There’s lots of writing lists I see (on tumblr, wordpress, lots of places) and I’ve divided them into two categories.
- Really useful
- Really degrading
Really useful: These lists are the really good lists. The lists that describe how to go about creating a world and the things you need in the story and the things you don’t need in the story (like background information that might be needed at some point, but it’s not important to know right away). How to write people, which is the best group of lists. Even descriptions of people’s race, like avoiding describing someone using food. Like chocolate. Chocolate reminds me of food, not a person. Writing accents is also really useful to know, or if someone has a speech impediment (pro tip: don’t write out a full lisp, it’s a pain in the ass to the reader, it’s a mistake I made, and I try not to do that now, just write “so and so has a lisp” readers are smart enough to fill in the blanks).
Really degrading: Degrading is a misleading term. I think a better one might be that these kinds of lists treat people like a four year old. Writers aren’t stupid either, and telling them something that involves common sense, such as checking spelling and then have someone else check it over. I read one list that said “you have to pay to get things spell checked”. No you don’t. First, you use your spell checker, scrutinizing each word. There may be words that are a city or a town, but make sure they are all spelled the same. And yeah, you could pay someone who’s professional to do the spell checking and editing, but ya know what? The people who are going to read books are the ones who don’t work as editors. If you’re a first time author, you probably have a friend or two that can read over your stuff (get two, because one person will pick up on something the other didn’t). Readers know what they like and they know what makes sense. As I said before, readers are not stupid.
It’s also very insulting to tell a writer “delete your first three chapters, always, because that’s just filler crap anyway”. Really? It is. That depends on who’s doing the reading. Some people enjoy that “background filler crap”. What a first time writer needs to do is prepare to delete a lot, but also write more. There will be certain areas of a book where the less is more concept, so pairing down your description is a good idea. You may reread a scene later and find it just a bit clunky. Don’t stress over the fact that it may need a rewrite. There may also be scenes that you need to expand upon, to convey emotion, to explain a feeling, or describe a room that’s important.
This concept of always making your characters charming also rubs me the wrong way. What I see as charming and someone else sees as charming are two completely different things. Someone may find a character charming while I find them to be a complete douchebag.
First person: I though you said this book was good.
Second person: It is. The main character is so charming.
First person: Really? I found him to be an overbearing, useless douchecanoe.
In the end, the only one who’s going to tell your story is you. You have to write it, so go write it. And when you’re done, read it. And read it again. And edit stuff you feel doesn’t make sense or feels clunky. Because here’s the really neat thing. You’re writing, but you also happen to be a reader. And readers are smart. Get a close friend to read it, because there are people out there that you know that are willing to read it (just make sure that if and when you finish the edits and publish the book you get that friend a copy of your book, preferably signed ’cause people tend to like that).
Ah, I just thought of a better term. Instead of degrading, it would probably be better to say condescending. But in the long run the only one who is going to be able to get your story written and into the hands of readers is you. The way you write is completely different from the way I write, which is completely different from the way a best selling author writes. Push aside all of this stuff that holds dreams of being a best selling author and just write. Write something new and different, because people always want something new and different. No matter what bullshit market research tries to spin.
When I originally wrote Black Mask & Pale Rider, I just wrote and based a lot of the story on aspects of spaghetti westerns with a little fantasy tossed in (a lot actually, considering the main characters are elves and possess magic). I didn’t do proper research at the time.
I made a lot of mistakes as well. I’m still proud of the end result of this first book, but there’s a lot that should and could be changed. Prime examples are falling into a role play trap of writing out the accents fully. That’s one thing I’ll change, especially with Pania’s. All I really need to do is describe her accent as a lilting Irish accent and people should understand. Shani has ended up with an Arkansas drawl, and while I’ll tone down the accent, there’s still things I call Shani-isms I’ll still keep. “Crap on a stick”, “Hotter ‘n a June bug on a smooth rock”, “I’m so parched, I swear there’s more water in a desert”, and so forth. I actually learned that before while writing Rocket Fox and realizing that I didn’t need to write out Senia’s lisp. It would actually be better and easier not to, and instead just describe that yes, Senia speaks with a lisp. Trust the reader to add that in.
Thanks to research, I’ve been able to change certain things about the characters, all the while adding in two new ones, and including three familiars (or companions). Shani along with her sister Wren will have some customs that are much more akin to Metis in Canada. There’s Abisayo who will have a lot of memories living with elves (and, of course, being an elf) that associated with Yoruba people in West Africa. The reason for that is because different cultures have similar folklore. Elves are an incredibly broad ranging race that many different cultures had stories about. From the Celts to the Norse to the different people of Africa, toward Asia as well, and onto North America. It can be argued that even pre and post Islamic cultures had folklore about elves. There are many stories about djinn and those creatures being called spirits. Many of those descriptions aren’t that far off from the descriptions of elves, pixies and fae folk from European cultures.
While I’m doing this, adding in the extra information and cultural references as back story for Black Mask & Pale Rider, I still need to ensure that I’m being as respectful as I can to the original cultures. And the people of colour in the book. No describing skin as “chocolate” or “creamy”, which reminds me more of a fetish than the actual description of a person.
I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, and it’ll be a while before the first book is released. I just need to push aside my current addiction and I’ll be fine.
Damn you, Skyrim!
One of the things I wished to add to the rewrite of Black Mask & Pale Rider is a series of poems introducing an aspect of the story. For example, the introduction of Shani and the backstory of Scales, her shoulder dragon. Most would call him a wyrmling or a psuedodragon, but he thinks of himself no different than one of the grand dragons. Even if he is only three feet tall from the tip of his snout to the tip of his tail.
To get a good idea of this, just imagine this…
…is sitting on the shoulder of this elven gunslinger…
Story of Scales
Some things grand can be very small
We often never see them
We are not looking at all
To not look, we will miss them
When one would think of dragons
We think of the grand old beasts
Filled with rage, myths of bygones
Fear or wisdom is what rests
But not all dragons are grand
When one thinks purely of size
The smallest of wings to end
Many times come as a surprise
Wyrmling, pseudo, names given
But not one are really true
They are dragons, believe in
The stories elders tell you
One such dragon lives now
The faithful guide of an elf
A rogue who saved him and how
A cage, sat on bandit shelf
His name, it is different
In the old dragon kind tongue
His name was given, was sent
One that all could rely on
Scales is the name he is called
Companion to a gun hand
Dragon of faith to behold
A name written in the sand.
Researching for a rewrite of a book can be time consuming and exhausting, however, it can also be rewarding.
When I began Black Mask & Pale Rider, it was just a simple story. Now I realize it can be a lot more than just a simple story. It can be something that can educate as well. The elves of this story had to be different, as did the characters. The first step was breaking from tradition and making the main characters female. The second step was giving Shani and Pania backgrounds in folklore and myth. Which I did find. The third step came (happily) when I began to learn a little bit about other folklore from different cultures, and I decided that this story doesn’t need just two elves, but three. And then four.
And so, Shani and Pania are joined by Wren, Shani’s sister. On their world Wren in a Consoler, sort of like an undertaker with full armour, a sword and an ability to perform medical needs. Wren is sort of like the classic Dungeons and Dragons cleric, dressed in full plate armour and carrying a sword and a shield. Wren most likely won’t be wearing full plate, or carrying a shield, but she’s still very much like a classic cleric.
And then, I came up with the idea for the fourth character. Abisayo Temilolu, a Yoruba elf, who comes from Nigeria and captured and sold into the slave trade. Shani, Pania and Wren find her and free her and Abisayo joins the four (safety in numbers, expecially with your own people). Abisayo’s name means (based on my research) born into joy; while her last name means Surrounded by God. With that meaning I decided quite quickly that Abisayo would in fact be a paladin. She is a holy warrior from her people. To that end, the other three elves would feel much safer having her with them.
So these elves aren’t your basic Tolkien style elves, nor are they the basic Dungeons and Dragon elves. They come from actual myth. And yes, Yoruba and Iroquois had folklore about elves. Abisayo is the only character that I did research for a name and a meaning that fit. The other three characters all have their names written long ago.
Abisayo Temilolu, Yoruba elf.
Born into joy; Surrounded by God.
From African Archives
(iii) The Spirits
Spirits are believed to be apparitional entities which form a separate category of beings from divinities and ancestors. The Yoruba regard them as powers which are almost abstract entities that take on human shape. They are usually associated with natural phenomena like trees, rocks, rivers, lagoons, forests, bushes, hills, earth, mountains, winds, dark groves and unusual places, and these become their abode. These spirits may even inhabit animals or birds or snakes. Such objects as they inhabit are regarded as having certain mysterious powers and they may become the emblems of the spirits. The objects may be used in the preparation of magic and medicine in the belief that they possess magical significance because of the spirits residing in them.47
The spirits come under various names such as Ajija or Aja (spirit of whilrlwind with knowledge of the use of herbs), Aroni (a spirit with one leg that teaches the use of herbs), Egbere (a smallish elf that carries a small mat and weeps all the time), oro (spirits of trees), ebora, iwin (a fairy believed to live in the ground, rock, forest or hill). The actual position of these spirits in Santería and Candomblé‚ requires further investigation. But among the Yoruba, they have real existence and they can be good or bad, beneficent or malevolent. Consequently, they are propitiated out of fear. They neither have priests nor festivals like the divinities and they assume no universal worship. That may explain why they do not command much attention in the diaspora.
Shani and Wren Wennemein; half European French, half Iroquois.
The little Elves of Darkness, so says the old Iroquois Grandmother, were wise and mysterious. They dwelt under the Earth, where were deep forests and broad plains. There they kept captive all the evil things that wished to injure human beings,—the venomous snakes, the wicked spiders, and the fearful monsters. Sometimes one of these evil creatures escaped and rushed upward to the bright, pure air, and spread its poisonous breath over the Upper World. But such happenings were rare, for the Elves of Darkness were faithful and strong, and did not willingly allow the wicked beasts and reptiles to harm human beings and the growing things.
When the night was lighted by the Moon’s soft rays, and the woods of the Upper World were sweet with the odour of the Spring flowers, then the Elves of Darkness left the Under World, and creeping from their holes, held a festival in the woods. And under many a tree where the blades of grass had refused to grow, the Little People danced until rings of green sprang up under their feet. And to the festival came the Elves of Light,—among them the Tree-Elves, Flower-Elves, and Fruit-Elves. They too danced and made merry.
But when the moonlight faded away, and day began to break, then the Elves of Darkness scampered back to their holes, and returned once more to the Under World, while the Elves of Light began their daily tasks.
For in the Springtime these Little People of Light hid in sheltered places. They listened to the complaints of the seeds that lay covered in the ground, and they whispered to the Earth until the seeds burst their pods and sent their shoots up to the light. Then the little Elves wandered through the woods bidding all growing things look up to the Sun.
The Tree-Elves tended the trees, unfolding their leaves, and feeding their roots with sap from the Earth. The Flower-Elves unwrapped the baby buds, and tinted the petals of the opening flowers, and played with the Butterflies and Bees.
But the busiest of all were the Fruit-Elves. Their greatest care in the Spring was the Strawberry Plant. When the ground softened from the frost, the Fruit-Elves loosened the soil around each Strawberry root, that its shoots might push through to the light. They shaped the plant’s leaves, and turned its blossoms toward the warm rays of the Sun. They trained its runners, and helped the timid fruit to form. They painted the luscious berry, and bade it ripen. And when the first Strawberries blushed on the vines, these guardian Elves protected them from the evil insects that had escaped from the world of darkness underground.
The old Iroquois Grandmother tells how once, when the fruit first came to earth, the Evil One, Hahgwehdaetgah, stole the Strawberry Plant, and carried it to his gloomy cave, where he hid it away. And there it lay until a tiny sunbeam pierced the damp mould, and finding the little vine, carried it back to its sunny fields. And ever since then the Strawberry Plant has lived and thrived in the fields and woods. But the Fruit-Elves, fearing lest the Evil One should one day steal the vine again, watch day and night over their favourite. And when the Strawberries ripen, the Elves give the juicy, fragrant fruit to the Iroquois children as they gather the Spring flowers in the woods.
Pania Alow, Celtic elves.
To understand what they are, we should look at some of those found in Celtic mythology and other Celtic traditions. But, then you would discover that fairies are not just confined in Celtic traditions. Many cultures and civilizations have their own versions of fairies.
There are enough kinds of fairies to confuse anyone, because sometimes writers have associated one fairy with a different kind.
In Celtic religion, there was Celtic deities in Gaul (France and Belgium), Hispania (Spain) and Britannia (Britain) during the Roman occupation of these regions or provinces. But the situation changed when Christianity spread to the west and north. These deities that were worshipped before the conversion to Christianity were reduced to the status of fairies in Celtic mythology and folklore.
So in Ireland the gods in the Tuatha De Danann were degenerated to the roles of fairies (eg. Dagda and Lugh), people living under the dune mound or fabled islands, or even within underwater domains. Similar degeneration occurred with old deities in Wales, Scotland and other surviving pockets of Celtic kingdoms (such as Cornwall, Brittany and island of Man).
These earlier Celtic traditions of fairies, the former Irish or Welsh deities were also not fairies in the usual sense. They looked very much like human, in size and shape, except that they have special magical powers and they seemed eternally young, but they don’t have wings. The Dananns or their Welsh counterparts were usually seen as race of fair people. They can die just as mortals can, but their lives could last hundreds or even thousands of years.
The problem is that sometimes, the Christian authors have also turned them into beings serving the Devil, and that the fairies were actually demons. However this view is no longer shared, today.
