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January 2016 fanfic challenge
I can't believe it's been a year since I started these. Thank you to all who have participated, I've really enjoyed seeing where my prompts have led. So without further ado, the first word prompt of 2016 is...


The first of a series, the beginning. The brightest star in a constellation. The first in order of importance. And of course, a highly privileged group in the B7 universe.

I said I was going to experiment with the second part of the challenges, including pictures etc. Please PM with links/suggestions you would like me to consider. I will not be using screen captures because that overlaps with the Humorous Image thread.

So let's start with something out of the left field:


They are called challenges, right?
trevor travis
Oh blimey, thinking caps on!!! Grin

(Trying to work out how I can resurrect poor Soolin from either of those two prompts Wink )
Ye Gods...it's far too early to think about left fields!
Maybe when the wine runs out........
Cold.....you don't know the meaning of cold.
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of the window!!!

sues stories http://sjlittle.w...
sues youtube channel http://www.youtub...e54/videos
sues book shelf https://www.media...ne%20Shelf
rebel run video http://www.youtub...prqS-XZtLo
Lara and Sue's Stories http://lectorisal....webs.com/
littlesue wrote:

Ye Gods...it's far too early to think about left fields!
Maybe when the wine runs out........

I would think that more left field ideas come before the wine runs out. After all, I did post this last night. Hic!
purplecleric wrote:

littlesue wrote:

Ye Gods...it's far too early to think about left fields!
Maybe when the wine runs out........

I would think that more left field ideas come before the wine runs out. After all, I did post this last night. Hic!

Okay....I shall start on the Jacob's Creek White plonk then...
...gawd help the spell checker!!Grin
Cold.....you don't know the meaning of cold.
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of the window!!!

sues stories http://sjlittle.w...
sues youtube channel http://www.youtub...e54/videos
sues book shelf https://www.media...ne%20Shelf
rebel run video http://www.youtub...prqS-XZtLo
Lara and Sue's Stories http://lectorisal....webs.com/
trevor travis
Firstly, a reminder of Part 1 from last August:


This was no way to die.

She’d often imagined her death to be in the middle of a gun battle, when there were one too many on the other side, that even her lightning reactions could not account for.

Not like this… in the middle of a desert on some hell hole of a planet.

The unbearable heat continued to beat down from the unexposed sun. Her malfunctioning suit would not protect her from its deadly rays. A stolen suit. That’s the problem with acquired goods, you can never vouch for their reliability. If only they had communicators or a teleport. She could contact Vila, Grant or Christina, and get out of this damn place. She cursed herself for not stealing some communicators at some point – it should have been a priority.

If she died now, what regrets would she have?

She regretted not letting people in closer. Ever since that fateful night on the farm, she’d built up a protective barrier. All her relationships - Dorian, Avon, Grant - had been largely recreational. No-one had ever been allowed to see the real Soolin.

Who was the real Soolin? She remembered the little girl, who loved having her hair plaited by her mother and being given horse-riding lessons by her father. He was such a kind and loving man. And he ended up murdered - even in the act of death, trying to protect his wife. Soolin had never forgotten that image of their two dead bodies. Taking revenge against their murderers hadn’t made things easier. She hated McGowan for what he had done, but in a peculiar way, he’d also been Soolin’s step-dad for six years. And then she’d lost him as well. After shooting him in the head.

After that, she’d sold her skill with a gun for the highest price. Without ever thinking too much about the lives she was snuffing out. Were there people out there who hated her as much as she had hated McGowan? Very probably. How many people's lives had she ruined?

Her 'gun for hire' days had led her to Dorian. What attracted her to him were that there two of a kind - two damaged souls - or so she thought. But he had concealed a whopping secret. While with Avon, it seemed to be a case of them trying to out-cynic each other.

And what of Grant, her current squeeze? Again, it was a cold, unemotional relationship; largely her fault, because he was a very charming man. But she never let him in. She even called him Grant… his family name.

Soolin realised she wanted more. She wanted to let her guard completely down, and for him to know all her hopes and fears. For Del to know how much she loved him. But she’d never have the chance, because she was here laid down in the sand… and dying. Del might even be the one who discovered the corpse. She shuddered at that thought.

Not long now.

Recent life had been strange. There was the teaming up with Vila and Orac, the other survivors from Gauda Prime, and then the chance meeting with first Grant and then Christina.

