An original story I've cooked up...

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murtalianconfederacy
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An original story I've cooked up...

Postby murtalianconfederacy » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:46 pm

ALLIES FROM ENEMIES

Location: Theritsa, Tetradonian colony system
Date: 07.09.179

The small station floated gracefully in the inky black of space. It wasn’t that important in the grand scale of things—in fact, it wasn’t all that important to the Theritsa system. But to Flank Lieutenant Haarsk Thilofil, it was the most important thing in the universe.

“Weapon status” he ordered

“Plasma and kinetic weapons are at full readiness. Point defence stations are at 75% readiness. Anti-fighter systems...that’s odd...”

“What is odd?” Thilofil demanded

“Sorry, Sir, the information wasn’t appearing on screen. AF systems are at 95% efficiency”

Thilofil grunted and turned his attention to the medium-range scans.

The station was a waystation and local anti-raider base for the asteroid belt that was only .3AU from the system secondary, a red dwarf that orbited the primary at around 9AU. It was similar to all other anti-raider bases throughout the Tetradonian Social Republic’s territories—simple, strong and armed with plasma beams, coil cannons and a couple of fighter squadrons for helping any freighter or miner being attacked by raiders.

“That’s odd...” the sensor tech reported

“I see it” Thilofil replied before the tech could elaborate on his comment “That’s a rather unusual flare from the red dwarf”

“Energy ratings are very high, almost five times larger than anything we’ve seen” the sensor tech reported “Should we alert Theritsa Prime?”

“Yes, we should. Warn them to prepare for solar flare activity, and—“

“Sir! Sensor probes 1, 3 and 4 have gone down! Sensors are picking up a large mass of plasma heading towards us!”

Thilofil’s eyes widened. That was not very good, he thought. But instead of responding how a two-year academy graduate might, he ordered himself to remain calm and spoke

“At its current velocity, how long before it hits the station?”

“Two minutes, Sir”

“Order all ships close by to evacuate. Order everyone onboard the station to report to flare bunkers”

“Sir, shouldn’t we send them to escape pods?”

Thilofil shook his head “No, that flare is too powerful. It would overwhelm an escape pod’s flare shielding. Our station’s shields might be just strong enough, but divert all emergency power to the shields—there are five hundred people onboard and I don’t want to sign their death warrants by being overconfident”

“Plasma wave impact in 60 seconds”

The sirens on the station increased in pitch, a sign that the wave was close to impacting the station. The heavy radiation doors started to close all over the station, protecting the inhabitants from any radiation seepthrough that might make it past the shields.

Yet, for all of their preparation, it wasn’t enough.

The plasma wave slammed into the small station, and the shields, powerful as they were, failed after fifteen seconds. The next second, Thilofil, the sensor tech, five hundred Tetradonians and the entire station were reduced to their constituent protons, neutrons and electrons.

###

Location: Tetradonar, Tetradonian home world
Date: 08.09.179

The Republican Council stared in shock as the footage, from a Kitell-class corvette that had been out of the way of the plasma wave, finished playing.

The Tetrarch looked at the lead scientist and asked “What is the current situation?”

The lead scientist hesitated, his Shuriden insectoid body looking positively frail amongst the massive bulks of the Hlaak-Noor and Hlaak-Fa that made up the majority of the Tetradonian population

“From what we’ve been able to gather, the red dwarf seems to be entering a more chaotic phase of its lifespan. Massive flares, radiation spikes and so on. Unfortunately, when we made our initial survey of the system twenty years ago it seemed fairly quiet and we thought that the system would be an ideal place to colonise, even if it was close to the Avtarian and Murtalian borders. However, it now seems that the system is going to be experiencing fairly major problems over the next few decades.

“Theritsa Prime itself should be safe, as it’s far enough out of range of the plasma waves, and the radiation spikes should be countered by additional colony shielding. However, Theritsa Two and the other asteroid colonies will not be, and will have to be evacuated in the next month or two before the red dwarf becomes too chaotic and dangerous. Mining efforts in the Theritsa system are going to have to cease or be taken over by Republic government mining operations which can provide the larger ships and better shielding that will be required”

The Economy Minister interrupted “It’s obvious that we need those metals and other materials from Theritsa, both to keep the economy stable and to provide more raw materials for our war machine. I’ll begin co-ordinating efforts with the Science Ministry, Mining Ministry and War Ministry to help the switchover to government-based mining of the system”

The Tetrarch nodded “That’s the mining question sorted out. How is the evacuation going to be handled?”

There was a silence

Eventually the Economy Minister looked up “At the current time our mercantile fleet is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Most of our long-range ships are in transit between the homeworld and Valargis with food and ores. We can shuffle around the disembarking orders to try and free up as many ships as possible, but even if everything goes to plan, we’re only going to be able to evacuate ten million of the fifteen million colonists that will have to be moved. Plus, we need to find a place for them to be loaded off, as Theritsa Prime is close to its maximum population levels as it is and would require more infrastructure build-up to take them. We could move the five million that can’t be picked up by long-range ships to Theritsa Prime with local traffic and locate the colonists we can pick up to the Gradril system, but it’s going to be awfully tight. Military vessels could also be used, but they’re not going to be enough”

The Tetrarch finally said “So, what options do we have?”

“The first option is to strip all cargo ships and other vessels in range and send them to Theritsa. The advantage is that we’d be able to pick up all the colonists. The disadvantage is that the economy and war machine would be thrown into complete disarray and would take ages first to strip the ships down and move them into the system, and in fact might mean that they would get there too late. We could prioritise, but it’s going to be a balancing act and if we get it wrong...”

The Minister’s voice trailed off, leaving the sentence to finish itself

“The second option is to ask for help”

The chamber erupted into uproar. Five minutes later, calm was finally restored. The Tetrarch stared at the Minister again and asked “What did you say?”

“I said we could ask for help”

The Tetrarch laughed a single bark of laughter “And who should we ask? The Zolrinans? They cower behind their borders and never come out. The Avtarians? They’re more likely to respond with a carrier battle group than an evacuation convoy. And the Murtalians and we have been in a state of distrust for ten years! The minor races will not be able to help or will not bother, seeing as they view us as the worst thing this side of Avtarian space. No-one will help us. No” he shook his head “No, we must do this ourselves”

###

Location: Murtalia, Murtalian Confederacy homeworld
Date: 09.09.179

The Council of Thirty-Seven, the Confederacy ruling council, were in debate. The one hundred and eleven individuals in the chambers were in a state of discussion that had not been sensed by the majority of the population since the Avtarian War twenty-two years before. The Triumvir Council itself was in debate too. All that the average Manu, Marti or Guardi knew was that a disaster had occurred beyond the borders of the Confederacy. Normal triumvirs themselves knew little, but reached out and calmed the rest of the population, their telepathic voices relaxing the Guardi’s anxiety and Manu’s restlessness and calming the Marti’s desire to protect their fellow Murtalians. The Thirty-Seven would make themselves clear later, they said. All throughout the Confederacy, the same words could be heard.

Three hours after the debate started, the Thirty-Seven made their decision, and the Triumvir Council agreed.

One hour after the decision was made, thirty vessels altered their course from the system of Minorkhan. Their destination: Theritsa

Location: Theritsa
Date: 13.09.179

Frontal Captain Hruthi Koorst snarled at the two junior officers facing him

“I don’t care if the colonists of Theritsa Omicra don’t want to leave their factory plants behind—we are trying to get as many colonists out of the system as possible! If they don’t like it, let them know that they can be the last ones out of the system. We need every cubic metre of space to carry colonists and essential supplies”

The junior officers nodded mutely.

As they hurried away, Koorst looked out of the viewscreen of the observation deck of the Pyramidalia-class war cruiser he commanded. The entire orbital plane of Theritsa Prime was a hive of activity, the hulking long-range freighters in-system dwarfing the smaller independent cargo haulers that were being drafted into government service. Around them, hundreds of small shuttles danced an intricate dance, moving colonists already evacuated to the surface or onboard the longer-ranged vessels, moving out of the system.

But around them were positioned the Republican Ninth Fleet. Raiders and small empires who were not above a little light piracy themselves would not hesitate to try and capture freighters laden with Tetradonians for ransom, or simply to kill some of their hated enemies. Plus, it always helped to have some military around to help supervise the evacuation process.

So the Ninth Fleet, one of the smaller formations in the fleet, was drafted to help. Four Pyramidalias, eight Sphelak destroyers, eight Kitells plus even a Cylandrik exploration cruiser that was passing through the Gradril system just as word of the disaster struck. The war cruisers, more used to embarking a marine division, now found themselves embarking more colonists that couldn’t squeeze aboard the freighters. The colonists who found themselves onboard such vessels often found the quarters slightly cramped, but the protection of finding themselves in a full-fledged cruiser of the Republic made up for that. And with the Tetradonians always in need of new recruits, the colonists onboard such craft typically were younger, more impressionable Hlaak-Fa who would enjoy being taken for a tour of the weapons and fighter bays.

A communication chime sounded, and Koorst activated it

“Yes?”

“This is the Bridge, Sir. Sensors have picked up thirty hyperspace portals at long-range. Tentative mass readings suggest ten are very large indeed. The others are smaller, but a few of them match mass readings for Murtalian cruisers of the Visharin class”

Koorst’s blood ran cold. He never expected much of the Murtalians, but running down helpless civilians?

“Power up weapons and shields, order fighter crews to their stations and order the corvettes into screening positions. Make sure we give those Murtalians a bloody nose before they over-run the system”

Koorst de-activated the comm., and walked out of the observation deck.

###
Twenty minutes later

Koorst stood stock-still, his instincts pumping the Hlaak-Noor equivalent of adrenaline into his bloodstream. The fleet had moved into intercept positions, and fighters were already in the sky, but Koorst didn’t expect much.

In the last skirmish, over the Murtalian system of Minorkhan, a full war squadron of eight Pyramidalias and eight Kitells, the former the largest vessel in Tetradonian naval service, had encountered one Sherkorin dreadnought and three Visharin heavy cruisers with an escort of four Intalin escort carriers.

The Murtalians destroyed them.

No, not simply ‘destroyed’ them—they’d made sure that no vessel escaped. That was what was so scary about those damned Murtalians—they were hard to provoke (their actions in the first war had proved that), yet when they decided to stop you, you stopped.

And approaching his nineteen vessels was a force fifty percent larger than his, with ten vessels almost certain to be the next level of Murtalian war engineering—a Bavoralkin superdreadnought.

Scans had more positively identified the fleet. There were two Sherkorins, four Visharins and four Vishalin light fleet carriers. That was a potent fleet. Military Intelligence hadn’t yet pegged the remaining hulls, but the ten Bavoralkins and the other ten hulls—maybe a new type of assault cruiser?—were almost certainly a war fleet.

His thoughts were interrupted by the communications officer

“Picking up a signal from the lead Sherkorin”

Koorst didn’t give any outward signal that he’d heard the report, but he was thinking very hard indeed. Just as the comms officer was about to repeat her report, he waved his hand

“Audio only”

The voice came through, distorted slightly by the translation system in place

“This is Triumvir Captain Loriki Housma of the Confederacy Naval Vessel Thres-da-Nahak. We understand you are conducting an evacuation and we’re here to provide assistance, if necessary”
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Postby murtalianconfederacy » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:47 pm

Koorst wasn’t entirely sure what he had heard. Were the Murtalians actually offering to help?

The voice came over the speakers again

“Does the Tetradonian Social Republic require assistance with regards to an evacuation of Theritsa?”

Koorst thought quickly. The aid would come in very handy and, if those vessels were indeed evacuation transports, they might just be able to complete the evacuation before the red dwarf flares got too powerful. But the Council was not fond of the Murtalians, and he himself wasn’t entirely sold on the Murtalians’ peaceful intentions.

But this might just be a way to ensure the evacuation succeeded totally...

“Yes, we do require assistance. Would it be possible for your ship captains to travel over to us to help co-ordinate the evacuation?”

###
It was amazing how much could be done in an hour, Koorst thought

Ten minutes after the conversation he and Housma had had, each of the Murtalian vessels dispatched a shuttle. The Murtalians had made it clear that they would be accompanied by two Marti in each shuttle, and the Tetradonians agreed. The Murtalians were almost fanatical about how they protected their Triumvirs...

Then the initial meeting had been held. That was an experience in itself, Koorst thought to himself. Two of the three beings known as Loriki Housma had appeared in front of him and identified themselves as the Ma’Lea and Fe’Mea of the Loriki Housma Triumvir, the Horma remaining onboard his ship to run the Thres-da-Nahak.

He wasn’t an expert on Murtalian sexual practices, but he knew the basics. The Murtalians had six genders, three of which were tentatively classified as workers—the warlike Marti, with muscular bodies and quick reaction times, the graceful Guardi which tended to the more parental duties, and the Manu, some even larger than the Marti, but more used to menial labour and other tasks. However, none of them actually reproduced—that task was done by the Triumvir—a ‘pairing’ of one Ma’Lea, one Fe’Mea and one Horma. The Murtalian Triumvir was, however, more than just a sexual pairing. When joined, the three separate genders actually imprinted a copy of their identities onto the other two participants’ secondary brains, and maintained a strong telepathic link with each other, strengthening their telepathic abilities even more. Over time, the three separate personalities began to merge, completing the joining process in around ten years, to the point that whatever they felt like before, now they felt as one mind.

Which was why as soon as the deployment of the Murtalian vessels and fighters had been agreed on, the Murtalian ships moved into position, fighters launching as they started routine patrols for anything that might be out of place. The Murtalian ships themselves moved away from the planet, both to provide their superior sensors to the defence of the system and to ease any worries the Tetradonian civilians might have had

And, just five minutes ago, the Murtalian freighters and liners started to disgorge their shuttles to provide even more lifting capacity for the evacuation. The larger vessels would join their Tetradonian brethren in moving even more Tetradonians to the Gradril system. The smaller vessels would help co-ordinate the shorter-ranged evacuation, and would also, if time allowed, start to move heavy machinery and other goods from the affected colonies back to Theritsa Prime.

###
Location: Avtara Lagroni Sec, Avtarian Imperium system
Date: 14.09.179

A predatory smile bloomed across the face of Ialassa Lagroni, the military commander of the Lagroni High Family

“Is this report accurate?” he asked

“We believe so, Exalted One” the smaller Avtarian replied “A massive movement of Tetradonian civilian shipping is under way, with most of it heading towards Theritsa. It could be an excellent opportunity...”

“Indeed. Either they’re planning an invasion of our territories, or they’re conducting an evacuation. Either way, a probe into the system to assess the situation would be in this family’s best interests”

“Should we ask the Imperial Family for help?”

Lagroni thought, then nodded “A small Imperial contingent wouldn’t hurt. If they could send an Arukhan or two to support our Serkhans, it would improve our odds in a conflict that much better. The more fighters, the better”

Location: Theritsa
Date: 26.09.179

The evacuation had been moving faster than expected, Koorst thought with a smile. The Republican Council had been...concerned...about the presence of Murtalian warships in the system, but reassurances from the Council of Thirty Seven and the position of the vessels, far enough so that their weapons were out of range but close enough to come to the aid of any vessel in distress soothed the Council’s worries.

And the speed and carrying capacity of the Murtalian long-range freighters had certainly helped matters, moving colonists even faster than they might have been expected to. Only two million civilians remained in the danger zone, and they could be picked up within a week, before the red dwarf flares began to get really powerful.

“Sir, we have a message from a short-range freighter near Theritsa Upsila”

“Patch it through”

“This is the Republican freighter TFS-1009 to Theritsa Prime. Raiders have attacked our convoy and destroyed the two Kitells escorting us, but the escorts were able to destroy the raiders in return. However, five freighters, including this one, have had damage dealt to our radiation shielding. In fifteen minutes and forty-two seconds the shields will fail, and we are too close to the red dwarf to be able to withstand the radiation. We need help—“

The communication cut off and Koorst looked across to the comms officer.

“What happened?”

“Radiation spike, Sir. It overwhelmed the communications array” a signal beeped “Incoming message from lead Murtalian dreadnought”

Koorst nodded, and Loriki Housma (the Ma’Lea) appeared onscreen

“We heard the message. We think we can get there and extend our radiation shielding to protect the convoy—“

He was interrupted by Koorst

“You can do that? Tetradonian standard procedure in such an event is to try and enable them to jump out of the area by sending two jump-capable vessels to the area using one jump drive and then using the second jump drive to create an enlarged jump field bubble to cover the stranded vessels”

“A risky procedure, which is why we have not pursued such a course in the past. We can extend our radiation shielding to protect a much larger area, but it requires several ships. Only our telepathic links which enable us to maintain micrometre precision allows us to be able to pull off such a feat. However, as we said we require several ships and in this case we require twelve ships, ten in an outer shell and two in an inner shell”

“And you only have ten ships” Koorst said, and his heart began to sink

“Yes, but the inner shell is not as important and can be maintained with your vessels—I’d suggest two of your cruisers. We can maintain the outer shell. Do you wish to attempt it?”

“Yes, we’d better do it now. Send us the information and we’ll jump as soon as we’re ready”

“It’s been sent now. Confirm?”

“Confirmed. We’ll be there in three minutes”

“So will we”

Five minutes later

Koorst was amazed. As soon as the ships had met up with the convoy, the Murtalian ships had moved into formation with terrifying speed and precision, the two dreadnoughts moving into point and rearguard, and the four cruisers and carriers adopting a cube formation. Koorst’s Pyramidalia and his second-in-command’s Pyramidalia were in the middle, protecting the eleven freighters that had survived with the secondary radiation shell.

“It’s not a bad system, but we’re moving too slowly for my liking” he muttered

“Yes, we might be moving slowly, but at least we’re moving and the freighters are protected” his XO replied

“Five minutes until we’re past the danger zone” Housma reported over the communication link.

“That’s good. Pretty soon we’ll be able to stop moving at such a speed” Koorst said quietly

The seconds ticked by, until there was a minute to go

“Sir! Picking up forty hyperspace portals at long range”

Koorst froze.

“Any identification?”

Housma spoke “We’ve got them. Frazz-kor hakh!”

Silence fell onboard the bridge

Eventually Koorst spoke “What was that?”

Housma replied “Sorry, Captain, we got a little carried away there”

“I can guess. What is it?”

“Avtarians, specifically eight Arukhan fleet carriers, eight Serkhan light fleet carriers, four Serkhet light battlecarriers and five light squadrons with two Maikhan escort carriers and two Maikhet war frigates apiece”

Koorst said “Ah, I can see why you got a little carried away”

###
Ship-Duke Oukalla Lagroni couldn’t believe his eyes

“Confirm reports!”

“Reports confirmed, Exalted One. Picking up ten Murtalian and two Tetradonian vessels with eleven freighters. Bioscans indicate there are large numbers of Tetradonians onboard the freighters”

Lagroni snarled. The intelligence was correct, but not even the most pessimistic Lords in the Imperium had anticipated that the Murtalians and Tetradonians would conduct a joint invasion of Avtarian space!

“Move to intercept. Order the battlecarriers to support the light squadrons, and launch all fighters. We will destroy this arm of the invasion and then move to level Theritsa Prime. For the glory of the Avtarian Imperium!”

###

“Launch fighters. Initiate Interception Plan 3-A and link all interceptor arrays” Housma ordered “Bring railcannons and laser lances online. Begin missile engagement”

As the ordered started to emanate outwards, the Murtalian vessels moved as part of a greater whole. The light carriers tucked in near the flanks of the dreadnoughts, their heavier AF batteries helping to create a wall of fire. The cruisers themselves paired off with the dreadnoughts, the entire formation resembling a very shallow wedge. As they moved into position, the missile bays started to belch out their cargo, a salvo of over sixty missiles screaming its way towards the Avtarian carriers every ten seconds.

###
Lagroni snarled as the damned Murtalians reacted faster than he hoped they would. As it was, the Avtarians had entered the system on the starboard side of the allied fleet, closer to the secondary, and slightly behind them as well.

“Fighters away, Exalted One” the Ship-Baron commanding his flagship reported, and the snarl turned into a slight smile. Each of his Serkhan carriers carried thirty-six bombers and twelve interceptors, while the Maikhan carried just twelve interceptors for close-in work supporting light squadrons. However, the Arukhan carried a total of seventy-two fighters and twenty-four of them were Imperial fighters, a type reserved only for the Imperial Navy, which were faster, stronger and more potent than his fighters. Of course, the rest of the fighters onboard an Arukhan were split evenly into bombers and interceptors, but the strike force consisted of almost a full seven hundred fighters and an interception force of just over four hundred interceptors. And fighters won battles for Avtarians.

