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This story started as a dream.  38,000 words in, it is finally past the part I dreamed.

What can I say? I dream big.

It’s a week before school starts. Lina’s parents have dragged her to a meetup on a hilltop campsite, filled with rich people acting weirdly.  Some of them are even wearing robes, and not, say, bathrobes or Hugh Hefner smoking jackets. On top of that, Lina’s discovered that she can make force fields if she concentrates —

and somehow her mother pulled a whole (small) house out of a suitcase.

Things are only going to get weirder.

The Story to Date

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Thirty-Two

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

You’d think they’d practiced it, the way they moved to the bus.  Lina’s dad smiled at them and hugged her one-armed.  “You made it.  Some people here said there was some inter-Organization difficulty-?”

“My aunts.”  Ethan made a face.  “They were, ah, pushing people to do something else, or to, at least, push us to do something else.  They’re, I don’t know.  Maybe they’re still waiting for the Old Wise Sage who’s going to save us.” Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Thirty-One

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

Ethan glared at Lina and Jackson. “I mean it. Stop beating yourself up. We slept, yeah, and now – this time.” He took a deep breath. “This time, we know what we’re going into, and we can call a taxi, rent a limo if we have to, and we won’t need as much sleep, because we won’t have just stopped that riot and then the end of the world. Just the end of the world,” he added, trailing off on that happy note. Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Thirty

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

They walked away from Mr. Lee, from the remaining people that seemed more confused than anything else. She didn’t know if it was a victory, but it was – well, it was a clear path at the moment.

“So.” Jackson cleared his throat. “So, something of an adviser role puts us in a position where we aren’t immediately submissive to Lina – sorry, guys-”

“She saved our lives.” Dylan shrugged jerkily. “It’s a price to pay, that’s all.”

She noticed he didn’t say small price but then again, it wasn’t. Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Twenty-Nine

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

Mrs. Thompson cleared her throat.  “Now, mind control aside, I’m beginning to wonder a number of things about the leaders of our organization – not offense, young men, considering who your families are -” She nodded at Dylan and Ethan. 

“None taken,” Dylan muttered.  “You’re probably right.”

“Besides,” Ethan put in cheerfully, “Lina here saved our asses.  Lives.  Sorry.  Twice, maybe three times already.  So loyalty…”  He shrugged eloquently. 

“Loyalty is, uh, with the person – people – who value us,” Dylan filled in very softly.  “I think I hear my dad ahead, though, so maybe we talk about loyalty some time when it won’t get me disowned?”  Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Twenty-Eight

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

I just want to, you know—

Save the world?

“Um.”  Lina cleared her throat.  “Something like that, yeah, I guess.  I mean, the city?”  She shrugged.  Someone grabbed her shoulder; she pressed them away with a shield and turned to glance.  “Mrs. Thomson?”  She was staring at her English Lit teacher from junior year.  “I didn’t know you were part of the Organization.”

“Catalina, you need to go to the training session.  You’re such a good student; why are you doing this?”  

Not her.  This was straight out of one of her weirder nightmares.  Lina was going to scream.  She was going to start throwing things. 

She didn’t have the time or luxury to do that.  Continue reading

Cleaning Up

Cleaning Up

This is a follow up to Clean…? from my Fishy Prompt Call here – anyone can prompt (if you haven’t already) 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. Warning: This one is a bit spoilery to things not yet revealed in Saving the Cult. 

🐟 Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Twenty-Seven

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

Had Jackson planned for this much interruption?  She didn’t want to wait to find out.

Lina had lost physical contact with her team while she dealt with — with whatever that was.  She grabbed for the nearest hands – Dylan and Jackson – turned, pulled a shield over them, and hurried down the path towards the exit. 

She counted to a hundred in her head, all of them walking the fastest they could manage, before she asked Ethan “Why?”  She hoped he could follow the rest of the question, because she wasn’t sure she could vocalize it, especially since he hadn’t vocalized much of what she was asking about.

“Because I thought – I had suspicions about my aunts – but I always told myself people were just really into the Organization.  But if they can – that’s not what Dylan’s dad does.  I mean, it’s close – Sorry, Dylan-“ Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Twenty-Six

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

“Are we?”  Ethan had stalled again, no matter how many times that Lina tried to get them moving.  “Are we part of the Organization?”

He was, Lina realized, asking her.  “I’m the one that just found out about this thing a couple days ago,” she reminded them.  “I’m not sure you should be talking to me about it.”

“You’re the one in charge,” Dylan countered.  “There’s nobody else we can ask.  Are you part of the Organization?”

“The question is more, do you want to run the Organization?”  At least Jackson pitched his voice quietly. 

“Kids!” A new voice called out, somewhere behind them.

Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Twenty-Five

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

Lina hoped her perky little put-off would work on the terrifying old women. She needed it to work, Jackson’s scheduled-in interruptions or not.  It had to work.

Of course, it didn’t.  Ethan’s aunts were not going to let her get away with being friendly, chipper, and innocent.  Which was a pity, because she more or less was all three of those things.

“Don’t even bother.”  The left-hand aunt really wanted to frown, but her face wasn’t moving in that direction at the moment.  “You can save that shit for the credulous masses.”

“I will then, thank you.”  She turned her back on them.  “Come on, Ethan.  We’ve got a deadline.” Continue reading

Clean…?

Clean...?

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.

🐟🐟🐟

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