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Sturgeon's House

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I didn't see the WoT post. 

 

I tend to stay away from WoT forums, they smell funny. 

agreed!  I only visit while under the influence of alcohol and other legal in CO intoxicants.

 

 

Edit: Lack of sleep and cannabanoids have me contemplating doing a SH versions of my old Team Paragon merc fic.

Now that Tekky is here, I have LMG toting backup.  I would have to write Oliphant in using a 6.8 LWRC carbine or something equally as trolltastic.

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This is the thread for posting short stories, vignettes, idea pieces or whatever.

 

RULES:

 

1. Pay to play

If you want to add criticism, comment, applause or whatever then you also need to add your own work into the pot. In the post, please.

 

2. Grow thicker skin

This should be self-explanatory. People doing creative stuff are gigantic positive reinforcement whores (I know I am) and tend to get into a state when there is actual criticism of their material.

Don't be the person that runs away if anything other than rapturous applause is provided. Put it out there, realise it isn't perfect, take what you can from the responses and make it better.

 

3. Don't be a shitter

Also self-explanatory, and the reason for rule 1. If you want to troll, I'm sure we can make a satirical topic for you to hate in to your heart's content.

 

4. Don't be afraid

Goes with rule 2. Realise that some people won't like your work no matter what you do, and that taste in entertainment is subjective (no matter what professional critics might think). So relax, you're among friends. Or at least as close to friends as the internet is capable of.

 

5. The rules may change

We are lucky enough to have some actual published authors and writers here. The extent of my public exposure has been in esoteric law journals.

Accordingly, you can expect the above to change somewhat based on input from the more experienced.

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To start:

 

Often, just before she went to sleep, Selene's last thoughts would be of Contracts. Words and sentences spooled their endless loops and clauses in her mind. Articles and appendices, trapped in elegant and efficient prose, swam before her. Structure and form were there, lined in fire, visible behind closed eyes. In her half-awake state she made words to bind men, bind fate, bind the very universe. Until she slipped into formless sleep. Waking, she would admit that this was all an affectation; an exercise left over from her days as a student who literally studied till she dropped. Sometimes, the exercise would even pay off: morning would bring solutions to problems that seemed impossibly thorny the night before. This was a known thing, she was sure. A little quirk of an active mind.

 

Working as hard as she did, she was occasionally blindsided by news outside of her fairly narrow interests. Only belatedly did she become aware of a new phenomenon sweeping the media: some prodigy or another causing a stir by performing particularly impressive parlor tricks. Spoon floating, Geller-type stuff. Selene had dutifully checked out the inevitable videos during her lunch break, by way of having some sort of reference point when clients inevitably brought it up.

 

Later, she found herself putting together a court file for a particularly obstreperous client. Leaving the office after dark, the rattling list of Things To Do filling her mind, she was too preoccupied to notice the strangely empty roads; or the faint lights weaving patterns in the sky. Getting home, she didn’t bother to switch on the TV while she made herself a meal. As she worked the microwave oven her phone - on silent and in the bottom of her bag - began to accumulate an unusually large number of messages from colleagues, friends and family. Selene, still contemplating affidavits, didn’t notice.

 

With a plate of reheated supper in one arm and a binder full of case documents in the other, she strode into her unlit study to get on with the case. Then stopped when her arm brushed a fern.

 

Over the beating of her heart, suddenly fast and loud in the warm dark, Selene could faintly hear the trilling and buzzing of insects. As her eyes became accustomed to the gloom of the not-study, the faint outlines of great trees could be seen all around. Looking up, she saw strange stars wheeling in a cloudy sky. Over the earthy musk of decaying leaves and rotting wood, a faint breeze brought the smell of distant rain.

Just over a week later, the quiet of her house was disturbed by the sudden materialization of a figure in a tattered, smouldering office dress just above the study room desk. Selene, still trailing thin wisps of smoke, walked hesitantly to the bathroom on bare and bruised feet, ran herself a cold bath, and lay in it for the rest of the afternoon.

On the wall of her now-dusty study, the oil painting she had inadvertently walked into still retained the image of a smouldering primeval forest. And in the distance, a small figure wreathed in fire.
 

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I brace myself for the arrival of the god.  My mouth becomes dry.  The god is getting nearer.  Lights become brighter.  The god is getting nearer.

 

I try to sleep.  The god will not let me sleep.  The individual satraps of the body go through the physical motions of sleep, but that final spiritual divorce; that slide into unawareness never comes.  The god reforms the mind.  The brave white horse; the executive function, the ego, is handed an axe wrapped in kindling.  "Go," says the god, "you are hereby empowered to divine and perfect tyranny."

 

I feel my eyes go into REM.  The god will not let me sleep.  I feel my muscles lose tone.  Loose tone.  I begin drooling.  I know I drool when I sleep, but only because of the dampness when I wake up.  I know I roll over when I sleep, but only because of the disordered blankets when I wake up.  The god will not let me sleep.  I am watching myself try to sleep, taking meticulous notes.

 

The world becomes adorable, comforting clarity.  I know that the god is here, and will demand payment.  That is what it must be.

 

I try to use the clarity.  I focus, hard, on the meditations of the id.  The catechisms.  The god is here, the god is taking what is the god's.  I must render unto myself.

 

There are three fundamental motivations.  There is the ovine motivation; this is the motivation to do something because someone else wants us to do it, and that breeds our motivation.  This is overwhelmingly the most common motivation.  There is the Miltonian motivation; this is the motivation to do something else because it harms or contradicts someone else, even though it be useless or even precious to us.  Finally, there is the Zarathustran motivation; this is the motivation to do something because we want it.  This is the rarest, and hardest to distinguish from the other two.

 

Our awareness becomes frightened and tentative; it creeps towards the future.  We must not fear paying the god for services rendered.  We must not fear to keep promises, we must not fear the inevitable.  We will become dissolute, lose appetite.  What will be will be, and what is is.  Focus on the catechisms.  We must make this worth it.

 

The god is definitely here.

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The gun felt surprisingly warm in my grasp. Testing the balance (although obviously I couldn’t shoulder it) it seemed remarkably light and centred. Everything lined up. Then, touching what I should call the grip, I noticed a faint tremor. The gun literally shivered in anticipation.

 

“Do you like it?” Robert was looking at me now. “I actually didn’t put that in on purpose, but it’s a neat feature nonetheless. Definitely nice to have something which enjoys its job”

 

I looked back at the gun and gave it an experimental pat. It wriggled (although the word gets a bit stretched when applied to something so rigidly constructed) and its eyes half-closed with pleasure. I kept patting it and turned back to Robert.

 

“Bob,’ I said, ‘what on earth gave you the idea to make this thing?”

 

“Well’, he replied, ‘it’s simple. I got to thinking, you know how I do, about gun control and all. And now I think I’ve solved it!”

 

“That’s great, Bob, but -”

 

“Now, I know what you’re thinking! This is kid’s stuff, these guns. A fellow could make them with... well, with anything! But that’s not the point. The point is that now they can make themselves. These things, if you feed them and care for them right, they’re essentially infinite. No way could the government ban the stuff you need to make a new one.”

 

I had to admit that he had a point there. Looking at Robert’s creation and contemplating the info-dump he had just sent my way, his gun was pretty much impossible to restrict by anything so old-fashioned as banning tools or materials. This gun - if fed a diet of ordinary carbohydrates, proteins, fats and iron-bearing minerals - could replicate itself indefinitely.

 

“Look at the plumbing, for instance,’ Robert continued as he directed my gaze towards the under-slung mouth beneath the muzzle. ‘The teeth are made of the same stuff the bullets: dentine and enamel with significant magnetite inclusions. It can chew rocks if it needs to. And the cloaca,’ I moved an arm carefully away from the spot he was pointing to, ‘is on the left or right depending on gender. Means both lefties and righties can shoot without touching the pellets, and that mating is done side-on. As for the eggs, they-”

 

“You mentioned bullets,’ I interrupted. “but wouldn’t it be easier to make the ammunition separately?” Robert gazed at me levelly for a moment as the gun made squeaky noises, no doubt puzzled as to why the slow kid was being allowed to ask the questions today.

 

“Not at all’, he continued at last. ‘Why, ammunition is the core of the gun. If it can’t make its own, then some government prod-nose could just ban that instead.”

 

“And the mechanism? How does it fire?”

 

“That’s simply down to the biology I used. There is a firing chamber feeding in from the dentate gyrus and the binary explosive glands. Actuation is all manual, meaning in this case that the gun uses its internal musculature to load and lock. Firing is involuntary, and is actuated by the trigger-spur on the ventral surface.”

 

“And how many times can it do this?”

 

“It depends. The internal bullet reserve varies, but is something in the order of one hundred mature bullets in the crop. You can also top it up with spare bullets from this operculum here’, pointing to a flap on the dorsal side of the gun, ’or explosive precursor here. The gun will also spit out excess bullets and explosive precursor if toggled by a specific movement along the caudal line.”

 

I lined up the gun as well as I could, and sighted along the top of the muzzle. The sight picture actually wasn’t too bad, with the optical tunnel at the back of the cephalothorax providing a reasonably high-contrast view of the target and a phosphorescent dot in the centre of the view.

 

“So, uh, how do I aim this thing?”

 

“You simply place the dot on target, hold the grip and pull the trigger spur when the dot colour changes. The gun will use its eyes – binocular vision and all – to adjust the range and then shift the barrel to the correct position. The whiskers and skin patches measure wind and the like.”

 

Not wanting to accidentally set the gun off (Robert would probably not approve of a test firing right now), I placed the gun down on its rather insectile forelegs. It seemed immensely pleased with itself, and capered around my feet in a sort of gormless way. I found myself strangely happy to be around it, as it gave me the unshakable impression that I was its’ favourite thing in the world. Needless to say, I am not used to this sort of reaction.

 

“Bob,’ I said, ‘I think you really have done it. There are just two more questions I want to ask before I leave to write this all up.”

 

“Shoot.”

 

“One, why gun control? I mean, guns are old history. Heck, anyone who wants a real one can buy it at a curio shop or print it out at home. You don’t even need a licence. Guns are about as controlled now as spears. And about as dangerous to the likes of you and I.”

 

The cold cameras of the bio-fabrication-complex-come-AI known (for reasons only it could begin to articulate) simply as Robert gazed at me levelly again. Despite my large, multi-legged and armour-plated exterior, I felt distinctly small and sheepish.

 

“And the second question?”

 

I trained a camera or two down at the gun, still happily skittering and yammering to itself around my many feet.

 

“Can I keep it?”

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Mike Sparks sailed into harbor

In his M one one and three

Ol' sparky hit the tavern

With his crew of fifty three

 

After drinking up their pay

They staggered through the town

But all the inns and public houses

Turned mike sparky down

 

Ol' Sparky said “Fear not, me lads

You all can come with me

I live just ‘round the corner

And you all can stay for free”

 

But when Mike Sparky’s wife awoke

Upon the break of day

They say that you could hear her wailin’

Clear to 4chan's kay…

 

She said there’s

Gavins all around the bed

And Gavins on the floor

Gavins in the bathroom

And behind the closet door

 

There’s Gavins in the fireplace

And Gavins in the hall

The living room is carpeted

With Gavins, wall to wall

 

There’s Gavins in the entryway

And Gavins on the stair

And worst of all, there’s even Gavins

In me underwear

 

There’s some behind the larder

And beneath the table, too

I do believe your Gavins

Got into me Irish stew

 

There’s Gavins here in front of me

And Gavins in the rear

My God—there’s even Gavins

Hanging from the chandelier

 

There’s Gavins on the windowsill

And Gavins in the yard

The Gavins even left a stain

Upon the Saint Bernard

 

Although I am a patient wife

‘Tis more than I can bear

To wake up in the morning

With your Gavins in my hair

 

I ne’er again do wish to see thee

Darken up my door

So clean up all your Gavins and

Come round my way no more

So clean up all your Gavins and

Come round my way no more!

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Plot Twist: The 53 friends are just the usernames that Sparky uses to promote his ideas. BlackTailDefense, Sam Damon Jr., and basically any other "person" who argues on the Wikipedia talk page about calling the M113 that name. 

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