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#and build a giant pillbug
lagunalullaby · 4 days ago
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Was bored and now, I can't help but imagine that the world that hermitcraft season 8 currently in, are the world of giants.
Like- we have tree-sa and FiFi (the destroyer) right? Tho I don't think the hermits will be building a lot of giants sooner or later, I like to think that both of them are the first giant that the hermits found wandering around their area
For example- when Grian and Mumbo was in a middle of a tree war, Grian ask Pearl to join him on this war, and as they talks about ideas how to get back at Mumbo while walking around the forest that is around the boatem area, and then they found a tree monsters or some kind. The 'thing' got scared of them but they managed to calm it down. Soon, they realize that the 'thing' is actually quite nice, tho they don't understand what it was saying, they still manage to understand it through body language. So eventually, they decided to ask it to join the war and mess with mumbo and it gladly agree. They decided to name it tree-sa and she has been a part of the group since then
And with FiFi- if don't want to include the fact that bdubs builds the mountain and the mountain just generated naturally, tango found her when he decided to dug out the inside of the mountain to make a base for the big-eyes crew and just found her chilling in the mountain. Or if u want to include that fact that bdubs builds the mountain, tango was digging a hole under the mountain and goes to get some items that he left in his starter base, and when he comes back FiFi was just exploring the "magic mountain" cuz it just appear out of nowhere. Either way, like tree-sa, she got scared of tango, and he freaked out as well, but when he realize that the 'thing' that is in front of him rn is scared of him, he tried to calm it down and ended up being friends with her, he introduce her to the rest of the big-eyes crew as well. Tango eventually makes a storage room inside of the area that FiFi hangs out a lot in to keep his and the fellow big-eyes crewmates things save from whoever wants to steal from them
Ouh- maybe the pillbug statue has its own story, maybe when the hermits are doing something and out of nowhere a giant bug, a giant pillbug perhaps, appear around the boatem area and just left soon after, they just appear that one time, and the boatem crew try to make them appear again by making that statue? Maybe some of you can make a better story about it
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thehappiestgolucky · 7 months ago
For the writing prompt thing; Fluff, 8. “I never stopped thinking about you.” , Vigilante Tiso AU with Tiso and Quirrel?
Fluff, 8. "I never stopped thinking about you"
The water sparkled in front of him, nail by his side. How breathtaking it was, reflecting the walls of the cavern that held the giant body. How intriguing that this was what caused the rain to patter down on the old buildings of the city. He was glad he could come back to see it.
The child, Ghost, had given a somber departure - for one small, devoid of facial expressions - their sadness was not unnoticed. Poor thing.
It was strange, to have all his memories begin to bubble back to the surface, giving his heart a slight twinge. What a life he had forgotten! What bugs he had left behind. The land around him seemed so new yet held such a familiar aura - it was something he wasn't going to get used to. Quirrel sighed, adjusting his scarf tie. He wasn't sure what he was going to do now. He wasn't sure where to go.
He supposed he'd figure it out eventually. There was no point rushing in a land devoid of time.
Steps echoed across the large cavern, causing Quirrel to turn around to glance at whatever was making it. A smile spread across his face when a familiar ant walked into view.
"Thought you'd be here." Tiso remarked casually, striding to sit by Quirrel's side. "You always liked staring at nothing." Tiso grinned widely when Quirrel snorted, covering his mouth with a bright look.
"That 'nothing' being fascinating natural beauty, though, I suppose that was always more my thing." The pillbug curled to rest his head between his arms, "How different it's become. It's so different and yet the same as how I had left it... I can't possibly imagine seeing it all change in front of my eyes."
The small clinking of metal made Quirrel turn his gaze at Tiso, shield and nail resting on the ground. How different the ant looked, scars marking his face, eyes tired - yet his same energy remained that Quirrel had come to know so well. His gaze adverted when Tiso looked his way, a slight flutter in his chest.
"Y'know... I kinda took up staring at things too. When I wasn't busy that is." The ant let out a sigh, resting his head against his hand. "The entire time you've been gone... I've never stopped thinking about you..." The voice tinged slightly, with a sadness Quirrel couldn't place. Yet when Quirrel locked eyes all he saw was a shy smile, a light behind the tiredness. "Was actually kind of nice, just, sitting to think I guess." He let out a small nervous laugh, "Can see why you do it now."
Quirrel beamed under his arms, staring happily at his friend. Despite the wonders he had seen outside of Hallownest, this was what he missed. He missed Tiso, that much he would admit.
"Stay awhile, my friend. It's a tough road ahead, might as well clear your mind."
"And where are you going to go?"
"Hmm. I... haven't thought of that. I'm not sure where is safe to go to be perfectly honest with you."
Tiso chuckled, prompting a raised eye from Quirrel, though both still held their smiles.
"Y'know, Seer and Marms missed you too. Would be good to give 'em a visit."
Quirrel nodded, softly snickering to himself. He supposed he should.
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charlesoberonn · 5 months ago
give us seven random facts in whatever world you're building that wouldn't normally be known without digging. any kind of factions or weird geography or cool animals or ideologies!!!!! give us the deets!!!!!!!
I'm gonna give facts about the world of Dr. Destiny since I’m probably not going to continue it:
1. 6000 years before the events of the story, a massive cataclysm destroyed all known civilizations. A lot of magical disciplines were lost and had to be rediscovered. Necromancy was only discovered 80 years prior to the present timeline.
2. One of the ancient civilizations that collapsed were called the Demizans. They mastered necromancy that allowed them to stay in the world of the living inside magical tombs in the shapes of giant cubes. One of the Dr. Destiny story arcs I had planned was about exploring such a cube.
3. The global government in the world of the story is called the Blue Republic. 110 years prior to the event of the story they suffered through a civil war. After which they created a secret organization meant to prevent such a war from occurring and take over the government if the normal government failed. This backfired 50 years later when the secret organization decorated the existing government obsolete and rose in rebellion. It was called the Red Republic Crisis.
4. Humans in this world are descended from large pillbug-like creatures. Vestigial remnants of their ancestors’ exoskeleton still exist in the human body.
5. Another descendant of the ancient pillbug-like ancestors exists on another continent on the other side of the world. And they have freaky powers and biology and are quite hostile to human visitors.
6. The main antagonist of the series, called the Enchantress, was part of what was supposed to be a long line of necromancers. Her mother had the idea of training her daughter to be a powerful necromancer and then have her train her own child and so on and so forth. The Enchantress cut that cycle short when she killed both of her parents.
7. The protagonist’s people are a few of the only survivors from the pre-cataclysm era, and they’re often blamed for the cataclysm as well as everything bad in the world.
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areiton · 2 years ago
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saving each other
Continuing the family we made saga. Companion to the weight of the ones you love, morgan’s brothers & my soul outside my body 
~*~ 
Sometimes, he thinks about it. What his life would be like, if Tony Stark had broken into anyone else’s barn.
He tries to imagine what it would be like, the past six years--eleven, if the rumors that they were gone for five is true--would have been like, without Tony’s eradicate phone calls, without the tools and education and support.
He can’t.
He sat in his garage, dusty and untouched in his absence, for hours, after Happy called and told him when the funeral was. And he can’t imagine it.
Tony Stark crashed into his life one Christmas, a life time ago.
And everything changed.
Everything changed.
~*~
Morgan is brilliant and beautiful and sassy, and she smiles at him like he’s the best present in the world.
She tells him stories, heavily edited and suitable for a child, and he chokes on his sobs, because he can hear Tony in her words.
She calls him brother, and he shatters, because a child is taught things. They are taught who their family is and she looks at him, at Peter, like they’re family, like she can’t quite believe they’re here, and like she always expected them to be here.
He sees Tony in that too.
~*~
Peter--Peter is beautiful and brilliant and sassy, in ways that Morgan isn’t, and captivating. He’s a flickering flame and Harley is a moth, drawn to him.
“I wanted to hate you,” he confesses. It’s the night after the funeral and Morgan is asleep in Pepper’s bed, and Peter is sprawled across the entire couch, his long lean limbs akimbo, hair tousled and dark bruises under his eyes.
“He loved you and I thought--”
“He never replaced you,” Peter says, wistfully. “He used to tell me about what you were building. About how smart you were and how proud of you. Mr--he loved you.”
Harley gropes for his hand, and Peter squeezes it, tight, tight, and he thinks, that grip and Morgan’s smile is the only thing keeping him tethered to the ground.
~*~
“Are you going back to Tennessee?” Peter asks. Morgan is in her tent, and it’s a bad day, a day she demands Tony endlessly and neither of them can produce him, and Pepper looks one wrong word from shattering.
Peter is staring at the water, his gaze shuttered, like this answer doesn’t matter.
Harley watches him while the birds chirp and he finally looks back eyes bright and almost defiant and he smiles, soft.
“My family is here,” he says.
~*~
They don’t talk about Tennessee after that, or the family Harley left behind in Rose Hill Cemetary.
They don’t talk about the suit Peter refuses to put on or the way Pepper’s hands tremble in the mornings. They don’t talk about the way Morgan asks for Tony, still, months later, or the way Rhodey drinks too much.
They don’t talk about any of it.
They cling to each other and they keep each other afloat, and Harley thinks--it’s not enough, but it’s all they’ve got, and he’ll take it until they can do better.
~*~
The world isn’t ok. They hide in a cabin in the woods next to a lake, surrounded by miles of forest and land, a sanctum that Tony created for his family, a place where no one could touch.
But the world isn’t ok. The Decimation and Restoration, they took and brought back so much and even in the aftermath, in the unspeakable joy of having all of them back--there are holes. Giant gaping holes, where people should be. The world didn’t stop, when Thanos snapped, and half the universe shattered into dust--it kept on spinning itself closer to the edge, closer to chaos, and even now.
The world isn’t ok.
~*~
Rhodey puts on the suit and he goes to join what’s left of the Avengers, to put the world back together. They get reports about it. They want Peter, want Pepper--need Spider-man and Rescue. He can see it, in their eyes, the guilt that they aren’t going back to the fight.
“He’d be ashamed of me,” Peter says, and Harley pulls him into a hug.
“Never,” he whispers.
~*~
It changes. Because the world isn’t ok. The men who come are looking for Morgan, because dying to save the universe isn’t enough for them--Tony still has more to give, a beautiful little girl who lights up their dark world.
They don’t find her--just Harley, in his greasy tanktop and threadbare jeans, and fear trembling in his bones. Morgan is tucked away, hidden away, just like they taught her.
She’s a Stark and the world is broken and has always demanded too much of Starks.
He smiles, cocky and terrified and pain explodes through him when they start to hit him.
~*~
“I’ve got you,” he murmurs.
“You’re safe.”
Peter’s in blue and red and his voice is steady and Harley can’t move without it hurting but he forces it out, anyway. “Morgan?”
“Shh,” he shushes. “She’s fine. Perfect. You’re the one we’re worried about.”
Peter shifts him and he bites back his scream, and gives into the black.
~*~
“Is this what being a superhero is like?” he croaks. Peter stares at him, eyes haunted and hands clenched in his lap. He can see, stil, the edges of Peter’s suit peeking under the collar of his shirt.
“No,” he whispers. “It’s what loving one is like.”
Harley stifles his whine but reaches out and takes Peter’s hand. Holds it in his, their fingers twisted together, and Peter looks up at him, finally, eyes wide and startled. He smiles. “Worth it.”
~*~
They move. Not into the New Avengers compound. But on the grounds. Where FRIDAY can monitor security and Pepper can run SI and Morgan is safe. “Are you putting it back on?” Harley asks, nodding at the suit hanging in Peter’s closet and Peter looks at him. It’s strange, seeing it there with Harley’s leather jacket and worn coveralls.
But not bad.
“Would you mind?”
Harley smiles at him, slow and lazy. “You’re supposed to be his smart kid, Parker.”
~*~
“How’d you do it?” he asks, one night. Peter is out, one of the endless streams of missions to save a world that is not ok, a world that will always need it’s heroes. He’s not pacing, but he’s chewed his nails down, and only stopped drinking because he couldn’t stomach dinner.
Morgan curls in his lap, listening to FRIDAY read to her, and Pepper--Pepper watches him, something like sympathy in her eyes.
“I didn’t do it well. Not for a long time. But--it’s part of them. I love Tony--and I realized, I couldn’t love part of him. It was everything.”
~*~
Morgan sits in his lap. She’s getting too big for it now, doesn’t quite fit as easy as she used to, but she’s a stubborn little shit, and she sits in his lap and says, “Do you think I could do it?”
“What, pillbug?” he asks. He’s watching the sky, waiting for Peter to come swinging through the trees that line the drive from the Compound.
“What Daddy did. What Pete and Uncle Rhodey does--save people.”
He closes his eyes and squeezes her tight. “You already do, sweetheart. You save us, every day.”
~*~
Peter comes home, and he’s sweaty and flush, the way he always is, after a mission, and Harley knows he’ll be melancholy later--but he pulls him close, whispers Pete into his hair and takes the kiss, desperate and reaffirming, that he needs. And he feels guilty for how grateful he is, that Peter is here, with him.
I still need him, Tony. We still need him.
~*~
The world isn’t ok.
And they aren’t ok. But they save each other. A little at a time, a little every day, they save each other.
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velkynkarma · 3 years ago
April Fool's Prompt: would you ever write smol!Slav
A smol request? Only for you, onions. Only for you. (For the 2018 April Fools Prompt Day)
———
There’s an enormous, thundering crash from the adjacent room, followed by a high-pitched squeal of surprise. Shiro groans as he looks around, and sure enough, his charge has disappeared again.
But not for long. Five ticks later, something comes skittering out of the room on his right, surprisingly fast for its small size. The slinky creature scuttles on multiple legs and makes a beeline straight for Shiro’s foot.
In any other situation Shiro might think it was some sort of giant alien space-bug, and reacted accordingly. He knows better now, though. He resigns himself to his fate as the creature reaches his boot, claws its way up his pant-leg like a particularly insistent kitten, slithers across his back, and comes to rest curled around his neck.
“What did you do?” Shiro asks sternly, once Slav is safely situated over his shoulders again.
“I didn’t!” Slav—a much, much tinier Slav—squeaks in a much more high pitched voice than usual. “It fell. It wasn’t safe at all.”
Shiro sighs in exasperation. They still have no idea why Slav appears to have gotten so tiny, or so much younger. Coran says Slav certainly looks like a young bytor, and not just an adult that was shrunk. Based on his behavior he acts a lot younger, too.
But nobody knows how it happened. The Olkari reported heading for Slav’s lab to check in on the status of a project, only to find the engineer much, much smaller, and cowering away in the corner. He’d howled whenever any of the Olkari came near him, and the paladins—more specifically, Shiro—had been called in to fish him out.
The Olkari are working with Coran, Hunk and Pidge to try and reverse-engineer the instruments in Slav’s lab to figure out what happened. But in the meantime, they—more specifically Shiro, once again—are stuck with a much younger Slav until the situation can be remedied.
And if Slav was a handful as an adult, he’s nearly impossible as a child.
Shiro sighs. “What were you doing to make it fall?” he clarifies, as he pokes his head into the room. It’s one of the project rooms, where Pidge and Hunk frequently fiddle around in their spare time for useful enhancements, or just for fun. Some sort of device is now tipped over on its side on the floor, and parts are scattered everywhere. He winces despite himself. They aren’t going to be happy about that.
Slav hesitates. Shiro can feel him trembling, just slightly, against his neck. “I just wanted to see how it worked,” he whines, after a moment. “I could improve it. I bet it’s not efficient.”
That’s the problem with a younger Slav, really. Even young as he is, it’s clear his intelligence is still through the roof, and his vocabulary and basic understanding of science are exceptional. Unlike his adult counterpart, he’s still got the wildly curious nature of a child, and an inherent desire to get into and take apart absolutely everything—only to inevitably scare himself when it goes wrong.
“That’s not for you to take apart,” Shiro scolds. “You need to ask, first.”
“I could make it better, though,” Slav insists, stubbornly.
“Well, we’re not going to do that without asking,” Shiro says. “But you can talk to Pidge and Hunk later about your, uh…improvements. Maybe they’ll listen.”
He steps forward to at least clean up the mess and put the device upright again. But the moment he does, little Slav screeches directly in his ear, and digs all four sets of tiny hands into Shiro’s neck. He’s never been so grateful for his undercut, or he’s sure Slav would be pulling at fistfuls of hair. “No! Don’t go near it! It’s dangerous!”
“Ow! Stop that!” Shiro reaches around by feel and manages to find the scruff of Slav’s neck, plucking him—carefully, with his left hand—from his shoulder. Little Slav almost automatically curls like a pillbug, stubby little tail twirling into his multiple arms. “We talked about that. That’s not nice.”
Little Slav only looks the tiniest bit contrite. Most of him seems more concerned with checking how close to the device they are. “It fell! It tried to kill me! That means it’s dangerous. There’s a chance that it could still be dangerous!”
Little Slav hasn’t quite graduated to estimating by percentages exactly what the danger level is, nor has he rambled about realities—those must be things that he’ll develop later—but he is still a nervous little thing, when his excitement and curiosity don’t get the better of him. Shiro sighs. “Okay. Fine. We’ll leave it for now. But you ask first, next time, got it?”
