Monday, November 23, 2009

Section 7

Our story so far:

Aaron Damerson is a rogue on a mission. After discovering the alien he was hired to kill was actually an upstanding citizen and likely the only good person left on the entire planet of Aurorus-4. Aaron then stood up to his old friend Thenar, deciding to protect the man he was supposed to kill. Now, they are on the run from a number of hitmen hired to kill them both.

The story continues…

“Out of bullets?” Porten whispered in a close approximation of yelling. Millena poked her head up from behind the crates they were hiding behind and took another look at the two aliens guarding the spaceship.

“Yes,” Aaron replied. “I hadn’t thought this whole thing through when I was running to save your life. Only brought the one gun. You wouldn’t happen to be armed would you?”

“No, I’ve got nothing.”

“Then we’ll just have to improvise,” Aaron said, starting to look around. The area around them was entirely clear, except for the crates. The floor was almost sterile. “What’s in these crates?”

“At the moment? Nothing. Got cleared out earlier today.”

“Then I got an idea.” Aaron carefully pulled the lid off one of the crates, climbing inside as quickly as he could. “Get in.”

“What?” Porten said, almost too loudly. Both Mileena and Aaron shushed him.

“I get it, Aaron,” Mileena said, helping her father into the next crate. “Just leave it to me.” She loaded the crates onto a cart, a difficult task to say the least, and wheeled them over to the ship’s entrance. Aaron could hardly hear the verbal transaction that occurred, but could tell Mileena was using all her womanly charms on the guards. A few moments later, he felt the boxes moving again, this time up the ramp into the ship itself. Mileena opened the boxes again and smiled.

“There you are,” she beamed at Aaron. “Not even battle hardened mammalian scum like you can withstand the wiles of a beautiful woman.”

“What did you tell them?”

Mileena shined her nails on her shirt as she replied, “Just that I needed to get these supplies to one of our warehouses and that if the ship was gone, they might have more time to go look for the two of you themselves.”

“Oh, my brilliant girl!” Porten cried, almost crushing her to death in his embrace.

Aaron scowled a little. “Not out of the woods yet.”

“Of course, of course,” Porten said, sitting down at the pilot’s console. He pressed a series of buttons and the ship began to hum to life. “There we are, up and running.”

“Good. Now file a nice big number of flight plans all over the system. We’re headed to the asteroid belt, but best to not let them catch on too quickly.”

“A solid plan,” Porten replied as he set to work on the keypads. Within moments, the ship was clear of the planet and there was no evidence of pursuit. Aaron’s ship, guided by ANDI, pulled up next to them and matched speed. “That was almost too easy.”

“Yes,” replied a voice over the communication system, “too easy indeed.”

What is Aaron’s next move? Talk about it here or on the Facebook group.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Section 6

Our story so far:

Aaron Damerson is a rogue of sorts, who was, for a time, employed by an alien named Thenar. When he discovered that he was hired to kill an upstanding alien named Porten, he rebelled and went to protect the man he was supposed to kill.

The story continues...

Aaron shot a look to Porten, then over to the woman. "What's your part in all this?"

The woman's response was almost scandalous. "I am Mileena Ve'Tan, Porten's daughter."

Aaron turned, abashed. "My apologies, miss. I just assumed..."

"That I would be dead or only a few years old?" Mileena fumed. "That story my father tells so often is over fifteen years old. This is an old feud."

"Again, I'm sorry," Aaron said, motioning for the woman to sit back down. "But what are we going to do about our slightly more current situation?"

"Well, I have a panic room..." Porten said, pointing to a wall near the back of the chamber.

"Got enough food to live there for the rest of your natural life?"

"Honestly, no."

"Well, then, that's not really a choice now is it?"

"Daddy," Mileena said, touching her father on the arm, "what about your holdings in the Spice Belt?"

A wide smile crossed Porten's face. "Oh, my beautiful girl! You're right! Safest place in the galaxy right now."

