Monday, December 11, 2006

A changeling story

Modern setting. A boy discovers he is actually fae and sets off with his best friend to find his fae parents.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Alien Worksheet

It's not complete yet. I want to get stuff on alien societies and language (the next two chapters in Aliens and Alien Societies by Stanley Schmidt) before filling out. But this is what I have so far. The stuff in italics is to remind me of points from the book.

Blank Alien
Name of their home system star:
Class of star:
Mass of star:
Luminosity of star:
Insolation homeworld receives:
Name of homeworld:
Distance of homeworld from star:
Period of revolution (local year length):
That time in IGA Standard years:
Axial tilt:
Length of day (local time):
That tine in IGA Standard time:
Length of months (local days):
The time in IGA Standard month:
Short description of the seasons:
Ecology of homeworld: Who eats what
Biology of alien:
Unicellular or Multicellular?
Size: Remember the Square-Cube Law
Maximum of species:
Mininmum of species:
Getting Around or Not (limb design):
Body shape: Evolution selects body shapes that are well suited to the way an organism lives.
Structural support: Endoskeleton or exoskeleton, what holds the organism up?
Growth: How does the organism mature (exoskeleton and complete metamorphosis issues)?
Warm-blooded or cold-blooded: Internal mechanism for keeping warm or dependent on environment?
Senses: How does sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch work?
Frills: Extras an organism can have but doesn’t have to.
Self-Modification: Genetic manipulation, cybernetics, etc.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Germ of an Idea

Out of all the ghost reading I did yesterday, this story is still sticking to my mind.

I don't know if I want to do anything with it yet.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Strix Post 7

Damn the ideas are coming! I know this is a delaying tactic for Zy's novel, I know it.

1). Bad vamp wants to take over city since Robert is to busy trying to pretend to be a human to rule it like an autocrat should. Over run the city with vampires loyal to bad vamp is his tactic. Vampire hunter and Strix are both trying to stop the tide of vampires, and the Vampire hunter is trying to kill Strix the vampire too. And the bumbling vampire and his ghoul are trying to stop the bad vamp.

2). Robert never had a choice with embracing Peggy. She went into labor while visiting someone, rushed to the hospital, and died because he couldn't get to her and embrace her. He never expected to lose her, and that's why she ended up staying with him as a ghost to counter that guilt. Also heavy motivation why he didn't want to raise their dhampir child; she still too human.

3). Bumbling vampire is named Ferris. Actually after "Ferris Bueller" but it also sounds like ferrum, Latin for "iron." His theme song is "When Your Heart Stops Beating" by Plus 44

Strix Post 6

Actually notes for rewrite Forget the Sun sequal to Strix.

In other writing news, I want to create a vampire. He's actually been popping up in my head for a bit. I think it's probably due to the Hellsing fan-comic orgy I just experienced, but I might be able to work the vampire and his ghoul into my secret project.

So the vampire that's haunting my head wants to be different from the stereotypical vampire. Not inhuman monster; not sauve, sexy man, he wants to be a bumbler. He doesn't much like being a vampire and living forever and watching everyone he knows and loves dies. But he has a strength too, thinking the best way of getting rid of his undead life is to kill off his amoral/immoral sire. And his ghoul really didn't want to be his ghoul, he slipped her some of his blood so she could save both their asses. And he loves his ghoul even though she's exasperated by him most of the time. He offers to turn her because she'd make a much better vampire than he does, but she wants kids and grandkids if she could ever pick up a guy to settle down with while she's stuck with a whimpy vampire master and his sire that could kill them both.

I toyed with the vampire as being a friend of Allie's and Allie as his ghoul. I loved the dynamic, but he needs something beyond fanfiction and a ghoul who is fixtated on the hypothetical because of a lack of pulse yet there's still a possibility of something deeper between them. Then I thought about my special project, which concerns a world of vampires that I keep feeling wishy-washy over because it is so stereotypical. The world as I have envisioned to this point is very circular, dealing with one family of vampires and how it is connected with a family of vampire hunters--narrow focus. And then I got the idea of throwing the bumbling vamp and his exasperated ghoul into this world, with his battle against his sire. I think the world has just cracked open.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Zy's Novel Post 31

Zy's music: Violent Femmes, Alanis Morsette, Garbage, Blondie

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fairy Tale Novel Notes

Just something I found in reading that tantalizied me. Not sure how to work it into this story.

The Scandinavian and Germanic peoples also believed in the huldre or hidden folk, also called the Elves. Their domain was a luminous cavern-realm called Alfheim. From Alfheim they would venture forth to cajole, abduct, or seduce human beings. Other beings were the kobolds, or mine-dwarves, perhaps a variant of the Norse Svartalf. Another type was the Tusse, a variant of elf which lived close to humans, usually beneath a farmstead, or close to one. The primary interest of the huldre/elf-folk, which could be said to include all of the Germanic types, seems to have been procreation with human beings for purposes of maintaining genetic diversity. Like the trolls and dwarves, the elves seemed to dislike bright sunlight, but may have had more tolerance than their troll and dwarf cousins, as they were sometimes seen at dawn, twilight, or dusk, or by day in deeply-shadowed valleys or mountain chasms. Huldre/elves in particular were said to dwell beneath mounds and hills which were in closer proximity to human habitations, as trolls did more rarely. The elves took a regular interest in human affairs-weddings, births, and deaths, (bloodlines?) the success of crops and livestock, and so forth--but only for their own selfish interests. They seemed to be overly-concerned with genetic and biological diversity, and they pilfered livestock, crops, and human genes via theft or cross-species liaison whenever they saw fit to do so. The elves are generally depicted as extremely fair-haired and fair-skinned. -- The Deep Dwellers

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Slightly new Look

I've switched over to Blogger Beta and chaged the layout a tiny bit. You may need to scroll to the bottom and resubscribe your blog readers.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Capt. Kate Short Story Post 6

Note from edit: Bring out the antagonism between Locke and Kate earlier. "Shall we see what I can do to your face with a knife?"

Hopefully, that won't spoil the "wait, he sides with her?!" at the end.

The Blue Man Post 20

Note to change due to a returned critique: Murdock protesting Cyndia's (look up alternate spelling of name too--if the author can't remember how to spell it...) involvement in capturing Thernsten. C. showing off how logical she is and leaving out the fact that she has no real self-defense training. Apparantly cocky teenager is coming out as a know-it-all adult.

Let Us Give Thanks Post 5

Something to remember for edits:

Tala grabbed the arm rests of the chair and leaned into Charley's face. "The only difference between me and you is you're only getting threatened and I know whose genetalia to mutilate. ... I have to give Vinnie credit for keeping his mouth shut."

Throttle: "She's right."

Charley placed her hands on top of her temples. "I can't think anymore."

"Well stop trying to think."

"Somebody has to; you guys don't!"

"We do too."

"Okay, name a situation that you didn't blast your way out of it."

"That's not fair. We have to blast our way out of all situations in the end."

Friday, June 30, 2006

Let Us Give Thanks Post 4

Progress Bar from Writertopia

“Throttle won!” Sparks jumped up and down, then darted from the pit garage to the field.

Charley smiled with relief. Nothing happened; everyone was wrong, including herself. This race wasn’t cursed. She packed her tools. The guys will want to party hearty and she could meet them at the winner’s circle and leave without any waiting.

She heard footsteps in boots behind her. Before she could turn around, a fist hit her head and shoulder. Lights exploded behind her eyes and she fell to the floor.

Throttle didn’t think the line of congratulators and hand shakers would ever end. The other racers laughed off his win. “Just for charity; glad you ain’t on the circuit” seemed to be the common refrain.

Sparks exploded through the line. “You won!” He leaped.

Throttle caught him and put the kid down on the ground before his back gave out. “Where’s Charley?”

“I left her at the pit.” Sparks sobered. “I shouldn’t have.”

“You go get your dad and Vinnie. I’ll get Charley.” It’s fine, go.” Sparks disappeared into the crowd.

Kormic spoke from his left side. “Throttle, we need you in the winner’s circle.”

“And I need Charley. It’ll just take a second.” He revved his bike and people around him finally moved. He drove across the field to their pit.

The garage bay was empty and the metal door at the end stood open. “Charley?” Throttle dismounted and headed to the unlit corridor beyond the doorway. “Babe, where are you?” He poked his head through the opening.

Something whistled through the air and came down on his helmet. He was driven to the floor by the blow and the world went black.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Notes for Laissez Bon Temps Rouler 1

Double posted at Intnetionally Left Blank June 2, 2006

Though the beginning of hurricane season has me itching to work on a fanfic. I've filled in all sort of plot holes.

Vampire have coded messages saying when Weathermeister is to arrive.
JetStream or is it Jet Blaster sets firework factory on fire try to get revenge on the bros.
Split up to search the city for Gureye's ship leads to Rimfire and Bay's capture.
Carbine negotiates for a plane with a shipping contract.
Need a list of hurricanes for the proper year, and need to know what year I'm setting that one in. Proper year is 1998. Alex.
Fire = Bay going catonic. She was able to integrete her mother's memories better due to 9 months in the womb. Her father's have become ingrained as phobias with extreme reactions.

Lets Us Give Thanks Post 3

Moved from August 17, 2004 post at Intentionally Left Blank

Next section
1) Modo's POV - need to intro another suspect
2) Attack on Vinnie
3) Tala's POV - need to intro 3rd suspect and aftermath of attack on Vinnie

Modo leaned against the counter someone had set up as a refreshment stand for the workers.

Tala surveyed the crowd on the field. At least a hundred down there to...

Return to the scene of the crime. Vinnie sure didn't read the detective stories Throttle did, but he watched the old movies when Throttle had control of the TV. The one with the bird statue and Bogey had been fun. He was pretty sure 'return to the scene of the crime' had been on one of them.

The halls of thick concrete seemed miles away from the motorcycle engines on the field. He found the box office no problem, everything was labeled. People were holed up in the room, doing what Vinnie didn't know.

And the uniformed rent-a-cop didn't appreciate the scrutiny. "What are you doing?"

"Just lookin'." Vinnie grinned at the man's scowl.

"Casin' the joint?"

