Tag: @eccentricOrbits

Day 30 – Katarina the Dragon Slayer as a child

| November 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

Katarina at 9 years old

2011 Day 18 a Servo from Upper City in my novel “Mentor”

| November 17, 2011 | 1 Comment

2011 Day 18 a Servo from Upper City in my novel "Mentor"
2011 Day 18 a Servo from Upper City in my novel “Mentor”

Servo a small utility hover craft that responds to the voice commands of the person who has activated it. Servos can be made of components and schematics normally available at any replicator outlet if there is also sufficient bio synth available.  Components can be swapped out for other components. Servo components can also be modified through modification of the schematics, creating a new schematic. Only tech class citizens have the proper identification protocols to use a Servo, as without the necessary instruction they could be dangerous.

Servo components include laser modules that can be fine tuned by degree to range between high out put for boring holes in metal, to low out put for use as a pointing device, or a safety beacon. In the case of the safety beacon the component can be detatched from the main body of the Servo an placed where needed. It is not advised to do this however until the piece has been keyed down to low level, wide beam laser.

Another potentially dangerous component in a Servo is the sonic burst. If set too high it has the capability to rupture delicate biological parts as well as sensitive electronic equipment. Although it is rarely considered useful a microwave attachment can also be replicated for this device.

Servos can be created with varying classes of artificial Intelligence, Class A being the highest and most autonomous. Class E will follow instructions to the letter and will never make executive decisions in the circumstance where it’s owner has lost the capacity to do so, though this never occurs under the watchful eye of the MAICS.

Servos utilize standard rechargeable power packs, but have the access to othe components to pwer them. These are 1) a small extendable land line with AG 291b power connector, and 2) any number of solar collection devices (see Document LZ429006: Servo Schematics and Components).

Servos can range in size from six inches (used for comm and memory tasks) to thirty-six inches in diameter(for heavy manual labour, such as remodelling walls and hauling components and other equipment. The largest  Servos require that the operator be a Tech Class C or higher. Apprentices do not have the appropriate protocols and may not engage the use of the larger  (class E or D) servos, for their own safety and the safety of others.

Often, a high level Apprentice Tech will be given a specialised servo upon reaching  a high standard of excellence in the profession. This is usually at the descretion of the Master Tech, and is a source of healthy competition among apprentices. The servo as a prize for excellence is a valuable incentive to maintain highest standards of workmanship and safety.

See the list of Servo Schematics and Components available to the various Tech classes in Document LZ429006: Servo Schematics and Components.


2011 Day 17 Bracha of Lower City from my Novel “Mentor”

| November 17, 2011 | 1 Comment

2011 Day 17 Bracha of Lower City from my Novel "Mentor"

Mentor: A science fantasy adventure, by J S Rowe

Bracha, cook and herbalist for the tribe had been cooking slither since before Tarou’s father was born.

In a small tribe like that of the people of Under City, it helps for everyone to know the rudiments of most of the tasks, and to be able to excel at more than one. Bracha was the head cook and herbalist, but he was also a great hunter, or was so in his prime. He took great pride in his hunting accomplishments, and told and retold storied of his own prowess  with great relish, but his greatest pride was in his cooking. He himself had learned at the chopping slab of R’eshka of the one thumb, who had passed to the gods finally only a few years ago. He missed her. She had been a daunting tutor, but because of that he had never  yet, as he liked to joke, poisoned anyone and had even made things like Slither meat palatable. And the breads he conjured from the flour of local seeds couldn’t be improved upon.

He always had a gaggle of children helping him out and learning the ways of herbs and their uses in cooking and healing, though a number of them were often just in the way and under foot. But he was used to it, and welcomed all comers. Just make sure those inconsiderate hunters  are careful where they drop the carcasses. That was all he asked. This was always said with a smile too. For as much as he loved to teach and to cook he loved to tell funny stories and  share a good belly laugh.

2011 Day 16 “Ranor A’tai Denala” of Upper City from my Novel, “Mentor”

| November 16, 2011 | 1 Comment

2011 Day 16 “Ranor A’tai Denala” of Upper City from my Novel, “Mentor”
Ranor A’tai Denala, the world’s foremost Synthetic DNA Designer

Money was no object to a family whose ancestors made planetfall here, and they agreed in secret to hire the world’s most foremost Synthetic DNA Designer, Ranor A’tai Denala. He was a most difficult man to work with, slightly mad most people said.  And what would you expect from a man who got top money for creating designer pets and designer people for the dependent, declining society of the Upper City on the planet T’rest.


2011 Day 15 “a’tannattal” of Upper City from my novel “Mentor”

| November 16, 2011 | 1 Comment

2011 Day 15 "a'tannattal" of Upper City from my novel "Mentor"

a’tannattal is the name on the certificate of ownership. the young lady whom he is destined to serve, calls him “Natti” though such informality is frowned upon. He is of the Non Class known as Synth Droids, his designation being U-AM7 z3t48L 426000. That is the alphanumeric code found on all documents pertaining to a’tannattal right back to the original synthetic DNA design sheets.

At the BioSynth Technologies Corporation he is simply known as U-AM7 z3t48L 426000. The M in a’tannattal’s number tells us that he is a mentor droid. The A that he is A-class, or that is he checks out as near as perfect as one could hope for from what is both an art and a science that tinkers with the basics of life itself. And the U? Well that is really important. The U means that the design of his synthetic DNA is unique. One of a kind. Which of course means that the DNA from that design can not be used for another Synth Droid of any type unless the present U-AM7 z3t48L 426000 has been destroyed. The original Synth DNA is kept locked away at the Bio Synth Technologies Corporation labs.

a’tannattal knows this. He made it his business to know, since, well, it is his business to know. He has the sole responsibility in this household for the tutelage of the daughter of the Governor of the Lakes District of T’rest. And a thirsty for knowledge young lady she is. He knows, but what he thinks about it no one has ever asked him, with the exception of his precocious pupil. And to her he gives no answer. They both know it is improper for her to ask him personal questions. And this meets with a’tannattal’s approval, since there are things that he thinks of which he would rather not speak to the humans.

He was brought to her the very hour she was born. He remembered that day as well as if he’d borne her himself. That day he fell deeply in love with the child. He couldn’t help it. It never occured to him to help it. It was the way his DNA was designed, and that was that. He was bonded to the child for life. Both hers and his. And though she often tried his patience to the limit. He loved her now no less and no more than he loved her when he first held her in his arms, smelled the fresh baby smell of her, imbibing the natural pherimones that were uniquely hers, cementing the bond that been designed into every fibre of his existence.

He had been told how he came into existence. The Lady Renala and her sister’s husband, the child’s father,  had wanted  to give the child’s mother, Deira, a perfect birthing gift. An older wiser companion who would be all things a growing child would need: A second mother, a protector, a teacher, a playmate, and more.

Money was no object to a family whose ancestors made planetfall here, and they agreed in secret to hire the world’s most foremost Synthetic DNA Designer, Ranor A’tai Denala. He was a most difficult man to work with, slightly mad most people said. Of course they would never say that to a Synth Droid, but rumours got around.

a’tannattal still marvelled that a full grown synthdroid could be grown in a vat in less than a month, while a human child took over nine months to get to a point where growing outside their mother’s womb would commence. Most of his learning had taken place in the holotubes where he was drilled incessantly about social protocols, natural history, social history, planetary and galactic history, basic mathematics and up and up  beyond quantum mechanics so that he would have everything on tap that his young protege might require.

And yet… How could one being be all that another could require, designed or not? He knew to his great sorrow he had failed her. Some flaw in his design? Or in hers? Perhaps if her mother had not died when she was still a babe. Perhaps there were no real answers to those kinds of questions. Or perhaps, when he found her… perhaps then he would know.

2011 Day 14 a scut, creature from UnderCity in my novel “Mentor”

| November 16, 2011 | 1 Comment

2011 Day 14 a scut, creature from UnderCity in my novel "Mentor"

A scut

Scut:  an arachnoid creature with ten to twelve legs holding suspended a fleshy flattened ovoid cylinder of a body. Bulbous glossy black eyes on short stalks on top of the body draw the attention away from the  cutting  jaws and sucking mandibles underneath.

The body itself is fairly soft but the legs are hard chitin and can be pulled up and over the soft body to protect its self. Scuts will not attack a moving target. They are scavengers really but they have been know to attack the wounded, basically to feed on them.

They prefer to nest in the higher reaches of Under City laying their trap webs to catch the unwary Flitbirds that also nest up there. In turn the Flitbirds often feast on the flesh and ichor of  the scuts. Turn about being fair play in the war to survive.

Often one of the multitudinous scuts will fall off their high nests to the ground very very far below. If they can get their legs into the defensive mode they may even survive the fall.

The scut pictured has been attacked by a predator and has lost some of its limbs, which are now regenerating. Often an injured scut will not survive, especially if it is immobilised, as its brethren will make short work of it.

Nothing goes to waste in the UnderCity.

Gibbi of UnderCity from my Novel, “Mentor”

| November 14, 2011 | 2 Comments

2011 Day 13 Gibbi of UnderCity from my Novel "Mentor"

Her full name Gibbil’ananat means ‘left by the gods’, as Gibbi was found as a newborn along with her dead “Lost One” mother. It was  a miracle the child was alive, for there are many things in the shadows of the Under City that would relish the taste of such a morsel, and had many times in the history of the people. It was thought that the mother died form wounds received protecting her babe. The miracle child was still strapped to the mother’s breast and able to keep itself alive on it’s mother’s milk for days. The proof of this was the amount the child had defecated by the time she was found. The people often teased her about her origins in the tribe by calling her Nissi, which is short for a’lini’sanis. Which means born from the shit of the gods.

This Gibbi took with humour and equanimity like most things. But it was felt that she was marked somehow, and that the reason for this would show itself someday. And “Nissi” became even more apt when she began to play with muds and ichor from the beasts of UnderCity to make pictures on the stone walls around them. Strange pictures and sometimes portraits of the people. But by then she had been Gibbi for so long that no one insisted she change her name.

After she turned eight she was brought before the Seer, who  blessed her arts. And though the Seer said naught, she kept her eye on the girl and learned much from her picture making.

Lathanar, Advisor of Upper City

| November 14, 2011 | 2 Comments

2011 Day 12 --Lathanar, Advisor of Upper City from my novel "Mentor"

Even in a supposed utopia there are those who thirst for power and undeserved recognition, though telling them they were undeserving would fall on deaf ears. Those who suffer from the fatal flaw of believing themselves to be the entitled ones  in a world of serfs, rarely can be told much of anything resembling the truth.

 Lathanar is secretly covetous of the position currently held by the current governor of the Lakes District of Upper City by right of heredity and appointment of the Council of T’rest, which is the governing body for the planet. At least that is what they have believed for centuries.

Lathanar truly believed he could do a better job than the current governor, and that would probably be so if all there was to governing was devising policy and signing papers and accounting for incomes and expenditures. Lathanar is extremely good at those things, which is why he was appointed chief advisor in the first place. But this stroke of good fortune based on his very real and excessively helpful talents has only served to make him bitter, for why give him the whole pie, but not the filling, too? Being so close to the governorship and yet  not being the governor chafed him badly. So badly that he tended to unsconsciously grit his teeth a lot of the time. So much so that he developed the muscles in his jaw into small hard round knots at his jaw line.

He had the austere face of a saint, yet none of a saint’s better qualities. He was good at his job. He knew the rules and he followed them to the letter, made sure everyone knew it, and urged others –to their vast annoyance– to do the same. Nitpicking exactitude has never made one popular. Quite the opposite. But Lathanar believed that people were simply jealous of his high position, and never wondered why they all loved the governor whose position was even higher. They say there are none so blind as those who simply will not see.

“But Your Grace…”, Lathanar leaned forward eager to get his point across, “these papers must be signed today or the council will not be able to ratify the decision until another two weeks have passed. I have it on good authority that…”

“Yes, yes! Good authority,The Governore waved a hand interrupting his advisor. “Still, I have not made up my own mind about it and this case is one that requires cool assessment and a certain levening amount of compassion,” the Governor said.

Er… exuse me, my lord,” squeaked Lathanar, ” Compassion?”

“Lathanar, everyone makes mistakes.” The Governor sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, tired and exasperated.

“But my lord… ”

“Oh, not you of course, Lathanar,” the Governor said. “But most mortals have pressures in their lives that they sometimes cannot cope with that will engender the making of bad decisions.”

He turned from the vast window that let him view the courtyard with it’s beautiful fountain and gazed wearily upon his aide, “Those of us upon whom fortune has smiled could do no better than to consider those upon whom fortune has not smiled.” And without seeing the irony in it he smiled briefly at his advisor and noting that his words had simply glanced off the severe man, shook his head sadly.

Tribal Mother/Seer from My Novel “Mentor”

| November 11, 2011 | 1 Comment

2011 Day 11 Tribal Mother/Seer of Under City from my Novel "Mentor"
Sorry, unnamed at this time, but is usually referred to as The Mother, or The Seer.

Metaphysical secrets passed down from one Tribal Mother/Seer to another, each generation adding to the store of lore and insight precious to the tribe. Held in great esteem, and with good reason, the Tribe does all it can to protect and nurture its Seer and her protege. Her legs have all but given out on her due to an attack as a child by one of the many savage beasts that hunt the Under City’s shadows.

The current Seer in Under City has not yet chosen a replacement. Some say because no one is worthy. Others that she desires to have Marnal (see 2011 Day 01 Marnal) as her protege, but Marnal pursues other interests. But The Mother is getting old. Very old and the people are concerned that she may leave them without a properly trained Seer. No one knows the will of a Seer of course until she makes it known, and she does have someone in mind. A least expected someone.

Renala of Upper City from My Novel “Mentor”

| November 10, 2011 | 4 Comments

2011 Day 10 Renala of Upper City from My Novel "Mentor"

Renala loves to dance.

Renala seems like a vague kind of person. The kind that sees all but wishes she didn’t and who emotionally sweeps things under the rug that she doesn’t want to deal with. She is thin and pale, her eyes are a very pale watery blue. She has almost a ghost like quality that makes people uncomfortable around her. She is apologetic to a fault, if that is at all possible, and she tends to move quietly often inadvertently sneaking up on people and startling them.

But she has a passion for literature, history, and the latest fashions (even if they don’t suit her very well). she tries to instill in her dead sister’s child a sense of propriety and the position of her father the Governor, but the girl goes her own way. Renala wants to control everything in her life so that it can’t hurt anyone.She feels safer knowing that MAICS and the Grid are always watching to ensure everyone’s safety.

The only time Renala loses her inhibitions a little is when she dances. She loves music that makes her body move and she loses some of her self-consciousness and her timidity.

She is so far the opposite of her more vivacious and outgoing sister that people often make jokes that they were actually cousins. Only in that context “cousins” can often mean “someone mated with a lesser being –probably a Synth”, and would be accompanied by a snicker.  Renala is not unaware of these snide put-downs of her mother by the petty snobs of society. And sometimes a hint of a more complex Renala surfaces.


Meldsen, Tech Master from My Novel “Mentor”.

| November 10, 2011 | 4 Comments

2011 Day 09 Tech Master Meldsen from my Novel "Mentor"


Meldsen is the Tech Master for Upper City in my novel “Mentor”. He plays a key role in that he is Phipp’s immediate superior, and that he alone is responsible for the smooth functioning of everything that makes  Upper City the sparkling vivaceous, comfortable and above all safe home of its human citizens. He’s even been know to go out of his way to repair areas of the City that are populated mostly by Nons and Synths.

He’s a gruff, no-nonsense old guy who still has a few tricks up his sleeve and he sees some things that others might not like to know he sees. But he also knows how to keep his mouth shut.

He dislikes the finery and pageantry  that people and the media and corporations keep trying to foist on him. He’s a plain man. He wears the robes when he has to, and weilds his magic when he must or when he has a point to make. But mostly, he and his boys wander in the Labyrinth that is the maze of tech tunnels all woven around and through the MAICS (the Master Artificial Intelligence Computer System) and the City itself.

