Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Zy's Novel Post 23

Novel total =
Post total = 133 words

“Fudlack is dead, D’pa is going to kill you, we’re your chance to save your life, and you won’t tell us anything.” Xeryl leaned against the table beside Zy. “Fair summation of stupidity to me.”

Xeryl must have just the right stance to convince someone like Strual because he finally stopped clicking his beak. “I had an appointment with Fudlack to discuss my last assignment at 20 local hours last night. We talked for half of an hour before Goumbi interrupted us. He insisted I needed to leave, so Fudlack said we would continue our meeting in the morning. I went home. The guards dragged me from bed around 1 local hours. D’pa said I am a liar and I killed Fudlack.”

“Who’s Goumbi?” Zy rested her hands on the table.

Strual waved his finger tentacles. “Low level, but higher than me. He saved D’pa decapitation, and D’pa blamed the whole incident on me. I don’t know why Goumbi would not tell him he went to Fudlack’s office.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Zy's Novel Post 22

Novel total =
Post total = 429 words

Word box on left—Add to chapter 5

Outherns, humanoids with purple skin and red eyes, developed on Ecan 4 and spread to the other planets in the Ecan system. The Ecanians and Outherns often work together, at least they have been arrested by IGA together.

Ardley P’kins
Sentient Cultures of the Galaxy Third Edition

D’pa led them to a door flanked by two Outherns armed with knives and laser rifles. “Strual is in there.”

“Just two guards?” Zy raised her eyebrows.

D’pa didn’t answer, just entered the code that slid the metal door open. “just knock when you’ve had enough of his whimpering.”

Zy moved past Xeryl and stepped into the room. Mealte practically stepped in her footprints. Xeryl dodged inside before the door slid shut.

“Things will be more interesting on this side.” He said with a grin at her questioning glance.

Zy rolled her eyes with a sigh and turned her attention to the occupant of the room. An Ecanian about three feet tall—much shorter than the others she had seen—perched on a stone stool. His arm tentacles rested on the carved stone table and he kept plaiting and undoing his finger tentacles together. His dun colored skin flaked around his beak and eyes. His leg tentacles dangled from the stool. His course tunic lacked the rich, braided trim of Fudlack’s.

She sat down on the uncushioned stool at the other end of the table. “Hello, Strual. I am IGA Agent Zy. What can you tell me about what happened to Fudlack?”

“I didn’t kill him!” Strual’s finger tentacles hit the table. His beak clicked together a few times before he continued. “D’pa doesn’t believe me. You won’t believe me either. IGA wants to destroy us.”

“I’m not an exterminator. And maybe IGA wouldn’t be so down on you Ecanians if you didn’t slaughter any tourist that happens to land in your system.” Zy propped her elbows on the table and her stomach bruises ached. She sat back up reluctantly. “Now why don’t you start with telling me what happened in your meeting with Fudlack?”

Strual’s beak clicked rapidly.

Zy smirked. “You know, D’pa called you a whiner, but he didn’t warn us you’re stupid.”

“What do you mean?” His arm tentacle dropped down to his waist before bringing it back to the table with a thump.

“Fudlack is dead, D’pa is going to kill you, we’re your chance to save your life, and you won’t tell us anything.” Xeryl leaned against the table beside Zy. “Fair summation of stupidity to me.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Zy's Novel Post 21

Novel total = 21,013 words
Post total = 812 words

“Do not pretend this is a social occasion.” He set a viddisk on the stone block and sat stiffly in the second chair. The heavy gold medallion swung around his neck. “The coroner’s report.”

“Thank you.” Zy wondered how hard he leaned on the coroner to get an autopsy done so quickly. “I appreciate your cooperation. I just need to know what happened.”

“Fudlack is dead and we are ready to deal with the trespass. What I do not understand is your need to butt into an internal affair.”

Zy took a deep breath to stay calm. “How come your internal affair is involved in the deaths of Possatact, Ifeket, and Cobaine? That doesn’t sound so internal to me.” Xeryl poured himself a drink and moved around D’pa to settle on the couch. Zy didn’t take her attention from D’pa. “Who found Fudlack?”

“I did.”

So he was going to be a pull-it-out-of-me-one-word-at-a-time witness. She didn’t let her face change. “Describe what happened in your own words.”

