The Worm Farmer's Rebellion

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The Worm Farmer's Rebellion

Postby Red_Robot » Mon Mar 16, 2015 5:32 am

The Worm Farmer's Rebellion: Chapter 1


>>>>>>>>>>File Log #22386-02B Supplemental Transcript<<<<<<<<<<
Subject: Native of Gauldern 3, human female approximately age 20, answers to the name of Delia
+++ Subject shows typical phenotypic expression of developmental malnutrition and diminished gravity environment
+++ Subject is under influence of 7cc nerptorol during entirety of deposition

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>16:46:29<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


“You...have got...to be kidding me.”

That was the first thing out of my mouth.

In the end, that was what all the months of conspiracy and planning had become. Weeks of clandestine meetings and recruitment, spent scraping together wulongs and resources badly needed elsewhere and playing nice with the system that had ruined our lives. Anxiously we had waited the six to eight weeks for delivery. And in the end, it was six gunmetal grey shipping containers and a slip of smudged, blurry paper that read, “Some assembly required.”

This was our Worm Farmer's Rebellion.

...
...
...

I guess I should start from the beginning. The real very first thing.

Gauldern 3 had always had a troubled history. It was one of the first colonies established back during the dawn of the Gate Age. Back in...double aught 66 I think. It really wasn’t much to speak of. A little warm ball of mud floating in the star’s habitable zone. It was metal poor and primordial, but it had breathable atmosphere and soil and water to grow crops in, and Earth needed farms to feed its hungry people.

I guess in those days it wasn’t so much about studying a new and unique ecosystem. Investors had to get repaid, and research papers made lousy sandwiches. So at the same time survey teams were cataloging the extraterran biology, new invasive species were being introduced on a regular basis. Shrimp farms and rice paddies sprang up in contained settlements, and more colonists arrived every day.

Five new taxonomic Kingdoms had to be made for Gauldern 3 I’m told. A lot of the living things blurred the lines between Kingdom Planta and Kingdom Animalia. Biggest land based predator is the Trapper Funnel, which has sticky surface roots that it uses to snare prey and drag them into its digestion chamber. Most annoying pest we have we called the Black Dust. It’s some sort of symbiotic fungal spore coupled with an amoeba-like organism. They love the protein in hair, apparently. That’s why everyone here shaves everywhere. I’m told back in the early colony, there was a market for wigs. Can you imagine? And that’s why everyone wears goggles and masks outside. If you don’t they’ll eat your eyelashes and you’ll end up with the worst case of eyeboogers you’ve ever seen. If they get in your ears you’ll go deaf. If you stay here much longer, you’ll see.

Anyway, part of that unique biota is the wugu bean. The wugu bean is the fruit of the wugu tree….again not strictly a tree in the taxonomic sense, but it fills a similar niche. It has cellulose cell walls and a vascular system similar to plants, but also has little intercellular organelles similar to coral polyps. It gives off big clouds of gametes like dandelion fluff. It grows in clusters in marshy land similar to terran mangroves. The wood of the tree is really quite beautiful. It has a sheen to it similar to gypsum. I guess once-upon-a-time back on Earth it was considered quite exotic, and wugu wood furniture was a big trend. I read in one of the colony logs that Ikea had a factory here at one time. And at one time, the bean was considered quite nutritious.

So, wugu beans became the colony’s signature crop and main export. Large areas of land were cultivated for wugu orchards. It made the colony a lot of money I guess. Farming started to focus exclusively on the wugu. And things went on like that for some time.

And then one day, people started getting sick after the bean harvest. Like, really sick. There was a sudden spike in food allergies associated with the wugu bean. People died. Including some people back on Earth. The Transit Authority put the colony on quarantine until there could be an investigation.

Turns out, the bean had changed in chemical composition. It was producing allergens in a way that spiked dramatically from previous harvests. It also turned out that the bean contained sterols that promoted infertility and neural calcification in humans.

You see, the wugu bean wasn’t a fruit or a seed in the more traditional terran sense. The wugu pods would eventually mature and burst, giving off these milky cottony clouds of gametes that look so beautiful in the dry season. Other organisms don’t eat the pods then poop the seeds out. The wugu tree was developing defenses against an aggressive invasive species. And that species was us.

The wugu bean market collapsed overnight. People lost their fortunes. I guess things got pretty bad. A lot of the colony got stripped and sold off so people could buy tickets for a hop through the transit gate. Those that couldn’t stayed behind. Gauldern 3 became a ghost colony.

Things went on like that for a long time. It wasn’t dark ages, but survival in an extraterran environment is tough, anyway. Some settlements collapsed, became scattered. But some people survived and adapted, the way people do. Those people were our great grandparents and great great grandparents. There was still occasional contact with the Union, by way of humanitarian and relief missions. But charity is costly and those sort of things became the fodder for tales told by generations.

And then one day in about 228 I guess, that little star that hangs up in the sky on the northern horizon opened up again, and ships came through. It was sort of like something from a children’s tale. Sleek angular ships falling out of the sky...full of people! These strange people from Earth, so tall and strong, with their big open smiles and heads full of long wavy hair. They had the oddest accents, and had tech with them that was a hundred years advanced beyond our remanents.

They were from Reamer Investments Consortium as part of what they called the Solar Union Consortium Colonial Outworld Reclamation (SUCCOR) Initiative. They told us the Solar Union had not forgotten its children on distant worlds, and Gauldern 3 was a candidate for colonial reinvestment and refurbishment. Some of the nativeborn were skeptical, but it was hard not to be impressed.

RIC had an opportunity. They were looking for agriculturists to cultivate something called crask worms. The crask worm is a grub that looks a bit like a big fat mealworm. They bore into wood and eat plant mulch and eventually turn into a carnivorous moth. Their real value though was in their pupa stage. While in metamorphosis they secrete a hormone that has highly valuable pharmacology applications. And Gauldern 3 had the proper climate and no natural predators to make cultivation of the crask worm in large quantities both possible and profitable. And this was only to be the first step of a new and sustainable agrarian economy. There was talk of terraforming and cultivating nucorn and sugar cane, crawfish and water beans. Reamer Investments would bring in the new equipment and supplies. We just had to work the land. The investments would be repaid off the back end of our profits.

It’s hard to say no over a good meal when you’re used to krill surimi. So, our parents became worm farmers.

A few months after that more ships arrived, bearing supplies and equipment, and even new colonists in the form of Martian refugees. That caused a bit of friction among the nativeborn but it was exciting to have contact with new humanity. Gauldern mostly relied on a barter economy by this time, and reliance on the Solar Wulong was problematic due to inflation. So RIC introduced Reamerbucks as a local monetary unit the nativeborn could exchange for new frames and worm eggs until the colony got on its feet.

And with that, the new worm farmers moved into the old feral wugu groves. The trees that had raised Gauldern 3 up, then laid it low, would be razed to provide mulch for the crask worms and the new economy. It was sort of like we were taking revenge for the previous generations.

Unfortunately the crask worm has a long and complex life cycle, and it would be a couple years before the first harvest. But RIC assured us everything was on schedule. They were scouting locations for terraforming outposts, and would advance us lines of credit to pay for food and farming equipment in the mean time. They also established broadcast outposts so the local populations could get TVC15 and get new Solar Union goods. It was Gauldern’s renaissance.

The first harvest was successful. The crask worm proved robust in Gauldern’s climate, and the worm oil had a purity that started a bidding war among multiple pharmaceutical companies. Reamer Investments was pleased. The profits from the first harvest would cover their initial costs and be the down payment for new terraforming equipment. Three more harvests would see the colony completely in the black and higher standards of living for everyone on Gauldern 3. The crask worm surimi wasn’t too bad either.

Unfortunately, worm farming wasn’t very sustainable. With money to be had, more and more land was being clearcut for worm farms. The composted land afterwards was actually very rich for crops, but selling rice at SU prices had a much lower profit margin, and paying back debts owed to RIC became a matter of decades. If you wanted to exchange Reamerbucks for wulongs, it was worms or bust.

And then things went bust. Gauldern was into it’s fourth season harvest when the Dust Bowl hit. You see, those pretty fronds on the boughs of the wugu tree? Well those aren’t just leaves like on terrestrial trees. Those are actually like….feathery polyps...used not just for respiration, but they’re also a filter feeding system for the wugu. They filter out little bits of dust, pollen, spores, tiny organisms, and the wugu eats them as part of its chemosynthesis process. Well, one of the things the wugu filters out in this way is the Black Dust. And we were removing that protection from the ecosystem.

Dust storms started to blow in across the fields and settlements; huge clouds of this sooty black creeping spore. The Black Dust has always been a nuisance on Gauldern, but now it was a threat verging on ecological collapse. The spores started to mature into large creeping colonies of glistening slime. The Black Jelly contaminated everything. It got into the rice paddies and the shrimp farms. It contaminated the water supply.

People were scared and angry, and they wanted answers. RIC had plenty of answers, but they never seemed to be of the useful sort. Where was the terraforming equipment we desperately needed? What was being done about the Dust Bowl? RIC assured us it was taking biological surveys to assess the ecological impact and produce conservation techniques to reverse the situation. The terraforming equipment was on order from Venus and it would be arriving within a month.

What arrived a month later wasn’t terraforming equipment. They were mercenaries or security contractors or whatever you want to call them. Twanks, LLC if you can believe that. They had these squat, square frames that were basically pillboxes on legs. They were way different than the forestry and farming frames that we were used to. Everyone joked that they had no arms. But no one joked about those huge canons that yawned at you like an open mouth.

The Twanks were there to provide security for Reamer Investments holdings. Twanks guarded the spaceports and the terraforming outposts, the uplink towers and the worm processing stations. It was like some absurdist joke. People started to realize they had been duped. Where was the SU presence? Why wasn’t anyone sending relief aid? Didn’t anyone give a futch what was happening to us?

And so, when people get angry, they do the things people do when they get angry. A crowd of people had gathered outside RIC offices in Mudflat City to protest. The crowd was getting pretty agitated and aggressive and a group of Twanks came trundling down the street to disperse them. Somebody in the crowd had set up a “Twank Twap”...a heavy cable that they pulled up between buildings. The Twank snared its legs and toppled forward into the road. The crowd got emboldened and started spraying graffiti on it and throwing bottles and rocks while it churned its legs and struggled. Then somebody threw a molotov. The other Twanks in the squad stumped forward and a voice crackled over a loudspeaker.

“A little grapeshot will quell these stone chuckers.”

The Twanks opened up with their guns. They call them Obliterators. Did you know that? They obliterated those people. 11 dead. 19 injured.

And that day started the Occupation of Gauldern 3.

Footage from the protests would spark the resistance. It would inspire my friends. It would inspire me. It would be the start of the Worm Farmer's Rebellion.
Last edited by Red_Robot on Sat May 09, 2015 5:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby Atavism » Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:48 am

Yay Twanks! Go get ehem *cough* I mean, what villains! :D

This is really good! The planet's natural biota are pleasingly awful and alien, and they make the backstory is a very genuine cautionary tale of expanding to weird planets. The scene where they trip the first Twank and then just mill around spray painting it and throwing rocks (until someone gets a better idea) was very real.

Hope more's coming soon!
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby Red_Robot » Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:19 pm

This is just the first chapter. I'm still writing chapter 2, but it's more about the expected MFZ fare of people fighting in giant robots and saying funny futuristic cuss words.

The problem I'm having is trying to make it funny. I wanted this story to be a slice-of-life thing for people on the customer side of the Budget Frame Wars. I intended it to have much more of an absurdist, Douglas Adams sort of feel. But then in my head I had to come up with why people would be desperate enough to put up with such frustrating frames. And then I found I had trouble making jokes about it.

The strange little planet became a whole other thing in my head. It had a story so I decided to tell it. We'll get to all the shooting and swearing and running around later.
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby spacemonkey » Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:25 pm

Awesome (awful?) bit of background you've created for Gauldern 3 there, Red_Robot! Regarding inserting/finding humor in your stories, I think you're going to want to look to your characters' personalities and actions which can easily take on very absurd twists even if their actual motivations are rather serious. I would expect soldiers/fighters find a number of ways to break or distract from the very stressful situations they find themselves in with gallows humor, pranks and bad jokes fitting in just as well as other options.
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby Atavism » Mon Mar 16, 2015 5:42 pm

If you feel like you're struggling to add humor to the work, then don't. Just do a straight war narrative and let the natural consequences of using silly frames take their course. Even if the tone of the work is overall darker than you were planning, little moments where the machines do stupid stuff or, like Spacemonkey said, the pilots themselves are doing something to unwind, can add the unexpected hint of humor that gives the reader a needed break from the gloom. Maybe that kind of mood "Office Space" developed, where the joke was often how needlessly miserable and frustrating their jobs were would be better suited than Douglas Adams (and the printer scene would probably be pretty appropriate).

I think if you wanted it to be a comedy first, then they need to buy the frames because they believed the crappy ads, or were assigned them by out of touch corporate bureaucrats, or something like that. They need to be victims of their frames, not victims of soul-crushing poverty and oppression that also forced them to buy terrible frames and live with it. At the very least it needs some repeatable structure, like the rebels having to go back to their shady arms dealer and listen to new pitches/explanations, that set up the expectation of future suckage.

Again, though, I really like what you've got going on here, and if silly waddling tanks and whatever mystery frames your protagonists have yet to assemble make for a little light in the dark it'll all turn out great.
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby Zero Revenge » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:57 pm

This is absolutely wonderful stuff. Well written, thought out, and while I lack a science degree, all seemed plausible enough to swallow.

