[POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge


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Post March 20, 2016, 10:25:48 PM

[POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

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The challenge was to tell a story involving the murder of a disliked person named Wesley on the International Space Station.



The following entries were received:



It Couldn't Be Helped...



“Wesley is dead!” It was the voice of the female astronaut named Davina that reached the other four who were having lunch.

“What the hell,” replied Frank, the graying Commander with a worried expression on his wrinkled face.

“Yes, it’s true – he’s dead! - come and see!” said the 32-year-old woman.

So all the remaining astronauts left the Habitation Module and hurried to the ESA Lab where they immediately spotted the floating body of Wesley, the mission’s scientist. His expression was that of a lifeless corpse.

“Are you sure?” Gebahard, the NUSAF Manned Spaceflight Engineer inquired of her.

“See for yourself!” the woman exclaimed. “He’s dead – although I can’t understand why.”

“I’ll take a look,” said Robert the Pilot, moving forwards. He wondered why the Medical Monitoring Program that collected health data at regular intervals from ISS crewmembers, hadn’t reported the death right away. After a few touches, and a closer look, the bald man confirmed it. “Yes, it’s true.”

“How? Why?” was all the Commander could utter.

“Aneurysm. He died almost immediately.” Robert was very experienced at examining patients; after all he had been a professor for most of his life before becoming a full-time astronaut when he was 46. He had a deep knowledge of medicine and had been on board since 2030. Up till now a major medical emergency had never occurred on the ISS, but many scientists at Ground Control had long wondered what would happen if it did. “There is nothing we could have done…”

“So this will be a shock for the viewers back on Earth,” the Commander said. “Maybe this will actually increase interest in the ISS…”

“You’re not showing much regret about this Commander?” the woman retorted.

“Well don’t tell me that you cared about him…” the other made it clear.

“Okay, maybe I didn’t, but that doesn’t mean…”

“I, didn’t like him either,” Andrew, the tall fair-haired Payload Specialist added.

“He had bad manners too…” the Spaceflight Participant revealed.

“So, it seems that nobody here liked him, but he was a fellow crewmember, nonetheless…” the Commander stated. “And this is going to blemish our space mission, as people will not be talking about anything else.”

“Indeed, you’re right,” Gebahard nodded. He was a member of American military personnel specifically appointed to the ISS to follow a few projects on board.

“I’ll call Ground Control,” Frank said, cutting it short.

-----------------------

As Gebahard was moving back towards the Habitation Module, he thought of what had happened. He had received some precise orders from Earth, so the death couldn’t be helped.

Since the moment he had been warned about what Wesley had on his mind, he knew that he would need to act quickly, within the first three days of the space mission. Investigations had found clear evidence about what the dead scientist was really after. But Ground Control had found out the truth after their shuttle had already docked at the ISS and nobody wanted to cancel the space mission because of what they had discovered.

Apparently, Wesley had planned to release a virus on board that would kill all the other crewmembers as a terrorist action. That event would shock the planet, as everyone would think that NASA was unable to protect the safety of their astronauts. This might stop activities in space for years, in fact, who knew if they would ever start up again?

So he was ordered to act and he did as commanded. There were many substances that might cause such deaths and he had made use of the one that would raise the fewest questions. Causing an accident while the scientist was busy in his spacesuit wasn’t the best option, as it would put into question the procedures of Extra-Vehicular-Activities aboard the ISS. That was something nobody wanted at Ground Control.

On the other hand, making Wesley die because of an accident in the Esa lab might have dangerous results and the entire Science Space Program would be stopped at once. Beyond that, they didn’t want him to become a martyr.

When he came on board he already had that virus inside his body, ready to be activated as soon as a hidden fictitious capsule was opened, and so all of them would die, with the disastrous outcome becoming known everywhere. So, his goal now was all about understatement: another cause of death, though uncommon among astronauts, would better serve his purpose. And the substance known as Killer-Act, put into Wesley’s Zero-G rations, was the best plan. So this was what Gebahard had done.

He was not a hero and not a victim of bad decisions of the space mission team. It was just an unexpected death that was rare, though it might happen to anyone at anytime.

