Sunday, 14 July 2019

Being an author, being myself

I'm sure i'm not the only one who gets a little thrill every time someone buys their book. It's not about money, it's about spreading my ideas to others in the world. It's hopefully entertaining someone or making them cry or laugh with just words.
Just one stranger buying your book can be satisfying enough.
As a writer, you have to come to terms with the fact you'll never be famous or rich. If you go into it just for the fame and fortune, you'll be disappointed forever. Be satisfied with someone reading your work and liking it, enjoying it, wanting more.
And therein lies my problem; I'm still struggling with starting the second book. My son is one of my biggest supporters; he's screaming at me every day to start the sequel because I refuse to tell him what's in my head. But I think i've finally figured out why i'm reticent to start the next one - I want the first to be successful so that I can feel like I'm achieving something, that there's a reason to write more.
But what will be enough for me to write more? Thousands of books sold? Thousands of reviews? Honestly, that would take years if it would happen at all. I have to be realistic. So what would a realistic amount be that would mean success to me? Maybe steady sales? Like at least one a day?
I'm sitting here eating a raspberry muffin, delving into the why's and wherefore's of myself. What do I really want?
If I'm going to be honest with myself, of course I want to be successful, an author. To be lauded for my literary works would be heaven but not realistic in my genre of scifi. But to be seen as a good writer, entertaining, etc, would be good. That's my ultimate want.
My short term want? To be read.
It's that simple; to be read.
So, in order to start writing the second book, to me, I must be seen to be being read. In other words, from my own perspective and to my standards, I need to be read by other people. To clarify what my standards are, I think a few more sales and I'll feel satisfied enough.
There, I've cleared that up in my own head; sell a few more books and I'll start the second because then there will be reason to.
Ahh, writing, always so damn useful. I always helps me figure things out when I see the words written down on paper or a screen. To read back and see where I was confused and why.
I love words.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Children growing up

I had the worst nightmare I've ever had in my life last night. Only another parent would understand how this tore me apart and forced me to sit up for the rest of the night unable to go back to sleep.
My daughter is turning 18 this year and my 24 year old son is moving out in a matter of months. As a result, I had this dream where my daughter was four years old and ran across the road after I told her not to and got hit and dragged by a bus.
Now it doesn't sound all that horrible, children have survived being hit by cars and buses before but the sound she made when she was being dragged literally ripped me apart in my dream and I forced myself to wake up (which I can do from nightmares although it physically hurts to do so).
This dream has echoed with me all day to the point where people have been asking me whats wrong. I'd planned to start writing the second book such luck.
I could analyse the dream, I know exactly what it's about. Fear for my children making their own decisions without me, making mistakes, losing them, etc....
But for me it's the sound she made as the bus was dragging her that I can't get out of my head.
I can honestly say that they would have to lock me in an institution if anything happened to one of my children; I would not be able to cope with it.
Does that make me weak? I don't know. All I know is the depth of my love for them is endless so much so that the rest of the world can go to hell for all I care as long as my children are ok. Yes, other people don't matter to me compared to my kids. Is that how it is for all parents or am I strange?

As for the second book, I'm still having trouble. I've gotten a few 5 star reviews for "Proxy" which is thrilling and validating but I still have the 'why should I bother's going on a bit in my head. I never expected to be a best selling author making millions straight up but I expected for it to be liked and bought more than it is because it's interesting and well written. But it just seems I'm lost in a sea of indie authors all plugging their lame ass work and mine is being judged the same as theirs.
Oh if only an agent or publisher had done more than seen the topic scifi and taken a chance on it. Then I wouldn't have to be trying to market it myself and be making a right hash of it. I'm no promoter or publisher; I'm a writer. I write. That's it. If only I had the money to pay for real promotion. The person who is doing it right now is ok but I actually haven't made any sales sooooo...
Baring my soul, here, even though I don't believe in souls.
Do you read this and think I'm scum for not being able to sell my book? Do you automatically think it must be rubbish? grrr, if only I could make people see that it's not. The first chapter is up for free as the first post on this block. Scroll down and read it. Prove to yourself that what I write is rubbish rather than just assume.
Ah, but that doesn't work either because who's even reading this dribble other than me?
You watch, i'll become famous once I die then you can all read back on this pathetic little blog and think you know me.
These are just the depressed ramblings of an unappreciated author dying to be noticed for how good she is. 

Friday, 28 June 2019

Marketing and the loss of a dog

Ok, so it's been a hellish three weeks. My beautiful dog that you can see on my blog, Thor, God of Thunder, has been epileptic for years but we only needed to put him on medication for it last November after his worst seizure yet. He went six months without a single tremor and we thought the medicine was working miracles. Then three weeks ago he goes five days having so many seizures that we lose count. At the end of those five days, we finally get him into the after hours clinic and they up his dosage and we take him home, disoriented and wobbly. The next day, he couldn't walk; his back legs were tucked under him permanently. 
Our regular vet was booked out for two weeks so we rang every morning for a week hoping to get an emergency appointment. A week later we finally did. By then, my beloved little chinese crested idiot puppy couldn't walk, hadn't shat for four days, couldn't get to food or drink by himself and was desperate to sit in our laps and just sleep. 
We had no choice, we had to put him down. The vet did all the neurological tests and the verdict of no recovery was handed down. 
Now, by this time in my life, i've put down four dogs and two cats, balling my eyes out and devastated every time. 
But this time was almost the worst. Especially for my daughter who grew up with Thor. It's been a week since I put him down and i've only just stopped crying. We have one dog left, Obi Wan Kanobi the golden long haired chihuahua, but we all still feel alone without Thor. 
And in all of this, my book isn't selling because it's buried underneath 80,000 other Scifi novels. So I see an add on one of the facebook pages I belong to for a guy who promotes and markets your books. So I'm trying him out. 
I'll keep you posted as to whether he follows through or steals my money and does nothing. 
I've also got another webcast/youtube interview coming up where it's one author chatting to another. I'll put up the link once I've done it. 
What else has been going on other than wishing there was a heaven for dogs to eat baked chicken in? Why people are so dramatic. That's what i've been thinking about. I belong to a lot of facebook pages and groups (mostly about book promotion and writing atm) and I read a lot of blogs. People seem to be making mountains out of a lot mole hills these days, turning everything into a drama. 
I'm not an overly dramatic person myself. I can become passionate about certain topics, arguing them quite strongly at times. But I've brought up my children (and taught myself) not to succumb to emotion all the time, that we can control what we feel, we can choose to feel or not. 
I'm not so naive as to think we can always, at every moment, control ourselves and what we feel. When it concerns someone we love, it's very hard not to feel what your feeling deeply and strongly. But at other times, especially when it comes to strangers or things that have nothing to do with us (as in it doesn't directly affect us; the news), it's quite easy to maintain self-control and rule over your emotions.
Why don't other people get this? Why don't they understand that they're not slaves to their emotions, that they can control how they feel because it's them feeling it? It's their brains releasing chemicals that's causing the emotional reaction. 
I just find drama boring. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Radio Interview

