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Day One

Last night, from midnight until about two -- the change of clock does screwy things to me -- I got the first 2,272 words of Trigger Man done. For point of reference, I should do an average of 1,666 words a day if I'm going to get this done, so I'll describe my progress as a simple ratio of [words written]/[word quota]. For right now I'm ahead. There'll come a day when I don't write a damn thing, though, so it balances out. Consider this like a webcomic. I'm building a buffer so those days when it's not there at all or life is too Interesting to even do Websnark, much less NaNoWriMo I don't have to stress. So, the Day One Count is 2,272/1,666.

Now, because I love you thiiiiiis much, here's a thousand word excerpt. Why do I anticipate people are going to either skim over these or start fleeing Websnark in droves if I keep posting them? Anyway -- this is heavy on exposition and Skiffy elements. When we're into December, there'll probably be rewrites, and the further we go into the month, the less jargon will show up and the more character moments... right. I'm babbling. Here it is. (Also, note this is raw stuff -- National Novel Editing Month isn't until December. So, bear in mind you're getting what you're getting.)


5284-014 21:07 In Transition/2 (Garrity-to-Migdal)

            The transition had been rough -- it was never smooth to punch a hole in space time, exploiting the natural latent tunnels between stars. Because the Claremont had a misaligned gravity net, it was rougher than normal. If the frigates crew hadnt been secured, spacers would have been thrown against the bulkheads.

            But theyd made it, and now they were safely in N-space. After an hour, the engineers had certified the hull intact and cabin pressure had been restored. Malcolm had retreated, exhausted, to the officers lounge to drink a cup of soykaf before heading to get five hours fitful sleep. He sipped the warm drink and watched the wisps and bursts of gold through one of the frigates few windows. N-space didnt really have anything in it, but as quanta radiated from the Claremont and shifted past the envelope, they flared gold, forming wisps and rails. Ghosts, they called them.

            Malcolm had seen a lot of ghosts in his time.

            His executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Rita Morita, walked up and sat next to him uninvited. You look like Hell, Alex.

            My friend. Malcolm took another long sip of coffee. Do you have an updated casualty list?

            Seven. Damnedest thing. One of the missiles hit the armor just right. Things were fine for three decks, but we had a collapse on the fourth deck that also damaged the port side gravity emitter array.

            Were lucky they were short range missiles, or itd have been a lot worse. Malcolm sounded distant, even to himself. Ill need their names, service records... you know the drill.

            All too damn well. Morita looked at Malcolm. I mean it. You look like Hell.

            Malcolm looked down at his hands. The darker skin contrasted nicely with the white of the mug. Im tired, Rita.

            It was a long fight. Hell, from what we could pick up, there were still shots being fired when we made transition.

            I dont mean that. I mean Im tired. Im weary. He looked at her. Concordia invaded the Empire of Citadel twelve years ago. They blew Hell out of Planet Aurora, subjugated the populace, and started moving inward.

            I know, Morita said softly.

            And what good has it got them? They made headway into our space, then we hit them back. We sometimes push past Aurora and hit Thames on their side. Theyve pushed all the way to Rosenberg more than once. But for the most part, we have a running battlefield of nine disputed worlds. They have their whole empire behind their war effort. I doubt more than ten percent of our Empire even knows there is a war.

            We have well over twenty times the worlds they do, Morita said. Itd be surprising if more than ten percent did know there was a war on. Weve got them contained.

            They should be more than contained. We should be pushing into their system by now.

            To do that, wed have to pull forces out of Periphery and Coreward Realms, even if we assume theyre not wasting too many ships back in Paramount Realm, Rita said, rubbing the bridge of her nose. Its going to take a long time before we can afford that kind of commitment.

            And in the meantime, the Concordians have devoted essentially all the resources of their worlds to this damn war. Frankly, were lucky weve held them so far. If they ever solidly took Rosenberg, theyd cut off the Manley Reach from any kind of reinforcements. They could take them in a walk. Then, they just need to reinforce and hold....

            You know, you could transfer out of the Fifth Fleet.

            Malcolm didnt answer.

            Seriously. You could get posted to the Third, over in Paramount. Do light police actions, maybe get a desk in some port for a few years. Or head out to Periphery Realm play frontier naval commander for a while. You can get out of this get out from the pressure.

            Is that what youre going to do, someday?

            You bet it is.

            Malcolm drained the last of the soykaf. Youre from Kolchalka, right?

            Yeah?

            Kolchalka hasnt been hit, yet. Though if Manley Reach gets cut off it will be. Malcolm looked back at his executive officer. Im from Campos. There are Concordian troops in my home town right now, and theyve got a lock on the T-points to Migdal and Abramsuld. You want to tell me how Im supposed to transfer to some other Fleet or some other Realm when theyre using my damn secondary school as a barracks for Concordian infantry?

            Morita paused, and looked away. Did you have a chance to look at the latest damage control reports?

            No, not yet.

            Were working on the linkages. But we have two missile tubes with obscructions in them. I dont know that we can get those to ready-fight by the time we hit Migdal. The weir cannons are doing much better. We lost two, but they were pure linkage issues. We should have them ready by tomorrow. Well probably have to take the gravity net down for about nine hours so we can do repairs. Were going to want to pass out some preventative shots.

            Malcolm nodded, absently. See to it. Priority is the weirs, then the gravity net. Keep the last two days clear for sensory work. I want it as close to nominal as possible for when we break out of transition. I just hope we dont have a couple of destroyers staring at the T-point, waiting to atomize whatever comes through. We didnt send destruction T-torps ahead of us.

            The T-point was clear twelve days ago, remember?

            So that means we just have eleven point nine days to worry about. Malcolm stood. Im going to get some rest.

            You do that, sir.

            And you?

            Im going to sit up and stare at ghosts for a while, she said. Someone in this room got me depressed.

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...or National Novel Writing Month. Or something. I'd never heard of it, but it sounds interesting, and it looks like the guy from Websnark is going to do it. He's posted up a one-thousand-word excerpt of what he's got so far, and... [Read More]

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"And in the meantime, the Concordians have devoted essentially all the resources of their worlds to this damn war. Frankly, were lucky weve held them so far. If they ever solidly took Rosenberg, theyd cut off the Manley Reach from any kind of reinforcements."



There is no way I'm going to allow myself to be raped by freakish grape-people.



Oh, and Jews In Space. Awesome.

Hey -- Mel Brooks and History of the World Part One stuck with me. If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's Jews in Space.

And... you know, they've been "Concordia" in my notes for at least ten years. I did that starmap yesterday, and made their worlds purple. The grape connection literally never occurred to me. Damn it.

In other news, I ganked this from Mckenzee -- I'll throw it into the daily fun after today.

2,273 / 50,000
(4.5%)

Ooh.. military science fiction! Now i'm interested ;)

I'm curious: Is a "weir cannon" a sort of gravitic weapon that functions like a net?

Presuming that's the opening page, I'd strongly suggest expanding N-space out ASAP. To many SF readers, N-space means normal space, which a paragraph later you make clear this isn't. While this is soon enough to avoid confusion on that point, it does beg the question of what N stands for (Null? Negative? Naughty?).

As another ignorant reader, I can say that my immediate assumption was that N-space was for n-dimensional space, in contrast to 3-space or 4-space.

Sempiternity: the weir cannons are energized particle weapons, named after their inventor. (Actually, they're named after Andy Weir, who seemed like his name should be synonymous with ray beams that cause massive explosions.)

Dvandom: actually, this isn't the opening page (there's a whole section before this excerpt, detailing the end of the battle the Claremont is in the process of leaving behind them -- ordered off the field after they took significant damage. But your point was well taken. (As M. Dawson thought, it stood for N-dimensional space. But, given that transitions are a bit weird anyhow, from a scientific standpoint, I may go with T-space or just stick with in-transition. Thoughts?

I must confess, I giggled whenever a webcomic artist got mentioned as a quadrant.

Say, Eric... if you change N-space to T-space, that's another webcomic artist pun.

You are wise to realize that some days you might slack so you shouldn't count yourself ahead. Just make sure you stay vigilant. When I did NaNoWriMo in 2002 I kept revising as I fell behind, rather than scheduling a catch-up session... "ok, now I need to do 2000 words a day, no problem", "ok, now I need to do 2500 words a day, no problem", etc.


You might figure this can only go so far. No. Try 18,000 words in the last 28 hours.

I would absolutely love to continue seeing these excerpts. Even if you'd rather post them somewhere else, to avoid scaring away the uninterested (uninteresting?).

Great start. I love the idea of forcing yourself to write daily. I wish I had the time and discipline to do this along with you. I've got a few books burning in me, but with the comics, they never get the time they need.

One other thing, I don't know that I would listen to any criticism as the story develops. Having us readers looking over your shoulder is like hundreds (or thousands) of back seat drivers. Unless that is part of the challenge to you. I can understand the feedback as a motivational factor. I definitely want to read the rest, wherever you decide to post it.

Damn, dude. That's not only a decent day's output, it's actually engaging. It's (dare I say) *good*.

I was under the impression that quality was optional and have been proceeding on that assumption. I'm spinning a derivitive space opera with a admitted Firefly vibe called _The Sky Pirate_ here:
http://phywriter.com/archives/2004/11/01/chapter-one-enter-alacrity/

(btw, where did you get that cool NaNo icon, and may I have permission to use that instead of the stock ones?)

Phy -- quality is optional, and I've got a lot of revision ahead of me in December. But thank you, sincerely -- and good luck! We're in this together, and quite a group of Snarkoleptics are involved in NaNoWriMo and derivatives.

As for the icon I made it, and you may feel free to use it. :) I have nothing against the official icons, but there just wasn't anything about "squirrel in a helmet typing" that fit me.

Count me in as another who would love to read this as it gets written. I have a thing for military sci fi (quite at odds with my normally pacifistic nature...though I am given to angerisms, so maybe that relates somehow).

Anyhoo. I'd love to read as much as you want to post. :)

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