Story snippets!

Chatterbox: Inkwell

Story snippets!

Story snippets!

What's up y'all, Star here! After getting some interest on my birthday thread, I've decided to start posting parts of my work back up on the CB. Some of you older CBers have seen my novel, and those characters will be featured heavily in my short stories. But if you haven't read it, no worries! I'll always provide a quick explanation of the background and characters before I post something. Depending on the popularity, about half of the stuff I post will be from my re-written novel (more info can be found on the super-long reply to Kitten on my birthday thread), and the other half will be short stories, some related to my novel and some not. (I also have some short screenplays, though I won't post those unless I get a special request from someone to read them, since they have a weird format.) I thought I'd start with the short stories, and give you guys a chance to put in some input! I have three short stories to pick from, and I'd like you to vote on which one you'd like me to post first. I'll post increments every Tuesday and Friday, since all of my work is handwritten and I need to have time to type it up (which I hate doing, hence the staggered updates). Here are the options as they stand now:

1. "Crow's Coffee"; A fully completed short story featuring never before seen characters, Angel and Roman. It's a coffee-shop romance with a magical twist! Genre: romance; trigger warnings: someone gets beat up (there is also a gun in that scene, though it is never used), a sexist boss, and there's also a kiss or two. (I'm calling it a trigger warning, but all of my work is appropriate for the CB. I'm just letting you know what's in it that people may not like.)

2. "Pirates"; An unfinished AU of my novel where Zoey is a mermaid, and the Eagles are a pirate ship crew, captained by Sterling. Genre: action/adventure; trigger warnings: unfinished, but so far the most daring thing is someone gets treated for a stab wound, Zoey transforms into a human without clothing on (and there is an ensuing search for an appropriately sized pair of pants, though again, everything is CB-rated. There is just a mention of her lack of clothing before someone gives her a coat).  

3. "Kismet"; an unfinished red-string soulmate modern day AU (wow adjectives) featuring Feroc and Tyrian. The official-ish synopsis is "Feroc and Tyrian are trying to find their mysterious soulmates by following the red string of fate. The catch? Feroc's colorblind." Genre: romance (though more like comedy if I'm being honest); trigger warnings: unfinished (like. really unfinished), the main relationship is between two guys (though all of my stories feature LGBTQ+ characters, so you probably shouldn't read any of them if you're not a fan), and someone will probably get beat up eventually, but I haven't written it yet.

Uh, yeah! Those are the short stories. Tell me which one you'd like to see! I'll tally up the votes in three days (so on Friday of this week) and then post the first section of the selected short story. Once the story is finished (or once I run out of content, or when I feel like it) I'll also post bits from my re-written novel. I'll include background for those, but probably not for the short stories (or screenplays, but again, those are only by request). Hopefully I covered everything, but feel free to ask if you have any questions!


submitted by Starseeker, age on hiatus, y'all can call me Star
(July 14, 2020 - 10:14 pm)

I hope you feel better! Don't feel pressured, we can be patient :). Good luck with school!

submitted by Quill
(September 9, 2020 - 5:09 pm)

Aw, that's okay. No rush. Have fun at school, and I hope you feel better!

submitted by Summer, age tau, Nowhere at all
(September 10, 2020 - 10:36 pm)

Thank you all for your kind well-wishes! Yes, I am feeling much better. I was just feeling really down and awful for whatever reason, and I couldn't even muster up the energy to post a pre-written segment. But I feel a lot better now! I'm currently on a break between my AP English and AP Chemistry classes, so I'm taking this time to post the third chapter of Pirates. This is, I believe, one of the longest chapters so far.

@Fi, I would love a picturing for literally anyone, your drawings are always such gifts! If you'd like a description of anyone feel free to ask, since I don't think I go very far into describing people in this story.



In Which Sterling Solves A Problem


Blaiyre and another girl are standing on deck, shouting. Blaiyre is gesturing wildly and angrily, while the other girl seems to have frozen over, but her rage is no less threatening than Blaiyre’s. The icy girl is tanned and lean, with long black hair similar to mine, but pulled back into a high ponytail.

“…Claws, I already did that, can’t you see?” Blaiyre is shouting. 

The other girl scowls. “I was merely commenting that you missed a spot. I meant no disrespect.”

Blaiyre sneers. “Yeah, sure. Like you always mean no disrespect.

The icy girl growls low in her throat and takes a step forward towards Blaiyre, who meets her eyes with a challenging look. They face off until a small girl puts her hand on the icy girl’s shoulder. The icy girl sighs and looks away from Blaiyre, turning to face the small girl. Blaiyre storms off to the other side of the ship, and the small girl speaks to the icy girl in a tone that’s lower than I can hear. Gradually, the frown melts off the icy girl’s face, and she finally nods and pats the small girl on the back. Then both girls turn towards us and walk over.

“Sorry about that,” the icy girl says, shoving her hands in her pockets. “It’s been a long voyage. Too long. I’m Icantre, by the way. This is Melise.”

The small girl nods absently, then wrinkles her nose. “You smell like fish,” she says, looking directly at me. Though her pale eyes are locked on mine, they seem to look deeply into my soul.

“Melise!” Maylene says. “We just pulled her out of the water! Of course she smells like fish!”

Melise just looks at me, her eyes staring into me. My blood runs cold. Could she know? No, there’s absolutely no way. 


“Sorry,” Maylene apologizes. “Melise doesn’t mean anything by it. Right, Melise?”

Melise simply turns her face up into the air and closes her eyes serenely, swaying slightly. 

Icantre loops her arm through Melise’s and pulls her to the rail of the ship, waving goodbye as she goes. 

Maylene turns back to me and claps her hand on her hook. “Alright! Sorry again about Melise; she can be a little jarring to newcomers. She doesn’t mean anything by it. She just… the wind, it… tells her things, I guess? She and Icantre tried to explain it to me once but Melise got distracted halfway through and left. Still, she’s a darn good navigator. Always knows where land is.”

Maylene shrugs and starts walking toward the staircase that leads to the upper deck of the ship. She strides up them confidently, while I struggle to figure out how to appropriately move my legs to make it all the way up. I join her at the top of the stairs and she points me towards the very end of the ship, where a blonde-haired girl stands at the wheel of the ship, resting her elbows on it and staring out over the sea. When Maylene clears her throat, the girl looks up. Her eyes are a startling shade of emerald green, and her face remains impassive as she looks at us.

“Hey, chief, we’ve got another passenger,” Maylene calls out. “Her name’s Zoey and she needs some pants.”

The girl nods. “You know where they are, Maylene.” She turns her attention back to the sea, scanning the roaring waters.

Maylene takes this as consent and pulls me towards the one of the tiny cabins on the side of the ship.

She bursts through the door and starts rifling through a cabinet drawer, but I stand in the doorway, taking in the room. A small single bed is covered with unmade sheets and blankets, and an overstuffed red armchair sits by the bed, draped in blankets as if someone regularly spends a lot of time in it. But what really draws my attention is the map.

A huge map covers the entirety of one wall, curling and yellowed at the edges from the salt in the air. Small red Xs cover the map, and a black circle is drawn around the far side of the map. As I lean forward to see what the circle is surrounding, my blood runs cold.


They’re headed for the mercreature capital? This is bad. Really, really, world-endingly bad. No human ever comes to the capital with good intentions. That’s why the location is a secret. Well, should be a secret. 

But somehow, this group of pirates knows where my people live. And they’re coming for us, guns blazing and flag held high. 

“You see something you like?” Maylene asks, noticing me staring at the map. “Your hometown on there?”

“How do you know about Lydianzaa?” I blurt out.

Maylene squints at the map. “Oh, that old thing? It was on there when we found the map. I dunno what it is, really. Don’t let it worry you.” She shrugs, but there’s something about her voice that tells me she’s lying.

Trying to be casual, I say, “Isn’t it like a myth, or something?”

“It’s not a myth,” says a voice from behind me. I turn around to see Captain Sterling leaning on the doorframe, arms crossed.

“It’s very much real,” she continues. “And that’s where I’m taking my crew.”

“No!” I blurt out, then slap a hand over my mouth. Shoot! I’ve gone too far.

Sterling pushes herself off the doorway and takes a step towards me. “No?” She repeats. “You come here, onto my ship, on my first mate’s goodwill, and you tell me no?”

“Sterling,” Marlene says warningly, but Sterling ignores her and takes a step forward, eyes locked on me.

I raise my hands non-threateningly. “I— I’m sorry, I didn’t mean— it’s too dangerous, is all!”

Sterling narrows her eyes. “What do you mean, too dangerous? Don’t you have faith in my crew? We’ve made it this far. We’re not idiots.” She gestures at the trail of Xs marked across the map. Maylene glances between us, then slips out the door.

“I didn’t mean to imply that you are,” I argue back. “I simply meant that there are reefs, and huge waves, and dangerous sea animals—“

Sterling scoffs. “I’ve dealt with my fair share of all of those, darling. I think I can handle a few more.”

“And the traps!” I blurt out.

Sterling freezes. “What traps?” She says slowly.

I hesitate, my mind racing. “The ones around Lydianzaa. No-one’s ever gotten through them all before.”

Which, that isn’t technically true, strictly speaking. We have our allies onboard the ship Phoenix, who do some trading with us. But they only go to the outer rim islands, not all the way to the capital.

Sterling tilts her head. “Sounds like you have a fair bit of experience with these… traps.”

I shrug. “How do you think I ended up in the middle of the ocean?”

I’m not technically lying, am I? I was headed to the capital before they picked me up, so technically, technically, I’m out here because of the capital and its traps. Just not in the way they think I am…

Sterling’s watching me with a strange gleam in her eye. “I think I’ve found a new use for you, girl.”

“Zoey,” I say. “My name is Zoey.”

Sterling nods. The door bursts open, and in rushes Jasak, who relaxes as soon as he sets eyes on us both.

“Maylene made it sound like it was an emergency,” he says, setting a hand on his hip. “What’s going on?”

Sterling turns to Jasak. “We’ve just found a way past the traps of Lydianzaa.”

Jasak’s eyes go wide, and he looks from me to her. “…What?”

Sterling grins. “She’s been through them before. She can guide us through.”

“Actually, I—“ I start, but Sterling shoots me a look and grabs my arm. She drags me through the open door. Maylene jumps up when we pass her, and both her and Jasak trail behind us as I’m frog-marched to the lower deck. The crew members stop what they’re doing to watch as Sterling stops in the middle of the deck, still holding onto me tightly.

“Ladies, gentlemen, and everyone in between,” she announces, “I have secured passage to Lydianzaa.”

A murmur spreads through the crew members.

“This girl,” Sterling says, brandishing my arm, “has successfully navigated the dangers of Lydianzaa before, and she has agreed to lead us through them.”

“I really don’t—“ I start, only to be cut off as Sterling shouts, “We sail at first light!”

“Hear hear!” The crew shouts, covering up my protests. Sterling shoves me roughly in the direction of Maylene and Jasak. I stumble and almost fall, but Jasak catches me and holds me steady.

“Keep her somewhere until first light,” Sterling orders, then storms back up to the upper deck. The crew mutters to themselves, some returning to their duties, some continuing to stare at me. I pull Jasak’s coat tighter around me, suddenly conscious of the fact that I’m still not wearing pants.

Maylene looks after Sterling and sighs. “Darn. This again.”

“It’s always been about Lydianzaa, you know that,” Jasak says comfortingly, holding me gently. “The past few months have just been a detour.”

Maylene shrugs. “Yeah. Doesn’t make it any less bad, though.”

“I’m sorry,” I break in, “but what was I just volunteered to do?”

Maylene and Jasak glance at each other.

“Looks like you’re our way in to Lydianzaa,” Jasak says, shrugging.

“Why, in literally all of the claws’ mercy, are you going to Lydianzaa? That place is dangerous! And full of mercreatures who won’t take kindly to your little visit,” I exclaim.

Maylene and Jasak exchange another meaningful glance.

“It’s… not really our story to tell,” Maylene says carefully. “Maybe another time.” She looks me up and down. “For now, we really have to get you some pants.”

Jasak groans. “For claws’ sake, how long does it take to get some darn clothes?”

“Long enough,” Maylene says cheerfully, and steers me away from Jasak.

“So, Sterling’s pants are probably out of the question now,” Maylene comments, pulling me towards the upper level of the ship again. “When she gets like this, the best we can do is stay out of her way. I think Icantre might have something for you— she’s a little tall, but it should work. I’d ask Blaiyre, but…” Maylene shrugs. “She’d never say yes.”

Maylene enters another cabin on the top deck, ignoring Sterling, who’s back at the wheel. I follow her inside. The inside of the cabin is dimly lit, with a similar layout to Sterling’s, but smaller. The cabin appears to be split in half; one half is neatly organized and minimalist, while the other is a whirlwind of scarves, plants, and colorful things. Maylene ignores the messy side and goes straight to the third drawer in a dresser on the neat side. She pulls out a pair of dark brown leather pants and holds them up to me, squinting her eyes.

“Yeah,” she says. “That should work.” She hands them to me and leaves the cabin. I pull the pants on in the dark awkwardly, tucking Maylene’s loose white shirt into the top of them and putting Jasak’s coat on over the whole ensemble.

I leave the cabin and shut the door behind me. Maylene looks me up and down and whistles. “Dang, girl, you’ve got some legs on you!”

I look down at the, ah, close-fitting pair of pants I’m currently wearing. They do compliment these human legs nicely, I must admit. 

Sterling calls over the deck, “Does nobody listen to what I say around here any more? I told you to put her somewhere until first light! We can’t risk her getting away, not before I get what I want from Lydianzaa.”

Maylene scowls back at her. “Chill out, Ster. I was just getting her some pants from Icantre’s cabin.”

Sterling doesn’t deign to reply.

Melise sighs, shakes her head, and gestures for me to follow her back to the main deck.

“Sorry again about Sterling,” Maylene says to me as she leads me back to the medical cabin. “Everyone’s a little on edge since we’re so close to Lydianzaa.”

“Remind me again why you’re even going?” I ask. When Maylene frowns, I raise my hands. “I know! I know you said it wasn’t your story to tell, I know. But since I’m apparently getting dragged along with you, don’t I at least deserve to know why?”

Maylene closes the door of the medical cabin behind us and sighs, rubbing her face with her good hand. “You have a point.” She points her hook at me threateningly. “But I swear to the claws, if you tell anyone I told you this, I’ll ‘accidentally’ sew your mouth shut.”

I cross my hands over my chest. “Scale’s honor.”

She squints at me. “I… literally don’t know what that means, but I’m going to trust you. Okay. So, you know about the mercreatures, right? I mean, obviously you do, since you’ve been to Lydianzaa before. Are you familiar with the lore surrounding them?”

“Some of it?” I hedge. 

Maylene sits on the edge of her operating table and gestures for me to sit next to her.

“Mercreatures are known for many things,” she begins.


Aaaand that's it! Chapter 4 will be up on Tuesday. It's pretty short, so I might include a drawing or something as an added bonus.

Speaking of bonuses, because I missed Tuesday's update, I will be uploading a bonus chapter of the rewritten novel sometime between now and next Tuesday. It will probably be the first chapter, which is told from Jasak's perspective. I thought it was fitting, seeing as this story also features the same set of characters, and I feel bad about missing the last update. Anyways! Stay safe y'all, and have a good week! <3


submitted by Starseeker-FriUpdate, age on hiatus?, maybe not
(September 11, 2020 - 10:15 am)

I'm really liking this! I was a little confused about which character is which at first, though, but it's fine. Look out for some possible drawings of your characters! 

submitted by DoodleGirl, age 13, the forbidden forest
(September 11, 2020 - 3:32 pm)

What's up y'all, Star here with the little bonus story I promised since I skipped an update last week! It's the first chapter of my rewritten novel. There miiiight be a prologue before it, but this is more interesting. 

@DG, don't worry if you were confused! I was also very confused trying to edit it, haha. It's just not a good paragraph where I'm trying to describe Icantre (the icy girl) and Melise (the small girl) for the first time. I should have rewritten it but... I'm kind of lazy to be honest. And yes yes yes!! I would literally love it if you drew my characters!! If you need any descriptions, let me know. I'd love for you to draw any of them, like seriously, your art is so awesome!!

Okay, and now to intro this bonus story! First of all, it's kind of long. The longest chapter of Crow's Coffee was about 1,700 words. This is 3,700. That's a really big difference!! This story also takes place in an alternate sci-fi universe. There's some vocab that you need to know so I'll put that down below. The basic premise and idea behind this chapter is that the war against Valkyrie Corporation (ValCorp for short) has just ended. Sterling's team was one of the most successful units during the war and is now involved in the "dismantle" of ValCorp-- basically they're going through all the old ValCorp laboratories and looking for useable technology. The premise of this particular chapter is that Sterling's team has been sent in to do a routine dismantle. Each of the characters has a "call sign", or a name that they use on missions so that if their transmissions were ever hacked, their idenitities remain secret. Sterling is "Falcon", Feroc is "Bear", Icantre is "Wasp", Melise is "Halo" and Jasak is "Sage". This does make it a little more confusing to read, and I'm sorry for that, but the idea of names, identity, and which names are being used in which scenes will become important eventually, so it's gotta be in there. Plus, I'm trying to make a distinction between "civilian Jasak" and "military operative Sage" in the storytelling style, which means using their call signs. The story is told from Jasak's first person POV.

Now for some fakey-fakey futuristic vocabulary!

High Command: basically the people in charge after the war. They'll be more relevant in later chapters, but there is a reference to them in this one.

Demo team: the team(s) involved in actually destroying old ValCorp labs. Teams like Sterling's are responsible for finding the lab and "pinging" its location for the demo team to come back and destroy it.

Com watch: a communicator watch.

Tron: short for transporter. Actually from the old book, but it's more sci-fi-ey now. 

Coronium: a random metal that I invented. I dunno. You can't scan through it, though. 

Cryo tubes: short for cryogenic tubes. This is a real thing, I think-- maybe not the tube part but the cryogenics, definitely. It's basically preserving things in very low temperatures in tubes. In this story, it's used sort of like how Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier was preserved for years by freezing him between missions, same for Captain America being stuck in the ice. Same concept.

Primary and Parallel: in this futuristic world, cloning exists but was used exclusively by ValCorp because it was seen as inhumane. A Parallel is a clone of someone. A Primary is the person that the clone is made from. If the Primary dies, the Parallel will also die, no matter what state they're in. The Parallel can die or be hurt with no impact on the Primary, though. ValCorp would take peoples' DNA without their knowledge and use it to create Parallels. The cloning isn't always successful, though. A successful Parallel is called a viable Parallel.

That should be it! I hope! I had to finish writing this chapter and it took waaay longer than I thought it would so now it's like midnight. I hope you enjoy this little snippet! The next chapter of Pirates will be posted tomorrow as usual. I didn't have as much time to edit this as usual so let's hope it's fine. 





Sterling comes storming into her dormitory room, slamming her hand down onto the table and startling me.

“We’ve got a new assignment, guys,” she announces, leaning her weight on her hands. She’s not even surprised to see Feroc and I hanging out in the room she shares with Icantre and Melise— too comfortable with us and too used to us to care. Icantre looks up from where she and Melise are stretching in the corner. Feroc sets down his weights and stands to his full height. And I try not to drop my snack from the force of her bodyweight on the table.

“From High Command,” Sterling continues. “Pieter’s team found records of another ValCorp lab. Our job is to go in, scout it for useable tech, and then ping its exact location for the demo team.”

Icantre scoffs, coming to stand next to Sterling. “Darn, another lab, really? That’s like our third one this month. How long is it gonna take before we finish the dismantle?”
Sterling shrugs. “That’s not my call to make. Pieter’s hopeful that this is part of the last wave, though. Besides, it could be nothing.”

“Probably not nothing, though,” Feroc chimes in. “Otherwise they wouldn’t be sending us in.”

Sterling rolls her eyes. “We’re not all that special, Fer.”

“Yeah, just the team with the most number of successful ValCorp takedowns, plus one of the only teams who remained complete throughout the war,” Icantre points out, and high-fives Melise.

“Come on guys, really. We leave in an hour. Go suit up, and we’ll meet at the trons in fifty minutes. Don’t be late!” She directs the last part at Feroc, and he laughs.

“It was one time!” He protests. When I raise an eyebrow at him, he sighs. “Okay. Maybe more than one. But in my defense, Ty distracted me.”

“You can’t blame Tyrian for everything, Fer,” Icantre pokes. “Besides, it was definitely your fault. Ty wouldn’t do such a thing.” She winks at him. Sterling turns her gaze on Feroc and I.

“Oops, that’s our cue to go,” Feroc says cheerfully. “See you in fifty!” 

Sterling briefly waves a hand at us before we’re out the door and heading towards the dorms. Well, they used to be soldier’s barracks, but now that the war’s ended, they’re our dormitories. Eventually we’ll all probably spread out a little more, but old habits die hard. For now, we’re all rooming together— each team having two rooms, one for the men and one for the women. Anyone who doesn’t fit within those gender binaries is welcome to speak to their team to decide which room they’d rather stay in. With all the body mods available nowadays, there’s quite a few people who choose to break out of the binary system. Me, though, I’m definitely a guy, as is Feroc, which is why we chose to share a room. Feroc and I approach the door of our room, which isn’t too far from the girls’, but theirs is closer to the kitchens so we often meet up there.

“I’m going to shower before we leave,” Feroc announces once the door closes behind us. He immediately starts stripping down, and I don’t even flinch. Like I said, close quarters.

“That’s fine by me, I showered this morning. I’ll try to get a few more chapters in of the book I started this morning,” I answer. 

Feroc ruffles my hair affectionately. “You do you, my dude. Have you seen my mission suit?”

I wrinkle my nose. “It’s still in the corner where you dropped it, dude. Hope you like smelling like sweat.”

Feroc crosses the small room and picks up his bodysuit. He smells the pits and rears back. He sniffs it again and shrugs. “Honestly, it could be worse.” He folds it haphazardly over his arm, preparing to take it to the shower with him so he has something to change into.

“Dude, that’s gross,” I say. 

“Not grosser than your face!” Feroc retorts over his shoulder as he leaves. I flop onto my bed with my head hanging off the end. I tap the screen of my com watch and pull up the book I was reading earlier, using the projection feature so that I’m not squinting at the small screen. I scroll through the pages mindlessly until the watch beeps with a reminder that I’m due to meet my team at the trons in ten minutes. I reluctantly swipe the holobook closed and then slip on my mission suit. It’s the standard black polycarbon material with turquoise blue lining around the collar, outside of the legs, and down the front of the chest and shoulders. I shrug it on, the back meshing together seamlessly. The suit fits me like a glove, allowing me to slide on the thick-soled black boots and matching gloves. I also attach the holster and stun gun. I grab the last piece of the suit— my mask— off the shelf by my bed. I don’t put it on yet, though— it’s admittedly not the most comfortable thing to wear, and I’d rather put it on right before we transport to the lab. I stride out of the room and navigate the white hallways to the trons. I note that the hallways are emptier than they were a few months ago— the relocation missives must have started coming out, then.

“Yo, Jas!” A voice calls, and I turn to see my half-sister, Blaiye.

“Yeah, Blaiyre, what’s up?” I ask.

“I need a second pair of eyes for the drone I’ve been fixing. Do you have an hour or so to spare?”

I glance at the time on my com watch. “Sorry, I’m meeting my team at the trons in 2 minutes for a mission. I think Tyrian might be available though? His next mission shouldn’t be for a few days. If you tell him I sent you, he’d be happy to help, I bet.”

“Thanks, bro. Stay safe!” Blaiyre replies, sticking her tongue out at me as she turns around. I stick my tongue out at her back, not that she can actually see me since she’s already turned around. Ah, sisterly love.

My com watch beeps again and I curse. I’m going to be late at this rate. I break out into a sprint and hope for the best. I end up skidding into the transport room with 15 seconds to spare, thank you very much. Sterling looks at her watch and snorts.

“Thought you were gonna be late, Jas. Where were you?”

“I got caught up in reading,” I admit, running my fingers through my hair. “And then I stopped to talk to Blaiyre.” I turn to Feroc. “I hope you don’t mind— she asked me for help fixing a drone, and I sent her in Ty’s direction.”

Feroc squints at me playfully. “You trying to get your sister to steal my boyfriend, Jas? Shame on you.”

“Boys!” Sterling says. “We’ve gotta go. The lab’s in Convordia, and we’ve gotta walk a bit once we get there.”

“What’s the point of having instantaneous transportation if we still have to walk?” Feroc gripes, but he ducks his head and steps into the transporter pod nonetheless. I bend down even further than him— claws, it’s always a tight fit— and join my team inside the surprisingly comfortable, though small, pod. Melise waves to us through the open door. 

“I’m going to go get hooked in,” she says to us. “I’ll com you guys once I’m in.”

“Sounds good,” Icantre confirms. “We’ll hear from you in a bit.”

Melise shoots us all a thumbs up and then closes the hatch on the pod. We all strap ourselves in. The pods are military grade, so there’s no fancy seating or anything. Just souped-up seatbelts to keep us from flying into the walls during the trip.

“Y’all ready?” Sterling asks. We nod. She taps her comwatch, and the lock clicks on the pod. There’s a countdown from five, and then we’re jolted into moving. I’m glad there’s no windows, or else I’d surely be sick— tron pods move upwards of two hundred miles per hour, and that’s really not something I want to see. It would be nasty if one of these pods were ever involved in an accident, but there’s some sort of phase shielding surrounding it that keeps it away from other objects— and if there’s no going around it, the pod is capable of moving right through it. There’s some freaky science behind it that I don’t really understand— one of Blaiyre’s friends could probably explain it, but it’s not really my job to know how it works (and it’s confusing as all get-up to me) so I don’t know.

Within minutes, we’ve arrived at our destination. The pod stops, jolting us once again. We unhook ourselves, but Sterling stops us before we actually exit the pod.

“Masks on, guys*,” she says, strapping hers on. “We don’t know what environment we’re going into.” Her last words come through our earpieces, since the thick metal of the masks don’t allow for words to come through. (*Author's note: man this sentence hits different during quarantine... that's not the kind of mask they're wearing though.)

I fish my mask out of my waistband and put it on. The metal is cold against my face, and it’s unnerving to suddenly lose sight of the lower half of everyone’s face, but the masks protect us against a wide range of things that are dangerous to inhale.  

Once Sterling confirms that everyone has their mask on, she taps her com watch and unlocks the pod. The door hisses open, and we file out. Just in time, too— Melise’s voice fills our earpieces.

“Alright guys, I’m linked into the system and I have visual.”

Melise lost her sight in the war. We don’t talk about it much, but in order to be a registered team, we had to be a group of 5. We fought for Melise to stay on our team instead of being decommissioned, and with Blaiyre’s help, we won that battle. Melise stays at HQ but ‘plugs in’ to our missions through the database. She got surgical cybernetic attachments that allow her to monitor our location, as well as the visual and audio feeds from our visors. She acts as both a fifth member and a technological home base, so to speak. Her ability to link into nearby satellites and video feeds to see what’s around us has saved our butts more than once, leading to her call sign, Halo. She’s like our guardian angel. We all have call signs— another remnant from the war— but we only use them on missions, and only once the visors and hoods have gone up. Speaking of hoods…

“Alright everyone, suit up,” Sterling announces, flipping up her hood and attaching her visor. We follow her directions. I slip on the visor, and the world darkens for a second, then turns a slightly turquoise color. The visors are meant to protect our eyes and upper face (instituted after Melise’s accident, but we don’t talk about that, either) but they also provide visual feedback on what we see. As I pull my hood up onto my head, I glance at my teammates, and a display on the visor tags them with their codenames. It also helpfully recognizes the types of foliage on the ground, our exact GPS location, and the air pressure, among other things. I suppose to an outside observer, it would seem overwhelming. But to me it’s just the usual.

“The approximate location of the lab is 0.3 miles from here,” Melise says through the earpiece. “Head north.”

“Copy that, Halo,” Sterling— well, Falcon now— replies. She leads the way north, and all is silent until Halo speaks again.

You should be right on top of the lab in about 20 paces. Scans show that it’s a bunker. Be on the lookout for a trapdoor.”

“Affirmative,” Falcon replies. 

We keep walking forwards for another 20 steps, then Falcon holds up a hand to stop us.

“Spread out and use your hand scanners to search for the door,” she orders. We form into our scanning formation— back to back in a group of four, slowly spreading out to cover the most area. My visor informs me that I’m scanning east, and I shake my head a little to clear the notification. As I do, I go slightly off-balance on the tip of a rock, and I stumble hard, ripping the bottom of my jumpsuit leg in the process.

“Ow,” I mutter. I can hear Icantre— Wasp— stifling a laugh through our coms.

“Wait, Sage,” Melise— now Halo— says suddenly, addressing me by my call sign. “Can you turn your infrared on for me?”

“Sure thing,” I reply, switching the on infrared scanning on my visor and on my hand scanner. Halo’s quiet for a second, then she says, “Take a closer look at the ground 6 inches in front of your left foot, would you?”

I obediently bend down to give her a better view.

“It’s here, Falcon,” Halo says. I don’t know for certain, but I’m pretty sure she’s broadcasting my visual feed to the others. Outlined in the clear dark blue of the infrared scanner is a circular object, roughly five feet in diameter and hidden from plain view by layers of dirt and  brush. It’s a slightly different temperature than the ground around it, which is why I’m able to see it with infrared. I bend down further, and with Bear—Feroc—’s help, we get the ground cleared away. The circular object is revealed to be the trapdoor we’re looking for, made of a dingy silver metal. I brush away the last of the dirt, and the pattern in the center of the door becomes clear: a circle and a pair of wings.

“That’s ValCorp alright,” Falcon says grimly. “Bear, would you do the honors?”

Bear places his hands on either side of the disk and twists. With a shrieking, grating sound betraying its disuse, the door twist open, revealing a plain metal ladder stretching down into the dark. 

“I can’t scan what’s under there. It’s probably shielded with layers of coronium. You’re going in blind. I’ll be relying on your audio and visual feeds for information, as well as the relays from your scanners,” Halo tells us.

“Affirmative, Halo,” Falcon confirms. “Since we’re going in blind, I’m going in first; followed by Sage, then Wasp, then Bear guarding our backs.”

“Copy that,” I reply, echoed by Bear and Wasp. Falcon swings herself into the hole left by the open door and plants her feet on the ladder. She starts climbing down into the darkness. Once I judge her to be a suitable distance away, I begin my descent as well. I hear Wasp and Bear following us. The farther down we go, the darker it gets, and the smaller the circle fo daylight at the top becomes. Halo accesses our visors and switches on our night vision without comment.

Finally, when my hands are beginning to ache from the repetitive grasp-and-release of climbing down, I hear a thud as Falcon reaches the bottom.

“It’s solid,” she says after a tense moment. “I can’t see much into the darkness, though. Halo, is there anything wrong with the night vision?”

“Negative, Falcon,” Halo replies. “Night vision is at full function.”

I reach the bottom of the ladder next to Falcon and step away next to her. I was facing the wall before, so I wasn’t too aware of this pressing darkness around us. I can make out Falcon’s form to my left, as well as Bear and Wasp as they join us back on solid ground, but not much else. 

“Stay close,” Falcon tells us. “We’re really going in line now.”

She takes a step forward, and we mirror her movements. Another cautious step, and then—

A series of repetitive clicks, as the overhead lights flick on, one by one, row by row.

It takes me a second for my eyes to adjust, but when I do I can see that we’re in a large cavern, in all white. The lights cast a stark white glow over the whole space. But what really catches my attention is that, stretching farther than the eye can see, are…

“Cryo tubes,” Falcon breathes. “Shoot. This is a Parallel cloning lab. We should search for viable Parallels.”

“It’s no use,” Wasp says, bringing our attention to her. She’s standing in front of the nearest cryo tube, holding up her hand scanner. “There are no signs of life. We got here too late.” She takes a step closer to the tube to get a better reading, and the formerly opaque cover melts away and becomes translucent, revealing the contents. It’s a girl, her eyes closed and her arms crossed over her chest, looking for all the world like she’s simply taking a nap. But her skin is too pale, her chest too still— there’s no way she’s anything but dead. Wasp flicks the screen of her hand scanner and sends the relay to our screens so we can all see what she’s seeing. Indeed, the girl is dead— who knows how long, what with the cryo, but dead nonetheless.

“What happened here?” Bear asks. “Why is she— dead, if she’s in cryo?”

Halo chimes in. “Maybe her Primary died. That would make sense to me.”

Falcon shakes her head, holding her scanner up high. “No. I think they’re all dead.”

“All of them?” Wasp says in surprise, raising her scanner to corroborate the results. 

Falcon sends her results to our visor screens, and I nod. “Looks like it, I guess. Someone must have sabotaged the wiring on the cryo tubes towards the end of the war, so that we couldn’t use the Parallels later.”

“Still, though, you need to look for any alive and viable Parallels before we send in the demo team,” Halo says. 

“Affirmative. Bear, you take aisles 1-25; Wasp, take 26-50; Sage, you’re on 51-75, and I’ll be in 76-100. Halo, keep a sharp eye out for anything we can’t see. All of us need to keep in constant contact to ensure we avoid whatever little tricks ValCorp left for us,” Falcon orders.

We all answer in the affirmative and head towards our assigned sections. I start scanning each of the tubes for signs of life. I try to stay far enough away that the tubes stay opaque, but sometimes I get close enough that the covering melts away and reveals the body inside. There’s something so dispiriting about scanning for signs of life, over and over, but finding none.

I’m on my ninth aisle of my twenty-five when Halo speaks.

“I’ve noticed something very odd about this,” she says. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but from monitoring all your visual feeds, it appears that all of these bodies are women.”

A bit of silence, then Bear says, “Huh. Yeah, you’re right. I thought it was just my section.”

“Same for me,” Wasp chimes in, and I agree.

“But it does beg the question, where are all the men?” Bear asks. 

“Maybe there’s a separate lab?” Falcon says doubtfully. “Just keep searching for signs of life.”

By the time I’m on aisle thirteen, I’m still hoping that we can find someone.

By aisle seventeen, I’m a little less sure.

By aisle twenty-two, I’m almost completely certain that there’s nobody left alive in this place.

By the very last aisle of my section, I’m pretty dead certain— no pun intended. I’m almost to the end of the row. Wasp and Bear have already finished, scanning all 10 cryo tubes in each row for each of their 25 rows, without a single one left alive. Falcon is almost done. I’m lagging a bit behind, so I try to hurry my process a bit. I’m not watching where I’m going and I step into something slick and gooey. I look down in disgust and realize that it’s the gel inside of the cryo tubes, and I follow the trail up to the cryo tube I’m standing in front of, which is the second-to-last in its row. I raise my foot and shake it a bit, trying to dislodge the goo. Bits of it go flying everywhere, including onto the calf of my other leg, which completely defeats the purpose of trying to get it off me in the first place.

“Yuck,” I mutter.

“Oh claws, what did you run into here that’s bad enough to make you say ‘yuck’?” Wasp says tiredly. I don’t blame her— we’re all tired and disheartened of only finding dead Parallels all day.

“One of the cryo tubes is leaking. It looks smashed,” I reply. I don’t dare lean forward too much, since the cryo preservation has been disturbed and I definitely do not want to see what the body inside looks like now. I scan it quickly with my hand scanner— dead. Of course.

“I’m all done for my section, heading back to the ladder now,” Falcon says.

“That’s where we are,” Bear confirms, speaking for himself and Wasp. “Sage, you almost done?”

“Last one,” I reply, moving on from the broken cryo tube to the one next to it. I raise my scanner half-heartedly, only for it to beep insistently at me.

“Oh my claws,” I breathe. 

“What? What is it?” Falcon demands.

“Oh my claws,” I say again, a little louder.

“Sage, report! What the heck is going on over there?” Falcon says, growing increasingly more panicked.

I simply swipe the display of my hand scanner over to their visor screens, showing them what I’m seeing. They all fall silent. I step slightly closer to the cryo tube, getting my first look at the Parallel girl within.

She’s pale, almost the color or porcelain, though whether from bad circulation or lack of sunlight I don’t know. Her black hair is cut choppily around her shoulders and her arms are crossed over her chest, like every other dead Parallel in this lab. The only difference between her and every other Parallel is that this girl is very much alive.


And that conclues Ch 1 of the the bonus rewritten novel! I have bits of ch 2 and 3 written as well, but I'm not going to post them until I need more bonus content. So. Enjoy your day/night and stay safe!


submitted by Starseeker-Bonus!, age on hiatus?, maybe not
(September 15, 2020 - 12:03 am)

That was so good!! The sci-fi setting is so cool, and I love all the little details that bring the world to life.

submitted by Quill
(September 15, 2020 - 2:39 pm)

@Quill, good! I'm glad you enjoyed this little bonus section. I might post more later (but probably split future chapters in half, yikes) but for now, it's a solid standalone. 

And here's the actual update of Pirates! No fancy vocab in this one, unless you count "crow's nest"-- it's this little lookout platform on top of the mast, basically. It's kind of self-explanatory in the story. Also, all the constellations in this are completely made up by me. This chapter starts off with the legend Maylene is telling to Zoey, so make sure you don't get confused about that!



In Which Zoey Makes A Decision


“But the legend that concerns our voyage is that of the lost child. As the story goes, many years ago, the royal family was sailing on the open ocean. A storm appeared on the horizon, and tried as they might, the family could not outrun it. As their ship was rocked by the seas, the king saw a flash of fins in the water.

‘Help us!’ He called.

From out of the water emerged a frightful creature that was half woman, half sea monster— the queen of the mercreatures. 

‘What is it that you desire?’ She hissed to the king.

‘I only wish safety from the storm,’ he called back. ‘Will you grant it?’

The merqueen smiled, revealing rows of sharpened teeth.

‘I will,’ she replied. ‘But you must give me something in return.’

‘Anything!’ The foolish king shouted, hearing the frightened shouts of his family. ‘I will grant you anything. I have gold—‘

The merqueen hissed. ‘I already have riches beyond your imagining, mortal,’ she replied. ‘However, I will take your newest treasure as tribute.’

‘Done,’ the king answered, thinking only of the crown he wore on his head, the one that he had received that morning. Surely that was what the merqueen had meant by his newest treasure?

The merqueen called her people to her, and with their help, the royal family survived the storm. But when the clouds cleared, the queen began to scream. For their youngest daughter was gone.

The king realized with horror what the merqueen’s tribute had been. His newest treasure was his youngest daughter, not yet five summers old. 

With a heavy heart, the king ordered their ship back to land. The two eldest daughters wept and pleaded with him to return, to find their missing sister, but the king refused. He knew that what the sea took, she didn’t return alive.” Maylene finishes her tale and sighs, staring at the wall.

“Oh my claws,” I say, clasping a hand over my mouth. “That’s… that’s horrible.”

I know the merqueen, is what I don’t say. She’s harsh, and sometimes cruel, and… apparently a kidnapper.

Maylene grins tiredly. “Do you understand, now, what we’re looking for? We need the lost child back— the lost princess. There was a massacre at the royal palace seven years ago. The royal family is dead. An imposter sits on the throne— an imposter that levies heavy taxes and cuts the lower classes off from the government and the world. We need the princess back so she can take her rightful place and fix… everything, really. And Sterling’s the only one who can find her.”

“Why Sterling?” I ask. “Why not, I dunno, Melise? You said she’s a good navigator or whatever, right?”

“Melise is a good navigator,” Maylene agrees. “But even she’s not good enough to find the lost child.” Maylene hops off the table and goes into the back of the cabin, pointing for me to follow her.

“I think you can sleep here for the night,” she says, gesturing to a small cot with a woolen blanket. “We keep this bed here for when the crew gets so injured that they can’t sleep in their hammocks anymore. You’ll be safe here until we sail at first light.” As she turns to leave, I catch her sleeve. She looks over her shoulder at me.

“Is… is there anything to fear?” I ask her, a sudden wave of apprehension making my voice tremble the slightest bit.

Maylene smiles comfortingly. “No. There’s not.” She leaves the cabin, and the door shuts behind her with a soft snick.

I sit down on the cot, folding my legs underneath me. I lay on my back and stare at the ceiling, where someone has carved small stars in patterns that are familiar to me. I reach up and trace the air, following the lines the stars make. I whisper the names of the constellations as I go.

Kila… Magnus… Sciye…

Though they are only carved, the patterns are familiar to me. My heart throbs with longing to see the real ones, but I know that there’s probably an hour more till nightfall, maybe more. Instead of leaving, I turn onto my side, cursing the prickling of the sheets. No matter how much I twist, I cannot get comfortable, and I finally lay on the floor. The wood is hard and rough, but the coolness of it soothes me. I curl up and cover my face with my hands. Claws, I’m in such a mess. Captain Sterling expects me to lead her through the traps of Lydianzaa first thing tomorrow, and I’m not sure I can. Sure, I know how to do it, but… leading the ship through the dangers would mean leading them right to the mercreature capital. They say they’re just here for the lost child, but after all, humans lie all the time. 

I stay lost in my thoughts until I hear Maylene re-enter the cabin and get ready for bed. Once she finishes, silence falls back over the cabin. I sit up cautiously after a little while and peek at her sleeping form. She’s snoring softly, her hook gleaming in the low light. 

A sudden idea strikes me. I could escape, right now, and I wouldn’t be faced with the choice in the morning. I could just jump off the boat, shift into my tail, and swim away. The crew wouldn’t have to know, even. I could just… disappear.

I glance once more at Maylene, still snoring away. She’s been nice to me, sure, but… I have no real allegiance to her. My allegiance is to my queen, Silvyre. The story of the lost child weighs on me, but I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for it, right? Silvyre isn’t like that. She’s not. She can’t be.

I stand up as quietly as I can and leave the cabin, softly shutting the door behind me. I step out onto the deck, sticking to the shadows and making my way to the rail. I stare at the waves and get ready to jump.

“Going somewhere?” A voice says from behind me, and I spin around to see Jasak, still coat-less and leaning against the mast. His hair is wind-tousled and messy, and a green cravat lays untied around his neck.

“No, no, of course not,” I stammer nervously, pressing my back against the deck railing. “I was just… looking at the waves. And the stars.”

“The stars, huh?” Jasak says. “What’s your favorite constellation, then?”

I think for a second. “Gryfin,” I decide. “It was the first constellation I ever learned how to see.”

Jasak steps forward and joins me at the rail, leaning his elbows on the wood and looking up at the sky.

“Gryfin,” he echoes. “Huh. That’s my favorite too.” He chuckles. “Blaiyre actually taught me how to spot it. Nothing like a big sister to help you along the way, huh?”

A pang of unexpected sadness hits me, and my face must reflect it, because Jasak says, “Oh no, I’m so sorry, is that a sensitive subject? Darn it, I’ve put my foot in my mouth twice around you now. I must not come off very well, do I? I’m sorry.”

“No, no, it’s not a sensitive subject,” I assure him. “I just… don’t really have any family.”

Jasak looks incredibly sad for me. “If you decide to stay, we could be your family,” he offers. “We’re like a big family anyway, the crew I mean. Blaiyre and I are the only two who are actually related. Sterling’s just… found us, through one way or another, and made us into a family. I know you’d be just as accepted.”

“You guys fight all the time, though,” I point out. “Blaiyre alone was in two arguments today.”

Jasak shrugs and laughs. “Blaiyre is pretty prickly, I will admit. But she’s also incredibly caring. Her arguing with us is just her way of making sure that we know how to think for ourselves.” He smiles softly. “Come here, I want to show you something.” He pushes up off the rail and offers me his hand. I take it hesitantly and he tugs me toward the mast. He pulls on a rope hanging off a high beam, and a ladder unfurls, clacking gently against the mast. He starts to climb the rope ladder and gestures for me to follow, but I balk. Jasak glances back at me when he doesn’t hear me following.

“What’s wrong?” He asks, hanging off the ladder. I gulp as he sways with the movement of the ship on the waves, though he doesn’t seem bothered.

“It’s… high,” I say, looking all the way up the mast.

Jasak smiles comfortingly. “I know I may not have given you the best impression, but I promise you can trust me. Look, I’ll even go first so that you know it’s safe.” He makes it the rest of the way up the rope ladder and disappears onto a wooden circle about halfway up the mast. His head pokes back over the edge and he smiles again. “That’s all there is to it.”

“O—okay,” I reply, still a little worried. But if a measly human can do it, why not me? It can’t be that hard, right?


The ladder sways and weaves beneath my feet as I climb it, almost making me topple off. Jasak steadies it the best he can from the top, finally reaching out a hand to help me up when I’m close enough. He hauls me up onto the wood beside him, and I rest my back against the mast gratefully. After I catch my breath, I look around.

“What is this place?” I ask him. He smiles— something he does quite a lot, I’ve noticed. He’s just a very smiley man, I suppose.

“Welcome to the Crow’s Nest,” Jasak says. “It’s my favorite part of the ship.”

I squint at him. “You’re the first mate, and you don’t even like to be on the deck of the ship?”

“Oh, I like it just fine,” Jasak replies, leaning back on his hands and looking at the sky. “And I wouldn’t want to be up here all the time. But when Sterling’s asleep at night, this is where I am, usually. Looking at the stars.”

I follow his gaze and look up at the sky. It’s the same constellations we were looking at earlier, but they seem clearer somehow. Brighter. 

“It’s amazing the difference being a few feet more above the waves makes,” I comment. 

Jasak chuckles. “Isn’t it?”

Not knowing what to say to that, I just reply, “Yeah.”

We lapse into silence, but it isn’t awkward, surprisingly enough. It’s comfortable between us, and despite only having met him this afternoon, I feel safe around him. Safe enough that I curl onto my side, head tilted back to look at the stars, as I drift off to to sleep, lulled by the sound of the crashing waves.


That's that! This is the shortest chapter so far, I believe. The next one isn't quite done though. From now on, updates might be a little sporadic, but I'll always try to make up for it with bonus content if I miss an update. 

And related to the bonus content question, I don't think there was enough content from the bonus sci-fi chapter to do a full Q&A, but do you have any questions?

Stay safe and healthy! <3 


submitted by Starseeker-TueUpdate, age on hiatus?, maybe not
(September 15, 2020 - 7:53 pm)

I want to apologize for not replying to all your wonderful story posts.  I read them all but am usually too busy to reply.  Thank you so much for answering all my questions, and keep up the great work with all your storys!

I particularly enjoyed the sci-fi bonus story for some reason.  I usually don't read a lot of sci-fi.  Maybe I should look into it some more since I enjoyed your story so much.  I look forward to the next part for your sci-fi story and for Pirates! 

submitted by Peregrine
(September 16, 2020 - 12:41 pm)

Aaah your writing is so good! Here's Maylene:

submitted by DoodleGirl , age 13 , Earth
(September 17, 2020 - 4:35 pm)

...And Icantre! The mouth looks strangely catlike... these were the 2 charries with full descriptions so if you want other picturings just tell me their appearances.

submitted by DoodleGirl , age 13 , Earth
(September 17, 2020 - 4:41 pm)

Ooh, I really like both the sci-fi story and the latest events that have transpired in Pirates! I hope Zoey can find some way to avoid leading the ship to Lydianzaa (which I apparently don't know how to spell), or perhaps she'll learn that this crew is actually in the right and she should lead them anyway... but I'm hoping she'll stay loyal to the merpeople.

My only question about the bonus content is how they can tell whether the frozen Parallels are alive or dead. Wouldn't they all look the same if they're in cryo tubes?

submitted by Kitten, Daydreaming
(September 17, 2020 - 7:23 pm)

What's up all you guys, gals, and nonbinary pals! (That's for you, DG!) (I mean, not the gender expression. I meant the phrase itself. Though you can be whatever the heck gender you want... I digress.) Today is Friday, and that means it's update day. Unfortunately, y'all have now caught up to where I stopped writing Pirates! Also, I've been ridiculously busy this week (I'm taking the ACT for the first time tomorrow!), so I only have half of this chapter written. I'm going to go ahead and post what I have and supplement it with some ink sketches of Jasak and Blaiyre. (I also did Feroc, but he looks like something out of a horror movie, so I'm not going to post the drawing of him.)

@Peregrine, it's nothing to apologize for! Y'all have lives outside of the CB, I get that. As much as I love feedback and comments (which is a lot, by the way), I want you guys to focus on your irl lives more than how much you post. I'm glad you enjoy what I've been posting! If the sci-fi genre intrigues you, I can probably make a few recommendations as to what to read/explore. 

@DG, *screams* I love them so much!!! Thank you!!! I love the way you did the shine on Icantre's hair, it just looks so realistic. I really just love everything! I'll post a few appearances at the end of this post, then probably more as the time goes on. I have specific images for most of my characters, but I almost never reference their physical apperances in my writing.

@Kitten, I can barely spell 'Lydianzaa' either, and I'm the one who came up with it. XD Fun facts: it's pronounced "lid-ee-AN-zuh", with the "an" having the emphasis and rhyming with "can". It's a word that I scrawled on a piece of paper at like 3 am a few years ago, when I was drafting the first version of my novel. (Not the one that I posted on the CB. It was about a version or 2 before that one, even. Same basic plot, different details.) As for what happens, well... we're almost there! Maybe less than 5 chapters. Obviously I don't have the whole thing written yet, but we're definitely close to the big dramatic moment that inspired the whole story. As for answering, yes, they do look the same! But each of the team members has a hand scanner (minus Melise, of course) and is scanning the Parallels for signs of life. I wrote that chapter in 2 parts originally, so I think when Jasak is suiting up he has a stun gun, not a scanner, but he should have a scanner. I am completely unabashedly referencing Star Trek at this point.

Now for the half chapter of Pirates!


CHAPTER 5 - clever title name

In Which (I forgot to actually add something here oops)


I’m startled awake the next morning by a shout. 

“Where the heck is she, Jasak?” Sterling demands from somewhere on the deck. I sit up and rub my eyes, pleasantly surprised to find that someone has taken Jasak’s coat from around my shoulders and draped it over me like a blanket. And by “someone”, I mean Jasak himself, since who else would bother climbing all the way up here just to make me more comfortable? I tune back into the shouting match below me.

“…In the Crow’s Nest, Ster,” Jasak is saying, much more quietly than Sterling had shouted at him. “She was up late last night. Let her sleep.”

“She can sleep after we find my sister, Jasak! It’s been seven years, and now we’re only two hours away. I’m not waiting any longer.” I hear thumping footsteps, then Sterling’s voice at the bottom of the mast. “You! Girl! Zoey, or whatever the heck your name is. Come down here.”

“Be polite,” Jasak hisses at her, and Sterling grunts.

Please,” Sterling adds begrudgingly. I poke my head over the side of the Crow’s Nest railing. Sterling is standing at the foot of the mast, her arms folded and foot tapping. Her clothes look sloppily put-together, as if she threw them on in a hurry. Jasak stands behind her in the same rumpled clothes from last night, looking equally apologetic and frustrated. 

