Category Archives: aliens

AeroQuest 4… Canto 129

Canto 129 – Spider Wars, Flamer-Style

“Yow!  It’s Phoenix!  He’s come back!  And he’s helping the enemy!” cried a nearly-scorched ninja.

“Ow-ow-owie-owch!” cried a flaming ninja.

“Run for cover!  There’s two flamers now!” cried a female ninja with blue hair.

“There are ways to battle even Phoenix!” cried the Green Phantom, the Galtorrian lizard-ninja.  “Those who don’t want to burn, follow me!”

Friashqaztla, more easily known as Freddy, sniffed his way through the smoke until he found Alec and Jackie.  They were chained to the floor in an alcove with sonic psionic dampers trained on them from all sides.  Jackie was completely naked.

Freddy crept up silently in Black Wolf form.

“Alec!  I’ve found you,” he croaked in a smoke-hampered voice.

“Freddy?  That you?” the groggy prisoner replied, looking at the Black Wolf with bleary eyes.

“Yes, I’m here with Rocket and Phoenix to get you out.”

“Phoenix is here?  Is he angry with me?  He told me he’d kill me with the next mistake I made.”

“No.  I don’t think so.  He said as long as you haven’t hurt Jackie he wouldn’t burn you.”

Alec was visibly relieved.

“Why haven’t you escaped with Jackie’s teleport power?”  Freddy was noticing that the girl was conscious, even though she was stark naked and bleary-eyed in the same way that Alec was.

“Psionic dampers.  They are trained on our heads, making it impossible to think or use our powers.”

“If I use my wolf fangs to gnaw through the power cables, I should be able to free your minds.  But can Jackie get you both out of here before Rocket and Phoenix burn the whole place down?”

“Help me to focus, furry-boy, and I will zap Alec out of here faster than you can say Herkimer Hairbloomers.”

Freddy smiled a wolf-smile.  That was an old Zaranian joke.  Herkimer had the psionic power of instant hair-growth.  And useless as that power was, it was a good test of teleport speed.  Herkimer could grow a hundred yards of hair in five seconds.  So, if you were standing next to him, and the teacher said “Herkimer Hairbloomers,” and you still managed to escape being entangled in his golden locks, you were a fast-enough teleport.

“Wait here.  Don’t go anywhere,” Freddy growled, still smiling.  He padded off on wolf feet to look at the power-supply box.

Meanwhile, Rocket was burning Black Spider Ninjas to cinders left and right, all around the Black Spider Castle.  He was having a lot of fun, but he was also wondering where Phoenix had gotten off to.  These ninjas burned easier than pine boards and paper, but the White Spiders were still vastly outnumbered.

Rocket was a naturally gifted flamer, but Phoenix seemed to know so much more than he did.  Especially about the evil and semi-evil stuff you could do.

The Green Phantom suddenly reappeared wearing a yellow and black fire-proof suit.  Of course, Rocket didn’t know what it was, it having been invented specifically in case the BS Ninjas ever needed to defend against attacks from Phoenix.  The Black Spiders seemed far more paranoid and untrustworthy than the White Spiders were used to.

Ninjas supporting hoses moved in to surround Rocket.  All of them wore the yellow and black firemen’s outfits.

“So, what are you gonna do?  Shoot me with water to try to put my candleflame out?”

“Something like that,” said the Green Phantom, probably smirking, but his face hidden within his firesuit.

Streams of white flame-retardant paste shot out at Rocket as if they were lines of toothpaste, sticky and cold, swirling around Rocket who was now apparently filling the role of tooth decay.

The fire was still at his command, but the piles of expended toothpaste didn’t burn.  It was frustrating.  After one final fire-flower decapitated an evil BS Ninja, Rocket could make no more.  His hands were covered in inflammable goo.

“Get a lasso around his neck!” Green Phantom ordered.

These ninjas were in no way psionic, but they were good at ninja skills.  Three loops found their way immediately around Rocket’s neck.

“Pull ‘em tight!”

The nooses cut off Rocket’s airways and he blacked out completely.

                                    *****

Freddy found the wire bearing current to the psionic dampers at about the same moment that the Green Phantom found him.  The Green Phantom lived up to his name not only by wearing green ninja cloth-armor, but also by being a full-blooded, green Galtorrian lizard-man.

“You, little White Spider, lose this round!” the green ninja swore as his katana arched through its attack pattern and sliced cleanly through Freddy’s right front shoulder.

Swiftly Freddy rolled over on his good left shoulder, picturing the muscle re-growth through his third eye just as sensei had taught him.  The black wolf-leg was replaced by the time he was ready to stand on all four legs again.

“So, a little werewolf, just like Ged Aero and his double, the Black Spider Bres.”

“Any part of you that I bite off won’t regrow as swiftly.”  Freddy glowered at the ninja with bright blue wolf-eyes.

“Never mind…  We’re prepared for you already…”  The ninja lowered his katana, turned, and ran away at full speed.

“I will bite through the wire first and then give him the chase and the bite he deserves.”

Freddy bit cleanly through the wire, but the energy that surged through it, and through Freddy’s tongue and mouth besides, was what any werewolf would have to call “silver fire” for the effect it immediately had.

Freddy was transformed into his original naked form and fell full-length upon the stone floor, apparently dead to the world… unconscious at the very least.

                                    *****

As soon as Jackie sensed the return of her teleporting power, she knew she had to free both herself and Alec from their chains.  She pressed her back against as much of Alec’s body as she could manage, then popped both of them out of their iron bonds.

Briefly she was standing there with him looking down at their now-empty manacles.  Already she began forming a picture in her third eye of the courtyard of The Palace of a Thousand Years.  It would take literally all of her remaining energy to get them there, but it would be worth it.  They would both be safe.  And now, she was confident that Alec really loved her, and she… well, she felt exactly the same.

“Jadalaqstbr, you have saved us,” said Alec, pronouncing her Zaranian name correctly for the first time that she could ever remember.

She turned to face him.

He put a gentle hand on her right cheek, and then his lips found hers.

“Alec, um…  I have to concentrated really hard to get us out of here.”

“Yes, Jackie.  But I love you.”

“I… I love you too…”

They moved together for one more kiss.

Then the Green Phantom popped them both with a stun-ray.  Both youths temporarily vibrated with the shock of it.  Then both of them fell to the floor.  Alec first.  Then naked Jackie on top of him.  “Not exactly faster than I could say Herkimer Hairbloomers,” said the Green Phantom.  “Too bad, Alec.  You lose again.”

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Truth in Advertising… the Mickey Version

Here’s the thing… Mickey is to the art of advertising as Cassandra in the Iliad is to prophecy.

Cassandra, you may remember from the last time you read the Iliad in the original Greek, was gifted with true prophecy. What she foresaw was destined to come true. Unfortunately, she was cursed to never be believed by any she told the prophecy to.

Similarly, Mickey can tell a good story, full of imaginative storylines and compelling plots and themes. But anytime he launches an ad, here, on Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere, it will not be seen, or, if seen, not responded to.

Case in point; I worked at reformatting, illustrating, and improving the following e-book. I set it up for a free-book promotion this weekend. It is still free from now until midnight on the 23rd of February.

As of this posting, I have only given away four copies of the novel. And I am more than halfway through the third day of a five-day promotion. So, I am on pace to have the worst promotion in the past year.

Of course, I know that this has been a terrible weather week for Texas, and most of the nation. Reading a book about aliens is probably not the foremost thing on people’s minds. I can usually count on Twitter nudists to give my free books a boost even when there are no nudist characters or nudist ideas in the novel. But Friday is the day when Twitter nudists usually say, “Howdy!” to each other on Twitter, and I gave away none on Friday and only one on Saturday. This book has some nudism going on at one point on the apocalyptic hell-scape planet in the story, but that is mostly a matter of naked aliens and plants. So, I can’t give copies of this book away to anybody, not even to fellow nudists.

Catch a Falling Star is the book that Stardusters and Space Lizards is a sequel to.

It is the story of the Telleron invasion of the Earth, landing in a small town in Iowa, invading in invisibility cloaking devices, and failing to even be noticed by most people in town.

The e-book is $3.99 on Amazon, so it is not as good a value as the free one.

This book is about fleeing aliens arriving by accident at a dying planet. It is a planet experiencing biosphere collapse just as Earth will probably do in the near future. And the alien characters, most of them tadpoles (Telleron children) take active steps to try to save the new planet so they, too, might have a place to live.

Anyway, buy the book. It’s free today. All you have to do is click.

But since Mickey the advertiser is like Cassandra, I have to say the opposite. Don’t buy this book. It is awful. You will not love it. You will not think all your friends need to read it too.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 127

Canto 127 – The Black Spider Theatre

Rocket had swiftly grown to trust Phoenix in ways that were hard to explain.  The two pyrokinetics had spent so much time transferring pyro-tricks back and forth with the aid of telepathy by Junior, Sara, or Hassan that he felt like he knew what the inside of Phoenix’s mind fully felt like.

He was surprised when they both ducked through a small, obscure doorway and found themselves in the dark wing of a mostly-dark stage.

Fangwoman was standing at the very front of the stage, wearing the Avenger helmet, holding both arms up and speaking loudly to about four hundred Black Spider ninjas in full ninja cloth armor.  Not only were there the ninjas in the audience gallery, but they were surrounded by a couple of thousand lit candles.

“Come, my minions!  Now is the time to strike!  The Palace of a Thousand Years is in chaos!”  She shouted into the candle-lit auditorium.  Strike in the name of Shen Ming!”

“Why would we fight in the name of Shen Ming?” asked one confused minion.

“Because Shen Ming has earned our anger!  He betrayed us and locked us away!”

“No, he hasn’t,” said a female ninja in peach-colored armor.  “If anyone has betrayed us, it would have to be Jinjiro, or Bres, or even Phoenix.”

“He betrayed us by locking us in a hole for a hundred years!”

“No, he didn’t.  You must be talking as the weird helmet.  The helmet was locked up in the Palace.”

“Oh, why am I arguing!”  Fangwoman launched three iron ninja stars faster than anyone could react.  The three ninjas who had spoken fell dead with the throwing stars partially protruding from their foreheads.

“We have to stop them before they get to the Palace,” Rocket whispered.

“Don’t worry, Rocket, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  Do you see all the candles in here?”

“Yes, but I see all the ninjas too.  We’re way too outnumbered.”

“Just follow my lead.”

Phoenix gestured at the far wall.  All seven hundred and fifty-three candles on that wall suddenly shot flames upward as if they were flame-throwers.

Phoenix gathered all the flame and heat into one tight column of fire, and then brought it down on the heads of around a hundred of Fangwoman’s minions.

Some died screaming.  Others managed to pat out the fires on their clothing.  Still others seemed to be wearing flame-proof armor.

Rocket gestured at a near wall to accomplish the same effect  It appeared at first that he had set about a hundred and twenty ninjas on fire.  The effect was very similar to what Phoenix had achieved.  However, more than twice as many put the flames out, and three times as many proved to be fire-proof.

“Well, this should prove difficult,” said Rocket through gritted teeth.’

“Oh, yes!  Difficult, but glorious fun!” laughed Phoenix. It was going to be a long, hot night, Rocket thought as he began to grow his fire-form around himself.

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Ending the Story

The first chapter of the story of my life does not open with my birth. It begins with my first memories around the age of three or four, when I first really became aware and my mind began seriously pulling itself together. Similarly, it will not ultimately end the final chapter when the lights go out and I pass away. I myself will not be able to write that particular sentence because, as I die, I probably won’t be in the act of writing about it.

