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bunbury
Post  Post subject: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:33 am
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Since this forum seems to be stuck in the doldrums I'm just wondering if there's any interest out there in writing a novel - a really bad sci if novel, inspired by the Bulwer Lytton contest for bad prose. The Idea is that someone starts a story with a post containing a bad sentence and the next poster writes the next sentence and so on until the really bad story comes to a predictably bad but hopefully funny conclusion.

As an example here is the winning opening sentence from last year.

As I gardened, gazing toward the autumnal sky, I longed to run my finger through the trail of mucus left by a single speckled slug, innocuously thrusting past my rhododendrons, and in feeling that warm slime be swept back to planet Alderon, back into the tentacles of the alien who loved me -

Go to go and eat dinner now but will come back to this in a while....


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:53 am
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I think it's a very fun idea, regardless of site activity. We did something similar on another science forum I'd joined about 6 years ago.

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:50 am
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I did that too. We might have been on the same forum. Can we use this other person's starting sentence. I'll contribute the next one and see if anyone follows on...

As I gardened, gazing toward the autumnal sky, I longed to run my finger through the trail of mucus left by a single speckled slug, innocuously thrusting past my rhododendrons, and in feeling that warm slime be swept back to planet Alderon, back into the tentacles of the alien who loved me -

But separated by light years I knew I would I be 10,000 years older than my viscous lover after a twenty year journey at 0.9C, or perhaps it would be the other way round - I could never get my head around that twins paradox.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:19 am
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Alas, these mental masturbations about the twin paradox and other ancient paradoxical thought experiments are now how I occupy my mind day after day as I exist here stuck... no... trapped in this massive Dyson sphere; a station that was built all those decades ago by scientists and young volunteers each filled with so much hope and aspiration and good intent, but which... like its current inhabitants... sits here today dilapidated, mostly vacant, and very nearly forgotten.

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:47 am
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Escape seems impossible ever since we learned of the sad ending of the last attempt by the miners who dug their way out only to be sucked into space in what has become known as the Dyson vacuum cleaner incident.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:59 pm
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We've lost many of our friends and colleagues that way, more than I care to admit really, and it's a sad reminder of how critical it is to be ever vigilant in this harsh environment, despite the intermittent moments of beauty I experience when passing my rhododendrons or running my finger down the warm mucus trail left by the slugs.

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:20 pm
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Meanwhile on Alderon (a poignant yet meaningless phrase in the space-time continuum) it was Slugfest; that joyous time when Alderonians put aside their differences and slither around with tentacles entwined to a rockin’ beat.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:03 am
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Slugfest has an interesting history, one encompassing home brewed concoctions, locally baked delights, and costumes of all sorts.

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GiantEvil
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:37 am
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For the most part Slugfest is a stellarly spectacular and gay event, except for the occasional gathering of Alderons somberly sploiking and gurgling macabre reminiscences of the tragic sodium chloride event.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:19 pm
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I'll save that story for another time, but let's just say that I haven't had a pretzel now in over 17 narnaks and boy do I miss them.

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:12 pm
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It’s an accepted truism on Alderon that drowning in beer is a better way to go but a small beer and pretzels death cult has recently emerged.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:07 am
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You wouldn't think death cults would be so common in a community such as ours, but there do seem to be a lot of them... and one in particular has a truly fascinating eden story.

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:50 pm
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But that must wait for another time; allow me to introduce myself: I am Phelge Nanker, a one-time entrepreneur in the field of positronic compassion circuit enhancements; a field now dead since the advent of implanted personalities and a world full of copycat Jerry Garcias and Lady Gagas among other characters from the depths of history; a world now teetering on the brink of disaster as our inherently unstable sphere totters slowly to a fiery mating with its source of life and light, our new nemesis the sun; I must escape.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:47 am
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It's hard here, and a challenge to survive, but we make it through as best we can despite the changes we are seeing in our orbit. It's made worse by our lack of access to large bodies of water... I've loved the water for nearly as long as I can remember... and I will never forget what Savannah (my first true love) once said to me... She said, "Remember... life is like foam, and that is why you should become one with the sea."

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:53 pm
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But Savannah swam off into the sunset, or would have if the sun ever set here, with her bioengineered flipper feet making barely a splash as I wept on the sea shore, my double chocolate chip ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles melting, forgotten, in my hand, until she ran aground on the reef.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:03 pm
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As sad as it all was, it does make me laugh, though... as she could never hold an ice cream cone herself due to her flippers... it was always milkshakes for her.

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:05 am
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Ah, the milkshakes, such memories, and anchovy her favorite flavor.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:02 am
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And that time that Savannah and I found that tunnel that plunged into the body of the sphere, but we didn't explore the tunnel very far, instead we explored each others secret places.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:08 am
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That's what we called our rock collections... "secret places," boy it was grand.

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:59 pm
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But that was then and this is now and today the sun seems a little closer which might explain why my skin bubbled a little bit when I went outside and forgot to put on my protective photosynthesis suit that is the centerpiece of my plan to journey to the exit port after hooking up with my buddy who last time I heard from him had bought himself a new personality which could only be a good thing.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Rollup #1  |  Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:38 pm
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Rollup #1:

As I gardened, gazing toward the autumnal sky, I longed to run my finger through the trail of mucus left by a single speckled slug, innocuously thrusting past my rhododendrons, and in feeling that warm slime be swept back to planet Alderon, back into the tentacles of the alien who loved me. But separated by light years I knew I would I be 10,000 years older than my viscous lover after a twenty year journey at 0.9C, or perhaps it would be the other way round - I could never get my head around that twins paradox.

Alas, these mental masturbations about the twin paradox and other ancient paradoxical thought experiments are now how I occupy my mind day after day as I exist here stuck... no... trapped in this massive Dyson sphere; a station that was built all those decades ago by scientists and young volunteers each filled with so much hope and aspiration and good intent, but which... like its current inhabitants... sits here today dilapidated, mostly vacant, and very nearly forgotten.

Escape seems impossible ever since we learned of the sad ending of the last attempt by the miners who dug their way out only to be sucked into space in what has become known as the Dyson vacuum cleaner incident. We've lost many of our friends and colleagues that way, more than I care to admit really, and it's a sad reminder of how critical it is to be ever vigilant in this harsh environment, despite the intermittent moments of beauty I experience when passing my rhododendrons or running my finger down the warm mucus trail left by the slugs.

Meanwhile on Alderon (a poignant yet meaningless phrase in the space-time continuum) it was Slugfest; that joyous time when Alderonians put aside their differences and slither around with tentacles entwined to a rockin’ beat. Slugfest has an interesting history, one encompassing home brewed concoctions, locally baked delights, and costumes of all sorts. For the most part Slugfest is a stellarly spectacular and gay event, except for the occasional gathering of Alderons somberly sploiking and gurgling macabre reminiscences of the tragic sodium chloride event. I'll save that story for another time, but let's just say that I haven't had a pretzel now in over 17 narnaks and boy do I miss them.

It’s an accepted truism on Alderon that drowning in beer is a better way to go but a small beer and pretzels death cult has recently emerged. You wouldn't think death cults would be so common in a community such as ours, but there do seem to be a lot of them... and one in particular has a truly fascinating eden story. But that must wait for another time; allow me to introduce myself.

I am Phelge Nanker, a one-time entrepreneur in the field of positronic compassion circuit enhancements; a field now dead since the advent of implanted personalities and a world full of copycat Jerry Garcias and Lady Gagas among other characters from the depths of history; a world now teetering on the brink of disaster as our inherently unstable sphere totters slowly to a fiery mating with its source of life and light, our new nemesis the sun; I must escape.

It's hard here, and a challenge to survive, but we make it through as best we can despite the changes we are seeing in our orbit. It's made worse by our lack of access to large bodies of water... I've loved the water for nearly as long as I can remember... and I will never forget what Savannah (my first true love) once said to me... She said, "Remember... life is like foam, and that is why you should become one with the sea." But Savannah swam off into the sunset, or would have if the sun ever set here, with her bioengineered flipper feet making barely a splash as I wept on the sea shore, my double chocolate chip ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles melting, forgotten, in my hand, until she ran aground on the reef. As sad as it all was, it does make me laugh, though... as she could never hold an ice cream cone herself due to her flippers... it was always milkshakes for her. Ah, the milkshakes, such memories, and anchovy her favorite flavor. And that time that Savannah and I found that tunnel that plunged into the body of the sphere, but we didn't explore the tunnel very far, instead we explored each others secret places. That's what we called our rock collections... "secret places," boy it was grand.

But that was then and this is now and today the sun seems a little closer which might explain why my skin bubbled a little bit when I went outside and forgot to put on my protective photosynthesis suit that is the centerpiece of my plan to journey to the exit port after hooking up with my buddy who last time I heard from him had bought himself a new personality which could only be a good thing.

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iNow

"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:44 pm
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As I stood there thinking of my old friend, a gruff and startled yet focused voice broke through the silence from behind me calling out, "Hey, Phelge! You were right... our sphere's orbit has been shifting for several weeks now and all measurements indicate that we're getting 0.87% closer to the star each day. Come here and check out these numbers, man... it looks pretty bad."

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"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan


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tridimity
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:45 pm

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All things considered, 0.87% was pretty catastrophic - our days were now tangibly numbered. As a species exposed ordinarily to high levels of electromagnetic radiation, we had evolved in the midst of high mutation rates and high turnover; happen to be on the smiling side of chance and your genes would have a high penetrance in the next generation. A gut feeling - no, literally, an intestinal feeling - pre-empted a less-than-desirable ephemeral fate. There was no time to lose. Taking a furtive glance at my friend, warm feelings borne of fond reminiscences rose and choked a tear I would have shed had not excess levels of ductal NaCl deemed the osmotic pressure to be in the wrong direction. The nervous gaze in my direction, at once neurotically direct, and yet shyly withdrawn when our glances met - as one whose feelings were too strong to be encased in such a delicate vessel, as one about to break under the emotional strain, assured me that he felt the same and was anticipating my next move. Looking unwaveringly into his expansive blue eyes, I decided now was the time to do it, the only time to do it - to let him peek into my soul...

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:58 pm
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, that ghost that isn't there, yet commands my actions and thoughts, thoughts now turning to existential questions about life and death and who will feed the dog if I leave on this hazardous journey to Alderon, and how in any case could we leave and did he have a plan?


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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:00 pm
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“I’m looking into your soul, bro,” said Bob (for that is his name) “and I don’t like what I see – a soul consumed by an impossible dream, a dream of love beyond the stars, of Alderon which is forever out of reach – and then emptiness like the void between the stars, filled with dark matter that is eating you up, man, let go of it, and focus, focus on the here and now, and you and me, and anyway your rhododendrons are toast.”


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:16 pm
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While, of course, Bob was right that we had more pressing concerns with our degrading orbit, he simply couldn't appreciate the profound attraction Alderon has on me and the way it draws my thoughts toward it like a deep cerebral gravity well...He just cannot comprehend what it feels like to be there... in person... breathing its air... taking in its wildlife... and it still matters so much to me even after all these years. If only Bob could remember Alderon the way I do, as a...

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:08 am
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..lovely place (such a lovely place); I had to find the passage back to the place I was before, but "Relax" said Bob, "we are programmed to receive, you can check out any time you like but you can never leave".


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:48 am
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"You can never leave." Those four arbitrary words reverberated through my skull over and over again... poking me like pins through a cushion... There, but essentially undetectable and not really touching anything of substance, but still there... "You can never leave." I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply, but I couldn't release my thoughts from the bonds those words had placed on me... they felt eternal in my consciousness... "You can never leave," they repeated. Every fiber in my being raged against the onslaught and I wanted nothing more than to cry out, "SHUT UP!!! Leaving this death trap is our only real choice and you know it!!," but it wouldn't help... it didn't matter... the words just kept returning, "you can never leave," like echoes in a bottomless canyon cycling upward... assaulting... no... tormenting me... "You can never leave... you can never leave..." The words kept piercing me, cutting me, stealing the calm from my mind as if motivated by an demon dancing on an endless loop... "You can never leave... you can nehh..." Just then, we were interrupted by...

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GiantEvil
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:59 am
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... the cries of a flock of eagles. Eagles which, it had been claimed, would never flock together again. But here they were, Dysonian eagles flying, crying, in a flock in the sky. Great, big, huge Dysonian eagles.

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:23 pm
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They are back, Bob whispered to himself, we must follow them, but I overheard him and when I asked him why he said “I can’t tell you why”, but he was insistent so we got a few things together and donned our protective clothing and went and stood on the corner waiting for a ride in the same direction the birds were heading; eventually a vehicle came into sight and as it approached we could see it was a girl in a flat bed Ford.


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tridimity
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:15 pm

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The girl did not waste time on acknowledging us; this was what she had been born to do, her destiny. We too instinctively knew what we had to do. Slithering into the automobile, trying to avoid contact of all forms, lest the sullen despair that now gripped my being should be contagious, I mentally braced myself for a future now more uncertain than ever. Sand streamed past the windows and the only holler to be heard came from the eagles above; sand was all that featured as our approach to the local Helium factory intesified, ripping vast swathes of desert into the tortured landscape. Dreams of Alderon and of love beyond the stars permeated my conscious and unconscious states until, alas, the vehicle halted because...

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:47 am
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sand had covered the solar panels on the roof, and it was only as we got out to brush it off that I noticed the girl's flippered hands and then her feet and then the dorsal fin protruding through her shirt - could it be? I dared not hope but after a close look at her face, yes, the gills were new but everything else was Savannah.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:11 am
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The flood of memories was almost too intense, overwhelming me with a rollercoaster of emotions, but most importantly... the screaching echoes of "you will never leave" were suddenly silenced and my mind once again set free.

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:05 am
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"I, I thought you were..." I stammered; "No Phelge," she said, "I had to go on a quest and no one could know, so I had to pretend to be dead, and now we are together again and can complete my quest together, but what are these damn eagles doing swooping down on us, and, and look, that one has a human face..."


