Cardi Doorl's Assorted Short Stories

Your own tale of two mecha.

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Cardi Doorl
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Cardi Doorl's Assorted Short Stories

Post by Cardi Doorl » Mon Oct 01, 2007 1:00 pm

Hey everyone.

Sometimes, between classes, work, and the RPGs, I get little bits of inspiration/time to write a short story or two, so I thought it'd be good to have a thread for posting them, starting with "So Far from Antarctica", which I've posted before. Hope you enjoy ;)

Stories:
"So Far from Antarctica"
- Notes

"Can You Hear My Voice?"
- Notes
Last edited by Cardi Doorl on Sun Oct 28, 2007 12:13 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Post by Cardi Doorl » Mon Oct 01, 2007 1:00 pm

So Far from Antarctica

Ensign Algo Etwa

Blown clear from my Zaku. How long was I out? Sun's high. Must've been at least five.

Christ it hurts. I try moving my arms, my legs. Dear Lord. My jaw clenches on its own when I look up. I hate Earth weather.

There's my Zaku, the one with the cannon. It had a cannon. It was a Zaku. A heap now, its side driven into the tough ground of wherever the hell I am. Where was it? Sudan? Ethiopia? Algeria? Some terrestrial hellhole. I bet the natives hate themselves. I hate myself.

Little Zacky's left leg's long lost. Heh. The whole machine's on its side like it's breaching out the soil like some of those whales do out the ocean.

My arms, my legs, they remind me that they're hurting and don't work. I drop my head, the thud like a hoof on stone. Why do I know how that sounds? I don't think I've ever heard a hoof on stone, but I know how it sounds.

Now I hate my arms, my legs. I hate my Zaku that's now a whale. Why am I laughing? It just makes me cough. I been laying here in the desert sun for maybe five hours with nothing to drink, so Dear Lord does coughing hurt. Rough rags being dragged around inside my chest, up through my lungs and shot out my mouth. I guess that's why they call it "ragged".

I'm squinting. Swear the Sun Swear the Sun Swear...

Swear the Sun's getting brighter on its own accord. I'm squinting. Why did I say that to her? She was obsessed with me, wasn't she? And I blew it. She was pretty, too. Now she'll never see me as anything more than a friend.

Where is everyone? I want to look around. It's quiet, too quiet. Are they waiting? Waiting for the right moment? I'm right here, Feds. I can't move or nothing. Just finish the job already.

They were so fast. Planes and tanks everywhere. Ens. Pelko screaming like the b**ch he is. What happened to them? The veterans always talked about battles being just a blur. Guess they knew what they were talking about. Hell, what happened to me? Just doing my thing, lobbing shells, then I'm here in the dirt. Must be a good 200 meters from what's left of the cockpit. Coughing again. Dear Lord it hurts. I hate the coughing. I think I'll just let down my head and wait to die. It'll happen. This is how I'll die.

Oh God I'm going to die. Oh God God God oh God oh God

I didn't have to be such a d**k to Ens. Lornis, but that a**hole Lt. Farsel in his stupid magical floating mobile suit deserved everything and anything and everything he got and maybe 30% more. I'd daresay 40%. My only regret is that I didn't kill the f***face myself.

Okay I have more regrets than that.

I think it's been an hour since I woke up. Holy Christ I'm really going to die here aren't I? Dear Lord. I was never religious to speak of, but sometimes

I'm going to die here like this. There's no other way. Everyone forgot about me. Just another Zeke bit the dust, they'll think. Nothing to see here. Hope the bastard suffered. Hope he had a wife to widow, children to orphan. Gihren's boys.

Okay I have plenty to regret.

She was in love with me no she was infatuated that's more accurate. A dumb girl who thought I was a godd*mn hero. Then I had to say that stuff and do those things and I died in her eyes. When did I die in your eyes? How long have I been dead? Whenever it was, we'll belatedly rubber-stamp it out here in wherever I am. Sudan? Ethiopia? Algeria or something? Don't bother trying to remember. My arms, my legs. Ragged.

Just me and what's left of that hate machine. All there is to see. The tans and their total victory.

Everything I did was so stupid. My life a litany of failure. The harder I'd swing, the harder I'd fail. I can take a hint. Time to give up. For a change. I'll lay down and fall back to sleep. Why does it always come to this? Because it's the best solution. The only solution. I believe in Fate.

Heavy eyelids. Maybe I can fall asleep in excruciating pain.

-

Where am I?

My arms, my legs. Breaching Zaku whale. Rags. Litany of failure. I give up. Right. Got it. I'm still here, sans the sun, swear the sun. Fell asleep I guess? Wonder how many times I've done this without remembering. Maybe I've been here a week.