"No, sir. Just lookin' over things for Detective Jefferson." Name dropping couldn't hurt.

"Move along."

Vinnie sighed. How did Throttle expect to get anywhere if people kept getting in the way?

Notes for Evil Jack series 3

Moved from a June 10, 2004 post at Intentionall Left Blank

Story #5 No title yet

kindracoates: Okay, general delivery room panic situation. I'm think the doc helped find a private hospital or something. Anyways, after some tension, a baby boy is born
Lydamorn: Or a mid wife and home delivery
kindracoates: Won't work on what plot I have if they're home.
Meanwhile while Daddy is reeling from delivery, his bros congrats, and Hannah's typical kid behavior, the doc comes through puzzled. Charley and the baby have disappeared
kindracoates: Jack managed to kidnap them out from everybody's noses
Lydamorn: the villian returns
kindracoates: Yeap. This is where I get fuzzy. For some reason he takes them to Limburger Tower and he and Karbunkle have a disagreement over what should happen next
Lydamorn: you'll figure it out, on to the next part...
kindracoates: I don't know how I will get Hannah there, but during big climatic fight between Jack and Throttle, Jack gets shoved into the transporter booth and whatever Hannah did to the controls blows it up.
kindracoates: Collect Charley & baby and go home Goodnight folks

Notes for Evil Jack series 2

Moved from a June 10, 2004 post at Intentionally Left Blank

Story #4 in the Evil Jack series. Title is "Till Death Do Us Part." A few months between this story and #3.

Hannah's supposed to be asleep, but somebody is making noise at the back door. She sneaks to the open window, looks down, and sees 3 new mice debating whether or not to knock. One of them says something about waking up Uncle Modo instead. "He's your uncle too?" pops out before she has a chance to think about it.

Rimfire, Stoker, and Carbine all look up. Stoke is the first to recover from seeing a human kid hanging out the window and asks if Charley is there. Hannah says she'll go get Mommy and Daddy. They were asleep, but Charley wakes up a little quicker than Throttle, decides it's okay for Hannah to let them in since Hannah's halfway down the stairs to do that anyway.

Hannah gets them in the kitchen, got the perfect little hostess routine down, gives them rootbeer cause that's what mice drink, fascinated by Stoker's tail, wants to know how Modo is Rimfire's uncle too. Needs some hints on Carbine and Stoke's relationship here. The grownups are taken aback since as old as Hannah is she should've been present in infant form (if not older) the last time anyone visited and are relieved when Charley finally comes down in a bathrobe.

Stoke apologizes for barging in, but thought it'd be better than showing up at the scoreboard unannounced. Before he gets too far with that, muffled ow from upstairs. "Hannah!"

Hannah runs up the stairs with the standard what did I do now look. "Daddy you broke it!" Indistinct scolding noises. "I didn't leave it out! Uncle Vinnie was trying to drive it up the wall when I went to bed!"

Charley goes up to handle the domestic scabble and Hannah comes back down holding the Barbie car that has just been stepped on. "It's all smooshed"

Stoker helps her put it on Charley's workbench in the garage.

Come back into the kitchen and Charley is helping her hubby down the stairs. "Well you got a pair of slippers for Father's Day, but nooo big macho biker mice don't wear slippers." Throttle's wearing pyjama bottoms and Carbine's brain is going into reboot mode. You can tell by her expression that this scenerio never entered her mind at all. Stoker can't decide which is funnier, Throttle being all domestic or Carbine's reaction.

They finally get out about what brought them from Mars in absolute silence. Mars intercepted communications between Limburger and Plutarkian High Command. Limburger has promised to annihlate the entire human species without the need to invade in force. This is news to the Chicago team. And Carbine doesn't win any brownie points when Hannah asks what annihlate means and she answers "squashed like a bug." Not that she was purposely trying to be nasty, just answering the question without considering how a five-year-old would react. Parental snarl comes from both Charley and Throttle, which wasn't exactly expected. Charley does agree to let Carbine stay, since the scoreboard... 'nuff said. They put off any planning until the next morning.

Throttle gets a little more dressed and takes Stoker and Rimfire to the scoreboard. Charley takes Hannah to their bedroom, and sets up Hannah's for Carbine. The ladies don't talk. Carbine does talk to Throttle when he comes in though, after Charley and Hannah have gone to bed. All she wanted from the breakup was to scare him into realizing what his priorites are. Throttle's response is "It did" and goes to bed with his wife and child.

Next morning: Charley wakes up sick, but hides it from Throttle. Gotta save the world, no time to worry about her. Get Hannah off to school. Time to see what ole Fishlips is up to. But the Tower is deserted. Haven't worked on what clues they find there. But they do find something the confirms the timetable and that he plans on wiping everybody out. Just no how yet. Also need to add in some hints on how Carbine and Stoker's relationship is developing. Charley gets bad woosy and they rush her back to the garage. Carbine is feeling a little snipy about it. Can't stomach the job, shouldn't be fighting type thing.

Throttle didn't hear that, busy fretting over Charley. Vinnie and Modo have a few choice words but Stoke keeps the peace, mainly by dividing the group. Carbine and Hannah are left together.

Unfortunately it's Hannah that spills the beans about not having an Earth wedding yet. By Martian law, a Martian wedding an alien has to do so by the bride's customs for it to be legal. Carbine's pleased to hear that but jumps the wrong way with it. "If Throttle hasn't really married Charley, he doesn't really love her. Charley must be using him. Maybe your real father ought to be told." Carbine is just thinking outloud at this point, with no idea how it would effect Hannah or even realizing that Hannah's still listening. But she is and does a good job of hiding how freaked she is, but she is ever freaked.

Meanwhile, Charley is feeling a little better and comes out to where Vinnie is doing the remote control flick through TV Land. Part of the "Stand" catches his eye and Charley has to explain that most of the human race was killed off by a superflu. And the lightbulb goes off.

Charley grabs Throttle and the others. The virus that made Hannah so sick. What if it was made stronger and released in the water or the air or something?

So it's time to grab Dr. Ryan. Plus Charley's sick again and Throttle wants her checked. Dr. Ryan brings in Margo and the work they did to cure Hannah. They start working on that; Dr. Ryan checks on Charley; Stoke and Rimfire stays at the garage to guard while the bros and Carbine hunt for Limburger and company. It's Lake Michigan, to put it in the drinking water. Fight goes down, Rimfire brings Margo and the antibodies, and they save the day.

Return to the garage and find Charley in a panic trying to find Hannah. A suitcase and a lot of their clothes were missing, but Hannah is gone. Stoker finds Hannah asleep in the ship, all tuckered out from dragging the suitcases she packed on the sly into the spaceship. But it makes perfect sense, the spaceship can get them away from Jack forever. And of course Jack is coming the "General Lady is going to get him, she said so." Throttle takes her from Stoker right before Charley punches Carbine.

Stoker grabs Charley and puts himself between the pregnant lady (even though he's the only mouse to know at this point) and Carbine. So Charley resorts to yelling. How dare you tell my child that the psychopath that tried to kill her, me, and Throttle is coming to get her. What the hell is wrong with you? Carbine lets lose a volley that Charley stole Throttle and Throttle's just using her cause they aren't really married and how the hell was she supposed to know Hannah wasn't better off with her natural father?

Charley: Never stole Throttle, you broke up with him. And you never appreciated anything he tried to do for you. The money for the romantic get-away to patch things up that you refused to come to he used to make sure Hannah got well. And maybe you'd be more in the loop if you didn't constantly alienate people.

Before Carbine can come up with a response, Throttle pulls a small jewelry box from his bike and hands it to Charley. It has 3 rings, 2 plain bands and 1 with a tiny diamond on it. "You're supposed to be wearing the stone one now, right? I was waiting till we were going on that romantic dinner that Limburger's plans ruined the reservations for."

He's been working on the wedding. Having problems with the religious vs. justice of the peace and what religion is Charley anyway? But he was giving her the wedding and got a crazy notion that you shouldn't be quizzing the one getting it since it's a surprise.

Charley thwacks his ear and tells him that the wedding gown is the surprise, not the whole cermony. She supposed to help with that but she has something else to tell. And they disappear into their bedroom.

So that's where these notes come into play. Will add more to the conversation depending on how the dynamics of the cat fight work out.

Carbine stared at the kitchen door as it swung shut.

Stoker turned and captured Vinnie, Modo, and Rimfire in his best authoritative glare. They snapped to attention. He gave them a get-the-hell-out-of-here sideways nod toward the garage doors. They tiptoed to their bikes and eased them out and onto the street.

Carbine never noticed. "He loves her. He really does love her."

"Sit down before you fall down." He eased a chair under her and pushed her on to it. He straddled the nearby workbench and scrutinized her bleak expression. "It's not the end of the universe. You still got me."

She glared. "You are the most egotistical... what makes you think I even want you?" She crossed her arms over her chest.

"Oh come off it. All the advisory meetings, the visits to training sessions, inviting me along for this little jaunt; you can't stand to be away from me." Stoker grinned, and gently pulled her right hand toward him. His fingers stroked the fur on the back of her hand. He watched her brown(?) eyes go hesitant. "And I don't have any problems with that."

She made a feeble attempt to pull her hand back. "Stoker...."

"You and the Rookie were growing apart long before he left Mars. You dealt with that by walling off your heart. I'm not letting you do that this time. You deserve some happiness too."

A thud above shook the rafters and rained dust into the garage. "What was that?" Carbine tried to get up.

"Charley's surprise, none of our business. Where was I? You deserve happiness, I'm crazy about you, aw heck with the script." Before she could answer, he put his hands behind her ears and kissed her.

You probably just shot all your chances straight to hell, you stupid old man. What the hell were you thinking? He eased back from her, letting his fingers run through her black hair.

Carbine blinked as she eased forward. Her mouth fell on his and her arms wrapped around his neck.

The thud was Throttle hitting the bedroom floor in a faint after Charley tells him that the doctor says she's perfectly fine for a pregnant woman.

Notes for the Evil Jack series 1

Moved from a June 10, 2004 post at Intentionally Left Blank

Starting with it because it's shorter and less dependent on at home notes.

