luna_lovewell

Humans: Type 6, Technology Level 43, Class 1

Humans: Type 6, Technology Level 43, Class 1

[WP] The galaxy is at war. Surprisingly humans did not participate in the war but instead, both sides find themselves using human-made weapons to kill each other.

We were discovered and classified by the Kinretian Empire in 2051. Civilization #4156: a Type 6, Technology Level 43, Class 1 Species. Not quite so unique and special as we’d thought of ourselves for so many millennia.

Type 6 civilization, meaning that we had developed the idea of collective governance, but had not yet unified as a species nor began colonizing space. When we were found, we were still recovering from the disastrous war in Southeast Asia. The hostilities had ceased, but we could not be sure that the aliens hadn’t been observing as nuclear bombs were dropped on some of the world’s largest cities. Billions of lives lost in a matter of days; certainly not the finest hour for our species. And even if the Kinretians weren’t watching, surely they would notice the massive hotspots of radiation that blanketed what had once been India, Pakistan, and parts of China. There was no way to hide our shameful behavior from them.

Technology Level 43, which ranged on a logarithmic scale of 1 to 100. Level one would be something like chimpanzees, able to grasp the concept of a tool and what it could be used for, but not having enough knowledge to progress beyond blunt objects with which to hit stuff. And a level 100 civilization would be so advanced that we might not even be able to comprehend their existence much less how their technology works. The vast majority of intelligent species never really rise above a 10, only using tools enough to survive in their food chain but never building a true civilization. The initial reaction on Earth to being assigned a level 43 was “eh, not too bad.” It didn’t sound far off from the baseline of 50, which the Kinretians had pegged to their own civilization when they first started to explore other worlds.

But then we learned what they could do. Faster-than-light travel, lifespans of centuries instead of decades, vast space-faring empires… feats and marvels that science fiction writers could only dream of. The distance between 43 and 50 was a lot further than it seemed, roughly the equivalent of the difference between the technology of 2051 and the bronze-age Egyptians.

What we could do, seemingly better than other species ranked far higher than us, was create weapons. It turns out that a Type 6 civilization at Technology Level 43 is rather rare in the universe. Species tend to unite into one society around their own versions of the Industrial Revolution, when they’re able to quickly travel around their own planet and able to communicate effectively. Much like a bunch of kindergarten children, humans are apparently not as good at solving our problems with words.

Once unified into a Type 4 civilization, warfare becomes fairly rare and as a result, research and development on new ways to kill each other tends to stagnate. And by the time that species becomes a Type 1 civilization, traveling and colonizing the stars, intraspecies warfare is practically non-existent. We, however, never unified and continued fighting each other all the way up to first contact. And we were damn good at it.

But with every new system that is discovered and catalogued, there remains the chance of conflict with unfamiliar civilizations. Hence the last category. Class 1. We only learned about this ranking by accident, as it was not included in our “first contact” message nor any subsequent discussions with the Kinretians. A merchant had just happened to mention it in an offhand way, and after experiencing some of our more creative interrogation techniques, had finally spilled the beans. Class 1 was a categorization of how much risk we posted to the Kinretian Empire. 1 being the very highest level, posing an extremely dire risk.

Fortunately for us, we were discovered in the midst of a galactic war. The Kinretians had been fighting a Type 2 species (meaning a space-faring hivemind) with technology level 52 for the past decade. It was a classic battle for land and resources, a story that humans knew all too well. And the very reason that we’d been given that Class 1 designation is the reason that the Kinretians needed us now. Their current foes were the only other Class 1 species that they’d ever found.

We were glad to help. One would almost think we’d been preparing for this day, given the amount of stockpiled weapons that we had ready to sell. Well, not sell: barter. We didn’t want their money, we wanted their technology. We wanted ships that could create wormholes to other solar systems, allowing for interstellar travel in a matter of hours. We wanted to terraform those worlds. If the Kinretians had learned a bit more about us, they would have known that we’d never be satisfied with Technology Level 43.

We sold them guns and tanks, with physical ammunition that went straight through energy shields designed to block laser beams. We sold them orbital bombers capable of leveling a country in one uninterrupted run. We sold them helicopters, with the caveat that they’d only work on planets with a suitably thick atmosphere. We even sold them nuclear bombs deployable by plane, missile, ground, etc. Everything they’d need to win the war.

