Tuesday, May 13, 2014

First Contact: The Arachnion Combine

Dras Edoc’sil, capital of the Zoiji Confederacy, ten years after the Life Day Trinity...

While his granddaughter Viquina was away on an archaeological dig with her three mischievous children, Orono had a rare amount of time to himself. Instead of facing economic crises or looming terrorists plots, everything within the Confederacy was at peace. While his family was out enjoying this rare moment, he immersed himself in ancient lore and stargazed from his personal observatory within the estate. However, it was during an azure starlight night that the unthinkable happened. While observing the new phase of Vyzeria, Dras Edoc’sil’s moon, Orono noticed a strange shape moving forward in the distance. After enhancing the focus, he saw that it was a small, organic-looking starship. It was an exotic sort of vessel, a combination of clear white crystal, and a strange pitch black material with collections of brilliant green lights bound together by strands of taught grey webbing. The ship, as if it had been expected, landed mere meters away from his position. Unsure of the vessel’s intent, Orono leapt forward, landing near what appeared to be its bow. At that moment, a voice came from within,

“Peace, bipedal one. We have no reason or intent to harm you.”

The voice was sweet and reassuring, and the boarding ramp descended, showing Orono who he was speaking to. Four eight-legged figures walked, or rather scuttled down the boarding ramp to meet him. Like the vessel that had brought them here, they were like nothing Orono had ever seen before. Their spidery legs were long and smoothly curved, each hair upon them arranged to form mesmerizing patterns. From above the waist, if indeed they truly had one, they appeared as ancient beauties. Each possessed svelte features; accentuated by their pale grey skin, dark woven robes and alabaster hair, and a set of four eyes gazed back at him curiously. The first of them, who possessed unnaturally violet eyes and azure patterns on her legs, came forward,

“Zovera Regantulla, of the Arachnion Collective, at your service,” she said with a short bow.

“Orono Zoiji, of the Zoiji Confederacy, at yours.” he answered calmly. Going straight to the point, he asked,

“What brings you here?”

“Curiosity. We are the Regantullans, leaders of the Arachnion Combine. We have been watching you and your family for some time, and your magnificent work on Albios warranted introductions,” Zovera answered evenly.

“You come from that same galaxy?” Orono asked intently.

Zovera put on a warm smile, letting him glimpse a pair of razor-sharp incisors hidden among her teeth.

“You have merely taken your first step into a larger frontier, Orono,” she answered knowingly. Gesturing at the main doorway ahead of them she asked,

“May we come in?”

“Of course,” Orono answered amiably, “I just need to call off my bodyguard droid. He doesn’t take well to unexpected visits.”

A quizzical look came over Zovera’s face.

“Droid? What is that?”

“A machine designed to keep my family safe, at any cost,” Orono answered.  Speaking into his wrist commlink, he said,

“HK-51, the individuals at the door are guests, and have no hostile intentions. Do not engage, repeat do not engage.”

After a short pause, the heavy iron doors of Orono’s home swung open, with HK-51 ushering them in. They were led to a large ash wood banquet table and took their seats. After much feasting and drinking, Zovera made a complete introduction of the group.

“These are my daugthers, Morwen and Bella,” she said after gesturing to a pair of young Anachrions with emerald and gold patterns on their legs and indigo eyes.

“I am honored to receive you,” Orono said to them.

“A pleasure,” Morwen and Bella said together with a short bow.

“And this,” Zovera concluded, “is my husband Hyrol.”
Huge and imposing, Hyrol had red and black patterns on his legs with pronounced muscles on his arms with bright orange eyes.

“A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Hyrol,” Orono said evenly. Although he still sensed no ill will from any of his new guests, he could not help but think Hyrol was simply waiting to attack. However, he managed to dispel that thought after Hyrol’s calm response of,

“Likewise, bipedal one.”

Now that he knew them properly, Orono spoke his mind,

“I am sure that you must be tired from the journey here, but I have something to ask you before the night is through.”

“Ask away,” Zolera said casually, “Our race always welcomes a curious mind.”

“Your species certainly has an eye for beauty, but something tells me that it serves a deeper purpose. With your permission, what is it exactly?”

Morwen and Bella stood to answer Orono’s question.

“Our colors serve to tempt both mates and prey,” Bella began.

“Lets their passions do the talking,” Morwen continued.

“Then, when they come running after us,” the sisters said together, “these get planted in their chests,” showing both their razor teeth and large, syringe-like stingers by their legs for effect.

“I see,” Orono answered, “but are your teeth and stingers always meant to kill?”

“Depends,” Bella said.

“On whether we think you’re a friend or foe,” Morwen finished.

“Fair enough,” Orono answered, “but the living and the dead are privileged to see such beauty.”

The sister’s skin darkened as they blushed, them smiled bashfully.
“You have very good manners, bipedal. A rare trait in this universe,” Zovera said approvingly.

“What do the number of limbs matter as long as there’s a civilized mind behind them?"Orono answered. 

Zovera smiled at this.

“Well said.”

And please,” Orono said with a light chuckle, “call me Orono.”

Glancing out at the night sky, Orono suddenly realized he was very tired. With a yawn, he said,

“Forgive me, but I must turn in for the night. Please, make yourselves comfortable. My home is your home.”

In a flash, the Anachrions wove individual webs on the ceiling, climbing up to each in turn.

“Rest well, Orono,” Hyrol said to him. “We may talk further in the morning”.

Orono thanked him and went to bed himself. Before sleep claimed him, he thought,

The family’s going to be in for a big surprise...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sample Clark Diaries Blog Post

Mixed Feelings

Well, I can’t believe how close this school year is to being done. Only a month ago, I had finished my midterms and was looking forward to a week-long break. But now, there’s no rest for the wicked. I’ve got papers galore to finish and meetings for second semester coming out my ears. Thankfully there’s still time to relax. Hanging out with friends, Game of Thrones marathons and stress relieving sessions on the Xbox 360 await on the weekends. So no matter how stressful things might get, at least I won’t be going crazy anytime soon. And with finals on the horizon, that’s a good thing.

I don’t mean to scare any prospective students that might be reading this, only to say that for all the freedom that college gives, it’s not all fun and games. Above all else, branch out and build a circle of friends, no matter where you end up here at Clark. I know you’ll probably have a lot of anxiety when you’re starting your first semester. I speak from experience when I say that I was exactly like that, but trust me when I say that recharging your batteries after a long week is easier, and frankly a lot more fun with friends.

One last thing and I’ll get off my soapbox and let you take all this in.

My number one rule: SLEEP.

I know there’s some pressure to do well but just remember that sleep is a beautiful thing.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Life Day (In More Ways Than One)

After the last of the dead from the Inheritor Revolt were given proper burials and all the damage had been repaired twenty years later, Orono called an end to all conflict during the annual Life Day celebration. Now was a time for healing and happiness...

In the streets of Dras Edoc’sil...

Fresh snowflakes and a brisk, cold breeze followed Orono during his walk back to his spacious home. He couldn’t help but grin at excited children running past him, grabbing snowflakes to show their parents, making angels, or just reveling in the winter weather. This was the reason for one of his moral principles: never mess with children. While Orono was ready to fight and kill grown men and women if necessary, children were precious, and their happiness was sacred, something to be preserved. But today was no place for such dark thoughts. He had to get home, and prepare the Zoiji holiday banquet. A short while later, he reached the front door, opened and closed it despite the frost in the hinges and went inside.

“Nadia, I’m home,” he said after brushing off the snow from his robes.

“In here, honey,” came a melodious voice from the kitchen.

“Give me a second to put on some covers and I’ll be right there to help.” Orono replied.

After changing into clothes befitting a cook at an upscale restaurant, Orono entered the kitchen to find his wife busy at work. Four bottles of homemade mulled wine sat on the table, Sarkhaian sweet cakes, golden brown with a chocolate-caramel glaze were steaming on a tray, fresh from the oven. Nestled by them were hefty oval spiced plums with Naboo-style calamari, filled with her signature nutmeg-ginger sauce. Taking in this delicious sight Orono said,

“This looks amazing.”

“Thanks. I know they’re your favorites.” Nadia said with a happy smile.

“Yes, all prepared by a fantastic chef,” Orono replied. “I just hope I can do the same for you and everyone else.”

“I don’t doubt it.” Nadia said reassuringly. “If you need me, I’ll be stoking the fire, putting up the tree and the ornaments all right?”

“Good luck.” Orono said after giving his wife a kiss on the cheek. Flashing another of her famous smiles, she was off, and he started cooking for the family. Thankfully the Force came in handy where that was concerned.

First was Celgo: a mug of Kashyykan ale, fried colo clawfish with red wine sauce, greens with tomatoes and finally stuffed clams.

Next was Novon: Hoth chocolate with Tauntaun milk and nutmeg, violet mashed potato, two helpings of stuffed Opee sea killer steak and Corellian fried ice cream.

Next was Vyrkana: Weequayan long noodle stir-fry with chives, rootleaf and red peppers, steamed purple cabbage with a dark chocolate mousse and honeyed milk for dessert, a childhood favorite.

For Xhulon and Korgo, spiced Kaminoan prawns with caprese salad and a glass of Kaasian Bloodshot, an old vintage wine from the Sith Empire Orono had been cultivating just for the occasion, and on and on and on...

Several meals later...

After finally finishing and exchanging his sweaty, flour caked chef’s clothing for a tuxedo, Orono gazed at the feast, and couldn’t help but feel his mouth water. The chime of his doorbell quickly snapped him back to attention. Smiling broadly, he welcomed in his family as they entered, but became quietly concerned when his granddaughter Viquina and her husband Zoken passed by. While she looked stunning in her red-black sleeveless dress, he couldn’t help but notice a significant bulge in her stomach, or the fact that Zoken was nearly cradling her as they walked to the table. With a subtle tap on his wrist communicator, he told the Zoiji medical team: Tharan Cedrax, Eckard Lokin, Talos Drellik, Archiban Kimble, and at least forty assistants to be ready when he gave the signal. It was in the middle of the family dinner that Viquina nearly fell off her chair, howling in pain. All she could say was,

“They’re coming!”

In a flash, a platoon of family doctors was one the scene. Tharan Cedrax was the head of this delicate operation.
“Contraction rate?”

“Every fifteen seconds, doctor,” his assistant answered.

“Oxygen level?”

“Stable for the moment, but we haven’t much time before it could hurt the babies,” Doctor Lokin said urgently.

“Babies?” Viquina managed in a soft whisper.

“Yes,” Talos Drellik said soothingly. “You’re carrying triplets.”

Much later...

“Alright, Viquina. One more time,” said Archiban Kimble.

She weakly nodded.


With one final effort, the last of the three scarlet-skinned babies was out.

“Congratulations,” Doctor Lokin said warmly. “Three beautiful children, all girls.”

One after the other each was given their name: Ixvya, Erys and Zeleste. Having regained enough strength, their mother held them close and washed away their cries with a soft whisper and a warm lullaby. Then, for Viquina’s sake, everyone else retired for the evening, leaving Orono to stand vigil over his great-grandchildren. Even though they were still infants, he could see the great deeds ahead of them and the remarkable women they would become...

Talos Drellik, medic to Xhulon Zoiji

Eckard Lokin medic to Vorgen Cyphon

Tharan Cedrax, medic to Orono Zoiji

Archiban Kimble, medic to Kozin Zoiji