Saturday, April 29, 2017

May Novel Essential Information

Novel Title: Trustful
Time Setting: 1620*
Genre: Fantasy
Minimum Word Goal: 90,000
Timespan: January–July
Locations: Freiheitkamm, Herzogtum Hochhohl; Festung Unbezähmbar, Herzogtum Kaiserinquellegebiet
Main Characters: Wolfgang Leon Adler, Rosemarie Bergfalk
Background Information:
Born the only child of his parents' union, and heir to his father's title of Herzog, Wolfgang's life had some very tragic beginnings.
It started with his father mysteriously dying days before his third birthday, which the led to his mother going mad with grief; she was thus put in an asylum, where she took her own life when he was seven.
Since his father's death his uncle has been filling in for his father as Herrschendherzog being as Wolfgang isn't old enough yet to assume the title for himself. During this time his uncle has taken much more power than a regent ought to have and there are some that suspect his uncle was involved in his father's untimely demise.
Wolfgang's nineteenth birthday, when he will assume the title of Herzog, is fast approaching — coming up in February — but so too is the birth of his uncle's tenth child, which will happen a month sooner. Although his uncle has nine daughters, there is still the chance that this child could be the son Wolfgang is sure his uncle is waiting for, and if it is then his uncle will no longer be required to keep Wolfgang alive.

For as long as she can remember, Rosemarie has lived with an old woman she knows only as Hulda in a tall stone fortress on top of a mountain. Although Hulda is hideously disfigured, as well as old, Rosemarie has been treated with nothing but great kindness and care.
Life in the fortress is boring, however, even though there are hundreds of rooms in the place Rosemarie has yet to explore in her sixteen years, but they're nothing like the view out the windows.
Out the windows there are thick forests, some imposing mountains, and the broad, fluid ribbon of a great river which seems to originate from the mountain's base.
Hulda, however forbids her to leave the fortress, rebuffing Rosemarie's every effort to gain permission, and thwarting her every attempt to sneak out.
To explore the wide world outside her windows is Rosemarie's dream, but she is left only with the fortress to explore, or to stare out the windows and long to be free.

Freiheitkamm: fryheightkahm
Herzogtum: hairzohgtum
Hochhohl: hohkhhaul
Festung: fesstung
Unbezähmbar: oonbehzahmbar
Kaiserinquellegebeit: k'eyezehrihnkehl'legehbite
Wolfgang: vohlfgahng
Rosemarie: rosemarie
Bergfalk: behrgfahlk
Herzog: hairzohg
Herrschendherzog: hairshendhairzohg

*does not correspond to 1620 AD.

Novel begins on May 1.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 20

Word Total: 120,000

Year to Date: 420,043

Summary of Events:
Hammy led the interrogation of Dong Rhee and got a confession without all that much difficulty. He, Vera, Agent Lupei, and Z were invited to an exhibition where the gemologists unveiled the painite to the public due to their involvement in bringing the painite to the gemologists . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""That was one of the most painful exhibitions I've ever experienced in my entire life," Hammy startled to see Z emerging from the hall. "That unveiling was far too much and I can tell you were fed up with up."
"Anyone should know better than to call someone over the age of twenty a boy," Hammy spat.
"Or a girl," Vera said.
"Yes, I heard," Z said. "Everything else up to that point was exemplary and professional, but I think someone who is a little more tactful and skilled with speeches should've been giving the introduction, and some of that they could've written up and given away as a handout too."
"And some of it was just for the sort of people who are interested in those sorts of things," Hammy said. "I mean, I don't mind a little bit of complex science every now and again, but even I'm not interested in the molecular structure of rocks."
"Are you interested in going back to Asia?" Z asked.
"Why?" Hammy asked.
"I'm just asking," Z replied.
Hammy shifted his jaw sceptically. He was pretty sure Z wasn't that flippant with words that he'd just ask random questions like that, there was a specific purpose to the query.
"Just him?" Vera asked.
"No," Z replied. "I'm asking this of the two of you."
"What part of Asia?" Hammy asked.
"Japan most likely," Z replied. "But nothing says that you'll stay there."
"Something uncovered in your surveillance I would presume?" Vera asked.
Z smiled. "Yes."
"What is it?" Vera asked.
"That's classified," Z replied. "But, despite my surveillance yielding nothing that was of any particular benefit to the case you just finished investigating, I've found something else for the two of you to do where I think your skill set would be of benefit."
"Do you think it might have any ties to some of the things that we uncovered in this investigation?" Hammy asked.
"We'll discuss that when the two of you report to me tomorrow morning," Z replied.
"What time?" Hammy asked.
"I don't know," Z replied. "I'll let you know tomorrow morning."
"You don't want to have to start timing me now?" Hammy asked, smiling.
"I really don't need to time you," Z said. "It's always three minutes and seven seconds.""

Once again, I am also pleased to announce that I am a 
and I hope that you'll all come back on April 29 for the next post.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 19

Word Count: 114,010

Summary of Events:
Vera and Hammy received a granting of their extradition request and made plans to get Dong Rhee out of the prison, but the gangsters locked them in an empty cell they had to break out of, only to find the gangsters had gotten away. They ended up learning that the gangsters had stolen a helicopter to escape and engaged in a chase with the help of locally-stationed British forces to bring it down before getting Dong Rhee and setting off at once for the Netherlands. While Vera slept on the flight Hammy talked with the other agent . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Hammy sighed. "I have a feeling things aren't as wrapped up as they ought to be, after all, we know what happened, we have the man responsible, and all those sorts of things, but now we have a gang at us that's horribly angry."
"You'll probably have to talk about that with Z," Agent Lupei said. "He might send other agents out there to deal with and diffuse the situation without the two of you being endangered by the whole thing."
"Putting different faces in there might not be a bad idea, actually," Hammy said.
"After all, they're looking for the two of you, not someone else," Agent Lupei said.
"Very true," Hammy said. "And won't I be glad to have a break."
"The two of you have been on a long case," Agent Lupei said.
"I think it might've been better classed as a tour of duty," Hammy said.
Agent Lupei chuckled. "Maybe, you never know."
"Especially in Afghanistan," Hammy said. "I had to consciously remind myself not to be in combat mode, but it was hard."
"I can imagine," Agent Lupei said. "Although I must admit, it seems like an awful lot of trouble for a little bit of money."
"People can get that way sometimes, though," Hammy said.
"Very true," Agent Lupei agreed. "But there are others who want more than mere money."
"Yes," Hammy agreed.
"And, admittedly, I feel like one of those sort might actually be involved here," Agent Lupei said.
"What do you mean?" Hammy asked.
"I don't know," Agent Lupei replied. "But, being as it seems like an awful lot of trouble for a little bit of money, I almost wonder if money wasn't necessarily the motivation, but that there was some other motivation behind it, some sort of a power-hungry motive behind it."
Hammy shifted his jaw, not entirely sure what Agent Lupei meant, not that Agent Lupei seemed entirely sure what he meant either, based on how he was talking.
"You don't think we've seen the last of Mr. Miyamoto?" Hammy asked.
"I don't think Mr. Miyamoto's the one we have to worry about," Agent Lupei said. "I feel like there might well be someone over him."
"Why?" Hammy asked.
"I don't know," Agent Lupei replied. "But it seems that a rather innocuous case has uncovered a little fragment of something bigger."
"It does, actually," Hammy agreed. "Maybe there is some sort of a big organisation dedicated to evil out there, like Spectre in the Bond books."
Agent Lupei nodded, but said nothing.
Hammy sighed and leaned back against his seat as the helicopter lifted off again. It wasn't long until they at least had a little bit of downtime, although, based on Agent Lupei's suggestions, Hammy wasn't sure that it was the end of it all."

Lupei: luhpie

Monday, April 24, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 18

Word Count: 108,017

Summary of Events:
Hammy was called by Vera and updated as to what had happened in Thailand. Vera arrived in Afghanistan and immediately after being equipped she, Hammy, and the other agent went to get a progress report on the extradition request; while waiting for the other agent Vera noticed they were being watched. Hammy went to see who was watching them and found out that it was one of Mr. Miyamoto's men, who told him that Mr. Miyamoto had changed his mind and was going to try breaking Dong Rhee out himself. Vera was wondering what was taking Hammy so long and decided to go sneak around and see . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Vera almost felt like she was privileged to be seeing what she was seeing. It seemed like Agent Westley was entirely in his element.
His muscles were tight, the gun ready in his hands, his jaw set, his nostrils flaring with each breath; his mouth moved quickly, forming Japanese responses to the words the man was speaking to him.
Slowly he edged closer to the other man while still talking. She had a feeling Agent Westley didn't see her. He wasn't using the Covert Code to communicate with her. She didn't know what she should do. She had a feeling anything sudden would scare not only the man in front of her, but Agent Westley.
A shout sounded and Vera whirled around to see a man running toward her with a gun. Vera threw herself to the ground as gunfire exploded around her before rolling over, her gun already in her hand and ready to fire, but when she rolled over she found that the man Agent Westley had been talking to was on the ground in a bloody mess and the other man was fleeing with bloody wounds and his gun was laying on the ground.
Agent Westley looked over at her. He looked upset. Even more so when he took off his sunglasses to reveal his blue eyes, brimming with intensity and tension.
"He could've come up from behind and shot you if I wouldn't have been here," Vera said, getting up.
Agent Westley said nothing to her, but instead used his boots to roll the body around.
"You're going to have to fill out paperwork now," Vera said.
"No, I don't think so, actually," Agent Westley said. "All the obvious exit wounds are on the front."
"What did you learn from him?" Vera asked.
"The gangsters are going to try and break Dong Rhee out of prison on their own."
"That's not good," Vera said.
"Not with our wont to extradite him, no," Agent Westley said. "But I managed to get a lot of information our of him without him knowing it. I'm surprised at how slow he was, but at least he's dead now, so his gaffes won't be realised."
"So what are we going to do now?" Vera asked.
"Leave the scene and wait and see if his comrade returns to collect things," Agent Westley replied.
"And then?" Vera replied slowly.
"Tail him to their hideout and see what we can't do to sabotage their efforts," Agent Westley replied.
Vera nodded and walked back to the jeep. Petre emerged from the building before they arrived at it and looked at them before startling.
"What happened?" he asked.
"Someone was watching us," Agent Westley replied. "His own man killed him trying to get Dalca. I've got a lot of information for us, though."
"Classified of course," Petre said.
"Yes," Agent Westley replied.
"You're all covered in blood," Petre said.
"I felt myself get hit a couple of times, all in the vest, after they went through the man I was talking to," Agent Westley said.
Petre got into the driver's seat this time, with Agent Westley in the passenger, and Vera taking the backseat. She was intrigued to hear what Agent Westley had learned."

Petre: peetruh

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 17

Word Count: 102,007

Summary of Events:
Hammy and the agent in Afghanistan tried to get a visit with Dong Rhee, the thief, but the guards were intent on torturing him and Hammy ended up getting into a fight with the guards. Vera, Gemo, and the gemologists arrived at Gemo's girlfriend's house, only to be told no one was home and taken to a different gangster who lied that the painite had been his; despite Vera's best efforts, the gemologists paid him so as to escape with guarantee of their lives. Hammy realised that Dong Rhee had escaped, setting everyone off in pursuit of him; Hammy eventually caught him in a rooftop chase. Vera, Gemo, and the gemologists had been shown out of the gang's building when Gemo's girlfriend came over and started tearing a strip out of Gemo . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Somporn wrote a cheque of his own to Mr. Sambakhom and because yours failed to go through his failed to go through!" she shrieked. "And then you wouldn't wait when I asked you to because you needed to catch your stupid flight back to Italy! You didn't want to admit your lies! You wanted to get away with your robbery!"
"I didn't hardly spend anything last time I was here!" Gemo protested.
"Lies!" she screamed. "All of it lies! When they didn't get their money they captured Somporn and killed him! If I wouldn't have told them that you'd given him the money I'd be dead too!"
"I don't understand!" Gemo cried, looking on the verge of tears.
"All because of that stupid rock my brother is dead!" she shrieked. "I wish you had never come into my life! You have ruined everything!"
"But my love!" Gemo exclaimed.
"My love!" she screamed. "My love!? What love!? You don't love me! You never have and you never will! All you have done is ruined my life! You wanted me to have no attachment to Thailand so that I would go to your stupid Italy with you and remain your personal slave for the rest of your days! I want nothing more to do with you! I hope you are cursed for the rest of your days! I hope that you die a slow and agonising death! I hope your flesh rots while you still live! I hope that your body is eaten by the wild animals! I hate you!"
She tore at her ring finger and threw something shiny at him before turning and storming off in teary fury.
Vera watched her until she was gone and then turned to Gemo, who was on his knees, holding a small ring in his hand, tears streaming down his face, looking completely broken and destroyed.
"So that's what happened," Vera said.
"What?" Mr. Acaster asked.
"That's the whole reason almost a dozen people were killed," Vera replied. "All over money."
"I don't understand," Mr. Acaster said.
"Mr. Metharom needed money, so he sold the painite to Mr. Zanetti," Vera said. "Mr. Zanetti filled out the cheque, not realising he had insufficient funds in his bank account to pay for the stone. Mr. Metharom didn't realise this either, and wrote a cheque right away from his own bank account to pay the gangsters. Both cheques, as a result, failed to go through, so the gangsters kidnapped Mr. Metharom and interrogated him, and he told them he'd sold a stone to get the money, and who he'd sold it to, so they went after Mr. Zanetti, whom Mr. Metharom's sister was unable to detain, killed Mr. Zanetti's pilot and stewardess, as well as one of our members posing as a bodyguard. In-flight Mr. Zanetti was drugged so that he wouldn't hear the other four bodyguards being killed, nor noticed the plane landing in Cyprus to drop off the thief, who proceeded to Afghanistan before losing the stone, which ended up in Mr. Gimondi's possession as a result.""

Acaster: aycahster
Metharom: methahrohm

Friday, April 21, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 16

Word Count: 96,015

Summary of Events:
Vera was informed by the gemologists that the stone in question was far and away the largest specimen of a highly rare gem known as painite, which had as much as four times the value of a ruby; they were willing to offer €31,000,000 for it, so Gemo offered to take them to Thailand to prove he was the rightful owner. Hammy contacted Vera and they updated each other on what they'd learned. Vera met with Z in-person and was given some extra equipment to help her in Thailand. Hammy arrived in Afghanistan and met the agent there who'd been investigating the trail of the painite after its theft. Vera was surprised by Gemo taking them out of Bangkok on their arrival in Thailand; upon inquiry she learned their destination was Chiang Mai . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""You're taking us to visit your lover?" Vera asked, unimpressed.
"It is her brother that I brought the painite from," Gemo replied. "They live together."
Vera nodded.
"But not for long," Gemo said.
"What do you mean?" Vera asked.
"I am going to marry Maia and she will move to Italy with me, where we'll live in my mansion, worship at my pagoda, and have all we could ever want together," Gemo replied.
Vera nodded slowly.
"I will marry her in a traditional Buddhist ceremony, and then legally change my name so that all will be required to identify me by my true name, and we will be Mongkut and Maia Somchai," Gemo said.
Vera shifted her jaw. She was glad she wasn't related to Gemo, or going to have any further interactions with him beyond this case. He was nothing short of odd, as far as she was concerned.
"He will prove that you purchased the painite from him," Vera said.
"Of course," Gemo replied. "Somporn is a wonderful friend, if he were interested in joining us in Italy, I would invite him, but he is pleased to do his work here in Thailand, and we will visit him regularly."
Vera nodded. "He won't object to a bill of sale?"
"Of course not," Gemo replied. "As I said, Somporn is a wonderful friend."
Part of Vera was sceptical; she was impressed that Gemo was interested in marrying a young woman who was more than likely related to a gangster, but then again, being as he had a potential gangster in the form of Signore Gimondi as a friend, it wasn't entirely surprising either.
She had a feeling, though, that there wouldn't be as much agreeability to a bill of sale as Gemo predicted there was going to be. Gangsters hardly liked to keep records, especially any sort of remotely legitimate sorts of records, or records that would be seen by legitimate sorts of people.
If anything, they were probably willing to associate with Gemo because he didn't seem to even realise  what sort of clandestine work they were engaging in, and he also had a lot of money, which might well serve them, especially if they separated him from it by selling him jewels and gemstones.
Since her conversation with Signore Gimondi, too, Vera was starting to see how Signore Gimondi was right: Gemo was rather dense and unobservant. He viewed the world through a proverbial pair of rose-coloured glasses and didn't seem to notice much of anything that was of particular importance.
After all, if he would've been more observant, he would've realised that he'd had an impostor pilot and stewardess — surely, unless they'd been disguised well — and he might well have noticed that he was being conned with the sale of the painite in the first place.
That, though, was a question mark; it all depended on what they learned once they got to Chiang Mai. What Gemo's future brother-in-law — according to him — told them, or even how he behaved when they were with him, would determine what exactly the goal of selling the painite to Gemo was."