I really enjoyed this first chapter, and thoroughly await the second!
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby Red_Robot » Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:37 pm

The Worm Farmer's Rebellion: Chapter 2 - Food For The Worms


>>>>>>>>>>File Log #22386-06D Supplemental Transcript<<<<<<<<<<
Subject: Native of Gauldern 3, human male approximately age 22, answers to the name of Navin
+++ Subject shows typical phenotypic expression of developmental malnutrition and diminished gravity environment
+++ Subject is under influence of 11cc nerptorol during entirety of deposition
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>18:23:46<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


“You...have got...to be KIDDING me!”

Those were the first words out of Delia’s mouth. If it was a joke it didn’t look like she thought it was very funny. Her fists were bunched up into balls and I think there was blood coming out of the corner of her eye. That little piece of greasy paper was sticking out of her fist in a chokehold.

“Some Assembly required?”

Tyco just shined her on. “Whoa...Delia...it’s not as bad as it looks!”

And that’s when it went down. All that tension in Delia’s body unwound like a spring! Tyco realized how hutched he was and tried to get his hands up in time. He had that damn reader in his left hand with the Free Colonists Cookbook on it that he was carried around like it was his cred. But it didn’t do hutch nuthin to slow down Delia’s swing. That girl was like a haiku in motion, 17 glorious syllables about how a fist connects to a face. Tyco hit the ground with his butt first shortly followed by his pride. He still hadn’t learned not to mess with the nativeborn girls.

But I gotta hand it to the guy, he still had that smile on his face when he got back up. A crew has to get things out of its system. He’d be sporting that bruise on his jaw for a couple weeks.

“Look….I know what it looks like. It looks like an irrevocable bunch of boop. We needed frames, and what we got was six crates of...stuff. But hear me out! What’s in here is everything we need to light the fuse on this resistance!”

Tyco pounded on the side of the metal box with his fist.

“This is our Worm Farmer's Rebellion!”

Tyco had gotten in contact with some fly-by-night supplier. Krate Hackworks or something like that. This supplier dealt in aftermarket frame parts...warranty-voiding mod kits and crap like that. I don’t know if this group had FC sympathies or if they were just interested in making a buck under the table. Revolution is dirty business I guess. So I guess you gotta deal with dirty people.

“Normal route...trading for frames...trying to buy machinery...what would we have been able to get? A couple mud-crusted MULEs? Old farmer Conroy’s B-022? In these boxes are five frames. Five! No, maybe not ready to wade out into the wugu groves right now. But this is the force of twenty five people behind our cause. And they don’t know we have them! Not yet. Not until it’s our moment!”

Tyco was always pretty good with speeches. He believed his own rhetoric, ya know? He was the kid with all the Northern Martian Republic flags hanging in his room, and all the logs on human rights and political scandal on his reader. He considered himself our leader. Though, if you had asked any one of us we wouldn’t have agreed. He was a rabble rouser. But….we were rabble, ya know? We would have been a soggy fuse without his spark.

In a way, it was so stupid it was almost ingenuous. The shipment consisted of six containers that on simple inspection appeared to just be an assortment of frame parts. The twist was that each container was specially reinforced to be used as a frame chassis. Included with the shipment was a chip with reader instructions for how to assemble the various parts into your own mobile frame.

We were working out of the barn on Cambo’s family farm, the whole lot of us: Me, Delia, Tyco, Cambo, Su, Niu, the Purgis twins, Clovis, Nandi, Meschach, and Mudbone. And a few of the other drovers that were clannish and mostly kept to their own but were lending a hand nonetheless. It was out in the lowlands, and the Reamer backed security forces seldom got that deep in the tangle. It took us about two weeks to get our new machines of liberation put together. And that was two weeks of swearing, spitting, bloody knuckles and giving up. At the end of a fortnight, we had five new frames assembled out of “gently used” parts, as well as a few leftovers, including a spare rusty box for a replacement chassis.

They were called Krates...and that about summed it up. We called ‘em Walkin’ Koffins. They were an upright box that served as a pilot compartment. The motivator package filled the lower portion of the box and gave it a serious case of lead butt. Which was a good thing I guess because the body was so long compared to the legs it would probably have tipped over. Trying to get one to walk was kinda like learning to run in diving flippers. The things lurched side to side so hard Su was constantly getting motion sickness and throwing up in his. There wasn’t so much a chair as a bicycle seat and a piloting harness that was suspended off the roll cage inside the frame. The unit backpacked the power plant, which was just precisely at head level. So when you fired it up, the roar of the engine vibrated around in that box and rattled your teeth loose. You got used to the tinnitus after a while. It kinda helped you sleep like white noise.

And that’s how we turned from a bunch of wannabes into a legit freedom fighting militia. Most of us had grown up together out in the tangle. Delia was from one of the old outpost camps, leftover from the first founding. Her great great grandparents had been “exobiologists” or something. Somewhere during the lost times, degrees stopped mattering. But Delia had a lot of old knowledge, and she was our natural scientist and conservationist. Cambo was a bit older than the rest of us, and he had left the family farm to work construction at one of the terraforming excavations. In a way, Cambo was the one who had tipped us all over. He had come back with news that the excavations just seemed like busy work moving dirt around. The terraformers were just vapor. Su and Niu were brother and sister who worked on their grandparent’s krill farm. They had gotten hit bad during the Dust Bowl. Tyco was a city kid from Mud Flats. Delia had met him when she was going to school. She had bought into his line of BS pretty hard because she brought him with her when she came back to the tangle. Tyco had been in Mud Flats during the riots, and he ran a shortwave pirate radio broadcast getting things stirred up. Me? Well, somebody had to be there to look out for Delia.

We needed a name, because, you know, every good gang needs a name. Romantic tradition demands it. We put suggestions in a hat and voted, and the top three suggestions were put into a run off. It was all very parliamentary. Titular hopefuls compromised such gems as…

The Hutch Brigade
The Scrap Squadron
The Green Guerillas
The Kickin’ Kans
The Mud River Drovers
The Hurdy Gurdy Cavaliers
The Outback Outlaws

But in the end, we settled on the Stone Chuckers. That’s what Reamer’s hired guns had called the rioters in Mud Flats. And that’s the way they saw us, as just a bunch of mud crusted hicks in the sticks throwing rocks and waving shotguns. They were going to need a little more than some grape shot to quell these stone chuckers.

Things had gotten real bad during the Dust Bowl. Worm Crops were failing. Krill farms were getting wiped out from Black Jelly. A lot of people were scared and angry. Some areas were going into full blown exodus with people selling whatever they could to try and buy transit tickets to pretty much anywhere else. And that’s when farmers started refusing to work the worm harvest.

That’s when things escalated. Reamer started waving paperwork and puking out legal babble about contractual obligations and debt reimbursement. They called the farmers in breach of contract, and declared that Reamer was within its legal rights to go into people’s farms and forcibly take their harvests. They started sending in groups of Twanks and transient workers to reap the compost fields and take the worms to mill. That’s when it became a shooting war.

