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Ficlet Challenge: June 2022
The phrase prompt for this month is ...STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM

And for the second prompt:

One of the B7 characters finds an object labelled with their name.

Happy writing!
I've taken a bit of a liberty with the second prompt. Hope nobody minds.

The Definite Article

"But look at it," Dayna complained, "We're going to need this room. I don't think anyone's been through here for months."
"We've been busy," replied Vila, who was feeling the effects of yet another sleepless night. He was finding sleep hard to come by, these days.
"Just get started clearing all that junk," she told him, as she left, "I'll be back."
Was that a promise or a threat? Vila sighed and looked around the cabin. It was one of Liberator’s unused spaces. He'd contributed a couple of empty crates himself. Several of Avon's less successful inventions littered a table, the bunk was piled with clothes and someone else had left a pile of broken or otherwise non-operational bits and pieces in one corner, presumably intending to fix them - when they had time.
There never was time, Vila reflected, life had become an endless succession of dangers, moving from one crisis to the next....And for what? He sat on a corner of the crowded bunk, contemplating the impending task without enthusiasm.
He wasn't sure he liked Dayna. Oh, she was good with guns but she was too enthusiastic, too ready to give other people jobs, when that other person had been aboard a lot longer than she had, and had more right to a bit of R&R.
He pushed the clothes aside to make space to lie down. As he did so, a belt caught his eye. He fished it out from among the other things. The belt had an ornametal buckle that was vaguely familiar. Running his finger over its surface, he stopped short.
Dayna returned in time to see Vila hunched into a ball, rocking himself gently. She saw tears on his cheeks.
"Vila - what's wrong?" she cried, hurrying forward. Before she could touch him, he sprang away, dropping something metallic as he ran out of the room.
She picked up the thing he'd dropped. Some sort of fastening? What was that inscription? A monogram of intertwined letters: someone had gone to a lot of trouble about the design. She made out only three letters: 'g-a-n'. What did it mean?
Edited by M1795537OCVirn on 07-06-2022 07:43
"You're not sulking, I hope?"
That's good. Not often that Gan is mentioned in a ficlet!!!
I look behind me, what do I see? A pair of golden wings seem to be attached to me.
Oh MV that’s so sad.
Play the hand fate deals you.
Lovely story, M...Virn. Two of my fave characters!
There is no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
A sad but lovely story, very moving. Thank you!
Of course I don't mind your taking liberty with the prompt - after all, we are all rebels here, aren't we? Pfft

(I hope to peruse this thread more regularly again so that I can comment on fellow writers' contributions as I used to do.)
A Strange Present

Avon was usually the first one awake in the morning, eager for wrestling with computer problems, while Blake enjoyed to sleep in knowing that others were already working, following his orders. Today, however, Blake was the first to enter Liberator’s mess room. Yawning and still a little drowsy, he grabbed a plate when his eyes suddenly fell upon a tiny box on the table. It was about the size of an Ison crystal and wrapped in colourful paper. A label attached to it read ROJ.

Blake recognised Cally’s handwriting. But why would she give a present to him on such an ordinary day?

Well, he wouldn’t find out if he didn’t open the tiny parcel. So he tore the paper off, opened the little box and fished out its content.

What he found was a bow tie made of black leather and decorated with studs arranged in the pattern of the constellation Ursa minor. Apart from not exactly matching Blake’s taste, the bow tie was also way too small.

While he still wondered at the strange present, Cally and Avon entered the room. In a flash, the Auron rushed to him and grabbed the present from his hands.

‘It’s not for you’, she said, handing it over to Avon. ‘It’s a birthday present for Avon.’

‘But it said ROJ on the label’, Blake protested.

Cally sighed. ‘Of course’, she explained. ‘It’s for Roj Bear.’
Does anyone remember my stories about coloured rooms aboard Liberator? Here is another one:

The White Room

One day, Gan discovered a strange white door in the maze of Liberator’s corridors. The room behind it didn’t look like anything one would expect on a spaceship but more like a living room furnished with a sofa, a table, several armchairs and a sideboard with a vase of flowers. Paintings adorned the walls, and there were bookcases and even an old-fashioned gramophone on a small table in the corner.

