Teaser Short Story: “Choices”

The following short story is a teaser for my upcoming Survey novel series. It’s set in humanity’s far future where humans have colonized a good part of local space.

Content Warning: violence, death, kidnapping

“Marcus, are you done with the programming I asked you for?” said the man standing at my desk.

“Yes, Doctor Mills. I finished it yesterday. Didn’t you get my email?” I sighed. Harry Mills was a great physicist, but a crap manager. Why he ended up head of this project, only the government knows. No, that’s a lie. I knew. He was made head of the project because he lowballed all the others who were fighting for the grant money. Most of those folks had gone on to greener pastures. I was grateful that this wasn’t my real job, or I would have quit two weeks in. 

Mills pulled out his tablet and tapped it. “Oh! Yes, so you did! Sorry, Marcus. Carry on.” He walked away, muttering to himself. 

Fucking space brain, I thought to myself. This has to be one of the worst assignments I’ve gotten. The Head of Intelligence must hate me, or maybe they just haze the newbies? I shrugged to myself and went back to the drudgery of coding the interface for the jump drive. Face it, Marcus Rohner, you’re stuck here for the duration, you might as well accept it. I sighed again, put on my headphones and let myself get lost in the code. 

Which is why I didn’t realize something was going on until my computer went out. “Shit!” I said out loud to the empty office area. Everyone else had been in the lab working on the jump drive. So either Mills and company fucked up the computer again, or… I took off my headphones and heard slow footsteps coming into the office area. I ducked down, then peeked carefully around the edge of my cubicle. A short man with a balding head and a black suit was walking steadily down the hall, going into each cubicle for a minute or so, then coming back out again. At the third cubicle he stopped as if listening to something, then said out loud. “Keep looking. He can’t be too far. They aren’t allowed to leave the compound, normally.”

Shit, shit, shit, I thought. I have to get out of here! I pressed the button on my wristcom that would have normally sent the mayday message to my handler, but when the display said “No Signal” I froze. Now what? I asked myself, when suddenly a little silver cube was floating in front of me. 

I stared at it, then tried to swat it away, but it evaded my hands. The short, balding man seemed to come out of nowhere and stood in front of me. When did he go quiet? Fuck. He’s way better than me. 

The man tsked and shook his head. “Well, seems that intelligence training isn’t what it used to be. Shame. Oh well, sedate him.” The cube quickly bumped my neck, jabbing me with a needle. The man looked at me with a disappointed look on his face, and my last thought before I blacked out was, Fuck

I woke up briefly in a gel tank with a breather over my face and the rest of me wired up for long term, high g sedated travel. I tried to sit up, but was strapped in. When I looked around, I could see the other scientists strapped in. When I started to panic, someone came over to the tank and said, “Oh, no, this won’t do.” A few seconds later my body went numb and I blacked out again. 

The next time I woke, I was lying on a cot in a large room. Mills and the other four scientists from the jump drive program were also waking up. “Bloody hell,” Derek, one of the engineers, said. “What bleeding truck ran us the fuck over?”

“I don’t know,” Tara, the other engineer, said. “My mouth feels like old carpet.”

Gail, the deputy director, was the first to try to stand. “Ugh, same here. You three ok?” she asked the rest of us. Kevin, the mathematician, nodded. 

“Yeah,” I replied. Doctor Mills groaned, but waved. I looked around the room. Besides the cots, there was a large table with chairs, something that looked like a food printer in the wall, and two doors. One was open and one was closed. Tara was closest to the open door, so she went to investigate. 

“Found the loo!” she said. I heard a door close. A couple of the others followed.

I stayed sitting while I surveyed the room, since my body felt pretty wobbly. There were no other obvious ways in or out. I got up and made my way carefully over to the food printer which, thankfully, was functional. I dialed in an electrolyte drink. “Food printer works,” I reported to the others. I dialed in a second electrolyte drink and brought it over to Mills. While the man might be scatterbrained, he was also much older than the rest of us, and the way we travelled here was hard on the body. 

“Thanks,” Mills said, taking careful sips of the liquid. I did the same. 

When we had all taken care of necessities and had something to drink, the closed door opened, admitting the bald man I saw at the lab. He was again wearing a black suit, along with leather gloves, boots and a metal briefcase. We all stared at him as he walked to the table, opened the case, and pulled out a small black cube and a larger silver cube. He closed the case and put it on the floor beside him, then sat at the head of the table. “Please, sit, all of you.”

