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WCT - [COMPETITION OVERHAUL - NEED IDEAS] The Writing Competition Thread


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Isn't the fact that you practically won proof enough that you don't need critiques?

Actually, the fact that both he and SoulinEther placed at the top is proof enough that they need critiques just as much as others, perhaps even moreso. Writers never stop changing. We constantly evolve, adapting our writing techniques and improving ourselves. If no one critiqued a top-writer's work, he/she would never become better. It doesn't matter that they are already at the top, they still need critique. It helps them get better, and it tells them, consciously and subconsciously, that they are not perfect writers and that they need to avoid stagnation of their abilities.

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ayy fml. i know. i don't know how i sleep at night :( now you understand why i have to create my fantasy world with flying sperm and vaginas that grow on trees because i am a terrible humam being. and lonely. (sympathy card drawn)

edit: oh and... er, i'm flattered. And disgusted, but flattered. i wouldn't mind critique either. and i will dish some critique out i hope this time around, too. even 1 or 2 words that are meaningful - i will try to dole them.

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Yeah, I'm definitely guilty of not making critiques either. I'm hoping to change that with this round, though. I'd do it for the poetry, but I'm not good at poetry writing or critiquing.

Anyway, the July 2009 Freeform Competition is now OPEN! Write, write, WRITE! *starts writing*

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Yes, they can. Freeform is essentially "if it's writing, it's allowed." So if you really wanted to, critiques of past works could be used as a current submission.

... Which begs the question: can a critique be critiqued? :-P

Sure they can. And that too could be an entry, no? Haha, a never ending loop of critiquing critiques. This could be amusing...

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Critiques is essentially opinions.

It really boils down to persuasion. As in, who has the best argument, best sources of information, etc.

No one is necessarily right, given this argument for example, a teacher isn't necessarily right. If you look at the academic world, professors are very good at critiquing other professors on papers and research and they are in return critiqued on their response. This actually strengthens papers and builds knowledge.

(and yes, it can be a repetitive cycle)

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I think I'll throw in a piece this year. How about a review?

Way of the Samurai

I picked up Way of the Samurai many a year ago in one of those impulses that causes you to browse games at Target while you’re momentarily distracted from buying cheap T-shirts with pictures of Bob Ross on them. These impulses occasionally lead to solid gold, more often lead to disappointment, and can on rare occasion result in eternal damnation, like the time I found one of Satan’s toenails at a lazy seaside pawn shop.

In this case, it led to a mediocre video game.

My experience began well enough with character creation which was basically choosing a face, slapping it in a kimono, and naming it. I made a guy with massive sideburns and a pony tail who wore a bright yellow kimono. I called him Menji. I envisioned him as a renegade samurai from a well respected house who had been forced to flee after having a night of sexual freedom with his lord’s daughter. Now, tortured by his shame, he wanders the countryside looking for his own death.

The game proper opened with Menji coming into Rokkutsu pass, a free-roam environment made up of a menagerie of Samurai Western staples including a shrine, a dusty little town, a mountain pass, and a railway crossing. The first scene saw Menji at a small bridge where lo! a young woman was being chased by a group of vicious thugs. After a quick look at the woman’s face, Menji saw she was uglier than a horse’s rear-end and decided to pass across the bridge without helping her. The ruffians knocked her out, their tattooed leader hoisted her over a shoulder, and they prepared to make off.

Things might have ended peacefully there. But then the miscreant had the misfortune of bumping Menji’s arm. And he didn’t apologize. Blades were drawn. The ruffian tossed some tough words Menji”s way. Menji decided to show this country bumpkin the way of the Samurai. Fifteen seconds later, Menji was dead.

Okay, I thought. So the game has a learning curve. I have to admit, though, I was a little perturbed. I had played through the tutorial, after all. I’d kicked the ass of the peasant my sensei sent against me. I knew how to guard and parry and use a couple special moves. So what had gone wrong?

I started up the game again. This time I avoided the bridge encounter altogether and instead went into town. Here I was enjoying a quick meal of rice and sake when some thugs came into the shop and starting busting shit up. I wouldn’t have particularly minded if they hadn’t spilled my sake. As it was, that was an unforgivable slight and blades were once again drawn.

This time I stayed far away from my opponent, studying his moves. I knew my own arsenal of attacks fairly well. I had a thrust, a couple down-swings and side-swings, and a sort've feint that looked more like a dance move than an attack. After watching my opponent shuffle around for a while, I thought I had his pattern down, so I came in from the side with a quick swing, planning to follow it up with a combo that would bring him to his knees.

In response, he blocked, pushed me off balance, slapped me in the face with the butt of his sword, kicked my feet out from under me, and stabbed me in the spine a few times while I lay defenseless on the ground. Now wait a minute, I thought. My most powerful ability is a basic thrust. How the hell do I learn THAT move?

The answer, it turned out, was to claim my opponent’s sword (and thus all his moves). This meant I had to actually defeat someone, though. I eagerly rushed out into the countryside and murdered a peasant. All I got for my efforts was a stupid dull sword with crappy moves. It seemed that I was going to be forced to kill one of the real samurai if I ever wanted a better sword.

So began a long process of Menji getting his ass handed to him, no matter who I fought, whether it was a black samurai with an afro and an Italian name, a giant retard who attacked me with what looked like a street-lamp, or a man with tight red pants and spikes on his arms. It seemed that the only people I could kill were the inexperienced and innocent peasantry minding their business in the pass’ various locales... and then only if they were alone.

You see, combat has all the makings of a simplistic system. There's two attack buttons and one block button. Attacking while blocking leads to a kick. That's not so bad. But none of this is useful. The enemies have the ability to block, too, and they do it all the time. Now, you're SUPPOSED to be able to throw a blocking enemy off balance, but this only works about half the time. And if you fail to make it work, then YOU'RE the one off balance and vulnerable. To make matters worse, enemies often have attacks which instantly break blocks. This leaves you with two options. You can try to dodge, but this requires psychic powers, as attacks are fast and often change direction before striking, so you never know whether to back up or side step. The other option is to hit the block button at the exact moment the attack connects, which is about a window of .05 seconds. The game calls it an "awase." I call it "a chance in a million."

Fortunately, while I had learned nothing about how to fight well using the unintuitive combat system, I HAD learned the fine art of dropping to all fours like a dog and begging for my life, so although I was defeated many times, I never actually died. I just got spit upon by everyone and slowly lost sight of that originally grand character I had envisioned at the start of the game. This was no longer the adventure of Menji: bad-ass samurai, but of Menji: boot licker and petty thief. Which is ironically a fairly accurate depiction of the real samurai era in Japan. I can only assume it wasn’t very much fun living in that period. And it wasn’t turning out to be much fun playing Way of the Samurai, either.

The game does deserve a shout out for its excellent free roaming nature. Every one of your decisions has a profound impact on the plot, and the characters all have little secrets that you can strive to uncover. While in one play-through you might be off helping a lord re-establish his domain, in another you'll be tracking his wife to a secret rendezvous with the local law enforcer. Since events are happening at the same time all over the pass, it takes multiple play-throughs not only to get all the endings, but to even see everything there is to see.

So though Menji had utterly failed to change anything with his blade, I became vastly interested in seeing what he could change through his interactions and alliances, and kept playing.

Fate eventually caught up with the disgruntled samurai, however. During one of his usual muggings, he accidentally attacked someone who was no peasant, but a retainer of one of the local samurai houses. The retainer was quickly joined in battle by three other men, and none of them seemed to show much interest in Menji’s profound apologies for having tried to take their friend’s scalp as a trophy.

Whilst trying to run away and forage for some life recovering radishes, Menji was cut down... in the prime of his career, I might add.

By this point, I had won a few tough combats by luck and random button mashing and had actually gotten hold of some pretty nice blades. I’d even souped them up via the local blacksmith so that they'd last longer in combat without breaking. So I figured the play-through, while maybe a bit of an ego castration, wasn’t all wasted. When I started again, I’d be more powerful from the outset, actually able to use enough moves that I might stand a chance at playing, if not a super samurai, then at least a competent samurai.

But no. Because when you die in Way of the Samurai you lose everything. All of your weapons. All of your moves. And a good two or three hours of your actual life. You can’t save, so it was back to the very beginning with me, with starting inventory and absolutely no future.

I suppose if I had the patience of a Zen master, I could memorize the move sets of all the enemies and learn that split second for each attack when you can dodge it. But that’s not why I had bought Way of the Samurai. I had been attracted by the notion of being Yojimbo or Zatoichi, bringing honor to the countryside with the sharp end of my blade. I assume that’s why most people would be looking to play Way of the Samurai. Be warned, you’ll more likely end up playing the eternal Grasshopper... in a world with a lot of lawnmowers.

Rating: 4/10

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That's an interesting format.

Very good writing. The mark of a good story-teller is varied diction and proper cadence. The mark of a great story-teller is when I have to go back and look for that kind of stuff, because I read the whole post without realizing I was reading it.

And by the way, I don't think I will ever play that game. Ever.

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That's an interesting format.

Very good writing. The mark of a good story-teller is varied diction and proper cadence. The mark of a great story-teller is when I have to go back and look for that kind of stuff, because I read the whole post without realizing I was reading it.

And by the way, I don't think I will ever play that game. Ever.

Thank you. I can't really recommend WotS, no. Part of me wants to, because it did some very cool things with free-form gaming at a time when no one was really doing that... but no, it's a terrible game.

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Here's my entry. A story that I never bothered to name. Let's call it... Uh... "The Mind's Prison"

“Do you think he’ll ever wake up, doctor?” I asked, looking at the limp body of my friend. He’s been in a coma for several days now. His vital signs are still strong, but he continues to lie on that bed, his eyes perpetually closed.

“I’m sorry Ms. Walters, but it’s up to him now. We’re doing everything we can to keep him alive. He just has to fight.”

“C’mon Isaac… you can pull through. I know you can,” I whispered as I walked away. My eyes were beginning to water again.

~

It’s dark. A single, dim light bulb dangling from the ceiling rocks slightly in the cool draft. I lean against the rough concrete wall, facing the only door to my room. There are no windows, there is no bed, there is no toilet. There is nothing. Occasionally some food is pushed through a small slit in the door. I forever sit, waiting for the footsteps. I see a slight glint of outside light every time the slit opens.

I can’t count the days. I can’t remember how I got here. I can’t even remember who I am. I just sit, hoping that maybe it will all make sense eventually. That thinking will get me somewhere. It’s been an eternity. It hasn’t.

~

I came back the next day, just like I had every day since the accident. Each time, I almost expected to see a different sight; to see Isaac, cheerful as always, sitting in his bed. But I never did. He just kept lying there.

“How is he today, doctor?” I queried. I knew what he was going to say, but I felt the need to ask anyways.

“Same as always… His body is still accepting food through the tubes. Nothing is physically wrong with him. He just needs to wake up. It’s quite curious actually. This is rare. Usually they wake up…” he said, trailing off. I guess he noticed my worried expression. I was beginning to fear that maybe he wouldn’t wake up. That I would never be able to see that little spark in his eyes again. I didn’t accept it though. I simply couldn’t imagine a life without Isaac.

I walked up and sat down in the chair beside his bed, facing him. His chest was moving up and down at a slow tempo. I could hear each breath in the silent room.

“Isaac, I know you can’t hear me, but I want you to know that I believe in you. You need to fight! I don’t know what’s going on inside your head, but you can beat it. I just need you to wake up!” I cried. Getting up, I looked at his face one more time before leaving. A single tear slid down my cheek onto his forehead as I turned around.

~

A drop of water lands on my head. I look up, thinking the roof is leaking, but see everything is normal. There is no crack, no dark spot. I ask myself if I really felt it, but I am positive. Positive or insane. Looking back at the door, I hear muffled noises outside. Voices? I crawl over to listen. Yes. Definitely voices. More figments of my imagination? I do not know. I can’t make out what they’re saying, so I back up into the corner again, huddling into a timid little ball. I close my eyes, waiting for sleep to come.

