The results are in! Who lives and who dies? oh, wait. This isn't Thunderdome
Winning entries below!
In Third Place, getting an Honorable Mention, 250 points and a preview copy of the Republibot Original Fiction magazine (available very soon from the rapidly-approaching completion Republibot Store!), is Mike Kriskey with his "Asteroids Treatment"
John Doe is the headstrong captain of the USS LO-RES. He plays by his own rules, and bridles when ordered to risk his ship in an impossibly dense asteroid belt to save the life of the Admiral's reckless son.
Things come to a head when his Executive Officer starts to panic. Doe thinks he can shoot his way to safety, but the XO wants to make a blind jump to hyperspace!
All the while, deck-scrubber Mike Kriskey screams, "Why are you thrusting? Never thrust! Just spin in place, you maniac!"
Comments: Of all the entries, this one captured the essence of the game the most. And it will probably be the one that most closely resembles the finished product.
Next up, in second place, winning 500 points and a copy of the aforementioned Republibot Original Fiction Magazine (in all it's downloadable digital glory, priced at a very reasonable (yet tentative) $1.50) is Church, with "It was a dark and stormy asteroid field"
The crew of the USS Vector is on a deep space, rare mineral asteroid mining operation. The Vector consists of a Service and Transport module, which accounts for 90% of the combined ship's size, and a Command and Prospecting module, which does the actual work. The asteroid-cracking operation is going on at a steady, boring pace. Par for the game in the Merchant Marines.
The crew is composed of:
Captain Bill Morgan, the brash yet levelheaded commander.
Commander Dick Hardtack, the brash yet sexy pilot.
Lieutenant Nicole Berg, the sexy yet distant navigator.
Ensign Rick Ricky, the plucky yet enthusiastic first timer.
Mr. Rivers, the grizzled veteran who has mustered out, yet returned as a consultant prospector.
Suddenly, an previously unknown type of spacecraft appears. It fires a few bolts of some kind of energy weapon and then departs.
Morgan is alarmed by this turn of events. He's alarmed, but no damage was done, so he consults his crew. Hardtack argues that they should report back in person, as this discovery is too big to try to rely on communications. Rivers argues they continue with their mission, and any contact is gravy. Berg reluctantly agrees with Rivers, since there's no established procedure for alien contact, and the exant procedures are to justify the immense cost it took to send them to this system. Ricky is enthralled by the idea of aliens and hopes to see them himself. Morgan is persuaded and the mission continues.
Hardtack and Berg having a falling out over the decision, which clues us into the fact that they were, to some degree, a couple. Hardtack appeals to Morgan on a personal level, but Morgan points out that he's the only one who is argued for going back. Ricky is clearly fascinated by the older Berg, but she rebuffs his youthful advances. Rivers plays the younger girl with slightly better effect, but she ultimately rebuffs him. Her heart is still with Hardtack.
One day, Ricky is minding the Service Module, while the Command Module is cracking 'roids. Suddenly the mysterious saucer appears. Ricky is fascinated, even to the point where it blows him and the SM to bits.
The Command Module returns to find the SM in ruins, and Ricky dead. Now it's personal. The SM is too far gone to salvage, so there's no hope of making their nut on the venture. The only hope now is to get out of Dodge. Rivers is able, with the help of Berg, to cobble a serviceable Hyperdrive out of the wreckage of the SM, but while they're installing the saucer shows up again. Morgan orders a blind jump, brief argument, then they jump... but only a couple klicks. Still, it gives them enough time to fire a cracker at the saucer, which takes off again.
Berg is looking over the data they've now collected on the saucer. She realizes something strange. The rare metals they're collecting are in about exact proportion to that of the saucer. She reports that to Hardtack, who has an epiphany. He collars Rivers and asks what he knows about that. Rivers tries to beat him down but ends up worse for wear. He finally admits that the Merchant Marines have been aware of the fact that the 'saucers' are lifeforms which provide the minerals they've mined for a while. In fact, that's how they scout systems. Hardtack drags him to Morgan and makes him repeat the story (Berg happens to overhear.) Morgan is furious, but realizes they need Rivers' experience to get out of there. Morgan and Rivers make their way down to where the hyperdrive was Mickey-Moused to the command module to try to improve their range.
Hardtack takes the comfy chair, Berg makes a PG-13 make-up make-out.
Saucers show up. Several. Morgan and Rivers work like hell to get the hyperdrive worked out. An energy bolt crashes into the Vector just as it's leaping and...
Everyone wakes up. Everyone being Hardtack and Berg. Rivers and Morgan were lost in the blast. The Hyperdrive only got them halfway home. They send out their info, and await the faint hope of rescue while snuggling in a PG-13 fashion.
(Yeah, the ambiguous ending isn't really Hollywood style. That's just how I roll.)
Comments: This has all the makings of a critical success and a cult film following. I don't know if it'd make any money, though ... (grin)
The winner, recipient of 1000 points and a copy of the repeatedly mentioned Republibot Original Fiction Magazine is WhaleofATale2.0 (no relation) with "Asteroids: Revolution"
It is the not-so-distant future. The second American Revolution is a thing for the history books. The shattered nations of Asia and Africa have submitted to larger governmental oversight and have contributed troops to the new United Nations global peacekeeping forces. The global dominance of tightly-controlled markets drove the entrepreneurial inventors underground, where they built on existing ultraterrestrial technology to generate the first wave of launches in the Undermountain Space Race. Now, 50 years have passed since the third wave of colonists were driven off-planet.
Colonies abound in the near Asteroid Belt. These city-states have negotiated a shaky treaty to supply raw materials to the Earth United Coalition (EUC). But there are some that hold onto those pillars of fundamentalism that their ancestors embraced. Pure humans are rarely found on Earth anymore. The trans-humanist leap in evolution ensured that the greatest terrestrial traits were amplified, creating not only super-soldiers, but mindless drones to labor happily as they wear out their lives.
Now the EUC is moving out beyond their boundaries. Not content with the inner Terrestrial worlds, they have gathered their armies in a Mars orbit. All of the Asteroid Colonies could easily be worked by drones and robots, so the city-state system is no longer necessary. The first shots were fired against Kentucky-6; there were no survivors. Against the crushing tide of EUC forces, one city-state after another is destroyed or surrenders.
Beyond the Giant Planets, further colonies thrive in relative peace and isolation. The pioneers settling the great moons have adapted to life under artificial skies. Then the echoes of the first shots reach their ears. The treaties have been shredded and trampled underfoot by an Imperialist order. The rallying cry has gone out to the distant states, beyond the moons, even into the Kuiper Belt. The battle for independence has begun.
Now, behind enemy lines, one veteran soldier of the Comet War defies orders to attempt a daring rescue of his captured family. Aided by a freed drone, a child-prodigy pilot, and a pan-dimensional drifter with a gambling addiction, this soldier defies all odds to free his family from enslavement. In the process he shatters the crushing grip of the EUC armies on the Western front. But his battle will take him all the way to Earth and back again, where he will face a familiar enemy, and learn that the greatest battle he will ever face is the battle with himself.
Comments: With the exception of the last paragraph (which sounds to me like all the Pitch Meeting cliches I've heard (evil grin)), this treatment is complex, sprawling and probably way too cerebral for the licensed source. It is, however, very compelling.
Congratulations to all!