Monday, March 31, 2008

Round Robin, Sophie From Shinola Part 5

Last week I signed up to be part of a round robin writing experiment that comes together across many blogs and was thought of by Nathan over at Polybloggimous. The premise of the experiment is pretty straightforward: one person starts the story, writing approx. 100-500 words and the next person puts part two on his or her blog, changing one main element of the story, linking then to the previous and following posts and so on. The clearer, full instructions, can be found here, along with part one (scroll down). Then there are the following parts:

Part the Second
Part the Third
Part the Fourth

Sophie's second body was a latticework icosahedron stubbed with momentum and death, incapable of both atmospheric and interstellar travel, but ideal for turning and whirling and whipping around the first invasion fleet, cutting it to pieces in twelve-point-five minutes. If fake-Sophie wasn't crazy when she saw Sophie's first two bodies, oh, she was crazy after the Battle Of Chenolla Oort, where the precognitive interdictors of SpaceForce ambushed the Kollithi fleet. Crazy and weak and screaming from within the brain in the shell.

Part 5

From far below, Blink could tell that Sophie was in distress. Through their link, Blink could feel her fear and confusion, even the fear of the imposter. The imposter smelled the same as Sophie, and this confused Blink. The imposter’s thoughts were different from Sophie’s but there were similarities, and this confused Blink more. Another spike of fear and this time pain from Sophie and not-Sophie. For a second time, Blink blinked. The Mother was up there with Sophie yet she did not do anything to stop the fear and pain. He had to get to Sophie. If the Mother was not going to stop whatever was hurting Sophie, Blink would have to.

The small brown creature was still stuck in the hole in the corner of the dumpster. Blinked nudged it again, trying to push it through the hole, but it only squeaked louder. The small brown creature was a filthy thing. Normally Blink didn’t eat filthy things. Not when Blink received good food from Sophie and the Mother, good thinks like shrimp crackers. But Blink could wait no longer and he flicked out his tongue and snapped up the small brown creature. There was one little squeak before the crunch and then it was still. The filthy thing wasn’t all bad, and the taste triggered some exciting hereditary memories from when his ancestors roamed the fields of Chenolla VI.

Blink expanded the link with the Mother, and her mind was full of strange words like psychiatric evaluation, defense mechanism, and split personality, all of which were associated with images of Sophie. The Mother was also very sad. It made Blink sad. Then came words like looney bin and mental. The Mother thought that Sophie had no chance of getting into the SpaceForce Training Academy with such disorders. Blink didn’t understand the words, only the feelings.

With the thing out of his way, Blink began the process of loosening his joints to fit through the hole. It was a slow process and many times Blink picked up more fear from Sophie and not-Sophie. This made Blink want to rush, but he took his time so as not to get hurt on the sharp metal around the hole in the dumpster.

Finally, Blink was free and he pulled his many limbs back into position. The building that stood before him was tall and smooth, and Sophie was near the top. That would not stop Blink, because Blink, with his many limbs, was such a good climber. All he knew was that Sophie needed him, and so he went.

Part the Sixth


mattw said...

I know we have to change a fundamental element of the story, and I think I made the change subtle.

Jeri said...

I may be insufficiently caffeinated this morning.

Was your subtle change that Blink is now a he?

Or was it that in your timeline nutty Sophie has not yet entered spaceforce?

Or am I missing it entirely?

Nice job fleshing out Blink, he's starting to take shape as a character.

mattw said...

The change was that the alien that has taken over Sophie isn't an alien, but another personality. That Sophie's got split personality disorder and the "alien" is a defense mechanism. That's all my sitting at work, fighting off a cold brain could come up with this morning.

Also, I wanted to flesh out Blink some more.

Jeri said...

Ah, gotcha. It's kind of related to my second guess. Very creative idea! Paranoid delusions and hallucinations are always fun to write. (I'm not being facetious, they were the core of my Nanowrimo book and, in the end, the best sections)

I wanted to make sure I understood yours before I dive into my section.

Can I have a Blink of my own? He seems much smarter than my idiot doggies. ;)

Shawn Powers said...

I love Blink. :) Also, I like that Sophie changed from an alien hybrid to a plain old mental case. What an amazing little girl! (well, girl for now...)


Nathan said...

I'm still waiting for somebody to turn her into a SpaceHooker. Is that so much to ask?


I caught the change. Did she hallucinate Eric's part?

mattw said...

I think Eric's part could still have happened to her (that would be the pain and fear that Blink detects). That would be a prime example of why the "alien" personality is needed, to cope with things that are beyond an 11-year-old's ability to comprehend. I guess, though, it will all depend on what Jeri and future contributors decide if those experiences really happened to her.

MWT said...

Awww, poor small brown creature.

And poor Eric too, for having his part turned into an "it was all a dream." ;)

mattw said...

I didn't intend for Eric's part to be turned into an "it all happened in a dream" kind of part. I figured she could still be turned into a ship of some kind, but her mind would then let the alien personality take over and deal with it. But then again, it's open to interpretation and people can take it however they want in creating the following parts.

Sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes.

Shawn Powers said...

This kind of blog game leaves toes completely out for the stepping. Even if they are stepped on, no one is allowed to get upset. :)

Blink could easily be eaten by a dinosaur any minute now... Or Sophie's mom could actually remove her brain. And eat it, what with her new zombie persona (that she might get, who knows!)...

I liked the installment, Matt. :)

Nathan said...

The funny thing is that when I hadn't heard anything from Matt by late this morning, I sent him an email asking if he was ready or should we come back to him. I Also emailed Jeri to let her know that she might be on deck. Matt's response that he'd posted his and Jeri's "standing by" response showed up withing seconds of each other.

Jeri jokingly said that Eric's entry was going to be a tough act to follow and threatened to do an "It was all just a dream" entry.

Well, I think its funny. :D

MWT said...

To clarify (and possibly make things worse for me when Eric reads this), I didn't mean my comment in the spirit of "bad Matt! don't do that again!" It was more of a "bwahahaha! Alas poor Eric, we knew him..."

Random Michelle K said...

Actually, I just assumed that Sophie's possession was being treated as MPD by the medical personnel.

Kinda like... never mind. I just over geeked myself.

Jeri said...

Part 6 is done, here.

Enjoy. I think. ;)

Eric said...

The whole point of this kind of thing is to watch the tale wind left and right and roundabout. You can never tell where a story is going to end up--you shouldn't be able to tell.

Whether it's just a dream or not, it's interesting to see where people go with things.

I'll note that having Sophie's change being upsetting to her is, of itself, an interesting change from where I might have gone on my own; if this were something I was doing all by myself (sequeling myself on ficlets, for instance), I might have had Sophie transmitting a letter home and surrealistically talking about how much fun she has zooming around and making things go bloosh ("except, mommy, nothing sounds like anything out here, I just make a blooshing noise in my brain when I blow it up--it's fun!"). But it isn't my story, it's our story: it's likely that my twist (install a brain directly into the ship) wasn't what Nathan or Shawn had in mind when they did started the story.

"Poor Eric" nothing--it would be poor me if everyone else wrote the exact same thing I did, because it would mean none of us were particularly clever. I like being surprised.

An excellent sequel, Matt.