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Xion
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« Reply #60 on: August 24, 2008, 05:25:16 PM »

A Skypunk Story

The Seventh Dimension of Agna'arakon IV: Owen Rendall vs the Red Pirates

It was dawn, and all the Pilots were preparing for the daily launch. The airguards ran about atop the narrow scaffolding, high above clean white cloudscapes, carrying equipment to the Pilots and helping them suit up. Overhead, twenty-three Stormrunners dangled from the belly of the Great Ark, wings folded like giant metal moths, prepared to drop from the belly of the colossal city and into the clutches of death at a moment's notice. Ever-vigilant. Ever-protecting. Ever-prepared to fight off the Red Pirate raids that occurred daily now.

~

      'Another red sky today,
      Another storm on its way.'

Owen Rendall jotted a poem into his little beige notebook, like his psychologist had suggested some years ago. She said that, by putting his immediate thoughts and emotions onto paper, with structure, he would be able to better understand himself and sort out the turmoil in his life.

A week later, an ExSec camera caught her jumping The Edge.

Owen had been working in ExSec at the time, and he choked when he saw the tape. She had sneaked past security and to the Exterior, where few precautions were taken against falling into the sky below. She calmly approached to the high banister dividing the Great Ark from the nothing and easily scaled it. On the other side, she hung for a moment and gazed directly into the eye of the spying ExSec camera. It wasn't the first time Owen had noticed how beautiful she was, with her neatly cropped hair, fair skin, and gray eyes full of caring worry. Owen felt her stare into his soul through the glass eye of a camera, learning more in that instant than she had after two years of being his psychiatrist.

She flashed a smile, winked at the camera, and then was gone – swept up by the swirling white clouds.

That all happened years ago, though. Owen seldom gave it much thought anymore. He scratched out the last line of his poem and wrote beside it:

      'Another storm come this way.'

Sounded more poetic.

~

The Pilots were ready for drop-off now, all seated within the Stormrunners.

Gauges, rudders, flaps, pressure...all go.

An airguard standing on the scaffolding waved a signal to Stormrunner 001. A loud hiss filled the air as the airlock disengaged from the craft. Then, one by one, the locks holding it in place released. For a split second, it was suspended in mid-air. Then, in a flash, it fell away from the ceiling, wings opening.

And it was gone – swept up by the swirling white clouds.

Owen didn't think of her at all anymore. He swore he didn't.

But his heart still ached for the sky.

One by one the process repeated with the remaining Stormrunners until all had vanished into the clouds below. A few orphan kids had gathered on the scaffolding to watch the launch. Almost all of them were illegitimate children, abandoned by parents who feared for their reputation should such a child be discovered.

One of them was Hers.

Theirs.

The orphans gathered every day to watch the launch – an escape from the taunts of other children. Flight; the ultimate freedom.

They were the few who would become Pilots.

~

When the last Stormrunner dropped off, one of the children – an older boy, about 14 – leaned against the rail and strained to peer into the clouds for some sign of the vessel.

“Hey, I think I see it!”

“Where?”

“There, there!”

“Where!?”

“That's just a cloud.”

“No, not that!”

“Oh wait, I think I – AAAAHH!!!”

*KKRACCKK*

The child's weight was too much for the thin metal guardrail, and it buckled beneath him. He tumbled towards the vast sea of nothingness beneath. His arm twisted, caught between the railing. pouring blood into the open sky below and keeping him from following suit. He let loose an agonized scream, wailing and thrashing in a desperate attempt to save himself.

“Help! Somebody, help!” The other orphans cried for help, all too weak to lift the boy on their own. The airguards were all too far away to reach him before the rail gave way and set him free into the abyss.

Owen Rendall had been sitting right next to the children the whole time, watching the launch along with them, as he did every day. They never spoke to one another, but they knew that they were the same. Owen was what they would someday become, and the children were a reminder of what Owen once was. Before he was a Pilot. Before he was stricken down by a crippling stroke. Before she died. Owen had been just like them.

Now, though, confined to his chair, he was helpless to help them. What could he do? He couldn't even stand. Then he looked into the boy's eyes and saw again that reflection of his past self. The airguards were still a ways away, and the rail was weakening with each passing second.

This damned chair was no limit.

The sky was the limit.

Owen wheeled himself over to the section of broken railing and braced himself against it with his left arm. He motioned for the boy to use his good arm to grab the scaffolding. The boy, crying, complied. Then, with his right arm, Owen wrenched the twisted railing, releasing the boy's arm.

