Sang Mi just wanted a normal Christmas. But when she makes a discovery she wasn't meant to, she and her brother have to outrun the biggest Knave of them all: the legendary rifleman Captain Jack Wilgress.
Featuring a brand new Novelette tale, new rules compatible with Mongoose Publishing's WARS Roleplaying game, and some Christmas joy with a WARS twist, we hope you enjoy this holiday adventure!
Download and read the story right here:
Happy Halloween from 10,000 Dawns! We have a special treat for you this year, with no tricks attached: a free anthology edited by the amazing Laine Ferio with seven new stories of interuniversal adventure! Meet OOPS, a group who wrangle creatures who have gotten lost in another universe and help them find their way home. Monsters abound, and you'll meet all sorts, both creatures and people. So grab the PDF above, and kick back with some candy.
Monsters Among Us features tales by:
and of course, Laine Ferio
Arcbeatle Press is proud to announce its upcoming titles for the remainder of 2020. Featuring books from the universes of Doctor Who, Decipher Inc.’s WARS, original fiction, and non-fiction analysis. There’s plenty to look forward to in the coming months.
September 24th 2020: Cyberon
The classic BBV drama receives a brand new expanded novelization by James Hornby. When Dr. Lauren Anderson’s patients begin receiving tests of a new miracle drug, the results seem too good to be true. Like something out of this world. As it turns out, the drug Cyberon might be just that...
Features three additional tales of silver terror from James Hornby, James Wylder, and Tyche McPhee Letts.
Edited by James Wylder
October 17th: Back to The Eleventh Hour: Revisiting the Matt Smith Years
Volume 1: Series 5
Half critical analysis and half autobiography, Christa Mactíre begins her three-volume series of Doctor Who criticism books by looking at the fifth series of the revival. The first season for Matt Smith’s Doctor, the book jumps between exploring where the episodes fit in the broader history of the series, and how they influenced her personally. Featuring many new observations, such as:
Edited by Sean Dillon
October 29th: Cwej: Down the Middle
Christopher Cwej used to adventure with an incredible traveller through time and space, but now he’s on his own. Working for powerful entities, Cwej saves a pair of travellers named Larles and Kwol from a disaster of their own creation. With his own companions for his journey, Cwej will be forced to confront the parts of himself he hid away… and the parts of himself working against him.
Within these tales, Cwej will face a T-Rex stomping through the 1968 Democratic National Convention, find himself stranded with a tribe of hundreds of clones of himself, have a unique online relationship, and so much more.
Featuring a line up of talented newcomers and experienced hands, readers can look forward to tales from:
November 17th: WARS: Preludes*
Decipher Inc.’s WARS returns with Arcbeatle Press’ new editions of the Battle of Phobos series, starting with Preludes. Three authors bring three heroes from three very different worlds to life as they all begin intertwining journeys through our solar system, a path that very well may lead them to the greatest conflict in the history of humankind…
Featuring three novellas by Nathan P. Butler (Star Wars Tales, 10,000 Dawns), Sean E. Williams (Wonder Woman, Fairest), and Jim Perry (Bladeweilders).
Edited by Josh Radke
December 8th: Legends and Liars
The fantasy stories of James Wylder are collected for the first time, featuring favorites performed as part of “Tales by the Blue Light.”
By James Wylder
*Tentative release date and title, subject to change.
Hello faithful readers--
We've been getting a lot of mail excited about some of our upcoming books, and when they'll be released. Unfortunately, several of our books have suffered delays due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our staff, freelancers, and their families. Delaying books is always difficult, but when it came time to make the call, supporting the wellbeing of people took priority.
While we posted about this on social media, embarrassingly, we forgot to update our website accordingly, for which I apologize.
Cwej: Down the Middle, and our re-release of Decipher's WARS Novellas have felt the largest impact, but there hasn't been a single project that hasn't had some difficulty due to this year's issues. We hope to have more information on revised release dates soon.
That we continue to see such passion about our upcoming books warms our hearts, thank you so much for being patient with us. This hasn't been an easy year for Arcbeatle Press, though we're also very aware we've had things better than many and count our blessings. Hopefully all our hard work will bring some smiles to your faces, in time.
