Chronicles of Rah: Ultraviolet

Reblogged from https://www.ordernchaos.com/single-post/2017/03/31/Ultraviolet
March 31, 2017

Continuing to build the world of the Chronicles of Rah series for my readers I thought it would be nice to give you a little introduction to one of the primary characters, Violet Black who was introduced in Chronicles of Rah: Cypher.

Violet started out in the mind of my friend Jessica as part of the aforementioned RPG and was later built upon by my friend M.R. Baron. The following introduction is a collaborative effort between Mark and I to bring Violet to life for my readers. I hope you enjoy.


“Go spit you dreccing bitch!” Titus Creech growled between maroon streams of blood falling from his mouth. Above him stood Violet Black, a head taller than I am, long raven black hair with a soft tint of purple hanging down across her soft angular face as she stares down at Titus with a predatory look in her eye. Her athletic figure tight and bound up in a violet bodysuit, her ample chest straining against the leather top as she fought to catch her breath.

There was something so dangerous and alluring about her, as she stood over a man twice her size, wild and wicked, pushing the silky sweat soaked locks of hair from her face.

To many throughout the rim of Republic space she’s known as Violet Black, but also as Ultraviolet in a number of shadier circles. Never mind her penchant for purple as a favorite color, the moniker Ultraviolet tended to stem from rumors of unseen violet blurs reported by those unlucky souls tracked down by this particular bounty hunter. To many it quickly became appropriate to those who underestimated my lovely friend only to find themselves quickly burned in her presence. This of course brings me back to our unfortunate friend kneeling, broken and bruised on the ground before her.

How does a man like Titus Creech find himself in such an unhappy state at the feet of a girl like Violet Black you may ask? First you need to understand she is much more than just a girl, Violet first and foremost is the daughter of Pinky Black. Notorious in his own right and feared by many in less social circles, Pinky established a very powerful reputation as an interplanetary bounty hunter. Forget the stories of particularly troublesome bounties finding themselves chained up in open airlocks as Pinky exited planetary atmosphere or those poor souls dragged through the streets of Haelstrom for all to see after running from Pinky. All one needs to remember is that Pinky Black’s reputation as the most ruthless, toughest, and downright meanest man to ever set foot on a starship comes from the fact that in twenty years of hunting, Pinky never failed to collect a bounty. Unfortunately, Titus Creech found out a lot quicker than he could have ever imagined how much of that perniciousness rubbed off on Pinky Black’s sweet little girl.

So as you preview the scene before you, and wonder how a man like me wound up with a partner like Violet Black, let me clarify our situation. While I refer to Violet as my partner in crime, the emphasis there needs to be on crime, not partner. Of course there have been a sparse couple of times we have crossed that line, mostly because of Violet’s susceptibility to my phermonic charms, ours is strictly a professional partnership. The plus side of having dallied where professional partners never should is how it has led to a marvelous partnership.

Which brings me back to Titus Creech, and the workout Violet is giving his body, as another groan escapes his lips along with a spray of blood. Watching Violet work tends to cause my thoughts to wander as she is the physical destructive ying to my thoughtful methodical yang. While my skills tend to focus on charming and out thinking my adversaries, Violet’s true skill is violence. Her dedication to the art is just that, something amazing to behold, especially when it comes to watching a man like Titus Creech get beaten by a girl.

A cough of blood later, followed by Titus Creech’s collapse to the ground drew my eyes from the broken hooligan to Violet, chest heaving as she catches her breath from the workout, her eyes glimmering with that dancing flame that I have only once been on the other end.

She smiled wickedly. I bent low to eye the fellow’s one unswollen eye “Had enough, Titus?” I asked cheerfully, “I know she’s just a girl and all, so I appreciate you taking it easy on her…but now that we’ve all had a chance to laugh and relax, we need to get back to business. Why’d you try and double cross us? You had to know we’d track you down eventually.”

Titus groaned, blood dribbled from his half opened mouth, but no other sign of recognition caused me to sit back and roll my eyes sighing deeply as I looked up at my companion. This was the one and only drawback to working with Violet; she was skilled and enthusiastic…maybe too enthusiastic sometimes.

The look in her eye, like a pup that got caught in the pantry, drew as furrow across my brow. “Rather hard to question them when they’re unconscious, dear Violence,” I chided causing her to shrug.

“Marvin, do we have a problem?” she asked, and I waited a moment as she stared at the body. Then she smiled. “No problem….he’s still breathing!” I had to nod acceptance to that. Lord knows that there have been plenty of others that were not so lucky. She was a masterful combatant, a keen warrior, and a hard drinker. Looking at her, most wouldn’t suspect that beneath her skin lurked the fury of a supernova…and a number of interesting/deadly cybernetic enhancements. This worked in her favor, for most fights; nothing makes a job easier than when an opponent drops their guard, and Violet has a knack for making that very thing happen. I know, from personal experience.

I sighed. “All right,” I relented, “Grab him and let’s get to the ship.”
Violet smiled, and went to pick Titus up. Suddenly, as my hand moved to my ear to signal our team we were heading back, I felt a slight tremble in the air across my cheek. Frowning at the focused burst of air, the gasp behind me, followed by a hollow thumping sound caused me to turn. As I turned and looked at the body of the assailant who had attempted to sneak up behind me, and at the blackened hilt of the throwing knife protruding from his eye socket. I turned back and looked at Violet, her arm still outstretched from the throw. I raised an eyebrow.

“Your welcome,” she grinned wickedly. I shook my head and smiled. “Oh,” she added, as she hefted Titus’ body, and we began to leave, “Grab the knife, would you? It’s new.”


Stay tuned for more and follow us on twitter for excerpts from Chronicles of Rah: Operation Mobius coming 1 May 2017.

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Chronicles of Rah: Cypher

So a number of years ago, some friends of mine started an RPG based in a futuristic world of my creation.  It was a hard world, like so many are.  A great oppressive “Republic” government beholden to Mega Corporations spanning thousands of light years.  Our hero’s were unique in their talents and personalities and the story they were embroiled in one of adventure, intrigue and politics.

Needless to say, our game like so many others, ended abruptly due to schedules and deployments.  But the idea, the spirit never died.

A few years later I decided I wanted to bring that world to life.  A chance to take my creation to a new reality and share my world with everyone.  This became the focus of my new book series; which is coming out in May.

Pulled from the stories our daring hero’s, I developed their story, honed the rough edges in hopes of creating a jewel that others would enjoy sharing.  And with that the Chronicles of Rah were created.

The curious aspect of characters created by other people and absorbed into a story of my making was the need to capture their voice.  The character of Rah, one of the main characters in our RPG was the creating of my friend and brother Mark.  His voice is universally unique and he brought a certain life to Rah.  A life I wanted to continue.  Of course, unless I was going to have Mark write the scenes of Rah’s character, I needed to assume that voice and make it my own.

With the permission of Mark, I took on the voice of Rah but found it was hard to understand that voice having not breathed life into him.  And that is the spark that created the first in the Chronicles of Rah series.  Cypher is a novella based on the events in Rah’s life that brought him to the events of the first main book Operation Mobius.

Cypher was an interesting test for me in that it was the first time I’d ever assumed the voice of a character I hadn’t actually created.  It was also the first time I’d written an extended length story in first person.  A writer can learn a lot about issues with writing when they write in first person.  Sometimes the way we think and the way we write don’t actually jibe.

I hope you will take a look at Cypher and enjoy it as a prelude to the series release in May.  Tell your friends, share your thoughts.

Blind Leading the Blind…

Ok, so I’ve been a way for a while, but I finally have something on my mind that I think warrants a little discussion. Today we live in an age where information is readily available at the touch of a button, but yet we have some of the most disconnected people walking around day in and day out who only listen to what they are fed. Yes….I said FED!

Before I go further with that let me clarify. In the United States we have a Journalistic opportunity that many countries in the world don’t have, free speech. Our news organizations and media outlets have the rights and protections from the infringement of free speech because the founding fathers felt it was necessary to keep an informed population aware of what government was doing.  There is a reason the 1st Amendment to the Constitution talks about Free Speech and Freedom of Religion.  Unfortunately, today the media feeds it’s listeners what THEY think the listeners should hear and not necessarily the truth.

Now let me caveat something here for those of you who are about to tune me out. I consider myself to have somewhat Conservative views when it comes to the way I want to live me life. I want to keep my money in my pocket and not give it to the government. I want to be able to do what I want as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights and liberties of others. And I want to feel that I can say what I want without fear of being silenced or intimidated for my beliefs. I’m also fairly socially open minded. I have no issue with gay right, abortion rights or any other rights. As long as what you’re doing doesn’t interfere with my pursuit of life liberty and happiness, the do whatever the fuck you want. Oh, by the way….did I mention LIFE, LIBERTY AND Pursuit of HAPPINESS?? You do remember what those are right? Remember where those words came from?? If not then I think we need to have a completely different discussion.

That being said…My beef is not only with the Media, but with the people.  We call them the low information voters.  The people who care more about Jay-Z and Kim breaking than you do about how screwed up the country that gives you the right to care about Jay-Z and Kim is.  In a world of constant unending information availability I find it hard to believe that people are SOOOOO detached from what’s going on in the world that they believe EVERYTHING a news source, blog or twitter comment says.  Take for example the situation in Israel.  Judging by what you see on the news, you would think that everyone in the whole world believes that Israel just arbitrarily decided to roll tanks and troops into Gaza to start blowing up schools and killing children.  If you truly believe that, you need to get out of my country.  How many people ever hear anything about Hamas putting children and civilians in the tunnels that the Israelis are trying to destroy.  The tunnels that Hamas uses to sneak into Israel in the dead of night, kidnap innocent children and murder them so they can throw their bodies in ditches on the side of the road.  How many people know that Hamas on a daily basis launches Rockets from the yards of Schools and apartment complexes into Israel killing innocent civilians and kids simply because they believe that Israel and the Jews shouldn’t exist.  And that the Israelis in an attempt to stop this, are destroying schools and apartment buildings being used as shields for these rockets and providing warning shots to the inhabitants of those structures that they are about to be destroyed.  Oh…did I mention that Hamas tells the children and civilians that if they leave the buildings they will be shot.

Does the news want you to know that?  Do you take the time to seek out the truth for yourself, or do you blindly follow what the news FEEDS you because you have stopped caring.  Is the winner of America’s Next Top Model SOOOOOO Fucking important that you can’t spend time out of your day trying to figure out why your own government needs to ARM the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security with Armored vehicles and automatic weapons?

The news media of today’s world have made themselves obsolete because they refuse to seek out the truth rather than propagate the current talking points and ideology.  The news media today has chosen sides, which in history tended to lead to generally bad outcomes for the populations of the countries they existed in.  When a government controls the message, and controls the media they control the people.  The Soviets did it, The North Koreans do it, The Chinese do it, and it’s slowly becoming evident that our government is doing it.

If you’ve read this to this point and you still don’t care about what’s going on in the world or whether you’re getting the truth, then I don’t think anything I say is going to drive you to ask the questions that need asking.  If I’ve given you something new to think about or a new way to look at the information that’s being dished out, then my work here is done.

Don’t blindly follow those who’s only agenda is for you to accept their point of view.  Your freedoms and rights are based on the concept that this is a country for the people by the people.  If the people are informed and intelligently challenging the information they are given, governments and people in power are less likely to try and take your rights away from you.

Flash Fiction Challenge: Harden your heart…

Upon waking in the back of a police car, with your hands covered in blood and no memory of the past day, you begin to ask questions. 1000 words.

The wail of sirens, muffled as if buried in a bag filled with cotton, filled my ears as I slowly came back to consciousness. The sirens drowned out muffled sounds of voices swirling around my foggy head. As light returned to my eyes it was blinding, flashes of shadows and light with blurred outlines and soft hues. As I started to focus more and gain a better understanding of my surroundings fear gripped my mind. Looking down I noticed my hands locked together by metal cuffs, the usually cinnamon tan skin covered in dark red stains that lead up the sleeves of my shirt. That’s when I realized I was in a police car….What in gods name happened I asked myself as I started to become more and more aware of the situation. The jumbled flashes of images in my do little to answer any questions about what happened. The last salient image that sticks out in my mind is that face, that sweet angelic face. Her soft angular latin features with her emerald green eyes and raven black hair. I could see her face in such detail as if it was right in front of me. I’d spent all weekend staring into that beautiful face. My friends had warned me getting involved with her was trouble, but there was something I couldn’t walk away from. Did she have something to do with what happened? Why couldn’t I remember anything but flashes?

“Dispatch this is Bravo Eight Two. We have suspect in custody. We are in bound to the precinct. Victims were DOA, medics are inbound medical examiner.

            “Roger Bravo Eight Two.”

