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12 November 2016 @ 12:06 am
Story Ideas I'll Probably Never Write  
This one's a bit too dystopic for my tastes. Don't worry, I'll get back to Ebsa and company shortly.

Space capsule 674-243 was all the family finances could manage. It would have to do.

My husband, the father of my children, is a soldier. Was a soldier. Now he was a prisoner of war. The only way out for him was to accept exile to a barely habitable world. Our conquerors would not allow soldiers to remain on Earth. Or whatever they'd renamed their new world.

We'd fought hard enough that the treaty allowed that. And specified that no more orbital bombings would kill millions at a blow. Well, we were down to small towns by then. So tens of thousands, but . . .

But we had to do everything, pay for everything, except the sling.

Call it a dimensional fold, a wormhole, a portal . . . whatever. It was actually ground based and . . . they just threw their troop capsules through and bingo, they were on an entry trajectory for their next victim.

They claimed that they'd use the remaining population as servants, not slaves, and as they learned the higher civilization, they'd become full citizens.

But the soldiers had to go, if any families could pay their way. The rest of the family could stay or go.

We were going. All of us. Myself. Natasha, my nineteen-year-old step daughter—Pete's daughter by his first wife—Pete Junior, a gawky angry thirteen year old, Kari aged eight and four year old Margaret.

I knew we were heading for a disastrous mess. They didn't give away the good planets—didn't have any, which is why they took ours—they gave away the one they were . . . well, terraforming is the wrong word. No, this one, the one they were sending all the soldiers to, had been too small, without an atmosphere. So they'd hit it with a series of large asteroids—you know, the two hundred mile wide sort—and gotten it massive enough and melty enough to form a liquid core, outgas enough stuff to form an atmosphere, debris enough to form a large moon to stabilize the larger body and produce tides to help keep the core molten.

All it needed was time and life.

So we were headed for Hell. Both in (loosely translated) name and appearance. Cool enough now for liquid water on the surface, air breathable with minimal processing.


The capsules were their troop drop capsules, so amenities were few and . . . not designed for humans.

Well, on a budget, I stuck to switching the plumbing to human normal, and started planning the load. Oh dear god, it would have helped if I had any idea how many people were going to be transported in it. Two extra fold down bunk/chairs, cunningly designed to fold out of the way, but also detachable so we could move them after we landed.

Because the Spits had a weird family structure, and were definitely a patriarchy. Without the father of my children, we wouldn't be allowed to leave. We could stay, and send Pete off alone, with family funds. On the other hand, soldiers without a family to finance and arrange their exile were out of luck. No family, and you were nothing. Lost. Apparently a Spit in that situation was dangerously insane, killed.

So word had gone around about that in the camps, the soldiers formed families, brothers, uncles, nephews. No one was allowed to be lost. Especially those who were certain their families were arranging for flight would unofficially adopt the soldiers who'd lost everyone. Rumor had it that over half the POWs were without family. If Peter had done so . . . he would be bringing his 'family' with him. I'd had a single letter from him, saying he was alive and I should arrange for him to leave, if I could afford to do so.

The children's clamor had been unanimous. We were all going.

And however many people he brought with him, they were coming too. Even if I had to shoehorn them in. No one ever said what would happen to soldiers who couldn't scrape up the money to leave. We'd buried enough people to know they had no respect for human life.

My co-workers had been shocked.

I'd been among the earliest people dissecting the Spit's captured equipment, reverse engineering it if we could, finding out how to use what we captured if we couldn't. I'd had a job all through the war, and in a Spit factory after. Supporting four children, I was two steps above destitute, but I did my best.

At the designated time we reported to the launcher. Unloaded the truck with help from the friends who'd bought the truck.
The cages with the two hens, the two modified baby goats were going to be . . . interesting. Everything else was strapped down solid.

I watched my old friends drive away in the truck that was now theirs. The last thing I'd sold, and only on the condition that they come with us and take possession after it was unloaded.

I pushed away the frightening thought that if something had happened to Pete . . .

I watched as a rusted hulk of a bus drove along the line of the capsules. Stopping at each to disgorge one or two men.

Dry swallowed.

The Spit guards weren't in the bus, they were on their zippers. Antigravity skateboards. They kept their weapons aimed sort of down, not immediately threatening, but the kids all fell silent and clustered behind me, even Natasha.

"Family Griffin." Voice synthesizer on a handheld device that did just about everything.

 Pete was first out. Stopping in horror as he spotted the kids.

People followed him off the bus. The Spit guards leaned aggressively toward us all. Suspicious.

Do they realize we're trying to get all our people out? Or do they think we're collecting mad Lost to turn against them en masse?

I threw myself at Pete, hugged him hard.

"Dave, Evelyn, Matt." He breathed in my ear.

I dry swallowed, again. Looked over his shoulder and hoped he'd given me the men's name in order. "Dave! Thank God Pete found you!" I broke away from Pete and hugged the first guy.

Evelyn got a hug, a quick guess at her age. "Hey sis."

The last man was young enough to call a boy. "Matt the size of you!" I tussled his hair. The thousand yard stare in his eyes retreated a bit and he blinked back sudden moisture.

The kids broke out of their frozen caution and ran to hug their dad.

Natasha was canny, "Aunt Evelyn! I was afraid . . . when we didn't hear . . . and Uncle Dave!"

PJ looked up at Matt. "You're bigger than I remember." Smart kid. I'd talked to them about this. He grabbed the young man's arm and tugged. "Come see our capsule. Not that you can see much. It's stuffed."

The Head Spit tapped his holo and turned away satisfied. Non-family Spit would never touch in affection. The bus drove on to the next capsule.

"Trick? The kids?" Pete glared at me.

"As if we'd stay with those Spits killing, and stealing everything." Natasha hugged her dad again.

"I'm an astronaut." PJ—Peter Griffin Junior—grinned. "For a little while. C'mon and check out home."

I met Pete's horrified gaze. "I didn't even bother with a vote. They were already demanding to go."

"You're risking their lives, your life."

"And reaching for a tiny bit of freedom. We'll make it. All of us."


  1. Survival on a not-very-hospitable planet

  2. Discovered by a third Alien star traveling civ.

  3. Possibly because they were chasing Spit pirates. Capture pirate equipment and meet the Froggies.

  4. Keep Spits from reporting back home about another interstellar civ.


  1. Hard work and good planning. Luck? Gallons of it.

  2. Blow up the Hell launcher, kill all the Spits (Froggies drop an asteroid on the site, after their away party has been rescued.)

  3. Possibility of repairing pirate equipment and leaving Hell.

Building a village, even if the neighbors are a "bit" difficult. Good, Bad, Crazy. Normal isn't much to be seen around Hell.
Establishing cultural norms, pretty darn close to the old norms.

It was a over a year before the Froggies returned. Their analysis of our language had improved communications no end.
"Tell us about these Spits. We have decided that if we are going to have to fight them, we should do so on their planets, not ours."
ekuah on November 12th, 2016 11:53 am (UTC)
Totally off topic comment
I have just reread 'Explorers' and 'Rael'.
Can't stop loving the bogglement of the clueless watchers when confronted with the comet fall magic.

Would love a story where some politically untainted people would tour the Kingdom of the West for normal reasons.
Some social sciences students on a field trip about "Life in a retarded medieval culture 101"? or some documentation film makers doing a season of "Magic Architecture and Architectural Magic"

ekuah on November 12th, 2016 02:01 pm (UTC)
Totally off topic comment the second
Or maybe a short story about Paer finally meeting Phyrite (don't know how to spell his name) and maybe the Old Dun birdying Crystal ;-)

Edited at 2016-11-12 02:02 pm (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on November 12th, 2016 02:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Totally off topic comment the second
Pyrite. It's a mineral, iron sulfide, often called Fool's Gold, because of the golden color.

It's pretty much inevitable that the Smart Horse genes will wind up in the Empire. So far, in unpublished stories, I've got one of Eldon's stallions being loaned to Ajha and Fean, a bunch of young Princesses deciding to advance their abilities while bringing dimensional abilities into the Oner genepool. So they sneak into Rip Crossing, riding horses. No doubt any mares will also be preggers when they leave. And then Rael buys a pinto mare, no doubt one of Solstice's daughters, and brings her back. Possibly in foal to Pyrite.
ekuah on November 12th, 2016 05:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Totally off topic comment the second
In some languages Pyrite is spelled with an 'h' in it. So I wasn't sure about his name.
And being a chemist I know that it is FeS2 or Iron(II)disulfide (please observe the 'di' in the name).
Ironsulfide (without 'di') is a unremarkable dark grey substance.
Okay, enough chemistry.

I know that it is inevitable that Comet Fall genes will sneak onto the One world. It have already started like with Rael.
But why not make a short story out of it. Paer with some curious and some snotty Oners on a horse show trip to Comet Fall. It could even fit in her curriculum. 'Comparative studies of horse breeds on different worlds'. Honestly, nobody would be able to keep Paer from attending, or wouldn't they?
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on November 12th, 2016 11:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Totally off topic comment the second
It's unlikely that Paer will be allowed to visit Comet Fall officially until all the idiot Oners are dead of old age.

How about a Horse Show on Embassy though?

Mike D
Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames
ekuah on November 13th, 2016 12:15 am (UTC)
Re: Totally off topic comment the second
Paer have ridden a T-Rex. I'm pretty sure that wasn't officially sanctioned.
Second Paer can be pretty sneaky. It should be easy to run off to some horse show incognito.
Third Paer would be probably safer alone on Comet Fall than in the Empire with all her guards.

But I'm mentioning these the things only to point out that it would be possible for Paer to attend. Your (Mike D.) idea is much more likely and so it's better.

No Pam, I won't act like a bulldog, digging it's teeth into that idea.

But I would still like the idea of the putting Crystal in the same corral as the Old Dun. Because that old derelict gelding is of no concern... ;-)

Edited at 2016-11-13 12:18 am (UTC)
(Anonymous) on April 9th, 2018 06:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Totally off topic comment the second
There is a big difference between may not and cannot. Plus Paer is friends with Nighthawk.
matapampamuphoff on November 13th, 2016 12:54 am (UTC)
Re: Totally off topic comment the second
Oh, and I'm sure Paer met Pyrite when she did her second Internship on Embassy at the Comet Fall Hospital.
ekuah on November 13th, 2016 10:57 am (UTC)
Re: Totally off topic comment the second
Please, please, pretty please.