Happy Friday! Happy Lunar New Year! And, for everyone in Canada celebrating it this Monday, happy Family Day long weekend!
I see lots of things to be happy about this weekend. I hope you get to enjoy at least one or two of them, too.
Writing is going well, and I have zero way of expressing how wonderful it is to say that again. I've been able to enjoy reading again, too, and that's beyond wonderful. Especially with book 3 of Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond arriving yesterday from my preorder placed last year. I'm planning to read The Chaos Curse cover to cover this weekend, let it sit for a few months, and then blitz the entire trilogy. Much like the Percy Jackson books, I'm so glad these novels are on my bookshelves and I can return to the worlds within them whenever I need or want to – and they're here for my kids to discover.
There was a legend from times long ago that our basement floor and living room were actual open spaces and not piled wastelands where children's toys linger and multiply. Seriously, I'd heard the tales. Friends, this week I found the floors. In both rooms! I could even vacuum!
I'd be delusional to assume the house will remain like this for the long weekend which starts after school today, but I'm going to bask in the glow right now. (Plus, the kids pitched in last weekend and did a big clean on their own so there was really only half a mess for me to deal with this week, hence the staircase organizing I was able to get to. Credit where it's due: the kids did a good job picking up.) Hope you're staying safe and well this weekend!
Trevor snorted a chuckle. “How do you figure fate and fortune play into it?” she asked.
“Because I’ve learned more about systems and tech from you in the past two weeks than I did during the last two standard years at Academy,” Leo said, sitting at the work station beside hers. “And now I’m almost certain that means I’ll get promoted before you, because now I’m so educated and so smart.” He smiled at her. “It must be fortune and fate working in my favor.”
“No, apparently you’ve now become delusional,” she said. “Your landside-loving brain officially has space rot.”
“You think so?” he asked, pausing before taking a first sip of what they called coffee on Dockland.
“The evidence is overwhelming.”
“And you’re qualified to diagnose a space-rotted brain because…?” He let the question hang.
“Because I am, and always will be, so much smarter than you,” she said. She picked up the tea he’d brought her and leaned back, stretching out her legs under the console and crossing them at the ankles. “And being smarter than you means I’ll get promoted first.”
She held up her cup and he tapped his lid into hers, as if the poly cups were mugs of ale they could actually clink together. They sipped their beverages in hopes the liquids might be hot, their mouths encountering the disappointment of tepid reality at the same time. After carrying the cups here from the galley, Leo had been holding less hope about the drinks’ temperatures and that knowledge provided him with slightly less disappointment.
“If you’re so smart, my dear Analyst and senior scan team member, why are you sitting at NavCom?” he asked. He decided it was a better idea to drink the so-called coffee while it was still warm and braved a mouthful, swallowing fast so it had less time to be in contact with his tongue.
“Mollin and Hodahvay finished ReadScans for this rock. You and I are babysitting NavCom calculations for our shift.”
“That sounds great!” Leo said brightly as she sipped her tea. His voice was perfect, but he couldn’t get the look on his face to line up and the sarcasm was overly obvious. Trevor only rolled her eyes. He’d been hoping for a chuckle she’d have to try and suppress due to having just taken a drink; even better if she’d been unsuccessful at suppressing the chuckle. Cleaning up the console because he’d made her laugh while her mouth was full would be a nice change. Usually it was the other way around and she was helping him wipe off the controls.
“So where are we going now?” he asked. His worst subject had been Modern Navigation, and this equipment was probably twenty standard years older than the oldest systems he’d trained with at Academy. His best subject had been Technology History, but these systems were still over a hundred standard years newer than anything from those classes.
“Looks like Buccaneer got IL, so we’re on our way to L,” she said.
“What?” Leo stared at her.
She shrugged and gestured to screens in front of her seat. Whatever writing was on them, it made even less sense than a ship getting ill and their new route being to a planet named Ell. All the planets their exploration group were assigned to had been numbered, and no Coalition planets had single syllable names. He leaned over the screens and squinted at both sets of information. The scrolling info was gibberish that had resemblances to the last time NavCom was calculating a route, and the stationary info… wasn’t in a language he could read.
“Here’s our scurvy-filled bucket,” she said, rotating her seat enough to point a finger at the screen of stationary info without having to change her posture. He stared at the line of letters and spaces highlighted by her touch. His brain picked out all the needed letters for their ship’s name in one of the clusters of letters, but that was the only resemblance.
“I don’t get it,” he finally admitted.
Trevor sighed and sat forward. “That skinny, redheaded, walking wall of freckles, Hodahvay, he likes pranks and his pretty, holocinema star-looking partner, Mollin, lets him do them, right? The virus Hodahvay wrote for our shift is harmless because it only affects the screen readout – I already ran the diagnostic check – but I’m sick of dealing with his garbage so I’m leaving the readout like this for Captain’s shift.” She sighed and glared at the readouts a little harder. “At least, I’m leaving it until later when my desire to not get chewed on by Captain is larger than my annoyance with Hodahvay and we write an antivirus,” she said. Trevor set down her cup and pointed at two spots, using one index finger from each hand even though the spots were close enough to have used fingers from one hand. “You can find ship names by the capital letters. All the words are in order, but the letters in each one display in reverse alphabetical order, see? The planet numbers just got translated into some ancient writing that stayed common in backspace sectors.”
“So… o-n-l-k-d-D-c-a is Dockland, and we’re going to ‘L’, and u-r-n-e-e-c-c-B-a is Buccaneer who are going to ‘IL’,” he said, spelling out the lettered order of the ship names she was pointing to. “Making this” –he looped his arm up between hers to point at the potential ship name on the line above Buccaneer’s– “Oscareous?” he asked, turning his head to look at her and close enough he could have rested his chin onto her shoulder. She locked eyes with him, and then looked pointedly at his arm in the middle of hers before staring back into his eyes with her brows peaked in a silent question. “What? You’re nicer to me when I flirt with you,” he said innocently.
“I’m nicer to you when you bring me tea.”
“That’s flirting, too,” he said, shifting his voice into a whisper which wasn’t at all whispering.
“What if I break your arm?” she asked. “You still think its flirting?”
“You asking before breaking it makes me think the right answer might be yes,” he said, the hopeful tone almost making the statement into a question. “And I don’t have a clue what these letters you’re saying are numbers actually are.”
“Stars align, Leo, I should not have told you I thought you were cute if the end result was you getting uppity like this. You’re from the Central Worlds, so it’s not much of a surprise you don’t know uncommon shipside things.”
“Yeah, but you did tell me and all of last week nearly killed me. I know a lot of commonly uncommon shipside things, I just don’t know how to read numbers written as letters.”
“Nearly killed you? So what, did you die between yestercyc and now? I’m not teaching ancient writing to you; just trust me that Dockland is going to planet fifty.”
“I did say last week nearly killed me, so no, I’m not dead, I just realized last night that Coalition regulations really fall off the charts for our situation. And I trust you.” He dropped his hand from the screen, breaking into a smile when she let his palm stay on her knee.
“Regulations still apply completely while we’re on shift, though,” she reprimanded him. “Educated and cute you might be, but you’re still not smart if you think any different.”
“My family’s rich, too.”
“They own both a condominium apartment mortgage and monthly commuter transportation debt. My dad even almost has a job again, so I might soon be able to claim my bi-weekly pay all to myself. Doesn’t that level of opulent prosperity make you inclined to bend regulations?”
A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!