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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Greetings, Bearers!

Here’s part IV of the fan fic.  Enjoy!  Let me know what you think!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

The Paladin gasped.

The Librarian cried in glee.

The Monitor swore a disbelieving oath in the name of Kasterborous.

They had landed in a vast chamber, upon a floor connected to a tall ceiling by an infinite labyrinth of columns, all of which blazed with a soft, blue light that rippled and swirled, as if fashioned from phosphorescent water.   The Monitor raised her rifle, turning from left to right, her eyes watching for any disruption in the azure architecture indicating movement.  The Monitor and the Librarian maintained their positions behind her, scanning the darkness beyond for signs of life, although the Monitor redirected his scowl-filled vision toward the other two on occasion.

“Safe for the moment, are we?” the Librarian whispered.

“Looks that way,” she replied.  “But I request that we stay together, regardless of what is to happen.”

“An impressive place, I must admit,” the Monitor remarked.  “So what is it about this place that can be of use to us?”

“Not ‘what,’ my lord.  Who.  If you’ll hold your position for a moment…”

The Librarian took a few steps away from the others and faced an endless corridor of black flanked upon either side by endless rows of shimmering, rippling sapphire.  He brought his hands against his mouth, cupping them as his body rose in a deep inhale.

“We seek the Keeper!” he cried.

His voice fell into the deep, without echo.

“What!?” the Monitor hissed.  “For whom did you call!?”

A worried look filled the Paladin’s face as she glanced at the Monitor, then back at the hairless head protruding from the red robe.  “My lord—” the Librarian began.

“Have you lost your mind, fool!?” The dark-haired Gallifreyan male scowled.

“No, my lord.  Please, listen to me!”

A shaking fist protruded from the Monitor’s sleeve. “You dare to drag me out to this place in search of a bedtime fable!? Is this your idea of a prank!?”

“My lord!” The Paladin exclaimed, “This is no prank! The Keeper—”

“The Keeper is a myth!” The Monitor thundered, marching toward the sphere.”An invention of mothers and fathers from a million past generations to ensure good moral behavior from their children!  Nothing more than a rhyme before sleep in order to put nightmares into the minds of boys and girls entertaining the notions of morning mischief!”

The Librarian threw up his hands.  “No, my lord!” he shouted.  “Hear me out!”

The Monitor whirled around, narrowing his eyes as he glared at the other fellow. “Expose your wrist, Librarian!”

“The Keeper is real, my lord!” the Paladin protested.

“You stay out of this, soldier! Mind the area!”

The young woman grit her teeth, refraining from unleashing her tongue.  She let out an impatient growl before returning to surveying the area.

“Now, Librarian, on my personal authority, I order you to expose your wrist!”

The older man looked down.  “I know what you’re looking for,” he said patiently,  “but it changes nothing, my lord.  The Keeper is real.”

“Then consider this a mere satisfaction of my curiosity.  Now expose your wrist!”

The right wrist emerged from the crimson sleeve.  The Monitor retrieved his screwdriver, holding it just above the skin below the Librarian’s palm.  At first, the flesh showed nothing under the golden halo of light beamed upon it.  But a second sweep revealed something else: an image of two hands crossing at the palms, enclosed within the borders of a triangle.  Above the two hands hovered a single eye, open and malevolent.

“I don’t believe it,” the Monitor hissed, pushing away the Librarian’s hand.  He turned toward the Paladin.  “And I suppose you have the same stamp upon your wrist as well?”

“She does, my lord.  We are both members.”

The Monitor threw up his hands and expelled a frustrated breath.  “How many more in the Gallifreyan governmental system were members of the Coven of the Keeper?” he asked.

“Now come, my lord,” the Librarian replied, shaking his head.  “You know we cannot divulge either members or numbers of our society.”

“I believe the proper term for you and your members is cult,” the Monitor snapped.  “And you have the audacity to have inserted yourself in such a prominent position as a trusted advisor to the Time Lords, knowing of their disdain for membership in this particular organization?”

“The truth is the truth, dear Monitor.  I cannot deny what is true.”

“You have staked your devotion upon a myth—both of you!”

“How do you explain this place, my lord?” The Paladin asked.

“I explain this place as an odd anomaly which you discovered through some freak entrance into the Void at some earlier time and have somehow deluded yourselves into believing that this place holds your fictional heroine!”

The Monitor laid his hand upon the spherical craft’s metal hull, leaning against it in fatigue.  “I thought you were all extinct by now,” he muttered.  “The last known open session of the Coven occurred just before the Time War commenced.  No trace of your fellow… believers… was seen after that.”

“We learned to be a bit more subtle,” the Paladin replied, cracking half a smile at the tired Time Lord.  “Sorry to disappoint you on that point—no offense intended, my lord.”

“When the authorities of your own world deem you to be an extreme group to be avoided, you tend to learn how to operate covertly as a matter of necessity,” the Librarian added.  “And yet, here we are with you, my lord, as the instrument of your assistance.”

“Some assistance you are.  You called and nobody ans—”

His retort ceased as the screams filled his ears.

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Greetings, Bearers!
Part three for you.  A little shorter than the others, but part four will be a bit more for you to read.  Enjoy!

 

“Touch down,” the Paladin murmured, adjusting a large, golden dial.  The central column’s hum faded into silence.

The Librarian turned to the Monitor.  “Did you reactivate the Time Lock, my lord?”

“Doing so as you speak,” the younger man answered gruffly.  The cylindrical object he had earlier extracted was now protruding from a port mounted into the exterior wall.  The Monitor’s fingers played with small controls on the cylinder’s posterior while he watched a small display.  “I hope for all our sakes that nothing happens to my quantum screwdriver,” he announced, “otherwise we’ll be encased in here for the remainder of whatever time remains in the universe.”

“Perhaps even longer,” the Librarian added with a chuckle.

“Levity is a poor attempt to quell my ire, old man,” the Monitor replied, withdrawing his screwdriver.  “And now that the Paladin has informed us of our successful landing, you can ease my ill temper by explaining to me where we are and what we are doing.”

“Yes, my lord, a moment please.  Atmosphere, Paladin?”

“Oxygen-prevalent, little difference between this place and standard Gallifreyan atmosphere.  No perceived hazards.”

“Very good.  I trust that you’ll be arming yourself, my child?”

She walked to the locker and removed a silver rifle, pausing to pose with it as she smiled at the hairless, red-robed Gallifreyan.  “Wouldn’t have it any other way,” she answered.  “For your own safety, I’ll ask you two to stay behind me as we exit the TARDIS.”

“I’m not as defenseless as you may perceive, Paladin,” the Monitor replied, holding up his screwdriver.

The woman bit her lip and shut her eyes, as if biting back an angry retort. “I’ll keep that in mind, my lord, and I’ll appreciate your help should the situation require it,” she said after a silent moment.  “But as I am specifically trained for combat, unlike either of you, and since I retain the rank of Chief Protectorate for the Librarian, I take primary responsibility for the safety of what appears to be the last four Gallifreyans in existence.  Therefore, I would politely ask you, my lord, to permit me to carry out my duties without hindrance.”

The Monitor gave the Paladin a suspicious glare, then turned to his male companion, who in turn waved a hand at him.  “Let her do her job, my lord,” the Librarian murmured.  The Monitor blew an impatient blast of air through his nostrils, then made an impatient, dismissing gesture at the warrior, following behind her as she stepped through the opening doors.

Greetings, Bearers

Here’s the second part.  A little side note for you who have read the first: the story might need a few rough edges smoothed out, so if you spot any typos, feel free to let me know.  I’m trying to edit it myself as I go along, but if you’re an author yourself, you know how that goes…. 😀

Anyway, enjoy!  Part III will come out later this week!

J. Dean

 

“I have a visual, Librarian!”

The Paladin manipulated a series of controls, projecting what she saw upon the screen opposite her and drawing the attention of the other two to the flickering image.  The Monitor frowned at the picture, noting the faint outline of something resembling no ship with which he had familiarity.  The overall form was that of a large, rectangular object, smooth on all sides save for the bottom, which possessed a jagged, uneven edge.  Black, triangular panels spaced at regular intervals ran along the visible faces, covering almost all of the elongated exterior sides.

“I don’t recognize it,” he commented.

“We didn’t expect you to, my lord,” the Librarian answered, stepping away from the console.  “Standby for enhanced imaging, Paladin.”

The Monitor moved towards the overhead screen squinting as he examined the object: tall and relatively thin, without any evidence of spacecraft design.  “I don’t understand,” he murmured.  “This looks like no ship I’ve ever seen before.”

The Librarian paused from his rhythmic typing upon a series of multicolored studs on the far wall. “That’s because it’s not a ship, my lord,” he answered.

“Not a ship!? But how…?”

“Soon, my lord.  Enhance, Paladin.”

Upon the activation of a switch by the tall female, the image blinked, becoming a featureless green shadow of itself.  But something else appeared around the image.  “That circle…” the Monitor began, his finger tracing the closed arc that surrounded the object.  “That’s a Time Lock!”

“It is, my lord,” the Paladin replied, glancing up at him, then toward the Librarian with worried eyes.  The bald fellow waved her off.  “It’s alright, child,” the eldest being assured her.

What’s alright!?” The Monitor demanded.  “I want answers from you two, and I demand those answers right now!  What is that thing out there!?  And why is it encapsulated in a Time Lock!?”

“That thing,” answered the Librarian, “holds the answer to the problem which I and the Paladin overheard you posit to yourself after your final transmission to the Time Lords.  And as it requires the authorization of a Time Lord as high ranking as yourself, dear Monitor, to disengage a Time Lock, it was necessary for us to bring you to this place.”

The black eyes of the Monitor blazed with anger.  “You brought me out here to disengage a Time Lock encasing something I know nothing about!? And you—” the Monitor growled, glaring at the armor-clad female “you did not consider breaking this lock yourself!?”

“I could have, yes,” the Paladin replied softly.  “But I insisted to the Librarian that it be performed in accordance with our law.  Regardless of what has become of our beloved world, I demand that we still operate in a moral and legal fashion.  Yes, my lord, we could have undertaken this trek without you.  But as we are doing this for the sake of what is just and right, it seemed quite a hypocritical thing to perform evil in the name of good.  And I would not stand for that.”

The Monitor’s face softened—slightly.

“And,” the Librarian added, standing by his female accomplice, “isn’t that why we are here to begin with?  To undo the work of one of our own who has taken it upon himself to defy the very laws we have established as Gallifreyans?  To repair the damage he has done and retrieve our world, bringing it back into its proper physical place in the universe?”

With those words, the Monitor released a tense breath of air.  He glanced at the screen again, studying the bubbled object a second time.  “And I have your word that all will be explained to me should I disengage this lock.  No secrets, lies, or deceit?”

“You have our lives as much as you have our word, my lord,” the Librarian responded.  He pointed toward a black door measuring slightly more than a meter long on the wall near the craft’s entrance.  “The Paladin’s rifle is stored in there,” he continued.  “You may shoot me yourself if I do not disclose everything to you when we disengage the Lock.”

At this statement, the Paladin let out an alarmed gasp.  The Librarian held his ground, feeling her eyes lock upon him.  He responded with a subtle shake of his head, still watching the Monitor’s examining glare.  “Is that equitable for you, my lord?”

The dark-haired fellow reached into his robe, retrieving a small, cylindrical object composed of a deep, crimson metal.  “If it comes to that, my friend,” he answered in a low voice, “I will not need the Paladin’s weapon to expedite your departure.

**

Greetings, Bearers!

Here’s the next part of my little “teaser,” which I think I’m going to release section by section.  When it’s all finished, I’ll put the entire work into a PDF form, suitable for downloading.  Let me know what you think of it as it comes along!

And for my normal fans, don’t worry: I’m still working on the Vein, the short stories, and all of the other crazy ideas running around in my head 😀  

Enjoy and see you in the Vein… or maybe in the Time Vortex as well!

J. Dean

 

It shattered the Void.

In any other place, it might have gone unnoticed.  Amongst the stars, it would have registered as nothing more than another member of a bright cluster, winking into existence.  In the atmosphere of a planet, it would have cut through and blazed like a meteorite in its final moments of being.  Upon the surface of a thousand advanced worlds, it would have blended in with the finest and greatest of the technological achievements paraded in alien streets and squares.

But not here, not in a place marked only by infinite darkness, eternal nothingness that expanded in every direction, engulfing empty space in a smothering black not unlike the final thoughts of a child’s night terrors.  Here, it stood out in stark contrast to the nothing surrounding it, heralded by a pulsing, concentric ripple of blue rings that rippled from its point of entrance like the waves of a pond betraying a stone piercing its liquid surface.

As its shape suggested a metallic, spherical perfection unmarred by seam or portal, its artificiality was obvious to even the most primitive eye, and would not be in any way mistaken for a naturally formed celestial body.  Nor could its movement convey incidental entry into the Void; once it had cut into the black, it began to move in an intended direction, although attempting to give a designated name for its course would have proven to be meaningless, as no fixed points of reference existed in this place.  For all any onlooker would have guess, the pilots of the vessel had simply picked a trajectory inspired by nothing but arbitrary conjecture.

