Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Untitled (21 December 2016)

Phi dropped to a crouch. Blowing on his hand extinguished its glow, but left his at a distinct disadvantage of being effectively unarmed. Still it kept him from giving away his position, while his partner crept closer.

Rho was no ignimancer, but still a fair hand in a fight and watching ones back. As long as she wasn't watching too closely. Where Phi was a general practitioner, capable at all sorts of things, she was a specialized artist, a matiman. Once upon a time, she might have been called a seer, one who sees, but that had fallen into misuse, and was claimed by those who dealt in the pseudo-prophetic arts.

Friday, November 25, 2016

0900 SVT (+11 S7T)

Previous chapter

Tern never bet on her own book. That was a core rule to her success. But sometimes, one had to make an exception. She chuckled to herself, this was definitely worth making an expection for.

With her scant savings, she bought the largest trailer she could afford, bribed a few friends to help her wrestle it into the maze of pre-existing trailers, and connect it up to the facilities. The computer she built from scraps came with her from the move from Nanna, piecemealing upgrades from junkyards and garbaged sets, and the exterior monitor on loan from a friend.

She opened her book, offering one-to-one odds for herself against the mob bookie, which in her mind, was a generaous offering, and all bids on her she took as donations toward her business expenses. He opened his own bid agast her, with far worse odds.

And then she waited.

BadkamMuur, the ad-hoc social network for the moons, carried the challenge, advertising the going odds, but not on her book. It didn't matter.

Her BKM profile was trashed and hacked, and her parents were dug up and doxxed. It didn't matter.

Her competitor released scathing reports of his incoming take, and still, it didn't matter.

Piecemeal, she made up for it. Tern took every bet asked of her, and the exterior monitor ran live updates of every standing bid. Elections on Three. Null-grav amateur sports in Seven's La Grange points. The completion calendar of Puff and Piff. Celebrity divorces. If it was happening somewhere, it was in her book.

The algorithm meting out the wins was her own invention. It allowed sharks and budget spenders to play the same book, the same odds, the same bets, and shelled out appropriately sized payments to all, even though the odds didn't always match the face offer. She fielded the complaints, reminding bidders that she paid out full, instead of skimming off the top, bottom, or side. That was one thing the mob bookie couldn't say. She was also in the thick of the fray, rather than hiding out in an office bunker somewhere.

Her trailer was defaced, the monitor cracked, and two days later, her self-appointed groupies and guardian angels found themselves escorted out of the halls. Vidar fell silent for one long moment, the trailer park holding its breath for what came next.

It was a knock on her door.

Tern opened it, and found herself staring out at her potential sponsor. "How can I help you, Mr Sylvanus?"

"We need to talk."

"Do we now?" She peeked around him and saw a nigh platoon of security holding back gapers and groupies, a wall of suits in each direction.

"May I come in?"

"You may. None of your lackeys." She proppelled herself backward and geastured an invitation. "How can I help you, Mr Sylvanus," she repeated in the same intonation.

"I would like to place a bid."

"Existing, or new?"

"New. Five to one against you, for my bookie."

"I'm sorry, Mr Sylvanus, but that wager is already running on my book, at one-to-one odds. You can either join that wager, or pick another subject."

"You don't seem to understand."

"Don't I?"

"The degree of money I come to offer far outweighs what little pittiance your friends could pool together in their whole lives. It would be unfair to them to bid in the same wager."

"I'm sorry to disappoint you, Mr Sylvanus, but it seems we cannot do business. I hope you have a good day."

He snarled, and snatched at her wrist. "Don't do this Ms Mevit. You don't know what you're getting into, do you understand that? He's going to break you. Take the money, buy yourself some real protection, or better yet, get off-moon."

"First of all," she whispered in a dnagerous voice, "I don't borrow against my own book. I don't skim, and I don't cheat." Louder, she continued, "Secondly, you're grossly underestimating me; and thirdly," she twisted her body roughly, snatching back her hand and delivering a sub-concussive blow with her heel, "I knew what I was getting into when I started this. Also, you're on camera. See, there's only one reason why your bookie pal has to excalate. If he were winning, he'd be gloating, not squirrelling away his winnings and resorting to violence.

"There's one bet that I don't have published, that isn't public knowledge. It's a private book, and only my closest friends have access to. Would you like to know what it is, John?"

"Don't call me John."

"Closest friends John. Not to business partners, not to people who threaten me, not to bullies or strangers in the halls. And I call my friends by their first name. What will it be?"

"Fine. What is the wager, Tern?" His lips twisted in a snide grin.

She tapped a code into the keyboard behind her, scarcely looking at the combination as she did so. The interior display changed to a calendar. "How long until I win, John?"

"You seem to think it's inevitable that you come out on top."

"Would you be here in such a civil capacity if I weren't?"

He nodded the touch. "Point. How long?"

"I gave it two weeks."

His face stalled out, as if he had too much control to actually let his jaw drop. "That's--"


"What happened to six months? Or three months?"

"Never let them see you shake, or see your hand. I bid high, knowing you would bid low. You just didn't go as low as I feared. And I was ready. More ready than anybody gave me credit for." Her computer beeped, and she checked the time. "The book has closed for the day. It reopens in eight hours. I'm afraid I must insist you go, Mr Sylvanus, as I expect tomorrow will be a very busy day for the both of us." She extended her hand.

"I imagine it will, Ms Mevit. Good day."