Slav nods.
Shiro doesn’t expect much to come of it. The next time a distraction comes up, this will happen all over again. They haven’t even had Slav for a full quintent yet and he’s already gotten into more trouble than Shiro thought possible.
He’s already completely disassembled one of Coran’s handheld monitors, a holopad, the spare controller for the Mercury Gameflux II, and the food goo machine. The last had resulted in a complete mess in the kitchen, but when Slav had learned a bath was involved—in water—he’d fled into the Castle’s ventilation system. Then he’d gotten stuck, and squealed until even the mice had complained, and Pidge had been forced to crawl into the ducts to find him and haul him out. Figuring out how to clean the dust and the food goo off of him without submerging him in a tub (or, at his size, a big bowl) of water had been a veritable nightmare, and even cleaning him up with a wet facecloth had resulted in him screeching about everyone trying to drown him for the duration.
Keeping him still would be ideal, but activities that would keep most children occupied for hours don’t seem to interest him. Lance’s idea of hide and seek had turned out to be terrible—Slav had squeezed himself into a cabinet of tools, gotten stuck, and screamed bloody murder until Allura had found the codes to let him out.
“At least he was easy to find?” Lance offers sheepishly. But while not wrong, he’s banned from further babysitting. Which is a pity, because in any other situation, it would be easy to foist off most kids on Lance.
Movies don’t work either. Slav is indifferent to most cartoons, having little interest in animated animals from a planet he doesn’t know anything about, and bored with the songs characters burst into every twenty minutes. When they try other classics, he complains.
“The science is fundamentally unsound,” he squeaks, in the middle of Star Wars. “That doesn’t make sense. Hover technology doesn’t work that way!” He whines and complains through all of it, fidgeting incessantly, until Shiro finally gives up on that route—mostly to save Slav before somebody murders him for insulting a classic.
Coloring works, sort of. They find crayon equivalents in the Castle of Lions, and settle Slav down at a table to play. The crayons are half as big as he is, and take three sets of arms for him to use, but he draws happily, for a little while at least. Until Shiro eventually realizes it’s not a drawing of his favorite animals or people he likes or anything else kids normally draw. Instead it’s a surprisingly technical document detailing the schematics of some sort of machine, measured and labeled in meticulously precise detail.
“I think it would actually work,” Hunk says, bemused, when he sees the drawing. “Although I…don’t actually know what it does.”
“Should we put it on the refrigerator?” Lance asks, scratching his head.
But not even drawing keeps little Slav’s attention for long, and eventually he gets antsy. And starts disappearing on them, when his curiosity gets the better of him—only to come running shortly thereafter, when he realizes whatever he found is actually pretty scary. And considering how tiny he is compared to everything on the Castle of Lions, most things turn out to be pretty scary.
At least Shiro can sort of keep track of him. He’s not sure Slav actually remembers him from Beta Traz, but he does seem to trust Shiro over the others. More importantly, Shiro is the tallest person there. And when Slav gets scared, he climbs the tallest thing, where he’s safe. Which, most of the time, is Shiro, so he’s fairly easy to keep track of.
(A few times it’s not Shiro. It’s shelves, or crates, or on one occasion, one of the Lions. Once he gets up, he can’t get down, not unlike a kitten, and he wails until someone comes to get him down. Shiro’s almost glad it’s him most of the time; it saves everyone the hassle).
Like now. With a sigh, Shiro settles Slav back down on his shoulder, where the little engineer immediately sidles up to his neck again and curls around it as much he’s able. Adult Slav is long enough to curl over Shiro’s shoulders and around his torso like a python, but little Slav can’t even wrap fully around his neck from tip to tail. He’s still shaking a little, which guarantees he’ll stick with Shiro for at least ten doboshes or so. Until he forgets why he was scared and gets distracted, anyway.
Shiro needs to figure out something to keep him from getting distracted. Slav’s so small—annoying as he is, quite a few things on the ship could hurt him, and at some point he’s going to get himself into real trouble. “What do you want to do instead of that?” he asks, as he leaves the project room and closes the door behind him.
(A closed door won’t do all that much, unfortunately, not if Slav really wants to get in. He can squeeze into far too many place for his own good. But Shiro needs to at least make an effort).
“Experiments,” Slav says promptly.
Shiro blinks. “Experiments?”
“For science,” Slav says, and his high pitched little voice seems to get higher with excitement. “You can do all kinds of things with science. But you have to experiment to figure out how to do them.”
“What kind of experiments?” Shiro asks, cautiously.
“Building things!” Slav says. He slithers across to Shiro’s other shoulder in excitement. “Like a machine that can make you invisible. Or like your robot arm!”
Shiro rolls his eyes. Slav’s fascination with his arm has continued even as a child, although Shiro has to admit it probably is pretty cool from a kid’s perspective…provided they aren’t trying to pull it apart to see how it works. Which little Slav had already tried. Twice.
But this could be something he could work with. “Or the thing you drew earlier? What would you need to build things like that?”
“Yes!” Slav rattles off a number of tools and parts excitedly. It doesn’t sound terribly complex, and it might keep him occupied for a little while. Shiro considers, but eventually detours to a different project room. Slav seems curious and seriously ready to clamber down off of Shiro’s shoulders to explore, until a machine in the far corner makes a loud bang, and he presses close to Shiro’s neck again with a screech of surprise.
“It’s okay,” Shiro promises. “And we won’t stay. Just getting your, uh, supplies for your experiment, and then we can go back to the lounge. How does that sound?”
“Acceptable,” little Slav says. “But hurry. There’s a high chance that things get more scary the more we’re here.”