“Fudlack’s last meeting of the day is always with me. I went to it at 22 local hours and found the room exactly like you saw it, guarded by his bodyguards. I took command and called Xeryl. That was two standard days ago.”

“Yes, he did,” Xeryl added. Zy glanced at him then flicked her eyes back to D’pa. Xeryl shrugged and sipped his drink.

It would derail everything to now bring up the fact that Xeryl should follow Mealte’s lead and keep his mouth shut. “And why did you call Xeryl?”

D’pa jumped to his feet. His pale purple hand reached under his jacket. “I knew this was a trick! You are not interested in Fudlack, you want to destroy us!”

Mealte crouched next to Zy’s chair, ready to launch himself at D’pa.

“My job is to find a murderer.” Zy remained sitting. She clenched her muscles to keep from leaping out of the chair and away from D’pa’s rage.

Xeryl leaped up as well. “Fire and ice! This paranoia is unwarranted!”

His faced darkened and his red eyes glittered. “She is IGA and you found her in your organization. Then the deaths started. How convenient for IGA who wants to puts us all out of business to have a reason to force a way inside. I will not give IGA any knife blade to use against us! We know who killed Fudlack and he will pay. And if the Agent does not leave, she will pay as well!”

Mealte’s stance shifted slightly. Xeryl’s body had stiffened. “What are you talking about, I found her in my organization? I didn’t tell you that.” His voice iced over.

“We have other outside sources of information besides you.”

“Sit down both of you!” Zy took a deep breath. “I’m here to find a murderer. If you can’t answer my questions without incriminating yourself in other criminal activities that I’m not investigating, you’re not ready to be a racketeer in the major leagues!”

“How dare you!”

She surged up with fists balled. “Sit down before you find your own head on a pole!”

“I could kill you for that insult!”

“Insult? You have lousy taste in jewelry is an insult.” Xeryl cringed, but Zy ignored him. “Do we need to have a fight to see who has the bigger balls? Mealte has you outnumbered already. Now sit down and answer my questions so I can find out if your alleged suspect is indeed the one responsible!”

“Strual was the last one to see Fudlack, of course he’s guilty.”

Zy sat down with a smile. “Well, now we’re getting somewhere. Does anybody else know he was the last to see Fudlack?”

D’pa frowned harder. “You’re trying to trick me.”

She rolled her eyes. “Xeryl, why did D’pa call you?”

“I was working on a partnership with Fudlack. He wanted to make sure I would deal with him as head of the organization.” Xeryl remained standing.

“No need to get upset about that. Sit down, you’re going to be uncomfortable standing like that for a while. Now, does anybody else know he was the last to see Fudlack?”

“The bodyguards did.” D’pa pulled his arm out from under his jacket and sat down. Mealte stood up, but remained beside Zy’s chair.

“Did? Why don’t they know anymore?”

“It is possible that they do, but unless you can talk to dead beings, you will not know.”

“The murderer didn’t kill them because you found them still guarding. What happened to them?”

“They were executed for failing Fudlack.”

“Executed! You don’t execute eyewitnesses!”

“Zy,” Xeryl said.

“Did you bother asking them what they had seen before it was off with their heads?”

D’pa folded his arms across his chest. “All they remembered was Strual coming and leaving before I did.”

“What did you do with Strual?”

“He was found while I was dealing with Xeryl. Xeryl told me of the other crimes, and asked that we hold Strual for you. He is under guard.”

“Great, I’ll need to see him next. Can you think of any reason why anyone would want to kill Fudlack?”

“Strual claims innocence.”

“Anybody, not just Strual.”

“There is always death on Ecan 2, but Fudlack was so feared, no one would want to be the attempter of physical death.”

Zy stared at D’pa’s red eyes. And just how did he feel as the second-in-command, now the leader of the organization? But that would make this an internal affair, and none of these murders felt like in-fighting. Nobody took over the leadership vacuum left by Cobaine, unless they migrated the whole operation. “Thank you for your coorperation, D’pa. Can I speak with Strual now?”

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Zy's Novel Post 20

Novel total = 20,201
Post total = 474

“Did you forget to ask for his resume when you obtain his services?” Xeryl carried his glass to the sink. He had his back to her dirty look. “D’pa is coming here.”

