Category Archives: NOVEL WRITING

AeroQuest 4… Appendix 1

Useful Index Updated #1

Dramatis Personae

Gedeliah (Ged) Aero – Possibly the hero of our story, Ged is a moral man, a hunter, a spacer, and soon to be a teacher because of his immense ability with Psion shape-changer skills.  He can transform the cells of his body into anything he desires (at least if he’s tasted the flesh of it).  He has now become the White Spider of the Web of Space.

Hamfast (Ham) Aero – Pilot and owner of the safari ship, the Leaping Shadowcat.  He’s also Ged’s brother and maker of the plan to get Ged into unknown space.  He has foolishly joined the Corsair Rebellion against the Thousand Planets of the Imperium and was captured by Admiral Tang.

Trav (Goofy) Dalgoda – The goofy one is capable of practically anything, and living proof that dumb luck is real.  He likes to blow things up and kill stuff.  His shoulder advisors are called Avarice and Greed.  He is the murderer of Count Nefaria and the enemy of Maggie (the Knife) Blastarr.  He also loves to wear Donald Duck hats and ties with comedy messages on them.

The Madonna – A Nebulon Princess and rescued slave girl, she falls in love with Ham Aero.  She becomes his wife and the mother of his blue children.  She is also the mother of Junior Aero, born in her captivity, so she is not closely attached to her own firstborn son.

Hamfast (Junior) Aero Jr. – Unwanted blue-skinned Nebulon Boy.  He becomes attached emotionally to Ged Aero and also possesses Psion skill.  He is the beloved childhood companion of Sara Smith.

Sinbadh – A Stardog Corsair Lupin (half-man, half-dog) who is marooned at Don’t Go Here for the crime of being a vegetarian.  He has become a trusted crewman and cook aboard the Leaping Shadowcat.

Tron Blastarr – The space-pirate leader of the Pinwheel Corsairs.  He has a scarred eye.  He is also a very capable pirate leader tired of the depredations of the Galtorr Imperium.  He becomes one of the primary rebel leaders. As a former Imperial Space Navy pilot, he became an Ace in the Pan Galactican War against the Faceless Horde.

Maggie (the Knife) Blastarr – The wife of Tron, mother of Artran, and hater of Goofy Dalgoda.  She is also fond of using knives and cutting people like Goofy Dalgoda.  She is the one person Trav Dalgoda most needs to avoid, though he doesn’t see it that way himself.  After all, Goofy Dalgoda is kinda stupid.

Artran Blastarr – Son of Tron and Maggie, a space child who enjoys the adventure of being the son of a famous space pirate.  Goofy Dalgoda made him laugh.  The Star Nomads made him an Explorer and turned him into an instant adult through time-travel.

Hassan the Elf – A Peri, artificially genetically-engineered to be a living creativity generator.  The space elf helps Happy Jack to create his robot child.  He also becomes a favorite sidekick of Captain Tron Blastarr.

Happy Jack (AB-101 Astron 99) – A teacher robot created to teach Artran Blastarr, but fired from his purpose in life by the Blastarrs.  He is the mommy-bot to Tiki Astro.

Tiki Astro – The silver, sentient, child-robot with a working penis that Happy Jack and Hassan created so that Happy Jack can be a mommy.  He is the beloved companion of Artran Blastarr, at least in the last novel.  In this novel, he bounces around between the Star Nomads and the White Spider Disciples.

Scheherazade – The beautiful black-skinned corsair pilot and warrior.  She is loved by all, but has her eye on the King of Killers whom she married shortly before her heroic death in space combat.  Of course, death does not disqualify characters from being in this novel or any others of the series.

The King of Killers – Tron Blastarr’s right-hand man, King is second in command of the Pinwheel Corsairs.  He also is in love with the beautiful Scheherazade who sacrifices herself to save him.  He is somehow supposed to be an important character in this so-called history.  Maybe he earned that right by fighting beside Tron Blastarr and Arkin Cloudstalker in the wars against the Faceless Horde.

Wicked Wanda Pierce – The holo-epic star of such entertainments as All Spaceways Lead to Galtorr, Naked Slave-Women of the Vampire Starport, and the comedy masterpiece You Probably Won’t Believe This.

Elvis the Cruel – The guitar-playing pilot for the Pinwheel Corsairs who is probably the most feared member of Tron Blastarr’s pirate band.  He definitely has scored the most kills in combat going all the way back to the wars against the Faceless Horde.

Dana Cole – An agent of Count Nefaria and also the woman who falls hopelessly in love with Trav Dalgoda, a mistake that gets her boss killed and makes of her a traitor.  She is probably either really dumb or hopelessly evil, either way making her a dangerous character.  Being in love with Trav Dalgoda seriously complicates the problems.