Promoting my book is far more difficult than I thought it would be. I don't have any money to pay for marketing so I'm having to be creative to find different, free ways to advertise Proxy.
I belong to many facebook groups and pages that allow you to promote your books/poems/novella's, etc. Other things for writers are promoted on these pages as well and Ellen from Ellen and The Hammer radio show came on last week asking if anyone wanted to be interviewed on their podcast. I instantly said yes but didn't tell anyone about it till just before it aired last night just in case it didn't happen.
I tell you, it was damn exciting; my very first radio interview. I'm a very outgoing person, never had any anxiety about talking to people so I wasn't nervous at all at the thought of being on radio. I was more worried about saying something stupid; putting my foot in my mouth which I do a lot.
But luckily I didn't say anything dumb and was quite impressed with myself when I listened to the podcast recording this morning.
Brian The Hammer Jackson seemed to really like me and enjoyed my answers, even asked me to come back to discuss mental health/illness at a later time, something I'm very interested in doing. I don't have any qualifications in mental health but having lived with OCD and clinical depression all my life after a childhood with a mother who has multiple personalities and is a diagnosed sociopath, I have unique views that I guess would be interesting.
But will this interview increase my book sales or was it just an interesting experience that I can cross off my bucket list? Hopefully both.
Below is the link to my interview, see what you think.

Friday, 14 June 2019


I had a best friend when I was 15 who saved me. My mother has multiple personalities and is a diagnosed sociopath. It was difficult, to say the least, growing up with her as a single mother to myself and my sister. My best friend, Sophie, saved me from going crazy living with my mother and not knowing what was wrong with her. We were inseparable right through the birth of my first son and on till I was about 28. At that time, Sophie's own issues got the better of her and she became an alcoholic to drown out not being able to cope with the reality of her life. As a result, she also cut me out of her life; cold. One day she just stopped talking to me. Wouldn't answer my calls, my texts, nothing.
Years went by and I was driven crazy trying to understand why...what had I done wrong? We hadn't had a fight, there was no reason for her to not talk to me so abruptly. I had my daughter and moved my little family to a different state.
Then when I was 35, facebook to the rescue. I found Sophie and sent a friend request. We had one great phone call that was full of reminiscences and happiness. She apologised profusely for ignoring me all these years, blaming her desire to drink and not be around anyone that wouldn't drink with her (ie: me). I took her apology, I forgave her for hurting me. We stayed friends on facebook but didn't talk (you know how it is). I thought that, with an explanation, I no longer blamed myself for the ending of our friendship. And by that time, I'd convinced myself I didn't need friends.
And so things were quiet, pleasant, easy.
Until political correctness and democrats inability to tolerate a different opinion to their own got in the way. I posted a meme pointing out the difference between what the NZ Prime Minister can get away with (wearing a hijab to the funeral services of the christchurch massacre) and what Trump can't do (anything).
This stupid little meme triggered Sophie. She started plastering comments all over it, declaring that I was insensitive and cruel for not considering her feelings.
She had never been in a massacre and she wasn't could the meme hurt her feelings? I was absolutely stumped and stuck to explaining that my meme had nothing to do with the actual massacre; it was a political statement about two leaders.
After two weeks of trading comments where she lectured me on what a bad person I was, I finally got it out of her the reason she was so triggered. Her older brother had died a few years before; he was on a night walk and got hit by a truck while crossing the road. It was a true tragedy; he was a great guy whom I liked very much. To Sophie, my meme was mocking tragic death, mocking those who had lost loved ones suddenly.
This, my friends, was the end of our friendship...again. Instead of putting it behind us as a "agree to disagree" thing, Sophie said I was the contention in her life and defriended me with a goodbye.
Now, after all that explanation, we come to the crux of this dreams. Since Sophie said goodbye to me over something so damn, fucking stupid, I've been dreaming,  over and over about those that have left me or broken my heart. Every night my dreams are of heartbreak, tears, bewilderment, being left alone without explanation...and, by god, I want it to stop. I don't believe in dream interpreting or any of that malarky; I know why I'm dreaming these things - i'm grieving the loss of someone who was so important to me, the loss a second time. But it's really starting to hurt me. I dream of my mother, my sister, my cousin, my best friend from primary school, Sophie, my son's father, my aunties; all these people who have had a profound impact on my emotions, people who have let me down or abandoned me.
So now i'm left trying to wake up happy and instead constantly waking up in tears with a heavy heart as my brain tries to come to terms with so much loss in my sleep. I guess that wouldn't be bad if I didn't also think about it all (because of the dreams) while awake. So, in essence, day and night i'm going over the same shit that I thought i'd come to terms with years ago.
Guess I haven't.
No wonder I can't start the second book. 

Friday, 7 June 2019

Second book

I'm finding it difficult starting the second book in the Proxy saga. I know what needs to be achieved by the end of it, I know the ultimate goal of the book but the meat and bones of it is what is daunting me. I have this problem where if I read a book while writing, I start writing in that writer's style, thinking of their plots and events and wanting to put them in my work. So I have to go for a certain period of time before and during writing where I don't read anything else. Add to that the fact that it's been two years since I wrote the first book and I've basically forgotten ALL the characters and events, things that you need to know and be aware of when writing a sequel.
Apart from those two things, I'm right in the middle of promoting my first book, trying to do interviews and get reviews and posting ads. I'm also dealing with a daughter who suffers from Chronic Mid Range Facial Pain and Social Anxiety. She's 17 and almost crippled by these things that have impeded on her life, stopping her from being a typical teenager, stopping her from going to school and from having a life. It causes me so much to watch her struggle and know there's nothing I can do other than emotionally support her and encourage her to move forward. I'm having to teach her to live her life dealing with daily pain, to try and ignore it because there's nothing we can do to get it go away and give her a break.
So in the midst of all this, i'm supposed to be creative?
I'm finding it difficult.
It's not writer's block, it's something else; an inability to move, to create, to pull something out of my head when my head feels empty. It's also a reticence to go back to writing, to be absorbed in the "creative process" where I end up ignoring everyone in the house; it causes problems. do I start the second book???
Might have to get back to you on that one once I figure it out.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

I am an author of scifi/fantasy. My first book, Proxy, is now available on all amazon sites in ebook format and paperback. I thought I'd include the first chapter here to give people the chance to sample my work and then hopefully get hooked on the story enough to want to buy it. Feel free to leave a comment regarding my work, good or bad, all are welcome. Hope you enjoy!

Below is the link to my book on the US Amazon site but can be searched and bought in all countries.



The girl sighed.
There was always that split second between sleeping and waking that Ceridwen Nairini felt light and peaceful, when she would snuggle down under her course blanket, burying herself in sleepy warmth. She always tried to hold onto the feeling as long as she could but, with the specific thoughts of holding onto the tranquillity, reality came crashing in. Her eyes would flutter open to inky blackness, the smell of mould would invade her small nostrils and despair would crush her as memory invaded.
She was still in the room next to the cold cellar under the Keep. How long she’d been there, she had no idea. Each day bled into the other with nothing significant to separate them or make one stand out in her young mind. She knew what had put her here; fear. But fear would not get her out.
The five year old squeezed her eyes shut but there was no relief; eyes open or closed, all she saw was endless darkness; the light overhead could only be turned on from outside the thick, metal door. She held her breath, waiting to hear the heavy footsteps down the hall way, wishing for them and dreading them at the same time. With them came a tray of food and a clean dress carried by a guard.
Who would it be today? Felden of the quick, skittish mind who had a secret desire to bed his mother in law, Berkis, desperately saving up to visit the pleasure planet Milar or Jon, slow and pondering, not the brightest spark in the tool shed, whose wildest dream was to own his own ondan for milk.
Ceridwen didn’t really care which one it was; none of them would let her out, none of them would be nice to her. She squeezed her eyes even tighter trying to remember people other than the guards but faces didn’t swim behind her mind’s eye, not even the faces of her parents who had put her down here. Like always, all she could envisage was the forest behind the keep.
Dark and possible, she remembered being able to see it from her old room, used to watch the sun angle through the thick foliage to ray down onto the rich dirt below. The little girl smiled at the memory as another crashed in; running through the silky grass towards those trees, bare feet crushing bright flowers as she hurtled into woods to hide and play. It struck her then that there must have been someone who was nice to her once, someone who played with her. Surely she hadn’t always been alone?
A face, round and sunburned with a bulbous nose, eyes crinkling with a grin flashed along with the scent of stinging sea salt and cool water in her hair. There was no recognition, no name that came to her, just the face and the idea that they were nice.
And then came the most persistent thought, the one that almost superseded I want out. 
If only I had a window
The little girl didn’t understand that she was below ground, that a window would look out on a wall of rock and dirt, she just longed to see something other than bare stone slick with condensation, naked stone floor. Apart from the giant wall screen opposite her bed, the room held a table, chair, toilet and sink. There were no toys or books, nothing to keep her mind occupied. The screen was turned on with her light every morning and off every night but it only played the one channel. She didn’t know what it was called but the programmes were all about improving oneself; how to lead a good life, how to be a good person, how to give to others and not be selfish. Ceridwen didn’t understand half of what presenters droned on about so, instead, she made up games. She counted how many times they said a particular word or tried to guess what colour their eyes were without opening her own. She’d already counted every stone in the room, measured its length with her body from one wall to the other, counted the stitches that hemmed her blanket. But it didn’t matter how she tried to distract herself, her thoughts wouldn’t leave her alone.
A window.
The sound of footsteps intruded on her and she slowly sat up in bed, eyes still shut as behind the lids, she saw the bright glare as the guard turned on the light. The loud sound of the screen came on and she reluctantly got out of bed, guardedly opening her eyes.
The slot in the door was already open, a beefy arm extended into the room holding a pale grey woollen dress; she wouldn’t get her food tray till she’d handed over her night wear and put on the gown. She did so quickly, standing against the wall beside the door to hide her nakedness. Perversely, she held back giving over her night dress. It was Berkis behind the door and he was an impatient man; sometimes she enjoyed tweaking him. Honestly, what else did they expect?
They both waited, the arm hanging out of the slot started to shake and she could hear his laboured breathing. Wouldn’t be long now.
“Please.” He whispered hoarsely and Ceridwen almost giggled. “Please, I didn’t put you here, it’s not my fault, don’t do it.”
Ah, Berkis was so easy to rattle. She handed over the nighty and took the proffered tray of food, placing it on her little table. The slot quickly shushed shut and she could hear Berkis run back down the hall. Ceridwen sighed and sat down to eat her oats and dried fruit. The food was as boring as her room, as her days.
“Today we’re going to be showing how to clean your room – a tidy room means a tidy mind!” A voice said gaily from the screen. The little girl didn’t even glance up; what on earth did she have to tidy up?
Chewing to swallow, she almost choked as a siren suddenly blared, huge red letters flashing on the screen. She mouthed out the words having no idea what ‘Mandatory Viewing’ meant. To her, it was something new. New was good, new was different.
A relatively small planet replaced the flashing words, blue and green, slowly revolving on its axis. The writing at the bottom of the screen named it Vicol; 3 billion inhabitants, 24 million years old, part of the Galactic Accord for the last 700 years, one of five planets within their solar system that sustained life. In other words, average, unimpressive, just like billions of other inhabited planets throughout the galaxy. Yet here it was displayed on the Galactic Channel, a mandatory broadcast via the Proxy Assembly Systems blaring into every home and public domain on every planet within the Accord. The small planet was under imminent attack. A fleet of matte black war ships hovered to the side, dwarfed by the planet itself but menacing in their intent.
Ceridwen was mesmerised. She couldn’t remember ever seeing anything like this before. She could understand some of the smaller words, knew this was a planet but what were the ships doing there? And then a smooth, commanding voice boomed out.
“Armada of the New World, Relanta, you were given the choice three times before folding. You have refused every time. You no longer have a choice. As per the Galactic Accord that you have also agreed to, no peoples are permitted to make war on a planet outside of their own system. It has always been thus and always will be. As such, you are formally charged with waging war on Vicol, a planet outside the system of Relanta.”
She didn’t recognised the voice but she understood the intent now.
“Relanta, you presumed the few Laws of the Galactic Accord either did not apply to you or would not be enforced. As a result, you have now lost almost ten million of your people. You have scarred families, gutted your economy and shamed yourselves within the Galaxy you are a part of. You are free to withdraw from the Galactic Accord at any time but you will still never be permitted to make war on another Solar System.”
There was sadness in the voice as it whispered. “You should not have tested me. I am The Deciden”
Trembling slightly, breath held waiting for disaster, for missiles to fire or for the ships to be destroyed in a glorious conflagration, Ceridwen sat stiffly in her chair, eyes glued to the screen.
But there was no sound, no popping, no inrush of air, no clap of thunder.
The entire armada simply disappeared from the screen as though wiped out with an eraser.
Ceridwen jumped, eyes wide with shock.
Where did they go?

The Proxy was offered a ground car to take him to the spaceport.
“No thank you, I’d rather walk.”
He was offered an escort who knew the fastest route.
“No thank you, I’d rather just take a stroll.”
For goodness sake, he needed some time to himself. He’d just finished a Standard Yearlong assignment as the appointed Resident Proxy for Lesistra. He needed clear, crisp night air to quiet his mind so chose to walk down the wide, descending boulevard that led away from the Palace, a decorative stream running down the middle, lights blinking underneath the water as it bubbled down wide steps towards the city below.
Perit realised he was hungry and glanced around for an open eatery as a shallow buzzing vibrated though his head. The Proxy pressed the answer button on the com-link behind his ear.
“Perit, Elite Proxy, 2nd Class.” he answered.
“Morning, Perit.” rumbled a familiarly friendly voice.
Perit made his way over to a nearby bench, coiled and tense.
“Evening actually, Sir.” Perit replied.
Myte grunted, “It's morning here so we'll go with that.”
“Yes Sir.”
Silence followed.
Perit realised Myte may not have wanted to talk about the incident on Relanta but dived in anyway. “What the hell happened on Relanta, Myte? There’s been no recent intelligence that they were gearing up for a war, how could we have missed it?”
“You’re not in the thick of things when you’re on assignment, Perit.” Myte snapped. “There’s been plenty of intelligence regarding their movements; The Deciden knew this was coming and our Proxy diplomats and shadows have been doing everything they could to forestall such an outcome.”
“Then…how?” Perit was astounded.
“Relanta honestly believed they wouldn’t be stopped, apparently. Happens every few millennia. Some poor schmuck is elected to power, convinces everyone else that the Accord is just words that The Deciden is a figment of the imagination, a god that is worshipped but that doesn’t really exist. You know how it is.”
“I’m not concerned with Relanta’s motivation; that crap is understandable – only Proxies have ever really seen The Deciden himself. But we have systems and firewalls, procedures in place to stop this kind of thing from spiralling out of control. No one on Relanta should have even been able to garner enough support for such an undertaking.”
“Ah, Perit.” Myte sighed tiredly. “It’s part of the Accord; each Solar System governs itself. We don’t interfere, we do damage control and diplomacy and mediation. Vicol apparently does a roaring trade in second grade gold, something Ralenta prides themselves on and thought they would be able to monopolise the market. They didn’t want competition. But that was just an excuse for a very warlike race. We did what we could but in the end, The Deciden solved the problem.”
Perit snorted. “And now we have to clean it up. I’d like to be one of the Proxy’s you send in to stabilise.”
“They’ve already been dispatched, Perit. Besides I need you for something more important.”
Obric Myte Newfort was one of ten within the Obric Council; assistants to the Deciden himself in administrating the Galactic Accord. Both he and Perit had gone through Proxy training together over a century ago but Myte’s unique abilities to lead and manage saw him rise higher than his friend. Having never desired that level of authority, Perit was content with Myte being the boss of his direct superior, Elite Proxy Van, 1st class. But this also meant he was too high up to be giving out assignments personally; Perit was instantly on guard.
“More important?” Perit sputtered. “Myte there has never been an attempted war on another system within our lifetimes, what could be more important than being involved in the clean-up of such a disaster?”
“Trust me.” Myte said quietly. “Your specific skills are more needed elsewhere although the assignment will be unusually long.”
“Van usually contacts me with my next task, Sir.” Perit reminded unnecessarily, prompting an explanation.
Myte cleared his throat. “Oh, I just felt like touching base with you, seeing how you’re going.” There was a forced note of gaiety in his voice that put Perit on further alert. “It's a bit of an unusual mission. As you know, duration can vary depending on what's involved.”
“Okay.” Perit said slowly “You do know you could just tell me rather than beating around the bush, Myte.” The use of his first name was not lost on the superior.
Myte sighed. “You haven't changed since Proxy training, Perit. Alright, there's a five-year-old girl in System 736 in need of... protection. Well, it's a long story, I'll send you the full report but, suffice it to say, she's the daughter of the planet's ‘High Noble’, whatever rank that is. Latro Nairini: he’s the ancestor of the founding colonist, Tyran, who colonised the system's second planet at the request of The Deciden.”
Perit let out a slightly awed whistle. “There have only been a dozen or so recorded planet colonisations directed by The Deciden throughout Galactic Accord History. Calling in an ancestral debt?”
“Kind of. Look, from what we know, she's a strange, highly intelligent child; has been almost completely isolated because of past incidents. She’s withdrawn, indifferent...”
Perit cut in. “That's no cause for giving her over to the Proxy's, Myte, because I’m assuming that's what's actually happened here; she's being relinquished.”
“Correct. I haven't spoken to the girl but I have had a holo-meeting with the parents and, well...the mothers under Mental Care at the moment.”
“It's that serious? Is she a physically violent child?” Perit asked.
“No physical violence, it's…something else but, yes, it's that serious. Like I said, it will be a long assignment. She is legally being handed over to the Resident Proxy in a few hours.”
“Why is the Proxy Assembly dabbling in such a small matter? It's just one child; hardly important. Why wasn't she placed in permanent care on her home planet? I'm sure they'd have the facilities; most civilisations do.”
They were both silent as Perit watched the sun finally sink behind the mountain range, lights along the boulevard automatically blinking on. He was too preoccupied to marvel at the array of colours across the horizon as he usually did at this time of day.
“We've known each other a long time, Myte, so be honest with me – is this as you say or are we about to brand a child as weird and unwanted only to feed a mother's mental instability? We're the upholders of the Galactic Accord, not a hostel for unwanted children.” Perit said, rubbing his smooth jawline.
“The matter has been investigated. The mother has no history of anything like this during her lifetime or in her bloodline. They have the standard genetic and psychological screening on Nairini and sterilise any who fail before puberty. Post-birth distress has also been ruled out due to the child’s age.”
“You think it's her fault?” Perit’s eyes narrowed, suspicious of Myte’s deliberate avoidance in answering why this was a Proxy issue.
“Seems to be. I need to give this one to someone reliable, Perit. You've been the escort and guardian for young adults for over a hundred years; you're specifically trained to protect, to guide. But you also understand people and what makes them tick, an invaluable ability that is vital in this case. may be required to do what is needed.” Myte said the last quietly.
Perit finally understood.
“So I'm to assess and eliminate if necessary?”
“Only on my direct order, Proxy, but yes, that's the gist of it.”
“I see.” Perit muttered. He'd been on assassination missions before but they had always been obvious threats to the Galactic Accord; people that were causing, or could potentially cause, strife outside their own systems.
She's just a little girl.
“She’ll be put on the first puddle-jumper the local Proxy can commandeer and you’ll be informed when she should be in your orbit.”
“Wait.” Perit laughed slightly “I haven't even agreed yet. Has she started education? What's her medical history? Does she even have a Translation Implant? Would be silly if we couldn't talk to each other. After all, I'd have to be her Protector till she reaches Majority if she isn't terminated, right?”
“The official report will tell you all you need to know. Nairini isn't a backward planet, for all their adherence to old government; the girl has Full Immunity status and had her translator implanted at birth as most children do. And yes, you would be her Sub Parent till Majority…But I'm not asking on this one, Proxy, I'm ordering.”
Perit froze at the Obric’s words, hairs prickling on the back of his neck.
“This is from The Deciden himself, isn't it?” He breathed, incredulously.
Myte immediately launched into a list of all the materials that had been dispatched to Perit for him to carry out his assignment as well as the astonishing ‘unlimited funds’ account that was now programmed for any Encephalote to identify Perit's brain wave pattern.
He was dumbfounded.
“So it's all been set up.” Myte continued “There's a large transport scheduled to depart Lesistra in four days; you shall both be on it. I've arranged for their first Fold to go directly to Tri-Nor in System 89; the Resident Proxy there has been informed and will meet you at the Capital Phiron's spaceport. I'll expect weekly reports unless something important comes up to which you shall contact me immediately. Those above and below have been notified that you are reporting directly to me from now on.”
“Understood.” Perit said. Myte’s obvious reluctance to answer confirmed it; for some reason, The Deciden was interfering on a personal level, something unheard of.
Although, he admitted to himself, how would I know if it had ever happened before?
“So, I'll hear from you in a Galactic week or earlier if something comes up. Myte out.” and, with that, the com clicked off.
A young girl apparently driving her mother insane and The Deciden rescues her Perit shook his head. That's far more than a mere favour
He stayed on the bench speculating till long after the first moon started to rise.

