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Horeb's Shadow

Submitted by C B Wright on

Although I'm not sure it's still widely celebrated, today is International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day. As a Pixel-Stained Technopeasant, I would like to offer up this fragment for your potential, theoretical enjoyment.

This was my NaNoWriMo project from... 2014, I think. I didn't make the 50K mark (obviously! It's a little over 11K) but I liked the setup enough to think I might do something with it someday.

I still like the setup, and I still might do something with it someday.

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 11

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN Our Hero Recognizes the Gravity of His Situation

Amys, Cyrus, Ktk, and Grif stood around the Captain’s Table, watching a holographic display of their tactical situation as they all frowned deeply. Well, the humans were frowning—Ktk ground the plates set behind its mandibles, a low, throbbing, grinding sound that communicated displeasure. It was the bug equivalent of a frown.

The holographic display was split into three views: the first showed the Fool’s Errand in orbit around Uru, the second showed the seven ships sitting motionless outside the system’s gravity well, and the third showed a large-scale tactical map with the Fool’s Errand, the seven ships outside the system, and the two that were closing in.

“So,” Grif said, “here’s our basic problem: they’re sending two ships in after us. We’re faster than they are, so we can avoid them if we exit the system at a full burn. I’m going to assume that’s what we want to do, based on the likelihood of them probably not wanting to talk.”

Nobody spoke up to agree with him. It wasn’t necessary.

Hey Look It's December

Submitted by C B Wright on

The mad rush of December is upon us.

Some basic highlights for my month:

  • We're still trying to get a permanent place to live. Long-time readers may recall we've been trying to do this since, oh, June. If our latest attempt to secure long-term lodgings is successful, the matter will be resolved come February.
  • This is still disrupting everything else. There are people who can concentrate just fine without a dedicated concentrating-place. I'm apparently not one of them, at least not any more.
  • There are also other things disrupting everything else. You know, presents and little girls excited about Christmas and all that kind of stuff.
  • Hey look, new site features. To make myself feel better I decided to add two features to the site, features I'd been planning on adding (or in one case re-adding) for a while but didn't get around to it. The first is that those of you who post here now have access to a rich text editor. The second is that the forums are back.

At some point I'll probably post a follow-up that has more navel-gazing.

Top Seven Characters of Middle Earth who Resisted the Corruption of the One Ring Rather Well

Submitted by C B Wright on

Last week I had to go on a business trip to Richmond. It's an 11-13 hour drive each way, and part of that journey gave me enough time to listen to about 5% of the audiobook recording of The Lord of the Rings (seriously--that's a ridiculously long audiobook, even if you skip over all the appendices at the end). As I was listening to this audiobook, I noted two things:

1. Listening to someone read about Hobbits makes me hungry.

2. For all the talk about how absolutely fatal the One True Ring was when it started tempting you, there were people who did rather well when the time came to face it down.

There's not much to tell about #1--it's pretty self-explanatory--but #2 distracted me for a while, because while the One Ring is described throughout the book as an Irresistable Force there are actually quite a few characters in the book that... well... resist it. Some resist more than others, but there are at least seven characters who resist it to an extent that must have pissed Sauron off but good.

So... without further ado, the Top Seven Characters of Middle Earth who Resisted the Corruption of the One Ring Rather Well:

#7: SARUMAN

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 10

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN Our Hero’s Daring Plan Encounters an Unfortunate Wrinkle

The Fool’s Errand was not a tempting target for most pirate ships, and Grif was almost completely convinced they were the only ship in the system. That said, as they sat in orbit around Uru he couldn’t shake a vague sense of paranoia. They’d launched the fuel drones thirty minutes ago—four unmanned, cylindrical craft designed to dive deep into a gas giant’s atmosphere without being crushed like a grape, collect all the hydrogen they could, then return to the ship for processing. It would take another hour or two before collection was complete. Until then, Grif had nothing to do but keep the ship in orbit and twiddle his thumbs.

He was impatient to leave, but the ship needed fuel. He sighed and waited.

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 09

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN Our Hero Senses a Limited Opportunity and Resolves to Act Now

The Wardroom of the Fool’s Errand was Grif’s second-favorite room in the ship.

As part of a military vessel it had been the officers lounge and mess, but when he first bought the ship it had been entirely gutted. Grif spent a great deal of time and money trying to restore it to its former grandeur, and to a large extent he had succeeded admirably. A year ago, however, they had to gut it again—in order to prevent one of the greatest heists in modern history from being blown apart by a simple, overlooked detail. Putting the Wardroom back together had been an all-consuming project for Grif, and it was only very recently—in the past few months—that the room felt right again.

The floor was covered in a dark synthetic material that looked very close to polished wood tile. The paneled walls were also faux wood, and the standard ceiling light panels were replaced with globe lights. The light was softer and worked well in the space, giving the room a more refined, less sterile feel. The Captain’s Table stood in the center of the room, smaller tables were set against a bulkhead wall, and on the opposite side was a bar that Grif always kept well-stocked.

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