God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
—1 CORINTHIANS 12:18-20
STARLOG ENTRY 1.001
Greetings from the orbital platform Provider!
My name is Gavin Greystone, and I live here on Provider with my family. My dad’s name is Phoenix, my mom is Nebula, my brother is Comet, and my sister is Aurora. You could say my family is living on the edge—both because we’re living on the furthest edge of human civilization, and because our work out here is so dangerous.
Here on Provider, we are somewhere between 746 million and one billion miles from Earth, depending on our current position in the solar system. That’s a long way from our home planet! Provider orbits Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, and it was built by the Alliance of Spacefaring Nations (ASN).
Five years ago, my family arrived at Provider on board a spaceship called Beyond. I was seven years old at the time. We moved here from Mars to oversee the construction of Inspire, the first human settlement on Titan and soon to be our new home.
We have an artificial intelligence system named KEWD. (Don’t ask me what it stands for because no one ever told me.) This AI is built into all of our computer systems, helping us with our work and with living life out here in space. Most of our work on the surface of Titan is done remotely by our team of constructo-bots. With KEWD’s help, my family creates these robots’ tasks, verifies their work, and solves problems that happen along the way.
There are a few other people aboard Provider too. Their job is making sure the station continues to function, communicating with the ASN command center on Earth, and conducting other experiments. But when it comes to establishing a settlement on Titan, it’s the Greystone family or bust. We are a hundred percent on the hook for the success or failure of our habitat, called a hab-dome, on Titan’s surface. Eventually, the Inspire settlement will include other hab-domes, but completing this one is our first priority.
Our family has trained hard to become a fantastic team. Not that we don’t have the occasional setback or argument! My brother, Comet, likes to be in charge (even though he isn’t), and my sister, Aurora, thinks she has the answer to every problem (even though she doesn’t). I don’t let either of them push me around. I may be the youngest, but I’m taller than both of them, and I read a lot because, well, there isn’t a lot else to do out here at what feels like the edge of the galaxy.
Dad and Mom are good about keeping us focused on our mission and helping us work out our differences. They take time to help each of us develop our own skill sets even if, at times, these skills aren’t necessarily something we want to learn. For example, why do I have to know how to solve math problems when KEWD can do all the calculations for me through my mTalk? I mean, isn’t that why we all have mTalk devices—to communicate, access information, and help us solve problems?
If all goes according to plan, Team Greystone will be departing from Provider to the surface of Titan next week to become the first settlers there, making us the third group to establish a settlement on a moon or planet beyond Earth (after the colonies on Luna and Mars). We’ll be the very first humans to touch the surface of Titan! That’s mind-blowing to think about. I’ll be walking in places where no human has ever been. Amazing!
Our current team consists of my family members, but it’ll soon expand with two additional families joining us down on Titan. And from there, our settlement will continue to grow. For now though, my parents will lead our family and the two additional families coming to Titan. I hope someday I’ll be as good at leading a team as they are.
Faith at the Edge: Teamwork
Hello, this is KEWD again. I’ll be extracting insights from Gavin’s daily journal entry to take you deeper into some of the challenges he is facing.
The Greystone family is a team. No matter what challenges come their way, they rely on each other for all of their successes and failures. Each person in their family has a different skill set that makes them all valuable team members. This is important to help them succeed in their mission to colonize Titan. No role is more important than another; each position is unique and helps the team work together more effectively. Mr. and Mrs. Greystone help Gavin and his siblings sharpen their skills and keep them focused on the task at hand.
The Christian life works very similarly to the Greystone team. When you put your trust in Jesus Christ, accepting His offer of salvation, you become a part of a heavenly team. This is a team of Christians working together for a common goal or task: to share God’s love with the world! We learn in 1 Corinthians 12 that this team is similar to the human body. Each part of the body has an essential job, and one part cannot work as effectively without the other. The Bible says that God put each part exactly where He wanted it.
God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
—1 CORINTHIANS 12:18-20
Just like Gavin’s parents help him and his siblings stay focused and sharpen their skills, the Lord does the same for you. He puts people in your life to help you grow in your relationship with Him, and He’ll develop your skills so that you can work effectively with your Christian team.
Gavin’s family is part of a critical team working together to achieve the goal of establishing a settlement on Titan. You, as a Christian, are also a part of an essential spiritual team working together to achieve the purpose of sharing Jesus with the world. So remember that God loves you and values you as part of His fantastic team.
Interview by Rebecca Pettett
Featuring The Galactic Exploration Collection
Rebecca: What was the first story you wrote about?
Ann: I’ve been writing from a very early age, so it’s hard to remember what my first story was. My first good story was written for a writing contest in fourth grade and was called “Noella” after the main character. I’m proud to say that it made it to the finals.
Rebecca: Where is your favorite place to go for inspiration for a story?
Ann: My favorite place to go for inspiration would probably be outside on a nice, sunny day. It could be on my porch or somewhere in my yard.
Rebecca: What is your favorite part of the writing process? What is your least favorite?
Ann: My favorite part of the writing process, I think, is getting to develop the characters and just coming up with a story in general. My least favorite part is revising, because it is EXHAUSTING!
Rebecca: What is the hardest thing for you to capture on a piece of paper?
Ann: A water buffalo! Just kidding ;) My real answer would be that it is hardest for me to come up with a good ending to a story.
Rebecca: What main piece of advice would you give a new writer?
Ann: One thing to do if you want to become a good writer is read well-written books. Usually, I prefer the older, classic books that have stood the test of time. Another important thing to do is practice writing. When you write, your writing doesn’t have to be super long, just write often and your writing will become better.
Rebecca: For some last minute fun: What do you like to do in your free time?
Ann: I really enjoy singing and I also love to read.
Rebecca: And what is your favorite dish to eat?
Ann: Hmmm...there are so many good ones. One fun dish that my family sometimes eats is taco boats. It’s a yummy mixture of taco-like ingredients put into a soft tortilla shell shaped like a boat! Another good dish is the mashed potatoes that my mom and grandma make at Thanksgiving time. They use the same recipe and it tastes SO GOOD!
Hello! This is Ann Hirshberg again, one of the writers who will be featured in Brock Eastman’s Galactic Exploration Collection. In case you didn’t read my previous post on his blog, I had written about some of the challenges that I have needed toovercome in the writing process for my portion of the collection.
Now, I would like to give you a sneak-peek of some aspects of the story itself. My novella that I have written is entitled Saving Jangolin. It centers on Ky, an inquisitive, clever street urchin who has lived on the planet Jangolin his entire life. Through an unexpected turn of events, he meets with Rowena, the young, newly crowned queen of the planet. Together, the unlikely pair must work to solve a mystery that could affect Jangolin’s future greatly, and Ky is launched on an adventure like nothing he has ever experienced.
During their quest, Ky and Rowena discover a few allies, as well as, despite their extremely contrasting backgrounds, develop a close bond of friendship. They must each learn to cope with loss and defend others from danger.
One thing I really enjoyed while creating this story was playing with the characters’ personalities. For example, Rowena is quite adventurous and daring in spite of her royal upbringing, and another important character always ends up asking a lot of questions, due to his curiosity and skepticism.
I am very excited to be sharing my novella with the world. I hope to give my readers a great experience while reading it!
Hey there explorers! Elissa here today. I thought you might enjoy reading a bonus scene that I wrote to introduce you to some of my characters. My contribution to the Galactic Exploration Collection is a story about a bunch of kids who try out for an interplanetary Olympics called the Galactic Games. In this scene you'll meet Franco and Ebba as they have a little mishap during a training exercise. Enjoy!
“Why am I not surprised you’re in here,” said a voice from the doorway.
Franco Carito looked up from his most recent creation. A combination bread toaster and egg slicer. He called it the mega-awesome-sandwich machine. It was a working title. It looked rough, even he could admit that. Wires stuck out like deranged porcupine quills, and the casing pieces were a variety of different colors since he’d swiped them from other projects.
Franco’s friend and occasional training partner, Ebba Zadan, poked the pile of discarded wires that littered his insta-desk, a portable floating surface that he could move around his workshop as saw fit.
“You promised you’d be at the practice arena after lunch. You totally forgot. Didn’t you?” Ebba asked.
Franco grimaced and checked his watch. He hadn’t forgotten to meet her. He’d been so focused on perfecting his sandwich maker before lunch that he’d forgotten to eat. It was now after two o’clock. Definitely too late for lunch.
“Sorry. Really. I just need to finish connecting these wires. Then I can make the best sandwich the world has ever seen.” He glanced up at her. He could tell she wasn’t interested in waiting. With a sigh, he dropped his multi-tool and followed Ebba out of his workshop.
“Our training schedule says we’re supposed to practice flying today. Do you want to use the aerogliders or something bigger like the sky canoes?” Ebba asked.
