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The skein of your life was woven long ago. Chapter 1 MayDay Books, Movies & Stories 231 04-14-2017 12:04 PM

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Old 07-06-2017, 09:05 PM
RVM45 RVM45 is offline
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Cool NewSample Chapter

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I haven’t quit writing. I’m just not coming up with anything that I feel is worth keeping.

I just spent a week in the hospital with cellulitis and septicemia. It was a bummed-out experience.

Anyway, they found some sort of growths on both my kidneys. They might be benign, but they want to do a biopsy as soon as I’m fully recovered and all of my open wounds have healed.

I’m 60-years old now. I’m not afraid of death, but it is a bit worrisome, since there are so few things that I was able to accomplish. At the very least, I’m going to try to complete at least one more novel—just in case my kidneys are cancerous.

When I post as I write, it makes it hard to scrap the last six chapters and start over. I have done that a few times, but I hate to.

Second, I really groove on the praise and appreciation and it leads me to write short 2000-2400 word stories so that I can write a chapter and then post it the same day. Also, it causes me to scrimp on the editing and polishing.

Third, I have never yet managed to take part in any of the Amazon promos, because I can never get ALL of my online versions deleted.

I talked to Jerry D Young about this. He said that he almost always posted his stories online and if that cost him a few bucks here and there—so be it.

I have a somewhat different strategy now. This is a sample chapter. WHEN and IF I complete this story, I’ll let y’all know and any of my online readers can send me their “E” Mail address and I’ll send them a free copy.

Let me set the scene for this story.

This is an alternate world known as “Big Earth.” Robert E Lee surrendered on 9 May 1865. That may or may not be significant. On 10 May 1865, the Earth became 13x larger without causing anyone to so much as slop their coffee.

If Indiana—for instance—is made 13x wider and 13x taller (north and south)—Big Indiana has about 6-million square miles. That’s 50% larger than all of the United States including Alaska on Old Earth.

Many other weirdnesses happened the day of “The Grand Expansion.” Many deceased folks and animals were brought back—like wooly mammoths, mastodons and saber tooth tigers; Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo Ergaster.

Most American Indians going back about 300-years were brought back—in some cases much further back. About 65% of the casualties from the War Between the States were also brought back.

Why only 65%? Why any? No one knows.

Everyone started out on 10 May 1865 in perfect health and in the early prime of life—except children who hadn’t yet attained the prime of life.

There are many libraries across the world with histories and entertainment as well as technical and scientific papers from “Old Earth.” In the 1860’s these books went up to 50-years in the future. By the time my story takes place, it is rare to find a book more than 8-years into Big Earth’s future.

One of the few pieces of hard data available is on the indestructible plaque at the entrance of each library. The “Agent” or “Agents” feared that giving so much extra room to mankind might dull the territoriality and slow the pace of human progress. The libraries are to counteract any such tendency by giving “cheats.”

Also, “Talent” appeared the day of The Grand Expansion.

Gravity is only 30% but an alteration to the bones and muscles keeps them from getting weak and flabby in the low Gee. The air is noticeably thicker and richer in both Oxygen and CO2.

Light gravity, soupy air and high oxygen makes some humongous flying birds, mammals, reptiles and insects possible. More CO2—even kept well within vertebrate tolerance—supercharges plant growth.

And I hate to be crass—but please visit my “Go Fund Me” and Please share it with everyone that you can think of—if it isn’t too much trouble and you feel it’s a good cause.

Here is the sample chapter:

************ **************** **********************

I don’t know why they didn’t kill me—cruelty? Perhaps kindness? But aren’t “cruelty” and “kindness” two words for the same thing? Maybe they simply weren’t able to kill me for some obscure reason.

When the whip’s in your hand you’d better use it, because if I ever get it into my hands...

************** ***************** ************************

I remember when I was five years old and there was one hamburger left and I wanted it. So did my mother. My father did the Solomon thingy and cut it in two with his steak knife.

“I don’t want it now!” I said.

My father pulled back his hand as if to backhand me and told me that I had to eat it. He was always pulling his hand back like that, but he probably slapped me less than a dozen times in my life. That doesn’t win him any points. The threat is always stronger than the execution.

What made it worse was that when I was slapped, it always came as a complete surprise to me—usually for being a “smart-elec.” Honest, I really didn’t enjoy a surprise slap across the face. I seldom knew that I was provoking one until after the fact. I lived in fear of that avenging hand coming out of nowhere when I least expected it.

So, all the while I was sobbing and gagging on that sickening burger, I had to listen to a diatribe about how “hateful” and “greedy” I was.

Meanwhile, I had a habit of subvocalizing, “Num, num, num,” as I chewed as a youngster.

I suppose that I was vocalizing that day rather than subvocalizing. My stupid cousin, who was staying with us for a few weeks chimed in with:

“Nummy! Nummy! Nummy!”

So far as I knew everyone chumbled, “Num, num, num,” as they chewed. This was whole worlds apart from “Nummy” which is a vocal comment that means you’re enjoying something.

My eyes got crazy—I guess. I was going to comment on the deviant habits of fools who can’t tell “num” from “nummy”, but my father shouted:

“Leave him alone!”

The whole point is—I was five years old and I couldn’t always express myself adequately.

I wasn’t being hateful nor greedy. It wasn’t a case of:

“If I can’t have it all then I don’t want any!”

Rather that clean straight knife cut across the irregularly shaped hamburger made it look amputated and deformed. It made me half sick to look at it. To this day, I believe that if he’d torn the hamburger in two instead of slicing it with a steak knife that I’d have eaten it without further comment.

**************** ****************** *******************

They had ripped my Talent from me by the roots and they’d left some extraordinarily ugly stumps—just like that nauseating burger from my childhood.

When I tried to throw lightening all I got was a bunch of inch-long static sparks on my fingers. Thunder—the compressed sonic bursts—were only tiny puffs of wind. My wind attribute would strain to blow out the candles on a birthday cake.

Fire? Fire at least, left me something that I could work with. That little butane lighter-sized flame would spare me loads of time with a fire bow.

The old alchemists and the Chinese Taoists tried to reduce all the attributes to four or five primaries but that’s a wee-mite too restrictive. Depending on how you want to classify them, there are twelve to fifteen primary attributes and at least a half-a-dozen sub-attributes.

The tests rate your affinity with a given attribute. Affinity isn’t a measure of power or even skill. I guess you could say that it’s an indicator of how much each attribute “likes” you.

If you are in the 99th percentile for a given attribute that means in a random group of 100 mages who possess that affinity, you will rank higher than 99 of them. You can’t rank 100 of course. You are number 100.

Suppose that you randomly assembled 100 mages—all with a 99th percentile affinity? Some would have higher affinities than others but very high affinities are harder to measure and ambiguities creep in.

If you rank in the top 10 in a group of a hundred 99th percentile mages then your affinity is “Legendary.” If you’d rank in the top 10 in a randomly assorted group of 300, 99th percentile mages then you’re “Epic.”

Yeah, “Legendary” sounds more impressive than “Epic” doesn’t it? “Epic” is a more recent addition to the ranking system though.

Affinities are probably fixed—for almost everyone. There are a few folks who manage to achieve great power in spite of rather low affinities but they are the oddest sort of outliers.

Both my thunder and lightning were epic. Lightning rates along with fire for having the highest attacking power. Thunder rates 6th or 7th but thunder can be piggybacked onto a lightning attack. The first sonic attack comes simultaneously with the lightening attack and then, since thunder reloads much faster than lightning, three sonic attacks fill what would otherwise be dead air. By then lightning has reloaded for another paired attack.

My fire affinity was legendary and the wind that can multiply fire attacks was at the 91st percentile. They call this “Fan and Flame.” It is well behind my thunder and lightning affinities, but fan and flame is at least in the top three attacks. For widespread devastation, it even surpasses thunder and lightning.

Many folks would sell everything they own if they could buy my fan and flame stats, but I had to pay a tutor to teach me how to use them. My professors wouldn’t teach me anything but the most basic parlor tricks for anything but thunder and lightning.

Mages are strongly encouraged to concentrate on their two highest attributes and turn their back on any other abilities. But I had several affinities above the 80th percentile and it seemed rude to the attributes and wasteful on my part not to develop them.

I was even more of a polymath than that, but I’ll get to that eventually.

One might wonder why the government pursues and woos brawn, mages and brains so diligently. There are a few elite military and police units that make use of brawn and/or mages. God alone knows how many brains are forging strategy behind the scenes.

Still, three flamethrower teams can equal the effects of my fan and flame. They’re easier to groom and far easier to replace—or control for that matter. Access to flamethrowers can be tightly restricted. A fire mage always has his fan and flame with him.

Most Talents end up in middle management and above in business or as mid-level bureaucrats in the federal or state government. One doesn’t need a high affinity to rubber stamp and staple forms in triplicate. Nonetheless Talent are shown a lot of favoritism.

Whatever or whoever had yanked my Talent out of me by the roots—some of my Talent anyway—and had transported me to this world had taken all my guns and my backpack but they had left me with my shoulder bag and my backup mini-bedroll as well as all my knives and my tomahawk.

No, I’m sensitive to magnetic fields and my color discrimination is much better than a mundane’s. This wasn’t Big Earth. The day would come that they would regret sending me here and they’d regret leaving me something to work with.

The sun was rising. The ground was frozen and covered in hard frost. The air had a vicious frigid bite. I knew without consciously mining data that it was late fall and a hard winter was imminent.

I was in a mountainous region in a hardwood forest with my old friends: maple, oak, sycamore, walnut, hickory and elm.

Shelter was my first priority. I measured an area 10’x 15’ on the ground. That was big enough for Thoreau. Actually, it would be a bit luxuriant for me, since unlike Thoreau, I had very little to fill my shanty with.

I kicked all the dead leaves from my future shelter’s floor then I measured carefully to make sure everything was square. It didn’t matter much except spending the winter in a skewed cabin might drive me bonkers.

I made a tripod chair and built a small fire to warm me and then I spent most of the next few hours in a semi-trance state putting my 86th percentile earth affinity to work.

The hut was gently rounded like a Quonset hut. Granted, if I’d been laying brick, block or stone in the shape of an arc, I’d have needed interim bracing. I just caused the dirt on each side to fuse into a single slab and grow upward and inward until they met in the middle at the top.

I had decided to go with quartz—pure silicone dioxide. The single monoblock of quartz was 6’’ thick at the top and widened to over a foot thick at the base. The floor was also of purest quartz contiguous with the walls.

The long side ran north and south. There was a 4’ doorway on the east end while there was a fireplace with chimney at the west end. I’d decided to make the fireplace outside my 10’x 15’ floor and the “wall” on the west end amounted to a large hemisphere of quartz that contained a generous fireplace and a handy cubby on each side. At least the cubbies would be handy if I had any gear to stow.

Naturally occurring quartz is reasonable strong but my quartz didn’t have even the smallest inclusions of air or foreign material.

I left out windows and made no provision for a door for the moment. I was coming to the end of my strength.

I molded a raised block of quartz for my bed—hollow on the inside with an open top because laying on cold stone will soak the heat right out of you.

That was my 86th percentile earth affinity. Now it was time to put my 90th percentile wood affinity to work.

I caused the wood to reweave itself on the molecular level. That is far less energy consuming when it is warm enough to use the force of life or faux life to do some of the weaving for you. At any rate, I soon had a 4’’ thick slab of polished wood sealing the top of the hollow stone bed as if it had grown there.

My last act was to reweave the cell and molecular structure of some dead wood and forest floor debris into convenient sized staves of the most ideal firewood imaginable—maybe five days’ worth. I’m no tree-hugger but I dislike killing or wounding live wood without a good reason.

I used my Bic Lighter sized flame once more to get a good fire burning in my chimney.

I was exhausted. It felt as if I’d diligently copied the Lord’s Prayer 150-times… Left handed with one eye closed. Yeah, I’ve diligently tried to work toward ambidexterity all my life but my left-handed writing is strained.

My mini-bedroll and my possibles bag were in case I ever had to make a fast grab and run.

Wool is one of the magic fabrics like silk or buckskin—though I don’t guess buckskin is a fabric. I’d looked for a long while to find a blanket that was very thin and a wee-mite small even for a twin bed. It weighed a bit over one-and-a-half-pounds and I’d fortified it with extra lanolin twice.

I’d added a black muslin sheet even though it had a very small R-factor. Still, it was better than nothing and added little to the weight or the diameter of my backup bedroll. Finally, the mini-bedroll was wrapped in an army rip-stop poncho to keep it dry.

Of course, they wouldn’t sell three and four-and-a-half-pound wool blankets if a one-and-a-half-pound wool blanket would keep someone just as warm.

I rigged the poncho to block the open doorway. I tied it in such a way that a night rover would have to make some noise ripping through it. I’d hate to have the poncho ruined but I wanted to be dragged from my bed without warning even less.

*************** ***************** **************************

A mundane’s brain uses about 25% of his body’s glucose and about 25% of the oxygen he uses when resting. A mage’s brain is far more active. It will burn over twice as much carbohydrate as a mundane’s. The more the power, the greedier the brain is for glucose.

People are always telling me that I don’t look like a mage. They say that I look like a brawn. That’s an ignorant remark—usually by someone who’s never seen a brawn except on television.

Someone either is a brawn or he isn’t. There are no partial brawn and once a brawn starts to manifest—generally in his mid-20s, though there are a few that lag a couple or three decades behind—you can tell at a glance if someone is a brawn.

Brawn range from about 6’8’’ up to 7’5’’ or so. A 6’8’’ brawn will weigh between 450 to over 500 pounds. Brawn aren’t bodybuilding lean and feeding that big body requires plenty of digestive tract, so brawn have a swag gut like a silverback gorilla’s.

The female brawn is only a bit shorter, marginally less muscled with a dab more body fat than the males.

Brawn have the so-called “Super-Soldier” gene, the iron bone gene and the supercharger gene that lets their blood carry about 50% more oxygen per unit volume than a mundane. A brawn’s nervous impulses are about 35% faster than a mundane’s and the brawn only has about 60% of a mundane’s pain sensitivity.

The super-soldier gene makes the brawn’s muscle tissue about 65% stronger than a mundane’s on a pound-for-pound basis. Since it allows the muscle cells to largely run on fat instead of glucose, a brawn exhibits very little oxygen debt and lactic acid buildup.

A brawn’s single repetition strength is awesome, but if you drop the weight to where he should be able to lift it 5 or 6 times (based on time-tested mundane formulas), the brawn will lift the weight 12-t0-18 times. Then he’ll recover over twice as fast as a mundane.

A 6’8’’ brawn could kill a gorilla with his bare hands. A 7’5’’ brawn could kill a Kodiak bear with a bit of luck.

The super soldier gene keeps one reasonably lean and in peak shape even if you don’t exercise. It also increases longevity about 65%. There are drawbacks though. A brawn’s body is always burning calories even in repose. A brawn may need 8-to-10 thousand calories per day to stay on top of his game.

I’m 6’3’’ and weigh 250-pounds. I look like I carry 10-15 extra pounds around my waist but when I try to diet it off I lose strength and stamina. I also obsess about food 24/7 when dieting.

I have the iron bone and the supercharger genes. They have always been around though they were rare. So far as anyone knows the super soldier gene is something created in the laboratories of Old Earth. Furthermore, at least according to the records, it was never tried on humans—only mice.

How the super soldier gene got to Big Earth and into the genes of the brawn is just another mystery. Talent isn’t hereditary. Even if two brawn marry and raise a family, the odds are that they will have mundane children.

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Old 07-06-2017, 09:07 PM
RVM45 RVM45 is offline
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Cool Ch-1 part 2

Even if one of the brawn’s children does have talent, they’re no more likely to be brawn than they are to be born brains or mages. Well, brawn are far more common than mages. Brains are the rarest of all. What I mean is, Talented children of brawn preserve the standard distribution curve.

I also have the super soldier gene—but mine can be suppressed most of the time in order to save groceries. I can’t keep it turned off while using my Talent to the maximum for hours at a time though.

It is commonly supposed that both a brain’s and a mage’s power originates in the brain and then circulates through the nervous tissue. Nerve cells are nerve cells and muscle cells are muscle cells.

Nonetheless, I have above average power and remarkable stamina while using my Talent and I wonder how much the super soldier gene contributes to my dogged endurance.

I mean, while it makes little difference in a quick duel a fitter mage has numerous advantages over a puffy fat couch potato mage in a longer conflict.

At any rate, when my shelter was done I sat on the bed and consumed two of the lifeboat rations for 3600 calories and followed that with a half-pound of Peanut M&Ms and a half pound of jerky-jerky.

I shivered through the night and I felt rather hungry as well but I endured.

I had 3 of the lifeboat rations left along with a few other high calorie emergency rations. I still needed to do a few things requiring heavy talent but then I needed to hunt some food lest I get too starved to use Talent.

************* *************** ********************

I was a teenager in my second year of high school back in 1972. That’s Big Earth time, of course. Bear in mind that in the aftermath of “The Grand Expansion”, our technological progress raced ahead of Old Earth’s in many areas.

I was in my drawing class as happy as if I were in my right mind. I had three main interests in life: wrestling, my art and pursuing my Shawnee heritage. Well, I’m one-quarter Shawnee, but there you have it.

A monitor came summoning me to the office. When I got there the guidance counselor, the school’s vice-principle and two of the eunuchoid government civil servants in their expensive three-piece suits were having a witches’ Sabbath.

The guidance counselor was a middle-aged black lady who almost always wore black, navy blue or brown business midi-skirts suits. I respected her good intentions but my unconventional career plans gave her the quivering fantods and we were destined to never agree.

What is art and what is genuine genius in art? I’m not at all sure that I know.

Maybe everyone has art genius, but it takes years to develop the skills to adequately express it. Even if you do hit pay dirt, there is no guarantee that it will sell to the masses.

I couldn’t state with certainty that I had genius, but I did know one thing:

Skilled engravers are rare enough that even the most unoriginal draftsman drudge can make a decent living engraving firearms and such. Not that there aren’t skilled engravers with genius. It just isn’t necessary to have genius in order to make a generous living.

I planned to go to the Colorado School of Trades to learn Gunsmithing and to take their brief introduction to engraving, stock checkering and carving.

I suppose that someone could make a living as an engraver without knowing how to reduce most firearms to possession and then reassemble them, but it would be awkward. Anyway, if a man wants to travel to the wild places, he shouldn’t ride a firearm unless he can keep it in working order.

Purdue had a top-notch fine arts program and I had hopes of winning an athletic scholarship in wrestling. The year in Colorado wouldn’t count against my athletic eligibility since it was a trade school and not a University. Taking a year off would be like red-shirting myself.

The counselor was dedicated whole-heartedly to the maxim that there are many slips between the cup and lip. Intentionally taking a year off seemed the worst sort fate tempting to her.

The vice-principle was a big muscular man of 6’4’’ but rawboned. He had a sinister scar on the left side of his face. Word was that he sometimes laid hands on the delinquents in unauthorized ways. I had no use for him, and I could only hope that he’d lay hands on me some day.

I’ve never believed in “reasonable levels of force.” If you attack me with a feather duster I will try just as hard to seriously mess you up as if you used a double-bit axe.

Then there were the two government mages. One was tall, skinny and soft while the other was short, fat and soft. In all probability, both of them were no higher than the mid-60th percentiles in their talent.

“What do you think of your scores on the Talent screen?” Fatty asked.

It is customary to take the Talent screen sometime in the mid-fall of one’s sophomore year of high school. The test isn’t compulsory…

Except if you don’t take the test you can’t get government scholarships, unemployment insurance, tax refunds or food stamps. You can’t be given a social security number, vote, join the military or get an unrestricted driver’s license.

I was unimpressed by all that and I seriously considered being a refusenik, but my father stepped on my good intentions and insisted that I take the damned thing.

“What should I think of it? I didn’t care enough to go on the internet to see my scores,” I said.

I scored a grand hit on each of the bureaucrats just then by ****ing on something they held in such reverence.

Skinny handed me a couple sheets of the old green bar computer paper. It said:




“Wind-91st percentile

“Water-87th percentile—Ice sub-attribute-94th percentile

“Earth-86th percentile

“Wood-90th percentile—Bone sub-attribute-93rd percentile

“Metal-82nd percentile.”

“Wood” is largely being able to control the growth and metabolism of the cambium of plants. It applies to protein synthesis as well as controlling the overall metabolism of living things. The “Bone” attribute increases the ability to alter animal tissue—as well as to do some really neat things with bone, antler, ivory, mother of pearl and horn.

“So?” I asked indifferently.

“Would you like to attend a government atelier?” Fatty asked.

“You can leave school immediately to go pack. We can have you in the atelier of your choice in a matter of days,” Skinny added.

“Not interested,” I said and yes, I know that was verbose.

One of the reasons that I didn’t want to drop out of high school was my wrestling career. I had a good chance to be Indiana state champion each of my last three years of high school.

I didn’t say that of course. That would be showing them a point to apply pressure.

Talent aren’t banned from high school level sports in most states. Most brawn don’t have even the beginning of their drastically altered frame and metabolism until their mid-20s. Mage Talent was even less of an issue.

I mean. Even if I could wield mage Talent as a teen, throwing a fireball at a competitor would be a giveaway that I was cheating.

That did put an end to my college career as a wrestler.

Some folks like to see teams of brawn doing superhuman things on the athletic field while others prefer the subdued efforts of the mundane.

Football and basketball are such big money makers for the universities that they generally have to parallel teams—one of brawn and the other mundane.

They don’t two-platoon less lucrative sports like wrestling. Anyway, a brawn wrestling team would be entirely composed of heavyweights.

If the word got out about me though, many parents would be aghast and fear for their effeminate little darlings. I had no doubt that many of the cowardly lopslickers would petition the school and the state athletic board to ban me.

“You don’t need to think about wrestling,” the vice-principle sneered. “I’ve contacted your coach. You are off the team.”

“That is hardly fair,” I protested.

“It is for your own good. I’m trying to help you come to the right decision,” he pontificated.

“Doing it ‘for my own good’ is a far more despicable act than merely trying to injure me, you old son of a bitch!”

“Watch your mouth,” he said with red face clenched fists.

“If I can’t wrestle then high school is pointless. I am of legal age to quit and that is what I’m doing. Goodbye. If you want me, I’ll be in the Shawnee village, but I’m going to tell my brothers not to accommodate any of you in any way,” I said.

The vice-principle tried to block the doorway.

“Move or be moved. I hope that you won’t move. You are trying to unlawfully detain me against my will. I will use lethal force,” I said.

He moved reluctantly out of my way. Fatty made a lunge to try to grab me from behind. I turned just enough to do a vicious poke that ruined one of his eyes and then I stepped through the doorway.

If Rollo and Follow were mages, I wondered why they didn’t attack me with their attributes—though really, I was within my rights to leave, so I didn’t understand why they’d attack me at all.

Sometime later I found that before the test my attributes were fully dormant. The tests activated them though—however feebly. A fire mage with a Legendary fire attribute can’t be burned by fire. I was also totally immune to electrical or sonic attacks and highly resistant to most others.

The next few years were a blur of living with the Shawnee, going to gunsmith school in Denver and wandering about the almost limitless West.

I was in my early 30’s when I decided to accept the government scholarship to study mage arts at Purdue.

The government had screwed me, might as well get some minor compensation.

The state pays an exorbitant stipend to Talent students. There is no limit to how many years that you can attend and so long as you make a token effort at learning mage craft, you can take any other classes that you please—all for free.

It was time to get my MFA. I also figured that since I had the attributes. I might as well learn to use them strongly.

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Old 07-07-2017, 01:20 AM
texican2 texican2 is offline
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A good story line that may will find interesting and will be for moar....

Praying for your health to improve and the spots on your kidneys are benign....

We need you healthy to continue this new story.

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Old 07-10-2017, 05:38 AM
DWwolf DWwolf is online now
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As always...good readin'

Please continue.
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