Thursday, November 15, 2018

Some rites of passage should be remembered


Right now I'm in the middle of NaNoWriMo, writing Morgan's Misfits 3. I don't have much to say about that since I'm making it up as I go along, so here's something I did earlier.

Ink is one of my favorite pieces of writing. It's a short story about a major character in my Morgan Selwood series. Admiral Ashkar Ravindra is commander of the Manesai fleet which 'rescues' Supertech Morgan Selwood and her shipmate, accountant Tony Jones, from a slow death on their freighter Curlew. With a failed shift drive the ship can't go to hyperspace and is stuck with traveling through real spacetime, which means Morgan and Tony will run out of air, food and water long before they're likely to get anywhere. That story is told in Morgan's Choice.

Ravindra comes from a very regimented society, where everyone belongs to one of four classes, which are unable to breed together. The original intention of the people who genetically engineered the Manesai may well have been "a place for everyone and everyone in their place". But  it doesn't always work out that way.

Ravindra is a member of the military class, the Mirka. Naturally, each class had developed its own sub-classes (because people are like that) and Ravindra's family is part of the Darya group – from which most Manesai admirals are recruited. His father was an admiral, his grand-father was an admiral, young Ravindra is going to be an admiral, he will marry the daughter of an admiral. His path is mapped out for him.

And yet, Admiral Ravindra has a tattoo. Not some small, discrete bit of ink that people wouldn't notice. He has a bloody great vulsaur tattooed all over his right shoulder, down his back and over his bicep. That photo at top left doesn't really do it justice, but you get the idea. So why does that matter? Ah, you see, Mirka – and most especially Darya Mirka – don't have tattoos. Troopers have tatts, admirals don't. So what in the wild world would have resulted in eighteen-year-old Ravindra, with school finished and the acceptance to the Fleet Academy in his pocket, having a tattoo?

You'll have to read the story to find out. Here's the blurb.


Life's good for 18-year-old Ashkar Ravindra. School's over, and he's been accepted into the Fleet Academy. There's time for one last trip up into the mountains in the brand new flitter his father gave him as a graduation present, before his real life, the one he's been groomed for from the day he was born, begins in earnest.

Up in the mountains not everyone is pleased to see the privileged admiral's son. Jealousy and ulterior motives turn the pleasant hunting trip into an ordeal. Lives are a stake. If Ashkar makes the wrong decision, he will be the first to die.

Buy the book at Amazon  B&N Kobo iBooks


However, I'm not giving much away to tell you it concerns a vulsaur, which looks a bit like our mythical dragon. In one scene in the story, I wanted to have the vulsaur take off from quite a low start. Large flying creatures (on our planet, anyway) either leap off high places and glide or they need a long takeoff. But I didn't want to do that. So rather than emulate an albatross or a swan, the vulsaur acts like an osprey.

I took this series of pictures down the beach a couple of years ago. The osprey has gone for a bathe in the shallows. Now he's finished and he wants to take off. Basically, with his wings raised vertically, he jumps, then brings those wings down hard. And he's off.






 And now it's back to Misfits 3.


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