Pilot suit's sticking to me. Sweating like nothing else. Why did I wear this? I wish my arms worked, just so I could open the visor.

I was always so old. Just 23 and I felt like an old man for most my life. Just let it go by, easy come easy go. I'm a f***ing coward, that's what I am. Cowards take things for granted.

Thud. Thud. Thud. Soft thuds. I'd never heard the sound before but I knew they were footsteps on the soil of wherever the hell I am. Someone's coming. I can't turn my head that direction. Now he's there where I can just see him, not quite between me and the metal cyclops whale in its ocean of dirt. How come keeping my eyelids open takes all my energy?

Some guy. He freezes right when he looks me in the face, I think. I see him. Fed uniform. Infantry. Got his rifle slung over his shoulder. Some Nguyen picked up from his little peninsula and tossed over to Sudan? Ethiopia? Algeria? I hate how he looks at me like I'm the most horrible- Stop looking at me and do something.

I'll say something, then: "Water". First thing that came to my mind. Croaked out lifelessly through parchment lips. The Fed walks towards me, taking down the rifle and holding it, but not pointing it anywhere. Still has that damn look on his face. I hate him.

"Medic." The word came out on its own. It forced past my lips. How do I know I'm still alive? This is how I'm going to die; waiting for this dumb kid to do something other than stare at me.

"Med-" I start, but the second part gets interrupted when I cough. It's a big cough. All the rags come out of me. Now I can barely see, since my helmet's insides're covered in rags. "Water," I say.

I can barely see, but he's just looking at me still. I can barely see him just standing there. Like he wasn't listening to me. Like he hadn't even heard

* * *

Private 1st Class Trang Hai Bui

The silence was deafening in a way the rifle's report never could be. This silence rushed in on the young private as the echoes died away into the dim evening. The silence would remain in his soul for the rest of his born days.

A red-haired private, a greenhorn no older than 19 years, dashed over to his friendly acquaintance. Trang couldn't take his eyes off the Zeke's mind, scattered and glistening dully in the fast-fading sunlight. The red-haired private was in hysterics, all up in arms about the Antarctic Treaty or somesuch. Trang didn't notice; his mind, body, and soul were transfixed on what he'd done. The man everyone had assumed was already dead, but his eyes... The Zeon's green uniform had splotches of rusty red from the old blood all over. The rest of the men, all combat veterans, regarded the scene with no more than a passing glance as they marched on.

The red-haired kid's fit attracted the attention of Sgt. Stowe, who they say fought every inch of the Europe fight from day one. The grizzly, heavy-framed man lumbered over to the young greenhorns and, before he could demand an explanation, was tumbled over as the red-haired private redirected his avalanche of indignance toward him.

"Listen kid," cut in Stowe, "Trang was doing the poor bastard a favor. He was gonna die, so why let him suffer?"

The red-haired kid emphatically brought up the Antarctic Treaty.

"Kid," rumbled Stowe with cold finality, "You realize how far we are from Antarctica?"

The silence in his soul welling up like a fist inside his chest, Trang felt just how far he was from Antarctica. How far he was from home.
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Post by Cardi Doorl » Mon Oct 01, 2007 1:12 pm

Notes on "So Far from Antarctica"

"So Far from Antarctica" was the short story I submitted for Folken Fanel's Fanfiction Competition in July 2007. It was the first time I'd ever actually "published" a work of fanfiction (though it was not my first time completing one), but it won anyway, to my surprise. Since I didn't have a fanfiction thread, I ceded the actual prize of the competition to Antares.

To be honest, I hadn't planned on entering the competition. Working on the RPGs was time-consuming enough anyway. Then, one day, my internet connection intervened by opting not to work for several days. Sometime near the end of my second or third (or whichever) day without interwebs, I went to sleep for the night. Instead of falling asleep, I shot awake, my mind suddenly racin madly. As though with a will of its own, my body went over to my computer and turned the thing on. Next thing I know I was typing away madly on a word processor for the next two hours before going back to bed.

To be honest, that little burst of inspiration felt moreso like a release of a few things I'd been building up in my mind for some years, so it wasn't exactly sudden; it was just that, for the first time, I had a writing inspiration while the means to record it were in my grasp. Usually I'll get those inspirations at times or places where I don't have any medium for recording it, and it's very frustrating.

I spent much the next day proofreading and editing what I'd typed in that spell of madness (thank goodness I was on summer break during that time) and the end result was the short-story fanfic you see above, "So Far from Antarctica". Hopefully someone can tell me why it won that fanfic competition.

