One thing about Machines is, whether android or AI, they think faster than humans do. There have been many occasions in my writing when the “normies,” including me, are trying to understand just what someone like Nichole or even a gentle soul like Ai is getting at. So here, having appeared from nowhere, Clarke immediately upends the plans of Teresa.
Teresa is a little harder than I remember her from “Foes and Rivals,” and she was pretty damn hard there. That sudden term of affection, below, was another surprise.
The next few sections will be tricky for me: while Teresa just now knows what Nichole is, I don’t want to cover all that exposition, as I AM SURE everyone has already read her two books and even some of her appearances in my short story collection, so her backstory, nature, and now serving in the Japanese Space Navy is familiar to all you, right? RIGHT?
One of y’all raised the salient point of “why is the king so interested all this?” That gets addressed here. Historically, Russia is either contracting or expanding. Their stasis from 1991-2020 was an aberration. With Thinking Machine Reina calling the shots, they are back in expansion mode; they have to be. With the Maunder Minimum bringing the ice and snow south just as they have turned around their demographic implosion, they need somewhere for their people to live. So, Alaska and now British Columbia are now passing to their hegemony. Rhun is not an idiot and can read a map: his kingdom will be next.
Not so much for you sophisticates who follow my blog, but I imagine most would have difficulty imagining post-Breakup monarchy. It would be very personal, a throw-back to the Early Middle Ages. No “constitutional” form and even more direct that the Absolutism of the 18th century. Empress Faustina shot a man through his head, a man who was legally a POW. Rhun has killed with his own hands, as you will read in an installment or two. That makes Gil’s “back talk” surprising to the point of foolhardiness.
Teresa’s candor makes more sense: if caught in a lie her head would be on a pike, too. Thankfully, she comes from a political family.
Is this turned up to eleven? No, not yet, but I’ve twisted the knob and know the boil is coming. We glimpse another of Gil’s kids but this is a man in a hurry to get critical information up and out as soon as possible, even in their quiet little coastal village.
Interesting that the mayor was not really surprised by all this. What does he know? And who told him?
Not in this installment, and perhaps not the one after, but I found my way out of my plot dilemma. I try to tell, not show, when writing, but having Gil’s family standing around talking is pretty boring. I went to bed last night thinking, “it’s not as if the King Rhun of Columbia would show up just because of this news; that would be stupid.”
One of my few friends left, Will Deonne, Ohio’s best graphic artist, once told me “when it comes to telling a story, turn it up to eleven.” This morning, walking into DayJob around 0620, it hit me that “well, why the fuck not wouldn’t King Rhun show up? He asked Nichole 5 to be one of his wives… moer thanonce. If information is leaked *cough*Reina*cough* to his court, he’d want direct, PERSONAL, intel, immediately. In my mind’s eye I see his plane – one of the only ones left in that corner of the former US – circling for a landing at the Tillamook Air Museum.
Thanks, again, Will. Your genius keeps my head above water.
I’m still about a thousand words ahead in this story, which is good as, having got Gil off the warship and back on land, I’ve hit something of a stop. I’ve seen a little past that (the local mayor, introducing Gil’s family) but there’s no drama. There’s no plot. That, coupled with being oddly tired this AM, has me staring off at nothing, waiting for someone to start talking to me.
Do the political powers of Portland and/or the Kingdom of Columbia freakout over the Russian ship? Who was it in their intelligence apparat who dropped the dime on Gil and his relations with Nichole 5? Questions with no answers. Yet.
Every now and then, usually with bioluminescent algae blooms or unusual news about quantum computing, I’ll make a post here from the so-called “real world,” which is increasingly “ClownWorld,” to illustrate something about the future history of Machine Civilization.
With the current unpleasantness between Russia and Ukraine, there has been talk in the past few days about Russia and China working together to evade SWIFT restrictions. With India’s recent abstention on a vote in the UN General Assembly, it makes one wonder what is really going on.
My recent bad cold/walking pneumonia has convinced me that besides taking on daily posting for Lent, I shall finally restart my morning exercises, the Five Tibetan Rites*, which I learned from reading Dr. Jerry Pournelle’s blog before he died. *Note that I only do four, as the first, that spinning around, would have me collapsed and puking by rotation number seven.
As you’ll see below the fold, Gil knows he’s not a prisoner, but that he cannot leave. Further, he begins to see that while not an interrogation, well, it’s an interrogation.
Thinking honesty the best policy, Gil answers the questions put to him by the Russian junior officer. He seems relieved that he will not be detained too long.
Honestly, I’m not sure what the next conversation holds. I would like to see Gil back on shore to introduce his wife, Mackenzie. For those who’ve read “Friend & Ally” and “Foes & Rivals,” they’ve a very unusual past. And, I’d like to see how she’s grown as an artist; she was extraordinarily gifted, so has time honed or dulled her ability?
Russians. They seem to play nice until they want something. And then they’ll want something more. Given the shit they’ve been through over the last thousand years, can you fault their behavior? If they were not advancing their nation was being eaten by its neighbors. I don’t think the crew of Golitsyn is up to no good but I certainly expect yawning cultural gaps to be pit traps to Gil over the next few hours.
I’m beginning to wonder if there will be any “sci-fi” elements in this short; I’ve certainly not seen any. Typical for my style is how Gil speaks to his sons about his wife and their sisters: besides God, family first.