Author Topic: The Assault on Christmas  (Read 1778 times)

The Wizard Joseph

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The Assault on Christmas
« on: November 12, 2015, 10:38:36 am »
Clang-bok the elf sat quietly in the small, well monitored briefing room it had been deposited in not very long after finally regaining consciousness. It was still wearing the tattered remains of its shupengraft, or worksuit, and its name was still visible upon a thick leather shoulder patch on its left side. It had been given a blue thermal blanket by one of the medical officers. It was wrapped tightly around the elf's eerily still form settled on top of a comfortable chair in the corner. The waifish creature had not once relaxed it's surprisingly strong grip on the thing even after passing out in the evacuation craft upon looking out of a window and seeing...
well.. that's CLASSIFIED.

Lets just say it seems the altitude hadn't agreed with the poor creature's already highly distressed system, and it had simply fainted. Elves don't actually sleep naturally and when their systems are sufficiently shocked to cause unconsciousness it can last for quite some time. They're engineered to run not recover, if you follow. Clang-bok was apparently in excellent condition for all that it had been through, but had in fact been unconscious for several days since arrival.

The quite literally shell-shocked elf had been readily compliant with the staff upon awaking but otherwise totally unresponsive. It hadn't even touched the now cold coffee on the side table next to it. Elves absolutely LOVE coffee. It just wasn't natural.

Sargent Thaddeus "Brax" Braxton of the 5th Onerian Investigative Corps had precious little sympathy in his heart to give but could not help but shave a thin sliver off of his remaining supply for the wretched creature in the room on his monitor readout. The devestation had been total. The DIMSAT images alone were enough to say that definitively. A flyover scan order had been issued immediately after an unprecedented security breach had occurred in some system or another well above his pay grade, and apparently he was not in the need to know club.

Whatever it was it had left a non-radioactive crater OF GLASS just over three miles in diameter and nearly a third of that overlapped roughly half of the sprawling complex that had been "Santa's Werkershoppe", as it appears in all legal documents. Sgt. Brax had a feeling that the VERY neat and cleanly executed kill zones smacked of truly inhuman precision. The pattern of found remains indicated that the elves in the shop complex had begun to flee away from the cataclysmic impact of... whatever that was. The surviving elves remaining in the compound were immediately afterward met and systematically wiped out by a focused and VERY well armed strike force of some sort. As far as anyone knows Clang-bok is the only survivor.

The analysis done so far seems to indicate the possibly of three sweep teams each bearing at least one flamethrower firing an unknown compound hot enough to powder concrete and some form of air support capable of helicopter like strafe patterns. Vexingly all of the munition fragments so far recovered matched no known manufacturer and apparently incorporate several novel alloys. The lab said that they would let Brax know as soon as they know what exactly.

Right now even that bloody conundrum was on the back burner. Sgt Brax needed to get poor Clang-bok talking. Clang-bok had been found in an area on the other side of the bizarre "impact zone they won't talk about" thing. It had managed to stay warm by staying just close enough to the cooling glass that it hadn't frozen to death, as happens VERY swiftly to elves exposed to polar temperatures. Not very far away just outside of the blast zone a concealed security cabin was found with its door hanging wide open. Santa Claus, A FUCKING GREATER ICONIC ENTITY, had been found face down in the snow about a dozen paces from the cabin, stone dead.

The wound was some sort of horrible burn through the back of his head, dead center and nearly 2/3 through. They had him on ice in the lab pending a godawful lot of international and poly-dimensional paperwork to perform a full autopsy.  The only tracks that could be found were this fucking elf and the Jolly Man himself. Brax just didn't see how the elf could have even thought to do it, much less how it could do THAT. Elves don't do violence, or even complain much, as a rule. It's just not in their nature. They certainly don't slay immortal beings like dogs in their own back yard.

Brax drank his coffee down and poured another before reluctantly reaching for his DIMSAT phone. He was going to have to call in a special favor from that damned "Wizard" again. "Maybe the crazy fucker can get Clang-bok here to open up or knows someone who can." Brax muttered under his breath as he heard the line go through the usual handshake and encryption cycles. "Yeah" he thought, "Or maybe he'll just fuck everything up on the biggest and most clandestine investigation in the Onarian Investigative Corps' entire history, maybe ever.

Sargent Thaddeus Braxton sighed very heavily as the DIMSAT finally opened up to a phone ringing.
It wasn't even fucking Thanksgiving yet.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
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Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2015, 07:37:38 pm »
I like this. Yes.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Cain

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2015, 07:39:29 pm »
As soon as I read the title, I hoped this was where it was going.

Was not disappointed.

The Wizard Joseph

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2015, 12:24:00 am »
Glad you guys like it. A friend fed me a 20mil addy not long after I got off work last night and I was like "ah, I'll probably still be able to sleep." Nope, kept writing as it came to me until after 5:30am.

Got plans for this evening and have to crash right after work Fri night to work a 530-2 shift for overtime Sat. I will get another chunk out this weekend. I'm doing this one freestyle as an experiment in mixing my own fictional mythos with things from here and a few unique to this story, strictly for funsies. Might just see if my friend has another couple eye-openers to spare. It really helped keep me on task.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2015, 05:07:53 pm »
Glad you guys like it. A friend fed me a 20mil addy not long after I got off work last night and I was like "ah, I'll probably still be able to sleep." Nope, kept writing as it came to me until after 5:30am.

Got plans for this evening and have to crash right after work Fri night to work a 530-2 shift for overtime Sat. I will get another chunk out this weekend. I'm doing this one freestyle as an experiment in mixing my own fictional mythos with things from here and a few unique to this story, strictly for funsies. Might just see if my friend has another couple eye-openers to spare. It really helped keep me on task.


20 mg? That's insane.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2015, 05:09:01 pm »
I mean, I take 5mg therapeutically, and after 20 years with the same script I can't take it within 6 hours of bed.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


The Wizard Joseph

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2015, 02:19:47 am »
I mean, I take 5mg therapeutically, and after 20 years with the same script I can't take it within 6 hours of bed.

Apparently the scrip is in 20mg tablets. I'm probably going to cut the dose by half next time, if there is such. I'm a pretty big dude and the 20 dose wasn't enough to get me at all jittery, but I was really missing the sleep the next day, still pretty hairy from under sleep cause of a schedule I volunteered for to get some weekend overtime in. I've found that lack of sleep is tolerable for me in short bursts, but that it's ultimately my kryptonite when it comes to managing my bipolar symptoms.

Trouble is I also know I do my best plotting for stories and other creative work while sleep deprived.  I had all day today to fill in the plot and imagine various character interactions while doing mindless things like washcloth stacking.

I'm intentionally trying to get myself into the habit of writing rather than just dreaming stuff up. I'm also not very used to third person omniscient writing and am intentionally trying to get over that here.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

The Wizard Joseph

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2015, 09:21:13 am »

A few too many hours later...

Brax was on the very edge of his not inconsiderable patience.  "The Wizard" had always been something of an annoyance to Sgt Brax, even when he's being helpful and not making a terrible mess of things. He had seemingly appeared out of nowhere early in 2013 in Root City, Wisconsin. The giant freak just showed up out of the blue in more and more of the various forms of regular surveillance documenting of Onerian activities done by OIC.

He claimed to be from another world in the material plane, which was of course preposterous, but unable to return home. He was given just a little bit of credibility in this in that he had an anomalous ability to discern both material and incorporeal Onerians operating in the material plane on sight. He also had going for him a seemingly unlimited preternatural ability to communicate with Onerians of all kinds that he's known to have encountered in a strange singsong sounding gibberish and to understand their greatly variable and often totally incomprehensible forms of reply. As one might imagine this had gained Mr. Wizard some rather influential friends among the many forms of, quite literal, living dreams and nightmares that had various influence and interests in the material world.

OIC monitored the Onerians and enforced standing law where appropriate, but that was not why it had been founded. It existed to help safeguard humanity from the undue influence of its own dreams and often horrific imagination, as did all the sections and various bodies of the Shadow Government that had been formalized in the aftermath of World War 2. This whole fucking Santa thing had a very real chance of upsetting a very delicate balance of power that had been in place for more than a half century.

Brax had taken a risk and called the damn Wizard in out of real desperation. He knew that even if they could get Clang-bok talking it was known to OIC that the elves of Santa's Workshop had a proprietary language not present in the commercial grade elf models that the shop manufactured and sold in a highly regulated and limited international market to registered Onerian and licenced human buyers all over the globe. He was REALLY betting his ass that this Wizard was as capable as he seemed to be and, frankly, it had not gone all that well so far.

