Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Results)  (Read 3315 times)

Sinitrena

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First of all, let's get out of the way what this topic is not about: It is not about characters giving or recieving second chances, though you coud write this as well, if you follow the rest of the rules.

No, this is about me giving y'all second chance. It is about the stories y'all started for our FWC but never managed to finish for whatever reason. Maybe you ran out of time, maybe you didn't like your idea in the end, maybe you forgot about our little competition.

Now is the time to look through your old files and find all the unfinshed goodness there. Take a look at your unfinished entries and write, write, write!

Or, if you never actually entered or tried to enter the FWC before, choose one of the old topics and write a story according to these rules.

The rules:

1. Finish an entry you started for a FWC in the past or choose an old topic and write a story for it.
2. Follow the original rules of the topic you choose. (As applicable. I didn't check every single past topic for compatibility.)
3. Let us know which topic you choose.
4. Let us know how much was finished beforehand and what was written now.
5. You can enter for a topic you originally administered.
6. You can continue a story you already submitted, as long as it is for a different topic.


Here's a list of past topics, going back through 2011:

Adventure Game
Spectacle!
Redemption
Faustian Bargain
Alternative Truth
Backstabbing
Cloak and Dagger
Handicapped
Broken
Write about what you don`t know
Fate
Steampunk
Wafts of Mist
Biblical Book
Mass Disappearances
Camping
Last Will and Testament
Scarcity
Serial
Revolution!
King of Random
Write about what you know!
Time to Vote!
Abandoned Place
The Opposite of Christmas
Concreate Poetry: Festive Edition
Petty Deity
Carpentarian
Archer
Lifeboat
A Crimson Shade of Blue
Little Folk
Travel Guide
Whodunnit
Civilizations First Direct Contact
Lost in Translation
The Author Struggle
Inept Personal Ad
Pioneers!
The Incompetent King
Prison Drama
Diaries of the Zombie Apocalypse
Skeletons in the Closet
Humanarium
Absurdist Pulp Noir
Monumental Memories
Mutate
Fictional Game Review
That`s an Actual Place?
Business of Yore
Not my blue cup of Tea
Odd Couple
In the beginning...
When Art is Concieved
Happiness
Continuation Story
Broken Promise
Haunted House
Suddenly: Reality
Coersion
Rashomon Style
Robbie Burns Editon
Tv Tropes
Impossible Escape!
Cast Away!
Robot!
Invading Aliens!
Leprechaun
Dark Moon
Fanfiction
New Leaf
Happy Holidays
What if?
Spooky!
That's Criminal!
The Beach
Riddle me this
One Sentence Poem
Purple
Extras
Mythopoeia
Censored!
Road Trip!
Text Adventure!
Mad Scientist Edition
Catch Phrase!
Ghost Writing
You choose
Coffee Time!
Drabble/Mini Saga
A Flick of the Switch
The American Old West
Surreal
AGS Game Fanfiction
Next Stop: The Futur
A Light in the Dark
Horror
Transatlantic
Afterlife
Superheroes

(Mistakes likely, I didn't check every single link.)

There are some more topics here.


I'm not sure yet how to do the voting here, as it might get dufficult to compare the stories. I'll think of something, and I'm open to suggestions.

Deadline is the 5th November. As this topic is rather unusual, I'm more than willing to extand it.

P.S.: If you hoped for a Halloween theme, there are a couple in the list above.

Deadline extended: 9. Nov. 2017
« Last Edit: 20 Nov 2017, 14:40 by Sinitrena »

JudasFm

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Deadline is the 5th September. As this topic is rather unusual, I'm more than willing to extand it.

Um, September? Either that's a typo or this is going to be a really long round! :-D

This is a really great idea for a round though! I wish I could enter lots of times but I've already picked my topic and am working on my entry right now ;)

Mandle

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YAY!!! Time to finish my last story!

Sinitrena

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Deadline is the 5th September. As this topic is rather unusual, I'm more than willing to extand it.

Um, September? Either that's a typo or this is going to be a really long round! :-D

Oops. :-[ Corrected.

Ponch

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I have unfinished stories for at least six of those themes. :cheesy:
*

JudasFm

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I have unfinished stories for at least six of those themes. :cheesy:

Which brings up an interesting question; can we enter more than once? I have three unfinished stories, plus I've been reading some of the other topics I didn't get to enter and I would really love to submit something for those!

Maybe enter more than one story, but limit the number of votes an author can receive to one? (Example: I enter three stories, but anyone who wants to vote can only pick one of those stories to vote for)

Sinitrena

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I thought about this since your first post.

And yes, I think I'll allow multiple entries. But it would be unfair to collect votes for one person through several stories.

I have three ideas how to keep it fair:

1. Votes are counted per story and not added up for the author. Meaning two stories by the same writer could be first and second place, and a writer could write his own strongest competition.

2. JudasFm's suggestion:
Maybe enter more than one story, but limit the number of votes an author can receive to one? (Example: I enter three stories, but anyone who wants to vote can only pick one of those stories to vote for)

3. You can write more than one story but you have to decide which one you want votes for.

I don't like the third method. It'd feel a bit like wasted work.
The second might lead to people choosing one story to vote for and still also voting for the others in their heads.
The first one might lead to one author getting first, second and third place. I still think I'd prefer this one, because stories by one author could be rather different and should be looked at induvidually. But you could end up "stealing" votes from yourself.

In short, I don't know yet, but if you really want to write more than one entry, go ahead.

WHAM

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I've been meaning to participate again for ages, but none of the themes have really struck a chord with me for a while (or maybe I've just been lazy).

Now I come in and looked over the list. THERE ARE TOO MANY OPTIONS! I CAN'T CHOOSE! SEND HELP!

Well, I did notice one theme that caught my interest and when I explored the link in more detail, I discovered that it was a theme I set myself, so... Heck!
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Sinitrena

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Well, I did notice one theme that caught my interest and when I explored the link in more detail, I discovered that it was a theme I set myself, so... Heck!

That's certainly no reason not to enter. Please refer to rule 5 - just in case you overlooked it. (nod)

Rocchinator

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Mine was from FWC "Immpossible Escape"



Too Deep
 
“What an odd plant, must take a picture” Travis thought, while he dived into a small cave, near an underwater rift. The strange plan was white with blue tips shinning on top of her leafs. The sea was calm that day, amazing for scuba diving.
“Perfect” he grabbed his Special Camera took some shots. Things like this, made him so happy of the decision that he made years ago, moving to a place near the shore. 
 The ocean was his passion, always been, but he played safe, Travis respected the “Poseidon Kingdom”. But that day, something happened when he felt a weird sound coming from behind. He turned immediately, and suddenly he saw the most magnificent creature ever. A bluish shining seahorse with purple coral wings, he moved but actually he seems to be dancing to a music coming from his mouth, like he was whistling. It was a peaceful, almost angelical, made Travis feels joy and hope. He grabbed his camera again, and the seahorse, scared, started to get away from Travis. He pursued him deeper in the rift, he wasn’t so fast, so he could reach him easy. Minutes later the seahorse stopped, Travis did it too. From the almost black sight of the deep ocean water, he saw more, and more, seahorses like that one, all in different colors. He was shocked and exited.
“No one is going to believe me, I need photos” He grabbed his camera once again and started taking pictures, all the creatures where looking at him, dancing and whistling. But in one moment a shark passed by and they flew away.
Travis stayed the with the camera on his hands, completely in darkness, and he realized that he followed this seahorse so deep that now he didn´t know where he was, it was ocean all around.
He started diving up, and up, and up, but... was he really going up? Or was he was going down? He felt confused, where was he, he can only saw his hands, once again he dived, this time more furiously, his heath started beating faster and faster, the oxygen tube was going low, he had like two more minutes of it, nothingness everywhere, no fish, no light, no surface. He was a really calmed man but this time the fear took place. Travis was hopeless he watched his watch, the oxygen meter going down, one and a half minute, when the saw in the digital screen, one minute, he just closed his eyes, he preferred his darkness rather the outside nothingness, he was already facing death, so he just waited. Travis felt he hit a rock with his back, and opened his eyes. And he saw a small sun beam light, he dive towards it like a fish, he was at his top speed, no oxygen was left just desperation. He gets closer, and closer and he realize it wasn´t a sun beam light but the shining seahorse. He just stayed there, petrified, but was he hearing right, or was he delirious, now the seahorse wasn´t singing but… laughing?
“Heartless Creature, they always told me that the devil was underground not… underwater, a simple misconception” that was Travis final thought.

Baron

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Well, I did notice one theme that caught my interest and when I explored the link in more detail, I discovered that it was a theme I set myself, so... Heck!
That's certainly no reason not to enter. Please refer to rule 5 - just in case you overlooked it.