“I’m up,” I call down. “Well, I’m up as in awake, and I’m also literally up here. So.”

Sterling snorts a laugh, some of the tension melting from her face. “Can you come back down here, please?”

I shrug. “Sure thing. Just give me a little to get down this stupid ladder.” True to form, I do struggle down the swinging rope ladder, though it gets a little easier when Feroc, who I vaguely remember as the guy who got stabbed yesterday, pulls the ladder taut from the bottom.

“Thanks for the help,” I tell him once my feet are back on the solid ground of the deck. He winks at me.

“No prob, hon. I hate that ladder too. Nothing should be that twisty, you know?”

“Exactly!” I reply, and we both laugh. Sterling clears her throat.

“Sorry to interrupt, but I’d like to apologize for my behavior last night. And today.”

I turn to face her, waving a hand. “Oh, it’s fine.”

She frowns. “No, it’s not fine, and I’m sorry. I’m a captain, and I’m supposed to act like it. Instead I’ve been dragging you all about my ship without a proper tour and yelling at you and my crew. I’m sorry.”

“Apology accepted,” I tell her. “Really, it’s okay.”

She smiles, just a bit. “Well then, thank you. We’ll arrive in the waters around Lydianzaa in about two hours, so may I take you on a tour until then?”

“Sure,” I reply. 

“Jasak, you’re acting captain until then. We’ll return soon,” Sterling says to Jasak, then offers me her elbow. “Shall we?”

“We shall,” I reply grandly, linking my arm through hers. “Show me your abode, oh captain.”

Sterling stares at me for a second, then snorts. “Wow, so you do have a sense of humor. I’m impressed." She leads me up the stairs to the upper deck and gestures towards the wheel, which is manned by a member of the crew I’m pretty sure is named Tyrian, and the cabins. “That’s the navigation wheel, I mean obviously. That’s where I spend a lot of my time, though it’s mostly for the aesthetic, honestly. We’ve been going in a fairly straight line for the past few days. And right over there are the main crew’s cabins— I have my own, though Jasak often spends time there as well, since he used to share a cabin with Feroc, before Ty moved in. The third cabin is Icantre and Melise’s.” She leads me back down the stairs and onto the main deck. She points to the underside of the upper deck. “That’s the medical cabin right there, though I suppose you already know that. It’s also Maylene’s cabin, since we never know when someone might get injured. There are holds down belowdecks, but those aren’t too interesting since we’re not carrying much cargo right now. That’s also where the kitchen and crew quarters are. Other than the Crow’s Nest, which you’ve already seen, and the main deck, where we are right now…” Sterling shrugs. “That’s just about it. Any questions?”

“Just one,” I say. “What’s the name of your ship?”

Sterling stares at me, then breaks out into a surprisingly full-bodied laugh. “I probably should have started with that, huh? This is the Aerie. I call my crew the Eagles. Would you like to meet some of the crew to pass the time?”

“Oh, yes please,” I say eagerly. She smiles, which surprises me just as much as her laugh. 

“Alright, then. I suppose you’ve already met Jasak. He’s the first mate and occasionally acting captain as well, but I don’t let him do it too often since it would go to his head.” She points at Jasak and winks at me, and Jasak waves at us and smiles, unaware of what Sterling has just said about him. 

Sterling spins around and points to the crew member manning the wheel in her absence. “That’s Tyrian, Boatswain and part-time cook. We all take turns with the cooking, except for Jasak, because he’s more likely to burn water than cook a good meal.” She shakes her head, but there’s no real malice in her words. “Claws, I love the man, but he’s hopeless.”

“So you and Jasak are…” I trail off when Sterling starts to laugh again.

“No! Claws, no. He’s like my brother.”

“I thought he was Blaiyre’s brother?” I ask her.

“Half-brother, yes. Jasak and I aren’t related by blood, but we’ve depended on each other since we were kids.” Sterling tugs on the ends of her sleeves almost absently. “I don’t know what I’d do without him.” Then she seems to break out of her reverie and spins me again to point at Maylene’s cabin. “Maylene’s in there somewhere, you’ve met her already. She’s our surgeon and part-time cook as well, though we all wish it could be full-time.” Another spin, this time to Feroc, the guy who got stabbed. He’s standing not too far from us, talking to Jasak.

“That’s Feroc, the guy talking to Jasak. He’s our Quartermaster; he keeps everything running when Jasak and I are otherwise occupied. And there…” Sterling spins me again, and if I weren’t so used to being in the tumbling currents of the sea, I think I would have been dizzy by now. “…Is Melise, our sailing master. She does all the navigation for us. Right next to Melise is Icantre, our master gunner; she’s in charge of the cannons. And I think that just about does it for the main crew! We have about 30 other Eagles on board, but that’s the majority of people you’ll need to interact with to get us to Lydianzaa, I believe.”

That quickly, the adrenaline of meeting the crew fades away and I’m reminded of why they want me on board the Aerie in the first place. 


Awkward stopping points for the win! I meant to include a few definitions of the terms in this chapter (boatswain, quartermaster, etc) but I'm trying to post this during my lunch break so I'm rushing. Here are the ink drawings of Jasak and Blaiyre as well; I was going to color them but then I realized I don't actually know what Blaiyre looks like, since she's Vyolette's original character and I don't have a description on hand, so I didn't. I just like her facial expression. Anyway! Some quick appearances! (I'm just going to post a few at the end of every chapter. What order I put them in bears no relevance on how much I want them pictured. Pick whichever ones you like, if you want to draw them.)

JASAK: tall (over 6 foot, 6'3" maybe? I'll ask Vy), lanky/stringy (his nickname is String Bean, Bean for short), tanned skin (not sure what ethnicity, not Caucasian), amber/honey eyes, dark floppy hair. He's a bit like a puppy, all long floppy limbs and friendliness. He's usually smiling. His favorite colors are dark orange and hunter green. In this story, he wears a long green coat with a tapered waist and a flared-out bottom (think of, like, a stereotypical fancy pirate coat, except dark green), dark orange pants, and a white lace-up whirt, often with a green scarf tied around his neck.

STERLING: average height, also pretty stringy. Blonde hair tied back in a braid down her back, startlingly emerald green eyes, skin is tanned from the sun but she's still Caucasian. Various scars over her body, but nothing really on her face, it's mostly concentrated on her arms. I don't have a particular outfit in mind for this story. Something pirate-ey.

I'll post more on Friday! Stay safe and healthy everyone!


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submitted by Starseeker-FriUpdate, age on hiatus?, maybe not
(September 18, 2020 - 12:39 pm)

This was so good! I'm loving Pirates. If it's alright, I'll probably draw some of the characters as well. I love your drawings of Blaiyre and Jasak!

submitted by Quill
(September 18, 2020 - 2:22 pm)

Great job again!  I like Sterling's personality.  How she can seem mean but she's really very nice.  I also like the portraits of Blaiyre and Jasak.  As always, I look forward to your next post.

I would love to hear some sci-fi book recommendations if you have the time!

submitted by Peregrine
(September 20, 2020 - 10:12 am)

Haha, I laughed and cringed at the same time when I read that intro... thanks though! Anyway, I drew Sterling and Jasak! Sorry about the fold in the paper. And Sterling's head is too big, I think. I really like her character!

submitted by DoodleGirl , age 13, Earth
(September 22, 2020 - 9:47 am)