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Day 15

25,805 / 50,000

As predicted, I lost Sunday's writing time, and truth be told I didn't do all that much on Saturday, because... well, the day before I wrote 6,000 words. You think I wanted to go within a country mile of this thing the next day? But, here we are at Day 15 (otherwise known as "halfway there"), and we are just slightly above halfway to goal in wordcount. The Quota Count on the day is 25,805/25,000, which doesn't suck any way you look at it.

I actually pulled two different sections of the day's writing for excerpts... entirely devoted to character interaction, as opposed to the exposition of the last several excerpts. This is all about the ways our characters think and feel. Also sex rears its head. I need to have sex rear its head at least once, don't you think?

Anyway, let me know what you think. We've talked a lot about the technology and the strategy and even a little bit about the politics, but it doesn't matter a damn if the people don't work. On the other hand, if they do work... well, I have something of an ego, I believe I've mentioned.

            “Did you ever think we’d be someplace like this,” Yerkovich said for what had to be the ninth time. “Honestly.”

            “Do I think we’d end up listening to bad piano and horn fighting it out in a recording while watching our fellow captains get drunk?” Piramatto asked. “Yes. Yes I did.”

            “That’s not what I mean.”

            “I know what you mean.” She half-smiled. “You have to learn to calm down, little Nicky. You’re a captain now. An old man. You need to be measured and calm and vaguely carved out of stone.”

            “Oh, save us from another one of those,” Renn said. “I might be allergic to your brand of puppy-like enthusiasm, Yerkovich, but it’s a far sight better than the stereotypical king of the mountain, sitting in his Captain’s Chair, fingering his Captain’s Star, looking down his nose and making pronouncements every hour or so, while his X.O. does all the heavy lifting.”

            “So, like our Captain Malcolm here?” Piramatto asked.

            “Hey, I can lift just fine,” Malcolm said, absently.

            “Yeah,” Renn said. “Exactly like our Captain Malcolm. They may want our youth and lack of preconditioning to turn us into Sortino’s Raiders of the fifth stage transition, but thirty years from now, we’ll mostly still be Captains while Malcolm runs his own little C-n-C, wearing a Commodore’s Star or even an Admiral’s five point. And when we all retire to our gardens and feed our cats and tell our friends our glorious stories, Malcolm will be ensconced in the Underministry until they force him to retire, whereupon they’ll give him a Baronet’s Ring and put him right back to work until the day he dies.”

            Malcolm snorted. “I think my mother’d die of shock if they ever gave me a title.”

            “If your mother hasn’t died of something by the time you’re seventy or eighty years standard, she’s immortal.”

            Malcolm’s smile slipped slightly. “I certainly hope we have a chance to find out.”

            Renn scowled, looking away.

            “Has there been any word,” Yerkovich said. “Any new letters?”

            “No. The Concordians have pretty well blockaded the information flow on Campos. If the synthetics don’t get to talk to each other, there’s no chance they’ll pass secrets, is there?”

            “You’re from Campos,” McWhirt asked.

            Malcolm nodded.


            “Fisher Plantation, in Eastgate Heights?”

            McWhirt nodded. “I know that place. As of 5284-170 or so, the Concordians had begun heavy mining there. I got a report from a friend who knew a free trader.”

            Malcolm pursed his lips. “Mining? Damn. They’ve got the infrastructure up to start ripping out resources?”

            “We knew it had to happen,” McWhirt said, looking down. “They’ve been sucking all the food out of the Hearthstone Plateau for years.”

            “You’re from Campos, too,” Piramatto asked.

            “Born and raised,” McWhirt said. “I still have a brother and a sister there. My father died of starvation two years ago. They were keeping his city on a thousand calories a day at that point.”

            Malcolm bit his lip. “Yeah,” he said. “Eastgate Heights’s had it easy compared to the Hearthstone Plateau. I’m sorry.”

            “Me too. But don’t kid yourself. Since they dug in, no one’s had it easy.”

