Archive | January 16, 2012

Evolution, a story of the Shadow Rebellion for the Giraffe Call

For [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s prompt.

Shadow Rebellion now has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

I didn’t believe my dad at first.

Okay, that’s not really nice of me, but I really didn’t. He liked to make up stories sometimes, to entertain us, and I knew, having spent the last summer living in one during an internship, that the cubes in the middle of the megaplexes can get really creepy if you spend too long there. I could put one and one together and come up with a dad who had gone just a little loopy, without loving him any less, without trusting him any less… just without believing him at all.

I didn’t really even believe him “at second;” when the news reports started coming out of the City, in part because he was quoted on the news. “Hey, Janie, isn’t that your dad?” is really not what you want to hear when you’re studying for an exam.

It wasn’t until we went into the City for the weekend that I really understood, or at least believed, and having begun the process, well, then I had to study it. I’m a college student, aren’t I? So I talked to a professor and he talked to the Dean and the Dean signed the papers and four of my buddies and I now have a grant.

It’s lovely how those things work out, isn’t it?

We started with the statues, figuring they would be easy. I mean, they were Writing, weren’t they?

And they were. Of course, the problem was, they weren’t writing in English. They weren’t writing in any language anyone we could find could recognize. So we hauled in a couple language students, and got them deciphering the super-slow-writing while the rest of us started finding something that could identify the shadows and the ghosts.

It took us a while.

It took us weeks just to determine exactly where to read their signal, and why the daylight lights were making them visible (not the “daylight” function, actually, but the fact that they were a special style of bulb. The light streaming through one of the chemicals in the fluorescent did it). Once we did that, we could follow them, and figure out their patterns. They followed humans, we theorized, out of camouflage; even in the light of those bulbs, they still looked pretty much like a flat shadow.

Running with that theory, we tried to open up communication with them. We tried all different sound frequencies, some different light patterns, even smells. We were on to textures and tastes when the intern we’d put on deciphering the statues came running into the lab.

“There’s a problem!” she screamed, just as we were about to try vanilla-scented sandpaper. “No, stop. They’re tactile. Haptic language, we’re pretty sure.”

“That’s what we’re trying,” I pointed out, as patiently as I could.

“The problem is, you don’t want to talk to them. You really don’t. We deciphered the statue’s language. They’re not statues. They’re… well. They used to be shadows. And, uh, we think that they have a three-stage evolution…”

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Birth of a City, a story for the Giraffe Call (@Inventrix)

For [personal profile] inventrix‘s prompt

It started, as most things do, with a single settlement on a major route.

The route was, in this case, a slip-hole through an asteroid belt, not a long valley or a waterway, and the settlement was a group of seventeen people, miners and their kin, who staked out the best chunk of belt and attached their settlement to the biggest stable land mass.

The first to come was a teacher, someone whose skills lay in education but who had always had what they called “void-fever.” He brought with him a module that attached near the settlement, and the tubing to make a “road.”

After the teacher came some scientists, who were curious in studying – well, they were scientists, they wanted to study everything. Micro-G living on humans. The elements found in the asteroids. Void and zero-G’s effects on just about everything. They brought a company-sponsored seven-level settlement, and triple-wall tubes to connect to the miner’s cubic. Since they also brought children, they attached to the teacher’s module, as well.

And many of them brought spouses, partners, cuddle-friends, which meant that there had to be something for those people to do. Three of them dreamt up a small business, and wrote up a proposal, bringing money, a module, and materials from the grounded cities. They also hired three programmers and a mechanic who could handle micro-G, and, as their business took off, another seven employees, only half of them already on the Rock.

There’s some argument about whether that first company was the tipping point, or the bar-slash-bordello that followed (Angie’s, done in an imitation old-style, complete with swinging saloon doors past its airlock and girls in bright saloon costumes), but, one or the other, people started coming for things other than the mine, the miners, and their children. And once the hydro-farm and distillery came to service the bar, and the gidget factory to support the first building, and the hair salon and massage parlour to support the factory workers… Well, then they needed a water refinery and a toy store (and a “toy store”) and a movie theatre.

The police first formed when the population topped a thousand and, while the city did not have a fire department, quite, it had a leak department, and then a public works bureau, that collected money and used it to reinforce the tubes and, at about ten thousand, build a globe around the whole thing for another layer of protection. And then, of course, they needed someone in charge.

It surprised no-one, except possibly herself, when the first miner, whose idea this had all been, was elected mayor seventeen years after she had first started digging on the rocks.

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

Underneath, a story of Facets of Dusk for the Giraffe Call

For [personal profile] kc_obrien‘s prompt, with a side order of comments asking for more development of the female team members and for more time in-world, not just through-the-door.

