Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

Reviews1

Ghostbusters (2016)

I have had the great luxury of watching this, and I can fully admit it’s not what I expected.

I wont say it’s better. I have mixed feelings about it. Somehow I got the impression it was a sequel, which it isn’t, instead of a remake, which seems to be what it is. And in some ways, that ruined it for me. In some ways it didn’t, of course; it’s great to see women empowered in a major field like science, even if attempting to study the paranormal is considered something of a fringe science. But a fairly decent part of me was greatly hoping to see a passing of the torch, so to speak, between the original ghost busters and the women who led this story.

I didn’t get that. I’m disappointed for that. I was so hoping.

What I did get was a remake, which is magnificent as a stand-alone, and heavily references the original two Ghostbuster movies without ripping anything off. And I mean without ripping anything off. Every scene I saw in this movie was purely original content, right from the beginning to the end. It was well-written and well-filmed, with realistic characters that punched all my buttons.

Now, the only scene I’m willing to spoil is the very first one, and I’m not willing to spoil very much at all.

The movie opens with a tour of a haunted house, with a tour guide telling the group the story about a young woman who did… pretty terrible things, like murdering all the household servants. I mean, it’s not like she murdered puppies or anything– though she might have. We are talking about someone who probably had to hone their craft before graduating to people. Anyway, she murdered the household servants, but because her father loved her so, he didn’t turn her over to the police or like, have her committed because something is obviously wrong.

He has her locked in the basement. Major league locking occurred, I promise. They gave her her dinner plate through a slide in the door. She eventually died down there, and according to the house lore, she’s still there.

The tour group leaves. The guide proceeds to lock up the house and turn off the lights and things to go home so he can come in and probably do the tour again tomorrow.

The house… wakes up. Freaky things happen. He gets scared. Something prevents him from going out the main door to absolutely leave, so he takes opportunity of literally the first open door to somewhere that he sees.

It’s the basement. Obviously, the door closes behind him, because this is a Ghostbusters movie and it wouldn’t be very good if there weren’t really any ghosts, right? And then one of my favorite things happens: he realizes what he just did, and chides himself for it, because he knows better than to go into the basement of this house, the basement door has never been unlocked and it’s a haunted house.

And suddenly the audience gets the awareness of: not only do people believe in ghosts, even if they’ve never seen them before, but people who are not the main characters of this movie get full-fledged personalities. They get to be people. The heroes do not live in a vacuum.

And then of course we learn that the girl in the basement is, indeed, still down there, and the movie properly starts, I suppose, but this first scene is the truest, sweetest bit of world building I have ever seen. People exist. Even people who aren’t important to the grand plot.

There are quite a few scenes like that in this movie, and not all of them are for living people.

This movie did a lot of things for the movie industry, including turning tropes on their heads. I know a lot of people are up in arms by the only man you see helping the ladies is their blond secretary, who plays really neatly to the “dumb blond” stereotype on the surface while managing to really, solidly subvert it if you pay attention. Okay, maybe he doesn’t get phones and, uh, people, but nobody puts together a fully functioning motorcycle like that and gets to tout the title of “dumb.” And also he kind of does save himself? If you look at it?

It really depends on perception.

On the flip side, this movie answered a lot of questions I could have asked of it, like where did they get the car from? I think in the original they bought it, but it’s been some years since I’ve seen it, so I’ll need to rewatch to be sure. This movie still has the Ghostbusters Car (I’m not sure if this one is listed as Ecto 1 or not), and several scenes cover it for a decent measure of hilarity. Several lines of dialog and various depictions are a nod to the first two films, which you won’t link together if you’ve never seen them, but all of which fit in the movie very well contextually.

So. In a very round-about conclusion (I confess I do not think my gushing reviews through very well) – I like this movie. I think you should watch it. I think you should compare and contrast; I will be doing that at a later date, I think, because remediation is my thing. I don’t understand where the hate came from– well, no, I do, I can understand where it came from, just the same as I understand the love for it.

But the ladies save the day, and the men save the day, and everybody gets a happy ending except the bad guy. The movie touches on what happens if you touch the ectoplasmatic, what happens if the Apocalypse happens– something its predecessors also covered– and what happens when you do a movie about real people and real women instead of Hollywood stars– you know, women with budgets and no infinite Howard Duck coin pools. And also real governments.

Even if you don’t like it, it should be watched before you decide not to like it. Don’t let someone else’s view of a movie detract you from something you might enjoy just because it didn’t quite jive with them.

–Natasha

Twitter | Tumblr | NaNo Page | Ao3 | Buy Me a Coffee

And Another Writer Tag

Pulling this tag posted by Amanda, because it’s important to ask yourself questions as a writer and give honest answers. You never know how much about yourself you can learn just by trying to figure out how answer someone’s question! So here’s ten of them.

Q: What do you eat or drink while writing?
A: Whatever I can get my hands on, honestly, provided I manage to remember that it’s there. I have this nasty habit of falling into tunnel vision, writing or not writing, and forgetting that the rest of the world is a thing that actually exists, so I won’t do those silly little optional* things like eating, or drinking, or sleeping.

Q: What do you listen to while writing?
A: Break-up or love songs, or something with heavy drums to get my heart beating. I can write almost anything to a love song (I cannot drive to a love song) and heavy drum beats in rapid succession get the heart moving, providing cells with oxygen and therefor the body with energy.

Q: What is your biggest distraction while you’re writing?
A: Other people. Cats. Food, when I remember it exists. Reading.

Q: What is the worst thing that has happened to you while writing?
A: In November 2015, I lost about… two thousand words when my laptop randomly decided it needed to not function. I hadn’t saved them up yet, since I was in the middle of writing them when it happened, and it was an absolute tragedy. I spent the following day getting my computer to function again. The aut0-save feature managed to salvage about two hundred of them, but it still had me out of sorts and paranoid for the following week.

Q: What is the best thing that has ever happened to you while writing?
A: In my first official NaNo back in 2011, I walloped out my a very own (and very bad) novel that may never see the light of day ever. It wasn’t all bad, but I didn’t have enough content to make a solid book out of it, or enough of a plot. But I loved it, and I loved the characters. I’ve since decided to rip it apart and deconstruct it, rebirth the people and the plot-line in another vein, but I had so much fun while working on it, it’s not even funny.

And that’s the best part. I realized how much fun I have while writing. More-over, and perhaps more important, I realized I’m writing for me.

Q: Who do you communicate with while you’re writing?
A: I am very bad at multitasking writing and communication, especially verbally. I’ll be mid-sentence in my work and finish it up while talking with someone, and I’ll look down and find I’ve written every word I have spoken since I started. Oops?

But beyond that, I have a very select group of friends who can prod me while I’m writing that get a valid response, provided it comes in written format so I can stare at it and try to puzzle out what we’re talking about. I do not shift gears easily, alas.

Q: What is your secret to success and your biggest writing flaw?
A: My secret to success is probably that I’m doing what I love, and I’m loving what I do. I like to write, and I write what catches my interest. My biggest flaw is that I’m all over the place. I have at least a dozen books in progress, which does not even go to mention how many fanfictions I’ve got running at any given moment.

Q: What is your inspiration? What makes you productive?
A: Other writers. It took me a long time to figure out other writers were people, but when I did, boy did that ever help. I realized if they could do it, as long as I applied myself– as anyone applies themselves– then I could make something out of all the stories in my head.

Q: What is one thing that you do or that other writers do that is super annoying?
A: I am very, very flighty, and easily distracted. I don’t know why. It frustrates me. As to other people, I’m not sure. Writers are, by their nature, some of the least social and most secretive people on the planet, zealously guarding their work. Some of it’s so secret I imagine that you’d have an easier time getting your hands on the NASA launch protocols than you would figuring out bad writing quirks.

Q: Are you willing to share something you’ve written?
A: I write a ton of things, and I’ve been more or less consistent posting them all on my Ao3— but if you want something I haven’t yet let the rest of the world see, I can absolutely share a small snippit of a WIP.

<Snippit from my Modern Assassin’s Creed AU>

“That’s a nasty bruise.. You’re Mentor William’s son, aren’t you?”

“His name’s Desmond,” Sasson offered from the other side of the room, but Fadila was sitting up, like she meant to get up despite Sasson’s protests.

Bruise? Does he need ice?

Altair hummed. “No.. well, it can’t hurt. This looks really fresh. It’s not even done darkening yet.

It wasn’t there when he got here,” Altair put in at last, prompting the novices to look over at him. He was twelve, and he wouldn’t shrink from their attentions.

Are you sure, Altair?” He nodded, which only made the other look even more troubled. “Sasson–?

I’ll go get the ice.” Sasson was already heading back for the door when Altair looked over at him, trying to figure out what the teenagers were doing. It was just a bruise, they bruised all the time. But somehow Altair was sure it was not just a bruise after all, or he felt it wasn’t. If it was just a training bruise, he wouldn’t have opened his mouth. The novices wouldn’t have sounded concerned about it if it were just a training mark. “Fadila–?

I’ll stay here, go on. Altair can look after me while you’re gone.” Sasson frowned at her, but he opened the door and vanished beyond it anyway.

 


And there we are. Ten more answers about me. Some of which you knew already from previous questions, and some of which are possibly new. At least one of which contains a ficlet! What joy is this?

–Natasha

*Eating, drinking and sleeping are not actually optional.

Twitter | Tumblr | NaNo Page | Ao3 | Buy Me a Coffee

Weekly Writing Prompt Response: 9/11-9/17 (2016)

Writing Prompts1

You ever have one of those times where you’re not sure what to write, you’re not sure at all, and then you hit the deadline, go into last-minute panic mode, and vomit out two thousand words?

That just happened. I’m kind of weirdly proud of it but oh god, please stop growing, I want to finish and sleep at some point.

So the writing prompt Amanda chose this week was the Digital Daggers rendition of Dust in the Wind, which I listened to on and off trying to hammer out an entirely different response that drug its feet pretty horrifically and resulted in being terribly stubborn, not letting me do it. I’ll get to it eventually. This is not that response. I see nobody is surprised by that.

There are some more things I want to cover in the ‘verse I just spouted, and I will eventually because I just did a ton of research on it, and it’d be a shame to let all that delicious reading go to waste, yes? I didn’t even write all of it I wanted, but the scenes I wanted to cover are disconnected from the segments I did, so.

Anyway, have a 2k+ Voltron fanfic with manifested soul segments, because everything’s better with daemons.


In the Wind (Or Lack Thereof)

Shirogane never expected his Kohaku to settle as anything but a bird, which sounded weird only out of context, born up by people who hadn’t known his father was witch-blooded and feathers were in the family tree, but he really, honestly hadn’t. She had been wearing the mantle of birds for his whole life, starting out– embarrassing pictures as proof– as a screaming, featherless chick of undetermined origin and gender. Apparently his parents had called the gathering dust on his mother’s Daichi an egg out of pure irony for his father’s blood, Iriomote-yamaneko covered in so much glittery gold-red-brown dust next to his mother’s swollen stomach.

There were no pictures of Daichi dusted when Mom had been pregnant with Keith. Or, at least, there were none to be found, but Mom and Dad had been divorced for ages by the time any of them knew about Keith. Dad had remarried; a witch-blood named Josephine, with a Peregrine Falcon named Glenn. The blue-grey matches nice with Dad’s own daemon, Akane, the Japanese sparrowhawk that had been so much Kohaku’s best cuddle-buddy Shiro’s whole life, he couldn’t not know his father loved him.

But Shiro-and-Kohaku had been six when Keith-and-Marie had been three, fresh from a loss Shiro hadn’t really understood, crying for his (their) maman. Shiro had understood his father trying to comfort him, knew but didn’t know why Keith was crying and Marie was a screaming polecat.

He knew his mother a little, sort of. Peripherally. Dad told him stories about her all the time, though she lived far away in the desert and he didn’t get to see her. She sent him gifts every year, all year round. This year he’d gotten a necklace for his birthday, bone beads and feathers, a nod to his heritage on Dad’s side. She’d sent him a book, too, a text with a lot of big words he didn’t understand yet, about space and space-ships and flying, with wire-frame pictures. He liked the book, and he loved the necklace, the same way he liked all her other gifts.

Keith didn’t have a necklace or a book. Keith had a knife, much to Josephine’s ire, and the knife is a familiar thing for Shiro as he grows up. By the time he settles– Kohaku has always been brown but she settles slick and smooth as silk, a snake in his father’s nest– Shiro is aware that Keith’s father is not Shiro’s father, that Josephine doesn’t think children need knives (his father thinks they rather do; both he and Keith end up in the back yard with Dad, learning the finer points of knife fighting as well as what magic Dad knows, what magic he can pass on to them) and he knows more than anything that he wants to be a pilot, that he wants to explore deep space.

The only people doing that are the military, of course. It’ll be ten years of service, four of it school, but he wants to go. Keith sits at his side while he writes up his application, Marie on his lap, Kohaku around Shiro’s throat. They both try not to listen to the echo from upstairs, while Dad and Josephine argue.

Josephine has a thing against reptiles; Shiro can’t get out of the house quick enough.

 

The Garrison takes him. The base is out in the Nevada desert, huge expanses of nothing that they can shoot at and practice with when they hit that skill level. They send him a Greyhound ticket. Everything else he has to get on his own, and by that he means his father gives him money for food and a hotel for the layover plus a card with his name on it for when he gets there.

Keith makes him promise to call– Dad and Akane try and Josephine and Glenn don’t, and it is and isn’t Keith’s fault that he and Marie bite and claw and don’t even worry about asking questions or permission. They’re a ball of pent up frustration, and not even barely-teenagers.

By the time he gets to the Garrison and gets his bunk, he’s too tired to call home. He and Kohaku are rooming with another recruit, Stefan and Amber, a long-legged Labrador Retriever, golden from snout to tail-tip and all sorts of friendly. Stefan found it endlessly entertaining, once Shiro told him Kohaku’s name, the meaning of it.

“What is she?” he asks later, while they’re unpacking. The first week is all social events, getting to know the base. Shiro can already direct and lead anybody to the main offices and the quartermaster.

“Not a bird!” Kohaku laughed before he got the chance to open his mouth. They haven’t even been settled long, but her response is as much rebuff as a defense, a way to protect themselves; make it seem like a game that they’re not what they should be, that they settled wrong.

It’s a bad way to think about himself, to feel about himself. People don’t settle wrong. He knows that, intellectually.

“She’s an eastern coach-whip,” he tells him, and Stefan’s eyebrows climb up past his hairline.

“Aren’t those the hoop snakes?”

“The what?”

By the time Shiro remembers to call home, gets time to call home, it’s been two weeks. His father tells him Keith stormed out of the house a week ago, ended up on the roof (somehow) and wont come down no matter how much he tries to persuade him, and could you please talk to him?

Apparently he ended up pitching a tent against the chimney bricks. Josephine probably thought it was unsightly. Shiro calls Keith’s phone and talks for a while, cradling it against his skull while he works through mathematics homework. Stefan and Amber are out jogging; they have the dorm to themselves. “I miss you,” Keith says. “Come back. It’s not home without you.”

I can’t, Shiro doesn’t tell him, though Kohaku curls herself loosely around his wrist, resting her head on the side of his hand while he writes. It occurs to him, suddenly, that Marie has been a great many shapes but she has never been a bird. The odds of Keith settling as a bird don’t fit; he can’t shape his mind around it. “You can come join me in a few years,” he says instead. “Mom said your father was an off-worlder, right? Maybe we can find him.”

“Maybe,” Keith agrees, but he sounds doubtful. Shiro is too; they don’t even know what planet or space station he was from, where he worked. Finding Keith’s father without even a name is going to be difficult, and Dad doesn’t know who he was. The silence stretches. After a while, his little brother sighs into the phone. “Okay.”

“Just a few years,” Shiro says, chest tight. Keith sounds so weary. What did Josephine say to him? “I’ll call every week until then, and I’ll come home for holidays if I can, okay?”

“Promise?”

“Promise. But you gotta get off the roof before you give Dad even more gray hair, okay?”

A heartbeat. For a moment, Shiro thinks it wont work. Then Keith sighs, defeated, and he knows he’ll do it. A week on the roof, he wonders. What has he even been eating?

Birds. Probably.

“Okay.”

“Okay.”

He calls Dad back when he gets off the phone with Keith, tells him what Keith told him; that he feels crowded, that he needs space, that he needs exercise and understanding, which is something Dad already knows but Josephine, in all the years Keith has been with them, doesn’t seem to grasp. Keith is independent and fierce and full of energy, he acts without thinking nine times out of ten. Witches are, by nature, slow to act; they do nothing they haven’t thoroughly considered several times.

Joining the Garrison was the most impulsive thing Shirogane has ever done. He does not regret it, and neither does Kohaku.

 

A few years later, Keith and Marie join them. She’s a Savannah cat; a good twenty-five inches at the shoulders. Keith has no ballpark for how much she weighs until they get to the Garrison and go through the physical, sits through it by virtue of the knowledge that Shiro is waiting for him outside the door. “Twenty-five pounds,” Marie purrs after, proud of herself. Keith’s shy smile says he’s proud too.

He’s even more proud when he hits the top of his class less than a month into school. Proud enough to call back home, to call Dad, and they can both hear the pride in his voice when Dad congratulates him.

He’s not Keith’s father, but he’s just as much Keith’s dad as he is Shiro’s.

Shiro is still trying to decide what Josephine is. She’s definitely not his mother, and she makes a point to remind him of it, just as she makes a point to remind Keith of it.

Shiro skipped a grade and it looks like Keith will do the same, graduate early just as he did. He can’t figure out why she’s not proud of them. (Dad is ecstatic. They can probably see his smile on the moon.)

A few months into the new year, Shiro snags his first big assignment that isn’t playing hopscotch between Nevada, Texas, and Florida. There’s a science mission to the far-flung moon of Kerberos; it’s not a big science mission. Ice cores and things. They’ll be gone four months tops, and that’s if things go badly and they get stuck there. It’s not even particularly dangerous: it’s not like he’s going to be taking people to any of the gas giants. Kerberos is an all ice moon, way out swinging around Pluto. But it’s too big for him to say no. It’s his first chance to get off world.

Apparently he’s been specifically requested. By the head of the science division. By Commander Holt.

Keith is understandably upset when Shiro tells him. The base psychiatrist said he had dependency issues, cited that it could become a problem. He was personally under the belief that she was projecting. Keith just liked the people he knew to be around him, and he had difficulty making friends. Shiro knew he tried, but Keith and Marie alternated between warily friendly and wanting the world to drop off the face of the Earth. Bipolar disorder, maybe.

Shiro got him a blanket permission pass to use the training room whenever he needed to, even if it was after lights out. He can’t, doesn’t, get him time off to go to Florida with him, because Keith doesn’t want to watch Shiro leave the planet without him.

If it were Keith leaving, Shiro knows exactly how badly he’d feel, keeping his feet in the dirt. Better not to encourage something they both know will hurt him and make him even more restless. He does call him before he boards the shuttle, before they make them stow the things they wont need while off-world. His cellphone is one of them.

“It’s just Kerberos,” he swears. “I’ll be back before you graduate.”

 

They haven’t been on Kerberos a day when purple (purple? Purple.) aliens beam them up just as they’re getting the first of their ice cores. Kohaku is tight around his throat, and he can see Matt’s Ariel in his helmet, wings and perching feet tangled in his hair the moment that they all realize that something is wrong, that something is happening, the moment that they all turn to run.

They don’t make it very far. He thinks he sees Commander Holt grab Anna’s harness as they’re lifted up, but then Shiro passes out, so he’s not sure.

When he wakes up he realizes the aliens are purple, he realizes he’s kneeling, he realizes Commander Holt is hanging limply where he’s held on his kneels, and there’s no daemon to be seen. He has been trained for being taken captive by hostile forces, but they expected militant humans, not aliens– he thinks Commander Holt had been joking about the aliens thing– so he marshals up his calm and tries to reason with them. Maybe he’s hallucinating.

He’s not. It doesn’t. He gets knocked out for his trouble instead.

 

When he wakes up again, he realizes the soulless aliens are dragging them into the mouth of Hell.


And now, while I have you, how about we take a peek at other people who’ve written this prompt, yeah? Okay.

Other Responses:
Amanda

Remember, Amanda drops prompts once a week, and I try to do them by habit. It’s a good habit to have. So if you want to write a prompt, this one or any other, forward or backward, give a pingback so I can link you! More exposure for everyone!

–Natasha

Twitter | Tumblr | NaNo Page | Ao3 | Buy Me a Coffee

The Playlist Book Tag!

So I nabbed this tag from The Immortal Readers, because I can and you shouldn’t put things on the internet if you don’t want other people to see them. Also because it looked interesting and I just had to give it a whirl!

Unfortunately– and here’s the thing– I don’t read as much as I’d like, and so I can’t make a super long post on this tag. So I’ll do five!

Wait, what do you mean, what’s the tag? Oh. Well! I’m going to put my playlist on shuffle and choose a book that the song reminds me of. Because I can. And because that’s the tag. So! First one’s first, yeah?

Walk on Water – Dio
James Rollins’ Deep Fathom: It’s been a long time since I’ve heard this book– I unfortunately don’t have a hard-copy of it yet, but nobody said audio books don’t count.

Deep Fathom is about a former Navy SEAL who has to save the world– from itself… and the sun.. and the US Military, of course. One of the key focuses of this book is human nature and, well, antique architecture and how the two can coexist or not. The main hero, Jack Kirkland, spends a lot of his time in this book getting one-upped by the opposition, while trying desperately to figure out what’s going on and save his crew; they’re close enough to be his family, after all.

Saving the rest of the world is important, I guess, especially since you have to save them from their own hubris.

Dreams of Candlelight – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Ann Salerno’s Rain of Flowers: One scene that still sticks out of this book in my head is really sweet. The main character doesn’t necessarily find herself an absolute heartthrob– she finds a man who captures her heart, and who understands her. And to prove he understands her, what does he do?

If you said flowers and wine, you’re wrong. He gets them a getaway in rural Japan, reliving– for just a little while– the antiquated, historic world that they both love and both of them were born in the wrong era for.

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – Amy Winehouse
James Rollins’ Altar of Eden
: Yeah, some more James Rollins. I’m not sorry. I love this author, he’s good!

Altar of Eden is the Veterinary story everybody needs to read. Partly because it’s about evolutionary science and partly because it’s amazing, plus it contains a saber-toothed jaguar cub, and everyone needs one of those! This book has some radical ups and downs for the cast as they spend a bunch of the book trying to unravel mysteries, part of the book running from smugglers, and another part of it trying to unbreak a small part of the world. It’s one of those books where I think… almost all the good guys come out of alive?

Brothers – Dean Brody
Robert A Heinlein’s Podkayne of Mars: This is a tricky one, because this song reminds me more of fanfiction than it does books proper, or more songs. But I’m not doing fanfic recs in this tag, or saying here, have some more music. So. Books.

Why Podkayne? I listened to this song and let my thoughts take me where I will, and I got a lot of Poddy and her brother out of it, I’m going to be honest. You don’t see a lot of their interactions in the book, but you can tell they love each other, in their own ways. They love each other so that when something happens to one, the other feels it on a visceral level– as you see in the later chapters of the books. Just as the brothers in Dean Brody’s song.

Kiss Me – Avril Lavigne
Alydia Rackham’s The Paradox Initiative
: On the list of songs I own but don’t think I’ve ever actually listened to… but the book, however, I have read, and it’s absolutely amazing.

But what’s it about? The Paradox Initiative follows Kestrel Evans as she attempts to help Jack Wolfe find the renowned scientist William Jakiv, and maybe accidentally fall in love along the way.

So there you have it. Five songs, five books, all of which you should go read. I think I might redo this eventually again, maybe in about a year. It was pretty fun! You should give it a go yourself, if you’re feeling up for it.

–Natasha

Twitter | Tumblr | NaNo Page | Ao3 | Buy Me a Coffee

 

Weekly Writing Prompt Response: 9/4-9/10 (2016)

Writing Prompts1

Amanda‘s prompt this week is a picture prompt! A lighthouse photograph by Garett Photography that gives me all sorts of delicious ideas, and I can’t help but stare at it in awe.

Some of those ideas it gives me I can’t post here, because I want to one day publish them officially. A bunch of the ideas I can are all fanfiction, some realms of which I’ve never delved in, but if last week’s prompt was anything to go by, I definitely need to start poking at my horizons and seeing what’s over that cliff.

However, I decided against doing fanfiction and thought I’d diddy out a little original thing, only a few hundred words. All my fanfiction ideas take more research than I think I can pull off this week, but I’m pretty proud of this little word ramble. Have at ye!


The Lighthouse

The lighthouse marks the end of the world. That’s what people always say. The old wives tale is that it stretches on and on and on, an endless ocean of nothing, save for rampant storms. There’s nothing out there, they say.

It’s not that I don’t believe them. When I was a small boy, my father got on a fishing ship and left. I remember watching him from the top of the lighthouse, growing smaller and smaller until the ship was nothing but a speck on the horizon, until it was nothing at all. I know it can take a month or more to find a good spot and get a good haul, but it’s been more than a decade. He’s not coming back. I know there’s nothing out there. Or, at least, if there is: nothing’s coming back.

It doesn’t change that I wish it weren’t true. And it doesn’t change the fact that it’s really weird to have a lighthouse at the edge of the world, if nothing ever comes back. It doesn’t do a lot of good that way.

That doesn’t stop me from lighting it during the night and in the fog. It helps the smaller craft come in for the evening, if the candles are burning. It doesn’t keep me from sitting on the walk with a spyglass, trying to see my father’s ship after ten years lost at sea. Knowing the cold hard facts doesn’t keep me from hoping despite everything that just one, just this one, will have a different end to the fable. I think it’d be nice if humanity, not fate and the ocean, won just one of the tales.

It’s a fruitless hope and I know it. But it’s also an endless hope, like the lighthouse.

It’s not much, but it doesn’t have to be. Beyond the horizon is the end of the world, for ships and people and the sea, but I refuse to let it be the end of the world for me.


And now that I’ve done that, let’s take a quick peek at everybody else’s responses. If you do the prompt this week, let me know so I can list you here!

Responses
Kayla’s | Steps Times Two’s | Amanda’s

And now, I think: away with my super sleepy self!

–Natasha

Twitter | Tumblr | NaNo Page | Ao3 | Buy Me a Coffee

Weekly Writing Prompt Response: 8/28-9/3 (2016)

Writing Prompts1

Oh hey, look, it’s not anywhere near midnight yet! How about that?

Amanda‘s tag this week was pretty impressive, smashing up your first fandom and your newest fandom in a tidy little crossover that I have gleefully double-posted over here.

Now, before I post the fic, a tiny bit of context.

My very first fandom was when I was a little bitty thing, and it was Escaflowne. We had this old antique television, one of those great big things that was basically an entertainment station all on it’s own, only without the fun bells and whistles of drawers and cabinets. This looks pretty close, but you know, it was a long time ago and eventually it died and my father took it out and burnt the wood and wiring off, then hauled the rest off for scrap weight.

My newest fandom is actually Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Yeah, the remake. I’ll watch the originals eventually but for now, this is shiny and perfect and I can’t stop touching it.

Fun fact: I haven’t written for either of these before. Meep.


Le Dragon

“Hard to believe no one ever knew this was here,” Shiro admitted, staring out at the green fields surrounding the Castle of Lions. It was early spring, he guessed, farmland as far as the eye could see around the horse-shoe crags that protected the ruins of a city. He couldn’t see much of the city, though he knew it to be there, beyond stone walls as tall as the grain grew, the new vantage hiding the black and violet scar that was a Galra ship in wreckage.

It had been an impressive display from the air. The crash zone stretched for miles, not just the main warship, but hundreds of fighters scattering like demented freckles, pocking craters in fields. It was old debris, at least a year, Shiro was guessing, but he actually didn’t know anything about the geological recovery rates from refined quintessence exposure on any world, never mind this one. Gaea, the princess said the locals called it. Though they hadn’t seen any of the locals yet, not working the fields– in their defense, he guessed, whatever they were growing was twelve feet tall– and not in the clearing before the city, on what looked like it had once been a thirty-foot road. The road itself wasn’t nearly large enough for the Castle, but the fields didn’t come right up to the road, expanding outward into a large clearing, more than enough to disembark.

More than enough room for a lot of things. They could land at least two of the lions here, easy.

Which didn’t mean they still didn’t technically park in the fields.

Allura led the way down the ramp, wrapped in a combat outfit with her hair pinned high, looking regal and yet still ready to kick ass. Shiro matched pace with her, which was his place as the Black Paladin, and the rest followed them. They were all tense about this, and that they could see the Earth and the moon hanging in the sky didn’t do a lot to reassure them.

The Galra ship had done a lot to reassure them they were dealing with potential allies. Or at least they were people who didn’t like the Galra. But with home so close they could reach out and touch it, he could feel the tension in his own veins. And if he was wired, with nothing back home to go back to, he could only imagine how Pidge and Hunk and Lance felt.

Tense soldiers meant tense first meetings. But it was too late to cast a glance back at them, see how they were holding up. They were already on the ground.

“That’s strange,” Allura murmured softly, considering the large and gaping void of people there to greet them. Shiro resisted the urge to check the sky for the Earth. “The message said someone would be here.”

“They could be waiting to see if we’re who we say we are,” he pointed out, in case Allura had somehow missed the pieces Galra strewn over the landscape on the way down. “Their last visitors probably weren’t very friendly.”

“They weren’t,” a woman’s voice put in. Feminine, young. About their age, more or less. She emerged from the crop, wearing a plain white tunic and a knee-length brown skirt. She was really just.. a normal looking girl, in Shiro’s opinion. She was tall and long-limbed, a runner’s build, and there was a small knife belted at her hip. Not much in the way of protection, but she didn’t look scared of them, only considering, green eyes taking in each of them at once. He saw her take in Allura, and then the rest of the Paladins one at a time, before her attention landed on him. Her eyes widened. “Takashi Shirogane?”

He startled, felt it ripple through him to the rest of the Paladins. “How do you know that name?” Keith demanded from behind him, taking a step forward, prepared to start a fight as easy as breathing. Shiro flattened his hand at his side, a subtle signal, wait.

The woman before him didn’t appear to know what to do. “I saw it, on television when I was back on the Mystic Moon– Earth. That’s where I’m from.” Her brows pulled, eyes narrowing. “That’s where you’re from too, aren’t you?”

“All except the Princess,” Shiro allowed, curiosity pricking at his mind. Someone from Earth, up here on a planet no one had ever seen or heard of? How?

Taking her cue, Princess Allura curtsied, despite wearing a bodysuit and not a dress. “I am Princess Allura of Planet Altea, and these are the Paladins of Voltron. You’re from Earth? What are you doing on Gaea?”

