Two years ago, I set Vacuum Forged aside to write down an idea for a later book in the series. I ended up writing two complete novels, and only this week did I go back to remind myself where I was on the project.
Oh. I’d written forty-thousand words. Half a book. How about that?
I’ve been reading. It’s pretty good. There are holes in the narrative, which is to be expected. I plugged one of them today.
Internal Security spy drones had been flitting around town for hours. The moment Isa arrived on-station, the incursion team tripped the fissile plant’s alarm. Parts of town woke up. Lights came on. Phones were answered.
Isa was early to the party by design. There would be no shooting until after sufficient gathering of intelligence — unless it became, for some reason, urgent.
He watched dots accumulate on a tactical map of Kandala. Analysts at IntSec processed seized documents. Other maps appeared, referencing other locations. More spy drones were deployed across Laghu.
Except for demolition charges, the ordnance carrier he shared with Kharva and Sattva was fully provisioned. He ordered the fabricator to start extruding. Recycled ball bearings rattled out of hoppers through a shatterbox forge, disgorging twenty-millimeter sabots into a tray. A monitor confirmed a standby-aperture wormhole connecting the armory to his gun, across a distance of eighty kilometers. He was ready to fight.
An operator at IntSec told him, “You might want to take a nap.”
He replied, “You might not be able to wake me up. I’ll make kaphi.”
Shortly before dawn, a local militia gathered at the edge of town. According to dispatch, fissile plant executives were meeting with Vanya authorities at city hall. Shadow Ops said, “Proceed.”
Isa flew low and slow above the militia staging area, unsure what he’d do if they didn’t take a shot at him. His gunship’s Oma said, “Incoming fire. Armor-piercing.”
It was not a fair fight. It could never have been. He circled back. A torrent of sabots took a shortcut through spacetime, emerging from a wormhole blister at the bow of his gunship, pulverizing men and soil.
Isa Kaviza, the adopted son of Abbot Vurna Kaviza, was a believer in the doctrine of karma. He knew the soldier’s life was harmful to the soul. Every act of cruelty had its cost, in this life or the next, even when a sacrifice given for the sake of others.
If he was not, in fact, a righteous bearer of God’s wrath, there was a small consolation. The AptakArin soul was bright and energetic. Perhaps Isa had karma to spare. Or maybe his soul would shrink enough to fit in the Anye biology, that he could be reborn in the Physicality as a living, breathing person of ordinary flesh.
It wasn’t something he thought about often. Only when he was firing weapons.
City Hall was constructed of rammed soil. The roof was sheet metal over iron trusses. A shower of two-meter ballistic lances drove everyone out of the building. It wasn’t hard to pick targets — the captains of Laghu’s war industry were well-dressed, and couldn’t run worth squat.
Eventually, dispatch said, “Cease fire. Fly north. See the map, site two.”
It was going to be a long day.
At this point I can only wish you a good continuation of the novel you set aside!
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Curiously, the chapter I’m editing is about the complicated life of a high-caste actor.
SATTVA PALA, ADOPTED DAUGHTER OF SOUL VESSEL CO-INVENTOR Sarvaga Pala, was the first AptakArin to join the Anye diaspora.
The AptakArin ethnic sequence was coded at random. Her orientation was Raji Limar, Kopin and Samudri — Regal Lemur, Canine Lemur, and Rat Lemur, respectively.
Ethnic traits followed in the wake of endocrine balance. Raji Limar were expressive. Kopin were assertive. Samudri were irritable.
Sattva’s Anodyne biological model was authentic. The Samudri gene pattern delivered pancreatic underperformance. Sluggish insulin uptake often made her feel unwell.
During her teens, she began experiencing episodic time shifts, witnessing brief glimpses of the future through other instances of herself. Visions tended to be warnings. Life became increasingly complicated.
In adulthood, Sattva Pala was rarely a happy person.