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Author Topic: OUT OF THIS WORLD - Short Story VOTING THREAD (With PRIZES)  (Read 498 times)

Bad City Blue

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Salutations scumbags,

Whilst I was considering adopting the Judge system and simply telling you who I had decided was the winner, democracy has prevailed which means the uneducated masses (That's YOU, spugnose) get to vote on their favourites.

The brief was any 2000AD character just not on earth, so nice and wide in scope.

As per usual, list your top three, and the winner overall will get a 2000AD GRAPHIC NOVEL (ooOOooOOooHHHhhh) courtesy of the lovely Moclh-R Droid at Rebellion.

A random voter will ALSO get one, so why not have a bash, as it's free, you get to read some Zarjaz (by the way, go and buy ZARJAZ) stories, and it's FREE.

Anyway, on with the show...

BCB

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

EAMONN CLARKE

Cold Equations


The two men shivered as they sat in the cramped cabin. Despite wearing multiple layers of clothes the cold of deep space was penetrating the hull and their breath frosted in front of them as they spoke.

"Just you and me left, Mac?"

"Maybe. Or maybe there's just me and an alien creature trying to make its way to Earth."

"Gridley blew it out of the airlock. Took her with it. We're clear now."

"Don't be so sure about that. We never confirmed that Mitt was infected."

"It got on board at Zellion 4 right? It was hiding inside one of us"

"Maybe you know exactly how it got on board."

"And how do I know you're really Mac? This thing can look like anything, anyone. You watched the same footage as me. We both saw it kill Hummel and ten seconds later it looks just like him and it's dumping his body out the disposal chute."

"Yeah, well I know who I am and I know what this creature wants."

"Is that because it's in there thinking for you?"

"Drokk you, Keith. It wants to get to Earth. It wants to make more like it. And there's no way I'm letting that happen."

"So what do we do now, Mr Big Shot? Just sit here and freeze to death? Why is it getting so cold anyway?"

"Doc's idea. She reckoned the creature thrived on heat. Figured that turning off the cabin thermoregulator would slow it down, give us a chance to find it."

"Well, that didn't work out so well for the Doc, did it? I seem to remember her getting her insides sprayed all over her surgery walls by that monstrosity?"

"Well, maybe she was on to something and the creature wanted her out of the way?"

"Look, Mac, there's got to be some way of proving we're clear. That we're human. Some kind of test?"

"A reverse Turing test, proving that we're both who we say we are?"

"Maybe a blood test, I saw that in a movie. Hey, are the walls getting closer?"

"Nah, you're seeing things now."

"No way, Mac. It's getting cramped in here, that wall's coming nearer. Something ain't right"

"What the...? Stomm! It's just not possible."

"What? What's not possible?"

"We're not trapped in here with it, we’re trapped in here by it!"

The walls of the cabin pressed inwards on the two humans. There was a grinding noise and then nothing more. Just the cold silence of space and a strangely contented space craft heading for a splash down in one of the blue planet's many oceans. Company was coming.

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

IAMTHESYSTEM

Out of this World.

Judge Georgio studied the creature before him as it sat strapped into the restraint chair of the Containment Cube. The Justice Department Bio scans were unable to identify its cell structure, species or origin. The fluidity of speech it commanded, however, did indicate familiarity with humans.

'So what happened next?' said Georgio directly at the Alien. The creature stirred but answered. 'Well, this metal headed guy just popped up, yelled "I'm Mean machine Angel!" and proceeded to headbutt me. We struggled, then I found myself here holding that Matter Transporter thingy. Mr Angel must have been wearing it.'

'It's stolen property, Xenos which might implicate you as an accessory to theft.' Georgio stated. 'Then what?'

The alien shifted in his seat and looked at Georgio through slitted eyes.

'Well, I arrived outside a vast building-'

'Block.' corrected Georgio.

'Block? Yes, then someone tried to rob me, a mob of crooks formed and attacked my personage, your Police-'

'Judges!' said Judge Georgio irritably.

'Showed up to Gas and arrest me! Frankly, from the little, I've seen here I want to go home, out of this world back to my timeline.'

'Have you a name?' the Judge asked all too aware the security implications an illegal Alien arriving unchecked in Mega-City One would have.

Muscle rippling the Alien bounded from the chair and dashed itself through the plexiglass screen knocking Judge Georgio onto the cell's floor. The reinforced Containment Door shattered under the creatures mighty blows, and throughout the building, Alarms sounded, Searchlights blazed, and the noise of booted feet rang on metal walkways.

Injured Judge Georgio, had drawn his Lawgiver, but the Xenos knocked the weapon from his grasping fingers. Boot knife in hand, the Lawman, launched himself at the perp -to crash into an empty wall as the creature, displaying a near supernatural turn of speed, hurled itself into the corridor outside. 'Matter Transporter, this way.' it murmured to itself.

Stunned, the Judge looked towards the extraterrestrial as it crouched in the corridor. Justice Department never found out anything more about this Alien, where it came from or what if anything it wanted. Only its name remained on file. 'Who are you?' Spluttered Judge Georgio. The creature smiled at him and answered.

'Nemesis.' it said.

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

NapalmKev

"Sweet Chrtstmas!"


 The Rutting Griffin detached from the docking port and turned towards deep space. Taking its dangerous cargo into reaches unknown.

 "Good riddance! That bloody lunatic would have been the death of us all" said the Station Chief. "Signal the Brass and tell them he's on his way."

 The Ensign ran Her fingers over the console - "Signal sent, sir. Permission to speak, sir?" She said, turning towards him.
 
 "Granted, Jones." He said through a beaming smile.

 "Well...the thing is, sir." She mulled a question then just came right out with it. "There's been talk amongst the rank and file "Jones waggled her fingers in the air, "That the cargo is Ulysses Sweet. And that we've armed him to the teeth and sent him out to.." She realised this was going to sound ridiculous but ploughed on regardless, "..on the pretence that he must somehow find a way to destroy Space itself." Again with the fingers.

 The Chiefs smile grew larger which Jones didn't think was possible. "I suppose you can be let in on the secret now that he's out of the way. The Brass came up with a plan to get rid of the most stupidly dangerous individual ever known!" He thought back to a book he'd read once about a Thug called 'Big Dave', and the antics involved with supporting Football teams. Crazy times. Almost as crazy as sending a near un-killable lunatic into the Great Beyond with weapons of mass destruction.
 "The World's top Brains got together and decided the best course of action was to give Sweet an impossible task with the promise of great reward. All he had to do was find a way of destroying Space. A starting point has been set in the galaxy next to ours so it will be eons before he even starts his quest, assuming he doesn't get side-tracked."

 Jones wasn't convinced by the plan. "With respect, sir - What we've done is arm an extremely dangerous individual with the most up to date weaponry and told him to Destroy the very fabric of our existence!"
 The smile left the Chiefs face along with some colour. He looked pale all of a sudden, like he'd been struck by a mystery illness. It was the sickness of realisation. Jones continued, "If this was anyone else, at any time in history; I wouldn't be concerned. But this is Ulysses Sweet..."

 The Chiefs voice was barely a croak -"Signal the brass..."

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

Heath C Ackley

"Drifter"


Sam hated space-walking. There was no room inside his helmet to smoke and weightlessness always made him ill. The airlock doors slid silently open. He hit the jets and the pod propelled him into the floating mass of debris and the deceased. His crew were safely aboard the salvage tug, watching from the bridge.

'Hello Mr Spade.'

The voice crackled over the helmet com. Sam grinned. The XM11 had just saved him from several hours scouring the the cruiser's wreckage. The fact that the unit had known his name did not alarm him. Mechs and AI chatter and share information all the time, just like humes. He traced the voice to a white rectangular box - one of the ship's refrigerator units. Sam set the pod on hold and unzipped the work-belt around his  padded waist.

Instead of recording the accident that tore the cruiser apart, the XM11 black box recorder actually caused it. After jacking the navigator, the XM11 sent the ship on a collision course with an asteroid. The recorder had been fitted with an adaptive power coupling, which allowed it to attach leech-like to any mechanism and feed off the host's power cells. The company wanted the XM11 disabled before it took control of something far more dangerous than a damn wine cooler.

'I have been studying forms of human entertainment throughout history.'

Sam did not engage the unit in conversation. Talk would either be a diversionary tactic or just bullshit spilled from corroded circuits. He could have blasted the refrigerator to pieces but then the valuable XM11 would be lost forever. Sam began to unscrew the back-plate to the refrigerator.

'I have researched singers, tumblers and magicians.'

Out of the corner of his eye, Sam spotted one of the cruiser's plasma engines slowly revolving nearby. If the XM11 got a hold on that baby, then they were totally screwed.

'I like clowns. Do you?'

'Nope.'

Sam released the back-plate and it slowly drifted away. He peered into the exposed interior of the refrigerator droid. The recorder unit was only the size of a thumbnail and came in the standard black finish.

'Do you have a favourite act Mr Slade?' The refrigerator's digital readout flickered with each word. 'I have. I like jugglers and -'

Beyond the floating refrigerator and the remnants of starflight 01070, plasma engine alpha's ignition light began to flash.

'- and ventriloquists.'

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

The Legendary Shark

"Dare To Dream"

"That is too much blood, my friend."

The man's head shook a brief dismissal, his hooked eyebrows drawn together. "Are we clear?"

The green skinned co-pilot forced his large eyes to disregard his friend and studied the screens on his console. "Yes, we're clear. The refugees got thrown around a bit down there but they're okay. You did it."

The man nodded and sagged, a great tension releasing his body. He took his hands from the controls slowly, painfully, his muscles slow to let go. He clicked on the autopilot with a crooked finger and then closed his eyes for a moment, drawing in deep, aching breaths.

"Are you all right?"

The pilot opened his eyes and smiled at his friend. He put his hand to his side and it came up slick with blood. He held it up and studied it. "I suspect not, to be honest." He looked at his other hand, encased in a crystal gauntlet, and sighed. Once bright and vibrant, the crystal was now dull and cold. "How did it all go so wrong?"

"You got us out of there. Orbital batteries, four destroyers, nine cruisers, swarms of fighters, missiles, asteroids - you've still got it, Dan. You're still the best pilot I've ever..."

Dan Dare coughed and couldn't stop, spraying his hands and the flight controls with blood.

"I'll get the med-kit."

"No," Dare brought his coughing under control. "No, it's too late, Sondar. Leave it."

His head lolled back against the pilot's seat's headrest, a weariness washing over him. Sondar scrambled out of his seat and embraced his friend, looking at the ragged wound in his side and seeing inevitability.

"To go out like this. It seems so pointless."

"You are the best pilot in the galaxy. A legend. An inspiration."

Dare smiled thinly, his eyelids drooping. "Sometimes," he said, his voice barely a whisper, "I remember places and people I've never known."

With the last of his spark, Dare turned his face to his friend's. "Do your people believe in reincarnation?"

Sondar opened his mouth to answer but it was too late. Dare's eyes gazed sightlessly at the stars outside the ship.

Sondar smiled and nodded. "In your case," he said in a low, dry voice, "I'd believe anything."

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

Steven Denton

"Tor Cyan"


Tor Cyan's ambulance spun out of control, its circuits sparking and smoking; motors and coils burning from electrical overload. The orderly droids crackled as they burnt. They moved through a series of mechanical tests as their processors failed. Cyan briefly thought how much they looked like they were practising yoga positions whilst on fire. Androids have seldom looked as much like an absurd mockery of life.
 
A massive, radioactive electrical wave had hit the small spacecraft as it made its approach to the mining operation on the planet Magnus Hellenbeck. There had been an accident and thirteen seriously injured miners needed an evac to Mercy Heights. Hellenbeck was genealogically young; its surface was a constantly shifting jigsaw of soft rock and lava. Thousand mile an hour winds and thick pyroclastic clouds scoured its surface, creating massive electrical storms that lashed out into space. Cyan had flown right into one. It fried the android orderlies' minds and set their bodies alight; it shorted the ambulance's controls and superheated the electrics. It would have killed any human on board instantly; but Cyan was just in unimaginable pain. He thought of it as a wakeup call; space's way of saying "Don't get cocky".
 
The acrid smoke was getting so thick he could hardly see; something started beeping, then something else, then something else; systems were failing in a cacophony of urgent, shrill alarms. The smoke tasted like acid and smelled like a bonfire of arseholes. Cyan had always wondered why his sense of smell and taste were so acute when almost nothing could poison him. A much deeper beeping let him know that he had picked up the mining station's beacon. The beeps turned into a constant tone as he lined up the ambulance with the approach signal. He took one last unpleasant breath, then opened the airlock and switched off all power. The smoke drained into space instantly, and the fires went out. The temperature dropped to near absolute zero. He hoped the power would start again or he was going to hit the planet's surface at ten thousand miles per hour. The androids floated gracefully in the zero gravity. Cyan hit the start button a little harder than necessary and the craft kicked back into life.
 
Shields further up the shuttle were buffeted and burnt by the winds and the boiling ash, but Cyan arrived safely at the complex's hangar. The injured miners were there to meet him. Their confidence seemed to dip when Cyan tossed out the burnt droids. "Orderlies are broken. If you can't board under your own power, raise your hands and I'll haul your ass aboard."
 
The journey back to Merry Heights is far less eventful. Covered in blood and soot, Cyan delivers the injured and then heads straight for the bar. Lilla Ferro has been sitting by herself in one of the booths for an hour, nursing a drink and a headache. "Tor, you look like crap." Cyan stares at her. "It's been a tough shift," he says with a solemn expression. "I've been to Hellenbeck."


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

Pathetic, aren't they?

Pick the three you hate the least and let's see where that get us!

Just kiddin', scrots - you know what to do

BCB

Eamonn Clarke

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Re: OUT OF THIS WORLD - Short Story VOTING THREAD (With PRIZES)
« Reply #1 on: 07 June, 2018, 07:32:30 pm »
1. Legendary shark - Dare to Dream
2. Heath C Ackley - Drifter
3. Iamthesystem - Out of this world

 Good work, all, including BCB
Cheers

Bad City Blue

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Re: OUT OF THIS WORLD - Short Story VOTING THREAD (With PRIZES)
« Reply #2 on: 11 June, 2018, 04:23:31 pm »
Some more votes would be zarjaz

The Legendary Shark

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Re: OUT OF THIS WORLD - Short Story VOTING THREAD (With PRIZES)
« Reply #3 on: 11 June, 2018, 11:28:27 pm »
Nope! No need for any more votes! Voting is closed now! What? Oh, all right then...


1 - EAMONN CLARKE "Cold Equations"

2 - Heath C Ackley "Drifter"

3 - NapalmKev "Sweet Chrtstmas!"

HM - Steven Denton "Tor Cyan"


Cracking entries and hard to judge - not a thrill-sucker's nut whisker between them.


Bolt-01

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Re: OUT OF THIS WORLD - Short Story VOTING THREAD (With PRIZES)
« Reply #4 on: 12 June, 2018, 09:25:29 am »
1. NapalmKev- Sweet Christmas
2. HeathCAckley- Drifter
3. The Legendary Shark- Dare To Dream.

HM- Eamonn Clarke- Cold Equations

Really enjoyed these.

NapalmKev

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Re: OUT OF THIS WORLD - Short Story VOTING THREAD (With PRIZES)
« Reply #5 on: 12 June, 2018, 11:38:09 am »

1. The Legendary Shark - Dare to Dream

2. Eammon Clarke - Cold Equations

3. IAMTHESYSTEM - Out of this World


Great work, all!

Cheers


Steven Denton

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Re: OUT OF THIS WORLD - Short Story VOTING THREAD (With PRIZES)
« Reply #6 on: 12 June, 2018, 02:14:13 pm »
Tricky, for me the clear winner was...

1) Heath C Ackley "Drifter"

I find it really hard to chose between the rest, so I'm going to two passed on a complex points based marking system.

2) The Legendary Shark "Dare To Dream"
3) NapalmKev "Sweet Chrtstmas!"

Heath C Ackley

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Re: OUT OF THIS WORLD - Short Story VOTING THREAD (With PRIZES)
« Reply #7 on: 12 June, 2018, 04:28:26 pm »
1) Steven Denton
2) The Most Legendary Shark
3) Eamonn Clarke
"Give a man a mask and he will give you the truth."

Timothy

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Re: OUT OF THIS WORLD - Short Story VOTING THREAD (With PRIZES)
« Reply #8 on: 15 June, 2018, 10:59:01 am »
1. Eamonn Clarke
2. NapalmKev
3. Heath C Ackley

IAMTHESYSTEM

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Re: OUT OF THIS WORLD - Short Story VOTING THREAD (With PRIZES)
« Reply #9 on: 15 June, 2018, 01:07:42 pm »
1: Cold Equations- EamonN Clarke.

2: Dare to Dream- The Legendary Shark.

3:Steve Denton-Tor Cyan

HM Sweet Christmas NaplamKev
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Bad City Blue

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Re: OUT OF THIS WORLD - Short Story VOTING THREAD (With PRIZES)
« Reply #10 on: 20 June, 2018, 11:03:49 am »
last call for votes...

Bad City Blue

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Re: OUT OF THIS WORLD - Short Story VOTING THREAD (With PRIZES)
« Reply #11 on: 21 June, 2018, 01:39:06 pm »
aaaaaand we're done