NaNoFeed: cusswords as world building, and engineering consult in the afterglow

This year’s NaNo is a wild ride, and I’m having loads of fun with my usual world-building by tripping over things.

A cross-cultural exchange between the Ship’s Captain, Jehen, and her old flame, Martisset, following their romantic reunion. (Warning: Implied naughty bits precede this scene.)

Martisset sat up, and reached for the tablet in the heap of her coveralls, placed it on her lazily crooked bare leg. “Can Yasmin jack into this directly? There’s positive piles of stuff here. By the way, I did finally understand the ill-luck of the Fourth Prime. I’m no engineer, but Dome Seven was conspicuously shitty engineering. No wonder it set off a revolt.”

“Don’t speak ill of shit,” Jehen said. “Useful stuff. The Ship’s-trees love it, properly cooked down. Hull-breached, we call that sort of thing. Useful to no one and nothing, takes a few seconds to destroy the work of centuries.” She rested her cheek on Martisset’s thigh, to read the rapidly scrolling text on the tablet. “Or in the case of Sarronny’s world, the work of millions of years. That was what set off the Revolt, you know. Someone had a bright idea about fast-tracking the atmospheric transformation. Kicked it in entirely the wrong direction. Someone did not pay attention when they talked about deterministic chaos in the atmospheric dynamics class.”

Martisset’s fingers wound through her hair, massaging her scalp. “Oh yes. Great-clan Iskra doesn’t talk about that one, to this very day. And clan Desnaray …”

“Well, if Iric’s any example…”

“Yuki-Iskri says that the Desnaray remember everything and have learned nothing. Proof positive of the perversity of the human animal, the rationalizing creature, so she says.”

Jehen flinched a little. “Your terrifying aunts …”

“What about them?”

“Warned you off a clan-marriage with the likes of me. A Sarronny grubber.”

“What we have — doesn’t fit into that scheme. There’s no clan-marriage outside the great-clans. And really, it doesn’t matter.” Martisset stroked Jehen’s shoulders, and drew her down again, putting the tablet to one side.

“Never mind, lovebirds,” Yasmin whispered in her ear, “Jack it into the Ship’s connector, there in the wall… and I’ll download.”

Notes: Yasmin is the sentient starship. Yuki-Iskri’s quip about clan Desnaray was originally spoken about the Bourbons: “They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.” She also puns on Aristotle’s definition of humans (“rational animals”).

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