I’ve been dealing with technology since the early 80’s when I brought a TRS-80 (Trash80) from Radio Shack. Yes... those existed back then. Apple IIe...Apple IIc. I was programming on Mac’s before they even were called Macs. I built computers in college and have stayed pretty up to date on technology as well as I could.
I share this because as a writer, I was faced with the most excruciating experience any writer can go through... data loss. I’m not just talking about a few days of a story or losing something just spent hours composing because my computer crashed before I could save it. I’m talking about over a month of no image backup because of a stupid technological glitch like bad battery charging. When Microsoft forces an update on your computer that corrupts your OS and causes your image to corrupt in the recovery, the last thing you want on your mind is “Did my cloud backup happen and when was the last time?”
Going through this sucks. I searched my backups looking for the most recent updates only to find my images and file saves all dated to mid-Dec. You know how much work I cleaned up in that time?
Thankfully, I recently bought a new hard drive that I forgot I set up a data backup on. A back up that I unconsciously told to save every time there was a file save. After almost three days of tension, stress and a frantic attempt to find versions of my files that reflected the most recent work, I am back to normal.
As an author and a publisher, I remind everyone “Save Early, Save Often” and in today’s day and age, I suggest “Save early, save often and save in multiple places.” You never know when your local drive or your cloud won’t be accessible. If your word processing software, your hard drives and your cloud are not set to save your work every minute or so, you need to change that.
Continuing to build the world of the Chronicles of Rah series for my readers I thought it would be nice to give you a little introduction to one of the primary characters, Violet Black who was introduced in Chronicles of Rah: Cypher.
Violet started out in the mind of my friend Jessica as part of the aforementioned RPG and was later built upon by my friend M.R. Baron.
The following introduction is a collaborative effort between Mark and I to bring Violet to life for my readers. I hope you enjoy.
“Go spit you dreccing bitch!” Titus Creech growled between maroon streams of blood falling from his mouth. Above him stood Violet Black, a head taller than I am, long raven black hair with a soft tint of purple hanging down across her soft angular face as she stares down at Titus with a predatory look in her eye. Her athletic figure tight and bound up in a violet bodysuit, her ample chest straining against the leather top as she fought to catch her breath.
There was something so dangerous and alluring about her, as she stood over a man twice her size, wild and wicked, pushing the silky sweat soaked locks of hair from her face.
To many throughout the rim of Republic space she’s known as Violet Black, but also as Ultraviolet in a number of shadier circles. Never mind her penchant for purple as a favorite color, the moniker
Ultraviolet tended to stem from rumors of unseen violet blurs reported by those unlucky souls tracked down by this particular bounty hunter. To many it quickly became appropriate to those who underestimated my lovely friend only to find themselves quickly burned in her presence. This of course brings me back to our unfortunate friend kneeling, broken and bruised on the ground before her.
How does a man like Titus Creech find himself in such an unhappy state at the feet of a girl like Violet Black you may ask? First you need to understand she is much more than just a girl, Violet first and foremost is the daughter of Pinky Black. Notorious in his own right and feared by many in less social circles, Pinky established a very powerful reputation as an interplanetary bounty hunter.
Forget the stories of particularly troublesome bounties finding themselves chained up in open airlocks as Pinky exited planetary atmosphere or those poor souls dragged through the streets of Haelstrom for all to see after running from Pinky. All one needs to remember is that Pinky Black’s reputation as the most ruthless, toughest, and downright meanest man to ever set foot on a starship comes from the fact that in twenty years of hunting, Pinky never failed to collect a bounty.
Unfortunately, Titus Creech found out a lot quicker than he could have ever imagined how much of that perniciousness rubbed off on Pinky Black’s sweet little girl.
So as you preview the scene before you, and wonder how a man like me wound up with a partner like Violet Black, let me clarify our situation. While I refer to Violet as my partner in crime, the emphasis there needs to be on crime, not partner. Of course there have been a sparse couple of times we have crossed that line, mostly because of Violet’s susceptibility to my phermonic charms, ours is strictly a professional partnership. The plus side of having dallied where professional partners never should is how it has led to a marvelous partnership.
