FFM 2020 7: The Worst Sunset Ever

No prompt used. Challenge instead.

The challenge: Obtain challenges from other FFMers (and challenge others as well) and pick a line of dialogue and two complex characters who work together for a goal. My choices ended up being: “Just toss the fucking underwear in the fire!” (from SarcasticCupcake5), A fighter pilot, crash-landed and separated from their squadron, hopelessly lost, and hopelessly optimistic. (from The-Inkling) and A vampire who likes to paint sunsets (from GDeyke).

It was a normal day for Roshan: a healthy dose of blood for breakfast, admiring his previous paintings, making sure that he was not running out of blood soon and preparing to leave for the cliff to paint the day’s sunset. It would hurt his skin again, but since it was the sunset, it was worth it. He healed during the night and the morning anyway, so the discomfort was a small price to pay.

That evening, after returning home with a new sunset painting, he was going to see which of the paintings he would sell at the art fair next month. He did not want to part ways with any of his paintings, but truth to be told, he was running out of space. He had to get rid of some of them or else some of the paintings would suffer on the floor, getting dust and perhaps unwelcome guests such as mice. That would not do.

That all came to a halt when he found a human sitting at his painting spot with a campfire burning. His clothes lay scattered around it and he had a blanket wrapped around himself.

Roshan stopped, trying to figure out what to do. Why was someone here of all places? And why did they have a campfire there?

And what was that smell?

The human turned to look behind their back, as if they had sensed that someone was looking at them. The look of surprise turned into delight. “Finally a person! I’ve been looking for civilization for days.”
“Why are you here?” Roshan asked, more concerned about why his own place, on his own property, was being disgraced like this rather than the identity of this apparently male human.
“My fighter crashlanded a couple of days ago. My squadron didn’t come for me, so I decided that I’ll trek to some direction until I’d find other people. I knew I’d find someone eventually.” The man smiled. “I’m Teague Zomber, although you can call me Tea.”
Roshan blinked a few times. “I’m Roshan.” He looked at the sunset. He would lose it if he did not paint it soon. “I take it you want to get to other humans?”
“Yes, that would be lovely,” Tea told, giving a smile so sweet it disgusted Roshan.
“Very well.” Roshan would not miss a sunset for any reason. “I’ll paint this sunset, let you stay at my place for the night and take you to the nearby village in the morning. Deal?”
“Deal,” Tea agreed.

With a sigh, Roshan set his canvas at the wrong spot and got to work. With so little time left, he rushed the painting. If he would have his way, he would have Tea depart with it as a price for the help.

At some point, Tea started to dress up again. Then Roshan found the source of the smell.
“What the hell? Burn that thing!” he roared.
“But they’re my underwear!” Tea cried out, horrified.
“They’re disgusting!”
“But they’ll be all good after I wash them!”
“Just toss the fucking underwear in the fire!”
“Do it for fuck’s sake!”

Tea tossed his soiled underwear into the fire. The smell got even worse. Roshan gagged. Had he not felt sick, he would have tossed this fool down the cliff and retrieved his blood later for all the trouble he had caused.

He had better help the man to get rid of him the human-approved way.

In the next morning, Tea bid farewell to a shield-coated Roshan with a smelly, sloppy sunset painting tucked under his armpit. Roshan merely snarled in return and watched as the man’s bus left, taking the fighter pilot away with him.

Only once he was sure that Teague Zomber was gone did Roshan leave, swearing that after he was done with deep-cleaning every room Tea was in and his painting spot, he would take a good feast to blur the memories of the insolent man he had had to spend time with.

FFM 2020 6: There may have been a time

No promts used.

There may have been a time when we were alive.

There may have been a time when we were happy.

There may have been a time when we were free.

There may have been a time… when there was so much more to life than this.

Now, there is a time when we are dead, sad and imprisoned.

For there was a day when we lost everything.

FFM 2020 5: Migraines During Apocalypse

No prompt used. However, this was heavily inspired by the headache I’ve had since last night and which hasn’t gone away in the around 2 hours I’ve been awake this morning.

The absolute worst part of the apocalypse was not the difficulty of finding food, trying to deal with diseases like a cold with limited or no medicine or the lack of reliable human contacts.

It was having migraine attacks after you and your local pharmacies ran out of the medicine specifically made for countering them.

Fuck my life.

FFM 2020 4: A Rhombus Artifact

No prompt used. The challenge dictated my direction.

The challenge: The story must center around an ancient artifact (real or fictional), it must take place over the course of a weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), there must be a character suffering from delusions of grandiosity and it must incorporate a hymn (real of fictional) into the world.

“I tell you, this excavation will be the birthplace of the discovery of the century!” the excavation leader, Cuarto, proclaimed as he stood on the highest spot within a twenty-meter radius to give his speech.

Kasia yawned. Some others did as well, but Kasia did not bother hiding it. Cuarto fixed a glare on her only to receive a nonchalant cock of an eyebrow in return; Kasia knew that she could not get kicked out of the team just for showing how fed up she was to be standing at a dusty excavation site on an early Friday morning listening to a delusional speech.

Had the pay not been so good, she would have walked back to her car to drive home and sleep in her bed the moment Cuarto climbed onto the high ground. She might have even made it back before Cuarto would have stopped talking, more thanks to his long speeches than the lack of traffic in the area at the time.

“This time, I am absolutely sure that we will find an artifact!” Cuarto returned to his speech. “So, let’s get to work and find it!”

After a bunch of unenthusiastic yays, the group scattered and started digging around. Kasia knelt on the ground and dug in.

It had been a bit over 14 hours since that speech. Kasia regretted not leaving more than she could have imagined she ever would.

They had ended up finding an artifact: it had seemed to be a mere black gemstone that had been fashioned into an incredibly smooth rhombus. The tests, however, had showed that it actually dated back long enough to be ancient — and, since it was so smooth and clearly fashioned with intent, an insanely big find. Cuarto giving more delusional speeches notwithstanding it had still been fine. For Kasia, it meant that she was both getting paid a bonus and she was going to get a big discovery to put on her resume.

Then Eeva had picked it up to move it into a container and things had gotten weird. First, the container had turned into liquorice — that was already bad enough — but then it had started to turn other objects it touched into liquorice as well as long as it was in her hands.

It had started a chaos: a few ran away from Eeva and the artifact, Zarif had started to sing through the long list of hymns he knew, Cuarto and most others were freaking out, Eeva was panicking and Kasia just looked at the mess, dumbfounded and pondering if they paid her enough to deal with this.

This was probably going to be a find of the century after all, although definitely not for any of the reasons Cuarto had thought it would be while giving his speeches. It was probably worth staying, so Kasia took the artifact from the spot Eeva had dropped it to from her hands and tried it out. It did not turn anything into liquorice in her hands.

“Anyone else wanna try?” she asked and offered it around. Everyone just stepped back in panic as if she was waving a gun around. Kasia shrugged. “Ok, then I’ll go and do research on this myself. Eeva, could you come with me? I have a feeling I’m going to need you.”

Eeva did not seem delighted about the situation at all, but she followed Kasia into a tent for testing purposes.

24 hours later, Kasia had already proved that the artifact seemed to work in the hands of those from the Nordics, although the effect of their relationship with liquorice was still undetermined.

At that point, Kasia negotiated a notable raise from Cuarto and his superiors to continue the research. Eeva, on the other hand, had left the moment Kasia had announced her theory, cussing something — probably the artifact — out in Finnish.

It was glorious.

The woman leaving was fine, though. Kasia knew that a liquorice-making artifact like this would attract experimentees and researchers like a lamp attracted moths. She returned to work so that she could get the word out by Sunday.

In the Sunday evening, Kasia took a look at what had happened during the last 72 hours: the team had found an ancient magical artifact that can turn objects into liquorice, she had taken over the team and overthrown Cuarto, gotten a theory on who can wield the artifact and evidence for it, gotten a huge raise and a better contract, posted an announcement and a call for researchers and experimentees alike and received some applications from both already.

As she looked at the list on the excavation log, she could not help smiling widely. Staying had been more than worth it after all; she might have found a way out of her dead-end jobs, or at the very least least she now had something interesting to do for a while.

The only downside to this was that Kasia hated liquorice. She knew that she could handle it, though.

FFM 2020 3: Allana’s Secret

No prompt used. Therefore, I worked on a world seen only once before (during FFM 2015).

If Allana ever told anyone that the whole thing with mysterious marble dude began with one of the marbles she carried with herself dropping when she was tying a knocked out burglar, she would have been laughed at.

Well, if she had ever told anyone that she had been doing counter-criminal things from the age of fourteen, she would have been laughed at as well.

That was the best part, though. No one would, let alone could, ever suspect her of being the mysterious marble dude even if they somehow realized that the dude was actually a dudette.

Therefore, she felt serene when she left outside to “browse the mall” but donned her mask when she was far enough and dashed to reach this week’s target: a group of teens who have made mistake of making mugging old people their hobby.

FFM 2020 2: Mother Earth Dying

The prompt used: My washing machine is telling me to file for backruptcy. by WindySilver.

The challenge: Write a 369er (three separate but interrelated 69-word stories) with a conflict in their center. The first story must be after the conflict, the second one during it and the third one before it.

84 years after Fiirddokha invaded Earth, they finally got enough. We resurfaced into a barren wasteland, equipped with oxygen tanks because the atmosphere was mostly carbon dioxide then.

We knew immediately that restoring our planet would be the biggest challenge humanity had ever had, but we were up to the task.

Ten years have gone by and Earth is now starting to look more like itself.

We will succeed.

We shamans have been listening to Mother Earth weep for four decades now. Her cries have grown quieter over the years.

The greenhouses and zoos in our sanctuaries and on other planets are the only hope of restoring her after the invaders tire of hurting her. We must guard them — not just we shamans, but all still living humans.

If we don’t cooperate, Mother Earth will die for good.

“Honey, the washing machine is telling me to file for bankruptcy!” I called out from the laundry room.
“You downloaded something strange into our network again, honey!”
“No!” I knew I sounded too undignified to sound convincing. I looked at the message and admitted my defeat under my breath, “Okay, I did.”
“Told you so! Running the cleaning process!”

I sighed; our network cleaning process was always a pain.

FFM 2020 1: Refugees

No prompt used, so I followed my personal challenge of writing about my existing worlds whenever a prompt or challenge doesn’t direct me otherwise.

While our humanitarian work was a point of pride for Earth, I must admit that the system took a heavy hit when our allies, the Glieseans, lost their home planet in the Gliese 667 system. With a planet and population far bigger than our own, even when the rest of the Inter-Galactic Union (IGU) did their part in taking refugees in, we were stretched thin. There were simply too many of them for us all to accommodate. IGU’s efforts to stop the warring civilization, which we have only learned to call “Fiirddokha” — “Ravagers” in the language of the Lllladrres, who were their first victim as far as anyone in IGU knows — have been insufficient. Because the Fiirddokha don’t belong to IGU, there is rather little that IGU as a union can do, especially without suddenly amassing an inter-galactic military big enough to rival them and fighting to death and recoloring many planets’ soils with blood and its equivalents.

I know a lot of people were frustrated when the humanitarian system was clogged by the Gliesean refugees, but now that we are the refugees, I’m sure everyone who lived back then understands them better.

Unfortunately, we have no one to help us because we are stuck on our own planet. Any non-Fiirddokha ship going in or out has been shot down at the orbit.

We have to play the long game and hope for the best.

Currently on art: Q2 2020 stats, Prose-ject 2020 and the end of Suntuubi

This is the first Currently on art update that I’ve written on WordPress. If you have been following me on DeviantArt, you know that I’m migrating away from there due to its new UI, Eclipse, due to reasons including poorly handled literature and heavy eye strain (I think I will never figure out how exactly they managed to pull that off when I have literally never had eye strain at my computer).

With no alternatives available yet, I have had to deal with my summer flash fictions with duct tape and compromises: Flash Fiction Fridays required me to post on DA, while with Prose-ject 2020 and Flash Fiction Month I’m allowed to post here on WordPress – an ineffective alternative because the stories drown among my other blog posts, but the best one currently available. Therefore, I have collected the links to a static page for easier access: Flash Fiction Link Compilations

Yes, I ended up joining Prose-ject this year despite of thinking that I wouldn’t because the moment I saw the journal, I couldn’t say no. I guess I shouldn’t have been following the group and the poster at that point, haha. However, I don’t regret it: my challenge of writing only about my already existing worlds has borne lots of fruit, with multiple previously scarce worlds now having more story and characters than before. I’m especially proud of the world of Unar and Ria – the prompt that led me to discovering the latter has brought a lot of interesting stuff to the story, and I currently love those two precious ones.

I especially love the last story, because it gave me the perfect closure to the month of discovery: I managed to use all four prompts on the last day and make the story about the end of a journey. I must admit that I might have gotten some Okami feels while writing and editing it, which also accounts for how much I love the final story, as I’m currently playing through the aforementioned game’s HD version.

There is something I want to get off my chest better than by tossing a status update, though. If you have read my previous Currently on art updates on DeviantArt, you know that since spring 2019 I have been migrating a Finnish website from its original service provider, Suntuubi, to WordPress because Suntuubi was shutting down 30.6.2020.

At the moment I’m writing this sentence, it is the 26th and it has been about an hour since I finished that long migration project. I had to cut some corners (mainly with archives, which I will keep backed up on my computer), but I ended up making it in time anyway despite of time almost running out.

Now that the migration is over and I’m painfully aware that the site I have grown with, built and nurtured for nine years is going to get wiped off the face of the earth in four days. I can’t help but feel empty and extremely sad to see it go; I was unable to replicate all of the user interface on the free WordPress plan, so the new site, while cleaner than the original, does not look like it too much. The UI that I have looked at, tweaked and used for nine years is about to disappear forever.

It’s hard to believe that after nine years it’s now over. Before the announcement that Suntuubi is shutting down, I had known that someday it would end (I had seen it coming from various things), but now that it’s happening… it feels surreal. The thing has been up for over half of my lifetime (Wikipedia said that it was started in 2006) and my website has been there for almost half of my lifetime, a majority of the time the service has been online (since 2011).

The thing is, if I hadn’t stumbled upon Suntuubi and, most importantly, its Finnish Code Lyoko fandom, it’s likely that I wouldn’t be here. If it wasn’t for that fandom, I might’ve never actually tried my hand at fanfiction, let alone created my first website for it. If those two hadn’t happened, I might have never found my way into the writing community on DeviantArt or created this website. A lot could be different, and I can’t imagine anything that would be better than this.

The Code Lyoko fandom on Suntuubi has grown silent during the previous years, but it was there when I needed it. Now, all traces of it, those years of things learned, stories shared and lessons learned, the network of individual websites all built for our love of the series, will be erased. I will keep going on WordPress, but nothing will be the same especially with so many sites disappearing completely. I don’t even know if any other Code Lyoko sites from Suntuubi ended up migrating to survive.

It is a fact that the fandom would have never become the same it was, but I still miss those days, and I know I will miss the days of Suntuubi. It was, after all, a huge part of my life for nine whole years, some of my most important years of growing and learning. The fandom shaped me in ways no other group could, and it gave me a voice both as a beginning writer and a Code Lyoko fan, something I couldn’t have gotten outside of my laptop.

Those years with that fandom, I treasure them. They taught me a lot, and a community where I belonged to and had a voice was an invaluable treasure to me back then. Communities like that still are – it is only human to want to belong, to be heard.

To the strangers on the other side of the screen who are a part of such a community: thank you for being there.

Everything comes to an end at some point, so it is important that we make the most of the time we have and make the most valuable memories. Someday, we will have to say goodbye.

It is ironic that when I was finishing the migration project, my playlist was playing Audiomachine’s Farewell to Earth. One couldn’t have asked for a better song for it, not even on purpose.

Whatever happens, take care and make sure to check in with people you care about.

As I am writing this sentence, it is already the 30th. I visited my old website and some other old Code Lyoko websites that were in my bookmarks in the morning one last time. During the day, all those websites were replaced with an announcement that Suntuubi has been closed down. I already feel wistful for all the time I spent there, for I was attached to that enormous amount of ones and zeroes that made Suntuubi and everything within its system. I still am, and perhaps will always be for the way it influenced me over all the years.

However, I mustn’t wallow in that attachment or the loss. The only way is forward. I will move on and make sure that those years of learning weren’t in vain.

Today, two things ended: my journey within my worlds for Prose-ject 2020 and Suntuubi’s 14 years on the internet as a platform for people to make their own websites.

This is the end of an era. What comes in the next one? I have no idea, except that it’s probably going to be mostly silent.

Silent or not, it is time to move on.

I think I have written enough about this case. Now, it’s time to look into my stats: Q2 2020, comparison to Q1 2020 and Prose-ject 2020 stats.

Here are the infographs:

While most of my writing projects’ stats are disappointing this quarter and I wrote less for Prose-ject this year, I did well with visual art: more artwork done and far fewer projects standing by.

Now, it is time to see what is up with my projects, as per my project widget:

  • Exceptional Jedi: Chapter 18 of Crystals of the Past is in editing. All writing is at 1466 days. I need to make a comic about Valentine Clanker and lots of other drawings. I’ve been creating data and putting stories into an order on Scrivener to build a wiki of sorts there so that I can flesh things out for writing. It is coming along well. Revising has been on hiatus, but it should resume soon now that I’ve recovered my writing inspiration.
  • The Fate’s Way: Chapter 39 is in editing. I still need to redraw the regular Alyssa and also Alyssa’s friends and family and the other important people, like Matti, someday. Silverwind’s reference is in progress. Revising needs to be done.
  • Behind Armada: Chapter 23 is in editing. I need to draw the references for a few characters (although they are the lowest priority). This trilogy will be put on hiatus indefinitely once I’m done with BA.
  • Off-DA projects: Not much going on atm. FFM collections are still at a standstill; I haven’t had time to look into them yet. I should be able to get to them during the summer.
  • Foes & Friends Remastered: Part 22 of New War Remastered is in translation. I should work on references at some point.
  • Greenfield: Currently on hiatus until summer, at which point I will start editing it. Read more about the project here.
  • Lyokostar: The translation of Lyokostar 1 progresses: Part 2 of story 6 is in translation. I have resumed writing monthly Lyokostar 3 oneshots in Finnish. I have finished Mary’s reference and made a sketch of Sophie’s first Lyoko suit. Other references need to be done.
  • Gaming: Habitica, some random games again, with Okami HD taking most of the gaming time.
  • Other stuff: I’ve fallen behind with literature deviations because I can’t read them on DA without getting a headache from the eye strain. I’m trying to keep it from flooding otherwise, though, and so far it’s been looking good. I still have no idea when my first FFM collection will come, other than hopefully this year. Lots of reading to be done still, but my TBR list has gotten smaller again, so it’s under control. It’s probably going to continue like that. Gotta get back to Unity and also Blender if I can. And video editing, I need to do lots of that because I have tons of footage to edit if I just found the time to put my laptop to work with them. As explained above, I have finished migrating a Finnish website of my own (the one which hosts the Finnish Lyokostar stories) from its original service provider, Suntuubi, to WordPress.
  • Personal life: I finished my online course that I took to replace the one I flunked, and I ended up getting a small-ish work gig that has me rebuilding a website. I’m also sweating tons in my apartment because it’s constantly around 30 degrees Celsius during the days. Luckily, it’s been a cooler outside the last days, so it’s now closer to 25 than 30, which is nice, although I’m still sweating. LOL.

