Monthly Archive: October 2016

The Daring Raid of the Dimitrios Kyriakos

I recently discovered that I’ve married into a family of seafaring pirates.

The Dimitrios Kyriakos started its career as a humble Greek cargo ship in 1938.  A few years later it was transformed into a military auxiliary cruiser and then transferred to the German navy in 1942.  A year after that it was torpedoed by the The Thunderbolt (a British submarine) and subsequently scuttled in Trapani.  After the conclusion of World War II, it was repaired and resurrected as a cargo ship.  It served in that role for more than two decades before breaking down off the coast of West Africa.  The wreck was then towed to Freetown by the Panamanian freighter Glyfada.  It sat there for some time, ignored by its owners as it piled up dock fees, until it was eventually towed into the channel and abandoned.

How long it floated there, anchored in the channel near Freetown, I don’t know… but eventually it was boarded by a daring gang of curious, adventure seeking scoundrels.  The ship had obviously suffered earlier raids and was stripped of most valuables, but one of our intrepid adventurers was undeterred. Though the sun was setting and the ship taking on water, he searched and came away with a great prize, several nautical charts of great historic and artistic interest.  Loaded with this booty, he and his companions made their escape.

The Dimitrios Kyriakos sank completely that very night.

Years later, I married the pirate’s daughter.

 

Devious Origins – CHAPTER 1

As promised, here is the first installment of the newly revised and edited Devious Origins.  Give it a read, and don’t be afraid to provide feedback as comments to this post.

CHAPTER 1

 

“I’m a superhero,” she declared in between bites of her chicken salad sandwich. The words were delivered as casually as one might comment on the weather.

“A superhero…” I repeated, an unspoken question hanging in the silence that followed.

“Yeah. You asked what classes I’m in, but I’m not actually a student here. I tried the college thing for a while, but it just wasn’t me. Did retail for a bit but couldn’t stick with it… pimping overpriced plastic crap to the consumer masses… it was damaging my soul. I quit and just drifted for a while. Then I really took a hard look at myself, what I wanted out of life, the mark I wanted to make. One day it all just snapped into focus. Superhero.”

“There are openings for that kind of work?” I asked, my amusement clearly showing. I was more than willing to play along with the gag.

“Oh it’s definitely an under-served market, but you won’t find any posting for it on craigslist. This is totally a freelance sort of gig.” She finished the last of her sandwich and turned her attention to her papaya and wheat grass smoothie. She took a long slurp and continued. “I actually made a list. All the things my dream job would have. Excitement. Adventure. The chance to do something big. Important. The chance to help people. I thought about all sorts of possibilities, but only one really seemed to fit. Superhero.”

I chased the last of my three bean salad around my plate, finally getting it onto the plastic fork. I gazed across the table at her while I finished eating. She showed no sign she was joking. She either believed what she was saying or was one hell of an actress.

My eyes wandered around the Student Union, taking in the varied patrons. Some were obviously studying. Others were having lunch. Some appeared to be socializing, just chatting and laughing. A typical collection of university students engaged in the usual activities. No one really standing out. Everything normal.

My eyes found their way back to my companion.

She seemed normal enough as well, at least at first glance. The right age to be in college. Dressed with an individualistic flare that made me assume she was an art student, maybe a theater major. Her short dark hair had a few purple streaks dyed into it and some small feathers woven into it near her left ear. She wore tennis shoes, a motorcycle jacket, and cut-off jeans over black tights. On her hands she wore leather gloves with the fingers cut off. She carried a small backpack with a much larger skateboard strapped to it. She was the most interesting person in the room, though not so unusual that she didn’t fit in to the wide spectrum of college persona.

I admit I was surprised when she asked to sit at my table, me being rather the opposite of the flamboyant art student I imagined her to be, but then the Union was close to full at the moment, so it was probably just the three empty seats at my table that drew her here. Making smalltalk with strangers has never been a great skill of mine, but she seemed surprisingly easy to talk to. Nevertheless, I now found myself at a loss for words. What do you say to someone who has just claimed to be a superhero?

My companion noisily slurped the last of her smoothie and finally broke the verbal deadlock.

“Well, I have to get going,” she said, “thanks for letting me sit here.”

“No problem,” I replied, then realized the one and only female who had shown any interest in talking to me since I started college was about to walk out of my life as quickly as she had entered it. “Um… I would love hear more about this whole superhero thing… do you… like… have a phone number?”

She smiled. It was not one of those ‘Oh I am so glad he asked for my number’ sort of smiles, more like an ‘Oh god he is so clumsy at this sort of thing I think I might burst into laughter’ sort of smile.

“Must we really fall into such tired gender roles?” she answered. “What if I want to ask for your number instead?”

My brain seemed to freeze up. No words came. Instead I simply opened up one of my notebooks, tore off a section of paper, and wrote my name and number on it. She smiled as I handed it to her. It was a less amused smile, more genuinely warm.

“Thanks… and welcome to the team,” she exclaimed, then slung her backpack on her back, turned, and headed for the door. I sat looking at the door for several minutes after she left.

It finally occurred to me that I had never learned her name.

* * *

(more…)

Mad Scientist Wisdom

Things went well with Open Mic at NerdCon, and a gratifying number of people took promotional bookmarks with the blog address… so this is for those people who came here looking for more Mad Scientist Wisdom.  Enjoy!

  • Fools rush in where I damn well order them to. There’s definite advantages to employing foolish minions. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Great minds think alike… especially after a few ‘treatments’ in the neural reconfiguration chair. #MadScientistWisdom
  • No man is an island. Really… I’ve transformed my victims into a lot of weird things, but not one of them became an island. #MadScientistWisdom
  • If you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone… you have obvious flaws in your inventory tracking system. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Keep your friends close but your enemies in a secure detention facility, and don’t use an unattended contraption when destroying them. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Time heals all wounds, but that’s still no reason to forgo the personal defense force shield. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Sleep is a poor substitute for caffeine like respect is a poor substitute for obedience. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, will survive within my despotic empire. #MadScientistWisdom
  • First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you obliterate them with space based particle beam weapons. #MadScientistWisdom
  • A bird in the hand is worthless and will not advance my plans for world domination… why do my minions keep giving me these damn birds? #MadScientistWisdom
  • Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The good are wimps. Your imperfect robot army is sufficient to destroy them. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and make sure your air ducts are too small to crawl through. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Victory has a thousand fathers. That might explain the cost overruns in the genetics laboratory. #MadScientistWisdom
  • You can fool all of the people some of the time. Fooling them consistently requires orbital mind control satellites. #MadScientistWisdom
  • The road to Hell is paved via a no-bid time and materials contract… What? You expected an open and competitive process? #MadScientistWisdom
  • Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, even though world governments repeatedly refuse to capitulate to your demands. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Be careful what you wish for. Genies don’t speak English as a first language and can easily misunderstand you. #MadScientistWisdom
  • You only live once… at least until the cloning lab is up and running. #MadScientistWisdom
  • The person saying it cannot be done should not interrupt the person currently holding the moon for ransom. #MadScientistWisdom
  • A rising tide lifts all boats and is proof that your gravity manipulation ray is operational. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Seize the day. Lock it in a repeating causality loop until it yields the result you want. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Eighty percent of success is showing up. The other twenty percent involves compromising photographs of select politicians. #MadScientistWisdom
  • You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take… unless you’ve turned control over to the automated targeting system. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Success is the best revenge, after just about anything involving lasers. #MadScientistWisdom
  • If at first you don’t succeed… eliminate the minions that failed to implement your flawless plan. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration and 85 percent exploiting the people with bad math skills. #MadScientistWisdom
  • Every journey begins with a single step… is something only a loser without a working teleportation device would say. #MadScientistWisdom
  • There is no problem so big that it can’t be fixed by creating a space-time anomaly that alters the timeline. #MadScientistWisdom
  • If you love something set it free. If it rampages and destroys the city, don’t admit it was yours. #MadScientistWisdom

I’ll be posting more about Nerdcon tomorrow, including links to all the creative stuff we discovered, so be sure to check back!

 

Arrived at NerdCon Stories…

Just a heads up… Kirsten and I are at NerdCon Stories in the Twin Cities.  I’ll be probably be posting pictures and highlights the next couple of days.  Who knows… maybe I’ll even post an additional short story. UPDATE… I’ve decided to serialize Devious Origins here much like I’ve done on Facebook and on Wattpad, but don’t let that stop you from signing up for a free e-book version (it is available for Nook, Kindle, or as a PDF document).  Stay tuned for the first chapter.