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Renovation Fics

These are a few microfics, written to prompts for my Renovations Prompt Mini-Call (which is still open as long as I keep getting prompt).

Claim the Sun

The tree was ancient, the sort of monster that managed to live through a convergence of luck and good soil, best placement and the weakness of her neighbors.  She had sucked up all the sunlight for what seemed, to the younger trees, like miles. And she had, in turn, sucked up lightning blasts.

It had been the last one that killed her, cutting through old scar tissue and toppling her in a  crash louder than any thunder. Continue reading

Exploit

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.


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Young at Heart

Written to the Thimbleful Thursday Prompt from yesterday, of the same name. 

🖍️

“It’s a cloned heart, freshly made in our lab.”

Dr. Hischa was very proud of the heart in a box. It was displayed like the crown jewels, held up for the cameras and, more importantly, for the patient. “This heart isn’t the heart of a donor. Nobody had to die for it.  It’s your heart — but your heart as it was when you were a teenager.”

The patient, a woman in her eighties, coughed out a laugh. “Hopefully early teens.”

“Had wild teenage years, did you?”  Dr.Hischa remained jocular, but a very observant viewer might have noticed a slight twitch.

“That’s a good word for it. Wild.” The patient chuckled.  

“Well, now you can be young at heart, ah-ha-ha, again.  Won’t that be wonderful?  Now, let’s just…”

Prepping included reams of paperwork; recovery included weeks of testing and physical therapy.  When the cameras once again turned on Ms. Palorin, she was lounging sideways on a chaise, her children and grandchildren eyeing her uncertainty.

“So, Ms. Palorin-”

“Oh, call me Milly.”

“So, Milly.”  Dr. Hischa’s smile was strained around the edges.  “How are you feeling?”

“I have to say, I haven’t felt this good since I was a teenager the first  time.  I feel great.  This is the bee’s knees.  I can run up stairs.  Want to see me do a cartwheel?”

“Mom!”  Her eldest daughter, sporting pinched face and frown lines, threw up her hands.  “Mother, you can’t!  Act your age—”

“-not your shoe size, nyah, nyah.  I know, Catherine.  But right now I feel like acting six.  Or maybe sixteen.  This new heart is wonderful, Dr. Hischa!”

“It’s wonderful that you’re feeling capable of being more active again, Ms. Palorin.  Now, of course, the rest of your body will still require some care.  I do recall from your chart that your broke your hip two years ago, so cartwheels might be a little over the top…”

“Pshaw!  Besides, I said call me Milly.  ‘Ms. Palorin’ sounds so old, and Mr. Palorin has been gone for thirty years—”

“MOTHER!”

“Oh, Cathy, it’s not like it’s not true.  Anyway.  I’m having a blast with this new heart.  I think I’ll go out and see what the kids are doing these days.  What do you say, Susie?”

Her granddaughter, of about the age to be called “kids these days” grinned widely. “Of course!  I can show you the new dances, too.  It’ll be wild!”

“Ms. Palorin, your hip—”

“What? It’s not like you can’t just clone me a new one. And then,” Milly laughed, “I can be young at hips again, too, and think how much fun that will be!”

🖍️


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🖍️

A Fresh Start…?

Written to @inspectorCaracal‘s prompt: 

Waking up with no memories and a pamphlet explaining you have been given a fresh start in life

⁉️

He woke.

He was in a room with a bed, a small table holding a suitcase and a bag, and a mirror; two doors and a window led out of the room.

He knew all those things, but he had no idea how he’d gotten there.

He had no idea who had gotten there.  Continue reading

A New Lease on Life

Written to @lilfluff’s prompt 

Leaving home for a weekend and returning to find your home and entire neighborhood has been replaced.

🏡

“My house is gone!”

Ed Lawton was furious.  He slammed his fist down on the counter, leaned forward, and got as close to the clerk as he could.  

The New Lease on Life clerk seemed entirely unbothered by this.  While Ed wasn’t going to give an inch, he found himself wondering if the woman was one of the new android models he’d been hearing about.  

Or maybe she just heard this a lot.  “The brochure said ‘Get away from it all.’ sir.  And you have, indeed, gotten away from it all.” Continue reading

The Colony

Who knows? This might be the prequel to another setting.
To The Lit-awoo-erry =n.n=‘s prompt.

There were things they hadn’t planned for because they hadn’t known.

There had been people in space before; there had been people on the moon before. But when they built the first lunar colony, they were in a hurry, they had some serious issues to contend with, and they really, really needed to get a breeding population of humans and some core species of animals off the Earth, just in case.

Earth was, as far as the colonists could tell, still there. But the ship had been cannibalized for parts and there would be no going back.

And then there were the Dry Years.

Five years where the colony thrived, the animals thrived, the city grew and they figured out lunar agriculture – and not a single placental mammal carried an infant past the first trimester. None.

Five years of trying everything and nothing, nothing working.

Mira had grown up with this legend. She knew of Earth the way her grandparents had known of the moon: something hanging in the sky, something there were stories about. She knew of the Dry Period much better, because she had been the first child successfully born on Luna.

She stood at the row of incubators, looking at her first egg. The shell was soft, like a platypus’, and it had been platypus eggs that had cued the colonists into their solution.

Earth would probably be very fascinated with the genetic engineering they had come up with in five short years, and everything they had managed in the twenty-one since.

Earth, the lunar colonists said, could ask them about it when Earth sent a ship for them.

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January by the Numbers 28: Everyone Eats Everything, a ficlet

January by the numbers continues deep into February…

From sauergeek‘s prompt Everyone eats everything: a ficlet, although more of a start of a story than a story.

As far as strange rules and regulations go, the colonies usually didn’t rate too far up there. When they were colonies, at least, they had far too much to worry about to spend time making rules, other than the very direct: “everybody works” sort of regulations. It was only as time went on and they found themselves in situations where their original survival-based rules were insufficient that most places started coming up with more and more elaborate rules.

Egdarton Seven was a little unique in this matter. It was settled by a small, closed group – one of the few cases where that was allowed, but there was a trend for that around that time, social or avocation groups gathering together and filling a colony. It worked best if the group had wide enough skills to fill all the positions, because one or two outsiders in specialized, necessary positions led to some pretty bad social dynamics on some colonies.

Egdarton Seven, however, had none of the common problems, but it did have a long-standing hobby group with a wide range of skillsets, both within and outside the hobby group and, more, a wide range of already-extant rules and the sort of personalities who enjoyed enforcing said rules. The rules you need to know were posted at their rudimentary spaceport, and woe betide the visiting ship’s-crew or scientist who didn’t read and follow the rules. For a first offense they might be warned, if the person who caught them was feeling generous. For a second offense, they’d be escorted back to their ship and politely told not to come back.

(“What happens if someone part of the community breaks one of those rules?” asked a disgruntled scientist who hadn’t understood the severity or sincerity of the Oxford-Comma rule. The persons escorting the scientist to the ship had clucked in disapproval and not answered. If the scientist had been, perhaps, an anthropologist instead of a xenobiologist, things may have gone very differently for the colony on Egdarton Seven. Certain things were not actually allowed, no matter how they were written into the colony’s charter.)

The one rule that threw almost every visitor, the one rule that got more people evicted from their station, was one that every single member of the colony agreed on wholeheartedly: Everyone Eats Everything. In practice, this meant that if you hated a dish, you could eat a tablespoon-sized scoop of it and be done, but in theory it meant that every person on Egdarton Seven was eating the same things, and that the entire colony ate together.

Like every other rule on the colony, no official explanation for this edict was ever offered, although one teenaged member did like to whisper, melodramatically and none too seriously, “poison!” any time any visitor asked.

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January by the Numbers 25: poffertjes (a ficlet)

January by the numbers continues (We’re in February now but hey)

From kunama_wolf‘s prompt poffertjes: a ficlet.

It was said of the humans that there were certain things they would always bring with them.

(To be fair, it was said of the Yonra that they always brought everything with them, and of the Pish’teck that they never took anything, never needed anything, and never kept anything. There were sterotypes about all of the space-faring races, and about the three non-space-faring but space-capable races who populated the same region of the galaxy as the others.)

It was said that as soon as there were five humans anywhere, one of them would start selling food to the other four. As soon as there were ten, one of them would start selling art to the other nine. And as soon as there were twenty, one of them would start making laws for the other nineteen.

And one of the things every single space-faring human group brought was food carts.

The Ella Fritzi was a human-run ship out of Luna, carrying a full-time complement of crew and staff, as well as passengers and crew. It wasn’t a luxury liner, not by a long shot, but it was safe, and comfortable, and it got where it was going in decent time.

Decent time was a leisurely ride compared to some of the new ships — it might take a week between stops, or it might be a month, depending on the distance and the spacing of the wormholes. SInce that meant its crew and staff were on the ship most of their lives, and since the Pish’teck crew members, especially, got kind of loopy if their chronobiological rhythms got messed with, the ship had artificial seasons as well as artificial day and night. “Summer” got a little warmer, the light a little brighter. “Winter” got downright chilly, but the Ordalian down blankets packed up tiny and puffed up warm for each cabin.

In the “summer”, Fervin the assistant chef brought a food cart full of hotdogs and hamburgers and gyros around the socialization decks. It always surprised the alien passengers when humans — who had three meals a day included in their passage — would pay extra credits for this strange sausage-inna-bun sort of food.

In the “winter,” Fervin’s cart carried poffertjes and hot cocoa, and the aliens and humans alike ate them up. Once, the elected ship’s-mayor (a civilian position, not related to the running of the chip, the navigating it, or anything except how people spent their off time) tried to regulate what Fervin could put in his poffertjes.

The riot lasted three days and threatened to destroy the Ella Fritzi. After that, the new mayor declared that, as long as Fervin’s foods consisted of things edible to at least humans, no regulations could be made about it.

After all, humans might have a need to govern each other — but their need to be sold food to seemed to trump that.

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January By the Numbers Sixteen: Underneath umbrellas, unicorns unite*

January by the numbers continues (now three days off, meeps~)!
From [personal profile] kelkyag‘s prompt “Underneath umbrellas, unicorns unite;” a ficlet, or maybe a start of a ficlet.

In the same setting as the Aardvark story (here) and maybe the Fall story (here), which may just be my overarching Space Colony setting.

🦄

The sun was far too bright. The sun was always too bright. On Feshgarrun IV, the land was rich, fertile, and wonderful – but only within [geographic thing] of the equator. The land belted that equator in a series of archipelagos and small continents; there was land near the poles as well, but it was covered in ice, and much much less-populously colonized.

So the land was good, the work was easy, and the leisure time was warm.
Far too warm.

The colonists on Feshgarrun IV – and they were still colonists; it was still a newly-discovered planet and the Company still owned everything from the mine equipment to the houses to the umbrella store – worked steadily, even if the work was easy. And in their leisure time, they would walk along the long beaches, covered with wide umbrellas that reflected the sun back up to the sky.

Colonists – especially the first-instance colonists, the ones that often moved on to colony after colony – were a strange lot. They had Aardvarks, they had Giants. They had Butterflies.

And they had Unicorns, those rare people who by genetics or gengineering were perfect for any particular colony.

On Feshgarrun IV, “perfect” was a matter of some debate. Even the Unicorns wore wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses; even the Unicorns preferred dusk and dawn to noon.

And the Unicorns came together on the beaches, tucked underneath umbrellas, plotting the future of a colony they were designed to work for, not to run.

🦄

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January By the Numbers Fifteen: Careful consideration (fiction Piece)

January by the numbers continues (now three days off, meeps~)!
From [personal profile] kelkyag‘s prompt “Careful consideration;” a ficlet.

🚀
There are some situations which require the sort of consideration that takes actual minutes, actual thought, actual knowledge of the options.

There are some situations where you have to weigh your choices, study the consequences, research the possibilities.

Sometimes, you really have to go into something with your eyes open and your homework done.

Like moving to another planet, for instance.

You need to know where you’re going, at a bare minimum, what you’re going to do when you get there, how you’re going to survive, how you’re going to make money.

I mean, that’s the absolute minimum. Like, can you breathe the air? Can you survive the gravity? Is there anything there to eat? Most of those planetary colony flights are one-way-only: you get there, you’re stuck. It’s not the sort of thing you do on a whim.

Unless, of course, you’re Jeropey Onefferie. RIght about now, Onefferie is sneaking on to a colony flight, picked — if you can believe this; I hardly can and I’m telling the story — by the roll of a die. He’s stowing away on a bet, the winnings of which he may never be able to collect.

It’s a colony flight, you say, of course he can survive where other humans can. Ah, but we are not on Earth; we’re on Besh Rithtaen, armpit of the universe, highway off-ramp of the galaxy, collection spot for at least three hundred sentient races, many of whom (including humans) live in sealed environments or environment suits.

And the colony ship he’s slipped on to is a Meshtarina ship. That doesn’t spell immediate demise — the Meshtarina live in the same range of environments as humans.

We know this, however, because the Meshtarina run human farms on planets outside the Federation regulations.

There are some situations which really do require careful consideration.
👽

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