jeriendhal: (Default)
So I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to all the RPG's and comics I collected during my teens and 20's. Hell, I've still got a couple of long boxes with carefully bagged copies of the entire run of Marvel's disastrous New Universe comics. And most of my old RPG's, including relatively rare stuff like Victory Game's James Bond RPG, TSR's MSH, FASA's 1st and 2nd editions of Star Trek and tons of supplements.

Some of it I ditched, like obscure things such as Star Ace, and some more famous stuff, like 1st ed. Paranoia, 2nd ed. Gamma World, and.... unfortunately... TSR's Star Frontiers. All I have from that series is a few modules that escaped the sweep. And finding copies of a 35 year old, relatively unpopular RPG is gonna be expensive if I want to restore that piece of my teen years. Sigh

(and yeah, I know the original RPG is available as a DRM free pdf, but it isn't the same as holding the original books in my hands.) :(
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
 Since I can't get my brain in gear to write anything original right now, please enjoy a fake news story about a non-existent person on an imaginary show.

* * *

Actor Mikhayiyl Sabbagh announced today that is he was leaving the  popular Military caste comedy Ship’s Mess, after portraying the beloved Wesley “Wes” Wasem for  eight seasons, serving longer than any of the cast aside from lead actor Mit Brightclaw. In his statement Sabbagh strongly dismissed rumors of a pay dispute, stating “I love working on Ship’s Mess, and have the utmost respect for all my friends on the cast and the producers. But eight years doing anything is enough, and I didn’t want to wear out Wes’ welcome.”

Sabbagh, one of the few wazagans regularly working the foxen entertainment industry, began his career is a character actor, where his stony features and larger than average build usually typecast him as heavies in productions on Wazaga and Human Prime. After about fifteen years of this he met his wife-to-be, foxen actress Fivah Fieldsmith, on the set of the wazagan serial drama Death by the Numbers. They married about a year later, and he moved with her back to Foxen Prime.

When Fieldsmith was cast as the perpetually furious Lt. Hardpaw on Ship’s Mess, she persuaded Sabbagh, who was having trouble breaking into the business on Foxen Prime, to take up the bit part of Wes, the stowaway wazagan living in the FNS Ice Lick’s galley cupboard.

“It was only supposed to be a one-off gag, and my grasp of the Mother Tongue back then was terrible, which is why all my dialog was garbled,” Sabbagh explains, with typical modesty. “But I got a lot of laughs, so they decided to keep me on.”

By the end of the season, Wes had emerged as one of the most popular characters of the long running series. Living in the galley cupboard (which was later revealed to be connected to the Admiral’s Quarters) and emerging occasionally to spout a nigh incomprehensible (and inevitably mistranslated) mixture of Arabic, English, and Southern Wazini at the rest of the cast, the character was an instant hit with both cubs and adults.

Though Wes did attract some controversy from critics for being a broad stereotype, Sabbagh defends his portrayal. “Everybody in the show was a stereotype,” he points out. “I had a blast playing Wes, and the rest of the cast always treated me with respect, on and off the set. That’s all I care about.”

With Fieldsmith’s departure from the show two seasons ago, Wes’ appearances have been infrequent, as Sabbagh returned to drama. Most recently he portrayed the Father of Night in the video adaptation of The Walls Between the Worlds, and on Light Street, appearing as Saber, in the acclaimed revival of Dockyard Stories.  

As for what’s next for him, Sabbagh states, “I’m working on a period piece with Fivah, adapting The Visitors for the screen. We’re hoping to start a successful funding campaign next year, and start filming a few months after that.”

And would he consider playing Wes again, if the chance came up?

“Hey, so long as there’s room in the cupboard for me, I’ll be there.”
jeriendhal: (Default)


You’d think after a year and a half of talking to myself I’d be ready to shut the fuck up, but nope. Turns out that the shrinks at NASA want me to keep a running log of my “reintegration experiences” now that I’m back on the Ares with honest to God other human beings to talk to. Apparently there were “some concerns” after they had a chance to read through the log entries I’d copied and brought back with me during that looney rollercoaster ride on the MAV up to Ares.

Homeward Bound )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Love on the beach... and the rocks.

Lady Melanie Lovejoy's former life as the vivacious space pirate the Red Vixen is over. Escaping the consequences of her criminal career proves more difficult, as her husband, Rolas, is seeming to reconsider the wisdom of marrying a vixen with such a checkered past. But he proves to have his own secrets, as a lover from his troubled youth returns to the scene.

