Monday, March 31, 2008

Sophie from Shinola, Part 6

Smug Puppies is back among the living, so I'm changing the links for this part of the story back to Jeri's site. If you have further comments about Part 6, please make them over there. Thanks. I'll leave this post up, though cause its got comments!
Ladies and Gentlemen, we broke the internet! Well at least the server that hosts Jeri's SmugPuppies. While her site is down, here's her entry in the continuing story. Oh, and Jeri's husband Bryan is going to be joining us as well. (I know the joining deadline is up, but hey I makes the rules; I breaks the rules. ) I'm not sure where we're slipping him in yet, but I'll let everyone know.

And, as always, the beginning of the story can be found here.

Sophie dreamed that she was falling into a black gravity well. Instead of landing, she startled awake, heart racing.

Opening her eyes, she realized she'd probably have preferred the fatal impact to waking up in a low-rent hospital bed. Cheap fluorescent lighting flickered above, shadowing dirty grey walls and glinting off the buckles of her restraints. The scent of stale urine, cheap antiseptic and burning plastic permeated the air.

The doctors had told her she was developing something called "dissociative personality disorder", whatever that was. From her perspective, it meant blacking out and waking in unfamiliar clothes with fresh bruises. It was happening more and more often lately, in spite being tied down with a poisonous psychoactive brew dripping into her arm.

She knew her parents were broke, but she never imagined they'd sell her to Spaceforce.

Her mom slumped, snoring quietly in a chair beside the bed, face grey with anxiety. She stirred, blinked. "Sophie, is that you?"

That was odd. Who else would it be? And why couldn't her mom just leave her alone? All the fussing and guilt trips were making things worse.

"Sophie, honey, I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. I had no idea the treatments would be this painful! This cut-rate facility is horrid but it's all we could afford."

"Well, check me out and take me home, then!" She bit her tongue; bitterness wouldn't help matters. "Mom, do you know where Blink is? I can feel him but his thread is almost gone. It would really help if he were here, couldn't we sneak him in?"

"Honey, I’m sorry, I hate to tell you this: we've lost Blink. We were taking him back home and he had a fit, flew off into a radioactive zone. We couldn't catch him, and I'm afraid mine security might."

A wave of rage and grief crashed over Sophie. She started to scream at her mother, and then was falling, blacking out.

In a blink of the eye, not-Sophie smoothly took control. It glared at the woman sitting beside the hospital bed. "Was that really necessary? Sophie didn't need to know about Blink. At all."

Sophie's mother straightened, pulled her sweater closer around her. "Yes, it was necessary, I've always believed in being honest with my family." She got up and carefully walked to the doorway, ready to leave. She added, "That doesn't apply to you, you're not family."

Not-Sophie laughed bitterly. "That's hypocrisy! It's not like you told Sophie you were going to sell her body, you just fed her Spaceforce propaganda and tried to make her think she was volunteering. At the end of it all, Sophie had no choice. You may hate this procedure, but you signed Sophie up for it."

Sophie's mother raised one hand, as if to deflect the words. "If I'd known what it really took to create a Spaceforce Academy candidate, I'd never brought Sophie to this back-alley brainmod shop. This…"she gestured around the room, "and you are just wrong."

"True. You're afraid of me!" challenged not-Sophie, eyes glittering.

Sophie's mother replied "You're right. You are cold, alien, calculating, and are eating my daughter's mind and soul from within. You're not Sophie, and can never be!"

Not-Sophie sighed. "True. But it's me the Spaceforce will want, not your daughter. Her ability to create a symbiosis with that quasi-intelligent flying tarantula you gave her is what made her a candidate for the mod. In one sense, you created me. Mother. "

Sophie's mother flinched and turned away.

Not-Sophie pulled at the restraints, watched the relentless IV drip that was feeding it, helping it grow. It was too bad that the metamorphosis would destroy the original version of Sophie. It was hardest on the family. OK, it was pretty tough for Sophie's symbiote, too, but that was inconsequential.