Nonetheless the room didn’t look cosy. It was completely white − not just the walls but also the furniture, which made them look as if they were covered with dust sheets. The white frames of the paintings contained white canvases with only some off-white patches hinting at landscapes. White flowers stood in the white vase, and the gramophone emitted white noise. The books were also white, and Gan was sure that if he opened them, he would only see white letters on white paper.

Suddenly a pale woman in a white dress appeared from behind one of the bookcases. She held a small bowl in one hand and was just withdrawing a spoon from her mouth.

‘A visitor’, she beamed. ‘I haven’t had any in ages!’

Gan looked at her in bewilderment.

‘Who are you?’ he asked. ‘What is this place?’

‘I was once an Alta, but I defied the ways of the System’, she said, leaving Gan even more puzzled. Alta? System? What was she talking about?

‘My fellow Altas were completely immersed in the thought circuits of the big machine’, the white lady continued. ‘But in me, something human was left. I actually enjoyed things − arts and music, literature and flowers and most of all nice food.’

She sighed. ‘When they found out about me, they executed me as a heretic. Moreover, I was cursed to haunt this place in all eternity, surrounded by the things I loved in my life without being able to enjoy them.’

She hold out her hand with the bowl. It contained a scoop of ice cream and some fruits that resembled strawberries, all white. It looked as if the stuff was made from plaster.

‘This had been my favourite dessert’, she lamented. ‘And now it hasn’t got any taste at all.’

In her sadness, she seemed to become even paler.

‘Eventually, I had my revenge on my sisters’, she growled. ‘But the curse remains.’

Finally Gan realised that she didn’t become paler but actually transparent. The white walls were shining through her.

‘What is going on?’ he asked.

‘I am already enjoying your company too much’, she sighed. ‘This is my curse: I must never enjoy anything.’

It said a lot about her loneliness that she already talked about enjoying Gan’s company after this brief exchange. Her sad eyes lingered while the rest of her body began to vanish.

‘What’s your name?’ Gan asked. He wanted to remember her as an individual and not just a spectre. After all, he was sure that he would never see her again.

She was nearly gone but her voice still echoed in the white room.

‘Zenobia’, she answered. ‘You can call me Zen.’
Oh Hugbot. First you make me chuckle and then… of blimey that is an emotional read, especially the bit about her favourite desert looking like plaster of Paris. And such an unexpected whammy at the end. Oh!
Play the hand fate deals you.
Excellent stories this month gang. You are all very talented.
Resist the Host

Just wanted to say thanks for the kind comments on my ficlet. Anyone who's lost a loved one knows how grief hides around corners waiting to ambush you at the slightest reminder. But sometimes that helps.
Congrats to Huggy, too, loved both of yours. Great to hear you're able to 'ficlet' (if that can be a verb ) more often.
"You're not sulking, I hope?"
Cygnus Bazza
Strawberries and Cream

“DEUCE!” Avon thundered.

“No need to swear!”

As he sauntered onto the bridge, brushing crumbs of Wagon Wheel from his favourite mud-brown suede tunic, Vila was only too delighted to have a chance to admonish his perennial sparring partner and potential nemesis.

“I’m not swearing, you cretin…” Avon scowled. “That’s the score! I’m watching the tennis! It’s the Wimbledon mixed-doubles final! Now SHUSH! It’s deuce, five-all, deciding set…”

“Tennis?” A look of mild perplexity crossed Vila’s face. “Wimbledon? Mixed doubles? Final? Oh, yes! Tennis! Wimbledon! Mixed doubles! Final! I remember reading about all that stuff once. Top-spin backhands, Robinson’s Barley Water, Ille Nastase, strawberries and cream, disputed line calls, grunting, groaning, the Royal Box, drop volleys, rain delays, top-spin forehands, ‘fault – second service’, new balls, old balls, ball boys, ball girls, Evonne Goolagong, tramlines, net cords, Centre Court, Number One Court, Number Two Court, Number Three Court, Number Four Court, Number Five C…”

“You cannot be serious…”

“Yep, that’s another good one! ‘You cannot be serious’, ‘the ball was clearly in’, ‘chalk few up’, ‘call the referee’, ‘you’re the pits of the world’. ‘code violation Mr McEnroe’. Yes, tennis! A bit like table tennis, I suppose, only without the table.”

“Look, Vila, just put a sock in it, will you for once? This match is right on a knife edge…”

“So who’s playing? Not that guy from ‘Star Trek: the Next Generation’? What was his name? It’ll come to me in a minute. Yes, that’s it! Borg!”

“Who’s playing? WHO’S PLAYING? Haven’t you been paying ANY attention to ANYTHING these last two weeks? Wait, don’t reply! I already know the answer. Too busy mooning about the place, moping about Kerril. Boy, did
she dodge a bullet! Well I’ll tell you who’s playing, you imbecile. Blake and Jenna are playing, that’s who.”


“Well it’s Blake’s latest wizard wheeze to infiltrate the establishment and destroy it from the inside. Another characteristically crazy idea! Must say, though, he certainly knows how to deliver a lovely sliced second serve to the advantage court…”

“Does he now… So who are they up against? Not that Borg bloke?”

“No…” A broad grin stretched across Avon’s face. “Not so much Borg. More like…the Borgias. They’re up against… Well, who’d have thought it? They're up against - Travis and Servalan!”

“TRAVIS AND SERVALAN!” Vila was quite incredulous. “I’m quite incredulous!”

“So am I,” Avon smiled. “Never thought they’d get past that Australian pair in the last sixteen. But Travis evened things up a bit in the decisive tie break.”

“How did he do that then?”

“He shot off the Australian chap’s arm. Not only that, it was the one that was holding the racquet. Not pretty. But highly effective. Well worth being docked a point for a code violation.”

“Sounds gripping! Right, budge up! I think I’ll have a piece of this myself. Who are we supporting, then? Blake, I suppose. Come on, Blake!”

“Vila, Vila, Vila! At the risk of repeating myself – you CANNOT be serious…”
Edited by Cygnus Bazza on 22-06-2022 21:42
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Cygnus Bazza

“No, Jenna, I’ve absolutely no idea why it’s got my name on it. What the hell would I want with a dog-eared, yellowing bundle of old sheet music?”

“Can’t help you there, Avon. Where did you say you found it?”

“In the piano stool in the music suite. Well, I say ‘music suite’. I mean that room with the clapped-out pub piano and Gan’s bongos. I thought I’d hide the bongos in the piano stool to spare us another evening of terminal bongo tedium. Don’t forget it’s our weekly ‘Let’s Make Our Own Entertainment’ bonding session tonight. And as sure as eggs is eggs, and as sure as Vila’s a halfwit’s less gifted younger brother, that means a lethal overdose of Gan’s bongos!”

“To be honest, Avon, I still haven’t got over last week’s session and his Billy Joel bongo medley.”

“Quite. Anyway, I’d just nipped into the music suite to write a new torch ballad for tonight, a moving tribute to the one I adore the most…‘Man in the Mirror’ I’ve called it…and, while I was taking the opportunity to hide the bongos, I found this bundle of stuff with my name written in pencil on the top of the front sheet.”

“Show me. Yep, it definitely says ‘Avon’! Though it doesn’t look like your handwriting. And why are the letters all in lower case? That’s odd too – the gap’s too big between the ‘a’ and the ‘v’. Oh hello, Cally! Can we pick your brains for a moment? What do you think of this? Avon doesn’t remember writing his name on this old sheet music.”

“Give it here. Mmm. I’ll – just – tilt – it – to – the – light… OK… Ah! Yes! I see! There are quite a few indentations. I reckon a fair few letters have been rubbed out. Hang on a moment – I’ll just grab one of Gan’s crayons…and rub it lightly over the indented area…and there we are! Yes! Well, would you believe it? Turns out it doesn’t say your name after all, Avon!”

“So what DOES it say? The suspense is irritating me.”

“Yes – all the letters are visible now. M - a - r - i - a. Then a space, then v - o - n. Then another space. T - r - a - p - p. Maria von Trapp.”

“Maria von Trapp? Who the HELL is Maria von Trapp? Wait! I’ve got a dim memory of her inspirational story! A bunch of people go on the run to escape a brutal fascist regime! Sorry – my mistake. That’s OUR story. So why have we got her sheet music? Let me have a flick through it. HUH! This is RUBBISH! Total GARBAGE! I mean, look at this song: ‘Favourite Things’! 'Whiskers on kittens’? ‘Warm woollen mittens’? ‘Crisp apple strudels’? ‘Schnitzel with noodles’? Complete baloney! But wait a minute… Yes! If I replace some of this nonsense with some MUCH better lines – lines like ‘black leather trousers and studs that are shiny, threatening Vila so his voice goes all whiny, winding up Blake, secretly pulling the strings, these are a few of my favourite things…’ – hey, I could STEAL the SHOW tonight! Excellent! Jenna! Cally! Tell Gan to fire-up the bongos! Because tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be A-von TRAPP…”
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Welcome back, Cygnus Bazza - huge LOLs for your stories! Grin
There is no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
Welcome back, CB. In fine form again I see. A bit hard on Gan, perhaps, but nice stereotyping. And for the Americans among us, Wagon Wheels = Moon Pies.
"You're not sulking, I hope?"
A bit like table tennis, I suppose, only without the table.”

I call it Man in the Mirror

I laughed a lot!
Play the hand fate deals you.
Cygnus Bazza
Thanks for all those comments - glad you enjoyed them!
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Dear CB....with regard to the Sound of Music etc...groan.
Cold! You don't know the meaning of the word cold!
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of your window!!

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Well now, here goes.

Just Desserts

“A distress call? From here?”
“That is what Orac confirmed,” Cally replied to Blake’s question.
They were joined by Avon.
“Well, it is exactly what it appears to be; a number of agriculture buildings in the middle of nowhere.”
“How do you know they are agriculture buildings?” Blake asked.
“These are fields. They contain crops…for as far as the eye can see.”
“What kind of crops?”
“That I have yet to surmise…”
Vila strolled up. “I’ve found the man who called in that distress call; well he found me actually.”
“And a good job too,” said the stranger, scurrying round the corner, “He could have eaten the whole lot…now then, what kept you?”
“I’m sorry…”Blake began.
“And so you should be. All this equipment, totally useless, just like your customer service. Look. If I don’t get this crop in, there could well be riots in the streets…err…domes.”
“What crop is it?” Blake enquired, wondering just what important food stuff it could be to be able to cause a riot.
“These,” Via replied, holding up a red berry and then eating it…much to the consternation of the stranger!

“Strawberries,” the stranger explained, “My name is Talisman. And I supply the Federation with most, if not all, their strawberries. The Federation love their strawberries.”
“I’ve never seen one,” Vila complained.
“That’s most probably because these are for the elite only,” Avon explained, “And not for the lower grades.”
“Well, that’s not fair.”
“Mr Talisman,” Blake said, forestalling Vila’s complaints of the injustice in the Federation’s system, “What exactly is wrong with the equipment?”
“It won’t go!! And I have to get all this crop in.”
“All of it?” Avon remarked, casting his gaze over the extensive acreage.
“Yes, all of it. Now are you going to get your vehicles working or not?”
“We are not from the company who supplied your equipment,” Blake said flatly.
“NOT!? Oh no. I’m finished, everything I’ve worked for. Gone…”
Avon took Blake to one side.
“This could be the very thing we…you are looking for. You heard him; riots and all because the Federation elite can’t get their strawberries.”
“And a man’s whole life ruined? I can’t let that happen.”
“Well now you’ve changed your tune.”
“Not really. I like strawberries…”

It took some cajoling, but eventually Avon was persuaded to look at the main computer system and soon the small army of machines were on their way across the fields picking the ripe strawberries and taking their haul to the packing department.
“A simple upgrade,” Avon said, watching the devices.
“Thank you,” Talisman said, “Now perhaps you’d like to join your friends. They are enjoying the first fruits of my labours.”

“Wait ‘til you try these, “ Vila said, handing Avon a dish filled with the red berries and topped in a very sweet white concoction, “And we’ve even got enough for Jenna.”
“What exactly is this?”
“Strawberries and cream,” Blake informed him, as he helped himself to another bowlful, “Maybe you could even programme that ice cream machine of yours?”
“Well now, “ Avon said as he took his first tentative taste, “That’s an excellent idea.”
Cold! You don't know the meaning of the word cold!
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of your window!!

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And now for the second prompt…and inspired by Huggy’s contribution…

The Name Game

The ruins were a stark silhouette against the setting sun.
Thin wisps of smoke evoked an atmosphere of despair and death.
It didn’t take long for Tarrant to find the body of the man who had once been the curator of this museum.
“Dead and not long ago.”
“But why this place?”Avon asked,”It has no strategic value.”
“Maybe what it contained,” Dayna suggested, “Cally has found out from Orac that our President Servalan has been busy with renovating a large building back on Earth. Residence One, apparently, and she is determined to furnish it with every piece of antiquarian object she can find.”
“And no doubt this man refused,” Tarrant suggested, “. I suppose we should bury him. It’s the least we can do, isn’t it Avon?”
Avon nodded, his gaze upon Vila who was slowly sifting through a pile of ashes.
“Careful Vila, you never know what you may find.”
Vila suddenly stopped, his fingers reaching for an object.
“Got it!”
Vila frowned and looked at Avon. He slowly got to is feet.
“What is it?”
“I don’t know,” replied Vila, “But it looks like a brooch or badge…with your name.”

Back on the Liberator’s Flight deck, Avon was holding the small badge in his hand. It did indeed spell out his name in silver letters.
But how?
And why?
+ The name is that of an Old Calendar Company specialising in cosmetics…+
Vila stifled a laugh.
+…amongst other things. This badge was for one of the representatives. It has no value. +
“So why did that curator have it in his museum?” Dayna asked.
“Perhaps he was a collector old calendar objects,” Cally suggested, “like President Sarkoff.”

Her guard Commander stepped back from the table on which were laid various items retrieved from the latest foray.
“Did you have any problems from the Curator?”
“None, Ma’am. At first he resisted as we explained your need for the paintings and furniture.”
“But I take it that you persuaded him otherwise?” Servalan purred as her eyes fell upon the bejewelled earrings in the small box.
He nodded,” Yes Ma’am. I found these in a display case. I don’t believe they have any value.”
Servalan picked up the earrings, “Maybe not, but thank you, they are exquisite. You may go.”
She looked in the silver framed mirror, another object taken from the Curator’s collection, and put the earrings on. The light from them dazzled her. She reached for the box. There was a name on it, elegantly printed…
Servalan smiled as her thoughts returned to her last encounter with Avon on Sarran. Those earrings would always remind her of that moment.

Avon sat on his bunk, turning the badge with his name over and over in his hand. An old calendar company? Speculating in cosmetics amongst other things?
He smiled.
What to do with the small silver coloured badge?
“Well, at least they will know to whom you belong,” he said, gently pinning the badge to Roj Bear’s chest….
Cold! You don't know the meaning of the word cold!
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of your window!!

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Sue's Stories sues stories
Rebel Run Video
Cygnus Bazza

littlesue wrote:

Dear CB....with regard to the Sound of Music etc...groan.

Smile Ha! Try not to let it affect your morning!
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