EDIT/Addendum: Forgot to mention a little note about the name I chose. "Algo" is Spanish for "something", while "Etwa" is similar to the German "etwas", which means "something". Basically, the Zeon pilot's name is "Something Something".
Last edited by Cardi Doorl on Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Fritz Ashlyn » Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:45 pm

I'll tell you why it won:

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Post by Cardi Doorl » Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:23 pm

Shh... You're not supposed to notice that...
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Post by Imperial » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:50 pm

Why did it win?

It's what Gundam is all about.

Sure, those other stories had fighting and tension, but a lot of them lacked that visceral, human edge. Yes, there were people dying, but you made your characters more than just that. Despite the short time that we see him, we come to realize your doomed Zeon pilot is a full person, with a past, with concerns, witha life he once lived.

Yours is a human story. If not for the off-hand reference to the Zaku and Zeon and such, it could pass for any war story. Now, does that make it a bad thing? Hardly. Your story didn't need to get gimmicky to be powerful and poignant. Your story was about the man behind the machine, which was what made Gundam so revolutionary in the first place. It's all about the human cost rather than the mechanical mayhem.

It's brutal. It's ugly. It's war. It's everything Gundam should be.
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Post by Cardi Doorl » Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:25 pm

Thanks for the comment ;) What I especially like is the description of "It's brutal. It's ugly. It's war." - especially considering my story depicted absolutely no combat.

In any case, I definitely appreciate the feedback. Yours is the only post (Fritz's comment doesn't count :P), but its eloquence and analyzation means more than a dozen people saying "it good more plz".

On that note, I'm posting here partially because I have a new story nearing completion as I type thise. You three or four people who are paying attention: stay tuned.
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Post by Cardi Doorl » Sun Oct 28, 2007 12:50 am

Can You Hear My Voice?

Every time I close my eyes, I try to recall her face. I can’t remember the details anymore, but I can remember the warmth. Even in the midst of this waking nightmare, I am guided by the light of her smile.

Still, I wish I could remember the rest more clearly.

Crunching.

The dull pain grows with every day. Your voice is growing faint. What happened? What's this silence that's come between us? I want to hear your voice more than anything else. It’s what I remember most lucidly.

Dead of night. The armor crawls through the darkness. The enormous human forms lie in wait. It is not yet their time.

I've never known this kind of pain. I thought at first that it was mere longing, but this is something different. Its persistence is forever.

A wind through the treetops.

My only happiness in this haze of faceless death has come from reading what you've written to me. I hang on to every flippant little word, if only because you wrote it. I believed that through it all, beyond the fire, there was still someone out there who cared about me. I live today. I will live to the end of this, if only to see you smile. If only to hear your voice.

The hulking machines arise from their hunkering. Yellow visors illuminate the night.

Now your voice is so distant. I never knew how alone I was until now, with your voice fading into the recesses of my memory. Have you forgotten me?

Blind, unfeeling. The giants crash through the ancient life. The old homes are crushed underfoot.

I can't expect you to wait forever. I never asked anything of you, and I certainly won't ask for the impossible. I just want to know about this gulf that separates us. So sudden, so complete. I want to carry you with me, but you won’t let me anymore.

A clearing. The hills are red, but the night is absolute. They trudge ceaselessly.

I lived my life with no will. I let the currents pull me along. I accepted my fate. I had given up, given in. Nobody cared about me, and I didn’t care about myself. But I met you that day.

Memories of the Alabama girls before bullets scream through the foliage. The darkness flees in brief flashes, but returns far too quickly.

To find someone who not only cared about, but was overjoyed by my mere existence, was, I realize now, the most important day of my life. Maybe I took it for granted that I was everything to you. Is that what it is? Was I too callous? I would take it all back for one more inane letter from you.

Hitting dirt. Men of leadership roar their commands. Trees shatter with hateful force.

Do I still matter to you like I did back then? If we were to meet right now, would you still choke with self-consciousness? Would you still cling close to me, eyes begging me wordlessly to love you? I wish I hadn’t been such a coward; I would’ve told you long ago how I really feel. If I had only stopped hiding in plain sight, we would have been truly inseparable. Even across this insurmountable distance, across the bullets and blood and bombs and machines, I can still hear your voice.

Fuel ignites. The glare of rockets over the treetops. Screams, both human and titanium.

Am I dead to you? Is this silence the past few months your funeral for me? Please, say anything to me. More than anything else, I can’t bear the silence. I’d rather have a spiteful goodbye than to be cut out of your life without warning. To disconnect without a word; I’ve never known anything that could so profoundly deepen my aloneness.

The sickening snap of metal as a limb flies free. Men with rifles are reduced to paste where it lands.