Shiro doesn’t waste any time, mostly because Slav is apt to forget why he’s scared if they stick around long enough for him to get used to the noise, and then Shiro will have to find him again. He grabs a hover tray and a box, and fills it full of tools, screws, interlocking metal pieces, and other bits and bobs when Slav points and says, “That, too!” Once he’s done, he takes the whole mess and pulls it back to the lounge, where he dumps it carefully over a table.
“There,” Shiro says. “Is that enough?”
“Yes!” Slav says. He sounds positively delighted, and swarms down Shiro’s arm like an excitable ferret, diving into the mess of parts. Shiro’s never seen his adult counterpart seem so enthusiastic. Even building the things he’s known for, like his gravity generator, seemed to bring  a sense of accomplishment, but never this level of outright wonder. It’s almost endearing—if one can forget Slav’s numerous eccentricities and bad habits.
Shiro is surprised to find his last-ditch effort actually works. Slav seems enormously content working on…whatever it is he’s working on…screwing things together, dragging things around, measuring and reorganizing. On occasion he’ll demand Shiro’s assistance with a wrench that’s too big for him, or instruct Shiro to weld two pieces together with his ‘robot arm,’ which mostly consists of pinching two bits of metal together and lighting up for a few seconds. He’s a bossy little taskmaster, but it’s still infinitely preferable to him disappearing, or getting himself stuck somewhere and screeching until somebody gives him attention.
In the end, two and a half vargas later, he’s built a…a something. Shiro’s not really sure what it is. It resembles the thing Slav had drawn, but like Hunk said, it doesn’t appear to have any practical purpose. It has a few moving parts that click and hum in a not unpleasant way, and it’s maybe as long as Shiro’s forearm, but that’s about all that can be said for it.
Slav seems pleased with his work, though. He preens as he crawls all over it, and gives Shiro a superior look. “It’s complete!” he says excitedly. “My experiment is a success.”
“It’s…very nice,” Shiro says, for lack of anything else to say.
“Because I made it,” Slav says, with his usual lack of tact, only amplified by his much younger age. Then he yawns. Apparently having worn himself out with all his science…ing…he scuttles over to Shiro’s Galra hand on the table, pushes it over so that it faces upward, and curls up in the palm.
“Wait,” Shiro says, “that’s not—“
But it’s useless. Little Slav, worn out by his very exciting day, is already fast asleep in Shiro’s hand.
“That can’t even be comfortable,” Shiro says, mildly exasperated. His hand is metal. Surely Slav would be more comfortable on something softer.
But little Slav seems content enough where he is. Two sets of hands are wrapped around Shiro’s metal thumb, not unlike a child hugging a stuffed animal close. The rest of his little hands curl close to his body. He’s just slightly too big for Shiro’s hand, and his tail and back legs flop awkwardly between Shiro’s other fingers.
It doesn’t look comfortable, but Slav is already snoring, and Shiro doesn’t want to risk waking him now. Little Slav is a terror by himself. A cranky little Slav would be infinitely worse. He supposes Slav can stay put, for now.
…Although that means Shiro is also stuck where he is. If he moves, Slav will surely wake.
He sighs. It’s going to be a long quintent.
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the-heroic-changeling · 4 years ago
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So I think I did okay at my interview today
So in celebration, please have my full draft of my post apocalyptic sequel to my vigilante short stories. It's quick, brief, but kinda depressing and melancholy. So please be aware this is a bit sad. And then it gets weird at the very end. 
Anyway, here it is. Tagging @jogress @akirakan and @renaroo
I scuttled across Home Three, my six legs clattering behind me. My feet sent impulses through me, the texture of the ground mapped with each touch. My main sight however was electroreception, the ability to sense electricity, both organic and inorganic. I could feel pulses, small flickers like stars poking out through bloated clouds.
The world existed in starlight, like dots among an endless void. Not black, not white, not anything that could be adequately described, just an absence. No sound, no light, just little flickers below me, and scattered shards of jewels dulled and faded with dust.
It was all-consuming to my autistic mind. It was a giant maw of emptiness, broken up only by the impulses and sparks of the scattered life that still squirmed and grew. I tried to focus on them, on the tardigrades, on the lichen, on the survivors
When I had to see I could project into Voyager I and II, Opportunity, or Curiosity, Akatsuki, Huygens, Mascot, Minerva II, any of the rest of the still functioning landers — or even the multitude of stranded UUV that dot that oceans. But there still wasn't much to see there, unless I piloted it to one of the vents. At least, there was nothing to see like home. I mean it was home, this was Earth but it ... it didn't feel like it. It felt empty. Only little sprinklings of life.
...I wonder what the Earth looks like now. Like, through eyesight.
I could only stay on Home Three for short amounts of time, it would be selfish too stay here long, even with my planting. I had to look for movement, try to cultivate the octopi and uplift them, and had to salvage on Mars and the Moon. I had felt bad crashing so many satellites, but I needed resources, and I had known they would crash eventually anyway. Might as well aim them by my bodies so I could have metal, circuits, and electronics. Ideally some that had not been fried by the nuclear war.
The satellites of Earth were all gone now, most of them had fried long ago, the rest had been aimed by me to crash either near Home Three or any of the UUV's. Lucas had been very loving to this body, she made its claw very articulate. It had nothing on a human had, but it still could manipulate well. For emphasis I tapped my claw against my back, strumming the plastic card I carried with me. I could almost feel the card, blind as I was.
...I miss hands. It's hard to stim without hands.
I pulled my claw back and dropped it in front of me like a cane. I probed ahead, feeling for anything interesting. Most of the world in front of me was just bits and pieces of electronics, rusted metal - I was no engineer, though Lucas had tried to teach me. I-I had gotten better over the ... decades? I think it had been decades. Probably not a century had passed yet, at least I didn't think so. Point was I still had plenty of machinery to manipulate and try to build with. I had given up making eyes ages ago though, too difficult.
I paused, feeling something under my foot. I stepped back, and with my claw I clasped at the shape. It was rough but patterned. Probably another infertile seed. Still, I clutched it, and scuttled over towards the planting ground.
I had churned and molded this patch of ground for ages, and lichen and other 'plants' had flourished there. Sometimes even lasting long enough to launch spores and seed new life. No large plants ever grew, no matter how many seeds I tried to plant, carried by the wind. Still, had to try, just in case one seed actually worked.
I dug it in, as the light squishy plants pressed against my legs. I paused digging so I could feel the plant, feel the moldable soft surface. I squeezed over and over, before pulling back and burying the would be seed. As I did I could see tardigrades squirming alongside a pillbug, if I identified it right? It was a big creature, it dwarfed the normal wildlife, that was for sure. But electroreception was not as a precise a long as vision.
I finished burying the seed, and clattered away, leaving the oasis behind. Lichen did grow everywhere here, same with mold. But here in my ... garden I supposed, here they actually grew a bit stronger.
I went back through the emptiness, scuffling my feet as my claw draped in front to help me see. I could feel the squishy plantlike life that clung to the ground, feel tardigrades crawled through them. The tiny beasts were common now, some of the most complex life in Mexico. Well, what was Mexico. Now the country was water logged and empty.
This had been Lucas's country. That was what Home Three was, her grave. Where she finally collapsed from the radiation poisoning, my last friend. I had tried to bury her, but my body here was small, weak, it could not ... it could not lift a person, it could not dig the earth enough to bury a human sized body. I ... again I was helpless.
I reached down and squeezed some lichen, letting the soft material ooze through my claws. I padded it, molded it, trying to calm. At least calm as best I could. There was still life here. Animals, plants — life persisted.
I knew in the deeps more complex life lived, mostly sheltered and cut off from nuclear winter. There were shrimp, clams, tube worms, crabs, snails, eels, some ray-finned fish, and even octopi. Octopi! I ... I fixated a lot on the octopi. And not for special interest reasons.
I knew it would take ages for sentient life to evolve again, even with my help. It would even take ages for complex life to recolonize the upper oceans and the surface. But octopi were a good chance for a successor to humanity, they were smart and they had appendages similar to hands and a very complex nervous system. I had used my UUV to contact them, gesturing to them with the machines' mechanical arms, tried to show them things. It felt mostly like failures. But I kept trying. Some of their groups had grasped how to use tools like rocks to smash open clams, three colonies seemed to grasp that meat cooked near the vents tasted better. It was slow going, but they were learning. Some of them anyway, it varied on the species or the group. But some learned, and some even taught each other without my help.
I relied on those teachers. Because otherwise I ... I might have to do something evil. And I did not want to be evil, not now not ever.
I knew they were still a long way from intelligence like humanity had. And it would be a longer time until I can teach them the Torah, or at least what I remembered of it. I remember a lot but I was no teacher, just a superhero in the waning days of humanity. I ... I also felt nervous about converting the octopi, in Judaism we didn't exactly focus on conversion, we welcomed new Jews but we didn't really make it a mission. At least, not my synagogue.
But I just ... I wanted out stories to continue. I wanted the covenant to be honored. I know it was after the end of the world but I ... I still ... I needed to know we survived. I needed us to have survived. And I was just one Jew in an empty world.
I was a superhero once upon a decade, I could project my consciousness into machinery and switch mechanical bodies at will. I was called the Drone, I helped protect people, disrupt lynch mobs, smuggle supplies to vulnerable communities. I was not the best hero, but I tried. And I ... I did some good. At least I had before the world ended.
I rambled a lot, my thoughts drifted and churned wildly. No medicine to help me focus, no mouth to take it either. And no one to talk to except the occasional octopi. Well, them and the things I couldn't really see.
...
I piloted this unmanned underwater vehicle down, nearing the octopi. I had named this group the 'Smoked Twelve' since there were twelve of them regularly together, and they were one of the groups that cooked their clams in the smoking vents. They were very intelligent, they used rocks to smash open then clams, then held them by the boiling vents to cock them and add flavor. I had tried to teach them that, but they did the bulk of the work learning.
They were descendants of one of the first groups I contacted, a group of refugee octopi not native to the vents. Some of the upper ocean life had managed to sink below and adapt, many by feeding off the massive tons of dead sea life from the fallout, much of them still lived there.
Others like the ancestors of the Smoked Twelve moved into the vents as the rotting ocean floor began to shrink and food began to grow more scarce. They were ill adapted to the heat and the dark, but they were smart. And so far they had survived in the vents for three generations, alongside the native species of octopi.
Only Algae and bacteria clung to the surface of the ocean, and their dead sank down. But animal life was rare in the wider ocean, impossible in the irradiated poisoned surface, and still mostly uncommon in the depths, save near the vents. But it was becoming more common. Crabs and eels from the vents occasionally roamed away from the vents to feed on the decaying corpses of animals killed by the fallout of the war, a massive food source with barely any competitors. The octopi followed too, same with the occasional snail and fish. Surface life also came below, breeding and living off the death. There was still a number of food away from the vents, and life was beginning to adapt to that niche.
My mind drifted a lot nowadays. In the present I hovered in front of the octopi, and they drifted towards me, swimming closer. I worried I was taming them, not educating them, they just were conditioned to obey not to learn. But I ... I wanted hope.
I drifted to the floor of the ocean and moved my metal arms down, before I grasped a rock. Then in my other claw I lifted up a second rock. I swam in front of the octopi group, never learned their proper group name, and I bashed the rocks into each other, slowed by the thick pressure of the water. But still the rocks chipped and splintered, forming little pieces of rock fractals.
The octopi mostly just encircled me, so I repeated it again with new rocks. I had been trying this particular lesson for a bit now, a few years I thought, at least with this group. I was no biologist, no scientist, and I wasn't trained to teach animals. I had pets once but they knew no tricks. But I hoped that if I smashed rocks enough, they would begin to learn how to make knives of stone. And that meant cutlery, the ability to give potions of meant, better cooking on the vents, and possibly more food. And more food meant more risks and experimentation.
