Category Archives: aliens

AeroQuest 4… Canto 103

Canto 103 – Star Command

“So, Grand Admiral Cloudstalker, how does it feel to be in command of an entire Space Navy?” Tron asked, only half in jest.

“Grand Admiral?  Really?  Aren’t we being a touch pretentious here?”

“Arkin, we started a rebellion against the Imperial Order.  We have to have a new order ready in case we actually have to run an interstellar empire.”

Arkin was wearing a white cowboy hat from his Pan Galactican days.  It was pulled forward and down enough to make him look angry when he glared directly into your eyes.  Or, rather, one real eye and one prosthetic.  Tron blinked his real eye.

“I have every confidence in you, my friend.  You started the Lady Knights from scratch.  You designed and built the first White Sword Corsairs.  You recruited all the best female star pilots that the stupid Imperium wouldn’t even look at.  You fought the Faceless Horde for a decade and never really lost a battle.”

“We didn’t lose because when we didn’t have overwhelming odds in our favor, we ran away like cowards.”

“You were a privateer, for gawd’s sakes,” swore Tron with a rather lame swear.  “You never swore an oath to die in battle for old Tang when all you stood to get out of it was what money and tech you could loot from the enemy.  And those Faceless Scondians didn’t have anything we could use once we looted it.”

“You didn’t swear an oath either Tron, and you lost an eye and nearly lost your beloved Maggie.  Razor Conn lost his entire goddam home planet, along with all of his family.”

“But you do have to admit, we were all space warriors from birth.  We did it because it was what we were born to do.  Scondians and Imperials be damned!”

“Yeah, I suppose you have a point.  You designed and created Pinwheel Corsairs, and old Razor made the first Blackhawks.”

“We put together some really fine fighting forces, didn’t we?  You with Apache Scout and Tabitha Blue -Arrow, me with King Killer, Elvis the Cruel, and Scheherazade.”

“Now, right there is one of the things that worries me most.  We were in the middle of a life-and-death fight when we picked out the cream of the cream.  These alien rookie-things that are supposed to fill our new fleets… I mean, can King possibly train them in simulators to a point where they will survive a first battle with the fleets of the Imperium when we face Admiral Tang?”

“You know I believe in King Killer.”

“But these green alien troops?  Rock men?  Squid men?  Goofy-looking, big-finger men?”

“Well, if humans can do it…”

“But these alien pilots can’t.  They do fine in the simulators, but then they get into a starship made with Ancient technology, and the first thing they do is crash into each other, blow up the ships, and die a horrible death.”

“Well, the humans from Don’t Go Here…”

“…Can’t fly worth snergle poop either!”

“But the original crew of Megadeath…” 

“Have you talked to those morons in person, Tron?  They are the dumbest collection of numb-noggins in the universe!  And that Vince Niell!  He is a pilot only because his ship does most of the hard flying for him.”

“So, what you are saying is…  our rookies are all too smart to be piloting these Ancient-tech starships?  We need to be training them to be dumber and let the ships do the hard parts?”

“Hmm… now that you mention it, that is sorta the one thing we haven’t tried yet.  We need to train them to empty their minds and not overthink things.  Let the starship do its own thing?”

Both Tron and Arkin stared at each other in horror at the revelation.  They had been going about it totally wrong.  Pick dumber guys as pilots.  Tell them to think less and let the ship itself do more.  Could it really be that simple?

Of course not!  Are you dense, dear reader? They merely thought it was that simple.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 102

Canto 102- How to Fly a Dinosaur

Things were a bit crazy on the surface of Outpost as the airless planet began preparing for the coming space battle with Admiral Tang and the Imperial Fleet.  But King Killer was certain it had to be like eating cake and ice cream down there compared to what he had to do up in orbit.

He paced back and forth in front of the ten pilots he had lined up on the flight deck of his command ship.

“You men are the cream of the crop of new pilots.  You are already designated as wing commanders.  And the ranks of ship captains and vice admirals above you are completely empty and waiting to be filled.  And yet, between the ten of you, you have already crashed twenty ships.  And you are lucky those were these bulky Triceratops cruisers.  Their Ancient tech makes them practically indestructible and easy to repair. Every pilot who has crashed a Pterosaur fighter so far, all two hundred and fifty-three of them, are dead.  And their ships are destroyed.”