Christina’s ship was the strangest Soolin had ever seen, and had led to many arguments between Soolin, as leader of the group, and Christina, to whom the red double-decker bus belonged. Again, if only she could survive, she wanted to be able to talk to Christina more, because they had so much in common. Soolin needed a friend she could talk to, and she suspected Christina was it.

Instead she, Christina and Grant spent much of the time bickering like children. Three strong personalities, each wanting their own way. She wanted that to change. And she corrected herself again... it was Del, not Grant.

Soolin realised she was starting to lose consciousness. She cuddled up like a baby. Was that her mother she could see approaching the sand? To comb the hair of her daughter one last time? And then… blackness.


She felt herself stir from unconsciousness.

There was someone else there with her. She looked up at a black studded glove.

“But you’re dead!”, she exclaimed, before realising she was going to black out again.

trevor travis

“Orac, play it again”, ordered Christina.

The ambient sound. Around thirteen seconds long. And apparently signifying nothing.

“It’s just noise”, she said, “We’re wasting our time.”

“Of course it is not noise”, stated Orac fussily. “The changes in variation within the notes clearly represent co-ordinates.”

Grant grabbed Christina by the shoulders. “And the message was directly signalled to Orac. We have to take the chance.”

“And what if it’s a trap? Soolin didn’t have the equipment to send that signal. So who did? And who knew to send it to Orac?”

“Too many questions if you ask me”, interjected Vila.

“No-one asked you.” Grant sighed. “Look, in an hours’ time, the sun goes down. The suits were only designed to protect us from the heat, so it won’t stop Soolin freezing to death. We can’t just leave her to die. If we do that, consider me an ex-member of this crew, and drop me off at the next spaceport.”

“OK, we’ll go, but if we all die, I blame you.” Christina programmed the co-ordinates into the bus.

“Just remember to tell me quickly before they shoot us from the sky”. Grant faked a smile.


Orac announced with his usual air of authority: “We have now arrived at the designated co-ordinates.”

Christina took the bus down to just a few metres off the ground, while they scanned all around.

“Nothing”, said Vila, “let’s get out of here with the booty while we can. With the value of what we’ve got aboard, they’re going to be searching for us. And we’re sitting ducks in this bus; it doesn’t have any defences.”

Christina walked up to Grant and placed a consoling hand on his shoulder. “Look, the longer we hang around, the more we’re in danger. We have no more leads. We’ll keep Orac scanning all the communications from this planet, but we have to leave.”

“I know, but we had to check…” he suddenly broke and pointed to an area just on the horizon. “What’s that?”

Christina grabbed the steering wheel of the bus and moved it in. There was a half-buried figure in the sand. A figure with a rounded bottom that Grant immediately recognised.


The man, who had kept himself hidden behind a dune, watched the strange apparition - a London double-decker bus - depart into the sky. Soolin was safe. Fifteen minutes to sunset. He made his way back to his ship.


“Why are you lying to me?” Grant bristled with anger.

“I’m not lying.”

“Be honest, and tell me who saved you. You must remember. Whoever it was fed you water and nutrients to keep you alive.”

“I don’t remember. I was unconscious.”

“And I don’t believe you. Why do you always keep secrets from me?”

Soolin watched him go back down the stairs of the bus. She sighed. She wanted to tell Grant everything… but she couldn’t. The barrier still existed between the two lovers, despite what Soolin had vowed to herself while laid down in the sand.

And now she knew he was alive. She wondered if they would meet again, and then dismissed the question. Of course, they would. He had saved her life, but next time that they met, she vowed she would kill him.

Edited by trevor travis on 01 January 2016 16:35:46
Neatly done, TT!

I look forward to reading more of Soolin's adventures in this alternate universe, with its double decker, mysterious man and posterior references.

Great way to kick off the New Year!
Dayna had thought herself impervious to fear. After all, the worst had happened on Sarran when her beloved father and then her foster sister were murdered. Nothing, she thought, could ever scare her again. But she had been wrong.

In that underground cave beneath Xenon base, with no hope of escape, she knew a terror she had never experienced before.

It wasn't the pulsing blue green light that terrified. Or the shape, monstrously casting it's misshapen shadow. It wasn't even the sense that she was in danger. None of these were the source of her unreasoning panic.

It was the sound. A shuffling, rustling expiration as if a thousand throats had breathed out in despair. A dusty rhythmic exhalation, evoking decay and corruption. A sound that choked her, closing up her airways, starving her lungs.

When the others came and she was free and safe again, it faded away. She hoped for ever.

