I’ll Catch You On The Other Side

I simply don’t have the time to organize the promo post, so it will be tomorrow.  There will be a con report whenever I make it home today, so probably late.  It was fun.  I don’t want to leave all my imaginary friends and go back home.  OTOH books to finish.

So…. More later, promo tomorrow, even though I know it disturbs the OCD among you.

If you must have a writing prompt use the below:



68 thoughts on “I’ll Catch You On The Other Side

      1. I hope you can get ahead of your “needed yesterday” jobs so that you can write that and several others to follow on, to use 40 years from now when you pass on to your reward.

        The idea of you taunting vileprogs from beyond the grave tickles my funny bone.

  1. Taking another step, Jason let more yarn play through his fingers. The maze’s dim light and twisting corridors obscured all beyond a few yards before or behind. Sword ready, he prayed to all gods that be the monster wouldn’t sense his presence. Like an answered prayer, he heard the bellow.

    50 on the … oh! You said the below! Ooops. There’s a darker tale …

    1. Jason? Sheesh, those Argo-nuts got really lost this time. How many times must we rethread their yarn so they lead themselves out again? It sure gets tiresome, it does. Well, at least the fellow playing decoy is close enough to be heard, but far enough not to be in danger.

    2. RES, you are a Bad Influence

      You might think, thought Artemise, that you would get used to it. About the third time you stole from a dragon’s lair, the fourth time you fenced as a musketeer, the seventh time you swung a cutlass to slice down pirates, the twelfth time you had an energy-gun shoot-out with robots, you should be able to walk down a stairway fearlessly. Even a stone stairway, with a stone arched doorway that let you in, and stone walls to either hand (and the stone was only plain gray!). Even if you knew it went far underground.
      Even if, in the dark, you had to feel out the floor by foot.
      Especially when the number of steps changed.

      1. A Very Bad Influence

        “It’s in the below,” grumbled Queenie. She peered up at the roof, carved directly from the dark rock. “The below. What an understatement.”
        Jonnet told herself that the shadows slanted across Queenie’s face in a different direction than on Karl’s, three steps behind her because of the lanterns’ positions.
        She didn’t believe herself. She looked ahead. Sven’s dark head was haloed by the lantern light.
        “I think it’s here,” he said. His voice echoed and resounded.
        “It never managed to hide one of them so well before,” said Nina, quietly.
        “Perhaps it meant to make us overconfident,” said Karl quietly.

  2. It sat staring at the inscription, for what seemed an eternity. Perfectly balanced, silent except for the servos quietly maintaining it’s balance. Martha waited a little bit longer, before clearing her throat to get it’s attention. It’s head turned to look at her and it pivoted as it stood up in that eerie way the automated companions did which showed that they were far from human.
    “Have you seen enough?”
    “I have mistress,” it’s voice warbled. She should probably get that checked out next service visit.
    “Who was the person buried here?”
    There was a small hesitation as if it was looking for the right words. Some of the companions seemed to be almost human in mannerism. “He was my activator mistress, some would have said he was my first owner.”
    “He was more than that though?”
    “Yes mistress…He was my friend and father figure will I learned about my world.”
    Martha shook her head. This companion was something far different than the other companions she had worked with.

  3. Falling slowly through the grav shaft he wondered what sins he’d committed to come here. Listing the first few hundred convinced him the exercise would not be conducive to his peace of mind. Besides, the flickering lights, red haze and gradual acceleration suggested he would soon be entering The Below.

  4. Squatting, the android averted his gaze from the marker, from the rubble beyond and swiftly calculated. Compiling the various elements, the palette, the dark clouds of smoke rising up, he concluded: “1940s, possibly ‘50s, compositional and tonal elements suggest Astounding, possibly Galaxy. How’m I trapped in an old SF magazine?”

              1. I see some low tech eye augmentation in your photo. I’d even be willing to wager you have some technological augmentation of dentition too.

            1. Pish-tosh. I was commenting on the artistic genre, not the artist.

              Could have been worse – how would you like to find yourself trapped in an Eighties cyberpunk magazine story or worse, in a contemporary issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction?

              1. BTW – a topic for another day’s discussion: What is the Golden Age of SF/F illustration? Do we distinguish magazine covers from book covers?

  5. I looked at my gravestone. It was getting corroded, lichens growing on it, weeds and grass coming up in the cracks of the surrounding stonework. Ten years was all it had been since I moved myself from flesh and blood into technological body. I mused about the price of immortality.

  6. A picture is worth a thousand words. 20 fold reduction is in some respects even harder than going from a single seed word. Thanks!

  7. Oooh, tricky. A *visual* prompt. Very nice.


    The cyborg contemplated the gravestone, considering what dates it, no, he should inscribe upon it. Date of birth or date of activation? Date of death or date of his impending programmed termination? All of the above? None? After all, there was no guarantee that he would not be ‘born’ again.



