Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ip Man

Historical inaccuracies aside, this movie was fantastic!

Still trying to find a way to see Iron Sky...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Upcoming Project: Expeditionary Squad


by Chris Eisenlauer

• • •

Planet 1005 - Former Root Palace

“Lin Sosa. It is your sixteenth birthday. You have been pampered since birth, have been given everything you could possibly want. I will bestow upon you one final gift before you must give something in return.” The Viscain Emperor, Samhain, paused as if to take a wheezing breath. He was a monstrous hollowed gourd, four meters across, fleshy and plump, with simple carved features—triangle eyes and nose, a jagged gash of a mouth—behind which ghostly firelight glowed and flickered.

“Yes, Lord Emperor,” the girl said. Dressed in a tight, long-sleeved charcoal turtleneck and a functional pleated skirt of the same color, she was lithe and her manner pert. Though she was bowing before him in his dark chamber with its gnarled resin walls of infinite height, she said, “What is my gift, and what is my task?” Then, almost as an afterthought, she added, “Lord Emperor.”

The Emperor chuckled, and the chamber shook. “Your impertinence is as atrocious as ever. And, as ever, it both pleases and amuses me. You are what I have made you. A princess. An emissary. And, perhaps, hope expedited.

“All your studies have been for this purpose. You are to lead the Expeditionary Squad. You will set out with this, the Resonance Bell.”

An animate olive tendril issued from somewhere unseen behind the Emperor, bearing with it a bronze bell the size of a balled fist. The slender vine stretched out across the chamber, stopping before Lin Sosa’s forehead.

“Take it, Lin Sosa, and make it a part of you,” the Emperor said.

Lin raised her head to regard the bell, her straw-blond ponytail bobbing with the motion. She gently took the bell in both hands and showed no fear as she brought it to her chest, pressing it through fabric, through skin, muscle, and bone and into her being. The instant she and the Artifact became one was marked by a blinding flash, revealing to Lin Sosa for that fleeting instant, shapes and convolutions in the resin walls that would be the unknown source of troubling dreams for years to come.

“Very good,” the Emperor said. “You are going on a journey, Lin Sosa.”

“To where, Lord Emperor?”

“To The Place with Many Doors.”

“Where can this Place with Many Doors be found?”

Though the massive gourd did not move, the Emperor seemed to shake his head. “You must find it.”

“Can Eris come with me?”

“Of course. That is Eris Anandale’s purpose. She will sort and read the signs, the ripples and echoes that radiate out from the source, from The Place with Many Doors, and reveal the way. Also, though I know you would not say so, you would be lonely if deprived of her company. I would see that you are made as comfortable as possible on this journey.

“And as safe. You will have one more companion, but this one you shall choose. He or she must have the means to protect you. Additional means will be provided in the form of an Artifact so choose well.

“This is a secret mission. No one can know, so this person will not be given the luxury of a choice in the matter.” Another snaking vine issued forth, bearing a bronze circlet. “Take this, the Ouroboros Crown, and place it upon the head of your desired protector. It will make him or her beholden to you, unable to refuse your commands. Once you have made and secured your choice, return to me.

“Remember, Lin Sosa. You have ventured beyond these walls always in secret, with an escort, and under strict rules. There are those who would not understand what you are or approve of your existence. While you may feel and be superior to these, you mustn’t let your temperament overwhelm sense. When you go, be judicious and observe the rules.”

“Yes, Lord Emperor.”

Talma Set (UNLISTED)

Specialist, Expeditionary Squad
Category: F-Gene Fighter
Discipline: Liquid Hand

Height: 175 cm
Weight: 70 kg
Gravity Rank: 25
RPP: 1,750
RMP: 100
Birthdate: 9,483.216

Artifact: Ouroboros Crown
Artifact Rank: 25
Dark RPP: 43,750
Dark RMP: 2,500

Active Dates: 9,508-??,???
Residence: The Resonance Bell

Talma Set, the younger brother of Blue Squad’s Dolma Set, was the unwitting and unwilling recipient of the Ouroboros Crown which irrevocably binds him to Lin Sosa. When Dark, Set is sheathed in matte-black shadow and has the scaleless head of a snake. Floating about 2 centimeters above his head is the visible representation of his Artifact, a bronze circlet about 13 centimeters in diameter, “carved” in the semblance of a snake consuming its own tail. The Crown is a projection and not actually physically present. In his Darkened state, Set possesses functional fangs which can deliver a paralytic poison that causes severe inflammation of the mucous membranes.

Set is unconsciously compelled to protect Lin Sosa and can sense when she is undergoing physical trauma. Resisting her spoken commands—though, even the thought of which requires a substantial act of will—results in extreme, debilitating physical pain as the Ouroboros Crown seems to constrict ever tighter about his skull. Lin Sosa also has some control which resembles the effects of post-hypnotic suggestion. She can, for example, force him to sleep with a command.

