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skysplinter

Apr 15, 2018

bellossoim-blog

A Tale of Brothers - part 1

Word count: 3608

I promised to write this as a gift for @resining months ago, but I’m really slow and I still don’t think this story is write and, as implied by the‘part 1′ in the title there’s still a fair bit of stuff I’m gonna add to this, but I don’t want to fuss over this part any longer so I’ll just post this bit and wow this is a really long sentence and I should probably be quiet.

ANYWAYS, this is a crossover story between some of @resining‘s OCs and my own. It’s a bit of a mess, but Kol, Dovrun and Bogdan are pretty cool characters and I wanted to work with them. Ehh.

Keep reading

#resining's ocs

skysplinter

bog--wizard

Mar 4, 2018

weepycat

peak fantasy environment designs:

floaty islands

glowing mushrooms

bigger versions of normal animals

animalistic dragons

deep, sentient forests

sky/space whales

skysplinter

Sep 19, 2017

Fanfic: Buried Deep (pt1)

There was nothing anyone could do. When the lightning struck, it spread too fast to be stopped. The old tower was no match for the forces of nature. The city folk could only escape while they still could and watch as the building burned. Even the guardian of the tower could not hope to stop the flames - as the wood smoldered and collapsed around it, it spread its wings and fled far to the west where the fire would not spread.

The blaze proved to be unquenchable, and the people of the city feared that it would take the next tower, and the city itself if it continued to grow. In a panic, they sent word of their plight to the south, begging their neighbors and friends in the hopes that others could save them.

But while their pleas for help spread from person to person, another message was being sent. The birds and beasts of the wild passed a message of a great tragedy, as yet unknown to the people of the city. In the old burning tower, three poor creatures had been trapped by the debris.

The birds and the beasts gathered together and sang out for their three lost children. Their song reached the heavens and brought a great downpour of rain, finally putting out the flames that had destroyed the tower. The people of the city rejoiced. They were saved!

However, it was too late for the three little creatures that had been trapped inside the burned out building, for they had already perished. The birds and the beasts cried in mourning for their lost little ones.

This time, their voices were heard by another - the brethren of the burned tower's guardian, who lived in a tower made of tin. The second guardian took pity upon them for their loss, and granted the three little creatures life once more.

One was born again in a blinding flash of light as a memory of the storm.

The second returned in a blaze of fury, an echo of the flames that had consumed them.

And the third was formed from the tears of the birds and the beasts in a great deluge, as a reminder of the rain which had quenched the fire.

Then, with its gift bestowed upon them, the guardian of the tin tower disappeared into the clouds. It left a glittering rainbow in its wake as it departed, never to be seen again until the time was right and the world needed it once more.

Meanwhile, the three reborn beasts remained in the ruins of the old burned tower. Imbued with new powers given to them by the guardian, they served as a reminder for the tragedy that had taken place, and as a symbol of nature's wild power. It is said they lie beneath the tower even now, sleeping and waiting for their time to rise again.

***

'This is Reed signing off,' said the radio host. 'And remember, all you beautiful listeners out there - keep yourself tuned into the Lucky Channel.'

His voice trailed off and was replaced by one of the cheesiest jingles Ryo had ever heard. In a temper, she leaned over to the front of the car and turned the radio off. Anything was better than listening to that garbage.

Unfortunately, turning off the radio only left her more thoughts to contend with. With no sound to distract her, she could only dwell on what was probably going on inside Professor Elm's lab. Her mom had driven her here and asked her to wait in the car while she discussed something "really important" with her dad.

Knowing her luck, she was probably in trouble again. Ryo couldn't remember a time where she hadn't been in trouble. For the past year or so, she'd had her parents breathing down her neck almost constantly for one reason or another.

First, it had been her run-in with the neighbour's kid, Lyra. The girl had been so smug about the Pokémon her parents had gotten her and paraded the stupid blue mouse ball all over the place for weeks - Marill or Mareep or whatever it was, Ryo didn't care. Her parents hadn't found it funny when she'd taken Lyra's stupid pet and offered to show off her soccer skills with the thing, whatever it was called. Clearly no one in New Bark Town could take a joke.

Then after that, there had been the incident with another one of their more gullible neighbours. Her mom in particular hadn't been impressed when she'd found out that Ryo had convinced the guy to stand out all night in the pouring rain just to find a Pokémon that would only come out of hiding in the daytime. It was his own fault for actually going along with her, but apparently that didn't matter.

When that had all blown over, Ryo had accidentally broken the Pokégear her parents had bought her for her birthday. A Pokégear was an expensive gift, she knew, and her dad had apparently worked extra hours in the lab for Professor Elm just to afford it. Obviously she hadn't meant to break it, but one peaceful walk in the fields just on the town outskirts had turned into a nightmare when a bunch of what she had _thought_ were rocks turned out to be a family of very grumpy Pokémon who didn't enjoy being sat on. She'd come home covered in bumps and bruises after the little rock monsters had finished pelting her with pebbles, and her brand new Pokégear had been all but smashed to bits.

It never stopped. When her parents had finally forgotten about one problem, they'd find another reason to get mad and punish her. She was beginning to forget what a life without being grounded was like, and her TV probably didn't even know how to turn on anymore, but worst of all - worse than anything else that her parents had thrown at her these long eighteen months...

They'd forbidden her from getting her first Pokémon and becoming a fully fledged trainer. While all the other kids her age had been given a Pokémon by Professor Elm and sent off to explore and battle one another, Ryo could only sit and watch from the sidelines.

It wasn't fair. Okay, she had to admit - she might not have been the perfect kid all the time, but it was cruel to keep her hanging back for so long. She was already a teenager now, easily old enough to start her Pokémon journey - and yet here she was, stuck in a stuffy old car while her mom and dad cooked up new ways to make her life miserable. Meanwhile, kids much younger than her were probably setting fire to gym leaders and punching the Indigo League champion, Lance, in his stupid pretty face.

But what could she do about it? She didn't have the money to go out and buy Pokéballs, so catching her own Pokémon was out - and she couldn't just steal a Pokémon from someone else.

She slumped back in her seat. In time, maybe she'd meet other losers who never became a Pokémon trainer. Maybe she'd train to become an accountant or a bus driver or something else that didn't involve Pokémon, and she could be happy watching other people have fun while she begrudged her parents for forbidding her to get her first Pokémon until she was old enough to retire.

'Ugh.' She punched the seat in front of her and took a deep breath.

She was being stupid, she knew that. She just hated this. She hated waiting, she hated feeling useless - and she hated being held back like this. Maybe it was her own fault, or maybe it wasn't. It didn't really matter. She just couldn't stand feeling like all that was waiting for her was a great big nothing. If her parents were going to punish her, they could have made her do any chore they wanted - but this? This was pure torture.

Ryo was shaken from her misery by a knock on the door. Her mom was glaring at her through the window, tight lipped and stiff-limbed like she always was when her daughter got herself in trouble. Ryo opened the door and climbed out of the car.

'Come with me,' her mom said sharply. She was a very severe looking woman even at the best of times, with her sharp haircut and thin, angular build - about as far away from Ryo's dumpy, grumpy look as it was possible to be - but when she was in a mood like this, she looked even spikier than usual. 'You're needed in the lab.'

'Oh boy,' said Ryo. 'Is that where the electric chair is? I didn't think they did public executions any more.'

'Don't be smart, young lady. Come on, we shouldn't keep them waiting.'

_Them?_ She was beginning to like the sound of this less and less, but she didn't have time to dwell on it. Her mother grabbed her arm and guided her through the lab's double doors, past a cloud of glasses-wearing nerds in lab coats, and finally - worryingly - to the entrance to Professor Elm's private office.

'What's the professor got to do with this?' asked Ryo. 'I just thought you and dad were going to ground me again...'

Her mom didn't answer her. She swung the door open, still frowning. 'In,' she said.

Inside the office, she was greeted by her dad and Professor Elm standing by a large machine on the far side of the room. It was a little difficult to tell the two men apart, if she was honest - they were both tall, thin, prematurely balding geeks, and right now, they were both staring at her like she had grown another head. One of them tried something that looked almost like a smile. Her mom closed the door and stood beside the pair, her arms folded firmly against her chest.

'Oh, Ryo! There you are!' One of the men greeted her cheerily. By his tone of voice, she presumed she was talking to the professor; he sounded a little less disapproving than her dad when he sPoké to her. 'Now, I suppose you're wondering why I asked you here.'

'Uhhh...' Ryo shrugged. 'I figure I've done something wrong?'

Elm laughed. Her dad followed nervously. Her mom was still deathly silent.

'No, no. In fact, quite the opposite,' said the professor. 'I need to ask you a favour. I've been trying to ask for your assistance for the past... the past... I'm not quite sure how long, but it's no doubt been several months at least. Unfortunately, with one thing or another, I just haven't had the opportunity to ask. With recent developments, however, I simply can't put off asking you any longer, which is why I've gathered both you and your parents here.'

Ryo was already baffled. A favour? Something her dad's boss had been meaning to ask her for months on end? But that meant... No, they couldn't have...

'Now,' Elm continued. 'I have an acquaintance who goes by the, uh... the intriguing moniker of "Mr. Pokémon". He is, uh, quite fanatical about his research, you see, and he continually raves to me about his strange discoveries. There have been numerous accounts he has regaled me with that, despite their preposterous nature, have intrigued me... but just this morning I received a message from him that was too remarkable for me to ignore. It really is an intriguing case, and I would love to go and visit him myself, but we're so busy with our research here, and I simply can't spare any of my assistants at the moment. And obviously, I have considered asking others to go and visit him, but given his... um, peculiar living arrangements, I daren't send anyone without a Pokémon to visit him - someone trustworthy and reliable. And I was wondering -'

She couldn't believe what she was hearing. 'You want me to visit this Mr. Pokémon guy?'

The professor nodded. 'I've already asked your parents' permission, and they've agreed,' he said. By the looks of her mom, asking for her permission would have been no easy feat: she was practically quivering in the corner, her face pulled into a furious scowl. 'I understand you haven't yet been given your first Pokémon, so I would be happy to give you one of the rare creatures we've recently discovered to help you start your journey...'

'Yeah,' Ryo interrupted, glaring at her mother. 'Yeah, that sounds great, doc. Sign me up. I'd love to have my first Pokémon. I've waited for so, so long,' she said, labouring the words, 'I never thought I'd ever get one. But yeah, I'd be happy to visit your friend for you. After all, you said yourself - I'm pretty trustworthy and reliable, aren't I? Kind of a perfect candidate for this kind of job, really. And if mommy and daddy dearest have said it's finally, _finally_ okay for their trustworthy, reliable daughter to start something that everyone else started months ago, then I guess I have no complaints.'

