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For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

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Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 All Problems Have a Cause - Part 4 (19 - 24)

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PostSubject: All Problems Have a Cause - Part 4 (19 - 24)   July 24th 2018, 7:46 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Nineteen

Calliope looked up as her instructor finished his discussion of a historic event to put up his hands as if fearing reprisal when he asked, “Are you lean because you are Death?”

The question had her consider a number of replies, although not liking the silence she went ahead and spoke.  “Maybe.  Food was not abundant, and the fear of poison had us ever suspicious of banquets.  There is food in Peace, but I really stay busy.  I guess I am saying that it is a combination of things.  I was not fat when I became Death, have never been able to sit and eat to become fat, although it might be that I am Death is the reason I am not fat.”

“I ask because someone asked me.  You did give me a picture of you.  It sits there with those of my family.  Most just ask if it is a relative, and of course I say it is.  It however is rumored of my association with you, and some believe the rumors.  One asked directly.”

“I must trust you in what you tell the man, but I can tell you that I will appear as I am in that picture.  In the centuries of my service as Death I have never become fat, and I have no belief that anything will change causing me to become fat.”

She was glad to see him ask the next question with a more relaxed appearance.  “Do you think you could?”

“I don’t know.  There are some hefty immortals, but they are not Death.  When I appear before others, I come as Death.  I appear as they are, usually, but in attire as they perceive Death.  Strangely, none consider me male, but as to why that is all speculation.”

“Well, when you come to us to live your life, you could get fat then.”

Calliope could not help but laugh before replying, “I could, but after centuries of not eating much I probably will not.”  She felt a tingle, and was actually sorry to have to say, “I must leave.”

“Of course.  Any preference for next time?”

“Let me tell you a story.  It might help you seek things to talk about in future sessions.”

After a number of standard duties, it surprised her to come to a snowy field surrounded by bodies with Greg also present who said, “Not a tragedy, at least not of the type that usually brings us together.  The evidence is that a bridge up there fell down.  Why everyone was one it at the time, I cannot say.  I think others are coming, but they are dealing with predators or other problems.”

Calliope saw the ropes and planks that did appear to have been a bridge.  There was a flow of water, but not enough to indicate the reason for the gorge to exist.  She also could not see any evidence for the accident that harmed so many people.  There were times when someone would try and explain, but all Calliope heard were the cries for her or Greg to supply their talents.

She turned seeing Greg point to something.  She did not know whether to be bothered by the sight of Kestay.  Considering he was not causing trouble had Calliope feel that nothing improper was going on.  Suspecting it would be Greg who would be the one bothered, she did her work although was surprised to hear something said to her.

“I tend to do what you do.”  Kestay did not sound threatening, so she turned with some interest as he commented, “I however do not know of anyone else who serves in the capacity of Greg.”

She replied, “He has gone to help those of the non-physical.  Shetaile does things like him with plants, and I recently learned Paradine will do things with animals.”

“Why is that?  Only one Life, but multiple Deaths.”

“I don’t know, but I know that I stay busy.  I assume you have things to do.  Greg is not worked so hard, so I guess multiple Lifes are not needed.”

Calliope actually saw a shimmer in the glow of Kestay before he said, “Yes, I have things to do.  I however do not believe things are fair.”

From a distance, Greg said, “Sounds like life.  Don’t know about things among your kind, but among us physical beings we learn pretty quickly that life is not fair.”

Kestay did not reply, but simply disappeared.  There was silence for a time as Calliope did her work and Greg did his.  It pleased her that no call came for her, as in finding her work finished she felt able to spend time with him.  Simply saying his name wondering if he was coming to the end of his duties, she found herself amused by his reply.

“Did Vabrey come to you?  It seems he was rather enamored with you.  Wondered if it was possible to end his days as another creature, as he wanted to become an Earthling so he could court you.”

Calliope did like Vabrey enough to ask, “Is that possible?”

“You should know, as you have faced being removed from your place among us immortals.  Honestly, I told him that if I lost my status right now, I would stay with Vefillaya.  I however have gained no impression I could become a dumonistat.”

“I went to you, but I did not become an American.”

She had to assume that he finished his work, as he just stood there and looked at her.  There was no displeasure in his features, although she could not tell if he wanted to comment or laugh.  Calliope assumed he was waiting for her to say more, although could only say the truth.

“I know that Vabrey becoming a human would not be the same at all.”

He replied, “I assume there are races to those on his planet just like there are on ours, so I was wondering what type of human he would become.  You did not help determining any answer to the question.”

“When I lost my place as Death, I gained a sense I could go wherever I desired.  I did not gain a sense I could become whatever I desired.”

“Well, we can see if Vabrey actually bothers you.”

Calliope found herself actually feeling comfortable with the men in her life.  Those she associated with were very polite, and willing to converse on a number of topics.  They would also help her if at all possible.  Wondering about the man who she would one day have as a husband, she spoke a parting to Greg before leaving for another call.

Stepping back into Peace, her only thought was of her bed.  Calliope had no complaints, in fact they were a set of pleasant experiences, but the period had lasted long enough that even her immortal body that had served as death for centuries was fatigued.  Thinking of how much she was enjoying her new bed, she cheerfully stepped from the entrance room.

“Oh, damn.”  Calliope actually recognized the voice, but was just so tired that it took focusing her eyes to identify Labonchy.  “Everyone was telling me to talk to you, but I felt I knew what you would tell me.  Still, since you are here how about telling me your opinion of getting married.”

The request sounded stupid to Calliope, and after a moment of thought she remembered why.  “Labonchy, you were married.”

“I know, Calliope.  I want to get married again, though.  I want to restart my life.  I am tired of being a sex toy for a group of men, and I want to get another husband.”

“I can understand that.  That’s good.”

“How are you doing it, Calliope?  How are you going about to get a husband?”

Even through her exhausted mentality, Calliope found the question funny.  “I’m not.  Labonchy, you want one now.  You want a life with a man.  That’s good.  That is however more of a situation like Greg has with his wife.  They both understand that no children will be involved.  I want children.  I want a life.  What I am doing is actually going through the lessons of a youth to learn to become a lady.  There are some differences in my status and that of an actual girl training for such a life, but when my time as Death is over that is what I will be.  I am actually very young, Labonchy, and I want that life I left so long ago.”

“You’re learning how to cook, and say certain things?”

With Labonchy being a creature that appeared mostly plant, Calliope found the thought of her cooking to be silly, but also recognized that at her mental state she probably would laugh at a lot of things.  “Yes, Labonchy, I am.  It is difficult, as being Death there is some resistance to having me in a house around children.  Still, that is the training I am receiving.”

“But with you and Greg, I don’t see how you could.”

“What?  Labonchy, it is because of that I made the decision I did.  I want it, Labonchy.  I want it so bad.  I want to be a girl in the arms of a loving man.  I want to be ravished, then find myself pregnant.  I want to die with children, grandchildren, and even more family around me.  Greg can’t give me that.  I love him, but I cannot in that way.  Vefillaya can have him.  She cannot want, or at least cannot have, what I want.  I am doing what I am doing to have the life I want.”

There was a period of silence, but instead of receiving the retort from Labonchy she expected Calliope heard something else.  “You’re right.  That is what I want.  Children – you’re also right about the children.  Thank you, Calliope.”  Lobonchy started to pass by her, but stopped to add, “I was rude to Greg’s wife last time.  I probably should make amends.”

Calliope had to admit, “Probably, but Vefillaya is a very nice lady.  Really, she is a wonderful companion to Greg.  If you cannot think of a present, go anyway.”

“I don’t know if I want to be that type of wife.”

“What?  Labonchy, Vefillaya and Greg love each other.  How can you not want a man who loves you?”

“That’s what I had, but I wasn’t –“  It was not a glare with which Labonchy looked at her, but merely a thoughtful gaze.  “She was proud of her place in his life.  She sat there in defiance just daring me to challenge her place.”

“Vefillaya fought for Greg, and she still fights for him.  I can only hope that my life with my husband has me willing to be so devoted.”

“Thank you, Calliope.  You look tired.  Thank you for your time.”

“I am tired, but I am also glad to have friends.  As Death I do not see people at their best.”

“I’m Feminine Perfection, and sometimes I find myself saying the same.  We can talk about that later.  Thank you again, Calliope.  Sleep well.”

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.

Last edited by TerishD on August 18th 2018, 7:48 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Chapter Twenty   July 29th 2018, 7:57 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Twenty

Greg stepped through some drapes to find himself in the back of the great front room. Before him stretched a corridor lined by ten marble statues upon pedestals on each side. With some of the immortals actually having immense forms, the distance to the front doors was rather great. On the other side of the pedestals were the wide risers of stairs leading up. He also noticed doors, actual panels with handles and not the glowing circles that acted as points of egress in the rest of the building. Very curious, Greg stepped forward wanting to note any other details he might consider important.

Opening the front doors, he had to wonder who would be coming to the grand building as a visitor, guest, or possible dignitary. Turning to look back, he saw the statue of him gazing in his direction. All the statues looked toward whoever might be entering. That again caused Greg to consider who was supposed to enter the building and gain the sense of recognition.

As a dignitary himself, he understood the portals he used in Peace to actually mark him as a servant. The main entrance for him, and the rest of the immortals, was inside the building. Basically, he came in the back entrance. He had a private bedroom, was fed good food and drink, and not presented with any chores or barriers to his movement. When he requested something, it was provided if possible. While he understood that the gratuities marked him as a valued employee, he was still a regular part of the estate and not someone to be honored.

Simply curious, he moved to a large door on the right side and opened it. What he saw was a grand room with a large table and a variety of chairs. A number of jubridors were at work cleaning and polishing the pieces of furniture, although Greg could not help but wonder if this room had ever been used. He actually felt those at work about the estate would have been the only ones to have held a conference in here. Going back out the door, he crossed to the other side and activated a set of latches there.

The presence of a roaring fireplace had him step into the room wondering about its actual use. What he knew of other races did not have them necessarily appreciating couches. A plant creature like Lobonchy he did not feel would enjoy a great fire. He stepped into the room wondering if it had been recently done by jubridors to match the historic preferences of his people.

As if to stress that the appearance of the chamber was due to some recognition he would be the one entering, he noticed a carafe of some liquid on a small table against a wall. A glass was present as well. Curious, he moved over and poured small amount. Taking a sniff, he recognized the familiar aroma of alcohol and taking a sip he found himself experiencing a rather pleasant brandy. Pouring himself some more, he looked at the chamber wondering if the appearance was to tell him that he would not be punished for entering, to entice him to continue to look through the building, or to give him a chance to fully condemn himself.

Feeling a call, Greg finished his glass then left glad to have a chance to ponder what he had seen. He set the empty container down, then took one last glance about the room. Looking forward to speaking on what saw he saw with others, he left the room to answer the call.

It was a strange situation helping people from what appeared to be tubes in the ground. It took seeing those he pulled out moving to a place completely in the sun as they stretched appendages that had him understand the adults had just awakened from a larva stage. It seemed that a whole group had set themselves in this location, only to have it covered by an avalanche. There were signs of a lot of water, but no major waterway and mountain heights did surround the location. Of course those coming out from the ground could not say what happened, although they mourned for those who were nothing but wasted husks in their chambers.

Once finished, he returned to the Apostle. It surprised him to see Tertha with someone else. It took Greg having to sort through his thoughts to realize he knew the man. Wondering why he had come to the Apostle, Greg waited for Tertha to speak.

“Greg, Bichert is an advisor for the emperor.”

Greg had to say, “Yes, Tertha, I actually recognize him. If I’m not mistaken, you had some favorable conversations with him.”

The man took advantage of the words to say those of his own. “Yes, as I was not a fan of Emperor Hastatit. I however spoke in favor of Emperor Abrogrund, and am proud of myself for gaining a position in his administration. Your attaché, Ambassador, just seems to dislike whoever hold the highest office in our galaxy.”

“Well, I listen to her reasons. Considering that I am to hear both sides of any argument, I feel it is a test of my own opinions.”

As if his words needed support, Tertha said, “Greg does not always agree with my conclusions.”

Bichert again quickly made a statement, “Which is why I am here. Emperor Abrogrund sent me with the mission to have Ambassador Greg change his mind about the Offlantians.”

Greg replied, “Won’t happen. You can however let Emperor Abrogrund know that I am willing to make a wager.”

“A wager?”

“I’ll wager ten thousand that within two years I will need to eradicate the Offlantians. In fact, I am thinking of making my willingness to the wager public.”

Tertha actually surprised him by saying, “Greg, I don’t believe your status as prime ambassador actually condones such a public challenge.”

Greg knew that, but still expected her support, although went ahead and allowed, “Still, between me and Emperor Abrogrund’s emissary I should be able to speak on such a matter.”

Bichert said, “Two years, Ambassador? That is a little tight on your window.”

“I can only hope so. From my perspective, two months might be tight. Two years a certainty.”

Greg was glad to hear Tertha say, “The fact that the emperor’s emissary is even allowing that it might be needed at all speaks against what the emperor is proposing as policy.”

Birchert said, “It seems that I am lacking in some information.”

“None that a little investigation should not have revealed. Tertha spoke against my earlier public statement. Actually, I believe that she will stand down should I propose releasing what I know to certain media outlets.”

Tertha smugly said, “That can be handled.”

Birchert asked, “What are you not telling me?”

Tertha was the only one who did not turn when a nearby monitor usually showing general information switched to a news program. Greg smiled not with knowing what was being said, but simply with the convenience of it being said at this time. The official from the emperor simply stood with shock. Greg stepped behind Tertha to see the presentation understanding that the tri-sectional lady had simply switched the direction of her gaze.

He was surprised that the ones making the revelation were not dumonistats. Vefillaya’s brother certainly had business arrangements with a variety of worlds, but on some matters he would keep tight control on those he dealt with. Greg however watched the presentation feeling that any connection with those he considered his family would not be obvious.

At the end of the broadcast, he had to say, “I assume I have lost any chance of you taking my wager.”

Birchert asked, “You knew about this?”

“Knew about it? Who do you think I am? As soon as there is any mention of anything the Offlantians propose, I am informed.”

Tertha asked, “And who do you think was sent on a desperate mission to get him?”

“There was a potential benefit.”

“Then I expect a further report from the government attempting to justify their position, but I am almost willing to place a wager there won’t be one.”

Greg could clearly see a vibration in the form of the government official as he said, “Well, something needs to be said. Exactly what, I cannot say.” There was a period of silence during which time Greg studied the form of the official as he attempted to control his nervousness before saying, “I guess I will take my leave.”

It was pleasant hearing Tertha sound very gracious in her words of farewell. She really was not a diplomat, and since becoming one himself Greg often appreciated the candor in which she would speak with him. Wanting her to hear his assumptions, he found himself pleased that Tertha seemed to be playing the same game he was.

Putting his arm around her to escort her someplace, he however moved around the lady to direct her to another place when she said, “Hubrinostry is going to the bridge.”

Greg softly replied, “Good assumption on who I wanted to speak with.”

“It was not an assumption. We are not in your quarters, so I knew you were aware that we were being watched, specifically that Attaché Birchert was being watched.”

While the bridge crew was not a part of the diplomatic staff, Greg worked enough with the captain that he had learned those that worked to maintain the smooth operation of the ship. Coming into the main control center of the vessel, there were smiles and nods from those who appreciated being able to witness some of the confidential discussions that took place during periods of stress. What caught Greg by surprise was however seeing one of the large monitors showing the captain and certain diplomatic officials of another vessel.

He had to ask, “Captain Linelsu and Senior Ambassador Wuraven, were you able to witness my conversation with Attaché Birchert?”

The one actually in charge of the other diplomatic vessel replied, “Some of those here were able to watch it a second time before your arrival to ask that question. Let me say, Greg, that we have received no instructions on how to handle this concern.”

Greg saw Hubrinostry enter the bridge as he said, “I would take that to mean that the emperor really felt he could win his desire – uh, properly.”

The senior ambassador of his vessel commented, “Go ahead and say it, Greg. He knew this thing would play wrong in the long run.”

Wuraven almost whispered the accusation, “That was my impression as well.”

Tertha said, “I believe I can explain.”

Greg quickly spoke a counter, “No, Tertha. You have the same problem I do. We are both now diplomats. Maybe not directly in your case, but you work for me. You need to play the game just as I did.”

It was Captain Linelsu who said, “Greg, if you are responsible for that report, let me commend you.”

“My problem is that I don’t want our presentation of facts to cloud the truth. There are reasons things are playing out as they are, and having the vermin simply crawl back into their dens will not actually reveal anything.”

“This goes to the emperor, and he cannot hide.”

“And so we have a very prominent figure to place his body in the way of the bullets actually intended to hit others.” Greg had an idea, and turned to his employee to clearly command, “Tertha, send a message to our previous emperor that his replacement is not nearly as good.”

She replied, “Greg, I did not like Emperor Hastatit, but I never felt he was completely corrupt.”

It was Wuraven who said, “Like Greg said, we cannot play an obvious game. That is actually a good idea, Tertha. You were present with Attaché Birchert, so I assume he got you saying that Greg was unavailable.” Before any response could be voice, he added, “I would however say that he really never checked.”

A voice from a member of the bridge crew replied, “That would be true.”

“The same game that was played on Greg’s wife was being played on you. Greg, let me commend you on having such wonderful people around you.”

Greg replied, “I believe we are all understanding that it is not our business to have our own faults revealed.”

“Yes. The game has not really come to us. There have been preparations, but no real sessions. Thank you for the news. Should the game finally come to us, expect us to be as willing to share information.”

When the monitor switched off, Greg said, “I really want you to send that message, Tertha.”

She replied, “Yes, Greg.”

“Let me admit to all that I keep saying this is really not my concern. If you however think I will not fight for this galaxy, you don’t know me. I have before. My wife is from here. My life is here. I have been taking action, and will continue if I see any need. I will do what I can to stay informed. I have those who will work to keep me informed, and I do listen to them. Yes, I have other concerns that have a priority in my life, but that does not belittle the fact that I do care.”

A number let Greg know that they believed him. He spoke with them about possible results from the news broadcast, and what political actions those in power might attempt. Greg let them know what his own beliefs were, and listened to the theories of others before finally excusing everyone so they could get back to work.

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Chapter Twenty-One   August 3rd 2018, 8:00 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Twenty-One

Feeling that her husband wanted to know, after closing the door behind him Vefillaya said, “Tebel says that it cannot be helped. The media is going after the emperor.”

It took her by surprise to find Greg move toward the back of their spacious front room while saying, “I don’t care. I’m hungry, Vefillaya.”

He stopped at the large table. They never ate there unless they had company. The fact that he did so meant he was tired. He would look around, which he did, realize she was the only one in the room with him and go into the kitchen to take a seat in there. Seeing him indeed move around the formal dining table, Vefillaya rushed to the kitchen to fulfill the need of her husband.

She had to stop, as he stood in the doorway pointing behind him. “The table was huge, but it was obviously built with the same intentions as our table. There is no telling what type of creatures we will be hosting, and there is no telling what type of creature will become one of the immortals. There were a variety of chairs and additions to accommodate whoever might need a place.”

She put her body against his, as he would become more alert having her so close. “You went to the front of Peace?”

“By the back entrance. There is a portal in the back. I have the impression that we are servants, or staff. We come in the back entrance. What I am wondering is who is supposed to come in the front entrance, or even who is capable.”

“No, Greg. Staff have assigned duties. Those who have the privilege of going where they will are family.”

Being held and kissed was not an acknowledgement of her being right. It was however a sign that he appreciated what she said. Wanting him to talk with her, Vefillaya kissed him then broke to move on to the functional part of the kitchen.

He went to sit down at the smaller table in the room, then said, “When the call came, I was in a parlor with a roaring fireplace.”

She blew him kisses between steps in her cooking to let him know that she was listening, as anything else would have him pause. Vefillaya understood he went places she could never see with him. Often they were so bizarre that he worked to described them. She wanted to share the experiences with him, so did listen intently even as she worked to make use of the time he had with her.

At the end of his description he said, “Your saying that we are considered family does make the presence of the carafe to make sense. That however does not speak to who is supposed to come in the front doors.”

She replied, “No one is going to come, Greg. Peace isn’t for other people. It is for you. While you serve, you should consider yourself a part of the family.”

“Maybe, but that still does not have the place make sense. I guess we could all meet at that grand table and have a meal together, but our duties just do not allow it. It is like the builder had no idea about what our jobs would actually require of us.”

He had more to say. Vefillaya remembered him speaking of a call. Saying it was mundane would completely belittle the places he went or what he did while there. She wanted to hear him speak of everything he did while away from her. She however had come to understand his silence to mean he was still processing things about what he had been talking about. To have him say more, she reached into the refrigerator and pulled out a drink that would help keep him awake.

She finally felt the need to prod him into speaking. “I would say that you are also being encouraged to look further.”

Greg looked up, took another sip of the beverage, then admitted, “Yes, that is my conclusion as well. I however cannot tell if it is just a polite acknowledgement that I have permission, or if there is really something to find.”

“Does it matter?”

“It will. I mean, there is a difference in simply walking through a place and just feeling like you took a self-guided tour and actually accomplishing something. It will definitely matter in the way I speak to others.”

Wanting him to speak to her, Vefillaya asked, “How about the call?”

It always amazed her to hear about those Greg went to help. With so many different races being a part of the Suderling Union, she almost could not imagine there being life forms of a type she would consider alien. Hearing him speak of a type of insect-like race had her trying to place the creatures, but she finally just had to admit that what her husband spoke about was someplace elsewhere in the universe. Being glad that he was someone who could arrive in such an unusual situation and help people, Vefillaya did what she could to provide a good meal for him.

They turned from their food as the door opened. She found herself amazed to see a human lady with thick locks pouring from her head to be seen swishing from side to side as she moved into the room. Vefillaya found her husband to look at her strangely before rising.

“Do you see her?”

The lady said, “Yes, Greg, she can see me. I was made to feel bad for not showing myself to your wife last time. For all my faults, there are bad habits that I try not to duplicate.” Vefillaya saw the lady curtsey as she said, “Gracious Vefillaya, I am Labonchy, the persona of Feminine Perfection.”

Vefillaya noticed that the lady did indeed have a mass on her chest while rising to ask, “Can I get you something?”

“You just did – kindness. I apologize for the way I treated you last time. I will admit that I was wanting to make an impression on Greg, but recognize that it was you who ended up making the impression.”

Greg said, “Well, feel free to sit, Labonchy. Excuse us if we finish our meal.”

The lady did take a seat, then said, “I used to do this with my husband. He would go to work, and I would take off to work my own charms. I tend not to have calls the way Calliope does, but I just move about worlds seeing what I notice. I sometimes feel that I am guided, but there is really no clear reason why I show up places.” In what sounded like a complete change of focus, Labonchy declared, “Greg, what are you going to do when Vefillaya gets old?”

He set down his utensil, then asked, “Continue to enjoy her. We should be able to still share meals together, and talk, and have a life.”

“But the sex surely won’t be as good, assuming it could happen at all.”

“But we will have the memories of when it was. I assure you that we could still enjoy our time together.”

“My husband and I could not go there. Our lives were so different. We really could not talk.”

Vefillaya had to say, “I love speaking with Greg. I have this amazing life, but listening to him I find myself realizing there is even more out there.”

“Oh, there is so much out there. How I can set the example for women so unlike my true form I cannot say. Still, I find myself going into communities and having my advice accepted.”

Simply curious, Vefillaya said, “Greg told me that you gave him the chance to have me with larger breasts.”

Labonchy smiled as she admitted, “He turned me down. Said he would need larger hands.”

“I remember, but I also see you with a large chest. Do you prefer them?”

“My kind really do not have breasts. There is a way for my kind to feed the young, so I understand the function of the breasts, but they are not natural to me.”

“Do you like large ones?”

Labonchy changed into a strange being that appeared as a walking plant. She then stood to explain things of her anatomy. It seemed that she was an aquatic species that had adapted some plant-like growths to help in supplying oxygen and energy to maintain life in the water. Vefillaya found herself enjoying the discussion, and could only grin when Greg lifted his eyes in shock when she made a request.

“A little larger would be desired.”

As if to test the request, Labonchy replied, “Are you certain? Greg did say he was happy with the way you are.”

“And I do not doubt that. He does play with mine however, and I am an object for show. I know everyone will deny it, but I cannot bless my husband with children. Let me at least appear as someone who should please her husband as a sexual toy. Since that is what I am –“ Hearing her husband start to counter what she said, she repeated certain words with a little stronger voice, “Since that is what I am, I will be that.” She then locked her gaze on Greg as she said, “Enjoy me, as long as you can.”

Labonchy looked at him as she said, “I will not increase their size greatly.” As Vefillaya found herself feeling some pressure from her bra being a little small, Labonchy said, “Greg, Calliope says that she is going through the lessons for a girl to be a woman.”

Vefillaya heard her husband reply, “She is going through the lessons for a lady to fill a role as a complete wife to a man of distinction. Coming from her life as an immortal, she does not really want to go through the randomness of modern courting. When Calliope again loses her place, she wants to arrive with her ‘family’ and be presented with reputable men.”

“Did Vefillaya do that?”

“Not really. The accident that destroyed her reproductive organs basically made her undesirable for the young men she would have enjoyed as prospective husbands. When she came to me she had a number of questions, but I really did not mind answering them.”

Vefillaya had to admit, “Greg was very kind from the first.”

Labonchy asked, “Greg, you found her pretty?”

He replied, “I did and do. I will however admit that there was really no competition. Human-like people are really not found in this galaxy. The fact that Vefillaya’s people are as similar as they are is astounding.”

“Would you recommend me doing as Calliope, or as you?”

“Labonchy, did you perform a job, or were you simply a sexual toy for your husband?”

There was a moment of silence, then Labonchy admitted, “I was to my husband basically the same thing Vefillaya is for you.”

“That will be my question when Vefillaya gets old. I will wonder if I want to simply continue in this life, which does include certain duties, or go off and do something else.”

“I consider my persona as a job, Greg. I do not get called as you do.”

“Still, Labonchy, you have been through it. This is the first time for me. I will grant that your husband was as pleasing to you as Vefillaya is for me. I believe my question will be if I believe I can repeat this experience, so my question to you is if you desire to repeat the experience.”

Vefillaya felt a need to ask, “Greg, why wouldn’t you want to repeat the experience?”

“Because I would be identifying myself with the dumonistats. Seriously, Vefillaya, your kind is the only thing even close to providing the experience for a proper spouse. The difference in me and Labonchy is that she made her home among her own people. There is no political pressure from being among them.”

“So you would go to another galaxy?”

“Yes. Not only would you be gone, but Tertha and Jirdan will be gone or long retired. Those keeping me here will have passed. If I am to continue as the Flame, learning about more of this universe could be productive.”

Vefillaya felt her husband gave some good answers, so turned her eyes on Labonchy and waited for the lady to continue the discussion. “I am not considering making my home elsewhere. I however am not any older than I was. One nice thing about this persona is that it chooses a lady at their best. I might not be as young as Calliope, but I am physically at a marriageable age. I however enjoyed being an improper wife, and don’t know if I want to be a proper one.”

Greg asked, “Does your world have races of your kind? If you went to the other side of the globe, would you be unusual?”

“Yes to the races, but we travel enough to not make me unusual. I still do not want to be part of a completely different culture. I… I – how much trouble did you have adjusting to this?”

“This has been fun, Labonchy. Actually no trouble. I am not saying it has not been a learning experience, but diplomacy is actually a field that is full of uncertainty.”

Labonchy rose while saying, “You’re right. I am not in the same place as Calliope. She will be making a singular choice, so needs to make it right. I will be expanding my experiences. Thank you, Greg, Vefillaya. Greg, right now don’t show up. I will be dealing with boy toys as I make certain decisions, then feeling the stress of adjusting to those decisions. Once I get settled however, I will invite you over.”

Vefillaya saw her husband indicate for her to rise as he said, “Until then, you may certainly drop in to visit. Not just Vefillaya, but many of those around me have been wonderful to the experiences I have brought into their lives. You will not be a bother.”

After some pleasant words, Labonchy disappeared. Vefillaya was glad, as she finally had a chance to relieve the pressure of certain garments. As she undid some clasps, she however looked to her husband with a pleasant expression.

“Greg, let me get you to bed. As I do so, you however have a job to do.”

His eyes went to the kitchen as if thinking to help her clean up as he asked, “What do you need, Vefillaya?”

“I just gained something, and I need you to let me know just how I glad I am to have gained what I did.”

“Oh.” She had to smile seeing where his eyes went. “I am sorry if you felt I was becoming less satisfied with you.”

“That is not why I did it at all. I really wanted to appear as the sexual toy everyone claims I am. However, I am your sexual toy, so I want you to play with me.”

“I would have done so anyway.”

“I hope your hands enjoy the extra work I will now demand of them. Now, let’s go into the bedroom.”

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
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PostSubject: Chapter Twenty-Two   August 8th 2018, 7:59 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Twenty-Two

Greg appeared over what could best be called a marsh. A liquid soup of substances so concentrated that the water almost moved as a gel, covered a slope between rises that showed some development of plant life. Seeing Kestay did not bother him, although Greg quickly looked around suspecting some type of disaster. Seeing no husk or other dispersions of those that once lived, he found himself wondering why he or Kestay was called to this marsh.

The glowing feather-like being asked, “Can you create life here, Greg?”

Feeling Kestay was actually seeking answers without causing trouble, Greg sought to actually develop a conversation. “I have been part of the creation of life, but I was not the one that instigated it. I have to be called, Kestay. There was something that called me. No, I cannot simply show up someplace and create life. Even if I sought to do so, I feel I would be abusing my powers.”

“But we have these awesome powers. Surely we are to use them. Not to use them would be wrong.”

“There is use, and there is abuse. I believe I have what honor I do because I use my powers with care. I do not withhold myself from using them. In fact, the one who I know of as attempting not to use his powers was definitely not what I consider to have been someone who should have gained those powers. Yes, Kestay, we are to use them, but we are not to abuse them.” Hoping to lighten the mood, Greg added, “I am sorry that you do not feel that you are being kept busy enough.”

“I do not want to be death. I want to be life. I feel my powers would be better used as working toward generating life.”

Greg almost spoke a wise-crack, but instead felt this was the wrong place in the discussion. “Kestay, why here? Any life you create would not be like you are.”

“I cannot understand how my life came to be. I know what I am, but I do not see how we came into being. I do not fully understand how we leave. I however see your kind and believe I understand. There is something there, something physical, I believe can be duplicated.”

“But you could not.” Seeing a waver in the glowing form, Greg assumed even in the silence there was an acknowledgement. “Trust me. As someone who has been present at the creation of life, we are a very complex organism. It is not simple. I also do not know anyone that truly understands our death.”

“This is not the existence I expected.”

“I never even suspected this existence was possible. I am living a life I would only consider to be whimsical if you had told me it was possible.”


Greg smiled feeling he had Kestay in a mindset where a simple sharing of concepts was possible. “I would not have called you a liar. I however would not have believed you. Simply thinking of a life like this would have been considered fantastic, and a conversation for enjoyment.”

“Enjoyment? I am not enjoying this life.”

“Why not? Calliope enjoys being Death. Let me rephrase that, she has found the enjoyment in being Death. She is considered a good Death in that she spends the time speaking to those seeking to end their existence giving them chances to see past their torment to refuse her presence or speak to those who will hurt at their passing. Surely you can do that, Kestay.”

“I don’t know.”

Hoping to press a point, Greg kept talking. “Why not? Surely your needs are no different than ours. Surely those who call to you feel the end of their lives passing and need some comfort. Some might actually not need your presence, but only see their termination as a simple solution. Some might desire final moments with those around them to settle some issues. Surely you can do more than simply provide a service. Enjoy your life, Kestay. This is a fantastic existence. You will do yourself wrong not to make the best of it.”

Finding Kestay to suddenly leave had Greg pause while mentally reviewing the conversation. Not feeling anything wrong was said, he wondered about how Kestay took the words. Hoping he also had good thoughts about the conversation, Greg left upon feeling another call.

He sensed something unusual in one call, and felt no urge to leave his present activity. An underwater specie of beings had a major act of construction go wrong. Fresh water was rushing into their surroundings from some source disrupting the salinity of their environment. It was actually odd that the disaster was not one of death, but something everyone felt they could live through. Some were in dire situations, but fought to live with a number somehow managing the requirements that summoned him. He stayed active, but once the groups in charge of handling the emergency had control Greg left for the other call.

“About time you got here,” one person said clearly not sensing the humor that had other laughing. “I could really use your help.”

Akrelorn was the present persona of Comedy. He was a being having an almost stick-like frame one end of which had a large fleshy section. Greg could only wonder how this type of being was better than the completely plasmoid body of the captain of the Apostle. Seeing a group of similar creatures, Greg assumed Akrelorn was among his own kind and possibly family.

More than willing to be friendly, Greg asked, “How can I help?”

Akrelorn answered, “Move that rock up there.”

Greg noticed the loose substrate, so said, “It’ll fall back down.”

“Fall back down?”

Someone among the group of people, exclaimed, “AGAIN!” which had everyone laugh.

Greg felt certain none could see him, but accepting he would spend time talking to Akrelorn he went ahead and took a native form as the persona of Comedy said, “I am really not trying to be funny. I am trying to help.”

Hearing the chuckles from the others, Greg had to ask, “You can lift it?”

Akrelorn pointed as he replied, “I tried to use that. There is a construction site not that far away, so borrowed it. I wish this job paid.”

Seeing the condition of the machine, Greg had to comment, “You better be glad everyone is laughing.”

“Yeah. Listen, Greg, I was trying to help. The rock is in the way. Not just the path, but there is a spring underneath that would be refreshing. Our kind slightly dehydrates easily. We can survive, but… well, I was trying to help.”

Attempting to keep some humor in the situation, Greg replied, “You and Eternity having me move rocks. Why do I need to put it up there? Surely just having it roll one way or another would work.”

Laughter sounded, which had Akrelorn raise his voice as if to answer more than just Greg. “The substrate is loose here too. I felt if I tried to push it that I would get the tractor stuck in the water.” More laughter sounded as some compared getting the tractor stuck to its present wrecked condition, which had Akrelorn say, “Sometimes I hate my life.”

Greg replied, “It’s not that bad. Sometimes I wished people would laugh at the things I did.”

He then turned to ask the people their suggestions about what to do with the rock. No one suggested lifting the rock as Akrelorn had first instructed. Greg however noted that there was also no voice for leaving the rock in place. Most noted a meadow not that far away, and soon the people came to a consensus on where the rock would be best placed.

Having the crowd, he had those that felt they were particularly strong to help him move the boulder. While Greg knew he had the power to simply move it, he felt it best to take the show away from Akrelorn. The crowd began to cheer as the rock started moving. Some laughter did occur as a few slipped into the pool, but Greg felt he saw Akrelorn show some relief as they directed their jibes at others. A cheer came from the crowd seeing the boulder roll to the meadow with Greg disappearing back into his regular form before moving to the one that had called him.

Akrelorn asked, “What held you up?”

Greg replied, “Having an actual call. I was busy.”

Not unwilling to talk, he spoke about what he had been doing. Akrelorn made some comments, then turned the conversation to his own actions. He and Greg were speaking about the condition of the tractor when another came up and spoke.

“Akrelorn, tell Greg that he can come visit sometime.”

The persona of Comedy admitted, “That’s my wife.”

Greg replied, “Yes. I have one of those. Still, there is a vast distance between us. Not that I am against making a visit.”

“Maybe you and Calliope. You two go about as a couple at times.”

“How would your wife like having Death about?”

Greg returned to a native form as Akrelorn turned to his wife and said, “I mentioned him coming with Calliope –“

His wife said, “I could hear you, Akrelorn.”

“Yes, well, Calliope is Death.”

“I have also heard you speak about the others. I know Calliope is Death.”

Greg said, “She is very nice, but one can still sense things about her.”

“I am glad Akrelorn was called, but I don’t want his life to be separate. He has spoken of how others speak of going to you.”

“I have found the occupation of a diplomat to suit me. More than willing to help people.”

“Well, I cannot share this life. Do you have a wife?”

Greg remembered he had spoken with Akrelorn while back in his immortal form. “Yes, and she is like you in wanting to share in the life of her husband. She is glad when others show up, so I will try and show up. As for Calliope, she is probably the busiest of us. I cannot say she will come.”

“Well, it is good to meet you, and I want to thank you for what you did.”

“Moving rocks is not in my job description, but I am always glad to help.”

“Akrelorn could not think of anyone else who would.”

Greg thought for a moment, then said, “I know a few who could, but not in the manner I did. They would need to be a little more showy. I was probably the best one for Akrelorn to call. Again, I was glad to help.”

“And I am glad that you did. Nice to meet you, Greg.”

Feeling another call, Greg said a pleasant farewell. He was actually glad to have had a chance to meet Comedy and speak to his wife. In thinking of speaking to Vefillaya, Greg realized that he never got the name of Akrelorn’s spouse.

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Chapter Twenty-Three   August 13th 2018, 7:55 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Twenty-Three

Calliope could sense that her instructor was bothered by something. They were speaking English, so discussing world events. Calliope wondered if he was hiding something from her something of his own life, although felt some relief when he finally asked a question.

“Dear lady, what matters of our world do you speak about?”

Confused, Calliope replied, “Why should we speak on any of them?”

“I assume that your friend, the one that delivered the picture, is not from our land.”

Since Greg appeared in his natural form, Calliope spoke assuming her instructor had already made an association. “No. He is from America.”

“He does not speak of what his country is involved in?”

“He does not live in America, but among the stars. He is a diplomat on board a vessel in the Andromeda Galaxy.”

“Are their politics better?”

Calliope could not help but chuckle before admitting, “No. They however are not a singular type of race of beings, so are more accepting of diversity. While they have problems, racism really is not one of them.”

“How about nuclear annihilation?”

“They can do worse than that, but that also causes them to treat diplomacy a little more seriously. Greg does not just maintain an embassy, but is regularly working to get officials speaking and resolving disputes before things get out of hand.”

“It would be good if he would do that here.”

“No,” Calliope said assuring he would listen to her. “We have jobs. We are to set a standard. Once we overstep that bound, we are dictating policy and not allowing people to live their lives. I am here because I am wanting to live life. All your problems, I want those. If what you lived in was some controlled environment set by those who felt themselves above all Earthly concerns, I might fear returning to life.”

“Sometimes it feels like that.”

She had to smile as said, “I fled because it had become much worse than that. No, what you have is survivable. You say a man will want me because I represent the old ways. I promise you, I will only teach my children the good.”

“I don’t believe you really know how we live our lives.”

“I will be the happiest miserable person there is. I who serves as Death do not want Death to come for me. I will live life until it is just no longer mine to possess.” Calliope felt a call, although as she stood she spoke of what she wanted to be a part of her lesson next time. “We have found the places you spoke of. There seems to be more. If you have more, please share it. I might need to have Greg show up so you can tell him.”

She thought back over what she had told her instructor finding herself in an enormous room of polished elegance with someone lying in a bed much too large for him covered by elaborate blankets. The man gasped upon seeing her, but was clearly too weak to do anything more. Calliope stepped forward thinking about things she had told people, and clearly spoke a conclusion to the one in the bed.

“No. I don’t want to die like you.”

The man had to control his limited ability to breathe in order to ask, “Excuse me?”

“I will return to the land of the living one day. I swear I won’t die like this. I don’t want anything you have, and would have you keep it. Still, I am here because you called.”


Calliope touched him. Seeing him pass she had to turn and look around the room. People rushed to the bed, but she could tell they were almost all officials. A couple appeared as family, but that was all. Calliope felt that she gained support for what she told others, and again promised herself she would not die like that.

After a few calls she came on board what she clearly could tell was the bridge of a vessel. Looking around she however saw a lot of damage with other parts of the vessel visible and her wondering how the main bulkhead still held the atmosphere. As she moved to one she felt call to her, the form of one sitting near the front spoke as if he could clearly see her.

“Who are you?”

Seeing herself in a local form, Calliope felt the answer was obvious. “I am Death.”

“So, we are not going to survive.”

“Some here definitely believe they are not going to survive. If you want me to pause while you berate them for their defeatist attitude, I will comply.”

The man chuckled, then said, “I cannot say that my words will do any good. All I will tell them is to hold on. I see our ships still fighting. We did what we were supposed to do. They wanted us dead, so used weapons to pulverize us inside while keeping the integrity of the vessel. This however was a cheaply made vessel, so it pulverized our interior more than us. The poor quality of the internal material however seems to have been a design feature that saved our lives, so I would think.”

Calliope looked to the one she was approaching, and asked, “Do you hear your captain?”

The man slumped at his console, then replied, “I am dying. Go ahead and take me.”

As she moved to touch him, the one she assumed was the captain asked, “They sent us a female Death? I guess the gods have looked kindly on us.”

Calliope replied, “I am the only Death. As for kindness, I see no reason to be otherwise.”

“Well, take those who call for you. Me, I am holding on. I think we are going to win this.”

She felt some no longer call to her. A couple died before she could reach them. How some saw her and others did not she could not tell. Calliope however appreciated simply being able to speak to some, and left feeling that those who did not call would find themselves glad to have decided to go on living.

Entering Peace, she almost went to get something to eat. Not feeling tired, she thought of other things she could do. Remembering what Greg had told her, she looked to the portal and thought of going outside. Actually sensing she could go where she desired, she went back through.

Coming out through the vines, she smiled seeing the pool. Eager to feel the water around her, she took off her clothes then dove in. Being naked, it did bother her to hear another approaching, although stayed in the pool not feeling anyone else would care.

Vabrey actually averted his eyes seeing her, although did ask, “Calliope, how did you get here?”

She replied, “The main portal will take you where you want to go. Just think of coming here.”

“So, you cannot arrive here, but you can come here after arriving?”

“Yes. Greg said that it was something we should have thought of. He says that there is another portal in the front room of the building.”

“The front room?”

She wondered how much he paid attention to things that were said as she explained, “Where our statues are.”

“Oh.” She thought it cute when he turned to ask, “Are we naked? I mean, our statues?”

“No. At least those of us that wear clothes are represented as wearing them. I am in a dress. You are in an outfit like those you usually wear.”

He appeared to gain some confidence as he looked at her, although asked, “Am I embarrassing you?”

“No, Vabrey. We are so different. I am surprised that my nudity bothers you.”

“My women, I mean those of my kind, have features like you. I see you as pretty, Calliope. I asked Greg about you.”

She smiled while saying, “He told me. We both agreed that we could not be something we are not. If you came to me, you would still be as you are.”

“But while here we can be as we desire. I could enter the water as a human.”

“If you desire. Honestly, though, I like the fact I can be myself here in Peace. Come on in, Vabrey.

He actually began taking off his clothes as he said, “I have been involved in a number of things, and was hoping for a break. I am not belittling your own duties, Calliope, but War can be stressful.”

“I do not doubt that, Vabrey. That is what this, I mean all of Peace, is supposed to be. It is a place we can be ourselves and take a break from our duties. This is not supposed to be a place of parties, putting ourselves above the common people, or just feeling separate. I am here swimming as a normal person. If anything, I feel like I am back among the living.”

While being a squat quadraped, Calliope found herself admitting there were similarities with the human form. With the water being exceptionally clear, there was no way for her to hide certain things of her physique. In the same manner Vabrey could not conceal things of himself. Calliope found herself actually wondering about the compatibility between their two forms.

She said, “I would not be against trying to see if we could do things.”

After proving he could actual manage in the water, Vabrey replied, “Really, Calliope? It would not cause you problems?”

“With Greg, no. We have crossed a line with each other, but he is happily married with Vefillaya. The last couple of times he assured me that he did not want the time for the sex, but I wanted it. With any future spouse, I already dealt with that issue. While I will return to the living as a very young lady, to deny my mind that has experienced centuries of existence is not the way I will come to a man. With you, I will expect you to go slow.”

He looked at her, and she did not turn to hide anything, then said, “I don’t know if we can. I am much more massive than you.”

“If you think of something, I have told you that I am willing.”

“Well, I am not thinking of leaving this life. Don’t take this wrong, Calliope, but I am willing to take on the form of a human. I just want some companionship. If that is not how you want things to be, I will understand.”

“I am not going to live a lie, Vabrey. Let us first see if we can work out things as we are. Greg and I never challenged our duties. We never made demands on each other. If you truly want time with me, I will be glad to spend time with you. If you want to fantasize with me, we could have problems.”

The man moved through the water for a time, then broke the silence by saying, “All I have are fantasies, Calliope.”

“When you go through the years, Vabrey, I want you thinking of me, and not some fantasy.”

“And the same with me?”

She swam to him, and placed herself on his broad equestrian-like back before replying, “That is what I definitely want. The poor man that finally claims me is going to have a wife like none others. Yes, he will hear about you and all the wonderful personalities that once shared my life. No, he will not get away with fantasizing with me, as I can speak of things far beyond what his mind could conceive.”

“I guess the same will be true for whoever I eventually get as a wife. Calliope, what if get over there on the steps?”

“I said I won’t live a lie, Vabrey. I told you I would work with you, and I did not lie. Let’s see what we can do together.”

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Chapter Twenty-Four   August 18th 2018, 7:56 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Twenty-Four

He woke up to Vefillaya grabbing his head and kissing him, although after responding to her she let him know the reason for bothering him. “It’s the captain, Greg.”

After quickly doing what he could to be presentable, he stepped out of the bedroom to where the amoeba-like creature in a rather elegant uniform waited. He knew something important had happened hearing the master of the vessel speak to someone. One benefit Greg had demanded, in fact had done the work himself to assure it was done without any secondary systems, was to isolate his room from the ship-wide system. It could be connected to the outer network, but it took clear authorization. Seeing Vefillaya present, Greg stepped up to the captain to find out what had been considered of importance.

His grand main monitor lit up with a number of panels, and Captain Negallin began his report. “It should not surprise you that others also had historic map data. Once your channels brought out certain facts, numerous others stepped up to verify the claims. Even had three missions to check on the very base you detected. Emperor Abrogrund has tried to acknowledge the claim without any perception of there being a threat, but the memory of the Offlantians is still very strong. This is not a diplomatic problem, Greg, but this situation could become great enough to have all official vessels called into action.”

Greg replied, “This cannot be war.”

“That is the problem, as I see it. I almost believe Emperor Abrogrund wants war. He definitely is trying to sell the plan of the Offlantians in spite of those speaking against it.”

Taking a cup of coffee from Vefillaya, he told her, “Get Tertha.”

As if to give assurance, the captain said, “This ship will not support the emperor should he set policy in favor of the Offlantians.”

“This ship should not support the Offlantians. We however have historically supported the emperor. Let me say that was policy even with the antagonism from those I consider friends. If there is a way we can find a space to move between the two, I expect us to go that route.”

“That is not only an intriguing tactic, I believe the support would be strong. However, I don’t see how we can manage it.”

“We don’t have to. It is not our section of space being threatened.”

Seeing both of the cladastians he considered friends enter the apartment, Greg directed those managing the captain’s presentation to make a connection. One benefit of having a military contingent on board the Apostle was the availability of a separate set of transmissions. While what went on in the ship was considered private, any communication with those outside was usually picked up. The military however needed to keep certain maneuvers secret, so had an ever changing code systems to keep their communications private. When a certain person on board a distant vessel appeared on the grand screen, Greg was certain no one else was viewing the conversation.

He said, “Senior Ambassador Wuraven, I am sure that you know the captain of my vessel.”

The distant dignitary replied, “I am very familiar with the captains of all our diplomatic vessels. Captain Negallin, I assume your presence means that this conversation has some importance.”

It was the captain that said, “You should be aware that this vessel has been responsible for certain investigations.”

“The Apostle does have certain options most of us could only wish for.”

“Well, the fact is the matter has no relevance to us. It does not deal with our section of space.”

“Was that a threat?”

Greg signaled for Tertha to listen, then said, “Wuraven, the command I gave to Captain Negallin was to find a space between the Offlantians and the policies of Emperor Abrogrund. Historically, those of this vessel have had no reason to support the Offlantians, but we have treated the emperor favorably.”

“I am not certain there is such a space.”

“You should be aware of another benefit of the Apostle. If someone is able to discern things about official policies with our main government, Tertha is that person. I would like to offer her aid to you. While I am sure you have your own capable staff, one who can manage some of the communications of this lady might help you.”

The cladastian female stepped up to say, “That space should exist. There is resistance to the Offlantians. Emperor Abrogrund however is trying to overpower it. It might be just a show of force from a new person attempting to assert his influence, but the determination is a little stronger than that. Why that is, I have not been able to determine.”

Greg was glad Tertha felt free to speak, although wanted to assure she had some space. “Wuraven, if you have your own theories, we understand. However, some sign of cooperation we felt needed to be made.”

The senior ambassador of another vessel replied, “Well, I must admit that we felt a little hopeless in the situation. Having those of the Apostle alert me to certain diplomatic options, I believe that I need to get things moving here. Once I have managed to dispel certain attitudes in my own staff, then I will be glad to respond to the gesture from my fellow diplomats.”

After closing the communication, Tertha said, “Greg, this posturing might be for the best. I believe more than those of the Brigadier need to know about tactics to deal with the present situation.”

“Well, I had the hope that after certain facts were made public that things would settle. There is resistance to the Offlantians, and I felt that would be enough to stop certain plans. What Captain Negallin brought to me was however the fact that our leadership was being persistent.”

Jirdan replied, “It almost seems that certain parties want to force the Blue Flame back into action.”

Captain Negallin said, “That might be a tactic. Can we present the fact that the Blue Flame is active, although in the diplomatic front and not as some powerful enforcer?”

Tertha asked her own question. “Who do you want us to work with? Greg, I do not see any of the other ambassadors here.”

Greg replied, “I trust all the ambassadors here. However, I do not want the Apostle to take the lead. This matter is not in our jurisdiction. I was hoping for those of the Brigadier to take the lead.”

“It might be that they have been instructed not to.”

Jirdan said, “Not directly. One difference in Tertha and others who might have contact with the imperial leadership is that she does not like them. Certain suggestions could be sent to a number of others, who would mindlessly comply.”

Greg had to say, “Again, I trust all the ambassadors on board this vessel. I will send word to Hubrinostry not to get involved in what you are up to. That assumes you do not want to involve him.”

Tertha said, “I agree that this vessel has the history of not supporting the Offlantians while being respectful to the emperor. I might not use Hubrinostry. Let me consider things, Greg.”

“I want to stay informed. Leave messages with Vefillaya if you must. I however want you to put Captain Negallin in your confidence. This matter could go outside the realm of diplomacy, which means we will need his authority to take certain actions.”

“I have no problem with Captain Negallin. I might now suggest a lot of secrecy. As you said, Greg, we probably should keep a low profile. No offense to the rest of the crew of the Apostle, but I might feel we keep this matter contained.”

Greg was glad to hear Captain Negallin reply, “Certainly, Tertha. Let me say that this crew knows it must at times stay in the dark. They however also have the trust that at some point they do get to share in the stories we have to tell.”

“I prefer bragging to admitting mistakes,” Greg felt a need to say. “Let’s do this right. There are potential problems facing us and the Suderling Union, and I would rather not have to acknowledge our part in the difficulties that could erupt.”

Hearing agreement was what he wanted, but Greg moved to Jirdan to say, “They were using tactics to get my wife upset as well as others. Are you noticing those tactics being used elsewhere?”

As if confused by the question, Jirdan replied, “There is a lot of intense debate at the moment over the presence of the Offlantian base.”

“No. If they were stupid enough to use that tactic twice then someone deserves to be doomed. Either the Offlantians should be doomed for repeating a losing tactic or the government of the Suderling Union should be held at fault for allowing the Offlantians success at this time. I however believe those responsible are just putting on a show as they work on another plan. If you can detect that type of instigating being used elsewhere, maybe because someone is reacting, that might be a clue to another fish in the barrel.”

Captain Negallin said, “I don’t get the reference, but I believe I understand. Greg, I have my own communication officers. I will have them contact Jirdan should they feel a need to speak with somebody for counsel. Hopefully with our people working on a similar line of thought we can detect the tactics of those we consider to be disrupting the peace. Keeping the peace is our job.”

Tertha admitted, “I might have my husband busy on some of my own communications. If we are going to keep this matter covert, at least relating to us of the Apostle being active agents, I might need Jirdan.”

Greg said, “That is also why I told you to use Vefillaya. I really do not want to be seen as active. I have been, and I am willing to stay involved, but I have been rather covert as well. I actually have something else that I would rather have as a priority. My problem is making that matter appear as a public topic.”

Vefillaya now actually took part in the conversation by suggesting, “Pictures. Greg, go and take a number of pictures. The work with the painting from Peace has started some forums for discussing what might actually be stored. I believe I can support the popularity of those groups by presenting pictures of Peace itself.”

“That is a wonderful idea. Okay, I will be active appearing to have my mind on something other than the emperor and the Offlantians. The rest of you I want to appear to be going about your usual business. In the meantime, hopefully we can determine whatever is going on with the emperor and the Offlantians.”

Greg considered everyone present to be friends. He thus did not simply break up the group, but spent time touching on topics that would usually pass between them. Glad to be living among such wonderful people, Greg actually felt bad when they had to go.

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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