Devices of Desire (Serial Story) Chapter 2

Chapter 1


Chapter 2: A Princess and a Tinker

“That was a wonderful speech dear,” King Nathan said, his voice sounding thin and creaky. He sat in his wheelchair that looked like a throne and was covered in an afghan that Diana knew her mother had made.

“Thank you great-grandfather. You know I could make you an automated chair.” She put her hand on his arm as she bent down.

“Oh, no no. That would be a waste of your time and talents. Plus what would I do without Martin’s sparkling conversation.” The large man who acted as body guard, nurse, and confidant of the king smiled and grunted softly. “See dear, it’s nearly impossible to get him to shut up.” King Nathan gave a soft laugh and then started to cough.

The coughing fit lasted longer than Diana would have liked, but at least there was no blood this time. She’d spent a lot of time worrying about him and trying to find a cure for what ailed him, but in the end it was just old age. At a hundred and four years of age, he’d outlived three wives, all four of his children, and all three grandchildren. He had ten great-grandchildren all between the age of twenty-six and ten. Diana was the eldest and in all but name she ruled the island kingdom.

When the coughing ended, the old man took a deep breath and said, “You don’t have anything on your calendar for the rest of the day. Don’t waste your free time with this old man. Go have fun.” He winked at her. He was the only one who knew.

The castle was built with both servants corridors and secret passages. Diana had grown up in these halls with her cousins and her twin brother. He’d left when he was fifteen, angry that he’d never be king unless she died. Angry at being born a few minutes too late. And mostly just angry. She hadn’t seen or heard from him since he’d left. She hoped he was okay wherever he was.

Navigating the corridors and passages was easy and she quickly made it to her bedroom. Once there, she cleaned off all the makeup she wore to public events, changed into simple overalls, and tied her curly reddish brown hair into a tight bun. Finally she added a pair of dark rimmed glasses to hide her family’s distinctive green eyes. No good disguise is complete without glasses, she thought.

Once changed, she headed out of the castle through a series of complex tunnels. The servants she passed only smiled and bowed.

Once she’d used her rooms as a workshop, but it was hard to explain why the princesses rooms always smelled of grease and smoke. The seamstresses were particularly cross about the stains in her clothing. Her great-grandfather had given her money and told her to find a small space in town. Her parents were suspicious at the time, but her brother’s running away kept them busy until they died in an airship crash while searching for him.

Her head was in the clouds and she wasn’t paying attention to what was going on around her and she ran into a boy. He had the most beautiful golden skin and full lips. The boy glared at her and put his hand on his sword. He had on novice robes from the Fighting Monks.

“What the hell are you thinking?” he asked. His voice cracking part way.

“Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. I really didn’t mean offence and if you challenge me to a duel you’ll be extremely bored and I’ll be extremely dead, so how about you don’t…”

“You’re a tinker aren’t you?”

“Yes I am. Master Tinker Dee. Pleasure to meet you…” she trailed and stuck out her hand to shake.

The man shook her hand and she couldn’t help but admire his strong lean muscled arms. It was definitely too bad that the Monks took vows of celibacy.

“I’m Novice Arty but that won’t last long. I’ll be a master by the end of the year.”

“That’s a lot of confidence there, Arty. Where are you going in such a hurry?” She smiled at him.

“I’m trying to find the Apollo Shipping Company, but this damned island is worse than a labyrinth.”

Giggling a little, she said, “It’s a little hard when you first start, but it becomes second nature eventually. I’m heading there now. I could walk you there if you like?”

The man blushed and it made Diana happy that she seemed to have the same effect on him that he did on her.

The Apollo Shipping Company owned the biggest, best, and more importantly, fastest airships in the world. They delivered packages and mail to everyone who could pay. They were headquartered in Cillian and she rented a workshop from them. The engineers and airship pilots came to her when they were having technical issues. She’d re-designed most of the technology to use solar powered boilers instead of the old coal engines and the patents would have made her rich is she hadn’t already been.

Sitting behind the desk was Ezekiel. He was her best friend and one of the prettiest men she’d ever met. He was the heir to the Apollo fortune but preferred working in the warehouse and dealing with people. He’d lost his left leg when he was young.

“Hey Ezekiel. What’s new?”

Seeing her he smiled widely and furrowed his brow. “I have a bone to pick with you. The new leg worked great until the pistons started going off and I was hoping around like a deranged toad.”

Diana couldn’t help laughing and it turned into a snort. “I have a look at it. You know what I say…” He joined her in repeating her favourite saying, “Perfection through persistence.”

“It’s in your workshop. Let me know if you need anything.”

“Thanks. I should be good. I want to work on that glider-cycle again. I think If I tweek the air-magic I can get more reliable balance.” Remembering Arty, she added, “Arty here was looking for you. Take care of him, he’ll be a master soon.” She winked at Arty and headed to her workshop.

Thinking about them both as she worked she sighed… so much pretty in the same room.


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

Devices of Desire (Serial Story) Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Staying Inconspicuous

“And whatever you do, don’t brawl everyone on your way to the Temple.” The last words that Hero Haus had told her echoed through her head as she walked of the ship onto the docks of Cillian.

The place was bustling with activity and Artemis tried her best not to be in the way. She’d been trained from birth to fight, dance, and be nimble on her feet; none of which had helped in the busy streets of Cillian.

“I have to make my way to the Temple and avoid fighting. How hard could that be?” she asked herself as she bumped into a large man who was drunk. He bumped back and she felt his hand on her butt. “Excuse me sir, but if you’re looking for my money pouch, you won’t find it back there.”

“Who said I wanted your money pouch?” The hand that had been on her butt was now holding a dagger at her side and the other hand was around her wrist over the only piece of jewelry she owned. The bracelet was a sturdy gold chain given to her by her father before his death.

Pushing the man’s dagger arm away while simultaneously kicking him in his private area was the easy part. Drawing her sword in a crowded street, now that was a challenge.

The man groaned and looked at her with an evil smile, lifting the bracelet and taunting her. He then turned and ran away. “Coward!” she yelled and started to chase him.

He was a thief accustomed to the city, she was a country child who was determined to follow him. The chase didn’t last long. The loss of the bracelet left her in a sour mood and the chase left her completely lost. This was the biggest city she’d ever seen and spanned nearly the entire Island it was on.

It was beautiful in its architecture, but the people were too close together and everything smelled of shit, mostly horse and cow.

“Excuse me,” she asked the closest person. They were too much in a hurry and ignored her.

A food cart passed by and it looked like the large man in the chef’s outfit was pushing it until she saw the cogs and steam engine attached to it, whatever was in that cart smelled heavenly. Some sort of cooked and spiced meat, thought Artemis.

With nothing better to do and no way of finding the Temple without help, she decided she might as well follow her stomach. The cart moved steadily on and people moved out of its way. Slowly the narrow streets gave way to wider roads with trees and benches.

As they turned a corner, Artemis was amazed to see the castle. It was bigger than anything she’d ever seen. It supposedly had its own hanger and landing strip for airships.

There was a crowd of people standing around a stage. The cart stopped and opened for business. She bought two meat pies and went to see what was going on at the stage.

It wasn’t long before a woman stepped onto the stage and started speaking. Artemis choked on a piece of her meat pie. The woman wore an elegant dress that wouldn’t be out of place in a fairy tale illustration. The dress was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen and the woman managed to be infinitely more beautiful. The dark blue dress contrasted perfectly with the woman’s dark brown skin.

“Wow,” Artemis said, not realizing she said it aloud.

“I know right? Princess Diana is amazing.” said a man next to her. She hadn’t noticed, but the crowd had formed around her. The man who spoke had a strong jawline and ice blue eyes that sparkled. His soft golden skin made her just want to touch it.

“Um… yes. She’s very pretty.” It sounded as awkward as possible and Artemis’s face felt warm. She was in love with both of them. Was that possible?

He hadn’t looked at her yet and when he did, he stammered, “You’re very pretty too. I didn’t me to imply…”

“So are you…” she replied and they both turned away from each other for a moment.

“I’m Ezekiel.” The sandy haired man said.

“I’m…” Artemis froze. “Going to the Temple of the Fighting Monk order of Dumas.”

“Okay. It’s just over there.” He pointed at a tall tower surrounded by small buildings. The entire thing looked ramshackle and not what she expected of a Temple.

“Thank you,” she said and ran away. She’d met attractive people before and even had some that were attracted to her. Not surprising; she was tall, muscled, and had what her father had described as, “a symmetrical elven sort of face.”

But there was something about this man that took her breath away faster than a punch to her stomach. She turned her head as she ran to get another glance at him and saw him limp away from the stage. The mechanism in his left leg, a prosthesis, seemed to have jammed.

Running in a busy city and not paying attention is a quick way to bump into someone and that’s exactly what she did. She collided with a man so hard that they both fell to the ground.

Getting up she held her hand out to the man and he scowled, “Stupid country bumpkin. I’ll teach you what happens when you collide with a Fighting Monk.” The man drew his sword, which crackled with electricity.

“I meant no offence sir, but if it’s a fight you want, I’ll abide.” Smiling Artemis pulled out her own sword.

“Why are you smiling? Are you so daft as think you can win this fight?” The man said as he beat at her sword, testing her defences.

“I’ve had a day where I’ve been off balance for everything. Fighting is something I understand.”

The man smiled in return and they fought. He was absolutely amazing. She hadn’t lost a fight in years, but she knew she was completely out-classed. After a hard couple of minutes, she fell to one knee and placed her sword on the ground, “I yield.”

To her surprise the man laughed and said, “You gave me the best workout I’ve had in months. Thank you and all offences are forgiven.”

She stood and shook his hand. “I was headed to the Temple to train with the monks.”

“You are the most promising fighter I’ve seen. It’s a pity we don’t accept women into the order.”


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

Results: 2018 Serial Story – You Vote, I Write

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

The Votes are in and everything is over but the writing.

The genre will be a Fantasy-Romance. I take it that you’ve enjoyed the romance elements from my previous serial stories since you as a group keep voting for it. The mood will be Comedy of Errors. Lots of mistaken identities, misheard information, and sill misunderstandings. The setting will be Steampunk and the main characters will be special humans.

My influences for this story are going to be The Comedy of Errors, Star Wars, The Three Musketeers, Warehouse 13, and The Librarians

This should be an interesting year.

The Devices of Desire

The island of Cillian is the technological and magical jewel of the world. It is the seat of the richest merchants, the most revered royal family, and the most dangerous fighting monks.

Artemis studied fighting with the greatest hero in the world but craved the knowledge that only the Fighting Monk order of Dumas could teach. Unfortunately they only teach men. That didn’t stop her and she disguised herself to get in.

Diana is the princess of Cillian and is ready to take over for her ailing father. She is loved by all her subjects but they don’t know that she’s also the inventor of half the new technomagic discoveries coming from Cillian. Unfortunately she has to disguise herself to do, and sell, her work.

Ezekiel is the heir to the Apollo Shipping Company fortunes. He hates everything to do with being a merchant and disguises himself to follow his true passion; Music.

Things get complicated when the Oracle of Espenson arrives and confuses Artemis in disguise for Ezekiel, Diana in disguise for Artemis, and Ezekiel in disguise for Diana’s long lost twin brother.

Look for the first Chapter in by the end of January.

Later Days,

Éric

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 12 Conclusion

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11


Have your say on the 2018 Serial Story
You Vote, I Write 2018


Part 12: An Emu is literally beside himself.

“No seriously. I had to alter the course of evolution in the galaxy, and then I had to alter the history so that this mammal,” The talking emu gestured at Prince Phillip with a disgusted look, “was the rightful Prince of the Galaxy.” The talking emu, who called himself Hagrid, looked at their Hagrid like he was waiting for some sort of reply.

“Wark?”

“Yes, of course we’re the same person. Don’t let the top hat confuse you.”

“I’m not sure about confusing but it’s really adorable,” Sophia tried not to giggle. It hadn’t been that long that her greatest wish was to go to a good university to become an engineer. Since she woke the Prince and headed out on this adventure, people had been trying to blow her up, a lot, she’d been attacked by a shapeshifter and negotiated with a sentient moon. A talking emu was just the last straw; the tiny bowtie and top hat combined with the deep BBC voice was too much. She burst into giggles.

“Hagrid, who is this wretched mammal you dragged with you?”

“Wark, Wark WAARRRK!” Hagrid, the regular one, screeched.

“Fine Fine. Keep your pet, if you like. As long as they don’t get in my way.”

The regular Hagrid looked like he was going to dive at the new one, but Phil put his hand to block him. Saying, “Sir. You can insult me all you like, but Sophia is the best of us. She’s kind, gentle, strong, resourceful, beautiful, and implausibly intelligent.”

A shudder passed through the speaking Hagrid and somehow the tiny top hat didn’t fall off. “Disgusting. I’ll never get used to seeing your kind speaking. Thankfully it won’t be long… Come along me.”

The emu turned around and walked out of the small hanger. Hagrid followed him and the others followed Hagrid.

Walking out of the hanger was a huge shock. The place had looked massive from the outside, but inside it was vertigo inducing. The entire database was shaped like the inside of an egg; a large oblong sphere with nothing but massive structures on its surface. Each looked vaguely like a circuit board or other computer insides. In the center of the galaxy-sized egg was a small yellow dwarf sun.

The buildings were connected by a lattice of steel rope bridges that must have worked as both circuits and a way for the creators to move around.

“This wasn’t built by humans,” Sophia observed, and the top hat wearing emu snorted derisively. She didn’t wait for Phil to say anything and explained, “The door controls are at foot level and all the control panels I can see are made to be operated with a head or beak.”

“You’re not as dumb as you look. This is the Database of Ageless Kings, built by my ancestors as a way of making sure Emus would always rule the universe.”

“How?” Phil asked with a smirk and furrow that Sophia knew was his confused expression.

“How was it built? Or how does it work?” The emu asked but didn’t let anyone answer before he continued, “It took a hundred generations and the brightest minds. It works by quantum entanglement, manipulating the atoms in the core of our galaxy.

“You see, the matter in the centre of our galaxy is under such a strong gravitational field that they work almost completely out of time. That means their entanglement is with the atoms that created the universe and by subtly altering those bonds you can re-write the universe and reality as we know it.

“Unfortunately, the calculations are such that even an emu can’t make the changes without the help of the greatest supercomputer in all of existence.” He finished his monologue as they entered what was obviously a giant control room.

“Wark?” Hagrid said, and Sophia was seriously starting to wonder how smart he really was and who had been taking care of whom.

“Yes. I do need you. You see, when the Ageless Kings built the Database, they added a safeguard to prevent the royal family from destroying the universe with their greed. In order to make any minor changes, you need to sacrifice a part of yourself. If you want to make a large change you must sacrifice yourself.

“At first, I used clones of myself, but turns out they cause the calculations to be slightly off and I haven’t been able to get the universe quite right. That’s when I came to the conclusion that I needed myself.” He sat in an emu-sized chair and reclined. A keyboard appeared at his feet and he started to type something. “You see I needed a version of myself that wasn’t intelligent, that wouldn’t challenge me. It really wasn’t easy getting you here.”

Sophia watched him type and smiled. “Is Phil still considered of royal blood for the Database? Can he make the changes?” She could read the screen and the keyboard. It might have been designed by emus, but it was written in the royal language. The same one she’d been learning since she found the ship. She assumed it was a way of making sure that every royal, no matter the alterations to the universe, could use the Database.

“Absolutely, but he’d have the same cost as I would and I can’t just sacrifice him. It must be me.” He wasn’t concentrating on her, he was concentrating on his typing.

Making a sign to Phil and hoping he understood that she wanted a distraction, she walked to the front of the chair and sat down. She put her arms at the same level as the keyboard.

Phil remembered he had the stun gun and shot the wall. The explosion was flashy and loud but didn’t do any damage.

“Fool! What are you doing?” The fake Hagrid demanded. The real Hagrid took the cue somehow and started running around like a panicked emu.

While he was distracted, Sophia used the keyboard, upside down, and altered his code. She hoped he would be too arrogant to double check his work.

“What are you going to do with us?” She asked loudly and the other two stopped flouncing around like fools.

“You’re so unimportant that I don’t care. Goodbye me and thank you.” He hit a few more keys and then hit the enter key hard.

The lights flickered and a voice said, “Major galactic calibration in progress. Please stand by. Sacrifice accepted. Are you sure about your decision?”

The top hat wearing emu smirked, creepy on an emu, and said, “YES!” and then started to cackle.

“Sacrifice accepted. May the Ageless Kings look after your soul.”

The fake Hagrid disappeared in the middle of his evil laugh.

“What did you do?” Phil asked in awe.

“I switched the target of the sacrifice and nullified all his code. I also made the universe a tiny bit less obsessed with blowing things up.” She said it without looking at Phil. Looking at him would make the next part of what she had to do much more painful.

The disembodied voice of the Database counted down, “Calibration in five, four, three, two, one.” The calibration would have no effect on them so she ignored it and continued to work.

She played with the constants of the universe to make tiny changes. The first was making sure his family hadn’t died and that his sister hadn’t been trying to kill everyone. Second she made sure that Little Sister got her wish; an upgrade and a manual. Last, she made sure that emus wouldn’t be stuck in Northern Ontario.

The changes might result in her never existing and would certainly result in them never meeting. They weren’t big enough to hurt Phil. It would cost him a little blood and that’s it.

“I’m sorry,” she said standing and hugging Phil.

“Minor recalibration accepted. Calibration in Five.”

“Ouch,” Phil said as the sacrifice was taken, “What did you do?” His eyes were wide in panic.

“Four.”

“I’m sorry. You deserve to be happy with your family and your world.”

“Three.”

“But what about you?”

“Two.”

“I love you, Phil.”

“I love you, too!” he replied and kissed her. Their kiss caused every part of her body to tingle with pleasure and she both forgot about the timer and her sadness. If she had to fade out of existence, it might as well be kissing the man she loved.

The kiss continued and nothing happened. Eventually they came up for air and looked around. “Did it work?” she asked herself aloud. A few moments with the keyboard told her that everything had changed the way she wanted it.

“Sophia. The Database is shielded. You’re not going to change if you’re in here. How else would that emu still exist?”

He was right and she couldn’t help but smile. “Your family is alive and so am I.”

Tears streamed down his face and he said, “Since you just wrote yourself out of existence and we’ve sort of got a thing going, how do you feel about moving in together?”

“The ship would fall apart without me.” She replied and kissed him again.

“Wark!” Hagrid bobbed up and down excitedly.

“You okay with my pet emu?” she asked.

“Absolutely. He’s the most important bird in the universe.”


If you enjoyed this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

2018 Serial Story – You Vote, I Write

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

For the past four years I’ve written a monthly short story. The idea is to challenge myself and give you an interesting story every month. I don’t plan it in advance and I don’t edit past chapters unless I screw up a name or important fact.

Last year I had you all vote and it worked out pretty well. (Check out 2017’s Serial Story Database of the Ageless Kings) So let’s do this again.

Voting will end January 8th at 11:59pm.

What should be the genre of the 2018 Serial Story?

  • Fantasy (29%, 5 Votes)
  • Romance (29%, 5 Votes)
  • Mystery (18%, 3 Votes)
  • Supernatural (12%, 2 Votes)
  • Science-Fiction (6%, 1 Votes)
  • Detective (6%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

Loading ... Loading ...

What should be the mood?

  • Comedy of Errors (47%, 7 Votes)
  • Dark/Noir (27%, 4 Votes)
  • Absurd (13%, 2 Votes)
  • Action/Adventure (13%, 2 Votes)
  • Mysterious (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

Loading ... Loading ...

What should be the setting?

  • Steam-Punk (38%, 6 Votes)
  • Alternate Universe (25%, 4 Votes)
  • Everdome (19%, 3 Votes)
  • Classic Fantasy (13%, 2 Votes)
  • Our Earth (6%, 1 Votes)
  • Science Fiction (Our Future) (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Science Fiction (Other World) (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

Loading ... Loading ...

What should the main character(s) be?

  • Special Human (Super Hero, Chosen One, Magic user, etc) (38%, 6 Votes)
  • Normal Human (19%, 3 Votes)
  • Personification of a Concept (Death, Liberty, etc) (19%, 3 Votes)
  • Anthropomorphized Animal (Human looking fox) (19%, 3 Votes)
  • Non-Human (Alien, Elf, Dwarf, etc) (6%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

Loading ... Loading ...

Thank you!
Éric

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 11

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

Part 11: An Emu is Surprised by what is Found at the Database

The alarms were going crazy and Sophia had to climb over Phil to get out of the small bed. She didn’t want to leave him, but he was snoring peacefully and it seemed cruel to wake him until she knew if they were going to die quickly or slowly.

As the door opened, Hagrid stood up in one quick motion and as if nothing had happened, started to follow her. The bridge was closest and it wasn’t until she reached it that she realized she wasn’t wearing pants. She vaguely remembered being too warm and pushing the blankets and her pants off. Phil gave off a lot of body heat for a skinny guy.

“Pants or no pants, we need to shut off these alarms and save our lives. Right, Hagrid?” she said to the emu. Twisting his head to the side quizzically, he gave her a wark and started to nuzzle her shoulder. “You’re not so bad either, you over-grown turkey.”

Looking over the panels, she gave a deep sigh of relief and shut off the alarms. Nothing was going to kill them. The engines were damaged in the blast and shut themselves down before burning out.

For the first time since she butt dialed hyperspace, they were having some good luck. The ship had stopped in the vast expanses between solar systems. That meant there was little chance of meeting anyone or getting pulled into the atmosphere of a stray planet.

A shiver ran up her spine and she turned up the heat in the ship.

Before she started to fix the ship she needed breakfast. She still felt a little weak from last night and some food would help.

All the cereal from the kitchen was either gone or liberally sprinkled on the floor. She gave Hagrid a nasty look and searched the cupboards. She eventually found some frozen bread and peanut butter. She’d brought them on for the nights she spent in the ship fixing it.

Those days felt so long ago. She ate quickly and started repairs. She started with the external patches which were the easiest to fix but the hardest to get to. She was just stripping from the space suit when Phil stumbled into the engine room with a tray of food.

“Why are you fixing the ship in your underwear?” he asked, blushing as he put the tray of food down on a small table.

“I didn’t want to climb over you to get at my pants. I just turned up the heat. Am I making you uncomfortable?” she was trying to be flirty and she thought she might have succeeded based on his deepening blush.

She sat down across from him and looked at the food. There were fresh eggs, bacon, ham, orange juice, milk, and even rye bread. “How?”

“The replicator,” he said his brow furrowed. They looked at each other for a few moments and his eyes grew wide and he asked, “You didn’t know about the replicator?”

“Like a matter replicator? That can create any kind of food or clothing?”

Nodding he said, “Yes.” A note of awe came into his voice as he said, “You fixed this entire ship from a massive crash without using the replicator?”

“I used what we had on the farm and bought or created anything else I might need.”

“You’re amazing. Absolutely amazing!” It was her turn to blush. She distracted herself by eating a piece of bacon. It was salty and delicious.

“This is good…” She paused and added, “That’s why I could never find where you hid the cereal.”

They laughed and ate and laughed some more.

After they’d eaten, he showed her the replicator and she created a matching set of work clothes. He offered to help her fix the engines and install the gravity generator. He took orders well and it was nice to have him helping. She had loved working on the ship alone, but sharing it with Phil made it even better.

When they’d done all they could for the day she said, “I need a shower.” She headed for the showers and turned when Phil didn’t follow. She walked back to where he was standing and looked him in the eyes. His beautiful eyes looked down at her and she asked, “Can I kiss you?”

Breathlessly he whispered, “Yes.”

She kissed him then and it started out softly in the corridor and continued passionately in the showers.

It took a few days of repairs before the ship was in good enough shape to attempt the trip to the Database of Ageless Kings. During those days they worked, ate, and at the end of the day they fell asleep cuddling.

When the ship was fixed they still had a day to be together before they arrived at the centre of the galaxy and the Database of Ageless Kings. Like all days spent madly in love, it passed too quickly.

The centre of the galaxy is a super-cluster of black holes and super-giant suns; the gravity was incredible and even with the extra gravity generator it was difficult to navigate. They managed it and found a large spherical station positioned perfectly in the overlapping gravity fields.

As they approached, a docking bay opened. “I’m not sure I like this,” Sophia said.

“Me neither. I expected some sort of lock or code would be needed,” Phil said in agreement.

“Wark!” agreed Hagrid.

They entered the docking bay and waited for something to happen. When nothing did, they decided to go out of the ship and explore.

As they exited the ship, a deep voice said, “Welcome to the Database of Ageless Kings. Took you long enough.”

Standing at a door not too far away from their ship was an emu in a tiny top hat and bowtie. “My name is Hagrid and you have no idea how difficult it was to get you here.”


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 10

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

Part 10: An Emu Knows that Bombs are SO Five Chapters Ago

In the hall behind her, Hagrid, the Emu, was snoring. The sound was enough to cover anything Prince Phil or Fake Dove were saying. He was still blocking the doorway while fighting off the doppelganger of his ex-girlfriend with an electrified sword.

Meanwhile, the only word Sophia had heard was, “bomb.” This was the third bomb she’d been close to in as many days. It lost its novelty but not its terror. She was holding a gun that could stun, kill, or disintegrate and she knew what she needed to do. If only Phil would get out of her way.

She tapped the gun to stun and waited for her chance. He parried and moved back against a brutal assault from his opponent and was almost all the way out of the door. She grabbed his shirt and yanked him out of the way.

A quick look to aim and she fired the gun. It hit Fake Dove, the Crimbils, and she was pushed back. It took four more shots before the woman fell down to one knee and turned into a small grey alien with a big head. “A grey alien? I guess Mulder was right.” Sophia shot her two more times and the Crimbils fell to the ground.

“I was supposed to save you for once,” said Phil dejectedly.

“You’re adorable, but how does this gun work?”

“I’ve told you everything I know.”

A quick glance at the bomb told her it was like the first one that had been on the hull of the ship. A small bomb that had a little antimatter inside it, making it extremely dangerous. She’d studied the design and physics behind that bomb as much as she could in her free time.

The computer told her that the gun worked by disrupting the molecular bonds of its target. Doing so would destroy the bomb but release the antimatter and the ensuing explosion would kill them.