"The Spice Belt?" Aaron asked. "Isn't that a little dangerous? I hear the accident rates there are off the charts."

"Only if you're mining, sir. I've got a little asteroid all to myself. Plenty of weapons and supplies to last us until the whole of Aurorus has been emptied to kill us all."

"Then that's where we're going. And soon, someone is probably going to be taking Thenar up on his offer."

As Aaron spoke, the door at the end of the chamber burst open, the door reduced to splinters that flew across the room. In the wreckage of the door, holding a still-smoking weapon, was an insectoid alien, smoking a rather large cigar.

"Now where do you think you're going?" he called in as close an approximation to Galactic Basic as he could utter. A lot of clicks and growls were thrown in as he struggled with the words.

"Run!" cried Aaron, pulling Mileena along behind him. With his other hand, he pulled out his gun and fired, the assassin scrambling off to find cover. "Where's your ship?"

"In the hangar! Next building over!"

Aaron had to fall to the floor to dodge the next salvo of fire, but continued to move forward, firing the whole way. He pulled out his communicator, screaming into it, "ANDI! Take off! We're running."

The computerized voice sounded a little worse for wear. "As always."

"Where are you off to, Dam?" the clicking voice called out.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" replied Aaron, firing another few shots at the alien's location. All three continued to run to the hangar, where the Porten's ship, a graceful cruiser that looked almost new, sat. And there, standing guard at the hatch were two more aliens, both brandishing their weapons. Aaron motioned for them to take cover behind some boxes.

"What's next, Dam, is it?" Porten said, breathing heavily.

"Beats me," Aaron replied, "I'm fresh out of bullets."

What is the next move for Aaron? Weigh in below or on the Facebook group.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Section 5

Our story so far:

Aaron Damerson is a rogue of sorts, who was, for a time, employed by an alien named Thenar. Upon discovering that the person he was sent to “take care of” was actually a fine, upstanding citizen, Aaron could take it no longer and charged, almost foolishly, into the lions’ den. We rejoin the action as Aaron makes an important decision about his future.

The story continues…

Aaron carefully un-cocked his pistol and span it back into the holster. The room around him seemed to deflate, the tension disappearing instantly. The entire room resounded with others likewise lowering their weapons and returning to their drinks.

“I am no longer in your employ,” Aaron said through clenched teeth. His voice was forced, as though he were talking to the lowest piece of slime on the planet, which may or may not be true. “You do not call. You do not write. You do not send a courier pigeon after me. You are dead if I see you again.”

Thenar’s face was blank.

“Are we crystal?”

Thenar nodded, a slight glimmer of fear showing in his eyes.

“I expect that, out of respect of past services rendered, you will at least let me get outside before you offer a reward for my head.” Aaron walked through the crowd of alien faces, every one pushing to get out of the way, towards the door. As he got outside he could hear a commotion inside.

“Give him twenty minutes,” shouted the muffled voice of Thenar, “then the bounty’s 20,000.”

Aaron took off at a run, mounting the jetbike and rocketing back to Porten’s villa, where he did not bother to stop at the gate. The entire villa seemed eerily quiet, all but a few of the guests that had been there only twenty minutes before suddenly vanished. When Aaron entered the large banquet hall, he was relieved to see Porten still sitting at the head of the largest table, talking to the woman he had been with earlier.

“Porten!” Aaron called from across the room. He ran up to the scarred alien, who seemed a bit surprised.

“Good sir, I don’t know who you are, but I assure you the festivities have concluded for this evening.”

“Porten Ve’Tan, you are in great danger.”

“Not from you, I would hope,” Porten replied, eyeing the holstered sidearm.

Aaron glanced down at his gun before looking back at the almost humored look on the alien’s face. “Until five minutes ago, you would be correct. I would tell you more, but there is no time. Suffice to say there are forces on this planet that want both of us dead.”

Porten’s face paled, or what passed for paling for Aurorusians. The green skin turned a little more sickly yellow. “How much time until they come for me?”

“I don’t know, but I would expect not long.”

“And you would be my protector?”

“If you would have me, sir.”

“Then I charge with the protection of myself and my family,” his hand reached out for the woman, who looked deeply distressed, “whatever the cost.”

What does Aaron, with new-found charges in his care, do next? Weigh in below or on the Facebook group.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Section 4

Our story so far:

Aaron Damerson is a rogue of sorts, at the moment under the employ of an alien named Thenar. His job was to take care of a certain problem – Porten Ve’tan. Upon arriving at Porten’s house, Aaron decided not to immediately act on his orders. Instead, he listened to Porten’s side of the story. Now, he has decided to confront Thenar with his newfound knowledge.

The story continues…

With a newly found sense of rage, Aaron’s hand left his holster. He turned and slowly made his way through the mire of alien bodies. Once he was finally outside, he hurried up to the rooftop where he had stashed the bicycle seat and his rifle. With a single kick, the seat roared to life and unfolded into the jetbike once more.

Aaron took to the skies. His mind was a blur of angry images and thoughts. Why had Thenar wanted Porten dead? Porten, who seemed to be doing so much good with his life?

The jetbike landed outside the Lusty Septopod, Aaron leaving it there with little thought. A seedy looking character eyed the bike with a smile, but Aaron shot him a steely glare and revealed his pistol. The other man backed away and down the street, almost at a run. With a smile Aaron thought of how, at least here, a gun still had some clout.

Shaking his head, Aaron stormed into the bar. There was Thenar, sitting at his same back table and drinking some ale. When he noticed Aaron, he smiled and called out.

“Dam! Back so soon?”

Aaron’s hand flew to his holster as he pulled out his gun, pointing it squarely between Thenar’s eyes.

“Whoa! Whoa! Wh-what are ya thinkin’, Dam?”

“What am I thinking?” Aaron replied, hearing the clicks of guns cocking and the low murmuring whir of laser pistols warming up. “You sent me in to kill what seems to be one of the only good people on this light-forsaken rock and you ask me what I’m thinking?”

“Okay,” Thenar said, reaching for his ale. Aaron swatted it away, smashing it against a wall. “I can see you’re a little tense.” Aaron pulled the hammer of his pistol back. “Alright, a lottle tense, but it’s just business.”

“You know what it feels like to have a bullet through your brain, I would assume it doesn’t feel too good.”

“Fine,” Thenar said, putting his hands up. “I’ll tell you, alright? He used to be a dealer. One of the best I ever had. Made me a fortune. Dabbled in other crimes, did well there, too. Never forgot where he came from, though.

“One day, he met that Meryana,” Thenar’s voice was dripping in venom when he spoke her name. “Cleaned him right up, she did. Took her a while, but she did it. Turned him into a do-gooder.” Thenar spat at the ground. “Business started falling into some hard times, I needed my old friend Porten back, so I think to myself, I think, ‘How best to get back one of the most dirty lowlifes of them all?’

“ ‘ Well,’ says I, ‘kill his wife, of course.’ So I send out a hit and they off his precious little minx. Didn’t take the hint, though. Hit us harder than ever. If this keeps up, in five years, there won’t be an addict on the streets.”

Aaron stared at the vile creature before him. Thenar had the nerve to smile. His finger twitched on the trigger, but his eyes strayed to the guns surrounding him, all ready to blow his brains out for the slightest reason.

What is Aaron’s next move? And what about Porten? How safe is he now that the truth is out? Weigh in here or on the Facebook group.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Section 3

“Bang,” Aaron said, bringing the gun down. “You’re dead. That was easy. Too easy. Surely a man this loaded would have at least a cursory amount of protection.”

With that, the man stowed his bike and his rifle nearby and began to sit back and watch. So Aaron watched as Porten, the scarred, smiling alien, exited his car, a beautiful woman on his arm. Aaron also watched as hundreds of people streamed through the gates over the next few hours. People from all walks of life. Rich, poor, elderly, young, all made their way to Porten’s villa, as though he were handing out money. The streams of Aurorusians and other aliens continued long into the night and showed no sign of stopping.

None were turned away, not one. When people did exit, they wore smiles, but carried nothing more than they entered with. Tired of waiting, Aaron clambered down the stairs of the building. The gates were still open, a guard standing with a smile.

“I am here to see Porten,” Aaron said, a little timidly. The guard’s smile did not waver.

“You are just in time, sir,” the imposing statue of a man replied. “I was very nearly going to close the gate.”

“Well, thank you,” Aaron replied as he entered. “Where do I go?”

“Just follow the raucous laughter, you’ll find him.”

Bewildered, Aaron walked forward, hearing the sounds of a hundred partiers having a grand time. Soon the smells of roasted zumtai, a beast with an elongated nose that preyed on small birds, and steamed vorrary, a vegetable that resembled blue corn but tasted like yams, reached his nose. Soon, he was standing in a brightly lit room, lavishly decorated from floor to ceiling with gold and silk draperies and stained glass. Tables upon tables laden with food were surrounded by men and women and children, all hungrily devouring whatever delicacy they could see. Porten was sitting at a table slightly raised from the rest laughing heartily.

“…and you see,” the scarred man was saying, “that is why this world is in so much trouble. Everything could be solved in a night if only we could just laugh at ourselves!”

“Porten,” Aaron said, placing himself in the circle surrounding the alien, “how did you get where you are today?”

“Oh, you don’t want to hear that story.”

Groans went up throughout the hall, to which Porten raised his hands.

“But, it seems, the masses have spoken.” Porten cleared his throat and the entire room fell almost as silent. The light clink of glasses and forks on plates would occasionally resound, but otherwise the crowd stayed silent. This was obvious a story they had heard before, but wanted to hear again.

“As many of you know,” the alien began, “I used to be something of a bad guy. I used to deal in all manner of less than legal activities. Drugs. Prostitution. Thievery of the worst sort. Extortion from businesses. Stealing from friends. But I cleaned up. Took a good long while. Several years, in fact. Kept relapsing back into all the stuff I was trying to run away from. Then I met Meryana, the love of my life. Dear thing kept popping up when I would go through rehab or through the jails. All that time, I could only think about how her love changed me for the better.

“That’s when I got the idea. Teach this blasted world to love again, one person at a time. That’ll get rid of all the hate and crime. So I started a business, true with money I had gotten before I sobered up, all filthy drug money that I had killed for. I started a foundation that would help people. Get them out of the gutter. It’s taken five years, but look where we are now!”

A great cheer went up throughout the entire room.

“In my own house, I give people what they desire. All this blasted money, put to good use. Fight back against the drug lords and the pimps. Give he children a hope for the future.”

Aaron found his hand reaching for his holster. Yes, the gun was there. The crowd was in an uproar. No one would hear the single shot it would take to kill this man, as Thenar had asked him. But how much had he been offered? Less than 300. Barely enough to run the ship for a month much less feed him.

What should Aaron do next? Weigh in below or in the Facebook group.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Section 2

“Look, Thenar, that’s a decent offer,” Aaron replied, “but not enough to make me not ask at least a few questions.”

“Well, I do suppose you are going to be, well,” Thenar looked over Aaron’s head and around the bar. No one was paying attention to their conversation, so he continued, albeit at a whisper, “killing this guy, so you’re entitled to a little intel.”

Thenar took the file back and pulled out one of the photos. The alien pictured was an Aurorusian, like Thenar, with a large discolored scar down the right side of his face. “Porten Ve’Tan, one of my former more regular… business associates. I have no problem with him moving on, since I deal in more than one type of goods, if you catch my drift. Unfortunately, he started cutting into my profits. Started dealing in the same trade, lower prices, better quality, things like that.”

“So rather than deal with this the normal way, with hard work and tears,” Aaron nodded, leaning back in his chair, “you turn to a man like myself.”


“I wish I could say no, but I am a little hard up for cash right now. Any chance you could bring the bounty a little, for old time’s sake?”

“Only if you want me to go to the guilds around here, plaster this all over the nets. Even though it may not seem like it at times, there are rules around here, especially for people in your profession.”

Aaron shuddered. “Never mind, then.” Aaron stood, adjusted his coat and hat, and nodded. “To the job, then.”

Just then, the waitress stopped by and plopped a shot on the table with a wink. Aaron smiled back before picking up the drink and downing it.

“That’s on you.”

With that, Aaron walked out the door, out to the busy street. He took a quick glance at the folder. Porten would be back at his villa in an hour. Plenty of time to get back to the ship, pick up the rest of his supplies and head him off.

“So how did it go?” ANDI’s voice chimed once Aaron reached the ship.

“Like normal, especially with Thenar,” he replied as he pulled a rifle onto his back. “Someone’s cutting into his profits again and he’s dealing with it in the only way he knows how.”

Aaron entered the cargo hold, which was scarcely more than a broom closet, and began pulling out what looked to be a spare bicycle seat. He sat on it, raised his right leg and kicked back forcefully. A sound that would seem strange to those who hadn’t heard it before began to resonate from the seat. A set of handlebars emerged and grew out in front of Aaron. His feet left the ground and he took off into the sky, heading towards Porten’s villa.

The villa was huge and exquisitely shaped from solid marble. The exquisitely shaped roof, with all its rises and falls playing tricks with the mind, seemed to be made of solid gold. Surely this man was worth more than Thenar’s offer.

As he sat suspended over the villa, Aaron heard a vehicle approaching. It looked like the kind of car a 1940s gangster would be seen in. Or a diplomat. Except this car didn’t have the cute little flags on the hood. Aaron quickly landed on a nearby roof and pulled out his rifle.

He carefully looked through the scope at the approaching car. His finger lovingly eased onto the trigger and he took a deep breath, wary of the moment to come.

Does Aaron take the shot? Or does he decide to take a closer look into this man? Post your ideas below or on the Facebook group (here).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Section 1

Someone once said that a journey of a million parsecs begins with a single blast of the thrusters. Or was it something about words leading to actions? Whoever it was and whatever they said, their name was lost in history. As far as Aaron Damerson is concerned, it doesn’t even matter. The only things that matter are his ship, his next job and where his next meal is coming from.

So there he sat (or reclined to be more precise), in the cramped cockpit of his spaceship, most of the controls covered by empty cans and wrappers. The wall to his left, so close he could touch it, was a hodge-podge of schematic diagrams and notes. To his right, there was his collection of 1950s pin-up models. Aaron wore his flat cap over his face, a slight snore escaping from beneath.

“Aaron…” a computerized voice chimed.

The snoring stopped suddenly, but the man did not move. “What is it, ANDI?” his voice was tough and gravelly, probably from his lifestyle and his habit of smoking.

“Call for you on the com.”

Aaron shifted upright in his seat. He moved his hat to its rightful place on his head, and tried to think of a way to cover up the trash, but gave up with a look of despair. “Just pipe it in.”

The main view screen, a small television in the middle of the controls, flickered to life with a slightly grain, slightly off-color image of a man who seemed almost human. Almost human if you discounted the nose being a little too high and the eyes being a bit further apart and a little askew. The green tine of the skin, was probably part of the screen’s failings.

“Dam!” said a jovial voice. The screen lagged a few moments behind, mouthing the words silently long after they had been heard.

“Thenar!” Aaron replied, giving the side of the console a swift hit with the heel of his hand. The image on the screen went out for a second before catching up to the rest of reality. “What job do you have for me?”

“Is that all you think of me?” the alien said, a sad look coming across his face. “Just the starting point for your next job? Can’t I jus’ call to say hello?”

“You could, my friend, but you don’t.” A smile crept across Aaron’s face. They both laughed.

“And right you’d be. Nothing less than professional. That’s why you’re the best, Dam.”

“So,” said Aaron, putting a half-spent cigarette into his mouth and lighting it with a flourish of his lighter. “Are we going to keep talking like this or are you going to tell me what you’ve got for me?”

“It’s a little job with a nice, hefty payout. I’ll tell you more when you get to Aurorus-4.” Thenar smiled and pressed a sequence of buttons on his controls, causing the screen to flicker to black.

For a moment, Aaron sat still, the only movement in the cabin the slow curling wisps of smoke from the cigarette. Finally he looked up at the ceiling and yelled, “You got that, ANDI?”

“Sure thing, boss,” the voice replied. “I’ll have you there in half an hour.”

“Good. Just enough time to catch the end of that nap you so rudely interrupted. With that, Aaron Damerson, or Dam as he was known in many circles, scrunched back down in his chair, propped his feet on the controls, pulled his cap down over his eyes and fell asleep as a thousand thousand stars and planets streamed past his ship unseen.

The planet of Aurorus-4 is, as the name would imply, the fourth planet away from the star named Aurorus. The natives, known as Aurorusians to most of the galaxy, were very original in naming their planets. “Though,” the argument went, “who could blame them when they have five habitable planets in their home system?”

Planet Four was colonized late in the 32nd century by Earth reckoning. The civilization was designed to make the best use of its land masses. Throughout the planets deserts and ice wastes, cities cropped up, every inch of the arable land used for growing crops. The only problem was that no one wanted to live in the extreme heat or cold of the cities. Revolts occurred and the entire planet was in constant turmoil, a ample breeding ground for low-life degenerates and worse.

This was where Aaron found himself, piloting his ship down to the planet’s surface, through the twisting labyrinth of ruined buildings that made up the city of Jewl, where he was to meet Thenar for his latest job. He found an area large enough to park his ship and touched down.

“I’ll be back in a few, ANDI,” he called to the ship as he pulled on a deep green trench coat and gloves. Aaron lovingly strapped his holster to his waist. With the push of a button, the ship’s hatch popped open and Aaron exited and began to make his way to his meeting place, a bar by the name of The Lusty Septopod.

When Aaron finally got the noisy packed bar and had ordered himself a drink, he noticed Thenar in a corner booth and made his way over. The alien got up when he neared, grabbing Aaron’s hand and shaking it firmly.

“Good to see you, my friend,” he said, sitting back down. Thenar motioned for Aaron to pull up a chair, but the man made no motion to sit.

“Who is it this time, Thenar?” the words were dry and emotionless. With a smile, the alien shoved a file folder towards Aaron. He picked up the folder, inspecting the contents. A few pictures, a dossier of venues he would be. “How much?”

The alien flashed his four-fingered hand up to his chest, flashing the number. Full hand, Fulll hand, Two fingers. Now if only he was faster to convert out of base eight. Thenar smiled. “So what’ll it be,” he said, almost in a whisper, “do you accept?”

Does Aaron accept the offer? Or does he ask for more? Who is this person he’s supposed to take care of, anyway?

A few things before we begin...

Welcome to the Adventures of Aaron Damerson, an interactive story-telling opportunity.

Over the next few weeks, I plan on telling a story with you, the reader. With each new installment, there will be a moment where the readers can submit your own decisions in the story.

Several actions will be blatantly obvious at the end of each story chunk, which I will gladly point out. I feel I must say, though, that these are not the only options. I gladly welcome any and every idea, even potentially story-breaking ones.

Think of this as a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book that, instead of turning to a page, led by a simple forking of black and white decisions, there are any number of possibilities, each leading to another of an infinite version of worlds.

So with that, I invite you to start reading and helping us find a path for our hero, Aaron Damerson through his trials and triumphs in the worlds of tomorrow.

-- Potter