Hot off the keyboard!

A new intro chapter for ResilientBook 3 in the Anye Legacy series — written tonight.

I’m pretty far along at 57,000 words — far enough to think about what the beginning needs to look like.

But I’m not confident about introducing a protagonist while he’s still in the womb.  Character development — where to start? Lets try it.


Chapter 1

The planet Vidura, a very long time ago

The thirty-meter campaigner Kevarta, chambers heavy with seawater and live catch, was starting to wallow in the trough between swells. Bina Dhava knew what to do about it, but she wasn’t at the helm.

Bina cast a gaze at stress gauge readouts on an upper display panel. They were in the green, but wouldn’t be for long if the pilot didn’t do something. She slid out of the mate’s throne, gripping a safety bar with one hand, the other cradling precious cargo in her belly.

The deck pitched left, then right — and both hands went to the rail. Now standing behind her chair, she strained to let events proceed without interference.

Her prospective relief captain keyed the intercom. “Deck gang. Lifting the boat two meters.”

Bina’s husband replied. “Wait for my signal.” Matsika’s burly figure appeared on the foredeck, waving at his nephew to stay in the cubby. The left boom swung out as he moved to the opposite side, just in time to meet a wave breaking over the bow.

It swept him off his feet. Matsika’s helper dashed out and dragged him to safety.

Bina barked into the comm. “Mat!”

Barun called back. “He’s fine. Lines are clear. Lift the boat.”

Bina looked at her companion’s face — the lady was, apparently, unflappable. Dani’s hand went to a boost lever on the panel. “Lifting the boat.”

Bina’s ears caught the faint whine of transdimensional exciters. Gunwale cameras panned down to the waterline, giving witness to the Empty Sea surging up past the boat’s keel, carried on a stream of gravitic tensors that had been tricked into emerging from G-Space by one of Physicist Rivan Saraf’s inventions.

Kevarta heaved partway out of the water, now stable. The pilot moved fingers in the air, touching virtual controls only she could see. Bina tried not to stare, but Dani was the first Iravat she’d ever met.

Not that different from me — the way her fur is shaved down, who could tell she wasn’t Raji Limar?

Dani glanced her way, high pointed ears twitching, her smile showing white fangs from a lovely, yet feral muzzle. “Captain, I think we’d be smart to haul the nets.”

Bina lifted her chin. “You’re in charge.”

Kevarta. Rig for harvesting. Deck gang. Bring in the catch.”

The boat’s Buddhi Oma reasoning engine replied with the <AK> tone.

Out on the foredeck, Matsika and his nephew prepped a contingent of labor appliances — man-sized elliptical capsules propelled by grav-lift kinetics, provisioned with gutworm tech manipulators. In the fishing industry, they were called maroli — a Sanskrit word that means ‘monsters’.

The machines queued up to a deck box, milky-white tentacles writhing furiously against the cold, slowing down only long enough to thread orange-dyed ballistic fabric sleeves onto their limbs.

Two maroli went unclad — assigned as lifeguards to the men on deck — while the remainder flew over the side. The boat was still awash in spray, but the dangerous part was over.

Dani came out of her chair. “Captain.” She pointed right. Three hundred meters away, something popped briefly over a swell, and then disappeared.

“Is that a boat?”

Bina scowled. “Kevarta. Launch a twenty-three.”

A twenty-three centimeter Raksa fighting drone shot out of a bay atop the pilothouse. Dani lost her composure when it fixed sights on the target.

“Shit! Who takes an open boat in these conditions? What do you make that thing — nine meters?”

Bina was all business. “Eight and a half meters.” She touched thumb and little finger together. “Mat, Samudri skiff off the right side, three hundred meters.”

Dani barked. “Fuck! Pirates?”

“If we allow it.” Bina evoked a virtual console as the drone closed into hailing distance. “Samudri vessel, you can stop right there.”

Dani went to the arms locker. “You want a rifle or pistol?”

Bina waved a hand. “At ease, skipper.” She thumbed an invisible button. “Hey, assholes, stop pretending you don’t hear me or I’ll chop you into pieces. Turn around.”

A man stood in the bow of the skiff. He was clad in an oilcloth slicker with a wide, floppy cowl. He shouted at the drone. “Hoya, asshole yourself. You come into our water like you own us, take what you want. Fuck you. Give us the small ones and we go away.”

Dani pitched her voice low. “Are we? In their water, I mean.”

Bina sighed. “Not by our standards, maybe by theirs. Mat, what do you want to do?”

Matsika grumbled in her ear. “I’d like to shoot the bastards, but I suppose that wouldn’t be nice. It’ll be twenty minutes before we get the yield sorted. Tell them to wait until I’m ready to flush the tank.”

Bina relayed instructions. Dani strapped on a Nayeer pulse pistol. Booms jerked back and forth, winches clattered, bulkheads creaked, hatches drew open and fish poured out of nets.

Over the next ten minutes, the Samudri skiff motored back and forth, getting closer each pass, until it was a hundred meters away.

Bina flew the twenty-three down. The drone matched rise and fall perfectly, staying exactly one meter from the Samudri’s nose. “I told you to stand off two hundred meters. Do I have to shoot somebody to get your attention?”

He pushed his cowl back, exposing rat-like features, a thin, muscular forearm and a feral grin. “You won’t, will you? Too civilized, I think.”

The man’s demeanor stood fur up along her spine.

Step back. Look at everything.

Bina’s eyes searched the background — there was one other person in the skiff, at the stern, hand on a tiller. She refocused on the alpha.

The sleeve of his slicker had fallen away, showing an expanded textile garment at the elbow.

He’s wearing a dive skin.

Bina closed the channel. Scanning the foredeck she saw the tail end of a net draped over the side. “Kevarta. Launch another twenty-three. Run the perimeter.”

She gestured for intercom. “Mat, they have cold water swim gear and they’re too close.”

“Gods damn it!” Matsika shouted at his nephew. “Baba! Get inside!”

A slender shape vaulted over the railing. Two more followed. Matsika retreated, thumb and index finger making an open channel to his crew of maroli.

“Clear the deck, boys.”

Three appliances rushed in, snatching the intruders up by their ankles. A pirate discharged his handgun — perhaps by accident, perhaps not — escalating the machines’ combat protocols.

Each one smashed its captive into a bulkhead, twice, before flinging him overboard. Bina could hear them splash down through the Raksa audio channel.

Breath caught in her throat, Bina watched the Samudri clan boss turn to his helmsman, hand making a circle in the air. She shouted at his back.

“We offered you a kindness!”

His reply was barely audible. “Your mistake.” The man sat as the skiff headed away.

Bina looked out from the pilothouse. The deck was slick with blood. She staggered away from the window, clutching her belly, words coming between gasps. “They would have killed us.”

There was a moment of silence. Dani made use of the pause to materialize a RealSide Services token in the air. Bina sighed, pushing the fighting drone’s virtual console into Dani’s workspace.

A Raksa twenty-three carries a modular pulse gun in its accessory tray. Dani touched a weapons widget, speaking softly to the drone’s Oma.

“Shoot both men in the head.”

The clan boss’s brains splattered against the helmsman’s face. The other made to go over the side, but wasn’t fast enough — five Basu pellets made a tight pattern through his occipitalis, leaving him hanging over the rubrail.

Dani dismissed the console. She pulled a deep breath, squared her shoulders, scanned the foredeck. “Mat, Baba. Do you want a break?”

Matsika turned toward the pilothouse. “Ya. We’re coming up. Maybe you should take us home, Captain.”

“Agreed. Watch your step, boys. Turning it around.”

“Turning, ayeh.”

Bina stood by the mate’s chair, staring aft. Dani touched her shoulder. “Are you all right?”

The boat’s owner caught her hand. “I’m tired. I think — this late in my pregnancy — I might not be fit for the job.”

Dani squeezed the other woman’s hand and let go. “You don’t have to worry about it. Take your leave, Captain. I have the boat.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: