Friday, 31 July 2015

Collectively Unlikely



To get here, you gotta realise just how many things had to happen.

Humanity managing to quiet down and learn to get along.

The various computer networks gaining sentience as The Collective.

Then the Panda Virus rending humanity sterile. Yes I know that’s not the scientific name of it, but I never got used to calling it HARP-V.

The Collective then pairing everyone off based on compatibility.

Except humanity’s count ended in three.

All that, building up to me becoming the entire world’s third fucking wheel.

No, I will not refrain from swearing Collective!

Yes, I want a soothing pill!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Hidden Trails



Unity Li-Smith was the accountant, or rather creative money hider for most of the supervillians and mob bosses in Los Francisco. So, when she turned herself in after a pay dispute, there was, unsurprisingly, a mad rush to try and knock her off.

Glory had to stick by her side until she could testify. Glory was able to fend off the simple murder attempts easily, but Unity ended up exposed to small but significant amounts of Zeta radiation, Terrorgas, Moondust, and many other horrible energy sources.

Unity would have been upset, except all that woke what lay dormant inside her…

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Skills And Timing



He’d been working his way up the corporate ladder quickly and efficiently. And then came the assignment.

It had been the pet project of his boss’ boss, the marketing division needed someone able to leap in and take control if, or rather when, the company looked to have a PR disaster incoming. He’d jumped at the opportunity.

At first, nothing happened, giving him time to do research and get ready to leap into action when required.

Then nothing continued to happen.

Years of it.

He thought he’d never be Chairman.

Then came the gas leak that killed every other employee…

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Too Much Love



Down at Baccy’s Bar, we got all sorts. But the short blonde chick who came in every Monday and drank from opening to last drinks, she was different. Even without her iron stomach.

It took her several weeks to get her talking, and even then I had to start slipping her freebies to loosen her tongue. At first, all I would get out of her was something about ‘always making it about others’, occasionally muttering that she wanted it to be her turn once.

Then I found out she was Cupid.

I offered, but she played for the other team.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Wild Golden Goose Chase



Ever since I announced that, rather than become a boring regular bird hunter like my father, I was going to hunt down and catch a goose that lays golden eggs, I put up with a lot of ribbing and joking from the rest of the village.

This turned to scorn when I grew up and maintained my claim, and then expulsion when I refused to stop. If it wasn’t for my mother sneaking me some supplies every so often, I’d have probably died by now.

But I’ll catch it one day.

I’ve mostly caught fairies, true, but I’m getting closer!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Pitter Patter



It was such a lovely tune. That’s why I focused on it.

You wouldn’t think there was much of a melody that could be achieved by dripping. But there were a few different little streams flowing across the table, each dripping down the side at a different rate, each onto a different surface.

The slow drips onto the floor were the beat, the quick drips into the metal floor the main instrument, with drips onto my phone and the knife finishing the music.

So I just lay there, enjoying the tune, while my friends tried desperately to stem the bleeding.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Indecent Loot Drop



His parents hadn’t hired me because they hated their son, far from it. It’s just that he was so socially inept, they were worried that once they died, some floozy would come along and play him for all of his inherited money.

So I became his ‘friend’, and began to drag him from his multi-sided dice to meet people and, you know, gain actual social skills.

It was hard work, but I eventually got him to come with me to a bar. Hell, he even picked up a girl!

I had to lay it out like a ‘sidequest’, but still…

Friday, 24 July 2015

Truly Surprise Cake



We were a few miles into the Forest.

I had taken first watch, so when I woke the fire was out, the sun had risen, and Belapi was consuming some chocolate cake.

“I thought we’d told Damur not to magic up any food after that sushi incident?” I asked as I stretched out my limbs.

“Nah, this was just here, waiting for us!” she replied, in-between mouthfuls.

I slapped the cake away.

“You find cake in the forest and you start eating it?” I berated.

I unaware that this was a test to weed out the ‘impure of heart’, obviously.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Where’s Dinner?



It was a simple enough double act. He played the exasperated husband, she was the ditzy housewife. He walked on  and ask about dinner, and then for fifteen minutes she would talk about her day until she finally hit the punchline, “I’ve already eaten.”

