Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Doing well, and a snippet

(A brick wall at Mesa Verde)

Today I received a wonderful box of goodies from members of Forward Motion. It was so much fun to unpack! Thank you everyone!

(Nibble, nibble)

It certainly improved my mood, especially going into yet another holiday by myself.

Work on Written in the Sand (second NaNo Book) is going far better than book 1. I'm up to about 28k right now, and I think I'll be able to make the 50k without a problem, even with so few days left in the month. For a while there, it seemed like November would never end. Now it's too close to the end of the month!

I'll be somewhere over 100k for the month, which isn't bad considering how much trouble I had with other things. There were plenty of times when I thought 'I have 50k, I can quit now' but I'm glad I didn't. I'm really enjoying this second book.

And with that in mind, here is a rather long snippet. First an introduction to the three characters:

Iwan is the young chieftain of the Cath es Tear, a very powerful tribe that usually keeps to the desert. Because of various trouble (Gods area awakening, return of Chaos, possible end of the world), they're involved in some rather exciting events right now.

Camee is his sister the priestess of the tribe. She's a bit outspoken (and considerable fun to write).

Gareth is a northerner who as a soldier with the Laclan army, but who got caught up in the Cath es Tear trouble, and now finds himself bound by an oath to protect an important object that will help to save the world.

At this point, Gareth has been with the tribe for a while. He and Iwan get along very well.

Gareth went with him as Iwan spread the word. People looked resigned and no one complained. They crossed paths with Camee twice. She looked worried, but she smiled and went on to whatever it was she was doing.

"The two of you seem to have equal power here," Gareth said, watching as she walked away again.

"Mostly, we do. There are times when one or the other takes precedence," Iwan said. He stopped and leaned against a tent post, trying to ease the ache in his leg again.

"Is that normal in the tribes?"

"It varies in tribe and generation. There are times when the Priest or Priestess is not interested in anything outside of religion. And there are times when one or the other has a far stronger personality, and there is no hope of equality. But Camee and I get along."

"She seems to do well."

"Yes, she does."

"Will she ever marry?" he asked, and then hastily added. "Will you?"

Iwan almost laughed, but he managed not to keep control. "Most of us do and I imagine Camee will some day, if anyone will ever be able to put up with her. She's rather outspoken, you know."

"Is she?" he said. "I didn't notice."

"We better go check on the feast," Iwan said. He didn't trust himself not to laugh at Gareth's interest in Camee, which had been obvious for some time, even if he did try to hide it. Iwan found it amusing to be acting as the older brother -- especially at a time like this. He did not, however, think that Gareth would share the amusement, especially since he seemed so worried.

The meal went well. The two days at the oasis had helped and he thought he could sense the relief they felt to be going on to Tiamarta and the end of the journey. It was hard to say what would happen then. He tried not to worry about it.

Some of the Laclan soldiers joined them. It reminded Iwan of the times Gareth had come to the square in Tianal and listened to their tales and heard their songs. How simple everything had been back then. He had known that things were changing, and he was at Tianal for a reason -- but even so, he could not have imagined that it would be this drastic of a change so quickly.

He didn't think this was the place he should be. He looked at the Standard, which seemed so common place to him now. He remembered when he and Gareth had first take it up, and the weight of the decision that went with it.

Nothing he would have changed. That lifted an odd weight he had carried and hadn't realized it until now. What if questions disappeared from his mind again. There could be no 'what if' in this case. They had done what needed to be done -- he, Gareth and all the Cath es Tear. From taking in Princess Tyne -- which seemed such a little thing now -- to taking Gareth into the safety of the Tear and away from Kaven, he couldn't think of a single thing he would have changed.

They retired early that night. Gareth took his place out in the moonlight -- he seemed to like it there, with some of the others who slept in the area outside the tent. Maybe it helped him feel more like one of the tribe.

Iwan watched the group settle down, and then stared at the Standard for a while longer, watching the flag flutter, and the lettering change. He wanted to know what it meant, but staring at it only made him more tired tonight. It was going to be a difficult few days after this. He needed rest.