“Damn, if we move it; it explodes. If we shoot it; it explodes. If I try to disarm it; it explodes.” Sophia sighed in frustration.

“What if you shoot it at the same time it releases the antimatter? Couldn’t you contain it in the energy of the gun?” he asked.

Sophia was going to dismiss the idea but thought about it. If she could make sure nothing touched the antimatter except the energy from the gun she might be able to guide it out an airlock. Thankfully there was an airlock on the bridge.

“Once it’s out the airlock I can throw it and the gun right as we jump to hyperspace. Ok, get ready to hit the hyperspace button.”

The plan was crazy, but she had no other choice and didn’t have any more time. She quickly set the gun to disintegrate and waited. The bomb had a convenient countdown timer and she was able to time her shot perfectly.

With the antimatter in tow she headed for the airlock. Stepping inside she held on to the gun with one hand and closed the inside door. With the inside door closed she wrapped her arm around the security bar and kicked the outer door open. The air rushed out and she threw the gun, hoping Phil’s timing was good.

The second she threw the gun she kicked the door close button and felt the now familiar pull of hyperspace. It was followed by the ship rocking back and forth.

Opening the inner door wasn’t easy. All the air had been drained from her lungs, and combined with the stress of the past few hours, made her feel weak. She barely managed to pull herself up into a sitting position and closing the door.

“You’re bleeding,” Phil ran over to her and helped her to the captain’s chair. “I’ll go get the med kit.”

The objection died as the blood dripped over her left eye. All she could think of was the work that she still needed to do. They needed to reach the Database of Ageless Kings before one of these bombs succeeded.

She must have fallen unconscious, because one moment she was on the brightly lit bridge in a lot of pain and the next thing she knew she was in her bed with a bandage on her head. Phil was holding her hand and he sat in an awkward crumpled position next to the bed.

“Phil,” she whispered and pulled on his hand.

“Yes?”

“Why are you on the floor?”

“I didn’t want to leave you and I didn’t want…” She couldn’t see him clearly but she could hear the blush in his voice.

“Am I dying?”

“No. Absolutely not.” He paused before adding softly, “Please.”

Tugging on his arm she shuffled to the far end of the bunk. He took the hint and joined her on the bed. He curled up and she snuggled into him hugging him. He smelled of sweat, deodorant, and emu. He must have moved Hagrid.

She hugged him and they fell asleep cuddling.

The lights flickering woke her up. The flickering lasted a few moments before they died completely along with the hum of the hyperdrive. Sophia was all for ignoring it when the alarms started going crazy.

Read Next


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 9

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Part 9: An Emu Proves Dangerous

“Did you change the administrative passwords on the ship?” Phil asked. Sophia couldn’t see him since he was sitting behind her in the fighter ship, but his voice sounded worried.

“Sorry. I had to do a fresh restart and that wiped the original codes.”

“Oh, thank the Gods.” She could hear him relaxing. “Dove knew all the codes and she can’t change them without knowing them. Connect to the ship and have it open the airlock.”

“I have a better idea.” Sophia sent a lockdown command to the ship and then had it open the airlock. It was barely big enough for the fighter ship and she squished some cleaning supplies. “I didn’t think I’d ever need this room so I used it as a closet.”

Between the tight quarters and the abundance of cleaning supplies, even with the sensors shut down, there was no way Dove could not have heard them.

Despite the certainty of discovery, they tried to be quiet as they exited the fighter ship, stripped off the suits, and moved towards the bridge.

The lights flickered on and off, in the way Sophia had only ever seen in horror movies.

Whispering, Phil asked, “Did you do something to the lights?”

Sophia shook her head as they entered the hub of the ship, the dining area. It connected to each part of the ship. It was disaster. There was food everywhere, her favourite cereal was scattered around, and there seemed to be thick green goo on the walls.

“Oh no!” Phil was white and he sat down on the nearest chair. Sophia cringed at the smooshing sound the chair made as he sat. He jumped up and looked at the seat, smelled it, and finally sat back down. “I just sat in milk…” He sounded relieved and just stared at the wall with the green goo. “I’m sorry.”

“Why are you sorry? Phil… What’s going on?” Sophia was worried. He’d reacted better to certain death by bomb, twice, than he was now. Whatever he was thinking it must be scary.

“Dove is dead.”

“How do you know?”

“The blood. It’s from a Crimbils.” He gestured at the goo, indicating it was blood.

“Dove is a Crimbils?” Sophia asked, confused.

“No. Yes.” He gave a big sigh. “The Crimbils are a shape shifting race that eat their victim’s brains and change into them. They know everything their victim did and can mimic them almost perfectly. On top of that, they can manipulate others into liking or lusting after them.”

The full meaning of what he said hit her, and all she could think of saying was, “Sorry.”

Taking a deep breath he stood up and said, “This means she’s probably an assassin. I guess this means we can kill her.” He sounded sad, but his brow was crinkled determinedly. He walked over to the wall and pressed a place that looked like everything else. A panel opened showing a gun and what looked like a fencing sword. Seeing her surprise, he said, “This ship and I were together for years before you. We still have a few secrets.” He tossed her the gun, “Point and click. The button on the side prevents accidental discharge; tap it once to set it to stun, twice to kill, and three times to disintegrate.”

They walked down the still creepily flickering corridors in silence. As they walked, they started hearing a loud rhythmic banging sound. It got louder as they got closer.

All kinds of things could have been making that noise and Sophia imagined all the more farfetched and scariest possibilities. The absolute last thing she expected was what they found.

