Fiction Friday: Human Curiosity

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Crystal Caves by JoshEiten on Deviantart

Welcome back! It’s Friday which means it’s storytime! {Yay!} This week’s story is a bit shorter that you’re used to, but I have a good reason for that, I promise. I’ve been working on a longer story {with lots of worldbuilding and plotting, oh my!} which I’m hoping to finish this week. I’m aiming for at least 5000 words, but it will probably be longer.

That said, I didn’t want to leave you guys without a story this week, so I wrote a short, dialogue only, story. It’s a continuation of Human Care, although you don’t necessarily need to read that one first. I saw this prompt on Pinterest and could immediately picture Kel’Jar and Keira having this conversation. As my husband said: That universe only exists to make Keira’s life difficult, doesn’t it? Why yes, yes it does. So enjoy and hopefully next week I’ll have something big for you!

 

“Why? Why didn’t I stay on the ship? I could have just said to the Captain ‘Dammit, Jim, I’m an engineer, not a redshirt!’ But, no! He asked so of course I – “

“Your shirt seems to be more of an Earth-forest green in hue, and the Captain’s name is Crydrask, not Jim.”

“I know, Kel’Jar, it’s a human saying – sort of. Point is, I should be back on the ship, surrounded by my beautiful machines and gizmos but instead I’m on this cold, dark planet, walking into this cold, dark, fakakta cave where we’ll get eaten by the no doubt charming wildlife. All because they found some energy signature in said, cold, dark, fakakta cave that might maybe, perhaps, possibly be electronic. How is this my life?”

“Human-Keira, I would like to join you in acknowledging the difficulties of your life.”

“Wow, you are the worst at this comfort thing. But thanks for trying, I guess.”

“XTO-371 was labelled ‘safe’ before we were sent down. There are no signs of dangerous indigenous species, airborne toxins or other biological hazards. You are simply experiencing a nervous reaction due to the fact that this is your first exploring mission. You will be, as you say, fine.”

“Much better. See, you’re getting the hang of this human-interaction thing! Now, does your scanner say how much further we need to go before we reach this energy – Oh God! Something just brushed my leg!”

“That was most probably an Agnasi, they are similar to your Earth-spider.”

“Spiders don’t usually reach up to my knee, Kel’Jar!”

“True, I meant in the way that they have more limbs than most species. Ten in the case of the Agnasi, but –“

“Not really helping.”

“—they have a really friendly demeanour.”

“Oh God, the creepy alien spiders are going to eat us alive and we’re all gonna diiiieeeee. We should never have walked in here. I wanna go hoooome.”

“Why are you singing?”

“It’s a human fear response. It happens sometimes.”

“Studies on human behaviour denote three human responses to fear: fight, flight and freeze. Singing is not mentioned.”

“Well, no. It’s more like we’re trying not to give in to the fight-or-flight thing by singing. I guess.”

“Fascinating.”

“Yeah, we’re astonishing creatures. Oh, hey! I found the thingamabob. Could you give me some more light? Thanks. Cool, it seems to be giving off sound on a supersonic frequency. I wonder why?”

“Perhaps it is a distress signal.”

“Could be, but we haven’t found any other technology, or a spaceship. Ooh, I found the button that turns it off, let’s see what happens.”

“Are you certain that is wise?”

“Too late. Alright, nothing flashy happened, nothing exploded, no sudden death. Which is good. Blinking lights, which might be less good. Wait. Do you hear that, what is that?”

“It would appear we have angered the Agnasi by turning off the device. I would advise you to run!”

“I thought you said they have a ‘friendly demeanour’!”

“I was incorrect. Caelestis, this is Lieutenant Kel’Jar requesting immediate extraction from this location. We are being pursued, I repeat, we are being pursued.”

“Nothing will happen, he says, you’ll be fine, he says!”

“It was a statement made taking only the parameters currently available to me in consideration.”

“Hahaha! Did you see that one hit the rocks? I totally got it!”

“Is laughing another human not-fear response?”

“Yeah, but how about we run now and study human physiology later, okay?”

“They seem to be gaining on us.”

“I swear, Kel’Jar, if I get eaten I will haunt you for– Oof!”

“Welcome back aboard, Lieutenant, Keira. Were you able to figure out the energy signature?”

“It would seem, Captain, that the device emitted a high-frequency sound, which kept the local Agnasi population docile. When Human-Keira shut down the device, they turned hostile.”

“I see.”

“Yeah – I guess I’m not really cut out for the adventuring thing. Sorry, Captain, guess I shouldn’t have pushed the glowy button.”

“Human curiosity. Something we could use on our next mission. So, get some rest and wash up. We’ll arrive at EXO-31 in 23 standard hours.”

“When you say human curiosity?”

“Yes, Keira, that means you too.”

“But we almost got eaten by not-spiders and it was my fault!”

“And you survived, this time.”

Oy Gevalt.

“Who knows, you might start to like this adventuring thing.”

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Flash Fic: Human Care

Prometheus concept art

Time for a new story! This time I got inspired by several prompts on Tumblr {like this one and this beautiful gem} talking about how aliens would view us humans. They are hilarious and such an inspiration. Expect more ‘humans are weird’ stories, because this was just too much fun. So sit back, enjoy, and tell me what you think!

“Get. In. There. You. Momzer piece of. Shtik,” I grunted as I tried to kick the fuel injector for the atmo-thrusters back into place. I overbalanced at the last one, falling onto the floor on my back. On the bright side, the injector snapped into place with a satisfying clunk.
 …I stayed there for a moment, catching my breath when a shadow fell over me. Looking up, I saw an indigo-and-grey face looking down at me in worry. “Oh, hey, Kel’Jarr,” I greeted him.
 “Human-Keira,” he seemed to pause for a moment, “hey.” He continued hesitantly.
 …I tried not to smile at how awkward he returned the human greeting, but it was a lost cause.
 …“Why are you currently on the floor?” he continued, “Are you injured?”
 …“Nah, I’m fine. I was just in a fight with the fuel injector. I won,” I grinned at him, rolling to my feet.
 …Kel’Jarr looked at the thing like it was going to jump out and bite him.
 “So, what’s up?” I asked him, fighting a laugh when his gaze slipped upwards. I picked up a rag to try and wipe some of the grease of my hands. Lost cause, especially my nails, but a girl can try, right? “Human expression, K.J.,” I explained, “it means ‘what did you need or why did you want to talk to me?’.”
 …“I see,” he nodded, obviously mentally filing the information away in his ‘humans are odd’ folder, “well then, what is ‘up’ is that I brought you a hot Earth beverage.” He thrust a steaming cup in my direction. “I believe you call it ‘coffee’.”
 …That got my attention. “You got me coffee?” I made grabby hands towards the cup until he handed it over. Sweet, sweet coffee, it had been too long. It was rich and dark, with a hint of vanilla. It was perfect. “Marry me.” I joked, although I really should have known better after three months on  Caelestis.
 Kel’Jarr’s black eyes widened comically and he blushed dark purple. “My apologies, I wasn’t made aware of the cultural connotations of giving coffee or of the ease with which you humans propose a life-long bond. I believed it was preceded with months of ‘dates’, social outings where the persons in question –“
 …I took pity on him and interrupted. “No, Kel’Jarr, it’s okay. It’s a – a human jest. Sometimes we use it when someone does something that makes us happy.”
 …He took a moment to digest that. “So this coffee has made you happy?” he asked, an intense glint in his eyes.
 Very, thank you. It’s great coffee.” I took another sip.
 Kel’Jarr looked off to a spot just above my head as if waiting to see if something was going to happen. When it didn’t he simply nodded and left.
 …I stared at him, wondering what the hell that was about. My new-found friends had been acting strangely the last couple of days. True, I, and us humans in general, hadn’t had a lot of experience with the Spaceborn races and human crew was apparently new to Caelestis, so we were all still figuring each other out. Still, they were being weird. I didn’t have a lot of time to think on it. When I raised the cup of heavenly, delicious coffee towards my lips again the fuel injector beeped at me again. I groaned and went to see what it wanted this time.

