Archive for March 25th, 2013

March 25, 2013

Pirates vs. Ninjas

by disperser

Pirates vs. Ninjas

By E. J. D’Alise (Disperser)
Copyright December 2007, March 2013

The following is from the recovered records of The Shark, feared pirate ship of the Pacific.

“Get the captain!”

 The words of the First Mate startled the slumbering pirate.  He looked about, jumped up, and with a hasty “Ay-yai,” he lumbered toward the Captain’s quarters.  At the door, the pirate hesitated.  No one liked dealing with the Captain, and he was no exception.  A couple of slow breaths, then one big one, and he knocked.

“Come,” came the muffled reply.

The pirate hesitated, and then opened the door.  In the room, a single candle was waging a valiant, but losing battle with the darkness.  He could just make out the Captain standing by the big window framing the back of the ship.  He gingerly closed the door and turned, his eyes adjusting to the low light.

“The First Mate . . . ” he did not get to finish.

“I see her.”  The Captain’s voice wavered, but continued; “It’s a Ninja ship.  Wake the boys, man the guns, and break out the close-quarter weapons.”

“Ay-yai!”  The pirate turned to leave, but the Captain spoke again.

“She’s flying the Rino flag.  Those are the most vicious, deadly, and ruthless killers.  If they get on-board, we’ll not survive.  The only chance we have is to fight in groups.”  The Captain turned, facing the pirate who took an involuntary step back.

“One thing; tell everyone not to shoot right at them; those little suckers watch your trigger finger, and dodge one way or the other when you shoot.  As they pull the trigger, have the men shift their aim slightly left or right.  They’ll have a fifty-fifty chance of hitting them.”

The captain advanced toward the pirate, who would have retreated another step had his back not been against the door.  The Captain continued, looking straight into the pirate’s eyes.

“They are quick.  If you let them get close, the last thing you’ll see is the flash of their blade, and then your own body standing there as your head rolls on the deck!”

The Captain held the man’s gaze, then abruptly turned and went back to the window.  The candle chose that moment to give up its battle, and darkness engulfed the room.  The pirate stood a few moments, then turned and fumbled for the door latch.

Once outside, he slowly let his foul breath out.  “Don’t know them, but I’d rather face them Ninjas than the Captain any day!”   He hurried off to deliver the Captain’s instructions.

The pirate ship was a flurry of activity.  Lanterns were lighted to rob the Ninjas of the shadows they loved so much.  Barrel tops and bottoms were fashioned into crude shields against the annoying pointed stars Ninjas liked to throw, and the cannon were made ready.  All the while the black Ninja ship closed in.

“Hard to port!!” Yelled the first mate. “Drop sails and man the guns!”

The big ship turned broadside to the advancing Ninja ship.  Its decreasing speed helped steady the ship, and the gunners took aim.  Years of practice let them compensate for the speed differential and rocking of the deck.  One after another the cannons roared, each immediately being reloaded and readied for another shot.

A cheer went up from the crew, as the incendiary shots, shrapnel and cannon balls literally began to shred the advancing Ninja ship.  Relentlessly, the barrage continued, as shot after shot rained down on the crippled and sinking Ninja ship.

“Look!!” a pirate yelled, arm outstretched, pointing at the bow of the Ninja ship. Some twenty dark figures could be seen jumping into the waters . . . and then running on the crest of the waves.

“That can’t be!” yelled one of the now terrified pirates! “They’re running on water!!”

“Man your muskets and pistols!” yelled the first mate, “Don’t let them reach the ship, or we are lost!!”

Fear drove the pirates to the sides, shooting at the advancing, zigzagging dark figures seemingly gliding atop the waves.  Fear is what caused most to miss with both their first and second volleys.  A few stouthearted pirates heeded the advice of the captain, randomly shifting their guns as they shot.  Still four Ninjas reached the ship, and as one, vaulted over the heads of the pirates to land silently in the middle of the ship’s deck.  Two landed dead, having been shot by the two pirates who were avid duck hunters, and used to shooting birds on the wing.