"And to you."

Next chapter

Monday, November 14, 2016

0800 SVT (+11 S7T)

Previous chapter

There was a tap on her door, and she toggled control over to her local betting book screen, the only display that was duplicated, with one inside and one outside her trailer.

She eased herself over to the door, and slid it open, admitted a face she didn't know. "What's your poison?"

"What's the book for the Prime Minister election on Three?"

"Which one?"

He paused, ignorant of the fact that there were four of them currently running, and another half-dozen in the coming months. "Uhh... the one with Joh Aldams."

"Oh. Sure, just a moment." Tern turned her head to face the display, though it was currently upside-down in relation to her body's orientation, and scrolled through the list. "Two to three for Joh, one to six for Sil, and one to six for Mal. No minimums. What's your bid?"

"Can I get two hundred on Mal?"

"Two hundred down on Mal pays out twelve hundred if he wins. You sure?"

He swallowed heavily, his adams apple sticking out like a sore thumb, and hesitated a moment before nodding.

"Put your thumbprint on the sensor." She gestured to the fingerprint detector hanging beside the door jam. A quick keystroke as he did verified his funds and transferred the appropriate amount to her holding account. "Payout next week. Good luck."


She shut the door and went back to work.

"Do you have an appointment?" The stern personal assistant gave her a harsh glare.

"I... uh, no. I don't." Tern tried not to shrink back into the floor. Her last and final class had been about standing up to those things that intimidated you, and was one of the few curricula she actually completed.

"Mr. Sylvanus is very busy. If you don't have an appointment, you don't get to see him."

She gritted her teeth and clenched her arms behind her back, willing them not to shake. "Tell him Tern Mevit is here to see him. And has a business proposition for him. Something he very much needs in his organization."

"And what, you're the only person who can give him what he needs?"


The p.a. didn't even bother to stifle her laugh, but waved Tern over to some very uncomfortable-looking chairs and picked up the phone on her desk.

"Sir? Yes, I have a Tern Mevit here to see you. No, no appointment. Business proposition. No, she wouldn't say. But... yes sir." The woman scowled and set the phone down. "You have five minutes. Starting now."

Tern bolted up from her edge-of-the-seat perch and bolted for the doors, only just catching herself and her breath before striding through them.

The big man turned his chair slowly around as she entered his office, lined with dark wood and darker leather, a stark contrast to the cold efficiency of the anteroom.

"Mr. Sylvanus, I don't know if you remember me, but we met once, about fourteen years ago. You helped a little girl who got lost in a mall on Nanna find her mother."

"Four minutes."

"I'm here because you have a problem. You have a bookie who is guilty of cooking his books. He may pay a tithe to you, but I believe that, one, he is cheating you out of money, and two, he is scaring away business in the manner he conducts it. I believe I can do a better job, net your more profit, and bring more business in to your organization, all without paying a tithe."

"One minute."

Tern took a deep breath, trying not to let herself be rushed. 'I believe I can do a better job, if you allow me the opportunity to do the work in your territory without being harassed by your agents for a trial period."

"Times up. Get out."

Tern glanced at her watch. "I'm sorry sir, but your timepiece appears to be incorrect. It's only been two minutes." She stood her ground and waited.

John broke into a grin. "Very good, Ms Mevit. Very good. Of course I remember you. And I don't doubt you've done your homework on me since that day. What do you think of me now that you know who and what I am?" Ge stood and walked around his desk, sitting casually against it.

"As long as you are still the sort of man who saves little girls who get seperated from their mothers in malls, I think no less of you for the rest of it."

"But would you take the word of a man who says he does without sufficient evidence to know that word is good?"

"I don't have to. You did the same thing just last month, on your regularly scheduled trip to Nanna."

John stared at her, and Tern got the impression he was trying not to look surprised.

"Yes, I arranged that." She stepped forward to a few feet shy of him, despite his foreboding presence. "You are still the same man who helped me fourteen years ago. But now, I'm not the one who needs help. You're losing money, and I'm in a position to help rectify one of the problem areas." She glanced at her watch. "That's five minutes."

On cue, his phone rang, and John leaned back and picked it up. "Yes, thank you. Have them wait outside." He set the phone back down. "What do you want?"

"Six months."

"One month."

"Three." She stuck out her hand.

John smiled. "Three months. No harassment from my agents. No tithe. If you bring in more money to my organization, you stay, get all his business, and he's gone. If you lose..." he tilted his head thoughtfully to the side, "If you lose, you work for him until such a time as he can use your business model, and then leave Vidar."


She smiled to herself. The memory one of the more pleasant ones. Obviously she had succeeded, and quickly than anyone had anticipated too, because she knew she could have done it in far less time than she asked for, knowing Sylvanus would bargain it down and, despite the agreement, have his bookie run her hard.

She turned over to her monitors, and went back to digging through Sisyphus' business dealing, hoping for some insight on their recent stock spike.

Next chapter

Sunday, October 30, 2016

0700 SVT (+11 S7T)

Previous chapter

First on the docket was to check any completed bets. One of the screens listed everything by ending date, and Tern spun herself to face it. Today was a weekday, and a Tuesday at that, at least by the old Gregorian calendar, so scarce few things were closing, just a handful of off-planet elections.

Most people didn't bother bidding on elections unless it was either their home territory or taking over social media. Tern was trying to expand her business off-moon, but despite how many people were willing to conduct business over the exonet, they still wanted their bookie to be local. She could respect that even if she didn't fully understand it, which was why she was looking at franchising options.

"Why do you want to work here?"

"I need the experience."

"To do what?"

"Manage money, mostly someone else's."

 "Uh huh. And you think this is the best place for that?"

"You are an accounting firm, are you not?"

"Cups and Balls Inc does have an accounting division, yes, but--"

"Founded by Jason Ball, CPA. First dozen clients were seeking extrenal and reliable accounting practices. You're regularly contracted by Id & Co, OPB, and Dynamite Contracting to help balance their books before tax season."

"Yes, they are some of our biggest clients, but--"

"They are your biggest clients."

"Right. Look here, uh... Ms..."


"Yes, Ms. Mevit. Even if you have done your homework, I'm afraid your resume is too incomplete to be worth our time."

"I've studied with the best schools--"


"--and have been top of my class--"

"For the classes you completed."

"--well spoken of by my instructors--"

"But not by classmates or deans. Tell me, Ms Mevit, what do you need this experience for?"

"I can't tell you."

"And why is that?"

"Because I don't want someone else to get there first."

"Someone always gets there first. That's the nature of business, Ms Mevit. I'm sorry, but we won't be hiring you. Next!" 

And that was how most of her job interviews went. She took classes long enough to learn what she needed to learn, found a job or taught herself what couldn't be found in a classroom, and then moved on to the next thing on her list. Unfortunately, experience handling other people's money was a required item on the list, and she was having no luck tracking down someone who would be willing to take a chance with her.

Her memories were interrupted by her phone.


"Tern? It's Soria."

Tern sighed silently, relieved that it wasn't someone calling to complain. "What can I do for you?"

"I was checking in on my investments, and saw a spike that concerned me. Do you have some time to take a close look?"

"Absolutely. Just a moment, let me pull your files up."

Tern did more than keep the biggest book on Vidar, she also managed investment trading for those who permanently lived there. Of them, Soria was not only one of her biggest clients, but also one of the friendliest. Some people could get so terribly destructive when the market took a swing for the worse, and act as if she had something to do with it. Tern pulled up Soria's account and paged through her investments.

"Huh, now that is strange," Tern confessed. Sisyphus Medical stock was spiking unusually quickly, a behavior that was more typical of tech companies and start-ups than long-term behemoths like heath and wellness corporations. "Let me take a dig around and see what I can come up with. I'll give you a call back."

"Thanks." Soria cut the call.

Next chapter

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

0600 SVT (+11 S7T)

Tern woke to the sound of the Seven markets closing at five o'clock. They had a great big bell planetside, and some people said she could feel the vibrations all the way up on Vidar. Truth was she simply set her alarm by it, and when your trailer is rigged with a dense computer system and your computer is rigged to be an alarm clock, well... She did nothing to discourage the rumors.

She un-velcroed the hammock that kept her from drifting around in her sleep and wounding herself or her precious equipment, rolled it back up, and stuffed it in her locker, which may have been installed upside-down. Or maybe it was sideways. Tern cranked her head at it wondering, but a leg snaking out and giving her body a spin set it right. She was the one upside-down.

The G-size trailer came with a sonic shower, as did all sizes H and up. One could install a water shower for extra, but the struggle dealing with the droplets in practically null gravity was a struggle, especially when one did the insane this of lining the walls with electronic equipment.

Tern stripped, which didn't consist of much effort, and stepped inside. Two minutes later, she was refreshed, and she donned a new bodysuit. They had been all the rage a few years back, but Tern preferred them for the lack of frills and the freedom she maintained working and living in a weightless environment. It also helped that she had the lithe body to pull off the look. Yesterday's went in the laundry bag stuffed into the same locker, and she looked around her trailer, getting back up to speed.

Tern Mevit was the primary bookie for all things on Vidar, the fifth moon of Seven, the seventh planet in the Cups system.

When she turned around, the hand was gone. "Mommy? Mommy!"

Through the bustle of bodies in the mall, little Tern could see nothing but strangers. Her heart welled up with tears and overflowed to her eyes. She sank to her knees, and couldn't help but let them flow down her cheeks.

She was four.

"Are you alright there, miss?"

Tern mopped her face with her sleeve at the kind voice, and looked up into the face of a man with eyes the color of well-worn dollar bills. He crouched next to her, brushing off the haste and urgency of the two very large men standing behind him.

 She sniffled. "I'm not supposed to talk to strangers."

He smiled, wrinkles folding into his cheeks as if he smiled rarely, but when he did his whole face lit up. "That's a good idea." He sat himself down next to her, carefully. "My name is John. If you tell me your name, we won't be strangers."

"That... that doesn't sound right."

"You're a smart kid."

"That's what-- that's what Mommy always..." She started crying anew.

"Have you lost your Mommy? Did you get separated?"

The little girl nodded.

 "I know you're scared, but I know she's sacred now too. Will you let me help you find her?"


"I'm not going to touch you, little miss, but if you'll let me escort you over to the management office, they can call for your mommy to come pick you up. Will you let me help?"

She nodded, and climbed to her feet, still sniffling. John stood slowly, and turned to the large men behind him. "Understood?" he asked sternly, daring them to rush or defy him.

"Got it boss." "Yes sir."


Tern walked under her own power encircled by the three men, and when they reached the office, they stopped.

"I'm not going to ask you to go in there, young lady. It looks like a door in the wall and I wouldn't blame you for not trusting me to go in there. If you'll tell this gentleman here your name, he'll go in and have them call your mom, and you and I can stand out here where nothing can happen and everybody can see you. Is that okay?"

She nodded. "T-- ter-- My name is Tern. Tern Mevit."

"It's nice to meet you Tern." He turned to one of the men behind him; "Tern Mevit. Go."

The man opened the door and disappeared down the hallway. A few moments later, they could hear "Ms Mevit, please come to the management office to retrieve your lost property. Ms Mevit to the management office."

A few minutes later, a tear-streaked woman came rushing up, and moved to swoop in on Tern, but the large men stopped her. "Wait! Wait! She's my daughter. What have you done to my daughter? Let. Me. Go!"

John knelt beside Tern. "Is this your mommy?"

"Yes, she is."

"Alright, you can let her go."

Ms Mevit rushed between the large men and wrapped her arms around Tern. "I was so worried! Where did you go? What are you doing with these men? Come on, little lady, no time to dilly-dally. Enough of that's been done already." She dragged her daughter off, clasping her tightly.

Tern waved at the man, whispering "Thank you," and hoping her mother didn't notice.

The memory flooded back and caught her unawares. She felt the same weighing down of her heart for a moment, the feeling of being lost, and even worse, how it didn't completely go away when she was reunited with her mother.

It was fifteen years ago she met the man who would later give her the opportunity to become what she was today. Her childhood was rough, not from abuse or neglect, but sometimes she thought that  maybe her mother loved her too much. When she turned eighteen, she left Nanna and came out here to make a place for herself.

Tern glanced around her personal trailer, lined with screens slowly flickering to life, filled with numbers and statistics and polling results and stocks, getting ready to start her day.

Next Chapter

Monday, September 26, 2016

BYOD Local

"Come on, Chuck, this isn't craps. Just roll them already."

There was a murmured chorus of agreement at Sylvia's remark, so with an exasperated sigh, he did.

"Hah! Nineteen! Now tell me that wasn't worth it."

"It was a perception check, Chuck, not a deathblow. Sylvia, tell this boy what he's won."

"You look around the abandoned storage room, and can see without having to rifle through all the cupboards and barrels that you won't find anything of value."

Chuck frowned.

"Just think how much time you saved from looking through everything... if you hadn't wasted it on that dramatic roll."

Her phone chimed, and Sylvia looked down. "Sorry folks, that's all the time we have for tonight. See you all next week? Chuck, can you stay a few minutes?"

There were sniggers from the rest as they filtered out of her living room, snagging coats and keys.

"What's up Syl?"

"If you can't afford to buy a dice cup or a tower, I'll sell you one of my used ones. But no more hand-rolling. The odds have been suspiciously in your favor as of late, and I don't want to kick you from the game for cheating. And no more extended palming. Ten seconds tops before you drop them. Got it?"

"Aww, I thought we were friends, Syl."

"We are friends, which is why I'm telling you this while we're alone, not in front of the others, and why I'm giving you a warning instead of just the boot. You're a lot of fun to be around, and you do make the journey more eventful without my meticulous pre-planning, saving me time in the pre-game. Last thing I need is for you to waste all that savings on a throw. Cup or tower, next week, or at least a receipt that says you ordered them and they're on the way. Or sit out the session and every session until you do. Got it?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Good. Drive safely out there."

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Keen Eye

Simon hesitated. The staves dropped lower toward the cobbles than he usually let them get, but the moment passed and he snatched them up at the last moment. The crowd loved it when he made appearances of just barely holding the whirling mess together, but if they had the patience and the mental fortitude, they could spot the patterns.

Except for him. Simon spotted him out of the bustling crowd with an ornithologist's keen eye. He represented what every striving entertainer despised: disinterest. Simon separated out a single stave and shifted the others to his left hand. He parted the crowd with curt gestures, and they flowed around him as he stepped deeper among them toward the subject of his demise.

The poor lad didn't even notice.

Simon tossed the stave high into the air and added it back into the frenzy, leaned back almost as far as his tumbling friends liked to go, snagging one of the longer blades from the back of his calf-high boots. He spun it once, greeting the balance of an old friend, and them gave it a good hard heave.

They always got frightened when he threw something in a direction other than up, and with good reason: his aim was impeccable.


"You have to give me more time than that, Simon!"

"Why? You caught it in time."

"Yeah, but you broke one of my fingers in the process."

"Sprained. You'll be fine. Keep it wrapped up and get your tutelage with the tumblers for the next week or so, to let it heal. And maybe next time you'll spot the sod faster."

"Yes sir."

"Attaboy, Ems. You'll be a fine jester yourself if you keep to that attitude. Just you wait."

The Well

The cereal was mushier than usual this morning, but Sharon didn't complain. She shoveled it into her mouth, imitating her usual worker drone attitude: the tallest standing wheat gets cut first. Somehow, that didn't drive a dissonating point home about her closeted meetings with the others, but she reasoned a sane person would wonder what was going on in the world, even if their world were so dark and frightfully small.

So maybe her silence didn't lend itself to apparent sanity, but one could only do so much. And she didn't trust her voice not to shake. If she couldn't keep it still, she wouldn't use it at all. So it was left to the musings of her cellmates whether she even had one at all.

Despite the dumbness, her mind was untamed. It leap from thought to thought less like toads navigating from lilypad to lilypad and more like flies, encapsulated in a cloud of apparent randomness, but nonetheless never colliding with their consummate raindrops.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Well

"How did you do it?"

"I don't know."

It was dark, long after lights out, surrounded by their cellmates' snoring, sleeping forms.

"Do you think they didn't notice?"

"Do you think they did?"

"What do you mean?"

"Sarah, I think there's a very good chance that nobody is watching us. Dank hallways, dark rooms, dreary lighting... is all adds together to be a low-cost installation. Wherever we are, it's somewhere long forgotten."

"So our conferences..."

"They're excessively secretive."

"If you've put this all together, why do we keep meeting in that murk?"

"Easier for everyone else to take it seriously. Collude on the down low to keep everyone in the down low mindset. Not everyone is intuitively conspiratory, but if you put on a show that that's what you expect, they will too. Steven, I suspect, and Sylvia need the extra nudging. Sharon..."

"Has she said anything to you?"

"Not a word. Not to anybody, as far as I know. You?"


They lay silently for several long seconds, before Sarah whispered again.

"Do you know how you're doing it?"

"Not yet."

"Any guesses?"

"Speculation? Subconscious, if it's even me. Maybe it's a resonance or dissonance with whatever I do, whatever I can do, with whatever it is that stops us from..."

"Oh. ...Do you mind if I ask-"

"I don't mind, but even if I knew, I don't think it'd be safe for me to share. I've been here as long as I can remember, and I can remember your first day, and Sylvia's and Steven's.  Too many shapes of slumbering forms, and who knows who could be listening, lying in wait, wondering the very same thing."

"What about Sharon?"

"What about her?"

"Do you remember her first day?"

"No, I don't. Goodnight, Sarah."

"Goodnight, Seuss."

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Well

Sarah ducked her head under the low ceiling. She'd shot up too many inches in the past few months, and had found her head bouncing on the top of the door frames. But it was smiles all around when she stepped into the room, Steven, Sylvia, Sharon, even little Seuss, who if anything, seemed to be growing shorter with every passing visit.

"What do we have here?"

"Oh, let it rest, Steve. Don't keep going on like it's my fault."

"Why not? Our little Sarah's getting to be all grown up. Maybe you'll be leaving us soon."

"You know nobody leaves but feet first," squeaked Seuss.

"If she's not careful, she'll not herself out on the bunk next time she gets out of bed."

"Come on, Steve. Let it go. It was the one time."

"Yeah Steve, leave her alone." Sylvia patted the empty chair next to her. "Sit by me?"

Sarah stuck her tongue out at the awkward boy and sat down beside her best friend. "Thanks, Syl. So, any news?"

"No news." Seuss shook his head. "We're still stuck in this dingy rat-hole, no sign of a weakness in the warding, or whatever that's keeping our wells from overflowing."



"No, Seuss, it's not you. It's just..."

"It aches."


"Well, I suppose there is one thing worth saying."

Everybody slid forward to the edge of their seats.

"You're done growing."

"If I had something I could throw without maiming you, I would. If anybody else had said it, I'd throw you."

Seuss grimaced, uselessly smoothing his wrinkled orange suit. "Sorry, but I'm serious. I figured out where you found your extra foot, and the fact is, I want it back."

"Wait... you... You really are getting--"

"Shorter. Yes."

"And how are you... wait, no, please, not--"

"We're switching bunks."

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Brothers and Sisters

Crossing streets is dangerous business

A little brother, minding his business
Crossing quickly quietly in the 'walk
Inviolet safety of two white lines

Passing car paying no mind
To little brother's right
He stops, tries to flee

Wheels too fast uncaring unvarying
A bump in the night
A life lost in my sight

A cop distracted driving

Sunday, June 12, 2016

JW: Body, Mind, and Soul (Cecil, 5)

Previous chapter

As the sun dipped lower to the horizon and started started growing into night, Cecil's mind revisited his lessons with Leans-Into-The-Wind. His teacher did more than lecture the old ways of coexistence, Johnson lived it, and taught Cecil the names and ways of The People. They'd argued on his birthday, about the drugs, about Charlie and true animal bonding. Johnson called it cutting corners, Cecil called it lubricating the process, and his mother tried to intervene. It was too much, and he took off, using the lessons in tracking and finding trails to hide his own, though he always suspected Johnson could have found him if he tried. Cecil disappeared himself into the reclaimed wilderness to let him find opportunity and freedom where he'd be less likely to be interrupted.

And now this call. It wasn't the first call in the two years he'd been on his own, but it was the first time his teacher had been mentioned.

In a moment of conflict and desperation, Cecil clambered up upon his cabin roof, unslung the clay flute, closed his eyes, and started playing. It was no tune, no melody that descended from the pipe, but a spontaneous merging of all the calls he used for his pack. It was no summons, merely a question: Will you come?

This was only the second time he'd done this. The notes lingered over his home--the cabin, the woods--and all the animals that resided in the area that claimed membership knew that it was as much an invitation as it was a white flag.

Come in peace, my brothers and sister. Come and join this peace, it said. And if you cannot keep the peace, no punishment will follow.

That was how Cecil ruled: not with an iron fist, but with an open heart.

When he lowered the flute, letting the notes drift off into silence, and opened his eyes, he found himself surrounded. Those that could reach the roof laid at his feet, and those that could not arrayed themself in the grasses around the cabin.

Two asps borrowed warmth in the fading day from Zal and Rudabeh. Two fieldmice cuddled close to two 'chucks, two flying squirrels, and two hares. A pair or each white-tails, elk, coyot' and horse knelt with Rama and Sita. Huginn and Muninn were joined by falcons, robins, finches, eagles, egrets, and jays.

Cecil looked around at all the faces looking back at him, and wondered aloud, "Is this what they fear? Peace? Harmony?"

A bullfrog burped in response, as he and his mate hopped belatedly into the gathering.

Cecil laughed. "Sorry Knemu, sorry Heqet. Didn't mean to start without you. Settle in, no rush, and make yourself comfortable."

Knemu burped again, and they eased their way forward to the front, settling down between the forelegs of Ammit, jaguar. Her brother, Anub, sneezed a laugh at the sight, before the four turned their attention back to Cecil.

"Something is coming. Through you, I've felt it. I can't tell what it is, or where it is, or how far of it is, but it's not good news. We staved off the last mass-migration by holding strong together, but this... feels bigger... feels worse. I don't know if we can weather it alone.

"If you haven't heard, I've received a call from my folks. Leans-Into-The-Wind will be there in a few days, and--"

Yips and shouts erupt from the crowd. Tails start waving and smacking noses.

Cecil holds out his hands and tries to call for silence, but none comes until Knemu rips a loud burp. "Thanks, Knemu. I can see those of you who have met Charlie, miss him greatly, and those who haven't wish to meet him. Since you all seem to want to go so badly, I guess I shouldn't argue. That said, I'll need somebody to watch the cabin while we're gone. Any volunteers?"

Silence falls over the pack faster than ever.

"Knemu? I know you've probably got little ones to look after, but if you could pay some extra attention to local vibrartions, I'd appreciate it. I'll bring you back something special."

The bullfrog hummed in response, and started hopping back to his pond.

"Well then. It looks like we're all settled. We leave in the morning."

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mot'ish Mot'ith: Verbs, Part 1

Last time, we covered verb conjugation, or how to adjust a verb to a subject and a tense. Every verb that follows can be conjugated by the rules from Table 1.1.

The verbs in this list were provided by the LinguaSorb 100 Most Common English Verbs.

Verb Family
Mot'ish Root
Table 3.1
  1. Mot'ish Mot'ith differentiates between driving a vehicle with a motor powered by chemical and/or electrical components and one that is powered by the drivers and/or passengers. Use mob for "motored" and sik for "unmotored,"
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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Mot'ish Mot'ish, Verb Forms

Table 1.1 showed how far the language is based on base 6 (or 7, depending on how you count it). The next step is conjugation, or adapting your verb forms to the subject and the tense.

First, we need a verb. "To be" will do for the time, one of the more complicated verb-forms in English. It appears as "am," "are," "be," "been," "is," "was," "were," (archaic: "art," "being," "wert") all depending on who is talking and the time that's being referred to. In Mot'ish, it's all much more simplified.

I amI, nowea'beun'tu
I wasI, recent pastea'beun'mi
We will beWe (incl), near futuresi'beun'fe
They wereThey, distant pasttu'beun'ea
Everyone always isEveryone, ongoingmo'beun'mo
Table 2.1

The prefix is always the subject, and the suffix is always the tense. Sandwiched in the middle is always the verb-base, which itself doesn't change.

Mot'ish is a language focused on quantification, perspectivism, and descriptivism, in that order. In English, there a many words similar to "to be" which make learning the language more difficult. In Mot'ish, you can add descriptivism by adding trailing System words (due in a future discourse), which can be both adverbs and adjectives, but instead of having one verb for "to be" and others for "to become," "to exist," "to live," and "to mean," all of those verbs fall under "beun."

Next time, we'll start looking at more verbs, and the 100 most common verbs in the English language (whcih is a much shorter list in Mot'ish).


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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Rough Translation: Inside

let's get trapped together
in a box that holds the world,
clichély bigger on the inside
where our flags are unfurled.

si'lou'mo si'wig'mo ea'ith
wig'mo tu'hab'mo mot'ith
sip'ity mot'il ea'ith
tu'waf'mo waf'mo

let's get trapped together
on a raft that never sinks,
in an ocean with no tides,
with a creature that never blinks.

si'lou'mo si'wig'mo ea'ith
tu'fej'bo pos'mo
fet'il mot'ish
tu'sker'bo beun'mo

let's get trapped together,
burdened down by own dreams...
let's unlock the world together
and discover what it means.

si'lou'mo si'wig'mo ea'ith
si'dev'mo kog'mo
si'lou'mo si'hap'fe mot'ith ea'ith
si'kons'fe beun'mo

Original text of Inside
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Monday, March 28, 2016

Mot'ish Mot'ith, A First Introduction

Once upon a time, (a few months ago) I decided to try to make a language that was based on a counting system. I settled on Base 6 because I couldn't come up with more than six words I liked for numbers just to make things difficult.

While the roots of the English language are based in the branches of older languages (most notably Latin and Greek), Mot'ish Mot'ith is based wholly around its own counting system, for reasons I won't get into right now (short version: in their world, numerology and the ability to count was a survival trait).

Every word is based around this base, though when I get to it, you'll notice there aren't six numbers, there are seven (the last is for infinity). From the conjugation of verbs to the creation of adjectives, everything hinges on those number-bases.

Funny side-effect to this pattern is that it's remarkably easy to rhyme in Mot'ish Mot'ith.


SubjectnobodyI/meyou (sing)he/she/it/theywe (excl)we/us (incl)everyone
Tensetimelessdistant pastrecent pastpresentnear futuredistant futureongoing
Table 1.1

The subjects and verb tenses are chained to their bases by apostrophes, though when the situation doesn't allow for apostrophes, they can be dropped (like in URLs or proper names).

There's a lot more I've prepared for Mot'ish Mot'ish, but it's still no where near complete enough to get started on a frist edition translation dictionary, which is a future plan. In the meantime, I will continue using my own written works to practice using the language (and help me to discover what new terms need coining) and post the translations and further discourses on the language here.

Oh, and "Mot'ish Mot'ith" in Mot'ish Mot'ith translates to "everything everywhere."

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Rough Translation: Shopping List

fewer bad nights
and fewer bad days;
fewer desires
to wash it all away;

sip'oon bo'il ea'il
min'oon bo'il ea'il
weh'mo ea'il
ea'nix'bo mot'ish sip'ith

an end to the urge
of flight and run away,
of becoming cold,
of turning grey.

mot'um weh'mo
ea'sik'fe ea'el sip'th
ea'beun'fe ea'em
ea'beun'fe min'ak

Full text of Shopping List
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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Rough Translation: Gretchenfrage

I could hear the silence.
ea'tor'tu mot'um

Not, I could hear nothing;
but I could hear silence.
bo'er ea'tor'tu bo'um
ea'tor'tu mot'um

The world whispered around me softly and did not presume to disrupt my peace.
ea'tor'mi min'el ea'ith tu'ith, min'el ea'ith tu'kyt'bo ea' bo'a

Full text of Gretchenfrage
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Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Long Way Around, 2

I didn't sleep soundly. Between the lack of soil beneath my back and the wind screaming up above, there was no chance of that, and I was rather glad for it. I heard between the fitful moments of dozing a regular pounding on the walls. I was too regular to be a side effect of the storm, as the wind whistled unevenly through the cracks in the garage.

The pounding continued around the building, echoing strangely, a dynamic I might have better recognized if I'd been in that building before.

The back door rattled in its frame several times before it bounced completely open, slammed back by the rising wind once it had a finger's grasp on the door. Now I could hear it better: a sub-woofer. A couple of riled kids barreled in, presumably looking for a good time--something to break, something to steal--something I definitely didn't want to be a part of.

I double-checked that my self-defense kit was securely strapped, and crawled out of my tent, away from the glaring flashlights of the--


"Self-defense kit?"


"What's in this kit?"

"My cell, a flashlight, a couple of knives, flint and tinder, a small hando, and a yawara. All the same gear your guys took from me when you patted me down. Can I continue?"



I crawled out of my tent and away from the bobbing flashlights seeking a darker corner of the garage, but it wasn't long before they found my gear.

Yes, I was tempted to go back and defend my stuff, show them what-for and all that, but I didn't. My gear was insured, I had my wallet and itemized list of my belongings. It wasn't worth the struggle. But then they came to the realization that whomever's gear it was, they were probably still in the building, waiting for the storm to abate. They weren't wrong.


"And then what?"

"They cornered me and I defended myself."

"You beat them brutally."

"They were drunk and probably high. I was stone sober, and prepared. I was also fighting for my life, because I knew they weren't going to just let me get away, as witness to their own lawbreaking."

"But you still beat them viciously."

"What, you want me to let them off with a warning? Some fancy moves and a slap on the wrists to scare them away?"

"Well, yes."

"You watch too many movies. In the real world, fancy moves just get you hurt. I disabled them as best as I could without causing any permanent damage, but if they ran into my fist while I was throwing a punch, I won't feel guilty for the extra damage it caused due to their added momentum. It's basic physics."

"Fine, fine. Then what happened?"

"They scampered off, presumably called you guys, and I called emergency services too. You should have a copy of my call. It corroborates everything I've just told you."

"After that?"

"I checked out my gear while I waited, took pictures with my cell, and documented the damage, to send to my insurance agent for a claim. I had no signal until you gentlemen showed up, presumably an unsecured signal booster in one of your cars. My cell automatically connected to the signal and sent the message. If you keep the traffic logs on those things, you should see it."

"Anything else?"

"I want to talk to a lawyer."

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Plan

four wheels and a rain fly,
polyethylene mix stitch
hatchback tent,
nothing I can't fix.

sewing kit at my feet,
bladders in back,
food all around,
six days there and back.

double set bandoleers,
thumb driven ammunition,
a week in the desert
of my own volition.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Long Way Around, 1

The wind was pushing me almost straight sideways before I decided it was time to call the madness to rest. Behind me, my bicycle trailer kept being buffeted to one side or the other a couple of inches, contrary to the direction of the wheels, and my exhaustively meager pace was doing me in. Unfortunately, I was deep into the flatlands of central Kansas, so there was no sign of a valley between two bumps in the land barely high enough to be called hills. The largest shelter was the drainage ditch running along the side of the road, with an inch of murky water at the bottom. I had no desire to test my luck on its cleanliness.

