For new material please visit my main blog, CHEESEBURGER BROWN: SCIENCE-FICTION STORY-WALLAH.


The Clouds

I stood alone at the centre of Volmash's phantasmagoric underground phrontisterion, my loyal companion and sworn enemy a green-plated superman masquerading as a slave now fed bodily into a great black gun two storeys high presided over by a twittering flock of brown-flecked sparrows. I paced in circles, stepping over a smashed silver robot when necessary.

I heard footfalls and looked up to see the girl in white and two pale, unarmed soldiers stopping at the threshold. One of them was cradling a wounded arm. I levelled the Smith-Shurtook at them. "No fancy soldiering, please," I said. "Just stay where you are."

Simon of Space - a sci-fi/fantasy novel by Cheeseburger Brown
Dear all,

It has come to be: the free version of this science-fiction novel has been taken offline in order to make room for the hard-cover printed edition from Ephemera Bound Publishing, on sale in stores and online beginning Valentine's Day, 2008.

I regret any disappointment. I kept the free version available as long as I could. Do be sure to check out the new edition! See Cheeseburger Brown.com for more information and updates.

Cheeseburger Brown

P.S. You can read more of my free fiction via my weblog or in the complete story achives.


Anonymous Edmund decreed...

Ta da!

Mon Aug 29, 03:41:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Teddy decreed...

BLAST! no first post. gotta go read it now.

Mon Aug 29, 03:42:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...


why did i have to come in and check for a post now i have to work knowing that there is a new chapter...

CRAP !!!!


Mon Aug 29, 03:58:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Very Cool!

Mon Aug 29, 04:14:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Capt. Stupendo decreed...

Well, well, well...questions answered.

Mon Aug 29, 04:17:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous intrepidhero decreed...

Apparently, the advantage to writing sci-fi is you can repeatedly beat the crap out of your character without worrying about the repercussions too much. ;-)
That aside, WILD ROCKING COOL CHAPTER! Thanks, CBB. :-)

Mon Aug 29, 04:26:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous intrepidhero decreed...

Apparently, the advantage to writing sci-fi is you can repeatedly beat the crap out of your character without worrying about the repercussions too much. ;-)
That aside, WILD ROCKING COOL CHAPTER! Thanks, CBB. :-)

Mon Aug 29, 04:27:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous intrepidhero decreed...

sorry, me first time commentor.

Mon Aug 29, 04:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Xroads decreed...

The Sparrows are flying again. Yet another story that makes such a cute little bird into a terrifying force.

This novel is great. Thanks for the ride so far. I will be here till the end.

Mon Aug 29, 04:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dave decreed...

And I'm STILL confused over who Simon really is! *ROTFL*

I'll have to read this one over and over a few times and digest it all.

Great work CBB!

Mon Aug 29, 04:33:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Very cool!
Note a typo: it's "rappelling" gear, not "repeling" gear.

Mon Aug 29, 04:45:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous delirium of disorder decreed...

I was typing this prior to the new post going up, it may have been rendered moot, but perhaps not:

An absurd thought: Simon is an executive based on the line that Jeremiah says has been terminated. I don't have time to read back but wasn't this, and a few other lines considered a dangerous enemy of Jeremiah’s?

The good doctor could not tell Pish was an Executive till the wound was great enough to expose his innards. Could the same be true for Simon? Could there be a rival faction of Executives who have gone against their main programming and made their goal the genocide or at the least societal destruction of the human race? An executive, like Pish designed not to recognize his origin and purpose, part of which is to carry an execution protocol for the Nightmare Canon? Or better yet – is Olorio the executive?

Of course not, but isn’t speculating on Simon’s nature/truths much more engaging than guessing the end of the Matrix turned out to be. Just imagine the irony of Simon’s recent conversations with Jeremiah.

Or how about using the endings from other science fiction to come up with a fake ending here: the something wicked that comes this way is actually V_GER, ala Star Trek I, come to destroy, absorb, and assimilate all in an effort to return to the creator?

Mon Aug 29, 04:54:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Mark decreed...

Ah, the mint for our collective baited breath. We can forgive typos here and there.

Favorite kicked-hero-mouths-off-anyway line,
"You're grounded."

So many answers and still no end in sight! I don't usually take the allowed 15-minute breaks, but I did today the minute I saw this post was up.

Mon Aug 29, 04:54:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous kumar decreed...

Ok, so the Nightmare Cannon doesn't require a media signal on which to piggyback, it can broadcast directly? Neat...
I suppose it probably has a limited area of effect, and requires a media transmission to send the signal to a wider audience.

Mon Aug 29, 04:54:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Edmund decreed...

Now THAT was a great read! I've read it twice, and I still don't see where Jeremiah called Simon by his name...

...and if what Jeremiah said was true: "There is no longer any force which stands between you, and our quest to bring the Nightmare Cannon before the Queen", then why are they still running?

Mon Aug 29, 04:55:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cheeseburger Brown decreed...

Dear all,

I'll get to the accumulated typos later. I'm a little buried at the moment.

Remember: there may be a lot of answers in this episode, but you can't expect everything to become crystal clear immediately. We do have two more worlds to get to, after all, and I must keep a thing or two up my sleeve, yet.



Word verification: fecome

Mon Aug 29, 04:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Phy decreed...