One of the octopi grabbed a rock — I recognized the older Octopi, it was Lucca. I had named them for Lucas and the inventor from the Chrono Trigger video game - because they were better at understanding things and experimenting than the rest, they seemed to understand more bits and pieces, figure out more of the concepts. They really did the heavy lifting in understanding me. Right now they pounded the rock into the ground, pounding it until it began to shatter.
I had my body's arm release one of the rocks, and then reach out, struggling, struggling to grasp a shard of rock from the collision I caused. I waved my mechanical arm back and forth, trying to grasp, close, almost, nearly there, just got to strain—
Finally I clutched the shard of rock, and held the chunk of thin sharp rock up. The Octopi did not respond, just staring at me blankly. At least I thought the stares were blank.
I took the knife and drifted down towards a crab they had been eating. One of the Octopi swam past me in a burst of speed, and picked up the crab, hauling it away. That was probably the one who had caught it. I stared after the octopi, as it carried the crab to the vents to cook it. I drifted back away, another failed day.
Lucca had bash the rocks together many times before, maybe fifty. They still didn't know it was to make the knife, or how to use it, or why. They knew how to make the tool, that was fine. But cutting open meat, scooping out the insides, they still struggled with that. I rarely got far enough to show them that motion.
Still Lucca still followed after me, even as their fellow octopi went back to their usual routine. So I might as well had tried to take advantage of this moment. I carried my knife with me, Luca following behind, as I reached a clam.
Swallowing I plunged the knife down, scooping at the inside meat, cutting it away. I felt uneasy, icky, but less so than when I first did this process. And I wasn't eating it, so my guilt felt smaller, as little sense as that might make.
Luca stared at me as I acquired the meat, as with my second hand I pulled out the meat of the clam. I threw it to Lucca, who caught it with their tentacle, and began to swim away. I followed them, before they held the meat out over the vent.
They bite into the meat with their beak, tearing it apart in big chomps. I waited more
And then they left.
I followed after her of course, their body shifting and swimming. They propelled bubbles from their sideways jet, launching them father from me than I could swim.
When I finally caught up they were winging a rock around, seemingly playing with it.
Smash! they struck the rock against the ground, it exploding into stars. They swept their tentacles through the debris in a series of whooshing motions, before abandoning the shards and picking up a new rock to smash.
I stared as they smashed that rock too, then another. The pieces gradually drifted to the ocean floor. I had failed again to teach, there was still too much mental distance.
But at least they had a new toy, a new way to play. It was ... disappointing it was so destructive though. But it was only rocks. And I would rather Lucca pounded rocks together than say tear clams apart for fun.
Lucca would teach the others how to play, I knew they would. It was ... back in human days people said you were not supposed to project human qualities onto other species. Human behaviors were not animal behaviors.
But Lucca ... I would almost describe them as a fellow asexual. They were older than the rest, but they had never mated, and they had taught pretty much all of the Smoked Twelve how to cook and how to club clams.
But they were getting older. One day they would ... they would d-die. And then who would teach the next generation?
I was grasping at any wisp of hope I could find, as ridiculous as some of those hopes were.
I drifted back away, there still was hope as the behavior was taught to play with rocks, they would eventually figure out what they could use the pieces for on their own. But again, that was probably asking a lot from the mollusks.
I ... I wished mammals had survived. Or maybe birds. Both kinds of animals often were very smart, had lots of parental investment, especially birds. I ... I would have loved to have worked with a species of crow or raven, they were very intelligent, they understood so much. But the planet was too irradiated, and birds are very sensitive animals to distortions in climate. They all had perished long ago, the brief survivors suffering as the skies went dark and the atmosphere became a poisonous stew.
So I depended on crustaceans, cephalopods, and fish. Most of the fish were not as smart, but I was a vertebrate consciousness, and I still rooted a little for the eels and anglers that lurked in the deep. Crustaceans were already on land, at least if those were animals were types of pillbug. So they also had a good chance in the new world. They were almost unchallenged on the surface in size and power.
Overall, life would take ages to return to humanity's intelligence and power, maybe millions of years. I could wait, but so many nukes went off, and deep down I feared that they had drastically shortened the Earth's lifespan.
There were ... other things on the surface. Strange things. I knew of about five places with movement on the surface. But they did not glow right. One did not produce electricity at all, and I only knew they might be there by the animals they moved away. Others ... flickered faintly. They had shapes, a flow of electricity, but they were not as bright as living things. I ... I almost wondered if they were ghosts of some sort.
...
I screwed in the plates with my salvaged screwdriver. It was a cobbled together mess, bits of exposed wiring was visible, strange hybrids of cameras erupted from the base, and salvaged solar panels sprouted from it like strange metallic feathers.
I called it my Golemoon, because it was a construct I had made crudely on the moon. Crashed satellites, landers, equipment left behind by human expeditions - I took them all and melded them slowly into something like a rover.
It wasn't done, it was never done. But I had taken apart so many satellites and landers,  both on asteroids, Mars, and on Earth, that I had figured out bits and pieces. It was slow, I wasn't that smart, but I had had decades to learn.
I pulled Yutu back, letting my camera take in the sight. I had found the Chinese rover in good shape, surprisingly good, she just needed some repairs on hand with a human intellect. It took some effort, it was hard to manipulate tools with the other rover's arms, but I still managed to fix her, and she now was my main hands on the Moon.
I refused to take apart Yutu, I needed hands after all, but even when Golemoon was completed I wouldn't dissect her. She was ... she was a human invention, a countries first landing on the moon. I couldn't bring myself to kill her.
The Golemoon was not done. It might never be done. Again I was no scientist, definitely not a engineer, I had just taught myself with what mechanical knowledge Lucas had shared. And I was never sure if that was enough.
Sometimes I tried to boost my confidence by reminding myself I was the smartest human alive. I then remembered I was also the most incompetent, and I ended up feeling just as useless.
I backed up Yutu, before turning to gaze towards Earth. It was white with pus, thick clouds blocked much of my view. There were cracks, but from here I couldn't see those peeking beams of sunlight. All I could see was a large fog blotting out the planet.
I wheeled again, to my wall. With my crude claw, built with parts from other rovers, I grasped at the ground, before picking up my rock. I wheeled over to the Plain of Memory, and began to carve again.
I sculpted words, first in Hebrew, then English, then the pidgin Lucas taught me. It was mostly based on Spanish, but with more Mayan and Aztec words mixed in than in the usual Mexican version of Spanish, along with some grammar. She had engineered the pidgin with help from Riccardo, as a sort of code for the three of us to use on her missions, and also to take pride in her Maya-Mexican heritage.
Lucas Rodriguez was the superhero called the Grasshopper, she could leap a good six yards into the air, kick people scores of feet away, and she had retractable armor resistant to most weaponry. Riccardo was her superhero mentor, and I helped scout for her and kept her in contact with the other superheroes on Earth.
I had written about her of course, about the Silken Seer, about Lightning Bug, Cadena, Slick, the Asper, Alchemy Man, my fellow heroes. And I also wrote about the history of our world, our mistakes, our triumphs, the discoveries, the genocides, the hate that destroyed humanity, but also our evolution, our relatives like chimpanzees and bonobos, our beliefs, as many as I could summarize well. It was a mad scribbling with little order in what I wrote, but it kept growing.
I knew a meteorite could shatter my work, but as long as I could I would repair it, keep the stories going. I had wanted to be a writer before I got my Power, and this was the most important story. Though the parts I told as a story were a bit ... altered to fit narrative flow better. As in I worded them differently.
I kept writing, today I was repairing a story about Mu'lan, it had gotten damaged recently. It was a nearly word for word translation of the original ballad, I knew it by heart. I knew we as humans were supposed to be wary about interpreting other cultures, but the last line about the hares, I viewed her as genderfluid. So it had been a source of strength growing up, that trans heroes existed for well over a thousand years.
I wasn't sure if the Octopi would understand gender, or if their future society would. Assuming they could and would develop a society, it would be alien to human society. If I told them I was a trans woman they would probably be confused about everything in that concept.
I continued to carve it, ugh I wish I knew Chinese. Mandarin, Cantonese - any Chinese dialect would be good. More people lived in China than anywhere else during the Fall of Man, and they were one of the sides in the war. They had less bombs, but not many were needed.
My former country was the other side. We had ... there were so many superheroes in the end because we were fighting against an evil dictator - elected with the aid of hateful monstrous bigots who wanted the extermination of anyone not like them. The election was tampered with by a hateful foreign dictatorship, who used our nation as a puppet.
In the end of a tyrant who couldn't understand restraint and a budding world power with everything to prove clashed, and the world ended in first fire, then snow, then rock.
In February 17th of 2018, that was the day of the Fall of Man happened. It felt like only the space of a few hours. Then for the next three years as the atmosphere turned thick and bloated and the surviving humans died off of starvation and radiation poison, an asteroid plowed into the Earth, finishing off the rest.
Humanity had known that asteroid was coming nearby, but with the planet's orbit destabilized by the hundreds of nuclear explosions, the planet was thrown closer towards the asteroid, letting it smash through and devastate the rest of the planet.
Now tardigrades and pillbugs ruled the surface, while in the depths octopi, eels, and crabs ruled.  The smartest remaining species were some of the octopi, but it would probably take millennia at rest for them to understand things.
I pulled back from the Plain of Memory, the repairs were done. I roved away from the site, before pulling over to stare at the collection of writings scribbled onto the lunar surface. Just to take it all in. If Yutu broke down, I would want to have a full view of the writings.
I paused, before projecting out of Yutu. I flew about, the moon becoming an empty space with only a few lights flickering. I could not see the Moon itself, nor the Earth, I just could see the storms of Earth, flashes of radiance.
I flew back towards the storms, back towards the body Lucas made me. I had a couple ways of helping find bodies, I had a sorta of sense of where my former bodies were, like a spatial memory. I could find new bodies through electroreception too, I had the sense mostly when I was outside of bodies, only the body Lucas made me let me harness that sense.
I drifted suddenly. There was ... among the hum of plantlife drifted one of the "ghosts" I sometimes saw. But it ... it was far away from the other ghosts of its type. It was swinging its arms back and forth like ... like it was rowing.
The flickering unstable image was not of a human, but of a monkey. Like ... like a gibbon. I could only see its bioelectricity, and I could only see it flash. Again like it ... it wasn't real. There were many monkey ghosts, they were about the most common I could see. But they all clumped up in the remains of southern China, at least I thought it was China, it's hard to tell when you can only guess by the outline of animal life, the location of water, and the position compared to Mexico.
Regardless this ghost of a monkey was far to the East of their normal home, closer to my pillbug body. So then, it was sailing. Over the ocean.
I decided to risk it, and flew into a UUV, one close to the surface. I could not program, but I could give simple orders. She would rise up and head to where I see the monkey ghost, crude as this was I ... I needed to see if I could genuinely see these flickers. Because if they were real and not hallucinations, if there were mammals, not only mammals but tool using primates — oh I could check. Finally I could put the monkey business to rest, and the fear that I was going insane from loneliness, lack of a body, and lack of medication could finally be faced.
I was scared but ... this opportunity was right in my grasp, I had to face it.
Finally I sank into the little pillbug lobster creature of a body, feeling the soft squishy lichen against me feet. I scuttled away, might as well check on that seed, it was probably not awoken yet, even if it was fertile, but I had to check.
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