The series starts with "Domestic Bliss" set an indeterminate time after "Once Upon a Time on Mars." The bros have been on Earth for four years. It's an alternate universe in which Jack is an abusive psycho. But it has to be a believable development from what was shown on the show. I've been told it works.

"In Sickness" while much shorter is carrying a lot. First, evidence of how Throttle has adopted Hannah in his heart and his head hasn't recognized it yet. Second, introducing the plague. Third, evidence of Throttle and Carbine's deteriorating relationship.

Now we're getting out of the realm of what is to what is yet to be.

The third story's title hasn't been decided yet. I'm using "For Worse" now. Scene outline:

The bros are in front of the garage playing bottles 'n brodies with Hannah watching. Game over, Modo goes inside for drinks, Throttle's resetting the area, and Hannah begs Uncle Vinnie to let her play too. Vinnie of the infinite wisdom, scoops her up onto the seat in front of him, and they go skidding, covering Throttle with motor oil. Before Throttle or Modo can react, enter Charley back from her errand and irate. She proceeds to get her child out of harms way and to skin Vinnie, Throttle, and Modo for their irresponsibility without a knife.

Vinnie and Modo retreat. Throttle takes a shower to get the motor oil off and comes out to a crying Hannah, and a not much better Charley. Hannah thinks her mother's rules means she can't play with her uncles ever again. Throttle calms them both down, and explains that some of the games are really training exercises and that making them a game is the only way to get Vinnie to do them. He ends up staying for supper. Vinnie calls during supper convinced that what Charley needs is a night on the town tomorrow night. Modo gets babysitting duty since Throttle's expecting a call from Mars.

The date is a disaster. Vinnie can't stop flirting with other women, he does something else she finds totally immature, and she gets fed up and leaves.

The radio conversation is from Carbine's POV on Mars. She breaks up with Throttle, to make him realize that their relationship is more important than the fight on Earth or whatever is keeping him there. She has her doubts and it was one of the hardest decisions she's ever had to make, but she's going to stick with it. Stoker pokes his head in and asks if she needs a drink as bad as she looks like she does. She takes him up on the offer.

Back on Earth, Vinnie has come to the Last Chance but just finds Modo waiting for Charley to come home. Modo has a talk with him, pointing out that Charley doesn't need another kid to raise, she needs someone that can help her with this one; she's not looking for reckless abandonment, looking for dependability. And that Vinnie needs to figure out if that's what he wants too and be honest with her and himself.

Meanwhile Charley has found Throttle getting very drunk and trying to hit the baseballs his bike is pitching. The only way he will talk is to play the game, which requires taking a swig, taking a swing, and then asking the question. The conversation inbetween all that slowly reveals the break up with Carbine, how Throttle feels about that, and what's wrong with Vinnie according to Charley. It ends with the two of them going up to the Scoreboard for sex.

Cut to Jack. He has both the scoreboard and garage under video surveillance, and watches Throttle and Charley. He starts planning his revenge.

Next morning, Charley gets to the garage first, having left Throttle still asleep. In the midst of getting Hannah ready for school and the garage ready to open, Vinnie talks to Charley about how he's not ready to settle down yet and can they still be friends. Charley hugs him saying "you'll always have a place in my heart." Neither one realizing that Throttle has now gotten to the garage and overheard that part.

Throttle decides that Charley must be giving Vinnie another chance and be damned if he's going to let his bro screw up Charley's happiness. He'll do the sacrifice and help Vinnie become what Charley and Hannah need. He gets Charley alone to tell her "last night never happened." A little hurt, Charley agrees thinking he must still have issues with the break up

Fast forward a week through narration. Throttle has been aloof and rude and withdrawn.
Throttle's brushoffs are hurting Charley deeply. She's miserable and not hiding it very well. Vinnie and Modo are almost convinced he's losing it.

Movie night at the garage. Hannah's movie is done and she wants Throttle to put her to bed. He thinks he's going to tell her a bedtime story, but Hannah wants to talk about why he's making Charley cry. Throttle tries to explain that Charley's going to find Hannah a new daddy, and he wouldn't want Throttle hanging around so much. Hannah gets him to agree to be her pretend daddy until there is a new one.

On the living room couch, Vinnie starts a tickle fight trying to get out of Charley why she's so down in the dumps. Throttle leaves Hannah bedroom in time to see it, and even though Charley pulls herself away to say good-night to Hannah, he decides he can't stand to see them flirting and leaves.

Vinnie and Modo talk to Charley, who hedges around why she's upset. Even though they know it's Throttle. She doesn't crack though, and doesn't tell them what happened between her and Throttle. They eventually watch the movie and go to the scoreboard.

Back at the scoreboard, Vinnie and Modo try to tackle Throttle on Charley. Throttle frustrated that Vinnie just isn't getting it--doesn't help that the tan leader is being obtuse with his point--storms out on his bike. Vinnie and Modo decide to let him blow off the steam and go to bed, not voicing their fears that this ain't like Throttle.

Next morning at the garage, Vinnie and Modo arrive in a panic. Throttle never came back to the scoreboard, he's not at the garage, and his bike isn't showing on their tracer view screens. Hannah wants to help look but Charley convinces her her job is to go to school and act like everything is normal. Vinnie and Modo go to search for Throttle.

Jump to Throttle. He comes to on a cold cement floor. A thick steel door opens and Jack starts taunting him. Knows all about everything that happened between him and Charley, calls Charley a slut. And Throttle loses it, rushing at Jack, only to find his arms and legs and tail are manacled with chains just long enough to let him move but not reach the door. Jack hits a button and this device slams against Throttle's back, holding him in place. I'm thinking something like what football players practice on. Torture moves to the physical phase, but Jack's careful not to overdo it. Throttle's only the bait.

Skip to next day somehow. Modo and Vinnie are really frantic now. Limburger doesn't have Throttle, nobody else has seen him. Maybe I'll do this narration through Hannah's POV to move quickly into the next part.

She's at school waiting to get on her bus, when a biker pulls up. He doesn't take off his helmet and has Throttle's bandanna. She decides to go with him to save Throttle. He brings her to the chained and beaten up Throttle and reveals himself to be Jack. It's not a happy reunion. No pounding on the kid though.

Cut to Charley. Vinnie and Modo are now out searching for Hannah since she didn't come home on the bus. The phone rings and it's Jack. He can see everything Charley tries to do. She can't leave a note for the
bros and Jack gives her the address to come to. He's got their radio
frequencies so she can't call Vinnie and Modo for help. As she drives to
the address, she gets a brainwave and stops at a payphone.

Cut back to Throttle & Hannah. Jack brings Charley into the room with them
for the tortures to begin. Jack forces Charley to kiss Throttle, but that doesn't go as he expected i.e. Charley and Throttle liked it. Scuffles breaks out between Charley and Jack and Jack wins just barely. Charley and Hannah are chained up and when Jack leaves, he pulls back the thing bracing Throttle in place. Throttle ends up landing on Charley and Hannah.

Finally get Throttle up and Charley pulls a screwdriver out of her boot. Works on picking Hannah's manacle first, and Hanaah makes the great observation that Charley and Throttle "kiss just like in the movies."

Charley starts going into her escape plan. She wants Hannah to run out the door, leaving Jack to her and Throttle. Get out the building go to a policeman. Tell the policeman to take you to Chef Andy. Hannah wants to find Modo and Vinnie, but Charley insists on this plan.

Throttle insists that Charley break her locks before starting on his, and Jack comes in just when she's about to start on Throttle's. Hannah runs out during Jack and Charley's fight. Charley ends up stabbing Jack in the side with the screwdriver. He gets out of the room but comes back with a gun. Charley deflects his aim but the ricochetting bullet hits Throttle in the leg. He got stuck upright again, and losing lots of blood.

Jack decides to leave Charley there to watch Throttle die, and to take care of his own wound. Charley realizes the bullet didn't come out and tries to stop the blood flow. Throttle starts a last thing I can tell you speech, or at least tries too.

Charley. "Don't you even think about dying on me!" type thing. And Throttle's not trying to declare his undying love. He wants her to be happy with Vinnie since he thinks that's what she wants.

Cut to Hannah. She knows Charley and Throttle need Vinnie and Modo, but she doesn't know where they are. So she follows a bike and ends up at the neighborhood biker bar. No Vinnie and Modo inside. A sympathetic waitress finally gets enough story from Hannah to put a call out on the CB radio.

Cut to Vinnie and Modo. School was no help, they though Hannah was going with one of them. Then a request from Charley starts playing on the radio. "Hit the Road Jack." Only when they try to contact the station for more info, Sweet Georgie's gone home for the day.

So they are seriously considering Vinnie's suggestion of getting that address by any means, when someone calls on the CB looking for bikers connected with the Last Chance Garage. It's the bar with Hannah. They pick her up and Hannah tells them, leading them back to Jack's.

Big fight. Though Jack manages to escape. Throttle passes out, last thing he mutters is "just be happy, Charley" and hears her anguish cries for Vinnie.

Well he's completely out now. Vinnie and Modo are getting him out, Charley undoes whatever Jack did to Throttle's bike and asks for her help. Vinnie and Modo get Throttle back to the garage while Charley and Hannah go on Throttle's bike to that hospital and get the doctor that helped with Hannah.

He's nice and comes and patches up Throttle. And I don't have to deal with a transfusion like I was afraid I was going to have to. Turns out when you're badly injured and standing upright, your brain forces you to pass out so it can deal with the injury. If you're laying down, infinite capacity for pain.

Modo takes the Doc home. Charley's sitting with Throttle waiting for him to come to. Hannah got ready for bed while staying out of the way and crawls into Charley's lap. She got some questions on her mind. Jack had called Hannah a thing, that she was just created. Hannah wants to make sure she's not a thing. Charley kinda explains how babies are made without graphic details. Charley does leave out the whole Karbunkle angle. Hannah's okay with it, but her next question is does she have to call Jack "daddy" still. That's a no. So Hannah wants to know if Throttle's going to be okay. Yeah he will be, we just have to wait till he wakes up. No Hannah you can't wake him up.

Hannah works up up enough nerve to ask "Why can't Uncle Throttle be my daddy?" Charley's trying to come up with an answer, when Throttle wakes up. "Nobody's asked me for the job," is his joking response. Then Vinnie interrupts. He just came up to tell Charley he found all the bugging devices Jack put in the garage. But Throttle puts the wrong spin on it since they went over to the door to talk and Hannah's still yammering in his ear. He tells her he can't be her daddy, and that's what breaks the kid after this day. She runs out crying. Charley chases after her.

Vinnie's left with "what the heck?" And Throttle can barely tell him to go after them. Vinnie still doesn't get it, and Throttle yells at him. "You want Charley, you're going to have to be Hannah's daddy! I broke her heart, she's looking for one, go on, it's a chance to score easy points with both her and Charley." Vinnie leaves, and finds Charley sitting on Hannah's bed trying to rock Hannah. Vinnie tells her to go talk to Throttle. She won't, not after he made Hannah cry. Modo's made it back from dropping th doc off and Vinnie asks for help. Vinnie takes Hannah from Charley, passes her to Modo, then grabs Charley, slings her over his shoulder and carries her back in her bedroom where Throttle is.

Vinnie leaves them in there, telling them to deal with whatever is between them, and shuts the door. Modo and Hannah are having a huh? moment out in the living room, till Vinnie comes out and explains that Throttle does want to be her daddy, but he thinks Charley wants Vinnie to be it. Hannah's response "But Mommy doesn't want you."

Jumping back to Throttle and Charley.
C: How could you? All she wants is a daddy. Couldn't you do it despite how you feel about me?
T: And make it even harder for Vinnie? Is that how you make families on Earth?
C: What does Vinnie have to do with anything!
T: Charley, all I want is for you and Hannah to be happy. You picked Vinnie fine. But you can't expect me to lie to Hannah.
C: Picked Vinnie for what? For Hannah? He's just now gotten over being jealous of her.
T: You two have enough to work out without me being a father for Hannah and undermining Vinnie.
C: I think I should've asked whether blood loss causes brain damage.
T: You're the one who said he'd always have a place in your heart!
C: As a friend! And that's all he is!

Throttle tries to get up out of the bed. Charley restrains him.
T: I just wants to make sure you were happy. And if Vinnie was what you wanted I wasn't getting in the way.
C: So you said nothing had happened, and kept leaving so Vinnie and I could be alone.
T: I didn't want to watch.
C: And it never occured to you to ask?!

After some awkward silence.
T: Charley, I'm sorry. I... I understand if you don't want to, but will you give me a chance to make it up to you and Hannah? Start over and do it right?
C: Stammering I can't.... I can't keep putting me and Hannah through this
She continues as Throttle's bracing himself for the worse.
C: I can't keep starting over with the man I want to marry!
T: But I'm not a man.
C: Mouse then! You! I love you and I want to marry you!

Big kissy. Vinnie peeks in and let Hannah go in.
T: Is the job to be your daddy still open, Princess?
Looking very serious H: Do you want him, Mommy?
C: Yeah.
Goes to cut off Throttle's air flow with a hug. H: I've got a daddy!

T: What kind of wedding do you want, Charley? A Martian one or an Earth one.
C: Don't care. Which one keeps you from leaving?
T: I know the Martian one doesn't let me.
Modo steps forward to help. Exchange of earring, Modo asks them both if they want to get married, and then declares kiss the bride.
H: That's it!
V: Well, the ceremony got a lot shorter in the war.
When they stop kissing, Throttle sees Charley's trying to hide some disappointment.
T: It's not what you wanted.
C: I want you. But I thought I'd at least do it in a fancy dress.
T: I'll give you an Earth wedding, I promise. As soon as I figure out how.
Charley snuggles up against him in the bed, Hannah on his other side. Modo and Vinnie beat a quiet exit.
C: It doesn't matter. I"m not losing you now.

Stories 4 and 5 in the next installment. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Blue Man Post 19

Progress Bar from Writertopia


Word count of first draft = 7185
Word count of Second draft = 10311

“Murdock?” The spaceship door was still open. “You’re going to get found out if you don’t shut the door.” Cyndia staggered up the ramp.

The orange mass formed a face that looked at her as she came in. “What happened to you?”

“Thestern killed another family. I had a fight with him. He jumped in the lake, I think.”

“The Odrichans are an aquatic species.” He got up from the desk and cupped her chin with a tentacle. “Your skin is discoloring.”

Now she could feel the throbbing across her cheekbone. It hurt to the touch. “He smacked me hard. He said I was disturbing God’s name.”

Murdock had reformed into the humanoid shape. The eye hollows looked down at her. “You fought with Thestern. That was not what I intended when I asked for your assistance. Do you have any concept of how doltish that was?”

“He hit me first!” Cyndia jerked away and threw herself into a chair. “What does disturbing God’s name mean?”

“I do not know.” Murdock slid back from her a little, but kept his face on her.

“Didn’t you guys do a psych evaluation when you had him in custody? Psychiatric,” she added to his blank look.

“There was not enough time and the Odrichans did not. This is frustrating; I’m too far apart from where I need to be.”

“Mrs. Baton isn’t home right now. You can move in. As long as you hide in my room, she shouldn’t find out.”

“I don’t want to create inconvience for you.”

“The sooner we catch Thestern the better off the neighborhood will be, right?” Cyndia stood up with her best smile. “What do you need me to carry?”

She ended up carrying the laptop thingy that Murdock called a vidplayer and the flying camera robot. It didn’t take very long to set both up in her bedroom. She pulled out the books she had checked out for the Jack the Ripper paper while Murdock gazed at her bedroom.

“It is aestetically pleasing.” He finally said. “But this doesn’t match.” A tentacle touched the scuffed-up black trunk at the end of the frilly pink bed.

“That’s the only thing that’s mine.” Cyndia looked up from True Crime: Serial Killers. “This is Mrs. Baton’s house, bedroom, and decorations. She’s paid by the government to look after me since my parents are dead. She’s the fourth person to have the job, and probably won’t be the last. So if I run across something I like and it can’t fit into that trunk, I don’t need to own it.” She stared back down at the book again.

“I am limited to just the saucer, which does have more space. What happened to your family?”

“They died when I was a baby. Never knew them. Nobody wanted to adopt me, so I’ve been stuck in the foster care system. Will be released at age eighteen, right after high school graduation. I’ve been lucky, though. The foster parents I’ve been stuck with haven’t been monsters; they just want me to be something I’m not.” There was no answer from Murdock. “Sorry, you didn’t want to hear about all that. Let’s concentrate on the case.”

Murdock’s body rippled. “We need to see the current crime scene, the one where you were injured.”

“I had a feeling you’d say that. Do you want me to take you there?”

“Not necessary, we can program the coordinates into the robot.”

Cyndia opened the window and pointed to the still lit Johnson house. “I need to go take care of my face.”

Her cheek in the mirror wasn’t too bad. She put ice on it to reduce the swelling; she could get away with saying she ran into a door. Her neck ached but the bruises probably wouldn’t show up until tomorrow.

She returned to her bedroom holding the ice pack against her cheekbone. Murdock had set up on the floor on the other side of the bed, and only the top of his orange mass was visible from the door. “What does disturbing God’s name mean? Is Thestern a religious fanatic?” She pulled her desk chair around the bed where she could see him, and sat down.

Murdock frowned and consulted his vidplayer. “Not according to his personal library. The Odrichan law enforcement catalogued nearly three hundred books divided between astronomy and mythology, none on current religious practices on Odrichan 4.”

“Odrichan 4 is the planet’s name?”

“It is not what the Odrichans call it. The naming development worked out by interstellar travel is to name the star system and number the planets from the star outward.”

“Okay back to Thestern. I think religious fanatics usually say demons made them kill or their victims were demons—like the Son of Sam.” She opened the reference book to his entry. “Did Thestern say anything like that while he was in custody?”

“Only that he wasn’t finished and we would regret stopping him. Repeatedly.”

“A man of one theme?” Cyndia raised an eyebrow at Murdock’s sarcastic tone.

“At least he isn’t a liar. He did start killing as soon as he was free to do so. I need to study the crime scene to discover why he picks certain families opposed to others.”

“Okay, I’ll study my book to see if we missed an angle.” Cyndia laid down on her bed. “How was Thestern caught?”

“He targeted the home of a member of the local law enforcement. The officer was prepared for him.”

“Can’t count on that here. No cops live in this subdivision.”

Murdock made a noncommittal sound as he leaned over the vidplayer. She flipped through the book. The killers featured mostly acted on their sexual impulses, killing who attracted them. Son of Sam seemed the closest, and he just killed pretty girls he found on the streets at random. Whatever caused Thestern to choose his victims, it wasn’t sex.

You disturb God’s name. It almost sounds like an insult, only he hadn’t delivered it like an insult, he was being literal. She was messing with God’s name? How could you do that?

The camera robot tapped against the glass. “I’ll get it.” She couldn’t resist sticking her head out the window once it had flown in. The Johnsons’ house was still lit. Mrs. Baton’s car pulled into the driveway. She closed the window and turned to Murdock. “Mrs. Baton’s back.”

He was plugging a wire from the camera robot to the vidplayer. “Do you foresee problems?”

“She’s not exactly hands off.” She climbed back on her bed.

Like Cyndia had spoken a cue, a quick knock hit the door before it swung open. “What were you doing half out the window? Sneaking out?” Mrs. Baton slammed her fists onto her hips.

Cyndia looked straight ahead. Couldn’t give Murdock away. “If I was sneaking out, I would use the door. You weren’t home.”

“Why can’t you act like a normal teenager? Stop pretending you want to be a detective and concentrate on real life, like going out on dates.”

“Boys don’t like me, okay?” Cyndia made the mistake of turning to face Mrs. Baton.
“What happened to your face? You didn’t pick a fight with someone, did you?”

Cynthia put the ice pack back on her cheek. “I tripped and hit the door. I have ice on it. It should be fine.”

“All right, now you need to get to bed. You have school tomorrow.” Mrs. Baton picked the serial killers book up off the bed. “And no more reading this, it will give you nightmares.”

