aldersprig: (HalloweenAldersprig)
I don't know, this one came out a little dark.  Um.  No body horror, yay?





read on…

On the Edge

Dec. 4th, 2018 08:33 pm
aldersprig: (tea3)
They had always lived on the edge.

Iai had heard of other families where they did not; on occasion, they had wandered inland and met such families.  They traded in things that one could farm in a stable, calm environment; they sold things that required land and water in different ratios and

read on…
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
I think the best warning for this one is: This creeped me out.  No body horror but brain horror.



“We have an agreement.”  The woman’s smile was fake.  “You signed the papers, the money has been deposited, and you are ready to comply.”

“Yes.”  Tepha nodded shortly.  “You have my thumbprin

read on…
aldersprig: (Science!)
There was a room in the middle of the megalopolis, in the heart of the business district, in the center of a skyscraper.

The room was not large, not in a place that used every inch of space and climbed higher for more, but it was enough.

It occupied a corner of no-man’s-land made when t

read on…
aldersprig: (Science!)
I think the best warning for this one is: This creeped me out.  No body horror but brain horror.



“We have an agreement.”  The woman’s smile was fake.  “You signed the papers, the money has been deposited, and you are ready to comply.”

“Yes.”  Tepha nodded shortly.  “You have my thumbprin

read on…
aldersprig: (City)
“You, uh, really take trying out your product seriously, don't you?”

The man was nervous. Sheen’s workshop did that, got people thinking about all the pieces coming to life, or about all the meat parts they still had.

That was, however, no excuse for rudeness.

“Mmm?” Sheen made like he

read on…
aldersprig: (Science!)
Content warning: Barbie nudity discussed, technology/human hybrid



“The trick has always been balance.” Idella Passmore had that dangerous combination of skilled enthusiasm and charisma; the tour group was listening intently, despite having no idea what she was talking about. “You want sufficient technology to retard or stop decay, of course, but people want to be people. This particular model involves a cybernetic torso with a RealSkin(tm) cover. Most of the organs have been replaced, but the brain remains and the heart continues to pump blood. In some cases, we choose to keep the uterus; in some we replace the heart with a technological marvel like our HeartPump2000.”

read on…

Exploit

Jan. 20th, 2018 01:10 am
aldersprig: (Shooting star)
Okay, content warning, I creeped myself out. 

🤖

“Kelly, he’s a person, he’s not a robot, you can’t just - Kelly, what are you doing?”

“So there’s this line of - okay, they’re not robots, but they’re programmed, aren’t they?  They’re the Zero-One-Seven line out of Detroit, and they’re, ah,

read on…

X-Factor

Jan. 17th, 2018 01:56 pm
aldersprig: a close up of an alder leaf (Leaf)
“We’ve studied one million samples.”  Professor Georges was very solemn.  It didn’t keep Professor Osborne from scoffing at him.

“There aren’t a million people in this part of the world anymore.”

“We have been studying for a long time.  At approximately fifty thousand people a year for the first one hundred fifty years, and then a much reduced rate.  The last five years, we took samples from merely a thousand people.”

“So your rate of testing decreased over time.”

“The population decreased over time, and the methods became, by necessity, more circumspect: we could no longer use blood tests overtly.  Also, our own population was badly hit by the Disaster.”

“Yes, of course it was.  What did you determine?”

read on…
aldersprig: (Science!)
Written to the Thimbleful Thursday Prompt from yesterday, of the same name. 

🖍️

“It’s a cloned heart, freshly made in our lab.”

Dr. Hischa was very proud of the heart in a box. It was displayed like the crown jewels, held up for the cameras and, more importantly, for the patient. “This hea

read on…
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
It was a very nice basket, Yeri had to admit.

It was pretty, well-woven, and tidy, and it was just large enough that he could fit in it.  Not particularly a hand-basket, if you were really going to think about the term as such.

Then again, most baskets were not man-sized, most baskets did not have lids, and most of them did not have wheels. 

read on…
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
“I’m five hundred years old,” he complained, as he’d been complaining for weeks. In his mind, it meant something.

The two who had slipped into his bed didn’t seem to agree.

“So?” asked the woman. “I’m two hundred and fifty. He’s a hundred.” She tilted her head at the other man, sandwiched up against Mr. 500.

“So,” the youngster smirked in turn. “What’s that make this? May/May/December? April/August/December?”

“I think,” he said slowly, looking between the two who were so very determined to be his lovers, “that we’re going to need something of a bigger calendar.”




Written to yesterday's Thimbleful Thursday prompt and also tootfiction - 500-character-or-less fic for Mastodon
aldersprig: an ancient-looking world map (map)
He never knew.

That was the point: that he would not, could not know.

She climbed the tallest mountain & swam the coldest river. She didn’t post a picture, didn’t write about it, didn’t even tell her mother.

She walked on hot coals and, when she was done with that, collected plants from 6 continents and small animals from 37 nations.

She wrote a treatise on her journey which only one being besides herself would ever read.

And then, and only then, was she allowed to be loved by him.




Written to April 6th's Thimbleful Thursday prompt and also tootfiction - 500-character-or-less fic for Mastodon

I had to add a word to get it in the 90-to-110 range...
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
“The idea,” Ron explained, “came from putting a fake egg into a nest to encourage the bird to lay there. So…” He put $50 and a ceramic egg in the safe-deposit box.

“I don’t think that’s how it works,” Iva complained. “It’s all about saving money, encouraging YOURSELF to put more cash away. Not just… hoping someone else will lay eggs in your safe-deposit box.”

“Well, if I’m wrong, we move it all to the savings account and go from there. But if I’m right…”

Both of them were surprised when, upon opening the box a month later, they found $100 and 15 ceramic eggs.



Written to April 20's Thimbleful Thursday prompt and also tootfiction - 500-character-or-less fic for Mastodon
aldersprig: an ancient-looking world map (map)
“I’m Peter Pan,” Flavia sighed. She was floating half a foot off the floor, bouncing up and down, useless yellow moth-wings fluttering.

“Tinkerbell,” Rémy countered with a grin.

“Wendy,” she retorted. She was her whole height above the ground now, and so was he. “Other people smile and I float. Think of a happy thought.”

“A happy thought?” Rémy’s smile turned fond and warm. Flavia bounced another six feet in the air, Rémy right behind her. “You’re right here.”

They were heading for the moon with no sign of stopping.



Written to yesterday's Thimbleful Thursday prompt and also tootfiction - 500-character-or-less fic for Mastodon
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
She woke on Sundays.

The world was small, quiet; the landing site nearly self-sustaining, but when she’d slept a month she’d woken to find the smallest robot bumping into walls, so now she woke on Sundays.

Her calendar marked thirty-one Sundays. She woke, X’d the date, took notes, transmitted data, checked the fields.

The robots did most of that. Still, she had to do something.

The calendar had 12 months of Sundays. On “Christmas” she made eggnog. For “New Year’s”, she cried at old songs.

On Leap day, they finally reached her.



Written to Jul 30th's Thimbleful Thursday prompt as an experiment in tootfiction - 500-character-or-less fic for Mastodon

Actually, in this case, this version is slightly longer to fit in the Thimbleful requirements. The Tootfiction version here - https://tootplanet.space/@aldersprig/34252 was only 80 words.

... and now that this text may be longer than the story...

Oh yeah! Inspired by the Wired comic for Interstellar, which I liked better than the movie.
aldersprig: a close up of an alder leaf (Leaf)
The trees in Haleth Forest were unlike those anywhere else. They had not grown but had been created. In every one of them, broad leaves spread out, waiting for pen.

You could climb the trees to read someone else’s tale unfolded leaf after leaf or you could climb higher to find pages that had not yet been written on.

There, you could write your own story on new leaves, untouched by hand or pen or tale.

Some people used it to gain immortality.

Some used it to gain a fresh start.



Written to Dec 29th's Thimbleful Thursday prompt as an experiment in tootfiction - 500-character-or-less fic.
aldersprig: a close up of an alder leaf (Leaf)
She’d learned early that the thing to do was hold your-gloved, armored-arms out and push. The things weren’t clever, weren’t strong, were just persistent. With your arms held in the direction of the things, you could plow through. Facemask down, coat on, push.

The first time had been a surprise. She’d come out the other end pleased to survive. After that, she pushed everywhere. Need food? Push. Need a new hideout? Push.

When she pushed and someone pushed back, she was briefly stumped.




Written to March 30th's Thimbleful Thursday prompt as an experiment in tootfiction - 500-character-or-less fic.
aldersprig: a close up of an alder leaf (Leaf)
“Shit.” Consia flopped down by her failed garden. “I have a black thumb. I can’t keep anything alive.” She ran her fingers through dead leaves. “Carrots! The book said they were great for kids.

She wasn’t talking to anyone in particular - the cat didn’t care, and there was nobody else around. Her house had been isolated before everything ended; half her neighbors had died and the other half had fled. That left her and the cat. She was running out of food from her neighbors’ cupboards. “I’m going to die because I can’t grow a freaking carrot”

“You know, you could just come with us.”

That was not the cat. Consia rolled to her feet to face three men, the foremost of whom was leering at her. They weren’t skinny. That was the first thing she noticed. How in the names of a billion gods-like-rats were they not skinny when the world had ended?

The answers that came to mind seemed no more reassuring than the man’s smile.

“I’d like to stay here.”

“Well, we were going to take your food, but I guess we can’t do that. So we’ll take you instead, put you to some use. And if we can’t,” he leered, “then… Long pig gets tasty after a while.”

Consia stared at them. “Excuse me?” Her voice was steel; new, strange steel. Something was growing in her.

“I said, darling, we’re going to work you or eat you.”

“I thought so.” Not steel. Ironwood. She was standing, growing taller. “No. Go away.”

“Oh, darling, I don’t think-”

The vine that shot out of his mouth wasn’t a carrot, but it looked like it would bear fruit. Consia stretched; the yard, no, everything came to life.

The formerly-dead raspberry bush up front caught his friends. Consia glanced at the cat.

“Those are yours,” she told it. “I’m going to see to the carrots.”

Her thumbs were solid green. She figured that was a small price to pay.



Written to yesterday’s Thimbleful Thursday prompt & part of my fae apoc ‘verse
aldersprig: (unspoken)
In Tyeibon, at the height of the body-modification craze, they did not call it hourglass-shaped but violin-shaped, or, sometimes, cello-curved.

Women wore backless dresses draped low on their spine, and had installed strings running from neck to bottom, in imitation of violins. (Men, too, wore backless outfits, and their spines were decorated with ports and keys, but that is a story for another time.) Extreme examples would have tuning pegs worked into the decoration at the neck; the number of strings would range from three up to twenty. They would slide a small, arched bridge between spine and strings, to change the sound of the their music.

The strings were magical, of course. Human bodies, no matter how shaped, does not make the sounds that a hollow piece of wood does. But with these decorations, those bodies could be played like an instrument.
It had become the habit by this point for young rakes and old troubadours to carry their own bow around with them (as women carried their own reed and mouthpiece). Impromptu concerts might break out in the streets sometimes; a very clever musician knew how to create a song on the fly, to match the lady's sound and key, for every body made its own sound.

It was beautiful indeed. Tyeibon came to be known throughout the Empire for the beauty of their songs and the shapeliness of their women, the strangeness of their fashion and the elaborateness of their courting rituals. They made the highest music there, the songs played in the court of the Emperor himself.
And then an enterprising young farmer-cum-musician slid a flatter bridge between the strings of a would-be socialite, and flattened his bow just so across her strings, and drew from her lean and strong body a twang unheard of in Tyeibon’s more rarefied circles.

In Tyeibon, they did not say hourglass-shaped but violin-curved, or, in a later era, fit as a fiddle.


Written to last week's Thimbleful Thursday prompt & part of my Things Unspoken 'verse
aldersprig: (lock and key)
"I'm telling you, one more run, that's it. Just one more score, and we're on easy street." Pell leaned back against the fence, grinning. "And this last one was a sweet one, wasn't it? In, out, smooth as butter, no hitches at all."

"Why is it," Kell mused, "that every time you say something's going to be smooth, I start to worry?"

"Well, that, my friend, is because you have no faith in me at all. Now, look, I've got all the info already. My source set me up good. You, me, Fell, the three of us in and out and kabang, we never have to see each other again, we never have to see nobody we don't wanna see again."

"This source." Kell made the word sound sour and dirty, "that's the question. They get, what, a quarter of our take?"

"Yeah, uh, something like that." Pell shifted from foot to foot.

"And they give you the locations. But you've never seen them. You just dead-drop the money and get the information the same way?"

"Yeah? And?"

“And you never thought that was the least bit hinkey?”

“Why should I? I mean, Fell set us up. Fell’d worked with them before, and I know Fell from that Southwest job, you remember. Hellion set that one up.”

“And Hellion is such a good judge of character, too, aren’t they?” Kell’s headshake was more sad than upset. “Seriously, Pell, something’s just a little off about this.”

“Come on, Kell,” Pell wheedled. “Think about the money. Think about Easy Street. Not having to do anything else like this ever again, if we don’t want. Not having to work if we don’t want.”

“If it sounds too good to be true...” Kell muttered.

“Well, it’s not like this job is going to be a simple one or anything. We’re going to have to work damn hard for this last score. But once we do…”

“Easy street.” Kell wasn’t that hard to convince. People that were didn’t usually end up in their line of work. “All right. Let’s go.”

The building was just as the plans had suggested; the target was just where they were supposed to be, the security as easy as hacking a baby monitor. Pell handled the extraction with customary finesse while Kell handled the getaway car.

“See?” Pell drove into the drop-off site. “Easy-peasy, easy street.”

“You know,” Kell agreed slowly, “you might actually be right for… what’s that smell?”

“You’ve done quite well in acquisitions,” the voice over the car radio purred, as the gas knocked them unconscious. “But now I want you in a more front-and-center position in my slave shops. As merchandise, I think.”


Written to this week's Thimbleful Thursday Prompt: Easy Street, and part of my d/s 'verse. Probably.
aldersprig: (Mermaid 2)
"I can't get her to talk," Aijen complained. "I've tried everything. I sang to her. I bribed her. I took her for long walks on the beach. I left her alone and snuck up on her to see if she talked to other people. I fed her the best foods I could find. I hired people to make her fancy clothes and the most fashionable shoes. And nothing. I remember her sweet voice. I can hear it in my dreams. But she'd clammed up and nothing I do can to get her to talk again."

"Aijen," sighed his dear old family retainer, "you've never read the Little Mermaid, have you?"

Written to Last Week's Thimbleful Thursday Prompt: Clam Up
aldersprig: (Dragon Orange)
Akazha had been slipping through the mud and the muck of swamps and the stench of dead towns. She had wrapped herself in dun and denim, old rags of clothing and layers of dusty, bland cloth. It was the sort of thing that many people were wearing, people that wanted to survive and get by and didn't really have time to worry, right now, about fashion.

She'd covered herself up from head to toe - it was coming on winter, and she was in the North, so it raised no eyebrows and brought no questions, save one particularly handsy would-be mayor who ripped her veil of and stared at her ears, as if expecting them to be pointed. She ducked her head and didn't look at people in the face when she met them, just mumbled that she could work if there was food.

There was sometimes work. More rarely was there food. Everyone was hurting, and everyone was scared. She did what she could, and didn’t stay too long. “I don’t like to be around people,” she’d say. “I don’t want to be any trouble.” Any place that could spare a little food for her, well, they could only spare a little, and she didn’t want them to start asking questions.

She wrapped the old clothes around herself like a mask, kept her head down and made no trouble. She was just trying to get by. They were all trying to get by.

She hadn’t meant to fight the monster, but she’d been in Fairview for less than a day, and she could already tell he was bad news. He was hurting the people. He was hurting the kids.

She stood up to her full height and let her colors show. Green and red, blue and yellow; her scales and her skin were all the shades of the rainbow and some never seen in nature.

They’d kill her, the villagers would, or drive her off. She hadn’t had a proper meal in months, and she’d been hoping this would be different.

Akazha stretched, feeling the rags around her tear off, and let her true colors show.

Written to today's Thimbleful Thursday prompt, "Show One's True Colors."

Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1145787.html
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
The monsters were coming.

Ramona had grabbed every pistol and rifle she could carry and twice as much ammunition as a sane person ever needed, leaving behind an IOU and an apology to the departed gun shop owner. She might be able to take on an elephant.

But the monsters weren't always stopped by bullets. She'd watched one on TV get up after an anti-tank missile. She needed something stronger.

The local Wal-Mart was still open: out of water, out of food, but open. She headed for the gardening section.

Armed with the biggest weed torch the store sold & two tanks of propane, Ramona finally felt properly armed.


Written to June 30th's Thimbleful Thursday prompt, "Packing Heat."
aldersprig: (KinkBingo2)
Content warning: slavery, humiliation, other things of that ilk loosely hinted at.

Read more... )

Written to June 9th's Thimbleful Thursday prompt, "Meal Ticket."

Next: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1128176.html
aldersprig: a close up of an alder leaf (Leaf)
This is set in a new setting, one I tripped and created while sitting in training a few weeks back.

The setting is called "Colonize Earth" and revolves around a test colony set up on a remote portion of earth but treated as a space colony, dis-attached from the laws of the world. This is the first piece that's actually made it to Dreamwidth.


"We need laws." Tendor West paced in his tiny office, more a transmission room than a place of state. The Colonial Authority had chosen him to be Leader of their test-colony, and he was taking the responsibility seriously, perhaps too much so.

"We have laws," Ona Boisen pointed out. She might not be Leader, but she headed a Team of 100 people, by the same Authority-choice that had gotten West his position. "The Colonial Authority set them down."

"This thing?" West picked up the print-out and flopped it down. "It's barely a page long. It doesn't cover anything."
Read more... )


This is written to June 2nd's Thimbleful Thursday prompt
aldersprig: (BookGlasses)
Thimbleful 1.png

Check it out for small prompts for tiny fiction!

(you can read my stories to past prompts here)
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
"I don't like him." Steven clearly had a group agreeing with him already - four of the 12 refugees in their little haven were nodding along. Steven's reasons were obvious; Mal equally so. The rest had their own logic.

"I don't think 'like' really enters into it," Connie countered. She could see four others siding with her - including Inga, the reason Steven & Mal were against this.

"I think with all of us crammed in here, like is pretty damn important," Steve argued. "Besides, I don't trust him, and that definitely matters." He wasn't looking at Connie; he was looking at Dave and LaTasha, who both were still on the fence. "How did he survive out there? He doesn't look like he's been going all that hungry. What if some other group trusted him, let him in..."

"Hey!" Inga glared at Steven. "Spurious much?"
Read more... )


This is written to May 19th's Thimbleful Thursday prompt
aldersprig: (Doorway to Clouds)
That door!

It tingled when she walked by; on grey days, it shone. Garish yellow in a black wall, it stood out against bracketing brownstones. In the sunshine, it was an ugly door, but boring.

In the rain, it moved, but only when she wasn't looking: she'd glance away and hear hinges squeak, peek back and see it cracked open, look away only to see it closed when she looked back. It tingled; it piqued the curiosity.

She waited in the rain, pretending not to watch.

The doorknob turned. The door creaked open. She held her breath, peeked sidelong.

"Curiosity," a voice slurked out of the oily shadows. "How rare. How strange." It tingled, ached, prickled. She turned slowly to face the shadow in the doorway.

"How delicious." She had no time, no breath, to scream. A gulp, and she was devoured.

The yellow door tingled, sometimes, in the rain. But the house behind it shone in the sun, and the doors inside were endless.



I started a new occasional thing on Thimbleful Thursday, since I got the prompts prescheduled through next September.

Tell-Me Tuesday asks a question: this week's prompt was "Who's behind the door?"

165 words, just barely in the limit.
aldersprig: a close up of an alder leaf (Leaf)
Thimbleful 1.png

They'd grabbed a couple barrels and a door to make a "bench"; they'd hung a curtain, or at least a ratty blanket, over the room to make a "private" courtroom, and they'd pulled in five people to witness, Carter Westcott to serve as judge, and Ardell Aspen to serve as prosecutor.

There was no defense. I wanted to say something about that; I was one of the witnesses, because I hadn't moved away from the curtain quickly enough - me and four others who'd been loitering around, wondering what they were going to do with Barton after - well, after. But considering the mood of our little community of stragglers, I stayed quiet. I've regretted that for years. I didn't want to end up there, where Barton was... but still.

The prosecutor read off charges. Barton could hardly say he wasn't guilty - I mean, they'd gagged him, but that didn't matter when he'd grown feet three times normal size and big furry ears - but they made some pretense that it was a court and not a murder.

If I'd only gotten to him before they'd found him, maybe I could have helped in. Instead, I stood witness to his "conviction" in the most half-assed trial I'd ever seen.

And his would not be the last I'd witness, either.



This is written to today's Thimbleful Thursday prompt
aldersprig: (hammer)
"Colburn! New Girl! The pipes on floor Seven-A-iii are clogged again!"

It was Georgia's first day on the job, but she wasn't going to let that stop her. "It's Georgia, ma'am, Georgia Fredrickson."

"I don't care if it's Queen Anne III, the pipes in 7-A-iii are clogged and they need to be unclogged."

Colburn, Sandra of the first name, grabbed Georgia's arm. "We've got it, Madam Tomlinson, ma'am. Sorry about New Girl."

"She's new. She'll learn or drown. Take her down to the dungeon, then, and shake Manster's cage. Tell him he's got to get the clog out, or the priest's start screaming, and you know what that does to the sisters-and-brothers."

Dungeon. Cage. Priests. The Facility had a language all of its own. Georgia could only let the water carry her along and hope that she could stay afloat.

"Come on, new girl." Colburn grabbed Georgia's arm. "I get to show you the dungeon, lucky me. Which means I get to show you the slide."

"...Slide?" Keep afloat. Just keep afloat. The Facility paid better than anyone else in all of Compton. They also had this way of... leveraging people who didn't work for them. Carrot, stick, all Georgia had to do was keep floating along until she knew what was going on. "Colburn, what are the pipes?"

"Heating, cooling. Cooking. They carry steam and... other things... all through the Facility. But, uh, the other things. They clog sometimes. And then they have to send the weasels in. It's complicated."

"...Weasels. Sandra, tell me honestly." Georgia was a hand taller than Colburn and she was having trouble keeping up. "How long does it take for this place to make sense?"

"Oh, not long." Colburn pulled open a sliding door hidden in the metal-paneled walls. "You just have to get your brain around the fact that everything is different here than is it in Compton." Inside the wall compartment, a slick-looking ramp led downwards into the dark. "Hold on here and here, then let go all at once. Like this." Colburn stepped onto the ramp, sat down, and let go. Immediately, she was transported downwards. The sounds of whooping trailed upwards.

Feeling as if the water was closing over her, Georgia followed suit. The ride downwards was smooth, terrifying, and rather short. She had, she realized, no idea how far she'd come.

Colburn was alreading bouncing in place as Georgia found her feet at the bottom. "Come on, the dungeon's right over here."

Georgia had been expecting a basement office, a dark place, perhaps, or a gloomy place. What she had not been expecting was the guard, with a pike, no less, the barred doors, the cage hanging in the middle of a mess of pipes. Weasels swarmed in and out of the cage and climbed up the outside of pipes, sometimes seeming to vanish.

And in the middle of all that, a small man with a very large beard was working on a pipe, his wrench nearly as big as he was.

"That," Colburn explained unnecessarily, "is Manster. And his cage."

Keep floating? The water was most definitely over Georgia's head.




This is written to yesterday's Thimbleful Thursday prompt
aldersprig: (BookGlasses)
Thimbleful 1.png

Check it out for small prompts for tiny fiction!

(you can read my stories to past prompts here)
aldersprig: (Cali)
On day 373 since his kidnapping, Seth found himself once again aimlessly pacing the caves. He really ought to -

"Hey, Seth, right?" A tiny woman - he was pretty sure she was the cook - flagged him down. "Can you give me a hand with this? We just liberated a shipment of rice and stuff."

"Sure. Lead me to it." Sitting around waiting wouldn't do anything but drive him nuts.

"You look stressed." She led him to the truck, backed up into the mouth of the main cave. "I mean, more than everyone here does." Being part of a slave rebellion, as quiet and polite as this one was, wasn't exactly relaxing.

Seth shrugged it off. "It's nothing." He looked away, using the bags of rice as an excuse. "Ooof." He hauled one to his shoulder. "Are you sure these aren't lead?"

"Hopefully. Is it too much?" She picked up a small crate labelled "spinach."

"Of course not." He'd lost a lot of weight and muscle in the last year, but he could still carry around some grain. "I'm fine."

"You said that already." She hip-bumped him gently. "You can tell me. I'm practically the bartender."

Seth took a moment to rearrange his load of rice. "Look. I had, you know, an owner, I guess?"

"Usually slaves do," she agreed gently.

"Yeah, well, American. I'm not made for this shit. So my former 'owner,' he's getting way too close. They've actually sighted his, uh, overseer guy in the hills a couple times." He shrugged. The rice was sitting funny, so he shifted it again. These people, native Californians and Americans who'd gone native, they had no reason to help him. He didn't belong here. "He's going to find me."

"Take it you don't like him?"

"I-" Seth closed his mouth. People here, they didn't think being a slave was wrong. "Yeah. I didn't like him." Damnit. She didn't need to know the gory details.

"It happens like that sometimes. Some people just shouldn't be allowed to own slaves." Her hand settled on his arm, just for a moment. "We'll fix it. That's why we're here."

Seth smiled, allowing himself to relax for a moment. "Thanks." They couldn't, but it was nice to say.

"Hey kid." A Californian guy a foot shorter than Seth patted his other shoulder in passing. "You're off the hook."

Seth stared at the guy as he walked away. After a moment, he noticed the cook was staring, too. "What-"

"At a guess..." Her voice choked up. Seth wanted to hug her, but his arms were full of rice. "...He just put himself on the hook."




This comes concurrent with Walk Away, set in [profile] cluudle's Cali-ish AU.

It's written to Today's Thimbleful Thursday prompt
aldersprig: (lock and key)
The new TV shows were stretching further and further, going more and more extreme in their desire to get the viewer's attention. First it had been the Extreme Games. Then it had been the Survivor Shows. Now... Now it was this.

Aisleigh left the television on as she tidied the house. She was an honest citizen in good standing, and so her home wasn't monitored, of course. Still, it was easy to track viewing practices, so she left the TV going.

The bookshelves needed a good dusting. Not only did that make the place look sharper, Aisleigh often found things she'd mislaid, and, less often, bugs someone had intentionally hidden. If they thought she never moved The Lesser Uses for Goldenrod, well, then obviously they weren't studying her all that hard.

"Today, here on The Biggest Challenge, we have a brand new obstacle! Stay tuned to see our contestants struggle to stay on their skis as the tow boat executes turn after turn. Will they make it? Just how skilled are they?"

The announcer's voice dropped deeper and softer. "The station and the Enforcement would like to remind all of the viewers that theft, murder, and rape are crimes. All criminals will pay restitution to their victims and to the state. And we all know --" now his voice rose up into his dramatic near-shout "--what happens to those who cannot pay!"

The audience behind him shouted happily. "They dance the dance!"

It was, Aisleigh thought, one of the worst slogans: Those that can't pay the fiddler must dance the dance. But it certainly kept the reality shows stocked with "actors."

"Today," the announcer declared, "triple-murderer Shaun Cortwright is going to face an even more exciting challenge. Today, he is going to have to jump a shark! Let's see how long he can stay on the skis while the hungry beasts swim below him!"

Somewhere in a planning meeting somewhere, Aisleigh was certain, someone had uttered the phrase "jump the shark" to a director. And someone had said "that's it!"

She turned off the television. Criminals couldn't pay their restitution if they didn't bring in the ad revenue. Certainly, people would watch. Bloodsports always garnered attention. But maybe, if enough people turned off the tv, someone would explain exactly what "jump the shark" was supposed to mean.



written to Today's Thimbleful Thursday prompt.
aldersprig: (me-lyn-kitty)
Leave a Light On(4)

Every evening, just before dusk, Margolotta lit the two blue lamps by the front door. They burned all night, every night, even when oil was scarce, even when they had been struggling the worst. It had been fifteen years, and still she walked out the front door and put a flame those lights every night.

"For guests," she said, whenever asked. The roads weren't safe to travel at night, and no guests came after dusk. But still, she lit the lamps. "For guests."

On clear nights, she'd wait on the front porch, staring down the road. He'd promised he'd come back, and she'd promised she'd leave the light on.




written to May 28th's Thimbleful Thursday prompt.
aldersprig: (Shooting star)
In many places, they called it jumping the broom. In Gospeck, it was jumping the gun.

Gospeck was a small colony in an out-of-the-way system, small enough where babies were a welcome and needed occurrence. They were a hard-luck sort of place, a poorly placed colony where the alien creatures attacked with no warning and no pattern. They needed everyone that could to carry babies, as fast as they could, or the colony would die.

They had little time for brooms and no time to wait for proof of pregnancy. They jumped the gun for two-year contracts, one to carry and one to protect, and hoped for the best.




written to Today's Thimbleful Thursday prompt. In generic-space-colony 'verse.
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
Chloe D'Aushinger had been arrested quietly in the middle of the night, with no notice to her family or to her not-inconsiderable business interests. She had spent three nights in the Pietierre "Hospital's" more uncomfortable basement rooms before being just as quietly released on the recognizance of three people she had never met before.

Rene, no-last-name-given, took the lead. He was a tall man, wearing a taller hat with a very wide brim, which shadowed his face rather effectively. "Mme. D'Aushinger, I would like to welcome you into the club."

"I really must be getting back to my family..." Chloe had been saying that for days. She had met with opposition of every sort - rough, direct, soft, indirect, hinting, threatening. Rene simply bowed, so low it was amazing his hat stayed on.

"While your lodgings are lovely, for the next week, I'm afraid it will be necessary for you to enjoy our hospitality. We've moved your family already, one at a time. Your home is being watched."

A second shadowy figure coughed. Nicholle. She, too, was missing a last name. "Rene..."

"This is the time and place when we can say things, Mlle. She will have to learn soon enough to hear those things not said. I believe her days under the Pietierre have begun to teach her what words you cannot utter. But I feel she needs to understand a bit more before we move her." Rene said this all at once, as if hurrying before Nicholle could cut him off.

The third figure, Ane, had not spoken at all. But from the breadth of shoulders and the thick hand provided to Chloe to shake, she had no question why the good gentle was there.

Which was more than she could say for herself. "I'm afraid I really don't understand." Chloe drew herself up, straightening her shoulders. She looked where she thought Rene's eyes likely were. "I annoyed some powerful people, yes. When those of-"

"The thing is," Rene interrupted, "when you say 'those of my ilk,' as you were going to, you don't yet know what your ilk is."

"That," Nicholle took over, "is what we are here to correct. As Rene said... welcome to the club."

Written to Marh 12's Thimbleful Prompt. In the same universe as Around Elephants, which I believe needs a setting name (And MAY be the same setting as Edora & Rodegard)
aldersprig: (foedus)
Set in the early days of Earth's admission into the Foedus Planetarum. To the Thimbleful Thursday prompt for March 19, "Green as Grass."

The maintenance team on Luna Station 7 were drawing lots. Johanna, Curtis, and Al had rotated back home - or, in Al's case, onto the space liner he'd been trying to get onto forever. That meant they were getting three new workers, and while two of them were maintenance veterans, none of them had worked Se7en, with its particular peculiarities, before.

"Oh, come on." Angie stared at the green button. "I do not want the greenhorn again. Every time. Every time." There were rules about how long you could stay at a particular station. Angie, Clyde, and Taylor had managed to avoid all of those rules, while Emily was coming up on the end of her time and had yet to come up with a suitable workaround. "Why is it always me?"

Clyde wasn't going to tell her that he'd learned to feel the differences between green, white, and black buttons, and if he wasn't going to tell her, Emily wasn't going to point out that they made different sounds. "It'll be fine, Angie. You're so good with the new ones. You scare them just enough. And besides, it's not like this one's new-to-space." Emily flipped through the dossiers on her tablet. "Kalienkari Shefor. Last tour of duty as a bureaucrat on Jacoba Two, right at the edge of Earth space. So he-or-she will have their space legs."

"Well," Angie grumbled, "better than Curtis, at least. All right, bring them in."

They cleared the buttons off the table, and Emily, as junior, went to get the newbies. By the time she led them in, she was clearly trying not to laugh.

They knew that other variants than Terran humans worked the stations. Being Luna, however, they'd always gotten Terrans. "Angela Rodriquez, this is Kalienkari Shefor, your new trainee."

The man, for he was certainly that, had skin the brown of tree bark and hair - and even Angie had trouble not laughing - hair as green as grass.
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
The conversation in the room was lively and despite a scarcity situation in much of Urbetania, the wine and the food were coming at an equally lively pace. Gatherings like this happened rarely, and when they did, they so very often had to happen in secret. To be out in the open, blithely chatting away in Bergier's grand dining room while servants moved in and out around them - that was far more luxurious than the fermented grape juice they were sipping.

It wasn't a victory. They all knew that, and they all took pains to avoid that word and any related synonyms. Victory came with far fewer conditions and far more freedom. But the Premier had taken the first, hard-won steps, and for that, they would drink happily.

In a room and a group such as this, there were many things not said: they did not speak of victory, of course. They did not speak the name of their group, or any of its myriad nicknames. They didn't whisper any fault of the Premier, except the widely-accepted jokes about Mme. Premier's choice in scarves, which was atrocious, and her taste in shoes, which was impeccable. The well-paid servants could still be spies. The newly-installed chandeliers could still contain listening crystals. The walls could still contain listening tubes: in short, anything they said, anywhere, could still be used against them, and that would turn their non-victory into a solid defeat.
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