Another agonized scream.

Still bracing himself against the railing, Owen grabbed the boy's good arm and heaved him up onto the scaffolding. In pulling the boy, though, Owen's chair began to roll towards the abyss.

He felt the movement but did nothing to fight it.

He looked at the boy – the child he had been secretly watching over for the past fourteen years, since the day she jumped the Edge.

The boy returned his gaze, and through the tears of pain recognized his father.

One of the other children noticed Owen's slow roll towards the edge -

“Hey, mister -”

Owen flashed a smile, winked, and was gone – over the edge, swept up by the swirling white clouds.


He thought about Her every day.



...what?

You got a better name?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2008, 12:51:00 PM by Xion » Logged

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« Reply #61 on: August 24, 2008, 05:50:26 PM »

my entry...


Earthblades Don't Mourn for Burnmules
by Keith Nemitz


We fucked meat plants into the soil on Sunday. By Thursday they were heavy with sirloin, shank, and liver. If Lulu Bell hadn't broke a hoof on a diamond the size of a Red Russet, we'd have had another square kilo of grade USA Choice. Goddamn last month's root crop! Pa hates only locusts more than harvest tailings.

Lulu Bell didn't want my sympathy nor my frustration. She wanted her carrot. Her head contended with her tether to the pen while I worked on her. I caved in and gave two carrots. With them chomped, I checked her fever. Pa'd done an awful job bandaging her. Hoof smelled like it should've been washed and redressed. She needed to be watered. I dreamed of the days of the Great Plains aquifer. Pa said in his childhood, they hardly had to drill a hundred meters down to tap that pure source of million year old rain.

I clunked my wooden shoes two clicks away from our soddie barn and home. Hiking to Canal Corp's branch office, wore my callused feet like iron cat tongues. There, I groveled, licked toes and sucked sand. The irrigation manager wanted my cunt, but he settled for that diamond still dotted with mule blood. Eventually, he called into a speaking tube. Someone, somewhere pressed a button guarded deep within adobe walls. If I raced back, I might catch the water-allotment before Pa could imagine himself taking a bath. He'd wasted last week's ration on a hand-made, canvas slip-n-slide. My feet were bleeding by the time I returned to water Lulu Bell.

"Pa!" I kicked off my dutches. "Put down the ax. Lulu Bell just needs some water. She'll recover in a week and some days."

"Aw, I weren't gonna kill it, just hack off 'er forelock and replace it with a wheel." Pa reconsidered his grip on his tool. "Dad-burn mule! Had to go lame right before the turns to fallow."

"We'll make our plowshares turn those furrows, somehow. Maybe rent a tortoise for a week. Me 'n you still got blood harvest to pack and freeze." I punched our DoA-code into the hand pump and drew a pail of water. Pa drooled.

"There'll be enough for a bath later, if you don't waste it washing your hands before. Go start dinner."

"Sure you don't want mule hocks?" He licked his lips. "Come on, give papa a sip before that crippled beast touches it."

I held the pail up to my chest. He slurped and sucked and nearly drank a third. I followed with my own thirst and then topped up the pail. I kicked Pa out of the barn.

"Sorry, Lulu Belle. Don't listen to that babbling codger." I undressed and bathed her wound. I massaged her forelock. Black blood oozed out.

My breath clogged behind my breasts. I choked. Even the ax wouldn't have been a mercy. The tight air in my lungs squealed out long and soft. My nose snuffled and my eyes submerged. I had to look away. My hands began wiping my cheeks. I ran balling to the sod house. I ran until our straw tick mattress smothered me.

Pa whispered in the kitchen. "Fever ain't gonna go down. Saw it in her eyes. Saw it on her tongue. Saw it in her shit." He abandoned the hearth kettle and plunked down at the table.

The next day we called the vet. We didn't have the right kind of money for animal antibiotics. I paid what I could. Lulu Belle didn't suffer.

A shiny black stationwagon stopped by soon after. Mule skinner said he shouldn't pay as much as he did, but it was enough to rent that tortoise. Stupid creatures, huge, slow, tough.

----------------------

We were turning expired meat plants back under the soil, when a dusty, well-dressed man walked up to me. A great leather suitcase hung from his hand. "Ma-am," he tipped his hat. "Let me interest you in a bargain priced line of fine Europa bath salts."

