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Andraste [userpic]

B7 Ficathon Story

August 20th, 2004 (12:09 pm)

Wow, this story is bad.

'But Andraste!' I hear you say, 'You don't write bad stories! I like your fic!'

This is because you never see the ones condemned to the depths of the hard drive for sucking. I've written quite a few over the years, and I'm sorr this turned out to be one of them.

Easily the worst thing I've ever posted. In hindsight, I should have just gotten a pinch hitter, but I didn't realize quite how awful it was going to be. Apologies to all concerned. If I were you, I'd just go and read the rest of the ficathon. In fact, if you want to make me happy, that's what you'll do. To reiterate: I hate this story. I don't want anyone to read it. It's not going beyond this lj, that's for sure.

I reserve the right to come back and delete this tomorrow. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to write this in a way that doesn't suck.

Disclaimer: Blake's 7 and its characters do not belong to me. Please don't sue.

Recipient: For redstarrobot Sorry that it's late, awful and not quite what you asked for. (You don't have to read it, honest. You'll be better off if you just pretend I flaked out completely and you never got a story at all, really.)



Asta Matrika

By Andraste

I.

The first thing Cally killed on Saurian Major was a plant.

Admittedly, it was a large and rather dangerous one, and it was attempting to devour one of her comrades at the time, but it wasn't how she had imagined her first kill. All new recruits to the rebellion here were trained to avoid the carnivorous flora - only a recent arrival like Jaris would be silly enough to get caught by one. He was a native of this world, but from the mountains.

"Thank you," he gasped, dragging himself away from the plant's flailing limbs as Cally's gun blasts destroyed it.

She smiled. "The Federation troops won't have much trouble capturing you if the jungle can manage it."

"I've got plenty of experience with the Feds – it’s the trees that'll get me," Jaris said, smiling in return.

Cally shook her head. "Don't worry, I'll protect you." She looked at her fallen foe with a grin. "Something of an anticlimax as first kills go, after all that training."

"Don't worry – you'll get your chance sooner or later," Jaris said, expression unreadable.

II.

When she first came to this planet, Cally was a afraid of the jungle. Over time she has grown comfortable with it. The strange plants have a texture that is almost like human flesh, and human flesh is what they most like to eat.

Yet the rebels have learned to use this to their advantage – beneath the bizarre canopy of the jungle, they are safe, protected from those who hunt them.

On the day of the raid, Cally hesitates for a moment before stepping out. During her year of training she has grown almost fond of their strange sentinels, and she wonders now if she will ever see them again.

III.

Cally killed her first man – she supposes it was a man – almost by accident.

Her task during the raid was to work in communications, supporting the fighters and relay messages rather than fighting herself. It was only by chance that an outlying patrol discovered their encampment.

Cally raised her gun and fired on their scout without thinking about it. He – probably a he – fell down.

Taking cover behind a rock, the rest of the brief skirmish was over soon without her intervention. She was pleased that her training had proved effective. She didn't know whether to be pleased that she'd killed him or not.

IV.

After the raid, the others wanted to celebrate, an impulse Cally understood but did not share. She was restless in a way that disturbed her; she suspected that she wanted the raid to be more complicated, that she wanted to kill more people.

She came to fight the Federation to protect others, not to kill. Or so she believed.

Alone, Cally made her way into the jungle, and found a quiet clearing, sat down to began clearing her mind. She once found the silence of this place oppressive, an all to sharp reminder of the silence that has filled her mind ever since she left Auron. Now she finds it restful.

She was so successful in shutting out the world that she almost didn't hear the Federation fliers overhead. It was not until the mist began falling and she heard the trees hiss in response that she even bothered to open her eyes.

V.

At first, she was simply confused by the sound – it doesn’t rain here on Saurian Major the way it does on Auron – and the crackling as the moisture touches the trees took a moment to identify.

The she realized that the trees were melting, and heard the first scream from the direction of the camp. Cally started running.

VI.

By the time she reached her goal, her lungs were burning, and for a moment she suspected that the poison was working on her.

Her comrades are the same shade of pink as the trees. The lucky ones are already dead. The ones who are unlucky were under cover when the mist fell; they have inhaled it instead of absorbing it through their skin.

Everything organic is melting and dripping around her.

Cally sees now that the trees are not alien at all – the trees and the people of Saurian Major are of the same flesh. It is she who is the alien.

VII.

They had medicine, but there was no medicine for this. The screaming had mostly given way to strangled gasps, but even without telepathic contact Cally could sense their pain.

Without thinking, she reached for the nearest weapon – metal, and therefore safely solid – chose the nearest writhing body, pressed the barrel to its temple. /This won't hurt/, she sent telepathically, not knowing if it was true or not.

If the first kill is the most difficult, then the rest will be more than easy.

VIII.

Cally considered burying them for all of two seconds. She was one woman alone, and to dig a grave for them all would take her days. Better to save her time and strength for something more productive.

Instead, she dragged the bodies into a rough pile and burnt them. It takes a lot time – flesh is wet and difficult to burn, and she has no supply of tinder. To begin with she is nauseous, but in the end it all gave way to impatience.

She set out for the communications facility with no clear plan in mind except to kill the first thing that she saw, and then the second thing, and to go on until somebody killed her. She did not carry communications equipment or supplies to weigh her down. There was nobody left to talk to, and she would probably not live long enough to become hungry. She wondered if her death would be painful.

She only knew that her death would not be silent.

The End

Comments

Posted by: AstroGirl (astrogirl2)
Posted at: August 19th, 2004 08:04 pm (UTC)

Oh, geez, if that's the worst thing you've ever written, I'd say you're doing pretty well. I like the emotion here (mmm, angst!). I like the depiction of Cally. The only thing about it that I have a problem with is the way the tenses seem to shift in odd ways.

Posted by: Andraste (andrastewhite)
Posted at: February 26th, 2005 10:39 am (UTC)

Behold, a miracle. I am finally answering the feedback I got for this story!

Oh, geez, if that's the worst thing you've ever written, I'd say you're doing pretty well.

I think my problem with it is that it didn't turn out anything like the story I had in my head.

I like the emotion here (mmm, angst!). I like the depiction of Cally.

Thank you *g*.

The only thing about it that I have a problem with is the way the tenses seem to shift in odd ways.

Er, yeah. I needed to proofread it better - I'm not usually this bad, but I was in a hurry and to be honest I didn't want to read it again *g*.

Posted by: Cassandra (geekturnedvamp)
Posted at: August 19th, 2004 10:37 pm (UTC)
blake's 7

This is really not as bad as you seem to think, I swear. (And if it will make you feel better about the comparative lack of badness here, I will send you my old B7 story from my zine [read: high school] days that is all about the shifting past-present tenses--naturally without the use of helpful italics--and, well, lots of ellipses and just cliched angst on Terminal *g*).

Posted by: Andraste (andrastewhite)
Posted at: February 26th, 2005 11:32 am (UTC)

This is really not as bad as you seem to think, I swear.

In the many, many months it has taken me to answer this feedback, I have gotten over this to some degree. I think the problem was that the story on the page was a poor match to the story I had in my head when I started.

(And if it will make you feel better about the comparative lack of badness here, I will send you my old B7 story from my zine [read: high school] days that is all about the shifting past-present tenses--naturally without the use of helpful italics--and, well, lots of ellipses and just cliched angst on Terminal *g*).

Hee *g*. Terminal inspired wish-fulfillment fluff in me when I first saw it (it was the only way I could deal with the pain!) so I can understand that it provokes strong emotions that get translated into stories ...

Posted by: Red Star Robot (redstarrobot)
Posted at: August 19th, 2004 10:48 pm (UTC)

Awww, but I love it! It just gets better and better!

Posted by: Nico (vilakins)
Posted at: August 19th, 2004 11:21 pm (UTC)

I liked it, especially:

During her year of training she has grown almost fond of their strange sentinels

and

Cally sees now that the trees are not alien at all – the trees and the people of Saurian Major are of the same flesh. It is she who is the alien.

I found the mixture of present and past disconcerting though. I assume there's a pattern behind it but I couldn't see it.

