Okay, she made it out without a slap or spanking. Barely. Still, Faustina got the dressing down she well deserved. But will it take? We’ll see. In the mean time, they all realized they are scores of miles into unknown territory facing an unknown potential enemy. What they need more than anything else is intel. Senior Centurion Chesney then makes an ill-timed appearance.
I swear… I SWEAR that there is shooting in the next installment. I’ve already written it, so trust me. It’s just that I think it is so much more interesting to listen to them rather than *pew*pew* and *boom*boom*. It will be impressive once adapted into a visual series but it just takes up space in my mind and in my pages.
We get to know Ryland, a ‘normie’ but genius human, a little bit better. She’s not the self-centered shit I thought she was last week. That is one of the reasons I so love this job: discovery. Had I never on a whim written “The Fourth Law” five years ago, I’d not have met Lily. In the next book, her sister, Callie. Several books on, writing about Callie’s son and girlfriend, I met Faustina. And now her cousin. If this is not a miracle then tell me what is.
Sorry for the pause right before Faustina finally swings three legions into battle; kinda hard to get enthused about writing war when I’ve death pattering outside my home. And no, nothing to do with BatAIDS hysteria.
I’ll try more later in the week. Again, apologies.
…and none of us can ever really be sure who we are talking to. The cashier we just insulted? Is his sister your heart surgeon? The co-worker you just humiliated at lunch? Is her son the lifeguard at your kids’ pool?
“Perfectly acceptable to insult someone in private: they might even thank you for it later. But when you do it in public they tend to think you are serious.” – Ben Franklin.
From Chapter 13, page 207 of Cursed Hearts:
They walked quickly, generally to the southeast. Emma had told her new acquaintance that the Geisel Library was at the center of campus, so it was easy to find local food vendors set up around it all through the day. As Miss Barrett’s stomach continued to growl – embarrassing her for some reason – the sooner they got there, the better.
“…came here after getting my BS at Portland State.” Emma sighed. “The Breakup began just afterward. Most people left, but there was nowhere for me to go… so, like some friends of mine, we stuck it out here.”
“I do not understand how the world’s superpower could have been so stupid as to walk into that trap.”
“T… trap?” Taller, Emma worked to keep pace with the young woman. “But I thought just a coin-”
“Idiot.” Emma was learning quickly that her new acquaintance lacked manners. “Your President removed via extra-Constitutional means just as Russia, China, India roll out a new currency?” She stopped and turned so quickly, Emma almost ran into her.
“Look at you.” The scowl was there, but Emma hoped it was a spark of mirth she saw in those odd eyes. “You’re a walking cliché: blue jeans and blue eyes; blonde hair and an unnecessarily large chest! All the while knowing nothing about how this world really works! Bismarck was right!”
“Bi… Bismarck?” Maya shook her head and turned back around, looking at the Library.
“They should crucify this architect, too.”
From chapter 13, physical page 140, of The Fourth Law:
Lily sat on a couch. On the metallic disk. Their place.
“I feel awful,” she said to no one in particular.
“Understandable,” Thaad said as he sat onto that uncomfortable backless chair of his. “Dying can be like that, I hear.”
Lily was shocked. “What do mean dying? I…”
Thaad inclined his head just a little. “What do you recall just prior to your arrival in our home?”
She thought about that for a moment. Things were usually a little mixed up whenever she ‘dropped in.’ But… it was… nighttime? Dinner was over… and…
“Some woman shot me!” Lily yelled as she jumped up. “I’ve got to…! Got to…”
“Please sit back down. Here,” he indicated the two coffee mugs on the low table, “try my coffee. I changed the blend.”
Her panic receded as quickly as it had overtaken her. She sat.
“But… Ai… and that woman…!”
Thaad took his mug and took a sip. “Mmm. Needs work. We have many strengths and many weaknesses that you humans do not. In dealing with you people, perhaps our greatest strength is how quickly we think. We are not biologics, and as such, think just below light speed. Your chemical-based brains average around the speed of sound.”
Another sip. Lily wanted him to get to his point, so she said nothing.
“Thus, in a crisis such as this, in the time it took for your heart to beat once, Ai is now a fully-trained medic and nurse. As you sit here – try the coffee, do – she is trying to save your life.”
She tried the coffee. “Okay, but too weak for me. Why am I here?”
“Weak, is it? Hmmm.”
She didn’t know if he was too wrapped up in his coffee to have heard her question.
“My apologies; it took a moment to find out your answer, and I shan’t bother Ai again. It seems she’s rather busy. You were slipping into shock. It was better, for the moment, for you to be here. If you’re needed back at your home, you’ll go.”
“Okay. And what about that woman?”
Those careful eyes took on a peculiar cast. Lily could not suppress a shiver.
“Ai physically incapacitated her. I look forward to her making me older about that and the First Law. For now, we brought that woman here. Fausta is seeing to it.”
Brought her here. Lily’s working mental model was that somehow her consciousness, mind, whatever, could be moved to wherever they claimed their ‘home’ to be. It only made sense that if they could do it to her, they could do it to anyone.
Fausta. Who had, how had Thaad put it? An ‘enthusiastic’ interest in her, and a predilection for violence. Was that First Law just more of a suggestion?
“Uhhh… how’s that turning out? Do you know why she shot me?”
He looked sharply at her. “I know the implication in your question, and, no, we are not torturing her. This woman was some kind of teacher and minor functionary at a college. When your father’s organization closed all non-technical divisions at all state-funded schools, she lost her job. Since that event, it seems she’s been working as a maid or waitress. Poorly.” Another slight incline of his head. “It seems that she’s good at nothing.”
“But,” Lily asked, confused, “why in the world did she shoot me?”
“Quite simple: she blamed your father for her loss of status. She could not lash out at him, so it was you, by proxy.” He shifted in his chair slightly. “I’ve encountered much of that with you people.”
Lily considered for a moment. “Maybe she’s just crazy?”
He set his mug down. “No. By all objective measures, she is not insane. However, Fausta assures me that this woman is evil.” His eyes again took that peculiar cast. “We’ve never had that here before.”
He blinked, and it was gone. “Would you care for a snack while we wait?”
“S-sure. That’d be fine, I guess.”
That’s interesting: not a single ‘like’ for my last post. I wonder…
- Y’all hate plot,
- WordPress is shadowbanning me,
- It sucked.
Or, some combination thereof.
Wrote a little Saturday. Had to install some plastic sheeting to keep our under-deck dry as well as a new ballast in the garage. Lily and Arpad are eating lunch on the roof of her hospital. The last time she did that with a guy he died about ten pages later. Best to take my time, there.
While I shall most definitely be returning to this story, I’ve also finished checking my proof of the 2nd edition of The Fourth Law. I’ll be featuring that throughout this week with excerpts from the book.
In the mean time, proof that I can use a screwdriver.
I’d really like to say that RealLife(TM) has been really busy. And, I’ve been working hard on finishing ‘Cursed Hearts.’ Plus, there’s this new story idea I’ve been playing with….
It’s all a lie: I’ve been a lazy drunk for a month. I come home from my day job, make dinner for the family, drink shitty wine and watch anime. My wife noticed immediately (my ‘jerk’ factor goes up rather quickly when I don’t write – my girls think it’s funny: ‘daddy’s on another alt-right rant again!’). So, in a moment of clarity (and a quiet house with no-one to bother me) I braved Writer’s Fear and sat down with Nichole and…
Wrote a way to get Maya onto Miramar Air Station…
Wrote Chris and Cat taking a tour of a C-130H… but, God help me…
I STILL HAVEN’T STARTED KILLING MY MAIN CHARACTERS!
Over 50k words, he said! Just another 8-10k to finish the book, he said!
Annnnd then, Dorina showed up. To quote from Band of Brothers: “…well, hello 2nd Armored!”
Look, it’s NOT exposition and I AM NOT LECTURING! I can prove it, below the fold! These people just keep showing up… this just keeps happening…!
Seriously: I need to start killing everyone. No! I mean it! Don’t you dare click on Continue reading “Baton”