Sorcerer 3, 4, & 6… and maybe 12 – The evil, vicious Syn Corporation robotic assassin who won’t stay dead, coming back again and again to irritate Trav and the Aero Brothers.

Arkin Cloudstalker – The pirate leader of the Lady Knights Corsairs.  Arkin is a heroic, rebel-leader sort of character.  He aspires to do great deeds and save the known galaxy.  He has since he and Tron were rookie teenage pilots together in Pan Galactica, the reason for the white cowboy hat.

 Tabitha Blue-Arrow – The best of Cloudstalker’s Lady Knights, Tabitha has recently retired to own and operate an inn at Aerobase Frieda, the Starport orbiting Don’t Go Here, the planet of the Flintstone Cavemen.

Razor Conn – Leader of the Blackhawk Corsairs of the water-planet, Dancer.

Shad Blackstone – The oriental-looking second in command of the Blackhawk Corsairs.

Carleton Keyser, the Thin White Duke – A sector duke of the Galtorr Imperium who also happens to be the ruler of all pirates and smugglers.

Fez Amin – Tattooed leader of the dreaded Monopoly Brigade.  He is ruthless and violent, and also probably evil.

Grand Admiral Brona Tang – The leader of the entire Space Navy of the Galtorr Imperium.  He always appears in bright red body armor and no one in living memory has seen the actual face underneath.

Emperor Slythinus – The Galtorrian-Human fusion who currently rules the Imperium, at least until everyone learns that he died while in exile on the jungle-planet Stanley.

Ace Campfield – The malevolent Mechanoid bounty hunter hired by Count Nefaria to kill Arkin Cloudstalker and Tron Blastarr.  He is relentless, but also witless, and is now relegated to a mere head and torso imprisoned by Arkin Cloudstalker and kept around to laugh at and gloat over.

Frieda – The intelligence released from the Crown of All Stars by Trav Dalgoda. She helped them take possession of the entire planet of Don’t Go Here.  She turned herself into a sentient starport as well as a beautiful humanoid robot entirely colored gun-metal gray.

Tara Salongi – Cave girl and gifted telepath who falls in love with Ged Aero.  Current whereabouts are a matter of considerable concern.  She may be imprisoned by Mong the Miserly of the planet Mingo.  But she may also be in the custody of Raylond King, one of the ruling triumvirate of the Mingoan Worlds.

Banzai Joe – The owner of a deep-space station called the Arthur Rimbaud Memorial Outstation and Weapons Storehouse.  He is a rogue and a con man well-known to Tron and Trav and many other pirates and corsairs.

Xavier Tkriashav – A Psion Master marooned on Don’t Go Here, planet of the cavemen, and awaiting the foretold coming of the White Spider.  But once liberated he pursues his empire-building passion to create the New Star League.  He is possibly elected or possibly self-appointed as the first Senator Prime of the New Star League.

Dr. Naylund Smith – The immortal who waited for the White Spider to appear on the planet Gaijin.  He pledges himself to the White Spider in order to help him teach the Psion children he will lead to fulfillment of prophecy.  His own daughter is destined to become a White Spider Disciple.

Sara Smith – The daughter of Naylund.  She’s a gifted Psion healer.  She is among the first of the White Spider’s students.

Shu Kwai – The gifted Psion Telekinetic who becomes leader among the White Spider’s students.

Friashqazatla “Freddy” – The Black Wolf, Psion Shape-changer who is among the first of the White Spider’s students.

Rocket Rogers – The gifted Psion Pyro who is a space-cowboy refugee from the doomed Bradalanth Colony.  He is also a student and then a Disciple of the White Spider.

Jadalaqstbr “Jackie” – The gifted Psion Teleporter from the planet Zarane.  Well, actually from a gas giant moon in that planet’s star system.  She is a dusky-colored beauty from the former Psion Space Empire.  She is also a student and then Disciple of the White Spider.

Billy Iowa – The gifted Psion Clairvoyant and refugee from the Pan Galactican Wars against the Faceless Horde.  He is the best friend and protector of Gyro Sinjarac.

Gyro Sinjarac – The gifted Psion Transmuter who loves to invent things, especially with his psionic ability to change one atom into another with his mind alone.  He is a Nebulon and son of the Sinjarac Ambassador who saved the life of Billy Iowa.

Mai Ling – The gifted Psion Telekinetic from the planet Gaijin.  She is a dead shot with any slug-throwing or thrown weapon.  She can throw a pebble faster than a gun can shoot a bullet.

Bres, the Face-Dancer – The Psionic Black Spider who proves to be nearly Ged Aero’s equal as a Shape-Changer and teacher of Psions.  Ged defeated and banished him from Gaijin.

Phoenix – The Psionic Pyro trained by the Black Spiders on Gaijin.  He is the one that surrenders his team to Ged Aero and helps them all join the White Spider’s Dojo.

Taffy King – The Psionic Telekinetic who is, like Phoenix, a racially mixed fusion-race Galtorrian/Human.  She is also trained by the Black Spiders on Gaijin and also defects to the White Spider’s cause.

Alec Songh – The Psionic Un-Healer or Hurter, he is Gaijinese and trained by the Black Spiders to use his healing power to hurt others and break them down in battle.  He defected to the White Spider, but is consistently the one who is most likely to be tempted back to the black ones.

The Crew of the Megadeth – Captain Tommy Lee, Pamela, Pilot Vince Niell, Nikki Sixx, Cold Death, Slash, and sometimes the evil robot T-bop.  They are a motley crew.

Professor Googol Marou – That’s me!  The genius astronomer/inventor/physicist/pie-baker who lived through all of this and decided to tell the story.  Believe me, I am the smartest guy you could ever meet.  Well, human guy, anyway.

The Star Nomads – Some of the original explorers from the Galtorr/Human Fusion Empire evolved beyond bodies.  Men like the famed Martin Faulkner, Dakota Jim, and Stemperus Achs of Galtorr Prime would evolve into bodiless beings inhabiting suits of lead armor to prevent irradiating everyone they meet.  They became Star Nomads with names like the Geomancer, the Magnificent Wanderer, the Black Knight, and the Dark Traveler.

**Yes, I know this is too long for an ordinary post, but it does cover five books.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 141

Canto 141 – The Critical Task

Safely back at the newly-constructed Gaijinese Starport, Naylund, Sara, and Junior walked down the exit ramp from the space ship with Ged Aero, the White Spider.  They were all  four relatively quiet and somberly thoughtful.

“Are you sure you have no lasting effects from dividing yourself in two?” Naylund asked.

“Naylund, old friend, don’t worry about me.  I could feel his thoughts when we first separated, but each of us came to terms with our new, separated identities rather quickly.  By the time we were ready to leave, not only was the planet well under control, but we were each feeling like two separate people.”

“What did it feel like to split yourself in half like that?” Junior asked.

“It hurt a lot at first.  He got the right half of my brain, and I got the left.  But we each grew out a fairly perfect copy of the other half, me as Ged Aero, White Spider, and him as the new Grainmaster Aero.  So, we are now both very different beings, me a human descended from Earthers, and him a Cornucopean Ear of Corn,  controlling all the plant life on the planet.”

“It wasn’t really a fascist thing from the start, was it, Ged-dono.”

“No, Naylund.  It was more of a hive-mind as if the entire planet could think as one plant-creature.  And all of it flowed through the Grainmaster’s brain.”

They found themselves confronted on the Tarmac by three Blackhawk Corsairs, Razor Conn, the leader, Shad Blackstone, his second in command, and newly uniformed Dana Cole.  They looked rather grim.  And Ged knew immediately without telepathy or clairvoyance that they came bearing really bad news.

“So, what’s happened now?” Ged dared to ask.

The trio of Blackhawks explained about the death of the White Duke, the preparations for rebellion against the Galtorr Imperium, as well as the battle of Coventry and the war crimes of Trav Dalgoda.

“That’s almost hard to believe,” said Naylund.

“Except it was Trav.  I’m afraid I have no trouble believing that,” Ged added.

“Trav died for his sins,” reminded Dana, “And the new creature he has become… well, I’ll personally work on reforming him.”

“And what about the Tesserah thing that Trav used to destroy half of a planet?” Ged asked.

“That’s what the new White Spider of the Space Lanes will be needed for,” said Razor Conn.

“We believe the thing is counting down to the destruction of the entire universe.  We don’t want that to happen.”

“Yes, I agree that it does not sound like a very good thing to allow to happen,” Ged said.

“We need you and your students to take it away and destroy it,” said Shad Blackstone.

“You are the only one we believe can actually do it,” added Razor Conn.

“Me?  I have no idea what to do.”

“It’s from the prophecy, Ged,” said Naylund.  “It suggests that the new White Spider will destroy the Ancient Most-Evil by burying it in the heart of the black hole.”

“What black hole?”

“The one with an Ancient construct orbiting it, Little Swirl.”

“My holy God!  That’s all the way Coreward on the other side of the Imperium.”

“It will be your greatest test, Ged.  It will be the quest that establishes the reign of the new White Spider of Prophecy.”

“We are going to take a good long look at what this prophecy-thing actually says.  And if there is any other way to accomplish it, we are going to consider that instead.”

“We will help you plan the mission, Ged,” said Razor.  “But this whole prophecy thing has foretold everything without missing a single detail.  I know it’s sorta spooky stuff, but it’s also real.  And time is running out for the whole universe.”

