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Day Two

5,867 / 50,000

It's going exceedingly well so far. I'm finding I have a voice and a lot to say, and as you can tell by the progress bar in the corner, I've officially hit 11% of total. Which, for two days work, doesn't suck.

For the record, this represents 5,867/3,332 for the "completed"/"quota" counts. So I'm well ahead of schedule, which is good given how little writing I might do tomorrow.

I'm finding it very hard not to go back and revise. In a way, that's what I most need to get out of NaNoWriMo this year. Writing is easy. Finishing is hard. This way, I can force myself to keep going, and when I think "wow, that's too wordy," I can then force my brain to think "and in December, I'll see if I can fix it."

I've got a revised map, though it'll have to be its own entry. Not because I wanted to name more planets after Webcomics (though that was fun), but because I needed information about the planets below the edge of the map. I'll do an entry this evening detailing the changes, while I'm in Maine.

That's right, right after work I'm heading out the door to the Pine Tree State, where I will be meeting up with the folks to watch the election results. We'll go out to dinner first, and then have an evening of cheers and profanity. I took tomorrow off, too, so I can stay up until the cow milking hour when Tom Brokaw says "it's now clear that it will be many weeks or months before we have resolution on the question of the American President...."

Anyway, here's a fast 1,500 words or so. I'm putting it in the "extended entry," so that it won't completely smack down peoples' browsers if they're not interested. Just click on the "continue reading" link if you're reading this on Websnark, or click the link at the top of the entry if you're reading on Livejournal or RSS.

            The message had been lurking, waiting the weeks and months for him to be in a position to report to a fleet commander. This Captain Fleischer was clearly the first available the system could hook him up with. Still, it was a damn inconvenience at best. He quickly worked to get his debarkment permission in order, but didnít bother tagging it with a tourist visa for the local planet. As an Imperial citizen, much less an Imperial naval officer, Malcolm could travel to any Imperial Starport facility without needing a Visa... but every Member World of the Empire of Citadel was sovereign, and they all had their own customs procedures.

            Since he wasnít going to the surface, he could bypass them. As it was, it only took twenty minutes to get the clearances he needed. He then disconnected and headed out ñ it wasnít impossible that it would take twenty minutes or more to find his way to room IN8911c, even with the route programmed into his comm. And he got the feeling he shouldnít be late to this meeting.

            As it worked out, he got there in fifteen minutes, but then sat in the lobby for half an hour. Synthetics could create perfectly synchronized schedules, but human beings still had to follow them. The desk clerk smiled apologetically to Malcolm two or three times ñ he was a petty officer third class, by his chevrons, and clearly was used to people being kept past their appointed times. One of his assistance, a pretty, young Spacer Apprentice, brought him coffee at one point. All part of what the enlisted did when a senior line officer was kept sitting. Fortunately, they didnít try to chat. Malcolm didnít want to chat. He was somewhat nervous. It wasnít likely anything was wrong, mind. They didnít usually let problems fester while a captain fought his ship in space. But they might simply not have liked his performace as C.O., and this might be their chance to route him to a desk somewhere. Or they might have liked it a lot, and lined him up for a larger frigate. Or chosen to make him X.O. on a cruiser or battleship ñ give the chance for a Captain to put the polish on him prior to considering him for a capital ship command.

            Or maybe heíd done something critically, crucially wrong in a crisis, and this was their way of getting him away from the Claremont so they could demote or discharge him quietly, without causing a scene.

            Finally, the desk clerk called over to him. ìCommander Malcolm? Captain Fleischer can see you now.î

            ìThank you,î Malcolm said, getting up. He straightened his undress coat and headed to the office the desk clerk pointed out. He nodded to the other personnel in the office, and knocked at the door.


            Malcolm walked in. Captain Fleischer was rising from behind his desk. He was somewhat heavyset, especially in his face, which was jowly, and wore a light blue duty uniform, with flexible versions of his indica. And of course his Captainís Star, with the Fleet Operations insignia below it. He offered Malcolm his hand. ìCommander Malcolm? Isaac Fleischer. A pleasure to meet you.î

            Malcolm shook the offered hand. ìThank you, sir. The pleasureís mine.î

            ìHave a seat.î The Captain smiled ruefully. ìIíll bet youíre wound up inside, right now?î

            ìYou could say that, sir. I wasnít expecting a note from Central Processing right after I debarked.î

            ìI canít say I blame you. If itís any consolation, I didnít get much more notice. The damn synthetics saw a priority/2 and grabbed my first open slot. With priority/3, I get a little more notice.î

            ìIím sorry to inconvenience you, sir,î Malcolm said, with a  smile he didnít really feel.

            ìIíll bet you are. Well, letís get to it. I have new orders for you.î

            Malcolm blinked, cocking his head slightly. ìSir? The Claremont just put into drydock for repair and refit. The best case scenario is a week before we can put back out. If itís a priority/2óî

            ìIt is, and I know. These are your orders. Not the Claremontís. Youíre being reassigned.î

            Malcolm felt the walls close in. ìI see, sir. Whatís my new assignment.î

            ìI canít tell you yet. There are formalities to carry out first.î


            Fleischer opened his desk drawer, and took out a flat, blue folding box. It had the Imperial Crest and the seal of the Imperial Navy on the top. He set it down in front of Malcolm. ìOpen it,î he said.

            Malcolm blinked, and opened the hinged box. Inside, set into dark blue crushed fake velvet, was a gold Captainís Star ñ full sized, instead of the small one Malcolm wore as part of his assignment insignia."

            Malcolm looked up, startled. ìWhat is this?î

            ìYouíve been in the Imperial Navy for sixteen standard years. If you donít recognize that by now, youíre probably in the wrong business.î

            ìBut... Captain, I....î

            ìBy authority of the Imperial Ministry of War, the Underministry of Naval Affairs, and the Imperial Naval Chief of Staff, I am pleased to announce your promotion to the rank of Captain, with all the privileges and responsibilities that rank includes.î Fleischer smiled wryly, offering his hand again. ìCongratulations, Captain.î

            Malcolm took the hand mechanically. ìSir... thank you. I... donít quite follow, though. I was promoted to Commander less than four years ago.î

            ìThatís right. And it seems to you too early to be brought up from Senior Officer to Command Officer. Thatís because it is.î Fleischer leaned back in his chair. ìCommander Malcolm, I didnít have much time to distill the orders I was given, but I did have enough time to read over your service record. Youíre a competent commanding officer. Youíre still young and rough around the edges. You have no practical experience commanding in large scale environments. Youíre a good c.o. for a frigate and I have no doubt that in five to ten years youíd make a good captain. But I donít argue with Central Processing, especially when thereís a Commodore involved. They want you as a captain. They think youíre ready for it. So youíre going to have to live up to that.î He smiled, ruefully. ìAnd if that doesnít scare the Hell out of you, it should.î

            ìI could refuse promotion,î Malcolm said, still looking at the Captainís Star without picking it up.

            ìYou have that right. I could have your discharge papers ready in five minutes, if you like.î

            ìI didnít sayóî

            ìCommander... Captain... youíre being given priority/2 orders that are confidential until you accept your promotion. Does anything about that sound optional to you? You either need to put that star on so I can give you your assignment, or we need to work out your voluntary discharge without bias. In two years, if you want, you can reup for the service and pick up where you left off. And Iím sure youíll enjoy the desk they stick you in, but you wonít be on a ship any time soon, I promise you.î Fleischer smiled a bit more, not unkindly. ìWelcome to the big leagues.î

            Malcolm took a breath and picked up the box. ìThank you, Captain.î

            ìCall me Isaac. As odd as it sounds, weíre captains together now. Want to take a moment to change your insignia? Youíll have to before you leave the office, you realize.î

            ìI realize.î Malcolm began unhooking the hoop from his coat. ìSo whatís my assignment?î

            ìYouíre to be put on the next available ship heading rimward, specifically heading up the Zabel Spur.î

            ìThe Spur? The nearest world on the Spurís six transitions away from the disputed worlds.î

            ìSo you know your cartography. Do you also know where the GS4771 system is?î

            Malcolm stopped and thought. ìNot off hand, sió Isaac. Itís a catalog number, so I assume itís an uncolonized system  or a system with no useful worlds or T-points.î

            ìThatís right. Technically, itís the system one transition beyond Farber on the Spur. Maps typically donít show it because thereís nothing there. No planets, no resources, and no T-point out. So why bother acknowledging it?î

            ìAnd Iím going there?î

            ìThatís right.î


            ìI have no idea. Youíre to report to Commodore Sortino in the GS4771 system, and then carry out whatever duties he has for you.î

            Malcolm blinked. ìKevin Sortino?î

            Fleischer arched an eyebrow. ìThatís right. You know him?î

            ìI served under him on the Kanamori, back when I was a subleftenant. He actually promoted me to leftenant at the end of my tour.î

            ìHm. Oh, right. I saw youíd served on the Kanamori. I didnít make the connection. He must have still been a Captain back then?î

            ìYes. Not for much longer, but....î

            ìExactly. Well, good enough. Just one of hundreds or thousands of subleftenants who served under Sortino, but for some reason he remembers you and wants you on his staff. And wants you promoted to captain before you join it. Why do you think that is?î

            ìI donít know, sir.î

            ìMe either. But I bet itíll be an interesting answer.î


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Day Two:
I've finished my second day's work. I'm also having a terrible time resisting the urge to self-edit, but onward and upward. It's mostly right. I think. For now.

This was much harder than yesterday but I pushed through. I can't help but think that I'm just getting the barest events noted, that I'm switching POV, that the whole thing is hackneyed and trite, but I'm hitting the plot points I was going for and I'm quietly pleased with how this section turned out. I didn't plan on Ensign Gillings making the decision that he did, but it seemed to follow organicly, so I'm going with it.

I'm currently at 4358 / 4176, so I'm still ahead of schedule, although I'm not at *all* sure where I'm going tomorrow.

I'm interested that your novel has so much sparkling dialogue. Mine appears to have come straight out of an old-timey Saturday Matinee. Ah, well. No one said it had to be *good*.

I'm quite enjoying the dialog and story. If you keep posting pieces, Mr. Burns, I'll keep reading em. :)

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