Mongkut: mohnkoot
Somchai: sohmch'aye
Somporn: sohmpohrn
Signore Gimondi: sihgnohray zheemohndee

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 15

Word Count: 90,010

Summary of Events:
Vera was coming back from her dinner with the fellow agent when she ended up running into Gemo Zanetti's friend in the hotel hallway and he took her outside to talk with him while he smoked. Hammy brought his pretend pet tarantula to Mr. Miyamoto, who then insisted on sending some men to keep an eye on Hammy, but Hammy refused, only to be followed by some of Mr. Miyamoto's men on the way back prompting him to get help from fellow agents; the limousine he was driving then ran low on fuel and he was heading to a station to refuel it when he was hit by another vehicle . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Hammy got out immediately and roundhouse kicked the side window before looking inside for Agent Guan. He was facedown on the floor of the limousine and looked to be conscious.
"Guan!" Hammy shouted, reaching in.
Agent Guan lifted his head and took Hammy's outstretched hand.
Hammy pulled him out and found Agent Solak looking at the flaming wreckage behind them.
With Agent Guan, Hammy looked. It was a civilian vehicle that, along with the building it'd struck, was quite engulfed in flames.
Looking between his two fellow agents, Hammy sighed and then started away. There was really nothing they could do. Hammy wasn't sure why the car had hit them, or even how; it just had.
There was a shout suddenly and Hammy turned to see a Thai man running up to them with his gun drawn.
Agent Guan ran out to stop him, only to be shot by the man and collapse to the ground clutching at his abdomen.
Hammy drew his gun and fired at the man's gun before Agent Solak got to the man to try and subdue him. The man drew a knife and stabbed Agent Solak twice to the chest before looking a Hammy.
"What do you want?" Hammy asked.
"I want nothing," the man replied. "I am required to kill you."
"Or try?" Hammy asked.
"I can afford nothing less than success," the man replied.
"Who sent you?" Hammy asked.
"Mr. Shinawatra," the man replied.
Hammy had no idea who that was, but he wasn't going to make that clear to the man; it was probably of no consequence at the moment, after all, he was pretending to be someone else, he could shed this identity in short order and there would no longer be a problem.
"Mr. Shinawatra has had enough of you and your negligence," the man said. "He is not going to let you get away with it any longer. You are going to die, and you are going to die now."
Hammy laughed. "You don't know who you're dealing with."
The man lunged at him, but Hammy deftly evaded him. They moved about like a toreador and a bull for a bit, with the man's frustration growing quickly.
Hammy then grabbed the man from behind at the waist and spun him over his head before lowering the man to the ground, where he staggered slightly before managing to recover himself, whirl around, and plunge the knife through Hammy's arm right close to the edge.
Savagely Hammy seized the handle and tore the knife out of his arm, whipping it behind himself before lunging at the man with an enraged passion. The man turned to flee, but Hammy caught him, threw him to the pavement, and threw three vicious fists at the man's face.
With the man unconscious, Hammy staggered to his feet, clutching at his forearm desperately before moving over toward where the wounded and bleeding Agents Solak and Guan were sitting."

Shinawatra: sheenahwahtrah

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 14

Word Count: 84,007

Summary of Events:
Vera met Gemo Zanetti and his friend, Benedetto Gimondi, in whose possession Gemo had found the stone; after questioning him, Vera decided that they should take the stone to a gemological laboratory in Lucerne to determine whether it was a ruby or not. Hammy, disguised as a half-Japanese gangster, went to the nightclub with a different agent translator. Vera met with a different agent at a restaurant in Lucerne to discuss the case so far and what she planned on doing. Hammy, as a result of visiting the nightclub, then met with a man who turned out to be an employer of one of the other gangsters he'd met and learned that the gangster who'd killed the agents they'd found dead in Italy was being held in Afghanistan, whom he offered to free, provided he left something he was willing to lose . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""A beloved pet then?" Mr. Miyamoto asked.
Hammy shifted his jaw and worked to look uncomfortable, as opposed to uncertain.
"There is a beloved pet then," Mr. Miyamoto said.
"Yes," Hammy replied.
"What is it?" Mr. Miyamoto asked.
"Rokurou," Hammy replied.
"That's a name," Mr. Miyamoto said.
"It's his name," Hammy replied.
"And who is he?" Mr. Miyamoto asked.
Hammy took deep breaths, as if he was emotional at the idea of surrendering a beloved pet — not that he actually possessed one — to Mr. Miyamoto, when he was actually groping for an animal that he could willingly surrender to Mr. Miyamoto, know it would likely end up being killed.
"He's my tarantula."
He saw Mr. Miyamoto move and looked up to see Mr. Miyamoto looking quite repulsed.
"You have a pet tarantula?" Mr. Miyamoto asked.
"I do," Hammy replied. "He's my dearest companion, I tell him all my secrets, and I let him roam freely around my apartment."
Mr. Miyamoto shouted and leapt onto his desk in an impressive standing jump.
"He isn't here, I know most people don't take kindly to spiders," Hammy replied.
"So you are going to give me a tarantula," Mr. Miyamoto said in a trembling voice, still standing atop his desk. "And if you fail to bring back my man from Afghanistan, I have the right to kill it."
Hammy nodded, dabbing at his eye gently, as if he were crying, along with making sure his jaw was quivering.
"But if you succeed you get him back," Mr. Miyamoto said.
Hammy nodded.
"It's not prone to escape its cage, is it?" Mr. Miyamoto asked.
"No," Hammy replied. "He knows he is only let out when it is just me around, unless I want to torture any enemies who come to call, but I lost his brother, Daichi, to the vicious reaction of one of my enemies while doing that, so I don't do it often."
Mr. Miyamoto looked highly reviled, and generally like he was a significant arachnophobe. "If that creature can mean so much to you then, I will take it."
Hammy dabbed at his eyes and did his best not to regain his composure too quickly.
"I need information on your man first," Hammy said.
"His name is Dong Rhee," Mr. Miyamoto replied, getting off his desk in a civilised manner. "He is being held in Kabul, Afghanistan, awaiting execution for having murdered several men who had stolen the ruby you came here seeking from him. His execution is slated to take place in January."
"And that is all you intend to give me?" Hammy asked.
"That is all," Mr. Miyamoto replied.
"I will bring Rokurou here on Thursday at eight past ten in the morning," Hammy said.
"Eight past ten?" Mr. Miyamoto asked.
"Yes," Hammy replied. "It is the perfect sort of time to say farewell."
Mr. Miyamoto looked highly baffled. "Well, I will expect you on Thursday at exactly eight minutes after ten o' clock in the morning, and no later."
"I will be here," Hammy replied."