Thank you again, and please take care, -James
Welcome back faithful readers, today we have an exciting new preview story for P.R.O.B.E introducing one of the team: Maxie, their resident tech specialist. This story has been brought to you by CONsole Room, and you can watch the author read it here as part of their virtual convention:
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the adventure as we bring you...
P.R.O.B.E: She Came From Another World!
A Prequel of Chills and Thrills in 4D Technicolor by James Wylder
People were out to watch the shooting star, but Giles was just trying to catch it. Normally one of the other organizations would take this sort of job, it’s not like there was a shortage of options, but he was the closest by a longshot.
And it was supposed to have been a holiday.
He pressed down on the accelerator as he came out of a turn. He wouldn’t quite catch up, but he’d be there quick enough if it was anything funny, there’d at least be a witness. The shooting star, which hadn’t been predicted by any astronomer, impacted in the forest just ahead of him. It didn’t sound like a rock hitting the ground, it sounded like a slow motion car-crash: metal ripping, crumbling in on itself, mechanical parts working themselves to ribbons.
So not a shooting star, and not a holiday anymore.
He drove down the forest path, till he got to where the smoke was rising up from the trees, and squealed to a halt. He barely remembered to grab his sidearm as he scampered out.
He’d heard stories, read reports, but P.R.O.B.E usually dealt with a...different sort of otherworldly than this. He’d never actually seen a spaceship before, but that’s clearly what it was. It was a dark shiny black, and if it hadn’t been for the damage and kicked up dirt would have been nearly a mirror. The ship had broken part of its tail off during the landing, if you could call that a landing, and little metal arms were reaching out from the rest of the hulk, straining to reach the tail of the ship and pull it back. The front of the ship began giggling. He turned, edging towards it, and startled as what must have been the top of the cockpit shot up on a hinge, and a big duffle bag flew out, landing on the leaves just outside it. It hadn’t been thrown far. Following it, came a young woman. Maybe? At least it looked like a young woman to his first assumption. She was wearing a grey poncho over a white blouse and pants, with study boots on her feet. A big satchel was slung over her shoulder. On her head were heavy-duty goggles, ontop her vibrant purple hair which was tied back in a long ponytail. At first, he thought, it wasn’t an alien at all, she was a test pilot. False alarm, but glad he could pick her up. The military never gave them notice of these things till after the fact, a good story till later.
Then she turned around.
She had white skin, not Caucasian but actually white, and the eyes that looked at him with deep terror and surprise were purple too. But it was the cut on her cheek that rubbed it in.
The blood there was purple, and as it kept oozing down her face, it was still purple.
She stood there like a deer in headlights for a moment, and then took a step back.
Reflexively, he raised the sidearm, and she crumpled to her knees, putting her hands on either cheek facing out, elbows wide and to the sides.
She was tearing up, and began...singing? It took Giles a moment to realize she wasn’t singing, she was speaking, but whatever language she spoke it sounded like song.
“Do you know English?” He called out.
She sung back at him.
He tried a few other languages, but to every one she just half-sobbed song back at him. This was getting him nowhere. If this girl was a threat then he’d be willing to die wrong. He lowered the gun, and holstered it. Then placed his hands out, palms forward (at least this alien looked NEARLY human, so body language had to get him somewhere).
“Not gonna hurt you, you’re alright,” he overdid the tone, hoping it came across.
Slowly, she lowered her hands, and whimpered a melody. He walked closer, and held a hand out to her. She looked at it for a second, then reached up to take it and he pulled her to her feet. Finally face to face, the alienness was more obvious. He could see purple veins beneath the skin. The bones were...slightly off in ways he couldn’t quite place. She seemed to be inspecting him too.”
Finally, she put a finger to her chest and said,
She smiled. Good! Well, if smiling was good with her species. He put a finger on his own chest.
He smiled back. And pointed at her pony tail and then his.
“Oh, hey I guess we have that in common.”
She nodded as if she’d understood him, and then seemed to remember something and scrambled backwards, almost tackling her duffle bag, and pulling it up, wrapping both her arms around it. She tilted her head and sung something at him.