Latro Nairini sat at his wide, wooden desk leafing through dispatches ready to go out. There was a knock at his door.
“Enter.” He snapped.
A servant in plain brown clothing slunk in, announcing the arrival of the Resident Proxy, Nexter, 6th Class.
Short, fat and balding, a green clad man strode towards the desk with a wide smile on his pudgy face.
Latro’s momentary hesitation before standing and offering an official nod of his head in greeting did not go unnoticed.
Nexter chuckled as he nodded in return. “You’re lucky I’m so easy going, Latty; not many Proxies would stand for your recalcitrance.”
The High Noble quickly sat back down, false smile plastered across his face.
“I’m sure you can understand that, with my wife where she is, I may not be as quick to follow protocol as usual…and be forgiven for such slips.”
“Of course, of course.” Nexter agreed. He’d just come from seeing Latro’s wife Rana at the sanatorium. He hadn’t been allowed in her room, viewing her through a one way mirror instead as she lolled in a chair, spittle dribbling from the corners of her thin mouth. He’d known this was coming, saw the once strong woman disintegrate before his eyes but Latro, apparently, had been oblivious and having to institutionalise had come as a shock.
“I take it everything has been arranged with your Proxies?” Latro snapped.
“Yes. A small Folder has entered Orbit and is waiting. I am here for the girl.”
“Good. I’ll have her brought up to the main lobby.” The man went to speak into his communicator as Nexter held up a thick hand.
“I will not wait in a vestibule like a guest. You will take me to her.”
Of equal rank on this planet, neither could order the other. But Latro knew too well – off planet, Latro was a nobody while this squat man, sweating onto the back of his chair, served a being who could wink the High Noble out of existence with less than a thought and no provocation.Latro needed the Proxy Assembly on his side and the decision had been made.
I’m going to have to tell the people she died in an accident. Rana will just have to produce a new heir as soon as possible to forestall public concern.
He grimaced at the idea; the idea repulsed him. His mistresses wouldn’t be pleased. Latro shrugged it off. His composure came from resolution. The girl had finally gone too far. He’d had to put her in the basement after finding Rana catatonic in the girl’s room one night. He’d told Rana last year to leave the care of the girl to the servants, to stop subjecting herself to such torment but she’d defied him, to her own detriment. Now, with his wife mentally unfit, he had no choice. As much as he disliked Rana, it was easier for the girl to disappear from public view than the High Noble’s wife so the girl had to go. And as cold a man as he was, he couldn’t stomach putting the girl to death - that much he knew.
This was his only solution.
And if he wanted this deal he had made to go through, he would have to toe this repulsive man’s line. Nexter watched Latro, almost able to read the thoughts as they played across his expressive face, orange eyelashes fluttering.
The Proxy cleared his throat impatiently; he’d never liked the High Noble and liked him even less now that he was giving up his only child.
Latro stood quickly, knocking his heavy desk slightly askew. “Follow me.” He commanded, striding out.
They went down empty stone hallways as Nexter puffed along behind the tall man. It got colder as they wound their way down a wide, circular stairwell at the rear of the Keep, coming to a steel door set into the wall at the end of a short corridor.
Latro pressed his hand into the wall plate. The door swung inward to reveal a brightly lit room, cold and impersonal.
Nexter grit his teeth and bit his tongue; it looked like a dungeon. As much authority as he had as a Proxy, he could not interfere in the everyday running of a planet, let alone an individual household. But, oh, how he would love to teach the High Noble a thing or two.
Latro gestured the man in but refused to enter himself, standing in the doorway as the Proxy lumbered down the short steps to stand in the middle of the room. Ceridwen sat at her little table beside her bed and stared levelly at Nexter. He suddenly realised that this little girl had been kept a secret, even from him. What he didn’t understand was why. Sweet cherub face, cherry red hair and wide, violet eyes that calmly appraised him, Nexter was at a complete loss.
Thank Deciden I’m getting you the hell out of here, little one, he thought as he took another step into the room and gave her his biggest, friendliest smile. He opened his mouth to speak and felt a buzzing in the back of his head.
She stood up, her full dress falling to cover bare feet as Latro visibly flinched in the doorway quickly stepping back. Ceridwen walked over to the Proxy sedately and put her hand in his big meaty paw.
“I’d like to leave now.” She said quietly looking up at him.

It hadn't taken Perit long to organise adjoining rooms at his current hotel for the next four days and move his belongings. He then spent a good hour with the Hotel Manager requisitioning the different items he would require added to the second bedroom for the little girl. Alone again, he was finally able to sit at his Personal Holo Processor and read through the report Obric Myte had transmitted along with her arrival time.
Half an hour later, he found himself flicking back through, wondering why it was so short.
Twenty years on one assignment, Perit shook his head in wonder as he leaned back in his chair.
He closed his eyes, taking steadying breaths to organise his thoughts but there was so little to go on. It's almost as if no one knows anything about her as a person. Even the shortest assignments’ Official Reports were complete with personal details; preferences, personality profile and, often the most useful, do's and don’ts, why not his one? Perit mused. Myte’s voice patterns had exhibited stress and restraint. He wished he knew why.
When he opened his eyes again, he realised the girls ship would be landing in two hours.
Perit stood and moved into the clear space in his room, starting the second of his twice-daily physical routines to keep his reflexes sharp and his muscles supple. He heard the hotel staff installing what he'd requested in the other room while he flowed through the movements.
An hour later, showered and dressed, he went to see if everything had been set up.
The door between their rooms slid aside at his approach to reveal a decent sized space with child-sized bed and furniture and pale grey walls. Under the large window stood the handcrafted dollhouse, an extremely expensive item that he’d been pleased to find the Hotel kept for children of visiting dignitaries and royalty.
He crossed the thick, soft carpet and palmed open the cupboard wall, nodding in satisfaction at the wide variety of clothes, games and toys the staff had selected. Perit decided not to change the colour of the walls until he found out more about the girl’s likes and dislikes. The Proxy’s steps automatically paused for a fraction of a second as he walked out his door, the Encephalote on the lintel scanning his brain waves and locking the door behind him.
As he left the hotel and briskly walked the short distance to the spaceport, Perit went over the few details that were in the report.
Five Standard Years old, five point six units tall, violet eyes and hair the colour of ripe Brezin berries. Perit had smiled at the description knowing exactly which Proxy had written it on Nairini.
Good ol' Nexter, he thought as he approached the Port; high, plaz entry doors opening with a loud whoosh as he neared. Nexter had always been chastised and marked down during training for making his reports too ‘casual’. Personally, Perit had always enjoyed his more descriptive language.
He stopped at the nearest info-holo and saw that the girl’s ship would be alighting at dock thirteen. He chose the ‘show me’ option and followed the lit pathway towards the dock. Being the first hour of a new day, the port was relatively deserted. There were mostly servo and attendant bots waiting at attention in the stark corridor and on either side at each dock lounge.
With only half a body from hips upwards, as always, bots looked incomplete to Perit as they hovered noiselessly at desks and doorways, metallic casings shining, chest plates glowing green to indicate available for service.
He entered dock thirteen, a servo bot standing by the doors to the walkway that connected to landing shuttles. Perit sat in the nearest seat to wait, closing his eyes to think without distraction.
There had been no other physical or personal descriptions, only a brief line about lineage. The rest of the report went into detail, complete with formal language and legal notations, of her ‘adoption’ by the Proxy Assembly. There was no mention of why, only a last line stating Perit's appointment as the girls Guardian Proxy ‘till Majority or demise’.
What a nasty phrase
What puzzled him most was the Personality Profile; it was completely blank. Her biological parent’s profiles were included but shed little light on their daughter.
They were the lineal rulers of the planet which only boasted a small land mass, the rest being ocean. As such, the ruling of four billion inhabitants seemed rather insignificant. For all that it was a small planet, they seemed to thrive due to the abundance of plump, delicious aquatic life, exporting such in trade for manufactured goods, off planet.
Her parents themselves were unremarkable; seemingly well liked if not tolerated as rulers by their subjects. As far as Perit could ascertain from the report, they were plain, normal people with nothing to make them stand out. It only added to his confusion.
He sensed the android moving before he felt the light tap on his shoulder, and opened his liquid brown eyes.
“Excuse me, Sir, the landing vehicle has touched down and is going through the disembarking procedure.” It stated in a tinny voice, bowing its shiny, metal head deeply then glided back to open the doors.
The lights down the long walkway came on in sequence and the Proxy stood up, stretching. As he went over and stood in front of the exit, Perit realised he was nervous.
He'd carried out assassinations before, some clearly necessary, other's he'd had to work out the reasons why before he could exterminate a person with a clear conscience. Terminations dictated by the Proxy Assembly were usually political and the ramifications of inaction would have been felt on a Galactic scale, usually obvious even to an average citizen.
Try as he might, however, Perit couldn't fathom how one little girl could affect more than one System, let alone the Galaxy as a whole.
The Attendant bot's chest turned from green to purple, indicating ‘In Service’ as Perit saw them; two men walking briskly with a child in between whose hand was held tightly by the one on the right.
Light reflected off the girls long red hair that hung in a curtain from her drooping head causing an almost halo effect. She looked small for her age, tense, like elastic stretched too tight and ready to snap. Her legs trembled slightly as she tried to pull her hand out of the man's grip.
Holy Deciden, Perit thought, she's absolutely petrified.
As they neared, he could detect the faint odour of fear but smelled nothing of injuries or abuse. Perit relaxed his stance and face in response, arms loosely at his side; he didn't want to add to her anxiety.
The girl jerked to a stop just before the open double doors and the man let go of her. The two attendants, identical pale blue uniforms and pale smiles, halted before the Proxy, bowing their heads deeply.
Perit nodded slightly in return. “I am Elite Proxy Perit Minot-Tenora, 2nd Class.”
“We are Ships Security. I am Twelve and this is Seventeen.” The one on the right said. “Will you submit to an identity scan?” He asked politely.
“Of course.” Perit agreed and glanced at the girl, smiling. But she remained in the doorway, staring at the stark, white floor.
Twelve unhooked the portable Encephalote from his hip and held it in front of Perit’s forehead. After a few seconds, the attendant checked the holo-display and visibly relaxed.
“Well met, Proxy.” Twelve said with a smile. “Was a quick fold so we didn't have much time to get to know this little one.” He walked back to the girl and gently led her to stand in front of Perit. “But she's been no trouble at all, quiet as space, just stared out the fact, she hasn't said a word yet.” He chuckled and ruffled her hair.
The girls head jerked up, startling violet eyes framed in long, black lashes narrowed, glaring up at the man beside her.
“That's a lie.” she said, flatly.
“You asked me for a fizzy drink once we reached the troposphere.” Twelve blurted out in one breath, grabbing the back of his head. The guard looked puzzled, blushing.
The little girl went back to staring at the floor, trembling.
An awkward silence followed as Perit frowned, wondering what had motivated such instant offence to such a small lie.
“Your shuttle is ready to return, Sirs.” the Port Attendant at the door reported.
Perit snapped out of his reverie. “Thank you for your care of the girl. Remember to lodge a Completion of Delivery once on board; my superiors will be waiting for confirmation.”
The two men nodded respectfully and headed back down the walkway to their shuttle.
“One moment.” Perit called out and Twelve turned around “How many luggage crates does she have?”
“No luggage at all, Sir.” He said and hurried after his partner, the Port Attendant closing the doors behind them.
They were left in silence.
Soundproof walls and engine dampening deadened the noise of shuttles landing and taking off outside and, at this time of the morning, there were no bustling families or frustrated businessmen cursing into their coms. The man and girl stood quietly amongst the muffled whirring of air circulators and far off announcements.
She stood only a few steps away but, to Perit, it felt as though there were a deep chasm separating them and that if he moved wrong, she would fall. He felt his heart wrench slightly as he realised he would have to get to know her before he could kill her...if he had to. Bringing his training to the fore, judging by her response, he suspected he should be honest with her.
At least she seems to hate lies, he thought.
So deciding, he lithely sat cross-legged on the cold, tile floor in front of the little girl.
The Port bot at the doors raised a silver eyebrow and watched the dignified Proxy, patiently waiting, sitting like a child. Minutes passed before the girl became curious enough to raise her head slightly. Perit was smiling warmly at her.
“Hi there. My name is Perit. What's your name?”
She raised her head a little more, face tense with fear, body stiffy trembling. Inky black pupils bore into him, searching his features. The small child seemed to come to a conclusion as she cocked her head slightly to the side and asked, “Can I stop now?”
Wondering at her phrasing, Perit smiled at the slight lisp to her s’s.
“Almost. In four days, we'll board a much larger Cruiser than you were just on and then it's just one more Fold till we get to our new home. But you will be handed over to no more strangers; your uncertainty can stop here with me.”
Peering into his eyes intently, Perit marvelled at the violet irises with small flecks of green. Her face, if looking at the features separately, looked almost out of place. Her small chin was overly pointy, the button nose almost too small, chubby cheeks as red as her lips. But it was the starkly black, long lashes framing those amazing eyes that leapt out at a person, even deeply shadowed with fatigue.
And it was those eyes that brought all of it together to make her face almost excruciatingly perfect. Knowing how deceiving looks could be, the Proxy wondered what was behind such innocence. Realising he'd been staring at her for too long, Perit noticed that her trembling had diminished and she was calmly gazing back at him, head still slightly askew.
“Ceridwen Nairini.” She said quietly.
Perit grinned then groaned theatrically as he uncrossed his legs and stood up. He was rewarded with a small smile.
“Ugh, my bones. You'd think I was old, Ceridwen.” He grumbled and gestured for her to follow him out of the dock. “But I’m only one hundred and fifty-one standard years old and still in my prime, little miss.”
As they walked through the corridors back to the entrance, Perit shortened his stride to match her small steps. He kept up a light chatter, asking where she'd got the travelling suit she wore as it was identical to his Proxy uniform, laughing when Ceridwen haltingly described how the Niarini Proxy had shrunk one of his when she expressed a liking for it.