 …I opened the door to my bunk the next night to find another crew-mate anxiously waiting for me. At least, from the way the dark purple tentacles on her head were swishing back and forth, she seemed nervous.
 “Xanni, is everything alright?” I asked her.
 …Instead of responding she held out a shiny pink rock, glittering in the artificial lights. It was very pretty. When I didn’t make any move to take it she started talking. “Human-K – I mean, Keira. To the Xerronovians, crystals symbolise the everlasting,” she explained, placing the stone in my hand.
 …“Okay?” I tried.
 …She took a deep breath, her hair swishing wildly for a moment. “It is often exchanged as a token of friendship. To show the unbreakable bond between them. I found this one on the Ophros mission. Its colour reminded me of you.” She smiled almost shyly, her gaze flicking up to my fading pink-dyed hair.
 …“You’re – you’re giving me a stone of everlasting friendship?” I asked, needing the clarification. When she nodded I couldn’t help but smile. “Wow, Xanni, that is beautiful, thank you.” I thought for a moment. “We have an ancient human custom like this as well,” I told her, untying one of the handmade bracelets I had around my wrist. “These are called friendship bracelets. We wear them as a sign of – well, friendship.” I tied the lavender coloured bracelet around her wrist. “The colour matches you,” I told her, grinning.
 …Xanni held her wrist up into the light, cerulean eyes glittering with wonderment. Her hair tendrils gently reached out, feeling the knotted bracelet. She gave me a wide smile.
 “There is another custom that follows the exchange of friendship gifts,” I told her solemnly, like it was a big deal, “We need to hug, come on.” I gently tugged her into my arms and closed them around her.
 …She was stiff in surprise for a moment before practically melting into the embrace. Her tentacles ran through my dreadlocks, which felt very weird, but nice in a way. Almost like being petted. When we let go and stepped back she looked at my hair for a moment before focussing back on my face. “This has made you happy, yes?” Xanni asked, suddenly intense.
 …“Yes, Xanni, it made me happy.” I smiled at her.
 …She nodded, gaze flicking up again. “Good,” she stated, “will we still have ‘movie night’ tomorrow? I am curious to how this ‘Doctor’ will get out of the library.”
 …I grinned. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

 …Two days later found me sitting in a bustling mess during break while my three friends hovered at my table. No, really. Shifting-from-foot-to-foot, shooting-meaningful-glances hovering. “Hey guys, what’s up?” I tried.
 …Xanni, Kel’Jarr and Shakris exchanged a glance before Shakris stepped forward. He put a squirming ball of bright orange, lime-green and black fur on the table before me.
 …It turned out to be some kind of creature that reminded me most of cross between a cat and a fox. Almost neon green fur covered its belly and gave way to shocking orange on its flanks. Black fur covered its back and spiralled over its face and sides in almost tribal markings. It had tiny horns on top of his fox-like head. Green eyes glittered bright and intelligent. Its fluffy black-and-orange tale swished back and forth lazily as it took in its surroundings. And me.
 …I couldn’t help the squeal of pure excitement, it was the cutest thing I had ever seen. The three crew-mates at my table looked up at the sound, alarmed, but my attention was all on the neon ball of fluff in front of me. “Look at the pretty kitty!” I exclaimed as I raised my hand to pet it. “Yes, you are beautiful, aren’t you? So pretty and bright.” I turned to Shakris. “Is he yours?” I asked as I ran my hand down soft fur.
 …Shakris’ scales turned darker for a moment. “No Human-Keira, he is yours. The Faeturim resembles the Earth-cat most, even if it is significantly more dangerous. It has a soft temperament, but when cornered, it will set its tail aflame.”
 …My eyes widened. “It can set its tail on FIRE? That is like, the coolest thing ever. That’s it, now I have to call you Sparky.” I cooed at the fire-fox-cat for another moment. “But wait, why did you give me a pet that can set the ship on fire?”
 …“My ‘Human Care’ pamphlet spoke of the ease of which humans bond with smaller creatures, especially those you consider ‘fluffy’,” Shakris explained, looking slightly uncomfortable, “It also implied that the more dangerous it was, the happier it would make you. Since you are obviously unhappy, we wished to remedy this by giving you a small companion.”
 …I stared at him, surprised. “Human Care pamph – you know what, not important right now. Why would you think I’m unhappy? I am happy.”
 …“You are wilting.” Kel’Jarr chimed in.
 …“Wilting?”  I really had no idea what was going on.
 …“Your hair,” Xanni started carefully, “it’s been losing colour.”
 …“Yes,” Shakris continued, “first we thought it might be vitamin deficiency, since Human-Joe and Human-Laura don’t have the same problem. But scans show –“
 …I couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing. The confused looks on their faces didn’t help and it took about a minute for the full-out laughter to calm into occasional giggles. Sparky was sniffing my face as if checking if I was okay and Shakris looked ready to call a medic. “Guys, I’m fine. Really. I am not wilting. My hair is dyed.”
 …“Dyed?” Shakris asked.
 “Yeah, as in, artificial colouring. I dyed it pink before we boarded but it doesn’t last forever. My real hair is the same boring blonde as Joe’s.” I tried not to flinch at the sudden buzzing of the scanner Shakris was holding next to my head.
 …“Fascinating,” he stated, ever the scientist, “they combined 2,5-diaminotoluene with 5-amino-2-methylphenol and a range of harsh chemicals. Tell me, what is the cultural significance of colouring one’s hair?”
 …“No significance, it’s mostly cosmetic. Lots of humans do it.”
 …“Fascinating. Kel’Jarr, look at this, if we added the polymer bindings we discovered on Ophros we could make the colours last much longer.”
 …“I see, which colour do you think, blue?” Kel’Jarr took the tablet from Shakris and started typing furiously.
 …The blue of the ‘Doctor’s’ spaceship would compliment her blue irises.” Xanni chimed in.
 …“Whoah, whoah, wait a minute guys, don’t I get a say in this.” I interrupted, but I was smiling as I said it.
 …“Of course, Human-Keira, our apologies.” Shakris bowed slightly. “We will of course consider your input for choice of colour.”
 …I snorted. “Thank you for the consideration, Shakris. So you actually want me to dye my hair a bright colour?”
 …“Yes.”  They answered in unison. It was almost creepy.
 …“We like you more vibrant,” Xanni confessed, her hair tendrils twisting happily, “more – like yourself.”
 …I smiled at my friends, my new-found family. “Alright, you pick something.”
 …Sparky curled up on the table in front of me, emitting a strange rumbling that almost sounded like purring.
 …I kept petting him as I watched my friends discuss which colour would be most ‘aesthetically pleasing’ with my skin- and eye colour. Happiness bubbled up in me, unbidden, and I couldn’t help grinning. I’d finally found a home.

