About Me

The Scions Part 1

I didn’t want to write this.

It felt too much like taking all of the worst traits of these characters and amplifying them into a sordid and depressing story. I very much didn’t want to do that.

But the idea has been niggling at me for months. It won’t leave me alone.

I’ve caved. Fine. I’m writing it.

But this is a very sordid and depressing story.


Master sergeant Hartmann wasn’t certain when he had first begun to notice the cleaning lady. Two years prior, more for the sake of politics than anything else, the General had declared that they were going to improve national security by limiting the soldiers’ access to the Suit, and a civilian was picked out of the Base’s janitorial staff to be the designated caretaker of the military’s top asset. It turned out to be a plain, mousy woman, who quietly devoted herself to the job then faded into the background as another functioning cog, and business moved on as usual.

Hartmann was by far the best at piloting the Suit. Although it was obviously alien technology, he had an intuitive understanding of how to operate it, and was consequently given all of the important missions. He had already been considered something of a hero due to his ‘bravery’ and ‘leadership’ beforehand, but the Suit had skyrocketed him to the status of a superstar. He was worshiped by those below his rank, and greatly respected by those above. It was unspoken, but everyone pinned their hopes of winning the war on his abilities, and he was more than willing to accept the mantle.

Yet, somehow, the moments he had spent basking in the adulation of a job well done melted away as the cleaning lady took up more and more of his awareness.

There were moments when it was comical to watch her, a slim 5’4” woman standing on a stepladder with a soapy sponge, contrasted against the 12-foot mecha that she rigorously scrubbed. However, when she worked on detailing the interior, it stung to realize that she was more intimately familiar with the Suit than he was. He felt like the interloper, good for a wild ride before the Suit returned home to its loving family. He never had the liberty to simply touch and examine the Suit, no matter how much time he spent inside.

To make it worse, the cleaning lady was completely unaware of him. Hartmann was attractive and muscular, with sandy blonde hair and sharp eyes, and took it for granted that women would preen and flirt as they competed for his attention. The cleaning lady, however, never smiled or brushed her hair behind her ear; her eyes slid over him as if he was any other uniform in a sea of soldiers. He had even bumped into her deliberately to see her reaction, but she had tersely apologized then skirted around him, never quite managing to raise her eyes to his face during the entire exchange. The other soldiers had snickered, and someone had said, “I guess you aren’t her type,” as Hartmann stared after her, his face hard.

That was two strikes against her.

In between missions, he kept an apartment off Base, and he liked to amuse himself by taking out a few of his buddies to pick up women at bars and clubs. The thrill of simply bedding them had vanished years ago, but he still got his kicks out of playing with them. He had developed a good eye for finding the ones that were attractive enough to be worthwhile, but still had the shadow of desperation that spoke of a willingness to do anything. That night, he imagined that he had the cleaning lady in his clutches, and pushed the woman to a level of filthy that he had never gone to before. Unsatisfied with how easy it had been to control and degrade her, he sent her away from his apartment with one of his friends, and from the way she giggled he knew that she was up for another round of debauchery.

Alone, he knew the folly of his fantasy. The cleaning lady was the sort who spent her evenings curled up with a book and a glass of wine – she would never be under his power.

So he watched her. He watched her clean his Suit, watched her love what should have been his, all the while knowing that she was untouchable. The cleaning lady was ranked above him, the master sergeant.

And that was strike three.

The Scion Suit

Concept Story – Hartmann

I wrote this a few months ago as part of The Scion Suit, but I’ve decided that I won’t be using this scene in the final version after all.

Hartmann sat at the bar, his hand lax around an untouched glass of scotch. A woman sat next to him, chittering nonstop, although he wasn’t listening to a word that she was saying. He was staring at her lips, studying the neatly applied red lipstick with a crisp outline and a perfect cupid’s bow, and his gaze had the woman giddy.

Carol’s lips had been pale and dry. She had been too shocked to react the moment his mouth touched hers, but he had expected that – Carol was the sort who hadn’t kissed anyone in years … if she had ever kissed anyone at all. He had taken his time and moved slowly to keep from overwhelming her, feeling the change in her breath as her eyes had closed and her chin lifted up.

Afterwards, Hartmann had told himself to stop pursuing Carol, before she damaged his ability to touch another woman. He had rounded up a couple of his guys to head out for a night of fun, but now that he was there, he found that he couldn’t engage. He couldn’t stop thinking of Carol.

Her lips had been vulnerable and responsive. Somehow, with very little movement, they had begged him not to stop, and he knew that Carol hadn’t been internally counting down the seconds till she could move on to the next step. He had felt wanted.

The woman sitting next to him, with the perfect lipstick and low-cut top didn’t want him. To her, he was no different from any other man, and if he didn’t pick her up, then someone else would. The cheap, meaningless pleasure that she offered held no appeal in contrast to what he had tasted with Carol.

She stopped talking and leaned close to him with her eyes half closed, and Hartmann couldn’t stop himself from jerking back with a disgusted look on his face. The woman snatched up her purse as she cussed at him, then stormed away, and he finally took a gulp of his drink.

Sergeant Brown sat down next to him in the woman’s empty spot, ordered two more drinks, then studied Hartmann for a moment before asking, “What’s up man? I’ve never seen you so far out of the game.”

Hartmann remained silent, but finished his scotch and set the glass back on the bar, where he traced the circle of the rim with his fingertip, remaining deep within his thoughts.

“If you keep bombing this badly, I’m gonna start thinking that you’re hung up on some bitch,” Brown added after a moment.

Hartmann didn’t really want to talk about it, but the idea of Carol being referred to as ‘some bitch’ galled him – a lot more than he’d expected it to. He glanced over at Brown with a scowl, then back at his glass. “She’s not a bitch,” he muttered quietly. “That’s the problem.”

“Oh come on, man,” Brown snorted derisively. “That just means you’re the one getting played.”

“Nah. She’s way too pathetic for that.” Hartmann couldn’t stop the small smile that twitched at the corners of his mouth. Despite his choice of words, he didn’t intend it as an insult – it was something about Carol that made her irresistibly endearing to him. In the moments when he wondered how she had managed to survive on her own in her former life, he also deeply wanted to be there for her in the future.

“Hell, I don’t believe you.” Brown waved his hand dismissively. “Women only care about themselves, money, and orgasms.”

That made Hartmann laugh. “This one is different, and now I’ve got to prove that I’m not full of shit.”

Brown drained his glass and set it down as he asked, “To me, or to you?”

“Both,” Hartmann replied, then signaled the bartender over for a refill.

Stories, The Scion Suit

TSS – Nightmares

Is there anything more exciting than a story passage presented completely out of context?

Hee hee, enjoy.


Carol began to gasp and moan in her sleep, whimpering the words, “Don’t … take me …” before Lambert managed to shake her awake. She was thoroughly drenched in a cold sweat, and still confused as she frantically asked, “Where’s Henry? I can’t find him!”

“He’s there, right next to you in his crib,” Lambert answered soothingly, and waited for her to pick up their four-month-old son before pulling her into an embrace. “Everything’s fine. You had another nightmare.”

She was quiet, and he suspected that she had dozed off again. He kept her pressed against his chest, however, feeling her clammy skin underneath his hands as his mouth formed a straight line. He had hoped that with time and emotional support, Carol’s struggle with postpartum anxiety would resolve on its own, but instead it was growing worse.

The baby woke and began to root, so Carol shifted to breastfeed. “Sorry about this,” she murmured, completely awake. “Could you get out another pajama shirt for me?”

He nodded, but remained still. “Carol …” he began, and she stiffened from his tone. “It might be time for you to go see a professional.”

“I don’t want to,” she answered slowly.

“You’ve been having nightmares every night for awhile now. It might be best to get you on medication to help you through this.”

“I have you.”

Lambert felt Carol move to curl up around their baby, and for a moment he debated whether or not he should drop the subject all together. He got up to rummage through the dresser in the darkness, found one of the over-sized shirts that she liked to sleep in, and handed it to her.

“Cognitive therapy isn’t making any difference,” he said quietly. She remained silent, so, he pressed on, “You’re a good mother, and it’s natural to have some feelings of anxiety with a new baby …” he began, and the therapist’s intonation that he had slipped into grated against his own ears.

“Would you mind holding Henry while I change?” Carol interrupted, her voice slightly higher pitched than usual. She had recently discovered that he couldn’t argue with her when she spoke that way, and utilized it whenever she wanted him to back down. It was enough to make him cave and give up on his line of reasoning.

Lambert didn’t know what to do. For the most part, Carol was still Carol. They went fishing together on the weekends, and he came home every evening to dinner and a clean house. As long as she had their baby pressed against her in the carrier or in her arms, it was as if nothing had changed. The car trips were almost endearing, with the way she frequently checked the mirrors to ensure that Henry was still breathing, and needed the occasional reassurance that he wasn’t going to be stung by a bee or bitten by a spider while he was in his car seat.

But the nights were different.

Lambert had purchased a special crib with one side that clamped onto their mattress to help her feel closer to Henry, but it couldn’t overcome the mental separation of sleep. There were times when she had startled awake with the baby in her arms, crying about how she couldn’t find him. Recently, she had begun to fight against the fear of being taken away herself, but once awake she always claimed that she could not remember what she had been dreaming.

They had talked. And talked. And talked. Lambert had accepted the military relegating him into a paper-pusher role after the war had ended, because it enabled him to be home every night, and he didn’t dare leave Carol to sleep alone. He had even quit drinking for the most part, so he could maintain his vigilance and be there for her the moment the nightmares began.

After four months, he had reached the end of what he could handle on his own. Carol needed something more than talk to help her, and as a defunct psychiatrist, he was no longer qualified to provide it.

About Writing

TSS and leaving the planet

In this post, I discuss spoilers from The Scion Suit. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you click the link and enjoy some free reading.

Alrighty

With my new multiverse expansion of The Scion Suit, I’ve written timelines of Carol getting into a relationship with either Captain Lambert, or MSG Hartmann. Due to Carol’s incomplete personality at the beginning, this has a big influence on how she turns out.

The catch is that in order to stay with Carol, the chosen beau must leave the planet and join an alien race.

For fun, I asked my husband what he thought each man would think of that decision.

He replied that since Lambert joined the military to run away, he’s probably still motivated by that desire. Leaving the planet would be the ultimate form of running away for him.

Then my husband said, “Hartmann wouldn’t care, because he’s crazy… and a war criminal.”

Well, when you put it that way…

What the heck am I writing?

About Writing

Carol

In this post, I’ll be discussing spoilers for The Scion Suit. If you haven’t read it, I recommend you click the link and enjoy a free story.


The big reveal at the end of The Scion Suit is that the main character, Carol, is a “seed” for a bio-mechanical alien race, and she has a chip implanted in her brain stem that allows her to connect and interface with her mechanical body — aka the Suit. The idea behind her characterization is that she starts off as literally half of herself, and is consequently a fairly boring and one-dimensional individual. The more time she interfaces with the Suit, the more she develops into a full person.

With writing different story branches, I’ve had some time to emphasize that Carol doesn’t have much going on. She has no obvious hobbies or preferences, and can’t figure out how to occupy herself when she’s left to her own devices. Heck, she gets abruptly plucked out of her life and doesn’t miss anything about it.

I’m going to go ahead and confess something here:

I feel like I’m writing a normal, average real life person.

I want to believe that real people are more rounded than that, but unfortunately one of the poignant lessons of 2020 was that, when stuck at home with no where to go, a huge number of people will spend all day watching Netflix and not much else.

How disappointing.

But I guess that since this is my little fictional world, I can pretend that everyone is far more interesting than they are in the real one.

Photo by Julia Volk on Pexels.com
Quotes, The Scion Suit

Quote

Carol had never felt anything towards anyone before, and had never had a reason to be uncomfortable with that fact, either. But something about Lambert was strangely familiar, as if they were simply falling back into a relationship that had begun long ago. Somehow, she was certain that she had been to his house before, and had sat in the living room watching a movie in much the same way, only this time they were finally indulging in their feelings for each other.

It was a very odd sensation.

The Scion Suit – Multiverse Edition
About Writing

Adding Romance to TSS

Quick recap: I wrote The Scion Suit in 2019 as a response to a writing prompt on Reddit that ended up being popular.

SO

While Carol and Lambert did develop some chemistry between the two of them during the course of the story, there simply wasn’t enough time for either of them to realize it consciously. Since this story was ‘unplanned,’ and was written while I was in the middle of working on The Black Magus, I kept it short and to the point, with the idea of returning to expand it into a full-length novel someday.

I’m a hopeless romantic. Honestly, sometimes it feels a little embarrassing to say, “I write love stories,” when so many people start groaning at those words, and I can easily imagine lurkers from Reddit reading this post and thinking to themselves, “She’s going to ruin TSS by adding sex!” (You know it! *wink wink*) But what can I say? It’s just who I am. A pervert.

Let’s be frank: Reddit was fun, but it wasn’t enough to keep me there. Ultimately, I found more joy in pursuing my own projects, even though they don’t get as much attention (admittedly, I don’t advertise). If you, as a reader, dislike things like romance, sex, and babies, then I’m not the author for you. I have five kids IRL, meaning there’s a huge amount of living out my fantasies and writing what I know going on, so naturally it’s going to permeate through my fiction.

I’m going to write my story arc where Carol and Lambert do everything right to end up [in bed] together, it’s going to be emotional and hot, and I’m going to love every second of it. So there. Deal with it.

Besides, there’s no point in trying to deny it.

I’m not exactly vanilla.

And the dynamic between those two is too kinky to ignore.

The Scion Suit

The Scion Suit – Behind the scenes

I know, everyone is all like, “Oh my god, she’s beating a dead horse! The story wasn’t that good.”

But ha ha! I intend on turning this horse into GLUE! The only escape is to stop reading my blog, bwahahahahahahaha!

Actually, I’ve had a really crazy week, and now I’m coming down sick/loopy from the stress. Hoo-rah!

ANYwho, some of my personal notes on The Scion Suit:

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I changed a few things for the final version, but you can probably see how things evolved.

Not pictured: Research into military rankings and culture. This was the hardest part for me; I didn’t want to be blatantly wrong, but the only personal experience I have is a handful of conversations with a couple of ex-military guys. I’m not actually sure if Lambert would have had his own office as a captain.

Also not pictured: Lots of brainstorming with my husband. He’s my number one source of inspiration, meaning he comes up with the ideas and I steal them. Just kidding. He knows how to get my juices going. Lol.

Why did I choose that particular prompt?

My method is to sort by ‘new’ then keep scrolling until I find something that stands out to me, and ignore popularity altogether, because I’m an arteest and not an attention whore. I picked that prompt because it reminded me of a reoccurring dream that I’ve had several times over the past few years, and I very nearly wrote the dream as my response. However, I very quickly decided that the dream deserved the time and attention that I put into my novels, and opted to come up with an entirely new story instead. The dream was still a major influence.

Then the prompt got popular. Whoopsie.

So there you go.