ysabetwordsmith: (Schrodinger's Heroes)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This story fills a square on my second card for the [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fest. This fest encourages people to create and share material focused on what is variously called fluff, schmoop, gentle fiction, light reading, comfort reading, positive thinking, chicken soup for the soul, or anything else that offers a fun alternative to usual run of sex, violence, and angst of modern media. I'm hoping to attract some new readers for my writing.

The following story belongs to Schrodinger's Heroes, featuring an apocryphal television show supported by an imaginary fandom. It's science fiction about quantum physics and saving the world from alternate dimensions. It features a very mixed cast in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation. This project developed with input from multiple people, and it's open for everyone to play in. You can read more about the background, the characters, and a bunch of assorted content on the menu page.

Begin this story with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. This is a crossover with BBC Sherlock. You can read how these characters found each other in "THE Woman."

Fandom: BBC Sherlock and Original (Schrodinger's Heroes)
Prompt: Sunrise / Sunset
Medium: Fiction
Summary: John Watson wakes up in the Teferact compound and meets some of the other members of Schrodinger's Heroes, a process that ranges from charming to nerve-wracking.
Content Notes: Morning routines. Flangst. Oblique references to previous canon-typical mayhem. Happy ending.


"Texas Sunrise" Part 5

The creature looked like nothing so much as a pile of hoses. Tentacles writhed and flopped as it moved toward the table. John froze with a bite of French toast halfway to his mouth. He was unarmed -- he'd left his gun in the safe near the bed --

"Morning, Tim," Ash said calmly. Quinn waved, his mouth full.

"Good morning, Ash. Bonjour, Quinn," the monster said in a mellow voice. "I see we have a guest."

"Tim, meet Dr. John Watson," Ash said. "He and his partner Sherlock brought Morgan home from the bar last night. John, this is Tim the Tentacle Monster -- a misnomer, but it stuck with him anyhow."

"I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Dr. Watson," said the monster, holding out a tentacle.

No, not monster, Tim, John told himself firmly. Nobody else showed any alarm, so he would remain calm. He set down his fork. Then he reached out a hand somewhat gingerly. The tentacle wrapped around his palm and then his wrist, its grasp firm yet gentle, in a competent facsimile of a human handshake.

He was actually shaking hands, more or less, with -- what? a rogue science experiment? an alien? John had quite a thorough grasp of biology thanks to his medical education. He swept an appraising eye over the tentacles, comparing them to squid, octopi, jellyfish, sea anemones, star-nosed moles, and everything else he could recall. The morphology seemed unique. John tentatively decided on alien as the most likely explanation.

The delicacy of Tim's grip made him wonder about strength and dexterity and underlying musculature. Curious, John stroked a thumb over the back of the tentacle where it wrapped around his hand. Tim let go, skin sliding over skin as he withdrew. John had survived far more alarming things in the morning, back in Afghanistan. For that matter, he'd walked in on more alarming things in his Baker Street flat due to Sherlock. That reminded him of his manners.

"I'm delighted to meet you, Tim," John said politely. "Enjoy your stay on Earth."

Quinn laughed and clapped John on the back. "You'll fit right in here," he said.

* * *

Vocabulary

bonjour -- good morning, good day [French]

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-12 02:34 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*LOL* First good laugh of the day. Thank you.

Remind me, Tim is what colour? Better: Is there a poem or story I haven't read yet that gives me a better visual of his outward appearance? "Pile of hoses" is a good start, and I know he's big enough to envelop a human, but...

Re: You're welcome!

Date: 2012-11-12 09:22 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Well if Tim shares any physical similarities with earth biology, and since he can survive here I'd presume so, then given he's basically a set of fluid-filled tubes, he might, might display bilayer interference patterns, eg, iridescence. With the smaller diameter 'tubes' basically being transparent.

Unless Tim has chromatophores that is, like a squid or cuttlefish, and able to change his colour.

Re: You're welcome!

Date: 2012-11-26 11:30 am (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Hmm, here's a thought. chromatophores work by expanding vesicles filled with coloured oil, hence they're more like LED or LCD displays, insofar as each one is one colour only, and the colour palette is created by visual blurring of different coloured ones, acting as pixels in the display.

Which makes sense in an aquatic species, the oil is incompressible and provides buoyancy for a start. and the environment has a limited palette range.

But Tim is an air-breathing species, which means thanks to the optical properties of the medium, he has the possibility of another mechanism. You see butterflies use nano-scale structures on their wings that act like a diffraction grid to produce an interference pattern in the reflected light, which creates the metallic-looking iridescent colours they can have.

It's possible for a species to use that principle, combined with something like the human pillia muscles,[ the ones that make your body hair stand on end] to flex 'scales' in a translucent skin and thus vary the curvature of the scales, altering the optical affect and thus the colour. It would even be possible in a species with a hydrostatic skeleton, to flood the sub-dermal layer with a clear fluid, changing the refractive index and causing the affect to disappear altogether. Thus going from coloured to clear in the blink of an eye, and to a predator who'd seen though the prior camouflage, seemingly disappearing.

Heck, given a fluid bi-layer meniscus effect, Tim could even appear mirrored if he so wanted.

Although, the idea of a mirrored multicoloured 'disco' tentacle monster is a bit boggling...
Edited Date: 2012-11-26 11:31 am (UTC)

Re: You're welcome!

Date: 2012-11-30 12:27 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Hmm, maybe Tim's world didn't have all those mass extinctions? Pretty sure there was a Pre-Cambrian aquatic species that looked like a smaller version of him...although it had an exoskeleton it could have lost it same as cuttlefish.

And the 'disco mode' would make a heck of a dazzle response... heyyyyy.. does Tim bioluminance, or can he produce bioluminescent 'ink' the same way some squids do, as an escape mechanism? Because that would be consistent with using light as a offensive/defensive response, sort of the 'night mode' version of his dazzle ability. [you know, blind the predator, then run/swim away fast!]

Oh, and didn't know about octopi iridophores.. thanks!

Re: You're welcome!

Date: 2012-11-13 02:08 am (UTC)
thnidu: painting: a girl pulling a red wagon piled almost to her own height of books along a sidewalk (books)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
This story was fun. Thank you!

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