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The Ransom Project

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Re: The Ransom Project

Postby Goodwolf » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:20 pm

I *think* it was Stephen King who said he's oftentimes just as surprised as we are at where the story goes.
May have been on the losin' side, still not convinced it was the wrong one.
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Re: The Ransom Project

Postby taimdala » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:25 pm

SO true!
"Never, never, never give in ... except to convictions of honor and good sense."
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Re: The Ransom Project

Postby AZSneed » Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:50 am

A WIP scan of my Zenith Metal Fabrication Business card.

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Re: The Ransom Project

Postby Yellowjacket » Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:05 pm

Niiice. I'm hoping to return to Ransom very soon with some upcoming projects.
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Re: The Ransom Project

Postby AZSneed » Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:12 pm

Thanks! :thumbsup:

I hope so, I'm getting lonely here. :D
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Re: The Ransom Project

Postby Yellowjacket » Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:28 pm

MOCKINGBIRD

PART THREE: Heroine of the Masses

Heroes of the 26th century are as varied as you might expect, but a few tip the scales of courage and sacrifice to such degrees to deserve the popularity and notoriety of the masses.

One such hero was a girl named Anna.

Anna Paredes was born and raised in obscurity among the throngs of 2.5 billion people huddled aboard the tiny planet Valentine. Her first, primal, but infant cries were just so much white noise against the background of Cidade dos Namorados, a bursting suburb of Amadora. In a cityscape covering 1,472 square kilometers, Anna's birth was but one entrance among nearly 7,000 arriving daily. In short, she was celebrated by her mother alone along with conservative salutations from the midwife.

Her childhood, such as it was, was summed up in labor. From the moment she was born she was marked for work, which would remain all but literal until her teens. From the time she could perform any task, she worked, having no father to provide and only indentured siblings for company. In a city crawling with almost one billion laborers, Anna was just one more worker ant. Sadly, she was also beautiful.

From the time she was born Anna burned like lamplight. She was so stunning a child that the most harried people of those dreary streets would halt to take notice of her, pausing to lay praise at her feet. She could awaken smiles mummified by grief and bring astonishment to eyes that had seen too much or too little. She was framed of a face the poets dare not speak of for fear of breaking the spell of a thing experienced more in dream than any garbage strewn street of Amadora. She was a gift of the moment to all who ever crossed her path. She was a blessing to everyone but herself.

More than once in those early years, an admiring person of substance had offered Anna's mother a king's ransom for the child. These kind and thoughtless, often thrice given gestures of the wealthy, were always wounding, for they saw Anna only for the raiment she was born with and her family as a mere obstacle of ownership. They wanted only to possess her as a prize, no matter their promises to love her and raise her as their own. Still, her mother did consider the delivery of her fairest, most beloved child into the arms of strangers many times, knowing that a life of privilege awaited Anna. A life of health. A life elsewhere.

Unfortunately, Anna was already the captive possession of a monster. Her Uncle.

Estevao Fonseca possessed Anna as much he was possessed by her, though to be fair, he was as self possessed a person as any man could be. His disregard for other people, kin or not, was well established long before he met Anna, though something particularly unpleasant was born in him when he first met her. This was not the sudden, caring love for a child that a paternal uncle should feel, but that wonton interest that other wealthy strangers had shown, and once awoken in Estevao, it never died. Instead, it became something tainted and even if Anna's mother had wanted to spare her child the life of work and poverty into which she'd been born, Estevao had other plans.

You see, Anna's father had been a poor man, a good man, but too trusting a man. While Anna would never know him, her father having died three months prior to her birth, she would forever be haunted by his failings, one of which was trusting his older brother, and Anna's Uncle, Estevao. Estevao had inherited a fortune as the older son, and he would sometimes bestow limited 'kindness' upon Anna's parents, not because of any love for his brother, but due to a not well hidden infatuation with his brother's wife. And, having little or nothing to his name, but an adoring, beautiful wife, Anna's father had accepted this kindness, not recognizing the poison which came of such gifts. Each and every false grace bestowed by Estevao proved a hidden fishhook, so that by the time Anna's father had perished (under strange circumstances) Estevao's inheritance had grown to include his brother's widow and children.

This was not the first, carefully rehearsed takeover of a family orchestrated by Estevao. The man was a slave trader.

