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Author Topic: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)  (Read 7849 times)

Euphonium

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #90 on: 16 September 2021, 13:15:30 »
Now I think I want to go and search for the Murderhobo stories...
>>>>[You're only jealous because the voices don't talk to you]<<<<

monbvol

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #91 on: 16 September 2021, 14:28:22 »
Something I have long considered to be true is just how much more nightmarish it is to deal with serial killers in the Battletech universe.  HPGs don't always send messages everyday and ones who have not entered their spree phase or are otherwise disciplined can spread their kills out over enough systems that even detecting you have one would be a massive challenge in such a case.

Luciora

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #92 on: 16 September 2021, 15:24:10 »
Stop giving me kitbash ideas  ;D

Cannonshop

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #93 on: 17 September 2021, 16:06:00 »
Souls

Terra, 3152...

Nature shatters things nobody thinks can be shattered.  It began with a perturbation of orbits, while Luna was sun-side at closest approach to Sol, with the orbits lining up in a particular way.  Gravitation pulls, because that's what it does, and the liquid core of the Earth responds.  This happens a million ways every day.

This time, the point facing the sun's closest approach, is called 'Mount Ranier', in the Cascade Range, near the efforts to restore Unity City.

It's not much, but for a mountain that was last active more than a millenia ago, it's a surprise.  Unfortunate surprise, really, not a full eruption, just an earthquake after unseasonably wet weather.

Unfortunately, there are over 22 million people on the facing side when the quakes release the mudslides as part of the minor eruption-the mountain ONLY lost 30 percent of its mass in pyroclastic flows, pumice, and explosive steam. Even more unfortunately, the infrastructure to warn of this disaster was destroyed in the fighting in North America.

Millions die, and consolidated urban infrastructure along the Puget Sound is hit with boiling mud in a massive wave.

If there is one thing about the Clans, it is that despite their creed of strength, that 'might makes right', when Mother Nature strikes with more force than all the nuclear weapons remaining in all the storage vaults in the Sol system, they are still human, and still able to react to horror with compassion.

Nature, can be a real bitch sometimes.

and sometimes, things can be stirred awake that have slept, in the midst of the horror.

There are things you think you see.  Like dead men digging the living out of broken, earth-buried structures.  YOu think you see it, your instruments insist on it, but then the dead things bring the living to the aid station.

and you don't think so anymore.

Medtech Kaitlynn Wolf's sanity was fracturing, she was sure of it, because the mortuary mobilized behind a girl in dirty overalls and a torn school jacket, to provide more hands to the rescue efforts.

The girl was alive, and in the chaos she seemed to just direct-and where she directed, corpses dug themselves out, then dug out the living.

and brought them to this aid station.

"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Euphonium

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #94 on: 17 September 2021, 19:21:42 »
That girl sounds like the ultimate senior NCO - "Don't just lie there like you're dead, you're only mostly dead! Right now you can get up and get to work, you can sleep when you're *properly* dead!"
>>>>[You're only jealous because the voices don't talk to you]<<<<

Daryk

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #95 on: 17 September 2021, 20:58:17 »
This one looks even more interesting than the last...  ^-^

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #96 on: 17 September 2021, 21:02:22 »
I'm just gonna leave this here...

"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Daryk

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #97 on: 17 September 2021, 21:39:26 »
 :toofunny:

DOC_Agren

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #98 on: 17 September 2021, 23:24:20 »
 :thumbsup:
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

glitterboy2098

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #99 on: 18 September 2021, 00:06:45 »
[out of story]

Casting Call!!

Yeah, this one is long by the standards of JA Baker's excellent series of short stories, and took longer to work through than those.  I opted for a 'science fiction' explanation instead of pure fantasy, though there are (obviously) pure fantasy elements in play here.  (I doubt even very, very, very, advanced nanotech could accomplish everything, but it's a space-opera setting. :)_)

note; the "Science fiction" is in air-quotes.

but hey, here's the fun part:

Who would you get to play the various speaking roles in this?

given the nature of Elizabeth Cameron in her story, and what she does, the laws of Morphic Resonance and Narrative causality dictate there is only one actress who could play the part.

Summer Glau.

