Bad End, 1/2

The rough of Part Two of “Crosses & Doublecrosses” is complete.  I’ve worked ahead to fix some contextual errors in the relatively small Part Three.  Much like Jackson’s “Return of the King,” part 3 consists of a series of endings:  lives, a person, a life.

Besides that, I’m aware that waaay back in the start of Part One my timing/dating is completely off:  Sylvia and her sister Roberta arrive in Dallas as the Breakup is unfolding in the US just then.  They shortly get summoned to ExComm HQ in Austin.  From what already exists in my novels of Machine Civilization, that doesn’t work:  it was at least three months before Clive Barrett left Japan for the US to find his eldest daughter in Ohio.  That, also, would be at least three more months.  Then his travel to Texas and the formation of ExComm.  Minimum eight months; maximum twelve, total.  Let’s split the difference and call it ten.  So:  why, ten months into the collapse of the US, did Sylvia and Roberta fly from the relative safety of their extended family in upper-class Manila into an effective warzone in Dallas, Texas?

No clue.  Hope they show me.

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El Paso del Norte

After what I last wrote, I was stuck for once.  I thought about Sylvia’s long drive across west Texas (I’ve done it a few times; it takes longer than you think) and how it looks like that odd place where she met the Ninon person.  Still, I have already written “road sequences” for this story before… boring!  Done and done!

Saturday late morning, just before noon in fact, in the IV Room, having just finished the Batch, it hit me:  this is one of Director Barrett’s three chief underlings.  She would fly to El Paso to meet with the Mexican diplomats about the coming partition of New Mexico!  And the moment I saw her in a small jet, I knew what Ninon’s True Form was…

Into the night, out of the dark, take to the sky chasing the stars

All that we said, all that we are, waiting to fly, this is the start!

That then gave me the “machine dream” sequence I needed.  A quick stop at a bridge over the dry Rio Grande and an encounter with a Special Guest from “Cursed Hearts,” and our Deputy Director is off to the National Labs in Los Alamos to continue laying plots for the eventual termination of ExComm.

And, I just broke the 30k word barrier!  Woot.

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Cornered

Had today off.  A late start (around 1300) but was able to say down about 1700 words:  Sylvia in her new position, recruiting allies, and with a sudden, unanticipated visitor.  I think she handled herself very well.

I see one more “dream sequence,” which we know now is when she is summoned into the Machine’s world.  Then she sets off to New Mexico.  Things… things go to shit there, I’m afraid.

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Euphoria

I wrote much of this last night on bottle #2.  After Mass this morning and a few household chores I returned to it.  It stank.  Deleted and re-wrote the second half of the dream sequence then was surprised that it was Dorina on the phone and not Thaad.  These machines are like kudzu:  cropping up everywhere you least expect them.

The next day Sylvia has her first full day at her office job.  I know you guys CANNOT WAIT for that dramatic installment…  And for the person who sent me the question:  no, she and Jones do not have a relationship.  I think.

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Hide and Seek

We start to learn a little more about the man who built ExComm:  Clive Barrett.  My mental model for him is a cross between Felicks Dzerzhinsky and James Jesus Angleton.  NOT a healthy combination!

I had planned a slightly surreal soliliquy by Barrett about what-all he’s trying to accomplish with ExComm but it simply would not fit:  the man is too much a monster and the words didn’t work in his mouth.  I’ve already about 800 words after this scene and once I see Sylvia back to her flat I think things are going to take a turn for the surreal.  That’s fine; I have never gone fully surreal and I like to push my own limits with each new book.

But for now, here’s Sylvia talking FTF with her boss.  Cheerio.

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Unknown Knowns

Had today off.  Saw a little of the political dynamic of Sylvia and the OKC politician.  The fact that Ninon, one of the three machines that has never spoken to humans just spoke up made my fingers twitch so much I could barely type.

PS  My use of “Look homeward, angel” is from Milton’s Lycidas.  I’d no idea that Tom Wolfe, whom I admire, used it for a book title.  Another moment when the intarwebs steer you to a place you do not want to be; and, if you don’t prepossess the knowledge, you are led to something wrong.

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