Bringing him in had been a hassle on its own. He would only agree to do it on Brax's personal promise to ensure his free return and right to walk away at any time. Watching the readout as the so called Wizard then proceeded to waste almost an hour and a half after arriving examining Clang-bok in seemingly pointless ways and variously emitting a stream of unintelligible babble-song without even a twitch from Clang-bok had Sgt Brax strongly considering both accepting that he had simply made a mistake and having the fool deposited back out on the grimy streets of Root City... ungently.

Brax nearly crushed his paper coffee cup when the fucking Wizard suddenly looked up AT the camera Brax happened to be viewing from and said, "I believe that we must alter this being's environment. I recommend that we increase the temperature in this room by not less than 15 of your degrees centigrade and emulate the native environment and aesthetic as much as possible. I believe also that I saw a box of suitable decorations and lights sitting in what I assumed to be a staff recreational area while being escorted to this room. Please have these and one of your marvelous electrical space heaters brought to me. I believe that I will thereafter be able to begin communication successfully. It might also be helpful to turn down the ambient light if possible and acquire fresher coffee and suitable foodstuff for this being."

Brax needed a moment. It made sense, but after all the apparent horse shit he was in no generous mood. After having his moment Sgt Brax practically growled, "Do it" into the com and set a couple staffers to fulfill the Wizard's final request. If this had even a chance of working Brax was going to take it. If it failed Brax would be the laughingstock of the entire 5th division of OIC and his career effectively over.

Oh yeah, and Father Christmas' brutal murder and the decimation of the global elf supply would also likely go unexplained.

Sgt. Braxton decided that if it failed this crazy idiot was going to be deposited back in the gutter most ungently indeed.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Freeky

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2015, 07:19:27 pm »
MOAR!
If someone does the Fine, youre right, Im clearly a terrible person, Im Satan, Im the worst person alive, I should just die thing in response to criticism of their harmful behavior, they are trying to manipulate people and flip the situation around so that they look like a victim.

As a neuroscientist I have to disagree with the perception that anyone is doing mathematical modeling of cognitive intelligence, yet; intelligence as an economist defines it, yes, but economists are worlds away from actual cognition.


Although it is outside the purview of this organization to offer personal advice, we can say -- without assuming any liability -- that previous experience indicates (and recent market studies corroborate) that given the present condition of the marketplace, continuing with your present course of action is likely to result in substantial in

The Wizard Joseph

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2015, 03:38:15 am »
MOAR!

Zugzug. *begins maddeningly slow Warcraft II peon trundling and wood chopping*


I'm going for at least one story update a week, but I'll try to get more out this time and in future updates. I realize a few paragraphs at a time ain't much(It is for me), but I kind of want to keep this to a short without making it too information dense.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

The Wizard Joseph

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2015, 01:23:32 am »
The truth was that the Wizard was both correct and incorrect. He had ascertained correctly that the elf, whose name was indeed Clang-bok, actually was at least somewhat aware of its surroundings and choosing to be unresponsive. Because the Wizard had not been informed of the full circumstances of the investigation, nor of Clang-bok's discovery, he had mistakenly presumed that since the creature was in a powerful state of shock, which was quite true on several levels, that it was choosing to remain unresponsive only because of discomfort related to the obviously unsuitable environment, given what the Wizard knew of "Christmas" from his studies and limited observation of the media-culture. The additional temperature and smell of food were crucial to bringing Clang-bok out of his shock induced rigidity, but the glittery, kitschy holiday decorations and festive lights being hung around the otherwise perfectly respectable briefing room in no way reflected Clang-bok's native environment.

Of course nobody in the room, including Sgt Brax who had decided to help set up and keep a closer eye on the Wizard, could have possibly known that. This was because Santa's "Werkershoppe" had never, ever had a security breach and had been granted unlimited secrecy rights under various treaties reached after the war. Santa knew all the bad things anyone in the world had done as a kid, AT LEAST. That's what you might call leverage, and he had a lot of weight.

Other than exactly 2 walk-through inspections, the last of which had been in 1978, even the people and other entities at the very top had no idea what went on in The North Pole other than what was minimally necessary to transact commerce. North Korea might seem an open society by comparison, and Santa had certainly been able enforce his privacy and other rights. He really DID see you when you're sleeping if he's got a reason to come looking, as it turns out. The DIMSAT flyover order had pretty much taken OIC by surprise, and at first it had been taken for a bad holiday joke by the IT specialists. About 25 seconds later the confirmation codes and status requests had started coming in. This was not a drill.

Clang-bok was indeed quite cold, beginning to get hungry, and otherwise uncomfortable, but because of its specialized duties was used to those things in a way that very few other elves in the Shoppe(SHO-pah) were... well, had been.

Clang-bok was entirely unable to process most of what was going on around it and had no real way to understand what anyone was saying. It heard distantly, but could not really process much less respond to, the Wizard's friendly greetings and questions. It hadn't the slightest clue how this was possible or who was speaking and looking it over so intently, and so it only confused Clang-bok all the more. Because the elf had no idea where it was and who these strange gigantic people were, where this strange place was, and had also never experienced unconsciousness before Clang-bok was unsure that it had not died, but this could not be Heaven.

Clang-bok did not believe in Heaven anymore after what it had seen, but it had also seen itself rising above the world not long after deciding to turn away from the warmth of the cooling crater (something Clang-bok had no word for, nor coffee for that matter) that had been all that was left of its whole world and let its old enemy, the lethal cold of The Outsvilden, finally win after so long. Then Clang-bok had suddenly been lying down, numb and dazed, in a very bright, cold room with strange gigantic people speaking loud nonsense and leading it about.

Worse than the confusion was the hollow, cold feeling in the elf's chest and gut like nothing that had ever happened in the elf's world before. Clang-bok had lost ALL Elfwellendt, the good cheer and positivity of the elfin nature. It was a major part of what made the elf market so high demand. Imagine having a dog that's ALWAYS very happy to see you when you come home, but doesn't jump or sniff ass or crap on the carpet. Instead it asks to help you with your things and begins to chat pleasantly about all of the tasks that it got done for you today while you were gone or will simply listen to you bitch about work, give you a hug, and bring you your preferred beverage with a genuine, happy, and hopeful smile. This was Elfwellendt as most of the world knew it and most folks aware that they exist just LOVE elves for it.

 For the elves of the Shoppe Elfwellendt was a necessary way of life and spreading Elfwellendt all over the world the source of their singular sense of purpose. It was the very fabric of The North Pole's society and if an elf could not be positive and display Elfwellendt about something it was considered beyond rude and foolish to say anything at all. Clang-bok had so far seen nothing of the sort in the strange place or from the even stranger people, and had none to give in addition to its other problems.

But as the briefing room began to warm and it's once harsh and perfectly good utilitarian lighting began to sparkle off of the decorations Clang-bok began to feel the horrible tension in its body ease a little bit at a time. These people clearly were not so very bad. They even set a very interesting smelling brown cake of some sort in front of the ever more hungry elf, and the strange warm black liquid seemed to be a thing that these giants drink. It was when they all began to sing, at first just the tallest one that talked, but eventually all of them, that Clang-bok finally realized that it was not dead, that these people wanted Clang-bok to feel comfortable and cared for. There was still Elfwellendt in the world. It wasn't much, but Clang-bok had never really needed much.

The Wizard crouched down in front of the chair at eye level with the elf that had been so motionlessly perched upon it for so long. The creature was clearly displaying more micro movements in the eyes and facial muscles. This was very good because he didn't need any sort of extraordinary perception to know that the mysterious and powerful man that had sought his aid was now on the very edge of his tolerance, in truth the Wizard was also a bit vexed and didn't blame him, and had brought two very well built gentlemen with him, in addition to the two staffers that had brought things in, when Sgt Brax had suddenly and without announcement decided to come in person and help with the decorations. The two "heavies" hadn't budged once since posting by the door and the message was clear. They HAD eventually joined in the singing the Wizard had started in an effort to buy time. One was a rather nice baritone as it turned out. The other was... not.

"You are safe here creature. We have much to discuss, but first I must know that you can hear me." The Wizard opened the package of brownies that a staffer had bought from a vending machine and put it in the path of the warm air heading toward the elf from the small space heater scavenged from one of the offices. The Wizard betrayed no sign of his immense relief and excitement when he finally saw the creature's eyes shift ever so slightly towards the food. He simply brought it closer in a casual way as everyone in the much disturbed briefing room sweated buckets, stared intently at the proceedings, and hummed various Christmas tunes with no real direction. Then the Wizard spoke with a very comforting tone once more saying, "I want you to be well. If this food is acceptable to you and you can hear me please take it and eat it. Nobody here wishes you harm. We are here to help... ah!"