Which brings me back to Titus Creech, and the workout Violet is giving his body, as another groan escapes his lips along with a spray of blood. Watching Violet work tends to cause my thoughts to wander as she is the physical destructive ying to my thoughtful methodical yang. While my skills tend to focus on charming and out thinking my adversaries, Violet’s true skill is violence. Her dedication to the art is just that, something amazing to behold, especially when it comes to watching a man like Titus Creech get beaten by a girl.
A cough of blood later, followed by Titus Creech’s collapse to the ground drew my eyes from the broken hooligan to Violet, chest heaving as she catches her breath from the workout, her eyes glimmering with that dancing flame that I have only once been on the other end.
She smiled wickedly. I bent low to eye the fellow’s one unswollen eye “Had enough, Titus?” I asked cheerfully, “I know she’s just a girl and all, so I appreciate you taking it easy on her...but now that we’ve all had a chance to laugh and relax, we need to get back to business. Why’d you try and double cross us? You had to know we’d track you down eventually.”
Titus groaned, blood dribbled from his half opened mouth, but no other sign of recognition caused me to sit back and roll my eyes sighing deeply as I looked up at my companion. This was the one and only drawback to working with Violet; she was skilled and enthusiastic...maybe too enthusiastic sometimes.
The look in her eye, like a pup that got caught in the pantry, drew as furrow across my brow. “Rather hard to question them when they’re unconscious, dear Violence,” I chided causing her to shrug.
“Marvin, do we have a problem?” she asked, and I waited a moment as she stared at the body. Then she smiled. “No problem....he’s still breathing!”
I had to nod acceptance to that. Lord knows that there have been plenty of others that were not so lucky.
She was a masterful combatant, a keen warrior, and a hard drinker. Looking at her, most wouldn’t suspect that beneath her skin lurked the fury of a supernova...and a number of interesting/deadly cybernetic enhancements. This worked in her favor, for most fights; nothing makes a job easier than when an opponent drops their guard, and Violet has a knack for making that very thing happen. I know, from personal experience.
I sighed. “All right,” I relented, “Grab him and let’s get to the ship.”
Violet smiled, and went to pick Titus up. Suddenly, as my hand moved to my ear to signal our team we were heading back, I felt a slight tremble in the air across my cheek. Frowning at the focused burst of air, the gasp behind me, followed by a hollow thumping sound caused me to turn. As I turned and looked at the body of the assailant who had attempted to sneak up behind me, and at the blackened hilt of the throwing knife protruding from his eye socket. I turned back and looked at Violet, her arm still outstretched from the throw. I raised an eyebrow.
“Your welcome,” she grinned wickedly. I shook my head and smiled. “Oh,” she added, as she hefted Titus’ body, and we began to leave, “Grab the knife, would you? It’s new.”
The Trokus System is a small binary star system on the edge of the galactic rim. This small system expanded its reach into space approximately 250 years ago as the civilization reached a peak in its population and technology. A number excursions over a period of twenty years eventually settled colonies on a few planets in the system. A few years later advances in technology allowed the Trokan's to spread forth into deep space outside of their system and eventually colonize three planets in a nearby system.
The colonization of the nearby system gave the Trokus people their first encounter with another space faring civilization; The Androckan's. The Androckan's; the only other civilization met by the Trokan explorers, are a race of feline humaniods technologically about 100 years behind the Trokan’s. Androckan's had been quick to pick up space travel despite being behind the Trokan's technologically.
Either out of fear of Androckan expansion or simple need to expand, the Trokan's were quick to expand and develop their colonies from which their technological and resource strength grew. Discovering resources such as Richnar and Nileus 5 and their uses in developing interstellar ships and energy sources spawned a number of powerful corporations who took advantage of the new found desire for space travel and colonization. Research and development of space faring vessels as well as interstellar communications capabilities saw the rise of the first multi-faceted megacorps as smaller companies spread across the Trokan colonies were bought up and brought under larger corporate control.
Anti-alien sentiment back home and increased influence by large corporations to develop faster interestellar travel and communications capability caused a rift in the civilization and sparked a great war. Curiously the roots of this conflict seemed focus on the home planet more than the deep range colonies. While a number of the system colonies were impacted by the conflict, the delay in interstellar travel and communications kept many of the colony worlds ignorant of the conflict.
This war would eventually ravage one of the most prosperous continents on Anderia, the main planet in the Trokus system, and divide the systems of the Republic for almost a hundred years.
Almost a fifth of the planets inhabitants were killed in the war and over a half of the remaining inhabitants of Anderia fled the planet after their cities were destroyed. Those refugees who fled the planet loaded up onto colony ships and struck out into space traveling away from the more developed systems. Many of the colonists settled on Sanctuary. The sixth planet in the system, a desolate planet located on the far edge of the Trokus system, hidden behind a million kilometers of dense asteroid fields that the budding Republic seemed to have forgotten about.
Sanctuary soon became the launching point to the great Exodus. The colonists who didn't remain on Sanctuary, traveled beyond the edge of the system and eventually formed the Drandelian Freehold, a collection of 5 systems with 15 planets separated between them became a loose conglomeration of independent systems that have developed slowly since the first exodus from Trokus after the great war. Trade between the Republic and the Drandelion Freehold only began growing within the last sixty years after RendarCorp established a working Jump Gate and trade station named Freeport 5 at what is now called the Sanctuary – Freeport 5 transfer point. Previous travel to the Drandelian Freehold required months of travel through other systems in the Republic. Travel from Anderia to the Sanctuary Jump Gate still takes over a month without a reliable path through the Asteroid field.
After the great exodus, the remains of the Trokan civilization that grew out of the ashes of the war quickly consolidated their power and control of the colonies and systems still aligned with the mother system. A need to avert another such war and protect far flung holdings prompted the large corporations who had come through the war stronger to use their power and influence. Establishing positions of power in the fractured government the corporations cemented the Trokan Republic. In the 150 years since the great war and exodus the Trokan Republic has established a technologically advanced civilization that is quick to seek out and put down dissent from their rule. The further out from the mother systems one goes, the less control the Republic holds. While the Trokan Republic has established trade and corporate ties with the Drandelion Freehold and the three Rim systems they have found generational hatred towards the Republic from the descendants of the exodus still carry a lot of weight in Trokan control of their far flung colonies.
So a number of years ago, some friends of mine started an RPG based in a futuristic world of my creation. It was a hard world, like so many are. A great oppressive “Republic” government beholden to Mega Corporations spanning thousands of light years. Our hero’s were unique in their talents and personalities and the story they were embroiled in one of adventure, intrigue and politics.
Needless to say, our game like so many others, ended abruptly due to schedules and deployments. But the idea, the spirit never died.
A few years later I decided I wanted to bring that world to life. A chance to take my creation to a new reality and share my world with everyone. This became the focus of my new book series; which is coming out in May.
Pulled from the stories our daring hero’s, I developed their story, honed the rough edges in hopes of creating a jewel that others would enjoy sharing. And with that the Chronicles of Rah were created.
The curious aspect of characters created by other people and absorbed into a story of my making was the need to capture their voice. The character of Rah, one of the main characters in our RPG was the creating of my friend and brother Mark. His voice is universally unique and he brought a certain life to Rah. A life I wanted to continue. Of course, unless I was going to have Mark write the scenes of Rah’s character, I needed to assume that voice and make it my own.
With the permission of Mark, I took on the voice of Rah but found it was hard to understand that voice having not breathed life into him. And that is the spark that created the first in the Chronicles of Rah series. Cypher is a novella based on the events in Rah’s life that brought him to the events of the first main book Operation Mobius.
Cypher was an interesting test for me in that it was the first time I’d ever assumed the voice of a character I hadn’t actually created. It was also the first time I’d written an extended length story in first person. A writer can learn a lot about issues with writing when they write in first person. Sometimes the way we think and the way we write don’t actually jibe.
I hope you will take a look at Cypher and enjoy it as a prelude to the series release in May. Tell your friends, share your thoughts.
Chaos always has Order to it, the trick is finding the pattern. Weaver of dreams, voyager of galaxies. I build worlds and share stories. Writer of Fantastical worlds and Space Fiction. Check out my new Chronicles of Rah series coming back to stores 12/14/2020.