be sure to check out Joan's latest on her website:

be sure to check out Joan's latest on her website: (usually she updates her blog every Sunday evening but she can and will surprise you) **Special Note: all of Joan's archives are now up--almost ten years of 'bitter girl.' As Joan says, go wild!**

Monday, April 22, 2013

Walt & Chely First Chapter

Daisy holds her hand to her earpiece as she listens to the other voice. “Excuse me Captain,” she speaks up. “But I’m getting an urgent message from Deep Space Probe One Eighty-seven; their navigator is on the horn.”
Carolyn looks up from her seat as she whirls around in her Captain’s chair. “Navigator?” she snaps. “Why isn’t the Captain calling? Put it on audio, Lieutenant.”
“Yes ma’am,” Daisy crisply replies after touching some places on her work station.
The filtered sound of Chely’s voice fills the bridge as she repeats, “DSP-One Eighty-seven to J-class Nineteen Sixty-seven; urgent, please respond. Over.”
“Chely, we’re here,” Carolyn responds affably enough. “We’re reading you. Where’s Walt?”
“Hi guys,” Chely’s disembodied words, clipped short in her emotion, return. “Walt’s with me but he’s in bad shape; we’re headed to the island. Need you and Mom to meet us there.”
“Understood,” Carolyn tersely barks back after she exchanges glances with Brandy, who by now is standing next to her. “Helmsman, change course to three-zero-nine mark twelve; best speed to the Sol system.”
Hector repeats, “Three-zero-nine mark twelve; hyper light engines in about a minute and a half.”
“Very well,” Carolyn levelly pronounces. “Chely, how bad is Walt?”
“Bad,” Chely blurts out, barely choking back a sob. “I’ll explain more when we meet you there; DSP out.”
“Sharon,” Carolyn next announces out after hitting a button on her panel. “Your darling baby girl has just informed me that Walt’s in bad shape and we’re rendezvousing with them at the island.”
            “Understood,” the electronic reproduction of their chief medical officer’s voice confirms. “Have you informed Carmen as well?”
“Shoot,” Carolyn exclaims in self-reproach. “I knew there was something I was forgetting. Thanks for the reminder.”
“I’ll handle it, Captain,” Daisy interjects from her communications seat.
“Thank you Lieutenant,” Carolyn replies after exchanging glances with Brandy. "Also inform all post delivery bases of our delay; I'll copy Admiral Niko later. You needn't bother her."
“What do you suppose happened?” Brandy mildly inquires of the Captain even while Daisy is advising Walt’s supervisor Carmen of recent events.
Carolyn frowns in dark digestion. “Whatever it was, it doesn’t sound good.”
Once back on Earth at the medical center on the island, Chely is able to explain more even as Sharon does a full body scan on Walt with the rejuvenator. "See, Walt had seen all these old 'What's My Line?' reruns and he got this idea in his head that I couldn't talk him out of, so yeah, we go back to the Nineteen Fifties on Earth in Manhattan and at first everything's fine; we're getting along with people and meeting new friends and all this kind of stuff. But then we got separated, and all of a sudden Walt's locked up and—you can fix him, right Mommy?"
Sharon and Carolyn exchange eye signals even as Carmen sighs and glances down in the wake of the silence that opens up when nobody says anything right away. "Look at this," Sharon finally lectures her daughter in full reproach mode while pointing out something on her bio scanners instead of directly answering her question. "They did a lobotomy on him. Do you know what that is?"
This sets Chely off as nothing else could. "I know!" she exclaims to her mother in full horror even as she degenerates into the ugly toddler she was while sobbing in full force. "I know what it is! And it's all my fault, O.K. Mom? Are you happy now? Are you all done now? Are we through parenting enough so you can get back to being a doctor?"
For an answer, Sharon touches a few places on her panel and Walt slowly enters the MRI-like cube. Once all the way in, Sharon presses a few more buttons on the graphic screen and the machine hums for a while, some lights flash and gizmos in general do their thing. After he slowly slides out, all the women present grab hold of him to transfer him to a monitor bed.
Chely sits down in the seat next to Walt, to be there when he awakes. As she is still quietly crying, the others hang back to confer. "I think that's enough lectures for one day, Sharon," Carolyn quietly advises her chief medical officer in a voice so low that Chely can't hear.
"Well if she hadn't said something I would have," Carmen next speaks up. "This isn't funny; it stopped being funny a long time ago."
"O.K., both of you–just cool it," Sharon advises the other two. "She's my daughter and if I want to say something to her I will. Looks like he also got raped a few times, if truth be told."
Carolyn sighs while face palming. "I'm sorry," she admits after a minute. "I'm just upset about Walt."
Sharon places a reassuring hand on her Captain's shoulder. "He'll be fine," she enunciates with the practiced calm that only true care givers can deliver.
"I know, but you have to wonder, how many times do we use this stupid machine before something finally goes wrong?" Carolyn gives voice to everyone's unspoken fear.
"The aliens have their act together," Carmen supplies when no other replies are forthcoming.
"If we don't use the technology that we have available, mankind will never advance," Sharon earnestly offers in her turn. "This is progress."
"Is it?" Carolyn tersely rejoins and then walks away from all of them in a huff before anyone can manage an answer.
A few hours later Walt wakes up. "Hey there Sleeping Beauty," Chely greets her boyfriend.
"Hi Chel," Walt eventually responds once he sits up in bed. "Guess we're in trouble again, huh?"
"Oh, you got it, brother," Chely sardonically confirms. "Prepare for the scolding of your life."
"You're lucky Walt," Sharon comments after she reads some data off of her scanners. "Your mom's back on her ship, so all you get are echoes of an imaginary lecture, made all the more terrible by the horrors of your own limitless internal universe."
"Whatever," Walt rudely dismisses this attempt at poetry. "So am I free to leave or what?"
"I don't see anybody holding you back," Sharon eventually replies.
"So what happened?" Chely inquires of Walt as soon as they are alone.
"I don't want to talk about it," Walt informs his girlfriend in a hollow voice as he gets dressed.
Chely heaves a deep sigh. "Here we go again, right?"
"Let's just get back to the ship," Walt duly informs his only crew member.
"Yes sir," Chely replies in suitably contrite fashion.
Once back on Deep Space Probe 187, Walt begins opening up to Chely. "I remember parts of it," he volunteers to her after her silent treatment toward him grows stale. "But you have to understand, drugs were involved a good deal of the time, so--"
"O.K.," Chely cuts him off while raising both her hands, palms facing his way. "I don't want to hear any more."
"Anyway," Walt crisply segues. "Carmen should be coming through with orders any time now; let's just resume in the sector we were last in."
"Yes sir," Chely replies in kind as she touches a few places on her navigation panel.
Because Walt doesn't want to talk and/or is grappling with some internal demons of his own, Chely spends most of her time reading and rereading her Worldly Philosophers book along with an anthology of yuri manga while Walt busies himself in the computer, going over star charts, where they've been and where they're going next.
This continues for a few days until Carmen does check up on them. "How you crazy kids doing?" she energetically inquires of both of them over the radio.
"Great," Chely unenthusiastically eventually replies when Walt is slow to answer.
"We're fine here Carmen," Walt does speak up after he finds his voice. "What is it."
"Well just checking in," Carmen's voice crackles in response as she picks up on Walter's mood from the tone in his reply and the lack of inflection on his question. "Just seeing how things are going. But if this is a bad time, I can always call you later."
"No it's not a bad time," Walt repeats after blinking a few times. "Navigator, would you give Carmen a report please?"
"Certainly Captain," Chely affably picks it up from her work station. "We're seven clicks out of Rigel and proceeding to the next star system."
The airwaves go silent after all collectively realize how pointless this conversation is, as what Chely just told Carmen she would know already from the scopes on her end. "O.K. people," Carmen eventually comes back with in as dead a voice as she can muster. "Keep up the good work; Carmen out."
