Archive | June 28, 2016

The Sun Comes Up

Written to [personal profile] alatefeline‘s prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call.

The world had been very black and white for a very long time… mostly grey, if the truth was to be told. 973-25-025 was very good at engineering. She designed very good buildings, working fifty or 60 hour weeks, and then she came home and exercised for an hour before eating a sensible dinner and going to sleep.

She knew most of her co-workers, her former classmates, her neighbors in her building, lived similar lives. They had skill, and they exerted it. They had bodies, so they fed them and kept them working. THey needed sleep, so they slept.

Her parents had, like most other people’s parents, not bothered with a name for her, and nothing struck her as interesting, so she was 973-25-025. The engineer she worked most commonly with was 753-29-29. He was very good at his job, and together they made very efficient buildings. Sometimes they worked with Allarannie, who had chosen a name a year ago. Her designs were very fanciful, and she would complain about how little fun 9er and sevens — as she called them — were, but her work was good enough, and she did not complain when they made her designs more efficient.

973’s salary was more than she needed, so she put much of it in savings. If she took a day off, she ran in the park instead of on the treadmill, because Vitamin D was healthy for you in moderation. She went to the art museum quarterly to study other designs in buildings, and read at the library once a week. It was a good life. She was not happy, but she had not ever been anything but efficient and skilled.

She worked fifty-five hours, finishing a building that would house one thousand people. The population was declining, she had read in a news feed. Still, people commissioned new buildings, bigger and bigger buildings.

She drank a nutritionally balanced shake for dinner, and then went for a run. The sun was high in the sky still, and she wanted to feel sun on her face. She thought she might be coming down with a cold; she had been moving slower and working with less than her full efficiency lately.

Her jogging took her around a blind corner to a spot by the reservoir where the sun came in through the trees. There, leaning against a treetrunk with his notebook balanced on his knees, a man was painting with watercolors.

Niner paused. She thought he might be a landscape artist or an engineer from a rival firm, sketching the terrain. Maybe he was a water-safety engineer, studying the possible contamination sources.

She had a perfect view over her shoulder as she turned. He was painting a dragon made of leaves, the colors perfect, the image nearly leaping off the page.

She skidded to a halt and fell to her knees, still staring at the painting. It was… it was… it was beautiful. “Teach me,” she gasped. “I’m… my name is… call me Nina.”

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Insta-Cure – a story for my Summer Giraffe Call

Written to [ profile] fullaquirkes‘ prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call.

“I think I’ve got it.” Aspen hurried into the common room, three books under her arm and a basket full of miscellany in her other hand. “I figured it out. Now all we have to do is… try it.”

Betsy looked up. “Is this like the part where we ‘tried’ being a cat for half an hour?”

“I apologized for that.” Aspen wrinkled her nose. “I apologized, I made cookies, I even kowtowed. I had to look up kowtowing, but I did it.”

“Cut her a break, Bets.” Topher didn’t look up from his video game. “I mean…” somehow he still seemed able to see the glare Betsy shot in his direction. “If you want to? I mean, I spent that half an hour as a golden lab, remember?”

“A very drooly golden lab.” BEtsy made a face. “All right… sorry, Asp-lady. What do you have for us?”

“Well, first I have clearing out the fireplace. And then I have sitting around it in a half-circle, because we can’t exactly circle the whole thing. And then…”

“Asp. What does it do?

“Oh!” Aspen grinned widely. “It takes out the part of our personality we like least. Like, for instance, the way that I go on and on and on and…”


“…or your self-doubt, or, um. The way Topher doesn’t like anything about himself.”

“The thing is, I mean, I’m with you about Topher,” Betsy said slowly, “but I mean, sometimes the self-doubt keeps me alive…”

“…and sometimes it nearly gets you killed!”

“…and sometimes when you don’t stop talking, we learn important things that we wouldn’t have figured out otherwise. I mean, like the Lumbago Demon.”

“Lon Biago, because lon means of, from, or descending from…

“Exactly. But Toph…”

“Right. Toph is broken boy, so he gets to be experiment boy.” Topher flopped down in front of the fireplace. “What’re we burning, Aspen-lady?”


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The Sink Is In – Homeownership at its finest

(I shall try to get a photo, I promise)

We have a sink and faucet!

(New ones, that is, and finally installed.)

This project, like all home improvement projects, expanded and expanded and expanded – but it’s done. Well, at least for the moment.

So, problem one: Our walls are nearly-solid wood, not studs. They’re 2″x~15″, 16″-on-center.

That means the sink plumbing does down, not into the wall and then down.

That means our solid-bottom pedestal doesn’t fit, ’cause the solid bottom would go right over the encased-in-cement drain!

So, fix one: we bought two ~4″x4x”x24″ pieces of very pretty maple, sanded, stained, and polyurethaned them. Instant (ha) stand-out.

Then we got food poisoning.

Then the P-trap didn’t have a down, because plumbing goes into the wall.

Then the hot water didn’t work.


It took – well, don’t ask, but it took 2 weeks of working on it regularly, but now we have a beautiful functioning sink.

Next step: toilet. Wish us luck!

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Marked – a story of Fae Apoc for my Summer Giraffe Call

Written to [personal profile] wyste‘s prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call.

Content warning: Slavery, suggested violence against said slave. Fire is involved.

The fire was getting very hot. Reis struggled futilely against the chains binding him. He could hear in his head, absurdly, the way she’d sounded when she’d first bought him:

”So. Fire, Water, Plants. And Earth. What about you?”

He hadn’t answered. He’d been working at the ropes, and it hadn’t been an order. She didn’t give a lot of orders, he’d noticed. Even after he’d refused to answer her. Even after he’d run away. Even after he’d run away four times.

Five, now, and he’d gotten further this time than he had before. This time, she’d actually looked annoyed when she caught up to him. And this time, she’d made camp right there, right in the middle of a ruined city, rather than dragging him home again.

“There.” She sat down in front of him and showed him her handiwork: a piece of twisted metal on the end of a stick. “Do you read Old Tongue?”

Not answering her had become a test. Now Reis was wondering if that had been a bad idea. Still, it was too late now to close the barn door. He didn’t reply, not even to shake his head.

“This part is my Name. The Long Run. This part means ‘property of’. I figure…” She stroked his bare neck slowly. He’d gotten really good at picking locks on collars. “…this one will be a little harder to take off.”

Reis eyed the piece of metal. It was kind of pretty… if you didn’t put one and one together and get ow. He swallowed and thought about begging.

She grabbed his hair and pressed his forehead to the ground. Oh, gods no, not his neck, not… He started keening. He couldn’t help it.

“If you have any skill with Body, now would be the time to shut off your pain receptors for a couple minutes. And if you don’t… I’d suggest holding as perfectly still as possible.”

Reis thought fast, swallowed, and pushed up against her hand enough that his mouth was out of the dirt. “Could… could you make that an order?”

As the first thing he’d spoken to another person in over a decade, he figured it made a pretty good surrender.

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What are we Sciencing For, then?

Written to book_worm5‘s prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call.

The Landing Page for my Science! setting is here

“Well.” Cara frowned out the window. “This is interesting.” The city closest to their fortress-slash-research lab was over a third rubble. The shock waves from the bombs could be felt all the way to the tower, which had been built on a remote island to minimize interruptions from the curious or outraged. “I’d say it’s unexpected, but according to our charter…”

“Mmm.” Alex frowned. “I always thought our charter was a bunch of carefully-worded bullshit.” He was holding a hip flask; he took a long drink from it before offering it to Cara.

She looked at the flask, looked at her partner in crime, and frowned. “Well, and what if it was? What have we been doing here all these years?”

“…Laughing at the new guy?”

“In between laughing at the new guy. The part we were actually paid for.”

“I’m pretty sure Liam paid us for the laughing…” Alex muttered, but Cara was already walking away. “Cara? Cara… oh, no. Not…”

“Look, it’s an alien invasion. The saucer type suggests it’s the same type of thing that our droids caught ten years ago. So we can make some very basic guesses about them.” The machine she was hauling onto a cart was twice as long as she was tall, half tubes and half rivets. It made Alex’s blood run cold which, considering what it could do, might be a wee bit ironic. “Are you going to help me get this up to the roof turret, or are we going to roll over and welcome our new alien overlords?”

“Cara… the last time you fired it, it melted an intern’s shoes to the floor.”

“So we’ll clear the interns off the top two floors. Get… what’s his name, the new guy?”


“Him. Get Jorgensen to do that. Me? I’m going to fire some aliens.”

“Fire on. Fire on some aliens.”

“Fire on, set fire to, fire, terminate, downsize… It’s all dust and ashes in the end.”

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