Swords and Spaceships – Pluto has his moment. #SF #wewriwar

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

I was getting a bit stuck with Regency fiction, and decided to try hard SF. Swords and spaceships, no rayguns (yet), but plenty of action and as long as I’m logically consistent I don’t have to worry about historical accuracy

It seems to be working, the words are (so far) flying off my fingers (I crossed 61k last night) and into the book.

In any case, here’s the start – a new midshipman is having her first session of weapons training on her first ship. Her instructor is not exactly impressed. Last week’s snippet skips ahead a few paragraphs from the one before. It’s after she’s finished her training for the day. The discussion of Scotland from before is replaced by the ceremonies for the first jump of the mission. The initiation ceremony continues this week.


“Bring them forward and present them, that they might be recognized,” The man rubbed his hands with glee, while his queen nestled next to him and licked her lips.

M being in the middle of the alphabet, it didn’t take long for the captain to get to ‘Mullins, Teresa’; Terry stood up, to the laughter of the rest of the crew, and stumbled toward the stage; she joined ‘McYu, James,’ on it.

“My Lord,” Mr Campbell bowed to Pluto, “they are assembled.”

“Hmmph,” Pluto removed himself from his queen’s embrace and slowly walked around the lot of them, clicking his tongue, “A very mediocre lot; are you sure these can survive a jump and are worthy of your crew?”

“I was,” Terry started to say, then bit her tongue.

Pluto commanded, “Out with it, Lass!”

“I was best in my class.”

The man laughed, “A ground pounder, best in her class? As I said, a mediocre lot,” The crew joined him in laughter; he walked, sauntered around them, and finally looked at the captain, “Is the force strong in these?”

Terry inwardly groaned, “Please not that old chestnut.”


It would be nice to think that influence from Star Wars would survive that long. I wouldn’t bet on it, but you never know. After all “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.”

Taking off my sci-fi author’s suit and pulling  my historical author’s stocking over my face, it is amazing how many phrases of Shakespeare’s are current. Jane Austin remarks on it in Mansfield Park, and she is still worthy of parody, “It is a truth generally to be acknowledged that a Zombie is in search of brains” (or something like that). “To the manor born”, “more in sorrow than in anger” and “O that I were writ an ass”, stick in my mind as do “once more into the breach”, “my kingdom for a horse”, and “lend me thine ears.”

Sometimes the phrases are changed in the telling, “Lead on MacDuff,” should be “Lay on MacDuff.” But no more of the Scottish play, lest “Double, double, toil and trouble,” find us.

“My kingdom for a Hearse” might make a good title for a horror story.

Exit pursued by a bear. (oops that’s another one from a Winter’s tale.)


I’ve put up a couple of things on instafreebie. The first is a short story, To Court a Dragon.

The second is the start of a science fiction story in the same universe as Cynthia the Invincible, but set in 1893 Dartmoor, The Curious Case of Miss James. It’s available on Amazon.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

You can find my work here.

Space, Swords, and Ceremony. #SF #wewriwar

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

I was getting a bit stuck with Regency fiction, and decided to try hard SF. Swords and spaceships, no rayguns (yet), but plenty of action and as long as I’m logically consistent I don’t have to worry about historical accuracy

It seems to be working, the words are (so far) flying off my fingers (I crossed 55k last night) and into the book.

In any case, here’s the start – a new midshipman is having her first session of weapons training on her first ship. Her instructor is not exactly impressed. Last week’s snippet skips ahead a few paragraphs from the one before. It’s after she’s finished her training for the day. The discussion of Scotland from before is replaced by the ceremonies for the first jump of the mission.


Mr Campbell clinked her glass with her spoon and the room hushed, “Navigation watch informs me that we are about to make our first jump of the mission.”

Terry felt her insides turn over; this is it.

“I believe,” The captain continued, “that we have a distinguished visitor.”

Everyone’s eyes swiveled to the back of the room where a dark-robed man, a dark-robed woman and two pipers waited. The pipers started playing and the party proceeded, slowly, half-step by half-step, to the front of the room.

If that’s not Chief Ames
, Terry thought, I’ll take Mr Jones up on his offer; juice or no.

The pipers only stopped playing when they reached the front of the room and the two black-clad figures had turned to face the crew. The man held up his right fist, a signal for silence.

“I, we, King Pluto and Queen Persephone, rulers of the dark void, have been told that there are members of your crew, Mr Campbell who have not jumped.”

“Aye aye, M’Lord.”


Societies often have some form of initiation.  With the Fleet, it’s the first jump.

I’ve skipped ahead over a discussion of “the juice.” The juice is the drug cocktail needed to keep people healthy when exposed to the radiation of space for the time it takes to get out of a star system, let alone the radiation that would occur when decelerating from a jump. Since the juice slows cellular metabolism, one side effect of coming off the juice is something like five years of puberty happening at once –  with all that can entail.  (Lieutenant Jones’ offer was for Terry to keep her berth open at the time. She wasn’t exactly keen on the offer.)

NASA has shown that even in near earth orbit – on the space station – that there are effects on humans. It’s not surprising. Cosmic rays left characteristic craters in the plexiglass of the space helmets used on the moon landings. We also know that for adults, muscular strength is in a “use it or lose it” mode and too much inactivity, even on Earth, spells disaster. (not literally of course).

So real space flight will require either very effective shielding – which means a lot of mass, or some way to mitigate the effects. It’s also important to be careful about the kind of shielding – Stopping high energy particles in the wrong way can result in the production of X-rays (which is why you don’t put your 32P in a lead box.)


I’ve put up a couple of things on instafreebie. The first is a short story, To Court a Dragon.

The second is the start of a science fiction story in the same universe as Cynthia the Invincible, but set in 1893 Dartmoor, The Curious Case of Miss James. It’s available on Amazon.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

You can find my work here.

Swords, Space, Scotland #SF #wewriwar

wewriwa
Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.

I was getting a bit stuck with Regency fiction, and decided to try hard SF. Swords and spaceships, no rayguns (yet), but plenty of action and as long as I’m logically consistent I don’t have to worry about historical accuracy (which is problematic as even the authorities disagree about what it was really like).

It seems to be working, the words are (so far) flying off my fingers (I crossed 49k last night) and into the book.

In any case, here’s the start – a new midshipman is having her first session of weapons training on her first ship. Her instructor is not exactly impressed. Last week’s snippet skips ahead a few paragraphs from the one before. It’s after she’s finished her training for the day. The discussion of Scotland from before is replaced by the ceremonies for the first jump of the mission.


“At ease gentlemen,” The captain stood down, “Dinner first, and … the celebrations after.”

Jamie glanced at Terry, “First jump with a full stomach?”

She shrugged, “At worst I’ll add some color to the room,” after she sat she added, “At least exploration ships like Serapis have the ability to make the fermenter’s output seem like real food.” Not like that in-system training shuttle, looked and tasted like shitte. “Though haggis?”

“Could be worse,” Jamie held a slice in his fork, “Belter Marmite;” he took a bite, and added, “Not bad, not as good as the real thing, but it’ll do for the high road.”

Terry nibbled hers, and followed with a hearty bite, “I’ve had the real thing; this is better, no sheep’s lights.”

“I won’t ask what they are,” Jamie frowned at her.

“Everything bar the wool and the bah; lungs, eyes and the sweetmeats.”

The sailor across from her turned vaguely green, “I’m glad this isn’t real.”


Unlike the sailing ships of the 19th century, a spaceship cannot carry enough air, food, and water for a long journey. They will need to recycle their waste to generate more. Not something for the squeamish. Nor, it seems, for the Russians, who object to the American’s recycled water on ISS.

Serapis, being a long range ship, has the ability to modify the microbial output of the fermentation system to make it palatable. Not all the ships, especially smaller ones, do. Marmite, a yeast extract sold in the UK and eaten spread (very) thinly on bread, is something of an acquired taste.  There are wide range of recipes for it which I haven’t tried. Vegamite is the Australian product that is similar, but not the same. (Saying which is better is one way to start a war.) Our local farmer’s market (in Decatur GA) stocks Vegamite so it is available in the USA should you so desire.

Haggis is actually delectable. Despite its ingredients. It’s also something that you can only smuggle into the USA (I had it in the UK).

I’ve put up a couple of things on instafreebie. The first is a short story, To Court a Dragon.

The second is the start of a science fiction story in the same universe as Cynthia the Invincible, but set in 1893 Dartmoor, The Curious Case of Miss James. It’s available on Amazon.

The Art of Deception, first in a series of late Georgian/early Regency spy novels is now up.. You can get the first part here.

You can find my work here.