We were ready when they came to Cambo’s farm. Well, “ready” is a bit generous. We had our Krates finished, and had cobbled together sheet metal shields and flame guns, saws and axes. We even had a few surprises whipped up from Tyco’s Free Colonist’s Cookbook. But we weren’t soldiers. We were just a bunch of drovers, farmers or hunters at best. But we knew what to expect out in the tangle. Which was better than you could say for Reamer’s army in a box.

They came in low out of the west, a tanker and an escort of two of those boxy Twank droppers. A couple of those VTOL Twanks were also buzzing around like big fat crask moths. We were hidden out in the woods and the cane with our engines cold. The minute they passed over us we powered on. Cambo pushed his MULE to its feet and fired off the first of his rockets. A big red blossom of fire erupted under the tanker’s right shrouded propeller and it started to spin and go down. It crashed just shy of the treeline on the other side of the mulch field. The dropships lurched and turned to engage, and that's when we opened up with the trebuchets.

Yeah...trebuchets. You heard right. You know, catapults. We’re Stone Chuckers after all. Some of the stones even hit!

That’s when the Twankers decided to go all hardcore and do a paratrooper drop with their frames. The bay doors released and the Twanks plunged out from 50 meters up, machine guns blazing.

Then they hit the mud like two ton bricks. Mud and compost squelched and splattered, and the Twanks were buried up to their waists in muck. Their little legs were driven into the mulch like stakes, and without arms they couldn’t dig themselves out. Those four Twanks had just become gun emplacements.

The other dropship decided this wasn’t such a good tactic and it landed a bit off to the right to disgorge it’s payload of frames in the more conventional method.

Things became a bit more heated at this point. The advantage of surprise was starting to burn off, and we were mostly armed with short ranged weapons against the Twank obliterators. Waddling across the mulch wasn’t exactly the easiest with our big froggy feet. Su still didn’t quite have the hang of it and he ended up tipping over. He buried his Krate’s eyestalk in the mud so deep he was blind for the rest of the fight.

And that’s when our trebuchets launched the second volley. The first round of stones had just been to sight in the range. The second launch was barrels of wood gas and fertilizer with RC detonators. Bombs blasted all over the field, laying down clouds of black greasy smoke. The Twanks started firing wildly while we kept charging forward like idiots. Cambo managed to down one of the flying Twanks with his rockets while he pushed ahead with his armored bucket, soaking bullets for us as we trudged forward.

By the time we closed with those mercs I had lost my shield, but my cauterizing saw was glowing orange hot. One and two! One and Two! And through and through! I took its leg off at the hip and its turret off at the seam. The roar of the engine and the blood in my ears was so loud I couldn’t hear anything being said over the comlinks anymore. It all bled together into one rushing shrieking noise. I just knew I had to find the next target. Everything focused down into the narrow point of light through my Krate’s periscope. Something exploded and the feedback rig for my right arm jolted and spasmed, shocking the hell out of me. I figured out later I had been shot. I found a Twank through the tunnel of my vision and charged, lurching side to side in an attempt to run serpentine. The inside of my Krate smelled like mud and smoke and cylinder fluid. I smashed into the Twank and we wrestled around in the mud like two turtles trying to drown each other. I managed to get the Twank's big gun smushed down in the mud and I was beating on the thing's rear hatch for who knows how long before I realized someone was screaming through the com for me to stop.

Somewhere around in there we won. The remaining Twanks fell back and loaded into their dropships and dusted off. Their buried buddies and the harvest tanker remained on the field. We gathered the prisoners at gunpoint and consolidated our gains. A couple of our Krates had been badly damaged, including mine. But between the buried Twanks and the harvest frames from the tanker we had parts for repairs and some ammo and weapons. We just needed time to strip and repair. We were sure the Reamer mercenaries would be back, and in greater numbers. Time was against us at this point.

We did what we could while expecting dropships on us at any moment. Hours passed and eventually darkness fell. We patched together our frames and gathered what we could, and then we abandoned the homestead. It was hard for Cambo and his family, but we decided it was best for fear of reprisals. Cambo’s folks could stay with some nearby drovers, good people. Neighbors. We blindfolded our prisoners and took them south a couple hours before dumping them out in the middle of the tangle. We gave them water filters and iodine pills and some dried surimi and told them to git. No idea if they ever made it back. Don’t much care.

At that point we decided to move to the next stage of our plan. We would move west and north to liberate the worm mill in Big Sticky. If we could take the processing plant, we could cut Reamer out of it and the farmers could process crask oil for themselves. If we couldn’t liberate it, we’d burn the place. Tyco was fond of saying, if you can destroy a thing you can control a thing. Sounded pretty damn good to me. I was drunk off whiskey and wood gas fumes by then so I was spoiling for a fight. We were sick of being Reamed. It was time for Reamer to feed the worms.
Last edited by Red_Robot on Sat May 09, 2015 5:02 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby Atavism » Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:51 pm

Red_Robot wrote:That’s when the Twankers decided to go all hardcore and do a paratrooper drop with their frames. The bay doors released and the Twanks plunged out from 50 meters up, machine guns blazing.

Then they hit the mud like two ton bricks. Mud and compost squelched and splattered, and the Twanks were buried up to their waists in muck. Their little legs were driven into the mulch like stakes, and without arms they couldn’t dig themselves out. Those four Twanks had just become gun emplacements.


Worth it!

Red_Robot wrote:I smashed into the Twank and we wrestled around in the mud like two turtles trying to drown each other.

We were sure the Reamer mercenaries would be back, and in greater numbers.


I got a good laugh out of these lines too!
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby Red_Robot » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:39 pm

I'm glad you got a chuckle out of it. That really means a lot to me.

This thing is becoming huge. Way bigger than I originally intended. I had intended this chapter to go all the way to the end and the final battle, but I had to cut it off after a few pages. My logorrhea strikes again. But I've figured out a literary device that will let me tell the story from different perspectives. I have a chapter planned from the perspective of a Twank temp pilot.
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby Blorf » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:08 am

Nice work.

My goodness, how many references do you have in there? I picked up maybe a dozen. Also appreciated the nod to the B-022.
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby Red_Robot » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:50 pm

Blorf wrote:My goodness, how many references do you have in there? I picked up maybe a dozen. Also appreciated the nod to the B-022.


Thank you! I'd be a pop culture referencing hipster...if this was the 1940s. I do have several nods in there, though. Jabberwocky, of course. I've got a boy named Su. And the obligatory Dune reference. That's sort of a thing in MFZ, but then on top of that I'm doing a story about worms. I'm lucky I don't have a character doing a whispery voiceover contemplating the nature of crask worm oil. I've got a chapter planned that's got a lot of Full Metal Jacket references in it too.

Our little rebel band's company name and a good chunk of the candidates were generated by your MFZ Commanders Handbook ap. I tried to have little nods to things other people have done around here that I've enjoyed or I think have enriched the experience of the game as a whole. I think that's very much in the spirit of the game.
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby Blorf » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:31 pm

Red_Robot wrote:And the obligatory Dune reference. That's sort of a thing in MFZ...