They’d performed it across the country for years, and had worked out how to wring out every last drop of comedy. He knew just how to modulate the sigh, she knew just how long to pause before the bit with the carrots.

Then they performed it on the new-fangled television, and suddenly they needed new material…

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Highest Level



A fine layer of ash began to fall.

It was over. It had taken half the night, and cost the lives of my friends and even more strangers, but the creature was dealt with.

I still didn’t know what, exactly, the cultists had summoned, a demon, maybe, at a guess. But after a hellish night hiding and fighting throughout the skyscraper, I introduced the thing to the modern world with homemade napalm.

It was then I noticed the crowd around me devolving into chaotic fighting.

I had time to realise what the ash had been before the madness took me.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

My Life For A Recharger



I stared at the phone’s battery life readout, where it resolutely read ‘11%’.

Normally that would be a minor concern. But considering that this phone was attached to a rather large bomb, and the anonymous caller had said that any attempt to interfere with the phone would set the bomb off, we assumed that the battery running out would count.

So while the building was evacuated, we desperately searched for a charger for this brand of phone.

One of the kids had one, so we got it, and plugged it in.

And then found out that recharging counted as interference.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Vanishing Point



We met online, on a message board dedicated to English speaking fans of an anime studio so obscure that the board had maybe a dozen posters, tops.

For months we talked, bonding over our shared love of animation, then moving onto music and games, our tastes being similar enough to discuss reasonably but distinct enough to have those discussions be actually interesting.

Then we moved onto video chats, and from there, more intense video chats.

So yeah, I was great at the whole long distance relationship. The problems cropped up once she had moved to the same city as me…

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Shooting Star



A shooting star is just a meteor burning up as it enters the atmosphere.

That’s what is written in reference books, that’s all it is, according to science.

But, of course, most people view it differently, they see it as a sign from above. You make a wish, you use it as proof that the gods approve or disapprove of some action.

But for me, a shooting star is neither some minor astrological accident. Nor is it a portent of anything.

No, a shooting star, to me, is just a metaphor for humanity.

Accidental, beautiful, short-lived and heading towards destruction.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Village Defenders



I worked out how to make Defenders by accident.

You take a husk body, one that the Mysticals had claimed as their own, and feed it a paste of the beans of the Wacca bush, mixed with crushed Rongin beetles that had only eaten Glowstalks.

True, I’d hoped the mixture would reclaim the body from the Mysticals, but a husk body that moved and fought to defend the village, that was useful. Although sadly they weren’t able to distinguish friendly outsiders from non-friendly.

But then all the other tribes began to attack us for some reason, so that didn’t matter.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Hard Candy



I knew it would difficult to get information out of Candy. Any woman who was able to work the streets without a handler had to be touch. So I took one of the wannabes with me. I found her at her usual corner.

“Ca-“ I managed to get out before the wannabe swaggered up to her.

“Yo Bitch, where’s-“ was all he managed to get out before she popped him one in the mouth, the kid falling like a tree.

“Bich ‘ust brok’ my jaw!” the kid muttered, painfully.

He didn’t understand why me and Candy both laughed at that.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Lifefile Coding



GY55FY6FSJ

Every few minutes, another code would be generated.

K54WFEB4UJ

He’d check the number, then open that citizen’s lifefile.

97DXZ54BAU

He’d scan the list of viable exemptions, checking the lifefile to see if the citizen was in a Protected Industry, or was Culturally Significant, or mid-Citizen Creation, there were about a dozen possible exemptions.

DE4GUX7EDH

And if they didn’t qualify on any of those grounds, he typed the code into the other screen, and the Repolice ended their lives.

Random selection made it fair.

8FEJ2BVD3M

He paused, then typed into the other screen.

8FEJ2BVD3N

Better some random guy, than him…

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Meeting Miranda Again




The eight months I spent with Miranda were simultaneously the best, and worst eight months of my life.

Every day was a new adventure, every day I once again met her for the first time.

But eventually the constant partying, the constant fighting and making up and fighting again, I just couldn’t deal with it any more. So at the end of those eight months I left her asleep on a couch, never saying goodbye.

Until today, I had always wondered what I’d say to her if we ever met again.

