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Fur Feathers Scales and Stars - 4.3

by ExOmelas


A/N: For some reason this chapter is incredibly short. I wrote it several months ago and don't remember why. Enjoy!

For all the mission directives and intentions of this game, Steve found himself desperate to know what on all of Seriot he was building. It looked sort of like a grappling hook, except instead of three object-gripping prongs, to this he was supposed to attach at least ten, possibly twelve. Then there was the base. Usually on a grappling hook prongs were mounted onto some sort of circular base, usually a very shallow cylinder that the wire emerged out the back of. This cylinder was anything but shallow and there were wires sticking out it every-which way. If he could just figure out whether his instructions were the right way up or not. It was such an unfamiliar, counterintuitive shape. He had no idea how to frame it.

Steve sighed and glanced around himself for inspiration. He’d rented a workshop for an hour, though he’d learned that any build taking longer than forty-five minutes was usually doomed to second place. There were tools hanging in neat rows around the walls of the workshop, gleaming under fluorescent tube bulbs. But Steve could see no way that any of it was going to help him.

If he was able to figure out which way up his instructions were supposed to be, he’d know which end was supposed to be on the ground and which in the air, and whether he was going to break the stupid thing by building it in this direction. He glanced at his stopwatch. It had taken him two and a half hours to complete his tour-of-the-city hunt for components. An hour of that had been his head start so Linea would have been going for an hour and a half. She had to have collected all her components by now. She must have.

“Ah, screw it,” Steve muttered, and pulled a handful of receipts from his bag. There had to be a clue in there somewhere, some vital material that could point to only one build. For instance, if you’d bought platinum, then the chances were you were building a catalytic converter.

Steve’s purchases pointed towards … he had no idea. There were the steal tongs that reminded him of a grappling hook, the steel rings that he’d screwed together to make the cylinder. The wires were made of a metal he’d never even heard of. What had it been? Lutankum? Lokentum? Something like that. Steve laid the receipts out in front of him to try and find the right one, his rollerskate-clad feet almost sliding out from under him. He giggled and removed the skates, having forgotten to do so earlier in his haste to get started building.

Scanning the receipts, he read their primary purchases one after another. “Steel rings, twelve tongs, six wheels, Mexium, Lokentum. Ah, Lokentum, that’s what it – what the?” Steve’s eyes widened and he gasped, glad he was no longer on his skates to fall over with shock.

Mexium. He had heard of that before – only one time in his life, yesterday, when he’d read the nanobot report. Was he building a robot? Yes, that made sense! The tongs, like the grappling hook they resembled, could cling to anything they desired, just the same as hands could. The tongs were the arms and hands, the cylinder was the body, the wheels the feet. And the rest of the components – the lenses, the speakers, the microphones – all were synthetic replacements for the eyes, ears and mouths of living beings. He was making a robot!

Steve jumped from one leg, to another, to another. He’d been desperate for something worth building, and what could be more worth building than a robot? Something that could go on to do odd jobs about the ship, freeing up everyone else’s time and energy to do actual important work. Or maybe to perform services that were rendered impossible by a crew member’s species. Steve knew he would love to have a robot that could hand him things from high shelves so that he didn’t have to waste time stilt-raising himself up, scaling down what he needed, stilt-lowering, doing whatever he needed to do with the object, stilt-raising again and then scaling back up. He’d often wondered why there were so few robots on the ship – the only ones he’d ever seen being vacuum bots.

Steve glanced once again at his stopwatch. Two hours and forty-five minutes, fifteen since he’d last checked. Chances were that gave him fifteen minutes, going by how his last match against Linea had ended. He grabbed a handful of wheels. They could kick him out of his apprenticeship if he didn’t have it done in ten.


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Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:01 pm
Rydia wrote a review...



Well, I guess this is the final part for now but just let me know when you have the next chapters up and I'll be ready to review :)

Specifics

1. I'm not sure how you'll be showing the time skips when you have this in a book format but I think you should at least start with some of the details from the last chapter. If not building the roller skates, then at least give us a sense of whether Steve has now skated to his next destination or has paused along the way to look at the plans. Continuity is really important and it's hard to focus on the first paragraph of this without asking lots of questions about what happened in between.

