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Walking Away, #4

Dec. 11th, 2008 | 07:48 am
posted by: tychoish in criticalfutures

Welcome to a new Critical Futures story. This week’s story is a bit unusual: in four sections we have the next installment of the Station Keeping story, formated this week as a screen play. I really enjoy writing screenplays, and find them to be equally fun to read. It’s different, but I trust that you–gentle reader–will be able to cope. If you’re just joining us now, you can read part one, part two, and part three of this story here.

DAVID CONRAD
Because it’s yours, I’ve had my fun being in charge and… out front. I’m done with that. I promise you. You’re right, the Navy won’t really let me go completely, but if they listen to me when I talk, I’ll take it. Out here, I’m in no danger of being called to lecture and teach constantly,
ELI BANNER
So I guess that leaves me–
DAVID CONRAD
–with a good bar and very capable backup. Speaking of the bar…

DAVID finishes the rest of his drink.

Thank you for the drink, now trust me, it there’s something that you need to know I’ll tell you, otherwise…
</dl>

ELI BANNER
Leave you alone?
DAVID CONRAD
–don’t try and conscript me. Again.
ELI BANNER
Ok… I guess.
(sly smile)
I’ll keep you in the loop.

DAVID and ELI stand up.

DAVID CONRAD
Please don’t.
ELI BANNER
I have to.
DAVID CONRAD
I won’t read it.
ELI BANNER
Whatever, you will read it.

DAVID laughs knowing that ELI is probably right about this point. DAVID pulls ELI into a quick friendly hug.

DAVID CONRAD
I think you should get out now and get some sleep for your next shift–when ever you decide that is–or it’ll be my turn to hate you.

ELI turns and leaves. DAVID watches and we

FADE OUT.

Originally published at Critical Futures. You can comment here or there.

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Walking Away, #3

Dec. 10th, 2008 | 07:47 am
posted by: tychoish in criticalfutures

Welcome to a new Critical Futures story. This week’s story is a bit unusual: in four sections we have the next installment of the Station Keeping story, formated this week as a screen play. I really enjoy writing screenplays, and find them to be equally fun to read. It’s different, but I trust that you–gentle reader–will be able to cope. If you’re just joining us now, you can read part one, and part two of this story here.

ELI BANNER
You’re here, how bad can it be? And besi–
DAVID CONRAD
Irrelevant argument. I’m not an officer any more, and it’s an interesting place for Marc to practice, and for me to be retired.
ELI BANNER
–besides, this is the most high-profile post in the entire League. I’m surprised Roth didn’t take it for himself.
DAVID CONRAD
He probably wanted to, but one of his cronies probably convinced him that it was better to wait out another thousand years in interstellar-transit. He probably thinks that that’ll give him a better chance at the top…
ELI BANNER
He’s been around that long? No wonder.
DAVID CONRAD
Really, I know.

DAVID takes a drink.

ELI BANNER
He’d be a fool not to realize that that’s a bad move. By that time, he’ll be a relic–
DAVID CONRAD
Already is. But at least someone who has his ear has our best interests at heart.

DAVID chuckles.

ELI BANNER
You? You did it?
DAVID CONRAD
I’d rather you have a chance at the top than Roth.
ELI BANNER
Bastard.
DAVID CONRAD
You’re welcome. If you ever want to be an Admiral, though…
ELI BANNER
I hate you. For this, you better start working for me.
DAVID CONRAD
Not on your life. You really are the best person for this job. Better than I would be.
ELI BANNER
Wait, if you’re still in, why not just do the job yourself. You could.

ELI finishes his drink.

Originally published at Critical Futures. You can comment here or there.

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Walking Away, #2

Dec. 9th, 2008 | 08:45 am
posted by: tychoish in criticalfutures

Welcome to a new week of Critical Futures stories. This week’s story is a bit unusual: in four sections we have the next installment of the Station Keeping story, formated this week as a screen play. I really enjoy writing screenplays, and find them to be equally fun to read. It’s different, but I trust that you–gentle reader–will be able to cope. If you’re just joining us now, you can read part one of walking away here.

DAVID CONRAD
Two? There’s only one of you, and my stash of cold drinks isn’t in danger of running out.
ELI BANNER
You. We’re having a drink.
DAVID CONRAD
I’m working, and besides, you can’t order me around, buster.
ELI BANNER
You have staff, we’re on the rim, and you are technically a civilian now.
DAVID CONRAD
Watch it.
ELI BANNER
Just come on.

