Hi everyone! It’s been quite a while since I posted here (and I have failed to write anything about Ghost in the Shell as promised yet), and I am still incredibly busy with academic and teaching work (as my spotty Eldritch Wastes updates can attest to), but in the midst of all of that I still managed to find time for my favorite annual writing drive: that, of course, being National Novel Writing Month!
Usually I put up a blog post about NaNoWriMo before it happens, but this year I was so busy I did not know I was going to actually attempt it until November 1, when the event starts, and I attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Before 2015, I’d tried and succeeded for six years (since 2009) to do so, and in 2015, I managed to pull it off again!
This year, I added significantly onto my major project, Dreadship Omnipotence, my cyberpunk space opera that I know think is a combination of Neuromancer, Firefly, Hyperion, and One Piece, following the adventures of a rather dark crew of pirates in a cyberpunk future when mankind has spread out among the stars and begun to evolve down different paths.
After about 86,000 words, the main plot finally got started (so the first bit will probably need substantial trimming), as the characters are established and all of the pieces are set in motion for the (planned) trilogy. I had a few moments of self-doubt during the process (the world is a little bit strange; how often do you see a Space Druid Empire?), but I am now confident in the overall direction the plot is heading in, though I still struggle with translating my master, overarching big picture into relatable scenes!
The draft of the novel is currently at 106,890 words, and is probably a little less than halfway done, so it needs a bit more work! I was greatly inspired by this year’s attempt, though, so I’m hoping I can keep some momentum going throughout the rest of the year, and am going to try – though perhaps fail – to write 20,000 words in it a month until I finish it (for a total of 5,000 a week and 715 words a day). Wish me luck!
And for your patience, dear readers, have an excerpt from Dreadship Omnipotence, introducing the first set of antagonists:
“I don’t see why we don’t just kill the Gaian scientists,” a voice said over the intercom. “They’re irritating thorns in our sides, and they won’t resist us at all. They’d die in seconds. In fact, all I really have to do is shut off their power…”
“Not until the boss says we can,” came the reply. This second speaker was leaning back on a couch, his body having sunk halfway through the couch, his arms resting on the couches back. He grinned, and his sunglasses glinted in the artificial light of the lounge, matching briefly his bald brown head. “They serve a purpose for us, Ugo; they keep even more prying eyes from looking for us here. Need I remind you that Sovstel is still trying to root us out. Us, the last checks to their authority and ‘voluntary’ domination over the Communes? The last hold of big-league piracy in all of jaynic space?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Ugo responded over the intercom. “But who knows our name outside of the Communes? The Imperium doesn’t consider us a threat, the Seven Nations ignore us, and I doubt the Dominion even knows we exist!”
“The Communes aren’t enough for you, Ugie?” the man said. He laughed deeply. “Galactic domination will come later, man. The Communes are the future of transhumanity, of all of the jayns. The Communes are where the most daring progress is made, where technology and science triumph, where new forms of social organization are tested, where societies are made and destroyed every day. The Communes are the laboratory of mankind, and they’ve produced their monster.” He grinned again, and showed a brilliant set of sparkling white ivories. “And we are that monster, Ugo. Our Pirate Queen will lead us to victory, first over the Communes as we build our power, and then the others will fall before they know what hit them. The Imperium will be crushed before they see or acknowledge our power, the Seven Nations will drown in their own blood as they turn to look behind them, and the Dominion will capitulate in the face of our endless might.”
“Very poetic, Edak,” came another voice from the edge of the lounge. The big man on the couch turned to look in the direction of the voice, and frowned at the sight of a small woman wearing a sparkling red dress. She sashayed over to him and plopped down on the couch next to him. “Have you considered a change of career? You could smash the market as a poet, even on Polymnia,.”
“Shut up, Emryn,” Edak growled. He moved his arms and slid away from her. “What are you doing here, anyway? I thought you were on Inarkus.”
“I have a body over there,” the said. “But I shipped my consciousness over here for our very important meeting with Mistress Syntha. Wouldn’t miss our little chat for the world.”
Edak growled wordlessly. Ugo snickered over the loudspeaker system. “Look, the gang’s almost back together again. Just missing Specs.”
“Yeah, she won’t be coming,” Emryn said, tossing her hair back. “Not sure what she’s up to; she wouldn’t say, and Syntha’s not talking much either. Something about the Dominion.”
“Probably a deep cover infiltration,” Edak rumbled. “Scoping out our final enemy.”
“Queenie’s pet,” Ugo said.
The door opposite the one that Emryn had entered through clicked. Edak and Emryn’s eyes both flicked over to it as it hissed open. “Seems she’s ready,” Edak said. He stood up with a groan. “Gonna need a new bod soon. This one’s getting old.”
“Oh, don’t complain,” Emryn said, still lounging. “That one’s got a few years left in it. You can’t just go hopping bodies every couple years.”
“Like you’re one to talk,” Edak said. He began walking toward the open door, and Emrn followed a few moments later at her own leisurely pace. A moment after her, a small floating camera followed. The door closed behind them.
The man, the woman, and the camera stood – and floated – above the floor of an enormous room. Ath the far side of the room was a throne on a raised dais, surrounded by a chaotic mass of pipes, many of which were spewing steam from half-opened valves.
A figure sat on that throne, wreathed in an impenetrable darkness that not even the most advanced cyberoptic filters could pierce. “Thank you for answering my summons,” a voice said from that darkness. The voice resonated and filled the entire throne room, echoing with vast amounts of power. “We have decided on our next course of action.”
Emryn stood, arms crossed, while Edak let his arms hang limpy by his sides. “And what is it that you want us to do, Queen Syntha?”
“It is not what you all will do, Secundus, at least not all at once. You and Tercerus will stay here, continuing to organize the Project here and acquire more resources for our future empire.”
“And Primus isn’t involved, is she?” Emryn asked.
“No, she will not be,” said the voice from the darkness. “The first task will fall to you, Quartus.”
Emryn blinked and laid a hand across her breast. “Me?”
“Yes, you. You have a body on Inarkus right now. You are to return to that body. And then you are to steal a certain ship.”
Emryn looked puzzled. “A ship? Just one ship? Not a fleet?”
“This one ship that you shall steal will be worth thousands – nay, millions – of lesser vessels.”
“O… kay,” Emryn said. “And how am I supposed to take this super-ship?”
“That is entirely up to your discretion, Quartus.”
“Alright, so what’s this ship called? Where is it?”
“It currently goes under the name of the Lysandra, under the command of one Idim Jyn,” Syntha said from the darkness. “And it is currently guarded only by one man; their engineer. It lies in orbit above Goldenspire, while the rest of the crew is down on the surface.”
“That shouldn’t be hard,” Emryn said. “I’m on Silverstar now, so I’ll take a quick shuttle-ride over to orbit. Is there a way for me to identify it?”
“It should already have been sent to your consciousness,” Syntha said.
“Oh, thanks!” Emryn said. “And should I bring it here when I get it?”
“Yes,” Syntha said. “And when you do, then we can finally emerge from hiding.”
From a speaker in the camera, Ugo laughed. Edak grinned, and Emryn smiled.
“You are dismissed until then,” Syntha said. “Be gone.” The two humans bowed and the floating camera lowered its altitude.
“As you wish, my Queen,” Emryn said, eyes glinting.