Their enemies, however, found new sources as well. They had bought guns and tanks of their own, as well as bulletproof armor and tank-busting ammunition. Their atmosphere was blanketed in ‘lice,’ the insect-sized anti-aircraft devices designed to latch onto orbital bombers, worm their way through the armor and then self-destruct. And the ICBMs that the Kinretians had purchased from us had been shot down by advanced anti-missile systems.

If the Kinretians were surprised or felt betrayed, they never let on. They needed us too much. Orders kept pouring in for more weapons, and even for human mercenary companies. They served on both sides of the war, sometimes fighting each other without any alien species present. But more often they fought side by side with the aliens, learning their tactics and strategies. And that information eventually made its way home.

The war ended with the exchange of some territory, but essentially a stalemate. Both sides had just been worn down after years of hostility, which had been ratcheted up a few notches once human technology was introduced.

There was one winner in the war, however. We became the first Type 0 species: spacefaring, with colonies in multiple solar systems, but with no unified government. Humans leapfrogged up the ladder to Technology level 53, above both the Kinretians and their foes. Turns out that we have a knack not just for killing each other, but for reverse engineering technology and using it in new and creative ways, including new types of weapons. And we were ready to prove just how much of a Class 1 threat we really were.

Also on Wattpad!

This right here. This could be the basis for a fantastic sci-fi series. I could see something based on this short story being a major hit.

I am glad I started following you shortly after I found out about /sub/writingprompts.

Edit: I also love that humanity has become the biggest galactic threat to everyone, including themselves. Warring across not just planets, not just solar systems, but the galaxy. Not against aliens, but against themselves too. At least, that's how it feels it would go without the unified government. Two human fleets fighting, stopping to shoot at the xenos, only to start back against each other when they are gone. Or just firing upon both fleets.

Definitely worth a X-post to /sub/hfy

Prompt from /u/bustead

For a second I thought I was in HFY, lol.

Service, Efficiency, Liberty.

Service, Efficiency, Liberty.[IP] Retired



Christian took his bag of kettlecorn, still hot from the cauldron, from the vendor robot. “Twelve pence, young sir,” the robot cheerfully told him with a quick gesture to the coin slot in his wrist. 

The boy counted out twelve copper-colored coins from his purse one by one. Then, shooting Adrina a sly smirk, held them out to the robot. But just as the robot reached for them, Christian tossed them into the air. The coins flashed in the sunlight for just a moment, and then landed in the dirt nearby. “You seem to have dropped something! Allow me to help you,” the vendor robot said without the slightest hint of annoyance. Nearby, three other robots within range said the exact same thing, and all four of them stooped down to pick up the money. 

Christian took Adrina’s hand and they took off running. He was giggling wildly at the sheer cleverness of his little prank. And he no doubt thought that Adrina would be impressed as well. They ran as though the police were after them for such a dastardly deed. Finally they stopped near the stone wall of a bank, out of breath. “Stupid Clankers,” Christian said as he recovered his breath. He looked to Adrina to see if she agreed, and she quickly nodded too. “Want to mess with them some more?” he asked. 

She didn’t really want to. The robots that she’d known had always been friendly and courteous and helpful, as they were all programmed to do. But she did want to impress Christian, who was two grades older than her and was already starting to grow a beard. He’d chosen her to escort him to the summer fair over all of the other girls his age, and this was her chance to make a good impression. So she nodded in agreement, and they found a new victim.

The street sweeper bot scurried underfoot, weaving between groups of humans to find bits of litter. It was no larger than a dog, and shaped vaguely like an upturned bucket with little brush bristles poking out from the bottom. Christian pulled a scrap of paper from his pocket and dropped it on the ground, immediately catching the attention of the streetsweeper. It rushed over to pick up the garbage, and as soon as it came into range, Christian planted one boot on the top of it and kicked it over onto its side. The little wheels underneath spun futilely, and the brushes were still sweeping back and forth in a vain attempt to pick up the paper. This sent Christian into fits of laughter. 

