By Michael Chrobak
Start at the beginning of The Graveyard here.
Two hours had passed since Muse Ten-thirty-six and I had exited the elevator, and I was now wearing clean pants. The stacks of cargo had been stowed, and the ship had launched and was now in a low orbit holding pattern, waiting for clearance to depart. Ten-thirty-six and I were in the galley, watching Four-eight-three-three-two and Steve prepare our first meal, a task that had been determined by having drawn straws. My turn would be tomorrow, along with Ten-thirty-six. After that, we would once again let the straws decide.
Though the computerized kitchen was perfectly capable of preparing our meals, Steve insisted we do it ourselves, claiming that sharing meals prepared by hand not only increased crew morale by seventeen-point-eight percent, but reduced the boredom of star-hopping by an additional twelve-and-a-half. Steve had droned on for nearly fifteen minutes about the camaraderie and inter-relational skills we would develop; though, to be honest, no one else onboard cared.
Muse are born with the ability to connect at deep levels. That is what allows the relationships of the various roles we play to carry a level of honesty required to bring a story to life. Apparently the same is not the case for Arbitrators. They must work to maintain their relationships, even when two Arbitrators have known each other for years. I have always found that strange.
The closest reference I had for this strange phenomenon would be the few times—early in my career—when I had been cast in tales written by lesser-known authors, or those still developing their craft. Luckily, those instances had been few, as I had quickly been promoted. Still, there was always room to develop and learn.
Four-eight-three-three-two held the same rank as I, and I did not foresee myself learning much from her. Ten-thirty-six, however, held the highest rank attainable; that of Aged Master. I wished to find some time along the way to study under his expert care. Perhaps if I convinced Steve that such training would be critical to our task, he would not consider it a triviality and forbid it, as I anticipated might be the case.
As I watched the meal being plated, I wondered what went on inside the Arbitrators mind. Knowing how another thinks, or, more importantly, how they decide, is paramount to the art of persuasion. For my wish to be granted, I knew my influence would be tested. So far, Steve had given away very little in terms of an emotional response.
Arbitrators, being not much more than gaseous balloons, lacked facial features, making it impossible to read their current state of mind. They were barely more than clouds of energy billowing and fading, like storm clouds rising against distant mountains. My kind had yet to interpret what all the seemingly random swirling meant.
A moment later, my internal discourse ended as a metal platter clanged on the table at which I sat. Steve had just served my meal. I took a moment to study it while my nose and my eyes argued to determine if it would be enjoyable, digestible, neither, or both. Whatever it was, at first glance, it appeared as chaotic and fluid as the Arbitrator himself. In other words, it lacked any semblance of visual attraction, and I could feel my upper lip pull back with distaste. Luckily, a moment later, my nose won, as the dish smelled divine.
“What is this that you’ve created?” I inquired politely, mostly to score a few points, which I knew would be helpful in my quest to persuade Steve down the road.
“That,” Steve said, a hint of pride in his voice, “is my interpretation of White Soup. I made it in honor of the first stop we will make. Would anyone care to take a guess?”
My mind raced, telling me somewhere deep inside, the answer to the question could be found, if I could extract it out. So much information lay between what I wanted and what random thoughts spat out. One of the disadvantages of having played so many roles. Then it hit me.
Meet the Author:
So, who am I? Well, that’s a question I’ve been asking myself for a long, long time. And I’m not talking about labels, like; husband, father, brother, son, neighbor, friend, etc. Yeah, even ‘author’ is a label. None of those define me, they only define my relationship to this world.
Maybe that’s why I write. The more stories I tell, the more ‘me’ I find. There’s a little piece of me inside every character and adventure I create. The struggles I’ve had, the wonders I’ve seen, the beauty I’ve encountered, and the sorrow I’ve felt.
I’ve been writing since I was young; I just never had the courage before to let the world read any of it. But what good is creating something if no one sees it but you? Besides, I think the only way we can truly know someone is to find the memories they leave behind. I wonder what my memories will be…
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Don’t forget to check out The Paladin of Panama, Book 2 in the Brother Thomas and the Guardians of Zion series
Brother Thomas and the Guardians of Zion is a Christian YA Fantasy series that asks the question, “What if the Fruits of the Holy Spirit manifested as superpowers?” Faith, Patience, Chastity, Charity, Joy, Peace, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Modesty and Self-Control as superpowers? Why not? Jesus said our faith can move mountains, right?
Book One, Foundations of Faith (the fruit of Faith) begins the saga, as young Thomas, a typical teen with serious doubts about his faith, faces several significant trials as he begins to discover the true depth of his faith. He is visited in a dream by one of the Saints who gives him a quest – to find the Guardians of Zion, young people, much like himself, who have been gifted with special powers. The first of these is Theresa, who calls herself The Endlessly Dying Girl.
Book Two, The Paladin of Panama (the fruit of Chastity) finds Thomas deep in the jungle during a mission project to help build a school when he is once more challenged by The Darkness, aka: the Devil. This time, not only is his life in jeopardy, but so, too, are the lives of his friends, one of which is destined to become The Paladin and will wear the Armor of God.
Book Three, The Guardians Crest (the fruit of Patience) is currently in progress and is scheduled to be released before the end of the year. Who will the next teenage superhero be? And what spiritual superpower will they control? All will be revealed….soon.
You can find out more about the author, his books, and information regarding discounts for schools, churches, youth programs and book clubs on his website at https://michaelchrobakauthor.com or on Amazon by clicking here.