This topic comes up because I have been thinking long and hard about how my AeroQuest series is going to end.

The original story in my terrible first-published novel has been divided into five different parts. Admittedly they are not as stand-alone in nature as I had originally intended.

Of course, since it all evolved from an on-going role-playing game, it was never really supposed to have an end point. And if I manage to finish this number-five novel, I already have a story to fill the number-six novel. It will be called Galactic Fire and the story is already tied to the other five.

At the same time, I am rewriting and updating Stardusters and Space Lizards. This too is an ongoing story. As a sequel to Catch a Falling Star, it takes up the tale of the aliens who tried and failed to invade a small town in Iowa. It takes them to a dying planet where the population of meat-eating lizard people are determined to make themselves extinct.

So, naturally, this book has the problem of the need to kill characters who are not the villain. Characters I have come to love. One of the characters shown on this new cover was supposed to tragically die during the climactic battle of the book. It began my awareness of how I can’t seem to end a novel without killing characters.

Of my fifteen existing novels, only Superchicken and A Field Guide to Fauns make it to the end of the story without killing a character.

I am lucky society doesn’t charge authors with murder for killing off characters in their books. After all, we fiction writers are a murderous lot. And characters are real people, at least to the author.

But, life as a story, is like that. Nobody that we have photographs of makes it out alive. And all the exceptions to the general rule may be highly metaphorical in actual reality.

The character in my initial Paffooney, Orben Wallace from The Bicycle-Wheel Genius, is a good example of the ongoing nature of life’s story. I call that book a prequel-equal-sequel because it tells a story that begins before Catch a Falling Star, includes some of the same story as that book, and ends with a story that occurs well after the other story departs for outer space.

I fully expect my own life to end its story like that one did. There is a story that comes both before and after. Birth-to-death stories are always part of something larger. And it is all connected.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 126

Canto 126 – Enter the Spider

The Black Wolf snuffled along the streets of Kiro, past apartment complexes, Shinto shrines, manga cafes, noodle shops, child-care centers, accounting firms, Zen Gardens, and the once-famous clown college where the zaniest members of the Harlequin Brothers that Gaijin entertainment had once been saturated with.

Phoenix and Rocket Rogers in his conspicuous white cowboy hat followed at a discreet distance.

Finally, they arrived in front of a run-down athletic shoe factory.

“Is this it?” Phoenix asked.

“You don’t remember it?” Rocket asked.

“They obviously moved locations after Alec and Taffy and I became White Spiders.  Too risky to keep using a place we could take all of you directly to.”

“How did Alec know where to go, then?”

“Good question.  Do you think the rat might’ve been betraying us all along?”

“No.  I think it was the helmet.”

“My nose says they are inside this building.  Jackie was very afraid when they entered,” said the Black Wolf.

“We are going in, but we will split up inside.  Freddy, can you find Alec and Jackie for us?  Maybe even set them free if they are imprisoned here?”

“Yes, I can Phoenix-kun.”  Phoenix nodded, and the Black Wolf disappeared around the corner, sniffing out a possible entrance for a small black wolf.

“And what’ll we do?” Rocket asked.

“We see if we can locate the Avenger helmet.  But carefully so we don’t fall under its spell.”

“Right!  We definitely need to find out what that evil thing is up to.”

“It will mostly likely be in Fangwoman’s greedy hands.  She is the highest-ranking Black Spider after Jinjiro’s death and Bres’ banishment from the planet.  But be warned, she is not the most evil one there.  You need to leave Bone Daddy to me.”

“Bone Daddy?”

“He’s a wraith, not a humanoid.  His people have see-through flesh that makes them look like walking skeletons when they’re naked.  And they can alter their density to be stone hard or phase through solid walls.  Oh, and anything in between, so never let a wraith have a chance to grab any of your internal organs by hand.”

