A 31-post collection

Challenge #01633-D172: First Fair

Fairy floss, Cotton Candy whatever you call it, it was pure Empty Calories. -- Anon Guest

The refreshment booth was called Simple Carbohydrates and had display cases full of complicated things made out of those simple carbohydrates. Of course it was run by a human. Humans had had centuries to create astonishing things out of flour, potatoes, and sugar.

Rael watched as the vendor wound what looked to be coloured cobwebs onto a stick. He could smell the caramelised sugars in the air, but he could not correlate them to the cobwebs.

This was his first time at Amalgam's Station Fair. One among many attempts to let the humans cut loose without causing a Silly Season. He obviously had much to learn about this insane and dangerous Deathworlder species. Watching this vendor create a... rainbow flower... out of these sweet-smelling cobwebs was a source of fascination.

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Challenge #01631-D170: What a Maker Wants

You make stuff, sometimes your shopping list is a bit weird. Then someone decides to search your bags (you're innocent), and then there's the explanations. -- Knitnan

There's Things and then there's THINGS!. The latter is a gigantic labyrinth of the former. There's also refreshment islands with ablution kiosks and Galactic Food Choices[1] in a mini-kitchen. People who go there tend to spend all day, and then bookmark their location so that they can come again.

Rael had set his personal

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Challenge #01613-D152: Quality Control

"Nothing says unprofessional like wrinkles in the duct tape." -- RecklessPrudence

Of all the useful concepts and handy inventions that the humans took into space with them, the most widely-dispersed was ductape. It even preceded dogs as an ambassador for humanity. A watertight adhesive patch that could be shaped to suit the user's needs. Cut to demand. Flexible. And infinitely useful.

After a few hundred years, standards for its use grew. Including the quality of the user based on how ze applied

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Challenge #01596-D135: The Little Touches

the stuff every JOAT needs, and of course the Bargain Bin. -- Knitnan

It was one of those poky little storefronts that one could swear entered into another dimension. The ones with more depth than they rightfully should have had, and surprise extra levels with staircases and shelving designed by Escher. It was called simply Things and every JOAT browsed there at least once a day.

Inside was organised chaos. JOATs could do things with paperclips and ductape that no other cogniscent

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Challenge #01595-D134: The Memory Lingers On

The culch (useful junk), box for those glorious moments when. "I've got to be a Insert costume here tomorrow." arrive. -- Anon Guest

JOAT Erin had passed from this life and into whichever afterlife ze found the most entertaining. Pantheists such as Erin were expected to shop around in several for a few years and send a sign when they'd found the right one. Since Erin had no family that accepted hir, and no progeny to take up their work, the assembled

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Challenge #01587-D126: Care Worn

it's made by hand, piece by piece, often with the recipient in mind, and often prayed over. -- Knitnan

Rael took some cumulative Standard months to realise that Shayde was winding him up. Apparently, in her version of reality, true friendship meant that there was a certain volume of light-hearted teasing between... alleged allies. Humans still did this. Hostile speech in a friendly manner between allies that knew that it was friendly. Slurs used freely between those who used to be slurred.

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Challenge #01566-D105: The Kindness of Strangers

A true pessimist is always pleasantly surprised. So if you're ever disappointed or upset at something, take heart! Some part of you believes in a better world. -- RecklessPrudence

The collapsible booth on Babel Avenue[1] simply had one word on its placard. Cheer. It was written in large, friendly letters and the person inside it bore a beatific expression and watched those passing by without the slightest hint of flagging spirits.

Rael, on his way to the Temple of Feasts[2]

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Challenge #01555-D094: What the Hell, it Goes!

It's often held together with paper clips, wire coat hangers and duct tape. But it will last 'long enough' and get you to where you are going safe and sound. -- Knitnan

Unriddling a kludge is half the problem. Engineering a permanent solution that works as well as the kludge is nigh impossible. Desperation makes truly bizarre engineering. Rael, who had spent some time with actual engineers, thought he was getting pretty good at translating kludges to semi-proper engineering that did the

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Challenge #01533-D072: Sufficiently Confusing Circuitry

The Magic/More Magic switch. Details here. -- RecklessPrudence

Rael, fresh into independant JOATing, stared at the switch on the homebrew cabinet. A human had to have made this. The pencilled annotation on the toggle switch had two options. Magic and More Magic. Experimentally, he flipped the switch to More Magic and rebooted the kludge of a machine.

It worked perfectly.

Rael was not content to receive a handful of Seconds for this much work, and took the outer casing off to

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Challenge #01529-D068: Crisis in the Wee Small Hours

You'd be surprised who you find in your family tree. -- Knitnan

Rael had not expected his genes to turn up in any of the current series of released Faiize infants. The one currently in its relaxation tank was, according to the gene scan, twenty-five percent his. Kint, the primary genetic contributor, had a whopping sixty-three percent of his personal genome involved.

There was a small community of sudden parentals, lost without a manual, working out how to parent a Faiize without

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Challenge #01504-D043: Puzzling Piece

“And when you’re young you want to fit in. Hell, I still want to fit in with certain [sophonts], but as you get older you get a little more discriminating.” - Carrie Fisher -- RecklessPrudence

Even when he didn't have the words for it, Rael knew that he was different from his creche sibs. They were able to do more, work more efficiently. They didn't need as much of the hosts of chemicals they regularly added to Rael's mostly-liquid body. They

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Challenge #01480-D019: Facing Doubt

"Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow." — Carrie Fisher on pursuing dreams despite mental illness -- RecklessPrudence

Rael woke from his haze. His body hurt. That meant that the surgery had gone ahead. In lieu of recovering in an Intensive Care Patient Drawer[1], he and his warming tank were in a dimly-lit shelf in Medik Central. A young

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Challenge #01345-C250: Well You Took Your Time

Prompt: the hollow coconut TONK noise that can be produced by tapping the right place on top of someone's head if their mouth is open. -- Gallifreya

[AN: Grats, you got me to hit myself on the head several times]

Rael was currently being a small, blue-black dog that 'just happened' to be where this backwards colony of humans had put Ambassador Shayde.

They had evidently landed with the best technology of their launch-era, but the process of building a colony and

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Challenge #01224-C129: Retrospective Introspective

Meanwhile, in the past... -- RecklessPrudence

Rael didn't need to subscribe to the On This Day info feed. He was surrounded by hobby historians who would gleefully inform him of any significant events as they met him. If he was lucky, they would only infodump the interesting bits.

People had work to get to, after all. And limited time meant that people only passed on the information that they deemed important. Which lead to a skewed view of history, and an equally

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Challenge #01218-C123: A Big, Wet, Sloppy... Hug?

Just a snippet from a very enjoyable story, stripped of gender-specific terms:

..."I will hug you," they threatened, spreading their arms... -- RecklessPrudence

"It's impossible to swim through the Glunk and survive!"

Exhibit A, still dripping an pungent, unidentifiable goop, said, "Desperate times, all th' wards I could muster, an' some bluidy good air pockets, ye ken."

Rael, summoned to the scene, hadn't recognised her until she spoke. "Ambassador Shayde?"

She saluted him. But carefully, so that none of the glop adhering

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