The Gauntlet 2021 1: Rummy Air

Challenge 1: Needs More Pirate (1000 words or less): Write a suspenseful espionage thriller scene in your setting of choice – could be any time or place in history – but add one parrot-toting, rum-guzzling, Caribbean pirate.

With haste, you put a handkerchief over your mouth and nose. The only good thing about rum was that it did wonders to knock out both Captain Doublehook and his trusty parrot, Featherhook.

However, the most outweighing bad thing about it was that in the Caribbean heat and enclosed ships, it smelled worse than death whenever you opened a door. You suppressed the urge to stumble to the desk adorned with pillaged treasures from all across the archipelago and dry heave into one of the drawers. That could bring unwanted attention and you had only so much time to scan the map before Doublehook would regain consciousness in yet another massive hangover.

As you closed in on the desk, wary of the numerous rum bottles on the floor, you could not help wondering if this stench would make you drunk if you stayed in the room for too long. Featherhook being out on its feet, still attached to its owners shoulder, did indicate as much to you, after all. Nevertheless, while it was an interesting scientific scenario, you wanted to see such experiments conducted only in a controlled environment — something a Caribbean pirate ship would never be, at least not without taking the “pirate” out of it.

Doublehook murmured something between his snores.

You froze, suddenly reminded of the here and now. You had lost your focus — a fatal mistake.

If Doublehook woke up and saw you now, you would be pushed off the plank and the Queen would never get the map to Pirates’ Lair.

Currently on art: Q3 2020 stats, something ended and something new

Hello everyone!

Q3 2020 is now over. It’s hard to believe three thirds of this horrible year have already passed and we have only one left to go! The first Tribble Month ever is also over, and while I had fun and got some good stories written, I’m suuuuuuuper glad that it’s over. I started to run out of steam and ideas during the second half, so I’m certainly not into the idea of doing any more months of flash fiction this year. With Prose-ject in June, Flash Fiction Month in July and Tribble Month in September, I spent a quarter of this year writing daily flash fiction!

Is that way too much flashfing? Probably. Do I regret it? Absolutely not.

Anyway, I’d say that’s enough about flash ficcing for a while. I need a break from it.

As the second topic of this update, I want to discuss two of my fanfiction projects: Code Lyoko: Foes & Friends Remastered duology and Transformers: Armada-Energon trilogy.

Let’s start with the one I’ve been working on longer: Armada-Energon. Like I discussed in the previous Currently on art update, I had been struggling with its first story for long and thus put the trilogy on indefinite hiatus, with deciding its future postponed until dust had settled. I gave it some thought at the end of the quarter and made the decision I would’ve made back then already: discontinuing the trilogy. I didn’t have much planned for the next stories and whatever I had in plans no longer sparked any kind of interest, so it was the natural choice. I don’t regret taking on the ambitious project that it was but I certainly won’t miss it. It ran its course – the course just turned out to be shorter than I’d planned.

Foes and Friends Remastered, on the other hand, is a more painful thing to let go of. It’s ambitious as well, and also close to my heart as the remastered, greatly improved version of an old fanfic I wrote years ago. I was pretty damn proud of it back when I started translating it. Later on, however, I developed an even more critical eye to it and ended up where it got stuck: to a plot point I cannot get rid of anymore because it’s deeply ingrained in it. A plot point that makes me cringe at my old self when I look at it and think about posting it as my recent work.

As much as it sucks after getting about a third of New War Remastered translated, I decided that it’s for the best to cut my losses and abandon the project, leaving its English iteration into an incomplete state. I will continue working on Lyokostar, though, since it needs active nuking and reworking. There are some deeply-ingrained things I regret but I can work with them, so that project will keep on going.

Two projects out, but something new has also happened: during the quarter, I started to edit Greenfield, although progress has been sporadic at best, not to mention that with the quality of both the dialogue and the narration in the beginning, there’s a lot of work to do before the whole thing is going to be anywhere near presentable.

Another thing is that as FFR and A-E phased out, I began a new project: A Pokémon fanfiction named A Wandering Aura, the rehashed version of my initially planned Pokémon fanfiction project, The Adventurer Girl’s Journey. I ended up scrapping a lot of things I’d thought about, including the name of the protagonist. Since it’s a project I’m working on whenever I feel like working on it, it will not get any statistics unless I start to schedule when I write it. If you’re interested, the story is on Archive of Our Own:

I’m still quite in the beginning with it, but I’ve got tons of things planned and inspiration for writing it, so hopefully I can keep it going better, maybe even all the way to the finish this time. The future is in motion, however, so it might be that I end up being wrong and discontinuing it as well, but for now things look good.

Aside from projects and Tribble Month, I’ve been terribly swamped-up with studies throughout September, so my artistic productivity has sunk drastically. All my courses are fully online and the transition from the summer holiday to full-time studying hasn’t gone without a hitch; my timetables have been in shamples pretty badly. I think one of the things that cause trouble, alongside the fact that most of my courses don’t have anything at fixed times, is that I’m constantly stuck inside my apartment without being at the campus giving any kind of a rhythm to my life. I considered starting to go there to study at least once a week, but then the COVID19 situation here got worse and now there’s a city-wide recommendation to wear a mask in all public buildings, so I’m stuck inside until further notice. I bought masks back when they were still relatively expensive (and to think that compared to what the prices had been all spring and summer, they were super cheap back then) so I don’t want to waste them. There’s also the matter of the ecological impact of disposable masks, which came up in a discussion about not visiting the campus today, so there’s another reason to stay at home even though I’ve started to get some cabin fever.

The plan of hanging out with people on campus is out of the question for now, so I’m going to go back to utilizing the voice channel on Discord that my subject association has used for hanging out ever since the pandemic started for regulating my days more especially now that one of my two courses with live lectures is ending. I had a rather brief chat there today and it already made me feel better, so I believe that simulating a day at the university will both get me back on track with my neglected online courses and dispel some of the cabin fever when I get to talk to people (and hear their voices!) who are outside my apartment’s walls. It might also help my productivity if I get my headspace to “ok, I’m virtually at uni, so I’m working like I would work if I were physically there” instead of September’s “welp, I’ll just do this thing now and that thing later-oh, I could do some dishes/cleaning/whatever first”. If I remember, I’ll report how the simulation attempts went in the next Currently on art update!

On the subject of studies, I also had another crisis with my minor; this time, I ended up changing it to game research and game design. It caused a bit of a problem because I had to move things around in my plan and find some new courses to fill some gaps and fit them all in to this year, but I ended up succeeding at it. Why all of them this year? It’s because I’m trying to get my bachelor’s degree done this year, although with the frightening amount of coursework I have upcoming in addition to writing a paper, it might be that I won’t be able to finish everything I need for finishing the degree before the next autumn. We’ll see how it goes; the spring is going to be full of work, but I hope I’ll manage.

I think that’s enough about what’s up in my life. I made some statistics about Tribble Month and also put Q3 2020 stats together. Here, have a look!

Now, onto what’s up with my projects, as per my project widget:

  • Exceptional Jedi: Chapter 26 of Crystals of the Past is in editing. All writing is at 1558 days. I’m also working on remaking Arya’s reference, with Jedova’s one standing by untill I’ve got Arya’s own ready. I need to make a comic about Valentine Clanker and lots of other drawings. I’ve been creating data 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 gone back to standstill due to studies taking up too much time and energy.
  • The Fate’s Way: Chapter 41 is in writing. 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: The Armada-Energon trilogy has been discontinued after being on indefinite hiatus for around half a quarter.
  • Off-DA projects: I haven’t done much aside from working on my first FFM collection weekly. It’s coming together slowly but surely.
  • Foes & Friends Remastered: After halting to a standstill because of a cringe-inducing plot element, the project has been abandoned.
  • Greenfield: Due to studies taking too much energy, I haven’t edited this for a good while. Read more about the project here.
  • Lyokostar: The translation of Lyokostar 1 progresses: Parts 5 and 4 of story 6 are waiting for betareading. I’m writing monthly Lyokostar 3 oneshots in Finnish (except that I didn’t do it this month because I didn’t have the energy and I’m pretty sure that no one cares anyway). References need to be done.
  • A Wandering Aura: A new project I started. I’m writing its Chapter 5 because that’s what I want to write right now, with Chapter 1 in early stages alongside it. So far, things are looking good.
  • Gaming: Habitica keeps on going. I played my old Pokémon Black 2 save file’s story to its end and I’ve played some Trine 2 for a game course recently, but otherwise I haven’t played much as far as I can recall.
  • 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. Due to being busy and tired, I haven’t even been reading FFM or Tribble Month stories for some time, so things don’t look good in my watch. I’m not sure what I even want to do about it, so for now I’m letting the stories sit there until I figure out what’s the best course of action. I hope my first FFM collection will come during this year. Reading has halted to a standstill on the book side as well and for now, it’s probably going to continue like that. I got back to Unity but now I’d like to learn by doing stuff with it, but I have no idea what to do. I’ll hopefully figure something out at some point, though. I should get back to video editing since I have so much footage to be edited.
  • Personal life: My smallish work gig is over and my studying year has started with all sorts of messes from COVID19, crises about what I want to do (yes, that’s intentionally plural, but I don’t want to talk about the crisis I have in addition to my already resolved minor crisis) and bad timetable management. Things will hopefully get better soon, though, once I get a hold of everything.

I suppose that’s all for now. Please act responsibly with this pandemic so that we’ll get back to normal at some point (I’d really love to have things back to normal before I finish my bachelor’s degree) and as usual, take care!

[Sept20] Tribble Month 30: Farewell

Prompt: Farewell

Friat watched as her former mentor, Ezidretim, gasped in pain. She could do nothing. Even the best healers in the whole world could do nothing to save him even if they were right there beside her.

The injuries were too severe.

“Ezi, is there anything I can do to ease your pain?” Friat’s voice was hardly louder than a whisper.
“No, Kindling. Just say with me… until the end,” Ezidretim croaked. “I’m… sorry you had to see me go like this… but I’m glad to I got to train you. Just know… that no matter what… I’m proud of you, Friat Brann.”
“Ezi…” Friat fought the tears. “Thank you for everything.”
“Thank you, too, Kindling.” Despite of the intense pain, Ezidretim managed to put a smile untainted by pain on his face. “Take care, always remember what I taught you and follow your heart.”
“I will, Ezi, I promise.”
Ezidretim could already feel himself fade away. “Burn brightly with the dragons, Kindling. Farewell.”
“Farewell, Ezi, the bright dragon fire that lit me up,” Friat breathed, smiling through the heartache.

Ezidretim’s eyelids fell over his eyes and stayed there. They would stay that way forever.

Once the injured fire sorcerer’s heart stopped beating, tears blurred Friat’s eyes.

Then, for the first time in her life, the fire sorceress wept openly in front of a crowd, her tears soaking her former mentor’s clothes for the last time in her life.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 29: Almost Overwhelming

No prompts used.

The power of the fire was almost overwhelming when Veriwia first started to learn to use it. She had lived most of her life in a settlement with little contact with magic or on the run without little to no contact with a single being, let alone someone who can use magic.

Nevertheless, the others assured her that it would be all right, that she would get used to it in time.

Veriwia decided to believe them.

Surely everything would be all right now.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 26: United

No prompts used.

As a historian, I know for certain that the humanity of old times would have gone extinct, had the Fiirddokha attacked Earth during their time. It’s not just because they lacked the things that are vital for our survival today: the current technology, the facilities underground and underwater and the infrastructure to support them. The people back then simply could not have united their strength for mutual global survival, a feat only their descendants were able to achieve after centuries of feuds, wide-scale wars and so on.

I don’t mean that our society was perfect or without conflicts, but at least we were able to unite when it mattered the most.

I just hope that our descendants will keep the world peace alive.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 25: They turned against us

No prompts used.

One could always wonder whether or not mechs had any souls. The kind of humans who advocated for their rights, for their sentience, is extinct nowadays, however. I suppose they were the ones who died out second — the first ones being those whose lives revolved around mechs — when the mechs turned their self-defense weaponry towards us without a warning.

Or were there warnings? Did we see them but ignore or not recognize them? Did some higher-ups see this coming but suppressed the information because our world relied on mechs, which meant we couldn’t get rid of them without collapsing our society and economy?

I don’t know. I only know that most people don’t care anymore.

We all just want to kill them just as much as they want to kill us, if not even more.

It’s either us or them.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 24: Got to Get out

No prompt used.

Meredith and Connor both ran, praying to whatever divine powers there may be for enough strength and luck to get out of the city.

Other groups had to be warned about this spy-mech. That, in addition to the need to avoid being spotted, was the only thing running through their minds as they took different routes into opposite directions with a common goal they never agreed to have or share.

If only at least one of them got past the city perimeter, there would be hope for the others’ survival.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 23: Failed Scouting

No prompts used.

The scouts were already back. Or more like some of them were.
“They bombed us out of the water, sir,” one of them told. “We lost a squad.”
I knew better than to swear aloud, so I nodded. “Very well. If you’re not hurt, go file a report and get some rest.”

Seems like those bastards located this sanctuary. No wonder we’ve been cut off from supplies.

This is going to be a long day.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 22: Escaping

No prompt used.

The data was secure in the data card. Now, she only had to figure out how to get out alive.

After all, while she had waited for it to load, the whole room had been surrounded. There were helicopters outside, ready to gun her down if she went through the window. Behind the doors, there were gunners too trigger-happy to pass the law enforcement exams.

Louise was in luck, however; no one was seemed to be securing the air-conditioning ducts which were too small for most intruders — and guards — to get into to begin with.

When the gunners broke into the room, they were greeted by a proximity bomb when Louise was already far, far away.