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August 2018 Ficlet Challenge
purplecleric
In Greek mythology, Leo was identified as the Nemean Lion which was killed by Heracles (Hercules to the Romans) during the first of his twelve labours. The Nemean Lion would take women as hostages to its lair in a cave, luring warriors from nearby towns to save them.Impervious to any weaponry, the Lion had to be defeated with bare hands. Zeus commemorated this labour by placing the Lion in the sky.


The word prompt this month is … LABOUR


Perhaps your ficlet will have our heroes working the mines on Horizon or harvesting Kairopan?


For the second challenge: Describe an event that may have happened in a character’s childhood that contributed to why they became the person we love (or hate).
 
trevor travis
SUGAR AND SPICE AND ALL THINGS NICE

He was a horrible bully, and he’d picked on her for the last five years.

He’d put her through hell, and he had it coming. But she’d made a discovery. Whatever was done against her, she could always get even. By using the power of her mind.

“Yes, that was acid in your drink”, she said coolly to the distraught and retching boy. “You’ll be dead within thirty seconds.”

That was her first murder. She was nine.
Edited by trevor travis on 01 August 2018 20:41:28
 
JustBrad
It wasn’t the hard work that bothered him, much…. Everything was hard when you lived in the Delta slums. Even harder when your own father got tired of your attitude and packed you off to a summer work camp for the lousy hundred credits a month the Federation would pay for a young Delta Grade lad. No, it wasn’t the work, it was the mind numbing tedium. Take the boxes off the shuttle. Put the boxes on the dolly. Wheel the dolly into the warehouse. Take the boxes off the dolly. Stack the boxes in the warehouse. Do it again. And again. And again. And again… for twelve straight hours with a half hour lunch break. Then come back and do it again tomorrow, because they didn't give you money for passage home until you had earned it. The worst part for a young lad with an inquisitive mind was the fact that they didn’t even tell you what was in the boxes.

Let them catch you taking an unauthorized break, just to catch your breath or watch a starship land at the docks, and you had to pull an hour’s unpaid overtime.

Today they caught him taking an unauthorized break four times. By the time his sixteen hours were up (seventeen with the extra unauthorized break he took during detention), he was the only one in the warehouse. Even the guards had forgotten about him. He was locked in. Typical.

He curled up to sleep on top of a stack of the precious boxes. Come morning, he’d slip down and join his usual shift. No one would know he’d spent an unauthorized night in the warehouse.

It wasn’t long before curiosity got the better of him. He opened a box. His jaw fell slack. His breath caught. Just one of those would buy him passage home with plenty to spare, and he had two pockets.

When morning came he slid down unnoticed and joined the other workers. The first dolly load he brought in, he stacked above the open box. It would be ages before they noticed. At lunch he left. He went to see a local fence and bartered for cold hard credits. He bought some clothes, and some drink, and passage home, first class.

His father opened the door. “You’re back early, Vila, my lad. You must have impressed them. I take it you have finally learned the value of a good, honest day’s labour.”

Vila answered, “I did learn something, father.” Silently he added, ‘That stealing is quicker.’
Edited by JustBrad on 01 August 2018 21:30:46
 
Ellen York
Nice ones, Brad and TT. People don't change as they get older, they just become more of what they were to start.
 
Anniew
Blake watched as Avon stalked off the flight deck, frustration and amusement struggling for pre- eminence. There was a mystery here. Who was Anna and how did her brother, the son of an Alpha family, become a mercenary? He wished Avon had agreed to help him solve it.

What neither he or Avon knew was that Del Grant was no Alpha. Grant wasn’t even his true name.

Blake would have recognised his real name instantly. The panic engendered amongst all grades during Tar Pety’s reign of terror on Earth was still talked about twenty five years after his capture and execution. Sixteen abused and mutilated corpses of respectable women, all Alphas, each prominently displayed at regular intervals in a different level of the dome. For two years the authorities were baffled. Tar’s wife, a personal assistant to the President, had used her position both to procure his victims and hide the evidence of his involvement.

As the details of their crimes emerged, the High Council was horrified to discover that Tar and his wife were Deltas. It seemed inconceivable that any Delta, who received wisdom taught were venal and ignorant, would have the intelligence to plan and carry out such crimes. Ava Pety had captivated the President on one of his visits to the Entertainment Palaces in the Delta stews to such an extent that he had eventually made her his mistress. But she had affected a sweet docility in that position that had made her seem harmless, while her husband had been dismissed as an inoffensive idiot, not even aware of his wife’s flagrant infidelity. There was collective alarm at having been proved so wrong. And it was equally alarming that these crimes had only been solved by a fluke...a glitch in supply to the security system that revealed the looping video feed that Ava had hacked into it.

All this demanded the sternest reprisals not only against the guilty pair but against their offspring and relatives.

Ava, however, possessed unparalleled acumen. If she had been born an Alpha she would almost certainly have trained as a psychostrategist. She had entwined more than just the President in her coils and, once she realised that arrest was inevitable, sent her sister some incriminating viscasts of herself with one of the officials she had seduced.

Desperate not to be associated with the scandal, Senator Bercol acted quickly, arranging a new identity for the children, their aunt and uncle and a passage off world. The explosion that occurred soon after in the Pety’s apartment was so powerful that it took out a chunk of the Alpha quarter and left nothing to alert the authorities that the apartment had been empty.

Lars Pety and his sister Anna lived on Ganymede, a planet almost entirely given over to the production of protein cultures. Their aunt had chosen to change the family name to Grant; a subtle reference to the fact that Ava’s duplicity had granted them a second chance. Anna became Sula and Lars, Del. As neither of the children had been sired by Tar, they were not subject to the paranoid urges that had overwhelmed him and excited their mother.

Del grew to be decent young man, although angry at being exiled from Earth and nursing a hatred of the Federation grading system. He found living on a small factory farm stultifying and at fifteen, he stowed away on a supply ship bound for Arcos where he was fortunate enough to be taken in by a family of rebel sympathisers. After organising a successful rebellion there at the age of twenty, he found his services much in demand and formed a unit of mercenaries, traveling with them , by invitation, to Federation controlled worlds where they fermented unrest and fought alongside the dissidents.

Sula Grant inherited her mother’s seductive beauty and unlike her brother, was determined to regain all the privileges she had enjoyed as a child. She ensnared and married Governor Chesku, an older, dull, but highborn Alpha Elite, who was eventually recalled to Earth to take his position on the High Council following the sudden death of his father. Sharing her mother’s taste for danger and intrigue, as Sula Chesku she lived a double if not treble life.

But she was always Anna to her brother and to Kerr Avon.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
trevor travis
IN MEMORY OF BARRY CHUCKLE

“Remaining flight time: ten minutes”, stated Orac.

Vila took that in. “And another five minutes before we hit. How do you spend your last fifteen minutes?”

Avon responded immediately. “Working. Working like we have never worked before. Ten minutes hard labour, Vila!”

***

They found the Tachyon Funnel.

“Help me move it into the airlock, Vila!”, ordered Avon.

“OK, to me”, said Vila.

“To you”, replied Avon.

“To me.”

“To you.”

"To me."

"To you."

They were still moving the Tachyon Funnel when the shuttle crashed onto the Malodaar surface.
Edited by trevor travis on 05 August 2018 11:16:34
 
One Spare Part
Anniew -brilliant backstory for the Grant siblings showing also the inherent corruption of the federation.
Brad - again brilliant story dealing with the grading issue of Vila. Again we see the Federation does not work: they just enforce their rotten power.
TT- dare I say another brilliant tale? You fit more into a couple of paragraphs than I can get in a novella. Very sharp.
So...total brilliance all round.Grin
"We're in the centre of a mystical convergence here."
 
littlesue
TT...I raise my glass to you. What a lovely tribute to Barry Chuckle.
I think a lot of people are going to be very sad about his passing.
He and his brother used to have me in fits of helpless laughter.
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/
 
Lorna
Never having seen the Chuckle Brothers I was bemused by your story, TT . But I have checked it out on Utube and I "get it" now. Smile
 
trevor travis
Lorna wrote:

Never having seen the Chuckle Brothers I was bemused by your story, TT . But I have checked it out on Utube and I "get it" now. Smile


I guess our non-British friends on here will be equally bemused, so here's the Chuckle Brothers in action, alongisde John Leeson (who was K9, and twice appeared in B7):

https://www.expre...you-sketch
 
Joe Dredd
Don't you worry TT, I'm on the other side of the world and I've got two series of Chucklevision in my DVD collection (S1 and S3 I think).
 
TheElfandherFriends
The room was crowded, the hired musicians uninspiring, and the soma possibly diluted. But Vila could forgive his hosts everything because there were interesting things to steal.

Avon observed him work the room. Glass in left hand, right hand frequently extended to greet fellow guests, and occasionally dipping unnoticed into their pockets, Vila was seeking keys, codes, information, his own personal thrills.

Fellow attendees reciprocated his friendliness, assuming him to be some newly arrived minor Federation administrator, perhaps on the path to becoming a major one. Someone they’d seek out in the following days as a potentially useful contact. But for now Vila wandered unhindered through the gathering, flitting between groups, flirting with the prettier food servers, edging into conversations that might provide a hint of the location he had to trace.

Avon had been the obvious choice for the mission. He looked the part. He felt the part. He was the part. Gatherings such as this were his natural habitat, or rather had been his natural habitat until he’d relied on another person and earned himself a single ticket to Cygnus Alpha.

Avon’s desire to teleport alone had been dismissed by a grinning Blake out of hand.
“Oh, I know you’d be prepared to labour on our behalf by spending the evening being subjected to such exquisite Federation hospitality but there’s a lot of ground to cover. Two of you will need to suffer”.

Thank you Blake for denying me a private taste of my old normality.

The remaining issue then was who to take. Blake was far too recognisable to risk. Being accompanied to such an elite gathering by the Federation’s most wanted terrorist could make for an evening which would prove a little too exciting.

Jenna? Likely to attract admiring – and therefore unwanted - attention. Cally, equally striking and just so noticeably…alien. And Gan? At an event such as this? Avon smirked at the thought. The man had the physique and conversational ability of the towering lunks normally employed to stand outside events to ensure the right people came in, and the wrong people stayed outside – by force if necessary.