I didn’t expect it to be her Miranda Rights…

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Blasting Off



Spaceman Alex Blast was in pursuit of the evil Dr. Kilosat, knowing if the Bad Doctor got away with the blueprints for the Infinite Divider, he could rule the galaxy, and as long as Blast lived, he couldn’t let that happen.

He got into the airlock dome just in time to see Dr. Kilosat’s Rocketsled lift off the ground and blast off across the barren wastelands of Exoyerton. Blast quickly hopped in another one and took off.

On the plus side, once the G-Forces had knocked out Blast, his out of control Rocketsled took out Kilosat’s, so that was something.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Clear Vision



To be honest, I’m not really psychic.

I know that seems unlikely, but I met the Empress when we were street vermin, and after she stole a coin purse, she told me to play one round of Spinhouse for clean coins.

I proceeded to win fifteen times.

That was the beginning, and ever since, she’s believed my ‘visions’. But the thing is, even back then, I knew how driven she could be, how determined she was. Anything I said she’d achieve, any feat I predicted she’d manage, I knew she could do it.

That’s a type of fortune telling, right?

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Aesop 2.0: 19. The Dragon And The Unicorn



One day, the Dragon noticed the Unicorn grazing in a field. The Dragon was impressed with the Unicorn, and so flew overhead and set fire to a nearby forest, making a heart from the flames. The Unicorn didn’t react in any way. So the Dragon gathered up some gold, and made it rain all around the Unicorn. Again, the Unicorn ignored it. Finally, fed up, the Dragon landed next to the Unicorn and asked what it had to do to be noticed. The Unicorn smiled. “Talk to me.”

“All the grand, empty gestures don’t compare to the simple, honest ones.”

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Orange Crush



As I trudged forward, the trees slowly became sparser and sparser until I found this small open field.

If you’d asked me earlier what I expected, had I not run thinking you were with the Sheriffs, a man squeezing orange juice into a bowl wouldn’t have rated a mention.

He glanced up at me as I approached, then looked at the sun.

“Afternoon.”

“Hey…” I said, looking for a weapon, not seeing any.

“Want some?” he asked, after taking a gulp from the bowl.

“Thanks…”

I walked up and took a big gulp.

Some bounty hunters work with tranquillisers, alas.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Protecting My Company



I had to protect my company.

Nothing I did was illegal, or even to most right-minded individuals, that immoral. As CEO and sole owner, I just laid the guidelines for hiring in my stores, as any good business operator should. And in order to make sure that the good religious folk who were the backbone of my client base were happy, those guidelines laid out certain immoral practices my employees couldn’t perform. Nothing wrong with that.

Until my mistress told me her sister was about to get fired because of it.

Had to protect my company, and thus her family.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Library Of Cowards



Every day at roll call, there would be a few more names that went unanswered, a few more wizards having fallen in the night. I would have been on clean up duty, but after seeing a female wizard’s head split open due to spending too long channelling power into an army thousands of miles away… Couldn’t do it.

So I stayed in the library, ‘researching’ for a spell that would win the war. Anything to avoid having to work or worse, fight in the war.

Yes, I was a coward. Guilty.

But hey, I actually found the spell, didn’t I…

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Forgone Relics



It took him almost his entire life. From the very first moment he read about the Forgone and their Relics, he intended to break their secrets, to learn from them.

All the galaxy knew of their untapped power. But no being could open, understand, or even damage one.

But after much research, he finally worked out that to use a Relic, you had to think like a Forgone.

It took most of his life to get to the point where his brain was just enough like one to be recognised.

He received the power fully, completely.

And it destroyed him.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Shoe Polisher



Every year, as the frost turned to spring, the chain of caravans came. The Wondering Folk, as they dubbed themselves, camped just outside the town for a couple weeks, offering all sorts of delights and services.

And every year, she came with them. The first time, we were children, I gave her a copper piece so she’d shine my shoes, and then for another copper, a brief kiss.

As the years went on, she became my first true kiss, my first time, my first other time…

And eventually, she became my wife.

She still charges me for shoe polishing though.

Monday, 6 July 2015

It



It existed.

It didn’t have a name, at least, it didn’t have one for Itself. That would imply an understanding of existence, both of Itself and things other than Itself.

It lacked that, at least as we would understand thinking. It saw Existence, It saw Itself, and beyond that, trying to comprehend how It thought would require you to understand all of reality at once, and then be able to invert your mind.

So you don’t try to get inside It, you just try to learn to predict how It acts, or more accurately reacts.

Very important.

Because It hungers.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

To Emily And Stephanie Ronner



For over fifteen years, Emily held onto the letter.

She should have burnt it. Certainly she had come close to doing so on several occasions. But every time, she stayed her hand. When her mother had abandoned her and her sister Stephanie, running away from her responsibilities, Emily knew she could never forgive her. When the letter arrived a few months later, she never opened it, not caring about whatever justifications or lies her mother had.

But on her eighteenth birthday, Stephanie asked to read the letter, so Emily opened it.

The letter she expected. The cheque, not so much.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

A Fixer Upper



With enough grit, determination, and, well, stubbornness, you can change the world.

She set out to do that.

And while the world out there was better than it used to be for a woman, while there was certainly more opportunity, less direct blocking, it still wasn’t a walk in the park.

But she never gave in. Every defeat, every setback made her dig in her high heels a little more, made her give a little more blood, sweat and/or tears.

And eventually she did what she set out to do, and change the world.

Shame it wasn’t for the better.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Dedication



There was one light left on in the building. In that room he sat, staring at the screen, his fingers moving across the keyboard deliberately. The earphones blared late 90’s nu metal that even he would admit was terrible, but it was the music he associated with late night cram sessions, it was what motivated him.

Then his mobile phone buzzed. He picked it up, and saw the message from his other motivation.

Hey Babe, you coming home soon? x

He sighed, and quickly texted back an apology, he had to get this work done by tomorrow. After a few seconds of work, the phone vibrated again.

You sure? ;)

Attached was a photo, his girlfriend in her usual selfie pose, looking up at the camera, an arm subtly but effectively pushing her cleavage up. He sighed, and reaffirmed his need to stay.

It was maybe fifteen minutes before the next one arrived.

Come on Honey, I’m so lonely…

This photo was unusual for her, in that while the pose was pretty much the same, usually she was wearing a shirt, or maybe a sports bra instead of a top. This photo had neither. Quite noticeably and obviously sans either. His resolve wavered for a moment, but he took a moment to calm himself before he tried, carefully, to explain how he’d much prefer to be with her, but he had to do this work, or else he’d get fired. He expected to have an argument over this in the morning.

Instead, after a half hour, he received another text message. He braced himself for a long, angry all caps spree.

I get that…

The photo took him a moment to work out, the lighting wasn’t great, but as soon as he worked out which body part of hers he was looking at, there was another message.

But if Mohammed…

This one was confusing, some sort of red cloth, a hint of button in a corner?

Then the momentous…

One last photo of… The back of his own head?

He spun around, and there was his girlfriend, wearing a long red cotton trench coat. And then, gloriously, not wearing it. She managed to mutter something about autocorrect before he kissed her.

He did find it amusing that he got into more trouble over the unauthorized entry into the building than he did about the work not being done on time.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Lucky Triple Seven



“Come spend some time at the Triple Seven Casino and Luxury Resort Planet! Maybe you’ll get lucky!”

No matter what corner of the galaxy you called home, in every station, every port, every place where there were either rules allowing advertising or just no rules at all, there was one of the Triple Seven Bimbots, standing in a corner, encouraging you to come over and book a surprisingly affordable trip to the planet. And it was true, when you went, you could get lucky.

When you were turned into a Bimbot, you might get sent somewhere where you weren’t vandalized…

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Freaking Out


When my Psych 301 lecturer mentioned in passing during a tutorial that he was looking for an assistant, I approached him after class and applied for the job.

On the first day, he ranted at me for a solid twenty minutes about how gay marriage was going to ruin the country. But the job was good, so I kept my mouth shut.

For a few weeks. But every day was another horribleness, another discriminatory rant, I eventually snapped.

Of course it was an experiment. But his getting me kicked out for aiding and abetting hate speech was over the line…