"Walt, how much longer are you going to keep this up?" Chely lashes out at Walt once the carrier wave to Carmen is audibly broken.
"I don't want to hear it," Walt immediately yells back at Chely. "And I also don't care to have a fight with you. Just go back to your little book and leave me ALONE!"
"No!" Chely also immediately rejoins. "Because–”
But she is interrupted by the intercom whistle and then, "J-class Nineteen Sixty-seven to DSP One Eighty-seven; come in please."
Walt sits back down. "Hi Mom," he calls out in a more normal voice. "How are you?"
"Hi sweetie," Carolyn's nasal intonations drag out over the airwaves. "I'm fine. How's every little thing?"
"Everything's fine here; same as always," Walt bravely lies through his teeth to his own mother. "So Carmen called you, I guess?"
"No, not at all," Carolyn brazenly returns her son's lies with one of her own. "Not in the least; just thought I'd check in ya and all." When this produces no response, she continues with, "So how's Chely?"
"I'm here Aunt Carolyn," Chely speak up from her seat without looking at Walt. "And yeah–everything's fine here. We're all fine. Everybody's fine."
"Well you don't sound fine," Carolyn continues. "Sounds like you guys are having a fight again." More silence. "But if it's none of my business, then it's none of my business, so talk to you later; J-class Nineteen Sixty-seven out."
Chely sits without saying anything for a while but doesn't pick up her book. Slowly, eventually, she draws up. "Walt, did someone hurt you?"
"I don't know," he quietly admits. "It's hard to tell. Without any pain."
"The reason I ask is because you talk in your sleep."
"And what do I say?"
"'Get off me! Get off me!'"
"Oh. I see," Walt quietly responds. "Unfortunately, that fits. Some memories I've been having."
"You know you can have those erased," Chely earnestly offers him.
Walt sighs. "I know. But," he continues. "I was just thinking; all this effort people have put into distancing themselves from pain. Maybe some kinds of pain are important."
"To remind you?" Chely suggests.
Walt nods. "To remind you of lessons learned, you know. The hard way."
"Listen Walt–I just wanted to say, I didn't run out on you. It's just you seemed to be having so much fun with that girl and you two were really hitting it off and I didn't want to intrude. And then I met this guy, and we started having so much fun ourselves, and then I saw you leave with her and–”
"I didn't leave with her," Walt hastily but honestly interrupts his girlfriend. "You left with your guy; I saw you together with him."
"Oh Walt," Chely replies in resignation to the truth, that the entire situation back in time was a giant misunderstanding that only new people, alcohol and hormones can elicit. "I'm so sorry; this whole thing was my fault.. Entirely. How can I make it up to you? What can I do?"
Walt thinks for a moment before he offers, "Well, maybe we can think of something together that might be mutually satisfying, but in the meantime, let's get back to work."
"Sounds like a plan to me," Chely crisply concurs.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Xenya Update

*sound of a old-time teletype machine*
All the news that is the news from around the corner to around the globe.
This just in from Cyprus:
This last page on the right is the scene where Rarity (in hair curlers [!]) says, "Discord would never agree."
And Twi's line is, "Don't be too sure; this thing is so off-the-wall it might appeal to his demented sense of humor."
And I absolutely adore the look on Shy's face (center bottom) when she has her epiphany: "We can make it a double wedding." New speech bubble: "With Celestia presiding to make sure there are no hard feelings; the network will love it!"
P.S. Xenya's birthday is May 3; she's going out of town on April 29 for two weeks, so you might want to wish her a happy birthday before she leaves.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Equestria's Gone; The Saga Ends

“Hi Shy,” Twilight Sparkle greets her friend the Queen after dodging the usual gatekeepers of the Griffon royal castle.
“Hi Twi,” Queen Fluttershy, Monarch of the Griffons, returns the salutation in suitably regal but quiet form. “Heard some funny rumors about you just recently and now you turn up here.”
For an answer, Twilight glances over to Shy’s attendant, Carrot Top, who gets the hint and motions for the guards to vacate the royal chamber. Once alone, T.S. inquires, “What did you hear?”
 “That you and Celestia had a falling out,” F.S. flatly details.
Twilight sadly nods as she recalls the scene from yesterday at the Senior Pony meeting in Canterlot, when the Princess had dropped her bombshell. “She caved into the network; only hetero couples from now on. Luna was furious.”
“So you talked to her?” Shy follows up. “Luna, I mean.”
Twi nods again. “Earlier this morning, after she finished with the moon and all. She’s ready to pack it all in–leave forever.”
“So this is goodbye,” the Queen enunciates with care as the light dawns in her royal gaze.
“Shy, things have changed so much,” Twi announces with a rush of emotion, blushing as she earnestly spills her guts to her old friend. “Since Luna and I got involved. And all this happened. Sometimes I think back to the days when all of us still lived in Ponyville and I was in such a hurry to grow up, to be done with school and homework and have everypony treat me like an adult. And now Luna wants to leave for all the wrong reasons, because she can’t stand the thought of being without me. But I just can’t stay; not with the way Tia treated me.”
Shy looks into her friend’s eyes to see the honest pain that recent events have caused Twi and finds it reflected in her own feelings. “I know how you mean,” F.S. sadly confesses in return, reverting to poor grammar on purpose. “I think about the old days too, and how simple, little things used to make me so happy; you know, the animals, the birds, the butterflies and the trees. Now, all these backroom deals with nefarious characters, just to stay in power, Discord being the least of them, and all the deceit and chicanery and sleaze has made me so sick of it all, and myself.. Sometimes I just want out also.”
Twilight comes out of her self-pity enough to realize she’s not the only pony with problems. “What about Rarity, though? Doesn’t she help?”
Shy shakes her head with such ferocity that Twi sees the truth even before the other explains, “All Rarity thinks about is herself,” the Queen spits out the words with uncharacteristic venom. “And her position as Royal Consort; as you said of Luna–all the wrong reasons.”
“Shy, I never realized,” Twi slowly responds and she watches Fluttershy’s crying escalate into full-scale weeping. “How unhappy you were.”
“You’re the one who talked me into all this,” Shy lashes back at Twilight through her tears. “You’re the one who said all of Equestria depends on me marrying Discord.”
“Oh Shy,” T.S. guiltily replies before she realizes her own waterworks have started. “I’m so sorry you took it that way.”
After they share a good cry, in each other’s arms, Twilight eventually asks, “What can I do to make it up to you?”
Fluttershy waits before she pronounces with care, “Take me with you.”
Twi backs off from Shy to meet her eyes. “And ditch Luna?” she incredulously demands.
F.S. nods as she sniffs while wiping away the last of her tears. “Uh-huh,” she simply confirms. “But only if you love me. If you don’t–care for me, the same way I care for you, then say goodbye and walk out that door and–and leave with Luna and that’ll be that.”
Twilight blinks again in disbelief; she’s never imagined Shy able to say anything like this, much less actually pull it off with such steely resolve. “So you want me to chose–right here and right now?”
“Uh-huh,” Fluttershy quietly repeats, returning Twi’s stunned incredulous gaze with equal determination. “Right here and right now.”
A few hours later, Twi meets Luna at their predetermined rendezvous. “All set?” the Dark Princess inquires of her paramour.
“Yup,” T.S. tersely confirms, ready as always with her own steely resolve. “Too much drama around here; we definitely need a break.”
“So where are we off to this time, Mister Peabody?” Luna cracks.
“Ancient Rome, Sherman,” Twi responds in kind. “I want to try out my Latin, so let me do all the talking.”
“Say no more,” is Luna’s pithy rejoinder. “Lead the way.”
Once back in Rome, during one of the good eras, Twi and Luna cause enough of a stir among the locals because of their stunning good looks for one of the Senators to take an interest in them. One night he has them over for dinner and before things get sticky, they extricate themselves via their magic back to Ponyville; however, what they find isn’t what they expect.
“Where is everything?” Luna incredulously asks Twilight and all the ambient air around them as both survey what appears to be the Everfree Forest, overgrown and unchecked where Ponyville, Sweet Apple Acres and all the other vestiges of the past were which are no longer present.
“I think we blew it this time, Luna,” Twilight ventures when no other answers are forthcoming. “I think we really outdid ourselves.”
Twi swallows hard, not wanting to explain but seeing she must. “Well, remember when we were making small talk with the Senator before dinner? I was telling him all about bonds and he seemed to really eat that up.”  
“How does that translate to no more Equestria?”
“Well, before we changed all human history and our own just now, bonds weren’t thought up until the Thirteen Hundreds, in Italy. That’s why Rome collapsed. Also I told him about the lead poisoning with the wine and all; and I guess I also explained how to make soap. So Rome never fell, Europe never went through the Dark Ages, the New World was never colonized because the Romans built the Suez Canal a thousand years sooner than it was otherwise dug, there never was a country called America where a lady named Lauren Faust could develop some dumb idea about talking horses into a cartoon series called “My Little Pony,” Missus Saltzmann’s granddaughter was never born because her family never moved out of Germany or if she was, she remained autistic because there wasn't a show called "My Little Pony" to snap her out of it, space travel never did develop, and because Mankind never did make it off this rock, the moon escaped Earth's gravity eventually because it had been moving five feet away every century on its own and–”
“Twi, stop!” Luna exclaims in full horror as the sheer weight of the situation slams into her harder than Big Mac ever would have had he gotten half a chance on his best day. “Enough freaking backstory! There’s got to be some way to undo this; some way to fix all this!”
“Luna, there’s no more magic,” Twilight Sparkle sadly but honestly tells her favorite Dark Princess. “There’s no more anything; no television, no nothing. We’re totally alone here, stuck in this form forever. Until our last dying day.”
“Is there anything to eat?" Luna inquires after some time passes.
“Well, if there isn’t, you and I can’t survive much longer,” Twi succinctly sums up.
As they forage for anything, Luna ventures in recrimination at one point, “Guess we really outsmarted ourselves this time, huh?”
“We made the same mistake the humans did,” Twi quietly admits. “And now we’re stuck here, as humans. How ironic.”
“It’s getting late,” Luna observes. “Maybe we should think about maybe making a fire and building a camp.”
“Luna,” Twi begins a little later after the campfire idea falls flat. “Did you notice how quickly night fell?”
“And there’s no moon, either; you were right,” Luna in her turn ventures, while gazing heavenward, in a voice just above the crickets and other insects that come audibly alive only after sunset. “Only stars.”
“So wait a minute; I remember something in the humans' history about them speculating about what would happen to the Earth if there's no moon any more,” Twi rambles on by the neighboring brambles of the brush in the breezy but temperate evening air. “Then nights will last only two hours, because the Earth’s spinning so fast, without the drag of an oversized satellite.”
“Guess we’ll find out for sure soon,” Luna speculates in the dark after wearying of watching the stars transverse the night's shadows.
Indeed, sunrise is unusually fast and dramatic; the sun seems to be literally racing across the blue windswept sky.
“Luna, I don’t think we can survive in this world,” Twi quietly explains to her last long love. "And I don't think anypony else could either; maybe that's why it's deserted."
“What do you want to do then?” Luna in turn and in kind responds.
“Go to sleep and wake up from this nightmare,” Twilight admits in a small shaky voice with tears in her eyes.
“There’s got to be a way out,” Luna stubbornly insists. “There has to be something we can do!"
“Hold me in your arms and never let me go,” Twi quietly suggests in the other’s ear.
“Until the end of time, my sweetness,” Luna whispers back.
A few hours later, they both awake. “Well, we’re still here,” Twi sardonically announces. “Any more bright ideas?”
“How do you feel about fishing?”
“What's your position on hunting?”
“It beats starving, in my book. But where is there to fish?”
“What is there to hunt?”
“Is there anything to eat?”
“Even if we find fruits and nuts, we need protein to survive in the long run.”
“So where do we find protein, other than each other?”
“Or ourselves?”
“If there are insects, there must be animals.”
“You would think.”
“Let’s find the ocean.”
“Or die trying.”
So they slog through forest and trees, scuttling sunshine and ferocious thunderstorms, fleeing the scene of their heinously unimaginable but technically uncommitted crimes, toward where they remember the blessed shore to be. Finally they arrive.
“I’ve never been so happy to see the beach!” Twi exclaims to her paramour as she points out tantalizingly ripe coconuts on swaying palm trees.
“Me neither!” Luna wholeheartedly agrees. “Want to go for a swim?”
“Let’s!” Twi concurs as she very nearly rips off her worn, torn and soiled clothes in her newly found zest.
After they swim around and again make wildly unrestrained passionate love in the churning foaming surf, Twi remarks to Luna, while still in each other’s arms, “I guess we can always drown ourselves, if we can’t find anything else to eat other than coconuts.”
“Yeah,” the erstwhile Dark Princess of the Night softly sighs in weary resignation to their ordained collective fate. “That sounds like some kind of a plan.”
“Hey, let’s go for a walk along the beach; maybe we can find something that washed up.”
“Yeah, let’s.”
So they stroll along the moonless starlit shore for hours and hours, hand in hand, all alone, each totally nude, neither saying much, other than ‘I love you’ while dawn majestically breaks, giving way to the bright but rapidly shifting sunshine, as if time itself has been sped up. Suddenly, even as the sun is setting along the blazing horizon where the water meets the sky, they spy a house, all by itself, unlocked and with no occupants.
“This is too cool!” Twi exclaims in the kitchen while discovering cooking pots and means for controlled heat in the sepia afterglow of the joyous day.
“So now all we need is something to eat, right?” Luna yells herself in triumph, after finding with flashlights fishing gear, poles and rods and reels and nets.
“Yeah!” her paramour exclaims in shared enthusiasm. “Let’s go fishing!”
So they dig little sand crabs out of the beach near where the water washes up and they hook up some rods and reels; meanwhile, they also come across some dive masks, spear guns and snorkeling equipment and pretty soon, lobsters are on the menu.
“So where are the people who built this house?” Luna asks Twilight one sultry evening over candlelit dinner while the beginning of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony Fourth Movement plays in the background.
“I don’t know,” Twi admits in between bites of exceedingly delicious fresh Yukon Gold potatoes and baby carrots, flecked with bits of flat leaf Italian parsley in a buttery onion-rich chardonnay reduction cream sauce. “If they come back and find us here, they might not be too happy. Unless they just happen to be two ultra mega sexy guys and we get to repopulate the human race.”
“Maybe we should clean up the place, as much as we can,” Luna pleasantly responds, pointedly ignoring what she considers Twi's last rude colloquy as well as her paramour spraying food all over the crisply ironed white linen tablecloth in her unbridled mirth and youthful exuberance.
Twi nods even as she hastily attempts to quickly tidy her minor mess and salvage what little remains of her personal dignity. “That could be a good idea,” she agrees while blushing in embarrassment.
But as the weeks and months go by, no owners, sexy or otherwise, return to kick them out, knock them up or anything else. “Why would somepony just abandon a really cool place like this?” Luna asks one day of Twi while tending their gateless garden.
“Maybe they found something better,” her paramour blithely speculates while carefully watering some sprouts.
“What could be better than this?” Luna pointedly inquires while wearing really tight white short shorts and the briefest imaginable bikini top.
“I don’t know,” Twilight Sparkle casually repeats in the bright and happy sunlight, the shuttling sun causing highlights in her hair to pop and fizz as the warm salty ocean breeze casually tousles her windswept curls. “It is the eternal question.”

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Return to Equestria: Rarity's Wedding Webcomic

Page 1 The News
All art & layout courtesy Ksenia Belaya of Cyprus. Go check out her stuff right now! She likes comments & favorites; so don't be shy with the comments & favorites, O.K.? Here is her most recent Daily Deviation honor: Purple