The Sleepy Starship Captain Gets Grilled

Factorio. Migrated blog. Early Lost Colonies feedback. Cappa and Zima interview a very tired Commander Telawani. Early review of The Chicken Game by Linda M. Scott.

Cappa breaking a log on the left. A lightning bolt. Project Xerxes cover on the right.

Factorio has taken over my evenings. I wasn't even sure I would like that sort of game (finishing the tutorial took me 5 days), but I'm ~15 hours into free play mode, stripping the planet of resources so I can build a rocket ship to save my own sorry skin, and I'm really enjoying it. A "questioning my life choices" moment came when I got an achievement for triggering an attack from the natives because I'd created too much pollution. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go hide my shameful self in a closet now... and build more factories.

Games aside, it's been a busy month. I finally migrated my blog from Wix to Ghost, so you can now see all 4+ years of posts alongside my newsletters, which I haven't entirely migrated yet, and receive email notifications when new posts are available.

Timeless Keeper Saga Book 3 hit 9,000 words. The first few chapters contain a lot of world building, which slows me down, but I expect the pace to pick up soon.

I've begun circulating Project Xerxes and Enigma among beta readers. So far, feedback for both has been extremely positive. My wife even graced me with a very rare, "It was excellent!" with regards to Enigma, which made my day. My priority this week is engaging a cover artist for Enigma, so hopefully I'll have something to share with you soon. March is starting to look iffy for release (I plan to launch both at the same time). April is more likely.

Along those lines, I extracted last month's Lost Colonies feature into a separate compendium, which I will continue to update as more material becomes available—your one-stop guide to all things Lost Colonies!

Lastly, this month's feature is a crossover interview by veterans Cappa and Zima, who grill Emra Telawani from Project Xerxes about all sorts of things. Enjoy!

In this newsletter

  • Crossover Character Interview – Cappa and Zima x Emra
  • Free Books, Sales, and Events
  • Currently Reading

Crossover Character Interview

Cappa and Zima from The Z-Tech Chronicles interview Emra Telawani from Lost Colonies.


CAPPA: Commander Emra Telawani! Thank you for joining us. I hope we didn't snag you at a bad time?

EMRA: (yawns) Where am I? I must still be dreaming.

CAPPA: Um... yes! Yes you are. This is definitely not an alternate universe and timeline from your own. Love your pajamas, by the way. They look silky delish.

EMRA: Thanks, they're standard GSF issue. (rubs bedridden hair) Who are you?

CAPPA: I'm Cappa, and my companion—who promised to behave this time—is Zima.

ZIMA: Tell me about your ship.

EMRA: Infinitum? It's a GSF cruiser-class transport, fold-capable. Fresh out of the shipyard. I'm her first skipper.

ZIMA: (stares)

EMRA: Uh, what exactly do you want to know?

ZIMA: Weapons. Range. Speed. Crew capacity. Power output. Weapons.

EMRA: You said weapons twice.

ZIMA: Because I wish to know twice as much about those.

EMRA: Well, that's an easy one: Infinitum doesn't have any. No ship in the Galilean Space Fleet does.

ZIMA: (head cocks) Is the GSF not a military organization?

EMRA: It is.

ZIMA: How does it protect its populace without weapons?

EMRA: How do you not... Oh, I get it. This is one of those dreams where I'm on Earth before the Exodus, trying to explain Galilean pacifism to our ancestors. Bet you don't know what a ’ware is, either.

CAPPA: We do, and about space folding, and the Uu'nok who invaded Earth in your distant past. Britta was kind enough to explain.*

EMRA: You know Britta Silverstar? This is one confusing dream. Anyway, the other colonies aren't hostile, and Galileans haven't fought each other even once in our ten-thousand-year history. We have no reason for weapons.

ZIMA: Unless the Uu'nok find you.

EMRA: In which case the GSF's responsibility is to evacuate the Galileo ASAP.

CAPPA: But your homes. Your planet! You'd leave it all behind without even a fight?

EMRA: Wasting precious life on either side in a battle we likely couldn't win goes against everything we believe in. We have the technology to escape, to rebuild. So that's exactly what we'll do.

ZIMA: (brow-knits)

CAPPA: Are you okay?

ZIMA: I am attempting to reconcile her logic without success. I need time to process.

CAPPA: Well I'll be. Congratulations, Commander, you broke Zima. Hopefully in a good way.

EMRA: That's a first. Usually I can't convince anyone in these dreams.

CAPPA: Yes... While our dear Zima wrestles with a lifetime of anti-Galilean conditioning, perhaps we can switch to more personal questions. Is there a Mr. or Mrs. Telawani in your life?

EMRA: Neither. I've just received the command assignment I've been working toward for my whole career. Only that matters right now.

CAPPA: Oh, phooey! Not even a love interest? No one who makes your little officer heart go pitter-pat?

EMRA: I... Oh, what the heck. It's just a dream, right?

CAPPA: You bet your cute silk jammies it is.

ZIMA: You should not lie to her.

CAPPA: Shush! Ahem... please go ahead, my dear. Tell Auntie Cappa every scrumptious detail.

EMRA: Okay. So I chased this miscreant Marine across the city, trying to detain him until the MPs arrived, but it backfired and we both landed in jail.

CAPPA: Squeee! A prison romance story!

EMRA: Not really, we weren't in jail long. Turns out he wasn't as amoral as I first assumed. We also had a lot in common, namely our ambitions. This was before I got my command assignment. I saw a lot of myself in him. It was nice because I suddenly didn't feel so out of place.

CAPPA: I can imagine. What was his ambition?

EMRA: He wanted to be the first person to greet a new colony. Problem was that he was too high ranked for the mission. Ironically, he had to sabotage his own career to get what he really wanted.

ZIMA: Did not Charlie and Mark do similar?