While scrolling through tumblr’s dashboard, in the writing tag (this is a thing I do early in the morning with a cup of coffee) I discovered this interesting set of rules when writing.
Writers rarely like to revise, but revision is a reality of the writing process—and more important than the initial draft. Without revision, you can’t realize the true potential of the story you envisioned, and it will likely never be published. Here are seven self-editing questions to ask as you begin revising your short story or novel:
1. Where does the story really begin? Reread the first two to three pages of your story carefully. Where does the action start? A major fault with many first drafts (mine included!) is too much background material at the beginning, before the conflict is introduced and the characters finally take over the story.
In my case, I can almost bet that my story doesn’t really begin until about halfway down page 3, so out go the first two pages. If the material I have cut is essential for the reader to know, I find ways, through dialogue or my characters’ thoughts, to get the information to the reader later. The late additions are never as long as the original two and a half pages, and the story gains needed speed.
2. Is this adverb necessary? Chances are, if you are using a lot of adverbs, you are telling and not showing. Think about the character that has just won the lottery. Rather than have her yell “joyfully,” why not have her jump up and down screaming so loudly that her cat runs under the bed in terror, and it takes her 20 minutes to get it out? Maybe she runs to her closet and throws all of her old clothes in the garbage while blasting “If I Had a Million Dollars” on her CD player. Both of those pictures show how the character reacts instead of telling, and they are certainly livelier than the word “joyfully.”
3. Is this adjective doing its job? Look for empty adjectives and replace them. Instead of relying on “amazing,” “interesting,” “exciting,” “awful,” “ugly,” “beautiful,” “nice,” “scary” and other similar adjectives, use sensory details that bring to life what you are describing. Find places to get the readers’ senses working; it means you are making the story real for them.
4. Whose problem is it? Your main character has the primary problem at the center of your story, and your main character needs to solve it. Make sure that your protagonist remains the chief actor in the story and doesn’t become solely the reactor to another character’s influence. Sometimes, in longer pieces, characters other than your lead can nab your attention and your imagination; this can be especially true of villains and comic sidekicks. Be careful that these characters don’t become so charming that they threaten to steal the book from your hero or heroine.
5. Are the grammar and spelling perfect? Yes, I mean perfect. Your story will compete with a host of other stories, so don’t blow your chance with poor spelling and grammar. Of course, publishers have editors who will help polish your copy, but you need to show your best work up front.
6. Have I read my story aloud? One of your best proofreading tools is the sound of your own voice. Reading your story aloud is a great way to find awkward or incomplete sentences, clumsy phrasing, and inconsistencies in verb tenses and pronoun agreement. If you hesitate when you are reading, or if you have to reread a sentence or phrase, then you may need to rewrite that part of your story.
7. Have I applied the Stephen King rule? In Stephen King’s On Writing, he shows a before-and-after example of how editing can improve a story. His revision rule is:
2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%
We have a tendency, as writers, to believe that every word we write is precious, and we are reluctant to cut our material—after all, we remember how hard it was to get it down on paper. However, editing is about making our prose lean and exciting, and compelling the reader to turn the page. See what you can do with 10 percent fewer words.
Finally, consider revision a reward. Remember that if you are revising, you have finished a project—how neat is that? Try these seven questions to kick-start your editing and begin your pursuit of a great final product.
I’m most likely going to add a bunch in the second draft, and then subtract even more in the third draft, mostly because after rereading what I’ve done there’s some elements and characters that need a bit of explaining. So in second draft, I’ll put that in, rearrange the chapters a bit, flesh out some characters a bit more, and fix a few things (such as Felanus has changed to Felanar and the RVAF Tritan has changed to the RVAF Osprey). Once third draft hits, I’ll be subtracting a lot of stuff, useless words, long convoluted sentences, cleaning up grammar. I already think it was a better idea to just write “Senia speaks with a lisp” instead of displaying that lisp every time she talks.
I want the work of Rocket Fox to come about better than Black Mask & Pale Rider (even though I still love that book). So the amount of work I have ahead of me is a lot, but it’s something that has to be done.
I haven’t promoted this in a while. The entire series of Rocket Fox to date, including the Appendix that has detailed descriptions of the world these characters live in, and the original series that started it all, Rocket Fox: The Barrow’s Revenge. These are all in handy PDF Files that you can download and read on whatever device you wish.
EDIT: Rocket Fox: The Barrow’s Revenge is NOT in PDF Format and leads back to my orignial posts where each part is posted as a blog post. There are previous and next links at the end of each part, however. The story also contains elements of the universe of Rocket Fox that no longer exist. For example, the original work was set in one star system, now there are many different star systems and it involves a sector of space. As well, Pau Theta II used to be a moon of Vulpinia Prime. Now it’s the second planet in the Vulpine Star System. Still, it is the original work and it’s an interesting look at how things changed.
Rocket Fox: Flight of the Nighthawk by Tim Holtorf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
Vulpinia Prime. A utopian paradise on the edge of the Lupine Sector of Space. The third planet of the Vulpine Star System, her inhabitants take to heart their age old adage that they are meant to protect the sector from any and all threats. For many, it is an honour to be chosen to attend the many Academies of science, engineering, mathematics and even the famed military colleges that dot the planet. Rarely has there been a serious threat which the Royal Vulpine Armada has had need to deal with. But Article 16 of the Space Exploration Charter is there for a reason. And for many of the cadets at the Chattingham Academy, they are soon going to find out why.
The Full Series - Rocket Fox – Flight of the Nighthawk
The Barrow’s Revenge by Tim Holtorf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at taholtorf.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
Instead of inserting a large number of pictures into this post, such as the one above, I decided a video might suit better to this cause. It details the different incarnations of one of the main characters from Black Mask & Pale Rider, Shani Wennemein.
It’s a history, of sorts, of where the character of Shani Wennemein came from. I could also produce character sheets for that, considering she originated as a character in Dungeons and Dragons. The first video game aspect of her came in Bioware’s Neverwinter Nights. She’s still there and active from time to time, as I played a lot on a persistent world server called Legacy of the North. The server’s still there, just hasn’t been as populated as it was in its heyday. In truth, Shani never started out life in the video game world as an elf. She began as a tiefling, the half demon creatures of the Dungeons and Dragons world. But, thanks to the fact I was a bonehead and never asked for permission for a tiefling character (the DMs were strict on those rules), Shani became an elf instead. Which is fine, really. Being an elf is a lot easier to pass off as human in the Union and Confederacy of 1863. Whereas a tiefling would probably have been hunted down with all intentions of killing her. The horns and tail would have been a major pain for her. As it stands, with her Neverwinter Nights version, it’s hard to conceal a pair of wings as she is a Red Dragon Disciple (dual classing is awesome) as well as being a bard. She still has her roguish nature, however, as she started off as a thief (and considering you can have up to three classes in Neverwinter Nights, thief is not out of the question to add).
The latest incarnation is in Neverwinter Online, Cryptic Studios entry into the fantasy genre MMO, and Neverwinter’s first appearance in an MMO (the was the Dungeons and Dragons Online MMO, but took place outside of Neverwinter). As is the case in NWO, Shani is a thief, and uses all aspects of stealth and daggery goodness available to her. Sadly, NWO does not allow for dual classing, nor does it have a bard option (which I’d grab for Pania in a heartbeat). There are “coming soon” options, which includes a race (which I can only assume will be Drow) and a class (which I’m not certain of consdering many of the D&D classics like paladin, barbarian, sorcerer and monk do not exist).
I should add something about DDO, considering I did make Shani in that game, but didn’t get very far. She was rogue, and it was an interesting game, but it was very team heavy, which wasn’t always great if you just wanted to log on and run around for a bit on your own. Needless to say, DDO wasn’t very memorable for me.
Also, two other games that I don’t have in the video where Shani was created were both superhero MMOs. One I didn’t get Shani up very high in level, the other sadly doesn’t exist anymore, which next to Guild Wars 2 is possibly one of the best representations of Shani. The former is Champions Online, the latter is City of Heroes. In CoX, Shani was a dual pistols blaster, and she was a lot of fun. As I said before, it’s kind of sad that the game doesn’t exist anymore, considering it had it’s fun elements about it. I often like going back to a game I haven’t played in a while, even if it is online, and with CoX I can’t do that.
Lastly, which is the first part of the video, is Guild Wars 2. Quite possibly the best representation of Shani from what I’ve written in the book. A dual gunslinger who can swap out to dual blades should the need arise. A very acrobatic woman with the ability to cloak herself in darkness and disappear from her enemies. Unfortunately, there is no elf race in Guild Wars 2, but I managed to pick the smallest size available for Shani and gave her hair that covered her ears (which still stick out and she’s received the comment that she looks more like an elf than a human).
Shani did begin her life, so to speak, outside of the realm of the pages of a book, but did eventually end up there. But she still exists in the game world in many different facets. This happens to be where she began, and the constant aspect of role play developed the story that eventually did become The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider.
Next week, I’ll do part two to this which explores where Pania Alow came from. It’ll include a video as well.
And now, time for shameless self promotion.
Both my first book, Black Mask & Pale Rider, and my second book, Canyons of Steel, are available for purchase online through many different online book sellers.
Lulu.com (where both books were published)
- Tim Holtorf Author Spotlight the front page store for my books on lulu.com.
Amazon.com (both in paperback and in kindle versions)
Amazon.co.uk (both in paperback and in kindle versions)
Amazon.ca (price not listed and currently out of stock)
Barnes & Noble (for the Nook)
iTunes iBook store
Captain’s Log; Stardate 83405.31
We entered the Sierra Sector with slight apprehension, but we knew that we can’t back down. The Borg has tried to invade and destroy the worlds in both the Alpha Quadrant and the Beta Quadrant for years since the Enterprise D first encountered them so many years ago. I reflect on the history of the Borg and can’t help but wonder if what Captain Archer was describing in his starlogs in the 22nd Century was not in fact the Borg that they had encountered. And if it was, what were they doing there. None of that matters now, it would seem, as we prepare for battle.
I just hope it isn’t our last.
“Shields up,” T’Chall called out as she moved to her command position. “Ready tricobalt devices. Let’s make the Borg sorry they ever decided to venture this far into Federation space.” The crew responded as T’Chall always expected of them; with efficiency. They’d worked together as a crew for five years, and they only got better with time.
“We’re being hailed,” Lt. H’Lorru announced, a beige coated Caitian who happened to keep his mane tied back at all times. A recent addition to the crew, but a welcome one.
“Let me guess,” T’Chall muttered as the usual Borg greeting sounded out across the bridge.
“We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”
“You’d think after nearly thirty years they’d come up with something new,” F’aat, first officer of the Ocelot said as she shook her head. F’aat had been first officer for as long as T’Chall was captain.
“Obviously originality is irrelevant to the Borg,” T’Chall added with a smirk. “Ensign Side,” she called out to her helmsman, one of three crew members not Caitian, this one an Orion. “Attack pattern Omega. I don’t want to wait and see what the Borg has planned.”
“Yes Captain,” Side said with a grin as she piloted the ship into position.
The Ocelot, like her sister ship, the Defiant, was a versatile ship. Quick, powerful and deceptive. The Ocelot had a cloaking device similar to the Defiant’s as well, but after years of helping the Romulans find a new home, the Ocelot and her crew were honoured with several Romulan technical designs which helped her even more than the Defiant ever had. If the Ocelot had been flying with the Task Force that struck against the Dominion, that war would have ended a lot sooner.
Weapons fired as the Side dive bombed the lone Borg cube that had invaded this sector of space. On her port side was an Odyssey Class star ship called the U.S.S. Farpoint, on her starboard side, a Miranda Class vessel called the U.S.S. Merrimack. The Ocelot would lead the way.
“No other ships in sight, Captain,” Natt, the Ocelot’s tactical officer announced, a young Caitian who’d seen his fair share of battles thanks to signing on with this ship. “They’re being a little bold, don’t you think.”
“Don’t underestimate them, lieutenant,” T’Chall replied as the ship rocked from a blast from the cube. Nothing the ship couldn’t handle. “If there’s one thing the Borg is good at, it’s adapting.”
The Ocelot kept her attack up, firing a volley from her sets of phase cannon and launching a full spread of photon torpedoes. As the Ocelot fired directly on the Borg cube, the Merrimack swung about to hit the cube’s more sensitive areas. Meanwhile, the Farpoint acted as a diversion so the two smaller vessels could make the most damage in as little time as possible.
“The Merrimack is caught in a tractor beam,” tactical officer Natt responded from his console. “Her weapons are down. Shields are being depleated.”
“Helm,” T’Chall quickly announced. “Give the Merrimack support. Fire on the tractor beam. We can’t lose that ship.” Side quickly agreed and began steering the ship toward the Merrimack’s position.
“Captain,” called out M’Kaso, one of the Ocelot’s science officers. “I’m detecting a ship decloaking to the Merrimack’s starboard.” M’Kaso tapped her controls quickly as T’Chall waited. “Definitely a Klingon ship. Raptor class by the look. No, wait, a Puyjaq Class escort. No registry, but she’s called…”
“Let me guess,” T’Chall said with a sigh. “It’s the Tigris.”
“Makes sense,” F’aat said as the ship was rocked by another volley from the Borg vessel. “S’Returru is suicidal. But why she’d attack us during a Borg attack…”
“She’s not attacking us,” Natt called out. “She’s targeting the Borg cube.”
“Small miracles,” T’Chall said as she focused her attention back to the view screen. “I doubt she’ll attack us after dealing with the cube. Most likely she’ll attempt to steal what debris she can and go to warp as fast as she can. Keep firing on the cube.”
The Ocelot continued her assault on the cube as the Tigris pulled the Merrimack out of range, then turned sharply and began firing on the cube. Not as fast as the Ocelot, she still had some power to her, and her crew was well versed with what they needed to do.
“The Tigris has pulled the Merrimack out of harm’s way,” M’Kaso informed T’Chall. “And she’s making a run at the cube.”
“Match her, helm,” T’Chall called out. “We may currently be on the same side, but when this is done watch out for S’Returru. We never know what she’ll do once the danger is past.”
Together with the Farpoint, the two smaller vessels pounded the Borg cube, it wasn’t long before they managed to overpower it and finally destroy it. But it was costly, as the Tigris took heavy damage.
“The Tigris is dead in the water, Captain,” M’Kaso called out.
“I know exactly what S’Returru was doing,” T’Chall muttered as she looked to F’aat. “This was her way of getting some leverage. Come in and help, speed off and remind us how ‘we owe her one’ at some other point in time.”
“That’s her standard MO,” F’aat replied. “But looks like she won’t be able to use that this time, especially if we help her.” One of the console terminals chirped as the Ocelot received a hail. “Looks like the captain of the Farpoint is hailing us.”
“On screen,” T’Chall announced as she sat back in her chair. Soon, the human captain of the Farpoint was visible. “Not exactly an epic battle, Captain Majors.”
“Better this way,” he replied with a chuckle. “We’ll tow the Merrimack. I take you’ll handle the Klingon vessel.”
“I know who it is,” T’chall said with a nod. “She’ll need some help getting underway again, so we can offer that to her at the very least.” T’Chall paused before giving F’aat a look. “Do we have anyone in engineering that isn’t Caitian? Would most likely make it easier.”
“Well, it seems as though you’ve got things handled here, Captain,” Majors replied. “See you back at space dock. Majors out.” With that, the screen shifted back to the view of deep space, along with the Klingon escort vessel that hung like a wounded bird.
“I suppose we should begin…” F’aat began before she was cut off by another chirp from a console.
“Another vessel, Captain,” M’Kaso reported. “Bearing 2-1-3 Mark 6. Can’t identify it, Sir. I’ve never seen anything like it before. But, she definitely has a…”
Forward: this is completely fanfiction and has been written purely for entertainment purposes. I do not lay any claim to the events and persons in the Star Trek Universe, however, I did create the characters found herein based on existing species found in Star Trek. This is presented purely for entertainment purposes. This is presented as it was written in its first draft.
Time Is On My Side
I have seen hundreds of timelines in my years working with the Temporal Protectorate. Sometimes we become complacent that here in the 30th Century we’re safe. But time can have massive ripples, especially when someone decides to take a boulder and drop it into the murky waters that are the time stream. This is where our job comes into play. We fix the timeline if it happens to go astray. But there are massive side effects with changing the timeline; one wrong move and everything can be changed in a way that you never would have imagined.
I’ve seen an Earth where the Nazis won the Second World War; a time when Attila the Hun attacked and successfully sacked Rome; a time where it was Chief Powhatan that discovered Europe; or the timeline that saw India and Australia become world superpowers. Those are just the timelines on Earth, that doesn’t even include the Vulcans, Klingons, Caitians, Trill, Andorians, Ferengi, Cardassians…
But from all of the timelines I’ve seen, in a galactic sense, there are several common factors that take place. Events that no matter what happened in the past, there is one thing that manages to come about. For example, the creation of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets. In each timeline, those two events always take place. The destruction of Romulus, the disappearance of Spock. Again, two major events that also always take place.
But among all of those events, and those four in particular, I find it amazing that two more series of events happen that brings together the crews of two very different ships. One is a Federation vessel, Defiant Class, called the U.S.S. Ocelot. Fitting name, considering her captain and crew. The only vessel in Starfleet that has a complete crew compliment of Caitians. Caitians are one of two feline species in the universe. They are intelligent, strong willed, and strong physically. It’s said, it’s best not to anger a Caitian. But should you make friends with them, then you’d have one for life. This is the type of person Captain M’iaa T’Chall is. She is loyal, hardworking and a career officer with Starfleet. In any timeline. She was given command of the Ocelot, and given the opportunity to pick her own crew. She did just that, making it the first fully Caitian crew in all of Starfleet.
The other ship is much different than the Ocelot, yet very similar. A Puyjaq Class Raptor Escort, it is simply known as the Tigris. Her registration has been removed after the band of pirates took it over right out of Klingon space dock. It was soon learned that a band of Ferasan took it over and began plundering what they could, working alone and without authority. The Ferasan are the other feline species in the universe, and they aren’t much different from the Caitians. Unless you count their bad temper, aggression and hatred of all Caitians, plus the fact that most Ferasan have telepathic abilities.
But the Tigris and the Ocelot time and time again appear. No matter the timeline. And Captain T’Chall is all too familiar with Captain S’Returru. The two have played a game of cat and mouse each time they encounter each other, with S’Returru always managing to stay one step ahead of T’Chall. Well, this time might be one time when the two have to work together.
Because the timeline needs to be repaired in a way greater than any of us in the 30th Century could ever attempt. We need to recruit more people, and it just so happens that the Ocelot and the Tigris fit the bill perfectly.
Now, we just have to get to them in time.
I don’t often take a stab at fanfiction, I’ve got too many different characters running around my head as it is and sometimes it’s difficult to prevent them crossing over. But from time to time I’ll get an idea for a property already out there. Like Star Trek.
I wrote one Star Trek fanfiction over fifteen years ago. I crossed it over with Hawkworld from DC Comics, where I had Hawkman and Hawkwoman meet each incarnation of Trek up to that point. Obviously, they didn’t meet up with Archer and crew in Star Trek Enterprise (had the show been around, though, I just might have). It was a long effort, my longest writing up to that point, and I finished it. However, I have no idea where the copy is now, so no, unfortunately, I can’t share it with you.
Since then, however, I’ve developed a new idea in Trek, based on characters I created in Star Trek Online.
The idea is based on a completely Caitian crew (the feline species in Star Trek) Captained by M’iaa T’Chall (she is the short one in the above picture). I’ll also be adding in my Klingon Defense Force character, S’Returru, who isn’t Klingon but Ferasan. Ferasan is the other feline species in Trek, and they are rather hostile to their Caitian cousins.
The idea came about that since J. J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek, one would think that the Temporal Investigators would have a field day attempting to fix all of the timeline irregularities. Usually they’ll recruit different Starfleet or other members to help fix the problems in the timeline (seeing how most often the ones trying to fix things are Starfleet officers from the 30th Century, they’d probably pick Starfleet officers). In the case of what took place in the events of Abrams’ Star Trek, Temporal Investigations wouldn’t require one person, they’d need an entire crew. Fortunately for them, of the events that created the alternate universe there were four constants. Meaning, as time progressed, there were always four events that took place in each timeline. Those four events were the destruction of Romulus, the disappearance of Ambassador Spock, and the crews of two vessels, one Starfleet another a stolen Klingon Raptor escort ship. The first ship is the U.S.S. Ocelot, captained by M’iaa T’Chall. In each timeline, she will captain the Ocelot, and her crew will be 100% Caitian. The second ship is called the I.K.S. Tigris, and is captained by a Ferasan by the name of S’Returru. Her crew happens to be 100% Ferasan. But in each timeline, those four constants always take place.
So Temporal Investigations recruits them in order to ensure the timeline continues as it should. The goal of the crews of each ship is to find a difference in the timeline, and fix it.
The initial setup is three chapters that will read exactly the same, with small difference. The Ocelot will encounter the Borg/Tholians/Iconians. They will chase down one of the fleeing ships to discover it’s attacking the Tigris. As the two crews realize who each other is, a third ship will arrive which they cannot recognize. That set up happens three times, until the fourth chapter will reveal the ship is a timeship, with the goal of recruiting the Ocelot and the Tigris.
So that’s the plan in a nutshell for a little bit of fanfiction. Just because the idea is there.
For those who downloaded the full series PDF, you’ll notice at the end of the book there are five chapters to an appendix which describes the world (and star system) the people of Rocket Fox live in. Religions, politics, slang terms, life styles, and species. For those who didn’t, however, here is the world building guide, chapter by chapter.
These guides will be in each series, describing new slang terms as they crop up, new planets, new ships, new species, new cities, and new cultures. Once each book is complete, each new appendix will be posted here. With the completion of the entire series, a full PDF download of the entire appendix will be made available.
The first series is now complete. After a couple of years of writing, plotting, world building, and setting up several different stories (even Swift Fox is one of those stories), the entire thing is available for download.
Rocket Fox: Flight of the Nighthawk
Vulpinia Prime. A utopian paradise on the edge of the Lupine Sector of Space. The third planet of the Vulpine Star System, her inhabitants take to heart their age old adage that they are meant to protect the sector from any and all threats. For many, it is an honour to be chosen at the many Academies of science, engineering, mathematics and even the famed military colleges that dot the planet. Rarely has there been a serious threat which the Royal Vulpine Armada has had need to deal with. But Article 16 of the Space Exploration Charter is there for a reason. And for many of the cadets at the Chattingham Academy, they are soon going to find out why.
The Full Series - Rocket Fox – Flight of the Nighthawk
The Final Chapter!
The crew has boarded.
The mission is clear.
The Nighthawk prepares to launch.
To be continued in Pau Theta II
Graduation is finished, every student is now looking forward to their new assignments. For Captain Senia Felix and the crew of the Nighthawk, they already have an excellent idea. Now, they just have to board the ship they have studied through schematics and data pads for some time now. The Nighthawk awaits.
This weekend the final chapter!
With just two chapters left (technically, I need only write one, and in truth only half, because I’ve written about half of it already), time for some random Rocket Fox stuff.
The Rocket Fox Soundtrack
As the inevitable ending to the first series draws nearer, I complied a soundtrack of music that really helps out with the universe (star system) I created. These are out of the epic background like music of Two Steps From Hell.
So, in no particular order:
- Starships: Nicki Minaj
- Cosmic Castaway: Electrasy
- Over My Head: Lit
- It’s My Time To Fly: The Urge
- Magic Carpet Ride: Steppenwolf
That’s a short list, but it’s what I’ve listened to at times when I’ve been writing and plotting.
Rocket Fox covers
New cover designs for Rocket Fox. The first draft is almost complete.
As the story is two chapters away from completion (technically one, as I’ve already written the last chapter), I decided to share a couple of things with everyone. The first is more on an inspirational note, while the second is about names of ships.
Starships were meant to fly
Starships were meant to fly
Hands up and touch the sky
Can’t stop ‘cause we’re so high
Let’s do this one last time
It’s interesting the things I find inspiring for writing. Now, normally, I don’t listen to Nicki Minaj, but the fan video with her song that intertwined several sci fi television shows and movies along with the beat of the music was really, really good. I have to honestly say, I’ve been listening to it (not watching it) while writing up some ideas for Rocket Fox: Pau Theta II.
So far, the Rocket Fox series has been a build up to what’s coming. What’s coming is going to have a lot more action to it. From action in the city of Rondu on the plaent’s surface, to the fighter pilots lead by Left-tenant Chloe Grivana, to the actions of Left-tenant Mia Talon in the pilot’s seat of the Nighthawk herself.
I’ve even toyed with the idea of borrowing the line “starships were meant to fly” and have it being said by Aria Sharpspear or Captain Felix at some point (most likely toward the end).
Sorry for the ramble, but I just find it interesting what things can help bring out ideas when it seems the well has run dry.
A brief history of ships in Rocket Fox
With one chapter left in the Rocket Fox series (the first book), I felt it necessary to divulge the naming convention for the ships.
As it will become clear, all ships will be dubbed the name of a bird, whether that be a bird of prey or a song bird or nautical bird. This includes the Osprey (which was originally called the Tritan), the Kestrel, the Peregrine, the Kingifsher, right on up to the Nighthawk.
On a personal note, I like birds, I find them fascinating. Particularly birds of prey like hawks and eagles and falcons. For the story, I added that aspect into the first attempts at flight by the Vulpinian people.
The first ship was called the Kitty Hawk (a hat tip to the location where Orville and Wilbur Wright had their historic first flight), which was the test craft to see if it was indeed possible to create a craft which could fly. The first passenger transport air craft (terrestrial ships) were named the Kitty Hawk after this first historic voyage. Since then over a thousand years have passed, and the interplanetary passenger ships are named the Kingfisher class shuttle craft.
As space exploration really began to take off, the first satellites were also given some of these names. Such as the Puffin, the Night Owl, the Gull, and the Parrot. As massive space exploration vessels were created, they were named after larger birds, with even one getting the rather embarrassing name the Turkey Vulture (since that time, it was decided all names will be no more than one word in length, and no longer than ten letters).
As the Vulpine and Felanus began meeting hostile species in space, they had to build vessels for war, and they were given very intimidating names. Such as the Peregrine, the Kestrel, the Falcon and the Eagle. The most recently named class of vessel in the Osprey, which is the flagship of the Royal Vulpine Armada.
There have been exceptions to this rule, as the fighter craft of the fleet is called Maverick (named for the engineer who developed the first jet engine). With the launch of the NIghthawk, the name Maverick is no longer in use, as the Nighthawk’s fighter craft are often called the ‘Hawks, shortened version of the Nighthawk. Another exception is many of the cargo cruisers in the Vulpine Trade Commission. In particular, the Barrow, or as the refit is now called, the Barrow’s Revenge. The Barrow was named after the farm and construction implement which is used to carry large amounts of material from one location to another. The Revenge, as she is known, is refit with a hangar bay which houses the now famous Midnight Squadron of attack fighters, along with an expanded cargo bay,and forward and aft photon torpedo launchers and forward phaser cannons.
The day has arrived that each of the cadets at the Chattingham Academy and Military College have looked forward to. Their graduation and the announcement of their placements. While Senia Felix and her friends and the newly formed crew of the Nighthawk know exactly what their placement is, the announcement will be news to many others. At least, before they launch, they’ll be getting some sound advice from some of their mentors.
Just two more chapters left in this first series.
So sometime this weekend, Rocket Fox: Flight of the Nighthawk will have finished and the next chapter in the story will begin. We’ve met Senia, Aria, Hardy, Clarfax, Mia, Mirri, Sparky, along with Jadda, Claudia, Bobbie, Gilbert, Philbert, Mallard, Tyrell, Collinsworth, Gerring and Pitts. Some will be leaving behind for a while, even more will be used in future stories (don’t worry, we’ll see Jadda and Bobby again). But as the crew launches toward Pau Theta II, there will be more characters.
While the aspect of relationships has been small (I might play them up a bit more in the second draft) and even sexuality has been slightly grazed (I’ve had a few people ask if Senia is a lesbian) there will be more obvious signs in the second story.
I’ve always said that LGBTQ characters in this universe are not looked down upon in Vulpinian societies. They are seen as a core part of a healthy family as they love and care for each other, and they support and raise adopted kits and cubs just as any other family who has children of their own. What is frowned upon in Vulpinian societies (though, it is becoming more accepted) is interspecies relationships. A Vulpine and a Felanus who build a family together, for example.
This is going to be seen in the next story, with two characters. Shauna and “Spike”, Shauna being a female Felanus and “Spike” being a female Vulpine. They don’t hide the fact that they are a couple, as a matter of fact they seem to flaunt it in front of the ruling class of the city of Rondu any chance they get. Naturally, they aren’t persecuted because they happen to be constables with the Main Authority. They’ve got a lot of contacts on the surface of Pau Theta II, both in the slums of Rondu and in a region far north of the city which happens to have the largest population of indigenous species on Pau Theta II, the Chiroptera.
There is also going to be a person who is seen as a leader in the Vulpine district of the slum areas of Rondu, who fights against tyranny of the ruling class. He does it all from a wheel chair, as he is inflicted with a bone degenerative disorder and can’t walk and has limited mobility in his limbs. But, his mind is fresh and he’s learned how to hack the satellite defense systems and communication systems of the planet. He’s never captured because the ruling class cannot conceive that a person with such a disorder would be able to cause such havoc in their defense systems.
He’ll be the leader of a small band of rebels who has begun their own revolution to end the disparity on the planet. He’ll have support from several different areas, including the lead singer and band members of a rock band that plays events and venues within Rondu. The lead singer, named Reta Herd (though it’ll be revealed that is only her stage name), will have an interesting connection off planet as it’s revealed she dodged the draft during the Great Lupine Land War. Her sister was also drafted, and lead ground force troops during the war, and who’s second in command was a black furred Felanus.
There is also going to be Mad Addie, who is only called that by the military police of Rondu. Addie is an older Vulpine female who seems to always be distracted and tired. This is because she’s taken it upon herself to take in any orphans from the Vulpine and Felanus districts of the slums. She tries very hard to make sure they are clothed and fed, and it’s believed she has over a dozen staying with her, ranging in age from 6 to 14.
Those are just a few of the new characters coming out in the next story. Along with those, the characters of Mirri, Aria, the doctors Ringtail, and the squadron of fighter pilots will all get some major screen time in this story, along with Senia Felix. We’ll see how it all comes together.
One last gathering for family and friends in a sociable atmosphere before the newly formed crew of the Nighthawk must undertake their mission. Will this be the formation of a new, formidable force to help protect the Vulpine Star System, or is this just the calm before the storm?
Click the link to download the latest in the series.
I had a recent conversation with a friend and I posted a loose transcript of it on tumblr, but thought I’d share it here as well. A lot of what I’ve learned about writing has come from societal influences, and I’ve tried to gear my writing toward a certain demographic. Here’s the conversation.
- Person: So, in Rocket Fox, I noticed you only have two male characters.
- Me: There’s more than that.
- Person: No, you have only two named male characters.
- Me: Clarfax is the first one, Sparky is another. There’s Bobby, Gilbert, Philbert, Colonel Nelson Tyrell, Colonel Reginald Pitts, Colonel Fillias Stigian…
- Person: …who happens to be the villain.
- Me: Antagonist, but yes. There’s also the barbers, Simon and Hector Longfur, the cook, Angus Longear. Dr. Ringtail, both junior and senior. Nurse Michael Littlepaw. Let’s see…. I think that’s it.
- Person: Yeah, but you’ve got a lot more female characters in the story. The captain and commanding officer of the ship, the chief engineer, one of the communications officers for the pilots, the squadron leader, a doctor, a nurse…
- Me: That’s because the doctor and nurse are Procylon, and they work as mated pairs and their mates share their vocations.
- Person: Yeah, but still. And most of them have positions of authority.
- Me: Yeah, it’s a change from the usual that’s seen in fiction.
- Person: How do you mean?
- Me: Name all of the main characters in the original Star Wars movies. How many were women?
- Person: One, Princess Leia.
- Me: Exactly. You’ll find that a lot in most television programs and in movies. Yet, a large percentage of those who watch those shows and movies happen to be women. See, they aren’t being reflected in the things they watch.
- Person: …oh
- Me: It gets even worse when you parse it down to people of colour. Take that Lena Dunham show.
- Person: Girls.
- Me: The main cast, while all women, is also all white. And any person of colour or woman of colour is relegated to a position which can be described as “the help”. Which is a stereotypical image of African American, South Asian, and even Middle Eastern people.
- Person: But Asians are always portrayed as smart, computer nerds good at math.
- Me: Asians are more than Chinese or Japanese.
- Person: ….I think I have a headache.
- Me: Take it slow, it takes time to understand. As long as you try.
- Person: So, what do you hope to accomplish with this story?
- Me: In the end? I want to write a story that encompasses two things from my youth; Wind in the Willows and Star Trek. I came up with this idea when I was 12. I hope that it will instill wonder in people about space exploration. I also want it to be viewed as hopeful for the future. And I know that all the characters are anthropomorphic, but that still doesn’t change how a person will read the story. Ultimately, I have a story to tell, and the best person who can tell it is me.
- Person: So, you aren’t trying to give moral lessons of equality with this.
- Me: No one said I have to do one thing when I’m telling a story. Some things are much more subtle.
I am struttin’ my stuff today, because I am quite close to completing the first book of Rocket Fox.
There were times when I took a look at what I was doing and just thought…
It seemed a great deal larger than I had originally planned. But, I managed to carry on and pounce on the idea.
Oh, I know there are going to be those who will bemoan what I’ve been doing, saying it’s not worth it, you really shouldn’t try, so on an so forth. I, however, have a few things to say to that.
There are those that have stuck by what I’ve been doing and have taken note of several things. This is a first draft, after all. While the writing of the first book is near completion, there’s still a long way to go. So, to those who support me…
So, because I’m in such a good mood, and my work is nearing completion…
(animated gifs are not all of my creation, save for two from Champions Online, the remaining are from YouTube, Star Wars, Star Trek, Treasure Planet, Firefly, the Office, Pirates of the Caribbean, M*A*S*H, and Robin Hood)
The senior staff of the Nighthawk has been chosen. Graduation is only two days away. Senia has surrounded herself with trusted peers and each has put together a good team of engineers, scientists, doctors, and pilots. She’s even found that there are some colourful characters, what with the two Felanus barbers in Simon and Hector Longfur, and the veteran galley cook with Angus Longear.
But most importantly, the crew has learned just what the plot was that affected the academy. Fillias Stigian reveals there is indeed a nefarious plot at work.
Download Chapter Fourteen of the Rocket Fox adventure, or catch up with the entire series to date with Rocket Fox – Flight of the Nighthawk.
As I’m writing the last few chapters of Flight of the Nighthawk, I’m jotting down some notes and getting some ideas for the next story. It’ll definitely continue on from this first one, as the crew of the Nighthawk will try to uncover this nefarious plot to undermine the safety of the Vulpine Star System. But I’ll also add some to the next story.
This first story is what I would hope the future would look like for us (even though it’s with anthropomorphized foxes, cats and raccoons), where society has ridden itself of ills, accepted equality and made even more steps toward progress. War, disease, poverty, all eliminated in this future. Which is nice to think of that we’ll one day move past the aspects of segregation and bigotry that we face today. And yes, we are still facing that. All you have to do is watch the evening news and see it. Every. Single. Day.
Well, having a utopian type society to look forward to is nice, but it doesn’t really make for an overall story arc. There are obviously dangers that the Vulpinians recognize, otherwise they wouldn’t have a military to help protect their star system. Many of those dangers are outside forces like the Jackai raider and even the Raptory that has been hinted at. But there’s one danger within the star system itself.
Introducing Pau Theta II.
Pau Theta II will be an original Vulpine Colony, but many of the societal changes that happened on Vulpinia Prime did not take place on Pau Theta II. After Vulpinia Prime went through its Gender War (which will be explained in the second story) and went to a Matriarchal system, Pau Theta II gained her own independence and broke off most ties with Vulpinia Prime. Within the last three hundred years, the Royal Vulpine Policing Authority placed a base on Pau Theta II and a maximum security prison was also placed there, but they have no jurisdiction with the citizens of the planet, nor is their location close to the main city of Rondu.
Pau Theta II’s society will be a stark contract to the clean paradise of Vulpinia Prime, and this even though the planets are right next door to one another, both orbiting the Vulpine Sun. There is a decided difference in wealth, as Pau Theta II has kept her own currency system (whereas Vulpinia Prime has no banking system, and persay, but they do have a barter system). There are several different sections of Rondu, which include a more affluent section which resides on one side of the river, while the poor sections are right across the river, behind a forty foot wall (this is assumed to have been built so that anyone living in the more wealthy area wouldn’t have to look at the poverty on the other side). In this more poverty stricken area, disease, hunger, crime are all high. Females are treated as second class citizens, even though Vulpine and Felanus are not segregated. There is four different sections, however, which includes a Vulpine Section, a Felanus Section, a Critainian Section and a Lupine Section. Many of the Critainians and Lupine were merchants who would find their merchant hauling ships impounded for one infraction or another. Because Rondu and most of Pau Theta II broke off contact with Vulpinia Prime and the RVAF, a large number of those from Critainia and Lupinia found themselves in front of unfair judicial systems. Many were jailed and released after a few years, only to find their merchant haulers were confiscated to help pay for the fines levied against them. Usually this happened to the captain of a merchant hauler only. The crew (which in Lupinians’ case was the family or pack) were often pushed out into the streets, told they would have to await the final decisions. Most never heard from the judiciary body again.
During the time of the Great Lupine Land War, the “government” of Pau Theta II declared any RVAF ship found within her orbit would be considered an act of aggression. This was ratified to make accommodation for the Main Authority and the maximum security prison. While officers of the Main Authority can go to Rondu, they are not allowed to go into the more influential section. They are assigned an administrator of communication should they have any of their own issues, and that same administrator reviews all communications from the Main Authority before they are sent on to Starbase Omega One.
Many in Vulpinian society know that Pau Theta II has problems, and even the global government has been trying to help change things, offering suggestions how to make relations more friendly, but the ruling powers of Rondu don’t really care about changing at all.
None of this includes the conditions which the main indigenous population of Pau Theta II has endured.
Yes, there is a native population of the planet, though they aren’t as simple and backward as some might think. They are considered a threat by Rondu ruling class, and have branded them terrorists. This native population is called the Chiroptera, nicknamed the Flying Foxes. They have gained some sympathy and empathy from the poorer sections of Rondu, but the Flying Foxes have taken a longer time to feel sympathy for them. For many Flying Foxes, they still see any Vulpine or Felanus as an invading oppressor.
So that’s some of what the next story has in store. I realize I have a lot of work ahead of me.
The ideas are there, which is better than what it was before, during the bleak days of winter when I’d truly had enough of this season. I had, for the past several months, wanted to write but just felt really tired all the time. It’s getting better now as the signs of spring are showing. Or at least, the snow is starting to melt. At least, I hope it doesn’t melt fast otherwise we’ll have flooding problems to contend with.
Flooding aside, over the winter months the motivation has been very difficult to get myself writing. I sometimes wonder how someone like Louis L’Amour wrote so prolifically, and why they make it look so easy. Even J. K. Rowling’s sweeping epic of Harry Potter seemed to come out with no problem. Naturally, I know it wasn’t easy. Writing isn’t easy at all. The only easy thing about writing is the sitting down part. Even tapping away at keys isn’t hard. It’s the development of the story and of the world. For some, the world is already there, it’s familiar. We all know what to expect in a western. We are fairly certain of the course of events in a medieval story. But when you create your own world and give it its own rules, then it becomes harder. Add to that the narrative, the characters, the events. All of it becomes more difficult. But, when it’s all done, it become really rewarding. It’s something you can look at and go “I did it, I finished it”.
I’m not far from completing this first book in the Rocket Fox series. I’m looking forward to it. I just hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew with this series I’ve decided to undertake.
I’m really looking forward to that moment when I can look at it all and say to myself “it’s done, I’m finished”.