Tag Archive: Rescue Operation

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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.

Hubble Interacting Galaxy IC 1623
Source: Hubblesite.org

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.

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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.

Star-Forming Region S106
Source: Hubblesite.org


“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.

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Sunday again, and that means time for Weekend Writing Warriors (click the logo above for links to other participants) and Snippet Sunday (click the logo below.)

I am still posting from the opening scene of Rescue Operation, a novel almost ready for publication. We are in Zhaim’s POV.

If Roi could be induced to handle the problem in person, leaving Zhaim as the holder of the second highest Çeren index in charge ….

We don’t have anyone out there who can anchor a teleport, and there was considerable reluctance in Roi’s mind-touch. I’d have to take a courier out.

We don’t have anyone else who has a prayer of unraveling it, came Tethya’s reply.

Oh, give Zhaim a chance to show what he can do. Amusement spilled into Kaia’s mind-touch.

Didn’t say I wouldn’t do it. But I’ll want to take Mark as backup, and there’s going to be a lot of travel time involved.

(Italics within the snippet represent mental communication.)

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Time again for Weekend Writing Warriors (click the logo above for links to other participants) and Snippet Sunday (click the logo below.)

I am still posting from the opening scene of Rescue Operation, the first book of a trilogy of Roi as an adult—but this first scene is from Zhaim’s POV.

It gave him a raging headache, but revenge was worth it. Maybe he could try it on Roi, the only Inner Council member who seemed to remember that Zhaim had once tried to kill him.

He’d have to make sure that Roi, Derik and Kaia were not present when the news reached the Inner Council, he thought as he prepared for today’s meeting. None of the others, thank goodness, were as strongly inclined to treat Humans as people as Roi was. Zhaim shook his head, remembering what a time he’d had convincing Roi that he was neglecting the Confederation by adopting Human slaves as children.

One of the twenty-four interface lounges in the Council Chamber remained empty after Zhaim took his place. No surprise; Wif had left yesterday to deal with a medical emergency. That left only Roi, regent and head of the Inner Council, with medical training, and the problem that had brought them here was a planet firmly convinced that the plague devastating its population was due to biological warfare waged by three rival planets.

Which makes Roi the logical person to deal with the problem.

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It’s Sunday, time for Weekend Writing Warriors (click the logo above for links to participants) and Snippet Sunday (click the logo below.)

I’ll continue with the opening of Rescue Operation in its current state. This one is a WIP but I hope very near publication. Zhaim is thinking to himself.

Derik, Kaia and Roi would be horrified by his solution, and would probably be able to sway those not solidly behind him. And since he couldn’t influence them directly….

Or could he?

Whatever Marna had done two and a half centuries ago to prevent him from doing so much as thinking of harming another, it was getting weaker with time—especially since her death, almost fifty years ago. His half-brother, Roi, had always been a weakling, and without Marna Roi simply did not have the strength to manage the regular renewal of the bindings, though he did not seem to realize how badly he was failing.

Zhaim still couldn’t manage to block conditional precognition by himself, at least not without going into convulsions. But he’d located the portion of his abilities that produced that effect, and had taught that part of the skill to another Inner Council member, one who was as appalled by Roi’s treating Humans as people as he was. The bit he’d taught that person was useless in itself, but if applied while Zhaim did the things he alone could do, the result was almost as good as the ability he remembered from the past.

Not a very sympathetic character!

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Sunday is time for Weekend Writing Warriors (click on the logo above for links to other authors) and Sunday Snippets (click on the logo below.) Both offer a wide variety of genres and states of wiring, from rough drafts to published works.

I am starting at the beginning of a work I hope is almost ready for publication, Rescue Operation. We start in the antagonist’s point of view:

Zhaim scowled at his agent’s report. Horizon was preparing to vote itself out of the Confederation? They couldn’t, of course. The fate of Rakal had put an end to that nonsense, and for once his half-brother had done the right thing. But the vote, once its results reached the Inner Council, was bound to bring questions about his competence as planetary Guardian.

Unless he could get them to adopt his own plan first. Did he control enough votes to do that? Wif, who could be counted on to vote with Roi, was away on a medical emergency.

I should say that some of my characters (the R’il’noids) do not age and are carried forward from Homecoming and Tourist Trap, which are set roughly 250 years earlier. Others will be remote descendants of the characters in the earlier books, and some will be entirely new. Rescue Operation is projected to be the first volume of a trilogy.

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Quotes from Mercedes Lackey

All of the quotes tweeted from @sueannbowling last week (except the one this morning) were from The Fairy Godmother, by Mercedes Lackey.

Cover, The Fairy Godmother“Being angry now would be like being angry at a thunderstorm because it happened to rain on you.” Elena, suddenly realizing that the Fairy Godmother who she thought neglected her was Fairy Godmother to the entire kingdom.

“It was as if wholesome bread were being taken, and a tastier bread made of sawdust used to replace it.” Refers to the actions of the more far-seeing of the evil magicians, gradually limiting “rights” and replacing them with meaningless privileges.

“With familiarity came, if not contempt, certainly a loss of urgency.” In Elena’s first successful use of magic her concentration was driven by fear, but in future me must learn to concentrate without that goad.

“Men. You never can depend on them not to play the fool when there’s a lot of them together.” The women of the village, speaking of their menfolk’s probable behavior during harvest.

“Only love could have turned rut into passion.” Elena is being jealous of Arachnia and her poet.

“You’re as ready as I was.” Madame Bella, as she hands over the job of Fairy Godmother to Elena and drives off with the Little Humpback Horse.

“People—and societies—don’t make decisions on logic.” Bowling, Rescue Operation. This is a work in progress, so I hardly expect anyone to identify the context of the quote. The speaker is Roi, arguing to the Council that slaving will not be accepted by Horizon.


I finally figured out that the deadlines given to get entries in for the GUTGAA (Gearing Up to Get An Agent) contests, while given as EST, were really EDT. Since the windows fill pretty fast, this meant I was missing them regularly, including the pitch polish which I really wanted to enter. Well, I did get in to the Small Agent Pitch Contest, with the following pitch for the first book of the trilogy that starts about 250 years after the close of Tourist Trap. The contest called for a pitch (mine is probably a little short) and the first 150 words of your manuscript. Here’s what I have for Rescue Operation on the GUTGAA site:


Roi Laian is stuck with the job of being regent for an interstellar confederation. A half-brother he, but no one else, remembers as a monster has started a war behind his back, slaving to collect taxes—and Roi, himself strongly against the legality of slavery, can’t get the votes to reverse this policy. Even his closest ally thinks he’s being paranoid.

Rescue Operation deals with Roi’s attempts to resolve the war, with little help from the Council, and his efforts to salve his own conscience by rescuing a few of the young people being enslaved. The deeper theme of the book is that individuals may react very differently what appear superficially to be the same circumstances.


Roi Laian stretched, feeling the interface lounge accommodate to his motion and massage his body as he shifted position. He opened his eyes, briefly interrupting the computer’s download to his brain as he absorbed what he’d already received. Plenty of decisions he wouldn’t have made if he had been here, but nothing really disastrous. Still, it was good to be back.

He glanced out the window wall of his office, taking in the rolling pastureland dotted with grazing horses. Swim, ride, or work out in the controlled-gravity gym? After he’d checked out the situations Zhaim had indicated were resolved, Roi decided, and reactivated the full computer connection.

The Horizon situation first, he decided, but he was only a few minutes into that when he jerked upright on the lounge. “Oh, no,” he gasped aloud. “He can’t be that stupid. The Council can’t be. Is he trying to start a revolution?”

I need to do a better job on the pitch, but it will be interesting to see what kind of responses I get. Meanwhile, I hope to get the editing done in the next couple of months.

Any suggestions are welcome.

The Next Big Thing: Week 11

If you’re looking for GUTGAA, it’s here–but this post is about the book I’m trying to get an agent for.

This post has been created as part of the author event ‘The Next Big Thing’. Fiona Philips halfway around the world in the UK was the one who tagged me so thank you, Fiona. The Next Big Thing is an ongoing process, hence the ‘Week 11′ in the title.  I am not going to pass it on, simply because I understand how exponentials work, and I’ve already blogged on how passing something on to 5, 7, and 11 people would work. Within the rules of this blogging event is the requirement to answer ten questions about your current work in progress, and that I’ll do. So, here goes.

What is the working title of your book?

Rescue Operation.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It’s grown over at least thirty years, and parts go back a lot father than that. The insight that allowed me to put the bits into a single story line is less than 10 years old—I needed to change the sex of one character.

What genre does your book fall under?

Science fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I have a problem here – I don’t know one actor from another! And I have two sets of characters. The R’il’nian-human hybrids vary in appearance, but the R’il’nai had somewhat smaller faces set lower on the heads, and were built relatively lightly. They also had metallic veining in their eyes. Those most important are:

Roi. He looks very human, except for coloring—bronze skin, white hair, and golden eyes flecked with metallic gold. Athletic, but in the sense of a dancer rather than strength. Maybe Fred Astaire /Gene Kelley in motion.
Derik. More R’il’nian looking, golden brown hair, skin and eyes, with gold veining in eyes.
Zhaim. Bronze skin, black hair, eyes ice-colored with silver veining. Looks very R’il’nian. Very handsome and vain of it, a clothes horse.

The second group is the Horizon slaves Roi adopts partly to salve his conscience at being unable to stop the slaving on Horizon. Horizon is a low-UV planet, and was preferentially settled by light-skinned people. The major problem with casting these characters is that they grow up and change during the six years of the book. They were originally imported as pleasure slaves, and the two younger boys were very “pretty” as children. All are attractive.

Tod: Blue-eyed blond with a devil behind the angelic façade, 11 initially and small for his age, but a genius with horses. He will never grow much beyond 5 ½ feet.
Crystal: Also a blue-eyed blond, crazy about horses at 11, but discovers boys. She is blind from a riding accident when Roi gets her.
Merle: She has a gene well known in other mammals that dilutes hair, eye, and skin color, so her hair is blue-gray and her eyes fawn. Very body-shy initially, wanting to cover all skin, and goes catatonic at the slave market.
Szhandi: Dark by Horizon standards and older than the others, about 16 initially. Secondary in this book, but plays an important role in the third book.
Timi: 2 years younger than Tod, copper-red hair, large hands and feet (which he grows into by the second book of the trilogy.) Good rider but lacks Tod’s ability to understand horses.
Maureen. Black, curly hair, more into dogs than horses. A young Elizabeth Taylor.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Roi Laian, the unwilling regent of the Confederation, is unable to get the Council votes he needs to reverse a decision on slaving that has led to an interplanetary war.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’d like to go down the route of traditional publishing, hence with representation by an agency. I went the assisted self-publishing route with both my previous books and while they’ve won contests and excellent reviews, I’d like to go more traditional – possibly small press – with this trilogy.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m still editing. Some segments were taken over from things written 15 years or more ago. Actually about 3 months for the first draft once I decided how to put it together.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Story? None. The writers I most admire are Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey, and their story-telling ability is what I aim for.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The daily news, with events transferred to other planets. Not to mention dogs (especially my first dog, Derry, who inspired the telepathic pocket herders) and horses.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This book is actually the first third of a trilogy, all of which is written and now being polished. The whole trilogy deals with the war, slavery, and its eventual resolution. Parts of the third book are being blogged on Six Sentence Sunday. Snippets from Rescue Operation have also been posted on Six Sentence Sunday.


As I said above, if this had really been passed on 10 times, with each passage being to 5 people, close to 2 million people would be blogging this by now. I’m not going to try to find the blogs that haven’t had it yet, but if you feel inspired to use this blog as a template, do so. Comment that you’re doing so, and I’ll add a link (at least for the first five.)

Rules of The Next Big Thing

  • Use this format for your post.
  • Answer the ten questions about your current work in progress.
  • Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/nebula/pr2005012b/As I said last week, the Jarnian Confederation acts only to prevent Human-occupied planets from preying on each other or on other sentient species, or to provide emergency aid. But it needs some structure to do this. The interaction of my characters with this structure provides much of the plot of my fiction.

Originally (and still to a large extent in Homecoming and Tourist Trap) the Confederation as a whole was ruled by the R’il’nai. As their numbers dwindled, the Councils were developed to provide the remaining R’il’nai with information and a part-Human sounding board. Membership was originally determined by tests to determine the fraction of traits R’il’nian-Human hybrids showed that were clearly of R’il’nian origin. Those with over seven-eighths R’il’nian traits were considered part of the Inner Council.

The Outer Council was composed of High R’il’noids, those with more than three-fourths R’il’nian traits, and was primarily an advisory, fact-finding and enforcement body subject to the Inner Council. Those with more than half R’il’nian traits were considered R’il’noid. R’il’noids were essential to the running of the Confederation and were subject to Confederation law but not to planetary law. This was primarily because of problems that had arisen in the past because of planetary laws (such as a ban on travel at the new moon, punishable by death) which prevented R’il’noids from carrying out their professional duties. At that time virtually all adult R’il’noids had the R’il’nian empathy at least to the extent that they could be trusted not to take advantage of their immunity to planetary law.

R’il’nian-human hybrids were rare, is spite of official encouragement for R’il’nian males to father offspring from Human or R’il’noid women. Such matings were often sterile. A R’il’nian scientist, Çeren, developed an in vitro fertilization method that greatly increased the production of crossbreds, and also developed a more objective method of ranking R’il’noids by the fraction of active R’il’nian-derived genes. The unintended consequences of both these developments (which were desperately needed at the time) set up the problems in my science fiction.

By the time of Homecoming the Inner Council was actually making most of the decisions to run the Confederation, though the only surviving R’il’nian, Lai, had absolute veto power at least in theory, though he rarely if ever used it. Barring that veto power, the Inner Council was ruled by a majority vote providing at least 5/6 of the Inner Council members were present and voting. Reconsideration of a vote already taken required a 2/3 plus majority. By the time of the trilogy veto power no longer exists, and this is how the Confederation is ruled and the Horizon War was started.


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