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June Fanfic Challenge
Anniew
Avon struggled as the Bird Priest approached him but his captors gripped him firmly, pushing his head down and the leather strips binding his hands were unyielding. Then, without warning, his head was whipped back and held tightly in position, forcing him to face the Priest's feathered mask. It stared back blankly, the eyes behind it black and unfathomable. Behind the Priest, the inky shadows cast by the stones slowly retreated as the sun began to rise on the horizon tinging it with streaks of azure and thin gold and ruby.

The rhythmic clatter of sticks and old bones began again, more frenzied than before, accompanied by a high keening wail that erupted from the throats of the watchers crouched down and almost invisible in front of the still-shadowed megaliths. The Bird Priest grasped Avon's mouth cruelly between the fingers of his left hand and with his right presented a clay cup filled with liquid to his lips. Avon clamped lips shut, straining to turn his head away, but the pain exerted on his jaw by the iron fingers was agonising and he was forced to give up his resistance. The liquid was tipped roughly past his reluctant teeth, spilling over his chin but also gushing in spasmodic bursts down his throat as he choked and gasped, compelled to swallow. A taste, salty, bitterly rancid yet laced with sweetness, puckered his mouth, the green, vegetable smell of the liquid, heady and unpleasant.

Immediately his senses blurred, vision dimming, a whirling sensation filling his brain. If he had not been held in position he would probably have fallen. Yet with the physical confusion came a clarity of perception. Gold rays striping the grey stones scraped across the solid surfaces, thinning their outer crust, and he saw that, gradually, each stone was becoming opalascent, as if lit from within. In his mind, not with his eyes, he became aware of shapes, human-like but insubstantial as smoke, moving within that light, fluctuating, merging, separating, thrusting against the stone barrier that imprisoned them. The shapes were in the stones and then inside his head, pressing, pressing to escape, and he stifled a shriek of pain. The clattering of the sticks and bones, the high keening wails all merged with the undulating shapes, with the stabbing rays of light, until sound and sight became one ardent sensation, and as the sun-fires intensified so the shapes did too, coalescing into regular human forms. Among the mist of swirling, unfamiliar faces, one, so cherished, so missed, so remembered, Anna's face, shaped itself clearly on the sparking air and he felt her lips on his mouth, soft and yielding, the silky smoothness of her hair before she whirled again into smoke.

The keening now changed register, lower-pitched sounds which gradually formed into a chant, repeated again and again. His dulled hearing eventually made out the words, "Bring the dead, Bring the dead, Bring the dead."

"Yes," his dry throat wanted to shout. "Oh, yes. Bring my dead", but he was too dizzy and sick to give it voice.

Now, the feathered Priest raised an object that dazzled, brandishing it briefly above his head toward the yellow light in dedication. He lowered it and, as he shouted a command, the watchers rose from their crouched position to ignite wooden brands wedged in cracks in each stone. When these caught and blazed, the watchers wrested them from their clefts and held them, waiting.

With a rush of blood-shot red, the sun at last reared above the horizon, a fiery dragon spouting gouts of gold, orange, vermillion. Another shout, and as the chanting increased in volume, the watchers cast their brands into the deep ditch surrounding the circle. With a violent crackle, flames rose high and sinuous, reaching up to mingle with the orange and red flames of the sun, illuminating the Circle and its people with coruscating light.

Legs wide, stance upright, the Bird Priest turned to the new-born day. Bathed in its birth-blood rays, he confronted Avon again, holding the small object that dazzled so brightly high above his head in clawed hands.

With surge of dizzying fear, Avon recognised it as a knife.
Edited by Anniew on 04 June 2015 08:32:45
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
Travisina
Wow, Anniew! Just... wow!
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Anniew
Awww thanks. glad you liked it!
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
Hugbot
Travisina wrote:

Wow, Anniew! Just... wow!


Seconded. When can we read the rest?

Thank you all for your kind comments on my stories. For the rest of the month, I will lean back and relax and enjoy the contributions of the rest of the gang.
 