Cannonshop

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #100 on: 18 September 2021, 06:13:45 »
Washington State...

It's Washington State. I don't care if it's part of the 'North American Union' and nobody's used the name in a millenia, it's always going to be Washington State to me.

Call me old fashioned.

Standing here in what used to be the Rainier Valley area, I don't sense anyone else dying in my immediate vicinity, at least, nobody trapped in the ash or the mud nearby.

Heh, 'nearby'. wow.  Twenty mile circle, no more trapped civilians.

at least, no more living ones.

The Dead are plentiful.  I pull a few more out of the dirt, and put them to clearing away debris so that the survivors might have something when it's over.  It's slow going, a lot of draws on my attention...oh.

someone's flickering in the aid station. 

I have some discretion, I walk over and have a look.

"You can not enter." the guard says to me.

I have Gordy and Reeves push the guy aside gently.  There's a psychological reaction to having a zombie shove you aside and say "Sit down."

I walk in and touch the man on the table.  Normal lifespan is 108 years, injuries are going to kill him tonight?

meh, not so much.  "Move this guy up in the que, assface." I tell the Nurse-wait, these are Clanners, 'medtech'.  "He'll live if you do it, might even make a full recovery if he gets treated Right Now."

"What did you do?"  she's not real bright, or she's got nerves of steel.  I'm hoping for nerves of steel.

"I'm making him die slower, you guys work fast and he'll live."  I snap, "These others? not so close, can't help them."

The tech looks at her gear, and wipes the 't' off the guy's forehead, two orderlies show up and carry him into the surgery.

"How did you know-"

"I told you, I made him die slower." I tell her, "I get some discretion with that, but it is ultimately up to people who are actual doctors to handle the whole 'saving lives' thing."

"Who are you?"

"Back home they call me 'Reaper'." I tell her, "this isn't home. I'm not from around here.  Back home? I'm an unpopular super-hero who specializes in disaster relief, nobody's heard of the Justice Association or Team Buffalo or Auntie Columbia here-but there is Clan wolf, so it's not too far from where I came from."

"Whut?"  she's not processing, "Unpopular Super hero? those-"

"Don't exist, yeah." I point at my shoes, "Here, they don't exist, never have, just entertainment media and fiction, I know, the victims already told me.  as for the 'unpopular' part, nobody likes being saved by their dead relatives.  Listen, do you guys have some coffee? maybe a pizza? I'm ****** starving and I don't think Giorgio's delivers a thousand years into an alternate future."  I glance outside, where the boys are helping get an ambulance un-stuck.  "They wouldn't deliver here, anyway, this is like a thousand times worse than the Oso slide in '08."

Thus, how I met Kaitlynn Wolf, who would be my 'contact' with the local authorities.

« Last Edit: 18 September 2021, 06:26:38 by Cannonshop »
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Cannonshop

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #101 on: 18 September 2021, 08:17:53 »
"Absolutely unbalanced, completely insane, believes in things that can't be real...and performs those things."  The girl insisted on her made-up name, and there was no record of her in the database, so it was convenient enough.  "That's the easy way to define it, anyway."  she's sitting in the interrogation room with half a pizza and a cola-drink.

"Insanity is part of it, then, quiaff?" finding a psychological specialist wasn't that hard.  Finding one who can deal with this sort of delusional behavior, even.  Finding one who can deal with it when the delusions happen to have outright physical manifestations turned out to be a little more difficult.

"Yeah.  Moriarty's scale, the more powerful your abilities, the more divorced from reality you end up."  Reaper said, "There's a direct correlation between superpowers and being bughouse nuts, everyone knows it."

"I assume raising the dead is a sign of significant power, quiaff?" Kaitlynn asked.  There weren't any specialists willing to deal with the girl directly-at least, any who managed to keep their perspective after seeing the evidence.

"Yeah, it is." Reaper said, "Hey, these breadsticks, they're like, awesome...so, yeah, I'm crazy and I know it.  They kept me in a room at Western when I wasn't needed, and three flavors of valium. It's kinda weird tasting food that isn't loaded with tranquilizers.  I almost forgot what real food tastes like without the anti-psychotic meds."

"How did you end up there?"

"I kinda sponsored a zombie apocalypse in Spokane after my parents died in a gang-sponsored gun battle." she said, "I was...twelve? thirteen? not sure it matters now. I was pretty angry and had this old book, right? so I was going to 'clean up the city' by removing the gangs, brought back a couple hundred people from the local graveyards and emptied the morgues and mortuaries and went after 'em, and you don't do that if you're sane."

"but you're better now?" Kaitlynn asked.

"HAH!! no." the girl spoke, grabbing another slice, "not better.  I still hear dead people, still see 'em too...but I learned it's not socially acceptable to sick a couple hundred dead folks on people for pissing me off.  It's 'marginally more acceptable' to use animated dead things to rescue living people, and a few tricks I learned from that old book taught me how to do a few things-like slowing that one guy's demise in the aid station."  she pauses, chews her pizza, and adds after swallowing, "People respond better to it, anyway, which means extra helpings at mealtime, and a longer leash, and the matrons use more loob when they strip search after a mission."

"You let them do that??"

"I'm crazy, not stupid." the girl said as if explaining to a child, "My powers scare the shit out of people, they don't take it well, being as it's nicer tasting food and being able to sleep?  means I need to have at least some balance there, with people who are still breathing, and I do not want to be responsible for everything that goes wrong in other people's lives-so going for 'world conqueror' is right the ****** out."

she shrugs as she gulps down cola from the cup, and adds, "Besides, the mental hospitals have clean sheets and usually pretty nice staff, and I don't have to worry about someone breaking in to make me do stuff I don't want to do, and they let me play HALO if I'm good...speaking of which, this pizza is the bomb!"

"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Daryk

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #102 on: 18 September 2021, 08:32:17 »
Ah, THAT"s where she comes from!  Cool!  8)

Cannonshop

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #103 on: 18 September 2021, 11:46:49 »
Ah, THAT"s where she comes from!  Cool!  8)

I keep running into the same problem though: 'What can I do with this??'

this one, and the one immediately preceding it with Mike, end up with the same problem: I can't seem to keep the story short, and still tell a good story.

'Reaper' is one of my favorites from the 'story that remains unfit to publish', kind of an attempt at inverting the usual spot with necromancers in a superhero setting-she's bright, kind, and cheerful despite having what amounts to a limited dominion over the dead and powers out of a classical horror movie.  I think this is one of the ones that 'just didn't work out'.  Unlike Phoebe, Reaper's really got none of the angst for teen drama and she's got a powerset that really doesn't gel in a Battletech setting at all.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Daryk

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #104 on: 18 September 2021, 12:05:37 »
The Boys made it to TV, so I'm sure your story will find its way to publication too.  Don't give up!  :thumbsup:

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #105 on: 18 September 2021, 15:23:05 »
Out of curiosity, the old book she learned her trick of stabilizing a dying person by slowing their death...did it involve a wizard riding a zombie T-Rex with a polka-playing pathologist through Chicago?
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

croaker

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #106 on: 18 September 2021, 16:08:23 »
Out of curiosity, the old book she learned her trick of stabilizing a dying person by slowing their death...did it involve a wizard riding a zombie T-Rex with a polka-playing pathologist through Chicago?

No, no. That’s who gave her the book.

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #107 on: 18 September 2021, 16:19:48 »
If he gave her Kemmler's book, *everyone* has a big problem.  Like, "instructions on how to power a necromantic ritual to ascend to godhood" problem.

Which, admittedly, would be interesting.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

DOC_Agren

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #108 on: 18 September 2021, 17:05:34 »
I like Reaper...
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Cannonshop

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #109 on: 18 September 2021, 20:41:18 »
[you guys made me think about it again, it's not your fault but it's all your fault]

"...I want to see this, arrange a demonstration."  the IlKhan ordered it.  I think that must have been the exact words he used, don't quote me on this.

You know, I hate battlefields.  During my imprisonment, Uncle Sam occasionally dragged me out into them, especially when the mess in South America with El Jefe got hot.

Not aging is a bitch, and working battlefields? turns you into one.

He wanted a show, they told Kaitlynn, so instead of a nice padded room with valium-flavor jello and all the censored chick-flicks and comedies a girl could want, they brought me here, under guard.

He's kind of cute, in that 'guitarist for a norwegian symphonic death-metal band who also does gay porn' kind of way-you know, with the surgery-perfect features and that long blonde hair.  I'm looking at the man who's claimed Earth as his domain and the only thing I can think, is he looks like he really enjoys being a power-bottom, with some hard bondage in there, and spanking with bloodplay.

Or maybe it's being almost thirty, looking seventeen, and I still can't get laid.  I mean, it would be easy enough, but I don't dig dead guys, not my thing, and living guys run the other way fast the second they figure out what I do, usually because I get interrupted.  Spirits just don't seem to approve of Sam getting some boy time in private.

"you're sure he wants this?" I ask Kaitlynn, who's like, in this whole worshipful respect thing.

"Show me." Alaric Ward tells me.  "Show me what you can do."

I reach out with my senses.

lots of them here.  Spirits.  They did a good job cleaning up the bodies, but there's a mass grave about a mile to the west.  I start walking, and drawing the spirits in.

not all of them are soldiers, in fact, most of them here, they're not.

I stop in the clearing.  There's a thing about magic, all the hocus-pocus you see in the movies?? yeah, it doesn't really work that way, there ARE incantations, but they're not for the magic, they're for the user, mnemonics to help form the mental constructs, and channel the power.

When I start walking again, the dead begin rising at my feet.

Funny, you'd think Gettysburg would have more soldiers buried here, and fewer women and kids.

Now, here's the tough part, when you're me, because, see, they all died with unfinished business, and they all were stuck here, for some reason. It's why you want to raise the freshest ones, because it's easier to dope out what they want and where they should go when it's done.

Too many of these, are fresh.

There was an atrocity here, and it's only a few decades old.

I stop, and face Earth's overlord.  "Are these enough?" I ask him, "Do you want to hear their stories? do you want to know who killed them?  Do you know? do you know why? Because these people don't!!"

Murder victims are always the worst, I get all the emotion when I contact them, or raise them.

I really prefer disasters.  For some reason, when people die in natural disasters they're...at their best-not angry, just worried for someone else.

Murdered victims almost always want justice.  I'm going to need the really good drugs after this.

He's shocked, "These were supposed to be warriors..." he says in horror.

"YEAH? they're not.  The soldiers have moved on from Gettysburg!!" I scowl at him,  "These people were murdered here, and buried in a mass grave! Recently!!"

One of his bodyguards throws up, the others are white as a sheet, but Alaric? he's just confused and offended, a little stunned, maybe horrified-but not as much as he should be.

"Do you know...do you learn things from them?" he asks.

"Yeah." I nod, and let them leave their corpses, let the corpses drop.  "If the corpse is fresh enough I can get them to tell you their whole life's story, at least until the tongue rots out."

He looks thoughtful.  "I want you to...do you release them? are they-"

I gesture at the collapsed corpses, mostly bones, and rags, a few remnants of flesh.  "They're not going to move again unless I tell them to." I tell him, "Given the state, they're not a threat...but then, they weren't when they were pushed into an excavated hole and gunned down or gassed, either.  But they want justice."

a few flickers here and there, stronger spirits, almost visible to the mundanes in the cold air.

"I have someone I want you to...meet." he says to me.  "His name is Devlin Stone, and he died last year.  Is that fresh enough?"

"You didn't burn the body, so yeah." I tell him, "Does this guy owe you money or something?"

"Or something." Alaric affirms.

I step over collapsed bones, carefully not disturbing what I raised and then released.  they've been through enough.

"You knew about this." I tell him.

"I suspected." he counters.

"Okay then.  This guy's involved, isn't he?"

"He is my number one suspect." Alaric tells me, "for many crimes."

Oh.  it's not like I haven't interrogated dead crooks before to help the police.  It's usually not admissible, but Clanner laws aren't as hard-core on how you get evidence or testimony.

"Fair enough.  Might want to get forensics to look over the bodies, I'm probably going to forget names before sunrise, either by drinking or drugging myself insensate.  Murder scenes? not much fun to work, and atrocity sites are worse than battlefields."

"Of that, we can agree."

If this Stone fella is involved in this? I'm going to enjoy binding his soul to something really embarrassing.  Maybe they'll let me use a urinal or a toilet seat.

"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Daryk

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #110 on: 18 September 2021, 20:50:01 »
+1 for Reaper.... -1 for Ward...  ::)

Cannonshop

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #111 on: 18 September 2021, 21:07:48 »
[out of story, again]

Okay, guys, you've 'heard' Reaper/Sam's voice, seen what she does, know she 'looks' younger than she is.

Nominations for actresses?  What do YOU ALL think she looks like?
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Cannonshop

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #112 on: 18 September 2021, 23:09:37 »
"...you realize what that creature is quiaff?"  Anastasia demanded.  There was, to her knowledge, nothing that could shake her...and then, she saw a young girl, at most seventeen, raise a field of the dead.

"I am sure you are going to tell me." Alaric noted, "Perhaps...a charade? a confidence game? Neg." he sighed, "you would not react this way if you had doubts."

"She is a thing that must not be.  Imagine her in the hands of your enemies! what secrets we keep, shielded by the dead?"

Alaric nodded, "What secrets indeed?" he asked rhetorically.  "If there is one, then there are more.  We found this one first."  He glanced at the Wolf Khan, "What would you suggest, Anastasia? Kill the bitch? kill something we do not understand and therefore can neither predict, nor control? how would you do it, when your target has dominion over the dead, Ana? You saw the shades that followed her out of Gettysburg, do you think she is going to be easier to contain in the flesh, or as...something immaterial we do not even have a rational scientific definition of yet?"

"You...want that control."

"It should be obvious.  That creature claims to have spent most of its life cycling between missions, and a mental institution, it is used to imprisonment and conditioned to service.  it is better that it serves us than, say, the Liao, or the other traitor lords, quiaff? Founder help us, imagine it loose as a mercenary!! Another test, to see if it's real or staged, a few more to determine its limits and abilities, and more importantly, The thing's Weaknesses, in case we have to dispose of it."

"ANd then what? raise undead armies?" Anastasia scoffed.

"No. 'Information is ammunition' and the Star League needs every scrap it can get." he lectured, "She can do something we can not-she can question the dead when the answers disappear behind a convenient demise...and she kept a warrior with crushed organs alive long enough to be saved, meaning she can delay deaths to improve our chances of saving key people if we need it."

"Her file says she is a pacifist!" Anastasia sneered.

"That just means we have less to fear from her." Alaric observed, "Less to fear, some to learn, maybe use, if she proves to lack utility, I will allow you to dispose of her."
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

idea weenie

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #113 on: 18 September 2021, 23:50:50 »
"No. 'Information is ammunition' and the Star League needs every scrap it can get." he lectured, "She can do something we can not-she can question the dead when the answers disappear behind a convenient demise...and she kept a warrior with crushed organs alive long enough to be saved, meaning she can delay deaths to improve our chances of saving key people if we need it."

This is the key part.  Someone sends a suicide squad after you, it doesn't matter if their poison capsule works or not.  She can still question their spirit.

Be a heck of an interrogation:
"You will tell us what we want to know"
"Never!" (bites down on cyanide tablet and dies)
(Reaper re-binds their soul to their corpse)
"Shall we try this again?"
"What the?"

Plus if there are others waiting to be interrogated and see what happens (or are left with the walking/talking corpse of their friend).


Now I wonder if I missed something in the story: what happens if the person has a failsafe to destroy the body, so it cannot get repossessed and made to confess?  I remember her comment about 'tongues rotting out', so it sounds like the spirit needs a body, and the better option is the spirit's old body.

Cannonshop

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #114 on: 19 September 2021, 01:34:53 »
I'm insane.  I know it, because I know how powerful I am.  I'm insane, but I'm not stupid.  Alaric Ward wants to use me, just like the government did, just like the Patriot Brigades and Captain Liberator, and when he feels he's used me enough, when he's near his end, when his clock's running out, he'll ask me the same thing that the UN General Secretary demanded before her successor put me in the vault for good.