Without his guidance, and the help of his heirarchy of apprentices there would be no more holos, replicators, food, clothing, and worst of all no more Grid. So when he begins to find anomalies in the MAICS code, and weapon grade lasers substituted for harmless pencil lasers in an exercise droid, he begins to count his assets, among them Phipp (see #8- previous sketch and writeup), and a handful of Synth engineers under his tutelage. Perhaps together they can cross the heaving social bounds and prevent catastrophe.


Phipp, Tech Apprentice, Upper City from my Novel “Mentor”

| November 8, 2011 | 2 Comments

2011 Day 08 --Phipp, Tech Apprentice Upper City from my novel "Mentor"

Phipp plays a key role in my novel “Mentor”. His technological skills border on the magical, even for the relatively computer dependent and decadent Upper City Citizens. He just has a way with computers and code, and inherited tools and skills passed down through his family for generations.

And a good thing, too. His family was responsible for the health and repair of the MAICS, the Master Artificial Intelligence Computer System, that controlled not only all services inside the bubble that was Upper City, but also the Grid which connected every one to everyone else.

Things have been going seriously wrong with MAICS lately. Anomolies showing up in the code, replicators not creating perfect copies, changes in communications. It was Phipp’s job as apprentice to see troubleshoot any physical problems with MAICS, but somehow these problems seems to be more than just a melted core, or a board crumbling with age. MAICS was getting old, yes. But… Could someone be trying to sabotage it?
When Phipps begins to investigate, he find much much more than he bargained for.

A Squeeb, from my Novel “Mentor”

| November 7, 2011 | 2 Comments

2011 Day 07 --A Squeeb, from my Novel, "Mentor"

The Squeeb are a large (about two feet long not counting the tail) rodent-type creature that proliferates in the UnderCity. They are intelligent, loyal and  best of all, tameable as pets and hunters.

Note: I might post more about these creatures later. I’ve run out of time for today. Sorry.

Day 06 –Sjana of Upper City from my novel “Mentor”

| November 6, 2011 | 2 Comments

2011 Day 06 --Sjana's Last Look Back, from my novel "Mentor"

Sjana of Upper City takes a last look back …
before leaping into the unknown.

Sjanatha A’tan Re’ khalanth, only daughter of widower Kinsaar A’tan Re’kalanth, Governor of the Lakes Region of  Vindertrest on the Rim planet T’rest.
Always a handful to manage, one always had the feeling the child had been born in the wrong time. Willful and petulant when balked. Inclined to go her own way regardless of the effect on others. Though to her credit, she never meant to cause grief to others. It was her passion for knowledge that caused her to seek ways around the safety protocols, precautions, and barriers. Se sought knowledge born of experience, rather than that readily available on the Grid, or from MAICS’s archives. She did gain knowledge from both those sources, but somehow it was not enough. Somehow she had to get herself physically inside a subject and turn it inside out until she really felt she knew it.

But that was a hard thing to do on T’rest. Especially since the war, after the ships stopped landing here. After the Bubble went up. Sjana’s Aunt, Renala del Re’sjahlak, Sister to Sjana’s mother Deira, had done the best she could to give Sjana the kind of loving guidance that her own sister Deira would have given her. And the two adored each other. But Renala was a fairly conventional woman. Though she had admired her sister’s bravery and forth right nature, she had often harboured thoughts that perhaps her sister’s untimely death had something to do with that nature. Her inability to let a thing go, let it ride…

Sjana took after Deira. Openly standing up for the weak. Loyal, bold and honest and forth right most of the time, but not afraid to go behind one’s back in order to fulfil  a perceived obligation. At this age, the tender age of seventeen, what Sjana thought was right and proper, she also thought everyone else should think was right and proper. It just never occurred to her that other people had their own agendas, and was surprised when people were offended or angry with her. She was often full of remorse to find that her actions had negative effects on others, and did what she could to make amends. But she wasn’t sorry that she’d done it. Because, well… she needed to. She was just very sorry that her needs had hurt others. All this coupled with her inexhaustible energy, sooner or later Sjana was bound to make trouble in a big way.

And so it was no surprise when Sjana’s synthdroid mentor, a’tannattal, reported her missing, last “seen” by MAICS over thirty hours ago heading toward the promontory. No Grid activity since then. Somehow, to Renala’s horror, Sjana had finally found a way to have escaped the Grid as she had often threaten to do. That or she was dead. How could a child survive with no Grid to guide her? The Grid was the one topic that Renala and Sjana could never see eye to eye. To Renala the Grid represented safety and freedom. You could never be alone. And that was just the opposite of what it represented to Sjana. To her it was stifling and intrusive. And you could never be alone. You could never experience anything or yourself, first hand. It chafed and she plotted ways and means to escape such benevolent tyranny.

Excerpt from “Mentor”:

She woke a long time later, stiff and sore with her head on her pack and her knees pulled up to her chest. She’d been dreaming about her mother again. Her mother who was smart and brave and beautiful and who loved her, just like Auntie had told her so often. She herself hardly remembered her, but dreaming about her was like a benediction.

She sat up working her neck muscles, moving her head from side to side when a gleam of pale light began dawning, not from above as she had expected, but from somewhere over there to her left; from the wall of the gap she had fallen into. She scrambled to her feet and slung on the pack. She stumbled over the stones and broken bits of marble to the light and found that there was yet another hole, this one big enough to swallow three of her.

She poked her head through the hole and looked around. There were other holes, like large broken windows, across from where she stood. The light was coming from there. They really looked like they might have once been windows. She’d learned about windows years ago when she’d asked why she couldn’t go to the places she saw on the windows, and was told they were only projections on screens that MAICS put there for us. Real windows were holes in the walls with an almost invisible substance fitted into it. to keep the outside outside so to speak. Those holes over there looked like that and that the light which was coming through them at angle was really somewhere outside. Light was coming in from outside. Was there no end to the wonders?

There was a whirring sound above her head. She ducked instinctively as something soft scraped across her hair.  there was a blur in front of her then a second later was somewhere else. So fast that she couldn’t focus on it, but it seemed to be a small bird, flying.

“How did you get out of your cage?” She murmured at it. Startled, it flew up out of her sight and she craned her neck to see where it had gone. There were hundreds of them up there, wings vibrating faster than light it seemed. And then she looked down. And gasped. It was a long way down. In fact it was so far down that she couldn’t see the bottom. The area that she could see, the part that held up the marble floor above her, was about forty feet  by sixty feet, she estimated.  There was a wide ledge, maybe six feet wide just below her hole, and the window holes on the other side, not all of which let in light, went down and down and down until you could no longer see any. What was this place? Did MAICS know about it? Why were there cageless birds here? Could they be wild birds? like they’d sometimes seen on the promontory?

Wonders! And nothing could have stopped her at that moment from climbing out through the hole and dropping the few feet to the ledge.

A Slither, a monster from my novel “Mentor”

| November 5, 2011 | 2 Comments

A Slither, a monster from my novel, "Mentor"


Mentor: A science fantasy adventure, by J S Rowe


These reptilian predators were thought at first to be those that escaped from the BioSynth transport container that was delivering a shipment of designer DNA “snakes”  to the Ancient Wonders Theme Park. That BioSynth container had been derailed by a small earthquake which opened up a large sinkhole that swallowed parts of two buildings as well as the part of the stasis tube that separated them. The container crashed through the tube and shattered itself on the ground, releasing it’s charges to the wilds. There were six “snakes” as they were dubbed, though no one had a description other than they would grow to be up to four feet long and eight to twelves inches in diameter. Thought to be engineered to be sterile, Ancient Wonders was sent another batch fresh from the Vats by way of compensation, and the lost snakes became no more than an entry in a ledger subtracting their cost in engineering and bio mass from the main stores and the profit and loss paras.

But as usual nature has its own commitment to keep regarding the viability of her creatures whether conjured through evolution itself or by the helpful hand of  intelligent monkeys. Some how  they did manage to breed, and along the way, grew legs and claws, four of them, and grew to a much larger size than predicted and spread themselves through out the Under City.

Under City inhabitants hunted them to keep their numbers down and found that their meat was very tasty as long as the creature was fully bled at its death, and as well, that it’s venom was a useful numbing agent for practical medical applications. Once a way was found to pierce the scales, those too were found to be useful for both ornamentation, and protective coverings.