Slavery, not uncommon in all parts of the Verse, thrived in Amadora. While not the life blood of the city sprawl, it was a disease flowing in it. In some parts of Amadora, one in five were slaves, and almost every other inhabitant lived with some form of indenture. Estevao was just one more holder of many among many, and he counted family among his livestock.

When Anna's father died, leaving behind nothing but her Uncle's fishhooks, it was soon understood who would pull the strings thereafter. Estevao, having fully expected his brother's widow to rush willingly into his arms with him in the role of family savior, was soon disappointed by her disdain. Daily he visited her with empty promises, wondering aloud in great shouts that she should spurn his generosity so absolutely. So angry was he that promises of comfort and shelter soon turned to threats of hardship and captivity. Still, she could not requite the pretended love of Estevao, a man incapable of feeling or understanding such a thing. And so, the family was reduced to a bookkeeper's column.

Then came Anna's third birthday. It was the first time that Estevao had deigned to visit his holdings, and then only to measure the child for her worth. He had heard some odd whisperings about the beautiful girl, but had never once visited until then. When he saw Anna, he was as suddenly converted as any stranger had been before, but with greater poison. From that day forward, he ground the chaff of Anna's family to harvest her to his purposes.


TO BE CONTINUED...
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Re: The Ransom Project

Postby Yellowjacket » Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:12 pm

MOCKINGBIRD

PART FOUR: Cause and Effect

Every life that touches another leaves a mark, but the degree to which we cause effect in our lifetime varies widely. Strangely, very similar experiences in separate lives can bring them closer together, for one life having experienced a certain joy will gravitate to that same joy experienced in others. The same rings true for suffering or longings.

To an outside observer the lives of Sam Bell, Jeff Poulson and Anna Paredes would seem very different, and rightly so, but the cosmos spins on great cogs and very small ones alike, so by the strangest roads people of vastly different beginnings might come to share a stage.

Sam Bell was born far from the teeming, tidal turnings of the Core worlds, and by virtue of his modest beginnings on Deadwood, one might have thought him destined for more anonymity than greatness. Certainly the world of his nativity offered very little by comparison to such places as Londinium, or Osiris. But it was this very humble beginning that drove him to see all and experience all. The same sunrises and carbon copy sunsets inspired Sam to something and somewhere else and a need to meet everyone. The itch of cause. The scratch of effect.

Jeffrey Poulson was born very comfortable, but also in a place of secure sameness. He never wanted for more, because his need to know and experience turned inward to unlit places where mushrooms gathered and worms fed. His isolation was the desolate landscape of Alliance citizenship. One more unsung soldier, unified in purpose, and without ambition. His was a private yearning to escape notice absolutely for the purpose of meeting his fellow men one experiment at a time. The itch of madness. The scratch of control.

Anna Paredes was born as isolated as a person can be, buried in the desolate cityscape of a population to big to ever take notice of one among billions. Too small to count as a cog in the clock works of the universe, Anna was born to affect the unhindered machine with no more potential than dust. Just one more generation among slaves who changes the world by mere, base erosion. Her secret wish was that of the lonely and humble, to be loved, not by many across worlds, or by one alone, but perfectly as a person among a cherished few friends. The itch of genuine requirement. The scratch of hopeful, patient yearning.

Yes, these were the players of a someday stage that would play out before the whole Verse. These were the unrehearsed heroes and villain that would storm the headlines.



To be Continued...
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Re: The Ransom Project

Postby Yellowjacket » Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:21 am

MOCKINGBIRD

PART FIVE: Renewal


"What would you like to be when you grow up?"

Chet looked up from his tiny, scale collection of generation arks with a thoughtfulness on his face that only a five year old could truly conjure and 'hmmmm'd' aloud for several moments.

His mother smiled. She loved asking him this question, because of the many humorous and surprising answers that would drift up from her feet as he played. He never answered simply. He would create the longest of explanations and always with the most serious of expressions, as he laid out a life plan over many minutes. This time was different. This time it was more...prophetic.

"A music maker." he said, and this was new.

"A musician…?" she offered right back.

"Yes…" he returned after a pause and in a dreamy, unsure way. "…a musician."

Chet thought, "That isn't right at all", but with simplest of corrections his mother had unwittingly infused in him an alteration in course so slight, but so absolute, that it changed his whole destination. In truth, his first answer was nearer to his compass, for had he become a music 'maker', producing or governing music in some form other than performing, Chet would have gone very far indeed. His mother, thinking that she had but corrected a misuse of words, had in fact tweaked Chet's whole rudder by supplanting his instinct to be a music maker with the more specific role of musician. Before that subtlest of alterations, Chet had been on course to become the greatest voice of music the Verse had ever known. He might have been the DJ upon which all other DJs were weighed and found wonting. He might have been the voice of talk broadcasting for trillions of avid listeners. He might have been so many things.

Instead, he wasn't.

His mother had placed a word in his path and he liked the lilt of it. Musician. Musician. Musician. Just the sound of had a certain music to an impressionable child, and the conversation continued along this path, only very quietly. It was the first time she'd begun this line of questioning, only to have him grow more silent.

"What would you play?" she prompted. "Do you have a favorite instrument?"

Chet reeled a little. It had never occurred to him to have such a thing as 'favorites'. Young as he was, he'd always loved all instruments, or had thought he had. Presented with the question he grew quieter still.

Chet's mother frowned a little. She wasn't used to silence from Chet. She nudged him gently with one foot as she folded clothes. When he didn't come back from his thoughts, she nudged him again.

"Guitar…?" he offered. He knew the guitar more as a word than a concept, but he didn't know how to answer, so he picked the first instrument he knew by name.

Chet's mother smiled and so he smiled. Another seed planted. Another slight alteration in course.







When Chet was 13 he secured his first, real guitar. Not some cheap market thing, but a genuine crafted instrument. He loved it at once and smiled to himself, almost, but not quite remembering the conversation from years before. He took to it with real determination and was playing well within weeks, but with no natural gift to guide his hands. No spark.

By the time Chet was 17 he already enough friends and followers to believe he had hat special something which everyone always talked about. He didn't like whatever this 'something' was. On some level he was beginning to believe he didn't have whatever it could be.

At 21, he was certain he was in the wrong the place altogether, but couldn't say why. Instead, he met Candis and joined another band.



….



Then when Chet was 23, Candis woke him abruptly at 3:42 am on what would be a very rainy Saturday in a part of Beaumonde that really needed the air cleared. Chet himself had planned to 'clear the air' a bit that very morning and had gone to bed rehearsing what he was going to say to the band that next day. It was time to break it all up and turn it all off. It wasn't working. It couldn't work. Some instinctual 'something' was starting to creep into his brain again and he meant to chase it down and kill it if it wouldn't talk, but Candis woke him up instead.

She was beautiful. Even in the gloom of a motel room just this side of condemned she looked good. It didn't hurt that she was naked and built to make a man cry. He reached for her and she slapped his hand away.

"Did you hear what I said!? They played it on Public One."

He rubbed one eye with the heel of his hand and smiled bemused. She was sitting up now, looking terribly serious, counting aloud and doing rudimentary math with her fingers.

"They're just five hours ahead of us!"

"Who is…?"

"Public One! They're doing the morning wave!"

He rolled onto his back and dropped a hand on her thigh. She smacked it and not gently.

"Ow! Okay…so what? The morning wa…"

"They played 'Amain'."

Chet blinked. Candis said nothing. Chet blinked again. Candis smiled a little. Chet sat up. Candis nodded once. Chet's mouth opened once but he didn't say anything with it. Candis smiled a little more. Chet smiled back.

The two of them got dressed in a way that nearly injured both of them. They tripped over one another finding clothes and upset a bucket of half thawed ice all over carpet that was never beautiful. Chet never found his second sock and Candis left a bra in the sink but they made their way down the hall waking up the band and whoever had slept over.

Amain was their song, but it was a ridiculous song. It wasn't even a real song compared to most. At best it was bad. It was three repeating chords and lyrics off a cereal box bad. Chet could only think that someone trying to get fired at Public One had just dropped it into the rotation between some festive segments about dwarf animal breeds. Just that. Nothing more, but by ten of the morning their time, 'Amain' was on the first chart of many and it was already bouncing it's way across satellite repeaters outbound.

Chet took it as a sign and stepped onto the wrong path again.







By the age of 26, Candis had left him. She gave him the saddest look he'd ever seen in his life and told him that she found someone that 'respected her'. She had smiled as she spoke those two words together, and in a way so utterly removed that Chet took it like a sucker punch.

Chet spent the next year wondering what had gone wrong. On some lever he knew that he was in the wrong place, or more to the point, that he should be in a place like this that wasn't this. His whole life had become some secret, half remembered something that was always on the tip of tongue. He stood at the precipice of his life, ready to fly or fall. He simply fell into more bands.







Chet was in his thirties when he got a call from a casting company wishing to make him a minor celebrity again by featuring his story alongside half a dozen similar failed and would-be artists. He took the job. Everything in his life by then had come down to taking jobs.








Then Che was 44 and it was the rumble. He was eating a day old muffin in a cafe on Boros set just opposite a makeshift airfield when when heard it.

An A-31 CUB makes a certain sound when it cycles up all six engines at once. You can feel it in your bones. First it makes your whole frame thrum, and even if you don't get the usual goosebumps and a shudder, which Chet certainly did, the music which comes next always turns heads. There's something about the way a well tuned A-31 falls into idle and hums. If you put 10 of your best throat singers behind some really loud concert speakers you'd almost, but not quite get the A-31 'effect' during take-off.

Chet quit music right there. No, rather he quit the kind of music we call music and traded it for engines, tarmacs and cafes that only serve day old muffins.







Chet reached his fifties without any music at all. Even so, as he was sitting in another cafe called Brass Tacks when he heard…it. He wasn't listening for 'it'. He'd given up listening to 'IT' for years, having left behind all the music of his own life and everyone else's. He didn't want anything to do with it and had found some peace in ignoring that certain whatever it had been that had strung him along and carried him to places he didn't like to think about. Music had betrayed him once too often and he had no time or stomach for it, but there, despite years of carefully practiced sobriety from music, he heard it just the same.

"Naubrey Jitter Jive' drifted to the solitary booth where Chet sat eating a solitary egg. Chet didn't notice until the second chorus that he was tapping his foot. "Traitorous appendage", he muttered, but smiled a little and thought, 'That would be a great name for a song.' He shook his head, but Naubrey Jitter Jive continued to play and Chet reverenced it with more attention than he'd given any song in 10 years. He turned his head.

It was a young man's voice, but with a strangely older man's tone. The song had a life to it that implied innocence distilled in a care worn vessel. It was so very 'something' that Chet forgot how hungry he'd been coming in there and turned his whole body to the solitary speaker which hung from an old spigot.

"Who is this…?" he asked in a voice that seemed too loud to himself, but was really only a whisper.

The young blond waitress looked up from a law book she was fervently studying and taking the pencil out of her teeth, she smiled. It was a smile of some recent memory and she blushed a little for reasons Chet wouldn't understand until later. "Some fellow came through her and left that. He made presents of a few copies. It's good, isn't it?"

Chet nodded like he'd just come down from the Mountain, or rather, that the whole Mountain and all of its sages had come down on him. Here was something that the A-31 could never do. Here was something that Chet could and would never do. This was the something. This was the chord the Verse meant to play through him. This was the conversation at his mother's feet when he knew above all other things what he should become. He was not a musician. He was not a long hauler on the Rim. He was not meant for cafes that serve day old muffins. He stood in a daze and paid his tab and took his tinned slice of pie and wandered into a blinding noon brilliance that was still less bright than this epiphany.

Chet could taste metal in his teeth and feel the pulse of Thunder at his fingertips. Chet Newill was a music maker.
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Re: The Ransom Project

Postby Yellowjacket » Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:02 am

I want to work on the next Ransom patch and I think I'd like to do a flight patch for the Oxbow Class Transport Freighter that brought the drilling teams to Wellhead-6-24. I never came up with a name for the Freighter. 'Oxbow' is a tribute to the early western film, but I never came up with a name. Perhaps it doesn't have one, being a company ship for the drilling company, but I'll give it some thought. I already have some ideas for the look of the patch itself, but those could change if a proper name comes along.
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Re: The Ransom Project

Postby Mike J. » Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:46 am

"Conestoga," after the popular wagon?

"Lee," after concept artist Lee Stringer?

"William O'Niel," after Sean Connery's character from Outland, another space western?
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