‘Fanwester loses it’ is an extract that I really enjoyed writing. The original version (first draft, not the one that got published) was a lengthy rant by the character about people and things that my reader had no idea about at that stage. I reduced it to essentials, and made about two word changes to strengthen Pete’s POV and voice this time around. Arko Fanwester is a baddy who has kidnapped Pete and Lars and set them to find some stuff made of orichalcum. This is the first anyone’s heard of the perihelix, by the way – apart from the title.
I hoped to be nearly finished with the Perihelix edit by the time you read this, but I still have about 10% to do. I should still have time to start Curved Space to Corsair before Camp ends, but I’m tempted to do some new Character Interviews. Maybe they can wait. It’s tricky trying to fit in timeslots. I’ve been waking up extra early for some reason, so I’ve slid in one hour early in the morning. Then I usually do another in the evening, unless golf admin calls. Which it will be after I finish writing this. I’m hoping to keep this hour a day slot going to get to the end of Corsair‘s main edit by the end of August.
Perihelix extract 4 – Fanwester loses it
Fanwester was giving the impression of trying to keep a lid on an active volcano. “Who does he know on Farsight? Who does he know in the Imperium?”
“No-one that I know of,” Pete responded, keeping his voice steady and low.
“Who is after him? Who are his enemies?”
Pete had no useful answers for him. “Look, as far as I know, no-one knows Lars is on Farsight, no-one we knew from the Academy would still be on Farsight, and we have no reason”—Pete kept himself from cussing, since that could be aggressive—”no reason to desire to have anything to do with Farsight. We wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t brought us.”
Fanwester stared at him, and Pete saw his nostrils flaring. He could only guess Fanwester’s planetary origins, but if he wasn’t Pavanian, he was from a similar race. Fanwester lifted an arm, and it took all of Pete’s self-control not to duck. Fanwester shot his fist straight into the wall above Pete’s seat, swung around, and strode about the hotel room, swearing and punching walls. His guards scattered; Myrtle, the secretary who had found them a private place to wait for Lars, took refuge in an overstuffed sofa. Pete stayed where he was, hoping it wasn’t going to get physical. As Fanwester started towards Pete again, Pete spoke out: “How do I know you haven’t done this on purpose? How do I know you aren’t deliberately sabotaging the mission by separating us, so that we get the blame for your incompetence?”
“My incompetence?” he roared. “You’re just cretins who need nannying on alien planets, you’re incompetent without me! You, illegitimate bastard runt of a gelatinous mud-crawler, and the other, the whelp of a moonstruck centipede! You hide away in the farthest corners of the galaxy thinking yourselves some sort of gods, grubbing metal from piddling rocks and poncing about in your tiny rustbucket.” He continued in this vein for the next ten minutes, punctuating his phrases with kicks to the furniture or crashing into the wall. Wooden chair and table legs broke, screens fell off walls, cushions shed their stuffing; the guards nipped out through the main door and Myrtle crawled into the bathroom, while Pete sat tall and watched, staying calm, but alert enough to duck.
Fanwester’s grievances extended to the cowardice of people who lived outside the Federation and the Imperium; the idiocy of the old-timers who had lost the key to the perihelix; the perfidy of the Imperium in the matter of Federation rights, and the short-sightedness of his chapter for providing him with so few resources.
Pete let him continue as long as he liked, hiding the smile that warmed his heart. Now he knew what icons they were searching for. Now he knew beyond doubt that he needed to succeed in finding them. He had received his ‘sleepers awake’ message, and at last he knew what his clan needed from him: the weapon that would secure his home planet from Imperium slavery.
© J M Pett 2017