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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:05 am
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After a long silence, during which nothing much happened, Bob asked, somewhat inertly, "why are we headed for the helium factory anyway, I can only think of one possible use for helium and that's to make our voices sound like the chipmunks".


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:12 am
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I replied, "exactly Bob." "What is the whole reason that there is a helium factory on the sphere?" I pause for a breath, and then continue, "it's so we can all sing like chipmunks on Spheresfounders Day!" "The founders loved chipmunks." "And that's how we're getting past the electronic security at the founders gate." "By sounding like chipmunks!"

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tridimity
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 6:33 pm

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Contemplating on the seemingly desultory nature of life, my dice rolled a 3, 5, 2 and I scampered aboard a purple-backed camel, and off we set to that grid reference, our next destination...

[Ed: has this gotten too silly yet? ;)]

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu May 02, 2013 2:32 am
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..guided across this vast desert by an eagle with the face of Joe Walsh, all the while Savannah complaining that she felt like a fish out of water, which, we quickly realized, we should have bought a supply of along with the helium and the Mars bars.

[Ed. "gotten"? And all this time I thought you were British.]


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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 2:49 am
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Staggering thirstily across the sands our Mars bars melted and we killed the camel and drank the water from its hump, then ate the tender bits, and shockingly we realized that our journey was doomed to failure and with awesome majesty our Dyson sphere met in colossal conflagration with its sun, witnessed twenty years later by my alien lover on Alderon as the new star in the east that would cause her to fall on her three knees and worship it and found Phelgianity, the religion that swept the Universe.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:09 am
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Phelgianity wasn't really a religion in the normal sense of the word, but instead was more of an ideology or worldview... a conscious decision to approach our existence with a profound awareness and appreciation of birth... specifically the birth of stars... for just like the ancients, we knew that the stars themselves hold the key to our survival.

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:19 am
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By now you are probably wondering how I lived to tell the tale.


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tridimity
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 7:23 pm

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More often than not, I wonder the same thing, and indeed question whether 'I' exist at all. Descartes cannot help me now - the consciousness I used to believe in may be nothing more than an externally implanted phenomenon. The more the atoms constituting my neurones attempt to comprehend the nature of their own existence, the more frustrated I become, and resort to writing my name several times - as if willing myself into existence. As if the order of the letters in that label might spontaneously confer new meaning.

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed May 22, 2013 12:31 am
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And from these philosophical meanderings and anagramatical shufflings emerges a name so awesome in its meaning that I shudder as I puzzle over the superfluous P, before realizing that the great man liked to be known by his nickname, Phil, my alter ego, my avatar, my philosopher guru P.Hegel.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu May 23, 2013 5:07 am
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As far as alter egos go, this one is a good one... one that even sometimes ventures into the realm of pretend chipmunks who cannot get enough of the helium on this sphere.

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"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan


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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri May 24, 2013 2:16 am
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But our spherical home is gone along with the sun that destroyed it and our little band of adventurers rides the shock wave of its death spasm at near light speed inside an air-filled bubble made of desert sand fused by the unimaginable heat which we survived only by virtue of the helium flux that surrounded and cooled us as the helium factory disintegrated, while peering out through our giant light bulb we see the infinity of space dotted here and there by the drifting forms of bloated eagles and a camel turned inside out by the vacuum, and contemplate our destiny among the stars.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat May 25, 2013 12:36 am
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The sand fused into what was collectively known as blast glass. It was strangely strong, but since it formed so quickly it had few flaws and was still quite transparent.

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"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan


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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 12:13 am
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How long would our air last? we wondered as we drifted weightlessly inside our bubble that was perhaps to become our sarcophagus, when Bob mentioned that this was a bit like that old "who should we throw overboard" scenario, and we said thanks Bob that's really helpful.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 3:21 am
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While our response to Bob was full of snark, he really did have a point. As awful as it felt, we all knew that at some point we might have to be prepared to engage in type of "life boat exercise" and to rank our friends and colleagues from top to bottom in order to determine who should come and who should be left behind if the situation ever came up. I shuddered at the thought, but I know I was not the only one to think it.

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"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan


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GiantEvil
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 6:08 am
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As I wallowed in desultory contemplation of our impending asphyxiation, Savannah surprised the piss out of me by saying "Isn't glass made of silicone dioxide? If we can liberate the oxygen from just a small amount of glass scrapings it will give us plenty to breath! And I can use the silicone to repair my broken left stiletto heel!"

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It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.
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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 3:11 pm
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We paused for a moment to ponder just how had Savannah walked through the desert sand on stiletto heels designed for flippered feet, but soon our thoughts returned to the urgency of our situation.


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