Gimondi: zheemohndee
Miyamoto: meeahmohtoh
Rokurou: dohkuhdoo

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 13

Word Count: 78,086

Summary of Events:
Vera was released from the hospital and taken to the hotel, where Hammy was leading all available agents in a battle against the gangsters, until the Thai military showed up and took over. Hammy received a call from Gio, the agent in Italy, saying that Gemo Zanetti had found his ruby. Vera was sent to see what they could learn from the person who currently had it, while Hammy remained in Thailand to try and come up with answers from that end. He then ended up being called by his uncle, whom he vented some of his frustrations to . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Aren't there other agents you can work with?" Uncle Duncan asked.
"Yes," Hammy replied. "However, I'm technically the highest-ranking agent currently west of Turkmenistan because Asia's in lockdown due to a potential compromise related to the why of this whole incident."
"And that means?" Uncle Duncan asked.
"I have to do all the work myself," Hammy replied. "I can't assign them to do groundwork for me, I have to do all the groundwork myself, along with double-checking positively everything they do in the Branch pertaining to my case. It hasn't been that bad so far, except for the fact that I don't think I can hide very well."
"Not in Asia, anyways," Uncle Duncan said. "If you were working here in England you'd be fine."
"In Europe in general I'd be safe," Hammy replied. "The fact that I speak most all of the languages of the Continent with a degree of fluency helps."
"The other agents, even though they're in lockdown, can still help you, though, can't they?" Uncle Duncan asked.
"Yes, but I'd have to give orders," Hammy replied.
"And you did that in the military Fenton," Uncle Duncan said.
"Yes," Hammy replied.
"What if you, possibly, found a way to pretend you're Asian?" Uncle Duncan asked.
"Asians don't get six foot three," Hammy replied.
"No, they get eight foot ten," Uncle Duncan said.
"Well he was Chinese," Hammy said.
"But you don't know Thai, do you?" Uncle Duncan asked.
"No," Hammy replied. "The only Asian language I know is Japanese."
"Well, then pretend you're Japanese, or maybe even half-Japanese," Uncle Duncan said. "And communicate exclusively in Japanese. Or does your accent come through there?"
"I don't know, that would be for someone else to tell me," Hammy replied. "Like all the British musicians who lose their accents when they sing, they don't notice it, someone else has to tell them."
"True," Uncle Duncan said. "But still, you could say you're half Australian or something."
"But what sort of job do I take?" Hammy asked.
"I don't know, it depends on what you need," Uncle Duncan replied. "But it does work, doesn't it?"
"I guess," Hammy replied.
"Maybe I should get into this spying business," Uncle Duncan said. "After all, life gets droll when one's nearly seventy."
Hammy laughed a little. "Most people in the Agency that old are either retired or work exclusively at a Branch."
"Ah, that'd be fine, it's not like I don't know too much already," Uncle Duncan said.
Hammy sighed.
"You should set me up when you get back," Uncle Duncan said.
"We'll see about that," Hammy said.
"You say you live for the thrill," Uncle Duncan said.
"But you're nearly seventy," Hammy said.
"So?" Uncle Duncan asked. "Old people get bored too, they're not just boring."
"Maybe we will have to see about it," Hammy said, smiling to himself a little. "Thank you for the help, though. I think I might actually take your advice."
"See?" Uncle Duncan said. "I'm already suited to the business!"
Hammy shook his head and chuckled. A seventy year old new recruit, he could only imagine Z's reaction to that."

Monday, April 17, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 12

Word Count: 72,016

Summary of Events:
After Hammy successfully escaped the gangsters Vera woke up in the hospital, but was rendered mute by the poison, which was still somewhat in her system. Hammy set out to work without her and chose to seduce a gang-afiliated young woman. Vera was woken by the agent assigned to track the impostor calling and talked with him — as the poison's effects had worn off — a bit, but found he wasn't getting too much of anywhere. Hammy started questioning the gang-afiliated young woman,  who took some coaxing before she talked; she then revealed that her earrings were bugged moments before the gangsters attacked . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Anong scrambled over and seized hold of his gun. She wrapped her mouth around it and viciously resisted Hammy's efforts to pry her off of it as the wood cracked and he heard people entering the room.
Gunfire exploded and Anong suddenly wrenched and contorted before dropping to the floor in a mess of blood and bullets.
Hammy cocked his gun and fired at all the guns trained on him, causing all of the gangsters to drop their guns. Hammy then rose to his feet, holding his gun out in front of him.
All of the gangsters backed away and Hammy herded them to the door with ease, until all of them drew out pistols and glared at him savagely.
Hammy ducked into the washroom and loaded his spare clip, as well as taking out Anong's earrings, which he pocketed before taking up the collapsible bucket full of water he'd prepared earlier.
Racing out of the washroom, Hammy ran and tossed water at the Mithril before throwing himself through the window, the Mithril wrapping around him. He grabbed the windowsill and flipped himself over, which slammed him against the hotel's wall.
He grimaced in pain before looking up to see the other gangster getting lowered down the wall to attack him.
Drawing his gun, Hammy fired at the gangster's gun, hanging onto the windowsill with one hand. He then put his gun back and managed to grab onto the sill with both hands again.
The gangster got closer, drawing a pistol, and put it against Hammy's head.
Hammy managed to reach up and grab the gangster's wrist connected to the hand holding onto the gun. He then pushed himself off of the wall and around to grab one of the gangster's ankles.
They dropped suddenly and jerked. Hammy struggled to wrench the pistol free from the gangster as he noticed that the lowering continued at a slower rate, with calls in Thai coming from above.
Viciously Hammy struggled with the gangster before grabbing onto the gangster's harness with one hand, while he continued to struggle with the gangster for control of the gun, making it fire several shots as a result. Hammy noticed they seemed to be picking up speed in their descent too; he looked down to see what their landing would be, and it didn't look like it was going to be pleasant.
Hammy managed to get the gun to shoot out another window below them before flipping himself through it. He swore and clutched at his forearm, which oozed blood from a long cut.
The occupants of the room screamed, but Hammy ran through the room and out in an instant, blinded by the bright hallway lights.
Looking both ways, he decided that it would be safer to make for the stairway and see if he couldn't get back up to Vera's room from there. Good thing he had two auxiliary clips, he had a feeling he was going to need them."