All five cavemen from Don’t Go Here, and all three M’uduai from what King was calling Squidworld, and the idiot from Geogenesis, and the rockman from Dekastria nodded their stupid heads at the same time.

“Do you actually understand me?  Or do your heads just do that because you see the others do it?”

“Yes, Admiral Killer, Sir!” they chimed in unison.

“Zukkuua. Kuakuua Killer, Kua!” shouted the rockman who didn’t know Galactic English yet.

“You mean, yes, you understand me?  Or, yes, you are just imitating the others?”

“We understand you, Admiral Killer, sir!”

“Slikka ku Kikk kik?” said the rockman.  Then he appeared to be thinking about it.  “Zukkuua, Kuakuua Killer, Kua!”

“What did he say?” King asked.

“He said he understands, but wonders if you understand him?” said the caveman in the thick reading glasses.

“Teach him Galactic English, dammit!”

“Uh, yessir!  Admiral Killer, sir!”

“Okay, now, these men will be your teachers, as they are some of the finest pilots anywhere on the frontier.”

King indicated the three pilots standing behind him.

“Elvis the Cruel has more kills in battle than any other pilot I have ever heard about.  With the Pinwheel Corsairs he has killed more than nine hundred space ships and more than a thousand ground targets.”

Elvis stepped forward, gave a jaunty salute, and then said, with a cigarette stub hanging off his lip, “Thank ya, thank ya very much.”

All ten pilots clapped.

“Apache Scout has been the number-two pilot in the Lady Knights Corsair Band for fifteen years.  He was one of the most effective fighters in the First Battle of White Palm.  He also helped plan the overall battle plan for that invasion.”

The huge, well-muscled descendant of old Earth Apaches stepped forward and saluted with a stern face.

The pilots all saluted back and then clapped.

“And I hope the third trainer, Vince Niell will be the most help to you.  He started as a rookie pilot from Don’t Go Here.  He took up piloting aboard the first starship designed by Ancient technology, the Megadeath.  He has swiftly become a peerless pilot, maneuvering that ship in ways I have never seen done before.”

Vince, still wearing his mirrored sunglasses inside the spaceship’s fighter flight deck, stepped forward and saluted.

They all saluted back and clapped.

“Perhaps, Admiral Vince, you can tell us a little bit about how you learned to pilot your ship in combat?”

“Um… yeah, well, you see, sir…  um… Actually, the ship kinda taught me herself.  I kinda developed a close working relationship with my baby and she sorta does whatever I can picture in my head for her to do.”

“Wait a minute!”  King’s head was suddenly swimming in a sea of shock.  “You mean your ship is telepathic?”

“Um, yeah.  I think it’s kinda a feature of all these Ancient starships.  The Triceratops I tried out after Tron first brought them here seemed to read my mind as easily as the Megadeath does.”

King Killer hit his own forehead with his gloved fist.  Why was he just now hearing this?  He had a sudden urge to punch Dr. Hooey in the face again.  Too bad the stupid Time Knight was not present. And too bad the problem wasn’t really his fault.

“Willy!  Willy Culver!  Get out here this instant!”

The man who wasn’t supposed to survive the imprisonment on the planet Stanley came out of the tool room obediently.  King punched him in the eye and knocked him out cold.  King knew there was a good reason he had saved that man’s life.

“Okay.  You all heard Admiral Niell’s advice.  The next time you fly, think at your stupid starship until the damned thing thinks back!”   

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 101

Today’s post starts the next novel in the series I am making out of the disastrous novel I wrote and published in 2007. Being the part of the story undergoing the most rewriting, today’s post, as many of these posts will be, is a rough draft.

Canto 101 – Rimbaud Outstation

It was, by my reckoning, early morning when we came out of jump space at a deep-space location known only to pirates and corsairs.  The spot in deep space contained no stars or planets.  Only the huge, insanely-placed interstellar truck stop known as the Arthur Rimbaud Memorial Outstation and Weapons Storehouse.

Ham was in his usual pilot seat.  Sinbadh sat next to him in the co-pilot chair.  I was standing behind him with the cabin boy Sahleck next to me waiting for everybody’s breakfast orders.  Sinbadh wasn’t cooking for a change, so we were forced to contemplate synthesized foods from the material synthesizer that were only marginally edible at best.

“Tell me, Professor Marou, why is this thing named as a memorial to Arthur Rimbaud?  And who the heck was he?”

“If I remember correctly, Ham, he was a Nineteenth Century French poet and arms dealer who lived a debauched life, died young, and may have inspired the Surrealist movement in Art and Literature.”

We were looking out the front viewing portal at the outstation itself.  It was a brightly lit, transparent diamond shape, the central sun-source, located in the apex of the top pyramid, illuminating all the space and spaceships around it.  As we neared the equatorial docking bay, we noted that a badly damaged Blackhawk Corsair was being worked on there.

“Razor Conn, maybe?” Ham asked me, turning around to eyeball me.

“Shad Blackstone, more likely.  It has been through something terrible, though,” I said in a vast understatement.  “This is one of the safe points the Blackhawks and ships of the White Duke use when they are in trouble.”

“So, ye knew about this here place from yer White Duke connection, eh, Googol me boy?” said Sinbadh in his bad fake-pirate accent.

“Naturally.”

“Can you tell me what to punch in for breakfast?” asked Sahleck plaintively.

“Banana with peanut butter sandwich, my lad,” said Sinbadh.  “In fact, one for each of us blokes here.”

The Lupin boy scampered toward the galley.

“We can’t eat that drehk.  Why did you order that?” asked Ham.

“Yes, I thought Lupins didn’t like peanut butter on anything, because it sticks to the roof of your canine mouth,” I added.

“Ah, but it be the favored food of Elvis.  And besides, the synthesizer makes everything else on the menu taste like cattle poo.”

The Leaping Shadowcat cruised slowly into the docking bay and made a soft landing on the tarmac.

“Why does the sign over the door say Pray for him?” Ham asked.

“That’s what it says on Arthur Rimbaud’s tombstone.  I assume Banzai Joe wants you to know he is French and that he can provide wine, women, song, and bullets here, just like a dissolute poet.”

Three peanut butter and banana sandwiches later, we disembarked from the Shadowcat, the three of us plus Duke Ferrari.

When we got down from the exit ramp we were met on the tarmac by Banzai Joe himself along with three serving girls who wore only ribbons in their hair and a serving tray with drinks and aperitifs on their hands.

“Wha… why are these ladies naked?” asked Ham, blushing fiercely.

“Messieur, s’il vous plait, we are French, no?  And French spacemen are Classical Worlders, yes?  Appropriate raiment, c’est nue!”  Banzai Joe was a young-looking handsome guy with an oily manner.  He was fully dressed with a leather bomber’s jacket on with a rising-sun decoration on the front.

“We are not taking our clothes off for the sake of your silly religion, sir,” said Duke Ferrari with a rather stuffy air.

“Oui.  That is fair.  We have this station far away from the Classical Worlds.  Our staff are all nude.  But most of our guests, unless drunk or gambling and losing, they are not.”

“We are on our way to Coventry, my good man,” I said, trying to give the others room to compose themselves.

“Ah, Oui.  That will mean you are needing food and drink, and probably fuel.  A good jump six, or two easy threes, I am thinking.”

“Yes, that will do quite nicely.  And we are friends of the White Duke,” I said.

“Yes, Professor Marou.  I know you.  It all comes free for the friends of the White Duke.”

“Good man!”  I patted Banzai on the shoulder in thanks.

“Umm… I don’t know how to say this, but you all are needed in a special accommodation this fine day.  There is a game afoot.”

“Oh?  Whatever do you mean by that?”

“Friends of the White Duke, you see.  You will attend, yes?”

Ham looked at me with a questioning look on his handsome young face.  But it was obvious he knew things could not be talked about openly in a place that was not a special accommodation.

“We will find out later, I suppose?” I said to Banzai.

“Oui.  We will all find out later.”

The girls passed out drinks.

“There’s a very good French restaurant on this outstation,” I said to Ham and the Duke.  Sinbadh’s Lupin ears perked up right away at that.

“Yeah,” said Ham.  “Let’s go get the taste of bananas and peanut butter out of our mouths.”

“A fine idea, bucko,” said Sinbadh.  “A very fine idea indeed!”

I had to admit, the food sounded good, and the nude girls were beginning to look very interesting as I sipped my wine.

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Space Laughs

When I was in college, I met and fell in love with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams. I also read, in close conjunction with that book and its sequels, Frank Herbert’s Dune series. I vowed then that I would combine these two different kinds of science fiction to write my own big-book epic. At that time it was called The Dream-Flood and it was basically the story of Astro-nut Robin (inspired by Robin Hood) and his band of Merry Mutant Space Freaks. It was a jumble of bad jokes and weird science and not worth keeping. But some of the characters I created managed to stow away in my stupid head to come back into my writing whenever the opportunity came.

