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Hiding in Plain Sight · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 500–900
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Boyfriend Chameleon
“Oh sure, because I totally went and brought a chameleon-alien-monster-thing into the space station. Sure I did.”

Sarcastic confession: always works.

“Quinn, don’t even joke,” said Captain Mono. Frankly, she wouldn’t recognize a joke if it bit her nose off.

“It’s just nerves. Let him be,” said Professor Quad in her soft, breathy, lovely voice.

“Nerves? Rubbish. The idiot’s feeling guilty because he was supposed to be on watch at the portal,” said Dai. He was Head of Security and therefore itching to behead any insecure members of his team.

“Poor Quinn.” Bless Professor Quad for saying that; it was a little hard on me. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“No, thanks,” I said gently.

“Look,” Dai snapped. “Let’s just split up and go look for this thing, alright?”

“What does it look like?” Quad trembled.

“Stupid question.” Dai hefted a megaton stunner cannon as easily as a handgun.

“Chemical analysis of the residue indicates it’s chameleonic,” said Captain Mono. “It could be anything. A wastepaper basket. A light fitting. A shoe.”

“One of us,” said Dai.

Quad swallowed. Poor Quad.

“One of us…?” She went pale.

I rolled my eyes. She really, really would fall apart without me.

Dai rounded on me. “Sergeant Quinn, you have the thermal goggles?”

“Here,” I said. “Why did you want them again—”

“The thing can’t hide its heat signature, right? Everyone: Take a stunner, knock it out, chuck it back through the portal. Any questions?”

Quad opened her mouth to rattle off a list. Dai glared at her until she shut it again.

Thus armed for a hell of a hellstorm, we went our merry ways. I changed as soon as I was out of sight. Sometimes holding a fake form is a drag.

It started back when the portal first opened up near me. I was chilling, soaking up the swamp, eyeing up a few pyro-gnats for supper. Next thing I knew, I heard human voices and this swirling light thingy blinded me.

What an experience. An annoying one first: I grabbed the first guy I could find behind the portal and asked him what was going on. I disguised myself as him and explored the space station.

Pretty cool setup. Insta-beds, automatic coffee, adjustable nano-climates… Hell better than some nasty old swamp. At least nothing tried to eat me.

I asked. Quad said they were testing some hyper-portal technology, hence my mix-up. I kept the disguise. Kept close to her.

Everything was going well for a few weeks. Sure, people noticed the odd quirk here and there: eating flies, slurring my speech when I wasn’t concentrating. Nothing alarm-inducing.

Except when I was careless and lost form in my sleep.

Normally, that wasn’t a problem. I had my own bed, the lights turned off every night, there were no cameras in our private quarters. Only this time, I wasn’t in my bed. I was sort of in the lab. With Quad. And for totally… private reasons, I lost concentration.

Not for long. No one spotted me. But I have a tendency to ooze through my skin when I’m… let’s discreetly say “excited” … and Mono found the residue later.

Now I’m hunting myself in a space station with trigger-happy humans.

I sighed. I’d had my fun. I hefted the stunner, tampering with its safety settings. No point going half-baked.

Still, it’d be a shame for Quad. She’d been an experience. Kindness. A reason to stay if I could.

It wouldn’t be fair on her.

The cameras now offline, I closed the electro-maintenance hatch and traipsed into the hyper-portal testing chamber. Should the jig be well and truly up, I’d prepared a contingency plan.

I stepped through.

Swamp, swamp, disgusting old swamp. As I trudged through the muck, hoping it’d get better with time, I thought of those humans. Captain Mono was a tired old bore and Dai was a pain in the ass, but Quad. Quad had told me so much. She’d liked having me around. She’d said, “Oh, Quinn, I’m so happy you’re finally taking an interest.”

Don’t believe this didn’t kill me. But she’d changed me somehow, in a way I wasn’t familiar with. I owed her. This had gone too far.

I found the real Quinn still in my nest, wrapped in webbing. He screamed the whole time. Ungrateful ape! I even remembered to nip through and feed him stolen human food every day, and he never stopped complaining.

I’m going soft.

Still, I hauled him through the portal, told him some cock-and-bull story to feed the others, and left him the sabotaged stunner. There. Now he couldn’t tear ass trying to follow me.

For good measure, I knocked him out anyway. If my experiences were anything to go by, he’d been a piss-poor boyfriend before me.

And now I’m back in this disgusting swamp, wondering how Quad was going to fare without me. At least she’d know the truth. I owed her that much.

Still. Humanity. I tried wiping my mind clean of the emotions and memories. Nice enough place to visit, but I’d had my fun. I’d had far more than I deserved. I couldn’t live a lie forever. Not for Quad.

The portal closed.

I really had picked up too much from the humans. Minutes later, it occurred to me my final noble plan had been really, really, really damn stupid.
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#1 · 1
That was a cute story, with a good lead-up to the reveal.
#2 · 2
Another fun one:

But I'm not quite sure how our alien narrator works. How does he recognize the sounds he first hears as human voices, for instance? He doesn't seem to be telepathic, and yet he's also able to these humans immediately. Also, having our narrator named Quinn and his doctor/paramour named Quad makes things a little difficult--the two names look a lot alike, so it's easy for me at least to be confused as to which is which, especially over such a short story...

#3 ·
Okay, here's the last collection of reviews. I hope they're constructive feedback; I was trying to write these with a mind for points for improvement.

Good Stuff: The opening line set me up for good comedy, and for the most part this doesn't disappoint, right up to the amusing punchline. What I liked most was how often it seemed to twist and turn. I was genuinely unsure for a good chunk o it how evil the alien was, so to see it perform this noble deed was strangely touching but also really funny. Minor as it was, the little character notes for Quad and Dai were amusing, and I thought it cruelly funny how the alien was a better boyfriend than the real boyfriend.

Bad Stuff: The middle seems to have too many contrivances. How did the alien nab the real Quinn without anyone noticing? The story skips over how the alien acclimatized to the world of the humans - a couple of sentences would have done, at least, so I'm not left wondering if I missed something - and the way the creature was discovered felt unnecessarily odd. It's funny, in a way, but why were they doing it in a lab and how on earth did no one notice him change? I can imagine answers, but the fic doesn't provide them, which leaves me unsure.

Verdict: Top Contender, though again not as strong as some of the other Top Contenders I've ranked and I could easily call it a Solid Entry instead. It's a good and surprisingly sweet joke well-executed, with some twists and turns to keep it interesting. It's a little too twisty in the middle, bordering on contrived, but the alien's antics and the general fun make it relatively easy to forgive.
#4 · 1
My review:

Characters and Dialogue: The main character was certainly the heavy-lifter in making this story stand out. He attracts our sympathy, our intrigue, and our laughter. Everyone else, on the other hand, seemed underdeveloped. Of course, it's a flash fic, that's to be expected, but I can't say anything about the humans other than their role in the story, and in particular, the chemistry between Quad and the main character is never examined.

Plot and Pacing: A highly original plot, true to the prompt, and simply presented. The biggest drawback, though, is that perhaps the most interesting and relevant aspect of the plot (the aforementioned chemistry) is barely touched upon, and is instead substituted with the main character's basic observations ("I sighed. I’d had my fun. I hefted the stunner, tampering with its safety settings. No point going half-baked") and vague introspections ("Still, it’d be a shame for Quad. She’d been an experience. Kindness. A reason to stay if I could. It wouldn’t be fair on her").

Style, Flow, and Grammar: The idea behind the story is strong and memorable, but the execution seems lacking. From the very opening sentence, I was hoping for something more colorful, invoking as it did a kind of outlandish Space Dandy vibe. Ultimately, though, I'm just guessing as to why I didn't enjoy it as much as I possibly could have. Perhaps try to re-read every sentence of the story, asking yourself if what you wrote and how you wrote it serves a maximally clear and efficient purpose.

Final: This story will be somewhere in the middle of my ballot.
#5 ·
I’m not sure to get the twist here. Is there something I missed?

So what's the gist of that: monster exchanges place with guy, fucks his GF, and then goes back to where he lived before because he’s had enough? That’s underwhelming.

I was expecting some sort of unexpected switcheroo, and there’s none. What a letdown.

Also is this story about Monochromatic?