Rocket visibly shuddered. Of course, Phoenix knew that Bone Daddy would be the critical fight for him.  He would have to beat him in single combat or all the White Spider students would eventually die at his hands, not just Freddy, Rocket, and Phoenix.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 125

Canto 125 – Spider Hunting

Rocket Rogers, Phoenix, and Friashqazatla, better known as “Freddy,” were gathered in Shen Ming’s office when Tempi, the messenger boy, came in breathlessly explaining what had happened to Alec and Jackie in front of the palace courtyard. Shen Ming nodded seriously.

“What did Alec do?” asked Phoenix angrily.

“It seems, my young friends, that he put the Avenger helmet on his own head.  And then he made young Jackie strip naked and run away with him to the Black Spider Palace.  Tempi says the people in the courtyard could not stop him.”

“I always knew that Alec’s conversion to the White Spider’s service was the least likely to hold,” growled Phoenix.

“Gosh darn it!  Now I need three brave caballeros to go attack the Black Spider Palace and bring them back.  Especially the naked, pretty one.”

“We will do it, Shen Ming-sama.  We’ll burn them out of there.”  Rocket’s enthusiasm was almost too much.

“But we won’t burn our two classmates,” amended Phoenix a little more darkly.  “At least, not the pretty naked one.”

“Good, good, young ones.  If you make an oopsie and burn down the Black Spider Palace accidentally, don’t be too upset about it.”

A wide grin split Shen Ming-sensei’s face as the three boys left the office.

Phoenix was a little bit anxious about this test.  Going back to the Black Spider Palace would not be an easy thing.  He would be going back to a place where terrible things happened.  But it was also the place where he would probably have to face Bone Daddy once again.  And this time it would be different because he had betrayed his master, the wraith assassin from the planet Darkworld.   And facing up to that betrayal was going to hurt.

Phoenix looked at his two companions.  He was entirely confident of Rocket’s loyalty and friendship.  But Freddy?  Rocket had an arm around the younger Zaranian.   He would be loyal to Rocket, but there were things Phoenix wouldn’t be able to order Freddy to do if the need arose. 

“So, if we are going to track Alec and Jackie, we are going to need a good tracker,” Phoenix said.  He and Rocket both looked at Freddy.

“The Black Wolf, huh?”

Freddy sniffed the air and immediately transformed into the small black wolf form his Psion power allowed him to become.

“This way!”

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 124

Canto 124 – Throckpods!

Ged and Naylund together brought the Super Rooster down smoothly in a wide golden field of grain.  The Ugly Pod remained in low orbit, but Luigi the Onion Guy and Carrot Mabutu had come down to the planer with Ged and his students.

In a matter of minutes the field of wavy grain was populated with a huge circle of evil-looking vegetables that had stems of six to eight feet in height.  Their so-called “heads” were either a bushy orb of purple thistle-down or sunflower-like blossoms.  But all of them had eerie, human-like eyes.

“What are these things?” Ged asked Luigi.

“THrocKpodS!  (best possible translation… though maybe, WeEds!)  Two different bRands… (possibly cAtagories)” Luigi said.

“What’s with all the capital letters in wrong places?” Ged asked.

“Dunno, Ged-Aero-sensei.  I programmed it with my Psion ability, all by intuition,” Gyro said by way of an excuse.

“Well, we better go out there to talk to them,” said Ged.

“Ask them to take you to their leader,” added Naylund.

“I foresee trouble, Ged-sensei,” said Billy, using his clairvoyance.

“Can you be more specific?” Ged asked.

“Sorry.  That is as much as I can see.  I think it depends on who we send out there to talk to them.”

“I will go myself.  Junior and Sara are both telepaths.  They will go with me.  Does that change what you see, Billy?”

“No.  Not better.  Not worse.”

“Okay.  Extreme caution, then.  Junior, you will take the point with Gyro’s translator.”

Junior, wearing his white ninja cloth armor, led the way out through the airlock and down the ramp with the stink translator held out in front of him.  Sara in a white top with ninja-armor pants followed close behind him so she could also see and hear the translator.  Ged, giving them only minimal space ahead of him, followed them defensively from behind.

A thistle-headed Throckpod immediately moved in front of junior.  It held up leafy branches, showing off wickedly sharp thorns as it’s weapons.

“Why are you threatening us?” Junior asked.

“I’m a superior Throckpod!  Servant of the almighty Grain-Master! (Best translation.)  I must oppose any who have no chlorophyl to sacrifice!  (95%  certain of translation.)”

Ged was surprised at how much clearer the Throckpod’s voice came through than either Luigi or Carrot.  What made this one so different?  Besides the creepy, human-like eyes?

Suddenly, a branch shot forward and slapped away the translator device.  Junior fell backwards to avoid a lashing pair of thorns.  Sara was not so lucky.  She stumbled forward directly into the grasp of a sunflower-headed fiend.

“What does it mean by no chlorophyl to sacrifice?” Ged asked, knowing the translator was now face down in the dirt.  He didn’t expect an answer.

I aM aFraiD he meAns blood!… no, life force… poWer?? (no direct translation.)”  Luigi was standing, or rather, onioning resolutely next to Ged.

Sara cried out as the sunflower-headed Throkpod began ripping her clothing off as if it were some kind of sex-crazed manga villain.

“This long-head-fur one will do nicely (rough translation)!” Gyro’s stink translator was still working extremely well at a distance.  “We will tear off her blossom (possibly meaning head) and suck out all her sap (93% likely meaning blood.)”

Ged was not going to let that happen.  He immediately began to change shape, into a giant green plant-eating armored ape like the ones he once had to hunt on the planet Misko Skoogalia.

“Let her go!” Ape-Ged roared.  He leapt on the two offending Throckpods, rending their stems with his green gorilla hands.  Then he proceeded to stuff the pieces of the Throckpods into his green mouth and noisily eat them.

It was then that he tasted a weirdly familiar genetic pattern.  He couldn’t quite place it, but he knew it definitely wasn’t plant-based. Meanwhile, Junior had gathered up Sara, and he carried her back into the ship, aided by Luigi who bounced along like a basketball rather than running… having no legs to speak of.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 123

Canto 123 – Who Can We Trust?

Jadalaqstbr, more often called Jackie because Zaranian names are hard with no vowels at the end, was impressed by the way Alec had taken charge of the situation.  She knew no one really liked or trusted Alec.  He was abrasive and often not worthy of trust.  But he had seduced her more than once by using his telepathy to invade her mind… more than three times already actually.  And she liked it.  There was something both sweet and sad about boys who were that pathetic and secretly needy.  She had always had a soft spot for guys like that.  Her own father had been like that before he died.

  And she could teleport him to five hundred feet in the air and drop him on his head if he did anything really bad.

Jackie noticed Taffy was the one who retrieved the

fallen helmet.

“Do not touch the inside of that!” said Shen Ming-sensei with a frightening suddenness.

“Um, okay…” said Taffy, holding it gingerly.  “Why?”

“Ah, so you see… I remember all of this now… when I could not recall any of it before…  The Avenger helmet was created over 400 years ago to have an intelligence of its own.  I overdid the wisdom circuits, however, and it blew out a morality capacitor.  So, instead of using it to make our commanders smarter in battle, it simply went insane.  We locked it away for four hundred years.  It grew more and more insane with each passing year.  Not only that, it can absorb the skills of those who wear it and amplify them.  So, not only does it have Jai Chaing’s superior bow skill, it has Hassan Parker’s Psionic telepathy.”

“Oh!  You mean it could take over my mind?”  Horrified, Taffy dropped the helmet.

“Ah, this is better.  So, perhaps a telepath should be the one to take this thing back to Mistress Li in the storage basement.”

“Right now, only Hassan and Alec are here with telepathy,” said Mai Ling.

“Ah, yes.  Perhaps giving it back to Hassan is not the best of ideas.  It did have him under its evil spell just moments ago.”  Shen Ming smiled crazily as he shook his head no.

“Um, okay…  I will take it to the storage basement,” Alec said rather hesitantly.

Jackie decided that if Alec was going to take such a risk, she was going with him to teleport him away the instant the evil thing showed the least sign of doing something bad.

Shen Ming and others walked towards the infirmary with Hassan while Alec and Jackie, with the helmet, started towards the stair to the palace basement.

Jackie was admiring Alec’s handsome face and not really paying attention to what Alec was looking it.  He turned the helmet over and over in his hands, peering inside at the neural contact points.

“I wonder how this thing makes people put it on their heads?”

Jackie suddenly turned and looked directly at the former Black Spider student ninja.

“Hassan is the second strongest telepath on Gaijin.  It must have a special power of its own,” she said.

No sooner had she said it than the helmet began to vibrate and glow.  A powerful, dominating voice blasted through her head, probably doing the same to Alec. 

“Put me on your head!  You are in my power!” the voice directed at Alec.  “Jackie, take off all your clothes!  I am your master!” It directed at her.

She could see Alec struggling to disobey the voice, but the helmet slowly raised his hands above his head and slipped it into place on him, the fifth most powerful telepath on Gaijin.

And her own hands no longer obeyed her.  She watched with horror as she completely undressed herself.

“We must escape to the Black Spider Castle!” the helmet said.  The helmet did not sound like Alec.  It seemed to have a voice of its own.

As much as it terrified her to see herself obeying the helmet, Jackie flung her clothing away and started to run.  Alec, wearing the horrid, three-horned helmet ran after her. Where was she going?  She didn’t know where the Black Spider Castle was, but apparently her bare legs did.  She was headed to the last place in the universe where she wanted to be.  And she was going there at high speed.

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Taking the Path Ahead of Me

From where I now stand, looking towards the future, I can clearly see I do not have very many more steps on my personal path forward. Good thing. My legs are almost ready to give out. I walk with a cane.

More importantly, as a school teacher, the only classes I will be able to teach are the fictional ones in my books. In fact, if my work in progress is the last one I will be able to finish (hopefully), then the dojo pictured above is the last one. At the moment they are learning social justice lessons fighting sentient vegetables on the planet Cornucopea.

There are many things I can take solace in as I near the end of the road. I outlasted the Trump Administration. (At least, technically, because I am still alive today in spite of feeling ill, while Trump’s run has officially reached its end with the electoral college acceptance ceremony in spite of the insurrection.)

There are many, many former students that still fondly remember the year or two (in some cases three) that they spent in my class.

Mai Ling in the picture with the Japanese Castle is an example. Even though the telekinetic ninja girl from the planet Gaijin is entirely fictional, I base all of her dialogue and reactions on a very quiet but extremely effective girl that I taught for two straight years in the seventh and eighth grades. She listened, learned, and then solved any problem I put in front of her. The last I knew she was thriving in a junior college in Laredo, planning on a nursing career. She will have succeeded by now, and would have even if I had never met her. But she told me she liked my class.

I can be grateful too that I have lived long enough to write most of the stories I really wanted to write. Sure, there are nudists in some of my stories, but there are nudists in real life, and in my personal past as well. Maybe they turn off some people that would like my books better without them. But I have some pretty good stories with no nudists in them too. And the nudists I know are some pretty good people. So, I have a right to be grateful for them. My stories, I mean. Though I am grateful for nudists too. I tend to write like I’m baring my soul. And I am proud of my naked truths.

Tiki Astro is a robot boy, built to be practically indistinguishable from a human boy..

Whatever the near future holds in store, I feel ready. I got my $600 relief check. 2020 taxes will probably cost more than that this year, but I actually have some money to hopefully pay for them. I am ill today. But that’s more often the case than not now. I deserve to rest a bit, grow stronger, and get on with whatever’s left to me.

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Filed under aliens, education, empathy, humor, Paffooney

AeroQuest 4… Canto 122

Canto 122 – The Hidden Powers of the Avenger

In the central courtyard of the Palace of a Thousand Years, the Avenger made its reappearance atop a young, completely nude boy.  He ran into the courtyard full throttle, and suddenly pulling up in front of the animal handler, six of his young apprentices, and six mardenschmauz six-legged riding beasts.    The Avenger then hit them with a mind-blast, proving that whoever was under the helmet was a powerful telepath.  He did not, however, kill them.  He merely put all seven people and six hexipedal riding beasts into a deep and restful involuntary slumber.

Of course, it was obvious that it wasn’t Alec under the helmet.  Alec was especially aware that it wasn’t him, as he rushed to the scene of the attack knowing it had to be stopped, and most likely only by another telepath.

Besides Alec knowing that he wasn’t the telepath in the Avenger helmet, he knew it wasn’t Sara or Junir, because the naked body wasn’t a girl, and it definitely wasn’t blue.  Besides, he was beginning to know and befriend the only Space Nudist among the students of the White Spider, and he now recognized Hassan Parker’s skinny butt and tiny penis.

Alec’s own telepathy was at least strong enough to protect him from any attack against him that naked Hassan could muster, in spite of Hassan’s telepathic superiority.

“Halt, Hassan!  You must take that evil helmet off.  You don’t want to hurt anyone.”  Alec stood in Hassan’s way.

“I do not know this Hassan you speak of.  I am the mighty Avenger!  I have returned because of the foul crimes of Shen Ming.  The wronged ones must be avenged!”

Others gathered around the scene of the Avenger’s sleep attack.  Taffy King and Mai Ling arrived from across the courtyard.  Jadalaqstbr teleported to Alec’s side and slipped her soft hand into his.  And Shen Ming-sensei hustled across the green, lifting the skirts of his orange ceremonial robe with both hands.

“Bow before me, infidels!  Or be destroyed in the name of Shen Ming!”

“I did not ask for any destruction in my name,” muttered Shen Ming, low enough that Alec almost didn’t hear him say it.

“So, Shen-sensei, the Avenger has now become Hassan?” Alec asked.

“Of course!  Why didn’t I remember?  It’s the stupid helmet!” Shen Ming said with a chuckle.

“You mean, it’s controlling his mind?” Alec asked.

“Undoubtedly.  It is what it was designed for.”

Alec looked at Taffy and Mai Ling, both of whom had fearsome Psionic powers of telekinesis and no telepathic mind shields.  If Hassan took over their minds… Oy!  Everyone could die a horrible death.

Not willing to take chances, Alec ran towards Hassan the Avenger and forcefully applied his best roundhouse kick to the side of Hassan’s head, then reversed direction and kicked him in the midsection with the other leg.  The helmet, once dislodged, flew through the air and landed in the grass more than two meters away from anyone.

Hassan was lying on the ground, still as death.

His heart in his throat, Alec leapt to Hassan’s aide.  His own telepathy was healing-centered, and though Fangwoman of the Black Spiders had only taught Alec how to use it to inflict pain, he knew only too well that it could be reversed the way Sara Smith did it to heal instead of harm.

The green healing energy radiated from Alec’s hands.  He poured his power into Hassan’s potentially damaged skull.

Slowly, Hassan opened his eyes again and came back to life.

“Alec, you freed me!  That evil helmet takes over your mind.  No matter how hard I fought it, it made me do things I did not want to do.”

“You have always been nice to me and helped me, even when I was horrible to you,” Alec admitted.  “I couldn’t just let the Avenger thing do harm to my only male friend.”

“Alec, you have definitely changed,” said Taffy King, smiling at him.

“Yeah, maybe so… But please don’t tell Phoenix.  I don’t want him to lose respect for me.”

“Oh, no worries there,” Taffy said about their old Black Spider classmate, “He doesn’t respect you, and probably never will.”

“Well, good then…” Alec muttered, though the disappointment from realizing the truth of that stung him deeply.

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Filed under aliens, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, satire, science fiction