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Original Steam Over The Post-Apocalypse


The Ghost Lord
The Yangverse
  1. reshiram
  2. zygarde
This is a story set in one of my original settings, the Midnightverse, a post-apocalyptic post-human fantasy isekai story starring a human from a "normal" world getting yeeted to there as a weird chimera, plus a native human descendant and her dog. It is also a homage to Steamed Hams that is @Caliburn 's fault. I'm sorry.

Steam Over The Post-Apocalypse


A woman in a black dress and cloak, a black dog, and a teal-haired person with hyena ears and a lizard tail sat by a campfire in the dark of night.

"So Riley," said the woman. "What story from your world are you going to tell me tonight?"

"Gimmie a sec, Eris," said the teal-haired person.

Riley thought to themself. They had started telling her about the Avengers the night before, so mabye tonight should be a breather. But what? Then they had a thought. No, they couldn't possibly - that was a meme! But it was sorely tempting, and she had the context from some of the previous stories... To hell with it, they were going to go with it.

"You remember me telling you about the ballads of the Simpsons, right Eris?"

The dog's head perked up. Eris thought a bit.

"Yes you did... Those always made me laugh."

"That's because I only told you the good ones," said Riley. "But there's one very special one I haven't mentioned yet."

"What is it?"

"The Ballad Of The Steamed Hams."

The dog tilted his head. Eris raised an eyebrow.

"Steamed... Hams?"

"I'll explain when I get there."

Riley took a deep breath.

"One day, in an act of strange generosity, the great Principal Seymour Skinner invited his archnemesis Superintendent Chalmers to lunch."

"Super Intendent? Is that like that Super Nintendo we found the other day?"

"Uh, no, completely different. He's Skinner's superior. Anyway! Skinner just wanted Chalmers to have an unforgettable luncheon. But to Skinner's shock, he burnt his roast!"

"Roast what?"


"He must have good reflexes to catch a flying pig."

"Er, yes. Anyway, Skinner came up with a delightfully devilish plan - raid a restaurant next door and pass it off for his own cooking!"

"Remind me what a restaurant is again?"

"Uh, it's a magical place where you pay someone else to make you food."

"Sounds... Wonderful..."

"It beats ramen cooked in a college dorm that's for sure."


"Nothing! But anyway, Skinner tries to escape through the window, but he's almost caught by Chalmers! He thinks of a plan - he tells Chalmers the smoke from the burnt roast is steamed clams, and that his window escape is a new form of exercise!"

Eris raised an eyebrow again. "This is stretching my suspension of disbelief."

"Try being Chalmers. Anyway, the lies work, and Skinner escapes to the restaurant."

"Hmm. This Skinner is better than I thought."

"Eventually Skinner returns, hamburgers in tow. Chalmers questions the lack of steamed clams, but Skinner claims he misspoke, saying the hamburgers are steamed hams! And thus this ballad gets its name."

"Are hamburgers also made from pigs?"

"Uh, no, they're actually made of cows."

"...What's a cow?"

Riley paused. "Uh, big, bulky herbivores with hooves. They were good for meat and milk in my world. Make a sound like this: Moooooooooooooooo!"

"I see. Carry on."

"Okay. Chalmers starts pointing out the flaws in Skinner's narrative - the burgers are obviously grilled and not steamed, they taste like the ones at the restaurant, where in the world do you call hamburgers 'steamed hams'... Skinner invented more lies to cover his tracks."

"This Skinner has quite a bit of guile."

"Yep. However, something goes horribly wrong - the roast has caught aflame, and the fire is visible from the kitchen!"

Eris blinked. "Oh. That... That escalated quickly."

"Yep." Riley cleared his throat. "But Skinner has a solution! He reassures Chalmers it's just the Aurora Borealis."

Eris stared. "The northern lights? In his kitchen?"

"Oh, your word still has those?"

"Yes. I've seen them in my travels up north..."

"Yes. Anyway, after much questioning, Chalmers buys it."

"This Chalmers doesn't seem too bright."

Riley smirked. "I can see where you'd get that impression. Anyway! Skinner's tale suceeds, and Chalmers has a good lunch, leaving Skinner's home in good spirits."

"Oh, a happy ending then."

"Well, Skinner's house is still on fire."

"...Oh. I guess the moral is don't lie to your superiors?"

"I... guess?"

Eris shook her head. "Anyway. Is Skinner a famous trickster hero in your world?"

"Er, no. But that story is very famous. Especially... Well, I'll tell you another time."

"Alright. That was a fun one. Goodnight."

Eris started getting ready for bed. Her dog gave Riley an odd look. Riley sighed and muttered to himself.

"I've got to think of some better material for tomorrow night...

Last edited:


Bidoof Fan
  1. sneasel-nip
  2. bidoof
  3. absol
  4. kirlia
  5. windskull-bidoof
  6. little-guy-windskull
  7. purugly
  8. mawile
  9. manectric
Hey Umbra, I'm here for Catnip!

Before I get into my thoughts on the fic, I want to ask, was there supposed to be more at the end? The astrisks makes me think that there might have been a scene after this one that got missed during upload. If that ends up being the case, I'll come back and give an updated review after it's fixed. Otherwise, feel free to ignore this.

Moving on....

So to start off, I'll say that this was a fun and silly, lighthearted oneshot. And just as I've said when reviewing your works before, you do a great job with delivery of humor. The delivery of the story also serves to touch on a few worldbuilding details, as well. Like the fact that this world doesn't have cows, apparently.

The only real negative I have is that sometimes I had trouble tracking who was speaking and how they were reacting, due to the lack of description and dialogue tags throughout the story. I could get a vague idea, since it was obvious that Riley was the one telling the story, but figuring out how strongly Eris was reacting was a bit harder.

A couple of quick typos I caught.
"So Riley," said the woman.
I believe this should be "So, Riley,"

Eris started getting ready for bed. Her dog gave Riley an odd look. Riley sighed and muttered to himself.
When this started off, you referred to Riley with they/them. This is the only spot I saw where they were referred to as he. Was that intentional?

I think that's all I have to say? In general, I liked it, and thought it was kind of cute, but it feels like there might have been something missing. And like I said before, if there is, I'd be happy to revisit it later and give updated thoughts.

Until next time, take care.


you gotta feel your lines
  1. farfetchd-galar
  2. gfetchd-kyeugh
  3. onion-san
  4. farfetchd
  5. farfetchd
No, they couldn't possibly - that was a meme!
ah, famous last words.


so this is a story about an isekai'd earthling singing the songs of their people. the ballad of steamed hams is indeed the most consequential cultural artifact of human society and riley is right to cry its glory from the hills. there's some fun stuff you can do with this concept, i think—seeing how someone from a radically different cultural context interprets our silly shitposting and basking in their bafflement is a blast, and you touch on it a bit with eris's interjections. for me, seeing the reaction of the person unfamiliar with the meme is where the real strength of a concept like this lies—after all, i'm already aware of the meme, and if i'm not then watching it on youtube is a much better way to assimilate it than reading someone else recount it over text, right?—so i sort of found myself wishing that eris's inquisitiveness and perplexity were played up a little more, rather than the beat-for-beat retelling. the core of this story as-is is a summary of something i've seen elsewhere with occasional, with the interruptions/culture shock stuff somewhat often manifesting is "what is [xyz thing]," which had diminishing returns for me. i think a fun way to take this might have been to have eris tell her own similar story at the end, maybe clumsily incorporating some of the elements of the steamed hams story into their little synthesized creation. something like that i dunno—mostly just wanted to see that dynamic centered a bit more.

that said, there's plenty to like here too. i thought the disconnect between the story as it exists in riley's mind and in erris's was pretty funny; to riley it's naturally just a scene from the simpson's, but they're presenting it as a Folk Ballad, and that's exactly how erris is parsing it. the way that she was inquiring about skinner's Previous Endeavors and searching for a moral cracked me up. i liked some of the one-off lines about the world, too—eris's remark about the nothern lights, for example—and the suggestion that this storytelling is sort of a tradition between the two characters had me curious about their relationship. i'd like to read more of these characters and this world!

anyway, that's pretty much all i have to say. i think the central conceit of this particular execution didn't really work for me, but it's a fun concept and i think if you ran a little further with it and focused on the stuff that's unique to your characters and setting rather than the story that's already been told on tv then it could go pretty far. definitely interested in seeing more stuff in the midnightverse!


you should've known the price of evil
  1. inkay-shirlee
  2. houndoom-elliot
  3. yamask-joanna
  4. shuppet
  5. deerling-andre
Here's my Smeargle Swap! Cookie comments on the situation.



A cat that writes stories.
  1. purrloin-salem
  2. sneasel-dusk
  3. luz-companion
  4. brisa-companion
  5. meowth-laura
  6. delphox-jesse
  7. mewtwo
  8. zeraora
Howdy, Umbra. I confess this one had me puzzled, on a couple of counts. You described this one as a shitpost in DMs – a verbal account of the steamed hams scene sure feels like one – but the context of it is a little mystifying as well. The dialogue and prose taken together suggest that the characters are surviving on a post-apocalyptic Earth, one on which you can still find games consoles, but also that the tale of the steamed hams is from Riley's world, which would therefore be Earth, but also Riley is a chimerical person of some kind and Eris is an ordinary human by all appearances despite not being familiar with contemporary Earth pop culture and life, suggesting she's multiple generations removed from our time. It has me wondering whether Riley is a time traveller, or from an AU Earth further in the past. I wasn't any clearer on any of this by the end of the fic, but since it was such an intriguing premise and made note of in the setup, I expected to hear more about it! I feel like that would be worth exapanding on for readers' sakes.

I also wondered about the dog! He's 'the dog' at first, and part of a character trio, then 'her dog' later having not contributed to the scene except to look at the others a couple times. It would be nice to see some interaction beyond that, such as Eris petting him, or something.

Then they had a thought. No, they couldn't possibly - that was a meme!

I read this a couple times thinking I'd missed something! It's the sort of thing that works better as audio-visual content, in straight prose a better way to implement it might be as italicised first person stream of thought. The close third person makes it seem like the reader missed a sentence in the middle there, the thought that was actually had.

"Oh, your word still has those?"

I feel like the main draw of something like this would be to have the in-universe listener comment on the steamed hams stuff in a way that's surprising and therefore amusing, or have the teller mangle the delivery because of the post-apocalypse conceit. I think the interjections about other human culture distracted a bit from that, and the steamed hams stuff could be more against the grain. The premise was so delightfully weird, I feel like you could lean into that some more.

Lastly, I take it this is part of a wider continuity? That would be in line with Umbracore, eh? You should go ahead and say a little something about that in the A/N if so, I think people would find it interesting!

Cheers, and 'til next time.
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