March 2018 -- 75 Word Story Challenge -- VICTORY TO THEDUSTYZEBRA!

Not open for further replies.

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Nov 10, 2008
nearly the New Forest

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


All stories Copyright 2018 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, 23 March 2018

Voting ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 28 March 2018

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


Return to Earth



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, as long as it doesn't involve the author explaining the plot

** Please do not use the "Like" button in this thread! **

The great ship eased down onto the fields of Windsor Castle, pistons screeching, clouds billowing. At its prow stood the greatest warriors of two worlds, legendary Umslopogaas and the awesome Thark, Tars Tarkas, proudly bearing tidings that the Pax Britannica had been extended to the Martian Colonies.

Quartermain and I could barely restrain a tear as the band struck up and blessed Queen Gagool and her consort, loyal John Brown, came out to meet us.
The Legacy
In the aftermath of battle, the survivors fled the scorched worlds. Moe, was the last one raising sails of his centuries old space ship.

"Where to captain, the helmsman asked?"

"Earth. We're going home."

"A myth, captain."

Moe turned to the massive golden compass dominating the bridge. He pulled an ornament and the compass started to swirl. The needle stopped on a blue dot then went back to current ship heading.

"Not anymore."
Roll Up, Roll Up

“Roll up, roll up!”

The circus ringleader gestured at the dirty bronze star ship behind her.

“For the low price of two silvers, experience a breathtaking reenactment of humanity’s desperate return to earth! Charge authentic steam powered cannons, cower before the invader's might, cry when noble Captain Pullman sacrifices himself and cheer at humanity's final victory!”

The crowd surged forward, bringing a smile to the ringleader's face.

“Roll up, roll up!”
Prior to the Warranty Claim

“Dig eight by four by six then cover
this casket of her murdered lover.”

Gasps escaped the black-clad crowd. Then those outraged crows cawed furiously at the social impropriety spoken by the mechaniman gravedigger. It shoveled on.
The industrialist Chandler screamed at his wife at her non-secret openly acknowledged, while the funeral director struggled to disengage the malfunctioning digger’s voice box.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust –
he returns to earth betrayed by lust.”
Last edited:
The Conversion of Mech-organic Worms

Vacuum tube segments squirmed, falling from the atmosphere. Aeons passed in silence as their space blimp searched for a home—but now, fresh dirt called them.

The translucent tubes wriggled past layers of smog, oxygen and hit soft, welcoming soil. Their snouts collided as they tunneled, twisting, convulsing, a pile-up of cylinders.

Soon, crystal pinnacles, as sharp as blades, would shoot from the earth. Soon, they would sprout courts, markets, cafes—and towers of worship.
Last edited:
Final Battle

"You were a superhero, during the Steam Punk Era. That's, awesome, Grandpa."

"Without this raincoat...I'm..."



"Cool, outfit."

"Thanks. I brought you here to see me confront, Professor Aquarius. He created a flying, steaming War Machine, long ago. However, unbeknownst to him, I reset his controls..."

"...causing him to return decades later."

"Exactly. He'll be arriving.............." (ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS- CRASH!!!) "Now." (KABOOM!!!) "Oh, my."

"You, won. Ice cream?"


"Tell me about your adventures."

The First Automaton on the Earth

Vapour puffed from his vent merging with the clouds through which he was falling. Clicking gears, Lionel adjusted the cavorite blinds to slow his descent.

The world opened up below, a glorious banquet of golden fields and emerald woods. Crystal eyes took it all in and cogs whirred to store the view.

He touched down, metal feet sinking into the ground. Lionel opened the urn, scattering the ashes to the earth, returning Mr. Cavor home.

His eyes sneaked closed.

He prised them open; a distant shadow shrunk. If he slept even for a second, that shadow would eviscerate him.

Sweat tickled his chest.

Brightness trounced. Metal clanged open.

Flem flew from his coughs.

“Sorry it took so long”, said Professor Bradley, steam covering his study. “The door wouldn't open. Did it w-”

He grabbed Bradley’s throat, yelling, “It was supposed to give me vivid dreams, not vivid nightmares.”
Gravity Calls

From the crowds cheers on lift off to their screams as my life flashed before my eyes on a rapid and uncontrolled descent.

What a disaster! Why oh why did I think a steam powered jetpack was such a fabulous idea?

The planning had gone to perfection. The jetpack had worked beautifully with the dummy aboard.

Take off was perfect, I'd touched the clouds, so why had the steam power just stopped?

