August/September Challenge: The Stories


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Which did you prefer?

A Stellar Mistake
3
50%
Written Upon a Face
3
50%
 
Total votes : 6
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Post September 15, 2018, 08:20:54 PM

August/September Challenge: The Stories

Hello, and welcome back

My apologies for the delay in loading these up. Life (and death) got in the way. We have two tales this challenge, each from veterans of our halls. I wonder if you will be able to tell which is which?
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Post September 15, 2018, 08:24:41 PM

Written Upon a Face

Written Upon a Face

By: Robin B. Lipinski

“Beat on that iron as if your life is depending upon it you spoiled rat!” A young boy beat the orange colored steel made red-hot from the coal fired forge, his hammer swinging down to flatten a future farmers hoe. The anvil was small to fit the stature of the boy now trying his hardest as his master bellowed even more…”Why did I ever agree to have you as my apprentice… It would have been better for this world is you had never been born;”

On his face the boy showed the exertion of labor; sweat flowing from a young face already scarred by hot slag of the past few months he had been working at the blacksmiths forge. His face was strained, no emotions showing upon his lips… but inside… Inside there raged an anger so hot and intense the heat from the fire and metal he beat upon was cold compared to the seething turmoil inside his mind.


The day wore on and soon it was time for the forge to cool for the day. Both the master and boy left the shop and after a quick simple meal not fit for a mongrel, the boy fell into a deep sleep in a stall covered in straw. His sleep was deep indeed but inside, the fire burned.

He awoke before the rooster crowed outside. In the stall next to him, the blacksmiths prize stallion lifted its tail and deposited a gooey, sweet smelling crap that was soon accompanied by the sound of piss hitting the stall floor and bouncing on the wall separating the boys area and his.

Stretching, the boy attended to his morning body ritual of ridding waste, but the fire… that damned fire of rage was a constant flame of inspiration. It grew even stronger after this recent indignation of the stallion. And as it is commonly known in this village and others is that a roaring fire left unattended, will ultimately destroy everything standing.

For the boy, the fires finally consumed his very soul.

There, on the wall next to the bucket used to feed the stallion and other horses their special treat of oats, rested a pitchfork that was used to clean the stalls and also feed hay to the animals. It was this metal tonged instrument that the boys hands reached for.

With a primal yell, the boy took the fork and started to stab the stallion. He stabbed and stabbed and stabbed until the stall was covered in hot blood and the bloodcurdling screams of the dying stallion.

The horse tried rearing, it tried escaped, it tried… and lost, finally falling to the floor dead. It’s calls of pain though were not unheard as the blacksmith stumbled into the stable, and seeing his prized horse laying dead and covered in blood, he yelled, “What is god’s name is this? You! You did this! I’ll kill you boy! You’re dead!”

On the faces of people it is easy to read their emotions. Back those many months ago the father of the boy had agreed to accept the ten pieces of silver from the blacksmith so that his oldest son could apprentice with him and learn a profitable trade. At that time the boy’s face showed sadness, a sadness that was soon beat out of him and replaced with the emotionless face of sweat and labor. His face did not show the growing anger, an anger that lead to the bloody death of a horse and also… “Ahhh! You bastard! I’ll show you…”

The blacksmith lay dead. On his face there showed the hole of well placed metal tines. The same tines the man had forged himself years ago. His face was easy to read now as it had switched from a face of rage to one now filling with the whiteness of death. Standing above the body was a very strong and very angry boy covered in blood. And now, for the first time in months, the boys face wore a smile.

Imprinted in everyone’s mind is the manual of hate, rage, and destruction. It was simple for the boy to embrace those instructions and strike his blows to forge the perfect picture of death.
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Post September 15, 2018, 08:25:55 PM

A Stellar Mistake

A Stellar Mistake

by Sergio ‘ente per ente’ Palumbo

The Ngulakti site on Asteroid 578 had been discovered just eight months ago by a group of human archaeologists. The large base under the surface had been built around a staircase that had later been covered by construction. As soon as the new finds were brought to light, the military had come - as what lay there was of great interest to them, undoubtedly.

Previous research by the Earthlings, had already revealed that a space war had taken place in that sector long ago. And it had been a cataclysmic war…

It seemed that two opposing species, in the end, had completely gone extinct, though the ruins of their cities occasionally resurfaced here and there. The language of the two alien races was very different from any human means of communication and it had not been easy for linguists to translate it. The huge quantum computer that the Earthlings had brought with them, thanks to the jump-vessels of the Space Military, had finally cracked the code of those languages and the first translations had begun arriving.

General Ovtow had been appointed as leader of the operations on the asteroid, and all the officers and the researchers that worked under his command had a definite respect for him, given his prestigious military past. Some said he was respected more for his heartlessness than his intellect, anyway…

The facts showed that the two species had evolved to the point where they were capable of traveling to other planets within that same space sector. But a struggle had started between them about which side had the right to mine the metallic resources of those asteroids, which would be used by the military.

This had led to a war that seemed to have been worse than any struggle that ever preceded it.

According to the ancient texts the Ngulakti site was a place that everyone seemed to know about during that long ago era. The reason for its acclaim was because the huge device researchers had found here was a powerful weapon. It made use of a technology that appeared to be much further advanced than anything humans from 2257 CE had ever conceived of on Earth.

It was a stellar bomb, seemingly capable of releasing the power of a small sun, its destructiveness being possibly unprecedented!

Finally, it was a very special day for everyone in the group of researchers and military troops stationed on the asteroid. The General stood staring at the incredible device in admiration noting that it was still in good condition after four centuries. The latest data from their instruments had helped them discover how to turn the alien weapon on. Of course, much caution had been used since they had discovered what kind of device it was, but the translated texts gave them a good idea of how to operate it. The General could not imagine anything more useful than getting his hands on a bomb of such immense power….

As the quantum computer displayed the details of the operating instructions, a feverishness grew at the site. Then, the sequence for making that weapon reawaken was found, and the researchers began typing in the symbols to turn on the device. A large smile appeared on the General’s face as lights began being activated on many parts of the machinery. The instructions given were meant to briefly turn the device on and then stop it, so other tests could be run.

However, it didn’t operate for long…In fact, the alien machinery seemed to have stopped working in seconds. But it hadn’t, in reality.

As dismay filled the General’s face, he was approached by a tall officer nearby.

“Er…Sir…” Officer Jyne said hesitantly.

“Yes, what is it?” Ovtow asked, glaring at him.

“It seems that our quantum computer found something important…we were wrong apparently!”

“Really? About what?” the other shouted out.

“The translation, Sir. What our systems first gave us was only how to make the weapon work and how to send the input to the alien machinery. But the message seems to have had a coded message buried deeper.”

“A coded message? Do we have the translation for that as well?” the General asked.

“Yes, Sir, we do now. The imbedded order makes sure that, once switched on, the stellar power center is immediately activated and an explosion will occur a few minutes afterwards. The device doesn’t accept contrary input…Our instrumentation reads the instructions in one way but the machinery only reads the buried coded orders…”

“What? Why?” Ovtow was pale.

“Our quantum computer could only come up with one explanation: it seems that the agents stationed here wanted to make this weapon a deterrent. However, they were afraid of the machinery might fall into the wrong hands, which is why they decided an explosion would be needed to get rid of this sector of everyone who had been sent here to have the run of the resources of these asteroids - if fear wasn’t enough to stop them, to begin with.”

The General was speechless.

“It was a sort of ‘If we can’t have these asteroids, nobody will.” It was a mutual destruction system, built to prevent enemies from getting this area for their side. If they didn’t believe the hype and the weapon was turned on, the bomb would do its job, destroying everyone around it…” Jyne said.

“So, it seems that we’re finished. We made a stellar mistake…” sighed the General.

Officer Jyne didn’t miss a beat, as he too displayed a cold-hearted stoicism, and even some irony. “That’s a stellar mistake of ours indeed, General Ovtow. It is a stellar bomb, after all…”

A strange noise was heard in the area for a brief time. Then a vivid light, more brilliant than anyone could even imagine, enveloped the whole site, growing until its power overshadowed the small yellow sun that was at the center of that alien solar system. And the thousands of asteroids in it simply disappeared, so that nobody else could have them…
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Post September 16, 2018, 11:57:14 AM

Re: August/September Challenge: The Stories

I got the first vote in.
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?
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Post September 17, 2018, 03:58:47 AM

Re: August/September Challenge: The Stories

My vote is in, too...eh,eh :D

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