Year 10, Day 211
I’ve added my observations of the shore of the northern ocean and its floating ice cap to the world map I’m building up in the computer. I find I’ve mapped more that a third of the way around this world. The eastern coast of the ice-covered mountains is a good 55° west of the lake where I live; the spot where I decided it was too cold to continue this year is nearly 105° east. Close to halfway, and while there were a number of river mouths and deep inlets, the only though connection to the ocean so far is the relatively narrow strait broken by the volcanic island. Perhaps the isolation of this northern ocean is the answer.
The proof will have to wait for next year. For right now, Rainbow is hinting she would like another of the wild pigs from the northern continent, not to mention the nuts I found last year as well as dates and figs. The fruit and nuts are no problem. The pig ….
They’re mostly eating acorns now—I checked. If they taste like what they eat, as the warthogs do, they should be quite tasty. But I will kill one only in self-defense, like the first time, or if it is badly injured. Perhaps I could rob a predator of its kill?
It’s time for another snippet from Rescue Operation, the end of the Council meeting deciding what to do about Horizon. For links to snippets from other authors click on the logo above for Weekend Writing Warriors, or on the logo below for Snippet Sunday. Sorry I didn’t get around tyo everyone last week, but I was away at a family reunion.
Two more of the swing voters spoke, again in reluctant agreement. Good, if any were using CP, his blocking was effective. Even he, poor as his CP was, knew that Horizon would not respond to the bluff—but it wouldn’t be a bluff. Zhaim already had slavers on the ground.
“I’m against it,” Dax growled—but then he rarely used mind-touch. Afraid his feelings would be read.
“Shall we vote?” Zhaim asked, but he already knew the result. Eleven to nine in favor of slaving on Horizon, and there was no way Roi would be able to get the seventeen votes needed for a reconsideration, however much he might love the planet.
And Roi is off planet, out of touch, and doesn’t yet know anything about this. Next week I’ll jump to his reaction when he does return.
Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents is a Saturday blog hop with up to 200 words from something we’re writing that has elements of both Science Fiction and Romance. (Click the logo above for rules and links to other participants.)
Both Sides Now is science fiction, adventure, politics and a dollop of romance. Here we’re getting acquainted with the hero, Kevi (as Doc thinks of him) who is the first to speak.
“Well, that’s changed if I can just get word to those I trust on Central. Zhaim’s kidnapping me turns the whole situation on its head. But I need to stay out of Zhaim’s hands long enough to contact someone I trust, and for that I need a hiding place. Confederation forces here on Horizon will be loyal to Zhaim.”
“Terry figured you’d need that. But the group’s small, and keeping those most vulnerable to slaving out of sight leaves us short-handed. You’ll be noticed if you don’t pull your weight.”
To Doc’s surprise, Kevi grinned. “Anything but cooking,” he said. “It’s not that I mind the drudgery, I’m just a lousy cook. I’ve got medical training, and I’m good with kids and animals. But I’d better darken my hair and eyes. My coloring’s unusual, even for this planet.”
“Looked in a mirror since you woke up?” Doc said, waving toward a piece of polished metal on the wall. “We darkened your hair on that road, and Terry left me some brown contact lenses.” He started rummaging through a cupboard. Now where had he put the contact lenses?
Enjoy meeting new authors and trying snippets of their work? Click on the logo above to find the links to others from the Weekend Writing Warrior signup list, and on the logo below for Snippet Sunday.
I’m posting again from Rescue Operation, continuing from last time, when Zhaim suggested slaving to collect dues from Horizon, which has threatened to leave the Confederation. We’re still in Zhaim’s point of view.
Besides, it’s really just a threat. With that over their heads, they’ll find a way to pay their share. I know them. After all, I’ve been Guardian there for almost fifty years.
Well, if it’s only a threat …. That was Ramil, one of the swing votes he’d been plying with worries about the possible spreading influence of Horizon’s not paying its dues.
Ania nodded. Sometimes children have to be threatened for their own good.
Somehow I don’t think it’s going to be that simple.
Saturday, and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade. Click the logo above to find links to other participants.
I’m quoting from a WIP, Both Sides Now. Doc is answering Kevi’s question of how long he has been unconscious.
“About four fivedays.”
“Any idea of the Confederation date? I lost track of time in Zhaim’s hands.”
Doc waved toward a Horizon calendar on the wall. It was a paper calendar—he didn’t have power to waste for electronics here. But he’d kept the days crossed off, and it had Confederation dates marked at intervals. Kevi got up and examined it, and then shook his head. “Over a year,” he said. “It seemed like forever. But things have gotten a lot worse, if Confederation troops are attacking civilians.”
“They have,” Doc replied. “That was Terry’s main argument for trying to rescue you.”
Kevi looked down. “And I suppose you think I was responsible for the slaving in the first place. Indirectly, I suppose I was. But it was oversight, not intention. I never supported slavery. I was born a slave myself. I hate the whole institution. The Horizon slaving was passed behind my back when three of my closest supporters and I were off planet, and I’ve never quite been able to get the seventeen votes I need for reconsideration.”
Year 10 Day 142
Well, I have a new puzzle.
The ice cap at the North Pole is very definitely floating. It’s not smooth; in fact collisions of large, flat areas of ice have resulted in ice ridges tall enough to be called small hills. But when I try to perceive land under them, there is nothing but salt water. Deep salt water.
