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Thread: The Phoenix Project

  1. #151
    “I’m told to standby for the Imperial Majesty’s signal,” a communications specialist reported from the corner of a room which held the five Prime Ministers. They sat behind a crescent shaped desk facing a large monitor fixed to a stone wall. Since it had been Desmond’s idea to attempt a diplomatic solution, he sat at the center of the table.
    A silver coat of arms bearing an oblong shield and two crossed swords appeared on the screen before changing to the face of a Nevargh with obsidian eyes and dark olive skin. A crown of platinum set with various gemstones sat on his head.
    “We have decided to accept your request for an audience,” the Nevargh said. “We are Emperor Xichun the Fifth. You may address us as Your Highness the first time and Sir afterwards.”
    “Your Highness,” Desmond said. “My colleagues and I here represent the Alliance which the Ferine Assembly has joined. I am authorized to negotiate on their behalf as well.”
    “You are the Humans who constructed the battle fleet now defending Cartise?”
    “Yes, Sir,” Desmond replied.
    “And the rest of these people are your adjutants, We presume?”
    “You misunderstand, Sir. The other four people here are my equals,” Desmond said.
    “Your Highness may call us Prime Minister,” Linda interjected.
    The Emperor gave her a cold stare before returning his attention to Desmond. “If you represent the Ferine, why aren’t there any in your council?”
    “We are having elections soon, Sir,” Desmond said. “The faces you see now may change very soon.”
    “The chaos of democracy,” Xichun remarked.
    “We did ask the Ferine to have a delegate present but they seem to believe that speaking with Your Highness at all would be a waste of time,” Ahmed Abraham said.
    “They’re probably right,” Xichun said and paused before adding, “Prime Minister.”
    “Then why did you consent to this meeting, Sir?” Linda asked.
    “Out of curiosity. Why have you contacted us?”
    “My colleagues and I believe that it is possible to come to a mutually acceptable compromise in light of recent events,” Desmond said. “I believe you to be a reasonable person, Sir.”
    “We certainly are. We would be glad to accept your surrender and we will discuss any terms you have in mind.”
    “I’m afraid we aren’t ready to surrender just yet,” Desmond replied. “We were hoping that we could come to a peace agreement.”
    “My Empire does not negotiate peace agreements. It was more than fair of us just to accept terms of surrender from you.”
    “I take it you are immovable on this, Sir?” Linda asked.
    “That would be correct, Prime Minister.”
    “Could we at least maintain a line of communication should things change?” Desmond asked. The emperor looked off screen for a moment before replying.
    “Yes, we can accept that you will have to surrender at some point, and we would welcome a chance to expedite the process.”
    “Good Day, Your Highness,” Desmond said. The emperor gave him a quick nod before the screen went dark.
    “We could try again in a week or so,” Desmond said to his colleagues.
    “I doubt it would do any good,” Kim Yung said.
    “I’m with the Ferine,” Laurier Mathis said in his French accent. “This whole exercise is a waste of time.”
    “Now there is always a chance,” Desmond interjected.
    “A simple vote will decide this,” Linda said. “All for continued diplomatic negotiations with the Nevargh Empire?”
    “Now let’s not be too hasty,” Desmond stuttered as four hands went up.
    “All against?” Linda asked.
    Desmond said nothing more but raised a single hand in opposition to the motion.
    “Motion carried,” Linda said.
    “Can we at least agree to keep a line open to the Empire?” Desmond implored. The other four members looked at each other with nods of approval.
    “Yes, Desmond. I think we can at least agree to that.”
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  2. #152
    “What do you think, General?” Xichun asked once the images of the beings without scales and pink skin disappeared from the large screen mounted to the opposite wall above the entryway.
    “They are not at all like the Ferine,” the General said, crossing his arms. He raised a hand to his dark green chin and considered the situation. “Maybe I have things backwards. The Humans may be in control of the Ferine and not vice versa.”
    “May I ask why, General?”
    “They’re more resilient. I’d even say they have an aggressive edge to them,” General Sonti replied. “This changes things. We’ll have to gather together a much larger fleet if we‘re to take the last Ferine colonies.”
    “That will take longer than the proposed eight months, General.”
    “The reports I saw indicated the bulk of their fleet is composed of much smaller ships. If we could assemble an armada of our larger capital ships-”
    “Then we could overwhelm their forces.”
    “You’re right, Xichun. It will take a year to assemble a force like that. I’ll draft the order immediately for your signature.”
    “Of course, General.”



    Joshua Hubbard barely managed to stumble into his quarters after a long day on the AWS Horizon. He had just spent nearly twelve hours drafting orders for the creation of a new fleet. On top of that, he also had to gather the manpower needed for several academies to train legions of willing Ferine. Their schedule was so full that they hadn’t the time to get to the task of rebuilding the brass, which was currently comprised of two people: Maria and him.
    Joshua was looking forward to a quiet dinner with his wife before going to bed. Madison had the night shift now due to the shortage of senior officers and he had missed seeing her as often as he was used to. He had a tired but warm smile on his face when he saw her on the couch. Rather than watching the INN, which was far too distant a signal to receive, Madison was playing a movie about an Earth of the far future where all of mankind was involved in a telekinetic war.
    He saw the saddened look on her face as he sat down beside her.
    “Sad movie?”
    “It’s really pretty exciting,” she said. “I thought it would distract me, but I don’t think anything can.”
    “What’s wrong?”
    “I’m surprised you’d have to ask that,” she said and then looked at his concerned face. “Aren’t you wondering what happened to Eli and Nadine?”
    “Maria’s keeping me really busy so I haven’t had time to think about it.”
    “Really?” Madison asked.
    “Okay, you got me. Even with everything we’ve been doing, I can’t help it. We’ve had barely a second of peace since we got here, but if I have a second to think, I’m thinking about what happened to them.”
    “We left them, Josh,” she said with a broken voice. “I can’t stop thinking about what kind of death we condemned them to.”
    “No one said they died,” Joshua said in an attempt to console his wife.
    “You know what their chances were.”
    “I know that Eli is smart; so is Nadine. I’m sure they’re alive.”
    “I,” she began as a tear fell down her cheek. “I don’t want to spend years hoping they’re alive only to find out that they’re dead when we go back.”
    “Do you want us to have a funeral?”
    “No. I don’t know what I want right now,” she said, doing her best to hold back more tears.
    “Hey, hey,” Joshua said. He put an arm around her and spoke to her in his soothing Southern accent. “Stop it or you’ll get me started.”
    Madison snorted in response and wiped her eyes. “I’d hate to see you cry like a baby.”
    “I’ll get supper tonight, okay?”
    “I could use something a little stronger than coffee with my meal,” Madison said.
    “We’ve got a pretty big store of wine on board. I’m sure I can get a hold of a bottle.”
    “I’ll put a salad together,” Madison said.
    “No, you sit right there and enjoy your movie.”
    Madison responded with a smile. She pulled her legs up under her and settled in to watch the rest of the film while Joshua floundered around the kitchen.

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  3. #153
    And that's the end of Chapter One for the second novel!
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  4. #154
    Can I also ask why you're posting such a huge volume of work? Are you after any specific feedback? Or are you after an edit of everything you're posting? Or are you just posting something for us to enjoy? If the latter that's fine, but it seems like an extended advert for your book, in which case I'd respect you more if you just came out and said it.

    For what it's worth it does flow along, it's VERY plot driven, to the exclusion of all else, so I found it tiring. You have a clean style, I can see how it would be popular with the 40k crew, and no, that's not a veiled criticism

  5. #155
    Caragula: I went over this several times with other people on this forum in the past and I'm just plain tired of answering the same questions over and over again. So you know what? I'm not doing it again, but thanks for the criticism.
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  6. #156
    Fair enough. I looked back through the thread before posting my comment, thinking someone may have raised similar questions, but your posts just reference the end of the thread, and I didn't see any response to the previous questions as such. Apologies. I'm not averse to having a deeper look at it, but you've already published part of what you've posted. Were you after critique of the second novel's excerpts? I wasn't sure because it wasn't made clear in the thread. I also hope that you aren't referring to any commenters on this forum as the jealous haters you've identified in your blog, as they all seem pretty reasonable.

  7. #157

    Okay Caragula, I can see you're very determined!

    There were responses to these questions here and on other threads but I deleted the replies on this thread as it hadn’t been an issue in well over a year.

    However, since you are so insistent, I will reply to your questions in full right here and I will add a short FAQ at the beginning of the thread.

    So let's start right from the very beginning of your first post:

    Question: "Can I also ask why you're posting such a huge volume of work?"

    Answer: You actually believe it to be huge? There are twenty chapters in each of my novels, so each of these chapters represent only five percent of the entire novel. I originally posted about sixty percent of the first novel here and that was from the pre-edit version. There was something like a hundred thousands words in all of the different posts here originally. Why did I post all of that? Because people asked for more, of course!

    "Are you after any specific feedback?"

    Sure. Always. If people want to offer feedback on characters, plot, description, etc. they are always welcome to.

    "Or are you after an edit of everything you’re posting?"

    No. I’ve already edited both novels. They’ve also been professionally proofread by a retired English teacher. They are both published. I don’t need an editor. It’s a little too late for that!

    "Or are you just posting something for us to enjoy?"

    Yup. Over 10,000 views can’t be wrong. I like to think that at least a few of them enjoyed it.

    Statement: "If the latter that's fine, but it seems like an extended advert for your book, in which case I'd respect you more if you just came out and said it."

    My comments: You’re right, it does. If you don’t respect me because of it, I won’t lose any sleep over it.

    "For what it's worth it does flow along, it's VERY plot driven, to the exclusion of all else, so I found it tiring. You have a clean style, I can see how it would be popular with the 40k crew, and no, that's not a veiled criticism."

    40k crew? As in 40,000 word novel? No, my friend. These are 110,000 plus novels and which excerpt were you referring to?

    "Fair enough. I looked back through the thread before posting my comment, thinking someone may have raised similar questions, but your posts just reference the end of the thread, and I didn't see any response to the previous questions as such."

    Again, I will rectify this by posting a FAQ at the beginning of this thread. A lot of my answers were deleted over time, because no one has asked these questions in a very long time.

    "Were you after critique of the second novel's excerpts?"

    Critique away! I won’t hold you back!

    "I wasn't sure because it wasn't made clear in the thread."

    This is a writer’s forum. Not a proofreader’s forum. Not an editor’s forum. I’m always looking for input on plotlines, character development, dialogue, etc.

    "I also hope that you aren't referring to any commenters on this forum as the jealous haters you've identified in your blog, as they all seem pretty reasonable."

    Which comments are you referring to?

    Last edited by powerskris; January 30th, 2014 at 01:16 PM.
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  8. #158
    Just dropping in to let everybody know that the third novel in the series lands today! I have a great new artist that did the cover. Here it is:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails FA Final.jpg   FA-Final.jpg  
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  9. #159

    Excerpt

    AND, here is the prologue to the third novel, Flight for the Ancients:

    (for more information, visit my website)

    Prologue

    The Deep Night Station resembled a B-movie silver saucer hanging in the night. Doctor Badis had agreed to meet the Nevargh here. They had tried to insist on a more private location where someone might disappear but Badis was smarter than that. He insisted on a public place.

    Badis decided on the station’s most popular bar: Donna’s. She was a drug lord and bar owner. Donna was also Human. He knew that if anything might happen to him, Donna would be incensed at the hated enemy of the Alliance.

    Badis sat in a black booth and watched the Keyna dancers on an elevator of sexuality placed in the middle of the room. The platforms they danced on continuously descended into the floor only to have another appear out of the high ceiling. The moment you missed the curves or muscles of one dancer, another appeared making you forget the last.

    “Paxian,” a scaly, grey Nevargh in a black single-suit said.

    The doctor had been so enthralled by the red-skinned dancers that Badis had not noticed the Nevargh’s arrival at his table.

    “My name is Doctor Badis,” he said, widening his large, green eyes in irritation.

    “So sorry, Doctor. Which one is your home world: Pax Majoria or Pax Minor?”

    “Why do you care?”

    “Just wondering.”

    “My family comes from Pax Minor.”

    “Ah, new blood, new ideas,” the Nevargh remarked, nodding. “Can I sit down?”

    “I’d know your name first,” Badis said.

    “My name isn’t any of your concern. Our business is the only thing that should matter to you. Now can I sit down or not?”

    Badis nodded and took a sip from a crimson drink he had purchased twenty minutes earlier. The Nevargh sat down across from him in the dark booth.

    “Good choice of seating. It’s public, but far enough away from the entertainment that we’re likely to go unnoticed. It’s also good for me in that Nevargh aren’t normally welcome here.”

    “I thought you might know about Donna. You still made it in I see.”

    “I had to bribe them with a hundred Sterling for one hour in this hole and it took me a while to find you. That brown skin of yours nearly blends in with the booth but those big heads of yours are easy to spot,” the Nevargh said and looked around the bar before settling his gaze on the dancers. He looked back to the doctor after ogling the Keyna for a moment. “This bar isn’t all bad.”

    “The Keyna, I know. They’re nearly hypnotic, aren’t they?”

    “They’d be alluring clothed. In the nude, they’re enthralling. The most attractive race out here.”

    “And the richest,” Badis said.

    “As you soon will be.”

    “I thought they’d send a soldier, or a squad of soldiers.”

    “I’d never get in dressed like that. Now, do you have the optidrive?”

    Badis took a clear rod from his pocket and placed it next to his drink.

    “One million sterling.”

    The Nevargh took a fat purse of coins from his coat and put it on the table in front of him.

    “Well, well, what do we have here?” a voice asked. The two of them looked up to see a round Human woman with platinum blond hair.

    “Donna?” Badis asked.

    “A Paxian and Nevargh trash,” Donna replied for him.

    “I’m just here on business.”

    “You are bad for business,” Donna said to the Nevargh.

    “It’s never wise to insult a member of the Nevargh Empire.”