Pa laughed.
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Cymon
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« Reply #62 on: August 25, 2008, 02:34:16 PM »

Farm punk?

Some excellent entries. We gonna see them lined up against each other anytime soon. I have serious worries about my entry here. I may have to see if I can do that Metropolis reimagining in less than 1000 words.
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« Reply #63 on: August 25, 2008, 06:52:35 PM »

This is going excellently. I'm quite honestly surprised by the quality of all the entries. Just remember, if you're planning to submit something, you got roughly 4 days left to do so.
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« Reply #64 on: August 25, 2008, 09:05:44 PM »

alrite! thats all the motivation i need! LOL a world built around schools..wait thats whats happneing now!!  Shocked
Here's a twist; the teachers are the prisoners of the society, students have all the power. The school revolves around the students and they live consequence free. The teachers are present and are held responsible for anything the students do. Classes are held but if a teacher attempts to teach or assert any level of authority they are booed or worse punished for false charges of "sexual assault against a minor" that are never questioned by administration and immediately terminated.

Live long enough and you become administration. Displease the students and die. And there are 2 stories that spring to mind here. One is of a student who is about to graduate and start their education training. The other is of a teacher who actually values knowledge and is looking for a student to pass it on to. Knowledge of a different time before schools took over the world and students took over the schools.

oh, man thanks! im working on the story as we speak or errr type, thanks alot! hope it goes nicely. you get credit of course...  cheers!
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Renton
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« Reply #65 on: August 30, 2008, 01:28:35 AM »

My cheesy entry

"While it is general knowledge that red amber stone repels the fae, ghosts, evil spirits, goblins, witchcraft and every other evil and malign influence alike, however, there is no rule without an exception, or as Franks say, "Il n'y a pas de règle sans exception". I myself, in my day, have seen such creatures of demonic power who had been stricken with or dressed themselves in red amber stone and felt no ill effects whatsoever.

Lax'gnor the Goblin, also known as Fiery-eyed Beast of Gloucestershire...
Regdar, the Giant of Faewood, who lived in a cave of amber...
And, most horrible and terrifying of them all, a thing known only as;

The Red Squire"
excerpt from "A Traveler's Life, the journal of Caleb King"; King, Caleb; 1492; pg. 32
a story by renton

Through the Faewood and by the castles of the Highland she walked. How long had it been now? A week? Ten days, maybe? He was losing track of the time. She wiped clean her glasses, moist from the mist of the hill. Her eyes, weary, slowly looked at the dark sky above; it was about to pour down. She looked around for a cave to go in, rock to hide under, anything to guard her from the coming rain and the exploding winds that come with it, and maybe then she could have some much needed rest. Not a single rock in sight. With the first few cold drops, she found a hole, a gap or whatever. It was large enough a gap to provide sanctuary. She squeezed into the walls of wet soil and rocks.

The little gadget she had in his pocket, something called the EctoGauge, had a small copper rod which had started hitting two copper bells very slowly some hours ago. It had started as a click now, a ring then, and he just ignored the sound.But now, it was ringing continously, almost like a warning chime, meaning only that something was coming, and it wasn't a good something. She reached for the pockets of his long, brown coat. Inside the pockets were trinkets aand charms and talismans she had gathered during her many journeys and in fact, she was sure that she was about to get one talisman he came for. She stood up, with an amulet, its string wrapped around, in one hand and a big revolver in the other, to see a scarlet shadow cast down on him. She turned around, mumbling something in some almost gibberish language, and aimed for the head.

"'Lo, Cam'ron"
"Hello, Red. I believe you have my gnome-head. I want it."
"Wha' if I donnae want t'give it too ya?"
"Then I'll fill your cranium with some enchanted hollow points, take my gnome-head, carry you back to the town and let everyone see that their greatest fear, their shining evil knight in red amber stone armor, was not some demon spawn, super powered, invulnerable goblin; but an old dwarf in some mechanical suit covered in shiny rock!"
"Well, ye hav quite an argument, lass."
"Can I have my gnome-head now?"
"Yeah, yeah, 'ere, take it an' go."
"Thank you."

Cameron left the misty hills with her trophy in her hand. The nearby locals never saw or heard the Red Squire again.
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Xion
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« Reply #66 on: August 30, 2008, 02:25:48 PM »

I'm pleasantly surprised at the turnout. Cool, people. Smiley
So this ends tomorrow, yeah?