 

            Victims??? The word rang in my ears for a moment as I looked down at the blood soaked hands and shirt. What could I have done? The flashes came again, fast and incoherent. There was a third face now, a male. The images rushed by like pedestrians on a busy New York street. Just barely getting a glance before it’s gone. It was hard to put the pieces together, but somehow there had been a roof of a building, the city skyline in the background. I can hear screams and yelling in my mind but can’t draw the parts together. The flashes swirl around and around in my head repeatedly until suddenly a shot rings out in my mind, followed closely by a second shot. The shots brought all of the flashes together. Slowly they weaved themselves together. She had been the forbidden fruit, the unattainable and yet the worst thing that could have happened did; love at first sight. Word had gone out that she was messing around with some other guy….me. We had spent the weekend together before word had found it’s way back to her. She tried to warn me off, tried to tell me to run and never look back but nothing seemed as bad as leaving her side. Her guy, some big shot of the latin quarter, didn’t take kindly to other guys flirting with his woman. His woman, she laughed at the label. She was no one’s but her own she would say. Then began the chase. A couple of his guys had spotted us as she tried to warn me off. Somehow we ended up on the roof of her apartment. That was when he found us. He was every bit the epitome of the part he played…tall, dark, angry. The pistol sticking out of the waist of his pants was a clear reminder of how far he was willing to go.

That’s when the argument ensued. Screaming and pushing, unfriendly recriminations regarding my character and my status. When I attempted to step in to explain myself to him was when the gun came out. Waving it around like a toy, he continued screaming at her and her at him. Now I may be crazy, but I have one rule, never handle guns while having an argument. I realized now that was when things went bad. Pushing her out of the way with a rather violent shove, he pointed the gun at me. More recriminations about my character and a number of poorly translated curse words flew from his arrogant mouth as he moved closer to me, the gun still pointed at me. I backed as far as I could until I was up against the edge of the building. I tried to reason with him, tell he got it all wrong. I knew it was a lie, but I was desperate for my life. RICO NO!!! She screamed. That was when the first shot rang out. I expected to feel the fire spread inside my body as the bullet tore into flesh. I looked down to look for the blood, or the wound. In the same split second, another shot rang out. I looked up to see Rico leaning over, his hand clutching his neck. That was when she hit me like a sack of potatoes. She crashed into me as she fell to the ground. I grabbed her with all my strength, but the weight and lack of balance broke my footing, causing me to slip and fall to the fire escape under the ledge. I must have hit my head in the fall. Sorrow fell over me as I realized that she was gone. My heart ached as I thought of her smile and her warmth. Now I had to make sure her death didn’t ruin my life anymore.

Deep in my own world….

Yes…it’s been a while since the last time I put anything up on my blog.  Why you may ask!  I could be cute and say I was abducted by international terrorists in an attempt to gain access to secret operational information.  I could also say that I was off gallivanting around Europe with a map and a bicycle in hopes of finding the perfect coffee.

Of course all of that would be bunk wouldn’t it?  Honestly, I’ve been stuck in a world of my own creation.  There are many people who you may believe exist in another world or another reality, but since I thought up this world I need to fill the world with people and events.  To be clear, I’ve been diligently working on my story…my novel…whatever you want to call it.  It’s got a lot of story lines, a lot of plot lines, a whole slew of interesting characters and I have no idea where I’m going with it all!

Actually that’s not entirely true.  I do know where I’m going with it….sort of.  But the long and short of it is over the past few weeks since I took a challenge to write at least 350 words a day on my story I’ve blown out about 40 pages, some umpteen number of words that I lost count of about a week ago.  Where does it all come from?  Why hasn’t it been flowing on to the paper before now.  I’ve been working on this damn story for almost 5 years…why now.

Oh well.  In the end, it’s getting done finally.  Will be something worth the NY Times best sellers list?  Most likely not.  Will be I able to sell it on Amazon for $1.00…probably.  I’m sure at least one person will read it.  As Blake Snyder says in his book “Save the Cat” you just have to bullhead through it and get it done.  With the grand scheme of things..I have to say…it’s all Chucks fault!!

Press on!

Flash Fiction Challenge: Must Contain This Sentence…

From Chuck Wendig’s terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge.

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/05/12/flash-fiction-challenge-must-contain-this-sentence/

“The borderlands expire thanks to the hundred violins.”

“A poetic pattern retains inertia.”

 

Jarl concentrated the best he could trying to focus on his destination.  He knew the power to bend space and alter the reality around him lay simply in understanding how the patterns of the universe flowed around every person.  He’d always felt the energy, known he was different.  But knowing you’re different and knowing how to manipulate the patterns were two separate things all together.

“A poetic pattern retains inertia….a chaotic pattern is unpredictable.”  His friend and Mentor Spiros Altarus walked around the small pod of a cockpit speaking in his usual riddles.  Much of what Spiros told Jarl seemed to be riddles, at least to Jarl.  Somewhere in that twisted mind of his Mentor all of this made sense.  “You’re thinking too hard about everything else.  Clear your mind, focus on the pattern.”  Spiros said in his heavy accented voice.

Jarl shook his head in aggravation, batting the ships control interface away from his face.  He turned to look at Spiros. “Have you ever noticed that your riddles make no sense Spiros!”  Jarl said with a pained look on his face.  “I can’t focus the way you want me to.  I can’t see the patterns the way you do.”  Spiros simply sighed, a smile on his face as he looked Jarl in the eyes.

“You have the gift my friend.  I would not have brought you as far as I have if I didn’t think you could do what so few can.”  He drifted to the command console.  He always seemed to drift to Jarl, not walk, drift.  With a groan of resignation Jarl slipped back into the command chair, resetting the control interface in front of his face.

“Clear your mind!”  He said, stepping over to a console to the side of the command chair.  His fingers like spiders weaving a web, Spiros’ hands moved with elegance along the smooth console.  Buttons and displays lit up in unison as the sound of melodic music filled the small space.  All manner of instruments formed a soft poetic song that surrounded Jarl like a blanket.  His mind lost in the rhythms drifted with the flow of the music like riding a river.  He let the music carry him, fill him with its spirit.  He had never heard music like this before but it caused his heart to swell.

An energy surrounded Jarl, like nothing he’d ever felt before.  His skin tingled, hairs on his arms stood on edge as the power washed over him like water.  A familiar tickle ran up his spine.  That was when he realized it, that was when he felt it.  His mind began to visualize space and time.  The minds eye walked among the stars, in places few had ever seen.  Planets and stars unlike any he’d ever seen before passed through his thoughts.  The simple beauty and intensity with which these new sights filled Jarl’s mind caught his breath and held it.

That was when it happened.  Had his eyes been open, had they not been focused on this place in his mind he would have seen it.  The space around the ship changed.  Lights melded together to form colors and then colors formed a canvas of light and color focused on the nose of the small craft.  A moment later the colors grew more intense, they encircled the craft, bending space.  Had his eyes been opened he would have also seen the aura of blue energy surrounding his body.

With a flash blue energy filled the cockpit, washing out the world around it.  As the blue subsided, the tingle on his skin also slipped away.  Jarl opened his eyes, awestruck with what lay outside the glass.  The image in his mind, the planets and nebulas and stars, foreign in every way from what he knew, hung outside the window as if copied from a dream.  Looking back as Spiros stepped up to the window, his expression betrayed his awe.  “By the gods….The borderlands expire thanks to the hundred violins.  This should not be.  No jumper has ever jumped outside of our galaxy.”  Jarl couldn’t understand what Spiros meant until he brought up the ships navigational systems.  They agreed, the ship was no longer inside the borders of their galaxy.

Had the music enhanced his powers or had his powers always existed and the music simply pulled it out of him?  Jarl contemplated the consequences of this discovery.  Uncertain he could duplicate the power, he feared they might never return home.

Creative Dissonance: Does the end game matter?

So after spending a weekend with my head buried in the story that I’m writing and eventually breaking out fifteen pages, I’ve realized something critical.  I have no idea where the story is going.  I have general plot lines that I want to follow, and I know what the motivations of the main characters are.  But I realize that the multiple plot lines and motivations don’t have a logical conclusion. 

I’ve never been big on outlines.  I tend to let my creative mind run wild and simply fill paper with words in hopes that my mind can draw the connections through the story without outside influence.  I remember as a kid, sitting at a desk with a pencil and paper writing page upon page of a story, losing myself in time and space until I finally ran out of lead and had to sharpen my pencil.  Did he just say sharpen his pencil?  Yes, there was a time once when people actually had to write their thoughts down on paper with a pencil that you had to sharpen with a small sharpened piece of metal. 

As someone who just lets the story spill out onto the paper, how do you ensure that your plot lines are all working towards the same conclusion?  I’ve considered writing each individual  plot line as separate stories and eventually pulling them together, making them link.  Unfortunately, I realized if I did that, I’d probably end up with multiple stories that have no linkage to the others.  Recently a friend introduced me to Scrivener which I find to be a very well thought out writing program.  Being able to break up different character plot lines from the main story while keeping the other plot lines close by may be a step in the right direction, but the overarching question still stands….. Do you need to decide on an ending to build the plot lines towards, or do you let the words flow and clean up later hoping everything comes together! 

Flash Fiction: Item Prompts

“A Parachute, A sliver of Moon, a Magnifying Glass, A Cane, an Arrow, a Tee Pee, a Rainbow, Sheep, and a Flashlight!

The moonlight gave the satin black sky a hazy feel to it as the stars twinkled randomly around us.  Falling silently through the night sky towards our objective seemed almost peaceful as the ground slowly grew larger and larger.  You could almost hear the sheep in a nearby village talking as they wandered through the fields looking for grass.

The quiet woosh of the wind passing across our chutes began to quiet as we grew closer to the ground.  A quick flash of a hooded flashlight told us where the landing zone was and the four other men behind me turned their chutes towards the light.  We had to be fast, I thought to myself as the ground grew closer.  We needed to find the artifact before the patrol arrived.  The air grew silent, my training told me the ground was coming up fast.  I let my training take control as I adjusted the rate of decent and braced my legs and body for the ground.  As I hit, my legs rolled and my body dropped absorbing the abrupt stop.

The other four landed quickly behind me as we all quickly scooped up our black silk chutes and hid them in the nearby brush.  Our contact, a local man approached in the darkness.  Our red hooded flashlights revealed an old man supporting his weight on a cane.  “The artifact should be in that cave to the east.  Hurry, there is a patrol that should be here in less than thirty minutes.”  I patted the old man on the shoulder as we hurried off into the night towards the east.  J

Just as he suggested, a rather unremarkable cave mouth stood at the base of a small stone outcropping.  Three men squeezed carefully through the small opening while two stood guard at the mouth.  The three of us climbed and crawled our way through the maze of tunnels until we came upon a large cavern.  In the middle of the cavern stood a stone teepee with a large red jewel at the top.  Having already studied the stories and legends, I pulled the specially crafted magnifying glass out of my pack along with a multispectral laser designed for this mission.  Pointing the laser at the red jewel, I moved the magnifying glass into place in front causing a rainbow of light to hit the jewel.  After a moment the teepee split in two as it slid to either side, revealing a large glowing arrow whose glow could only come from alien technology.

Grabbing the arrow from the pedestal, we turned only to be faced with the heavily armed presence of our alien enemy

 

Flashback Repost! Finish this sentence, “The best thing in life is…”

The best thing in life is true freedom Cassandra Velarou thought to herself as she crouched on the ledge of a roof top looking down at the city below.  Steam plumes rose into the sky in the background of the slumbering city from the engine factories that never seemed to sleep.  Cassandra, or Cassie to her friends, looked at the bundle in her hand which she deftly acquired from the residence of the Kingdoms Solicitor General.   She felt the weight of the bundle in her hand, pulling away the smooth velvet scarf which it was wrapped in.  Two square gold plated cards with imprints of the Queen and the Prime Minister etched into them shimmered in the dim light from the clear night sky.  “These are going to guarantee my freedom, nothing will stand in my way now.” she whispered aloud as she rewrapped the bundle and stuffed it in her belt pouch.  The sound of a steam engine carriage driving up the street brought her back to the moment.  She hunkered down on the ledge watching the carriage come to a stop a the front of the building.  Three men jumped from the carriage and entered the building as a fourth stood guard.  Cassie quickly scrambled further down the rooftop to a point where two another building nearly touched the roof.  Her sleek muscular figure, accentuated by the light of a half moon and oil lamps moved gingerly under the tight dark grey clothes she wore.  

Cassie cautiously moved along the rooftops until she was sure that she was far enough away to not be in danger.  Finally dropping to the ground in an alleyway a number of blocks from the scene of the crime, she reached into a hidden compartment built into the brick of a large building.  Pulling a bundle from the compartment, she quickly pulled off her top and bent to search inside the bundle.  As she searched the bundle, shadows and city lights battled to keep her glistening skin hidden from the night.  Finally she pulled a white top from the bundle and pulled it over her head.  Adjusting the fabric to sit firmly on her shoulders and gently show her ample cleavage, she pulled shoes and some other accouterments from the bundle and placed them in their appropriate spots.  Once she was confident of her look, she slid the bundle back inside the compartment and strolled down the alley towards what appears to be a bustling market.  Cassie stopped at the mouth of the alley, checking to make sure everything was how it should be, then she quickly slid into a large group of people and allowed the flow of traffic to carry her down the street.  The sounds of merchants selling wares, cutting products with knives, and carts carrying merchandise down the cobblestone streets filled the air along with many strange and sometimes not so good aromas.  

After a few minutes Cassie finally found what she was looking for.  She stopped at a booth which sold black market engine cards, outwardly showing interest in a stack of shiny black cards while she cautiously watched over her shoulder to the booth across the way.  Macius Wane was talking to an older man regarding a piece of merchandise he held in his hand.  Cassie watched as the man obviously was attempting to haggle with Macius.  Cassie snickered to herself, she’d known Macius for years and knew how much of a penny pincher he was.  He didn’t haggle on a good day and so far this would not be a good day for him.  Finally the man gave in and handed Macius three small silver coins and walked into the flow of the crowd.  Macius turned from the street and disappeared into the tent behind his booth.  Cassie quickly took advantage of the opening and slipped across the street.  Her hand firmly on the stiletto strapped to the back of her belt she slowly entered the tent.
         “You know if you’re going to continue trying to sneak up on me when I’m unsuspecting, you really shouldn’t watch me from across the street to find your moment.”  Cassie stopped in her tracks as Macius addressed her, still turned away from the opening yet somehow he always knew she was there.
         
         “You’re assuming I care whether or not you see the face of the person who ended your life.”  Cassie returned with an evil grin on the corner of her mouth.
         Macius turned from what he was doing.  His stout build, dark skin and large black mustache made him a very opposing figure even though he stood almost a head shorter than Cassie.  “Do you have them?”
          Cassie dropped her hand from her stiletto and leaned against a support pole for the tent crossing her arms across her chest and her left foot over her right leg as she supported herself on her right foot.
        
          “The best thing in life is true freedom, you remember our agreement if I got them for you!”
          Macius nodded, “You have my word Cassie and you know I’m good for it.  If you truly have the cards the syndicate will release you from your contract.”  Cassie thought for a minute then reached behind her back and pulled the dark red velvet bundle from at hard leather pouch.  Tossing it gingerly to Macius, she returned her hands to their crossed position on her chest.  Macius slowly unfolded the velvet scarf and stared for a moment at the two golden plates weighing heavily in his hands.
         “By God Cassie, you truly are the best.  But we have a problem…the Imperial Crest is missing!”  He looked up at Cassie with concern only to find a sly feline look of accomplishment on her face.  The edge of her mouth on the right side twisted into a mischievous grin.
         “Insurance!  It’s not that I don’t trust you Macius, you are a good and dear friend.  When I have a decree declaring me free from the Syndicate the last plate will be delivered.”  Cassies’ words hung in the air as she suddenly disappeared from the doorway.  Macius stepped into the street to look for her but she was nowhere to be seen.

The conundrum of large stories!

So for the better part of the last five years I have been working on a story.  A long  story, a Sci Fi extravaganza beyond compare.  It started out as a random idea about a new galactic setting that I came up with one evening in a fit of unrelenting creative writing.  The world formed around itself until it took on it’s own existence.

This world soon turned into the basis for an RP that I ran based on D&D Modern 3.5 rules.  Something along the lines of Eve meets Firefly meets Bond but with lots more space and intrigue!  The characters both NPC and PC started the story and established the action and suspense that really drove my thoughts on how I could incorporate all sorts of different plot lines, stories and ideas into this world.  The game went on, I would like to think we had lots of fun and developed a good story.  Unfortunately, like most games real life got in the way and the game ended.

I would like to thank my players for helping me set a nice baseline for the story even if we never finished it.  And after a few years of slowly chipping away at the story, I started making some headway only to be stopped by more real life and very little time to write.

Now, I’ve been contemplating what direction to take with the story.  There are questions of plot lines, how protagonists and antagonists interact with each other that I still haven’t answered.  I guess this is the problem with creating big stories with lots of directions to go.  Now I feel how George R. R. Martin feels trying to keep up with what season HBO is on.

I’ve contemplated writing individual stories and weaving them together to see how they fit.  I’ve considered writing the ending and working my way backward.  And of course I’ve considered putting it in a drawer and never looking back.  I know many authors and writers go through this, and eventually the either quit or succeed.  So the question is where to go from here.