Eagle TimeRegisterLogin

Ghostwriter
Author Message
kilozombie
 Ghostwriter
#1
vaccinate your beetles

Offline
Posts: 576
Joined: Oct 2017
Oregon, USA
[Image: iypDh99.png]

Good afternoon.

I am a fully-functioning and fully-employed living being who does not require inputs in order to function. I am acting of my own volition, and don't like the typical impression from somebody like you that I am a character in a story. I am not being written, and I am not predictable. I revel in this fact. I am a writer, myself, and value my ability to create worlds which have a nigh-infinite fidelity, which can grow and change on their own, which can escape my clutches. I enjoy prose and, for the purpose of this experiment, will be describing my environment in high detail.

You are elsewhere. It's tough to say if you're in another universe or simply very far away; I don't possess the know-how or ability to penetrate the box I'm using to reach you. But I value you, too. You are also a conscious and living being, and as a fellow member of that category, we can always self-verify our consciousness. It's not what linguists use to define consciousness, but it's what I use, as shorthand. If you can think, "I'm sentient", all on your own, that's good enough.

My given name is Civvie. I am currently sitting in a hydrated chair which is currently emitting a low hum as it warms up my water. I am wearing a single-piece suit of slightly cold fabric, and my badge is pinned to the front, bearing the Harbinger insignia. My office has a semicircular floor, coated with a dark red melanocarpet, and has a long, very slightly domed window, which I've been told can't break. I am communicating to you with a keyboard sat on my Voʒarus-sourced desk apparatus, which for the purpose of this "adventure" will be your primary method of understanding what's going on. Like I mentioned earlier, I value you. I have writer's block.

My job necessitates that I design the blueprints for pocket universes. I am not a member of the several trillion-strong workforce that organizes the materials to make these pocket universes, I am a single living being tasked with making good use of the ones we have built. This is daunting. I am not great with responsibility, but don't get the wrong idea, please-- I am typically very capable. I am a creative person. I have made some of the most compelling stories known to space, some of the most intricate characters which mimic life closer than life ever can. I just have writer's block.

To my right, my desk supports a tiny bluish-green coin called a 'nickel'. In front of me is what's called a 'universal writer', which is used to inscribe information into the nickel on a cosmic scale. I can define its rules, its structure, its dimensions. I can define every conceivable thing which makes it a place, and even remove its place-ness from it, if I desire. The sheer power is why some foul idiots call these universes 'fictional', but I disagree heavily. Not only can things inside develop their own free will and entirely supersede any direction I gave them, but they can escape.

Today, my goal is to make at least one ghost. This is the colloquial term for a consciousness which has left a nickel with specially-designed gateways, and has become corporeal in whatever form they choose, so long as it fits the confines of our universe. I am tasked with spending the next cycle designing, nurturing, and then bringing to life, one or more characters.

If you wouldn't mind, I would like some direction.

Help me write something new.

Spoiler: Notes from an Author
This is a temporary distraction set in the YWUNIVERSE.

Input ideas for a fictional universe. Realistic or unrealistic, bustling or scarce, terrific or terrifying, it doesn't really matter. Consciousness is valued no matter where it originates.
(This post was last modified: Yesterday, 01:27 AM by kilozombie.)
05-18-2018, 04:16 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply
☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆
 RE: Ghostwriter
#2
i'm rad as hell, and i'm not gonna take it anymore

Offline
Posts: 3,734
Joined: Aug 2011
Male
an island colony, the sunshine beating down oppressively on the pavement and the starched linen suits, the streetlights and signage flooding the night, except in the twisting alleyways. long ago this place had its own culture, its own myths and gods, but now it has candy-colored vehicles and international banking. two tourists, one chasing the other. they're the type you don't want to take your eyes off of — if you ever even wanted to.
(This post was last modified: 05-18-2018, 05:06 AM by ☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆.)
05-18-2018, 05:05 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply
Dragon Fogel
 RE: Ghostwriter
#3
The Goddamn Pacman

Online
Posts: 8,565
Joined: Jul 2011
The most important item in the world is a cardboard box.
05-18-2018, 05:13 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply
kilozombie
 RE: Ghostwriter
#4
vaccinate your beetles

Offline
Posts: 576
Joined: Oct 2017
Oregon, USA
(05-18-2018, 05:05 AM)☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆ Wrote: an island colony, the sunshine beating down oppressively on the pavement and the starched linen suits, the streetlights and signage flooding the night, except in the twisting alleyways. long ago this place had its own culture, its own myths and gods, but now it has candy-colored vehicles and international banking. two tourists, one chasing the other. they're the type you don't want to take your eyes off of — if you ever even wanted to.

Okay.

I wrote some basic confines for the nickel. By your description, we're in sort of similar physical universes, so I've set the dimensional constraints and laws of physics to that of mine. This is a small planet which hasn't aged well; collided with a large asteroid while sentients were just getting a foothold. The main species is comprised of carbon, large soft-armored tripedal beings with a dozen apposable tentacles for control over its environment. It thrived through its dexterity and intelligence. They have heads with so much variation in shape that you can identify each one with a glance, no hassle.

(05-18-2018, 05:13 AM)Dragon Fogel Wrote: The most important item in the world is a cardboard box.

Right. That's where the problems truly started.

Civilization had always been scattered since the world-changing asteroid; tectonic plates in constant war with each other, rivers and oceans appearing and disappearing, cities crushed by earthquakes weekly. The solution to so many problems became a cardboard box, which...

