Guest Fiction Post: Unintended Grace – Convention (Paul C.)

This is a section of Paul Calhoun’s second story in the Unplanned Adventures that starts and ends in the middle of the plot. This provides a good idea of what you can expect from the rest of the series. It also ends right in a place where the reader wants to know what the heck happens next. Well, as Q says in his audio version of ‘I, Q’ “You’ll have the buy the book to find that out.”

His Kindle store is where you can get this story for $1 and the rest for a reasonable price. Of course, if you’re a member of Amazon Prime you get all this for free. That’s not a commercial, just a reminder to the people who already are.

After getting their key cards, picking up their badges and materials, they went up to their room to get settled. Victor sat down in the armchair in the corner and opened the program booklet. “Usually the really interesting stuff happens on Saturday, but I’ve rarely had an hour slot with nothing I wanted to see. Yup. Next slot has a discussion on the construction and proper use of doomsday weapons. That’s my afternoon right there. You?”

Mike looked at his schedule grid. “There’s a welcoming session in one of the ballrooms for new furs and a place for previous members to catch up with each other. I think I’ll take Jamina down and see who’s here.”

“Not wasting any time, I see. It’s a good thing I set things up so your badge wouldn’t have your real name on it. Well, have fun. I actually think I’ll skip Saliaven for the weekend. I’m feeling like this is going to be more of a fen sort of con for me.” He stayed long enough to help Mike into the suit, then hurried to his panel while his son was still trying to find the right dress or skirt for the occasion.

***

Jamina floated down the hallway, luxuriating in the feeling of her multilayered skirts swishing about her legs as her large fluffy tail bounced. The dress she’d chosen had been intended for this use and had a hole in the rear that allowed her tail to bob freely behind her. She’s brushed her black tresses and light ochre body fur until she was sure that she looked as good as possible for this first appearance. The voice modulator turned Mike’s quiet chuckles into a light giggle as Jamina thought about how she’d wow everyone there. She’d thought about using the braced tail with elastic spine, but since she didn’t know how much room there would be or whether she’d have to sit, she’d gone with the large one that hung all the way down. Besides, Mike didn’t quite trust the padding on his butt to hide the necessary support for the tail, and he wanted Jamina to look as real as possible.

Despite knowing that she’d done everything possible to make herself presentable, Jamina still found herself checking in every mirror she passed, and the hotel had many. She never stopped, but she did slow down a couple of times when she noticed some of her raven-colored hair falling over her eyes and muzzle. She’d brush it back self-consiously and wonder if she should go back for a hairbar. Then the still-active core of Mike would smile inside the shy-eyed Jamina and keep going. His confidence wasn’t entirely in character for the young vixen, but it was necessary if she was going to meet anyone.

Jamina’s first reaction when she walked into the ballroom was the thought that perhaps she was overdressed. There were very few people suited and those who were weren’t wearing clothes. Well, except for that dashing wolf near the snack table who was wearing a leather vest and a wide-brimmed hat. Yum!

The lustful reaction made Mike flush inside of Jamina, who felt pretty embarrassed herself. Still, the grey-furred, yellow-eyed dish seemed to be the most animate person there. Though Jamina’s innocent green eyes were made to look at whoever looked back, the blue irises behind them kept glancing at the wolf even as Jamina went over to the welcome table.

The girl behind the table, wearing only a pair of ears for comfort’s sake, gave Jamina a warm welcome and complimented her on her suit. “One of the best constructions I’ve seen at this con.” She said.

Jamina inclined her head, brushing her black hair back before it could fall too far. “Thanks!” She said brightly. “I wish I could tell you who made it, but it’s not mine originally and I’ve forgotten. My dad made some alterations, though. Victor Falkner?”

The girl smiled. “I didn’t know Victor had a daughter. Tall? Tends to have odd equipment on his person at all times?”

Jamina laughed. “That’s dad, alright.”

The girl said, “He doesn’t show up at our functions too often, but he’s big on felines as I recall, and the Chronicle.” She looked at Jamina’s nametag. “You too? Well, it is a favorite in the fandom. I’m sure you’ll be recognized by plenty of people.”

Jamina turned as if to leave, but decided she had to ask. “Do you know who that wolf is?” She asked, pointing with a short black claw.

The girl leaned to the side to look. “Him? New as far as I know, or at least the fursona is. He didn’t come over here, so perhaps it’s one of our regulars with a new aspect.”

“Thanks.” Jamina talked with a few of the other new members, and one or two regulars who were there to help welcome them, but she continued to be drawn towards the wolf, who was still talking animatedly to anyone who approached him near the food table. No one seemed to know who he was, though, and eventually Jamina decided she’d had enough. Though such presumption wasn’t exactly in character, she reminded herself she was a Resonating Node, a Mage First Class in rank and no lupine with a hat was going to cow her.

She crossed the room over to where the wolf was drinking a soda through a long straw. Jamina picked one up for herself and said, “Hello.”

The wolf, who was taller than she’d realized replied, “Hi.” In a voice that seemed artificially deep. Like someone with a higher pitched voice who was trying to seem throaty. Considering his choice in suit, it seemed likely to Jamina that he was trying to go for the kind of voice his fursona would have.

Jamina tried to think of a way to continue when the wolf said, “I see from your badge that you’re Jamina. From the crossed-staves on bronze sticker, would it be too presumptuous to guess your last name to be Karia’tur?”

Jamina leapt at the opening. “Not at all,” she replied. “Your name, however, seems more of a mystery. Your badge is flipped the wrong way and so you have the advantage of me.”

The wolf bowed. “If only I could keep such an advantage. But for such a lovely young lady, I could hardly be so rude as not to identify myself. I am Wortag. Big Mad Wortag.”

