Tag Archive | giraffecall: result

Ch-ch-ch-changes… (A continuation for the Summer Giraffe Call)


It is written to a commissioned present for rix_scaedu as a continuation of Insta-Cure and Soul Fire from my Summer Giraffe Call.

Betsy and Aspen looked at each other again, then looked back at Topher. They looked at each other, then at Topher. On the third look, they tackled him, Betsy with a pillow, Aspen aiming for the tickle offense.

Topher fell back, trying to fend off both of them without grabbing anything inappropriate. “What?”

Betsy wrinkled her nose at him. “I’m glad you’re all confident and everything, but there’s a thin line between confident and being a jerk.”

“Well, that’s what I was trying to tell you. Well, I suppose I wasn’t trying so much as hoping you’d read it from my mind,” Topher admitted slowly, “but I mean, I don’t, say, hit on the two of you because I didn’t think I had a chance. But that’s because I thought I was a schlub.”

“You’re not a schlub, Topher! See, that’s what I was talking about! You’re always putting yourself down.”

“I get it, I get it. I said I thought I was, remember? That’s like in the isn’t now-tense or something. So now… well. I still think you’re both beautiful. And I still think I could hit on you. But well… you’re both beautiful. And nothing we did there with the fire did anything about my powers of decision-making. So, uh. I’m going to go to the gym. I think I know where it is. And maybe, hunh. Betsy, you’re super fast but maybe if I worked I could keep up with you if you jogged at a reasonable speed? Get some running in.” He was grinning, but for once he looked happy rather than goofy.

Betsy stared at him. “And this really isn’t about getting into a threesome with Asp and me?”

“Oh, don’t get me wrong. I would totally go for a threesome if I had a chance. But mostly, I just wanted to see if you’d hit me.” He leaned back with his hands folded behind his head. “You are lovely, awesome women, and I think I have some catching up to do before I can seriously proposition either of you. And, well… I’m not the only one used to thinking of me as kind of a schlub, am I?”

Betsy coughed and looked away. Aspen leaned forward, her fists clenching on her lap. “Now, you… you listen here, mister,” she blustered, “I don’t put up with anyone describing my best friend that way!”

“Yeah, but there was never much we could do about the jocks and the football players, and, come on, I knew I couldn’t take them all in a fight and after a while, neither of even tried. We just learned how to work around them, how to hide and how to keep them off our backs, right? Not exactly brave heroes.” He held up both his hands. “We’ve gotten a lot better. And, while we’re being honest: neither the jocks or the Queen bees would be that much of a challenge now, would they? It would be like swatting flies — ha, or bees — with a sledgehammer.”

“I can’t… magic… someone just because they’re a little rude!” Aspen glared at him. “That would be like, like, well, it would be wrong.”

“And I’m not saying magic them. I’m saying, you fight monsters every weekend and most school nights. Betsy, sure, she was picked for this, she’s got the powers. But you, me? We’ve been doing this for three years with just what we got from being born. I know you don’t use your magic normally, you just wale on them with that big old stick, just like I do.” He was leaning forward again, looking intense. “I’m not the only one that has to stop doubting myself in this group, guys. And I’m not saying we should beat the bullies into a pulp… but maybe it’s time to stop being shoved into lockers, hey?”

Betsy and Aspen were both staring at him as if he’d grown a second head.

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Some Paperwork… a story of Space Accountant for the Summer Giraffe Call


Written to kelkyag‘s prompt here for my Summer Giraffe Call. Um… before the accidental marriage timeline, after the initial first-day timeline in Space Accountant

“You have have records on paper.” Genique stared at the Moneykeeper with a look that was fifty percent horror and fifty percent dry amusement. She was still getting over the fact that this so-called pirate ship had a Moneykeeper, in addition to a Quartermaster and a full rank system.

As she looked around Moneykeeper Jeffer ReemMickey’s office, Genique came to the slow realization that the ship didn’t really have a Moneykeeper. They had… an old man who had probably been a brilliant pirate – maybe a hitter, maybe something like a tech expert – when he was younger. He hadn’t died the way pirates were supposed to, early and violently, and they’d given him a sinecure position, something to keep him out of the way.

“Well, and what else would I do?” ReemMickey stared right back at Genique.

“The fire hazard alone…!” Genique shook her head. “The weight on this poor ship. How did you even get all this paper?”

“And how do pirates get anything?” The man was wearing enough jewelry to consist of a weight overage on its own, much of it likely stolen from kidnapped space-cruise travellers. “I took it. And I made the notes like the captain wanted, and tracked the money.”

“So how much money does the ship have right now?”

“And how should I know that?”

“…You know what? Never mind. What I am going to do is track every piece of this paper, and then we are going to have a bonfire. I think the attack bay can handle it.” Genique sat herself down in the center of the mess. “Thank you, Moneykeeper. I’ll be getting to work now.”

She thought he might be swearing at her, but Genique didn’t care. She was already logging in notes.

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Sunrise, Sunset – a commissioned continuation for the Giraffe Call


Written to sauergeek‘s commissioned continuation of “The Sun Comes Up from my Summer Giraffe Call.

Painting was not easy. The technical skill was relatively simple. Nina had been rendering elevations of potential buildings since she began working. She could display a leaf on the canvas. She could show you its veins and the way it curved.

That was not what Aspen did. Aspen made art. His paintings made feelings happen, deep in Nina’s gut. They showed movement and light and the way the air tasted, fresh by the reservoir, darker by the road.

She kept coming back, looking at his art, trying to imitate it, failing and trying again. Frustration filled her. She crumpled up drawings and tossed them away, only to recover them to feel the sensation over again. Sometimes, she felt anger rising up inside her, and if nobody else was in their little corner of the park, she would shout, letting it out in a way that felt too loud, too bright.

Aspen seemed to understand. “I started studying painting because our substations were ugly,” he told her, one day when she had flopped on the ground in frustration and helplessness. “Nobody could understand it, but people were coming to the parks less and less. People need fresh air. People need to spend time around other people, and time alone.” He’d gestured at the building, which had been painted to blend into the landscape, the foliage and the detailing technically perfect. “So I sat out here, making sure that it was working, that people were visiting without being repulsed. The more I sat here, the more I wanted to paint things. The more things I painted, the more I wanted to make them interesting. The more I tried… well. One night, I realized I’d been dreaming.”

Dreaming. She’d heard of it — whispers, from people with names instead of numbers, from people who did not approve of people with names. Dreaming made your brain tell you lies. It made your mornings uncertain, these stories that did not exist fluttering through your mind. It made you unreliable. “I do not dream,” she informed Aspen.

His brush moved over his canvas. After a few minutes — he was painting leaves again, autumn leaves although it was still springtime outside — he smiled at her. “You will. And when you do, then you will bring color to your paintings.”

He patted Nina’s knee. It was the first time she could remember anyone touching her casually. “In the meantime, the anger is a good start.”

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Summer 2016 Giraffe Call Stories written~

I have finished (much slower on the second round) the Giraffe Call stories, although I am still working on the tips-and-commissioned stories. You can find them all at this tag:

http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/tag/giraffecall:+result

or on LJ:

http://aldersprig.livejournal.com/tag/giraffecall:%20result

Final numbers for the second round are:

$16 in donations, no new Patreon patrons, 2 new friends/followers/bloggites…. just $9, 2 patrons, or 2 new friends away from the goal.

All in all, I’d say it’s a good run, and I’m that much closer to a new tablet (poor tablet met the road. Well, sidewalk).

P.S. I’m still really proud of the splash icon I got to use the first round:

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Ashes in the Rain – for the Summer Giraffe Call


Written to book_worm5‘ prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call Round 2

Jorin found the new guy kneeling in a field, staring at the waste of his wheat, his face dry but the expression on his face as heartbroken as if he’d been sobbing. Jorin stifled a sigh; he could remember when he’d been the new guy. This place was hard, harder than any other place Jorin had ever lived, and it wore on you.

“Hey.” He kept his voice mellow. “Hard luck. The whole field?”

“It was just barely holding on. The weeds here are nuts. But I’d just gotten a crop really going…! And then that damn fire.” He looked down at the cold, damp ash; the hard rain had doused the fire, but too late for the wheat.

Jorin knelt down next to him. “This place is hard.”

“That’s what it says in the brochure.” The guy’s voice cracked — bad joke or the start of more tears, Jorin couldn’t tell. “It’s hard. But you get to try. They didn’t tell us it would all go up in smoke.”

“They don’t. They don’t know, not really. Company wonks, that’s all. The people who plan this stuff.” Jorin’s brochure had said this is your second chance and he’d believed it. “But it’s what they’re willing to give us.”

