APHELION: CHAPTER 8

I am way too excited about those two dorks meeting.

A man barged in.

While the door had slid open with a quiet hiss, the man who stalked through had a look about him that said he’d have rather thrown it open. With a bang.

He was tall, had wide shoulders and long legs, and came dressed in streetwear thrown together from high-top sneakers, jeans, and a white linen shirt. Nothing on him wasn’t in one way or the other crumpled, from the bunched up folds on his jeans to the scrunched up bandana sitting snug against the sides of his head. Black hair grew in a thick bushel down the middle of his skull and was only partially kept in check by the turquoise bandana. The rest was in wild disarray and did its best to cover up the implant extension sitting above his right brow; the sort you got when you didn’t want more wires and chips crammed into your brainpan. It was arranged in three small triangles fitted against each other in a neat row.

Sophya noticed all of that because the man stared at her with an intensity that convinced her she’d suddenly gotten smaller. A lot smaller.

Fear ballooned in her chest.

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APHELION: CHAPTER 7 (2)

Of panic attacks and sorely needed naps, part 2.

Varrett woke to a tap of pressure against his stomach. Or, rather, a series of them. He nudged the headband up onto his forehead, cracked his eyes open, and watched Collin lob another balled up piece of paper across the room. It landed on Varrett’s midsection, bounced, and rolled to the floor. A pile of about a dozen more were scattered on the carpet.

“You were out,” Collin said as he scooted from one end of the room to the other, propelling himself forward with one foot while kneeling on his rolling chair. He upended a tray of surgical tools into a bucket, spun around, and kept scooting.

“Yep. I had a day, okay? This man earned a nap.”

“Hey, I don’t mind you chilling on my couch, but I got this feeling that’s not why you’re here? And you know I get a lot of feelings, so what can Col do for you?”

“I need de-dusting,” Varrett said, bribing his ass vertical (You’ll get a proper bed in your new future, promise).

“Hooo—” Collin spun his chair one more time before finally holding still and fixing Varrett with a genuinely curious look. The way he leaned on the chair with one knee and bent slightly sideways made him look even wirier than he actually was. “You got Pixie Dust up your ware? How? Watchu do?”

“Ehh, long story. Something-something don’t jack into a NetCaster.”

Collin cleared his throat. “That’s a very dumb thing to do. But, whatever. Come. Sit.”

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Thank you for reading. You still rock :3

(SIN)vik Shielding

Sass and Ass | Hold my non-alcoholic beverage, I am about to do something famously idiotic | Excitable | Dead | Cattish | Dancing on the Devil’s Dance Floor | Sneaky Quiet, quick smiles | Loves rescuing tigers from trees | Barefoot adventure

Sinvik Shielding began her life as a Folly child, a child born at the tail end of one of Trero’s last great Reapings. And folly was what followed her through her life; a life she’s never been under full control of but one she filled to the brim with adventure.

She was a Cad’his, a soul trickster. A profoundly powerful one.

She died a hero.

Now, Sinvik goes by SIN. She’s been the voice guiding (and protecting) Sophya since the girl first drew breath, shielding Sophya from her own Cad’his powers and helping her keep imaginary apart from imagined.

Sinvik is my oldest character, first introducing herself to me when I was a wee tween-Taff. I’m proud of what she’s accomplished in her life and I’m grateful that she’s decided to come back to me in Aphelion, where she’s 50% sass and 50% cat.

You can meet her in Aphelion, my Cyberpunk-lite, soul magic, and zombie apocalypse web serial.

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APHELION: CHAPTER 7 (1)

We return for Episode 2: Welcome to Horizon’s Crown, in which we find out just what Sophya has gotten herself into and what has gotten into Varrett. Or at least we get an idea.

Once reasonably dressed and armed with a snack, Varrett left Mom with the Caster and went to get his ware un-dusted. The snack? A protein bar out of a box he’d looted an entire week ago, which supposedly came in all sorts of punchy flavours. Chocolate. Nuts. Assorted fruit and berries. Broken hopes and crushed dreams, etc. This one had come in a blue wrap with blue bubbles printed on and so he’d wagered blueberry (or one of the countless intergalactic variations of it anyway). But what he’d ended up with after scarfing down half had been 99% cardboard and 1% idea of blue, if blue had indeed been assigned a flavour.

