« Twenty-one Word Movie Review | Main | The Comixpedia Shuffle.... »

Day Six

10,348 / 50,000

Yesterday was busy at work, and when I got home the near-sleepless night caught up with me (those five snarks yesterday? That's what happens when you can't sleep and you don't have a cute non-cat girl with you. I have a sad and pathetic life). So, no writing yesterday. Today, I had a pretty full day (got up early, did some work on the Wikipedia Webcomics Wikiproject Snowspinner set up, did some research for an article I'm late on (though it'll be done within the hour), and had to bring the car in for service, down in Portsmouth. While I was down there, waiting, I went to see The Incredibles, which was beyond fantastic. After the movie, I went to Fresh City and got caught up on NaNoWriMo. The count-to-quota ratio, as of today, is 10,348/10,000, so I've lost most of my buffer, but I'm still slightly ahead of schedule. And that's good enough for today, damn it. In looking over the NaNoWriMo boards, I see a number of people up over 35,000 words. I have no fucking clue how that's possible. I'm considered an absurdly fast writer by many I know, and there's no possible way I could reach that limit. On the other hand, I'm not taking methamphetamines, either.

I'm also lying, by the way. I know it's perfectly possible. Once, on New Year's Eve, I wrote a complete novella -- longer than what I've done so far on this novel -- in 9 hours. My forearms and fingers hurt from that much typing for days, but the story was actually pretty good, for what it was. But I'm older now, and besides, I have to keep pausing to update spreadsheets. The problem with making a realistic SF universe is you have to keep checking how long it would actually take people to get from point A to point B.

I should pause for a moment and mention Where Snarkoleptics Congregate. This is a NaNoWriMo Forums discussion for fellow Websnark fans to post a "hello" so we can all see how we're all doing and give each other support. I know there's more than myself and Phy doing Nano, so if you're reading these words, please click on that link and come say hi! It doesn't matter how little or how much you've written. Just come check in. We're Snarkoleptics together -- we should congregate!

Well, I'd better get an excerpt down so I can get my article finished before Comixpedia launches missiles at New Hampshire. Here's a fast 982 words for you. You Daily Dinosaur Comics fans will notice that I named some ships after characters in that story. Yeah, I'm a geek. Catch you tomorrow!

            The McCoy was cramped just a crew of seventeen, in a ship that boasted moderate cargo space but little in the way of pressurized cabins. Theyd be glad to see Malcolm go, too, since protocol demanded he get a cabin to himself, forcing the two people whod been bunking in it to give their spaces up. He climbed up the ladderway into the bridge a tight room of three chairs, with the C.O. sitting above (and able to take over any position necessary). Unlike ships of the line, the bridge boasted a plastiglass half-dome that gave an excellent view of their surroundings. It was an impressive view ships of all class and description could be seen all around the McCoy. Huge Naval battlewagons and tiny five man traders moved to and from the huge ringed starport.

            Impressive, Malcolm said.

            Captain on the bridge, the chief running the comm board shouted, not having seen him climb up.

            As you were, Malcolm said, quickly. He was slightly annoyed. No one expected those kinds of protocols during maneuvers.

            It is impressive, Dolan said from above. Certified Imperial Gold. The gateway to two different approaches to the Teo Cluster ­ the trailward approach leading to the Manley Reach and Concordia eventually, when there isnt a war in the way. The coreward approach leads to the Barber Reach. Head rimward and you go up the Zabel Spur. And headward takes you to the Allass Corridor and the Atchison Sector. From the sound of his voice, Malcolm could tell Dolan was taking credit for the four transition points himself, as if hed arranged them and as if he were actually administering them.

            Ill bet the crews looking forward to forty-eight hours in an Imperial Gold rated starport.

            Oh of course, of course. Youll spend a few days here too, I trust? We should have dinner, one of these nights.

            My orders are priority/2, Malcolm said. If anythings going up the spur, Im going to me on it. I might not be two hours at the Naval Platform.

            Not much goes up the Spur. Nothing up there anyway. Maybe youll get a hospital ship going up to Kurtzwuld.

            Well have to see. Malcolm kept looking around. Sweet Murphy, is that a cargo ship?

            The ship Malcolm was pointing at was huge, by any standard. A container ship, with mobile frameworks and tender cranes throughout. It had to be half the size of the entire Vernon Shipyards, all on its own.

            My... goodness, Dolan said. That is a big one. Of course, they all look big to me.

            Sensory, Malcolm said, with the skippers permission is that flying independent registry?

            Petty officer Gomez-Hoyt didnt wait for Dolans permission the crew of the McCoy didnt exactly stand on ceremony. No, sir. Its identifying as... INCSDX-141 Dromiceiomimus.

            INCSDX? What kind of registry is that? Experimental dreadnought cargo ships?

            I dont know, sir. Ships synthetic doesnt have any information on it. Gomez-Hoyt looked over his shoulder. Theres another one, sir. Off to port.

            Malcolm blinked, craning his neck around. The sensor tech was right. Another of the giant, boxy carriers was coming in towards the Starport. Ill be damned. I wonder whats going on. Captain, do you mind if I ask for an active trace sweep of the system? Im curious if theres anything else like that in-system, and where its going.

            I.... Dolan blinked. He wasnt the sort to order active traces. I guess I dont see why not....

            Good. Gomez-Hoyt? Give me active traces. Nothing to penetrate hulls or violate security protocols. I just want to know whats flying out there.

            Active traces aye, Gomez-Hoyt said, grinning. Malcolm smiled a touch, too. Gomez-Hoyt wouldnt be on the McCoy much longer. Anyone that excited to break the routine wouldnt last more than two tours on a courier. Not with a war on.

            Its not really our business, is it, Dolan asked. I mean, Im sure if we should know something, theyd tell us....

            Call it an indulgence, skip, Malcolm said. He couldnt wait to get off Dolans ship.

            Captain Malcolm... Im showing seven ships of comparable size in the system. One more on approach, in addition to the Dromiceiomimus and the Utahraptor it doesnt match the hull configuration, though. It almost looks like a ship tender.

            A ship tender that size? It could practically take six frigates into tow at once. Who would want that? Malcolm frowned. Gomez-Hoyt you said there were seven of these behemoths out there. Where are the other four.

            On a tack rimward, making for the Ishida t-point. He looked over his shoulder. Up the Zabel Spur, sir.

            Dolan snorted. What would possibly need ships that size up the Spur?

            Maybe theyre medical supplies, the helmsman said.

            For what? Is the entire Ninth Army half-dead at Kurtzwuld now?

            Lets hope not. How many other ships are tacking for the Ishida t-point, Gomez-Hoyt?

            That weve seen? Nineteen, sir.

            Nineteen ships, all heading up a dead end?

            Yes sir. Gomez-Hoyt shrugged. Maybe the Concordians went up there?

            No. If the Concordians managed an incursion this deep into Teo Cluster, much less up the Zabel Spur, Rowland and Hynes would have been fortified three times as much as they were, and thered be a lot more warships coming in from headward and coreward.

            Yes sir. But that doesnt explain

            No it doesnt, does it?

            INSCS-8991773 McCoy, the voice of orbital control came over the speakers. Sorry for the delay. Were a bit busy back here. Youre cleared for approach and dock. Please set for encrypted automatic control. Welcome to Vernon.

            We have control connection encrypted on tight, the helmsman said, quickly. Clearly trying to impress the command officer who might recommend he get off the courier. Ready to release.

            Thank you, Gomez-Hoyt, Malcolm murmured, stepping back out of the way to the half-wall Dolans cradle was set atop. Curiouser and curiouser.


TrackBack URL for this entry:


Hey, Eric,
Have you read the latest series from Walter Jon Williams? It's a cracking good yarn but also has some of the most realistic space physics / battles / consequences in recent memory. The series is _Dread Empire's Fall_, the first book is _The Praxis_, and the second is _The Sundering_. Highly entertaining and entirely believable.

SuperUltraMegaGuppy transports!

Man - as ship's names, the Dromiceiomimus and the Utahraptor sound darned pretty impressive.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)