The Slither prefers the darkness, hunting its prey by smell. The poison secreted from long sacs on either side of the head, paralyses the prey of the Slither instantly. Though it looks clumsy and somewhat comical, it is lightning fast and deadly. The unhinged jaw can open wide enough to swallow a fully grown Wamba bear, but it’s preference is for the tender flesh of  babies and young humanoids, and any other smallish mammals.

The Droogle, A Live SynthPet ©BioSynth, from my novel “Mentor”

| November 3, 2011 | 4 Comments

2011 Day 03 SynthPet --Droodle


The Droogle, Designer DNA SynthPet from “Mentor” my novel WIP.

This SynthPet, Droogle,  ©BioSynth Corporation, was designed by Frabgo A’tal Rethgrad as a promotional gift for the wife of the Governor of the Lakes District of T’rest, Deira A’tan Re’kalanth del Re’sjahlak.  Deira found the whole concept of designer pets and humans for the marketplace sickening and abhorrent, but the political gambit on the part of the BioSynth Marketing paid off for them in spades.
The pet was hairless, brightly coloured, and was grown from DNA from a surprising number of indigenous species, as you can probably tell by looking at it’s flat snout, leathery ears, and claws. It was also tweaked to be playful, obedient, and docile in the presence of humans. It had no teeth and could only take liquid nourishment due to it’s tight chitinous neck rings. To Deira A’tan Re’kalanth it was the embodiment of an abomination, a parody of a living creature, an yet it was a living creature harmless and deserving of food, shelter and love, like any other living creature.

In her position, politically she could not refuse the pet since it was already alive. On the one hand, she could not condone a practise she found painfully abhorrent and that she had secretly been trying to undermine. On the other, she couldn’t bear to have a living thing destroyed, and she knew that the media (fueled by BioSynth tainted coin) would forever hold her up as a champion of the SynthPet market. It wasn’t the pets themselves that she hated. To her, they were the victims, like all the designer dna creatures BioSynth leased in public and in private.

Her strong views on Designer DNA SynthPets were known to the media and therefore the general public who held her in great respect. This of course kept the sales of the Synth pets lower than estimated, hence the design of a gift Deira couldn’t refuse. If she refused it the pet would be returned to the BioMass vats, effectively killing it, to Deira’s way of thinking. She grew to love the little Droodle as it was named on the certificate of ownership (which was actually a lease) at the same time as she grew to hate it’s creators.

When the Droodle began to show signs of biogenetic deterioration, patchy skin colour, fading, jaundice around the eyes and mouth,  she swore vengeance on those who had created a living being into a life of pain and torture. She finally formed the Society for the Abolishment of SynthPet Creation. Her husband the Governor, backed her up, risking losing everything. And just as the tension grew to a head, she contracted a rare new disease and died within days.

Upon the death of the owner, a SynthPet who was not passed on as heirloom to another member of the diseased family, was collected by BioSynth, and if healthy was re-sold. If found to be unhealthy was returned to the vats.

When Synth Corp arrived to pick up the Droodle, it could not be found. It’s disappearance was hushed up and the consequences of irresponsibility were once again cast aside by BioSnth Corp –for a time.

A Piercer Defender from my novel “Mentor”

| November 2, 2011 | 6 Comments

2011 Day 02 A Piercer Defender, UnderCity denizen from the novel "Mentor" by J.S. Rowe

The Piercers are a large breed of insectoids who hunt the humanoids in UnderCity in my novel “Mentor”. In turn they are hunted for their eggs and ichor, as well as the chitinous plates that cover the flexible eight- to ten- foot lengths of their bodies. Hunted during molting season and again in Laying season, these creatures are extremely dangerous, and in molting season are in particularly bad temper, having less balance due to their loss of wings. The Wings provide a little lift and balance to the two legged insect, but no flight.

Piercer Layers will lay up to six eggs in a nest secured to the damp walls with mud daubs. Once the nest is full they will patch together another nest and proceed to fill it, each Layer can fill up to 20 nests if left undisturbed. Usually only one nest will survive, this serial abandonment. The eggs are much sought after by the smaller fauna of the UnderCity.

In later days it is speculated that many of the strange creatures found in the UnderCity were the product of brutal cost-cutting by the corporate entity that held the sole rights over synthetic DNA (aka SynthDNA) operating under the name BioSynthetics (See T’rest vs BioSynthetics, sect 536, para. 43(a)&(c)).

BioSynth Corp created designer biotics (for scientific study and experimentation), domestic animals, feral animals (for freak shows and safari parks), as well as the more socially problematic designer humanoid “servants” (entertainers, caregivers, and mentors) for the very wealthy.

It was determined that some of the experimental and designer DNA biomass as well as some of the rarer creatures created escaped the Grid and were found later to have morphed and evolved in closed off areas of the city, and also to have spread to other areas of the planet. It is undetermined how much of the extant DNA is “natural” or “tainted” by SynthDNA.

The legal battles raged for centuries. BioSynth Corp. claiming that legally every plant, animal, humanoid containing any part or copy of SynthDNA belonged to them. This of course was disputed by the offspring of the original carriers of SynthDNA.

Note: All creatures sold as pets, domestic animals, feral animals. or servants were guaranteed to be biologically infertile in order for BioSynth Corp. to retain it’s favourable position in the market place.

The Piercers were originally created for the owner operator of a Fun Farm, who went bankrupt through poor decision making. At the time of their creation their size was DNA limited to three feet in length.

Day 01–Marnal of Undercity from my novel “Mentor”

| November 1, 2011 | 8 Comments

Day 01 -Marnal of UnderCity


Marnal is one of the main characters in my current Science Fantasy novel “Mentor“.  Mentor has been brewing on the back burner of my imaginative processes for at least two decades, perhaps longer. This will be my sixth novel.

Imagine a small world out on the Far Rim where human dependency on computers is absolute. If you are not “connected” then you no longer exist, and without connection you cannot access anything that would sustain your life. Food, shelter, clothing. All are replicated by the Artificial Intelligence  machines only at personal request over the Grid. No Grid, you soon die of exposure and/or starvation. And perhaps even die of grief over the loss. But accidents happen, though people turn a blind eye. Corruption in the code, metal fatigue in an ancient machine, great over-ruling System, MAICS, can drop a person off the Grid faster than the engineers and their trained apprentices can locate and repair any damage. And once a person is gone.. they are not even mourned. They have ceased to exist. But do some mourn regardless..?

This is the story of one person on one of the ancient Rim Worlds, who so far is surviving the terrible loss of connection, and of another who naively plots to be removed from the perceived restraints of the Grid. It is the story of those they encounter and gather around them on their disparate journies–one desperately trying to get home; the other with equal desperation trying to get away.  Woven through out is the story of the plight of the artificially created servants of the ruling classes–the caregivers and the mentors. As well as the story of another lost people, Marnal’s people, who are born off the Grid with only comforting distortions about it that have been handed down through too many generations. It is an adventure story of the ever present struggle between the Haves and the Have-nots, and it is a journey of both enlightenment and redemption.

It is also the novel I’m writing for NaNoWriMo this month.  Wish me luck!

Day# 30 MobU and Stats, robot symbiotes

| November 30, 2010 | 3 Comments
#30 MobU+Stats, robot symbiotes for Wheeler's Orbits by Jande Rowe

#30 MobU+Stats, robot symbiotes for Wheeler's Orbits by Jande Rowe

“Days like this make me think I was manufactured under a bad sign.” ―C-3PO.

#30 MobU & Stats, Robot Symbiotes

You might be forgiven if at first glance you think there are two robots in this artist’s sketch of Stats and MobU (pronounced “Mow’bew”). And in one fairly obvious way you would be right. They look separate, though MobU can attach itself to Stats’ head piece once the antenna has been retracted. But they were created in fact as a single unit. Though if Stats‘ personality splits any further, there may be a true dichotomy.

Wheeler and Ikey assembled Stats when they were kids from parts scavenged from the local industries on their home planet of Foglio IV, many of which were experimental, some of which were top secret. That may have been the reason why Stats often had memory failures. It may account for the fact that the robot could spout statistics about things that Wheeler or Ikey had never even heard of. It also may be why he or uh.. lets just call it “he” for now, since it, uh… he has just achieved a conscious state of sentience for the first time in over a decade –Well its system combination of CPU [Central Processing Unit] and HMC [HoloMemoryCore] had. Consciousness had been hard-wired in by a series of bizarre accidents, perhaps even before Wheeler dug the logic core out of the recycle bin. Then again, with Wheeler’s luck, not to mention timing, and total lack of training, the boys might have had a little to do with the personality, or… Personalities, that emerged.  But to all intents and purposes Stats had finally been delegated to a dark corner of the jet park cubby-hole the last time he had a memory failure. Wheeler wasn’t that interested in statistics anyway, though Ikey got a bit of a kick out of them. By this time he was frustrated by the breakdowns, and he and Ikey having just discovered that girls were not the icky fragjaws he used to think them, he managed over time to forget all about having tried to create the world’s first Super-Destructo Paintball Robot (Some fads never die).

Later with the rise of the family fortunes, the house and jetpark were sold off, the contents of the jetpark including the deactivated robot were sent to a Goodwill recycle plant, and the family moved literally up to the next level on Foglio IV.

The Techs at Goodwill were astounded to find the rather scuffed Robot as part of a donation delivery. They tried activating it. The lights blinked and went on blinking, but nothing happened. No response to voice input anyway. One of the techs thought he might have an old keyboard stashed away in the back, but when he looked for it, he decided it might not be worth digging through centuries of museum pieces for it. Then another truckload of donations came in and he left the Robot powered up and didn’t remember until the following day when he came in to find its lights had stopped blinking and it was turning its head this way and that as if looking for something, or maybe… scanning?

He tried voice commands again but all the tech could get out of it was a stream of archaic statistics. It did however make a fine cup of tea, and so it was installed in the tech lunch room. There it stayed for about a year, entertaining them with tea and statistics, until one day they arrived for tea and the robot was gone. No one seemed to know where or why. It hadn’t been sold. It might have been stolen, but who would steal from a charity organisation run by volunteers. Nah. The Robot was an unstable device at best. It probably had the  mechanical equivalent of a brainstorm and wandered off. They would miss the tea.

And brainstorm was exactly what had happened. A kind of accidental pre-programmed brainstorm caused by conflicting commands, and timed relay synapses opening certain logic gates that weren’t meant to be opened. And so a robot child was born. And it wandered away in search of its mother, with no clue of how to interact with the world as a sentient being. But it was learning. And one thing it was learning was that that nagging voice in his head really WAS in his head. The MobU was still firmly attached, and wasn’t much liking it.

MobU is the shortened form of “Mobile Unit”, even though its base also had a more limited form of mobility. It was designed to be a completely separate Unit from the MainFrame “parent” (note: MainFrame has a whole different meaning in the 24th Century) while sharing memory and some of the parent unit’s CPU cycles.  During the time Wheeler and Ikey were trying to get the darned Robot to do anything but recite outdated statistics, more and more of the MobU’s capacity was taken up with memory backups from the main. Which had the unexpected result of  both units becoming sentient at the same time but growing differentiating personalities based on their differing functionality and mobility.

The MobU was a free-floating (some say flying, but it couldn’t go far from the parent unit, although no one has had a chance to determine how far that is), dish-shaped device that had one curious aspect. The material it was made from was a top secret amalgam of human biologicals and mineral-metallurgicals at the molecular level. It could not only heal itself, but its logic boards could really think. It’s only limitation to the kinds of changes it could make to itself was that it could not change its own total mass. In that, it was one singular and unique unit. And its biggest problem, as it soon learned, was that it was trapped in a relationship with a slower “thinking” and much more confused other half. But that was only the beginning of its problems.  They were stuck with each other and would have to make the best of it. Unless…

Perhaps could those who had created Stats and MobU find a way to separate them? If MobU was to turn its vast and unique fledgling intelligence to work in tandem with Stats‘ longing to find his creator. More than a decade had passed since lights out. Could they do it?


I had a hard time stopping writing long enough to upload this one. These guys really caught my imagination. Hard to believe I sat and stared at a blank sheet of Strathmore Bristol for over an hour this morning with an equally blank mind. Later, as my panic grew, I started scribbling heads in the hope it would get the juices flowing again. This piece is the result and I’m extremely happy with the Characters, their relationship, and the many ideas for fun story arcs they have given me. I hope you enjoy my Finale piece as much as I do, and will continue to enjoy these two Characters when I incorporate them into Wheeler’s Orbits comic.

Day# 28 Sonata (with writer James S. Allen)

| November 28, 2010 | 0 Comments
#28 Sonata, from the novel Alien Artifacts by James S. Allen, by Jande Rowe

#28 Sonata, from the novel Alien Artifacts by James S. Allen, by Jande Rowe

#28 Sonata, from the novel Alien Artifacts by James S. Allen

Note: As promised, here is another, and I must say–very important– character from the novel Alien Artifacts, by James S. Allen. Since at this time I don’t have the time to colour it in a way that would do it justice, I’ve presented it in black and white for your pleasure. The coloured version will come along later. Once again, James has given me a most generous excerpt form Alien Artifacts, featuring the debut of Sonata, little alien woodland creature. And smart? Ooh! Sure is!

But since I’ve been privileged to read the whole novel, I must be careful. I don’t want to hand out any spoilers. There is so much depth and fun in this novel, I wouldn’t want you to miss any of it.

So here is the excerpt, and my thanks to James for allowing me the privilege of drawing his characters.


In the gray, early hour before dawn, Stephen was jolted awake, this time by a cry from much closer at hand.  He’d heard Rowan scream, he was sure of it! But like the cry in middle of the night, hers too was suddenly cut off.  A surge of adrenaline shot through him as fear clenched at his gut.  He leapt to his feet, staggering slightly with dizziness at the suddenness of his rising.  Where was Rowan?

As a matter of fact, she was standing in the basket just in front of him, facing its forward end.

“Rho!”  he exclaimed.  “Are you all right?  I heard you cry out.”

She held a finger to her lips and then whispered, “I’m fine.  Sorry to alarm you.  I’m afraid I’ve frightened it as well.”

It?”  he replied in a whisper, looking around. He noted that Myrll was sitting quietly in the rear of the gondola, head tilted in puzzlement.  “What ‘it’ have you frightened? And why are we speaking in whispers?”

“So we don’t frighten it anymore.”  she said.  “It was just so startling to find it there when I awoke that I let out a scream before I could stop myself.  Now I feel badly.”

Stephen looked at Rowan wonderingly.  “Uh, find what where?  Rho, by Goatha’s Lolling Tongue, what are you talking about?”

“Shhh!” she admonished, and inclined her head towards the front of the gondola.  “That.”

A small furry head with large, liquid golden eyes, popped up from the edge of the basket.  “Purdeeep…purdeeep?” it chittered.  It looked over the occupants of the basket, head darting from side to side.  When no one moved it apparently reached a decision, and leapt nimbly from the side of the basket to one of the ropes that held the gondola suspended.  “Purdeeep?”  It called again questioningly.

It was roughly the size of a large earthly squirrel, and similar in shape, with a luxuriantly furred body and a large bushy tail.  Instead of four limbs, however, it had six.  The hind legs were powerful and well-muscled, made for jumping and climbing.  The four front limbs were like two sets of arms, each ending in a tiny articulated hand with three fingers and a thumb for grasping.  Its fur was a glossy black, with splotches of gold and orange.  On its face was a tiny white bandit’s mask, and just above each of it hands, there was a band of white fur that encircled its arms.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous.”  Rowan breathed raptly, “And so cute!  I wonder what it might like to eat?”

Stephen had to agree.  It was both.  Still, it was also a wild creature on an alien world.  Caution would doubtless be the wisest course of action.

“Rho,” he whispered diffidently, “do you really think it’s wise to get involved with an unknown wild creature, stranded here as we are, amongst aliens of uncertain intent?”

Rowan considered briefly, and shook her head from side to side slightly.  “No.  Almost certainly not.”

The creature, who had been looking from one human to the other as they spoke, shook its head from side to side.