He was about to respond, when the loud screech came. It tore through the breeze, and next to the ship, there was a glitch in the air. It seemed to pixelate and rip, and through it stepped...something. Whenever Giles looked at it, it looked like corrupted video on a computer, mixed with the visual tearing on an old VHS tape. Bits of it seemed to flicker left and right, its colors changed in a headache inducing chaos. But through all of it, it was vaguely the shape of a person.
“Mar’tuth,” Maxiassa said, stumbling backwards.
Then it reached a hand out, and the ship seemed to glitch too.
Maxiassa pulled on Giles arm, tugging him back as she broke into a run. He trusted her judgment, and sprinted after her. This chose to be a good decision, as momentarily after, the ship exploded in a column of fire. Giles flew forward, tumbling into leaves and shrubs face down. His body ached, he could hear the glitching thing behind them (Mar’tuth?). It was then that the really important moment happened, the one that changed everything. Because Maxiassa, still clutching her duffle bag, looked down at him. He could see the look in her eyes, she was terrified. She could leave him there. Run. Let him be a speedbump in her escape. But she forced past it, and reached down to pull him up.
“Gee-lay, Gee-lay! Mee-ah hee-uu ay-ay!” she sung, dragging him to his feet.
She was not very strong, but she heaved all she could, trying to pull him forward even though it was a lost cause, till Giles' head cleared, and he began to move his legs on his own.
And then, just as quickly he was pulling her along instead, to the left instead of her right, towards the car. He yanked the door open, and she stared at it. So he pulled the passenger door open and she threw her bag in and jumped after it as he slammed the door behind her, and slid into the driver’s seat.
This was far more adventure than he usually got in one day.
He maxed out the accelerator, and checked in the rear-view mirror so see Mar’tuth following them, but...then it swerved off the road, following them to the side, staying out of the mirror view even though it slowed them down. Maxiassa was shaking and crying, peering over the backseat at the glitching thing, then she glanced back at the rear-view mirror. He swerved, and she dropped hard onto the seat, but she sat up, reached into her satchel, and pulled out a compact mirror. She held it up to face the glitch thing, and it dodged away from direct view of the mirror. Maxiassa scrambled in between the seats, pointing at her mirror, then spreading her arms wide, then getting thrown backwards again into the seat.
“I think I know what you’re trying to say,” Giles said through gritted teeth. “We’re making a stop at Homestyle.”
The security cameras at Homestyle all malfunctioned at 9PM that day, suffering complete software corruption. If they had been working, they would have seen a car skid to a halt in front of the store, and two people, one of whom looked like they were out of a sci-fi serial, jump out. They ran into the store, and a thing followed them. The pair pushed past customers, and employees, scanning the aisle names till Giles saw it, and pointed. Maxiassa nodded. They ran down the aisle, and Mar’tuth followed.
The glitch turned the corner, and made a terrible squealing sound. At the end of the aisle stood Giles, holding a mirror, in an aisle that hung with mirrors of all sizes, small ones on shelves, big ones on hangers. Mar’tuth tried to turn, but their target was there, holding a full length mirror.
It’s corruption tried to spread out of it, but it bounced back. The glitches tore at itself, crumbling its own body away, till it fell to the floor in a tumble of blocky dust.
They both lowered their mirrors, and came in close to look at the dust. Giles nudged it with his foot. It was gone.
“Zia Miat!” Maxiassa cried out, throwing her arms into the air in triumph.
“Yeah, Zia Miat,” he replied with a smirk.
As their survival sunk in, in the mirror department at Homestyle, Giles finally had time to wonder how this girl was going to get home.
* * *
Two months later
Maxiassa shut the copy of “Wuthering Heights”, a puzzled look on her face.
“It’s puzzling to me, why Catherine didn’t just marry Linton and Heathcliffe,” she said in a thick sing-song accent.
Giles shrugged, “A lot of places look down on that sort of thing on Earth.”
“Bizarre. It’s very marriage,” she replied.
“Well, not quite a correct sentence but you’ve really made quick progress with English.”
The secretary coughed, “Sir Andrew Williams will see you now.”