How are the entries going to be judged, was it ever decided?
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William Broom
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« Reply #67 on: August 30, 2008, 05:12:26 PM »

We'll vote.
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« Reply #68 on: August 30, 2008, 07:25:18 PM »

Earthblades Don't Mourn for Burnmules

That is not what I expected from Mousechief. When do we get Dangerous High School Grrls on the Meat-farm?  Grin

seriously, that was really cool.
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« Reply #69 on: August 30, 2008, 08:16:18 PM »

Deadline is almost here, people, so you better hurry up if you want to enter. Cyber95, where's that solarpunk story you promised us, huh?  Tongue Seriously though, I'm really pleased with the turnout here and it's going to be a tough time voting for the best.
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« Reply #70 on: August 30, 2008, 08:28:09 PM »

Deadline is almost here, people, so you better hurry up if you want to enter. Cyber95, where's that solarpunk story you promised us, huh?  Tongue Seriously though, I'm really pleased with the turnout here and it's going to be a tough time voting for the best.
Power outages are mean and I need to learn to save my work more often.
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« Reply #71 on: August 31, 2008, 04:25:52 AM »

Earthblades Don't Mourn for Burnmules

That is not what I expected from Mousechief. When do we get Dangerous High School Grrls on the Meat-farm?  Grin

seriously, that was really cool.

Hey thanks, george!  Would it be great if developers made parodies of their own games? It's something I've considered...


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« Reply #72 on: August 31, 2008, 11:07:33 AM »

A Simple Cog by D. Moonfire

The door slammed hard into the plaster wall and knocked down a few errant portraits before swinging back just as violently. The door smacked the man following behind the baron right in the chest, staggering him back. Shaking his head, the older man managed to clear his head and burst through the door.

“Baron, I insist! Please, don’t-”

“We have no choice, Flarius,” the baron didn’t look back as he spoke in his cultured English accent, practiced before a mirror since he was eight. The young baron stopped in a hallway and smacked one of the gas sconces. It swung down and a loud booming rang out. Flarius shuddered as the baron turned two others and the floor sank down into stairs leading below.

“B-But, my lord, your father said this was only for emergencies!”

The younger man’s eyes flashed as he spun around.

“And what do you call an army heading inland?”

“You don’t know-”

“I know what an army is when I see it,” snapped the baron. Without giving the older man a chance to speak, he raced down the stairs. Flarius hurried down the stairs as fast as his aging bones could move.

He only made it half way before he heard light footsteps coming down the stairs after him. Looking up, he saw a familiar face of his personal maid, a gamine he picked up from the streets of Paris. She made to help him down the stairs.

“No, Gisele, try to stop him. He can’t ever turn it on.”

“Yes, master.”

She slipped away from him and raced after the baron, the tapping of her black slippers fading quickly. He swallowed hard, dreading the future and hurried down the stairs as fast as he could.

At the bottom, he came to a hallway lined with copper pipes. Heat boiled off every surface. His wool suit, perfectly appropriate for early October, hung heavily on his shoulders as he hurried to the end. By the time he reached it, he had to lean against a brass railing to peer down the shaft into darkness. He grunted and tugged on the call chain. In the depths of the shaft, two gas lights glowed as an elevator rose for him. Still gaping for breath, he winced at the sight of a bit of Gisele’s dress clinging to one of the many pipes.

“Be safe, girl.”

The elevator rose up and Flarius’ mouth dropped as he saw an armed guard standing on it. Armed with a saber and a new rifle, it took him a second to recognize the man.

“Jacob!?”

Jacob just nodded. Panting, Flarius stepped on the elevator and Jacob flipped the switch. Half a century old hydraulics rumbled and the elevator dropped quickly. Flarius watched the endless pipes and gauges flash by.

When he spoke, he tried to be as casual sounding as possible. It belayed the furiousness of his mind spinning.

“When did he buy it?”

“Three months ago.”

Flarius frowned unhappily at the revelation. Around him, the heat cooled down but it was replaced with the sound of immense machinery rumbling deep in the caverns below the baron’s mansion.

“Thirsty?”

The guard just grinned. Flarius reached into his pocket. Jacob stepped back, hand dropping to his saber. The steward pulled out his flask.

“It’s peach brandy.”

Flarius left it with Jacob and he hurried down a musty tunnel. As he entered the brass and iron control room, he realized the baron waited for him.

“Flarius, ready for history?”

The older man leaned against the railing.

“Please don’t do this.”

“It is for the safety of England.”

“Your father said to use this only,” he almost choked out the word, “when all of England was at stake, not just your barony.”

“How do you know this isn’t a surprise attack by the Germans?”

“You don’t know who is coming.”

The younger man’s eyes narrowed.

“I know it in my heart.”

“Young hearts make many mistakes.”

“And old ones don’t make enough!”

Flarius reached out to stop him, but the baron triumphantly yanked on the final lever and activated the enigmatic machine. Pressure built up as the room began to turn around on massive gears. Fear and sweat dripped down the older man’s back as he felt the caverns rumbling, dust and steam rising up everywhere.

Then, an explosion as springs snapped and bolts sheared apart. Steam tanks ruptured and hydraulics exploded in the darkness. Something shot out of the darkness and then Flarius only saw light.

----

He groaned as he opened his eyes. Water dripped from every surface as he tried to remember where he was. The hard metal floor dug into his back and Giselle knelt over him, blood dripping from her shoulder.

“What happened?”

She smiled sheepishly, “It broke down.”

She help him to sit up and he looked around at the now silent control room.

“Who knew that his father would have gotten anything wrong?”

She spoke up softly, “Um, begging the pardon, master, he didn’t make no mistake.”

He looked over to see her holding a simple cog between two bloody fingers.

“I hope we did the right thing, girl.”

“You promised his father.”

He reached up with a soft smile, to rub his thumb against a smudge on her soft cheek.

“A promise is a promise. Made over a lager in the middle of the night, but thank you for helping me keep it.”
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« Reply #73 on: September 01, 2008, 12:17:50 AM »

Aaaaand... It's over. No more entries will be accepted. Great work everyone! I think I'll compile all the stories into a monster post at the start of a new thread. Anybody know how many words you're allowed in a single post, though? I think I might need a few  :D And then we can have a poll and stuff. Am I right in thinking only a mod can make a poll here? That's probably a good thing, actually. I was there when they introduced polls to Gamespot forums.  Shocked It wasn't a pretty sight.
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« Reply #74 on: September 01, 2008, 01:30:42 AM »

Aaaaand... It's over. No more entries will be accepted. Great work everyone! I think I'll compile all the stories into a monster post at the start of a new thread. Anybody know how many words you're allowed in a single post, though? I think I might need a few  :D And then we can have a poll and stuff. Am I right in thinking only a mod can make a poll here? That's probably a good thing, actually. I was there when they introduced polls to Gamespot forums.  Shocked It wasn't a pretty sight.

 Gentleman  Beer!  Cool
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« Reply #75 on: September 01, 2008, 09:29:52 AM »

Apparently I squeezed right into the last moment. Wasn't sure with the obsession over the other contest (that I wasn't planning on doing when this started). Smiley But, they can do polls here, you just need admin rights or something. Going to go with multiple votes like the PGC contest? Say 10% of the total entries?
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« Reply #76 on: September 02, 2008, 01:08:52 AM »

Something like that. Except 10% would be exactly 1.5. I guess I'll round it up.

Also, Xion, your story is a teensy bit too long by my count (25 words). Could you cut it down to 1,000?
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« Reply #77 on: September 02, 2008, 05:47:19 AM »

I would recommend against dumping everything into 1 giant posting. Even if it's technically possible, I believe it would make things harder to read (too much scrolling).

2 Ideas:

1. (Easy) Have the first TIGSource forum posting link to each story:
Earthblades Don't Mourn for Burnmules by Keith Nemitz
Steampunk by Inventrix

2. (Harder) Create a website with a page for each story, and a left navigation that switches between them.
The first TIGSource forum posting will have a link to each story on this website.

Regardless, a complete list of links to each story is required so voters have an easy overview of their choices. Makes it easier to remember and compare the stories.



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« Reply #78 on: September 02, 2008, 07:24:00 AM »

2. (Harder) Create a website with a page for each story, and a left navigation that switches between them.
The first TIGSource forum posting will have a link to each story on this website.
I think this is a good idea and wouldn't be hard if you used one of the free blog sites.
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« Reply #79 on: September 02, 2008, 07:52:41 AM »

Or if you want some relatively temporary space, I have the bandwidth from my ISP (got to use that 12 TB/month bandwidth somehow). I could even through up a simple wiki (dokuwiki probably) tonight, if you needed, or if someone wanted to create the site and just give me the HTML.
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