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Feb 2021 Ficlet Challenges
purplecleric
The phrase prompt for February is … If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen.

And for the second challenge:

There’s a baby on board! What?! Who? How? (Remember this is a PG13 site!)

Happy writing!
 
GanMiniMe
Gan brushed the flour from the front of his faded pink gingham apron and dusted his huge hands. He always loved baking bread, and as he was the only one who really cooked or baked, the kitchen was a nice little escape; and though the others may tease him, they didn’t ever seem to mind sampling whatever he had made.
It would need to rise for a couple of hours. Gan even had his favourite place for this purpose. Under the large square unit which heated the tap water, there was a dark space, always noticeably warmer than the rest of the room. It was too small to store anything in, so was usually just left empty... but not today. Gan felt a moment’s surprise to discover his favourite proving place already occupied. He sighed and put down the loaf tin. He went to the communicator.

“Avon?”


*************************

Avon raised his eyes from his latest piece of experimentation and glowered at Gan.

“Avon, we all agreed to take turns.”
Blake agreed that we should all take turns. If he spent less time agreeing to pointless crusades on our behalf none of the rest of us would have had to do anything.”
“You don’t want your turn? Fine, I’ll take him.” Vila eagerly went over to Gan, who carefully removed the large, green, purple- spotted egg from under his tunic. Vila happily settled down on his favourite part of the sofa, cradling it in a fold of his jacket.

“We forgot about your aversion to responsibility,” remarked Jenna.
“It is not an aversion to responsibility, it is the fact that none of this situation is my responsibility.” He replied curtly. “I did not decide to try and colonise a planet only to discover it was incompatible with my species, It is not my fault that they all died, and it certainly wasn’t me who promised the last survivor that we would take her last viable descendent back to its home planet.”
“But it wouldn’t have survived alone down there!” Protested Gan. “It wouldn’t even have hatched. What were we supposed to do, let it die?”
“Why, don’t you have a recipe that requires eggs?”
The shocked pause was broken by Cally, who had been busily knitting an unusually large egg cosy.

“I hear the young of this species are carnivorous.” At this, Vila’s eyes widened in alarm. “Really?”
“Yes. I wonder how they would like the taste of alpha-grade human?” The slightly sharp edge in her voice made everybody look at Avon. He, however, had at that moment buried his head under the table, apparently searching for a component of his experiment which had made a bid for freedom- nobody had heard anything fall.

“Relax, Vila, it isn’t going to hatch for another eight days.” Gan turned to the screen. “Zen, time to arrival on Essmay?”
++LIBERATOR IS DUE TO ENTER ORBIT AROUND ESSMAY IN APPROXIMATELY FORTY-ONE HOURS.++

Gan turned to Vila.
“You see? There is no chance of it hatching yet, as long as we don’t let it get too hot. If you get bored or need a break, just get one of us to take over, don’t leave it under the boiler.”
“Don’t worry about us,” he replied, cheerfully, putting his feet up. “When’s that bread going to be ready?”
Edited by GanMiniMe on 06 February 2021 12:50:46
 
GanMiniMe
My second attempt... apologies to all of you for the length and general daftness of this one but it’s been a very hard month and I’m only in the mood for writing silly stuff for a laugh.

THE CURSE OF PELLA

Gasping for breath, Tarrant slumped to one side and leaned his clammy forehead against the wall.
“What have you eaten?” Asked Soolin.
“The same as all of you,” He rasped. “Is everybody else all right?”
“As far as we know. I haven’t seen either of the others yet.” Tarrant caught the slight scent of Soolin’s expensive and very pleasant perfume and promptly retched into the toilet again. He tried to stand up. “I must have been poisoned,” he moaned, wiping the tears from his face. “I need ORAC.”
“You need to be in the medical bay.” Said Dayna stoutly. “Soolin, can you get ORAC and meet us there?”

*****
Vila was already there, lying on one of the beds.
“You took your time,” he grumbled.
“You, too?” Dayna wasn’t much surprised.
“I’m in agony,” Vila whimpered. He was lying in his side, clutching his lower abdomen.
“You’ve had too much to drink,” accused Soolin contemptuously.
“It’s not that!” He insisted. “Wine has never made me feel this awful. It really hurts, and my lower back, and I feel so fat and ugly and... and fed up! And where on Xenon do you keep the chocolate? Please, tell me you have chocolate...”
Tarrant flopped down on the other bed. “Have you been sick?”
“No, but I feel a little bit sick. Have you?”
“I haven’t stopped! I’ve never felt this tired and ill in my life.” Soolin plugged ORAC’s key in.

“ORAC, have you any idea what’s wrong with them?”
“Of course I do!” Snapped ORAC. Vila grumbled and rolled onto his other side. “It would appear that the Seska are a very tribal species; in the event that one of them is killed by a Hommik, the Seska are able, in their last seconds, to alter the physiological functioning of any men in the vicinity. The objective being to incapacitate the culprits long enough for any remaining Seska nearby to catch them and exact revenge.”

“What physiological changes?” Tarrant asked the ceiling.
“It appears that they can trigger a major hormonal imbalance. Hormones which normally exist in very small amounts in males become massively elevated. By my reckoning, Vila has a hormonal level similar to a female at the commencement of her menstrual cycle; Tarrant’s is consistent with the early stages of pregnancy.”
Tarrant groaned loudly.
“Tarrant’s pregnant and Vila’s having a period.” Soolin looked unimpressed.
“As it happens, neither statement is in fact true; they are merely experiencing the symptoms. Fortunately, as the Seska are no more, Pella’s death will not be avenged. And the symptoms only last for around twenty-four hours.”
“Twenty-four hours of this??” Exclaimed Tarrant. Vila burst into tears. Both fell immediately silent when the question shot out of Dayna’s mouth before she even knew she was asking it.

“Where’s Avon?”

***

They heard it from the end of the corridor: a long, low groan which crescendoed into an unfettered, ear-tearing scream. Vila, with uncharacteristic clumsiness, took longer than usual to break open the door. Inside, Avon was on his knees on the floor, leaning on the seat of the chair for support. His hair was damp, the collar of his jacket was soaked in sweat; he was gripping the base of the chair, his knuckles white. Tentatively, Vila approached him, gently helped him off with his jacket and carefully reached around to feel his stomach. “Get off me!” he snarled in response. Vila felt a lump come to his throat at the sharp words, but swallowed and turned to the others.
“The same,” he said. “Not actually in labour, just having the contractions.” The head came up at this.
Just contractions?? These are not just contractions!” He spat. “My body is crushing me to death from the inside! This is worse than being tortured, this is worse than being kicked in the-“
“ORAC says it’s only temporary. It’ll stop after twenty-four hours,”
TWENTY-FOUR HOURS??” Shrieked Avon. “Twenty-four hours? I can’t do this for twenty-four hours, I’m going to die!” He burst into loud wailing sobs. “I can’t do this, I can’t, I can’t do any more-“ he buried his head in Vila’s jacket. With one hand he awkwardly rubbed Avon’s lower back, and his own cramping abdomen with the other. “We need pain relief,” he decided.
“Oh, you’re a doctor, now, are you?” snapped Tarrant, leaning weakly against the wall.
“Who do you think delivered my youngest sister?” Vila retorted hotly. “ And helped my Mum deliver my cousin? Doctors were pretty thin on the ground where I came from. We need something for the pain, and soma if you have any.”
“Can you give soma to somebody in labour?” Queried Tarrant doubtfully.
“-He’s not in lab-“
“-He’s not even pregnant-!”
“Just do it!” Shouted Vila over the clamour of voices. A new pain, accompanied by a rising hysterical torrent of unexpectedly bad language from Avon, put an end to the discussion. Soolin grabbed Dayna and they made for the medical room. They were back minutes later with first-aid box and a large metal canister, with a thick pipe coming out of it and a black rubber mask. Dayna turned the tap at the top and thrust the mask at Tarrant to give to Avon; but the strong smell of the rubber was too much for him and he vomited all over the floor. Cringing, Vila snatched the mask out of his hand, clamped it over Avon’s face and commanded him to breathe.

***

Twenty minutes later and things seemed a little more under control. Tarrant was lying on Avon’s bed with a waste-paper bin on standby next to him. Vila and Avon were taking turns at the gas mask.
“Did the contractions just come on at once?” Asked Soolin, after yet another one had subsided.
“No,” he replied, drowsily. “They’ve been getting worse for the last couple of hours. Last night I was only feeling nauseaous but I’d assumed it was something I ate.”
The weight of his words slowly bore down on them all like a millstone, but most heavily on Tarrant. The remaining colour drained from his face. Soolin heard herself say “No, oh no, oh no no...” Vila didn’t look up; he simply took another breath of the gas and replied, in a weary monotone, “Girls, if I were you, I’d get some more of this ready.”
Edited by GanMiniMe on 11 February 2021 15:59:24
 
Travisina
Oh GanMiniMe, those are brilliant! GrinGrinGrin
===========================
My views are my own.