And then, on Gauda Prime, Avon, the man she thought of as a father-substitute, killed his friend as she watched, firing on him not once, not twice but three times, and she heard it again; faintly at first, a mere brushing against the air. But in the confusion that followed, as Arlen revealed herself as a traitor and ordered them all to drop their weapons, it became louder, its rushing whispers rising to muted roars, confusing her brain. Louder and louder it rustled and hissed and then Vila attacked and she saw a chance and impulsively went for her gun.

She hardly registered the impact of the shot that sent her spinning backwards, felt no pain, was aware of nothing except the crescendo of ragged exhalations.

Then as her consciousness fled, she identified what the sound signified. Gave it a name.

The sound she was hearing was the sound of her death.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
@ Anniew Oh, 'the sound of her death' fits so well. Coupled with your descriptions of the noise, this makes for a darker story than is usually told regarding Dayna, and I really liked it.
That sound kind of reminds me of the Scorpio going into the secret base for some reason.

Vila came to the conclusion that whoever designed this structure clearly wasn’t concerned with helping to make their visitors feel at ease. Even bad art on the wall in the reception could have proven suitably distracting.

He’d wanted to wait outside in the sunshine, except Jenna had insisted he remained seated on the hard benches bolted to the walls. His bracelet chimed, and attempting to answer it without looking too suspicious, he heard Blake calling from the ship.

“How long is this going to take?” Blake asked impatiently.

“Jenna’s experiencing problems with Nora Neptune.”


“The manager’s PA,” explained Vila.

“You mean you haven’t talked with anyone in authority? Get a move on, Vila! We’re on a tight schedule.”


“Why don’t we forget about it?” Avon drummed his fingers across the teleport controls, prepared to mess with the indecision etched on Blake’s face.

“No,” Cally protested. She could scarcely contain her excitement at what they had planned. “Vila insisted this is an important component, and I know Jenna will succeed.”

“I agree,” said Blake.


Jenna mumbling faint obscenities as she paced back and forth wasn’t helping to allay the butterflies in Vila’s stomach. “I thought you were acquainted with this Neptune woman?”

“Kammie used to be my contact,” Jenna said, shaking her head. “But she isn’t involved anymore. Nora Neptune’s role in the company wasn’t exactly high profile in the past, I remember her playing on the periphery, and now — ”

“And now you have to go through her for everything?” Vila recognised aspiring alpha status attitudes a mile away.


“I have discussed the matter at length with the supply manager,” Nora said, stuffing her short nailed hands into her trouser pockets. “And unfortunately he has decided he must decline your request.” Treating Jenna to a fake smile, she hung around to observe their reaction to her statement.

“But what if we …?” started Vila.

“We’re wasting our time, Vila.” Grabbing her disgruntled crew mate’s arm, Jenna led him out the building.

“Can’t we try somewhere else?” he asked hopefully.

“It’s a specialised market. There aren’t too many willing to deal in what we want.”


“I, uh, couldn’t help overhearing.”

Vila almost jumped out his skin; he’d literally walked straight past the pony tailed man standing close to the building they’d exited.

“Do you work here?” asked Jenna.

“I run what you’d call a ‘private operation’. Jude’s Junk. Jude, that’s me,” he added, holding out his hand.

“Don’t tell me, you may have what we’re looking for?”

“At the right price, of course!” Flashing her a broad smile whilst doffing his floppy sunhat in a ridiculously exaggerated manner, Jude indicated they should head in a westerly direction.


Vila exchanged a dubious glance with Jenna. They were staring inside the hold of a dilapidated freighter, its cargo resembling the contents of a dump rather than quality merchandise. But then they weren’t exactly legitimate and their options were limited.

“Don’t be fooled by appearances,” warned Jude.

He thrust a sack into Jenna hands which she immediately passed to Vila. He took a look inside, nodding his approval, and Jenna paid Jude in more than enough credits to keep their supplier happy.


“You cut it fine,” growled Avon, annoyed at being stuck on teleport duty. “We barely have time to organise everything - assuming Vila has his facts correct, and this isn’t all an elaborate hoax.”


Gan carefully positioned a metal container on the desolate heath while Cally adjusted the temperature on her environment suit. She nudged Avon, urging him to do the same. He scowled in response; with only Zen to protect the Liberator, he couldn’t help feeling exposed on the deserted world.

“Are you sure about this?” he asked Vila.

“You’re always such a damp squid. Yes, I’m sure, these are completely authentic … I read all about it in those archived files we discovered on that rocky planet. Everyone wraps up in warm clothing to congregate in a fixed location – ”

“Sounds like a cult,” murmured Avon.