The Ouroboros Crown’s primary offensive capability is to convert Set’s physical body into fuel for a devastating fusion reaction, simply called The Raze. The Crown creates a perfect “record” of Set, called the Ouroboros Matrix, and stores it outside of real time and space so that Set can be rebuilt after detonation. Set can initiate detonation himself or can be commanded to by Lin Sosa. The Crown is connected to the Resonance Bell and the Hub Receiver in such a way that neither Lin Sosa nor Eris Anandale suffer in the least from any occurrence of The Raze.

Eris Anandale (UNLISTED)

Specialist, Expeditionary Squad
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Energy Analysis

Height: 167 cm
Weight: 52 kg
Gravity Rank: 15
RPP: 780
RMP: 4,200
Birthdate: 9,486.153

Artifact: Hub Receiver
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 15,600
Dark RMP: 84,000

Active Dates: 9,508-??,???
Residence: The Resonance Bell

Eris Anandale is a savant. She is stunningly buxom, but has the mentality of a 6-year-old, which often gets her into trouble. Her ability to sense, sort, and isolate even the most subtle of energy signatures is augmented significantly by her Artifact, the Hub Receiver.

While Dark, she has the appearance of an anthropomorphic rabbit, with soft fur the color of her normally honey-blond hair, and operates in three basic modes: calculation, idle, and flight. When called upon to calculate, she will literally become like a living computer, identifying verbally all incoming signals and setting them aside mentally as she isolates the signal Lin Sosa will use to guide the Resonance Bell. Eris is forgetful and sometimes remains Dark but “idle” for prolonged periods, which is actually beneficial since it offers her additional protection and readily facilitates her “flight” mode, in which her mind goes blank and her rabbit-like reflexes take over, her  powerful legs engaging at the first sign of danger. Though often taking her out of harm’s way, her “flight” mode has also resulted in her getting separated from her squadmates and subsequently lost.


First Specialist, Expeditionary Squad
Category: Psychic
Discipline: Energy Piggyback

Height: 158 cm
Weight: 44 kg
Gravity Rank: 8
RPP: 352
RMP: 4,200
Birthdate: 9,192.221

Artifact: Resonance Bell
Artifact Rank: 20
Dark RPP: 8,800
Dark RMP: 84,000

Active Dates: 9,508-??,???
Residence: The Resonance Bell

Lin Sosa does not physically change when going Dark, but a representation of her Artifact usually becomes visible. From the outside, the Resonance Bell appears to be made of bronze, stands 2.5 meters tall, and is 2 meters at its widest diameter. Inside, the regular, default dimensions are at least 3 times that, though these could be changed and additional rooms could be added, if Lin so wished, up to a capacity of 20,000 cubic meters. The main space is filled with cushions and pillows and is furnished with a couch that wraps all the way around the inner “wall”.

Even when visible, the Bell is not physically accessible to anyone or -thing if Lin does not allow it, which makes it the ultimate sanctuary. If assaulted, the Bell has a natural defense equivalent to Lin's Dark RMP, but it is completely impregnable and resistant to damage of any sort as long as Lin consciously wills it to be so. Inside the Bell is a comfortable environment, providing suitable life support functions. The Bell can house anything put into it up to its capacity.

Besides providing protection, the Bell substantially increases Lin’s innate ability to latch onto energy signals of all kinds and ride them to their source. It also provides the means to accommodate passengers.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I Really Shouldn't Care...

But for the love of all things holy, sometimes computers are too smart for our own good. It took me forever to figure out how to change my time zone here on Blogger and when I did, it changed the time and date of EVERY stinking post going back to the beginning. Ugh. Anyway, those are the dates the posts were visible here in Hawaii, although the actual dates may differ. Thanks, International Date Line!

It really doesn't matter, but I thought I was safe after experiencing the same thing with iCal.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 8

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
Word Count: 61,800
The Goal: 75,000

That's right, only 1,800 words for the month of April. Couldn't be helped. I just got my computer (shipped from Japan) last Wednesday and now, in the midst of my job search (I sent out like 15 applications and signed up for I don't know how many employment agencies on Friday and Saturday), I have taken up the keyboard once again. Unless I'm overwhelmed by debilitating depression OR I get a kick-ass full-time job that requires my every waking hour, I should be able to make decent progress.

I've also resumed a project I tentatively started some time ago. This one, Expeditionary Squad, is within the world of the Viscain Empire and so may take precedence over The Pauper King, at least for the time being. I wrote 1,500 words between appointments today which isn't bad for a short story. Like Ghost Squad and Blue Squad, I intend to write more than one Ex Squad story. The events in Ex Squad are loosely connected to Ghost Squad, Blue Squad, and The Blood Solution. That's three, count 'em, THREE connections.

Anyway, as far as what I miss about Japan? Exactly what I thought I would: my family and friends. I had an extremely difficult time at the airport, far more difficult than I anticipated. Which makes me stupid. Leaving my wife and daughter for an indeterminate period of time... Sheesh. Faye still didn't understand, which, as I said in my last post, is/was probably for the best. Thank God (or the appropriate developers) for Skype.