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.

Swords in Space #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 40k 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 last week is replaced by the ceremonies for the first jump of the mission.


“Be upstanding!” The main hall echoed from the sounds of chairs scratching on the floor.

The captain, Mister Campbell despite her gender, experienced enough to have a lined face and gray short hair, strode to the front of the assembled crew.

“Serapis,” She shouted, “We’ve nearly cleared Sol’s mass.”

Terry remembered her navigation, engines full-blast for a week, vectored out of the ecliptic plane, away from the sun’s proper motion in the galaxy.

“And,” Mr Campbell continued, “It’s time for our first jump.”

Terry stiffened; then noticed the other middy’s and a few of the crew looking taught taut.

“But first,” the captain raised her glass, “A toast.”

Everyone picked up their glass. “Over the water, Mr Mullins,” one of the crew reminded Terry, “Swing it over the water.”

Terry set her glass down, and picked it up as she suggested.


Still remembering the rightful King after all these years.  How an interplanetary, for that matter interstellar, civilization would govern itself is something of a problem. One, fortunately, that I don’t have to solve for this story. Given the difficulties in communication – where a mail packet would be the fastest method to send instructions – some sort of Federal system, possibly with appointed governors would be the answer.

Of course, that would require an enlightened central government, which didn’t work out so well for Great Britain in the 1770’s (or did, depending on your viewpoint). Hints for a sequel?

Dealing with gender is also an issue. I decided that Fleet, taking naval traditions seriously, calls everyone Mister.

Most SF writers forget that we, our entire solar system, is flying through space with a proper galactic velocity.  The Terrans, having relatively primitive spacecraft, launch down stream and land upstream as it were.

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.

Sword and Spaceship #sf

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 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 continues this week.


“Tradition,” Jamie said, “That and the accident.”

“The accident?”

“It’s a legend, but I was told as a wee bairn that all the books and films but the ones about the highlands were deleted, accidentally,” he winked, “on the first belt colony.”

“And by the time it was remedied, everyone spoke Scots; I heard the story.” Terry glanced at Jamie, “You’re mostly what, Chinese? Odd for a highlander.”

“The auld homeland’s muckle big lass,” Jamie winked, again, “Na stop tha’ frachtin and hurry it.”

“It could have been worse,” Terry sighed, “A Russian ship; vodka and potatoes for breakfast.”

“Or one from Texas, nae whiskey,” Jamie replied; Terry’s parents lived in Austin, “Do y’need a hand wit’ that?”

“Please,” Terry winced, “My arm.”

“Bruised but not broken; ye’ll need to see the Crank about that before tomorrow’s practice.”


Jamie explains in this bit the origin of the Scottish tradition in space. Outlander has a lot to answer for in this story.

Seriously, if we survive to make it into space, cultures and ethnicities will get a bit mixed up. Jamie, for example is “mostly Chinese” (his surname is McYu in the current working version), but speaks Scots with the best of them because he comes from a belter family and that is his cultural tradition (though maybe he’ll make or have moon cakes). Still I would think that some aspects of nationality and tradition will survive.

Operationally this mixture allows me to be sloppy with my Scots and insert it for color without worrying too much about accuracy.

You can see some of this in the UK, where curry is now a (or the) national dish of England. Thirty or forty years ago it was a fringe food, eaten by poor college and graduate students, one step ahead of the food inspectors, at dodgy Indian restaurants. It was something of an object of fun (see Dwarf, red, Lister’s food preferences), and now it’s an object of pride.

 

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.

Sandhill Cranes #birding #alabama

Sandhill cranes often stop outside of Centre Alabama during the middle of winter.  This year is no exception.

The majority of the flock (about 1000 birds) has shifted to a new location. It’s one with better water and hunting. Unfortunately it’s a little further from the road.  There are still smaller flocks off CR22 where they were before.

Swords in Space #SF

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 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.

Swords in Space #werwriwar #SF

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 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.


Terry knew he was right, most of her class manned in-system freighters, glorified traffic cops, “I nearly got you.”

“In your dreams, lass; I was going easy; didn’t even break a sweat.”

Terry focused on her tormentor, “You’re right.”

“Spacer born, fleet trained;” The man beamed at her, “I’m used to low-G, you’re not … yet; the sweat doesn’t evaporate, no convection.”

“Oh, but I was … top of my class with the saber.”

The man laughed, “On Terra you’d spit me, but it’s different swinging a 10kg piece of metal when you weigh nothing.”

“55Kilo – all muscle and bone.”

“Nothing when there’s no gravity lass; It’s different.”

“But?”

“I know you can use a projectile weapon and hit a gnat at a half-click; can’t use them inside a ship.”


Radiation is one of the very real problems with space flight. Earth’s magnetic field keeps most of it from reaching us, but outside of that protective shield – say on the Moon or a trip to Mars – it puts a definite limit on human endurance.

In the story I’ve added a drug cocktail called ‘the juice’ that slows metabolism (for time) which incidentally turns off the sex drive, and protects the people from the effects of radiation. One of the characters remarks (later) that 400REM (the LD50) will barely give you a suntan. Of course, when they come ‘off the juice’ things can get interesting.

One thing I’ve not seen in other SF is what happens when a large mostly metallic object encounters charged particles while it’s moving at high speed – as would happen when coming out of a jump (Again one needs to invoke some sort of hyperspace to have anything like real time. Otherwise it’s ‘500 years later …’.) Bremsstrahlung or ‘braking’ radiation are the photons emitted when you stop a moving photon or when you slam into one at high speed. It’s how your dentist produces X-rays in that little box that the tech positions outside your mouth. It’s also somewhat dear to me as in a previous existence I used highly filtered X-rays (from copper) to probe molecular structure.

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.

Sword and Spaceship.

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 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.


The chief put his lips to her forehead, “Damn-me, you’re still hot lass;” He stepped back and spritzed her with ice water, “Can’t have a Middy dropping dead from heatstroke; not on her first day of training.”

The sweat streaming from her, Terry said, “I don’t get it; why the practice.”

“You did your training on Terra, didn’t thee?”

“Yes, Annapolis, then Colorado Springs; you know that.”

“Thought so; bloody ground pounder.”

“I can put you on report.”

“Not your training chief, you can’t;” This time the older man put the back of his hand on her forehead, “You’re getting better,” He sprayed her again, “Now that the gravity’s back.”

Terry stood and tried to stare the old man down; he laughed, “You’re not the first I’ve trained. Now sit, and that’s an order.”

“But… I excelled in weapons in the Academy, that and.”

“Lass,” the chief drew a deep breath; “If you hadn’t been top of your class, you would’na have been posted to the Serapis; no ground pounder would have.”


There is a reason she’s having to learn to use a sword well in zero gravity, but that will have to wait for another installment.

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.

Carnitas in a Frying Pan. #recipe

Carnitas, Mexican roast pork, done in a dutch oven is one of my goto camping recipes. The only problem is that with just two of us, it makes for an immense amount of meat.

So I wanted to see how it works in a frying pan, in an oven, inside. In short, very well. Not quite as good as a large batch done over coals, but dashed good none the less.

Here’s the recipe:
flour pork with:

  • 1 cup (more or less) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon powdered chili pepper (New Mexican is best, Cayenne will do).
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

The mixture ready to go

Place in a cast-iron frying pan:

  • 1/4 inch cooking oil
  • meat and flour
  • 1/3 can of beer (That’s what the bubbles in the picture are from. Not boiling it on the stove.)


Cover with foil and back for 2 hours at 350. The white bits are some of the flour that didn’t absorb moisture. They mix right in when you serve it.