Jamina stifled a laugh. This reference she knew. “Big…Mad…Wortag.” She replied with exaggerated skepticism. “Is that what’s sewn on your vest?”

“As a matter of fact,” Wortag said, his voice showing the rakish grin that must lie under his suit. “It is.” He pulled back one side of the vest to show ‘BMW’ on the side.

Jamina countered, “And how do I know you’re not just a car lover?”

“Ah, a wit to match my own!” The wolf cried.

Jamina did laugh at that. “I see that we have similar tastes. Perhaps I’ll be seeing more of you at the con.”

The wolf bowed again, sweeping his hat off. “I can only hope so, and that I’ll see more of you as well.”

Jamina knew that no one else in the room was going to top that introduction, and she felt justified in leaving to let Mike see a panel or two before dinner. As for Saturday… Well, Jamina fully intended to seek Wortag out if she didn’t run into him by lunch. This looked to be an interesting weekend for both her and Mike. She thought about Wortag’s over-the-top behavior as she walked back to the room and giggled to herself. She didn’t look once at the mirrors as she went.

Chapter 3:

Saturday

Mike had spent the early morning before programming started setting his schedule up so that Jamina could go to the morning panels and lunch, and he could join the afternoon panels. Evening and the masquerade would be whatever he felt like, though he expected Jamina to go to the parties.

Jamina had decided on a long, green, single layer skirt with a blue midriff. Something more casual and easier to get around in. She saw and greeted a couple of the people she’d met the day before, but didn’t see Wortag before the first panel. She’d picked them with the hope of seeing him there, and she wasn’t disappointed when she arrived to find him already seated. She slid in next to him and he looked at her. “Pretty lady.” He said in greeting. “Do I have a companion for the day?”

Jamina giggled and looked down at her program book. “Look at what I have circled for the morning and you can tell me.”

Wortag brought the page up close to his muzzle and said, “Well, well. I do believe we’ll be spending the morning together. How convenient.”

They fell silent as the panel started, a discussion on the merits and problems with popular furry fiction. A little past the halfway point, the audience started getting involved and Wortag and Jamina began to compete on who could make the best relevant point. Wortag fell silent first, though Jamina suspected that was so that he could turn slightly and watch her. Mike flushed more than usual as Jamina caught him leaning over and admiring his figure as Jamina stood up to make a point.

They talked and laughed as they went to the next panel, dealing with construction methodology. Panel’s members were more loquacious and audience participation was minimal. It was still interesting, and when they left, Wortag pronounced himself hungry enough to skip the next program item and take an hour for lunch. Jamina said, “I could eat like this, but I’d rather have my mouth closer to my food, if you get my drift.”

Wortag leaned on a wall nonchalantly and said, “Sure. I wouldn’t mind changing into something easier to eat in as well.”

Jamina replied, “My room’s right on the corridor. We don’t even have to take the elevator.”

Wortag’s tone was impressed. “Nice. That must be handy when you’re suited.”

“It is.” Jamina said. “My dad’s told me about some of his more difficult elevator rides.” She sniffed. “Not something I’d want to do my first con.”

Wortag laughed. “My delicate little vixen. Well, I’d need to grab some clothes from my room first. Meet you there?”

Jamina nodded. “It’s 364.”

“364,”Wortag confirmed. “Be right there.” Before Jamina could turn to leave,

Wortag walked right up to her. “One of your ears is flopping over,” he said as he reached out a paw to set it upright again. Mike felt even hotter in the suit again, but didn’t reply as Wortag took his leave.

Wortag was faster than Jamina had expected, and was carrying a bundle when he knocked on the door scarcely a minute after Jamina had arrived and gotten out her own change of clothes. She opened the door and Wortag came in. “I hope you don’t mind that I decided to come here first.”

“Not at all,” Jamina said. “Actually, I think it’s better this way. I know I should have told you this earlier, but-” She pulled off her fursuit head and Mike said, “I’m really sorry, but I didn’t know how to tell you. It just occurred to me that I ought to have been clearer.”

Wortag had taken a step back when Mike had pulled off his head and now he made a grinding sound in the back of his throat. Mike was afraid the wolf would start shouting at him, or storm out. Instead, Wortag lifted his own head off. “Dammit! Dammit, dammit, dammit!” He said in a much higher tone. Brown hair cascaded down to Wortag’s upper back as the girl shook her head to free it.


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6 thoughts on “Guest Fiction Post: Unintended Grace – Convention (Paul C.)

      1. I opted for the volumes 1-3 instead of just volume 1. Supply and demand falls apart a little bit for things like ebooks and software incidentally :) It’s all fixed costs. But that’s another story.

        1. Bleh.. Misspeaking all over the place here. I guess the book excerpted here is actually volume 2, not volume 1.. And it’s not really correct to say “falls apart” so much as behaves differently. Normally your supply side is a slope reflecting variable per unit costs (possibly diminishing with economies of scale) and a fixed cost (development, real estate, other capital expenses). With digitally delivered goods, the supply line is strangely flat, reflecting only the fixed costs. I think this makes the profit maximization formulas come out strangely if I remember correctly – if it wasn’t so late here, I’d try this. Sorry for the strange tangent :)

          1. That’s OK. I was not referring to the supply of the ebook itself but the supply of furry stories and authors which would rise with demand seeing as how I usually only write one of these every six months but have been convinced to do an extra one by how much money I’m bringing in. I imagine there would be a lot more furry prose if it had the same kind of excitement visual art gets.

        2. Thanks for buying that, by the way. Question on price: did you pay $2 or $4? I listed it for $4, but my dashboard says it was bought for $2 which puts me in a lower royalty bracket.

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