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I Think This Line is Mostly Filler
Monday — February 16th, 2009

I Think This Line is Mostly Filler

bio_chrisAdam’s away from the drawing board for now and I’ll be traveling this week (New Jersey, represent!), so things will be a bit odder than normal.

Which is a scary thought all by itself.

Seriously? Again?

bio_chrisUm… well… Save Hiatus is kinda, um… going on, you know… hiatus. Again.

Due to the intrusion of real life, Adam and I need to change our focus on our activities (i.e. for various reasons, we both need to do more stuff what makes us money) and will have to step away from the strip for a while. The site will stay up and I hope we can keep something going here because it’s way too much fun to let die, but for right now it’ll be quiet around the apartment.

Thanks for your support, and hope to see you soon.

Firefly theme song artist needs your help

Reposted from Brian on Whedonesque:

Sonny Rhodes, our favorite Firefly theme song blues musician, is in need of a hand up. He is a very proud man, but circumstances related to medical conditions are preventing him from working, and he’s trying to keep a roof over his head.

Sonny’s wife Ann called me with these details and hoped the Browncoats could help. Sonny hasn’t performed since October 2008, except for once or twice against his doctor’s wishes when he had to keep the power from being shut off and pay rent, and doing that made his condition worse. He just had an emergency hernia operation and needs to have two hip operations as soon as possible. Ann said he’ll likely be out of work for a few more months and, besides being in a lot of pain, is naturally quite worried about paying medical and rent bills. Sonny has vowed to be there for the Browncoats in the future and would appreciate any financial assistance that may be possible via the PayPal Donate link on his MySpace page.

If you can do anything, please consider it. Adam met him on the last Browncoats Cruise and couldn’t stop talking about his skill and charm.

The donate link is through PayPal, but you don’t have to have a PayPal account to use it; you can use your credit card if you’d rather.

Pre-mutiny. On ice!

ParSec snapped to attention. “Welcome aboard, Captain!”

“Thanks,” the man said. “Sign here, please.” He thrust a small pad at her and stood waiting. ParSec looked at Chavez, who shrugged. She signed the pad.

“Great, hang on.” He folded himself back through the hatch, in stages, and then backed out again while dragging a large box. The box had a frosted front and blinking lights. Blinking lights on a coffin-sized box, in Hy’s personal experience, were never good. “There you go,” the man said, slapping his hands together. The box had tiny wheels on it; it continued to roll a few more inches after he set it down. “You have a good day, now.” And he swung the hatch closed behind himself. Within seconds an engine fired up and the floor shook as the delivery ship disengaged and fell away.

Chavez was already bent over the box. “It must be cheaper to order frozen captains,” he said. “Maybe they buy them in bulk.” Read the rest of this entry »

Going to meet the man

Traditionally, a “town” is either a small city or a really big village, or even a settlement with delusions of grandeur. Streets mark where the cow paths to the water used to be, or where people did most of their walking in the areas left to them after the richer citizens marked off the bits they wanted. Towns often have a central location where residents gather to picnic or to celebrate or to pass out the torches and the hastily painted signs that say, more or less, “Down with the Richer Citizens.”  Businesses radiate outward from there, leading to urban areas filled with determinately industrial industry and violent crime and to suburban areas filled with peaceful neighbors and friendly, domestic crime. Farther out you get small fiefdoms, often ending in “Hills” or “Estates” despite the absence of either, with strong identities and clearly designated perimeters where everyone knows everyone and, more importantly, knows who doesn’t belong. And at the outer ring of the town will be the rural spots where crops are grown, livestock is stocked, and folks can find a place to call home where the hustle and bustle of the town can’t be bothered to visit.

Venture was both a ship and a town, and like most combo devices it wasn’t a very good either. As a ship it lacked maneuverability and possessed what attacking forces, were they any, might call a “target surplus.” And as a town… as a town it made a great ship. Read the rest of this entry »

Incoming calls

“Right, right. Thanks, Katy,” Hy said, sitting up and coincidentally dumping her bedclothes from over her head over on top of the other pile, which squeaked in protest. “This isn’t over,” she warned the pile. It giggled. Hy lurched to her feet and shook her head. C’mon, Alistair, what you gonna do when emergencies hit and worried townsfolk wake you in the middle of the night, hats in hand? Get used to getting up at oh-christ-hundred, you signed up for this.