Facets of Dusk has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

“It’s awfully dark in here,” Josie murmured unhappily. “I can’t feel the sun at all.” Or the trees, or the wind. There was a breeze, at least.

“But it’s rather warm,” Peter countered. “Or at least constant. It’s not a case of no solar heat, then, a burn-out planet.”

“It’s…” Aerich looked around disdainfully. “Rather dirty.”

Josie turned to look at him, trying not to laugh. He got so bent out of shape when he was laughed at. And, to be fair, the place was rather dirty. Untouched-feeling, stale, and the dim light only made it seem more so.

“Xenia and I will scout,” Cole declared, to no-one’s surprise. Xenia and he scouted, like Peter read instruments and Alexa Opened. Like Josie Knew. “You guys stay within a block of here, and see what you can find out.”

“Got it,” Alexa answered, crisp and professional like the suits she preferred. Josie smiled to herself, even though this world was making her a bit uncomfortable.

“They’re kind of cute, aren’t they?” Peter whispered, in a voice only for her ears. “G.I. Joe and Action Figure Girl?”

She swallowed another giggle. “They are,” she agreed, not admitting just how cute she could find them. “So, Science Man, why don’t we do our own exploring?”

She realized from the warmth suddenly coming off of him that there was more than one way to read her suggestion, and from the heat inside of her that she wouldn’t mind either one. But they were both professionals, of a sort. She cleared her throat, ready to backpedal. “That is…”

“We explore this world,” he agreed, rescuing her. “And then, later, perhaps…”

“Later.” She could hear his smile in his voice better than she could see it, but she could feel her own stretching her lips. “For now…” She dropped her mat on the ground and sank into a lotus position, hearing Peter move away, his instruments beeping softly to him, sending out an eerie glow.

Slowly, the glow faded from her awareness, and the beeping, Aerich and Alexa pacing out a perimeter, Peter reading the emanations of the world. Slowly, her senses stretched outwards – the Door, behind them, in a sturdy metal archway meant to last. Around the doorway, a building, still standing, tallish – about seven stories – made mostly of metal and stone. Around it, a block of similar buildings reached to slightly shorter heights.

She stretched further, tasting the dust in the air, the abandoned feeling of this place, the suggestion, beneath all the dust, of not quite abandoned, as if someone had left the light on, planning to come right back. Feeling Cole and Xenia, skulking around like thieves in the night. Feeling the edges of their world, a tall structure somewhere above. A roof. A roof above the entire city.

“We’re in some sort of created cavern,” Peter said at the same time. “And it seems like there’s another such pocket directly above this one. And above that…”

She stretched her senses, reaching for the power of the ground under her, reaching for the sunlight. “Ah,” she moaned, as the life and bustle and sunlight! assailed her, pressing in on her, talking to her in words she couldn’t understand, pushing into her. “And above that is the city.”

“Indeed,” he agreed. “Above that is where the people are.”

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

Giraffe Call Monday Update

The Giraffe Call is Still Open (and on LJ)! It will stay open until this Friday evening, or until I’ve written one prompt to ever prompter, whichever comes first.

Guys, I’m really excited at how close we are to the $150 incentive level! I’m bouncing up and down – and, I confess, I’m kind of curious to see if we can make it to the $201 level as well (not in the least because of the furnace bill, but I want to see how I handle a second Giraffe Call in a month, too). 😉

As a reminder – if you donated to this call, or to any call, you can ask for ($x100) words of continuation on any story posted here. Several people from the December call have not yet claimed their words.

Back to writing!

Linkback Incentive Story (and ON LJ)
Summary so far:
First Steps (LJ) The city remembers
The Dark Places, the Numbered Streets (LJ) – Ance seeks a real adventure. And finds it.
Recovering the City (LJ)
The Tuesday Map (LJ) Life in the BAELZ.
Souvenir (LJ)
The Cracks
Through the Cracks (LJ)
“China is Here” (LJ)

Unicorn Chase (LJ)

Origins of Smokey Knoll (LJ)

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Monday, with Snow

Snow falls in inches in laboratories.
Where we live, it falls in
drifting mounds to my knees and
shallow valleys.

Wonderful weekend!! E.Mc & Piven, two of our closest friends, were down to visit, and to celebrate a late Christmas (Giraffe toilet paper holder! Eeeee!) We showed them Ithaca Commons, which we’d somehow managed never to do in the 4 years we’ve lived here, went out to Indian, as per Giraffe Call $50 incentive level (It was awesome. It always is), met up with an author-friend E. originally met at Albacon last year, and generally hung out and ate a lot of food.

I’m feeling recharged and ready for the week.

Also, it snowed. A lot. 🙂

[personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s Garden of Prose is still open; head there to give her a prompt on the theme “Paths.”

shadows-gallery has inked “Frozen.”… it’s a beautiful piece of art that seems to be wanting me to make a story from it.

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.