“That sounds like a good plot for a whole book,” said Sara, smiling.

“Yeah… but we better take a lot of care about which dumb nut we let write the danged thing,” said Ged.

I, Googol Marou, the author of this book, swear to you, he actually said those words.  And I only resent the “dumb nut” part of the comment a little bit.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 140

Canto 140 – The Master Resurrected

The White Spider Disciples gathered around Ged to make a final stand in defense.  They set up a circle around him, ready to go down fighting to defend him.

“Explain to me what just happened?” Ged implored the telepaths.

“In the future there will be two Ged Aeros.  During a combat, you will be sliced into two pieces.  One piece will regenerate as you, the other, without a brain of its own, will regrow into Bres,” explained Hassan.

“He is opposed to you because he didn’t get your memories and experience.  He hates you as the lucky half that got all the good things from being you,” added Sara.

“But he knows you won’t be killed here.  He is merely hoping to strip you of some of us, especially Hassan.  He thinks he has no chance of defeating you in the future if we all survive this battle.”  Billy Iowa wiped sweat from his brow as his report took more energy out of him than the other telepaths expended.  Apparently clairvoyance is harder than just telepathy.

“But is there a way to save you all?”

“There is if you can find it within yourself, Ged-sensei,” said Billy.

Within himself?  What did Ged Aero have within himself?  Well, he had the remains of the Grainmaster in his stomach.  And, holy crud!  He had gained ninja powers by eating a ninja, hadn’t he?  So, the Grainmaster’s powers were…

“I’ve got the answer!”  Ged morphed into the shape, body, and brain of the deceased Grainmaster.  He became an ear of corn with arms and legs and two black, corn-kernel eyes.

“All right, minions!  I am the new Grainmaster now.  The Grainmaster reborn.  I will guide you all and restore this planet to the way it is supposed to be.

He reached out and reanimated the many wilted flower people with what his mind could only perceive now as “Green Power,” and pumped it into the Throckpods as well.

The difference was, now, instead of Bres’s willpower guiding the Throckpods, it was Ged’s empowering mind.  The Throckpods were now kindly helping the flower people recover and regrow themselves.

The problem seemed solved.  And yet…

“Ged Aero-sensei?  How will you control this flower planet and be our White Spider too?” asked Gyro.

“He has a point, Ged-sensei,” said Hassan.

“You are needed here now to control the plant-people of Cornucopea,” added Sara.  “They rely on you to gather and redistribute all the photosynthesis and plant energy on the planet.”

“But we need you too,” reminded Junior Aero.

“How is it that part of me becomes Bres?” Ged asked.

“You have a portion of your torso and right leg cut off in battle, during which the headless piece falls into a chasm below you.  That part turns into Bres.” Billy nodded as he said it, apparently sure of his future-facts.

“Okay, then, I can do this without creating my own enemy.  At least not today.”  Ged, in the corncob body of the corn-creature, split himself exactly down the middle.  One Ged, the Grainmaster Aero, morphed back into a complete corn-based ruler of the planet.  The other half of Ged returned to his White Spider form.

“I realize how dangerous it is to make two of myself.  I have no idea what the consequences will be,” said Grainmaster Aero.

“But since I killed and ate the rightful ruler of this planet, I must not only return to my duties as the White Spider of Prophecy, but I must provide a new Grainmaster too,” said Ged the White Spider.

“Cornucopea will now become a member of the New Star League as well as an independent, non-fascist world,” said Grainmaster Aero.

“I hope you are doing the right thing, Sensei,” said Sara Smith.

“I hope I am too,” said Ged.

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Life is a Book

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Life is a Book

I write chapters in it every day

The themes are more numerous than the stars

And the themes are always… always complex

But I work through them

One word after another

And soon I will close it

And write no more

But it will still be there

My book

novel newz

With the conclusion of Stardusters and Space Lizards, I have now completed a novel nine times.  The seven titles above are the ones I am actually proud of having written.  I am beginning to feel like a novelist.

I should point out that I don’t claim to be a professional novelist.  I have spent a lot more money than I have earned by writing.  But I am not a hobbyist.  After teaching ended as the career that defined my life, writing became my life’s work.  I am trying to become a published novelist.  But “published” is becoming an increasingly complex idea.

Catch a Falling Star is published and available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and I-Universe, the actual publisher.  I-Universe is an Indie publisher, but connected to Penguin Books, and so owned by one of the big five.  Aeroquest is published by Publish America, but I could’ve copied from the encyclopedia and they would’ve bound it into a book form.  I am embarrassed to even own up to having written it.  Snow Babies was a contest finalist manuscript and supposed to be published by PDMI Publishing LLC,  but that publisher folded after the editing was done and so it never found its way into print. Magical Miss Morgan is currently with Page Publishing, a vanity press operation that already collected their fees and don’t seem to be publishing my work.  I am looking into the process of suing in case they don’t come through on a process that is already a year overdue.  And I am determined to see the rest of my books in print if that is in any way possible.  Who knows?  Someday somebody may actually read and like my books… by which I mean somebody that I haven’t paid to read it.  The last one I paid to read one wrote the review on somebody else’s book by mistake and then corrected the error by writing a fudged book report on the back cover blurb.  My luck as an author is reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh’s luck as a painter.

My life is a book.  I am still writing it.  And I will never let go the pen while I still have life enough to hold it in my hands..

 

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Characters in Colored Pencil

As a novelist, certain characters, as I understand them, have to be portrayed in a certain specific way.  It may be because the character is based on a real person, so those characteristics are tied to reality and changing them will impair the character’s realism.  It may also be because the character has a very special function in the story, possibly a metaphorical or thematic function so a change in those particulars can derail the entire story.  But portraying them in colored pencil is not nearly so arcane.  Colored pencil is my own preferred medium, the one I know best how to use as an artist.

Snow Babies 2

Snow Babies

These characters are not specifically people.  They are created in nature when a person dies in a blizzard by freezing to death.  They act like banshees in that they serve both as omens of impending death, and collectors of the spirit forms of the deceased.  Snow ghosts after a manner of speaking.

They are from my novel Snow Babies and give the book its name.  Of course, they are not the only snow babies that the title refers to.  But they are essential to the basic theme of the story.

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Brent Clarke

Brent is the leader of the Pirates.  He appears in the novels Superchicken, and The Baby Werewolf, though I have another couple of stories in my head where he plays an important role as well.

Brent is an amalgam of two real people.  One was a boy from my boyhood gang, and the other was a student I taught more than a decade after that.  He is a farm boy, naturally outgoing and athletic, but also a bit of a bully and a bigger bit of a jerk, especially around girls.

 

morgan12

Miss Francis “Franny” Morgan

Miss Morgan is a middle school teacher based on a real-life colleague who had a gift for reaching and teaching challenging kids, though she’s also got a bit of me in her since the major challenges she faces in the story are mostly things that happened to me, and I made her an English teacher like me instead of the Science teacher she really was.  She is the main character in the novel that bears her name, Magical Miss Morgan.  She is also a minor character in Superchicken, almost twenty years earlier in time.  I pictured her wearing a purple paisley dress to represent her magical abilities.  That magic is, of course, the ability to make stories come to life through imagination and creativity.

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Sean “Cudgel” Murphy

Cudgel is “Grampy” of the Murphy Clan, living in the home of his eldest son Warren.  He is basically a clown character, being an irascible, evil old man who loves his family, only ever drives his beloved Austin Hereford motor car (“the best goddam car in the whole goddam world from 1954”), and will fight for any reason or excuse at the drop of a hat.

He has already played a role in the novels The Bicycle-Wheel Genius and Snow Babies.  And I hope to use him in several more.  He is loosely based on several old men I have known throughout my life, but he functions mainly as a clown, a comic relief character that breaks up the tension in developing plots.

So there you have some characters that I have written about in my novels and illustrated in living colored pencil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 139

Canto 139 – Battle of the Flowers

Thousands of thistle-like Throckpods came thundering over the hill with thorns brandished and wild looks in their very human-looking eyes.

From the other side, a large group of vegetable people with seed-like eyes came up behind Ged and his disciples, presumably to support them in the upcoming battle.

“What do we do, Sensei?” asked Junior.”

“I need the telepaths to all try to locate the Grainmaster.  He’s the key somehow.  If they have a hive mind going on here, he’s the connecting point.”

The Throckpods connected first with a phalanx of violet flower-people.  Violet petals were torn from the faces of the flower-men who barely made a scratch against their weedy attackers.  The poor flowers were overwhelmed.

“Sensei, I detect the Grainmaster over there amongst the Throckpods!” Hassan shouted.  “You can’t actually see him from here.  He’s surrounded by at least a dozen of those nine-foot-tall purple-headed thistles.”

Ged could see the thistle-Throckpods he was talking about.  Somehow they had to get to the Grainmaster himself.

“Shu?  This may be a suicidal attack, but if I turn myself into the armored ape form, can you and Taffy throw me by telekinesis into the center of the Grainmaster’s party?”

“Sensei, what will we do if they tear you to pieces or thorn you to death?”

“I may well be harder to kill than they think.  But if I am gone, Shu-kun, you will be in charge.  You will flee back to Gaijin and prepare defenses there.”

Shu and Taffy looked at each other, nodded yes to each other, and then picked Ged up with their combined mind powers.  As he rose through the air, Ged transformed himself into the green armored ape he had used to eat Throckpods before and save Sara from having her sap sucked out.

The two young telepaths did an excellent job of transporting Ged safely to the very spot he needed to reach.  Then, when directly over the Grainmaster’s “head,” they dropped him straight down.

Ged had a moment to assess his enemy as he was dropping down through the air.  The Grainmaster was shaped like a giant ear of corn with arms and legs and two black kernels of corn for eyes.  He carried a giant wheat stalk as a scepter.

Ged landed on the corn-thing directly.  Two Throckpods tried to stop him from attacking the Grainmaster, so he ripped them apart first before he began eating the Grainmaster whole. A rain of poisoned thorns bounced harmlessly off of Ged’s metallic hide.  The corn-thing was terrified as he was munched up by metal gorilla jaws.

A shudder went through all the surrounding plants.  Ged could see all the flower-warriors wilting to the ground.   All the flower forces were apparently rendered completely powerless by the demise of the Grainmaster.  Ged knew instantly that he had erred in the most serious manner possible, even before he realized that it was far worse because, even though the Throckpods were affected by the Grainmaster’s death too, they were not nearly so devastated as the rest of the plant people.

Ged’s students all easily used their Psion powers to part the sea of wilting Throckpods.  They came to Ged’s aid.

As Ged returned to his normal face and form, he suddenly became aware of someone else he knew from before.

“I should’ve realized it was you behind everything,” Ged said.

“Of course.  I came back in time specifically for this moment,” said Bres the Black Spider formerly of Gaijin.

“You are the reason these weeds have human-like eyes.”

“Yes, they are made from my DNA as well as the Grainmaster’s.  I control them with my own willpower.  The Grainmaster was my prisoner.  Now that you have killed the him, all the regular plant people will die, leaving my Throckpods in charge of the entire world.”

“Why don’t you tell him who you really are,” challenged Hassan Parker.  “He needs to know that you are not who you pretend to be.”

“My word, White Spider.  You have an exceptionally powerful telepath there.  I can’t seem to force him out of my mind.”

“You might as well tell him yourself.  If you don’t, I will.”  Hassan was livid with anger.

“Oh, no!  It can’t be true!” sobbed Sara as she, too, managed to read the Black Spider’s mind.

“Yes, Ged.  What they are going to tell you anyway is entirely true.  I am you from the future.  That’s how I know exactly how this turns out.”

“He’s not telling you the whole truth,” warned Hassan.

“Yes, he’s not the only future you there is.  And he doesn’t know how it turns out for him, only that he tried to defeat you here.  What happens to him next he doesn’t know,” said Billy Iowa.  “But my clairvoyance tells me he is not going to get any of the things he wants because…”

But before Billy could finish, Bres changed into a bird-form and leaped into the air, flapping madly to get away from the scene.

The Throckpods were returning to full and mobile life.

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Time in the Rabbit Hole

Pursuing the muse that makes you a slave to the difficulties of a creative life leads you to places and experiences you never intended to visit.

Such is the tale of following Cissy Moonskipper down the White Rabbit’s hole.

A few days ago I told you how I found an old pen and ink drawing, scanned it, colored it, and then scanned it again. It became the day’s blog post, a short, ironic short story about a character stranded alone on a space ship in deep uncharted space.

The punch line was that she found a copy of Dafoe’s Robinson Crusoe in the bridge storage bin.

The picture got photoshopped into a potential cover for a book. And I began obsessing about how to write a story that parallels that really old book about a shipwrecked lonely man.

I couldn’t resist following that White Rabbit of Sudden Inspiration down into the maze of writing a new science fiction… novella? It needs to be short and sweet. But it has the feeling already of something that I have never ever done before in story-telling.

This, of course, is Friday. She’s a Lupin girl left aboard the spaceship by the invading pirate who killed Cissy’s older half-brother before getting himself disintegrated. She is the second character needed to carry out the parody of the Robinson Crusoe story.

And while I was creating this character, I decided to create an illustration of the starship too. The story is set aboard the free-trader named Dark Moon’s Dreaded Luck.

So, I am now in uncharted territory. Which bottle do I drink from? Which cookie do I chew? I already know how the story ends, but getting there will be a magical adventure. And it seems like other things are totally on hold because of it. I am trapped in that rabbit hole. And God only knows how long it will take.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 138

Canto 138 – The Throckpod Speaks

The designated Throckpod lumbered into Ged Aero-sensei’s camp with a sort of thorny swagger that made the students of the White Spider rather uneasy.  A flower-creature like that should’ve been more humbly worried about entering an enemy’s camp than this one was.

The Throckpod that Mai Ling introduced to Ged was a daisy-headed being with disturbingly human-looking eyes.  Its petals were yellow.  The center of the blossom where the eyes peered out was green.

“So, I understand that you are the spokesman for the Throckpods,” Ged said.

“No.  I am all Throckpods.  We are all linked by our glorious leader.  We are all one.”

“I see.”

“You do have eyes, yes.  You may have noticed that I have eyes too.  Not photon-sensitive seed pods, but real eyes.  A gift from our glorious master who unites us all.”

“You serve the Grainmaster, then?”

“Our glorious master gave us our true sight and our ability to know what all Throckpods know, shared knowledge throughout the hive mind.”

“But do you serve the Grainmaster?”

“We serve all of the planet.  Through the Grainmaster we serve, yes.”

“We have come to ask you about the treatment of the other plant people.  We have come to understand that the common plant people are bullied by the Throckpods and forced to give everything they have to the Grainmaster.  We wish to discuss other, more-equitable forms of governing with the Grainmaster.”

“Listen, King Monkey, we of the Throckpod legions come specifically to destroy you.  We intend to eliminate all such inferior creatures from the ecospheres of all nearby planets.”

The vicious Throckpod detached three thorns from it’s arm-branches glistening with rather obvious poisons.

Shu, Mai Ling, and Taffy King each intercepted one of the thorns as it was thrown and buried the projectiles deeply into the Throckpod’s stem, near the walking-roots, thus shriveling up the flower-warrior’s only means of getting away.

“Now you have declared war on all of the plants of the sacred master.  We all see through my eyes.  All Throckpods now know of your treachery.  I do all I can now to slay all your little monkey-kind.  You will regret your treachery.  The Throckpods now descend upon you!”

Of course, the Throckpod by himself had very little power to make good on his threats himself.  He flung a flurry of thorns at Ged’s students and Shu, Mai Ling, and Taffy threw them all right back.

Soon the Throckpod was mostly shredded, limp and swiftly turning brown on the ground.

Luigi the Onion Guy was apparently beside himself with upset and anger.  “YoU iS no knOwing hoW bad YoU haS made thiNgs now!”

“We are doing our best,” Ged answered impatiently.  “You don’t expect me to just stand by and let these Throckpod monsters slay my students, do you?”

“He is only warning you that the Throckpods will now seek vengeance on us all and we may all be doomed,” explained the more reasonable Carrot-man.

At that moment Gyro and Billy came crashing down from the sky on a dragonfly-looking grav bike,  the two boys tumbling and losing their cowboy hats into the center of the camp.

“Are you two all right?” gasped Sara the healer.

“Nothing that you can’t fix,” said Billy, rubbing his raw, scraped knee.

“We do have a problem, though.  Thousands of Throckpods are headed this way to kill us.”  Gyro’s little blue face was completely serious for once.

“Yes, we will definitely have to deal with that problem now… somehow,” said Ged Aero-sensei.

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The Making of a Paffooney

There is a certain amount of worry now in Mickeytown. My hands have begun to tremble. I see things that aren’t there. I have become excessively forgetful. Possibly Parkinson’s… but not diagnosed by a doctor yet.

Maybe it’s only paranoia… but that’s a Parkinson’s symptom too.

And it worries me because I need to be able to draw new Paffoonies. But it is definitely becoming harder.

Yesterday, when my computer was breaking down again, the scanner miraculously reconnected itself and began to work.

I scanned this old pen-and-ink drawing.

Do I know why I drew it, or what it is supposed to be about?

I do not.

But I can still swirl colored pencils and color within the lines, at least as well as I did when I was nine.

You may remember this one from yesterday,

Of course, forgetful me, I couldn’t remember where I had stored my best art pencils. I had to crack open the bag of old school pencils that I still have from my last hurrah as a Texas pedagogue (a word that means a teacher of children, not that other thing that the evil-minded ones among you were probably thinking.)

So, now I have a colored picture of a young-girl space traveler. What to do with it?

Like any old mad god who makes a girl come to life like this (old mad god of colored pencils, a little “g” god, not a blasphemous big “G” one,) I needed to name her and give her a story, a purpose in life.

So, I called her Cissy Moonskipper (a suitably satirical and comic sort of name playing off of Luke Skywalker.)

And I stranded her on a family-owned free-trader starship, alone in deep space. Her family is gone permanently. The ship has everything she needs to survive. She is a sole-survivor on a deserted island in deep space in an unexplored star system. And all she has is a starship owner’s manual and a copy of the novel Robinson Crusoe.

So, I added a background and now I have started a new book idea. That is essentially what a Paffooney is. Words and pictures by little ol’ me.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 137

Canto 137 – Wild Ride

Gyro was no ordinary Nebulon.    

Nebulons, known to many in the Imperium as “Space Smurfs” for reasons long forgotten, were the child-like blue people who inhabited deep space in their living starships.  Many thought the blue skin, yellow hair, and red apple cheeks showed evidence they were not just humanoids, but human space travelers mutated by the exotic radiations of the nebulae where Earthers and other humans had first discovered them. 

Gyro had the red cheeks, the blue skin, and the bright yellow hair, but he also had qualities that were extremely rare in Nebulons.  For one thing he was a Psion, a being with the right brain mutation to perform powerful brain functions that seemed like magic to the ordinary space traveler. 

His own special psionic ability was even rarer than the usual Psion.  He could not only use telepathy, but use the power of his “inner eye” to see and alter the molecular structure and overall organization in any finite piece of matter. 

In other words, he could change lead into gold with the power of his mind alone.  To Gyro it was just a matter of pushing the funny little atomic balls into new configurations in the creative imaginings of his “inner eye”.

Being a Psion inside the borders of the Galactic Galtorrian Imperium, the so-called “Thousand Worlds”, was a dangerous enterprise.  The Imperials were so afraid of psionic powers and what they believed they could do, that having psionic power brought an immediate death sentence. 

That was the reason that when Gyro and his family, and  Billy Iowa, also a Psion, had to leave the Pan Galactican Union, they had journeyed eventually to the distant world of Gaijin to find the master of Psionics, the White Spider, Ged Aero.  Ged Aero-sensei had taken in both boys, given them a home, and taught them how to master the powers of the “inner eye”.

So that was the reason that Gyro now sat on the planet Cornucopea beside a huge dead bug and pondered the possibilities of escape for himself and Billy. Ged Aero-sensei and his White Spider Mutant Space Ninjas had come as explorers to the planet, and run afoul of the living plants, specifically the Throckpods, who inhabited it. 

As Gyro and Billy had been heading back to base camp, they were attacked by a large group of the ugly sentient flowers and their pet gargantuan dragonfly. 

Billy, being a good student of Ged-sensei’s Martial Arts training, delivered a jump-kick to the chitinous face plate of the dragonfly that put a hole in it, driving his foot right into the thing’s syrupy brain tissue.  It dropped dead next to them as Throckpods moved menacingly around them in a huge circle of weed.

“We are totally cut off,” said Billy.  “And I think they mean to kill us.”

“They’re flowers!  Flowers can’t eat people… can they?” asked Gyro nervously.

“They are intelligent flowers.  How can you know what they eat and don’t eat?  Especially after Sara told us about how they tried to take all of her blood?” asked Billy in return.  His Dakota-Sioux features scrunched up into a frown.  “I am at the height of my power.  Let them come!  In a sacred manner I resist them until my very last breath!  It is a good day to die!”

Gyro’s eyes got wider.  It was a very Native American sort of thing for Billy to say, but Gyro didn’t really want to hear it.

“You give me a few minutes to think,” said Gyro, “and I will find a way out of this mess.”

Billy resolutely turned to frown at the approaching grove of ugly flowers.

Gyro looked all around, and finally settled on the dragonfly.  In some ways, the huge insect already resembled an anti-grav cycle.  It wouldn’t take very much manipulation to… 

Gyro’s imagination started turning chitin into glass-steel.  The dragonfly’s bowels were easy to shape into a small fusion-powered engine.  The blood only had to be separated to get the hydrogen necessary for fuel.  With a few pops and crackles and one big POOM, they had a working grav cycle.

As Throckpods started throwing thorns, and Billy swatted them out of the air with Wushu defensive strikes, Gyro revved the engine and pulled Billy onto the upholstered seat behind him.

“Time to bug out!” said Gyro with a huge blue grin.  The grav cycle immediately and silently lifted into the air on anti-grav repulsor lifts.  Then, with a roar, they zoomed skyward, not only out of the reach of Throckpods and thorns, but also out of reach from the devilish dragonflies that were swarming towards them from somewhere in the eastern sky.

“I guess it’s a good thing you can change stuff like that,” said Billy, holding tightly onto his Texas sombrero, “but if you had never made that stink-language translator, maybe we would’ve never got into this mess.”

“I don’t think the translator is the big problem,” said Gyro.  “These flowers seem to have an agenda that doesn’t include looking pretty and smelling nice.  I think they don’t like us as plant-eaters and potential invaders.  After all, this is their world.”

“Okay,” said Billy.  “Get us back to camp and Ged Aero-sensei, and I’m all for leaving this dirtball to the plants!”

“Yeah, um… maybe you better teach me how to fly this thing first.”

“Oh, Smurf!  You made the thing.”

“Yeah, well… Hang on to your hat, then!”

They managed to fly a haphazard corkscrew pattern on their way back to camp.  It was unbelievably dangerous and life-threatening.  But the boys made it back safely and walked away from the crash.  And Gyro had some real fun with his driving skills.

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