I too have decided to use a theme I set myself.  Rule 5 rules! (nod)

WHAM

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I'll do a dig around my pile of unfinished / unstarted MAGS concepts, as well as some of the old themes I've missed. Would be good to get back into writing for a change.
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Sinitrena

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Mine was from FWC "Immpossible Escape"

Please don't forget to also tell us if and which part of the story was written earlier and which part now. It won't have any bearing on the voting, I'm just curious how many people actually finish an old idea of theirs.

Baron

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My idea was for the Whodunnit theme, which, because I was administering (and was voted down when I proposed entering - note to self, it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission (nod)), I never started.  But I did have an idea, and it's kinda come back to me, so I'm going with that.

Sinitrena

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Oh, an encore of the whodunnit theme, that's great! :-D So we'll get to guess the culprit? Love it. I thought for a while that we should reuse this topic at some point. We didn't have too many entries, but it was one fun round. (nod)

WHAM

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I've begun work on the theme of "Wafts of Mist", which I completely missed way back in the day. I had a few lines of concept text written for it, but never actually began writing a proper story.
Time to give a solid try.
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
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WHAM

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Wafts of mist

Heinrich peered through the wooden slants of the window, out into the street. He couldn’t make out the shape of the building across, but only saw the faint yellow flicker of candlelight from the windows of the nearest few houses.

“Seven hells...” -he rumbled to himself, and rubbed his beard. He was itching, and badly in need of a bath, but he, nor any of the three men accompanying him in the guard barracks, had dared venture outside for two days now.

The mist had rolled in four days ago now. At first it had been light, curling about people’s ankles, causing dropped coins to be lost forever. The children had laughed and played in it, using leaves and sticks to draw up the thick gray vapors to create swirls and shapes. Then on the night of the second day, it had begun to grow thicker, until people began to bump into one another in the streets. Well, more so than usual, considering it was the drunkards of the night, stumbling home from the tavern. On the third day the mist had become so thick that none dared go outside and brave the streets for fear of never finding their way back home again.

“Any change?” -came a disgruntled, restless voice from the back of the room. Heinrich turned from the window and faced his friends, then simply shrugged and shook his head.

“None.” -he stated in a hushed tone. A scraping noise came from the outside, along with a sound like a bear roaring through water; a wet growl that bubbled and echoed in the night.

“A bird...” -suggested one of the men, Wilhelm, a man with a broad nose and a thick red beard. A pair of small glasses sat atop his nose, magnifying his beady little eyes.

“No bird made tha’ sound. Not e’en one o’ th’ exxs- ekssot- the weird ones. From afar.” -commented Johann, a tall, young man with a keen wit and a fast sword hand. He held the blade, even now, and at times he’d cut a hair off of his arm, as if to confirm that it was still sharp.

The four men nodded to one another as a strained silence followed that unnatural sound. The scraping had stopped. Not even a bird squawked outside. Heinrich could hear his own heart thumping in his chest. Two long days now, and it was fast nearing midnight. They could see the lights in windows, and in the day they shouted across the streets. The occupants of those houses that had a second story to them reported that, by standing on their rooftops, they could see above the mist, that it stretched far and wide, further than they could see even in daylight. High above, they said, the sun shone in the day, and full moon lit the top of the silvery mist at night.

A scream startled Heinrich and sent him to the window with such haste that he bumped his forehead on the frame. Johann nearly cut his arm, and cursed. There were no new sights outside, apart from the nearest light of a candle having disappeared from beyond the mist. One less flickering flame. Heinrich hunched low as the sound of shattering wood and another scream pierced the night. Shouts of alarm echoed from afar, muffled by the oppressive mist, and yet there were no sounds of footfalls, no rush to help.

“Something foul. Beast of the woods, I think. Emboldened by the cover of dark.” Heinrich whispered, staring intently into the mist. The glass pane before him misted over with his breath, further reducing visibility. “We have to go.” -he grunted, sounding none too happy of the fact himself. The other three men in the barracks shuddered at the thought. Both Johann and Wilhelm opened their mouths to speak, then exchanged troubled looks and fell silent. The last man, Frederik, a bearded veteran of six wars now, had risen from his bench and stepped up to the door, where he wrenched up the heavy wooden bar that kept it shut and set it on the floor without a word. He’d always been the quiet one. Some said he was mute, but Heinrich knew better. Heinrich nodded with approval, glanced to the other two, then gestured to the door. Frederik had already begun to pull the door open, and slivers of mist were creeping in across the floorboards. As one tendril of vapor neared his leg, Johann stomped his foot down on it restlessly. The loud thumping sound drawing antagonistic looks from his companions.

The air outside was heavy and thick as the four men stepped outside, with Heinrich leading his squad just like in the olden days. He carried his sword in one hand and a lantern in the other, though the light barely even allowed him to see the ground at his feet. He couldn’t see them, but the others were behind him by the sounds of their boots. One sword and two short spears. They’d put down a rabid bear last autumn. They’d put down whatever stalked the foggy street tonight.

“On me!” -hissed Heinrich over his shoulder, grimacing as he heard his own voice echoing from the walls that lined the street. He counted the steps and made his way, as best he could, to where the light had gone out. He wondered if others had gone, before, but he’d simply not heard them then, or noticed the snuffing out of the small, flickering flames in windows.

A fragment of wood, one of the scattered pieces of what had just moments ago been a sturdy door, crunched underfoot. Heinrich ducked low to inspect it as his men marched past him. “Th’ whole blasted door’s gone! Careful now!” -came a hiss that could only be Johann. Heinrich could hear the footsteps on floorboards as his men entered a house through the doorway. The mist surrounding Heinrich felt like a great hand, pressing down on his neck, pushing him down. He could feel moisture beading on his spine, beneath his uniform. Whatever had broken the door had done so with the force of a great bear, or some other beast, shattering wood and pulling what remained right off its frame. The oaken boards had been torn off metal bars that connected them, and shattered. From inside a sound of something wooden falling over could be heard, clattering against the floorboards, along with whispered curses.

Heinrich stood up and let the piece of wood fall. Silence had fallen again, the alarmed voices that had echoed down the street, the shouted questions and exclamations, had all died out. There were no footsteps. “Wilhelm?” -Heinrich called out in a hushed voice, but there was no reply. He rubbed his nose with the back of his hand and raised the lantern up once more, as he stepped in through the doorway. The mist had already entered the house and inside it was as thick as on the outside. Water beaded on the narrow mirror on the wall, rolling down the smooth surface. The veteran could just barely make out the walls, and the coatrack. He recognized that red coat. The Bremmer house. “Johann?” -he called out, well aware that calling out for Frederik would be useless, as the man was effectively mute unless deeply drunk. Silence remained his only answer.

A few more steps and Heinrich passed through another doorway, into the main room of the low house. He could smell smoke, even through the dampness, and something rancid, like rotting fish. He gasped in surprise as he realized a figure was standing beside him, a spear in hand. Several seconds passed in silence, no greeting came. Heinrich nodded, recognizing the mute veteran and his spear.

There was a glint of light on the figures face, a reflection of the lantern. Heinrich turned to the room and raised the lantern to better see.

It was only when hands grabbed him from behind that Heinrich realized something was wrong.

Frederik didn’t have glasses. Nothing to reflect the light.

Before he could turn, a hand pressed over Heinrich’s mouth, muffling his alarmed yell. He bit into it and tasted hot, coppery blood as it lazily oozed into his mouth and stained his teeth. The hand did not let go. Another pair joined it and wrenched his arm off to his side, until he could feel the joint of his shoulder popping out of its socket. His sword fell to the floor with a loud clatter, as he screamed into the relentless hand. His voice was little more than a whimper.

He felt cold. Cold around his numbing arm. Cold in his boots. Cold in his gut. Before his eyes the mist coalesced into tangible form, a thick tendril that slid over his face and into his nostrils. He puffed air out of his nose to thwart the invasion, but soon ran out of breath. He felt cold in his lungs as he inhaled the mist, which thickened like briny soup inside his body. He could sense the cold travel up to his skull. It took him a long, agonizing moment to drown. The lantern dropped from Heinrich’s spasming hand, it’s glass cracked, and the mist snuffed out the light. When he no longer groaned, gurgled and struggled, the hands all let go.

Six men, a woman and a young child stood in the darkened room now, dead-eyed and silent as the mist swirled lazily around their bodies. An ember cracked in the fireplace, and was quickly doused by the air itself. Johann lay face down on the floor, a pool of his own blood spreading about him, dripping down between the floorboards. His own sword had cut his throat open in the struggle. His face was a mask of sheer horror, eyes wide, mouth gaping open in a silent scream of terror. The other faces, expressionless and uncaring, looked down at the body, and not one of them drew so much as a breath.

Heinrich opened his mouth and emitted a low guttural sound, water bubbling on his lips, as he crouched down and picked up his sword once more.

Another house waited, in the mist.