Part 7
is here on Saqib's site.


Random Michelle K said...

Nathan broke the internet! Nathan broke the internet!

Nathan said...

I feel so powerful.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I hate to be all selfish and everything, but I think *I* get the credit for breaking the Internet. Nathan was just an observant spectator.

Who know the command "Index everything, everywhere, now" would take things down?

Anonymous said...

And it was probably the subliminal Spaceforce assimilation code hidden in my story. I hope Blogger will be ok.

Random Michelle K said...

But it's so much more satisfying to blame someone with a Y chromosome!

Nathan said...


kimby said...

Poor Blink.
Jeri, I really like the way that you had Sophie's Mom recognize the difference between Sophie and Non-Sophie.
We just might have Sophie being a beauty-school drop-out yet!

I thought the problems I was having with the internet today were on my end, but it is nice to know that I can blame Nathan.

I didn't SAY it was YOUR FAULT, just that i was going to BLAME YOU for it!

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm going to whine here. The fact that my #(%#^$ server broke means that I don't get any comments on the story. Except the ones I got before it broke (Matt, Nathan & Vince, I think) and Kimby's. Thanks. :)

By the time it comes back, the group will be on to parts 7 & 8.

So, if you have content comments or criticisms, please feel to post them here as well.

Nathan said...

What Jeri said. She totally deserves comments here.

Before her site went bloowey, I said that I liked that she'd gone to the evil.

Eric said...

Very well done; very, very well done. I am impressed.

But does this mean I'll have to comment again when the SmugPuppies are resurrected? :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, guys.

::putting my feet up on Nathan's couch and appropriating Widget the cat::

I appreciate the hospitality. What's for dinner?

Nathan said...

You do know Widget is up to something like 90 bazzillion pounds now. You're a brave woman.

And dinner was over hours ago here on the east coast, young lady. You'll show up on time or you'll go without.

vince said...

Good work, Jeri, as I said before the evil server demons attcked your server. Plus the dance I have to do so I can measure up to all the good stuff that has gone before me.

Nathan, you know we UCFers have difficulty with rules. So why nshouldn't our fearless leader.

Random Michelle K said...


It's good, but I'd appreciate it more if I wasn't frantically trying to figure out what I'm going to do!

Nathan said...


It won't do you any good being frantic until you see the post you have to work from. Stuff's changing too much to predict where it'll go.

::rubs hands together and twists mustache::

Anonymous said...

So thanks for letting me play in the sandbox, Nathan, even though I was late to the game. I must say everyone is being intimidatingly (is that a word? and did I spell it right? No matter) super creative, including my wife, Jeri, in this last post. Is it a sign of weakness to say I like Blink better than I like Sophie? :-)

Nathan said...

I originally envisioned Sophie as a Terry Pratchett type "save the world" little kid. Since she's now inhabited by evil (either from outside or inside--we'll know later, I guess), I like Blink better too. And I mostly like Blink because he was a throwaway line in Shawn's entry.

And, I'm thrilled to have more participants. Even if you can't make a deadline.

And I'm still waiting for Sophie the SpaceHooker and the great sex scene.

Just sayin'.

Random Michelle K said...

I'm done!


I so totally lucked out, in that what Jeri and Saqib wrote dovetailed perfectly into what I had wanted to do!


Anonymous said...

Woo hoo! I have a website again. I had to crack up at support's email back to me. "The issue is resolved and your site is now loading with minimal lag time." Lag time, eh, was what they were calling a DATABASE SERVER OUTAGE? ;)

Nathan said...

Do you want me to change the link back to you, or just wait and do that when you and Bryan post your next entries?

Anonymous said...

Would you mind changing it back to me? (It's really, really fixed now... I was just kidding the first time)

Thank you so much for hosting my guest post and comments! If you decide you want to delete the post entirely, let me know first - I'll import the comments.