Fortunately, my luck was not completely absent: ahead on one side of the road sat a dark, squat building, anonymous in the distance and lack of streetlights. As I drew closer, it turned out to be a boarded up gas station with an attached garage, closed in the unseasonably turbulent weather. As I walked around it, looking for an entrance, my cell phone klaxoned, providing an unnecessary warning of the vicious storm. Multiple tornado touchdowns. Wonderful.

The front door, normally glass but now coated in wood, was locked and deadbolted, but I rattled it regardless, and to no effect. Continuing my perimeter, I got lucky once more: a side door with a one-way handle and no deadbolt rattled reassuringly in its frame. I pulled one of the longer, narrow-bladed knives from my camping pack, and set to work leveraging it open. Once the bolt popped, it was a simple matter of wrestling my gear into the narrow space between tool-stations and a partially disassembled car.

I set my camp up as best as I could in a small empty corner, my tent sagging without the tension of earth-grounded stakes, disturbing none of the garage around me. I unrolled my bedroll, laid back, and drifted into an uncomfortable doze.


"That's admission of guilt right there! We've got all we've need."

"Hold on now. All I've admitted to was breaking and entering, a fact I already established. I haven't said a word about any of the other charges you're trying to press on me, and if you keep interrupting, you're never going to. Do you want my complete confession or not?"

"Alright, fine. Fine. Keep going. I won't interrupt again."

"I rather doubt that. Anyway, I didn't sleep soundly. Between the lack of soil beneath my back and the wind screaming up above, there was no chance of that..."

Monday, January 18, 2016

Constructive Criticism

"I'm sorry, but that's just not realistic."

"What isn't?"

"Sending one email, and having it spreading through the internet like that. Unless you know about some zero-day that you're keeping under wraps--"


"--then there's no way for that to happen. What genre is this supposed to be, science fiction?"

"It's actually fictional realism."

"Then you're limited to what you can actually do, here, now, today."


"No. I can see sending out an email to a mailing list that contacts your friends and family, forwards the message on, asks them to pass it along, get the press involved, post it on their social media accounts... but from email to trending in.... how long did you say?"

"Under an hour."

"But didn't it happen a few hours later?"

"Well, my laywer had to get a copy of my handwritten statement, drive home, type it up, type in the exact address that I provided, and then send it, so from hitting the send button to it going viral, under an hour, but from leaving my company to it going viral, a couple of hours."

"Okay, that's logical, but not the rest of it."

"Can I defend myself?"

"You can try, but I don't think it will do you much good."

"Okay, I know it sounds out there, but it's possible."

"Sorry, bud, but the internet just doesn't work like that. Unless you're professing to have major hacking skills or some knowledge of a massive security hole that no-one else knows of--"

"You said I could try to defend myself, so let me. Please."

"Fine. Go ahead."

"Now, I've never actually set the whole system off all at once before, but I've tested out all the stages individually, and they're all essentially the same module, just repeated and daisy chained together. So hypothetically, in theory, there's no reason why it wouldn't work; but it would probably only work once before someone clamped a lid down on it, which is why I haven't taken the whole gigi for a full dress-rehearsal test run."


"It's coupled together over a bunch of free servers, each of them pretty robust, and I convinced a few other strangers out in the world wide wilderness to create their own relays and chained them into mine. Plus, I've been creating dummy accounts for a few years that have been collecting their own followers. The first wave, consisting of all my dummy accounts triggers, though not simultaneously, and then the second wave, those followers that somehow decided of their own will to subscribe to my dummy account reposting the message, and then the third wave is everyone else, and suddenly it's trending."

"You... you... wait, how many dummy accounts?"

"That I created? Couple hundred, plus all my personal accounts for my blogs and such that I've created through the years."

"Why would someone follow a dummy account?"

"Each is tethered to an RSS feed, so they have regular activity. Come on, I'm not that stupid. It'd be obvious if a few hundred previously inactive accounts all starting posting the same message within a few minutes of each other. Besides, who'd follow an inactive account, except for those poor fools who try to get popular by getting more followers instead of being actually interesting?"

"So you... this... this is real?"

"Um, yeah."

"What about the name?"

"Sorry, which name?"

"Nothing Illegal Productions/"

"Oh, yeah. It's one of my relays."


"Okay, so I started a blog, set it up to allow posting via email, memorized that email, and connected a bunch of social media accounts to the RSS feed of that blog. That's one relay. I set up a second relay, set the submission email of the second blog, took the email and used it to subscribe to the first relay, then attached a bunch more social media accounts to the second one. Rinse and repeat, and the short delay as each relay triggers the next gives a half-second-or-so deviation between each relay, so the first wave doesn't happen all at once."

"How many relays do you have?"

"Among my own accounts? Four. Of people I know personally? At least one more. Of total strangers? I have no idea."

"But it works?"

"As far as I can tell."

"So what are you saving it for?"

"Something like this just as unfair and disastrous to happen to me."

"What if it never does?"

"Then I never find out if it actually works as intended, or if it breaks the internet."

"But you could do so much... good.. with this."

"It's a limited use gig. Use it once, and everybody knows it's there. Use it twice, and the whole thing could be taken away from me. So many man-hours wasted. No, I'm not going to do that. It's best lying in the shadows while everyone who reads this manuscript wonders if I'm joking, wonders what accounts are real and which ones are dummies. And if I or any other the top-end servers die before I need to use it? Well, I can live with that."

"So what are you going to call the story?"

"I have no idea."