I Got In, I Got In

Yesterday I only had facebook.  And today I have no access to email, so I can get neither the word for the challenge nor your books.  I think we’ll have a book pimping Tuesday or something.

We’ve been having breakfast at a place called Wendell’s.  Writing has been happening.  I will have a real post tomorrow.

And here’s a picture for a writing challenge.

 

conqueror

29 responses to “I Got In, I Got In

  1. In this alien modern city there was no place for a woman with a golden mattock. In despair she contemplated the sin of selling the symbol of her authority for it’s metal content. But surely someone would come! How could such a destination error in the Transmat not be detected and a retrieval team sent?

  2. She’d walked through the city. No, not as one normally does. She had learned the city was a projection, or a hallucination. It wasn’t really there. The stars? They might be real. She signalled again.. and wondered what sick person decided to have the signal work by clicking heels three times. If this was a dream.. why was she dreaming this? And if it wasn’t… why did nothing keep on happening?

  3. > We’ve been having breakfast at a place called Wendell’s.

    Is the mascot a manatee? 🙂

  4. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Athena Stevens found herself in a strange dark city.

    The human mind is always strange but why would the rouge have this place in his mind? Unless…

    She then realized that the city was just a barrier to keep telepaths from the truth. She plunged deeper into the criminal’s mind.

  5. The pavement was blue. The walls were blue. The sky was blue – and not any expected, proper blue, but a dark cerulean that hurt the eyes. Rebecca stumbled down the avenue, brushing against the blueness as she tried to get away from however had drugged her with this blueness.
    But was it a drug? She didn’t feel dizzy, and she could recall her multiplication tables, and she knew her name. But she was tired, so tired. Looking down, the ugly goldfish-colored flight suit she was wearing wasn’t blue, and looking back along the abandoned street, she could see slashes and spills of that same goldfish color on the walls she had brushed against. And looking closely, she noticed those goldfish color patches seemed to be spreading.
    But so was that shiny stretch of reflective black on the pavement – that seemed like it was snaking her direction, following her path, now oozing closer. She gripped the… whatever this tool thing was that she had grabbed earlier, now also featuring a gold tone, and turned to hurry onward.
    Suddenly a door opened ahead of her and a bright golden light shone on her, forcing her to look down and away. “Hey, in here, quick!”

  6. Insomnia isn’t all bad, on nights like this. Downtown vibrates at a lower frequency; the streets are mine alone. My suit assures the panopticon’s AI I am benign; Geordi’s Smart Duds are worth every credit. I hear the distant whir of the sanitation drones, which find me uninteresting. For now, my footsteps and my thoughts are my only companions. My feet urge my exhausted body back to bed. If they had my brain’s stamina, I’d be walking all week, with no two thoughts alike

  7. richardmcenroe

    For months he had ignored her advances at work, at the rallies, online. But no more. Now, woke as fuck, lit as shit, and flying like an orbital shuttle, she had a pick to bone him with…

  8. Completely OT: The Dragon Awards are out. Apparently (because the main site has not been updated to include this year), Sara and Kevin J. Anderson won Alternate History.

  9. At sundown there were no lights in the city. Candle or lamp light came from an occasional window.

    “Any word as to when, or if, we’re getting power back?”

    “They’re still working on it, but nothing concrete. Why, are you getting scared?”

    “Nah, but I am getting a little blue.”

  10. At times she lost hope. The vision of a better and bluer world could not allure her. Every time she put the touches on this building or that one, she would see another place where the other wretched colors had escaped her. And she was covered with non-blue colors herself.

  11. Sunlight filtered through the dark city streets and vaporized the last of the demons. Sierra was battle-weary. She collapsed against the nearest building and closed her eyes. The sun felt warm on her face but the throbbing in her ankle was unbearable.
    Desert hot springs – here I come, she thought.

  12. This wasn’t written in response to this prompt; but some weeks ago, when trying to come up with an vignette, the Muse told me to finally do something with an idea that had come to me years ago. Curiously, it works rather well with today’s picture.

    The sun, red as a maraschino cherry, rose in the east. A new day had come to Margaritaville.

    Mild-mannered milkman Reginald Pertwee had completed his round and was on his way home. A buzz sounded. He opened a secret compartment in the dashboard of his milk wagon and took out the hotline from the Mayor’s office.

    “Hello?”

    “This is Mayor Beam speaking. I have news of the gravest concern. Come to my office at once.”

    “I’m on my way.”

    Pertwee opened another secret compartment and pushed a button. The broken-down old horse drawing the milk wagon shook itself and transformed into a team of steam-powered Clydesdales. The wagon lengthened and streamlined and became the Beerwagon with its built-in Utility Bar. Pertwee took a mask and cape from a third secret compartment, donned them, and became —

    CAPTAIN LIQUOR!!!

    Entering the Mayor’s office, Captain Liquor was struck by the change that had come over the usually spifflicated Jim Beam. He appeared shrunken and aged, like an old grand-dad.

    “Mayor Beam!” cried the Captain. “What is the matter?”

    “I just got word that overnight a convoy of whiskey was —”

    “Hijacked?”

    “Worse, much worse. It was chopped to pieces.”

    “But that means —”

    “Yes. Temperance Dry is back.”

    “I thought she had reformed and was now a postulant at the convent of San Martini.”

    “We’ve called the convent. She’s evaporated…What are we going to do?”

    “Hmmm…We’ll set a trap.”

    * * * * *

    Deep in the countryside, a convoy of trucks labeled “Whiskey” rumbled along Gin Lane. Suddenly, a whooshing roar sounded in the adjacent woods and a powerful jet of water sliced a ditch across the road in front of the leading truck. Another roar and a second jet cut the road behind the last truck. The convoy was trapped.

    Temperance Dry stepped out of the woods. With an eerie, triumphant laugh she raised her glittering hatchet. A flame lanced from the handle and the hatchet rocketed through the air, inexorably reducing the trucks to heaps of wreckage.

    But what was this? As each vehicle was destroyed there was no satisfying gurgle of wasted whiskey draining away. The trucks were empty! Save for the last, which, chopped away, revealed — Captain Liquor and the Beerwagon!

    “Got you, Temperance!” cried the Captain. “Surrender!”

    “Ha!” scoffed Temperance. “My water cannon and rocket hatchet did not exhaust my arsenal. Have a taste of my Lemonnade!” She raised the weapon and fired a barrage of yellow citrus fruit at the Beerwagon. Captain Liquor dodged them, but the Utility Bar was shattered.

    “A clever twist!” said the Captain.

    “That was nothing,” said Temperance. “Now face my ultimate weapon!” She sprang up on to the Beerwagon, confronting the Captain, and drew forth a massive roll of parchment. “The Eighteenth Amendment!” Shrieking her battle cry “VOLSTEAD!” she wielded the document with superhuman skill, battering the Captain to his knees. He reached behind him and groped in the wreckage of the Utility Bar, picked up a small oval object and flung it at Temperance Dry’s feet, where it exploded and drenching her in a sticky red liquid.

    Stunned and immobilized, Temperance Dry fell off the wagon.

    Captain Liquor leaped down and pinioned her.

    “What — what was that?” asked Temperance, regaining consciousness.

    “My latest invention,” replied the Captain, “the Grenadine!”

    “Oh, the irony of it,” moaned Temperance. “Grenadine is —”

    “A common ingredient of cocktails — but non-alcoholic,” said Captain Liquor.

    There is a billboard on Route 84 East outside of Waterbury, Connecticut, promoting a package store called “Captain Liquor”; I used see it whenever we went to Massachusetts to visit my in-laws.

  13. Sierra was so tired she staggered and could barely hold onto her golden Halligan tool as she wearily made her way home. Killing zombies was hard work, and some days the endless slaughter made her so blue that everything took on an azure tint to her weary eyes.

  14. The night was dark. The streets were empty. My gun felt made of lead. I was pooped. My clothes smelled funky. My sinuses hurt my head.

    Even my feet hurt. Whomever designed my boots had to have been a sadist. As soon as they got wet, the arch supports melted. And then they dried unevenly so they pinched and caused my feet to blister.

    I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to find my target tonight. The smart thing to do would be to call it a night, hit the sack, and get a fresh start early in the morning. But then nobody ever said I was smart unless they wanted something from me.

    The fourth time I stumbled over the cracks in the sidewalk, I decided enough was enough and headed back to the hotel. Who knows? Maybe I’m getting smarter in my old age.

  15. Donald Stephens

    Around midnight, we found Maura and Ty on the south side of the old city core, at the end of one of the long plazas these people had favored. Ty was watching the plaza, so Maura saw us first.

    “Ty, it’s more of the crew! Sam, how many are with you?”

    “All nine of us, no injuries. How about you and Ty?”

    “We’re both OK. I’m just about out of ammo for this thing, though.’ Maura raised the 35mm recoilless rifle slightly. “At least we know what this area was for.”

    “You do?” Markus sounded surprised.

    “Yes. It’s the Writer’s Block.”

  16. analytical-engine-mechanic

    Clara Corbin *felt* the rip opening long, precious seconds before the canary-yellow light dazzled from the edges of the hole, or the sirens began to sound. The pit-of-your-stomach sensation, the odd stale smell that wasn’t a smell at all, the fireworks lights you could see with your eyes blinked shut, that told you a few quick things by their shape and color…

    Working the night-deserted Philadelphia Plaza usually got you (the DDP) a few dozen New Dollars an hour — fifty bucks and the uniform would get you a cup of real, hot coffee or a nutri-complete mealpack — but now it was time to earn her pay. She checked the void-rifle charge and status almost by reflex, a twisted-melted looking hundred-shooter that shot straight as you could see to aim it, turned to the now sunrise-brightening light next to oddly-twisted and mirage-bent images of the buildings close by it, and awaited… whatever.

    It had “looked” too bright to be a nowgate, to somewhere else on this Earth of 2276; the yellow too whitish and the behind-your-lids “fireworks” too vivid for even a crossgate to somewhen else here/there (not just forward and back but also sideways, here slavery had been outlawed in 1842 and the Civil War had been called the Blue State Rebellion of 2024). That left an exogate, to… somewhere else entirely.

    As she sidled deliberately and swiftly closer to being almost, but still not quite, square-on to the incipient opening of the latest time-wandering cowsplat of the Philadelphia Experiment, Clara realized she was, indeed, almost smiling.

    As thoroughly and cataclysmically as it’d turned her former life upside down and inside out, “her own” timerip had been… not without its silver lining.
    And at least *this* one was geostationary; some had taken out major chunks of whole buildings, sliding around in their brief existence. She took one hand off the gun to pull out the air siptube from her uniform, cheap salvation if the foreign exo-air was red or green this time, ready to her mouth. (Bleached hair or uniform, annoying. Bleached lungs, likely fatal.)

    She nodded to Jurgen Walther (Central European Caliphate Wars, mid-2050s), coming up on her left now, across the broadside direction of the dazzly-bright threadbare spot in the fabric of reality, then to Throws Swift (about “now” in a far-away Ice Age still in full flower) coming up behind. Both were steady and sober and deadly as a rattlesnake, they’d do.
    With a hundred-plus square miles of always-downtown GreatPhil subject to the “anastomoses” (double-eagle jawcracker for “holes in the air”) in space and time, there was no way to cover them all with… good cheap people. Even with the way they *almost* always came on the nightside of the planet, you had to take potluck for comrades when you walked the Zone. Good hand, this deal.

    The yellow dazzle, like staring into a lantern, started to clear. Clara had been looking with one eye, the other behind the vidsight of her gun, hoping the other side was dayside not the rare night… confrontation.

    There was a beautiful purplish sky, “there” in front of them, definitely dayside, just about a perfect coal-tar mauve from Back Home. There was a dry, sandy desert that looked too like Arizona or someplace, with… trees that looked a lot like a cross between a scrub oak and a cactus, covered in branches that had grown stiff and twisted like a spider dying on a sun-scorched rock. The sun that hammered down on it was light blue like the sky of Earth.
    And the air was indeed red-tinged, leaking through the “molasses” at the rip; she took a long pull of air just to be on the safe side, and breathed carefully out through her nose again. (What was that stuff again? Bromine?)

    Clara Corbin sighed, carefully and mindfully, in relief.
    Exogate, no question.
    Rules of engagement, fire at will.

    Not exactly West Texas, A.D. 1883. Hers or anyone else’s. Maybe one day she would front the rip that could take her back home, or to a place enough like it. Diagonally Displaced no more.

