Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 4.5

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Since I missed the update for April, here’s a bonus chapter.


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10


Chapter 4.5: All About Stars and Shapes

Seren

“I wanted to be a soldier not a repair-person,” Jan said, giving Mr. Plentyn a tool.

“Consider yourself part of the volunteer engineering corps,” her replied dryly.

Jan laughed and said, “I should be out there with the pilots.”

They stood in one of eight shield generating rooms. In theory, if one failed the others covered the difference. They should have been able to have minimal shields with only two functioning generators. None of them were working.

“Aern. We’ve lost control of the engines.” The commander’s voice was calm but barely controlled.

“If you just yell out everything that breaks, it distracts me from actually fixing anything.” There was no response from the commander.

After a few minutes of poking things with tools, he swore and said, “I can’t tell what’s going on.”

“What do you mean? You could re-build these systems from scratch.” Seren knew her father was an one of the best engineers in the fleet. He’d turned down multiple job offers in the station design corps for engineers. He said it was because he loved the challenge but she was fairly certain it was because he missed her mother and this reminded him of the time they used to do it together.

“Everything is working at peak performance, some of the systems are working better than they should. But those that are down aren’t broken. It’s like they just don’t understand what to do.”

Groaning, Jan said, “So it’s a code problem.”

“In that the hardware is fine, yes. I just don’t know how to get the station to do what I tell it.”

“Too bad you can’t bribe it. My little sister wouldn’t come out of her room in the morning if it wasn’t for her favourite cereal.”

“I suppose I could offer it some computer chips,” Mr. Plentyn said with a chuckle.

The three of them laughed and then he turned back to the computer with a sigh. He started tapping at the controls in a vain attempt to coax the station to function the way it was supposed to.

Seren couldn’t understand what was wrong. The AI seemed fine on the surface but what about the message they found? The message that was being transmitted through subspace modulations of the shields repeated, “fear, pain, death,” over and over.

“Dad. Can an AI feel pain?”

Looking weary and a little confused he said, “Not that I know of. You could have it programed to simulate pain but that would be cruel.”

“Is there any system that’s alive?”

“Not that I know of, except the bacteria that makes the memory banks.”

“Are there any old systems that were recycled?”

He stopped looked at her and his eyes went wide. “The micro-star. I haven’t been able to figure out how it was made or why it’s so efficient. Oh Black-of-Void.”

Jan looked between the two and asked, “Sorry for those of us that don’t speak techy?”

Feeling sick to her stomach, Seren said, “If an intelligent creature were used as a powersource they could create all of these issues. The Sun’s alive.”

Annie

It was another few hours before anything else happened. They stayed in position protecting the station from the mysterious star-shaped ships that weren’t moving. All Annie wanted was to go find out more about that planet. It looked lush and green from her viewport. The other side of the station from the planet was a small white dwarf star. It was as close to the planet as a typical moon.

Despite it draining her fuel, Annie activated her scanners. The planet was a typical class M with slightly higher gravity. The sun revolved around the planet. On the surface, there were signs of a long gone civilization.

The universe was an impossibly large place but the Children of the Stars had been travelling since they left their little planet. They’d catalogued hundreds of millions of planets and the preponderance of life was staggering. It seemed that despite being fragile and impossible to believe, life was incredibly common. Intelligent life sprung up everywhere.

Civilizations unfortunately had a habit of burning out before they’d taken to the stars. The Children were some of the handful of space-based lifeforms. It made that the Children had a fantastic amount of archaeologists, anthropologists, and diplomats. Beyond that, it meant that each citizen had a gluttonous curiosity about other civilizations.

The readings showed a civilization that had either died out or left a long time ago. The plant life from the planet had reclaimed every possible surface. It was under a massive mound of ancient trees that Annie’s scanners picked up a massive structure. It was the size of the station, made of an alloy that had resisted the elements and survived for millions of years.

When the computer showed her an image of the building she gasped. It was an eight point star, just like the ships outside. Why weren’t they moving to the planet, it must be their home world, or at least a world where their people had once been?

“Echo Leader. This is Echo 2. I’ve been scanning the planet. I know I shouldn’t waste the fuel. There’s a structure down there showing a minimal amount of power that’s shaped just like these ships.”

“Echo 2, conserve fuel and standby. Let the techs and archaeologists take care of the planet.”

To herself and off the coms she muttered, “Seren would have a field day down there.”

Settling down for a long wait, she concentrated on her thoughts and the data in front of her. She didn’t see Alpha 4 lose control until she heard his screams. “I’ve lost all power. My batteries are not responding. I’m going down.”

All the ships were equipped with grappling hooks and matter tracktor beams but she was too far to react. She watched helplessly as the ship fell towards the station. Just as it looked like he was going to destroy a large part of the rings, a Star-Ship (they obviously weren’t pirates) swooped passed the defendars and caught Alpha 4 in a beam of light.

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Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 4

Hello Dear Readers…

I completely forgot to write a serial story chapter in April. I’m extremely sorry and the usual punishment will apply. I will write an extra chapter for this year. As of now, my plan is to write 3 chapters for May.

Enjoy the belated Chapter 4


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10


Chapter 4: Ships Shaped like Stars

“Is there supposed to be a planet there?” Annie asked. She’d gotten to her second job just as the alarm went off. She’d run back and jumped into a fresh fighter and joined Echo squad as they were being deployed.

“Welcome, Echo 2,” Echo Leader said. Jason was a man in his late eighties and had been on clean and protect crews for most of his life.

“Glad to be here, Echo Leader. We dealing with the same pirates?” She couldn’t keep the smile from her voice. He’d been the one who recommended her for flight training.

As they deployed, tower replied for him. Annie’s brother said, “Echo team, you’re taking the stern and protecting the ship if they get through Alpha and Beta teams. We have no idea who these people are, but they’re not answering hails and are here in larger numbers than we’ve ever seen. Stay frosty.”

They arrived at their designated patrol area and tower said, “All teams ready, pirates are almost here.”

At first it looked like the stars themselves were moving towards them. There were thousands of ships, each shaped like tiny eight-point stars. They glowed brightly. “What in the black is that?” asked Echo Leader.

“Echo Leader and tower, this is Echo 2. Just so we all know, those are not the same pirate ships as last attack.”

“Copy, Echo 2.”

Nothing else was said on the coms as they watched the approach. The ships stopped just outside weapons range and sat there. Annie was going to say something, but Jason beat her to it. “Any idea what in the name of the great Mother they’re doing, Tower?” After a pause with no answer he said, “Tower, do you copy?” A few more seconds and he said, “Hokulua Station, do you read? Anyone?”

“Did we lose contact with tower? Is that even possible?” The voice didn’t sound familiar.

“Team Leaders, please sound off,” Echo Leader said. There was a series of sound offs as Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta Team Leaders sounded off and then each member of their teams did the same.

There were eight members per team and it took a long time to get through them. The ships didn’t move. Annie scanned the station and interrupted Delta team. “Sorry to cut in. My scans indicate that the station has lost shields, weapons, coms, and engines.”

The Team Leads swore. “Alpha 4 here. If the station has lost engines, why are we still moving at top speed?” The radio devolved into chaos as everyone checked their scans. They were still compensating for the station moving at top speeds.

“What do we do, Echo Leader?” Alpha Leader asked; the question from Alpha leader firmly appointed Echo Leader as the overall leader until the station came back.

“We do our jobs. Shut down any nonessential systems and get ready for a long standoff.” Their ships could hold position for almost twenty-four hours before needing to refuel. The gravity from the station’s micro-star made it so they were being pulled with the station instead of trying to keep up.

“Oh Mother-of-Stars… DO SOMETHING!” yelled a voice over the com after nearly two hours of waiting.

“Stay off the com or I’ll shoot you down myself.” Echo Leader sounded grumpy. “Have these things moved at all?”

Annie had been scanning them and killing her fuel while doing it, but wanted as much information as possible. She replied, “They have stayed at the exact same relative position since we started this. I also can’t find any signs of bio-life so either they’re AI or like nothing we’ve come across before.” Artificial intelligent life wasn’t common, but the Children-of-the-Stars had come across a few different species. “They’ve basically created a wall behind the station. I think they might be using it to coast the way we are.”

“So we don’t know what they are, but we’re fairly certain that they’re just hitching a ride?” Echo Leader sounded almost relieved.

Just as Annie was going to respond yes, the ships moved in towards the station. She said, “They’re moving closer. The only reason for that is…” she cursed. “Prepare for Voidspace.”

The space between galaxies was called Voidspace. It was filled with remnants of dead galaxies, crushed into fine dust. The result was an extremely bumpy ride and all sorts of radiation that could play havoc with any and all systems.

All the fighters did the same as the mysterious ships and got closer to the station. Voidspace was absolutely beautiful; with most stars too far away, the only light came from their ships and the station’s micro-star. The light danced and reflected off the galaxy dust in fantastic splashes of colours that put to shame any planet’s aurora-borealis.

The colours were so mesmerising that all ships were equipped with light dampening shields for travel. Even through the shields Annie found it hard not to lose herself to the beauty. It could have been seconds or hours that she stared out at the colours before the station appeared in a small clear area of space.

They were still in Voidspace, but the dust was being held back by something and the station had stopped moving. Thankfully their fighters were built to automatically compensate or they would have all crashed into the station. The dust was pushed back in a perfect sphere and it looked like they were in a giant soap bubble.

There was only one other thing inside the bubble.

“Is there supposed to be a planet there?”

Read Chapter 4.5


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How’s Éric?

Hello My imaginary Friends,

This year has been extremely busy. I’m trying not to fall into old patterns of stress and overwork but it feels hard to avoid sometimes.

I’m surviving and I’ll be okay.

Writing

The past few weeks I’ve written a Ghostship story for July. You’ll get the next instalment in the Sun Speaker Series while we recover from the arrival of baby Pegasus.

Beyond that, I’m going to try and push to continue writing the novels that are calling me. I have two on the go and little to show for my writing this year. But I’m going to start… today even. I hope.

I do have an outline for another novel, which is awesome, but it’ll be a while before I get to it.

Coffee

I’ve been frantically roasting coffee. I’m roasting almost 150 lbs this year which is more than we’ve ever had before. We’ll have 17 flavours available for Ottawa Comic Con.

I’m loving the new roaster and the new method is working great. I’m still getting used to getting the perfect roast, but overall I’m extremely happy with it.

Keladry (Dragon) was helping us package coffee but after an hour got bored and started playing.

Editing

I have the edits for A Case of Synchronicity and will work on those this week. I’m still waiting on the second round of edits for Everdome but they should be here soon.

Gaming

I’ve been playing very few games. Haven’t touched Lego Incredibles in a few months. With most weekends dedicated to roasting, I don’t have as much time.

I have been playing Elder Scroll Blades on my phone. It’s an extremely beautiful game. It’s also repetitive and nearly impossible to do anything without paying. There are chests you can never encounter in the game but you can buy. Overall, it’s very much a micro-payment play-to-win style game.

Pegasus

Preparations for the baby are in full swing. We have a room, it has a bed, we have decorations, and a GIANT pile of clothing.

I got my tattoo this weekend. (More on that in another post.)

Things are feeling more real. I think after comic con, I’m going to quickly transition to impatiently waiting.


So in an eggshell (Easter joke intended) things are going well and I’m busy.

Now lets get to writing… after some breakfast and coffee.

Later Days,

Éric

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 3


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10


Chapter 3: Mysterious Sludge and Searching Code

“Blood!” Jan exclaimed.

“Blood isn’t dark brown and drippy at the same time,” Seren sighed. Her suit for her job of walking the outside of Hokulua station to find leaks, had been filed with some strange liquid. Everyone had panicked and the supervisor called security and given them the day off.

“What do you think it is then, smarty?”

“I have no idea.” Seren smiled mischievously.

“You didn’t?”

“I snuck a sample while everyone was panicking.”

Jan laughed and shook their head before asking, “You’re going to investigate aren’t you?” Then added, “I suddenly have a free day so I’m coming with.”

As they headed to the pods, Seren sent her father a message. Work cancelled. Need a hand?

They were half way to his lab before he replied, Sure.

They were almost at his lab when the lighting darkened and the screens in the corridor showed a red alert.

“Attention Hokulua station. We have been attacked by and repelled pirates. The station is in lockdown until further notice. Please stay in your homes or work areas while we assess the situation.”

“Hey Dad. Whoa… what’s going on?” Seren was shocked at the massive pile of spare electronics and junk in the center of her father’s lab.

“Hey kids. This was the original pod and stasis for Hoku. I’m trying to compare the code to what we have now to see what happened. There’s no way we can hand over the everyday functions of this station to a faulty AI.”

“Okay… can we use some equipment for a special project?”

“You stole a sample from the mystery suit?” Her father didn’t miss much. “Go ahead and don’t look surprised. I have spies everywhere.”

Seren giggled. He meant it literally. He had created a series of linked micro-robots that would crawl the air ducts, sewage, and water to make sure everything was clean and, in theory, find any leaks or issues. Unfortunately the station seemed to randomly fry them. He probably knew about the suit because he was dating the structural engineer who was in charge of the space walks.

Getting a chemical breakdown of the substance would take about an hour and then it would take time for the computer to give a list of possible results. When she’d gotten it started, she asked, “Anything we can do?”

“I could use a second pair of eyes with this code,” he replied. When he saw Jan’s eyes widen with horror he added, “And someone to try and put this stuff back together.” He gestured to the pile of computer parts that housed the original AI. “I took it apart to see if anything had been tampered with. It hadn’t.” He sounded dejected.

Sitting down with a tablet, Seren put the two codes next to each other. After a few minutes of staring at code and trying to tell the difference between natural evolutions, faulty, junk, and malicious code; her eyes started to swim. “Dad. Why didn’t you just write an AI to find any faulty code?”

“I did. It came back corrupted and asking me if I knew the difference between a fish and frigate.”

Eyes glazing over, she let her mind wander. This was too much code to look at; it was like trying to find a planet in a dark solar system from a quadrant away. She needed to narrow it down.

“What were you working on, this morning, when it gave you that weird phrase?” she asked her Dad.

“I was trying to tweak the power consumption on the docking bays. They’re taking as much energy as the ships engines and I don’t get why.” He didn’t say anything more, just went back to his work.

The docking bay doors were a very simple system with only two components, an air shield and a door opening. She pulled up both sets of code and isolated them.

“Analysis complete,” Hoku station said and made everyone jump.

“Thank you Hoku. Can you tell me what it is?”

“The compound has cocoa, sugar, milk, and flour. Best answer is that it’s a form of space based Cetacean.”

“Hoku… you just gave us the recipe of chocolate pudding and then said it was a space whale.”

“That is correct. It’s all about the cetaceans.” The statement was completely ridiculous. All three of them couldn’t help but laugh.

When they’d stopped giggling, Mr. Plentyn said, “I’ll tell Martin to let me know what his investigation shows. Could be pudding, could be whale, could be bearing grease for all this thing knows.” He tapped the computer console.

It was more code staring and sighs of frustration. Jan had almost finished re-assembling when Seren saw something.

“It’s the shields that are taking the energy. They’re modulating at a subspace frequency.”

“Does it repeat?” He took her tablet and worked on it quickly. The shields were transmitting their position but the exact message was odd.

“It keeps repeating, ‘fear, pain, death,’ over and over again.”

“What could that mean?” said Jan.

No one had the chance to answer because the intercom blared. “Violet alert. We have incoming hostiles. Everyone prepare for combat.”

Mr. Plentyn gave them each a repair kit and said, “You’ve been recruited to help with damage.”

“Aern, why in the Mother-of-Stars are all our defences down? I need weapons and shields, NOW!”

Read Chapter 4


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

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 2


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10


Chapter 2: Asteroids and Pirates

Stars filled her view screen and Annie sighed. Space was beautiful. Reluctantly she manoeuvred the little fighter back towards the debris field and her next target.

Hokulua Station had shields that would deflect most debris but with a micro-star at its core, it generated enough gravity to pull stray asteroids and rubble with it. Small fighter ships were used to defend the station against big impacts. There were also occasional pirates or planet-hopping wildlife.

“Hokulua tower, I’m on vector to my next target.”

“Roger that Echo 2. Make it snappy, you have your other job to get to.”

The next target was an asteroid the size of a living quarter. Her scans showed that the asteroid was mostly water which would require a wide beam plasma blast. But it wasn’t moving right.

“Tower. Target is moving slower than expected. Can I get a proper scan from Astrometrics?” Annie wished that her older brother James was at the coms. He’d have listened.

“Echo 2, a second scan isn’t necessary. Blow that thing and come home.” Just as she expected, the old man just wanted to get the job done.

“Negative tower. Scans are indicating water but-”

Tower cut her off with, “No Buts, child. Just do your damn job.”

“I’m sorry tower. Without a second scan I’m going to do a scoop-and-shoot.” That old man would rather risk the station than be a few minutes late. Annie was convinced there was something off with the asteroid.

“Stop showboating and destroy that asteroid or I swear to the Eater-Of-Stars you’ll never fly again.”

A scoop-and-shoot maneuver was exactly what it sounded like. She’d fly by the asteroid and then extend the little ships shields. It would scoop the asteroid and she could move it away from the station. Once it was at a safe distance she’d shoot it.

It was a tricky thing to accomplish. Annie swung back around and started to follow the asteroid, matching its speed and direction. She needed to be right on top of the thing to catch it in her shield. The darned thing was moving really slow and she almost bumped it.

It was made harder by the swearing and insults from the tower.

“Tower, this is hard enough without you berating me. I request radio silence.”

“Echo 3, here. I second Echo 2. Shut up tower.”

“Echo 4 agrees with the other Echos.” The rest of the Echos agreed.

She’d forgotten that she wasn’t alone out here. There were a half dozen other ships. She appreciated their backup.

The asteroid took much less force than it should have to move. She overdid the throttle and went twice as far as she should have.

“Tower. I have completed scoop and I’m moving to a safe distance to shoot.”

The normal safe distance is fifty times the size of the object but in this case she doubled it. She shot a short direct plasma blast at the edge of the asteroid. If it was water filled, like the scanners said, it would chip off a corner and nothing else. If it was what she suspected, it was going to explode.

A piece chipped off and Annie sighed. “Tower. I have-” she was cut off by the shockwave from the exploding asteroid. It tossed her ship towards the station with such power that her vision blurred and she thought she was going to lose consciousness.

Everything was ringing and it took a while before she could hear the station Tower. When she could hear clearly she heard her brother James, “Echo 2, do you copy?” He sounded worried.

“Echo 2 here. Tower I copy.”

“Echo 2 get control of your ship. We have bogies incoming.” The ship was spinning like a grounder in zero-g for the first time. She gently took control and directed it away from a crash course with the station.

“Tower. Did you say bogies?”

“Yes. Echo 2. Form up with the rest of Echo wing and get out there.”

The attacks from pirates were rare and Annie had the seconds it took her to meet up with her squad to wonder at the coincidence of the timing. If she’d been at the regular safe distance for a scoop-and-shoot, there would be a hole in the station. That’s not to mention if she’d listened to tower.

Echos were the only squad out there. They didn’t have a regular patrol or military presence. They were so far out from colonised space that no one expected an attack. If they’d showed up just ten minutes later there would have been no one around.

“Echo squad. This is Echo leader. We don’t have to win this one, we just have to make sure no one dies. We hold them back until Alpha squad can come clean up.”

The battle was a blur of ships, asteroids, blasters, and commands. After it was done, Annie barely remembered any of it. They’d been lucky that the Pirates had only sent a scouting party. A few clean shots to their ships and they turned tail and ran.

If they’d come in a destroyer sized ship, the station wouldn’t have been able to defend itself.

As she peeled off her flight suit, James came up to her his brow furrowed in anger. “What the black-hole were you thinking?” His reddish-purple eyes, exact copies of hers, glowed with frustration.

“Something was off and I asked for a second scan. I followed procedure until that mouthy space-monkey tried to cut corners. I was right, too. If I’d followed orders we’d have lost a ring or worse.”

He pulled her into a hug and said, “You scared me, sis.” After a pause, he added, “I’ll check the logs and talk to the bosses. But until a full review, you’re grounded. Except for space walks.”

She’d forgotten about her second job. She hoped repelling space pirates was a good enough excuse.

Read Chapter 3


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Bad Writing

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

What is bad writing? I bet you can think of multiple examples right off the bat right?

In Star Wars Attack of the Clones, Anakin says, “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth “

What if I told you this wasn’t terrible writing but realistic awkward, cult raised, teen flirting? Would you disagree?

So what’s the line? Where’s the litmus test? Why am I using so many question marks? Seriously, this is getting irritating, like sand?

Okay, silliness aside, most people have no idea what bad writing is and love to use it as an argument.

“I don’t hate women, but Doctor Who’s writing just sucks this season.”

“I’m not racist, but Star Wars The Force Awakens is badly written.”

What these people mean is that the show isn’t the way they remember and that makes them unhappy.

It’s not actually about the writing.

There are four main types of bad writing and that’s how I judge a book or show’s writing:

1. Mechanics

Typos, sentence structure, and grammar are important. If they’re off for no reason, that’s bad writing.

Eg: Th woman starred up at his face, wondering what that beard hide.

2. Repetition

I struggle with this in my writing. Repeating things can be useful, but makes it feel like you’re over explaining or condescending to the audience

Eg: She looked into his eyes, wondering what secrets hid behind those eyes. The eyes were dark blue and seemed to see right through her. She’d describe the eyes as piercing.

3. Boobing / Privilege

When you write about something you’re not familiar with but don’t realize, you end up, at best, sounding like a male author poorly writing a woman, or at worst, tone deaf and racist.

Eg: She boobily boobed down the stairs with her boobs boobing. BOOBS

Eg: Her exotic light-chocolate skin marked her as one of the less educated mexican delegation. She’d probably never been to such an advanced city. He was certain she’d appreciate the taco truck outside the conference centre.

4. Inconsistent Story

Contradictions, temporal weirdness, odd twists, or ridiculous luck can all throw an audience out of a work. In tiny doses, it’s not too bad, but too much or too blatant and it’s just bad writing. (Shakespeare was terrible with time.)


People will talk to you about pacing, clichés, contrivances, too much or too little dialogue, starting too early or too late, etc. etc. etc.

It’s all bullshit. What they’re actually saying is they don’t like something about the work and instead of facing that, they’d rather just make a vague useless statement.

Unfortunately, it’s also really hard to argue with such a statement.

Did I miss anything? Do you disagree?

Later days,

Éric

The Reluctant Barbarian – Recommendation Thursday

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Do you enjoy fun? Humour? Fantasy? Well then I have a book for you. It was my favourite book read in 2018.

The Reluctant Barbarian

Arthur Jenkins would have been happy to live his life the way it was until he finally died, but the angel in his office has different ideas. He’s there to grant a wish Arthur made as a kid, and it’s a doozy. It’s also a wish he doesn’t want in the slightest. After all, what grown man would want to be a barbarian hero? Seriously! Whether he wants it or not, Arthur is getting that wish granted. Angels have quotas too, you know. Join Arthur, Dead Mike and Valeria the Paladin on a quest across the land, having unwanted adventures while looking for a comfy place to sit.

John Haas has a fantastic imagination, great sense of humour, and wonderful understanding of narrative flow. He’s also recently won a spot in Writers of the Future.

His followup novel to The Reluctant Barbarian is due to be released this year from Renaissance Press.

Go read the book!

Éric

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 1


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10


Chapter 1: All kinds of leaks

The stars were in different places, they always were, but with a little concentration Seren could map out their location. The universe was impossibly large, but her and her people had spent time untold sailing the stars.

Hokulua was a generational exploration and protection space station. Most GEPS were crawling with scientists, soldiers, and their children. Hokulua was quiet but it wouldn’t be for very long. There were a ten million souls on their way to the station and it would be the flagship of the Starchild Family.

“State-of-the-art my ass!” shouted Mr. Plentyn as he paced around the living quarters, angrily tapping at his tablet. “More like experimental and unstable!”

“Did Hoku refuse to give you your coffee again?” Seren’s large smile lit up her face making her skin seem to glow. Her bright green eyes were questioning as well as teasing.

“No, Hokulua Station didn’t refuse to give me coffee… more than once. It’s this blasted power drain. I can’t seem to stop it. The station is using twice as much power as it should and every time I patch a hole a new one opens up.”

“Have you asked Hoku?”

“Dear child. Why would I bother asking a glorified entertainment AI something I know it can’t answer?”

“So you asked and it gave you one of those weird phrases again?”

It was Aern’s turn to smile at his daughter, he shared her dark brown skin and reddish hair but he had light amber eyes. “Yes it said, ‘Plasma Beasts are at the gates’; whatever that means.”

“Wish I could help,” she said and meant it.

Walking over to the wall and the food dispenser, she asked, “Hoku, can I have some orange juice and a breakfast number four please.”

The soft deep voice of the station’s AI replied, “That will take forty percent of your daily recommended rations food intake. Are you sure you want to proceed?”

“I’m doing a space-walk today and will need the extra energy. Please proceed.”

The food appeared in the food slot and she could have sworn she heard Hoku say, “Good luck.”

She ate in silence, watching the stars. It was the way she ate most mornings. Her father was up and fed hours before her and she liked the quiet.

“I’m here to make sure you don’t miss your first shift,” Jan stood at the door in their uniform. Their blonde, almost white, hair and nearly translucent skin glowed slightly in the dim light of the living quarters.

Seren made a rude noise and drank the last of her juice.

“Jan you know that you don’t need to wear your uniform right?”

“Just because the rest of the military isn’t here doesn’t mean I can slack off. Might as well get used to it.” Jan was officially known as Private Jan Ng, they’d graduated and passed military training a week ago. Seren hadn’t applied for the military but instead tested and passed the tests for both the engineering corps and her real passion, the archeological civilian branch. She wanted to follow her passions but didn’t want to leave her father. He’d had too many people leave him already.

“Well I’m not wearing a uniform until I have to.” Instead, Seren wore a deep red button up shirt with a pair of snug kaki pants, with her comfy dark brown boots.

“I love you, Dad. I’m off to find out where our air is disappearing to.”

Barely looking up, he replied, “Love you too. Be careful.”

“Dad! I’m eighteen!”

“The vacuum of space doesn’t care how old you are.”

She kissed his cheek and headed out.

“So, Private, are you excited for everyone to show up?” Jan’s parents were part of the advance team with Seren’s father that were sent ahead to prepare stations or sent in to repair old stations.

“Mother-of-Stars, yes! This quiet is painful; I’m so glad I won’t have to do this again.”

They headed to the nearest transportation pod. A small train-like transportation controlled by the AI. It would seat twenty when the station was fully manned.

Each pod could move along one of the arms of the station. Like all Starchild Stations, Hokulua was built with a micro-star in the centre of four large rings. Each ring touches at least touches the other rings and has four bridges connecting to the micro-star engine and power station.

Each ring is given a designation, Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta. Each quadrant of each disk is given a letter, A, B, C, and D. Finally each quadrant of each ring had a hundred floors. Each of the floors was roughly six hundred square metres.

“So we need to walk the entire alpha-ring today?” asked Jan.

“No just the top of A quadrant,” Seren said and then added, “That’s still four kilometres.” They had been hired to inspect the outside hull of the station and make sure that there were no air leaks. If there was an air leak, even a small one, it would glow a florescent orange when it hit the cold of space.

The transport pod stopped at the spaceport and they reported for duty. There were five of them that had been hired but only four had shown up.

“Just like Annie to be late or forget to come to work,” joked one of the others.

They were given their sections and assigned space suits. Seren went over to hers and something wasn’t quite right. The suit wasn’t hanging like the others, but was put together and leaning in the locker storage.

The visor was oddly tinted dark brown. She was about to disconnect it when Jan grabbed her hand. With a tremor in their voice, they said, “Your suit is leaking blood.”

Read Chapter 2


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

Serial Story 2019 – Results

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

You voted and this year’s serial story will be an Adventure Mystery, written in the third person, with 2 regular human main characters in an original setting.

That turned out to be pretty vague and I decided a few things.

  1. I want to write a classic YA style mystery
  2. I want it to be on a space station
  3. The Welsh words for Star Child translates into the perfect name for a YA mystery.

So without further ado I give you the description of this year’s serial story:

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station

Hokulua Station is the newest in generational exploration and protection space stations. Brand new and not quite working right.

Seren’s dad is the head or engineering for the new station and in charge of getting all the bugs worked out before the rest of the colonists arrive. That leaves her with plenty of time to explore. Something isn’t quite right though; weird noises, things going missing, and power drains that no one can explain.

Seren and her best friend Jan are going to do their best to figure out what is going on before someone gets hurt.

This should be an interesting and fun year.

Later Days,

Éric

Last Day to Vote – Serial Story 2019

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

VOTE! You have until tonight at midnight. Get your opinion heard and your story told.

What should be the primary genre of the 2019 Serial Story?

  • Adventure (36%, 4 Votes)
  • Supernatural (27%, 3 Votes)
  • Fantasy (18%, 2 Votes)
  • Detective (9%, 1 Votes)
  • Science Fiction (9%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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What should be the secondary genre of the 2019 Serial Story?

  • Mystery (55%, 6 Votes)
  • Comedy (18%, 2 Votes)
  • Urban (18%, 2 Votes)
  • Romance (9%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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What should the point of view be?

  • Third Person (55%, 6 Votes)
  • First Person (45%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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How many protagonists should there be?

  • 2 (73%, 8 Votes)
  • 3 (27%, 3 Votes)
  • 1 (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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What should the main character(s) be?

  • Normal Human (64%, 7 Votes)
  • Personification of a Concept (Death, Liberty, etc) (18%, 2 Votes)
  • Special Human (Super Hero, Chosen One, Magic user, etc) (9%, 1 Votes)
  • Anthropomorphized Animal (Human looking fox) (9%, 1 Votes)
  • Non-Human (Alien, Elf, Dwarf, etc) (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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What should the setting be?

  • Original Alien / Fantasy (36%, 4 Votes)
  • Alternate Modern (27%, 3 Votes)
  • Future (18%, 2 Votes)
  • Aether-verse (Elizabeth Novels) (9%, 1 Votes)
  • Past (9%, 1 Votes)
  • Everdome (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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If you have any other comments or suggestions please feel free to let me know.

Éric