• What Do We Know – The Galactic Republic

    The Milky Way galaxy; quiet from afar but busy from within.

    Humans on Terra Firma still conflict with each other whether life exists outside the Sol system, or their planet is the universe’s center to be that naive, while fighting over who’s religion is right or wrong.

    But it’s no secret. The galaxy is full of life, and far more established than what humans could comprehend.

    Multitudes of species, races, cultures, technology, and magic, among seventeen billion worlds. Many forms of flesh, elemental, energy, cosmic, autonomous, and synthetic. Species that want to explore, trade, communicate, conquer, and perhaps kill, all in the name of surviving in this universe.

    So the Galactic Republic was established eons ago to serve as the galaxy’s identity for all free species. At the center of the Republic’s laws is the Galactic Council, homeworld-elect members of each species and sworn in for their seven-year term to debate, ratify and mandate laws and trials over diplomacy, security, economics, technology, magic theory and practice, while keeping a half-step back from specie politics. A daunting task to watch over so many worlds and their inhabitants, yet they must follow three doctrines to keep it going, in absolute reason why: life preservation, communication, and prosperity.

    What all council members must realize is that life is precious and sacred. They foremost want to keep life going and prevent extinction-like occurrences. Records from the census A.I. Thergeos, there are over a thousand registered species in the Republic. A few dominant species have their own governments such as the Synth Dominion, The Order, the Halcunac Empire, and others within or outside the Republic’s domain, but the Council lets those governments operate in feuds or partnership unless there is a life threatening situation upon the Republic. This also applies to primitive species.

    Species that haven’t advanced themselves—culturally, technologically, or extraterrestrial tolerant—they are kept under watchful eye of the Primitive Culture Protection Act; protection from outside threats while promoting natural evolution without extraterrestrial influence. A formal First Contact ritual is conducted once a primitive species is recognized as evolved, but in more ways selective of why joins the Republic on many factors. The last ritual was with Kyta, homeworld of the Kytalthans over seven hundred years ago and Councilmember Tress Ki is the lead support of drought relief on ill-terraformed planets.

    But some protected species are hostile, both themselves and/or others, and present a real danger to the Republic’s values are marked as Red Flagged, planet and system included. Like Terra Firma, one of twenty known worlds at this status.

    Humans are not magical, evolved, not agreeable with each other, disputed as extremely hostile to extraterrestrials, but their cognitive thinking of destructive scenarios while perversely building nuclear weapons without regard of all life, even themselves, is a major threat to the Republic. Imagine if they realize extraterrestrials exist?

    Their system, including the oort cloud, is blocked from all incoming transmissions from neighboring systems so to make them they are alone in the universe, while under constant observation. Anyone who enters the system is, sadly, a lost cause. No hope for Red Flagged worlds to ever join the Republic, for any reason.

    With communication between species, the Galactic Republic standardizes magic and technology to everybody.

    Every Republic civilization has magic-enhanced computers called Universal Translators, or UTs, deeply integrated within locations and as small device in remote areas. Species can speak their language without even learning the other’s (their choice to want to), but the hybrid tech can live translate speech without delay or echo. This is especially important to limit miscommunication and misunderstanding. They are installed as towers, tubes for ships, or worn as collars, or anything; the designs are open to anybody without corporate restrictions.

    Transmitting information is also standardized. The technology behind it can be discussed in length, but Slipspace is dominant to carry all transmissions in almost real time. Array towers are scattered across known systems and planets in a broadcast network, with enough Slipspace crystals to last a hundred years before restock. Ships do have Slipspace Drives for encrypted transmission, integrated or portable. This network is vital for trade routes, news outlets, military, personal use, and civilian entertainment.

    The technology can be discussed in depth later.

    As of government prosperity, the Republic does not conquer worlds as others assume. They grow by nature, by First Contact species, and never go beyond what they can’t cover. Even advanced civilizations have their limits and borders. Yet being as big as the Republic, it doesn’t forget its citizens and where they come from. The ancient lawmakers instilled a practice even today is ambitious and daring.

    Other governments have static capitol planets; the Galactic Republic is symbiotic to chosen planets.

    The entire government operates on platforms and motherships. The Galactic Council is housed in the Ark Mothership, built as the size of a small moon, and joined with several motherships as sub-capitols, or districts, that hold everything from the entertainment, business, economy, ship harbors, industry, agriculture, markets, village life, housing, to military power such as the Royal Navy. The districts are independent from the Ark and hover over the host planet with a highly advanced public transportation system. Platforms and space stations orbit the planet, some have more than what the districts could offer.

    Currently, the host planet is the Class-M planet Creos, homeworld of the Creosians and their Councilmember Trygo “The Hammer” Denverbay, in it’s 321st year.

    So as being a symbiotic capitol, there is bound to be issues with the planet’s inhabitants. Not so. There are strict guidelines to prevent melding of species. No wars are made against the host planet. No destruction of the inhabitant’s economy or way of life. It is left as is before and after the motherships and stations teleport to a new host planet every five-hundred years by popular vote.

    So for one Councilmember, Trygo, a battleship captain, his crew and another ship’s crew, an unlucky Halcunac mercenary, and a RNN investigative reporter, there is little known of what is happening on Terra Firma, and what it might cause to the Galactic Republic.

  • Update on My Writing

    Another long time away from this blog, but I can’t get away from sharing updates now that the day job settled down.

    Yeah, the day job was taking my focus from writing this fall, like every time. I had to do data entry for one client and became a temp assignment auditor as the company developed immense growth, and growing pains in departments. So my interest in writing fiction went down in the dumps, and that annoyed me a lot. The kind of feelings when going home after work and do nothing else. Helpdesk is taxing on creativity. I gained weight.

    Things are really calming down and my schedule is what I wanted and it’s leaving me to take a breath and fo…Oh a cat video!

    It’s gonna take a while to get back in a routine. Here’s what I have going for the rest of the year.

    Ghost Factor took the most beating. I had to delete one chapter that never worked and rewrite that portion of the plot, and this was before my day job got insane. The draft will get done by the way. Also I hoped you did read the first chapter I released weeks ago so if you haven’t yet, check it out here or DeviantART. The release date is still out of my control, so I have another post about that next week. This is kind of big for me and the support is needed to get this book off the ground. I have the two remaining Snippet stories, Keystone and Her Discovery, left to edit and clean up. When they will be released is still tentative and that will coincide with the post next week.

    The “What Do We Know” posts are still being worked on. Currently I have the biggest to write which is the Galactic Republic. I think it’s the hardest one to do besides flushing out characters. What the government does, who’s part of it, what does it value, what are the goals as a whole – I get lost in it sometimes. Be on the lookout for that this month.

    Lastly, I was building a list of stories I want to write not relating to Mana Pool or Tyler Ingert. These stories are geared toward formal submission like Asimov Magazine, except one fan fiction story of a video game I like so much that I have to write it, yet I’m still toying with the plot of how to best approach it.

    So that’s all I got for now. I’m still reading fiction, still writing in my notebook, still reading about screenwriting, and still limiting my distractions. I just wish the routine and changes start sooner.

    Later.

  • The State of My Writing Tools

    Since this is November and Nanowrimo, I feel like sharing my writing tools because with the recent Apple announcement bugging me, I’m still evaluating what I use to write.

    I work on Macs for writing, and within my MacBook is Scrivener. I can’t be without that app to do my job. Just the best document organizer and word processor I could ever find.

    I still use Microsoft Word and Pages for story editing, but never draft them, except résumés and cover letters. It’s Track Changes. I love it. Honestly, if anything I want it is to make Track Changes open source and fuse it with Scrivener, but this is not a perfect world and I must live with it. I also use Evernote for story ideas, notes, and articles to reference by, maybe draft a blog entry if I feel like it.

    Outside the laptop I have my collection of notebooks. A couple pocket size ones for quick jots during the day, a couple full journals, and some notebooks I haven’t touched yet, like the blank sketchbook covered wrapped in leather from Oberon Designs.

    I carry a Lamy Safari fountain pen—with an extra fine steel nib and filled with Noodler’s Black—a G2 gel pen, and a mechanical pencil.

    I do have an iPad but it showed its age this year. Sitting on the shelf, collecting dust, and wiped of all my data and apps, I’m still figuring out what to do with it. Selling it is fruitless; it’s engraved with my name and website.

    So back to Apple. They released the new MacBook Pros after being ignored from significant updates for years that with the new models, some things I like and some just…unsettle me. I still like the design, the software, surprisingly like the keys after seeing one at an Apple Store, and somewhat yay or nay on the Touch Bar band wagon, but the big pros and cons I have about them is the USB-C ports. Nothing wrong with USB-C; I like it. My phone is USB-C. MacBook Pros were loaded with ports to satisfy professionals, but now it’s a adapter nightmare. It’s smart Apple realized the issue and cut the prices in half but a headache is still a headache. It’s just too early to call it.

    As a person that grew up using Macs, I’m torn. It bothers me. The software is great, but the hardware premium is getting higher.

    In the future I would love to move to full-time Linux. In my notes I have a conversion chart for alternative apps, most are now web based. But the two big reasons I can’t move just yet is Scrivener and iTunes.

    Scrivener for Mac has all the features I need the unofficial Linux version has, not even Revisions. iTunes—oh boy—I still have shows still on DRM, which only work on iTunes or iOS. I did try building a Raspberry Pi iTunes server one time but it never worked. I can find an app to remove the DRM, but not right now.

    Or instead of Linux, I go rogue and build a hackintosh, the Frankenstein of Apple users. My brother built his for work and he’s, literally, happy as a clam still. The budget is slowly growing, just nowhere near where I want it.

    I don’t know what direction to take right now, but that choice will come. And if USB-C gets into pop culture, I’ll reconsider my opinions. But right now, I’ll stick with my MacBook for my work.

  • Mana Pool – The Ghost Factor – Chapter 1 Sample

    Happy Halloween, folks.

    The second novel is still not done. That’s just the hard fact to stomach, and I know it’s taking this long to write it. I figure that since it’s taken this long, I’ll just have to cave and share what I have.

    One chapter. Just one. That’s all you will get for now. Hope you enjoy the beginning, I’d love to hear what you think.

    Mana Pool Divider

    wave_crystal

    Magnolia Lane Plantation

    Derry, Louisiana

    April 14, 2013 10:17 PM ATW

    Remember me saying things will get complicated after my sister got home? Well, fuck complicated. Things got ridiculous.

    One hour. Just one hour from starting the night’s hunt and everything turned south so fast. My right hand shook my camcorder and flashlight in the other as fear radiated through my body, causing goosebumps on my arms to rise as dense as sandpaper. I experienced poltergeist activity before, but miss, after The Wave, this felt different.

    I mouthed curses as I watched a candlestick float several feet away from me in the upstairs hallway. All three candles were lit, orange and yellow flames flickered. It swayed right to left, slow and ominous. It was a cliché, right out of a ghost story, but it was real. It happened.

    I was scared, but the greatest feeling was excitement.

    “K-Keep recording, this stuff is great,” I said to Alex.

    “How about breathing? You’ll jerk that camera off your hand,” Alex said, more scared than me. I failed to make a comeback.

    What we witnessed and captured was as much as movie and TV special effects. Now, before The Wave, those effects did not exists in the real world. Actual poltergeist activity like objects moving on their own were rare. Common activities were EMP spikes on detectors, disembodied voices in white noise recordings, and unexplained white orbs on video. Capturing the rare events is a hunter’s goldmine to prove the afterlife’s existence.

    It’s as if The Wave shook the ghost world too. But from my knowledge, people refuse to acknowledge it’s a big deal.

    “Poke it,” Alex said.

    “Poke a candlestick?” I said back. “Alex, knock off the jokes.”

    “Who’s the leader? You are. You convinced us to come here and you’re the most needy to get evidence. It’s your hunt. Check for wires. It has to be wires.”

    My former investigation partner was this stuck up skeptic of the supernatural. We knew each other since college. He covered the equipment issues like batteries, memory cards, replacements, and some repairs since his film degree didn’t go anywhere. He needed a side job anyway. Yeah, it took some convincing to join me on this hobby of mine, but the travel aspect was the seller. He kept his stubbornness and skepticism, but since The Wave, it lowered to being anti-terran. He was scared of magic as the rest, even checking whims for tattoos every day, anticipating the day he’ll be what my sister is.

    “Knock it off with the wire jokes, Alex. If you think so, check yourself,” I said.

    “Nah uh. Not me. You-“

    The candlestick darted away and into the master bedroom before Alex finished. I cursed loud and my skin prickled.

    “What’s going on up there?” Frank yelled from downstairs, another former tech. He was in freelance audio for recording studios, the one that made a living on his degree.

    “Don’t come up, we got this! Stick with Tabitha and Sassel,” I said and ran to the bedroom, fearing just about anything to go wrong.

    Luckily the curtains were only on fire. Good thing it wasn’t the bed. “Shit! Alex, help me with this!”

    The plantation-era antiques had been preserved by the owners for years. They’d kill me if I let anything else turn to ash. The candlestick was out and on the floor. I kicked it away as I and Alex tore the half-burning curtains down and stomp them out. The floor was scorched a little but better than a burning building, right?

    Alex’s voice jittered as he talked. “Oh man, this is getting too real, Robert. Too fucking real. We need to leave.”

    I made several more stomps before saying, “This is small, Alex. It’s the best footage. Tabitha hasn’t even started yet.”

    “Small? Listen to yourself! You’re being obsessive. We’ll die if we stay long enough.”

    He had his own reasons, but I was the leader. I waited too long to find and capture my evidence and that small poltergeist act would not scare me away.

    “We will not die. Stop thinking so overboard about—“

    “Fuck this theory. I’m out,” he exclaimed.

    I restrained myself from socking him in the jaw. “Alex! This evidence is important. I can’t stress this enough,” I argued. “I’m not backing out and neither is Tabitha.”

    “Bringing her was a mistake!” That prejudice tone was there like bad cabernet, strong enough to can’t be drinkable.

    “Hey, feel free to leave for all I care. This is the third strike from you about her. Go, but I will not leave until I get my—“

    A high pitched scream from downstairs cut me off, and a familiar one to make me forget Alex’s judgement. Frank’s voice came next. “Whoa, whoa, Tabitha, stop! Holy shit!”

    Her scream got louder and higher in pitch just like that monk voice during The Wave, but raw fear was mixed to make me feel it within my skin. Magic had a play I’m sure. Blue light shone from the hall, along with the sound of a power generator, lasting for several seconds. Frank screamed again. Then a heavy thud hit the ground floor along with Tabitha’s terror filled voice.

    “No,” I whispered.

    “She didn’t!” Alex yelled then turned to me. “Nice job getting us killed, dickwad!”

    Suddenly, the whole house shook under my feet. The walls groaned like a tired old man. The antiques on the shelves and tables in their place, even some fell and crashed to the floor. I stood strong against it, but Tabitha’s safety was all I concerned about.

    I ran out of the bedroom ignoring Alex’s warnings and pocketed my camcorder. I grasped my flashlight tight in my right hand. Alex yelled to wait up but a thud and an “oof” made me turn back. Alex was flat on his chest. An ottoman was under his legs. I never saw that near us but on the other side of the room during the initial house scope an hour ago. Just like other stories. “Alex, you okay?”

    He waved me away after groaning. Hi looked up with hateful eyes at me. “I’m fine, but this is all on you. Stop that terran before she kills us!”

    “She’s not a killer!” I did not help Alex. Not all terrans are killers. I know it all too well. Screw Alex.

    I was almost to the stairs when a table from the wall suddenly moved to block my path. Yep, poltergeist activity was doubling in strength. It had to be terran magic pulling another surprise on me, yet others will argue as always. I dodged it without clipping my hip on its edge. Then a couple of paintings flew at my face as I ran down the staircase, but I avoided each one without hesitation and got to the ground floor.

    Frank ran past me in a blur before I stopped him. That guy looked scared to hell, running out the door screaming, “I quit!.” He ran past the Jeep, through the long driveway, dropping his equipment in every direction so to run faster. It felt pointless to stop him.

