Right, hello again!
I may have mentioned this, but this one is tougher to write (so far) than the others, because the characters are different, as well as the setting and the ship. While I don’t have to create the entire universe – the Cassidyverse is already well-established – the specific details are different, which presents an interesting challenge.
I’m getting past it, though, and I think once I finish writing the first volume of Memories of Aiyana I’ll really be able to start moving on this one!
Today’s sample crosses from one chapter into the next, so there’s a bit of a scene jump. Don’t worry about it; it’s intentional.
“No, Davie. As Kendra has said, this is an exploration vessel, not a warship. We also feel the Direwolves will provide sufficient stand-off offense for most situations, alleviating the need for integral weaponry.”
Kendra interrupted again. “Which would take away from the primary mission! Every cubic meter which isn’t devoted to ship’s systems, crew quarters, and supply storage is committed to science. Believe me, I’ve looked over the plans and Hecate’s done an amazing job miniaturizing and optimizing and all those other ‘-izing’ words. The Pike couldn’t be a meter smaller than she is and still achieve her mission. Period.”
“Hecate, you’ve done a wonderful job,” Davie said, earnestly. “How are you feeling?”
“I think ‘relieved’ is accurate. It’s been challenging.”
Kendra nodded agreement. “I agree with both of you. But now Hecate’s finished putting her together comes the tough part.”
“Hi Chloe. Take a seat, I’ll be with you in a minute.”
Captain Chloe Resler, a petite brunette with short-cropped hair and almond-shaped and -colored eyes, tucked the yellow beret of a starship Captain under her arm before settling into the indicated chair. She was immediately aware of a tapping on her left leg and glanced down.
“Hey, Stinker,” she said to the treecat, gazing up at her. “Come on up.”
“You’re going to spoil her.” Kendra pushed her terminal and the assorted paperwork aside as the ‘cat lithely leapt into Resler’s lap.
“Maybe.” Leda bumped her head against Resler’s hand, demanding attention. “Almost certainly. What can I do for you, Admiral?”
“I wanted to talk to you about Defiant.”
Resler’s expression turned wary. She’d commanded the Defiant since her commissioning and had, she believed, done well.
“You’re not in trouble, Chloe!” Kendra laughed. “If you were, you’d be in front of Davie, not me; after all, she’s your CO.”
“Aye, Ma’am.” She didn’t sound convinced but she was willing to listen.
“Seriously, you’re fine. Davie told me you’ve done exceptionally well with the Martian patrols. It’s been a relief, knowing they won’t be able to cause trouble!”
The Martian Colony still refused to join the Terran Federation and maintained allegiance to the Solarian Union, though they were the only member. They had attracted a fair number of refugees from the other former members, people who supported the former regime. This swelled their population from 20 to over 26 million, yet paradoxically tied them more closely to their erstwhile enemies than ever. Mars still wasn’t suitable for any major agriculture, so supporting a 30% increase in population forced them to deal with the only other spaceborne polity: the Terran Federation.
As a result the three starships in the Defiant class, the Defiant, Defender II, and Nike, in coordination with Wolves and Direwolves, maintained a close patrol five light-seconds from the Red Planet. Every ship, no matter the origin, was stopped and inspected. The Grand Tsar and his nobles were irritated but powerless to prevent it, their Navy having been either captured or reduced to wreckage in the final battle of the Artemis War. Their one attempt at capturing a starship had failed as well, leaving them more planet-bound than before.
Resler and her crew had been on the duty for most of the past three years.