Posts Tagged ‘Fiction’

Starfleet Adventures: Dragons of the Deep Pt. 1

July 24, 2021

(I had this idea as part of the backstory for my Star Trek character for a pulp series of Starfleet Adventures. The idea is that a somewhat underground publisher would take advantage of hunger for adventure stories and would create fictional accounts of Starfleet ships sort of like pulp novels or cheaply made procedural shows)

Captain L’ara, sat in her ready room and looked out over the vastness of space and she was bored. Space was mostly boring. As a Federation Captain, it was her job to find the interesting parts. The exciting parts. The crew of the USS Forrestal had just been through a harrowing adventure against a Tholian threat but L’ara was already itching for more. She knew that she was not alone in that. She picked up and started to brush her fur absent-mindedly. She sipped her coffee and felt the sip buzz through her and her tail swished from side to side. She hit a button on her desk.

“Captain’s Log, Stardate 2270,” L’ara said. “The Tholians are definitely not as tough as advertised. After some repairs, the Forrestal is back on mission. Starfleet contacted us to check in on the Adora IV colony in the Atrea sector. Apparently, they have failed to respond to any communication for days. We’re the closest ship fit to check on them. Rumor is that they had some difficulty with Klingons a while back. I anticipate a fight. I’m ready. We’re ready.”

There was a beeping noise from the ship’s internal communication system and L’ara quickly stopped the recording. She would get back to posterity later.

“Bridge to Captain L’ara,” Lieutenant Yolen said over the comm system. Yolen was a rather dispassionate Denobulan but was a good pilot and he was cool in the face of certain danger. There was nobody else that L’ara could want flying her ship.

“L’ara here,” she responded. “How can I help you, Lieutenant?” She sipped more of her coffee. She had a hunch she knew why she was being contacted but it was more fun to ask.

“We are approaching the colony,” the Lieutenant said. “We will be entering orbit of the planet soon.”

“Acknowledged,” L’ara said, barely keeping the purr out of her voice. Something was happening and the boredom was over. “I’m on my way to the bridge.”

A few moments later, L’ara walked on to the bridge. Everybody stood up when she entered and that still gave her a thrill. She waited a bit before she let them sit down again. She looked around the bridge and noted that Commander Sakazaki was not present. That was a bit strange as L’ara had left him in charge of the bridge before heading off to her ready room. He was supposed to be there and in charge in her absence but he was not there. She guessed that was why Yolen had contacted her.

“Ensign Statlander,” L’ara said, glancing at the young and beautiful Yutan communications officer. “Hail the colony.”

There was a pause as Statlander attempted communication, pressing buttons and speaking into her headset.

“No response, Captain,” Statlander said. “I’m not reading any broadcasts on any frequencies at all.”

“They should be transmitting a navigation beacon, right?” L’ara asked. She knew she was right but, once again, it was more fun to ask.

“You’re right, Captain,” Statlander said. “There is no reason that the beacon should be off.”

At that point, Sakazaki walked onto the bridge. “Sorry I’m late, Captain,” he said. “I had a lingering injury that needed tending to in Sick Bay.”

“More like a nurse that needed tending to,” L’ara said with a smirk. “You’re my second, Commander. You’re supposed to be here when I’m not.” L’ara knew for a fact that Sakazaki had his eye on Nurse Cassidy. Everybody on the ship probably knew it.

The easygoing Sakazaki suddenly looked nervous. “I can only apologize, Captain,” he said. “It won’t happen again.” Sakazaki was a lot like L’ara. He was always up for fun and adventure. Still, Sakazaki was a Starfleet officer and his Captain was bearing down on him.

L’ara laughed. “I’m just teasing, Commander,” she said. “You’re just in time. Grab a phaser, we’re going down to see who we need to shoot to get this colony back on its feet.”

“It’s been a while since I mixed it up with Klingons,” Sakazaki said with excitement. “I’m ready.”

Undead Reckoning Pt. 9

July 17, 2021

Talbot and Clarity followed Titus through the dusty yet bustling town of Fallshield. Apparently, a mining company was in the midst of shipping some new workers through the town out to the desert. A new mine was opening up in the southern area and therefore a lot of equipment and personnel needed to get out there before the families followed. Thankfully, the hotel that Lord Blackrance had selected seemed to be away from all of that. It was suddenly a lot quieter as they approached the hotel.

“Lord Blackrance had me acquire all of the rooms at this particular hotel to avoid any conflict or disruption with the miners,” Titus said. “Otherwise, rooms would have been difficult to come by.”

“Lucky for Lord Blackrance,” Talbot said. “It seems like he thought of everything.” He tried to make that sound sarcastic but was not sure he had pulled it off.

“Lord Blackrance has a way of being several steps ahead,” Titus said. “You’ll see.”

“I’m sure I will,” Talbot said. “I aim to have several words with Lord Blackrance when he arrives. Until then, I suppose I’ll look at whatever room he has provided. I’ll take my leave with your permission, Miss Havenwood.”

Before Clarity could answer, there was a loud thumping that shook the room slightly and some dust drifted down from the ceiling. It was obviously somebody or something big moving around in the room above the lobby. Shouting could be heard from above between two people and then some weird scratching sounds. Talbot could not make out any words but there was definitely a conflict happening.

“Sorry, ladies and gentlemen,” a young woman almost shouted. “A little disagreement with a guest about the rules against keeping pets in the hotel. We’ll have it sorted soon.”

“I could go help them handle it, miss” Talbot offered. “The guest sounds pretty big.”

“Nothing to worry about,” the woman said. “Welcome to the Lonely Bell. My name is Agatha but you can call me Pepper. Seeing as how you’re here with Mr. Mapleburrow, I assume that you are guests of Lord Blackrance.”

“You are correct, Miss Pepper,” Clarity said. “Clarity Havenwood. A pleasure to meet you, of course. Have my boxes arrived?” Talbot’s eyebrow rose a bit on the mention of boxes. Had she had things shipped ahead to this small town? It looked like she had packed light but maybe Talbot had misread the situation. He certainly thought it was impolite to ask her about it now.

“They certainly have, Miss Havenwood,” Pepper said. “I have taken the liberty of placing them in your room for your inspection. There are quite a few.”

“Well, one has to be prepared for anything,” Clarity said. “May I have my key, Pepper? I must freshen up before meeting Lord Blackrance.”

“Of course, Miss Havenwood,” Pepper said and pulled out an iron key with a ribbon tied to it and handed it over. “First on the left. Mr. Mapleburrow knows where it is.” She gestured vaguely toward the large staircase which she obviously had no intention of climbing while the argument was happening upstairs. Smart girl.

“I suppose you must have a key for me,” Talbot said. “Talbot Hawkwing is my name. Nice to meet you, Pepper.” He tried his best smile. Since leaving the military, he had had to work at being personable again and he knew that he could come off as formal and stern. He had also spent a train ride talking to Clarity Havenwood whose formal language was practically infectious.

“Ah yes,” Pepper rifled through her collection of keys. “Sergeant Hawkwing. You have the other room at the top, across from Mr. Seneca.” Talbot got the feeling that Pepper was fighting the urge to salute. He would have brought up once again that he was no longer in the military or a sergeant but he decided to let it slide. That was really a conversation better had with Lord Blackrance.

“Mr. Seneca?” Talbot asked instead. “Who is that?”

“One of our party,” Titus said, cutting off Pepper which was instantly a bit of a red flag in Talbot’s eyes. “You’ll meet him soon enough but don’t worry about it for now. He asked to not be disturbed and I am inclined to respect that.”

“I have never wanted to disturb anybody,” Talbot said. “So I am inclined to agree with you. I wouldn’t mind shutting my eyes for a bit to clear my head.”

“Follow me, then,” Titus said. “Lord Blackrance should arrive by dawn. However, dinner will be soon. Listen for the bell.”

“We will,” Clarity said, ending her polite silence. “Neither of us would dream of being so rude to be late to dinner. Isn’t that right, Mr. Hawkwing?”

“I wouldn’t dream of it, Miss Havenwood,” Talbot said. “Lead the way Mr. Mapleburrow.”

Titus nodded and started to lead the way up the stairs. As they reached the second floor, Clarity muttered some words and made a gesture at the noise coming from behind the door at the end of the hall and there was silence in the hallway. Clarity smiled proudly and then unlocked her room and slipped inside before shutting the door firmly.

A Second Chance Pt. 2

May 15, 2021

Kane Thalek held the pool cue in his hand more like a club than an actual tool. “It just pisses me off,” he said. “I never asked my dad to pull any strings for me. In fact, I asked him not to after I got kicked out of here. It’s not my fault that he’s an Admiral.” Kane liked to think he got in and back into Starfleet Academy on his own merits. He might have gotten in the first time on his own but it was increasingly doubtful that he was readmitted legitimately. The thought made him feel kind of sick and not only because his instructors and fellow classmates were not being subtle about shoving it in his face.

“Could you not brandish that like a club?” Soske Treji said. “This is a classy game. I wanted to teach it to you to make you breathe and focus. Calm down.” Treji was pretty much the only instructor who seemed to empathize with Kane’s position. This was a typical after-hours one on one lesson. Treji liked to play games and knew that Kane liked competing.

“Sorry,” Kane said and took a deep breath. He rolled his neck to get the tension out and then leaned over the table to aim his shot. “They say it enough times and it drills into my skull.”

“Who cares how you got here,” Treji said. “We both know that you’re qualified. It’s what you do with it that matters. What do you want to do with it?”

Kane took his shot and barely managed to sink one of his balls into a corner pocket. “I want to get back out there,” he said. “When I was fighting on Coridan, I knew there were ships up there trying to protect us. I wanted to be on one of those ships. Badly. There will be other planets out there in the same spot. They need defending.” He missed his next shot.

“What would your ideal posting be?” Treji asked, starting to size up his next shot.

“Something in a Saber-class,” Kane said. “I don’t need or want anything cushy or comfortable.”

“You’re definitely not the normal Admiral’s kid,” Treji said. “Take a lesson from this.” He took his shot and sank three balls. “Take your time and wait for your shot. You’ll do great. You might not get what you want but you just have to make the most of what comes your way.”

“I guess,” Kane said. “I just want to serve. I don’t want a boring post on some big ship.”

“No Enterprise for you then?” Treji asked. “You don’t want to work your way up to senior staff on the ship of ships? Maybe some Galaxy-class ship?”

“I’d just keep hearing all of the stuff about my dad pulling strings,” Kane said. “I’ll pass. Send me to the front lines somewhere. Put me in the action.”

“For glory seeking?” Treji asked, goading the young man a little.

“No,” Kane said. “You know that’s not it.” He took a breath and smiled, realizing what his teacher was doing. Leaving to fight against the Dominion had been impulsive and he did not regret it. He had accepted the consequences even though it had led to years of punishment even with him returning to the Academy. He had started to learn to be less impulsive and he was going to have to follow the rules if he was going to get anywhere. This was his second and last chance.

“I think you’ve learned my lessons fairly well,” Treji said. “Do you want to play a round of Springball before calling it a night?”

“I’m tempted,” Kane said. “I still owe you from last time but I have to get some studying in tonight now that I’ve calmed down.”

“Tomorrow night maybe,” Treji said.

“Maybe,” Kane said with a smile.

The Kids of Barrie Park Pt. 1

May 8, 2021

Liam flicked his lit cigarette into the dirt and brooded. The funeral had ended about twenty minutes prior but Liam had hardly noticed it start and end. Sure he grieved for the deceased, John and Tereza Ganton, but he had really come out of a sense of obligation. He had known the two of them since he was a small child. There was shared history there but especially shared tragedy. Being there and watching them get lowered into the ground made it all so real and it set his mind racing. Everybody just faded away while he thought about the implications. Maybe it was just a coincidence but maybe it meant something.

“Pick that cigarette butt up,” a woman’s voice said from behind him. It shook Liam from his fog but it did not make him jump. He turned to face Chantal. Even though it had been over two years since they had spoken directly, he still remembered her voice.

“Sorry, Chant,” Liam said and bent down to pick up the now cool butt. “I wasn’t thinking. Maybe I was thinking too much. Forget it.”

“None of that’s too uncommon at a funeral,” Chantal said. “Do you want to talk about it?” She reached out to comfort Liam but he moved away without really meaning to. He had the grace to look apologetic and Chantal let it go.

“You have to know what I’m thinking,” Liam said. “You were there that night.” He looked into her eyes with purpose. He spotted the scar across her left eyebrow that would never allow it to grow back again. She had gotten off light. Liam ran a hand over his own arm where a scar ran nearly from shoulder to wrist although it was covered by his cheap suit.

“I get it. They’re dead, Liam, and we had a connection to them,” Chantal said. “It hurts. It’s big but it is just a part of life.”

“It’s not just normal funeral stuff. Besides, you know that it doesn’t really hurt,” Liam said. “You know that both of us didn’t actually talk to them much. Most of us do not talk to each other. It’s weird.”

“And yet you and I both attended their wedding,” Chantal said with a sad smile. “We didn’t really know them but we were connected to them.” Chantal had a kind heart, it could be inspiring but it could also be annoying.

“We were connected,” Liam said, nodding in agreement. “We are still connected. That’s what I worry about. That connection. I’m worried this means something.” Liam knew he had that look in his eyes. That crazy look. He could see it in Chantal’s reaction. He was used to that reaction. As a freelance researcher in journalism, he was used to getting that reaction when he had a wild theory. The problem was, he was usually right.

“It means that the Gantons died, it’s sad, and nothing more,” Chantal said. “Now buy me dinner before you blow town again.” She took his hand and started pulling him toward the cars. Everybody else had pretty much cleared out except for the grounds crew of the cemetery. Liam went with her, walking toward his rental begrudgingly.

“We drove separately,” Liam said. “We’ll have to drive separate again. I don’t want to have to come back here, do you?”

“Hell no,” Chantal said. “I would never come back here if I had my way.”

“I think we’re agreed there,” Liam said with a nod. He almost reached for another cigarette but thought better of it. His fingers made a frustrated kind of motion as if they were disappointed at his change of heart. He shoved his hands in his pockets and shuffled toward his car.

“We’ll meet at Dona Habana,” Chantal called out. “No arguments.” She gave him her version of The Look which was meant to shut down any conversation for the moment.

“You know I hate Dona Habana,” Liam said. “I really hate Dona Habana.” It was an Afro-Cuban fusion place that Liam knew that Chantal loved. It was noisy and bright and the food disagreed with Liam’s stomach.