Trying to reconcile their past lives, Melanie and Rolas leave on a sailing trip to work things out. However, after an unexpected storm strands their boat and leaves Rolas critically injured, Melanie must fight for both their lives. For there is a monster here, and it needs the two shipwrecked foxen for its own plans, in the final exciting entry of the
Red Vixen Adventures!

The Red Vixen at Sea is available for $2.99 exclusively through, and will release on May 26th, 2017.

(sorry about the crap cover art. I'll fix it when the opportunity presents itself.)
jeriendhal: (Default)
Just some quick, slightly spoilery reviews on three novels by Ryk E. Spoor that I’ve been delaying writing while I Dealt With Things.

Spheres of Influence: The second book in Spoor’s Grand Central Arena series finds our heroine Ariane Austin facing with an enemy she is ill equipped to deal with, government bureaucrats. This book expands on the GCA universe quite a bit, showing the reaction back in Earth’s solar system as humanity finds itself in a first contact situation with the Arena’s many races, which range from hostile to nominally friendly, but all with their own agendas. We also get more details on the Hyperion Project, which produced the series’ literally designated antihero Dr. Marc Duquesne. In this novel we’re also introduced to Sun WuKong, another of Hyperion’s attempts to recreate the heroes of literature and other media, plus one Hyperion’s great failures, Maryanne Suzanna. Yes, “Mary Sue”. Designed to fit that stereotype and… er… less than happy about it.

Actually Suzanna is one of few weaknesses of the book. She’s built up as a major threat by Duquesne and other characters, but when we finally meet her she basically says “Hi” and heads off again. Admittedly this can be put off as Middle Book syndrome, but it was a little disappointing.

Ignoring that, SoI is a pretty fun book, keeping with series’ dedication to high adventure, high stakes, and Sensawunda. I’m looking forward to finally reading the next one.

Phoenix Ascendant: The third and likely final book in Spoor’s Balanced Sword trilogy, sees Kyri Vantage, last true Justiciar of the dying god of Justice and Vengeance, returning to her homeland with her friends to finally clean house of the remaining false Justiciars and defeat the forces evil that threaten to destroy the world.

With one caveat, I’ll say that I enjoyed the book and was satisfied with the ending, since it keeps with the trilogy’s philosophy of forgiveness towards truly repentant enemies. Unfortunately that caveat has to do with the final battle against the true power behind all of Kyri’s enemies, the evil shapeshifting god, Virigar.

Yep, same Virigar from Spoor’s early novel Paradigms Lost, whom Jason Wood nearly took out with a bucket of silver nitrate.

I suppose my problem was that I was listening to this as an audiobook rather than reading it. Throughout the trilogy Spoor made it clear the nominally AD&D based world owed a lot to such anime as DragonBall Z and Saint Seiya, so when the final battle with Virigar begins, it lasts at least five chapters that I recall, with many twists and turns and changes in the tide of battle. Unfortunately as it went on, I was less amazed than shouting “Oh, come ON!” as our heroes lost all of their previous Genre Savvy knowledge and assumed at least three or four times that surely he had to be dead this time. Suffice to say a fight against someone with instantaneous healing abilities and a tendency to gloat gets really, really annoying as it goes on, especially since I couldn’t skim pages.

That said, if you’re into those sort of tremendous battles I suppose you might find it fun, and aside from that the rest of the book was really good.

Boundary: Written with Eric Flint, this novel follows a disparate team of people, coming together to investigate evidence of the remains of an advanced alien base hidden on Mars’ moon Phobos, which is connected to a bizarre fossil find in the American Southwest.

Ugh. This one just left me cold. Nominally it’s a hard science fiction novel, and some bits such as the deciphering of the Bemmy language were well done, but none of the characters grabbed me and the endless Tom Clancy-ish infodumps were tedious to get through.
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)

Just attempting to codify some of the worldbuilding I've done over the years, starting with the tech.

* * *

Tech Level
: In general the G:RVA tech level is TL9-11, following the Safe-Tech path (p. UT10), with some gravity related superscience additions.

Cut for the RPG disinterested )
jeriendhal: (Default)

SCENE: We start in medias res inside Lord Dark’s Air Fortress. The animation style looks to be the height of mid-1980’s syndicated cartoons.

Assuming it was done by Filmation.

Towards the end of the season.

When the budget was getting a bit tight.

Two WAZAGANS, NEZ the TECHNOMAGE and CHEEKO the PIRATE-NINJA, run down the hallway, pursued by SIR ANIMOSITY and several ROBO-CRUSADERS. The two wazagans skid to a halt as they reach a dead end.

From here it gets rough... )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
 Note: This is my third or fourth attempt to write this story. Hopefully this time it'll work.

* * *

She woke up from the nightmare of blood, to find herself in a nightmare of pain.

It had been the usual dream, the pile of bodies, smoking and smelling of burnt flesh. She would cough and choke on the horrible smoke, claws scratching at the steel walls of the room, desperate to find a way out. But the walls were solid. There were no doors to allow her to escape. Eventually the smoke thickened and she tripped over the bodies, falling into them, dead arms and legs tangling with her own, trapping her, choking her, until she woke up again in the Relentless’ bunkroom, trying not to scream and earn another beating.

She blinked, realized she was awake. A brief bout of panic overcame her as she felt the harsh florescent light shine in her face. Was she late for duty call? She tried to roll out of bed to her feet, only then discovering the heavy nylon straps holding her naked to an examination table in an unfamiliar sickbay.

Captured and rescued )
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Good afternoon. I’m Maureen al Jabar and it’s Election Day, Tuesday, November 10th, Three Thousand Five Hundred and Fifty-Seven. While the polls are still open, today’s United States in Exile presidential election, the third since the Awakening fourteen years ago, is shaping up to have a historically low turnout. Despite the recently mandated six month early voting period, and massive Get Out the Vote efforts, Regional election commissions are all reporting that only between ten and fifteen percent of eligible voters are expected to vote by the time the polls close at midnight.

Combined with a severe lack of polling data, and the current four-way contest between the Democratic, New Republican, Conservative, and the recently formed Humanity First parties is too close to call….

With humanity’s subjugation under the Groupmind, nation states suffered a severe blow. Traditionally, nations existed to provide military defense, social assistance, and a general framework of laws and values. Since the Awakening on the Ring, military forces have been outlawed, and basic social needs such as healthcare and food are handled by the Groupmind directly. Laws and values are still nominally under the control of the recreated governments, but even they have taken a blow, with cash based economies no longer existing and crime reduced to social transgressions, since acts of violence are no longer possible and few illegal goods are even available to be smuggled or sold. With few threats beyond the Groupmind itself, many nations are wobbling towards dissolution as their reasons for existence disappear. In their place are emerging groups based around more up to date memes than can be offered by nations. With the large land area offered by the Ring, many are taking advantage of the space to create new communities, and new ways of life.

Read more... )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Wrote a up prologue to The Visitors, which I want to try and finish before beating my head against a potential For Your Safety novel.


“You know, vacations are usually for relaxation,” Melanie observed dryly. Rolas’ wife was dressed in Commoner culottes and a crop top shirt, sitting in half-lotus atop a workbench in the car barn, one leg dangling idly over the edge. The wooden barn held a small steam tender Rolas had been puttering over for the past week, the large doors propped open to let a breeze into the un-air conditioned space.

Rolas was finishing lowering a superheater tube into the boiler of the small, colorfully painted narrow-gauge steam engine, his shirt off, dressed only in his shorts and a pair of heavy leather foot protectors to save his toes from being sliced off by errant bits of iron.

“This is relaxing,” he said, biceps straining under his brown pelt, paws holding on tight to the chain running through the block and tackle. He lowered the tube down the last few centimeters into its waiting slot, and then secured the loose end of the chain to a bolt set in a nearby pillar.

“It’d be more relaxing if you used a proper tractor-pressor unit to save you from all of that work,” she pointed out.

“I’m trying to use original materials and techniques while I restore this,” he replied proudly, slipping the foot protectors off and setting them on the workbench.

“The original Mr. Puff is sitting in a museum back in town. The one you’re working on is a replica that was built two hundred years ago using modern techniques,” Melanie said, hopping off the bench and pressing up against him. Rolas smelled very male today, sweating from the work and summer’s heat, with a perfume of machine oil.

“Principle’s the same,” he replied, voice a bit muffled as he nuzzled her neck. She let out a pleased purr, her tail waving happily as he pushed her back against the workbench, feeling his paw reach under her shirt to stroke her back. Yes, with just the two of them here, without even servants at this small country estate in the deep woods, well away from the nearest town, this was the most privacy they’d had since their children had gone to visit their aunts on Greenholme.

Mmmm, hmm. Less engineering, more sex,” Melanie advised, nibbling his ear tip.

Rolas snorted a laugh into her pelt. “Not even advanced hydraulics?”

“Well that I could get into…”

We interrupt this scene for a bit of family history. )
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Planning the assault had taken two years, and that was after spending three years carefully examining the transmission patterns of morphs all across the Ring, proving Professor Kurylkin’s theory that the Groupmind had to have a central processor controlling the morphs. From there it had been another year of reconnaissance, finally locating the Central Tower, in the middle of what had been wryly named OZ, for the location was an green oasis surrounded by a hundred kilometers of searing desert.

Getting past the desert had meant infiltrating the high security of the Ring Transit System, then walking that last hundred kilometers in tunnels designed to accommodate morphs, not men. Tyler has lost three of his twelve man team, snatched by morphs or like Jansen just disappearing around a corner, gone in an instant by the time the next man came round.

Then of course they’d had to climb the Tower, a windowless, two kilometer tall structure, encased in black Ring metal ten meters thick. The air had been freezing cold, keeping the computers that lined the tower’s wall functioning. The climb, without elevators, only access ladders and stairwells, had taken nearly a week as they dodged security morphs, or more often didn’t. By the time they’d reached the penultimate floor, Tyler’s team was down to three.

By the time he reached the top, the only one left was himself.

Sometimes the Groupmind is kind of a dick. )
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Continuing work on Wake Up Call, and I've just gotten to the bit where our still unnamed protagonist is guided to his new apartment. Which leaves the question of what kind of physical security a place with 24 hour Panopticon level monitoring would really need. Which actually brings up just how much monitoring there is.

Not sure about this yet. Especially since the story is starting to get a cozy murder mystery vibe.

Potential Monitoring Levels

No Privacy: Cameras outside the home, cameras inside the home, and your morph is constantly watching you either directly or via remote monitors. Yes, even in the bedroom and bathroom. With fifteen billion humans to monitor the Groupmind is pretty much beyond shock at this point. Rather unmerciful and it kills any chance at real rebellion.

Limited Privacy: Even if it isn't true, everyone assumes that they're monitored 24/7 once they step outside their home, especially with their morphs tagging along. Inside their home there's some privacy. Aside from cameras associated with their home's com/entertainment system, there's the morphs, but otherwise bathroom and bedroom privacy is somewhat guaranteed (though more than one attempt at either suicide or spousal abuse has discovered that morphs have both excellent hearing and the ability to monitor stress levels in someone's voice.)

Which leads to locks on the doors...

Standard Locks: Operating on a failsafe system, all locks are electronic in nature, opening on detection of proper biometrics (facial, hand or thumbprint, or voice recognition). In the very unlikely event of a power failure, any lock releases automatically. Locks requiring physical keys no longer exist, and if some bright tinkerer tries to recreate them, they're going to get the Groupmind's negative attention shortly.

No Locks: None. Seriously. Assuming No Privacy mode and a Post-Scarcity society why would you even need them? Anyone trying to steal anything would be caught immediately, and the morphs are smart enough to keep Billy out of the medicine cabinet, or the bedroom when mom and dad need their non-existent privacy.

What could possibly go wrong?
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
“The Mother Goddess bless Her children on this day. On this darkest day, Winter begins. On this coldest day the sun hangs low. In the Cold and Dark we tremble, and in the Cold and Dark we see the Mother Goddess’ warming fire, and know that She and it preserve us.” the Countess Matri Darktail intoned, as Melanie watched with her husband Rolas, from the circle of witness standing around her, in Darktail Manor’s holy arbor. As was traditional, the ceremony was held in the pre-dawn twilight, witnesses from the Houses of vassal lords, from the various professions of the Service caste, and Commoners both notable and chosen at random, all watching as the Countess conducted the ceremony in nothing more than the fur she was born with, demonstrating both her piety and that they all appeared the same in the Mother Goddess’ eyes. It made Melanie grateful for the heavy coat she wore, over the curve of her gravid belly.

A time to forgive. )
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Working on this again now that I've put The Red Vixen at Sea to bed, at least until I can get cover art made.

Part One

“Sir,” the mousemorph said gently, “you haven’t looked up yet.” It reached over and closed the lawn umbrella, letting him see the sky as he tilted his head back, grabbing the edge of the table even as the little morph steadied the chair, keeping him from falling backwards as a wave of vertigo overwhelmed him. Oh, God. The bastard really did it.

The Earth loomed in the sky overhead, appearing to be over eight times the size of the moon, visible through the blue haze of the sky and clouds, a blue and brown giant looking like it couldn’t possibly hang in the air,. He started hyperventilating, his mind overwhelmed as it tried to reorient itself to understand what he was seeing. He was looking down at the Earth, not up, despite what his inner ear was telling him, pinned by centrifugal force to the inner side of the Ring. Still gripping the edge of the table to hold himself steady, he turned his head, finally seeing how the ground rose up miles away to his left and to his right, and the curve of the Ring formed into an impossibly tall arch, wrapping itself all the way around the Earth and back again.

More behind the cut. )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
The sun was falling into the sea when rescue finally arrived. Rolas remained face down in the sand, exhausted from his ordeal, the remains of the ardalian’s tentacle hanging from his spine like an obscene second tail. Melanie left him briefly to grab the first aid kit and walk up the stairs for the fifth bloody time to check on the wazagan. It was still shuddering and otherwise unresponsive, though it had stopped crying and muttering to herself. Melanie gave it a shot of a universal anti-shock medication, and the poor creature finally fell into an exhausted sleep.

Letting go of old pain. )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Fourth time's the charm, Melanie thought to herself, looking at the stairs again with distaste. But there were four tentacles in the sand, curving around the bay where the ardalian had to be hiding, leading up the stairs to the altar. She had to wonder at that. Surely there was no real reason why attaching a puppeteer tentacle to a victim had to be done at the highest point of the island. Perhaps it was a tradition. The presence of the stone altar slab certainly pointed to that.

She decided to worry about it later. For now, Melanie had a task. Even better, she could do it at the bottom of the stairs instead of climbing all the way to the top to confront the ardalian’s puppets. So she set her improvised spear into the sand, and drew out her real weapon from her pocket.

Any tool can be a weapon, in the right hands. )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
The worst was the bit with the reef. The lifejacket’s little AI was bound and determined to keep her facing tail towards the the water, snout in the air, which made it difficult to watch and time the waves, and start kicking in a one armed backstroke as they crested the reef. She only barely managed it, feeling her tail catch in the sharp coral as she swam clear, managing to avoid by some miracle of the Mother Goddess ripping her back open on it. The retreating waves threatened to carry past the boat itself, but she managed to tangle her arms with the sail’s lines, then wrapped her arms and legs around the mast itself.

And now for the really stupid part. Feeling her fingers already growing stiff in the cold surf, she yanked at the manual release catches for the lifejacket. It let out an electronic wail of protest as she slipped off, its complaints soon carried with it away in the waves.

Diving for Chekov's Gun )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Sheer terror propelled Melanie back the way they had come, running away from the bay, past the dock, and back around again to Windskimmer’s next to the last resting place. She stopped there, falling to her knees by the tree with the boat’s anchor rope still wrapped around it, dislocated shoulder aching in pain.

They had captured Rolas. He was going to be turned into one of the ardalian’s puppets, unable to control his own body, his mind free to watch in horror as the creature used it. She had a horrible vision of him coming towards her, tentacle leash dragging behind him, arms outstretched, only his eyes betraying his terror as he was used to hunt her down.

No plan, no tools, no hope. )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Well that’s completely non-reassuring, she thought, stifling a sudden urge to giggle in hysteria. The only saving grace they had at the moment was that they were still hidden, and their opponents were both unarmed and sickly looking. Still, it’s two to one, neither of us are in full health either, and even a half-dead wazagan has a significant advantage in strength over either of us. Mother Goddess she wished she still Alinadar. Even unarmed the little bodyguard would have made short work of all these creatures.

She backed up further, rising to a crouch with Rolas as they went deeper into the trees and brush. Melanie gripped his paw tightly, listening as the quartet called out again for their surrender.

“What do we do?” Rolas asked softly, when they were perhaps ten meters distant.

Good question )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
With a mutual yelp of surprise, they both hopped back away from the… Yes indeed, it was a tentacle, rising up out of the sand to form a curved, rubbery bar about a meter in the air in front of them, one end still leading into the ocean, the other into the trees, with lots of noisy rustling as it pushed aside more sand, leaves and fallen branches.

Melanie was the first to act, her fatigue suddenly banished in sheer terror. Grabbing Rolas by the wrist, she started dragging him into the trees, well clear of the tentacle, as the sound of something crashing through the undergrowth reached their ears. She dropped flat to the ground, Rolas beside her, as a figure emerged.

From bad to worse )

September 2017

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