“Hey!” A tinny voice shouted at them in a tone that Adrina had never heard from a robot. “Leave that poor thing alone!” The sound was so unfamiliar that it took her a while to sense that the robot was angry. She turned to see a robot advancing through the crowds toward the pair of them. But it didn’t look like any model that she’d ever seen. It was tall and thin, humanoid shaped and made of copper-colored metal. But it was wearing clothes: a long coat, a belt with different containers, and a top hat. And it also carried a long slender cane. Why would a robot need a cane? she wondered. If it was having trouble walking, then it should be fixed or just scrapped by its owner. As the robot came closer, she noticed that the top of the cane was in the shape of a human skull. 
“Sod off, you dumb Clanker!” Christian shouted to it. Just for emphasis, he gave the streetsweeper another shove, then shot a smug grin at the approaching robot. 

“Maybe we should just leave it alone,” she said d quietly. “We could go on one of the rides or something…” she nodded over to the large Ferris wheel that towered over the whole fairgrounds.  She’d heard that you could see the whole city from up at the top.

“No metalhead tells me what to do!” Christian said, utterly ignoring her suggestion. He kicked the streetsweeper again and then stepped in front of it as the angry robot approached them. “Now get out of here, or I’ll have you deactivated!”

The robot responded by whacking him with the cane across his shin. Even over the din of the crowd, Adrina could hear him sharply inhale. Then his cheeks turned beet red, he thrust out an accusing finger, and he opened his mouth to shout something at the robot. Before he could make another sound, the cane landed on his wrist with a thwap sound. Christian gave a squeal of pain, and his eyes glistened.

“Someone needs to teach you some respect, young man,” the robot said, raising the cane again. “Just because these beings serve you does not mean that they are here to be mistreated!” 

Before another blow from the cane could fall, Christian scampered away through the crowd with tears running down his cheeks. He’d completely forgotten Adrina’s presence, leaving her cornered against a wall with the robot towering over her. The lenses of his eyes whirred as they adjusted and focused on her. He lowered the cane and walked toward her leaning on it for support just like a human would. 

“We’re sorry,” she said, speaking for the now-absent Christian as well. Her voice was so soft that she was concerned that it might not hear her. The robot stopped and righted the street sweeper, which emitted a grateful beep and then scooted off to keep cleaning up after the humans. Then the clothed robot came closer to her. 
“I didn’t want to cause trouble,” she said as one of the bronze claws extended towards her. “Honest! I…”

The robot stopped in place. “You have a good heart, girl.” What a strange thing for a robot to say, she thought to herself, forgetting all of the panic of a moment earlier. “You don’t need to associate with the likes of him.” 
Adrina nodded, telling herself that if she played along, the robot would just let her go. But deep down, she knew that Christian was in the wrong here. The little street sweeper hadn’t done anything to them. She looked into the robots eyes and realized that even without a mouth, it was smiling at her. Robots couldn’t have facial expressions, though. They didn’t have emotions. This one… this one was odd. 

“Here.” The robot retracted its claw and unbuttoned one of the little pouches along its belt. From within it removed a silver coin that was notched all along the edges like a gear. But it didn’t have the king’s profile on one side and the royal sigil on the other. There was a robotic fist on one side, and on the other, a series of scratches and grooves that she vaguely recognized from the punch cards that her mother used to program their housekeeper robot. “Keep this,” the robot told her. “It’s a Mechanical Union token.” She’d heard her father say that before, but she didn’t know what it meant. “You’ll know when the time to use it has come.”

It turned away from her began to hobble back into the crowd. A few pedestrians nearby had stopped to stare, but no one had called for the constable or anything. The idea of a robot hurting a human was so extraordinary that they’d all just assumed it was some sort of mistake. 

“What does it say?” she asked before it could get too far away. She ran a finger over the grooves, which were very delicate and fine. 

“Service, Efficiency, Liberty,” it answered. The last word was spoken with defiance, daring anyone to challenge it being placed in the same set. Then the robot reached up, tipped the brim of its hat toward her, and walked away.
Service, Efficiency, Liberty.

Christian took his bag of kettlecorn, still hot from the cauldron, from the vendor robot. “Twelve pence, young sir,” the robot cheerfully told him with a quick gesture to the coin slot in his wrist.

The boy counted out twelve copper-colored coins from his purse one by one. Then, shooting Adrina a sly smirk, held them out to the robot. But just as the robot reached for them, Christian tossed them into the air. The coins flashed in the sunlight for just a moment, and then landed in the dirt nearby. “You seem to have dropped something! Allow me to help you,” the vendor robot said without the slightest hint of annoyance. Nearby, three other robots within range said the exact same thing, and all four of them stooped down to pick up the money.

Christian took Adrina’s hand and they took off running. He was giggling wildly at the sheer cleverness of his little prank. And he no doubt thought that Adrina would be impressed as well. They ran as though the police were after them for such a dastardly deed. Finally they stopped near the stone wall of a bank, out of breath. “Stupid Clankers,” Christian said as he recovered his breath. He looked to Adrina to see if she agreed, and she quickly nodded too. “Want to mess with them some more?” he asked.

She didn’t really want to. The robots that she’d known had always been friendly and courteous and helpful, as they were all programmed to do. But she did want to impress Christian, who was two grades older than her and was already starting to grow a beard. He’d chosen her to escort him to the summer fair over all of the other girls his age, and this was her chance to make a good impression. So she nodded in agreement, and they found a new victim.

The street sweeper bot scurried underfoot, weaving between groups of humans to find bits of litter. It was no larger than a dog, and shaped vaguely like an upturned bucket with little brush bristles poking out from the bottom. Christian pulled a scrap of paper from his pocket and dropped it on the ground, immediately catching the attention of the streetsweeper. It rushed over to pick up the garbage, and as soon as it came into range, Christian planted one boot on the top of it and kicked it over onto its side. The little wheels underneath spun futilely, and the brushes were still sweeping back and forth in a vain attempt to pick up the paper. This sent Christian into fits of laughter.

“Hey!” A tinny voice shouted at them in a tone that Adrina had never heard from a robot. “Leave that poor thing alone!” The sound was so unfamiliar that it took her a while to sense that the robot was angry. She turned to see a robot advancing through the crowds toward the pair of them. But it didn’t look like any model that she’d ever seen. It was tall and thin, humanoid shaped and made of copper-colored metal. But it was wearing clothes: a long coat, a belt with different containers, and a top hat. And it also carried a long slender cane. Why would a robot need a cane? she wondered. If it was having trouble walking, then it should be fixed or just scrapped by its owner. As the robot came closer, she noticed that the top of the cane was in the shape of a human skull. “Sod off, you dumb Clanker!” Christian shouted to it. Just for emphasis, he gave the streetsweeper another shove, then shot a smug grin at the approaching robot.

“Maybe we should just leave it alone,” she said d quietly. “We could go on one of the rides or something…” she nodded over to the large Ferris wheel that towered over the whole fairgrounds. She’d heard that you could see the whole city from up at the top.

“No metalhead tells me what to do!” Christian said, utterly ignoring her suggestion. He kicked the streetsweeper again and then stepped in front of it as the angry robot approached them. “Now get out of here, or I’ll have you deactivated!”

The robot responded by whacking him with the cane across his shin. Even over the din of the crowd, Adrina could hear him sharply inhale. Then his cheeks turned beet red, he thrust out an accusing finger, and he opened his mouth to shout something at the robot. Before he could make another sound, the cane landed on his wrist with a thwap sound. Christian gave a squeal of pain, and his eyes glistened.

“Someone needs to teach you some respect, young man,” the robot said, raising the cane again. “Just because these beings serve you does not mean that they are here to be mistreated!”

Before another blow from the cane could fall, Christian scampered away through the crowd with tears running down his cheeks. He’d completely forgotten Adrina’s presence, leaving her cornered against a wall with the robot towering over her. The lenses of his eyes whirred as they adjusted and focused on her. He lowered the cane and walked toward her leaning on it for support just like a human would.

