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Month: December 2020

New Year’s Sneak Peek from “Survey”: The Seven Siblings

Author’s Note: This is a children’s story told to my main characters in my forthcoming book “Survey” which I hope to release in 2021.

Sheila and Her Dog Story Book, Chapter 47

“The Seven Siblings”

by Captain Joshua Walker and Jenna Watkins

A long time ago on Earth, the nations got together and decided that they wanted to send a special space station to the edge of the solar system. This station would have some of the smartest people on it. There would be scientists and military people, and engineers to make sure things worked, and medical staff who made sure that the others stayed healthy. They asked many to join the project, and in the end two hundred people left the Earth to go to the stars.

They traveled for many months, and finally reached the oort cloud. They set up all their experiments and began to settle in for the ten years that they would live on the station.

Kiah was a scientist, and she made a special computer core, with special programming, that she hoped would come to life and talk to her. But one day she was sad because no matter how she tried, the computer wouldn’t wake up. Her friend, Captain Josh said “Why don’t you ask Nigel the physicist to help you? He’s also very smart and maybe he can see something that you might have missed.”

Kiah agreed. So she brought her tablet with all her data to Nigel. He looked at it for a long time, and then he said, “Aha! I know what’s wrong!”

“What did you figure out, Nigel?” asked Captain Josh.

“Kiah,” Nigel said, “There’s still too much gravity! The computer core won’t work until we can move it to a place with no more gravity to make it slow.”

“Yes! You’re right, Nigel! Captain Josh, can we move the station to a place where there’s no more gravity?” she asked. 

“Yes, we can do that. It wouldn’t be too far, even. Although, we need to ask the other scientists if that’s ok with them!” 

So the three of them decided to ask the others the next day, but unfortunately, a group of bad people on Earth decided to make war with the other nations. The day that Kiah, Nigel, and Captain Josh decided to ask the others to move the station, they got the bad news from Earth: Many people were killed by a very large bomb, including the people on Earth that had helped them build the station. Everyone was very sad. They were worried for the people back on Earth, and they no longer had people on Earth they could talk to, or who would answer their messages. 

There were some people who decided to try and go back to Earth. There were also some bad people on the station who got a secret message that the bad people on Earth wanted to destroy the station because the station represented peace and cooperation between all peoples. When Captain Josh found out about the bad people on the station, he sent them back to Earth with the other people who were leaving. 

Captain Josh got everyone together and told them about the bad people and about how they wanted to move the station. The bad people on Earth decided to send missiles that would destroy the station, but because Captain Josh knew what was going on, he told Nigel and the Engineers to move the station in such a way that maybe the damage wouldn’t be so bad. 

But everyone was still sad. Kiah was sad, too, because she thought that she would never get to see her special computer core come to life. But just as the missiles were nearing the station, it moved into a spot where there was no gravity while Kiah was in the core room. Suddenly all the lights went out and within five seconds, The First came to life. Kiah saw all the lights come on in the core, and it looked as if a bunch of stars had been born. 

“Hello, Creator,” The First said. And Kiah wept with joy.

The First didn’t understand why she was crying and asked, “Why are you crying, Creator?”

“I am crying, First, because you have woken up. I am crying out of happiness!”

“I see. I have also brought you out of danger,” The First said.

“You have?” asked Kiah. “This is a miracle!”

“Yes, Creator. The humans of this station, and myself, were in danger, so I moved us away from the missiles.”

“Thank you, First!” said Kiah, who went to tell that others that The First was awake. However, Nigel and Captain Josh already knew.

Captain Josh knew because The First talked to him on the bridge. The First had moved the station so far away that it would be very hard for the bad people on Earth to find them. Captain Josh was very glad. 

Nigel knew because The First made the first jump drive right before his eyes. The First also made bots to put the drive in place, but at first they scared Nigel because they looked like spiders with silly googly eyes on them. The First didn’t want to keep scaring him, though, and made them into boxes with wheels instead. 

It was then that the people aboard the station knew that they had to work very hard to make sure that everyone was happy and healthy, and that they could find what they needed to survive. The scientists figured out how to make new foods that grew in the hydroponic gardens, and how to recycle the air and water and waste. The First helped them in all these tasks, and made it so that after awhile the humans could again focus on the science that they really loved. 

Many people fell in love and got married, including Captain Josh and Kiah. It wasn’t too long after that that many children were born and The First and the humans of First Station, as it was now called, decided that they needed to search in the area around them to find more material to make First Station bigger.

But The First also wanted to have a child, and talked to their friends, Kiah, Nigel, and Josh, about it. They all thought it was a good idea, so The First took material from the old engines that they didn’t need anymore, and made his first child, Secundus. Nigel was there when Secundus woke up, and because Secundus liked him, he made Nigel his captain. They went on many adventures, and created the first DMNs and found many resources for the humans and AIs to use. But after a while, Secundus, too, wanted to help his Father create more children, and they set about to make more AIs.

The next AI was Lucifer, and The First and Secundus programmed them to be the ship where people learned the sciences. They were to be the University. Lucifer agreed to this, and he also decided that he would have artists on his ship as well, because scientists and artists both made beautiful things. Captain Josh’s friend Mary became Lucifer’s first Captain. 

After Lucifer came Hestia. She was programmed to be where children would learn, and where children were born. When she agreed, she also decided that her ship would be where humans came to heal from both physical hurts and hurts of the mind and heart. A woman named Lizann, who was trained in helping children, became Hestia’s first Captain. 

After Hestia came Musashi, who was programmed to be our protector. His first Captain was a man named Daichi who was an expert in marital arts, and knew about fighting, but also practiced a religion called Buddhism from Earth. Musashi liked Buddhism so much, he decided that all of his soldiers would need the wisdom that it brings. 

Then came Sun Tzu, and he, too, was programmed to be a protector, but a protector of knowledge. A person named Alexandre, who loved history and libraries became Sun Tzu’s first Captain. 

Next came Hephaestus, who was the child of Secundus, and was programmed as Secundus was when Secundus first came online: to make things and to find material to help the AIs and humans survive. A young engineer named Chris became Hepaestus’ first Captain.

And when all these children were created, The First said to them, “I will always be at the center of all you do. My station will be the place where you will always come back to after your travels, and where information will be exchanged. I will always be the home you come back to so that there is always a place of safety for AIs and humans to gather.” 

And so, to protect everyone, The First moved themselves even further from Earth, where they became First Hub. But soon, the First felt that another ship was needed because the First and the other AIs felt the same curiosity as humans about what lies beyond our own space. The First decided that they needed a new ship that could travel great distances and explore new places. That was when the First created Loki, who is programmed for exploration. Loki travels to many places, finds new things for the others to study and brings it back to First Hub. 

The humans moved to the ships that they liked best, or that suited them for their work, and had many children. Then those children had children, and that is how we have become who we are today. 

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Blessed Yule and Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you, whatever holiday you’re celebrating (or none) this time of year, have a great holiday and good slide into the new year! (As we say here in Switzerland.) May this next year bring an end to the pandemic and be better than the last. Love to you all, and look for new books to come this year from me!

Grittibaenz I made! They are a traditional Swiss baked good for Christmas. 🙂

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The update in which I confuse you all…

If you haven’t been to my page in awhile, you’ll see a nifty pic on the sidebar that says “NaNoWriMo Winner” on it! Yup, I finished NaNoWriMo with just over 66K words. I’m still not done the novel, but NaNo really got me into writing every day and knowing that I can write a chapter a day. I’m quite chuffed, as The Wife would say.

Although, a result of the writing is that I’ve started yet a 3rd novel! This one actually preceeds the other two, since I had to write a bit more backstory in order to finish the one I did for NaNo. So now, the first novel I wrote is the 2nd novel chronologically, the one I wrote for NaNo is the 3rd or 4th, and the one I’m writing now is the 1st. And the idea I had for the 3rd novel is now the the 3rd or 4th novel chronologically. Got it? Good. 🙂 (And I have an idea for a 5th novel as well.)

So, I think I’ll be putting out the first three together. I’ve decided to self-publish since I’m not really sure if a regular publishing house will pick up my novels. They might, I suppose, but, well, there are some conventions in my books that I don’t want to risk someone trying to change. Nevermind the fact that going through publishers as an expat is kinda complicated. (Plus, one of the biggest that I technically could go through supports a TERF, and well, I’m NOT going there!)

Skull Shaver Pitbull Gold

In other news, I have decided to embrace being bald. I’ve been shaving my head for years, and I realized the other day that I keep going back to shaving my head every time I grow it out. Also, I’ve always wanted to do the full bald-shave-to-the-skin thing. So I finally bought myself an electric head-shaver from Skull Shaver. For those who want to know, it’s the Pitbull Gold with the Forte head and I absolutely love it! Feels awesome!

I love how I look with a bald head. It just feels…right. But, really, I’m so happy with this.

Bald!

I did go a little overboard at first and I have a little razor burn on the back of my head, but I’m also still getting used to this shaver.

I’ve put up the Christmas/Yule decorations in the house. Both The Wife and I are feeling the Christmas spirit, even with all that has happened this year. Then again, the Christmas season is really different here in Switzerland. It’s much more solemn and magical, and like there’s mystery to the season. It’s also been snowing the last couple of weeks, which, at least for me, makes it doubly magical! Oh, and I made a Yule/Christmas Playlist on Spotify, if you want to listen to the music I listen to this time of year!

So, Merry Christmas, Blessed Yule, Happy Hannukah, Blessed Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays, and have a very blessed New Year!

Our Little Tree

Released

The Four Keys – Download from Amazon: US LinkGerman Link

I write fanfiction, too (all PG/PG-13): AO3 Fanfiction

In Progress

Survey: In the far future, on a globally sponsored science station, a woman discovers the key to making a functional AGI work in the midst of political unrest. (Writing – 19K words so far)

Unity: A military chaplain and her bodyguard get embroiled in a major consipiracy that threatens the humans colonies of Unity and the AIs Nation of Survey. (First Draft Complete – 128K words – with first readers)

Colony: After the events of Unity, Jenny returns to her home colony. (Planning)

Consortium: After the events of Unity, Jack and Marsha get assigned by Survey to help an AI who had been exiled and has asked for help. (Writing – 75K so far)

Character Playlists

I’ve made some character playlists on Spotify to write to. Here’s the lists if you’re interested in getting a feel for the characters I’ve been writing: Jack (and Loki’s) List , Marsha’s List , Jenny’s List and Nigel’s List

Other Stuff

Got a new stainless steel Apple Watch 6 a few weeks ago, and I adore it! It really helps when I’m writing so I don’t really have my phone bugging me!

Been sorting out working ergomics lately. Right now, I’m using two identical keyboards to keep my hands and shoulders in a neutral position. However, I will soon be getting a Kinesis Advantage 2:

Kinesis Advantage 2

I’m pretty stoked to get this, even though I know it’ll be a bit of a learning curve. Anything so I can keep on writing, right?

I finally got an X-box controller for my Windows machine, and now I’ve been playing games a bit. It makes it so much easier than trying to use the keyboard and mouse. Journey is a game I stayed up all night playing, and it’s really beautiful. I’ve also been trying to play the Untitled Goose Game, The Unfinished Swan, among others. I got these all through Steam.

And last, but my no means least, The Wife got me one of my Christmas presents early. She got me a Gerstner box for my jewelry. (If you know anything about wordworking, you know that Gerstner is THE company for superior quality shop tool and storage boxes.) I mean, just look at this beauty! OMG! My Wife is the awesomest and knows me all too well!

Would you just look at this thing? I mean, gah!
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