He smiled at Maxiassa, and she gave a nervous nod and rose up, pulling out her compact to check her looks again. The brown contacts completely covered her irises, which she’d always thought were a particularly lovely shade of purple. Her hair was now a dyed brown too, and a layer of make up over all of her visible skin made her look stunningly human. It was disconcerting. But what choice did she have? Shutting it, and shoving it in her “purse” (a sort of small satchel many women here had in lieu of pockets which seemed a bit silly, but she was adapting) she rose to go and meet the man who would determine her fate.
“Ah, Giles, so this is the lady in question.”
She didn’t know what to do, she’d rehearsed this but her mind was drawing a blank so she just panicked and gave a quick bow before sitting down in the chair Sir Williams pulled out for her.
“I’m really sorry to come here for a favor--”
Sir Williams held a hand up and shook his head, “I think we can skip with all that. You know I’m more than happy to hear you out.”
Maxiassa looked up at the big paintings on the wall, old humans in their traditional dress clothes. She was wearing one for women here, which for some reason left her legs bare beneath a long skirt.
She pursed her lips. She’d just have to get used to it.
“Maxine here, or rather, that's what we’re calling her, is a political refugee. Unfortunately, the circumstances of her immigration to the UK were...unusual. She has no papers, or documentation of any sort she even exists. Also, other agencies outside P.R.O.B.E that deal in similar matters have recommended extradition, or at the very least refusal of asylum.”
Sir Williams furrowed his brow.
“But she’s also just a civilian, no military training or experience.”
“Well, where did she come from?”
Giles sighed, “I’m afraid that’s classified.”
“Well, what can you tell me?”
There was a moment of silence, and Maxiassa felt the fear run up her spine. She couldn’t go back. She...She...She was...
She was running, they were chasing her through the stone halls. She hadn’t meant to see it, she hadn’t known. She’d just been scouting things out before the next group arrived. Why was this happening? A bolt of energy raced by her head and she screamed, they were trying to kill her! Just like they’d murdered Tiassia just for being here! They were--
She took a deep breath, she let it out. She clenched the notebook in front of her hard. There were shakes in her hands. She had to do this. She took a deep breath, and let it out. The room was around her again, spinning a bit but there. She could hear words, but…
“Hello,” she began awkwardly, her sing-song accent becoming even more noticeable to her in front of Sir Williams, “I am Maxine Masters. I was a tour guide in my homeland. During preparations for a tour--
They ran after her. They hunted her. Her blood pounded.
“I stumbled into a meeting I was not supposed to hear with a friend who...was killed. I fled, only having enough time to stuff a bag full of my things and leave.”
The sound of their boots, the taunting cries, the blood on her from Tiassa, this job was supposed to be fun for them both, getting to work together, and now her blood was...
She realized she was not really in control. She wasn’t looking at Sir Williams, just at her hands which had crumbled the cover of the notebook. She could feel her eyes watering.
“Mr. Giles says I can be useful, and you may be able to give me protection in return. I would be most grateful if you were to oblige him.” The whole thing came out between sobs, awkwardly. And by the time she was finished she knew she shouldn’t have spoken up. She’d be sent back, cause of her embarrassing voice, her lack of composure. But...there was a hand in front of her face, in between her eyes and the crumpled notebook. It held a white cloth.
“Please, miss, you may take it.”
She grabbed the cloth, and looked over at Giles. He mimed wiping her eyes and nose.
She blotted her tears, and blew her nose.
“I am very most thankful,” she said. “For the cloth.”
“I see the young lady has really been through an ordeal,” he placed a hand on her shoulder, squeezed it, and returned behind his desk. “From what she said, I assume you were thinking she could join P.R.O.B.E in exchange for asylum?”
“Yes sir, and I was hoping that might be enough for you to pull strings to make it happen.”
He stroked his chin, “This is the sort of thing I’ve always admired about you Giles, why I was pleased you were given P.R.O.B.E. I don’t see how the United Kingdom could turn their back on this young lady, so you have my word: I will make sure she is given asylum here.”
Maxiassa rose, and gave a deep bow, “Thank you, Mister Sir Andrew Williams.”
He smiled, “Just be sure to do your best for us.”
