News Flash! Cool New Series on Kindle!

Just a quick Happy New Year note:

My Science Fiction Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure series is now out on Kindle! First week or two of the year I’ll have the print versions out too. I’m giddy with relief as I’ve worked on this series for three years. Check them out , they’re not much. Remember, the whole series will live only with the sustenance of reviews. Please review if you can!

What, A New Elise t’Hoot Sci-fi Book? MEOW!

And The Winner is!

An Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure – Where Do You Stand?

  • Tolerance toward strangers versus Kill’em!
  • ‘Love your Neighbor’ no matter how distant versus ‘Hate the Sumbitches!’
  • Do you prefer characters who behave like real people? Like when there’s a crisis with plans and solutions being bandied and they turn to you for your erudite opinion…and you’re thinking of which color of M&Ms you like best?
  • Nearly all reputable scientists agree that human-caused Climate Change is a real danger with Big Oil pulling the strings. Think of the situation 100 years from now:
    • As Greenland and the Arctic melt, sea levels will rise to the point the mega-cities on the coasts of every continent will be underwater, no more Bangladesh…or Bronx.
    • In the US it is easy to imagine the millions of coastal HAVES will push out the Midwestern HAVE NOTS. So where will the Have Nots go? Rafts on the high seas?
    • Is it not reasonable to think the US government would go authoritarian to combat the chaos and maintain order? And extend borders from Pole to Pole for more natural resources national security?
    • If NASA stays on track, we sure could have colony planets light years away. Where better to send the poor, the displaced and the ‘malcontents’? “Out of sight…”
  • Finally, Elise t’Hoot is an illegal refugee going to college in Kentucky. Her scholarships are pulled so she needs cash for tuition. One thing leads to another. Such a girl CAN save not only this world, but others way out there as well. Perseverance, smarts, tolerance, faith in the power of love, and the gut feeling that her terrifying experiences like gang rape, family deaths and mass starvation need not be perpetuated because of caste or color, or what planet, they’re from – these are what make her strong.

Forget the label “Sci-Fi”, this series is about looking around without denial. The Earth is in dire straits with fossil fuels as the main cause and will get worse in the coming decades. Nobody you see or hear news about is worth more or less than you. Some people are capable of amazing generosity and love while some are capable of monstrous evil and outright depravity. A skinny illegal girl with pain and flaws CAN make a heap big difference to the ‘system’.

Disclaimer: The Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure is a true adventure with a wide variety of characters with wildly differing viewpoints. The winding and intertwining stories move fast and offer lots of surprises. There is technical wonder, winning and losing, suspense, violence and pity, even some well spaced-out romance (pun intended). Elise believes much as the author does, but she’s not so pedantic and most of the characters disagree a little or lots, sometimes with gunshots. They have their own problems and beliefs, you know? The environment of the colony planet of Tenembras is harsh enough to polarize the population with regard to aliens. That would be non-Humans, not just those considered to be sub-Humans. Couldn’t happen on Earth…

The Might of Defiance, Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure Book One by Mary Ellen Wall

Available quite soon at Amazon and other outlets for not much $$$ at all.

Only nine more volumes to go! If you’ve read this far you really must give the books a try J.

Help Me Choose?

I’m getting my dear Science Fiction series back on track and want to make sure I have a good cover.

It’s the next century. A Dutch illegal girl who needs college money signs on a military ship to colony planets where climate refugees and dissenters are sent. Book One is where they stop over to clean-up an old Dutch exploration ship’s mess. Little do they know the Dutch ship crashed into an alien’s ship…

The following books of the Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure series tell how she and the tree-like aliens transform the ragged, neglected colonies – and much, much more. Especially after they make friends with an alien AI.

Might of Defiance Fractal Cover

The rest of the series for the TOP choice has all the same background and different colors on the title parts.

For the BOTTOM cover, each book had a different NASA starry background.

The Might of Defiance print.jpeg

SO WHICH COVER DO YOU LIKE BETTER?

Just leave a comment either way! And THANK YOU!

Crazy Maniac About BOOKS!

Since I was a we little tyke, I’ve devoured books (I even ate part of one about the 3 Little Kittens). We didn’t have that many around the house so I read Mama’s few (Gone with the Wind and such) including the full set of Golden Encyclopedias. What an education for a single-digit kid!

