Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Zy's Novel Post 27

Novel total = 24,052 words
Post total = 898 words

“Yeah, and compare Cobain’s records with yours. The murderer may not switch identities until he must. Too bad you didn’t lock up Goumbi and Strual two nights ago/last night.” She looked at D’pa.

His lavender face betrayed no emotion. “Goumbi is innocent.”

“Can you send us some tickets to the land of denial you’re enjoying so much?” Zy folded her arms and glared back.

“You Agents think you are much smarter than racketeers. I will not fall for your tricks.”

Xeryl shook his head.

“How about sending your people to find Goumbi, if you’re so convinced you’re right?”

D’pa didn’t say anything before stalking out of the house.

His employees were still searching for Goumbi when the coroner came back down the stairs. “Come up, please, D’pa. There needs to be some sort of identification done on this body. Then I can move it to my lab.”

He didn’t look happy, but the Outhern headed up the stairs. Zy raised her eyebrows and looked at Xeryl before heading up behind him. Xeryl followed and Mealte guarded the stairs.

The coroner stood back by the stairs. D’pa stared down at the uncovered Ecanian body with glistening red eyes. “It’s Goumbi. That’s his tattoo.” He touched the tattoo that circled an arm tentacle like a band. “But it can’t be Goumbi, it can’t.”

Zy steeled herself and went to the other side of the bed. The blood splatter fanned out and up from the head of the bed, covering the ceiling, back wall, and floor beside the bed. She avoided looking at the swollen body to focus on where the head should be.

“Let me guess, death due to sudden explosion of the head.” Xeryl leaned his chest against the top of the banister.

“You ruined the surprise.” A part of the skull remained on the rusty pillow. She turned back to the coroner. “Did you find any evidence of where the murderer stood? The one I’m tracking likes to watch.”

The coroner clicked his beak. “No, unfortunately. Do you know how this is done? Fudlack didn’t have any traces of explosives. I’m confident Goumbi won’t either.”

Zy shook her head. “No, I don’t. Possatact and Ifeket didn’t have any explosive traces neither. Cobaine is the anomaly; somebody forced him to shoot himself and then stole the gun. How long do you think Goumbi has been dead?”

“I won’t have anything close to exact until I do the lab work, but I’d guess around a month.”

D’pa looked up from the body. “Goumbi was an imposter for the last month? That’s impossible; no one can impersonate that well for that long! And feet, you said the murderer had feet!”

“Look, I’m the first to admit nothing about this case makes much sense. Maybe he had an accomplice.”


“Was Strual the Goumbi impersonator?”

“No, the guards had Strual when I questioned Goumbi last night.”

“Then the murderer with the feet must have an Ecanian accomplice. But the only way we’ll know for sure is to catch the murderer. Are ther any other racketeers that he can use Goumbi’s identity to get close enough to kill?”

D’pa focused on Zy’s face, but his eyes were distant. “Goumbi worked for Hiqurguet before working for Fudlack.”

“Thank you for your cooperation, D’pa.” Zy watched as his face twisted as it turned away. “And I am sorry for your loss.” Xeryl offered his arm but Zy ignored it, preferring to walk down the stairs unaided.

The driver of the vehicle stopped in front of Zy’s saucer. Zy, Xeryl, and Mealte climbed out. Zy clutched the viddisk and moved to the ramp. She wanted a shower, a nice safe shower where she could bawl her eyes out without anyone knowing.

Xeryl’s voice stopped her. “Do you want me to come along and smooth things over with Hiqurguet?”

“Is he a bloodthirsty, paranoid, meglomaniac?”

“Not that I’ve noticed from the dealings I’ve had with him.”

“Then no. You go check your organization for who’s missing.”

“I can handle that via a communication link.”

Zy sighed. “Then stay for Goumbi’s autopsy and collect that information for me. This is stuff I need, Xeryl. I’m sorry if you don’t think it’s very exciting.”

Xeryl started to say something, but stopped and shook his head. “Please eat something on the trip. Good luck.” He turned around, climbed into the vehicle, and it drove off.

Mealte stared at Zy. She stormed up the ramp to avoid his large black eyes. “What are you looking at! Let’s go.”

The Personal Journal of IGA Agent Zy

Chapter Seven

After the shower, Zy actually felt hungry. And something smelling delicious was coming from the galley. She followed the circular hallway of the saucer to find Mealte stirring the bubbling pot on the built-in stove. “You cooked?” She inhaled deeply. It smelled like beef stew.

“I consulted Sara on your preferences, Mistress Zy. Is your appetite available?”

“Yeah, I want something to eat.” She tried to get a bowl, but Mealte whisked it away from her. She sat at the small table and was compently served. It was delicious. “Do you garden too?”

Mealte shook his hand in the air. “No, that is not one of my skills.”

“Good, gardening sucks.” She looked up at him standing next to the table. “You can eat with me. I don’t object to you cooking because I burn water, but we don’t have to dirty the galley twice.”

“Thank you, Mistress.” He fixed a bowl and sat in the table’s only other chair. “Do you mind personal questions?”

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Zy's Novel Post 26

Novel total = 23,154 words
Post total = 887 words

Trying to get 6000 words written by December 18th. That means 858 words a day. Exceeded the goal for today, woot!

“Then why is the power shut off? I don’t like it and would prefer to treat it like a hostile location. If that’s okay with you?” He stepped back and Mealte stepped forward. “And I don’t want to hear I can’t go in from you.”

“I cannot presume to tell you what you can and cannot do, Mistress. But I would prefer to go first.” Mealte tucked his hands into his grey sleeves.

“The gun goes in first.” Zy went up the rest of the steps to the door. A trickle of sweat ran down her hairline and grazed her ear. No wonder the locals had cooling units. Ecan beat mercilessly on its second planet. She pressed the door control and it slid open. She gagged.

“What is that smell?” Xeryl stepped up a step.

Mealte inhaled deeply. “Rotting flesh.”

“Do you have to sound so positive about it?” Zy holstered her gun and pulled her breather out of the belt pouch. The smell only lingered in her memory, so she swallowed down her nausea. She stepped into the dark and stifling house. The front door opened directly into a living room of stools and tables. Sunlight filtered through the blinds and dark curtains. The end table nearest the door had a light coating of dust. But it was empty of anyone or anything that could make the smell. Ditto on the kitchen and dining room at the back of the house, and the staircase was in the hallway between the kitchen and the living room.

Mealte moved as close to her as he could without touching. “The smell is stronger up there.” He pointed up the stairs.

“Zy, Zy, wait!” Xeryl tried to keep his voice from carrying as he entered the hall. He held a handkerchief over his mouth and nose. “What if someone is waiting up there?”

“Judging by your expression, he couldn’t have a sense of smell. Otherwise, how could he stand it?”

“How about a breather?”

“The filters eventually need replacing.”

“I meant for me.”

“Sorry, they’re custom-built for my nose.” Zy hoped her expression was sympathetic. She remembered how bad Cobaine’s throne room smelt. “Go back out. Mealte and I can handle this.”

He moved the handkerchief slightly, so she could see the wry smile. “And lose face to D’pa? I’ll never be able to import anything to this planet.”

“Where is D’pa?” Zy looked down the hall toward the living room.

“Waiting outside. He refuses to invade a subordinate he trusts’s home.”

“How noble.” Zy started up the stairs.

“How come you don’t have a problem in here?” Xeryl asked Mealte.

“I have choice over what odors to taste.”

“Handy talent.”

The top of the stairs opened into one large room filling the entire second floor. The bed set against the far left wall had a lumpy mass covered with a blood-stained sheet. “Damn. Xeryl, you better go get the forensic gear from D’pa.”

The Ecanian coroner sat on a wooden stool and clicked his beak. Zy hadn’t had a chance to speak with him since he arrived while D’pa ranted.

“For the last time,” Xeryl sounded weary, “there is no conspiracy. There is a dead body up there that must be dealt with.”

“It is not Goumbi.” D’pa stood in front of the staircase with his arms folded.

“The body hasn’t been identified yet.” Zy gripped the recording-bot. Maybe she should record this bit and keep replaying it to D’pa. “But it’s a virgin crime scene and it needs to be documented before we all go tramping through it.” She resisted the urge to kick him out of the way. “Someone has been murdered; don’t you give a damn?”

The coroner chuckled. “Stop denying the child, D’pa. I’ll do the grunt work if you can’t stand for her to do it.” He twirled his leg tentacles off the four legs of the stool and moved to the group.

“Thank you, sir, but I am a legal adult.” Zy handed the recording-bot to the coroner.

“That may be, Agent, but you’re still young. Only the young get so passionate.” Another arm tentacle picked up the case of forensic gear. D’pa stepped out of his way while keeping a glare fastened on Zy. She sat down on the stool the coroner had left.

Xeryl joined her. “Cheer up, it’s not the end of the universe to be considered young.”

“Oh I’m used to that. I was thinking about footprints.”

“Footprints? What footprints?”

“Exactly. The murderer must have been at the top of the stairs and avoided the blood splatter. Otherwise footprints would be on the stairs.” Zy rubbed her eyes. “Which probably means the weapon has some range.”

“And the killer still got to watch. Do you want to wait outside?”

“I’d rather not be target practice for decapitation by knife-weilding locals that hate outsiders.”

Xeryl found another stool and moved it closer. “Good point.” He pulled his braid over her shoulder and twisted it around his fingers. “Does this still fit your serial killer profile?”

“Depends on who that body is. If it’s Goumbi….”

“It is not Goumbi,” D’pa interjected.

Zy ignored him. “If it’s Goumbi, we may have figured out how he’s getting inside the organizations.”

“So I should go home and find my now missing or dead employee?”

“Yeah, and compare Cobain’s records with yours. The murderer may not switch identities until he must. Too bad you didn’t lock up Goumbi and Strual two nights ago/last night.” She looked at D’pa.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Zy's Novel Post 25

Novel total =
Post total = 363 words

The vehicle stopped on the dusty street in front of a two story syntha-wood town house. “I do not see the sense in this. Goumbi swore he did not go to Fudlack’s office.” D’pa climbed out of the vehicle and waited for them.

Zy eased out of the vehicle, trying to keep from stretching his stomach muscles. It didn’t stop the bruises from aching. “Look, there are three people singled out as the last who saw Fudlack alive and dead: you, Strual, and Goumbi. You’re all the first suspects.” D’pa’s face darkened but Zy ignored him. “The killer or more accurately whoever watched Fudlack’s head explode had feet.” She pointed down.

D’pa glanced at his feet, and Zy retracted her pointing finger. “Feet, not leg tetacles. I found clear footprints in the blood moving from where he stood to the door. I thought it would be more diplomatic to question Goumbi before swabbing your bathroom for blood residue.”

Xeryl stepped closer, probably to intersect an angry D’pa. “And questioning Goumbi accomplishes what?”

Zy shrugged as she turned her attention to the townhouse’s front door. “Liars are always suspicious when they lie during a murder investigation.” A thick layer of dust coated the steps up to the front door.

D’pa looked up from his feet. “You cannot think I killed Fudlack.”

“Xeryl, explain motive to him.” Zy bent closer to the steps. No footsteps had disturbed this dust recently. She put her foot down on the first step and picked it up with one clear foot print left behind.

Mealte was already at her side when she looked down for him. “The house is too still, has no life.”

Zy looked back at the tarmac street butting up to the dry, sandy ground before the house. How long would it take for it to get blown across the steps and trapped in the corners? That depended on local weather conditions, but something else felt wrong about this place. It didn’t have the same hum as its neighbors. She pulled her gun out of its holster.

Xeryl reached her side. “What are you doing?”

“Something’s wrong. And nobody’s been in or out of here for possibly the last two days.”

“He could have another door.”

“Then why is the power shut off? I don’t like it and would prefer to treat it like a hostile location. If that’s okay with you?” He stepped back and Mealte stepped forward.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Capt. Kate Short Story Post 4

Story toal = 1174 words
Post total = 698 words

“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.”

“A pretty sight awaits us not with those supersticious curs.” Peadar pushed a cask out of his way and headed to the door.

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.

Jenkin and Peadar parted at the doorway as Kate emerged on the deck. Nay, t’was not pretty; the crew of adult males crowded around the lone twelve-year-old cabin boy like he was chum and they were the sharks.

“Thou hast doomed us all.” Toby Locke scowled with the unscarred half of his face. He moved ahead of the line of men. “Thou set us on this course.”

Hugh Saunders, the cabin boy, backed up against the wall of the ___________________.

“Where’s the other ship, laddie?” Cut Aldridge snarled. “Why ain’t she broken on these rocks like we are?” The line of men moved level with Toby.

Hugh closed his fists. “I did see the torches on the shp and it passed this way. That’s the course I called out!”

The crew’s muttering grew louder. Bat Pickering’s wavering voice carried over all of them. “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” He took a deep breath and started over again. (May need to put in Latin)

Kate passed her lantern to Peadar and marched to Hugh’s side. He looked up at her gratefully as Jenkin and Peadar joined them. “Down you scurvy dogs!” Her hand wrapped around the hilt of her fighting dagger on her belt. “What is done is done. I will nay have anyone on this crew punished for this mishap!”

The crew grew silent and some stepped back. Bat lowered his arms and blinked at the lanterns.

With the crew not looking quite so bloodthirsty, Kate let go of her dagger. “The Master Carpenter can repair the Crimson Lady in the morn. We are going to empty the Lady and set up camp on the island’s beach tonight. The charts and stars had us close to Scotland. Once the fog clears, we can take our position and head to a port in Scotland or Clew Bay in Ireland once the Lady is repaired.”

“But what if this island is Saint Brendan’s isle?” Bat demanded.

“Zounds, Bat, doest thou create these saints out of the ether? Who is Bredan?”

Peadar switched the lantern to his other hand. “T’is a famous tale in Ireland, Captain. He ended up sailing around the world on the back of a giant fish.”

“Aye, what if this island disappears under the waves like a fish?” The hawk-faced man shook his rosary.

“T’is more likely it shall vanish much like the ship we followed.” Toby stroked the scar down the right side of his face.

Kate sighed. Stay on and drown, get off and drown, one did not conquer the sea by being afeared of it. “Master Jenkin, be sure to tie a rope from the Crimson Lady so if this island becomes a giant fish, we may pull her free of the rocks.”

“Aye, Captain. Heave to, you curs! Peadar, get a group started hauling out the cargo in the hold. Toby, Enrique, Wolter, ready the long boats. Everyone else, stowe the deck and their gear!”

The sailors broke apart, muttering and casting suspicious glances at the cabin boy. Kate put her hand on his shoulder. “Come, Hugh, help me pack me cabin.”

“Captain, I did see the torches on the ship.” His pinched face stared up at her.

“Aye, laddie. They saw the lights as well.” That be why they are so upset, she added silently.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Zy's Novel Post 24

Novel total =
Post total = 1239 words

Added to previous posts.

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

Add to forensics section

Zy realizes that 3 people entered the bloody room and went to Fudlack’s body on feet. The murderer who left also had feet. Strual has leg tentacles and could not be the killer.

“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.”

“How many people went into Fudlack’s office after he died?”

“Just myself and the guards.”

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?”

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.”

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. I don’t know why Goumbi would not tell him he went to Fudlack’s office. He saved D’pa decapitation, and D’pa blamed the whole incident on me.”

“Really?” Xeryl’s eyes opened wide. “I didn’t realize D’pa could be petty. Whatever did you do?”

Strual wrapped his leg tentacles around the column of stone he sat on. “No, I won’t tell of my shame to outsiders.”

“You would think D’pa would be a lot less eager to prescribe execution if he was almost executed himself,” Zy said.

“But it works so well,” Xeryl answered.

“Did anybody see you go home early?”

“Do you think D’pa would keep me here if anyone did? I only saw the guards.”

“They’re not going to be much help.” Zy bit her bottom lip. A forensic processing of Strual’s home would be the final cinch that he hadn’t gone into the bloody room or been present for Fudlack’s head explosion. But she didn’t want to waste the time. What if Goumbi was getting away? “We better go talk to Goumbi.”

Xeryl looked puzzled but knocked on the door.

The vehicle stopped on the dusty street in front of a two story syntha-wood town house.

“I do not see the sense in this. Goumbi swore he did not go to Fudlack’s office.” D’pa climbed out of the vehicle and waited for them.