* * *
Maxiassa, or now Maxine, adjusted the painting on the wall. She didn’t know who painted it, but she liked the look of it. Swirling blues and yellow stars forming a night sky. It made her think of home. She shook her head.
This was home.
She could never go back. Never see her mothers and fathers, her siblings, her friends...never even be herself. She’d laid out everything she’d managed to throw in her bag on the table she’d had moved in. It wasn’t much, but she felt grateful she’d been able to grab her computer at least. She had a fairly decent amount of movies, shows, and music from Gendar on there but...it wasn’t enough. She was already cursing herself for not downloading certain things she cared about. This was all there was, all there ever would be. There was a knock on the door, and she looked through the peephole before opening it, unlatching, unbolting, and unlocking the door.
“Just Giles, how has the move in gone?”
She led him inside, and went to make him a cup of tea, which was at least a tradition Gendar and England seemed to share. As she brought it over, she saw he had set a device on the coffee table.
“Why do you have a trio-disregulator?”
“Turn it on for me.”
“I can't, it's broken.”
“Can you fix it?”
She frowned, but picked it up, walked over to a cabinet, and got the cheap set of tools she’d gotten for the apartment. Prying it open, she rearranged the circuitry, adjusted the dispassion module, and powered it on. She stood there, befuddled.
“Now what do you do with it?”
“Well nothing right now unless we were doing laundry.”
A big grin appeared on his face, “That’s how you’re going to help me Maxine, you’ll take on the role I had in P.R.O.B.E as technician.”
“But, Mr. Giles, I am not a technician. I...sir I didn’t go to university on my homeworld. I didn’t get good enough grades for that. I’m not...talented.”
“But you know how to fix that.”
She looked down at it, “A child could fix that.”
“A team of scientists worked five years and wasn’t able to fix that. Maybe you don’t think you’re skilled, but you have skills we don’t have. You can help us at P.R.O.B.E a lot, and do some real good.”
She put on a fake smile, she wasn’t sure he was right, but this human had yet to do her wrong, “Thank you, I accept the position,”
After Giles had left, she put the device in her laundry room, and went to get ready for bed. She looked at herself in the bathroom mirror, and pulled out her contacts for the night. Purple eyes stared back, brilliant and hers.
“I’m still here,” she told herself, “despite everything, I’m still here.”
Copyright 2020 Arcbeatle Press, all rights reserved.
P.R.O.B.E is the property of Bill Baggs and BBV. Used under license.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, events past or present, or other works is purely coincidental or done firmly within the realm of satire.
Arcbeatle Press is located in Elkhart, Indiana
For immediate release.
Arcbeatle Press and BBV Productions Announce Cyberon Adaptation
In partnership with BBV Productions, Arcbeatle Press is pleased to announce Cyberon, the first novelization of a BBV property. Expanding upon the original 2001 film of the same name directed by Bill Baggs, the book is written by P.RO.B.E. range editor James Hornby and adapted from the script by Lance Parkin, Cyberon is due for release Autumn 2020.
The book, like the film, sees psychologist Lauren Anderson become witness to a disturbing drug trial on several mental patients and sufferers of dementia, in an effort to reconstitute their failing health. As she begins to uncover dark secrets, and the drug known as Cyberon starts showing hallucinogenic effects on nearly all the patients, will Lauren make it out of this horrific experiment alive?
Cyberon will be the first print release by Arcbeatle Press in their partnership with BBV Productions, soon to be followed by the previously announced P.R.O.B.E: Out of the Shadows. Look for more announcements soon.
The cover for Cyberon is by Callum Brown and Warren Lewis, with the Cyberon design is by James Lee, based on the original design by Terry Cooper
Arcbeatle Press Lead Supervisor Hunter O'Connell spoke with our very own James Hornby, the Range Editor of our P.R.O.B.E series, about his upcoming novelization of the BBV film Cyberon! Look for it this fall.
Q: What can the audience expect to see in terms of changes, or additions, to the original plot of Cyberon?
A: I think with a project like this it's important to be respectful to the person who wrote the original material. Lance's script is something truly special, and I intend to keep it as intact as possible. As you might expect, there were a few sections of the script that needed slight alteration in order to make the transition to prose. That being said, the prose format has allowed me to delve into the character's heads, to reveal how they react to the troubles posed to them by the plot. With a psychological thriller like Cyberon, I think that's really important.
I think the main change is that, unlike the original film, this release of Cyberon will act as a companion to the upcoming P.R.O.B.E. series.
In terms of additions, I've gone for the "Shakedown" approach to how the book will be structured: the original story will be the middle section of a three act tale. Act one will explore the story of how the Cyberon drug came to arrive on Earth, and the final act will pick up the loose plot threads from the end of the drama, bringing in familiar characters from the P.R.O.B.E. series.
Q: What’s your favorite scene in the BBV film, and how do you plan on expanding it?
A: My favourite scene is where George Cooper, a resident at the hospital where Lauren works, wakes up in the middle of the night, to be confronted by the spectral form of a Cyberon. In the original film, the scene is a wonderful work of horror, but in the novelization, we'll get to see what happens from George's perspective.
Q: Could you list off a few reasons for others to check out the Cyberon novelization?
A: The story gets into some really important issues around mental health that still affect our lives today, it contains a strong, character-driven plot and, of course, Cyberons!
Q: What other Doctor Who connections do you have planned for the book that weren’t in the original film, besides the obvious?
A: The original Cyberon film stands very much alone in terms of the world in which it is set. These characters have grown up in the Doctor Who world, so some of the things they say will reflect that. For example, with the kind permission of Iain McLaughlin, the TV show Doctor X from the Erimem series will receive a mention. Eagle-eyed readers will also spot links to P.R.O.B.E. and Cwej: The Series.
Q: What can you tell us about the P.R.O.B.E. series? Are there any details you can reveal to the audience?
A: I'm very excited to bring the P.R.O.B.E. series to people's attention. After so many years away from the public eye, we'll finally get a chance to see what P.R.O.B.E. has been up to, and the challenges the organisation faces in the modern world. Readers can expect to see a whole host of aliens and monsters, both original and new; characters and concepts from the Virgin New Adventures, the Past Doctor Adventures, and the Erimem series will all appear in our stories. For now that's all I can say on the matter, but in time all will be revealed...
Arcbeatle Press Lead Supervisor Hunter O'Connell spoke with BBC Productions' Bill Baggs, the director of the BBV film Cyberon, about the film and our upcoming novelization! Look for it this fall.
Q: What was it like, working on the original BBV film? Can you bring up some seldom-mentioned details about production?
A: It was great fun, I look at the experience with great admiration. I asked so many people from Doctor Who and was amazed they said yes to be in the films. Whenever we were filming we would also take time planning locations, casting, budgeting, writing the script and shooting. So it was all very very exciting.
Q: For those unsure about where to start with the BBV video and audio dramas, what would you say is the most accessible for newcomers to the company?
A: Well that’s a very interesting question. Interestingly I think Cyberon is possibly the most accessible in the sense that you don’t need any relationship to Doctor Who to understand it. However, if you have a relationship with Doctor Who you’ll get even more from it. I think it’s just a very straightforward romantic thriller.
Q: What are you most excited to see in the newly-expanded Cyberon novelization?
A: I think I like the idea that it’s kind of related to the show but it’s also got its own world. I think the character of Lauren could be expanded, and the themes, such as the adult and psychological, could be seen more. I think its psychological aspect is wonderful.
Q: How does it make you feel, knowing that BBV Productions is still looked at fondly by Doctor Who Extended Universe fans across the world?
A: It’s fantastic, it amazes me somewhat that, there’s me piggybacking on my favorite show and creating something, and that is now a springboard for other people. I had an artist in the North of England Facebook me the other day, and he’s done an amazing interpretation of Cyberon and the other shows I’ve done. He was telling me how much pleasure he got from my shows, and it was very humbling and incredible.
Q: Are there any plans for future BBV dramas or partnerships that you can go into detail about? What can the fans expect from the company in the next few years?
A: It’s a bit of a departure from the world of Doctor Who. I’m working on something a bit independent, and I suppose it’s kind of like Cyberon, being its own thing. I am working on something that is related, but I won’t talk too much about it. Just know to expect something in the next few years.