Simon started out as Terron Menteith. He learned drama from Blighton, and became Terron Volmash. Volmash tired of being Volmash, and had his memory wiped. (Likely he also had surgery done, just like Olorio.) Olorio interfered, setting Volmash up to become Nestor Fell - a life of comfort in which Olorio, formerly governor of Metra, could obtain the key to the Nightmare Cannon. However, Simon is none of these. He is Simon of Space.

To me, the confrontation between Blighton and Jeremiah is the most interesting part of this post. Jeremiah is espousing the systematic disruption of many of our basic hunter-gatherer instincts, while Blighton, the storyteller, argues for those instincts. Cliché arises through overuse, and the clichéd stories Blighton seems to rely on can be found and applied throughout many (if not all) human cultures. Can they then be said to be a reflection of our instincts, of the way we think things ought to work? If so, then according to the philosophy of the executives, these stories are no more healthy for humankind than the way we instinctually govern ourselves. Indeed, kings and rulers and "strong personalities" dominate story as much as they do government. As Commander Vimes once put it, humanity's major design flaw is its tendency to bend at the knee.

Mon Aug 29, 05:04:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Totally aww strucken :)
but yet satisfying.

it took me three times to get in today. finally settling with vutxxxr
ha ha ha

Mon Aug 29, 05:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Phy decreed...

Re: My "Terron begat Volmash begat Nestor begat Simon": At least, that's the way things are being described right now. Simon's provenance has been flailing around like a snapped mooring hawser, and causing about as much damage. It may change again.

Mon Aug 29, 05:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger LM decreed...

The only typo that jumped out at me:

"and I intent to see this passion play" should be "and I intend ..."

Great post

Mon Aug 29, 05:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Mark decreed...

I cannot remember the teacher's name, now, but when she explained The Horror to Simon, my impression then was that the images were just sent to people's minds without any broadcasting technology. I never thought, based on my interpretation of the text, that those who suffered were necessarily tuned into a TV. It's taken so long to read, though, I could have just forgot that detail.

Mon Aug 29, 05:14:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

I think that the first sentence would make an excellent entry into the Bulwer-Lytton contest.

Mon Aug 29, 05:27:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Mandrill decreed...

I've just finished reading that book Phy!
I wonder CBB do you read Pratchett? I see some of his style in your writing (and also Asimov, Herbert, Dick, Hubbard, Le Guin, etc. etc.)

How come I never get a verification word with any vowels? slhxsmd? What the hell is that?

Mon Aug 29, 05:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger sleeperg decreed...


I am addicted to SoS and marvel at your talent. Nonetheless, I wish to point out a small continuity error.

Jeremiah had removed his masque, carapce et al. as he began his conversation with Blighton. Yet by the time the are running from the Navy back through the maze, he is suited back up, as they are following his carapace glow. It would seem that the action does not support his having time to have done so.

Anyway, WHO CARES! Great stuff.

Mon Aug 29, 05:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cheeseburger Brown decreed...

Dear sleeperg,

I'd actually meant to suggest that Jeremiah had removed only his face masque. This should be clearer in the next episode, in which he removes the armour from his entire body.

For those of you who are fans of dramatic structure:
This is the end of Act IV. I don't know if that's in the SOS Cliffnotes or not.



Mon Aug 29, 06:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lilaena decreed...

W O W ! !

word verification: lkrqtubo

Mon Aug 29, 06:07:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Edmund said:

"Now THAT was a great read! I've read it twice, and I still don't see where Jeremiah called Simon by his name..."

I too was confused by this...was this a mistake? Was Jeremiah supposed to say "Simon" in the course of that conversation?

Verification : tbxknrmq...wtf?

Mon Aug 29, 06:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Phy decreed...

Also - the Nightmare Cannon is disguised as just about the most inconspicuous bird there is. And one that's just about as opportunistic and widespread as humanity itself, to boot. Ask yourself, do you really see the sparrows everywhere during the day?

Clever, clever Volmash. I'd want to wring your neck if you weren't Simon now.

wordveri: rqztzuak. Request Zuak. I'm thinking a Zuak is a new, high-performance brand of kayak, and John Stackpole, brave northern adventurer and special agent, requires one for a particularly dangerous mission through the newly-opened Northwest Passage.

Mon Aug 29, 06:42:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Edmund decreed...

The end of act IV!


I'm guessing the two remaining worlds are Callicrates to delivery/destroy the Cannon and Maja to fulfill the promise of fixing Omar and getting started on a life for Simon.

But will this end as tragedy or comedy? After all, Simon/TV is still the greatest villain in the galaxy to all but a handful of people, and still poses some finite though tiny risk to the executives (who really knows what's left in his head?).

Verification: tcuntlpc

Mon Aug 29, 07:38:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Teddy decreed...

holey camoses dude
CBB, you rock. SoScrack is amazing, post again ASAP before i start getting withdrawal symptoms. by the way, i LOVE the ending of this one. it's so...falling-actionish. i know they aren't even close to done, but now that you say it's the end of act IV, i can totally see it. the clouds are a great way to end this, always a symbol of mystery and enigma for mankind. men once thought that heaven rested upon the clouds, humanity has always dreamed of soaring amongst the clouds with the birds, and to someone like me (a pilot in love with the sky) the clouds represent a goal and the best part of any flight is climbing out amongst them, passing from underneath to above them. amazing sensation, watching them fall away beneath you.
wordveri: glhvmmrh

Mon Aug 29, 07:38:00 PM EDT  
Blogger indrax decreed...

Coitus! I knew there was something weird about a flock of birds underground. I thought maybe a control system.

CBB is still being very obscure about Simon's real identity.

I this the normal way Holodrama's are produced? or just Blightnon's?
Running people through real adventures? and then recording it, or extracting their memories? or do they just rewrite it based on what happened?
I think we need to consider the possibily that Duncan/Pish/Terron are somehow engineered characters.

Or was Terron M. a writer, and Volmash a character?

Mon Aug 29, 08:02:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

"But will this end as tragedy or comedy?"

Presumably it ends in comedy, since it's a tragicomedy. If it were to end in tragedy, it'd be more of a comitragedy.


Mon Aug 29, 08:33:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Irish Wolf decreed...

Terron Volmash was apparently the stage name of Terron Monteith, a writer of fictions and student of Blighton's, who was betrayed by his own greed and selfishness into committing horrible atrocities, culminating in the deployment of the Nightmare Cannon. Finally deciding he'd had enough, Terron had plastic and mental surgery to become Blighton's creation, Nestor S. Fell. He apparently thought he could get away from everything, to "take the money and run," in Olorio's phrase.

Unfortunately, it turned out that the new version, Simon, was actually a decent human being. This blew everyone else's plans apart - Jeremiah, who waited for him to revert to type upon finding the Cannon again, so the executive's conscience could be clear about killing a human; Olorio, who sought to derail Simon's quest with the mere physical pleasures (which would probably have worked well - with Terron); Blighton, who was hoping the story would end with Terron's punishment, rather than Blighton's end - they were all tripped up in the end by Simon's basic decency and honor. Oops. :) At least Jeremiah was able to adjust to the new situation, possibly because he hadn't wanted to control Terron/Simon in the first place. He just wanted to keep the Cannon from being deployed in a new Horror.

Incidentally, I'm also seeing a very strong influence from Asimov's last Foundation novel, in which the robots had withdrawn from human civilization, and worked from behind the scenes to carry out the Zeroeth Law (A robot may not injure humanity, nor, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm).

Verification word: ldpfw. See, I'm not a Cylon!

Mon Aug 29, 08:41:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

I hate to nitpick, but a key part of today's episode was when Simon confronted Jeremiah on having called him "Simon"...but I don't see anywhere in the ep where Jeremiah in fact calls him that.

Mon Aug 29, 09:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger The BS decreed...

I didn't notice anybody else comment on this yet so: "phrontisterion". Am I the only one who had to google this and then wade through a whole bunch of links to find out what it actually meant?

First we get a ripping yarn, now we get to expand our word power too. This just keeps getting better.

Mon Aug 29, 10:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger nymeria decreed...

Terron Mentieth - Terron Volmash - Nestor S. Fell - Simon of Space.


Lots of typos in this one, but, of course, we can over look those. ;)
Great read.

Mon Aug 29, 10:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger The BS decreed...

Also, apparently Yatti Olorio has (had) breasts. Interesting

Mon Aug 29, 10:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Ron decreed...

Phrontisterion actually refers to 'a thinking-place' and is associated with Socrates' school in the 423 B.C. play "The Clouds" by Aristophanes.

veriword: gerqx

Mon Aug 29, 11:00:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous argan0n decreed...

The story isn't that simple, really, but it will do for this kind of on-the-spot revelation.

WooHooo, CBB never disappoints.

What a wonderfuly recursive spin -- to write about Blighton, an author and manipulator of lives for story-- in an authored space-drama of manipulation!

"Ruses within ruses" indeed!

Three cheers for the burger!

Tue Aug 30, 12:12:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Sith Snoopy decreed...


Awesome work, CBB!

You rock!

Tue Aug 30, 12:29:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Sith Snoopy decreed...

Wait... wait... Terron Mentieth?

So is Duncan Terron's Dad???

And why didn't Simon recognize his own face in the statue of Terron?

Sigh. More questions still to be answered. But I guess the truth that Simon is Terron is out.

Tue Aug 30, 12:30:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous kumar decreed...

Jeremiah calls Simon "Simon" several times in the previous chapter.

Tue Aug 30, 12:58:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Phy decreed...

I hate to nitpick, but a key part of today's episode was when Simon confronted Jeremiah on having called him "Simon"...but I don't see anywhere in the ep where Jeremiah in fact calls him that.

I was waiting for that! It was back in the previous post, Minotaur. 'Jeremiah indicated the cables leading from each table up into the ceiling. "Channeled suffering, Simon. Piped away. Collected." He turned to look me in the eyes. "Broadcast."'

Sith Snoopy, I assume Simon didn't recognize his own face in Terron's because it was probably surgically altered. If Yatti Olorio could "have himself turned into a chink" (his words, not mine), why not do the same to Simon? Volmash was being set up for a life of relative ease on Maja; best to ensure he fits in there, yes?

wordveri: fsmfb

Tue Aug 30, 01:02:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Mark decreed...

Nice work, CBB, on tying in the clouds with the word phrontisterion, which, as ron mentioned, "actually refers to 'a thinking-place' and is associated with Socrates' school in the 423 B.C. play "The Clouds" by Aristophanes."

That's the CBB I know he can be -- using references that we don't already know, then tying them in with the character's thoughts. But, the first sentence in this post was kludgy.

Tue Aug 30, 01:40:00 AM EDT  
Blogger indrax decreed...

Does anyone else think the fact that Simon fired the nightmare cannon, and jazzed half the neighborhood might have repurcussions later on? I'm most interested to see if Pish felt it.

I think that all this identity confusion for simon will be helpful for Pish's 'coming-of-age'.

Thought: What if Volmash pulled a switch? Kept his memories, butchered the brain of some poor sap, and went about his plans for, ?sometihng?

Alternatively, Volmash was set up. He's sounding less like a politician and more like an actor/writer the politicians controlled. It's possible he got suckered into firing the cannon, but then who authorized the torture?

Perhaps all these theories of mine come from a psychological need for Simon not to be a former monster. There has to be an explanation or a mistake. Ender's Game-ish.

I was looking for the missing 'Simon' as well. I assumed it was supposd to replace the 'Sir, ...' just prior.

I think this chapter was too 'HURRIED' :-) Reading it, so much was happening so fast, it was hard to keep up. The dialog was too dense, it felt like narration. and I distinctly felt the 'villian revealing the plan to the hero' vibe.

Hmmm, So when did Jeremiah start calling Simon Simon?

I wonder how important the clouds are going to be. Is this another leftover memory/fixation like the birds? Programmed to come up once the cannon was retrieved? It seems to pop into his head out of nowhere.

Whoa, word verification:

Tue Aug 30, 01:50:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous sheik yerbouti decreed...

I thought the first sentence was great! It started as unwieldy as the concepts it was trying to reconcile in Simon's mind, and then got fresh and witty near the end.

Oh, and for all those who asked:

"Why didn't you stop them before?" I demanded, aching.

"That liberty was not mine, Simon."

"Until you saw that I really had the Cannon."

"Sir," confirmed Jeremiah.

I tried to stand up but my legs folded beneath me and I hit the dirt again. Jeremiah stepped closer. "You called me Simon," I said to him. "Why?"

"Because," he said, offering his hand, "you have taught me something."

Does anyone else see a parallel between Simon's confrontation with Olorio and Wolverine's expository scenes with Stryker?

WV: "akwun".

Tue Aug 30, 01:54:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Lilaena decreed...

"Jeremiah, please!" I cried just before I was hit by the device's invisible beam yet again, foam and spittle flying from my lips. "Jeremiah!" I screamed.

*winkwink* Luke to Vader, anyone?

Still love it. The first sentance was awkward at first, and I had to read it twice, but ultimately it works.

However, I don't see how all these chapters are turning into entries into Simon's journal.

verification word: dhokphn

I am not a Cylon either. (incidentally the 'human exectutive' is helping me figure out how the human cylons in the new Battlestar Galactica are getting away with passing as humans. Sort of. They still need to explain that in the show.)

Tue Aug 30, 03:40:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kevin decreed...

"You are what you do. A man is defined by his actions, not his memories."
--Kuato the freak-baby to Arnold in "Total Recall"

Only grammar note (which applies to several chapters): You need to use "me" instead of "I" whenever you have a sentence like, "The results became clear to Glory and I." The preposition "to" requires the objective case, and "me" fits the bill, as in "between you and ME."

Otherwise, I have to agree with everyone else who's been wowed by this story. I wish I could produce this much, this fast, and this well. Typos and grammar quirks are indeed forgivable-- fodder for editors later. Many turns of phrase have been just beautiful. Great story, great story.

And I bought "Goodbye to Kitty" for my goddaughter.



Tue Aug 30, 05:10:00 AM EDT  
Blogger cnc decreed...

Alternatively, Volmash was set up. He's sounding less like a politician and more like an actor/writer the politicians controlled. It's possible he got suckered into firing the cannon, but then who authorized the torture?

This is my thoughts as well. I don't think that Terron really wanted to do these things, hence the brain wipe.

However, I don't see how all these chapters are turning into entries into Simon's journal.

This is one loooong entry which had to be broken up so that CBB has time to write, and us to read. Can you imagine if this was one long entry? It would take hours to read and comprehend.

Word Verification: mllyldz

Tue Aug 30, 08:57:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Pneuma decreed...

So, what happened to Utopia? Dead? Did I miss something?


word: dskyoly

Tue Aug 30, 10:36:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Cox decreed...

Mr BurgerBrown, as a man who reads two paperbacks a week, you have held my attention longer than any other author. Of course, that's because you're doling out this story like my little brother hoarded his Halloween candy! For my sake, I hope we get all the tasty bits before they go stale...

BTW, you'll probably get me fired for staring at a computer screen for something other than work, but I would dare such a punishment daily for your stories.


Tue Aug 30, 10:40:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Edmund decreed...


The Simon you highlighted got added during last night's cleanup of typos, etc.

Even though Simon fired the Nightmare Cannon again, the amount of suffering (one guy getting jazzed) was tiny compared to the previous firing, so the consequences shouldn't be as serious, but that's probably why they're running from the Navy right now.

Secret password: ghaqaz

Tue Aug 30, 11:12:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Capt. Stupendo decreed...

While I have to say this story has been really good, this last chapter was less so to me.

A couple of things:

How could Simon take such a continuous beating and still run around like nothing's wrong? I mean, in this last ep he was shot, has rock chips embedded in his right hand, pistol whipped (which is like being punched by somebody holding a 5 lbs. dumbell), and jazzed multiple times.

Too much explanation, not enough discovery. It felt like the end of a Potter book with Dumbledore explaining why everything happened the way it did.

Questions within questions. You don't want the story to be too convoluted. A twist here and there, yes, but you'll lose coherency and believability if you take to many random turns.

Just my two cents...but all in all great work CBB!

Word Verification du Jour: dafyqz

And since it wouldn't take "Daffy Quiz" I had to use:

2nd Word Ver: dapyk

Tue Aug 30, 11:19:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Capt. Stupendo decreed...

Oh, and I think you meant "Cygnus" not "Cgynus".

Tue Aug 30, 11:23:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous sheik yerbouti decreed...


Perhaps, but I could've sworn that Simon was there before all the other typos disappeared, and before quite a few of the "I can't find the Simon" comments...

I hope we have enough story left to answer at least HALF of our questions!

Re. what happened to Utopia:

I could not see Utopia anywhere, but I could see the great flaming pyre that had been the Neago

I think she bought it in the explosion.

Just a few more typos:

A heard a loud clattered, a series of booms,

My longcoat was in tattered

..and rappelling is still repelling.

Just a few of my favorite quotes from this episode:
Gangways burst open and legions of men and women in Fellcorp Mercy uniforms ran out, red palms painted on their fronts. They each carried a very unmerciful-looking firearm.

The Nightmare Cannon landed on my unwounded shoulder and chirped merrily.

Tue Aug 30, 11:36:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

It's ok COX I too have been spending to much time here during work hours. From what I hear the EXC. from corporate tend to pop up inside the computer to see what everone is doing.
Makes me wonder if they are reading this along with me sometimes.
That would be something (no wonder there are so many anonymouses around lately.)
Well, at least I can say i am enjoying the ride so far.


word v foebcm

Tue Aug 30, 11:38:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

I play World of Warcraft pretty regularly and the leader of our guild (Sandtyger are you there?) tuned me into this story. WOW!!!! Over the past week Ive been doing nothing between school and work (ok at work as well) reading this story to catch up! I wonder if my guild has missed me... lol

veriword: gtqdqnoo

Tue Aug 30, 12:03:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Oops forgot to give props to CBB's mad writing skillz. You are amazing sir! May the muses bless you soon with infinite wealth and prestige!


PS: Does anyone esle get a huge grey bar that blocks some of the entries on the main chapter comments page?

Tue Aug 30, 12:06:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Good installment. I was collecting very minor typos/grammar issues this time, and will try to do so in the future. I'll paste them here.. the context should be enough to search and fix them:
If he hadn't kept his last secrets so close to the vest do you +I think I ever would have let you survive?"
It paused a beat before smashed (-ing?) aside the young man with a quick backhand, and then it lurched forward and
the smeared remains of Yatti Olorio and the unconscious form of a (the?) teenage war-criminals whom I had apparently promised to protect.
A(I?) heard a loud clattered, a series of booms, and then the door to the corridor broke aside and admitted a guttering orange light.
The Neago had not flown far from the kilometre-deep hole. Jeremiah pulled repelling (this should be 'rappelling') devices off two of the nearest soldiers and handed them to Glory and I.
Blindly following the apparent robot(,) Glory and I held hands and plunged through the darkness of the rings, emerging (maybe ". We emerged") into the tight corridors of the sound-carrying maze, some of the walls revealed fleetingly by Jeremiah's glow visible(y) damaged by Citadelite explosives -- the explosives which had released the Minotaur to wander freely.

Hopefully this'll save you some time if you want to edit them.


Tue Aug 30, 12:15:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous delirium of disorder decreed...

Remember, we still have something wicked coming this way. Its easy to infer that Simon's ultimate act of reconciliation will be taking care of that nasty little piece of business.

With Blighton the Master Manipulator, and a person with the means and will to procure Fellcorp not once but twice, I think it still holds that Simon did not just get “monologued.” Plus, despite his delusions of grandeur, he isn’t omnipotent. Meaning our story is not just left with conflict resolution. Much more revelation is forthcoming.

I still feel the wayward executive strain has a roll to play. Jerry did not say this strain was destroyed:

"How did you fail?"

"One of us betrayed Zoran."

"There were once seventeen?"

"Twenty," corrected Jeremiah. "Two fell from love and murder, and a whole line of another wasted from a cognitive disease. And one betrayed us all." He looked down. "I will not speak further on this matter."

‘I will not speak further’ is Jeremiah’s more eloquent euphuism for, ‘dude this is gonna suck.’

So we have at least three strains whose formulas for human emotion/cognition lead to an unwanted/unpredicted end. The one who betrayed them all, aside from the obvious Vader and LOTR nod, could have developed formulas on greed, power, tyranny, or even entropy and chaos etc. A failure in the eyes of the other executives and Zoran, but in a cold manner a great success for in emulating the human experience you must account for a lack of altruism. Perhaps after destroying Sol he was merely banished (ok a Superman 1 nod here) and is now coming back with a vengeance.

Mr. 17 and his progeny are out there somewhere either wickedly coming this way, or acting as the man behind our curtain of empire/narrative building megalomaniacs.

back to work now-

veri word fun: wzmgh


Tue Aug 30, 12:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dave decreed...