The little girl brushed her hand over the emblem near her left collar bone. “I like this picture a lot; it’s pretty.”
It was the Proxy Assembly’s official emblem; a circle with their galaxy standing out in relief, done in green thread with real chips of white crystal studded throughout representing the systems of the Galactic Accord.
“That’s the Proxy insignia.” He said as he absently took her hand, feeling it tense slightly.
He suspected that with the slightest wrong step, like a frightened turtle, she'd quickly retreat back into her shell. But the little girl started to look around her, taking an interest in the surroundings that she hadn't shown back at the dock. Noticing them for the first time, Ceridwen stared at the attendant bots, scattered at intervals along the hallway, as they passed.
Perit felt her gently tug on his hand as she asked “What are those half body things?”
They came to the entrance and Perit stopped in front of the Attendant at the open doors.
“These? They're Servo’s; robots, androids, metal attendants – they’re called lots of things but they’re just artificial humans that are programmed to do specific things. These ones run the Space Port on the ground level, help passengers like the one that was at the dock.”
Ceridwen looked up at the robot intently, almost searchingly.
“Can they think?” She asked.
“Not like a human, no. Most civilisations integrated into the Galactic Accord have tried to create an artificial intelligence at some point through their evolution; none have ever succeeded. You can have a conversation with them but their responses are limited to factual knowledge and incoming data when streaming. Basically, Ceridwen, they can only do and say what they're programmed to.”
She stared for a moment longer then looked back at Perit, beaming.
“They're silent.” She enthused, delighted.
Puzzled, he smiled back, and then led her out into the night.
By the time they reached the hotel, a yawning Ceridwen had almost exhausted Perit’s knowledge of Servo’s and automated machines. He was a little surprised she hadn't been exposed to such technology as it was pretty common within the households of country and planetary leaders like her father, the High Noble.
Once inside, hotel staff quickly scanned and lodged Ceridwen’s encephalon pattern for identification purposes then left them alone in their suite. Perit showed her into the room that would be hers and stood back to study her reaction.
The young girl hesitantly walked in, eyes wide and instantly awake. She drank it all in, the cupboard doors left deliberately open for her to see all the toys and clothes inside. She’d been taken straight from her parents Keep by hovercar to the spaceship; a boring white blob, inside and out. Granted, these walls were as grey as the ones she’d lived in for goodness knows how long but there were other colours now in curtains of heavy cream with gold filigree, bedspread of the same nubby material and colour, bright green, blue and red carpeting…and toys.
“Now, I’ve left the walls grey so that you could pick what colour you want them to be.” Perit said, indicating the control panel on the wall. “So what's your favourite colour, missy?”
Ceridwen looked around, overwhelmed by all the colour, bewildered. Then she spotted the doll’s house and froze. It was custom made by Anders, a Galactically famous artist who never made two the same. With its own micro-Celeation generator, it had halogen lighting, running water from the small, refillable tank attached to the rear and even a mini Victualator which actually produced real, if tiny, edible food. The Proxy Assembly commissioned at least five a year and gave them as gifts to orphanages throughout the galaxy. This particular one had a deep blue, gabled roof, walls a paler, sweeter blue with white shutters on the windows and window seats jutting out from the first floor. The hinges, doorhandles, light fixtures, even the cutlery were all made from rare Astrinian gold, plates, sinks and bathtub from smooth, glistening porcelain.
When the Hotel Manager had given Perit the list of available toys and he'd seen ‘Anders Creation’, he'd jumped at getting it for Ceridwen; observing how a child played was a good way to assess base personality. He didn't know whether she'd ever had one or not; many wealthy, planetary leaders spoiled their offspring, much to Perit’s annoyance.
By her reaction, he guessed she was not one of these children.
“ that a little house?” Ceridwen whispered.
By Deciden, she's never even seen a dollhouse, Perit thought.
“Yes. They're called dollhouses. There's furniture and people dolls inside, even a little baby doll. A lot of children like to play with them; move the dolls around, pretend they're real people, moving about, living their lives.”
“Am I allowed to do that?” She asked, looking longingly at the blue and white miniature building even as she yawned.
“Of course, but not now. It's way past rest time. What you can do now is pick out a night dress and get into bed.”
He led her over to the cupboard where she stood gawking at the hanging clothes in confusion till Perit took out a red, linen nightie with small orange flowers on it and gave it to her. He went into his room and got into his nightwear while she changed. He went back in a few minutes later to get her to brush her teeth.
The little girl was curled up in front of the closed dollhouse fast asleep. Perit picked her up and tucked her into bed. Ceridwen snuggled down, rousing slightly, smiling sleepily at him.
“Green, like a forest.” She whispered.
There was a long road ahead of him, gaining her trust and discovering what, if any, reason there would be for her termination. Perit was surprised to realise he was looking forward to getting to know her and changed the wall colour to forest green with a smile.