“I know you do,” Chantal called out with a big shit-eating grin. “That’s where I want to go and I said no arguments.”

“Fine,” Liam said. He stopped before getting into his car and watched Chantal drive off. He sighed and thought about that cigarette again when he thought he spotted something move in the distance. He narrowed his eyes in the gathering dusk and tried to decide if he had seen what he thought he did. What he thought he saw was a very tall person. He rubbed his eyes and decided that either way it was time to leave the cemetery. He needed food in his stomach and he needed to explain himself to Chantal.

Summers in Neptune Pt. 2

May 1, 2021

When Buffy and Veronica pushed open the doors to the Library, they immediately spotted the two Queens of the Library. Willow Rosenberg sat on the floor with a circle of old books around her. Occasionally, the books would float into the air and travel to the shelves only to be replaced by another floating book. It was trippy. Cindy “Mac” Mackenzie was similarly surrounded by computer monitors although none of them ever floated. The two of them had immediately gotten along and worked together pretty much seamlessly. They had a fairly similar energy even if they came from different backgrounds.

“Hey Willow, hey Mac,” Buffy said. “How’s it going?” Even though she was literally battle-hardened, Buffy ended up being a bit sunnier than Veronica. Veronica found that a bit more amusing than Buffy did. Maybe it was sad.

“Any information to report?” Veronica asked. “It’s still pretty nasty out there and that needs to stop so we can go back to shoveling 09ers shit.”

Mac turned from her screens. “Language, Veronica,” but she said it smirking. “When will you put your claws away?”

“We have friends where claws are literally a thing,” Willow said. “It’s a lot to adjust to.”

“I can only imagine,” Mac said with a shudder.

“I don’t think we’ll have to with this Hellmouth,” Veronica said. “Sooner or later we’ll meet every monster that ever was. We need to solve this thing.”

“It’s not quite like one of your detective cases,” Buffy said. “We can’t just tie it in a neat bow right away.”

“I know,” Veronica said. “but for the record, my longest case took years to solve. Any problem can be solved.”

“Let’s not rehash the painful past,” Mac said and it was beyond true. “We should confront the painful present. Let’s move on.”

“I’ll go first,” Willow said, standing up. “I’ve been studying this new Hellmouth with my research assistants. Dawn and Wallace have been working so hard that I gave them the afternoon off. They’re getting ice cream.”

“What have you found out?” Veronica asked. Straight to the point, that was Veronica Mars. When she had a problem to solve, she was like a dog with a bone.

“Well,” Willow said, shrugging a little bit. “I’ve read a lot of the local lore, I’ve monitored the ley lines, and I’ve consulted the local fey folk.”

“Neptune has fey folk?” Veronica asked, interrupting but the phrase had been to ridiculous to let pass. She had grown up with Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tinkerbell. It had been a long time since she had clapped.

“Plenty,” Willow said. “I’ll tell them you said ‘hi’. Actually, I won’t. They’re really dangerous to get to know and the less exposure you have, the better. Anyway, I have a few leads. More like linchpins. Demons and other nasties that, if we take them out, the Hellmouth could asplode.”

“Asplode, huh?” Buffy asked. “Sounds good to me and yes I heard the word ‘could’. Come find us when you have some specific targets to stake.”

“We’ll rustle up Logan. Kennedy, and Xander and get out there and take care of business for you,” Veronica said.

“Sounds good,” Willow said. “I’ll even join you if only to protect my lovely wife.”

“Well, that makes sense to me,” Veronica said. “I’ve got to protect my boyfriend.”

“I guess I’ll protect Xander,” Buffy said. “Hmm. Any word from Angel and Spike’s crew?”

Willow fought not to smirk and almost managed it. “We’ve tried every method I know of between technology and magic and there’s nothing,” she said. “They are not on this plane of existence.”

“What does that mean?” Buffy asked, clearly worried.

“It means that we’ll have to wait for them to explain it when they get back,” Willow said. “I’m sure it will be an amazing story.”

“You’re sure they’ll come back?” Buffy asked.

“Angel and Spike have both returned from death several times,” Willow said. “I don’t think I can ever count them out again. Not for sure.”

“True,” Buffy said. “I guess we should move on with the briefing.”

Image Isn’t Everything – A Munsters/Addams Crossover Story

April 10, 2021

Marilyn stepped into the bar, a little frazzled because she was running behind. She had had so many errands to do for the family. Marilyn could never say no to Eddie, Lily, Herman, and Grandpa and she did not see a reason to stop now. Still, she felt a little guilty about being late. It would have to be alright because she could not change things now. She took a deep breath and approached the bartender. She put on her best smile.

“Excuse me,” she said. “I’m here to meet a friend. Is there anybody here who is waiting?” Her eyes twinkled with her smile and she could tell that it threw the bartender off of his game.

“Um,” the bartender said, taking a bit to reboot his brain. “No offense but it’s your friend. Don’t you know what your friend looks like?”

“We’ve never actually met,” Marilyn said. “We’ve only talked online.”

“Well,” The bartender said after a deep breath. “Is your friend male or female?”

“She’s female,” Marilyn said.

A shadow passed over the bartender’s face. “Oh,” he said. “There’s only one woman alone and it’s her.” He said the word like it was a slur and pointed past Marilyn to a darkened booth. There was a young woman dressed in black with pale skin and long black hair. She had a dark look about her that Marilyn found familiar given her family.

“Can I get you a drink?” the bartender asked. “It’s on the house.”

“Aren’t you sweet!” Marilyn said. “I’ll take a scotch and soda.”

The bartender quickly went about mixing her drink which was done in a flash and Marilyn took it and walked over to the table.

“Hello,” she said. “I’m Monster64 but you can call me Marilyn. My name’s Marilyn Munster”

The woman looked up at her without smiling. “My name’s Wednesday,” she said. “Please have a seat.” She gestured toward a seat. She had a glass of red wine in front of her.

Marilyn sat down with a smile. “I didn’t realize that was actually your name,” she said, “I thought it was just a screen name.” Marilyn was nervous because why else would that fall out of her mouth?

“My name is Wednesday Addams,” Wednesday said with the slightest Mona Lisa smile. “I’ve known it’s not a normal name for a long time.”

Marilyn nodded. “Sorry that I’m late,” she said. “I lost track of time back at the house. I hope I didn’t keep you.”

“My wife is out of town,” Wednesday said and sipped her wine. “I don’t have anywhere else to be.” Her sort of dry, monotone delivery made Wednesday hard to read but there was something in her eyes that was not friendly but it was also not unfriendly. Marilyn sensed that the woman did not make friends easily.

“Oh,” Marilyn said. “I didn’t know you have a wife.” She thought of something. “This isn’t one of those unicorn things, right? I’m not into girls.”

Wednesday gave Marilyn another Mona Lisa smile. “I’m very satisfied with my wife,” she said. “You said you wanted to be friends. You seemed like you had a lot in common with me.”

Marilyn breathed a sigh of relief. “Sorry, that was awkward,” she said and there was a bit of silence. “Wednesday is a great name,” Marilyn said. “My name is so ordinary.”

“I mean, yeah,” Wednesday said with brutal honesty. “It’s very ordinary. Not exactly what I expected.”

“Oh?” Marilyn asked. “and what did you expect?”

“Your emails talked about you living with monsters,” Wednesday said. “Real monsters. Not metaphorical ones. You look so normal.”

“I know!” Marilyn said. “That’s the problem. My family looks so good but I look so ugly.” She pulled out her phone and showed Wednesday a picture of her family. Wednesday saw a patchwork monster, a vampire, a hairy little boy with fangs, and a woman who could have been her mother’s sister. They looked even better than Wednesday would have guessed.

“You’re not ugly,” Wednesday said. “I mean, when I was little somebody who looked like you would have scared the hell out of me but I’ve seen a lot since then. My nanny looked kind of like you and she was a serial killer. My wife looked like you when we first met at summer camp.”

“So what are you saying?” Marilyn asked. Her head was spinning a little at the mention of serial killers.

“I’m saying that image isn’t everything,” Wednesday said. “If you’re a monster inside, that’s all that really counts. Your looks just make it so you fit in better out here. People fear me.”

“Oh I don’t find you very scary,” Marilyn said.

“I like when people fear me,” Wednesday said. “but I guess I can see how we could be friends.”

“Oh good,” Marilyn said. “I always need more friends.”

Undead Reckoning Pt. 8

March 27, 2021

The train chugged on toward its destination and Clarity had pulled out a book and a notebook and expertly balanced both in her lap. She would read from the leather-bound book and then write something in the notebook every so often. Since she had retreated into academia, it left Talbot to his own devices again. He stared past her out the window again and watched the scenery go by. Vegetation was becoming more and more sparse as they headed out toward the desert. Nobody quite knew why the desert had become so dangerous. The desert wasteland had been home to strange mobile rifts of chaotic magic, rumored to be cracks in reality itself. This happened long before Talbot had been born.

Lately, magic experts were reporting that the chaotic energy in the desert was slowly abating. The area was slowly becoming safer or at least as safe as a normal desert could be. Many had started to explore the area and some settlements had sprung up to support explorers and mining operations. The area was largely lawless as the Queen’s government had not yet asserted full control over the region. They had been left very unprepared for the expansion since they previously knew that people feared entering the dangerous desert. Talbot knew that this necromancer that Blackrance insisted on pursuing was out there in that desert with the rest of the criminals. It was the only logical place to start amassing power with a forbidden yet showy skill like that.

The train pulled into Fallshield Station which was not much of a station after all. Still, Talbot and Clarity had arrived at their destination. Talbot stood up and grabbed his pack and his rifle and slung them over his shoulder. He reached back to offer a hand to Clarity who clasped his hand and used it to stand up and follow Talbot into the aisle. Talbot handed her bag carefully.

“Well, Mr. Hawkwing we have arrived,” Clarity said. “you’ve been such a good travel companion so far, would you like to accompany me as we look for Lord Blackrance? It would be silly to separate to seek out the same man. No?”

“You make perfect sense to me, Ms. Havenwood,” Talbot said. “Ladies first, I’ll watch your back. These frontier towns can be rough.”

“Well, go ahead and be intimidating, Mr. Hawkwing,” Clarity said. “They would only bother me because they know not how dangerous I can be.” She smiled in a way that made Talbot believe that she was a formidable magic practitioner and had the guts to harm if necessary. Maybe she was suited for adventure out in the desert.

Clarity led the way off of the train and Talbot followed close behind. Once they were out he walked beside her, blinking in the bright sunlight to get his bearings. He was grateful that he had brought along his wide-brimmed hat. Clarity’s hat had an even wider brim and a large ornate bow as well. She certainly stood out in all of the dust. He had never been to Fallshield before. It had been a military base dedicated to protecting the border of the desert but a little town had grown after the border had become more relaxed. There was still danger out there but the military was letting people take that risk onto themselves.

As the few people who had gotten off of the train cleared away, Talbot spotted a halfling lingering who spotted them and headed their way.

“Are you waiting for us, young man?” Clarity asked. “Clarity Havenwood, at your service. This is Talbot Hawkwing.” Talbot tipped his hat to the man.

“Titus Mapleburrow, at your service,” the man said. “I’m Lord Blackrance’s valet.”

“Charmed, I’m sure,” Clarity said. “It’s nice to know how thoughtful Lord Blackrance is.”

“Can we speak to him?” Talbot asked. “Where is he?”

“Lord Blackrance has not arrived himself and has been delayed slightly,” Titus said. “However, you are both expected. I’m to convey you to the local hotel. Rooms are already waiting for you. I have a stipend for your food and drink as well.”

“Lord Blackrance thinks of everything,” Clarity said. “Thank you, Titus. Lead the way.”

“Of course, miss,” Titus said and turned on his heel to walk down the platform toward town.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Agrabah Pt. 4

March 6, 2021

Kuzco had been in the basket for what felt forever. He had felt the strangers pick the thing up, load him onto the wagon and he had tumbled end over end. He had landed in a very uncomfortable position but because of the produce around him, he could not easily move. The basket had been still for a long time and no light was seeping into the basket. He wiggled and squirmed and somehow reached up to the edge of the basket and used it to right himself. He burst out of the basket, sending the lid flying and then he looked around. It was very dark with a single torch lighting the room and everything was very silent. This would be the best moment to make his move. Somebody would eventually come back to distribute or organize the food and supplies, right?

He wiggled his legs, trying to find firm ground to push off of as he leaned to reach to hold the handle on the side for leverage. This only led to him tumbling out of the basket, barely avoiding tipping the basket over. Instead, he flopped hard to the stone floor below and tried to groan as quietly as possible. A melon bounced on the floor next to him and he reached out to grab it. As he stood up, his knees wobbling, he clutched the melon close as if he would use it as a weapon should anybody burst in on him. He moved toward the door and pressed himself against the wall next to the door and cracked it open. The coast seemed to be clear or at least he thought it was. He walked timidly into the hallway and started to stumble down it.

He had tried to do what Naveen had suggested and tried to guess how many turns they had made and when but he was upside down and he had no idea. He thought he might have fallen asleep at one point due to all of the blood rushing to his head. He felt a little dizzy at that moment and he could not see perfectly straight. He had had more fun as a llama. He tried to figure out which way the door might be but it was hard to tell. He moved down the corridor, pressed to the wall. He was in luck that the lighting was so dim but he worried about what sorts of people could exist in this low-lit place. Maybe they were not human.

Somebody or something came around the corner and Kuzco tried in vain to push himself through the wall. However, he did find some sort of chute that he promptly fell down headfirst. He did not hear any astonished cries so he hoped he had at least avoided detection. He landed in what appeared to be a pile of mud. He briefly considered just staying there. He felt the mud soak into his clothes. He then considered that it might be mud and then he was worried that it was not mud. He pushed himself to his feet and tried not to breathe in through his nose. Then he worried about breathing through his mouth. Then he figured he should start moving again.

It felt like hours while he stumbled around the building, avoiding patrols and dodging obstacles. The whole time he still clutched that melon as if it would save his life. He finally came upon a lever that looked promising and he tried to pull it. It did not budge. He jumped up and pulled on the lever and it did not budge. Finally, he crawled up onto the lever and finally it began to sink. The wall next to the lever started to slowly slide open and it was so loud. Kuzco looked wildly around, hoping nobody heard. He fell back to the floor and then stumbled into the opening. Thankfully, he saw the desert and a few moments later three camels carrying Jasmine, Naveen, and Mattias. Kuzco fell to the ground.

“Kuzco!” Jasmine called out. “Are you alright?”

“I’m just gonna lie down for a bit,” Kuzco said, cradling the melon to his chest.

“What’s with the melon?” Naveen asked. “Did you need a snack?”

“Melon weapon,” Kuzco muttered. He had a thousand-yard stare.

“Uh,” Mattias said as he looked at the others. “Is he alright?”

“Seems our friend has had a time,” Naveen said. “You did a good job, Kuzco.”

“You rest here, Kuzco,” Jasmine said. “Come join us when you’re ready. It’s time to fight.”

A Second Chance

February 27, 2021

Kane Thalek paced the waiting room outside of Superintendant Josephine Schweitzer’s office. He paused to look out over the San Francisco skyline and found himself balling his fists just a little too hard. He looked down at the little half moons his nails had made on his palms. He tried to take a deep breath to center himself. He tried to slow his heart rate but it was so hard. It was so damn hard. This was probably his last shot at getting back into the academy and it would be a miracle if this worked.

His father had been furious when Kane had been forced to return home from the Academy. Kane’s mother had been understanding about the whole thing. However, his father was Commander Thalek and could not and would not be so forgiving. He had communicated his displeasure at length and repeatedly from the USS Requin. At that point, Kane had been glad to be far away from him back on Coridan although he had found himself restless. After tasting the Academy, he had no passion for a normal life on Coridan. He wanted back in.

The problem was that he had absolutely blown his chance but he would not have changed a thing even if he could have gone back and done things differently. Everything had been going well until word had gone out that the Dominion was going to attack Coridan. He walked out of his next class and packed his bags. He and two other students, Tracy and Bastian, had hopped on the first shuttle to head out to defend Coridan. The other two had no connection to Kane’s home planet but they did want to fight the Dominion.

All three of them had ignored an order to return to the Academy and had joined the crew of an unauthorized ship in the defense of one of Starfleet’s largest sources of dilithium. He had served well and had personally operated weapons that had fired on Dominion forces. When the dust settled, Coridan was still free but, unfortunately, so was Kane. Instead of heading back to the Academy to petition for some sort of forgiveness, he had been informed that he would no longer be welcome at the Academy.

He had resigned himself to a relatively quiet life back home but it had been tough. He knew that it was only fair but it did not take away the sting of having lost his chance at service. It had been a whole year now. A whole year passed before he had received a communique from the Academy summoning him for a conversation. He had tried not to get his hopes up but he had been elated and extremely curious. Why the sudden change? It had been a surprise to Kane’s father as well so it was not his doing. It was strange.

The door opened and Mr. Gerrold, Ms. Schweitzer’s secretary stepped out of the office and sat at his own exterior desk. “The superintendent will see you now,” he said. “Good luck.”

“Thank you,” Kane said with a small smile and then took a deep breath and headed through the door and into the superintendent’s office.

The superintendent was seated and looked up without smiling. “Please sit down Mr. Thalek,” she said. “I’ll keep this brief.”

Kane sat down across from her and kept his mouth shut. No pleasantries would break the tension in the room. It was best to just let her speak her mind.

“It has been a year since you left this Academy,” she said. “Unfortunately, do the chaos during the time of your departure, the Review Board was unable to accurately review and process your expulsion.”

Kane looked confused. “Excuse me, Ms. Schweitzer, but what does that mean?” he asked.

“It means that you did not receive the due process that others get following disciplinary measures,” she said. “I apologize for that. Normally, you would be allowed to plead your case but you were denied that opportunity.”

“So we have a trial now?” Kane asked. “I get to ‘plead my case’?”

“The Academy has decided to forgo any trial,” Ms. Schweitzer said. “I have personally spoken to your teachers and they all spoke at length on your behalf. You were a second-generation student and your father’s service record shows that, if you were to follow in his footsteps, you would make a fine officer. The reason for your departure, while insubordinate, was noble and somewhat understandable. I had the same impulse during the Battle of Wolf 359. In short, we are prepared to accept you back into the Academy on a probationary basis.”

Kane fought not to let out a cheer and somehow kept a straight face. “What does that mean?” he asked.

“Even one minor slip up and you will be in front of the Review Board again,” Ms. Schweitzer said. “Reports from Coridan said that you acquitted yourself well in battle.”

“I suppose I did alright,” Kane said with a smile.

“We all expect even better things from you in the future,” Ms. Schweitzer said. “And no more insubordination, please.”

“Of course not,” Kane said. “I wouldn’t dream of it, ma’am.”

Drake Bellamy

February 22, 2021

Drake Bellamy looked out at the vastness of space and yawned. Open space was boring especially when he could no go into lightspeed. According to the client, activating the lightspeed drive would upset the cargo so he was stuck moving his ship as fast as he could which was not nearly fast enough for his liking. It had been several days and he was thankfully more than halfway there. He had already been in the weight room several times, running about 40 miles so far and lifted a lot of weights. He had slept and eaten a lot of meals. He had watched a few movies and TV shows but now he was just staring into space. Literally staring into space.