That's sort of a thing everywhere, because it's Dune, and it deserves it. But you picked a less typical reference, which was nice.

Red_Robot wrote:Our little rebel band's company name and a good chunk of the candidates were generated by your MFZ Commanders Handbook ap.

That's what it's for! I noticed that maybe half of them were directly possible, and many of the others were specific to your setting. I might lift something back to drop in the generator.

Red_Robot wrote:I tried to have little nods to things other people have done around here that I've enjoyed or I think have enriched the experience of the game as a whole. I think that's very much in the spirit of the game.

Agreed; It's certainly the spirit of the forum in the last couple months.
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby spacemonkey » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:59 pm

Red_Robot wrote:But I've figured out a literary device that will let me tell the story from different perspectives. I have a chapter planned from the perspective of a Twank temp pilot.
Well I think it's working great so far and I look forward to the next chapter.
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby zeekhotep » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:41 pm

As I read I kept seeing the farmer couple, you know, "American Gothic," and every time something new went wrong for the populace the old farmer says "Gaul-dern!" He and his wife both get heads covered in black slime....Gaul-dern! Their heads get shaved....."Gaul-dern!" The beans become toxic and they both display fresh vomit down their chests....."Gaul-dern!"

Hilarious!
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Re: The Worm Farmers Rebellion

Postby Red_Robot » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:08 am

That is exactly where the planet's name came from. I love the concept of "soft cusswords" or "polite vulgarities." Here's a word we find offensive, so let's make up a word that's less taboo, even though it is meant to convey near identical sentiment. Language is often funny in and of itself.
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Re: The Worm Farmer's Rebellion

Postby Red_Robot » Sat May 09, 2015 5:00 pm

The Worm Farmer's Rebellion: Chapter 3 The Whole Can of Worms

>>>>>>>>>>File Log #22386-04R Supplemental Transcript<<<<<<<<<<
Subject: Native of Nitre, Shang Lao system, human male approximately age 20, identified as Max Erskine, Twanks LLC Temp-to-Hire First Class
+++ Subject shows typical phenotypic expression of standard developmental nutrition and increased gravity environment
+++ Subject is under influence of 10cc nerptorol increased to 14cc during span of deposition
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>11:26:14<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


“You have GOT to be kidding me!”

“You say I get to pilot a mobile frame armed with cutting edge military technology? I get three hots and a cot, medical, dental, stock options and survivor’s benefits? I get to travel to new and exciting worlds and meet new and exciting people? And I get PAID for it?”

“Where do I sign up?”

And that is how I joined the ranks of the single most prestigious privately owned military contract specialists in the Terran Solar Empire! SIC SEMPER STANS TWANKUS!

...wait. Whaddya mean there’s no Terran Solar Empire? You should watch your hutching mouth! If you would kindly undo these restraints you would answer for such pusillanimous behavior!

Wait...what are you doing with that syringe?

Un-unhand me!






...Anyway. Where was I?

I grew up on the planet Nitre, little colony established during the Second Expansion back in 88; Hot little planet circling a red giant star. Colony made its money scratching in the dirt, with deserts full of salt peter and hot springs brimming with sulfur. The whole planet smelled like a fart. Can you imagine that for a minute? From your first cry pulled from the womb to the death rattle in your throat...lungs full of fart.

You can see why I wanted to leave that hutching place.

So when one of those Twanks LLC hiring fairs came to town, I signed up. They offered a ticket off planet and a career doing anything other than mining salt, and that’s exactly what I wanted. It’s the soldier’s life for me.

Two weeks later it was me and about fifty-nine other new trainees packed in a shuttle heading for the transit gate. I had never even flown before, much less been to space. Everyone was crammed into their rows of seats, strapped in, wearing these little plastic breathing masks fixed on with rubber bands.

There weren’t any windows to look out so I never even got to see the transit gate. I just remember waiting and waiting, floating in weightlessness, and then suddenly feeling like I was falling in every direction at once. It was like being stretched out into a sheet and crushed at the same time. And then it was over. And that’s when I found out what the little masks were for. I’m just glad I wasn’t like some of those unlucky hutch bunnies and pooped my pants.

In the span of a day, I started out with my feet on one planet and ended with my feet on another. Twankus Prime….sweetest air I’ve ever breathed. I was greeted by the low chorus of the frogs as I stepped off the shuttle and scrubbed my face clean with wetnaps.

And from there it was straight into six weeks of Intensive Career Orientation and Training. Mornings were PT, then breakfast, then MFOO and Sokokunst training, then lunch, then Corporate Orientation and Policy training and Twankus Family History, then Advanced Team Building and Synergy Exercises, then dinner, then personal hour and rack time. Day and night it was drill and drill. This is my gun and this is my Twank! This is for fighting and this is to yank! Individuals became a unit. That unit became a team. And that team became a machine! And that is how I was forged from a greenhorn dirt digger from Nitre into a precision gear in the finely oiled machine that is Twanks LLC.

It was there I took the Twankus Oath and became part of the proud tradition of Twanks LLC security temps.

This is my Twank. There are many like it but this one is mine. Without me, my Twank is nothing. Without my Twank, I am nothing. My Twank is human, even as I am human. Thus I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories and its ordnances. I will keep my Twank clean and ready even as I am clean and ready. My Twank and I are the defenders of Twanks LLC, and all lawfully owned contracts, copyrights and intellectual properties thereof, of the Twankus family legacy and all legitimate heirs of the bloodline, long may it endure, and the ideal of the beloved Terran Solar Empire, and we will defend them until there is victory and no remaining enemy but peace. So we swear, forever and ever amen!

Graduation day came and we finally got to meet General Twankus himself. He had just returned from the campaigns on Enorn Two. He stood there at the lectern while our companies marched past, casting his appraising eye over the formations. He was quite a statuesque and stately man in the dignity but not infirmity of his autumn years. Jaw set firmly. Gold braid catching the sun on his shoulders. Saber on his hip and his tiger Leonidas at his side. I swear he looked right into my eyes through the scope of my Twank. I still get gooseflesh just recalling the moment.

Later, Fritz tried to tell me it probably wasn’t even General Twankus, but one of his body doubles. Fritz said the real General Twankus was probably out cuckolding bears.

I’m not even sure what cuckolding is. Is that like….wrestling?

Anyway, from graduation we moved on to Advanced Career Placement Training. Some of us were moved to Logisitics and Transit. Some of us were moved to Research and Development. Some were moved to Manufacturing and Ordnance. Others were transferred to Human Resources and Recruitment. Still others were moved to Marketing and Counterintelligence. A few even made it into the secretarial pool of the dread IP and Legal Defense Department. But for those left, the vast majority, the lion’s share, came the true honor of forming the backbone of the Twankus Legacy...Twank Corps Temps-to-Hire Security Forces.

Best job I ever had.

It was around this time that the Legal Department had issued the Doomed List, and that was circulating around. A lot of the security forces off world had been recalled, and there was preparation for a big deployment against infringers upon corporate patents and slanderous and libelous charges raised against the good reputation of Twanks LLC.

I had been assigned to Fourth Battalion, Slate Company, the Battling Bullfrogs. I was hoping to get in on the big deployment. I imagined marching into battle behind the Twank of General Twankus himself. The weeks that followed were filled with war games and advanced Mobile Frame Operations and Orientation training. I learned to perfect the art of making fists with my feet to absorb the recoil of my Twank’s Obliterator. I learned that I am the soul of my Twank, and my Twank is my flesh. I learned that my chest is a canon and I kill with my heart.

And then came the night of the Hostilities Ball. General Twankus addressed the employees and shareholders regarding the coming campaigns against the corporate enemies of Twanks LLC and the Twankus family name. But the General, you know, he’s a classy guy. First a show of appreciation and respect for those who had stood with the company and showed some brand loyalty. The whole event including the red carpet coverage was broadcast to all the barracks. Food rations were increased and there was music and dancing well into the night. I have never eaten so much peach cobbler and braised frog legs in my life! A few members of the squad got squirrelly sipping on peach brandy and we decided to have Twank races. It was all fun and games until Fritz fell through that skylight. The whole squad got docked a months pay because of that, and we got put on latrine duty for two weeks.

Shortly after that new orders came down from L&T. Some agribusiness or pharmacological concern called Reamer Investments Consortium had contracted Twanks LLC to provide protection of private assets from an increasingly unruly native populace. Seemed the local farmers were upset about the price of peaches in China or something and were causing trouble. The entire Fourth Battalion was being deployed to Gauldern 3.

This time there was a window, and I got to see the transit gate for the first time. It was a breathtaking sight to behold, a shining circle hanging like a crown against the starlit blackness of space. They called it Fiona’s Ring, after the wife of Theodore Augustus Twankus. It was his engagement ring to her. We learned that in Twankus Family History.

When we vooped into the Gauldern system we were deep in the tish right out of the shuttle. The locals were in a mad panic and ready to riot. There was some disagreement with RIC and when we showed up it just aggravated the situation. Most of the locals had a problem with offworlders and it didn’t help they had about eight different dialects and not one you could understand.

It didn’t take long on the planet to see why the locals were so pee-ohed. The whole place was snafu from sun up. It was hot and sticky and smelled like wet garbage. I mean, I came from Nitre, but this place was podunk. And on top of that there was this black crud getting all over everything. You couldn’t go out unless you had on goggles and masks. Everybody’s faces were covered. Made everyone look like some alien race of rubber faced bugs. Second day there they gave everyone depilatory soap. The stuff smelled like ammonia. Reminded me of home. You had to wash with it everywhere or the black crud would get you. And I mean everywhere. We’re talking dolphin smooth.

It was such a big load of boop you couldn’t even shovel it.

So I was skronked off. The platoon was skronked off. The locals were skronked off. The locals didn’t like us from the get go anyway. They saw us as occupiers and not as defenders of private assets. All they had for us was ridicule and attitude. And that’s rich coming from a bunch of mudhumpers and worm farmers. They even made fun of our Twanks. And nobody...NOBODY...makes fun of my Twank!

Fritz told me a joke. You wanna hear it?

What’s a worm farmer’s biggest fear?

STAMPEDE!

HA! Yeah, that one still cracks me up.

So, things were hutched. Things were hutched before we got here, but now all of the sudden we were the bad guys. The mudhumpers resented we were buying supplies for our operations simply because we had the money to do so. They said they were promised terraforming equipment and what they got were “jackbooted thugs.” If you ask me they shouldn’t have been chopping down all their trees in the first place.

And that’s when the riots at Mudflat City happened. Mudflat City is one of Gauldern’s biggest urban centers. If you’ve ever been there you know how much of a sad statement that is. It’s basically a relic left over from the colony’s first founding. It’s still mostly prefabbed quad huts that have been patched up over the years and then an outer expanse of terracotta buildings and structures made from wood and brick. It’s located in a big river delta and has aquaculture farms and rice paddies surrounding it inland. It’s also got the biggest spaceport in the region, and that’s why it hosts the planetary headquarters of Reamer Investment Consortium.

A big crowd had formed outside of the RIC offices, and the security detail was trying to push the protesters back. The crowd got aggressive and a fireteam of Twanks moved outside of the barricades to issue warnings over their loudspeakers and disperse the crowd. The rioters were throwing mud and bottles and rocks, and starting to get violent. That’s when the rioters deployed an antitwank device. One of the Twanks toppled into the street and the rioters swarmed on it like meat ants. They set fire to the Twank and seriously threatened the life of the pilot inside. In self defense, the Twank platoon fired live rounds into the crowd to push them back. Because of their quick action, the temp was rescued and the Reamer offices saved from further damage.

But RIC declared it a “public relations nightmare” and started putting their boots up the butts of every local Twanks Command Manager they could find. It wasn’t our fault the worm farmers were butt blistered long before we ever showed up. There wasn’t anything to do though, but embrace the suck. Footage from the Mudflat City riots began to circulate over the local infonets and shortwave radio lit up with chatter. The scenario quickly became “hard working” local mudhumpers versus “oppressive offworld occupiers.”

The toilet bowl started swirling faster and faster after that. Resentment was rising and more protests were breaking out. The uglier the crowds got the more our security forces had to push back. Reamer Investments was leaving teeth marks on every keister it could find. RIC management was demanding local law enforcement step in and do its job. But the local politicians were growing increasingly squeamish, and siding with the offworlders was extremely unpopular.

And then some of the farmers started to refuse to bring in their harvests. They were refusing to honor their commodity contracts and work the worms fields. It was a full blown worm farmer’s rebellion. Stupid chabbers. RIC was having a thrombo over this and declared it would enforce its contracts by sending in independent harvesters to fulfill the delinquent quotas. Therefore, the harvest teams and the worm fields became RIC assets through breach of contract. So guess who had to pull escort detail out in the sticks?

We Twankers were about to get sacrificed to the mudhumpers’ temple of butthurt.

I wasn’t in Mudflat City when things got hutched. I was stationed in a settlement with the quaint local color name of Big Sticky. Never was a place more wretchedly or accurately named. It was your typical boomtown gone bust. Big Sticky was founded in a highland region overlooking the swampy delta lands to the east. The settlement was surrounded by tar sands, and bubbling pits of bitumen and bogs of peat. Most of the low grade petroleum was sucked out of the tar sands long ago, but the skeletal remains of the oil pumps from that bygone age still lingered in places. Nevertheless, Big Sticky still operated as a refinery town, producing wood gas and biodiesels, charcoal, and peat bricks for combustion fuel, and producing nylon and bioplastics. Technically it had a spaceport, but it had seen better days. Mostly, it was used as a waystation and depot for bush pilots before heading down to the more modern spaceport in Mud Flats.

