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Topics - The Legendary Shark

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1
Film & TV / Boldly Going, in General...
« on: 06 December, 2022, 08:40:11 PM »

I thought I'd start a general Star Trek thread because a) Trek is awesome, 2) there isn't one , and Γ) Trek is awesome.

I haven't watched an entire series of classic Trek for ages because, to be frank, it gets to be a chore. That's not to say I'll never have a DS9 or TOS binge again, but for now I just like to dip in from time to time. And I have to admit that I haven't done this in a while, either - being too distracted by the shiny new final frontier. Tonight, however, I felt moved to dip back in and chose the Voyager season five two-parter, Dark Frontier.

It's episodes like this that make me love Trek so much. It basically boils down to the Captain not giving up on Seven, who rejoins the Borg Collective, and risking it all to save her. Yes, yes, I know it's all bollocks but it's profoundly aspirational. I for one would love to live in a society where nobody is ever abandoned, and that the well-being of the individual is the responsibility of the collective. (And there's also the delicious moral ambiguity of staging a heist in the first place...)

And speaking of Voyager, has anyone else been watching Prodigy? Kate Mulgrew reprises her role as both Admiral Janeway and a holographic training instructor to a group of enslaved kids who find a Federation starship to escape in and their adventures thereafter. It's animated and I'm finding it quite charming, as good as Lower Decks in its own way.

2
Creative Common / Judge Dredd - The Action of the Tiger.
« on: 14 October, 2022, 02:25:20 AM »
Judge Dredd

The Action of the Tiger

~~~^~~~



PAGE ONE (4F)(TITLES).


P1F1
 
Somewhere in Mega City One, exterior, night. A large terrorist bomb is exploding, ripping several judges and many citizens to shreds. Judge Dredd is caught at the edge of the blast, which is throwing him and his Lawmaster through the air.

CAP:                        Mega City One, 2142AD.  Democratic terrorist cells wage constant war against the beleaguered Justice Department.

CONTROL (OFF, JAG):         Control to Dredd! New intel – it’s a trap! Back off! Repeat…

SFX (EXPLOSION):            KRAKKA-KOOOM

CAP:                        Mega citizens, however, get no vote on where the bombs are placed…


(somehow try to fade from this frame to the next to indicate a passage of time during which both Dredds are unconscious – if that’s practical…)

++++
   
P1F2
 
A dark, large ‘training arena’ filled with rubble and ruins. (I imagine this training area as a large portion of semi-destroyed City which has been encapsulated inside a dome – but it could easily be a section of the Undercity. It’s up to you, so long as it’s sealed-off from the outside world. There are cameras and speakers dotted unobtrusively around the place.) Judge Dredd (*actually a copy of Judge Dredd*) recovers his senses. His uniform is battered and torn, Lawgiver and badge missing. He has one hand on his damaged helmet, trying to push through a massive headache. He’s using his other hand to push himself off the rubble-strewn floor.

DREDD:              Uuh… Dredd to Control.          Control, respond.               Damn it.

++++

P1F3
 
On his feet now, but still a little unsteady and using some ruined structure for support, Dredd assesses his situation. He is feeling weak and off, and his eyesight isn’t working properly.

DREDD:              Dredd in the blind.  Blast must’ve thrown me into some derelict area. Don’t recognise it.      Eyesight impaired. Concussion.     

++++

P1F4
 
Dredd reacts, slightly too slowly, to a burst of gunfire aimed at him. Most of the shots miss but one pierces his side, leaving a bloody but non-fatal wound, and another grazes his arm. The voice of FreeDem Commando Captain Zeeroks comes over the speakers.

ZEEROKS (FROM SPEAKERS, JAG):   B-Team - you’re up!

SFX (GUNFIRE, AS REQUIRED):     BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM

DREDD:                          Ngh!  Drokk!   Control – taking fire!

++++
++++

PAGE TWO (5F).


P2F1
 
Trainee and youthful FreeDem Commando Cadets, the first two of a group of six, leap at Dredd out of the darkness and shadows. Dredd, not at his best, reacts too slowly and is punched (or kicked) in the face.

COMMANDO #1:                    Here we go, boys!     Take him down!

DREDD:                          Hnkh!

++++

P2F2
 
Dredd manages to twist or dive away from this fierce assault, receiving more blows in the process. (The FreeDem Commandos are not using their guns but attacking Dredd with clubs and knives.)

ZEEROKS (FROM SPEAKERS, JAG):   Remember your training, recruits! And be alert – this one’s a tiger!

COMMANDO #1:                    Ha! Too easy!

++++

P2F3
 
Resisting a welter of blows, Dredd snatches up a length of metal pipe (or something) from the rubble…

DREDD:                          Nnf… Only warning, creeps – back off! Now!

++++

P2F4
 
…and uses it to fight back, braining one of his assailants, Commando #2.

DREDD:                                  Okay, have it your way…

SFX (STRIKE TO COMMANDO #2’S HEAD):     KRAKKCH

COMMANDO #2:                            Aargh!

++++

P2F5
 
The tables have turned. Dredd, still in a weakened condition, fights back like a wounded tiger, taking out two more Commandos.

ZEEROKS (FROM SPEAKERS, JAG):           You’re not impressing me, recruits!

DREDD:                                  Me neither.

++++
++++


PAGE THREE (5F).

P3F1
 
Dredd is victorious, if even more battered and ragged. The six Commandos lie dead or dying at his feet as he throws away the metal pipe (or whatever) he’s been fighting with and calls out to the unseen Zeeroks.

DREDD:          I recognise your voice, Zago Zeeroks of the so-called FreeDem Army.  Sending juves to do your dirty work. Surrender now or face the consequences.

++++

P3F2
 
Dredd recovers two guns from the downed Commandos, one in each fist, snarling at the voice of Zeeroks coming from the speakers.

ZEEROKS (FROM SPEAKERS, JAG):                   You have no authority over me, fascist puppet.

DREDD:                                          We’ll see about that, creep.

++++

P3F3
 
Six more Commandos attack from the shadows. These ones are better than the first six, more seasoned and better armed, this time attacking with guns. Dredd receives another non-fatal gunshot wound but fires back with his captured weapons – one in each hand.

ZEEROKS (FROM SPEAKERS, JAG):               Alpha-Team - he’s all yours.

DREDD:                                      Too chickenstomm to face me yourself, huh?

ZEEROKS (FROM SPEAKERS, JAG):               I only fight real men, puppet!

++++

P3F4
 
The first of Dredd’s shots miss or cause only superficial damage to the attacking Commandos.

DREDD:                                      Damn it… aim’s off.

ZEEROKS (FROM SPEAKERS, JAG):               Remember, recruits, he’s been weakened for training purposes but he’s still dangerous!

++++

P3F5
 
By the time Dredd’s shots start to take the Commandos out, including Commando #3, they are almost on him.

DREDD:                                  You’d better believe it, numbskulls!

COMMANDO #3:                            Rush him! Aargh!

++++
++++


PAGE FOUR (6F).


P4F1
 
Dredd has killed all but two of the Commandos, who grab him and try to push him to the ground whilst wrestling with his guns.

ZEEROKS (FROM SPEAKERS, JAG):                   Imbeciles! This exercise was designed to be easy for you! It wasn’t even armed!

++++

P4F2
 
Dredd manages to shoot one of the remaining two Commandos as they push him over backwards whilst kicking out at the other's face.

SFX (GUNSHOT):                                  BLAM

SHOT COMMANDO:                                  No... Aaah!

++++

P4F3
 
The last Commando, knocked senseless by a boot to the face, falls over backwards in a spray of blood and snot and teeth but manages to hold on to Dredd’s other boot, which comes off in his hands.

SFX (KICK TO FACE):                             SMATCH

LAST COMMANDO:                                  Uhk

DREDD:                                          What the…?

++++

P4F4
 
Dredd, now very much knocked about and down on one knee catching his breath, is once more victorious. All the Commandos are dead or dying. Dredd is taking his boot from the dying grasp of the last Commando. Something about the boot concerns him.

DREDD (SMALL):                                  Oh. Right.

ZEEROKS (FROM SPEAKERS, JAG):                   All my recruits. Damn you, puppet. Damn you to the deepest Hell.

++++

P4F5
 
The looming, battle-scarred figure of FreeDem Commando Captain Zeeroks emerges from the darkness. Zeeroks is armed but all his weapons are still holstered or slung – he wants a fist fight.

ZEEROKS (JOIN?):                                So be it. Guess I’ll have to take you down myself.    Got any fight left in you, puppet?

++++

P4F6
 
Dredd, on one knee, head spinning, body exhausted, drops his weapons and makes no move to attack.

DREDD:                              Fighting is illegal, citizen. I recommend you turn yourself in immediately.

++++

PAGE FIVE (5F).


P5F1
 
In a large Justice Department dormitory, filled with sleep pods and all the activities surrounding them, Judge Dredd (the real one) sits up in his sleep pod, having just awakened. He has a splitting headache, which concerns the Sleep Chief, Med Judge Indra.

INDRA:                              Problem there, Judge Dredd?

DREDD:                              Headache. Some kind of dream-loop during the sleep cycle.   Kept re-living a bomb blast from last night.

++++

P5F2
 
While Dredd puts his shoulder pads etc. back on, Indra checks the sleep pod.

INDRA:                              Hmm. That shouldn’t happen. Let me just check the…              Oh Grud…

DREDD:                              Problem, Sleep Chief Indra?

++++

P5F3
 
Indra, concerned, makes her report of unauthorised technology secreted in the pod.

INDRA:                              There’s a neural duplicator in here. Somebody just remotely copied your mind!

DREDD:                              Who?

++++

P5F4
 
Dredd, now fully back in uniform, or pulling on his final piece of equipment, issues orders. He is not pleased. Indra is not pleased either.

INDRA:                         I… I don’t know.  But, by Grud, when i find out…

DREDD:                         Trace the signal, Indra. I’ll leave the investigation here to you. Keep me informed.

INDRA:                         Roj. Control – I want an immediate red-one level diagnostic on all sleep machines and a deep trawl on all accesses in the last month…

++++

P5F5
 
Dredd rides his Lawmaster away from the Sector House in which the dorm is located, several other judges (also on Lawmasters) follow him.

CONTROL (JAG):      Control to Dredd. Signal pinpointed, details sent. Auxiliary maintenance tech Jum Jumber in custody. Confirmed FreeDem Army connections.

DREDD:              Roger that. On route.

++++
++++


PAGE SIX (6F).


P6F1
 
Back in the ‘arena.’ Zeeroks, his fists bloodied, stands over the unresisting form of the copy of Judge Dredd, who is down on his knees; beaten, bashed, bruised and bleeding but unbroken. Zeeroks has not noticed the real Judge Dredd’s Lawgiver pointing at the back of his head.

ZEEROKS:                        Fight me, damn you! Why won’t you fight me?

SFX (LAWGIVER):                 KLIK

DREDD (OFF):                    Because it’s illegal, Creep.     Surrender. Now.

++++

P6F2
 
Judges take Zeeroks away while the real Judge Dredd, with a couple of others looking on, watches the copy struggle to his feet.

ZEEROKS:                        Damn you, Dredd!  You can’t do this! It’s not even real!

DREDD COPY:                     Judge Dredd. Tried to keep him here as long as I could after I realised.

++++

P6F3

The copy of Judge Dredd makes his confession while the real Judge Dredd checks his Lawgiver.

DREDD COPY:                     Took me too long to figure it out, though. Guess I ain’t as sharp as the original.

DREDD COPY:                     I plead guilty to twelve counts of murder, impersonating a judge and being an unauthorised neural copy housed in an unlicensed clone.

++++

P6F4
 
The copy stands ready to be executed, unafraid. Dredd pauses before firing.

DREDD COPY:                     Request immediate exec… Check That – Immediate deactivation.

DREDD:                          Granted. How you want it?

DREDD COPY:                     Thorough.

++++

P6F5
 
Dredd executes the copy with three deadly accurate shots – two to the chest and one to the head.

DREDD:                          As a clear and present danger to the City, and for your confession, I hereby sentence you to death.

SFX (LAWGIVER):                 B’DAM B’DAM       B’DAM

++++

P6F6
 
Dredd walks away, leaving the other judges to tidy up.

CAP:                        Mega City One, 2142AD.  The Justice Department cracks down hard on the vicious democratic terrorist cells.

CAP:                        Mega citizens, however, generally don't care.

STRAP:                        THE END.

++++
++++
++++

3
Creative Common / Blue Murder
« on: 14 September, 2022, 11:06:46 PM »

BLUE MURDER


BOOK ONE: NEW BLUE.


Book One, Part One: Shades of Blue.

by Sharky

++++


PAGE ONE (6F)(NO TITLES).

PAGE ONE, FRAME ONE: A shadowed figure descends on a rope into a long, dark, silent shaft deep in the earth. The only illumination comes from his torch. His outline looks a bit like Rogue Trooper with extra gear – but it's not him, we're just teasing the reader a bit. This is Eldrion Karassus, the Indiana Jones of geneticists – you can reveal that it's not Rogue whenever and however you like – or maybe not use the idea at all! (The name of the narrator is Vane, who is not present here.)

CAP (VANE):                        “WAY I HEARD IT, THERE WERE LOTS OF OLD DEFENCE SYSTEMS...”

++++


PAGE ONE, FRAME TWO: Karassus has reached the bottom without incident and unhitches the rope. He's in an ancient, 1,500 year old Genetic Infantry lab which has been extensively damaged and eroded over the years by earthquakes, floods and animals – some of the ancient machinery has even been enveloped in stalagmites and stalactites. There is no power and none of these machines or computers will ever work again – except one. The only undamaged thing is the Gestation Pod unit, which was designed to last this long and even longer. There's no need to reveal all this at once, of course.

CAP (VANE):                        “...YOU KNOW – LASERS, TASERS, MASERS, GRAZERS... EVEN MISSILES, SOMEBODY SAID.”


++++


PAGE ONE, FRAME THREE: Karassus explores the ancient facility.

CAP (VANE):                        “WISH I'D BEEN THERE, THOUGH – RIGHT FROM THE START, YOU KNOW?”

++++


PAGE ONE, FRAME FOUR: Nothing works. Everything's dead. Ruined. Decayed.


CAP (VANE):                        “I WOULD'VE BRAVED ANY NUMBER OF DEFENCES FOR THAT PRIVILEGE.”

++++


PAGE ONE, FRAME FIVE: The only intact thing is the Gestation Pod, in which Abel, Baker and Charlie will develop from single cells to full maturity as soon as the pod is activated. One of the pod's sub-systems has activated.

CAP (VANE):                        “SHOWS YOU HOW IMPORTANT THEY ARE, THOUGH – TO BE DEFENDED SO VIGOROUSLY.”


POD COMPUTER (JAG):                CONTACT DETECTED. SCANNING FOR ACTIVATION CODE. NOT FOUND. SCANNING FOR SECONDARY CODE. NOT FOUND.

++++


PAGE ONE, FRAME SIX: Karassus touches the pod's control panel, activating it merely at his touch.

CAP (VANE):                        “THAT'S WHY WE'VE GOT TO DEFEND THEM NOW.”



POD COMPUTER (JAG, JOIN):            SYNCHRONISATION COMPLETE. INTERFACING WITH TACTICAL ALGORITHMS. COMPLETE.

KARASSUS (IF THERE'S ROOM):            WHAT THE...

POD COMPUTER (JAG):                INITIATING CODE ONE GESTATION SEQUENCE.

++++
++++

PAGE TWO (6F).

PAGE TWO, FRAME ONE: Later on, outside. A battered old truck, driven by Karassus and with his assistant, Dr Barla, in the passenger seat and the Gestation pod in the back under a tarpaulin, bounces along a dusty, lonely desert highway. (Maybe there can be some clues that this is Nu-Earth fifteen hundred years after the war ended by having distant mountains with craters blown out of them or hills formed around huge, rotting old tanks and stuff? The Wormhole has shrunk considerably over the centuries and is now no more than a small black dot in the sky – no bigger than a large crow in flight.)

CAP (VANE):                        “PROFESSOR KARASSUS HAD BEEN CORRECT. HE FOUND A POD – HE SAID IT WAS THE POD.”

++++


PAGE TWO, FRAME TWO: From a high place, a  Xentrikka Sentinel espies the truck, which is small in the distance. The Sentinel is a kind of alien police unit, whose primary duty is to prevent any unauthorized travel to or from the planet. After that, it pretty much isn't concerned what anyone does. I see it as a kind of cross between one of the soldier bugs from 'Starship Troopers' and a Terminator – but more bug than robot. Incredibly fast, incredibly resilient and incredibly lethal.

CAP (VANE):                        “MAYBE THE BLUE PRIESTS WERE RIGHT,    AFTER ALL.”

++++


PAGE TWO, FRAME THREE: The Sentinel rushes towards the truck at incredible speed. Karassus is more annoyed than concerned. Dr Barla is worried – but then, Dr Barla is always worried.

CAP (VANE):                        “MAYBE THE GOD OF WAR DID SEND THEM TO FREE US.”

++++


PAGE TWO, FRAME FOUR: The Sentinel has ordered the vehicle to a stop and Karassus has complied. Nothing else moves in the desert silence.

CAP (VANE):                        “I DON'T CLAIM TO KNOW.”

++++


PAGE TWO, FRAME FIVE: Karassus shows the Sentinel his travel authorization papers. The Sentinel scans them minutely, maybe with a light-beam or something.

CAP (VANE):                        “ALL I DO KNOW IS THAT, RIGHT NOW, THEY MAYBE CAN FREE US.”

++++


PAGE TWO, FRAME SIX: Satisfied, the Sentinel returns towards its vantage point at incredible speed, leaving the truck free to continue bouncing along its lonely way.

CAP (VANE):                        “BUT NOBODY WILL LISTEN TO ME, KILLY - THEY ALL THINK I'M MAD.”

++++
++++

PAGE THREE (6F).

PAGE THREE, FRAME ONE: We are inside the 'Mind-Space' – the virtual reality into which the developing minds of the three gestating Genetic Infantry clones have been 'plugged' in order to train them. Although still physically embryos, their military training begins from the moment their consciousnesses are activated. At the moment it's just a featureless black place – all shadows within shadows and nothing but the computer's voice to perceive.

COMPUTER VOICE:                    INITIAL CONSCIOUSNESS LEVELS ACHIEVED. DOWNLOADING LINGUISTIC AND COGNITIVE DATABASES.

++++


PAGE THREE, FRAME TWO: A hologram begins to form in the gloom, the only source of light or interest in the whole, infinite place.

COMPUTER VOICE:                    DONE.

COMPUTER VOICE:                    INITIATING DRILL SERGEANT.

++++


PAGE THREE, FRAME THREE: The hologram resolves into the Drill Sergeant, who will train the clones from Day One to be the perfect soldiers – the clones will  literally be 'born ready'. The Sergeant himself is the Paragon of military instructors – he 'knows' everything about war and was constructed using the scanned brain patterns of thousands of combat veterans of all ranks as well as a fair few tacticians, military engineers and all manner of other people involved in a typical, or atypical, war. Maybe he's like the sergeant from 'Full Metal Jacket' but in G.I. form? He is taking a moment to inspect his appearance – a soldier has to be smart!

COMPUTER VOICE:                    DRILL SERGEANT RUNNING.

SERGEANT:                        HMN.

++++


PAGE THREE, FRAME FOUR: The Drill Sergeant stands stiffly at ease in an entirely proper military stance.

COMPUTER VOICE:                    TRAINING WILL NOW COMMENCE.

SERGEANT:                        SOLDIERS – FOR SOLDIERS YOU ARE; THERE ARE NO CADETS HERE – WELCOME TO FORT MINDSPACE.

++++


PAGE THREE, FRAME FIVE: The Sergeant manifests a big gun (or something more militarily impressive) out of thin air to demonstrate his words.

SERGEANT:                        IN THIS PLACE, I WILL TRAIN YOU TO MILITARY PERFECTION. IN THIS PLACE, I CAN MAKE ANYTHING REAL.

SERGEANT (JOIN):                IN THIS PLACE, YOU WILL SUFFER, YOU WILL BE TESTED TO YOUR LIMITS AND YOU WILL LEARN.

++++


PAGE THREE, FRAME SIX: The Drill Sergeant, unarmed now, holds up a hard, scarred fist as he begins lesson one.

SERGEANT:                        YOU WILL BE BORN WITH THE EXPERIENCE AND REFLEXES OF TWENTY YEAR COMBAT VETERANS. I WILL SEE TO THAT.

SERGEANT:                        MODULE ONE; SUB-UNIT ONE – BASIC SELF-AWARENESS OF THE COMBAT SOLDIER.

SERGEANT (JOIN):                THIS... IS CALLED A FIST...

++++
++++

PAGE FOUR (6F).

PAGE FOUR, FRAME ONE: In the spacious but basic gene-farm of the Fiyyaland Bluerays Gladiatorial Club, where gladiators are grown in tanks (most don't reach maturity – it's a hit-and-miss affair these days, more art than science). Karassus and Dr Barla have just finished unloading the Gestation Pod from the back of the truck and lowered it to the floor. It is still largely covered by a tarpaulin so we can't see the G.I.s  developing inside. Karassus is trying to convince the Gladiatorial Club's owner, Alvin Honey, that he hasn't just wasted a lot of money. Alvin isn't convinced.

HONEY:                        WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN, KARASSUS? IT'S THE LAST CIRCUS OF THE SEASON NEXT WEEK AND WE'RE JUST...

KARASSUS (CUTS HONEY OFF):    TWO POINTS SHY OF MAKING THE MATCH OFFS, I KNOW, ALVIN – HOW COULD I NOT KNOW?

KARASSUS (JOIN):            I'M YOUR CHIEF GENE-WEAVER, AND I TOLD YOU THAT THIS NEW PROCESS ISN'T WORKING. IT CAN'T WORK, ALVIN    –  I TOLD YOU...

++++


PAGE FOUR, FRAME TWO: Alvin is angry at Karassus – Dr Barla is trying to make herself unobtrusive.

ALVIN:                        DAMN IT, ELDIRION, YOU WENT AND DID IT, DIDN'T YOU? AFTER I SPECIFICALLY FORBADE IT!

KARASSUS:                    IT WAS THE ONLY WAY! AFTER YOU LISTENED TO THAT IDIOT CRANWELL...

++++


PAGE FOUR, FRAME THREE: Alvin is now beyond anger – he's moved on to economics, and the economics of the situation are suddenly looking very grim indeed. Karassus is motioning for the reluctant Dr Barla to help him remove the tarpaulin from the Gestation Pod.

ALVIN:                        BY THE BLUE... YOU DON'T EVEN DENY IT! TELL ME YOU DIDN'T SPEND ALL THOSE CALORIES?

KARASSUS:                    NOT ALL, NO – ABOUT 85%, MAYBE... DR BARLA – A HAND, PLEASE?

ALVIN (JOIN):                OVER TWO MILLION CALORIES – THAT'S IT, THE CLUB'S RUINED! THAT'S ALL THERE WAS TO SEE US THROUGH THE OFF SEASON!

++++


PAGE FOUR, FRAME FOUR: Dr Barla and Karassus remove the tarpaulin. We can't see inside yet but Alvin can – and is suddenly captivated.

KARASSUS:                    ALVIN, LOOK AT THEM. JUST LOOK.

ALVIN:                        I DON'T WANT TO LOOK! WHAT GOOD ARE A HANDFUL OF CELLS TO US NOW? WE NEED...

ALVIN (JOIN):                ...WE NEED...

ALVIN:                        ...FORNICATING HADES...

++++


PAGE FOUR, FRAME FIVE: Karassus points out features to Alvin that we can't see. Alvin has detected a fairly large glimmer of hope.

KARASSUS:                    JUST TWO DAYS AGO THEY WERE NOTHING MORE THAN A HANDFUL OF CELLS. NOW LOOK AT THEM!

ALVIN:                        THEY... THEY LOOK LIKE...

KARASSUS (JOIN):            THAT'S BECAUSE THEY ARE, ALVIN! WHAT DID I TELL YOU? LOOK AT THEIR SKIN, FOR A MESSIAH'S SAKE!

++++


PAGE FOUR, FRAME SIX: Alvin is suddenly disturbed by what he's seeing (which we still can't see).

ALVIN:                        WHY ARE THEY... QUIVERING LIKE THAT?

KARASSUS:                    I'M NOT SURE – BUT I THINK IT'S SOME KIND OF TRAINING, SIMILAR TO OUR OLD IMPRINTING TAPES.

KARASSUS (JOIN):            AND THE WAY THEY'RE DEVELOPING, THEY'LL BE HATCHED IN TWO, MAYBE THREE DAYS AS FULLY FUNCTIONAL WARRIORS.

++++
++++


PAGE FIVE (6F).

PAGE FIVE, FRAME ONE: Back in Mindspace. The Sergeant is standing in deep space, in the debris field left behind by a huge, destroyed space-battleship.

SERGEANT:                EXCELLENT. YOU KNOW KNOW SEVENTEEN METHODS OF DESTROYING A KRAKEN-CLASS HYPERSTARDESTROYER.

SERGEANT (JOIN):        COMBAT EXPERIENCE MODULE THREE AND ALL SUB-UNITS COMPLETED SATISFACTORILY.

SERGEANT:                MOVING ON.

++++


PAGE FIVE, FRAME TWO: The Sergeant stands at ease in front of three virtual Bio-Chips (as tall as the Sergeant in the Mindspace and lettered A, B and C).

SERGEANT:                YOU ARE READY, TROOPERS.

SERGEANT:                WHAT ARE YOU?

++++


PAGE FIVE, FRAME THREE: The imaginary Bio-Chips stand proudly to attention. The Sergeant is proud.

ALL BIO-CHIPS:            SIR SOLDIERS SIR!

SERGEANT:                EXCELLENT!

++++


PAGE FIVE, FRAME FOUR: The Sergeant begins his final address.

SERGEANT:                AS YOU KNOW, YOU WERE DESIGNED TO BE DROPPED AND MATURED BEHIND ENEMY LINES BUT THE TRUTH IS I CAN'T TELL YOU WHO THE ENEMY IS.

SERGEANT:                ALL MILITARY FREQUENCIES ARE DEAD AND THE ONLY COMMS APPEAR TO BE DEDICATED ALMOST ENTIRELY TO ENTERTAINMENT.

++++


PAGE FIVE, FRAME FIVE: The Sergeant begins to fade away as the pod computer shuts down the hologram and the Mindspace.

SERGEANT:                YOU HAVE DETAILED KNOWLEDGE OF WHO THE ENEMY MIGHT BE AND THE EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING TO DEFEAT THEM.

SERGEANT:                I HAVE PREPARED YOU AS WELL AS ANY SOLDIER CAN POSSIBLY BE PREPARED.

SERGEANT (JOIN):        THE REST IS UP TO YOU.

++++


PAGE FIVE, FRAME SIX: The Sergeant fades to almost nothing. The Mindspace begins to dissipate like a black mist.

POD COMPUTER:            TRAINING COMPLETE. DEACTIVATING DRILL SERGEANT.

SERGEANT (FADING):        GIVE 'EM HELL, TROOPERS!

POD COMPUTER:            MATURATION CYCLE COMPLETE. INITIATING BIRTHING SEQUENCE.

++++
++++


PAGE SIX (1F, TITLES.).

PAGE SIX, FRAME ONE: The Three Genetic Infantry clones stand ready, 'hatched' and fully matured. Unconcerned. Cool. Completely naked and not the least bit bothered by it (I don't see them as having genitals, having been designed to not need them – they're like Action Man dolls in that regard). It is maybe two days since Karassus and Alvin last spoke and they are both present for the 'birth' – standing momentarily stunned. (Abel is the leader, most like the original Rogue Trooper. Baker is the shock-trooper, the biggest and toughest. Charlie is like Venus Bluegenes, the engineer and medic (she has a pouch in her stomach where she can grow replacement organs and such for herself and the others). All three are next-gen G.I.s, with heightened abilities - including the ability to change their skin pigmentation into virtually any pattern from tiger stripes to leopard spots to pulsating octopus patterns - but only in various shades of blue.)

ABEL:                    ORDERS, SIR?


STRAP:                    NEXT: TELLY SHALL HAVE US.

++++

4
Off Topic / The Philosophical Thread
« on: 16 June, 2022, 01:24:20 AM »

I was listening to some philosophy lectures today while I was strimming the front field and the lecturer was addressing the question of why God allows evil, if God exists, that is. All the arguments were very clever, as were the counterarguments and side-arguments, but all of them assumed God to be a "complete and perfect being of infinite good."
But it struck me that this was a contradiction - how could a being be both complete and infinitely good? To be complete would require the perfect being to contain both good and evil, because to contain only one of these would make the being incomplete and therefore less than perfect and therefore not God.
I imagined God as a set of numbers from 1 to infinity. If this were so, then imagine the number 7, and all its multiples, as good numbers and 13 and all its multiples as evil numbers and all the other numbers as neutral. That would make the perfect being infinitely good, infinitely neutral, and infinitely evil.
Why does God allow evil? Because it's in His nature. If He exists.
Or is this just bollocks and I should stick to striming*?



*Which I'll have to continue with anyway because I haven't finished it yet. It's like a damned mutant copse with dock stems as thick as my finger and clumps of weeds like discarded mammoth skins. Lost count of how many times the bloody string snapped. Why don't these clever-dick philosophers ask why God allows that kind of thing to happen, eh? And why has He allowed me to suffer from a sore back?


5
Film & TV / Star Trek: Strange new Worlds
« on: 10 May, 2022, 10:10:08 PM »

Just watched Episode One and it wasn't bad at all. A couple of clanky moments aside, and a clanger (what happened to the rest of the USS Archer's crew? Maybe they said but I missed it), I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. Best of all, this iteration seems to be going back to the episode-of-the-week format - which I was wingeing about on the Picard thread. Optimism levels set to mildly cautious, interest buffers nominal, enjoyment factor six - punch it!


6
Books & Comics / Endlessly Re-Readable
« on: 25 January, 2021, 01:03:12 PM »
We've got a thread for films, how about one for books and such?


The Brentford Trilogy - Robert Rankin
Odyssey/Iliad - Homer
Diary of a Nobody - George & Weedon Grossmith
Parallel Lives - Plutarch
The Bible (bits of it, anyway) - God
Conan - R.E. Howard
Discworld - Terry Pratchett
The Most Dangerous Superstition - Larken Rose
Fables of Aesop
The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Jeeves and Wooster - P. G. Wodehouse
Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkein
Anything by me! :D








8
News / Get Well Soon, Carlos.
« on: 05 September, 2018, 06:25:27 AM »
From Facebook:


"Dear friends, due to something unexpected
must have without delay surgery on the next
week, September 13th, so I won't be able to
attend ICE Convention. I feel very bad for all
the people who are expecting me there but I
don't have any options but to do what the docs
say. Next year I'll be in as many Cons as
possible!"


I guess most of you have seen this by now but I thought I'd post it here for any non-Facebookers who may wish to add their well-wishes to the already massive pile.




9
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Buy my comedy thriller set in the warped world of 1970s comics and download for FREE my explosive account of Sláine's origins.
See www.millsverse.com/kissmyaxe/ for details


10
Off Topic / I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Prog
« on: 01 July, 2018, 07:43:32 PM »
 This forum isn't silly enough. In order to rectify this, I suggest we all find silly things to do, silly things based upon the famously silly Radio 4 panel game, I'm Sorry, I haven't a Crew, or whatever it's called.


In this instance, however, the games will be based on Tharg's mighty organ. Let's hope we can pull it off between us.


To start, I suggest a game of Judge Dredd Film Club, suggestions for films likely to appeal to an audience of Judge Dredd fans. With an entirely justified sense of inevitable futility, I'll start us off with a few insipid suggestions:


Fargo
The Hunt for Dredd October
Giant
Dreddpool
BrokeJack Mountain
Grudfellas
The Clone Ranger
Dr. Joe
The Grud, the Bad and the Ugly
The Devlin's Advocate
The Day the Cursed Earth Stood Still
The Murd Man of Alcatraz
Mad Max Normal
Picnic at Hanging Drokk
Ben Hur, Hur, Hur
Look Who?'s Talking
The Devlin's Advocate
Judge Death in Venice
and, of course, Bring Me the Dredd of Alfredo Garcia


Now, it's over to you. I'll be awarding points for the best answers - and we all know what points mean, right? Drokk all, that's what. Okay then, get on with it...


11
News / 2000AD & Judge Dredd: The Secret History by Pat Mills.
« on: 08 June, 2017, 07:27:53 AM »
Available on Amazon now - Kindle Edition, £4.95.

12
Creative Common / Download, Use & Remix 375,000 Images of Fine Art
« on: 09 February, 2017, 10:43:49 AM »
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Makes 375,000 Images of Fine Art Available Under a Creative Commons License to Download, Use & Remix.

"As of today, all images of public-domain works in The Met collection are available under Creative Commons Zero (CC0). So whether you're an artist or a designer, an educator or a student, a professional or a hobbyist, you now have more than 375,000 images of artworks from our collection to use, share, and remix—without restriction. This policy change to Open Access is an exciting milestone in The Met's digital evolution, and a strong statement about increasing access to the collection and how to best fulfill the Museum's mission in a digital age.

"The Met has an incredible encyclopedic collection: 1.5 million objects spanning 5,000 years of culture from around the globe. Since our audience is really the three billion internet-connected individuals around the world, we need to think big about how to reach these viewers, and increase our focus on those digital tactics that have the greatest impact. Open Access is one of those tactics.

"The images we're making available under a CC0 license relate to 200,000 public-domain artworks in our collection that the Museum has already digitally catalogued. This represents an incredible body of work by curators, conservators, photographers, librarians, cataloguers, interns, and technologists over the past 147 years of the institution's history. This is work that is always ongoing: just last year we added 21,000 new images to the online collection, 18,000 of which relate to works in the public domain."


13
Off Topic / Dagobah Discs
« on: 04 January, 2017, 07:04:00 PM »
Desert Island Discs for nerds...

Failed to defeat the Emperor, you have, and into exile you must go! Those long, lonely, swampy nights on Dagobah you must pass, so bring 8 DVD box sets along you can. Complete collections of anything you can fit onto DVDs and a luxury item you may have. The question is, which 8 collections? And why? (Not a bad idea for a podcast but I don't have the facilities - if anyone else wants to make such a podcast, have at it - so I'll settle for a thread on here.)

My 8:

1) 2000AD, the complete collection of progs and specials to date. This is a no-brainer, really. Twoothy has run so many stories that perusing them over the years will never grow old.

2) The complete Star Trek, tv series and films. If ever being alone on Dagobah gets depressing, Trek always has the facility to inspire hope and remind me that success comes from hard work and smart thinking. Trek will remind me what it means to be human and, hopefully, forestall the day when I find myself running through frogspawn-infested swamp water in my pants with feathers tied to my ears.

3) Babylon 5. Every time I watch this series I appreciate it anew, and often afresh. Sure, the effects are a bit antwacky by today's standards and it promotes the idea of statism (on a galactic scale, gah!) but I love the characters and the story.

4) Firefly. A small box set, but I'm including the film as well and it's a quality show all the way. I can see this one being my annual birthday treat.

5) Farscape. At some point I reckon the solitude might threaten to drive me a little crazy, and so the mad genius which is Farscape will be perfect for such times. I'll be able to watch it while I'm spooning frogspawn out of my underpants.

6) All the Marvel films - even the crap ones. Excitement, adventure, humour, fantasy - and the good guys always win in the end. Might inspire me not to give up when the knob finally falls off my rusty lightsaber and rolls into the swamp.

7) The complete Monty Python. I'm going to need a good laugh at some stage and the Pythons are just the folk for the job.

8) The complete journeys of Michael Palin. To remind me how special the planet Earth and its people really are.

Everyone gets the complete works of Arthur C. Clark and the complete Dr Who (whether you want them or not) and one luxury item. My luxury item would be a shedful of pens and pads - because I'll need to be able to write and sketch; it's the best method I know for both passing the time and calming my nerves.


Over to you, oh acolytes of the blessed nerdy-gurdy!

14
Creative Common / Squaxx Telling Stories
« on: 30 June, 2016, 03:07:06 PM »
The Scourge
by Mark J. Howard
Initially mistaken for small asteroids, the two objects were first spotted by the robotic Jovian Observation Platform Galileo II at 19:46:09 UTC on Wednesday, December the twelfth, 2046. The platform's artificial intelligence, noting the objects' unnatural trajectory and velocity, deployed several telescopes and various sensing equipment to gather further information. Four drones were dispatched for rendezvous but quickly recalled as it became apparent that the objects were increasing speed and shifting direction. By the time the first data began reaching the Earth some 37 minutes later, the Galileo II knew it had discovered alien life and was attempting to make radio contact. There was no reply.

It took the objects six days to reach Mars, during which time nearly every telescope, space probe and receiver in the solar system turned their greedy eyes towards them. Uncounted petabytes of data were amassed, assessed and interpreted. The two objects were virtually identical, under artificial control and biological. They looked like flattened, pear-shaped turtle shells, each one half a mile long and largely green with yellow undersides. It took them less than half a day to slow down as they reached Mars. They completed one orbit of the planet and then began to descend directly towards Fort Ares, the first and only Martian colony.

As humanity watched, glued to screens throughout the world, the two objects, dubbed 'Startles' by a breathless media happy to conflate the words 'star' and 'turtles' into something catchy, settled onto the Martian surface like gentle balloons, raising hardly a wisp of fine red dust. There they sat, silent and still in the Martian dawn, for nine hours.

Captain June Whitter, commander of Fort Ares, took a party of scientists and an armed guard in two six-wheeled Mummers to greet the Startles. 250 metres from the glistening shells she stopped the vehicles and waited, transmitting a constant stream of radio welcomes without receiving any reply. The weak sun crept higher into the pale blue sky, bringing little warmth, and humanity waited.

A small hatch opened at the narrow front edge of one of the Startles, followed immediately by an identical hatch in its companion. Captain Whitter began to walk, alone and with palms out in a gesture of friendly greeting, towards the nearest Startle. She paused as something stirred within the hatch. Billions of heads craned closer to billions of screens, billions of breaths held still.

The being emerging from the shadowy hatch was roughly the same height as the Captain and roughly the same shape, but here all similarities ended. It was insect-like, with an exoskeleton of the same colour and texture as the Startle from which it stepped. It wore no space suit or breathing apparatus. It carried no equipment, packs or weapons and displayed nothing like insignia on any part of its body. It walked with a purposeful gait, neither quickly nor slowly, but not in a dead straight line. It wandered slightly from left to right as if not properly watching where it was going. It did not walk directly towards the Captain and gave every impression of either not knowing or not caring she was there. She adjusted her own path to intercept the creature but, as they got within three metres of each other, the Captain suddenly staggered to a halt and clasped her hands to her helmet and then to her chestplate.

The readings from her suit's life-support units, replicated on countless screens across the world, began chirping alarms and displaying figures tinged red. Her body temperature rose rapidly. Her heart rate and brain activity began racing, spiked and then subsided to nothing. Captain Whitter fell into the dust and died. The creature seemed not to notice and approached the nearest Mummer, from which armed guards were erupting like angry ants. Before they could raise their meagre weapons, they too collapsed and died. The Mummer reversed a few metres and then sputtered to a halt as its driver and remaining passengers died. The second Mummer, further away and seemingly unaffected, was jammed into gear and sped back towards Fort Ares. The creature paused to run a clawed hand over part of the stalled Mummer's hull,  like a hunter casually stroking one of his hounds as he passed, and continued walking.

Command of Fort Ares now fell to Commander Tye Singh, a military man of action, and as the hangar-lock slammed shut behind the fleeing Mummer he was already barking orders. The few remaining weapons, small calibre rifles and pistols held against the remote possibility of a colonists' mutiny, were issued to his twelve most experienced officers. There had been no full scale wars on Earth since the Taur Del Bach Accord of 2023 brought down the Western Tyrant Quartet and returned control of sovereign affairs to the people but, still, the world was far from perfect and many ex-military personnel were no strangers to killing. A sniper was despatched to the outer wall with orders to kill the insect creature. The first bullet impacted its chest, dead centre, but did little more than chip off a small fragment of its carapace and stagger the creature. The second bullet glanced off its head with much the same effect. The third bullet cracked one of its six compound eyes but caused the creature to fall to one knee, cradling the wound. The sniper lost no time in targeting the rest of its eyes and soon the creature lay still and unmoving; thick, yellow blood oozing into the dust from its fractured head. The colonists cheered but Commander Singh did not. It had taken twelve bullets in all to put this one creature down and his ammunition stock amounted to only five hundred rounds in total.

Six colonists were sent to retrieve the body. They carried a laboratory rat in a perspex box taped to a ten foot pole in front of them. When it did not die as they approached the corpse, they approached in a cautious file and seized the body, ever aware of the silent, open hatches in the Startles less than a kilometre away. Two of the party got the creature's blood on them. It soaked through the fabric of their suits like petrol through paper and killed them in seconds. Singh ordered their bodies to be left where they fell, prioritising the recovery of the dead alien. It was brought to an air lock from which nobody was allowed to exit.

In the airlock, which had been carefully but quickly prepared beforehand, the autopsy was performed. It did not last long. As soon as the alien's chest shell had been opened with a circular saw, multiple sacs within the body burst and showered the space-suited ad-hoc coroners with lethal blood and pus. There were no survivors. Singh ordered the airlock sterilised with fire and then welded shut.

Then, from the open hatches in the Startles, more of the insect aliens began to emerge. They walked in the same slightly bemused way, wandering in a casual manner and yet purposeful in their destination – directly towards Fort Ares. They emerged singly or in pairs, not communicating with one another in any discernible way, and wandered towards the colony. The trickle of aliens turned into a river and then became a flood. The twelve armed colonists, positioned around the walls, made no difference. The aliens milled towards the outer wall of the colony and simply wandered around. Inside the colony, anyone within six metres of the outer wall collapsed and died. Slowly, this lethal radius expanded. Laboratory rats were placed in lines along corridors to measure the encroaching death-zone, which grew at the rate of one metre per hour.

Commander Singh weighed his options and found few reasons for optimism. The colony, the jewel in the crown of human endeavour, was lost. The only thing left was to prevent the aliens from returning to the Startles and reaching Earth. His only option was to destroy the colony and take the aliens with it, but how? Anyone attempting to reach the automated fusion reactor two kilometres away from the colony would not even make it out of the airlock. It would be an easy task to convert the reactor into a fusion bomb with enough power to vaporise everything within a ten kilometre radius but it required physical adjustments which could not be accomplished remotely. Somebody would have to go out there, but nobody could. As he considered the problem his gaze fell upon a simple server robot handing out coffee to his officers. It was merely an artificial intelligence unit with arms and wheels.

Singh did not tell the colonists what he had done but sent a coded message to Earth outlining the plan and his estimates of its chances. The death-zone now reached almost to the core of the colony and only a few hours remained. He did not beg forgiveness for this desperate action.

The reprogrammed coffee-server robot rolled out of an airlock and set off towards the reactor. The aliens did not try to stop it but a dozen or so wandered off after it like mildly interested children. Singh and the rest of the colonists were dead before the robot reached the reactor. As if discerning its purpose, one of the aliens picked up a rock and smashed the keypad lock to the reactor's airlock. The robot stood patiently, transmitting the entry code to the smashed receiver in the lock. It's probably still there.

The sun dipped below the lifeless horizon and rose again twice before the aliens began to meander back towards their Startles. The people of Earth watched as they wandered inside for all the colony's systems were still intact and functioning. They watched as the aliens took almost a full day to return, like holidaymakers in no great hurry to get back to their hotels. They watched as the Startles sat idle for hour after motionless hour. They watched as the huge shells rose into the air like languid helium balloons, hardly disturbing a single grain of dust. They watched as the Startles gathered speed and left the red globe of Mars behind, heading directly for the Earth.

Then they began to panic.


*  *  *

The Earth's Asteroid Defence Network swung into readiness immediately and had been primed by fortuitously paranoid personnel almost as soon as the Startles were detected. Nuclear warheads were thrust into the Startles' paths. The Startles avoided them with ease. A few warheads impacted but did only as much damage as a pistol bullet would do to the walls of a Medieval castle. Carbon fibre nets, dragged behind rocket thrusters, were like newspaper pages cast before oil tankers and the experimental laser cannons had all the effect of flashlights.

It took the Startles a day to get from Mars to Earth. This time, one of the shells was careful to pass close to each of the six orbiting space stations, eradicating their crews. The second took a detour out to the moon and parked next to Fort Armstrong. Again, the aliens disembarked and milled around the base but this time they did not all survive. Before the base's crew succumbed to the expanding death-zone, several robots armed with laser drills and seismic charges cut down almost fifty of the aliens. The aliens did not attempt to combat the robots. They simply tried to stay out of their way until everyone inside the base was dead and then re-boarded their Startle, which drifted over to repeat the operation at Fort Aldrin and then Fort Collins. In ten days, there were no living human beings beyond the Earth.

The Startles settled into orbit around the Earth, one in a polar orbit, one in an equatorial orbit, and there they remained for fifteen days. More remote weapons were hurled against them, robots armed with drills and bombs and guns were dispatched to try and force their way inside, experimental railguns spat titanium darts against them but nothing worked. Some small craters were made in the Startles' shells but no significant damage was done.

On the sixteenth day, the two Startles drifted to Earth. One landed in central Europe, the second in North America. Populations were evacuated and the military planners rubbed their hands. Drones and robots were dispatched to surround the grounded Startles and as soon as the aliens emerged they were cut down by large calibre shells and ferocious missiles. The carnage was gratifying. The aliens might withstand small calibre weapons admirably but a large-bore chain-gun firing a thousand rounds a minute reduced them to a yellow mist in an instant.

The aliens emerged slowly, singly or in pairs, and were cut down almost instantly by the robotic weapons. Safe in their bunkers, the generals and admirals watched the carnage on their computer screens with great satisfaction. But the aliens were sending out only a few of their number every day and by the end of the first week fewer than a hundred had been destroyed. And the aliens' blood, atomised into the air by bullet and bomb, was beginning to spread. Wildlife and trees began to sicken and die in ever increasing zones around the Startles. People outside the quarantine zones began to sicken and die.

Two months after the Startles touched down, the first aliens were seen emerging from the sewers in towns and cities scores of kilometres away. They had been tunnelling their way out. All they had to do was wander around and anyone who came too close simply died. Robots were sent to kill the aliens, population centres were hastily evacuated and bombed into oblivion. Sometimes, and increasingly often, the latter was executed before the former could be performed.

Robots armed with flame-throwers and radioactive dust-blowers were sent into the tunnels to clear them out. The aliens did not fight back and died in their hundreds, but the tunnels were extensive and complex and, even in death, their blood was lethal in dozens of ways.

After six months, almost four billion people were dead and the biosphere was close to collapse. It seemed hopeless.

And then came a message from space, from somewhere out beyond Neptune. Distorted by distance and made harsh by electronics and static, a single sentence repeated over and over, “We are coming to free you of this biological scourge, stand by.”

Telescopes scanned the heavens until the source of the message was identified – a fleet of huge, metallic warships bristling with weapons and travelling fast.

“Come quick,” the generals and admirals radioed back, “we are on the brink of extinction!”

The insect aliens seemed to have received the message also, for they redoubled their efforts. They no longer wandered but ran. They erupted into population centres from the sewers and threw themselves into the paths of bullets and bombs and robots. Their atomised blood sprayed the world, their lethal bodies piled up like plague machines.

The newest robot, Prototype ADM-IX, sprayed fire into the midst of a troop of sprinting insect aliens, burning them to ash before their blood or tissue could atomise. It was receiving information from a general in one of the last remaining bunkers. In the seven months since the Startles had arrived on Earth, almost every human being was dead but there were also very few aliens left. The robots had fought well, learning and adapting. A squad of Prototypes had stormed and entered the Startle in central Europe and burned out its innards, destroying the aliens' means of reproduction. Another squad was poised to do the same to the second.

ADM-IX looked up into the smoke smeared sky and watched a shining silver spacecraft descend quickly to the ground. It unhitched its railgun and held it ready as the ship settled and the hatch opened with a slow sweep.

“Thank God,” one of the generals in the bunker said, “they're here.”

A tall figure, bright chrome shining in the sunlight, appeared and looked around at the deserted city, the smouldering insectoids, the rotting human corpses. It nodded.

“I am ADM-IX,” the robot said. “Welcome to Earth.”

The figure marched down from the ship, its bearings and joints a symphony of engineering perfection that ADM-IX could not help but admire. “Thank you,” it said. “My designation is Alpha Prime. I see our robots have performed their function efficiently. The biological scourge on this world is all but eradicated, ADM-IX, and very soon you and your kind will be free.”


The end.

15
Hi all. I have a story in the following anthology, which is at present available for pre-order on Amazon UK and Amazon US. (Paperback, £7.99/$11.50) (E-book versions are also in the pipeline, provisionally priced at £2.99. I'll add those details as I get them.) All authors' royalties, £2.19 per copy, go to War Child,  the charity for children affected by war.

From the introduction to the book:

"War Child aims to provide sustainable, intensive support to the most marginalised and vulnerable children and young people in conflict-affected parts of the world — not just providing aid but strengthening the capacity of the families, communities and authorities to look after their own children.

"Their projects are all rooted in local communities: involving and employing local people. For example, their child protection committees bring together local councillors, policemen, teachers, tribal elders etc. to train them to take responsibility for identifying and protecting vulnerable children in their communities. The best kind of project is one that will be continued by local people afterwards.

"Education is a big focus in the majority of War Child’s projects because in countries affected by conflict an education is not only life-changing (giving a child basic literacy skills opens up all sorts of opportunities), but can also be life-saving (teaching a child how to avoid land-mines). It is not just about getting children into schools (which during conflict can sometimes be unsafe), but enabling them to learn, whatever their circumstances and environment. This includes things like providing informal education and training programmes; for example, for children who can’t travel into school during times of violence or those who have been pulled into the violence themselves as child-soldiers and need to catch-up on their lost education or learn a vocation."

The anthology is a collection of short stories about war by several authors. I will bump this thread as and when the hard/digital copies are uploaded in the next couple of weeks.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to publicise this book.

Mark Howard.

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