    But she had now. And maybe to-night was a good night for Bad Things to die.

    Or maybe an even better night to look at the pretty purple sky and the, well, Hieronymous Bosch trees (religious school oughta be good for somethin’).
    For a few minutes, worth whole regular nights’ work in bonuses…

    Clara stole another moment to put on her shades one-handed, that UV might be nasty. 0:53 into the rip event on her vidsight.

    Throws Swift was deployed to her right, to fire obliquely since material projectiles lost about half their through-gate speed but almost no sideways speed. Jurgen was aiming two particle blasters nearly straight on to her left, through the nearly-round rip maybe twenty-five feet across.

    In the blue sun, almost nothing was moving.
    Here, the wind was at her back, so the exo-air blew away from them. But so far little or none of ours, visibly, into the Other Side.
    (1 min., 37 sec.)
    Clara felt someone come up on the express slidewalk behind them, some tall New Guy with dreadlocks and a mid-21st-looking submachine gun in a wink of the eye of her vidsight.

    And on the Other Side, about forty feet away, along came a spider the size of a washtub, out of a trapdoor pit.
    “Hold,” she said, mostly to New Guy.
    It watched them, like a Brobdignag wolf-spider, with many beady eyes.
    Clara had a good feeling about it.

    From too near her right, New Guy said, “shouldn’t we shoot the spider just to…”
    And something the size of a wolfhound and the shape of a monitor lizard burst from the sand five yards in front of them and blurred into a charge.

    There was a sound like an eighth note on a cathedral organ, and Throws Swift sent fifty bullet-size projectiles toward the lizard, safely sideways to them (and even the spider), at Mach five. Only a few hit, bloodily.
    Clara held down the back trigger and faded sideways left, and her void rifle punched long holes in the lizard — with gouts of flame as the displaced flesh, its downrange position scrambled on the atomic level, burned orange in the exo-air and bright yellow in ours.
    It slowed radically as it crossed the rip line, still running though not turning to follow her, and its head and midsection blew up as two lightning-bright blaster bolts flash-boiled its vitals. She spared a hand to grab New Guy and haul him out of the path of the still-closing lizard…

    And its finger-long, bear-strong, icepick-sbarp claws. As it fell in a blue-bloody heap. “Cease fire but guard,” she said, automatically. And turned back…

    To see the wooly black exo-spider, well, *bow*. Then vanish down its trap.
    (2 min., 55 sec.)

    Clara let her attention stray to all the front sand at once, awareness on the very next thing to a hair trigger. But as before, only the branches moved a tiny bit in the sighing exo-wind. And then that familiar twisting in her gut…

    “Expect closure imminent,” she said, around the nausea, as the scene briefly blurred and the yellow framing light suddenly swallowed it once again.
    And New Guy started throwing up to one side, limelit in its brilliance.

    “Don’t get your chunder on the corpse, okay? Cuts the bounty smartly.” Throws Swift did not quite speak with a Down Under accent, but more than a trace of British-side English colored his words.

    “Gun on safe?” asked Clara, neutrally. Swiftly “Roger” came from Jurgen, and then Throws Swift, and then more muzzily New Guy. Who wiped his mouth with a hand, then both with with a rag from his pocket.

    “Clara Corbin, Anno Domini 1883, Texas, United States,” she said, and stuck out her hand.
    “Uh, Clive Barrow, 1959, Jamaica the British Commonwealth.” He’d looked a bit bemused at the “1883” and her natural accent. But shook anyway.
    “Throws Swift, circa 2200, the Otter Moraine Clan.”
    “Jurgen Walther, 2057, Austro-Swiss Secular Partisanship.”
    And she’d only made it as far as “You did good, but…” when Jurgen motioned her aside.

    “Blaster smarts got 107 MB from that spider’s vicinity, infrared optical PCM. First numbers are first seven rows of the Periodic Table and the first 1000 primes. Real First Contact stuff.”
    Clara froze in her tracks. Then said merely, “Shhh! Ours.”
    “Nincs mit,” he said. “No worries there.”

    (Thanks to Gordon R. Dickson for the loan of the void pistol, though my tech-mech is different.
    And as always to Sarah for these outrageously inspirational picture-prompts, whoever said “1000 words” was a piker.)