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161  Creative Writing / The Blackboard / Re: NRP - Shadowrun Setup on: April 23, 2007, 06:12:52 pm
I'd be interested in getting involved, but time might be a constraint for me. Anyway, I'm gonna have a crack at making a character for now. Some sort of crossover between the Commonwealth saga, Shadowrun and my own imagination. He's an assassin and dirty-jobs man for one of the big corporations. His past is unknown (except to me Wink), and the only clue at his nationality is his name. He speaks fluent English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Speretheal and Or'Zet, French, German, and can affect a few accents. For character, he seems pretty simple. He has strong opinions, mainly on what people should and shouldn't be alive, but doesn't speak until spoken to. He's of the school of belief that you should never bring a sword to a gunfight, but he carries a small knife for practical reasons.

Name: Bruce McKinley (goes by Hellcat usually, unless that's too dramatic)
Race: human or elf [gotta decide]
Age: 43, but he's not past it yet, not even close...
Physical appearance: Average height; dark-grey eyes; bald head, but not 'cause it all fell out; muscles like a track runner.
Bionics: More implanted stuff than you could shake a stick at: two pistols in his forearms (stick the magazines in his back), comlink, datajack, radio jammer, full neural integration, automatic kitchen sink.
He's had genetic enhancements as well - a slightly increased lifespan (they *think* it'll be about 60 years of useful life...) and eyes that can focus anywhere. So you know how you can 'see' in an arc of maybe 180 degrees, but can only, for example, read a book within an arc of 10 degrees? Bruce can read a book no matter where it is in his field of vision.
Equipment: Bruce (I should stop calling him that Tongue) tries to only use what he can carry inside him. Occasionally he'll bring a long-ranged rifle or something with a higher rate of fire. He typically wears street clothes, but if the weather's bad (I hear the run starts in London? Tongue) he'll wear a trench coat (think The Matrix crossed with Ned Kelly). No sunnies, though.

I haven't got much for weaknesses at the moment: I wanted this guy to be a sort of uber-assassin. But trust me, there's a storm raging inside his head...

Questions on the setting:
Where's weapons technology at? With the kind of background I'm thinking of, he'd have access to some pretty cutting-edge stuff. An energy weapon would be a cool replacement for one of those implanted pistols... And speakin of the pistols, what sort of ammo is available? Not your usual like armour piercing or dumdum, but something like bullet-sized grenades or energy explosives Afro
I assume Australia remained the land of pies, beer, kangaroos and footy? Wink
162  Creative Writing / The Blackboard / Re: Interpret this. on: April 17, 2007, 06:07:03 pm

Golden banana's
Wily Wood
Wooshes Wonderous Winds
The Golden Banana is, of course, the Stalin-type figure at the head of it all, 'cause no Communist state is complete without a dictator.
The Wily Wood that belongs to the Golden Banana is quite figurative indeed. You see, a parliament, senate, council etc., basically any governing body, must contain many people - and when combined with their straight-backed, stiff-necked, right-wing nature, they would resemble a small wood.
The Wonderous Winds are an obvious reference to the blatant lies that Woosh from the mouths of this Wily Wood of bureaucrats.
File Viend
In the interest of the flunkyfied
I will now Funkalyze
This 'flunk' or 'funk' is the greater good of Communism. Therefore, in the interest of those already liberated, you shall now liberate more people who are as yet unliberated.
All opposers and malcontents
Stand sideways
And flapple your ears
'opposers and malcontents': capitalists! Journalists (who don't publish propaganda)! Ordinary people who aren't Communists!
They must all 'stand sideways', or die. Flappling your ears means, in a dialect of English typicaly used in Communist Russia, to lap up every word that the Party feeds you. The 'And' is a typo again - it should read 'Or'. You must stand sideways [die] or flapple your ears [side with us!].
All Norringtons
Salute the oncoming wave
Norrington... the ultimate Capitalist!
Five of you, all clean
Jump up and down
Then slice and dice
The 'Five of you' must represent the five Horssemen of the Apocalypse (Pestilence, War, Famine, Death and Communism). They are all clean having not yet done any slaughtering today.
They must 'Jump up and down' to psych themselves up before enacting a vicious 'slice and dice' upon non-Communists.
All Others, who merely Watch
I find your presence effervescent
If you're not with us, you're against us.
All actions are taken
Then let the Funkalyzing commence
Ready... set...
..finally, the people are liberated!
All peasantry
All vilessence
Next step
Well, the peasentry is gone because most of them are dead, not having been able to pronounce 'Communism' quickly enough. The vilessence is the muck normally associated with the late peasents. They're now gone. They're Communist!
Next step:
Chicka WOW!
That would be the Wily Wood again, then.
for you are funkalyzed
GLOW in your funkalyzation
REVEL in your funkalyzation
That is all
Propaganda release.
LEt the FUNKALYZED go forth!
Only through PURE funkalyzation can you survive.
Sort of like Jesus sending out his disciples... but... not...
who see my wondrous forms
My stupendous sligths
My utter ultraiffics
be forever Train TICKET!
The subject matter seems to deviate at this point, turning from the glory of Communism to the glory of the author's 'wondrous forms' and 'stupendous sligths', etc. Those who look upon the aforesaid shall forever be buying Train TICKETs to flee the aforesaid.
In flying skies
blue as purple
Indigo perhaps
But no green
Only the funkalyzed can experience the very GREEN of the sky!
Deviation over. Only Communists have the true sight, to see that the sky is not, in fact, blue, as it is commonly mistaken for, but, in fact, green.
Remember this.
Maybe a second part to the propaganda release.
And live your life.
And die your death.
All true Communists will 'live' their 'life', while non-believers shall 'die' their 'death'.
Funkalyzer out.
Return to the base sway
The sylphy silvers
The grandure of golds
the Bastard of Bronze
The Surreal Servant of Stainless Steel.
And now the author urges the reader to forget all that he has said and continue in their narcissistic, capitalist life.

Quite brilliant, if you ask me.
163  Creative Writing / Critiques Corner / Re: The bigger they are… (very short showcase scene) on: April 16, 2007, 06:34:27 pm
(McNeill; as of yet something of a Han Solo/Allister Caine/Grammaton Cleric hybrid)
Don't forget Jack Crow!

Anyway, the scene is very nice for what it is. I can definately picture it in a gung-ho action film Wink. I don't have much you could improve on, having only read it after you made all your changes. Though, since this is a critiques board...
McNeil looked at Cassidy and grinned unrestrained.
I think that should be unrestrainedly, that being the adverb. Harsh, eh? Tongue

I have a slight problem with talking guns. Sooner or later they will start complaining. Maybe refuse to fire, or stuff like that. Otherwise it looks good.
Form unions, self-help groups, maybe even stage a revolution! Now, that gives me ideas - a communist state of rebellious weapons...
164  Original Writings / Announcements / Re: OW Narrative Role Play on: April 16, 2007, 06:25:48 pm
Brilliant! Afro Why has nobody done that before?
165  Off Topic / The Lounge / Re: JAAAAAAAAAAA ITZ A NEW BOOOOAAAARRRDD!!!!! on: April 08, 2007, 09:05:22 am
Dude, why not? It's way cooler than your vanilla 'cool' smiley!  Afro

It's the fact that the typo was the FIRST word that amused me.
Yeah... Tongue
166  Off Topic / The Lounge / Re: JAAAAAAAAAAA ITZ A NEW BOOOOAAAARRRDD!!!!! on: April 07, 2007, 12:08:56 pm
Well, not in particular, but I would have used that sort of slit-eyed one looking to one side in that last post. Forgotten what it was called, though.
And the bunny rabbits were a personal favourite.
167  Off Topic / The Lounge / Re: JAAAAAAAAAAA ITZ A NEW BOOOOAAAARRRDD!!!!! on: April 07, 2007, 01:58:28 am
You try typing the same word 12 times in a row with no typos...  Undecided
(Where did the OW smileys go???)
168  Original Writings / Announcements / Re: Welcome! on: April 07, 2007, 01:56:34 am
What, the thing with armadillos and Seer Fox's aunt? I thought that was common knowledge!
169  Creative Writing / Critiques Corner / Re: Anomaly on: April 06, 2007, 01:55:46 am
Huh, I never knew that. Tongue I might leave it that way, though - I've never heard someone in casual conversation nrefer to the media as a plural,  and doing so would accent its being a plural, making you think that he's talking about the plural of medium (as in a bunch of psychic people he's talked to), rather than the press.
Glad you like it, though. Smiley
170  Off Topic / The Lounge / Stormbreaker (spoilers) on: April 05, 2007, 02:40:01 pm
I'd really like to know what a few of the literate population thought about Stormbreaker (the movie). I saw it on a plane recently and didn't think much of it. Reviews on IMDB greatly exaggerate it, in my opinion - way too many perfect scores.

I didn't like it for two reasons. It's been extremely dumbed down and slicked back, presumably to target a young (you know, pre-puberty) audience. Plus, the characters really don't bear much relation to their equivalents in the novel.
There are quite a few silly characters in here. Alex Rider is pretty much blank as far as emotions go, and it didn't help that some of what should have been his best scnes, the SAS training, were cut. That marathon march should have been a feature, instead of taking a dip in a lake. Jack Starbright was naive and oblivious, which just made her seem silly, given the storyline. Nadia Vole... I'm reluctant to go there. She would be better suited in a kids' movie. Oh, wait...
The real kicker was Alan Blunt, though. He's not meant to be a funny guy, but in the movie he was ridiculous. You'd think that he, being one of the main characters, would have been portrayed accurately. Guess not.
Before I'd even seen it, I had to cringe at the story. Bringing Sabina in was purely to lassoo in some more viewers, appeal to a larger audience. Then, of course, she had to come into the final scene (that's a girlfriend's duty).

Even with all this, the movie could have been better if it weren't for the settings. London was all right, I guess (it's a beautiful city. I mean, some of my best friends are from London!), but Sayle's secret facility was really not done justice. The cave was reasonably cave-like, but the secret facility lacked any touch of reality it may have been given. Shiny metal, questionable architecture, pure fantasy sci-fi.

I guess that's just my prejudice against stupid Saturday-morning action films. But the book really was ruined for me with this film.

Oh, and the jellyfish! Ye gods, man, it was terrible! It was bad enough having it disintegrate a poor fish, but apart from its super powers, it was too bloody small! Mon dieu...

171  Creative Writing / Critiques Corner / Re: Anomaly on: April 05, 2007, 01:55:53 pm
Arg! I sent it in this state to be included in the class's compilation of short stories. Tongue Ah, well. Mine's still the most gramatically correct of the lot Tongue...
Nice catch, though Smiley *edited*
172  Creative Writing / Critiques Corner / Re: A short snippet on: April 05, 2007, 10:36:54 am
Sounds like an intro to the latest hit FPS Wink
Now let's see where it goes, 'cause we're trusting you to make sure it doesn't fall down that route.

Don't take that wrong, though Tongue. It's a really good intro - the description fits perfectly into the text without distracting from the action at hand. I agree that a tiny bit more of description of Triton wouldn't go amiss, but kep up with your current trend in keeping descriptions part of otherwise complete sentences.

Grammatically, I have nothing to point out. Though your second reference to 'hippo... pool' is unusual in that you never actually mentioned that hipopotomuseses used it, just the tourists who you likened to hippopoomtmos...es... those things. It works for me - it suggests that the pool had come to be known as the hippo pool on account of all the hippo-y tourists. But I was just wondering whether it was intentional.
Hope that made sense Tongue
173  Creative Writing / Critiques Corner / Re: Death (updated) on: April 05, 2007, 09:37:12 am
He had very little experience with children, especially petulant ones like this.
Seems a little confusing, as he's dealing with an old man - maybe, following the humorous vein of the work, you could say something like '...children, especially ones wearing the bodies of old men.' Or maybe just change it to loonies Wink

I think I said it before, but I like the personification of Death. Very Pratchett.
Is this meant to be a short piece? If so, the first post really stands alone. I guess if the story you had in mind includes finding a replacement for Death, then you gotta go on. But your second post really isn't as good as the first.

"No no no! You cannot stay here! I need to take you to the Judge!"
"Please come with me! This is my first job! I cannot leave you to wander around like a ghost!"
These bits really get me. Nobody says 'cannot', unless they really want to emphasize the not.
174  Off Topic / The Lounge / Re: JAAAAAAAAAAA ITZ A NEW BOOOOAAAARRRDD!!!!! on: April 05, 2007, 03:42:47 am
*shakes head*

(And as if that wasn't spammish enough...

Golg, gold, gold, gold
Gold, gold, gold, gold

Gold, gold, gold, gooolld!!

Thank you)
175  Creative Writing / Poems / Re: the open road on: April 05, 2007, 03:31:27 am
I'm going to avoid following my training and analysing things. Your poem is too nice to be made anal.
I did like it a lot. I guess I'm sort of feeling a bit like that going into the last 2 years of high school - and the prospect of a gap year after them. That's really what freedom is about: defying reason, defying the routine you've been in all your life.
176  Original Writings / Announcements / Re: Welcome! on: April 05, 2007, 03:21:12 am
I'm the guy who used to be Captain Magellan. I like Bakerman far better. I read mostly fantasy and sci-fi (Terry Pratchett and Peter F. Hamilton being favourites), and write mostly sci-fi (if at all).
Um... I like China...?
And Midnight Oil.
177  Creative Writing / Critiques Corner / Re: Untitled on: April 05, 2007, 01:32:37 am
I like this very much. The guy's phobia of metal (yeah, that's what I'll call it for now Wink) gets the conflict underway smoothly and painlessly. The description of the city is really nice, especially the family. I would say that at this point the only thing lacking is a little characterisation of the 'hero' himself. I mean, we know he doesn't like metal. We know all about his work, his family, his environment. We know he isn't happy. But we really don't get a sense of who he is. When his mum asks him if he's met any nice girls lately - is he the kind who meets nice girls all the time? If he is, would he lie about meeting nice girls? How does he feel about his sisters (and the way they're trying to scam their bosses Wink)?
I know I'm going 'all inquisition' on you, but I reckon a few little touches on the main character's... well, character would make him a little more round.

EDIT:  Added somemore.  I'm really unhappy with the dialogue.  It started out well, but it really ran away from my plans pretty quickly.  I feel like it's resolving the conflict before it's really gotten off.
The dialogue seems natural to me, as long as you allow the nomad a very wise, unprejudiced sort of personality. Maybe if he was a little wary of the city person until the choking thing came up. Just my two cents.
178  Creative Writing / Critiques Corner / Anomaly on: April 05, 2007, 01:17:27 am
Some of you may have read this under the title of Loop, but this is a slightly revised version. The feedback I've been getting from friends and relatives is that the actual 'science' (if you like) is confusing. I'd like to make that side of it a bit clearer, but I really don't know how (except including a little diagram with the text Tongue).


   “So tell me how this works. All I know is what the media knows, and everybody knows that the media knows nothing. What’s this about having a clone of your test man?” I swallowed a sigh and prepared to explain the thing again. If Terrance had actually read what was in the media, he would have a fairly good idea of how the time-travel machine would work. But Terrance was too good for the media, and as the government’s eye on our project, he had to have it straight from the horse’s mouth – my mouth. I didn’t mind being a horse for the moment.
I rustled around on Serenkov’s desk and found a piece of paper and a pen.
   “Imagine this is time,” I started off, holding the sheet horizontally. “Everything moves along in this general direction.” I motioned from left to right across the blank surface. “Now, this is when Phil was born.” I cleared off a space on the desk and drew a dot near the left of the page. I started drawing a line along the page. “This is his life.” I stopped in the middle. “Now he’s in the present. We’re sending him an hour back in time. So an hour before he gets into the time machine, he appears from it, and moves through time normally again.” I took the pen off the paper, and started a new line, below the original line and a few centimetres to the left of its end. “Obviously, it’s not to scale. Now, you see this bit here?” I indicated the point where the two lines overlapped. “Two lines, two Phils. Then the original gets into the time machine –” I tapped the page at the end of the original line “– and we’re left with one Phil.”
Terrance looked sceptical. “You guys know this isn’t going to work, right?” He made it a rhetorical question. I didn’t mind that, or the way he obviously had little respect for our work. We got that all the time.
   “It’ll work. Stick around; our future-Phil should be arriving in...” I checked the timepiece on the wall. “Eight minutes.”
He gave me the look he reserved for wasters of government money, and sauntered off to find someone else to talk to.

T minus forty seconds. People gathered around the time machine, that great, ugly collection of cables, metal junk and dome-shaped protrusions.
   “What are those?” Terrance asked, indicating one of the domes.
   “They’re the black holes. There are six of them, arranged around the centre, where the time traveller goes. They only live for a fraction of a second – too dangerous, otherwise. We can vary their strength to ‘aim’ the traveller to a specific point in time.” I wasn’t talking to him; just repeating facts that years of theory, tests, mistakes, construction and more tests had hammered into my brain. I was completely focused on the little metal table. It was the centre of our time-machine. Surrounded by vacuum fields, it was where our future-Phil would appear and where the present-Phil would be sent from an hour later. I couldn’t move, as if the tension in the room was pulling me taut.
The generators powered up. There was a hiss as coolant was released from somewhere within the mass of machinery. Then he was there. Future-Phil. He just appeared on the platform, standing at ease. He was wearing a space-suit, the very one that Phil was wearing – or present-Phil, I should say. There was a silence as every eye in the room fixed itself on future-Phil. The only noise was the generators’ rumble, and the gradually lessening stream of coolant gas.
Future-Phil clambered down off the platform, removing his helmet, and came face to face with himself. Present-Phil regarded his future self coolly. Neither moved – and nor did anyone in the whole room. I think Terrance had fainted by that point. Then present-Phil broke out in a huge grin, and embraced himself. The mysterious force that had kept me rigid as a magnetofluid in a strong field left the room, and cheers and smiles broke out. Someone revived Terrance. Backslaps were laid thick and heavy on future-Phil, and everyone wanted to shake his hand. The lab suddenly felt more crowded as everyone started talking, the kind of babble that an ordinary person wouldn’t think such a reasonably-sized assembly would be capable of producing. I knew better, having worked with these people for years.
I stood at the back of the room with Serenkov. We had been the founders of the project. The grumpy old men who had kept everyone else in line.
   “Well,” I commented. “It worked.” And I meant it. Whether it would work had been the biggest question in all our minds since the project got serious, and it was largely an unasked and unanswered one.
   “You seem surprised,” Serenkov accused. His voice was hoarse, and he squinted up at me with eyes that had spent too many long nights poring over schematics and calculations.
   “Not at all. Just relieved, really.” I meant that, too.
   “Shall we go and meet future-Phil?”
I smiled.
   “We already have.”
   “Not really. We will have, though, once present-Phil goes back.” I kept my smile up, trying my best to imitate a shark. Serenkov leaned away. “I’m going to stop talking now…”

Fifty-seven minutes later, the problems started.
   “What do you mean, he’s not going?” I was, frankly, incredulous. People have said that I have that world-weariness that lets me take any astounding news smoothly on board, but at this I was shocked. “He has to! How else would he have appeared in the time-machine?”
   “Don’t ask me, but he’s refusing to go.” The junior technician I was addressing looked helpless. He was young, and his face was flushed – whether from the news or my reaction, I never knew.
I crossed the lab to where present-Phil was surrounded by a small crowd of people. He was sitting on the corner of a bench, head in hands. I shouldered through the crowd, conjuring up that air of enthusiasm and energy that had been so useful over the past few years.
   “Phil! We have two minutes before you go back in time.” He looked up, and there was fear in his face.
   “I can’t. I just can’t. It’s...” He searched for a word, failed, and shook his head. I couldn’t believe it. This was Phil – the man who did high-altitude skydiving over the volcanoes on Mars, the one who had actually signed up for this crazy project, and, most strangely, who had emerged from the time machine in a seemingly normal emotional state.
Serenkov pulled me aside. He radiated calm – the type of calm usually exhibited by glaciers.
   “Look.” We ducked behind the time machine’s bulk, the better to talk without being overheard. “He came through the time-machine, right? He was fine. That means the problem will be solved.” I took a few seconds to process.
“So we can just sit back and wait for the solution?”
   “And we’re not being lazy by doing that rather than seeking a solution ourselves.”
“Anything we do will lead to a solution – it has to.”
“Scary thought. All right, we wait.”
And wait we did.

It wasn’t long before we had our solution. Future-Phil had kept away from himself since he had refused to get into the machine. I had a good idea why. Future-Phil had to know what the solution was, how we managed to get present-Phil into the machine eventually. I thought of asking him, but in the end decided against. May as well follow Serenkov’s advice.
In the end, it was future-Phil who did provide the solution. Half an hour after he was due to go back in time, present-Phil went over and talked to him. Presumably, he’d had the same thought I’d had.
It was T plus thirty-eight minutes when the two Phils came over to Serenkov and me.
   “I think we’ve worked it out,” present-Phil said. He seemed to have most of his old confidence back. His future self nodded.
   “I’ll go in the machine,” future-Phil continued. “That way, everything’s back to normal. One Phil left, and we know the time-machine works.”
I wasn’t thinking. I can’t have been thinking. I blame Serenkov for that nasty poser of a question about quantum electrodynamics he’d asked just before the Phils came. I looked over at Serenkov, who obviously wasn’t thinking either. Later, I wondered what demon had possessed him to ask me about quantum electrodynamics as we were making history doing something completely different. Turning back to the Phils, I nodded.
   “Right, we do that.” I clapped my hands, addressing the room in general. “Right, everyone, we have our solution. Hands at stations for sending Phil back in time. Oh,” I added to one of the technicians passing by. “Calibrate the machine to take him back to when he arrived.”
Future-Phil clambered up onto the metal platform, putting the helmet back on his vacuum suit. He confirmed the seal, and gave a thumbs-up to one of the technicians. The vacuum fields cut in, making a slight gulping sound as the air was removed from around the platform. Even as instructions and questions were shouted back and forth across the lab, as the generators powered up and that coolant started to hiss again, nothing nagged at me about how wrong this was. It should have, but the little voice that had been my friend all my life had abandoned me.
   “Five, four, three…” The countdown was called by Serenkov, acting his part as chief engineer. “Two, one.”
Future-Phil disappeared from the platform. I don’t remember how I felt at that point – but eye-witnesses later confirmed that I had a spring in my step as I walked across the room to talk to present-Phil. Or just Phil, now that future-Phil was in the past where he belonged.
   “So, how does it feel to be the only man ever to travel back in time?”
Phil wasn’t known for his quick thinking, but he beat me this time.
   “I didn’t.” As he looked at me, I could see a look in his eyes that was something far worse than his nervous breakdown an hour and forty minutes ago. “I never travelled back in time.” He was rattled.
   “You…” I never knew rattles were contagious, but he sure got me going. “Then…” I looked at the platform of the time-machine. Serenkov had caught on by this point as well. He stared first at Phil, then at the platform.
   “Then… who was that?”
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