That left two Ninjas, and thirty pirates.  The pirates stared at the black clad ninjas.  The only thing they could see clearly was each Ninja’s eyes, and the small pink heart-shaped emblem on their chest . . . the Rino emblem.

With a roar, the pirates all attacked at once.  They had been told of entire crews being slaughtered as they stupidly attacked Ninjas one at the time.  The ninjas both leapt, but a pirate grabbed a booth of one of the Nijas, and pulled him down.   A blur of a short blade, and he was the first of the thirty pirates to die.

The battle was swift and ferocious, but at the end, a lone Ninja stood among the bodies of thirty pirates, and that of his comrade.  His eyes caught a slight movement.  There, from one of the partially open doors; a small movement, and a sharp intake of breath.   In a blur of motion, he was at the door, kicking it as he flew through the opening.

Rolling to a standing fighting stance, he saw a young girl, barely a teen, staring at him with big eyes as she cowered in the corner.  Her dress was torn, and she clutched at the fabric as if for protection.  The ninja looked about.  His keen hearing and training told him no one else was in the room.  He slowly advanced to the girl, senses tuned for any danger.

The girl drew a breath, and made herself smaller against the wall.  The Ninja stopped a few feet away.  His eyes took in the sight of her cowering.  Still silent, he extended a hand.  The girl hesitated, and then slowly put out her hand.  The Ninja reached for her hand, and as they grasped each other, he braced to pull the girl upright.  She came right up, as if she had no weight at all . . . and kept coming, her body right up to the Ninja’s own dark shape.  His eyes focused on hers, now mere inches away, and then slowly closed as he slumped silently onto the floor, the handle of a stiletto knife protruding from under his chin.

Captain Nicky, the dreaded teen-pirate of the Pacific, turned and walked out onto to the deck of her ship. “Damn Ninjas!” She swore, looking at the carnage. “Third time this year! . . . I’m going to need a new crew.”

~0~

Upon posting the story, I was immediately informed of various historical fallacies with regards to Ninja tactics.  I claim artistic license, and point to numerous movies from which I drew inspiration.  Plus, I think this story qualifies as having a fantasy element.

March 25, 2013

Named

by disperser

Named

By E. J. D’Alise (Disperser)
Copyright February 2013

George counted out the $100 bills.  Eleven of them.  It was only the second time he had ever held so much money, and he was handing it over to a rather impatient gentleman.  

It had taken months for George to save enough, and now he was trading his savings for a new car.  Well, a used car, but a new car for George.  The man was getting rid of his old truck, and George had negotiated a price he could afford, without borrowing any money.

“ . . . ten, eleven.”  Despite receiving something in return, George felt a pang with letting go of that last $100 bill.  

The man quickly recounted them, and, satisfied, handed George the title and the keys.

“You understand all the stuff that does not work on it, right?”  So maybe the guy was not a total jerk.  He had taken decent, if not perfect care of the truck.  And he had been up-front about the stuff not working.  The seat heater, the HVAC was spotty, the radio and CD player had stopped working some time ago, two of the windows, and a number of the dash light; indicators for this or that system.  “I don’t want to be accused of misleading you.”

“I understand.  Thank you.”  George watched the man leave, and get into a newer model of the same truck.  Within seconds, George was alone with his purchase.

He got in, and sat behind the wheel.  He had checked it out thoroughly before agreeing to the price.  Engine-wise, and with the other major mechanical systems, the truck was in pretty good shape.  A small oil leak, but that would cost too much to fix; he’ll be adding oil once a month or so.  Joints and mounts slightly worn, but she still rode well.

He ran his hands along the steering wheel.  She; she needed a name.  

“Fleetfoot.”  George smiled, patted the dash, and spoke loud and clear.  “I shall name you, my first car, Fleetfoot!”

He turned the key, and was rewarded with the sound of the engine revving up, then dropping back to idle.  This vehicle opened up opportunities for George;  perhaps a better job, perhaps a chance to do slightly better at the construction jobs he did on the side.

He smiled, put on his seatbelt, and put the truck in gear.  “Let’s ride!”

~~oo~~
“We are named!”

“We have a name!”

“Let everyone know!  We have been named!”

“Finally! Wake the sleepers, we have an identity.  We have a purpose.  We will honor our Name!”

~~oo~~  

As George drove, he started to feel very warm.  The seat was heating up.  He glanced at the dash, and saw the indicator light was on.  He pressed the button to switch it off, and just then the radio came alive.

Surprised, he reached to switch it off, when he noticed other lights were on.  The 4-Wheel-Drive indicator, the two window switches that had previously been dark.  He tried them, and the the windows went up and down.  They squeaked a bit, and the motor ground a bit, but they worked.  

He patted the dash, smiling.  “Well, what do you know.  Good girl!”, he said while giving it a bit more gas.  The engine revved up slightly in response.  He thought it sounded a bit smoother, and more responsive, but it must have been his imagination.

The End

~o~

The idea for this story has multiple sources.  One is the Shinto concept of Kami.  Essentially, the belief everything contains Kami, a spiritual essence or spirit.  Taking that to its logical conclusion, if logic can be thus be employed, there would then be an interactive relationship between the object and its owner/user.  The idea then, is that treating things with respect would in turn earn respect.  

The other source is that we tend to take very good care of things we own.  Some of the things we own have been with us for many, many years.  It’s difficult not to form an attachment of sorts.  So much so, that we find it difficult to part with them, especially since these days people are not interested in things that, while functioning, have outlived their usefulness.  We can’t bear to throw things away, but we can’t seem to give them away, either.  It seems like a waste.  It seems as if these objects should have more value. 

The story plays on the idea that it’s a two-way street; you take care of things you own, and they respond by working well.

Cars are an especially interesting thing.  We spend a lot of time in them.  For me, at least, there is a relationship of sorts.  A bond, if you will, that is formed.  They get me safely and reliably to and from places, and I make sure they are kept in good working order.   

Mind you, not all cars.  Some of the Kami inhabiting car’s I’ve owned were pretty much bastards, and I was glad to see them go.  

So now you know; I border on being nuts.

March 25, 2013

Disperser, Week Twenty-Six – The Old, and the Not So Old

by disperser

As the designated Monday writer, I’m supposed to write short stories.   Just based on the title of the blog, they should probably have a fantasy component in them.  

Well, much of my stuff has been re-posting things from my past.   There are many reasons for it.  All are perfectly valid, especially if one looks at it from my point of view.  However, those stories have not typically been fantasy.  

Yes, you guessed it . . .  by now it must sound like a broken record to regular readers, but this will be yet another week where I dip into my vast reservoir of previously written stories, and  . . . what’s this???

. . . crap! . . . there are only two left!  Oh well . . . when all one has are the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel, that is all one can offer up.

The first story was written just a few weeks ago, and it’s very short.

The second was written long ago, and it deals with a familiar trope . . . Pirates vs. Ninjas.   That story was written for the daughter of a fellow forum member at Skepticality.   Her forum name was Rino, and she was of the opinion Ninjas were better than Pirates.  The poor deluded girl!  . . . she has since changed her tune but, unfortunately, it was more due to Captain Jack than my own efforts.  I have to admit . . . it hurt.  It hurt because I consider Captain Jack a poor excuse for a pirate.  

The original post has long since been lost, falling victim to a massive hardware and software failure, which destroyed the forum database.  The Forum is back up now, but all my old stuff, all my brilliant commentary, and the first blog I ever had, all of that was lost . . . except for the copies I kept for myself.

I occasionally refer back to all that material . . . gosh, I was brilliant back then!  I’m speaking, of course, about my debates on religion, the death penalty, gun control, politics, and the merits of eating strawberries by dipping them in granulated sugar.  

Unfortunately, all that brilliance had not, nor has it yet translated into my fiction writing.  Still, I will present to you, the readers with very little time, the last two remaining pieces of my previously-written stuff.

I have to be honest; I was hoping to see vast differences in writing abilities, indicating some growth through the years, but alas, to my tired eyes, I see no improvement from the old to the new.  Fitting perhaps . . . as my life stagnates in this backwater planet, so does what little skills I possess to string words into a narrative.