So Vila it was.

He had to admit that Vila, who had acquired a new name, uniform, and accent which was noticeably that of an educated Terran-born Alpha Grade for the evening, was blending in well. And possibly enjoying himself a little too much.

Noticing Avon’s gaze, Vila picked a decorative morsel of food from a tray, winked goodbye at the attractive server he’d been chatting up, and moved meanderingly across the room towards him. Eventually they met and greeted each other as strangers, shaking hands. Avon felt a cold metal key card pass from Vila’s palm to his.

“Skilfully lifted from a Sub Commander in the corner who’d got a little disorientated on soma. Nearly got his cufflinks as well. Easy as taking ration packs from a consignment for a frontier planet. Not that I’d ever consider doing such a terrible thing of course”

“Even an inveterate kleptomaniac has his limits?”

“Of course.” Vila feigned hurt, then leaned towards speaking quietly. “But does the perfect assassin have any scruples either?”

Avon stared at his drink, and pocketed the card. “No”. He placed the glass down. “Party’s over Vila, time to get to work”.
 
TheElfandherFriends
whooo hoo - first ever fic! Angry
 
Rainesz
This is slightly over the word-count, but it'll make up for my months of absence here. Wink

Argos

He was a sullen and serious boy. Friends were not necessary, not even imaginary ones. He could occupy his own time quite well. Fanciful play was foolish and unproductive, yet he still found himself lonely and this puzzled him. Was it because humans as a species were social creatures? Was this then genetically programmed into his nature? Other children had friends to help with this irritating human trait—but he found other children annoying.

So he decided to build himself his own version of a Friend.

The children of wealthier families were permitted real dogs—however, his own family did not have the privilege and credentials to apply for such luxuries. From a distance, he admired the canines’ loyalty to their human caretakers, but mostly for their lack of human speech. He decided he would construct his own devoted four-legged companion.

The resulting machine was crudely dog-shaped. Its own four legs propelled it jerkily with an endearing saunter as it followed him everywhere, drawing the attention of other children and adults alike. He called him Argos, after a dog in an Old Calendar myth his uncle had once told him. He even allowed his machine to have an honorary pronoun since he was now his Friend.

Argos was not a sophisticated robot, but for having been put together from metal and plastic scrap by a seven-year-old, he was an astounding construct. The boy had even programmed the small computer that was Argos’ “brain.”

Argos did not act out of devotion like a real dog; he only did what he had been programmed to do. Still, this was enough. Argos was his constant companion, always there at his once solitary side.

Before he was taken away, that was.

One day, he and his creation were whisked away from his dull family and school into a Federation-sponsored academy for advanced students where he was the youngest in his class. The instructors were fascinated by Argos and wanted him dismantled to see how the brilliant child had achieved this feat with such rudimentary components. For the first time in his life, the child wailed and sobbed and fought to keep them from taking away his Friend.

“Don’t be ridiculous. It’s just a machine.”

He heard this declaration over and over until he finally came to believe it.

He eventually accepted that Argos had been merely a tool to assuage his need for society, a useful construction to which he had foolishly attributed personality, even loyalty. Perhaps humans themselves were not so different from automatons, organic machines programmed by their civilization and government.

He—however—would not allow himself to be programmed like a machine.

He only saw Argos once more.

***

As a sullen, cold and silently seething adolescent, he saw a group of Alpha children playing with a toy on the street. He watched out of boredom for a few minutes, trying to identify the nature of their plaything. The “toy” was four-legged, rusty and not functioning well—and yet, it seemed to become alerted to his nearby presence. It stopped and separated itself from the children and struggled on teetering limbs to approach him.

It seemed suddenly familiar.

“Argos?” he whispered.

Then the machine, having just broken from years of restrictive programming, fell over on its side and was still.

“You broke our dog!” shouted one of the children in anger.

“I’m telling Mother!”

But one of the little girls said wonderingly, “She knew you. She was trying to go to you.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Kerr Avon. “It's just a machine.”
Edited by Rainesz on 08 August 2018 06:55:07
 
rojroj
Raine -- a very good depiction of Avon's childhood, and quite believable, too!

Athough he's a genius, I guess that in some ways he's no different from other children -- as all children at that age get attached to their toys and endow them with life and personality... How cruel that this was taken away from him.
 
https://www.facebook.com/blakes7rojblake/
BradPaula
TheElfandherFriends wrote:

whooo hoo - first ever fic! Angry


Congratulations! I liked your fan fic!
Zil: Oneness must resist the Host.
 
Rainesz
Thank you, @rojroj!Grin

With some obvious references to The Odyssey. Wink
 
TheElfandherFriends
Congratulations! I liked your fan fic!


Thank you! I really enjoyed writing it. Keen to do more now.
 
JustBrad
TheElfandherFriends wrote:

whooo hoo - first ever fic! Angry


And very well written.
 
Lorna
BradPaula wrote:

TheElfandherFriends wrote:

whooo hoo - first ever fic! Angry


Congratulations! I liked your fan fic!

So did I
 
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