Posted by: Andraste (andrastewhite)
Posted at: February 26th, 2005 11:41 am (UTC)

It has taken me far, far too long to reply to this feedback. I apologise for the delay.

I liked it

Thank you *g*. At least it seems I'm the only person who can't stand the story. (Or couldn't last time I read it. I admit that I have not touched it since posting.)

I found the mixture of present and past disconcerting though. I assume there's a pattern behind it but I couldn't see it.

No, I fear that was just appalling proof-reading on my part. I have a problem picking up where I've shifted tense under ordinary circumstances, and when I'm this keen to get rid of a story ... I do plan to fix it up before I finally post it on my web page.

Posted by: Kernezelda (kernezelda)
Posted at: August 20th, 2004 08:39 am (UTC)
pkw promo

Clearly, we none of us love you, but this story isn't nearly as bad as you think. Tenses are a bit confused/confusing. I quite enjoy the growing sense of Cally's dislocation, and then the brutal finale and her fatalistic determination.

Posted by: Andraste (andrastewhite)
Posted at: February 26th, 2005 11:43 am (UTC)

It has taken me a truly ridiculous amount of time to respond to this. I apologise profusely.

Clearly, we none of us love you, but this story isn't nearly as bad as you think.

Heh. Yes, that seemed to be the consensus. I think I had a problem with the gap between the story in my head and the story that made it onto the page, you know?

Tenses are a bit confused/confusing.

I really need to proof it and fix that.

I quite enjoy the growing sense of Cally's dislocation, and then the brutal finale and her fatalistic determination.

Thank you. That's just what I was going for.

Posted by: The other Linda (reapermum)
Posted at: August 20th, 2004 12:57 pm (UTC)

The trouble with learning to read by the look-say method is that you miss the details of the words and only pick up the sense. Makes for lousy spelling, but you don't notice shifts in tenses and stuff like that.

Posted by: Susan Cutter (wordsunworthy)
Posted at: August 21st, 2004 10:35 am (UTC)

Hey, I liked it -- don't put it down so much, 'cause it make it look like *I* have bad taste. ;)

What it did was make me reconsider my view of Cally's changes throught the series. I'm mostly agreed with the view that Cally was actually the tough warrior we meet at first, who got wimpified later on, due to loneliness or exposure to too violence, whatever. I guess it is just as reasonable to think that the latter Cally is the 'true' one and the early one a Post Traumatic Shock Disordered sufferer.

Thanks for a new slant on things to mull over. :)

Posted by: Andraste (andrastewhite)
Posted at: February 27th, 2005 10:14 am (UTC)

It has taken me a ridiculous amount of time to respond to this feedback - many apologies.

Hey, I liked it -- don't put it down so much, 'cause it make it look like *I* have bad taste. ;)

Forgive me for any offence caused ;).

I actually hate it a lot less now - I think what bothered me so much at the time was the gap between the story I had in my head and the story that ended up on the page.

I'm mostly agreed with the view that Cally was actually the tough warrior we meet at first, who got wimpified later on, due to loneliness or exposure to too violence, whatever. I guess it is just as reasonable to think that the latter Cally is the 'true' one and the early one a Post Traumatic Shock Disordered sufferer.

I usually assume the first possibility as well, but this struck me as an interesting altnernative I hadn't seen explored before. (Not that I've read much of the vast amount of B7 fic out there.)

Posted by: Red Star Robot (redstarrobot)
Posted at: August 22nd, 2004 10:32 am (UTC)

Okay, more comments.

First off, this does actually fulfill my request perfectly, cuz Cally alone was one of the options, and there were no bodyswaps. :)

I.
I like the beginning with a touch of humour; it sets a tone like a rug that slips out from under you, rather like Cally's experience of the situation must be. Somehow, even when you're living with your life constantly at risk, you never quite expect such total massacre. (I just had a thought about whether the final episode would have been deja vu for Cally...) Jaris reads like plot direction that wasn't taken; the undercover Federation officer who's never revealed as such. While he feels a little unresolved, I do think it adds to the sense of how unexpected the story twist is - it adds a bit of kick to realize that this wasn't what anyone's life was building towards.