The strange woman did manage a small curtsy, although it looked nothing at all like any he’d ever seen on Earth, or the ones Allura did. Shiro was impressed even still. Curtsies were rare on Earth, and she didn’t look very comfortable doing it. “Hitomi Kanzaki of the Mystic Moon. You could say I’m on an exchange program.” She stepped further out from the grass, bringing two fingers up to her lips and letting out a sharp whistle that rolled through the air. “Van said he was going to ask someone about the people who survived the crash..?”

“There were survivors?” Allura asked her, immediately cluing in on who they were.

Hitomi nodded. “As many as we could pull from the wreckage. They’re beast-men like nothing anyone on Gaea’s ever seen before, and many of them are in critical condition. Fanelia doesn’t have enough supplies or healers to treat them all.”

“You’re treating Galra?” Pidge asked, dubious and doubtful, while all the red flags in Shiro’s brain started to wave around frantically.

“The evil alien bad guys?” Lance added, for effect, though that only resulted in Hitomi’s expression sharpening a bit. It wasn’t obvious; Shiro didn’t think the others even saw it. But he could see the way Hitomi’s countenance shifted at the words, at the disdain not well hidden in their tone.

“I’ve seen evil,” Hitomi disagreed, shaking her head. He wondered where she’d seen it. “These are just soldiers, and some of them are even younger than I am. You can’t tell me kids are evil and really believe it.”

“No. You can’t.” Whatever rebuttal Lance had been preparing to throw at her died with Shiro’s words, shutting down the argument before it began. Allura shot him a relieved smile, and the realization that he’d stopped a diplomatic incident joined it. She stepped forward, all liquid grace, and moved to speak with Hitomi.

“Is this Fanelia then? The planet?”

“The country,” Hitomi replied, allowing Allura to turn her attention away from the group.

Shiro turned to the team, dropping his voice so it was only directed at the group of them. “Look, we have to handle this very carefully. Princess Allura said we might find allies here to help us in the war against Zarkon, but we don’t know anything about them yet. Until we do, we have to play our cards close to our vest.”

“You can’t really believe they’re not evil,” Lance grumbled, more upset at having been called to heel than anything else. “Just look at what they’ve done already.”

It was true. The team had seen a lot of atrocities in the last year committed by the Galra, and they still hadn’t managed to find Pidge’s family yet, despite liberating dozens of mining worlds. Shiro had the added misfortune of having been their direct prisoner for a year before that, so he knew what sort of atrocities they could do to the people under their thumb first-hand.

But Takashi Shirogane was a soldier too. Kerberos was a mission he’d agreed with, and the first one that was really riding on him. But he’d studied a lot of world history at the Garrison, and he’d ended up with a lot of jobs on base that he hadn’t agreed with, and he’d said a lot of things that he didn’t mean, earning his place in the brass. Historical military structure was filled with people who believed, whole-hearted patriots, and people who were just there saying the same patriotic drivel because they had to.

…and it wasn’t like he hadn’t fought Galra in the arena, either, he remembered darkly. He wanted so hard to believe there were Galra out there that didn’t believe in what they were doing. It was hard though; Zarkon had been ruling for ten thousand years. That was a lot of time to drive propaganda and conditioning into people’s heads, building from parents to child to grand-child, making the foundation ever-larger until there wasn’t anything left for anything else.

“I’m just saying, she clearly doesn’t think so. We’re invited guests here, Lance, and we might get to use this as a pit-stop to go home. Let’s not screw it up, okay?”

Lance straightened at once, as if he hadn’t thought of that. Shiro saw blue eyes dart to the side and hunt out the blue orb hanging in the day-lit sky, bright and bold as anything.

Home. He turned, making his way over to Allura and Hitomi. He heard the others flanking him, lured out by the promise of getting to look at Earth. He wondered about Hitomi. Where was her home was, this human on Gaea?

“So where is the king of Fanelia?” Allura wondered.

Hitomi smiled, lifting her hand. A dragon’s roar echoed loud in the walls of the valley, and from beyond the ridge-line, a white dragon appeared in the sky.

Pidge saw it first, the Green Paladin’s HUD registering components faster than the rest, so while the others were still reeling from “It’s a dragon!” and Shiro’s brain was trying to process the incomprehensibility, he heard Katie’s words loud and clear:

“There’s a guy riding that thing!”


And a quick peek at anybody else who’ve done this prompt, yeah? Because it’s always good to take a moment and give a nod of acknowledgement to anybody who can pull off a crossover.

Other Responses:
Amanda’s with a Labyrinth/Fallout
Kayla’s with Barney/Fallout

Wow guys. All our first fandoms were a long, long time ago. Man, I feel old.

–Natasha

Twitter | Tumblr | NaNo Page | Ao3 | Buy Me a Coffee