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 first draft, over 80k words, is finished and I’m part way into the sequel.
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 continued.
I’ve decided to skip ahead and move to the start of more action. Serapis is about to jump near a new (to us humans) star and explore it. Terry takes her station. Chief Ames reassures the other members of the landing ship’s crew that they’ll live in this installment.
They’re fine. Serapis isn’t. Terry’s last thought wasWhat now? I’m supposed to know what to do; I’m in command.
Jones recovered his voice, “I’ll do a scan; bound to find something.”
“Yes, a scan,” Terry started to agree.
“Belay that!” Ames shouted, “Not yet, with respect, Sir, whatever it was that took her out is still there; right now we’re just drifting debris; best we not call attention to ourselves.”
“That’s right,” Terry said, “Silent running, rig for silent running,” She tried to stop a nervous titter, “Never thought I’d say that … not in space; we’re not an f’ing submarine.”
The lights went out and the ship went quiet … only essential systems stayed online; gravity was not an essential system; air was; the intercom wasn’t.
Terry unhooked herself and slithered back into the main cabin, guided by the dim green emergency strips.
“Sorry,” She bumped into someone, “Chief?”
“We need to tell Fleet.”
Early submarines, like this the HMS C-15, had to learn to run silently quite early on. (The C class predates WW1, and served mostly as coastal defense. One actually sank a German Uboat.) Just as a space-ship would have limited quarters, much like a modern submarine so would a space ship expect to run quietly. Of course it’s electromagnetic radiation, heat (which is really the same thing), and not sound that would need to be hidden.
Terry’s character arc will include her growing into command. Changing from a completely wet behind the ears new Middy to someone who readily takes charge. Mind you, that will get her into trouble, too.
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.
14 thoughts on “Adrift #wewriwar #sf”
A hallmark of a good officer is listening to the experienced non-comms. That’s what Terry is doing, though with a wee bit of prodding.
Thank you. She’ll be a bit more explicit about it later when she pumps Ames for information about this star-system.
Hmm, how will they tell Fleet without alerting others to their presence? Good tension!
It’ll come in a couple of snippets farther on, but since they can’t use radio (pesky thing the speed of light), they have a “Homing Beacon” It’s basically a torpedo like thing that can travel at speeds that wouldn’t be tolerated by human crews and can carry a message.
It’s very much like the 16th-19th century sailing ships. You can’t send a message any faster than a ship can carry you.
I hope for her sake that rigging for silent running is a recognized procedure up there, otherwise she’s just made herself look even more foolish. It makes sense, though. Also begs the question of whether there’s any kind of passive scanning they can do that would detect another ship out there without giving themselves away? I like these kinds of details 🙂
BTW – I love that image at the top of your blog today.
They can listen, just not send out a pulse to generate a reflection.
I like that image too! This is getting serious, I wonder how she’s going to handle this situation – they’re not only running silent – but blind, if they can’t run a scan.
Poor Terry is barely keeping her head above water, metaphorically speaking! Good thing she has Ames there and listens to him. Quite the tense snippet but I enjoyed it!
One of the character arcs has Terry getting more confident as time goes on. This is her first command and she’s landed deep in the goo.
Phew! Tense situation.
Are they camouflaged (cloaked) so other ships don’t see them? Think Klingon bird of prey. Will their scans be detected? Good job ramping up the tension.
They’re not cloaked as such, but if you turn off anything that could generate a signal then you’re sort of invisible (or at least hard to spot).
They’re right to be worried about being detected.