Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist – Chapter 8


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 8

After a few hours of being in the conference room, I started to wish I’d taken up the Sun Speaker on his offer of food.

The door finally opened and Diamond was shoved through. She looked rough, like she’d been in a fight. Whatever had hit her had left a dark bruise over most of the left side of her face.

When the door closed, I asked, “What happened?”

She took a deep breath and sat on a chair. “They must have figured out our plan. We have to warn the others.” There was a breathiness to her speech, like she’d been punched in the throat. There was definitely something wrong.

“What plan?” I asked, using my best confused voice.

“The jig is up Samuel. They know what we’re going to do. It’s like they have someone on the inside.” She gave me a sidelong look before resting her head on the conference room table.

The thing about this plan was that I had no idea what came next. I suspected that neither did Diamond, but I couldn’t tell. The woman seemed to be part genius and part ridiculously lucky.

“Oh. The plan!” I said, trying to buy some time. Either Diamond was trying to send me a coded message or this wasn’t her. “Well… Nice job testing me. There is no one else.”

“Right. Of course. Now how about we get out of here?” Diamond said, standing and going to the door. She pulled a pass out of her sleeve and flashed it at the door. It had a little picture of the guard that had brought her to the room. “I nicked it off the guard when he shoved me.” There was a proud mischievousness to the look on her face. It looked right on her face, but not right based on my experience. It was a face she’d fake around others, not one she’d use with the crew. She was definitely trying to tell me something, or this wasn’t Diamond.

“Remember that we need to turn off their outside sensors and long range communications,” I said. It wasn’t part of the plan, but it sounded like it should be and even if this wasn’t Diamond it could be useful.

“I saw a server node when they brought me in. This way.”

I followed until we got to a door that indicated it was a server node. We went in with the help of the purloined pass and found a tiny room. The computers took all the wall space from ceiling to floor on all three sides that didn’t have the door. With both of us standing we would bump into each other as we worked. “You do the long range coms and I’ll do the sensors,” I said.

We worked in silence as we hacked our way into the system. While I worked diligently with my right hand, my left took out a hidden drive and plugged it in. I had just deactivated the sensors when Diamond said, “This is harder than I thought. I need more time.”

“We don’t have much, I’m almost done with the sensors,” I lied.

I looked at the bottom screen and transferred any files related to Project Replicator. The transfer finished and I saw another folder called Operation Black-Sun. Even though it was dated from almost two hundred years ago, I still took it. I placed the small drive back into the tiny hidden pocket in my hip. Onyx had made it and when I pressed the right way, it sealed so that the only way to know there was anything in it was an x-ray.

“I’m done,” Diamond said. “We should get out of here.”

“What about the plan?” I asked.

“Shove the plan into the vacuum of space, they have a Sun Speaker. We need to get out of here. No pay is worth this.” That’s when I knew it wasn’t the real Diamond.  

I needed to make sure whoever this was believed that I didn’t get what I wanted. “We need that prototype weapon. Our buyers aren’t going to take failure well.” I felt like I was getting pretty good at lying.

“Right. I looked at the floor plans while taking down the coms and I think the labs are this way.” Once again I followed her and when we got to an unmarked door she said, “The labs are in there. I just have to get this door open.” The pass didn’t work when she tried it, so she forced the door open. It was completely dark inside. She grunted and said, “I can’t keep this open for long. Get in there and unlock it from the inside.”

Walking into a dark room that I knew was a trap wasn’t fun, but I did it and when I did, the door closed behind me. Over the door coms I heard, “Thank you for telling us everything we needed.” It started out as Diamond’s voice but faded into that of the Sun Speaker.

“Wow, he does a great impersonation of me,” said a voice in the dark.

The lights turned on dramatically and I could see Diamond chained to the wall by her hands and feet. I was starting to miss the conference room. This one was all metal walls and uncomfortable rust coloured stains.

“I didn’t realize you were into this sort of thing,” I quipped, hoping her answer would tell me if this was another fake out.

“Yes, yes I am. But I usually prefer leather or silk. Metal is so unyielding.”

