Category: Science Fiction

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It’s Sunday again, time for Weekend Writing Warriors (click the logo above) and snippet Sunday (click the logo below.) This quote is again from Rescue Operation, following last week’s. The first speaker is Roi, and “it” is Zhaim’s artificial conscience.

Taranula Nebula“I worked with her to implant it, which is something none of the rest of you did. I know how hard it was, even for her.” He hesitated, but the pause gave Derik an opportunity to speak again.

“And you’ve chosen to keep the memory intact, with all of its emotional baggage. Roi, you’re not a vindictive person. Why don’t you strip the memory into computer storage, like the rest of us have? I’m not defending Zhaim on the Horizon vote. His judgment was atrocious.”


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

The snippet is again from Rescue Operation, with Derry being the first to speak.


DDO68“Concentrate on how this policy is hardening anti-Confederation sentiment on Horizon. On other planets without slavery, for that matter. Whatever you do, don’t present this as a disagreement between you and Zhaim. Your paranoia where Zhaim is concerned is too well known already.”

“Paranoia.” Roi snorted. “Derik, he tried to kill me. Yes, it was more than two and a half centuries ago. Yes, Marna’s artificial conscience should prevent his ever deliberately harming anyone again.”

But we’ve already seen what Zhaim has found out.

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Sunday again, and time for Weekend Writing Warriors (click the logo above) and Snippet Sunday (click the logo below.) Kaia is continuing to speak.

R5 puppis“And I’m not sure we can get them. Roi, you’ve called an Inner Council meeting for right after noon?”

“Yes. And I’m going to do everything I can to get a reconsideration. I’ll even make a speech if I have to.”

That brought a few grins—Roi’s hatred of politics was well known. “Focus on the objective arguments,” Derik advised. “I don’t like slaving either, but now is not the time to belabor that.”

But what other argument does Roi have?


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It’s Sunday again, time for Weekend Writing Warriors (click the logo above) and Snippet Sumday (click the logo below.) This is again a quote from Rescue Operation, following on from last week.


M83What neither Roi nor the Council had realized was that a group of parasitized Humans were ready to move in on Rakal the instant the R’il’noids were no longer guarding the system. The infection would be self-limiting—the parasite could not reproduce in Humans, and the infection could only be maintained by bringing in captive Maungs. With both Maungs and R’il’noids on patrol, that would not happen often—but the original population of the planet was now being treated as a food supply and hostages by the parasitized Humans, who considered themselves to be a different and superior species.

The Confederation rescued those they could, but the entire Inner Council had agreed that Rakal would be a unique episode. No further planets could leave the Confederation—but that decision had set up the potential disaster on Horizon.

“We have two distinct problems,” Kaia said, “and we’d better treat it that way. Horizon’s an emergency, and I agree with Roi on that. But I’m not sure what we can do beyond trying to get a reconsideration. All Zhaim’s supporters are on planet, so that means we need seventeen votes.”

And Zhaim has already thought of that.

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SFR logoThis is a continuation of last month’s excerpt from Both Sides Now. Kevi (Roi, the regent of the confederation) has just pointed out to Mik that his dog, Loco, is in labor.

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Stunned, Mik looked down at Loco. She was panting, turning now and then to look at her sides and digging again at the bottom of the pannier. “She can’t be—I skipped her this season. That’s why I didn’t bring her with me when I—well, you know. Wasn’t sure she was out yet.” He swung down to help Kevi with Jad.

“You may have skipped her. Judging by the date, I’d say she was bred before you knew she was in. Come on, uh, what’s his name, Mikal?”


“All right, Jadel, just sit down right there. Feeling any better? Good. Suppress works fast. Mikal, can you give me a hand? Just keep pressure here and here, while I manipulate his arm.”

Mik swallowed bile, and jumped more than Jad did when the shoulder snapped back into place under his hands. He was more confused than ever in trying to see this man as the hated regent, but Kevi did seem to know what he was doing. “What was that you gave him?” he persisted.

“Mixture of four drugs. First was a painkiller, suppress. It acts very fast. The counterShock is a little slower, but not much. The other two are a muscle relaxant and a mild sedative. Those haven’t quite kicked in yet—don’t worry when you start feeling sleepy, Jad. That’ll keep you from doing further damage by trying to use that shoulder. For right now I want you to lie down in one of the back rooms in that maze of hay so I can use cold packs to keep the swelling from getting worse, and I’ll strap the arm in place when you wake up.”

He made up a couple of ice packs and applied them to Jadel’s shoulder, settling the man in one of the rooms hidden in the hay. Then he went into another room and returned to the front of the cave, carrying an empty box that Mik recognized as one that had held the Confederation supplies he’d traded for. “The dog’s doing fine,” Kevi said as he put an old feed sack in the box, “but I think she could use a little more room. Want to bring her in, Mikal? I’ll have a look at that horse you were leading.”

Whatever else he was, Mik decided, Kevi was an expert at keeping people off balance. Loco was still in the pannier, whimpering, and as Mik lifted her out he felt a very definite kick low on her left side. She licked his chin apologetically, and he sighed. He had thought he had protected her adequately, though now that he thought about it, Blue had seemed awfully interested in her for a couple of days before he had realized she was coming in season. A repeat of the litter Stormy had come from, then. Good bloodlines; he’d just planned to give her a little more time to recover between litters. Must be a small litter, or he’d have noticed something. He just hoped the pups were full term.

Kevi was still going over Star, frowning in concentration, when Mik heard a horse trotting toward the cave. Doc’s bay leopard, he identified the animal when he moved to the door. It didn’t sound like Joker, though—this horse was trotting fluidly, and Doc didn’t look nearly as jarred as he usually did. Mik waved, and got an answering wave from Doc. “How do you like my new assistant?” the vet called as he pulled up by the cave.

“Knows how to reduce a dislocation, anyway,” Mik replied, with a somewhat uneasy glance at Kevi.

The R’il’noid straightened and grinned. “With help,” he said. “How old is this horse, anyway? He’s not too badly hurt—bruises and a couple of pulled muscles—but I can’t do much for old age. Oh, the stuff I’ve got Joker on will help, but it’s pure luck this fellow didn’t break a few bones.”

“Star?” Mik said, trying to think back. He couldn’t remember Jadel on a horse other than Star. “High twenties at least. Maybe thirties.” He felt guilty again. But what else could he have done?

“Does he like the colts?”

Mik looked at this unpredictable R’il’noid in bewilderment. “We can’t turn him out with the mares and foals. He’ll kidnap the foals.”

“If he were mine,” Kevi said, “I’d retire him to baby-sitter and role model for the weanlings. Nothing wrong with his manners, and they’ll learn by watching him.”

And Jadel was far better as a camp organizer and keeper of pedigrees than as a rider, these days. Put Jad in charge of the encampment for those herding the weanlings, come fall. A few people would stay behind this summer to oversee the haying and pick a winter campsite, and Jad was a logical choice. Let him and his beloved Star rest and recover until fall. “You,” he said wryly, still not sure whether Kevi was playing some elaborate game, “are a total surprise.”

“If the stories I heard going around when I was here a few years back are what you’ve heard about me, I imagine I am. I’m being myself, Mikal. More than I’ve had a chance to be for years. Let me strap Jad’s shoulder, and the three of us can talk.”

Storm Over Warlock coverContexts of quotes from Andre Norton:

“A man who still lives and is not yet broken can hope.” Storm over Warlock. Shann’s thoughts after his capture by the Throgs.

“No one ever quite believes that a last evil will strike at him.” Storm over Warlock. Shann Lantee’s thought, facing what seems to be the final moment before his death by torture.

“He was too old a hand at bargaining to show any emotion unless for a purpose.” Ordeal in Otherwhere. Charis’s thoughts on the probably illegal Free Trader who wants to buy a contract she is being forced to sign.

“Think things out, assemble your information before you act.” Ordeal in Otherwhere. What Charis was taught by her father.

Ordeal cover“There was no use speculating about what force was in power here.” Ordeal in Otherwhere. Charis’s thought after finding herself under the control of the Wyverns.

“There were times when one human life was expendable for the whole.” Ordeal in Otherwhere. Charis, finding herself unable to abandon Shann Lantee.

“Guilt’s for something you could have done something about.” Bowling, Tourist Trap. .Jacyn, trying to tell Tod he need feel no guilt about his mother dying at his birth, no matter what his father says.

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It’s Sunday again, and time for Weekend Writing Warriors (click the logo above for rules and other participants) and the logo below for snippet Sunday. Today’s 8 sentences are a continuation of last week’s from Rescue Operation.


NGC 2174But there was one species, the Maungs, that was dangerous to Humans.

They were not aggressive. In fact, the R’il’nai had a long history of peaceful trade relations with the Maungs. But the adult Maungs were a symbiotic relationship between a mammal-like but mindless body and a nervous system that started life as something resembling an insect. That nervous system could not infect the now-extinct pure R’il’nai, or their R’il’noid descendants. But the nervous system could infect Humans during its free-living stage, and became a genuine and frightening parasite in Humans. Most R’il’noids could immediately detect an infected Human, and within a year or two of infection, the parasite could be removed. If it was not, it gradually took over and eliminated the Human mind.

Scary friends, right?

Year 54 Day 33

I begin to suspect a conspiracy on the part of the women shamans. Four groups led by women had arrived by yesterday, and all of the leaders agreed on the idea of a direct transfer of power. Today the first male-led group arrived, and the shaman, whose wife I slept with last year, was clearly not pleased to find himself placed behind the women.

I explained the new rules: no more than one a night, first priority to those to whom I had not yet transferred power, equality between male and female shamans. The men were not pleased, but with four women already having slept with me and the new rules established, there wasn’t much they could do.

logo WWW VetIt’s time again for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday.

Untitled“And he made it sound so reasonable. Like it wouldn’t be anything but a threat, and the Horizon government would respond to the threat by paying its levies. Well, it isn’t. In fact, it’s voted to leave the Confederation—only you pushed through that rule that they couldn’t.”

Roi hadn’t had to push very hard, and he’d had good reason. Another planet, Rakal, had voted to leave the Confederation five years before. As far as Roi was concerned, the Confederation existed primarily to prevent wars between planets—but that wasn’t why the ancestors of modern Humans had set it up. Humans shared space with a number of other species. Most had preferred different types of planets than those suitable for Humans, so relationships generally involved trade rather than hostilities.

Again, this snippet is from Rescue Operation, continuing from last week.

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Weekend Writing Warrior and Snippet Sunday. Maybe I’ll get home this week.

NGC 5189 Henceforth, he’d suggest to the Council, any councilor who had to leave Central to untangle a sticky situation beyond one-ended teleport range would take an aide who could anchor a return teleport. For the few member systems beyond two-ended range, they’d set up a chain of anchors. And members in the field would keep in touch with Council decisions.

“Good idea,” Mako said when Roi’s office had become a temporary meeting place for the eleven that the regent trusted. “But it wouldn’t have stopped this vote. Zhaim may have been—must have been—lobbying those who voted for it. The rest of us had no warning at all.”