Hope you enjoyed that little storylet! Heck, it's almost Halloween, so it's only appropriate to write something a bit spooky. Story based on the old theme of "Wafts of Mist". I did not have an actual written start to a story, just loose concepts written down in a text file as I'd begun sketching out an idea for a story, so this is almost entirely a new story. The concepts I'd written down, and ran with, was basically: How to make mist spooky. As in: the mist itself, not what's inside of it.
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Sinitrena

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The deadline is looming. you still have a couple of days left but if you're writing day and night, you should come to an end. ;)

Baron

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The deadline isn't looming THAT much yet! ;)  Right now it's more just ...impending. (nod)

JudasFm

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This is one for the Travel Guide contest, which I administered in the past. I wasn't sure about entering myself at the time, but I always wanted to write this. I'm working on an entry for Archer as well, but unless we get an extension (hint hint!) I'm not going to make that particular deadline.

This was too long for one post, so I split it.

Wikitravel Entry: The Nemesis

WARNING: Travel to the Nemesis is extremely dangerous for those affiliated with reform camps.  If you are discovered to have a link to one of those camps, no matter how tenuous, you will be held for ransom. 

The Nemesis is unique: a city-ship with no fixed port or allegiance to one particular government.  Travel to it is difficult, but not impossible.  However, outsiders are viewed with suspicion bordering on xenophobia by a lot of the crew and must be accompanied by a guide at all times while outside their rooms.  If you're not prepared to have your every move watched and your actions restricted as an outsider, don't even think of applying for a tourist visa.

Understand

English is the official language on board the Nemesis.  The unique multicultural crew, boasting members from every settled moon and planet in our solar system, means that you will have no trouble finding someone who can interpret for you.  Important signs are in every language, but place names are often only in English.  It is advisable for you to have at least a rudimentary grasp of the language before arriving.  Your guide will also interpret for you.  If you need a guide who is fully bilingual, this can quite easily be arranged at no extra charge, providing you make your request when you apply for your visa.  Please note that it is impossible to change or choose your assigned guide; however, if you have visited the Nemesis previously, you are allowed to request the same guide or a different one. In the case of the same guide, your request may or may not be granted – the guide themselves has to agree – but a request for a different one will always be allowed.

Regions

The Nemesis consists of forty three decks, plus the biodeck, engineering sub-levels and the pool.  In theory, if you're accompanied by your guide – and you will be – you can go anywhere so long as the guide is also allowed there; the engineering levels, for example, are off limits to most of the crew. 

In practice, ninety five percent of the Nemesis is strictly off limits to outsiders.  Respect this and do not attempt to explore.  If you're not certain whether or not you can enter a place, ask your guide. 

Bridge

The heart of all operations on the Nemesis.  Any crew member has the right to enter the bridge, but outsiders are banned not only from the bridge itself, but from the main corridor leading up to it. Unless you're summoned by a member of the bridge crew – which is probably not a good thing – you'll never see this place.

Dining Hall

Off limits to non-crew members; you can either choose to have your food brought to you, or to eat at one of the other diners on the rec-deck.

Rec-deck

Short for recreation deck, the rec-deck is where most of the fun things happen.  There is a movie theater which can seat five hundred, although the viewing selection is quite limited, and several shops, a few diners and a huge room that is used as a concert hall.  Mostly it's the Mavericks and/or Lunar Eclipse who play here, but you can sometimes find the odd play or musical.

Engineering

Off limits to you, but there's very little down there anyway.

Swimming pool

Strictly speaking, this isn't off-limits to visitors, but the only chance you have of being taken to it is if you impress your guide with your good behavior.  The swimming pool takes up the three lowest decks of the Nemesis, and since it's free, is extremely popular among the crew.  However, there are no kinds of pool toys or slides; the 'pool' in fact isn't a pool at all, but the filtered source of the ship's fresh water supply.  There is no cause for concern, however, as the excessive filtration methods means that this water is safe to both drink and swim in, although doing both at the same time is not recommended.

Memorial Hall

A poignant reminder of all deceased crew members.  Again, technically not off-limits to outsiders, but your guide will refuse to take you if you show the slightest sign of inappropriate behavior on the ship.  If you do somehow persuade them to bring you, be very respectful during your visit and all cameras and recording equipment must be handed to your guide before you enter, or better yet, not brought at all.  The Memorial Hall is not a tourist attraction, and the Nemesis's crew will not appreciate you treating it as such.  When in this room, you must remain completely silent at all times, which is something the crew do as well.  If you want to know more about one of the markers, your guide will probably tell you, but do not ask him/her until you are both outside.

Outsiders who are related to one of the deceased crew can be granted a special permit upon proof of DNA. Since it would be unthinkable to move or otherwise tamper with a shrine, relatives of the deceased are permitted to take a photo of their loved one's shrine.

History

The Nemesis was originally a top secret and highly classified Military ship, whose commanding officer deliberately broke regulations to rescue a group of middle school and high school students who were in an accident. The exact details of this accident are unknown to all except those involved, but the most likely theory is that it was the same accident that supposedly wiped out the school shuttle Syzygy.

What is known is that when the Military crew disappeared, the current crew took control of the ship and for some six or seven years were falsely accused of seizing it, and treated as space pirates.  Up until a year ago, the Military made many attempts to retake it and execute those on board, but were unsuccessful as the Nemesis possesses jump drives and engines far superior to the average ship, and would simply fly away. A plethora of booby traps and several more ruthless members of the crew ensured that on the rare occasions when the Military did succeed in boarding, they invariably came off worse.

When the current crew's names were finally cleared, they refused all offers of compensation, insisting on being given the Nemesis and complete autonomy instead.  This was reluctantly granted, due to pressure from almost every newspaper in existence and one or two high-ranking members of the Military itself.

Tension between the crew and the Military still runs extremely high, however, and anyone affiliated with the Military or any of the governments is forbidden from setting foot on the Nemesis, regardless of purpose.  Ex-Military members may be granted access, but this is strictly on a case-by-case basis. However, those discovered to have some kind of connection with the Military after boarding shouldn't have too much in the way of trouble.

The reason for the extreme level of hostility towards reform camp personnel remains unknown.

Get in

It's not known when the Nemesis is going to arrive at a certain world, so booking travel in advance is very difficult.  The best way is to register with your local agency and have them call you as soon as the Nemesis arrives.  The Nemesis usually remains in port for at least a week, so you and any others will have time to pack.

You will need a visa to enter the Nemesis.  Unfortunately, the only place where your visa can be ratified is on the Nemesis itself, so your agent will have to sort the paperwork for you.  The good news is that this tends to happen very fast; if there are no problems, you can have a valid visa ready and authorized within twenty four hours of applying.

With its H-drive, the Nemesis is well known for its ability to travel far faster than any other ship in existence and is willing enough to act as paid transport for those moving to another world.  However, for those planning a vacation, remember that the ship will not wait for you at the other end unless there are a lot of tourists wanting transport, such as for a festival, and that the crew will have no compunctions about leaving you behind.  Those of you who do wish to use the Nemesis as a cheaper and much faster alternative to interplanetary shuttle companies should note that you will be locked in your room until you reach your destination, with food being served to you.  Since the Nemesis can theoretically travel from Pluto to Mercury in just over twelve hours, thanks to the H-drive, this won't be too much of a hardship.  It is worth noting, however, that the physical stress placed on the crew during an H-jump means that they're unlikely to use the H-drive more than they have to, which means that travel from Pluto to Mercury is more likely to take around a month.  If you want to be really safe, budget six weeks for it.

Get around

Transport is mostly on foot, although there are three systems of public transport: the chain, the engineering track, and cleaning machines.  Of these, the chain and track are both off-limits to outsiders; the chain isn't much use except for moving through and getting out of the swimming pool, and the track – a narrow platform carried along in the engineering gears – is too dangerous to be attempted unless you know what you're doing.

Cleaning machines have a hook on trailer, some with seats that offers comfortable transport.  However, it is also extremely expensive and consequently viewed by most of the crew as a soft option, although concessions are usually made for the injured and elderly.  Otherwise, if you insist on being ferried everywhere, you can expect a certain amount of hostile looks and snide comments, particularly if you left your guide walking alongside.  The crew of the Nemesis regularly use the cleaning machines to have items such as laundry delivered to them, however, so as long as you put your clothes in your own net bag (provided in your room) nobody will complain on this score.

If you become separated from your guide at any time, do not attempt to find them.  Stand very still against the wall so that you're out the way of any crew members, and wait.  Chances are they will retrace their steps and find you.

If a crew member asks what you're doing there, smile, apologize and explain the situation.  Give them your guide's name and they'll contact him/her.  Do not be offended if the crew member stays there to keep an eye on you until your guide reappears.

Talk

Because of the borderline xenophobia throughout the ship, most crew members outside of your guide will be reluctant to strike up a conversation with you.  Accept this and do not make a nuisance of yourself.

Asking questions such as how someone makes a particular dish or sweet will be taken as a compliment and a sign of interest; the assumption being that it was so delicious you want to make it for yourself at home.  However, it's very unlikely you'll get an answer, as competition for jobs among crew members is fierce, and your host will not want half a dozen people overhearing and attempting to put him/her out of business.  Again, accept this and don't pester people; if you're polite and respectful, it's not unknown for the recipe you wanted to somehow find its way into your belongings.

See

For those not wanting to travel, a few parts of the Nemesis are open to the public whenever the ship is docked. Day passes are required but can be purchased at the entrance. Since no ID is required, this is a good way for Military personnel or those working with reform camps to explore; however, your background must be kept secret, for your own safety. The Nemesis doesn't offer discounts; day passes for babies cost the same as those for adults and every member of your party, regardless of age, must purchase one to reduce the risk of stowaways. Costs can vary, and bargaining or trading for some item or other isn't unheard of.

The day pass can be purchased at any time, but is only good for twelve hours, after which you must leave the ship and turn in your pass at the exit.
During the twelve hours, you are free to come and go from the Nemesis as often as you please, but your DNA will be checked both when you purchase the pass, and every time you go in or out. This ensures that no pass can be traded or forged.

Biodeck

This is the reason most people travel to the Nemesis, to see the vibrant Terra-like hills, forest and lakes. The biodeck takes up the whole of the top deck, making it roughly around twenty five square miles in area. Cleaning machines are not permitted. Please note that certain parts of the biodeck are not hoverchair friendly and that the trails can become very muddy, so you are advised to bring sneakers or hiking boots.

Food and drink are permitted, but all waste must be taken with you when you leave. Exceptions may be made for fruit pits, as they can be planted.

The weather is customizable from the control room.  The crew will not listen to requests for nor complaints about rain, snow, hail or brilliant sunshine, so you take your chances.  However, they can sometimes be bribed with off-ship offerings such as books, movies, music and local currency.  This is something the regular crew do on occasion as well, so it's considered perfectly acceptable.

That said, Nemeseans do appreciate that not many tourists will enjoy squelching through the pouring rain, so you're guaranteed reasonably good weather.

Krystal Gallery

Krystal Lynn is an extremely talented artist, specializing in oil landscapes. All paintings in her gallery are for sale, but most of them are expensive and she will only accept Nemesean tokens or hard currency.  A small one (A4 size) will cost you around two hundred tokens, or the equivalent of.

Do

Concerts by the Mavericks and Lunar Eclipse are always worth seeing, although tickets are near impossible to come by, even for the regular crew members, and tend to sell out within the first five minutes. Concerts are also never given during normal planetfall, so only those actually traveling on the Nemesis have the chance to see these bands perform. Anyone hoping to attend will have to get at least two tickets, one for yourself and one for your guide. It's sometimes possible to reserve at the rec-deck ticket offices, but costs for doing so will be prohibitive. If you do decide to go down this route, expect to pay quintuple prices, and all these offices operate a no-refund policy. If you leave the ship before spare tickets come up, well, that's just too bad for you.

Buy

The Nemesis runs on an entirely virtual currency known as tokens, payable and transferable with a T-card. You will be given a tourist version, to be handed in whenever you leave the ship. Nothing is free on the Nemesis; food is paid for with green tokens and entertainment with yellow. However, bartering and exchanging one item for another is also a very common way of doing business.  On the Nemesis, anything is up for exchange, so if you don't have enough tokens, it's not uncommon for a shopkeeper to say something along the lines of, "Well, I'll give it to you in exchange for your ring."

If you don't want to trade that particular item, a simple, "No," or "No, I'm not interested in trading any of my jewelry," will suffice.  Do not hesitate or worry about causing offense; no is a perfectly acceptable answer, and any hesitation in this case will likely be taken as an invitation to haggle.

All stores on the Nemesis will accept any planetary currency.  However, there is no fixed exchange rate, so it's worth shopping around.  By and large, though, the traders will treat you fairly.  You'll pay more than the regular crew, but usually no more than around ten percent.

Green tokens are always placed before yellows in terms of pricing and priority, so if someone offers you two and four, they're offering you two green tokens and four yellow ones. Tokens are not interchangeable (ie, you can't convert yellows to greens) on the same card but if you want an extra yellow and can find someone who wants an extra green, swapping tokens across T-cards is perfectly fine and something that the regular crew do on pretty much a daily basis. Many crew members are known to have formed working partnerships along those lines, where one receives an abundance of greens and the other yellows and the two of them split the takings fifty-fifty.

Eat

For those of you who are vegetarians, there are salad bars at every meal, and the Nemesis also features Vegan Tuesdays, where everything is safe for vegan consumption.  On Fridays there's a Planetary Buffet, where local cuisine from one particular world is offered. Otherwise, you get whatever the meal crew feels like serving.

As an outsider, you will not be allowed to eat with the regular crew.  You will be given a menu the night before and place your orders with your guide, who will relay them to the dining hall.

The rec-deck has a few small diners, but service at these tends to be very slow and not all of them welcome outsiders.

Fi's Diner

The first of its kind and arguably the most popular. Fi's has a set menu, which costs one green and offers a starter, a main and a dessert. This makes it marginally cheaper than the dining hall, which charges two greens for a three course meal (two course meals cost one green). The portions are slightly smaller than those in the dining hall, but the lower price makes this an attractive option. At the time of writing, Fi's is the only diner on the rec-deck to serve outsiders.

There are one or two sweet shops, but products from here are highly in demand.  However, some are more easily obtainable than others.  It's worth noting that sweets on the Nemesis are considered as something pleasant rather than something nutritious, and so generally tend to be paid for with yellows.  However, most sweet shops will also accept the equivalent in greens.  Since the crew like to have a healthy balance of both, it's not unusual for a shop to change the accepted currency midway through the day.  Because of the high demand, haggling for sweets or offering things in exchange is not possible, and everyone is limited to one item only.  This stops the rich from going in and buying out the shop before anyone else has a chance to get in.

Cobyte

Coconut shavings, rolled into a ball and deep fried to a crunchy medium brown.  These are usually sold in bags of four each for two tokens.  They taste very good; however, biting them directly is not recommended unless you know a good dentist.

Nums

Small, thumb length pieces of crispy fried dough covered in glazed sugar.  Not quite as soft as donuts.  Unhealthy but easy to produce and therefore the easiest to come by.  A bag of six costs you one token.

Chippings

What's left after the confectioners have done their work with fruit flavored sugar treats.  Chippings are often too hard to bite but can be good to suck.  If all you want are a few pieces, the confectioners will usually give them to you rather than throw them out.

Fruities

Fruit-flavored boiled sweets.  These sell out incredibly fast and even the crew are limited to one bag of six per visit.  Unlike nums and cobytes, fruities take longer to make and are far more complicated, so there's no ready supply.

Drink

There is no alcohol on the Nemesis, nor are you allowed to bring any with you.  This is not a place to go if you want to get drunk and piss the night away.  The main drinks on the ship are water, tea (herbal or regular) or coffee.  However, you are free to bring any non-alcoholic beverages you please.  Since so few of the crew get to buy soda due to the lack of hard currency, a can of Coke can be an extremely powerful bargaining tool.

Part two
« Last Edit: 05 Nov 2017, 14:23 by JudasFm »

Baron

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    • Baron worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
All right, the deadline is looming now. Can I have an extension please? ;)

JudasFm

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All right, the deadline is looming now. Can I have an extension please? ;)
Dangit, Baron, you sneaky banana dictator, you ninja-ed my post :-D I wanted that slot to keep my entry going.
Oh well ;)

(Continued from here)

Sleep

The typical Nemesean quarters are small with a three-tier bunk bed on both walls. Single rooms are available at an increased price.

Nemeseans will put families together, but if there's a bed, they'll fill it. In other words, if there are four of you, you can expect to share with two strangers. It's possible to buy the room out, but only if there are no other passengers who need the space. Moving rooms is not allowed unless there are extremely mitigating circumstances, such as one of your roommates attacking you or stealing from you.

All the rooms are covered by security cameras, but the adjoining bathrooms are not, so the more modest of you can always go and change in there.

Those who are moving worlds as opposed to visiting on a tourist visa can expect to spend their entire time locked in the room, so think very carefully about who will be staying with who. Nemeseans are very amenable to requests for single or twin rooms providing those requests are made before booking.

Learn

Although there are educational facilities on the Nemesis, no outsiders are permitted to make use of them or even visit. If you have children who you're taking with you, either bring the equipment you need to home-school them or accept that they're not going to be going to classes all the time you're on the ship.

Work

In a word, impossible, or pretty damn close.  The Nemesis won't hire outsiders on any long-term basis, regardless of your skills.  You may be allowed to help out in the mining crews or in the kitchens, but don't expect to be paid and regardless of how much younger your boss is, remember that he/she is your boss and treat them accordingly.  Doing this is a hard way to spend your vacation, but it offers the best way to get to know some of the crew members, although it's very unlikely they'll socialize with or even acknowledge you much outside of work.

An exception may be made for those in the medical profession, such as doctors and dentists.  However, you will not be paid for your services unless it's in the way of personal gifts or tokens directly from your patient (refusing is a serious insult, but re-gifting is perfectly acceptable. For example, if you receive a ring, the crew member who gave it to you won't be at all offended if you decide to pass it on, although it's considered polite to wait until they aren't around).  It's worth noting that since you're not guaranteed to receive anything from it, if a crew member asks for your help, you are not obliged in any way to give it.

The only permanent, guaranteed work is in the acting world.  The crew script and produce their own dramas and movies, but due to their young age, they often require more mature actors aged around thirty and above.  Since they can't afford to pay the high wages demanded by A-list performers, they're very happy to hire inexperienced performers looking to build a portfolio.  Auditions – or at least, preliminary interviews – are required.  You will not receive any money, but you will be given free room and board and far better treatment than any tourist, according to accounts from performers who have worked in several dramas. An example is Kanae Godai, who played a large part in one of the first Nemesean dramas and who built up enough of a rapport to be granted the status of honorary crew member, allowing her to come and go from the ship freely with no need for a visa and even be granted crew quarters.

Stay safe

Violent crime is very rare on board the Nemesis, and pickpocketing is unheard of.  Your belongings should be safe in your room, but you are advised not to leave valuables lying around in plain sight.  As one crew member famously said, "We're not criminals, but we're not saints either." 

Illegal drugs of any kind carry an extremely stiff penalty, both for the crew and for outsiders.  Depending on where you're going, the crew may decide to hand you over to the authorities at the other end, but you can count on a good few days without food before you get there, and if the crew doesn't consider the penalty at your destination harsh enough, or thinks you may be able to avoid it due to money or connections, they will mete out justice according to their laws.

Stay healthy

If you need medication, be sure to bring a copy of your doctor's prescription with you, otherwise you'll likely be refused entry.  This may seem harsh, but it relieves the crew of the pressure of trying to decide whether you're genuinely ill or attempting to smuggle drugs.  The Nemesis has a fully stocked and equipped mediwing should you become injured.

Respect

Crew members on board the Nemesis are known for being extremely touchy, at least with outsiders, although they're usually pleasant and friendly outside the ship and with each other. Those outsiders who have managed to find work as actors are usually accorded a lot more respect, even liking; a few have even managed to reach the unofficial status of honorary crew member.  For a tourist though, it's sort of a damned if you do, damned if you don't philosophy.  If you attempt to strike up a friendly conversation, you'll be seen as over-familiar and presumptuous; if you keep your mouth shut apart from addressing your guide, you'll be seen as arrogant and thinking yourself too good to speak with the likes of the crew.

Age is not a factor on the Nemesis, the youngest crew member being eleven.  This can take some getting used to, and your guide will most likely be in their mid to late teens.  Accept this and do not act offended or outraged when they forbid you from going somewhere or doing something.  They're not doing it to be bratty; they're doing it because those are the rules and if you break them, your guide is the one who will get into trouble.

Do not attempt to enter a Team room or a crew member's personal room.  These are all marked with the names on the outside.  It's highly unlikely a tourist card will grant you access, but anyone inside will know someone is trying to get in and if someone catches you in the act, you're going to have some awkward explaining to do.

Do not offer helpful suggestions on how to improve things unless you have managed to build up an extremely close rapport with your guide (very difficult, as most of them will keep you at a polite distance!) or unless your suggestions are very innocuous and crop up naturally in the course of a conversation, such as being asked your opinion on someone's outfit.  Even then, keep it very neutral; saying something like, I saw on this TV show how they made outfits by... will be far better received than I think you should... Even if the crew in question know that such an episode was never aired, the effort at modesty on your part will be appreciated and none of them will call you on it.

Although it's not uncommon to see several members on the pool islands using each other as headrests and bundling up together like wolves in a den, physical contact from you is a big no-no.  Most will accept a handshake, but this is as far as you can go.

Do not criticize any decision made by the bridge crew, or the crew members themselves.  Doing so will land you in serious trouble.  The bridge crew don't care what people say about them, but the regular crew will, and they are fanatically loyal to their leaders.  Even if you heard them making the exact same criticism five seconds ago to their friends, keep your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself. 

Occasionally, a crew member may attempt to engage you in a debate along those lines in an effort to set you up for a fall.  If you're asked your opinion on anything, be very vague and non-committal in your answers, and keep those answers along the lines of, "Well, I don't really know enough about it to be able to offer an opinion; after all, I'm just a visitor here." Other crew members tend to frown on this kind of tourist-baiting, so it's very likely one or more of them will extricate you from that situation.

All your photos and holojections will be examined before you leave.  It's highly unlikely any will be erased, but the faces of all crew members will be blurred and distorted to avoid recognition.  Do not attempt to do this yourself; the crew will take the view that what you've done, you can also undo, and will erase the pictures.  They will blur the faces for you during the final inspection of your goods and photographs.  You will not be charged for this, nor will you get in trouble unless you attempt to stop them; it's part of their job and they expect to do it, so smile, thank them and let them get on with it.  Instead of blurring, you can also request they paste an image over the top of the faces.

Nudity when swimming or occasionally basking is considered normal and accepted, although not all the crew indulge.  This should not be taken as an invitation and if you find it offensive, you are advised to stay away from the biodeck and the swimming areas.  Do not pass comment or request they cover themselves up; no one in the crew cares about your delicate sensibilities.  Outsiders are not expected to strip off, although if you choose to, you won't be judged.

Some areas are more popular than others, however, and should you want to avoid seeing any nudity, you are advised to ask your guide to scout ahead.

Contact

Outsiders are not granted access to any networks.  While on board the Nemesis, you will be entirely cut off from your friends, family and your workplace.  Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis; permission to send a family member a virtual birthday or Col-Day card will always be granted, but if you want to send a long-winded email to a family member talking about the crew, you'll hit a wall.  Writing about how the Nemesis is set up is fine to a certain extent so long as you don't get too specific.  For example, you can say how T-cards work as the currency system and that there's a movie theater on the rec-deck, but not how to get to that deck.

All communication devices must be turned in at the beginning of your stay and will be kept safe and returned to you when you leave.  It is possible for people on the outside to contact you, but it is strongly discouraged and you should be aware that any communication you receive will be examined and read before being passed onto you.

Conclave

There seems to be some confusion over the purpose of Conclave, with most outsiders thinking of it as a kind of courtroom equivalent where the bridge crew presides as judge, jury and executioner.  While this is reasonably accurate, it's only half the story.  The structure of Conclave can vary in that sometimes it's used to determine guilt, and other times it's used solely to determine the punishment, in cases where a person has been caught red-handed. 

Should you be summoned before Conclave, you can expect to lose everything you own except the clothes you stand up in.

Outsiders do not have the right to call Conclave on anyone, but they can request their guide to do so under appropriate circumstances, such as something of theirs being stolen or one of their group being assaulted by a crew member. 

Do not antagonize or challenge the bridge crew.  They are not just above the law; they are the law, and despite the xenophobic attitude of most of the crew, you will be given a fair hearing at Conclave and granted the same rights as anyone else.  If the crew member is the one at fault, you will be compensated adequately.  In your case, this will likely be in the form of a favor, such as an extra two hours on the biodeck.  While you can make a request as to the type of compensation you would like, it may or may not be granted, and unlike a crew member brought to Conclave, you do not get any say in the guilty person's punishment.

If your belongings are damaged, the bridge crew will cover the cost of a replacement for you. 

Conclusion

The Nemesis is not the violent hothouse of paranoia and xenophobia that most people seem to believe; in fact, if you look at it from a purely demographical point of view, it is the only society in existence to have achieved full integration of all planetary cultures, an unemployment rate of zero percent, a crime rate of around two percent and a stable, working economy.  The main reason for the extremely high restrictions is because the crew would very much like to keep it that way.

--

Anyone thinking that the world might sound familiar, well, you obviously have an awesome memory ;) But yes, it's the world my Whodunnit entry was set in :D
« Last Edit: 05 Nov 2017, 14:25 by JudasFm »

Sinitrena

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I'm all for more time if it means more entries - deadline extended: 9. Nov. 2017

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
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Sweet.... A second, second chance!

WHAM

  • WHAMGAMES
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    • I can help with scripting
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    • I can help with translating
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    • I can help with voice acting
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    • WHAM worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Sweet.... A second, second chance!

I see what you did there...
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Baron

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    • I can help with voice acting
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    • Baron worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Edit: Blast!  7 minutes past the deadline! (roll)

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

Theme: Whodunnit

Started: Not before this competition, but I did have an idea kind of related to how it actually turned out. (roll)

Ghosts of the Pleistocene

   Dames.  I don't know why the seven-letter word “trouble” hasn't gone out of usage when there's a shorter five-letter word that means the same thing.  Dames.

   It's a cold city out there, and I've got the AC turned up to max in my heart.  I'm sitting in my office at 4:02pm on a Friday, counting the minutes until the weekend.  Not that I couldn't take a weekend whenever I felt like it, since I'm a self-employed detective.  But I like the idea of drinking with other people for a change. 

   Then she walks in, all hussed-up like a movie starlet, carried in by a steamroller of thick perfume.  She's got this awful sob tale about a murdered husband and no one to turn to.  Apparently she was looking for a strong shoulder to cry on, and someone to get her out of a fix.  I told her to call a plumber and come back Monday morning, but she threw this hysterical tantrum and now I need to buy a new coat stand and solve a murder in 56 minutes.  Dames.


   “It's like this Frankie,” she moans.  “Bertie was in the museum finishing his piece.  He's a payling-tologist.  The money's lousy, but he had a large inheritance to live off of, and boning was a great passion of his.”

   This is going to require a bit of sauce before magic hour.  I get up to pour a drink, offering her one as I do.  I can see in the mirror behind the liquor cabinet that she's eyeing me through lashes longer than brush bristles.  That must be some kinda fancy mascara, not to run with all the weeping she's been doing.  Or maybe it's still frozen from the frigid temperatures outside....  She refuses curtly, then continues.

   “So Bertie's working late last night, getting ready for the big exit-bition.  He's been working on this ripple-caw of a big cat for months.  The whole skull-eton is there, hanging from the ceiling in the disk-play hall.  And then he gets attacked.  They found him this morning, rivers of blood flowing into the floor drain.  Dead as a door handle.  The police are baffled.  I got no one to turn to, Frankie.”

   It's probably a bad time to tell her my name is Lester.  She's clearly after Frankie Gillespie, the guy who runs the detective agency next door and works weekends.  A real go-getter type that loves this breathless dame stuff.  But I'm hooked on the story now, and I like to drink with other people.  Especially dames in tight skirts with feather boas.  Sure her head seemed a bit empty, but her dress was full in all the right places.  Another 46 minutes of her company couldn't hurt.

   I sit back down and ask her if the police found anything, anything at all.
  “Well, that's the strangest thing.  Bertie was found surrounded by a string of decorations, and two punk-sure wounds in the chest.  They said the wounds were cons-isn't with an attack of a saver-tooth tiger, the very animal whose bones he was working on!  But here's the thing: the skull is rare.  The only one in the whole city was se-curly fastened above him.  And there wasn't a trace of blood on it, or any evidence that it had been moved or tempered with.”

   Now I like a challenge as much as the next man, and this crime scene had all-you-can-eat buffet written all over it.  No murder weapon, and the only suspect was a ten-thousand year old extinct predator.  Maybe 43 minutes was pushing it....

   What was missing from this whole sorry scene was a motive.  I needed to get inside Bertie's head, figure out who might want him dead.


   “Well, he was very respected at the apartment of nah-churl history.  He had an ass-isn't named Marty who was a bit of a buff-loon.  Young guy with a hard time staying folk-kissed.  Eyes and hands always rowing where they shouldn't, if you get my meaning.  And he never got along with Billy Gates the secret-y guard at the museum.  He didn't like that Bertie worked late so often.  Said it made his job more difficult.  Besides those two, and me of course, Bertie didn't have time for other people.”

   As if on cue a tall but spindly man stumbles into my office like a drunken spider.  He trips over the downed coat stand and falls into a chair next to the dame, glasses fogging up from the warm air.  The dame declines to make introductions, turning instead to stare at the frosted window with her pouty face on.  I didn't need the niceties, though.  This guy had “Marty” written all over him, especially on his name badge and on the tag sticking out of his right shirt cuff.  Marty ogles the dame for a little longer than was decent, then turned to face me.

   “Hi, I'm Marty,” he says, extending a hand and knocking over my ink blotter in the process.  He's got well-meaning ineptitude written all over his face in little freckle-sized writing.  “Well, I hope, uh, that Priscilla has already, er, engaged your services to solve the, um, murder of my boss, Dr. Partridge?”

   So the dame has a name.  Interesting.

   An awkward silence ensues as I size the pair of them up.   Marty fidgets like a ferret in a paper towel tube.  The dame just stares at the window frost, practising her duck-face.  They're in cahoots somehow, that much is clear.  How else would they both stumble into the wrong detective agency at 4:26 on a Friday?  Marty can stand the silence no longer and starts to babble:
  “Well, I guess you, er, want my side of the story?  I was, uh, like, helping Dr. Partridge with some last-minute assembly of the, you know, exhibit until 6pm last night.  Mostly polishing the castings, 'cause, uh, he won't let me touch the skeleton after the, er... incident.”

   Marty casts this sideways glance at the dame, and she finally snaps.   “You shoulda been there, Marty!  You shoulda been ass-isn't-ing him all night, and then this woulda never happened!”

   Marty does this this weird triple take at her, then turns back to me, then back to the dame again, then back to me.  God, it's like watching a kitten with a ping-pong ball.  Whoever reckoned he'd make a good paleontologist must've figured he'd just have to hold the pick next to the rock and the vibrations alone would do the work for him.  That, or maybe it was the nice tie that got him in the door.  I ask him where he was between 6pm and the time the body was discovered the next morning.

   “Wha-, me?  Er, I was at the... well, uh...” He glances at the dame again, who blows a blond curl out of her face with exasperation.  To save you ten minutes of me drinking and Marty blathering, the gist of the story is that he was decoration shopping for the big show, and then sleeping soundly at his rooming house all the way out in Minnetonka.  I could ask Mrs. Halloway, the old landlady to vouch for his whereabouts.  Apparently she doesn't sleep with him, but knows he's around because the bolts in the vents rattle.  I don't buy any of it, except the bit about the vents.

   I turn to the dame and ask about her alibi.  She gives me the same withering look she had been saving for sweet Marty, but humoured me in the end.
  “I was at the bingo hall, of course.  Didn't win nothin'.  But my friend Fanny Mae won the graham prize, and she can attend to my presents.  Then we hit a couple of dance clubs to celibate, and I was home by 8:30 to make dinner, you know, in case Bertie came home and was hungry.”  She batted her long eye-lashes at me, trying to waft the nonsense over in my direction.  Anyone with bingo scars knows the main event doesn't go down till just before 10pm.

   I was about to probe more deeply into their likely stories when a fat old man with a walrus moustache lumbered into the office.  The only furniture left for him was my thinking sofa, which he promptly occupied with a triumphant wheeze.  Judging by his uniform and the familiar whiff of whiskey, this was Billy Gates the security guard.


   “Followed the tracks in the snow,” he said gruffly, anticipating my question.  “Been hell to pay up at the museum today..... what with the tragic events happening just under my nose.....  Truth be told..... I've been getting a bit lazy in my dotage.....  But the mind's as sharp as.... well.... it's still sharp anyway.....  Those police investigators just tick the boxes..... but I know suspicious circumstances when I see them.....  The mammalian hall doors being locked up.....  Precious specimens going missing....  Equipment left out blocking the hallways.....  Dr. Partridge acting right peculiar, even for him..... I need a drink.....”

   I'm quick to oblige, partly because this Billy Gates character is the sanest person I've met this afternoon, but mostly because I need a refill and we're on a tight time-line here.  I only hope he drinks faster than he speaks: I've only got 23 minutes left!  I ask him where he was at the time of the murder.

   “I don't reckon I know exactly....  We had a row over the flammable decorations strung up all over....  He was in a right rage.... given it was just a fire-code violation....  So I left his floor alone for half the night....  Came back at 2am to find the door locked....  I could hear him quietly tapping away with his hammer....  Went back at 6am and all was quiet....  I unlocked the door and there he was.... dead as the stuffed dodos in the avian wing....”

   Not a bad story, but the old man was being a little too helpful to be genuine.  Nobody that unenergetic would venture through the cold and storm after a full shift of work and then a full day of police questioning without a really good reason.  I ponder the three of them: the ditsy trophy wife, the bungling assistant, the meddlesome security guard.  What was the motive here?

   “I'd never hurt a hair on poor Bertie's head!  He was my solo mate!”  But the dame did stand to gain a lot financially since her husband was independently wealthy....

   “Dr. Partridge was, uh, like this, er, mentory guy for me.  I, uh, really admired and respected him.”  The good doctor was probably holding Marty's career back, probably for good reason.

   “Why would I.... want to kill him......?” The fat security guard casually pulled back his sleeve to check the time on his gold watch.  Maybe those precious specimens were disappearing under his watch and the victim called him out on it? 

   So three motives and only 16 minutes left.  Time to start wrapping this case up.  I ask each suspect one more question.


   “Of course we had a happy marriage!  Just last week was our second universe sorry.  He took me out to a swanky rester aunt and got all kinds of icks pensive orders.  He never does crazy stuff like that, so it shows he loved me!”

   “Wha-?  The, uh, skull of a sabre-toothed tiger?  Yeah, well, er....  It would weigh, like, around thirty pounds in real life.  But the castings are a lot, uh, heavier, since they're usually made of, like, polymer?”

   “Yeah, equipment right in the middle of the hall....  Big moulds the size of a bar-fridge....  What with the radiators there's no way.... a guy my size could squeeze by....  Another fire-code violation..... is what it was...!”   

   Some say solving a murder in an hour is like trying to solve a Rubik's cube blindfolded, but I usually don't listen to those kinds of people unless I'm drunk.  Which I intend to be in precisely ten minutes down at the bar.  Maybe I might not have all the facts, but I think I've got enough of the gist of the case to take a wild stab at solving it.  What do you think?
    
« Last Edit: 10 Nov 2017, 21:49 by Baron »

Sinitrena

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This is for the Whodunnit theme? In this round we guessed the culprits before the voting, so I think about 24h to guess and get any last minute entries in, and then Baron can post the solution and we can start voting. Sound fair?

Now, the deadline is really looming ;)

Edit: Speculation Time:

Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
I would say the wife and the assisstant have an affair. They act sceevy around each other, theri alibis are a bit questionable. Add to that that the wife can expect a sizeable inheritance, she's the most likely suspect. But I assume the guard might have noticed her, and she seems a bit stupid to succesfully kill someone, so I think the assisstant killed her husband for her. I have no idea how he actually did it though.

Only a few hours left untill I start the voting.
« Last Edit: 10 Nov 2017, 20:47 by Sinitrena »

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Wait, wait, wait.  I thought for the Whodunnit theme the solution was only revealed after the voting. :undecided:

Sinitrena

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Wait, wait, wait.  I thought for the Whodunnit theme the solution was only revealed after the voting. :undecided:

Originally, but then the rules changed. To quote you:

Quote
Now to the voting format.  The consensus seems to be to separate the voting from the guessing, and I never was one much for getting in the way of a consensus.  So, we will have 3 phases of post-competition interaction:

Phase 1 - Speculation[...]

Phase 2 - Revelations[...]

Phase 3 - Voting[...]

There was a rule-change midway through, so I went by the updated rules.

If you're not ready to reveal the murderer yet, I guess we can do the speculation during the voting. Either way, I'll keep the competition open until the end of the day. (Unless someone begs for another last minute extansion - I want more entries MOAR! :-D)

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What time zone would that be? I've nearly finished my other entry but I don't want the contest to close while I'm still writing it :(

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I usually go by hawaiian time - when the date is gone everywhere in the world. So technically, I should close the competition now.

But I guess we can wait a bit longer: 24h more from this post, going by the timestamp of the forum. But that is the last extansion.

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I'll reveal the solution after the voting, since otherwise the speculation phase will needlessly delay us further. 

@ Everybody:  Don't forget to speculate on who killed Dr. Bertie Partridge when you vote! :) 

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Just made it!

Done for Petty Deity. I'm not sure how closely I managed to follow the rules though...it's more of a snippet than an actual story :-[

It's not easy being a goddess.

People usually think, "Ooh, immortality, divine powers, hordes of worshippers sending you goodies every day!" And, well, yeah, there is some of that.  But it's a two-way street: if we don't make with the miracles, sooner or later people stop making with the goodies.

My name's Stephanie.  I used to be mortal.  All of the Pantheon were once; you know the story, I'm sure.  As a human, Rae, Queen of the Pantheon, journeyed through the Dreamlands in search of her sister's and when she found her, she traded her soul for her sister's.  Her sister went home, Rae stayed in the Dreamlands and her power gradually grew and grew until she became a goddess.  Yadda yadda yadda.

Anyway, Rae soon figured out that all the races – elves, dwarves, humans, centaurs, Eyriens, Nurani etc – were just too much for one omnipotent deity to handle, so she picked her favorite Devotee and promoted her to goddess.  It sort of snowballed from there.  Now we have the Pantheon – twelve major goddesses – and lots of minor ones like me. People in these towns barely know I even exist, which is why I'd been rather surprised to be recognized by someone in the Adventurers' Barracks of Adutho while hunting for miracle ideas.

Oh, what, you think it's easy coming up with those things in a world full of magic?

I studied the human in front of me who had dared to speak my name. Early twenties. Adventurer. Archer. Name Mark Siemanns.

"Cower at my feet, mortal!" I commanded.

Mark went back to fletching arrows. "Sorry, I'm a little busy right now. Maybe next time, okay?"

No respect. I get no frigging respect!

"My powers are unbridled over my dominion!" I shouted.

Mark didn't so much as blink.  "Yes, my Lady.  I'm well aware of that.  However, forgive me but your dominion is, well, rather restricted. With all due respect, it does seem to me as though Our Dark Lady was running out of ideas when your turn came to be deified."

I waited for Rae to smite him for blasphemy for that little comment. She didn't. Typical. I bet Caitlin would have done, although mortals don't mention her name at all, or even let their thoughts dwell on her if they can help it. Not that I can blame them. I mean, she creeps us out too.

I tried again. "I am the undefeated ruler of the Golden Wheels, the Sacred Holes and gleaming Sapphire Veins!"

"Yes," Mark said again in the same politely neutral tone. "Again, my Lady, with the greatest respect, I would venture to suggest that you're not undefeated so much as unchallenged."

"My dominion is vast, spread throughout all of Elbia! There is not a home anywhere where my bounty is not bestowed or desired, from the richest kings to the poorest shack!"

"Yes, I can well believe that too.  But—"

"All partake in my glorious bounty!" Or should that be 'partake of'? I can never quite remember. I made a mental note to look it up when I got back to the Panland. "I am the goddess of...of…"

Mark waited for me to finish the sentence and then, when I didn't, filled in for me.

"Cheese."

Well, of course it would sound silly if he said it like that! I would have made it sound much more ominous. You know, deep, booming voice, a little roll of thunder, maybe darken the room a little and draw the word out – "Cheeeeese!" – like that.

Oh stop smirking! If you know of a more dramatic way to say cheese, I'd like to hear it, that's all. I'd tried doing a booming laugh after it once or twice before my friend Chandra (goddess of ice) had an attack of hysterics. I really need to start hanging out with some more sympathetic deities.

I was still pissed at Mark's complete lack of reverence though, and so I turned his chair into cream cheese before I vanished. Sometimes, even being a petty deity has its perks.


Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Voting)
« Reply #33 on: 12 Nov 2017, 14:05 »
Alright, that's it. The deadline is here and our entries are in:

Too Deep by Rocchinator for Impossible Escape! set by Baron
Wafts of Mist by WHAM for Wafts of Mist set by Sinitrena
Wikitravel Entry: The Nemesis by JudasFm for Travel Guide set by JudasFm
Ghost of the Pleistocene by Baron for Whodunnit! set by Baron
It's not easy being a goddess by JudasFm for Petty Deity set by Baron


Now, it is time to vote in the following categories:

Best Character: The most interesting, fazinating, unnerving, unusual person, persons or personalities.
Best Plot: The order of things and what is happening.
Best World: A world that is more than an empty stage.
Best Style: The technical aspect of writing - interesting turns of phrases, good descriptions, ect.
Best Use of the Original Topic: Most faithful or creative, it doesn't matter. Who did best with the topic they chose.

You have one vote per category and votes are given for a story, so please specify in JudasFm's case which story you vote for. I'll treat them as if they were written by two seperate people.

Voting is open 'till the end of 16 Nov. 2017.


Trophies are in the works. Baron, JudasFm, I appropriated your trophies from the original topics to create a new one, I hope you don't mind. If you do, just let me know, I can still change the design.


Edit: And don't forget to speculate for Baron's story!
« Last Edit: 12 Nov 2017, 14:15 by Sinitrena »

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Voting)
« Reply #34 on: 13 Nov 2017, 20:53 »
Best Character: Ghost of the Pleistocene by Baron
Best Plot: Ghost of the Pleistocene by Baron
Best World: Wikitravel Entry: The Nemesis  by JudasFm
Best Style: Ghost of the Pleistocene by Baron
Best Use of the Original Topic: Ghost of the Pleistocene by Baron

Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
Oh, and I think the broad did it. Never trust a pretty lady, especially when they play dumb.

The only one I second-guessed myself on was the best use of original theme, where JudasFm had a solid shot with the travel diary thingie, but in the end it was the hard-broiled detectivey type that won my heart in there, too.

And so: Baron impressed me the most out of these stories, so a hefty load of votes goes his way! Congrats!
« Last Edit: 13 Nov 2017, 21:01 by WHAM »
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Voting)
« Reply #35 on: 17 Nov 2017, 02:21 »
Sorry, I've been ridiculously busy with extra work in the evenings.  Is there a chance for a voting extension of a day or two to get me to the weekend?

Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Voting)
« Reply #36 on: 17 Nov 2017, 03:31 »
Considering that only one person voted so far, I think it's necessary. Take your time, vote on the weekend, I'll close it sometime on Monday.

Question: How long do you all think we generally should leave the voting open? I'm never quite sure.

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Voting)
« Reply #37 on: 17 Nov 2017, 04:46 »
Point: Give the voters a SECOND CHANCE!

(Sorry, just couldn't resist making this lame joke. :=)

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Voting)
« Reply #38 on: 17 Nov 2017, 18:47 »
Best Character: Wikitravel Entry: The Nemesis by JudasFm for Travel Guide set by JudasFm
Best Plot: Ghost of the Pleistocene by Baron for Whodunnit! set by Baron
Best World: The Nemesis by JudasFm for Travel Guide set by JudasFm
Best Style: Wafts of Mist by WHAM for Wafts of Mist set by Sinitrena
Best Use of the Original Topic: Ghost of the Pleistocene by Baron for Whodunnit! set by Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Voting)
« Reply #39 on: 18 Nov 2017, 00:49 »
I'm not going to speculate on my own entry, but I'd encourage you to before voting is up!

Best Character: JudasFM for Stephanie, Goddess of Cheeeeeese!  I love it when the mighty are revealed to be just as frail and petty as the rest of us.
Best Plot: WHAM for an eerie tale that sucked you in like a twisting tendril of zombie mist!
Best World: Rocchinator for the otherworldly ocean depths.
Best Style: WHAM for some great mood-setting word choices.
Best Use of the Original Topic: JudasFM for "It's Not Easy Being a Goddess."  I'm probably partial because I chose that topic, but this is the kind of quirky and fun story that I envisaged when I set the rules.


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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Voting)
« Reply #40 on: 18 Nov 2017, 19:43 »
Best Character: JudasFM for Stephanie
Best Plot: WHAM
Best World: Rocchinator
Best Style: Baron
Best Use of the Original Topic: Baron

Whodunit Speculation...The Dame!

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Results)
« Reply #41 on: 20 Nov 2017, 14:40 »
My votes:

Best Character: JudasFm's Stephanie, Goddess of Cheese
Best Plot: WHAM
Best World: JudasFm's Nemesis
Best Style: WHAM
Best Use of the Original Topic: Baron


And with that, voting is closed and the results are here:


Baron wins first place and the golden trophy of fighting idols with his entry for the Whodunnit! topic and 9 points. I must say, I found it incredibly difficult to vote for this story, simply because I can't say how good I think the characters are or how well crafted the plot is. The solution of a whodunnit is so essential to judge these aspects. Still, it is without a doubt a well-written story and I liked the language-challanged Priscilla. Now, if my speculation is right and the wife and assistant commited the murder together, I have to wonder why they would seek out an detective?


The second place, with 6 points, goes to WHAM for an incredibaly haunting story. It leaves exactly the right amount of mystery, explains exactly what needs explaining without breaking the mystery. In short, the perfect story for halloween and what I had in mind when I sat the topic originally. Very well done.


The third place is shared by JudasFm and JudasFm, with 4 points for each story. The Nemesis is a world with depth and character and obviously a place JudasFm knows quite well. It seems alive. But I don't think a travel guide is the right way to tell us about this world because it left me wondering why someone would want to visit this place. No matter how much the text insists that it "is not the violent hothouse of paranoia and xenophobia that most people seem to believe", that is exactly the impression I ended up with. It seems restricted, dictatorial and a bit like what one had to expect when visiting the GDR in our world (when it still existed). I'm not sure if this is the impression you were going for.
The poor cheese goddess is a completely different story, with a wonderful chracter. I like how indignant she reacts to the insolent human and how completely powerless she is. I know that it was a last minute entry and so it is no wonder that it feels a bit more anecdotic than like a full story. It's perfect to introduce her - and then we're left waiting for the rest of the story.

Fourth place goes to Rocchinator with 2 points. The story didn't recieve many votes, but it is nonetheless a wonderfully haunting tale. It could have been longer, or at least more flashed out. But the fear and panic of Travis comes across really well.


Thank you all for your entries and votes and thank you Baron and JudasFm for allowing me to use your throphies.

Baron, your turn. See you next time.

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Results)
« Reply #42 on: 20 Nov 2017, 15:32 »
First entry all year and I made second place! I'll chalk that up as a win in my books!
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Results)
« Reply #43 on: 20 Nov 2017, 17:16 »
  Those trophies are pretty sweet and fitting for the comp.  Good reads all around entrants!

Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Results)
« Reply #44 on: 21 Nov 2017, 00:22 »
Cool trophies! ;)

Thanks for all the votes folks.  I never really intended to write an in-story reveal; only more of an Encyclopedia Brown solution.  Here you go:

Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
Detective Lester is eager to ditch work and go drinking at a bar, so he doesn't linger long on the details.  He's pretty sure Priscilla (the Dame) wasn't at the crime scene, since her feathers-everywhere and steamroller-perfume would probably have been noted (quite apart from the fact that her choice of words makes it seem like she desperately wants to be thought of as more intelligent than she actually is).  On the same note Marty the Assistant is a walking calamity and the crime scene was quite tidy.  Billy Gates seemed too lazy to do his job, let alone plot and execute a cunning murder.  Besides, why would all three seek out a detective if they were guilty of murder?

While Detective Lester is fairly certain each was innocent of murder, he's quite certain that they are guilty of other things.  The Dame and Marty are both quite inept at hiding the fact that they have a deeper relationship than they are letting on (an affair, Detective Lester believes, based on the nicely tied tie that Marty is sporting.  The detective highly doubts that the hyperactive fidgeting assistant could stand still long enough to tie it.
 The detective would bet money that they were together on the night of the murder; well, if he had any money he would bet it.)  The lazy Billy Gates has been equally lax in hiding the proceeds of his criminal selling of artefacts from the museum loading docks (his expensive gold watch tips off the detective).  None of this could have gone unnoticed by Dr. Partridge, who spent much more time around all three than Detective Lester.  Bertie Partridge was passionate about his work and his beautiful young wife.  Betrayal at both ends might have sent him into a depression, as evidenced by his increasingly erratic behaviour (such as his last date with his wife, and as noted by the security guard). 

But it is the circumstances of the death that confirm for Detective Lester that Bertie Partridge committed suicide.  The doors to the mammalian hall were locked, presumably from the inside.  The mould left out in front of the radiator was probably to dry it, to eliminate all traces of the water that had been left outside to freeze inside.  Detective Lester suspects that Bertie Partridge created an ice skull of his beloved sabre-toothed tiger, hoisted it up using the decorative rope found next to him at the scene (thus his rage at being told he couldn't string it up as a way to cover his tracks), lay down underneath, and then let it crash down on himself.  The quiet tapping that Billy Gates heard midway through the night was no hammer, but the sound of the ice water dripping steadily down the drain, completely melting away by morning.

Detective Lester suspects that come Monday morning when the lawyer's offices open they will discover some last minute changes to Dr. Partridge's will, and maybe some subtle clues to help the police catch the thief responsible for artefact thefts at the museum.  He fully intends to mostly sober up by then.  In the mean time, the weekend is ticking, so he bids his last-minute visitors adieu for now as he rushes out to start his well-deserved bender.

I'll get the next competition up and running just as soon as I remember the awesome idea I had several months ago.... (roll)

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: SECOND CHANCE! (Results)
« Reply #45 on: 23 Nov 2017, 14:52 »

The third place is shared by JudasFm and JudasFm, with 4 points for each story. The Nemesis is a world with depth and character and obviously a place JudasFm knows quite well. It seems alive. But I don't think a travel guide is the right way to tell us about this world because it left me wondering why someone would want to visit this place. No matter how much the text insists that it "is not the violent hothouse of paranoia and xenophobia that most people seem to believe", that is exactly the impression I ended up with. It seems restricted, dictatorial and a bit like what one had to expect when visiting the GDR in our world (when it still existed). I'm not sure if this is the impression you were going for.


Dictatorial towards outsiders, perhaps, but never towards crew members ;) The idea behind the Travel Guide contest really wasn't to make the most enticing world or the nicest one; it was just to create any kind of world and share it in non-story form. As to why you would want to visit, well, partly the lure of the unknown (there are people who want to visit North Korea for much the same reason) and as it mentions, it is the only way to get from planet to planet in a hurry ;)

Also, this is supposed to be a Wikitravel entry, so what you're getting is the opinion of whoever wrote it. There are a lot of people who visit the ship who feel pretty much the same way as you do ;) Prompts willing, I plan to do more stories around that world...