DAVID turns to CARTER who is talking to patrons at one corner of the bar and says:

DAVID CONRAD
Could you take care of the bar for a little while?
(pause)
–and remember what I said about mixing the drinks strong. I don’t want any more accidents in the lifts because you’re feeling generous.

ELI dismounts the stool and walks toward an unoccupied booth along the far-side of the room. It takes DAVID a moment to walk around the bar but soon joins him, to take a seat where he can keep an eye on the entire establishment from his seat.

INT. ANOTHER ROUND, a booth in the far corner.

They both sip from their drinks leisurely. DAVID reclines and keeps a gentle hand on his bottle at all times, ELI sits up straight and only picks up his bottle occasionally.

ELI BANNER
So, have you heard anything?
DAVID CONRAD
Um? Anything? I’m not in your intelligence department, I am actually retired. I think I’ve done my bit–
ELI BANNER
People like you don’t retire, the Navy wouldn’t allow it. You have the only real social space on the station, you have to hear things.
DAVID CONRAD
We only don’t retire when you don’t want us to. From what I’ve seen you have a great staff, and that Sian is a great officer.
ELI BANNER
He is, you’re right, but don’t distract me. You should have my job now, and we both know it.
DAVID CONRAD
Weren’t we decided that this is a shit assignment for you? You’d have been an admiral otherwise. Didn’t Admiral Roth apologize for sending you out here.

Originally published at Critical Futures. You can comment here or there.

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Waling Away, #1

Dec. 8th, 2008 | 09:43 am
posted by: tychoish in criticalfutures

Welcome to a new week of Critical Futures stories. This week’s story is a bit unusual: in four sections we have the next installment of the Station Keeping story, formated this week as a screen play. I really enjoy writing screenplays, and find them to be equally fun to read. It’s different, but I trust that you–gentle reader–will be able to cope. I’m planning on doing more dramatic form pieces on Critical Futures in the comming months, so do tell me what you think.

INT. ANOTHER ROUND, The Bar

Business is slow, but it is still early in the evening, and the bar hasn’t been open long besides. We can still see rough edges on the construction. The dust hasn’t settled, and some of the molding hasn’t been installed.

ELI BANNER takes a stool at the middle of the bar as we begin, his shoulders are tense and it’s clear that he’s not settling in to this chair. DAVID CONRAD is working at one end of the bar and CARTER is working at the other.

DAVID CONRAD
Fancy seeing you here. Aren’t you supposed to be on duty or something.
ELI BANNER
I’m the skipper–well commander at any rate–I’m on duty when ever I say I’m on duty.
(pause)
It’s nice to see you too.
DAVID CONRAD
I think the exact line in my lecture was “you’re always on duty.”
ELI BANNER
That’s what I said, wasn’t it.
DAVID CONRAD
(looks askance at ELI)
If you say so. Sir. Just don’t go getting us blown up.
(points finger)
I’m trusting you on that one.
ELI BANNER
So do I get to order or are you just going to rehash your old lectures?

DAVID extends his hands, palm up, as if to say:

DAVID CONRAD
Then order.
ELI BANNER
Can I have two beers. And do you have any chilled? I’m not sure I can deal with the local brew at room temp.
MAN AT BAR
(slightly louder than necessary)
Your missing out. ‘Couldn’t deal with your fancy coreside crap at any temp. Tastes like feets.
(makes retching noise)

A few people sitting nearby laugh, ELI ignores them.

Originally published at Critical Futures. You can comment here or there.

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Strategy Meeting #6

Dec. 4th, 2008 | 08:15 am
posted by: tychoish in criticalfutures

Continuing from our introduction to Quinn Dasen, we have more from Chapter 5 of Knowing Mars. If you want to get caught up, check out part one, part two, part three, part four, and part five. Enjoy!

“A bit under a billion–we think–with some psionics, but only half of those are what we’d typically call ‘telepaths’–that number is total, including Mars,” Matt said.

“A billion people–even half a billion–seems like a lot less than it was even twenty years ago, but it’s going to be messy no matter how you slice it.”

“Maybe, but they think it needs to be done, and I’m prone to agree, I guess. I can’t imagine it getting less messy, and don’t you think that it’ll blow over after a few months: the panic and paranoia that is?”

“We’re meeting on the other side of the world to avoid being spied on by our own people, Matt. I couldn’t even begin to say.”

“Fair enough, but I don’t know that it’ll be our choice to make. But, in any case, I do want you to meet Kyp and some of the telepaths here with me, to talk about this.”

“Of course. You know how much I like ‘preventative medicine’ projects.” Quinn said.

“Do I ever, and thanks.”

Originally published at Critical Futures. You can comment here or there.

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Strategy Meeting #5

Dec. 3rd, 2008 | 08:20 am
posted by: tychoish in criticalfutures

Continuing from our introduction to Quinn Dasen, we’re back with more from Chapter 5 of Knowing Mars. If you want to get caught up, check out part one, part two, part three, and part four. Enjoy!

“Anyway, I’ll keep you posted with our plans as they develop. My last message from the Morgans make it seem like they’re much more interested in going public soon. I don’t think Kyp is going to be the prevailer of this, but it’s coming.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“No. But they want to, and it makes sense. The better they get with their techniques and teaching methods, they think there’s less percentage there is in staying quiet. And I can see where they come from.”

“It’s still crazy! There’d be riots for months. Who knows how many would die? Do you think that all this time on Mars has left them a little bit out of touch?”

“Well, I think that’s part of the reason why Kyp is coming, perhaps not explicitly: they need to see how things are on Earth–I mean it hasn’t been that long, but still.”

Quinn look distracted for a moment, clearly counting through something, “What’s the latest best guess on the number of telepathy on Earth?”

Originally published at Critical Futures. You can comment here or there.

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Strategy Meeting #4

Dec. 2nd, 2008 | 08:20 am
posted by: tychoish in criticalfutures

Continuing from our introduction to Quinn Dasen, we’re back with more from Chapter 5 of Knowing Mars. If you want to get caught up, check out part one, part two, and part three. Enjoy!

“Busby’s had carte blanche for years, and he knows it, he’s had to back off a little for appearances, but he’s hard at work, and nothing has really changed,” Quinn said. Her order arrived and she took the tea from the waiter without missing a beat.

“So why do we stay in it?”

“You don’t want me to answer that.” She was right. “So, Kyp’s coming, do you guys need anything from me,”

“Well I’m pulling together some outlines for the raid that he’s going to plan?”

“Associating with hackers? Matthew!”

“Same as we’ve always done. I’m just keeping people off my autopsy table.” It was a joke: I’d been reporting my activities with the telepath “movement” as a preventative medicine project for years.

“You haven’t done autopsies since you got out of med school,”

“Thank god for assistants–”

“–and for huge organizations that don’t know better,” Quinn continued. Upon joining ISA, we quickly realized that there were three options: you could be part of the problem with ISA, or spend your entire career trying–and failing–to reform the organization, or you could use the organization and it’s resources and privileges to do good in the world: this was particularly true in departments, like ours, that were mostly support for other “real” investigative departments1. Quinn and I took the later route, which I suppose made us free agents, much like Busby–probably–but it always seemed worth it at the end of the day.



Notes:
  1. Forensics never–or rarely–got it’s own cases, but rather consulted on cases that went to other departments: digital crime, high profile murder and human crimes (eg. kidnapping and assault,) and so forth. 

Originally published at Critical Futures. You can comment here or there.

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Strategy Meeting #3

Dec. 1st, 2008 | 08:54 am
posted by: tychoish in criticalfutures

Continuing from our introduction to Quinn Dasen, we’re with more from Chapter 5 of Knowing Mars. If you want to get caught up, check out part one and part two. Enjoy!

Quinn was right, the lack of an ISA presences was one of the features that made the Mars Colony so attractive to Taban and Kalian. “I wonder if going to Mars to start an ISA bureau would attract more or less ISA attention.”

“Hard to say, though I think we’re way more paranoid than we need to be. ISA’s huge, and whatever little buzz there may be about Taban and Kalian, it’s going to take a long time for it to blip,” Quinn said.

“Yeah, but it’s a powder keg, and it might not blip for years… particularly with all this attention toward emigration–”

“Wait. What?”

“Oh, new news, they’re getting additional settlers permits, to get some of their followers off Earth, if they want. Kyp Ebner is coming back, as we speak.”

“Busby’s still after him, is he sure that’s a good idea–not that it matters much.”

“The folks here seem to think that Busby never really knew that Kyp’s–on net,” I said, not quite knowing the word for the on-net representation. Quinn nodded, and I moved on, “Anyway, Busby–they think that Busby didn’t know that Kyp was Kyp, and so he’s coming back for a little while to ferry a data pack back to Mars, and help some of his contacts out with something.”

“I’d still be worried about it, Busby’s new assistant stopped sending me messages… probably about six months back, actually.”

“Good riddance. Wait. That was right before the raid on Busby’s department that Kyp left to help clean up. Right?”

“Likely. It’s still a mess, and I don’t think they’re particularly connected: Busby hadn’t been civil to me in a year or more, so I suspect that Thom finally wore off onto the kid.”

“It’s amazing that grown people can act like that, and keep their jobs, Among other things, I suppose.”

Originally published at Critical Futures. You can comment here or there.

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Strategy Meeting #2

Nov. 26th, 2008 | 07:54 am
posted by: tychoish in criticalfutures

Continuing from our introduction to Quinn Dasen, we’re back with more from Chapter 5 of Knowing Mars. If you want to get caught up, check out part one. Enjoy!

“Look where it got me? Worth every moment!” We staged this argument with some great frequency, though the blood-spatter argument was a new one.

“Yeah, Kyp will be here pretty soon, we think, and it looks like they’re going to be able to make it possible for some people to move to Mars.”

“That’s always good. It’s a shame that more people can’t be convinced to go, there’s still room after all this time?”

“That’s what they said. And they could build another colony structure pretty much at the drop of a hat, but there aren’t people yet.”

“It’s not self sufficient yet, I guess that’s still an issue,”

“I think it could be I think. Most of the stuff they send, is–ironic as it is now–that’s easier or cheaper to make here or in orbit and send to Mars. Prefab space gear, mechanical parts, raw or semi-raw minerals and metals, you know. Fascinating stuff really.”

“You should see if they need an ISA bureau,” Quinn said as she looked over her shoulder for a waiter.

“You could have some of this,” I said, pointing to my mostly untouched muffin–there had been a moment of weakness before she arrived, but the muffin was still intact.

“It’s ok,” she said. The waiter arrived quickly and she placed an order for coffee and a sandwich.

“I don’t think I’m quite ready to pack up and leave everything, at least not yet but the idea has occurred. And it’s funny that there isn’t ISA folk there.”

“I doubt we’d be talking about it if there was.”

Originally published at Critical Futures. You can comment here or there.

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Strategy Meeting #1

Nov. 25th, 2008 | 12:31 pm
posted by: tychoish in criticalfutures

Continuing from our introduction to Quinn Dasen, we continue with more from Chapter 5 of Knowing Mars, which is narrated as usual by Matthew Connor. Enjoy!

I remember having lunch a number of times with Quinn Dasen in a quaint little outdoor cafe in Casablanca. About a hundred years back they built a dome over the city, which made the “outdoor” quality ironic at best, but there were a couple of ISA forensics operations in Northern Africa that served as ample pretext for our meetings. Because of our departments operations in the area we were pretty confident that we knew who was bugging our conversation, if it worked: the domes had always been tricky to get bugs into–in retrospect I’m sure ISA wouldn’t have allowed the domes to be built, but we made do. I never thought when I was in med school that I’d end up spending a huge part of my career as a spy, if I had known; I’d probably have slept more.

I got to the cafe before Quinn, which wasn’t that unusual, I ordered a cup of tea and a muffin and then checked the messages on my portable while I waited. There was a cryptic message from Taban–I think, text only from Mars–that said that Kyp was in route, which I already knew, and that it looked like they were going to be able to secure immigration permits and subsides, but I wasn’t quite sure. Taban and I had developed a plaintext code for extra security on top of our standard encryptions, for this kind of messaging before they left for Mars, and I had gotten pretty good at decoding it without the cheat sheet, I wasn’t perfect.

“More messages from Mars?” Quinn said. She couldn’t have seen what I was working on, my back was to a corner of the courtyard. “It was the look on your face,” Quinn said. “I’m not a telepath, geeze Matt, I went to spy school and learned something useful, while you were busy learning about medicine and blood-spatters–when was the last time any real murderer left a bloodspatter? A hundred years ago? Two?”

Originally published at Critical Futures. You can comment here or there.

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