This one time we had defoliation duty around the spaceport perimeter. The local flora was aggressive, and creeping vines and black crud posed a constant problem. Because of that, a lot of our close assault Twanks got to pull double duty clearing away brush and thinning the treeline around the spaceport to limit cover for possible insurgent activities. The Chainsawyers were playing lumberjack and burning back weeds with their incinerators, when one of them snagged its foot on a root or something and fell. The other members of the squad started moving in with their winches for the assist, when the ground shivered and buckled. We thought it was some sort of sinkhole opening up. The Twank started to slide towards the center, and then this big mass of weeds just sort of….yawned open. It was like someone crossed a cabbage with a gulper eel! And it was big enough to swallow a Twank! Phung was screaming for us to get him hutching out of there, and....well, we went a little crazy. We started shooting and burning every weed in sight. Most of us didn’t stop squeezing our triggers until the magazines were empty. When we were done we had about an acre of scorched, cratered earth and Phung’s Twank was buried in the mud with its legs sticking out. Worse than that, when we finally got the Twank hauled out of that thing’s stomach, it was covered in sticky sap that would eat your skin off.

So yeah, I hated going out in the sticks.

Escort assignments, and three shifts of patrol duty had us stretched pretty thin. I was assigned to the transceiver station that morning when the harvester team ran into armed resistance out on one of the plantations. We had run into trouble before, and there had been squabbles. But Twanks versus tractors, it was a foregone conclusion. This time however, the patrol came back limping. They had gotten ambushed by guerillas armed with mortars and rockets in some sort of paramilitary frames. They lost the harvester and more than half the platoon!

We sent out some aerial recon to the plantation, but all we found was the burned harvester and a couple of Twanks that had been stripped and pillaged. There wasn’t a soul left on the plot. The guerillas had taken what they could carry and faded into the weeds.

The next morning the pirate broadcasts started. A group calling themselves the Stone Chuckers was taking responsibility for the ambush. There was footage of Twanker temps being held at gunpoint and the harvester being set ablaze. Over this was narrated some farmer’s manifesto about RIC’s unfair business practices, and how the promise of terraforming equipment was all just a scam. They were calling for the people to rise up. We were all about to get approved for hazard pay.

One of our forward scouts had returned from out in the weeds, with news of enemy contact. Part of our operation was to use rocket Twanks for courier duties and recon. Reamer had certain business information it didn’t want broadcast even as encrypted data, so they employed us to use high mobility Twanks to traverse the jungle between settlements. It’s a system that’s been in place on Gauldern for generations, apparently. Some of the settlements are so isolated they can only be effectively reached by bush pilots or jungle jumper frames. The rangers are a whole different breed. The boop gets deep out in the bush way fast.

The scout was delivering an encrypted packet from the transceiver tower at Beanstalk when she came across a group of guerillas slogging through the marsh towards Big Sticky. They opened fire, but she lost them by running through the tar fields west of the city. She managed to make it back to the garrison before running out of fuel.

Her name was Lisabette Lurue, Temp Specialist First Class, and she called her Twank the Black Unicorn. It was a magnificent model, with a whirling drill on its prow for slicing through the jungle thicket, and mudskates on its feet so it could slalom through the marshy muck. It was a fine example of Twankgeneering, even if she did go a little outside of regulation color schemes. But she was a fine soldier with which to share a drink.

With confirmed contact with hostiles, we were on high alert. They assigned double shifts to increase security presence around RIC holdings. Me, Fritz, and Clyde were pulling security detail at the worm mill under the command of Warrant Sergeant Nuthatch, along with close assault temps Frye and Bowski, and Recon Specialist Lurue in her rocket Twank. A bunch of the mill workers refused to report for work for first shift. On top of that, a large crowd had started to form outside the processing complex gate, and a human tide of protesters were on the march through the streets. Some of the protesters were openly armed, and others showed up in full labor frames. Among them were about half a dozen boxy frames painted in splotchy jungle camo. And here’s the kicker. Those frames were Krates! Not only were these Stone Chuckers insurgents inciting rebellion in the populace, but they were using product of number four on the Doomed List! This is what I had been training for.

The local marshal, a man by the name of Bridges, had gathered his deputies and cordoned off the front gate to the worm mill. Bridges’ posse had seen better days. They had a couple old MULEs packing autocannons in their saddlebags, and a couple newer frames they had shipped in since colony refurbishment. I think they were called Jerboas. And then the marshall himself and one other were piloting a pair of old Conscripts I think predated the Martian Conflict. It was no secret the marshal didn’t care for us Twankers, stemming from a time when the platoon was having sumo matches out behind a local hootch hut and things got a little out of hand. So we were having a regular Martian standoff. Nuthatch radioed back to the barracks for reinforcements. We had more Twanks enroute, ETA 15 minutes. We just had to keep things cool until then.

Nuthatch was insisting that the marshal arrest the Stone Chuckers as criminals and dangerous insurgents. The Stone Chuckers were insisting that we surrender the worm mill to the “rightful ownership of the farmers”. And Bridges was insisting everyone put down their weapons and go home.

And then…FWAKOOOOOM!

Somebody threw a pipe bomb, or they twitched a little too hard on their trigger. The sergeant was yelling for us to hold our fire. And then all I heard was the marshal blare through his loudspeakers, “Fill your hands you sonofa…” and then it was all drowned out by the sound of gunfire.

The Stone Chucker MULE crashed into the security fence and plowed the chain link under. Frye and Bowski surged forward to secure the gatehouse and hold back the mob. The Posse must have seen this as a threat because they opened up with autocannons and rocket fire. Bowski’s frame got chewed to pieces and then a round hit his flamethrower fuel. The Twank went up in a fireball as its cylinder fluid cooked off. Frye lunged forward with her plasma saw and carved one of the police MULEs in half. Its front half dragged itself a few meters before the pilot bailed and ran.

The marshal returned fire on Frye after this, and trashed her Twank, before pointing for the Jerboas to fire upon the approaching Krates. One of the Krates that had a RPG for a right arm managed to pop off its rocket before being ripped apart by Jerboa guns.

Then suddenly a barrel came crashing down on our position and erupted into flame. One of the mill workers had stolen a loader frame and climbed the scaffolding around the millhouse. He was chucking barrels and shooting flares down at us. The chabbing Stone Chuckers had a mole! They were ambushing us!

A swift black shape shot across my field of vision trailed by a bright plume of flame. The Black Unicorn careened across the compound and speared its whirling alicorn into the marshal’s Conscript. Armor plating and limbs went flying, leaving the Conscript little more than a walking wreck.

One of those Krates stomped forward, whirling a chain with some sort of grapnel or boat anchor over its head. It lashed out at the Unicorn and the chain wound around the Twank’s legs and caught. The Unicorn throttled its engines hard and took off. The chain snapped taut and the Krate jerked off its feet, dragging behind the Unicorn as the Twank careened around the yard in a figure eight. The Krate skipped and sparked on the asphalt, grinding off its eyestalk, and it’s ride didn’t end until its arms abruptly pulled off at the shoulders. It just laid there, wallowing, kicking its legs and trying to push itself up with no arms.

HA! Isn’t so damn easy, is it!

Me and Fritz were whooping and cheering, when one of Bridge’s deputies dashed forward with some sort of electrified truncheon and smashed one of the Unicorn’s legs off at the hip. The Twank plowed horn first into the ground and dug a furrow through the asphalt meters long. Its one leg kicked as it struggled, and then one of those chronning Krates waddled forward and hosed the Unicorn down with its flame gun. The Unicorn screamed. I mean...its engine’s screamed….and then exploded.

I never saw the pilot eject.

I...didn’t know Lurue long, but she was a fine Twanker. Her friendship was....magical.

Nuthatch’s voice pulled me out of my reverie. The reinforcements were still minutes out and we had to consolidate our forces and hold our position. Nuthatch was designating targets from his perch on the roof. Clyde was covering the holding tanks, and engaging the rogue labor frame on the scaffolding. Fritz and I were moving forward as a fireteam, overlapping our targeting fields and scuttling from cover to cover. The marshal’s posse was mostly engaging the Krates as this point, and the scrum was focused around the gatehouse.

Suddenly the klaxons blared in my Twank. Someone had a target lock, and I saw the flare of rocketfire streaming towards me through my scope. I pitched my Twank hard to the left and heard the rockets explode behind me. I spared a glance over my shoulder, and…

...and that’s when I saw Fritz.

His Twank was on its back, legs up in the air. Smoke boiled from the crater in its chest where its obliterator once had been.

I kept pleading...ordering...for him to get up. Get up for God’s sake!

Fritz! They’d killed Fritz! Those lousy stinking yellow Krates! Those chronning atrocity-filled mudhumpers! Those despicable animal warmongers!

A roar pushed its way up from deep in my chest and filled the space of my cabin. I marched my Twank forward, finding targets, feeling my cannon bucking in my chest. My eyes walked lines of bullets across the compound. I engaged a Krate and fired. And fired! Forward. Forward! Always FORWARD! I heard Nuthatch screaming in my ear. Something about a labor frame throwing him off the roof. But it didn’t matter. All that mattered was the enemy before me. Watching their frame disintegrated. Obliterated. Smashed apart by the rage spitting from my heart.

And then something exploded. It rained down on top of me, and my Twank buckled. Something hot punched into my chest, into my leg. The whole world rolled and tumbled. And then it was blackness.

I’m not sure when, but at some point they pulled me from my Twank. This is for fighting. This is to yank. The reinforcements had arrived, and the Krates and the rest of the mudhumpers had fallen back. The worm mill was a loss though. One high dollar facility up in smoke. The deputies had made some noise about arresting us and pressing charges, but we were the ones with fresh forces on the field. So, we had the pistols so we kept the pesos. Warrant denied.

Sergeant Nuthatch was in a body cast after taking a three story digger off the roof. Clyde made it out mostly unscratched. And me, Frye, and Fritz were left sitting in the infirmary.

Yeah...Fritz. Turned out he was alive. That’s just like him. Always walking on my lines. Always costing me my medals. He had just taken some shrapnel and been knocked out. And he still had the one good kidney, so…

And while I was sitting in the hospital, I got the bill for cost of repairs to my Twank.

So, I’ve got a question for you folks.

How do I get out of this chicken chabber outfit?
When the Weepers first came through the gate, we didn't know why. We only knew that they were angry.
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Re: The Worm Farmer's Rebellion

Postby spacemonkey » Sun May 10, 2015 3:37 am

Wow, Red_Robot, I think you really got inside the head of a Twankus temp there... which is both hilarious and terrifying. :D Well done, sir. This tale gets more entertaining with each chapter.
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Re: The Worm Farmer's Rebellion

Postby Atavism » Sun May 10, 2015 2:52 pm

You do a really good job capturing the vibe where everybody is kind of stuck in the middle of this situation, and nobody is happy about it, but nobody thinks they're wrong either. It lends credibility the the work as a whole.

So this is my favorite chapter yet. (biasbiasbias) The butality and chaos of frame warfare really comes through in the fight scene. I really felt bad when the Black Unicorn- I mean, the Black Unicorn's frame, was blown up. It may be because I have her standing on my desk right now. (Post to come shortly.)

I really got a kick out of the Fritz gag, the narrator's reaction to his buddies survival was spot on.

The part where the horrible cabbage tried to eat a Twank was a nice underscore for how miserable the planet was, also.
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Re: The Worm Farmer's Rebellion

Postby Red_Robot » Mon May 11, 2015 6:16 am

spacemonkey wrote:I think you really got inside the head of a Twankus temp there... which is both hilarious and terrifying.

It was fun to climb inside the Twanks culture and breath the stuffy air inside a cramped Twank cockpit for a little while. At the same time, I want it to be a little terrifying and a little troubling, because it's satirizing things I find troubling in real life. I'm not going to pretend my goofy little story approaches anything on the level of activism, and I certainly don't have an agenda beyond giving people a grin. But satire and science fiction are both about drawing the mind to ponder events around us.

Atavism wrote:So this is my favorite chapter yet.

I'm really glad you liked it, and it's been fun playing with your toys. I have really enjoyed the whole jam band thing going on with the Budget Frame Wars where one person riffs then hands it off and it goes back and forth. It's like going to a Phish concert, man. 8-)

Atavism wrote:The part where the horrible cabbage tried to eat a Twank was a nice underscore for how miserable the planet was, also.

Gauldern 3 has become less of a setting and more of a character to me. World building is my favorite part of storytelling, be it writing fiction or playing RPGs. There's lots of details about Gauldern I've conjured up that will likely never see print. And I have to reign myself in not to run off on tangents about little critters I've thought up and alien ecosystems I want to explore. The Trapper Funnel that tried to eat the Twank was something I talked about in the first chapter as a throw-away mention. But it's a critter I pondered for a bit and came up with a full life cycle. Something else I wanted to mention is how frogs stowed away on the ships from Twankus Prime, and now a new potential nuisance species has been introduced to Gauldern 3. I just could never seem to find a spot to mention it in the narrative.
When the Weepers first came through the gate, we didn't know why. We only knew that they were angry.
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Re: The Worm Farmer's Rebellion

Postby Lysandor8 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:04 pm

This is great, I applaud your writing sir. The interactions are believable, and it feels real, if not a bit silly. This was a great read, thank you so much for dropping your little mudball into our imagination.

Also, why not write a flora fauna piece from some xenobiologist who got transferred to Gauldern? Maybe by accident and he decided to do his study on the local... Uh... Sludge. It could get your ideas out there, with some slapstick humor. I've read a bit like that on "Catachan" (40k planet), it was awesome. Just a thought.

Keep up the hutching good work you chabbing grasher!

Cheers!
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