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March 2023 Ficlet Challenge
The word prompt for this month is ... AIM

And for the second challenge:

There's been a change of leadership. Who? And how?

Happy writing!
littlesue's just like sitting down in my Mock English O level and A Level.
Turning the paper over in the Creative writing part of the exam...
And then came the real thing in 1969 and then 1971.
I loved that part of the exam!!!
So thank you PC for keeping that memory alive for to start wondering around the house and talking to myself...Grin
Cold! You don't know the meaning of the word cold!
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of your window!!

Sue's Book Shelf

Rebel Run Video
Cygnus Bazza

“But I’ve only been your leader for fifty days! How can I possibly be ousted?”

Vila’s bitter disappointment was palpable.

“It’s palpable,” said Avon.

“What is?” Vila winced.

“Your bitter disappointment. There are many, MANY historical precedents for what we constitutional experts like to call ‘leader churn’. Leaders dumped after being promoted way beyond their puny capabilities to replace a previous leader with puny capabilities, who’d previously replaced a previous leader with previous puny capabilities, who’d previously replaced…well, you get the gist.”

“But this ‘leader churn’ thing… It’s scarcely conducive to providing the strong and stable leadership Liberator needs, is it? I mean, first we dumped Blake…”

“A delusional, bumbling incompetent…”

“Then Jenna’s term of office came and went…”

“Another delusional, bumbling incompetent…”

“Then poor old over-promoted Gan had a crack at the top job – until he got caught with all those cakes…”

“It wasn’t just the cakes, Vila. From day one, Gan’s tenure of the top job was blighted by controversy. Not a week seemed to go by without him becoming embroiled in some fresh Gangate scandal…”

“You’re thinking of the wallpaper, aren’t you, Avon?”

“You bet I am! That Thomas the Tank Engine stuff ain’t cheap, you know! And his cabin looked RIDICULOUS. Hardly consistent with the maturity and sobriety expected of someone in a leadership position on the finest ship in the galaxy! I wouldn’t have minded so much if he’d let me have those surplus rolls…”

“Whatever. The point is, as leader, I’ve clearly been a significant upgrade. What with my focus on going for personal growth.”

“Growth? Are you kidding me? Name me one thing that’s grown since your time in office! Not our soma stocks, that’s for sure… It’s been bad decision after bad call after bad decision after bad call. ‘Oh, it’s Tuesday! Guess what? Vila’s had another shocker and done something fecklessly stupid again!’ The only thing that’s grown since you’ve been in charge is groans! No, it’s time for fresh, visionary leadership – and for you to be packed off on the highly lucrative lecture circuit…”

“Here we go! The REAL agenda! Let me guess who’s going to put his name in the frame for a shot at the top spot! It wouldn’t be YOU, by any chance, would it, Avon?”

Avon gave his trademark sneery half-smile.

“Well, I might just be persuadable… In the interests of Liberator… At great personal inconvenience and expense…. A serious leader for serious times… One might almost say…a man of vision. A man of ability….”

“A man of probity?”

“Probity? No, definitely not that. But certainly a man of…TASTE and REFINEMENT! Yes, Vila… Nip down to Gan’s cabin for me and dig out that leftover Thomas the Tank Engine wallpaper. It’s time to…TAKE BACK CONTROL!”
Meanwhile back in the year one...
That is a very brilliant and hilarious fic Cygnus!
Play the hand fate deals you.
That's brilliant! And poor Avon - everyone else getting promoted before him. That's got to hurt.
Cygnus Bazza
Thanks very much, Annie & AA - feedback hugely appreciated! I definitely think this story helped me get a lot off my chest!Smile
Meanwhile back in the year one...
False Friends

There were rumours about a planet in Outer Gaul whose inhabitants had stubbornly and successfully avoided to be occupied by the Federation. Blake, always on the lookout for possible allies, had decided to learn French to facilitate communication with these rebels.

Problem was, learning languages wasn’t exactly his forte, as Jenna found out soon. Blake always needed something tangible to memorise new words. He had to touch things to learn nouns and to do things to learn verbs.

Hence the next lesson in ‘combat French’ took place not in a cosy meeting room but on the shooting range of the Liberator.

“Take your gun and point it at me”, Jenna instructed her pupil. Blake did as ordered.

“So, what are you doing now?”, she asked.

“I’m aiming at you”, he said.

“In French!”

He hesitated and she could virtually see the cogwheels turn in his head.

“Come on, we already covered that yesterday.”

“I am...”, Blake began and then slowly said, « Je... je... je t’aime. »

A smile appeared on Jenna’s lips. “I thought I’d never hear that from you”, she sighed.
Edited by Hugbot on 05-03-2023 11:53

Anniew wrote:

That is a very brilliant and hilarious fic Cygnus!

I've now got an image of Avon putting up the Thomas the Tank engine wall paper. Do you think he needs any help? Have ladder and wallpaper brush - Will travel!!!
Cold! You don't know the meaning of the word cold!
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of your window!!

Sue's Book Shelf

Rebel Run Video
Huggy....glorious! (From someone who can only speak a little French in an 'Ampshire accent...said my French Teacher!!!)
Cold! You don't know the meaning of the word cold!
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of your window!!

Sue's Book Shelf

Rebel Run Video
Cygnus Bazza

littlesue wrote:

Anniew wrote:

That is a very brilliant and hilarious fic Cygnus!

I've now got an image of Avon putting up the Thomas the Tank engine wall paper. Do you think he needs any help? Have ladder and wallpaper brush - Will travel!!!

And now I've got an image of a white van doing the rounds with 'Sue 'n' Kerr Painters & Decorators - No Job Too Pricey!' emblazoned on the side!!
Meanwhile back in the year one...
That is so clever Hugbot!

And Sue - I’m in great need of a painter and decorator. Please come with Kerr as soon as possible,
Play the hand fate deals you.
Well now, I’ve just made it!
Another cunning challenge from PC, whom I’m sure used to set the Creative Writing Questions back in the day.
Another 2 parter…

I’m in Charge

Part One

A rather sleepy Vila entered the Flight Deck of the Liberator and found Gan in sole charge.
“Where is every one? And it’s not your turn to do a watch? Is it?”
“No, it isn’t”, Gan replied. “but Blake is in the medi unit…”
“Medi unit? Why?”
“I beat him,” Gan said matter of factly.
Vila swallowed. Surely Gan’s limiter hadn’t malfunctioned again?
“You beat him?”
“Yes. Well he would insist.”
“Insist on what?”
“Trying to better me at arm wrestling. I did warn him, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Both arms as well. He’s got sore arms and shoulders now, so he’s in the medi unit trying to repair the damage to his arms and his ego.”
“And Avon?”
“I beat him as well.”
Vila had a vision of the all powerful Gan breaking the far slimmer Avon in half!
“You didn’t…?”
“No, I beat him at draughts, several times and he has retired to his cabin to try and figure it out. And I insisted that Cally and Jenna go and get some peace and quiet before all the arguments started again.”
“Well I can think of better place to get some rest and recreation. And the Liberator isn’t it.”!
“So what do you suggest?”
“It’s a place Orac happened to find out about. It’s a Health Resort. Once a favourite of the upper echelons of the Federation but now abandoned. But it’s still a viable place to go.”
“All right,” Gan said, “We’ve a few hours, why not? I could do with some fresh air and the thought of the laying out in the sun…”
“I’ll get Cally and Jenna. I’m sure they’d love it.”

“Are you sure about this Vila?” Cally asked.
“Absolutely. Orac said it is still functioning. Look at what it offers?
Full spa treatments, massage, manicure, pedicure...and that’s just for Gan and I.”
“What’s a spa treatment?”
Jenna smiled as a figure approached, “I think we are about to find out.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Kingdom Health Resort. And how can we assist you today.”
Vila whispered, “Is that an android? It looks a bit tatty.”
“So would you sir, if you had suddenly been consigned to obscurity. But, we still aim to please.”
“Well, I think I and the ladies would like the whole spa package,” Gan said, “but I think our friend, Vila, has other plans.”
Vila had wandered over to a rather inviting sign.
“What’s the Keys to the Kingdom? Is it a game or something?”
“More than a game sir; more like a challenge. Can you unlock the levels and gain the Keys to the Kingdom.”
Vila smiled, “I think I’ll forgo that spa treatment, if you don’t mind. This seems a far better form of relaxation.”

Part Two

The Aim of the Game

Vila watched as the others were led away into the inner sanctum of the Health Resort and he almost jumped as yet another rather tatty attired android suddenly appeared by him.
“Good morning sir. And how may I assist you?”
“Your colleague said that this was a game.”
“Ah yes, the Keys to the Kingdom. Can you unlock the levels of the game and possess the Keys to the Kingdom?”
“And that’s the aim, is it? I just need to unlock the levels?”
“Indeed sir, and here is Level One.”
“It’s a door!!”
“Indeed sir. This is a simple one. You will need to open all the locks contained within to reach your prize.”
“And each one has a lock?”
“Indeed sir. Of course each has a greater level of difficulty as you proceed.”
Vila smiled. Good old Orac. Who needs spas and massages when you can take on a challenge like this?

Gan was relaxing on a sun bed, enjoying the warm rays and sipping the orange juice so thoughtfully provided by a service robot.
Nearby were Jenna and Cally likewise enjoying the sunshine.
“Mm, I could get used to this.” Jenna confessed.
“It does make a change,” Cally replied.
“I wonder if we could take that masseuse with us?”
Cally managed to stifle a laugh. What would Blake and Avon make of having one of the androids on board?
“Well everyone. Having a good time?”
It was Vila.
“We were,” Gan replied.
“Good, because I beat the game. Every lock opened. Well what do you know I managed to get the Keys of the Kingdom!”
“And the prize is?”
“Lifetime passes. That’s what.”
Jenna sat up, “You mean we can come anytime?”
“So Cally and I don’t have to take that Masseuse with us?”
“Well if you really want to. Anyway, there’s just a little more to it than lifelong passes.”
Vila waved a set of keys in front of a dumbfounded Gan, “We own the place, at least until someone else comes along and takes on the challenge of the Keys of the Kingdom. And I can’t see that happening.”
“But what will Blake and Avon say?” Cally asked.
”We won’t tell them, will we? This will be our little secret and there’s more, Gan. We get to keep the profits.”
“Blake certainly won’t like that.”
“Look, when he’s brought down the Federation, he won’t need us and we can retire here.”
“With all our ill gotten gains,” Jenna sighed.
“And that nice masseuse of yours”

“How are you shoulders Blake?”
“Much better. Gan, you seem to have caught the sun.”
“Sun lamp,” Gan replied, “Vila managed to fix one up for me…for all of us.”
“I’m glad you didn’t waste your time on frivolities.”
“No, we used the time for some rest and recreation," Vila informed him, “Didn’t we girls?”
“Yes, we did,” they replied in unison.
Blake eyed them all, his suspicions aroused.
“Good…I think. Are you sure everything is alright?”
“Absolutely. Isn’t it Cally?” Jenna said, smiling.
“Oh yes,” Cally concurred, as her thoughts, too, returned to the hold and the going away present from the Kingdom Health Resort…..
Cold! You don't know the meaning of the word cold!
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of your window!!

Sue's Book Shelf

Rebel Run Video
Cygnus Bazza

littlesue wrote:

“No, I beat him at draughts, several times and he has retired to his cabin to try and figure it out.

Excellent. I'm not sure anything could possibly deal a bigger hammer-blow to Avon's ego (or maybe his id - and I'm not sure he's got a super-ego...) than a series of thumpings at draughts by Gan.
Meanwhile back in the year one...
(Predictable? Me? Inevitable, I'd say).

A Change of Leadership

“Now, let’s see, “ she looked around the flight deck with some concern. Flickers of pain – or perhaps merely distaste – moved in her eyes as she noted the untidiness, the outdated colour choices, ”I shall be making some changes. Firstly, there is to be no more food or drink consumed on the flight deck. Gan, I’m relying on you to deal with the rodent problem that your previous practices have encouraged.”
“But, my limiter –“ – Gan’s attempt to object was silenced by an icy stare.
“Secondly,“ she pointed at Blake, “I want this place thoroughly cleaned. We can discuss the remodelling later."
“Certainly,” he responded, “I’ll get the girls to – “
“You will do it yourself,” she countered, “Jenna and Cally will be fully occupied flying this somewhat incapacitated vessel. Who else would I trust with such a difficult task? Certainly not you. The auto-repair system is coping, but only just, after your idiotic attempt to evade me by flying through that big orange swirly thing."
Blake had the grace to blush. His objections subsided.
"What else oh, yes - Orac. When was the last time anyone completed your annual maintenance programme? Surely all that dust – and, I note, the stray sock - are not integral to your function? Perhaps you, Avon, would be so good?”
“Well, now– “ Avon began, but hesitated.
“When I agreed to take you back to Federation space, I didn’t mean – that is, you can’t just –“
“I think you’ll find that I can,” she smiled, “After all, Zen and I have, shall we say, reached an understanding? Particularly with regard to the use of weapons.”
The crew looked at each other sheepishly. None of them wanted to go through that again.
“And Vila, I understand there is a room full of, for want of a better term, loot, somewhere aboard. You will take me to it. While you, Zen, will prepare a healthy lunch for us all,” the woman smiled broadly, “A tidy ship is a happy ship. I think that’s all, for now. Do I make myself clear?”
"You're not sulking, I hope?"
Congrats to the other ficleteers this month - great reading. Many thanks.
"You're not sulking, I hope?"
Cygnus Bazza
Top job, M1! Never has the Mrs T parallel been more compelling.
Meanwhile back in the year one...
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