We had a wet weekend, so no campfire on Saturday night, but we enjoyed some nice days anyway and I got out to play sport on Wednesday and Thursday. One of our cabin-mates was taken ill and ended up in hospital at the end of last week, but she’s been sent home and is still writing and posting her progress. We hope she’ll be back at camp in a few more days.
I’ve been pushing on with Pete and the Swede; you can see my actual progress in the bar below the Camp Nano badge on the left. I need to average just over 2,000 words a day, and although I had some in hand thanks to the parts I’d written before, I’ve run out of that now. But I’ve reached the 25k word count, which means I’m one third of the way through my book.
I had a problem with the plot at the start of the week – had to work out exactly what it was, so I could get the clues and whatever they were finding on that journey to the planet which was featured in Twelve Mile Limit. I may have to change it again – but in the editing phase, not this writing one. All words count towards the NaNoWriMo target, even when they are rubbish!
Hope you enjoyed last week’s excerpt – here’s a smaller bit this week, just to show how our boys’ holiday is being disturbed by news from outside!
In which Pete collects breakfast rolls….
Pete jogged down the hill towards the town, thinking they could perfectly well order fresh breakfast rolls to be sent up to them. He’d a mind to put in a regular order while he was in the store. He knew the exercise was good for him, but he much preferred to stay in their hideaway. He grinned as he compared running through the pine trees here to the errands he’d run as a kid. Anything to earn a few coins or pick up some leftovers that nobody wanted. It wasn’t that they’d been poor, just no better off than anyone else. And that was before the Imperium had ‘civilised’ their planet.
Reviewing his past was not something Pete spent a lot of time on. He’d learned plenty of skills among those who had resisted the forces sent to organise their home into an ordered society for the invaders. He’d escaped on a freighter and fallen in with the engineering crew, who taught him how to use their tools, then showed him the databanks. Pete passed his entry into college on the way to Farsight, not a small achievement on a two-year haul. He still exchanged messages with the engineer, Tycho Grazki, messages that were increasingly old as the elderly freighter got further and further from Pete’s edge of the galaxy. Faster than light travel had its limitations. The good thing was, both of them were outside the control of the Imperium. For now. Even Farsight was Imperium controlled now, although the Academy insisted it was independent. It was about the only newsfeed Pete paid any attention to, watching events on Farsight to gauge the level of threat to himself and Lars.
He smelled the bakery about five minutes before he stepped in through the chain link curtain. It swung closed around him, keeping out any flying particles – a sop to hygiene since there were no flying insects on Sunset Strip. No insects, no birds, no mammals and very few sea creatures. Guaranteed no indigenous intelligent life-forms, which is why it had been settled. No mineral wealth, but lovely scenery and a gorgeous climate, at least out of the tropical zone. Two moons to give interesting skies and plenty of ocean movement. Two sunsets every twenty-four standard hours, with just long enough in between for a nap in the ‘noontime’ and a decent sleep at ’night’. A perfect planet for relaxation.
The baker filled his order and was delighted to fix up a regular delivery.
Pete turned to leave and bumped into someone coming in.
“Oh, hi, Gareth,” Pete smiled, then managed to keep his smile as he remembered the cause of Lars’ latest black mood. “How are you?”
“Oh, he’s fine too.”
“He said he was fine when we saw him the other day, but he didn’t look it.”
“Yeah, I, er.. I treated him pretty badly before Christmas. He’s ok now. We made up. The Amberson money helped.” Gareth gave a wry smile.
“Your flyer was pretty hot then.” Pete felt more comfortable talking about the race.
“You can talk! Wow, man, that must have been quite something!”
“Oh, I was lucky. Just caught some thermals right and swooped down.” Pete could afford to be modest about his achievement. He’d been the talk of the town for the rest of the day of the race, until some other excitement had happened, and they’d left Pleasant Valley.
“Did you hear about the delegation from Farsight that arrived the day after?”
“On a recruiting mission for the Academy. Visiting all the outer systems. Nobody believed them. Who comes to PV looking for academy-aged kids?”
“Yeah, who?” Pete frowned. The Academy did not visit other systems on recruiting missions. He remembered the woman in the floaty robe, the one who had stolen Aramintha from them. “Did you meet a woman called Karina? Was she with them?”
“I met her.” Gareth almost spat it out. He gazed at a row of bread loaves the baker had just set out to air. “She wasn’t with them. I reckon she’s Imperium, though. She left yesterday. I saw her at the spaceport. Good riddance.”
Pete hesitated, wondering how to ask about Aramintha. If Gareth had fallen for her, she was hardly likely to come here on a contract, even for Lars.
“She stole my girl,” said Gareth suddenly. “I could kill her for that. But I suppose it’s not fair on John. We’re going back up tomorrow. Got to make a big haul this time. How do you guys do it? Always find the right rock, bring in a sackload.”
“Luck,” said Pete, since he wasn’t going to let anyone in on their secret. “Smooth spacing,” he said in farewell.
“Yeah, you too,” Gareth responded, and as Pete pushed through the curtain again he could hear Gareth ordering a couple of weeks’ fresh bread to load into their spacecraft.
(c) J M Pett 2014