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Story (C) Tales from the Fleet

Discussion in 'WildStar Fan Creations' started by EldritchSandwich, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. InnocentCivilian

    InnocentCivilian "That" Cupcake

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    I'm all caught up now; good stuff, EldritchSandwich!

    Sorcha - rawr! ;)

    Ruff Ethereal provided critique far more eloquently than I could :p. I pretty much agree with everything he said.

    When I read the first chapter of this story, I thought it was something of a stand-alone piece. I'm really digging how that was merely the surface and you've clearly put a lot of thought into the background of your story, and that of your characters.
  2. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Sorry I haven't been posting as much lately, I've been preoccupied getting a new computer. This one isn't much, just a half-formed idea I had in my head while I was writing the first Dominion entry.

    A Fine Mess

    Given that the Crippling Blow was such a tiny - or as Captain Tyrian would say, stealthy and smartly-designed - ship, it didn't really have a mess hall. It didn't even really have a galley. What it had, in a display of the kind of revolutionary efficiency the Dominion could be counted on displaying when it saved enough money, was a counter in the reactor room with a box to heat up rations and dispensers for water and coffee. And since it was all they had, that was where Kepler and Atero were sitting.

    "She just...doesn't she creep you out?"

    "No argument from me," Atero said around a mouthful of what, if she were in a better mood, she might have charitably interpreted to be 'pasta.' She swallowed. "All Draken creep me out. The women especially, I mean, their faces look kind of human, and then you see those teeth..."

    Kepler cleared his throat. "Yeah. They are kind of...predatory. And...forceful. And...shapely."

    Atero stopped chewing in favor of rolling her eyes straight out the back of her head. "Ugh. Really? You can't be serious. You're actually into...are they even mammals?"

    Kepler's cheeks were approximately the same color as his hair. "Well...the Huntress does have certain...mammalian characteristics."

    Luckily, Atero had just swallowed, which prevented her for spitting a mouthful of government-issue 'food' all over his face as she started laughing. "Oh, of course! Of course that's what it's about! What is it with you men? I've seen trained Legionaries drooling on themselves over a Mechari...a robot...just because it happened to be hammered into the right measurements. You really are easy to please, aren't you?"

    Kepler shrugged dismissively. "Well, I...what measurements?"

    They were sitting too far apart for the brunette to slap him upside the head. She tried anyway.

    "Is it just me, or is the food on this ship even worse than back on the base?"

    Atero smirked. "Well, maybe the Huntress would share some of whatever she's killed recently, if you ask nicely. Why don't you go to her quarters and see?"

    Kepler visibly shrank back. Huntress Sorcha's quarters had become an object of no small terror and curiosity to the more vulnerable half of the small crew ever since she'd hung a skull on the door. Not an animal skull.

    Their reverie on the exact contents of the living quarters of the woman who apparently still considered them both as potential slaves or potential meat was broken momentarily by the arrival of Vexler. The stately Mechari said nothing, simply taking one of the small identical boxes from the shelf under the counter, nodding to acknowledge that he was, in fact, aware they existed, and turning to walk out again.

    When he was sure the Mechari was out of earshot, which was a considerable distance for something created to be a spy, Kepler cleared his throat. "What do you suppose is in those, anyway? What do you think His Lordship's eating while we're on x-rations?"

    Atero frowned. As far as she was concerned, the pilot's interest in things other than obeying orders was potentially very unhealthy for a junior officer. "Why don't you pop one open? I'm sure Vexler won't notice, and I'm sure when he doesn't notice he won't tell the captain. And I'm sure when Vexler doesn't tell him, the captain won't mind."

    Kepler cast one more curious glance down at the shelf, the long silver boxes gleaming tastefully next to the plastic sleeves that contained their own rations. Then he sighed and stuck another forkful of whatever he was eating into his mouth.

    It tasted sort of like fish, he thought. It sort of wasn't.
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  3. ruff_ethereal

    ruff_ethereal Well-Known Cupcake

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    I love how you keep making fun of the <REDACTED>ty quality of life in both the Exile Fleet and the Dominion--neither of which were by choice. I also enjoyed Captain Tyrian's phrasing of his ship's state among other pilots and seafarers. His unnerving pride is what makes him especially funny.

    Exactly my thoughts on female Draken. (Rawr.) Thanks for making Kepler think in roughly the same fashion as me; his uncertainty and frequent pauses into ellipsis were funny and painfully relatable.

    You just keep coming with these, buddy, you just keep coming with these. As humans, we are inclined to give human traits to non-human things to better understand them, so please, keep up this bit of realism and keep making it EXTREMELY funny.

    Now that was a very entertaining image. I enjoy the slapstick and humour that comes from Kepler and Atero bouncing off each other, commiserating, and both being victims of unfortunate fates. I also have to say that I liked that part with Huntress Sorcha's door not being decorated with an animal skull. (Rawr, and *shudder*.)

    Vexler's indifference to his less-than-ideal life was very funny. I like how you phrased the description as if from his own thought process, and I am also interested in what exactly His Lordship eats while his lackeys eat what's technically "food."

    If I may add a suggestion: Choclaste. The high-tech version of military chocolate, the emergency ration for instantaneous energy and nutrients, and somehow even more terrible than its predecessor. Would be a DAMN shame if they only had that and NutriPaste left...
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  4. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Cleanup

    The Exile Fleet was, all things considered, remarkably self-sufficient. Its gardens and algae tanks meant it could produce some of its own food and filter most of its own air and waste water, and a chronically bored population living in extremely close quarters meant it had no trouble keeping its numbers up. However there was one thing that, despite the increasingly desperate schemes of engineers and scientists, the Fleet could only acquire by mining, trading, or outright stealing.

    That thing was currently streaming out of a hole in a huge tanker ship at a rather alarming rate.

    The purple crystals floating lazily through space were one of several dozen forms of fuel the ships of the Fleet had been adapted to use, and ranged in size from a human fingernail to the entire hand. Every single one of them was precious.

    That was why there were almost two dozen tiny ships, pods and, when all else failed, people in patched, ill-fitting vacuum suits floating through the cloud trailing glowing particle nets. In the middle floated the Bearcat.

    "There's a run of smaller crystals bleeding off the far side of the cloud," Lacey muttered as her eyes swept over the instrument panels in front of her. As usual, she was in the navigator's seat, Tirra was beside her operating the thrusters, and Spur was hunched uncomfortably behind them in the broken crash seat they'd all silently agreed to refer to as the captain's chair.

    "Tirra, let's get it."

    "Aye aye, Captain!"

    Spur rolled her eyes. "Lacey...out of idle curiosity..."

    "We have four-thousand eighty-eight grams. Casper has four-thousand two-hundred. This should put us over the top."

    Spur just gave a business-like nod, jaw even more stone-like than usual. Helping the Fleet was what came first, of course, but there was no reason that couldn't coincide with knocking the smug little turds on Recon B down a peg or two.

    "We've got it all. Four-thousand three-hundred fifteen." Before Spur could open her mouth, Lacey's console pinged again. "Message from the crew sealing the breach."

    The gruff, distinctly-Granok voice crackling over the speakers was staticky, but still perfectly intelligible. "Crystal cut one of the lines! Zachaev's floating! Who's closest?"

    "Triumph's closer, but they're heading the wrong direction."

    "This is the Bearcat, we're on it."

    It wasn't long before they could see the wayward engineer, twirling slowly away from the tanker propelled by a thin stream of leaking oxygen.

    "Can we catch him with the airlock?"

    Tirra rolled her eyes. "Please. Give me something hard."

    Spur was out of her seat, pulling on a vacuum mask and stepping into the airlock to the left of the cramped compartment. The hatch hissed shut, and Tirra spun the ship. All three held their breath.

    They only let it out when Zachaev did. Coughing and gasping where Spur had dropped him to the deck, he lifted his thumb.

    "The crystal cut his air line. We should get him back to the Fleet."

    Spur just nodded. "Yeah."

    As Tirra's hands went back to the controls, Lacey's console beeped. "Triumph's got four-thousand six-hundred."

    Spur sighed. "Figures. Let's get him back to the Fleet."

    ...

    As befit its quasi-military nature, commendations on the Fleet were always a matter of some ceremony. As befit the 'quasi' part, said ceremony usually didn't involve the giving of an actual medal so much as a grandiose summary of one's accomplishment and a ration coupon or a bottle of moonshine.

    In this case, it meant Recon B, C, and D lined up in the hangar, getting a personal congratulation from the Captain.

    Captain Grayback was not much of a speaker. He informed them that Ernst Zachaev was recovering well, was very grateful, and wished he could be there. Then he walked down the line, shaking each of their hands exactly once and thanking them for their continued dedicated service to the Fleet and to each other. Then he was gone.

    Spur's eyes didn't follow him out of the hangar. Tirra's did, before turning to Diego Casper and his men, grinning and laughing as they debated what to do with their pool winnings. "Can anyone explain to me why they get a commendation for something we did?"

    "Captain can't play favorites," Spur muttered.

    As the Granok broke off ponderously toward the hangar's other exit, Tirra just shook her head and shot Lacey a skeptical glance. Lacey cleared her throat.

    "Why don't we go back to our quarters. You can...try to teach me Transcenda again."

    Just like that, Tirra brightened. "About time! Maybe you're finally ready for the grown-up rules..."
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  5. ruff_ethereal

    ruff_ethereal Well-Known Cupcake

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    And those were my favourite lines in this latest installment. Glad to have you back, Sandwich.

    First up, thanks for the line about Exile life being sustainable if not glamorous or comfortable. That last part really got me in how it was a dirty joke yet phrased in such a technical, almost formal way. Those are one of my favourite types of gags, actually.

    Excellent use of "Show" to explain the Captain's behaviour to his own daughter. It really is problematic to be both a father and a person of authority; it reminds me a lot of Tali'zorah's (Mass Effect) dynamic with her own father. It's an excellent source for drama, and still keeps both parties sympathetic and understandable, which makes for an even better experience.

    Ah, Transcenda. I would so love to see these "grown-up" rules, though I have a feeling they're a lot more technical and pedestrian than what I immediately thought when I read that.

    As a suggestion for the next installment, the latest Arkship gave us this interesting piece of information: the Gambler's Ruin is extremely large, so much that there are actually shops on board. I would love to see Lacey roped into some shenanigans when Tirra goes shopping for new clothes.
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  6. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Ooh, I hadn't even considered that. Now that could be fun... :D

    Anyway, I hope to get back to writing more, so stay tuned!

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