Brax was just going to give his men the nod to take Mr. Wizard home when to his utter shock the elf suddenly and VERY quickly reached out and took the food from the crazy fucker's outstretched hand while he was still speaking that nonsense. Sgt Braxton stood in quiet amazement and no small amount of relief as he watched the creature eat a few tiny bites of the brownie by chewing them very quickly and thoroughly, like it was trying to set a processing record, but didn't at all seem inclined to glut itself. After a couple minutes of this the Wizard again emitted some of that gobbledygook and Brax distinctly heard Clang-bok in there somewhere. The elf looked at the Wizard and around the room for a moment before speaking something that sounded very much like German spoken at a ridiculous speed, but certainly wasn't. Brax did pick out the name again.

The Wizard said, "I asked the being if it could please tell us if it's name was Clang-bok. If I have understood correctly it said, "Yes. I am Clang-bok." followed by some unique words and references I could not translate fully. I believe that it asked if it was dead, but I cannot be sure until I can converse for some time and understand it's referenced meaning. This being's language seems to be deliberately and quite expertly confused and progress may continue to be slow initially. It might be necessary to use non linguistic media in the process of translation. Will you please bring to me a sketch pad and a notebook?"

Sgt Thaddeus Braxton allowed himself a small smile in his genuine relief that the terrible chance he'd taken on the Wizard had finally seemed to pay off. He nodded to one of the staffers that was sweating buckets, along with everyone else in the room but Clang-bok and the man who called himself a Wizard, and set him to the task. Brax then poured more coffee and sipped it while he watched Clang-bok munching away at the brownie a tiny bit at a time and tried very hard not to think about how his whole investigation now rested on the continued cooperation of a remarkably talented madman that believed himself to be an extraterrestrial. It was just too weird.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Freeky

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2015, 01:32:04 am »
Sweeet.
If someone does the Fine, youre right, Im clearly a terrible person, Im Satan, Im the worst person alive, I should just die thing in response to criticism of their harmful behavior, they are trying to manipulate people and flip the situation around so that they look like a victim.

As a neuroscientist I have to disagree with the perception that anyone is doing mathematical modeling of cognitive intelligence, yet; intelligence as an economist defines it, yes, but economists are worlds away from actual cognition.


Although it is outside the purview of this organization to offer personal advice, we can say -- without assuming any liability -- that previous experience indicates (and recent market studies corroborate) that given the present condition of the marketplace, continuing with your present course of action is likely to result in substantial in

LuciferX

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2015, 08:07:26 pm »
Bookmarking this to read at leisurely pace - really enjoying the premise!
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The Wizard Joseph

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2015, 02:32:56 am »
Sweeet.

I do try. Glad you like it!  :)

Bookmarking this to read at leisurely pace - really enjoying the premise!

Yeah I'm enjoying it too. I'm a little bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that's been in my head since I started. A lot of it, like the "history" of Santa Claus isn't easily put to third person omniscient without severely breaching the flow of the story so I find myself dropping non sequitur references. The next bit should pick things up some pace wise. I've got a firm plot arc in mind, but I could go a couple ways from here.

Guess we shall see! Gonna keep on trucking.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

LuciferX

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Re: The Assault on Christmas
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2015, 09:45:23 pm »

Bookmarking this to read at leisurely pace - really enjoying the premise!

Yeah I'm enjoying it too. I'm a little bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that's been in my head since I started. A lot of it, like the "history" of Santa Claus isn't easily put to third person omniscient without severely breaching the flow of the story so I find myself dropping non sequitur references. The next bit should pick things up some pace wise. I've got a firm plot arc in mind, but I could go a couple ways from here.

Guess we shall see! Gonna keep on trucking.

Action is great and all, though I'm still pleasantly surprised at just how much fun it is to say the word shupengraft out loud in my mind...  There's something psychedelic about it.

Unrelatedly, had a pet that passed this morning, one of those little creatures that always threw me a party when I got home, so I may be out for a while.
Hic Salta?
________
Constant Eso-Opthamologist of Elicited Stopped-Clock Illusions, brings it back, or sinners just repent______