Starbound Writing Contest December 2015 Welcome to the first community writing contest hosted by Network of Starbound Fanfiction Writers The voting has ended! Congratulations to all winners, and great thanks for all participants! Contest Results: 1. "A psychopath's peace" by Lavranzo - 10 votes 2. "The Erchius Experiment" by AliasPseudonym - 9 votes 2. "The VEP Logs" by Tatterdemalion - 9 votes 2. "The Wonderful Planet" by Mister Pixel - 9 votes 5. "Interstellar Joyride" by Sir Wilfrey - 3 votes 6. "Contest Entry" by Warget - 2 votes 7. "Terra" by petethepug - 1 vote 8. "In the Dead of Winter" by The Squid - 0 votes Here are all the works that were submitted in alphabetical order. The voting ended on Saturday 9th January. Note: Some of the entries listed are parts of longer serial stories. However, the entries here should be viewed as individual works. A psychopath's peace by @Lavranzo A psychopath’s peace The rain fell heavily while dark clouds soared above. The sky was nowhere to be seen, the sun had vanished behind the pale veil of cloudy day. It felt like a funeral, yet no one had died. He was sitting under an enormous tree; its great big branches creaking in the wind. He had this eerie feeling in his stomach. His throat was parched – dry like figs overdrawn with flour. He heard the leaves screaming, silently, barely hearable over the roaring gusts of wind, that made the rain whip hard against skin, bombarding clothes like bombs falling on soon-to-be scarred landscapes. In the Skyfighter Corps, he’d seen that happen. He was a rookie at the time, but he’d seen bombs fly through the air; he’d seen small dots run in a multitude in directions, confused, scared. He hadn’t cared. He still didn’t. They were targets – enemies. Not that it mattered anymore. He pulled his cap way down his face. Tried finding shelter from the rain. Why was he even here? What a miserable place. This planet didn’t even have a name. It was a target. A mission to be done, credits to be earned. Nothing more. He laughed maniacally. It felt good. His feet went cold. He found some sort of odd, out-of-place pleasure in the cold; in the pain. It felt…. relieving, somehow. Well, not that it would matter for much longer. Not much longer. An hour and a half ago, he’d been on his ship, cruising casually through space. He’d gotten the coordinates; he’d been assigned for capturing an enemy of the state, of intergalactic peace, who’d been hiding in this barren place. What had he been called? A psycho, yes. Psychopaths were unhealthy for the system, Enectens The’Ad, high-councilor of P.A.X, said. They were uncontrollable; for how could one control a unit, who could not feel? If remorse, empathy, wasn’t the leash, how could a dog be tamed? This psycho had apparently been under suspect for quite some time. He had killed hundreds in cold blood. Sick bastard, eh? Not that it even mattered, in the end. Another drop made its way onto his face. A face that he, even himself, had forgotten. He hadn’t looked in a mirror for ages. To be honest, he didn’t really care. He glanced towards a flower, its head swaying heavily in the wind, threatening to fall off. He smiled. He liked flowers. Well, he didn’t actually like flowers, more the concept of them. He liked the idea of liking them. They were pretty – fascinating. He smashed his hand down on it. Why did he do that? He didn’t know. It felt good: for a moment he was a part of a greater cycle; life and death and the ruling of it. Or maybe it was just an aggressive tendency he had. A spark of red, a burning hot feeling gathered inside him. His hand went for his gun. The gun, grey and metallic, felt icy cold, almost gelid, to the touch. His ship was broken. There was no return for him. Not that it even mattered – he hadn’t really ever had anything to return to but the ship. It wasn’t that spacy, yet ornaments of all kinds seemed to fit inside. He could really use an interior decorator, now that he thought of it. While the weeping heavens continually flooded the world below, the man thought of his messy ship interior. He had at least ten chests and wooden crates stuffed with artefacts of other worlds. Apex guns, Hylotl robes and even the spears of weird plant men. It was a real mess. But it was home. It was all gone by now, probably – the ship had caught on fire, as he had come into orbit. It was pretty weird, now that he thought of it: the ship showed no sign of faulty machinery. The P.A.X had even sent an elite mechanic checking up on it before he left. Well, it didn’t really matter anymore. He pulled the gun up from its holster. The psycho was still on the loose. But he didn’t really care – he was left for dead anyway. He looked at the gun. It smiled at him: a sick smile. He smiled back with an understanding smile. He knew. It felt like a funeral. Someone was going to die. He looked at the psychopath’s reflection. He could see him clearly in the pallid metal and in the muddy puddles. They smiled at each other. Smiles of understanding. Did the psycho show any remorse? No. Did he show any sympathy? Empathy? No. But he understood, and as he faced his death, he laughed. He laughed like that maniac he knew he was. He pulled the trigger, the barrel against his head. Darkness took the world from his; the stage turned pitch-black. A last sentence, his death sentence, if you might, resounded within his head: “Mission complete.” Contest Entry by @Warget - Mo-o-om! Sniffsnout is hidin’ again! - The young orange Novakid stomped into the kitchen. - Why so? Did you forget to feed him today? - The indigo-colored Novakid lady, standing in front of the cooking table, shook her head with slight disappointment. - Before you ask, no, I haven’t seen the snugget for a week. - Awww… - the boy lowered his head, then shrugged and said, - Well, maybe I’ll find ‘em later. - Good. Now, since you are free, could you stay here with me? I don't remember the last time we spent even an hour together, Cinder. - The Novakid lady turned so that her ಠ-shaped brand faced her son. - Sure, why not. The old man is very busy today… - Cinder leaned against the kitchen cabinet and crossed his arms. - How is your day going? - I've been cooking. - she nodded at the table, and said, - By the way, pass me a bottle of the lemon acid. - “Rusty” Diodias? - Cinder opened the cabinet and took out a bottle, then gave it to his mother. - Yes, - the lady said as she took the bottle. - Your favorite. - Yeah. - Cinder scratched his square-shaped brand and suddenly asked, - Did father like it? You've never told me about him… Boy's mother twitched as if she'd been struck by something. Putting the bottle on the table, she slowly nodded. - Mom? What’s wrong? - Cinder asked, shocked by his mother’s reaction. - Nothing… You just… reminded me of him. - The indigo Novakid hid her brand in her hands. - I shouldn’t have asked you about this. - Cinder approached his mother and hugged her. - I'm sorry, Mom. - No, Cinder. I am sorry, for never telling you about your father. - The lady put her arms around her son. - One day or another you would've asked anyway. And I might as well tell you everything now, while we have enough time. - Really? – Cinder gazed up into his mother’s face. - Will you tell me everythin’ about him? - Yes, I will, my boy… The lady caressed her son’s head and began her story: “This all began long ago, at the planet I used to call my home. We lived in a small town, and by “we” I mean me, Solid, Fiddle, Gazzoline - everyone. We grew up together, playing games and helping our families. Being a daughter of the local physician, I often had to treat all sorts of wounds and shellcracks. One day we got a very badly wounded boy of my age, who'd lost an arm to the machinery in the clock tower while helping his father. Thanks to the stars, his brand was okay, so his arm started growing back quickly, but he'd almost vented out. After my dad sealed the leak, I was assigned to take care of the boy. That was how I met your future father. He was a handsome one: tall, strong, with a short, spiky corona just like yours. His brand was a solid triangle, with its sides sharply curved inward. And his color was turquoise, just like the sky of our home planet. At first he was as silent as a stone, but after I told him I liked his color, he suddenly became more talkative… I never really understood why. We talked every day, telling each other about our lives and discussing other kids. He told me about his cherished dream - he planned