Ahh, one more typo:
Ah yes, a Cgynus Automatonic Guard Mark Eight

It's Cygnus, not Cgynus I believe! LOL

Tue Aug 30, 12:51:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous kumar decreed...

Captain Oliver, we hardly knew ye. :(

I'm rather curious what that "ticking noise" right before the explosion was supposed to be... Hopefully the ticking of... um... personal teleporters transporting Oliver and Utopia to safety! ? ?

Tue Aug 30, 01:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Xroads decreed...

Hahahahaha.....TV is the worst and most hated enemy of the entire galaxy. Does anyone else find this as amusing as I do?

Could it be that this story is a vailed social commentary on a modern appliace that so many of us look to for advice in all aspects of life?

Maybe I am just grasping at straws.

In any event, I can't wait for the next chapter. Keep it coming CB.

Tue Aug 30, 01:06:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Edmund decreed...


I still get the feeling that this could end with Simon stranded on some rock yelling: Khaaaaaaaan! No wait; I meant JeremiiiiiiaaaaaaH!

Great speculation on your part!

Survey says: yvdwfuyl

Tue Aug 30, 01:23:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Pneuma decreed...

Pemma's gone also, right?

Darn, that episode took it's toll on characters.


Postbot 3000 code: zfnjnws

Tue Aug 30, 01:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger indrax decreed...

‘I will not speak further’ is Jeremiah’s more eloquent euphuism for, ‘dude this is gonna suck.’

I think you're right. If it were just a matter of history, I don't think Jeremiah would be so secretive.

I don't think that something wicked is the rouge executives.
I think Felix the First left shortly after he was created, and is going as fast as he can, which means Something Wicked is at least 5000 light years away.
I don't think Something Wicked is going to play a role in this story.
There's certainly nothing Simon can do about it, this is an advanced galactic empire we're talking about.

I hope Dr. Heartbush isn't dead.

Tue Aug 30, 02:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dave decreed...

Did anyone else notice the extreme "Arthur Dent" sounding statements from Simon?

I nodded. "I can see the wisdom of putting you and your family in charge of galactic compassion. You've clearly got a knack."


"Oh?" I replied, smiling icily. "How wonderfully simple! I've obviously been needlessly over-complicating the whole affair."

Word Verification: deapuyhj

Tue Aug 30, 03:00:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jeff S. decreed...

So, what exactly happened when the Nightmare Cannon went off?

Did Simon Jazz the world?
Did it Jazz Blighton and Utopia... or was it Jeremiah that got them? (they weren't watching tv).
Maybe the cannon told his whole story to the world instantly? or... maybe like has been suggested here, it was just short range because there was no carrier signal.


Tue Aug 30, 03:07:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

I have notice that simon had gotten a little snippy, but I didn't think much of it.
As much as I would hate to admit it
I was wondering if Simon would have a relapse and find himself Terron again?
then Pish Jeremiah and glory would come to his rescue and try to bring him back by reminding him of how much he helped them and everone else.

Yeah OK

word ver: WWPEY

can they run put of these things??
Do you think if we continue to mock them it will get harder to read??

Tue Aug 30, 03:15:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Some thoughts...

The doctor can't possibly be dead. Simon hasn't slept with her.

I still don't trust that Simon is/was Terron Volmash. Blighton and Olorio just don't seem like credible sources to me, and Jeremiah still hasn't actually said it.

Did we really have to have the cliche scene where the villian reveals his evil plan just as he's about to kill the good guy, only to be killed himself while the good guy escapes? (It even looks like we're gearing up for a chase scene)

I couldn't escape the feeling that, when surrounded by the Fellcorp troops, Simon was gonna say "Only a miracle can save us now." and be saved by a horse pulling a chariot.

Tue Aug 30, 03:47:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous delirium of disorder decreed...

Most signs point to you being correct and the 17th Executive not making an impact.
- CBB has many side threads, like Mr. 17, that could be spawned into other stories,
- the focus of all major plot points thus far has been other's use/pursuit of Simon as a tool to their end – none of the bad guys act independent or ignorant of Simon and the Cannon, he has been central to all their plans
- CBB is never obvious and his plot twists have an element of unknown that prevents discovery till their denouement
Counters to that
- Simon still is someone’s pawn we just don’t know how/who so it could easily be Mr. 17
- One of many overall themes is redemption, and the Executives seem to be trying to redeem the destruction of Sol – what better way than to eliminate its destroyer (only in the end will we know if this the central theme, or if its something else like a battle against mankind’s failures/weaknesses that Jeremiah wages, or the impact of nationalist wars of burden)

What we know for certain: we aren’t in possession of the last revelation, and our remaining two planet’s narratives will involve more than a chase scene to the Queen of Space. I think CBB has merely hit us with a strong combination but has not yet thrown the knockout blow. Don't you love cliched sports metaphors.

Maybe in the end we'll have an entity (Mr. 17 or even Queen of Space) that seeks release from its proscribed boundaries and Simon and the Nightmare Cannon are the key - ala The Ghost in the Shell.

Speculatively yours,

veri word fun: mlzeuf "Mull's Oof", with is short for "Martin Mull's Outrageously Offensive Flatulence"

Tue Aug 30, 03:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Phy decreed...

Re: Simon Dent

I think the guy's got a right to be snippy. And he's always had a very dry sense of humor. Besides, he did start this whole adventure in not much more than his pyjamas.

Wordveri: mgsafb. MG's Afterburner.

Tue Aug 30, 03:55:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous delirium of disorder decreed...

I’m not a great reader of science fiction, what are some other storylines could CBB have come across that will make their way into our ending?

Overdone theme: Wizard of Oz – we have several flawed characters, who after obtaining an object of great power are moving toward a meeting with an all powerful Ruler (Queen of Space) whilst their enemies seek that which they possess; the central character has the most to learn and must rectify a troubled conscious;; what final surprise awaits them?

Terminator: Jeremiah and the rest of the Executives are actually terminators from the future (time travel is about the only thing we haven’t come across) and Simon is our John Connor who must defeat the adversary to be named in order to save mankind.

Rachel Rachel – a young girl’s erotic journey from Milan to Minsk

veri word fun: afnotkm
what you say when you don't want to take Kim to the dance (F'n not Kim)

Tue Aug 30, 04:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Mark decreed...

I think maybe I'm expecting to feel the way I did when I first started reading this story. Just like I never enjoy a bite of cake as much once I'm halfway through the piece. It's also like reading a set of books, when one is not as good as those before it. Still good stuff, but now that I've gone back and read a little of it from the start again, it has slipped a bit.

Glory is a throwaway character, Pish is just there as an object now. Maybe on the journey to the Queen of Space CBB will slow down and let us experience what the characters feel and think about all this. That's what made the journal-entry format (now lost?) so cool. It was so personal. Now it's somehow not.
wordver: yeawv

Tue Aug 30, 04:24:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

DoD -

How about the LOTR storyline? Simon reaches the Queen of Space, but decides that it'd be better for humans to just keep the nightmare canon. Drunk with its power, he decides that mankind doesn't need the "protection" afforded by the executives, and tries to use the weapon against them. The resulting conflict destroys the entire universe. Doh!

Tue Aug 30, 04:27:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Blighton was the Minotaur?

Tue Aug 30, 04:43:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jeff S. decreed...

No, but he could control it. ... he knows the builders. hmmm.

Tue Aug 30, 05:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Janshi decreed...

You have done it again. Another episode in this completely awe-inspiring series.

I can only say one negative thing, and though it pains me to say this, I must:

The speeches following the end of Olorio began feeling stilted and contrived. It felt like high Drama, but with less reasoning and build up TO these speeches, which felt me feeling like they were just mere actors in a script (which, of course, considering Blighton, could very well be the case).

However, it is an otherwise great piece of literature, and I simply CANNOT wait for the next episode. Curses, you have put me off my game!

Tue Aug 30, 05:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jim decreed...

Overdone theme: Wizard of Oz – we have several flawed characters, who after obtaining an object of great power are moving toward a meeting with an all powerful Ruler (Queen of Space) whilst their enemies seek that which they possess; the central character has the most to learn and must rectify a troubled conscious;; what final surprise awaits them?

DoD, I think you've hit on it! The Queen of Space is going to tell Simon that all he needs to do is tap his (hospital?) slippers together and say "There's no place like home!"

Then he's going to wake up as Terron Volmash again ...

Word Verification: guyok
(aka Supreme Lord of the Galaxy)

Tue Aug 30, 06:32:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phillip Armonek decreed...

You're all missing the big picture, and another fun SciFi reference: this whole thing is a twisted plot by the little people to get all higher life forms to wipe each other out so that Mr. Swinney can take his rightful place as ruler of the Galaxy!

Think about it; were any little people effected by the Nightmare Cannon? I didn't think so either...

oqtrbf - old quarter of beef ?

Tue Aug 30, 07:14:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous teddy decreed...

okay, everybody keeps saying two planets...
CBB told us that the planet after this one is not the last planet, and nothing further, and he told us that like four planets ago too. i haven't gone back and counted or anything, but i think it stands that there are AT LEAST two more planets. the story could be much bigger than what it is now. perhaps "Something Evil" has developed a means of faster-than-light travel and defying the Mathematic. perhaps Mr. 17 is actually Ms. 17 and the queen of space. perhaps there are (oh lord it couldn't be) further parties questing after the cannon which are observing this silently, choosing to let other people uncover it and find it and all that, then swoop in and steal it when they are done. perhaps Jeremiah is lying and is, in fact, one of the 17th strand and wants no danger to the executives so they can conquer and erase humanity.
i like that last one. point: the cannon destroyed an entire crop of embryo executives. point: the executives are a dying race, needing a means of successful reproduction. point: humanity has been screwing up for the past 5 millenia, we continue to resist breeding, and as individuals we simply cannot connect to much more than a tight web of friends in the overall spectrum, so because we faction that way but still draw together galactic peace simply is not possible. the executives have been given a fool's errand, and to quote MIB, "The person is smart. people are dumb, panicky animals and you know it." so jeremiah, not of the fifth but the seventeenth strain, aims to destroy the only danger to the executives.

Word Veri: wisyh. wise, yeah.

Tue Aug 30, 08:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger razorsmile decreed...

- So the Cannon/bird is what, femtotech or something?

- Also, what happened to the doctor?

- "... Some of us were fool enough to believe he loved us along the way. But we are no longer fooled."

Were Olorio and Terron gay lovers?


It's possible Simon's original (or is it original twice-removed?) personality is coming back to the fore. That would explain all the snippy one-liners.


Line of the day: "You're grounded"

Heh heh, sweet.

Would a spambot say this: bovcxi?

Well, a madvert might ... but not a spambot.

Tue Aug 30, 08:28:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous sheik yerbouti decreed...

Highly doubtful that Simon's personality is changing again. He's already well-developed and we've seen that he can whip out some great one-liners when under stress.

Ten bucks says Utopia is the Queen of Space.

Tue Aug 30, 08:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger indrax decreed...

I believe that was:
'Rochelle Rochelle'

I think the cannon Jazzed everybody watching TV at the time. I'd guess if it was made to survive 10 years and still fly, it was made to tap into any communications network, such as those on the nearby ships.
OTOH, maybe it only works if it can feed into a stream directly, as when Metra was brodcasting alot of TV.

Tue Aug 30, 09:54:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous sheik yerbouti decreed...

I'm not sure the cannon did anything to anyone. The only conscious humans nearby at the time were Blighton and Utopia, and we can't be sure they were affected by the NC (i.e. I think Jeremiah killed B as soon as he confirmed that Simon had it). Furthermore, they were nowhere near a TV, so what the heck...?

Also, what happened to Simon's manacles? They were never removed, but he's surprisingly dextrous even so.

Tue Aug 30, 10:24:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Drew decreed...

great googly moogly, what a lot of content to process!!! I've read it twice, and I'm still not sure I get what's happening...

Tue Aug 30, 11:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger sleeperg decreed...


The sparrow/NC said that it was armed and ready to relay. Perhaps it is capable of limited broadcast range. Which would tend to make sense, since only Utopia (short red hair - anybody thinking Rocky Horror here?) and Abe were affected. None of the crew/passangers of Neago were.

The continuity error that needs to be explained is why the sparrow/NC did not deactivate when the Navy turned on the suppression field. It shut down, weapons, lights and Neago engines but not the bird. Waiting anxiously for more.

Wed Aug 31, 07:13:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Dave decreed...

Wow, sleeperg has some great points!

And I do agree with another person who said, the "narrative" of this story has changed quite a bit, in it's telling.
While I won't say I don't like it now, it is different now (better before though I believe).

What's the chances the Executives created the Nightmare Cannon, AND a puppet (Simon) for their own purposes?

Word Verification: nnagpk (what's that mean?)

Wed Aug 31, 08:14:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Word Verification: nnagpk (what's that mean?)




Wed Aug 31, 10:00:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Denim decreed...

For give me if this has been explaned, but in the chapter titled "The Statue Garden at Duncan's Bliss" I found something very interesting

While he did his work he said I could thumb through the contents of my plate safely, so I picked it up. It didn't show anything when I pointed it around the room, except when I faced Jeremiah -- for him the plate identified his model and make, his year of construction and his legally registered owner (somebody named Terron Volmash, apparently).

Simon owned Jeremiah? Why didn't Jeremiah stop him from unleashing the horror?

Great work by the way.

Wed Aug 31, 10:08:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Edmund decreed...

Two possible explanations for the NC's survival of the disabling field:

1) It is shielded in some manner (hey, wouldn't you shield your most terrible weapon?).

2) It's not human-developed technology and thus not succeptible to the field. Now who could build something like that, hmmm?

Passcode: vrbuf

Wed Aug 31, 10:22:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous FasMaster decreed...

I'm a little confused as to what happened to Utopia / Miss Tiger.. I thought she was being carried out of the exploding ship.. then she seemed to have disappeared before the explosion happened.. wierd..

Sat Sep 03, 11:01:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

[my screen name]keantheelder@gmail.com

Wed Sep 07, 11:29:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Assuming that's you, Ed (or not), it's not a valid gmail address.

Thu Sep 08, 12:25:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Verification -- oqsdriz: A small sharp-beaked bird of mediterranean europe who uses its peircing beak to eat honey and sweet sweet BLOOD.

New to posting and going to sleep before the reading the next few chapters (catching up), but I thought I'd address a couple things not on here yet. . .

This chapter amazes me with the depth of its playful cynicism. The adversaries come crawling out of the woodwork in such a mish-mashed way that they become their own farce, making Simon finally "Get it." Basically that all their ploys are just kids games. Arrogant hobbies from people who can't leave well enough alone.

It's a wonderful observation on the nature of power for one. For another, it's biting satire to show so skillfully that the desire and ability to change the world is either the expression of a vestigial mindset or the same boorish destructiveness that lives inside of any busybody that think they know better than you.

Last wild spec: What if all of this is part of the manipulation of an Archetype? If the power of the Secret Mathematic is to write or theorem things in and out of existence then small changes like life/death (a binary function, really) are simple and would be immediate with little side effect other than the social ones.

But what if you were using the Secret Mathematic to rewrite the world? Or maybe to change History? As you ran the equation you'd have to perform dozens of subfunctions. And in each subfunction levels and values get assigned, distributed, combined or cancelled out.

Imagine what this would look like.

Aren't storybooks like this? As the theorem runs people gain, lose, or break even. The whole world shifts, but in little phases that all make sense withing the context of the story's equation architecture, or "plot."

Funny how at the beginning people kept talking about how Simon was living in the plot of genre movie. . .

Fri Sep 09, 03:54:00 AM EDT  

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