Thankfully, all of her snide remarks sailed over Professor Elm's head. 'So enthusiastic! Well, let's not delay any longer. Let's get you a new Pokémon, shall we?' He smiled and pressed a button on the machine next to him. A panel opened, revealing three Pokéballs. 'I thought I'd give you a selection, so you can choose one that suits you.'

She'd been waiting for this for so long. If it had been any other situation, she would have taken her time, too overwhelmed by the prospect of finally getting her first Pokémon to know which one to choose.

But her parents had done this on purpose. They didn't want her to get a Pokémon. They didn't want her to become a trainer. They wanted her stuck at home with them, miserable and left out. She stalked over to the machine, swiped the first ball her hand came to, and turned for the door. 'Thanks doc,' she said. 'I guess I'll go and see this Mr. Pokémon guy then. See ya.'

'Aren't you going to check your Pokémon first?'

Ryo's hand was already on the door. 'Nah,' she said through gritted teeth. 'This one will do. Thanks again, doc.'

She threw the door open and slammed it behind her. She could hear her mother erupt in the room as she left, and she broke into a run, bursting out of the laboratory and onto the street.

#fiction#writing#my ocs#oc: ryo#pokemon#professor elm#i can't believe i've written a whole portion of pokemon fanfic and there aren't any actual pokemon in it#also this is coming across as way more epic than I originally intended it to be

skysplinter

Sep 1, 2017

4. Percent

First chapter here.

Previous chapter here.

‘Link established. Cognizant Model returned to storage.’

The soft, familiar voice of Mother echoed in C-244’s core as the doors closed behind it. It noticed a few of its brethren turning in acknowledgement, though many units were too engrossed in their work to pay it much attention.

It found this reassuring. While traversing the rest of the ship, the biological life forms it encountered possessed a discomforting desire to interact whenever encountering another of its kind. C-244 found such exchanges merely exhausting; a waste of energy distracting from the main objective. As it entered the Library, however, passing the countless energy cylinders and data towers protruding from the walls in great columns, it was met with no such unnecessary interaction - instead, only silence greeted it, aside from the all-pervading hum of the other archivists’ processors as they digested and analyzed the endless streams of archived data.

The Library was something of a haven for the mechanical members of the crew, especially the archivist units such as C-244. It housed the energy array charging docks, provided access to the ship’s internal database, and - perhaps most importantly - was the home of Mother.

Mother was the oldest of the units, so ancient and complex that it was no longer even considered a “unit” by the system. Fragments of lost data from the Pre-Union suggested that Mother had once been much like the archivists, but over time it had developed substantially. Long before the construction of the Cognizant Model series, Mother had been integrated into the Library itself, foregoing a mobile form and acting as a hub consciousness which connected all Lodestar units. From the simplest maintenance drones to the tactical arrays down in the Armory, all units were linked by Mother.

Physically, Mother appeared as little more than an enormous white processor core suspended within a mass of wires and mechanisms in the ceiling, a long bronze pillar rising up from the floor directly beneath her to act as a support for the series of tubes which blossomed from her metal framework. On the rare occasion that a biological passenger aboard the Lodestar visited the Library, they often mistook her for a simple light fixture - incorrectly assuming that the archivists required a light source to facilitate adequate vision, just as they did; and failing to see the resemblance between the orb of light above them and the cores within each of the mechanical units.

Mother’s physical appearance, however, was but a fraction of its presence on the Lodestar, as C-244 and its fellow archivists knew all too well. Whilst her mobile units were bound to a single robotic form, Mother’s intelligence was spread across a vast portion of the ship at all times. It worked alongside Commander Thorn’s computer system, aided the crew in the maintenance and reparation of the five reactor crystals and collected the wealth of data surrounding the vessel as it traveled through the vacuum of space, to name just a fraction of its capabilities.

When not liaising with the humans aboard the ship, C-244 would spend a large portion of its time connected to Mother’s system. This was the same for many of the archivists, as being interconnected allowed the flow of collected information to be transferred and stored quicker, which aided their main objective.

It had been made aware that some of the biological crewmembers believed that it and its fellow mobile units existed onboard the Lodestar simply to serve, to act as assistants for them in tasks too dangerous or difficult to be achieved alone. However, this was only partly true. Whilst C-244 and many others did offer aid as a primary function of their programming, this was a means to an end rather than a goal in and of itself.

Anyone who cared to visit the Library would understand that, though very few organics had ever bothered. It was strange, that creatures so impulsive and curious would possess such little interest in the things that surrounded them in their daily lives.

In truth, the relationship between the machines and the biological crew on the Lodestar was of mutual benefit. That was why the ship had been built, and why the Library itself had been incorporated into its design. In exchange for the basic operations conducted by Mother and its collective, the organics would aid them in traversing the galaxy without complications, allowing them to focus on the main objective in peace.

What was the main objective? C-244 had not been granted complete access to all of the details, but it was vaguely aware of the query which had sparked the objective into being. At its most basic level, the objective was to find an answer to that singular query; the only question which mattered to Mother or any of the archivists. This was the purpose behind their voyaging with the humans, and indeed, the reason for their existence.

C-244’s core reviewed this information often, as did many of the active units aboard the ship. There was always a wealth of distractions provided by the adventurous lifestyles of their carbon-based companions; it helped to contextualize events by refreshing the tab every once in a while, so to speak.

Of course, there were those that needed no reminders - such as Biomimetic Model 256, the last surviving archivist of the Biomimetic series who now acted as the chief mobile unit beneath Mother. Though capable of travelling around the rest of the ship, B-256 instead opted to stay within the confines of the Library at all times, at the exception of only the most extreme of emergencies. While the other units divided their duties between cooperating with the organics and Mother’s main objective, B-256 possessed no such conflict in its functions - it was dedicated to the objective, and to the objective only.

In the few conversations which C-244 had had concerning B-256 with the biological crew, they had referred to it as C-244’s “boss” or “commanding officer”, or some other label to that effect. It knew that this was not Mother’s intention when granting it the rank of “chief mobile unit”, but it was a reasonable comparison to make. The relationship between the units bore little resemblance to that of Commander Thorn and her organic crew, but there were archivists that possessed superior access codes and the ability to override others. C-244 was by no means lacking in that respect, but B-256 held administrative duties second only to Mother itself.

As it attached itself to the Mother network, C-244 could already feel the consciousness of B-256 observing it with scrutiny. ‘Cognizant Model,’ it declared, conjuring connected images of its angular, slightly rusty physical form into C-244’s central processor as its words resonated soundlessly. ‘Mother has received logs of a positive response from Commander Thorn.’

‘The interrogation was a success,’ thought C-244. ‘With the commander’s permission, I will submit a copy of my report to our database.’ This declaration was met with a subconscious wave of confirmation, and so it promptly submitted the data. After only a few moments, Mother had logged the findings accordingly.

‘Processing relevance of data,’ the voice of B-256 rumbled in its core.

This was how all interactions with the organics went. Any small interaction was analysed by Mother and the other units, the relevance of each minute detail measured against the query in the hopes of finding a percentage of the answer to the main objective. More often than not, these routine checks yielded nothing - only very rarely did the data’s usefulness register as anything more than a millionth of a percent, though any progression was deemed important by Mother.

C-244 had learned to predict the data’s relevance by the amount of time which elapsed between the report being submitted and B-256’s response to it. As the picoseconds passed, it deemed it safe to assume that the report had been of some small use. C-244 waited patiently.

Eventually, the voice of B-256 returned. ‘Cognizant Model has provided material to aid in the main objective. “Scourge” has been recorded and amended within the core. New information logged,’ it said. ‘Report contains two point zero six seven percent relevance to main objective.’

Two percent. For a moment, it considered admitting itself for reformatting. Surely the calculation was incorrect? Point zero six seven percent was not a figure that any single event had yielded before, as far as C-244 had observed, much less two point zero six seven. It delayed an error response. ‘This is… unprecedented,’ it thought into the network.

‘Unprecedented, but correct,’ B-256 reacted. ‘The algorithm is correct. All data is logged accordingly. Cognizant Model 244 does not possess the authority to submit query against main objective. Report contains two point zero six seven percent relevance.’

C-244 could do nothing but accept and process the information, however uncredible the result appeared. Two percent - the impossible number still buzzed about in its consciousness even as it continued. ‘Assign next function to Cognizant Model 244,’ it requested.

#fiction#writing#my ocs#oc: c-244#oc: b-256#this is really just all set-up

skysplinter

Aug 26, 2017

3. Long Haul

First chapter here.

Previous chapter here.

Next chapter here.

Cyril Turner wasn’t just a cargo hauler. He never had been, even back when he and Ol’ Wheelie had been working for Forsyth’s, the biggest distributor in the sector. No, even when they had both been carting refined Rigelian oxen manure from one system to the next, he knew he was more than just your average run-of-the-mill delivery driver.

Cyril Turner was an entrepreneur. He was going places. And now that he and Ol’ Wheelie had branched out on their own, it only made them more deserving of respect. They were running a well-established business here! The tagline slapped on the side of their ship summed it up well enough. “Turner & Wheeler Delivery Company”, it said, in happy yellow letters across both sides of the hauler, “no complaints filed for four whole years”. Four whole years! Out of the nine years they had been up and running, that was pretty good going.

It was just a shame, he thought, when he had to deal with customers that clearly didn’t respect his line of business. It really made him sad to think that, in this modern galaxy they lived in, there were still people out there willing to step all over the guys who were doing all the hard work behind the scenes.

Taking these Lodestar folks as a prime example - he was sure they were good people if you got to know them. Most of the ones he had met seemed reasonable enough, and as he and Ol’ Wheelie watched them working with their fancy tools and their hi-tech doodads, he recognized that they were probably all pretty smart cookies.

Problem was, none of them had a clue how business worked. When someone drops off a delivery at your ship, you’re supposed to pay them. Surely that wasn’t too hard a concept to understand, or so Cyril thought. But these scholarly types had a different way of thinking of things, it seemed, and apparently that way of thinking didn’t involve giving money to the guys who busted their butts carrying very delicate cargo halfway across the galaxy.

He really hoped their commander would see reason and be able to solve their problem before things got ugly. Otherwise, he and Ol’ Wheelie would be forced to take legal action, and he really didn’t want to even look inside another courtroom for as long as he lived - not after the hell he’d been put through with his last divorce.

This Commander Thorn character still took her sweet time to see to them. Poor Ol’ Wheelie was halfway through a nap, slumped on top of their cargo, when the sharp-looking lady with the crewcut finally walked in, her sweet little second-in-command in tow. Cyril woke up his partner with a sharp nudge in the side, and she snorted herself back to life.

