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Short Fiction Contest 5 - 5/05/2014

Highscore by Behemoth
Total votes: 2 (22%)
What Hung in the Air by Draglide12
Total votes: 3 (33%)
Damocles’ Pearl by Anathema
Total votes: 1 (11%)
Title: Overrated by 5anitybane
Total votes: 1 (11%)
Missed Opportunity by Lum
Total votes: 1 (11%)
7 hours of mining by rens282
(No votes)
Insubordination by mordiaky
Total votes: 1 (11%)
Total votes: 9
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Short Fiction Contest 5 - 5/05/2014

#1
Welcome everyone, to our fifth Short Fiction Contest!

Voting has now closed, and the competition has ended.

The winning entry is: What Hung in the Air by Draglide12

Entries have closed. Voting is now open.

Voting Closes sometime around Saturday 10th of May 2014


This contest will close sometime around Monday 5th May 2014

This is the submissions thread, please post any comments in the Short (Short!) Fiction Contest thread. After submissions close we'll run a poll so people can pick their favourite story. The winner will receive mad props, yo ( :roll: ).


The Rules:
  • Submissions should be approximately 400 words in length. Please, no novellas.
  • Submitted stories should feature the competition's topic.
  • Submissions should include a title.
  • Submissions should be posted in this thread by the stated deadline.
  • Original content only (obviously, plagiarism of any kind is discouraged).
  • Multiple submissions are allowed, but you may be asked to choose one to go to final voting if we receive a lot of submissions.
  • Have Fun!
This competition's topic is:
Contest Topic wrote:Surviving an Alien Invasion.
(Thanks go to Lum for his suggestion of this topic).

Feel free to incorporate the topic into your story in any way you choose - Describe the plight of a single survivor, or write about the fall of an entire civilisation. You could write about the first battles of the invasion, or perhaps about the situation after a hundred years of occupation by the alien force. You could even write a story from the point of view of the invading aliens. Anything you like, so long as you use the idea of the alien invasion in some fashion.

That's it. Have fun guys, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments thread.

Cheers, :thumbup: :wave:
- The Snark Knight

"Look upward, and share the wonders I've seen."
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 5 - 5/05/2014

#2
Highscore

A large spherical ship appeared to the solar system. It, without any visible means of propulsion , traveled towards the third planet at half the speed of light. Once there, the ship slowed down to orbital speed. The planet's nightside had a bunch of yellow glowing dots.
"Here we are. Hyra-Tairum-3. Called by its inhabitants... Earth, was it?
"Yes, Earth. Class 12. Fairly challenging. Fusion missiles. Militaristic."
"A lot of points."
"Yes, yes."
"What tech modifier are we going with?"
"Nine."
"Atleast we are not doing an overkill, then."
"The strategists have calculated that to be enough."
"Launch the notification."
A small pod phased through the ship's surface, and detached. It de-orbited, a small blue flame pushing it. It landed into the water, and started signalling.
-----
We found the pod. It wanted to be found. After it was opened, it said its message in all languages we knew there was. It went like this:

"This is a warning. In the name of the Game, we are committed to warn you about your fate. We are also committed to give you standard time to prepare, which is 2,230462 of your planet's rotations, counting from the opening of this pod. We are coming to invade your planet after that time. Prevent it if you can."

It looped and looped, talking to everyone of us in our mother tonque. We warned everyone, and they prepared. People hid in their cellars, and armies prepared to fight against aliens so advanced they could have made the message. When the time came, first it was silence. Then a sound just loud enough not to break our ears. And then they came. Pods, not anything like the first one hit the ground, in varying shapes and sizes. From them emerged war machines, way less advanced than our current technology. It felt really weird to fight an army from god-like aliens barely having lithium batteries. No laser cannons, no. Just machine guns. It felt like they were not taking it seriously. Their robot-brains were no more advanced than a Commodore 64. They ran on gasoline engines, and were made out of steel. Somehow we still lost.

Slowly, but surely they destroyed earth, acre by acre. A month ago, they left. The machines melted to piles of metal, and rised up to the skies. There was a significant amount of survivors. Maybe their goal was not to kill everyone. We are starting to rebuild a civilisation. Humanity will eventually grow back. Maybe that's what they want. I don't know. I'm just a sailor.
------
"That was a good match. Little challenging."
"That's a new highscore! We just broke the record!"
The ship accelerated away, and disappeared, similarly how it came.
In space, no one will hear you scream. #262626
I've never played a space sim. Ever.
Vos estis tan limes.
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 5 - 5/05/2014

#3
What Hung in the Air

Malorm slowly plodded down the aisle of Prison Bay #3, observing the strange organisms they had started rounding up on the blue planet. They were superficially feeble creatures, but as a few unfortunate Catchers had learned, they quickly recovered from structural damage, and had an abnormally high pain threshold. Some were saying that they had adapted symbiosis with many of the planet's parasites, even culturing some within their bodies. It was advised to avoid their mandibles, but as they were chained down Malorm was not worried.

These would likely be sold in the slave markets on Cabormisees, though the zoo on The One might want a few specimens. Some might even be sent to labs to research their strange capacity for damage tolerance. Malorm was stopping periodically to "converse" with the beings, his translator dumbing down his advanced dialect to be comprehensible in their primitive tongue. Eventually he would have to formalize inventory to see what pens they might be sent to.

"You." He said, stopping by one. "What do you make?" The creature seemed confused. "Uh... hou... b... buildings." it sputtered. Malorm grinned, moving on. "And you? What do you make?" "I'm an artist." This creature seemed afraid, but not as confused. Malorm sneered, and moved on. that one would go to the quarry pits.

There was a fuss down towards the end of the aisle. Several of the creatures seemed to be openly hostile to one of their own. They spat at it, or yelled. Those near it were straining futilely against their constraints to get at it, or away from it. Malorm grinned, and began moving to the disturbance. He noticed the more angular attire of the creature, but put that information aside in his brain.

The creatures began to settle down as he came near, still glaring periodically at the troublemaker. Malorm leaned down towards the creature. "You." he said. "What is it you make?" The creature let out an unrecognizable noise, opening its jaws wide. Malorm snapped back, fearing it might bite him. The creature's noise got louder. Malorm's translator prcessed furiously, trying to interpret the strange behavior. Finally it popped a notification on his display. "Mirth." It read. Interesting.

Malorm began speaking again, but was interrupted by a loud screeching noise. the ship shook. More noises, and now the sounds of explosions, getting nearer.

Malorm awoke, covered in dislodged plate metal. His display posted "Body damage significant, seek medical bay." He looked around. He noticed one of the creatures walking across the wreckage. It was the troublemaker from before. The one that had "mirthed." It noticed him as well, and began to walk over.

The creature crouched over Malorm's broken body. It pulled back its mandibles, exposing its teeth. Malorm could see the glint of the infectious ooze the medicals had warned him of. He hoped it would not drip into one of his open wounds. The creature spoke. Malorm focused on it, trying to understand. Then his translator kicked in.

"War." It said. "I make war."
They shall call me, Draglide! The thread killer!
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 5 - 5/05/2014

#4
Damocles’ Pearl

When they found mummy’s plane it was in a thousand pieces, but the telly said that before it hit the ground, it was in two. Like it was sliced, they said.

They found a thread, near the plane. It was strung from above the sky to below the ground, but the pilot never saw it because it was so thin. Like what a spider uses, they said. Only it didn’t break, even when the plane hit it. They dug down and they went up, but they can’t find where it begins or ends.

They started calling it the Silk on telly, but daddy calls it Damocles. I looked that word up on google, but I don’t think there’s a sword at the end of the Silk because it’d fall down.

I dreamed of mummy’s body cut in half.

I asked dad, if it goes up into space, does it go round and round with the earth, or does it stay still so the Silk spins a cocoon around us? Because sometimes the clouds look like string. Daddy said that’s just what planes leave behind. I asked if the Silk was what mummy’s plane left behind. Daddy got angry.

The telly showed a little red blob dripping down the Silk from the sky, like a pearl of blood. Daddy said it couldn’t be mummy’s, but I still got nightmares.

Daddy is never home now. He’s always working at the research centre. He said I don’t have to go to school anymore, but that I can't watch telly because it broke so it’s very boring. Daddy told me not to go outside.

I dreamed I was walking at night and I saw daddy, only the telly was working and it showed mummy’s blood creeping over buildings and people. It stuck to everything like syrup. Then daddy saw me and put me back in bed.

A man got into our house. Daddy locked me in my room but I heard them fighting. There was a very loud bang, and now the man is gone.

My daddy took me outside again. Everyone was there. Like a party, only people were crying as well as laughing. They said there was a flood but it stopped. I think that’s why daddy didn’t let me out since I can’t swim. A lady said almost everything was smothered.

The ground has been rumbling, and it’s hot. I heard daddy say it followed the Silk into the core, but I don’t know what it means. He was crying.

I think mummy’s in the ground.
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 5 - 5/05/2014

#5
Given that one of these entries is just beyond 500 words, I feel I can submit mine at 525 words. Please let me know if this is too much and I will modify it.

Title: Overrated

Cainan's escape pod buckled in its launch tube as the freighter shook, uncertainty shaking his mind moreso. "Unhinge, damn you!" He pressed the launch sequence of buttons repeatedly to no avail, sighing. "If there was ever a time..." He slammed his fists on the sides of the pod, and a loud clunk resonated throughout the pod. "Of course that would work." Initiating the launch sequence for the final, uncounted time, his pod began to accelerate through the tube. Previously unnamed, in the heat of this moment he decided to name it, rather suitably, Disagreeable Bastard. In light of success he thought of changing it, but ultimately decided the ensuing explosion would make it of little consequence.

His pod shot out of the pod tube just as the freighter began to explode in several compartments, altering his pod's trajectory into the center of the battle taking place, "Wonderful. A light show just for me, damned Arkale invasion." The bright, orange haze of the sun basked his pod in a tangerine glow, and his engines bled shades of blue into the artwork of laser fire and cosmic dust, culminating in a rather beautiful way to die. Despite this, his mind raced, calculating chances of survival, creating possibilities and likelihoods of unpleasant ends to his life, thinking about the dog he'd jettisoned in a separate escape pod, and his hands began to shake. “Oh Barky, what have I done?! This invasion could've been prevented, you could've been running happily in the fields of Argola Prime if I hadn't... if I hadn't been so...”

Cainan reached into his pocket and retrieved an obscure artifact, purple in colour and reflecting the laser fire outside the viewport. “If I hadn't been so utterly enticed with this amazingly splendid, wondrous... hang on, what's it doing?” The artifact suddenly began to shake and rose slightly in temperature, before projecting a small hologram of one of the Arkale ships and one of his faction's. He didn't know what it was wanting him to select, for all he knew it was determining if he was friend or foe and this was an Arkale bomb, but he was hardly in the best of circumstances. Being a gambler all his life anyway, he had grown accustomed to taking risks, and selected the Arkale ship.

The artifact's heat rose exponentially and Cainan dropped it on the floor of the pod, staring in amazement when it suddenly sank through the flooring as if it were a spectre. He stared even farther when he saw the artifact start propelling itself through space and firing omni-directional beams at the Arkale ships, piercing their shields as if they didn't exist. He had never been a faithful man, but felt this was as good a time as any to silently pray for his good fortune.

Minutes passed, and the Arkale ships were nothing but hulks, adrift until fate had other plans. A Battleship from Cainan's faction had evidently been recording readings from the battle and found the object to have launched from Cainan's pod, and decided he was worth talking to in person. “Maybe this isn't so bad.” Cainan thought, “pets are overrated anyway.”
Last edited by 5anitybane on Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 5 - 5/05/2014

#6
Missed Opportunity

They came in silence. It was a small sphere, twelve meters in diameter. Ten seconds after reaching orbit exactly at 2.216,36693 km above see level, the sphere flattened itself. Our instruments couldn't measure that lapse of time. It simply happened. The resulting disc was twelve centimeters thick and waited for another ten seconds before starting a self replicating process at a linear rate of twelve million units per second. Approximately six and a half seconds later Earth was covered with a perfect grid made of twelve-meter-discs. By the end of the third count of ten seconds the planet was completely covered.

We immediately lost contact with every piece of technology beyond the sphere. It was January, the 1st 2033. Civilization as we knew it froze.

We where under siege for six days. The first day contingency protocols were brought to life: rationing plans for food, water and power. The markets were shut down, all information printed and brought to safe places. All non essential electronic devices turned off. At first panic broke everywhere. But then, almost magically, there was peace. For the first time in recorded history, there was no single war on planet Earth.

The weather went crazy soon enough. Most people were brought into shelters. Meanwhile, every single attempt to make contact with the sphere ended abruptly with an eardrum-breaking whistle. By the end of the fourth day, politicians started to talk about missiles. It wasn't a good idea. The first attempt returned to us tenfold more powerful and leaving a really big crater in the middle of France. Some people went mad against politicians, but that didn't stop a second try. This time the dickhead in charge went nuclear. If we wanted some proof about the smartness of the Folks of the Sphere-as we all came to know them-, we had no need to wait any longer. The present came back exactly the same way it went up. This time as powerful as intended. Nevertheless the impact resulted more devastating than the one on France. There was no third attempt. At the sixth day global temperatures were getting chilly on the Equator. Colder countries slowly progressed to uninhabitable levels on the surface.

And then the seventh day came upon us. It was a fateful day. We had no hope left. Stripped of our souls, our hearts couldn't feel anything but despair. At 23:59:30 EST the sphere broke up, starting an exactly inverse process. At 00:00:00 of January the 8th 2033 it was gone. The sun shone on a colder Earth. People celebrated for a long time and when celebrations were over they started to rebuild civilization as they knew it: powering up their markets, their armies, their miseries.
I have been - and always shall be - your friend.
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 5 - 5/05/2014

#7
"7 hours of mining"

The day started as any other, but it didn't ended like any other.

I've went out to the market with my bag off equipment and looked for a job on one of the many
mining frigates my home station housed. Looking around and waiting on the job list i found a job by one of my old friends.
There is something weird about moving on a ship feeling it is going be a great day and not to know
what will be coming.

And if i only looked at our ores we had a great day indeed. We where out for over 7 hours mining in one of the
many fields my home-planet had. We know that being to far away from the planet caused us to lose radio contact but we never considerd the
things that could happen while we were gone.

On the way back when we entered cruise mode and we made contact with the docking system on the orbital station. It was a automated system drove by a
AI core, this way we docked and we realized how quiet it was. Everyone just disapeard, it was like there was a sale
on the planet and everyone rushed to it. After we tried to get in touch with the planet and not getting a response we watched the log
created by the station. It records all the jump traffic close to the planet. While watching we realized that we were surivors.
Surivors of something that jumped in, killed everyone and left.We needed to warn the neighbor systems.

The only problem is that we came to realize we never recorded an 2e jump signature.
07
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 5 - 5/05/2014

#8
Title: Insubordination

Drokgar asked the question again, this time in a Commanding Officer tone, and Gorlan motioned for the Recon soldiers to hold their position. The group came to a stop.

Gorlan looked at Drokgar and whispered loud enough for the Humans to hear, “Why would a blood traitor care of his history? The Anock clan saw fit to fool all the Terrgants and rob them of their culture!”

A hint of rage began to build inside Drokgar as he slowly lost control of his emotions. The Anock clan was not a traitor to the Terrgant Empire, they were an elite guard that protected the home-world. All but a few Anock members perished in the defense of the home-world at its untimely destruction. Drokgar let his pulse rifle hang limply in his off-hand as he clenched his right fist to deliver a severe form of justice to his second in command. This foul lipped Ravek angered Drokgar as evidenced by the massively powerful fist that hurtled in Gorlan’s direction.

The swiftness of the attack was unnoticed by Gorlan as it gracefully connected with his insubordinate mouth. The force of the beautifully delivered punch was so great it lifted Gorlan off his feet and sent him flying backwards into the wall. As he made a resounding thud, chunks of wall exploded from the impact of his hulking Terrgant torso having being flung threw the air. The collision with the wall left a sizeable impression that, quite remarkably, resembled the shape of his body.

After the momentum of his flight was absorbed into the wall, he recoiled outwards from the imprint left by the extreme amount of blunt force. Gravity recalled him to its clutches and he slammed nearly has hard into the floor as he so unwillingly did into the wall. He lay sprawled out and motionless on the debris ridden floor. As the dust settled Gorlan took a moment, stood up and regained his composure.

Blood was gushing from his mouth. As he snarled at Drokgar he exposed his trademark elongated Terrgant canine teeth. While the Human members of the recon unit chuckled amongst themselves, Gorlan growled as he glared at them. The glare of a superior Officer is something no soldier wants to experience, especially coming from a Terrgant. The chuckling ceased immediately as the Human soldiers resumed positions of tactical readiness.

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