“Who the fuck are you?” demanded Derek.

“I am John Smith, the Head Librarian. Sometimes I’m called the Grey Man. You are currently guests of The Library,” the man replied calmly.

“The Library? What the hell is that?” asked Kevin. 

“Apparently the name of wherever we happen to be,” said Doctor Mills. “All of you, sit down. I’m sure Mr. Smith will give us an explanation of why we were abducted.”

“No fucking way!” said Derek. “I want to know who the fuck you are, and where the fuck we are right now! And I think everyone should shut up until we can contact lawyers!”

Mr. Smith sighed. “As I already told you, you are guests of The Library. To be more specific, you are on board a Survey ship, which is also called Sun Tzu.”

I felt the blood drain from my face. Sun Tzu? Not many people had been on Survey ships, and fewer knew that there were seven capital ships, each of which had a specific purpose. While I didn’t remember all of them, there were two that intelligence officers were always briefed on: Musashi and Sun Tzu. These respectively housed the military and intelligence arms of Survey. It was the first time I had ever heard of Sun Tzu being called The Library, but no one in our agency had really good, or current, information. The legends of these two ships and their run-ins with Fleet definitely didn’t favor Fleet. 

“Survey?” Derek said. “Whatever! I don’t give a fuck who you are! Take us back right now!”

“Derek, shut up,” I said.

“Oh, fuck off Marcus!” He turned back to Mr. Smith. “We have rights! I want a lawyer!”

“I’m sorry…Derek, is it? That is quite impossible. You see, as you were sleeping, we’ve jumped over one hundred light years from where you were.”

“What?!” Derek yelled.

Mr. Smith gestured to the nearest empty chair. “If you sit down, I can explain things to you.”

“Sit, Derek,” Mills said. “I’d like to hear why Survey has captured government workers from a top secret laboratory and interrupted very important scientific work.” Derek obeyed the director reluctantly.

Mr. Smith leaned forward. “We have interrupted your ‘very important scientific work’ because if you continued as you were, you would most likely have destroyed the planet you were on, or the solar system, or maybe even the galaxy.”

Mills raised his eyebrows. “You’re kidding? We’re just creating a jump engine! This is ridiculous. This is only because you in Survey are so stingy with giving us engines that we’re trying to make our own!”

I was surprised. Mills usually came off of as completely scatterbrained, but now he seemed much more astute. Maybe I underestimated him? Or maybe he’s more serious when someone threatens his work? I wanted to shout at him to just do what Survey wanted, but Mills never really listened to me before, so I didn’t think he’d do it now. The others waited to see what would happen next. I had a feeling that Mr. Smith was not impressed with Doctor Mills. 

“No, doctor, I am not kidding. We have a very good reason for being stingy, as you say. The technology is extremely dangerous and must not be attempted by humans.”

“Maybe he’s right,” I said out loud. The others looked at me. “What? You don’t believe him? Come on, we all know that Survey has better tech than we do. I’ve heard some… stories… about Sun Tzu. Seriously, if they don’t think we should be fucking around with this, then they probably have good reasons for it.”

Derek started to say something to me, but Gail cut him off. “Why shouldn’t we work on it, Mr. Smith?” she asked. 

“The first time a human attempted to experiment with jump drive technology they destroyed an entire solar system whilst vaporizing themselves in the process. The second time a human’s understanding of jump drives was used, it destroyed two star systems, one of which had proto-sentient life on its fourth planet.”

“Fuck,” I said.

“He’s just saying that to scare us!” said Derek. “They don’t give a shit about us, they just want to make more profit off us and keep their trade exclusive.”

“Dude, seriously?!” I said. “Why would they bother kidnapping us from what we thought was a secure facility and transporting us a hundred light years if they didn’t give a shit about us? Why would they fake this? That would be a waste of resources. Just like bringing you along!”

“What was that you little shit!?” Derek yelled, standing up.

“Activate and mark,” said Mr. Smith calmly. The silver cube seemed to melt into six smaller cubes that suddenly launched themselves from their position in front of Mr. Smith, to right in front of all of our noses. I stayed absolutely still, remembering the last time I encountered one of these. Mills moved his chair backwards, nearly falling over. Gail, Tara, and Kevin moved back as well. Derek, the moron, started trying to catch the little silver cube, but it kept moving itself out of reach. It did shut him up, though.

