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 Working two prompts together: "Thing about fur is that it's a bitch when the zippers get caught... " Neziha "Wazaga" Zahed, and " Salli has accidentally broken the remote to unlock Ali's old red leather uniform. The embedded maguffinium simply will not cut. A discrete visit to Ms. Kincaid is warranted" Vikki Rubbervixen.Cut for sexual suggestivenessCollapse )
 Prompt:  "On the more "annoying" side: Somehow, Ali gets talked into playing "pirates and pilots" with her younger relatives. " Joel "Zarpaulus" Kriessman


This prompt went a bit off track, but I'm posting it anyway.Collapse )
Inspired by DotL's October 10th page 

Lyra leaned over Brent's shoulder, looking at the illustration opposite the page he was reading. "No woman warrior has ever dressed like that," she noted with a grin.

"It's just a story," he mumbled, hunching down over the book.

"That bikini doesn't qualify as armor either. I figure it's a race between her being gutted, or catching pneumonia."

"Could you let me finish this, please?"

"Finish? You've been reading that same page for the last ten minutes."

"I know that!" Brent snapped.

"LYRA!" Orrig growled from across the common room.


"Let Brent read book. Qvietly."

The elf turned from the orc bred male and stormed off towards the bar, muttering as she passed Thistle, "I bet you've got better taste in books."

The mage's blue eyes looked up at Lyra from behind her ever present hood, making her pause. It wasn't Thistle's usual expression of quiet deference, or worry. It reminded Lyra more of the first time they'd met, when she'd angrily informed Orrig's company (correctly as it turned out) that working with the drath summoning class was a bad idea. "Lyra," she said, softly enough that the elf had bend closer to hear. "Have you ever seen Brent read a book before?" she asked.

"No, that's why I thought it was funny that he..."

"...that he's even trying?" Thistle interrupted.

Lyra turned away, heading towards the bar again, feeling her cheeks burn in shame.

Patreon Poll: Ali's New Job

 I've posted a new poll open to the public at my Patreon.

Ali's New Job

Ali-ween, Prompt #2: Gunshy

Prompt: "Ali has a nightmare/flashback. Coming out of it, she realizes she just shot Salli with a stunner she keeps under her pillow" -Vikki

Bad dreams, unwitting actionsCollapse )
</div></span>* * *

Note: Canon Ali does not keep a gun under her pillow. She keeps it in her gun safe with the power module removed, because of the potential for the scenario written above.

Ali-ween, Prompt #1: The Red Honeymoon


Prompt: "Ali somehow mistaking hair-dye for shampoo and ends up looking like a red and black demon, scaring the living hell out of everyone who sees her." -Nez "Wazaga" Zahed

Ali's the Bomb...Collapse )

Prompt Challenge: Ali-ween

 SCENE: Our Writer is sitting at his computer, looking despondent.

Alinadar (popping in): What's the problem, Boss?

Royce: I've got at least four stories I'm working on, and none of them are fun.

Alinadar: Any short stories for a collection you can write up?

Royce: None currently.

Alinadar: Random Rolas and Melanie dubcon porn?

Royce: Been there, done that, bought the handcuffs.

Alinadar: Tez being a dick?

Royce: My interest in murderous psychotics as romantic protagonists has waned.

Alinadar: Fluffy snugglebunnies with me and Salli?

Royce: Wish I could. I hate writer's block.

Alinadar: Ugh, wish I could help. Sounds like torture.

Royce (light bulb appears!): That's it!

Alinadar: That's what? (beat) Aw, come on!

Welcome to the First Annual "ALI-WEEN"!

The Rules:

1. I will accept at least five writing prompts, first come, first serve, though priority will be given to members of my Patreon.
2. Prompt requests are open until October 20th, 2018
3. Each prompt will be written up with a 500 word minimum by October 31st.
4. Each prompt must involve having something terrible (or at least annoying) happen to Ali.
5. Feel free to suggest prompts that are outright fantasy instead of sci-fi
6. I reserve the right to reject prompts I consider offensive (Rape, other forms of sexual assault, racism, ect.) or require Ali to act wildly out of character.

Ali: I hate you so much.

Royce: I know. That's why I'm glad you're fictional.

Summary: You'd think taking down the Kingpin in the opening of Insomniac's Spider-Man would mean Peter Parker could take some time off. But, this being Peter, he has to deal with a landlord threatening to evict him, his boss Doctor Octavious losing his grant funding, and his strained relationship with MJ after their breakup.

Soon the jailing of the Kingpin opens up New York to a new crime wave, as mysterious thugs in Chinese opera masks begin assaulting facilities owned by Oscorp, and then attack Mayor Osborne directly.

Review: Like last year's big PS4 exclusive, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Insomniac's take on Spider-Man is as close to being perfect as an open world game can be. Yes, it has some typically annoying open world tropes, such as activating towers to open up the map, and some frankly silly sidequests (rescuing a homeless man's pigeons in the middle of a pandemic, really?) but overall it's an amazingly engaging game.

One point this game has over previous Playstation Spider-Man games, is that it deliberately strikes a balance between the lives of Peter and his super powered alter ego. Playing as Peter, walking around the FEAST homeless shelter where Aunt May works, or helping Dr. Octavious in the lab, or even just having dinner with MJ, emphasizes his connections with the other characters, which serves to heighten the drama when the action starts again.

Playwise, the combat can be a bit fiddly. Spidey isn't an armored tank like Batman is in the Arkham games, so you can't just rely on the Punch-Dodge mechanic to save you. Successful combat relies on constant movement and the use of special moves and Spidey gadgets to keep your enemies off balance. As you play you also get the chance to acquire new suits with alternate powers to help you, though in practice you'll probably stick to one (I found the electrical attack particularly useful)

Graphically the game is stunning. Manhattan Island is mapped out in its entirety, and you can explore it freely, discovering famous spots both real and fictional. Also the photo mode is rather fun, allowing you to make your own Spider-Man covers using filters and stickers.  

Overall Spider-Man not only manages the trick of being a good game, but an emotionally engaging story. My only nit is that there are two characters you watch fall down the hole of darkness that their obsessions open up for them, and I wish I could have saved at least one of them, but that's a minor point overall.

Highly Recommended.

Final Resting Place

From an attempt to write a short story for an upcoming collection, that unfortunately didn't go much further than this.

This story originally appeared on my Patreon page. Please consider supporting me on Patreon to see these and other stories at least 30 days in advance of the public.

* * * 

"Are you sure about this one, Veg?" I asked. Virginia glared at me from across the planning table, the topography map of the Northeast Remains laid out between us, yellowed printouts from the Archive, the old ink barely legible, laid like oversized playing cards on top it. Outside, through the open window, I could hear oxen braying as their teamsters urged them forward, drawing plows to dig out the canal leading to New Ellicott. Progress, and it would help the community grow, though it wouldn't be finished in my lifetime. Fifty miles is a long way to dig without Old World tools, even with Hopetown's resources.

"I'm sure, Mike," she replied, running her hand through the tight curls of her closely cropped black hair. Veg looked harried, as if she hadn't been sleeping much. I couldn't blame her, if the find was as good as she claimed.

"You were sure about the Columbia dig," I pointed out. "Eight months and about a thousand coin we put into that one, and in the end all we found was scrap and rust. The Reclamation Council wasn't happy about that. More to the point, they weren't happy with me."

"I'm sure about this one, Mike," Veg said feverently. "I'm sure. I think it's a shelter. Maybe the Shelter."

"Bull," I replied. 

Instead of arguing, she stepped over to the windows and latched them shut, blocking out the noise from the street, and our voices from prying ears. Everybody wanted a lead on new reclamation projects. Sure you could wildcat on your own, and maybe get lucky. Only places like Hopetown or New Ellicott's reclamation councils had the resources to maintain decent Archives, so they could search scientifically and methodically for Old World artifacts that might prove useful in rebuilding tech that was lost in the Impact. "It's the Shelter," Veg insisted. "The one the Old World government built to try and preserve what they could, what they thought mattered." She pointed to the printouts on the table. 

"The Shelter is a myth. Yeah, every few years someone finds some old canister where people tried to hide and survive, but most of those are out West, and they don't often have anything that's useful."

She pointed to the printouts on the table. "It's not a myth. These are work orders, supply lists. Most of it is mundane, what you'd expect for any building site. Concrete, rebar, steel, and so on. But then there's this." She picked up the delicate paper with a hand protected with a cotton glove, holding it up for me to read.

"'RTG, 10 kwh" I read, then shook my head. "It's just an acronym, Veg. There are hundreds of these from Old World papers, but without context it could be anything."

"I've got context!" she said triumphantly. Veg opened her pack lying on the floor, pulling out a large, relatively thick, Old World book. The kind called that were referred to as Coffee Table books, though how you could use one as a table was beyond me. Cosmos read the cover. She opened it carefully, turning to a particular set of pages. A spindly Old World machine, which I recognized as one of the spacecraft that used to fly above the sky, was diagrammed on one page. I squinted down at it, reading the labels carefully. Then I spotted what she wanted me to see. "RTG - Radio Thermal Generator," I read. I blinked. ""Generator'. Wait, a power source?"

She nodded. "Used to power the machines that flew above the sky, when they went too far for the sun panels to work. Some of them could work for decades. Possibly long enough for the Shelter inhabitants, if there were any, to ride out the Impact. But if it wasn't inhabited, then it might have been used to maintain an environment that would preserve whatever was inside for even longer, maybe even until now."

I was starting to see why she'd closed the windows even on this hot day. If this was real, if the Shelter was real, it could a prize bigger than even the Archive. "It's good, Veg. Tempting enough to pry more resources from the Council, I'll admit, but it's useless without a location."

"It's here," she said, pointing to the topographic map. "The work order included military coordinates. It's all…   right… here…"

FYS: Desert Bus

This post originally appeared on my Patreon page. Please consider supporting me on Patreon to see this and other exclusive content 30 days in advance of the public.

* * *

"What's the matter, Master?" Anna asked Khan. Her tigermorph lover was standing in front of a display screen, showing two score humans in full VR headsets and suits, sitting in not terribly comfortable looking seats in rows of four seats with an aisle going up the middle, inclosed in a long sealed rectangular room. A sub-screen showed the game environment from the POV of one of the participants, showing them seated in a cramped mid-20th century long haul bus, traveling down a straight black asphalt road through a nearly featureless desert.

"I am attempting to figure out the point of this… one can barely call it a game," Khan said, his face scrunched in bemusement.

"Oh, you've never heard of Desert Bus?" Anna asked.

Khan's withering gaze turned towards her. "Desert Bus, created for the unreleased video game compilation Smoke and Mirrors, with the assistance of the comedy magician team of Penn & Teller," he recited. "The goal being to drive a passenger bus at eighty-eight kilometers an hour down an utterly straight road supposedly from Tucson, AZ to Las Vegas, NV, a journey of eight hours. Any deviation from the road would result in the bus crashing, requiring it to be towed at real time back to Tucson and begin the journey again. The only 'feature' of the game being a steering wheel that leans slightly to the left, requiring constant adjustments by the driver and preventing one from just letting the game run unattended."

Yes, of course Khan would know what it was. Being part of the Groupmind, he had access to the sum total of digitally recorded information from all of human history. It was just interpretation that sometimes escaped him. "You're wondering why they're playing it?" she ventured.

"Yes," Khan growled. "This isn't even the first time the game has been recreated in VR. I can comprehend playing it for charity as was done back on Lost Earth. Why play it here?" The tigermorph began pacing in front of the screen, waving his paw at the scene as he spoke. "I can understand the human need to be occasionally isolated from the larger world, usually as a means of either focusing the ability to examine one's inner thoughts, or for those such as yourself who enjoy it for erotic purposes. But why would one subject themselves to essentially being locked in a virtual box for eight hours straight for no material or psychological purpose?"

"They're having fun with their friends," Anna told him, smiling.

"Fun," he repeated in disbelief. "We build them an entire artificial world as their personal playground, and they subject themselves to that for amusement?"

"Sometimes the point is the journey, not the destination, Khannie," she told him sweetly. As she hoped, he let out a frustrated growl in her direction.

"That's an aphorism, not an answer," he said.

"I'm afraid that's the best you're going to get."

Khan sighed ruefully. "Once again we are reminded that we cannot hope to comprehend the entirety of human behavior."

"See, they're keeping you humble."

He smiled at her, showing off his fangs. "Which doesn't change the fact we are about to take our frustrations out on you."

Anna just grinned.

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