Photos and writing

I’m not sure I mentioned it before but just in case, I am going to the Viable Paradise XIX workshop. Tickets are bought, arrangements are made, and all that’s left is the waiting.

Some poo-poo the idea of a writing workshop. Some are excited for me. Other attendees are excited about their own participation. 

Before I continue, here’s a photo from my recent trip to Yellowstone NP.

Yellowstone June 2015

It’s a flower. 

Now, where was I? Oh, yeah . . . VP XIX. Honestly, I have no way of judging what benefit I may derive from the workshop without first attending it. This much I have already said. 

What I have not said is that I’ve not done much writing in the past few months. Sure, a few flash fiction submissions here and there, but no sustained writing effort. 

It’s not like I don’t have any ideas. In fact, I have two ideas I am very pleased about; the kind of ideas that are fresh and nothing I have read or heard of before. Well, I’ve also not read much lately; it could be my ideas are already old hat.

Here’s another photo from my trip.

Yellowstone June 2015

It’s either a number of different rocks or one big rock breaking up. And water. A lake, to be precise.

I also have a couple of projects I started and are now sitting in limbo (the place, not the dance contest). Designated is one of them; I have a good idea where I am going with it but have not got back to tackling it. For them interested — even though it’s only three chapters — the posts are HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Another is the continuation of the elven stories; two complete short stories (HERE and HERE) comprising the beginning of a longer story arc.

Perhaps my favorite is . . . wait; time for more photos. These are two more from my attempts at capturing my efforts to skip rocks. 

Yellowstone June 2015

Yellowstone June 2015

For them not familiar with this, I was at the edge of Lake Yellowstone, the shore littered with great skipping rocks. Unfortunately, Melisa was back at the car and me wanting to capture the skipping stone meant throwing the stone with one hand, swing up and grab with both hands the five pounds worth of camera and lens, acquire focus and capture the photo before the stone sank beneath the water. 

Not as easy as it sounds.

Anyway, perhaps my favorite are my two dragon short stories, HERE and HERE. There too I have an arc in mind. In fact, I’ve thought up the general idea for the next part of the story just after writing the second one . . . and that was  a year ago.

So, what’s keeping me from continuing any of those efforts. Well, I’ll tell you . . . I don’t know. I’ve written lots of other stuff since then, including a whole novel (my second NaNoWriMo effort), all of it material I liked and enjoyed writing. 

And yet, the two exciting ideas and three existing story arcs I just mentioned constantly pop back into my mind, whispering, pleading me to give them life, to breathe substance into what’s already there and grow it into complete works.

Say, here’s an interesting photo from my trip:

Yellowstone June 2015

Tell me that does not look like some kind of elephantine creature munching on a wooden crab-like creature. 

Anyway, with all them stories itching for me to do them justice I sat down this evening and wrote this:


Copyright 2015, E. J. D’Alise

The Sepras’s colony ship had crash-landed in the plains of Colorado and the military had been quick to respond. Per protocol, the first wave of human troops and equipment came with weapons trained and armed. The troops were armed but less trained. Someone fired a shot, killing one of the Sepras. The response had been immediate and deadly. All the troops and equipment were destroyed, as were planes, helicopters, and tanks that pursued the retreating Sepras. The die had been cast; war it was.

As technologically superior as they were, the Sepras faced the largest and most advanced war culture in history. It took time for cooler heads to prevail, but the negotiated peace came too late for many individuals on both sides of the conflict.

~ ~ o o ~ ~

Calling them Hens was, and still is, a slur. Sepras don’t look like hens; if one squinted a bit they looked vaguely humanoid; bipedal beings with two arms, about six-foot-four, with flat facial features and distinct sexes, they are long limbed and solidly built. The Hens nickname came from the comb-like fleshy ridge atop their skulls, likely used to radiate excess heat.

Humans had never captured a Sepras alive or dead, so that was just conjecture. Based on their skull size and assuming it was all brains inside, their brains were about twenty percent larger than the average human. Most people forget they are fierce, proud, and honorable, and see them as no more than conquered aliens. In actuality, it was the Sepras who refrained from the wholesale slaughter of the human race.

Their technology and weapons are that good, and had the situation been reversed we humans would not have shown similar restraint or been willing to sacrifice as many of our own for the sake of not wiping out a species of sentient beings.

Actually, most people do not see Sepras. Similar to negotiated Indian treaties, the terms of the peace agreement specified they would live in reservations, each reservation limited to only so many individuals and located in remote places seldom visited by anyone but truckers. Truckers like me.

I went through the double gates. The armed guards, all human, looked bored and barely gave me a second look. Once into the reservation, I made my way to the central warehouse.

Turook was waiting for me. He sported scars from the last, and decisive, battle his race fought on Earth. A battle the Sepras had won. It had been the Sepras who requested reservations in exchange for a cessation of activities. It had been humans, fearing the idea of sprawling alien cities, who insisted on limiting the population of each reservation to no more than ten thousand. Their sophisticated communication systems kept the Sepras in touch with each other, and a regular and healthy exchange of individuals between reservations provided the genetic mix to sustain their numbers.  In the fifteen years since the reservations were established, two new reservations had been added to accommodate the growth in Sepras population.

I waved and negotiated the trailer to the loading area. I brought raw material and food supplies. Once empty, I would load Sepras products for sale to a human population who already took for granted the technological wonders offered by the Sepras. Electronics, power cells, medical devices, get-well pills . . . and weapons. Weapons the US military used to keep a firm grip on their superiority over any other military force on the planet. 

Neither of us spoke as we watched the transfer of goods.  The Sepras unloading the trailer suddenly stopped. To a man, they turned to watch something outside my field of view. I peered around the trailer.

I saw a squad of heavily armed human soldiers, armed with Sepras-designed weapons, marching toward us. The Sepras put down the goods they were loading and spread out. The farthest individuals moved to form a semicircular formation. Even without my long history with the Sepras, I knew a tactical formation when I saw it.

There were no weapons in plain view, but I was certain each of the Sepras was armed. 

I looked at Turook. He motioned for me to step back. I stayed where I was.

The soldiers also fanned out stopping at a signal from the Staff Sargeant. They did not have their weapons at the ready, but neither were they casually carried. These men were ready for action. If anything did break out, I wondered if they knew they would be as good as dead.

“Turook,”  bellowed the Staff  Sargeant,  “We’re here for Sleith. She was ordered to turn herself in and she’s now twenty-four hours overdue.”


Turook’s one-word reply could be heard by all despite not being spoken very loud. It seemed as if the whole compound and everything in it had stopped. I became aware of the silence. It had a vaguely funereal feeling to it.

The Staff Sargeant looked around. He had to have noticed the secondary layer of Sepras that had joined the first. He did not seem concerned.

“Turook,” he said, “I’m asking nicely. If I have to come back in here, I will not be so nice.”


The word had everyone turn toward the speaker. Me.

I stepped around Turook, jumped off the loading dock, and strode up to the Sargeant. I noticed the soldiers repositioning, covering me from two sides.

I stopped in front of the Sargeant. He towered over me by at least six inches and I had to look up at him.

“Stand down, Sargeant, before you and your men get hurt.” I too spoke without much volume, but I know I was heard by all that were watching.

“On whose’s orders?”

“Mine,” I answered.

“I don’t take my orders from a truck driver.”

As he spoke, he put his hand on my shoulder, intent on moving me aside.  I dislocated his shoulder. At the same time, ten near-silent spherical drones descended out of the sky. Eight parked themselves a foot in front of each of the soldiers. The other two hovered just off my shoulders, one on each side.

“You will this time,” I replied. I let go of his wrist at the same time that he made a strangled noise.

Before the man could answer, the sound of approaching vehicles broke the silence. Two armored vehicles and three personnel carriers stopped fifty yards from us.  A staff car kept going, stopping not ten feet from where I stood.

The man that got out was used to throwing his weight around. I had read his file and knew him to be cautious and less than honorable. He was also in charge of all the Western Serpas reservations.

Forty soldiers in full combat armor and gear jumped out from the troop carriers, fanning out to encircle the area. Two remotely manned drones did a fly-by before stationing themselves above the warehouse roof, giving them a commanding view of the loading area.

I queried my implant. Four more long-range drones sat high up in the sky. I accessed their live feed. Two had me targeted. The other two drones targeted Turook.

I looked back at the uniformed man. He remained standing by his car after exiting the vehicle. He may have been fearless, but he was not stupid. He faced something he did not understand, and although he probably thought he held the upper hand, he was in no rush to test the matter.

“What have we got here?” His words sounded more like a challenge than a question.

“General Peters,” I replied, “I would advise you to order your men, including your six drones, to stand down.”

I made my words as much of a warning as a suggestion.

“Oh?” he replied. “And why would I do that?”

“Because I have jurisdiction, and you don’t. Also, I could kill you and your men before they get off a shot.”

I had to hand it to the man; he asked the right question.

“And you are?”

“Someone you should listen to; someone who is trying to save your and your men’s sorry asses.”

I accessed the drones through the implant and had them dive into the surrounding desert. I did not look at corresponding balls of flames as they impacted the ground.

As I stepped toward the General two of the soldiers swung their weapons at me and were immediately taken down by my drones. They would wake up dizzy and disoriented; focused sonic weapons did that to humans.

Before I could speak to Peters, tactical informed me of a shift in the positions of the surrounding Sepras. I stopped and turned toward Turook.

“Call them off; my warning goes for you as well,” My voice carried as I added one word in the Sepras language, “Xithx.”

The Sepras word translated into something like “with respect, I warn you.” I even pronounced it correctly. The Sepras stopped.

Turning back to Peters, I spoke in a low voice as I flashed my red-framed ID showing my name and rank in the Extraterrestrial Treaty Enforcement Organization.

“Matters of treaty violations are handled by ETEO. We’ll discuss later why we were not informed of this situation but right now you are going to turn around and drive out of here.” I motioned toward the Sargeant and his squad. “And take them with you. Also, move all perimeter guards to the outer positions. I want no humans within the confines of this reservation until I square this out.”

I did not wait for an answer. I turned and walked away. My two defense drones held their station. The soldiers began retreating before I had walked all the way back to Turook.

“Turook; we need to talk,” I said. “We need to talk about your daughter, Sleith.”

That’s it for now.

That’s right . . . two great ideas, three ongoing and interesting story arcs, and I come up with something completely different. I have a long arc — roughly worked out in my mind — for this new effort as well.  

See what kind of massive problems I face? 

What I need is for a publishing house (or possibly a movie studio; those guys buy and produce all sorts of junk, so it might as well be my junk) to come rushing through my door and beg me to run with any or all of those ideas, offering me a hefty advance in the process. 

Actually, they could just e-mail me; I don’t particularly like visitors dropping by unannounced. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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