With a dented metal mixing bowl on his head, Hagrid was ramming the door to the bridge. Every time he hit the door he’d jump back and run back at it.

“Hagrid. Please stop,” she pleaded. The sound of her voice made him stop, but instead of reacting like the lovable, if mischievous, Emu that she’d grown to tolerate… and love, he turned and ran towards her.

She tapped the button on the side of the gun once and barely managed to get a shot off before he hit her. A line of energy flew out of the gun and stopped him in his tracks. He didn’t fall, however, and started moving towards her again. It took three more shots before he gingerly curled up and went to sleep. Loud snoring and all.

It wasn’t until she was stepping over him that she saw the green blood on his wings.

They walked to the door and released the lock. Phil opened the door and went in first. It was a good thing; as he walked in an identical blade to his, glowing green, sliced down in front of the door. He blocked it as if it was nothing and turned to face the person on the other side of the door. Since he was still in the doorway, Sophia couldn’t see Dove.

“Who sent you?” he asked.

A soft chuckle answered him and Sophia watched as he defended himself against more attacks. She tried to squeeze around and fire but couldn’t get a good shot.

“Who sent you?” he repeated.

She was tempted to pull him out or push him in but was worried that he’d get hit. She didn’t know what the glowing, humming swords could do but she didn’t want to get him killed.

The chuckling stopped and a voice that sounded like Dove, but without any of the bounciness or false joy, said, “The Queen, your sister, sends her regards!” The statement was followed by a series of beeping sounds.

“Amazing,” Phil said, sounding both tired and annoyed. “Another bomb.”

Read Next


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 8

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Part 8: An Emu is Smitten and Completely Useless

“How did you get here?” Sophia asked Dove while eying Hagrid suspiciously.

“Oh my! Philly, her accent is so cute.” She moved towards Phil and ran her hand through his hair. He, unlike the traitorous Emu, had the decency to look embarrassed. “I was in the ship with Princess Samantha when it crashed.”

“That was SpaceForce One?” Phil blanched as he said it.

“Yeah, but don’t worry sweetie.” She emphasised the last word with a soft slap on his cheek. Every move she made looked sexual and Sophia hated it; it made her feel clumsy and ugly. “Most of the crew got off before we crashed. We were on separate ships to escape. With royals dropping like flies, your sister didn’t want to risk both of us in the same shuttle. I’m now sixth in line you know.”

“Sixth?” Phil asked incredulously and Sophia saw his eyes darting from side to side calculating how many people must have died. “Oh wow.”

Grabbing him and pulling him into a hug, Dove cooed, “Oh. Poor you. It’s ok.” He was still sitting and she was standing next to him, but in this position she was only half a head taller than him. She started petting him and he seemed to get calmer every time she touched him.

Sophia didn’t like Dove. “You’ve been trapped on the planet this whole time?”

“Isn’t terrible? At least I had a lot of food and was able to film the whole thing.” Dove ran her nails gently over Phil’s back and moved away. She pouted and then gave a big smile before throwing her arms around Sophia. The moment the other woman touched her skin, Sophia felt tingles of pleasure. “Thank you so much for taking care of my little Philly.” Her breathy voice in Sophia’s ear made legs weak.

With great effort, Sophia stepped out of the hug and asked, “Great. So where can we drop you off?

“Actually…” Dove scrunched her face adorably and said, “I found the black box from the ship and watched it. It shows who tried to kill us and I need to bring it to Queen Samantha.”

“Who was it?” Sophia expected Phil to ask the same thing, but he seemed to enraptured by Dove.

“I don’t know. I didn’t recognize the ship but it had a serial number and if I can get the black box to Samantha, she’ll know what to do.”

“It’s on your ship. Isn’t it?”

Looking embarrassed Dove said, “Yes.”

“We’ll get it for you,” volunteered Phil.

For the first time during the conversation, Dove looked flustered, “Oh. Does it take two of you?”

Bouncing up, Phil said, “We’ll get it. You just wait here.”

Once again, they were outside in suits heading towards a crashed ship. Sophia was pretty sure this was a bad idea and she said so.

“Dove is a little flirty and likes to act incompetent but she’s an accomplished pilot and soldier.”

“Then why are we out here instead of her?” Sophia was tired of walking and just wanted to this over with and set up the gravity generator.

He opened his mouth to speak a few times, making a popping noise through the coms. Eventually he said, “It seemed like what she wanted.”

He looked confused and Sophia suddenly had a bad feeling. “Did you tell her about the Database?”

“Maybe,” he said sheepily.

She cursed, turned around, and ran back towards the ship. They didn’t go far before they saw the ship taking off.

Out of breath and confused, Phil asked, “She took our ship… Why did she take the ship?”

“Oh. I really don’t like her.”

“But… Why?”

“I don’t know, but we need to hurry if we’re going to get the ship, and my emu, back.”

Remembering the fighter ships that were left in the Imperial Battleship, Sophia started to run. She hoped and trusted that Phil would follow. If he didn’t, she’d have to waste time picking him up.

At the Imperial Battleship, it took her longer to find the fighter bay then she’d hoped. There were shuttles that were designed for longer travel but they weren’t as fast and they needed to get to their ship before Dove went to hyperspace.

The bay was in surprisingly good condition. She picked a ship that looked in good condition and activated it. The entrance flashed a message that said, “Access Denied.”

“Overwrite lockout, Prince Phillip access code Delta Pie Donut.” The ship took a second to think and then opened to let them in.

The ship was designed for a pilot and a gunner and was not spacious. Once inside they took off their suits and Sophia asked, “Can you fly this thing?”

Phil snorted and replied, “Hells no.”

Sighing, Sophia sat in the fighter’s cockpit and hoped it wasn’t a big difference from Phil’s ship. The main ship still had enough power to open the bay doors and they were gone. Sophia had a little trouble driving to start with and almost hit a mountain but she got the hang of it eventually.

Their sensors found Phil’s ship and they flew towards it. “Why hasn’t she gone to hyperspace yet?” Wondered Phil aloud.

“Maybe we’re just lucky?” suggested Sophia and she hailed the ship, “Hey jerkface! Give us back our ship and emu.” It was the only thing she could think of in the moment.

A few seconds passed and they were starting to catch up with the ship when they received a reply to their hail. There was no visual and no words, only a loud scream of pain and terror.

Read Next


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 7

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Part 7: An Emu Falls in Love

The trip to the crashed ship took them ten hours. It was the perfect time to get some sleep, so obviously Sophia spent most of the time reading the fanfiction of the Prince and watching his videos. Most were him talking to the camera and making witty or insightful comments. He was extremely charismatic and she found herself fantasising about him.

“Isn’t it ridiculous Hagrid? I’m sitting here watching him and obsessing about him and he’s sleeping on the other side of this wall.”

Hagrid made a snuffling sound and hid his head under his wing.

“You think love is ridiculous?” she said, but Hagrid didn’t reply. “I can’t be in love… I barely know him… Other than the hours of his show and thousands of stories about him.”

The computer interrupted her muttering to let them know that they were approaching planet Dowsett, where the crashed Imperial Battleship was supposed to be.

The planet was once a hub and destination place for writers of all sorts. Unfortunately, a civil war between a group that believed fiction wasn’t real literature and a group that believed non-fiction was boring caused the planet to become unlivable. Little Sister hadn’t explained why there was a crashed warship on the planet.

Prince Phil was already in a protective suit when she reached the airlock. It was the same airlock she’d hidden from a winter storm, so many years ago. Phil helped her suit up as the ship landed itself not far from the crash site on the back side of the ship.

She had already packed any tools she thought she might need, including a hover pallet that would carry the gravity generator from the crash.

Giving each other the thumbs up they activated the door and walked out onto a planet that could have been pulled from the original Star Trek; a bright, colourful desert. She half expected to see a Gorn hiding behind a large foam boulder.

She’d only seen an Imperial Battleship once, and it had been from a view screen. The full size of the ship impressed her. It was taller than most buildings she’d seen and so long that she couldn’t see one end.

The schematics of the ship told her she needed to get to the aft portion near the engines. It was a good thirty minute walk before she saw the entrance to the ship. At this point it filled her entire view.

The sun must have been hot but their suits were air-conditioned. The sun, however, was extremely bright and she was constantly trying to adjust the polarization of the helmet. It was almost like something was reflecting the sun back into her eyes.

Looking around, she saw that was exactly what was happening. There was a small point of light being reflected at them from not far away.

Activating her com, she said, “Someone else is down here,” and pointed towards the light.

“I’ll go check. You get the thing we need.”

“Gravity Generator.”

“Yeah, that.”

They split up there and she headed into the crashed ship. It was in surprisingly good condition considering it had crashed. The same couldn’t be said for what was left of the crew; mostly bones and pieces of material. She was thankful for the suit. It gave her a comfortable barrier between herself and the dead.

Getting the gravity generator wasn’t easy and took her over three hours to take out of the ship carefully. As she was working, she wondered if Phil had found the person flashing them and who it could be. The coms in the suits were short range and she couldn’t contact him.

The battleship wasn’t salvageable without a lot more equipment and work but she was able to get part of the computer working. The ship’s internal diagnostics told her that some of the shuttles and fighters were still in the ship. She was tempted to go check them out, but decided to head back to their ship.

The walk back took a lot longer than the original thirty minutes. Even with the hover pallet, she had to go slowly and push the minivan sized gravity generator.

At the ship, she stowed the gravity generator in a hold, took off her helmet and pressed the internal com button. “Phil, are you back?”

“Sophia. We’re back and in the kitchen. Come join us.” He sounded relaxed and happy; more so than any other point since she’d met him.

When she walked into the kitchen, Phil was sitting at the table. On the table, with her legs dangling next to Phil, was a petite blonde. The woman was strikingly beautiful in a Hollywood type of way. The woman saw Sophia enter and smiled coyly before brushing one of Phil’s stray hairs behind his ear.

Blushing, Phil stood up, almost falling over the chair and said, “Sophia, this is Dove.” Of course it was. She should have realized right away that this was his ex-girlfriend. She’d read a lot about the woman, but she knew she couldn’t trust anything because the fan community had hated Dove and always made her the villain.

Jumping off the table and managing to make it look like a long fall, Dove walked over to Sophia and held out her hand. “Nice to meet you. Philly hasn’t stopped talking about you.”

“Um. Thanks. Nice to meet you.” Sophia wanted to ask all kinds of questions, but that’s when she noticed that Hagrid was quietly standing right next to Dove. When Sophia gave him a funny look, he bent his head down and nuzzled Dove.

“Ah, what a sweetie. I think he likes me.”

Read Next


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?