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Everything posted by Cia

  1. February is short and often gone before we know it. Jack Scribe is an author that many readers from GA will miss as well. But we still have some of his stories to enjoy, including his Las Vegas Trilogy. If you're in the US, you're probably ready for some sunshine and heat, so enjoy this first story in the series, It Stays in Vegas! Length: 48,027 Description: NOVEL. Drew is an ambitious, young manager at a Las Vegas casino resort who becomes smitten with an arriving guest. Danger lurks as their friendship grows. Book 1 of the Vegas trilogy. A Reader said: I really am enjoying this!!! ~ Gene63 If you want to spread the word about Jack Scribe's story, download the graphic below and add it to your signature! Make sure you come back on Wednesday to see the excerpt I chose to share!
  2. I read a writing tip today that seems sort of obvious... "Try to leave out the part readers tend to skip" (Elmore Leonard). But what part is that? It had to vary, but there's probably an overall consensus about the types of scenes or story elements that readers gloss over, skip past, or just stop reading. So share your thoughts to help GA authors improve our craft!
  3. Chapter 18

    “There is a very old saying in human culture,” Lakshou said. “One step forward and two steps back.” Aparoe tilted their head. “I haven’t heard that one.” They finished pulling out the supplements from their bag and putting the vials of powder on the small table in my quarters. “It is apt, though. Mentally and physically.” I’d been avoiding leaving my room for more than my shifts, and nothing tasted right. It was all too sweet, too spicy, too… textured. I scurried away from people. Priella had gone back to more of her old self, not too chatty, so that was okay. Work was a sanctuary because her and Luca seemed to understand my need to quiet and found me out of the way projects and places to keep me busy. Everyone in the department smiled and went out of their way to make me feel welcome. But I couldn’t help but wonder if they should. Doubts still bugged me, and even Lakshou’s meditation couldn’t banish my worries. “Use the supplements,” Aparoe ordered me. They raised one thin eyebrow. “Or I’ll have to take you in to medical to do a more complete work up. I’d rather avoid that.” “All right.” I wrapped my arms around my knees and scooted up closer to the head of the bed. They’d ambushed me on my rest day, early enough I wasn’t even up for the day. Aparoe had already done a quick scan, so they left. Lakshou smacked his hands down on the bottom of the bed. “All right, up. There’s something you’re going to want to see.” “What?” “We’re stopping at an uninhabited resource planet in this sector. The captain approved all the species we rescued having some time off the ship if they can handle the atmosphere. I’m going along in case anyone needs help acclimating to outside, so you won’t be alone.” “Outside?” My heart started to pound, and my mouth was dry. I swallowed repeatedly. I desperately wanted to go, but it had been so long since I was outside of the sterile environment of space. Could I step outside the ship and onto solid earth again? “You were held for a very long time. It’s okay to be scared.” Lakshou stood at the end of the bed, waiting patiently. “You don’t have to get off the shuttle if it’s too much for you, but even some time in a natural atmosphere would be good for you.” I hesitated. “What’s it like?” “The planet?” I nodded. “Warm, humid. Lots of water, lots of raw nature. As a waypoint in the travel lanes, it’s protected from any race wanting to colonize or terraform it. We’ll exchange our fluid reservoirs and replace our stores. The planet’s vegetation is mineral-rich. It’s perfect for the raw building blocks the dispensers need. There are very few predators on the planet, and most of the wildlife are large and slow-moving, no threat to us or the shuttles.” “How long will we be there.” “Half a shift, maybe. Captain Querry never likes to stay long when we’ve been on a rescue mission. He takes his duty seriously.” I could tell that about Captain. Who he was—the leader of the ship—was who he was at his core. It was the focus of his being. I’d trusted him almost from the first second he came into my cell. He had a firm strength but he didn’t scare me. His touch was too gentle for that. I fought down a blush, trying not to remember the dreams I’d had about him. Touch was something I’d pushed away for so long, but there were things I remembered from my youth—pleasures found in silence and secret at night in my narrow pallet—that were coming back to me. The slide of my clothing could awaken the member between my legs. It embarrassed me. I hadn’t gotten up the courage to do anything about it, the conditioning too strong to break. In my dreams though…. “If you want to come, you need to get dressed. Wear the uniform you have on the ship. You will need the grip shoes with the firm bottom to protect your feet, not the soft soles.” “I’ll come.” Lakshou left so I could get ready after I agreed to meet him in the shuttle bay. Everyone was so busy with the landing that there was no one to escort me. Apparently they weren’t worried about that. The entire ship would enter atmosphere, but the shuttles would travel away from the ship to gather more elusive materials. My steps were muffled in the corridor, but louder than I was used to, so I slowed down so I wasn’t making so much noise. “If you can’t do it….” “I never said that.” The hissed reply was vicious, angry, desperate even. “Two can keep a secret if one of them’s dead. Just remember that, if you get the urge to speak out of turn.” I stiffened. That didn’t sound good. Whoever was fighting was between me and the shuttle bay. I couldn’t go back. I chewed on my lip, then took a few hard steps. Someone walked away quickly, their footsteps rumbling like a run. I turned the corner, looking straight ahead. “Greetings.” I jumped, like I hadn’t noticed the man standing against the wall and nodded. It was the human, the one who’d been so nasty to Lakshou that first day while we ate. He opened his mouth, but I looked away and kept walking. Maybe he’d think I was ignoring him. Or just rude. I wish I could have seen who he was talking to though. It sounded like something bad.
  4. Last night, on her way into the kitchen, someone sneezed and my daughter said, "Bless you." That someone... was on TV. *snickers* 

