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Rebecca Thomas
Works at Writer, Editor, and Voice Actor
Lives in San Antonio, TX
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Rebecca Thomas

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How about this new redesign? It's taken me over ten minutes just to realize G+ no longer allows you to post from albums. Very annoying.

+National Novel Writing Month is going well. I finished the first short story this week, and then realized the second wasn't ready to start drafting. So after two days of fumbling through notes and task lists, I've finally found a story the fill the rest of the month (in the most NaNovely way imaginable ;) ). It means instead of switching from cyberpunk to contemporary fantasy, I've now switched from cyberpunk to sword-and-sorcery fantasy (which I haven't written in years), but at least it's something. Again, you can check in on me at:

Anyway, this week we're between arcs, so I thought I'd share something I wrote for a recent online creative writing class. I've had this event in the back of my mind while developing Metis, and I finally had an excuse to sit down and write it. I hope you enjoy it. #saturdayscenes #cyberpunk #netrunning #collegeprank

== == == == =

Figuring out the current password to the campus netrunning society’s secret hideout was one of Metis’ least favorite weekly chores. But the clue included in the invitation had been laughably simple. She couldn’t imagine anyone not figuring it out. Anyone from New Glory knew that “bay butt” was an old joking reference to Sai Anto Peninsula, which protected the bay.

Once inside, she could see various avatars hanging about the room. A quick count told her that about half the club had arrived. Terry hadn’t shown up yet. She wasn’t surprised. He had the most to lose if the club was caught, so he was usually the last one in and the first one out. As one of the more experienced netrunners on campus, he was also usually the one who set up the hangout, too. Most of those who had already gathered were relatively new to netrunning, and often couldn’t differentiate between or defend against the different types of daemons.

She idled her avatar, only to feel a light buzz on her actual body, producing a momentary disorientation and nausea. Terry had arrived.

“Looks like this party’s seen better days,” Terry quipped through his headset mic. “Anybody up for a little prank?”

“What kind of prank?” Although Terry’s pranks were usually harmless, Metis knew his skill set and his ambitions would one day trump his need to not get caught if no one tried to rein him in.

“You’ll like this one. I’ve figured out how to hack into the monitors around campus.”

“And I’ll like that because…”

“Because I’m going to blast that new music video across all of them.”

“During quiet week? Are you insane?”

“Maybe.” And then, “Everyone should have the map now. Usual assignments. This is going to be challenging enough as it is. Metis, you have your usual imps?”

“Sure.” Metis quickly scanned through to make sure they were in fact all loaded into her deck. One of them needed an update, but she could handle that when they were done. Then, she pulled up her map. The campus net, like so many university nets, was self-contained. It was supposed to prevent theft of digital and intellectual property, but hackers at various campuses were already working on creating back door access points. “We’re not going to be able to get to this node.”

“Don’t trust your imps?” Terry teased.

Metis flickered her avatar. She’d handcrafted each of her imps. It had taken her months to learn the programming tricks needed to give most of them the right set of capabilities. What Terry was proposing could possibly cost her many of her precious minions.

“Come on. It’ll be fun.”

“Fine.” Metis double checked her programs and set her avatar to follow Terry out of the hideout. Over the next several minutes, the younger runners would trickle out and join them at the rendezvous spot. When the club was together, they started out on their assigned routes. Terry and Metis ran together with one of the more promising newcomers. “You expect this to be difficult.”

“Why do you say that?” The smirk Terry’s avatar couldn’t wear could be heard in his voice.

“You never run with me when we split up. What do you think is going to happen when one of those other teams gets caught?”

“They’re not going to get caught. I didn’t give them anything real to do.”

“Right.” Metis followed him around a corner, only to find a mid-level hellhound in the corridor. She dialed up one of her smaller imps, targeted the hellhound, and took great satisfaction in watching the guardian program disintegrate.

“Nice shot.” Terry glided past where the hellhound had been and turned down another corridor.

Metis followed him, but right as she reached the corridor, their companion said, “Hey, guys. I’m beeping.”

“What?” Metis and Terry both replied.

“Oh, god, Terry. Now I’m beeping.”

“Yeah, they’re tracing me, too.”

“And you thought they wouldn’t notice us running into a secure area,” Metis ran a couple of programs, trying to make herself show as a false positive to the tracer. But she continued to beep.

“Are we in trouble?” The other netrunner asked, his inexperience driving his voice up in pitch.

“Not yet. And we’ll try to stay that way,” Metis assured him as they caught up to Terry. “You realize they’re going to tighten security in this area. I don’t think I have the imps for that.”

“It’s okay. I have some black market programs on me.” There was a moment of silence. “You’re glaring at me, aren’t you?”

“Actually, I’m considering wasting an imp on you.”

“We’re not too far from the node. Let’s go.”

Metis bit back her disbelief and followed him. Another hellhound blacked their path. Metis armed an imp, and then disarmed it and readied a daemon.


“They already know we’re here. Do you really want to help them confirm the tracer?” Her deck pulsed out the program, and the hellhound shorted out, stiffening and falling over before vanishing into what passed for the floor in the net.

Just beyond the hellhound was a small room – the node Terry had been looking for. “Hang on.” His avatar flickered in and out a few times as they listened to him mutter.

“You do realize we’re in the net, not the magical realm, right?” Metis kept an eye on the corridor they’d come from.

“There it is. Forgot I renamed it.” The room pulsed with a soft light for several moments, and then stopped. “All done. Let’s get out of here and hope the others follow their maps.”

The beeping became louder and more frequent. “They’ve found us, Terry.”

“That’s fine. There are other ways out of this node.” Terry spun around slowly and then headed for an open doorway.

“One would hope, seeing as it’s a node.” Metis follwed him, their tag-a-long on her heels.

But just down the corridor, the experienced netrunners could make out a light sentry. They ran back toward the node, their less experienced friend struggling to keep up. Terry ran over to the last open door, but in a moment his avatar turned around and shook. “There’s another sentry about halfway down.”

Metis ran for the nearest closed door and hacked it open. “I think we can get out this way.”

The three ran for it, Terry occasionally calling commands as he checked his deck’s map. Just a few turns from the hideout, a hellhound much larger than any Metis had faced charged out into the intersection and stopped.

“Please tell me you can get us past that,” Terry sounded nervous for the first time Metis could recall.

“I think we’re hung.” She was scanning through her loaded programs and imps. “Well…maybe. Give me a minute.” She’d designed her imps to play nicely together, and she’d loaded a handful that had some interesting complementary skills. But she realized she could also break some of them apart and put them back together to work more efficiently. No netrunner had ever redesigned imps while inside the net before, though.

“Well?” Terry’s avatar had changed color. He’d raised some sort of shield against the hellhound, who was just watching them, waiting for them to move.

With a deep breath, Metis called up a terminal and set about to reorganizing her deck. It took longer than was comfortable, but finally she turned her mic back on. “Let’s see how it likes this.” A daemon-sized creature that looked like a mashup of several popular, colorful imps materialized in front of Terry and took off after the hellhound like it was possessed. The hellhound started to charge, but then thought better of it and ran.

While the creature pursued the hellhound, the trio ran for the hideout. Metis waited for the high-pitched wail that would mark the hellhound’s defeat, and then summoned the daemon back to her deck. Neither of her teammates was in the hideout when she got back in, but Terry had left a message: Meet us at the square.

She jacked out, threw on an old battered flannel shirt and her favorite jeans, and made her way to the Commons. Terry was already there, wearing one of his old cartoon shirts, hands shoved in his pockets like he was any other normal university student. “You’re going to get us expelled one day. You know that, right?”

“Maybe. But I was thinking about dropping out after this semester, anyway. Argent’s offered me a pretty sweet deal to work for them.” He nudged her. “How about you? Any idea where you’re headed after all this is over?”

The monitor flickered to life, and a candy-colored light show filled the screen. As the students around them whooped and danced, Metis smiled thoughtfully at Terry. “Actually, I was thinking I might change my major to journalism.”
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Rebecca Thomas

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It's a truth that when one member of your household fails at perceiving reality, it negatively impacts everyone in the house. Travis is learning that the hard way. ...Not that there's an easy way to learn that when you find yourself in that situation. Anyway...

Previous Scene:

New to the series and want to catch up? Read the entire series:
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And as always, +1 if you like it, comment if you feel so compelled, and share with someone you think would enjoy it. #youngadult   #sciencefiction   #saturdayscenes

Also, I'm still chugging right along on my first #NaNoWriMo oroject. I'm a bit behind at the moment, but I'm staying close to word count. If you want to connect or just cheer me on, you can find me here:

== == == == ==

Travis was running around the virtual world with her new, still unnamed, animal companion. The creature watched her practice the martial arts combinations she had to master to reach her next level. As she spun into a kick, the trees along one edge of the meadow started waving and growing. She continued with her kata; the system wouldn’t count it if she didn’t complete the routine. But the creature started growling, and then whining. Drea turned, still performing the kata, when Travis realized the trees hadn’t been growing at all. They’d been moving closer. 

She couldn’t remember if she’d ever heard of trees attacking someone in game before, and they were moving too quickly for her to consult the in-world reference guide, so she snapped up her animal companion and teleported back home.

Except the teleport didn’t initiate, and the creature was now barking, a sound that rattled the bones in Travis’ head as it traveled through the headphones. The trees parted as they started to surround her, and a cool wind blasted her in the face. She swung at the trees with her free arm, but they easily overwhelmed her. She crumpled into a ball, trying to shield the animal with her body as she tried to protect her head. Another cold blast brushed her, and she screamed. One of the trees swiped at her with a low-hanging branch, and she struggled against it, trying to throw it off her. The cold only grew stronger and more bitter. She closed her eyes. I wish I was home.

The barking stopped. She opened her eyes. She was in the apartment, in her room, in her bed. Her blankets were strewn in different directions toward the edges of the bed, and her door was open. A dream. It was just a dream. She took several deep breaths as she tried to calm down. Why is my door open?

Through the doorway, she could see her mother laying on the couch in her common area. Mom is never on my side of that wall. What’s going on here? She wrapped her robe around herself as she got out of bed and wandered out. “Morning, Mom.”

Shiri was asleep, lightly snoring. Travis shook her head and went back into her room. Her alarm hadn’t gone off, which was odd. She was late for work, but no later than she’d been any other time this week. As quickly as she could, she showered and dressed. Hoping Lynda was her usual efficient self, Travis grabbed her bag and walked briskly to the island. The counter was bare. Travis looked around. No Lydia. What’s going on here? Am I still dreaming? She set her bag down on the stool quietly and walked into the kitchen, wondering where the housekeeper stored the things she needed. In her haste, she closed a pantry door too sharply.

“Lydia, I told you we don’t need your services the rest of this week.” Shiri’s voice floated sleepily into the kitchen. 

Travis’ heart sank. No Lydia made it harder to get out of the apartment unnoticed. “It’s me, Mom. I”m looking for breakfast.”

“Just order in,” came the airy reply.

“There’s plenty of food right here.” That I have no idea how to cook because we’ve always had a housekeeper. “Why aren’t you in bed? It has to be more comfortable than the couch.”

“I could sleep in my bed if someone wasn’t so intent on ruining me.” Her mother’s voice was clearer now, more awake.

“Who’s trying to ruin you?” Aside from yourself. Travis finally had what she thought looked like a fairly decent breakfast: fruit and peanut butter. It wasn’t glamorous, but it would probably work.

“You are, Little Miss Refuses to Support Me in My Time of Woe.”

Travis opened drawers until she found the knives. There were so many sizes and the cutting edges were all different. How do I know which one to use? She looked at her fruit again and selected a smaller knife with a thin jagged blade. Let’s see if this works. “How am I not supporting you? I defend you at work when people ask.”

“You shouldn’t be at work at all.” And with that, her mother stormed into her bedroom, but left the door open.

Travis took advantage of the moment and texted Will: I’m trapped. She’s sitting here watching me so I can’t leave. He didn’t respond. She sent the same message to her girlfriends, but they similarly did not reply. Now what do I do?
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coolio becks!!!
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Rebecca Thomas

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The plot thickens. The second part of "The Few" is out today.
Thanks, +Pendant Production's Seminar  for letting me play! #audiodrama  
Episode Sixty-five - "Looking for Meaning". Life and death struggles are more common than you think, even if you're not aware of them. It all depends on your perspective - and what you stand to gain. Featuring "The Few" part 2, by Kristyn Mass, and "Mysterious Creatures" by Jeffrey Bridges.
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Rebecca Thomas

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The next episode of the #audiodrama   Milly Foster - "Games People Play" is out today.

Also, the show was just named as an +Audio Verse Awards  finalist!
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Rebecca Thomas

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Travis has never really stopped to wonder if she's a good girl or a mean girl. She's never had a reason to. But Will is counting on her not being a saint, and her apprenticeship kind of depends on Will being right. Can Travis make a quiet escape?

Previous Scene:

New to the series and want to catch up? Read the entire series:
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And as always, +1 if you like it, comment if you feel so compelled, and share with someone you think would enjoy it. #youngadult   #sciencefiction   #saturdayscenes

== == == == ==

The next day, Travis tried to slip out early before her mother woke up. Sneaking out to go to the apprenticeship your own mother set up for you is insane, she thought as she closed her bedroom door behind her.

“Hey, pumpkin.”

How is Dad awake this early? He’s never awake before noon. “Hi, Dad.”

“Your mom wanted me to let you know she’s already messaged the studio and told them you’re still sick.” When Travis rolled her eyes, he quietly chuckled. “Yeah, I’m apparently sick today, too.”

Travis slumped against the wall that divided the two common areas. “Why do you let her do this? We can both lose our jobs.”

“You know how your mother is, Travis.” Her actual name. Her parents had had a heated discussion on the matter. “I’m going back to bed.” And a heartbeat later, he passed out on the couch.

Travis envied him. She looked toward the kitchen where Lydia was hard at work. A smoothie glass sat on the counter with a banana next to it. Travis slung her bag over the bar stool’s back and swung the banana back and forth. Lydia said nothing, but offered her a small smile.

Her phone went off in her bag, and she pulled the bag onto her lap to fish around for it. “Will?” She answered it. “Hey?”

“Hey. Word around the studio is you’re out sick again.”

“Um...yeah.” She coughed for emphasis, but even she had to admit it was a weak effort.

“Yeah. You sound it,” she could hear him fighting to not laugh. “What’s really going on?”

Travis looked over her shoulder at her lightly snoring father. “Something tells me I don’t have to tell you.”

“Okay. Can you get out of there unnoticed?”

“I’ve tried. Twice. I haven’t succeeded yet.” I used to be better at this, right?

Travis was trying so hard to remember the last time she snuck out of the apartment that she almost missed Will’s, “Do you need a distraction?”

“Aren’t you at work?” What kind of distraction would he cause?

“Yeah, but some of the guys aren’t. They didn’t make it into apprenticeships and then washed out of college. I can make some calls.” The grin came through as clearly as if she were looking at him,

“That may not be necessary.” Travis looked over her shoulder again, “Gotta go. I’ll message you in a few.”

“If I don’t respond, we’re shooting.”

Travis set her phone on the counter and looked at her father. He can’t stop what he doesn’t see, right?

“Travis,” Lydia began tentatively, “you know I don’t like to interfere, but you really need to think this through.”

“If I go to work, what’s the worst that can happen?” Travis finished the last of her smoothie. “I’m more afraid of what happens if I don’t go to work.” In her heart, that was true. Her apprenticeship was too valuable to let slip through her fingers. If she listened to her mother, she risked losing it and her chance to move on with her life. But nothing would change if she sat here and let herself be imprisoned.

Lydia sighed heavily. Travis sympathized, but couldn’t come up with a compelling argument for staying. She slung her bag across her body, and slipped out the door as quietly as she could. She waited until she was in the building’s lobby before she texted Will. No immediate response, 

The walk to the studio was light but slow. Travis was just waiting for her mother to jump out from behind some building and drag her back to the apartment. But of course her mother was asleep. It did nothing to alleviate Travis’ fears that something would go wrong.

She snuck into the lobby, taking advantage of Lorraine’s known smoke breaks to make it into the studio without notice. In the elevator, she finally relaxed.

And then her phone went off.  Her heart raced as she pulled it out. It was Will: You rebel! See you soon!

She messaged him back: I’m here.

When the elevator doors opened on the animators’ floor, Will was standing there grinning. “You really did it! I didn’t think you would.”

I wasn’t so sure, either. “Yeah, but I made it out without my lunch bag/ Looks like it’s cafeteria slop for me today.”

“That beats sitting at home playing on your tablet.”

“How did you… No, never mind. See you at lunch?”

“I’ll look for the table with the slop.” He continued down the hall toward the stairs as Travis took the last few steps to the animator workspace.

Her phone rang again. The screen read Mom.
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Good one
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Rebecca Thomas

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Hello, all!

As we're between arcs, there is no #saturdayscenes  story this week. Usually, I share a vignette or story starter I'm playing with on these in-between weeks, but I'm involved in a global collaboration project that was in playtest mode last week. 

So, instead of having a bit of story for you, I invite you to check out Sherlock Holmes and the Internet of Things. #sherlockiot  
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Rebecca Thomas

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Sorry this is a bit short. I'm in a collaborative interactive storytelling project, and we've been in playtest mode all week trying to get ready for the live public playtests this weekend. I'm trying to get this posted in between fielding messages updating us about the condition of the playspace, the changes coming from the tech checks, and notification of an incoming audio drama script. (It's been a crazy morning.)

As Arc 6 ends, we find Shiri in a position similar to the one Travis was in at the end of Arc 4. How the tables turn. Will Travis deal with it, or will she slip back into her virtual identity?

Previous Scene:

New to the series and want to catch up? Read the entire series:
- G+ Collection:
- deviantArt:
- wattpad:

And as always, +1 if you like it, comment if you feel so compelled, and share with someone you think would enjoy it. #youngadult   #sciencefiction   #saturdayscenes

== == == == ==

“This isn’t fair. Do you know who I am?” Shiri Ando would have risen from her seat if her husband hadn’t placed a hand on her arm. 

“Yes. And we knew what we were getting into hiring you. But you agreed to control your behavior.”

Shiri slumped in her seat, a motion Travis knew all too well. But she said nothing from her vantage point at the back of the studio president’s office.

“I think we can both agree a wild party on the roof of one of MicroTech’s main buildings doesn’t equal ‘controlled behavior’.”

Shiri looked away.

Watching her mother, Travis thought back to the last time she herself was in this office. It wasn’t so long ago that she sat in that same chair while President Shiratori threatened to terminate her apprenticeship. She could only hope she was more respectful than her mother was being at the moment.
“Under the circumstances, you will have to be suspended. You will not be allowed on the studio premises for the next month.”

Shiri snorted. “You can’t afford to be without me for a month.”

“You overestimate your importance here, Ms. Ando. As it stands, you’re lucky to still have a job at all. MicroTech owns this building; they’re threatening to revoke our lease because of your actions.”

“It was just a little party,” Shiri whined.

“You circumvented, and in some places destroyed, MicroTech’s security system. They’ve already arrested some of your more technologically gifted party guests, and they want to add you and your husband to the list as the hosts of the party.”

“Whatever. Are we done here?” Shiri stood up before Ben could grab her again.

“You’ll need to drop your badge off at the desk.”

Shiri waved a hand as she left, Ben already grabbing her badge.

Travis watched them go, and then turned to the president. “Am I suspended, too?”

The president’s features softened. “Of course not. I think you’ve already learned your lesson. Besides, I think Brice would kill me if I robbed him of his most talented apprentice.”

I’m the most talented apprentice? “Yes, sir.” With the president’s permission, she left the office and headed up to the animator workspace, where Shiri’s escapades were already the favorite topic of gossip. She ignored them as she logged in.

The apprentice at the next workstation leaned over, “Is it true they found your mom having an orgy in the MicroTech CEO’s office?”

Travis refused to look at her, “They haven’t said, and Mom really hasn’t been up to talking about it.”

“Man!” The girl whistled and went back to work.

I don’t know if I can handle a month of this.


At the end of the day, Travis was tired of her newfound position as authority on all information related to her mother’s now-public suspension. She slipped out of the studio as quickly and quietly as she could, intending to hide out at her grandparents’ for the night.
But she didn’t want to face them any more than she wanted to go home. 

She considered heading to the Underground. She’d been promising Will ever since her own suspension was lifted that she would come back and hang out with his friends. But she hadn’t seen Will at the studio, and she had no idea just how far reaching news of her mother’s shenanigans was.

She thought about calling up the girls and asking if they wanted to hang out. But they’d only ever hung out at her apartment, the place she was avoiding.

In all practicality, she really had only one option. As she headed toward the arcade, she thought, Well, Gloria and Noel can’t say I didn’t try. Or that I don’t have a good reason to hide out virtually.
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Rebecca Thomas

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When Travis came back to work after her suspension, it was a bit of an adjustment, but she was ready to face it. When Shiri's forced vacation is over, well... Let's just say Travis doesn't want to be around her right now.

This is the end of Arc 7. I haven't decided yet whether or not there will be a story in between. Arc 8 will begin in two weeks, and it will be the final arc. I've maintained this story for just over a year, but I need to be focusing my time on other projects.

Previous Scene:

New to the series and want to catch up? Read the entire series:
- G+ Collection:
- deviantArt:
- wattpad:

And as always, +1 if you like it, comment if you feel so compelled, and share with someone you think would enjoy it. #youngadult   #sciencefiction   #saturdayscenes

If you're following #NaNoWriMo  activity, I'm a little behind at the moment, but still chugging right along. The first short story is turning out to be more of a novella, and the second story is turning out to be a much bigger project than I initially expected. We'll see what happens. But if you'd like to connect or just follow my progress, you can find me here:

== == == == ==

The rest of the month dragged on as Travis continued to fail at finding ways to escape the apartment under her mother’s creative security measures. Things finally came to a head when the studio president called. Shiri answered the phone, expecting to find the president apologetic and groveling. Instead, her face turned several shades of red, although none of it could be heard in her voice as she first refused to hand her phone over to her daughter, and then as she assured the president that Travis took her apprenticeship very seriously and wouldn’t miss another day.

And Travis didn’t. Her father walked her to work everyday, and met her at the end of the day to walk her home. He wasn’t any happier than Travis was about the situation, but it gave them time to actually sit down and talk, something Travis had never really had with her father.

On the first morning after the month passed, Shiri dressed up in her flashiest dress and had her hair and nails done. Travis trudged along behind her into the studio.

Shiri had to stop at the receptionist’s desk to pick up her badge. “Oh, I’m sorry, sugar, but I don’t have it. Mr. Shiratori does.” Lorraine didn’t sound the least bit sorry, but Shiri waved her off and started for the door. The locked door.

Travis was still standing at the desk, waiting to see how long it would take her mother to remember that when her mother whined, “Travis.” The teen rolled her eyes and walked over to let them both in. She started for the stairwell to head upstairs to her workstation, but her mother grabbed her arm. “You can’t expect me to go to the president alone.”

“That solidarity thing, right?” She followed her mother quietly after the glare she got.

The president was in fact holding Shiri’s badge and waiting for her. “Travis? Is something wrong?” He acknowledged her with a bit of surprise.

“No. Mom just asked me to come for moral support.”

“Ah, I see. An interesting move from a woman who kept her daughter hostage in her own home.” Shiri’s eyes widened at the insult. “You can go on, Travis.” The president turned back to Shiri. “You can go home. We’ve found another actress who can handle the role without risking shutting down the studio.”

Shiri was on her feet, but Travis slipped through the door quickly to avoid what was about to happen. She didn’t envy the studio president one bit. Her mother’s voice followed her down the hallway, and Travis could only assume it was carrying into the arena, too.

By the time she sat down at her workstation, there were murmurs President Shiratori had to have Shiri Ando removed from the studio by multiple security guards. Travis just kept her eyes focused on her monitor and hummed to shut out the gossip around her.


The closer the end of the work day crept, the more Travis’ stomach tightened into knots. She wondered if her father was going to show up to escort her home. She wondered what was going to happen at home that night. Her imagination kept creating bigger, more emotional scenes until she finally couldn’t handle it any more and went to hide in the upper catwalk above the arena.

The door squeaked quietly above her. “I thought that might be you.”

Travis wiped her eyes and looked up, “Was I being too loud?”

Will sat down next to her and smiled, “We could see the light from the hallway. We were shooting a dark scene.”

“Oh.” Travis looked down at her hands. “Sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m guessing this is about your mom?”

Travis nodded.

“What’s going to happen when you get home?”

“I don’t know. I don’t want to go.”

“Where do you want to go?”

Travis thought for a moment, and then smiled at Will.


Several minutes later, she slipped out of the catwalk behind Will and snuck back into the animator workspace just long enough to grab her bag and lunch box. Then, she made her way out of the back of the studio and headed for the edge of the sector.

She arrived at her destination and rang the doorbell. Opa opened the door. “Travis? Come in. We weren’t expecting you.”

“I know. I’m sorry.” Travis walked in past her grandfather. “Is it all right if I stay here for a bit? Things are weird at home.”

“Of course,” he took her bag and headed up to the guest room that doubled as her room.

Over dinner, she explained everything that had happened to her grandparents. They were sympathetic, and assured her she could stay with them as long as she needed to. But that night in her warm, cozy bed, she realized hiding in her grandparents’ house wasn’t a good long-term solution.
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Rebecca Thomas

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Sometimes, a girl just needs a day off to gather her thoughts and catch her breath. Guess where Travis spent hers. ;)

Previous Scene:

New to the series and want to catch up? Read the entire series:
- G+ Collection:
- deviantArt:
- wattpad:

And as always, +1 if you like it, comment if you feel so compelled, and share with someone you think would enjoy it. #youngadult   #sciencefiction   #saturdayscenes

Also...I've decided to participate in #NaNoWriMo  this year as a #NaNoRebel . If you want to connect or just cheer me on, you can find me here:

== == == == ==

When the alarm clock rang the next morning, Travis knocked it off the nightstand and pulled her blankets over her head. I can’t face another day of this. She tried to convince herself to go back to sleep, but it didn’t work. How does she live like this?

Travis threw off her blankets, picked up the alarm clock and set it back on the nightstand, and planted her feet on the nubby carpet. And stared out the window. Her alarm clock started ringing again, and she stood up with a heavy sigh. She threw together a quick outfit from what was clean in her closet and slung her bag across herself.

Breakfast in the form of waffle strips and a small pile of fruit was waiting for her on the counter, along with her lunch.

“I was starting to think you were sick,” Lydia set a glass of milk down next to the plate.

Travis shrugged and grabbed her lunch.

“No breakfast? That’s not healthy behavior for a girl your age.”

Why? Why are you picking now to mother me? “I don’t have time. I’m running really late.”

“I can pack them to go. You really should eat something, Travis.”

The teenager opened her mouth to say something. Don’t take your annoyance at Mom out on poor Lydia. This isn’t her fault. Travis closed her mouth and looked at her breakfast, cheerful and colorful on the white plate. “Sorry. You’re right. Yes, can I have them to go, please?”

Lydia smiled and quickly wrapped up everything including the milk. Travis smiled sheepishly as she accepted them.

By the time she reached the street, Will had left her more messages than she’d ever seen from him. They’d started calm, and then become more histrionic as they went. The last one threatened to call the police. I finally have that one true girlfriend. She chuckled and texted him back: I’m sick. For real this time. I’ll message you later.

And then she stared at her screen. Why would I tell him I’m sick when I’m on my way to work?

She couldn’t answer the question. The whole reason she dragged herself out of bed was to go to work, which she was now very late for. The longer she stared at the screen, the more she wanted to chuck her phone into the bushes and go hide.

The brilliance of the idea took quick root, and she turned off her phone, buried it in her bag, and snacked on waffle sticks on her way to the arcade. I’m going to play hooky from being Travis Ando today.


The arcade was just opening when Travis got there. The attendant waved at her as she passed on her way to her favorite pod. I’d better set my alarm so I can get home in time to make Mom think I went to work.

She settled in, and within moments was staring at the living space in her virtual home. There was a package in the middle of the room. Travis scanned it and found it was left by Rose and Gloria: A little something to cheer you up.

She nearly squealed out loud as she opened the package. Inside was the closest thing the virtual world had to a dog. She did squeal as the animal yelped and jumped and prepared to pounce. “I’ll name you later, but for now how about a snack?” She scanned the creature to see what it needed, and then gave it some food from her inventory.

The creature seemed content to roll around her living space and jump on her furniture while she worked on quests she couldn’t complete from her tablet. The alarm went off a few hours later, but by then Travis was playing with her new companion in a field not too far from her home.

It was an hour or so later when Travis noticed the time. I’m dead. She figured out how to leave supplies for the creature and secure it in the house, logged off, and all but ran home.

The screaming started when she walked in the door. The shrill tone obliterated any coherence, and without thinking Travis clamped her hands over her ears. 

Her mother pulled her hands away. “Where have you been?”

“Work.” She wrestled her arms free.

“That would be why that little crew friend I told you to ditch stopped by to see if you were feeling better?”

Oh, no. Will! “Sorry. I just needed time off.”

“Because your life is just so rough.” Shiri stormed over to the common area and threw herself at the couch.

Travis slipped into her room and stayed there the rest of the night.
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Rebecca Thomas

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Rebelling against a parent is hard work, and it's affecting Travis' work. The virtual world isn't very satisfying, either. Will Travis survive her mother's tirades and her apprenticeship?

Previous Scene:

New to the series and want to catch up? Read the entire series:
- G+ Collection:
- deviantArt:
- wattpad:

And as always, +1 if you like it, comment if you feel so compelled, and share with someone you think would enjoy it. #youngadult   #sciencefiction   #saturdayscenes

== == == == ==

Shiri had been furious to learn Travis had snuck out to go to work. She nearly had Travis convinced to come home midday, but Will reminded Travis that her mother couldn’t do much with Travis out of the apartment.

The rest of the afternoon was miserable. She’d had to turn off her phone minutes after returning from lunch because her mother started messaging her persistently. By the time work was over, she wanted to go anywhere but home. But luck was on her side - Shiri had tired herself out with a temper tantrum, and Travis had the evening to herself.

The next morning, Shiri was nowhere to be seen.

“Your father said she woke up in the middle of the night, took some sleeping pills, and went back to bed.”

First time in my life I haven’t hated those pills. Travis smiled, “Guess I get to go to work like a normal girl today, then.”

Lydia’s co-conspiratorial smile buoyed Travis’ spirits.


Luck wasn’t entirely on her side. The pills wore off mid-morning, and by lunch Travis was considering dropping her phone into the bay. But by early afternoon, they stopped. Bet I know what she had for lunch.
When she sat back down at her workstation for the afternoon, Brice wandered over. “You know I’m not your biggest fan around here, but I think your home life is getting to you.”


“I need you to re-do everything you did this morning.”

Travis opened her agenda and groaned. Every single asset she’d worked on that morning, and a couple from the afternoon before, were listed. What doesn’t make you wish you’d just listened to your crazy mother makes you stronger, right?

By the time she couldn’t keep her eyes open any more, she had nearly finished the list and had to admit she liked the revised versions better than most of her work at the studio. She slumped in her chair and cautiously pulled out her phone. Her mother had texted for a bit, each one becoming a little more coherent, and then she’d left Travis voice mails. Travis had to hold the phone away from her ear to keep her ears from ringing. She silenced the phone and shoved it into her bag.

She opted to walk down the stairs to the lobby, looking to work off some of the nervous energy that started building the minute she heard her mother’s voice. Maybe I’ll go hide out at the arcade for a bit. She can’t reach me there.

The arcade was busy with older intermediate students and younger apprentices, but Travis was able to slide into a pod away from most of them. She hummed to herself while she waited for the pod to log her in and access her settings and realized how much she’d missed the pods over the last few days. That’s a bad sign. Can’t tell Gloria or Noel.

Soon, her home workshop materialized around her. She looked down at her current garb, acquired by trading some handmade gear to a talented artisan in the nearby marketplace, and stretched. As she watched her avatar stretch, Travis regretted that the sensation didn’t actually travel through to herself.

She reviewed her projects and quest lists, and decided to go out into the world. But it was quiet - mostly people who played to assuage their low self-esteem and new players who didn’t know how to avoid those types yet. None of her friends were on. Even her favorite merchants weren’t available to chat with, and Travis realized she was more interested in being around familiar, friendly faces than in actually accomplishing anything. She logged out of her pod and dragged her feet on her way home.

She wasn’t two steps in the door when her mother’s screech, familiar and unfriendly, filled her ears.

“Where have you been? Do you have any idea what time it is? I told you not to go out.”

It was such a jumble that it took Travis a moment to sort it out. “i had to go to work, Mom. I’d have been so far behind if I didn’t.” Maybe I should tell her I got in trouble with my lead today because of her. As she watched her mother flap her arms and continue to screech at a pitch that should have shattered all the windows in the apartment, she realized she was probably much better off not saying a word.

“You realize by taking sides with them, it means you don’t love me.”

“What?” Travis was dismayed at just how close her unintended shriek came to sounding like her mother’s screech. “How can you say that? You do realize I’m going to eventually take a job that will have me moving out of here. It’s kind of what I’m expected to do.”

Shiri’s face turned an impressive shade of lavender before she stormed into her bedroom and slammed the door with enough force to cause Travis to jump involuntarily. 

I have to get of here.
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Rebecca Thomas

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At the end of the last arc, the studio had run out of patience with Shiri and suspended her. But Shiri Ando isn't the type to handle setbacks gracefully, so we start the new arc with just how ungracefully Shiri is handling things.

Previous Scene:

New to the series and want to catch up? Read the entire series:
- G+ Collection:
- deviantArt:
- wattpad:

And as always, +1 if you like it, comment if you feel so compelled, and share with someone you think would enjoy it. #youngadult   #sciencefiction   #saturdayscenes

== == == == ==

Travis finished her breakfast and ran back into her room to grab her tablet off the charger. She snagged her bag off the couch as she came back in, and was reaching out for her lunch box when she heard a sleepy voice. “What is all this racket?”

“I’m trying to not be late,” Travis shouldered her bag and claimed her lunch box.

“For what? We don’t have to be anywhere today.” Shiri waved away the coffee mug Lydia offered her.

“I have work!” I know she didn’t go out last night. Is this what withdrawal looks like?

“No, you don’t. We’re suspended. Remember?”

Her mother’s calm voice, as if she thought her logic was solid, infuriated Travis. “You are suspended. I’m going to work.”

“What?” Shiri wailed. “You’re going back to that place after how they treated me?”

“You went to work when I was suspended,” Travis started for the door.

Shiri was quick to cut her off. “That was different. I’m the star. They can’t function without me.”

“I’m an animator. People are depending on me to get work done, or your movie doesn’t come out.” Maybe if I make this about her, she’ll be more reasonable.

“My movie isn’t coming out anyway. I’m not there to finish it.” Shiri folded her arms and smiled with a smugness that made her look years younger.

“You can’t expect me to stay here all day doing nothing.”

“I can, and I do. We stand together as a family.”


The battle over, Shiri shuffled back to her room. Travis looked over at Lydia, who was busy prepping something. “I know you heard every word of that.”

“I did,” the housekeeper looked up, knife on the counter. “You know your mother. This will blow over.”

“My grounding only blew over because Dad intervened,” Travis set the lunch box back on the counter. “Tell me you don’t agree with her. This will hinder my apprenticeship.”

“I don’t agree with her,” Lydia swept piles of cut veggies into small bags and sealed them. “But I’ve seen enough of her temper to think you can call in sick today. You’ll figure something out.”

Travis stomped into her room, and sent an email to Brice explaining she had to stay home and take care of her mother. It’s close enough to the truth, I guess. She dropped her bag onto her desk and kicked off her shoes.

Now what do I do?

The first thing that came to mind was her design notebook. But flipping through the pages of designs, remembering she’d missed her date to craft some of them with her grandfather, she felt more guilty than inspired and closed the notebook.

She sifted through the books on her tablet, hoping for something interesting. But she hadn’t acquired many new books in a while. Why is that? I used to read all the time. I used to dream I was one of the girls in those stories, just being a normal girl and going to school and having friends. She flicked back through the list. Real life wasn’t anything like those books.

She closed her reader and looked at the desktop. Salvation came in the form of a small shield logo. That’s right. I can play the virtual world on here. It won’t be as fun, but I do have some quests I need to finish. She hummed along with the loading music as the virtual world came into view.


“Think Mom will mind if I meet a friend from work?” Travis leaned on the counter.

“If I’m not going out, you’re not going out,” came a firm voice from her parents’ side of the common room. “Your father thinks it will cause problems if I continue to do the things that got me suspended.” Shiri was slumped in the most ungraceful pose Travis had ever seen.

Dad can control Mom? Who knew? “I should still be able to go hang out with Will, Mom. I’m not the one who got suspended, and I’ve already done my time from when I  was grounded.”

“You want to go hang out with that loser from the crew?” Shiri snorted. “I’m doing you a favor.”

“Will isn’t a loser, and I’ve been promising ever since I stopped being grounded that I would hang out. I’ve been cooped up in here all day.”

“Oh, come on. It’s not that bad.” Shiri rolled into an even more awkward position on the couch. “And we can always order in.”

She has got to be kidding. I can’t just sit around here for the next month. I didn’t like it the first time around!
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+Stanley Morris Awww. :(
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DWAD's #audiodrama  _The Dying of the Light_ released in August. #imrightontopofthings You should check it out! ;)
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San Antonio, TX
Seattle, WA - Boulder, CO - Corpus Christi, TX
Writer. Editor. Voice Actor.
About Me
I am a writer, editor, and social media producer living at the edge of the Texas Hill Country. I enjoy writing near future science fiction and contemporary fantasy short stories and novellas for Young Adult and New Adult audiences. I also enjoy helping other writers create the strongest, most polished stories possible. I pride myself on being accidentally funny in my stories.

When I'm not building fictional worlds, I use my geeky powers for performing in science fiction and fantasy audiobooks (which I also produce) and audio dramas. I also blog about individual and networked learning and my creative fields at Genius on Hold. My favorite things include books, tea, fan fiction, my library cards, and my bulletin boards.

About My Webspaces
We are what we experience. It shapes who we are, what we do, and how we think. This is my experience. This is what I'm reading, seeing, thinking, and creating. This is where I've been and where I'm headed, for better or for worse. The topics may represent a diverse set of interests to you, but to me it's the tightly woven tapestry of my life. Following me won't change your life. It won't even change how you see the world. But hopefully, it will inspire you to think about and pay attention to what shapes and inspires you.

My Following Policy
(I never thought I'd need one of these, but some creative and business folk on Twitter and G+ apparently need manners or maybe a reminder that they aren't in kindergarten or high school anymore.)

My following policy is simple. I make posts that are interesting to me that I hope will be interesting to others, and I follow people who make interesting posts. I don't auto-follow, and I don't expect people to follow me just because I followed them.

I have zero tolerance for serial add/droppers and for those who engage in that behavior trying to build up their numbers. Those people just don't understand social media. 
Bragging rights
I have a small role in Valiant Comics' Archer & Armstrong audio drama, which was announced at their NYCC panel.
Science Fiction/Fantasy Reader, Writer, Editor, and Narrator. Digital Storyteller. Voice Actor. Casual Anthropologist. STEAM Enthusiast.
writing, editing, narrating, voice acting, research, curation, blogging, managing social media, teaching, curriculum design
  • Writer, Editor, and Voice Actor
    Freelance, 2012 - present
  • Genius on Hold
    Blogger, 2011 - present