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From other forums and fandoms, I've found these to be a fun way to pass the time. For those unfamiliar, you can either post writing prompts for scenes or write scenes to answer them.

To start, here's the eventual follow up from pages 38 and 47.

Beryl leaned forward, eyes alight at the chance to glean more knowledge from the beleaguered ambassador.

"So with such even numbers of males and females, how does Humaniti manage its population growth? Do you control who mates, or is it just chaos?"

Alex blinked, unsure of where to even begin.

"Well, it's not chaos per se, we just don't... manage it. Everyone just sort of... um, pairs off into family units."

Instead of placating the Loroi, the answer only stoked her curiosity. "Pair bonding? How does that work?"

Jardin began to sweat. Beryl's eyes were glued to his, and the conversation had drawn the attention of Tempo and Talon as well. Even Fireblade seemed to be listening from her position on the far bulkhead.


Mon Feb 06, 2017 10:04 pm

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Post Re: Writing Prompts
Jardin was uncomfortable; he was really, really uncomfortable. This was the exact sort of thing that hack science-fiction authors had been inventing for centuries - the kind of thing he'd actually envisioned when he had dreamed about joining the Scout Corps as a young teen - and now that he was here, it wasn't arousing or amazing in the least.

If anything, it felt more awkward than that time he'd gone to kiss his then-girlfriend as a sophmore in high school, behind the P.E. equipment shed, and unexpectedly found her breast in his hand, her having decided he wasn't moving fast enough for her. The stuff of teenaged dreams, but far more awkward when it happens.

He swallowed, and took a slight breath. Humanity, not Humaniti - I need to correct her sometime, he thought, realizing that just by thinking about her pronunciation, he was attempting to dodge the question. Beryl seemed bright, eager, hopeful - she reminded him almost of a puppy, eager to please - and so, so naive.

Alex finally sat down, letting out a breath. "Okay," he said, putting his hands together, folding them. "Um - first off, you need to understand that this is a general rule of thumb - there's a lot - and I do mean a lot - of other ways that families can exist, and a lot of other ways people, um, mate. There's huge variety just within the culture I come from, let alone across our homeworld, or colonies."

Beryl listened, practically bouncing on the edge of her seat. He suddenly felt keenly aware of how her memory was eidetic - the words he spoke now would be remembered by the cheerful Loroi forever, and passed on. No pressure, Alex. Don't fuck this up. He glanced around; Tempo was listening with unmasked academic curiosity, but Talon's looked decidedly more puerile. He resisted groaning; of course some of them would be like that. Talon (and Beryl, and Spiral) were teenagers, after all. Fireblade had her ear quirked towards him as well, though her expression was impassive. Unless he was exasperating her, she seldom showed her emotions.

"All right," he began. "The, um, the traditional way, in my culture, is that you're expected to find your own mate; if one person likes another in that way, and they're liked in turn, they begin, um, a courtship - uh... Ritual is not correct, it's not formal or anything; they spend time together, get to know one another. Some people find their mates when they're still young, receiving education," he said, thinking back to the abrupt moment when the older girl had hurried him along, "or later, in their workplace," he said. He almost choked, thinking of Ellen, but through herculean effort mastered his emotions, not wishing to be derailed by the perceptive Beryl asking him if her inquiries were making him uncomfortable.

"Some find them at social events, or liesure or sporting activities, or festivals - ah... Like I said, it's up to you. There's no orderly way to do it, in general," he said, refraining from adding his commentary on the social phenomena of arranged marriages. "Sometimes your friends, family, or coworkers will try to arrange for you to meet someone they think is right for you - it's, uh, it's complicated. Unordered."

He heard a slightly snort from the aft bulkhead, and turned his head, looking at Fireblade. "Something on your mind," he asked. He injected a little acid into his tone of voice, because she'd twig to him being grateful for the distraction if he didn't at least appear slightly adversarial to her, but in truth he was glad for the interruption.

"Fireblade is wondering how something as important can be left up to chance; whether those who fail to find a mate are somehow considered unworthy, or left in ignominy," Tempo spoke for the mute warrior. Alex took a breath, and sighed.

"That is a complicated question. Yes, some people fail to find a mate despite wishing to. Some people do mock them for it," he said, with a moment of self-recrimination, remembering how he had joined some other boys in teasing the nerd who had somehow summoned the courage to ask the cheerleading squad leader to a dance, and been humiliatingly, publicly rejected. It was hard to imagine that was less than five years ago. "But that's generally considered to be extremely rude. Others simply aren't interested, or..." He shrugged. "As I said, there's a lot of variations of ways that it can go."

Beryl eyed him up and down, carefully, and he raised an eyebrow. "How do you display if you participate in some kind of alternative mating partner attraction scheme," Beryl asked. He blinked.
"Um... You don't, not really," he said, deciding not to get into the issue of social media. "Like I said; it's a very... Unordered, somewhat messy process. There's miscommunications, sure. It can happen."

Alex shook his head, pushing to the back of his mind the memory of one of his bunkmates at the academy. He had thought the young man was his best friend; Alex had entirely failed to realize that he was gay, and into Alex, until his bunkmate had gotten frustrated and laid it all out in plain English. That had been awkward; even more awkward than this, he realized upon reflection, which gave him heart to soldier on.

"But in general, people find their way. The typical family unit, Beryl, is a mated pair of man and woman. The traditional way it works is that after they've met, decided they want to spend their lives together, they get married; which can be either a religious or nonreligious ritual, a ceremony or celebration, or it can just be paperwork filed with and officiated by an official of the government; for legal reasons, to make them officially family to one another. They'll take up dwelling together, combining their resources to obtain good housing, and have as many children as their means and inclination allow."

He left off the myriad failure modes, not wishing to explain the concept of a broken household, or an alternative lifestyle; of all the different ways people did things. He swallowed, thinking of his own parents, his kid sister ten years his junior. The last he had seen of her, she was crazy into ponies and gymnastics. He wondered when - or if - he'd ever see Evie again, and if so, how old she'd be, what she'd be like.

The Loroi were quiet; he would think them taciturn, or even impassive, but for the way their eyes kept flicking to one another; the quick gesture of Beryl or Talon's hands, a shrug or nod from Tempo, a roll of the eyes or a smugly superior smirk from Fireblade. At least if they were deep in telepathic conversation with one another, they weren't asking him more questions. He waited until Beryl had turned to gesticulate at Talon to let out the breath he'd been holding in, glad that he had somehow been excluded from the conversation. He didn't know if he was up for discussing things like homosexuality, polyamory, single parenthood, or even an in-depth explaination of dating with bright and cheerful Beryl, let alone with the ever-so-slightly-superior Tempo, or the derisive Fireblade.

Last edited by ShadowDragon8685 on Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:55 pm
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Post Re: Writing Prompts
:shock: *slowclap*

Wow, shadow, that was outstanding. You captured the feel of the comic perfectly.

This was the exact sort of thing that hack science-fiction authors had been inventing for centuries

Valid shot, haha. Consider that lampshade well and truly hung.

I sincerely hope Highland-Seven comes under direct fire soon afterward, because that would be much preferable to (and the only possible distraction from) the follow-up questions for poor Alex.

Fireblade (via Tempo): "Fireblade inquires as to whether you've won a mate or not." (challenging his worth)
Beryl: "So how many children do you have?" (vastly misinterpreting his equivalent age)
Talon: "So how does one initiate this 'courtship'?" (misinterpreting nothing and leering unapologetically)

...that's not the writing prompt. This is. Part is my headcannon explanation for the dialogue on pages 101 and 108.

The smell of ozone permeated her senses as Beryl walked among the various bits of wreckage salvaged from the Human ship. The Tempest's main cargo hold stretched indeterminately around her; even with the lights at maximum illumination, the ceiling and bulkheads of the cavernous room seemed to melt away in shadow. Beryl was alone, but while most Loroi would be disquieted by the relative isolation, the Listel found comfort in both the auditory and telepathic silence.

Comfort, but also boredom. Identifying, analyzing, and cataloging the bits and pieces the Tenoin pilots had collected before the Umiak attack was anything but intellectually stimulating. The unknown plasma focus, combined with Humaniti's comparative lack of structural shielding and EM hardening had rendered nearly all data stores unrecoverable. The remaining physical components were either heavily damaged or completely reduced to slag. The only noteworthy conclusion she had been able to make was that while the alien tech was archaic by Loroi standards, it bore no hallmarks of Soia influence. Did Humaniti have no Soia artifacts or ruins on their worlds? How, then, did they look so similar to Loroi? These were difficult questions.

For the thousandth time, Beryl wished she could talk to Captain Jardin. She was confident she could get more answers from him in five minutes than she could from looking at this wreckage for five hours. But the Torrai Lashret's isolation order was absolute. As she and Fireblade had escorted Jardin from Tempest's command deck, Beryl had thought the order to be extreme and unreasonable, but in the intervening days, she started to understand Stillstorm's reasoning.

Though only a small percentage of the Loroi crew had seen the Human during his brief excursion to the command deck, the image spread through sanzai like wildfire after the battle. A new alien species was cause enough for gossip, but one so similar to the Loroi, and a male to boot? The fascination put a strain on even the Loroi's legendary discipline. Captain Jardin was not merely a topic of conversation on the Tempest, he was the only thing the crew discussed off duty. Even the long running firefight that followed the battle at Naam did little to dampen the crew's enthusiasm for the subject. No one dared approach Fireblade directly, but everyone else who had dealt with the Human found themselves at the receiving end of countless questions and requests to share memories.

'Are they some variant of us?//subtext intense curiosity,' from a fellow Listel, Beryl's counterpart on another duty shift.

'Will we get another ally in the war? How many ships do they have?//subtext cautious hope,' asked a Sorion trooper.

'I heard he's a fighter... is... is their race mostly male?//poorly concealed subtext desire,' from a young Doranzer, fresh out of training.

Because of her perfect recall, Beryl had been the primary target of the inquiries until Stillstorm had ordered her into the relative isolation of the cargo hold for this assignment. The cot and box of rations that showed up afterward conveyed the rest of the commander's intent: stay here until this all blows over.

Except it hadn't blown over. Updates from the Listel authorized to assist her revealed that Fireblade had to be assigned to something as menial as guard duty to help poor Reed with all the off-duty crew who seemed to find themselves passing through the corridor outside Jardin's cell. The fact that the Human did not possess sanzai didn't stop the rest of the crew from trying to contact him or scan his mind. Even Fireblade wasn't immune from all the curiosity. Her sleep-sending was a well known trait, and many a crewmember seemed to linger outside her quarters during her off-shifts in an attempt to discover something new about the Human. It wasn't until after she bounced a couple nosy Tenoin off a bulkhead that they finally stopped.

Yes, Beryl thought, the isolation was probably difficult for Captain Jardin, but it was better than the alternative... for both him and for the crew. They could not afford to give him the wrong impression of the Loroi.

Still, the Human would be immensely helpful in making sense of this wreckage. The Listel sighed as she peered around another cluster of debris.

Something caught her eye. A flash of bright color amid the gunmetal gray that comprised the majority of the Human ship's interior components. Heaving aside a deck plate, Beryl found a low, squat container. Much of the outside was covered in scorch marks but bits of colorful... paper?... some kind of label?... clung to the outside. The terminal on top, like all the others, was dead, but unlike the rest of the wreckage, this one had markings that seemed to be hand-carved into the case.

Personal belongings?

Beryl recognized the markings as the language Humaniti used; it mimicked what she saw on Captain Jardin's clothing. The Listel still couldn't decipher it, but she carefully memorized the characters for the day when she could.

The top line was machine stamped in the same manner as other components. Parts had been burned away, but she cataloged it in her memory all the same.

--ersonal Footlocker S/------

The bottom line was carved deeply into the metal; a quick swipe of her hand brought the characters into relief.


The container's lock had been fused shut, but careful application of a plasma torch resolved that problem. With a careful breath, Beryl opened the lid.

Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:14 pm

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Post Re: Writing Prompts
I have to agree.
This is really once again a masterpiece. Thank you, ShadowDragon.

Vote for Outsider on TWC: Image
charred steppes, borders of territories: page 59,
jump-map of local stars: page 121, larger map in Loroi: page 118,
System view Leido Crossroads: page 123

Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:00 am

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Post Re: Writing Prompts
Now here are my two cents. Please keep in mind that this is my first attempt at creative writing and that English isn't my first language at all...

Of course Beryl's findings on the wreck sparked a lot of discussion in what will come to be Alexander Jardin's closest travel companions, especially amongst Beryl herself, Tempo and Fireblade.

Amongst some items with no discernible use - maybe keepsakes - Beryl did find a device much akin to a datapad which, on pressing a button, showed a series of pictures. Some of them were garbled, and many times the devices showed a line of text which must have been some sort of error message, but many of the pictures showed the same humaniti woman in in front of different backgrounds, sometimes alone, sometimes in company of others.

And Alexander himself featured in quite a number of them, too.

Naturally that sent the young Listel's mind into overdrive, as well as Tempo's, once she got wind of it. Alexander himself was maddeningly vague about humaniti mating rituals, hinting that long-term pair-bonding is the most common way of life, but his words really left too many question unanswered, much to Fireblade's smug derision that spoken words are 'just a means to obfuscate the truth'.

Suffice to say that didn't go over too well with the others. Neither Fireblade's attitude nor Alexander's vagueness about a topic that could very much be the cornerstone of humaniti society and Loroi understanding thereof.

Surprisingly it was Beryl who called a stop to a discussion that could easily have been a source for a major disagreement. She did point out that in these pictures Alexander and the humaniti woman - which they assumed to be this "Ellen Kirkland" - seem to be pretty familiar with each other. Laughing, joking, and on some of them engaged in activities that could easily be seen as initiating a mating amongst Loroi - if for example kissing would have the same connotations amongst these aliens as it has for Loroi.

"I'd say they were indeed pair bonded and he is feeling her loss.", Beryl argued.

"Why would humaniti males would be so stricken over the deaths of their females? Simply head for another.", Fireblade... of course she would lean towards the more practical side.

Beryl might have a bubbly personality, but beneath that she does have a temper, which flared up that instant. "And what would you say if you lost your amplifier, which is very much part of you? Or didn't you feel the loss of your sisters in your diral yourself?", the sharp undertone of Beryl's sanzai brought Fireblade and Tempo up short. Both were silent for a very long time, but then Tempo brought up a quite interesting question...

"I wonder how long it takes for a humaniti male to actually search/be interested in another female after the loss of the previous one...."

"TEMPO!", shock was bleeding through Beryl's sanzai, "You can't be seriously thinking about ... that!"

"Beryl, get real.", Tempo's cool, matter-of-fact voice laced through Beryl's and Fireblade's mindscape, "You and I know that many species - including us - tend to be evasive or rather noncommittingly if they're faced with questions which are uncomfortable to them or considered a taboo in their society. If you have watched Alexander Jardin's reactions you surely have noticed that this is the case whenever the topic of discussion turns to humaniti biology, especially reproduction."

"So?", Fireblade's short sending conveyed a lot of her disinterest in that subject.

"That means we cannot be quite sure about the veracity of his answers. If topics like these are considered taboo amongst humaniti, he might have glossed over some facts to avoid discussion. For example his statement that 'humaniti males can go for extended periods without mating' could be plainly wrong... or that he omitted the fact that they may be able to, but it would by no means be comfortable to them."

She has a point, Beryl thought to herself.

"Beryl, for the sake of good relations with humaniti, we need to make sure that Alexander Jardin will find no fault in our hospitality. If there are biological needs to be taken care of which he doesn't speak about, we still need to know.", and we might get even more leverage on humaniti males, Tempo mused, "Thus, and I think you do have your own vested interest in this matter, I recommend you to continue this line of questioning. I did notice he reacts ... quite favourably to your presence."

Scene skip - On board of the Highland Shuttle...


"Say, how do your people initiate this 'courtship' ritual?"

Alexander had drifted into a fitful dozing as the journey in the shuttle dragged on. He remembered Beryl being fast asleep herself and Tempo decided to leave him to his own devices, too. Fireblade... well, she's Fireblade.

But then Beryl was awake and, true to form, full of questions again. To be honest, Alex thought, she did sort of grow on him - she might have come over as a bit standoffish at first, but she did considerably warm up. Bright and cheerful, with an insatiable thirst for knowledge...

... though with little regard for that some topics might be considered highly personal. Add to that she has an eidetic memory... Some topic of conversation may just be a hour or days ago, it wouldn't matter to her, she would remember both of them with equal clarity.

Even, or especially, the more embarassing ones.

Straight off into the deep end, Alex thought grimly. Of course, Beryl wouldn't know how loaded this question is. It wouldn't be easy to give an answer conclusive enought to not to prompt even more difficult questions.

"I better start off with how things were handled centuries - hundreds of tozons - ago. And, keep in mind, I'm talking about just mainstream. If there was a woman a man would think of prospective marriage material, he was to ask her father for permission to officially court her."

"A male having a say in his daughter's life? Preposterous.", Fireblade sent with an audible scoff.

By now Alex got keenly aware that he held the undivided attention of all Loroi in sight - Beryl with her unsatiable curiosity, Tempo with a thoughtful and calculating look on her face, even Fireblade... though her look might be like she found something particular unpleasant stuck to her boot.

"This may still factor in, but it has become less and less important over time, until today. Nowadays... it more or less just happens. The man and woman in question agree to start spending time with each other, talking, doing things together, finding common interests... this sort of thing."

Of course this wasn't enough of an explanation to satisfy Beryl's curiosity. And strangely not Tempo's either who was attentively listening in.

"I noticed you have some sort of taboo on touching, right? With humans there's something similar. We call it 'personal space', roughly about an arm's length. We get highly uncomfortable if some stranger intrudes upon it, but if we consider someone as a potential mate, we would actually welcome it. So... in a way ... either man or woman might sort of 'test the waters' with this. Tentatively, first, of course."

Now that got some sort of reaction out of the assembled Loroi. One could see Tempo filing away that tidbit of information for later use, and Beryl...

Guess she now asks herself if I did see her behavior as progressing with a 'courtship', as many times as she got into my personal space, Alex thought.

Tempo's gaze flicked towards Beryl, and she briefly got a darker shade of blue. Alex didn't dare to ask what Tempo did just send; poor Beryl seems to be mortified enough already.

Interestingly enough, it was Tempo coming up with another question, one that would be even more loaded than the previous one.

"You did elaborate on the 'how', less so than on the 'who'. I'm curious and I am sure that the answer would help lots in understanding your people. So, can you tell us what would, say, a humaniti male find to be desirable traits in his prospective mate, and vice versa?"

Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:08 am

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Post Re: Writing Prompts
Well done, very well done, Novius!
I like!

I also like how it continues the previous story of ShadowDragon.

Vote for Outsider on TWC: Image
charred steppes, borders of territories: page 59,
jump-map of local stars: page 121, larger map in Loroi: page 118,
System view Leido Crossroads: page 123

Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:57 am
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Post Re: Writing Prompts
I must agree All top-notch writing! I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the next submission... {where's mah popcorn! :)}

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" can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is Kill him."

Thu Feb 09, 2017 6:38 am
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Post Re: Writing Prompts
Wow, novius, I did not expect that.

Originally, I was thinking of these as vignettes, but there's nothing wrong with tying them together. I figured the second would be isolated from the first because it happened before, chronologically.

I've got another, longer, prompt that focuses on Reed pulling guard duty outside Alex's cell, but that will have to wait until I have time to write it. For now, here's a shorter one:

Beryl was tired, but took care not to let her fatigue slip out either physically or through sanzai. Doing so would only earn contempt from her companion, and the Listel did not want to look weak in front of her... or the senior officer they were going to meet. Fireblade, amazingly, looked and felt as she always did: indefatigable and disinterested. How she managed it after the battle and harrowing disengagement from the Umiak forces, the young Tozet couldn't imagine.

Beryl was uneasy; Mizol didn't normally mingle with the crew, and she only knew of Tempo in passing. Once battle condition had finally been lifted, both Beryl and Fireblade had been summoned to the Parat's office.

As they entered, Tempo stood up politely from behind her desk, bid them welcome, and gestured for the pair to sit down across from her - a courtesy someone of her rank and station did not necessarily have to extend. A Torrai would have probably kept them standing to remind them of their place. Beryl marked the difference and remembered it.

The office was surprisingly bare, with virtually none of the customization or decoration one might normally expect from an officer senior enough to rate one. Tempo was nearly inscrutable through sanzai; the room seemed to say as little about its occupant as her own mental presence.

Whatever your orders were before, she began, I am now responsible for diplomatic relations with the Human. In this regard, you two will answer to me... do you understand?//subtext genuine but otherwise absent.

Beryl and Fireblade nodded, sending affirmation.

The Mizol leaned forward in her chair, folding her hands neatly on her desk.

In order to properly represent our interests going forward, I will need to know everything possible about this Human and his race. I will be interviewing everyone who has interacted with him, but am starting with you two because you have had the most contact//subtext seriousness but otherwise absent.

What can you tell and send to me?

Beryl glanced at Fireblade, but the Teidar gave no inclination of answering first. Steeling herself, she turned back to Tempo.

By the way, just because I've been writing the prompts doesn't mean no one else can. To keep things standardized, how about we put the prompts in quotes and leave the responses in normal text?

Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:56 pm

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Post Re: Writing Prompts
Well, here you go....

Beryl sighed. To be honest, she felt a bit creeped out by the Mizol, and this one right in front of her doesn't make things any easier. The Listel did notice how carefully she orchestrated the course of the talks on the bridge, the most glaring example being how she cut off the link to the Barsam ambassador, just before the battle.

It really rubbed her the wrong way. She's a Listel, a scientist at heart. Knowledge should flow freely for the betterment of all who are concerned, not carefully dished out or withheld out as people see fit.

Still, back to the question. What does she actually know about this alien male?

"Well, for all we know, in outward appearances Humaniti is remarkable similar to us while not being a Soia-Liron species. While outwardly similar, their biochemistry and genetic makeup is completely different, so much that the only viable conclusion is -"

Fireblade scoffed and Tempo sharply cut into Beryl's sanzai with her own, laced with an aura of forcefulness.

"I know! Let this be clear: There will be NO TALKS outside of us that Humaniti is our template species. None. Neither to other Loroi, nor to our client species. If people at large get wind of it, it could VERY MUCH be devastating to our kind. Am I understood?"

Beryl nodded, realizing that Tempo could be downright scary when she got on a roll. Do Mizol learn intimidation tactics in their training? Most certainly...

"Now, please skip the biology lesson. I'm not that much interested in over eighty dead Humaniti, but more in the live one. What do you think of him? What keeps him running? And how would he react to adverse conditions?", the last question being directed more at Fireblade, who still remained silent.

What do I think of him?, Beryl asks herself. Unbidden her trail of thought got a bit off-track. Take away the pink skin, a decent set of ears and a more delicate build, and he'd definitely look quite delectable. That he is well-spoken just adds to his appeal, and while the lack of his presence in sanzai is sort of creepy, it does add a bit to the mystique and tickles her curiosity... Though, judging the sanzai chatter on the ship there are lots of Loroi who wouldn't even care about these differences, and if they do care, suggestions like "lights off" or "cover his head with the bedsheet" were even some of the more harmless ones.

Focus, Beryl, she chided herself.

"I think the easiest way to start off is to think as their gender roles being reversed, to an extent. Even if Alexander Jardin told us that their male/female ratio is one on one, we did see a distinct bias towards males in the number of the dead bodies. More like fifty to thirty in favor of males. With him being the sole survivor we cannot say if his demeanor is par for his species or if he is the 'odd one out', but the chances for this are quite low. So I do think that their males fill the roles of fighters and protectors, given their bulkier build."

Beryl paused, a thought coming to her mind. Even their females mostly look somewhat more filled out compared to Loroi....

"He himself is well-spoken and seems to have benefit from a much broader education than many of our people. Though this may easily be that Humaniti doesn't require that much specialization in certain fields - they're not on a war footing and tech-wise are much more primitive compared to us. And it looks like they mature much slower than we do, giving them more time for a broader education - I think he mentioned that an age of about eighteen to twenty-one tozons is seen as 'mature' amongst his people. Given the same chronological age, we'd be just children if we were humaniti."

Tempo turned towards Fireblade as she noticed that Beryl came to a stop. "Your thoughts?"

Being directly addressed by the Mizol Fireblade simply couldn't not answer.

"I admit, his physique may account for a line of warriors, but... he doesn't strike me as one. I've seen veterans and young fresh out of their training, and he appears to me of the latter sort. He lacks most of the warrior reflexes and attitudes. He is far too trusting and forthcoming with information, much like a certain Listel here - "

Couldn't resist that jab?, Beryl thought to herself.

"and mostly, he did resign himself to the isolation. Any real warrior would have at least looked for a way out of the brig, yet he did nothing of the sort. With his short hair he can't be a warrior of some reknown..."

"Wait a solon", Beryl interjected, "The autopsies do show that Humaniti males do cut their hair - the natural length would be considerably longer. My assumption is that they do follow a different tradition. Or maybe it's practical reasons, like, a foe wouldn't be able to grab it and pull back the head to go for the jugular?"

"That just means they're gutless. We do keep our hair long. As a challenge. Anyone is invited to get up close to us, if they dare. If they don't, they're the worthless cowards only fit to be shot from afar."

Tempo stood up. "That's enough of you two. Beryl, you are to pump him for more information. Find out how their society is structured and how we best proceed to maintain good relations with Humaniti. Fireblade... feel free to test his worth as a warrior. Rile him up, challenge him, but don't do anything that could be construed as an official act of hostility towards himself or humaniti as a whole."

"Why is it that important to get on good terms with these aliens?" Fireblade sent acidly.

"First, the salvage of the Humaniti wreck had no signs of Soia technology. None at all. Even if this ship had been one of a kind and their other tech base would be Soia-influenced, primitive at it is, it is still a feat in engineering, research and development. If humans can be that resourceful to develop and build something like a spacefaring civilization from scratch, they might be an asset with their ingenuity.

Second, want it or not, we might have to deal with even just the possibility that humaniti may be our template species. Imagine the upheaval when word comes out. And it will come out, sooner or later. Too many people have seen him, starting with the bridge crew, and they surely come to their own conclusions. If word goes back to the Union, we'd rather be known as the ones who established good relations to their 'brothers and sisters' rather than the ones who started things off the wrong foot. Because that would definitely cause riots back home."

Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:45 am
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Post Re: Writing Prompts
For the next prompt, my thoughts on how we got to the Chapter 2 Title Page.

Reed was tired. A Soroin Pideir like herself should be used to pulling guard duty, but this was anything but normal guard duty. The first few days of guarding the alien had been a nightmare what with half the damned crew determined to linger in the detention corridor for the merest glimpse of her charge. The sheer absence of sanzai on the part of the human did nothing to deter them from trying to raise him as they passed. At first, Reed was able to stop the lingering on her own authority, but it took her contacting the Operations Chief on the command deck to get the whole corridor placed off limits. When particularly enterprising Loroi crew took it upon themselves to attempt contact from other decks, the command staff finally assigned Pallan Fireblade to assist her in place of the other Soroin Pideir who held her off-shift.

Ordinarily, Reed would have been insulted in such circumstances, the implication being that she was incapable of performing her job, but the strain had been so great that the Soroin was grateful for the help. Let the curious run up against the Teidar's mental wall instead of her own. That would teach them.

Of course her troubles did not end there. Keep him isolated, and keep him alive were the orders passed down from Lashret Stillstorm herself. The latter was proving to be as difficult as the former.

At first, Reed thought the human's continued requests for different food were simply an attempt to force contact between them; he did not seem to like being left alone. It wasn't until she heard the groans, and upon entering the cell, was assaulted by the acrid smell of vomit that she realized he wasn't simply being picky. She was not concerned at first; as similar as they looked, surely some food aboard the ship would suit him. However, as time went by and the possible choices dwindled away, Reed started to fear that he wouldn't be able to eat any of their supplies. A desperate request to the Listel in charge of analyzing the wreckage of the human ship yielded nothing. As yet, she hadn't found anything approximating rations. What would happen should the only surviving member of the human ship starve to death on her watch? Certainly Stillstorm would be displeased, but even a Pideir like Reed could understand the broader implications. The thought was shared freely among the crew; the Loroi needed any and all help to turn the tide of this war and her prisoner might very well be able to secure it.

A new round of coughing and retching from within the cell caught Reed's attention. With a nod from Fireblade, the Soroin turned and opened the door. It wasn't as bad as she had feared; the human hadn't thrown up. He was, however, sweating and terribly pale. The fact that she wasn't greeted by some offhand quip informed Reed just how poorly the human felt.

Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:05 am

Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 2:14 am
Posts: 487
Post Re: Writing Prompts
Just a quickie, I'm sure someone can do much better:

Reed once again informed the clean-up crew to increase the air filtration of the "guest room", and brought fresh water to the alien.
Then she ordered the last available supplies the alien has not yet tested, and sanzai'ed the medical department an update.

When the supplies came, she once again placed them in front of the alien, and tried to encourage him to try them too.
She silently prayed he would be able to keep them down, and get some nutrients from them.


When the order came to open the door and escort the alien to the shuttle, Reed pressed the button of the intercom and informed the alien:
"Captain? Are you awake?"
When she opened the door, it was obvious, that the alien finally was able to keep something down, although he still did not seem to agree with the food. She quickly checked which ration it was, and was shocked. The only delicacy aboard the Tempest, the one thing that was worth being named "food" was the only thing that wretched alien could keep down?
A telepathic groan reached her from the whole ship as the other Loroi replied to her dismay, that apparently all remaining rations of Yilderai would now have to be reserved for the alien, to ensure his survival.
That telepathic reply to her slipped telepathic dismay from all ship also earned her a quick telepathic reprimand from Fireblade, who seemed undisturbed that the only food that was worth going to the mess was now reserved for that "male".
That would not help morale. First an obviously weak male as representative of a new alien race, then this race being obviously so similar to the Loroi and having an absolute telepathic immunity, and now they even have to stop enjoying their food?

Quickly she told him to pack his stuff and move, while she got the reply from the mess, that the rations for the trip of the shuttle have been packed, and that no Yilderai would be left onboard the Tempest when that alien leaves.
She needs to offload this "thing" to Listel Tozet before her anger of having to eat the bland nothings the supply depots call "ration" will be all she has for the next half tozon, as out here the supply group they are to rendezvous will have nothing worth to be named "food".

Vote for Outsider on TWC: Image
charred steppes, borders of territories: page 59,
jump-map of local stars: page 121, larger map in Loroi: page 118,
System view Leido Crossroads: page 123

Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:08 am
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Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:10 am
Posts: 127
Post Re: Writing Prompts
My turn to try this.

As the Two Listel entered a meditative state, one that would allow some semblance of rest as well as to trade “notes” or more accurately the memories on the subject, the first thing that came to them were the results of the many attempts to feed the alien. Tempo and Beryl were invested in Jardin’s many faceted tidbits of his biology, but what had entering their ears for what felt like an entire day-night cycle a day cycle earlier was not it. Reproduction, yes. Strength, yes. Mental Capacities, yes. Dietary needs, problematic but none the less yes. The inevitable outcome of said dietary needs, well sometimes the Listel’s perfect memory could be a curse sometimes.

Chief Science Officer Bloom was going over the facets of Jardin’s excrement. Most of it seem to be sludge, the after effects of some of the standard food the crew ate. The sight of what was allotted to the officers ended up as nearly made the young Loroi vomit on the spot. It didn’t help that the Bloom chose to expound about the needs of more fiber into the diplomat’s diet right after breakfast.

“Can we continue on past this point?’ Temp asked, her skin turning a far paler shade of blue then was healthy.

“Um, yes.” Bloom Paused, the tone of her Sanzai and her face more than plain on her irritation to pass up her hours of study and findings. “In closing, It seems we need to limit his dietary intake of the following foods. I have an extensive list.” She plopped a data module the size of a combat plasma caster onto both Listel’s laps, nearly bruising their legs as she went. “I have also spoken to the chefs to try alternatives still available.

“As is, we need to run some tests to see how well he uses his calories.”
“You mean, you want us to exercise him?” Tempo muttered. “Besides the fact he must be severely weakened from the interrogation, seeing the his ship blown up for a second time, the lack of food he has kept down, and the rounds of tests, he may not be up to it.”

“He is also not a pet to be walked around on a leash.” Beryl chimed in.

“Right, and I am the grand Shell Admiral.” Fire Blade Blurted out with a rare smile. Both listel chose to ignore it. It was no secret she had little kindness for the creature. Beryl could only think of maybe one point, and that was seeing his ship get blasted; an event she once had herself survived though she will say not wholly.

“Of Course Not.” Bloom continued. “From the maintenance crew’s reports, it appears he is not house broken, although finding the toilet in those cells is problematic…never mind. Between him probably needing to be somewhere not claustrophobic for a few hours, and we need to see if he is actually war ready.”

“I can help with that.” Said Fireblade.” All three not of the Unsheathed turned to face her as she leaned against the wall with casual disregard. Unlike the Listel, she maintained her typical stone face. Either she ignored most of the technical parts or she has a much stronger constitution; Beryl did not know what to be more jealous of at that moment.”

“No, putting him in a combat situation would be a bad idea.” Commanded Tempo, afraid she would have to pull rank.

“My squad usually has the exercise deck to ourselves this afternoon.” Fireblade continued. If she cared about Tempo’s remarks, she did not show it. “I have my own reports to turn in to Stillstorm at this time…Have him take my place while they exercise. If the pink menace lives up to his new name we will know it.

“Splendid!” Bloom squealed happily and vocally. It was a tell she was both excited and unable to be told no by anything short of a ship captain and a plasma caster to the face.

“Shall we take turns actually sleeping while Jardin Moves around deck?” Beryl asked, back upon the smooth ride of the shuttle.

“You sleep fist.” Tempo commanded. “I have a few hundred years more experience in diplomatic situations then you. Besides I need to have a chat with Fireblade.”

It was then the snores of the little Listel were not faked. “That was fast.” Fireblade chimed in happily. So, what do you want to know.

“Among other…where is Captain Jardin going?”

“I think make awkward conversation with the pilot.” Said Fireblade neutrally. “He might be male after all.”

Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:37 pm
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