The Bookmobile stopped by the shopping center we walked to for groceries (Winn-Dixie) and I really had to beg ’em to give me a library card. Oooh, how I treasured that card. They limited me to 3 books for a while, but extended it all the way to 10 after noting my care and fervency. Andre Norton and Arthur C Clarke were early favorites, and cook books – I started cooking all kinds of goodies. History and science were my absolute favorites, and I have the firm belief the Bookmobilers stocked more just for me.

The biggest shock about being on a ship far out to sea in the USNavy was being BOOKLESS but for the few I brought with me. Back in port: Buy more books NOW.  I don’t want to neglect the wonder of libraries, it’s just that the school libraries were substandard and the Louisville Free Public Library was way too far away to walk or bike. Yeah, the bus. The bus costs cash and transfers were daunting for a lone youngster.

Now:

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That’s over 7000 books in my cabin library! Plus a few hundred more elsewhere. And I write some as well! What else can I do but make an attempt sort a few out (including – sigh – duplicates)?

TA DA! a few years ago I started a BOOKSTORE! Old Lady Who? is named after Mama who adored Jimmyold lady who Rogers, the Blue Yodeler. It’s an Independent Bookstore among the thousands on Abe Books. I found myself amazed when I realized I hadn’t told any of you about it! Need a book? Give Abe Books a look and maybe do a search for Old Lady Who? I put one of these stickers on each order.

So, problem solved, right? Sell them until I have room to walk.  Of course not. Don’t worry, if I need therapy for this obsession, I’ll buy a BOOK on it!

book order

Cozy Up With A Book Weather

Tree Against StormOh yes, isn’t is getting cold in the evenings! I’ve had to dig around for my sweaters, coats and long johns and all…cheapskate that I am, I keep the thermostat at 50 degrees F and pile on the warmth. That’s better than 40 degrees like I did 2006 though 2014. Getting soft? The cats seem to like me much better now.

I got an armload of fake fur and thick fleece to make toasty stuff with, and I committed to brings several kinds of cookies to the holiday potluck at work next week. Should I make the Irish Stout next or the Hard Cider? When I’m not sewing or painting or baking or brewing or reading, I could be writing. Here’s the 3rd in the series. They cost a lot less than dry roasted peanuts; why not give them a try?

Frog Flag Woods very Close

 

When An Alien Says It’s Party Time…

“No, I don’t have an appointment. All I need to do is check the seismometers; there are twenty two here and it won’t take but a few minutes for each.”

Tape sized the guy up. He did look like the wiry volcano guy, chocolate dark with very large eyes and a stubby nose, and that superlative girl with the blonde burr had been with him in the net interview. He keyed his comm, “Artemis, wherefore art thou, Artemis?”

“Cut it out, Cusak. What’s up?”

“Got volcano people out here wanting to check their shake-o-meters.”

“In the middle of the night? Where do they need to go?”

Tape turned back to the visitors. “Where are they?”

Mort tapped on the legend on the map Tape showed him. “See these red dots and triangles?”

“Arty, they need the whole perimeter and some central.”

“Nope, sorry. The research in Dome 5 shall not be disturbed by order of the Grand Poobah, nothing in central admin, otherwise looks okay.” She cut the comm.

Tape reacted to Kathy’s discontent; he had a thing for blue-eyed blonde Amazons. “Guys, how about we start checking here and work around to 20, the farthest one? We’ll see how much we can get done in a day. Or a night as it were? Perchance the central area will be available in dawn’s early light?”

Mort and Kathy shrugged at each other and shouldered their satchels. Mort said, “Lead on! We’ll knock out what we can and straight on through ’til morning!”

“Mort, I will donate my lunch money every day if I can get our satellite link-up fixed for Christmas.” Kathy reiterated the common grad student complaint, knowing full well Mort lobbied for it monthly. A new sat was promised on the last bus, but of course nothing came of that.

Tape walked back over to the guard shack and tapped the window, waking Birko. “Can you handle the grueling task before you alone? Can you threaten the impudent scoundrels that may creepeth up?”

The portly Slavic woman scowled at him. “Beat it, and bring back a fresh jug of water. Somebody slobbered in this one.”

After checking the first nearby box, Tape led them to a buggy and they all climbed in. He took the long way around to avoid the area around the proscribed Dome 5, though he knew the tree-people retired at night and wouldn’t be noticeable.

Kathy asked, “Scenic route?”

“Yes ma’am, Tape Tours, at your service; do note the amazing star field, featuring the despicable Blackie with Misha on his heels to save us all. So why are you here so late?”

“We didn’t get up until afternoon and gotta get it done,” she replied. “There are over 400 seismometers and we’re one of four teams checking them. Stop here!” She jumped out with Mort and they trotted to the fence. He went one way and she the other with their case keys at the ready. Case open, scan data, case close and lock.

They stopped eight more times checking two multiple-instrument stations at a time until they neared the last dome of the big circle.

Mort said, “We have two big old-style units inside this one, if you don’t mind, originals.”

Tape slammed on the brakes and swung the rear end around so the headlights shone on the outside door of the huge Dome 20. “Here we are!”

“I see that,” she told him flatly, clearly not appreciating his driving skills. “Can you let us in?”

strawberries weededStrawberries rampant

Inside they saw a vast field of soybeans and one tree. Tape hit the switch that turned on every third light.

“What an odd tree! Mort, look at this, I’ve never seen anything like it!”

They walked over to it. “Kath, I haven’t either.” He slid his hand up the smooth, glossy truck. “It’s tall for the diameter, and the bark is extraordinary, about my tone but shiny.”

“LeeLaa is not a tree.”

Mort and Kathy jumped back to Tape who stood stock still, glued in place from consternation. Tape knew there were alien things in Dome 5, but this one had escaped. He trotted back to the entry and switched on the rest of the lights. He looked around the rest of the dome once more to verify there were no other ‘trees’.

“Not worry. LeeLaa good. LeeLaa go walk and think about maybes.”

Kathy came timidly nearer. “You are called LeeLaa?”

“Yes. Your name is?”

“K-Kathy.”

“Kakathy.”

“No, sorry, plain old Kathy. Ka-thy. And that’s Mort.”

Mort waved and moved up with Kathy.

“Hi Kathy Hi Mort. Hey Tape why worry?”

He gulped. “No reason at all.” Pleased she knew his name, he smiled and decided to stay put. A vestibule door banged open, making all the humans jump and gawk at the old man racing in from 30 or 40 meters away.

“What are you people doing in my dome! LeeLaa! We’ve been looking all over for you! Do you have any idea how big this dome complex is? Tape, what in blazes is going on here?”

“Dr. Cartier, come on, don’t yell. The little one there took a stroll about the premises.”

Cabin June 2015 059
Kreeek, TaaTaa and LeeLaa,  acrylic on canvas  by Mary Ellen Wall

 

Tape thought fast about ways to explain letting strangers in the Dome at night without asking him first. “Dr. Cartier, sir, it was urgent these volcanologists access their seismographs in here as soon as possible. I asked Artemis and she said to avoid Dome 5 and points central, so we checked the perimeter stations and came here for the last ones, except central.”

 

Alain turn to Kathy and Mort tersely asking, “Hello, Volcanologists One and Two. Do you have names?”

“Aalen, names Kathy and Mort,” LeeLaa piped.

“Dr. Alain Cartier, I take it.” Mort stuck his hand out to Alain, who belatedly accepted it. “I hate breaking in like this; Sarjani gave us permission for come in and check our stuff at any time.”

“Forgive me Dr. Abernathy, I did not mean to be rude. The situation has changed and you have inadvertently discovered the reason why.” Alain remembered the newscasts of the great eruption that featured these two experts, and shook Kathy’s hand more readily. “Miss Abramowitz. College kids have been sneaking up.”

“Grand to meet you and your other guest,” she said jokingly, “things have changed!” She whipped around as the vestibule door banged open again, hanging on to Alain’s hand and pulling him so briskly he fell onto her. They righted themselves as LeeLaa whizzed by to embrace the newest arrival.

Tape saw another guy come in from the vestibule behind Elise. She outpaced the man because he caught sight of the point-blank alien and skidded to a stop, statue-like, maybe striving to blend into the bushy greenery in his white suit, staring at LeeLaa who called, “Martaa!” Tape judged that although it looked like the girl he knew as Elise was being engulfed by tentacles, she seemed to be enjoying it. Curiouser and curiouser.

The girl, Elise and/or Marta, stepped back and stood like the subject of an interrogation, facing the assembled humans. “Hi, y’all. LeeLaa, everybody, meet Ricky.” In her higher voice she looked aside to LeeLaa and said, “Many people like this say ‘party'”

LeeLaa said, “Martaa, Alain, Mort, Kathy, Tape, Ricky party! New friends! Make tea!”

Alain pinched at his forehead and went over to pat the still gaping Ricky on the shoulder. He slid his hand down to Ricky’s arm and tugged him around the stars of the show to where Mort and Kathy stood close to each other.

Tape, having overcome his immediate alarm, decided this could be educational, especially since the alien’s guardian angel was now present. He announced, “I can make the tea, but we ought to go to the lunchroom, don’t you think, sir?”

 

An Uncivil War E CoverAn excerpt from An Uncivil War, the Lastest and Greatst Sci-Fi novel with Elise and the tree-like aliens. Launching this month – watch for it!

A Difference of Opinion

OoooH! A Free Preview of the New Book Pull Aliens, Pull!

Cartier walked up to Marta at the dining table for the executive offices and passed her a lemony nutrition drink.”Elise, my dear, how are your preparations for tonight going? I see all the maps scattered, and this looks more ambitious than chromium alone.”

“That’s right professor.” She tipped the drink toward him and nodded thanks before chugging a good portion of it down. Smacking her lips, she continued, “When Mr. Wing called to say he’d pack six ore cars in there, he based that on getting a really low yield ore. The Amigos can get the equivalent of refined ore through whatever means they use to pull the metals up. I’m trying to get my head around how they can dissociate the oxides and other chemical compounds and pull up only what they want. I mean, won’t that leave a crapload of free oxygen?”

Elise mentally switched off external communication and switched on concentration mode. In a minute’s time, she switched back suddenly to give Alain a quizzical look. “Professor, they do what the Breaker does, but a heckuva lot more efficiently! I mean, they did it some on the way here, but they can do it over vast areas.”

“Elise, you mean you think this mining business will release oxygen into the atmosphere as a byproduct? The Breaker employs pyrolysis at a couple thousand of degrees, there can be no comparison.”

She shrugged. “How can it not release oxygen? The Amigo process obviously uses some other method than pyrolysis to dissociate the oxides, but in the end if you break up oxidized magnesium feldspar for the magnesium, you get free ox out of the deal. Maybe they’re living fuel cells, or no, that’s backwards because a fuel cell recombines hydrogen and oxygen to make water. They’re more like the catalysts. I saw them do this up close in the pod on the way in, but never did quite understand it. I could always ask TaaTaa directly about it, but finding the right words is so darned hard.”

“You know it’s after dark, so they’ve all headed off to sleep or whatever else they do when the sun goes down. My guess would be that they’ll need the rest before the dark-thirty roll call; they altered the atmosphere in their dome for a reason, you know, and he said they needed to prepare.”

“Yeah, I hope going back out in the higher ox levels won’t hurt them. Remember the bad ammonia smell when the pod opened up? I hadn’t wee-weed all over everything; it was from them dissociating water from the bladders to produce air we could breathe. The excess hydrogen kept finding the nitrogen in the air and making ammonia compounds. Stinky, stinky and no way to vent!”

“Ronnie Sue said the best guess was that you’d tapped the troop air supply.”

“I did until we docked back at Frankie. Man, oh man, what a panic when it cut off! As it happened, the small volume in the pod allowed for my buddies to hydrolyze what I needed from those big water bladders we had in there and they must have done something with the CO2.”

O2 001

“They made your air?”

“We had plenty of air; we concentrated on increasing oxygen and decreasing carbon dioxide. TaaTaa asked what I needed and woke up his kin to do it. I worried that my air would be too high ox for them, but he said that while 15% to 17% was their ‘comfort zone’, they could accommodate a variance. Less than that they could hydrolyze water internally, but more started irritating them, and too much was poisonous, about 27% he said depending on age.”

“So the high 19’s are on the low side of our tolerance and starts to poison them?”

“TaaTaa said he’d been to many places mining where they had no air and where they had other poisons, I read that as sulfurous and methane atmospheres. We didn’t have the vocabulary then to go into it any further, but I gather they have air reserves in that carbon husk of theirs and are pretty resilient overall. He maintains they could stay out a while and be okay, but was evasive when I tried to pin him down on how long.”

“Hence the portico established in the front end of the pod for them.”

“That’s it, I know I slept better when I got here, in an atmosphere that suited me, and figured they would too. Maybe they’ll be able to recharge every night. TaaTaa seemed pleased with it.”

“I am more at ease now knowing you have retained your customary thoroughness. I see with these maps you have a long way to go to get everything. How long will this extended trip take you?”

“We’re at the mercy of the terrain for many of the sites, although we should be able to get to each one safely.”

“How recent are the maps? The desert is a sea of sand, with the dunes swelling in the winds. You have contingency plans for your route getting blocked?”

“Uh, I have up to date info and we’re going on that basis, with the easiest course and an alternate marked.”

“What about landmarks? You won’t find many, and once you get disoriented and without Topside assistance all you have is a compass. Direction is not location.”

Elise began shuffling and collating maps. “I think we have that settled to our satisfaction.”

He stepped closer and slapped her desk. “I thought you and Barto said no GPS? That any signals in the outback could be traced?”

She looked over and agreed. “That’s right. He’s not taking his tablet and our cells will be turned off. I want to introduce our companions in style, not out away from any support.”

She wished he would find something to do somewhere else, but he didn’t budge. He pursued with, “So you got updates from here and can get to your first site. Then the further you go, the less reliable your data. You could disappear in the sands on the way back and no one would ever find you!” He picked up a map. “Look at this! This is dated last year! What’s the update frequency? How much change occurs between updates?”

She took the map from his hand and laid it back down. “I started to do a trend analysis of the last three years and found these maps and the so-called updates don’t go into enough detail to be worth printing, except for the major topography like mountains.”

He crossed his arms authoritatively. “You’re not going out there with no better plan that this, little lady, no you won’t. I will not risk you, Barto and all of them. I’m amazed at you!”

“Why does everybody continually doubt that I know what I’m doing? You all thought I stayed behind on Van Damme, then you thought I had no air on the way here, then you thought I’d be a sitting duck in the wilds of town. When do I get a reputation for executing a well-laid plan? When will my track record start speaking for itself?”

He jabbed an emphatic knuckle at her. “A reputation does not guarantee the next project will run successfully on its own and this seems like just that. You came out all right before and have the conviction you can do it again as if charmed. It doesn’t work that way dear, the desert is hostile and can kill you all. They depend on you. How are you going to find your way all over creation and back?”

She reached around for her satchel. “Here are my annotated maps, and I’ll update the route to the next destination at each stop.”

“How?”

She hesitated, trying to find the words to explain that didn’t sound like hocus-pocus. “I dowsed for the information.”

He leapt up onto his toes in surprise, looking like a rooster about to challenge a rival. “You dowsed? Good grief! You risk all your lives on parlor games? You’ve been in low ox high cox too much, and your reasoning is addled.”

“Stop! Just because you don’t know how it works doesn’t mean it’s not a real phenomenon!”

He plunked into a chair and leaned far forward on his elbows, right forefinger in her face. “Give me a set of equations I can follow and get a repeatable result, a result that is meaningful and accurate.”

“You aren’t an equation kind of guy and wouldn’t know what you were looking at if I gave them to you. I can show you how to do it.”

“No! I want to see peer-reviewed literature that proves the premise is sound and useful for each application you want to use it for, including divining road conditions!”

Dr. Trogden wandered in with a dishtowel and as she dried her dishwater-wet hands. She asked, “Guys, what’s the matter? I heard you from the kitchen!”

“Oh, Ronnie Sue, I’m beside myself with this girl! She thinks she can water witch her way through the desert!”

Doc looked over to Elise. “You’re going out there for water? I thought you were going to bring all you needed with you.”

He barged in, “Ronnie Sue, it’s the route she’s dowsing. She’s rolling the dice for all of them by hoping her stick points the right way!”

“Alain, please calm down.” Ronnie Sue pulled up a chair on the side between Alain and Elise. “Elise, honey, please tell me what this is all about.”

“Doc, he asked how I was going to get map updates without alerting Topside. I told him I’d dowse for them. Then he went berserk and wrote me off as a lunatic.”

“Wait a minute!”Alain was a master at displaying indignity.

Doc gave him a hard look. “Shush. You calm down like I told you or you’ll get a sedative.” When he sat back with a deep frown and arms barricading his chest, Ronnie Sue turned back to Elise. “Now, what kind of dowsing? Surely not sitting on the rover hood with a forked stick, right?”

Calmly, Elise replied, “Map dowsing, with a pendulum.”

“Alain, now see?”

He continued frowning silently.

Doc Trogden appeared to be having excessive mirth at her expense, but Elise listened when she laid down the discussion rules. “Now, Elise, Alain, I want each of you to make one point at a time in turn, civilly. No immediate retorts! Make every turn count, because ranting is empty of value. Age before beauty. Alain, you go first.”

Alain: “Elise, you are a scientist, why this magical business?”

Elise: “Is it magic solely because you can’t explain it?”

Alain: “No, it’s because it’s not verifiable by scientific means, it depends on some secret power.”

Elise: “That is not true. Nearly anyone can access the communication. It is not a thing I do, some occult art, or a particular talent I uniquely possess. It’s more a sense like sight or hearing, but most of us ignore it.”

Alain: “How is it transmitted and from whom? I want to see the equations and perform an independent test. That’s peer review, if you recall. Many have tried with this trumpery and failed.”

Elise: “I can show you right now! Doc here can arbitrate!”

Alain: “No! I want to see it disassembled into known terms; what forces at what magnitude, what charges, what chemical reactions. I want to understand it.”

Elise: “What would that really prove? You have had all of that for fusion power for nearly 200 years and we still don’t have significant fusion reactors or propulsion beyond basic research. My method is not so clearly documented yet, but it is repeatable and does provide a usable result.”

Alain: “If it were finding water, I could understand it better, but damn it! You twiddle your fingers over a map and say abracadabra for something that’s supposed to be a thousand kilometers away and say you’re ‘communicating’? With some entity? Science does not depend on some distant ‘guiding hand’.”

Elise: “I do ask questions as if there is someone on the other end of the conversation. I admit I do believe in a continuum for our souls, that when we die our soul is recycled into a babe to learn more lessons. I believe our souls are the most important part about us, and the soul uses a physical body as the means to interact and grow. I believe I talk to the ones at the plane our souls go for recycling.”

Alain: “I am stunned, I am totally stunned. You think you can ask the angels where the gold is and go get rich? Why all the mumbo-jumbo, then? I suppose you never have to think about anything, you can let this entity do it all for you? Preposterous!”

“Alain,” Doc warned, “You stray from the subject for the sake of scorn, please abstain.”

Elise: “Thanks, Doc. Professor, say we are way overdue and you want to take a rover out a little way to see if there is any trace. You stop and get out to scan the empty horizon. You look down and see the corner of a little blue case sticking up out of the sand. You dig it out and it’s an odd-looking phone. You turn it on and a friendly voice says, ‘there’s an oasis south-southwest two kilometers from here, over two low ridges; you can save your friends if you reach them by noon.’button 001

She held out a hand to count off on her fingers. “One, you can take the advice, find the oasis and us, complete trust. Life wins. Two, you can believe you knew of the oasis yourself and deny the assistance, like innate intuition, yet still reach us. Life wins again. Or three, you can ignore the phone because you don’t know the Patriot number of who told you the information and grind it underfoot as you walk away while a guy in a black hood shakes a scythe. The phone was a communication tool, no more, no less. Instead of asking me who gives the instructions, think about who you want to win.” She whammed her right fist into her left palm with a sharp crack and whispered hoarsely, “Pick up the phone yourself or keep your locked mind out of my business.”

Excerpted from Pull Aliens Pull, a Sci-Fi Adventure!Pull, Aliens! Pull! Ecover

 

The Last Day

Hello! I thought I might share a chapter from The Might of Defiance. Today 7/14/17 is the last day it’s free; don’t miss it!

