Writing a Story Prompt #3 at 8:34pm

Alright. This has been a busy time for me, but I still pulled through with, what I think, was some of the most fun writing I've had on this blog. Let me get everything else out of the way first before I go into the prompt. I've begun the process of adapting Prince of Azra into an audiobook, which is fun and exciting. It's not something I'd imagined I'd look into for some time, for various reasons. However, here we are, and I am extremely eager for this project. Also, I know I said I'd review Ghost of Tsushima, but if I do, it won't be anytime soon. Between housework, writing work, and research, I feel more and more like I can't play video games without feeling guilty. A large portion of my free time/ entertainment has now gone to short YouTube breaks while I eat and reading before I go to bed. Speaking of reading, I wrote a review for Allegra Pescatore's "Where Shadows Lie," and suggest everyone who reads my nonsense here go check it out. It was a very satisfying title. Also, I wanted to welcome Ethan! My cousin has made his debut post on this blog, and I am very excited to see what he posts next. Alright, without further rambling, here is my prompt for the week, and one I had loads of fun working on. Word: Flock. Provided By: Gabe Frozen Skies A small dust storm swirled around Victoria as she knelt on the ground. She attempted to shorten her breaths as she took a moment to scan her surroundings. Black sands stretched as far as her eyes could see; they blanketed the rolling hills and the steep cliffs that laid far ahead. The sand gleamed brilliantly beneath the shining light from the large, reddened sun. A few stones rested on the ground near Victoria’s boot. She clenched one in her gloved hand and squeezed it, causing it to crumble apart beneath the small gesture of force. Victoria shut her eyes as her breathing slowly came under her control. Taking in familiar sights, especially one as ingrained into her mind as this one, helped calm her. Alright. No hesitation, let’s go, Vic. Let’s move. She opened her eyes, and delicately rose to her feet. She spared a few seconds to squint and find her path. It’s so much harder to see clearly outside of Final Rest. Victoria instinctively drew her hand to a switch on her helmet. Activating it would bring down a visor to aid her sight below the red sun, but doing so would drain much-needed energy from her TSI: Traversal and Survival Instrument. She knew the little power it had left was being directed to the vessel’s life support capabilities. Victoria groaned as her hand fell back to her side, and she lumbered forward, staking her claim on a path softened by hundreds of explorers that had come before her. She ignored the smoldering mess that had once been a vehicle as it slowly crossed out of her sight. Victoria had felt a strange unease before as she clambered into the automated service machine. It was a sensation that was only compounded by the strange sounds it had begun to generate as it accelerated towards its last stop. She wanted to curse her luck, to spite whatever unseen hand had decided to ruin her day, and quite possibly render this excursion her last. However, Victoria knew better than to waste her energy swearing at some invisible force. She knew, instead, to focus her anger towards much more tangible forms. Fuck you, Brian. Fuck you and your goddamn volleyball team. Her department’s lead designer came to mind as she trudged forward, her extremely fitted undersuit restricting her movements. She and another technician, Dana, had often criticized the ridiculous undersuits, especially after learning those belonging to their male counterparts were nowhere near as pressed to the body as theirs. They had wanted to condemn Brian, and his often lingering stare, but he refuted their claim. “The tightness is necessary to maintain adequate form when moving,” he had said, “You can’t even see the undersuit below the TSI, stop harassing me.” “We don’t wear a TSI during our weekly conditioning, asshole. Right down the hall from your so-called workshop,” Victoria remembered telling him. She wanted to laugh as the look on his face came back to her, but she was only met with an abrupt pain between two of her ribs. The sudden sting forced her to draw in a sharp breath, and a few deeper breaths as she regained her composure. She scolded herself as she did it, knowing her oxygen was already depleted. Victoria absent-mindedly passed her hand over her torso, attempting to feel out the source of the pain. However, the TSI was too thick and baggy to allow her an accurate measurement. It would have to wait until she returned to a more hospitable environment that she could check for bruising, or worse yet, a fracture. Alright, no more jokes, just shut up and take another step. Then, maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll take a few more. Even better, they might add up to an almost pleasant walk home. Victoria knew the trek ahead of her would be nothing close to pleasant. The nearest outpost was, she estimated, three kilometers away- and even then, it wasn’t very well equipped. If she had an injury more extensive than whatever lay between her ribs, she doubted it would go well. Just as Victoria decided she would focus on nothing more than her return to a less desolate place, an alert flashed across her helmet. She cursed her carelessness as she deactivated the bright, bolded warning, and reduced it to a slight hum in her ears. The blaring caution messages were designed to alert the user of their predicament, no matter their degree of awareness. However, at this point, it just reminded Victoria that her suit had reached its ‘deficient power mode,’ and would shortly be inoperable. She pursed her lips as she thought about whether she wanted to keep the heat on or keep the air flowing. It was a harder decision than it should have been. Her fingers trembled as she switched off the temperature control, and the sheer cold that surrounded her began to seep into her flesh. “S-shit!” she cried out, the first word Victoria had muttered since her crash. Technicians were often warned about the dangers of the planet’s frigid surface, but they did not undergo the same preparation as the rangers, or the sentries did to stave off panic. Damn it. Don’t waste your breath, idiot. It’s cold as shit, but that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to be stupid. Victoria felt herself pulled back to her childhood as her warm breath began to fog her helmet. She remembered the days when her building would lose heating, and she, along with the other children, would huddle along in the common rooms until a technician was dispatched to repair it. They always worked so quickly and always joked around the children. It was that sentiment Victoria wanted to recapture when she applied to join their ranks. She had felt that admiration was misplaced when she saw the reality of her duties and what would become of her. Dying out at the edge of nowhere to fix some malfunctioning scanner. It was the mission every little girl had dreamt of. fuck Victoria realized her vision was coming much closer to the ground as her knees buckled. She grunted as she turned onto her back and slowly came to rest on her rear. She was blinded by the haze on her helmet, and began to feel lightheaded as her oxygen tank clattered empty. Most outgoing TSIs are equipped with a collection module that gathered ambient oxygen from the explorer’s surroundings. After all, there was oxygen present in this vast place; however, it was too little to reasonably rely on, and definitely too little to live off of. Victoria’s module had been damaged in the collision, and only beeped at her defiantly as she attempted to activate it. whatever Victoria brought her hands to her helmet and twisted it until it clicked. She hesitated for a moment, before pulling it off her head. She immediately felt a gust of cold wind sear her face and pierce her throat. She turned the helmet to look at her reflection for a moment. Her tired eyes peered back at her, and a stray hair poked out from beneath her cap. She groaned as she set the helmet on the sand and looked at the horizon ahead of her. She grew more absent as her mind wandered towards its ultimate destination. However, a detail distracted her, and prevented Victoria from shutting her eyes. a #flock of silver eagles? A group of shining objects caught her attention as they soared towards her, and began to dip as they neared her position. No. There are no birds on the outside. Victoria’s senses sharpened as the gleaming creatures landed nearby, and, from within them, familiar faces began to materialize. “Victoria!” one of them shouted. Victoria gingerly set her helmet back on, and sealed it. She struggled for a moment, but oxygen quickly began to flow again as someone replaced her tank, and connected her TSI to their own. “Thanks, guys,” she mumbled, closing her eyes and feeling warm once again. So, I named it, because apparently that's cool now. Both Gabe and Ethan titled their prompts. Guess I gotta get with the times. Hope you liked it! The Ranger, now going to eat dinner

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