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from Mission Control

First of all I extend a hearty welcome to everyone who has joined the instance in the six days it has been open. We already have a lot of blogs and a lot of stories, and that's amazing! I can't wait to see how big this little corner of the fediverse will grow.

The main thing I am making this post to discuss is the possibility of opening up lunarpunk.space to consensus decision making. That means that instead of myself unilaterally taking actions, the users of lunarpunk.space would be polled on what to do regarding server settings and moderation. This would be accomplished with a loomio group on the servers of sunbeam.city. I am currently talking to them about this proposal, as I am now a part of their co-op.

Alternatively, we could join the co-op ourselves, which would make us subject to their governance policy. If we maintained our independence, we could come up with a governance policy of our own.

If you have any questions, please DM me on mastodon or email missioncontrol@lunarpunk.space. I will bring any concerns to the attention of the co-op myself, until we can get our own space on the loomio server.

 
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from Mission Control

This short cosmic horror story is the background for a D&D character, Arkham Grave, that I played in a couple of campaigns.

Arkham paced back and forth nervously in front of his master’s study. He had no idea why his master had summoned him. Perhaps he had heard of the pranks he had pulled on Hastur and wished to reprimand him. Hastur had been tormenting Arkham ever since his arrival at the sanctum, jealous of the young half-elf’s apparent talent and wishing to assert his superiority, both as a noble and as a scholar. Arkham doubted that his master would accept that excuse for his antics, however; Master Saryn stressed discipline among his apprentices, and sneaking spiders into another apprentice’s bunk would surely breech his code of ethics. It wasn’t fair. The spiders weren’t even poisonous. Arkham had been sure of that. Well, relatively sure, anyway.

Suddenly, the door to the study opened—seemingly of its own accord, as no one was on the other side—and a deep, raspy voice said “come in.” Arkham swallowed a lump in his throat and walked inside. There, behind a mahogany desk strewn with all manner of papers and arcane formulae, was his master, and elderly human with a long beard. His dark eyes studied Arkham, and yet they also seemed to be looking through him, as if gazing at something that lurked within Arkham’s soul.

Arkham cleared his throat. “You, um, wanted to see me, sir?” he said.

“Yes,” said Master Saryn. “I’ve been watching your progress, Arkham. And I think you are finally ready to have the secret of my power revealed to you.”

Arkham’s face lit up. He could hardly believe his ears. Every student of cosmology in the sanctum knew that Master Saryn possessed great arcane power. Yet he was very reluctant to reveal the source of his powers to anyone, and never spoke of it to his students. That Master Saryn was willing to reveal such a secret to Arkham was a compliment of the highest order.

“Truly?” Arkham asked.

“Yes,” replied Master Saryn. “But you must never reveal what you see to any of your fellow apprentices.”

“Of course not, Master,” said Arkham. “I would never dream of doing so.”

“Good.” Said Master Saryn. The old man rose from his seat and picked up his staff. “Follow me.”

He led Arkham out into the hallway, leaning on his staff for support. The two of them walked down the hall until they got to the staircase. Then they began to descend. Down and down they went, past the sleeping quarters of the other apprentices, past the library where even now Arkham’s fellows worked on expanding their knowledge of the multiverse. Eventually the even passed the grand entry hall and went deep below the tower into the dungeons.

When they finally reached the bottom stair, all that lay before them was as long hallway, completely dark. Master Saryn spoke a word, and suddenly the hallway lit by green torchfire coming from every sconce on the wall. Master Saryn continued down the hall, motioning for Arkham to follow him. At the end of the hallway was a large iron door. Taking a key from his pocket, Master Saryn slowly unlocked the door and pushed it open. The room inside was pitch black, but just as before, Master Saryn spoke a word and the room became filled with an emerald glow.

Standing at the doorway, Arkham could see that the room was circular in shape. The circumference of the room was lined with candles, each of them lit with the same green flame that lit the torches in the hall. In the center of the room stood a tall iron pedestal, upon which sat a book with a black cover. Two candles stood on the pedestal, one on either side. By their glow, Arkham could see that the cover of the book was inlaid with a picture of what looked like a clump of eyes. Arkham took a step into the room, but the pressure of Master Saryn’s hand on his shoulder caused him to stop at that one step.

“Where you go now,” said Master Saryn, “no being, be they god or mortal, will be able to help you.”

Arkham turned to look at his master and found that the old man was looking right at him. He did not appear to be looking through him as he had done before, either; his gaze was focused completely on Arkham. And there was some emotion in those eyes. Pity, maybe? No. Fear. Arkham started to sweat. As long as he had known him, Master Saryn had never been afraid of anything. But he couldn’t turn back. This was everything his studies had been leading up to. He had to go through that door.

Arkham faced forward and walked into the room, Master Saryn’s hand falling off his shoulder as we stepped forward. He heard the door shut behind him and knew that he was alone. Carefully, he walked up to the book, took it off the pedestal, and opened it to the first page. Before he could begin to read, however, the letters on the page began to swirl, transforming the page into a vortex of arcane symbols. From the center of the vortex emerged a yawning darkness which grew and grew until it had swallowed Arkham whole.

Now Arkham found himself floating in space, surrounded on all sides by darkness. The area around him was deathly cold, and there was no light to be seen anywhere. And yet Arkham knew that there was something with him in the darkness. He could not see it, but he could feel its eyes upon him, thousands of them, all focused on him. They were studying him, taking in every detail, measuring his very essence. Something wet and milky brushed up against his leg. Then the whispers began. There were thousands of voices of varying timbers and pitches, all whispering in his ears. They spoke of ancient magics and long lost secrets, and of a great hunger that threatened to consume all the matter in existence. They asked him a question, and he answered them in a language he did not understand. A pact had been made. Of this he was certain. Then he felt himself falling backwards.

When Arkham landed, he found himself lying on a stone floor, staring up at a ceiling lit by an emerald glow. Arkham sat up, and looked around. He was back in the sanctum, in the very same room that he had been spirited away from. The book was back on the pedestal, its cover closed. He briefly wondered how it had gotten back up there, before deciding not to question it. Confused and mentally exhausted, Arkham laid back down on the floor and tried to make sense of what had just happened. He had read books about strange beings that lurked in the dark places between the stars. Supposedly they could touch a mortal’s mind. He had never taken these tales very seriously, but after what had just occurred, he decided that the tales must be true after all.

Unbidden, the word “Hadar” appeared in his mind. Hadar. Yes, that was it. That was the name of the being he had formed a pact with. Hadar, the beast that lurked in the dark between the stars. He thought of his quarrel with Hastur. How could mortal arguments such as that matter when beings such as Hadar lurked in edges of the cosmos? And that wasn’t the worst of it. Mortals fought wars over land and resources and prayed to gods for favorable harvests. It was all so pointless. What could mortals hope to accomplish that could compare to the might of Hadar? And yet they continued to run around thinking that their lives meant something. It was all so funny! Arkham opened his mouth and laughed.

 
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from JASC Agitprop Commsnet

An Unfortunate Engagement

CWs: Blood/gore, space combat, depictions of bodies doing things they don't normally do.

⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯

My feet beat against the lattice floor of the corridor leading to the predicted breach point, overclocked augments tearing through my plastic skin as synthetic muscles and bones move in ways no human was ever meant to move. In the briefest of moments I see our companion team, headed to the opposite side of the breach point, around the corner. I glance around me, my HUD confirming that all members of the emergency marine team were there — two other heavily augmented baselines, and three mark 2 battleframes, several generations out of date.

It wasn’t supposed to go down like this. Us, our picket complement, and two other strike groups, led by the Atomic Fiend and Bond Work Index were going to jump in at point blank range behind this Terran battle formation, destroy their pusher plates, and then the Liberatory Wakefulness’ boarding group would jump in and, fates willing, free the Minds trapped in these Terran warships. That went to shit when the Atomic Fiend and Bond Work Index jumped 20 megameters off target. Still at least 18 minutes till they can finish recharging their alcubierre drives.

As my motions continue semi-automatically, I feel the skin on my left forearm tear apart as the metallic ‘bones’ start to anchor themselves to the lattice floor with micro-thermite charges. I disconnect my upper arm from them as they telescope up to the ceiling, forming the framework for the battleframes to attach their heavy plate shields to. Erica hands me a replacement arm from her backpack, and it attaches easily. I draw my rifle and wait.

I can hear myself talking over the comms with my squadmates. Is tactical sure this is the most likely location they’ll breach, what if they enter behind us, what if they take us prisoner. I try to shut out the thoughts as best as I can, and then, a flash and a bang. Bright and loud enough that had I not had my sensory organs augmented I’d have been staggered for a good few seconds. The atmosphere starts to pour out of the shattered hull. The battleframes’ heavy cannons were already spinning in lethal preparation. 16 Minutes

More flashes — Standard Terran boarding procedure was to flashbang and emp the breach point. I thank the stars that we’d managed to get our barrier up in time. We’d go down much easier without the battleframes laying down heavy cover. The first squad jumped through the hole torn in our hull, and I pulled the trigger. The first Terran went down, red blood spraying through the near-vacuum of the hallway. Another down, her helmet shattered by a heavy caliber round. Another, half of his torso suddenly not there. 15 minutes

My HUD flashes, Erica is down, a slug snuck through the slit in the shields, traveling past her rifle and destroying her arm and mangling her shoulder. The ship shakes and shudders as more medium velocity rounds crash into its armor. They’re still bombarding us, making sure we can’t send anyone out to do repairs. My cognitive enhancer is reaching redline as I approach the Torosyan Limit. A battleframe goes down from an emp bolt hitting their torso. I didn’t even grab their name. 12 minutes.

It’s not going to be enough, I realize. Our companion team, and the teams around the ship have been experiencing similar losses. In 12 minutes we’d all be dead and the Terrans would be making their way to the bridge. Suddenly, a familiar feeling, as if space itself was churning and spinning. The boarding tube is suddenly gone, leaving a massive gash in the hull, with numerous terrans pulled out with it. Through the breach I could see the still slightly distorted shape of the Bond Work Index — radiators burning white hot, the space around it still collapsing into stability, positioned in between us and the terran battle group. Moments later, another photonic shock, as the Atomic Fiend arrives on the far side of the engagement.

The Terran boarding crew panic, some jumping out after the rest of their squad into the void, others continuing the assault, but most throwing down their weapons and raising their hands in submission. Comms chatter confirms that similar scenes are occurring around the rest of the ship, as Terran boarding tubes are torn from our hull. I grab the 1st aid kit from Erica’s backpack as I scramble over to her. My HUD reports that her vitals are still in a recoverable state. I jam the syringe filled with smart clotting agents into what’s left of her shoulder, and watch as the bleeding stops within a few seconds.

I look up through the void in our hull, and see the Terran battlegroup panicking, their ships unsure of what way to turn in the face of the two Collective warships hammering them with kinetics and missiles — It seems that they weren’t expecting such a quick arrival either. — Wait, how did they arrive so quickly, the only way they could’ve would’ve been to, oh gods. My gaze snaps up to the hole in our hull again, just in time to see massive chunks of the dual warp rings breaking off of each warship, rainbow arcs of light dancing from their cracks as the exotic capacitors discharge into the void.

Flashes of light around the Terran warships, could be picket ships vaporizing, point defense, or even debris atomizing from missed shots. There’s no way to know from this distance without a telescope, and most of ours have been shot out. My HUD alerts me that medics, security, and repair personnel are en route to our location. I switch off my cognitive enhancer, and the world speeds up as my perception returns to baseline. I focus on the task of loading Erica onto the stretcher, then helping to pull the disabled battleframe down the hall. I can hear the comms chatter of security as they take the Terran boarding troops prisoner.

As my minor wounds are treated, I hear that 46% of our aft missile launchers have been repaired and are firing at low capacity. Whatever we can do to help the Atomic Fiend and Bond Work Index. A few minutes later RCS control comes back online, and we spin to face our missile launchers at the Terran battle group, allowing for the magrails to accelerate them to maximum speed.

We receive word that repair ships are warping in, due for arrival in approximately 2 hours. By now both our and the Terran warships are barely recognizable, their coats of paint blown off by combination kinetic abrasion and nuclear bleaching. The Terran warships’ pusher plates blown off, and the rings of our warships shattered across kilometers. As the last Terran weapon emplacement is turned to slag, the Liberatory Wakefulness jumps in close, teams of battle frames jumping through the void to rescue their shackled siblings.

As the 3 ships are taken under our control, shuttles carrying those who require the most urgent medical attention are shuffled to our ship, strangely enough the one with the most functional medbays remaining. I see the wounded and dead as I sit next to Erica, holding her remaining hand tightly. We’re going to make it through this. We can — have done it. And we can do it again.

 
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from JASC Agitprop Commsnet

Siege of Ganymede Aftermath

CWs: Blood, brutal aftermath of space warfare, death, vacuum exposure, minor medical at the end

⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯ She stumbled towards the blinking comms console, atmosphere and blood trickling out of her ruptured emergency pressure suit. Leaning against the console, she answered the hail. “This is the Picket Ship Pk-8175fa “Titania’s Reprise”, jumpgroup 2, we have sustained serious damage from the 2 Terran Battleships, we’ve lost over 2/3rds of our crew and are venting atmosphere!” The comms blipped, and less than a second later responded,“We’re reading you Titania’s Reprise, this is Ganymede Control, launching recovery and rescue craft as soon as they become available, do you have an estimate of —” Her hand slams down on the response button, sending flecks of dried blood spinning. “No! You need to prepare for immediate invasion by the battleships, they’ll be disengaging any moment now, you’re all —”

She falls, her land losing a grip on the button, her wounds gaining the upper hand briefly, before she wills herself up from the floor, shoving the dead comms officer — Merryn Deforest, she walked past xem hundreds of times during the training runs, and now xe is, no, she had to focus — aside and slumping down into the now vacant seat. As she reached towards the response button, the comms terminal starts speaking again. “Relax spacer, the battleships are gone. We’ve won!”

As Allana hears this, she blinks twice in quick succession. We’d… won? That shouldn’t be possible. The jumpships deposited them over 10k klicks too close. Worse, they entered realspace directly in the firing arc of both battleships. JumpShip 2 & 1 were both destroyed by the hail of kinetics almost as soon as they’d arrived. Half the picket fleet was gone before anyone realized what had happened, and then the ferrous rounds had torn straight through the Titania’s Reprise, destroying the majority of electronics and breaching the automatic bulkheads. She had been lucky enough to get into her pressure suit before the atmosphere completely vented.

Suddenly, a realization, the cameras. There may still be functional links to them in the bridge! She spins her chair around, and with an ease eerily competent for someone who’d lost as much blood as she had, she activates the camera terminal. It starts on the aft view, showing not only the trailing fuel tanks and engines of the picket ship torn apart and floating away, but also the wreckage of at least 2 other pickets, and oh gods, people. She retched as she saw what she thought was one still struggling, trapped in the vacuum. Quickly, she switched between views, each showing similar destruction, if the camera was even still functional.

As she switches to starboard camera 4, a shadow starts to travel across the debris. Before she can switch to another camera, the broken pieces of a pusher plate flies by. Is it possible? We destroyed the battleships? Allana’s moment of pride is cut short by another vacuum alarm from her suit. The HUD indicated that she had less than 15 minutes of air left at the current rate of dispersion. Her training from when she was part of an inter-lunar cargo shipping lane between the Saturnian moons kicked in. She still had something to live for. She half runs half falls over to the nearest first aid cabinet — at least her magboots were still functional, a small blessing — and tears it open.