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 11

Word Count: 66,036

Summary of Events:
Vera and Hammy — having met the gangster whose gang had been behind the killing of the agents — ended up making a deal with him as per their cover story, and so decided to pretend they were going back to England to draw up the contract for it, but that they were leaving behind a couple of gangsters to keep an eye on things — roles they would then assume to remain in Thailand — which the gangster was not pleased to hear. They disguised themselves anyway and despite Hammy's reservations, went into the nightclub the gangster operated where they ordered drinks Hammy noticed were poisoned . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Grabbing the back of her head and her glass, bartender suddenly tipped Vera's glass back, forcing the assuredly poisoned liquid against her lips. Vera's eyes went wide and she fought to get away, but the bartender's hold was firm.
Hammy drew his gun, aimed, and fired directly at the bartender's shoulder, causing the bartender to reel back, bellowing in pain.
"Get her out of here and check for poison," Hammy ordered Agent Ueno, who collected Vera off of the floor and hurried outside.
Hammy ducked as the bartender fired a bottle in his direction and then started for the door as quickly as he could. Gunshots erupted behind him and suddenly he felt at white-hot pain that he couldn't even pinpoint.
Stumbling and staggering, Hammy managed to get out before collapsing to his hands and knees on the pavement. He saw blood soaked into his shirt close to his hip, and dripping to the ground from somewhere his shirt obscured.
He turned his head at the sound of the door opening and saw a different gangster, with a machine gun in hand, standing over him and looking generally rather savage.
"You die now," the gangster said in heavily-accented English.
Hammy managed to put his gun away before touching his side. It was just a graze wound, and the most painful graze wound he'd ever suffered, he had to admit.
He then put his hand back to the pavement, shifted his weight onto both hands, and then threw his legs at the gangster before using the same momentum to pull himself to his feet and run over to Agent Ueno and Vera, who looked to be under the effects of some sort of poison.
Hammy swore to himself. He should've seen this sort of thing coming. Vera looked deathly pale already. She closed her eyes, but her chest continued to rise and fall.
"I've got our emergency medical unit on the way," Agent Ueno said.
Hammy shook his head and swore again. "I should've figured that sort of thing would happen, I should've stopped her."
"Quiet," Agent Ueno ordered. "That does no good now."
"What does any good then?" Hammy demanded.
"Making sure she's still breathing and as a pulse," Agent Ueno replied. "I don't know what kind of poison it was, other than fast-acting, and I don't know how much it would take to kill, but I know of several poisons it could be."
"It discoloured my drink to a slightly red hue when it's supposed to be more of a bronzy colour," Hammy said. "I didn't notice any discolouration with her drink, though, but I suspected that it was likely contaminated as well."
Agent Ueno nodded. "It's one of two then, both take a good amount to be fatal, so hopefully she'll be alright, so long as she didn't swallow any."
Hammy held onto Vera's wrist. Her pulse felt to be in overdrive. He hoped that she would make it."

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 10

Word Count: 60,004

Summary of Events:
Vera and Hammy were invited to a party by the latest gangster they'd met with, but Hammy was suspicious of things when he was given the wrong drink and then got shot at by the bartender when he wanted to change his order; then, when they were on the elevator, it stopped and the power went out, but Hammy cut the ceiling open and sent Agent Ueno out to scout . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""What's it look like?" Hammy asked.
"We'll need to climb the wall somehow," Agent Ueno said. "We're not terribly close to the next doorway."
"And the faster we get out of here the safer I'll feel because they could well drop us if they really wanted to," Hammy said.
"Would these work?" Vera asked, pulling out a pair of gloves covered in suction cups.
"Where did you hide those?" Hammy asked.
"In the shawl pockets," Vera replied.
"Is there enough for all of us?" Hammy asked.
"Of course," Vera replied.
"Good," Hammy said, putting his hands around her waist.
He lifted her up and she climbed out. Hammy followed after, getting a hand from Agent Ueno, and they all put on their gloves, as well as kneepads and shoe covers.
Hammy went to start climbing up the wall, but then he remembered that Vera had the lights.
She bunched her long skirt up over her knees, tucking it up slightly behind the caps so that she wouldn't have to fight with things before starting up the shaft. Hammy and Agent Ueno started after her.
She scrambled up the wall like she was an actual gecko — whom the Gecko Gear was inspired by — and Hammy and Agent Ueno had to hurry to keep up with her.
A creak echoed loudly through the shaft and Hammy paused for a moment before hearing the rush of the elevator descending. Hammy glanced down, but he could see only darkness, which chilled him.
He kept going after Vera, who stopped at the doors.
"I think the elevator's coming back," Agent Ueno said.
Hammy swore before grabbing onto the doors. They wouldn't be forced open.
Taking off a glove, he drew out his laser and cut an opening into the doors big enough for them to fit through.
He put the pen in his teeth and used his gloved hand to remove the pieces and drop them down, only to find that he'd only cut through part of the door. He could feel a rush of wind.
Swearing under his breath, he repeated the cut, only to pull away more layers.
"It's getting close," Agent Ueno said.
Hammy did a third set of cuts, but still hadn't pulled away all of it. This time he heard the layers hit the oncoming elevator.
Turning the laser around, Hammy aimed it at the elevator cables, which snapped and caused a vacuum force of wind to pull at them, but they all hung onto each other and the bit of a ledge Hammy had formed by cutting into the doors until finally the vacuum released them.
Hammy finally finished cutting through the doors just before a near-deafening bang sounded in the shaft.
He pushed Vera and Agent Ueno ahead of him and scrambled out, his heart pounding as he removed the Gecko Gear and gave it to Vera, who put it all away in her shawl again."

Next post on April 15.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 9

Word Count: 54,006

Summary of Events:
Vera and Hammy were visiting the gangster again when his hideout was attacked. Vera ended up with Agent Ueno after they lost Hammy and the two of them ended up outside being held somewhat hostage by the attackers. Hammy ended up in a storeroom, but managed to get out of the building before getting attacked and suffering a deep cut to his right palm before finding Vera and Agent Ueno and talking them out of the situation and into the presence of another gangster whose personal medical staff tended to Hammy's wound. After learning this gangster had a pilot who'd been hired to fly to Italy Hammy and Agent Ueno arranged a secret meeting with the pilot . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Suddenly a man appeared at their table and sat down. He looked a lot like Zanetti's real pilot, but there was something a little different about him. He spoke in Thai. Agent Ueno replied before looking at him and nodding: it was their man.
"We know who you are," Hammy said. "But you do not know who we are, and we intend to keep it that way."
Agent Ueno repeated it. The pilot spoke, sounding almost unimpressed.
"He doesn't like that arrangement," Agent Ueno said.
"He can't have it any other way," Hammy replied.
"He isn't interested," Agent Ueno said.
Hammy drew his gun and cocked it before lowering his hand to the table, the gun ready and waiting. "He can't have it any other way."
The pilot looked at the gun with a slightly wary expression.
"All we want is the answers to a few questions," Hammy said. "If he cooperates he'll leave with his fingers. If not, he'll learn how good of a shot I am."
"He agrees," Agent Ueno said
"You were hired to fly to Italy by an associate of your employer," Hammy said. "For what purpose was this flight?"
"The purpose was to get something which had been stolen," Agent Ueno replied. "It was also required that the individual who was reclaiming it be dropped off on the return journey."
"The return journey?" Hammy asked.
"The return journey," Agent Ueno replied.
"What was being reclaimed?" Hammy asked.
"What was stolen," Agent Ueno replied.
Hammy shifted his jaw. Even though he was being forced to divulge, he couldn't be forced to divulge enough to be satisfactory. Enough of the facts corroborated, however; Hammy was more than certain he wasn't a fake.
"Where was the drop-off point?" Hammy asked.
"At the airport," Agent Ueno replied.
"The airport in Nicosia?" Hammy asked, his gaze fixed on the pilot's face.
The pilot's eyes widened in alarm for a moment.
"It's not good to lie to someone who only needs you to confirm the facts," Hammy said. "I know you dropped him off on the journey to Italy, after having killed four men on the flight who were guarding the stolen ruby he was reclaiming."
The pilot went to get up, but Hammy grabbed his wrist, held it up, and fired, causing the little finger to fly off, having been separated from his hand.
"That's one," Hammy said.
The pilot looked at his hand in horror before sitting back down slowly.
"Now, I know he was heading to Turkey from Nicosia," Hammy said. "What was his route from there?"
"Back here," Agent Ueno translated the pilot's monotone reply.
"Is he back here?" Hammy asked.
"I don't know," Agent Ueno replied.
"Are you sure you don't know?" Hammy asked, advancing the next round.
"I swear by the Great Buddha," Agent Ueno replied. "May I be blessed with good karma."
Hammy drew a wad of gauze out of his pocket, as well as some bandaging, and gave to to Agent Ueno, who bandaged the pilot's hand and got up to lead him away for medical tending."

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 8

Word Count: 48,024

Summary of Events:
Vera and Hammy, as well as another agent, who was to work as their interpreter, went around to nightclubs looking for gangsters; they didn't like the first one they'd met, but the second one was more than favourable and took them to see his jewels . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"They wound down a long corridor before they reached another room and went inside.
The room was dimly lit initially, but then lights came on, illuminating glass boxes in which a wide variety of stones sat. Most all were uncut, and a wide variety of sizes.
Vera could identify the jades easily, there were a bunch of red stones she guessed were rubies, and the blue ones looked like sapphires, as well as many more she couldn't have begun to guess.
"These are my jewels," the man said. "Only the finest."
They walked down the length of the room, with Agent Westley walking carefully, analytically, around each display case, before making it all the way to where the man and Agent Ueno waited for him.
"This one is prize of my collection," the man said, before drawing a cover off of a display case and revealing a rather large, ruby-coloured stone.
He opened the display case and put on a pair of gloves to draw it out. There were some jade chunks which were bigger than this ruby, but compared to all the stones not even the size of the thick, prominent muscle group at the base of Vera's thumb, it was huge. It might've been the size of her palm.
Agent Westley released her so as to slip on gloves and look at the stone. Vera watched as he turned it over in his hands.
"Is this the largest ruby ever unearthed?" Agent Westley asked.
"It is largest ruby I ever seen," the man replied. "I do not know how large it is."
"I could get it tested for you," Agent Westley said.
"You bring testers here to see it," the man said, nodding from his shoulders up, which looked more like he had intent to bow or something.
"Are you sure that would be safe?" Agent Westley asked.
"What you mean?" the man asked.
"Do you want them to see your collection?" Agent Westley asked.
"Oh, they not test it in here," the man said. "They test it in other room, I not let them see my collection."
Agent Westley nodded, still eyeing the stone in his hands.
"You bring testers here to see it," the man said.
Agent Westley looked at the stone, then looked up at the man. Vera noted that his expression looked quite cold and calculating.
"I want to make sure that I am getting into a worthwhile partnership," Agent Westley said. "I will bring testers here soon."
The man nodded in that odd, bowing sort of way eagerly. "Yes, yes, yes."
"Now," Agent Westley said. "Let us talk over drinks."
The man nodded and started past them, back toward the exit. Vera looked back at the empty display case, then at Agent Westley. Was he stealing the ruby? What was he going to do with it? Did he want to get himself killed?"

Ueno: oohehnoh

Monday, April 10, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 7

Word Count: 42,014

Summary of Events:
Hammy and Vera discussed what they wanted to do next and came up with the idea that Hammy would pretend to be a British gangster and Vera would be his mistress — not that she liked the idea — so they went to the Agency branch in Bangkok to work on disguises, staring with Vera . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"She was appalled to find that the halter-topped dress was also backless to her hips, but, even worse was the fact that the material that went around the back of her neck didn't join with any material going the other way until her hips as well, leaving a narrow strip of skin exposed from her hips all the way up to her neck.
A bejewelled ring was fastened to the fabric covering either side of her bust, the only thing preventing some sort of a wardrobe disaster from taking place. Vera hated it passionately.
But, being as Agent Westley wanted to see her in it, she left the room and went onto the pedestal.
"Hm," Agent Westley said.
"I hate it," Vera said.
"The colour is right," Agent Westley said. "But it has more of a seductress aura, and I don't want that. I want it to look like I'm in control of the relationship. I want some sort of a . . . girl-woman sort of thing. Something impish and immature, doting, subservient."
Vera was grateful for his statements and eagerly took the next dress that he gave her to change into. It was from the shorter end of the spectrum, but for once it had a back on it, at least to the base of her shoulders, and a generally modest neckline. The bottom end, however, was disappointing as, once again, it just barely covered her rear end.
She walked out in it anyways.
"I don't really care for this one either," Agent Westley said. "There's no flowing fabric, there needs to be a little skirt, something to swing with a sashay across the room and show some impish attitude."
"You sound like you work in a fashion house," Vera said.
Agent Westley chuckled as he handed her the next dress. "Well, I have a particular image in mind I'm trying to match."
Vera changed into the next dress. It had a little skirt as well, and a lot of exposed back. She didn't like it at all, but she went out in it.
"Good gracious!" Agent Westley exclaimed. "That is disgusting! The bodice is far too long!"
Vera took the next dress and headed into the change-room.
This dress had a little pair of white satin bloomers. Vera shifted her jaw, but put them on with the dress, which had a high waist and only the shoulders exposed.
She didn't mind it, actually, although she was absolutely at a loss as to what the purpose of the little white bloomers was, being as they didn't show out underneath the dress.
Not altogether concerned about it, though, Vera walked out and stood on the pedestal. After a few moments of silence she looked over at Agent Westley standing and staring at her with an expression she couldn't read.
"So?" she asked.
"Perfect," he replied. "Absolutely perfect."
"Now we go looking for shoes?" Vera asked.
"Yes," Agent Westley replied."

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 6

Word Count: 36,016

Summary of Events:
Vera and Hammy visited with the Italian Ambassador, who helped them to get into contact with Thai officials, from whom they got information about the families about the pilot and the stewardess, so that they could try to find them. Hammy also received word that the dead man the Bangkok police had was the fifth agent they were looking for, as well as information from the plane's database that filled in the gap of the missing log pages, which he read through . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"He then dialled Z's private number and put his mobile to his ear.
"Allô?" Z answered.
"I got the information from the black box finally," Hammy replied.
"C'est bon," Z said.
"We need an agent sent to Nicosia," Hammy said. "The impostor was dropped off at Nicosia with plans to go on to Turkey. You can get the transcript from Schneider."
"I will do so," Z said. "I do believe I will assign Lupei to it. I'll let you know for sure whom I'll assign to it so the two of you can keep in contact with him. Or them. I'm not sure."
"That would be good," Hammy said.
"Have you learned anything else?" Z asked.
"From the sounds of things both the pilot and the stewardess were not complicit, based on their families' statements so far," Hammy replied. "We have no idea where either of them are, but we have a very strong reason to believe that they are both either hostages, or — more likely, I'd think — dead."
"All over a little rock," Z said.
"The same as what happens over diamonds in Africa, if not around the world," Hammy said.
"What is so important about this ruby?" Z asked.
"You're asking the wrong person for an answer to that," Hammy replied.
"I'm wondering aloud," Z said.
"According to Zanetti it's the largest ruby ever unearthed," Hammy said.
"Not that he's a gemologist or any other sort of authority on such things," Z said.
"No," Hammy agreed. "I don't even know if he figured that out himself is just claiming that it was because he's so obsessed with it."
"I might look into contacting the gemologists in Lucerne," Z said. "I would like to know what the biggest ruby is, and thus how big and heavy it was, that might be something for you to go off of too."
"That would be nice, yes," Hammy said, then startled. "But, really, how would it help?"
"Well, it would probably give you a good mental picture," Z replied. "I do feel like there's a gemstone that's the largest of its kind, but it's barely about the size of a thumbnail or something."
"Yes, I guess gemstones are rather small," Hammy said. "Then we know whether we're looking for something hardly larger than a grain of sand, or something the size of a fist."
"So I will get back to you," Z said. "And you keep working."
"I will," Hammy replied.
"Au revoir," Z said.
"Au revoir," Hammy replied.
Ending the call, Hammy set his mobile aside and leaned back in his chair. He sighed and looked at the ceiling. They were getting closer, but yet it still seemed like they were very far away too."

Z: zed
Allô: ahloh
C'est bon: seh boh
Lupei: luhpaye
Au revoir: oh rehv'wah

Friday, April 07, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 5

Word Count: 30,017

Summary of Events:
Vera and Hammy went to the police headquarters in Bangkok to inquire and learned that they were still investigating the suspicious death of a Korean national, which just so happened to have taken place behind a bodyguard agency the dead agents had been hired out of, but there was no identification on the body. Hammy managed to retrieve the fatal bullet and get some DNA off of it before examining the bullet for ballistic information; after he'd finished Vera asked to come into his room . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
Hammy unlocked Vera's door, re-locking it once he heard it closed and then unlocked his door to admit her, also re-locking it when it was closed. Vera walked over and sat down on one of the chairs.
"Lonely?" Hammy asked.
"No," Vera replied. "I received a call for you being as your line was busy."
"Oh," Hammy said.
"No updates on the whereabouts of Agent Yeong-Su," Vera said. "All agents have been on alert to report sightings of him, but have yet to report any sightings."
Hammy nodded. "I'm really inclined to think that the dead Korean we saw today is Yeong-Su."
"So then we have to hunt for the pilot and the stewardess," Vera said.
"Yes, and I think we ought to do hunting on our own," Hammy said. "I have my doubts that the police here in Bangkok will be all that helpful."
"I can't say that I trust them myself," Vera said.
Hammy nodded. He did like to give a person the benefit of the doubt if at all possible, but for some reason he couldn't give the benefit of the doubt here, unless it was the fact that the Asian branch was in lockdown, meaning everyone was under surveillance and, therefore, suspicion.
"But we don't have photos of them," Vera said. "Or, better yet, DNA. How are we going to identify them?"
"Good question," Hammy said. "We might have to contact Gio and get some photos."
"Would they have photos?" Vera asked.
"We can always check and see, there's no hurt in that," Hammy replied. "And we can also cross-reference with the stewardess' boyfriend."
"True," Vera agreed.
"For now, though, we should look at the borrowed file," Hammy said.
"That they just let us walk off with without question," Vera said.
"They obviously respect the United Nations," Hammy said.
"We could've been lying," Vera said.
"Yes," Hammy said. "They could be seen as rather gullible."
"Who says someone else couldn't coerce them into doing something?" Vera asked.
"I've heard political corruption is somewhat rife around here, and that a lot of gangs are allowed to operate unchecked."
"I thought that was only in the Philippines," Vera said.
"I think you could take your pick of Southeast Asian countries and they'd all be the same," Hammy replied, opening the file and looking at the photo again."

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 4

Word Count: 24,003

Summary of Events:
Vera was in the police lab and learned that the syringe had contained a sedative that had been used on Gemo Zanetti and his copilot, while Hammy learned the missing agent wasn't back in Thailand. They decided that they really had no more leads to go on in Italy, and so chose to head off to Thailand to see what they could learn there, although their flight turned out particularly unpleasant, especially for Hammy . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Discreetly Hammy rubbed the side of his nose. The Italian woman sitting in the window seat hadn't stopped eating for the entire flight, and if it wouldn't have been for his regular intervention poor Vera would've been lost under a stack of dishes in the first hour.
As much as the woman had gotten into that seat, Hammy wasn't sure that she'd be able to get out. It was a good thing Vera wasn't trapped on the other side of her.
And it was a good reason not just because otherwise Vera might've had to find a different way to get out, but because Vera was such a beautiful picture while asleep.
It had taken a surprisingly short amount of time, Hammy had noticed, for Vera to doze, and she'd hardly stirred since. Her chest rose and fell with the rhythmic breaths she took that raised and lowered her breasts softly.
Her lashes occasionally twitched over her closed eyes, while her somewhat diminutive — but not childish-looking — nose stayed relatively still underneath, as did her little flower-petal lips.
She'd managed to stay in a generally upright position for most of the time, but eventually had come to lean against his shoulder, which he'd appreciated. She hadn't even woken when she'd put her head there.
Finishing yet another plate of spaghetti, this time with a creamy Alfredo-type sauce, as well as what looked like dill and bacon bits on top, the woman set her plate on Vera's lap.
Hammy quickly removed it and held it out in the aisle for the stewardess to collect, which she did in short order.
"Would you like more to drink Signore?" she asked as she took the plate.
Hammy looked between the stewardess and the woman, then nodded. "Yes."
He knew he was already pretty close to drunk, having consumed a significant quantity of liquor already during the flight, but so long as that woman kept eating he was going to keep drinking.
His stomach turned as he watched the woman delve into a plate of what was assuredly some of the worst lasagna ever known to man — evidenced by the fact that she was picking it up and eating it like a dinner roll.
Still on her lap, yet to be consumed, were three pieces of different flavours of cheesecake, some gelato, and a bowl of candied fruit.
The stewardess returned with his liquor and was able to take the woman's lasagna plate as well.
Hammy took a big swallow of his drink and sighed. He hoped he'd be able to make it through the airport alright, even though he was assuredly drunk."

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 3

Word Count: 18,086

Summary of Events:
Back at the plane, Hammy investigated the stewardess' area and discovered a hypodermic syringe that he collected forensic evidence from before going into the cockpit and discovering pages were missing from the flight log. Vera was brought up to speed on Hammy's discoveries before she convinced him to tag along with her as they visited the pilot and stewardess' apartments being as they still couldn't get a hold of either one. Hammy ended up shooting a rat in the pilot's apartment being as he'd gotten somewhat distracted, but they found the pilot hadn't been there for awhile, so they went to the stewardess' apartment . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"He slipped inside and closed the door behind him. Her flat looked just as clean and tidy as the pilot's, but there was a difference: it looked like it'd been lived in not that long ago.
There were dishes in the sink and on the counter, not to mention there was rumpled towels, and the bedroom had rumpled blankets on the bed.
Hammy slipped into the bedroom and opened the closet door. The contents were generally neat and tidy, and Hammy noted there were both men's clothes and women's clothes. More men's than women's, but both nonetheless.
Additionally, the women's clothes were of the size and construction to fit a woman smaller than Vera, while the men's clothes were bigger than that on a variety of fronts, suggesting that two different people had made use of the closet, much less the bedroom.
Hearing the door unlock, Hammy turned around, a sudden panic tightening his chest. He had a feeling that wasn't Vera coming in. He had a feeling it was one of the residents of the home.
Keys clattered across the counter. Hammy closed the closet door, but kept himself outside of it. He needed to get out, and probably through a window.
A knock sounded at the door and it was opened. A man answered in Italian. Vera responded in Italian.
So long as she could stall the man he'd be fine. He went to the window and opened it, only to realise there was a cage covering it, preventing exit.
Swearing under his breath, Hammy closed the window. He needed to do something to get out of here.
He peered out of the bedroom door. Vera was still talking to the man. She saw him, though, and looked between him and the other man.
"I'm getting out," he mouthed. "Keep talking."
Vera nodded and returned her attention to the man while he hurried across the floor on silent feet to the doors which opened on to the small balcony.
Slipping outside silently, Hammy drew out the concussion-reducing shoe covers and put them on. It was better than using the pocket rappel kit, not that either wouldn't attract attention, this was just the faster alternative.
Hammy backed up against one short side railing, took a deep breath, ran the length of the balcony, grabbed onto the rail, flipped himself over it, and feet first down to the ground.
Quickly slipping off the shoe covers once he'd landed, he scrambled behind a bush and waited for a moment. The man Vera had been talking to was out on his balcony, looking around.
"Just you watch out, whoever you are!" the man called in Italian. "I am not going to let myself be robbed of my possessions! I've got enough problems!"
Hammy swore under his breath, but slipped out of the bush on the side of the building. He then calmly walked around the building, pocketing his shoe covers as he went, and climbed calmly into the passenger seat of the Ferrari."

