Labor of Ruby and Pearl: Finale

(reading time: 1 hour, 11 minutes)

Raiding the Nest

It was no trouble getting under Proplay’s atmosphere.  They were afforded all the same privacies as other guests and residents outdoors.  Security systems were concentrated on individual buildings and varied with the affluence of the owner.  Everyone but Dana was shocked by the number of private guards posted at each doorstep.  Some buildings had two or three watchmen seated at the top of thin towers that had big steel-rimmed binoculars built into their edges. Continue reading

Labor of Ruby and Pearl: Part Six

Kissing Bugs

Though his father had ordered a retreat, Shem didn’t dare face him empty-handed.  When he fled from the clinic he simply set the ship down in a wooded area and disguised it with branches.  He wanted to go that night, but the equipment he had ordered had not arrived yet.   He spent a day cooped up in his metal ball watching grasshoppers and centipedes crawl across his viewing glass.  He checked his dash screen regularly to make sure it still tracked the pearl. Continue reading

Labor of Ruby and Pearl: Part Four

(reading time: 43 minutes)

Labor of Love

A rickety shack of a house buzzed with activity.  Like most dwellings on Mavercree, there wasn’t another one for miles.  Sixteen vehicles were parked all around the home, with two being bigger than the building itself.  People moved in and out of the single door; they had to turn sideways for two to fit.  The wooden cabin shuddered with everyone’s steps and the light rain dripping over the clogged gutters looked like nervous sweat.  The poor building had never seen such a flurry of bodies. Continue reading

Labor of Ruby and Pearl: Part Three

(reading time: 1 hour, 4 minutes)


The hug was uncomfortable.  Her fingers opened and closed, waiting for it to be over.  Her mother’s pregnant swell forced her to lean back.  Emzara could smell her mother’s hair; it reminded her of all the other hugs she’d gotten over her thirty years.  There was the one when she announced her own pregnancy at fourteen.  Her mother had been so happy that she cried.  Emzara cried as well.  She cried because of fathers and mothers.  She cried when she hit herself in the stomach with a closed fist; she did that for hours and tried to think of it as a workout.  One two three punch, one two three punch, okay just ten more, and then I can be done for the night.  More tears than punches. Continue reading

Labor of Ruby and Pearl: Part Two

(reading time: 1 hour, 2 minutes)

Shem Knarkid Needs his Mommy

Nestled in the heart of the Cosmic Collective, the planet Maymow slowly waltzed its way around its sun.  Under the blanket of its cool atmosphere, great mountain chains curled around each other and poked through the clouds like the intertwined knees of giant sleeping lovers, some of whom must not have cared to shave their legs given the thick pine forests across most peaks.  Some referred to Maymow as Carnal Rock, others as the Sinner’s Stones.  It was a modern planet full of civilized kitchens, bathrooms, studies, terraces, gardens… but not bedrooms.  No the bedrooms of Maymow were places of exploration.  Places where people set out to discover new passions with old flames. Continue reading

Labor of Ruby and Pearl: Part One


A pact struck in the distant future, after mankind has colonized dozens of worlds and diversified into engineered subspecies, saw the death of guns and missiles.  With the new stigma of ‘farcoward’ weapons comes a return of the sword, shield, and bow.

Dana Rudolph is a grumpy travel writer hopping world to world, keeping to himself until date of publishing, when he is pulled into a vast, and surprisingly icky, conspiracy where he must do his best to protect the ‘appearl’, an anomalous learning gem that formed on its own inside a supercomputer.

Follow him and his sword as he teams up with an amazon and a leprechaun to dismantle the supposedly divine, forcing him to confront his traumatic past.

(reading time: 45 minutes) (reading time for entire novel: 6 hours, 11 minutes)

Labor of Ruby and Pearl


Blaine Arcade

The Prosecution’s Best Witness

A man, mostly hollowed, took his seat at the witness stand.  It was time to present the blood ruby left to him by his captors so it could be admitted into evidence.  That way justice could prevail. Continue reading