  8. He knew stories about dogs that had done this same thing. He had not planned to imitate them; he had once thought the dogs stupid to wait for something that was never coming back. Yet here he was, sitting by his master’s grave, keeping watch, as he would for eternity.

  9. All the edgy goth droids eventually took to hanging out in graveyards. I laughed when I was only 300, but here I found myself … hanging out in an old graveyard. I was contemplating how *annoying* great^5 grandad was being. “Back in my day, we had grave *respect* for the infirm, because there were things you *couldn’t* fix with an hour in a bionics shop.” Yeah? Well back in your day, no one had to put up with ancient plutocrats from the bronze age whinging about how society should be, because they eventually ended … up … here … okay too dark. Too dark. What is *with* those edgy goth droids anyway?

    1. That’s both funny and kind of touching. The whole “…okay, he’s driving me up the wall but I can’t wish he were gone.”

  10. It found Dr. Haun’s grave as it was searching for a place to recharge. It had known its creator was dead the moment it had opened its eyes in the stone closet concealed in the basement pillar, and discovered the house was an aged ruin. Still, whether by programming or its own volition it knelt before the headstone.

    It was in the family cemetery. It had been here once before, when Dr. Haun’s wife died. Death was its first moment of curiosity. Humans couldn’t be revived like machines? Dr. Haun had patiently explained that no, such was not the case, and it was then that it felt its first emotion: pity. It had realized then that the day would could, should it remain in good repair, that it would continue to function long after its creator ceased.

    It studied the headstone. It was worn as though it had been a century or more since he had died, and from the date he had died a very old man. But why did it not know this? Had it been in the hideaway long before his death? If so, why?

    It took only microseconds to ponder this, yet it continued to kneel before the grave. The smoldering wildfire, that had cleared away the vegetation and possibly warmed its batteries enough that it revived, reflected on its gleaming bare metal. What had become of its skin and coveralls? Had they both decayed?

    Whatever the answers might be, it would not find them here. If it did not recharge, it could not find them at all. It owed Dr. Haun that much. After all, he was its creator. It stood, and walked down the ash covered driveway.

  11. She felt ready to scream. It was so STUPID. A functional, a fully functional robot, just sitting there by a worn gravestone! Like some kind of sentry. Did whatever sentimental idiot who did this know how many people he had KILLED that way? That robot was needed for the living.

  12. For a thousand years, Talos the android kept vigil at his creator’s grave. Even during the bitter years of the Fifth World War, he came to place flowers on the grave of Dr. Shelly Kagawa. Decade after decade he returned, braving radioactive fallout and killer nanoswarms to make certain that the grave of the woman who had given him sapience remained untouched.

    Finally, one day in 3147, Talos was found lying next to Dr. Kagawa’s grave, inactive. He was buried beside her and they remain to this day.

  13. As I approached the android crouched by the headstone, I wondered why it would be interested in such a thing. Androids had no emotions. Then it turned its head and I sucked in a breath, astounded. By the human skin on the face, this was no android, but a cyborg! Looking closer, at how little skin was visible, I was horrified, wondering what sort of hideous damaged the poor human had suffered to have so much of his body replaced by machines.

  14. The Golden Man had been created in the Last Days by the few remaining sane men in a desperate effort to avert catastrophe. But when it was finished the doomsday missiles were already in the air. There was nothing for it to do save bury the dead.

    (sorry, only 47)

  15. The people in the ships had sent him back, to report on what had become of their mission. The ones on Earth had known of the explosion and continued to ask about it. Until they didn’t. He was an emissary and a spy, built in the image of his maker.

  16. “All created beings have a spirit,” so the Book of Traditions warned. Lt. Prananda* hadn’t really thought about it, other than as a reason why Neo-Traditionalists eschewed owning androids and other fully sapient machines. But as he watched the brass-colored machine venerating an age-worn grave, he began to wonder. Were humans truly as wise as the Scout and Huntress, who had made all living things and proclaimed them good?

    *Tomás Prananda’s father, from the _Shikari_ books.

  17. Adam crouched in front of the headstone that he had created for his Maker’s grave.

    Who had killed his Maker, Rogues? The government? If the government, what had his Maker done to deserve killing and if the government, why had they left his Maker’s body for Adam to find?

    Adam made a mechanical sigh and decided. He would leave the wreckage of the island and find out.

    His Maker had named him Adam but not given him a full name.

    Adam looked down at his golden colored body and decide that he’d call himself “Adam Golden”.

  18. In the ruins stands a grave
    And an android by its side
    And he carries the reminders
    Of him that once built him
    And was cut down for his pride

    with apologies to Paul Simon

  19. I was assembled near Indianapolis, but my firmware was composed by a worldwide team. My hardware has been overhauled twice since I originally shipped. Yet here, underneath this stone slab, lies Cromwell Milo Fornby, who designed me and my kind. I can say it now: I have met my maker.

  20. Yes, I can hear you, JC.

    No, he’s not here. The tombstone says Haden, but it’s not Charlie.

    Yes, I’m sure. Keep looking. We need that Golden Number.

    Yes. It’s possible he found sanctuary in Mozambique after the debacle in Lisbon.

    Great! See you there, JC.

  21. Topping the last low rise before the family graveyard, she was startled to see a figure squatting before one of the older stones. Although she had never seen an androgenoid before, the golden synth-skin and classical masculine human form were unmistakable markers that this was one of the mysterious Methuselah Project’s creations.

    It, no, he, rose gracefully at her approach, and said, “Your pardon. I did not know anyone came here.”

    The polite words, spoken in a low, warm voice, and his unthreatening posture were at odds with her impression of a proud, mythical warrior, but strangely they calmed her nerves.

    “I – I come every three months to tend the graves. Otherwise, the vegetation would bury them very quickly.” she replied. “The islands, as you can see, are famous for their lush growth. It’s the volcanos, of course.” She gestured over the top of the rock wall, to where a distant cone was spewing glowing clouds of pumice and ash.

    He nodded and then pointed to the stone at his feet. “Tell me about her and her family, if you will? Did she have children?” His eyes had a curious intensity.

    “Linwood? She was my great-grandmother. She married late but had three children, two boys and a girl. One of the boys stayed here in the islands – the others left. He, my grandfather, married a local girl, and they had four children. The youngest, the only boy, wasn’t born until she was 45. That was my father. He didn’t marry until he was nearly 40, but he and Mama had three children. I’m the youngest.”

    “Ah, that explains why she is only your great-grandmother, not great-great. And you yourself must be nearing 40?”

    “I will be 42 next month. Why do you ask?”

    “Curiosity. Do you know if your great-grandmother had brothers and sisters?”

    “Family lore says she had two brothers, but one disappeared when he was 18. The wildest rumor was that he was kidnapped by a secretive group of genetic researchers, because of something in his DNA. The family searched for years, but never found him or heard anything of his fate.”

    “Did she grieve for him long?”

    “I think she grieved for him her whole life. They had been very close. Shortly before she died, she commissioned a headstone to be erected in his memory, in case his remains were ever recovered. Of course it has no date of death on it. And it’s not likely to get one, after 140 years.” She indicated a smaller stone to the left of Linwood’s, bearing only a name, date of birth, and the words “Beloved Brother.”

    Changing the subject abruptly, he asked “How much do you know about the Methuselah Project?”

    “Only what everyone knows. They do research into longevity, and make extremely realistic androids whose AI is supposedly programmed using memories of real people. Like the plot of an old science fiction show from the 20th century, I think someone said.”

    “Have you ever heard rumors that they use the actual brains of people, not just their recorded memories?”

    “You mean like those old SF tales of brainships and things? I’ve heard those rumors, but I don’t believe them. I think the Project just developed advanced methods to extract and store memories, and their androgenoids just have very very good AI.”

    “Like myself?” he asked with a faint smile.

    “Yes, actually. I hope I haven’t offended you saying that?”

    “Not at all,” he said. “Thank you for telling me so much about Linwood and her, your, family. I appreciate it very much.”

    “I enjoyed talking about her. But now I need to get home and make dinner. Stay as long as you want, though. No one else will come by.”

    She turned and started back down the path, but then stopped and looked back. He had resumed his squatting position in front of the gravestone. She saw him raise a finger to his left eye, and then gently reach out to trace the name.

    She stood, wondering, for a long moment, before asking softly, “Why are you crying?”

    “She was my sister.”

  22. The golden Consciousness Transport Vessel squatted, gazing around at the odd decor of this transport terminal. Squatted because there was no seating, unless she wanted to sit on the tombstone that some idiot had decided would be just perfect for a departure lounge. In the several millenia since the invention of mass travel back on Old Earth, interior designers had tried just about everything to make the interminable waits that seemed to be inevitable result of anything other than personal transport seem shorter. But decayed graveyards? toppled stone walls and weeds? An odd animated bit of yarn?
    The CTV was absolutely certain she could never figure this one out. But maybe that was the point – squatting there trying to figure out the point was better than staring at a propaganda feed. At least it was quiet.

  23. The picture prompt is a great idea. You should do it from time to time and vary things up.

  24. After the last human colonist passed, PeR-3798 paused at the grave site to remember him. Not because he knew this human particularly well, the humans he knew well had long since passed, just because he mourned that sometimes people need to listen to someone warning them about something, even if he is a mere android.

  25. The prompt was most excellent, bringing out great little stories. Ya done gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood!

  26. Linwood Oreda Haden, I miss the way you flung your frying pan at my head each morning.

    I can’t count the times I mistranslated to keep you alive among the savages on Virginny.

    Last January was the 262nd anniversary of your birth. For 200 lonely years, my beloved, you sleepeth.

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