Author: Kenneth Brooks

GPFriday: Empaths

Ah it’s friday night. You finished a rough project at work and finished a novel, your brain aches but you enjoyed a rare night out with your family. now its time for light reading so you can let your brain crash.

Suppose for a moment that you were working on a project at work, a couple days in, your boss tells you that the project has gotten the attention of Technologists, sales engineers, and solutions architects and no pressure but make sure your documentation is extra polished.

A telepath would probably feel the anxiety in your mind climb to new levels, if you weren’t used to that attention, but what would an empath feel.

Some say that Empaths are the the opposite side of the telepathy coin. The mythology on Empathy is scant, this is more of a modern invention using the old greek work Empathos which means to know how it feels. That sums up the psychic ability of Empathic ability; to know how someone is feeling physically. Some science fiction (including me) take it a bit further and say that they could heal or harm by touch or sometimes by thought.

So physical anxiety: they would feel the negative adrenaline rush, the shaky feeling as cortisol pumps through my system. They’d feel my stomach churn, suddenly becoming empty as if I hadn’t eaten anything at all for a week. They’d feel my blood pressure drop (I suffer from really low blood pressure and I figured out a long time ago that it sometimes DROPS when I’m under stress). They wouldn’t have a clue why I am feeling the physical onset of anxiety but they would be feeling it.

I would also go on to say that the average empath could influence physical emotions as well. They could cause someone to feel anxiety when none exists, they could cause someone to feel repulsion or arousal at the drop of a hat. They could cause someone to feel sick or feel better even if they aren’t sick or don’t really feel better. The strongest among them could actually heal or harm with a touch, maybe do it from a distance.

In a world where they wanted their existence concealed it would make perfect sense that if someone got too close to the truth that a telepath could wipe out memories of finding the truth or geas a person to go away. It would also make sense to make the human suffer anemia or get stricken with a flu or get hospitalized with an unknown illness if they got too close to discovering the truth of an empath. It would also be more convienent if they could do it from a distance “i had nothing to do with john getting sick, must have been something he ate, maybe someone poisoned him.” one could say.

next up: Telekinesis. Stay tuned.

GPFriday: Telepaths and Mediums

It’s Friday, you’re feeling fried from a long and hard day of work, looking for a bit of light reading where you don’t have to think. You’ve come to the right place!

Telepaths: The very name conjures up impressions of people who can read the minds of others and control the actions of people around them. It’s almost biblical in proportion and it is where our journey of psychics starts off.

From myth and legend: It seems to be as old of legend. People being able to read the minds of others. Being able to control the thoughts of others and being able to control the thoughts of others. It is the power that everyone secretly fears the most. It is for the reasons that someone can always know all of your secrets and control your thoughts.

Mediums: Mediums are those that can communicate with spirits, both those of the dearly departed as well as demons and other creatures that have never lived to begin with. They share the rank with telepaths in the myth and legend of witches and wizards that can read minds and control thoughts if only that they are lumped together with those that practice magic. usually they appear separately in myth.

In my world: I have lumped them together under the umbrella of Telepathy. The spiritual aspect of telepathy is being able to communicate with the spirits of the departed and with the spirits locked away within living beings and places as well. Telepaths in my world can usually read minds and sometimes plant subtle suggestions but rarely can they do more than that. Usually they can do more with each other than they can with the normal people around them.

Psychology has perhaps done the most to allow telepaths to hide from other people around them than it has done to actually expose them. Those who have learned about their abilities and learned to control them have also learned about all of the sub vocal communications that humans tend to do. Humans have also learned that people can communicate so well with that, people can seem to “read each other’s minds or intentions” without actually being telepathic. Any time a telepath slips up they can blame this sub vocal talent as a reason for knowing what someone was thinking. That only serves to muddy the waters and make it harder to figure out when someone was just reading between the lines and when someone was reading someone’s mind.

GPFriday #1 Psychics

After working through several GPF errors and feeling a little bit fried this friday my brain decided to put the two together and make it my own for a friday writing session.

For those not in the know: a GPF is a General Protection Fault. It happens when a computer crashes, most of the time it is from the operating system injecting something into the RAM, when there is no operating system it means there is something wrong with the NVRAM on something on the PCI bus or the EEPROM on the systemboard. In those cases the troubleshooting is pretty intense (for me I am always happy that the prototype at least boots. I can usually get it working from there).

Taking it into my own meaning I will take something from the universe I have built and break it down for you. Some of these were taken from myths and I have given them my own spin on them, others are totally new. What I am covering this week is Psychics, the myth and what I have put into the universe I created.

From Myth and Legend: Psychics come in many forms and flavors. Some read cards, consult runes or bones, the sky, animals or spirits. Mainly We will deal with the ones that don’t use tools to practice their craft. Those can be further split into two categories; those that have it as a form of magic and those that seem to have been blessed, or cursed, with some sort of preternatural power. Usually many witches and wizards have the power to read minds and move objects without touching them. Those require some sort of belief in the ability. The ones that have been blessed or cursed with the ability usually don’t quite believe, one hundred percent, that they have these abilities, they have to grow into the fact that they have these abilities.

From my universe: The above are more or less true. I will save the magic users for later and focus on what I like to call the Genetic psychics. My premise when I created Genetic psychics was half of the human race carries a gene, or a set of genes, that give rise to psychic abilities. this is not a gender specific gene. This is more of a distribution due to breeding over the centuries. Of the people that carry this gene, one percent of them actually have a psychic ability. That would make psychics fairly common among the populace. In order to counter that fact I add a little bit spice to the mix.

Most psychics that you run into are fairly weak. The same genes that create psychics also lead to a host of mental health issues. It is as common to run into someone suffering from schizophrenia as it would be to run into a telepath that really is hearing the voices of others. The problem with that is it would be hard for a human to tell whether the person hearing voices in their head has a mental health issue as opposed to them being a mind reader. On top of that, religions tend to frown upon people with supernatural powers, naturally born with them or not, so most psychics will tend to keep them a secret from others. tales of “exorcisms” and attacks on psychics do abound in this world. For more of a reference on this, see the April IWSG posting in which i post a short story where a telepath did use his powers and was attacked for it.

I did a lot more world building with psychics. That will be covered in upcoming GPFriday articles. I hope to make this a weekly thing. I want to keep this one fairly short. Hope to see you next week!

IWSG: April 5th 2017

So the question for April first is “Have I ever taken advantage of the Annual A to Z challenge to promote my book (for publicity, marketing, networking and the like)?”

IWSG signup!

insecure-writers-support-group-badge
http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Well I have never participated in the A to Z challenge to the short answer is No.

That’s it folks, short blog post for the April IWSG, see ya….

You didn’t think I would let you off that Easily, did you?

I have never participated in the A to Z challenge for two reasons. The first reason is I haven’t heard of it before this year. Nicohle Christopherson, a friend of mine, told me about it and tried to convince me to do it but I had to decline doing it this year. That brings me to the second reason. There are 24 hours in a day, I have a family, a full time job, and if I don’t write I will go insane. I have proven this as a fact time and again in my life. If you are a writer and you hold down a job then you technically have two full time jobs. If you have a family then every other ounce of free time is pretty much consumed. My family doesn’t get enough time with me as it is. I can’t ask them to see me even less by asking them to give me up for another month out of the year. My career as a Systems Engineer pays the bills at the moment so until my writing can overtake my income as a systems engineer, I can’t exactly quit that (I also went to college for Computer Information Systems so its not like i am stuck in a dead end job i didn’t want).

Rant over. As a reward I do have some bonus content. I have the first chapter of a serial out. This goes with the Templar Lone Wolfe saga. Meant to supplement Templar: Order and Chaos and Templar: Spirit Killer but won’t spoil the plot for those that haven’t read it yet. This Serial format story is called Children of Legend. Not sure if I will officially round all of this up and publish it yet but I will make it available on Blogs. It will also introduce characters talked about in the regular series and how some of the characters got their names. I work on these when I get blocked on something else so I can’t promise a regular schedule to these.

Children of Legend

 Chapter #1: Unusual Children

Greeley Colorado

March 31st, 2020-CE

It was a scene that should not be playing out in a first-grade classroom. The sound of a child gurgling and chocking. His raven-haired teacher, eyes filled with rage, held her pupil off the ground. Her hands around his neck, throttling him. His gold eyes bulged. Tears started to mix into his brown chin length hair. To the teacher’s right and his left stood another seven-year-old, her green eyes wide in horror. Torn between what to do to save her eldest friend.

A third seven-year-old stood defiantly, his blue eyes staring daggers into the teacher. He was not frozen in terror, “Let him go!” he growled, as best his high-pitched voice could manage, “Put him down or I’ll hit you!” He ran up to her and kicked her in the ankle.

The teacher’s response was to kick the blonde haired, blue eyed, boy. It knocked the boy down but enraged him further. He reached out to the air. He could feel a book but it wasn’t in his hand. He thrust his hand forward as if he were throwing the book. A heavy dictionary from the book case behind them flew across the classroom, much to his shock, and collided with her head.

The action worked and she dropped the boy to the ground where he laid there coughing and gasping. She spun around, “Who threw that book?” She howled in rage.

“Just another child,” the boy coughed. He said it to keep her attention off of his friends.

She turned around and grabbed his neck again. His face reddened as she tightened down. His mouth opened to yelp but no sound came out. Instead his mind screamed out in a telepathic projection for him, “Somebody help me!” His mind screamed. Everyone around him, normal and otherwise, heard the cry for help. Children in the other rooms all screamed and gasped. His two friends, the only other children in the room, stepped back in shock of such a powerful projection.

Her response was to squeeze tighter. He heard a small pop as his hyoid bone broke. Rage filled her dark eyes, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live!” She whispered.

Unable to speak, he unconsciously projected, “I’m a boy!”

“You’re a demon!” She hissed.

“Put him down!” A male voice barked. His gold eyes shot to the doorway to see another teacher standing there. His teacher ignored the male teacher until she could no longer ignore him. A punch to her jaw sent both the boy and the teacher to the ground. The teacher was unconscious and the boy was almost starting to follow.

Still unable to breathe, his mind again called out, “Jena, help me!”

Now able to act, the girl with green eyes and reddish brown shoulder length hair rushed to his side. She gently touched his neck, sending a comforting and warm, invisible stream of energy into his neck. His hyoid bone healed itself correctly, allowing the boy to gasp. The teacher soon followed up, “Get away from him!” The teacher stated sternly.

“No!” he coughed, “She is my family!”

 

*        *        *

 

The boy with gold eyes, his friend with blue eyes and blonde hair and Jena sat on a bench outside of the principal’s office. Jena had her arms draped around the golden eyed boy’s shoulders and watched as his neck turned different shades of blue and purple in the shape of two hands strangling him. His coughing had died down but his voice was still raspy and his breathing was still haggard. She didn’t want to touch his neck, afraid she would cause more pain in trying to user her empathic abilities to heal him, “Are you okay, Sean?”

The golden eyed boy nodded as the voices coming from the office behind them started to grow louder, “I’ll be fine.” He said. He glanced over to his friend who was still fuming with rage over what their teacher had done, “How about you, Curtis?”

“I’m fine, I just want to have another go at Ms. Leeks!” Curtis grumbled.

“Use your newfound power against her?” Jena questioned in response.

He glanced down at his hands, “I’m not sure how I did that. I was angry and I wanted to throw something at her. I could feel the book in my hand at that point. I thought I picked up a book and I thought I was throwing it from my hand. I never knew that I never had the book in my hand until it hit her in the head from a different angle.”

“Telekinesis,” Sean stated with a raspy voice. Both of them looked at him in astonishment before Jena smiled. He was gifted with two abilities just as the rest of them were. His second ability gave him insights into just about anything.

Curtis glanced down at his hands, “Cool.” He reached out, determined to grasp another item from the secretary’s desk across the way. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t feel the object from before. He glanced down at it again and asked, “Why can’t I feel it like before?”

“Maybe it was your emotional state?” Jena suggested.

“So, I can only wield this power when I’m pissed?” Curtis questioned.

“I know, it sucks,” Sean stated.

Curtis, however, beamed, “What do you mean? This is totally awesome!”

“Huh?” Both Sean and Jena stated at the same time.

Neither had a chance to react as they heard a crash of class from beyond the doors of the principal’s office.

 

*        *        *

 

Inside of the principal’s office Sean’s parent’s Dale Carter and Sylvia Carter paced while the principal sat typing on his laptop, “What are you going to do about this incident, mister?” Sylvia hissed at the male principal. Her straight red hair was starting to get disheveled as she paced furiously. Her green eyes carried more fire than her crimson hair. Sitting atop her black shirt was a triskal within a circle. It was an article of which she constantly clung to. Her leather jacket was open as the spring weather was starting to make it too warm for her to wear the jacket any more.

When there was no answer from the principal, Sylvia shot her husband with a venomous stare. The venom was not meant for him but it did get him to act. He placed his hands behind his back and his blue eyes pierced through to the man. His telepathy got him to sit up straight and acknowledge the pair of unusual parents. The mother was a network technician and the father was a former Marine and now a cook at the college, “Our son just had his life threatened by his first-grade teacher. What do you intend to do about it?” He asked sternly.

“We have called the police and have detained Mrs. Peel. She is under arrest for aggravated assault,” The Principal answered.

“That’s not good enough!” Sylvia exclaimed.

“What would you like me to do?” The principal asked but his gaze was fixed at Dale, not Sylvia.

“Excuse me, Mister! I asked the question!” Sylvia hissed.

“Would you control you wife, Mister Carter,” The principal insisted.

“She’s not property,” Dale answered.

“Direct your responses to me!” Sylvia insisted sternly, “Now, what are you going to do to help my son?”

“We are going to offer council services to the three children in the room when the attack occurred; your son, Jena Beckhart, and Curtis Barton. We will also pay for a hospital examination and any treatment for any injuries that have occurred.”

“That’s not good enough!” Sylvia growled.

“What would make it good enough?” The Principal questioned in response.

She placed her hands on her hips and answered, “The trust that should exist between student and teacher as well as the trust between parent and staff is destroyed, what will you do to fix that?”

“We can have the teachers and staff take classes for sensitivity and anger management,” He answered.

“How about you resign?” She hissed.

“Excuse me?”

“You hired that vile teacher! She didn’t like my son from day one and you were the one that hired her!” Sylvia protested.

The principal shook his head, “I refuse to speak to you anymore, good day Miss Carter.”

“We could go to the news about this incident,” Sylvia stated.

The Principal said nothing, he went back to writing a report on his laptop. Dale shook his head and said, “We will go to the news and to the school board with this if you refuse to help.”

The principal ignored both of them. Sylvia strode forward and slammed the lid of the laptop shut. He barely had time to pull his hands free of the keyboard. Sylvia wasn’t finished. She grasped the laptop in her hand and chucked it towards the window. The laptop sailed into the window, shattering it as it went through it. The Principal stood, enraged by what she had just down, “What the hell! Why you little—”

Quicker than what could be thought possible, Dale placed himself between the principal and his wife, “Excuse me sir, you cannot just ignore us! On top of that, NEVER threaten my wife or speak ill of her!”

“I should have your wife arrested for vandalism!” the principal growled in response.

“Do that and I will end your career, you will spend the rest of your life asking people ‘would you like fries with that?’ instead of administering staff!” Dale stated in response.

“She is making an unreasonable request,” He stated.

“You aren’t dealing with the situation that well,” Dale protested in response, “You should expect two parents that are nearly hysterical! If you want this to wait until everyone calms down, then you may receive calls from a legal team. You don’t want that; the district doesn’t want that and I don’t want to put my child through that! Sylvia is right; his trust in teachers will be shattered from this point forward! All the best councilors in the world will not be able to help that! The administration does have some responsibility in this. It may have been wrong for her to ask for your resignation but she deserves to hear that you have some responsibility for this situation!”

Sylvia hissed and turned around, “You take care of this Dale, I’m taking my don down to the springs. He needs some time with family!”

 

*        *        *

 

Sean sat in the back seat with a book in his lap. It was starting to get dark out so he couldn’t read it now. He couldn’t concentrate on the book anyway, his neck seemed to hurt too much from his recent experience. His mother glanced at him from the rear-view mirror as she drove down the highway. Her green eyes showed as much concern as they did sadness, “I’m sorry for what happened to you today. I wish I could take it away from you. What happened that caused the teacher to attack you like that? Did you do something to provoke the attack?”

Sean shrugged. His gold eyes focused on something far off in the distance. He was trying to figure out what could have caused the attack. It had been a few years now since he could hear the drone of voices in his head. It was a sea of voices; one way conversations in his head. They had nothing to do with him most of the time. They were one way monologues that had to do with someone’s day or what they were doing or their first impressions with something. A couple of years ago he realized that it was the thoughts of those around him. He tried to block them out the best he could but they still filtered in. Some of the thoughts he welcomed in, those like Jena who seemed to have similar abilities to him.

“She was thinking about something,” He answered after a moment, “I told her it was alright, she was probably overreacting.”

Sylvia’s eyes narrowed. She hoped her son would not take after her and after his father’s side of the family but it was becoming apparent that he was one of the gifted, as Dale’s side of the family referred to. Her side of the family always tried to bury their powers. They tried to pretend that they didn’t exist. Those that managed to blend in usually were “unusually talented” or had “intuitive instincts.” She was never one to blend in and thus she was one of the black sheep of the family.

“You read her mind,” She stated finally, “You know you shouldn’t do that.”

Sean nodded, “I know. I didn’t mean to do it. It just sort of happened. It all slipped out and the next thing that I knew she had her hands around my neck.”

“I’m not excusing what she did and I will make sure she gets punished for what she did. I am just letting you know that a lot of people exist in the world that do not have your talents. You should not use your talents on other people. Using your talents against people that don’t have your talents will scare them and they may attack you for it. I’m sorry you had to find that out the hard way. Just keep that in mind the next time you have the urge to look into the mind of another person,” Sylvia stated in response.

Sean shook his head, “You don’t understand. I didn’t mean to do it at all. I don’t mean to read anyone’s mind. I hear them all in my head all the time. It is an ocean of voices in my head. I hear them all the time. It is loud and I can’t block them out. I can’t get them to shut up!”

His words seemed to shock her. She didn’t know that he had been struggling to block out the thoughts of those around him. It sounded like his mind had the reach much further than her mind or her husbands. She glanced down at her speedometer in thought. She wondered if she might have been wrong about not letting her husband and his family train her son on how to control his abilities. It seemed now that his powers were totally out of control. He had no clue on how to block out or control his powers. She thought he would have learned something by now.

She forced a smile and said, “Don’t worry. I am sure something will change for you in the near future. For now, enjoy Relena’s company when we get to Colorado Springs. I am sure she misses you.”

The mention of his second cousin did seem to cheer him up. He smiled and nodded, “It has been a while since I saw her last. I wonder if she has been having fun?”

Okay, no Mobile app developers either please, (no other app developers either).

Okay, either they read the last blog and stopped or I happened to catch a lull in the web developer requests. eitherway, yay!

so, i have been getting a new set of calls and emails. ones for mobile app developers. I have no need for mobile apps right now, no thank you. If i happen to get money to afford placing into products i own it will go into getting an editor followed by advertising for my novels. As such, the budget for that is falling short at the moment. Please no app developers, no mobile app developers and no web developers. I don’t have the budget for that right now. if that changes I will look for one if I don’t have enough time to make these things myself. thank you for your time.

No Web Designers please

So I followed the advice of a friend and purchased a domain. the domain name was cheap and was surprisingly easy to remember and common. I should have been prepared for the torrent of phone calls and emails offering web design services. After all; the moment I bought a house I started getting offers for refi’s and the moment i registered my first copyright I have been getting offers for publishing services, why not getting another set of emails and calls for services I don’t want, and don’t need, from people I don’t have a use for as soon as ICANN publishes my information when i purchased the domain name.

In case my bragging has not been subtle enough, I am a System Engineer, I went to college for CIS, I have been working on computers and coding in one form or another since I was seven. Not only am I in the IT field as a job and career, it is a personal hobby of mine. I could build a web server, install XAMPP, get a class C IP from my ISP, register the pointer with IANA and ICANN and setup a web-server on my own and make it look however I want to. The reason why that hasn’t been done already is the same reason why I don’t have a professional editor on retainer; I am the only one in the household with a job and the budget doesn’t allow for a 14U rack, PDU, server, switch, and MSA to get a small VM farm off the ground (yes VM farm because I would set up the server on a VM with a template in the wings in case it crashes or someone hijacks it, i can have the template cloned and deploy my backups to the clone. I have had enough crashes happen at work that we have this down to a science).

Assuming that I did have the money to have a web designer do this stuff for me, why would I? I love doing this stuff, I wouldn’t have anyone do it for me if I had the time to. Not only that, I know enough people at work that have far more talent than I do, If I didn’t have enough time for this project but they did, I would hire them to do the job for me, give the cash and resume builder to them. They would be familiar with what I want anyway.

In short, I would like to have no more web designers contacting me. I do not wish to have any more offers today. I have what I need.

Sayings from Work…

Ever have a job or Career where you catch yourself saying things that sound like one liners for short stories? Things like “It’s a prototype, what do you want from me?”

Don’t get me wrong, being a system engineer and working in an R&D lab is a blast. It is the best job I have ever had. There are weeks where I feel like my brain is being pulled in too many directions. I get home, I want to write but as soon as I sit down, i see the cursor blink at the end of the last sentence I wrote and my brain draws a flat line. The next day at work, you troubleshoot an error on a prototype, you figure; “the Cache module error is because the prototype has no cache battery, just install a cache battery and the error will go away.” You install the cache battery and then it gives you a BIOS system error about the mezzanine cards. the fellow you are helping asks you why it is suddenly giving you this error and your brain draws the same blank as you get when you see the cursor blink. fortunately i am friends with this guy so he laughs when i say “it’s a prototype, what do you want from me?”

It also helps that an hour later we are vaping outside and trading insights into problems and he asks me, “So, when did you become a test engineer?” and an innocent bystander cracks up laughing.

One thing is for sure, after close to three years of working on various prototype equipment, it has changed how I write science fiction. In the first few renditions of Ascendant, Serrah had prototypes spun up quickly and they worked well. Now, you see the prototypes being planned out but not being used right away. the latest chapter, even though she has a prototype new form ready to use, she falls back on a trusted form. Blade Prime plans the proof of concept for a new tek form that will not be seen for three books. Seeing things come from proof of concept to Development Prototypes, to validation prototypes to Manufacturing validations builds, engineering samples, test samples, and the like, has been interesting.

My job started out as being the person setting up an end to end environment consisting of servers, blades, network, storage, and making it all work. support the test engineers when their prototype software comes up with an unexpected result or when the equipment breaks for some reason. Now, we have prototype hardware that adds complexity to the mix. we have to support that, and test it out. It has been awesome and I found that what I have experienced has made its way in how I write and how I see things coming out in the world.

People expect things to work perfectly and are critical of companies when they discover a problem. they don’t seem to understand the development it takes to get the equipment to the state it is currently in. they also don’t get to see how bad the proof of concept and the DP/VP equipment that came before the finished products were. Also, there is so much testing that can be done before a product goes into the wild. Knowing what some of the products we supported went through and what they started off as, i have a new found respect for a lot of equipment currently on the market.

I wonder what kind of stories were inspired by the phrase “It’s a prototype, what do you want from me?”