Of course, there were other reasons why he might have been ordered to use a second dose of that substance. For instance there was one of astronauts on the ISS who might send video messages against the war in South America. There was someone else who had expressed critical political views against the New Alliance over a Central African dictator who had caused the destruction of several freedom fighters’ bases. There was another crewmember who publicly disapproved of the military experiments that were underway on board to maximize the fatality possibility of a science-engineered flu. There was one astronaut who was ready to speak openly about secret events by an alien species that were currently re-shaping the other side of the Moon itself, unbeknownst to the public at large.

After all, astronauts were famous people whose opinions might have an undue influence on public view.

“Always work for the good of Earth, the growth of Mankind and the improvement of science of our country, crewmembers…” the NUSAF Manned Spaceflight Engineer told himself while positioning his body on his bunk so he could have a restful sleep. “Or you could all die! And I do mean all of you…”



The End


An Eye for an Eye



"I'll get you!" the Russian shouted.

As Basil swam through the still air, Dimitri was close. He could hear the Russian's labored breathing, wrenching himself through the Unity hatch, only a half-meter behind. Basil propelled himself through the strong, machine shop smell that permeated the Columbus module. Bouncing through the turn at Harmony node, the engineer poured himself in his brown coverall uniform through the opening into Japan's gray Kibo laboratory--straight into the body of Wesley Amundson, an American scientist. The force of the collision knocked him into a spin toward the far wall of the module and stopped Basil in mid-air.

"Bloody hell!" Basil barked just as Dimitri plowed into him from behind. The two tumbled toward the side wall.

"Damn!" Dimitri's blue pants and white t-shirt were soaked with sweat. He shouted to Wesley, "He's beaten me again! I'm never racing this crazy Brit any more. He can get from Zvezda to Kibo faster than any man alive."

Wesley's black sweater and gray pants seemed snagged on the Velcro strips on the wall, but the aloof scientist had his head turned up toward the ceiling, away from them. A plastic food tray that smelled like peanut butter and grape jelly floated nearby.

"Sorry about that, chum," Basil offered. "Didn't see you there. All right?"

As usual, Wesley didn't answer.

"Wesley?"

Dimitri scoffed. "See? He won't even look at us now. He's getting worse!"

Basil floated over to him. "Are you ok?"

One glance at the frozen look of horror on the man's face and Basil knew he wasn't ok. "I think he's dead."

"What?" Dimitri searched in vain for a pulse. "He's dead, all right, and cold. This happened a while ago... He's wet. Could he have had a fever?"

Basil looked down. "We have a bigger problem."

Clutched tightly in the dead man's hand was a black Marakov 9mm pistol, which should have left the station in the last Soyuz lander. Basil wondered, "Why would he have stolen the gun?"

Basil realized, Wesley was scared. This was murder.

Basil looked at Dimitri. Dimitri looked back at him, and then to the gun.

Basil swallowed hard. The pistol was exactly the same distance from both of them.

He searched Dimitri's face. Dimitri was a military man, a pilot, and would have trained with that pistol as part of the Soyuz emergency gear. Basil, on the other hand, while technically mission commander, was an engineer from Britain, where only the army and certain policemen had guns. He felt distinctly at a disadvantage.

Dimitri's hand reached out. "I think I should secure the weapon."

Basil's own hand slid on top of the Russian's, stopping it. "I don't think that would be best right now."

Dimitri broke the uncomfortable silence. "Why did you kill him? I did not think you could do such a thing."

Basil turned toward him. "I didn't kill him, and there's only one other person on the station until the next re-supply, and he hated Wesley."

"Not just me. Everyone hated Wesley. Always interrupting everyone... pushy, smug. Wouldn't eat with the rest of us and had to have his special meals for his weak stomach, and none of us could touch them. He would float past my bunk all night long, back and forth, muttering about how terrible it was onboard, but how glad he was he'd lost his sense of smell so he didn't have to put up with my odor anymore. How was I supposed to ever sleep? He acted smarter than the rest of us, and Mission Control always sided with Wesley on everything, even when he was wrong. That is, when you could get him to do something!"

Dimitri gaped. "Are you trying to trick me? You killed him. Why else would he need a gun?"

"No, I didn't."

Basil thought very hard. "How about this. You take the gun from his hand, but then you give me the bullets. That way neither of us has to fear it being used on either one of us."

Dimitri stared at him. "Why are you trusting me to take the gun? Before I gave you the bullets, I could shoot you."

Basil shrugged ever so slightly. "You're either going to kill me to cover your tracks or you won't, but I know that without me, you'll be all by yourself up here... You're afraid of being alone."

Dimitri stared into Basil's eyes, then reached for the gun.

* * *

Down in a Mission Control break room, blonde dietician Anita Welhomme poured a fresh packet of Italian dressing that smelled faintly of garlic on the new variety of greens with chopped nuts that she bought from the lunch counter. On her phone, she read the headline, "NASA scientist dead on the ISS."

Munching loudly, she thought, Never tell the person who makes your food that she's not a real scientist, and ugly. She knows how to blend acetaminophen, aspirin, caffeine, and rubbing alcohol in your food to make you irritable and paranoid until you can't take it, and then there's the peanuts you're deathly allergic to. All of these are available on the station, and should be untraceable.

Just then, a man in a blue coat marked 'FBI' sat down in the chair across from her and glanced at the article she was reading.

"Funny," he said. "Astronauts train so much together and live in such close quarters that you'd think they'd get on each others nerves so badly they'd be ready to kill each other, but instead they form a bond like brothers, and are inseparable. They're heroes." He looked at her face. "Anyone who would break a bond between heroes truly deserves to die in exactly the same way."

Something's not right. She looked at him, then down at the remaining bits of her salad. Chopped Barbados Nut? It couldn't be. She sniffed the garlic odor. Lily of the Valley? ...It's all toxic.

She looked back at his face. His smile was just ghastly.


The End


Where's Wesley?



Wesley Stephano Rici, a Ph.D chemist and one of the world’s tops most chefs, was absolutely scared of flying. He would actually drive or take the bus from NY to the Cape rather than fly. What and why was he doing working for NASA as the head food consultant/scientist for the space program?

When a reporter asked about that one day, he answered, “ It’s my duty as a citizen, the freedom to create like no other and the fringe benefits are fantastic.” He patted the news reporter’s butt as he saddled up close to her.

He was also the most obnoxious person on the planet not to mention some of his other socially predatory traits. His reputation with women other than his wife was legendary.

++++

ISS Commander, Russian Colonel Natasha Bytatytsove, turned to her co-pilot U.S. Major Ricki Somers and said, “ I hear that the ISS program hired a world renown chef that everyone hates.”

Ricki replied laughing, “Yeah, he’s a pig. He claims he slept with every wife and girlfriend of the ground crew and orbital staff except one.”

“We in Russia heard that too and the money says it has to be the head of security.”

Major Somers turned red. Changing the subject said, “Russia, Japan, China and the US are sending freighters full of food and supplies for the holidays. We won’t be able to store it all on board.”

“Just leave the Chinese and Japanese freighters docked to the unfinished sectors. We’ll unload the rest our goodies first. I heard that your chef prepared a surprise for us. I’m looking forward to meeting him. Her eyes were sparkling. “Food, drink and a little recreation is what some of this crew could use. You agree major?” Asked Natasha with an evil grin.

“I’m a married woman and…”

“You didn’t deny my opening comments,” laughed Natasha. She gave Ricki a pinch and a wink.

++++

After unloading the two freighters:

“Commander there is no sign of Wesley the Chef. He’s on the manifest. The hatch was open when we got to the Space X capsule but he wasn’t to be found,” said one of the crewmen.

“He’s here just keep looking. He could be anywhere. When you find him bring him to my quarters,” ordered Natasha.

Three hours later:

“Rickie was a bit worried and said, “Natasha, still no sign of him. Now what?”

Natasha added, “Maybe he went EVA she said smiling. She had been briefed regarding his fear of flying, and that he had been ordered to make the jump in the spirit of international good will.

“This is the commander speaking. Listen Wesley we know you’re hiding on board. Just get your butt to the command center so we can meet. If you don’t I’m not promising what sort of mess we’ll make of your superb culinary art.”

The crew had been looking everywhere. “Maybe he road the Chinese or Japanese freighters up,” offered another crewmember.

“No, he hates to fly. He just like to cook and screw,” responded Ricki.

Natasha looked at her and nodded. She leaned over and whispered to Ricki, “I hear tell that his food is considered ‘pantie droppers’ by some of his dinner guests ”. She couldn’t help but laughing.

Ricki looked at her and stood up to her full 6-foot height and said, “as a matter of fact, yes his cooking is that good. May you be so lucky. I’m going to get the holiday dinner ready. I’ve seen him cook more than a few times. I think I can handle this. He’ll show up. He’s just a big scardy-cat when it come to any flying.”

Dinner was the best that they had ever had. There were enough left-over packets to go around for a few more meals. Still, there was a no show from Rici. The Commander decided to look for him herself. Not only was this getting annoying but also it could prove embarrassing and politically, she had no idea.

“By god that was the best meal I’ve had. How did he do it? The turkey was great and beef/pulled pork shepherds pie was so tender. The vegetable tasted like they were just picked. How the hell did he preserve the food and wine so well? Major you take control of the station. I’m going to locate Chef Wesley the weasel Rici and have a few words with him personally.” As she got up, floating, turned to the major. “I didn’t mean to embarrass you. We just heard lots of stories about Wesley. There must be a lot of people who would like to see him ‘jump from a window’ as we used to phrase it decades ago.” She added, “You’re correct, his cooking is THAT good.”

Ricki turned to Natasha and said, “Yeah he’s made a lot of enemies. My husband threated to kill him a few times as did almost every other jilted lover or spouse. But by god can that man cook. This meal was one of his best. You know what I’m guessing? He’s got enough money, I bet he paid someone to get him off the flight, fake the manifest, and he’s back on the planet eating, drinking and screwing. That bastard, I did want to see him.”

Natasha just laughed. “Considering we looked all over I would tend to agree. I’m going to have a look at the Space-X freighter. Who knows maybe he’s cowering in there somewhere. And if not, then I’m going to call NASA and ROSCOSMOS and have what you call an APB for put out for your cook-lover.” She thought, I’d like a piece of him too.

Natasha floated down to the air locks and looked at the open hatch to the Space-X freighter. She thought, what idiots some of these ground service people are. Hand scrawled on the inner capsule hatch was DONNER-CAPSULE Bon-Appetite. She thought, Americans, they can’t even spell DONOR CAPSULE. It’s a wonder they ever got off the ground.


The End


Sitting Ducks



“Wesley is dead,” she screamed at my face, as if it made any difference.

“And this should concern me why exactly?” I asked her quietly, waiting for her to slap me.

“It was probably Doc. He always hated Wesley. You could at least give him last rites or something. You are a freaking priest.”

I instinctually ran a finger along the inside of my collar. “It won’t make a difference. Live or die, you and I are the only ones left now, and we’ll soon be dead or worse. Whoever killed him did Wesley a favor.”

She crumpled into a chair in front of my desk, as if the truth had hit her in the gut like a curled fist.
“But I loved him,” she finally squeaked out.

“You hated him as much as you loved him – just like the rest of us. It was all science with him – all black and white, right or wrong.” I tried to sound compassionate, more out of habit than sincerity.

I turned away from Elisa and gazed out a transparent plate facing the surface of the Earth. One side of the heavens over the planet was bathed in sunlight and the other side was covered in darkness. The black side sparkled with constant forks of lightning exploding inside the clouds, spreading one right after the other like electrified demon claws raking over a black velvet blanket. The side of the planet facing the Sun was dotted with hundreds of explosions, the force of blasts shooting debris into the ionosphere.

“They’re coming for us, Father,” she finally said. I could feel her eyes looking up at me. “The last thing Wesley told me was that the navigator had spotted four of their ships on the radar – ships on a course to intersect with the ISS.”

“I wondered how long it would take those soul-less monsters to notice us floating here in this tin can. I suppose they won’t consider their work complete until Earth is transformed into a replica of whatever environment they come from and all Earthlings are dead.” I stepped away from the window and walked over to where Elisa sat, placing my bottle of Bushmills on my desk. “At least the screaming is over…” I said, trying to comfort the girl, kneeling beside her chair.

“It was a good thing when Wesley turned off the radio signals coming up from the surface,” she agreed.

“Two days of trying to tune in on anyone surviving was enough. I suppose our alien demons enjoy hearing the cries of humans, killing us slowly, lapping up our blood.”

“Do something, Father – you must do something... Daniel, please. Those creatures will be docking here in a few minutes. All the others are gone, most done in by their own hands, the cowards. But I am the biggest coward of all. Please, save me.”

I looked down on her lovely freckled shoulders, thinking of the times I had thought of allowing my hand to simply brush the curls away from her young neck. She had loved Wesley and I had loved her. Did I love her enough now to do what needed to be done?

I quietly took out a syringe filled with fluid, one of two I had been handed by the doctor on the second day after the alien capture of Earth. I could hear the space-dock being triggered by the alien ship. The gears were wheeling; there was a sudden whoosh of air. I began to sing gently, so I wouldn’t hear her breathing stop. “Michael row the boat ashore, Halleluiah. Michael row the boat ashore, Halleluiah.” I plunged the needle into the base of her spine. At least she would be going to heaven, but my murderous hands had condemned me to hell.

Why hadn’t mankind ever made it off this infernal rock? Why had we made genocide of the human race so easy? I could hear their shrill voices coming through the station, checking one room after another. I wondered what they looked like. I wondered if they had a god, if they had someone like me who blessed their vile works.

I took out the second syringe, aiming it at my aorta with shaking hands.


The End


An Incident in Space



Wesley was dead. No doubt about that! Olga felt his pulse, checked his breathing and finally realized the Wesley her secret lover was no more. Her American dead. How could this be! Only a few minutes ago he smiled and lived. This could only be the doing of Lin’ Tze Long, that dark haired Chinese physics that conned her way up there by having her father–The Director of New Financial Matters of the People’s Republic—open up a region in China to American businessman Mark Groper, the first cousin to the American President George M. Bowers. That’s how she got up her, and not by her academic standing!

Yet, it couldn’t be Lin. She’s been outside working on the solar panels, and couldn’t possibly have gotten in and killed Wesley. No, she couldn’t have been the one.

Blood from the knife wound started floating out of Wesley’s stomach. The air exchange system slowly drew the blood towards an inlet, but Olga’s mind wasn’t on that. She turned around, and facing her were John Kelly and Georgio Giamoni!

“What the hell did you do!” John blasted out. “What the hell-- did you do!”

Olga glided backward and managed to turn sideway. “It wasn’t me mo. . . believe me it was not me--- I found him this way,”

“There was nobody between you and Wesley! You must be the one who killed him,” Georgio said.

The three faced one another, silent and motionless as the death of Wesley sank in. Two eyes were fixed on Olga and her eyes jumped back and forth between John and Georgio’s.

The long- thin-screwdriver-type prob with its handle protruding out of Wesley’s body, looked almost alien. It wasn’t designed to kill, yet it served that purpose as if by design!

“Please, please you must believe me–I didn’t do it! I swear on Mother Russian that it was not me!” Olga said. “I loved Wesley!”

Behind John and Georgio a voice uttered: “My, God what happened?”

Major George Dickens looked over the murder scene. Olga’s eyes filled with tears while John’s eyes narrowed and his pupils thinned themselves into snake eyes, long and thin. Georgio’s dark eyes hid any expression that fell onto them, but his brow became flushed.

“Nobody killed Wesley! Somehow, Wesley must have slipped and the self-tapping-screwdriver drilled into him. Look--- I told NASA that might happen, but no! They never listen to us English!” Major Dickens said.

It was true. The self-tapping screwdriver was still turning inside Wesley body!


An face looked into the port window and saw Wesley’s body motionless with blood oozing out.
A scream echoed over the radio, and all heads turned toward the port window and saw Lin look.

“You killed Wesley you Russian peasant! Wesley said you wanted him just for the results of the experiment that he proved correct. Wesley didn’t love you, he saw through you that’s why you killed him!” Lin said. Her screams over the radio couldn’t be heard on earth.

“It was an accident!” Major Dickens said.

“You all are in on it! You all killed him!” Lin screamed. She turned and jetted over to the solar panels.

“I don’t know but I don’t have a good feeling about this!” Georgio said. “I never liked her–she reminded me of paparazzi. . . always looking at me!”

“You take Wesley away from me I take this station away from you!” Lin screamed.

“What is she up to?” Olga said.

Before Olga’s words stopped ringing, the space station’s arm swung into the solar panels and knocked half the panel out!

“My God—she’s gone crazy!” Major Dickens screamed.

“We’re all going to die!” John said.

“She’s using the remote to operate the arm!” Georgio said.

“Let me break her connection!” Olga said. Olga floated over to a computer console and typed in a command. The arm stopped within a second afterward.

“Her air will be running out soon, she’ll have to come in,” Major Dickens said.

“Ahhhh,” Lin screamed. “That will not stop me!”

“Yes, I loved Wesley!” Olga said. “I’ll love him until the day I die. He hated you and your smug attitude. He also hated everything Chinese!”

All eyes became wide and large as they turned toward Olga and the words that jumped out of her mouth! Never before did they hear such language! And she continued!

“You were not women enough for Wesley! In a million years you would not be women enough for Wesley, no never!” Olga said,

Lin blasted back in Chinese and whatever she said, felt like a hurricane blowing in. Again and again Lin blasted at Olga. Louder and longer and louder and longer until she was out of breath.

“You were not women enough for Wesley!” Olga said over and over again.

Major Dickens caught on first: “Good strategy, while she screaming she isn’t wrecking anything and her air should run out in not time with her usage now, good move Olga!”

He was right. Lin low oxygen supply alarm sounded. She had no choice but return, and as she fought the urge to enter the she realized that if she didn’t she would die.

Lin kept up her screaming at Olga and her oxygen ran out as she entered the air lock.

By the time they got her suit off, she was unconscious. They handcuffed her and gave her a sedative.

Georgio said it best: They test us for everything before we come up here, except the one thing that makes us all human– jealously.


The End
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Post March 20, 2016, 10:26:48 PM

Re: POLL--Vote: March 2016 Flash Challenge

To vote, rate these stories using the form below with scores of 0-10 (in whole numbers) and send it to me via PM: (Copy it into memory, click the 'PM' button below my avatar (or depending on your board style, mouse over the green username by my avatar and a menu will pop up with an option to send a private message), paste the form in, & then fill in your scores.)

Categories:
1) What overall score would you give the story?
2) How good was the Characterization?
3) How effective (or original) was the plot?
4) How clear was the setting to you?
5) How good was the use of dialog?
6) How well did the story meet or address the challenge as it was given?

NOTE: you may need to have posted at least one message before you can send a PM. One did before the last board upgrade, but I haven't run the challenges in a couple of years, so I'm not certain now. If the system won't let you, all you have to do is join in a discussion or just say hi in a thread before voting via PM. We'll be glad to meet you. If I suspect a voter of being a false identity (i.e. a troll), I won't count their vote.

Author scores for their own entry will not be counted.




It Couldn't Be Helped
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Eye for an Eye
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Where's Wesley
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Sitting Ducks
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

An Incident in Space
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:
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Post March 22, 2016, 11:40:33 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

So, here's a voting update:

The current leader is Megawatts!

(I'm in last place right now, so that's pretty embarrassing.)
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Post March 22, 2016, 02:43:24 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

It's okay to be last evil ice gnome, someone has to be way down there on the bottom...as long as it's not me :wink:
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.

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Post March 23, 2016, 09:03:48 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

It is an honor to be in the lead! All my life I’ve watched everybody’s taillights! To have mine watched even for a little while is a big deal with me! And if I should win! WOW!!!
Tesla Lives!!!
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Post March 23, 2016, 10:53:22 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Sorry, George, Rick has taken the lead!

And so far you can be happy, Michele, I'm still in last. :P
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Post March 24, 2016, 01:35:10 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

I'll get my votes in soon, but in the meantime you can have what I started with and didn't finish in time ...

Someone finds Wesley dead, and they all gather around his floating body. Someone does a cursory examination but finds no noticeable cause. They all start talking of how much they hated the smug little bastard, and wondering what he'd been doing in secret. Someone was bold enough to say it: "We all wanted to kill him. I even had a plan, and I'll bet the rest of you did too." Laughter ensues, and one by one they each admit to plotting murder.

Mission Commander Ludmilla ('Milla) says, "Wish we had gravity now." Someone asks why; she says, "So I could piss on his body." More laughter, then they start talking about what to do next, since this is really going to be awkward; pretty soon they'll have to report the death to Mission Control. They agree to fake a cause of death and all give the same story and lie about how they hated him.

Then Wesley's voice comes over the intercom, telling them all how he knew they each planned to kill him, and now it was time for revenge. He had set up a control routine in the computers; if he didn't type in a password on schedule, well ...

Ludmilla says, "Why are we moving—?"

They all notice it at once: the station is changing its orientation to show a different side to Earth. 'Milla yells, "Suits! Get into suits and get in the escape capsule, NOW!" They get into their spacesuits in record time, but the hatch to the Soyuz escape capsule will not open. Wesley's voice is laughing over the intercom about cyanoacrylate glue, and then, with the Soyuz capsule on the side of the station facing *away* from Earth, it fires its retro-rocket ... THE END.

Thank you, thank you verry much, I'll be here all week ...
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Post March 26, 2016, 10:54:51 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

... aaaaand, my votes are on the way.
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Post March 27, 2016, 10:04:10 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Congratulations to Richard Tornello. Rick won the 'Murder on the ISS' challenge for his unique way to kill Wesley, a fellow no one liked, except when well done.



For the record, these were the authors of the entries for this month:

It Couldn't Be Helped by Sergio Palumbo
Eye for an Eye by N.J. Kailhofer
Where's Wesley by Richard Tornello
Sitting Ducks by Michele Dutcher
An Incident in Space by George T. Philibin



SCORES: (Overall next to the story title, then the average score next to each question #.)




It Couldn't Be Helped : 190
1) Overall: 5
2) Characterization: 5
3) Plot: 8
4) Setting: 6
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 9
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 2

Eye for an Eye : 196
1) Overall: 7
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 7
4) Setting: 6
5) Dialog: 7
6) Challenge: 8
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 3

Where's Wesley : 208
1) Overall: 7
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 7
4) Setting: 6
5) Dialog: 7
6) Challenge: 8
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 0

Sitting Ducks : 198
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 7
3) Plot: 6
4) Setting: 6
5) Dialog: 7
6) Challenge: 9
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 1

An Incident in Space : 201
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 7
3) Plot: 6
4) Setting: 6
5) Dialog: 7
6) Challenge: 9
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s:2
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Post March 27, 2016, 10:43:04 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Congrats, Rick!

These were the numbers I came up with:

It Couldn't Be Helped
1) Overall:5
2) Characterization: 5
3) Plot: 7
4) Setting: 6
5) Dialog: 5
6) Challenge: 10

total: 38

Eye for an Eye
1) Overall: 7
2) Characterization: 5
3) Plot: 10
4) Setting: 8
5) Dialog: 7
6) Challenge: 10

total: 47

comments: Nice plot, and the little 'race' through the various parts of the station was a nice touch.

Where's Wesley
1) Overall: 7
2) Characterization: 5
3) Plot: 5
4) Setting: 5
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 7

total: 35

Sitting Ducks
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 6
4) Setting: 6
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 6

total: 36

An Incident in Space
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 4
4) Setting: 8
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 10

total: 40
_______

Sorry about the overall lack of comments; maybe I'll think of more. I must have been the outlier in the scoring this time (again); Rick got my lowest overall number.
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Post March 28, 2016, 08:21:34 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Congrats to Rick. I liked yours better than mine.
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Post March 28, 2016, 10:22:56 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

I was amazed how close the scores were, especially when you compare the averages. Good job, everyone.

Lester, I did some research about what astronauts do for fun and found the number one recreation activity is racing around the station. Although they "insist" they don't do it head to head because the hatches are two small for two. However, that didn't seem like human nature to me. And all those sections mentioned are the real deal, from the machine-shop smelling Columbus module to the Kibo laboratory.

Trivia: there always was a gun in the Soyuz capsules since the Soviets started launching, ostensibly to keep wild animals and bandits away from when they land until their recovery personnel arrive. Originally it was a specially-made hybrid shotgun/rifle/machete (honest), but later they changed it to the semi-automatic after they couldn't get ammunition for it anymore. Currently, the crews can vote each time whether they take it along or not... so, yes, there could be a gun on the ISS!

(Oh, and all the things I mentioned in my story are actually all poisonous, when administered correctly.)
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Post March 28, 2016, 10:32:51 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

yum yum yum. and thank you... burp.
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Post March 28, 2016, 11:58:20 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Thanks for the follow-up, Nate. That gun gave me the creeps and seemed pretty incongruous, and my first thought was that if anyone fired it, in any direction, it was likely to end all of them. The 9mm cartridge is notorious for overpenetration. On the other hand, I'm not a bit surprised that the Russians armed their cosmonauts. Still, it seems incongruous that there could be a firearm aboard the station.
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Post March 28, 2016, 01:36:59 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Hey Lester, wake up and smell the socio-political and geographic reality. It's a Russian booster. They have different security considerations and can do as they damned well please. Until we get our space act together
we play by their rules.
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Post March 29, 2016, 03:33:44 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Many congratulations to the winner, well done!!! :D

Anyway, this month my preferred ones were Sitting Ducks and An Incident in Space, as I gave - them both- 8 in each category...eh,eh :D
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Post March 29, 2016, 11:50:39 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

rick tornello wrote:Hey Lester, wake up and smell the socio-political and geographic reality. It's a Russian booster. They have different security considerations and can do as they damned well please. Until we get our space act together
we play by their rules.
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No argument; it just took me by surprise. And I suspect (without checking) that every bitty bit of the Russian space program is run by their military. Ours *mostly* is, but not 100%—where else would we get the flight crews? That will change from both directions when Space-X, Blue Origin, etc., get rolling: we can stop depending on the Russians for transport, and the private companies can hire and train civilian crews.
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Post March 30, 2016, 10:31:47 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Actually, they usually don't bring the gun anymore because they don't want it onboard, either. However, they do have the option.

Also, they aren't breaking any rules or laws when they do. The "no weapons in space" treaties that have been signed to date specifically grandfathered the gun in the Soyuz capsule, so it could stay.
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Post March 30, 2016, 11:25:18 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Oh, I should say this: Look for the next challenge Sunday night, when I flip the issue. Any requests?
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Post March 30, 2016, 12:12:49 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Requests? I'd like fudge ripple ice cream, please. :-)
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Post March 30, 2016, 02:24:41 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Requests? - Earl Grey tea, hot.
Congrats Richard! Nicely done - nicely well done. I liked the twist at the end, as did the rest of the group, obviously.
Really, the scores were close this time, a good thing. I like a close race.
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Post March 31, 2016, 12:30:07 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Nate, it looks like you may have a few elements you can work with ... Cpt. Picard vs Cpt. Morgan—fudge ripple optional (or maybe with booze poured over it).
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Post April 02, 2016, 06:28:46 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

Just putting it out there... I will dust off my flash fiction writing hat for a challenge involving booze and ice cream. That kind of challenge must be answered toot sweet.
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Post April 03, 2016, 11:03:08 AM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

So far, I haven't thought of anything that includes booze and ice cream that doesn't come off like the Mare Inebrium but with sundaes, so it will probably go in a different direction. Still working on it.
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Post April 03, 2016, 12:15:37 PM

Re: [POLL] VOTE: March 2016 Flash Challenge

kailhofer wrote:So far, I haven't thought of anything that includes booze and ice cream that doesn't come off like the Mare Inebrium but with sundaes, so it will probably go in a different direction. Still working on it.

Sounds like you haven't had your coffee yet ... neither have I, but—happy-hour in zero-G?
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