The sun was high in the heavens, the wind was low, and the plains verdant. It would probably have been a good day to lie in the sun and have her hair braided by her little sisters thought Allaynah. Too bad most of her sisters were either dead or missing, she thought, they would have loved this place. Wearily Allaynah trudged on with the tip of an obsidian spear hovering menacingly close to her naked back. How long had she been marching through the plains? The sun was almost to the middle of the sky, and it had been deep night when she started out. She heard a grunt from somewhere close behind her and the hairs on her back pricked up around the spot she imagined the spearhead was just over.
She knew her captor was getting impatient with her progress, she’d been slowing down for the past hour and had lost her place at the front of the procession and was now starting to trail. She had had nothing to drink all morning. She didn’t want to look at her feet anymore, not since flakes of torn skin had started poking out from around the edges of her feet. Allaynah had never walked this far in her life, looking around her she could see that all the other women from her tribe were struggling with the pace too. All except the painted woman. Allaynah didn’t know her name, or even what clan she came from, but from her green eyes, long brown hair braided in three ponytails, and the patches of fair skin that weren’t marked with paint, thorn scars, and ink, it was clear: she was Paximani just like Allaynah, albeit an eccentric one to have decorated her body like that. Typically only some of the Paximani men had their bodies marked like hers was. She alone was maintaining the steady march. As Allaynah was gazing at the strange painted woman ahead of her the woman looked casually over her shoulder and glared at Allaynah as though she was irritated by the sensation of being watched by her.
Allaynah flinched and tried to look away but the thirst brought on by their long march had weakened her too much, she stumbled and fell onto her knees. Before she could pick herself back up a hard kick struck her in the stomach. The blow winded her and she crumpled over face first into the turf tearing a gash into her chin on a sharp rock. Allaynah felt sick from the pain but she was too tired to care, she lay there limp as a pulse of sobbing passed through her. She knew the sharp edge of the spear must be very close to her heart now. She wondered if getting skewered on that dark sharp stone might hurt less than how she felt now as a small trail of blood flowed out from her chin.
“Pick up the pace you fat filthy pig!” Hissed the woman holding the spear to Allaynah’s back. Continue reading “The Paximani – Part 1”
In a far off land there stood a great tower constructed of mostly animal bones. Certainly not the bones of the animals commonly found in our world, the bones used to build this tower were the size of dinosaur bones. The tower had five pentagonal platforms each on top of the other, and each supported by five pillars. The first four platforms were essentially the same as each other, each had a broad ladder running up to the next platform; with the exception of the fourth platform. The ladder for this platform was lying flat across the decking, both its ends protruding over the edges. Without the ladder in place it was a four metre drop from the fifth platform to the fourth platform below. Thus no one could get up to the fifth platform, and more importantly, no one inside the fifth and final level of the tower could get out without risking a deadly injury.
The fifth platform wasn’t a simple flat deck of ribbed bones like the others, but a room with five walls insulated with mud tightly packed between the ribbing. The room protruded out from the central axis giving the tower the shape of a lollipop. Indeed during the daytime the tower might have looked a little like a lollipop perched atop a crag in the middle of the stony desert, but only to a keen observer because thanks to the yellowing of the old bones the tower merged almost completely into the surrounding landscape and sandy coloured sky. At night time the dessert was particularly dark because this world lacked a moon like our own. The tower was hidden in plain sight, the perfect place to keep prisoner a fourteen year old girl. Continue reading “Bella and the Tower of Bones”
Well that’s another year finished, time to move onto a new one. I have been working on my New Year’s resolutions for 2019 and my focus this year is on simple small changes that I can do each day. Things like, “update my budget each day”, “clean something up each day”, to “work on my podcast each day”. They’re small things that if done daily will snowball into significant improvements for me overall. I think this is a better strategy than having big plans that require weeks or even months of consistent attention to get done. Sure, I will be working towards goals like that still; but one day at a time.
2018 wasn’t a great year for me. I had two major relationship breakdowns and while they’re both behind me now, it’s a bit hard sometimes not to feel a bit cynical. Especially about members of the opposite sex who appear chameleon like: matching your values and beliefs one day, then a few months later espousing a completely different set of values and beliefs. Thank goodness for IT and screenshots so I can look back and verify that these people are contradicting themselves. Ever experienced that confusion when someone you trust keeps telling you you’re the crazy one? The confusion doesn’t go away until you check the facts and stop trusting them alas. But it’s an interesting phenomenon I wouldn’t mind working into my novels: how some people can have personalities like water; they take the shape of the people they’re surrounded by. Continue reading “Happy New Year, 2019”
This morning I was sitting in my private transporter, one of the few places where I felt was sufficiently private for me to write my thoughts down in preparation for this week’s meeting. I have long gotten past the frustration of having to constantly fret about what I say in a private conversation even though I am a top level government official in the Earth Union Worker’s Republic. Nowadays it’s just a fact of life. The shadow state is always watching me. They need me; they lack my talent for organisation and strategic planning. They hate me for it. They would have killed me if any of them could do the work I can do. That’s what life is like for everyone on Earth. We are born with a death sentence temporarily suspended so long as we’re useful to the state.
I am a minister in the government, an Alpha double plus class citizen, but I’m no less a slave than the lowest delta class scraping a sewer pipe clean. We’re all slaves in a system of total centralisation of power to one man, and that one man himself is a slave to his vices. However, if you turn on the Global News Network you would think the chairman of the party was God’s own son come to lead humanity to the chosen land. An old Earth philosopher once wrote that a prince can rule through love or fear. But the chairman wants everyone to fear and love him in equal measure. As I look back over my career in politics I have unwittingly been serving his interests. All I wanted to do was to reduce the poverty and homelessness on Earth as much as was humanly possible, but what did they used to say in old times? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
Continue reading “Shattered Space – Part 3”
Over the past 8 weeks I have been busy. Busy earning lots of money.
Week 1: 60 hours
Week 2: 62 hours
Week 3: 64 hours
Week 4: 41 hours
Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Working Long Hours”
Designer Gede Eugen’s Journal
This planet is cold. It doesn’t matter how high I turn my thermal suit up, the cold still gets through. It winds its way through my bones into the marrow. I have been squatting in this cave for weeks now. I ran out of ration packs two days ago and now I rely to the potage the locals offer me. It tastes like boiled snot but I suppose it’s better than going hungry. A shuttle did drop by a few days ago and the crew were obviously bounty hunters so I kept my distance. They walked off with Lucy though. Which means sooner or later they’re going to come back. I just hope my aristocratic pen pal arrives sooner to pick me up. He said he had a lot of wealth and his personal space ship. A beautiful ivory and gold detailed star hopper called the Audacity that he liked to brag about.
Ahhh… star hoppers. Those are neat little bugs. How I wish I had one of those beauties; a space capsule the size of an old fashioned suburban house. Capable of 80 times the speed of light. Not fast really, but efficient. Once a star ship got any bigger than that the power requirements to maintain a warp fissure increased astronomically. Not to mention the bane of all inter-stellar travellers: gravitational flux. Big ships could easily travel a 1,000 times the speed of light nowadays, but they daren’t ever enter a warp fissure within two astronomical units of a star. Good safety protocol was to only ever enter or exit a warp fissure on the outer perimeter of a star system and taxi in on sub-light engines only.
Wow. This is my first attempt at a journal and like a typical space engineer I am prattling about unimportant matters like the basic realities of space travel. It’s hard to imagine now that only five weeks ago I was thirty-seven light years away in the orbit of the moon standing comfortably in my office chewing protein biscuits instead of cowering in an ice cave on an obscure planet in the Gliese 623 System. Continue reading “Shattered Space – Part 2”
Doctor Agnethea Komnenos’ Journal
When someone started knocking on my door today I thought I was imagining it. I continued working on my computer simulation of polypoid gene expression dismissing the sounds as just part of the normal rumblings of a spaceship’s innards. Alas, because I detest distractions when I am working, I heard the knocking again. Yes, someone was definitely knocking on my door. I started to wonder why they didn’t just use the intercom then I remembered that I had turned the volume down to almost zero a few days ago just to escape these interruptions.
Days ago? Yes… I suppose it must have been three or four days since I last left my cabin. I had become so engrossed with my botany research I hadn’t bothered to even venture out into the ships mess to eat with the rest of the crew. Why bother anyway? It’s not like we have much in common to talk about. I would be a lot happier if I didn’t have to interact with people at all. My computer and my plants are all the company I need.
I opened my cabin door and found second officer Stott grinning at me mischievously with a large rusty wrench in her hands.
“I was knocking on your door,” she said indicating that she had been using the large metal tool. Continue reading “Shattered Space – Part 1”