Monday, October 25, 2010

Inhuman | Epilogue [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

Years go by and many things change, while many more stay the same.


Epilogue

The May evening was delightful as suppertime reached its end. The radiant warmth of the large bonfire was contrasted by the refreshing breeze sweeping in from the south. The air was filled with the smells and sounds of the nearly two hundred villagers enjoying the peaceful end-of-day, some picking at the leftovers of the feast, others lounging around, engaging in light talk and trying to avoid getting trampled by the scampering cubs who competed to see who could evade their parents the longest before eventually getting caught and lightly reprimanded. The young, blossoming trees and the earth-colored facades of the cabins and huts glowed crimson and yellow in the radiance of the fire, their silhouettes cutting sharply into the dark-plum clouds that mostly masked the heavens.

The food was delicious, and once again Sean had eaten too much of it as he did nearly every night. He leaned back, now feeling pleasantly lulled by his stuffed stomach, and gazed around from where he sat with his robe and loincloth wrapped comfily around his crossed legs. He watched as one of the running cubs’ mother finally caught up with him and struggled to restrain the energetic youth from chasing after his teasing friends. Aki chuckled at the scene, seated next to him and helping herself to his leftovers as she always did. Sean merely smiled lazily at her, having given up on trying to figure out where all that food went long ago.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Inhuman | Chapter 17: Home Again [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

A bittersweet return home at the end of a very long day.


— CHAPTER SEVENTEEN —

Home Again

‘Is everyone all right?’

Hartling’s call was met with a round of groans and whimpers. Kira’s head ached where it had hit the wall behind her, yet she was still unable to rub it with her arms stuck behind her back. She glanced around the darkened cabin; the other Aqueni appeared just as sore and disoriented as she felt, squirming in their seats and struggling futilely against their restraints. One white-furred rabbit jill seated in front of Kira, next to the pilot’s seat, gave a pained squeak and her eyes watered from the pain in her twitching nose; a beefy deer at her side sought aid from others to confirm whether his antlers were damaged.

‘Feel like I broke my neck,’ grumbled a wolf at Kira’s side as he stretched and winced.

‘It takes some getting used to, to land in these things,’ said Hartling apologetically from around the pilot’s seat. ‘They’re emergency vessels, not … well.’

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Inhuman | Chapter 16: Destiny’s Call [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

The final battle begins and the fates of everyone will be determined, for better or for worse.


— CHAPTER SIXTEEN —

Destiny’s Call

‘Hold your fire, don’t shoot! He’s got a detonator!’

‘What? Where? I don’t see anything –’

‘Right there, in his hand!’

‘Detonator to what? Nobody said anything about explosives –’

‘Just hold your damn fire!’

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Inhuman | Chapter 15: Resolutions [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

Sean and Aki must decide where their paths will take them in the end.


— CHAPTER FIFTEEN —

Resolutions

Sean watched the three lights shrinking in the distance against the darkened surface of the planet for a few moments, feeling as though his own life were leaving him along with the pods. He resolutely tore his eyes away from the window and turned around, taking the full weight of the situation into account. Thoughts of Aki and Hartling kept intruding, their horrified faces etched in his mind’s eye and the feeling of the impassioned kiss still very real to him. He shook his head roughly, trying to focus his thoughts on the monumental task at hand.

He was still standing before the three newly vacated pod casings, right in the open with the large open deck stretching out around him. Out of habit, he sought out the nearest shelter and scurried across the deck, aiming for some haphazard stretch of wall underneath a sort of alcove formed by the catwalks above. He flattened against the wall reflexively, aware that he was quite alone on the spacious deck but nonetheless unable to shake the feeling that the place was crawling with unwelcome presences, or the certainty that it soon would be.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Inhuman | Chapter 14: Sacrifice [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

The race for safety and battle for survival continues.


— CHAPTER FOURTEEN —

Sacrifice

Crack. The sound reverberated like a whip as a large fissure suddenly appeared in the door … Aki took a half-step behind him, her hand around his waist … The crack slowly grew, the edges reaching each side of the doorframe, the reinforced glass finally starting to fail under the endless barrage it had held up so valiantly against …

This is it … we’re done … I tried, love, I tried … but I couldn’t …

Sean pulled her into his arms quite tightly, willing to shield her from everything around them and their impending destruction, focusing on the softness of her fur, the warmth of her body; goddamn it, he loved her so much … He felt the wetness where her face pressed into his shoulder and he had no doubt she could feel the droplet on her muzzle …

Another crack, another fracture, this time in the window … then another … and another … and …

KA-BANG

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Inhuman | Chapter 13: The Rescue [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

Sean must find a way out of the hell he landed in and rescue the ones he loves.


— CHAPTER THIRTEEN —

The Rescue

NO!

Sean was shaking hard, his efforts to remain calm abandoned, but with nowhere near the intensity of the poor foxgirl on the screen. He was leaning forwards from his seat over the metal table as though trying to reach her, to save her, but his restraints and the cruel presence of General Xander made him stay put, no matter how furiously he was straining against his cuffs or how madly his heart thumped in his chest. He couldn’t help it; his eyes were powerless to avoid staring at her, her violently writhing and twisting body, her reflexively flexing claws, her streaming, bloodshot eyes, her gaping muzzle as she let loose any number of silent cries that the muted display saved him from hearing. He tried to keep his head clear, but the terrible, irresistible scene before him filled his heart and mind with a maelstrom of horror, rage and panic.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Inhuman | Chapter 12: Humans and Animals [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

Back into the nightmare: the fight for freedom and survival begins.


— CHAPTER TWELVE —

Humans and Animals

He was cold. Not quite shivering, but moreso than what his torn uniform could protect him from. He would’ve loved a blanket; he would’ve even appreciated being able to rub his aching arms, but the restraints holding them firmly behind his back made that a fantasy. He knew better than to struggle, though. The hardened manacles would cut through his wrists long before he’d able to loosen them. All he could do was sit back onto his bench in the corner of his cell and try to conserve energy.

The room was featureless with very dim lighting that barely illuminated the plain steel walls and rusty floor. He knew that this was intentional, meant to keep the cell’s captives in a state of exhausted wariness, as was the permeating coolness of the air, not cold enough to affect one’s overall health but just enough to keep them on an edge. This discomfort wasn’t just gratuitous; the aim was simple and clear: to keep prisoners tense enough that they’ll break easier and submit to interrogations quicker. Depending on the methods used, anyway.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Inhuman | Chapter 11: Reversal [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

Sean’s past returns and the unthinkable befalls the anthros.


— CHAPTER ELEVEN —

Reversal

The early afternoon sun had replaced the earlier morning chill with a tepid stillness, imposing an unusual quietness upon the forest. The couple of hours during which Sean tediously made his way through the monotonous undergrowth had only fueled his anticipation for what would undoubtedly be a triumphant return home. He could already imagine the scene that he expected awaited him: the preliminary stunned figures as he emerged from the treeline, once again looking battle-worn; the praise and applause that was sure to follow, along with a rush of eager anthros demanding to know what had happened and whether the threat truly was over; the eventual encounter with Wise Kovida and the other elders, an assuredly awkward experience of silent stares saying “I told you so” … and, of course, Aki, imagining the look on her face, the relief, the joy, at Sean’s safe return …

But that was not to happen.

The woods were beginning to thin and the shadows were clearing when Sean first halted, unsure whether he’d heard something unusual. He strained his ears, but caught only silence –

Inhuman | Chapter 10: Lone Wolf [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

Out of options, Sean must go it alone and face a terrible enemy on his own.


— CHAPTER TEN —

Lone Wolf

Sean awoke slowly the next morning, feeling the cobwebs of sleep slowly dissipating as his brain started getting into gear. He kept his eyes closed; he could tell he hadn’t slept for very long as the lack of light and the absence of warmth on his nape and face meant the sun hadn’t yet risen for its morning hello through the window above his cot. He felt strangely edgy, and it took him several moments to remember why. The thought of what lay ahead hit him like a massive weight on the chest and shoulders …

He fidgeted as he felt something, an actual weight against his body. Opening his eyes, he was greeted with the sight of Aki’s beautiful face, her eyes shut peacefully and her warm breath ruffling the tatters of Sean’s torn suit. She was lying next to him on his cot, facing him with her arms up against her chest as she slept deeply. Momentarily forgetting what had happened, Sean quickly glanced around and was relieved to see she still had her clothes on. So they hadn’t done anything inappropriate the previous evening.

Inhuman | Chapter 9: The Village Council [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

Sean learns about their new enemy and must decide whether he is willing, or able, to defend his new life.


— CHAPTER NINE —

The Village Council

He could feel her heartbeat in her neck and the tense but relaxing heaving of her chest against his own, her furred arms holding him quite tightly, as though she were afraid that he’d slip away; he held her back just as securely, his blood-stained fingers gently rubbing along her back and stroking through her soft fur, trying to let her know without a spoken word that it was over … He closed his eyes, suddenly feeling very tired as the weight of the day’s events came down upon him; a small lump formed in his throat and his eyes began to grow wet, yet he screwed them up and held Aki tighter, feeling her warm breath on the skin of his neck and the ebbing sting of the cut on his back as they stood there, letting the horror, the terror and the pain of the past hour or so wash over them and slide away like dirt in the rain, just the two of them together …

Ahem.

Sean’s eyes flew open as the world swam back into view; he and Aki broke apart, both determinedly looking way from each other and blushing. Kira stood next to her cot where she had hidden, looking somewhat edgy and eyeing Sean and her daughter guardedly.

Inhuman | Chapter 8: The Dark Riders [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

A new menace arises, forcing Sean to put everything on the line to protect his new life and those in it.


— CHAPTER EIGHT —

The Dark Riders

Sean’s heart was thumping in his ears as he sprinted through the streets and around corners, the injured bodies of the would-be aggressors all but forgotten in that shadowy alleyway behind him. He looked around in all directions, trying to catch a hint of what was happening, or who had yelled, yet the few people in the area were all running for cover, ducking into alleys or making a hurried beeline for their homes, disappearing into the gloom behind their curtains before Sean could get a hold of them. There was an unmistakable aura of tension and fear about them, as though they were running from something – but what?

He was running into an intersection when something large burst out from around the corner, crashing into him before he could avoid it and sending him on his side rather painfully. His head swimming from the impact, he reflexively sprang to his feet and glared upwards at what turned out to be a tall auburn-furred horse-woman who looked as surprised and winded as he was.

‘S-Sean? What’re you doing there?’ she said with a dismayed neigh, looking frantic.

Inhuman | Chapter 7: Close Encounters [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

As Sean’s position amongst the anthros solidifies, he finds that village life can also have its twists.


— CHAPTER SEVEN —

Close Encounters

Sean stood perfectly still, all senses on alert. He strained to detect any hint of movement, any sign of a presence, yet the woods around him were perfectly still and silent except for the multicolored leaves drifting down from the fiery-colored trees, or the occasional bird taking off from a fruit bush. The air was quite cool, even though the golden skies indicated the evening was only just on its way, and Sean inwardly felt grateful that he was once again in his combat suit, which was stitched up to near-prime condition by Kira’s skilled hands. It was still covered in dark patches where he had bled, but after two months spent in loose-flowing robes and loincloths, he was quite happy to be back in his more weatherproof military clothes in the cooling autumn climate.

His eyes and ears peeled for any suspicious sound or motion, Sean slowly started forwards, taking care to avoid stepping on branches or fallen foliage to try and avoid giving off his location to anyone lurking in the area. He looked around in every direction, his sharp eyes detecting every detail of the trees and shrubbery around him, knowing full well he was most likely being watched by unseen eyes. He just had to find them before time ran out. That was the game, after all … and his adversary was very good at this.

Inhuman | Chapter 6: Home Safe [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

Sean becomes a true member of the anthro tribe and writes about experiences and thoughts.


— CHAPTER SIX —

Home Safe

The sky resembled an impressionist painting, streaked with vibrant dashes of orange and gold by the time Sean and Aki regained the village, where they were at once accosted by the usual drove of fascinated villagers. They spent the remainder of their time until supper exploring more of the place, occasionally striking up conversations with people whose attitude towards Sean was consistent in its awe. One thing the anthros seemed keen on commenting on was how “ordinary” Sean appeared with his furless and unmarked skin, stubby nails, and absence of a snout or a tail. Sean wasn’t really sure whether to grin or to blush as they conversed about his distinct appearance in that way, so he merely nodded or uttered the random word of agreement to keep their questions at bay as best he could. All this time, Aki stood right next to him, keeping an eye on him and those who approached him and occasionally batting some of their more insistent questions away, something Sean felt fairly thankful for. He didn’t feel like dealing with these anthros on his own.

Inhuman | Chapter 5: A God Amongst Them [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

Sean slowly begins to understand this new world, and finds himself at home for the first time in his life.


— CHAPTER FIVE —

A God Amongst Them

The days slowly went by and Sean lay in his cot, gradually healing from his injuries and spending most of his waking hours nearly bored out of his mind. The dull, throbbing pain that wracked his body was his only permanent companion, other than an uncomfortably empty stomach. Krypp didn’t allow him much food, saying he wanted Sean’s body to conserve energy for convalescing rather than digestion, an argument Sean found less than convincing. The little sustenance he did have consisted solely of vegetables, legumes, and the occasional fruit. Whilst not an enemy of greens, he also wasn’t a fan, preferring meat (or his personal favorite, pasta). He never went thirsty, though; the pitcher of water at his bedside was refilled whenever it ran low, and Sean positively regaled himself in its purity. It was the best he’d ever tasted, considering the water on New Corinthea came in two unpleasant savors: if it came from the oceans or rivers, it was polluted; if passed through chemical treatment, it possessed a slight acrid aftertaste.

Inhuman | Chapter 4: Memories [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

Sometimes, the mind wonders back to events in our lives that define our reality.


— CHAPTER FOUR —

Memories

The feeble light from the twin suns that shone through the thick, dark cover of reddish-purple clouds was starting to fade as evening slowly but surely closed in on Capital City, bathing the land and buildings below in an eerie sort of burnt crimson shade. A cold breeze blew through the city streets, kicking up a bit of the loose dust that covered everything in sight and rustling the layer of debris that lay around the streets, from papers to the random rubble and wreckage of buildings. Other than the scarlet beams piercing through the murky clouds, there was another source of illumination that lit up the streets and facades: that of fires raging here and there, consuming vehicles, structures, and the unlucky victims who stumbled into the flames.

The rumbling sounds of rifle fire, explosions and screams echoed throughout the area as droves of men, women and children stampeded through the streets in a display of primal terror. Their cries of panic filled the air as they frantically ran from the other group chasing after them, splitting in every direction as they desperately tried to outrun their deaths. Streaks of bluish-purple plasma tore through the air all around them, blasting craters into walls and imparting lethal, carbonized wounds wherever they hit their victims.

Inhuman | Chapter 3: Revelations [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

All is revealed, and Sean realizes how very different the world is than what he’s ever known.


— CHAPTER THREE —

Revelations

It was as Aki had feared: the shouting match she got into with her mother when she got home that evening was the worst they’d had in years. She had tried to keep her visits to the stranger’s bedside a secret from her mother for as long as she could, yet Kira had always been blessed with the notorious knack of discovering anything others tried to hide from her, despite their best efforts. It was as though the vixen had ears and eyes all over the place, and her reputation for authoritarian disciplining of anyone from adult to cub was one that assured that no-one dared to cross her. The only time Aki remembered seeing her mother as angry as she was now was when she was six years old and had accidentally burned down the cabin they used to occupy (and thus landing them in the rather less spacious earthly hut they now called home). A smarting Kira still brought it up on occasion, much to Aki’s exasperation.

Aki routinely entered arguments of varying intensity with her mother, so the experience was not altogether a new one to her, not that she particularly enjoyed it. They argued well into the evening, Kira yelling about Aki disrespecting her in her disobedience and Aki countering with her mother being too strict and not giving Aki any respect of her own. The row lasted so long that it prompted their neighbor, a short-tempered white tiger named Aleus, to come and warn Kira to keep it down as he was trying to put his cub to bed.

Inhuman | Chapter 2: First Encounter [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.

Sean wakes up and tries to make sense of what’s happened … and makes an unexpected friend.


— CHAPTER TWO —

First Encounter

‘I wanna see him!’

Kira sighed exasperatedly, her back to her daughter.

‘No, Aki.’

‘Why?’

‘Because.’

‘That’s not good enough.’

The older vixen sighed again, dropping the tunic she was sewing up onto the table before her with a disgruntled flick of her ear.

Inhuman | Chapter 1: Escape and Arrival [old edition]

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NOTE: This is an old version of Inhuman, which is currently undergoing extensive revisions that include a stylistic overhaul and several chapters’ worth of new content. Stay tuned for the final version, due out whenever I finally slay the procrastination demon that’s taken up residence in my brain. (The bastard.) Meanwhile, please note that the following may not be representative of my current writing skills and is kept here primarily for archival purposes.


Hundreds of years in the future, an elite soldier crash-lands on a strange planet – and finds he’s not alone.

— CHAPTER ONE —

Escape and Arrival

Friday, July 28, 2519 – 22:15

This evening marks my fourth week aboard the Chartraine, and already, I can hardly wait for this experience to end. Never, in my entire career, have I been so bored for so long; my role aboard this ship has been reduced to wandering the decks aimlessly, eating the shit that passes for food, attending brutally boring meetings which are no more than recaps of the previous meeting with trivial details added, and most of all, just spending my days holed up in my cabin. Not that this is much worse than usual, though at least on the ground, I’m able to walk around and avoid others when I want to. Not so on a ship with hundreds of technicians and other grunts.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Inhuman | Aki (pose)

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This is a quick little reference pose for Aki, my foxgirl character in my Inhuman series.

Aki (posing)

Took forever to get the damn shading right, and even now, some parts look a bit wonky. But, enough is enough; I’ve spent all week on this.

All done in PhotoShop CS4 and with a Bamboo tablet.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Inhuman | Aki (portrait, colored)

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I’ve already posted the black & white version earlier, so here you go, as promised: one colored foxgirl.

Aki (portrait, colored)
[full size (800×700)]

All done in PhotoShop CS4, using my brand-new graphics tablet. I love this thing.

Inhuman | Aki (portrait, B&W)

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I just got my first ever graphics tablet, and like the kid that I am (at heart, anyway), I just had to give it a spin and see how well I could transpose my drawing skills from regular pen & paper, to electronic illustration. You be the judge: here is a sketch I made of Aki, a main character from my Inhuman series:

Aki (portrait, B&W)
[full size (800×700)]

That head-fur was murder to get right.

Colored version coming soon. Until now, enjoy – and for FSM’s sake, comment! I want that feedback bubbling around in your mind(s)!