“So what now?” New-guy ran his fingers through the dirt. “That was all I could afford, and it’s all gone.”

“Now you learn about this place.” Jorin ran his fingers through the dirt until he found one, a seedling just starting to crack. “See? This place is hard and the wheat is harder. But after a fire… the seeds sprout. Give it a week, and your field will be green again.”

New-Guy swallowed. “You’re serious?”

“It’s kind of like us. We got hit with something — all of us, we really did.” It was stupid and poetic, not Jorin’s usual bag. He said it anyway. “But you stick us here, hard cases all of us… sometimes we sprout.”

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Soul Fire… (A continuation for the Summer Giraffe Call)


Written to rix_scaedu‘ commissioned continuation of Insta-Cure from my Summer Giraffe Call.

Aspen pulled the candles and fake logs from the fireplace and whispered a quick spell, unstoppering the chimney. “Fire,” she murmured, pleased with herself. “All right, Toph, Betsy, there are eight candles in there. Arrange them in a half-circle around the fireplace, and then we’re going to put you in the middle, Toph, and we’re going to focus on the problem.”

“No, uh-unh.” He shook his head emphatically. “That’s how we end up with the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.”

“No, no. That’s how we ended up with the nice shield over this block, remember? It’s not always like Ghostbusters, bub.”

Topher sighed loudly. “All right, all right. We can focus on the problem. Which is me, yeah? Me is the problem?”

“Your lack of self-esteem is the problem, Toph.” Betsy frowned at him. “You keep acting like you’re somewhere down below the totem pole, and it’s ridiculous.”

“Hello, have you met you? Either of you? You’re like the most impressive women in your class, probably in the state, and likely in the world. Me, I’m… I’m me. Topher George, loser extraordinaire.”

“You see? That. That’s what I’m worried about. Okay. Here’s the last candle and here’s the actual flame. And here here’s where we write it on parchment.”

“So we, like, we’re literally burning up my flaws?” Toph stared at the parchment in unwilling awe. “And this actually works?”

“Well, the book I found it in says it works, and it’s a good one. Not the kitties-and-puppies book,” Aspen hastened to add. “So yeah, I thought we’d do all three of us, but we can focus on Toph first. And then Betsy and I will be clear-headed if we need to fix something really fast. All right.” Aspen lit the fire in the fireplace and lit the candles. “Topher, you do the writing. Betsy and I will do the chanting and the focusing. Ready?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” he allowed.

“Good. Betsy, you come in on the second repeat.”

“Got it, boss.”

The chant was easy, repetitive, the Sumerian coming smoothly to their tongues after the number of rituals the three of them had performed. They closed their eyes as Topher wrote a word on the parchment and tossed it into the fire.

The flames surged, dancing higher than they had fuel for, and then vanished. Only Topher’s eyes were open, so only he saw the flames actually dart up the chimney.

“Asp? Were the flames supposed to become a little pixy thing and run off with all my flaws?”

Aspen finished the chant. “‘The flames will take them’ is what the ritual says.” She opened her eyes. “How’re you feeling?”

“Mostly… like I want some donuts.” He stretched and wiggled his fingers. “What? Don’t look at me like that, Asp. It’s not like hating myself colored everything I did. I mean, okay…” He trailed off thoughtfully. “Hunh. Well. I guess it feels a little different.”

“Oh, good. I mean, I was thinking maybe it didn’t work or maybe it really was like the Stay-Puft marshmallow man and now you were going to crave donuts all of the time, and that would have been awful, I mean, at least kind of awful…”

“Well, to be fair, I already craved donuts all the time, it was just that I was… hunh. I wonder what a gym membership costs. I wonder if I can get a part-time job that doesn’t suck. What d’ya think, Asp? Barista, maybe? Someone around here has to need someone to work for them, and why not me? I mean…”

Betsy and Aspen shared a look. “Well,” Betsy allowed quietly, “this isn’t too bad, so far.”

“You know… I’ve wanted to know something for a long time, and I figure, you can both kill me for this if you want, but you only live once, right?” Topher looked between the two of them and grinned. “And you two are the only two I’ve ever really wanted, but I guess I figured I wasn’t strong enough for you or smart enough for you, but I’m not all that dumb and I’m crafty where I’m not strong and, well…” His smile got sly and mischievous. “Threesome?”

Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1153016.html

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Making Fertile Soil – a story for the Summer Giraffe Call Round Two


Written to [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘ prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call Round 2.

Planet names from – http://www.scifiideas.com/planet-generator/

“Pereira! What in hell are you doing?” Captain Klerkx came around the corner of the tower, glaring at her 2-I-C. “This isn’t a farming planet, this is a military base.”

Sage Pereira straightened up. “And because it’s a long-term military position, Captain, I have two days of leave a week and an extra three days of leave a month. I’m not on the duty roster today.”

“Don’t you rules-and-regulations me, Commander. What are you doing?

“Well, look.” Sage stretched and stood. “The soil here isn’t good for much, but I did a pH test — I’ve got the supplies, bought from the commissary on the trip over, so not using site supplies — and it’s within range for terran plants. And we have that little pen of livestock—”

“And how did that get past regulations?”

“Well, you see, Captain,” Sage let herself smile a bit. Captain Klerkx had the years in the service and the experience, but none of it was on military posts like this one, in the ass end of nowhere. “Doing post work comes with bonuses, you know. And they also come with weight bonuses when we move, because we’re expected to settle like we’re going to be here a long time. And when Sgt. Bermúdez was on leave between stationings, he found a place on Azrail that had these pig-mutations that are really space-happy and eat waste food. Real pork tastes a lot better than the fake stuff, you know. Then Lt. Dragić got the idea in her head, and the things she found on Gerodin aren’t quite goats, but they work like goats and humans can eat them — and they do the whole wool-and-milk thing pretty well. And they make shit, of course.”

“Excuse me?”

“They shit. They have waste products. So, back when we were setting up the base on Caracalla, we figured out that when we penned them in one area for a while, and them moved them on and turned the soil over — well, it’s not rocket science, it’s ancient agriculture. Anyway, hydroponics are good and all, but after the power went out for a week on Caracalla, let me tell you, you’re glad for something that requires sun and rain and work-hours and nothing else.”

“You’re using modified pig shit —”

“And proto-goat shit, Captain,” Pereira inserted helpfully.

“…to grow…?”

“Beans and potatoes, carrots and squash. I hope. And a couple rows of grain for now, more later.”

“And what happens when you’re transferred?” Military bases had a set-up time with full complements of staff, but eventually they were cycled down to skeleton staff when the automations were all established.

“Well, Captain, this is my third garden.” Pereira knew she looked good for her age, but she was probably a decade older than the Captain. “I hear my last two are much appreciated by the long-term staff. On Caracalla, they even imported their own pig-likes.”

The Captain blinked a few times. Assuming the discussion must be over, Sage went back to turning over the fresh, wet organic matter into the dry Claudian soil.

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Grasp the Nettle – a ficlet of Addergoole Yr10 for the Summer Giraffe Call


Written to [personal profile] chanter_greenie‘ prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call Round 2

The hallways had been loud and dark all morning. Circia had hidden in her room with her plants and her Biology homework and tried to ignore it. There’d been one time where someone pounded on her door, but she’d shouted “go away,” ignoring the pounding echoing in her head, and nobody else had bothered her.

Now it was nearly dinner time, and Circia found herself both hungry and craving sunlight. Sun was hard to get around here, but if she could make her way to the grotto… Tigg had enjoyed showing her the broad indoor garden, walking her around it, telling her all about the plants. He was a nice guy, if a little too intent on visiting her every day. She wondered if it had been him knocking on her door. Well, he was just going to have to learn about the word “no.”

She hardly noticed the thistles trailing like vines behind her, or the way they wrapped the outside of her door. Somehow, they seemed natural. And, once she had made it into the grotto, it seemed natural that they, like her, would reach up for the sky and the strange indoor sunlight.

When they found her in there, several hours later, Tigg was still complaining of the swelling in his hands. “Isn’t the saying ‘grasp the nettle?’”

Circia barely heard him. Her feet were deep in the dirt and her prickers had all settled into place. The fake sun was warm enough on her face, and she could feel the whole grotto through her vines.

She opened her eyes slowly, to find Professor Valerian, Professor Fridmar, and Tigg staring at her. “I think I’ll stay here for a while,” she informed them sleepily.