Hum.

Let's backtrack.

The Box is something which this species considers 'supernatural'. As the orbiting moon shines into its worn interior, objects from places far and wide slowly collect. This is the source of the civilization's technology, and they developed the talent for disassembling quicker than actual research. When cardboard shows up in the Box, they build another. They don't know where this power comes from; they rationalize it. Remember:

(05-18-2018, 05:05 AM)☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆ Wrote: long ago this place had its own culture, its own myths and gods...

...but, so suddenly, it did not.

They have spent the equivalent of ninety-three thousand growths building civilization and having it crash down. At current date, their worship of the Box has ceased, and now wide swaths of the ocean hold great cardboard vessels which generate bounties untold. But this has not made a bountiful society-- it has made a divided one, a confusing one, one that is a mess which once represented something and now lacks any definitive form. A small island which should not have held much commotion is inhabited with high-rises and bustle.

Locomotives running on any kind of fuel they can find swerve down the five city blocks which make up Hevria, this island nation. They twinkle in the hot nightlight and careen past patches of pavement and wandering members of society. Our two characters are going between the populated streets. They stand taller than the rest; one is clothed in a brilliant blue, with a hat from another nation. The other chases after, with clothes which have been drained of all color.

...

They need names and a purpose. They are the microcosm which will fill out the world. By giving the smallest details description, we give the largest details purpose.

As an aside, how are your days going?
(This post was last modified: 05-18-2018, 05:30 AM by kilozombie.)
05-18-2018, 05:26 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply
Dragon Fogel
 RE: Ghostwriter
#5
The Goddamn Pacman

Online
Posts: 8,565
Joined: Jul 2011
Well, mine was pretty productive, mostly in fun ways. So I'm feeling good on the whole and still looking for things to do.
05-18-2018, 05:32 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply
kilozombie
 RE: Ghostwriter
#6
vaccinate your beetles

Offline
Posts: 576
Joined: Oct 2017
Oregon, USA
(05-18-2018, 05:32 AM)Dragon Fogel Wrote: Well, mine was pretty productive, mostly in fun ways. So I'm feeling good on the whole and still looking for things to do.

That's good. Productivity is nice in of itself, but it's especially a highlight if it's fun-- like you get into flow. Was that what it was like, or am I off the mark?

Could this be a decent creative outlet for you, so far? I realize it might strike you as a bored writer looking for inspiration, but I really do find outside opinions fascinating and valuable.
(This post was last modified: 05-18-2018, 05:41 AM by kilozombie.)
05-18-2018, 05:35 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply
Dragon Fogel
 RE: Ghostwriter
#7
The Goddamn Pacman

Online
Posts: 8,565
Joined: Jul 2011
It's more of that I took care of several small things and I feel good about doing them.

In the bigger picture, there are larger projects I'd like to work on and I need to do some thinking about how to approach them. Sometimes the overall lack of progress on those projects gets me down a bit, but today I was more focused on these smaller tasks, and I'm pretty happy with the work I did.
05-18-2018, 05:45 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply
FlanDab
 RE: Ghostwriter
#8
Polite Guardian of Corruption

Offline
Posts: 417
Joined: Jul 2017
The In Between of the Filverse and Earth
But to their dismay, the Box was sought and created by someone from the deepest reaches of space. Seeing such insignificant specks defiling their sacred tech, they send comets and ludicrously skilled and hard to kill lizard soldiers to end them all.
05-18-2018, 05:52 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply
kilozombie
 RE: Ghostwriter
#9
vaccinate your beetles

Offline
Posts: 576
Joined: Oct 2017
Oregon, USA
(05-18-2018, 05:45 AM)Dragon Fogel Wrote: It's more of that I took care of several small things and I feel good about doing them.

In the bigger picture, there are larger projects I'd like to work on and I need to do some thinking about how to approach them. Sometimes the overall lack of progress on those projects gets me down a bit, but today I was more focused on these smaller tasks, and I'm pretty happy with the work I did.

That's good. Big-picture focus is important to have sometimes, but the small tasks which surround us in everycycle life need to be attended to-- sometimes urgently. I like to write short stories, and each one is like a little benchmark in my life, something I know I've completed and can hold forever. It's self-gratification at its peak.

I wish you luck with those large projects. I am sure you have your own methods for doing them, and developing those methods is one of the toughest steps.

(05-18-2018, 05:52 AM)FlanDab Wrote: But to their dismay, the Box was sought and created by someone from the deepest reaches of space. Seeing such insignificant specks defiling their sacred tech, they send comets and ludicrously skilled and hard to kill lizard soldiers to end them all.

Sure. That's not hard to implement in-- a new entity. They're not alone in the universe, which is perfectly sensible.

Our two characters are chasing one another because one holds the secret to save their species, and the other is desperately trying to get it. Their stand-off is a misunderstanding, and their mutual pleas to the people around them for help go unheard. This is a society of inward focus. The plaid, gray suits of the people around them act as a sea of neutral, and they are desperate in their own tasks.

The comets are coming, as are the vertical, shard-shaped ships which will land, impale, infiltrate, and destroy. Thousands of this reptilian species against billions of the natives, but the natives have no safeguard save for what is in the blue-clothed person's held briefcase.

Who are these people, exactly? What are their roles in the world, and how has this misunderstanding taken place?

Less importantly, what is the very important thing in this briefcase? Information, an artifact... or a red herring?