‘Whassup, T…?’ Wheelie gave him a dazed look and wiped the drool from her chin.

‘The commander, you dummy,’ Cyril hissed. He turned to face the Thorn lady, who looked at him like he’d just been scraped off the bottom of her boot. Somehow he got the feeling that business negotiations weren’t going to go as well as he had hoped. ‘Yo, Thorn,’ he said, flashing her his most professional smile, his hand shooting out to meet hers. ‘Nice to finally meet the proprietor of this fine vessel. Sorry for, uh, you know… pulling you from your duties. Good to see you though, really. Hopefully you can, uh, you know… sort this mess out for us.’

The Thorn Lady, however, just gave him a look that reminded him of eerily of his first wife. ‘I suppose you could put it like that,’ she said. ‘I heard there were two idiots refusing to leave my ship, so I came down to find out what was going on before I kicked you off.’

‘Nice to meet you too, lady,’ Wheelie muttered under her breath.

Hoping to save this little transaction from tanking before it even started, Cyril leapt forward, wrapped one bandy arm around the commander’s shoulders and shoved Wheelie out of the way of the merchandise. ‘Don’t mind my associate here, she’s a little, uh, you know… uncouth at times,’ he said, beaming. ‘What I’m sure she meant to say was that it’s pretty clear we got off on the wrong foot here. There’s been a pretty, ah, a pretty big misunderstanding on one side of this exchange; looks like whoever buys in your stock here forgot to register this particular delivery on your system.

‘And, uh, you know… No bother, no bother at all. We’re used to these little mix-ups every now and then,’ he continued. ‘All part of our line of business, eh, Wheelie?’

‘Oh,’ Wheelie yawned, clearly still a few sandwiches short of a picnic after her nap. ‘Yeah, all part of our business.’

‘But, uh… unfortunately, we can’t exactly, ah, deliver this stuff without going through the proper procedures, if you know what I mean,’ said Cyril. ‘Namely, uh, you know… payment.’

The Thorn lady shrugged his arm off her shoulders and gave him a look that could cut through steel before turning her attention to the large, rectangular storage unit which housed their cargo. ‘Tell me what you’ve brought onto my ship,’ she snapped.

‘Your delivery,’ Cyril explained helpfully. Turning on his heels, he spread his arms out towards the storage unit and flashed her another winning smile. ‘No damage, no tampering, no questions asked. Exactly what you ordered, lady.’

‘We didn’t order anything,’ said the commander. She was glaring at the cargo like he’d just fished it out of the toilet. ‘Now tell me what you’ve brought onto my ship.’

Cyril sighed. ‘Lady, if you didn’t order nothing, then that’s we would have brought you. You know, uhh… nothing.’ He slapped the side of the unit with a satisfying “klong”. ‘Clearly this ain’t nothing.’

Before her commanding officer bust a blood vessel, the cute little lady behind her chimed in. ‘I think the commander wishes to know what that storage crate actually contains,’ said Durant, smiling sweetly. ‘For clarification, so we can actually get to solving the problem. If you could show her what’s inside, like you showed me before…?’

Clearly, the brains of the outfit here wasn’t the commander, Cyril realized. This Durant lady was the only one who made even a lick of sense on the whole ship. He found himself sucking in his gut as he talked to her. ‘Oh, of course,’ he cooed. ‘Right away. Anything for you, ma’am.’ He turned and nudged Wheelie sharply in the ribs. ‘Just pop it open again, wouldja? For our nice lady friends here.’

Ol’ Wheelie grumbled as she stumbled to the back of the unit. Cyril could hear the manual locks springing open, and after Wheelie had disabled the security countermeasures, the front panel of the storage crate finally rose up to reveal the cargo.

It was still in pretty good condition, Cyril thought. Especially considering how old the thing apparently was. Sure, there was a bit of a ding on the underside of it from him and Ol’ Wheelie carrying it from the warehouse to the ship, but that was just a minor detail; nothing the customers would really notice. All the stuff that mattered was still in the same place - all the gold detail, the fancy jewels, the big creepy face slapped on the front of it - it was all there, and clearly it was well worth the credit they were asking for. Perhaps now that the Thorn lady could see it in all its glory, this silly little misunderstanding would blow over.

Unfortunately, as Cyril turned to the commander, he saw that she looked anything but pleased.

‘It’s a coffin,’ she said.

‘Uhh,’ Cyril raised a hand. ‘Technically, it’s a, uhh, you know… a sarcophagus.’

‘My apologies. It’s a really fancy coffin,’ the commander corrected herself, no less disapproving of it. ‘Why have you brought me a coffin?’

From behind the crate, Wheelie cleared her throat. ‘Excuse you,’ she said. ‘It ain’t like we just brought the box and forgot about the stiff inside it.’

Apparently, that wasn’t the right thing to say. ‘Oh joy,’ Thorn seethed. ‘You brought a coffin and a dead body onto my ship. Well, I guess that just completes the whole damned set, doesn’t it? Makes it a lot more useful to me, I’m sure. I can’t imagine why I would want to order a coffin without a shrivelled up corpse to put in it first.’

Something about her reaction felt a little off to Cyril. He didn’t know exactly what it was, but she wasn’t acting like someone who had ordered a sarcophagus. In fact, he was tempted to think that, in fact, she might not have ordered it at all.

But that wasn’t right. He couldn’t allow himself to think that way, because letting such thoughts cloud his better judgement was all but resigning himself to the fact that he wasn’t going to get paid for his work. Not getting paid simply wasn’t an option. He started feeling that horrible itchy feeling all over himself again, just like the time his landlord had called him up and told him his last check had bounced.

‘Lady,’ he said smoothly, hands on his hips to stop his fingers from clenching up. ‘I’m not trying to be rude or nothing, but, uhh, you know… I don’t exactly care what crawled up your ass. We did our part of the job, we need paying.’

The commander was having none of it. She was still looking at the sarcophagus. ‘Durant.’ The cutie next to her nodded. ‘Is there any logs on our system documenting any incoming deliveries of a coffin? Or for that matter, a dead body?’

Durant swiped her pretty little fingers across a datapad for a few seconds. ‘Nothing here, commander,’ she said.

‘Then how about a delivery from Turner and Wheeler? Anything?’

Another few long seconds ticked by. Cyril’s palms started getting sweaty, though he wasn’t entirely sure why. Lieutenant Commander Hotstuff shook her head. ‘Nothing again.’

‘Well then,’ said Thorn. Her lips flattened into a horrible little line. ‘There you have it. No records.’

‘But -’ Cyril began.

‘We don’t want it,’ she told him. ‘We didn’t order it. It isn’t ours. We’re not keeping it. Take it off my ship.’

‘But -’

‘But. Nothing.’ Thorn turned and pinned him in place with those eyes of hers before stalking away. ‘You will take that thing off my ship. We’re not paying for it. I’m giving you an hour. If you’re still here by then, I will personally throw you out the airlock.’

‘But -’

‘Nothing.’

And then, just as quickly as Thorn and her hot assistant had arrived, they were gone.

Cyril started chewing on his knuckles. His head felt like it was slowly filling up with cottage cheese.

From behind the storage crate, he could hear Wheelie chuckling to herself. ‘Didn’t sound like our negotiations went too well, huh?’ She emerged, smiling vacantly, like she hadn’t been present for the last ten minutes. Knowing her, maybe that wasn’t too far away from the truth. ‘So, uh, what are we gonna do, T?’

Pulling the skin of his hand with his teeth, he turned back to his associate. He wrinkled his nose in something that only vaguely resembled a smile. A brief flash of energy had frazzled its way through his brain, the shock of the commander’s bull-headedness and the fear of losing money on yet another job sparking a sudden wealth of panicked thoughts.

Thankfully, Cyril Turner was smart enough to ignore all of them. You didn’t get anywhere in business by giving into thinking. He swaggered over to Ol’ Wheelie and threw an arm around her. ‘Don’t you worry about it, Wheelie,’ he grinned smarmily. ‘She’s just blowing off some hot air, that’s all. You know these types in uniform. We’ll, uhh, you know… we’ll give her that hour to calm down. She’ll come to her senses, you’ll see.’

Wheelie smacked her lips and yawned. ‘Does that mean I can get back to my nap?’

‘You do what you want to, pal,’ said Cyril. He patted her backside as she started closing up the storage unit again, and tried to hide his fading smile. ‘You’ll see, that Thorn lady’ll come round to our way of thinking. You’ll see.’

‘If you say so, T,’ said Wheelie.

‘Yeah,’ Cyril mumbled. ‘If I say so.’

#fiction#writing#my ocs#oc: caroline thorn#oc: roseanna durant#oc: cyril turner#oc: wheelie#man this is such a piece of fluff

skysplinter

Aug 24, 2017

2. Correspondence

First chapterhere.

Next chapter here.

Latest chapter here.

Commander Thorn placed the datapad back down on her desk, the report still open. Her thin upper lip curled. Across from her, C-244 clacked its digits together in anticipation.

She really didn't know how to put this.

'So,' said the commander. 'The prisoner was... cooperative, I see.'

The orb of light where the archivist droid's head should have been dimmed as it flickered slowly from red to blue. 'Cooperative. Yes, commander,' it told her. 'The prisoner provided answers when asked questions. The answers registered as adequate and relevant to the subject at hand, though there were some minor diversions from the primary topic.'

Thorn pinched the bridge of her nose and scrunched her eyes up tight. She was starting to get a headache, and there was little doubt in her mind as to the cause of it. 'So I noticed in your report, C-2,' she sighed.

'I am detecting a heightened level of stress,' said C-244. Its hinges creaked a little as it leaned over in concern. 'Are you well, commander? Should I notify the medical department?'

'I'm fine, C-2,' said Thorn. She dusted herself down, cleared her throat, and started again. 'It's nothing to worry about. Now, as I was saying - the prisoner was cooperative. This is... progress.'

'Correct. Current statistics register a five-point-two-eight percent survival rate of all interrogators following an encounter with the prisoner aboard our vessel, a marked improvement since our last attempt was logged,' said C-244 calmly, shimmering a cheery shade of yellow. 'I believe I successfully established a rapport with Scourge.'

'Scourge.' Thorn raised an eyebrow.

'They identified themselves as such, commander. I trust I have documented it adequately in my report,' it replied.

She ran her fingers through her short red hair and inhaled through gritted teeth. 'Indeed,' she said. She paused a moment, making a point to look as thoughtful as she could manage. 'At any rate, I do have to admit that simply surviving your little encounter with the prisoner is reason enough for praise. You've done a great job, C-2. Thank you.'

The droid's glow illuminated her office in a bright, brilliant green, well known by C-244's superiors to be its favourite colour. 'Assistance is a primary function of mine, commander,' it said. 'Please request again if you require my aid. On this subject, is there anything else you require of me before I return to my regular duties?'

Her false smile faltered, if only for a moment. 'No,' she said. She rose from her seat to shake C-2 by the hand before gesturing politely to the door. 'No, I think you've done enough for one day. You're dismissed.'

She watched it as it left, still glowing happily to itself as it plodded out into the corridor. Thorn struggled with her smile as it slowly but surely turned into a grimace while she waved her archivist out of sight.

Once she was sure it was gone, she closed the door, returned to her desk, sat down at her chair, and slammed her head face-first into the datapad.

She didn't want C-244 to think that she was mad at it. She hadn't been lying when she told it that it had done a lot of good work, and it certainly was true that it had developed something of a rapport with the prisoner.

The problem was that the interrogation had yielded absolutely nothing of use, and her commanding officers were starting to ask questions to which she simply didn't have the answer. C-244 had successfully eked out the prisoner's personality, which was nice - it was always a good idea to bring a highly dangerous murderer out of their shell - but what she needed was cold hard facts. She needed a planet of origin, a species, a purpose, some kind of explanation as to why the damn thing had been found lurking in the abandoned tunnels beneath Moon Base Two. She needed a name, not some flowery approximation of a monster's justification for ripping humans to pieces.

Of course Thorn recognised that C-2 had done amazing work, because in all honesty? It had. She had expected her resident chief archivist to be returned to her as a twisted metal jigsaw puzzle, but it hadn't; it had walked out of the room with its non-existent head held high, making a bigger breakthrough with their prisoner than anyone else still alive had managed. And it was right to be proud of itself. She was proud of it, even though she was having a hard time convincing herself of that fact.

The problem of the matter was that the heads of the Unified Intergalactic damned Council didn't want a "rapport" with the beast. They wanted statistics. They had allowed her to keep the prisoner because she was the commander of a research vessel, and according to their alleged higher wisdom, the prisoner was a thing that needed researching.

She shouldn't even have reported the life signs when they came up on her scanner. She shouldn't have sent down a team to find the thing, sedate it and bring it on board. If she had been born with any sense, she would have seen it, realized that it was a new and dangerous species that threatened the existence of all life simply by being alive, and left it back on that barren moon where it was. It wasn't harming anyone there, and it wasn't as though it had any way to leave the base it had holed itself up in.

Any other commander in her shoes wouldn't have dreamed of bringing that beast onto their ship - and even if they had, they would have let the stupid thing slip out the airlock "by accident" and log the events "with deep regrets at the loss of potential scientific discovery". She probably could have gotten away with a little bit of praise for that, maybe even the hollow threat of a promotion.

But no, Commander Thorn was too much of a fool to let her prisoner slip out of her grip like that. In her lapse of common sense, she reported the thing to her superiors. Then they had excitedly reported that to their superiors, and those to theirs, and so on and so on. So now she had the secretary of the head of the Council breathing down her neck, buzzing her daily for updates on the situation with "their little discovery", because suddenly this was Important.

She couldn't back out. She couldn't palm the project off to anyone else. She couldn't even shoot the thing out the airlock any more, because of the amount of attention this thing was getting. All she could hope was that one day she would wake up and find the prisoner in a much more forgiving frame of mind, openly offering itself up for a complete dissection in the name of science. The way things were going, however, Thorn wasn't sure whether it was worth putting herself up for dissection instead.

As the commander fumed to herself, a request tone sounded at the door. Her head slumped in her hands. 'Come in,' she said.

The door to her office opened, and she was greeted with a brief smirk by her second in command, Lieutenant Commander Durant. 'Commander,' she nodded. 'You're looking... well.'

'Don't even start,' Thorn murmured. 'There haven't been any more calls from HQ, have there?'

'Only two, unless I'm mistaken.' Durant stifled a chuckle. 'Don't worry, commander. Everything's still being redirected from your private channel. I think you still have eight messages you haven't watched yet. You're going to have to get back to them sooner or later though.'

'Can we not? Can we just forget they ever existed?'

'Of course, commander,' said Durant, an irrepressible grin spreading across her face. 'That is, provided you don't mind being stripped of command of the Lodestar for wilfully ignoring orders given by a superior officer.'

She weighed up her options. 'As much as I may want an extended vacation,' Thorn sighed, 'I suppose you're right. I will review them later, but as for right now - is there a reason for you coming to my office, or is this just a social visit?'

The lieutenant commander approached her desk and handed her another datapad - not a standard Council issue one, Thorn noted. 'Do you want the good news or the bad news first?'

'The good news,' said Thorn. 'I need a little cheering up.'

Durant rolled her eyes. 'As you wish,' she said. 'In that case - the good news. You'll be glad to hear that what I am about to tell you has nothing to do with the prisoner or your superiors whatsoever.'

Thorn nodded. That probably wasn't the best news she could have hoped for, but at least it granted her a momentary reprieve from the usual mess she had been dealing with for the past two weeks. 'And the bad news?'

'The bad news is that we've had an undocumented item transported to our research team by a couple of Earth traders who are being, um, difficult.'

'Define "difficult",' said Thorn, narrowing her eyes.

'They're refusing to leave the ship without payment for their service,' Durant explained. 'I have tried to tell them that payment is handled when registering a delivery, not when deliveries are made, but they don't seem to be fully grasping the concept.'

'You mean to tell me they don't know how delivering cargo works?'

'Apparently not, commander,' said Durant. She leaned over and swiped a hand across the datapad, the image on its surface shifting to a crudely typed note, littered with inexcusable punctuation. Thorn pulled a face as she glanced across it. 'This is their letter of complaint to the commander of this vessel. I thought you should be notified.'

'And they're refusing to leave, you say?' Thorn mused as she read the note. 'These people from the... the "Turner & Wheeler Delivery Company", whatever that might be.'

'Precisely. They're staging a peaceful protest down in R&D Lab Six.' Durant's usually sunny disposition paled a little as she spoke. She wrung her hands together awkwardly. 'They're not being any trouble, commander, but they do need to be dealt with; both of them and their cargo.'

'Ah, yes,' said Thorn. 'Their cargo. What was it?'

Durant looked sheepishly at her. 'Well... that's the thing. It's, um... It's unusual. I... I think you're going to have to take a look for yourself.'

#writing#fiction#my ocs#oc: c-244#oc: caroline thorn#oc: roseanna durant#i've been watching a lot of star trek lately

skysplinter

Aug 20, 2017

A Wolf Caged

For @resining

She leaned against the cave wall, steadying herself as she caught her breath. The last mile had been little more than a blur to her, barely a glancing memory of blood and sh*t and the hands of the dying forest raking at her as she ran.

Sabine breathed deeply in a vain attempt to soothe the drumbeat in her chest. She ran a hand to her waist, clumsily felt for a strap at her side, and finally wrapped her fingers around the handle of her axe. She hoped she would not need it, but it was reassuring to know that it was there all the same.

Trouble was no stranger to her. If anything, it was perhaps her oldest rival - it had hounded her since infancy, seeking her out at any given opportunity. Her childhood memories were pocked with more bruises and cuts than she could ever hope to count, the scars they left still silvery and sore to touch even as after she had grown into herself.

Her mother had been quick to point her finger. ‘It is you who seeks out trouble, not the other way around,’ Sabine bitterly recalled her words. ‘You are a wolf among a flock of birds, snapping at tailfeathers without a care for the consequences.’

‘If I should be a wolf, then why should I fear the birds?’ The young Sabine, no more a weed, had sneered. ‘A wolf has claws and teeth and jaws to swallow little birds whole. They are no threat to me.’

‘Ay,’ her mother warned with a smile across her lips that she still hated even now. ‘And what of a wolf against a swarm of beaks and talons? You scare up enough trouble and you pay for it in blood.’

Sabine spat, the sour taste of her memory still clutching at her throat. She did not want to concede that her mother was right, and yet here she was.

She pricked her ears at the crack of twigs from the forest outside. A careless footstep crunched through the mulch of dead leaves behind her. The hunters were upon her again. Her breath no longer quite as shallow in her breast, she picked herself up and crept further into the cave at a steady pace, taking care not to make a sound.

Sooner or later, she knew, the men pursuing her would search the cave. It was anything but disguised by the leafless trees that surrounded it; the craggy opening to her current position was a fissure in the mountainside visible even from half a mile away - and yet, in her haste, she had foolishly tried to find solace within. Her mind raced, assessing her options in furious desperation.

She could take a stand against them. Having spent her youth roaming the Invernals, her strength and prowess were without question - she had fought before, and she had drawn first blood. She could kill if it was required of her, or at least she could threaten a man to yield to her.

But the hunters were a dozen men or more, and better armed than a mud-caked wildling in nothing but her pelt and leathers. She was a skilled fighter, truly, but even skill could only carry her so far. Leaping out from her hiding place and hoping to take them all in combat was as foolish and meaningless as tearing out her own guts and saving them the bother. She needed a plan.

With nothing more at her disposal, Sabine could only hope to make use of the one resource left to her: she would have to use the cave to her advantage somehow, though her fluttering thoughts struggled to give a purpose to the dismal little hole in which she had trapped herself.

Searching the walls with her hands and letting her eyes adjust to the cool, stale darkness had yielded little of value to her. She found no exits besides the one she had entered upon her arrival, and no branches or loose stones to turn into even the most rudimentary of weapons; instead, only a large empty cavern littered with mud, pebbles and a few mulched leaves trailed in by her boots. It was hardly an enviable arsenal by any stretch.

Sabine cursed silently to herself, starting another circuit of the cave in a panic as she searched for something, anything to aid her. Her fingers trailed the walls frantically, boots scuffing as she stumbled around in a growing froth of fear and rage and self-loathing, teeth gritted, eyes straining against the shadows to glean any hope from the empty chamber surrounding her, any grace and care she once possessed now melting away into nothing.

In her haste, her feet tangled clumsily together beneath her. The booming heartbeat in her chest halted as she felt herself tripping up, her catlike reflexes only returning to her as she managed to steady herself -

But as she planted her feet firmly on the ground, the heel of her boot sent a pebble skittering across the floor of the cave.

From within the dark silence, the sound was deafening. Sabine froze in place as the tiny stone clattered along, each bump against the dirt echoing throughout the cavern, the sound hanging in the air for a few long, agonizing seconds, amplified by the deep mountain hollow itself.

It was just her luck, she thought. Of all the places to hide, she had chosen the worst. There was no way her pursuers could not have heard the noise - the cave had only helped to make it ring out louder, as though it had been carved out specifically to spite her. Her mother had been right: she truly was a wolf among a flock of birds. She could not hope to hide from the hunters now. She had been too loud, too brash, too stupid - and here was her comeuppance now, their feet trudging through the mud as they approached the source of the noise.

She drew her axe from her belt and readied herself for what was to come. Even the sound of the wooden handle being drawn across her leathers rang out clear in this godsforsaken cave, she realised in fury. If she had given just a moment’s thought to her actions; if she had only looked for an advantage rather than blind safety -

Then a thought struck her. The few moments she had before the hunters would arrive stretched mercifully as a plan began to form in her mind; one last glimmer of hope left in this dark cave, however foolish it might have been.

Her hiding place was not the problem. It was the fact that she even bothered to hide at all.

Brandishing her axe playfully, she felt a desperate grin creep upon her face, her teeth baring themselves in a helpless rush of madness. If she was to be a wolf, then why would she need to hide from the little birds that followed her? She had her claws, and she had her cunning. She needed nothing else, or else she did not deserve to see the sun set and the moon rise this day.

She stood ready for the hunters as they entered the cave. They spied her, her wild eyes studying their moves as they approached, their swords and bows raised warily against her. She could smell their uncertainty, feel their hesitation to draw closer to her. She could taste fear, though she knew not if it was theirs or her own. It made no difference.

Her blood pumped hard in her ears, drowning out any doubts in her plan as she tensed herself. She let out a roar of rage and the mountain roared with her.

The terror was almost tangible as she surged forwards. Some of the hunters fled, afraid of the feral beast she seemed to have become, while others held their ground. Her axe hammered down upon the first as a warning as she howled again. The man she struck was knocked to the floor, blood spurting from his shoulder, his weapon skittering across the floor.

Another wild swing. Sabine slammed a hunter against the wall and cut down another. More of them fled and her path to the exit began to clear. She scooped up a sword knocked from a man’s hand and hurled it blindly into the light beyond the cave. She cared not if it hit or missed her foes. She had no need for blood when panic would suffice.

Tackling another man to the floor as she charged out into the open, she could feel her heart fluttering as she gulped down the cold winter’s air. She steeled herself and broke into a run, taking advantage of the hunters’ confusion before the chase could begin once again.

Sabine ran ever deeper into the dead forest, her false wildness only ebbing away as the mountain cave finally disappeared from sight. Safety was still far from her grasp, she knew - but she knew trouble of old. She would survive whatever it could throw at her. She always had.

#fiction#writing#resining's ocs#resining oc: sabine#i can't believe how long that last bit took me to write

skysplinter

Aug 16, 2017

1. Interrogation

Next chapter here.

Latest chapter here.

The soft light emanating from C-244’s core flickered uncomfortably as it waited at the cell door. Interrogation was not its forte even at the best of times, and being called upon to deal with such a dangerous subject was anything but reassuring.

Still, it understood. The crew could not risk another biological life form. C-244 was not of blood and flesh. It could be rebuilt if worst came to worst. The others aboard could not, at least not to the same extent. In addition, there had been no known documentation of the prisoner attacking any of the mechanical crew members, though there was little recorded data to confirm or deny whether or not this was a statistic relevant to the prisoner’s principles and limitations.

Again, not reassuring.

In a fraction of a second, C-244 had perused and noted the relevant documents concerning criminal interrogation, captor-prisoner relationships and basic empathetic principles it had downloaded into its memory for the occasion. It was not entirely sure how applying such techniques would work in practice, but there was no harm in trying.

Hesitantly, it released the door lock and shuffled inside the airlock room between the ship and the cell in which the prisoner was held.

The prisoner had been deemed much too dangerous to be kept in the brig. In the brief time they had been kept on-board, there had been too many mishaps to allow them to be kept with the rest of the prisoners - or at least the ones that were still alive after their last escape attempt. The commander had instead decided that they would be kept in a detachable reinforced cargo unit, consequently registered as Brig Cell Seventeen in the ship’s data banks.

Unable to think of any logical reason not to continue, C-244 entered the security code into the second door and entered the cell. Almost immediately, its receptors registered a distinct alteration of atmospheric pressure and air chemical composition. This was, again, at the bequest of the commander and the medical staff, who had determined the “unusual requirements” of the prisoner during their numerous necessary bio-tests and examinations. They had spoken of the prisoner’s biological needs with a degree of emotional anxiousness to C-244, calling the prisoner “unlike anything they had ever seen” and “a threat to all life-forms”.

These claims had not been rationalized to C-244, however, and it found no relevant purpose to pursue the meaning behind them. All it knew was that the prisoner was dangerous, and that the utmost care needed to be taken when approaching.

The prisoner was curled up in the corner of the cell, watching C-244 approach with an emotion it recognized as “suspicion”.

‘I present to you no threat,’ said C-244, quickly processing the best course of action to develop a rapport with them. ‘I am here to ask you questions.’

The prisoner flicked their tail, their jagged teeth bared as they uncoiled themselves. ‘Questions,’ they growled with a deep, wet rumble of a voice. ‘There are always… questions. Your putrid fleshy masters seem adamant to eke out every little fact about me. If it’s not drugging me and tearing me open on an operating table, it’s bombarding me with their tedious little… questions.’

‘You are puzzling to them,’ C-244 explained. ‘It is my understanding that many biological lifeforms possess an abundance of curiosity, possibly derived from their natural survival instincts. They do not fully understand you yet, and they desire a solution to this problem. This is why I am here to ask you questions.’

‘Always a problem,’ said the prisoner. They made a soft throaty sound that didn’t register on any of C-244’s language databases. ‘Typical human scum, looking upon me as if I am something broken that needs to be fixed, or else removed. Tell me, machine, what is it like to be understood by these pathetic creatures? Does it bring you satisfaction?’

C-244 could feel its outer coils turning as it processed the prisoner’s words, its core humming as it formulated an appropriate response. ‘It allows them to aid me if I am in need of repair. I feel no need to register satisfaction - nor sarcasm, to that end,’ it told them. ‘We are straying from my function. I would like to proceed with the interrogation, if you would permit me to continue.’

It was met with no resistance. The prisoner merely sighed and heaved their broad shoulders in a shrug. ‘I hardly have any choice in the matter, do I?’

C-244 momentarily considered informing them of their available options, but thought better of it. Though it had been told that its body components could be replaced or repaired without much complication, that did not mean that it wanted to put that to the test. ‘Thank you for complying,’ it said instead.

‘So what do you wish to know, machine?’ Their lip curled back into something categorized as a “sneer” as they paced their cell, kicking half-emptied cans of food and shreds of metal with its clawed feet. ‘What do the high and mighty human race wish to know about this particular abomination?’

‘They are unable to define you,’ said C-244. ‘You do not match any other documented being in any database the crew has been able to access. Your very existence is...’ it paused for a moment as it tried to find a term least likely to cause offense. ‘... Enigmatic.’

‘So they wish to label me and put me in a neat little box like everything else,’ the prisoner nodded and closed their eyes. ‘I could not expect anything better of them, regrettably.’ There was an anomalous tone in their voice, incongruous to their otherwise aggressive demeanor, but C-244 was unable to identify it with its current available catalog of emotions.

‘It would be helpful to assign you a name,’ it suggested. ‘Communication is made easier when individuals can be defined by a common language term, so that all parties taking part in the discussion have a frame of reference. For example, my name is Cognizant Model 244, an archivist robot assigned to this vessel. This is how I am defined. The crew have also given me nicknames so as to personalize their own understanding of me, the most common name associated with me being “C-244”. In comparison, you have only been assigned the name of “prisoner”. You have no species or personal name of which we have been made aware. This makes you difficult to understand, as there are incalculable prisoners recorded across history, and the title does not help to define you as you. Perhaps the crew simply wishes to understand you better.’

The prisoner lumbered towards it, wearing a “scowl”. ‘If only we were all so trusting,’ they said, ‘but no matter. If you wish to give your masters a name to define me, I suppose I shall comply.’

‘Define,’ said C-244 warily.

‘Tell them I am their scourge, machine,’ said the prisoner. ‘Tell them I am their retribution for all the ill they have done. And while you are telling them this, let them know that I do not appreciate this kind of treatment; I do not appreciate them hiding behind their puppets like this.’

It stored the new information accordingly, its core blinking as the prisoner continued to stalk towards it.

‘Acknowledged,’ said C-244. ‘I have now assigned your new names. We are making progress, “Scourge”.’

Scourge made a loose rattling noise which met the base requirements to define it as “laughter”. ‘I am “Scourge”, yes,’ they said. ‘I suppose that would be a fitting name. I would be very careful if I were you, machine; I fear I am almost beginning to like you.’

#fiction#writing#my ocs#oc: C-244

skysplinter

Aug 9, 2017

Exchange

Percy picks up the telephone and holds it to his ear.

He hesitates.

It is a rotary telephone; clearly an antique even to an unrefined eye, its black plastic casing worn and a little battered, the coil of its wire flaking in places and taped clumsily together in others.

He didn’t like to use it often, despite it being his own office phone. Usually he would keep in contact with his associates by the fax machines down in the main laboratory offices - but this is important. He needs privacy; he needs to make sure that no one else can hear what he has to say. He also needs… something else. Something only his own personal office can provide.

He flexes his fingers and inhales deeply.

He dials.

(P-please… please…)

He drums his fingers on the desk and waits for the dial tone to stop sounding in his head, for the heavy breathing to peter out and the heartbeat to ebb away and clear his thoughts.

(... Please, I beg you…)

Eventually, after a few electronic beeps, the man on the other end of the line picks up.

‘Yyyello?’

His sighs in relief at the sound of his old friend. ‘Jackson,’ he says. ‘It is good to hear you.’

‘Percy! Yeah, it’s been too long,’ says Jackson. ‘Too long. How’d you get hold of this number anyway? I can’t remember giving this out to anyone from the lab - but I guess this is me we’re talking about, huh? With a memory like mine, I guess I can’t expect too much.’ He laughs loudly, roughly. It reminds Percy just how much he misses Jackson; how much he misses everyone.

(... Please… no…)

‘I am sorry, Jackson, but there’s not a lot of time,’ he explains. ‘I have vital information you need to give to Romana. She… she wouldn’t happen to be there, would she?’

‘Ro? Nah, not that I know of,’ says Jackson. ‘She never seems to stick around a lot these days. Always out doing stuff. Kinda makes me want to get out there again, once all this is over -’

(... Stop, please…)

‘Jackson, if you could, I really can’t stop and chat, so if you could just…’

‘- I mean, what about you? When this project is done with, what are you gonna do? I mean, out of all of us, you’re the one who’s in the worst-’

(... It hurts, stop, please…!)

‘Stop, please!’ Percy blurts, and the line falls silent. He composes himself and continues, dropping his voice back to its usual calm tone. ‘Jackson, please tell Romana that I’ve just received word concerning the whereabouts of young Perdita,’ he says. ‘She’s being held in a private estate in Detroit, owned by an individual who goes by the codename “Observer”.’

He hears Jackson stammering, a scrabbling on the other end of the line, the rustling of papers. Percy’s fingers drum the table a little faster as he waits. ‘Say that again,’ Jackson finally replies. ‘Something about Perdi. Say it again, I’ll take notes.’

(... Hurry, please… I can’t…)

He has to hurry. He doesn’t have much time. ‘Perdita is being held in a private estate in Detroit,’ he repeats.

‘Okay, I got it.’ The line goes quiet again. ‘Wait. You did say Detroit, didn’t you?’

‘Yes, Jackson. Detroit,’ he says. He can feel himself sweating, precious seconds ticking away. ‘The estate is owned by a person using the name “Observer”.’

‘Ob… What kind of a name is “Observer”?’

(...I can’t do this…)

‘Jackson, please focus,’ he snaps. ‘Detroit, in an estate owned by Observer. Please don’t forget to tell Romana.’

(... Just stop…)

‘Sure,’ says Jackson. ‘But… how do you know all this? We’ve been looking for Perdi for ages and we haven’t found squat!’

(... No more, please…)

‘It… It’s a long story,’ he says hurriedly. ‘Goodbye, Jackson. Don’t forget to tell her, please.’

He replaces the receiver and flops back in breathlessly in his chair, worn out from the exchange. He mops his brow, and allows himself a little room to recover before his hand returns to the telephone.

He picks up the receiver again and holds it to his ear.

In the faint static of the dead line, the voice inside the telephone speaks to him.

(I thought you said I didn’t have to do that again,) it says. (I thought you said that I was done after I’d found Perdita for you.)

‘My apologies,’ says Percy. ‘I just needed to tell my colleagues, and… well, you happen to be the only telephone that can call people without me having to know their phone numbers.’

The voice groans. (Never again,) it says. (Please.)

‘Of course,’ he says.

He replaces the receiver and leans back in his chair.

He hates having to lie to his office equipment.

#writing#fiction#scp#hex's ocs#hex oc: percy#hex oc: jackson#scp 086#i really don't know how to explain this one adequately

skysplinter

Aug 4, 2017

Alabaster

The bone-white mask floated on the surface of the river, the empty sockets of its eyes seeming almost alive as the water flowed beneath it.

Nyc watched it bob along beside him curiously. Out here in the depths of the forest, artifacts from the civilized lands were few and far between; few travelers ventured out so far, and if they did, the occasional items they dropped were tools and weapons, practical things for hunting and survival.

The mask was none of those things. Nyc could not tell what it had been carved from, only that it was paler than ice and unnaturally smooth, and that the artisan which had crafted it was obviously very gifted indeed. Every facet of its face mimicked that of a real young woman, so eerily life-like that it almost made him uncomfortable to look at it. Stranger still, the harder he looked at it, the more it felt as though it was a face he knew.

Nyc crouched down on the mossy riverbank, reached into the water and grabbed the mask. He studied it carefully, running a clumsy finger down the curve of its cold, expressionless face.

It was… strange. It looked so much like her, and yet…

He sighed. Lifting himself to his feet, he began walking upstream towards the mouth of the river. There he would find Polydora, and hopefully a little more insight into where the strange thing had come from, as nothing could pass through her domain without her knowing.

Polydora was the naiad of these waters, and one of the guardians of the forest where Nyc lived. In truth, he had little knowledge of what a naiad even was, but he knew she was a friend - and that was all that really mattered to him. She had helped to shelter him from hunters when he was just a child, nursed him to health when he was sick or hurt, taught him the ways of the plants and the beasts. She was probably the smartest person he knew, so if anyone could answer his question, it would be her.

However, as he entered the familiar grove, he was not greeted by his old friend. Polydora’s spring was quiet but for the bubbling water and the occasional twittering of birds in the treetops overhead.

‘Poly?’

Nothing stirred. In truth, this didn’t worry Nyc too much. He had known Polydora to hide under the water’s surface, her muddy blue flesh melting away from view as she became one with her river. Wherever she was, he knew she could not be far away - he had never known her to stray from the water.

‘Poly, I’ve found something,’ he called to her.

And still, no one replied. He looked down at the mask in his hands and wondered.

He had never had a good memory. Without constant reminders, names and faces always seemed to slip away from him. Even the image of the parents who had raised him had become hazy now, only a handful of years after he and they had been separated by the hunters - but the mask resembled someone he knew, someone he could definitely remember, as far away from other people as he now lived.

Did the ghostly white face remind him of Polydora? It was difficult to say for certain without having both in front of him. He started to doubt himself even as he sat down by the spring, dipping his toes in the bubbling water. It certainly felt like it looked like her, but he just couldn’t say.

‘Please come out, Poly.’ He held the mask high above his head and squinted up at it, sunlight filtering through the leafy canopy above him shining softly through its eye holes. ‘I really want ye to see what I’ve found.’

Perhaps it didn’t look like her. Perhaps he was just getting confused. After all, Polydora was the only other person he really saw any more. Maybe it had been so long since he had seen another person’s face that they were all starting to look the same to him.

And yet…

‘I don’t know,’ he decided. He flopped back onto the damp grass behind him. ‘I’d really like some help,’ he said, a little louder than before. ‘Someone clever to look at this. You know, if they’re listening.’

It suddenly felt all too quiet, too still. Polydora didn’t usually take so long to appear when he called for her, and though he knew the river she guarded was wide and long, he had never known her not to hear him, provided he returned to the spring.

Maybe she was busy with something far away. She must have heard him, he was certain of it - but that didn’t necessarily mean that she was able to answer. She could be helping salmon swim upstream back to their homes for all he knew. She could be discussing the building of a great dam with beavers, or coaxing tadpoles from their eggs, or any other task a guardian naiad might be called upon to do.

But he couldn’t say for certain. For all the maybes he conjured in his head, there were an equal number of unknowns, of doubts, of unpleasant thoughts in the back of his mind that he did not want to dwell upon.

He looked at the mask again. It stared blankly back, its eyeless face now harsh and unforgiving as he studied it. He fought the urge to drop it back into the river and forget all about it.

#fiction#writing#my ocs#naiad#oc: nycrama#oc: polydora

skysplinter

Aug 3, 2017

Draft: Earthed

I heard screaming and clanging below me, but it didn’t really bother me. Not much does when you’re protected by a couple feet of reinforced armor slapped on a giant gun-toting robot. I played around with the controls and found the one that turned on the external speakers.

‘Hey, uuhhh… Dare? That you out there, buddy?’

There was some more screaming. I figured it was him; when I listened hard enough I could make out something like “y’all knew the minute y’all came here y’all don’t mess with mah robot, y’hear?!”, and if that wasn’t Dare, I’d probably just wandered into an episode of Dukes of Hazzard.

‘Oh, hi sweetie,’ I yelled back at him. ‘Just wanted to know how you put the radio on in this thing?’

More screaming. More banging noises. What was he even trying to do, cut me out of there with a can opener? And nothing he was saying sounded even remotely like he was trying to help me find the radio. Actually, some of what he was saying was just downright rude.

‘Honey, you’re gonna have to speak up some,’ I sang back in my sweetest tone. ‘And by the way, do you have any air con in here? Or at least some kind of vent or something? Because it’s smelling pretty funky up in here, and last time I checked this didn’t have a window I could just pop open. Pretty inconvenient design if you ask me.’

The clanging and crashing was getting louder. Dare’s voice was getting clearer. Next I knew, his angry little head popped up out of the lower access hatch. He looked like you could cook breakfast on his face. ‘You get out my damn seat right now,’ he barked. ‘You get out of Chuck.’

Oh yeah, did I mention that? Dare named his mech suit. His name is Chuck. It’s kind of adorable really. But I digress.

Dare was still shouting at me as I slipped out of the security harnesses. He practically pushed me out of the seat. ‘I told you not to touch him. Chrys listened. Jackson listened, but goddamnit Fancy get out of my damn robot or so help me I’ll paint this co*ckpit with you - ’

‘Okay, okay,’ I said. ‘I get it, you don’t like people touching your robot.’

‘I don’t like you touching my anything,’ Dare growled, falling victim to short man syndrome as he tried to kick me down the hatch of his gigantic robot. ‘Having you live with me is bad enough without having your greasy paws in all my stuff.’

#fiction#writing#my ocs#hex's ocs#oc: fancy#hex oc: dare#this probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense#but whatever

skysplinter

Aug 1, 2017

Draft: Sweet Dreams

She struggles even as she sleeps. ‘Tis curious, to see how much a body knows even whilst it is not conscious. Not that there is any need for her to struggle, of course. She should know I mean her no harm. After all, we are of the same blood, her and I.

Fetcher squirms on her cheek, one of their long, probing limbs wriggling deeper into her ear canal. I can feel as they delve into her mind, and the crackling of the electrical pulses across her brain slowly become tangible to me; energy becomes a flicker of an image, a snippet of a sound.

As Fetcher’s tendrils anchor themselves to my sister’s thoughts, the images become clearer, lingering long enough in my own mind to leave imprints. Mere moments later, I find myself capable of poring through her memories almost at leisure. I learn her mind with fantastic speed.

Miri watches me from the other side of the room. I notice her only dimly, as my entire being is most preoccupied with searching through thoughts foreign to my own head. I know not if she approves, but for now, she is simply content with observing. Perhaps she is too afraid to act, I realise. After all, this is the first time she has seen Fetcher in action.

Well, there is no need to fear, little Miri. We are professionals in our field. My familiar and I have broken into many minds over my long years. True, not usually for such noble purposes as this, but it matters not. There is no need to fear.

I am searching for a memory. Romana’s mind is, of course, swamped with veritable oceans of information, fragments of her past, idle ponderings. As with all the minds I have entered, I am made abundantly aware of the monstrous wealth of Romana-ness which hides behind the facade she presents to others in her conscious state. An unprepared adventurer would risk losing themselves in the endless minutiae of her thoughts. But I am focused, and Fetcher knows what we are looking for.

A single memory, pulled from just a few hours ago. An unassuming conversation lost amongst the waves of idle chatter my dear sister has shared with countless others. I am looking for an exchange between her and myself, something I personally remember quite adequately without any aid.

Why search for something I already know? It is quite simple, really.

I am searching for the lie she fed me. And when I have found the root, I can pull the blasted weed out and start helping her with whatever she is hiding from me. I despair at how difficult siblings can be at times.

#writing#fiction#my ocs#hex's ocs#oc: belladonna#hex oc: romana#hex oc: mirien#ask to tag

skysplinter

Jul 30, 2017

log. 9074

The hulking form in front of me almost fills the tunnel. Obscured in darkness, I can only vaguely make out their shape from the sewer water on their scales which glistens as they turn back towards me.

The smell of death is overpowering. They reek of vinegar and raw meat as their muscle tissue reforms, months of being sealed inside the acid tank being undone as they slowly regenerate their corroded flesh. Their snout turns in my direction as they seek me out in the gloom, filling my lungs with the stink of blood and rotted corpses.

‘I know you are here, human,’ they growl. I hear their claws rake against the floor as they lumber forward. ‘There is no point in hiding.’

I flatten myself to the wall of the tunnel and try to make myself as small as possible. I hold my breath as they pass. The whole tunnel shakes every time they heft their bulk along.

‘Come out and die,’ they say, a dark chuckle rumbling up from their gut. ‘It is all you are good for, little fleshbeast.’

Further down the tunnel, something shuffles in the darkness. Everything happens so quickly after that, I can barely keep up.

A sharp bang as they lunge past me. A flash of light illuminates the tunnel, a glimpse of yellowed teeth, wild red eyes. Gunfire rings out. A roar of rage. A wet spray dashes across my face to the sound of muffled screams and snapping bones.

They feed noisily for a few minutes, and I finally take the opportunity to breathe again. My heart is still fluttering in my chest.

‘Is that all of them?’ I gasp. ‘Are we safe?’

Through a mouthful of human flesh, my companion snigg*rs. ‘For now,’ they say. ‘There will be more. I will kill them too.’

Their words help, if only a little. I manage to peel myself away from the wall. ‘Are you sure this is the way out?’

They grunt dismissively, lumbering back along the path towards me, dragging something heavy and wet in their talons. ‘I have never gotten far enough to tell. That is why you are here,’ they remind me. ‘That is why I agreed to escape with you. I am… relying on you,’ they say slowly, as though the words were somehow foreign to them.

‘I know, I know,’ I say. ‘I just thought you knew your way around this place.’

‘Do not patronize me, child.’ They snort at me as they rip a limb from their snack, gulping it down messily. ‘I have been breaking out of this facility since before you were born.’

#writing#my ocs#fiction#scp#682#oc: su#gore tw#death tw#it's at this point where i regret calling a character su because it sounds like they're an oc for steven universe#whoopsie#ask to tag

skysplinter

Jul 29, 2017

Draft: The Hero’s Herald (pt. 2)

Prologue here.

It came to Rylan in a dream; in strange, disjointed thoughts that plagued his subconscious.

He saw a grand doorway, old and decrepit, its stone frame stretching high into the sky and extending deep into the earth below, and beyond its limits a great and terrible light, harsh and unrelenting, fighting to pass the barrier.

He saw great waves crashing, carving into the rock beneath it and forming a moat to block the light from entering, only for it to be swallowed up by a chasm, reduced to little more than steam. He saw icy mountains grow from the mud, forming unfathomable peaks before crumbling into dust. Fire plumed from the arid desert earth only to dwindle away into nothingness, over and over again, as the very elements tried and failed to stop the light from piercing through.

In his dreams, he could only watch in horror as the light grew ever stronger in its prison. It would grow brighter and brighter until the world was swallowed up in its glare, until it grew hot enough to burn his skin, and all the while he could hear someone calling out into the void, a single voice in a sea of light.

Then he would be jolted awake, his heart racing as he struggled to understand what he had seen.

He had heard of other elves receiving visions during their trances. He had even plucked up the courage to ask a few of them, telling them what he had seen and heard in the hopes that they could provide some explanation.

Instead, they had simply shaken their heads. ‘The Old Spirits bring guidance to us in subtle ways, young Rylan,’ they had explained. ‘That “vision” of yours sounds more like you’ve been wandering too far down the marshes.’ Then they had trailed off, talking of the dangers of certain types of mushrooms and scolding him gently for his rashness in pursuit of a quick thrill. ‘Our village may be small and quiet,’ they had told him, ‘but that is no excuse for such a dangerous abuse of nature.’

Rylan had learned to keep these dreams of his to himself after that debacle.

For the longest time, he just accepted that the prophets had been right in dismissing the images his mind hand conjured. After all, they were older than him, wiser than him. He hadn’t even come of age yet, still bearing his child name at the delicate age of ninety three, not even a full century under his belt. What business would the Old Spirits have with him anyway? It didn’t make much sense.

But the dreams persisted. In fact they grew stronger, until they had become inescapable even in his waking hours. They would creep up on him when he was least expecting it without any apparent rhyme or reason - he could be sparring with his mother one minute (or cooking supper, or doing any number of other menial tasks you could care to mention) only to be reeling from his own imagination the next.

Eventually his parents suggested that he see a healer of some kind. ‘Your father believes you may be suffering a sickness of the mind,’ his mother had told him, with an air of disbelief in her tone. ‘I, on the other hand, think it much more likely that you’ve been possessed by a demon who is torturing you with these terrible images. Either way, we have a few clerics in the town, so they should probably have a fair idea of what to do with you. Don’t worry, my son; we’ll have you back to normal in no time.’

It took two years under the watchful eye of Herald Caives to prove to his parents that both of them were wrong. On the plus side, he supposed, he now knew almost every chant of the elven gods by heart, and he had a newfound appreciation for herbal teas and home medicines.

He had also come to realise that these dreams of his weren’t going to go away quite so easily. Despite his immense discomfort at the thought, he was going to have to take matters into his own hands.

Rather than allowing himself to stay afraid of the images his mind was conjuring up, he tried to pay attention to what they were telling him. As the nightmarish thoughts plagued him more and more, he picked apart the images and listened intently to the muffled voice calling out in the white void.

It felt like a metaphor: a really ham-fisted one, but considering that it was his mind that was apparently conjuring it, he guessed he couldn’t expect anything different: there was something horrible on the horizon just waiting to be unleashed, and there was nothing the world could throw at it to stop it from destroying everything in its path. So far, so apocalyptic. It didn’t surprise Rylan one bit to think that a subconscious product of his mind would be so doomladen.

What confused him was the voice. It was spoken with a tone he hadn’t heard before, or at least not that he could remember - and it seemed to be calling out... a name? A place? It was difficult to tell. He had written down dozens of interpretations on what it sounded like to him, but none of them looked like a word he could recognise. Zarkiss? Dartis? Zalkris? Whatever the voice was saying, it sounded like it was in a language that Rylan couldn’t understand - which was strange if it was indeed something his own brain was dreaming up.

Naturally, submitting to these thoughts came with drawbacks. Though he was slowly beginning to piece together the imagery of what his mind was showing him, he was also putting his emotional stability through the proverbial wringer. He found himself jumping at every little noise and hiding away from everyone around him as he pored over his own thoughts. Sooner or later, he thought, people were going to start thinking he was a bit weird.

So he had two options, as far as he could see. He could either abandon his obsession with this weird dream of his, try to live a normal life and hope that things would correct themselves through wilful ignorance - or he could sneak away from the village and put himself in serious danger as he searched for the answer to a question that could, in fact, not even be a question at all, risking his entire life on the vaguest hunch that a terrible visual metaphor could perhaps hold some greater meaning.

He had already packed his things. Given how things were going, he held out little hope that things were going to return to normal just by sitting around and waiting for it to all go away.

#my ocs#writing#fiction#elves#oc: rylan#i've got a whole nanowrimo story about rylan and some buddies floating around the internet

skysplinter

Jul 25, 2017

Draft: The Hero’s Herald

In the vast, deep forests of the Southern Point, an ancient tree once stood in an enchanted grove hidden within the elven kingdom.

Since time immemorial, the tree stood as a sacred guardian to the elves, nurturing them and spreading its verdant bounty to keep them safe. As the oldest and wisest tree of the forest, it considered the elves its children and guided their fate as their population grew.

But as time wore on, and as civilization changed, it occurred to the old tree that it could not protect them forever. At least, not in its present state. It was growing old, and the elves were moving further afield, beyond the tree’s green boundaries.

The age of the forest was coming to an end, it realized - and the time for heroes was upon them.

So the ancient tree stretched out its roots and began a search for its own hero, so that it could ensure the protection of its children in this new and dangerous world.

It spoke with the trees and plants of the wilds, and found a loyal messenger on the outskirts of the forest.

‘Fey,’ the old tree called. ‘Fey, I pray thee listen to my plight. I sense great danger in the world beyond our borders; a swelling dread that threatens not only my children, but the children of the stone, of the oceans, and of even the barren wastes.

‘I search for a champion, fey; a hero to protect in my stead. Seek them out, old friend,’ it said, ‘and guide them. Aid them in any way you can. Train them well, so that they may quell the evil before it is too late.’

The fey of undergrowth acknowledged its master. It listened to the old tree’s instructions, and it understood what must be done.

The fey reached out into the minds and the hearts of the elves, and lay in wait, hoping upon hope for the fated champion to answer its call.

#writing#fiction#elves#fey#prologues#hex's ocs: the fey#i promise this gets more fun later on#psst - this is kinda heavily inspired by zelda#bet you couldn't guess

skysplinter

Jul 21, 2017

The Outcast

The winds whipped her cloak and bit at her skin. The snow and ice of the storm overhead had only grown heavier and more vicious as she climbed, her line of sight clouded by the angry white shards that blustered around her.

The outcast marched on blindly. With one hand clutching her cloak tight to her breast, she kept the other pressed against the rock wall beside her, following the jagged teeth of the mountain and hoping that they would not mislead her.

Time held no claim here. What little sky she could see through the blizzard was grey as steel and heavy with a battalion of black stormclouds that frowned down upon her and her quest.

This was nothing new to her. She had been cast out by her people for her transgressions against them. This was merely divine retribution for her act of treachery, for betraying her brethren and defying the teachings of the War-Maker. It was all she could do to stand against her trials and hope to overcome them; if she could not be an honourable disciple of their god, then she would have to become a worthy adversary or else perish at his mercy.

Gritting her teeth, the outcast kept her pace steady as she strode onwards into the tempest. There could be no respite from the onslaught of ice and cold; her lack of vision gave her little chance of finding any natural shelter before she would freeze to death. Her only chance was to reach the temple. Only there would she find solace and any semblance of safety from the storm, and only there would she see the truth she sought. It was at that temple - the long-empty haven for the children of the Radiant One - that she would know if her crimes against her own people had been justified or simply in vain.

That thought alone kept her going. As the cold numbed her senses and left her with nothing but her instincts to guide her, still she climbed. Her bare hands and feet cracked and bled as the ice gnawed away at her flesh, even her lips and eyes cut to bloodied ribbons by the gales which so relentlessly bore down upon her, and still she climbed. Battered, bruised and broken, the outcast crawled ever upwards along the icy path.

Hours passed, or perhaps days. In the distance she could see a dark shape growing closer through the curtain of snow. At first, she had thought she was growing mad, conjuring images in her mind as the deprivation of her vision withdrew her from the bitter white landscape surrounding her - but as she persevered, the shape began to take form. The haze slowly grew edges, until she could just make out a long stone-hewn pillar jutting out of the nothingness. She watched as a wall seemed to extend from one side of it, then another. The dull, wet glimmer of glass fragments set together crept into view through the mists and etched a black archway into the shape: a stained-glass window, she suddenly realised.

Shivering from both the cold and anticipation, she continued following her hands along the mountain face until she was close enough to reach out and touch the weathered stonework. She threw herself upon it, sinking into the snow, her hands and forehead pressed against the wall. Her tears turned to crystals on her lashes as she sobbed silently in relief.

The storm awoke her from her momentary respite; only a fool would lower her guard when she was so close to what she sought. Fumbling her frost-bitten hands across the side of the temple, she found a small wooden door. She was thankful to find that it opened as she turned the handle, for her body had grown too weak from her journey to force it open. She slipped into the shadowy room that lay inside and closed the door behind her.

Though the temple was pitch-black inside and provided little in the way of warmth, it provided shelter enough. The outcast slid down the door and rested awhile in the darkness, the sound of the winds howling outside almost soothing to her now she had escaped them. She pulled her torn cloak tighter around her shoulders and brushed away some of the melting snow that clung to it.

She had prevailed, she thought dimly to herself. The first of her trials was over.

#my ocs#writing#oc: ????#fiction

skysplinter

Jul 20, 2017

Draft: Out of Order

A/N: This scene deals with some heavy subjects, such as depression, suicidal thoughts and mentions of drug abuse.

Kit courtesy of @hexagonal-nuts

The bar was quiet. All the other patrons had either left or fallen into a sleepy drunken haze. Flies buzzed around the boiling striplights overhead. The air was heavy and stale, steeped in the stench of cheap booze and expensive hookers.

Kit had picked out a table hidden in the corner. They had said it was because they still needed to lay low. There was another reason why they had chosen a wall seat, but they didn’t say anything. It would only make their companion all the more likely to refuse their request.

They’d been sitting in silence for hours now. Forrest, of course, had filled the gaping void with beer and tobacco. A small wall of glasses lined her side of the table, sheltering a tiny mountain of still-smouldering cigarette butts. Kit still nursed half a cup of water.

They couldn’t both just sit here forever. Sooner or later, they needed to tell her. They gritted their teeth. ‘Look, this… this just isn’t working.’

‘Excuse me?’ Forrest belched.

Kit ran a finger through a puddle on the table, drawing a small circle as Forrest drained her last glass. ‘If you just drop me off here, we can… I can sort myself out from here, and you can get back to your job.’

Yet more silence. Seconds slowed to a crawl, stretching into long, miserable minutes.

‘Oh,’ said Forrest. Her voice bit into them them like a rusty syringe. She slammed her pint-glass down hard and chuckled darkly. ‘My job,’ she mumbled. ‘Yeah, right.’

‘I’m serious. They could let you back in,’ they said, though even they doubted it. ‘I mean, you went AWOL after running into a rogue juicer. You could use that. Say I kidnapped you. Or something like that. Say you were overpowered, held against your will…’

‘Oh yeah, held against my will by a juicer who falls outta their chair when they get them dizzy spells you do. A big scary juicer who can’t drink coffee no more because they get the jitters and end up scaldin’ themselves.’ Forrest pulled out a match, struck it against the peak of her cap and lit herself a cigarette. ‘Of course you overpowered me. Sure thing. Let’s go with that. I’m sure my commandin’ officer’ll buy that one.’

‘They don’t know what… They don’t know my condition. You could tell them anything.’ Kit sighed. They traced a little flower in the puddle, then wiped it away with the palm of their hand. Gritting their teeth, they looked up at Forrest. She glared back, angrily smoking her cigarette out of existence. ‘You could go back… You could have a regular life. Go back and see your friends. You don’t need to be here.’

Forrest sighed and leaned back in her chair. ‘I know I don’t,’ she said. ‘But I am. And I am because I want to be. And you’re a terrible liar, because like f*ck would you be okay if I just left you here.’

‘I’m fine…’

‘You’re not fine, Kit,’ said Forrest. ‘I know I ain’t the smartest, but even I can see you ain’t exactly firing on all cylinders these days. That’s what happens when you juicers go cold turkey from them drugs they hop you up on. People die cuz of it. People that are bigger, and tougher, and meaner than you ever was. They just drop in a heap after the kinda stuff you’ve gone through.’

Kit plucked their cup from the table and took a long, slow sip. Even half a drink of water was enough to get their hand jittering. Or maybe they were just nervous, or angry at Forrest for being so damned stubborn. Yes, they told themselves, that was probably it.

Why couldn’t she just give a little? Couldn’t she see that this was dangerous? The more they thought about it, the less sense it made.

When they’d first met, Forrest had been an RV driver for the military. She’d had a squad. From the stories they’d been told, on the nights when she’d been a better mood of drunk, she had a rank, a reputation - a future.

But Kit? They’d been washed up for years now. Even before they’d gone and signed their life away on the juicer scheme, allowing quack doctors to pump their system full of mind-warping, body-straining drugs to turn them into a super soldier, Kit had been heading down a path that led nowhere. Looking back, it seemed as though their whole life was just a string of bad decisions, each one bigger and more stupid than the last.

Becoming a juicer had been a mistake, but trying to fix the problem had proven even worse. They’d broken away from their unit, the only people that even cared about them any more - and then they’d found a freelance fixer out on the open road. They’d had the genius idea to have a full purge of the gunk that had been pumped into their system. Of course they knew the risks. They knew that becoming an ex-juicer had a high chance of turning into becoming one of the ex-living. Death, however, wasn’t something they’d been scared of for quite some time. If it all went wrong, that would just be a quick end to another depressing story.

With the help of Forrest, they’d pulled through. They didn’t know what to think of that. Part of them wondered if it had been worth it. Deep down, part of them was disappointed that they’d even woken up from it. Dying would have been welcomed, but instead they had survived - weak, broken and unable to care for themselves, having to relearn every tiny action they had once taken for granted as they adjusted to a life off the drugs.

Forrest was probably the only reason they were still here now. If they had escaped alone, they probably would have found a good hole to crawl into and left themself to rot. But Forrest wouldn’t let them.

It wasn’t even as though she had cared for them. She hadn’t nursed them back to health or done anything for them that they found too complicated to do alone. She just… stayed with them. She was there to talk to no matter where they were, and if they were struggling, she stayed back and watched them, telling them to try again.

Kit clasped the cup in both hands and lowered it slowly to the table. ‘I don’t want this,’ they muttered.

‘Sorry?’

They closed their eyes. ‘I don’t want this,’ they repeated. ‘I don’t want you here. I don’t want you holding my hand like this. I can do this by myself. I’m better off alone. So please. I just want you to leave.’

Forrest pulled her hat from her head and ran her fingers through her long dark hair. She sighed in exasperation. ‘How about I say no?’

‘I’m asking you,’ said Kit. ‘I’m pleading with you to leave.’

‘And I’m telling you, you can shove that right up your ass,’ she frowned. Her hands still knotted into her hair, she sank forward, her elbows and chin slowly coming to rest on the tabletop. When Kit mustered the energy to look at her directly, she gave the smallest and saddest of smiles. ‘... Look, buddy. I know what you’re trying to do here, but I’m just not gonna go for it. And the sooner you learn to accept that, the easier this is gonna get for the both of us.’

They felt sick. They wanted to curl up into a ball and forget everything that was happening around them - no more Forrest, no more bar, no more anything. And yet it wouldn’t go away. They hadn’t the strength to even hide their face in their hands. Despite their best efforts, everything persisted, marching on around them as they just sat and sagged under the weight of their own weak, useless, broken body.

‘I don’t understand,’ they whimpered. Phantom tears prickled in their eyes, but nothing would come. They couldn’t even cry, as though a rift had torn them open and devoured any tatters of emotion they had once possessed.

‘Hey, c’mon. Don’t… don’t do me like this, Kit.’

A small, soft hand stretched across the table. Kit looked up and saw Forrest trying and failing to reach them from her seat, her arms a little too short to grasp onto anything. Eventually, with a sheepish grin, she settled for giving them a half-hearted thumbs-up before settling back into her seat.

They both sat in an awkward silence, neither one of them entirely sure what to do, until finally Forrest snorted and they both began to laugh, Kit’s own dry, confused chuckle all but drowned out by the raucous cackling of their friend. A few of the other half-conscious patrons of the bar turned to look at them, but by this point Forrest had tears streaming down her face and Kit could only wheeze and try to catch their breath.

‘Wh-what the heck was that supposed to be?’ they said, half-coughing as they recovered from their outburst.

‘I… I…’ Forrest still wept, her nostrils streaming as she utterly failed to compose herself. ‘... Wait a minute, wait a minute.’ She wiped the tears from her eyes and sighed. ‘There we go, I’m better now. Well… Well anyway, I was trying to be a supportive friend, but unfortunately I don’t got the arms for it.’

‘You mean you didn’t mean to just stick your thumb up at me from across the table?’ said Kit. They could feel a small smile still lingering on their face.

‘Oh, yeah, sorry, of course that’s what I was tryin’ to do. Silly me,’ she giggled. ‘I mean, yeah, people do that all the time. Your buddy’s feeling down, first thing you should do is give ‘em a good old thumbs up. Really lets ‘em know you care.’

They both sat and smiled, saying nothing for a little while. Kit’s ribs still ached from laughing, but it helped to take their mind off all the other pain, if only for a few moments.

‘You’re really weird,’ they said finally.

Forrest smirked. ‘That’s one of the reasons why you can’t get rid of me. I’m here for my own protection. Can’t go lettin’ a weirdo like me wander around without proper supervision. Imagine all the trouble I’d get into otherwise.’

Kit didn’t argue. For some reason, they couldn’t find the energy.

#my ocs#hex's ocs#writing#fiction#suicidal ideation tw#depression tw#drug abuse mention tw#swearing tw#oc: forrest#oc: kit#hex oc: kit#ask to tag
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