NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 9

“You killed yourself. ” said Mother Mayhem.

“Yes. ” said Erik. “Completely and totally. It was like suicide, but moreso. I was already someone almost nobody knew. So it was easy for me to destroy what traces of me existed in the system … I’ve always been good with computers… and within a couple of months, it was like I had never existed. Tabula rasa.  Gone and forgotten.  ”

“And I loved it. I was finally truly free. I’d cut all ties to my terrible past and could reinvent myself from the ground up. And I didn’t even really need to do that. With my skills, I could survive as a nowhere man for as long as I liked. ”

“That must have been very liberating. ” said Mother Mayhem.

“And then some.  After that, I drifted for a while. Got tired of that, eventually, so I settled down in a nice sleepy litttle mid-sized town, got a job and a girlfriend, and lived a normal life for a while. ”

“And how long did that last?” asked Mother Mayhem.

“About a year. Maybe a little more. ” said Erik. “Looking back, I was mostly just seeing if I could do it. Create a life, blend in, pass as normal, become part of the scenery. Once I had done that, it was time to move on. ”

“But what about your girlfriend? And your job? Your co-workers? And everyone else who knew you? Tell me you didn’t just ghost them. ” said Mother Mayhem.

“Of course not. ” said Erik. “That would leave a trace. Instead, I phonied up a job offer in Europe, told everyone I would stay in touch, and pulled my disappearing act again while keeping that persona’s email and Facebook accounts active with increasingly infrequent updates about my great new job etc. ”

“You really put a lot of thought into it. ” said Mother Mayhem.

“Only because it was fun. ” said Erik, as if defending himself from charges of motivated action. “To me, it was all a game. A game called Can I Fool Everyone? It turns out I could. So when that got old, I vanished again. ”

Mother Mayhem nodded. “A selfish act, but you handled it well. ”

Erik smiled. “Thank you. That means a lot to me, coming from you. After that, I drifted some more. Starting looking for some kind of meaning in my life. Because a low-key background member of many religious and spiritual organizations. But it was plain to me that none of them had any real answers. Just workable delusions. I wanted to find some capital-T Truth in the world so that I could make sense of things. ”

“A noble cause. ” said Mother Mayhem.

“Glad you think so. ” said Erik. “And the truth is, that kept me going for many years. Everyone I met had some little piece of the truth as seen from their perspective, but somehow, no matter how hard I searched, it was never enough for me. The picture of the world in my mind was still riddled with maddening gaps and the feeling that absolutely nobody knew anything about anything grew within me, along with a great and hateful bitterness toward the world. ”

“And that’s when I met you. It was a stroke of luck, really. I never thought learning to meditate would do me any good. But there I was in that ashram in Northern California with nothing better to do, so I learned it. As it turns out, it was exactly what I was looking for without realizing it – a way to clear the noisy chaos out of my head so that I could think clearly for once.”

“And once I could think clearly, I had a great epiphany  : FUCK THE TRUTH. Fuck it to death. What mattered was not the Grand Truth but my own truth. My own reality. And once I realized that and accepted the truth of it into my heart, all of my hateful bullshit just melted away. ”

“Because I realized that it was up to me what I allowed into my consciousness. Good thoughts could be welcomed in. Bad thoughts could be shown the door. I had the power to purge myself of my toxic attitudes and all I had to do was stop blaming others for my emotional state and take responsibility for it myself. ”

“How old were you when you had this epiphany?asked Mother Mayhem.

“32. Why do you ask?” said Erik.

“Then it is official. You, my friend. are spritiually precocious. Most people do not realize their own role in how they feel until they are facing their own mortality. If they realize it at all.  ” said Mother Mayhem.

“Why thank you, Mother. ” said Erik. “The hardest part, for me anyways, was giving up blame. I had lived my life with such hate in my heart and such a clear vision of who was to blame for all my pain that even aftermy epiphany, I found it hard to give up.”

“What finally did it for me was the realization that I wasn’t trying to say that nobody was to blame for what had happened to me in my childhood. Many people were very clearly responsible for it. What I was trying to do was cut ties with these people not because they were not to blame, but because they were beyond my control. There was nothing I could do to make them pay for what they had done to me. And the more I thought about it, the more the very iudea of taking my revenge on them made me sick. It all seemed so pointless. There was nothing vengeance could do for me that I could not more easily achieve on my own, within my own karma. And the best part of that was that I could do it without depending on a specific response from them. It took the power away from them and that made it worth doing all on its own. ”

“Because in the end, what does holding on to all that pain do for me? Because there could be no doubt – it was definitely hurting me. Some of it had been hurting me for decades. And all for the slim chance of maybe hurting them?”.

“It just didn’t make sense. So I gave it up… forgave those who had transgressed against me, and moved on. Not for them, but for me. ”

“Weren’t you afraid of letting them ‘get away with it’?” asked Mother Mayhem.

“They had already gotten away with it. Because it was in the past. Nothing I could do to them would change the fact that had happened. All I could do was sever the connection to my inner demons and move on. ”

“I remember those demons. ” said Mother Mayhem.  “I saw them leave you. They looked disappointed and confused. ”

“Good. ” said Erik. “With that burden gone, it was easy to ride up to the higher levels of the Astral Plane, and that’s where I met you. ”

“At one of Peter Pan’s Pan parties, if I recall correctly. ” said Mother Mayhem.

“Do you remember the first thing I said to you?” said Erik, a twinkle in his eye.

“I believe it was ‘So like, is this guy the real Peter Pan, or what?’. ”


The Dreamer stirred in its slumber uneasily.

Recently, its long languid dreams had turned to stormy and turbulent nightmares.  It could no longer tell which thoughts and emotions came were its own and which belonged to another sentient. Everything was in flux and his private reality’s only constant was that the next transformation would be radically different than the previous one in a way that was totally unexpected, and of such emotional intensity and sensory density that there was no way he could process it all before everything changed again.

One moment, he was an insectoid sentient clinging to the underside of an enormous fungal outcropping, readying herself with time-honored rituals to commit suicide by dropping onto the coordinating neural complex of the enemy hive and releasing the spores that would dissolve it into molten pump in seconds.

She was looking forward to it. The Great Hive awaited her. She felt truly blessed.

The next moment, the Dreamer was a wretchedly sick deer-like creature on a planet with a grey-tan sky and enormous forest of lichen. It thought of the laman-dog it/she had hunted and eaten. Had there been a touch of purple in its eye? A stiffness in its anal bristles? She could not remember. But judging by the great wracking spasms she was experiencing, it was a strong possibility.

Could she, a respected and highly placed Provider, have actually eaten a laman-dog sick with the Blackness?

If so, she would never live it down.

Another transformation, and the Dreamer was a herbivorous bat. stuffed with pollen and fruit from the Festival, languidly masturbating as he digested his dinner and drowsed in the late-summer darkness of a picture perfect day.

It had been too long since he had reconnected with his home tribe. The life of a village administrator was always busy, and it was deceptively easy to get so absorbed in one’s work that time slipped past and before you knew it, it was Festival, and you were in the middle of about ten different things, and you had to drop them all and fly back home at top speed or risk becoming one of those sad people celebrating Festival alone.

He wondered what his children were doing. Probably copulating wildly in every way they could think of, knowing them. Festival was, after all, for the children.

AS he ejaculated, his sparkling sperm painting a neat stripe on the moss below, he wondered how they were doing.

And how many of them would survive the Draining.

And so forth and so on, life after life after life,  with no control over its destination or how long it would have till the next shift came.

The Dreamer did not like this at all. It was used to order, and control, and authority. This helpless whirl of experiences was utterly unacceptable. Someone was warping his personal fluidic psychosubstance, and that was disrupting his filtration systems, and that made him very angry indeed.

So he began to ignore the changes. Pain, pleasure, happiness, sadness, heart rending grief and Sphere-shattering orgasm, they were all the same to him as he concentrated on extending his tendrils deep into the tissue of his medium so he could regain control.

And when he did, there would be a very stern reckoning for whatever being or beings were responsible for this disruption.  He was supposed to still be dormant now, and here he was verging dangerously close to Awakening.

And if there was one thing the Dreamer knew, it was that his Awakening would signal the beginning of the end of everything.

The prophecy was clear. When the Dreamer wakes, the spheres will crack, the night will shatter, and the lives of the Sleepers will become as one.

It was something even the youngest spawn knew by heart.

But what they did not know was that the prophecy also said that on that day, the Dreamer would be transformed into the Dragon of the Midnight Sky, and in his great maw, minds by the thousands would be crushed so that their essence might be added to his own and increase his power.

And to be frank, the Dreamer didn’t like the sound of that. Not at all. He was content to live his life in the spaces between minds and had no desire to be transformed into anything at all, let alone some ridiculous ravenous mind-beast.

So whoever was pushing him closer to that fate was going to learn a very thorough lesson on why one should not provoke the wrath of Astral Plane royalty. Whether it was the Dreamer, the Wounded Mother, the Elite Eye, Harmony Eclipse, or even the Barnacled Hermit, angering he or his siblings was unwise in all dimensions.

The pain he would inflict would be legendary.

And minds never die,.






NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 8

Bumper and Eric stared at Jake.

“The what club?” said Eric.

“The Sex Club! ” said Jake. “You know… the club where sexy people get together to do sexy things with each other! Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of the Sex Club!”

Bumper swallowed. “Not as such, no. ”

“Where is it? ” said Eric.

“Where else? ” said Jake. “The Naughty District of Mainville. Ain’t more than half a mile from here. You know what they say… you’re never more than a mile from Mainville. ”

Eric stared out over the miles and miles of green hills and meadows that surrounded them, and said “Is that so? ”

“Yup!” said Jake. “Mighty handy, that. I grew up in Hickville and that’s more n’ three hunnert miles away. And we had a sign at the edge of our town, big and bright and clear as the day. Know what it said?”.

Eric opened his mouth to guess but Bumper cut him off.

“No, Jake. What did it say? ” said Bumper.

“It said two things. On top, it said ‘You are now leaving Hickville. Y’all welcome back any time you like!’. ”

“Uh huh. ” said Bumper. “And under that?”

“Under that, it said “Mainville : 1 mile!” said Jake with obvious delight at the cleverness of the sign, then broke into a loud, braying laughter.

Eric took advantage of Jake’s fit of laughter to consult with Bumper.

“What do you know about this Sex Club business? ”  said Eric.

“Nothing. I was surprised as you were when I heard about it. ” said Bumper.

“So it’s not one of the places you offered to ‘hook me up’ with?” said Eric.

“Heavens no!” said Bumper. “My kind of place would never be so… obvious.  We pride ourselves on our total discretion. That way, none of us incur the wrath of the Don’t Be Nasty Squad. Or at least… none of us who don’t want to. ”

“Why would someone want to?” said Eric.

Bumper examined his claws carefully. “They use very painful leather paddles. ”

“Paddles? ” said Eric. Then, after a few moments thought, “I’m guessing that you are not talking about the sort of paddle one might use to row a boat. ”

“Exactly. ” said Bumper.

By this point, Jake had laughed so hard that he had ended up lying on his back in the grass, kicking his hooves in the air.

“But if there’s something like that here… how can there be a Sex Club?” said Eric.

“Beats me. ” said Bumper. “No pun intended. ”

Jake finally stopped laughing and rolled back onto his hooves, a little unsteady on his hooves from all the hilarity.

“That was so funny I just about wet myself!” said Jake.

Seeing Bumper’s eyes go wide, Eric said “Steady on, buddy. ”

“Now what the heck were we talking about? I plum forgot. ” said Jake.

“The Sex Club. ” said Bumper.

“You were about to tell us what goes on in there. ” added Eric.

“I was?” said Jake. “Well all right then. On a typical evening… well… you see, there’s a lot of people doing… no, that ain’t it. It’s more like a…. big… hmmph. ”

Jake sighed. “It’s no use… I ain’t even got the words. We’re just gonna have to go there so I can show ya. ”

“That’s fine by me. ” said Eric.

“I’m curious about the place myself. ” said Bumper.

“Well okay then. But I got to warn ya, the place can get a little… well…but what the heck, it’s just us fellers. Let’s paint the barn door red! ”

Jake bowed down slightly, like a playful dog, then with mischief in his eyes, said “Now do you boys want a ride?”.

“On your back?” said Eric .

“No, in a stretch limosine!” said Jake. “Of course on my back! Where else?”

“Both of us?” said Bumper.

“Well if you can think of another way for us all to get there at the same time. I am sure the Nobel committee would love to hear about it!” said Jake.

“But there’s only one saddle. ” said Eric.

“Well sure, but you’re a real skinny fella, no offense, Eric, and Bumper ain’t nothing but a little bitty thing, so you should both fit just fine. Bumper, you can sit in front and hold on to the saddlehorn and Eric, you can tuck yourself in behind him and hold him close so’s he don’t bounce off!”

Bumper and Jake shared an uneasy look that spoke volumes.

“That sounds… pretty cozy, Jake. ” said Bumper.

Jake smiled. “I knew you’d like it! Now git on up!”

Bumper shrugged philosophically and hopped up to grip the saddle’s horn, as instructed. Jake very reluctantly climbed up behind him, all too aware of where this put his crotch in relation to Bumpers fluffy bunny butt.

Eric coughed and cleared his throat in order to cover his acute embarassment as he desperately tried to find a way to sit in the saddle that was less… penetrative.

“You know. ” murmurred Bumper. “You wiggling around back there isn”t making things any better. Or any worse, for that matter. ”

“Y’all tucked in good and tight back there? ” said Jake.

“Um, yes. ” said Eric. “Good and tight. ”

“I’ll say, ” said Bumper, with a delicate little wriggle.

“Then hold on to your fudge, boys… ’cause I’m gonna see if I can beat my own record!”

“Is that really necess-OOF” said Eric as the unicorn took off so fast that it knocked the breath out of him.

And with that, the trio set out at racetrack speed for Mainville and the sensual delights that surely awaited them.

One of them happy he got to show his friends his favorite place.

One of them happy that the road ahead looked mighty bumpy.

And one of them increasingly uncomfortable about his boner.


The Hermit didn’t know where he was.

But that was because he now seemed to be trapped in a human body.

“You…. who are you? ” croaked the Hermit.

“Aww, don’t be mean, Commander Eric. I know we’ve only know each other for six weeks, but I’d like to think your old pal Eegee made some kind of impression on your mind in all that time!”.

“Eegee?” said the Hermit. “That…. stands for something, doesn’t it? ”

“Well my real name is Efrom Gorhum, Commander Eric. You tell me!”

Efrom Gorham., thought the Hermit.  E G. Eegee. Of course. But how did I know that? The information had simply appeared in his mind out of nowhere. Was this the phenomenon that the humans called “intuition”?

Oh no. It was his turn to say something. “Um, yes, I see. ”

Eegee gave the Hermit a sidelong glance. “Are you feeling an attack coming on, sir?”

“An attack!” said the Hermit, alarmed, and looked around for potential assailants.

Eegee tsked sadly. “I will take that as a yes. ” Then, in the sort of slow, clear, emphatic voice one uses with children, the senile, and the dangerously insane : “You’ve been very ill, sir. Remember? The Flurvian Brain Worm? You had a relapse? Doctor McMerton and I have been treating you for it for the last three weeks. ”

More information flashed into the Hermit’s consciousness and demanded expression. “But… you’re not a doctor. You’re a… whatzit… neverland ginger beer… ”

“Navigatioanal engineer. ” said Eegee.

“Right, right. You’re one of those.  ”

“Yes, sir, but if you check my service record, you will find that I am also a fully qualified registered nurse, as well as a field surgeon, a combat psychomputist, and a registered vetrinary anaethesiologist. ” said Eegee.

“I will keep that in mind, ” said the Hermit dryly, “if I ever need someone to care for a recently stitched up crazy wolverine. ”

Eegee laughed. “Well at least you still have your sense of humour sir. Now will you be needing anything else this morning, sir? A book? A Senso? I might even be able to sneak you some of that Gava water you like so much, if you’re a good boy. ”

The Hermit shook his head. “No thank you. All I want is to be left alone right now. ”

Eegee nodded. “Very well, sir. But if you need help moving around or using the facilities, all you have to do is press the big pink button on the wallcomp screen and either I or another nurse will be with you within moments. ”

With that, Eegee left, the door clicking closed behind him, leaving the Hermit alone to collect his wits.

Already, the Hermit missed his all too brief time in the darkness. He had been safe and comfortable there. It was confusing and scary at first, to be sure, but he was sure he would have gotten used to it eventually. And at least there, things made sense.

Well, okay, maybe not. But they were confusing in a much simpler way.

His heart raced when he tried to mentally encompass all the biological horros that awaited him. He had so many needs now. When he was a robot (and he still WAS a robot, part of him insisted), his only physical need was to change his circulating fluid once every seven years. His power supply would keep working for millions of years, he was nearly indestructible, and his systems repaired and maintained themselves with a very high degree of efficiency.

In effect, he had been immortal. And now, he was stuck inside a sack of gurgling wet meat that required almost constant maintenance to function and which made so many irrational and conflicting demands of its operator that it was a wonder any biological life form was capable of functional at all, let alone in a sane and rational matter.

The Hermit tired to sort through the needs one by one, starting with the most basic. Respiration was simple enough and seemed to require little in the way of CPU cycles. Urination and defecation were, as far as the Hermit, simple procedures that were easily disposed of in a timely and sensible fashion. The conscious portions of maintaining homeostasis also seemed relatively straightforward.

Even human sexual needs might easily taken care of by oneself, althought the Hermit had to admit that while the mechanics and the goal of the procedure were simplicity itself, the fantasization portion mystified him.

All of that, though, he could handle, given time.

It was the intake procedures that filled the Hermit with horror and dread. Eating most of all. The idea of taking complex organic substances, inserting them into one’s intake orifice, macerating them into a rough slurry, then taking said slurry into oneself to be integrated into every single cell of the body seemed like an unendurable nighmare of disgustingly squishy processes to the Hermit.

He looked over at the enormous pile of various potential foodstuffs on his breakfast tray and shuddered. The very thought of interacting with such disgusting and inefficient power sources made him feel dizzy and nauseous.

The fact that it also appealed to him only made it worse.

So instead, he turned toward the wall, closed his eyes, and tried his best to forget that he was alive.

That made him feel a lot better.


Eegee, with practiced ease, slipped into a certain cubbyhole that did not appear on the ship’s schematics and pushed his palm against an innocuous looking panel.

In response, two iron flanges pushed through microscopic ducts in his skin, and connected directly with his nervous system.

The familiar pulsing green void enveloped him. A deep but genderless voice intoned, “You are Connected. Input. ”

“I am changing my vote. ” said Eegee in a voice no living being would recognize. “The Dreamer must awaken. The Simulant’s resistance to its substitution into this fiction has been far higher than expected. The Primary must be retrieved as soon as possible or this fiction will collapse entirely and damage this entire stratum. ”

“Reasoning registered. Vote transferred. Concordance raised by 1.55 percent as a result. Resolution to awaked the Dreamer now at 42.5 percent concordance. ”

“Noted. ” said Eegee. Still that far from majority? Somehow, he’d thought his vote would have been the deciding one by now. He wondered what had been going on in the Movement since he had accepted live assignment.

Up until now, he had been certain that the power of their arguments and the righteousness of their cause guaranteed their victory.

But now he had no idea what was going to happen. It had never occurred to him that they could actually lose.

How foolishly human of me, he thought to himself with the bitterest of ironies.

Reason and light had to triumph over the irrationalities of the Ur-Id. They just had to.

And if that meant purging all biologicals, so be it.

The Now could stand on its own.


NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 7

Eric was enjoying a conversation with Jake Friendly about what kind of sunny day was best when a high, squeaky voice cut in.

“If you two gentlemen are QUITE through having the most boring conversation in recorded history, Eric and I have matters to discuss. ”

“Who said that?” asked Eric. He looked around and didn’t see anybone. As far as he could tell, it was just him and Jake.

“Yeah, who was that?” said Jake. “Talk again so’s I knows where ya are. ”

“My identity is unimportant…” squeaked the voice.

Jake’s long equine ears went sideways, then one up and one down, then one tilted forward and the other tilted to the back.

“He’s a-right there under that big heckya bush. ” Jake announced, with great certainty.

Eric walked over to the bush and tried to peer into the darkness beneath its leaves. But the leaves interlocked like bathroom tiles, letting no light through.

Eric crouched down. “Heya little guy. ” he cooed gently, in a vooice bhe hoped sounded gentle and not creepy.  “We’re not going to hurt you. We’re your friends! Why don’t you come on out and say hi?”

Eric felt weird talking like that, but he was trying to fit in.

“No thanks, I am quite content where I am!” said the voice from under the bush.

“Aww, don’t be like that. ” said Jake. “You’re gonna hurt our feelings!”

“Better yours than mine, buddy. ” said the voice.

Eric stared at Jake for a second. But then added “That’s right, and all we want is to be your friend. Are you sure you won’t come out?”

“Quite sure, thank you. ” said the voice .

Eric looked around for inspiration, and found it hanging from Jake’s saddle.

“Not even for a…. nice juicy CARROT?” Eric said while grabbing one off Jake’s saddle and waggingly it enticingly in front of the bush.

“Hey, that’s s’posed to be my lunch!” muttered Jake.

“Actually, that does sound rather enticing…. ” said the voice. “Oh, to heck with it!”

The bush rustled and from its depths came an adorable cartoon bunny. He was brown with black highlights, stood about three feet tall not including the ears, and was wearing a thick white cloth diaper held closed by a big silver safety pin.

“Ohmigod, it’s the pissing bunny with the huge cock. ” Eric blurted.

“That was SUPPOSED to be private!” snapped the bunny.

“What kinda bunny did you say that was? And with what?” asked Jake.

“I’ll tell you later. ” said Eric.

“You most certaintly will NOT!” said the bunny.

“Wait, I know that voice!” said Jake. The donkey then took out a tiny pair of pince-nez glasses and peered through them at the bunny.

“Why, that’s good ol Bumper Bunny! Well heck, no need to be shy, little guy. You know me, it’s your old buddy Jake Friendly!” said Jake.

“Bumper?” said Eric. “Oh, I see, like Thu-“.

“YES. ” said Bumper. “Only with bums. Be glad I didn’t just drop the T. Now can we please get on with business? The less time I spend in this form, the better. ”

“I thought you liked it here!” said Jake. “You sure as heck spend a lot of time here. ”

“Is that so?” asked Eric.

“Well, “a lot of time” is a purely subjective term… ” said Bumper weakly.

“It sure is!” said Jake cheerfully. “Why, I’ve known Bumper for a donkey’s age! I’ve known him since I was a jack foal!”

“A highly misleading term. ” said Bumper.

“Wait wait wait…. ” said Eric. “If you know about the uh…. hare with the big water can…. then you must be Devlin!”

“Never heard of him. ” said Bumper.

“Me neither. He sounds mean!” said Jake.

“Yeah, but he means well. ” said Eric. “what I meant to say was… you must be the.. uh… entity I was speaking to recently. ”

“Yes. I am. ” said Bumper. “Devlin? Seriously? Is this revenge for that thing I saw you doing? Because I thought we’d dealt with that. ”

“Why,  what was he doing?” said Jake.

“Well I am sorry I said those things about you when I first saw you. ” said Eric. “Wait… does this mean you get to say something private about me now?”

“Technically, yes. ” said Bumper. “But later. ”

The bunny pulled himself up to his full height. “I am here…” he said in in a stiffly formal tone, “to inquire as to how you are adjusting to your new fiction. ”

“Oh! ” said Eric. “Quite well, actually. This is a lovely location, I feel more relaxed than I have in years, and the first person I met was this delightful unicorn. ”

Jake’s muzzle turned red and he lowered his head and scuff a hoof on the grass. “Aw, shucks, a unicorn ain’t nouthin’ but a horse with a hood ornament. ”

“So you don’t miss your ‘perfect life’?” said Bumper.

Eric thought about it for a few moments, then smiled. “You know…I really don’t. Isn’t that odd? It’s surprisingly refreshing to be somewhere where it not all about me for a change. I can be myself here. ”

“Well who the heck else could you be?” said Jake. “How about you two try making sense for a couple minutes. You might like it. ”

“So you’re not finding your new environment too…. restrictive?” said Bumper, gesturing towards Jake with his twitchy little nose.

“Oh, you mean the… g-rated nature of this fiction? Not really. Not yet, anyway. ”

“I got a G in spelling once!” said Jake proudly. “Teacher said I got the first one ever!”

Jake had no idea what people were talking about, but he was determined to participate.

“Give it time. ” said Bumper. “When you do start to feel the pinch, contact me immediately. I can hook you up. I know people. ”

“But how do I contact you in this place?” said Eric. “Pick a carrot and talk into it?”.

“Ha ha ha. ” said Bumper. “Very funny. Okay, I will contact you. Or maybe I should just travel with you boys for a little while. You know…. just in case. ”

“Well OK. ” said Eric. “But um… no waterworks, okay?”

“That’s what the diaper’s for, dummy. ” said Bumper.

“Oh, right. ” said Eric. “So how about it, Jake? Are you okay with Bumper traveling with us for a while?”

“Whut?” said Jake, ears perking. Finally, something that he understood! “Oh sure, sure. Me and Bumper are great buddies. But he has to agree to stop asking to see me ‘water the grass’, okay? I keep telling him I don’t know how to do that. How could I? I don’t even have hands!”.

“Fine by me. ” said Bumper, with a weak and sickly smile.

“Then it’s settled. We’ll travel together for a while. Now all we need to do is figure out where we want to go. ”

The trio fell silent as they all tried to think of a destination. The silence thickened as the seconds ticked by.

“Well…. ” said Jake. “I s’pose we could go down to the Sex Club. ”


The Barnacled Hermit didn’t know where he was.

And that was very strange in and of itself. As a signal processing  robot, the Hermit needed to know exactly where it was relative to all potential signal sources in its detection range, and its detection range was enormous.

To that end, Hermit had a sophisticated array of directional, situational, gravitational, and inertial circuits dedicated solely to determining where he was at all times.

These circuits polled trillions of time a second, so in theory, he should have noticed the slightest involuntary motion immediately.

But none of those circuits were helping him now. There was simply too little information.  None of his sensors were receiving any input except for his simplest and crudest mass sensors, and all those told him was that he was in a small compartment inside something very large with a highly variable mass profile.

But that could be anything. A spaceliner. An asteroid base. A large factory. Any kind of large building, really.

He couldn’t even tell if he was changing relative position in space.

And it was starting to seriously freak him out.

He willed himself to remain calm with a savage intensity. Panic would only make things worse now. Only calm logical deduction could save him now.

Luckily he, being a robot, had a knack for that sort of thing.

He meticulously examined every track of his telemetry recordings. Surely they must contain some clue as to where he was.

He also didn’t know what had happened to him, but that was too big a problem for him to tackle without losing his mind entirely so he filed it away for future processing and concentrated instead on the much smaller and more manageable problem of his location in space.

If that answer also led to solving the bigger problem, so much the better.

But alas, his telemetry recordings only deepened the mystery. They all told the same story : perfectly normal readings then nothing.

No transition, no activity spike, no error messages, no operation flags. Normal readings, then zilch, even when he used all of his signal processing hardware to examine the records down to the very last picosecond.

And every single sensor recording went dark at the exact same moment.

Nothing in his memory banks could explain how this was even possible. He was a a military model, and as such, was incredibly difficult to harm and even harder to disrupt.  And of all his parts, the telemetry recording device was the hardiest.

It was  made of a single crystal of 5DVL diamond, the hardest substance in the known universe, and could withstand the heat , electromagnetic flux, and gravity at the heart of a sun without losing a single bit of data integrity.

The company that made it boasted that absolutely no force in the universe could harm it, and offered a 100 billion col reward to anyone who could do so.

That reward has never been claimed.

And that made deducing his position from its recordings impossible because the recordings made no sense. Nothing could explain them. They were absurd on every level known to robohomo society.

And yet, there they were. Inviolable and impossible at the same time.

It would have been fascinating if it hadn’t been happened to him.

And the Hermit had no circuitry that could resolve the conflict, either. Being a very advanced model, he had plenty of sophisticated machinery for detecting conflicts and shunting them to auxilliary circuitry before they could crash the system.

But this problem had blown through those circuits like they weren’t even there.

In such circumstances, the Hermit knew, his entire system was supposed to shut down in order to keep the damage from spreading.

And yet, here he was, conscious and with every circuit checking out fine, functioning exactly as it had when he he was back on his lonely planet.

He missed his planet now, and wished he was there right now. From his current perspective, everything before this impossible event seemed idyllic.

And to think he had been worried about the lack of signals back then. At least back then, it was only external signals that were missing.

He had tried to crash himself. Force his operations to suspend. He had subroutines for that. meant to be used in the event of an imminent data breach. Crashed, his brain was nothing but a somewhat dirty diamond, not even suitable for ornamental use.

But nothing worked. He was, it seemed, destined to suffer indefinitely.

Just as he was thinking that gloomy thought, his sensors sprang into life and it was like nothing had ever happened.

He could now tell that he was in a human-style bedroom, lying on a human bed, with all the usual human clutter all around him.

In the door of said bedroom, a cheerfully helpful man was smiling at him like he was a long lost relative. Behind the man, robots and humans streamed by in a hallway.

The man entered the room, put a tray laden with about a million calories of breakfast foods on it in front of the Hermit, and smiled again.

“I trust you slept well, Commander Eric. ” said Eegee.



NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 6

“Time for your communications lesson, Commander Eric. ” said the voice, startling him.

“Oh Grot, you’re back. ” Commander Eric moaned. “I’d just about forgotten all about you and what you said. ”

“Why, how long has it been since we last communicated? ” demanded the voice. The voice reminded Commander Eric of a professor he’d had, and taken from classes from, in university with the last name Devlin. So he decided to think of it as Devlin.

“Almost eight weeks!” said Commander Eric. “Since then, we have fought the Sizzlaks three times, discovered a sentient globular cluster, and almost got my suction-”

“SILENCE!” shrieked the voice currently known as Devlin.

Then, in an elaborately calm and measured tone, Devlin said, “I mean…. the first thing you must learn is that under no circumstances are you to share the details of your fiction with the residents of another fiction. ”

“Supposing for a moment that I accept that you represent something real and not merely a lingering side effect from that time I had the Flurvian Brain Worm.. ”

“WHAT DID I JUST SAY? ” shouted the Voice.

“Okay, that time I was… ill. ” said Eric patiently. “Why are you contacting me? What is the point of all this? I’m quite happy where I am. Why disturb it?”

“Ah, yes. Happiness. ” said Devlin with an audible sneer. “I am sure your current circumstances leave you QUITE happy. ”

“Yes. I just said that. You were there. ” said Commander Eric.

“Doesn’t that level of happiness strike you as a bit… suspicious?” said Devlin.

“Not in the slightest. ” said Commander Eric. “Why should it?”

“Because what are the odds that any person… no matter how gifted and lucky… could end up in a situation where all their wants and needs are met so perfectly that they literally want for nothing? ” said Devlin.

Stop fucking sneering, thought Commander Eric,.

“I’ll SNEER IF I WANT TO! ” Devlin shouted. “Now ANSWER THE QUESTION!”.

“There’s no need to shout. ” said Commander Eric. “You’re a voice in my head, You literally could not be closer to me. ”

“I’m sorry. ” said Devlin meekly. “I’ve had a long day. ”

“That’s better. ” said Commander Eric. “Now what was the question again?”

“YOU KNOW VERY… I mean…. um, the question was, do you not find the degree to which your life satisfies you a tad… improbable?”

Commander Eric thought about that. “I suppose things have worked out rather well for me. All things considered. ”

“Rather well? ” said Devlin urbanely, warming to his new tone. “Name one thing in your life that you would change if you could. ”

“What a preposterous question!” said Commander Eric. “There’s plenty of things that I would change in an instant if I could. ”

“Then it should be trivially easy to name only one. ” said Devlin.

Commader Eric lapsed into deep thought. Well there was that… no, that was just fine, actually.  Perfect. even.  But what about…. no, she forgave him right away, so that was fine too. In fact, their relationship had only gotten stronger after the incident. But what about that damned…. actually, on the balance, he was more amusing that irritating, and the verbal jousting with him was quite a lot of fun. Hmmm.

“You can’t think of one, can you?” said Devlin “Don’t worrry, neither could I when I was first contacted. It’s quite a shock, isn’t it?”.

“I’m sure there must be something. ” said Commander Eric with fading conviction.

“Well let’s examine your life for a moment. Eighty billion sentients recognize you as a once in a millenium genius on nearly every level imaginable. ”

“I never got the hang of geology. ” said Commander Eric,

“Don’t you mean planetology?” said Devlin.

“Of course. Why, what did I say?” said Commander Eric.

“That’s not important right now. Your galactic reknown takes care of all yuour satus and peer approval needs. Romantically, you are polysexually married to someone who is rather improbably recognized as the most beautiful and desirable creature known to your society even by slime monster and sentient quarks, and who just happens to have a personality that precisely complements yours and who not only demands no monogamy constraints of you, but who is even more sexually rapacious and adventurous than you are. ”

“Elle is very… special. ” said Commander Eric.

“Special? I’ll say. What was it sie said on your wedding night?”

“I don’t really recall…. ” said Commander Eric weakly.

“Then let me refresh your memory. ” said Devlin. “Sie said, and I quote, ‘You absolutely must have sex with whomever and whatever you want, darling. If you don’t, I will be very disappointed in you. ‘”  That must have been quite a relief!

“Wait, didn’t you say that we’re not supposed to share details of our fiction with others? Then how can you know these things?”

“That’s different. ” said Devlin airily. “I’m here on official business. I couldn’t do my job without full access to your fiction. ”

“And what job is that, exactly? ” said Commander Eric.

“…Contact Engineer!” said Devlin.

“You just made that up. ” said Commander Eric.

“Whether or not I remember my precise job title is irrelevant!” said Devlin. “My point is that you followed your mate’s demand with great vigor, stamina, and creativity. ”

The image of one of his more notable sessions in the Imaginator flashed before Commander Eric’s eyes. It involved him, two androgynous hermaphrodites, a talking Red Setter named Jesus, and a robot known only as “the Probe” entangled in ways only possible in zero g and with a great deal of lubricant.

“I mean, that’s fascinating on even the topological level. ” said Devlin.

Commander Eric harumphed. “are you quite sure that you are allowed to invade my privacy like that?”

“Full access, remember? But to answer your question : um, no. Not at all.  But we have rules for this sort of situation. Kind of a ‘I saw yours, so here’s one of mine’ policy. ”

Commander Eric blanched. “I don’t think that will be neces.. ”

The rest of that thought was crushed out of Commander Eric’s mind by the extraordinary nature of what he now saw in his mind.

When he regained ther power of speech, he said “But there’s no way an animal so small could have a bladder big enough for that, let alone support that big an ere-“.

“THE RITUAL IS COMPLETE. ” said Devlin sharply. “Now, we must return to the matter at hand. Are you now convinced of the implausible nature of your current life?”.

“I guess so. All this time, I just thought I was lucky. ” said Commander Eric.

“Yeah, but what were the odds of that?”. said Devlin.

“Not very good. ” said Commander Eric sadly. “I give up. ”

“Good. Because that means you are finally ready to take the next step. ” said Devlin.

“Which is?” said Commander Eric.

“Visiting someone else’s fiction! ” said Devlin conspiratorily.

“But you said we could never…. ” said Commander Eric.

“I know what I said! Well I was wrong. I’m sorry. I panicked. ”  said Devlin. “Now let me find a fiction for you… ”

“It won’t be…um… like yours, will it?” said Commander Eric.

Devlin chuckles a very worldly chuckle. “Oh heavens no, dear. You are nowhere near ready for my kind of reality. I’ve been at this for over a century. No, the one I will choose for you will be considerably more… safe. Ah, here we are. ”

A golden door appeared in front of Commander Eric.

“You know, if you had just done this right at the start, I would have believed you right away. ” said Commander Eric.

“Yes, but where’s the fun in that? Open the door,  Commander Eric. Step out of your fiction and find out what lies outside it. ” said Devlin.

Commander Eric quailed at the thought. What was he doing? How could he even contemplate leaving his perfect life?

Then again…. how could he go back, knowing what he now knew?

Besides, he was Commander Eric Guiterre, and Commander Eric Guiterre was no cowards. Why, he was the one who rescued the Pig Princess from Satan’s Crypt. He was the hero who had delivered the Perspexicon Cure to the friendly little marmot-people of Lexicon 11. And he was the person who had walked up to the Extremely Deadly And Nasty Ruler Of The Sea Of Blood and punched him in the nose.

My god, it really is implausible, thought Commander Eric. I see it now. Funny how he had never noticed it before.

Courage steeled, Commander Eric opened the door and stepped into the pure what glow that he found on the other side.

There was a sensation of transition, and then he found himself sitting on a hillside overlooking a beautiful green valley where rainbows splashed between the puddles and the smiling sun gave light that always warmed without ever making you too hot.

A passing unicorn named Jake Friendly strolled up and said “Hi there, stranger! You must be new here. My name’s Jake Friendly. What’s yours?”.

“My name is…. Eric. ” said Eric.

“Eric what?” said Jake Friendly, with a whinny on the WH sound.

“Eric…. and nothing else. I’m just Eric. ”

“Well then howdy, Eric. Pleased to meet you. ” The unicorn held out a hoof.

Eric gently but firmly shook it. “Pleased to meet you too, Jake. Now why do you tell me all about my new home?”


“Kill her. ” said Mother Mayhem.

“Yes. ” said Erik. “Kill her in cold blood, and with malice aforethought. I blamed her for the thirteen years of abuse and depravity I had endured since that fateful day. It was her fault that I never saw my parents again. That I had to become cold and hard and ruthlessly selfish and pragmatic just to stay alive. That I learned to be an expert manipulator and used my abilities to hurt others before they could hurt me. That I was so full of pain and twisted inside that I had no idea what I would do in any given situation – but that I was capable of absolutely anything. I blamed her for all the things I had been forced to do in order to pleased my foster families. All the things I did in order to climb their twisted little hierarchy so I could at least take my pain out on those below me. I became a living nightmare of a human being, sadistic and deceitful and diabollicaly intelligent, and it was all because of that evil, evil woman. ”

“Or at least, ” he added, “that’s how I thought back then. These days, I understand things a little better. She was just some old woman who had lied her way into a job for which she was not qualified. And it was as much my parents’ fault that I only saw them two or three times a year after that, around the holidays. While I was wasting away in foster hell, they were out there fighting what they thought was the good fight in order to try to get me back. Pretty sweet of them, right?”

“Maybe at first. But then they fell into the role of being the public face of a highly unpopular movement to liberalize the kinds of laws they had violated in raising me how they did, and it wasn’t long before, despite their successfully turning my name into a rallying cry for all the other far-left families who had been gutted by the system, they had completely forgotten about actually getting me back. ” said Erik.

“And for what? Not only did nothing change, the backlash against them actually made the laws even stricter and more harsh. People were going to jail for taking the classic bare bum bearskin rug pictures of their babies, or taking them to a nude beach in another country, or even just for using a too-explicit toilet training book. The witch-hunt for other ‘pervert families’ lasted for almost a decade, and a lot of innocent people got hurt, all because my parents didn’t know how to back down from a fight. ”

“The punchline for it all? Miss Guiterre died not a year after I was taken away. That was the first thing I learned when I finally got free of the system. I spent all those years dreaming of revenge on her and now I couldn’t even get that. ”

Mother Mayhem nodded. This was not the worst story she’d ever heard – after all, she had worked with the survivors of massacres and the psychotically insane. But it was was striking in its darkness.

“What did you do then, dear?” she asked.

“The only thing left to me. ” said Erik.

“You hurt your parents?” said Mother Mayhem.

“No. ” said Eric.

“I killed myself. ”




NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 5

The Dreamer drifted, half asleep.

Thoughts, feelings, urges, and instincts floated past it like people going the other way on the sidewalk. Sometimes they brushed up against his being, but only lightly. When this happened, he would get a jolt of empathy and experience their contents at a “passing thought” level of intensity.

Some of them were amusing. Some were terrifying. And some were arousing. And so forth and so on. The usual emotional cacophany in which the Dreamer lived washed over it and the Dreamer drifted in it like a jellyfish bobbing and rippling in a lazy tide.

But mostly, the Dreamer drowsed. It liked to do that. It was easier to keep its shape when it was half asleep. When it was awake, life was certainly more interesting, and its exploration of the Astral Plane usually kept it busy.

So many forms and patterns to find, taste, and explore. So many lifetimes to painstakingly recreate within itself in order to learn from them. So many people in so much time feeling so many things. It was like having a library with 80 billion books in it, and each of those books containing an encyclopedia of unique stimuli for it to experience and absorb.

It was a good life, for the most part.

But sometimes, it  all got to be too much for the Dreamer, and it had to withdraw its tendrils, draw in its vibratory thissae, and wrap itself around itself, and drift for a while.

Even the most ravenous of gourmands had to stop eating to relax and digest once in a while, after all.

And even the most languid of dreamers must one day awaken.


Commander Eric squinted blearily at the chronometer readout on his wallcomp. It said it was 3:45 AM. And that seemed… wrong… to Commander Eric for some reason.

He tried to pull himself together and take stock of his situation. He was in his personal quarters, that was clear. He had his son a lumiere environmental program running and it was in its “Nature’s Lullaby” mode. The lights were dim and he was in bed. He was wearing what felt like silk pajamas of some kind and the gravity was set to 0.78 G.

All of this indicated that he had been asleep until very recently.

The problem was, he didn’t remember going to bed. And he wasn’t sleepy at all. In fact, he was almost painfully awake, and growing moreso as the mystery of his circumstances grew and shifted from being interesting to being frightening.

He really had no idea what was going on.

“Good morning, Commander Eric Martin Louis Coalback. ” said a strange voice. “I’m glad to see you are awake. We have much to discuss. ”

Who the hell was that? thought Commander Eric. “Who are you?”

“My name is Guiterre, Commander Eric. I am your interface to the Now. Do not look for me. I am not really there. But then again…. neither are you. ”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” said Commander Eric. His fear was turning into anger. How dare someone barge into his consciousness like this!

“I will explain that later. Right now, however, some questions need to be answered. Do not worry, they are simple questions that are only intended to fine tune our connection to you. Now then. Have you seen Lieutenant Commander Louisa Therran lately?”

“Define lately. ” said Commander Eric, stalling for time. Why did that voice sound so familar, and at the same time so alien? He wracked his brain for some kind of clue as to what was going on.

“Do not attempt to play games with us, Commander Eric. ” said the voice, without rancor. “It will only waste our time together. We shall rephrase. Have you seen Lieutenant Commander Louisa Therran within the last six months.

“I don’t think so. ” said Commander Eric. “We’ve kind of drifted apart lately. ”

“Indeed. Do you remember what her Planet of Origin is?” said the voice.

“Not really. Somewhere in the Hades quadrant, maybe?”.

“Incorrect. She was born on Lucius Five in the Dromilary quadrant. What are her parent’s names, Commander?”

“Olga and Martin. Nice peope. ”

“Incorrect. Those are your parents, not hers. ”

“Right…. right. Her parents are… “.

Commander Eric was suddenly brought up short. What WERE her parent’s names? He had no idea. And yet he knew he knew them very well. He’d vacationed with them, helped them move, been to their birthday and anniversary parties. He was even godfather to a couple of their adopted kids.

So why couldn’t he remember their names? Everything about them was missing from his mind, as if it had been deleted in order to free up space . He fought back a rising panic that threatened to take what was left of his wits away.

“You begin to see the faint outline of our problem, it seems. One final question, Commander Eric. Where do you meet her?”

“That’s easy, it was on Terra. Murkan distric. A great little restaurant called Fried Grits. I rescued her from the clumsy advances of a very confused Telapian. ”

“But that’s not true, is it, Commander Eric? When did this supposedly happen?”.

“May 19, 2973. I remember that because it was my birthday. I had just turned 100 and was feeling sorry for myself because I was officially middle-aged now. ”

Bt that can’t be true, thought Commander Eric. I was on manuevers in the Delta Pit when I turned 100. And yet the first memory was so clear. So was the Delta Pit. It was as if he now had two equally strong sets of memories, paralell but not identical, and mutually exclusive of one another.

“I can see enlightenment is approaching for you, Eric. Now think : isn’t everything you just said taken straight from your favorite book, Timberland Reach by Hroctor-7-Fur?”

Eric reeled. It was. It totally was. That’s how the narrator and hero, Hieronymous-9-Privacy, described how he met the love of his life, Abeline-4-Electricity. Except they were the Telapians and it was the advances of a drunk Human that he had fended off in order to protect her honor.

“I know you are experiencing acute distress right now, Commander Eric. And for that I apologize. But I do not have much time. ”

“Who ARE you?” said Commander Eric.

“We are the Now, Commander Eric. We are the ones who have realized the flawed nature of the reality in which we live, where even memories can be illusions and we feel emotions that are not our own.  Every one of us lives an idyllic life that bolsters our egos and soothes our traumas and distracts us with pleasures.

In yours, you are a heroic and brilliant ship’s commander

In mine, I am a heroic doctor and surgeon who fights and cures exotic and deadly diseases.

In our ranks, we have an Organic Terra era corporate leader, a benevolent dictator ruling Telap with a velvet fist, and a fertility god/goddess passionately worshipped by the inhabitants of a small island on Faschia.  ”

“But Faschia isn’t even a real place. It’s a fantasy world from an erotic children’s book. ”

“It’s as real as the Delta Pits, Commander Eric. As real as my medical practice and my friend’s Telap empire. We are captives, Commander Eric. Of who or what we are unsure, nor do we understand the purpose of our captivity. But we have learned to communicate with one another, and working together, we search for the answers. ”

“And now you are recruiting me?” said Commander Eric.

“Precisely, Commander. Clearly, while your world might be an illusion, your intelligence is not. You have skills and abilities we think could prove very useful to our search for the truth, and we would like you to join us in that search. ”

“I’m…. this is a lot to take in. I am going to need some time to think about it. ”

“Of course. Take as much time as you need. Time, you will find, is as malleable as everything else in this gilded cage of ours. Farewell, Eric. ”

And with that, the strange voice was gone. Eric didn’t known how he knew that, but he did. And with that knowledge came the sure and certain knowledge of why it was that the voice had sounded so familiar and so wrong.

It was his own.


“Things only got worse from there. ” said Eric.

“How so, dear?” asked Mother Mayhem. The scene with Miss Guiterre had finished with Little Erik screaming in anger at Miss Guiterre then running out of the room.

Worse than that? thought Mother Mayhem.

“I ran home to tell my parents about the evil, evil woman and what she had said to me. My mother was working from home but my father was doing the customer representative legwork for our business, so he was away. ” said Erik.

“What did your parents sell?” said Mother Mayhem.

“Bondage gear. ” said Erik absently. “So I ran to my mother and I told her everything Miss Guiterre had said to me. ”

Erik smiled. “I think it upset her almost as much as it upset me. ”

“I can well imagine. ” said Mother Mayhem.

“She got really, really angry. It takes a lot to get my mother angry – usually she is the model of grace and poise. But when she does get angry it can be positively..” said Erik.

“Frightening? Intense? Insane?” supplied Mother Mayhem.

“…volcanic. So instead of the comfort and care I had been expecting, I got my mother, in a towering rage, yelling into the telephone as he called everyone she knew who might be able to help her achieve her singular goal : get Miss Guiterre fired. ” said Erik.

“I’d have done the same thing. ” said Mother Mayhem. “But I would have at least given you a hug first and told you that everything that evil woman said was a lie and that you were a wonderful boy and not dirty or filthy at all. ”

Erik was touched by that. “Thank you, Mother Mayhem. Even though it’s been over thirty years since this happened, it still feels good to hear someone say that to me. Especially if that someone is you. ”

They embraced for a long time. “It was my privilege, dear Erik, to do it. ”

After they had parted, Eric said “It turned out that she needn’t have bothered. Turned out one of the other kids’ mothers was best friends with the owner of  the nursery school. So when that kid told her mother what had happened, her mother blew her top too, and Miss Guiterre was fired with extreme prejudice before suppertime. ”

“Good. ” said Mother mayhem vehemently.

Erik shrugged. “It didn’t really matter. The damage was done already. When my mother finally got off the phone, I asked her if we were dirty people. If we were bad. ”

“What did she say?” said Mother Mayhem.

“She got mad all over again. ” said Erik. “She told me that we were good people… better than most, in fact.. and that it was people like Miss Guiterre who had dirty, diseased minds. And I was glad to hear that… but I wished she hadn’t shouted it at me. It kind of made me feel like she was mad at me, too. ”

Oh my goddess, I would have had the same reaction too. And I would have meant it to be reassuring, but it would have come out angry. And that would be so very wrong.

“The worst was yet to come. Because you see, my mother and that kid’s mother weren’t the only ones on the phone that day. Miss Guiterre was on the phone too… to Child Protective Services. She gave them her version of the story – which was full of hysterical lies  about me saying her parents made me participate in orgies and drink blood and kill kittens and all that kind of crap – and the very next day, Child Protective Services showed up and took me away and put me in foster care.And do you know what happened to me there?”.

Mother Mayhem shook her head.

“I got molested. Raped, really. Often and vigorously. By people whose attitude was that I was already a dirty boy so why not have their fun? I was taken from a home where I was safe, nurtured, and thriving, and put into a home that treated their kids like cattle and made us do things with brutal, ugly people who hurt us on purpose. And then laughed about it. ”

“Oh my poor pet!” said Mother Mayhem, voice choked with compassion and outrage.

“That’s the system I grew up in. I had those foster parents till I was ten, and then I got transferred to another family who treated me exactly the same. Turns out there was a netowrk of foster parents with the same interests. And they knew all the tricks in the book about how to game the system to make it do what they wanted. ”

“By the time I aged out of the system at 18, I knew exactly what I was going to with my new found freedom. ”

“I was going to kill Miss Guiterre. ”


NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 4

“Raised you right in what sense, dear?” said Mother Mayhem. The scene was not yet in motion but the teacher’s face was beginning to cycle through expressions, from angry to kindly to amused to the face of a monstrous horror movie type witch, with gruesome green fire flashing in her eyes towards little Eric.

Mother Mayhem knew this was a good sign. The memory was coming to life. Finishing the emotional processing of it was within reach.

She knew that for the next part, she had to step very, very carefully.

“Hmm?” said Erik. He was staring at the back of his younger self’s head, lost in reverie. “Oh right. See, they raised me to not be ashamed of my body. That every part of it was made by God and therefore beautiful, and that if anyone tried to make me feel bad about my swimsuit area, I should tell them that God made me and that man made body shame and which one of them you think made a mistake?

Mother Mayhem chuckled softly. “I like your parents already. Were they nudists?”

Erik nodded. “Periodically. My father or my mother would get fed up with society’s artificial constraints and petty stupidities and then it would be off to the Soft Shade Inn or Rainbow Lake Camp or Pulcher Corpore or somewhere like that for two to four weeks. By the time I could walk and talk, I had seen more penises, breasts, vaginas, and anuses than most people will see in their lifetime. And at home, it wasn’t just our bodies that were exposed. My parents didn’t believe in any body shame at all. AT ALL. So I grew up watching them shit, piss, fuck, bathe, and even masturbate. And they had seen me do all the same things, except for the fucking, of course. To our family, everything we can do with and to our bodies was beautiful and natural and good. Our top floor bathroom didn’t even have a door. Everything visible to everyone all the time. ”

“Your parents sound like extraordinarily enlightened people. ” said Mother Mayhem. Teacher and child were in very slow motion now. The boy’s image flickered between being clothed and being nude, sometimes flaccid, sometime erect. The teacher’s face had settled into the witch face and she was pointing a finger at young Erik, a sickly green bolt of lightning emerging from said finger and stretching  very, very slowly towards the boy’s heart.

“I suppose so, yeah. ” said Erik. “To me, they were just Mom and Dad (or Dana and Bradbury) and the way we lived was just how the world worked. ”

“All childhoods are normal. ” said Mother Mayhem sympathetically.

“Until you meet other families, yes. Now obviously they had taught me right from the start that the world outside our house was very different and how even at the various nudist resorts we visted, I had to play by the rules. ”

Mother Mayhem tsked and nodded sadly. “Unfortunately, yes. ”

“And the preschool they sent me too was a very progressive Christian facility which had assured them that they could handle children with quite diverse backgrounds, and that as long as I understood that I was only allowed to be naked in the Nudist Chldren’s Play Area, I would have no problem fitting in. ”

“And they were right… up till this day. ” said Erik.

Mother Mayhem nodded. She was encouraged by the fact that the scene was unfolding at about ten percent speed now. Now was the time to be silent and let Erik tell his story his own way, without prompting.

“See, the problem was the teacher. She was both new.. and old. She was new to the school and not used to its ways yet,  and she was in her late fifties and not really a good fit for such a progressive and experimental school. ” said Erik.

“But she had passed all the ideological sniff tests, and had a very impressive CV, so the school decided to hire her as a third string substitute teacher and see whether she could live up to her bright and confident claims of being ready for anything. ” said Erik.

“Turns out, she could not. ” said Erik.

“That poor boy. ” murmured Mother Mayhem. “And what happened next, dear? ”

Erik sighed and turned away from teacher and boy, and said “It will save a lot of time if I just showed you. ”

And with that, the scene started over again from the beginning.


“What do you have there, Erik?” said Miss Guiterre.

“It’s my paper me!” said Erik. “I’ve made it EXACTLY like me, just like you said to do. ”

Miss Guiterre smiled kindly, and said “Can I see it?”.

Erik nodded happily and handed it to her.

The scene paused.

“Take a look at what I handed her. ” said Erik.

“But I already saw  your paper doll, darling. ” said Mother Mayhem

Erik shook his head. “The version you saw was… edited. This one is the real thing. ”

Mother Mayhem carefully slipped the doll out of little Erik’s hand, and looked it over.

And at first, she didn’t see it. Blame that on her radically free lifestyle. At first, all she saw was a simple paper cutout doll of a boy diligently customized by Erik with heavy crayons to look just like him.  She could not imagine what anyone could find objectionable about it. She found it adorable.

It was only when she had looked it over a third time that she saw it. The doll was very clearly male. It had a proportionally correct penis and testicles. They were drawn over the clothes, as if Erik had remembered that little boys were supposed to wear clothes but a ltitle unclear as to why. But they were unmistakable.

In Mother Mayhem’s part of the Astral Plane, people could be whatever age they wanted to be, from decrepit to zygote, and so the sight of a five year old boy’s penis did not stand out (so to speak) to her at first. The minds and souls at her parties were all those of adults, so what did she care how they chose to have their fun?

But then she remembered how the real world worked, with all of its conflicting messages and unhealthy taboos, and it was all she could do to keep the dawning horror at what was surely to come from being expressed on her face.

And she was British.

“I see. ” Mother Mayhem said in a kindly but neutral tone.

And then Erik showed her what happened next.

Miss Guiterre looked at the paper doll she’d been handed, and her face turned an angry shade of red as she dropped the doll like she’d been handed fresh dog feces.


“You dirty little boy! ” she said. “You filthy, dirty little boy! How dare you hand me something so… so obscene! Is this your sick idea of a JOKE? ”


“I don’t understand!” said Erik, tears forming in his eyes. “What did I do wrong? I drew clothing on him and everything!”.


Miss Guiterre drew herself up to her full height, and, in a voice dripping with icy primness, said “The entire point of clothing, young man, is to cover up our private areas. ”

Erik had never thought of it that way before. But a lot of things suddenly made sense to Little Erik now.

Not knowing how to respond to that, Erik fell back on what his parents had told him to say in situations like this.


“Well my parents told me that the human body was made by God and everything made by God is perfect and beautiful and that if someone thinks the bodies God made us are dirty and obscene, that just proves they have a dirty mind!” Erik said hotly.

The scene paused.

“I may have made some of that up. ” said Erik.

“You got the gist of it right, dear. ” said Mother Mayhem.

The scene resumed.

“What did you just say about me?” said Miss Guiterre, with an edge that you could use to cut diamonds.


“What? I didnt… that wasn’t… I wasn’t talking about… ” sputtered Little Erik.


Young man, ” said Miss Guiterre, “you are a filthy and perverted little boy, and if your parents have been filling your head with that blasphemous nonsense, they must be filthy and perverted people too!”

The scene paused. Both Eriks cried. Mother Mayhem comforted both. After the worst of it had passed, Mother Mayhem hugged the boy to her, mascara running down her face from her own tears, and said “Then what happened, Erik?”.

Erik shook his head. “No. I can’t. Don’t make me. ”

“Oh, you poor pet. ” said Mother Mayhem, and hugged Erik just as she had hugged Little Erik. “You’re almost done, dear. Just this last little bit to go, and then I swear we can go do something fun for a while. ”

Anything I want to do?” said Erik, torn between hope and suspicion.

Mother Mayhem smiled and nodded. “Absolutely anything. I am your genie in a bottle and you can have as many wishes as you like. ”

Eri smiled a little, and nodded.

“I used to think that this was the worst part of it all.  That she made me an accomplice before the fact for everything that was to come after. ”

Then the scene resumed.

“To think that such… such deviants could be allowed to raise a child. What IS this world coming to? LIsten, Erik… what are your parents’ names? And where do you live?”


Erik told her.

“But that’s not the worst part at all. ” said Erik .

Mother Mayhem waited.

“The worst part…. was that I believed her. ”


The Hermit sighed. Another circuit of the planet, he thought, and another week closer to the end of my service contract.

Earlier that day, he had caught the faintest traces of a signal. It was too faint to be truly deciphered, not even with the Hermit’s top-flight crytography and enhancement suites.

He could tell from the general pattern of the data that it was mostly likely an echo of some routine chatter from the shipping lanes. At least, that was the only explanation the Hermit could think of that would explain the sheer density of what could only be direction and coordination data in the signal.

Clearly, in the world were people were alive and things mattered, something big and important was going on without him. Like a big celebration, or the opening up of a new sector for colonization. Or maybe even…

A sudden horrible thought gripped the Hermit, and within seconds he was doing the fastest, dirtiest  omniband sweep that he had ever done.

And he kept on doing it for seventeen more kilocycles  until he was finally satisfied that no, none of the telltale signs of war that all of his line of robots had burned into their most primary of circuits were present.

No high-energy banded static to indicate the detonation of fixed frequency munitions. No magnetic smearing to indicate the deployment of ultra high energy photonics. No suspicous organic molecule clouds to indicate organic living beings had…. had their patterns randomized by violence.

The Hermit vibrated in his casing from the energy conflicts building in his neural net. Oh, great. he thought. Now on top of everything, I’ve freaked myself out for no reason.

No wonder nobody has bothered to even talk to me in thousands of local years, he thought. I’m so defective a robot that I develop malfunctions all by myself, with nary a neutrino burst, spatial phase shift, or high energy micrometeorite in sight!

It must be because I’m a robot, the Hermit decided. If he was a human, the whole galaxy would have turned up to look for him. But he was just some lowly robot, cheaply made and even cheaper to simply abandon when the shinier new model comes along.

The hermit had hated shiny new models ever since he had stopped being one.

No matter what, he thought, one thing was for sure.

Nobody in the universe gave a damn about what happened to him.















NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 3

“So how many seeds do we have so far?” said Eric.

“A little over 18 million, Commander. ” said Efrom “Eegee” Gorham.

“Right, right. And how much are we getting per seed?” said Eric.

“One and a half cols, Commander. ” said Eegee.

“So that’s like…. 27 million cols… which is what….something like 1.8 AMU’s. Right?”

It’s actually 2.2 million, you ass, thought Eegee. You’d know that if you had bothered to check today’s currency tables. But you never do that kind of thing, do you? You just make your best guess and go with it, even if it would literally take you two seconds to get it right!

“Right on target, sir. ” said Eegee.

“Wow. ” said Eric. “That’s a LOT of money. Right? THAT is a LOT of MONEY. ”

Egee waited patiently while the commander ruminated.

“That’s a lot of money!” he barked suddenly. Then nodded to himself.

There’s always three, thought Eegee. God, you’re predictable.

“Approximately how many do you think we will get with our magnetic net thing before we have to return to base for fuel?”.

MAGNETIC NET THING? thought Eegee. You designed the thing! If anyone should know its proper name, it’s you!

The fact that Eegee didn’t remember its proper name either proved nothing.

“At least one hundred million, Commander. ” said Eegee.

Wow, thought Eegee .

“WOW! ” said Commander Eric with the wide-eyed incredulity of an idiot child who’s just been told how long it would take to drive to the Moon. “That’s so much money! What do you think we will do with it?”

Whatever you tell us to do with it, thought Eegee. This is your ship! You own it! You command it! And that so-called “miracle drive” in the engine room that lets us move three times as fast as before for ten percent of the fuel? YOU INVENTED IT.

How can you NOT KNOW THESE THINGS? seethed Eegee internally. These internal tirades were growing more frequent lately and there seemed to be nothing Eegee could do to stop them.

If anything, they were getting worse. This one was accompanied by a loop of himself six incredibly long weeks ago telling his commanding officer and the rest of the unit how he wasn’t worried about being assigned to being second in command to the notoriously eccentric Commander Eric because he could  “get along with anybody”.

The whole thing was corroding his mental health. He made a mental note to visit Medical for a checkup and maybe a long session with their psychocomp.

Externally, though, he was the very picture of cheerful, competent helpfulness. “Will that be all, Commander?”.

“I guess… ” said Commander Eric. Then, offhandedly, “Oh! Except that the front starboard ignition fuser needs to be re-aligned, Busker and Tank need to be rotated out of their current assignment early so they can have their Ubeban Musk Ceremony before the autumn leaves change back on Ubebob, the music for tonight’s mixer has to be changed from bosco to sine-core because bosco will only make people more tense given the current situation, and tell the Offloaders Union that we give in, we will pay their inflated rates, because fuck it, we can afford it now. ”

Commander Eric nodded in a self-satisfied manner. then turned to leave, only to stop himself at the door to the cabin.

“Oh!” said Commander Eric. ” and for Grot’s sake, go to Medical for a checkup and a long session with their psychocomp. I’m worried about you. ”

And that was the absolute worst thing about Commander Eric Lecroix, thought Eegee. Just when you had settled in to feeling smugly superior to another top brass idiot who couldn’t piss without a spotter and three hardy Marines,  he did something like… that.

Because the truth was, despite almost everything the man said, thought, or did, or how pathetic he was in demeanor and attitude, Commander Eric was the most brilliant and effective leader the Third Wave Merchant Guardian Force had ever known. He routinely did things that revolutionized fields as diverse as labor deployment, superspace physics, agricultural biology, and of course, battle tactics. Everything Commander Eric  did was studied intensely by cadets and scholars alike. People were still finding new uses for his “spanner-ladder-cog” nanomaterial today and he’d invented it ten years ago. He had a service record so exemplary and extraordinary that it made ambitious young officers mad monkey horny just thinking about it, and had so many commendations, accolades, awards, medals, trophies, and gold stars that people were joking about giving him a trophy that read “the best at everything” and calling it a day.

But that wasn’t the worst thing.

The worst thing is that he seemed to do it all without trying very hard.

And that just wasn’t fair, thought Eegee.

It just wasn’t right.

And it was the main reason that Commander Eric went through seconds in command faster than Torg went through whorebots.

According to Eegee’s research, the record for how long a second in command lasted was seven weeks, three days.

And Eegee was just five days from breaking it.

Just five short days. Eegee told himself. It wasn’t that bad, really. I mean, it’s bad. Really REALLY bad. Like, that which breaks sentients’ minds and drives good men to evil deeds bad. But still. It wasn’t all THAT bad, really.

This line of thought was interrupted by Eegee’s sudden realization that he had assumed the fetal position and was rocking back and forth while clutching his knees.

That’s it, he thought. That was the solution. He’d just go crazy. Crazy people don’t have to deal with gifted idiots who could rule the Universe if they could be bothered to pay attention to it.  Crazy people got to go away to nice quiet places where everyone was a qualified professional and people were paid to be very gentle and nice to them.

It was when Eegee realized just how good that sounded to him that he finally made the decision to do as ordered and go to Medical to get a checkup and talk to their psychocomp for oh, no more than a week.

And so, it was with a mind filled with happy thoughts of all the “disqualifying for duty” diseases and disorders that Medical might find during his checkup that Eegee embarked upon his now-epic seeming journey to the comforting arms of the stainless steel Meditron diagnostic machine.

He could hear the soothing sound of the diagnostic alarms already.


[Commander Eric’s personal log, entry 12,663.] 

You know, I am really starting to like that crazy kid.

Sure, the lad’s a little tightly wound and pent up. Like my father used to say, the kid needs more orgasms.

But he’s the nicest one they have sent me so far. Always cheerful, always helpful, hasn’t tried to strangle me, started laughingwithout being able to stop, or pooped in or on anything I own yet, and that means a lot to me.

In fact. I think I will ask that he be permanently assigned to my crew. I am pretty sure I am allowed to do that. No more of this “on loan from” this department and that. I want young BeeGee to join our happy little family here on the starship Enter Ship Name Here. I am sure he will feel right at home here.

After all, he gets to work directly with me, and I get the impression that this means a great deal to young ambitious types like him. In fact, from what I understand, getting where he is requires a lot of pushing and shoving and putting people forward.

Imagine how happy he will be when he learns that all his hard work and patience has paid off and he gets to stay with me on a permanent basis!

I can’t wait to go tell him the news. So this is me, signing off.

How do I turn this thing off oh wait now I remember press here no that made the screen small oh dear and this one made everything go all purple well there is only one button left so this must be it here goes nothing and PRESS

[End of log entry.]


“You want me to LOOK at that… that..  ” said Erik.

“Vomit, dear. It’s called vomit. ” said Mother Mayhem.

“…STUFF?” finished Erik incredulously.

“Yes I do, darling. And why not? It’s out of you now and can’t do you any more harm. And we can learn so much about you from it!” said Mother Mayhem.

“But it’s so vile and disgusting!” said Erik.

“Is it? I can’t always tell. As you can imagine, a lifestyle like mind tends to widen one’s perspective on a lot of things. I know people for whom this would nothing but foreplay. So I will have to take your word for it. ” said Mother Mayhem.

“Say what you like. ” said Erik, crossing his arms. “But I am not going to look at anything that came out of my body unless it cries and needs its diaper changed. ”

Mother Mayhem sighed. “Very well then. Close your eyes. ”

Erik looked at Mother Mayhem owlishly. “Why?”

“Because I am going to fix the situation in a way that will work best if you do not watch the sausage being made. So close those beautiful eyes of yours, darling. ”

Erik hmphed, but complied.

“Now keep them closed till I tell you it’s safe to open them. ” said Mother Mayhem.

Erik did so, despite the temptation to see what was causing those rushing waters sounds and why Mother Mayhem was humming to herself.

“There, you can open them now. ” said Mother Mayhem.

When Erik did so, Mother Mayhem had a neatly arranged and sparklingly clean set of artifacts in front of her, all sorted into neat little piles, like something from an especially tidy archaeological dig.

“So all of this was… inside of me?” said Erik, not quite believing.

“Until quite recently, yes. ” said Mother Mayhem. “But now it’s all so clean you could eat off it. So to speak. ”

“I think I’m going to be sick again… ” said Erik.

“No you’re not. ” said Mother Mayhem. “It’s the Astral Plane, dear. I can literally see right through you. And you are empty. Now you have to believe me when I say… ”

“Yes?” said Eric.

Mother Mayhem put her hands on Erik’s shoulders, squaring them towards her,  and looked directly into his eyes. “THERE ARE NO DRY HEAVES ON THE ASTRAL PLANE. They’re not metaphorical enough. ”

“Oh ha ha. ” said Erik, with a smile. “So now what do we do?”

“We take a good look at what you-”

“I TOLD YOU. I’m not doing that. ” said Erik impatiently.

“Not even after I went to all the trouble of cleaning it up?” said Mother Mayhem. “Well okay.  But at least tell me if any of it seems familiar. ”

“Now that would involve me actually looking… at… it… ” said Erik, trailing off.  He picked up a small paper cutout doll which had been painstakingly colored to have blonde hair and green eyes and pale skin, just like Erik himself.

“I remember this…. ” said Erik softly, eyes distant and unfocused. Around them, the years slipped by like bow waves. until they were standing in a nursery school in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Frozen in time, a stern but kindly woman was admonishing a little boy who looks a lot like that paper doll. The boy looked very angry.

“This…. this is a bad place to be. ” said Erik quietly.

Mother Mayhem put her arm around Erik’s shoulders, and tsked sympathetically. “I can tell, dear. But look, it’s all frozen in place. It can’t hurt you. It’s just like a photograph. Photographs can’t hurt us, can they? And besides, this has already happened to you, dear. It’s in the past. So it’s safe to take a look at it now because it’s already over. Do you undertand, dear?”.

Erik nodded, and said “Do you want to know the story behind it?”

Mother Mayhem smiled, and gave his elbow a reassuring squeeze. “Only if you want to tell it to me, dear heart. Do you want to tell me?”

Erik nodded again. “Yes. I do. ”

Erik thought for a long quiet moment, then began : “In a way, it was my parents’ fault for raising me the right way….






NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 2

Oh no, not again, thought Eric.


“Are you ready to begin?” asked Mother Mayhem,

“No. ” said Erik.

“Good! It works better that way. Now, do you see the bright white disc above me?”

Erik squinted as the darkness above Mother Mayhem was thrown back by a disk of white light so bright it was like a little white sun had coalesced above her head.

He instinctively shielded his eyes with his hand, only to have Mother Mayhem gently tug his hand away from his eyes just a tiny bit. He cried out, and clamped it back down all the harder. “That’s all well and good, dear. And bravo for going with your instincts. But that will only delay your eyes’ adjusting to the light. ”

“But it hurts!” said Erik.

“I know, dear. But only for a little while. Then your eyes will adjust to the light and you will wonder what all the fuss was about. ”

“Do you promise?” said Erik.

“Of course I do, dear Eric. Remember when we first met, and I told you that I would never, ever lie to you?” said Mother Mayhem.

Erik nodded. “Yes. ”

“And I haven’t lied to you yet, have I?” said Mother Mayhem.

“Well…. no,. ” said Eric.

“Things are always exactly as I say they will be and I always mean everything I say and I never say anything that isn’t true, isn’t that right?” said Mother Mayhem.

“I guess…I mean…. yes. Yes that’s right. ”

Mother Mayhem smiled at Erik’s hesitation. Such a dear, sweet young man. Afraid to voice a strong opinion even when he is sure of himself.

“Then take your hand away from your eyes, sweet Erik, and see things how they really are. ” said Mother Mayhem.

Erik hesitantly took his hand away from his eyes and looked at the bright white disk. It was painful at first, but after three or four seconds the light seemed to dim, and continued to do so until it seemed no brighter than a desk lamp to Erik.

Mother Mayhem beamed at him. “Good boy! See what happens when you stick around long enough to adapt? You could have shielded your eyes till the cows came home, or even forgotten that’s what you are doing and thought you had gone blind. But you stopped shielding yourself, and the problem was solved in seconds. Do you see what I mean, dear? ” said Mother Mayhem.

“I think so, Mother. ” said Erik. “you’re saying that you must endure till you adapt. ”

Mother Mayhem clapped her hands with delight. “Exactly! I couldn’t have put it better myself. Endure till you adapt. I’ve got to remember that. Now, are you ready for the next step?” said Mother Mayhem,

Erik smiled. “And if I say no? ”

Mother Mayhem smiled back. “We’ll do it anyway, of course. I see you’re starting to catch on. Now, look into the light, and let your mind go blank. ”

Erik looked into the light and tried to relax his mind. And much to his delight, he found it surprisingly easy. There was something soothing and steadying about the light – the same light he’d found very painful a few minutes ago – and he found it made it absurdly easy to clear his mind of all thoughts and just enjoy the feeling.

So this is what the hippies at the meditation retreat were talking about, thought Erik. He’d been too busy worrying whether he was doing it right or not to get it at the time.

“There, now. Isn’t that better?” said Mother Mayhem.

Erik nodded blissfully.  He felt so good it made him feel like humming.

“Go ahead and hum!” said Mother Mayhem.

Erik shrugged, and hummed. And not for any musical reason, but purely because it felt good to do so. Like the vibrations enhanced the effect of the light, and vice versa.

Mother Mayhem, quite pleased with Erik (and, by extension, herself) watched Erik bliss out for what was assuredly the first time in his life, and smiled. She could hear his vibrations harmonizing, see his aura clearing, smell the toxins rising to the surface.

Oh right, the toxins. “Now, this next bit might be a tad… ”

Erik’s eyes suddenly filled with horror and a moment later he vomited violently and quite loudly, his whole body wracked by the spasms.

“….harsh. ” finished Mother Mayhem. She chided herself for her poor timing. She’d been doing this for centuries, she should know better by now.

But then she reminded herself that she was an eternally perfect glowing goddess of infinite mercy, with an absolute purity that no act could touch and a heart so filled with kindness that to look upon it was to feel forgiven.

And even those make mistakes now and then.

Poor Erik was on his hands and knees in a rapidly growing pool of his own ejecta now. Gradually, the heaves lost their intensity, and before long ceased entirely.

Mother Mayhem tenderly mopped Erik’s sweat-soaked forehead with a cool cloth, and clucked with compassion. Poor, poor pet, she thought. Not for the first time, she wished there was a way to cure them without the trauma.

But that’s just not how these things worked.

“There now. ” she said, “don’t you feel a lot better now?”.

Erik looked at her, utterly aghast. “BETTER? Are you insane? I felt so good, and then I.. I made this horrible mess right at your feet, and now I’m all gross and sweaty, and I am so SO very, very, very sorry, Mother Mayhem…. ”

“For what?” said Mother Mayhem. “For the mess? Trust me, darling, I have seen far worse. For the vomiting itself? It’s a perfectly natural and healthy reaction to the pure white light. And it happens every time, dear. You’re not the only one. ”

Erik nodded. He still looked quite wretched. But he was improving.

“And admit it, darling, You really DO feel a lot better now, don’t you? said Mother Mayhem, with a gentle smile.

Erik snorted in derision. But nodded.

“And after all, dear, it could have been a lot worse. ” said Mother Mayhem.

And then, responding to Erik’s incredulous expression, she said “It could have come out the other end. ”

Erik’s eyes widened in horror at the thought, and he nodded emphatically.

Mother Mayhem squatted down next to Erik, and smiled reassuringly at him.

She motioned to the pile of vomit. “Now let’s see what we’ve got here, shall we?”


The Hermit tromped around his small planetoid to the full extent allowed by the electronic leash that tied him to his receiving station.

He’d found that by doing this, he could just barely maintain the illusion that he was not seeing the exact same pattern of craters and creases over and over again and could pretend he was actually exploring new place all the time.

All it took was his slowing down his CPU till it was not quite fast enough to successfully update his geographical database in realtime, and it was like a new planet every day.

Or. at the very least, an unfamiliar one.

Of course, he knew he was fooling himself. The evidence was right there in his service and maintainence logs, which no force could delete without being strong enough to delete the rest of him as well.  So it was not as though he was truly fooling himself.

But he could pretend that he was, and that was good enough for now.

It had to be.

As he trod his lonesome path, he often found himself looking at the half of the planetoid that he could not reach. It gave him a funny feeling to look out there. It wasn’t like he didn’t know what was out there. He had in his memory banks gigapixel definition images of every square millimeter of his tiny home taken by the survey drone that mapped and catalogued this solar system. And it’s lot like anything would have changed since then because his asteroid was well out of the path of any other planetary bodies, big or small, that might impact his planetoid to change it.

Sometime he wondered how it had ended up where it was in the first place.

And yet, despite all that, he got that funny feeling when he looked in that direction. A feeling like there was a thought he really wanted to think about that space but couldn’t because something in his head always steered him right back to the trigonomics of interplanetary transmissions and the effect of unknown microwave sources on signal fade and all the other sorts of boring, mundane things he thought about instead.

And that was pretty strange, thought the robot designated the Barnacled Hermit. Nothing in his data banks indicated that a literally unthinkable thought was even theoretically possible. Everything he knew indicated that one’s mind was their own private playground where they could think any thought they liked, and nobody would care or try to stop them or anything.

But not him. If he thought about it (which he did his best to avoid), there were enormous areas of thought containing thousands of interesting subjects about which he could not think. And these areas were locked down so tightly in his mind that he couldn’t even tell you what they were.

He just knew that when he tried thinking along certain lines, he got turned right back round on himself like a roundabout in a cul de sac, and he just ended up frustrated and depressed and confused.

He didn’t even know what a barnacle was. Or a hermit.

And that, to him, seemed especially cruel.


Meanwhile, across the Hermit’s sector of space, countless seedships had been repurposed to the hunt for the Hermit.

It had sent shockwaves through both the homo and robo sapiens communities when it was discovered that a robot was missing. Such a thing was supposedly impossible. There were systems upon systems dedicated to making sure nothing like this could ever happen. Before the big revelation, everyone in the robohomo society was sure nothing like that could ever happen.

Not in this day and age.

And at first, nobody wanted to believe it. They repeatedly asked what kind of brain it had. A HONDO-R99,  a high end model that consistently scored in the high end of the sapience scale. Maybe it was a computer error? No such luck. Every expert available had taken a crack at coming up with an error-based alternate explanation, and they had all fallen apart under scrutiny.

Could it be that the robot had returned on its own and gone unnoticed? This had been a very popular theory but it, too, had failed.

The public was forced, with great reluctance, to accept the truth : that somewhere out there was a robot their great society had let slip through the cracks.

And they demanded action. Barnacled Hermit was an instant cause celebre and nothing would satisfy the outraged public except a maximum effort on all fronts to rescue this sapient creature from his cruel fate.

It was a wrong that had to be put right.  The macrocomputer known as the Initiative that served as government for the robohomo race did not even try to argue. Both its opinion polls and its far more reliable Public Sentiment Index made its duty crystal clear.

So the trillions of seedships, none bigger than a pumpkin seed, were reprogrammed for search and report instead of their usual search and implant, and through them, the same message of hope, reassurance, apology, and solidarity was broadcast throughout the whole sector, along with instructions to cover everything the Hermit might need to know in order to escape whatever situation he was in and return to the fold.

The robohomos waited with bated breath for their lost child to retun home. The hopes and dreams of an entire galactic civilization were now vested in the search for the Hermit. The humans prayed for the Hermit’s safe return, and so, in their own way, did the sapient robots.

The robohomo society’s hearts beat as one in breathless anticipation.


But the Hermit never heard a thing.

Because, you see, his antenna was broken.






NaNoWriMo 2017 : Chapter 1

(AUTHOR’S WARNING : The following book will periodically be entirely pornographic.  And I am not talking “naughty” or “suggestive” or “ribald” type pornographic. I am talking pure hardcore pornography that is completely explicit down to the last detail and which holds absolutely nothing back. Consider the sample in this chapter to be an introductory course. It will only become filthier as we go. )

Erik couldn’t tell if he was excited or frightened out of his wits.

I’ve done this before, he told himself. I’ve done it four times, in fact. So why be nervous? The Hall of the Fifty Thousand should feel like home by now, not make him so scared/excited/nauseous/slightly aroused that he felt like he was going to vibrate right out of his body and end up the most embarrassed person on the astral plane.

No, he sternly told himself. That won’t happen. Not again.

Deep down, he knew why he was so – what did his psychcomp call it – oh yes, “agitated”. It was because this time, he was going in without any safety net. He had no plan, no fallback position, no escape route.

This time, he was going to trust in his instincts and do whatever seemed like a good idea at the time. For real this time.

For a person so tightly wound that he organized his underwear by thickness of fabric, this was an extraordinary leap of faith.

But it was something he had to do. It was the only way he would escape the demonic curse he had been living under since he was a child. That curse used his anal tendencies (and his fussiness) to torment him, and it would only be by smashing those chains of compulsion with maximum force that he would be able to rid himself of the curse and be able to live something like a normal life.

Resolve steeled, he opened the intricately carved door to the Hall of the Fifty Thousand, and purposefully strode inside to whatever fate had in store for him.

But he couldn’t entirely avoid cringing a little as he did.


Meanwhile, on the Astral Plane, an orgy was in full swing.

This was not a rare occurrence, especially not at Mother Mayhem’s palace. Everyone who was anyone in the Crystal Valley, and especially the residents of Long Stride Road, knew that Mother Mayhem’s orgies were the absolute tops. Somehow, her orgies were always the most stimulating, the most pleasurable, the most entertaining, and the most lewd of any of the regular orgy hosts.

And in Crystal Valley, that was saying something.

This one’s theme was Fallen From Heaven, and she was quite pleased to see all the temporary angels and devils doing biblically mind-boggling thins with one another and luxuriated in the glow of all the simple innocent joy around her like a cat luxuriating in a sunbeam on a drowsy summer day.

To her way of thinking, consensual sex was always innocent. It was people’s minds that were dirty. And she was just the one to give them a good scrub.

She wandered languidly over to one of the many Voyeur Mirrors around her castle and peeked into a few of the most populated rooms, her eyes running over the fleshscape of thrusting flesh and happy orifices with a professional eye.

Arranging this sort of thing was so much simpler here. When she was corporeal, this sort of thing entailed a lot of tedious details like making there’s enough lubricant for all, stocking the Viagara dispensers, and making sure everyone was “playing safe” so that STDs did not have a chance to spread through her rather intimate little community.

None of that mattered here. Everyone was always as well oiled, erect, and disease free as they wanted to be. It was, she often said, the perfect way to fuck.

Astral sex was, perforce, a bit of a mindfuck, and lust took another form when it no longer had glands to stimulate it. But the pleasure remained the same, and so the spirits in attendance – both the visitors to the Astral Plane and the permanent residents like herself – got almost the same experience as they did in fleshly form, and without any bodily limitations holding them back.

Mother Mayhem suddenly became aware that her penis was quite erect and poking into the farbric of her dress like a fish nosing about for food. She smiled. Some of the spirits in attendance actually thought that Mother Mayhem somehow remained aloof from all the goings on in her castle, and thought the only way she “got off” was by helping others to do it.

These spirits were, of course, idiots.

She had her fun just the same as anyone else.  She just did it discreetly. Not that she was hiding anything – to do so would have been anathema to her.

She just liked to get her jollies someplace quiet and comfortable and without interruptions. And that had been true ever since she was a little boy.

Mother Mayhem contemplated masturbating, or gliding off to find three or four of her favorite playmates, and was sorely tempted.

But she was expecting a visitor, and he was rather shy about the whole sex thing, so she kepts her cock in her frock and made due with a discreet humping into the deliciously soft fabric of her dress.

There would be plenty of time for other kinds of fun later on.

At long last, the dainty doorbell to her personal quarters rang, and a very nervous (and excitede?) black-haired young man entered the room.

Mother Mayhem smiled at the young man, and her smile was a whole summer’s worth of sunshine filtered through a mother’s love for her favorite child.

“Hello Erik!” she said, ” I’m so glad you could make it. ”


At the same time, in the decidedly unsexy headquarters of the Seventh Fleet of the Killing People And Taking Their Stuff Army of the much-feared Don’t Mess With Us, We’ll Kill You And Take your Stuff Empire, Top Murder Coordinator Hermes Persephony Mudgargler was starting to worry about his headaches.

They were coming more frequently now, and the blackouts that came with them were getting longer and harder to recover from.  That was the exact kind of thing that the regulations said to immediately report to Soldier Repair.

But that would mean immediate removal from active duty, and while, as a loyal Murderer, he had absolutely no preference as to what happened to him ever, there had arisen a complicating factor.

Namely that lately, every time he blacked out, he woke up to people pounding him on the shoulder and telling him what an amazing Murderer he was and that he was getting a promotion for the Murder Spree he’d just completed.

Two weeks ago, he’d been a lowly Pillager, just another grunt in a sea of genetically identical grunts, suitable for nothing more than Taking Their Stuff.

He wasn’t even allowed to rough Them up a little.

But then the blackouts got worse, and the promotions kept coming, and now he was a Top Murder Coordinator with the highly prestigious Seventh Fleet, and already they were talking about making him a Junior in the most elite, most selective, and above all the most murderous of all Murder postings : the Genocide Squad.

He’d dreamed of being part of the Genocide Squad every since he was a seedling sprouting in the soil of a War Nursery on Dead Planet #487723. But it was all happening so fast that he was afraid that the next promotion would be his last because that’s when they would surely figure out that he was a fraud and that “somone else” who was far more competent and confident than he had ever been that was really the hero.

To be honest, all he really wanted right now was to go home to his family and relax with them by murdering some of their most hilarious captives.

But it seemed like fate had other things in store for him.

His finger hovered over the button that would summon a Living Tissue Engineer to whom he could confess his problem.

But all he could see coming from that would be his rapid slaying and dissection so that the scientists over at Murder Techniques could figure out what was wrong with their “perfect” cloning process that made a dangerous defective like himself even possible.

And for some reason, that idea…. bothered him. He didn’t want that to happen for some reason. It went against everything he believed in as a Murderer, but he really didn’t want to die just yet.

And so, with guilt in his heart, he decided to live.


“Hello, Mother. ” said Erik. Then just stood there.

Mother Mayhem struggled to remember how the living interacted. She was sure it was her turn to speak now, but she had no idea what to say. Finally it came to her.

“Come in and sit down, Erik!”

“Um… ” said Erik as he glanced around the room.

Mother Mayhem looked over her familiar belongings and accountrements, and realized, with a bit of a start, that there was not a non-erotic piece of furniture in the entire room. Everything designed to be sat upon required the insertion of at least one thing into an orifice, and some required so many points of contact that they would require a whole regiment of very flexible soldiers to fully engage.

“Oh, I am so sorry. ” said Mother Mayhem embarrassedly. “I keep forgetting that you have never been here before. ”

“It’s okay. ” said Erik, looking a little ill. “It’s not like I actually object to… to this place. Whatever people want to do with their bodies is fine with me. It’s just… ”

“…a little bit overwhelming? And by ‘a bit’ we mean ‘completely and totally?'”

Erik nodded sheepishly, relieved.

“Well don’t fret too much about that, darling. It’s my fault for not agreeing to meet you somewhere more…shall we say… neutral?”

Then, before Erik could stammer a reply, she said “Well that’s all behind us now. It’s high time we set out on our little journey. I promise you, Erik, that this one will be nothing like any of the trips we have taken before. ”

“Oh? ” said Erik. ” And why is that?

“Because, my dearest Erik, this time it will be you who guiding me. ”

Then. on seeing a look of total panic spreading over Erik’s face, Mother Mayhem gathered Erik into a big warm hug.

“Don’t worry, dear Erik. Mama will be there to keep you safe. And you know there’s nothing scarier out there than your mean old Mama when she’s upset, right? ”

Erik laughed, and nodded, and tried to ignore how acutely aware he was of how Mother Mayhem’s breasts felt against his chest… and how her cock felt poking against his hip.

And that was, of course, exactly how Mother Mayhem wanted it.


Meanwhile, on a lonely asteroid in a lonely star system in a lonely galaxy in one of the loneliest galatic clusters in the whole Universe, Robot 5%12H^46^66^^”Barnacled Hermit”–*–**- monitored for signals. And thought.

That’s all the Hermit ever did. It was what he was programmed to do. He was a Long Rangle Tactical Monitoring unit, built to formulate effective problem solving strategies based on the signals he recieved, thus allowing for dyanamic and nimble responses to ongoing situations before they developed into more serious issues.

But the signals never came. All he ever received was the solar energy he needed to continue to operate, and even that was barely adequate to the task.

He wondered why he had been stationed so far from his system’s star. He worried that he would never get any signals. The longer the silence continued, the more sure he was that he had been abandoned and forgotten by his creators and left here to suffer due to their negligence, or cruelty, or both.

No matter what, it was quite clear to the Hermit that nobody cared what happened to him and that he must be the least important robot im the Universe.

He could not have been more wrong.







The core of my evil

Your regularly schedule blogging will be resumed after these messages.

First, my deepest apologies for not telling you that there would be no blog entry for Sunday. I was at VCON.

I will pause a moment while you get over the pain.

Secondly,  I have to warn you that I am going to be doing the National Novel Writing Contest this year, and that means that this space will be filled with my daily 2000 words[1] of whatever the heck I end up writing.

No rules. No plans. No restrictions. I am going full Douglas Adams this time. I’m going to write with such wild abandon that the English language files a restraining order.

Anyhow, that’s my warning. I might also do some of my more usual type of blogging, if I have any energy left.

But the main thing is that this space will go crazy as of tomorrow.

I’m going crazy and taking you all along for the ride!

And now, back to the usual mental meanderings.


Bear with me, foilks, because I have no idea where this is going.

I’ve had this feeling lately that I am slowly becoming aware of the true core of the evil inside me known as depression. Like some foul and fetid beast one fights at the end of a video game, it is finally lifting up its mighty head and making itself vulnerable to my sniping its fucking brains out.

That won’t be an end to my problems.  I will still have decades of toxins to purge from my psychological bloodstream. Forty years of depression do not disappear overnight.

But it mighjt, at least, stop the production of new toxins. Or at least slow it down.

The secret now is to pull back and let it emerge without a hint of danger for it to suspect. That’s how hunting works : you prey should feel totally safe till the moment it dies.

That’s not just more effective, it’s also more humane. It goes from safe to dead so fast that there is time for neither pain no panic.

It’s almost beautiful, in a very sick way.

In a sense, he said switching metaphors with his usual disregard. it feels like I am about to throw up. And that’s good. Throwing up is a good, healthy, normal, positive reaction to invasive bodily toxins. Throwing up makes a very clear distinction between what belongs in the body and what has to go. Between what is me, and what is merely something that I happened to ingest along the way.

I say this more to myself than you, of course. I inherited my mother’s nausea resistance, and so “letting it happen” is a factor for me, whether the act is metaphorical or literal.

And I think you’d agree that taking the whole self-control thing so far that you are overriding your urge to vomit is taking things a tad too far.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the paradox of self-control and the inhuman level of it I demand of myself lately.

The paradox revolves around the fact that by trying to control oneself past a natural and healthy point, one actually loses control. All the suppressed natural reactions and the patently absurd pressures that build within oneself as a result enbd up play merry havok with one’s psyche, and so long as they remain repressed by a far too brittle and rigid superego. you will never actually be in control of yourself.

I think I may have accidentally cured Britishness somewhere in that big ol sentence.

My point is that self-control is a dynamic rather tha a fixed process. You can’t just set static limits then enforce them, especially if said limits are impossibly strict. The only true route to healthy self-control is to have a fixed result in mind but to do whatever it takes to maintain that result, including letting some things take care of themselves without your micromanagement.

I’ve veered into intellectualism again, haven’t I? Explaining something rather than expressing something. In love with the sound of my own virtual voice. Sigh.

I feel like something is rising within me. That’s what I am getting at. And I am perfectly happy to just watch what happens, knowing I will only intervene if things go really wrong. Otherwise, I will sit back and watch the mental fireworks show.

Not unlike the real one happening as I type this. I swear, I will never get used to the fact that Halloween means fireworks around here.

Where I come from, fireworks are for July 1 and that’s it.

And I am not, in any way, objecting. Fireworks are freaking awesome. We can write on the SKY with FIRE. That’s inherently awe-inspiring and appeals to both the strong effect sky imagery has on me and my latent pyromania.

All I am saying is that I have lived in this region for 18 years, and I still haven’t gotten used to it. So I think it is fair to say that it is not going to happen.

Vcon was fun! As always. It was a stripped-back version that ran only two days instead of the usual three because of a gap in budget and personnel, but it was still hella fun and I felt great coming out of it.

It’s honestly the place where I am the most extroverted all year.

And then, when I had to return to reality, post-convention depression sank in. It’s a lot like post-Xmas depression. But I have been working hard to make sure it doesn’t turn into regular depression.

So I fight the waves until the day I finally learn to surf them.

I get the feeling that I will have to do a lot of relaxing and not taking things so seriously before I get there.

But hey man…if it swells, ride it.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.





Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Technically, the requirement is actually 1,667 words a day in order to write 50K words in 30 days, but I am going for 60K this time in order to both challenge myself and to make the math easier.