CAPPA: Yes, but this isn't about them. Please continue, Emra.

EMRA: So, yeah, I helped him out, and might have fallen for him in the process. But now he's... Oh, it doesn't matter.

CAPPA: Of course it does! Love may be the only thing in the universe that does matter. What happened?

EMRA: He dropped to the surface of planet Enigma, but hasn't checked in in two days. They've already declared him missing in action.

ZIMA: The solution seems obvious. Go after him.

EMRA: If it were that simple, I would. Niz was chosen for the assignment because he's practically superhuman and trained for survival. If he didn't make it, I have no chance.

ZIMA: Then I will go. (draws two pistols from her jacket) Cappa, send me back with her. I shall find her Marine.

CAPPA: First off, no. Secondly, no! Thirdly, what makes you think you'd fare any better than Niz? You didn't even ask why Enigma is so dangerous!

ZIMA: Commander, why is Enigma so dangerous?

CAPPA: (huffs)

EMRA: Part of the problem is that we don't know. Every piece of technology we've sent into the atmosphere has failed within seconds or minutes. We have no idea why, and the cloud layer is so thick that we've never had more than a single glimpse of the surface, hence the planet's name.

ZIMA: (holsters her pistols) Cappa is correct. It is unlikely I would be able to locate your Marine.

CAPPA: Yeah, the anti-technology thing is a terrifying non-starter for both of us. And yet you believe a colony may be living on the surface?

EMRA: We know someone's down there, just not who. That's what Niz was sent to find out. (sniffles)

CAPPA: Oh! Emra, I'm so sorry. I know how it feels when someone dear to you goes missing. We both do, which is probably why Zima is so eager to help.

EMRA: Thanks. I'm lucky that Infinitum has been ordered to remain in orbit around Enigma for the time being. I keep hoping for good news, but it's hard to keep my spirits up, and to keep my mood from affecting the crew. Not knowing is just so... excruciating.

CAPPA: I completely understand. You're human just like... well, let's leave it at that. I'm sure your crew understand, too.

EMRA: Maybe. Want to know the real kicker? This is exactly the reason I've avoided relationships for my entire career. Now I'm finally where I want to be, and the situation couldn't be worse. I can hardly concentrate on my job at all. I almost don't care.

CAPPA: We can't control who we fall in love with, nor when. Trust me! What I can tell you is don't give up on him, not until you know his fate for sure. In his place, I would want to know that someone is willing to go to the ends of the Earth—or the galaxy, in this case—to find me.

ZIMA: Charlie would. I would.

CAPPA: Aw, you're going to make me cry!

EMRA: Thanks. It isn't often that dream conversations help, but this one has.

CAPPA: You're welcome, though sad to say you won't remember it. Speaking of which, our time is up. Any parting words before you go?

EMRA: I like your outfit. I'm a shirt-and-slacks sort of girl, but that Earth-style sundress really works for you.

CAPPA: Holy Moses! Between the two of you, I'll be blushing all week. Stay strong, Emra, and best of luck. Toodles!

EMRA: (disappears in an electric flash)

CAPPA: Tragic, yet inspiring. Zima, would you really have charged down to an alien planet to search for someone you don't know who may or may not be alive?

ZIMA: Yes. As you said, I know how it feels when someone dear is missing. I would spare Emra that pain. Anne would want no less.

CAPPA: Anyone ever tell you you're a romantic at heart?

ZIMA: No, because it is physically impossible.

CAPPA: Touché. Let's go see what the others are up to, shall we?

ZIMA: You mean Charlie.

CAPPA: "Impossible" my shapely behind! Come along.

— END —

* If you missed the crossover interview between Cappa, Dela, and Britta, check it out by clicking below.

Exclusive Sci Fi Interview: Three Characters, Two Worlds, One Witty Conversation
A whimsical character interview between Cappa and Dela from The Z-Tech Chronicles, and Britta Silverstar from the Lost Colonies series.

Free Books, Sales, and Events

Currently Reading

The Chicken Game by Linda M. Scott

This slice-of-life novella is a prequel to the yet-to-be-released science fiction series The Telanera Contagion. I had the privilege of reading alpha versions of Books 1-3, which are all fun, fantastic adventures in a rich universe filled with colorful characters you love to hate.

Chicken Game winds back the clock on the series' protagonist, giving us insight to Ash's life on a farm as an early teen and the numerous family members that may have contributed to their interesting, ah... quirks.

I'm halfway through and enjoying it. Look for a full review when the book releases, hopefully soon!

Linda's Books

My Books

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The Z-Tech Chronicles

In the face of a rising, ancient evil, a traumatized San Francisco waitress may be the only thing standing between humanity and oblivion.

The Z-Tech Chronicles is a science fiction / urban fantasy saga that follows Anne Perrin on her journey from a traumatized waitress to becoming more than she ever imagined.

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One Man's Trash - A Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy Story

Croft Winder grew up believing that love is blind.

It wasn't until he took his fiancée on a little vacation to the Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy, however, that he learned it can also be downright insane.

Will the wonders of the Truck Stop save their relationship or send it to the executioner’s block? Not even the ancient Delphians could have guessed.

One Man's Trash is a cozy sci fi romance set in the Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy universe.

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Dragon Assassin - A Steamy Shifter Romance

Half dragon. Half human. All woman... and all killer.​

Humans think Charon is a monster. Dragons consider her an abomination, condemning her to a lifetime of isolation.

Now her half-breed body is changing in ways she doesn't understand, torturing her with strange desires. Her only hope may lie with a handsome young assassin who, in courting her, might be getting more than he signed up for.

If you're into sexy shape-changing half-dragons, suave assassins, absurd anatomy, and steamy female-led relationships, then this thrilling paranormal romance adventure is for you!

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