Do you still care the way you used to? Am I still important? Do you still love me? Can you recall my face at all, or is it fading?

Fingers of fire reach into the starless sky. Heavy breath. The Zekes appear to recede. Move forward, you wave of man and flesh and machine and metal.

If I could see you now, would you have the answers? Would you even speak to me, or would you turn away? Do I even deserve to look you in the eye, knowing I have this blood on my hands?

Forward. Always forward. To look back is to die. The pink spots of light in the distance have nothing left to lose. Round after round tearing through us. It’s over.

Do I matter anymore?

Falling. Crushing.

Can you still hear my voice?

Blackness. Forever blackness.

* * *

1st Lieutenant Steven Queen was found critically wounded in the cockpit of his damaged GM after a heated nighttime skirmish in southern California on the morning of December 3rd, 0079. He was rushed to medical facilities in Vandenberg, where he remains in a persistent vegetative state as of February 11th, 0081.

Marlene McCann, a woman with whom Queen frequently corresponded throughout his military service, was killed four months prior in England during an aerial bombardment.
Last edited by Cardi Doorl on Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Cardi Doorl » Sun Oct 28, 2007 1:09 am

Notes on "Can You Hear My Voice?"

I was never really happy with the title, but the one I chose was the one of which I disapproved of least.

That aside, this one came into my head while I was at work (go figure) the night before I posted it, and I kept it stored in my head as best I could even when I got myself involved in a car crash as I left work :?.

After the accident ordeal, I tried typing up my idea, but found I couldn't really get it out of me, and then fell into an exhausted sleep.

The next day was rather normal; I assumed that this idea, like so many others, was simply never going to be a complete story. I was certain the inspiration had passed. I went to my joke of an evening job (had to borrow my mom's car to get me there :|), and got back home.

Then the same idea and feeling hit me, and I spent to next three hours churning out the above story. I feel it's not really as complete a thought as my previous story, nor is it as successful a venture, but there you have it.

I actually wrote two endings to it, and a lot of my time making this piece was spent deciding between the two endings I'd conceived. The other ending (somewhat half-baked, as it was canceled partway through development, as it were), would have evolved from the following:

1st Lieutenant Steven Queen was found dead in the cockpit of his damaged GM after a heated nighttime skirmish in southern California on the morning of December 3rd, 0079.

Marlene McCann, a woman with whom Queen frequently corresponded throughout his military service, had been unable to send any mail for the past four months due to intensifying combat action interrupting civilian communications across the Atlantic. She did not hear of Queen’s death until February 11th, 0081.
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Post by Antares » Sun Oct 28, 2007 5:11 am

Whoa, a really eventful backstory to the story itself (meaning the accident and all). I was thinking to myself if the girl has dumped him or died on him throughout the text, trying to figure out which would've been worse. It's really, really melancholic, but then again, isn't writing supposed to call up some sort of an emotional response? :)
-We will not be caught by surprise!
*Almost everyone I've killed uttered similar last words.
-Then I am glad once again that you are on my side.
*They've often said that too.

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Post by Cardi Doorl » Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:58 pm

Antares wrote:Whoa, a really eventful backstory to the story itself (meaning the accident and all).
Oh yeah. I'm surprised I didn't see it coming, since I was just starting to get financially stable. I've found that, without fail, something bad happens with my car as soon as I get into some stability with my money. One of those things I'll laugh about years down the line, I suppose.
aNTARES wrote:I was thinking to myself if the girl has dumped him or died on him throughout the text, trying to figure out which would've been worse.
Yeah, I was trying to figure out which would've been a more powerful ending, and I hope I made the right choice in that regard. Lt. Queen is, basically, just a tad bit insensitive in that he assumes his girl has the luxury to voluntarily choose when and when not to send him mail. He forgets, basically, that she, too, suffers the effects of war even though she's a civilian. In the end, I wanted her disconnect to be due to powers far beyond her control (in the case of the ending I chose, that power was death), while Queen makes the assumption she'd abandoned him by choice.
Ranetas wrote:It's really, really melancholic, but then again, isn't writing supposed to call up some sort of an emotional response? :)
Thanks ;) This work I initially found a rather pathetic piece, but posted it merely because I rarely ever actually finish a fanfic, quality or otherwise. Since then, however, it's come to grow on me a bit. The viewpoint character Queen, for example, was always meant to be somewhat of a neurotic mess, but after looking it over the next day, I see I injected a rather strong sense of poor self-esteem into the character - or, should I say, stronger than I'd originally intended. That's fine, though; he's not supposed to be thinking clearly anyway.
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Post by Dave » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:46 pm

*Claps* Great Job
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