Swords in Space #SF

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 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. This snippet skips ahead a few paragraphs from the last. It’s after she’s finished her training for the day.

“Bloody hell Terry,” Jamie said when he saw her at the Midshipmen’s berth, “Chief Petty Officer Ames must have put you through it.”

Terry replied, “It wasn’t too bad,” She leaned on the column of bunks at one side of the narrow corridor that defined the Middy’s quarters.

“I’ve heard he doesn’t like grounders, but;” Jamie stood by his locker on the other side of the corridor; it held the few liters of space where he kept his kit.

“Jamie,” Terry replied, “I remember the Belters and Martians at Annapolis; scared by a few waves and a little wind.”

Jamie laughed, “They were scary; I could ha’ drowned,” He stopped laughing, “Nearly did, don’t you remember?”

“I do,” Terry said, “And I remember fishing you out; in any case I caught him with the flat of my sword.”

“You did,” Jamie guffawed, “That’s good. More than most of us do on our first lesson; I didn’t and I’m a belter;” after a bit, he added, “It’s formal dress … first jump.”

“Bloody hell,” Terry pulled the heavy woolen kilt from her locker; it was, as became a grounder, sodden gray; it had also cost the proverbial arm and a leg, real wool, not synthetic, and much to her mortification, her parents had to help her pay for it. Worse still, it took so much room that there wasn’t space in her kit for her lucky bear, “Why did the Serapis … I mean, why Scotland of all places – I’ve been there, the real one, not New Caledonia, it’s cold, boggy, and full of biting flies, not to mention dour people and awful food, haggis … good whiskey, though.”

Terry’s a little hard on Scotland.

Since sailors have a rather rude and rough initiation ceremony for sailing across the dateline, I’d expect something similar for the ‘first jump.’

Space on the Serapis is tight. Something like this:

Those who know their history will remember the Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis. Captain John Paul Jones was Scots.

Somehow I don’t think this version of the Serapis will fair much better.


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.

Author: Amelia

A mild-mannered professor of computer science in real-life, I remove my glasses in the evening to become, well, a mild-mannered author in my alternate reality. I mostly write sweet romantic fiction, although with an occasional science-fiction or paranormal angle thrown in. I have interests in history, mathematics (D'oh), and cryptography. I'm also something of an Anglophile, and know that country pretty well. In addition to writing, research, and more writing, I volunteer with the scouts. I'm something of a nature-nut, enjoying long walks in the country with almost ultra-light gear, boating, and identifying wildlife.

19 thoughts on “Swords in Space #SF”

    1. Scotland’s on my bucket list (what I’d really like to do is the TGO challenge or Hadrian’s wall). The bogs and the bugs are accurate. The rest, (other than the whiskey) less so.
      Thank you.

    1. Too much kick-ass runs the risk of being a ‘Mary-Sue’ She’s a young woman on her first assignment, on a strange ship, and soon to be light-years from home. Thank you.

      (an edit) my rather tough Father-in-law, who flew with the RAF during that recent unpleasantness with the huns (ww2) had a similar mascot (actually a medal of St. Anthony). He’d touch it before driving on the roads in the UK.

      1. My dad could’ve used such a lucky charm! For less than a month, he was a fuzzy-cheeked RCAF airplane mechanic in England (either during the Battle of Britain or shortly thereafter). His war ended not because of a German bomb, but because of a bus accident.

        1. He had an ‘interesting’ war – taken by the Russians from Poland to Siberia, then released, his transport was sunk off of Southern Africa. He ended up in Bournemouth (where they assembled Poles). Continued his pilot training and flew for the RAF.

  1. If I’m allowed a second comment 🙂 – since this is a WIP, maybe you could have her lucky charm be a faded ribbon or a button from her favorite childhood toy. That would be less jarring than the idea of her carting a whole teddy bear around! Just a thought.

    1. I removed the reference to my friend’s name. Thank you for the comment.

      I should probably explain that I use a pen-name for a couple of reasons: a) discoverability – almost any reasonable thing related to my given name is swamped by identical names. (I tried doing everything the managers at a publishing house I was associated with suggested and managed to move from the bottom to the top of the fourth page on google.) This is a bit of a problem professionally where I compete with 3-4 scientists in different fields – it usually cheeses them off when I’m first or better cited, and b) it protects me from my predatory university – which like v***mort must not be named.

  2. I like the idea of her having a ‘lucky bear’. Not too sure about the kilt though – shouldn’t it be some sort of tartan, or did I miss something? And I agree with others, she’s a bit hard on the Scots, Scotland can be beautiful and hospitable, almost as nice as my native Wales in fact! 🙂 Really good snippet though, you seem to have made a seamless switch from historical to SF!

    1. She’s not in a clan (yet), so can’t wear the tartan. Since I love Wales, even when it’s a typical summer day (5 and the wind blowing the rain sideways through the valley), I agree she’s being hard. She’s from Austin Texas where 20 is frigid. Thank you.

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