~

As I drove to the hospital again, I reminisced about the day it happened. We were driving along that very road, though it was much darker before. The sun was just setting, creating a simply immaculate sight in front of us. Perhaps it could be blamed for the accident. Or maybe I could. Isaac wasn’t looking too good, and I still let him drive. Just before we crashed, he was telling me, “I’m fine Claire, don’t worry.” I didn’t even get a second to relax before we t-boned a turning car. The screeching of the tires, the look of horror on their faces… What they say isn’t true. It wasn’t in slow motion. I may have only seen the expressions of the family we hit for a fraction of a second, but I’ll never forget them. Their wide eyes, jaws dropped… They knew they were about to die. No one should have to suffer that feeling.

I walked into the familiar hospital room to an unfamiliar sight. The blinds were drawn, letting in a glorious sight of the city below. Buildings, parks, cars… everything was visible. The sky was clear, the sun glinting in the corner of the window. It was almost uplifting. Almost.

But the thing that caught my attention most was the lack of Isaac. His bed was empty, and the doctor was looking at the clipboard at the foot of it.

“Where’s Isaac?” I demanded.

“I’m sorry Ms. Walters, but I’m afraid you won’t be able to visit Mr. Temple today. We’re scanning his brain activity in hopes of gleaming a better understanding of what’s going on inside his head,” he explained.

I sighed. Unfair as it was, it was necessary. I left the hospital disappointed.

~

I open my eyes, realizing that something is not right. The room has a strange feel about it, as if the walls are vibrating. Looking closely, I find my senses wrong yet again. There is a knock on the door. I slowly crawl to my feet, my eyes never straying from it. The tap comes again. It is louder this time. I walk to the door, peeking through the slot where food comes, trying to catch a glimpse of my visitor. I see nothing but flickering shadows. The rapping begins for a third time, but it does not stop. Progressively getting louder, it begins to sound more and more hostile. The door begins to shake, as if someone were on the other side attempting to force their way in. I crawl back into the corner, sitting feebly with my knees against my chest, arms wrapped around them. I continue to stare at the rattling door, waiting for it to stop. Eventually, the noise ceases and I am once again left in silence. Cruel, dead, silence.

~

Another day, another visit. I was allowed to see him that time. Nothing had changed though. I once again asked the doctor about Isaac’s condition.

“The brain scan reveals that he is continuously dreaming. Occasionally, he’ll sleep normally, without dreams. We found that these periods were all at specific times, almost as if he were going to sleep in his dream,” he replied.

“Is it possible that he thinks he’s awake, and is sleeping normally?” I thought out loud.

He tilted his head to the side with a twinkle of curiosity in his eye. “It’s a possibility, I suppose… but then again, what isn’t in this case? This is the strangest patient I’ve ever worked on.”

I smiled for a second, thinking of the many memories I treasured of Isaac. He certainly was a strange one alright…

“Ah well, we have to run more tests. You’ll have to leave now, Ms. Walters,” he said.

I nodded, turning and heading for the door. He put his hand on my shoulder for a second. Turning around, we locked eyes. “Don’t worry. He’s showing slight signs of improvement. He’ll pull through Ms. Walters. He just needs time,” consoled the doctor.

~

The room is quivering again. I turn my head to the door again, waiting for the pounding to begin. It doesn’t. Looking at the walls again, I realize that they really are shaking. Cracks begin to form, and bits of dust powder the floor. I scramble to the wall, feeling the fracture. I feel a slight difference in temperature. The air outside my dank prison is warmer, almost welcoming. I press my eye against it, peeking through the hairline slit. I see only a faint shimmer of light.

More voices. I can hear them slightly better through the crack, but still can’t distinguish what they’re saying. It angers me. Why is this happening? Why me? What did I do to deserve this? I punch the wall in my frustration. More dust floats to the ground. A smile graces my complexion. I don’t know why I’m here, but I just might be able to escape.

~

When I next visited Isaac, the doctor greeted me with a cheerful grin. “I have wonderful news, Ms. Walters!” he exclaimed as I strolled in.

“Is he awake!?” I asked hopefully.

“Well, the news isn’t that great, but he is showing signs of waking up. I think he’s finally beginning to fight back! Yesterday, I saw his eyes crack open a bit. He was, unfortunately, still unconscious.”

I sighed. It certainly was a good sign, but Isaac wasn’t back. Not yet. I gazed at his peaceful body, and then left, beaming the whole time. There was still hope.

~

My hands are sore. I look at my reddened knuckles, and kick the crack. It is slowly spreading around the wall. I kick it again, and again. Just a little bit more, I can feel it! I back up to the other side of the cell, and run towards the wall and jump, leg extended. I hear a loud crunch as I crash into the wall. Little pieces crumble to the floor. I do it again. More falls apart. I smirk. “One more time,” I pant. I run full force at it, and smash into the now fragile wall. I hear one last snap, as it all gives way. Light fills the room, and I shield my eyes, blinking rapidly.

I can finally make out the voices. “Doctor! Doctor! He’s awake!” says one. I stir. What do they mean awake? I was already awake…

I hear a clamber of footsteps, followed by a different voice. “Welcome back Mr. Temple. We were getting worried there.”

~

It was late that night when the hospital called me. They requested I come in as quickly as I could, saying it was urgent. I feared the worst as I sped down the road. It was dark, with little traffic to hinder my pace. I ran to his room, my eyes beginning to water. As I burst in, everyone looked towards me. The nurses, the doctor… and a confused Isaac. He looked at me with an expression of wonder, as if he wasn’t sure who I was.

“Ah, there you are Ms. Walters. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, he’s woken up! He finally broke through about an hour ago,” explained the doctor.

I walked towards my friend, slowly, asking myself if I was dreaming, if it was really true. When he was close enough, I wrapped my arms around him and started crying. “Isaac… I was so scared… so afraid of losing you…” I managed to sob.

“That’s… good to hear,” he said, then paused. “I know this probably sounds really weird, and I ask that you don’t take it personally but… Who are you?”

I pulled away, staring blankly into his eyes. They had an apologetic look to them. He really didn’t remember who I was.

“I was about to warn you about that… See, staying in a coma that long is not without its consequences to the head. I’m afraid to say that he’s lost his memory. He doesn’t recall what happened, why he’s here, who his family is… He doesn’t even remember his name,” sighed the doctor.

I opened my mouth in awe, still looking into Isaac’s blank eyes. I was left speechless for a moment. “Will… will he ever remember?”

The doctor shrugged. “I’m sorry Ms. Walters, but it all depends on the person. Some people remember everything, others recall fragments and the rest… the rest don’t regain any of their memories. He seems to be a very… unique case, so I have no means of predicting how things will work out for him. I’m sorry.”

I sighed again. Looking back at Isaac, I locked eyes with him once more. I noticed the familiar glint I had feared I would never see again, and then realized that it didn’t matter that his memory was gone. I smiled, extending my hand towards Isaac. “Well, you might not remember Isaac, but I’m Claire Walters. We used to be best friends. Even if you don’t have the same memories of us as I do, that just means we’ll have to create new ones!”

He grinned back, shaking my hand. “Well Claire, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Again.”

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7 lbs.

Backpack.

9x14 cm Moleskine notebook.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

Two-thirds roll of silver 3M duct tape.

0.5 fl oz Purell hand sanitizer.

Black Nintendo Dsi, blue canvas case.

Clubhouse Games, Chrono Trigger, MarioKart DS, The World Ends with You.

Half-empty .5 liter Poland Spring bottle.

1 pair XL boot socks.

Old photograph, faces scratched out.

3 Magnum brand condoms.

1 pair disposable bamboo chopsticks.

2 AAA batteries.

.5 watt LED flashlight.

1G Flash drive, photo/video evidence.

Deck of Magic: The Gathering cards, green box.

Deck of plastic Bicycle playing cards.

12x20 in hand towel.

Wilted flower petal.

Heavy weight drum sticks, brand rubbed clean.

Keys.

Gloves.

Hope I'm in on time.

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I regret not being able to contest this round. I've been working on something pretty big and it left no time for working on something small for this contest.

I'll still vote. Don't you worry.

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meh.