Going Home

I climbed the Gabardine ready to go home. I inputted the coordinates into the computer and sat down by the window. The Black Hawks improved their light thrower to puncture any airship if they found out I left them for the Magpies.

I kept watch out the window as we floated in the air. If only they didn’t have the all-seeing eye. Then it would be a peaceful trip to see Mother.
Kingdom's Fall

Sir Ellsworthy stood upon the torn iron hull of the war dirigible; steam and smoke swirled in huge plumes. Behind, his daughter wailed in fear. Towards them stalked the assassin, cloak billowing in the rushing wind.
Ellsworthy held, drawing the family blade.
"Come at me coward, I have honour and loyalty on my side, your masters shall not win this war!"
Stabbing and slashing, they fought as the dirigible, aflame, crashed groundward.
Last edited:
Pretty When You Smile

Augustinia, abducted by airship Citadel 10 years prior, craved freedom. Yet, she followed pattern of countless women and smiled to survive. She grinned as they desecrated her; converting her into a clockwork soldier to slave in the boiler room, then later, pilot the smaller landing blimp

Smiling, she descended the commandeered landing blimp homeword as the Citadel's boiler exploded, dropping the massive airship earthward. Training Augustina as a demolition expert would prove their last mistake.
Judicial Enquiry into the Second Venusian Campaign (Aborted). Admiral Sir Archibald Chastain Commanding.

“Admiral, early reports indicated sweeping successes and that the Venusians were crumbling before our mighty Dreadnoughts. Yet here you are; back on Earth six months later with your tail between your legs. How do you answer the accusation of incompetence?”

“Against my advice two collier tender ships were sacrificed for an additional Dreadnought. For the record, your suggestion Madam Prime Minister."

“How could this have caused such failure?”

“Our attack ran out of steam. Literally.”
Steam Punked

“That’s a wrap!” Admiral Kovan called out. The steam camera vented smoke and shut down.

Kovan was hugely satisfied. It was amazing that the supposed all seeing eye of the camera could tell such a preposterous lie. But he had seen the first of the galleys and the story would be believed. He could imagine the boost in national pride.

Satisfied with the moon sequence, Kovan ordered: “Set up the return to earth scene.”
Population Problem

Incomparable's engines howled as she ground her way into Earth's crust.

"Two leagues," the pilot shouted.

"A new depth record," Lord Pleviner remarked.

Nelly Chambers, reporter from the New York Edisonian, gripped her electropad. "Do you really think it's hollow?"

"Indubitably," the silver-haired adventurer replied. "Soon we will reach a new home for the planet's teeming millions."

Incomparable came to a sudden halt. The pilot activated the viewport. Countless eyes looked back at him.
The Grand Reception

Steam clouds billowed around the ship as it dropped onto the pad. Its precise landing astounded the crowd gathered to witness the historic event, the return of the first steam powered airship to circle the world.

Richard Musk waited anxiously behind ropes with his team. After the platform was wheeled into place, he hurried up the steps to the exit hatch.

The hatch lifted slowly. The pilot clanked out and promptly burst into pieces.
The Mission of the S.S. Sustained Hope

Scientists on New Eden discover signs of mechanical activity on Old Earth. Unmanned ship sent to investigate. Citizens are excited to learn about survivors.


Landed outside Paris.

Area filled with working mechanical contraptions. Cannot discern their functions. Further research required.


98% of the dry surface of Earth covered with mechanical contraptions. Mechanisms are building themselves.

Biological life no longer exists on Earth. Mechanical life unsustainable: Shutdown inevitable.
Mediterranean Light

I ease the boat under the olive trees in the glade in Malta. The light is glorious. The academy work of correcting galactic timelines takes its toll. I can never go back to Edwardian England without this break.

I head down to Valetta for a cheese pasty by the harbour. The dust from the pathway coats my boots. The town’s skyline comes into view as I descend the hill and I feel grounded.
Glasshouse in the sky
I didn't hear the massive cannon launch me, being but a seed
Ejected into space-sealed orbital habitat
Mighty wrought iron construction, glittering with diamond panes.
Soil and water, sunshine, all vegetables' existence might need
Succulent berries harvested, nobles nourished by spaceplanes.

And now I'm old, my fruiting done, as biomass my final worth
Tendrils shredded, compacted, compost.
But nothing wasted, nothing here is lost
Adieu warm sunlight's soft caress, I'm recycled back to earth.
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads