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Friday Fiction: The Announcement (FBA)

Writing 150This is a quick story set in the FBA Universe, created by Buck Hopper. Daniel Quvianuq is a polar bear Center for the Seattle Summit; he spends a good bit of the off-season with his parents in their hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska. The Summit was bounced out of the first round of the playoffs this season by the Alaska Arctics, and now that his season is over Dan has come home to reconnect with his family. Big changes have happened, however, while he was away.

Curious about the Furry Basketball Association? Their webpage can be found here!
Daniel dropped his fork and gaped at his mother, Nukka. The sound of it hitting his plate was amplified by the tense silence of the two bears around him. Nukka looked down at her salmon, flaking it. His father Peter stared across the table at his wife, hands in his lap. His expression was blank.

At first Dan thought it was a joke, and they were both committing to it in a way he hadn’t known they were capable of. He smiled cautiously. His laugh was a nervous poke at his mother. “What?”

Nukka’s voice was quiet, meant only for the seared fish on her plate. Dan perked his ears to hear it. “Your father and I have decided–”

“Your mother is leaving me.” Peter spat the words, hackled raised. “Her heathen family has poisoned her against our union.”

Nukka’s face shot up at that, a look of surprise curdling into disappointment, then anger. “Peter…”

It was a growl of warning, a murmur of supplication. Dan’s father was unmoved.

“I…I don’t understand.” Dan put his hands on the table and leaned back in his chair, which creaked in a comforting and familiar way. “What’s going on here?”

“Oh for God’s sake, don’t be slow about this!”

“Peter!” Nukka slammed her hands on the table, making the plates and silverware shudder.

They glared at each other across the table, and Dan could feel his ears flattening against his head. He felt the need to hide, an instinctive drive to run somewhere safe and stable. The table felt a lot less sturdy than it did just a moment ago.

His father lowered his eyes first, sinking into his chair with a long sigh. “Sorry, sport. Your mother…” He tapered off.

“We’re not…” Nukka continued. Silence fell for another moment. Dan could tell both of his parents were struggling for some sort of explanation.

“This is hard,” she said. “It’s just…I’m just not sure I can be Catholic anymore. And your father, well…it means so much to him. He can’t have a wife who’s left the Church, and I know he can’t support me trying to get closer to my side of the family.”

“They’re wild, Nukka! They believe in all kinds of ridiculous magic and pagan gods! They EAT PEOPLE–” Peter’s voice rose steadily now, his anger pulling his lips back, revealing his fangs.

“How dare you!” Nukka rose in her seat now, her full seven-foot frame filling her side of the room. Now her teeth were showing, ears pinned back, white fur risen along the back of her neck. “You know that is a filthy lie and you know it! You just can’t stand that your fucking Church–”

“STOP!” Daniel bolted up from his seat before he even realized what he was doing. Both of his parents stared at him, anger draining from their faces. “You’re killing me. I love you both, but you’re just killing me right now.”

“I’m sorry–” Nukka looked down, grabbing her dress in her hands and twisting the fabric.

“No, it’s…how long has this been going on?” Dan looked from his father to his mother. “Every time we’ve seen each other it looked like things were fine. But this couldn’t have come out of nowhere.”

Nukka sat down, wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, and took a deep breath. “You know, when you were recovering from your knee surgery in your rookie year, and you were up here doing the community outreach stuff, your uncle Anyu called and said how happy he was you were taking an interest in your heritage. We just…started talking then and…” She shrugged, as if that explained everything.

Dan stared blankly. “So…two years ago? But why are you leaving the Church? Why are you getting divorced?”

Nukka shook her head. “I was never happy in the Church, Daniel. It was…something I thought I would learn to love because it was such a big part of your father’s life and…I loved that about him. But it…I just never liked it. I kept going for both of you.

“When your uncle called and I started reconnecting with my family, I just couldn’t do it any more. I tried talking to Peter about it, but you know how your father is.” She glanced at Peter, a hard edge creeping into her words.

“Uncompromising when it comes to the Word of the Lord? Yes. We can’t have anything to do with that nonsense.” Peter crossed his arms and stared at Daniel. “You and I, we know the truth, and we walk the path. Even if your mother strays, we’re solid. We are devoted to God.”

“Don’t pull me into this.” The words escaped Daniel’s mouth automatically. They stunned him, just like they stunned his father. He thought about how long it had been since he had been inside of a church; all the people he’s met and worked with who seem happier without religion in their lives; that night…

Daniel looked at his father and shook his head. “I’m sorry, Dad, but…you can’t pull me into this. I’m not going to be fought over.”

He looked at his mother, who was beginning to cry. “Ma, I love you. I love both of you, but…you need to figure this out. If you’re going to split, then do it. Call me when it’s settled.”

He stood up, trying to ignore the quiet sobs of his mother and the burn of his father’s gaze against his back. He had to get out of here. He couldn’t see his parents like this. It wasn’t right. None of this made any sense.

“Where are you going?” His father’s voice had taken on that harsher growl he was so familiar with. His ears folded automatically.

“I’m going home to Seattle. I can’t be here.”

“Son. You are home.” Peter sounded almost pleading. Dan kept moving. This wasn’t home any more, and it wouldn’t feel like it for a very long time.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2015 in Furries, Writing

 

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Friday Fiction: Player of the Game, Part 1

Writing 150(This is a small bit of fiction I’ve written for the FBA, the Furry Basketball Association. My character is one Dan Quvianuq, a giant polar bear center who’s been having a rough month of it. This is the first part of two.)

It’s been about a month since I could eat before a game. I wake up on game day a little queasy, and it takes me fifteen minutes to settle my nerves before I can get up. But even then, I just know it’s going to get worse through the day. By the time we’re shutting out the distractions and getting ready to go out on the floor, it’s all I can do to keep from shaking and I’m sure I would be throwing up if I had anything in my stomach.

Slumps are a fact of life when you’re a basketball player. Your shot feels off, for a while you’re a half-step out of sync with the rest of the team, breaks just don’t go your way. That you can deal with. If you’ve got a good coach, you’ve been trained for that. Just block out the things you can’t control, focus on your training. They’re called “drills” for a reason; the movements have been drilled into you. It’s second nature, it’s instinctive. Just let your body take over while you get your brain in order.

This feels so much worse, though. The problem is my brain is working fine, but I just can’t seem to make my body do what it knows how to do. I see the shot in my head, know what I need to do to make it, but I can’t get my paws to work right. I see a path through the chaos in the key so I can be right there to grab a missed shot, but when I go for it I slam someone to the boards and draw a foul. If I see someone coming hard at me on the perimeter, I know that Buck or Red are in the paint waiting for me to take advantage of the heat I’ve drawn away from them. But I shoot instead. And you don’t need to know a thing about basketball to know that an eight-foot-tall polar bear is going to have a miserable three-point shot.

My name is Daniel Quvianuq, and I’m the starting center for the FBA World Champion Dakota Bikers. Right now, I’m playing the worst basketball of my life.

Every part of my game has been terrible. I’m not sticking to the high-percentage shots that are my bread and butter, instead shooting outside the key and making way too many three-point attempts. I’m as jumpy as a deer when someone brings hard D, and my body just dumps the ball at the basket before my brain can tell it that B-Hop’s open. I’m a big fat lump under the basket, to the point that teammates have to reach around me to pull rebounds. Redfield’s gotten really good at it. He’s a good enough friend not to rib me too much about it, but not good enough to call me on this shit. I’m not pulling down blocks like I know I can, I’m not drawing heat well enough to open up Malone or Hopper so my assists are abysmal, and my turnovers are embarrassing. I could chalk this up to the faster pace of the FBA, or a bit of court rust after coming back from my surgery, but those excuses feel hollow. With what I’m being paid, there’s no excuse for how I’m playing.

And when I think about that my stomach tightens enough that there’s not room for anything in it but nerves. I was the no. 2 draft pick in 2012. I signed an $8 mil. contract with the Bikers the same year Buck Hopper joined the team. Anything less than the FBA Championship trophy would be a disappointment. I was thinking to myself during the preseason that this was it, I was getting in on the ground floor of a dynasty. Then my knees blew out and I lost my entire rookie season.

The way I see it, I only have one year to justify that $8 million dollars, to make sure the Bikers want to keep me around, to prove to myself and the rest of the league that I belong here. If I were playing for some team in a “rebuilding year,” like Biloxi or Hawaii, the pressure wouldn’t be nearly as bad. But here in Sturgis, with the talent we’ve got, excellence is expected. And you really feel it when you’re not living up to it.

Tonight we’re up against the Kahunas. They’re a really fun to team to play, even if they aren’t that good yet. Alphonse Norwich IV is their guy, and he’s good. A scrappy little bastard who reminds me a lot of Wendy Brown — fearless, aggressive and fiercely loyal to his team. Dylan’s really not looking forward to covering him; they both play with a chip on their shoulder, and that aggression is probably going to flare up a couple of times tonight. Right now he’s sitting in front of his locker, staring at the floor and ignoring the rest of us with his headphones. Malone reminds him to keep his head in the game twice, and the second time they snap at each other. It’s amazing how much herbivores look like carnivores when they’re fighting. Same kind of quick vent of steam, same kind of charge in the air. Still, it doesn’t go any further than that — Dylan’s earned Skywalker’s respect through his play, and the ‘roo stood by him when the whole Rufus thing went down. They’ve got each other’s backs, and they both understand how intense the other one is about his game.

It’s that kind of camaraderie that I feel is missing with me. Malone comes up to me, and he gives me a long look. It makes me wonder if he’s thinking whether or not I’m worth the effort, if I’m a lost cause that’s just going to have to be carried through the rest of the season. I try to look focused, determined, anything other than scared. But I can’t meet his eyes. “You know what to do,” he says at last. “You’ve got this. Good luck out there.”

I nod, and then he’s gone. I look around to see if anyone else caught the exchange, but Dylan’s pacing now and Buck is stretching. Kenta Yamashita is covering for Jack tonight, since he’s injured. I wonder if he feels as lost as I do, but if he does he doesn’t show it. He’s totally chill, staring straight ahead, breathing deeply and evenly. I don’t know him that well, but I’m guessing he’s doing some sort of Eastern trance thing. Maybe I’ll ask him about it sometime. Maybe it’ll help with the nerves.

The coach comes in and that’s how I know it’s almost time to head out there. The nerves come back full-force, and I wonder if anybody can tell that I’m shaking. I can’t remember what he said, but it’s got people pumped; Buck is practically bouncing off the walls, and both Malone and Red are walking out like they’re going to eat the other team. The rustle of Kenta’s quills brings me back to myself and I stand up, and I walk quickly, and then I’m swallowed by the lights of Sofawolf Arena.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in Furries, Writing

 

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