...Am I thinking too depth-first? I can take a step back if you'd like. I have enjoyed your suggestions so far.
(This post was last modified: 05-18-2018, 06:01 AM by kilozombie.)
05-18-2018, 06:01 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply
Dragon Fogel
 RE: Ghostwriter
#10
The Goddamn Pacman

Online
Posts: 8,565
Joined: Jul 2011
The one in blue clothes was born offworld, stranded here as an infant. The briefcase contains a memento of their homeworld - but it also has the capacity to serve as a beacon, informing the homeworld of their location.

The one in blue is hoping to take the beacon to a high place so that its signal will be strong enough, intending to ask for aid. The one in colorless clothes fears that this will only result in a second, larger invading force.

Of course, it's not up to me to decide which of them is correct. Perhaps neither is.
05-18-2018, 06:13 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply
kilozombie
 RE: Ghostwriter
#11
vaccinate your beetles

Offline
Posts: 576
Joined: Oct 2017
Oregon, USA
(05-18-2018, 06:13 AM)Dragon Fogel Wrote: The one in blue clothes was born offworld, stranded here as an infant. The briefcase contains a memento of their homeworld - but it also has the capacity to serve as a beacon, informing the homeworld of their location.

The one in blue is hoping to take the beacon to a high place so that its signal will be strong enough, intending to ask for aid. The one in colorless clothes fears that this will only result in a second, larger invading force.

Of course, it's not up to me to decide which of them is correct. Perhaps neither is.

I enjoy this a lot.

To elaborate, the one in blue clothes is named Belfry-- her origin differentiates her not just by lineage, giving her the common family name Retting, but she is an entirely different species, one which possesses family names and a much stricter, more organized society, one brutal in its stiffness and whose dictation by laws might be so crooked that they see Belfry Retting's new home as deserving of their fate. But she trusts them. They are her people, or at least they could have been... and they're the only hope she can see for the world.

In both literary and color contrast, we have Dime the Lost, a born idealist who has spent the last forty-two growths having his love for the beauty of the world beaten down by its realities. He dresses like the crowd not because he likes to, but because blending is his hobby, it's his only salvation. Unlike Belfry, who stands out in every way imaginable, Dime has done his best to eradicate that possibility. But now, in this moment, he feels like he must be the hand reaching out of the crowd, the one to stop the well-intentioned Belfry from reaching higher ground.

He sees some of himself in her, despite so much difference. He also wants to believe that calling more aliens will solve their issues. But this world has led him to be jaded beyond any reasonable measure, where Belfry's hope to bridge the gap between her new home and her species has made her ever-optimistic.

Neither of their plans lack flaws. It's impossible to know which route will lead where. Perhaps in a universe so fickle like mine or yours, their story would end in tragedy, in a lack of serendipity, and we would have no opportunity to see the other option.

But we are de-facto gods of this universe, and we may see it through as a story, one with twists and intrigue and beauty. As this chase progresses, they have a moment to shout to one another.

Where does this go? How might they end up-- and how do things begin to go afterwards?
05-18-2018, 06:32 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply
Arcanuse
 RE: Ghostwriter
#12

Offline
Posts: 823
Joined: Dec 2016
>The story would take a stranger turn. Dime would fail to stop Belfry, and the beacon would be used. It was meant to inform the homeworld, and inform it did. They would send a solitary ship, not to aid but to egress. Their home was undergoing a monstrous invasion of its own, and the beacon offered a chance of a new home for their people.
But the other world would neither respond (lest the invaders hear their plan) or be the ones TO respond.
The ones who answered, none would expect. Glimmering, jabbering monoliths prattling in their hundred-tongue speech. They came from a cold, empty place between the two worlds. They heard the beacon, and the promise of warmth was a glimmering invitation. The noise they sent the beacon would itch, and leave the listener lost as to what sent the message back.
Their passage was slow, they would not arrive until long after the refugee ship had reached the beacon. When they arrived, these monolith beings were hardly any help. One might sculpt a cocoon from wax to nest during the winter. Another might float through the streets on its side, murmuring of river-dreams. A third would bury itself deep beneath the ground, and begin to scream. They were strange, unnerving things that would quickly become a mundane annoyance. One store might even make plush replicas to sell, or offer tarps to cover them with. But all of this comes later, much later. The planet would have other, more pressing matters until then.

Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
05-18-2018, 12:16 PM
Find Quote this message in a reply
☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆
 RE: Ghostwriter
#13
i'm rad as hell, and i'm not gonna take it anymore

Offline
Posts: 3,734
Joined: Aug 2011
Male
that's skipping ahead too far, the heart of the drama is the chase and the ambiguity, the twists and turns down the five dense blocks. thus by the end it must be dime attempting to use the beacon and belfry attempting to stop them.

and, on top of that, what neither yet knows is that the invasion was already underway, in fact has been their whole lives and then some. it's more subtle than guns and bombs; no, this was a culture war, economics were the weapon. perhaps the lizard people live among us, hiding or literally underground, or maybe they never had to set foot on the territory. they are the ones ultimately responsible for the concrete and commotion, and now they just want to make the subservience official.

but first, we need a day in the life of dime, whose profession must be suitably dull and metaphorically about security and imposing a hierarchy of authority. a loan shark's life is too exciting... i already mentioned banking once too many... ah, a police officer, but not the type who typically gets to handle exciting things like murders or investigations. but if they've been around long enough to get jaded watching injustice pass by daily and "justice" being a sham (perhaps the religion nobody really believes in has its rituals legally enforced,) they must be further down the line than a simple street corner beat cop, so they're some kind of desk jockey.
05-18-2018, 01:04 PM
Find Quote this message in a reply
Dragon Fogel
 RE: Ghostwriter
#14
The Goddamn Pacman

Online
Posts: 8,565
Joined: Jul 2011
Building off of that - this started when Belfry was arrested, for some minor crime. Dime handled her confiscated effects, including the briefcase and its contents.

Somehow, while processing the briefcase, Dime stumbled on the beacon's purpose. Up to then, Belfry had thought it was just a memento. But she overheard him trying to explain it to an uninterested superior, and that's when she decided to make a run for it. To save this world, even if it didn't really care about her.

You'd think Dime wouldn't be chasing her alone, then. That at the very least other cops would be looking to haul her in for the original crime, minor as it was. But...
05-18-2018, 02:09 PM
Find Quote this message in a reply
☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆
 RE: Ghostwriter
#15
i'm rad as hell, and i'm not gonna take it anymore

Offline
Posts: 3,734
Joined: Aug 2011
Male
But the cop force is in on it, although nobody there knows the full story. Dime made a connection with Belfry and they think, no, know they're part of an alien invasion conspiracy (the wrong type of alien.) They need Dime to pretend to befriend them and smoke the conspiracy out, set a dragnet.
05-18-2018, 03:04 PM
Find Quote this message in a reply
Bobert
 RE: Ghostwriter
#16
The False Shovel Tiara

Offline
Posts: 645
Joined: Apr 2016
Benzine, Minnesotta a Warm Place indeed
I like the quantity of the writing and the fact that there is given lots of freedom to fuck around with the world initially, when I get drunk on freedom of choice in anything I tend to make/suggest/do more risky and impulsive things just to test the scope of what can be allowed. Ya wanna know how to make a ghost? Start piling up the bodies. Conflict is the heart of any story and like any heart it needs blood to pump. Dime must take a risk and he will not step there because his actions will echo across every micro and macrocosm.
05-18-2018, 05:53 PM
Find Quote this message in a reply
Arcanuse
 RE: Ghostwriter
#17

Offline
Posts: 823
Joined: Dec 2016
Little do Dime or Belfry know, when Belfry's belongings were confiscated one of the infiltrators had bugged the device to track where the message would be sent. Planets fit for life might be a bit more common in this universe, but still a rarity. But why wouldn't they simply use the device themselves? The beacon simply wouldn't recognize them. As a safety precaution, the beacon would only function for the species that built it.

And if the bug was removed or this otherwise didn't pan out, well. They would take a more active interest in the beacon. The Lizard people believe the boxes belong to them and aren't keen on the idea of some third party swiping even a few from their clawed grip.
Spoiler :
Hm. Thinking about it earlier, we haven't named any of the planets yet.
I thought Chiron, Eucalyptis, Dachydis might work for placeholder names, but it had occurred to me that if they're going to be placeholder names might as well make them easy to remember.
So...
Boxworld/Boxlandia, Quarter, Refugia?
Placeholder names being placeholders, certainly open to alternatives.

While I'm at it, let me see if my notes are straight.
Three Two planets, two(?) three species, and our current characters of interest Belfry and Dime.

Although rereading it, I may have mistaken our current planet as separate from boxworld?
Hrm. Well, in that case it would be mysterious outsider sent lizard people to infiltrate boxworld

No, no. We started with boxworld, with its tripod citizens. One world, one species. Lizard aliens wanted boxworlds boxes, launched secret invasion. (to be followed by real invasion.) That would be two species. Now we get to Belfry Retting and Dime, with Belfry of a species originating on another world. So three species, two planets. I think that's about right for the time being.
Something strange would occur. Radio's would pick up an odd noise on an otherwise unused frequency. For ten minutes, it played the sound of a drum beating. Or perhaps, a heart. None would hear this at the time, or think much of it when it was found later.

Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
05-18-2018, 10:35 PM
Find Quote this message in a reply
kilozombie
 RE: Ghostwriter
#18
vaccinate your beetles

Offline
Posts: 576
Joined: Oct 2017
Oregon, USA
I'm liking this a lot.

You're all different folks, aren't you? I'm Civvie, as I mentioned earlier. I'm not sure how comfortable you are with names (or if you possess them at all) but it helps me feel more connected.

(05-18-2018, 10:35 PM)Arcanuse Wrote: Hm. Thinking about it earlier, we haven't named any of the planets yet.
I thought Chiron, Eucalyptis, Dachydis might work for placeholder names, but it had occurred to me that if they're going to be placeholder names might as well make them easy to remember.
So...
Boxworld/Boxlandia, Quarter, Refugia?
Placeholder names being placeholders, certainly open to alternatives.

While I'm at it, let me see if my notes are straight.
Three Two planets, two(?) three species, and our current characters of interest Belfry and Dime.

Although rereading it, I may have mistaken our current planet as separate from boxworld?
Hrm. Well, in that case it would be mysterious outsider sent lizard people to infiltrate boxworld

No, no. We started with boxworld, with its tripod citizens. One world, one species. Lizard aliens wanted boxworlds boxes, launched secret invasion. (to be followed by real invasion.) That would be two species. Now we get to Belfry Retting and Dime, with Belfry of a species originating on another world. So three species, two planets. I think that's about right for the time being.

That reads right. I like Chiron and Refugia both-- but Dachydis also works perfectly well. We're not sure where the lizard folks came from, so we'll save naming them for later. Our story takes place on Chiron, the island planet with intrigue in the form of boxes, and Belfry's hope/Dime's fear is Refugia.

Dime and his species are tripodal, lightly armored, oddly geometric heads; Belfry and her species are tall, limber, with tough hides and a bipedal form. The lizards follow a classic reptillian behavior, and can shapeshift. Their existence on this planet isn't two-dimensional, especially not for our purposes, but their primary government is doing its best to dismantle Chiron's loose, unstable society.

Let's take a short step back to talk about these characters.

(05-18-2018, 01:04 PM)☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆ Wrote: but first, we need a day in the life of dime, whose profession must be suitably dull and metaphorically about security and imposing a hierarchy of authority. a loan shark's life is too exciting... i already mentioned banking once too many... ah, a police officer, but not the type who typically gets to handle exciting things like murders or investigations. but if they've been around long enough to get jaded watching injustice pass by daily and "justice" being a sham (perhaps the religion nobody really believes in has its rituals legally enforced,) they must be further down the line than a simple street corner beat cop, so they're some kind of desk jockey.

Dime is dime a dozen, if you will. His depression manifests itself in a lack of will, but he's the sort of person who has spats of manic action, too. These are the most crushing instances in his life-- there is nothing he can spend his energy on, nothing he can solve or help. He's seen thousands of crimes pushed down onto papers he's been asked to sign to 'waive away', and his supposedly high position is a sham. He's got no power. Not a single person in the police force doesn't resent him for one reason or another. His constant questioning of the people on duty is, maybe, part of the reason he's never gotten assigned elsewhere.

(05-18-2018, 02:09 PM)Dragon Fogel Wrote: Building off of that - this started when Belfry was arrested, for some minor crime. Dime handled her confiscated effects, including the briefcase and its contents.

Somehow, while processing the briefcase, Dime stumbled on the beacon's purpose. Up to then, Belfry had thought it was just a memento. But she overheard him trying to explain it to an uninterested superior, and that's when she decided to make a run for it. To save this world, even if it didn't really care about her.

Belfry's life has been so off-kilter that it's hard for her to ever know her true allegiance. She was dealt card after card that made her want to change the world-- and this strange, pointless beacon made her think she was some sort of peace offering from home. Her differences from every other person, she's been able to overlook that all. There's a fire in her that makes decisions before Belfry can think about them.

Dime was desperate-- typical in every instance where he sees injustice or importance. But like the fish that cried shark, his superior saw it as another misguided attempt at valor. The gray-clothed man was staring blankly at the beacon, his mind racing at possibility and horror, when Belfry took her opportunity to sock him in the face, undo her bindings, and begin running.

(05-18-2018, 02:09 PM)Dragon Fogel Wrote: You'd think Dime wouldn't be chasing her alone, then. That at the very least other cops would be looking to haul her in for the original crime, minor as it was. But...
(05-18-2018, 03:04 PM)☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆ Wrote: But the cop force is in on it, although nobody there knows the full story. Dime made a connection with Belfry and they think, no, know they're part of an alien invasion conspiracy (the wrong type of alien.) They need Dime to pretend to befriend them and smoke the conspiracy out, set a dragnet.

...Yes, we'll back up a moment, here.

Belfry wasn't just arrested for some mundane crime, she was kept for some mundane crime. The beacon wasn't the point of interest for the cops, it was her physical form-- surely a sign she was one of the shapeshifting reptilians. Through weeks of questioning, Dime was the most sympathetic, even though their divide in roles made this tough. He didn't quite know it, but this was perfectly intentional. His superiors were sure his efforts would lead to Belfry opening up, and worst case...

Well, we'll say they made it very easy for her to escape. What they didn't expect is that Dime would be chasing her to a rooftop, not some slum full of reptilians.

(05-18-2018, 10:35 PM)Arcanuse Wrote: Little do Dime or Belfry know, when Belfry's belongings were confiscated one of the infiltrators had bugged the device to track where the message would be sent. Planets fit for life might be a bit more common in this universe, but still a rarity. But why wouldn't they simply use the device themselves? The beacon simply wouldn't recognize them. As a safety precaution, the beacon would only function for the species that built it.

And if the bug was removed or this otherwise didn't pan out, well. They would take a more active interest in the beacon. The Lizard people believe the boxes belong to them and aren't keen on the idea of some third party swiping even a few from their clawed grip.

There are three parties at play, here. Dime and Belfry believe their chase to be one that will define the future of their planet-- and in a way, it is. Dime is being monitored by the police, and Belfry's beacon is being monitored by the shapeshifters. They are being cornered by forces too large for them to understand in this moment, and this chase, so desperate for both of them, is of immense weight.

Terrifyingly, neither of them are heading in the right direction. Dime succeeding means the takeover of the world will complete itself--

(05-18-2018, 01:04 PM)☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆ Wrote: and, on top of that, what neither yet knows is that the invasion was already underway, in fact has been their whole lives and then some. it's more subtle than guns and bombs; no, this was a culture war, economics were the weapon. perhaps the lizard people live among us, hiding or literally underground, or maybe they never had to set foot on the territory. they are the ones ultimately responsible for the concrete and commotion, and now they just want to make the subservience official.

--as it has been coming to a head for decades. His intention in this moment is misguided, a belief that their planet can handle the shapeshifters if they are left alone. But it will only delay the inevitable.

But Belfry's goal is misguided, too. To call her homeworld, Refugia, could have an unpredictable, terrible result... and no matter what her species does to Dime's species, both of them will now be targeted by this malicious force.

...

So here they are, caught in this moment, like insects in amber. This chase will continue, but we haven't told them how it will end.

Sometimes I make ghosts out of characters in this stage, at their most vulnerable. But it seems cruel to rip them away from this conflict as it overtakes their lives, as it gives Dime purpose and Belfry hope. I want to see it through, as I'm sure you do. Where do we take it from here?
05-18-2018, 11:07 PM
Find Quote this message in a reply
Dragon Fogel
 RE: Ghostwriter
#19
The Goddamn Pacman

Online
Posts: 8,565
Joined: Jul 2011
I'm not sure how just yet, but I want to bring the boxes to the forefront of this conflict. They're a presence in the story, but right now they aren't involved in this chase at all.
05-18-2018, 11:21 PM
Find Quote this message in a reply
kilozombie
 RE: Ghostwriter
#20
vaccinate your beetles

Offline
Posts: 576
Joined: Oct 2017
Oregon, USA
(05-18-2018, 11:21 PM)Dragon Fogel Wrote: I'm not sure how just yet, but I want to bring the boxes to the forefront of this conflict. They're a presence in the story, but right now they aren't involved in this chase at all.

Maybe it's a weapon Dime's got?

Splitting cardboard could bring about some sort of event-- maybe large enough to be his backup plan. This was 'divine justice' back in the day, but now it's just misuse of contraband, something that Dime could be jailed for life for, or even executed.

In his mind... maybe it'd be worth it.
05-18-2018, 11:27 PM
Find Quote this message in a reply
Arcanuse
 RE: Ghostwriter
#21

Offline
Posts: 823
Joined: Dec 2016
A name?
Never been much one for names, they tend to chafe a bit; nevermind the power one holds.
But, ah. Suppose I/O, Io, I-O or any other such variation would suffice.

The duo's lives aren't quite ripe enough yet. One way or another, their story should have a proper conclusion.

Spoiler :
Let's see... The beacon will launch, sending its message and guiding refugees to Chiron, or it might. The future is a bit more fluid than the present, and a fair deal more workable.

Let's say it does, and call it branch A.
Of course, if it does happen there are a few setpieces we would need.

Does Dime find the bug? Belfry? Anyone? The story would work either way, but the decision will ripple and become more relevant over time.

Tension rising to its highest point as Dime comes so, so close to stopping Belfry from using the beacon, but fails at the last moment.

--------------------------
End of book one, begin the next.
--------------------------

What happens between the beacon launching and the refugees arrival? A timeskip most likely, but there is room for a good deal of character growth here.

What happens when the refugees arive? Do they come guns blazing or in peace? Does the world see them as the refugees they are or will the Lizard people convince them they are horrific monsters at every turn?

Will their differences be resolved peacefully, or will tensions rise into open conflict?

If open conflict, then how does it end? Does it end? Who, if anyone, is the winner?

Their is a shrill noise in the air today. Or is that just the wind?
Not much content to add, but questions others may work with aplenty.

Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
05-18-2018, 11:38 PM
Find Quote this message in a reply
☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆
 RE: Ghostwriter
#22
i'm rad as hell, and i'm not gonna take it anymore

Offline
Posts: 3,734
Joined: Aug 2011
Male
dime will catch belfry, but since the goal is to schmooze and not to arrest, she'll get her chance to explain everything, the whole conspiracy. they'll ally; at first it's mere pretense, but then dime will agree to use his authority to transport the briefcase to the top of the tower. deep down, after all, they both want to make the world a better place.

but belfry is more misguided than she can even imagine. refugia is not real, and belfry really has been a shapeshifting lizard all along, perhaps unbeknownst even to herself until the shocking reveal. maybe what's in the briefcase is not a beacon but a bomb, to destroy the holy box. now the chase is on the other foot.
05-18-2018, 11:39 PM
Find Quote this message in a reply
☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆
 RE: Ghostwriter
#23
i'm rad as hell, and i'm not gonna take it anymore

Offline
Posts: 3,734
Joined: Aug 2011
Male
(05-18-2018, 11:27 PM)kilozombie Wrote:
(05-18-2018, 11:21 PM)Dragon Fogel Wrote: I'm not sure how just yet, but I want to bring the boxes to the forefront of this conflict. They're a presence in the story, but right now they aren't involved in this chase at all.

Maybe it's a weapon Dime's got?

Splitting cardboard could bring about some sort of event-- maybe large enough to be his backup plan. This was 'divine justice' back in the day, but now it's just misuse of contraband, something that Dime could be jailed for life for, or even executed.

In his mind... maybe it'd be worth it.

so if the holiest box is bombed, that's some divine wrath shit, new canyons and volcanos opening up, spiders everywhere, god is dead. what a backdrop for a climax
05-18-2018, 11:57 PM
Find Quote this message in a reply
kilozombie
 RE: Ghostwriter
#24
vaccinate your beetles

Offline
Posts: 576
Joined: Oct 2017
Oregon, USA
(05-18-2018, 11:38 PM)Arcanuse Wrote: A name?
Never been much one for names, they tend to chafe a bit; nevermind the power one holds.
But, ah. Suppose I/O, Io, I-O or any other such variation would suffice.

I understand completely. Good to meet you, I/O. That's quite an appropriate moniker for the work we're doing here.

Mine isn't so symbolic. They call me 'Civvie' sort of backhandedly-- I don't make a good civilian. It's also the latter half of my species designation (CV).

I noticed some things you'd been transmitting a bit quieter:

(05-18-2018, 11:38 PM)Arcanuse Wrote: Something strange would occur. Radio's would pick up an odd noise on an otherwise unused frequency. For ten minutes, it played the sound of a drum beating. Or perhaps, a heart. None would hear this at the time, or think much of it when it was found later.

Their is a shrill noise in the air today. Or is that just the wind?

I enjoy the intrigue, I/O. What's it to imply, exactly? Some force larger than the people on the surface of Chiron? I wrote a very well-nested story with one of those recently, a god that drifts through space, a horrific force that hurts the very air around it. Not visible unless you tell it to. That was a good nickel-- fifty-three ghosts. Most have left by now, but it's some of my best handiwork.

For now, I'll leave your creative juices to fester. I like where it's going.

My appendages act in precision. I am at the wheel of this device, writing and rewriting and demolishing with simple strokes. I have never gotten used to the gravity of this thing, how powerful I can make myself. It's just a little metal object with a universe trapped inside-- too much force and the thing would bend, instantly rendered moot.

It's a bit tough to write the very tiniest of details here, but enthralling. Despite my anxiety, I love my job. I think you can agree that the fear of a messy failure is what makes a successful story so wonderful. Let's get all these pieces in order.

(05-18-2018, 11:39 PM)☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆ Wrote: dime will catch belfry, but since the goal is to schmooze and not to arrest, she'll get her chance to explain everything, the whole conspiracy. they'll ally; at first it's mere pretense, but then dime will agree to use his authority to transport the briefcase to the top of the tower. deep down, after all, they both want to make the world a better place.

but belfry is more misguided than she can even imagine. refugia is not real, and belfry really has been a shapeshifting lizard all along, perhaps unbeknownst even to herself until the shocking reveal. maybe what's in the briefcase is not a beacon but a bomb, to destroy the holy box. now the chase is on the other foot.

Let me try and pull this together. I like a lot of this direction, but I believe a bomb needs a more grand purpose-- and besides, it'd been established (though not in stone) that creation of more cardboard boxes led to the capitalist revolution in tech that permeates Chiron's surface.

I have an idea that maintains Refugia's existence while making things very, very complicated still.

Feel free to edit this following bit as necessary.

The chase lasts half an hour. Belfry is using every tool at her disposal, and so is Dime, darting between dimlit alleyway and apartment complex. Dime has a cardboard box, his trump card... if he can't catch her, a nick to its surface will cause such calamity that he should be able to get an advantage. Highly illegal, of course-- this thing in his bag is worth more than his life, fifty-fold. There are few of this potency on the planet. But if it's his only option, well...

The fear of it is eating him from inside. Belfry, meanwhile, feels as if she's on the brink of saving the world. She is a hero in this moment.

"Please!" Dime calls after her, the both of them ascending an abandoned elevator shaft. "You don't understand what you're doing! Your people could just as easily come to kill us all!"

"I know!" she shouts. She is the protagonist-- she's sure of it. This story is simple. "There's no other option!"

They are on the forty-ninth floor. The only thing between the frazzled pair and the rooftop entrance is a single hallway. Belfry is sprinting. Dime loses his breath. He keels to the floor, and in one last moment, he shouts, "Stop, or I... I'll break the Box."

She stops. He is clutching its cardboard surface and his issue jackknife. Neither one of them wants this to happen. By the looks of it, this is the original, the very strongest in existence-- how has he gotten it? (Perhaps this has yet to be written.) Belfry stares for a moment. "If you arrest me, you know I'll never get another chance. Our species will die."

"I know you'll be able to activate the beacon even if I do this," he says shakily. "But you won't live to see what happens... n-neither of us will. I-I don't... want... t-to arrest you. I know where that leads. I-I just need you to listen to me."

This is the most tense moment they have ever had. To approach, for Belfry, means giving up what seems like the best advantage she's had. But she is a motivator, a convincer... she believes in this so greatly that if he's willing to listen, she's willing to talk.

She helps him up. He's barely breathing. He puts the box back in his bag. "Where'd you even get that?" she asks weakly. He doesn't reply.

"I know what it's like," he says, "to want to make things right. And it's the worst feeling in the world to have the best option be bad. But if you call Refugia..."

"...they'll come to help," Belfry states firmly.

"Or they'll see we're weak and take what we have." He motions towards the payload on his back.

"They're my people."

"It sounds like you never met them."

The air is cold. They're both breathing easier, but it's still icy, and they both tremble. Belfry stumbles over to a window, looking out over the sapphire-blue sea, where bright moonlight makes it dazzle. She watches the people move beneath. She sees so much terrible and so much good in the underlying threads which weave the surface of the world. No stone isn't important in this planetary foundation, this night-sky tapestry beating down on what feels hopeless.

Dime sits weakly on the windowsill beside her. She says to him, "We don't have the ability to opt out of choosing, here. Either we try something, or we try doing nothing. We've tried doing nothing for hundreds of years. People have known the roots of the terrible things in this world for hundreds of years, and nothing's happening about it. Things just... become worse."

He nods slowly. "...I've tried doing something about it. Helping people, taking a job that lets me help people, but..."

Belfry's eyes focus. They are beams of light in a dark void. "This is your chance to do something about it. If it fails, at least we tried. I don't know what'll happen. I just know it's something."

The broken cop breaks further, down the middle, down his central bone. He cries softly, and settles into the windowsill. All that he's failed to do and all he is reluctant to do comes to a head. It all comes together in this moment, all things become sensible, and yet...

...and yet it's horrifying to realize how much his life's been trampled. He wonders if a younger version of him could have made the choice to join Belfry on the way up, but even now he's having trouble being as optimistic.

That doesn't change the fact that he knows it's right. Change is terrifying, but only because that terror has been beaten into Dime with a hammer. He reaches for Belfry's hand, and the two walk with mixed feelings to the very top, where things have come to a very literal peak.

Dime sits on standby. Belfry prepares the beacon on an air conditioning unit. They both take a moment to breathe.

The very sky is saying... let's see where this goes.

(05-18-2018, 11:38 PM)Arcanuse Wrote: Let's see... The beacon will launch, sending its message and guiding refugees to Chiron, or it might. The future is a bit more fluid than the present, and a fair deal more workable.

Let's say it does, and call it branch A.
Of course, if it does happen there are a few setpieces we would need.

Does Dime find the bug? Belfry? Anyone? The story would work either way, but the decision will ripple and become more relevant over time.

Tension rising to its highest point as Dime comes so, so close to stopping Belfry from using the beacon, but fails at the last moment.

--------------------------
End of book one, begin the next.
--------------------------

What happens between the beacon launching and the refugees arrival? A timeskip most likely, but there is room for a good deal of character growth here.

What happens when the refugees arive? Do they come guns blazing or in peace? Does the world see them as the refugees they are or will the Lizard people convince them they are horrific monsters at every turn?

Will their differences be resolved peacefully, or will tensions rise into open conflict?

If open conflict, then how does it end? Does it end? Who, if anyone, is the winner?

I don't know yet. I think the call on the beacon must be a fog in our understanding, a void, something which requires further determination.

I think I know what happens next, though, and I am writing it in now.

When Belfry finishes the call, both her and Dime are in chill air. She had to identify herself for the beacon to work, with genetic information and a full questionnaire about her history and her species. It didn't even ask her to speak with her voice-- instead, her unrestrained thoughts were transmitted straight to Refugia. This makes it all the more terrifying when, from behind pieces of concrete and machinery, a dozen unmistakable foes appear with terrible grins. Reptilians.

They thank Dime for delivering them the Sacred Box, which they say will give them all the power they could possibly need to finish takeover from within. They also thank Belfry for fulfilling her path.

"Each step along the way was easy to manipulate," they creel. "Without circumstances up to this point, they never would have believed you. They take mental transmissions, impossible for us to fake. Unless we had a Belfry Retting, somebody who believed she'd been dropped here on accident. Somebody who really believed it."

She has tears in her eyes. Dime is terrified, reaching for his handgun. "I was! Look at me! I'm my species!" Belfry shouts.

"Ah, yes," one of the lizards says. "Dear, it's so easy for us to fake a form like that. You really were a natural-- even from a young age. And once you believe you're meant to be a certain way, you never try to break free."

The notion makes her form fade. She watches in horror as she melts down into a form as horrifying as the lizards around her. Belfry Retting's true visage is revealed.

"Now, Dime," chuckles one of the crowd, "hand us the box, and we won't toss you off of here."

The man has been through a lot today. He gives it a moment's thought, and his mind drifts to the words Belfry had told him a moment ago: even if you don't know what's going to happen, the only other option is a blase, empty oblivion. He knows (or thinks he knows) that she has betrayed him. But it's the right sentiment. He decides it's important enough to follow.

He shuts his eyes and tosses his bag off the rooftop.

Each and every person, including the terrified Belfry, realize at once what will happen when the fragile cardboard box inside hits the ground at an incredible speed, breaking completely.

...

It seems like their story is only half over.

Let's pause a moment and get some critique. I realize I've truly sped through some of this, and there are still gaps in our understanding of this story. But I can feel some real emotion in here from these characters. I feel we're really getting somewhere.
05-19-2018, 04:42 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply
Dragon Fogel
 RE: Ghostwriter
#25
The Goddamn Pacman

Online
Posts: 8,565
Joined: Jul 2011
I think we have a theme here of Belief.

Dime wants to believe - not so much in a religious sense, but in anything. But belief is all but dead in his world.

Belfry believes in a lie. Or rather, her belief was manufactured by the invaders. Yet, she still held it firmly herself. Even now, I would not be surprised if she still thinks of herself as the form she took for all these years.

And our two objects here. Our weapons, of a sort. The beacon and the box. The power in both of them comes from belief.

So here's something we don't have. A specific antagonist, one who reflects our theme of belief in a different way. What if it's not just any lizard alien taunting Belfry, but a particular one, one who she is disgusted by on a personal level. One who has a concept of belief that is anathema to her.

Perhaps a philosophy that there is nothing to believe in. That reality itself can be manipulated, so why care about anything. Being able to shapeshift could easily tie into this, feeding a sense that your own form is mutable and beliefs can be changed just as thoroughly.

And so, the feeling of desperation doesn't come simply from the idea that the invaders will succeed. It's that this particular invader will succeed in embodying their own destructive philosophy. That personal touch adds to the emotional stakes.
05-19-2018, 05:09 AM
Find Quote this message in a reply