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29 October 2011 @ 01:34 am
Micro-fic collection from the NaNoMaChines warm-up round  

But first off, thanks to the anonymous benefactor who sent that spider gift to my profile! :D

I've decided to round up my posts from the warm-up round for NaNoMaChines so as not to lose track of them sooner or later. They were fun to write. We did a bunch of prompts, where one prompt = 20 minutes to fill. The whole round was epic and spawned quite many worthy contributions, which I encourage you to check out! We went with the "very short fic" definition of "drabble" rather than "100 words exactly" for this event, so I'll be tagging them as drabbles here. Down with terminology wars! I mean.


PROMPT #1: BY THE BOOK
Peace Walker; BB & Kaz


“The famous Fulton recovery system. I've used that before, Kaz.”

“Yes, Boss, I know, but let's run it over one more time. We'll be using the chopper, and...” Kaz goes on to list everything that will have changed and how, entertaining the notion that Snake is listening. It's not that Snake doesn't care what his subcommander has to say. It's just that he likes to rely on his instincts.

There is no telling where that might get him this time.

“You think we can run the MSF by the book?” Snake responds to his chance for “any questions” when the lecture's done, not even pretending to let Kaz off the hook without frustration.

“Well...” Kaz's aviators have turned opaque in the evening glare. “You tell me where we're needed, Boss.”




PROMPT #2: MID-MISSION CALL
MGS3; BB/Zero


“Please, don't make it about Bond this time.”

The static cracked in his ear, but so did Zero's answering chuckle. “Mentioning Bond to you isn't half as entertaining without the visuals—” a pause, as if swallowing down a classified name, “Snake. We shall agree to leave that for another time, I think.”

“Yeah. Tell me something to take my mind off the smell here and how most of it is probably my fault.” Leaning his head against the cave wall, Snake slid his hand down his stomach, over muscles where each of them hurt; he kept his mind off EVA, Ocelot, or anyone he'd met on his mission. Soon, that part would be easier. “Or, you know, just talk.”

“Starting to give me orders now?” came the reprimand, not serious by any stretch of the imagination—not that Snake had much of that left, anyway. He rested against the rock, breathing deeply, listening to what Zero told him of space exploration, of how the earth wasn't a such bad place to be with air and water and all, of his spy's adventures before there was a Cold War to send people off into places like this...

It made for eccentric masturbation fodder, but Zero's movies were hardly any better.




PROMPT #3: STYLE CHANGE
Peace Walker; BB/Zero, shameless Shakespeare exploitation


BIG BOSS:
O Cipher, Cipher!
Wherefore art thou Cipher?
What's in a name? That which we call a cigar
By any other name would smell as sweet.
So Cipher would, were he not Cipher called,
At least stop pretending I can't tell
His older title. Cipher, doff thy name,
And for thy name, which is no part of thee
You may as well be called Zero again.
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say
[the lonely fox chases the one-eyed hound]
And I will take thy word. Yet—

ZERO:
Snake, by yonder MSF base I vow
That dips into the ocean like a scone to tea—

BIG BOSS:
O, swear not by the MSF, the renegade MSF
That may well be swept under the times' tide
Lest that thy love prove likewise short-lived.

ZERO:
What shall I swear by?

BIG BOSS:
Do not swear at all;
Or if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self
Not to call my second-in-command,
For he will eat thy lies. So it goes; the end.




PROMPT #4: LOVE MAKES YOU CRAZY
MGS4; BB/Ocelot, Solid Snake


Ocelot had never prided himself on being well-adjusted, least of all according to some pedestrian system. No; in order to go up against a system that reached everywhere, he had to be the exact opposite of that. He stood observing the ruins of what had been a perfect, orderly battlefield moments ago, scanning the writhing bodies for the young-old Snake.

He knew what he was here for, knew that his mission statement would sound insane to the ears of anyone who knew, if they knew. There weren't many things in this world that could so overtake a man. Not many things that could make one crazy—albeit with severe attention to detail and to the overarching plot of the thing.

He spotted Snake soon after. Steadied himself, and thought of John.




PROMPT #5: TIDYING UP
MG2 & MGS1; Gray Fox/Solid Snake, warning for character death and violence


He can't tidy up this mess.

There's Fox's body on the floor, broken by him and by the mines, almost dead—and death is so quiet when it comes, stealing over the man's countenance hot on the heels of his final words. Of all the things Snake didn't want, didn't expect to do here, killing Gray Fox hadn't even been on the goddamn radar.

It shouldn't be surprising that he was taken off guard. Fox was someone who could do this to him and make it appear mundane, near-amiable. Just one of his fans.



Not even after all this time can he tidy up this mess.

There is no silence here: the screams have stalked him through Shadow Moses, jumping from shadows and retreating again, extensions of a warrior who can't be appeased. When Snake realizes who it is—was—there's little he can think of except ending it, again. Giving Fox back his quiet, watching him melt into the shadows without that awful recurring noise.

He lets a ghost die that day, wrecks the machine for his vengeance. The howling stops, but the fallout has sunk to the bone.




PROMPT #6: ROCKET PEACE!
Peace Walker; Zero & Zadornov, BB/Zero


“That's going to be your dying line? Well, it is snappy, at the very least.”

A hint of a smile touches Zadornov's face as he corrects: “My dying wish. And you don't know if he'll kill me yet.”

“You have remarkable optimism not to expect as much,” Zero returns lazily, swirling the tepid contents of his teacup. There's a draft with them at the dinner table, making everything feel wrapped in a cold film of some sort. Even the tea leaves his fingers chilled; simply holding the cup for warmth to seep through no longer does the trick. Instead, it evaporates. Zadornov, on the other hand, seems to be enjoying his coffee thoroughly.

“One needs to have a signature,” he replies then, the red hand flashing. “Don't you, Major?”

Zero considers the words. Recently, he has changed the codeword for his enterprise, but he indeed keeps alive the hope that Jack might recognize where the ultimatum comes from when he hears it. There is only so much deception can accomplish.

Zadornov displays awful confidence for someone whose role is expendable. It's something for Zero to ponder when they part, one of them going to be meeting Jack while the other must remain where the curtain will conceal him, no immediate gratification in sight.




PROMPT #7: LIKE THE OLD DAYS
Peace Walker; BB/Zero and Zero/brooding


What are the old times?

He has been alive for a while. Sometimes, he wanders back in memory to what's an old war now—the war that made his name, that marked his face—thinking of how much more straightforward things were then, even for an agent like himself. Clear objectives, though the means were murky; decisive signs of success after the fact. Information helped win that war. The side with the most information could make it the most dreaded weapon of them all.

Nowadays, he has information, but there is not yet a perfect System. Similarly, seeing an outcome takes longer. For someone like him, that is a threat.

Were those the old times?

Long after the war, he was a minor leader. He sent a handful of others on missions then, collected their information to make sense of, passing it along to places higher up the stream. (Nowadays, he is working on making that stream begin and end with him.) The more information someone brought, the more valuable. Jack was always very high on that list.

But he remembers Jack from other times, too, when all the information was already there. Sharing a cigar over a newspaper, amused by the tales it had to sell. Stealing a few hours to spend together when there were other things to do.

Do the times only get old when they can't be brought back?