    “Robert, come! Tabitha’s out cold!” Blared a shrill, female Southern voice.

    Instead of the voice’s owner, my eyes fell on the living room’s highest poltergeist activity. My flashlight fell from my relaxed hand. Older antiques floated and circled in a vortex of charged mana near Tabitha’s unconscious body. The voodoo priestess-turned-terran was on her back, her white turban was knocked off. She wore her traditional white dress and modified it a while ago to accommodate her terran tail to sway free, but it was pinned under her back. Her pointed ears stood out from her shaved head. On her chest, her black cat totem was performing CPR and swatting Tabitha’s face with no change.

    “Dammit, Tabitha, now’s not the time to cat nap!” The cat yelled again with another swat to Tabitha’s cheek, its glowing blue eyes showed much concern.

    I called out her name before kneeling beside her avoiding the chaos overhead. She still breathed, shallow, like in a deep sleep, but her mouth moved to quiet mumbles of her ancestral African language, without her deep, sweet Southern motherly accent.

    “Sassel, please tell me Tabitha did it intentionally,” I said.

    “On purpose? No, she bloody did not! Separate to cover more ground. What a brilliant idea!”

    “Never mind that.” I dodged a heavy book that narrowly clipped my head. “What happened?”

    She shook her head then said, “She. Got. Scared. She got defensive, charged her mana, and it all got sucked out of her. Happy!?”

    I wasn’t. “All of it?”

    “Every last drop. Don’t you dare question a totem’s words.”

    A gaping hole in my stomach opened. If I knew one thing about totems, they know their masters, all their lives. They are their physical subconscious after all. I had no say to argue against Sassel, but it proved part of my theory. If only I wasn’t so nearsighted to stay with her. Sometimes I hate my bad choices.

    “Shit. We need to leave before Hell breaks. Alex, get your ass down here!” I started pulling Tabitha from under her armpits. Man she was heavy. She still mumbled. I then noticed the lack of terran tattoos. Was she really drained of mana?

    Alex was already at the bottom of the stairs. He saw the vortex, dropped his camcorder, and bolted out the front door. “Fuck this shit!” He screamed. Jerk.

    Before I was five feet from the door, still dragging Tabitha, the floorboards rattled as piano keys to stop me. Each space gave off the familiar blue light. A booming voice of someone—or something—overcame me, as if whaling in bone-splitting pain. Fear overcame me.

    Wind from nowhere blew around me, then toward the vortex. I spotted charged mana seeping from the floor board cracks, adding to the growing torrent of energy.

    It was close…

    That feeling of “Get the hell out!” and “See it before it disappears!” fought within me, but the ladder won. I watched the charged mana morph. It was the same as the other stories, and some video on the internet. Nothing to stop it, yet I had to see see the result for good reason. The thing was near completion when Sassel hissed at it. As it faced us, Sassel screamed and ran out. I stayed, seeing, almost losing my grip on Tabitha. She can summon that?

    Some places were fully manifested, some yet to be complete. I could see inside its chest cavity; organs, intestines and ribs expanded with each hoarse breath. Its arms and legs were on different places on the semi-merged torso. Like a headless body drove neck-first into the other’s lower back. It’s stretched head stared down at me with four empty eye sockets. It struggled for air and gurgled fluids, desperate to be alive.

    To put it in perspective, that damn thing was a Picasso/John Carpenter stitching of a Confederate soldier and a slave woman.

    It’s only a ghost it’s only a ghost, I thought.

    It opened their mouths of crooked teeth, unhinged. It gurgled, then screamed to vibrate the whole house and my body.

    “BATS TOIIIIIII!”

    I snapped myself out of it and found the urge to carry Tabitha on my shoulder and ran out. Frank being long gone, me, Alex (somehow waiting for me), Sassel and Tabitha got into the rental Jeep. I took the driver seat, fired up the engine, and sped on  the driveway screaming as my throat turned dry. Looking in the rear view mirror, the damn ghost was out, running after us, still screaming that word.

    “Drive faster!” Alex yelled.

    “I am, I am.”

    Once I drove passed the gate and looked back, the ghost was already dissolving away.

    Told you things got ridiculous!