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Sol and Centauri (all new!) [light language]

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Author Topic: Sol and Centauri (all new!) [light language]  (Read 664 times)
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« on: August 29, 2007, 03:30:19 pm »

Okay, I wrote some more. I feel really guilty though, because I keep jumping around so much. This will come sort of after the exposition, just leading into the rising action. I'm introducing some characters, but this scene shouldn't introduce Jovia for the first time, so I let up with the description of it (which I'm sureyou've all heard a million times by now...).

If anybody's disturbed by how I keep jumping around within my own personal timeline of the story, please say so. I do feel bad posting another fragment that's not finished, but I think this is the only way I'll get anything finished. I'm not the type who can sit down and write ten thousand words in three days - I have to really feel like doing the scene. Grr. It's just lucky that I'll have enough scenes to jump around between that I can write something in any mood.
Here it is.


November 3, 2321 CE

   “Hate that bastard,” Juliet Haber muttered under her breath as the doors closed. If Philip was amused, he wasn’t going to show it, but kept his face straight-creased. Juliet walked the length of the large office, opening the small, oaken drinks-cabinet recessed into the wall in a corner, and pouted as she tried to decide between two bottles of dark liqueur. Finally choosing one, she slotted it into its receptacle and let the machine pour a glass for her.
   “A drink?” She glanced at Philip with the question, but the aide didn’t meet her brown eyes.
   “It isn’t me you should be asking that question, if you can forgive me, Ms Haber, but rather yourself, given the youth of the hour and the somewhat energetic schedule you have devised for the day.” Juliet shrugged and closed the cabinet. As the director of the Jovian Resource Trade Corporation, she was a busy woman.
   “Fine. You’re forgiven. It’s just that bloody man that makes me want to drown. In alcohol and seawater, before you ask, but given the absence of seawater, on this godforsaken flying toilet roll, I’ll have to make do.” She sipped the crimson drink, but made no sign of appreciation. “What’s my next gig?” The butler made no sign that he had acknowledged the question, but Juliet felt a buzz of pressure across her fingers, as if she was pressing them onto a coarse sander. “Special contact?” She frowned. Philip nodded.
   “That’s all you instructed me to record the entry as, Ms Haber.”
The two of them had been practising the tactile-communication method for as long as Philip had been her aide. Juliet had a less-than-perfect memory, a fact she would readily admit to anybody she trusted (or with whom she wasn’t in direct competition), but the game of politics, at the level she played, became a game of memory. Opponents often found her ability to recall almost any fact about them, with no use of her corneos, uncanny. What they didn’t notice was Philip standing out of view, virtual text scrolling across his eyes as he transferred the information to Juliet by touch.
   “Right. Well, I won’t need you for the next hour, then.”
   “Yes, Ms Haber.” He made his way out of the room, using a portal opposite the main doors, perfectly concealed among the pattern of the wood panelling that adorned the walls to just over head-height.
The office was Juliet’s masterwork of interior design, but she was content to let the knowledge that she had designed it remain as precious as that of her short memory. The large room was divided into several sections by a curving floor plan, within which there were no straight lines. The general movement was single inward spiral, the culmination of which was a small, circular lounge with her drinks cabinet. There was no desk, but half way through the office was an arrangement of low, comfortable seats that Juliet liked to think of as her work area. She did everything via her implant processor, refusing to have hard copies of anything. The décor up to head height was traditional, with dark wood panelling, perfectly moulded to the contours of the walls, and soft carpet that was snow-white without being radiant or distracting. Looking up, the ceiling was as grand as a cathedral’s, but made exclusively from scintillating blue-white metal scales. Pillars arched to the floor, interrupting the conservative furnishing. Often, when Juliet received visits from people she didn’t like – and there were many – she would activate the roof lighting, making the entire edifice shine with the radiance of thousands of tiny glowpoints. The effect was rather uncanny, as Philip and several others among her staff had attested.
She had just had them lit to full intensity, and finally turned them down, replacing the brilliant white light from the ceiling with softer natural light reproduced by the wall lamps. Her previous visitor was one Madeline Maguire, the Council representative for the United Off-Earth States. The woman had been insufferable following the States’ latest victory over JovRes. The feud between the corporation and the States had been simmering for over a century, pivoting on JovRes’s policy of strictly controlling all hydrogen trade. The main issue was the fate of the several independent stations that orbited Jupiter alongside Jovia, harvesting and refining their own hydrogen and often selling it to buyers who wanted discretion. It wasn’t the moral issue at all for Juliet Haber – every deal that went to the independents, JovRes missed out on profit.
The man she was meeting now, she hoped, would start to change all that.

As Simon Frost stepped off the maglev car at Jovia Central, he was found instantly. A microsecond gap in his implant processor’s shielding against the local network was enough. Warning impulses wormed through the circuits permeating Jovia’s structure, finding their way to the central processor in the Solar Critical Response and Assault barracks. The barracks was undermanned around the clock, being home to only twelve officers instead of the normal thirty-six. However, Jovia wasn’t a usual city – instead of the handful of three-squad hubs that a terrestrial city commonly had, Jovia had a single one-squad station. But it was sufficient. Due to the nature of Jovia’s settled population, crime was extremely low. The only crime committed here was in the flexible arrangements of its spaceport’s harbourmaster, and that was beyond the jurisdiction of the SCRA – and more often than not, beyond their knowledge.
However, as soon as Simon Frost’s processor registered, the six officers on duty were put onto full alert, pending further information. The squad leader, Guillaume Adrienne, activated a dozen civilian contacts he had, using their corneos and implant processors as avatars to analyse the crowds in Jovia Central’s plaza. Frost was a tall man, pale hair – and handsome, individuals within the government quietly acknowledged – so he should be easy to spot. Should.
But the breach in Simon’s security was fleeting, and he was good at his job. To all intents and purposes, he had never been in the Jovia Central maglev station, except for a fragment of implant processor signal. AV sensors never got a trace of him. But as they tried, nobody noticed the man behind him exiting the maglev car, glancing around, and making a beeline for the station’s exit. Terry Rowland emerged from the subterranean train hub, and smiled in the artificial sunlight.


To be continued... again...
« Last Edit: September 18, 2007, 07:42:00 pm by Bakerman » Report Spam   Logged

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