Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Library in the Dark idea

    So, I’ve been thinking about a little project. I would argue it’s a weird cross between the mystery the idea of LootCrate, Gamefly, and “Blind Date with a Book”. The name behind it (at the moment) is “Library in the Dark”.

     The basic idea would be some sort of a subscription fee (let’s just say monthly $15 books or something) and you choose the genre. In turn, you would receive an unknown book of that respective genre monthly until you either stop or decide you want a different genre. (I’ve thought about doing a multiple genre kind of subscription, but I’m not sure how the prices would really work yet…maybe 1 for $15, 2 for $25, etc. kinda business.)
     Last but not least, and here’s where my brain is really buzzing, I’m not sure if it should be Lootcrate or Gamefly, in that you should be able to keep the book forever and just keep getting more stuff OR to be able to keep the book if you want it for an additional fee and return it in exchange for something else if you don’t want to keep it.

     What do you guys think? I feel like some people would really like this idea, but I’m not sure where to take it. Input would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Untitled / Sci-Fi - Chapter 2 - 05.08.16


    Aryana woke several hours later. With the exception of the occasional beep and a few flashing lights from the control panels around the bridge, it was completely quiet. Just outside the viewfinder, the frozen darkness of space continued to drift by. Indifferent. Endless.
    She reached down and grabbed the datapad to check the calculations and, to her surprise, found that it was dead. She tapped it a few times but it was completely non-responsive.
    Battery’s probably dead. she thought.
    Getting up from under the warmth of her blanket, she crossed the cold floor to the datapad’s docking station and plugged it in. It gave a reassuring beep and the screen flashed to confirm it was charging. It would be at least a few minutes before it let her activate it again.
    Leaning down at the closest console, she flipped on the screen to check the course layouts.
    While she waited for the readouts to come up, she couldn’t help but chuckle at the toys strewn across the top of the console. It was covered with a number of small action figures wearing spandex. Brown, her navigator, was a huge fan of the 20th and 21st centuries and apparently these toys were “wrestlers” from some entertainment program back then. She had always been a fan of “The Rock”, as Brown called him.
    The computer blinked and started scrolling numbers across the screen. Thousands of lines of calculations, hundreds of variables and numbers were accounted for, all flashed by in an instant. She could have manually checked them, but right now she was more interested in the overall.
    Course stable. Flashed in green at the bottom of the screen.
    “Good enough for me.”
    She flipped off the screen and made her way back to the rec room to make herself some dinner. While she waited for it to cook, she came to the conclusion that she’d have to wake her crew. It would be jarring to be woken from hypersleep for such a short period, but it would be a lot harder to explain when she woke them up just to make them refuel the ship.
    The next while was spent choking down the poor excuse for a meal that she had tossed together. It was bland, tasteless, and made from what she could scrape together without rehydrating any food stores, but it filled her belly and that was good enough for the time being. She could have a real meal later.
    Afterwards, back in the cryo-chamber, she went about thawing her crew. She started with Duncan. Duncan Kilborne had been her second mate for four separate ore-runs into the Capulet sector and a good guy. Next was her navigator, Hammond Brown, who always preferred his last name to his first. This was followed by Rebecca Lee, the Quartermaster, Richard Sanchez, Pilot, Danisha Folami, the ship’s Mechanic, Yoko Xi, Danisha’s Assistant, Howard Moore, the ship’s Doctor, and Franklin Toss, the Cargo Master.
    The tubes opened one by one. Cryogenic gas poured out across the floors and the cool mist filled the room. Arayana couldn’t help but shiver, immediately regretting having left her blanket on the bridge. It was already cold. Adding the contents of eight freezers to the room didn’t make it any better.
    For a few minutes, nothing moved except the pluming white and blue gases. Then, groans. The sound of sporadic movement. Finally, Dick was the first to speak up.
    “Are we there yet?” he muttered incoherently.
    No one answered.
    Slowly, painfully, the crew went about climbing out of their tubes and making a beeline for the nearby showers. Men and women alike stripped off their cryosuits with no regard to the others around them and basked under the hot water. The water on the ship was rarely used and had been recycled more times than they could count but none of them cared. The hot water helped to blast away the delirium and slimy feeling that cryo sleep left them with.
    Aryana waited calmly for each of her crew. None of them took too long, but she wouldn’t rush them even if they did. Waking from cryo was a horrible feeling and she had just done the same not too long ago. She couldn’t fault them for the toll the process took on their bodies.
    It was only when the showers had stopped and the crew was pulling on fresh clothes that anyone spoke again.
    “They ain’t paying us enough for this shit.” Frank grumbled as he pulled on his pants.
    “Not enough to wake up to your face, Frank.” Dani shot back without even looking over.
    “Good morning to you too, shitface.”
    The two chuckled and soon the eight of them were making subdued small talk amongst themselves. Lots of insults and more than a bit of colorful language, but none of it angry. The only one who didn’t join in was Aryana, and Howard was the first to notice.
    “I can’t help but think we didn’t get to enjoy the sight of our Captain’s fine ass in the shower today.” He said as he finished pulling his shirt over his head. “What do you think Becca?”
    “You’re right,” the spunky little Quartermaster agreed. “I was wondering why I felt so tired. I just realized I didn’t have my coffee this morning.”
    As if to empathize her point, Becca looked over at Aryana and playfully licked her lips.
    “Now, do you suppose it’s because she just doesn’t like us anymore?” Howard asked, pouting his bottom lip.
    “I think it’s because I had to wake up early this morning while you assholes slept in.” Aryana snapped back with a grin.
    “Such are the privileges of that fat little bonus on her paycheck.” Dani said with a laugh as she tried to dry chocolate mop of hair.
    “Wait a second, you guys get paid?!” Brown said with playful panic.
    “Like I said, not paid enough for this shit.” Frank muttered again.
    Dani reached over and smacked him in the back of the head with a laugh.
    “Alright, alright.” Duncan said calmly. “Clearly something’s up. What’s going on, cap’n?”
    The crew fell silent and, for a minute, Aryana hated Duncan. He always had the crew’s attention in an instant and now all of them were silently staring at her. She’d much rather just listen to everyone bullshit amongst themselves than give them the bad news.
    She let out a long sigh.
    “As you know, sometimes we receive orders that dictate when we need to make alterations to our course. And, despite being your captain, I have no say in those alterations…” she said. She couldn’t help but to feel defensive. “Well, it would seem that we had to make a change.”
    “What kind of change?” Yoko asked, her brow furrowing.
    “As it turns out, the course that we were previously heading on would have taken us through active pirate space. The company felt it in our best interest to redirect us around that quadrant.”
    They all remained quiet, staring. They knew more was coming.
    “They...” she scratched the back of her head and sighed again. “They’re sending us up towards Waystation Kappa-34.”
    “Kappa-34?!” Frank said. The huge man stood up to his full height in anger, dwarfing those around him.
    “That’s going to add months onto the trip!” Becca said, gritting her teeth.
    “Yea.” Aryana agreed. “Six months out, we get to stop and refuel. Followed by another six making our way around.”
    “A whole year?” Duncan asked quietly.
    Her heart felt heavy as she looked at Duncan’s calm, but darkened expression. She couldn’t say anything to him. She just nodded.
    The crew stared at each other silently for a few minutes. None of them wanted to say what they were all thinking. The year of their family’s life that they were going to miss out on. The extra year in the freezers to play havoc on their bodies. The extra year where anything and everything could go wrong in the reaches of space.
    “I know this sucks, guys.” Aryana said finally. “But it’s either that or get buttfucked by pirates in your sleep.”
    “I, for one, was hoping to meet a nice upstanding gentleman.” Brown said snidely. “However will I meet him if not through barreling blindly through pirate territory?”
    Dani proceeded to smack Brown this time. Frank chuckled. Dani smacked him too.
    “I figured you guys would rather know this way than when we got to the Waystation to refuel. So, if you want to go back to the freeze right away, you’re more than welcome to. If you want a few hours to stretch your legs, I get that too. One way or another, I want everyone back on ice within a day.”
    “Let’s get this shit done sooner rather than later.” She said sternly.
    They all nodded in agreement.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Untitled / SciFi Chap 1 - 05.03.16

    Aryana glanced over at the flashing indicator light which accompanied the endless beeping on her datapad. It had been blinking incessantly since the moment the computer had woken her from Cryo. She had ignored it for the last hour while she showered and got a cup of coffee, but now it was staring her in the face. In some way, she hoped that if she kept ignoring it, it would just go away. She just wanted to enjoy her coffee in peace.
    Looking back out the viewfinder, her gaze wandered aimlessly amongst the black, freezing abyss just beyond. Her parents were never a fan of space travel. Hell, her dad always said that the only way to ever get him off Terra was to forcefully strap his ass to a rocket. She hadn’t been nearly as sentimental about that floating rock as he was.
    In a way, it was the quiet.
    The stillness of space.
    The way that no one could both-
    Aryana reached over and slapped the screen of the datapad. The blinking and beeping stopped immediately. Instead, the monotone sound of her shipping coordinator, Jonathon Hinkey filled the cabin.

    zzzT! “This is a priority two message. To all ships traveling within the Capulet sector, most notably through F1, G1, and G2. We have had multiple reports of pirate activity taking place within a ten light year radius. Several ships have been attacked and pillaged, with a number of reported injuries and casualties along with billions worth of stolen cargo. Please review the following attached trajectory adjustments and input them as promptly as possible. Affected ships include as follows: the Apollo, the Magellan, the Deathclaw, the Falcon, the Merced, and the Charon. Please respond to acknowledge course revision. Respond code Gamma-Epsilon.” Zzzt!

    The Charon…
    With an aggravated sigh, she reached over and grabbed the datapad, stopping it before the message could play again. Swiping it aside, she pulled open the new course adjustments that were attached and let out an audible groan of disgust.
    “Are you kidding me?” she said loudly, her voice echoing metallically through the empty halls.
    The new route wasn’t only cautious, it was downright lunacy. Not only would it take her a good hundred lightyears around both the F and G quadrants, but the course adjustments would actually force her to stop at the Waystation orbiting Walton’s World in order to refuel and keep going.
    “This shit’s going to add at least another year to our timetable!”
    She tossed the datapad to the side with another groan and went back to her coffee, trying to ignore her responsibilities for the time being. She’d have to make the adjustments soon so that Jonathon didn’t keep bothering her, but he could wait for now.
    God…the crew’s gonna be pissed.
    Coffee in hand, she made her way back to the cryosleep chamber. Her tube still hung open, dripping with condensation from her recent slumber. The others however, remained firmly sealed. The eight members of her crew continued to sleep peacefully.
    “Lucky bastards.”
    She considered whether she should wake them or not. While she knew that none of them would complain, except for maybe Rat, she also knew how jarring it was to be woken from cryosleep just to be given a message and put back in the tubes an hour later. Cryosleep was bad enough on the system.
    Still, she could only imagine what it would be like to be woken up only to find that you have to run a refueling process a couple million light years from home instead of actually being home.
    She slowly went from tube to tube, looking from face to face.
    She’d have to think on it.
    Slipping away from the sleeping forms of her crew, she made her way back down the cold halls of the ship. With the majority of the crew in sleep, the ship kept life support at a minimum and she could definitely feel it. She stopped by her quarters and grabbed her favorite blanket from stowage.
    Back on the bridge, she downed the last of her cofee, grabbed the datapad, and wrapped up. She had always loved this blanket. It was heavy and warm and faded red with time. Her father had given it to her. He called it a “Shock Blanket”. While she wasn’t sure where the name came from, possibly Old Britain if she remembered correctly, it had stayed on her parents’ bed for as long as she could remember and was only given to her after her mother passed.
    At that time, she was young and impetuous and didn’t care much for the “hand-me-down gift” as she called it then. Now, it was easily her most prized possession.
    Aryana turned the datapad back on and got to work. It was already linked to the ship’s computer. She quickly began inputting the new calculations and adjustments to the ship’s trajectory. Each one would have to be checked and double checked by the computer. Even if the big-wigs back home knew what they were doing, space travel was dangerous and any little adjustment, if wrong, could send them barreling through a sun or into a planet while they were sleeping. She wasn’t worried though.
    The computer would make the final call.
    After just a few minutes, she finished and the computer reported that it was calculating their route. Aryana sent a quick confirmation message back to Jonathon confirming the adjustment and set the datapad down next to her. She knew that once it was done, the ship would correct its course automatically. There wasn’t much she needed to do.
    She pulled the blanket closer to her throat, trying to keep out the cold of the empty ship.
    Once again, her gaze drifted back out of the viewfinder of the little cramped bridge. Out to the stars and the oceans of darkness. To the planets and moons and asteroids. To all of the unknown that space travel promised. And, most importantly, back home.
    She hadn’t seen her father in well over five years. While it barely felt like three months for her because of cryosleep, the dilemma of space travel was that those you left behind continued to age while you stayed frozen in a pod.
    Aryana had heard the horror stories of men and women coming back to find children fully grown. To find parents dead of old age and lovers long forgotten to the passing of the clock. Towns and cities changed, love ones gone forever, and the world passing them by while they drifted frozen through space. Such was the risk of traveling for so long.
    She pulled the blanket even tighter to her chest of thought of her father back on Terra, trying to thrust the thought of coming home to a tombstone. Her mother was long gone and while he was a stubborn son of a bitch, there was no doubt he was mortal. She fell asleep staring out into the void and worrying what she might be missing by being out here for another year.
    Little did she know, a message flashed across her datapad:

    “Calculations incomplete. Retaining original course.”

(Another bit I'm working on, hopefully with more chapters soon to come. Keep an eye out.)