She grabbed a tunic at random, thought about possible media coverage of the experiment, and put it back to select another with a careful eye towards fit, style, and recent cleansing. Hy dressed quickly, trying not to look at the empty spot on the bed where Arcus was now rolling about to create a giant Arcus-filled blanket tortilla. Her husband Ambrose was already hard at work somewhere. Sewage management waited for no man or mayor, apparently. Hy sighed, trying not to feel hurt that he was paying more attention to human effluvia than he was to her. Everyone in the town was hustling to get the bugs out of their systems while diasters were still easily contained, and making their byproducts swiftly and smoothly wend through the mysterious processes that turned crap into vegetables was, at the moment, much more important than spending time with her. Dammit.

Besides, soon she’d be leaving him behind to deal with slightly different human byproducts. She thought about Ambrose crawling through the sewer mains and smiled to herself. Their jobs weren’t that dissimilar, actually. She just turned crap into government. Read the rest of this entry »

Bearly awake

The crowd stood there, smiling softly, watching. She was down to her hands and knees now, hands bloody from pulling, and they just watched. Lovingly, they just watched. Some of them even started to join hands and sing, swaying back and forth and beaming at each other over the wonderfulness of it all. She screamed as she felt herself slipping into the cold, dark ground with a wave of grass sweeping up to close over her head, and the last thing she saw was her husband kissing the top of their daughter’s head as they both calmly watched her die–

“Eeeeyaaaaooouugh!” she yelled, sitting up hard enough to wrench her back. Hy Alistair, mayor of the newly-formed and completely airborne town of Venture, waited a full minute to compose herself and let her heart rate drop back down until it was merely tachycardia. She was in her dark, stark bedroom, full of metal and plastic and shiny fake wood, with no window anywhere and only a single small picture frame displaying a sunny sky on an otherwise featureless wall. The bed itself, with a small table to either side, was the only thing suggesting “bedroom” in the first place; otherwise a casual observer might have guessed “storeroom” or “shipping container” or “closed-off end of an abandoned corridor.” Not what you would expect to see in a picturesque town that had heretofore only appeared in her dreams. She closed her eyes and let herself dwell on that fantasy town. Damn appealing, even with the scary grass monster which probably represented her deeply suppressed fears of leadership or failure or…

At the end of the bed her daughter Arcus was still pulling at her foot and giggling.

—Or her fear of being convicted of a capital crime. Venture had laws against murdering eight-year-olds, right? She was certain she had seen that in the bylaws somewhere. Read the rest of this entry »

Scary Happy People

The greenest, most picture perfect meadow imaginable stretched out before her beneath an endless blue sky. She ached to just run through the layers of sweetgrass and clover and wildflowers, rolling on them and breathing in the sweet fragrance, but that would have to wait. Her people were coming.

Instead, she eased off her shoes without looking down and let the ground caress her bare feet as a promissory note for later. Maybe she could come back and roll naked on the clover, would that be too scandalous? More to the point, did she care? Thousands of tiny leaves tickling her skin… Maybe later, in the moonlight, when the grass was even cooler and no one would see her. Mayors have an image to uphold, after all.

They began arriving then, individually and in family groups. She stepped reluctantly back into her shoes; the first few people noticed and grinned at her for it. She touched their hands as they approached. More people gathered, walking up the hill from the picturesque town below, laughing and holding hands. Children ran and played as they came. Songbirds flew around them to nestle in the trees. Lovers held each other. The meadow quickly filled with people and still they came until finally she looked out over a sea of smiling faces. For one crazy second she thought about jumping up into their arms and rolling over and over on top of their heads, and she chuckled when it occurred to her that they’d probably let her do it. Read the rest of this entry »

A Destiny Revealed, Sort of

Tuckby then began expounding the mathematics behind his discovery of Interim Space, a non-place which exists between the smallest possible division of time. It took more than forty years and thousands of ferrets, but he finally made the breakthrough of firing two concentrated bursts of tachyons to… do something or other, Parvo had no clue, he had zoned out as soon as the Fudd guy started jabbering.

Had there been signs, with Kelly? Some subtle indicators he might have noticed had he not been blinded by love and six-inch-long skirts? She had seemed to favor pony tails a lot, but that could have been a Japanese thing. And she did disappear between 6:30 and 3:30 each day but she had assured him that was the early shift at the pesticide taste-testing facility where she worked but would never let him visit.

Tuckby was now waving his arms like a pissed-off windmill and raving something about time-space and induced causality-suppression and yadda yadda yadda. Her skin was awfully clear. And she did have that habit of waiting outside when he bought booze… No, this was insane, it was one of Buchanon’s tricks. Parvo’s job was fine, Kelly was waiting for him, he wasn’t going to get railroaded into volunteering for some idiotic science project with Dr. Wabbit Season, here. Parvo took a deep breath, squared his shoulders and started listening again.

“–which is why doing so would be the most dangerous thing imaginable, with consequences for our entire solar system, so don’t ever, ever do that,” Tuckby finished, wild-eyed and breathing heavily. Read the rest of this entry »

Science!

Tuckby rushed over to them. “This is the culmination of my life’s work! I, Marcus Tuckby, have managed to stop time in its tracks!” He was a gesturer and inveterate arm-waver, never a good sign.

“Uh huh,” Parvo said.

“You’re right to scoff, sir. Many have trod this road and been waylaid by false paths, spurious reasoning, or the budget cuts of weak-kneed fools! But only I have reached the end of that long and difficult trail to discover the closely-guarded wonders to be found at the end!”

“Can you just dial back the mad scientist thing a little bit, you’re flicking drool on my coat.”

“Behold!” Without warning Tuckby spun and dashed back to a small table directly underneath the massive device. It was burnished steel, about the size of a footstool, and contained… nothing. There was even a dramatic spotlight aimed at the table, to highlight the nothing. The lab techs and assistants stood around with an eerie, worshipful silence. Buchanon gripped Parvo’s arm and dragged him over to look at the nothing. They looked at it for a long moment as Tuckby beamed with pride.

“Well, I’m impressed,” Parvo said.

Tuckby stopped in mid-rave to look at the table. “Why? There’s nothing there.” Abruptly he lowered his arms and looked at Parvo more closely, then smiled in a totally different manner. “I’m so sorry, son, my mistake, are you here for one of the special tours? Admiral Buchanon, is he allowed to have candy,” he asked, patting his pockets, “or should I–” Read the rest of this entry »

Meeting New People, and Hating Them

[Hey, what happened? We backed up!

Yes, yes we did. I'm changing how I post novel excerpts here, for several reasons. I was trying too hard to post entire chapters and skipping over important stuff to do so - everyone who complained about me cutting Parvo's first scene with Dr. Tuckby can stop spam-bombing my e-mail now, I'm putting it back - and I've been told that shorter chunks are easier to read at work, you slackers. Also I can post more frequently this way. So I reworked the previous posts and will continue on from here. We're back in the first chapter. I'll try not to do this again.]

Twenty minutes later Parvo was looking up at the biggest, ugliest chandelier in the world. It didn’t help that the crystal and brass monstrosity appeared to have a laser cannon coming out of it, or that the scientist standing under it seemed to be in love with it in a way that was disturbing and possibly against the laws of God and man.

“Isn’t it glorious?” he demanded, beaming at it.

It also didn’t help that the scientist, whom Buchanon had introduced as Dr. Tuckby, looked exactly like Elmer Fudd. Parvo realized his edginess was partly due to his unconscious expectation that Tuckby was, at any moment, suddenly going to whip out a shotgun bigger than himself and fire wildly into a hole in the ground.

Around him was an assortment of lab techs and research assistants who all seemed very proud of something. Otherwise the room was conspicuously empty in that stark, “must be easy to quickly decontaminate” decor which signalled, to the experienced eye, that this was not a good room to be accidentally locked in, particularly if any sort of countdown was involved.

“Yeah, you’re a lucky man, doc,” Parvo said. “Can I go home now? I have a federal manhunt to start avoiding…”

Buchanon leaned over and whispered out of the corner of his mouth. “Vince, your only options at this juncture are to nod politely and pretend to understand what’s about to change your life and the lives of everyone on this planet forever, or go directly to jail. Now, political advocacy groups, concerned with negative implications regarding personal sexual preferences, forbid me to suggest or insinuate that a very large and smelly someone in that jail might want to make you his very unhappy girlfriend despite your own personal sexual preferences, so I’d appreciate it if you’d choose the first option, thus allowing me to avoid a few angry phone calls and allowing yourself to continue to walk normally. I await your response.”

“So,” Parvo said brightly, clapping his hands together. “What’s it do?”

“Good boy,” Buchanon whispered.