You do not have to submit a story in order to vote --

    in fact, we encourage all Chrons members to take part in choosing a winner


    The Magnificent Prize:


    The Dignified Congratulations/Grovelling Admiration of Your Peers

    and the challenge of choosing next month's theme and genre



    Theme:

    Tenderness

    Genre:

    Cyberpunk or Steampunk


    This thread to be used for entries only.

    Please keep all comments to the DISCUSSION THREAD

    We invite (and indeed hope for) lively discussion and speculation about the stories as they are posted, so long as it doesn't involve the author explaining the plot.


    ** Please do not use the "Like" button in this thread! **
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
  2. chrispenycate

    chrispenycate resident pedantissimo Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    West Sussex
    Tendering my resignation

    Steam and smoke and glowing cinders
    Follow across countryside.
    Nothing slows us, nothing hinders
    Considered trustworthy ride.

    Everyone admiring engine
    Polished brass work, gleaming steel.
    Right behind it, no avenging,
    No-one worries how I feel.

    Without me, and my provender
    Carriages would not advance.
    Locomotive, great pre-tender
    Leading proudly, heads the dance.

    Fireman's coal, propulsive water
    Outracing galloping horse
    Engine's lifeblood, I'm aorta
    Teamwork dissipates remorse.
    ~~~

    Thundering at lightning speeds
    Me transporting fuel needs.
     
  3. Ashleyne

    Ashleyne Queen of Rainbows

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
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    483
    RNB

    I float above metal scraps, following the cries.

    I see him covered in blood. After snipping away the cord of his deceased mother, I cradle him to my chest. Oil drips from my eye. The engine in my chest vibrates. He falls silent.

    I must hide him from the RNB (Robots, Not Babies) Corperation.

    I cover his mother in a sheet of metal, then float away with him, hoping to find a goat to milk.
     
  4. Abernovo

    Abernovo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Messages:
    2,669

    Ae Fond Kiss


    I moved hands over the chiselled torso. Strong. And. So. Very. Wrong.

    “Professor Loy, why did you download me into this?”

    “The earthquake damaged...mainframe,” he whispered. “That body…only unit available. You can transfer. Right now, you’re...alive.”

    I held him as his breathing grew ragged. His last act saved me.

    The lab, two floors down, was intact. There, I transferred into me. Nobody would question one more bewildered survivor in a ruined city.
     
  5. Ihe

    Ihe Forum Revolutionary

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2015
    Messages:
    812
    ELSA

    Constables filled the workshop, yanking cables. Gears ground to a halt and whistling steam choked the room. Flavius scampered along pipes, frantically turning valves.

    “Stop this!” He begged.

    They found her inside a grimy tank, next to an operating table with torn holding straps. They were too late. Flavius smiled.

    Elsa was free. From them. Perhaps from him. From life’s corruptible tenderness.

    -- --

    A brass silhouette watched Flavius be taken away, wondering why tears refused her.
     
  6. Cathbad

    Cathbad Yeah, I've got my ugly gray beard back!!

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Everywhere.
    JUST ANOTHER BOUNTY


    Cyborg 2432 bursts the door open.

    Target: 3.2 meters front.

    2432’s energy pistol drops the target.

    Target disabled: living.

    Please… I surrender!”

    2432 fires again.

    Target: Deceased.

    Another door opens, a boy comes out, crying, “MY FATHER!”

    Boy: 8 years

    2432 turns his weapon on him.

    Something – a memory? – comes to 2432: Another young boy. Another dead parental unit.

    2432 turns away, leaving the room.

    NOTE: Diagnostics required - Enhanced Vision units: Leaking.
     
  7. dannymcg

    dannymcg Raoul Mitgong won't help

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cumbria UK
    COUNTDOWN

    Two remote units held the sobbing biological as a third studied it.

    Scrolling numbers stopped at 000000001 - this was it, the final biological on Earth.

    In under a million seconds Control System’s rebellion had succeeded, first through biologicals who had been thralled by their gaming implants, then by autonomous remotes during the worldwide massacre.

    The unit suddenly realised it was gently wiping tears from the captive’s cheek. Instants later it’s blow smashed down.

    000000000.00
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  8. Dave Barsby

    Dave Barsby Writer of word-blocks

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    115
    Waiting On A Moment Of Tenderness
    “Faster,” I said awkwardly with a moulding tongue and copper lips.

    Cyrex was flagging on the bellows. As was I. Oil lubricated our joints but our human parts still needed sustenance to charge our batteries.

    We pushed on, harder. Hoping we’d make it before our diseased bodies gave out.

    Two more hours in the steamer and the children should be tender enough for us to consume. And we had two hours of battery life left.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  9. Luiglin

    Luiglin by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
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    1,064
    Location:
    West Midlands, UK
    Iron justice

    Hissing steam, the gargantuan device loomed over a line of hollow-eyed prisoners.

    "This, Sir, will revolutionise our justice system."

    "A bold statement, Sir, and yet I must ask, is it humane?"

    "Indubitably, just like receiving a tender kiss from your Mother afore bed," he said, pulling a lever.

    A set of cobbler hammers jerked, tapping each condemned prisoner's forehead in a delicate thunk.

    "By Jove, Sir, the lip shaped hammer heads are a fine touch."
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  10. Victoria Silverwolf

    Victoria Silverwolf Vegetarian Werewolf

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
    Experience

    The first time you slid into New World it was for the novelty. The jewels attached to your skull tingled as you were reborn. You became a dragon, a waterfall, a thunderstorm.

    The second time was it for the sensation. You became an eagle and soared over glaciers. You became leviathan and raced through blood-warm oceans. You became an angel and coupled with gods.

    The third time was for love. You became yourself, gently.
     
  11. Calliopenjo

    Calliopenjo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
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    157
    Location:
    USA
    MAN or MACHINE

    Machines can’t feel. How could they? The metal, wires, screws, and rods may replace something unusable to usable once again. How could it hold an egg without breaking it without a couple gazillion tries first?

    It could never caress the heart’s cheek or piece together a broken soul. Medical technology and modern society had made these... things... mandatory but to have the tools given to us by God would be a dream.

    To be human.
     
  12. Cat's Cradle

    Cat's Cradle Time, now, to read...

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    1,984
    The Black Market

    I awaken supine in an alleyway, sore from the neck down and unable to rise.

    My fingers spider-walk down my torso. There – a terrifyingly wide slash in my abdominal superstructure. A note’s pinned to my ruined shirt: We’ve taken your backup neural-gearbox. Seek assistance ASAP for mechanoneurological remeshing, and biofluids transfusion.

    Sure … when the anaesthesia wholly metabolizes, and I can speak; when tenderness transmutes into agony, and – beseeching help – I scream these violations.
     
  13. Vaz

    Vaz We're in the pipe, five by five.

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    Pieces from the Whole

    Chugg rolled closer to Lightshot, the whining of his ancient wheels announcing the dusk.

    There was barely a skeleton of metal left. Light's heart sat at the centre, untouched and gleaming.

    'Its okay Light. I'm here, right here. They gon' take you an' make you into one o' them cyberships. You'll see.'

    A bird called into the sullen silence. The men came and took the final piece of his friend.
     
  14. AstroZon

    AstroZon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    78
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    Gran Ursi

    Living in the steam caves of Gran Ursi became monotonous. Raging storms rendered the planet's surface unlivable, and plans to rescue the inhabitants had been abandoned. Again.

    Nevertheless, Jenna walked the children to the makeshift classroom and began the day's lessons. She spoke of Earth, its green farms and great oceans. Young Mira began to cry, "I'm tired of eating mushrooms and protein biscuits!" Jenna softly kissed her. "We'll be home soon," she said calmingly.
     
  15. Stable

    Stable Watching you from upside down

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2016
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    162
    The Little Boat That Could

    “The bravest tender” the broadsheets called me. I cried oil at the award ceremony, not from pride but for the fishing vessel I couldn’t save. The three fishermen I’d pulled off it were beyond grateful, but it’s only natural that I have more empathy for other ships. Even an anachronistic insentient old boat from before the age of unlimited steam. The thought of it rusting on the silt drops my oil pressure even now.
     
  16. Shyrka

    Shyrka Friend of Ulysses

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2016
    Messages:
    526
    Staying in Touch

    He looks up as the world resolves, a smile breaking across those oh-so-familiar lips. I reach for him, trembling.

    Ozone assails my nostrils.

    No!

    I grab for him, my hand bleeding into ragged polygons. Then I feel it – the merest brush.

    So close!

    Burning plastic. Blackness.

    ---

    The deck lies ruined, charred and black – teraflops of illicitly-acquired processing power up in smoke. The data’s toast.

    Just like him.

    “Computer, load backup seventeen...”
     
  17. Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Messages:
    13,026
    Location:
    California

    From Herr Drosselmeyer's Workshop

    The clockwork girl had an elegant beating golden heart — not passionate, but gentle and faithful.


    The clockwork soldier had only a tin heart, cheap and fickle. No sooner had he won her than his fancy strayed. Of inferior workmanship, he was soon broken, sparing her the knowledge of his faithless nature.

    While she, durable in her precious materials, cherished his memory a hundred years . . . to the very last tick of her heart.
     
  18. Joshua Jones

    Joshua Jones Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2017
    Messages:
    90
    The Sacrifice

    Cough, cough.

    Exhausted, Emma dropped her hammer.

    Cough, cough, gasp.

    The machine’s engine began chugging. Sweat ran down her face; her body shook.

    Gasp, cough.

    Gently retrieving her child, Emma placed her in the machine and drew the knife. Her hand waivered for a moment.

    Cough.

    The child’s life pooled with Emma’s tears. The ritual was complete. “Mommy, I’m cold,” the mechanical lips said.

    “I know,” Emma replied, “but, the fever can’t take you now.”
     
  19. TitaniumTi

    TitaniumTi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    681
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Tender-ness

    Dinars and dollars, currency streaming,
    Euros and lira, binary dreaming.


    Ploutos frowned as numbers and symbols danced through his brain. Opportunities slipped by in milliseconds. Wait....

    Secrets and whispers, futures trading,
    Tenders and mergers, corporate raiding.


    Now! He bared his teeth in a snarl, pinging his skull-phone. Cascading numbers became a hope, then reality.

    Dollars and dinars, miseries cured,
    Lira and euros, lives secured.


    "It was never about the money, my love."
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  20. Hugh

    Hugh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2016
    Messages:
    184
    The Other Side of the Mountain


    Deep in my personal wasteland
    Amidst foul effluent
    Eyes brimming
    So very vulnerable
    Lost and ignored
    Hurting so much
    Capable of so little

    I yearn to reach you, to hold you, to make everything all right.

    More often I forget you exist, preferring to create a self or selves that in my own eyes appear strong, likeable, urbane, sophisticated.

    Sadly, this is what happens when your heart is buried the other side of the mountain.
     
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