to leave this planet, just to start traveling, without any real reason except to see what was out there. I was shocked by this idea. I had not even known there was something else above the sky! But your father was serious about it. He swore to me that one day he would build a train which could fly above the clouds, and he would show me the world. I laughed at that, but I believed him. So, after his arm grew back, the young man started working very hard. Night after night, for years and years, he would disappear when the daily work was done. He'd return in the morning, covered in soot and dirt, but happy. Some of my friends and I once asked him to show us his progress, but he just laughed and said that it would spoil the surprise. So I waited. I almost lost hope, when I hit adulthood, but… the next night, everybody in town heard the noise of a steam whistle. A huge, two-floored train stopped at the border of the town and your father came out of it, running toward me, his brand almost sparking with happiness. That night he married me and started gathering a crew for his train, to fly away with. So I met each of them… Solid was much scruffier than he is now. Crookbrand was actually able to go through doorways without stooping. Gazzi was continually bullying Fiddle for being tall and slender. Nancy was humble and shy. And Nickel was… actually, he is still the same as he was then. But, back to the story. Every one of us had a reason to leave the planet. I had mine too – my dad started drinking too much. And this was not something childish, like whiskey or cider. It was moonshine that he had made himself. The booze did strange things to his mind. He became paranoid and sometimes acted crazy! Nobody paid much attention to that, thinking that it was just his age taking away parts of his sanity, but I knew that one day he would explode, like boiling water inside a sealed cauldron. So I was glad to leave home before that happened. Once we left our home planet, my life changed only slightly. Your father spent much of his time teaching Solid how to drive the train and telling Gazzi which lever did what. But sometimes, after a week of work, he would come to me and we would spend all day together. Those were the happiest days of my life, each and every one of them. But my happiness did not last long. I hate the day we first decided to land on that damned Bazaar planet! Because the first day we were there, he just disappeared… We searched for him for two weeks, but couldn’t find a single trace of him. The last thing he had said before leaving was: “I’ll just look for som’ fuel for us!” And... a few weeks after that, you were born”. After she finished, the lady stayed silent, head bowed. She caressed Cinder’s head once more, adding: - You are just as curious and courageous as him, Cinder… I hope that someday you will meet him. Someday… Interstellar Joyride by @Sir Wilfrey INTERSTELLAR JOYRIDE PART 1: RUDE AWAKENING "Hey!" a distant voice crept through the swimming subconscious of a rather not-conscious Novakid. "Hey you, get up, you'll drown! Assuming you breathe, that is!" the voice called out, not only increasing it's urgency, but it's vicinity. Cal liked the voice. "She sounds nice enough, sorta like a panicky actress or something". "Panicky". Why was the voice panicky? Panicky was usually never good, not the "Hey everyone, Ma made pancakes, get em' before Cal eats em' all!" panicky. The "Dude, get off the Snugget and start running" panicky. After a moment of thought, a violent shove shocked him into the less blissful reality. "Get up, get running, get gone!". After a brief second or two, the pale-white Nova realized he was atop someone's shoulders. "Get going, go go go!" the now much-less-distorted voice was bossy, and sounded more like an angry criminal than a helpful guardian. "And -*Cough*- just how do you reckon I do that when your carrying me, lady?" Cal croaked out, realizing he must've been underwater for a time due to water in his shell, distorting his vocal projection slightly. "Bah, I'm not talking to you, Blinky!" the girl snapped back. Before he could ask more questions, or invariably reply the much-deserved sarcasm, another heavy shove and he was sprawled against his back roughly. He glanced upwards to see a strange masked figure, resembling a slightly shorter human girl, standing over him. Smaller though she may be, she was certainly not lacking in strength, given the rough horseplay he had awoken so "Pleasantly" to. The mask, he noted, resembled a human face too, but was covered with a deep brown hood with.. were those.. cat ears stitched onto them? The mask itself was discerning enough, with flushed cheeks and piercing eyes, complete with a menacing snarl. Seems to be the standard greeting he got from most women, he thought to himself. "You. Get moving or drown, Blinky". Before he could snap at the suddenness of it all, she pointed to a rather HUGE Apex ship on a crash-course for the ocean, which Cal had only just then had time to realize was even there. The size was enough to get him running, for sure, but the angle that the ship was heading concerned him with more than just waves. "You ah... you know it's diving TOWARDS us, right? Even I know we can't outrun a crashing frigging frigate!" Cal rose, raising his voice with him to make sure he was heard over the deafening roar of the ship's contorted and strained engines. After a brief wince from pain, and a "Sissy.." from the hooded girl, she realized that she'd need to act fast or the stranger would start resisting. "Look, I dunno you, you dunno me, but that?" A brief point to the ever-encroaching vessel, which had begun to hit water. "That doesn't give a damn about who we are and why we're here! Now grab my arm and clench your cheeks, pretty-boy, cuz' this won't be any rodeo you've ever had!". Without another word, she grabbed Cal by the collar and began a running start, bringing him with her and thoroughly confounding the already confused Star-Man. After a brief "What in the hell are you doing!?" from her 'passenger', she activated a tech that Cal was certain wasn't legal in any jurisdiction he'd seen and bounded some immeasurable distance in one large leap, leaving nothing but the sound barrier in her wake. Through brush, bramble, trees, and a few unfortunate fauna, they rocketed out of the VERY illegal "Personal FTL" at breakneck pace, crashing, thudding, and rolling several meters across an open plain of soft, warm grass. Cal only had time to get a glance of the freighter as it began to come down from from the crest of it's rotation, screeching with countless metals shattering and bending. Without thought, he reached a pale, 6-fingered hand to the now-unconscious stranger, and dragged her and himself behind a rock that "Looks like it'll do for now!". Cal simply saw an all-engulfing shadow of pitch black death swallow the landscape, then black. Just... black. "Well death sucks, it's so damned boring!" He had thought to himself. PART 2: MAKING FRIENDS It wasn't for an eternity until he realized he could make realizations. He'd blame that on... adrenaline, yes, adrenaline later. For now, he really wanted to know why there was no "Boom, bang, hey howyadoin' bro I'm God" or something. Maybe God was quiet today. Maybe he really did whack his head a tad too hard on the fall from the Apex ship. Why was he on the Apex ship? He remembered his past, pieces of it. His home, his family, how people made fun of his strange lightning-bolt shaped Brand, and more. But not how he'd gotten there. He knew he was aboard the Apex ship before, but why? In the Dead of Winter by @The Squid Kyra chuckled maliciously to herself. It happened this way every year; she found a house, dressed up as Santa Claus, and robbed the owners blind. The Santa outfit was mainly as a joke, but often times it confused the owners in case they caught her. Plus, if she found any Human children, they could easily be convinced to come with her. Human children were in high demand on the black market, for some reason. Kyra found a nice looking house. It looked cozy enough, and had pretty lights wrapped around the trees. She found the front door was locked, so she took out her rigged matter manipulator. It came equipped with a high-powered wiring tool and a S.A.I.L, which was very helpful. She used the wiring tool to break the lock on the tall, oak door. The door appeared to be out of place, but Kyra didn’t question it. It seemed like the kind of door a rich person would own, and rich people were her prime targets. Once in the house, she swept through the first floor. It was pretty much devoid of all objects of value, save for a wallet and a few spare pixels. The second floor was an entirely different story (no pun intended). It held three bedrooms; two for the children, and one for the parents. Kyra stole all of the jewelry, all of their pixels, and she threw a family photo album she found in the fireplace. After that, she departed, but not before spray-painting a crude image - one that probably shouldn’t be described here- on the front of the house, as well as knocking over the family’s Christmas tree and smashing the presents. Kyra made her way to the next house, laughing as she strolled through the deep, deep snow. Over her shoulder, the bag of loot she had taken jingled and clanked. It reminded her of an old Earthling song. Jingle bells, jingle bells… Kyra hummed the tune, though she didn’t know the words. She quieted as she approached the next house. It was only one story tall, and it had a large, elegant chimney. Kyra walked up to the side of the house and did a few quick estimations. She could probably climb up to the roof, and from there getting into the chimney was easy. There was no smoke coming out, so she wouldn’t get roasted. That wouldn’t be nice. If she was going to die, she would want to be frozen, so that someday someone could make a salad out of her leafy remains. Kyra scaled the side of the squat brick house. The roof wasn’t too steep, so she had no trouble maneuvering her way towards the chimney. Kyra laughed as she descended into the darkness of the chimney. It was so ridiculous, and yet at the same time it was hilarious. She dropped down into the fireplace, brushed a few clumps of ashes off of her furry red suit, and began exploring the house. It was when Kyra reached the kitchen that she realized that something was terribly, terribly wrong. Instead of being dark and silent, the house dining room was lit up. She could hear people breathing and shuffling in their chairs. “What the hell?” Kyra murmured to herself, peeking around the corner. Then she realized her mistake. Usually, houses were decorated for Christmas with lights and wreaths at this time of year. Those houses always had inhabitants that were sound asleep by the time she arrived. This house, however, had not been decorated. What Kyra saw when she peeked around the corner into the dining room was a large group of Novakids, all gathered around a table. The table was ladened with heaping plates of weird, flat potatoes, strange bread that looked like a giant, knotted pretzel, bulbous, powdered doughnuts, and various other dishes. At the center of the table was a large candelabra, which had eight candles burning brightly, illuminating the room. The Novakids had their hands clasped together and their eyes closed. It suddenly dawned on Kyra that she had stumbled upon a family that celebrated Hanukkah. Kyra turned to leave, but behind her, she heard a shout. “Hey, the hell’s that?” shouted an old Novakid with a Southern drawl. “Looks like somebody dressed as Santa,” replied another one. “Let’s get ‘em!” Kyra started running, but she was too slow. The Novakid family descended upon her, and an old one -presumably the grandpa- tied her hands and legs together with his belt. “Now, you better listen closely, missy. I don’t know who ya are, how ya got in here, or what in the hell you’re doin’ in my house, but you’d better have a good explanation, or I’ll-” “Gramps, look what we found in her bag! This must be worth hundreds of pixels!” cried one of the younger Novakids. Upon hearing those words, Kyra’s heart sank. She knew that any chance of escape she might’ve had had just evaporated and blown away in the cold winter wind. “That’s it. I’m calling the police.” “No!” Kyra protested, but the old Novakid interrupted her. “You better shut yer mouth before I shut it for ya,” he snarled, his deep crimson skin glowing faintly in the dark. “The police will be here any minute now,” said a tall, blue Novakid who, despite not having any apparent eyes, wore glasses. “You better hope they get here before I kill yeh,” growled the old Novakid. After what seemed like hours of waiting, there was a knock on the door. The blue Novakid with glasses opened it and explained the situation to the authorities. The “authorities” were really just some tired-looking Glitches who wore a police uniform. They removed Kyra’s bonds and replaced them with handcuffs, then escorted her to a police freighter ship. As the police left and the family of star-people sat down for their meal, one of the children happened to gaze out the window. “Look!” he cried with glee. “It’s snowing!” Sure enough, bright white, bulbous snowflakes drifted leisurely down from the sky. The entire family gathered outside their front door to admire this phenomenon of nature, despite its common occurrence on that specific planet. And as they gazed at the sky, their glowing flesh casting beautiful lights on the frozen ground beneath them, the clouds parted, revealing a bright yellow full moon. “Look mommy, It’s Santa Claus!” exclaimed a young girl. “Honey, we’re Jewish. And besides, that’s not Santa Claus. That’s the police freighter leaving the planet. The girl looked disappointed, but regardless, she was in awe of the swirling white crystals of ice drifting all around her. The family stayed outside for five more minutes before the grandfather said, “Meh. I’m goin in. Back when I was a boy, we had ashes rain from the sky, not this shim-flaggled crap you call snow.” And the family walked inside, closing the door behind them. Terra by @petethepug Terra written by Petethepug of 2013 - 2015/2016 Chapter I, light follows ...Looking back at my previous works of art, were amazing. But not as amazing as what I saw coming out just tomorrow. One of my Government Workers, The Goblin Tinker, has discovered that new ores will be released into the world tomorrow morning. The short, and simple list followed some very powerful ores that no one has ever seen before on the Planet 'Earth', luckily for us we live near these powerful ores. Those powerful ores can grant things, from flying, to new visions, all the way to being a God, or Goddess is general. As I turn out my light, go to bed, into the very dusk of midnight, a wolf howls, a pack of wolves join in. ========================================================== Although we have already defeated the Moon Lord, there was no point of killing him again unless he comes back. I have a vision, it is currently Christmas, and my towns folk are throwing a party in honor of defeat of the Snow Gang that we have trumped easily with our Military Forces. Yes indeed it was a very great party! We had punch, a fruit bowl, and a basket of Golden Apples to offer to our Solar Lord. A man whom has defeated the Moon Lord with the force of only his Vampire Skills, and Blaze. We eventually all got drunk, and sat down having a little sing along about the holidays. Hot Apple Cyder mostly had caused this. Brewed with Alcohol for our guests to enjoy. From 12:00 AM - 12:00 PM PST we 'partied hard', from morning to night. Some folks left due to the huge amount of time needed to spend, but that's fine, Over the course of those twelve hours, some how I have even more visions about the Moon Lord. Generally related to the past generations of my brothers, and fathers, how they have been defeated when the Moon Lord hadn't ruled the skies yet, and the Colonist was still a human at our time. Out of no where, some vision disappearance goes away. (Basically shaking of the screen, werid dramatic effects, etc.), then I see the Moon Lords heart changing from Blue, to purple, his skin tan to black. I couldn't make out the rest, ============================================================== As I pass out on the floor, I get up quickly alarmed by a short little fire going off in the building. I quickly used my wings to crash through the glass, and go on top of the building. I imdetly notice the Colonist walking around our town like he is sick, or about to die. I go to him to investigate. I put on my monoculars. And notice he is holding his own chest like he has been hungry for weeks. He falls down to the floor. Honestly I did not know what to do from here, but since I had a decent gun on me I decided to investigate him. As soon as I had lifted up his arm, covering his chest he had a purple like virus inside of him. I was very surprised since the Corrupted World cannot spread that kind of stuff. Plus the Corrupted Biomes have already been defeated in our world. There's no way this could occur... I brung his body to the Nurse, imdetly she said "I aint no magician", I go to the wisest person I knew for help. Terra her name was, she claims she was purely born in Holy Water, and blood sheed on the world. I didn't believe her, but that must be why she's 130 years old. I asked her about the Colonist, and she did not know her self. She took samples of the dark nature, and noticed that it is not from the Corrupt Worlds, or Bosses, a vision appears in my head shortly after. That this may be some ancient spell binding forgotten during 2011, which was interesting. Nothing else was said. I was a bit worried honestly, and had no idea what to do. It may be because of that old magic, or the planet in general changing. None of us knew, after thinking the Colonist takes a gasp if breath; COLONIST: "You must stop it! Stop it at once! Please, no, NO!" PETE: "What the hell! Quick give him oxygen!" TERRA: "NO! Its to late! He will poison our supply of oxygen!" COLONIST: "See a vision! What is on five fingers! Five paces to the left! *COUGHS*, Step onto the book! Of... *Stops Breathing* PETE: "Oh god..." Terra: "Alright were going to need a Government Meeting now, this is very important to the fate of our planet," ============================================================= Chapter II; A lost hope. After the Government Meeting with the Official Government of Lake Forest, we honestly had no idea what do at this point. Nothing much can be said or done except hope, and pray for our earth, and our first generation Solar Lord. I went to my medium sized apartment building, going back to rest in my bed. I quickly shut off my Lantern near me, put my glasses up near me, and go to bed. If only things could get more weird, I found myself in a nightmare, I had nothing on, I had torn clothes, and the earth was all Purple Death. Not only that but noticing the earth has turned black from white as well. (No this was not intended to be racist -.-) Back on topic; A dust storm of Purple comes in, and the only shelter I have is my torn Apartment room about to collapse. I quickly take cover, and look, and savage for loot. Imdetly I see someone dead right next to me, along with that Terra buried in Purple Evil. I attempt to touch her. But then I wake up, in a flash. I imdetly notice its still night, and I look around to see if everyone's okay, and if the world is still normal. It appears everything is just fine, so I took a breath, and had a seat in my Apartment Lobby in the Spa with a cup of joe. Since Morning was about to occur two hours from now. While I was relaxing I was thinking about our world in general, and how much we had accomplished, and now that we are losing to unknown evil... What could be this mess. Someone comes in the Spa I was in, asking if I was okay. Disrupting my thinking. "MERCHANT:" "Are you alright, I heard you gasp running up stairs in your Apartment Room. "PETE":" "I'm fine, I just had a bad dream.." "MERCHANT:" "Oh, well wana talk about it?" "PETE:" "Not right now, I don't think its a good time right now..." "MERCHANT:" "Well, alright, take care then I guess.." "PETE:" "You to" As soon as he left the room I had went back to thinking, so far I had no ideas since this Magic is impossible for us to discover without the proper research. The only way we could escape is by going outside of Space, not using our wings, actual ships that can support an Economic Crisis. But we had nothing that powerful to travel with yet. We were not as modern as you think we were. We actually pretty much have a simple town with a very good military, and economic system starting during 2011.The only man advanced enough to research this kind of material would be the Witch Doctor, and The Goblin Tinker. But we were not as advanced yet to do such a thing at the moment. We didn't even know we breath Oxygen. The world is in a Crisis of hope, and the only way we can save ourselves is to escape it... Chapter III; High Stakes I ask the Goblin Tinkeer if we have any hope escaping, and he had said yes. But it will take weeks, at the rate our Planet is changing, we needed many items we have not even seen before. And the only way to get them would be to look for them in the Purple Goo, of death. Which is a problem because we currently have no breath protection, from this stuff, or radiation. So we will have to sacrifice our people to create our 'new hope'. The challenge was difficult but we accepted it. The sacrifices were now known being 'the new gods', of our new future. About 120 people died in this process. That's half of the Town Population. Our military defenses became poor, and our buildings had rotted, and half of the Purple Gloop was in our Town. The earth has now faced an apocalypse. The Gloop has now turned into mutated people from the sacrifices who died from collecting the materials. The only thing we had were shot guns, weapons, and armor that can protect you temporally. If we get touched by these things we may become one of these creatures our selves. With our last breath the Rocket Ship is finally finished and the monsters had is cornered, Terra, me, the Merchant, and the Tinkerer were the only ones in here.. We were the last of survivors. To activate such a complex machine we had to pull a leaver, run up about 30 levels of stairs, all in ten seconds without being touched, to officially 'live.' While not getting the rocket touched. We are the last of our kind on the Planet, and there was no other escape. I made a quick speech about how well we are doing, and that everything will be okay. The barcaded door to get into the room was then broken, and imdetly the monsters go after the Tinkerer, he pulls the leaver in his last hope of living, he then dies. The Merchant had protected us temporally from the monsters, but he had gotten taken down by two of the monsters. Now its just me and Terra.. We made it in the rocket ship with six seconds to spare, Terra gets attacked and dies, I quickly try to revive her but I got punched shooting the monster out of the way to save her, its to late, and I was infected. I quickly go in the ship, and pray for my final hopes. The rocket has became active, and the Purple Infectivity of me was worn off. Because this material cannot survive in space. As I was dying from it I was revived but turned into a 'Nova Kid', as a result. The rocket some how explodes, and a pass out for awhile while the ship has stopped in the middle of no where. The new world is currently being discovered, and now I am the only one who can save our old planet. Its time for our new generation. 'The star age', The Erchius Experiment by @AliasPseudonym Anton studied the test subject through the one-way mirror. She- or rather, it- was already displaying the signs of mutative infection as the original specimens. They were making ground-breaking advances here. Their employer would be pleased. Anton rubbed his eyes and yawned. “Go to sleep.” His colleague, Dr. Banarov, said. “You’ve been working two days straight, and a tired mind is a dull mind.” Anton nodded mutely. He spared the test subjects one last analytical glance and then left the observation room. Turning the corner, he nearly bumped into Dr. Gorilov. “Oh, my apologies,” he spoke formally, even to his fiancée. Here in the research facility, things were strictly business. “None necessary.” She responded coolly. Anton was struck by a strange feeling- seeing her here like this, an emotionless worker not even warm to the man she loved, made him worry. Was this right? Were they doing themselves more harm than good? She nodded respectfully towards him and kept walking. “Wait, Nataliya…” he started. She turned around, startled. “Yes, Dr. Orangin?” “Oh, sorry. It’s, uh, nothing. Goodnight, Dr. Gorilov.” He shook his head. Such thoughts were not for a respected member of the Apex civilisation. “Goodnight, Dr. Orangin. See you in the morning.” With that, she walked off, leaving him to ponder over this by himself. He could not sleep despite his fatigue. Thoughts were crossing his mind that he had never had before. He would talk to Nataliya- no, Dr. Gorilov- about it in the morning. Taking a standard-issue Happy Ape Dreams sleeping pill, he finally drifted off. Anton yawned and pushed himself up. Through his grogginess, he saw his standard issue alarm clock read 7:15. It hadn’t gone off- he had missed morning testing! He dressed himself in his labcoat, gave his ruddy brown hair a quick brush and washed his face with cold water to wake up properly. He ate his breakfast of Big-Ape brand cereal while already out the door. “Ah, Dr. Orangin.” His colleague said with raised eyebrows. “Care to join us?” “What are the results, Dr. Banarov?” Anton chose to ignore the looks some of the other scientists gave him. “One deceased and two restrained because of aggressive behaviour. The others are coping well, though with varying degrees of mutation.” Dr. Banarov handed Anton a sheet of paper. “This is the data we gathered.” Anton read the sheet. He frowned. Something was wrong. “Most of the B Group subjects seem to be displaying greater mental capabilities than earlier in the experiment.” He observed. “It’s like they’re recovering from the brain-deteriorating effects of the Erchius mutation.” “Indeed.” One of the other scientists stood up and walked over. “We have put them under closer observation.” Anton nodded absentmindedly. This could be a problem or an advantage, depending on how they used it. “Any other news?” he asked. “A rebel tried breaking in, but the guards subdued him.” Dr. Banarov replied. “It seems he was alone, but you never know. In any case, let’s get this wrapped up so we can all go home.” The rest of the day continued as normal, but Anton was still worried. The anomalies in test results had distracted him from his earlier thoughts, but they were still there, at the back of his mind. He decided to talk to Dr. Gorislav about it. He found her in the cafeteria. Sitting down at the table, he was silent for a moment while he ordered his thoughts. “So?” Dr. Gorislav asked. “What is it?” “Well…” Anton was hesitant, but he had gotten this far. “It’s just… do you think what we’re doing is safe?” “Well, as safe as we can possibly make it.” She replied. “The guards will subdue any threats and the virus is well contained.” “That’s not what I mean.” He took her hands. “Our employer has a reputation of tying up loose ends. What if he thinks we’re a loose end?” “As long as we follow orders we’ll be fine.” She tried to stand up, but he didn’t let go of her hands. “Nataliya, please try and understand.” Anton pleaded. “Think of our children. What if the same that happened to Dr. Lax happens to us?” “That’s just a rumour.” Dr. Gorislav pulled her hands away. “Keep focused on work, Dr. Orangin, and we’ll be done and safe back home before you know it.” With that, she left. Anton stared into nothing for a moment before getting up and heading to the observation room. She was right. The quicker they did this, the quicker they would get back home. Blaring alarms woke Anton from his sleep. His small room was bathed in flashing red light from the emergency lamp on the ceiling. Getting half dressed, he stumbled into the corridor. There was a firefight going on. The rebels had broken in again. Anton hurried in the other direction, towards the observation room. The door was still locked, so he punched in the code and hurried inside. Locking the door behind him, Anton pocketed the backup driver, just to be safe. Then, his gaze fell on Experiment Room B, on the other side of the one-way mirror. The test subjects seemed completely normal, until he saw what they were doing. One of them lay dead on the floor, and the others were silent and still. They looked downcast, almost as if they were grieving for their lost comrade. Quickly checking the monitors to see the room from different angles, he realised that the deceased had been arranged to look peaceful, as if asleep, with their arms on their chest and their pose dignified. Before he could think of what this must mean, the door hissed open. “Dr. Orangin!” Anton turned around. It was one of the lab assisstants. “I was told to secure the backup files.” The young Apex stated, proud. “I have already made sure that everything is fine in here.” Anton replied. “I’m sure the guards have everything under control.” “Dr. Siangski insisted.” The lab assistant replied. Anton nodded, and handed the driver over. Dr. Siangski was the project leader, and she was not to be ignored. “Make sure it gets straight to her.” Anton said, already turning back to the monitors. He heard the lab assistant leave the room. Tapping away on the keyboard, he had the monitors display Experiment Room L, the original specimens from the lunar mining base kept as a control group. They were behaving as they should, milling about aimlessly. As soon as any non-Erchius life form were to enter, the mutants would attack. Anton couldn’t help but think they had tampered with something that shouldn’t be tampered with. Trying to recreate the Erchius mutation in the form of a super virus had been a mistake. At least it was almost over. He could put it all behind them. Anton looked back at the one-way mirror to Experiment Room B. They were staring at him. The Erchius mutants had their gazes fixed on right where he was standing. He was distantly aware of the alarms ceasing. The threat had been neutralised. They were safe. Safe from the rebels, anyway. The door opened again, and the other scientists came in. Anton went straight to Dr. Banarov and explained the situation. The older Apex frowned. “It’s probably nothing.” He concluded. “Perhaps they have retained certain levels of intelligence.” “But earlier testing suggested their minds had degraded to the level of true Erchius mutants. Now they’ve recovered. Empathy like this suggests a certain level of intelligence, and the results of their mental testing supports this.” Anton was in full swing now. “Even worse, data suggests that the mutation is causing them great pain, pain they would not be aware of without this level of mental capabilities. This agony will make them angry, and anger will make them unpredictable and dangerous. Erchius mutants are already formidable without the added intellect.” “What are you saying?” Dr. Banarov narrowed his eyes. “I’m saying,” Anton sighed “that we should terminate the experiment.” The scientists who were listening gasped. “We can’t just do that!” Dr. Banarov was shocked. “Dr. Siangski would never allow such a thing.” “You are one of the most respected scientists on this project. Dr. Siangski would listen to you.” “We are so close now. I understand that you are nervous about the outcome, and these rebel attacks have put all of our nerves on edge, but we can’t just stop, not when we’re so close.” Dr. Banarov put his hand on Anton’s shoulder. “Listen, why don’t you take a break? I’m sure this is merely a small anomaly, an exception to prove the rule. Perhaps a spike in mental capabilities due to some stray variable. We’ll monitor it for now.” “No.” Anton opened the door. “I’m going to tell Siangski about this.” He walked briskly down the corridor, ignoring Dr. Banarov’s warnings. Dr. Siangski’s office was just up the stairs. The door was open, so Anton walked straight in. “Dr. Siangski.” he addressed the elderly female Apex. “Dr. Banarov has already notified me. Don’t worry, these results are incredible.” She sounded reassuring. “There’s nothing wrong with them. In fact, I think they are just what we’re looking for.” “What do you mean?” Anton said incredulously. “I thought we were trying to replicate the Erchius mutation and make it transmittable, like a virus. Instead, we have made intelligent Erchius mutants capable of creating more of their kind without the creature from the mine. We have created-“ “-a whole new species.” Dr. Siangski finished for him “One that is subservient to the great Apex civilisation.” “But…” Anton began. “No buts.” Dr. Siangski interrupted once again. “It is not your place to ask questions. This is what our employer asked for, and this is what we will do.” Anton sighed, defeated. There was no arguing with the employer’s orders. Not if you wanted to live. The next few days were almost painful for Anton to go through. He wanted Nataliya to be safe, but intelligent Erchius mutants were anything but, especially if they could infect others. Anton was terrified, for himself and for every other Apex in the facility. It was a great relief t him when the experiment was concluded and deemed a success. The facility was packed up and the test subjects were terminated. Every one of them was decontaminated, and then they all got on a large Apex cruiser on a course for home. Anton and Nataliya sat together on the flight. They were happy to leave the lab behind. The ship suddenly slowed, the engines stopping their hum and the FTL powering down. All the lights flickered off. “What’s going on?” Anton asked. Someone beamed onto the ship. He couldn’t see who it was, but the brief flash of red from the receeding teleporter beam glinted off of an assault rifle. More figures followed, all hidden in darkness. “You aren’t needed any more.” One of the figures said. Was that a hint of a Floran lisp? Perhaps an Avian accent. Anton could not tell. The words, however, could not be mistaken. “Prepare for your death” Anton took his fiancée’s hand. His fears had come true. Their employer did not need them anymore. He was tying up loose ends, just like with Dr. Lax. There was no escape, no point in even trying. Instead, he relaxed, feeling the warm presence of his love next to him as their assassins opened fire. The VEP Logs by @Tatterdemalion Log 1 I still can’t believe I’ve been requested specifically for this project. Morphogenetics was a joke at the institute. They all laughed at my research, but who’s laughing now? A full-scale government-funded grant. The people leading the new Knowledge Party really are making big changes, I suppose. I’ve decided to keep this log to track my personal thoughts over the course of the research. This is big. I have to handle some logistics now, but I’ll give more info later. Log 2 My personal database is now a fortress. Quintuple-encrypted data and more firewalls than I care to count. I can’t let this information leak out to anyone. The Knowledge Party contacted me almost immediately after they won leading seats in the parliament. Their progressive attitudes are gaining them followers fast. What they showed me was beyond amazing. I’ve been studying theoretical Morphogenetics for years. It’s all black-box theories regarding mass genetic alteration, but at the end of the day it was still all conjecture. Until now. The Knowledge Party heads haven’t just confirmed my theories. They’ve found a way to make it happen. Almost, at least. They have a nearly-complete formula for a genetic upgrade that could advance our species’ evolution by ten million years.. It’s not done yet, however, and that’s where I’m supposed come in. They’re supplying me with all the resources I need to make this happen. This is all completely secret. Nobody beyond the facility they’ve given me and the Knowledge party’s heads themselves know what’s going on here. It’s a tall order, but to complete this task would be the greatest scientific breakthrough in Apex history. Time to get to work. Log 30 We’ve nearly completed the chemical compounds necessary for the procedure. This is tedious work, mostly, but it’s a crucial step towards making the plans a reality. I’m not allowed to leave the facility, per my contract. It’s too risky to leak the plans, they say. It’s not a problem to me. Any friends I leave behind pale in comparison to the duty I’m completing for our entire race. Log 68 The chemical compounds are finished. At least, we think they are. Before we can begin construction of an electrical gene-stimulation prototype, we need to test the raw compounds. I’ve put in a request for live test subjects. Small animals. The genetic dissimilarity shouldn’t be an issue for the raw chemical tests, but any subjects won’t survive the testing. In other news, the Knowledge Party won all the parliament seats in the latest election. They’ve got much more power to advance science now without any clueless politicians from other parties holding them back. Log 70 They gave me live subjects. Apex. Eight fully mature Apex males. Seven females. Two adolescent. One infant. They couldn’t risk testing on even slightly genetically inaccurate subjects, they told me. They’re right, of course. I was a fool for letting any other thought even cross my mind. What are a meagre eighteen lives in the face of the species? Nothing. Their lives are more important now than anything they could have been doing before. I personally administered the treatments this morning. I’m writing in my personal quarters until the screaming dies down. Then we can get back to science. Log 71 The subjects proved very informative. We’ve made our modifications and have already begun casting parts for our prototype gene-stimulation capsule. Those eighteen Apex provided an invaluable service to the Knowledge Party. I’ll make sure to have “Test Subjects 1-18” engraved somewhere in the facility. The effects of the raw chemical compound had an… unexpected effect on all subjects. Significant biomass growth occurred incredibly quickly in localized regions stemming from major muscle systems. Bone density increased 123% and subjects grew 4 cm taller on average. This all took place over the course of 12 hours. All subjects expired by 16 hours. The Knowledge Party informs me that the erratic physical effects are not an indicator of the results of a completed serum. I trust them over my own research. With a prototype under construction, we can begin with the research proper. I’ve dubbed the project the Cerebro-Evolutionary Process, or CEP. Log 423 Another year comes and goes, and we’re that much closer towards making this dream a reality. We make so much progress each and every day, I often work all through the night on our prototype. It’s so near to completion. The CEP will allow the Apex capacity for intellect the potential to increase tenfold, if I’m interpreting this data correctly. And I am. No room for mistakes anymore. Side note: This year there was no election. The Knowledge Party holds all the seats, and there aren’t any other parties to run anyway. Excellent. Less distractions on our way to perfection. Log 555 This is the moment. Prototype 1.02 is ready for testing. The Knowledge Party has provided us with more subjects as usual. Subject 72 will be the lucky Apex to be the first to step into a new age for our species. I envy him, in some respects. I don’t have much time for writing. The experiment will soon be at hand. I must prepare a few final adjustments before we step into a new, brighter future. Log 556 Utter failure. Subject 72 wasn’t halfway through the initial stimulation process before expiring of shock. I must try harder. Log 612 Failure. Log 670 Failure. Log 710 Eureka! Prototype 5.82 has given us our first surviving subject. Subject 687 has endured the entire CEP process. She is being monitored as I write. One can only imagine what thoughts are going through her head as she enters a new realm of existence. Full effects will take time to show. I will keep the log updated with any further news, Log 715 Subject 687 has deteriorated in condition at an alarming rate. Initially appearing unaffected, various tumors, especially near the brain, began to grow hours after initially undergoing the CEP. Biomass has swelled and increased physical strength enormously. Subject killed two assistants before being detained again. Mental faculties have regressed to an animalistic state of consciousness. Subject has continued gross development of cancerlike musculature at a linear rate since conception. Yet another failure. I can’t give up. I will observe subject 687 for any further developments. Log 716 Subject 687 collapsed under the weight of its own musculature. Its heart was not strong enough to deliver blood the tumor-filled specimen. I have commenced work on Prototype 6.00 Log 930 Failure. Log 1207 Failure. Log 1388 Failure. Log 1457 Failure. Log 1684 Failure. Log 1885 Prototype 36.09 has produced three viable subjects so far. Subjects 1443, 1452, and 1456 all show promise. Tumor growth is minimal. Mental faculties are stable. I may be onto a lead here. There has to be an end in sight. It’s been five years since I last saw the sun. The KnowParty regularly delivers treatments of adrenal pills that allow work for upwards of 34 hours straight. Soon. Refinement of current design seems to show promise. Log 1890 Success. Thirteen years of scientific progress has been leading up to this moment. My magnum opus. Prototype 259.06 consistently delivers specimens that are, in every sense of the word, perfect. Stable genetic structure, none of the rampant biomass growth seen in my crude earlier experiments, and initial testing shows mental faculties have increased an average 312% I have spoken with the first perfect specimen, Subject 9077. He does not provide a stimulating conversation, with most utterances being variations on pleas for rescue, but he is remarkably composed, stable, and intelligent. I can’t believe it. I’VE DONE IT. I’VE DONE IT. I’VE DONE IT. Log 2001 The KnowParty begins its systematic plan to administer the CEP to all Apex citizens. By their estimations, our entire species could be enlightened in less than 10 years. They finally revealed the project to the general population today. I stepped outside of the facility for the first time in thirteen years. Pex is a different planet than it was before. Everything is much more efficient. The KnowParty has removed distractions, disobedience, inefficiency. We are Apex. We are progress. I must go. I am to receive highest honours in a ceremony beginning the global CEP directive. It is my privilege to be one of the first to receive treatment. Side note: It seems that with the unveiling of the CEP, the KnowParty will officially take on full governmental control, getting rid of the archaic, pointless parliament. They’ll be calling themselves the Ministry of Scientific Progression, or Miniknog. Log 2002 Experiencing the CEP firsthand was exhilarating. The pain was overwhelming, but I already feel new possibilities at my fingertips. Nothing is out of our reach. We have truly become the Apex of evolution. The Miniknog’s CEP Directive is going perfectly. Already 12% of the entire population has undergone the process. This is the zenith of our existence. They will write about me in history books for aeons. Log 2032 I received an emergency call from the CEP facility this morning. There’s been a development with Prime Subject 9077. He’s begun to display physical symptoms. Growth, increased musculature, and rapid follicle development. I am following for any major developments. This is a serious issue. 80% of Pex has had their populations undergo the CEP already. There can’t be a mistake. The Miniknog knows what they’re doing. I trust in the Miniknog. Log 2051 This is an emergency. Prime Subject 9077 has continued to rapidly gain muscle mass and display increased hair growth. All secondary subjects have begun to display said characteristics as well. I don’t know what to do. This all points to the aggressive development of atavistic tendencies in the Apex genetic structure, but that’s impossible. My studies- I know I did the proper research. If this isn’t a fluke, and continues as shown, this regression will hit the general population in a matter of months. Log 2055 All test subjects have undergone complete genetic regression to a primal, protolithic ancestor of the Apex in all but mental faculties. Height has increased by an average 215%. Muscle mass has swelled grossly, covered in a thick coat of fur and leathery skin. The only reassurance, if I can call it that, is that all subjects have retained their current mental abilities. This has allowed them to eloquently express the extreme amounts of pain the transformation causes. Due to the development of vestigial physical properties in subjects, I have redubbed the CEP as the Vestigi-Evolutionary Process, or the VEP. I have repeatedly requested the Miniknog the halt the VEP Directive, but they have refused to answer at all. No representative of the Miniknog has addressed the public in weeks. This is all my fault. I’ve doomed our species to become monsters. Log 2059 I have begun to show synmptons of the VEP. Iwoke up this morning 3 cm talller than the night before. My body is wracked withpain. It feels as if myy bones are burstiing from my flesh. Thisreaction has begun all acrosss Pex. Still the Miniknog refuses to show their face. Log 2060 MY bnody mass has incerased 300% in the pastfour dayss. PaInn is unbearable. COovered in thickfur. I AM AMOONSTER. LIKe tHE Rest of my speceis. Log 2061 Testing. Testing. I have begun to use an automatic dictation program to create these logs. My fingers are too large to type on any keyboard now. The regression has begun to slow in the early populations to be administered the VEP. There is nothing I can do now. There is nothing any of us can do. The VEP has been effectively delivered to every Apex in existence. We’re all permanently changed. All future generations will grow up to be monsters. But we’re not the real monsters. The true monsters are the abominations ruling us under the guise of the Miniknog. We played straight into their hand. In less than a single generation they’ve completely taken over the world, and we’re just slaves now. I imagine they’ve installed listening devices on all technology already. They’ll no doubt hear this. No matter. They finally showed their face again, after the riots, after all the starvation and death and pain that the VEP caused. That I caused. There’s a new leader, they say, a powerful man who will steer the Apex into a brighter future. Ha. Where have I heard that one before? He calls himself Big Ape. I call him our downfall. The Miniknog and this Big Ape are trying to “clean the slate.” They want to erase our history, our culture. Everything from before they came to power is being destroyed. They want to hide the origins of the VEP, hide everything we knew before we knew only slavery and oppression. I can’t allow this to happen. I’m using the most powerful cyphers and encryptions that I have to hide these logs. Do you hear that, Miniknog listeners? You’ll never be able to find this. I hope that everything will be saved. If this survives, maybe future generations will know my shame. Perhaps they will learn of life before the Miniknog and rise up against him. Perhaps they’ll be the ones to lead the Apex to a brighter future. //End Report// General SG-679-These data logs were uncovered from an underground server bunker using basic decryption surveillance, sir. What shall we do? BA-1-Destroy them. The Wonderful Planet by @Mister Pixel - What a wonderful world! We have discovered a true paradise for people! - said the Apex captain of the Spaceship, trampling the soil of the unknown planet with his boots. - Yes! - Picked up the human officer, throwing a bait into a nearby creek - You are absolutely right, my captain! It seems almost as if everything here was created specifically for our prosperity! All the mountains, the steppes, the forests! Oh, and what unique creatures roam this planet! - Oh my! - the second officer said as he beamed down behind the captain - Just look at this planet's seas, the oceans - now that is something! Back when we were still orbiting the planet, even then it was a sight to behold! - Oh, well! - sighed the hairy captain - We have to fly further. This world will develop just fine without us! A year later, another Spaceship landed on the same planet, alongside experts in developing worlds. - Knowing your surroundings is the most important thing! - said the statistician and counted all the plants, mountains, deserts, rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, continents, islands, and volcanoes - both active and non-active. He conducted a detailed inventory of all the animals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects. He wrote the descriptions of all the bacteria, viruses and all the complex molecules spread across the planet. After that had been done, he, alongside a Hylotl geologist estimated the natural reserves of copper, silver and coal. With the sense of a ‘’job well done,’’ they both made their way to the wardroom, where there was already a large table filled with local delicacy waiting for them. All the other world development experts were already sitting at the table and beginning to discuss this planet’s future. The climatologist soon joined them as well: - Not bad! Not bad at all... - he muttered, as he inspected the contents on the table - The aroma is just divine! However, - the climatologist said, after giving it a little thought - It’s relatively cold on this planet. A chill is being drawn from somewhere! I say the polar caps need to be removed! - Agreement. We can do that. - agreed the Glitch engineer and used the gravitational cutter to cut the planet’s ice shell, starting from the South to the North poles of the planet. It endured that. - Mountains in the central parts of the continents are too big! - The Avian landscape specialist wedged into the discussion - I think it is necessary to lower them, let's say... for about two kilometers. - Agreement. That is not difficult at all! - once again agreed the Glitch engineer, flicking on the gravity hammer. - And what shall we do with the deserts? - asked the ameliorator - I don't intend to tolerate this outrage! I suggest getting rid of them, starting digging canals and begin creating gardens. - Wait a minute! Wait a minute! - Interrupted the architect - Did you think about the needs of others? Where, do you think, will we take the scarce building materials? Do you expect me to haul sand here from across the Galaxy? Did you think about the wastes of future production? The desert is an excellent place to dump garbage! We need it just as we do air. - Yes... - sighed the ameliorator - Looks like the deserts will have to stay. - No! They must not just stay, they must be expanded! - corrected the architect - Something, though, we will have to reduce - either the forests, or the steppes. - But foressst is our treasure! - said the startled Floran biologist. - Well, then the steppes! Not all of them, of course - the architect corrected himself, noticing how pale the others got - Around sixty per cent of them can be left untouched. - Thank you. - the Floran bowed her head slightly. Everyone around the table breathed out with relief, just as the growing expert added: - And what about the crop areas? - he thundered threateningly - Where will the pearlpeas grow? How shall we feed the future inhabitants of this planet? Forests will have to be reduced a bit more, so that we can begin planting, and harvesting crops. - Let's forget about the crops for just a minute, okay? What about the transport? - interrupted the transportation specialist - Our Hoverbikes won't be able to drive around this terrain! We'll have to chop off another twenty percent off all the forests, the mountains and the steppes, to create proper roads. - What about the settlements? Where shall we build them? People have to live somewhere, right? - The architect once again stepped it. Everyone in the room shrugged. - It appears we will have to cut the forests a bit more... - the architect grimly answered his own question - And the mountains will probably have to be smoothed in some places. Shift them slightly into the ocean in order to produce some more of the already scarce land. At the mention of additional land all experts nodded approvingly. The energy specialist added his two cents, stating that there might be a possibility of using the internal energy of the planet’s core, and that they could use the planet’s core fragments to upgrade their various utilities. His suggestions immediately received roars of approval. - Excitement. Magnificent suggestions! - benignly said the Glitch engineer, just as all the volcanoes have been extinguished and wiped off the face of the planet. - Sssince we now have moved onto a more ssserious topic - the Floran biologist got her say - we should consider the issue of predatorsss! During my last inssspection of the world I noticed a large number of harmful beastsss. They are obviousssly dangerous for the future inhabitantsss of this planet. I propose to eradicate them! The others supported the idea. - You keep forgetting the crops! - snarled the growing expert - all the pesky, crop eating insects must be fought, too! Where is the chemist?! The chemist, who was peacefully dozing in his chair, woke with lightning fast speed. The others quickly explained the problem, and not soon after, a fair dose of chemicals were released into the atmosphere to battle the insects. ''Battalions'' of automated robots were deployed into the nearby forests to exterminate the harmful creatures that posed a threat to the planet’s inhabitants. The material for fences and warning signs was wrongly selected as timber, and soon enough, forest as such became no more. Time went on, and the planet changed very fast. The experts were now preparing for the arrival of the selection committee. They were going to review the job the experts had accomplished in their time on the planet. Their Spaceship was met with quite the fanfare. Signs were put everywhere, saying ‘’Welcome to the wonderful planet!’’ The Committee members beamed down to the planet and walked down the red carpet, prepared by the experts. The Chairman, a tall Apex man with a black moustache and pensive eyes looked at his surroundings, dumbfounded. From one horizon to another stretched out a flat, concrete surface of the planet, fenced with freshly painted, green fences. Hundreds of thousands of chimneys could be seen emitting a brown, and toxic cloud of smoke. - I may be speaking for myself here, but all of this is very concerning - said one of the committee members looking at the oil and fuel stained sea. - We have already adjusted the release of anti-chemicals... - quickly noted the architect. - Yes, indeed - supported the chemist - And treatment plants are almost in place, too! Taking his time, The Chairman spoke up: - In that case, I heartily congratulate you on the successful… - there was a slight pause - well... the early completion of our new home planet! - New home planet? Aren’t we going back to Alpha Kappa Cas 855 II? Now that all the work here is done? - asked the astonished architect. - Our old homeworld? Why would we... - the Chairman stopped mid-sentence after seeing the architect’s icy stare - Oh, yes, you don’t know yet. Our last homeworld has already been ‘’upgraded’’ to a rather large extent by another world developing group… We will now be forced to live here. Permanently. * ~ ~ ~ * The goal of Starbound Writing Contest is to write a Starbound-themed short story. The contest has no set theme, but taking a holiday approach is also acceptable given the time of the year. Anyone can take part; there are no limits on who can join. Collaborations of multiple authors are allowed, as long as everyone has been properly credited of their work! Preferred length is 500-2000 words, although going over with the limit with a few words is not punished. All writers have time to submit their works until the last moment of December 31st; in other words, all entries must be in before 2016. All works will be judged by an open poll. After the contest closes, the works will be posted in this thread and the poll will be added. Everyone can vote their favorite work. The winners will be announced sometime before mid-January. Submit your entries by sending them to me via a private message. All the works will be published in the thread simultaneously and there will be enough time to read them all. This to keep things fair; so the judging can start from a clean table and none of the writers can receive any prior feedback from the public. Though I cannot stop you posting the works before the deadline, I hope you will follow this through. Contest Rules All works must be Starbound-themed. No poetry, only prose. (there might be a poetry contest in the future, who knows!) Send your entries as a Private Message to @Zebe All entries must be in before January 1st 2016. In the case of multiple authors, remember to credit everyone! Judging is done by the community. Play nice, don't steal others' works, don't attempt to manipulate the poll. Write for the sake of writing, not only for the prizes. Contest Prizes 1st Place: Steam game(s) of choice under the value of 20€ A game of choice from the prize list, see below (Thanks Dunto!) 2nd Place: Steam game(s) of choice under the value of 15€ A game of choice from the prize list, see below (Thanks Dunto!) 3rd Place: Steam game(s) of choice under the value of 10€ A game of choice from the prize list, see below (Thanks Dunto!) In case of multiple authors on a winning work, the prize will be split in whichever way the winners decide. All winners can choose one game from the list. Higher placements can choose first. Some games have multiple copies available. Great thanks to @Dunto for contributing these! :D Antichamber Dust: An Elysian Tail Machinarium Bridge Constructor Retro/Grade The Inner World Braid Rogue Legacy Dungeon Defenders (+DLC) Teslagrad Trine (1+2) Limbo Ittle Dew Fract OSC Fez VVVVVV The Binding of Isaac + The Wrath of the Lamb FTL: Faster Than Light Electronic Super Joy TRI: Of Friendship and Madness Deponia: The Complete Journey Secrets of Raetikon Waking Mars Terraria Sanctum 2 Garry's Mod Forced Contraption Maker Confused by euros? Try a currency converter. The contest is officially open and you're free to start sending entries. Good luck! ====== Check out Network of Starbound Fanfiction Writers! Don't worry, we aren't NSFW... ...or, yes, we are but not that kind of NSFW. In the clan there are many writers with their works listed; maybe find something to read! Or, if you are a Starbound Fanfiction author, why not join in?