Chapter 54

The Last Day

At the first glimpse of dawn’s rays, Cedric came to the Ag bench to find complete disarrayCabin 20130721 051 and nobody present. He wanted to get an early start with his investigation of the crash site and came to ask San Luis along to spite the Commander. The whole cabal of them was missing from the Portico, but those odd trees were blocking his way to check the pod; the door stood ajar but he saw no sign of movement. Did they bunk in there last night? He scanned the tree line, unwilling to wander around in there on foot on the chance of finding someone. Without Marta or anyone, the tree things worried him; he couldn’t shake the idea they knew he’d spoken out against them.

“Mr. Crannog, you look confounded.”

It took Cedric a second to separate the voices in his head from an external one, to realize a soft, treble voice spoke. “What?” He shifted to find the speaker, but had trouble picking him out from the shadows of stacked equipment and materials.

Thao stepped into Cedric’s sight, off to the side and still in partial shadow. “I hope I do not unwisely intrude.”

“Tomlinson? Confounded? I surely am, but I am unclear of your interest in it.” He crouched to see the man eye to eye, but regretted it as he thought about how to stand up again.

“I have many interests. One that applies now is that you are at a crux of the fervid beliefs of the two factions among us. In common parlance you ride the fence that divides two camps and when you finally choose a side, you will impact the balance in a far greater degree than your current status would suggest.”

“I am aboard with you for all this time and the first thing I hear you say to me is an embroidered commentary about my balance. What do you mean by this, sir?”

“I mean to unbalance you by my intrusion,” he said, with a fluting lilt, “and so help you to choose the side you fall into, instead of watching you fall by the whims of circumstance.”

Cedric was more confounded than before, which irritated him. “What business are my choices to you?”

“I am not accustomed to civility, so I will forge ahead to ask you what your plans are toward the Lady’s project.”

“I would not have expected you to discuss such a matter on the comm.”

“I appreciate your discretion. The communication signals are disrupted in this area. We may speak freely.”

“Fine, then. You mean Marta and her disastrous scheme of bringing trees and Heaven knows what to Tenembras? No good can come of it. Authorities will shut that down before any potential contamination can reach the biosphere. I have told her that. What, were you lurking in the shadows then, too?”

“Sir, do not confuse your hostility toward my appearance or style of communicating with the line of inquiry. There are important issues here that go far beyond my part.”

“You think I’m wrong about the trees? I could tell you I’ll reconsider, but the fact remains that the deal is dead before it begins and that doesn’t even touch the ‘other’ issue.”

“If so, why do you struggle with your conscience?”

“Whoa, who said anything about conscience? My conscience is clear.”

“You could have the aliens exterminated like so many vermin, crushed underfoot and maintain your fine sensibilities?”

Cabin June 2015 059“You don’t believe that rot about some of the trees being aliens? Come on, man, there are some freaky trees that will be cleared off with the rest. Period.” He looked nervously over to the trees that seemed more unsettling in the growing light, seeming to stir out of time with the breeze. How did they come to gather around the pod?

Thao did not reply, but stared implacably at him at him steadily, silently.

He refocused on the enigmatic Thao. “You believe they are intelligent aliens? That changes nothing. The fate of humanity is at stake and the authorities will not take a chance.”

The little man remained silent, gazing through the shadow.

Cedric fidgeted, becoming more and more anxious to get into the waiting buggy and be off. “No one knew about any of this alien business before we arrived, so this has to be some kind of one-off speculation. If they are aliens, they aren’t native to here and this isn’t a civilization.” He spoke aloud to prioritize the line of thought that sought his inner motivations, the voice in his head that was so often drowned out, the one that grew from his own self. It was proving elusive. “You’re a linguist, what is your interest in this in the first place? This is a straightforward biosecurity deal that you need not become involved with.”

Thao faded back into the long shadows with Cedric unable to follow by sight or sound. He shuffled around to face the pod and fell forward, palms to pod, so he could walk his hands up the side to stand. Then the pod door at the end opened wider and the tree-things parted for San Luis to pass.

“Hello, San Luis, have you seen Marta?” The moment he asked that he was vexed for not asking San Luis to join him on the investigation.

Si.”

Miffed at the man’s clearly obstinate stance, Cedric decided he would not invite San Luis along after all; he could well do the job by himself. He might have a quick word with Marta, though. Might she like to join him? A basic part of him warmed to that concept, bringing her to the wreck site so they could peruse it together and he could make amends, discussing what clues they could tease from the debris could allow them to at least speak to each other again. “Well, sir, which way is she, I’d like to talk to her a moment.”

“No.”

“What do you mean, ‘no’? I want to see if she’d like to accompany me on a survey, I have use of the buggy.”

“No. She has not the time or the energy to fight with you today. Go fight with the trees and try to hurt them. They too will soon be gone forever and I know you would be sorry to miss the chance.”

Cedric stood dumfounded with anger boiling up. “You sonuvabitch, you get out of my way.” He tried to slide between a bench piled with parts and his adversary.

Barto picked him up, mashing Cedric’s forearms against his ribs, and threw him bodily against the pod, his back impacting hard and his helmet clanging loud. He slid down and landed hard on the packed sand.

Dr. Cartier tore around the door, hand gripping the door edge to maintain equilibrium. “What is this? Stop it this instant!”

“Dis flaco always come here to fight. I say no, not dis time, Marta is busy.”

Cedric pushed his back up the hull and raised himself on shaky legs. He shook his head as briskly as he could with the damned helmet to settle the reverberations in his skull. “Dr. Cartier, there is no reason for this person to …”

“Stop! Mr. Crannog I have to agree with Barto. Every time you leave Marta she’s distressed if not in tears. I won’t have it sir, I will not. I’m sorry, but please go on your way right now.”

Cedric stopped the impulse to brush off and sneered at the staring fools. He pushed his hands out, arm muscles tensed hard as if trying to fend them physically until he got by them; with clenched fists and jaws he marched back to the Portico to get the buggy.

He saw the Portico’s comm monitor blinking red ‘incoming’ as he entered and saw Olivia Might of Defiance eBook coveron screen the next second.

“Cedric, why so upset?”

“Sorry it shows. I had a dust up with that San Luis.”

“Why on Earth?”

“It’s not Earth, is it? He can push anyone around here he pleases. All I wanted to do was talk to Marta.”

“And her bodyguard wouldn’t let you. I’ve seen some things on this monitor here. See?” She split the screen and showed triple-speed scenes clearly showing the moving trees around the Ag area. She inquired sweetly, “What are they doing back there?”

Even with the altercation hot in his mind, he could not freely expose them more. “I could explain some things personally, but not over the comm.”

“See that purple button on the right side? No, higher up. Yes, press that and hold it down. Now it’s just you and me.”

Either he trusted her or not; his control over his reason was tenuous. “I think Cartier is helping her get specimens against the express orders from Ms. Jones. San Luis is egging her on. The aliens are helping load the trees. I tried to get her to desist before she gets into trouble but she won’t listen!”

“Now, Cedric, she’s a smart girl.” Olivia’s voice cajoled him, trying to exert a calming influence. “Don’t you think she’s considered her risk and decided whatever she’s doing is both possible and worth it?”

“They won’t let me back there and they won’t allow me to talk to her.” He worked at keeping his jaw loose enough to talk and concentrated on keeping the purple button down.

“You have greater success finding out more by being sweet than antagonistic. Have you listened to her logic? To understand what she’s trying to accomplish?”

That hit him harder than San Luis’s blow. Part of him cried out but another part beat it back. Cold and acute, he told her, “I am amazed you are siding with her without even knowing what she’s into.”

She seemed taken aback. “Crannog, I am amazed you are siding against her without even knowing what she’s into.”

He released the purple button and turned away.

From The Might of Defiance get it on Amazon today! You may need to copy and paste the link…

The Might of Defiance: Elise t’Hoot Book One
by Mary Ellen Wall
Amazon Kindle Link: http://a.co/1TKrMMw

News, Gratitude and Pictures

  1. Cabin 020My sci-fi eBook The Might of Defiance is FREE for the next couple days! If you wanted to be kind and review it, now would be a good time to get your Kindle copy. Remember, you can get a Kindle reader download for whatever device you’re using, if not a Kindle.
  2. Second but not second class, thanks so much for all the wonderful wishes for my birthday. Birthdays can be depressing, but not when so many leave such warm comments. Happiness to all!
  3. Here are some cabin-related pictures, photos of the place on Earth I treasure the most.

Cabin 20130721 040Strawberry in the leaves

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