The bald man sighed. “I suggest you stop that, Derek, and sit back down. I would hate to have to sedate you again.” Derek complied, glowering at Mr. Smith. “I am giving all of you a choice. You can live with us, in Survey, for the rest of your lives, pursuing other work in your field of expertise, or you can die. Here, today, right now, in this room. If you choose not to live with us in Survey, we can offer you a quick and merciful death. If you had stayed where you were, things would have gone badly for you anyway. All of those interested in this technology would have attempted to capture you, and if successful would have tortured you to find out what you knew. We had intelligence that one of those groups would have been your own government.”

“Mr. Smith, really…” Doctor Mills tried to interrupt. 

“Yes, doctor, you would like proof.” He rapped his knuckles on the table twice and a screen rose up from the middle. Then he tapped the black cube and footage began of a sun going nova. Rather than the typical collapse followed by the explosion, it looked like a wave passed across the star, consuming it in a massive fireball over the space of five seconds. The table in front of Mills lit up and I craned my head to see what it was. It lit up in front of Gail, too, and she scrolled through it. “Is this for real?” she asked Mr. Smith.

“Yes. That was the real time data that our brother ship, the Musashi, recovered at this event, the second use of human-derived jump equations. As you can see, the output is 1028 times more powerful than Earth’s most powerful nuclear weapon, and an order of magnitude more powerful than a Type Ia supernova. As I said, this blast took out two star systems and badly damaged the ship that triggered it.”

Gail turned white, as did Mills. Apparently the data was enough to convince them of the severity of the issue. Derek still looked confused, but watching a sun go nova in an obviously unnatural way seemed to keep him quiet for the moment. That, and the silver cubes still floating in front of each of us. 

“You will have a good life in Survey. There will be no need for you to apply for grants for any research you’d like to apply yourself to. You can also pursue other careers if you like. Your needs will be provided for. Our society isn’t based on capitalism, and you’ll find our resources more than adequate.” Mr. Smith attempted a smile, but it wasn’t reassuring. 

It didn’t seem a hard choice to me. “I’ll stay,” I said. Mr. Smith nodded. Everyone seemed unsure, except for Derek. He stood up again.

“No! I won’t agree! Send me back now!”

Mr. Smith frowned. “Derek, I already told you that we can’t.”

“I have rights! You can’t force me to stay! I want a lawyer! That footage has to be faked!”

Mr. Smith frowned. “That is your decision, then?”

“What?! No! You can’t do anything to me! I know Survey and Earth have a treaty!”

Mr. Smith stood, his face becoming hard as marble. For a short man he could be very intimidating. “Mr. Derek Edgars, all governments have those who work outside of laws and treaties to maintain order. Unluckily for you, that is me. Picket six, execute.” The silver cube moved so fast that none of us realized that it had gone straight through Derek’s head until it slammed to a stop on the other side of his skull. A spray of blood and gore spattered the wall behind him. There was a brief look of surprise on Derek’s face, then he fell to the floor. After a moment, I could smell urine. Tara ran for the bathroom, her silver cube following her. I managed to keep my bowels from doing things they really shouldn’t, but it was a close thing. 

“Aside from Mr. Rohner, would anyone else like to stay?” The others agreed quickly, studiously not looking at Derek’s body on the floor, as did Tara after she returned to the table. “Good. My assistant Jane will be coming in soon to brief you on your options within Survey. We believe we’ve found interesting postings for each of you. There are showers in here, with fresh clothing, if you would like to use them.” He picked up the silver case and opened it. “Pickets, return.” The silver cubes merged into a large cube again, one corner stained with blood. Mr. Smith put both cubes back in the case and closed it. 

He picked it up, then walked towards the door, his footsteps echoing in the room. As he reached the door, he turned to look at me. “Mr. Rohner, if you would come with me, please.” 

I stood up and immediately obeyed, relieved to leave the room, and the other scientists, behind. Mr. Smith led me through a maze of corridors until we came to a door. He palmed it open and we walked into a workshop area, where a woman sat at a bench repairing some sort of equipment. She looked up as we approached. “Ah, John. How’d it go?” she asked. 

“Well, Jo, we lost one, regrettably.” He opened the case and handed her the silver cube. “Sorry to have to dirty them like this.”

“Shame. Couldn’t be helped, I suppose?”

“No.”

She looked around Mr. Smith to me. “New recruit?” she asked.

“Possibly,” he said.

“Good luck, kid,” she said, taking the cube away. 

Mr. Smith motioned for me to follow him. When we eventually stopped, he palmed open a door to an office. “Please, come in,” he said. He took his jacket off and hung it on an old fashioned wooden coat rack, then sat at an equally old fashioned desk. He put the case on the floor next to him, then peeled off his gloves and placed them carefully on his desk. “So, Sun Tzu, what do you think?” Mr. Smith said. I took the chair across the desk from him.

“His academy and college scores look good, and, as you say, we can always use more computer experts. Unlike the others, he kept his wits about him. He’ll need some better tradecraft training, but that can’t be helped. He was woefully under-trained by UI.” 

“Um…I’m right here,” I said, not that I didn’t agree with that assessment. 

“Yes, Mr. Rohner, but you are currently being evaluated by Sun Tzu. You will keep quiet.”

I felt my eyes widen. It was true then? That the ship was run by an AI? 

“Yes, John, I will take him in. I’m sure you and Jane will find him useful.”

Mr. Smith smiled again, but it didn’t instill any comfort. “Congratulations, Mr. Rohner, you are now a full-fledged Survey citizen and welcomed by Sun Tzu to join the ranks of the Librarians.”

“That was the AI? They’re real?”

“I am very real, Marcus. And you may call me Sunny.”

“Sunny?”

“Yes. I let all of my people call me Sunny if they wish. I’m not so formal as my brother Musashi,” Sun Tzu explained. “You could choose to go somewhere else in Survey, but I think your talents would be better suited for projects here that are likely to be much more interesting to you.”

“Sure,” I said. “Um, can I ask a question?” Mr. Smith nodded. “What about the black cube? Where is that stored? I’m guessing that doesn’t come out for just anyone.” I asked.

Mr. Smith raised an eyebrow. “No, Marcus, it doesn’t. That recording is stored in a special vault. My assistant and I will take care of it later. Very observant, Marcus.”

“What happened to the ship that made that nova?”

Mr. Smith frowned. “He has exiled himself. Where? We don’t know. He sustained a great deal of damage both physically and mentally. Thankfully, he surrendered the data he used to create the nova to us.”

My brain started putting things together. “You think there are people who would want to get their hands on this, who wouldn’t use it for a jump drive, right? That’s why you took us. I’m guessing you torched the lab, too?”

The man nodded. “Good deduction.”

“And I can help keep this out of the wrong hands if I stay here?”

“Among other things,” Mr. Smith replied, looking like the cat that caught that canary. 

“Ok, Mr. Smith, Sunny, count me in.”

Mr. Smith gave a genuine smile, stood, and shook my hand. “You can call me John. Come. I’ll give you a tour of the stacks.”

“You mean, there’s a real Library in here?”

“Of course. Did you think it was just a code name?”

“Well, uh…” I said.

Mr. Smith laughed as he led me through the door.

It’s a Blog Post! Woo!

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve done a regular blog post here, but given what’s going on in the world right now, it’s been hard to update things. I suppose I’ve gotten to the point in quarantine where I’m accepting it until there’s some sort of treatment or vaccine. With cases on the rise again here in Switzerland, and people being careless about masking and social distancing, I am not going out any time soon unless I absolutely have to!

But even with all of the world’s mess, I seem to have found my writing mojo in the last month or so, and that has been really awesome. I suppose that if I can’t travel places, I can go places in my head, right?

Unity is coming along, and I have about two thirds written. This last part has been harder, as there’s more political intrigue, and I’ve had to do a little more research and a little more planning and thinking about how the plot will play out.

I’ve finally released The Four Keys to ebook, and I’m stoked that it’s finally out! It’s available through Amazon. (Although, if you don’t do Kindle, let me know, and I’ll sort you out.) The Wife did amazing cover art for the book, and eventually, we’ll be publishing an illustrated paper version with more of The Wife’s art in it! (That won’t be out for a while since the art will take a bit of time to do.)

I also put up a new Star Trek FanFic on AO3 called The Vulcan Harp. We’ve been watching Star Trek in chronological order with the German language audio (how else would a geek practice listening in German?), and I’ve been really amazed to see just how well the Discovery writers dug into canon. If you also want to watch it in chronological order, here’s a good list on how. It’s amazing how much more depth you get with Spock particularly, and the universe in general, when you watch it this way.

So, naturally, I wrote FanFic, as a geeky writer would, right? Keep an eye out for more FanFic, since I find doing FanFic breaks me out of writing slumps. 🙂

I am also doing NaNoWriMo this year, and hopefully that push will help me finish Unity! If you’re also doing NaNo, feel free to friend me on the NaNo site!

Stay safe everyone, and wear your masks. And if you’re in the US, please please vote on November 3!

Released

The Four Keys – Download from Amazon. US LinkGerman Link
The Vulcan HarpRead on AO3

In Progress

Unity – Military/hard sci-fi/spy novel set in a future where humans have colonized several other planets. One of the main characters is a Religious Program Specialist and Senior Communications officer who has PTSD and works with the station’s Chaplain to figure out why the colonization survey they’re supporting isn’t going according to plan, and realizing that who’s behind it is more dangerous than just a failed colony.
Word count as of today: still 108,232 (not including the chapter I’m currently working on.)

Fiber Arts

Started a project on my inkle loom with one of my handspun bamboo yarns that I spun from fiber from The Fiber Lady. The colorway is called Chocolate Cherries, and it’s a mix of purple, pink, and a chocolate brown. This came about because I managed to get inserts for my Apple Watch so that I can use Nato bands for instead of the regular watch bands. And I was like, hey! I could weave my own! So I am!

I’m still working on an altar rug for our large altar, but that’s been a bit on hold for now. I’m also going to go back to spinning soon, especially since I just received some beautiful fiber from Mosshollow Hill in CA!

Fountain Pens

My newest fountain pens have been a TWSBI Classic Fountain Pen in Burgundy, and a Sailor LeCoule in Rose Quartz. You really can’t go wrong with Japanese pens. They just work. (Not that I don’t like my European pens, but still…)

Cooking

I’ve been starting to make all the winter foods now. Made my first beer beef stew of the season about a week ago, and it was awesome. The other thing is that I’ve discovered mashed cauliflower, and OMG! Here we’re thinking we can’t have any potato recipes ever again, and along comes mashed cauliflower (and romanesco, that fractal one). I made a shepherd’s pie with mashed romanesco the other night, and it was glorious!

I’ve also been LOVING my new 8L Instant Pot Duo Crisp and Air Fryer (#notsponsored). Holy crap, I love this thing! Who knew that chicken nuggets and fish sticks can be crispy? Or that you can cook a roast in the air fryer and not make your kitchen into a sauna? And, seriously, air fried brussel sprouts, man! Super yummy! This Instant Pot also does sous vide, so it’s been nice being able to make sous vide stuff again (mmmmm….sous vide steaks!). 20/10 would recommend!

Star Trek Fanfic: The Vulcan Harp

The Vulcan Harp (1541 words) by worthyadvisor
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Enterprise
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Michael Burnham/Ash Tyler | Voq, Spock/Nyota Uhura
Characters: Spock Prime, Ash Tyler | Voq, Michael Burnham, Pavel Chekov, Nyota Uhura, James T. Kirk, Arne Darvin | Barry Waddle
Additional Tags: Star Trek: Discovery Spoilers
Summary:

Chekov confronts Spock about the fact that Uhura keeps breaking into Spock’s quarters, but no one can know the real reason why.

The Four Keys is released!

I am super excited to announce that The Four Keys is finally available for you all to read! For now, it is available electronically via Amazon (see link below), although, if would rather not read through Amazon, feel free to contact me to buy PDF version.

Also, feel free to comment here or contact me if you have any questions about the book! It’s available on all Amazon sites for 2.99 USD (or Euro equivalent). Also, if you can, please leave a review!

Also, super awesome thanks to The Wife for this amazing cover art!

Fanfiction: Londo’s Pantheon

I have a new short fiction up on AO3. This time I delve into my all time favorite scifi series, Babylon 5. This story takes place at the beginning of Season 4 when Londo has to make a very difficult choice.

Let me know what you think!

Londo’s Pantheon (1594 words) by worthyadvisor
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Babylon 5
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Londo Mollari/Adira Tyree
Characters: Londo Mollari, Adira Tyree, Original Female Character(s)
Additional Tags: Spiritual, Goddesses
Summary:

Londo meets a mysterious woman in the palace gardens at the moment he needs to make a monumental decision.

Yes, I know. It’s been awhile.

To be honest, it’s been a good, but hard (writing-wise) couple of months. August was hot, and I was trying to get some writing in, (I did manage some writing), but not the same momentum I had before my depression crash in May. I did get a lot of doctor appointments done, though, and it appears I’m in good physical health (although the usual fatphobic medicine stuff made it rough going, even with the overall great Swiss medical care).

In September we did a lot of travelling, which was great fun! The Wife bought a Porsche 911 Turbo, which is quite the sexy car (very fitting for her!) and we went road trippin’. We took our first spin up to the Schilthorn, which is where, if you didn’t know, the James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was filmed. Of course, we had to go to the James Bond Brunch at the 360 Restaurant! The weather wasn’t cooperating with the view from the top, but that didn’t stop the trip from being amazing!

The Wife made a little video of the trip:

Yes, that was our view out of our hotel room. It was glorious! We’re definitely going to go back again for another weekend!

UN Building in Geneva

The week after the Schilthorn, we took a massive road trip to show off the car to my Father-In-Law in Mallorca, Spain. We first went to Geneva, where I finally got to see the UN Building there. I’ve now been to all three major sites for the UN (NYC, San Francisco, and Geneva). I know, a strange kind of goal, but I’m a history nerd, what can I say?

After a couple of days in Geneva, we drove to Perpignan, France. The drive was really nice, and the French countryside, even from the highway, was really beautiful! The only not-so-great place was a rest area restaurant where there was cafeteria style food that was completely unattended and looked extremely unappetizing. Weird for France, I know! We left there pretty quickly, and just decided to go to our hotel, where, even though it was a really basic hotel, the little restaurant made up for the nasty rest area!

The Tabby that Figured Out Who the Witches Were

We also had a couple of kitties come and join us for dinner. They were super cute, and pretty smart. The waitresses tried to shoo them away, but there were many of us diners who snuck them some chicken or sausage. This tabby seemed pretty fond of us, even before we got our food. Probably figured us for the witches we are!

The funniest thing to see was all of the men have their brains explode a little when they saw us get out of the Porsche. When we pulled into the hotel parking lot at Perpignan, there were a lot of construction contract workers in the parking lot. They all turned their heads to check out the car (of course, right?), but you should have seen their jaws drop when we got out. This happened a lot during the trip, and I can’t lie, I got a certain bit of satisfaction watching it happen. 😉

The Ferry to Mallorca

The next day, we drove to Barcelona. Finding where we were supposed to be was rough going, but after several roundabout circuits, we finally managed to figure out where the ticket office was. There was even a part where The Wife had to play “dumb tourists” to a cop because we were so turned around. (No worries. I think he basically said the equivalent of “friggin’ tourists!” in Spanish and let us go on our way.) We finally made it to the parking area to wait to get on the ferry, and eventually onto the ship itself. I’d never been on a ferry like that before, and while it was a good experience, we both decided that we’ll stick to flying for future trips.

Porsche 911 baby! It’s so pretty!

We had a lovely time in Mallorca, very chill, with lots of good food. We even saw some hot air balloons on our way back to Palma for the trip back to Barcelona!

Hot Air Balloons in Mallorca

After surviving Barcelona traffic and a night at a hotel after the return ferry, we went back through France. This time we stopped in Grenoble. The hotel was just outside the city, but it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. We had a great dinner and breakfast, and I also whipped out the camera to take pictures of the beautiful scenery just outside our window!

An Old Abbey we could see from our hotel room in Grenoble, France

After that we made it back to Zuerich, and we were quite happy to do so. It was an awesome trip, but it’s always good to come home again. We’re planning many more road trips for the future.

This month, so far, I’ve been planning for Samhain, taking our friend Kat up to the Schilthorn, and recovering from the road trip. I’ll post pictures from the Schilthorn trip in another post, as I need to brag about my new camera!

But right this second, I’m trying to clear the decks in preparation for NaNoWriMo. I hope to either completely finish my novel, or at least get this next part of the novel done. If you’re also doing NaNo, come friend me over there!

Writing:

  • Unity Space Corps: This is a military hard sci-fi novel set in a future where humans have colonized several other planets. The main character is a Religious Program Specialist and Senior Communications officer who has PTSD and works with the station’s Chaplain to figure out why the colonization survey they’re supporting isn’t going according to plan.
    • Finished Draft Part 1 (Chapters 1-17!)
    • Started Chapter 3 of Part 2
    • Word count as of today: 63077
  • The Four Keys: A spiritual prose journey to the underworld and back.
    • Needs final edit pass and cover for e-book version.
    • Graphic novel version on hold for the time being.
  • The Little Tarot E-book: This is a book started for my tarot class here in Zuerich
    • Still in draft. Need to finish Major Arcana and more spreads.
    • Edits will happen after NaNo

Travel:

  • Next Introvert Trip: Maybe back up to the mountains, or Lugano? Maybe in November.
  • Florida Trip: Going to Florida from January 7-21, 2020 to visit my parents.
  • Possible Road Trips to Various European Places: Still deciding
  • Rome/Vatican: Will definitely be going, but still need to plan.

Fiber Arts:

Now that Fall is settling in and it’s getting closer to Winter, I’m starting to pick up my fiber stuff again. I decided to sell my tapestry loom, since, while I like it, I don’t love it like I do rigid heddle weaving or the inkle loom. I’ve sold it to a nice person in Iowa, and I hope they get a lot of great use out of it!

I’ve also decided to get an electric wheel. I love my Louet Victoria, don’t get me wrong, but the way we have things arranged in our apartment, it’s not as practical for me to spin with the Victoria while watching TV anymore. An electric spinner is going to solve that problem quite nicely. I’m going to get the Ashford E-spinner 3, which comes with the spinner, foot pedal, 3 bobbins, Lazy Kate, and a bag to carry it all in. There’s a local Swiss fiber place where I can order it, too! (Yay! No VAT!)

I’ve also started crocheting again, and at the moment have picked back up the Bacon Scarf I’ve been making for Sarah. (I am actually using a bacon colored yarn, and it sort of looks like bacon. Pics coming later!) I also have a project that is months overdue on the loom, but I think I’ll get back on that horse, too. Winter is a really good time for it!

Photography:

I’ve been really getting into photography in the last few months. I’d been borrowing Sarah’s Nikon Df for awhile, and I love the camera, but we both realized it was time for me to get my own camera and lenses. After much discussion, I decided on a Fuji X-A3 and three lenses. I’ll write more nerdy details about it in another post, but I’m really enjoying it so far. Still learning the tech stuff, but it’s been really fun!

So, yeah, that life thing…

Sometimes you make a plan, and The Universe just laughs and sets fire to said plan. Yeah, it’s been like that since I last posted. I am taking care of things and adulting around a bunch of stuff, so, at least at the moment, things are on even keel.

I tell you, folks, Depression is a bastard liar who is NOT your friend. But thanks to a very perceptive Wife, a good network of friends who know good care providers, I’m giving this bastard Depression the middle finger. (Or at least telling it quietly to fuck off and asking it to please will you just let me write?)

I’m getting back to writing after a couple of weeks dealing with a Depression hit. (I suppose you could call it a relapsing/remitting depression?) It’s hard, but I try and be happy for small victories. Like: Yay! I wrote 4 paragraphs (or for an hour, etc). Yay! I made a call! Yay! I actually went out today! Yay! I got up, took a shower, and made breakfast! Yay! I did my German homework!

One day at a time and little victories, right?

Writing:

  • Unity Space Corps: This is a military hard sci-fi novel set in a future where humans have colonized several other planets. The main character is a Religious Program Specialist and Senior Communications officer who has PTSD and works with the station’s Chaplain to figure out why the colonization survey they’re supporting isn’t going according to plan.
    • Finished Part 1 (Chapters 1-17!) and have started part 2 (Chapter 18)!
    • The Wife really likes it so far!
  • The Four Keys: A spiritual prose journey to the underworld and back.
    • Last edit pass in prep for e-book version
    • The Wife will be doing cover art for e-book version and we’re prepping for doing the Graphic Novel version.
  • Between the Worlds Church Sermons 2018-2019: A collection of sermons from my live services in 2018 and 2019 for Between the Worlds Church.
    • On hold for the time being.

Travel:

  • Geneva: Going to go to Geneva in late July or early August for a writing retreat. (It’s not an organized one, just going to Geneva, getting a nice hotel, and just writing for a few days.
  • Possible Road Trips to Various European Places: TBA
  • Rome/Vatican: Will definitely be going, but still need to plan.

Fiber Arts:

Not mine, but my friend Sydney’s from Nerd Coffee:

The Non-Binary Canary
The Non-Binary Canary!

German:

Still in A1, but still doing well. Finished watching Enterprise in German, and are now watching the movies for a bit of a break. After that we’ll probably watch either Voyager or Discovery in German.

Still finding confidence hard with my spoken German, but I seem to be understanding better. Also, it seems if I tell folks I’m learning, or trying to remember vocabulary, they are more than willing to just keep talking to me in German (and usually slower).

Priorities, Man, Priorities…

Yes, I’m still around. I’ve just been neglectful of this poor blog because, well, I’ve been writing.

I had an epiphany about a month or so ago, and I wasn’t giving my writing the proper priority in my life. I was treating my writing as a hobby, but if I wanted to get somewhere with it, I needed to start treating it as my job. Something clicked for me about this shift in priority, and now I’m five chapters into a novel that is just, well….getting written!

Go figure, right?

It’s been awesome, and I’m loving it, but today I really had to re-think my projects and scheduling. In the end, and with help from the Wife, I decided to switch to a monthly service schedule for Between the Worlds Church. This will start in June, and more information will be posted on the church website.

But, as far as this site goes, I’ll be updating kind of randomly about my progress, travel, and other things. You can sign up via email here, or follow me on Twitter and Facebook to keep updated.

All the Projects!

Writing:

  • Unity Space Corps: This is a military hard sci-fi novel set in a future where humans have colonized several other planets. The main character is a Religious Program Specialist and Senior Communications officer who has PTSD and works with the station’s Chaplain to figure out why the colonization survey they’re supporting isn’t going according to plan. (1st Draft, up to chapter 5.)
  • The Four Keys: A spiritual prose journey to the underworld and back. (Beta reading/ 3rd draft — looking to self-publish in June)
  • Between the Worlds Church Sermons 2018: Collected sermons from my live services in 2018 for Between the Worlds Church. (Collated, editing 2nd draft — looking to self-publish in August)

Travel:

  • Geneva: The Wife and I are going to Geneva in early June for a belated anniversary trip! I’m really excited to see the UN Building and taking some great pictures! (I think I’ll take both the Df and the Polaroid…)
  • Germany: Mid June we’re going to Bochum, Germany to see Dead Can Dance!!!!!!!!! Soooooo excited!!
  • UK: Possibly a somewhat long trip to the UK over the summer. (Nothing really definite or planned yet.)
  • Rome/Vatican: Thinking about a trip to the Vatican and Rome in late Fall

Fiber Arts:

Nothing really happening with fiber stuff because writing.

German:

We’re about halfway through our A1 coursebook at this point, and finally starting to learn Dativ and Past Perfect tense. Makes a huge difference. We’re also still watching Star Trek TOS with the German dub for listening practice, and I believe we will moving on to Enterprise next (or maybe re-watching Discovery).

Not really a cauldron, but close enough. 🙂 Thanks to Eel and Otter Press!

Star Trek FanFic: The Ferengi of Wall Street

I wrote another one!

The Ferengi of Wall Street (4919 words) by worthyadvisor
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Ishka, Admiral Whatley, Original Characters, Rom (Star Trek)
Additional Tags: Comedy, Ferengi, Starfleet
Summary:

A hapless ensign gets assigned to escort a famous Ferengi economic historian who has a thing for 21st Century economists.

(Takes place post DS9, after Rom is Nagus for several years.)

Getting my Writing On: New Star Trek Fanfic on AO3

So, this year I’m working on getting my writing mojo back, and I’m doing pretty good so far. Not only have I finished my mystic novella (woot!) I’ve also written a short Star Trek fanfic. The Wife and I have been watching The Next Generation from the beginning with the German dub track and English subtitles for listening and vocabulary practice, and well, I got inspired.

You can read it on AO3 here:

Dagda’s Warning (2035 words) by worthyadvisor
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Celtic Mythology
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original, Worf (Star Trek:TNG/DS9), Jean-Luc Picard, Miles O’Brien, Geordi La Forge, Sonya Gomez, Borg (Star Trek)
Additional Tags: Mysticism, Spiritual, Visions, Holodecks/Holosuites, Deities, Celtic Mythology & Folklore, Slice of Life, Starship Enterprise (Star Trek)
Summary:

A young ensign invokes a deity into the holodeck and she gets a little more than she bargains for.