A New World: An Arrangement

First: A New World
Previous: Experimenting with History

Kael looked between Caron and Hallsey, wondering exactly what she’d said that was getting her such strange looks from both of them.

“Are you offering… to teach us?  On something like a regular basis?”

“But not potions,” Hallsey added to her friend’s question.  “But like… how to find out history?”

“That depends.”  Kael was feeling out her answer as she went,  but she was pretty sure she was on the right track.  “Do you want to learn potions, history, or both?”

“Are you for real?” Caron stared at her.  “Are you really – I mean, what would you charge?” Continue reading

BeePocalypse 4: Kids

First: The Testers

Previous:  The More Things Change…


Mom Cara shed her white suit, revealing herself to be still rather like herself.  “Not everyone has extreme visible changes. I run a few degrees colder than I used to, and I tend to be a little quicker to fly off the handle if I don’t pay attention, but I still look much like myself.  And I’m still myself, Kelly-boop.  I promise.”

“I believe you.”  Nobody had called her Kelly-boop in years.  She found herself wrinkling her nose the same way she had back then, before she found out that it would end more quickly than she’d thought.   Continue reading

A New World: Experimenting With History

First: A New World
Previous: Potions

Kael cleared her throat.

“Assume for a moment that I am who I am pretending to be.”

They both turned their attention back to her.  It was Caron who spoke first.

“Okay.  So.” He hemmed uncertainly. “You want us to pretend that you’re Kaelingrade Torrent-Step.  And… that you lived for a thousand years?”

“No, no, that would be silly.” She smiled broadly at him.  “Let’s say that a potion went wrong and I suddenly landed here, in this tower, where I was, ah, pretending to be someone pretending to be myself.”

“Okay,” Hallsey leaned forward.  “This is a fun game. So you don’t know anything that happened in the last… oh.   Like the, um, colonization.”

“Conquest,” Caron offered. Continue reading

Poaching in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Dying in the Bear Empire


They left the wagon near the front of a farmhouse, making sure the horses were comfortable and had plenty of grass to munch on, and set off on foot, each of them carrying a bag.  As soon as they reached an intersection, they turned off the wagon-road, heading towards the foothills.

Dusk came on them sooner than they’d have liked, the air turning cool as the sun ducked behind the mountains. Deline began looking for a reasonable place to stop for the night. Continue reading

A New World: Potions

First: A New World
Previous: History is in the Eye of the Beholder

“All right, all right.”  Halsey sighed.  “Let’s go on.  I think we have enough for the paper – I mean, we can’t write a paper on this place for Mr. Catalon, anyway.  He’s going to blow his top.”

“We at least have to see the rest of the museum.  Come on, maybe they’ll show us something interesting like where all the tools were or something.  And then we can work out what we’re going to write for class.  I mean.  We could do something on the conflicts between the displays and the book?  And then say, since we weren’t there, we can’t tell?” Continue reading

Dying in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Traditions in the Bear Empire


“You might thank me for saving your life along with my own.”

Carrone snorted and bowed in his seat.  “Thank you kindly.  but what makes you so important that the Deklegion would want to risk the wrath of the bounty guild?”

She smiled enigmatically.  “You’ll see eventually.  The thing is… as far as they know, right now, I’m an agent of the Empire. And that much is true.” Continue reading

The Threat

A story for my Apocalypse Bingo card. 


The monsters were getting closer.

The survivors had created three ragged perimeters around what had been, at one point, Main Street.  They had hung the outside with cold iron.  They’d put mines on the middle perimeter.  And on the inside they’d put up the biggest wooden spikes they could manage. Continue reading

Last Night’s Writing

Last night, I was feeling like I was running on one cylinder and running out of gas, but I play this writing game, 4theWords, and I really wanted to move up one step on the leaderboards for battles.

Which meant 4 130-word (or so) battles.

So I asked for suggestions on Mastodon, and this is what  came of it. 

Well, technically, two of these weren’t even from suggestions…

But anyway!  Words!


Filling the Boots

He woke and shook out the cards. Continue reading


Okay, content warning, I creeped myself out. 


“Kelly, he’s a person, he’s not a robot, you can’t just – Kelly, what are you doing?”

“So there’s this line of – okay, they’re not robots, but they’re programmed, aren’t they?  They’re the Zero-One-Seven line out of Detroit, and they’re, ah,  They’re beautiful, for one.”  Kelly gestured at the man in question, a handsome, tall, twenty-something dressed in a simple tunic and pants that looked too sterile and antiseptic for the city street.  He smiled back, a wooden expression that did not reach his eyes.  “And they have an exploit in them.”

“Kelly,” Susan repeated, “he’s a person.  People don’t have – they don’t have – really?”

“Really.  And the thing is, he wasn’t purchased – there’s this loophole, you can’t actually buy a person, even someone from on of the programmed lines.”

“Good!  Good, Kelly, that’s awful.”

“But indentures are still legal.”  Kelly stroked the back of the man’s neck affectionately.  He did not move, except his eyes, which half-closed.  “And what’s more, there’s this clause in the programming that is suppose to ensure obedience.  But what it ends up doing—”

“I’m going to be sick,” Susan muttered.

“Oh come on.  They sell these Programmables, they’re supposed to be — well, programmed.  It’s what they’re sold for.  They volunteer.  Anyway.  There’s this thing where they’re supposed to imprint on the person to wake them up, who is supposed to be their indenture-holder.”

“:That’s pretty horrible.”

“They’re programmables, Susan,” Kelly repeated.  “It’s not like they have feelings until they’re programmed in.  Anyway. That means that whoever wakes them up essentially holds their indenture. They can’t be re-imprinted without a full factory reset.

“You stole a programmable human?  A person.  Kelly.  How did you?”

“I hacked a Programmable, using a really obvious exploit in their system.  And those training screens they use?  They have no security at all.  I hacked him, Susan.  And now he’s mine.”

She stroked his hair again, paying no attention to the way his jaw twitched at her touch.


Written to yesterday’s Thimbleful Thursday’s prompt: Zero Hour.

Want More?


“We’ve studied one million samples.”  Professor Georges was very solemn.  It didn’t keep Professor Osborne from scoffing at him.

“There aren’t a million people in this part of the world anymore.”

“We have been studying for a long time.  At approximately fifty thousand people a year for the first one hundred fifty years, and then a much reduced rate.  The last five years, we took samples from merely a thousand people.”

“So your rate of testing decreased over time.”

“The population decreased over time, and the methods became, by necessity, more circumspect: we could no longer use blood tests overtly.  Also, our own population was badly hit by the Disaster.”

“Yes, of course it was.  What did you determine?” Continue reading