“The Johnsons’ lights are still on.”

Mrs. Baton sighed. “There you go, being nosy again. Their kids are probably just upset and they need longer to get them to bed. People who pry into other people’s lives are not heroes. They hurt people, and turn into alcoholics. You have to get your head out of those books. Now good-night.”

Cyndia rolled her eyes, and leaned over to view the other side of the bed. Murdock and his equipment was gone. “It’s safe to come out now.”

Part of the orange mass slid out from under the bed. “A good agent doesn’t always resort to sarcasm. Especially if they need something from the other party.”

“She shouldn’t always jump to stupid conclusions.” Cyndia scowled. “And I better do what she says otherwise she’ll be barging in every five minutes.”
Sleep was disjointed between the unfamiliar glow from Murdock’s equipment and feeling hands wrap around her throat. Orange eyes pierced the darkness behind her eyelids. After the fifth time of waking up having almost drifted to sleep, a warm tendril smoothed back her brown hair. “Fear not, Zy. He will not harm you here.”

She didn’t answer Murdock. She didn’t know how. But sleep stayed after that.
Cyndia had never skipped school a day in her life so far. Therefore, she felt reasonable sure Mrs. Baton wouldn’t call to make sure she was there. But she still had to hide until the woman left for her real estate appointments. She straddled a root and leaned her back against the Millers’ back yard tree. The lake’s brown waters sparkled where the sun shone on its tiny waves.

“Where are you going to strike next when you come out? You’re following some logical plan, vision, something. We just can’t see it.” Murdock had muttered the same thing while she got dressed this morning. Then he had showed her his comparisons of the two crime scenes, pointing out Thestern’s signature touches. Eating breakfast wasn’t an option after that.

“You shouldn’t be here, trespassing on a crime scene.” Officer Peterson closed the back yard gate.

Cyndia brushed back her brown hair. “I didn’t realize the yard was part of the crime scene. Sorry.”

“No harm done if you’re staying out of the house.”

She took a deep breath and averted her eyes. “I saw enough of it.”

“Shouldn’t you be in school?”

“I couldn’t.” She looked back at him. “The lights never went off at the Johnsons’ and nobody left for work this morning. They’re across the street from us. I told Mrs. Baton last night, but she didn’t think it was important enough to bother the police about.”

Peterson frowned. Yes, he understood what she was implying. “You didn’t go over to look?”

She looked away again. “No.”

“Well, I won’t tell the trauance officer on you, if this is the last time.”

“It will be. Will you check out the Johnsons’?”

“Yes. You’re not going to stay here all day?”

Cyndia smiled. “Just until Mrs. Baton leaves, and then I’ll lock myself back in the house again.”

“All right.” He left the yard, shutting the gate after him.

That was one less thing to worry about. And said in such a way that she wouldn’t be number one on their suspect list. She looked back at the lake. Astronomy, that was telling the future from where constellations were when you were born. No, that was astrology; astronomy must be the scientific one. So he liked to look at the stars. And on Earth constellations came from mythology. And mythology was just religions no longer in practice.

You disturb God’s name. He was spelling out names with the murders, names of the gods and goddesses from the mythology books.

She peered around the fence. Mrs. Baton’s car chugged down the street. Cyndia ran to the house, pausing to unlock and lock the door, and running back up the stairs. She threw her book sack on the bed. “He’s spelling names of gods and goddesses with the murders!”

Murdock’s eye hollows shifted to the side to look at her. “We thought of that. None of the Odrichan murders matched their written language.”

“What about constellations? How many of the gods are pictured as constellations?”

Murdock bent over the vidplayer. Cyndia draped herself over the bed so she could see the screen over his shoulder shape. He opened up multiple windows, maps with marked locations and star maps with the constellations drawn on them. “He paused between sprees, waiting at least a local Odrichan week. But the sprees always had a different amount of killings, different number of houses struck.” He typed in something and some of the marks disappeared on the street map. “Let’s see if the computer can match the first spree.”

A new window opened and constellation patterns flipped on it. It stopped on one and superimposed over the map with the crime scenes marked. All the stars fit over the red dots.

“I think you have concluded it. Let’s check the next spree. This is the one that was interrupted.”

The computer found three constellations that matched. Cyndia frowned. “That only had four crime scenes. Can we find the constellation off of just two?”

“We need a map of this area. It’s possible that Thestern has started over on the same constellation pattern he was stopped on.”

It took a while to find a map of the subdivision in Mrs. Baton’s files. Only one constellation of the three matched to an occupied house. “So we have to guard the O’Neals’ house tonight.”

“Yes. Thestern will strike as soon as it is dark.”

“But why? What does putting constellations down with murder do for him?” Cyndia sat crosslegged on her bed.

“He is sacrificing them.” Murdock frowned. “I’ll let the computer search on sacrifices in Odrichan culture. We must rest for tonight.”
Murdock guarded the front door. He could flatten himself in the shadows much better than she could. Cyndia laid under the shrubbery in the back yard like a soldier ready to crawl out on her stomach.

The puppy whimpered in its kennel. A vague uneasiness cleared in her mind. How could she stop Thestern? She needed self-defense training or boxing lessons or karate or something. Her throat hurt. Why didn’t she think of the shotgun earlier? She could hit him over the head with it at least. There wasn’t even a baseball bat in the yard. Billy liked cars of all sizes and large action figures. Crap, she hadn’t even remembered the water gun.

The only thing that the computer found on why Thestern was replicating constellation patterns with the murders was that ancient Odrichans used stars to mark their sacrifices and bring down the power of the gods. Loony but it did explain why he didn’t kill her outside the house; it would have messed up the way the constellation would look on the ground.

A dark mass gathered at the top of the wooden fence and jumped into the yard. Cyndia’s stomach tightened. No, he wasn’t going to hurt another baby so he could become a god.

She shimmied out of the shrubbery as the figure crept closer to the house. A sandpit was between her and the figure and the house; a sandpit filled with toys. She heaved a Tonka dump truck with both hands. It hit Thestern in the legs.

He hit the ground, but sprang back up. The next toy flew towards his head. A blue hand batted it away. The puppy now realized there were intruders in the yards, and yelped continuously.

Thestern steadily advanced, avoiding the thrown toys. “I’m not letting you hurt anyone else!” Cyndia launched the Spider-man action figure. “You’re no god, you moron!” Thestern ducked and it sailed over his head.

Cyndia braced herself. She twined her fingers together, and hit Thestern in the head with a volleyball blow. But he still tackled her, knocking her back into the grass.

She grabbed his wrists, but his fingers inched closer. Kicking didn’t unbalance him at all. If I get out of this, I’m learning how to shoot and some fancy judo chops.
Something wrapped around Thestern’s head and he reared back. He clawed to try to remove the orange, but more slid back.

Cyndia stood up as Thestern’s frantic motions slowed down and finally stopped. “Is he dead?”

Murdock pulled away from the Odrichan. “No, nearly unconscious.” The face sculpted in the orange smiled. “My faith in you was not misplaced.”

“I was lucky.”

“There is no such thing as luck,” Murdock said. “It is a conglomeration of factors that need you to fit them together. Others call it luck because they don't realize you are the deciding factor.”

“Is my dog okay?” Billy shut the sliding glass door. He ran to the dog pen, and pulled out the fuzzy white puppy. He hugged it while staring at them.

“Your dog is fine, he just didn’t like us fighting.” Cyndia smiled. “Did your parents hear anything?”

“Just Tiger barking. They’re watching a movie. Is that the cop from outer space?”

“Yeap. We caught the bad guy and he’s going to an outer space prison.”

Murdock grunted as he slid under Thestern’s body and lifted it up. “We need to get him secured.”

“Right. You better get inside, Billy. And this is our secret.”

“Cool. Bye Cyndia, bye Mr. Outer Space Cop.”
Murdock had sent the camera robot flying back to the saucer, but he had forgotten about his vidplayer. Cyndia was sent home after Thestern was secured in the saucer, which was actually okay with here, she needed to pack. Murdock wouldn’t leave the vidplayer behind.

She hid the trunk out in the woods between Mrs. Baton’s house and the saucer that night. The vidplayer she set on the wood side of the hedge that morning when she left to hide with her trunk.

He left to go find it and she watched him go. He would probably be upset that she wasn’t there to say good-bye but he probably wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. She hefted her trunk. After all, he had a prisoner to get back to prison.

Cyndia dropped the trunk in the storage room, and made sure the door was closed. She laid down next to the trunk. And there she waited until the throbbing noise under the metal plates grew louder and lulled her to sleep.
Nearly ten hours had passed when she woke up again. Taking the chance that ten hours away from Earth was too far to turn around, she left the storage room. Murdock was in the main room of the saucer, standing behind his desk in a relaxed blob, typing on the vidplayer with ten outstretched tentacles. “Hi, Murdock.”

A ripple moved through his translucent body before the face formed to look at her. “I should have anticipated this development. You hid in the storage room, didn’t you?”

“Yeah.” Her foot scuffed against the floor. “You sound like me being here is a bad idea.”

“It is! There are guidelines in dealing with primitive….”

“Primative! You didn’t think I was primitive when you needed my help.” She planted her hands on her hips.

“They are as much for your protection as it is….”

“Oh that’s a load of crap. You said you had faith in me. That’s all gone now that I want to be what you are.” Cyndia folded her arms and stared at the metal floor.

“What do you mean?”

“I want to be an agent like you. And now you’re telling me there’s some rule that I can’t. No different from anything else in my life.” She kicked the floor again.

His face frowned in puzzlement. “You want to be an agent?”

“You can’t take me back, Murdock. I know I need training, but I have a knack for detecting, don’t I? I’ve wanted to be is a detective for as long as I can remember. Don’t send me back.” She balled her fists at her sides. She couldn’t look at him.

Murdock slid over to stand besides her. “Well we can’t have a perspective trainee sleeping in the storage room.” He started forming into a humanoid shape as he moved toward the hallway. “Regulations be castigated. You have too much talent to waste on that planet.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Blue Man Post 18

Progress Bar from Writertopia

Another scene finished! I'm just trucking along.

The sun had set as she cycled down the street from the drugstore. The developed pictures were safe in her back pocket. Mrs. Baton’s car was back in the driveway. Cyndia grimaced. Across the street, the bedroom lights at the Johnsons’ were still on. Funny, the Johnsons’ were usually the first ones out. They kept to their children’s bedtime schedule even on major holidays, and presented her with the same list of instructions every time she babysat. All the lights on wasn’t right. Her heart pounded, but it wasn’t from the bike ride.

“CYNDIA!” Mrs. Baton bellowed from the front door without stepping out onto the porch. Cyndia grimaced again, and waved as she peddled up the driveway.

She pounced on her as soon as she entered the kitchen. “Where have you been? Don’t you know there’s a murderer still on the loose? You were supposed to stay home!”

“I just went down to the drugstore for something to drink.” Cyndia held up the two-liter bottle of soft drink. “I kept to the main roads, and stayed in the public’s sight the whole time.”

“Next time just drink water!” Mrs. Baton flounced away from the argument. Cynthia sighed with relief. It was short-lived. “Did you finish your homework?”

“Everything, but the history paper. It’s due next week.”

Mrs. Baton froze mid-putting dishes into the dishwasher. “The paper on serial killers is for history?”

“It’s how criminal investigation has changed since Jack the Ripper. I just haven’t found a modern case to compare his to.” She took a deep breath. “The teacher said it was an ambitious topic.”

“That’s not all it is.” Mrs. Baton shook her head. “Couldn’t you write something nice about George Washington instead?”

Cyndia put the soft drink bottle in the refrigerator. “I’ll be in my room.”

The lights were still on at the Johnsons’ and she had a growing uneasy feeling about that. However getting out from under Mrs. Baton’s watchful eye, she was fresh out of ideas. The phone rang muffled through the walls. Cyndia turned back to her reference book, but she couldn’t concentrate on it. The knock on the door still made her jump.

Mrs. Baton stuck her head into the room. “There’s an emergency neighborhood association meeting. Will you please stay home and not go shopping while I’m gone?”

“Sure.” Cyndia waited until she heard the car go down the street. The lights were still on at the Johnsons’. Her heart pounded, but V. I. Warshawski wouldn’t abandon a family in trouble.

Nobody else was out in the yards or the street to see her sprint to the Johnsons’. Cyndia didn’t want to be mistaken for a murdering prowler tonight. Their living room had a window that faced the side yard. She could peek there without being seen.
She got between the two shrubs planted under the window to prevent easy access. One branch dug into her cheek but she ignored it. Her brown eyes eased up over the window sill. The room was obscured by something red splattered on the glass, a fine red spray.

Cyndia jerked back. The branch snagged her hair and cut her cheek. She landed on her butt and hands. The back of her head hit the fence. Too late, too late, why didn’t she check on them before going to Mrs. Baton’s?
There was a rustle in the back yard. Had one of the kids escaped? She got up slowly, and crawled to the corner of the house. The back yard was fenced in with large, flowering shrubs that filled the area with a cloying scent. The French doors between the house and the patio stood open. But the yard was empty.

Cyndia stood up and left the corner of the house. How to tell the police? Intrepid amateurs were always accused of being the murderer. Skipping that would be great. And she had to tell Murdock. He’d want to see the crime scene while there was still a way in.

If she hadn’t been staring at the lighted doorway, she would have seen the movement in the shadows of the yard. What she did see and turned toward was the arm in motion.

Her elbow dug into the grass when she hit the ground. The dark blur jumped to land on her legs. She pulled them out of the way and kicked back. He fell on his back. No knife, otherwise he wouldn’t have punched. Cyndia pounced, landing on his torso. She punched his jaw and then hit him again. “You murdering, feathered psycho!”

Thestern rolled Cyndia onto her back. His hands latched onto her throat. Breathing isn’t optional, and she pounded on his arms. “You disturb God’s name.” He let her go and ran through the yard.

She had to lie there, sucking down air to cool her burning lungs. Where was he going now? She crawled about halfway around the house before getting enough strength back to stand up. Staggering across the street to the Baton yard, Cyndia heard a loud splash in the lake. “Great, he thinks he’s the Creature from the Black Lagoon now.”

The Baton house was still empty. The meeting should last at least an hour. Cyndia unlocked the garage door and went inside. That should be plenty of time to consult with Murdock. She grabbed a flashlight and locked the house again as she left.

The lake only showed a few ripples in a slight fog over it in the flashlight beam.

The Blue Man Post 17

Progress Bar from Writertopia

Finished the next scene!

Cyndia wheezed as she parked her bike in the garage. The time back had to be a new bike-riding record. She need to go to the drug store and get the film developed, but not without a weapon for self-defense. But what could she carry that wouldn’t be illegal?

She was still considering her options as she reached up to pull the garage door down when an orange globe of Jell-O as big as she rolled across the driveway and yard. It plunged into the border bushes. Cyndia blinked a couple of times, and stepped out of the garage.

“Did you see how fast that thing moved!” The gate in the privacy fence around the Millers’ backyard opened, and the two officers from last night came out. “When did we turn into the X-Files?” Officer Hilden continued as Peterson closed the gate.

Cyndia jogged a little down the driveway. “What’s going on? Can I help?”

“The situation is well under control, so just go inside and lock up,” Officer Peterson answered.

“That isn’t what I saw last night.”

“We know that, okay?” Hilden’s voice rose with irritation. “The professionals are handling this, young lady. Now go inside where you’ll be safe.”

Cyndia bit back a snarl. “Fine.” Some of the snarl leaked out anyway. “Whatever it was rolled down the street.” She pointed up the street and away from the woods.

“Thank you.” Peterson headed toward the patrol car. “We better take the car if we’re going to catch up with it.”

“Whatever it is and why ever it broke into a crime scene.” Hilden jumped into the passenger side of the patrol car.

Cyndia closed the garage door and locked it, but stood next to it inside the garage until she heard the patrol car leave. No sirens, so she guessed they didn’t want to warn whatever the orange thingy was. But she did know why crimes scenes were broken into; by investigators who didn’t have official police sanction. Heading into the house, she went straight back to the unoccupied boy’s room. The last boy Mrs. Baton had kept was into water guns. She found a pistol-sized one in the toy chest, and filled it with a cleaner found under the kitchen cabinet. It might not work on alien body chemistry, but she felt better with it tucked into her jeans waistband—in the back, just like the undercover cops on TV did.

She carried her toolbox of equipment to the point in the hedge that the orange thingy had dived through. All that was beyond the hedge was the still heavily wooded area not cleared for houses. She didn’t think it was working with the blue man with the deformed feet. If they were working together, they would be together. She pushed her way through the hedge break. The tall trees filtered the sunlight. The underbrush was kept cut down to prevent anyone not buying because the lot was unattractive. And there was no place for the orange thingy to hide.

Or was there? Cyndia stepped closer to the center of the lot that had been cleared of trees for a house that was never built. The sun was still mostly overhead and should have illuminated the clearing, but there a nearly circular shadow on the ground filling the clearing. She stretched out her hand as she moved closer to the shadow. It flattened against a cold wall. The trees that were on the other side of the clearing rippled under her hand.

“Some kind of illusion to hide something,” she said under her breath. She kept her hand on the smooth metal and started around the circumference of the object. Facing the lake, she found a ramp extended to the ground and a lighted doorway at the top of the ramp cut into the picture of the trees. Cyndia smirked at her idea and pulled the camera out of her toolbox. “Maybe I can sell this stuff to the Enquirer and pay for police academy.” She snapped a couple of pictures of the doorway and saved the last exposures on the roll for inside. Then she went up the ramp.

Inside was a normal-sized room, an office desk, a couple of seats bolted to the floor around the desk, two doors leading away from this room. Except for the stark metal and lack of decoration, it could be anybody’s office. “So much for exotic alien technology.” She finished off the roll in the disposable camera and put it back in the toolbox.

The door slid shut behind her. Cyndia jumped. “Stay calm, it’s a door. There has to be a way of opening the door.” Her heart still hammered in her chest, but her hands didn’t shake as she ran around the metal outside of the seam of the door. No buttons, no doorknob, no movement no matter how hard she waved her arms—ruling out infared. Her ears felt like they were burning. “Okay, orange thingy! I’m pretty sure this is your space ship and I don’t want a one-way trip to Pluto!”

Another door opened and an orange slug-shaped blob slithered out. Cyndia aimed the water gun at it. “Let me out now!”

The orange blob moved faster than she gave it credit—straight for her. She fired the water gun at it, but the cleaning solution didn’t stop it. She jumped to dodge it, but the orange thing grabbed her before she hit the ground. She beat her fist against it to make it let her go, but it was hitting Jell-O. Warm Jell-O, tough Jell-O that didn’t break, covering her head. Her lungs burned.

Something hard pressed against the back of her neck and it stung. Suffocated by a giant alien jelly fish? At least that wasn’t a demise predicted by all those mysteries.

The orange thing pulled back from her face. Cyndia inhaled before pushing against the orange blob again. “Let me go! Let me go!”

It was saying something; at least she thought the sounds coming from it were supposed to be talk. It finished pulling away, and she landed on the floor. The water gun and toolbox landed nearby. Cyndia rolled to her hands and feet, and stood up.

The blob was keeping his distance now, continuously making those noises. He was changing shape, forming legs and arms and a head.

Having a head to yell at clicked something in her head. “Who the hell do you think you are? What the hell did you do to me? Who the hell are you? What the hell are you doing here?” Her fists balled up.

The head had a face on it now, a human face in orange Jell-O. And he was stilling twilling and chortling at her. Anger overwhelmed her fear, and her hands curled into fists again. But fists were so effective earlier. She folded her arms over her chest. “I want out. Let me out.” I can be reasonable despite what Mrs. Baton says. “Let me out right now.” Oh this was hopeless, he obviously didn’t understand English. “They leave the language barrier out of tabloid stories.”

“Twilt… sorry. I am sorry for the incursion. It was the only way to mitigate communication. The nanobots should have established a link by now.”

Cyndia grabbed the back of her neck. She could see something metal floating inside his orange body. “You put robots in me!”

“Tiny ones.” The orange, translucent lips smiled. “Otherwise, we could not speak. They translate. It is common practice when you have not time to learn the language.”

She should stay angry or scared. Those feelings were ebbing from his apologetic tone and her need to know. “Who are you?”

“My name is Murdock. I am an IGA agent. Inter-Galactic Agency for the Apprehension of Felons and the Investigation of Criminal Activities,” he added.

“You’re an alien police officer?”

“For all purposes, yes. And you are?”

“Cyndia Taeurs. I guess you’re here tracking the blue man that was on the porch where I live last night. I found his crashed spaceship and tracks that led to the lake. The local authorities think it’s an airplane crash.”

“You found my saucer and another spaceship. How did you find my saucer? The cloaking technology is on.”

“Your cloaking technology needs work. You can still see the shadow on the ground. You are after the blue man, right?”

“I am tracking an escapee. IGA did not anticipate his coming to such an insular planet.” Murdock moved to his desk. “The ship crashed twenty-five kilometers from here. This is the closest population center.”

Cyndia felt the hair on her arms prickle. “What did the escapee do?”

“He murdered,” Murdock glanced at her, “whole families.”

“The Millers.” She bit her lip. “Do you have a mug shot?”

“Mug… shot… are you thirsty?”

“No, it’s a picture used to identify people when they’ve been arrested.”

“Ah,” he turned to what looked like a laptop computer on the desk. “This is Thestern. He is an Odrichan.”

A figure rotated on the screen. A blue humanoid, his torso and head covered in feathers, his legs lost the feathers to hard scales and webbed feet. “I knew it wasn’t make-up!”

“What? You have seen him?”

“Last night on my porch. He killed the Millers. The house that the police chased you from. He must be a serial killer to feel the need to kill right after crashing here. I found the tracks from the crash site. He ran out of the crash, through the woods, and swam across the lake to find victims.” She tore her gaze from the rotating figure and picked up the toolbox. “I kept telling the cops it wasn’t a mask or make-up.” She opened the toolbox, and pulled out the plastic bag with the blue feathers. “I hope these are his. I took pictures of everything.” She pulled the disposable camera out next.

Murdock didn’t turn his head; the facial features slid across it to look at Thestern’s revolving image and back up to her face. “Is this who you saw?”


“Sit down. Tell me what happened.” He turned off the rotating figure.

The chair in front of the desk was surprisingly comfortable. She set the plastic envelope and the camera on the desk between them. He settled behind the desk and listened as she went over last night one more time. How she had just gotten up and saw Thestern through the window. How she and the cops found the blood, the footprint, and the Millers. How the cops and Mr. Gregory had to pry Mrs. Gregory off of her. She continued with her reasoning on the crash site, finding the trail to the lake, coming home to see the police chasing him out of the Millers’ house, and finding his saucer. He only interrupted to ask what a certain word she had used really meant. Completely different from the grilling last night, and she appreciated that.

“You have an excellent grasp of essential details and a concise recall of them.”

“Thanks. This is only the five hundredth time going over it. And I haven’t even been interviewed by the press yet.”


“Reporters, journalists.”

“I understand.” He had a really good disgusted expression for a mass of orange. Murdock’s tentacle picked up the envelope. “I can perform a DNA analysis on these.” The translucent face scrunched with confusion aimed at the camera. “I am afraid that is incompatible technology.”

“Okay, I’ll get them developed. So what are you?” Murdock aimed the confused face at her as she scooped the camera back into the toolbox. “You called the blue man an Odrichan. Thestern is his name, so Odrichan is what he is, so what are you?”

“Odrichan is Thestern’s species.” The confusion cleared. “The solids call my species Blobs or Shapeshifters. What we call ourselves does not translate.”

Cyndia frowned. “But you have the nanobots inside?”

“We still must learn a language that the nanobots can translate. And there are still concepts that the nanobots have issues with translating.” The orange face conveyed no emotion as it looked at her. “Thestern will kill again just as he did on Odricha 4.”

“That’s unacceptable. We have to stop the psychopath.” Cyndia crossed her arms.

“It was difficult enough the first time. I need to search for clues Thestern may have left behind.”

“Why did you run from the cops? If you’re a shapeshifter, why didn’t you become a houseplant or something inside?”

The brow ridge over Murdock’s eye hollows lifted. “I can create the shape. Provided it is the same mass. But I cannot change my coloration. I left the area to prevent an armed confrontation, per IGA regulations on dealing with primitive planets.”

“The police must have turned on the Millers’ burglar alarm after Forensics finished last night. I didn’t even get to see them work, so busy trying to make me change my statement.”

“You speak very knowledgably about these crimes. Are you in law enforcement?”

“No, I’m too young. I’m a mystery junkie. It’s something special, to be the detective, to be able to see what nobody else can. They’re the only ones who want to help people these days. Sure, they get paid—‘cause they got to eat too—but it ain’t compensation for the trouble they go through.” She glanced at his expression and suddenly felt warm all over. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to give you my whole treatise on the subject.”

“On the converse, it is very illuminating. I felt the same way when I was still seeking my life’s work.” Murdock’s face went through the motions of sighing. “However, it does not solve the delimia present. I am prohibited from the crime scenes.”

Cyndia uncrossed her arms as she leaned forward. “Well, I don’t know how to break into a house, but since I was the Millers’ only babysitter, I have their security code to deactivate the alarm.”

“Extraordinary, you have valuable knowledge and an inkling of how it should be applied. You may be the best qualified person to help me on this planet.” Murdock moved from the desk. His bottom half hadn’t made legs and he moved across the room like a slug.

“Wait a minute,” Cyndia followed him to the door. “I’m qualified ‘cause I like mysteries?”

“And you stayed and talked rather than running and screaming.”

“Oh. So what do you want me to do?”

The door led to a curving hallway. The first door on the right opened into a small room circled with shelves.

“I have to see the crime scene. Since I cannot go personally, I need you to deliver my robot eyes.” He reached into a bin on a chest-high shelf and pulled out a cylinder as long as her arm. “All I need you to do is put this in the house and press this button.” It was the only button on the top of the cylinder. “Let it back out and it will return to the saucer.”

“Kind of big for a flying camera, isn’t it?”

“It has scanning capabilities as well. Not as advanced as a coronerbot, but it will suffice. Will you do this?”

“Yeah, no problem. I’ll be Archie Goodwin to your Nero Wolfe.” Cyndia took the cylinder.

“Who are you talking about?”

“More fiction, Nero Wolfe is a detective who never left his house so he hired Archie to do all the leg work. Works for us, right?”

“I submit to your superior knowledge of the stories. You best go now. I will analyze these feathers while waiting the bot’s return.”

Cyndia left the hidden spaceship. She hugged the cylinder to her chest. Aliens and alien cops, and she was helping in a real investigation! The house was dark; Mrs. Baton hadn’t returned from real estate selling. Good thing, Cyndia didn’t want to deal with her.

A peek through the front door window revealed nothing amiss in the neighborhood, and more importantly, no cops at the Millers. She skirted around the end of the fence that didn’t reach the bank of the lake, and was in the Millers’ back yard. The rope ladder up to Harry and Frank’s tree house swayed. Margaret was too little to climb up it. Cyndia swallowed hard, and trotted up to the French windows that opened up to the patio in the back yard.

The Millers had changed their locks so one key could unlock all the doors. And they had thoughtfully given her a copy once she proved trustworthy. She hugged the cylinder with one arm to her body while quickly unlocking the door, getting inside, and punching into the code on the alarm pad next to the door. She took a deep breath, she was under the time limit. She set the cylinder on the floor right in front of the door, and pressed the button. Lights flashed along the sides. It lifted up and bobbed through the kitchen, heading toward their living room. Cyndia shut the door and turned quickly, banging her knee on one of the patio chair-side tables.

She sat down on the wooden deck with her back against the house and rubbed her knee. Robots might be a way to go with forensics. You could program them to be impartial, but could you program them to think of everything?

“Hey!” The shout jerked Cyndia to the present. Billy O’Neal, another babysitting charge, put his hands on his hips. “Are you supposed to be here?”

“No, I’m hiding. Could you be quiet about it?”

“I left my Spider-man in the tree house. Can I get it?”


The seven-year-old scrambled up the rope ladder and brought the Spider-man action figure down in his teeth. Deciding not to leave the yard, he sat on the grass in front of Cyndia. “Mommy says Frank and Harry ain’t coming back. They had to go to Heaven.”

“Your mommy’s right.” Cyndia pulled her knees in and rested her chin on them.

“Mommy says the cops are going to catch the man who killed them.”

“That’s what cops do. Even cops from outer space.”

“There’s cops in outer space?”

“There has to be cops every where.”

Billy thought about that. “Yeah, I guess so. But how will we know when the cops catch him?”

There was a tapping noise on the glass. The cylinder nudged against the paned glass in the French window. Cyndia opened it and the cylinder zipped past them, heading over the lake to the forest.

She looked down at Billy’s wide eyes. “Well if our cops catch him, it’ll be on the news. If the outer space cop catches him, I’ll tell you.”

Billy turned from Cyndia to track the cylinder. “Wow.”

“Hey, don’t tell anybody, okay? We don’t want a cop hunted like E.T.”

“No, ma’am. I got to go home now. Bye.”

Cyndia took a deep breath and took a swipe at the moistness leaking from her eyes. Can’t break down now; that won’t do the Millers’ any good. She turned the alarm back on and locked the patio door. She still had to get the pictures developed.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Blue Man Post 16

"The Blue Man on the Porch" (over the limit because I haven't deleted anything yet)

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Finished with the second and third revised sections of the story!

Morning sunlight poured into the kitchen. Cyndia sat down at the end of the kitchen table, as far from Mrs. Baton and the stove as she could get without leaving the room. She felt like Mrs. Gregory was still attached to her shoulder, even though that had happened hours ago.

“We can’t go on the front porch.” Mrs. Baton gave the grits a quick stir. “And the poor Millers. This used to be such a good neighborhood.” She glanced at Cyndia, pursing her lips.

Cyndia cast her eyes down at the kitchen table. She babysat for the Millers. When he had come back to the Millers’ living room, Officer Peterson’s blanched face screamed what had been done to their children last night. She ached to do something besides sit here and listen. The cops had already interrogated her enough. More commentary from her foster mother wasn’t necessary. She realized she had missed something in Mrs. Baton’s tirade.

“All those stupid mysteries you read, planting ideas in your head. You just dreamed up a prowler.”

“Right and my imaginary friend broke into the Millers, killed them, sauntered over here, and left imaginary blood on the porch.”

“Don’t get impertinent. You just wanted an excuse to call the police. And they actually had the nerve to tell me where I should keep that old shotgun. We don’t need this kind of attention and you just revel in it. We’ll never get people to move out here now.”

Cyndia grabbed the rolled up newspaper off the table as she stood up. “If I hadn’t called the cops, we wouldn’t have found the Millers until they started decomposing.” She stormed out the patio door.

The late morning sunshine thawed her skin. Mrs. Baton didn’t follow her to the back yard to continue the tirade. Probably calling her case worker to tattle on the latest insolence.

She sat on the bench set next to the hedge blocking the yard from the trees, pulling herself into a huddle. All the houses on this side of the street had backyards that ended at the lake. She watched the lake ripple with the breeze. Didn’t the world know that a whole family had been wiped out? Did it care? She was tired, up all night, answering the questions of detectives who doubted her judgment. Well-read detectives, one hadn’t liked it at all when she said Inspector Lestrade was mentally quicker and Inspector Japp had better manners.

Her pointy chin rested on her knees. He hadn’t been wearing a mask or make-up. She was ready to swear to that in court. This was no good, she released her legs and straddled the bench. Best to see what the rest of the community would know. She unrolled her paper. Mrs. Baton might think the Commoner’s Press was beneath her and subscribe to the big city newspaper, but she couldn’t object to Cyndia subscribing with her babysitting income.

As expected, the murder of the Miller family dominated the front page and most of the second. Cyndia scanned the article, and it didn’t tell her anything she didn’t already know. He hadn’t been wearing a mask or make-up, so was he even human? But if he wasn’t human, where did he come from? And where did he go? I’m missing something, and I have to find it because the police don’t believe me. She flipped through the news pages until she found the local police bulletins.

The plan crash appeared to have no bodies, so its investigation was pending waiting for an aviation investigator. It had crashed in a field off of Laurence Lane. She squinted her eyes to gaze across the lake. Laurence Lane snaked around the uninhabited part of the lake. Cyndia folded the newspaper to hide its headlines and headed back into the house.

Mrs. Baton was in the middle of her getting ready to leave the house dash. “I’ve got showings all day across town.” She paused to put on lipstick, and judge the effect in the living room mirror. “Would you rather come with me?”

Cyndia restrained her gagging impulse. “No thanks, I’ll cramp your selling style.”

Mrs. Baton’s now mauve lips frowned. “I don’t think it’s good for you to be cooped up here all day.”

“I was thinking about a bike ride around the lake.”

“With a murderer on the loose!”

“Okay, bad idea. I’ll stay here and work on homework.” Cyndia turned to head down the hall.

“Just don’t go out alone. Maybe Bobby Sherwood would go bike riding with you. Now I gotta go.” Mrs. Baton grabbed her briefcase and sailed out the door.

“Bobby Sherwood? Fat chance.” The only other high school student in the subdivision, and he had made it clear she didn’t have enough boobs to get him interested. Besides, he was a dumb jock and would just get in her way.


An hour later, she leaned her bike on its kickstand and looked over the barbwire fence. The field was churned mud thrown aside by the twisted metal mass at the end of the furrow. She pulled apart the strands of barbwire and slipped between them into the field. The fence line was clean of trees, and that usually meant the field was still in farming use. The farmer would need a bulldozer to fill in the hole before he could plow.

She surveyed the tire tracks left around the gouge by last night’s investigators. Frowning, she looked further out and at the undamaged trees across the street. Where was the wing debris?

The metal hulk nearly buried in the ground was about the same size as a crop duster. What was sticking out was bent over the part that was in the ground. But from the outside she could see there were no supports for wings or wheels. No metal bits scattered outside the hole either. This didn’t look like pictures she had seen of plane crashes.

Avoiding the largest dollops of mud best she could, Cyndia got closer to the vehicle. It looked like there was an opening on the top where mud had cascaded into it. No, she wasn’t going to climb in, that would leave too much evidence that she had been here. She frowned and turned away. How would Holmes proceed? She was assuming that this was not an airplane, and so far the evidence wasn’t proving her wrong. And if the blue man on the porch was the pilot and he crashed. . . . “And the first thing he does is go kill a house full of people, that’s pathological on any planet.” She put her hands on her hips and surveyed the area again. Pathological or not, if that’s what he did, he would need the fastest route to the subdivision. That was across the road, through the trees and underbrush, and across the lake, and it was more likely to have physical evidence unaffected by the crash investigators.

Cyndia scanned the trees and underbush before stepping off the asphault. The broken and pushed aside twigs propped out at her like a computer-generated 3D puzzle. Something tore through the woods, and nobody around here had any dogs as tall as she was. She pulled a plastic toolbox out of the basket on the bike’s handlebars.

She stared at the ground as she crossed the road’s tiny shoulder and the grass-covered ditch. No footprints, so she moved her gaze to the broken branches. A large briar branch snapped back had caught three blue feathers. They didn’t look like bird feathers, though she couldn’t articulate why she though that. She opened the toolbox and pulled out a wooden ruler and a disposable camera.

“If it turns out to be from a blue jay, I’m going to feel really stupid.” She took the pictures with and without the ruler, and carefully plucked the feathers free with tweezers and put them in a clear plastic envelope. Once everything was safely packed in the toolbox, she carried it into the trees.

Small trees bent and snapped lower branches under the green canopy of the larger trees showed the trail, even to someone as inexperienced at tracking as her. But the forest floor was covered in too many dead leaves for footprints. The trail ended at the muddy beach of the lake.

She scanned the ground before stepping out of the tree line. To her right, sheltered from last night’s rain by the tree branches, was an impression of the clear webbed footprint. Cyndia took three pictures of it before she was sure her hands had stopped shaking bad enough to ruin the photograph. She set the ruler beside the footprint and took more pictures. There was a trail heading into the lake, but the rain had damaged the footprints. She took photos of that too.

I was right. Oh wow, the guy’s path was straight from the crash to the lake. Her knees felt wobbly. Was she also right about that not being a plane? And where was the murderer now?

She dumped everything into the toolbox and ran for her bike.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Blue Man Post 15

Progress on Final version:
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
7,185 + 934
(13.0% more)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Zy's Novel Post 30

Post Total: 683 words
Novel Toral: 28,983 words

Chapter Eight starts.

Trying out a new progress bar, something hopefully easier to update and will show in the post section.

Progress Bar from Writertopia

The Personal Journal of IGA Agent Zy

13.10.1010/August 24, 1997

Most interesting class we had today was Local Planetary Law Enforcement Relations. It reminded me of the clash between the FBI and the police in mysteries. I don’t want to end up being the dumb FBI guy who pisses everybody off.

Notes from class: Realize that for cases the locals hire IGA for, it means some kind of failure for them. Either they couldn’t solve the crime or couldn’t catch the criminal and he jumped planet. Rubbing their noses into these failure will not make them like you or IGA nor earn their respect.

Respect them. Ask for their opinions and views on the case. They are the galaxy’s first line of defense against the criminal element. IGA is the last. Remember that and give the locals their due.

The other situation most often occurring is a case brings you to their planet. You are the outsider, you are the interloper, and if the criminal committed crimes on their planet, they’re entitled to have first crack at punishing him. Your safest course of action is to work through the local IGA house. The House personnel know the culture and its laws.

But not every planet has an IGA House. If you find yourself in that situation, refer the matter to Headquarters via the Chief. Remember, the locals don’t know you and have no reason to believe you.

Chapter Eight

“How do we know you didn’t kill Hiqurguet?” Investigator Von Etennial was the same humanoid species Lue Ality was, blue-skinned with silver eyes. But he had no sympathy for Lue’s grief or Zy’s disheveled state.

“Please, I’ve had enough of the IGA paranoia from the racketeers. Don’t you start too.” Zy perched on a clean edge of the ramp to her saucer. The medical examiners packed Hiqurguet’s body into their transport along with the coronerbot. Dock workers waited patiently for them to leave so they could clean the mess. At this rate, she might have to ask them to hose her off too. “Now can you please shut down the spaceports just in case the murderer hasn’t jumped planet?”

“And you want me to foul up our space traffic or your authority.” Inspector Von tapped the vidDoc against his hand. “Why did you come to Per 3?”

“I came here to try to prevent Hiqurguet’s murder.”

“I’m so glad you didn’t come here to execute him then. The whole spaceport would be dead.”

Zy shook her head. “There’s two witnesses that saw me not kill him.”

“The racketeer’s girlfriend and a bodyguard in your pay.” Investigator Von sneered.

She let the misinformation that she was paying Mealte slide. “And would Lue Ality have any reason to lie for me if I killed Hiqurguet? You can get my records from IGA, as well as all my reports on this case. Now can you please cordon off Per 3 before the murderer jumps planet?”

“You’re actually trying to save racketeers? Doesn’t IGA teach you the only good racketeer is a dead one?”

“See, that’s the attitude they have such a problem with. The one that gets me a gun in my face when I try to find out who’s killing them and how.” The investigator scowled and Zy shrugged. “I think what racketeers do is scum. But this is the case given to me. And the murderer is equally in the wrong by taking their punishment into his own hands. He must be stopped before his violence esculates and he targets innocent people. That’s why you need to shut down the spaceports!”

Investigator Von ignored that suggestion for the third time and crossed his arms. “So Hiqurguet’s head just exploded. How’d that happen?”

“I wish I knew. Maybe that would lead me to the murderer.”

“Beings’ heads don’t just explode!”

“I know that. But this is the fifth being that was killed the same way. And I bet your medical examiners won’t find any explosive or chemical traces either.”

“And you are so confident because you had something to do with his death! You’re under arrest.”