Archive | January 19, 2012

Down in Human Town, a story for the Giraffe Call (@lilfluff)

For [personal profile] lilfluff‘s Prompt, with thanks to @inventrix and fourteen minutes for the names.

The humans hadn’t been the first to Landfall-Etrian, but they hadn’t been latecomers, either.

The lush, Earth-like planet had been discovered in a prime location in a solar system not all that far, as galactic scales went, from Earth; the Fordante had discovered it (at the same time as the Ngedik, and totally ignoring the Exxonoth who were native to the planet).

(Actually, humans could be grateful to the Fordante and Ngedik, because without them “inviting” other races to “their” planet, the potentially-sentient status of the Exxonoth would have precluded their settlement. But that’s another story).

The various races had their own settlements, their own towns, their own desires from this beautiful, resource-rich planet, but in the two main port cities, they all came together, melting into a messy, loud, fragrant salad of multi-culturalism, governed by the Fordante and primarily financed by the Ngedik. And in these port cities, there grew up a human-town, ripe with the flavors of home and all the variations Landfall-Etrian could provide.

“What is this?” The translation program wasn’t perfect yet, but Alukri could get the gist of the Ngediko’s question.

“It’s called sushi.” She stretched the word out, enunciating the sounds the Ngediko’s mouth-parts could handle and not leaning too hard on the susurrations. Most of the Ngedik called it loo-lee, but she couldn’t bring herself to do that. “It’s fish – lina-in-the-sea from the Rion Ocean here in the port – wrapped in rice and seaweed. Try it; it’s a human delicacy.”

“You humans eat the strangest things,” the Ngediko muttered, but it wrapped its mouthparts around the spicy tuna roll, clicking in appreciation. “Wooo! This is almost as attacks-the-mouth as the [5] yll-yoll-loll! You should try some of that, human.”

“After you try our bomber roll. We imported the wasabi roe from Earth. Here, just one…” Alukri smiled wickedly, knowing that the Ngediko would not translated the gesture properly. Tourists were the same wherever you went.

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…on my parade, a story for the Giraffe Call

For [personal profile] sarah_tv‘s prompt.

No matter how much they tormented him, Eilon insisted to the last that it had not been intentional. With no proof, no Law against it, and a seeming inability to force the truth out of him, the Jiminies had to let him go – but they held a grudge against the narrow-hipped dryad boy as long as their memory held out.

Luckily for Eilon, the length of a Jiminiy’s memory was just barely longer than the next shiny thing, and that meant he only had to lay low (harder than you’d think for a dryad in the city; he spent most the time hiding in penthouse gardens) for a couple months. It did mean he missed Christmas, but that’s what he got, I suppose, for messing with the Macy’s Day Parade.

He shouldn’t have been awake at all, really. Dryad, as I pointed out to him in the time, generally meant “dormant in the winter like a good tree.” And, indeed, he got in more trouble in winter than any three boys or three hundred trees ought to.

But he claimed that, never mind the name that called him an oak tree, he was more of a conifer (hence hiding in someone’s shrubbery for the winter, though I admit I thought that was a euphemism at first), and thus could get away with staying up and out all winter.

And raining on parades. No matter how many times he denied it, no matter how quickly the Jiminies forgot the whole thing, I knew, deep in my heart, that it had to have been Eilon responsible for that spot rainstorm in the midst of the parade. For one, I was busy laying down a flood of rainbows on a political float. For another, no-one else in the city had his skill with rainstorms.

And for a third, no-one but Eilon had the hatred for the Jiminies that he did. And no-one else would else would have the pinecones to do it again the next year, with the scars on his bark still fading.

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Further Exploration Reveals… a story of Vas World for the Giraffe Call

To an anonymous prompt.

Vas’ World has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ.

This comes some short time after Greetings ()

it had been with effort that Paz and Malia had slipped away from their “welcoming committee” who were, after five days, beginning to feel more like benign jailers. Vas was still doing the staring-slack-jawed thing he’d been doing since they encountered the purple girl, and the rest of the team were baby-sitting him, trying to get him to snap out of it. That left the uncomfortable pairing of Paz and Malia, who had in common that they thought Vas was a bit of a jerk, to handle the finding-an-escape route and generally doing the job they’d been sent here to do.

They slipped out between two of the longhouses (it seemed silly to keep thinking “longhouse-like structures”) when the rest of the village was busily chatting via giant-horse-translator with the team. Malia had found a route that was overgrown by about a generation (If these creatures had human lifespans; they were still determining that) of disuse. It wasn’t hard to traverse – the plants here were mostly hardwood, slow-growing, and the vines were, unlike Malia’s last assignment, neither thorny nor poisonous; the trees here, unlike in other parts of this planet, seemed neither sentient nor carnivorous. The hardest part was getting a good hundred feet in without leaving a path. They wanted a chance to really explore before their “hosts” managed to find them.

Once they got past that line, the travelling got easier. At first, Malia thought it was just that they weren’t as worried about where they put their feet, but as they went deeper and deeper into the forest, she realized that the path itself was clearer; the stones under their feet were dry-fitted together and dressed so that barely a weed had grown up between. “Paz, are you seeing this?” she asked, kneeling down to run her hands over the pavers. The village cobblestones were not nearly as tidy.

“No, Mal,” he answered very slowly. “I’m seeing this, though.”

She looked up, wondering what he was talking about. Another moving tree? Some more pavers? “….Oh. Oh, well. What do you think happened to them?”

“I… have no idea. But I think we need to find out.”

They stood together, shoulder to shoulder, needing the touch of someone else they knew was human, as they faced a small city, formed of stone and metal, rising to the sky. One could argue a great deal for coincidence, paralleled construction and evolution, but the “New London City Hall” carved in English gave lie to every theory they’d heard voiced.

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