ysabetwordsmith: (Schrodinger's Heroes)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem 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 poem 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.

Fandom: Star Trek/Original (Schrodinger's Heroes)
Prompt: Without makeup
Medium: Poetry
Summary: Chris gets a call from his cousin Bo about an infestation of strange critters at the bar.
Content Notes: Fluff. Cute little energy aliens. Texans being Texans. Genderbending of expectations. Creative reuse of available materials. What goes around, comes around.

"You Think You've Got Tribbles?"

It was Chris who dragged them out of bed
in the middle of the night this time.
He'd gotten a call from his cousin Bo
who ran a bar on the outskirts of Waxahachie.
"Bo says people are gripin' about pink prairie dogs,"
Chris explained when the team gathered,
sleepy and rumpled, in the common room.

"Sounds like someone spiked the punch,"
Quinn said with a chuckle. His long red mohawk
flopped into his face instead of standing erect,
devoid of the gold gel that gave it structure.
He also hadn't bothered to put on his eye shadow
or body jewelry or the rest of his goth kit these days.

"No, there's a spate of bad luck along with the critters,"
Chris said. "Listen, I know Bo's a jerk, but he's family.
And he knows weird shit can come outta the Ring here,
so let's be glad he had the sense to call us instead of
the cops who wouldn't have half a clue what to do."

"Point," said Morgan. She tugged at her flowery wrap.
"Let me throw on some real clothes, and we can
ride into town to figure out what's going on."
Alex and Bailey nodded agreement.
"Good idea," said Ash. "I'll start the van."

The bar smelled like acrid smoke and spilled liquor.
"Did you blow out a circuit breaker?" Bailey asked.
"Or burn something in the kitchen?"
Morgan added, wrinkling her nose.
"Naw," Bo said, "but I allow somethin' stinks in here."

Bailey prodded the wiring in the fuse box.
The rest of the team fanned out to look for pink prairie dogs.
They didn't find any, though, despite a careful search.
"Maybe something ate them?" Morgan suggested.
"After all, it's Texas." She had a point.
The sucker rats hadn't lasted very long.

"Seems too easy," Alex said,
raking a hand through messy golden curls.
"You ain't half as purty with your face off," Bo said.
Alex looked down at her shirt fastened one-button-off
and recalled that she hadn't paused to put on makeup
before driving in to town. She shrugged.
"You called me here for my big brain, not my pretty face,"
she said to Bo. "Do you have anything useful to add?"

The music system hiccupped from mournful western
to sweet, tinkly pop music. Chris gazed at it in horror.
"That!" Bo said, stabbing a thick finger at the speaker.
"It's been doin' that for hours."

Alex and Ash shared a look.
"We were studying that moral vector yesterday ..."
Alex said to Ash.
"Maybe something caused an incursion?"
Ash mused in return.

"Need my gear," Alex declared,
"and possibly more than what I have at home."
"All right, let's roll," Bailey said. "I'll see what I can do."

"Wait, aren't you going to get rid of
the damn pink prairie dogs?" Bo whined.
Chris shrugged. "Haven't seen hide nor hair of 'em,"
he said. "We'll try to sort things out from our end,
and come back here if necessary."

So the team piled back into the van and went home.
"I was just thinking, you know, your cousin's kind of a dick,"
Ash said to Chris. "Think about the guys who frequent his bar.
They're pretty much the same sort all around.
If we've got an incursion from a moral vector,
and it landed outside the Ring for some reason,
that might explain the problem."

Meanwhile Alex was tapping away
with her hands on two different keyboards.
"It's an incursion, but not outside the Ring," she said,
nibbling on her lip in a way that usually
made streaks in her lipstick.
Now it was just peeling away tiny strips of skin.
"The original arrival was inside."

Morgan grumbled and slapped her chapstick onto the desk
for Alex to use instead. "Then why did Bo call us?"
the astronomer asked. "Usually animals don't go far."

"I'm not sure yet," Alex said. "We have to find them."
She poked at the display again. "I need a detector ...
something with a metal rod, or a long coil,
that can be rigged to read variances in the moral signature
from different dimensions, or different creatures."

"Curling iron?" Ash suggested.
"I don't have one. Waste of time," Alex said.
"Don't look at me," Ash said,
flipping her plain black braid over her shoulder.
"Morgan?" Alex asked.
Morgan shrugged. "... maybe? Somewhere?"

So they prevailed upon Quinn.
He absolutely did have a curling iron
and absolutely did not want to part with it.
Alex promised to buy him whatever replacement he wanted.
Finally he handed over the desired appliance.

"Now I just need Bailey to ..." Alex said, looking around.
"Bailey?" He wasn't there anymore.
"I think he went to build a trap," Chris said.
"Oh, just give it here," Ash said, wiggling her fingers
for the curling iron. "I can probably manage."

It took Ash longer than it would have taken Bailey,
but eventually she modified the curling iron
so that it would respond to moral variations.

About that time Bo called back,
complaining that the critters had returned.
"Cameron says they aren't prairie dogs," Bo added.
"He thinks they look like punk tribbles."

"You think you've got tribbles?"
Chris repeated carefully.
Bo was not given to flights of fancy --
or any other kind of imagination, really --
and while Cameron watched all kinds of fool things
on TV he wasn't exactly an idiot either.

"That's what Cameron said," Bo grumbled.
"I don't care what they are, I just want 'em gone."
Alex eagerly waved the repurposed curling iron.
Bailey came in with a weird-looking box trap.
"All right, we'll try again," Chris agreed.

Back they went to the bar, where Bo greeted them
by pointing under some of the tables.
"It went thataway," he said.

Alex brought out her moral detector.
It lit up in shades of pink. "Over here," she said.
"There seems to be just one of them left,
and it's trying to escape."
A softly glowing tuft of rosepetal fluff emerged
from under the chairs and hurried away from her.

Bailey set down the trap, but
the critter swung wide around him too.
It collided with Bo's ankle
and disappeared with a poof.

At that moment, the cash register popped open
and smacked Bo quite hard in the beer belly.
He doubled over with a pained grunt
as money spilled out of the drawer onto the floor.

"Oh!" Alex exclaimed,
a note of surprised enlightenment.
"I get it! Those were karma tribbles."

"Karma being a process whereby the universe
balances positive and negative energy," Morgan mused,
"and tribbles being cute but annoying little lifeforms ..."
"So they're ... what ... malotropic?" Ash said.

Alex grinned and nodded.
"They seem to be charged with positive energy.
Therefore they seek out the largest source of negativity
that they can find, and balance the fields," she said.
"That explains all the 'bad luck' around here --
people just got what they had coming,
based on whatever they'd done in the past."

Chris looked at his fuming cousin.
"Might could be you'd want to clean house a bit,"
he drawled with a lazy smirk.

* * *


[personal profile] chanter_greenie previously asked for an accounting of the original karma tribble incident after reading "The Cat's Pajamas."

"You Think You've Got Tribbles?" was the draft title of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode that became "The Trouble with Tribbles."

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-01 01:21 am (UTC)
thnidu: A propellor beanie with an icebag. Smoffing the Filkers, http://bit.ly/eNgQ0T (fanac)
From: [personal profile] thnidu

(pronounced like "yichhh!")

Re: Yes...

Date: 2013-01-06 06:04 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*punches air* YES!

Love the karma tribble concept... but I have to say the two comments here tacked on the end just *made* this story... *lololololol* Success, indeed!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-07 05:56 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
*gigglefits* :D!


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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