    1. Daddydavek


      ...another example of smart TV's listening....:P

  5. I've done it, but I'm far more likely to use a region close to me as a model for a fictional city or town than a real one. It is very important you get it right--especially from the tourist point of view if that's what you're using. It does drive me crazy when I come across authors who clearly didn't do their homework, like in 50 shades of crap when the author had the character go through a city south of the starting location on their way north to a different city or an eBook I once read that placed the city in a real town on the coast but put it in the wrong state entirely! They so clearly didn't even look at a map that it infuriates me. If you're going to take the lazy way out, don't use a real location!
  6. Have you checked out this new story challenge with a newsletter feature for all the authors who take part? No special sign ups, no hidden twists... just a forbidden romance that should never have been bared on the page to entrance readers during this season of love! Length: Under 1,500 words Due: Friday, February 9th How: Post your story as a standalone story or flash fiction collection chapter then PM Cia with a link to your submission *Please post your stories as unpublished but NOT post-dated. This way they can be set live at the same time even with international authors. Any genre accepted. If your forbidden theme is within the moderated types of content, please clear this with Cia before writing/posting.
  7. Congratulations, @ghanbrews @TLM280249 @Rickran You have all won a copy of Renee Steven's Barbed Wire Cowboy! Please PM her to claim your eBook. Thank you to everyone who took part in the contest.
  8. Well, think about it. Unpublished or post-dated are basically the same thing. The only difference is one is going to go live at some pre-determined date. But this bug attacks anything that isn't published live, so if you open/edit that content that is pre-dated by still unpublished, it's going to react the same way. When the bug is that it resets the publish date to an obscure date decades ago, that's going to happen regardless.
  9. Finally! The moment has come to release all the hidden stories featuring Forbidden Love! Make sure you leave a comment for all the hard work by these great GA authors to bring you a taste of the taboo! No Regrets - A Forbidden Love Story by BHopper 2 Their love was forbidden in the kingdom in which they lived in. They did it anyway with no regrets. Danger and Love by Timothy M When you’re courting danger, it’s important to have allies you can trust. Especially if you’re caught in the act. Bonefire by Dolores Esteban When the Master is not the man he should be. Off Limits by Defiance19 He's come home.... Verboten by Valkyrie "'Forbidden Love'. Your take on the topic was very... enlightening." I leaned closer to him, drawn by the invisible connection setting all my nerves on fire. "In a good way?" Bless Me, Father by Parker Owens The early mass leaves a man reflecting on his past. Sweetest Perfection by Puppilull When I see you across a room, all sweet and smooth, it's like an invitation to lick and even bite. The Girl Who Stole the Sun by Dodger Gold medal favourite Sun Song-Jung, is prepared to sacrifice Olympic glory for the chance to find love. If you subscribe to the newsletter, you also got a exclusive look at Comicality's submission, I Could Tell, before it's even posted on GA!
  10. No. AJ is manually fixing everything for us. But we really have to come up with a way to remind authors that they cannot edit unpublished works. It doesn't matter how soon after you save it, you cannot reopen the work to edit it and not screw up the announcement time. We have a lot of bugs we're still working through, and this is one that can easily be prevented so it's not as much of a priority. We're considering ways of trying to share this information with authors so everyone is aware for future events.
  11. All the stories I received links for are now live and the newsletter is about to go out! Thank you to everyone who participated! On another note, I posted all the stories, with BHopper's last. His is the only one I see in the announcement's (he posted his first, way back in January). I see in comments above that some of you guys have wonky dates on your stories that you saw. Show of hands (snickers), who edited their stories after they posted it unpublished? That's often the cause of that problem. Otherwise, I need you guys to post here exactly how you posted your chapter (I used such and such browser on this type of device, I unchecked the published boxes on Step 2 and 5 for the story and chapter, I did or did not do anything after I saved the story. I'll pass this along to the techies and see if they can identify exactly what is happening.
  12. Chapter 17

    I was wrong about the paperwork. And meetings. And frowns from both Aparoe and Captain for doing something so dangerous. “What if you couldn’t stop it?” Captain asked. We were sitting in his new office, a tiny room near the control center of the ship. I shrugged. “I did. It didn’t fall or anything; it was still hovering. I just had to slow it down so it would stop moving.” “An entire shuttle. By yourself. With just your hands.” He was angry, I could tell. “What part of that was taking it easy?” “I didn’t want it to hurt Luca.” He’d been nice to me. Introduced me to the wonder of working with my hands. I loved it in a way I hadn’t thought I would. I’d thought it would just be about helping out in some way, but I loved figuring out problems and how to fix them. I’d stopped the shuttle, but I’d also sort of crumpled the expensive ship’s exoskeleton in the process. Which meant we had more work to do. “Can I go?” “No, not today. Aparoe said you had some mild muscle strain in your shoulders and back. You need to rest.” Captain stood up. “Come on. I’ll escort you back to your quarters.” I opened my mouth to argue, but he raised an eyebrow and waited. I slowly closed my mouth and then stood. We didn’t talk as we headed toward the lift, and the whoosh as it slid down toward the officer quarter’s level was loud. I crossed my arms over my chest, tucking my hands under them. I hated feeling like I’d disappointed Captain, but what was I supposed to do. When we stopped at my door, I put my palm on the scanner to unlock the door. I went to go inside, but Captain put one hand on my shoulder and stopped me. “Officially, I do want to offer my thanks for the way you protected one of my crew. It’s been noted and will be recognized when we return to our base station.” My mouth dropped open. “Officially?” Then what was all that in his office when he was so upset with what I did. “But I damaged the shuttle.” “And saved lives at great risk to your own.” Captain’s lips pursed. “Just try not to get into a position where you have to do that again.” “O-okay.” I didn’t understand, at all. And I was tired after the way my day had gotten longer and longer after the incident. “Thank you.” It didn’t sound quite like a question, but it wasn’t far off. I didn’t know what to say. “Rest tonight. You can take tomorrow off if you need to as well.” I shook my head. “I’ll be fine.” “Wait until tomorrow. Rest well,” Captain said formally. He turned and marched away, his back rigid and his long legs eating up the corridor until he turned the corner and was gone. Most. Confusing. Day. Ever. The next day wasn’t much better. I went to breakfast with Priella. She was pretty happy with me. I hadn’t realized that she and Luca were a pair, but she was offering to get me extra food and couldn’t stop beaming at me. It was such a turnaround from her previous attitude, which was a little standoffish, that I almost preferred that she hadn’t changed. Not to mention everyone else we saw who stopped to stare at me. People literally stopped right in the middle of the corridors. It was awkward. Why were they so surprised? All I did was stop a shuttle from moving. They rescued victims from the Brox people; that was a much bigger deal. They stopped torture. I just stopped a minor splat from happening. As my shift went on, more and more people came up to me to say something about what I’d done. I almost regretted it. By the time we were halfway through the shift—where I was allowed to do nothing more than hand over parts and tools again—I was at my limit. I went from talking to no one for years to talking to what felt like hundreds. Maybe it was just a few dozen, but that was more than enough. “I’m going back to my quarters,” I told Luca. I had my hands tucked into my sleeves to hide their shaking. “All right. Tomorrow is our usual rest day, so we don’t have a shift.” Good. I could hide out all day in my room. “Okay.” My escort was a quiet alien who towered over me but walked so quietly that I couldn’t even hear her following me. It was humorous, in an awkward way, when she had to bend over to stand in the lift. I couldn’t stop my smile. She left me with a complicated gesture and bow. Her face was just below my chest level when she stopped, and that was when I noticed she had no mouth that I could see. No wonder why she hadn’t asked me any questions. My sonic shower was as unsatisfying as ever, but the warm cokala was perfect. I sat back on the bed with my drink and cued up the vid I’d started watching the day before. Lakshou had recommended them. They were boring, he said, but a good way to learn about the species that made up the universe. I’d maybe watched a hundred of the docu entries, and I’d seen things I never imagined. Talking plants. Alien planets powered by goo that hardened into crystal shards of immeasurable power. Beings that could morph their bodies into any shape, depending on their need—the vid of one thinning out their body to paper-thin thickness and floating away across a large body of water was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. I’d had dreams of flying, not in a shuttle or a ship, but just my body shooting through the air. It was the most freedom I could imagine having.
  13. This month we have a lot of focus on love, love, love! But sometimes that doesn't come in the form you think it does, especially when the world is an entirely different place. This month's feature combines moments both light and dark, so I hope you'll enjoy it and come back on Monday, February 26th to share your thoughts! All We Have Now by David AB Length: 42,836 Description: It has almost been a year since the world ended. The majority of the population died, came back as mindless and highly aggressive creatures and killed most of the rest. Cody is one of the last survivors. He is small, sensitive, innocent and about to starve to death. While he is desperately trying to find food, he gets attacked and then saved at the last second by Troy, who is a hardened brute. Cody hates him, but knows he is probably his only chance to survive the winter, so he sticks with him. A Reader Said: Lol so I didn't realize that was the final chapter. I've been waiting and waiting and just now read that was the end for "Part 1." Great story so far! I hope there is more on the way! ~ semaj565
  14. Chapter 16

    But does that empathy come from a deeper well of wanting to protect people or from the desire not to be a tool for others? Protection or aversion to force? It's all about the nuances.
  15. Chapter 16

    Or did the computer part of his brain make the analysis faster than the organic process of thought and decision making? Could he even know? Humans aren't the most self-reflecting out there. A lot of this definitely reflects on his mental processes and his emotional state. The entire chapter was an exercise in highlighting that aspect because his "self" has been very damaged and I wanted to share that in deliberate ways for readers to reflect on. You guys are doing great!! Right? Hey... I just saved your life, maybe I can get off the newbie scut job circuit? LOL Thank you! That's exactly how I want the characterization to come across. I want it all to feel real, believable because how he's thinking/acting/reacting fits with his personality and the hints of how he's changing all make you think... wow, I didn't expect that but I should have. Thanks again!
  16. Chapter 16

    Thanks, Douw! I'm glad you're enjoying it! Yes. He's willing to move among people, if only because of the nagging he's experiencing or is it a slow evolution of self beyond what he's been forced to become? LOL! Probably going to need to share his side of the story, yes. It's definitely going to bring him a lot of notoriety, I agree! Yes, it was time for him to get out and stop hiding from the universe. Whether or not that was a good idea remains to be seen, though I'm sure Luca appreciates he was there. And is he truly detached and honest as to the impetus of acting--saving a life being the focus versus a positive/negative analysis of doing so? Because while this might be first person which lets the readers know his thoughts... that doesn't mean he couldn't be lying to himself.
  17. Chapter 16

    Oh... I dunno. He's not protective at all. I knew that section would resonate for readers in a variety of ways! Lots of nuances and ways to read it. Is it matter of fact sharing what happened? An exasperated 'fine, I guess I'll act if I have to'? Indifferent response with little emotional influence because he's so shut down...? Well, we'll see, won't we?
  18. Chapter 16

    @drpaladin and @NoSkis Thanks for pointing that out. I keep fighting with Dragon over the name of my characters, because apparently it thinks it needs to be spelled its way and not mine. I sometimes miss the corrections. Grr!
  19. Name or author of GA story.

    *nods* It's in the site's Premium Section under the original title of "No Flash" since I didn't want to remove it completely but it has been published as an eBook as well.
  20. Chapter 16

    “Are you sure, Cohen?” Captain stood in the corridor outside my door. I was dressed in a pair of loose pants and a short-sleeve shirt. The air outside my room was colder, so I shivered again. “Yes.” Okay, so maybe part of the shivers were from what I was about to do. I reached for the jacket that I’d been given that would identify me as part of the maintenance crew. I could put my strength to use. “You’ve met with Luca and Priella. You’ll be on their crew. I’ve been assured they’re both great teachers.” I nodded. My heart was pounding, and my chest was tight. But I could do this. I needed to. It was two people; I’d met them in a session with Lakshou. They were both past rescues, which should have made me uneasy since I was so unsure if I was still a weapon, but with my permission Lakshou had explained about the ports and implants and the changes to my brain. Neither of them had anything like that, and they didn’t look down on me with pity but they still understood. I didn’t feel like I had to protect myself from them or protect them from me. They knew what I was afraid of, and they said they would have no problems disabling me if necessary since they both carried weapons and I’d be unarmed. Again, that should have made me nervous, but I was more reassured than anything else. “What time is it?” “Priella will be here soon to get you for just a half-shift rotation. You’re still recovering,” Captain said. “Aparoe already told me to take it easy.” I tucked my hands in the pockets of the coat. “Thank you for letting me do this,” I said softly. “We’re here to help you, Cohen. I don’t want you cooped up all the time, and if you feel like working, that’s okay. You don’t have to stay on the maintenance crew. You can explore the different jobs on the ship as we travel. Maybe by the time we reach a habitable port, you’ll have an idea of what you’re good at.” Besides killing? I kept that one to myself. The idea of being physical with anyone, for any reason, was still an intense craving as well as a power aversion. I wanted to touch and be touched so badly, but I was more afraid of what might happen so I tamped down on the need. Aparoe still came by every day and scanned me, and I noticed they touched me in some small way each time. They kept it brief and light, but it helped. Being near Captain didn’t help. I still remembered the intense warmth of his body the first time I dared allowed myself to touch him, the feel of his muscles bunching as he carried me out of my cell, and the scent of him that had surrounded me taking away the sterile torture of my existence. But I wouldn’t let myself hurt him. I curled my hands into fists, still hidden inside my pockets. “Hi, Cohen!” Priella strode down the corridor. She was a tall human, with a wide face and prominent cheekbones with sharply carved features. Her open smile faded as she stiffened and saluted Captain as soon as she noticed him beside me. “Sir!” “At ease.” Priella’s hand dropped to her side, but her body was still tense. Why? I looked at Captain, but he was still relaxed beside me. His uniform jacket was open at the neck, the high buttons on the collar opened. “I’m going now,” I said slowly. I didn’t really get the complicated leave takings the people did, when it would seem fairly obvious I was leaving since I was walking away, but I tried to fit in so I gave the Captain time to object before I walked away from him. Priella swung around and walked beside me, close but without touching. She glanced over her shoulder a few times. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so close to the captain,” she said. “He’s tall.” He was taller than most of the humans I’d seen on the ship, but many aliens were taller. “His quarters are just down the hall from mine. His office was turned into a room for me,” I offered stiltingly. “Wow, so you see him a lot?” What was a lot? I shrugged. And was it some sort of big deal? Would it upset someone that I got to see Captain a lot? Or if he was ignoring someone else to be around me? “Okay, okay. No pumping you for information about officer’s row until we’ve had you working with us longer. Are you ready to work?” I nodded. I kept my mouth shut about having to take it easy. I didn’t want to come across as lazy or a complainer. We got down to the maintenance bay and got to work. At first, I was just handing them tools, but eventually, over the course of that shift and the next, they started to explain what they were doing to the shuttles that were stored on the ship. We were standing at the rear of one of the atmo shuttles when someone ran a anti-gravity bin into the shuttle. It was currently hovering, the clamps off, because one of the stabilizers was missing. Luca was standing beside me, and the shuttle was just inches away when I stepped in front of him and grabbed it. I grunted and pushed, straining my arms as I locked my stomach and leg muscles and braced. No one wanted to write a report on a broken piece of equipment crushing a crew member. I wouldn’t have to do it—Priella and Luca were co-leaders, but I’d have to write up my own report to add to theirs. It would be a lot less stressful just to stop the shuttle. So I did.
  21. The CSR for the last 2 months were completely different from our usual format. Usually we feature a story, do an interview with the author, etc... but we had a few holiday blogs planned on the Mondays the CSR usually happens so we went with holiday stories--and we have a lot on GA! Did you read one over the last 2 months you loved? A feel-good holiday slice of sweetness? Or a bittersweet moment that resonated with you? Maybe it a new story released by the author this year or perhaps one of the flash fiction stories from the White Elephant Gift Prompt Game? Or an older story that caught your eye, perhaps from one of the many holiday-themed anthologies? Share your thoughts on a story in the comments below! Some holiday stories you might have missed: The Gift by Sam Wyer Lucky Kitty said: Oh my goodness! I lost it when Craagen gently squeezed Tligg's bobble! Glad I wasn't drinking coffee, I'd have a mess to clean up. Thanks for this sneak peek into elven culture. Santa and His Dirty Little Elf by Dahawk Okiegrad said: Loved it!! Made me smile and laugh and was a great way to start my day! An Advent Calendar by Aditus, Cole Matthews, and Valkyrie Timothy M said of "Christmas Spirit": Like a (reverse) Hans Christian Andersen tale. The innocent child rips the veil from their eyes and brings understanding. Mistletoe and Handgrenades by K.C. Kiltie69 said: I have a term I use when I'm blown away, I've used if only once or twice in GA Woof. . Loved it. So do you have a favorite holiday story on Gay Authors?
  22. How to upload a story.

    As Graeme said you need to be an author to post a story. Please read the FAQ carefully because it will help you learn how to post on GA as well as what can be posted and when it comes to being a new author on the site and explains the moderation queue. And, as always, authors are welcome can reach out to me via PM on my profile if you have questions.
  23. Cheating? Academic dishonesty?

    That is so frustrating! Sounds like they need to talk with the staff about not being mommies. It's something we say a lot at work (and I've always been the mean mom to push my kids to be independent and self-advocate anyway). Special needs students don't always need to get good grades or get a pass handed to them because that doesn't help them face the reality that they have to work harder than others just to keep up and always will. In my high needs SIS program this week, I had to verbally review a test with a group of 5 students, and we went off who knew the answer and agreement from the others, or we looked it up in the notes I took and provided each one to paste into their course notebooks as well as the unit study guide--but all the students who stayed in the class were allowed to take the test open book as well. But other times, when our SPED kids are taking measurement assessments, we offer no assistance because we have to know what they know--not just give them a pass or "lead" them to the right information.
  24. Chapter 15

    I surreptitiously glanced at the people with Ss’merit. They were all aliens, not a human among them. I didn’t recognize all of them, but there were a few species I knew. Were they like me? I saw ports on one short alien with no hair, just a rigid crest running from his forehead and down his spine. They were. I was so fixated on the ports that I didn’t hear what Lakshou and Ss’merit were saying until Ss’merit abruptly turned and led the others off. I took a quick breath in and let it out slowly. “Who was that?” “Ss’merit.” Lakshou shifted in his seat. “He is the passenger facilitator aboard. He escorts guests usually, but he’s also in charge of the rescues we bring on board.” “Why haven’t I met him before?” “A sub-faction of his species are among the inner circles of the Brox Consortium. Not everyone trusts them because of that. Ss’merit is defensive, which I can feel, but I don’t know if it’s because he’s trying to hide things or if he’s just trying to overcome the perception the Ss’eenui are all willing to harm other species to gain power.” Lakshou shook his head. “He usually avoids me.” “He looked creepy,” I admitted. “Yeah. That doesn’t help their cause much either. Some species just don’t get along with them, humans included. But the captain doesn’t always get a choice in his crew.” Lakshou’s ears flicked sideways, and then he clapped his hands together once, as if to close that discussion. “Okay, what would you like? We still have some time before your order is ready.” The rest of our trip went smoothly, and I was back in my room before I realized how tense I was. I wasn’t sure what I’d expected to happen, but I was glad to be alone. I took a sonic shower and then put on some of my new clothes, relishing the softness and warmth. We’d eaten, and I wasn’t thirsty, so I curled up in the bed and turned on the vid to catch up on more that I’d missed over the years. Time had always gone in fits and spurts. Sometimes it felt like the same day went on endlessly and other times the days blurred together so seamlessly it felt like they were speeding by before I even realized it. Aparoe and Lakshou visited, and I made short trips outside of my room, but without answers about the mess in my head, I was scared of befriending more of the crew, even if they encouraged me to. It’s hard to get to know someone when you’re afraid you’ll have sex with them and then slit their throat, or air chamber, or speech sac. There were several kinds of aliens I’d seen before and knew, but more I didn’t. When I surreptitiously studied them I would later wonder if I was looking because I was curious or if I was searching for ways to use them the way I’d been trained. Breathing exercises and meditation with Lakshou helped, but I kept feeling this sense of impending doom. It made me happy Captain had been keeping his distance, though I saw him occasionally in the hall considering his doors were just a short distance down the call from mine. I was waiting for Lakshou, since Aparoe had already been by to run some tests and check my health, making their noncommittal noises. I’d already figured out they were coordinating their visits. The door chimed, and I slowly walked over to it. “Oh.” Instead of Lakshou, Ss’merit was standing outside my door. “Hello.” He dipped his head once, his single eye unblinking as he stared up at me. “Hello. My name is Ss’merit. I wanted to speak with you in regards to your adjustment to your new life.” The alien was shorter than me, which I hadn’t realized before because I’d been sitting. He was very… intense though. “I’m fine, thank you.” “There is much to learn that I can help you with,” he insisted. “We can speak inside your room, or go elsewhere.” He glanced up and down the hall. “Your choice.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “I’m already talking to Lakshou, and Captain has assured me I’m safe here. I have no intentions to leave this ship anytime soon.” I barely resisted touching the ports on my head. I wouldn’t be safe to be around anyone. “My interests are solely for your well-being.” Ss’merit didn’t move, and I didn’t either. I was reluctant to let him into my space, and I wasn’t going to go anywhere with him either. “Easy for you to say. I’m being taken care of by a medic and counselor. I am fine, thank you.” I tried to end the conversation politely. “Don’t you want to speak with your fellow survivors?” I hesitated. He had me there. Especially the one with the ports like mine. “No.” I shook my head. “I don’t want to think about that hell or talk about it either. It’s time to move on.” I put my hand on the door sensor. “I don’t need your help.” The door slid shut on his objections and his oddly intense stare. I wrapped my arms around my chest and moved over to the table. I curled into the chair and studied the flat surface, rubbing my finger along the smooth surface just to feel it. I had no idea what I was going to do for my future, regardless of what I told Ss’merit. Maybe it was time to find the Captain and ask what I could be use with my limited skill set. There had to be something I could do that would be helpful.
  25. Did you catch Monday's blog where we featured Rec's story, Jake's Hand? You can also download an image there for your signature if you want to share your enjoyment of the story and promote it to fellow readers! If you haven't read it yet, maybe this excerpt will help you decide to put it on your list! Cia says: I picked this excerpt because it resonated with because I work with students. I know how many have to overcome the assumptions made about them, and how hard it can be to try and be a mentor at the same time you're a teacher. Also, this scene mentions a very obvious theme in the story in relation to the discrimination rampant in 1969 facing African American students in poorer areas, but that theme is echoed in far more ways through the story in very real and personal ways for Jake and Robbie. To read more, click here.

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