So that’s it! I had a lot of fun with this one and I think it shows. By the way, this is Sparky, made by the amazingly talented Lee Cross. Seriously, check out her amazing posable creatures by clicking on the picture!

Posable Fire Fox by Lee Cross

Pocket Letter: my favourite things

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Time to share my newly discovered addiction; pocket letters! Pocket letters are a new way for pen pals to make something creative, write letters to each other and include little gifts. It’s so much fun! {to find out more about pocket letters, see Jannete Lane’s website}

Above is the first pocket letter I’ve ever made, for my friend Flava. We’ve not known each other that long, but we talk about anything and everything. When we were at the biggest crafts fair in the Netherlands last Octobre she said; ‘you know, it’s funny, we know so much about each other already, but I don’t even know if you drink coffee.’ So when I discovered pocket letters {through her enthousiasm} I knew I wanted to make a ‘favourite things’ pocket letter for us to get to know each other a little better. And what better way for you guys to know me a little better as well?

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I’ve numbered the cards so I can tell you guys what my favourite things are on each ATC! Here we go!

  1. I love butterflies. The little me is made from hama beads {like perler, but European}, and it shows my favourite color: purple, and my newest challenge: hand lettering.
  2. Space!, astronomy, with my favourite constellations, Casseopeia and Lyra. Sci-fi movies and series with the Death Star from Star Wars, Serenity from Firefly, the T.A.R.D.I.S. from Doctor Who, the Stargate from the Stargate franchise, a Viper from Battlestar Gallactica and the Enterprise from Star Trek.
  3. Cupcakes are my obsession, not even eating them, just cute things with cupcakes on them. Purple and Teal/Turqouise tones, my favourite color combination. Happy buntings and bakers twine.
  4. Space again! And my favourite animals: wolves and ravens/crows.
  5. A quote by one of my favourite musicians, Jack Johnson. I adore his music and the surfer vibe that goes with it.
  6. My favourite artist is Selina Fenech, and this is one of my favourite works from her, called the Storykeeper. She has a free colouring page of it on her website, which I shrank down to ATC size and coloured with my favourite Letraset markers of course!
  7. Teal and purple again! Yay! Together with my love for all things fantasy, especially witches and fairies. I was born in autumn and it is also my favourite season, hence the hedgehog and mushrooms. The little fairies and witch and the clothesline I drew myself with a 0.05 mm fineliner
  8. I love reading. Books are my favourite thing to collect. I stamped the stack of books from my favourite Gorjuss stamp called New Heights. I then added the names of my favourite writers to the spines: Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews, Neil Gaiman, Karen Chance and Katherine Kerr. The teacup represents my love of tea and all things British and of course another cupcake! Both hand-drawn.
  9. Last but not least: writing! I love writing here for all you guys and gals but also to write stories and essays and poetry. The typewriter is made with the Marianne Design Collectable called Eline’s Typewriter.

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Of course I needed some pretty stationery to write the actual letter on, so I made some myself! All of the stamped images are from different Gorjuss Stamps, coloured with Derwent pencils. I then drew the thin lines with my 0.05 mm fineliner. I LOVE how it turned out! I think I’ll be making my own stationery from now on whenever I need to write something.

So there you have it! My first pocket letter and a ton of info on my favourite things! Tell me what you think and tell me something about your favourite things!

Another year Eldar…

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Oh dear that title is horrible! Anyway, this is a card I made for my friend Jasper who turned the big three-oh. Since he is one of our Warhammer geeks, I wanted to make a Warhammer 40k themed card for him. He plays Eldar, so I just had to…

First I looked for some lineart that I could colour with my new set of awesome Letraset Flexmarkers so I went to the Google and when that turned up nothing, our trusty Deviantart. I found this little chibi guy on Julia’s page, which has some more cool Warhammer themed lineart. The white and green are the colours of Jasper’s army, so I coloured the cute thing so it would fit right in.

Then came the hard part. I had my Eldar… now what… The Husband suggested a Webway Gate. Now, The Husband and Friends have been playing Warhammer 40k for about ten years. Me, not so much. So I had no idea what a Webway Gate was. Google was my friend yet again and I found this picture of an Eldar portal;

Eldar Portal Wargamer
Eldar Webway by the Wargamer

Well that just looked awesome and like something I could actually incorporate onto a card. First I did some brainstorming on how to make the glowy portal itself. I took some clear sheet, we call it mika, and coloured it with my flexmarkers, dotting with the brush to make the cloudy effect. The ‘leg’ was next. I free-handed the basic shape onto some white cardstock and cut that. Then I layered it with two more layers of white cardstock, adding foam in between to give it depth. It came out too white for my tastes however, so I coloured the bottom green again, tying it all together.

All in all it was quite an energy intensive card to make, but a LOT of fun to do. And the birthday boy loved it!

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{Disclaimer, I do not own Warhammer or the Eldar. No profit was made, this was solely for entertainment purposes}

Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

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I’m looking at you, Fox! It’s been ten years but it still hurts! Haha, no but really, anyone who knows me, knows I’m a giant fan of the awesome series Firefly. So what to do when you craft and you like all stuff geeky? Right, you combine them! We have a mini library in our house, really! One wall of bookcases filled with our favourite books and dvd’s. The tiny piece of wall that’s left we’re slowly filling with pictures, quotes and art of those favourite books, movies and series. After playing the Firefly board game we got the Husband for his birthday, I figured it was time to add another Firefly quote to the wall. So I got out my mini Hama beads, got my favourite quote, and went to work!

Hoban “Wash” Washburne playing with a toy dinosaur: Yes. Yes. This is a fertile land and we will thrive. We will rule over all this land! And we will call it… this land!
Wash as Ceratosaurus: I think we should call it your grave!
Wash as the other dinosaur: Ah! Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!
Wash as Ceratosaurus: Ha ha ha! Mine is an evil laugh! Now die!
Wash as the other dinosaur: Oh no god! Oh, dear God in heaven!

I modified two dinosaur patterns I found on Pinterest and matched the colours as best I could to the official toys on ThinkGeek. The background I got out of a book with photos taken by the hubble, although this is an artistic rendition and not a photo {shh}. Then I added the quote with a copper paint pen and framed it!

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So now it’s happily hanging on the wall with his other friends, waiting for more cute and awesome fan-inspired art!