    “We’re not in the Empire. We are in unclaimed space and I don’t deal with your kind,” Donna said.

    “I paid for an hour.”

    “You paid the wrong person. Why shouldn’t I have my men kick you out on your scaly ass right now?”

    “Like all Humans, you have a way with words,” the Nevargh replied.

    “Not good enough.” Donna motioned for her guards.

    “Look, Donna. What would it take for just another five minutes?”

    “Five hundred Sterling.”

    “Done.”

    “And I take that rod for safekeeping,” Donna added.

    “That’s why I’m here. I can’t leave without it.”

    “That’s not my problem.”

    “Another five hundred for the rod to stay on the table.”

    Donna nodded and the Nevargh fetched ten One Hundred Sterling coins from a pocket in his black jacket. The coins jingled as they piled into her hand.

    “You’ve got five minutes,” Donna said and retreated from the table with her guards in tow.

    “I have an idea of why you’d want this information,” Badis said now that they were alone again.

    “Oh, really?”

    “I don’t have any other buyers. You don’t have to be worried.”

    “I’m not.”

    “Then we have nothing more to talk about. My research has only a few references to the outpost anyway. It never did me any good,” Badis said.

    “I thought so.” The Nevargh pushed the bag of Sterling towards him. Badis took the purse and placed the rod in front of him.

    The Nevargh took the rod and left the table. Badis noticed that Donna monitored his exit from the bar before returning to her private floor above. He then took the bag and confirmed that there were dozens of Ten Thousand Sterling coins in it.

    He decided to wait for a while before leaving. Badis didn’t want to be jumped by any Nevargh on the way out in an attempt to retrieve the king’s ransom they had just given him. Donna would probably be able to point him in the direction of a few good mercenaries like the Deadly Suns who would have the firepower to cover his exit. She might even lend him a few of her own considering who he wanted protection from.
    After he left, he was going to buy a ship from the local merchant. Badis had always wanted to explore the galaxy and the money he had just acquired would ensure him a retirement spent exploring the ruins of ancient civilizations on a hundred different worlds. A few sales of antiquities here and there would keep him going to the day of his death.

    “Another one,” Badis said to a passing Gundar waitress. He responded to her frown with a raised Twenty Sterling coin. She smiled and raced to bring him a drink.

    A new glass filled with a crimson liquid arrived at the table and the Gundar waitress’ silver spaghetti-sized tentacles wriggled with happiness once she received the generous tip. Badis got up from the booth and brought his drink to the free-standing circular table around the dancers continuing to descend into the floor.



    Outside the silver station, a small Nevargh shuttle detached from a docking port and flew out to a point some hundred thousand miles away. Once it decelerated to zero, it sent a signal into space.
    Less than five minutes later, a small fleet of Nevargh warships jumped into the space between the shuttle and the antique station. Sixty grey scouts escorted several destroyers and a single, great battleship. It oriented itself to face the station and the battleship’s support vessels stayed close to its gargantuan wings and heavy battle modules.
    The fleet opened up with every weapon at its disposal a moment later.



    The red devils stopped dancing once they felt the first tremor. Badis followed their stares to the ceiling. At first, he didn’t realize that there was anything wrong with the slight shudder he had felt, but the dancers knew their home well.

    A second tremor was more pronounced and the dancers began to grip the railings in front of them in hopes that they could exit the elevator once it was below the deck. The next tremor caused a heavy explosion on the third floor which sent shrapnel across the bar. Several dancers threw caution to the wind and jumped from their descending platforms.

    Most of the patrons panicked and flocked for the exit. Everyone believed that someone was attacking the bar and wanted to get out of the establishment. None of them could conceive of the idea that the entire station was under attack.

    “No!” Badis got up from his stool. His crimson drink toppled over from a severe hit to the hull and emptied its contents across the table. Drops of red began to collect into a small pool on the floor.
    He joined the rest of the crowd trying to leave the bar. Badis grabbed the link from his pocket and clutched it in one hand.

    “Not over this, not over this!” Badis said, wishing the exit was much closer.



    Several ships attempting to leave the station were shot down by the Nevargh Scouts before they were able to get away. The rest were destroyed before they could enter FTL and some level of safety.
    Particle beams and torpedoes tore through the station’s hull even as it attempted a weak resistance. The Deep Night station had weathered centuries of warfare but its quiet observation of the universe was finally ending. Maintenance workers managed to shut down the old station’s power core before it went critical, but it didn’t stop the Nevargh fleet from blowing the station to pieces.
    Now that their work was done, the Nevargh task force turned away from the burning debris that was all that remained of the Deep Night Station. The Nevargh warships’ Faster-Than-Light emitters flashed a white light and they vanished from that part of the galaxy.

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