“It’s important to maintain a safety zone.” Blake demonstrated a wide expanse using his hands. “Old traditions state these could be highly dangerous.”

And to think I could be in bed on the ship, thought Avon. Standing outside at this late hour watching Blake throwing his weight around even when it wasn’t his operation didn’t feature on his ‘fun things to do in the cold list’.


Jenna took her place with the others, leaving Gan, taper in his gloved hand to light the igniter cord. The illicitly purchased fireworks banged, whooshed, flashed … exploded.


Expressions changing from startled amazement to pure, innocent pleasure, the crew emitted audible gasps as Catherine wheels whizzed, and twinkling fountains sprayed the ground in bright colours.

Faces tilted to the heavens, they stared at the whistling skyrockets soaring high above their heads. Red, silver and green stars filled their senses; shapes blooming in the clear night sky.

Vila muttered lyrics from a folk song: should old acquaintance be forgot. He didn’t have access to the entire composition; he’d research it in case they celebrated this way in the future. Maybe he’d light the fireworks next time while Gan watched the show with his friends.

@ Annie: Your Dayna story is exactly my cup of tea! Grin

And talking of drinks; off to play catch up with TT's stories with a maximum strength Lemsip in my hands. Having avoided any colds for 2+ years, I now feel like death warmed up - except I don't have a cool motorbike and have a terrible sense of direction. I've been listening to the BBC Good Omens CD adaptation; isn't quite the beloved book, but still great fun with Crowley a classic character in any format.
TT seriously addictive stuff!you do great cliff hangers" and I love your Soolin characterisation.

PC glad you liked my response. It was a seriously good prompt!

Mistletoe -that's a really good B7 story. Apparently hopeful and uplifting and then the killer punch at the end. So sad! I'm sorry you have a cold but if the result is a fic like this - then get another!
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.

Blake: What the hell was that?
Cally: Well, um, I know I shouldn't have, but I put the leftover Auron Veggie Burgers into the Liberator Wonder Stew, and Villa had four portions.

(okay, not exactly a challenge, more like a cheap shot for a bit of fun. Sorry, I grew up watching Benny Hill._
@ TT a lovely second part to your Soolin-centric stry!
@ Annie ooh the end sent shivers down my spine! great idea
@ Mistletoe great to have you and your stories back! Loved your firework story - perfect for the new year too!
@ Brad Grin Grin
"If you didn't want the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question."
@Mistletoe12 - and a Happy New Year to you! I'm having a lovely time wondering what might be on Avon's 'Fun things to do in the cold list'...

@JustBrad - I'm now going to have the Benny Hill theme tune in my head all day.
Only 2.5 days into January, and already the great stories are piling in!

@TT - thank you for completing your Soolin story!

@Anniew - that's a really evocative and moving ficlet. And fully compliant with the word limit, too*!

@Mistletoe - A perfect story for New Year week, very B7 in tone - a mix of humour, witty dialogue and a twist of sadness at the end.

@Brad - speaking of Benny Hill: Blake, the Fastest Milkman in the West

*Please note: Although we haven't been rigorously enforcing the 500 word limit, the longer the ficlets, the longer it takes me to assemble them into a collection. The really long ones can be published as separate standalone tales, but will be subject to a more lengthy and rigorous editing process. Just sayin'...
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
Mistletoe I was so saddened by the ending and enchanted by the fire work description I forgot to say how funny your piece was too.

Brad-in episodes like Assasin with Betty Marsden, Benny Hill is ever far from mind and I've seen a You Tube clip with scenes set to the Benny Hill closing music.

Travisina...I promise to try...
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
Hooray, the monthly fanfic challenge is back ... and the start is already very promising!

@TT: Thank you for resolving that dangling cliffhanger at last! Poor Soolin was left in this limbo far too long, playing Schroedinger's cat. But wait ... there are still some unsolved mysteries! Which is good news, as I love the wonderfully surreal adventures of Soolin's 5. More please!
@Annie: A fascinating interpretation of the sound prompt. So intense it makes me shudder. Brilliant!
@Mistletoe: A highly enjoyable story, running the whole gamut of emotions ... from the exciting and mysterious dealings in the beginning to the funny middle part and then to the sad foreshadowing at the end. And so apt for this time of the year. Thank you for this New Year's gift!
@Brad: Shock Grin Grin Grin

Speaking of Benny Hill: Save Benny Hill
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