Franco made a face. He and Ebba planned to try out for the Galactic Games, an interplanetary sporting event held every year on Galenka, the game planet. During tryouts, Coach Cabe Tolliver would have them complete a series of dangerous tasks. He and Ebba needed to prepare for anything.
“Sky canoes? Do you really think Coach Tolliver will use those? They’re horribly slow.”
“Right,” Ebba said. “But they require teamwork.”
Franco’s mind immediately went to the canoe’s propulsion system. Could he rewire the electro-paddles to make them faster?
Fortunately, when they arrived at the training field, the two sky canoes were both taken by other athletes. He and Ebba selected the only thing available, the wind walkers. These electronic boots allowed him to walk on air currents above the trees.
“These are so lame,” Ebba complained as she programmed the boots. “You owe me big time.”
Franco ducked, embarrassed. “You can have my first mega-awesome egg sandwich.”
Ebba wrinkled her nose, “I’ll pass. Thanks anyway.” She stood up and gave her boots an experimental bounce. They propelled her six feet in the air. She ducked to avoid hitting her head on the roof of the equipment shed.
When Franco was ready, they set out on the sky course. Thirty feet above the tree line was a field of floating boulders that had been arranged for the athletes to train on.
“This can’t be that hard,” Ebba said as they bounded onto the course. “They’re just rocks.”
“That’s what scares me,” Franco said, pulling out his light-ray gun.
A whispering whoosh passed through the sky course. A barrage of grape sized stones pounded across Franco’s shoulders, knocking him forward.
Caught off balance, Franco stumbled forward. He caught himself on a pear shaped boulder. White hot pain seared through his protective iron-skin glove. He yelped and righted himself quickly, nearly stumbling into a second boulder in the process. “Hot. Very hot. Don’t touch the boulders.”
“Are you okay?” Ebba asked.
Franco wiggled his fingers inside the iron-skin. “Maybe a blister. I’ll survive.”
They bounded through the course, careful to avoid touching the blistering boulders. As they went, Franco made a mental map of their surroundings, trying to calculate the fastest way out.
“Franco, look out!” Ebba screamed, bringing his attention back to the task. He lurched forward as something solid thudded into the back of his helmet. A black nebula swirled across his vision as he tried not to pass out.
The next thing he knew, he was spiraling downward. Tree branches flapped in his face. Thick, gray muddy confusion clouded his mind. He was falling. His wind walkers weren’t working. If he didn’t do something quickly, he was going to slam into the ground. A fall like that could kill him.
He kicked his feet to activate the walkers. His left boot vibrated weakly, slowing his descent a degree. But not enough. They were going to scrape him off the ground and turn him into a mashed Franco sandwich if he didn’t do something. He frantically pressed every button on his right boot, trying to restore power. In a panic, he stomped and kicked and flailed both feet.
His left boot pulsed with energy in response to his flailing. It spun him sideways trying to keep up with his commands. Sideways was better than headfirst, Franco realized as the ground rushed ever closer.
His arms flailed, trying to grasp the branches that sped past. But everything he managed to grab broke off in his hands. He was running out of time. He closed his eyes and accepted his fate. Maybe turning into a Franco pancake wouldn’t be so bad. Ebba could have a fried egg and Franco pancake sandwich for dinner.
As the ground rushed up at him, the yellow green grass turned milky white as fog rushed to fill the space between him and the ground. Franco’s visibility decreased as he entered the fog. His stomach lurched as his descent slowed too quickly. Finally, he came to a gentle stop on the forest floor.
Franco sat up and shook his head. “What just happened? Why am I not dead?” He stood up to try to see over the fog.
A girl on a sky skimmer a few years older than Franco skirted between the trees, headed towards him. “Are you okay?” she asked. “You set off the warning system that released anti-fatality fog.”
“Is that what this white stuff is?” Franco asked waving his arms through it. The anti-fatality fog billowed around his face making it hard to see.
“All of our courses have some sort of safety net. Coach Tolliver doesn’t want any dead athletes on his training courses.”
“Praise God for that,” Franco said as she sped off towards the equipment shed. With one working wind walker, Franco pogo-hopped his way across the forest floor, happy to be alive.
Hi everyone! My name is Jack Hayes, and I’m one of the other authors for the Galactic Exploration collection.
I’m a homeschooled freshman, trying to get good grades and finish well. I enjoy school…
most of it, that is. :-)
I have a bunch of hobbies, including writing, reading, making short films, playing instruments and tinkering with tech. I think I might want to be a film director, software developer, or worship leader… I’m just not sure which at the moment.
Oh yeah, and I love playing Pokemon Go.
Here are some random facts about yours truly:
That’s all for now, but stay tuned!
Our next post in our series introducing the authors from my upcoming project is from Rebecca Pettett. Take a moment and get to know a bit about her. I promise, you'll like her!
Greetings! I am Rebecca Pettett, one of the contributing authors to the Galactic Exploration Collection. As an introduction, I'd like to share a little fun about myself.
I'm an artist. I've loved the art of making art since I was little. I draw, crochet, sew, etc., and my room shows it. Let's just say my art materials take up a little bit of space. Okay, it's more like a lot.
I'm a perfectionist. Which is an ironic problem because nobody is perfect—and I am no exception. It's one of the many things I laugh at myself for.
I love Adventures in Odyssey. I've listened to it basically all my life. My family and I still do, but it's not as much as we used to. When I was younger, we used to have a whole collection of cassette tapes with AIO episodes on them. Cassette tapes. We mostly listened to AIO via the radio or online, except on road trips (what else are tapes for?). I lived in a very technologically diverse home.
I'm a musician. I love listening to, playing, or writing music. I mostly like to play piano and guitar, although I play few other instruments as well.
I'm now an author. Which is funny, because as a kid, I hated writing. Absolutely abhorred it. I loved coming up with stories but never finished writing one down until I was thirteen or so. I tried— many times. It probably didn't help that I couldn't spell for the life of me.
Lastly, I love being a part of the Galactic Team. God has brought me through an amazing and crazy journey to get here. It's been a very fun and wild ride, but I'm very grateful to the Lord for this adventure, and I'm glad you can join me. Until next time...
Hello! I’m Ann Hirshberg, one of the writers in the Galactic Exploration Collection that Brock Eastman will be releasing. I was very excited to be a part of this project when I first heard of it, and I’ve learned some things about being a writer along the way.
For example, I’ve found that the writing process can be very challenging, as well as time-consuming. An especially difficult undertaking, to me, is the revision process. This involves making many changes to your story so that it is exactly how you want it to be. I have had lots of help from my family in fixing up my work, but it has not been easy!
Along the way, one factor of revising was that I had to balance all the feedback I received and figure out what advice to take. Every so often, I would have somebody point out a plot hole, or something that wasn’t quite right, and we would spend a long time deciding how to correct it. That was frustrating, but ultimately worthwhile.
The biggest thing that I felt needed improvement was the ending. I had to revise it twice before I thought it was good enough to be a part of my first revision. The first two endings were a little too rushed, but I was finally able to create something that fit. I am sure I will still need to revise some things, but, as of now, I’m rather pleased with my newest resolution. It has been able to build up to a climax that suits the story, and bring it to a close in a way I like.
Overall, the writing process for my part of the collection has been a struggle so far, but it has taken me on a journey. Throughout it all, I have been able to see the transformation of the story I’m writing into something that is growing more satisfactory. I have learned about hard work, and how it is able to bring success.
Over the next few months, you'll be getting to know the contributing authors to the new Galactic Exploration Collection, an exciting collaborative project from Crimson Pulse Media. First up is Elissa, whose story is currently under construction, so you'll have to check back to keep up on the details.
I thought for my first post, it’d be fun to share 10 quirky truths about myself. So here goes.
10. I have four kids, three are homeschooled, the fourth (who was adopted from Russia) goes to a school for children with Autism.
9. I have no professional training as a writer. I’ve never even taken a creative writing class.
8. Aside from writing, I also like photography, graphic design, illustrating, gardening, and scrapbooking.
7. I hate cooking. I’m pretty sure if I didn’t have a family, I would survive by eating cheese and trail mix. So healthy. I know.
6. I read at least 3 books at the same time. I’ll read just about anything, but I normally go for nonfiction or young adult literature.
5. I’ve been an active member of the same church for 30 years. My parents started taking me there when I was in grade school.
4. I don’t own a working television.
3. Someday I’d like to teach writing classes.
2. I think pudding is gross.
1. I met Brock Eastman when he was looking for bloggers to promote his first TQ4T book like 5 years ago. We’ve worked on several projects together. My oldest son and I even got to meet him in person twice - once in Ohio (where I live) and again in Colorado (where he lives). He’s kind of a goof ball!
Thanks for letting me take over! I can't wait to talk to you all again soon!