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 2

Word Count: 12,045

Summary of Events:
Hammy investigated the interior of the plane with one of the police officers before having his own meeting with Gemo Zanetti. On their way to the hotel for the night they stopped at the mortuary to see the bodies of the agents and learned they'd been shot with full metal jacket bullets. The next morning Vera went to interview Gemo and his copilot while Hammy did ballistics testing . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Setting his ballistics kit beside him, he put on the ear protectors, drew out his pistol, and waited for the all-clear, as there were a couple of officers putting fresh target sheets out.
Once they were gone he cocked his pistol and fired squarely at the centre of the target.
Setting his pistol back in its holster, he then strode down to the target, drawing out the heavy-duty bullet-extraction magnet from his pocket as he went.
He set the calibre, inserted it into the hole, and engaged the magnet.
With a slow back and fort motion he successfully pulled the bullet out without scuffing or damaging it, which would've added markings that would've compromised the rifling marks.
Disengaging the magnet, he dropped the bullet into his hand before collapsing the magnet and pocketing it again.
Walking back, he scooped up the ballistics kit and seated himself at a table, where he opened the ballistics kit and started to examine his own bullet.
It didn't take long for him to notice the eerie similarity in the rifling marks of his bullet and the others. In fact, it was incredibly hard to tell which bullet was his, they were all identical.
Removing his ear protection, Hammy drew out his mobile and selected conference call before pressing Vera and Cheremyshynski's numbers. Vera answered first.
"Why do I hear ringing?" Vera asked.
"You're on conference call with Cheremyshynski of Ballistics if he ever answers," Hammy replied.
"Oh," Vera said.
"Yes?" Cheremyshynski's heavily accented voice answered.
"You're on conference call with Dalca," Hammy said. "I thought it would save time to tell both of you at once."
"Tell us what?" Vera asked.
"The kill shots were fired from an Agency-issue pistol," Hammy replied.
"How do you know?" Cheremyshynski asked.
"I used the police shooting range here to fire a bullet from my own gun at Dalca's suggestion," Hammy replied. "If I didn't have the ballistics kit here to identify the rifling marks I could swear all five of the bullets I have in front of me came from the same gun."
"So we do not need to do any more research," Cheremyshynski said.
"No," Hammy replied. "Well, actually, wait."
"What?" Cheremyshynski asked.
"Are there not records on file of the ballistic imprints every single Agency gun makes, its serial number, and who the gun is currently issued to?" Hammy asked.
"Extensive records," Cheremyshynski replied.
"Look up what I've given you," Hammy said. "Identify the serial number of the gun and who it was issued to so we know who we're looking for."
"We will do that," Cheremyshynski said. "And we will call you with a report."
"Ver good," Hammy said."

Cheremyshynski: chairemmyshinskee

Monday, April 03, 2017

Chasing the Unknown: Day 1

Word Count: 6,298

Summary of Events:
Vera and Hammy met with the head of the Agency, Z, who briefed them on their mission: five fellow agents were hired as bodyguards, four are dead, one is missing. They then travelled to Italy, where the deaths had been discovered, and met with a fellow agent, working as a police officer for cover, they then checked into the hotel and were taken to the private airfield where the plane was located and met with the other police officers investigating the case, as well as the millionaire's son who had hired the agents . . . 

Excerpt of the Day:
"She heard a shout and turned while the other two continued on. Two officers were watching rather helplessly as a young man in a rumpled suit and tousled black hair hurried over to her urgently.
"Are you one of the special investigators?" he asked, making the sentence sound like one word.
"Yes," Vera replied in English.
"You must help me," he said, still in Italian, and again like it was all one word. "My ruby has been stolen and I positively must have it back!"
"Your ruby?" Vera asked, still in English.
"Yes," he replied. "I bought it while I was last in Thailand and I hired bodyguards to keep it safe all the way here and now one of them has gone and stolen it and killed all of the other bodyguards."
"I've heard," Vera replied. "Could you please describe this ruby?"
"It was beautiful and magnificent and the most beautiful ruby you could ever have seen," he replied. "It was uncut and very red and I wanted to put it as a centrepiece in my mansion that I am building and you must find it!"
Vera shifted her jaw. "Approximately how big was it?"
"Bigger than the biggest ruby that has ever been unearthed," he replied. "I tell you it was the most magnificent–"
"Yes, I know," Vera replied. "How much did it weigh, approximately?"
"I don't know," he replied. "But it was so beautiful and wonderful and it was going to be the perfect–"
"Yes, yes, that's fine," Vera said. "You said it was uncut?"
"Yes," he replied. "But even in its rough and uncut shame it was gloriously beautiful and amazing and such a deep red and–"
"Was it clean?" Vera asked.
"Clean?" he asked.
"Yes, had it just been dug out of the ground?" Vera asked. "Or was it washed already?"
"He showed it to me underground and it was the most beautiful thing that I could ever have seen in my life–"
"You were shown it before it was taken out of the cave?" Vera asked.
"Cave?" he asked. "We weren't in a cave."
"Well, where did you find it then?" Vera asked.
"My dearest love's brother was selling it because he's a dealer in jewels and things like that and I've bought several other pieces from him although those were mostly jade pieces but as beautiful as they are their beauty pales in comparison to the beauty of this ruby that I simply must have back and you must get it back for me or I haven't the faintest idea what I am going to do with my life because I have lost something so beautiful–"
"Thank you," Vera said, wondering if he would know a sentence if it came out and slapped him. "Now are you Geminiano Zanetti?"
A look of disgust and rue came over his face.
"Yes," he replied flatly. "I am Gemo Zanetti.""

Saturday, April 01, 2017

April Novel Essential Information

Novel Title: Chasing the Unknown
Time Setting: 2017
Genre: Thriller
Minimum Word Goal: 120,000
Timespan: June–January
Locations: Geneva & Lucerne, Switzerland; Modena & Sicily, Italy; Bangkok & Chiang Mai, Thailand
Main Characters: F. Hampshire "Hammy" Westley, Vera Dalca
Background Information:
The youngest of three children born to a plastic surgeon and his intellectual wife from Hampshire in England, there is some speculation as to his parentage: his parents maintain that his mother's contraceptive pill failed, but more suspicious types speculate that he was born of an affair between his mother and another man of unknown identity.
That aside, he wasn't treated too much lesser than his siblings by way of education, given the same rigorous private schooling as they, but he was treated with some disdain by his parents, both due to the rumours he generated, and the fact that he'd even been conceived in the first place.
He was considered a disruptive child in school, but not at all unintelligent, he just seemed to see no sense in trying to do things he has no interest in, although he was somewhat more disruptive otherwise in efforts to gain his parents' attentions and affections.
While attending a private boarding school away from home he ended up meeting his uncle, who was considered something of a black sheep in the family, and the two took a shine to each other at once.
As a child, he'd always had a fascination with the military, and strove to get all the school marks he needed to get into one of Britain's most prestigious military schools. His parents had no desire to see him attend, but his uncle financed it and he graduated with some of the highest honours the school had ever given out.
Since then he's been on a tour of duty before his elite skill-set got him recruited into a highly covert mission. On this mission he met a beautiful woman whom he learned was part of a secret UN-affiliated organisation called the Agency. The organisation piqued his interest and he soon joined them, quickly becoming one of their Global agents due to his skills. 
He's since been on several missions as well as using his aptitude for strategy to help in other missions and considers himself to have been born to be a spy.

Born the only child of the union between a retired civil servant and his third wife — an exotically beautiful ethnic Tatar — from Romania, she is only so due to her mother suffering a horrific miscarriage after her birth that led to further pregnancies being deemed a mortal hazard.
As such, her nearest playmates are her two brothers from her father's second wife — who died during the Romanian Revolution — thus her interests were highly masculine in nature, including guns, policing, the army, and undercover work.
In her teens, she and her brothers saw a James Bond film, and upon seeing it she became set on the idea of becoming a spy; an idea which horrified her parents — especially being as her father had endured the overthrow of the Communists and knew somewhat the sorts of things his daughter would be getting into.
However, the brother of her father's first wife — who is considered by all to be her uncle just as much as her five older siblings he's actually the uncle of — who happens to be an agent in the Agency, figured she would be able to hold her own, and so gave her recruitment forms for her nineteenth birthday.
Her parents weren't entirely thrilled, and still worry about her constantly, but are starting to adjust to the idea of her being a spy as, so far, it hasn't turned out to be as dangerous as they feared, and, on top of that, her uncle is there to keep an eye on her — or, at least, they think he is; in truth, she's actually done most of her work apart from him, not that she's been a part of any major cases to this juncture.

Novel begins on April 3.