But he still paused, looking at out the camp. Everything looked deceptively peaceful out there tonight. He missed the sound of the sheep, but otherwise, it might have been a perfect night. A shame it wouldn't last.

He turned away and headed across the tent, surprised to find that Camee had begun packing away some of the blankets and pillows, which surprised Iwan when he came to his sleeping area.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"I thought I'd make it easier for us in the morning," she said and folded a blanket away.

"I can pack my own things, you know. Leave that pillow. I want to be comfortable tonight."

"I'm just trying to help!"

"Go get some rest, Camee. You're going to be scouting tomorrow. You need a clear head."

"I will have one. Don't worry. I hope Gareth is up to the journey tomorrow."

"Why wouldn't he be?" Iwan asked, stretching out on his blanket.

"He's worried, isn't he? Does he talk about it? What does he speak to you about?"

"He's mostly curious about how the tribe works," Iwan said. He turned to his side and closed his eyes. "Sleep well, Camee."

"What kind of questions?"

"Culture, rules -- leave that blanket alone! I don't want to be cold."

"Does he say anything about his own culture?"

"No, not really. Good night --"

"Do you know anything about him? His family? What was his life like before he came to Tianal?"

"I have no idea, Camee. Go to bed."

"I just wonder what it is he wants out of life. What does he want from us?"

"Probably a good night's sleep. Camee --"

"I wonder what kind of culture he came from. Does he have a family? Is there someone waiting for him --"

"Oh for the love of the gods!"

He leapt up and grabbed her by the arm. She yelped, but he didn't let go as he pulled her out of the tent and into the square where several people, including Gareth, looked up with shock. He crossed to his friend, and pushed Camee toward him.

"Gareth, take this woman to bed. I give you my blessing. I give you my tent. I'll even give you gold, if it will just shut the two of you up about asking me questions about each other!"

"How much gold?" Camee asked.
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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.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NaNo -- 41,308

Hello. I'm not doing very well at NaNo so far. Russ is gone, but now I have a horrible miserable cold and all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for a few days. It doesn't help that the cats unplugged my computer in the middle of work last night and I lost about 400 words. I'm just about back to 40k, though. Yeah, it's been that kind of NaNo.

Tomorrow morning, the people come back to try and fix the gas line in the other house. Having it only partially fixed is kind of stupid, even if I don't move over there this winter. We need the heat on, at least low, so that we don't have more frozen water pipes. Besides, the washer and dryer are over there, and that would be a real nice thing to have!

Oh -- I just took a little turn in the story and it is now going VERY well. So, I'm off to get some writing done! Yay! Throughout the story I have referred to the Journal. I decided to step back and look at the people who wrote that journal -- the people who awoke on the ship to find themselves trapped, lost -- what could they do?

Here is a short excerpt from that new section:

I woke up to hear the alarms. That's what I remember most about those first few days -- the alarms, and the growing feeling of dread and despair as I realized how bad the situation was.

The gravity was failing. It surged and died several times as I tried to get out of the pod. I saw others doing the same, but I could smell burnt metal and plastic everywhere. We were still in space. The engines were working -- I could feel the dull throb of power corsing through everything. I remember all those feelings that came even over the panic.

Panic helped to clear my system. I finally was able to stand. Gravity only bumped up and down a little now, which told me that the computer -- thank whatever gods watched over us -- was still working.

I remember thinking all of that in those first few minutes. Or maybe it was hours. I'm not certain how long it took me to really calm enough to look at the situation.

It wasn't good.

Mark was the first person I saw -- or maybe the first person I acknowledged seeing. I think there had been others, but we were all so stunned and frightened that I don't think anyone really connected for a while. But I found Paul sitting in the auxiliary office and trying to get to the computer to come up on line. He looked up, startled, when I came into the room. He had a cut on the side of his face. I wondered if others were injured, too.

"What the hell happened?" I asked.

I think those were the first words I had said. Mark looked at me, and then stood and pushed me into the chair by the desk. I don't know how I must have looked right then, but I settled down and took a deep breath. The air still tasted funny.

"Something came through the side of the ship, Dora," he said softly. "It took out almost all the pods."


I think everything went dark for a while after that. I think I might have shut down. Others came into the room. I heard crying, denial, fear. But I was not part of it again. Not for a long time.
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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Russ is heading back to New York

Russ was home for nine days. It was great to see him and we had some wonderful discussions, watched some shows, and I cooked full meals for the first time in a year!

But I can't believe the number of things that went wrong. The day he got back, the car broke down. After that, we couldn't drive more than about eight blocks before it overheated. This really limited anything we were going to do. I was supposed to go to the zoo in Omaha. I was lucky if we got to Wal-Mart. For someone who is pretty much housebound the rest of the time, this was a real blow. I need to get out when Russ is here because weeks of staring at the walls of this house will drive a person crazy, especially in the winter when it's too cold to go for long walks.

The good side is that Russ had just driven the car down from Minneapolis and it could have developed this problem out in Nowhere Iowa in the middle of the night. As it is, the car is parked in the driveway and a friend took Russ down to Omaha to catch the flight.

I did not get moved into the other house. The broken water pipe turned into a huge problem, mostly because the person who used to live there redid some of the work and didn't have a clue what he was doing. Russ got a lot of it done, but he couldn't get it all.

And that didn't matter, because the gas company had the lines in the house checked and said they would NOT turn the gas on to the house. That cost us another $200. Plus all the money and work Russ -- and someone he hired -- put into the water pipes.

Now, you can look on the good side on both of these. Russ might have thought the water pipes were fine after the first fix, and it could have come apart the day he left, and I'd be in a real mess. We could have had the gas turned on and then had a dangerous problem. So, despite it being incredibly frustrating, these were somewhat good things in the end.

I woke up the day after Russ got home with my voice mostly gone, and the inability to swallow anything without pain shooting through my right ear. This continued for a couple days, spread to the other ear... and then cleared up.

It was in the 70's when Russ arrived. It snowed before he left. Not a lot of snow, but enough to make certain we couldn't get anything done outside, especially since it got very cold. And Edmond got sick and we had to take him to the vet -- a real trick in this weather with a car we feared was not going to make it that far. (Russ is thinking water pump. That along with all the other failing pieces means he's going to have to get a new car rather than try to fix this one. It's just not worth it.)

Before we realized that I could not move over to the other house, we had focused entirely on getting it ready for me. We didn't work on the stuff at this house until yesterday, after we got the news on Friday that we couldn't have heat at the other place. Needless to say, we didn't get much done. Russ tried to get the heating system to work a bit better, and it seems nicer today, so that's good. We did not work on the kitchen sink, which leaks and has a spigot that comes off if you bump it (always fun to have water shooting up while trying to do the dishes!). We didn't get anything done with my office, but I can get a lot of that myself. As long as we don't have a bitterly cold winter, I'll do all right. This house is awful when the wind blows, but I've survived it until now, and I'll manage another winter.

Oh, the good electric heater I usually plug in on really cold days died, too. I still have an older one that I can use if I have to, but it's going to be tricky since I keep blowing fuses here at the house, so I have to be careful of what's on when.

This was the most frustrating, annoying set of days I ever remember, and there came a point where we started worrying about doing anything at all, for fear it would turn worse.

Russ taught his three classes, at least, and that money will come in sometime over the next few weeks. We replaced my dead printer with an inexpensive HP that prints on discs so that Russ could print off a bunch of discs to take with him copy his stuff onto, and sell on Ebay where he makes a few dollars a month. They look great, so that was a good investment. He was also able to take my Sony DSCH1 since I have the new Canon, so he'll be able to do some work, too. So those things worked out. We took a desk chair from the other house to replace the one with the broken wheel that I'd been using. That's better, too.

Edmond is much better today. I'm not as ill as I was. Russ is riding to Omaha with a friend.

I have only written about 30k for NaNo so far. Usually I'd be up to 100k about now. I don't know if I am going to have a better rest of the month or not. Right now, it's kind of hard to care. On the other hand, I don't have to think about packing things up and moving them, so that's a bit less work, and maybe I can get my office back in order and feel like working here. Maybe I can even take my frustrations out on the novel.
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Day 3 -- 5164 (15,718)

I am having a very hard time getting going, even when I have the time. And I don't have much of that. The story started to pick up a bit today, though. I think I'm finally getting a feel for the people and the story.

Today's snippet:

Utley took over, his big hands surprisingly fast and careful with the ties. He pulled the tunic back and grimaced -- Jasha looked down and could already see bruises.

"What happened?"

"Ti Mar Ann lost his temper," Jasha said softly.

"And his honor," Utley added. "He kicked you after you were down, Jasha. Many times. I couldn't get to him. I'm sorry."

"No one could get to him," Felicia said. "And thank you for getting me beyond his reach. I wasn't ready for that reaction from him."

"No one expected it," Utley said. He had begun to look around the room with more interest than fear. "I don't think Ti expected to do it, but he has never been known for his ability to hold is temper. They never should have allowed him to be head of science."

The other woman -- Jasha wished he knew a name -- ran a scanner over him and again. She frowned this time, but then looked at Jasha and smiled a little. "Sorry, that probably looked dire for a moment there. I was trying to read changes in our body chemistry before I gave you any drugs. I don't see much, but there are enough little things that I don't dare give you anything too strong for the pain. I'm sorry."

"I can get you some Palsa root --" Utley began, and then looked back at Jasha with a start and bowed his head. "My apologies."

"Palsa root? And there is a problem with it?" Felicia asked.

"It helps to deaden the pain, but some become addicted to it. My mother died of such an addiction. And because she ate the root often when she was pregnant with me, I am already susceptible to it."

"I would like to see some of this Palsa Root," the woman said. She placed a metal tube against the side of Jasha's neck and he felt a slight, cool feel that spread down to his chest within a few heart beats. "Better?"

"Much," he agreed. "Thank you. I do not know your name. Forgive me."

"My fault," Felicia said. She settled in a chair by the bed and looked frazzled. "From the time the trouble started, I lost my focus. This is Diane Demarco. She's our chief med. This is Jasha mar Leodora, Di."

"Oh! You are the one! Thank you, Jasha mar Leodora."

"Thank you?" he said, confused. She had drawn out bandages now and helped him sit up strarighter as she started to wrap them around, under the back of his tunic and around front.

"You woke us. I am alive today because of it. Shouldn't I thank you?" she said, sealing the bandages off.

"I don't know," he said, and didn't look at Felicia. "This might not be a place where you want to be."

"Here or dead? I'll take here. Dead can come later." She stepped back and looked into his face. She had an earnest look, her narrow, dark face intense as she met his look. "This is not what we planned, but then I suspect nothing we planned would have quite worked the way we thought anyway. We're here. I hope that I might be able to help you and your people, Jasha. I hope that we can all make this transition and accept our places here."

Jasha nodded and then looked in surprise at Felicia when she made a sound of amusement.

"Sorry. But those words were really aimed at me, Jasha. Di just knows better than to lecture me."
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Monday, November 03, 2008

NaNo Day 2: 5049 (10554 Total)

Day two of NaNo and I managed another 5k. It's a bit slow going right now, but I'm still working along. Russ and I kicked back and watched a bunch of shows tonight, which was fun. I had a bad headache for a good part of the day, too, which didn't help at all. But still... managed to keep the word count up, so I can't complain.

Here is a short bit from Day 2's work:

The light changed as they neared the airlock. She remembered crossing that portal on her way to the pod and looking back -- they almost all did, that last time -- to see the distant towers of Space City, and the wide ocean off the Florida coast. She closed her eyes for a moment and could recall the salt scent and hear the cry of gulls.

And when she opened her eyes again, Jasha stood close by, silent, respectful and waiting. The light ahead had a greenish tint. She walked toward it, moving more slowly again. It was not weakness. It was that she didn't want to know --

But she couldn't hide in here.

When she got to the door she blinked and blinked again because her eyes would not quite focus --

She reached out to steady herself against the side of the airlock, and then drew her hand back in haste. Something covered the side of the ship. Green. Vines of some sort that had crawled up the shell and entwined along the door. She looked at them in shock and thought something small moved there.

Movement beyond the airlock. Someone --

The mounds were buildings. Several hundred of them, spread out down a slight terrace away from the airlock, row upon row of them. People moved in many places. Animals. She thought she saw chickens... and other things.

This was an old settlement.

"Dear God," she whispered. She had not expected to feel such shock again. She locked her legs and refused to fall, and looked at Jasha --

"Welcome to Ostara," he said, with what seemed a far more formal bow of his head.

She couldn't breathe for a moment. Answers. She wanted --

"How long -- how long since the ship landed?"

"Four generations have been born on this world," he said. "By earth years -- we still keep them as best we can -- it is nearly 205 years."

"Why -- why did you wait so long to awaken us?" she asked. "Why -- "

But before Jasha could answer she heard shouts from the people below. Several were coming there way. Jasha looked troubled. He stepped forward, as though to put himself between her and a danger she didn't understand.

"What have you done!" a man in a long dark robe demanded. "You cannot have --"

But he seemed unable to say more, looking at Felicia with what looked very close to rage.

"I would not let them die," Jasha said.

"You have overstepped yourself this time, Speaker. You have gone too far!"

"Jasha --" Felicia said softly, worried.

"Go back," he said and even smiled. He didn't seem to take the anger as seriously as she thought he should. "Go in. I will deal with my people. I will come to see you again soon." He bent closer and spoke softly. "Do not go out alone. They are unsettled, and I do not know if Ti Mar Anne has more of a following than I think. He is aiming this at me, not you. Stay safe, quiet for a while. It will settle soon."

She wanted to ask more. She wanted to demand -- but she nodded and stepped back into the ship. Jasha went down the slight slope and the other man -- Ti Mar Anne -- followed with only a glance back at Felicia. She suspected Jasha was right -- that Ti was more interested in a power play against Jasha than in the people on the ship.

But when she went back in, she found Wade and put him to guard the door.
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Sunday, November 02, 2008

NaNo Day 1: 5515

No, not as good as I usually do -- but I did say I would be starting out slow this month since Russ is home. We spent a good amount of time together today. It was a lot of fun!

The story is going okay. I think when I get some time to sit down with it, I'll do better. But here is a snippet off the start -- remember, this is first draft!

Felicia had gone to sleep dreaming of adventure. She closed her eyes
before the sealed the pod over her, not wanting to see, and experience, the
small space in which she would exist.. for a long time. There was no
telling when or where she would awake again. Somewhere far away from
Earth. Somewhere that she and the two thousand others would go to start a
new life, a new colony.

She would miss some people. She knew it
now, even though she had denied any such feelings over the last few years while
she trained and prepared. Felicia wondered what the others thought and
what they would miss. Swimming in the ocean? Standing in the
mountains and watching the clouds sweep by below?

The sound of dogs

She calmed herself again, taking long breaths. It
wasn't that she didn't want to stay. It wasn't that she would have changed
her mind, but for one aching moment, she understood all that she had given up
for this.

The Inhibitors were starting to kick in. She could no
longer feel her legs. Her fingers were starting to go next. Her
heart would stop before her mind did. She had taken inhibitors twice
already to make certain she would survive them. It didn't frighten her the
way it had, that first time, and not knowing if she would awake again.
About a third of the people never did. They didn't know

So many things she should have done. So

Leaving Earth. She felt a little shiver then, knowing
they were never coming home. Going....

And she went to

The first few breaths were like coming
up from drowning. She coughed, thoughts swirling. She gagged a little at
the metallic taste of drugs and nanobots clearing the inhibitors out of her
system. She knew what was happening even when she didn't really focus on the

She was waking up. Another world. They had
reached -- somewhere. The computer had kicked in the revival mode and they
would be awakening -- she and all her friends. She heard the pod lift and
with adrenaline and understanding surging through her, she blinked several times
and focused --

Focused on a stranger.

There should be
no stranger son the ship.

Something had gone wrong.
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