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Sep 2019 Fanfic Challenge
‘Well, I did my bit, and what happened? Your troops bumble around looking for someone to surrender to, and when they've succeeded, you follow suit.’ Avon - Spacefall

The word prompt this month is … SURRENDER

Many people have demanded the crew surrender themselves or their ship or Orac or whatever prize is currently being fought over. It rarely works out in their favour.

For the second challenge, imagine the crew have landed on an unfamiliar planet and they hear this:

+Would you like extra fries with that?+

It never ceased to feel odd, hearing Zen’s sonorous voice issuing from the food dispenser. But odd or not, it needed an answer.

“Again, Zen? Surely you’re capable of serving up something better than this!” Avon gazed in dismay at the offering on his plate, shiny with grease and dripping a yellow substance that Vila swore was cheese,.

“What’s wrong with it? Lovely grub this.” Vila paused from dipping a rubbery, thin oblong into a bright red sauce. Gan, his mouth too full of bun and meat to speak, managed an acquiescent nod, while Blake stopped slurping the fizzy purple- black liquid in his paper cup long enough to belch, pat his midriff, and observe that he saw nothing wrong with his meal.

“Some of us like to take care of our hearts,” Jenna snapped, gazing disapprovingly at the little rolls of fat protruding over the waist band of Blake’s trousers. (‘Love handles’ he called them, but she wasn’t convinced.) “And our weight,” she added pointedly.

Blake looked abashed and Avon interjected, a trifle defensively, “And our tastebuds.” Not for a million credits would he admit that his leather trousers were getting tight. He had taken the top off his bun and now removed a drooping green leaf from it, but couldn’t quite pluck up the courage to insert it into his mouth.

“Cally eats what we eat and she’s not put on an ounce,” Blake argued, jerking his head towards the Auron who was happily jigging to music from her headphones, while stuffing down her bun and its contents with every appearance of enjoyment.

“Cally could eat a horse and not put on weight,” Jenna shot back. “And this unrelenting diet of pure grease isn’t good for us. It probably explains Vila’s frequent indigestion.”

“That’s nothing to do with diet,” Vila protested quickly. “I’ve got a sensitive stomach. It reacts badly to stress. Are you going to eat that?” He pointed at the somewhat deconstructed meal that Avon was toying with. “Only I could do with seconds.”

“Be my guest.” Avon pushed over the mess of bun, brown meat, yellow goo and green and red disks towards him, shuddering slightly as Vila scoffed it enthusiastically. Jenna, with the air of inimitable reproof she’d perfected, poured herself a glass of cold water and offered another to Avon, which he took gratefully.

“ I’m afraid we’ll just have to accept, Jenna, that our beloved leader is determined to kill us one way or another. If Travis doesn’t get us, the cholesterol will,” he remarked sardonically.

Blake finished off his drink with a defiantly noisy flourish and stood up. “Time to get back to work,” he announced cheerfully.”Cally?” He waved at the girl. “Raids to plan,” he mouthed as he caught her eye. She nodded without removing her headphones, and stood up to follow. “Gan, you’re on duty. Vila it’s your turn to clean out the ballast chamber.”

“Really? I’m not sure I’m up for that. I don’t feel so good,” Vila whined, clutching his stomach with a pained expression.

“So, Zen. To return to my original question,” Avon demanded as Blake shepherded a complaining Vila from the rec room. “What alternatives to a diet of grease can you offer?”

The reply when it came, caused Avon’s eyes to light up.

Jenna sighed resignedly. She knew that surrender was inevitable and a week of supplements and no alcohol would follow, but who could resist a double portion of salted caramel ice-cream with fudge pieces?
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
Yay! Someone finally made something of the prompt by thinking outside the box. Now to get my brain in gear.... .. ... ... .. .... ... . .... <recalculating> ... .. ... .. ... .
There was a young man
From Cork who got Limericks
And Haikus confused.
That was really clever and funny, Anniew! I especially laughed at Jenna's skepticism towards Blake's cutesy description of his own thickening middle and cholesterol potentially beating Travis to the punch at being the death of them.

Great job. Smile
Hahaha love it.

I am trying to think of a time we actually see the crew eating...
"Imagine you're standing on the edge of a cliff."
"As long as you're not standing behind me."
Loved the fic, very funny. And a heartfelt sentiment about burgers which I share with Avon.
Even GBBO made the bakers do the frigging burgers, argh! Angry

JohnMax wrote:

Hahaha love it.

I am trying to think of a time we actually see the crew eating...

Deathwatch! Even Orac got some snacks in front of him. Smile
I’m glad you enjoyed my first offering. Here’s the next.

Cries of the damned. That was Vila’s conclusion as he huddled behind a rocky outface, fairly gibbering with terror. Even Avon seemed somewhat disquieted as the the wailing sounds of torment continued to reverberate off the surrounding cliffs.

“Don’t be ridiculous. There’ll be a natural explanation for them. Cries of the damned! I thought you didn’t believe in such superstitious clap trap?” Avon was already scanning the area for clues.

“I don’t,” Vila all but sobbed,” unless I’m stuck in one of the circles of hell with their souls.”

“Circles of hell? When did you read Dante?” His tone indicated that Avon found this far more surprising than finding himself holed up on a planet with what appeared to be a bunch of disturbed ghosts.

“Dante? Who’s he? Never heard of him. Is he one of Servalan’s? Oh make it stop. Make it stop!” Vila hunkered down and his head with his arms as the noise intensified.

“Old Calendar poet,” Avon explained absently, cautiously peering around the rocks, gun ready to blast anything that looked blast-able. “Could be the wind perhaps? Wind blowing through holes in the rocks. Hmm. Where did you hear about them?” he continued, holstering his gun. “The Circles of Hell? I shouldn’t think they’re commonly talked about amongst the Delta classes.” He picked up the sensor, reviewing the results. “No. Not porous enough. They’d have to be like Swiss cheese to make sounds like that ...”

“Swiss cheese? Dante? I’m trapped on a planet with something horrible. And the voices are very reassuring either, let me tell you. And here you are, babbling on about poets and dairy products. I’m in hell.” The noises had died down, and Vila’s usual ebullience was surfacing again.

“It’s a mystery to me, how you’ve avoided taking up permanent residence there for so long. What’s that ... ?” Avon broke off abruptly as a flicker of movement caught his eye.

In the greyish light of the planet, bright dots of yellow, green and blue began suddenly to appear amongst the boulders. The inhuman keening and howling began again. Fascinated, Avon inched closer to discover that rodent -like creatures, their fur glowing and fluorescing, had emerged from cracks in the cliff face and were issuing challenges to each other; their eerie cries amplified by the surrounding rocks.

‘And there’s your lost souls,” Avon grinned as he pulled Vila up to observe the sight. “Let’s see if Tarrant’s shaken off those pursuit ships. I can’t find any readings for titurnium here. We’ll have to keep looking.”

“No ... No ... No ... No ... No ... !”

Avon listened intently as the footsteps approached and then passed the door of his cell. The moans, inhuman, eerie, full of pain and fear, began again, swelling louder and louder until cutting off with a final, lingering shriek.

This time it was the voices of the damned he was hearing. And he really was in hell.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
M1795537 OC Virn
Thanks for those AnnieW. Both fantastic, as usual.
Now, before Series A, episode 6....

The training college was hot and stuffy. Strategy and tactics aside, thoughts were turning to lunch, the recreation deck, and for the slightly older cadets, beer.
Don Garcia viewed the intake critically, noting the vacant stares, the drooping heads. One boy was asleep. Few were still attentive. No officer material, he determined.
A hand was raised: he nodded assent.
“Sir,“ a clear voice asked, “It would be helpful to hear your field experiences in these battles.”
He met the girl’s cold gaze, and knew she’d done her homework. As a Strategist he’d had no frontline experience. She was calling him out in front of them all. Again.
He noted her innocent expression, the long dark curls, the pretty, childish face and suddenly, hated the lot of them, especially her. She seemed to enjoy highlighting the shortcomings of his staff, and was never wrong. Other heads were turning to see who’d asked, and several cadets were grinning, suspecting he had no answer. There was no easy way out.
“It would take too long, Cadet Sleer,“ he replied, “I think we all need a break. Class dismissed.”

At lunch with the other Dons, Garcia was still grumbling.
“A poor intake,” he complained, “Hardly a real soldier among them.”
“Because Command made enlistment compulsory,” suggested a colleague.
“The days of volunteers are long past, Gansenn,“ Garcia snapped, “We need numbers. The Rebellion is growing everywhere.”
“I don’t agree,“ said another voice, “Some are excellent additions.”
“Anyone in particular this year, Keller?” asked Gansenn, grinning. Don Keller’s penchant for the younger female recruits was well known.
“Still researching,” Keller returned complacently.

Another day, another lecture. Don Keller surveyed the group analytically. His eyes rested on two girls: a blonde, tall and slender, the other younger, darker, less eye-catching but appealing.
“And always remember, an enemy does not cease to be an enemy simply because he surrenders,” Keller finished, watching the blonde, but it was the other girl’s head that lifted.
“Sir?” she asked urgently, “Explain that statement, please.”
“I’d be glad to,” Keller replied, sensing his opportunity, “Come to my office after supper. I’ll have plenty of time for you then.”

Garcia’s bitterness grew as the course progressed. Sleer’s progress to promotion was swift. Fashionable and intelligent, family connections made her almost invulnerable in social terms, while Don Keller’s favour ensured her military success. The combination promised a glittering career, if not in the military, then in politics, he predicted.
He also wanted rid of Keller. The man was undeservedly popular, with friends in Administration who turned a blind eye to his liasons with under-age cadets. A thorough disgrace. The current relationship with Sleer only added to Garcia’s frustration. He began to fantasize ways to humiliate them.

He needn’t have worried. Keller had other problems. The angry parents of a previous partner were threatening to file charges. Sleer was only the latest in a long line of his protegees, and her dependence was becoming tiresome. Towards the end of term, Keller requested a transfer.
Edited by M1795537 OC Virn on 18 September 2019 10:03:03
"Never assume anything, Section Leader."
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