This doesn’t make sense. Water is much more efficient than air at carrying heat from the equator to the poles. Given an ocean at the poles that is open to equatorial water, warm water from the equator will quickly thaw any temporary winter ice. Certainly the polar ocean is open to the warm ocean to the east of the continent where I am living; I’ve flown over it. What is happening on this planet?
I went back and studied the few images I have of the planet from space. It’s hard to tell the difference between clouds, snow-covered land, and ice, but I cannot rule out the possibility of land almost surrounding the frozen ocean aside from the corridor I’ve followed. It’s relatively warm now in the north, and there are about another eight fivedays before the sun sets at the North Pole, so I suppose I had better spend that exploration time following the coastline from the northernmost land I’ve found to the east. At least I should find out whether the mountain range where I saw the aurora is part of an island or a peninsula.
Jarn’s Journal is the (fictional) journal of a human-like alien stranded in Africa 125,000 years ago. He is interacting with some of our ancestors, but also exploring the planet with the aid of levitation, telekinesis and the salvaged computer of his wrecked spaceship.
Sunday again, and snippets from works in progress, awaiting publication, or published. For links to other authors on Weekend Writing Warriors click the logo above; for Snippet Sunday click the logo below.
I am continuing with Rescue Operation, on its final revision (I hope.) This is the start of a new scene, at a council meeting a few days after the one I’ve posted.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” Zhaim pulled out of the interface enough to see Mako’s face as the councilor spoke aloud in shock, and smothered any feelings of triumph the others might catch.
I wish I could find another option, Zhaim thought at the others, but the citizens of Horizon are absolutely refusing to pay their dues. Haven’t we all agreed that planets of the Confederation must pay for the protection and interplanetary problem-solving we offer? We can’t let them refuse to pay their share; it’s an invitation to others to refuse. Their population is increasing rapidly—faster than their economy. They can afford to lose a few people as slaves. Breeding stock of the silkies and horses—no, we need to keep the economy going.
The logic of Empire?
I’m experimenting with embedding images, so if it looks a little different from usual, that’s why.
It’s Saturday, and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents: click on the logo above for links to other participants. I’m continuing with Both Sides Now, but the point of view has switched to Doc, who thinks of Roi as Kevi.
Doc led the way back to the front of the cave, trying to integrate his new observations of Kevi into what he knew of the Regent. He remembered Terry’s comment: that the stories could not be fitted into a coherent whole, and that none of them fitted with what Terry had observed. None of them fitted with what he had just observed, either. “Sit down,” he invited as he led Kevi into the front room.
There was a casserole in the oven—Coralie’s doing; Doc tended to rely on the frying pan himself. Kevi tucked into it with an enthusiasm that left Doc wondering if they’d fed the R’il’noid enough on the trek back, and later while he was healing. Doc had not been used to unconscious patients who chewed and swallowed food, let alone rode horseback.
“Have we been starving you?” he asked.
Kevi grinned. “If you had been, you’d have known it,” he assured Doc. “But I always come out of healSleep hungry. I’ll be eating like a horse for the next few fivedays. How long have I been out? Last thing I remember was Terry feeding me at that cave above the sinkhole.”
It’s Sunday, and time for weekend Writing Warrior (click the logo above for links to other snippets) and Snippet Sunday (click on the logo below.)
I’m still posting from the beginning of Rescue Operation, my almost-ready-to-send-out science fiction novel, and still in Zhaim’s point of view. He has just maneuvered Roi into checking on a situation off-planet that Roi’s medical training should help with. Now he needs to get rid of Roi’s closest allies before the Council finds out that Horizon has voted to leave the Confederation.
No indication Roi felt any preconditional warning, though Zhaim was quite sure he had used CP.
He’d need to get Derik and Kaia on off-planet assignments, too, since they almost always voted with Roi. So long as twenty were present, problems could be resolved by a simple majority vote. Zhaim had ten votes he could count on, though two often sided with Roi at his suggestion—it wouldn’t do for Roi to know how many Zhaim could control. Four more of the councilors were genuine swing voters, but he thought he’d prepared the ground with them.
Two days later, a communications problem threatening to cause a war took Kaia off planet, and three days after that word came of a possible contact with an unknown sentient species. Derik, by far the best xenotelepath among the R’il’noids, was the obvious choice to handle that problem.
Scene break here. Next week we’ll see a later Council meeting, and Zhaim’s “solution.”
It’s Saturday, and time for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Presents: click on the logo above to find links to other participants. I’m continuing with a work in progress, Both Sides Now. Roi’s badly damaged feet have just been swabbed with a medication Doc has brought, and Doc is worried that Roi held his feet still during the doctoring. Roi speaks first.
“Of course I felt it. It stings more than a little. But you said hold still.”
The vet grinned. “First time I ever had a patient who obeyed orders that well. I was afraid the nerves were damaged. Here, better put these on if you’re going to keep running around.” He handed Roi a pair of high slippers, almost soft boots.
They fit, cradling Roi’s abused feet in fleecy warmth. The R’il’noid bent to examine them. “Silkie hide?” he asked in surprise.
Doc nodded. “Tanned with the fleece on. Not good enough for export, but they’ll protect your feet while they finish healing. Not that you’re ready for too much running around. Finished that soup? Come on, then; I’ve got some solid food up front.”
Roi followed him, almost comfortable walking. “I did warn you I’m a terrible patient, didn’t I? Ever know a doctor who wasn’t? Don’t be fooled by the fact that I can hold still. I did most of my healing while I slept. Now I’m ready to get back in shape.” He had no intention of staying an invalid a moment longer than he had to.