Given the current political climate of the so-called US and much of Europe, this could be an extremely unpopular short story. In my future history the Russian Empire is remade and forms one of the four spokes of the Polar Alliance (Japan, Habsburgs, Russia, imperium; Australia has observer status). Some of the AIs of tribe Mendrovovitch, coded in St. Petersburg, while having no Laws, were imbued with the patriotism of their coders. First among equals of that tribe, Reina, seizes power, finds some distant, suitable Romanov heirs (yes, they exist) to be Tsar and Tsarina, but holds all real power to herself, with her primary objective of turning around their demographic implosion. Being Russian, when the US imploded in the Breakup, it was natural for them to advance into a power vacuum, as you will read below the fold.
This is not commentary on the current stupidity – on all sides – going on now in eastern Europe.
So, read on as things get, as Gil says, “spicy,” very quickly.
A small town on the northwest coast of the US State of Oregon. Known for its cheese. While connected to the Pacific Ocean via a good sized bay, that bay is fed from so many small rivers of the Cascade Range that said bay is nothing but silt, sand, and mud flats. All commercial fishing and crabbing is done out of the village of Garibaldi, about five miles north by northwest. That’s where Gil Haven keeps his little trawler, Nichole. And, this is where the SPOLIERS begin.
Gil Haven is the major secondary character of both “Friend & Ally” and “Foes & Rivals.” Starting as a careful friend of Nichole 5 Clarke, who he comes to realize is an android, they later fall in love. Skipping way forward, when things go to absolute shit in the city-state of Portland, he and Nichole’s other best friend, Mackenzie d’Arcy, artist and accountant, are given a special grace to pass west to the coast unmolested by the Huns. Hopelessly in love with Gil but knowing she is an artificial person and can never make children with him, Nichole forces her two friends together. And abandons them.
The story picks up a generation later. Gil and his two teen sons and two hired men are at sea when their boat’s engine begins to act up.
I take a deeper dive into into where ideas for stories come from. Hint: it might really be the stork if you are writing about avians. Beginning with my “movie theater” metaphor, I explore looking inward, looking outward, and just looking about and paying attention for inspiration for your Next Big Thing.
I conclude with something which crushes many new writers: research to get it all right. Many creatives are, to be blunt, not rigorous thinkers and are often overwhelmed at the prospect of logic and consistency. I propose a possible solution for those in that situation.
And here we all are: 5300 words older. I had one reader ask if it could continue; that’s a two part answer. One, of course: on their way back to Earth I’ve seen where Minerva invades one of Les’ dreams and later where, embarrassed, she asks for him to “feed” her (just attaching her TPN bag, but she’s self-conscious about it). Two, in the broader sense of the word, I could see my next short story collection having one for each son mentioned in “Obligations of Rank.”
While, as I mentioned last time, I am making way into my next short, I’d like to try to make another podcast tomorrow but do not have any subject ideas right now? Anyone?
Otherwise, thanks for reading and I hope y’all enjoyed it. Cheers!
Following on Laszlo’s idea, the “PR stunt,” our two explorers step carefully out onto the dwarf planet. After Les alleviates a point of concern for him.
The next entry, part 10, shall be the conclusion of this story. I am pleased to know Minerva a little better as she, per se, had only a few lines toward the end of “Obligations of Rank.” And even Les seems to be starting to heal from his emotional damage of coming to terms with and rejecting his past deviant behavior.
Yesterday I began my next short, “Tillamook.” For a moment I considered a working title of “Mac & Cheese” (the main character’s wife is named Mackenzie and Tillamook is famous for its cheese) but that was too trite even for me. Look for that to debut early next week.
Yes, I actually did basic research about taking a dump in free fall. We’ve not yet solved that issue so given that the Polar Alliance is only just now returning to space, I’m guessing no further development went on during the Breakup/Change. I’d clench and wait for acceleration, too.
In loo of that (swidt), since I cannot assume everyone reading this serialized short story has read the American Imperium trilogy or “Obligations of Rank” – but you will – we get a little background about Laszlo’s family, mentioned only in bits and pieces up until now.
Wherein we finally hear them name their destination. A little back-and-forth between Les and Min (swidt) tells the read the why of this mission. And we get a tiny lesson in Roman mythology.
I find the mental image of the non-existent Mission Control to be hilarious.
In other news, now that I’ve stuck a fork in this story, I took copious notes today about my next. Not even tentative title yet, but I am trying to not only tie up one loose thread, but tie it to the rest of my tapestry of Machine Civilization. That is, [SPOILERS] at the end of “Foes & Rivals,” Nicole 5 pushes her two friends together and runs away. These friends become a couple and settle around Tillamook, former Oregon. That’s the first thread. The second is just over twenty years later when, out on his little commercial fishing boat, Gil Haven gets pointedly invited aboard a Guided Missile Destroyer of the Russian Empire, who are systematically taking one region after another (Alaska, British Columbia, and looking at the Kingdom of Columbia) into their hegemony.
Never send a woman to do a man’s job. And never send a demi-human to do a Machine’s job.
I appreciate in the middle of this little addition we see again that, once again, these two keep talking right past one another as their backgrounds are so different.
Turns out my guess in the previous post of a total length was a bit too short; imagine that. While I did have two more scenes in mind, where I decided to stick a fork in “Ceres,” for emotional impact, was just over 5300 words. Those other two scenes? No one says I cannot write another story about these two…
A spaceship, especially one using new technology, is going to have problems, and they just ran into one. Literally.
I have been pleased to stay several days ahead of these releases and in fact I think I am within striking distance of the end. All in all, I think this will be about 4800-5000 words. Unless, of course, I’m told to keep going. I hope not, at least in the short term, as I’ve a few other ideas to share with everyone.
With the brief exposition of some things about Minerva, the plot shows up again, and the android does her best to get a-hold of things before the come to a head.
God, I’m awful.
Anyway, it is obvious that Minerva is fond of Laszlo Hartmann as he played such a role in her becoming an independent entity. My mental model for this are those animals who hatch or are born and “imprint” on the first living thing they see, loving it unconditionally. The dual problems here are one, Les has been a practicing homosexual for the past six years, at least, and is not attracted to young women; two, even if he were, his mother the empress would not allow her Crown Prince eldest son to marry an android.
Now, technically, I don’t know something yet. We know her skin is organic and she speaks to “other modules,” but I simply do not believe that the tech has reached the level of a mobile womb. So to be honest, I don’t know where this will go for them.