“No… neither do I.”  Stephen whispered back.

“So,” Rowan repeated.  “I wonder what it might like to eat?”

“I suggest some of the nuts we brought from the island.”  Stephen offered hopefully.  “It looks a bit like a squirrel, and they certainly like nuts.”


Afternote: I’m toying with the idea of Having Rowan and Stephen as my last two characters, but they  may be too complex for me to create in a way that will satisfy the writer.  I’m going to give it a try anyway and see what happens.  If they don’t turn out, I’ll do something else. I’d really like to have an awesome finale piece (but I’m afraid I won’t be able to top this one. lol)


Day# 27 A Pair of Gorths (with writer James S. Allen)

| November 28, 2010 | 0 Comments
#27 A Pair of Gorths, from the novel Alien Artifacts by James S. Allen

#27 A Pair of Gorths, from the novel Alien Artifacts by James S. Allen

#27 A Pair of Gorths, from the novel Alien Artifacts by James S. Allen

(#25)Rok’sla has an excerpt that introduces the Gorths in James S. Allen’s novel Alien Artifacts. Here is another small excerpt from Alien Artifacts featuring the Gorths:


“Behind them, the tortured entry door finally yielded, a large mass of it slumping away to one side.  Two Gorth pirates leapt through the opening, sailed over the still molten metal, and landed in a crouch, prepared to deal instant death with the blasters they waved about with disturbing eagerness.  Enragingly, however, the quarry they had pursued so relentlessly to this place refused to reveal themselves and be properly blasted.  In unconscious tribute to the forces of natural selection that had shaped them from ferociously thoughtless killers to thoughtfully ferocious killers, they refrained from blasting one another.  It was a near thing.”


Afternote: This was supposed to be #26, but I had a power failure and lost my work so I had to start over again. Also the reason the Gorths are uncoloured as yet. No biggie, though. I hope to have a third character from Alien Artifacts ready for tomorrow.

Day# 26, The Swarm From Space

| November 27, 2010 | 0 Comments
#26 The Swarm from Space, by Jande Rowe

#26 The Swarm from Space, by Jande Rowe

They Came From Outer Space

Day #26 –The Swarm

No one knows their origin, most don’t even know they exist. The first indication of that comes when one looks up at the sky, alerted by some kind of strange vibration and a sound of wind.

At first you think they are a cloud of little pink angels, like out of one of your kid’s video games, and you drop to your knees in awe. Then as they come closer, you see the odd, almost shapeless shape of them, each apparently the size of an old water barrel, and you slowly get off your knees, unable yet to grasp the totality of the situation. The strange vibration presses against your ears, and the old, old instinct for survival rises in you. The dog is barking, tail between its legs, backing away from the oncoming swarm. You command the dog to follow, and he scampers to your side still barking. He’s shaking all over.

At long last your legs find themselves running, running. You try to direct that motion, calm the primitive panic. But if you don’t get behind closed doors very soon…

There! No, not the barn! The House! Quickly!

Over your shoulder you see the first wave land, though they never really touch the ground. There must be millions of them! You twist the door handle and it sticks. A scream in your throat, you try again, hitting your hip against the stubborn thing. It bursts open and you flail through, the dog right behind you, and slam it behind you, saying a prayer of thanks, while still wondering why you you are panicking. But still the rational part of you takes a few deep breaths and hurries around the house making sure all windows are closed and locked. You even check the fireplace flue.

You think of your wife and the kids who must be on their way home by now. You should call her, but just then you see through the picture window a scene that chills you to your heart: The verdant field and the trees in full leaf, the herds of goats and sheep have been replaced by a moving blanket of fluttering pink winged blobs. And even as you watch, every living thing is stripped from the land and grey devastation left in its wake.  A shudder goes through you.

The dog has stopped barking. But now it is pressing its shaking body against your leg,  uttering quiet whines. A ringing starts in your ears. You realise it’s your phone. You answer it, numbly. It’s Annya, hysterical, crying..  You cut through her sobs and yell. “Are you in the car? Annya! Answer me! Are the kids with you?”

Her answer is muffled, but affirmative. “Whatever you do –Don’t leave the car! Lock it!  Have you locked it?”

Another affirmitive. “Try and drive home once they’ve passed.” Having to keep her sane and help her get home is helping to steel your own nerves.

In less than a few minutes the world has changed. Every living thing on the surface of the earth has been stripped bare. What will happen now. Will they just leave? Or will they try to pry the rest of us out of our hiding spots? That many of them could break apart a house like this in minutes. Nothing, nowhere, is safe..

And what will happen next, with no harvest, no meat animals except those that were kept inside.

You pull the curtains closed, sickened by the sight of that moving pink carpet of devastation. And you wait. And wait.

Day#25 Rok’sla (with Author, James S. Allen)

| November 26, 2010 | 1 Comment
#25 Rok'sla, by Jande Rowe for Alien Artifacts written by James.S. Allen

#25 Rok'sla, by Jande Rowe for Alien Artifacts written by James.S. Allen

“I have been specially trained.”

Note: James S. Allen has written a delightful space adventure novel, “Alien Artifacts”, about a pair of  Xenoarchaeologists from the Institute of Ancient Studies, Rowan and Stephen, embarking on their first dig on an unknown planet dubbed “Dekkar V”. They are both very excited about  this, but sooner than you would expect things go wrong and they are plunged into a fascinating world of  beauty, intrigue and living alien artifacts. James has kindly given me the excerpt from Alien Artifacts below as an introduction to his character, Rok’sla, of the Calurrian race:


They moved off to follow the well worn path that was indicated by the marker beacons.  It was pleasant to stretch their legs beneath the open sky, even if it was purplish black, after several weeks shipboard.  In the light gravity, they made short work of the journey.  As they approached the camp, they were greeted by a brief burst of static in their suit comms, and then an unfamiliar guttural voice.

“Welcome colleagues.  Please proceed to the airlock on the largest dome.  I’ll be waiting there to greet you.”

They cycled through the designated airlock and emerged into a large, brightly lit room that was obviously a laboratory.  The room was strewn with sealed boxes, equipment, instruments and ancient alien artifacts in many shapes and sizes.  There were also three persons in the room.  The smallest of these, an orange-skinned gnomish looking individual, moved forward to greet them.  He waited while Stephen and Rowan removed their helmets, and then addressed them in the same guttural voice that had come across the suit comm units.

“Greetings.  I am Dr. Rok’sla.  I lead the UU expedition.  These are my associates,  Assistant Researchers Kloskan and Durnel.”  He indicated the two figures that towered behind him to the left and right.

Stephen looked at them and did a double take.  The seven foot tall reptilian forms were familiar to him, and he was quite taken aback to see them standing here in lab coats.

“Yes,” continued Dr. Rok’sla drily, “they are indeed Gorth.  There is a great deal of…misinformation that circulates about the Gorth race.  Contrary to popular opinion, they are not all pirates.  Many of them choose to pursue careers in the arts and sciences.  As have these two, my able colleagues here on Dekkar V.”

The two Gorth smiled hugely at Stephen and Rowan, revealing a startling array of jagged razor sharp teeth.

“Unfortunately, however, one piece of common knowledge about the Gorth is true.  They are quite unable to master Galcom, and hence will be unable to converse with you directly.  If there is anything you wish to ask of them or convey to them, I fear I will have to translate for you.”

This piqued Rowan’s curiosity.  “That’s quite fascinating Dr. Rok’sla.  I understood the Gorth to communicate by extremely low frequency sound waves, produced and received by specially evolved organs in their tails.  Those frequencies are far below the threshold that can be created by the vocal apparatus of most species.  Are you saying the calurrian race have some sort of similar capability?”

An unreadable expression appeared briefly on the bulbous features of the rotund little being and he answered tersely.

“I have been specially trained.”  His face smoothed again into its former blandness.  “And now, perhaps, you would extend the courtesy of introducing yourselves?”


Afternote: The next Character will also be from the novel Alien Artifacts. James has definitely created some memorable ones. It has been interesting finding a balance between the ones I saw in my own minds eye when I read the novel and the ones I shape from my discourse with the author. Another completely new and satisfying process –a path to agreement– must be forged in order for the author to be happy with what emerges from my pen.


Day#24 Baron Bleebharan, Rebel Artist

| November 25, 2010 | 0 Comments
#24 Baron Bleebharan for Wheeler's Orbits by Jande Rowe

#24 Baron Bleebharan for Wheeler's Orbits by Jande Rowe

“Self-Portrait of a Failed Abstract Artist”

by Baron Bleebharan of  the Outer Rim Artists Colony, circa 2420(GR)

Day # 24: A Balthrazhod: Baron Bleebharan.

The above self portrait of Baron Bleebharan, a Balthrazhod artist and framing specialist from  the Outer Rim Artists Colony is said to be the only surviving work of his abstractionist art, though numerous of his maverick landscape works exist even today in the Bleebharan Museum of Natural Art. Below is an excerpt from the BalthrazWiki, sans citations:

“Semi-sentient beings settled a minor planet in the Outer Rim of the Galaxy millennia before the Earth was even a mote in Sol’s Corona. The original settlers were looking for a world of natural beauty so that they might have a bountiful place to begin their artists colony far from the censure of their fellow Balthrazhods. They settled in quite well as a matter of fact, painting up the local fauna and flora and displacing some thirty one thousand indigenous species not to mention enslaving two humanoid species ( the prongles and the fitchrils, both races that would have hunted each other to extinction had the Balthrazhods not taken a shine to their dexterity and  their sensitivity to colour. The dexterity allowed them to do all the kinds of work the Balthrazhods eschewed, leaving the masters to devote all their time to their art; the colour sensitivity allowing even greater range and depth in each piece as the closer to perfection became the work, the more easily the fitchrils would succumb and faint away –rather like Earth canaries who, exposed to the gases emitted in coal mines would falter in their joyous singing and fall from their caged roosts for the betterment of coal miners everywhere).

As the eons of devotion to art progressed, so too did the Balthrazhods, both spiritually and artistically, however they tended to neglect their physical selves and over those same eons became somewhat turgid and slug-like. Those of the Balthrazhods who were able to harness their creativity tended to become more and more abstractionists in temperament, not to mention personally abstracted, to the point of changing their own forms to match their gastropod-like temperaments.

Those who failed artistically tended to become merchants. Of what, you ask? Oh, art supplies and framing, of course.  But those of us here on Terra Firma would not recognize the difference between a Balthrazhod Art Supply Shop and a Balthrazhod Museum of Fine Art.

Baron Bleebharan was one of those failed Balthrazhod artists. Other Balthrazhods had passed judgement upon his works and would have, every one of them, given him the thumbs down if in fact they had anything resembling thumbs by this time. Still, a tentacle curled in contempt had the same effect on a fellow Balthrazhod as the leering thumbs down of an Earth man, secure in his beliefs in The Way Things Worked, had on artists of his own kind.

Baron Bleebharan’s own preference, nay passion, was landscape painting. He abhorred the traditional abstractions (they made him suffer from a vertigo similar to the effect they had on the fitchril slaves), preferring, himself, to capture nature in the raw. The Frilcar of the mountain sunsets, the verlact of the still abundant flora, the streevit sparkle of a marshland spring. These were the colours that moved his turgid juices until he could almost feel it within himself to actually move an inch or two under his own power.

He was filthy rich as most failed artists on the Rim world  were, but he longed for the recognition of his more abstractionist peers. Since he couldn’t help himself, he continued to paint his little landscapes in the face of certain disdain all while he built up his framing business. His reputation as a kooky maverick  brought the curious to his shop (where he even braved the inevitable censure by framing and hanging some of his own curiosities), who then were dazzled by his brilliance in his capacity as an expert and creative framer and when they left his shop they did so after giving the Baron their framing order.

At one point the King and Queen Balthrazhod visited his little shop and came away not only deeply moved (not by his landscapes, of course but by his framing techniques) but determined to provide him with some small reward of stature in the eyes of the world. They gave him a Franglaaesk of his own, a rich reward something along the lines of a Barony in our world. He was told it was a verdant land, filled with all the fauna and flora he could ever want to paint. But he never quite got moving enough to go and visit it. He did send his prongle slaves and they reported in the abstract as they had been trained, that it was a very nice piece of land, complete with an artist’s loft castle and a crystal falls.

As time moved inexorably on, Bleebharan’s yearning for the approbation of his peers finally turned sour. So sour in fact that he decided he’d had enough of the colony world and struck off into space to find perhaps some entities out there if not his own kind, at least maybe of kindred spirit.  And so he had his slaves prepare his last will and testament, leaving all his worldly goods (those left behind) to a Museum of Natural Art, for which he also supplied the funds and the slaves. Then he had them build a ship and fill it with supplies and his favourites of his landscapes, as well as the tools of both his trades, and off he shot into space where he soon ran into a spot of trouble involving a pair of humanoid trade runners who refused to be slaves or artists, but were willing to trade goods and barter services on a fairly equal basis. At least he thought it was fairly equal. These “humans” intrigued the Baron Bleebharan and he found their energetic to-ings and fro-ings entertaining to say the least.

Meanwhile back on his home colony planet, his Museum of Natural Art became a huge success with the younger generations of Balthrazhods, starting a whole new movement in the colony much to the shock and disgust of the diehard older generations. The Baron had left his home to wander the wide universe looking for artists made in his own image (so to speak), and in his rush to start over left behind him the very ones he sought. There is a lesson in this tale, but I’d rather not bore you with proverbs –especially since the Baron Bleebharan got to meet and spend some time with Wheeler and Ikey of Wheeler’s Orbits. And that, of course, made the whole thing worth it after all.”


Day# 23 Gobbler, Spirit of Thanksgiving

| November 22, 2010 | 1 Comment

#23 Gobbler, Spirit of Thanksgiving, by Jande Rowe

#23 Gobbler, Spirit of Thanksgiving, by Jande Rowe

Pass The Turkey! (And Don’t forget the Stuffing!)

#23 Gobbler, the Spirit of Thanksgiving came to consciousness sometime around the end of the Twentieth Century as mankind measures things. It was a slow awakening, born out of the human need to give thanks for blessings received, and the growing awareness that the entity to whom these thanks had hitherto flowed may or may not actually exist, and if he did exist was kind of demanding and two-faced anyway. Gradually the idea of a venerable old gobbler who, in the past two hundred years or so always showed up at the dinner table around thanksgiving time, sacrificing himself so that others may feed bountifully, and therefore have something to be thankful for, took hold on the imaginations of the western nations. And in doing so freed the Spirit of Thanksgiving to emerge as a conscious being to join the ranks of the modern day spirits along with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Gobbler, the Spirit of Thanksgiving is a crossover character who will be in many of my comics from now on, blessing those who are grateful for what they have even as they strive for more.


Day# 22 Roadkill, Carrion Crow

| November 22, 2010 | 3 Comments
#22 Roadkill, Carrion Crow for Aedre's Firefly by Jande Rowe

#22 Roadkill, Carrion Crow for Aedre's Firefly by Jande Rowe

Not the Eyes! No! Not the Eyes!

#22 Roadkill the Carrion Crow, aka RK, funny little sentient bird that he is, often finds himself disgusted with his own natural appetites. He really has spent too much time roosting outside of that therapists upstairs office. He often wishes he was human so it would be easier to find something else to eat, but heck, on the other hand he is doing a service to the world, cleaning up the reckless by products of human excess, especially the by products of excessive speed in machines of immense mass.

So RK is in two minds about his place in the world. Either he is a disgusting inhumane pecker of mangled dead bodies, or he is a humane creature nobly going around cleaning up the messes that others leave behind. The one place where he draws the line, though is with the eyes. He can’t even bear to look at a dead creature’s eyes, and shudders with disgust bordering on illness at the very thought of eating them, as he knows his fellow carrion brothers do. This of course sets him up for a certain amount of teasing from his fellows. They will even jokingly set an eyeball or two right in front of him from time to time to see if he’ll throw up some sauce to go with the meal.

But, struggling with his dual view of his place in the universe, he has become somewhat philosophical. To the point where, if it is someone else who is having problems adjusting to the world, he will forget his own struggle while he offers sage advice that if he could hear himself, he might consider taking to his own heart.

Strange things happen when he and Aedre cross paths. By this time Aedre is getting used to the occasional talking animal, but RK is as individual as a snowflake. He has a somewhat changeable nature, sometimes easy going on himself and the world; sometimes belligerent and bellicose. He can be startling in his actions and words, but rarely violent, unless provoked or threatened. On the other hand he can also provide some comic relief. When one is on an epic journey every bit of comic relief is appreciated.

Day# 21 Sporkasaurus

| November 21, 2010 | 3 Comments
#21 Sporkasuarus by Jande Rowe

#21 Sporkasuarus by Jande Rowe


‘Nuff  said.


Day# 20 Flykk, Dragon Hatchling

| November 21, 2010 | 0 Comments
#20 Flykk, Dragon Hatchling by Jande Rowe

#20 Flykk, Dragon Hatchling by Jande Rowe

Hunter or  Prey?

#20 Flykk, Dragon Hatchling: Due to the unfortunate accident of a premature hatching while the Dame Dragon was away on an emergency, Flykk found himself alone, exhausted and very, very hungry when he had finally burst himself through the leathery hide of his containing egg. If there had been any others there they would have remarked on his very large size, and the sharpness of his hatching horn.

There were many other eggs in the lair, and the place was warmer than an oven, so it didn’t take Flykk long to recover a bit of strength and pull himself along in search of food. He opened his eyes but the world was a fog of colour to him, in which he could discern only vague shapes that as yet held for him no meaning.  He found a few bits and pieces of meat near the lair entrance, that the Dame had dropped when she flew off. But his hunger was gargantuan

There are few predators that will attempt violence against a full grown dragon, but will try to feed on the eggs or any unattended hatchlings if they can get away with it.  Gnarwolves for instance, much prefer a hearty meal of hatchling to its usual sparse pickings of hares and other small fast animals. Hatchlings instinctively hunker down and hold perfectly still so that their protective colouring blends them into the landscape around them. But Flykk’s battle with his shell and the absence of the Dame’s restraining hands and wings made his hunger so acute he had to move.

So it was that Flykk found his first meal and his first enemy simultaneously. Making plaintive cries he dragged himself, staggering toward the hot smell of blood and flesh somewhere before him. Though he felt weak with hunger, he was actually gaining in strength as he moved. His wings drying and filling out, began almost to lift him as he gained ground toward that maddening odour. He scrabbled out of the lair and across the rocky terrain, his nose leading the way, his eyes barely opening, mewling for the food he so badly needed.

It was close by now, and there was another smell near it, one that would have spelled instant danger to any animal other than a dragon, hatchling or not. This smell was also food, though less compelling. Flykk was becoming angry now, his frustrated animal need forced him to flap his wings and claw at the ground with his hind claws while he roared his disgust  with the world as best he could.

Unfortunately, that was the moment the Gnarwolf chose to attack. –unfortunately for the wolf, that is. For Flykk was larger that he expected, and heavier, and was in the middle of the instinctive dragon dance of bloodrage, clawing with hands and feet, and buffeting with wings, and striking his blind head back and forth jerking upward the gleaming horn on his nose. By the time the Gnarwolf realised his mistake, it was too late. Flykk gored him with his horn, knocked him senseless with his wings and brought down his sharp teeth and claws in a frenzy spurred by the sweet acrid smell of fresh blood.

The hatchling Flykk fed well that first day on Gnarwolf and it’s half-eaten hare. Then he crawled father into the thicket in search of more.

Day# 19 Sly Peter

| November 20, 2010 | 0 Comments
#19 SlyPeter for Aedre's Firefly by Jande Rowe

#19 SlyPeter for Aedre's Firefly by Jande Rowe

Sly Peter

Peter Vale (aka Sly Peter) was already established at Maple Public School when Aedre arrived on the scene, and was a couple of grades ahead of her. But since she was an outcast, basically friendless, she had time to notice things about people. And the things she noticed about Peter Vale was that he was a nasty sneaky boy who took pleasure in hurting things smaller than himself –specially if he didn’t get caught doing it.

He was the kind of boy who pulled the wings off live flies and watched them buzz around until either they died or he grew bored with the sport. But not only flies; butterflies too, and if he knew it bothered you (especially if you were a girl) he would follow you around with the poor wingless creatures, sticking them under your nose, so he could get double the enjoyment from the pain he was causing.

He was the kind of boy who tripped the weaker kids in the hall in such a way they didn’t see who it was, or who pinched the little ones he knew were afraid of him –pretty hard, too. Mean and mean-spirited, he was always on the lookout for nasty things he could do to the other kids and to small animals, and get away with it. And if he couldn’t find anything he would make up nasty stories and spread them around.

He would befriend any new kids until he found out everything he wanted to know about them and their family, find out their secrets, blackmail them, and gradually be meaner and meaner to them, until they finally broke away from him.

Aedre watched him, and seeing his methods determined to have nothing to do with him in spite of her need for friendship and the touch of another human being. Therefore when he got around to trying to befriend Aedre, who was as socially ungraceful as wild animal, she scorned him, telling him hotly that she was aware of his sneaky tricks. He denied this in the face of the truth, apparently hurt, for that was his last bastion of defense: no one could prove anything he did. Thus he swore that he would make her sorry for her accusations.

Day# 18 Agnes McBeale

| November 19, 2010 | 2 Comments
#18 Agnes McBeale for Aedre's Firefly by Jande Rowe

#18 Agnes McBeale for Aedre's Firefly by Jande Rowe

The Bitchy Sister

#18 – Agnes McBeale is one year younger than her sister, (#17)Paula but seems so much older–not to mention more irritable and just plain bitchy. With sparse red hair curly hair and being scrawny and tall she is the polar opposite of Paula. Compared to Paula’s flawless skin, Agnes is covered from head to toe in a mass of freckles that she loathes. She confides in no one, keeping herself to herself as much as possible. She has no real friends either, but doesn’t want them, clearing them off with her acid tongue.

The whole of Agnes’ energies is focused entirely on getting through school and away from that cramped, crowded, nasty house, and her so-called “family”. She practically spits when she uses that word. Her grades are very high, but no-one where she lives cares. Except Paula who is jealous of them.

Sometimes, when she deigns to walk to school with Paula and Paula’s dogsbody, Aedre, she spends the whole trip saying cutting things to both girls.
She confides in no one, keeping herself to herself as much as possible. So know one knows what causes her to lash out at everyone around her. One day people will know. But not for awhile yet.

Day# 17 Paula McBeale

| November 19, 2010 | 1 Comment
#17 Paula McBeale for Aedre's Firefly by Jande Rowe

#17 Paula McBeale for Aedre's Firefly by Jande Rowe

Daddy’s Little Princess

Paula McBeale and her sister (#18)Agnes live across the road from Aedre’s new house on Hook Rd. They live in a tiny one-bedroom house that is far too small for four people. To Aedre’s view, they are disgorged from the house every school morning, and swallowed up again right after school as if they don’t exist at any other time.

Paula is secretive and constantly feels deprived, since she get no allowance and has to beg for everything she feels she needs. She finds an outlet for her feelings of resentment about this by stealing small things from school, from stores, from her friends, though in the latter case she calls it “borrowing”. Her favourite thing to steal when she can get it, however, is money. No one finds out about this habit of hers for many years.

She is an excellent actress. After all she’s been acting for Daddy since she was a baby. Sometimes the things he makes her act for him make her uncomfortable but at least she has his undivided attention for periods of time. Daddy is an avid photographer, but he never shows his photos to anyone but Paula, keeping them locked away in a box under her bed, and he says its “our secret game, Princess”. So she is cautioned never to tell anyone about the secret game or Daddy won’t be able to play with her anymore.

She takes to hanging out with Aedre on the way to and from school because she feels that Aedre is so pathetic it makes her look good, and besides, sometimes she can steal stuff from her and she never seems to realise the only person who could have stolen it was Paula. Paula holds Aedre in contempt while pretending to be her friend.

But then, Aedre is conditioned to think that everything bad that happens is her fault, and so if something goes missing then she must have lost it somehow. This suits Paula just fine. Daddy’s little Princess knows how to get on in the world.