Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 2 of 7

The bridge was an interesting design; no captain’s chair, pseudo-military layout. Just a large screen with three rows of four work stations. It looked more like a coding party set up than a bridge.

“Okay Adric, what do we do?”

“Just slap the patches I gave you on the closest computers and let me work.”

“Alright. Adric will poke at the computers, we’re going to explore the darker places. Suzie you’re closest to what should be the flight decks and primary docking bays. Go find me a reason this ship’s empty. We’ll head to crew quarters and living areas.”

“Aye, aye Captain!” Suzie said mockingly. I could picture her face as she said it and it made my heart skip a beat.

The walk was slow and nerve-wracking. Without my visions from Sol to guide me and having no real Precog abilities, I was blind and I hated it. I don’t like being surprised.

The hallways were boring grey and utilitarian. A very Earthen design. I was more used to the opulent, borderline ridiculous design esthetic of the Venusians. This felt like being in a metal box or coffin.

What should be the crew quarters, based off of Sol standard design, turned out to be a giant hold, it held nothing but glass and dried blood. “Everyone back out. Masks on, there’s something viral in here,” I ordered. I could feel a virus trying to take hold of me. The moment the other two left the hold I burst into flames.

The virus wasn’t natural. It had been designed to wipe out something specific. I got a flash of two scientists finishing the virus and then a vision of them being horribly killed by the creatures from nightmares.

The room was now filled with melted glass and ash. I walked out and Hoff gave me a new robe to wear. Fire doesn’t ignore clothes. That’s why I never keep my credit chips on me.

“That virus wouldn’t have affected us. It was designed to attack something specific. I have the genome now but I’ve never seen anything like it.” Hoff had her pad out and was looking at it with a mixture of horror and amazement.

“How did you get that so fast? I wasn’t out for that long, was I?” I was worried. I hated losing time.

“No. I scanned the virus and it had a secondary part that was biotech. It interfaced with my pad and downloaded everything about itself.”

“So we’re on a plague ship with viruses smart enough to interface with our tech?” Fry asked.

“So a few steps ahead of you Fry,” Hoff joked.

Cutting into our conversation, Adric said, “Yes, and it gets worse.”

“What? Did it infect our ship?” I asked, starting to feel a little better.

“What? No. I’m better at security then that. I’m not just stumbling through a ghost ship’s systems without a plan.” He was snarky but not wrong. “I managed to get some data from their systems. This isn’t an original jump ship. It’s a distress call. The Earthen’s settled in Tau Ceti and it looked like everything was fine until they were attacked by ships from Epsilon Indi.” He sent a picture of the ships over to Hoff’s pad. They were the ships from my nightmares. “They’re asking for help but this information is all over a two hundred years old.”

“But where’s the crew?” I asked, hoping he’d found something.

“Looks like they should be in the lower decks where Suzie is. They were in cryosleep. The ship said it tried to wake them, but got an error and shut down to conserve energy. It’s been drifting towards us slowly for two hundred years.”

“Sir, we found the cryotubes. There’s almost fifty and they’re all smashed except for one.” Suzie sounded worried. She never sounded worried, unless it was about me.

“Okay, fall back to the shuttle. Let’s decontaminate and figure out our next move.”

“What about the man in the last tube?”

“He’s been in there for two hundred years, a few more hours won’t hurt.”

Teddy’s com cut off any other conversation, “What the ash is that?” His screams of pain caused us to start running.

Read Next Chapter Tuesday July 23


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Harry Potter and the Magic of Words – Guest Post by Jamieson Wolf

Hello Imaginary Friends,

I’m enjoying some cuddles from Pegasus. You can enjoy this fantastic post by Jamieson Wolf.


Words have the power to heal. I experienced this firsthand.

In 2013, I woke one morning with little motor control and could barely walk. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Labyrinthitis. I wasn’t allowed to read or watch television or write at my computer for two weeks. Thankfully, my mother suggested I listen to audiobooks. I downloaded the first two Harry Potter books and started listening to them, certain I wouldn’t like them. Thankfully, I fell in love.

Listening to Harry Potter brought the story and the world that Harry lives in alive for me in a way that reading the book couldn’t. Hearing Jim Dale read out Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone and then Stephen Fry read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was also a balm to my soul. Over the two weeks that I had to take off work, I would sit back and close my eyes and let the words wash over me. I would let the world of Harry Potter fill in the darkness.

Then other problems began. I didn’t get better. I got worse. The left side of my body went numb; I fell almost daily. Eventually, after losing the ability to speak and type on a keyboard (having been able to type since I was in my teens), I knew that something was very wrong. There was something else wrong with my body and, after a day in emergency, the doctors had an idea of what it was that lived within me.

There was a neurologist on staff that night. After looking me over he informed me that it was probably multiple sclerosis, but they would have to run tests to make sure. It would be some time until I knew what was wrong.

I turned to books for comfort. As I didn’t have Labyrinthitis, the doctors said it was okay for me to read again, thank goodness. I picked up a book by a new author that one of my friends recommended to me: Cupcakes at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown. It was about a woman named Georgie Hart who was desperate to put her life back in order. In a bizarre coincidence, she had lost her mother when she succumbed to her multiple sclerosis. This touched me deeply and I felt deeply connected to the book because of that. I went on to read Cupcakes at Carrington’s three more times and it was magical every single time.

I went through a battery of different tests: vision and hearing, bloodwork, a CAT scan and an MRI and a spinal tap to finish it all off. Now all I could do was wait. While I waited for the diagnosis, I knew that I needed to write something, anything. I would lie in bed at night and watch the stories I wanted to tell float above my head. Before, I could write ten thousand words in a weekend without breaking a sweat. Now, I could only write five or so words at a time, forcing my fingers to hit the right keys.

I decided that I had to write. I had to write something. I had dabbled in poetry in my teens before turning to short stories, novellas and novels. I figured that writing poetry would give me another way to tell stories. My poems would do away with iambic petametre and a rhyming scheme. Instead, they would be raw and real, part memoir and part story. I would take those five words that I wrote a day and stitch the poem together when I thought it was done.

Each poem took me about a week or more to write, but as I continued, I noticed something: I was getting better. Five words a day slowly climbed to ten and then to fifteen. I remember hitting twenty words a day and I felt elated. It was as if I had climbed a flat mountain and could look back at all of the words I had written. It was as if I could fly. Soon, I had a small collection of poems. I even thought that I might one day collect them all together and publish them. I had an idea for a title: Talking to the Sky. It would be a reference to when I was trying to heal and would sit at the computer, staring at the blank screen unable to type and tell the stories that I wanted to. It was like I was talking to the clouds.

Then, after three months, I received my diagnosis, a day before my birthday: I had relapse and remitting multiple sclerosis. I wasn’t afraid. Now, I knew the monster within me had a name.

I retreated into the world of Harry Potter once again. I have read the Harry Potter series more than anything else. I read the series once a year and have stopped counting the fortieth time I read the series the entire way through. That was years ago. I turned to his story when I needed comfort, when I needed joy. When I was sad or depressed, the story held within the books was pure magic. I needed Harry and company at that moment more than anything.

I also needed to write more than poetry. I needed to break out of the constraint of sewing words together like a patchwork quilt. I needed to write a novel. I didn’t know how long it would take, or if it would be any good. It didn’t matter; I was angry, surprisingly so, and I wanted to write something that would help soothe the anger. I wanted to give the anger a focus.

With that in mind, I started writing a novel I called The Other Side of Oz. In the novel, Justin is an Oz fanatic who has started seeing yellow bricks everywhere he goes. Is it his imagination intruding into real life? Then Justin and the boy he likes are in an accident. They travel to Justin’s version of Oz, but again, is it real or is it their imagination? I wanted to find some way to convey the sense of the unreal that I lived with every day. While not about Harry Potter, it was about the other series of books that had formed a large part of my childhood and adulthood. I wanted to write about someplace magical that wasn’t the world I lived in.

By the time I was done the book, a few months had passed. It had been exhausting, trying to force my brain to think of a story and forcing my fingers to type the words out. However, when I typed The End, I was elated once more. I had climbed another flat mountain, this one higher than the others that I had climbed.

I noticed other things, too. I was lighter, as if a weight had been taken from me. Scrolling through the pages of the novel that I had typed out, I knew it was because I had put the weight of that anger and uncertainty into The Other Side of Oz. That novel has never seen the light of day; perhaps, with a hefty edit, it will someday soon.

What I’ve come to realize six years later, is that I would have been a lot worse without the magic of words. The books I love kept me sustained and comforted when I need it and, when that wasn’t enough, my own words had flown out of me to relieve me of the pain and angst I was carrying within me. Words were the magic that I wielded. As much as the multiple sclerosis took a lot of things from me and made me revaluate how I lived my life, the one thing that didn’t leave me was the magic of words. Each one I write is part of the spell that I weave and each one I read heals me still.

I would be lost without them.


Jamieson Wolf is a number one best selling author (he likes to tell people that a lot!). His recent works include the memoir Little Yellow Magnet and the novels Lust and Lemonade and Life and Lemonade. A third novel, Love and Lemonade, comes out later this year. You can learn more about Jamieson at http://www.jamiesonwolf.com

Blush: Guest Post on Asexuality by S.M. Carrière

This post has been copied with permission from S.M. Carrière’s blog.

Good morning, Readers!

The easiest way I can think of to explain my experience as an asexual and what I understand about it is to do so in a Q&A format.  As I do so, I cannot stress enough that not all asexual people have had my experience or my understanding on the subject, and their answers may vary.  This is just how I see things.

Clear?  Cool.  Here we go.

By AnonMoos (SVG file); AVEN (flag design) – This vector image includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this:  Asexual flag.png., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11521997. Image from wikipedia.

So… what even is asexuality?

You know, human sexuality is this wonderfully rich, complex thing.  I firmly believe that there are as many sexualities as their are people on the planet.  That said, asexuality is simply the lack of sexual attraction to anyone.

That doesn’t mean that they don’t feel any romantic attraction or are unable to fall in love.  It’s just that sexual attraction isn’t really part of their world.

Read the rest here!

If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press.

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 1 of 7

“Are we going to die?” Fry asked me for the third time since we entered the Robinson’s airlock.

“Shut up, man,” Hoff sighed as she double checked her gun.

“I saw myself dying on a dark space ship and this ship is dark.”

I tried not to say anything. As the prophet of Sol, the deific entity that lives in the sun, I often had visions of the future. More so since I was injected with a serum that should make me live forever.

“What did you see, Hal?” Fry asked sounding less like the walking arsenal of death that he was and more like a scared child.

“The less I say, the better for all of us.” I hadn’t seen anything. I couldn’t see anything. This part of the solar system was beyond Sol’s influence. I felt naked and blind. The only reason I was here was that I’d heard there was something floating past Xanthus from their local Precog, Caro. All they’d tell me was that there was something there and I needed to go look. Even their amazing abilities couldn’t tell me anything more.

“I hate it when you’re cryptic,” Teddy said over the coms.

I had brought a team of six people. Somehow, with the solar system in the midst of a civil war, or three, my ship had gone from echoing lonely hallways to loud and tight. I liked it cramped; it meant I was never alone with my own future. The things I saw when I slept haunted me and for the past two years I’ve wondered when they’d come to pass.

“Can we stay on mission, please?” Adric said over the coms. He was a brilliant engineer and computer hacker; young enough that he still couldn’t drink on most worlds and not fond of chatter when we were exploring ghost ships.

The six person team was me, Teddy our second engineer, Fry head of security, Hoff our bioscience expert, Travis our secondary pilot and swordsman, and Suzie my ex-assassin personal bodyguard.

Just over two years ago, Suzie had told me she loved me. I hadn’t said anything at the time and then I’d been resurrected and we were trying to stop a solar system-wide war and unite the people of Sol in order to face a greater threat… Yeah, I chickened out.

“Team two, this is team one, we’ve reached engineering. Ship’s completely abandoned but everything is still in working order. We’ll try to get the lights on.” That was Suzie; she was with Travis and Teddy.

The lights stayed off. As we approached the doors to the ship’s bridge, I heard a sound that haunts my dreams, a soft clicking noise. It’s the sound of two dried bones tapping each other, the sound of death, and the sound of my nightmares.

In general, I’m a pacifist and don’t like killing or hitting things. I did spend some time in a gladiator Arena so I learnt how to punch.

The piece of the ship’s ceiling that fell next to me didn’t know what hit it. Probably because it was inanimate and because it was disintegrated by my fiery punch.

“What was that?” Suzie asked.

“Hal’s teaching the ship whose boss,” Hoff said dryly.

“Ok. Anyone recognize this ship’s design?”

“Looks Earthen; maybe five hundred years old. From just before they went all luddite.” Adric said over the coms.

“Could it be one of the system jumpers?” I asked. The last fleet from earth was comprised of over a hundred ships. They were escaping the rise of technophobia that had gripped earth and the xenophobia of the other planetary empires. Using extra powerful faster-than-light drives, they jumped into the unknown, never to be heard from again. With a bad calculation, the ships could have appeared in a sun or black hole. They used supercomputers back then and those are extremely unreliable compared to Precogs.

“That would explain the engines,” Suzie said. “They’re absolutely amazing. Like nothing I’ve ever seen. Is this what Earth tech was like before?” The Fall was the name for what happened when half the population of the earth rebelled against the corporate government and demolished the factories that had been destroying the planet. They returned to an agrarian lifestyle. Most of their tech was lost.

“Has anyone seen any sign of life?” I asked, hoping no one had. This whole situation terrified me and I didn’t know why.

“I saw a few escape pods still in their bay. No one bailed.” Suzie said over the coms.

“So where’s the crew?” I asked, jumping as the lights came on.

Read Next Chapter


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Top 5 things Keladry says adorably wrong

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Most of the time when my daughter says things wrong, I correct her. That doesn’t stop me from appreciating how freaking adorable they are.

5. Dandad

Her Grandad is both awesome and one of her favourite people. He was the first person she called by name after Mum. She still had trouble with G’s and R’s.

It’s also one of the only names that haven’t changed.

4. Lepts Hand

She can tell her left from her right, most of the time. Honestly that’s better than me. But for some reason the FT sound escapes her.

3. Bool / Bootiful

She can say beautiful. She just doesn’t. It’s too cute to keep correcting. She also has trouble with blue, but that’s consistent. Oddly, she’s fine with bleu…

2. Boblaws

She already has a level of brand awareness that is impressive. She can tell by logo if we’re going to Walmart, Independent, or Loblaws.

She still says boblaws though…. And it makes me giggle and smile every time.

1. Vegetable Park

This one is really cute but completely random. The park near our house is called Alphabet Park, but she refuses to call it that. It’s always Vegetable Park.

Hope that made you smile,

Éric

Guest Post: HP Studio Tour

Hello everyone! My name is Rebecca and I’m so happy to be writing a guest post for you today!

I’m turning 28 this year, and like a lot of people my age, I was BIG into Harry Potter as a kid. Midnight releases for books and movies, all the merch, playing Harry Potter games with my sisters, the whole deal.

So when a good friend from University invited me to a conference in London, England, I knew I would have to visit some Harry Potter attractions.

We had a busy trip, and while I didn’t make it to King’s Cross Station (oh look, a great excuse to go back to England!) we did go to the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour to see the sets and props used in the making of the movies.

And it was so worth it.

The Studio Tour is outside of London and the tube doesn’t run there. However, there are lots of travel packages  that offer a bus to and from the tour, departing from convenient places around London (often near major hotels).

The only downside of taking the bus is that you have to catch it to get back to the city! I could have stayed all day! That being said, the timeframe that we had (approx. 3 hours) was reasonable and I never felt like I had to rush by something super fast to be able to make the bus.

The tour is set up a bit like a museum; most of the items are behind railings so you can’t touch, and there are information sheets all over telling you about each item, and fun “behind the scenes” facts. There are also video clips playing –  from the movies, as well as interviews with the cast and crew.

The tour begins in the Great Hall, as if you were a student arriving at Hogwarts for the first time!

One thing I appreciated was that there was no forced Sorting ceremony. While this might be fun for some people, I know that for many adult fans, we know our houses and definitely have strong house loyalty! (Team Ravenclaw here!)

The great hall was amazing, (the whole tour was) but there were two instances in particular that gave me the WOW factor.

Do you remember in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley for the first time ? That was a magical scene in both the book and the movie, where you really get to experience the magic of the wizarding world.

Walking into the set for Diagon Alley – it all came flooding back. Suddenly I was 8 years old again reading my first Harry Potter book. That magic and pure joy was truly something special.

The second location where I got that feeling was the Hogwarts Castle room. This is where they have the model of the castle that was used for all the external sweeping shots. You can see every tower, all the grounds, Hagrid’s hut. I actually teared up a bit.

Aside from the marvel of all the sets and props, the staff were also amazing. In Ollivander’s wand shop, they’ve written the names of cast and crew on the wand boxes. When I was there, a staff member was sitting with a young child who was asking where all of the character’s wands were. And the staff member knew each one! She was using a laser pointer to indicate the appropriate wand boxes all around the room.  I’m sure that was a special moment for that child, and the staff member sure made an impact on the guests!

I could go on all day, but I don’t want to spoil that magical childhood transportation moment for anyone!

I would highly recommend this tour to any and all Harry Potter fans – no matter your age! I will note that part of the tour does go outside to the Knight Bus, Number Four Privet Drive, and a few other locations, so check the weather and bring a jacket if needed.

Thanks again to Jen, Eric, Dragon, and baby Pegasus for the opportunity to write for you today!

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca