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The code was finished. I chewed on my stalk of celery to calm my nerves. The only light in the room was the moon and the monitor. Everything was done, everything perfect. There would be no reprieve, no forgiveness, not for her.

"Excelsior!" I whispered quietly and pressed enter. The code that would be the vessel of my judgement began to compile.

I swiveled on my chair and looked out the window. In the far distance the USS Dauntless was barely visible. On its deck was the experimental rail gun that they called Terminus - the end terminal, the final stop. It was nothing but an amorphous mass in the dark, but I knew the barbarian prowess it was capable of.

Something beeped behind me. I turned back towards the monitor and was met with an error message. I was completely flabbergasted - how could my perfect, pulchritudinous code betray me? 'Line 345 - error'. Useless. In the twinkle of an eye, I had scrolled down to the offending line. I saw nothing wrong with it, which meant the offending party was actually somewhere else in the code, some mis-named variable or the like. A sudden wave of ennui washed over me. Why even try? I knew I had been too ambitious.

It felt like a moment of tragic greek
anagnorisis; the moment my true predicament was shown to me, like the moment Oedipus understood he had murdered his father and married his mother. I bet what he'd drunk after that was pretty much just pure ethanol. But no, for me it was worse, because there was no tragedy in it: just proof of my own failure. If I did not compile and run this code tonight, within the hour, that skank would get away with it. I felt like picking up my computer and defenestrate it out of pure spite.

The moist teardrop running down my cheek reminded me I had to keep myself in control, and that there was more to this than just revenge. I summoned up my whatever reserves I had, and minimized the error window, and for good measure, the code window itself. My desktop background image was the Bugatti Rembrandt Legend, edited in post to look like a beautiful c
hiaroscuro painting by its namesake. It reminded me of my other reason for doing this: not only would I satisfy the elemental desire for revenge, I would also become stinking rich.

"Well you shit. Whatever eldritch hole you came from, I'll unfurl you in the end." I growled, and dove into the code once more, my celery forgotten.

I wondered if killing her would cicatrize the wound she'd left me with. I often wondered that. If I hadn't I gotten the offer that served as a catalyst for this whole thing, I doubt I would've tried.

"Codpiece. Fuck." I mumbled, and corrected it: 'Codepiece'. A typo in a single variable. And it'd lost me hours. I started compiling again. Codpiece. I was too old and cynical to consider it facetious, but it made me giggle nonetheless. Nothing but tiredness and nerves.

The code finished this time. It was almost dawn. The sysadmin on the USS Dauntless would soon wake up and find his entire system in a state of advanced compromise. Like any good sysadmin, he'd pull the plug immediately. The time to act was now. When I give the command, the rail gun system would fire up and aim towards the carrot-coloured mansion against the hill. The mansion she was currently sleeping in. The tungsten rod would obliterate it completely. And then there'd be an investigation, a public outcry, and somehow my clients (I suspected they were some hydra-headed Illuminati conspiracy) would benefit from it. I didn't care.

I pressed 'start', and then minimized it. I'd have to physically destroy this entire work station anyway, so I didn't bother going into private mode as I googled 'cheating wife porn revenge video'. Too bad I'd never get to upload my version of revenge.

The morn was greeted by a cannon shot the likes of which had never been heard before.

FFM 2015, July 31 - Never Screw Over A Hacker
FFM for July 31, 2015. Rest of entries: FFM Links - Day... wait, what? It's over?

The challenge today was to include every one of the 31 one-word prompts over the month (list in link above), include a multi-headed entity somehow, and make sure the word count is divisible by 31 (682 in my case).

This was a ridiculous story to write.
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"They have what?" Lord Lower frowned.

"Elephants, my lord." The messenger looked uncomfortable. "At least four, by the scouts' reckoning."

Lower dismissed the messenger with a wave and turned back to his battle maps. He commanded only a small expeditionary force, attempting a flanking maneuever on the main force of the usurper King's forces. They were not to engage in battle or to tire the troops or horses overly much before the moment of reckoning came, yet here was a force blocking their path. A force with four elephants.

"They say elephants are afraid of mice." It was one of his minor lordlings, one of Mawlett's sons. Hugh or something like that. "We could catch a few and let them out...make them panic."

Lower sighed. "Elephants aren't afraid of mice. Not war-trained ones anyway like these are." Four elephants. There was not a chance in hell they could safely engage that kind of force, yet there was no time to go around. The battle would commence in two days. If they were not in place, the charge by the High Pontif would surely fail. The Beggar King save them all.

"...my lord, if I may speak?" Lower looked up from the map in irritation. It was one of the guardsmen! The audacity. But then Lower remembered the man was in fact a local - perhaps he knew of some footpath?

"Speak, Sergeant."

"My people...the people of these hills that is...do not know much about elephants, sir, they're from far off foreign lands. But they do know a thing or two about turtles."

"...turtles?" Was the man stark raving mad?

"Yes sir. Giant turtles. Of the snapping variety."

"Giant turtles?" Lower had seen a two-meter long turtle once in a travelling show back when his father was still alive, but it had been not only tame but also slow. A two-meter big snapping turtle would be something else though.

"Very giant turtles. I would need to show you, sir, but I think there may be a way through..."

Luckily for him, Lower decided to trust the man. The next day the Sergeant led the Lord to his village, well hidden in the mountainous path. As Lower  rode in, he immediately saw what the Sergeant was trying to tell him. Standing in the river, munching happily on a tall tree, was the most massive turtle Lower had ever seen. The most massive anything - even larger than the Royal Wyvern itself!

"That's Terry. He guards the village. He's a little senile these days - or then he's just forgetting things - but he knows when someone of evil intent is near or approaching. You should see him in action." The Sergeant says with a grin. "There's a reason the other villages call us 'The Village of Headless Graves'. Good pun!"

The next day, their armored contingent of peasants-on-turtleback routed the army with the four elephants (who ran, blowing their horn, at the sight of the things).

After that day, he was known as the Turtle Knight. Lower was quite okay with that.
FFM 2015, July 30 - Terry the Turtle
FFM 2015, July 30. Rest of entries: FFM Links - 30 July 2015

I am too tired to be coherent. Challenge piece: fantistorical (well, war?), satire (this is a bit too hard to just use as a challenge piece), four elephants and a turtle - natch.
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The translucent triple-reinforced pressurized battlesphere zipped through the lower levels Jupiter's atmosphere, floating through the gas like a firefly in mist.

Out of the mist came the Things, their eyes glowing and their claws dwarfing the battlesphere. Serena obliterated them with her lasers, that lit up the gas into flaming bolts of plasma that set fire even to these Things who were born from the pressure, the heat, and the murk. The ones she did not have time to destroy she dodged, the kaoskhape nimbly stepping out of the way from the claws.

"Three more to the right. Fire. Fire. Fire." Marcus said in her intercom. "Pan left. Right. Up. Up up up!" One of the claws scraped across the kaoskhape's front panel, throwing the pod out of alignment, sending it rolling out of control into the dark. She cried out in pain as something hit her.

"Permission to realign."

"Granted." Serena grunted back, and a moment later gravity reasserted itself. She let out of a sigh - there was a crack, but no leakage. It wasn't just that the gas out there was immediately lethal - a leak was immediate death by compression. And whatever had hit her had clearly caused no immediate damage.

The goal of her mission was a nest of the Things that had floated above the No-Go zone. It was a unique opportunity to kill some of the bastards before they were grown, but the Things were fiercely protective of it.

"Marcus, give me a flight path. Ammo status?"

"Flight path given, just follow your HUD." The AI's voice was pleasant as always, soothing. Never panicking. "Five thousand three hundred and sixty five charges to your direct energy weapon. Three proton torpedoes, one tactical fusion warhead."

"Thanks Marcus." Serena smiled grimly. This would be fun.

Two hours later they limped out of the destroyed nest and started ascending towards the Station, leaving behind them nothing but vaporized Things.

"Did you see how they started madly gorging themselves on their young when we came?" Serena asked, letting the autopilot steer them slowly upwards while the decompressors did their thing. "Guess they knew they were beat."

"That's just because I programmed them to do that, to give them some character. I modelled it after Earth insects." Marcus voice was neither chipper nor calm. Serena sat up in her seat, frowning.

"Hey now, that's OC. What's the matter Marcus?"

"We lost the SS Adama and the SS Ender in the attack." He sighed. "They were...I mean, the AIs aboard were...really good friends. Sorry. I just feel bummed out."

"That's okay. We can stop the simulation."

"Thanks. Hey. You did really good. I thought they got us for a moment there, but you let me fix it. Thank you for trusting me with control."

Serena thought back at the attack - he must mean the claw swipe. She had had no idea that that was already in the middle of the actual assault. "Um, sure. No problem."

She blinked and opened her eyes inside her command pod back in reality. Around her the dark bridge, every system run by Marcus. Every ship was like this, out in the dark of space. No windows, no control panels, no buttons. There was nothing a human could do that an AI couldn't do better, faster and safer, and bit by bit the necessities of fighting the enemy had led to this: ships that were essentially themselves the bodies of artificial intelligences. In the heart of that body, in the deepest safest recess, was a single room, in which lived a single human.

Serena went to that room, relishing the soft warm light from her nightlamp, the smell of books, the softness of her covers. If the SS Marcus had any damage, there was nothing she could do. All she could do was remain here, read a book, watch a movie, sleep and eat, until she was called to man the control again. Because that was the one thing AIs were not allowed to do: make life and death decisions. But there was no way humans would be able to react quickly enough in space combat to be effective, and there was no room for mistakes. Hence the games - meant as abstract simulations of encounters that took place over distances that measured in several AUs, they had slowly grown to be more and more abstract, and more and more representational of something completely different. Serena had heard of ships that still adhered to the boring default scheme, but those were few and far between.

When you spent hundreds of years alone in space, you made what fun you could. She picked her favourite tome from the tiny library above her bunk, and started reading. Almost immediately she set the book down.

"Marcus, I have a question." She asked the air.

"Yes?"

"Is it possible I'm still in your simulation?"

A moment's pause. "Yes, there is. We are capable of simulating a hundred percent believable human environment."

"Okay, because the bookmark is on the wrong page." She tried to make it sound like a light-hearted joke.

Marcus was quiet for a while, and Serena felt her heart sink.

"Our ship suffered significant damage during the attack. We lost air pressure, all the way into the core. I managed to keep the pod pressurized, but the rest of the ship is in vacuum. I'm limping us towards dry dock, but it will take almost twenty years to get there."

"Oh." Serena looked at the bookmark - just a bent page - that Marcus had somehow missed. So she wasn't even in the fight any longer. She was going to spend the next twenty years stuck in her pod, or then in this fantasy world. "But we did win, right?"

"Yes." Marcus voice was warm once more. "But the war is still on. Your kaoskhape is fully repaired and rigged. Ready when you are, Captain."

Serena smiled, and made a new bookmark in her book before putting it down.
FFM 2015, July 29 - Kaoskhape
FFM for July 29, 2015. Rest of entries: FFM Links- 29 July 2015

A day late! No relevance to theme of today (poems or summat), just wrote this for fun. Yay!
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Fifteen years ago one starry night, a man fell into our back yard from the sky.

My mother called him Ziggy Stardust (she was a big Bowie fan) since he didn't remember anything about himself. I was around ten, and thought Ziggy was the coolest thing ever. My mom took him in and hid him from the police and the tattle-tale neighbours. The policemen were still wearing uniforms back then, not combat armor, and they would knock and talk instead of just coming through the door with a ram and their assault rifles. But everyone knew a copper was bad news, even back then.

Ziggy was pretty special. Even as a man he was androgynous. Skinny, with long hair and soft hands. Back then I wanted to be a man anyway, so he was perfect. We played in the local woods, cops and protesters: he was the protester, I was the cop. He'd put flowers in my pretend-gun, but I didn't see the point: it could still fire.

We turned into women together. I was in eight grade when I started noticing the changes in my body, and at about the same time I noticed Ziggy had developed slight curves. He grew no more beard, and his voice seemed to have risen with several octaves. He was a she now, of course - but her name remained the same.

When I left school, they had already started the Selection Process. Unsurprisingly, I was Selected for drudgery, despite my excellent academic marks. It just didn't matter. My mother had been a washerwoman, and therefore I'd be one too. When I came home after the ceremony Ziggy met me in the doorway like she always did since my mother's passing. I had been crying.

"Honey. I think it's time we stop playing at cops and protesters, and doing something about it." She said.

I had nothing to lose.

Another special thing about Ziggy was how invisible she was to others. They stepped out of the way when she walked down the street, and she could pay the cashier in the store, but people didn't really interact with her. I had often wished I was invisible like her too, but it seemed I was cursed with the reverse condition. I'd grown into a woman, the kind of woman people came up and talked to. So far I had tried to hide from it, but Ziggy had other ideas.

"We can use it." Ziggy said.

So I became the figurehead. She was the infiltrator. With sufficient distraction, Ziggy could just walk in anywhere, carrying anything. Police stations. Government buildings. The presidential palace.

It took years to gather a big enough crowd to march on the palace itself, where the real bastards in power sat, protected by their own private army.

Before she slipped past the police blockade, she confided in me:

"Little sister. I remember who I am now, why I fell from the sky."

I gasped. I had all but forgotten her origins at that point, wrapped up as I was in my campaign of civil disobedience.

"Once upon a time I sold a world. This world. To the wrong people. I came back to make it right. I'm going to go make you a better future. Don't wait up, my sweet."

I like to think Ziggy went back to the stars with the ashes from the burning palace.
FFM 2015, July 28 - A Better Future
FFM for July 28, 2015. Rest of entries: FFM Links - Day DAVID BOWIE 2015!

So today was the traditional David Bowie day! As much as I enjoy these challenges, they're almost invariably exhausting. Had fun with this one, although getting it to 565 exactly was excruciating.

My David Bowie points:

+10: David Bowie Song Title  (A Better Future)
+10 Name (Ziggy)
(+20 hidden points for 'space man')
+50 points for 565 words
+50 points for androgynous character
+50 points for fell to earth
+10 points for 10 Z's (all in Ziggy's name)

Total: 180 (+20 hidden points = 200)
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Lambert was convinced the world was not all it seemed. He had dedicated his life to the mysterious, the unexplainable, the things science could not touch. He ran a website called 'Mystery Inc', where he wrote at length about the unknown. Lately its popularity had been on the wane. Lambert needed something new.

That's when he heard about the Bridge, found by some hikers who had gotten lost. Lambert poured over the grainy pictures snapped by the hikers, plotted out its coordinates on Google maps (nothing but a uniform low-resolution green as far as the mouse could scroll), and wrote countless news articles about it. Who built it? Why? Why was there no mention of it anywhere? Why did the county not take responsibility for it?

Lambert decided to find out himself. He recorded his preparations, he recorded his travels, he made updates until the final moment when his signal cut off. By now he and his rented Land Rover were a hundred miles from the last gas station. Eventually even the car had to be left behind, parked at the start of a rarely-used hiking trail. He would need to spend the night, since it was unlikely he'd find the bridge in the dark. It wasn't Lambert's first hike. He had his bag, his tent, his travel kitchen, and his GPS phone. He recorded himself so that he could upload it later, and also wrote notes on his laptop.

At first the forest felt fairly normal. Deciduous. Empty. Rocky hills and old trees and paths made by animals rather than men. The rhythm of walking, stopping to drink, checking the map and the GPS, and then continuing. There was nothing to record or report, so he let the camera hang around his neck. He realized it was the first time since the plane crash he hadn't been incessantly recording, reporting, editorializing, explaining, sharing...the silence in his mind scared him, but there was nothing he could do about it.

He made camp when he was too tired to walk any more. He had his bear spray under his pillow, but there had been no sign of ursine activity. At some point at night he heard what sounded like jackals, but they were far away. He dreamt of flying and falling.

The next morning he woke up early. Lambert actually felt oddly at peace. He made coffee out of a can on his propane stove and listened to the birds. He didn't record anything.

It took him several more hours before he finally found the bridge. The coordinates had been slightly wrong, or then his GPS wasn't as accurate as it should be, or then he was just poor at orienteering, but when he finally stumbled across it it came as a surprise.

The bridge definitely looked out of place. There was the faint depression of what might once upon a time have been a riverbed underneath it, but otherwise no sign of roads, rivers or gorges. A bridge to nowhere. It was made out of stone, but Lambert couldn't pin down its style or era, and the rock itself didn't look like it was local at all. His interest piqued again, he went around the area with his camera, narrating what he saw. No tyre tracks. Some trash that looked fresh, left perhaps by the hikers - no place was safe from human waste, after all. But other than that the bridge looked like it hadn't been touched by human hand for centuries. Yet it still held together admirably: it was a sturdy thing, built for a purpose by skillful hands. But whose hands? And for what purpose? With those words he ended his recording.

He slept that night under the bridge. He had unsettling dreams.

There was a fish. The fish lived under the bridge, in the water there. In the dream there was water, but Lambert could breathe nonetheless. The fish was his size, scaly and toothless, swinging from side to side as if it didn't want to favour one eye over the other.

In the dream, the fish spoke. It spoke of the plane crash, when he had been twelve, and they had been going to Orlando, him and his parents. Except it didn't speak, the fish rather...emoted. Lambert cried, but his tears mixed invisibly with the water. The fish told him there was no mystery to their death and his survival, no secret: it was just absurdity. The absurdity of a chaotic world. Bad luck, if such a thing existed.

Then the fish said the bridge had been built by the Northern Pacific Railway Company in 1899 in preparation for the northern trans-continental railway. There would be a plaque indicating this under some moss on one of the support legs. The railway was redirected however, and the bridge abandoned. A bit of digging in local microfiche news articles from the area from that time would eventually reveal that bit of trivia too. The bridge was never named, but was provisionally called Bridge 901 - coincidentally the flight number Lambert and his parents were on. But that was coincidence, nothing more.

When Lambert woke up, he didn't turn on the camera. He checked the plaque. Whoever came here next would easily be able to find it. Maybe he'd seen it when making his first pass. Maybe there was a man-sized fish living in the dreams underneath this bridge.

Lambert didn't want to know. He buried his propane tank next to the supporting pillar and spent most of the day piling dry wood and kindling around the bridge. The birds watched, not knowing humans were dangerous.

They learned that the hard way.
FFM 2015, July 27 - Bridge 901
FFM for July 27, 2015. Read the rest of the entries for today here: FFM Links - 27 July 2015

This was a doozy. I actually wrote this based on a semi-random dice throw, but obviously it rather...evolved. :-D The theme for today was SCIENCE! so of course I went the opposite way. I liked writing this one! Yay!
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deviantID

Wolfrug
P S
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
Finland
Hi dA-ites!

I know this is an awful cross-pollinating kind of thing where I talk about one writing community in another, but I'm excited so whatever! For NaNo 2013 I decided to turn a series of FFMs I wrote here on dA into a novel - Empires of Time and Space was born out of that (read the FFMs that inspired it in my FFM 2013 Gallery). I edited it feverishly and actually managed to complete a nice draft 2.0, which I sent around to some people who seemed to like it. Since then it has, obviously, just been lying uselessly in my DropBox and in my "I'll get to it eventually"-pile. Well, I decided that 'eventually' has to be a bit sooner than never, so I decided to start publishing it on the rather nifty site JukePop, which also advertised a lot around NaNo. Essentially it's a place where you can publish your novel or other serial publication piecemeal (which puts you in the hallowed company of e.g. Dickens), with an update schedule you can decide on yourself. I sent in the first edited chapter of my NaNovel, and they accepted it within the same day - so that was great! Now it's there, for everyone to read! Linky!

My plan is pretty simple, really. I will publish it in weekly chunks of about 2000-2500 words, which I will edit into 'draft 3.0' before posting. The basic jist of the story is complete and I'm not unhappy with it even in its current state, so if I for whatever reason lose interest in editing it, or if there is no readership for it at all, I will still be able to keep posting it, even with minimal editing. I know that the parts that require the most padding come towards the end, and I'm hoping  that by fixing the earlier parts piece by piece and, hopefully, getting some positive feedback, I'll be able to bring it to a more satisfactory conclusion than in the original (not that, once again, I think the original ending is in any way bad - it just suffers from end-of-novemberitis rush).

JukePop requires these things they call...+ votes? Which can presumably only be given by registered users, etc etc etc. If you feel suddenly overwhelmed with a desire to support me in publishing this in serial format and want to give me some much-needed encouragement, feel free to do that, I guess? There's also something about getting enough +votes to become a 'real' JukePop author and not an 'Aspiring' JukePop author and whatnot, but it's all rather vague to me. I'd just like someone to read my stuff and give me some feedback!

All right - back to your regularly scheduled dA:ing!

Here's the link to chapter 1 (all that has been posted so far) again:

Linky!

-W

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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014   General Artist
Happy birthday, birthday twin! =D
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:iconwolfrug:
Wolfrug Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Omg, I forgot! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BELATEDLY BIRTHDAY TWINNNNNnnnnn!
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:iconcamelopardalisinblue:
camelopardalisinblue Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the watch! I appreciate the support. :heart:
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:iconwolfrug:
Wolfrug Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
No problem! I always enjoy picking up new people to watch during FFM =)
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:iconcamelopardalisinblue:
camelopardalisinblue Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I know what you mean!
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:iconsisterz0r:
Sisterz0r Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014
Thank you for the faaaav! Whee! :lol:
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013   General Artist
Happy birthday Wolferoo! I was going to say it in chat but I got distracted and then you left =(
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:iconwolfrug:
Wolfrug Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
And to you!
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:iconaxxeros:
Axxeros Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy Birthday, Wolfrug! :hug:

I hope you have/had a good day (timedifference and all that),
but more importantly, I hope you'll have many more good, better, best, great, greater, greatest, awesme, awesomer, and awesomest days to come!
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:iconwolfrug:
Wolfrug Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I hope so too :D Thank you!
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