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EXERCISE Picture Challenge #7: Sci-fi

Discussion in 'INSPIRING MUSES' started by redblood, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. INFO: They say that a picture can tell a thousand words. How many can you find?

    Each week a new image will be posted, and your challenge will be to write whatever the image inspires you to write. It can be anything as long as it relates to the picture. A plot, a scene, a short story, a poem, a character, etc. You can write as much or as little as you wish. It's not the length that matters, it's what you put into it. There is no time limit to these challenges, so feel free to jump in at any time.


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  2. Thalkar glanced down at the child in his arms once more, mentally cursing himself out for being so weak. Why had he even bothered? The kid would be ungrateful anyway- that's how children worked, right? And now he was being hunted by the Guard.

    The little gremlin should've been killed with its parents...one less spoiled, entitled human to worry about. But something in him just didn't allow him to run the kid through. What it was, he didn't know.

    At least it was quiet now. Thalkar's dark eyes drifted around, scanning the crowd for any signs of his pursuers. Had he actually lost them? Ugh, no...there they were. Couldn't a guy get away with assassination anymore? Grumbling, the bird-faced creature pulled his hood up farther and hunched, clutching the baby to his chest. Good thing it was asleep- the last thing he needed was for the human to start crying.

    Thalkar shuffled along with the various species that surrounded him, acting like he was nothing more but another citizen on the hunt for a job. He turned a corner and rested a shoulder against the wall of a building, shielding the child from view with his back and one arm. The guard passed.

    He let out a breath and watched as the hunter passed by without so much as a glance in his direction. Thalkar glanced down at the child, making sure it was still asleep.

    It wasn't. He froze in mute terror as the human stared up at him, brown eyes glittering curiously. It opened its mouth....and cooed? The creature blinked. What? Human adults usually shied away from him. Oh god, now the baby was touching him. The tiny larvae-human was patting his face, gurgling happily.

    ....maybe this was why he hadn't killed the thing. "Alright, come on," he whispered gruffly, then glanced around once more before starting off with a quicker gait.

    Now he was talking to it? "Thalkar, Scourge of the Rebellion, the Baby Whisperer," he grumbled to himself unhappily. Great.
     
  3. Jowa prayed silently that the child would stay quiet. This was the only part of their journey where he felt they might be in danger of discovery. Having agreed to take the queen's babe away from the palace to safety, he was now bound by that vow to see him safely out. There was a coming army, unbeknownst to those in the marketplace. Their outer defenses had already fallen, and it would not be long before they would all know the awful truth of what this day would bring.

    Hurrying along the marketplace corridor as quickly as his legs could carry him, he arrived at the designated shaft, and looked over his shoulder. He saw the ships lights as they neared and even the first shot fired before he disappeared with the child into the trash chute. Holding the child's face to his chest as they plunged down the twisting turning shaft to protect him, then emerged at the other end into a basin full of refuse. He quickly climbed out, knowing time was short and ran to the train that moved the trash away from the market underground. He knew the market above would collapse quickly under the enemy fire, so he unhooked the cars and sped off with only the engine car enabling him to travel faster. The shaft behind them filled with dust and smoke as they escaped, and he looked at the sleeping boy in the wooden box and huffed, "Sleep while you may little one...the time will come for revenge .."
     
  4. "How much for the kid? Fifteen hundred dorazi?" a gruff, masculine figure asked the tentacled man, and he shook his head, burbling in his language.

    "Eh, your loss," the figure muttered as he headed off into the throng of people around Muradsat Market. There was an old Dosu saying, that there is no race where there is business, and here it could not be truer. It mattered not what planet you hailed from, from what stock your blood ran, where you called home - if you had something to sell, you could sell it at Muradsat, and no one would bat an eye. In other words, the burbling alien with tentacles around his mouth, white skin gleaming, was in a bad spot.

    He sniffed the child as he bundled it closer to him, the scent of human filling his deep olfactory pits. The child was lucky that he had found it, not one of the Egons or the Idatani. They would have sold it off in a heartbeat. The Yantsi didn't even understand the concept of children and probably would've thought it was an animal. It wouldn't have surprised him if they'd accidentally butchered human infants, thinking them similar to cattle or uborzo. No, the child was beyond lucky.

    He weaved through the crowd, following a thread of a scent. His people had always considered scents a bit like rope - many different strands wound together. It was possible to follow just a single strand, if you could just tease it out of the whole. The smell sometimes drifted in and out - stronger here, weaker there - but eventually it remained consistently strong as the people thinned out, red lights shining down from neon signs depicting females in various states of dress.

    At last, he found a door heaped in the scent, and he knocked on it hard. It opened, a Morbat glaring at him over her piggish nose from a mild height.

    "What do you want?"

    He burbled at her a few words, and the Morbat looked taken aback.

    "I've heard a lot of odd requests in my time, but that's... not one of them."

    Yet, she walked back in and allowed him to enter the plush building. Sumptuous red lights drowned out all other colors, the walls covered in tapestries, the decor decidedly Oriental. The Morbat fluttered behind a desk and called up several people, and women journeyed into the room, all human. The alien walked forward with the child, looking at each of the women, before stopping in front of one who had her eyes down. His voice was a bubbling brook at her, soft but insistent as he held out the child.

    "No, please. He... can't live like this," she hissed.

    He let out a sharp huff of air through his nostrils, tentacles splayed out in all directions for a moment, before going into an even faster babble. The child whined.

    "You don't understand," she stressed, aware of the eyes of the other girls on her. "I... I can't."

    The alien stared at her through the goggles covering his sensitive eyes, the girl's skin a lurid red from the overhead lights. He looked down at the child and shouldered it a bit, patting its back.

    And with that, with a confident stride he walked out. So that was how it was going to be? Well - that was fine. But a child couldn't help its circumstances, and he was willing to change them.
     

  5. I thought long and hard about how I could incorporate my randomly generated character into a sci-fi setting, since I placed her in a semi-advanced fantasy setting in the other prompts I've done. Definitely not sci-fi. Came up with this lovely idea, if I do say so myself!

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    The child slept soundly, thank the gods. The streets of the capital city ebbed and flowed with their usual chaotic business, the citizens blissfully unaware of the terrible crimes committed earlier that day. Arak-jun, one of the Emperor's most trusted advisors and long-time friends, had heard whispers of a coup from his personal network of spies weeks before. He thought he had snuffed it out as quickly as it dared to arise, but he was so very wrong. Someone had betrayed them--someone very close to the imperial family.

    Now, they were all dead, save the emperor's granddaughter. Arak-jun should have been able to save them all, but he had been too blind to see it coming. As soon as the child was safe, he would take his own life as payment for his complete and utter failure. Because of him, the palace was in chaos, and it would not be long before news of the Emperor's assassination spread throughout the galaxy.

    It no longer mattered. This child no longer had a place here, and it was his duty to ensure her safety above all else. Even above the child's birthright as sole heir to the empire. That had been her mother's dying request, even as she choked on her own blood. Arak-jun swore to the gods that he would do so, and he could not risk their anger by breaking such a vow. Not when his own life was already forfeit.

    He was almost to his destination when he realized he was being followed. His foe remained unseen and unheard, but their presence was unmistakable. That was one benefit of being a half-blind alien; one saw the world in other ways. He picked up his pace, careful to keep the child tucked close and out of view. Cursing in his native tongue, Arak-jun pushed against the tide of people, knowing that the assailant was only gaining on him.

    There. The empire's planetary research & development facility, unmarked and inconspicuous against the innumerable buildings surrounding it. No one could possibly guess that its basement ran deep beneath the planet's surface. He stepped through the doors without a sigh of relief, knowing that his time was even more limited now that he'd been scanned and identified. The building was suspiciously empty, but Arak-jun had no time to think about that now. His enemy was still behind him and closing fast.

    The elevator took the two fugitives 2 miles below the surface, to the deepest part of the facility. Here, the most volatile experiments were tested, but Arak-jun was only interested in one--a prototype time machine that had been deemed a failure. The time travel machine could only be used for a one way trip, and they'd already lost countless volunteers to other timelines. The project had long since been abandoned, but the prototype had never been destroyed. No one liked scrapping anything they'd spent billions on.

    But Arak-jun didn't need a two-way trip.

    He started up the machine, the child resting soundly on a nearby table. Arak-jun could only hope that this worked. He knew this to be the child's only chance. Going back in time--they would never find her there. But here, in this time, they would find her eventually. He knew that to be certain. So he calculated the time and place, deciding to send her to the ancient days of Earth. He could sense the strong magic within her; she could succeed in those ancient times. The machine whirred with power, combining magic and technology.

    "I did not think the great Arak-jun would be so desperate to use a scrapped piece of machinery..."

    He stiffened, turning to see a woman that he did not know but that seemed almost familiar. She had an eyepatch over her left eye; he briefly wondered why she didn't simply get a replacement. And her right hand...it was a gleaming metal. Faded tattoos wrapped from her chin to the opposite side of her neck. "Who are you?" he asked, his large black eyes narrowed.

    "I've gone by many names, Arak-jun. But once upon a time, they called me Mara."

    He saw the blood before the felt the pain. Quicker than he'd ever seen a sorceress move, she crossed the room and thrust a blade between his ribs. He looked at the still-sleeping child, tears filling his eyes. Even in this, he had failed. But it mattered not, he supposed...for he was destined to rot for eternity for his failure to protect the Emperor in the first place.

    Mara smirked, wiping the alien's strange blue blood on her pants. She looked at the baby, who had awoken at some point during the encounter but not made a sound. They stared at one another, utterly silent. Mara chuckled at the irony; even as a baby she'd never wanted to cry!

    Stepping forward with care, she picked up the child carefully, wondering briefly if she was breaking some law of the gods by meeting her past (future?) self. It didn't matter now, she supposed. For it had already happened in her past. And in some strange paradox of the universe, it would continue to happen...probably. Placing the baby in the machine, she adjusted the final settings, making sure everything was precisely as it should be. Excellent.

    "Have fun out there," she whispered before pressing the button that might damn the universe.​