A Nasty Outbreak… of Plot!

I’ve left plenty of lampshades hanging, time to turn on the lights.  Should be no surprises for anyone following along; I don’t like surprising readers… I’d much rather have them get to the end of chapter (or entire book), put it down, and mutter, “never thought of it that way!”

Also:  when Teresa stood and said, “mess me up!” I broke out laughing.  I’ve no idea where that came from!  Hilarious!

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Questioning Civic Orthodoxy

Taking to Americans, especially White Americans, about any form of government different than what we have now is a huge exercise in futility.  Europeans at least have a couple of thousand years playing about with nations and states.  Northeast Asia has had some clever mixes of despotism.  But here, it’s always “1776!” and “muh Constitution!”

It’s not just because I know history so well.  There are plenty of folks who know history better than I do but flinch as if shot when I suggest that our federal republic has outlived its usefulness.  I really think it has to do with family:  that fact that mine is so old and predates the Republic helps, but is not the only factor.  Still, having ancestors is a tremendous psychological cushion, as it were, when looking at our day to day crises.

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Prednisone & Gabapentin

For the dog, not me.  I’m for the cheap wine, with some occasional gin in the warmer months.  See, for example, my recent post on Instagram (@machciv).  The story below follows immediately on that from my last blog post; I’d seen all of it, but was just too tired.  Bad news at work, bad news at home… it piles up.  Instead, let’s have three friends drink tea and nibble cookies on a rainy, Portland, Sunday afternoon!

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Pirate Twins 14, The Bridge at Andau, Reprised

Left DayJob an hour early.  When my boss asked why, I told her:  I’m ending the Cold War.  She really should know better than to speak to me.

There’s still a short coda I want to write, as this has been the oddest writing exercise in my life.  It began as just another escapade into Machine Civilization.  That mold broke very quickly, becoming an allegory of the Cold War, something only oldsters like me recall.

Old?  Very:  Tuesday was the 25th Anniversary of my better half and I.  Either her standards are very low, or I’m much better in bed than I realize.  Likely the former.

Once I write the coda – tomorrow – this will end up being about 18-19k words.  Who publishes ‘historical allegories’, these days?

Thanks, everyone, for reading!

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Pirate Twins 13: The Spy Who Loves Me

This was, originally, two posts:  I really wanted to get up and ahead one in case an outbreak of RealLife (TM) prevented me from finishing this no later than Friday.

But, it just didn’t work.  It was awful.  So I moved a couple of things and smoothed the transition (but I bet y’all can still see where it is) and am posting it.  Your win, my loss.  Sorta.

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-Punk

Background:  Archimedes of Syracuse, per the orders of General Marcellus, is not killed in 212 BC by a Roman legionary but is brought to Rome to walk in that general’s triumph the following year.  Paroled, he spends the last five years of his life in an insula in the Suburra, successfully completing his notes on his invention of calculus.

Those notes, and the others recovered from his workshop in Syracuse, are used by Roman civil and military engineers over the next two hundred years to accelerate the growth and stability of the Late Republic’s provinces.  By the time of Octavian’s monarchy, Germania had been a province for one generation and Parthia for two.

Around 50 BC, the observer of natural phenomenon, Varro, formerly Pompey’s biographer, invents a primitive steam engine for use in mines and agriculture.  Circa 10 AD, Hero of Alexandria creates a cooling jacket that improves the efficiency of Varro’s engine by several orders of magnitude.  The Roman Empire enters the Steam Age.

 

Story:  (c. 100 AD) Marcus Quinctilius Justus Varus Pius, Justus to his co-workers, is a mid-level clerk in the Licinius SA international trading firm.  Besides his day-to-day actuarial duties, he spends most of his time trying to not be reminded that he is the sole surviving family member of “the last general that lost a Roman Army,” his great-grandfather, some ninety years ago.  However, because of his mother’s Parthian background and his knowledge of that language, he’s tapped as an assistant to a trade mission  – sanctioned by the Emperor himself – to the far land of Sirica (what we call China).  Roman and Serican traders meet all the time in India and the isle of Taprobane, but this was something different:  find an over-land route where Roman engineers could build a road for trade.  Or invasion.

After many adventures and close-calls, Justus and his party come to the borderlands of Serica.  There, in the city of Liqian, they have their first shock:  the citizens are the descendants of legionaries captured at the battles of Carrhae and Phraapsa and forcefully relocated to the Parthian NE frontier.  After so many years, are you here to guide us home, they ask?  Close on the heels of that, Justus quite by accident stumbles upon the Sirican’s greatest military secrets, and thus a chance to redeem his family’s name:  the powder that explodes.

 

Just an idea I had.  Thoughts?  And what would you call this?  Romepunk?  Marblepunk?