She closed her eyes to fight the urge to glare at Xeryl. “What skills, Mealte?” She opened them and focused on his grey forehead.

“I have training in giving pain. Not all beings respond the same way, but enough do to make it effective. Master Cobaine used my skills sporadically.” He folded his arms over his chest.

“Training? Pain? Are you talking about torture?”

“I think that’s exactly what he’s talking about.” Xeryl stood at the edge of the bar. “I don’t have to explain to you what an appalling mistake that would be.”

“You don’t have to tell me anything!” Zy took a deep breath while shaking her head. “No, we just ask beings questions and maybe threaten them with legal action, but we can’t hurt them.”

“Master Cobaine…” Mealte tilted his head to the left.

“I don’t care what Master Cobaine did. He was a criminal. IGA doesn’t torture.”

“That depends on who you ask,” Xeryl said. “Those prisons…” His voice trailed off when she hit him with her glare.

“I don’t use torture.” She said it slowly, making sure the glare punctuated each word. “The beings in IGA prisons committed crimes against other beings in the galaxy. I’m not a criminal. Mealte, those skills will not be necessary.”

Mealte brought his teeth together twice. “Yes, Mistress Zy.”

“Okay then, let’s get ready for D’pa.” Zy moved to the living room portion of the room. The heavy stone couch and chairs weren’t budging, but luckily they had been set up flanking a stone block coffee table height. Zy perched on the cushions of the chair facing the main door of the suite. Mealte followed and stood behind the chair.

Xeryl shrugged. “Am I to play host? I offered Murdock and you drinks, but otherwise I’ve never been part of an IGA interrogation. I don’t know what the protocol is.”

“Will drinks mellow D’pa?”

“Can you breathe in the vacuum of space?”

“Then we’ll just do whatever doesn’t piss him off. But let me ask the questions.”

“And what if that upsets him?” The door alert chimed. Xeryl opened the door. “Hello, D’pa, would you like a drink?”

“Do not pretend this is a social occasion.” He set a viddisk on the stone block and sat stiffly in the second chair. “The coroner’s report.”

“Thank you.” Zy wondered how hard he leaned on the coroner to get an autopsy done so quickly. “I appreciate your cooperation. I just need to know what happened.”

“Fudlack is dead and we are ready to deal with the trespass. What I do not understand is your need to butt into an internal affair.”

Zy took a deep breath to stay calm. “How come your internal affair is involved in the deaths of Possatact, Ifeket, and Cobaine? That doesn’t sound so internal to me.” Xeryl poured himself a drink and moved around D’pa to settle on the couch. Zy didn’t take her attention from D’pa. “Who found Fudlack?”

“I did.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Blue Man Post 14

Seeing if I can post the Zokutou Word Meter here.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
7,419 / 7,500

Well, it works, but viewed with IE at work I've got borders where I shouldn't have borders. The bright blue is the new stuff added after completion of the first draft.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Capt. Kate Short Story Post 3

Story total = 562 words
Post total = 562 words

Yes, some of this is familiar to those who read the previous two posts. I finally got the two tied together.

Kate Roberts stared at the stone thurst into the splintered wood. The salt water had already filled the hold ankle-deep. Empty casks eased free from their ropes and nets to bob. The latern light was too feeble from the stairwell. Had the Crimson Lady been struck a fatal blow?

There comes a regularity with being cursed. Course, Kate didn’t feel she was cursed. It mattered not that others added Storm-blown to her given name simply because every ship she had floundered and was lost in the storm. She never lost any crew, by God’s teeth, save for the fools who could not follow orders in a crisis. Those were hardly sailors one desired come what may. Due to that fortunuous circumstance of her life, she had never expected her ship to run aground, no matter how foggy the night.

She moved forward into the hold, lifting the lantern above her head.The second lantern was held by Jenkin Hopwood, the Quartermaster, at the foot of the stairs into the hold. Peadar Macartan, the ship’s Carpenter, sloshed along beside her until they reached the rift. Yet, here it had happened while following the torches of another ship that had vanished.

The waves pushed more seawater in, but it sprayed into the hold instead of pouring. She stopped and let Peadar move closer to the damage. The Crimson Lady’s hull creaked around them, but the wood wasn’t screaming its death keel. “I think we can repair the good lady. What say thou?”

“Aye, Captain.” Peadar pressed against the rock and inched closer to the wood. “T’is not a large hole, but we need to get her out of the water. She be needing a careening also, provided there be a harbor fit for it.” He straightened and wiped the water spray from his brown beard.

“And if the harbor is not fit, what then?” Jenkin braced himself against the wall of the stairs.

“I can patch her in the water if you can man the pumps. There do be a beach that has not vanished. You can hear the waves crashing on the shore.”

Kate frowned, not that either of the men saw her in the shadows of the hold. How loose were the crew’s collective tongues over the ship that they had followed into this bay? “Counsel, Master Carpenter and Quartermaster, let’s not make this crew even more uneasy over a little hole in the ship. Do you wish to start repairs tonight?”

Peadar shook his head. “By lantern light with the clumsy sots that must assist me? Nay, this job be best by daylight. We must wait till morn.”

“I would prefer to meet the dawn with me boots on the beach.” Jenkin leaned further into the hold from the stairs. “And making camp would give the men something to do besides listening to Bat’s rosary.”

“Adverse to that I am not.” Kate moved the lantern to show her smile. “Mayhaps if Bat had a beauteous voice, he would win more converts. Let’s tell our restless crew.”

Jenkin’s grizzled face twisted with a grin as he backed up the steps. Kate moved the lantern in front of her and let Peadar slosh ahead of her. The salty water even under the light was inky. She waded to the stairs and shook the water off her bare feet before climbing to the deck.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Blue Man Post 13

In the process of editing.
The Blue Man on the Porch

“Still not back.” Cyndia dropped The Whitechapel Horror onto the couch. She stretched as she moved toward the kitchen, and glanced toward the front door.

A blue man with a butcher knife locked eyes with her. Cyndia lunged for the rusty shotgun her foster mother kept in the umbrella stand next to the door. She rammed it against her shoulder.

The blue man had disappeared from the front door window.

Her chewing gum cemented in her mouth. The back door was locked; she always locked up when at the house alone. She moved to the back of the living room. She could see both the front door, down the hall to the bedrooms, and the archway to the kitchen, and could jump out the window if necessary. The cordless phone sat on the end table until she grabbed it.

“911. Please state the nature of your emergency.”

“There’s an intruder outside the house. He had a knife.” Cyndia took a deep breath and leaned her back against the wall. She answered the operator’s questions while balancing the shotgun on her shoulder. “I’m here alone. I looked out the front door and saw him through the window. Big knife, butcher knife. Look, I’m just seventeen. My foster mother went out to a bingo game. Can you give the cops a code word? Well, I don’t want to open the door for the guy with the knife pretending to be a cop. Okay, I can remember that. There are three entrances, the front door, the patio door, and the back door through the garage. All doors locked, but the garage is open. My foster mother isn’t back yet. My name is Cyndia Taeurs. He was blue. No ma’am, not wearing blue, his skin was blue. It could have been make-up.”

The operator told her to stay on the line. She thought she could hear computer keys clacking on the other end. “How long should it take for them to get here? I mean I know the guy’s not in the house with me.”

“It shouldn’t be long now. Dispatch says there’s a unit in the area. Let’s verify your address.”

Cyndia sighed and rattled off the street name and number. Her right bicep trembled with keeping the shotgun up, and her neck was going to be permanently bent toward her left shoulder. Blue lights flashed from outside. Voices came up to the front porch and then moved back. What gives? Why didn’t they come up to the door?

The operator was still on the line when there was knocking at the back door. She eased into the kitchen, keeping her back toward a wall.

“Miss Taeurs? It’s the police. Cagney and Lacey.”

Dispatch must have had fun with the code word judging by his polite but resigned voice. “The police are here.” She ended the call and opened the back door. Two uniformed officers had their guns drawn. Cyndia pointed the shotgun at the floor. “It’s not loaded.”

“Are you injured?” The younger officer with sympathetic blue eyes asked.

“No, I’m fine.”

The two officers glanced at each other. “Hilden, you better trace that blood trail.” His partner nodded and headed back out through the garage. “Show me where you saw the intruder.” He holstered his gun.

Cyndia led him into the living room. “I was reading on the couch. I got up and saw him at the front door. Grabbed empty shotgun and he was gone. I backed away and called 911, Officer?”

“Peterson. Did you notice if he was bleeding?”

“No, but I only saw waist up. He was blue and had a butcher knife. You found blood out there?”

Officer Peterson frowned. “What do you mean he was blue?”

“His face was blue.”

“A mask?”

“No, his skin was blue.” Cyndia pressed against the door window to see the blood they had seen. The houses across the street had opened up and their adult occupants started huddling and edging closer to the Baton’s yard. “Oh, the neighbors are coming over. Do you need to put up the yellow tape?”

Officer Peterson said something under his breath. “I need to find out where the blood came from.” He moved back through the kitchen and through the garage. Cyndia dumped the shotgun into a umbrella stand and followed him. “Miss Taeurs, you stay here.”

“The hell I am. What if that guy decides to circle around and come through the patio? Besides, I know the crime scene rules: don’t touch anything, don’t touch anything, don’t touch anything.”

Hilden stood at the end of the driveway address the gathering crowd. “Look, ladies and gentlemen, stay back and let us do our jobs. Just keep out of the yards.” They made some baffled statements, but didn’t move closer to the sidewalk. Hilden moved back up the driveway. “There’s a footprint in the flowerbed, and more blood drops across the driveway.” He pointed to dark spots on the pavement that glistened in the garage light. “I got that far before the onlookers arrived.” A roll of thunder punctuated the statement. “And now the weather.”

“First that weird plane crash, now this.” Peterson shook his head. He walked toward the porch and looked down at the trampled daylily. “Geez, what kind of shoes was this perp wearing?”

Cyndia moved closer. What she could make out in the black potting soil reminded her of a duck’s foot. Swimming fins would be longer. The wind gusted. “You better pour the plaster soon. I think it’s going to rain.”

This time Peterson didn’t bother muttering the swear word. “We don’t have plaster. Forensics has plaster.”

That was a dumb move. Regular cops should have something to protect evidence that will wash away. Cyndia trotted into the garage and scanned the storage shelves. The long plastic box holding Christmas ornaments looked wide enough. Eyes and brains might solve the crime, but you had to have admissible evidence for court. And Forensics always gets to the scene after everybody else.

The boxes of ornaments tumbled onto the concrete floor. A swipe with the hem of her T-shirt made sure she wasn’t transferring any debris. Then she presented the plastic box to Peterson. “This should cover the footprint.”

“Resourceful, aren’t you?” He carefully set the translucent box over the portion of the flowerbed. Some of the neighbors had moved up the Millers’ driveway to see what they were doing. Hilden trotted over to intercept them with his head bent looking at the ground.

“If you can’t roll with the punches, you wind up dead.”

Screams turned everyone’s head to a nearly identical house one lot over.

“Hell, now what!” Peterson ran toward the screams. “Hilden, keep them there!” He pushed around the bewildered group in the Millers’ driveway.

Cyndia ran after Peterson, ducking past Hilden trying to keep the street crowd from going up the driveway and sidewalk to the front door. The Millers’ front door was open, and Mrs. Gregory stood on the threshold screaming. Peterson pulled her out onto the cement walkway and stood where Mrs. Gregory had as he pulled his gun. His other hand grabbed the walkie-talkie clipped to his shoulder. “Dispatch, looks like a 187 next door. Two bodies visible. Alert homicide and send more backup.”

Mrs. Gregory sobbed now, collapsing against Cyndia. Red was splattered on the golden-yellow walls. Mr. Miller lay in front of the door on his stomach. A puddle of blood spread over the ceramic tile right inside the door. Mrs. Miller sat on the couch, her head bent over the back with her chin pointing at the ceiling. Cyndia loosely wrapped her arms around Mrs. Gregory.

“How many people live here?” Peterson still hadn’t holstered his gun.

“They … they have three kids.”

“Stay here and don’t touch anything.” He stepped into the house, avoiding the blood and the body.

Cyndia hugged Mrs. Gregory tighter. The older woman showed no signs of stopping, and the shoulder of Cynthia’s T-shirt was already soaked. She frowned watching Peterson step around bloodstains on the carpet. Stains that looked the same as the footprint in the flowerbed.