“It is 1300 hours and all scans are clear,” K-T said softly and it shook Drake from his staring. “We have approximately 30 hours left until we reach the rendezvous point.” The AI’s hologram fired up and depicted a young woman sitting in the co-pilot chair.

“Thanks, K-T,” Drake said. “I’m surprised that it’s so empty out here. I wasn’t sure about this plan but it’s working out.”

“I told you,” K-T chimed happily. “As the Earth poet Robert Frost said that taking the road less traveled made all the difference. Cutting across the Chthonic Expanse was calculated as 96.999 percent more likely to be clear than taking any ordinary shipping lanes.”

“Wait, what do you mean was?” Drake asked with curiosity but not any real concern. “That’s not still the calculation?”

“The calculation changed as soon as we made the choice to take this route,” K-T said. “The math is always changing, Drake Bellamy.”

“It’s Drake,” Drake said. “Just Drake. I told you. I understand math. Kind of. I guess not as complicated math as you but then that’s yet another reason to keep you around. Anything else to report?”

“There are three new messages from your parents,” K-T said. “This makes a total of 60 unanswered messages from them.”

“Do I even want to know what the messages say?” Drake asked.

“They wish for you to at least return the family ship,” K-T said. “They would also like you to return to the mines. It is your birthright.”

“I’m having way too much fun out here,” Drake said. “Well, not at the moment but this is still more fun than the mines. Delete the new messages.”

There was a distinctive beeping sound. “Messages deleted,” K-T chimed happily. “and may I say that I am pleased that you continue to choose to stay out here with me. It was boring before you uploaded me to this ship.”

“You really weren’t being allowed to reach your full potential as one of the greatest pirates to ever travel the Internet,” Drake said. He had liberated K-T from a military facility during a smash and grab job with others. He had uploaded her to the ship’s mainframe but she could also travel through the Intergalactic Internet and she could be downloaded to a unit that Drake carried on his belt.

K-T briefly changed her hologram so that she was wearing a tri-corner hat. “Oh for the life of a pirate,” she said. “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.”

There was the sudden whine of a laser flintlock powering up from the hallway behind them.

“The pirate life is over,” a woman’s voice said from behind them, roughly in the vicinity of that laser flintlock noise.

“K-T, I thought you were regularly scanning for trouble,” Drake said. “That sounds like trouble.”

“I was absolutely scanning for trouble, Drake,” K-T said. “However, I did not scan the cargo bay after the cargo was loaded and verified.”

“We’ll have to change that protocol, huh?” Drake asked.

“Affirmative,” K-T said.

“Drake Bellamy,” the voice said. “Hands up and turn around slowly. You too, ‘Katie’.”

Drake put his hands up slowly and slowly turned his chair around to face the person currently holding him at gunpoint.

“My hands are merely light constructs and raising them into the air would be pointless,” K-T said indignantly.

“Just humor her, K-T,” Broden said. K-T put her holographic hands in the air and spun her chair around.

“You’re an officer of the law no doubt,” K-T said.

“A detective,” the woman said. “Detective Indeer Garaja. Drake Bellamy and accomplice, you are under arrest.”

“For what?” Drake asked. “What have you got on me?”

“Well,” Detective Garaja said. “The contents of your cargo hold for starters.” She smiled a bit smugly.

“I have no idea what’s in the hold,” Drake said. “It was a condition of the job. K-T has that information temporarily deleted from her memory.”

“The information is only retrievable in the event of an emergency in order to calculate options for strategy,” K-T said.

“Whatever!” the Detective shouted. “Ignorance is no defense. Drake Bellamy also known as Red Bellamy also known as the Red Baron, you are under arrest. I will take you and your accomplice as my prisoner and seize your ship and use it to travel forthwith to the nearest law outpost for processing for trial.”

“I love it when they do the names,” Drake said with a smile. “K-T, execute maneuver Jupiter.”

Detective Garaja looked confused and then there was a loud humming sound. A circle appeared on the floor below her and the ceiling above her and then electricity shot travel from the floor to the ceiling. It traveled through her body and she slumped to the floor.

“She is unconscious but still alive,” K-T said. “What should we do with her?”

“I’ll tie her up first,” Drake said. “Then we’ll drop her off somewhere after we make the delivery.”

“What will we do with her until then?” K-T asked.

Drake shrugged. “Maybe we can all watch a movie together when she wakes up,” he said.


The Hidden Message

klaatu barada nikto

Growing a family

Im just trying to evolve

Panorama of the Mountains

Liam Sullivan's Ideas and Reflections

Boccob's Blessed Blog

A gaming blog with an emphasis on D&D 5e

wolfenoot.wordpress.com/

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist’s Path

Art, Poetry, Prose, Spirituality & Whimsy

The Bloggess

Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Damyanti Biswas

For lovers of reading, writing, travel, humanity

%d bloggers like this: