A 348-post collection

Challenge #02337-F147: A Challenge Presents

The darkest place in the universe, as distinct to a black hole which traps light, is known as the the Nothingness, the Big Black or the Deep Dark.

Some species even Deified it as the 'anti" to whatever particular flavour of saviour their belief systems held on high. and appropriately avoided such an abhorrent place. Officially it was called Boötes Void (a distinctly Human moniker, as only humans would NAME such a place)

So naturally the humans wanted to explore it.

The interesting thing wasn't that they found anything, they didn't, it was a VOID after all;

Rather it was exactly what humans can and will do with a Massive, completely empty, unclaimed, unregulated, space... -- Adam in Darwin

There is nothing so fascinating to a Human as an empty space. Show them a gap, show them a void, show them something vacant of what they think should be there, and watch them go. They study it, they fill it, they come to stare at it, they go inside to see if it's really as empty as they think it is... All of those and more. Nature may hate a vacuum, but Humans despise a void.

So it was when they encountered the Great Gap, a space between stars within the Octopus Galaxy. Humans swarmed, surrounding it in all three dimensions. Beaming transmissions through it, sending probes into it, working out how to traverse it, and soon running competitions to do so. The argument that there was no point to traversing the void, that travel via wormhole around it was quicker, made no impact on the Humans.

They never could resist a challenge, even one they had appointed themselves. Ever-increasing wealth in the prize pot became an irresistible temptation to the insane Deathworlders.

Support me on Patreon / Buy me a Ko-fi

Continue Reading

Prompts remaining: 40 Submit a Prompt! Ask a question! Buy my stories!

That was painful...

I recorded my second story this morning. It took longer than it should have. Why?

  • I can NOT read properly, today
  • I learned that the mic works better when the headphones are turned on
  • I learned that my headset automatically turns off after like seven minutes.

Combined with outtakes, stuffups and re-do's, that's... a lot of reading. At least I was able to pick up where it dropped off and just read the end from there.

BUT my throat is shredded and

Read more »

Challenge #02165-E336: To Cross the Lake of Certain Death

So long, and thanks for all the ghoti. -- Anon Guest

They were large, piscine lifeforms, big enough to swallow a Goliath whole, and the lake they inhabited was as large as an entire country. It would take too long to go around. They had to go across somehow.

"You can fly, right?" said Anthe. "Just zip us across?"

Wraithvine said, "Look for what isn't here," and summoned an illusory globe via Prestidigitation and floated it out over the surface. It fizzled

Read more »

Challenge #00952-B221: Innovative Resource Management

They outsourced a surprising amount of their ship building (that is, they had a habit of using ships captured in battle).

People think low-gravvers are weak. Let me tell you something. A deathworlder adapted to a low-G environment is still a deathworlder.

And when there’s a hive of them in chained asteroids… you do not throw rocks at the nest.

I saw it from a safe distance and under a definite amnesty. I’m not stupid enough to cross with

Read more »

Challenge #00950-B219: Sailor Fey

Grab another one!

Most sailors feared to go near the Siren Pass. Beyond, they whispered, were shores of gold where the waves broke with pearls and gems as sea foam. Where untold riches and wealth awaited for anyone who could actually survive the pass. Here, there be mermaids. They decorate the rocks with foolhardy sailors who chance too close and fall victim to their song. Their bones, anyway. All of them picked clean and bleached

Read more »

Let Sleeping Beauties Lie...

The cursed princess in the castle tower was asleep for a very good reason.  The people of her kingdom were only safe during the day… and even then just barely.


Prince Philip wasn’t exactly inclined to listen to good advice. As a child he ate sweets before dinnertime, and crept off to play with the faeries in the wood.

The fae didn’t want him, which possibly tells you all you never needed to know about Prince Philip.

Now that

Read more »

Challenge #00943-B212: 'Straya Mate

Someone runs across this book. And then are told about the fact in the last comment.

“This,” said T’reka a’Nyerrik, “is a book for N’Ozzie children?”

“Yes,” said the helpful Archivaas with a bundle of similar tomes. “N’Oz colonists insisted on bringing their -ah- scientifically interesting native flora and fauna with them from Australia.”

Ah yes. Australia. The only land mass on Earth that almost rated a Level Six on the Deathworlder scale. In fact, N’Oz itself

Read more »

Challenge #00938-B207: Human Phenomena

An alien witnessing a human do the “Just walked through a spiderweb” dance for the first time


A scholar writing a research paper on the one dance universal to all human tribal cultures, the “Spiderweb” dance.

In augmented scope sight, the web was clearly visible. And the spider itself stood out like a miniature sun.

“This spider,” whispered a lizard off to one side of the screen, “has been weaving and re-weaving its web all night. In a few hours, it

Read more »

Challenge #00934-B203: Loverly Spam...

You don’t reference Monty Python to be helpful, you reference Monty Python because you can.

On the upside, they now had an interstellar ‘ride‘. On the downside, it was an abandoned freighter. Its hold was still full. Which meant that the parental company had pulled the plug and evacuated the pilot when the cargo proved to be valueless.

And, of course, Shayde had to look.

“No,” she grinned. The tone of her voice made it sound like a good thing.


Read more »

Challenge #00929-B198: Fortifying Education

A Havenworlder finds out that even after reaching the Information Age, with early-warning systems and all the other resources available to a species at such a level of development, tsunamis (“The term refers to several million tonnes of water traveling at two hundred meters per second.”) still killed an average of seven thousand people consistently, every year, over four decades

(last four from 2015)

Th’k’x had to wear full health monitors and have a Medik on standby, just to access

Read more »

In the slightly-paraphrased words of Robert Heinlein...

If need be, a human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die gallantly. Specialization of role is for insects, not people.


“Was he serious?” said Rael. “What happened

Read more »

Challenge #00907-B176: SUO's - Small Useful Objects

A lot of us have a “kit” stuff we cart/tote everywhere, stuff we need. Mothers carry stuff to feed,amuse and cope with the Sprogs. Crafts people carry weird stuff(well I do). So what does a Joat carry? Or pick another character/profession and add kit.

Rael could tell a newbie JOAT. It was the way their limbs trembled
under the weight of the gear in their coats. And the gentle ‘ping’ of
stitching giving way under the stress. He

Read more »

Challenge #00894-B163: The Unexpectables!

Beauty, brains and brawn. The traditional makeup for any team. Have fun.

There’s hundreds of ways to be a hero. And more than one way to be a heroic team…

Munashe finished the delivery forms for her auction winnings. An entire library of childrens’ books from a now-defunct school. Purchased for a dollar from a government auction because nobody was interested in buying things from a school.

The story books were going to a children’s hospital. The educational stuff

Read more »

Challenge #00889-B158: Nonse

With the amount of sense the last few hours have not made, I’m tempted to believe that this is all a simulation someone or something built into the universe for people foolish enough to have attempted what I did…

[AN: I am having intense internet trouble at the mome so I’m giving this to you from my phone. Forgive the lack of the usual formatting]

The trees were gathering water and farming people.

This… this was wrong. The sky was

Read more »

Challenge #00888-B157: Station of Babel

Everybody panics in their own language.

This was where JOATs came into the fore. Electronic translators had
their limits, and one of the most prevalent of those limits was
breaching the Understanding Barrier.

Grammar is important. Especially in a panic situation.

Thus, in an emergency, the most level heads of the JOAT community come to the fore.

stood on one of the plinths, using her own passive magic to make herself understood to all listeners. “Please proceed in an orderly

Read more »