The professors, in turn, studied the prickly vines Circia had woven around the carnivorous trees and strange plants that made up the grotto. “Yes. I think you will,” Professor Valerian agreed. Tigg’s whining aside, she thought no-one here would want to grasp this nettle, let alone firmly.

“Poor Regine,” she murmured to Fridmar, as they left Circia to her sun and her dirt. “And poor your students. They do so hate it when they come with natural weaponry.”

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Planting some Good


Written to kelkyag‘ prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call Round 2. This plays off of and comes after The Fairy Road

The park in the middle of the city had always been creepy. In this city, that was hardly surprising, especially for the thousands of people who had no power of their own but enough of the blood to sense what was going on. The park had power, power by the boatload, and it had danger and ghosts twice on top of twice the power it had. For a small thing, a city block crossed by stone, it was fraught with history and with meaning, and it was so overgrown as to be more of a tangle than a park.

It would take careful handling, but Whitney had found that many things did. She started in the library, reading every article the Local History librarians could find her, down to the smallest clippings, single lines in the crime blotter, short paragraphs in obituaries, mentions in the Floral Column when she went back far enough.

She got permission by submitting a form that was ignored — that being the way of city bureaucracy — and she started slow, taking the earlier bus so she could have an hour in the mornings to work, carrying tools and plants in her gym bag.

“On this spot,” she told the dandelions and the thistles, “Emory MacDonald proposed to Dahlia Stonemason. He knelt here, in the alyssum, and her tears fell on the sidewalk.” She pulled weeds and smoothed down dirt, finding, under all the overgrowth, the marble border some long-ago gardener had placed with care. Into the fresh dirt, she planted some alyssum and watered them with bottled water.

“On this spot,” she told a particularly nasty weed a few days later, “Sally Hennings vanished. They say she’d collapsed, been hit so badly she had had lost consciousness, but when the police arrived, she was gone, never to resurface.” There she planted lilies, setting the bulbs in little circles so she could dig them up for the winter if she needed.

That was a Friday; in one week she had cleared an area 2 feet deep by five feet wide. But when she returned on Monday, she found she was not working alone.

“Here,” the translucent man told her, “a woman kissed her lover for the last time before the war.” He knelt down and dug, translucent or not, and daffodils — bright and flowering and out of season — replaced the matted weeds.

“Here,” a slim creature who had never been human sang, “They buried a diary. The book is gone, but the story remains.” Ivy twined from its feet, filling the shaded area with brilliant greenery.

Whitney did not turn, but she knew the voice that had come behind her. “This place has many a story, woman of the city, and you have no debt to it nor to its denizens. You will be a long time at unearthing them all, even with the help.”

“It needs to be done,” Whitney replied, although she could not have said why. “So I shall do it.”

“Very well, then. You will have the time and the space to do it in.” His voice had the finality of fairy gifts, but still, he sounded kind.

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Superfood – a story of Space/Colony for the Summer Giraffe Call Round 2


Written to sauergeek‘ prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call Round 2

Names from – http://www.scifiideas.com/alien-species-generator/

“All right, the last plant is ready for the colony ship.” Gioia macDowell stepped back and wiped the sweat from her brow while her boss waited — patiently of course; the Detzuborg were always patient — for her to continue. “It’s gluten-free, it’s vegan, it’s umami, it’s got a decent healthy fats content, low cholesterol, not too high in fructose, decent in fiber and with the best protein content I could manage.”

“You made a superfood?” Zenaford’s voice raised mildly. “That is beyond the scope of the brief.”

“Considering the terrain on Zooik Four, I thought the colonists would need all the help they can get. Besides,” macDowell smirked at herself, “I’m a perfectionist. This thing will grow on Zooik-four soil, and it will take in nutrients even from Zooik Four plants, although it would be helped by having some basic modified grass or wheat planted near it.”

“Take in nutrients from…” Zenaford took a step forward. “What, exactly, did you do, Dr. MacDowell?”

“Here, I think you’d best see it.” She raised the view screen to show her Zooik-Four-contained environment.

Inside the hardened glass, a small, green sheep grazed contentedly at the end of a long stalk-like tether. Its wool looked like something like broccoli, its leaves rather like horseradish. “It’s a derivation of the Brassicaceae family, of course. Everything good is — well, that or nightshades, and they’re too tender.”

“…You made a carnivorous plant to feed the colonists?”

“Technically,” macDowell couldn’t help but offer, “I made an herbivorous plant.”

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