The lights went out again and then so did the hum, which I’d started to tune out, of the air support system.

Read Chapter 9 (September 2021)


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:


Want to learn more about what Sun Speakers are? Check out what the one in our solar system is up to.

Read Chapter 8 (August 2021)


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:


Want to learn more about what Sun Speakers are? Check out what the one in our solar system is up to.

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

Process of writing

Kennedy and Jason, in their first iterations, appeared in our D&D game in 2010. Kennedy Fairfield was Kennedy Lake, and she was a kindergarten teacher who had an affinity for guns. Jason Johnson was Giles Momoa, and he was a Mafia leader that the player characters had to interrogate. Kennedy rolled a natural 20 and did something fancy, getting his attention, and they flirted and eventually became romantically involved. The other players liked him too, and he kept coming back into the game. When that game ended, we played a superhero game, and Jen played Giles’s niece, a 6 year old water creator named Chelsea who couldn’t control her creation. She appears in our book as Brooke, Jason’s niece. After that game ended, that was it; we put them all aside.

Fast forward ten years, and we didn’t really remember the storylines from the game, but the characters really stuck in our heads (although we had forgotten most of their names, other than Kennedy’s first name). And then we started discussing potentially writing a book about them, together.

We started off by talking about it A LOT in Fall 2020. Then on Jan 1, 2021, we sat down and wrote jot notes for the first Act. We split the book between us by main character and alternated chapters (minus a couple places in Act 2). When we finished the first Act, we made jot notes for the second. And again for the third.

We have a separate document for the cast of characters and important locations, with descriptions about each so we could stay consistent.

We wrote in Google docs. After each chapter, the other person edited, and then Jen read it aloud to Keladry (4.5yo). She picked up on a lot of repetitive words and typos that way…

It worked really well for us, but we understand why it wouldn’t work for everyone.

We finished the first draft on March 14, 2021.

More than half of the words Jen wrote were written on her phone while nursing Adrien (18-20mo) to sleep!

Lots of writing late at night happened. Éric would bring his laptop to bed and write while Jen was nursing Adrien (when it was his turn to write). Occasionally, we’d get a nice chunk of time in the middle of the day when the kids were playing well together, and we could write.

One memorable occasion, Jen wrote 4k words during our daughter’s virtual school day while she (Dragon) was paying attention to the teachers. :O

Location and Time

Why Westmeath?

It’s set in the city of Westmeath, Ontario, which is a real place, but in real life is a small farming area. In our book, something significant was discovered there and a very large city popped up very quickly (think 3/4 the size of Montreal, about 1.1 million people) in the 1970s. The sister city is Demers, Quebec, which is about the same size. There are about 60 high schools in Westmeath.

We wanted a fictional city so that we could add areas, streets, and stores without worrying about real locations. There are certain areas that are based off of real-life locations (Kennedy’s apartment is based on the apartments at Lees in Ottawa, for example).

The characters were originally from a table top role playing game we played in 2010 and at the time, Éric wanted to have a city that could be a pastiche of Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Gotham.

Why 2002?

The book is set in 2002 to avoid conflicting or crossing over with too many elements of the rest of the Aetherverse, specifically events that will happen in summer of 2016 in book 7 of Elizabeth Investigates Her Last Bow.

Beyond wanting to avoid giving away the series ending (not to mention not wanting to deal with the pandemic) we also were in late high school and early university at the time and have some fond memories.

Music playlist 2002

One of the first things we did when writing this book was build a 2002 playlist.

I had already started writing my first chapter, and Kennedy had entered a bakery. I thought, shouldn’t there be music playing? What music would have been popular in September 2002?

Cue a post on Facebook asking about our friends’ favourite artists from twenty years ago. (Twenty? What?)

We bought a bunch of CDs to supplement what we already owned, and built an epic playlist to listen to while we wrote to add atmosphere. An entire scene in chapter 5 wouldn’t have been there without this playlist.

Songs used in the book (in order of appearance):

Ordinary Day by Vanessa Carlton

Lapdance by N.E.R.D. (not safe for children)

Lovers in a Dangerous Time by Barenaked Ladies

I Want You by Savage Garden

Let me Entertain You by Robbie Williams

The Nearness of You by Norah Jones

Bumble Bees by Aqua

Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

Ballroom Blitz by Sweet

Cartoon Heroes by Aqua

Deep Enough by Live

A New Day Has Come by Celine Dion

If The World Crashes Down by Enrique Iglesias

Bands and artists we listened to, in alphabetical order:

Alanis Morissette, Alicia Keys, Aqua, Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies, Bloodhound Gang, Britney Spears, Bryan Adams, Cake, Celine Dion, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Chumbawumba, Coldplay, Creed, Daniel Bélanger, Dave Matthews Band, David Usher, Destiny’s Child, Enrique Iglesias, Enya, Éric Lapointe, Evanescence, Faith Hill, Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack, Flogging Molly, Foo Fighters, Garou, Goo Goo Dolls, Great Big Sea, Green Day, Jagged Edge, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Page, Jewel, Kevin Parent, Len, Live, Macy Gray, Meatloaf, Midday Blackout, Natasha St-Pierre, Nelly, Nelly Furtado, Nickelback, Nightwish, Nine Inch Nails, Norah Jones, Pearl Jam, Phil Collins, P!nk, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Reel Big Fish, REM, Remy Shand, Ricky Martin, Robbie Williams, Rush, S Club 7, Sarah McLachlan, Savage Garden, Seal, Shakira, Sheryl Crow, Sky, Smashmouth, Spice Girls, Sum 41, Tea Party, Third Eye Blind, U2, Vanessa Carlton

Breaking News!

Pardon me while I interrupt your regularly scheduled posts to inform you that…

Drum roll, please!

Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers has been picked up by Renaissance Press for publishing! It will be published in Fall 2022 (twenty years after its setting).

We are so ridiculously excited about this, you have no idea!!

Our family wearing different coloured shirts that all say “Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers”

Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist – Chapter 7


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 7

“Rainbow, please identify yourself.”

“This is Samuel 1701 and Ganis 1031. We are deserters who’ve had second thoughts.”

“Deserters? Normally we need to go find you, not the other way around.” The station’s com officer sounded pretty suspicious. That just showed he had some sense. Unfortunately for us.

“We managed to capture Diamond Stars and his crew. We’re willing to trade for a pardon,” I told the lie we’d agreed on, but I expected them to just shoot us out of the sky and save everyone trouble. I had my hand on the jump button in case. It might end us inside the sun, but I liked my chances better than with a missile.

The com was quiet for much too long and I thought maybe they were on to us. How did Diamond look so calm? That woman was amazing.

“Alright, dock at dock 3. Open the airlock with arms up and no weapons,” the voice said. Definitely military and not Black-Sun, or he’d have demanded we tie our hands behind our backs and lie on the floor.

As we waited for the airlock to open, I asked, “Do you really think this will work?”

“I’m hopeful, but I have four other plans just in case.”

The door opened to show two soldiers in full uniform with their side arms drawn. “Keep your hands where we can see them and walk slowly into the hall.”

We did what we were told and they cuffed us, almost gently, against the wall. Where had these guys learned to deal with prisoners? 

“Now where are the others?”

“What others?” asked Diamond.

“Diamond Stars and his crew?” the soldier asked with a smirk having expected it and didn’t bark back at the sass. Something was off and it was making me nervous.

“If we brought them right away you’d have killed us all and called it a good day. We stashed their bodies in cryo-pods.”

The soldier doesn’t seem surprised, but instead seems pleased. “Alright, we’ll take you to talk with General Maxime. He will decide what to do with you.” That was a good sign. There were no generals in Black-Sun. Only soldiers, commanders, and speakers. I always thought it was strange that the highest echelon of authority was called speakers, but since I never met any, I never got the chance to ask why.

“You’ll be in this room,” one of the soldiers said and pushed me into a small meeting room. The table in the middle was round and would seat four or five people. The walls were covered in whiteboards that had been meticulously cleaned or never used.

I was alone. It was a smart tactic. Get our stories separately and make sure we’re telling the truth.

I was feeling the walls to see if there were any back passages when a man walked in with a brown paper bag. He wore a lab coat over a grey shirt and black pants with bright red sneakers.

“Sorry. I didn’t realize this room was taken,” he said, not really looking at me. When he finally did and saw I was handcuffed he relaxed and added, “Oh you’re one of the prisoners. Mind if I have my lunch here?” He was handsome in a nondescript way.

It was a strange request, but I shrugged and replied, “Sure, unless you have something stinky.”

He laughed and said, “Naw. Just this tunafish, truffle, and banana sandwich with blue cheese.” He paused for a second and laughed at his own joke before adding, “Not big on jokes huh. Well, you were Black-Sun. Don’t worry, I just have some cheese, crackers, and an apple.” The food was fresh looking and impressive this far out in a secret base. How did they get fresh produce and dairy? Either they’d perfected the device we were here to steal or he was more important than he let on.

He ate mostly in silence. He was neat to an impressive level. He offered me a piece of cheese midway that I politely declined.

“So what are you in for?” he asked in a jovial tone.

“Bit of desertion,” I replied with a smirk I hoped looked more charming than dangerous.  

“Ouch. Black-Sun normally just kills you guys. Why do you think the military is going to protect you?”

“I have someone they want. I’m Samuel 1701, mostly go by Garnet.” I didn’t ask his identity. I’d already figured it out, I hoped.

“Where are my manners. I’m Echo.” His eyes searched mine for recognition. I must have faked ignorance well enough because he said, “Physicist and researcher.”

“Nice to finally meet you, Sun Speaker Echo, sir,” I said dropping the pretense.

He smiled and his eyes glowed black for a moment. “So you saw right through me. You’d make a good Sun Speaker.”

“Why the ruse?”

“You respond better to casual conversation and I needed to eat,” he chuckled. Standing up, he headed for the door. As he passed through, he turned and said, “Sun Speakers are able to see the past, present, and future. You can’t lie to us and you can’t trick us. The gods are on our side. We are the righteous and I’m glad you’ve found your way back to us.”

He left and I deflated. What he’d said was normally told in whispers after too many drinks. How could we possibly out-maneuver a god-powered psychic?

I paced and tried to calm my breathing. My heart ached if I thought about the plan and what might happen to poor Onyx.

It wasn’t until I thought of him that I was able to distract myself enough to process my conversation with the Sun Speaker. If he was all knowing, he’d have shot us out of the sky the moment he saw us. That meant he didn’t know everything, and that meant, maybe, we had a chance.

Read Chapter 8


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:


Want to learn more about what Sun Speakers are? Check out what the one in our solar system is up to.

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

Organizations in Westmeath

Businesses

Oldtown Council

A council of seven members that owns lands and businesses in the Oldtown district of Westmeath. They are prominent members of the Community and the Council dates back to the original founding of Westmeath.

Westmeath Agricultural Research Cooperative (Westmeath ARC)

A research and development agricultural facility, they hold the patents to countless hearty crops and pest resistant strains. One of the world’s top agricultural researchers, Dr Amita Dubois, runs the cooperative.

It is funded by the Oldtown Council and its crops are used as a form of food bank and low income supplementation.

Yggdrasil Corporation

A subsidiary of Aesir Holdings, they own an empty warehouse and small fleet of black vans. It is suspected that they are a front for something, but unsure what.

Unidentified Tech Companies

In the sixties, several large tech companies moved facilities to Westmeath due to military contracts. With the tech companies came people, infrastructure, schools, and other businesses. In under fifteen years, Westmeath went from a backwater town to a metropolitan city.

The tech companies are extremely paranoid and have built massive city block sized campuses that have security walls around them.

Organized Crime

Andromeda Syndicate

One of the most elusive crime groups in the country, it is known to only operate in Westmeath, Toronto, and Quebec City. The Syndicate is brutal to its enemies and controls a lot of the smuggling and human trafficking in its territory.

Blue Bloods

One of the country’s most notorious, and hard to shut down, gangs. They operate each city as a cell with no one knowing the national leaders. They mostly deal in drugs, thugs, weapons, and robberies. 

Daemon Bikers

The Daemon Bikers are Westmeath’s largest drug dealers. They deal in everything. They are known to make deals rather than go into a turf war. 

Religious Organizations

Bifröst

This is a new religion that believes that a great power, they call the Key, will unlock a gate to a new world where they and the devout will be given their eternal reward. They seem to mix Christian, Norse, and science fiction concepts. 

They are known to be violently devout.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel church

An Anglican Church first built in the early 1900’s. The Reverend is known to be extremely accepting. This church is also an Aetherborn sanctuary.

Siblings of Death

A cult of trained assassins that believe the way to paradise is on a wave of blood. Once they are hired for a job they do not stop trying.

Introducing Secondary Characters Part 3/3

These are a few of the secondary characters in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

See Part 1 and Part 2

In order of appearance:

Rachel

Appearance inspired by Aimee Carrero

Age: 20

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Dark hair and tan skin

Job: Student in third year at Westmeath University, working in sales at Discreet Frills

Connection to Protagonists: Coworker of Kennedy’s, was babysat by Jason when they were younger

Nick

Appearance inspired by Colton Haynes

Age: 23

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Grey eyes

Job: Head server at The Hawaiian in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Works at Jason’s restaurant

Jesse

Appearance inspired by Tom Cavanagh

Age: mid-50s

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Tall and thin, greying hair

Job: Owns and operates Mortimer’s Diner in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Jason loves his Hungry Man’s breakfast

Introducing Secondary Characters Part 2/3

These are a few of the secondary characters in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

See Part 1 here.

In order of appearance:

Zhanna and Lydia Turgeneva

Appearance inspired by Jackie Burroughs and Cloris Leachman

Age: Unknown (very old)

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Old, hunched demeanor, Lydia uses a cane carved to look like Baba Yaga’s house

Job: They own and operate a tailoring and sewing store called Seams Likeable in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Kennedy’s neighbours

Judy Fauche

Appearance inspired by Lorraine Toussaint

Age: Early 60s

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Very large, red hair, Black

Job: Owns and operates Judy’s Butchery in Oldtown, has a dojo on the third floor above it and runs classes on the weekends, in charge of policing and protection for the Oldtown Council

Connection to Protagonists: Trained Jason in Kung Fu

Michelle and Evanna Swan

Appearance inspired by Michelle Trachtenberg and young Alexa Gerasimovich

Age: Early 30s and 3

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Single mother and daughter, blonde

Job: Unknown

Connection to Protagonists: Kennedy’s neighbours

See Part 3

Introducing Secondary Characters Part 1/3

These are a few of the secondary characters in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

In order of appearance:

Carter Batudev

Appearance inspired by Max Torina

Age: 14

Date of Birth: March 5, 1988

Appearance: Long and gangly, grey eyes

Job: Grade 9 student at Oldtown High School

Connection to Protagonists: Kennedy tutors him in math, son of the bakers at Oven Baked in Oldtown

Vee (Veronica) Giles

Appearance inspired by Olesya Rulin

Age: 25

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Short and pale, with shoulder length chocolate wavy brown hair, large eyes, heart shaped face, and pointy chin; has an air of innocence

Job: Something in engineering

Connection to Protagonists: Jason’s best friend and the Phantom’s ‘Person in the Chair

Claude

Appearance inspired by David Nykl

Age: 66

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Silver hair, attractively wrinkled face, handsome and affluent

Job: Manager of Jason’s restaurant The Hawaiian, treasurer of the Oldtown Council

Connection to Protagonists: Honorary uncle to Jason

Dr Amita Dubois

Appearance inspired by Amita Suman

Age: Unknown

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Tall, lanky, large eyes

Job: Lead researcher at Westmeath Agricultural Research Cooperative (Westmeath ARC)

Connection to Protagonists: Tutor of Jason’s during high school

See Part 2 and Part 3