I’d say that’s all. Thank you for reading this long journal. Take care!

Prose-ject 2020 30: The Journey’s End

The prompts used: the brilliance of a sunset, “Live long, and prosper.” -Star Trek (quote), we may not be that complicated by alapip (literature), Don’t go, don’t go by Dyemelikeasunset (image).

At first, my blade-to-blade battle with the ghoul went well. We were evenly matched, with the ghoul having become slightly rusty with no challengers while I had honed myself for months. When it came to magic, I was having more trouble, but the Harmony Blade kept me safe.

Unfortunately, we were too evenly matched. I slowly started to run out of endurance and, under moonlight just like the one under which I had first seen Ria dance, I started to miss her.

I had been reliant on her mending spells to keep me going even when I was starting to run out of strength to continue.

I reminisced those spells and used them to coax the Harmony Blade to help me keep my footing. It did, inspired by my determination to defeat the ghoul, give me some strength. I continued the fight, refreshed and grateful.

The first time I lost my footing, I resorted to magic to blast the ghoul away. That blast, bright as it was, looked like the brilliant sunset at Midsummer Lake. I couldn’t help thinking about all the melodies Ria had created, some of which she said were inspired by our experiences at that very lake, the brilliance of the sunset and the happy memories we made under it.

I missed her already. I had wronged her twice about this battle. I could only hope that she would forgive me in the end.

If she did not, I wasn’t sure what I’d do. She had become my dearest friend, perhaps the true definition of a “best friend”, and I loved her as such even though we had never romantically clicked together.

I got back up on my feet and returned to the battle, reminiscing all the training my father had given me before his death.

I would become a hero like him tonight and live to tell the tale.

Yet as the battle dragged on, I started to lose my focus as fatigue set in. My spells slowly became sloppier, more undirected and more ineffective. Ria had supported me with her spells so that I could concentrate only on fighting instead of following my own energy levels as well, and she had covered for me whenever I had had to take a break to either recover or heal.

This was a mistake. I had been too rash, too occupied with what everyone else thought. Too proud and ambitious as well.

I should’ve come here with Ria.

Oh Ria… please forgive me for being such an idiot.

I had to end the battle soon, but the ghoul was too skilled and lacked all signs of fatigue. I was going to die at this rate, but I couldn’t run away to get backup or call for Ria. Even if she would come, she couldn’t hear me from this far, and the ghoul wouldn’t let me leave the clearing alive.

I had to figure something out quickly or else I would go into history as a fool who went under a fallen angel’s influence, escaped and got killed, dooming my home village to be under the ghoul’s terrible reign for who knows how long.

When I went for a desperate lunge, the ghoul suddenly blasted me against a rock. I think I felt something snap in my back upon impact, but I definitely felt the rock shatter behind my back before I landed on sharp rubble, gasping in sudden agony. I could no longer move my legs. Pushing myself up with the free hand despite of the rubble digging into my palm, I raised the Harmony Blade to defend myself. The ghoul smacked it away with its own sword, making me lose balance and fall on my back again. This time, I screamed when the rubble set itself back into my flesh into new spots.

Once the worst of the pain disappeared, I looked at the sky and tried to move my legs. Nothing. I was helpless. The ghoul came to my view and pointed its sword at me.

I looked at the stars behind its head. Ria and I had talked about going to them to meet her old angel friends once this journey would be over so that she could try to make amends and make the others see that being a fallen one wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Only what you did after you fell mattered, and she had used her new powers well. I knew that she missed her home and friends.

DyemelikeasunsetThe stars twinkled at me. I wanted to reach them, but I knew that it was far too late for that. The blade was against my throat. I had lost.

I had lost.

“Unar, no!” a familiar voice screamed. A dark blast tossed the ghoul away. Someone landed near me.

Ria came into my view. “Unar! What did you do?”
“Ria…” I gasped. “Ria, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” I wanted to offer some kind of explanation, so I did when I still could. “I was stupid. I minded their opinions too much. It was a mistake. I… I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.”
“Don’t go and die just yet,” Ria said. She was changing her form, although not before pushing some healing magic into me. “I’ll be right back.”

She disappeared from my view. I heard the Harmony Blade getting picked up.
“You will pay for what you did to my friend!” Ria proclaimed with her fallen angel voice.
The ghoul laughed. “Really? A fallen angel saves the ‘hero’? Please, do your worst. You can’t kill me.”

I heard Ria say under her breath. Then her footsteps ran towards the ghoul. Swords clashed together once. Twice. Thrice.

Ria screamed. The ghoul laughed. Had I had the strength, I would’ve cried out for her.

Then the ghoul let out a gurgle. I heard a thump. Footsteps hurried back to me.

The stars were still twinkling at me, although they were starting to become blurry. I was starting to lose my consciousness.

Ria came to my view again.
“No, no, no, don’t go, don’t go,” she said. She took me to her arms and started to speak healing incantations — something she did only when she was desperate. I coughed blood.
“Don’t go. I don’t want you to die, not yet,” Ria said. There were tears coming down her face.
“Ria…” I gasped.
“Don’t speak. I’ll heal you, trust me. You’ll live. Just hold on!”
“Ria, no… It’s too late. I messed up… I messed up everything…”
“We can talk about it when you’re no longer bleeding out.”
“No, Ria… It’s too late.” I reached out with my bloodied hand and found her tear-stained cheek. “Ria, I’m so sorry for failing you. For thinking that I could do it alone when I always needed you. For thinking that both parts of the team could work alone. I’m sorry… I’m so sorry it had to end like this.”
“This isn’t the time for goodbyes!” Ria told and pushed more of her healing magic into my wounds. “You’re not dying, got that?!”
“Ria…” I knew I was fading away, so I had to give my goodbyes now. I knew that she would never forgive me. “Live long… and prosper.”

This wasn’t the end I wanted, but it was the end I got. Our journey… was at its end.

I faded away while Ria screamed, “UNAR, NO!

Prose-ject 2020 29: A Departing Scout

The prompt used: “May the Force be with you.” -Star War (quote)

Jeff was leaving on a scouting round again. He said that he had seen an interesting new building which we might be able to blow up if we got close enough. While it certainly was a provocation to the invaders, with all the known underground sanctuaries already either destroyed or flooded until they were underwater, we were safe. It would definitely send a message: We may hide, but we are not defenseless. You are not welcome here.

While it was even more dangerous than normal scouting, I decided to let him do it. He would probably sneak out and scout ahead on his own if I didn’t let him. At least this way I knew where he was going and what he was doing.

When he was at the hangar, making the final departure checks, I looked at him. My fantastic niece had turned into a fantastic nephew growing up in this underwater facility. He was brave, perhaps even to the point of foolhardiness and recklessness, but he was brave nevertheless, and had the brains to use his skills well. He had definitely proved himself during the years in the defense system.

If I lost him now, I knew that it would have happened anyway. Ever since being a little kid, Jeff had loved the oldest, the most classic Star Wars movies and their story of the Rebel Alliance fighting against the Galactic Empire. He would have gone out there to do his part in making our ragtag group into a real life version of the Rebel Alliance anyway and either come back with more information or died like the Bothans who died to get information on the the second Death Star.

Jeff was ready to leave, so I walked up to him.
“Uncle,” he greeted me. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be back.”
“I will wait for you and your findings here. Be careful,” I told.
“No worries. I will be.” Jeff flashed his grin before turning somber. “No matter what happens, take care.”
“I will.” I said.

Jeff climbed to his ship.

I would never forgive myself if I let him leave and never return without one of the most iconic Star Wars quotes. I called out, “Jeff.”
“Yeah, uncle?” Jeff turned to look at me.
I smiled at him. “May the Force be with you.”
Jeff smiled back. “May the Force be with you too.”

Then he departed and I stood, watching as his ship made its way to the surface.

Now, I could only wait at the command center and hope that he would be back soon.