Overall

That's all I have for this one! This was a really nice chapter with the rocky start/ awkward transition aside. I think you've got some solid descriptions and some nice character building going on.

I'm still not sure that sure about the contest or the number of new characters you've brought in just to give us a glimpse into Steve's part of the ship but the robot helps tie it back to the main part of the plot and Steve's just about interesting enough that you get away with it. I'm not sure if the contest would be more interesting if we saw more of Linea's involvement or not. Or maybe if it felt like there was more at stake. It's hard to be interested in something when we're not sure yet what its significance is or where it fits in. Especially when a lot of the rest of the novel has been more life and death and now there doesn't seem to be any real loss if Steve loses the competition. He perhaps loses a little pride but he will still have built the robot so I don't really care if he does it fast enough to win or not.

Well I guess that's it for now, though we'll still see each other around the site of course and I'm sure you'll have another chapter for me sooner or later :)

~Heather




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Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:50 pm
Kaylaa wrote a review...



This is Nikayla here dropping in for a review on Review Day!

So since you're still in the Green Room, what's more taunting than reviewing you while you're out and about eating dinner? :p Nothing. Nothing is more taunting.

I haven't read all of this novel, I admit. Since I enjoy Off Court a lot so far I'll have to come back and read this from the first chapter, though this'll have to do for now. I agree that this is a short chapter and I think the lack of substance here is actually the main issue here. That's not to say that this whole chapter is filler, but to rather say that this chapter doesn't feel very complete with a beginning, middle, and end. Maybe in the context of reading 4.1 and 4.2 beforehand this might feel more complete than it does now though. What I did enjoy about the chapter is the language used.

It feels very Sci-fi and very related to the genre. I always enjoy when Sci-fi always has that sort of original feel to it. The end of the chapter, though, I have to admit feels complete for the most part, even if it isn't automatically gripping me and making me want to read the next chapter. It's a bit awkward to stop there so I suggest playing around with the end of this chapter a little bit.

The lack of dialogue here is a little disconserting, and I'm wondering if it's this quiet throughout the whole novel. Hopefully not, because it does get a little boring when Steve doesn't have anyone to interact with. I think that's the lonely part about this chapter. We only hear Steve and Steve doing stuff alone and Steve talking to himself. I can't tell if that's intentional or not either, but it feels a little too quiet for my liking, unless he can't be around other people right now for some plot reason.

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! I hope I helped and have a great day!


Image




ExOmelas says...


Yeah, this entire chapter is like 5 parts long. It's tough trying to find 5 different splits. This is in between Steve's boss being nasty to him and Steve's friend Linea taunting him (I think, I wrote this a while ago). I might consider tacking it onto either 4.2 or 4.4 depending on which is shorter. Maybe 4.2 now that they both have reviews and I wouldn't have to try and get it out of the green room.

Also, "So since you're still in the Green Room, what's more taunting than reviewing you while you're out and about eating dinner? :p Nothing. Nothing is more taunting." -- and I'm the sassy reviewer :P



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Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:37 pm
MissGangamash wrote a review...



Right, seeing as this is a short chapter and there isn't that much going on in it, I can't really comment much about the story itself. I didn't see any errors and your writing is just as easy to read and well structured as always.

I do find it a little odd though that Steve didn't really know what he was buying until he looked at his receipts... that didn't really add up to me. Surely that would be something he would be focusing on as he was collecting all the parts to figure out what he is building before he has to build it - especially when he is against the clock.




ExOmelas says...


Oops, guess that must have got lost in edits. The idea is that you're not meant to know what it is and it's testing your ability to follow the instructions and know what they mean. Not the most challenging endeavour, but that's why Steve's frustrated. I'll edit to make that clearer.



ExOmelas says...


Also I'll have the next chapter of The Progeny reviewed before the next chapter of this goes up.





Okay coolio %uD83D%uDE0A




If I were a girl in a book, this would all be so easy.
— Jo March