Bleh.

He choked down another bite. His stomach roiled. Some of that was hunger and lingering exhaustion. The rest was a queasy unease over how the daemon was getting its grubby code all over his ware. But he’d cope. He had it figured out. Really. Collin would fix the daemon and then— right after getting scrubbed —he’d get a proper meal and crawl into bed. Or crawl into bed with a proper meal. Either way, he couldn’t fucking wait.

Walking a bit faster, Varrett circled halfway around Sixty before turning sharply into a wide stairwell.

・・・ “Elaya’s delicate little toes be blessed, that’s pretty,” the daemon exclaimed, right as Varrett got swallowed up by the stairwell’s colourful decoration.

He grunted, his eyes flicking left and right.

Children’s drawings crowded the stairwell’s base. There were dogs. Cats. Einlings. Dragons. Stick-figure people and stick-figure robots, and all the other what-have-yous that occupied a child’s imagination, all applied using lots of crayons or sloppy furniture paint with a too wide brush. Bleeding from the children’s art, like an innocent dream swelling into a neon haze steeped in pent up emotion, was a wealth of psychedelic graffiti. More of the same swept down the steps.

Surprising no one, the Distribution assigned janitors had once been at war with this particular stairwell. But its artists had been relentless and the art had kept coming back. By now, the spectacle followed Varrett all the way down to the next floor, exploding outwards to contrast the otherwise fifty-nine shades of professional desperation.

It was neat, alright? Which made the daemon’s comment more unsettling.

Why bother giving the thing taste?

He left the colours (and musings about code with artistic preferences) behind and followed the hall wrapping around the central courtyard into a crowded Fifty-Nine. Down here, restaurants, overpriced shops, and tacky bars had been gutted to make room for everything one might need if one was trapped on three floors of shared misery. But that didn’t make it a bad walk, all things considered.

Even with the daemon falling in step with him, its naked feet padding over the dirty floor.

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Thank you for reading, you rock.

Sebastian Nathanial Hayn

Soldier | Loss | Self-conscious | Way too tall | Discipline | Quiet | Violence has its time and its place and that time and place is probably now | Protector

Sebastian lived a soldier’s life until the Earther-military was done with him. He is self-conscious of the scars that gave him, yet bears them openly for what they are; lessons written on his skin.

The Vickers took him after he intervened in a fight that would have otherwise cost V his life. Instead, all he lost was an eye. And what he gained was a lover, turned friend for life.

To this day, Sebastian still calls him his Power Bottom.

He was with the Vickers when Horizon’s Crown fell to the Quarantine, and while Varrett took the path of independence, Sebastian joined the Castle Guard. He serves as a Marshal Captain. A detective, really. And he’s very good at it.

You can meet him in Aphelion, my Cyberpunk-lite, soul magic, and zombie apocalypse web serial.

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Collin Hop

Lanky Genius | Large dreams, wings clipped | Fashion Disaster | Kind | Scared | Too many crushes to count

Collin is half Aestling, half Earther-Asien and he’s never figured out where he belongs.

He’s fallen a long way from neuroscience studies to running a NetSage clinic at the back of a bar run by his uncle. There, he gets high, dreams of all the crushes in his life, and tries hard not to think about how he is just one dose of Shimmer away from being kicked out of the Castle and left to turn into a soulless monster.

He’s terrified 99% of the time, and yet he smiles through most of it, and he’ll always let you have the last drag. But if you ask him to step foot out of the Castle, ever, he will put salt into your coffee and hide all your socks (and run crying to Varrett, who’ll probably punch you in the face for making Collin cry).

You can meet him in Aphelion, my Cyberpunk-lite, soul magic, and zombie apocalypse web serial.

Collin Hop
Character Sheet by Nikos
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