###
Koorst looked dismayed at the wall of fighters heading his way. There were less than two hundred interceptors with the Murtalian fleet. His own fighter force consisted of forty-eight Caltorp assault fighters. Just over a fifth of the size of the fighter force heading their way.

Oh well, just when I thought I might be able to retire from the navy and have a family, this happens he thought to himself.

“This is the Thres-da-Nahak to Hulnakrin. Stay with the freighters and get to Theritsa as quick as you can”

Koorst bit back his immediate response, and instead opted for “Loriki Housma, are you completely insane? The only way we can defeat that fleet of thrice-accursed flehk-eaters is together”

“No, we are not insane, and we have worked out the odds all of us achieving victory in an encounter with the oncoming fleet is one point six percent. The risks are too high for the civilians onboard those freighters”

“What are the odds of you achieving victory on your own?”

There was a pause “One point three percent. However, the chance of your charges and you getting to Theritsa without losing the entire fleet is ninety-seven percent, and we have a sixty-nine percent chance of inflicting enough damage to their fleet that they will be defeated by your fleet in-system, and a ninety-four percent chance of delaying them enough that any chase action you might be involved in is weighed in your favour. Simply put, we have little chance either way of defeating them, but a much stronger chance of keeping those civilians alive if you leave now”

Koorst reluctantly agreed with Housma’s assessment.

“Okay, we’ll stay with the freighters and keep them safe”

“Thank-you, Frontal Captain Koorst. It’s been a pleasure to work with you”

“As it has been for me, Triumvir Captain Housma. Make sure they don’t know what hit them”

The channel went dead, and Koorst turned to his navigation officer “Lay in a course for Theritsa Prime. Order the fighters to provide cover for the freighters”

###
Housma looked at the screen, and saw the Tetradonian ships moving away from the battle. As that happened, a third of the bomber screen moved to intercept.

<<AF missiles, fire on intercepting group Alpha One>> he ordered <<Fleet, full ahead. Engage light squadrons with cannon and lance fire, switch missile bombardment to the carriers>>

###
Koorst stood on the bridge and watched as the Avtarian and Murtalian fleets clashed behind him. The entire bridge was silent as they watched a group of aliens who, not two weeks before, they’d dismissed as dangerous enemies who couldn’t be trusted fight tooth and nail for a group of civilians who weren’t even their own species. First one of the dreadnoughts died, then a cruiser, but even as they did so their weapons kept firing, their missile bays streaming angry defiance at the carriers who attacked them.

“Losses to enemy fleet, two Arukhans, three Serkhans, three Serkhets and fourteen light vessels” the sensor officer reported quietly “Murtalian fleet has lost three carriers, two cruisers and a dreadnought”

The bridge continued in silence after that until they were out of range

###
“...after the terrible events of this black day that spawned the war that the Lagroni High Family had hoped to avoid had unfolded, the Tetradonian Social Republic and the Murtalian Confederacy became much closer, their previous status of enemies changed forever into allies. What diplomats had failed to do, the sacrifice of the full Murtalian fleet in Theritsa in exchange for seven Arukhan and six Serkhan carriers, four Serkhet cruisers and nineteen light vessels and the safe voyage of the eleven freighters, carrying just under half a million passengers managed to achieve”

Excerpt from “Allies from Enemies: A Study of Murtalian-Tetradonian Political Relations 150-200” by Baw-Hruthi Koorst, University of Minorkhan
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Postby murtalianconfederacy » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:48 pm

What do you think? Is it any good?
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Postby BLHarrison » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:10 pm

murtalianconfederacy wrote:What do you think? Is it any good?


I liked it.

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Re: An original story I've cooked up...

Postby Vandervecken » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:21 am

I liked it, Keep writing .. even if you dont post it. I hope you have in the last almost 1.5 years.

And don't be afraid to get into the characters a bit more and the battles. And don't doubt yourself ... As you learn more tricks of the trade .. you will get a better feeling as to what moves your readers to want to continue reading your stories, whether they are here in a forum, at an author's club, or at the book store or downloadable media device for when you make it big.

If you enjoy the experience, keep doing it.

I think you are like me; the ideas are the easy part .. taking the time to make them ready for others to digest while other ideas keep popping up is the hard part.
I weary of the Chase. Wait for me. I shall be merciful and Quick.


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