II.
I'm trying to puzzle out why I like this section as much as I do. The line about strange sentinels works very well in particular, but on the whole, I think it's an interesting allegorical commentary on desensitization to carnage and danger.

More later. Yeah.

Posted by: Red Star Robot (redstarrobot)
Posted at: October 18th, 2004 09:31 am (UTC)

Man, I just realized I never finished the comments on this. Will do that.

Posted by: Andraste (andrastewhite)
Posted at: October 19th, 2004 04:18 am (UTC)

Man, I just realized I never finished the comments on this. Will do that.

You persist in reminding me that this story exists, which is very mean of you *g*.

I think I have almost reached the point where I can look at it again - at least fix the random tense shifts and fix a few of the rough edges. At which point I should be happier with it, since it's the execution rather than the idea I have a problem with. (Um, the execution of the story, not the one in the story ...)

Posted by: Andraste (andrastewhite)
Posted at: February 26th, 2005 11:37 am (UTC)

It has taken me forever to answer this feedback. I apologise profusely.

Awww, but I love it! It just gets better and better!

Thank you. I'm glad that someone liked it *g*.

First off, this does actually fulfill my request perfectly, cuz Cally alone was one of the options, and there were no bodyswaps. :)

Yes, I carefully heeded the no bodyswapping rule, at least. I think I wrote all I had to say about that subject in B5 fandom, anyway.

I like the beginning with a touch of humour; it sets a tone like a rug that slips out from under you, rather like Cally's experience of the situation must be.

That's what I was going for, yes. The disaster really does knock everything off the rails, even though the rebels thought they were mentally prepared for the possibility. I don't think it's something you can prepare for.

Posted by: Red Star Robot (redstarrobot)
Posted at: February 26th, 2005 11:51 am (UTC)

Now I need to apologize for not finishing. I will, honestly. :)

(I was going to make big, pitiful Bambi eyes at you and ask for more Cally fic, but, damn, now I can't get the idea of Charles Xavier/Magenta out of my head, and it's so wrong. Um...)

Posted by: Andraste (andrastewhite)
Posted at: February 27th, 2005 04:49 am (UTC)

Now I need to apologize for not finishing. I will, honestly. :)

Take your time *g*. I'm planning to put up a slightly edited version of the story next time I update my web page.

(I was going to make big, pitiful Bambi eyes at you and ask for more Cally fic, but, damn, now I can't get the idea of Charles Xavier/Magenta out of my head, and it's so wrong. Um...)

And yet weirdly tempting ...

I do plan to write Cally again, one of these days.

Posted by: LadySmith (lady_smith)
Posted at: February 28th, 2006 10:33 am (UTC)

I'm looking for Blakes7 storyies to rec on Crack Van, and reading all the old ficathons for it - and I found this gem. Yes, gem! I quite love this story - there's something beautifull about the terse, bare language, and the descriptions of the horrors that helped Cally become the person we meet. I especially loved the touch of the acid or poison or whatever it was affecting only the local life forms - leaving Cally alone to shepherd the dying.

If you still hate this, I understand - it's why I'm asking your permission before I put it on crack_van. If you really don't want anyone to see it, they won't - but I think they should.

Posted by: Andraste (andrastewhite)
Posted at: March 2nd, 2006 08:58 am (UTC)

I'm looking for Blakes7 storyies to rec on Crack Van, and reading all the old ficathons for it - and I found this gem. Yes, gem!

I'm glad that everyone likes this more than I did when I wrote it *g*.

If you still hate this, I understand - it's why I'm asking your permission before I put it on crack_van. If you really don't want anyone to see it, they won't - but I think they should.

I'd be pleased and flattered if you wanted to rec this edited version which at least has most of the horrible tense problems weeded out. I no longer loathe the story anything like as much as I did when I wrote it, and I think the antipathy had a lot more to do with the circumstances I wrote it under than the story itself. Thank you for asking!

Posted by: LadySmith (lady_smith)
Posted at: March 2nd, 2006 09:16 am (UTC)

Thank you very much for the link - I'll certainly link to the archived version. Thanks so much!!

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