The Arbiter Logs #2: A Man Walks Into a Bar

ManWalksIn“Isn’t it obvious? I’ve just killed a man.”

My second Arbiter Logs novella is now in release! Only 99 cents for the eBook for your Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, Droid… you name it, we got it. This adventure is based on a script Prometheus Radio Theatre first performed at Balticon 35. It turned out to be one of our most popular shows, and, as noted in the jacket copy, it took the 2004 Mark Time Silver Award. We were all kinda proud of that. Here it’s committed to prose and expanded, with some extra glimpses into the private lives of Captain Atal, Doc Faulkner, Kaya and Aer’La that weren’t in the radio play. And, of course, we all know the characters better now, myself included, so we get a better look inside some of their heads this time around. I hope you’ll pick up a copy. Purchase links below. (Some retailers pick up the books faster than others. Amazon should be out in a couple more hours. The others will trail along. I’ll update as they show up. Smashwords is always the fastest!)

Buy it for:
All formats at Smashwords | Kindle | Nook  | iBooks

The Jacket Copy:

Cernaq is a telepath from the planet Phaeton, the gentlest, most unassuming of the crew of the CNV Arbiter. After he must take a man’s life in the line of duty, his behavior begins to take a turn for the worse. Another presence is slowly gaining control of his mind, and one of the most powerful telepathic intellects in the galaxy is now a threat to himself and his shipmates.

A Man Walks Into a Bar is the second adventure of the crew of the CNV Arbiter, adapted from Parsec Award-winning audio drama series, The Arbiter Chronicles. This story also received the Mark Time Silver Award for excellence in science fiction audio drama in 2004. Library Journal calls the Arbiters “a cast of compelling characters,” and Analog calls the Chronicles “a fun romp… like a cross between the funniest episodes of the original Star Trek and Monty Python.”

On June 5th, buy Mutiny Springs Eternal and get a free eBook!

MutinyCome Aboard for the First Adventures of the Arbiters!

The Arbiter Logs novelize the adventures heard on the award-winning Arbiter Chronicles audio series.  These stories are prequels to the novels Taken Liberty and Unfriendly Persuasion, already available wherever books are sold.

How to get a free eBook:

On June 5th, buy a copy of Episode One, Mutiny Springs Eternal, for just 99 cents from Amazon.com. (I’m happy any day you buy my books, but I’d like to see a June 5th spike on the Amazon charts. If we raise that number high enough, the series will get even more recognition in the retail market.)

Forward your receipt for the purchase to editor@firebringerpress.com, and I’ll send you your free copy of the next novella, A Man Walks Into a Bar, absolutely free! (It should be ready for release by June 30th.)

I respect your privacy! When you contact me, your email address will never be shared, sold or used for mass email purposes.

From the jacket copy for The Arbiter Logs: Mutiny Springs Eternal:

A century ago, the Faraday disappeared. The great ship dropped into the mysterious region known as L-space, never to be seen again. There are only legends left, legends of mutiny, of murder, and of the discovery of forbidden secrets. Today, the young midshipmen of the patrol ship Arbiter have found Faraday, a ghost ship orbiting a remote planet. And, somehow, someone… or something… has survived.

Mutiny Springs Eternal is the first adventure of the crew of the CNV Arbiter, adapted from the Mark Time and Parsec Award-winning audio drama series, The Arbiter Chronicles. Library Journal calls the Arbiters “a cast of compelling characters,” and Analog calls the Chronicles “a fun romp… like a cross between the funniest episodes of the original Star Trek and Monty Python.”

Announcing the Arbiter Logs

ArbiterLogoOldThis morning I put the last 2300 words to the third novella I’ve written in 2013. And now at 75% of the way to the home stretch on this leg of my project, here’s what I’m up to: With eBooks taking off and moving, outstripping my paper book sales, I’ve decided that the sixteen or so Arbiters adventures that exist only as audio dramas should be available to readers as well. I’d always intended to novelize these scripts and print them, three of four to a book, as the adventures of young Horatio Hornblower are presented in Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, and as Alan Dean Foster did in the wonderful Star Trek Logs.

My eBook sales reports say the time is right to build up my inventory, so, by Summer, my plan is to release the first four Arbiter Chronicles adventures as novellas, for sale in eBook form at the reasonable price of 99 cents each. “Mutiny Springs Eternal,” the Mark-Time-Award-wining “A Man Walks Into a Bar,” and “Man of Letters” are drafted and ready for me to polish and send to the editor. I’ll embark on “The White Lady” next, and expect to have it finished in two to three weeks, in time to craft an outline for the third volume of ReDeus before Balticon. I’m really excited about this. It’s a chance to revisit my favorite characters in stories I told a dozen years ago. Along the way, I’m adding new insights and texture. I’m hoping this will bring the Arbiters to a whole new audience, and I hope all of you who’ve made this journey with me so far will come along for the ride.

 

The Arbiter Chronicles 08: Best Laid Plans

Atal receives orders to return home and take a new command.  He tasks Metcalfe with re-assigning the Arbiters.  The catch?  They can’t all go with Atal.  Atal must intervene in a labor dispute between the Navy and the owner of a space way station who’d rather go down fighting than give in.

Buy a downloadable mp3 at BooksAMillion

Listen to the free podcast: Part One | Part Two | Part Three

 

“Best Laid Plans,” ironically, was released on CD and performed in the studio a lot earlier than most of the other first series episodes. I wrote it, and we performed it, at the same time when we we working on the first two studio cuts. We recorded the rehearsals for the live performance and did the studio takes almost at the same time. I believe I even used the recording of the rehearsal to fill some lines in the final cut.

I had a couple of goals with this episode. One was to show some of the implications of truly commercial space travel, the idea that, if you needed way stations to assist people in navigating L-Space, lighthouses, if you will, then the owners of those lighthouses would have the right to refuse to serve anyone. And a really tough lighthouse-keeper, like Maeve Ginsberg, would not let herself be bullied by political interests into help people she thought didn’t deserve help. And, of course, a lady that tough is going to be of interest to Jan Atal. And being ordered to push around that lady would place him in a moral quandary.

It’s also the episode where Metcalfe has finally gotten the girl he’s always wanted–Kaya. But there’s trouble in paradise, of course.

Announcer – Paul Balze
Metcalfe – Steven H. Wilson
Carson – Scott Farquhar
Cernaq – Renfield
Kaya – Beatrice Kondo
Aer’La – June Swords
Atal – David Keefer
Faulkner – Cindy Shockey
Maeve Ginsberg – Renee Wilson
Rory Ginsberg – Eli Senter
Caleb Ginsberg – Ethan Wilson

Directed by Steven H. Wilson
Editing: Steven H. Wilson
Music: Scott D. Farquhar

 

 

 

The Arbiter Chronicles 07: Polarity

The Arbiters go undercover to stop a slaver ring and host a visitor with a dangerous alien pet.

Buy a downloadable mp3 at BooksAMillion

Listen to the free podcast: Part One | Part Two | Part Three

In this one, I wanted to take Metcalfe and Aer’La into a Film Noir adventure on the sleazy side of the Arbiters’ universe, to have Metcalfe actually rebel against his Captain for a change, and to put Metcalfe very far outside his comfort zone, doing what spies often have to do to make a mission work: let bad things happen to him so others can get away safe. At the same time, I wanted to give an insight into Doc Faulkner’s home life, and what better way to do it than to introduce her husband–well, one of them–and have him be a bratty young witch? What kind of guy could someone as nice as Cernaq actually hate? We found out in this episode. Ian Bonds played Kaylin in the live production, but Ian was unavailable for the studio recording, so Eli Senter stepped in.

Announcer – Paul Balze
Metcalfe – Steven H. Wilson
Atal – David Keefer
Carson – Scott Farquhar
Cernaq – Renfield
Kaya – Beatrice Kondo
Aer’La – June Swords
Faulkner – Cindy Shockey
Kaylin – Eli Senter
Roloff – Paul Balze
Rena Kane – Renee Wilson
Zhay – Ethan Wilson

Directed by Steven H. Wilson
Editing: Steven H. Wilson
Music: Scott D. Farquhar

The Arbiter Chronicles 06: Divergence

On leave, Metcalfe meets the perfect girl – only to find she may actually be him.