            “Easier than on Garrity,” Piramatto said, shaking her head. “They can’t dig in there, because we’ve got so many soldiers still on the ground, but that means instead of being exploited, they’re being blown up or killed.”

            “You don’t look like you’re from Garrity,” Yerkovich said.

            “I’m not. My husband was a lieutenant colonel in the Imperial Army. Powered Cavalry.” Piramatto looked off into the stars beyond the plastiglass. “I guess there wasn’t enough left of his gunship to recover remains from.”

            Yerkovich nodded. “It never stops hurting,” he said, softly. “I sometimes wake up, and roll over, and turn to record something I want to tell Wilma, and then I remember all over again that there’s a crater where she and my boy used to be.”

            “This is turning morbid,” Renn said. “I thought this was a party.”




            Renn was frowning a bit more. “I think I need more information. Guard my seat.”

            “Where are you going,” Malcolm asked.

            “To check on dessert.”

            Malcolm half-smiled and nodded. “Have fun.”

            “Yeah, I can’t imagine a better time.” Renn scooped up his whiskey sour and strode off to where the desserts were being laid out.

            “He thinks he’s a spy, doesn’t he,” Piramatto asked, smiling slightly.

            “From a vid, maybe.” Malcolm shook his head.

            “What’s bothering you so much about this? So we haven’t been given the whole story. Are we ever given the whole story?”

            You don’t know the half of it, Malcolm thought. But he couldn’t tell Piramatto what the Sabre would be doing in the fight. That was strictly need to know, and Sortino had made it clear no one off the Sabre needed to know. “I don’t like inconsistencies,” Malcolm said. “If there’s something we don’t know, it can blow up in our faces when we’re engaging the enemy.”

            “Murphy does love secrets,” Piramatto said, half smiling. “Mm. No sign of Yerkovich. I thought for certain McWhirt would have sent him on his way by now.”

            “Maybe she’s not particular,” Malcolm said.

            “She’s from your world. Are girls on Campos particular?”

            “Depends on the girl.”

            “What about boys?”

            “What about them?

            Piramatto smiled a bit, over her drink. “Are they particular, Alex?”

            Malcolm met her gaze, and sipped his drink. “Depends on the boy.”

            “I have a particular boy in mind.” Piramatto traced her finger along the rim of her glass. “Particularly.”

            Malcolm half-smiled, and looked away. “I don’t know how to answer that.”

            “Don’t you?”

            “I’ve never been much for dockside dallying.”

            “Don’t be crass.” Piramatto smiled a bit more. “Besides, you can’t very well have a shipboard shag now. You’re the captain. The old man. The C.O. If you don’t dally dockside, when will you?”

            Malcolm snorted, looking back at her. “We don’t exactly have a lot of spare time.”

            “You can’t sit center seat from now until launch, Alexander. You’ll develop sores.”

            Malcolm smiled a bit, looking into his glass. “I don’t think I’m that person.”

            “What person is that?”

            “The person you want to be asking that question.”

            “Ahhh.” Piramatto leaned back. “I should be offended.”

            “Don’t be.”

            “It’s not me, it’s you?”

            “Something like that.”

            “You know, that’s never really gone down, right.” Piramatto drained the rest of her drink.

            “If I’d known how to make it more palatable....”

            “I don’t understand you, Alex. I could see Nicky still holding a torch for his martyred bride. And who’d blame me if I decided to swear off sex for the rest of my life?” She considered. “Well, Sutton would. And he’d never believe it. But you haven’t lost your lady love, as far as I know. If you ever had a lady love, you haven’t mentioned her.”

            “I’ve had one or two, in my time. No one recently, though.”

            “Why not?”

            “I’ve been tired.”

            Piramatto snickered. “You should drink more kaf.”

            “No, Verla. I’ve been tired.” Malcolm shook his head. “Worn down to the bone. I don’t have anything left to give to anyone. Not to you, not to... others. Not to anyone. There’s just this damn war.”

            Piramatto looked at him for a long moment, then looked away. “You hate this war so much, you married it?”

            “Seems like it.”

            Piramatto nodded. “I suppose I can accept that.”

            “There’s always Nick.”

            “I told you not to be crass.”

            Malcolm half-smiled. “No one ever accused me of being a good listener.”

            “Maybe not.” Piramatto stood up. “I need a refill. Want one?”

            “Not right now.”

            “It’s just a drink. Alex.”

            “I know. I honestly don’t want one right now.” He looked back up. “I don’t want to stop being friends, Verla. Not over this.”

            “Oh, we’re friends, Alex. Trust me. I don’t put up with this kind of shit from men I don’t like.”

            “You are long suffering.”

            Piramatto rolled her eyes. “I’ll be right back.” She paused. “Alex?”


            “There is something to be said for celebrating life, instead of hating death.” She half-smiled. “And you need to get laid more than any man I’ve ever known.”

            Malcolm snorted. “I always wanted to be ahead of the curve in something.”


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Would've been better if they goinked.

Probably, but I think the goinking will be with Rita. I'm not sure, yet. There's a lot of stuff to go through, first.

At least she's not agreeing with his non-goinking ways.

I am now officially a day behind.

I didn't get anything NaNo written yesterday apart from what I did at lunch - it's what I get for being all noble and stuff.

My dear wife works at Wal-Mart and is pretty active in the subculture there. She was "volunteered" to write a newsletter, which means I was "volunteered" to write the newsletter. I whipped it up for her (and it smokes, I'm telling you), but it pretty much shot my evening. Instead of trying to write a day's worth of material starting at midnight, I bit the bullet, let her "thank" me, and called it a night.

I can think of worse side-effects of being a writer.

Phy: Man, my NaNo-less days need to end like that. >_>

Probably, but I think the goinking will be with Rita. I'm not sure, yet. There's a lot of stuff to go through, first.

Ah.... I was pretty sure that either one or both of Malcom and Rita were carrying a torch for the other.

I'm telling you, you should've started with a sex scene. Followed by a sex scene. Then maybe some more sex. Then mention my planet a bunch of times, and top off the story with a closing sex scene.

Actually, maybe not. Remember when Isaac Asimov started writing sex scenes into his novels, more or less at random? And it was pretty much exactly as you'd imagine an elderly nerd with giant sideburns would envision his characters having sex? That stuff made me inclined to feel that hard sci-fi should remain hard in the tech sense only.

"What do you call a twelve page soliloquy in a Robert Heinlein novel?"


[b]Day 16: 3092 / 2088, 27995 / 29232[/b]

After missing most of the quota for yesterday, I felt driven to have a strong showing tonight. The day was very busy and Half-Life 2 hit the shelves (and my hard drive), so I was not at a loss for distractions. However, the prospect of being over 4k words behind quota was looming over me far stranger and stronger than I could allow.

In which the Grenville sailors are incorporated into the crew, and Cleric Vaneras rolls up his sleeves.

[quote]You play pretty fast and loose here, Captain, noted Mr. Gillings. To his surprise, Flynn agreed.

This is the new frontier here, Gentlemen. We must do what we can to bring righteousness to this part of the world using any means necessary.

Isnt that a bit like growing sugar with bitters?

Ha. Thats how it appears, but I prefer to think of it as using rightously using lawlessness to defeat lawlessness. We will lay that down when rightousness is achieved.

How will you do that, exactly?

Its easy - all my enemies will be conquered, reformed, or dead, or I will be, he said, fixing them with fathomless grin that was all the more eerie for its earnestness.

Fret not, he assured them. Im not interested in power - Im interested in creating a new world, and then retiring somewhere peaceful and quiet where I can raise debonair babies with a fiery vixen for a wife, content in the knowledge that no raiders nor Riven will disturb my family for as long as they shall live. And the fact that we shall do this on an island of my own wont hurt, either, he finished, and they stopped and together toasted a dream as vivid as it was preposterous.[/quote]

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