Archive | September 8, 2014

A prelude Drabble to clockwork apoc

“The goddamned blasted thing doesn’t work.” Anata kicked the car, then, for good measure, slammed the hod with the flat of her fist. “It won’t work without electricity, no matter what I do, and…”

“And if we use electricity, we call down the Creatures.” Jack banged his head against the garage wall. “I wonder how they’re coming on the steam machine.”

“Do you really think that we can make that into a-“

The bang and the shock wave hit the wall of the garage at the same time. Jack dove forward, was thrown forward, and landed on top of Anata, both of them pressed against the car.

“Not well, I think.” Anata shook her head. “Maybe we should start raising horses.”

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Gender Funk Test story-beginning (more Reyn)

“Best of travels and a sharp spear on your travels.” The Jesharian, Koyl, had served as Reyn’s translator and go-between with her people for the last year. Now she engaged in an elaborate bow, bending at both sets of hips, one arm sweeping the floor.

“Best of blessings in your stay, and may your rapport with the next human you meet be as smooth as it was with me.” Reyn tried to keep any trace of reluctance or misery from the blessing. The Jesharian were very, very sensitive to such things, and the last thing Reyn wanted was to hurt Koyl’s delicate feelings, especially now. “And Koyl… in the human fashion?” Reyn held out a hand. “Thank you.”

They had been working together long enough that Koyl no longer hesitated. Two spindly blue hands wrapped around Reyn’s. “It has been my pleasure as well, Reyn. It…” Here the blue alien ducked her head in to one side: Jesharian embarassment. “If the world were ordered in the way I please, you would not be leaving.”

“If I had my way, I wouldn’t be leaving, either.” Reyn patted Koyl’s shoulder, an intimacy Koyl had allowed only recently. “I like it here better.”

“We are honored.”

The Jesharian were an immensely formal people, but even so, there was only so long one could drag out the good-byes. Reyn sighed. “I hope I see you again.”

“If the world turns as I bid it, we will see each other again.”

There was nothing left to do but grab bags and toss them into the shuttle, then toss onesself into the shuttle and bow, again, to the Jesharian pilot. Not many humans were allowed on the planet’s surface. It was one of the reasons Reyn had so liked it.

(I know, I know. All this and we’re not even to the gender-funk part. O-O)

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Beating Around the Idiom Bush, a story for Thimbleful Thursday

Thimbleful Thursday is a new microfic prompt site (mine!). This week’s prompt was “Beat Around the Bush” and the word limit was 200 (180-200).

I barely made it in at 467.

“Look, I know you guys like the social padding and all, but I don’t have time to beat around the bush…”

Reyn knew the phrase was a mistake the moment it was uttered, but the “don’t have time” part was true, and hurry tended to make Reyn slip into old habits, childhood habits.

The Jesharian clicked a blue tongue-equivalent and tilted her head in the manner that had originally made human explorers call the Jesharian

“What is this ‘bush’ you speak of? Is it the vestigial fur-remnant some humans have between their legs?” The Jesharian – Koyl, her name was Koyl – shifted the head-tilt to the other side. “Bush can also mean tired, exhausted, but I do not know why you would beat either of these things. A strange sexual ritual, perhaps?”

Reyn choked back a laugh. “No, no.” Koyl’s eyes narrowed, and Reyn dropped quickly into a bow of apology, with three hand gestures that suggested – as much as a human(esque) body could approximate a Jesharian female’s gestures – that the humble personage of Reyn had meant no offense, none at all, from the involuntary spasm that the humans used in place of a proper laugh. “No.” This time, Reyn’s tone was suitably sedate. “No. I don’t know why we use the same word for so many different idioms, but what this one means is to move around a subject instead of tackling it directly, or to avoid the main point of a subject.” Reyn had a lot of experience translating idiom for the Jesharian, especially for Koyl and her sister-clones.

“So you wish to get directly to the point, instead of properly doing the social dance? Why did you not say so?”

“I – I thought I had.” Reyn facepalmed with both hands, a gesture that was helpfully very similar in Jesharian body language. “Sorry. This one apologizes for the miscommunication. When I am stressed – experiencing unpleasant levels of stress, that is – I start talking like my parents. And my parents used a lot of figures of speech, that is, idioms.”

“I do not mind idioms. They are lovely and color your language, much as the social dance does for ours.” Koyl bowed, a similar gesture to Reyn’s earlier apology-bow. “If you are rushed, the gesture-of-Jeshar we would use is like this.” She planted her feet very close together and clasped her hands at her upper hips. “In our land, this suggests ‘I do not have time for the dance; please forgive me but may we be hasty?'” Koyl winked, closing three of her eyes. “And, since that is what you meant to imply, perhaps we should save the rest of the conversation on idiom for another day?”

“Yes.” Reyn adopted the body posture Koyla was demonstrating. “Yes, yes please.”

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A Heritage Earned

This is to [personal profile] librarygeek‘s prompt and comes after The Heritage that Wasn’t

“Kitsune are believed to possess superior intelligence, long life, and magical powers.”

The dictionaries were not helpful. The online databases were not much more useful. The only place – other than the letters, which were clearly not enough help – where Jen could find any information at all was an old, old, pre-space database which someone had reconstructed as a school project.

Kitsune were benevolent, or mischievous, or even malicious. They were spirits, or they weren’t, they shifted form, or they simply appeared to sometimes be human. The information was all over there.

But that one line: “…believed to possess superior intelligence, long life, and magical powers.” That, Jen grabbed on to. She could not lengthen her life, not on her own. But she could learn magic.

Of course, “magic” did not exist. Of course, “superior intelligence” was a matter of genetics and pre-birth implants and careful training. Of course, kitsune were a myth.

But Jen had been living off-planet just long enough to have learned that Central Bureaucracy had its lies that it needed to tell, and that colonists, settlers, the Modified, and the true aliens all had their own truths, truths which had more to do with what Jen needed than the Central Bureaucracy Registered Facts ever would.

Superior intelligence came from a series of illicit implants, a longer series of sleep-learning in an Earth-banned procedure used everywhere, usually to bone up on a specific subject, and an ever longer series of sessions with a Modified shaman.

The same shaman taught Jen the preliminaries of magic, and set her on the path to a second teacher, and then to an alien, native of the planet on which she & her father were now residing, who taught Jen things Central Bureaucracy had never even thought to forbid.

Kitsune were myth, but on her twenty-third birthday, Jen found herself staring in the mirror at a fox-fairy.

Want more words, or just really like this post? Drop some money in the tip jar!

(the tip jar is a kitty for reasons)

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Timehop of my own: Four Years Ago today

(I find the concept of the timehop ap adorable, but I don’t have a smart phone AND I don’t use Facebook enough for it to find anything reliably. Sooo)

Four years ago today I posted: Two by Two, a story in the post-apoc Fae Apoc world very strongly inspired by the “Two by Two Zoo,” a petting zoo we had just seen at the Trumansburg Fair.

(The one and only time I went to that town fair. It was… okay).

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