3 09 2008

—I found this while organizing my computer today. It’s an early draft of the intro to a story I was thinking of writing. The idea is sound but the execution would be very difficult. It’s based on what would happen if someone not only mucked up the timeline, but mucked it up so badly that there was no longer any distinction between “then” and “now”. Let me know what you think.—

“What d’ya want Bella?”
“We appear to be having a malfunction.”
Sam looked through the viewfinder at the rapidly approaching surface. If they hit at this velocity they’d be blown to hellspast. “Well do something about it!”
“I’m tryin’! If you didn’t insist on flying this piece of worm-fodder we wouldn’t have a problem!” Her voice echoed from the back of the ship, along with crashes and clangs.
“Shut up and fix it!”  More clashes and clangs were the only reply.
Sam stared through the viewfinder and desperately manipulated the controls. A throbbing vein in his forehead and mounting blood-pressure threatened to distract him. He had to get the ship back under control. Fast.
“Sam?” Rat poked his head into the control room.
“I’m a little busy, Rat.”
“I know,” Rat kept his voice low and apologetic, “but I think I know what’s wrong.”
Sam kept his eyes firmly on the view finder. “Well then DO SOMETHING!”
Rat slunk into the control room, reached around Sam and began rapidly typing orders into the captain’s computer. A brief sensation of lift accompanied the ship’s abrupt slowing and leveling out.
Sam leaned back in his seat and unbuckled. He stared at Rat in wonder. “Since when do you know how to fly a Bounder?”
“I don’t.”
Bella’s footsteps clattered up the stairs to the control room and she stuck her head through the door, grease smudges covering her face. “What’d I do? It stopped!”
Sam got up and lurched past her. “You didn’t do anything. Rat fixed it. Now come on, let’s get that cargo sorted before our meeting with Fitz.”
“The old bugger wouldn’t know good Anq’s from bad ones. I dunno why we have to trade with him.” Bella’s voice was petulant.
“Because he don’t know good Anqs from bad and he has money. Honestly, have you learned nothing?”
Rat gave Bella a shy grin as they both turned to follow their captain up to the hold. She tossed her head and turned sharply to follow the Captain.


Bounders are queer ships. Just about the least practical thing in the skies. They were awkwardly shaped and poorly laid out. You had to do a lot of climbing if you wanted to get anywhere, which is why you never saw a fat crew member on any bounder anywhere. The only concession to traditional transportation was that the controls were in the forward part of the ship. A useless gesture since there were no windows. Anyone who wanted to see outside had to look through a viewer.  In all Bounders the holds were in the top, the galley and crew quarters were wherever that particular ship’s designer felt like putting them. 


There were numerous classes of Bounders. The big ones that the government and major corporations used were Anika-Class and there were only half a dozen of those. Below that were large transports that were deemed Jezebel-Class. Below that were private Bounders used by government officials and men with too much money on their hands, those were Pandora-Class. Below that, somewhere just above the proverbial pond-scum, were the Urbana-Class.


Urbana-class were few and far between. Most of them had been scrapped at the beginning of the Great Exchange, deemed too small to be really useful. The only people who flew Urbana-class now were privateers and adventurers. Not that those occupations were considered respectable. hell, they weren’t even romantic anymore. Civilians and Dirts (people who didn’t fly) didn’t want anything to do with the Travelers.


This particular Urbana-class ship, home to seven crew and the occasional cat, had been christened Lox. The occasional cat was also called Lox, regardless of gender or physical description.


Lox was owned by the Captain who was called just that; ‘Captain’. Second-mate was Bella, a scrap of a girl who’d run away from home at twelve years old and stowed away on a transport. Rat was the cabin boy, in charge of doing everything he was told to do with alacrity and without error. The boson was an enormous hulk of a man with dreadlocks two feet long who answered only to Samuel. it wasn’t his name but it was as good as anything and he would viciously right hook anything that attempted to call him Sam. ‘Drea was in charge of munitions. They didn’t often have to fire the ship’s half-dozen weapons, but when they did they never missed. ‘Drea was the deadliest thing between 2022 and 2115. She often boasted that she knew how to kill a man from twenty paces using only a piece of baling wire. No-one had yet tested the veracity of her claim. The crew consisted of twin brothers, Gambit and Sasha. They were book-ends; tall, bronzed and heavily muscled with tattoos on the left side of their faces and their right shoulder blades. Captain often complained that half their profits went to feeding the twins. Without the twins, though, the profits would have gone down quicker than a Dirt when faced with a time-slip engine. They could load all three holds in under two hours, a record yet to be beaten.


It wasn’t a glamorous life, sure, but they made good money and had a home that traveled the stars.




4 responses

3 09 2008
Jennifer James

Oh yeah! I remember we were going to do this but then got confused trying to puzzle out how to make the idea work.

I like the characters though. And the verbage is fun…

3 09 2008

Thanks. I got to use bad (ish) words. Ha ha.

4 09 2008
Laurie Ascanio

i want the next chapter!

4 09 2008

uh oh… There IS no next chapter! I just found this on my computer and it’s all there is… I’m going to visit Jen for a week, though, and if I can pry myself away from the Scrabble table I’ll try and add some more to it.

I love that you comment, Laurie!

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