Anniew
Hugbot, many thanks for the positive response and for pointing out a glaring vocabulary error. ( now changed) The attention you give to our stories is remarkable. As to reading the rest - well it's in progress but may yet stall. I hope not but you never can tell with stories. Sometimes they just pack their bags and move away!
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
BradPaula
Solstice

Tarrant: A random program.
Blake: It's an old smuggler's trick.
Tarrant: Did you learn it from an old smuggler?
Blake: No, from a young one, actually. Her name was Jenna.
Tarrant: What happened to her?
Blake: She tried to run the blockade once too often. Happens to all of them eventually.
Tarrant: You made the capture?
Blake: Nobody made the capture. She hit the self-destruct. And when it blew, she took half a squadron of gunships with her.

* * * * *

Blake might have been earnest in his statement but he certainly was not correct; well, not completely. That is not how it happened at all...

Many months after finding Star One and then abandoning Liberator, Jenna walked into the computer control room. It was cramped and the air was stale but it had all the necessary equipment for what they were going to do. She looked up at the large video screen on the wall above the command chair. Broadcast on the screen was the starscape around the planet Morphaniel, the planet she ended up on after the Galactic War. Beside the screen stood mercenary Del Grant. Morphaniel had been his home for the past few years. He went there to rest and to decompress after his numerous mercenary missions. But they were more acts of a freedom fighter and he was getting results. He smiled at Jenna. He knew she was apprehensive about the plan but she reluctantly agreed to it. She would need to sacrifice her beloved new ship in the process but Grant had been quite persistent and logical about it and Jenna had finally acquiesced.

Grant handed her the small remote control box. It had joy sticks on either side with a few impressive looking buttons between them. Jenna sat down in the chair and studied the box. Yes, she could easily handle this, she thought defiantly. Grant came to stand behind her. Jenna took the comm piece sitting on the counter top and put it in her ear; the tiny microphone arching around her cheek to pick up her every word.

“Are you ready?” Grant asked her gently.

“Yes. Let's get this over with.”

Jenna flicked the left joy stick and as she did she heard the engines of her new ship, Solstice, start up and whine with power. She hit the middle button and the ship took off on its own, headed into the atmosphere and out into neutral space. As she broke the ionosphere, half a squadron of Federation pursuit ships came into view on the video screen. They were soon after her, breaking into a star pattern of pursuit and capture. Before long they heard the command ship break radio silence.

//Privateer Solstice. This is Federation pursuit ship GammaX13, Space Commander Baroda speaking. Cut power and prepare to be boarded. You are a wanted criminal, Ms. Stannis, and we have you outnumbered. Surrender and you will be treated leniently.//

“Leniently my foot,” Jenna mumbled to herself. Grant found it hard to conceal his grin.

Jenna slowed the ship so it was drifting in space. She made it look as if she was having second thoughts about the Space Commander's speech. The five pursuit ships came closer, equidistantly spaced in the standard star pattern. She had nowhere to run. The command ship lay farther out.

//You cannot escape, Jenna. There is nowhere to go. You are outnumbered. Surrender and make it easy on yourself.//

That made Jenna all the more angry. She nudged the joy stick a bit and the ship changed direction facing the star patterned ships. It was now or never. She looked up at Grant, who nodded in silent response. “Do it,” he whispered.

Jenna hit the right joy stick and the ship took off going straight for the middle of the star pattern of ships. The Space Commander smiled to himself; he had expected this having read Jenna's Federation files. She would try and fight her way out of it.

//Pursue and detain ships 1 through 5. She's trying to 'thread the needle'. Fly closer!//

The ships did as ordered and Jenna nervously waited until they had halved their distance to Solstice. Only then did she speak. “Blake, if you are out there somewhere, I could really use teleportation just now. Liberator help me!”

As the Space Commander looked on at .25 spatials away, the pursuit ships under his command flew even closer to Solstice, one getting ready to put out its transfer tube to board the rebel ship. When all at once, the Solstice blew up, looking to all intents and purposes on the video screen like a golden orange flower blooming in space. The force of the blast, aided by a couple kilos of plastic explosives courtesy of Grant, completely demolished Solstice, along with the five pursuit ships following along. The explosion shook the command ship violently but they were far enough away to survive the blast. The Space Commander was jolted back into the command chair. He swore and threw his comms stick to the flight deck floor. What would compel a pirate like that to self destruct? It hadn't gone as he would have liked, and that was the understatement of the century. His Mutoid navigator stooped to pick up the comms stick and gave it back to her Commander. “We're going to be in hot water for this back at Space Command Headquarters. I lost my entire fleet of ships. There will be hell to pay, mark my words.” As he calmed down he added, “Set course for Command Headquarters, standard by seven.” He stared at the video screen in silence.

“Yes, Commander.”

* * * * *

“Great job, babe. You flew the ship like a pro.” Grant chuckled to himself, teasing his girlfriend.

“I am a pro,” Jenna retorted tartly, but smiled at him all the same.

“I think that little act will take the pressure off permanently.”

Jenna got up from the chair and handed the control box to Grant, who promptly set it on a nearby shelf. “I hope so.”

“There's no one freer than a dead man... er... woman.”

“True, but in doing so, I sacrificed my ship, the one I bought with most of the booty I took from Liberator's strong room. Safe or not, I will miss that ship.”

“With what you have done for my organization in the past few months, I think we owe you a new ship. Your present dilemma will be what to call it.” He put his arm around Jenna's shoulder and herded her towards the door. “Any ideas?”

Winter Solstice, Summer Solstice... Equinox... I really have no idea.”

“How about Phoenix? The legendary bird which dies only to rise from the ashes, born again?”

“I think that is quite appropriate. Yes, Phoenix it will be.”

“With a new ship and new identity, you can help me fight the might of the Federation. But we do it my way this time. No disrespect to Blake, but my plan may be better. We'll hit at the underpinnings of the Federation discreetly until the entire edifice crumbles from within. With my contacts and your skills I think we have a winning combination. What do you say, babe?” Grant opened the door to face brilliant sunshine and a warm Morphenial day.

Jenna breathed in the fresh air greedily. “Yes, I think with your plan, we finally have a chance to make a strike for freedom. Yes, I'll join you, but not follow you.” Jenna's chin rose in defiance, a pose Grant was soon to recognize as the mark of one very independent woman. At least he was ahead of Blake in that department!

“I wouldn't have it any other way.” They walked away from the building and into the bright daylight of Morphenial.
Zil: Oneness must resist the Host.
 
Ellen York
Yes! That is exactly how it happened! Smile
 
BradPaula
Grilling the Subject

Travis raised his arm and rubbed his thumb against his forefinger. The green gem began to glow. That was it. He moment he'd been waiting for. To hell with Servalan's orders- nothing could stop him now.


He pointed to the metal container, took careful aim and let off a controlled and precise shot. A green laser-like beam of light crackled through the air and hit its target. There was a slight 'whoosh' and the fire started. He had taken the precaution beforehand to disable the smoke and fire alarms in his quarters. They'd never know!

As the coals burned and started to show ash, he threw on the large piece of animal flesh. It sizzled nicely on the grate. That would teach Servalan, he thought angrily. Changing the menu of Space Command's cafeteria, indeed. He needed a decent meal, not one of those prissy salads the Supreme Commander was so greatly fond of. Take charge, he mused, that's what he was good at. He'd eat like a king tonight!

Too bad he couldn't manage a side of chips with the steak, but oh well, he had triumphed over his temperamental boss and would enjoy his meal in peace. Wait, no HP sauce? He grumbled to himself and punched his fist in the air. “I'll get you for this, Blake!”
Zil: Oneness must resist the Host.
 
trevor travis
BradPaula wrote:

Wait, no HP sauce? He grumbled to himself and punched his fist in the air. “I'll get you for this, Blake!”


Tee-hee Grin Grin Grin
 
Hugbot
Wonderful ... two great stories by Paula!
As another member of the 'Jenna Hitting the Self-Destruct Button? You Must Be Kidding!' party, I naturally loved Solstice. Del Grant seems to be a much better match for Jenna than Blake, treating her as an equal and not patronising her. And Solstice (especially Winter Solstice) is a fitting symbolic name for her ship: she has now passed the nadir and her days get longer.
Grilling the Subject made me laugh out loud. Not only the idea of Travis' private BBQ party in his quarters, but also Servalan's diet order. Reminded me a bit Dr. Franklin's meal plans for the officers on B5.
 
JustBrad
Slightly OT:

Menu Item in the Federation Cafeteria:

The Supreme Commander:
Ample portions of turkey breast on a low cut french roll. Served cold.
Comes with a side of Pursuit Chips.
 
BradPaula
Hugbot wrote:

Wonderful ... two great stories by Paula!
As another member of the 'Jenna Hitting the Self-Destruct Button? You Must Be Kidding!' party, I naturally loved Solstice. Del Grant seems to be a much better match for Jenna than Blake, treating her as an equal and not patronising her. And Solstice (especially Winter Solstice) is a fitting symbolic name for her ship: she has now passed the nadir and her days get longer.
Grilling the Subject made me laugh out loud. Not only the idea of Travis' private BBQ party in his quarters, but also Servalan's diet order. Reminded me a bit Dr. Franklin's meal plans for the officers on B5.


Thank you, Hugbot, you are most kind. A thought hits me and off I go- especially if I can make it a bit funny. As to the allusion to B5 and Dr. Franklin's diet plans for the crew, he somehow forgot his edict completely after he tasted Garibaldi's Bagna Cauda if I recall. But what could be more healthful than a dish made from copious amounts of butter, garlic, anchovies, and heavy cream? I rest my case.
Zil: Oneness must resist the Host.
 
Hugbot
BradPaula wrote:

But what could be more healthful than a dish made from copious amounts of butter, garlic, anchovies, and heavy cream?


I was very glad when I discovered the recipe for Bagna Cauda and could try it out for myself. After that, I knew why Franklin abandoned all diet plans ... !
 
Joe Dredd
JustBrad wrote:

Comes with a side of Pursuit Chips.


B'dum tish!

That's fantastic, Brad!
 
Lorna
How did I miss your two stories Paula??? AngryAngry
I think they are both great. In very different styles, but capturing the spirit of the series completely!
 
meegat39
@Annie - gotta love your human sacrifice story starring Avon! I only hope he manages to escape in the next instalment! Very, very good Grin
"If you didn't want the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question."
 
meegat39
@Paula - love your take on Jenna and Del Grant's outcome. An excellent match, although I was a little confused about how they they/Jenna escaped. Did she pilot the ship by remote control or was she teleported off at the last second? Also loved the Travis story, great!
"If you didn't want the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question."
 
meegat39
@TT loved your doomy Solstice story - it was great!
@ Brad Lol!
@Hugbot Lol! and great Lauren story.

Sorry my comments are very general but I guess I'm not a great writer, unlike you'll good folks!
"If you didn't want the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question."
 
BradPaula
meegat39 wrote:

@Paula - love your take on Jenna and Del Grant's outcome. An excellent match, although I was a little confused about how they they/Jenna escaped. Did she pilot the ship by remote control or was she teleported off at the last second? Also loved the Travis story, great!


She had the joystick box and it was remote controlled. She was in the computer room all the time. And thanks!
Zil: Oneness must resist the Host.
 
meegat39
BradPaula wrote:

meegat39 wrote:

@Paula - love your take on Jenna and Del Grant's outcome. An excellent match, although I was a little confused about how they they/Jenna escaped. Did she pilot the ship by remote control or was she teleported off at the last second? Also loved the Travis story, great!


She had the joystick box and it was remote controlled. She was in the computer room all the time. And thanks!


Ah! I thought it was something like that and you're welcome!
"If you didn't want the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question."
 
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