Buy a downloadable mp3 at BooksAMillion

Listen to the free podcast: Part One | Part Two | Part Three

I’m proudest of this episode because it’s actually referenced on TVTropes.org under “Go Screw Yourself.” Now that’s celebrity! We first performed this at a Balticon, which was a good audience. My nephew, Noah, attending his first con as a teen, instead of as a kid forced to go because his family went to cons, played the part of Tommy, the holographic host who almost marries the two Metcalfes. And, of course, this is the first time that we learn that Carson is in love with his best friend… at least, in some universes.

Announcer – Paul Balze
Metcalfe – Steven H. Wilson
Carson – Scott Farquhar
Cernaq – Renfield
Kaya – Beatrice Kondo
Aer’La – June Swords
Faulkner – Cindy Shockey
Tracy – Cindy Woods
Pallas – Renee Wilson
Tommy – Heather Mikkelsen

Directed by Steven H. Wilson
Editing: Steven H. Wilson
Music: Scott D. Farquhar

 

 

The Arbiter Chronicles 05: Playing Politics

The Arbiters become military governors of a conquered planet.

Buy a downloadable mp3 at BooksAMillion.

Listen to the free podcast: Part One | Part Two | Part Three

As mentioned in the White Lady writeup, I wrote two episodes together for Farpoint 2002. This one was specifically written to be a showpiece for our first ever celebrity guests, George Takei and Robin Curtis. I wanted to give George a meaty villain role, and I wanted to give Robin something that showed off what a funny lady she really is. One of the limitations, for me, of classic space opera is that the officers generally just do a couple of jobs over and over: Go to planet, find people in trouble, help them, get shirt ripped, get, um, affection and physical gratification, go home. Lather, rinse, repeat. Or they fight space battles, which I generally find boring. But military officers often find themselves taking on all sorts of challenges, and that includes, occasionally, governing a population in a state that’s been ravaged by war. My protagonist, Metcalfe, is so anti-government that I wanted to put him way outside his comfort zone and have him be forced to be the government for a while. I also wanted to get Captain Atal off the ship for a change, and let him interact a bit with his old friend Mors. Sadly, that original live performance could not be recorded under the terms of George’s contract. The studio version you can hear today does not feature George or Robin, but our usual wonderful cast.

CAST:

Announcer – Paul Balze
Metcalfe – Steven H. Wilson
Carson – Scott Farquhar
Cernaq – Renfield
Kaya – Beatrice Kondo
Aer’La – June Swords
Faulkner – Cindy Shockey
Pallas – Renee Wilson
Mors – John Weber
Thalia Kinson – Cindy Woods
Vireq – Paul Balze
Sponaugle – Marty Gear
Aide – Ian Bonds

Directed by Steven H. Wilson
Editing: Steven H. Wilson
Music: Scott D. Farquhar

 

 

 

The Arbiter Chronicles 04: The White Lady

Visiting the colony of New Rhineland, the Arbiters are lured into the centuries old German ghost story of the White Lady, a harbinger of death and spirit of vengeance. Metcalfe is confronted by the most haunting spectre of all — that of his sister, Lydia.

Buy a downloadable mp3 from BooksAMillion.

Listen to the free podcast: Part One | Part Two | Part Three

This episode has also been novelized and is available in multiple formats, including iBooks, Nook and Kindle. Details here.

I wrote two episodes together for Farpoint 2002 — this one, and “Playing Politics.” I wrote this one first, and then realized that I needed a script with a meaty male guest star role for the same con, since George Takei would be performing with us, alongside Robin Curtis. I didn’t see George quite fitting the role of “The White Lady.” (Oh, my!) So we performed both that weekend. This one is based on a ghost story about the White Lady who haunted the Old Palace in Berlin, which used to scare the crap out of me as a kid. Drawing on my studies of European myth and folklore, I turned it into a more hopeful story than the original, and touched on some of my own notions of how a benevolent vision of the afterlife should look.

CAST:

Announcer – Paul Balze
Carson – Scott Farquhar
Cernaq – Renfield
Metcalfe – Steven H. Wilson
Kaya – Beatrice Kondo
Aer’La – June Swords
Faulkner – Cindy Shockey
Lydia – Cindy Woods
Lady – Renee Wilson

Directed by Steven H. Wilson
Editing: Steven H. Wilson
Music: Scott D. Farquhar

The Arbiter Chronicles 03: Man of Letters

{B730C0B3-302F-4BD3-B106-80B76A4E9AE9}Img100A day in the life of the Arbiter crew is viewed through the alien eyes of Cernaq as he writes a letter to his mentor, Professor Mors.  Kaya must decide whether her future lies on Arbiter.  Cernaq and Aer’La share an… educational experience.  Metcalfe tries to explainEaster to the Arbiters.

Buy a downloadable mp3 at BooksAMillion.

Listen to the free podcast: Part One | Part Two | Part Three

This episode has also been novelized and is available in multiple formats, including iBooks, Nook and Kindle. Details here.

By episode three, it became sort of obligatory that we perform a new Arbiters show at every con we attended. Shore Leave in 2001 was our next venue, and I had always liked those simple “Day in the Life” episodes of shows. One of my inspirations was the M*A*S*H script, “Dear Dad” and its sequels. One character’s impressions of the others can always be fun, in particular when the character is as off-beat as Cernaq. As throwaway as the idea seemed, we all seemed to just love doing this one, especially since it involved an ab-libbed ending and a very juicy audio spit-take. And, of course, Cernaq and Aer’La’s romance was born in this episode.

CAST:

Announcer – Paul Balze
Atal – Dave Keefer
Carson – Scott Farquhar
Cernaq – Renfield
Metcalfe – Steven H. Wilson
Kaya – Beatrice Kondo
Aer’La – June Swords
Faulkner – Cindy Shockey
Mors – John Weber
Pallas – Renee Wilson
Psychiatrist – Cindy Woods
Mass – Paul Balze
Bimbo – Betsy Childs

Directed by Steven H. Wilson
Editing: Steven H. Wilson
Music: Scott D. Farquhar

The Arbiter Chronicles 02: A Man Walks into a Bar

While investigating rumors of an espionage operation on a primitive world, Cernaq must kill a man to save Metcalfe’s life. When his telepathic mind absorbs the killer’s personality, however, Cernaq becomes a danger to everyone around him. To save him, his friends must undergo a risky procedure, linking their minds to his.

Buy a downloadable mp3 from BooksAMillion

Listen to the free podcast: Part One | Part Two | Part Three

 

This episode has also been novelized and is available in multiple formats, including iBooks, Nook and Kindle. Details here.

Here was the first show to carry the Arbiter Chronicles title (at least in live performance), and for which Scott Farquhar, as composer, really got to show off his skills at creating, musically, the other-worldly atmosphere inside Cernaq’s brain. It’s one of our most popular episodes, and it won the Mark Time Silver Award in 2004. It was actually the first episode we studio recorded, because I thought it was the strongest. We had a blast putting it together, especially the hour or so spent with everyone doing the big “villain rant” at the end in different voices. It was performed live at Balticon in 2001.

CAST:

Announcer – Paul Balze
Atal – Dave Keefer
Carson – Scott Farquhar
Cernaq – Renfield
Metcalfe – Steven H. Wilson
Kaya – Beatrice Kondo
Aer’La – June Swords
Faulkner – Cindy Shockey
Lydia – Cindy Woods
Webley – Andrew Bergstrom
Rhodey – Paul Balze
Danvard – Paul Balze
Mors – John Weber
Teacher – Andrew Bergstrom
Pallas – Renee Wilson
Demej – Cindy Woods

Directed by Steven H. Wilson & Scott D. Farquhar
Editing: Scott D. Farquhar
Music: Scott D. Farquhar