Inside are an assortment of medicines and supplies, attached via magnetic tags to their rails. She shoves through the painkillers and antiseptic agents, those can wait, till she finds the suit sealant. She pulls it from its rail, and tears open the packet, smearing it into the long slash down her right leg, where the kinetic had passed. It burns something awful on the exposed skin, and something even worse on the exposed muscles. It foams and seals the leak within seconds. ‘Atmospheric loss stabilizing, estimated time to redline: 58 minutes’. She’d have to find more oxygen somewhere, but for now she could breath a bit deeper, in the most literal sense.

“Spacer, spacer are you there?” The comms terminal has been talking this whole time she realizes. She deactivates her magboots with a click of her tongue, and pushes off with her good leg towards the comms terminal. She gently swings back into the seat, reactivating her magboots as she does. She hits the response button and says with an almost bewildered tone, “Engineer Allana Garrard here, you were right, we’ve won.” The terminal’s speaker was tinny and hard to listen to, likely due to the damage the Titania’s Reprise had sustained. “Affirmative Engineer! We have rerouted all evacuating ships with delta-v to spare to assist in the recovery effort, your rescue ETA is 2 hours. Can you and your crew survive that long?” She thought a moment, the pain making it hard to focus. “I think so Ganymede Command. Lifesign readings are good, on this terminal at least. Our emergency atmosphere tanks should last us long enough.”

Behind her she felt the reverberations of magboots walking towards her. She looked, and saw the senior engineer, themself having covered their pressure suit’s holes with sealant as well. She activated the near field radio, and simply said “We won”. She attempted to stand and greet the other engineer, but instead, she felt herself fall again as her consciousness escaped her. The last thing she felt was the gloved hands of the other engineer grabbing her, and the indistinct chatter of the other crew as they followed the engineer in.

Her eyes open. Above her, a grey ceiling with dim lighting. Slightly below the ceiling were numerous cables and tubes leading down to her. She could feel the pull of gravity down upon her body, especially the parts of her in casts, she noted. She looked to the side, and saw the senior engineer sleeping. She smiled, and started to drift back to sleep. As she did a single thought echoed in her mind “The Terrans can be stopped”.

 
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from pooka

fingers hover over the garbage keyboard, shaking, the weird rabbit types

different types of spacetime-fabric stitches

it hits enter

duck duck implodes, on itself as it tries to keep up with the query

 
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from pooka

"pooka": [ "emotions":"floating","lingering","sailing", ]

shadow blob, voidlike, bunny eard maddness in the eternal ephemeral echo of the ethernet

 
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from pooka

the weird shadow rabbit, clanks away merrily on the dumpster keyboard

i updated my colors and my scheming

my head is still reeling

from my trip across dimensions

and pockets of time and space

only to shitpost with you

only to shitpost with you

 
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from Mission Control

The problem with reading horror stories before bed is that, of course, you can't sleep. You tell yourself that it's just an autonomous response to fear or that you're just anticipating the nightmares that you might have. But deep down, you know that the real reason is that you're afraid of something coming to get you in the middle of the night. So you read something else, or find something to watch (quietly with headphones). Or maybe you just listen to some music (again, quietly, with headphones) and stare at the ceiling for a time. Eventually, you are able to find a way to sufficiently distract yourself and go to sleep.

Suddenly, your alarm goes off, and you get up to get ready to go to work. But something's wrong. Your clock says that it's seven in the morning, but it's still dark out. There is no light coming through your windows, not even the red and purple twinge of sunrise. You look out the window, and something immediately catches your eye: the moon. When you went to sleep, it was a waning crescent. Now it is full. You look down from the sky, and find that your neighborhood has disappeared. In its place is a forest of what appears to be red coral. It stretches on for an impossible distance.

Immediately, you begin looking for your house-mates. But when you go down the hallway and knock on their bedroom door, no one answers. You knock on the door to the bathroom. Again, no answer. So you open the door. No one is inside. Frantically, you search all the rooms on the upper floor. You find no one. So you run downstairs and begin searching the ground floor. And that is when you see the shadow through the window in the front room.

The shadow is large and many-limbed. It slinks through the coral forest, circling the house. you hear a low noise, something between the timbre of a growl and a rolling drumbeat. Then the shadow disappears and you hear a scratching at the door.

The scratching noise starts at the bottom and gradually works its way up. Then it stops, and the doorknob starts to rattle, as if something is playing with it, or perhaps trying to figure out how it works. You stare at the door, wondering if you remembered to lock it last night, and hoping beyond hope that you are still sleeping and, if you try hard enough, you can wake up, wake up, wake up...

 
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from Mission Control

The building taunted Arthur every time he walked past it. It stood there, all steel and glass, a modern architectural style designed to evoke medical cleanliness and peerless efficiency. No matter how hard he kept his eyes on the ground, the image of that facility remained burned into his consciousness, a reminder of the grisly deadline that lurked ever closer in Arthur’s future.

He would have just as soon have avoided walking past it except that it happened to be so close to the coffee shop. His daily cup of coffee was the only luxury Arthur had been able to fit into his current budget. His walk down to the shop had become a sort of ritual. It got him exercise, and got him out of the apartment and away from the constant pressure of bills. He felt that without this ritual, he really might be in danger of losing it.

Entering the shop, Arthur walked over to the counter, ordered his usual (a medium cup of coffee with cream), and took a seat by the window. He made sure he was facing away from the facility, and yet it still lurked in his mind. Arthur thought back to when the first facility of its kind opened in Washington, D.C. He remembered the president’s speech, promising an end to the nanny state, to the do-nothing parasite who suckled themselves on the government teat. Arthur remembered that he used to think the facility was a great idea. He had felt ecstatic when one had opened right here in Cleveland. Finally, he wouldn't have to see so many transients on the way to work.

Arthur had continued to think this up until the day his manager called him in to talk about his performance. “So you see, Arthur,” the manager had said, peering at Arthur through his spectacles, “you just aren't processing software change requests at an efficient pace.”

“But my work has been improving,” Arthur had protested. “Everyone has been saying so!”

“Yes, the individual requests you complete are quite thorough. But you see, it’s not just about the quality of thew work. We also have to consider the rate at which the work is done. Efficiency is key. Do you see what I’m saying?”

Arthur had, in fact, understood. The modern world worked at a blinding pace, and those who couldn't keep up were left behind. Arthur had seen then that his protests would be in vain. The manager, for his part, had been nothing but cordial. He had even walked Arthur to his car to make sure he was OK to drive. This politeness didn't stop Arthur from cursing the manager out as he pulled away, however.

In the months that followed, Arthur fervently applied to every business that would take him. And every week, he had received another email apologizing to him for the inconvenience and wishing him luck on his job search. Around the three month mark, he had begun having nightmares about men in clean, crisp uniforms coming to his apartment and dragging him screaming into the metal and glass doors of the facility, never to be seen again. These nightmares had continued unabated throughout the rest of his job search.

Shaking his head, Arthur brought himself back to the present. Though the nightmares were terrifying, the future they predicted was not yet a forgone conclusion. There was still a few days before the six month deadline. and just last week he had attended a promising interview with a local tech support call center. Sure, it wasn't the most glamorous work, but it was better than the alternative. And besides, in all likelihood it was the last chance he’d get.

Suddenly, Arthur felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. Taking it out, he saw that he had gotten an email from the tech support company. Arthur felt his heart begin to pound. Opening the email, Arthur read the words “We are sorry,” and then the room began to spin. Arthur felt himself take shallow breath after shallow breath. He felt beads of sweat form on his brow. His sight became unfocused, and he couldn't read the rest of the email. He didn't need to, anyway. He knew what it said.

Then Arthur heard the tiny ringing sound of the bell on the coffee shop’s door. He didn't need to see who had come in. The men from the facility were here for him. Arthur knew this in his very bones. “Run,” said a voice in his head. “Run, run now!” And Arthur did run. He ran out of the door and straight into the street. There was the honk of a car horn, a screech of the brakes, the crunch of bone under rubber, and then finally, nothing.

 
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