When I became a public school teacher in South Texas, I fell deeply in love with game-mastering for Dungeons and Dragons games with high school boys who had once been in my middle school English classes. Of course, after three years of that, the Southern Baptists in town decided that D&D was Satanic and full of demons, so I had to stop that story-telling nonsense or be driven out of town. So, enough of that. I was not leaving teaching. I was also not stopping story-telling. I switched from playing with wizards and warriors to a game called Traveller from Game Designers Workshop. Spacemen and laser-rifles.

Games inevitably were subject to the whims and humors of the players. And the players were teenage boys of the mega-nerd variety. So, they would blow planets up for laughs. They would make jokes out of serious events and turn side adventures and subplots into the main story.

It was gold for science-fiction humor.

The result of all of this was that when I lost a teaching job and had an unplanned year off, I wrote the novel AeroQuest. It was a novelization of the basic story of that Traveller game. It was a terrible novel. But I got it published without paying a dime with a terrible publisher, the criminals at Publish America. Once that terrible contract expired, and I had become a better writer, I began rewriting and illustrating it to become five terrible novels.

As of yesterday, the first three of those five are now published.

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Sci-Fi Saturday Art Day

I have done it. I have committed the reprehensible act of writing a third rewrite-book from the most terrible novel I ever wrote into a series of books that will turn your hair blue and make chickens everywhere fart rose petals. Wait! Can that actually happen? Of course it can. In science fiction, everything and anything is possible. So, I now include a whole mess of illustrations I have poured into the making of these three books.

A Nebulon space ninja with psionic powers.
A half-lizard, half-human female teenage space ninja who can use telekinesis
A space epic requires lots of aliens of different kinds.
Lots of space ships are also necessary, like this Triceratops Cruiser.
Tiki Astro is a robot trying to become a real boy.
Some stories need an anti-hero. Trav thinks he’s an auntie-hero.
Here’s what the next book in the series will probably look like.
Ged is one of the Aero Brothers.
Ham is the other Aero Brother

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Quirks and Minor Crazy Things

There is considerable evidence that I am not a totally normal human being, or as Danny Murphy used to say “A normal human bean”. Danny is, by the way, a character in several of my novels, including Snow Babies and When the Captain Came Calling. He did the complete Circle Streak (running around the entire high school campus buck naked in a huge and chilly circle) more than once. And he was based entirely on one of my high school classmates and friends. That bird-walk about streaking is an example of the kind of quirks I am guilty of when I am being totally not-normal. I am now entirely off topic and must pull it back to defend myself by saying, “Nobody else is a totally normal human bean either!”

Among my many quirks and oddities is my love of baseball and slavish dedication to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club. My favorite World Series memories are from 1934, 22 years before I was born. Dizzy Dean was a 30-game winner pitching for the Cardinals. Joe “Ducky” Medwick was their star hitter, and in the 6th inning he hit a triple and slid hard into the third baseman with his cleats up (a trick learned from former Detroit Tiger Ty Cobb) and the Tiger fans lost their cool in a big way (they were behind 9-0 at the time in the deciding 7th game). They began throwing things at Joe as he tried to play left field. He nearly missed an easy fly ball because somebody threw an orange and almost hit his glove. It is the only time in baseball history that a baseball commissioner had to eject a player from a World Series game for his own protection. (Needless to say, I love to hate the Tigers.)

I also love all the other ten times the Cardinals have won the Series, and I am proud of the eight times they nearly won besides.

Another of my odd quirks is a love of nudity in spite of my skin condition that prevents me from comfortably being a nudist. I first encountered nudism in a clothing-optional apartment complex where my girlfriend’s sister lived in Austin. I went from being shocked almost to apoplexy, to my girlfriend’s overwhelming amusement, to rejecting a chance to try nudism in the late 80’s, to actually spending a day at a Texas nudist park in 2017, and really enjoying the experience. My children are mortified.

And this quirk affects my fiction. I have some characters in a few of my stories based specifically on nudists I have known. I also wrote an entire novel, A Field Guide to Fauns, about a boy learning to live with his father and step-mother in a residential nudist park. Additionally, I have irrationally tried to use the word “penis” in every novel I have written. I only failed to do so when some editors insisted on its removal. So, I believe I may be 12 for 16 on that score.

But this particular quirk, no matter how totally embarrassing my children find it, is not a sexual perversion. I don’t write porn. And, as a survival matter after being sexually assaulted as a child, my nudity fixation has helped me to accept that I am not evil and unworthy when I am naked. My attacker had me convinced otherwise for more than twenty years.

I am also an aficionado of science fiction, classical music, and a faith that tells me rabbits make better people than people do.

My books are divided, for the most part, into Cantos instead of Chapters. This is because of my love for Classical Music and my dedication to the weird notion that novels should be more like epic poetry. Not necessarily written in verse, though if I ever get to write Music in the Forest, that one is written as poetry.

But paragraphs need to be written as purely poetically as perfect white pearls are poetically pearly.

But as poetry, my tendency towards comedy rather than drama or tragedy, leads me to write purple paisley prose (like all this p-word nonsense) which makes my paragraphs more Scherzo than Nocturne, Sonata, or Symphony.

While researching alien invasions for the novel Catch a Falling Star, the story of when aliens from deep space tried to invade Iowa, I came across internet information that ignited another quirky passion of mine, studying conspiracy theories. And it isn’t all just a plot to embarrass my children in front of people we know in real life. Although that is a definite side benefit. But conspiracies are an excellent source material for making humor. Comedy gold. Knowing who people like Alex Jones, David Icke, and Jesse Ventura are, gives me not only easily ridiculed personalities to make fun of, but also windows into thinking habits that may or may not turn up some real anomalies in the world of science and so-called historical fact. For instance, I can credibly argue that there is more to the Roswell Crash story than the government is willing to tell us about, and Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill JFK by himself, if at all.

And besides, my boyhood friend Robert was part of my small-town gang when we fought off the alien invasion in the 60’s, and he told me on Facebook that he remembered when that happened. Good old Bobby. He really likes beer and alcohol.

And I could go on like this for an entire book’s worth of silly jabber. But this post has to end for today. This blog, after all, isn’t the only quirky and crazy thing I have to attend to.

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Novel Transitions

The re-write of AeroQuest 3 is now complete. I just need to finish proof-reading and final edits before self-publishing on Amazon along with the other two books.

The Duo-ilogy will now be pushed into a trilogy.

And then rewriting and reworking begins on part 4 to turn the trilogy into a fourple-ilogy.

Four books? Did I say fourple-ilogy? That isn’t going to be the end if the Coronavirus doesn’t cut me short. What’s left will become a five-book thingy. What do you call that? A fiveple-ilogy? A nickelilogy? It can’t be a nickelology. That would be the study of five-cent coins.

Book one, subtitled Stars and Stones, tells how the two Aero brothers flee the Imperium because Ged faces persecution as a space-werewolf, a thing he is really not. What he really is is a Psion Shape-changer, able to rearrange the cells of his body according to the DNA of other creatures he has come in contact with and analyzed, mostly by tasting their flesh.

They come to an unknown planet where billions of people have been marooned by space pirates, corsairs, and stardogs. This planet, called Don’t Go Here has developed an entire stone-age culture based entirely on old holovids of the cartoon show The Flintstones.

The second book of the Teachers in Space Nickel-ilogy is subtitled Planet of the White Spider.

In it, Ged Aero learns for the first time that he is the prophesied return of the White Spider, a great teacher that will help Psions learn to overcome prejudice against them to use their powers to help make life better for everyone and build an empire of new stars and star-systems.

While Ged is busy learning to be a teacher and how to have some class, his brother Ham Aero is joining pirates, corsairs, smugglers, and various marginalized alien races as they rebel against Admiral Tang and the empire of half-lizard, half-human Galtorrian/Human Fusions.

In the third book, subtitled Juggling Planets, the characters learn the hard way that some of them are going to have to become leaders while others will have to be teachers. Numerous planets join in the rebellion. Some serious losses occur, as well as some significant gains. Some serious people get made fun of. Some not-so-serious people do some of the hardest work… or have the best dumb luck. And there are weird aliens, wacky technology, goofy people and strange planets, and things undreamed of in Horatio’s philosophy. If you haven’t guessed yet, these books are science-fiction comedies.

Next week, I start the rewrite of book 4, subtitled The Amazing Aero Brothers.

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AeroQuest 3… Canto 91

Canto 91 – Ruins in the Jungle (the Green Thread)

The building itself was one of the strangest constructs King Killer had ever seen.  It was like a disintegrating pyramid, but, impossibly, it defied gravity and hung above the jungle floor in an upside down position.  The stone it was made of looked sandy and crumbly, but was cold and metallic to the touch.

Ookah pointed upwards at what appeared to be an upside-down doorway with a vaulted roof.  It didn’t take Slythinus’ expertise to understand what he meant.  All the many monkey-people quivered with fear as they stared upward at the opening.

“Up there?” moaned King.  They want me to get up there?”

“The Lemurians can do it,” offered Hooey helpfully.

“Yeah, well, I don’t have a tail to swing by.”  King’s face darkened as he felt ready to bop the old Time Knight on the nose.

Wicked Wanda was grinning at King.  Her green eyes were full of satire and insults as she laughingly got King’s attention.  He would’ve hit her instead of Hooey, except he suddenly noticed how beautiful and shapely she was.  Why did women do this to him?  He hadn’t recovered yet from the loss of Sheherazade.

“I’m wearing the answer,” said Wanda.

“Oh?”

“Yes.  You’ve heard of grav boots, haven’t you?”

“You mean you’ve been wearing grav boots all this time and never told us?”

“Well, not exactly.  It’s the same anti-gravity technology, but it’s in my brassiere.”

“What?!”

“You know… When a woman reaches a certain age, she needs a bit of extra support in strategic ways.”

“So how does your anti-gravity bra help us?”

“Oh, it has an intensity control.”

Hooey began to laugh.  “I get it!  If she turns the thing up high enough, she can fly!”

“That isn’t the funniest part,” said Wanda.  “In order to get us all up there, I’m going to have to take it off and throw it back down to you.  Each of you has to wear it in order to get up there.”

Hooey rolled on the undergrowth, howling with laughter.

“I don’t think it’s funny,” said King, frowning.

“Ahh,” moaned the eyeless Emperor, “there are times when I really regret losing my eyes.”

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AeroQuest 3… Canto 90

Canto 90 – Little, Medium, and Big Are All the Same (the Blue Thread)

Unlike other impending revolutions, the upheaval of the planet Djinnistan was so far overdue that the inequity and inequality between races was laughable.

The gigantic Afrits were all treated as machinery rather thinking, feeling, sentient beings.  The Faulkner Genetics executives who ruled the star system felt that someone with artificially limited intelligence didn’t have to be treated as equal to anyone.  They continued to follow orders blindly because they were simply not smart enough to question them, although there was no doubt about whether there was suffering going on in the Afrit community.  No one bothered to suggest to them that they might vomit lava on their oppressors and be easily done with them.

The tiny Peris had an opposite sort of problem.  They were child-sized even as adults, and though they were highly intelligent, some of them more intelligent than their corporate masters, they were easily frightened and intimidated by the security beasts (basically genetically enhanced primates in Nazi uniforms who were excessively violent, limited in thinking ability, and fond of the taste of Peri children).

The security beasts themselves enjoyed conflict and violence.  They understood two-word sentences like, “Kill Peris,” “Eat children,” “Throw this,” “Scare Peris”, and “Hit that.”  A few were genius enough by comparison to understand, “Hit that hard!”  But they, themselves, were unjustly tormented by bosses that starved them on purpose to make them fiercer.  And they were not smart enough to realize they could do to their corporate masters the same things they did to Peris and Eaglemen because they were so physically more powerful.

The winged Djinn, also called Eaglemen, were of average intelligence.  They were mostly manipulated by the genetic coding that made them docile unless their masters needed them to be warlike, and then code words could instantly turn them into crack shock troops.

This was the situation Arkin Cloudstalker found himself in as he, Lazerstone, and Black Fly sat down to a meal with the leaders of Djinn Rebellion.

The meeting was held in a huge light-blue desert tent.  In the far corner sat a group of three Afrits, keeping their distance from everyone to avoid choking them with the natural Afrit corona of sulfur and black smoke.  A smoke-hole had been placed in the tent roof directly above where they sat.

The head table held a party of Eaglemen, ten male and five females.  There were exactly two Peris at the table, a male and a female, both of indeterminate age.

The head Eagleman stood and introduced himself.  “I am Alsama’ Alzirqa’.  I am the sultan of the enslaved ones.  I lured you here because agents of the White Duke have been urging me to rebel.”