VILA: I'm entitled to my opinion.
AVON: It is your assumption that we are entitled to it as well that is irritating.


Twitter: @TravisinaB7
 
littlesue
Meanwhile, Avon's worries from last month...carry on this month!!!
And another lovely piccie from Lurena...

In the Heat of the…Kitchen
Or
Windfall Part 2


“Hm, that smells delicious,” Jenna said.
“Absolutely,” confirmed Cally.
“What does?” asked Avon.
“Whatever it is cooking in th….Avon, what happened…?”
A rather damp and unkempt Avon stared back at both of them.
“Don’t even go there. Suffice to say THAT robot caused this. The sooner we leave this planet, this bottling plant and those robots…the better. Now if you don’t mind, I need to wash some of this mess off.”
“This is the kitchen,” Jenna pointed out.
“I am aware of that…”
“It won’t like you barging in and disturbing its latest creation,” Cally put in.
“Well that’s just a little too bad,” but then Avon thought better of it, “What’s in there and what is it doing?”
“Cooking,”
“Which one?”
“Huggy,” they both replied.
“Cooking? With what?”
“Apples. Well it realised that there were far too many apples to make Vila’s cider….” Jenna said.
“…so it decided to make good use of them and make an apple crumble…”
“..And some baked apples…”
“..And some stewing apples...
“…and…”
“I get the picture. As it’s so busy it won’t mind me using the sink, will it?”
Jenna exchanged a worrying look with Cally, but decided against stopping Avon walking into the kitchen.
“Do you think we should have told him that Huggy is using neither gas nor electric to cook its creations with?” Cally asked.
“He’ll find out soon enough,” Jenna smiled.
“But he’s wet through!”
“Not for much longer. You know how helpful Huggy is.”

Avon’s nostrils filled with the sweet aroma of baked apples and the apple crumble, nicely browned on top, looked very appetising.
“Very nice, I hope you’ll clean all the ovens off when you’ve finished…” Avon’s voice tailed off. None of the ovens were on, but it was decidedly hot in the kitchen; very hot.
Then it dawned on him just what the helpful robot was cooking with.
On cue it trundled round the central kitchen island and stood still about two metres away from him, obviously studying the somewhat soggy Avon.
Avon didn’t move, reasoning that by doing so the helpful robot would ignore him and go back to baking its next delicious creation…

“Where’s Avon?” Blake asked.
“In the kitchen,” Jenna and Cally informed him.
“Well, at least it’s warm in there and he’ll have a chance to dry off.”
“I have a feeling that it’s just about to get hotter…” Cally murmured.
“Oh? Why?”
As Blake spoke, the kitchen door slid open and Avon ran out, with Huggy the helpful robot in hot pursuit, trying desperately to dry the fugitive’s wet through clothes with its flame thrower...
Blake was stunned, “What the?...”
“Well you know what they say,” Jenna began.
“…if you can’t stand the heat,” Cally added, “Get out of the kitchen!”
i.imgur.com/DqvR21x.jpg
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/
 
GanMiniMe
Hooray for Littlesue and Lurena! The fic and the pic both brightened my day!

It’s making me wonder what name one would give to an Avon marinaded in apple juice and flame-grilled? Apple Kerr-umble?
 
littlesue
GanMiniMe wrote:

Hooray for Littlesue and Lurena! The fic and the pic both brightened my day!

It’s making me wonder what name one would give to an Avon marinaded in apple juice and flame-grilled? Apple Kerr-umble?


Groan.....
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
And now for the second prompt.
I’m afraid that I got just a little carried away and have split the story into two parts.
And once again, we have a lovely picture from Lurena


A Babe in Arms
Part One


Blake stirred in his bunk as the Liberator seemed to suddenly go through some manoeuvres, but as Gan hadn’t called for any help, he turned over and resumed his sleep.

Much later, he was suddenly awakened by the sound of a baby crying.
He sat up, bleary eyed.
Was he hearing things?
A knock on the door drew his attention.
“Blake.” It was Avon, “You are required in the sick bay.”
“Who’s hurt?”
“None of us, if you are worried, but we seem to acquired a few passengers.”

“Well, who are they?” Blake asked. He and Avon were standing outside the Sick Bay.
“We appear to have rescued them and before you ask, it was Gan’s idea with a little help from Orac and Zen. While you and I were asleep, they managed to dock alongside a drifting spaceship, that appeared to have been involved in a battle of sorts and these three people were still alive in it…”
“But I heard a baby cry.”
“Indeed you did. There is a baby with a woman whom I take to be his mother and a rather odd gentleman who claims to be a Vizier.”
“A what?”
Avon had that bored look on his face, which warned Blake not to ask any more questions.
“All right, so he’s a viz…or whatever. Why don’t we go in?”
“Because the woman is dying, Blake, and she seems intent on giving the baby to Gan…”
“To Gan?!”
“Yes, well, each to their own. Cally and Jenna are with her, but she insists that we take the baby to her home planet.”
“Which is?”
“Along way from here, but Zen has the coordinates and the Liberator is on its way there now.”
“But what are they doing out here in a space craft so far from home…?”
“I intend to find out. Something isn’t quite right about this…”


Babe in Arms
Part Two

Gan sat in the middle couch of the Liberator’s Flight Deck, the baby in his arms, with Cally and Jenna either side of him and Vila sitting on the floor making faces at the baby which induced a lot of laughter.
The only person not laughing was the Vizier.
“So, sir, this is the legitimate heir to your planetary system, but why are you so far away from it?” Blake asked.
“My lady was in great difficulty during the birth so it was decided to take advantage of the kind offer of the Terran Federation to tend to her.”
“The words ‘kind’ and ‘Federation’ don’t exactly go together, sir.”
“Maybe not, but they were of a great help and then on our way home our ship was attacked and both I and my lady with the Prince were about to be put into a life capsule…but alas, it was never launched.”
“But you’re nowhere near a hospitable planet!”
“And they weren’t meant to be.” It was Avon standing at the top of the stairs, gun in hand.
“I found something very interesting about your crippled ship. Orac informs me that there was an active a homing beacon. Exactly who were you expecting…sir?”
“I do not have to put up with these questions, the Prince must return to his planet and take up his place…”
“With whom as his regent? It would appear that there is yet another homing beacon; the one that you have about your person…sir.”
“I have no idea what you are speaking of.”
“Don’t you? This little device says otherwise.” With that, Avon pointed the scanner straight at the Vizier, “I think you’ll find it somewhere in one of his pockets….”
i.imgur.com/4eb8OEV.jpg

Later with the Vizier securely locked away, the Prince asleep and everyone taking turns to look after him, Blake found himself alone on the Flight Deck.
Avon entered with that pleased look on his face.
“So I presume you’re going to tell me what all this about?” Blake asked.
“Naturally,” Avon smiled, “The Vizier had made a pact with the Federation; In return for allowing the Federation to take over that planetary system, he was offered wealth and power as the next ruler. It meant his Lady and the Prince having an unfortunate accident while involved in a battle, but then we came along. Something not even considered.”
“So wealth and power? A great inducement.”
“Sometimes, “Avon began, staring straight into Blake’s eyes, “The promise of wealth and power is all that is needed for a man to betray his people.”
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/
 
GanMiniMe
Awww, Littlesue, I liked that! They thwarted the Federation and saved a baby, a happy(ish) ending! Very good story. And I love Lurena’s picture, especially of Gan holding the baby. I sometimes think he would have made a wonderful dad.
 
stormypetrel
GanMiniMe- GrinGrinGrin

Littlesue, Lurena, poor Avon! How undignified! And no doubt the second prompt is going to call for him to join in the babysitting...
 
stormypetrel
“It is some distance away.” Lev looked his guests up and down, taking in their thermal suits with a nod. “You have come prepared for our atmospheric conditions, I see.”

“Blake?” Vila looked worried; Avon rolled his eyes. “I can’t...”

“There is a problem?” inquired Lev.

“No,” said Blake, as Avon put in with some sarcasm,

“Yes.”

Lev’s eyes narrowed; Vila hurried to explain.

“It’s the cold... I’ve got a weak chest, you see.” He threw a protesting look at Blake. “Cally said you weren’t to keep me outside. I’ve only just got over the last time...”

“As have we,” remarked Avon meaningfully. “Next time you decide to come down with something, see if you can do it quietly.”

“If you hadn’t gone dragging me to Exbar...”

“All right,” snapped Blake. “I’m sure you can manage a short walk.”

“It is not that short.” Lev looked doubtful.

Vila twiddled the dial of his thermal suit, only to discover it was already on its maximum setting. He gave Blake one last appealing look. Blake remained unmoved; Lev gave a sudden exclamation.

“I know. We will take my son, Blake, and your friend can stay here. If he takes my son’s place for a little while, that will work out nicely.” He smiled at Vila. “It is the warmest place in the complex.” Without waiting for a response, he began to walk away; the others had no choice but to follow. They stopped at the doorway of a well lit, well heated room; a young man, presumably Lev’s son, looked up curiously as they entered. “Dav, you are going to join us. Vila here will watch the eggs for you.”

For the first time, they took in what else was in the room.

“The hatchery,” said Dav. “Do you know what you’re doing?”

“Er...”

“Just watch them. Mostly they hatch by themselves. There shouldn’t be any trouble. You just have to make sure they survive.”

“Right.” Vila swallowed, suddenly looking as if enduring the paper-thin atmosphere of Arxus might be preferable to being held responsible for the lives of hundreds of eggs.

“Shall we go?” Blake was getting impatient. Lev nodded; Dav joined them, with a cheerful wave to Vila.

The eggs, as Dav had predicted, seemed inclined to give no trouble. They did not, in fact, seem to be doing anything at all. Perhaps the warmth of the hatchery was making them sleepy... Vila jerked back to attention as he heard the sound of an eggshell cracking. Frantically, he looked round to identify the culprit, realising as he did so that nobody had mentioned what, exactly, they were trying to hatch.

“Peep!” A beak appeared, but its owner was obviously struggling. Vila approached cautiously. At least it didn’t have teeth... Carefully, he helped remove the eggshell, to reveal a bedraggled yellow creature. “Peep!”

“Hello.”

“Peep! Peep!”

“Oh, there’s two of you...” Vila blinked as the twin inhabitants of the egg staggered towards him. “There you go, then; you’re out...”

“Peep!” Two yellow ducklings waddled determinedly after him.

“No, don’t follow me... oh, hell... No!”

* * *


“Bring us up, Jenna.” There was a resigned note to Blake’s request; Jenna exchanged glances with Cally as she reached for the teleport controls. Three figures materialised to the accompaniment of a loud sneeze.

“Blake, I told you that Vila...” began Cally.

“It wasn’t me!” Vila edged out of the teleport bay; Avon gave another violent sneeze.

“Avon? What...”

“Feathers,” he said thickly, with a vicious glare in Vila’s direction.

Vila grinned nervously; a small, yellow head popped out of his collar.

“Peep!”
 
GanMiniMe
Oh, Stormypetrel, that is so cute! Vila as a duckling daddy!! I might read this to Mini GanMiniMe at bedtime, he seems to be obsessed with ducks at the moment!!

Waaaait a minute, though... will Vila be allowed to keep them? Cally had to get rid of her moon disc hatchlings, what’s going to become of these?? Oh no, poor things, think of the children!! *searches for a handkerchief to wring*
Edited by GanMiniMe on 26 February 2021 13:38:39
 
stormypetrel
GanMiniMe wrote:

Oh, Stormypetrel, that is so cute! Vila as a duckling daddy!! I might read this to Mini GanMiniMe at bedtime, he seems to be obsessed with ducks at the moment!!

Waaaait a minute, though... will Vila be allowed to keep them? Cally had to get rid of her moon disc hatchlings, what’s going to become of these?? Oh no, poor things, think of the children!! *searches for a handkerchief to wring*

There are worse things to be obsessed by!

I think Vila might have to rehome his ducks. They mightn’t be safe from Avon if he doesn’t...
 
GanMiniMe
stormypetrel wrote:

[quote]GanMiniMe wrote:

[quote]
There are worse things to be obsessed by!

I think Vila might have to rehome his ducks. They mightn’t be safe from Avon if he doesn’t...


Well, if he’s already suffering before they have adult feathers...

Funnily enough, our nursery announced the other day that they’ll be getting ducklings for the children to enjoy for a few days soon...
 
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