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An Unfortunate Event · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Compression Test
I couldn’t take it any more and I blew up at her.

The end.

Okay, there was a bit more to it than that, maybe. I’ll back up a little bit. Please be patient, I’m a little scatterbrained today.

See, every once in a while I fly off the handle. I think I have everything under my control and I’m just sizzling along and perfectly collected, then one little thing happens and it all goes to crap and the shit flies all over the place.

Like the time I was at a conference of astro-engineers, and we were discussing the problem of orbital junk. Every time we launch something up there, little bits of scrap wind up circling the Earth as well, and with all the tens of thousands of launches and old retired satellites, it’s becoming hazardous to launch anything new.

I had a scheme for a machine that would gather up as much stuff as it could and deorbit it - send it splashing down into the Pacific somewhere. All my notes were ready for my presentation, and as I was walking towards the podium to give my presentation on it, I heard the previous speaker, Dr. Moyong, giving a talk on how her mechanism pushes the stuff away, sending it into the sun… what a waste! I got so upset that I tripped over a chair leg and fell over flat and my notes went all over the place and I lost my temper as I snatched at everything to grab it back together… and between one thing and another I didn’t give my presentation that day.

But I didn’t let it rest there; I persevered, and while others followed Dr. Moyong’s scheme, I founded a consortium that went with my concept. My probes did an admirable job in gathering the junk, but often, just as they were about to deorbit the mess, along would come one of her probes and just blast mine out and away from Earth, and each time I just about hit the ceiling. I spent a lot of time shouting at her on the phone, but nothing ever disturbed that serene smile of hers.

Well, it turned out that my gathering technology can be scaled up to asteroids, which bear plenty of precious metals, so that was a big feather in my cap. My program was bringing billions of dollars in resources down to Earth, even as Dr. Moyong was sending her own probes beyond the solar system. Both she and I were getting on in years, so it was a good thing that life extension tech was developed then, so we could keep on hating each other a while longer.

And decades passed, and then centuries, and then millennia. I’d gotten all the planets in the solar system corralled and turned into a huge sphere, a Dyson sphere, to collect all the light from the sun. With that massive energy, I was calculating how to alter the cosmological constants of the universe itself. I was determined to solve the ultimate problem - the eventual dispersal of the universe into useless cold matter, often called the Heat Death scenario, everything spread so thin as to be useless for life. Moyong sought to press outward, beyond extradimensional limits, but her efforts couldn’t match mine, and soon I lost track of her for good.

My continued experiments with gravitational reframing took millions of years to bear fruit, but eventually I was able to halt the Diaspora of the stars, and reverse the trend of universal expansion, and in billions of years… by then I was something to behold. I had grown wildly, expanding my body with recovered material, assimilating planets, stars and whole galaxies into my personal being, meticulously recording every scrap of data I could recover while doing my best to compress the incoming matter to its ultimate limit. Slowly I reeled the entire cosmos in around me, even as the material at my core, compressed beyond the limits of physical law, started to break down.

And as I reached out and gathered to my bosom the last specks of dust that once lay at the edges of existence, somewhere deep in my unfathomable bulk comprised of all the matter in the universe, there was a *pop* and a ripple throughout my bulk, and from some fold beyond spacetime came Moyong’s voice.

“Loosen up, willya?”

Then I lost it. I’d had it all…

And now it exploded at the speed of light.
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#1 ·
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Lol. This one is fun to read. There are a couple of things I wouldn't've written the same way, but, eh, style.

It’s a bit of a stretch to connect the first part to the second. By that, I mean that you took great care to show us that the narrator freaks out quite easily, but then the rest of the story doesn’t even mention that trait, until maybe the final line. Maybe it would've been more economical, on the contrary, to create a narrator who would never lose his cool, except at that final moment. I don’t know for sure, but it seems to me you lose a great number of words at the start to get to the point. Maybe you wanted to flesh out your story a bit, or render the narrator more relatable to the reader?

Also, the articulation between that descriptive part and the real story is thin, and somewhat contrived. Had I been you, I wouldn't have written at such length about the narrator's bad temper, and got into more details about that universe thing which sounds a bit rushed owning to lack of space.

I must confess I’m a bit lost as to the story itself. Is that an explanation for our Big Bang? Because if it is, then references to Earth are anachronistic. If it’s not, then maybe it’s our next karma. Has the narrator become a thinking black hole?

But otherwise, this is fun to read, and the definitely informal tone adds to the "zaniness" of the story.
#2 · 1
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
For the story being as short as it is and covering as many years as it does, I never felt rushed. The pace was lightning quick, to be sure, but every idea gets presented logically enough to hold itself together. And the sheer insanity of the concept definitely helps here.

Re-reading the first line after finishing the story sent me into fits. Well done!
#3 ·
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Very fun:

There's a couple little things like repeating "bulk" in the fourth-to-last paragraph, and I wouldn't've minded one more quick example of a time when our narrator flew off the handle--maybe a mention of an unplanned supernova every once in a while or something. But very nicely done.

#4 ·
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
This is a rather amusing version of the oscillating universe theory. It's structured kind of like a feghoot, but honestly, it was only ever going to end with either a joke or a pithy observation. it's not punchy, which doesn't make it bad, but usually will make it less impressive than a story which is. I'm trying not to penalize it for that, because in my opinion it's not fair to. I don't really have any critiques. It was a fun read, and there's a continual escalation that keeps it interesting. To a degree, it's repetitive, but it's a short enough story to prevent that from getting annoying.
#5 ·
>>Monokeras, >>thebandbrony, >>Baal Bunny, >>Pascoite

Compression Test

Thanks for the silver and the great comments!

Years ago, I had a tagline I used on IRC - "I had it all, then it exploded at the speed of light." Taking the prompt to be referring to the Birth of the Universe, I expanded the idea, adding a contractive protagonist and an expansive antagonist. It's cramped and rushed, as many mini rounds are, and we'll see how it goes in the second draft.

Thanks again!