Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The sound of hard drives crashing
Yes, I'm having problems with a hard drive. I tried to blame the loss of about 4k words on the cats, but the problems have spread. I'm clearing what I can, reworking a lot of other things, and rewriting those lost words. That part is going pretty well, actually. I've gotten about half of them rewritten, so as things go, that's not too bad. I might be back to where I was by the time the night is out.
This is obviously the NaNo that will have problems. It's almost amusing after a while.
The story is probably about 2/3rds done. It's not a great story, but at least it has kept me busy in ways that I never expected. I can't believe how close to the end of the month we are already! I would like to get to at least 70k so this isn't my worst NaNo ever, and I'd like to think that wouldn't be a problem.
But then I start seeing hard drives crashing. Outlines disappearing. 4k worth of story devoured by some story-eating creature living in my computer. Maybe I should be happy if I can just stay above the 50k mark.
Here, at least, is a snippet. Not a great scene, but at least it's still there, in the story!
Another group was coming. Jasha looked at them and a whisper of worry crossed his face before he pulled back the mask he normally wore. "Science," he said with a sigh. "And in full force. They've even brought out the apprentices, to make a show. That's the full fifteen of them, and I fear that this can't be good. Utley, if anything happens, do your best to help these good people get back to the ship."
"You don't really expect --" Utley began and then stopped and looked worried. "I'll do what I can, Jasha. Don't provoke Ti."
"The only way I couldn't provoke him is to lie down and die. And then he'd complain that it was inconvenient to have to walk over me."
Utley let out a bark of a laugh that startled chickens. Felicia was looking at the group of dark-robed people who were heading their way, and she could see that the laugher had not set well with the man in the lead. That, she suspected, would be Ti.
"Welcome, Science," Jasha said and gave a very low bow of his head. Ti still scowled. "I'm glad to see you come to meet our new friends."
"You had no right to bring them out here, to show them our secrets --"
"Secrets?" Jasha said. "Chickens and sheep our secrets now? I trust that you had not meant to keep such things secrets for long. Every child in the village knows about them, and how to care for them."
"Probably better than I do," Davis said with a little laugh. "You've done a wonderful job here."
A few other of the people were finally coming out. She had thought, at first they came to back Science in whatever they planed, but from the looks some of them gave the fifteen, Felicia began to suspect that they were really here to make certain Science didn't do anything wrong.
She should have expected such power plays within the group. It might help her if she could study them a bit more... though she couldn't say she liked being part of the trouble right now.
"You have brought your devices," Ti said, waving a hand toward Davis's hand. "You are spying on us --"
"Scanner," someone in the crowd said. "We all know what a scanner is, Ti Mar Anne. Don't try to act as though we are all such fools as you would like us to be."
Jasha winced at those words. Ti snarled and looked back at Jasha again. "You've trained your followers well."
"I am the Speaker," Jasha said. "I do not have followers, Ti. I don't even have an apprentice yet. What I do have is the ability to speak to others, even to the Eriasin. I hoped that these people can help us."
"It’s not their place."
"It should be yours," Utley said. "But you've already told us that you won't help since Jasha has chosen to go to the Sleepers instead of to you. But we had gone to you, for years, Ti, with no result."
"And you shall have none from them, either," Ti said and glared at Davis and then at Felicia. "They are not our people."
"We're willing to try and help," Felicia offered. She kept her voice calm, even though this fool was pushing all her buttons right now. "I can't guarantee that we'll find the answer, but --"
"You won't find the answer."
"Well, there's a challenge if I ever heard one," Davis said and laughed. "But maybe we would do better if we worked together on this problem. It seems to me that it is something that needs to be fixed --"
"You don't know. You have no right to step into our work --"
"Ti," someone said from the crowd said. "Don't be a stubborn fool. We need help. We all know it."
"You think I've failed."
"We think you haven't found the answer yet," Jasha said, his voice still calm. "That is not the same as failing."
"Your aliens haven't done any better."
"No, I don't think the Eriasin have. I hope that these people, who have a closer relationship to the plants we are trying to grow, might have a better chance at finding an answer. Ti --"
"You cannot talk your way past me, Speaker," Ti said. "These are not our people. They have come to late to be a part of your community, and you have brought their contamination of ideas to us --"
"You have no idea what my ideas are," Felicia said. She felt a whisper of suppressed rage start to rise. She'd been angry since she awoke, and this man was looking for an enemy he could fight. She might just be the one he wanted. "You are making judgments based on your own personal agenda, and if this is your version of Science, then it's no wonder you are failing in your work. A scientist must have an open mind and be ready to explore all --"
She hadn't expected him to grow so angry and so quickly. Ti spun on her, and before she knew it, he was striking --
But somehow Jasha stepped in before she could react. She hadn't expected that, either. Neither, apparently, had any of the others. They were all moving. Utley came over the top of the fence, grabbed her and swept her into the animal pen where she had some cover. She had reached for a weapon she wasn't wearing -- that had been a wise decision on her part, to leave it behind. So far this had only gone to blows. They could survive --
Villagers had come at a run and pulled back all the people of science, many of whom had moved in on Jasha, Utley and Davis. There were still shouts, and then -- as though they had been the ones wronged -- the science group turned and walked away.
She only now noticed that Jasha was still on the ground. She scrambled back over the wall and down to her knees beside him, where Davis was already kneeling and looking worried.
"That was just uncalled for," an older woman said. She sounded so angry that Felicia feared the rage was directed at her. "Ti mar Ann is running scared. That gave him no reason -- Jasha, boy? Are you all right?"
Jasha had both hands to his chest, his eyes closed. He opened them and gave a nod that did not convince anyone that he was in anyway all right. He started to sit up, and then went pale white --
"We need to get him to help," Felicia said, and knew she sounded worried and panicked. The woman nodded, and apparently they had found common cause, at least in this. "Where can we take him? Or can someone come --"
"Science," Utley said. He wiped blood from his cheek and shook his head. "Science takes care of our medicines."
"We don't dare take him --" the woman said and sounded worried again.
"Up to the ship," Felicia said. "Move him carefully. I have a medic, and she'll be able to help."
"Yes. Good. I am Carilyn mar Kara, the eldest of the village."
"I am honored to meet you," Felicia said and gave, what she hoped, was a proper bow of her head. "I am Felicia Anazar."
"Oh yes, I know who you are. Utley, can you lift him? Gently, though. I fear cracked or broken ribs. Ti -- Ti will have to be called to count for this one. No, Jasha, don't try to come between me and justice this time."
"We need... har... mon...y," he whispered. "We need... peace."
Yes. And it's time that Ti Mar Ann was reminded of this. Or perhaps it is time he learns that we don't need him at all."
Jasha looked worried at the words and Felicia heard a whisper of protest from the rest of the crowd. They were not happy with Ti, but the idea that someone might cut him out entirely seemed to worry them more.
She wondered if she had misinterpreted the relationship. Was this more about government rather than science? Was it a show of power about who rules this village? She didn't want to get involved in that kind of trouble -- but she was involved. They were all involved. It wasn't as though she and her friends were going to walk away from here.