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Mobile Frame Hangar • View topic - Keep the Engine Running

Keep the Engine Running

Post your MFZ-inspired fiction and artwork for others to admire
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Keep the Engine Running

Postby gusindor » Sun Oct 18, 2015 11:53 pm

I know it's been a long time since I did anything with but I still remember them, and when I was given a writing prompt in school I thought up this cute little story.

“Aw, hutch.”

Gwendolyn Groane flipped up her welding mask and set her tools down on the little stool beside the engine she had been repairing. She stood up and looked around. The cavernous basement-slash-garage-slash-workshop was littered with machines in various stages of disassembly, but one glance was all it took to know what she was looking for wasn’t there. With a sigh she stomped up the stairs, her heavy boots sounding like a stampede.

The basement was huge, but the building above it was deceptively small. Mittens & Groane was a small company, so a repurposed farmhouse was all the headquarters they needed. Martin J. Mittens Jr. was in the main office, watching a questionably-legal rooftop race on the vidscreen. He had left the door open, but she knocked anyway just to get his attention.

“Oh, hey Gwen. What’s up?”

“We’re out of dimmer switches. I’m driving into town to get some more.”

“Hang on, I’ll come with you.” He got up, fastening his tie as he walked to the door. “Barmacih, you’re in charge.” The bird-like creature flourished it’s tail-feathers in a salute, then went back to pecking around on the floor in a search for edible bugs.

The truck sped over the rocky field. It was a beautiful day, at least as beautiful as it ever got on Kepler-186f, meaning cold, damp and dark, with the sun casting only a dim light through the cloudless gray sky. Martin hummed along with the radio, some poppy love song. Gwen sat slumped in the passenger seat, staring blankly out the window, until they came to the river, white and roaring, bloated by the recent rainfall. The truck idled as they waited for the old drawbridge to lower. Standing by the bridge, she saw a familiar figure in blue robes, holding a sign that read “No peace without freedom!” in a swirling Ijad script, and then the same message in S.U. Common. Ever friendly, Martin leaned out the window to talk.

“Good morning, Joe-Sedaih.”

“Same to you, Martinih. Where are you headed this fine day?”

“Just into town to do some shopping.”

“Lovely day for it. Oh, Gwenih! We didn’t see you there.”

She had been slumping down in her seat, trying to avoid the awkwardness. “Uh, yeah. Hi.”

“Hi yourself. By the way, you should visit Negmeih if you get the chance.”

“Are you sure?”

“Trust us.”

Gwen was torn. She really liked Negme, but the thought of sharing her brain seriously creeped her out. She’d refused their offer of symbiosis as gently as she could, but they’d still looked hurt. The soft thump as the bridge settled into place saved her from having to answer.

“See you ‘round, Joe-Sedaih!” Martin called over his shoulder as they drove over the bridge.

Once over the bridge and through the city gates, Martin slowed the truck to a crawl. He always loved to take in the sights and sounds of the bustling spaceport town.
A bunch of kids had set up trash-can goalposts and split into teams, bouncing a ball around and trying to hit the goal on the other side. They paused their game as the truck rumbled by, and when one boy ran up and asked Martin to sign the ball, he was happy to oblige. Gwen was surprised when the kid asked for her autograph too.

Eventually, they made it to Sagara’s General Store, where you could buy pretty much anything if you knew where to look. Gwen hopped down from the truck with a promise to just be a minute.

“Dimmer switches, dimmer switches... aha!”

“Why, Gwen-do-lyn! Fancy running into you here.”

She sighed, turning to face the familiar voice. “What do you want, Sherry?”

“Is that how you greet an old friend?”

“I wasn’t aware we were friends.”

“How can you say such a hurtful thing?” Gwen braced herself for the coming outburst. Once the drama queen got started, there was no stopping her. “Weren’t we
inseperable as schoolgirls? You had the brains, and of course I had the beauty. Together, we were the perfect pair! Ah, I still remember our friendship fondly, the many days we spent together. When I look back, I swear I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

“You might have done your own homework.”

“Ah ha ha ha! Oh Gwendolyn, I always did love your sense of humor.”

“I was being serious.”

“Well anyway, I’m living here now, so you really must come and visit me! I still think I can make a pretty lady out of you. It’s a lost cause, obviously, but I’ll never give up hope! Perhaps we can finally get Martin to notice you.”

Gwen finished picking out the components she wanted. “I have to go.”

“Of course, I’m sure you have important machines to hit with hammers. I’ll see you later, dear Gwendolyn!”

She stuffed a bag full of mechanical parts in the back of the truck.

“You took longer than I expected,” Martin remarked as she got in.

“Sorry, I ran into Sherry Wilhelmina.”

“She’s back in town?”

“Looks like it.”

“Fantastic! I’ll have to meet up with her sometime.”

Gwen sighed. She’d never understand how Martin could be around people like Sherry without feeling exhausted. She leaned back in the seat and tried to nap, but Martin
woke her up a few minutes later.

“Are we home already?”

“Not quite.”

He pointed out the window. Following his finger, she saw a small cart full of flowers parked on the street corner. A brightly-plumed bird-like creature was perched on the handle, singing to itself. Gwen’s heart skipped a beat as she recognized it.

“Go on,” Martin urged, “talk to them.”

“Are you sure?”

“Just for a few minutes. I’ll keep the engine running.”

Even though she would rather curl up in a ball and disappear, she forced herself to get out of the truck and approach the cart. The bird ruffled its feathers nervously when it saw her.

“Gwenih?” it chirped, hesitantly.

“Uh... hi, Negmeih. I liked your singing.”

“Many thanks. It is a new melody I had been composing.”

“The high trilling was my favorite part.”

“Yes, I am proud of that. But I believe there was something else you wished to talk about?”

“Yeah, I came to say... well... what I mean is... I’m sorry.”

The bird bobbed its head. “It is I who should apologize. I should not have flown away like that.”

“You’re not angry?”

“Why would I be angry?”

“Well, you asked to merge with me, and I... I said no. I didn’t mean to offend you...”

“I was not offended. If you are not comfortable with symbiosis, I respect your choice.”

“Then why did you fly away so suddenly?”

“I was afraid... that I had scared you, and when you didn’t come visit, I thought you didn’t want to be with me anymore...”

“Negmeih, of course I want to be with you! I just... I thought I’d hurt your feelings, so I was scared to see you again.”

“May I... may I perch on your shoulder?”

“Of course.” They fluttered up, settling in their favorite spot. Gwen hadn’t realized how much she’d missed that gentle weight. She ran her fingers through the bird’s feathers, gently brushing Negme’s antennae. For a few minutes, she just stood there, stroking the bird and listening to its contented humming.

“I’m sorry I didn’t come sooner. Business has been getting busier and busier lately...”

“Your farm’s only a short flight away, maybe I could come visit you?”

“I’d like that.”

She hopped into the truck, where Martin was waiting with a big, broad smile. “So how did it go?”

“We’re back together.”

“Glad to hear it. You’re a cute… um… couple, I guess? Is that the right word?”

“No idea. Thanks anyway.”

“Well, now that you’ve fixed your relationship with Negme, let’s get on home so you can finish fixing that machine!”
Always bring a speech to a gunfight.
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Re: Keep the Engine Running

Postby Atavism » Mon Oct 19, 2015 3:01 pm

That was fun, a nice change of pace from all the conflict to see one of the trickier aspects of the world.
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Re: Keep the Engine Running

Postby gusindor » Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:58 am

Thank you very much! I think the Ijad have a lot of untapped potential for writing relationship-based stories.

I've also wanted to write some MF0 fiction for a while, but I'm not sure I could do a giant-robot fight justice with only words, so I decided to focus on a different aspect of the setting.
Always bring a speech to a gunfight.
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Re: Keep the Engine Running

Postby CmdrRook » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:46 pm

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Re: Keep the Engine Running

Postby gusindor » Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:00 pm

Always bring a speech to a gunfight.
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