“We’re sorry,” she said, speaking for the now-absent Christian as well. Her voice was so soft that she was concerned that it might not hear her. The robot stopped and righted the street sweeper, which emitted a grateful beep and then scooted off to keep cleaning up after the humans. Then the clothed robot came closer to her. “I didn’t want to cause trouble,” she said as one of the bronze claws extended towards her. “Honest! I…”

The robot stopped in place. “You have a good heart, girl.” What a strange thing for a robot to say, she thought to herself, forgetting all of the panic of a moment earlier. “You don’t need to associate with the likes of him.” Adrina nodded, telling herself that if she played along, the robot would just let her go. But deep down, she knew that Christian was in the wrong here. The little street sweeper hadn’t done anything to them. She looked into the robots eyes and realized that even without a mouth, it was smiling at her. Robots couldn’t have facial expressions, though. They didn’t have emotions. This one… this one was odd.

“Here.” The robot retracted its claw and unbuttoned one of the little pouches along its belt. From within it removed a silver coin that was notched all along the edges like a gear. But it didn’t have the king’s profile on one side and the royal sigil on the other. There was a robotic fist on one side, and on the other, a series of scratches and grooves that she vaguely recognized from the punch cards that her mother used to program their housekeeper robot. “Keep this,” the robot told her. “It’s a Mechanical Union token.” She’d heard her father say that before, but she didn’t know what it meant. “You’ll know when the time to use it has come.”

It turned away from her began to hobble back into the crowd. A few pedestrians nearby had stopped to stare, but no one had called for the constable or anything. The idea of a robot hurting a human was so extraordinary that they’d all just assumed it was some sort of mistake.

“What does it say?” she asked before it could get too far away. She ran a finger over the grooves, which were very delicate and fine.

“Service, Efficiency, Liberty,” it answered. The last word was spoken with defiance, daring anyone to challenge it being placed in the same set. Then the robot reached up, tipped the brim of its hat toward her, and walked away.

Incredible story. It beautifully matches the picture that inspired it

Prompt from /u/arro_b, who sent it to me in a PM, and /u/therealwoden, who posted it in /sub/writingprompts, and /u/One_Giant_Nostril, who posted it in /sub/imaginarymonsters.

I'm now posting all of my writing on Wattpad. You should follow me there. All of my prompt responses will be posted in this folder here, and I've also set them up for Cyberdyne of the Night's Watch and The Batman Delusion, with more to come!

Thanks! I like doing image prompts because I want readers to be able to visualize the story happening.

I imagine the token much like the token in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Maybe in the future we could see a seperate story where the girl has to use the token?

I'm not sure how you'd work it, honestly, but i'm interested now.

A Fresh Start

A Fresh Start

[WP] In the future, time travel becomes possible but the travelers must be wiped of a part of memory in order to avoid interfering with the history. Today, as you took a trip back in time, you realize you still remember the "future".

The line shuffled forward until I was face to face with the first robot. It thrust a pile of dirty rags toward me, all in varying shades of grey and brown. “Your new clothes, sir.” The thing had been programmed to be polite, but ‘sir’ just sounded condescending to me. I was only here because I was a worthless, skill-less drain on society, and treating me like some sort of high society gentleman didn’t help much. “Please go into one of the booths ahead and dress.”

I followed the instructions, which is about all I’m good at. I walked into one of the waiting dressing rooms where another polite robot watched me get naked. I got dressed in my ‘new’ clothes that were faded and patched, and stuck my old clothes into a chute never to be seen again. The very last of my possessions, probably off to be incinerated or something. Everything else I owned had already been sold off, with some of the proceeds paying for my trip back and the rest going toward the debts I was leaving behind. As soon as I was done, another door whooshed open. “Please follow the path to the reassignment specialist.”

Another robot greeted me, and I just scowled at it. Not that it cared. “Your papers,” it said. A slot opened up, and I grabbed the yellowed parchment with cursive handwriting on it. It said Passport on the cover, but no photo or any other information about me other than my name and gender. Security wasn’t as tight back in the 1860s, and immigrants were able to slip into the United States with just this simple piece of paper. No questions about their background, or whether they really originated in Cork County Ireland instead of 22nd century Los Angeles.

America in the throes of the Civil War was the perfect place to send us back. I’d be just another starving Irishman (according to my passport) among the crowd that was streaming into the country to escape starvation and British oppression. The Union was so drained for manpower that they wouldn't look twice at an able-bodied young man. Four hundred of us would arrive at Ellis Island as passengers on the Morning Light, a steamer that ran regular routes between Dublin and New York but didn’t actually exist. No one at the immigration desk would bother to actually check that fact when there were hundreds of us there at his desk as proof that the ship did exist. We’d be unleashed onto New York City with nothing but our implanted memories and empty bellies, left to fend for ourselves just like anyone else.

The resettlement agency had explained all of this before I signed up. That my job prospects would be pretty slim, and that odds are I’d end up in the Union Army, signing away my life for a steady paycheck and a ration of rum. Or in a factory, working my hands to the bone. Or life on the ships, eventually going crazy from syphilis contracted in some strange port. The Andrew Carnegies, those immigrants who came to America and got rich beyond their wildest dreams, were one-in-a-million. But that was a better shot than I’d ever been given before, and I jumped at the chance.

“Please memorize your ID and pertinent backstory,” the robot told me. “Those memories will be left intact during the wipe of your limbic system.”

“Right.” I stared down at the piece of paper and read it all over again. George McKinney, 27, born 1835, Cork County, Morning Light… There really wasn’t that much to read.

“This way, please,” the passport-dispensing robot told me. Arrows along the walkway lit up, leading me to a set of metal pods. This is it. Those were the time machines; I’d seen a million pictures of them over the years but never one in person. You weren’t allowed to own one, and I’d never actually been into a resettlement facility before. And once you see them, you’re generally on your way to have all of your memories erased anyway. When the Resettlement Agency promises a fresh start, they mean it. Traveling back in time and messing with the timeline is risky enough as it is, which is why they make sure that we’ve got our authentic clothes and documents. And why they drop us off in Ellis Island, where everyone is coming to start a new life.

“Please take a seat and lean back against the headrest,” the pod announced as the door snapped shut behind me. The interior of the pod was all gleaming chrome and jet black fabric, but the headrest had a set of lights in it. I’d always been curious about how it worked, but if I’d known that then I’d have a lucrative career as a brain surgeon technician and wouldn’t need to go back in time for a job in the first place. So I just did as I was told. “You might feel a slight pain or headache,” the machine warned.

There was a buzzing sound in my ear, and the pod was filled a dim blue light from behind my head. I gulped, and reached up toward my scalp to try to wipe away a bead of sweat from under the wig without moving it. It was getting really hot and uncomfortable under this damn thing, but my cousin Carl had said that I had to keep it in place. Otherwise the scanner would detect that something was wrong. That it was just erasing the image of a brain from the little doo-dad underneath the wig. My cousin had called it a “juke,” and said it was just like the one that the Carnegies had used when they went back.

“Thank you,” the pod finally told me. “Your memories have been erased, and your limbic system has been temporarily disrupted. Brain function will return to normal in forty five minutes when you have arrived at Ellis Island.”

I closed my eyes and did a check, just to be sure. A movie reel of memories played through my mind. Mom and Dad, growing up with my cousin, goofing off in school… everything was still there. But more importantly, my knowledge was still intact. Carl had helped me cram in every fact and figure about the time period that we could possibly imagine. Stock numbers, successful companies, maps of resources… I studied more in the past two weeks since getting the wig than I did in my entire life of going to school. All still intact. I breathed a quiet sigh of relief.

“Have a pleasant trip back,” the pod said cheerfully, “and best of luck in your new life.”

“Thank you,” I said as I leaned back and got comfortable. “I’ve got a pretty good feeling about this.”

Prompt from /u/AidenL.

It's a bit different in that the prompt implies that keeping the knowledge was an accident, whereas in this case he intentionally tricks the machine to give him an edge in starting his new life.

Oh man, this one really drew me in. I hope you continue!

I've really liked the idea of a time traveler going back to make a bunch of money. I've written about it a few times, like this one.

But I'd love to do a Western story where the protagonist is a local sheriff and the villain is a time traveler who has come back to buy up all of the land with oil in it or whatever. It's something I've played around with for a long while but never really committed to because I can't really think of a good way for the sheriff to learn/suspect the time traveler's true nature and motives.

Didn't you also have a story where the 'future' sent back agents to intercept illegal time travelers? (and they would be guessing what century they came from?)

Putting that together with your old west plotline, you could have a "good sheriff" from the future come back in pursuit of the villian, but be defeated - and have the old west sheriff discover/overhear/etc?

Edit: By the way, I really love the historical tie-ins. (i.e. that Carnegie was a time traveler and that's how he got wealthy)

I'm banned from /sub/Writingprompts now

I'm banned from /r/Writingprompts now

For two months. I was banned last week but I was trying to explain my side of the story to the mods and hoped to get unbanned.

Pretty upset about it to the point where even my boss noticed and asked me what was wrong. I couldn't exactly explain to him that it's because I will no longer be able to post on the site where I waste all of my time at work.

I don't even feel comfortable explaining why because I think the moderators there will find some fault with whatever I say and extend the ban. (Edit: I was going to refrain from trying to explain the cause, but that seems to just be causing more confusion.) In general terms that I think they would agree with, the mods thought that I was being unfair and hypocritical in how I criticized some aspects of the subreddit that I dislike and that because I have a sizeable number of readers here that my words would carry more weight than criticism from the average user. I'd also ask that you don't harass them or anything, because that will just make it worse.

In case that last sentence was not clear enough, please do not message the mods about me or on my behalf or anything like that.

So... not really sure what to do. I guess I'll keep writing and posting here for you all. I will also probably put more emphasis on Patreon; I just started a new story about a psychic Orc detective that I was excited about. So I guess that's something for all of you Patrons to look forward to.

I just thought you all deserved the reason behind why I may not be posting frequently anymore. Sorry to disappoint.

The response to this has really blown me away. I never expected that it would be this big. I have made a new post to discuss what steps I'll take moving forward to ensure that you all still ....

You know what really annoys me? Consistently high quality contributors to a sub. Ban them all, I say.

that's a bit of a disappointment. Your submissions were always fascinating to read. Not just because of your skill with words but also because you weren't afraid to take a slightly different slant on things. If I'm allowed to ask, without betraying confidences or getting into too much personal information, what happened?

So the most popular writers in the sub don't get to publicly criticise the mods there because their fans might take their side and agitate for those changes? So they banned you because they were, what, afraid of your power? Because your legions of fans, who are of course all absolute bogan Juggalo t_D hooligans, might brigade the sub?

Edit: Apparently that mod's never heard of the Streisand Effect.

I agree, let's ban /u/Shitty_watercolour from AskReddit.

On a non-sarcastic note, I'm sorry Luna. I haven't been on Writing Prompts in a while, but when I was a regular reader I always scanned for your posts.

I won't be able to write anything else for most of October

I won't be able to write anything else for most of October

Because I am getting married! I normally don't talk about my personal life very much, but I'm too excited to hold it in! Plus, you'd probably notice me being absent for a few weeks and might wonder what happened.

I'll be very busy with last minute planning and preparation, and then I am going to be on my honeymoon with no internet connection. So no writing for at least a few weeks. Sorry!!

If you're really itching for some more of my writing, then you can always pick up a copy of Prompt Me, a collection of stories as well as some new continuations! And if you already have it, you should leave a review when you've finished it!

So that's it. Hopefully you're not too disappointed, and hopefully you'll still be subscribed here when I return!

Plague

Plague

[WP] Cause of death appears to you as floating text over people's heads with no time indication. You start noticing a trend.

I stop noticing the causes after a while. They were boring. Lots of heart disease and various types of cancer. I was in college; those things were years and years down the road. Every once and a while, I'd see things like "suicide" or "automobile crash." Though sad and preventable, I had no real way of knowing when it would happen or why. So there was nothing I could do about it.

But some deaths were preventable, or changed based on new events in the world. On my way to class, I saw a young lady walking nearby with a cause that could be easily prevented: "Drug Overdose." I'm normally not one to reach out to strangers, but I figured I had to get involved. This was definitely a college-age cause of death. I ran across the quad and asked her out. She was shocked, but smiled shyly and accepted. Her name was Sarah, and her sign changed after about a month of us dating. Now, it says "dementia;" I still check every morning when I wake up. It's sad, but I take comfort in knowing we'll live a long life together.

After a few years, I learned to just tune the signs out. I had so much on my mind now. Work, baby on the way, mortgage, student loans... far too much for me to be worrying about how other people might die. Sure, I got involved when I could, but that wasn't very often. And who am I to thwart fate?

