Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Broadcast 8 Preview: With Greater Awareness Part 1

[If you have no idea what this post is about, and want to start at the beginning of the series, you can find Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins free wherever quality EBooks are sold. Amazon Barnes & Noble Smashwords iBookstore]

I'm writing Spinward Fringe Broadcast 8 in a way that makes most of the story lines very easy to serialise. If I wanted to, I could publish the entire book 800 - 2,000 words at a time in a stream that would last roughly a month.

To preserve the sanity of my editor and to refrain from giving everything away for free, I won't be doing that. I've also heard that a lot of people prefer to have the entire book in one chunk, and I have to admit, I'm one of those people where it comes to authors I enjoy reading.

I still wanted to serialise a portion of the book, especially since one great big chunk of story could stand on its own in the Spinward Fringe universe. It has a backstory, a character I find interesting, as well as that essential three-punch combo: a beginning, middle and an end.

For the next seven days, the seven parts of a short starring Alice Valent will appear on this site. These chapters will also appear in Spinward Fringe Broadcast 8, but will be interleaved with other stories, so this is a nice big preview of the book following one character's perspective.

Here's the synopsis:

It's been months since the battle of Port Rush, and Alice Valent has undertaken a temporary career as a Ranger. Two months of training and weeks of experience following that have earned her the privilege of operating on her own.
After finishing a short solo patrol, she returns to the ever-expanding settlement of Haven Shore to enjoy a day of sunshine with Ashley, Zoe, Panloo and other friends when she's presented with a new mission. Something has escaped the care of Haven Shore, and, as a favour to an acquaintance, she agrees to hunt it down.

Here's part 1

With Greater Awareness…

Part 1
A Beautiful Day

“The emergency hatch is not made to facilitate open-air flight,” Lewis told Alice through her communicator.
The wind blowing through Alice’s brown-red hair, and the view of the fresh green growth extending all around made a for a good opportunity to use a Ramiel fighter as though it were a pleasure craft. The small ship’s emergency hatch was wide open, and she was sitting up. In glider mode, strong fabric extended out from the sides and gave the craft a butterfly-like appearance. “I’ve got to throttle way down to fly at this height, I may as well take in the sights while I’m below face-stretchy speed.”
“Are you forgetting why you’re flying so low?”
“I know, I know,” she replied peevishly. “There could be a framework camp up ahead. I’ve got the important shielding up, don’t worry.” The rolling green landscape still smelled like freshly turned earth. The incredible pounding the planet of Tamber took during the battle of Rega Gain by countless crashed ships and bombardments had re-awakened entire continents. Old terraforming efforts and botanical systems that had been dormant for decades were active once again.
 While she trained as a ranger for two months and served part time for six weeks, Alice had seen it happen. It was beautiful, and it was making the planet a healthier place, but the overgrowth was hiding things that she was tasked to find. Most of her missions took place at night, making her job even harder. She was overjoyed to be sent out on a day mission to investigate some wreckage that was showing new activity.
Alice spotted a large armour panel sticking out from the ground and perked up in her seat. “We’ve got to be close,” she said.
“That matches a dorsal panel from the Idyllic,” Lewis confirmed. “It looks like your pleasure flight is coming to an end.”
“Yeah,” she said with a sigh. Alice leaned forward into the form-fitted cockpit and the fighter’s top hatch closed. “Wish we could bombard this area from higher up. How many people did that transmission say could be trapped?”
“They claimed there were nine survivors from the crash, all barricaded underground,” Lewis said.
“Still no word from the Carthans on their rescue team?”
“They responded to my query fourteen minutes ago, actually,” Lewis said.
“And?” Alice asked as she started an intensive scan.
“They said they wouldn’t be able to approach the wreckage until we cleared it,” Lewis replied.
“Typical. They stretch their resources out too thin and use British Alliance recovery money to contract out all the hard stuff,” she said.
“I haven’t seen you stepping back from the positive attention you receive every time you succeed on a mission,” Lewis teased. “You do this for much more than money.”
“There’s a difference between glory hunting and feeling good about a job with a positive outcome. Turns out I really like helping people.” The detailed scan of the valley ahead completed, and Alice sighed. “There are a couple of scavengers down there, but no sign of leftover framework troops. Definitely no sign of a hidden command centre. Looks like there are a couple of looters down there, though.”
“My wager is on Remmy finding it now,” Lewis said. “He was sent after the more promising signal.”
“Stop rubbing my nose in it,” Alice snapped. “He gets more missions, is constantly assigned to assault teams, and has seen way more of this rock than I have by now, and we entered into the service at the same grade.”
“You’ve seen nearly four times as much of this world in square kilometres,” Lewis corrected. “He’s never assigned to a fighter because he only has basic qualifications for flight.”
“So you’re saying I’m qualified to be his tour guide if he ever needs a lift and I’m the nearest pilot,” Alice replied. “That’s it, I’m landing.”
“Your job is to observe and report,” Lewis said. “The Carthans will send a recovery team to rescue them within twenty hours.”
“Twenty hours, I hate that. These people have been trapped in there for months, who knows what they’ve been eating.”
“Orders,” Lewis reminded in a sing-song tone.
Alice flipped a switch savagely, closing communications. She could have done the same with a thought, but it felt good to cut Lewis off with a gesture.
The scavengers didn’t match with Carthan personnel records, so there was no possibility that they were with a recovery team. The one she could see was dragging a heavy box away from the exposed part of the Carthan ship. “Attention, looter. You will be fired upon if you and your four companions don’t abandon the area immediately. You are in Carthan territory, and looting this vessel is classified as an attack,” she recited, not for the first time since she’d become a ranger.
The figure below ducked behind the crate he was pulling and fired several shots in her direction. The energy bolts barely registered on her fighter’s shield monitor. Alice set the energy level of her secondary guns low and fired at the crate. After a couple of wide shots, she struck the side, melting through the side in only a few hits. “That is your last warning, you really don’t want me to come down there,” she announced, half hoping that the looter and his friends would duck into the wreck. It had been several days since she’d had a good chase.
To her disappointment, the looter stood slowly with his hands held high. His friends were emerging from the wreck with their hands up as well. A skipper truck – a boxy vehicle mounted on a cheap antigravity sled – de-cloaked not far from the wreck, and the group began heading towards it. One of the looters slapped the first one Alice noticed across the back of the head as they were about to board the vehicle.
Alice watched the truck turn and advance over the horizon, logging it into her report for Haven Shore and the Carthan government. When she was sure they were gone, she guided her fighter into a slow turn and opened a channel to Carthan Control.
“Control here, what can we do for you Ranger Alice Valent?”
Instead of replying, she sent the details of her discovery to Control.
“One moment please,” said the operator.
Alice turned the fighter back towards Haven Shore and powered into a climb. “They’re going to say…” she started whispering to herself.
“Control here, I see you’ve scouted and cleared the area. We will send a recovery team within twenty hours. Thank you, Ranger Valent.”
“Yeah,” Alice said as she closed the channel. “They’ll go in,” she muttered to herself. “after nineteen hours. It’ll take five hours to cut through the wreckage, and when the grateful crew emerge, they won’t even mention that I could have gotten them out nineteen hours sooner. Meanwhile, those looters will come back, and there’s just the slightest chance that they’ll disturb the wreck, crushing the people trapped inside. I liked it better when the Carthans were still too screwed up to make the rules.”
The fighter cleared five thousand metres. She retracted the cloth wings and increased thrust with the inertial dampers off. The crush of increased g-forces and the counter squeeze of her vacsuit made her feel like she was exerting herself, doing something other than playing a game of verify the scan. The ship, and her teeth, rattled hard as a sonic boom announced that she’d passed Mach one as the ship climbed.
With a satisfied sigh, she engaged the inertial dampers and increased her acceleration. “Something about flying in atmo makes drifting in space seem like a light snooze.”
“Navnet Control, here. You are approaching my orbital sector, Ranger Valent,” said a thickly accented male controller through her priority channel.
“Just looking for a good route to Haven Shore, Control. Help me beat the traffic?” Alice replied in jest. There was so little traffic anywhere but around Haven Shore and a couple of other hot spots on Tamber. Most of the people who survived the siege months before had fled to the nearby planet of Kambis or left the system.
The controller chuckled. “I’ve got a nice straight path for you, just keep it to a responsible speed.”
“Aye, thank you,” Alice said. “Party pooper.”

COPYRIGHT © 2013 Randolph Lalonde
SPINWARD FRINGE is a Registered Trademark of Randolph Lalonde


Allan B. said...


Molly said...

No kidding! Next! Please? *whine* giggle.Glad to see the previews coming. I sit in anticipation.

v said...

I can't read short fragments. Just stop posting and take my money!

Chris "Stiches" L. said...

You teaser you... Now take my money in advance for Broadcast 8.

Anonymous said...

Okay this leaves me salivating for more, like how about the whole thing? I certainly will be looking forward to number 8. When?

Anonymous said...

A recent addition to your fan club. I havent read scifi in years until I picked up on this series with the twists and turns that can only happen in an amazing imagination. Thank you for the past books and cannot wait for your next ones.
Regards LW

Anonymous said...

I am with LW! I haven't read Sci-Fi for years but a friend at work gave me the Broadcast 1 and 2 to read and I can't get enough! I've read all of the Spinward Fringe series and am anxiously awaiting #8. I just downloaded "The Expendable Few" and am ready to tear into it.
You have great talent!!!

Scott Wright said...

best Sci first in decades for me

Anonymous said...

Just finished 7 can't wait to read hope you continue with the series for many years to come haven't enjoyed reading this much since my father introduced me to asimov's books thank you so much love the depth of the characters and again can't wait for the next book to come