A second Eagleman stood and spoke also.  “I am Mutasabiq Alsama’. I am the sultan’s adversary.  And I am disappointed that you did not arrive with an army.”

Arkin didn’t have much of an idea what was expected of him, especially in the matter of what to say next.  Both bird-men stood looking at him expectantly.

The male Peri then stood.

“Ahem!  I am Another Danged Boy 152.  And, yes, that really is my name.  I am brother to the famous Another Danged Boy 143, may he rest in peace.  What the sky-guys are trying to get across in their bird-brained way is that we know the White Duke wouldn’t have sent you, specifically, the three of you, unless he thought you could solve our problem.”

“Ahem, also!” said the female Peri.  “I am Pretty-in-Patches.  That is also really my name.  I am the sister of the famous Uggo Uglygirl.  And I am here to come up with a creative solution if you goony birds fail to figure it all out.”

“Um, yes, I see,” said Arkin.  “We are supposed to help you rebel against your corporate masters.  The trouble is, I really don’t know anything about you people or your world.”

ADaB (Another Danged Boy 152) then spent twenty minutes recounting all the information about Djinnistan that I have already explained earlier, so you don’t need to worry about his recitation of it.  Besides, PiP (Pretty in Patches) spent considerable time and effort in contradicting and correcting him, so I will try not to bore or confuse you more than I already have.

“So, if I understand everything rightly, you outnumber the bad guys by a thousand to one, but you simply can’t take the fight to them because you are scared of the security beasts.”

They all looked at Arkin with some surprise registering on their faces, partly because Arkin had understood ADaB perfectly, and partly because PiP didn’t believe she hadn’t worked hard enough to fudge up ADaB’s explanation.

“Okay…  But you still don’t seem to have an army to solve our problem with,” said ADaB.

“We do have an army,” said Lazerstone.

“We do?” asked Arkin.

“Plenty of harmonic crystal out there in the sand, yes.  But also, look at them.” His sweeping gesture took in all the Freaks present.  “They can take this planet by sheer force.  They just have to be willing to try.”

“We can trap Dr. Bludlust in his lab easily, if we just don’t have to worry about the security beasts,” said ADaB.

“Would the Afrits be willing to aid us in battle against the security beasts if Lazerstone and I took them on by ourselves?” Arkin asked.

“You are powerful enough to do that?” asked Alsama’ Alzirqa’.

“Are we powerful enough?” Arkin asked Lazerstone.

“Definitely.”

“Uggo Uglygirl?” Black Fly asked PiP.

“Daddy had just endured a twenty-five-year run of only daughters, and he was desperate for another son.” “Okay, then, let’s get this battle underway,” said Arkin.

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Aeroquest Art So Far

These are the pieces of art and illustrations that are going into the re-writing project of my novel Aeroquest.

I decided to totally rework the novel and illustrate it more fully because it was always supposed to be a science-fiction satire and parody that was more cartoonish than literary.

It is a story about a teacher conquering a space empire. It arose from a science-fiction role-playing game that filled my days in the 1980’s and early 90’s.

It parodies Star Wars, Star Trek, Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers, Dune, and much more besides. And it includes many of my own wacky inventions about what the future might hold in store.

Here is the original teacher in space and some of his first class of students.

Many of the main characters are based on the actual role-playing characters made up by the boys and young men who played the game with me. Many had to be re-named, however, because, like Tron Blastarr above, they often had movie-character names.

This important character was a parody of Professor X of the X-men, from the comic books and well before the movies.

It was a simple matter to give him psionic powers and transfer him into outer space. Oh, and get him out of the wheel chair too.

The character’s creator was the son of the local high school science teacher.

Ninja powers were a thing with teenage boys in the 80’s.

Combat is an important part of the role-playing game.

We became well-versed on weapons and tactics… and how to manipulate the rolls of the dice… by cheating if necessary.

How else do heroes overcome impossible odds?

Two more player characters that play a critical role in the novels.

Again with the parody characters that came from player-character ideas stolen from TV and the movies.

Aliens are necessary to this kind of story.

I am near to completing this third novel in the series.

The Nebulon aliens, though very human-like, are blue of skin. That is not easy to depict in a black-and-white drawing.

The initial idea for the fourth novel’s cover.

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Filed under aliens, artwork, heroes, humor, illustrations, imagination, novel, novel plans, Paffooney