Gone Fishing

Guys, Gals and Dragons (the Minotaur is here), I’m at Liberty con and it’s a busy morning.  I JUST don’t have the time to do the normal vignette and promo post.

I’ll do it tomorrow, okay?

Meanwhile, here’s a picture prompt for your improve pleasure:

hewasanuppittylizard

80 responses to “Gone Fishing

  1. Hmm….has Cedar seen this one? 🙂

  2. Christopher M. Chupik

    I can haz dragun?

  3. And here we see the cat with a fostered dragonling; when raised on cat milk, the dragons tend to be very good hunters and oddly prone to no more than accidental maiming of humans and human associated animals.

  4. “Ginger, please! We have a guest!”

    “It’s no trouble,” said Patrick. He picked up the twitching dragon that the cat had dropped at his feet. “Where did you find this, Ginger?”

    “Probably the porch. That’s where she usually gets them. God knows how they’re getting in.”

    “Most likely a portal to the fairy realm. Probably a small one, if you’re not getting anything bigger than this. Still, I’m starting to see some of the…unique aspects of the property you mentioned.”

    “So are you willing to be our agent?”

    “Absolutely. I need to warn you that with something like this, it will probably take longer than usual to sell, but if you’re willing to be patient, I think I can get you top dollar for it.”

    Wendy nodded, and Patrick went out to his car to get the contract. He was already salivating at the thought of the commission he would get on this one; he could probably afford to take that vacation to Hawaii that he’d been wanting. Mentally, he was already writing the sales flyer: “Midcentury modern with great views. Large lot backing to open space. Property well suited to breeding dragons. Once in a lifetime opportunity for the right buyer!”

  5. thewerewife

    LibertyCon XXX was one of the highlights of my marriage! Have a good time; wish I were there!

    • Speaking of you and marriage, your screen name is one of my all-time favorites. How does that work, exactly? Are you only considered married on full moons?

      • Depending on the source, “werewolf” means something like man wolf. As in human, not as in male… I got a giggle from the pun, not sure if that was her intent or not.

  6. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Momma Cat: Best be careful with this little one. There are big ones around that I don’t want to mess with.

  7. Size matters.

    Whenever calculating transference to another dimension, ALWAYS include size in your reckonings. Failure to do so has led to some of the service’s most embarrassing failures. From suffocating in vacuum because you stretch outside the galaxy, to being a snack for a prowling cat who enjoys diminutive dragons.

    • That can be a good thing, though. Remember the time an alien invasion fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog?

      • Good for US. Not so good for the fleet.

        • Hey, they were going to genocide us just because some guy in a bathrobe was having tremendous difficulty with his lifestyle. Que the world’s smallest violin. 😛

      • I was thinking Pratchett: as in the very angry god who had gotten himself worked up in preparation for a real destructive display of wrath upon which the sentient suitcase landed in such a timely manner…

      • I remember the punchline, but neither title nor author. Did someone say Sir Terry?

        • It was in Sir Terry Pratchett’s Eric. The luggage arrives on top of a pyramid just in time to eliminate the demon god Ouezovercoatal. 

        • The other bit is Douglas Adams. IIRC, in Life, The Universe, and Everything – but a good chance I’m wrong. One of the trilogy, anyway. (Been too long. Sigh, the office is getting cleaned out for bug spraying; I think I’m about to take a long dive into “I haven’t read that in ages.” Just so you know if I completely disappear for a long period…)

  8. They were coming for him.

    He used his spurs mercilessly. His horse could founder at any moment, but even the swiftest steed could not outrun them. Still, every yard traveled gained him time and brought him nearer to the small wooden hovel. Sanctuary.

    He leapt from the horse a moment before it stumbled and fell, so as not to be pinned beneath it. As he ran along the track toward the hovel he glanced back. They were just coming into view, black specks in the blue sky above the pass. There was time enough.

    At the hovel he paused to draw breath, but only for a moment. Then he drew the wards from his pocket and planted them, one to the north, and to the south, and east, and west. They were infallible, in their way, but they could not protect a man, only a place — and the place must be a place, not a mere patch of ground. Even a wretched hovel such as this was a place.

    They came. They roared and clawed and spat forth gouts of flame but the wards were proof against their raging power.

    He entered the hovel. There he found a loaf of bread, stale but not yet moldy, and some dried apples. Through a rudely squared window he saw a well. He could easily wait here for several days — or even longer. Sooner or later they would have to return to protect their lairs.

    He did not notice the scrawny orange cat until it sprang to the sill of the window. Seemingly oblivious to the surrounding sound and fury it yawned, stretched, idly licked one paw, and jumped out.

    He sat in a chair and dozed. Suddenly he started awake. Something had changed — what was it? Then he realized that the roaring had stopped.

    He rose and went to the door. Surely they would not have gone so soon!

    They had not. Beyond the wards they crouched, silent, unmoving, and intently staring at — something.

    He heard a mewing at his feet. He looked down and saw the cat looking up. It mewed again as if to say, See what I’ve brought you!

  9. ‘Stop struggling, I tell you.  I don’t want to tear your wings or drop you.’

    ‘I am so embarrassed.  Must you always carry me around like I am your kitten?”

    ‘If I don’t the others will think you are prey for the taking.  Now be cooperative, dragon, and stop struggling.’

    • Woke up this morning with this edit to final line:

      “Now be cooperative, friend dragon, stay alive.”

  10. “Ugh, another one?” She wrinkled her nose at Rufous’s laters find.

    He crouched down. “Good cat! Very good cat.” Rufous had brought four this morning already. At this rate, the nest would be empty before the dragonetts reached first-flame. Maybe they’d have a mild fire season this year.

  11. For improve pleasure! Caracal Brand smokes!

  12. After the loss of more than half the crew of the HRD Fire Dance, the entire Cat System was embargoed. It was one of the most disastrous First Contact Missions in the history of the Dragon Empire.

  13. The dragonling glared up at the bemused human who owned the cat. “Spare me,” he said acidly “the tired crack about looking like -” lips pulled back in a snarl “-what I do now.”

    “Okay.” Rika couldn’t help but smile. She held out her hand and Suki deposited her prize into Rika’s palm. After the expected pets and praise, Suki went back out the cat door, tail swishing with pride.

    Rika held her guest up a little higher. “If I make ham and cheese koroke, will it make up for your undignified treatment, Makoto?”

    Makoto seemed to ponder that for a moment. “I suppose it might,” he sniffed. “If only because you make delicious koroke.

    Rika grinned. “I also have that blue tropical Calpis you like so much,” she teased.

    “Oh very well.” Makoto lowered one eyelid down in a wink, conceding that she had won. He clambered up onto her shoulder and sighed. “I still can’t quite figure out the flavor.”

    “Blue,” Rika replied with a giggle. “I always described the flavor as just blue.”

    That is not something I am willing to surrender on yet, Rika,” Makoto said loftily. “‘Blue’ is such a ridiculous description of flavor.”

    Rika’s laughter echoed through the house as they stepped through into the kitchen.

    ~~~

    Imagine Makoto being voiced by John deLancie.

  14. analytical-engine-mechanic

    “Shh!” Remarkably, Annette Fowler managed to voice the imperative without turning it into a hissing, carrying sibilant.

    NOT NEARLY AS MUCH FUN AS FISHING, Rick complained silently on his handheld’s touchscreen. Though she’d held out the promise this would solve both the data gap mystery and the accumulator energy leak mystery, she had not quite promised it would.

    HIs job, and hers, at the 15 GW rectenna farm between Gilette and Sheridan, now, that was fun. And if its full microwave downlink power was more like 20 GW, and if the facility also did other energy conversion research for Westenra Terrestrial on the side — that was better. And stuff like a two-week “vacation” with spooky novel hardware he’d just made was like chocolate sprinkles on top.

    This was… more like watching the ground crack. Or at least, the Wind River ripple and the grass wave. Not even close. Even if the assorted pickups could show everything around the prototype in anything from near-UV to 4K color to thermal IR (at a primitive 64 x 64 resolution).

    The last showed someone famiiar approaching: Annette’s mod-lynx, Speaker to Monkeys. (Nobody knew how just intelligent they were, or in what way, but the consensus was they were a near modern equivalent to the millennia-ago Egyptian effort to domesticate the caracal lynx as a hunting cat.) Her own comment was the single character “!” — though Rick Desplaines was already watching intently (now).
    SURELY YOU DON’T MEAN… (At least text wouldn’t get him another “shh!”…)

    Speaker padded up to the control keyboard, sniffed, and hit the START button with a dexterous paw. (The custom key-caps, orange letters on a blue ground, were easy and quick to make, a multicolor pattern on the melt-and-place 3D printer followed by a simple solvent polish.) Okay, monkey do, feline see and follow.
    But then she hit hit UNLOCK and entered the four-digit unlock code. (Maybe it was the same thing, but orders of magnitude more impressive?) It was the right one, because the main screen lit and the laptop between them started to fill with telemetry, and the deep hum of the accumulator drive filled the quiet back-boundary river shore of Annette’s grandparents’ old cabin place (again).

    Annette actually gasped. But quietly. Though they’d done the exact same thing hundreds of times over the past week, as often in front of Speaker as not.
    Which meant the next button for her to hit was…

    TOPO SEQ. Without hesitation, Speaker did.

    And the string of four-digit numbers that followed, whole-number coordinates in an infinite-dimensional space of (something like) topological invariants, was *not* one either of them recognized. (Naturally the ones not otherwise set defaulted to zero, or nobody could ever really specify a Hilbert-vector index at all.)

    Digit, digit, digit, digit, TAB.
    Lather, rinse, repeat — five times.

    SHOULD I HIT INHIBIT? Rick asked.
    WHY, SHE’S JUST TRYING THE SAME THING WE DID WAY TOO OFTEN ALREADY!

    Annette Fowler’s first two Real Favorite Books growing up had been, in order, “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Tunnel In The Sky” — and she’d loved “Stargate” from the movie to the last TV episode. So when a month ago she had stumbled across a (potential) way to connect Here and There across some “surface of discontinuity” (based on the new physics behind what rumor said was the Westenra sisters’ now-successful possibly-interstellar jump-drive), well, it had been like falling into a dream come true, complete with elegant Deep Math.

    But so far, experimentally, it had always just been…
    Speaker hit the OPEN key…
    Click! Buzzz. Quiet.
    Again.

    As, visually, the air between the two hoops (vaguely like Helmholtz coils, but closer together and not coils and not electromagnetic) sparkled briefly with rainbows, as the mismatched scalar-field energy (the buzz was the system trying to repeat the matching algorithm and get it to work) leaked, just a very little bit, off into visible light, before draining back into the accumulator.

    NOT THAT BIG AN ENERGY LOSS. SO WHERE IS IT GOING? puzzled Rick.

    Speaker, who’d been looking at the hoops like a roach in her Cat Chow, hit the OPEN button again.

    Click, whirr — hum.

    There’d been a flash like an old-fasioned flashbulb, and now a third hoop glowed in between the two material ones. A bounding singularity for the surface of discontinuity between them.
    The cameras showed a view, looking *both* ways into the hoops, of a very similar but also clearly different river; and the T-IR read scene temperatures over twenty degrees cooler than the summer Wyoming 90s around them.

    CONFIGURATION LOCK STABLE, said the laptop in its log window.

    Speaker stared at the hoops, gathered herself, and bounded through the middle of the glowing… Gate.

    Annette had imagined many things. Being seized with worry for Speaker, and sorely puzzled by an anomaly, had been none of them.
    “Oh my God. But why did it work the second time but not the first?” The index numbers persisted until you changed them or shut down the machine.

    Rick winced. “I think it’s time-dependent coordinates. Which means you have to keep a connection open in order to ever be sure of finding the place again. Or until you figure out how the vectors change with time.”

    Annette’s eyes grew wide in something like horror. “But she’s… over there!” As she had a sudden ugly vision of herself calling, “here, kitty kitty” — fruitlessly.

    Speaker bounded back through, something small and winged in her jaws.

    Annette hit the laptop’s overriding version of the CLOSE key on the panel.
    Nothing else happened.
    Speaker hit the SCRAM key on the actual panel, and with a loud Pop! and a brighter flash, the third, immaterial hoop vanished.
    Leaving behind it over a gigabyte of data on the laptop and other monitors.

    “Mystery solved,” said Rick with a certain satisfaction in his voice. “Resetting the whole machine to its initial state, collapsing the field, sucking back as much energy as possible. But leaving no further trace.” It had been their last-ditch one-button solution to everything from a machine malfunction to an opening to a Bad Place to someone popping up and being, ah, nosy.

    “And, Annette?” he said, with a certain — intentness — in his look and voice. “Energy loss is consistent with her doing this just about *exactly* four times, *before* this one.”

    Speaker trotted up, a bat, no a lizard, no a *what*(?!) in her mouth.

    “Speaker, *drop that*.” (And for a wonder, even as a cat who “knew her words” quite well, she did. Actually, dropped it in something of the manner of a gift.)

    “Alien life forms, Annette, should we call in a Wildfire?”

    “Mebbeso, but only as a precaution. Look at the morphology.”

    “Huh?”

    “It’s a *dragon*, or at least a, uh, dragonling. Look at it! Like something out of Arthurian legend, or Marie Brennan, or something. Either this is the maddest of coincidences, or Earth has seen these things before. For an awful *lot* of before.” Her mind was spinning. A real, if miniature, dragon. Not even looking too badly the worse for wear.

    And boy, were Lucille and Emilie Westenra going to be surprised..! Even “The Women Who Bought the Moon” (a wild exaggeration of a few measly percent of its total land area) themselves. She contemplated the Westenra Orbicell phone in her pocket, affordable broadband from everyplace on Earth that could see the sky now that its netsat constellation was almost complete…

    And realized she was so stagestruck she had no idea *what* she’d say to *either* of them. Especially with the likely time lag between here and Farside..

    “Uh, Annette? Where did she get the coordinates? Especially since they seem to be so, ah, perishable?”

    She wanted to throw up her hands and giggle. Instead she said, “Lady Bastet? The ancestral First Cats? Alien Space Bat Radio on the fillings in her teeth she doesn’t have?” And thought — perhaps monkey cleverness *isn’t supposed to* be all that.

    The dragonling looked at them, still busy getting itself back together, with eyes that were empty of hostility and might even be full of intelligence.

    Speaker to Monkeys licked her front paws and made no further comment.

    [with a few pre-existing background characters, etc. — and a tip o’ the hat to the Applied Topology books]

    [oh, and I want to *see* that Rika & Mikoto short..!]

  15. The Draconic Invasion was going quite well until the humans released the 100′ genetically augmented felines. Unfortunately although the invasion was dealt with the economy collapsed immediately thereafter as it was deemed impossible to provide sufficient quantities of kitty crunchies. In addition the cats kept scratching themselves on architectural features (especially church spires) damaging many historic churches and cathedrals. There was a brief suggestion of 150′ canines but this was quickly vetoed…

  16. Christopher M. Chupik

    The fishing must be great. 🙂

  17. I woke up to the cat tapping my face. I pried one eye open and blinked at the blurry form.
    “Mew,” more tapping, and then I felt scraggly movement on my pillow.
    Oh no, I thought, she caught another lizard. My eyes snapped open and struggled to focus on the creature. “That’s funny,” I mumbled, “it doesn’t look like any lizard I’ve seen before.”
    I put on my glasses and screamed as the creature came into focus. Little gouts of flame spewed from its nostrils, and and the wings delicately moved. “This is not a good start to the day,” I I said to myself as I looked for a fireproof container to put it in.

  18. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Guess what I forgot?

    Reminder:Donate to Hoyt.

  19. Thought of this earlier: