SSXI

TheDustyZebra

Aspiring notaphilist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2009
Messages
8,635
Location
Colorado
#42
Ok, since it's now slightly more than two months after the deadline, it's probably about time to get this show on the road. In recompense for making you wait so long, here's a new twist: you get to guess before you receive the story that was written for you, so you don't even know (for certain) which one is yours. Evil laugh and rubbing of hands together. We are still waiting on one story, so I'll add it if it comes along. And yes, there are seven here, so there's one extra written.

Your choices are: sinister42, johnnyjet, Joshua Jones, Ashleyne, Victoria, chrispy and Dan.

1. The Sknard
“Hey, either of you guys seen a weird pink thing or a weird green thing around?” said someone. Paul couldn’t really make out the person’s features. He wasn’t sure if it was just because he was incredibly high, or because the person at the door seemed sort of pixelated, like an old video game.
“What?” was all that would come out of his mouth.
“Ah,” said the figure. “I smell why you’d be confused about this. May I come in?”
“Um…”
The figure pushed past Paul and entered the apartment.
“Who?” said the puddle of Jason on the couch.
“I’m Janglor the Hunter. I have come from very far away to investigate an infestation of extra-dimensional beings into your realm. Their primary function is to, well, to mess with people.”
Janglor scooped up some sknard goo from the coffee table. “Yes. So, did this one…yes, I see from your injuries that it must have. I’m assuming that since you’re not currently killing each other that a dranks intervened?”
“Yeah,” said Paul.
“You two need to come with me. The combination of sknard goo and dranks goo in your systems is deadly. It’s like matter and anti-matter.”
“Wait,” said Paul. “Are we going to explode?”
“In a manner of speaking. Come, there is little time.”

2. Up In Arms
He sat opposite her on an easy chair. She looked better in comfortable, colorful clothing than in her daily drab work clothes, somehow slimmer and curvier, less frumpy, more relaxed. Her hair was loosened, flowing around her face. I don't know. There was a difference.
But what really caught his attention (professionally that is) was the pile of mechanical arms stacked in front of her on a coffee table. And all of them looked much better than his own artificial arm, more realistic.
"What is it about all the arms?"
"We keep trying different designs to find the most functional model."
"And your missing design specs have your latest design?"
"Yes. And we didn't have a chance to construct it before the specs went missing."
"Who would you consider your closest friends among your lab team?"
"I have no close friends."
"Any you would consider potential enemies?"
"All of them."
"Hmm, that narrows it down."

3. Another Day at the Beach
She recoiled and fell back when she looked up; a clear layer, like glass or plastic was all that separated her from an absolutely colossal, titanic face, which either was staring intently at her or the markings. Upon closer inspection, the humanlike face didn't seem to be paying her any mind, but scanned across the rows like it was reading the markings. She also discovered that she could move the markings with a bit of effort, and they looking like English letters.

Against her better judgement, Veronica decided to try to get the massive creature's attention. Perhaps it could help her find a way out of this place. Unfortunately, jumping, waving, and shouting seemed to have no effect. So, s e started pulling markings out of plac in an effort to make a sign or distress ca l to the im osing visage. She started arranging [help! oUt?] them as best as she c uld to get the message across. nbelievably, the creature chuckled, nodded, and poin ed to a door shaped set of markings not too far away.

4. The Exchange Student
The flying forest wandering through the sky at random, rarely appearing in the same place twice until many years passed. Aeolin had never seen it, and the students were much too young to have ever witnessed its arrival. It would be lost to sight before nightfall. Perhaps they would never see it again.

No one knew the origin of this magical woodland. Some claimed a mighty wizard of ancient times, perhaps even a human, created it as a sign of power. Others said the gods ripped it out of the Earth and sent it aloft, so that all might know of their glory. Whatever the truth, no dragon who saw the flying forest ever forgot its wonder and mystery.

The morning sun painted the underside of the forest with golden light. Roots dangled through the floating soil. They swayed in the breeze. It was as if some vast, tentacled sea creature had taken to the heavens.

Word spread quickly through the school. Students and teachers emerged from the cavern, eager to experience a miracle that might never return during their lifetimes.

5. A Packaged Holiday
Jagged cliffs bordered a plain that wouldn't have been anything like so level and flat if the imperfections hadn't been filled in with what must be seabed ooze, from the fact that it sent back a softer echo than the rocks. We weren't sending out clicks to get these echoes back, and were freewheeling both the tow canisters and the Jupescoops, to be as stealthy as possible - not really sneaking, but… actually I suppose we were sneaking. It is a legitimate ruse of war, in the laughter-free way the humans fight it.

"Nothing to be learnt hanging here in the silence and the darkness. Let there be light!"

All the towing craft, and the Jupescoops, were equipped with spotlights far more powerful and covering far more surface than the suits' headlights. In an instant the cliffs took on form, and the coloured streaks recorded in other regions, the pillars of audio distortion became smoke plumes, fine silt from the seabed soaring toward the ice, nourishing and supplying warmth to a myriad of simple organisms that formed the foundation of the local food chain, turbulent through the calm. And everywhere but the vents from which these columns rose were millions upon millions of…

"Shrimpses!"

6. Reafforestation
But for now the eight-wheeled living van - utterly solar, which wasn't the most efficient solution, but was highly symbolic, like all this project; even the cranes and bulldozers in the construction pool were solar and programmable - bumped over the rough surface it had been designed to handle, even its superb suspension jolting the passenger section every which way. Regulations say there must always be one of the crew behind the manual controls whenever they are in motion, but, as usual, the van's primitive intelligence could handle bits of track it had already met, and would only interrupt if there were a problem demanding choice, for which biologicals were better adapted than synthetics. The trailer behind it contained mainly black plastic refuse bags, part of a completely separate project, which would smell pretty rank by now, so it was fortunate that unloading was automatic, and a few spares and supplies.

7. Arthur and the Whale
What are you learning about tonight, then? I hear the temporary jellyfish exhibition is wonderful. I wish I could get to see it.
“It does sound rather good, doesn’t it? Maybe I’ll go and see that tomorrow. No, tonight I spent some time down in the early mammalian and reptilian section. Spent some time with the smilodon, and the giant crocodile. Gosh, that thing was a monster. Could swallow a man whole, I reckon!”
Mm. I remember the old crocs. Bloody big buggers, some of them. Could give you a nasty nip if you weren’t careful.
“It’d be more than a nasty nip for us little folk. I remember I saw one in Australia… enormous great big thing sitting lazily by the estuary of the Mary, near Darwin. I remember thinking he could bite our bloody boat in half if he wanted.”
Never been to Australia. I should like to visit one day.
“I think our travelling days are over, Dippy. No time for adventures when twilight sets over the sky.”
 

Dan Jones

Free Omar!
Supporter
Joined
Nov 14, 2014
Messages
2,696
Location
Here, Now
#43
Good work, Dusty!

It's been so long I couldn't remember what brief I'd submitted, and had to go back along the thread to find it.

Just to refresh everyone's tired brains (or is it just me?) here are the briefs, which for me certainly helps me to connect the stories together.

sinister42: Give me a steampunk noir detective story.

Joshua Jones: The standard option: a political SF about peace negotiations between a hedonistic and a Spartan society (may or may not be the same species).
OR
The "colorful" option: an uplifted pod of dolphins going on holiday to Europa.
OR
"Dinner date with a Cetacean"

johnnyjet: I'd like a story about a futuristic city that's tightly integrated with the environment.

Victoria Silverwolf: I'd like an alternate history story without any famous people in it; just how daily life is different from "our" world.

Ashleyne: I request a surreal horror focused around a seashell.

chrispenycate: I would like a story of a dragon school teacher's arrival fresh from the academy at her first teaching post. If this is too bizarre, I will take a flying forest.

Dan Jones: I'd like something about two hostile brothers with a strong sense of the absurd.

~

I'll have a first bash at Id-ing the stories a bit later. I have my suspicions about at least two of them...
 

sinister42

The sinister resister.
Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2013
Messages
585
Location
Portland, Oregon
#48
Since this appears to have died wasted and alone in an abandoned farmhouse far from civilization at the sad end of a particularly boring zombie apocalypse, I'm just going to send the story I wrote to the person who requested it. @Dan Jones, check your inbox.
 

TheDustyZebra

Aspiring notaphilist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2009
Messages
8,635
Location
Colorado
#49
1. The Sknard (written by sinister42 for Dan Jones: I'd like something about two hostile brothers with a strong sense of the absurd.)

“Hey, either of you guys seen a weird pink thing or a weird green thing around?” said someone. Paul couldn’t really make out the person’s features. He wasn’t sure if it was just because he was incredibly high, or because the person at the door seemed sort of pixelated, like an old video game.
“What?” was all that would come out of his mouth.
“Ah,” said the figure. “I smell why you’d be confused about this. May I come in?”
“Um…”
The figure pushed past Paul and entered the apartment.
“Who?” said the puddle of Jason on the couch.
“I’m Janglor the Hunter. I have come from very far away to investigate an infestation of extra-dimensional beings into your realm. Their primary function is to, well, to mess with people.”
Janglor scooped up some sknard goo from the coffee table. “Yes. So, did this one…yes, I see from your injuries that it must have. I’m assuming that since you’re not currently killing each other that a dranks intervened?”
“Yeah,” said Paul.
“You two need to come with me. The combination of sknard goo and dranks goo in your systems is deadly. It’s like matter and anti-matter.”
“Wait,” said Paul. “Are we going to explode?”
“In a manner of speaking. Come, there is little time.”

2. Up In Arms (written by johnnyjet for sinister42: Give me a steampunk noir detective story.)
He sat opposite her on an easy chair. She looked better in comfortable, colorful clothing than in her daily drab work clothes, somehow slimmer and curvier, less frumpy, more relaxed. Her hair was loosened, flowing around her face. I don't know. There was a difference.
But what really caught his attention (professionally that is) was the pile of mechanical arms stacked in front of her on a coffee table. And all of them looked much better than his own artificial arm, more realistic.
"What is it about all the arms?"
"We keep trying different designs to find the most functional model."
"And your missing design specs have your latest design?"
"Yes. And we didn't have a chance to construct it before the specs went missing."
"Who would you consider your closest friends among your lab team?"
"I have no close friends."
"Any you would consider potential enemies?"
"All of them."
"Hmm, that narrows it down."

3. Another Day at the Beach (written by Joshua Jones for Ashleyne: I request a surreal horror focused around a seashell)

She recoiled and fell back when she looked up; a clear layer, like glass or plastic was all that separated her from an absolutely colossal, titanic face, which either was staring intently at her or the markings. Upon closer inspection, the humanlike face didn't seem to be paying her any mind, but scanned across the rows like it was reading the markings. She also discovered that she could move the markings with a bit of effort, and they looking like English letters.

Against her better judgement, Veronica decided to try to get the massive creature's attention. Perhaps it could help her find a way out of this place. Unfortunately, jumping, waving, and shouting seemed to have no effect. So, s e started pulling markings out of plac in an effort to make a sign or distress ca l to the im osing visage. She started arranging [help! oUt?] them as best as she c uld to get the message across. nbelievably, the creature chuckled, nodded, and poin ed to a door shaped set of markings not too far away.

4. The Exchange Student (written by Victoria for chrispenycate: I would like a story of a dragon school teacher's arrival fresh from the academy at her first teaching post. If this is too bizarre, I will take a flying forest.)

The flying forest wandering through the sky at random, rarely appearing in the same place twice until many years passed. Aeolin had never seen it, and the students were much too young to have ever witnessed its arrival. It would be lost to sight before nightfall. Perhaps they would never see it again.

No one knew the origin of this magical woodland. Some claimed a mighty wizard of ancient times, perhaps even a human, created it as a sign of power. Others said the gods ripped it out of the Earth and sent it aloft, so that all might know of their glory. Whatever the truth, no dragon who saw the flying forest ever forgot its wonder and mystery.

The morning sun painted the underside of the forest with golden light. Roots dangled through the floating soil. They swayed in the breeze. It was as if some vast, tentacled sea creature had taken to the heavens.

Word spread quickly through the school. Students and teachers emerged from the cavern, eager to experience a miracle that might never return during their lifetimes.

5. A Packaged Holiday (written by chrispy for Joshua Jones: The "colorful" option: an uplifted pod of dolphins going on holiday to Europa.)

Jagged cliffs bordered a plain that wouldn't have been anything like so level and flat if the imperfections hadn't been filled in with what must be seabed ooze, from the fact that it sent back a softer echo than the rocks. We weren't sending out clicks to get these echoes back, and were freewheeling both the tow canisters and the Jupescoops, to be as stealthy as possible - not really sneaking, but… actually I suppose we were sneaking. It is a legitimate ruse of war, in the laughter-free way the humans fight it.

"Nothing to be learnt hanging here in the silence and the darkness. Let there be light!"

All the towing craft, and the Jupescoops, were equipped with spotlights far more powerful and covering far more surface than the suits' headlights. In an instant the cliffs took on form, and the coloured streaks recorded in other regions, the pillars of audio distortion became smoke plumes, fine silt from the seabed soaring toward the ice, nourishing and supplying warmth to a myriad of simple organisms that formed the foundation of the local food chain, turbulent through the calm. And everywhere but the vents from which these columns rose were millions upon millions of…

"Shrimpses!"

6. Reafforestation (written by chrispy for johnnyjet: I'd like a story about a futuristic city that's tightly integrated with the environment.)

But for now the eight-wheeled living van - utterly solar, which wasn't the most efficient solution, but was highly symbolic, like all this project; even the cranes and bulldozers in the construction pool were solar and programmable - bumped over the rough surface it had been designed to handle, even its superb suspension jolting the passenger section every which way. Regulations say there must always be one of the crew behind the manual controls whenever they are in motion, but, as usual, the van's primitive intelligence could handle bits of track it had already met, and would only interrupt if there were a problem demanding choice, for which biologicals were better adapted than synthetics. The trailer behind it contained mainly black plastic refuse bags, part of a completely separate project, which would smell pretty rank by now, so it was fortunate that unloading was automatic, and a few spares and supplies.

7. Arthur and the Whale (written by Dan Jones for Joshua Jones: The standard option: a political SF about peace negotiations between a hedonistic and a Spartan society (may or may not be the same species)

What are you learning about tonight, then? I hear the temporary jellyfish exhibition is wonderful. I wish I could get to see it.
“It does sound rather good, doesn’t it? Maybe I’ll go and see that tomorrow. No, tonight I spent some time down in the early mammalian and reptilian section. Spent some time with the smilodon, and the giant crocodile. Gosh, that thing was a monster. Could swallow a man whole, I reckon!”
Mm. I remember the old crocs. Bloody big buggers, some of them. Could give you a nasty nip if you weren’t careful.
“It’d be more than a nasty nip for us little folk. I remember I saw one in Australia… enormous great big thing sitting lazily by the estuary of the Mary, near Darwin. I remember thinking he could bite our bloody boat in half if he wanted.”
Never been to Australia. I should like to visit one day.
“I think our travelling days are over, Dippy. No time for adventures when twilight sets over the sky.”
Just to refresh everyone's tired brains (or is it just me?) here are the briefs, which for me certainly helps me to connect the stories together.



The only one left, if anyone wants to tackle it:

Victoria Silverwolf: I'd like an alternate history story without any famous people in it; just how daily life is different from "our" world.
 

Dan Jones

Free Omar!
Supporter
Joined
Nov 14, 2014
Messages
2,696
Location
Here, Now
#50
7. Arthur and the Whale (written by Dan Jones for Joshua Jones: The standard option: a political SF about peace negotiations between a hedonistic and a Spartan society (may or may not be the same species)
Close but no cigar, Dustoid. The Joshua brief I went for was "Dinner Date With A Cetacean"! But, weirdly, I suppose it could sorta, kinda work for that first brief too, if you look at it from a certain angle...
 
Top