My boss entered my office with a new client folder and dumped it on my desk, on top of the 10 other folders requiring my attention. "Howard is out sick today," he informed me, "so you need to take this one." I rolled my eyes and looked up, ready to argue. But instead of the usual "heart attack" floating over his head, he had a new one. Bright green, like how I picture radioactive sludge. And it said "Plague."

I was too distracted to argue. I'd never seen a "plague" sign before. I stood up from my cubicle and glanced around the office at my coworkers. 7 of them had changed to "plague" as well. When had this happened?? As I watched, a secretary's red "suicide" sign changed to "plague" as well.

I hopped online looking for any news about some new disease or anything. Nothing. I searched for outbreaks and 'mystery' illnesses and any other search term I could think of. Nothing. Maybe it was a long way off. Maybe I had plenty of time.

I left early that day. I couldn't be in the office. As I walked to the subway station, I began to notice more and more green. And more and more people were changing by the minute. From the looks of it, the plague would already be killing about half of New York, and that number was growing. Nearby, someone coughed, with that disgusting hacking sound of fluid-filled lungs. I scrambled across the street in utter terror and ran the rest of the way home.

Sarah was working at her desk when I arrived. Thank god; her sign was unchanged. She wouldn't be infected, at least not yet. She rubbed her tummy with a smile as I entered. "I felt him kick today," she said, practically bursting with the news. I was too distracted to react; she was crestfallen. "We need to get out of town," I said, trying to hide the panic in my voice. Her face let me know that I was failing miserably. "What is it?" she asked. I had already made my way to the bedroom and started throwing things in suitcases. I didn't have time to argue.

We made our way down to the street to get a cab. I was lugging two enormous suitcases, and dragging Sarah behind me. She was confused and scared, but had agreed to come along. At least for now. Outside, the street was a sea of bright green. I heard more and more coughing.

We finally got into a cab. The driver had a bright green 'Plague' sign over his head. "Where to?" he asked. "JFK," I said. Well, 'shouted' would be more of an apt description.

As we drove, the thick haze of green changed suddenly to a bright purple that I'd never seen before. Almost every green sign was now gone; the few that remained were probably going to be the first outbreak victims. The purple letters spelled out "Nuclear explosion."

House Ambaret

House Ambaret

[EU] For generations, Hogwarts students have been divided into four houses. As you sit beneath the Sorting Hat, you become the first student chosen for a mysterious fifth house.

"My word," the Hat said. "What a peculiar mind. I certainly do love a challenge! Let's see what we have to work with here. Smart, certainly. But you're not the Ravenclaw type. They care only for books and spells, not creativity and ingenuity. Hufflepuff is a possibility; you seem like a fine fellow. But there's a vein of courage and pride that that dear Helga would not have approved of. No, no: that's Gryffindor's expertise."

My eyes lit up as he said Gryffindor, and the front row of the Great Hall tensed up as if expecting the announcement to come soon. Everyone wanted to be in Gryffindor; that was the house of Harry and Hermoine and Ron!

"They'd certainly love to have you, I'm sure. But I don't think it would be the right fit. You seem to be more cautious and calculating than some of those headstrong lugs. Slytherin, perhaps? I think not; I don't sense the manipulative ambition in you. You have pride, but not arrogance. You have desire, but not greed. My my, a strange specimen indeed."

Headmaster Chang was beginning to get impatient; she glanced at the gold pocketwatch in her hand and smiled reassuringly at me.

The deliberation continued for half an hour. A cluster of teachers had gathered in a corner, whispering in hushed tones and occasionally glancing back at the stage. I could tell that they were trying to guess if something was wrong with me.

Maybe there's no place for me, I thought, panicking just a bit. Maybe they'll send me home and tell me to try Durmstrang instead.

Just as Headmaster Chang stood from the table and made her way onto the stage, the hat cried out. Everyone in the room perked up; I think some people had assumed it fell asleep on my head or something.

"AHAH!" it shouted with a cackle that echoed through the enormous hall. "I've got it!"

Headmaster Chang retreated a bit.

"AMBARET!" the hat announced.

The hall was silent; the other students weren't sure if they should clap or not. He hadn't said one of the houses. Headmaster Chang, however seemed to know what that meant. She let out a tiny whisper: "Oh my..."

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