Within the vessel’s enormous central chamber—the size of which defied conventional laws of mathematics recognized by most races—stood three figures, their attention focused upon a cylindrical array of levers, buttons, and monitors which encircled a pulsing array of crystalline formations protruding from either end of a wide, vertical transparent tube.  One of the figures, a hairless male humanoid dressed in an elegant, scarlet robe embroidered with gold seams and cuffs, fidgeted with a row of switches, operating them as if attempting to play some alien musical instrument.

“Anything yet?” he asked.

To his right, a tall female donning a suit composed of dull grey segments form-fitted to her body glanced at a small, circular screen.  She frowned, then looked at him, her blond hair sliding off her shoulder.  “Nothing so far, Librarian.”

“Continue sending the pulse at regular intervals until detection is established.”

“Yes, Librarian.”

The third figure, another male with hints of wrinkles in his chiseled face and wearing a black robe not unlike that of his male companion in fashion (with the notable exception of the stiff, semicircular piece that rose behind his head like the upper half of a rising black sun) hovered over the Librarian’s shoulder, his coal pupils flickering from monitors to controls in rapid, repetitive movement.  “I don’t appreciate being kept in the dark about this,” he murmured.

“Soon, my lord,” the Librarian replied, turning to the younger being and flashing a hopeful smile.  “Soon we shall have our desired appointment.”

The dark-robed figure gave the female a stern glare.  “And you know the nature of our appointment, Paladin?” he asked.

“I—I do, my lord,” she stammered, averting his gaze.

“And you understand that I could order you to inform me of the specifics of this… appointment, with severe consequences to follow if you refused?”

She held her gaze to the central monitor, reading nothing but a singular blip—their vessel—at the center of an otherwise dark screen.  “I understand clearly, my lord,” she answered.  “And I would respectfully but firmly deny your request until given permission by the Librarian to do so.”

“Monitor,” the Librarian began, “I will reveal all to you in time.  You have my word.”

“Do I?” the Monitor boomed, pacing around the central control column.  He looked upon the other two with a furious scowl as he continued. “You overhear my final transmission to the Time Lords, including my own personal utterance which was not privy to your ears.  Then you step in and declare that you know of a potential way to make real the solution I whispered to what I thought was an audience of one—myself!  And yet here you are, informing me, who outrank the both of you combined—Don’t you dare give me that look, Librarian!  Your age and wisdom do not replace the political authority bequeathed upon me!—you both inform me that I cannot know the details of this solution before they come to pass!”

With fury, he shook his fist at the monitor just above his head, an octagonal screen registering only a blue point of light at its center, the same picture seen by the Paladin.  “As if flying through the Void using questionable means wasn’t foolhardy enough,” he continued while pressing massaging fingers into his temples.  “I’ve had a headache for the past six days,” he muttered.  “A miracle my hearts have not quit on me.”

“Shall I retrieve something medicinal for you?” the Librarian suggested.

The not-quite-older man gave his companion a quizzical look.  “Such as?”

“I’ve quite an assortment of painkillers that would work.  Perhaps a—”

“Librarian!” The Paladin announced, “Contact!”

“Oh! Pardon me, my lord! I must see this…”

The hairless fellow maneuvered to the female’s side, following her intent gaze.  There it was: a hazy, yellow blip somewhere ahead, not quite possessing the strength of brightness displayed by the centered blip of the ship itself. “Readings?” he asked.

“Difficult to establish anything more than general size.  Measures seventy meters in height and nearly four times that in length.  But all other scans register nothing conclusive.”

“That has to be it,” the Librarian announced, pounding his fist against the console.  “Intercept course.”

The Monitor stood behind them, staring at the targeted blip.  “Look,” he began, “I confess to having very little skill in navigation or exploration, but even I realize that an inconclusive scan is just that.  How do you know for a fact that that’s your intended destination?”

“I know, my lord.  I know.”

“But other things have made their way into the Void! Daleks! Cybermen! For all you know, this could be one of their vessels!”

“A possibility, my old friend,” the Librarian nodded, patting the Monitor’s shoulder as he returned to his original station on the other side.  “But I think that unlikely, and when we come closer you’ll see why.”

The Monitor scowled at him.  “And if you thought wrong?”

A thin smile filled the Librarian’s face.  “Then we won’t live long to regret it, will we.”

Greetings, Bearers!

First, a shout out to the recent converts to the Vein series, who have obtained my works!  A big thank-you to all of you fans, both new and old! I hope you enjoy what you’ve been reading so far, and look forward to hearing from you!  Enjoy the stories and spread the word!

And now… for something a little different.  In-between the time spent writing the Vein novels and Surrealities short stories and Hutch Sheridan detective stories and even some non-fiction things, I’ve gotten an idea for a short fan fic piece, one that shouldn’t take very long to write.  This one won’t be put up on Smashwords or Amazon; only put up here later on as a pdf attachment to read for your enjoyment.  It’s in the stages of infancy right now, and in part you can thank my kids for it, as they’ve discovered a scifi show that’s quite iconic and enjoyable–for them and me.

I’m going to go now.  If you’re curious about it, look below my signature… and let your mind wander 😀

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Heart of gold, in goodness be bold

Hold fast to the right and the true

Lest your soul be sold, and a tattle be told

And the Keeper one night comes for you

 

-A Gallifreyan bedtime rhyme

Greetings, Bearers!

I have another entry from the Vein compendium, another weapon used in the World of the Vein, this one coming from our beloved Juvan clan.  This one will be first making an appearance in The Summoning of Kran, due out this year.  Enjoy!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Slipdisc-A slipdisc is a weapon of Juvan origin and is a common item found among many of the inhabitants of Al-Juva, although not all slipdiscs have the same capacities (see variations below).  Though not as rare as other weapons such as Fyryn warblades, slipdiscs are uncommon in the post-war Meridian landscape, and finding one is fortuitous, particularly if the weapon is in perfect working order.

 

The Juvan slipdisc is, as its name implies, a disc with a diameter and circumference that approximates the area of a Juvan palm in size.  The disc is tucked away into a sleeve which is secured around the user’s wrist with buttons, Velcro-type adhesive material, or (in the cases of lower end variations of the weapon) swaddled strips of cloth.  The sleeve is designed to be concealed beneath long-sleeved attire such as shirts or coats, thus providing the user with the element of surprise should the slipdisc need to be employed in unexpected times of need.  Threaded through the center of the disc is a durable, elastic cord, which prevents the wielder from losing the slipdisc during use.

 

 The slipdisc is activated by a quick flick of the user’s wrist, which in turn dislodges the disc from its sleeve and triggers the disc’s power core.  This is evidenced by a glow which covers the circumference of the disc itself, allowing the user to know whether or not the weapon is ready for deployment.  The color of this glow varies depending upon the type of slipdisc utilized and the strength and capacity of the core itself (see below).

 

Once the slipdisc is activated, the wielder uses it primarily (but not exclusively) through a variety of throwing techniques usually intended to bring the disc itself into contact with the intended target, after which the disc can be withdrawn back to the user via manipulation of the cord.  The number of techniques is highly diverse, and can involve anything as simple as an arcing attack (in which the user swings the weapon in a wide, circular arc) or a more complex technique such as a “whipsnap” (in which the user flings the disc straight out and quickly pulls the hand back, thus causing the disc to strike and retract in a manner similar to the tip of a whip).  Use of a slipdisc even with nothing more than minimal proficiency requires a considerable amount of time in practice, as its construction and mechanics make it a weapon of significant complexity.  Although the slipdisc sleeve renders the weapon harmless to its user in terms of power displacement, care must still be used in controlling the disc, as an inexperienced user can still experience self-inflicted bruises (and in some cases fractured bones or even concussions) due to negligent usage.

 

There are three particular types of slipdiscs.  The first type is a “null” slipdisc, which emits a dull, green glow on its edge.  This disc is more or less a practice disc and can do no real energy-based harm to any Beings it comes into contact with, although it is heavy enough when properly utilized to inflict painful blows due to its weight.  The null slipdisc is used by beginning users and in personal practice sessions.

 

The second type is the civilian-type slipdisc.  This model is characterized by the white glow on its edge, and can be found in larger models, with discs two to three times larger than the standard-issue disc.  The civilian disc carries an energy charge strong enough to render a Being unconscious, and can even be used to kill another Being should the disc be repeatedly struck against an already unconscious victim (although more advanced users have discovered other means of killing with the weapon through experimenting with different, unorthodox techniques).  This model is available to Juvan civilians in most cities, although some places require a competency test for obtaining one.

 

The third type is the elite-type slipdisc, available only to members of military and law enforcement.  This type, like the civilian, has different sizes of discs available, but emits an orange (or in some cases red) glow on its edge.  The elite-type slipdisc is the only type which can alternate settings between an attack which renders the target unconscious and an attack which can kill on contact.  Some models of the elite-type (usually military-grade models) also have a bladed edge which establishes them as being used solely for the purpose of taking life, and can also be modified to discharge a laser-type energy, enabling them to cut through some solid objects.