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October 2017 Fanfic Challenge
purplecleric
In the Autumn we become more aware of the spiders around us. They surprise us in the bathtub, in the washing pile and their creations catch us in every doorway and gate. On the positive side, they keep the flies down and we marvel at their complex and beautiful structures decorated with frost or dewdrops.

The word prompt this month is … WEB

An episode of Blakes7, an insect’s silken creation, a complex network, the internet or a membrane between the toes. What tale will you spin?

At the end of the month, things get spooky with Halloween. For the second challenge, write about a ghostly encounter.


Enjoy!
 
trevor travis
Here’s my contribution for ‘web’:


THE CLASS OF ‘78


It was reunion time – twenty years on from the journey from Earth to Cygnus Alpha on the London.

Blake brought along his kids.

Jenna only had to take one look at their toes.

He’d married Inga.
 
Travisina
trevor travis wrote:

Here’s my contribution for ‘web’:


THE CLASS OF ‘78


It was reunion time – twenty years on from the journey from Earth to Cygnus Alpha on the London.

Blake brought along his kids.

Jenna only had to take one look at their toes.

He’d married Inga.

GrinGrinGrin
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Blakesheaven
Forever friends.


Gan made another experimental tug on the vine that dangled down the shaft and cautiously started an ascent, within seconds he was flat on his back laying next to Vila who’s eyes sprung open in a flash. “Gan what are you doing? You can’t leave me down here all on my own.” Vila had literally put his foot in it this time after crashing through a poorly boarded mineshaft. Now with a badly broken leg and missing communicator he was on his way to delirium when Gan who was sent to find him managed to fall down the very same hole. “Vila you’re in bad shape I need to get you help, I’ve called the others but I can’t be sure they got the message they don’t respond” Gan got the canteen out from his bag and raised Vila’s head so he could take a drink. “You should have some too old friend” but Gan refused saying Vila needed it more, Vila’s eyes started to close Gan moved closer, “come on stay awake you’re always looking for an excuse to take a nap” “Oi I’ll have you know I’m laying here working on a brilliant and cunning escape plan” “have you come up with anything yet?” Gan enquired. “Nope sorry I’ve got nothing, I think we’ve had it this time” Vila involuntarily groaned with pain and a blood stain spread slightly further across his torn trouser leg “oh no you don’t VILA RESTAL” shouted Gan “your times not up yet, you’re not dying on my watch” Just then the beam of a torch shone full in Vila’s face. Avon called out “over here I’ve found him, I’ll lower you down on a rope with a bracelet and we’ll teleport him straight to sickbay” “we’ll both need a bracelet” called up Vila just as Dayna arrived at his feet “why two” question Dayna and then called back up “he’s dehydrated and delirious but should be ok”
Vila turned to see Gan standing in the shadows smiling back at him “thanks old friend” Vila whispered and then passed out.
 
Vanessa Doffenshmirtz
Blakesheaven wrote:

Forever friends.


Gan made another experimental tug on the vine that dangled down the shaft and cautiously started an ascent, within seconds he was flat on his back laying next to Vila who’s eyes sprung open in a flash. “Gan what are you doing? You can’t leave me down here all on my own.” Vila had literally put his foot in it this time after crashing through a poorly boarded mineshaft. Now with a badly broken leg and missing communicator he was on his way to delirium when Gan who was sent to find him managed to fall down the very same hole. “Vila you’re in bad shape I need to get you help, I’ve called the others but I can’t be sure they got the message they don’t respond” Gan got the canteen out from his bag and raised Vila’s head so he could take a drink. “You should have some too old friend” but Gan refused saying Vila needed it more, Vila’s eyes started to close Gan moved closer, “come on stay awake you’re always looking for an excuse to take a nap” “Oi I’ll have you know I’m laying here working on a brilliant and cunning escape plan” “have you come up with anything yet?” Gan enquired. “Nope sorry I’ve got nothing, I think we’ve had it this time” Vila involuntarily groaned with pain and a blood stain spread slightly further across his torn trouser leg “oh no you don’t VILA RESTAL” shouted Gan “your times not up yet, you’re not dying on my watch” Just then the beam of a torch shone full in Vila’s face. Avon called out “over here I’ve found him, I’ll lower you down on a rope with a bracelet and we’ll teleport him straight to sickbay” “we’ll both need a bracelet” called up Vila just as Dayna arrived at his feet “why two” question Dayna and then called back up “he’s dehydrated and delirious but should be ok”
Vila turned to see Gan standing in the shadows smiling back at him “thanks old friend” Vila whispered and then passed out.


Awesome, thank you.
I used to be such a sweet sweet thing
Till they got a hold of me.
 
JustBrad
A small village lay at the foot of wooded mountains. A wall surrounded the village. A tower sat halfway up the mountain, as if watching over the village. It might have been a scene from medieval Earth, save for the electric lights and the satellite dish atop the tower.

Gunships descended, firing at the village wall and the gate of the tower. Ships landed. Black clad guards poured into the village and through the gates of the tower.

Troopers burst into the tower to find an old man sitting at a table, surrounded by three young women.

A woman entered. “I am Commissioner Sleer. This planet is under Federation control. A survey team crashed here and reported this planet to be rich in Feldon crystals. They have not been heard from since. I want to know what happened to them, and I want to know now.”

The old man answered, “They were not invited in, nor were you. This planet was given to us by Earth Gov in the early days of interstellar travel, to be ours undisturbed forever.”

“Why?”

The old man smiled. “They wanted to be rid of us. You are trespassing. Leave. Now.”

Sleer answered, “Earth Gov was replaced by the Federation ages ago. I go where I please, and I won't leave until I have those crystals, find out what happened to our survey team, and deal with the rebels responsible. I believe you are that rebel. You will tell me what happened to our survey team, and you will order the villagers to mine the crystals for us. You will do this now.”

The old man tilted his head. “Or what consequence?”

Sleer gestured. “You see these soldiers? They are a Federation Death Squad.”

“Death Squad?” The old man smirked. “I am unimpressed.”

Sleer said, “Take these women out and shoot them.”

Six soldiers dragged the women from the grand hall. Sleer said, “Unless you tell me now, those men will shoot your daughters.”

“They are not my daughters.”

Sleer said, “Your servants then. I am not bluffing.”

“Nor am I.”

Three shots rang out. Sleer said, “And now I will kill everyone in the village, one by one, until you tell me what I want to know.”

The old man said, “That is unnecessary.”

There were six screams.

The old man said, “As you suspect, I am responsible for the disappearance of your team. The reason Earth Gov gave us this planet is because it is overrun by werewolves. Your team went beyond the wall where I could not protect them. All but one were killed. You name me rebel, I prefer resistor. I resisted the invaders of my homeland when no one else would. I resisted the encroach of civilization, I even resisted being sent into exile here.”

Sleer drew a sidearm. “You said all but one of the team were killed.”

“When he returned, I gave him to my wives.”

Sleer turned to see the three women. Though each had clearly been shot, they seemed unharmed. Blood dripped from their mouths, but it wasn't their blood.

Sleer turned to the old man. “Who are you?”

“I have had so many names mankind has forgotten them all, all save one. The name everyone remembers is, Dracula. From now on, I think I will be called, Rebel. Thank you for the ships.”
 
Anniew
The darkness was so intense it had an almost velvety texture as if, were e to put out his hand to it, he would encounter resistance. He would welcome some resistance. The swoop of terror he experienced when he woke to nothingness still churned in his stomach. How long he had lain there feeding the queasiness, holding it tight in his belly, he had no way of judging. All of time perhaps. He was nothing, floating in nothing. Just a tiny ball of nausea wrapped in layers of spongy nothing, a nothing that was leaching out all he was, had been, could ever be.

Light assaulted him, the blackness gone as he hit a steel sheet of burning white. Every nerve in his body seared with fire, yet he was thankful for the rush of sensation. When the pain became manageable he opened his eyes and saw a robed figure seated at a small table. The figure gestured he should join it.

It was all, obviously, a trick of his mind; a product of the sensory deprivation torture they had subjected him to, but, smiling a little he shrugged. “Why not?” he said.

The figure watched dispassionately as he hobbled over to the vacant chair and then held out a hand. A chess set had appeared on the table, or perhaps it had been there from the beginning. He was being offered a choice of pieces: black or white. The symbolism was crude, obvious. He resented it. But it was distraction. Randomly he grabbed one of the pawns that lay clasped in the robed figure’s hand.

He had chosen white. Ironic but so be it.

He opened aggressively but, as he'd suspected, his opponent countered every move. Sooner or later he knew he would make a mistake and have to concede. A flash of inspiration and he captured a knight. It twisted in his hand and Anna’s face looked up at him.

“Why did you shoot me?”

He answered quickly, surprised to feel so little, “You would have shot me first.”

Another two moves and a bishop was his.

“Why did I die?” Cally asked.

There was sorrow this time. “A mistake. I made a mistake.”

His hands stung. It became painful to move each piece. His opponent seized the advantage snatching his knights and bishop.

A dying cry, “Avon?”

“Yes,” he admitted. “ I led you to this.”

The weight of the pieces were cutting into his fingers now, the effort it took to lift them enormous.

His rook gone. Vila.

“I lied,” he told the tear-stained face. “You were never safe with me.”

Wearily he gathered his strength and attacked again, cutting a swathe through the remaining pieces, sacrificing his own to gain tiny advantages until he stood face to face with the black king.

“I always trusted you,” it said.

“Then you were a fool,” he snapped back. And wept.

“Are you ready now?” The robed figure threw back the hood and the lined, yet still lovely face of his dearest enemy invited him.

“As I'll ever be,” he smiled back and leaned into her embrace.
Edited by Anniew on 02 October 2017 15:27:27
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
Rainesz
The Burning Lady

Vila claimed to have seen her. "She was in the cargo hold! I swear it!" He refused to go down below deck by himself. "She called my name!"

"You're confusing her with Cally," Tarrant had snapped and this had made Vila shut up and pour himself yet another soma with trembling hands.

Vila's drinking had become increasingly excessive. This was the most likely explanation for his hallucinations of a spectral woman on fire creeping about the lower decks. Of course Tarrant had laughed, shook his head and dismissed Vila's idiotic ranting...

Until he saw her himself.

Or perhaps he was hallucinating as well? The ship was burning up around him in its chaotic descent to the surface of Gauda Prime; perhaps it was the extreme oxygen deprivation or smoke inhalation or —

"It was her," Vila had said to him then with terror in his eyes. "It was Dr. Plaxton."

Just as Tarrant was struggling to turn the Scorpio upright in freefall, the ship's lighting began to sputter and fail—except for a milky glow that he saw out of the corner of his eye which was becoming increasingly harsher, more glaring, closer. Fearing something near him might be on the verge of exploding, he made a quick turn of his head to assess the danger—

And there she stood.

He somehow heard her amused voice above the Scorpio's metallic scream as the atmosphere pulled the ship down into the planet. "Ah, noble Tarrant. So you were the only one willing to die with the ship."

She was there, engulfed in a column of white flame, her eyes burning with plasma light, her grin terrible.

"You know you will need more than just talent to land your dead ship."

Tarrant could do nothing but grip his hands like claws on the controls as he felt her step closer, her glacial breath on his neck. Despite the fire coming from them, Plaxton's fingers were like ice as they slithered over Tarrant's hand in a terrifying caress.

"I am part of the Scorpio now. Allow me to assist you, Tarrant. Together, we will land your burning lady."

He had no choice. She folded her hands atop his own and they both guided the ship's mad descent.

The Scorpio rammed down into forested terrain and broke apart from within. Tarrant screamed as he toppled down further into the corpse of the ship. He finally came to be lying beside what was left of the stardrive that Plaxton had created—and which had also destroyed her.

The burning ghost stood before him with a serene smile.

"I had hoped to have a final conversation with Avon, but I'm afraid he will be having an appointment with another ghost."

And right before Tarrant fainted, he watched her burst into a blinding star-white pillar of flame. Her face melted, revealing the skull beneath which retained a hideous, triumphant grin.

***

Slave sputtered and apologized and then died as the wreckage of the Scorpio was fired upon from above. Injured, exhausted, Tarrant tried to crawl away to safety.

All at once, there was another figure looming over him, its curly-haired silhouette somehow reminding him of himself. His doppelganger? No, not exactly. This was an older, wearier, more bitter version of himself.

"Lie still, let them think you're dead," said the apparition.

He found himself heeding the advice of yet another supernatural creature offering assistance.

Plaxton may have been a product of his own imagination, but it was this new, very human ghost with its scarred, feral face that he found more terrifying.

Somehow he knew that this one was his angel of death.
Edited by Rainesz on 03 October 2017 20:46:38
 
Joe Dredd
Rainesz wrote:
a blinding star-white pillar of flame


Lovely writing Rainesz. What a brilliant crop of stories so far - all of them.
 
Hugbot
Late Summer Farewell

It was one of the last days of summer. Avon had ventured outside to explore the vicinity of Xenon Base, and now he savoured the view towards the west. The sun cast a golden shimmer over the fields, and a light wind turned the waist-high grass into a slowly rolling sea. In the nearby forest, the light played on forgotten cobwebs. Gossamers floated lazily in the breeze.

Suddenly, the wind paused as if the world held its breath. The gossamers hovered above the fields, suspended miraculously in mid-air. Still dancing in a breeze that was no longer blowing, they began to form a shape as if they wound themselves around an invisible object.

Avon blinked. The shape was that of a human figure, tall and slender. A female shape.

‘Cally?’ Avon was surprised by the sudden coarseness of his voice.

The silver strands formed tentative features, even motions. A smile. A waving hand.

A sudden gust of wind blew the gossamers away and hurled them over the land, leaving Avon alone an the vast plain. A tear glistened in the last light of the sinking sun.
 
Joe Dredd
Hot Dog!

The sizzling sound grew louder as the smell of frying sausages grew stronger. Frank was near!

Hurtling down the corridor, Tarrant skidded to a stop at a junction, trying to get his bearings in the unfamiliar base. Picking a direction perhaps half-remembered, he sprinted away again.

Why oh why, he thought, did Justin decide to create a Halloweenie?
 
Vanessa Doffenshmirtz
Kara was stood at the Cliffs of Rebirth. She had already guided Sub-Commander Riker, Arco and Vargas to their final destination.

Soon Kara had found others seeking her aide. Hanna and Coser had eagerly accepted her help.
She had grieved when Gan had arrived. He had found his true love there, leaving her empty.

Travis has angrily rejected her . She wept as she couldn't ease his pain.

Sooner later it seemed every-one Blake touched ended up with her.

Cally had looked for and found her clone group.

Jenna had railed against the fact she'd had to destroy her ship. Her death was meaningless in comparison.

Now Kara had to brace herself against the sudden deluge of new souls. Dayna, Deva,Arlen, Tarrant, Soolin and Blake.

She watched as Vila half-carried and half-dragged Avon out of the base. Vila looked up. He could see her and was afraid.

"Follow me, "Kara said."I will lead you to safety. You are of the living and I am responsible only for the souls who seek Rebirth. "

"I remember you. " Vila said, his voice devoid of any emotion.But he followed with Avon until they reached a serviceable craft.

"Go in peace" Kara said returning to her self-appointed duty.
Edited by Vanessa Doffenshmirtz on 04 October 2017 03:54:19
I used to be such a sweet sweet thing
Till they got a hold of me.
 
Blakesheaven
Ghosts in the machine

Orac very often found the urge to explain that he was never actually off irresistible. That ridiculous key, there’s a world of difference between off and standby which of course was what the key did. He enjoyed listening to the others, their inane prattle was an amusement to him, their comforting ambient drone helped him process. Avon though, thought Orac. He seemed to occasionally give the kind of stare that said I know! The kind of look that when applied to Vila would invoke physical symptoms of anxiety, for all of Orac’s superior processing power Avon had remained somewhat of a closed book. Orac often speculated that there was something of the machine about Avon.
Although logically there was no reason for it Orac found himself in an environment that was conducive to his wellbeing, the alien vessel and computer were intriguing and the scenarios offered by ongoing travel with the Terran rebels was stimulating to him. Yes this would suffice for now let the adventure continue after all they would be lost without him.

“So why do we do a visual inspection too, when the thing is monitored around the clock?” asked junior archivist Tor. “WHY!” exclaimed the chief archivist “we do it because we’re told to and we don’t question it, this is after all Orac” “But madam it’s been inactive now for forty eight years, it was off when they found it and has never so much as flashed a diode” “the thing is far from dormant Tor, it’s locked into a diagnostic or it running some sort of program on a loop we can’t even begin to unlock its secrets until it stops. “Secrets?” Enquired Tor, “the Supreme Commander is convince this unit holds vital information on the design and build of the Liberator, need I say more!”

Orac very often found the urge to explain that he was never actually off irresistible.................
 
Travisina
Terrific stories, and we're not even a week into October yet!

@Blakesheaven - great ideas, really good punchlines.
@Brad - Smile
@Annie - magnificent and heartbreaking
@Raiesz - ooh, creepy and wonderful writing
@Hogbot - see, everyone? Intensely moving and well within the 500 word limit (just sayin' )
@JD - Grin
@Vanessa - fantastic!
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Travisina
Local Knowledge

Travis stooped to retrieve the object that had been almost camouflaged among the drifts of red and copper leaves, and held it up for his men to see.

"Blake's teleport bracelet. He can't get away this time. Spread out and search."

The troopers began to make their way between the trees, their guns at the ready.

"I want him alive," Travis called.

Trooper Morton moved away from the others, glad that his face was concealed behind his visor; his expression may have given him away. He had a good idea of where Blake may be hiding.

He knew this forest, he remembered every twisting pathway, every bush and tree. They had grown in the five years he had been away, but so had he. Once he had run here painfully barefoot; now his heavy boots crunched the scattered chestnuts and dead leaves. Morton breathed deep the forest scents, almost forgotten during his time at Federation Space Academy.

He found his way to the ancient oak. Just beyond it stood the mausoleum, its facade crumbling, the inscriptions illegible. Inside, Morton knew, the narrow entrance opened into a wide, dark space, home to nocturnal creatures. Between the stone tombs were places where an abused, frightened child might hide. Or a rebel leader.

Morton approached cautiously. He thought he saw a glint of eyes in the darkness. It might be an animal. It might be Blake.

Hearing footsteps, he turned to see that Travis had followed him. "Well, Trooper? You seemed to know where you were going."

"This was my home world, sir."

"Was it, indeed? It's probably changed since you were last here."

"The forest hasn't. But the city used to be pretty chaotic before..."

"Before the Federation restored law and order. And we intend to keep it that way." Travis glanced at the mausoleum. "So you thought Blake would be here?

"I'm pretty sure he's inside."

"That's impossible, Trooper. Use your eyes, man!" Travis gestured impatiently at a magnificent spiderweb that spanned the entrance. "If Blake had gone through, he'd have broken that."

"But, sir..."

"Come on, don't waste time here."

Morton hesitated, torn between conflicting loyalties. This planet may have been his home world, but was never much of a home. The Federation was his family now; he regarded Travis as the father he'd never had. But he had been shocked to see the destruction the Federation had wreaked; the devastated city, the cowed citizens. The people weren't all bad. Perhaps Blake was right to help them rebel.

As he moved away, Morton sensed rather than heard the sigh of relief inside the cave, the exhalation of held breath. He made his decision: he would not tell Travis how quickly the forest spiders could move, how swiftly they were able to spin their intricate webs. Repairing a man-sized tear would have taken only a few minutes.

He smiled beneath his visor. Blake was safely hidden behind a delicate barricade that was more secure than one of steel.

***

Edited by Travisina on 06 October 2017 18:22:34
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
littlesue
Oh crumbs, I'll have to get a move on.
Once again some fantastic stories, beautifully crafted.
Why couldn't have English lessons in creative writing been so much fun back in the day?? Grin
Cold.....you don't know the meaning of cold.
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of the window!!!


sues stories http://sjlittle.w...
sues youtube channel http://www.youtub...e54/videos
sues book shelf https://www.media...ne%20Shelf
rebel run video http://www.youtub...prqS-XZtLo
Lara and Sue's Stories http://lectorisal....webs.com/
 
Anniew
My story was only just over...she said defensively.

Yes lovely stories....they’ve been a joy to read.

Rainez strange and creepy - so well realised.
Hugbot as delicate and beautiful as the cobwebs it features.
Travisina - a highly original, expertly crafted story
Vanessa: such an interesting, unusual take on the prompt
Blakesheaven - the ghost in the machine...clever very clever.
JoeSmileSmile
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
Joe Dredd
The Rescue

Jenna was on watch when Zen picked up the distress signal, which explains why we went. Being a pilot meant she always had strong feelings about helping other citizens of the stars who were in trouble.

The captain of the cargo ship had gone mad then died, but not before locking everything down so none of the crew could get to the flight deck or do anything much at all. The crippled ship had drifted into a prohibited space zone and the crew had no way to restart the drives, or fly the ship back to the comparative safety of the Federation space lanes.

Zen didn't like us going into the prohibited zone, but we'd been through this once before and knew what to expect. Zen withdrew into his hidey-hole again, pretending that somehow he wouldn't get hurt if everything went wrong.

We managed to jockey Liberator up to the freighter and the two of us limped along together, the Liberator theoretically providing a defensive umbrella should anything attack us out here in Epinaarl territory.

Blake and I teleported over. Jenna had to stay and struggle with the ship on manual, with Avon assisting to keep the subsystems up and running.

We arrived in absolute darkness. We plugged out torches into the battery packs on our gunbelts, leaving our Liberator weapons holstered and unpowered, cords dangling. When we could see, we found there wasn't much to look at it. It was a big cargo hold, cold, empty, and oily-smelling. Blake tried the Liberator but the communicator on his bracelet kept cutting out. Mine too.

The silence was eerie. "The life support must be out," I said.

Blake drew in an encouragingly large breath. "We seem to have all the air we need," he said.

"For now," I responded.

"Until we get off," he corrected.

We made our way out and up, looking for the crew. We hoped for survivors but every cabin was empty. We didn't even find any bodies.

The electrics were out and we couldn't get the lights on anywhere, or the computers. My lamp started flickering. I gave it a shake and looked at it. "Low battery," I told Blake.

"Turn it off and we'll just use mine," he replied. I wondered how much power Blake had left.

Eventually we reached the doors to the flight deck. They weren't huge but they were thick. A small panel recessed in its own little niche glowed ever so dimly. It was the first source of light or sign of power we'd seen anywhere. Blake reached out to touch it and it lit up, sensing him near.

"No wonder," said Blake, reading the screen. "Things aren't just locked down; the ship's been put into seige mode. If we can get into the flight deck here, we should be able to restart the drives. Once we have power we can talk to the Liberator using their communicators. Then -- Wait. What was that?"

I heard it too. A faint voice calling for help.

"It seemed to come from the other side of the door," frowned Blake.

"I thought the captain was meant to be dead," I said.

"Help! Help!" said the voice. "Is there anyone there?"

"Help is here," Blake called in a loud, reassuring voice.

"Thank goodness!" cried the feeble voice. "You've come just in time!"

"Can you open the door?" called Blake.

I tried the Liberator again. Nothing but static.

"Yes, yes!" cried the voice. "Don't go away, I'm opening it. Please don't go away!"

The iris door swirled open ever so slowly. At this speed, the curved sections looked like vicious metallic teeth as they retracted. The movement looked so laborious and painful, it seemed they would stall at any moment.

Finally the segments were out of sight and the door was open. The flight deck was pitch black.

"Come in! Help me!" cried the voice. "You're just in time!"

We stepped through the door. Blake shone his torch around. Thick threads gleamed in the torch light as he cast about, looking for the troubled survivor.

"Where are you?" he asked, in his unwaveringly certain voice.

"Here I am!"

We spun arround to our right, Blake's torch picking out a dozen glinting eyes high up on the wall.

"You've come just in time," said the enormous shape as the door closed behind us. "I was getting hungry again."
 
Anniew
Joe that’s a really clever story. I had no idea how it would end. So enjoyable.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
Joe Dredd
Thanks Annie!

Your story and Rainesz gave me shivers. Vanessa's gave me hope. Brad & Hugbot's tales were up to their usual high standards. And I really got a kick out of Blakesheaven's Orac tale.
 
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