From yesterday through mid day Thursday, August 6th, I have a Prompt Call running here – anyone can prompt and please do!

This story is set in the same world & city as Saving the Cult (If Not the World). It’s even talking about the same power plant as in Saving the Cult.


It was clean energy. They had been sold the device – the plant-  on that line, and they, in turn, sold that line to the people for all it was worth.

It wasn’t a lie, even if it was a line. It was cleaner energy – cleaner than coal, for sure, with no chance of a radioactive meltdown, per se, and there was no despoiling a river with a dam, flooding of the people upstream, or the whole mess of the digs for geothermal.

Cleaner? Yes.  Absolutely.  They could have sold that line and never had a single qualm about it (If they were the sort of people who had qualms, of course. They weren’t., or this would be a much shorter story.

But it had its own problems – not on the line of a meltdown, of course, but it did have its own waste line, something that went through every filter their definitely-in-over-their-heads science team could come up with before it went into the river, and the river was still – still, despite all of their work – well, it was a little weird.

Austin went fishing down by the river, once a week, maybe twice on a bad week.  At first, it was meant to be a relaxation, a way of resting after work at the plant, work trying to figure out what they were doing, had gotten just too exasperating.

Austin was a scientist.  What they were doing in the plant… They could use science around it, like in the filters, like in the ways they improved the electric transmission, like in the way they found new ways to get more and more power from the same devices.  But science seemed to fall into a deep messy hole when it came to the plant, the power generation, itself.

There were more and more fishing days as the plant started to increase or decrease output with no changes in mechanisms.  And then when Austin actually started catching fish

Then fishing was an every-evening activity, but it was no longer so relaxing.  There was the whole question of what was nibbling on the bait, after all.

Fish with legs.  That one was interesting but not horrible.  Mutations happened, after all.

Fish that had never before been seen outside of tropical waters – or tropical aquariums.

Fish whose scales glowed in the dark.  Fish whose meat looked to all instrumentation almost exactly like beef, or like lamb.

(Austin didn’t dare taste those.  Once the weirdness started, Austin didn’t taste any of them.)

Fish with three eyes that could’ve been straight out of 1990’s cartoon.

But the thing was, the fish were healthy.   Every one of them, every weird thing.

Austin started working on some new filters for the river anyway.


Want more? See here first!

Comments 5 Win


Ko-Fi Fish Link  

10 thoughts on “Clean…?

  1. Yeeeaaaaaah, that’s not okay at all. Welp. Here’s hoping Austin and Lina and various other folks with some sense — and some qualms — talk to each other soon. Who decided to buy this equipment, and who sold it to them …?

    (If it’s weird enough, how can you even tell whether it’s healthy?)

  2. A fish with legs? Reminds me of Great Big Sea’s “Mermaid” (, and warnings for racy and mildly disturbing humor).

    But no, don’t eat that. And it might be worth investigating what has happened to other things in the river, assuming you can get someone willing to dive downstream of the plant.

    Filters are all well and good, but until and unless you know what you’re trying to filter — it’s pretty clear they don’t — jamming additional filters in is unlikely to have any useful effect. Maybe it’s time to bring in an exorcist, or a vodouist, who might have a better handle on things.

        • They could. I wonder a lot about what exactly happened here, like – how much briefing did they get and how much were they not told?

          • Clearly not enough! And solid odds on some outright bullshit thrown in to make the problem worse.

            Those are all fine questions I would love to read about the answers to, Mme Author, whether on this thread or in the main story. 🙂

            • So noted! So, hrrm. Saving the Cult is all gonna have sideways information because it’s not from within the plant. I think I can write something here and just note that it involves spoilers of some sort.

              … even though the original plot of Saving the Cult was a dream, I also stole part of this (and possibly that’s where it came from in the dream) from… Cloak and Dagger? Marvel streaming show, pretty awesome.

              • Not figuring out what’s up with the plant and why it exploded (wrong word) repeatedly seems like a big weird oversight for the main thread protagonists — especially if that leaves them not knowing whether it’s done and stable and for how long. Plausibly there are more pressing things to deal with — or they all get murdered by the Organization leadership — and the story wraps before they get there, but without reliable information on that threat they’re stuck on the shield-sleep-refuel (and possibly recruit) cycle indefinitely.

                • I promise, they figure it out before they end up TOO much in the cycle, or at least they start to get there, but there are more pressing things to deal with, too. 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *