Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo

Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months. One book per author per week. Amazon links only.-SAH*

 

FROM MARY CATELLI:  Sorcery and Kings.

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Tales of wonder and magic.

A fire master must find a magical starter of fires.

A mysterious queen holds a ball in a city filled with magic.

Magic of roses and gold are needed to fight a dreadful war.

An oath keeps a ghost captive.

FROM KARL K. GALLAGHER:  The Lost War.

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It was supposed to be a weekend of costumed fun. Instead these medieval historical reenactors are flung into a wilderness by magic they don’t understand. They must struggle to survive and deal with monsters who consider them prey . . . or worse.
***
“Karl Gallagher’s first production, the Torchship Trilogy, was good enough so that I read and reread it. He has now turned his hand from science fiction to fantasy.”
– Professor David D. Friedman, Professor, Santa Clara University, author of The Machinery of Freedom and Salamander
– Also known as Duke Cariadoc of the Bow, KSCA, OL, OP, founder of the Pennsic War.

ON SALE FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY:  Sleeping Duty (Waking Late Book 1).

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Gilead Tan and Andrea Fielding survived their stint in the military, got married, signed up to emigrate to a terraformed colony world, and went into cold sleep for the journey from Earth. While they slept, the starship went through the wrong fold in space and settled for a different world, a wild world.

Three centuries after the founding of a colony on the uncharted planet, Gilead awakens to find humanity slipped back to medieval tech and a feudal structure.

Worse, the king who wants Gilead awake won’t let Gilead awaken his wife.

FROM ALMA T. C. BOYKIN:   Fountains of Mercy: Book 8 of the Colplatschki Chronicle.

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Fires dance in the sky, and the great machines fail.

Colonial Plantation LTD can’t decide what to do with Solana, also called ColPlat XI. Should it be a nature preserve, a living museum of pre-industrial techniques, or a standard colony? As the bureaucrats wrangle, a solar storm disrupts technology and reveals deep rifts between the colonists and their administrators.

Susanna “Basil” Peilov clawed her way out of the slums and wants nothing to do with the Company. Peter Babenburg just wants to build his water system and stay out of trouble. When the sky-fires come, Basil, Peter, and their families and friends stand between the colony and chaos. Company administrators assure everyone that replacement parts and assistance is coming, will come. Without those supply ships from the stars, everything falls apart and the colony will die. All that people can do is wait and hope for rescue.

The administrators never planned on facing a group of engineers, a crazy farmer and his wives, and colonists determined to protect their home. Hope comes from some unlikely places, and courage takes eccentric shapes.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: melodic

 

 

 

 

43 responses to “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Melodic?

    My singing has never been accused of being melodic. 😉

    • Syncope-ated as some get rather faint?
      Or just wish it were more faint?

      [Joke shamelessly stolenadapted from The Muppet Show: I was once asked to sing Solo Tenor. So low I couldn’t be heard, and ten or eleven miles away just be sure.”]

  2. Joseph let out a long, low, melodic fart.
    “Pardon me!”, he said. “That was most unexpected.”
    Francois looked shocked. “Can you do that again?”, he asked.
    “I’m not sure. Let me try.” said Joseph, and he emitted another, this time resounding, blast.
    And thus was Joseph Pujol propelled into stardom.

  3. “It seems such a waste of computing power. All that.. on.. utter nonsense!”

    “Electricity is essentially free. MELODIC slows as more is needed elsewhere, load balancing, with the benefit of working on admitted longshots.”

    “Why the music name?”

    “MELODIC? A slightly tortured acronym: Martian Engine, ‘Lectronic Only Doing Idiotic Computations.”

  4. There’s a pb edition too, Amazon just hasn’t linked it yet.

    And you can buy individual stories as well.

  5. The torch singer in the joint wasn’t the best. Sure, she could hit the notes, but hitting them and sticking to them are different things. I winced visibly as as another valiant effort went flat. “I was told her voice was melodious,” I muttered to myself. “That’s more melod-ICK!”

  6. “Stop,” she said, holding out a hand to grab Brandon’s arm. She gave the others as quelling a look as she could, and wished for a spell of staying, or a dozen hands.
    The others, at least, gave her puzzled looks but stopped.
    “Listen.”
    They scowled as they listened, and heard the birdsong, but slowly their expressions changed, as awareness dawned on them. Most of them.
    “What are you up to?” said Ronal.
    “Listen to the birds,” said Brandon. “That’s not birdsong. They are singing a melodic song in harmony.”
    “What harm could that do?”
    “Is what caused it harmless?”

  7. Pipes, harps, and flutes struck up at once, in melodic dancing tunes. Minette swallowed. It felt odd. They had celebrated with the feast in the hills. Once or twice, they had been in the village, and she had seen the young dancing with garlands, but it had been more solemn.

  8. The harps were exquisite, melodic, profound. Bredon, his head hanging, thought dully that this, apparently, was appropriate music for an execution. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the massed crowds, looking scornfully on him and his companions, but the music formed the only sound.

  9. Halan sipped his watered down lemon juice and tried not to listen. The band was more enthusiastic than good. The distorted strings tended to overwhelm the winds, and the percussion could only be said to have a sense of rhythm in that he never used the same one, so it must have been on purpose. The crowd of patrons was not loud enough to mask it. More’s the pity, he thought.

    “C’mon Hal, you’re my bad idea guy here. Let’s do something interesting!”

    The man in question considered his hyperactive companion. Weaver squirmed in her seat, trying to look in every direction at once. People noticed, and began sidling away.

    “ ‘Bad idea guy,’ young lady? You wound me,” he placed one scarred hand over where his heart would have been. “We always completed the job to the satisfaction of our employer. That tells me those were good ideas. We keep getting paid. I really like that fact, as I don’t have a trust fund waiting on me.”

    “But that’s over twelve years in the future!” She exploded.

    “Besides, I don’t mean bad idea like that didn’t work. I mean bad idea like the opposite of what grandmother would have me do. Learn how to count forks. Smile pretty and dumb for the nice politicians. Find a good husband. Stuff like that. You’re my bad idea guy because the stuff we do gets us put in jail. Or break somebody out of jail. Or track down pirates. Ooh! Pirate hunting! We can totally do that!” Weaver positively bounced in her seat as she pulled up her Intelligent Assistant and demanded to know the latest information on pirate activity. A couple who had been sitting nearby abruptly got up and left.

    Hal considered leaving as well. The idea definitely had merit. His internal com crackled to life.

    “Code Orange, Code orange at Indigo Kilo. I repeat-” the sound of gunfire and explosions washed over the audio for a moment before the speaker returned.

    “-Units this is Sweet Boots calling a Code Orange ad Indigo Kilo. Git your assets down here pronto!”

    The two stood, Halan tapping his multifunction key twice. Green dots appeared on his HUD for himself as “Big Hal” and Weaver as “Spider.”

    “Can you get a car up here?” Weaver snorted in derision.

    “I can get a car anywhere you want, boss. Over the side, it’s faster.” They leapt, and Hal could see an empty aircar howling up to meet them. She turned slightly to him as she fell. A slightly crazed smile lit her face.

    “They’re playing our song!”

    The crack of rifle fire and shattering ceracrete distracted him again as the seat of the aircar slammed into them, fans screaming now as they spooled up. It was a melody they both knew all too well.

  10. Florio put the music box down. The clockwork birds cheeped. A simple tune, barely melodic, but perhaps all the better to dance to, then. Rosine drew a deep breath and came out to meet him. Stick to the measures, she told herself. Never mind the shadows. They will dance on their own.

  11. He had always hated Beatrice’s music. He could not even recognize a melody in the tunes. She never played it except so loudly that it sounded in the common areas. No matter how often everyone asked.
    “How lucky she is,” murmured Ariana, “that no one has an electronics breaking power.”

  12. Edwin began to play. Aidan sat with his hands in his lap and began to sing. Robert leaned back on the wall.
    You wouldn’t wonder why he didn’t become a bard, even if you didn’t know he had to be a sorcerer, but he sang quite well for a princeling.

  13. “It’s no good. I’ll have to replace the whole latch assembly.” His face scrunched up with concern. “Are you sure you’re all right, Lenora?”

    She smiled. “I’ll be fine. Thank you for helping me.”

    “Not a problem.” He eyed the broken door again, and scowled. “I’m sure they’ll catch the bastard that did this, and I hope he’d found guilty.”

    Her response was a melodic, but thoroughly evil chuckle. “I hope he’s never found at all.”

  14. analytical-engine-mechanic

    “And here we are, cadets, our South Pole, farthest aft of the *Edward Teller’s* habitable volumes, our own little Ultima Australis.” Chief Engineer McKenna’s voice was resonant, almost musical, despite her soft accents being far more American than aboriginally Scottish. “Any farther back than Aft Junction and Control here, you need to be in a shielded vacsuit, or a lot more, or else… bad for you. In fact, we are now standing directly on the Main Crew Shield, itself,” she said, as the last of them disembarked from the elevator cylinder. “Three feet of steel, three more of gadolinium-spiked borax-matrix neutron stopper, four more of layered steel and bismuth below. All of which also makes it the biggest lumped-mass element in the whole vibration damping array. Cadet Srinivasan?”

    “Yes, Chief Engineer?” (Straight black hair and piercing brown eyes.)

    “Why do we need so much vibration damping at all?”

    “Ah, the drive power fluctuates and so does the thrust of the main engine?” It was even louder here, that rumbling hum that filled the ship so fully it faded out of consciousness most of the time, like the rolling of the sailing ship they had all trained on for a couple of weeks courtesy of the Navy. She thought of it as “the song of the machines” quite often, to herself.

    “Right, and why does the core power fluctuate on such short timescales?”

    “Mostly I think it comes from fluctuations in the ring current in the core torus itself, that change the magnetic pressure on the gas core and make it more or less bright radiatively.”

    She smiled appreciatively, and encouragingly. “Yes. The compression makes it both hotter in itself and also raises the reactivity slightly. And, since the flow path for the hydrogen propellant ends right through the center of the core, the ‘hole in the doughnut’ as many of us were taught to call it, the core radiative power has a chance to react on the ‘chamber temperature’ of the working fluid very quickly, and so change the nozzle-entrance temperature and thrust.

    “Thus the de Belleville stacks underneath us, the active magnetic damping, the tuned passive fluid damping, and all the rest.

    “And why, Cadet Srinivasan, would you do it that way… center flow last?”

    “So the propellant passes ‘between two fires’ as they say in Scotland, so it can be heated to a temperature not limited by a nearby chamber wall.” He licked his lips a little. “No ethnic reference intended, ma’am.”

    “No more than my calling on ‘the smart Indian guy’ in the room first, Cadet.” Elise McKenna chuckled, then actually sighed. “Hopefully four AUs away is far enough to leave all that old nonsense behind.

    “Cadet Merriwether, what is the full name of this ship?” (Tall, long brown hair.)

    “The USTS ‘Edward Teller’ — ma’am.”

    “And the words behind the acronym?”

    “United States Torch Ship. Ma’am.”

    “And where does that name come from?”

    “Ah, it’s usually attributed to writer, and former Navy man, Robert Heinlein.”

    “The Space Force congratulates you on your service-branch loyalty, former Ensign Merriwether. Now, finally, can you tell me *briefly* what about our very non-fictional main drive merits the old sci-fi term ‘Torchship’?”

    “Our GCR can sustain moderate accelerations for relatively very long periods due to its extremely high specific impulse. Uh, which is almost the same as exhaust velocity. This is because of the very high temperatures achieved in the gaseous-uranium core and transferred radiatively to the propellant. Ma’am.”

    “Yes, Cadet. Though I might remind you that space is not boot camp, so you are outright invited to dial down the formality a trifle, out here.” The smile as she said it made it quite clear how warm an invitation that was.

    “And that is the downright miracle we serve on, and stand in. The stuff of so many a science-fiction story, made real for us before the 21st century is out.”
    And suddenly that same radiant smile was back, if colored rueful. “Though it took over a century to actually make it work, from the first serious research back in the 1950s and 60s.”

    “Cadet Stark, presuming you know that history, and no loss of credit here if you don’t, what two main challenges *made* it take so long?” (Shortish, solidly built, straw-yellow hair and arctic-blue eyes.)

    “I’d say… the problem of mixing between the core plasma and the propellant flow, resulting in loss of the uranium fuel to the exhaust, and the problem of good radiative heat transfer to the propellant without much loss to the walls.”

    Elise McKenna smiled. “Pretty much, although such things as maintaining criticality and control, and creating a pressure vessel capable of confining a decently small core at the very high pressures involved, are certainly up there.

    “And how, Cadet Stark, does the innovation called a ‘tovimak’ fit into that?”

    “Sorry, ma’am, that only means to me something, ah, to do with the core.”

    “Cadet Merriwether, you look like someone eager to speak.” (She didn’t, at all, but her earlier responses showed she was worth listening to once started.)

    “That is… a word coined by Emilie and Lucille Westenra to describe the core design they created: not a spherical core mass inside a chamber like the sun in a solar system, but a toroidal ring core carrying an electric current much like the fusion plasma in a tokamak. Even though the conditions are very, very different, fusing hydrogen is much hotter and less dense, the stability of a core configuration using magnetohydrodynamics not fluid dynamics lets you keep the hydrogen and uranium much better separated. And the ring current also lets you ‘float’ the core in the center of the chamber, against buoyancy.”

    “Very good, Cadet.” (Her eyes flashed brighter green when she went pensive.) “And I’d note to everyone that last point can be pivotal. A rocket is usually meant to drive itself and a payload at some sensible acceleration, so having the core ‘float’ up or ‘fall’ down into contact with the chamber walls could be anything from inoperable to catastrophic. And, Cadet, if you will? That word?”

    “It’s supposed to be contracted from ‘toroidal vortex magnetic’ instead of ‘toroidal chamber magnetic’ — though nobody seems to say exactly how. Where all the words are really in Russian, too, just to make it harder.”

    “Again, very good, and pretty much letter-perfect. The tovimak, the ‘core in a smoke ring’ to use another Westenra-ism, makes the modern gas core reactor nuclear rocket possible… saves us from unacceptable fuel loss, lets us act on the core magnetically to control its position, even creates a somewhat higher pressure in the fission core than the cooler propellant it radiates its heat into.

    “But in practice it also means the interaction of the core ring current, driven by plasma effects, with the suspension field and with the propellant and the rest of the entire system, makes it fluctuate unavoidably. It’s not easy to predict it from first principles, but every GCR rocket ever built does this. Sings its song.”

    Chief Engineer McKenna raised an index finger in front of her face, almost but not quite like the gesture for “Shh!” And said, softly, “Listen… Just. Listen.”

    And closed her own eyes, slowly, as if in further emphasis.

    “You’ll hear the sound of the hydrogen through the pipes, maybe. The rumble of the engine itself, like endless distant thunder, as the propellant gas moves turbulently through the rocket nozzle. But that harmonic, anharmonic hum, that sound that rings both in and out of tune, is mostly the song of the core itself, as the ring current swings up and down and the core swells out and shrinks in again, as its ultraviolet-hot glow transfers nearly all its power to the careful trace of soot in the hydrogen propellant all around it.”

    There was something captivating, almost hypnotic, in her voice.

    “There will be changes in that song, in its subtle harmonies and disharmonies, all the time a little, though in steady state not by much. But no rhythm, no melody.”

    She opened her eyes and said in a very different voice, “But if there ever *is*, if the song of the “Teller” or any ship like her actually does go… melodic, then… bad. Very bad.”

    (Based on an earlier vignette idea. And despite the fiction, also on some very real historical gas-core research…)

  15. Max hadn’t anticipated liking Cari’s book, Northern Tales, but he found it unexpectedly intriguing.

    Maybe it was the musical quality of the prose which drew him in, like a conversation with an old friend.

    Maybe it was Cari’s melodious voice, saying “read this, dummy!” when she gave it to him.

  16. “Merry Melodies? I never really understood that. What’s melodic about Bugs Bunny, Daffy, Tweety , or any of the rest of those characters?”

    “Dunno, man,” I responded. “Before my time.”

  17. Any word from the Huns and Hoydens in the Dallas area?

  18. The aircar chimed as Rayna opened the door. She looked back at the control panel, realized she’d left the key in the ignition jack.

    She could remember when the key-in-ignition sound was a harsh buzz. Back when cars still went on wheels, and keys were pieces of metal cut to activate a mechanical lock, not tiny solid-state drives that doubled as driver’s license and insurance card. Three centuries and a couple of planets ago for her.

    Key retrieved, Rayna locked her aircar and hurried into the rejuv clinic. It wouldn’t do to be late for her quarterly bodily maintenance appointment, especially not with that persistent ache that had developed in her left shoulder this past month.

  19. analytical-engine-mechanic

    [2nd try since MUCH earlier today]

    “And here we are, cadets, our South Pole, farthest aft of the *Edward Teller’s* habitable volumes, our own little Ultima Australis.” Chief Engineer McKenna’s voice was resonant, almost musical, despite her soft accents being far more American than aboriginally Scottish. “Any farther back than Aft Junction and Control here, you need to be in a shielded vacsuit, or a lot more, or else… bad for you. In fact, we are now standing directly on the Main Crew Shield, itself,” she said, as the last of them disembarked from the elevator cylinder. “Three feet of steel, three more of gadolinium-spiked borax-matrix neutron stopper, four more of layered steel and bismuth below. All of which also makes it the biggest lumped-mass element in the whole vibration damping array. Cadet Srinivasan?”

    “Yes, Chief Engineer?” (Straight black hair and piercing brown eyes.)

    “Why do we need so much vibration damping at all?”

    “Ah, the drive power fluctuates and so does the thrust of the main engine?” It was even louder here, that rumbling hum that filled the ship so fully it faded out of consciousness most of the time, like the rolling of the sailing ship they had all trained on for a couple of weeks courtesy of the Navy. She thought of it as “the song of the machines” quite often, to herself.

    “Right, and why does the core power fluctuate on such short timescales?”

    “Mostly I think it comes from fluctuations in the ring current in the core torus itself, that change the magnetic pressure on the gas core and make it more or less bright radiatively.”

    She smiled appreciatively, and encouragingly. “Yes. The compression makes it both hotter in itself and also raises the reactivity slightly. And, since the flow path for the hydrogen propellant ends right through the center of the core, the ‘hole in the doughnut’ as many of us were taught to call it, the core radiative power has a chance to act on the working fluid very quickly, and change the nozzle-entrance temperature and thrust.

    “Thus the de Belleville stacks underneath us, the active magnetic damping, the tuned passive fluid damping, and all the rest.

    “And why, Cadet Srinivasan, would you do it that way… center flow last?”

    “So the propellant passes ‘between two fires’ as they say in Scotland, so it can be heated to a temperature not limited by a nearby chamber wall.” He licked his lips a little. “No ethnic reference intended, ma’am.”

    “No more than my calling on ‘the smart Indian guy’ in the room first, Cadet.” Elise McKenna chuckled, then actually sighed. “Hopefully four AUs away is far enough to leave all that old nonsense behind.

    “Cadet Merriwether, what is the full name of this ship?” (Tall, long brown hair.)

    “The USTS ‘Edward Teller’ — ma’am.”

    “And the words behind the acronym?”

    “United States Torch Ship. Ma’am.”

    “And where does that name come from?”

    “Ah, it’s usually attributed to writer, and former Navy man, Robert Heinlein.”

    “The Space Force congratulates you on your service-branch loyalty, former Ensign Merriwether. Now, finally, can you tell me *briefly* what about our very non-fictional main drive merits the old sci-fi term ‘Torchship’?”

    “Our GCR can sustain moderate accelerations for relatively very long periods due to its extremely high specific impulse. Uh, which is almost the same as exhaust velocity. This is because of the very high temperatures achieved in the gaseous-uranium core and transferred radiatively to the propellant. Ma’am.”

    “Yes, Cadet. Though I might remind you that space is not boot camp, so you are outright invited to dial down the formality a trifle, out here.” The smile as she said it made it quite clear how warm an invitation that was.

    “And that is the downright miracle we serve on, and stand in. The stuff of so many a science-fiction story, made real for us before the 21st century is out.”

    And suddenly that same radiant smile was back, if colored rueful. “Though it took over a century to actually make it work, from the first serious research back in the 1950s and 60s.”

    “Cadet Stark, presuming you know that history, and no loss of credit here if you don’t, what two main challenges *made* it take so long?” (Shortish, solidly built, straw-yellow hair and arctic-blue eyes.)

    “I’d say… the problem of mixing between the core plasma and the propellant flow, resulting in loss of the uranium fuel to the exhaust, and the problem of good radiative heat transfer to the propellant without much loss to the walls.”

    Elise McKenna smiled. “Pretty much, although such things as maintaining criticality and control, and creating a pressure vessel capable of confining a decently small core at the very high pressures involved, are certainly up there.

    “And how, Cadet Stark, does the innovation called a ‘tovimak’ fit into that?”

    “Sorry, ma’am, that only means to me something, ah, to do with the core.”

    “Cadet Merriwether, you look like someone eager to speak.” (She didn’t, at all, but her earlier responses showed she was worth listenting to once started.)

    “That is… a word coined by Emilie and Lucille Westenra to describe the core design they created: not a spherical core mass inside a chamber like the sun in a solar system, but a toroidal ring core carrying an electric current much like the fusion plasma in a tokamak. Even though the conditions are very, very different, fusing hydrogen is much hotter and less dense, the stability of a core configuration using magnetohydrodynamics not fluid dynamics lets you keep the hydrogen and uranium much better separated. And the ring current lets you ‘float’ the core in the center of the chamber, against buoyancy.”

    “Very good, Cadet.” (Her eyes flashed brighter green when she went pensive.) “And I’d note to everyone that last point can be pivotal. A rocket is usually meant to drive itself and a payload at some sensible acceleration, so having the core ‘float’ up or ‘fall’ down into contact with the chamber walls could be anything from inoperable to catastrophic. And, Cadet, if you will? That word?”

    “It’s supposed to be contracted from ‘toroidal vortex magnetic’ instead of ‘toroidal chamber magnetic’ — though nobody seems to say exactly how. Where all the words are really in Russian, too, just to make it harder.”

    “Again, very good, and pretty much letter-perfect. The tovimak, the ‘core in a smoke ring’ to use another Westenra-ism, makes the modern gas core reactor nuclear rocket possible… saves us from unacceptable fuel loss, lets us act on the core magnetically to control its position, even creates a somewhat higher pressure in the fission core than the cooler propellant it radiates its heat into.

    “But in practice it also means the interaction of the core ring current, driven by plasma effects, with the suspension field and with the propellant and the rest of the entire system, makes it fluctuate unavoidably. It’s not easy to predict from first principles, but every GCR rocket ever built does this. Sings its song.”

    Chief Engineer McKenna raised an index finger in front of her face, almost but not quite like the gesture for “Shh!” And said, softly, “Listen… Just. Listen.”

    And closed her own eyes, slowly, as if in further emphasis.

    “You’ll hear the sound of the hydrogen through the pipes, maybe. The rumble of the engine itself, like endless distant thunder, as the propellant gas moves turbulently through the rocket nozzle. But that harmonic, anharmonic hum, that sound that rings both in and out of tune, is mostly the song of the core itself, as the ring current swings up and down and the core swells out and shrinks in again, as its ultraviolet-hot glow transfers nearly all its power to the careful trace of soot in the hydrogen propellant all around it.”

    There was something captivating, almost hypnotic, in her voice.

    “There will be changes in that song, in its harmonies and disharmonies, all the time a little, though in steady state not by much. But no rhythm, no melody.”

    She opened her eyes and said in a very different voice, “But if there ever *is*, if the song of the “Teller” or any ship like her does ever go… melodic, then bad. Very bad.”

    (Based on an earlier vignette idea. And much real, historical gas-core research….)

  20. analytical-engine-mechanic

    “And here we are, cadets, our South Pole, farthest aft of the *Teller’s* habitable volumes, our own little Ultima Australis.” Chief Engineer McKenna’s voice was resonant, almost musical, despite her accents being far more American than aboriginally Scottish. “Any farther back than Aft Junction and Control here, you need to be in a shielded vacsuit, or a lot more, or else… bad for you. In fact, we are now standing directly on the Main Crew Shield, itself,” she said, as the last of them stepped out of the transit cylinder. “Three feet of steel, three more of gadolinium-spiked borax-matrix neutron stopper, four more of layered steel and bismuth below. All of which also makes it the biggest lumped-mass element in the whole vibration damping array. Cadet Srinivasan?”

    “Yes, Chief Engineer?” (Straight black hair and piercing brown eyes.)

    “Why do we need so much vibration damping at all?”

    “Ah, the drive power fluctuates and so does the thrust of the main engine?” It was even louder here, that rumbling hum that filled the ship so fully it faded out of consciousness most of the time, like the rolling of the sailing ship they had all trained on for a couple of weeks courtesy of the Navy. She thought of it as “the song of the machines” quite often, to herself.

    “Right, and why does the core power fluctuate on such short timescales?”

    “Mostly I think it comes from fluctuations in the ring current in the core torus itself, that change the magnetic pressure on the gas core and make it more or less bright radiatively.”

    She smiled appreciatively, and encouragingly. “Yes. The compression makes it both hotter in itself and also raises the reactivity slightly. And, since the flow path for the hydrogen propellant ends right through the center of the core, the ‘hole in the doughnut’ as many of us were taught to say, the core radiative power has a chance to act on the chamber-exit temperature very quickly and so change the nozzle-entrance temperature and thrust.  

    “Thus the de Belleville stacks underneath us, the active magnetic damping, the tuned passive fluid damping, and all the rest.

    “And why, Cadet Srinivasan, would you do it that way… center flow last?”

    “So the propellant passes ‘between two fires’ as they say in Scotland, so it can be heated to a temperature not limited by a nearby chamber wall.” He licked his lips a little. “No ethnic reference intended, ma’am.”

    “No more than my calling on ‘the smart Indian guy’ in the room first, Cadet.” Elise McKenna chuckled.

    “Cadet Merriwether, what is the full name of this ship?” (Tall, long brown hair.)

    “The USTS ‘Edward Teller’ — ma’am.”

    “And the words behind the acronym?”

    “United States Torch Ship. Ma’am.”

    “And where does that name come from?”

    “Ah, it’s usually attributed to writer, and former Navy man, Robert Heinlein.”

    “The Space Force congratulates you on your service-branch loyalty, former Ensign Merriwether. Now, finally, can you tell me *briefly* what about our very non-fictional main drive merits the old sci-fi term ‘Torchship’?”

    “Our GCR can sustain moderate accelerations for relatively very long periods due to its extremely high specific impulse. Uh, which is almost the same as exhaust velocity. This is because of the very high tempeatures achieved in the gaseous-uranium core and transferred radiatively to the propellant. Ma’am.”

    “Yes, Cadet. Though I might remind you that space is not boot camp, so you are outright invited to dial down the formality a trifle, out here.” The smile as she said it made it quite clear how warm an invitation that was.

    “And that is the routine miracle we serve on, and stand in. The stuff of so many a science-fiction story, made real for us before the 21st century is out.” And suddenly that same radiant smile was back, if colored rueful. “Though it took over a century to actually make it work, from the first serious research back in the 1950s and 60s.”

    “Cadet Stark, presuming you know that history, and no loss of credit here if you don’t, what two main challenges *made* it take so long?” (Shortish, solidly built, straw-yellow hair and arctic-blue eyes.)

    “I’d say… the problem of mixing between the core plasma and the propellant, resulting in loss of uranium fuel to the exhaust, and the problem of radiative heat transfer to the propellant without much loss to the walls.”

    Elise McKenna smiled. “Pretty much, although such things as maintainng criticality and control, and creating a pressure vessel capable of confining a reasonably small core at the very high pressures involved, are certainly up there.

    “And how, Cadet Stark, does the innovation called a ‘tovimak’ fit into that?”

    “Sorry, ma’am,  that only means to me something, ah, to do with the core.”

    “Cadet Merriwether, you look like someone eager to speak.” (She didn’t, at all, but her earlier responses showed she was worth listenting to once started.)

    “That is… a word coined by Emilie and Lucille Westenra to describe the core design they created; not a spherical core centered in a chamber like the sun in a solar system, but a toroidal ring core carrying an electric current much like the fusion plasma in a tokamak. Even though the conditions are very, very different, fusing hydrogen is much hotter and less dense, the extra stability from using magnetohydrodynamics not fluid dynamics lets you keep the hydrogen and uranium much better separated. And the ring current lets you ‘levitate’ the core magnetically, against buoyancy.”

    “Very good, Cadet.” (Her eyes flashed brighter green when she went pensive.) “And I’d note to everyone that last point can be pivotal. A rocket is usually meant to drive itself and a payload at some sensible acceleration, so having the core ‘float’ up or ‘fall’ down into contact with the chamber walls could be anything from inoperable to catastrophic. And, Cadet, if you will? That word?”

    “It’s supposed to be contracted from ‘toroidal vortex magnetic’ instead of ‘toroidal chamber magnetic’ — though nobody seems to say exactly how. Where all the words are really in Russian, too, just to make it harder.”

    “Again, very good, and pretty much letter-perfect. The tovimak, the ‘core in a smoke ring’ to use another Westenra-ism, makes the modern gas core reactor nuclear rocket possible… saves us from unacceptable fuel loss, lets us act on the core magnetically to control its position, even creates a somewhat higher pressure in the fission core than the cooler propellant it radiates its heat into.

    “But in practice it also means the interaction of the core ring current, driven by plasma effects, with the suspension field and with the propellant and the rest of the entire system, makes it fluctuate unavoidably. It’s not easy to predict from first principles, but every GCR rocket ever made does this. Sings its song.”

    Chief Engineer McKenna raised an index finger in front of her face, almost but not quite like the gesture for “Shh!” And said, softly, “Listen… Just. Listen.”

    And closed her own eyes, slowly, as if in further emphasis.

    “You’ll hear the sound of the hydrogen through the pipes, maybe. The rumble of the engine itself, like endless distant thunder, as the propellant gas moves turbulently through the rocket nozzle. But that harmonic, anharmonic hum, that sound that rings both in and out of tune, is mostly the song of the core itself, as the ring current swings up and down and the core swells out and shrinks in again, as its ultraviolet-hot glow transfers nearly all its power to the careful trace of soot in the hydrogen propellant all around it.”

    There was something captivating, almost hypnotic, in her voice.

    “There will be changes in that song, in its harmonies and disharmonies, all the time a little, though in steady state not by much. But no rhythm, no melody.”

    She opened her eyes and said in a very different voice, “But if there ever *is*, if the song of the “Teller” or any ship like her should ever go… melodic, then bad. Very bad.”

    (Based on an earlier vignette idea — and some very real historical gas-core rocket research.) [And 3rd try in a day on this, WPDE!]

  21. analytical-engine-mechanic

    “And here we are, cadets, our South Pole, farthest aft of the *Teller’s* habitable volumes, our own little Ultima Australis.” Chief Engineer McKenna’s voice was resonant, almost musical, despite her accents being far more American than aboriginally Scottish. “Any farther back than Aft Junction and Control here, you need to be in a shielded vacsuit, or a lot more, or else… bad for you. In fact, we are now standing directly on the Main Crew Shield, itself,” she said, as the last of them stepped from the transit cylinder. “Three feet of steel, three more of gadolinium-spiked borax-matrix neutron stopper, four more of layered steel and bismuth below. All of which also makes it the biggest lumped-mass element in the whole vibration damping array. Cadet Srinivasan?”

    “Yes, Chief Engineer?” (Straight black hair and piercing brown eyes.)

    “Why do we need so much vibration damping at all?”

    “Ah, the drive power fluctuates and so does the thrust of the main engine?” It was even louder here, that rumbling hum that filled the ship so fully it faded out of consciousness most of the time, like the rolling of the sailing ship they had all trained on for a couple of weeks courtesy of the Navy. She thought of it as “the song of the machines” quite often, to herself.

    “Right, and why does the core power fluctuate on such short timescales?”

    “Mostly I think it comes from fluctuations in the ring current in the core torus itself, that change the magnetic pressure on the gas core and make it more or less bright radiatively.”

    She smiled appreciatively, and encouragingly. “Yes. The compression makes it both hotter in itself and also raises the reactivity slightly. And, since the flow path for the hydrogen propellant ends right through the center of the core, the ‘hole in the doughnut’ as many of us were taught to call it, the core radiative power has a chance to act on the chamber-exit temperature very quickly and so change the nozzle-entrance temperature and thrust.  

    “Thus the de Belleville stacks underneath us, the active magnetic damping, the tuned passive fluid damping, and all the rest.

    “And why, Cadet Srinivasan, would you do it that way… center flow last?”

    “So the propellant passes ‘between two fires’ as they say in Scotland, so it can be heated to a temperature not limited by a nearby chamber wall.” He licked his lips a little. “No ethnic reference intended, ma’am.”

    “No more than my calling on ‘the smart Indian guy’ in the room first, Cadet,” Elise McKenna chuckled.

    “Cadet Merriwether, what is the full name of this ship?” (Tall, long brown hair.)

    “The USTS ‘Edward Teller’ — ma’am.”

    “And the words behind the acronym?”

    “United States Torch Ship. Ma’am.”

    “And where does that name come from?”

    “Ah, it’s usually attributed to writer, and former Navy man, Robert Heinlein.”

    “The Space Force congratulates you on your service-branch loyalty, former Ensign Merriwether. Now, finally, can you tell me *briefly* what about our very non-fictional main drive merits the old sci-fi term ‘Torchship’?”

    “Our GCR can sustain moderate accelerations for relatively very long periods due to its extremely high specific impulse. Uh, which is almost the same as exhaust velocity. This is because of the very high tempeatures achieved in the gaseous-uranium core and transferred radiatively to the propellant. Ma’am.”

    “Yes, Cadet. Though I might remind you that space is not boot camp, so you are outright invited to dial down the formality a trifle, out here.” The smile as she said it made it quite clear how warm an invitation that was.

    “And that is the routine miracle we serve on, and stand in. The stuff of so many a science-fiction story, made real for us before the 21st century is out.” And suddenly that same radiant smile was back, if colored rueful. “Though it took over a century to actually make it work, from the first serious research back in the 1950s and 60s.”

    “Cadet Stark, presuming you know that history, and no loss of credit here if you don’t, what two main challenges *made* it take so long?” (Shortish, solidly built, straw-yellow hair and arctic-blue eyes.)

    “I’d say… the problem of mixing between the core plasma and the propellant, resulting in loss of uranium fuel to the exhaust, and the problem of radiative heat transfer to the propellant without much loss to the walls.”

    Elise McKenna smiled. “Pretty much, although such things as maintainng criticality and control, and creating a pressure vessel capable of confining a reasonably small core at the very high pressures involved, are certainly up there.

    “And how, Cadet Stark, does the innovation called a ‘tovimak’ fit into that?”

    “Sorry, ma’am,  that only means to me something, ah, to do with the core.”

    “Cadet Merriwether, you look like someone eager to speak.” (She didn’t, at all, but her earlier responses showed she was worth listenting to once started.)

    “That is… a word coined by Emilie and Lucille Westenra to describe the core design they created; not a spherical core centered in a chamber like the sun in a solar system, but a toroidal ring core carrying an electric current much like the fusion plasma in a tokamak. Even though the conditions are very, very different, fusing hydrogen is much hotter and less dense, the extra stability from using magnetohydrodynamics not fluid dynamics lets you keep the hydrogen and uranium much better separated. And the ring current lets you ‘levitate’ the core magnetically in the center of the chamber, against buoyancy.”

    “Very good, Cadet.” (Her eyes flashed brighter green when she went pensive.) “And I’d note to everyone that last point can be pivotal. A rocket is usually meant to drive itself and a payload at some sensible acceleration, so having the core ‘float’ up or ‘fall’ down into contact with the chamber walls could be anything from inoperable to catastrophic. And, Cadet, if you will? That word?”

    “It’s supposed to be contracted from ‘toroidal vortex magnetic’ instead of ‘toroidal chamber magnetic’ — though nobody seems to say exactly how. Where all the words are really in Russian, too, just to make it harder.”

    “Again, very good, and pretty much letter-perfect. The tovimak, the ‘core in a smoke ring’ to use another Westenra-ism, makes the modern gas core reactor nuclear rocket possible… saves us from unacceptable fuel loss, lets us act on the core magnetically to control its position, even creates a somewhat higher pressure in the fission core than the cooler propellant it radiates its heat into.

    “But in practice it also means the interaction of the core ring current, driven by plasma effects, with the suspension field and with the propellant and the rest of the entire system, makes it fluctuate unavoidably. It’s not easy to predict from first principles, but every GCR rocket ever made does this. Sings its song.”

    Chief Engineer McKenna raised an index finger in front of her face, almost but not quite like the gesture for “Shh!” And said, softly, “Listen… Just. Listen.”

    And closed her own eyes, slowly, as if in further emphasis.

    “You’ll hear the sound of the hydrogen through the pipes, maybe. The rumble of the engine itself, like endless distant thunder, as the propellant gas moves turbulently through the rocket nozzle. But that harmonic, anharmonic hum, that sound that rings both in and out of tune, is mostly the song of the core itself, as the ring current swings up and down and the core swells out and shrinks in again, as its ultraviolet-hot glow transfers nearly all its power to the careful trace of soot in the hydrogen propellant all around it.”

    There was something captivating, almost hypnotic, in her voice.

    “There will be changes in that song, in its harmonies and disharmonies, all the time a little, though in steady state not by much. But no rhythm, no melody.”

    She opened her eyes and said in a very different voice, “But if there ever *is*, if the song of the “Teller” or any ship like her should ever go… melodic, then bad. Very bad.”

    (Based on an earlier vignette idea, and some very real historical gas-core research.)

  22. analytical-engine-mechanic

    [2nd half of the vignette, would be Part 2 of 2 *if* Part 1, or all, would post. 5th try (or so) by now; maybe Willie Pete will post this much!]

    “Cadet Stark, presuming you know that history, and no loss of credit here if you don’t, what two main challenges *made* it take so long?” (Shortish, solidly built, straw-yellow hair and arctic-blue eyes.)

    “I’d say… the problem of mixing between the core plasma and the propellant, resulting in loss of uranium fuel to the exhaust, and the problem of radiative heat transfer to the propellant without much loss to the walls.”

    Elise McKenna smiled. “Pretty much, although such things as maintaining criticality and control, and creating a pressure vessel capable of confining a reasonably small core at the very high pressures involved, are certainly up there.

    “And how, Cadet Stark, does the innovation called a ‘tovimak’ fit into that?”

    “Sorry, ma’am,  that only means to me something, ah, to do with the core.”

    “Cadet Merriwether, you look like someone eager to speak.” (She didn’t, at all, but her earlier responses showed she was worth listenting to once started.)

    “That is… a word coined by Emilie and Lucille Westenra to describe the core design they created; not a spherical core centered in a chamber like the sun in a solar system, but a toroidal ring core carrying an electric current much like the fusion plasma in a tokamak. Even though the conditions are very, very different, fusing hydrogen is much hotter and less dense, the extra stability from using magnetohydrodynamics not fluid dynamics lets you keep the hydrogen and uranium much better separated. And the ring current lets you ‘levitate’ the core magnetically in the center of the chamber, against buoyancy.”

    “Very good, Cadet.” (Her eyes flashed brighter green when she went pensive.) “And I’d note to everyone that last point can be pivotal. A rocket is usually meant to drive itself and a payload at some sensible acceleration, so having the core ‘float’ up or ‘fall’ down into contact with the chamber walls could be anything from inoperable to catastrophic. And, Cadet, if you will? That word?”

    “It’s supposed to be contracted from ‘toroidal vortex magnetic’ instead of ‘toroidal chamber magnetic’ — though nobody seems to say exactly how. Where all the words are really in Russian, too, just to make it harder.”

    “Again, very good, and pretty much letter-perfect. The tovimak, the ‘core in a smoke ring’ to use another Westenra-ism, makes the modern gas core reactor nuclear rocket possible… saves us from unacceptable fuel loss, lets us act on the core magnetically to control its position, even creates a somewhat higher pressure in the fission core than the cooler propellant it radiates its heat into.

    “But in practice it also means the interaction of the core ring current, driven by plasma effects, with the suspension field and with the propellant and the rest of the entire system, makes it fluctuate unavoidably. It’s not easy to predict from first principles, but every GCR rocket ever made does this. Sings its song.”

    Chief Engineer McKenna raised an index finger in front of her face, almost but not quite like the gesture for “Shh!” And said, softly, “Listen… Just. Listen.”

    And closed her own eyes, slowly, as if in further emphasis.

    “You’ll hear the sound of the hydrogen through the pipes, maybe. The rumble of the engine itself, like endless distant thunder, as the propellant gas moves turbulently through the rocket nozzle. But that harmonic, anharmonic hum, that sound that rings both in and out of tune, is mostly the song of the core itself, as the ring current swings up and down and the core swells out and shrinks in again, as its ultraviolet-hot glow transfers nearly all its power to the careful trace of soot in the hydrogen propellant all around it.”

    There was something captivating, almost hypnotic, in her voice.

    “There will be changes in that song, in its harmonies and disharmonies, all the time a little, though in steady state not by much. But no rhythm, no melody.”

    She opened her eyes and said in a very different voice, “But if there ever *is*, if the song of the “Teller” or any ship like her should ever go… melodic, then bad. Very bad.”

    (Based on an earlier vignette idea — and on some very real historical gas-core rocket research.)

  23. analytical-engine-mechanic

    [Part 1 of the above. Getting *really* insane greedy & trying to post it too. Try ~ #6 in ~ 1 day.]

    “And here we are, cadets, our South Pole, farthest aft of the *Teller’s* habitable volumes, our own little Ultima Australis.” Chief Engineer McKenna’s voice was resonant, almost musical, despite her accents being far more American than aboriginally Scottish. “Any farther back than Aft Junction and Control here, you need to be in a shielded vacsuit, or a lot more, or else… bad for you. In fact, we are now standing directly on the Main Crew Shield, itself,” she said, as the last of them stepped from the transit cylinder. “Three feet of steel, three more of gadolinium-spiked borax-matrix neutron stopper, four more of layered steel and bismuth below. All of which also makes it the biggest lumped-mass element in the whole vibration damping array. Cadet Srinivasan?”

    “Yes, Chief Engineer?” (Straight black hair and piercing brown eyes.)

    “Why do we need so much vibration damping at all?”

    “Ah, the drive power fluctuates and so does the thrust of the main engine?” It was even louder here, that rumbling hum that filled the ship so fully it faded out of consciousness most of the time, like the rolling of the sailing ship they had all trained on for a couple of weeks courtesy of the Navy. She thought of it as “the song of the machines” quite often, to herself.

    “Right, and why does the core power fluctuate on such short timescales?”

    “Mostly I think it comes from fluctuations in the ring current in the core torus itself, that change the magnetic pressure on the gas core and make it more or less bright radiatively.”

    She smiled appreciatively, and encouragingly. “Yes. The compression makes it both hotter in itself and also raises the reactivity slightly. And, since the flow path for the hydrogen propellant ends right through the center of the core, the ‘hole in the doughnut’ as many of us were taught to call it, the core radiative power has a chance to act on the chamber-exit temperature very quickly and so change the nozzle-entrance temperature and thrust.  

    “Thus the de Belleville stacks underneath us, the active magnetic damping, the tuned passive fluid damping, and all the rest.

    “And why, Cadet Srinivasan, would you do it that way… center flow last?”

    “So the propellant passes ‘between two fires’ as they say in Scotland, so it can be heated to a temperature not limited by a nearby chamber wall.” He licked his lips a little. “No ethnic reference intended, ma’am.”

    “No more than my calling on ‘the smart Indian guy’ in the room first, Cadet,” Elise McKenna chuckled.

    “Cadet Merriwether, what is the full name of this ship?” (Tall, long brown hair.)

    “The USTS ‘Edward Teller’ — ma’am.”

    “And the words behind the acronym?”

    “United States Torch Ship. Ma’am.”

    “And where does that name come from?”

    “Ah, it’s usually attributed to writer, and former Navy man, Robert Heinlein.”

    “The Space Force congratulates you on your service-branch loyalty, former Ensign Merriwether. Now, finally, can you tell me *briefly* what about our very non-fictional main drive merits the old sci-fi term ‘Torchship’?”

    “Our GCR can sustain moderate accelerations for relatively very long periods due to its extremely high specific impulse. Uh, which is almost the same as exhaust velocity. This is because of the very high tempeatures achieved in the gaseous-uranium core and transferred radiatively to the propellant. Ma’am.”

    “Yes, Cadet. Though I might remind you that space is not boot camp, so you are outright invited to dial down the formality a trifle, out here.” The smile as she said it made it quite clear how warm an invitation that was.

    “And that is the routine miracle we serve on, and stand in. The stuff of so many a science-fiction story, made real for us before the 21st century is out.” And suddenly that same radiant smile was back, if colored rueful. “Though it took over a century to actually make it work, from the first serious research back in the 1950s and 60s.”

  24. analytical-engine-mechanic

    [Part 1 of the above, downedited to remove one character just in case *that* works. Try #8 or so.]

    “And here we are, cadets, our South Pole, farthest aft of the *Teller’s* habitable volumes, our own little Ultima Australis.” Chief Engineer McKenna’s voice was resonant, almost musical, despite her accents being far more American than aboriginally Scottish. “Any farther back than Aft Junction and Control here, you need to be in a shielded vacsuit, or a lot more, or else… bad for you. In fact, we are now standing directly on the Main Crew Shield, itself,” she said, as the last of them stepped from the transit cylinder. “Three feet of steel, three more of gadolinium-spiked borax-matrix neutron stopper, four more of layered steel and bismuth below. All of which also makes it the biggest lumped-mass element in the whole vibration damping array.

    “Cadet Merriwether, what is the full name of this ship?” (Tall, long brown hair.)

    “The USTS ‘Edward Teller’ — ma’am.”

    “And the words behind the acronym?”

    “United States Torch Ship. Ma’am.”

    “And where does that name come from?”

    “Ah, it’s usually attributed to writer, and former Navy man, Robert Heinlein.”

    “The Space Force congratulates you on your service-branch loyalty, former Ensign Merriwether. Now, finally, can you tell me *briefly* what about our very non-fictional main drive merits the old sci-fi term ‘Torchship’?”

    “Our GCR can sustain moderate accelerations for relatively very long periods due to its extremely high specific impulse. Uh, which is almost the same as exhaust velocity. This is because of the very high tempeatures achieved in the gaseous-uranium core and transferred radiatively to the propellant. Ma’am.”

    “Yes, Cadet. Though I might remind you that space is not boot camp, so you are outright invited to dial down the formality a trifle, out here.” The smile as she said it made it quite clear how warm an invitation that was.

    “And that is the routine miracle we serve on, and stand in. The stuff of so many a science-fiction story, made real for us before the 21st century is out.” And suddenly that same radiant smile was back, if colored rueful. “Though it took over a century to actually make it work, from the first serious research back in the 1950s and 60s.”

  25. analytical-engine-mechanic

    [Latter piece of Part 1 of the above, which *still* won’t post by itself. Try ~ #9 or so overall. Willie Pete delenda est!]

    “Cadet Merriwether, what is the full name of this ship?” (Tall, long brown hair.)

    “The USTS ‘Edward Teller’ — ma’am.”

    “And the words behind the acronym?”

    “United States Torch Ship. Ma’am.”

    “And where does that name come from?”

    “Ah, it’s usually attributed to writer, and former Navy man, Robert Heinlein.”

    “The Space Force congratulates you on your service-branch loyalty, former Ensign Merriwether. Now, finally, can you tell me *briefly* what about our very non-fictional main drive merits the old sci-fi term ‘Torchship’?”

    “Our GCR can sustain moderate accelerations for relatively very long periods due to its extremely high specific impulse. Uh, which is almost the same as exhaust velocity. This is because of the very high temperatures achieved in the gaseous-uranium core and transferred radiatively to the propellant. Ma’am.”

    “Yes, Cadet. Though I might remind you that space is not boot camp, so you are outright invited to dial down the formality a trifle, out here.” The smile as she said it made it clear how warm an invitation it was.

    “And that is the routine miracle we serve on, and stand in. The stuff of so many a science-fiction story, made real for us before the 21st century is out.” And suddenly that same radiant smile was back, if colored rueful. “Though it took over a century to actually make it work, from the first serious research back in the 1950s and 60s.”