Thursday, February 1, 2018

Instance 68 - Pt. 1

Instance 68 - Pt. 1

The tether unspooled behind Nelson as she pushed off. She didn’t like it out here, not the way some of her crew did. It was dizzying, stomach churning. The hull of the ship extended out into the distance in front and behind her as she ran, but in nearly every other direction there was only space. There was nothing firm for your eyes to hold onto in that distance. No matter how still you stood on the hull, the ship was always spinning, moving relative the starfield around it, and you couldn’t hold a single point of light fixed in your gaze for long enough to get any real bearings.

Nelson stared at the hull below, guiding herself to a landing, then pushed off again. Jumping and dashing got you across the hull a lot faster, and she was in a hurry, and even though it wasn’t inherently any riskier than just walking, she wished she had the luxury of taking her time.

“She’s crying now,” the voice in her headset informed her calmly, “she’s gonna let go soon.”

“Why didn’t this show up in the last diagnostics?” a second voice, agitated and nervous.

“Save it for when we have her back inside, then we’ll figure out what went wrong.”

“If we get her back,” the first voice again, still calm. Dein had been through this before, had been there when they’d lost the last SPIDER. He knew losing his cool wouldn’t help now.

“I swear I checked the emergency clamps.”

“No one is blaming you,” Nelson said into her headset as she skipped off the hull again, “Aragog is in shit shape, Reggie, even for a SPIDER. Even I can’t get my head around the nest of programs that make up her operatings system.”

“Nelson,” Dein’s tone had an unsettled edge, not a good sign, “she’s letting go.”

“Shit!” Nelson landed and took off again, pushing harder, the tether seemed to whine in protest as is unwounded out the back of her suite, “I’m nearly there.”

“If she’s detached, you have the slack to go out and grab her.”

“I know, I know,” she grumbled to him as she landed hard. She’d do it if she had too, but the idea of floating off into open space with just the tether to pull her and the SPIDER back down made her stomach turn over.

She could see Aragog clearly now, four legs up off the hull, floating, the other two still holding on. She pushed off hard and landed just a foot away, but the impact shook the hull plate and one of Aragog’s legs came loose.

“Shit!!”

“What?” Reggie cried.

“Just one holding on, but she’s still here.”

Nelson was panting, heart racing as she took out a clamp from her belt and hooked it around the first leg she could reach.

“I have her,” she said, still out of breath, “she’s tethered to me. I’m gonna take a quick look out here, then haul her in.”

A pair of relieved sighs filled her headset.

“Told you you didn’t need to worry,” Dein said.

“Thanks,” came Reggie’s voice, and she exhaled heavily.

“Have the bay ready, we can’t afford to have Aragog in repairs more than 4 hours.”

“Nelson, I’m not sure that’s -”

“I’m sorry Dein, but you saw the latest readings, we have five more microfissures on the dome, and Anansi can’t get to all of them on her own. We patch Aragog up and we get her back out.”

“Okay, four hours, I’ll be ready.”

The gloves made it hard for Nelson to open the panel. If a SPIDER was truely out of commission, it was best to repair them inside where you could do the work unencumbered, but if she was getting the SPIDER inside, she needed to turn the magnetic systems completely off so the SPIDER didn’t keep trying to take hold of the hull as they went back.

Aragog was acting up more and more, the least reliable of their SPIDERS. Maybe in a few weeks they’re be a break in the repairs, and they could afford to pull her in for real maintenance. Anansi was their best SPIDER, the oldest and somehow still in the best working order. She took commands better than the others, stayed on task, and even sent back reports on schedule half the time.

“You do your best, don’t you girl?” Nelson patted Aragog’s panel cover after she’d switched off the magnetic systems. “We all do our best.”

At least she could walk back to the airlock, though it would take more time; it would be too risky to try jumping all the way back with the SPIDER.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Blue Coast pt.2

Want to start at the beginning? Blue Coast pt. 1

Part 2

Emma was only spared a scolding for dripping water through the house because the servants cleared it away moments after she walked in the door. Her mother was in a rare anxious mood, in a rush to make everything ready for their guests, and the servants were in a rush behind her. The Laudriel estate was about to be host to visiting elves from Blue Coast and the many nobel dwin from Pauldrein who would come to see them.

Emma’s plans with Rilen made the whole formal affair seem much more exciting than it had before. Soon her knowledge of Blue Coast might not just come from visitors and travelers, she might actually see the city for herself.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ice pt. 5



Want to start at the beginning? - Ice, Part 1
--

Wilham made his way lightly over uneven stones and debris. The further they went, the worse the condition of the hallways.

“Why did you come up here?” Domani finally asked.

“To see what was here.”

“Father is going to be mad.”

Wilham blushed a little. He seemed genuinely affected each time their father scolded him for disobedience, yet it never seemed to act as a deterrent when new chances for adventure presented themselves.

“So don’t tell him, please.”

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ice pt. 4

Want to start at the beginning? - Ice, Part 1

--


“Can the fire be any bigger?”

Domani had not minded the cold on the trip - out in the wild, snow and trees on all sides. It had actually been exciting, something to keep her mind sharp. But here in her room she’d expected to have a chance to warm, instead the cold seemed to be penetrating her more, gripping at her bones, making it a labor to do more than sit and shiver.

“I’ve already had words with the maids who didn’t think to warm your room for you before your arrival,” Aleanna, Domani’s keeper, carefully took garments out of the travel chest and hung them in a wardrobe, “It will take time to heat a space this big, but it won’t be this cold always. By tomorrow you’ll be toasty in here.”

“It seems there are a lot of unexpected things to get used to.”

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ice pt. 3

Want to start at the beginning? - Ice, Part 1

--

The Guardian’s cave was lit by sunlight that shone through dozens of imperfections in the rock. Each crack was adorned with a cluster of icicles that held the light, magnifying it and casting it into the many corners and crevices of the cave.


The ground too, was covered in icicles, tall, thick icicles that thrust upward into the cave’s cold interior. In the far rear of the cave, so deep that shadows fought against the icy light, an ice flow spanned from ground to ceiling.


The boy sat in the cave listening to the whispers of his brothers and sisters who had passed into the ice. They were children so old, so full of the ice magics that guarded their home, that they had become rooted to the land, locked into the ice flow at the far interior of the cave. They seeming as cold and unmoving as the river that formed their boarder. But just like that river, deep below the surface life still flowed, and in quiet moments they spoke to their siblings.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Blue Coast

Writing is rewriting, and in that spirit, I've cleared the ground and started my 'Emma' story over. I plan to salvage some of the old writing, but much of it will be completely new material. Part one starts today.
--
Blue Cost Part 1

Clouds ringed the valley, swallowing the trees and rocks of the upper slopes in a grey mist. Even at noon the sun could not cut through the dense cover, leaving the valley in cold shadow.

The statue Emma leaned against was damp and cold, but she paid it little mind. With her eyes closed she took deep breaths, letting the cold air linger in her nose and throat before slowly exhaling. It felt clean, fresh, like she was the first being in the whole world to breath in that particular gulp of air. She thought about nothing as she pressed her back into the statue and breathed.

When she finally opened her eyes she looked to the line of clouds moving further down the sloping edge of the valley. It created the illusion that there was nothing more to the world than the green valley walls and the city that rested in its center. There was no sky, no sun, no hint that anything lived outside of the dwin city of Paulderain.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Unweaving pt. 3

Want to start at the beginning - Unweaving pt. 1
--

Robin’s friends called the house a few times to check on her. She decided that they must have set up shifts because the same person never called twice in a row. Not that she ever spoke to them. She let everything go to voicemail, and she completely ignored texts. She could imagine them on the phone with each other, sharing their worries, just as she had with them after Caius’ mother died.


Robin couldn’t think of anything to say to them, and could imagine only too clearly the things they would say to her. The only thing she could think to do was continue to ignore them.