Those asteroids, Sir, they’re…

d’Verse prosery

“Captain, we’re exiting hyperdrive just outside of the Milky Way! I’ll patch us through to Grand Lord… Wait… Where…”

“Where are we, Lieutenant Mark? There’s nothing here but an asteroid field. Check your coordinates!”

“Yes, Sir! Let’s see… 71.5 by 199.5 degrees… I… don’t understand it, Sir. The galaxy should be just… Oh, God… No. Those asteroids, Sir, they’re…”

“Those bastards!! Blast it! They knew the Federation would have no choice but to send all its forces to Hixxp, and they must have sent an armada to the Milky Way during our attack. We were duped! Humanity is… lost. All that’s left of home is this cosmic rubble. What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish? Set the ship’s coordinates for Bar Bar, Lieutenant. We have to warn them as quickly as possible! The war is just beginning.”

The prompt

d’Verse prosery is flash fiction with a beginning, a middle and an end, in any genre of the author’s choice, no longer than 144 words. This very short piece of prose must include an assigned line from a poem, within the 144 word limit. Writers may change the punctuation of the assigned line, but they may not insert words within the quotation.

The assigned quotation was:

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?

-from T. S. Eliot’s poem ‘The Waste Land’

52 thoughts on “Those asteroids, Sir, they’re…”

  1. Inspired by the starcraft of your flash fiction, David, here is my first encounter of the d’Verse prosery kind. The assigned line is by the same poet as in the mother ship..Being camp, my flash fiction runs exactly 144 words (excluding title).

    The First Headmaster’s Address to Virgin Galaxy College

    “I is my honor to address you today as the first headmaster of Virgin Galaxy College. Some of you know I was the first and only male student ever admitted to this institution, and the unrivaled BMOC [PAUSE FOR LAUGHTER]. But, thanks to Virgin’s inspiring teachers, I worked hard and aced all my academic courses, did my thesis in Latin, and graduated with laurels. But this day isn’t about how veni, vidi, vici. You new alumni now shall discover that at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. Welcome back to Virgin Galax–.”
    At this point in his address, the First Headmaster of Virgin Galaxy College vanished in a flash. This scrap fluttered to the stage from the podium. His disappearance coincided with a flash in the Milky Way.

    “Camp is one way of seeing the world as an aesthetic phenomenon.” —Susan Sontag

    1. That’s awesome, CES. 😃 – but the challenge of prosery is to use the assigned quote from a poem within your piece of flash fiction, not merely put it at the end….


        1. well, I’m not sure which quote you’re using. In your flash fiction piece, I see a quote by Susan Sontag at the end of it, but it’s not integrated into the text of the fiction piece itself.

          the original d’Verse prosery prompt asked us to integrate a quote from T. S. Eliot into our flash fiction pieces, as I did.

          1. Sorry, I should have noted that the Susan Sontag quote was not part of the story proper, as I did about the title not being included in the 144-words. It is from her essay “Notes on Camp,” I included it, as I do, for perspective on the genre I am working in.
            The assigned line in my little story is the T.S. Eliot fragment from “Little Gidding” “… at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” I used that in tribute to yours, since you quoted that poet, albeit from a different poem.
            My prosery d’Verse ends with the epilogue’s last words, ‘Milky Way,’ also my hat off to yours (the “mother ship” so to speak). The idea for the BMOC at an all-girls college is camp.
            “Camp is ‘exaggerated he-man-ness.'” —Susan Sontag

          2. ooooh – now I see! sorry for the confusion, CES. I just didn’t realize what quote you were using in your prosery piece, and the quote at the end threw me off because I thought that was the quote you had intended to integrate into the flash fiction.

            Now that my confusion has been straightened out, I humbly take my hat off to you, Sir! 🙂

            Thank you ❤

          3. In addition to the extraneous Sontag quote, the ‘veni, vidi, vici’ just before the T.S. Eliot line may have thrown you off, not to mention the camp thing going on, which may seem disrespectful to a serious writer and authentic mensch. For inspiration to exceed my discomfort zone, I am humbly grateful to you, Sir!

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