ol' big balloon

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Cucurbita Pepo 4/8/2019 10:17pm

We have discovered more like ourselves. Hundreds, if not thousands, teeming through this city of giants. Their massive orange pumpkin heads nod as they pass, riding atop huge sacred scarecrow skeletons, built of wooden beams and cable. We hear the crews calling to one another from within... "Left arm, position nine, extend to 135 degrees!"Aye aye, left arm, position nine, extend to 135 degrees!!" up and down the nervous system chain of command.

So many monstrosities, bustling through the city. How do they all know where they're going? Why aren't they all as lost as we are?

Cucurbita Pepo 3/8/2019 10:36pm

We guide the sacred scarecrow machines with ease now, moving through the streets undetected, navigating bus stops and revolving doors and escalators.

We've learned to manipulate their arms and digits with great dexterity, and have developed our own sign language to communicate over distances farther than our voices can be heard, calling out from within the massive pumpkin heads.

Now it is only the mild rash that disturbs us.

Cucurbita Pepo 2/5/2019 6:59pm

We are now running seven of the scarecrow machines. Each one needs a small crew to operate, and we are able to work them about the room, bumping into giant furniture, bumping into each other, bumping into walls. Now that we have located what appears to be a door, we have been ramming ourselves into it, two at a time.

What’s this? Number 5 reports a door knob.

Cucurbita Pepo 1/4/2019 10:43pm

The mouth of the cavern looms in the distance, jagged and cackling.

Our journey could have ended at the peduncle... at the inflorescence. But we needed to see where the path led. What was it all headed towards? And what's the rush?

Hacking through a wet jungle of fibrous dendrites and seed pods. The floor is wet too--and soft and bouncy and thick. Alejandro sticks his hand into the mushy mush. It's slightly acidic and stings. There's some debate about whether to use any of the water left in the canteens to flush it off. Alejandro takes a gulp, swishes it around, then spits it all up and down his arm, washing off the astringent juice.

Petty Officer Rigsby 12/1/2018 3:08pm

"Petty Officer Rigsby, here sir!"

"Ensign Rogers, sir!"

"Corporal Titus, sir!"

"Private Nickles, pumpkin head, sir!"

"Private Blaine, pumpkin head, sir!"

"Corporal Thickness, pumpkin head, sir!"

The Sergeant turned around and looked at us through the eye holes cut into his massive orange head.

"Now I realize there might be some nervousness in the squad, now that most of us are pumpkin heads," said the Sergeant. "But I'm not going to let this team fail. We've all got each other's backs, pumpkin heads or not. It's gonna take the world a little time to accept us, but if we just watch out for each other, and continue to follow my orders as a team, I know we're all gonna get through this alright. Now.... who wants pie?"

Private Nickels 10/29/2018 8:36pm

now, when we saw the pumpkin heads up there on the ol' big balloon, naturally we were right to follow protocol and raze the patch. we all know how those quasi-sentient pumpkin heads get when they go feral, and when they started out by decapitating their first four victims we knew they were serious.

but a key point that got lost in the mess is that the ol' big balloon was also carrying three ecto-plasmic shards--shards that had somehow escaped their ectoplasmic transport curse hazard level III containment. yeah, the ol' big balloon was running a pretty sloppy ship to have this level of confusion with their cargo.

this, however, turned out to be a big stroke of luck for ol' private nickels! see, once those pumpkins got ahold of me, they did kill me, but I found myself inside a one of them ecto-plasmic shards. and when the pumpkins weren't looking, i slipped back inside my body. 'cept now i got this big ol' pumpkin head! and it ain't just me--those shards can hold a lot. i think if we start looking around closely in the surf and the wreckage here, i got a feeling we just might find blaine, and the corporal too...

Ensign Rogers 9/23/2018 8:42pm

"You suppose those Hot Guns are outta fuel, Corporal?"

"There's nothing left to fire at, Rogers. So I suspect they're just being economical."

"Well there's all those dried up pumpkin vines still kinda floatin in the air where the Ol' Big Balloon used to be. And a bunch of office papers, and it looks like some feathers from the pillows, and--"

"It's all burnt up, Rogers. They've eliminated the target."

"And Sergeant Rico too, Corporal?"

"Yes, I expect so. He was real clear on needing to be the last one off, to make sure the rappel lines could support us. I've been keeping an eye out for him, in case he washes up. Wait! There! Do you see? That body in the surf!"

"Well I'll be! But that ain't the Sarge. That's Nickels, from recon team."

"Keep your head down, and let's drag him in."

"Nickels! We gotcha! It's gonna be OK. Everything's gonna be OK."

"Hold it, Rogers. Roll him over on his back."

"You want me to do CPR, Corporal?"

"Not unless you like kissing pumpkins, Rogers. Take a look at that mug."

"Oh my god... He's turned into... one of THEM."

HACK! cough cough *sputter* HAck!

"uh... howdy boys. Thanks for pulling me out. I thought I'd seen my last mission."

"Corporal! He's... he's still alive! But, he's a Pumpkinhead! For the luva pete. Whaddawe gonna do???!"

"You know the rules, Rogers. We gotta... we gotta finish him. Stand back--"

"now, uh... don't be so hasty. It's true I may look like a Pumpkin head, but I don't FEEL like a Pumpkinhead."

"Corporal--DO SOMETHING! It's one of THEM!"

"boys, it's not like you think. first, ya gotta listen to my story...."

Sgt. Rico 8/23/2018 10:33pm

"We're over the target area, Captain. Thanks for getting those nets up. The team is ready to jump."

"Uh, roger, Sergeant. We're ready when you are, over."

"Ensign Rogers will be making the first jump. Get ready..."

"Uh... Negative, Sergeant! ABORT! REPEAT--ABORT! Do NOT make that jump!"

"Come again, Captain?"

BANG! Crack! OOOF! {scuffle}

"Come in, Captain. What's going on down there?"

"It's the CDC Black Shirts, Rico. They had me at gunpoint. As soon as you make that jump you'll all be fried! Their Hot Guns are pointed directly at the nets. They're waiting for you, and will make sure there's nothing left. They say they can't risk the infection. They took over this op and wanted us to play along, but I can't do that to you and your men. Whatever you do, do NOT make the jump!"

"But Captain, that means..."

"They're coming for us now, Sarge. We can't hold 'em. It's up to you to destroy that ship and make it out alive. We..." BANG! RATTATATAT! BANG BANG!

"Captain! Come in, Captain!"

"...." crrrrk.. zzzzzzzt

Eduardo Gross 7/21/2018 3:48pm

"It's too dangerous, Sergeant. You've got to find another way off that ship. Over."

"There's no other way, Captain. We're not sure how long we can hold the bridge. This is the best plan we've got. Over."

"You're risking infection every minute you stay. The brass from the CDC wants you blown out of the sky right now, and I'm not sure how long I can hold them off. Over."

"Negative. Don't they understand this area is populated? They'll only be spreading the seeds. Over."

"They've got some new Hot Weapons they say will instantly incinerate the ship. They say nothing will make landfall, including you, unless you abandon ship now. Repeat: Abandon ship now. Over."

"The parachutes are not on the bridge, and it's too risky to go deeper into the ship. You've got to get those nets in place at the coordinates I've transmitted. We'll make the jump, and the Ol' Big Balloon will be headed straight out over the sea. It's the best chance--for everybody. Over."

"Damn. Well, I'll see what I can do. But in the meantime, keep those haunted pumpkin heads at a safe distance. If any of you make physical contact--"

"Then you can burn us all up over the sea. Understood. Over."

Sgt. Rico 6/29/2018 11:57pm

Ship's Micro Log of the Escape Balloon Pelagiidae. We've evacuated with Ensign Rogers, Corporal Titus, Petty Officer Rigsby, and myself. We managed to catch our mooring cables on the rear vertical stabilizer of the Ol' Big Balloon on our way out, but watched our ship go down and can confirm the release of 5 other escape balloons: the Cyaneidae, the Drymonematidae, the Phacellophoridae, the Stomolophidae, and the Ulmaridae. God why did they give them such long names.

"But Sarge it's real bad."

"Ok already! Just stick it out the ventilation port in the rear. THE REAR!"

"Yes sir."

The Ol' Big Balloon is clocking around 100km/h heading north by northwest. We can't cut ourselves free as that carbon fiber's too strong. It's just a matter of time till the Ol' Big Balloon feels the drag and comes looking, but I don't aim to give up the element of surprise.

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