.rogerG

Lying quiet on my bed

Sadly wishing I were dead

My father asking me instead

Clean the blood where he had bled

Lying quiet on their bed

Told him I wish to be dead

He repeated what I had said

When he left I shaved my head

It's not that I don't seem to care

It's not that I don't like long hair

It's not like telling black from white

It's not like trying to be right

For in this life we cannot win

Forging dreams in old cans of tin

No one can escape the sin

Walking into the devil's grin

Bagging up my old brown nest

Feeling light like I could jest

I went downstairs to see the rest

How this change did them infest

Father had put down his gun

Aimed directly at his son

My mother's tears how did they run

Her life had ended as mine begun

How am I blind to all but me

How could I act so selfishly

What we do we cannot undo

Just one misstep and then you're through

It's not that I don't seem to care

It's not that I want your despair

All our needs cannot compare

And my one change is now unfair

For in this life we cannot win

Forging dreams in old cans of tin

No one can escape the sin

Walking into the devil's grin

No, in this life we'll never win

Shooting dreams in old cans of tin

Walking straight into the sin

Walking into the devil's grin

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My entry. Finally finished after falling asleep for half the day. Oops... It didn't come out quite as well as I had hoped, and of course I couldn't come up with a good title, but whatever. Enjoy!

The Unknown

DefenTec Corp. Database System

“Genesis” Terminal Interface RA-8.2.9

Copyright © 3087 DefenTec Corporation

Connecting to central database.................

Connection established.

Login: *********

Passkey: *********************

Accessing..........

Access granted.

>>/fleet/Sansun/log/personal/K.Udan

UEF Sansun Personal Log

Kathryn Udan, Chief Medical Officer

531 Entries, 04-12-3095 to 11-07-3098

Partial data corruption detected.

>>show -r -8 -ae

Displaying last 8 files. Audio enabled.

Entry Number 524, 11-02-3098

“The monthly health evaluation is finally over. Thank god. Barring a few irregularities, it's always the same thing every month. A few are always sick with a stomach flu, and the rest are generally in good shape. Physically, anyway. Over three years alone in deep space takes its toll on the human mind. I can't deny feeling the effects myself, but some of the crew, well, if this tour doesn't end soon, they'll crack. I'm already seeing it start in some. Ensign Lee is showing signs of depression, and Lieutenant Rodham is getting a little... paranoid. Several others have varying symptoms of cabin fever. I prescribed the appropriate medications, of course, but drugs can only do so much. I'm one of the lucky few on this boat that has an outlet. I was sure to give my husband some extended treatment when he came in for his checkup.”

Entry Number 525, 11-03-3098

“Today's little practice drill took everyone by surprise. Even some of the officers were caught off-guard by it. That's really odd, since the captain usually wants them to carefully watch for any men being sloppy. Kevin didn't even know it was a practice run until after it was all over. Captain Reynolds isn't saying why he called for it. Hell, he hasn't even left the bridge since it ended. It's got everyone a little concerned that it wasn't actually a drill at all, but none of the men on watch at the time saw anything. At least, that's what they're saying. I don't know. I have a feeling I'll be seeing more of the men in my office soon due to stress-related symptoms. I better make sure I have enough meds to last until the next supply ship is due to arrive.”

Entry Number 526, 11-03-3098

“It's barely been fourteen hours and we've already had another order to high alert. Now everyone knows the first time wasn't just a drill. Everyone's a little fuzzy on the details, but this time apparently there was an unknown ship spotted approximately one hundred kilometers from our position. The officer that spotted it didn't recognize it. There's speculation that the Perseus Alliance has a new ship model we haven't been informed about by Command. I really don't care what it is as long as it doesn't start bothering us. This is a recon vessel, there's no way we'd survive even a mild encounter with the PA. We're too far out to expect any help from the fleet if things turn sour here. Deep space is supposed to be lonely. It was lonely until now. Now we're on edge because of a sighting of something that no one is able to identify. Everyone's on edge. I haven't been able to find Kevin since the alert went out again. I want him to hold me, but he's probably busy managing the situation. Our personal life can't get in the way of our duties. I know I wished for a little more to do around here, but th... Great, what now? Right, I'm on my way.”

Entry Number 527, 11-04-3098

“I know I'm supposed to stay professional when dealing with any of the crew. I'm a doctor, I saw the signs, I should've known this could happen. But... but... Oh god. Oh god. I couldn't do anything. I froze. I just stood there. There was so much blood... so much blood. And his eyes... he already knew. He just looked at me... like he was trying to say something reassuring but couldn't find his voice. And then... oh god. He's gone. He's gone. I didn't even get to say goodbye. I can't let myself cry, he wouldn't want... why? Why'd you have to be the one to die? Kevin...”

Entry Number 528, 11-04-3098

“Two more. Two more dead. After... after Kevin... after Lieutenant Udan died, the entire ship was put on lockdown. Everyone was confined to their quarters while the captain made the rounds, interrogating every single one of them. And yet, somehow, two more were killed in their quarters. Some of the crew were saying the first death was suicide, but I hope they've been shut up now. I don't know they could've been murdered from inside their own rooms. Everyone's been separated. Only the captain is free to move around the ship... he couldn't have done it, right? He couldn't, he wouldn't... I've seen the bodies, the injuries. It's one person, whoever it is. The wound is the same on each. A single, precise stab wound into the carotid artery surrounded with very slight burns around the wound. There's a killer on the ship. A Perseus assassin? I can't imagine any of the crew doing this. I mean, sure, they were showing signs of cracking, but still... none of them seemed far enough along to even start a fight! And how he getting around? How come no one noticed anything was wrong until... Udan was murdered? Why did he have to die?!”

Entry Number 529, 11-06-3098

“Something's happened. No one knows who's responsible for the deaths, but the captain doesn't seem to care anymore. The entire crew is at battle ready and we're making for Federation territory. The captain was in here an hour ago. He was... I don't want to say afraid, but uncertainty doesn't describe what I saw in him. I'm not supposed to know this, but the unknown ship they spotted a few days ago reappeared much, much closer this time. Out of nowhere. Whatever it was, it disappeared again while our guns were trying to get a lock on it. Spooked the hell out of the crew, apparently. Captain says it didn't look like any ship made by either the Alliance or Federation. I never saw it. I don't want to see it. We're a month away from Federation space... I hope it never comes back.”

Entry Number 530, 11-07-3098

“I shouldn't be talking about this, but the captain brought some sort of knife to me early this morning. One of the crew found it in the engine room. It's nothing like I've ever seen before. It doesn't have a physical blade. Somehow it just... generates one. Out of energy. I thought that was the stuff of science fiction, but here it is, in my lab... and it matches perfectly with the stab wounds on the murdered crew members. … I'm afraid. There's someone, or something, one the ship. Captain's ordered a full search of every millimeter of the ship. We don't know what's here, but he hasn't said anything about the knife itself to the crew. I think he wants to keep the crew from getting panicky. Too bad almost everyone is getting there anyway. I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out.”

Entry Number 531, 11-07-3098

“Oh god, oh god... Okay... this... this is Doctor Kathryn Udan of the United Earth Federation reconnaissance vessel Sansun. Our ship has come under attack by a ship of unknown origin. They appeared out of nowhere and hit us before we could strike back. I don't know how, but they're on the ship! They're killing everyone! I saw them, they're not human! They're monsters! Most of the men are already dead! I'm the only one left on the bridge and they're heading this way! When I end this transmission the ship and crew logs will be sent on all channels to whoever's listening. Please, don't ignore this! These aliens are real! The... oh god, they're at the door! They're almost through! Please, I don't want to die! No, no don't! AAAAAA”

Playback ended.

>>erase -o “/fleet/Sansun”

WARNING

Data recovery will not be possible when using Overwrite option. Continue[Y/N]: Y

Erasing.........

Complete.

Overwriting.......................

Complete.

>>exit -nl

Passkey: *********************

Disconnected from central database. Database access log not updated.

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That's it! Submission stage is over! We've got five entries this round. Voting begins now, and ends when the clock hits 23:59pm UTC 14 August, 2009. I'll be sending out reminders as soon as I get my computer back up and running so I can access the list of people I need to send PMs to...

Current Submissions

for the July 2009 Freeform Competition:

Way of the Samurai by Zipp

The Mind's Prison by wouldntyouliketoknow

7 lbs. by TheHands

.rogerG by SoulinEther

The Unknown by HalcyonSpirit

Good luck, everyone!

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