Because they always want more life in the end, they always want you to stop the clock, and no matter how I try to explain it, nobody ever accepts that their time runs out.  I can make someone die slower, they can be healed, their death delayed to their natural span, and then it's gone.

My discretion doesn't stretch that far, but they never believe it, and I've met men like Alaric Ward before, men who don't make room for a true successor, because they assume they will always be there.

It's a flaw of Charismatic, ambitious, men (and women).  General Secretary Imboye wasn't the first one who thought they could tame death.  She wasn't even the tenth.  The 21st Century is yesterday and still out of reach.

"What are you thinking about, Reaper?"  Kaitlynn asks.

I have my secrets, though.  Still.

I regard her carefully, watchfully.  "The dead." I tell her, "The victims."

"There were a lot of them at Gettysburg, weren't there?" she misunderstands, but that's fine.

"Yes." I tell her a half-truth.  "There were."

"You said you used a book-"

one of my lies.  "Yes.  an old book."  The way to fool a lie detector, is to believe the lie.  I'm good at believing in lies, been fooled by the best.  "I doubt it survived to the present, or even existed in this timeline."

"are you going to be alright, Reaper? You're going to be quite busy tomorrow..."

"I'll be fine.  Get some rest? reasonable amounts of sleep are critical for maintaining your lifespan, you know."  It's true-sleep deprivation does tend to shorten your lifespan.  The human body need rest to self-repair.  "It's what I'm going to do!" I give her a smile, careful to crinkle my eyes with the studied gesture.

It works.  She believes me, and yawns.  "I...think I'll do just that very thing.  Sleep well, Reaper."

I lay back on the hotel bed while she crawls into the other bed.

and I stare at the ceiling.

Spokane happens in front of my eyes, and I remember when I felt fear, the masks they wore, the shining blade, their ritual, how it felt piercing my heart.

The darkness, the light, the face of my patron, as she charged me with my duty, and sent me back to stop those fools.

She has as many names among men, as she has realms for the dead.  Hel, Mahakali, Ran, Gefjon, Persephone, Mohr'igan, I remember seeing a thousand faces and hearing a thousand voices and more.

'you are no-one,
born nothing,
sacrificed.
The sacrifice does not please me,
for what is a sacrifice if it is uncared for?
if it is no loss.
You will serve me,
you will serve my power, and my will,
you will be my daughter, and my
messenger, to go where I wish you to be,
both as my mercy, and my rage.'


I keep my secret close.  There has to be a reason I am in this place, instead of buried under Colorado Springs.  I just need to figure out what that reason is, and for that, I will need time, for my mother is not a gentle one until I am returned to her.

eventually, my body sleeps in sheets and under blankets, until morning comes, while the spirits of the dead whisper their awful secrets to me.
« Last Edit: 19 September 2021, 04:48:27 by Cannonshop »
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

mikecj

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #115 on: 19 September 2021, 15:31:49 »
Good stuff!  Thanks for sharing!
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

Cannonshop

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #116 on: 20 September 2021, 11:48:44 »
Geneva

Kaitlynn didn't get to accompany her...'charge' into the Morgue with the Khan and his bodyguards.

she had to sit outside.

Inside, Reaper wore a variation of her original 'working clothes'- heavy duty pants with padding worked into the knees and joints, a gray hooded sweatshirt, and a civilian jacket.  The only parts missing, were the gloves, and the mask, because who's going to be taking pictures anyway?

***

"mmmh. Huh."  I said. The man on the slab was only slightly bitter-green with rot, maybe a year in a coffin, and whoever did the cosmetics and the preservatives at the mortuary knew their business.  Really good taxidermy for a body tossed in a deep hole where nobody's going to see it.

"Nice work." I comment, "Your morticians are very skilled.  you almost can't see the lobotomy scars."

"Lobotomy scars?" the ilKhan asks doubtfully.

"Yeah, this guy's had his eggs scrambled, someone put some tech-gear in his head..what? you didn't do an autopsy, didja?"

I brought some tools-it's amazing what you can find in museum collections.  Bone saws, scalpels...it's like tossing powders and fumes before saying something cryptic-people, especially the important ones, want a show before you tell them that Grandma told you she pawned the good silver for catfood to eat.

My show, angles right into the fictional stories about necromancers and a little bit of Star Cruiser's D&D games.  Mind that I actually ended up studying some anatomy and basic mortuary and medical examiner stuff-kind  of important when you're hooking up the windpipe after the lungs were yarded out to get testimony from a dead guy.

I cut the stitches along the 'Y' incisions and open our boy up.

"Why are you doing that?" Ward asks.

"Because it's easier to have him answer your questions directly, than to try and parse impressions like a circus psychic." I comment.

not a lot of rot.  good old Formaldehyde, someone drained our boy right.

some chalk-again, for the audience. I draw a basic seal of solomon on the floor with some celtic runes and symbols from algebra, calculus, and geometry classes.  It doesn't actually do anything but impress the rubes, but they're usually a lot more relaxed if it looks like I'm doing a thing that takes study, instead of just reaching into the darkness to drag ole Devlin's soul back to his body by force of will and focus.

People are actually more comfortable if you're a Witch, with the kind of powers I have.  Baba Yaga's what happens when you barely bother with the theatrics and go straight to flexing your actual power, but she still does it, because the Rooskies sleep better if she's a scary wizard, than just a psychopath with Four-Alpha rating reality bending powers.

Better to be a witch, than a god-her words, not mine...but when Mother Russia comes to Onalaska with a bowl of borscht and pot of tea to talk shop, you listen.

If Kim Jong il had understood that in 2006, fifty million Koreans would've lived another year, instead of being buried under an ice-sheet from the 38th parallel to the Yalu River.

One does NOT piss in the soup-bowl of a psychopath with reality bending powers. It's just not smart.

second worst assignment i ever had, putting those souls to rest.

I find our boy Stone.  Gawd, what a patchwork!!

feed a little juice into his nervous system to reboot it, a couple hand-passes chanting backwards korean mixed with phake latin phrases out of Harry Potter...and bingo.

Devlin's eyelids open, his eyes don't focus because they're glass replacements, but he can speak.

"Say hello to Alaric Ward, Devlin." I tell him.

His face contorts with emotions, fear, anger, hatred, and more fear before he starts speaking.

"Can anyone speak to him in this state?" Alaric asks.

"Sure." I tell him, "The eardrums were intact and all the gear's still there, once I put his lungs back on top of his diaphragm, he can speak, answer questions, but I didn't give him control over the rest of his body-he isn't going to be moving from here."

"DO I need you here for this?" the ilKhan asks me.

"Uh, nope, not until you want me to release him, or give him more movement." I don't tell him that I can learn everything I need from the mess that is Devlin Stone's soul, without the body.  "Just...don't mess with the candles, okay?"  scented candles, kills some of the smell,but again, theater for my hosts.

"Leave the room, Reaper." he says it like I'm one of his people.  gah, important types!!  I take the dismissal for what it is, and head outside.  He probably wants to make sure I'm not puppeteering the body like Reverend Chesterfield, a super-criminal of the con-artist variety who gave a good show of 'raising the dead' back in 2009.

I'm fine with it, and head out the door to the waiting room.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Euphonium

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #117 on: 20 September 2021, 12:01:26 »
Is there anyone in there apart from Alaric & Zombie Stone?
I certainly hope there's recorders running.
>>>>[You're only jealous because the voices don't talk to you]<<<<

cklammer

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #118 on: 20 September 2021, 13:04:54 »
Very workman-like proceedings ....  ::)

Cannonshop

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Re: revisiting more weirdness. (Intended to be shorts)
« Reply #119 on: 20 September 2021, 13:14:53 »
Outside the morgue...

Kaitlynn used the time Reaper was in there, to secure lunch rations.  Because the mission was directed specifically by the ilKhan, there was a much broader variety of foodstuffs available than she normally saw, and it was tempting to indulge.

"Hey!" Reaper smiled, wiping her hands clean with a towel as she joined her 'minder' and therapist.  "ooh, Cheeseburgers!! I'm ******' starving!!"

"How can you eat after-wait, of course you can!" Kaitlynn rolled her eyes, "I did, indeed, obtain 'cheeseburgers', but you will have to also eat the salad."

Reaper snorted, "Salad is what food eats." she said with a crooked grin, "okay, mom, I'll eat the salad too, but gimme that greasy heaven in a paper wrapping first!"

Kaitlynn reluctantly slid the burger across the table, watching with some mild horror as the girl who raises dead people attacked it with both hands like a starving man.

"So...you mentioned that everyone has a 'limit', quiaff?" Kaitlynn asked.  Might as well clarify things for her review.

"Yeah..." Reaper took a bite, chewed and swallowed, almost inhaling the fast-food.  "...everybody  has a clock, you guys should know this one!" she rolled her eyes "oh mMMM!!" bite, chew, swallow, gulp of soda...

"care to elaborate? for posterity."

"Okay, everyone's alive, right? means we're all made of living cells, that are growing, then dividing, follows a blueprint called 'DNA' okay?"

"Yes..."

"alright then, every time each cell splits into two, a little DNA is knocked off, a few bits, almost too little to matter, you follow?"

"I do."  it was incredibly basic.

"Alright, well, the NEW cells don't keep that junked DNA, and eventually it gets from the 'junk' to the bits of DNA code that are necessary for the cells to split into two identical cells...like a timer, really more like a burning fuse.  Everybody's got a fuse, Doc-everybody who lives, dies."

"No exceptions?"

"Not that I'm aware of, I mean, there are a couple supers who don't follow normal rules back home, but they're really exceptional.  Metallix started out as somebody's experiment in artificial intelligence mixed with nanotech, swallowed its creator and copied her in glorious silicon and light metals, and Lisa Quentin hasn't aged since she had her breakthrough, but she's REALLY got some weird stuff going with her-invulnerability and some kind of inversion of entropy that makes her like, extra tough, but for us squishy, living people? no real exceptions there."

"And you can see this?"

"Perceive it. Not quite the same thing." Reaper said, "I mean, it's like trying to describe color to a blind person.  no matter how many words I try to use, it all comes down to 'this guy's going to die after eighty years if something doesn't kill him first'.  You'd be surprised how many people trying to make that longer waste their lives instead of living them..." she sighed as she polished off the cheeseburger and drained half the pepsi in her glass.

"interesting.  So there is no way in your world to extend that?"

"A few experiments." Reaper said, "there's Lisa, of course, but she's more like a construct made out of forcefields than a real matter-person, if you ever meet her don't tell her I said that, I think her self-identity is the only thing holding her together on a physical level."

"you have met this...person?"

"Sure, she put me up in Hoquiam at her trailer for a while back in 2015, I needed crash space after...a job, and Western was closed that year. Nice lady, a little too angsty, but she tried to teach me to play guitar, and she definitely taught me some self-defense moves, which came in handy when Reverend Chesterfield sicced a riot on me in Kansas the next year.  nonlethal takedowns got a serious workout."

"So this sense you have, it is...inherent, not learned?" Kaitlynn asked.

"uhm...we're getting into magical theory here, I'm not sure I've got the grounding to explain it-I can tell you some awful stories about dealing with important people who didn't want to believe their time is up and wanted ME to do something about it."

"and you said..."

"No." Reaper stated, "I said 'no', I don't have that kind of power, never have.  I can stop a poison from killing you, I can keep you alive when you've got a pint of blood left, or less even, and keep you going with your major organs shot out until you can be fixed like that guy in Rainier Valley...but I can't stop your clock, when it's time, it's just time."

"How do YOU stay so young?" Kaitlynn asked.

"I do not have a good answer for that." Reaper stated.  "I don't know, see? can't answer what I don't know."

"are you curious?"

"Who isn't? I can tell you how long you have-that one almost never goes well, but I can't see my own timer anymore than you can see your nervous system without instruments, it'd be like trying to see the inside of your own brain using your eyes."

"I've scheduled a clinic visit, Reaper." Kaitlynn told her, "To do a genetic breakdown."

Reaper whistled low, "I get it...alright...full court of scientist caste then?"

Kaitlynn nodded, "aff."

"eh, okay.  I doubt they'll find anything Katya Kerensky's scientists didn't, but okay, maybe the tech's advanced here enough they'll catch what our time-displaced Clanners didn't."
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

 

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