Lexicon is a way to build a unique world. In this case the Tekelili outpost.
In the final round…
Read the posts below. Pick a word or phrase from one of the entries and write a short paragraph expanding on it. (Some have been bolded as suggestions.)
Try to expand on a word or phrase from the first round as well in your paragraph. Words in red have already been expanded on.
Round 1 Postings for bonus links
The wind tugs at the warning banner strung up at the entrance to the canyons.
Danger - Canyon Crawlers. Enter at your own risk .
The scarers strung up just inside the canyon serves to keep the outpost safe from roaming Crawlers, but any party braving the rocky labyrinth has to keep their wits about them. Folk ain’t too sure what draws them out of their hiding places, but there’s a thriving black market in portable scarers and foul smelling ungents ‘garaunteed’ to keep a person safe from Crawlers. Some swear the best recourse is old fashioned firepower. Regardless, the Crawlers are an ever present threat.
Coopers crew went into the network only two days ago, and are well overdue. Fair to assume that they’ve fallen foul of Crawlers, or maybe something else. There’s plenty other odd things spoken about in hushed tones from those that come back out of the canyons…
The fresh smell of a new day fills the air. A sort of pungent smell that makes you retch and gag if you’re not used to it. If you grow up with it, you can skip that stage, and move straight onto stinking of shit for your whole life.
After a morning toiling in the hot suns I can’t wait to get my hands on something cool. Condensation running down the side. I close my eyes and tilt my head back. The bar won’t be open for another four hours at least. I head back upstairs. So many rooms, but since Zach left us I only use two of them. From up here I have a good view of the main street. As soon as the local law rolls down it, I can start thinking about leaving for that bar. That’s me for the day, then.
The double doors of the saloon burst open and a young man stumbles through, dripping in sweat, bleeding from a cut above his eye, followed by a ravenous horde of bar patrons. Laughing and jeering, they throw empty beer bottles, some rotted fruit, a live rodent at his feet, and watch as he swerves in and out of the falling debris. He crashes into an unsuspecting passerby, and they immediately join the swarm, pelting him with handfuls of grain and barley. The crowd chases him down the main street and straight out of town, only letting him escape when they are all out of things to throw at him. Near the edge of town, an old woman sits on a fence post and watches the commotion from under her slightly oversized hat.
“Gah,” she spits. “Tourists.”
I’m late. The big day and I’m late
Where is he? And where the hell is Mary? Where are my fucking keys
How have I over slept again? I can’t believe this
Fuck it’s hot, what time is it?
Time for coffee? It’s that or a wash and a shave…
Why today, of all days?
Where the hell is Mary?
What the fuck is that smell? God, why is so hot?
Jarvis’ barber shop does pretty well. Folks get shaved, hair fits under hats, and everyone enjoys the improvised confessional of his hydraulic chair.
But it still astounds him that people don’t ask why the building is so big, while the shop only takes up the front third of it…
If only they knew. If only.
Progress digging back there has been slower this past couple weeks, it’s just so hot now. But the tunnels are safe, the cavern is complete, and soon he can begin. The carvings will make sense and work on the machine can commence, and finally Jarvis can get some gosh-darned sleep!
Doc pushed back his hat and stared upwards to the legs waving in the air above him. As he watched, one leg slowly drifted downwards and the attached waggling foot gained purchase on a rung of the access ladder. The first leg was briefly joined by a second before both were released allowing the owner to tip once again through the access hatch of the Water Tower. It was not until both legs had reached their highest point that Doc call out ‘Mackenzie what the hell are you doing?”
Both legs twitched violently and swung dangerously upwards only to be stopped by a hand grabbing the rim of the access hatch. To the sound of cursing Mackenzie pulled himself fully into view and stared down with suppressed annoyance.
“There’s something blocking the tank outlet and it’s interfering with the flow. I was trying to get it out.”
“Oh” said Doc nodding “Well I guess someone has to do this stuff now that Zack’s not here.’
‘Look Doc, could you do me a favour? If you bang on the down pipe while I work from this end we might just get it free.”
As the top half of Mackenzie disappeared again, Doc moved to the pipe and began to slap it rhythmically with both hands. Within a minute there was a shout of triumph and Mac pulled himself back into the sunlight.
"Damnedest thing Doc, it was blocked by this package. Let’s get to my workshop and see what’s inside!”
Sally sighs as she attaches the last set of plugs to the windmill. She tries to ignore the figure being run out of town.
She always knew being a vet out on the frontier worlds was going to be tough, but she didn’t know the vocabulary would be so blunt.
The atmos pack hums into life. She knows it’s nothing compared to the oxygen stacks at the poles, but this world isn’t ready for cattle. She sees them wheezing in the new holding pen and feels a pang of guilt she can’t do more. Hopefully it will tweak the local environment enough to give them the time to acclimatise…
We don’t know much about the crawlers still, but what we do know keeps us safe, for now at least. They look like giant centipedes and we’ve seen them up to fifteen feet long, with heads packed full of razor-sharp teeth. They don’t seem to be pack animals, but we’ve seen them come together to pull apart some of the local fauna. There’s these big, leathery flying creatures that look like a cross between a pterodactyl and a bat (harmless, but unfortunately not good eating, they taste like earwax) we’ve christened Flappers, and when a crawler latched onto an injured flapper on the canyon floor, one crawler became four in a matter of seconds. It was fast, brutal carnage.
There are three kinds of people who show up here. The first is the trader–usually robotic, but occasionally an old soul or new blood come to see the outpost with their own eyes. They leave before they have time to get thirsty. The second is the adventurer, come to rest and stock up before they head out into the Canyons. They know to treat water with the respect you should give a life-giving, life-draining, uncaring, unliving force of nature–they kneel at the water tower when they arrive, they kneel before they leave, and they never ask for a drop they aren’t in desperate need of. The third is the idiot. They come from far and away, thinking themselves ahead of the curve, and ride into town hoping to be the next great planetary expeditionist. They don’t understand that three hours out of the outpost would kill them in a half-dozen ways, and they don’t understand how sacred water is to people who live with so little of it. Words won’t sway them, threats won’t dissuade them, so the only way to keep them alive is to scare them off the planet. These are the only people who would ever dare ask for a glass of water at Tekelili Outpost.
Mary was already waiting in ambush while her lousy, good-for-nuthin’ fiance was waking up and thinking about coffee back at the hostel. They’d been planning this heist for weeks but it was becoming more apparent every step of the way that she’d be better off without him or his best buddy and without having to give either of them a cut of the proceeds. The heavily armoured mining convoy was scheduled to pass through Tekelili Outpost en route to the refinery at the other end of the canyon. Just one kilo of raw malodium would be enough to get herself a one way ticket off world. She’d had it up to the back teeth with suns-stroke and Flapper burgers.
The plan was to be out of here with her precious haul before her betrothed had even pulled his boots on. The thought crossed her mind that there might be subtler ways to break off an engagement. But just now she couldn’t rightly think of one.
To the untrained eye the carvings are crude, childlike.
Simple lines and circles, a jumble of overlapping images, seemingly added and altered over 100 of years.
But if you know what you’re looking for, if you’ve ever had to reprogram a burst laser battery, you’d notice something.
There’s no end or beginning to the carvings, they go around and around. The circular symbols are repeated again and again. The lines are always at right angles.
It’s a circuit diagram, taking up one cavernous wall. For what? Well that will be the big question. One thing is for sure, whoever carved it here didn’t come from Earth.
Cattle. Bos taurus . Large domesticated ungulates have accompanied settlers to almost all the colony planets capable of supporting them. They can be used for food, milk, leather, and as draft animals, plus their manure has a use too. There’s also some comfort in bringing familiar creatures to far flung places.
But that isn’t to say those places agree with the cattle. The herd around Tekelili Outpost are a good example. They are struggling in the poor atmosphere, and although the grass analogue should be nutritious enough, the beasts keep losing condition. And that smell can’t be good. and they absolutely stink. Maybe the herd is riddled with some horrible alien parasite? Sally knows she’s got her work cut out trying to figure out the best way to keep the livestock healthy.