The rough draft of Rimworld- Into the Green is finished! It’s an attempt at MilSF, but not the ‘normal’ MilSF. I’m trying something a little different with this one.
Right at 90,000 words, it’s a little longer than planned, but what the heck…
It’s out to alpha readers now, so now the ‘fun’ starts. Catching the errors, the continuity issues, starting to work with Tina on the cover, and EDITING…
Did I tell you how much I HATE editing??? Sigh… Grumble…
Now I can start on the other two in the cue, a fifth book in the three book Grey Man series, and an old school western I’m playing with.
I’m not going to say when I’ll go to press with Rimworld, it depends on what the early readers think. If they don’t like it, it’ll be rewrite time.
Anyhoo, one last snippet…
Traders in the System
Fargo sat in the exam room with OneSvel, linked as Fargo gave his report on the trip and slipped OneSvel a data chip with the accounting data. Here’s all the data. That’s pretty much it. Anything been going on back here?”
OneSvel projected, Quiet here, but rumors, lots of rumors about Traders being in the system somewhere. They think it’s either ice or hydrocarbons they are after.
Ice or hydrocarbons? Those are wildly different.
There are indications that at least one ship has cleared through from the Rimworlds with a different type of ice blocks as meteorite shields. Something about the composition not being one of the known and approved types. OneSvel gave the equivalent of a shrug, Hydrocarbons are harder to detect, but apparently this ship’s tanks had hydrocarbons without any manufacturer’s markers in it.
Fargo cocked his head, What do they expect us to do?
They are asking that you accompany Drogan when he does the system inspection next month. They want you to listen and see what if anything you can determine about people selling that new ice or hydrocarbons off the books.
Fargo sighed, “I’m scheduled to accompany…” Then projected, I’ll be travelling with him, but I don’t know how to find that information out. Maybe… I have an idea. Maybe.
OneSvel dropped his pseudopod and twittered through his GalTrans, “Have you heard about a militia being formed on Hunter? It seems that has been authorized due to the lack of GalPat troops on the planet.”
Fargo shook his head, “No, hadn’t heard about it. I wonder… Oh damn. You don’t mean…”
OneSvel extruded a pseudopod, Yes, they want you to join. One to keep track of the members and two, to ensure we get a look at everything they collect or take part in.
Fargo hung his head, muttering, “I can’t lead troops, not again. I can’t, I just can’t…”
OneSvel projected, They don’t expect you to take charge. Just to be a member.
You don’t understand, every time I lead, people die. First my Marines, then my team. That’s why I live in the Green. I don’t have to deal… Deal with people.
OneSvel gently retracted their pseudopod, “I will communicate that back.”
Fargo nodded and got up, stepping quietly from the exam room. Over his shoulder he said, “Thank you.”
Unbeknownst to Fargo, OneSvel promptly sent a message up the chain, detailing the discussion and Fargo’s response. He also sent an addendum stating that as a doctor, he believed Fargo was suffering from traumatic stress, possibly leading to a predilection for suicide if it got worse.
That message got attention at the highest levels of the GalScouts, ended up being sent to GalPat and finally to the Terran Marine HQ on Earth. It also came to the attention of Captain Jace, through the interfaces they had with various GalPat computers.
Unknown to everyone involved, it prompted Captain Jace, as they were inbound to Hunter’s station to launch a stealthed shuttle from the Hyderabad with a set of small sensorsats. The shuttle put a ring of them around Hunter in geosynchronous orbit, covering the entire planet and keyed to Fargo’s command link.
The stealth shuttle found a parking orbit clear of both the planet and the station, went cold and awaited pickup by the Hyderabad.
Fargo was sitting on his front porch, a cup of actual coffee in his hand, enjoying the morning when he sensed Urso both in pain and enjoying whatever she was doing. Not seeing her, he ran back in the house, got his distance goggles, slapped them on and quickly scanned as far as he could see. Jumping off the porch, he ran from one side of the cabin to the other, finally spotting her part of the way up a dead snag at the bottom of the field of blue flowers.
She finally dropped off the snag, running hell for leather for the cabin. Not sure what was after her, Fargo prudently ran back into the cabin. Hearing Urso hit the porch and not sensing pain anymore, he cautiously opened the door.
Urso was sitting on the porch, licking her paws and rubbing her muzzle, making soft grunts like it hurt her. Fargo cautiously approached, remembering that Urso was, in fact, a wild nearbear, and now big enough to take a chunk out of him. As he touched her muzzle, he came away with something sticky, and saw her paws were also sticky. Cautiously sniffing it, then touching the tip of his tongue to it, he realized it was honey! Urso had found a honey tree and the stings were from the bees.
He got an antiseptic pad from his emergency kit, radiated calm and gently wiped her muzzle, eyes and ears with the pad, which also had a topical pain reliever in it. After he did that, Urso licked him happily, then rolled on her back, taking turns licking her front paws.
Nicole looked out the side of the liteflyer and smiled, “It’s so beautiful up here! The falls, the field, and oh my deity! That field of Blues! Is the honey from there?”
Fargo mumbled, “Probably, let me get this thing on the ground.” A quick scan around and he was relieved not to see any of the animals, not sure even now if this was really a good idea. With a thump, the liteflyer landed and he taxied it up in front of the cabin.
Helping her out, he offloaded the funny suit she’d brought, along with a smoke can, whatever that was, a ten gallon container and some tools in a bag. He went around to the shed and pulled out the gravsled, tweaked it to a foot off the ground and keyed it to his belt. It dutifully followed him back around the cabin to the liteflyer and he loaded all of the gear on it.
Walking down toward the snag he’d seen Urso on, he kept a good lookout, the small rifle in hand. Pointing out the snag he said, “I think that’s the one.”
Nicole picked a pair of distance goggles out of her pocket, slipped them on and adjusted them, “Oh, that’s it alright! Those are some big bees too! Bigger than what I’ve got in the hives at the winery. I don’t think we’d better approach any closer.”
She pulled the suit off the gravsled, slipping into it then putting on the gloves, hat and net shield. She saw Fargo looking curiously and said, “Beekeeping suit. Keeps me from being stung until I can smoke them and calm them down.”
She looked over the controls of the gravsled, “Okay, I’ll take this from here. You’d better stay here in case I don’t get all the bees.”
“I’ll stand guard from here. If I yell, lay down and don’t move, okay?’
Nicole nodded and started forward, pumping the smoke can as she went. As she got to the base of the snag, she sprayed the smoke around, then sat on the gravsled and commanded it higher, spraying as she went. She finally got to the top of the snag, sprayed some more and finally set the can down.
He saw her fumble with something, then heard a yell, “Woo hoo! Oh my deity, pure honey!” He watched her open the container, start doing something with the tools and remembered he was supposed to be the lookout, not watching her very nice rear end as she bent over the top of the snag.
After a half hour, he saw the smoke can come back out and into use, then the grav sled slowly drop back down. Nicole hopped off, put the smoke can back on the sled and started back toward him. As she got close, Fargo could sense her joy and satisfaction, finally seeing her face and the wide smile through the netting.
“Amazing, simply amazing! There’s got to be another twenty or thirty gallons of honey in that snag!” Nicole burbled, “It’s so pure it, wow! And it’s a bear tree too! I saw the claw marks on the trunk where they’ve climbed it. I’m glad there wasn’t one around, I’d probably have crapped my pants.”
Fargo winced at that, then took the gravsled control back as they walked back up to the cabin. Nicole slithered out of the beekeeping suit, folded it and put it back in the bag with all of the tools. She grabbed the container of honey and oof’ed at its weight.
“Here, where do you want to go with it,” Fargo asked as he took it from her.
“The porch is fine. I just want to check it. I’m pretty sure it’s totally pure!”
Fargo plopped the container on the porch at the top of the steps and Nicole sat next to it as Fargo stood at the base of the steps. She eased the top off, ran an instrument over the honey, then stuck a finger in the honey and touched it to her tongue, “Oh, this is magnificent! It’s completely Blueflower, maybe a little other stuff, but probably ninety plus percent Blueflower.”
Impulsively, she reached over and hugged Fargo, “Oh thank you for telling me about this and letting me collect it! I’ll split any…”
Fargo felt her freeze in his arms, “What.” He felt her terror of wild animals and bears and knew she was seeing something. Extending his empathetic sense, he felt Urso, just as he heard her squall. Gently freeing himself, he said, “Don’t move, just don’t move.”
Turning he saw Urso twenty feet away coming toward the house, obviously responding to the smell of the honey. “What are you going to do,” Nicole whispered.
Fargo projected calm and said “Sit Urso, sit!” Urso stopped, sat and squalled again, sniffing the air. Reaching behind him he said, “Give me something with some honey on it.” A couple of seconds later, he felt something pressed into his hand.
Bringing it around in front of him, he saw that he held some weird looking tool with honey dripping off it. Taking a step forward, he handed it to Urso, who promptly took it in both paws, rolled on her back and slurped with joy.
Nicole asked, “How did you do that?”
Fargo sighed, “It’s a long story.” Reaching out with his empathetic sense, he called to Canis and Cattus to come.
Nicole looked at him, at Urso, then back at him, “You have a pet bear and it’s a long story? I really wouldn’t…” Recoiling as Canis and Cattus came pelting around the corner of the house.
The slid to a stop, both of them jumping up on him, licking and cavorting, “Yep, long story.”
Fargo lifted the container of honey out of the liteflyer, placing it gently in the back of the runabout along with the tool bag and beekeeper suit. Nicole stood hipshot looking at him, “I still, damn Fargo, I saw it, I petted them, I watched them play and it’s still hard to believe.”
Fargo shrugged, “I know. But I’d really appreciate it if you wouldn’t tell anyone. I don’t want them to end up as science experiments for some Xeno, much less have them hunted down for science.”
Nicole said, “I won’t tell anyone, hell, I’m not sure anyone would believe me. Want me to drop you at the store?”
Fargo climbed in, “Please.” They rode in silence to the store and Fargo jumped out. As he started to walk away, Nicole reached out.
“Hey, thank you. I meant what I said about halfsies on the honey.” She jumped out of the runabout and gave him a quick hug, “I enjoyed today.”
Fargo returned the hug, confused by her thoughts, and waved as he walked up the steps.
Ian met him at the door, “Unka, Unka, come on! It’s time for dinner before Momma gets mad.” Fargo let Ian lead him back to the living quarters and distractedly ate dinner.
Drogan finally asked, “What’s up Ethan? You’re awfully quiet tonight.”
“Have you heard anything about a militia being formed?”
Luann piped up, “Yes, we’ve been posting flyers and handing them out.” She hopped up, disappeared through the curtain and came back with a flyer, “Here you go.”
As Fargo scanned it, Drogan said, “I was told I can’t join due to my position as TBT lead. I have to stay above the fray was the way they put it.”
Fargo waved the flyer, “This is only for this region? What are they doing? One centered around each terraformer?”
Drogan replied, “As far as I know, that’s what they’re planning. It makes sense to spread them out. GalPat is going to release one shuttle to each port, with crew, probably on a rotational basis to handle anything that comes up.”
“What prompted this? I’ve been gone.”
Drogan shrugged, “Well, that Trader you got was apparently not the only one on Hunter. They caught another one trying to get out of the space station and might have run one to ground in White Beach, but she suicided.”
He sighed, “That and some of the problems they’re having with some of the outlying areas with stuff going missing, occasional battles between people over stupid shit, etc.”
Fargo rolled his eyes, “So basically over-reaction.”
“Maybe, maybe not. If there are Traders infiltrating, that means they’re looking for a place to set up housekeeping. One little GalPat det isn’t going to stop them.”