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September Fanfic Challenge
purplecleric
"September days are here, With summer’s best of weather And autumn’s best of cheer." Welcome to my favourite time of the year!

The word prompt for this month is... HARVEST

The season's yield or crop, the product or result of an action or the removal of tissue from a person or animal for experiment or transplant. Will we meet a dodgy Kairopan spider or Zee and Bar?

And for the scene:

Cally frowned and rubbed her temples. There was that sound again but a quick glance around the flight deck at her crew mates revealed she was the only one who could hear it.

Sharpen those pencils!
 
trevor travis
purplecleric wrote:
Sharpen those pencils!


Is that a graphite writing stick? I prefer to press buttons. Wink
 
Hugbot
Having no green fingers, the word prompt 'Harvest' is really a challenge for me. I hope I haven't completely messed up the botanical details of this story ...

A Moment of Luxury

Ask any mountaineer why he climbs a mountain, and he will answer, ‘Because it’s there!’ If you had asked Vila why he had pinched the small paper bag during Blake’s raid on Ybgur, he would have answered, ‘Because it was there.’

Back on the Liberator, he could not explain to himself why he had taken this object. He had not the slightest clue about its nature. It was so small and thin that he could palm it. On the front, there was a picture of a red organic something that Vila had never seen in his life. There were also some words: Courtyard Gardens, CBJ Enterprises Ybgur, and another one that did even make less sense to Vila. Was that Latin? On the back, there were cryptic pictograms and confusing instructions. It rustled when he shook it.

Vila did not dare to open the little bag for fear that the contents might be dangerous. He also did not dare to show his booty to the Alphas for fear of being rebuked. So he showed it to Gan. Gan’s eyes lit up and his clumsy fingers trembled when he got hold of the little bag. ‘Aww, my wife and I used to have them on my home planet’, he remembered, ‘may I - ?’ He looked so excited that Vila simply nodded and said, ‘Of course.’

When they reached the next planet, Gan asked Blake a favour and teleported down with an empty transport container. An hour later, he came back aboard, the container filled to the brim with nothing more than ordinary earth. Carrying the container like a valuable treasure chest, Gan withdrew to the hot rooms in the engineering section. Vila was curious, but he did not dare to intrude on his friend. He had an inkling that this mystery should not be solved prematurely.

Vila had already forgotten about the little packet when one day six months later, Gan volunteered for kitchen duty. The anticipation on his face let the others believe that he had planned something special or that this might be his birthday feast. They were a little disappointed when they realised that the meal was tasty and nourishing, but nothing extraordinary. After they had finished, Gan bid them to remain seated. ‘There will be something for dessert’, he smiled and went back to the galley again.

A dessert was a rare treat aboard the Liberator. Before they could even make a guess about the possible nature of this dessert, Gan came back, solemnly carrying a bowl with small red fruit that he placed in the middle of the table. Vila recognised them. He had seen them on the front of the little paper bag. The others looked puzzled. Only Avon harboured a knowing smile. And wasn’t there even an expression of longing in this smile? He was an Alpha who had had access to luxury food like this, he had not spent most of his life aboard spaceships like Jenna, and in contrast to Blake he had always valued the pleasant luxuries of life like champagne, caviar, good wine - and these tiny little delicacies. He picked up one of the fruits, held it up to his nose and savoured the smell. How long had it been - ?

The others were a little astonished when he did not make any of his typical sarcastic remarks, but simply smiled and said, ‘Thank you, Gan.’ Then he pointed invitingly to the bowl.

Fragaria’, he explained, ‘strawberries. Help yourselves! You are in for a treat!’
Edited by Hugbot on 02 September 2015 07:47:53
 
Travisina
Lovely story, Hugbot!
I once spent a school summer holiday picking fruit - after two days crouching along the strawberry beds, I couldn't stand up straight - gosh that was hard work!
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Hugbot
Travisina wrote:

Lovely story, Hugbot!
I once spent a school summer holiday picking fruit - after two days crouching along the strawberry beds, I couldn't stand up straight - gosh that was hard work!

Thanks! I guess Gan built himself a waist-high raised bed. Wink
 
purplecleric
That was delightful, Hugbot.

There is a tradition in our family that we eat the first strawberries of the year on my birthday in late May - fruit was only eaten in season when I was a kid and we grew a lot of it ourselves - so dessert was much anticipated.

Thank you for evoking those memories!
 
Joe Dredd
Very nice, Hugbot!

It obviously made a big impression on Vila - in the "Scorpio Attack" novelisation he tries to grow wheat so he can make a delicacy called 'toast'.
 
Joe Dredd
Is there a word limit on these challenges? I seem to remember something about 500, but perhaps I'm remembering something to do with the length of a spacial.
 
trevor travis
Cally frowned and rubbed her temples. There was that sound again but a quick glance around the flight deck at her crew mates revealed she was the only one who could hear it.

Tarrant noticed her strange behaviour. “What is it, Cally?”

“Nothing Tarrant. I think I’ve just got a headache coming on. I’m going to go to my cabin for a quick lie down.”

As soon as she departed, Tarrant marched over to where Avon was fiddling with Orac and his rock.

“Avon, this can’t go on!”, he said with massive exasperation in his voice.

Avon looked up. “What can’t?”

“Cally.”

“What about her?”

“Avon, you know damn well what I’m talking about. Since the death of her people, she’s become massively susceptible to malign telepathic influence. There was that weird, sexy undead alien that you snogged, the Ultra, and then last week she was taken over by the Liberator toaster and threatened to destroy the whole ship unless we ate muffins, teacakes, croissants, crumpets, hot-cross buns and flapjacks. I put on seven pounds. It’s got to stop.”

“And you’ve decided that, have you, Tarrant?”

“Yes, I have, Avon. You don’t quite see reason where Cally is concerned.”

“What does that mean?”

“You know what it means.”

“Don’t start that again – it’s just fuel to the fire for the ‘shippers.”

At that point, Dayna decided to join the conversation.

“For once, and it had to come eventually, but I think Tarrant’s right. I like Cally, her telepath abilities are a massive plus to us, but recently she’s landed us in all sorts of trouble. We’re good enough doing that without her help.”

Vila interjected. “Leave Cally alone. We wouldn’t have got this far without her.”

The heated discussion had only just got going….

****

Cally swayed one way and then the another in her bed.

That damn noise.

Beep, beep!

Over and over again.

Beep, beep! BEEP, BEEP!

Cally ran from her room to the teleport bay, holding her moon disc in her hand. With their combined abilities, the controls shifted and they were teleported down to the planet below.

Zen would have noticed, expect he’d gone on a fishing trip for a week around the Cargo Decks. He’d left Orac in charge, but Orac felt he was far too important on focus on trivial matters such as the location of the crew. And the crew was too busy arguing to notice…

****

Cally looked around the planet. It looked very strange, almost unreal.

Suddenly she could hear the noise very close to her. Beep, beep!

It was some short of bird, which was blue in colour. The bird was tied to a train track.

And the train was coming. The driver seemed to be some sort of wild dog. Everything looked strange here, almost if drawn by a graphite writing stick.

Cally decided she had to intervene and save the poor bird. She noticed a set of points just a short distance away from the bird, with a lever nearby. She ran over to the lever, and heaved with all her might. It wouldn’t budge. She and the moon disc then tried to move it with telekinesis. Still no good. And the train was getting closer and closer.

Cally suddenly noticed a package on the ground: it said in bold letters ACME GREASE. With sudden inspiration, she opened the package and applied the grease to the base of the lever. She looked around and saw the train was now very close indeed. She pulled on the lever with one final, desperate tug, and suddenly, she felt it shift.

The points changed over and the train hurtled harmlessly past where the bird was tied.

Instead the train hurtled down a different line… over a cliff. Cally peered over the edge.

Gravity worked strangely here. The wild dog had fallen out of the train, and raced past it, as both fell. The dog hit the ground with a thud. Remarkably, he got up to his feet. He looked upwards and saw the incoming falling train. He held up a ACME sign saying: “OH DEAR”. And then the train landed on his head.

Cally untied the bird. “Serves him right for being so mean to you. My, aren’t you a thing of beauty?”

Beep, beep!, said the bird in gratitude and went racing off down the road.

Cally’s head had cleared. Obviously it had been the bird which somehow had sent out a telepathic signal for help.

She and her moon disc started to concentrate hard on shifting the teleport controls back on board the Liberator.

****

As Cally walked towards the flight deck, she could hear raised voices. She sighed. Why couldn’t everyone just get on? Mind you, that would make for a poor television programme, wouldn’t it? She often listened to Terry Wogan on Radio Two, and was well aware they were more popular than ever, despite the absence of Blake.

Avon saw her.

“Cally, are you OK?”

“I’m fine. What were you arguing about?”

“Oh nothing, nothing.”

They all departed from the flight deck, leaving Cally alone.

She suddenly noticed that blackness was encircling her from all directions. Rather than fear, she understood what was going on. And she understood where she’d just been.

There was just a small circle left, showing Cally. “That’s all folks!”, she said, “Beep, beep!”
Edited by trevor travis on 02 September 2015 19:25:52
 
purplecleric
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha < takes deep breath and wipes eyes > hee hee hee hee...
 
purplecleric
Joe Dredd wrote:

Is there a word limit on these challenges? I seem to remember something about 500, but perhaps I'm remembering something to do with the length of a special.


500 words it is, Joe Dredd - I set the limit so people wouldn't feel overwhelmed and more people would be tempted to join in. As you've probably realised, it's proving harder to keep this bonkers bunch of scribes to a word limit than it is to herd cats Grin so take 500 words as a suggestion, not a proscription...
 
Ellen York
TT, thanks for a good laugh this morning, but you probably should have included the tea warning.

Hugbot, that was lovely. Gan would be the one who knows enough about seeds to grow them and has the patience to actually do it. I was actually having some thoughts in that direction (must be the transatlantic telepathy thing again). And I'm glad that Avon was appreciative of the harvest (strawberries may be the way to his heart; he likes strawberry fool too Grin )
 
Joe Dredd
"Of all the things I have known myself to be, I never recognised the strawberry fool eater."

"A strawberry fool knows everything and nothing."
 
trevor travis
purplecleric wrote:
this bonkers bunch of scribes


Should we take this as a compliment? Grin Grin
 
Anniew
TT and Joe - I cherish the strawberry fool! My own contribution is rather sour - perhaps because I have a stinking cold and the kids have nits AGAIN!


"He reaped what he sowed", was Gan's only comment when he learned that Professor Kayn had perished in the dramatic explosion which destroyed XK seventy two. Avon thought that was a bit rich given that, although Kayn had proved to be something of a bastard, he had saved Gan's life. And if Gan was right then the other 200 odd souls that perished with him had died merely because of their association with a sinner, which didn't seem an equitable outcome either.

He didn't voice his opinion. The others, even Cally, were nodding sagely as if comforted by the thought and he really didn't feel up to a lecture from Gan and Blake about his lack of involvement or sentiment, or general team spirit, much less the knowing smirks from Jenna and Vila or Cally's dour disappointment. Especially as that was yet another bolt hole down the proverbial drain and he was stuck with this bunch of sanctimonious idiots for the foreseeable future.

While the Liberator Crew rejoiced in their store of motivational sayings, Avon had in his thirty seven years, discovered no reassuring patterns in the Universe. If anything, each day he lived confirmed its arbitrary and cruel nature. There was no evidence that it responded to actions in terms of moral imperatives- the good and bad seemed equally likely to suffer a painful death; in fact the odds on survival probably favoured the bad. The benign face of the God that Gan appeared to reverence was a painted mask that hid the delight it took in chaos and suffering. And there was certainly no evidence that he could discover that if you taught a man to fish, he would feed himself for life - Federation practices had long ago reduced the fish stocks in Earth's oceans to virtually zero, so that piscine delicacies were prohibitively expensive.

Using agriculture as a metaphor seemed both arcane and inapt but if he was asked to coin an inspirational saying it would be along the lines of: "Teach a man to con, steal or spoil another man's harvest and you set him up to survive."

Well it motivated him.
Edited by Anniew on 02 September 2015 19:16:24
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
Travisina
Only two days into the new month and we've already got a sweet story by Hugbot, a bitter one from Anniw and a keyboard-endangering comedy from TT!
You guys put me to shame...
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Anniew
I did love your story Hugbot. I love ever thing you write.

I have many memories of taking my boys to pick your own strawberry fields Travisina. They ate so many it always resulted in what came to be known in the family as the strawberry stoop necessitating urgent shepherding of the youngest to the nearest patch of rough grass!
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
purplecleric
Oh, Annie - that's bleak. How very Blakes7!

This month's sub-topic seems to be new Avon quotes. Perhaps we should create some Avon memes?
 
BradPaula
I swear, some of you dear people have Orac's brain in your head. How on earth do you figure out something to write so quickly. Impressed and annoyed at the same time. GrinGrin
Zil: Oneness must resist the Host.
 
Ellen York
Annie, your piece was very in character for both Avon and Gan (and I can understand both philosophies). It is ironic that Kayne thought the Federation was right and he was a casualty of that stray bolt while the "criminals" got away. Hope you are feeling better soon.

Paula, I'm with you; no idea how people create stories so quickly. It takes me ages to drag my muse out of hiding.
 
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