All 5 entries tagged S15

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March 30, 2006

Satellite 15!!!

As promised, today sees the official launch of the Satellite 15 project onto the Blog system. Some of you might already know what this is, but for newcomers, here is a brief introduction.

What I’m trying to do is to gather together a set of short stories by different authors all set in the same place – Satellite 15 – I’m hoping that all you creatively minded people will contribute a story or two. To this end I have also posted up here a bit of information about the world of S15, and a few guidelines for the stories.

If you look in the sidebar to the left, you should see the tag “S15” and if you click on that you can see all the information on my blog related to the project. The idea is that if you decide to write a story, you also tag it “S15” so people can access all the S15 stories if they find one that they like and want to read more.

All I ask is that you let me know if you do decide to contribute, so I can check that there aren’t any clashes and contradictions between stories.

What are you waiting for? Get writing!

(but read the spec first…)


Satellite 15 Spec

Overview

Satellite 15 is a moon orbiting the third planet of the system orbiting the star Alpha Centauri; the first star system to be colonised by settlers from Earth when their population growth became too large for the planet to support. The orbit of S15 is peculiar in that the same side of the sphere is constantly pointed at the sun, so one side is constantly shrouded in darkness, and the other receives all the light from the sun. the dark side of the planet is virtually lawless, and in between the two are the Shadowlands, a place of perpetual twilight and uncertain legality.

The Name

Satellite 15 is so called because it was the 15th planet to be colonised by humans. “Planet” in this case referring to any lump of rock in the galaxy capable of supporting life, be it planet or satellite.

The Rest of the System

There are seven planets in the Centauri system, and all but the two closest to the sun are inhabited. S15 orbits the planet third closest to the sun – Belaria, from which it imports the majority of its food. They also share a government and legal system. The two have always operated as a unit, though the rest of the planets of the system are self governed, and their moons operate independently of their planets. A long war has just finished between the sixth planet and one of its four moons, S18. Peace negotiations are in progress but the situation is still volatile; comparable to the Irish troubles.

The Dark and Light Sides – a Brief History of S15

The dark side of the satellite, it was realised early on, was useless for any kind of farming, even under artificial lights. However, the discovery of large iron deposits meant that a thriving mining and steel industry sprung up. The Light side of the moon became used as a residential area for miners and their families, however when the dark side steel started drawing in the money, the light side went upmarket. A new institute of technology opened, and the light side soon became a very fashionable district, and the haunt of the rich and famous. Relations between S15 and Belaria were good; the satellite, incapable of growing enough food to support the population traded steel for food. Many of the Belarian dignitaries lived on S15, and the Belarian embassy was located there. The Girl Who Looked Up is set at one of the embassy balls at this time.

However, gradually the iron deposits that brought so much prosperity were extinguished and the fortunes of the satellite took a turn for the worse. The dark side of the satellite fell into a decline as the old mines and factories began to close. It soon became a haven for the less reputable elements of society. Criminals flocked to the satellite as once the rich and famous did. Eventually, as the underworld grew, the dark side of the moon became almost impossible to police, giving rise to the popular expression “The law only reaches as far as the light.” The story Trick and Tyler is about two police officers who decide to enforce their own brand of justice, tracking a killer to the dark side of the moon.
Relations with Belaria started to become strained at this time. S15, despite a reduced population, still did not have the agricultural capabilities to produce enough food to support itself, and continued to import from Belaria. As the Belarian government was still based on S15 the prices were kept as low as they ever had been, however, the corresponding trade in steel that once flowed the other way and balanced out the Belarian economic losses in the agricultural sector had ceased. S15 was now considered by the majority of Belarians to be an unprofitable drain on the planet’s resources, and political upheaval of some kind, possibly resulting in a breach between the planet and its satellite, is brewing. A revolution perhaps is on the cards.

The Stories

Must be based on Satellite 15 or Belaria, but can be at any point in their history (or indeed future).
Should not include alien life.
Should be from a genre other than sci-fi eg, Trick and Tyler is a film noir, The Girl Who Looked Up is a love story. If you have seen the TV series Firefly, that manages to be science fiction, but in the style of a western. Something like that.
Should be compatible with the other S15 stories.
You can borrow characters from other authors for cameos in your own story – in fact that would be cool to have some cross over, but please consult the original author first.
Tag all stories “S15” in your blog and please send me a copy.

Note on Technology

Different periods in S15’s history will have had different levels of technology. The earliest times, those when settlers were first colonising the planet had technology similar, only slightly more advanced, to our own. In later times more will be invented, but try and keep inventions plausible.


March 28, 2006

Coming Soon!!

The Satelite 15 project!

**Watch this Space...


November 12, 2005

Trick and Tyler

Trick is wearing her usual violet shades when I arrive, and her uniform black Kevlar high boots and flat cap. Her short spiky hair is so black, and her face so pale, if it weren’t for the slash of red across her lips she’d be monochrome. And of course, the purple-lensed sunglasses.
“Low-down Tyler?” she demands, and seeing the look on my face, she knows it's good news.
“We got him.” I say. “We got that sick son of a bitch and there’s no way he can wriggle out of it this time.”
“Where?”
“Warehouse outside the old breakers docks, up by Iris.”
“Dark side of the moon? I like it.” Her eyes go nova.
“I thought you would.” She licks her lips at the thought of what we’re about to do. This way she can leave her badge at home. That’s how the saying goes; “The law only reaches as far as the sunlight.”

The engines of my shuttle barely whisper as we touch down in the old breaker’s yards. It’s freezing as usual; no sun means no light, no heat, just the electric fires spitting and hissing on the end of their posts. On the edge of my sight I see Trick blowing out, and laughing silently at the clouds of breath rising like steel air. She has an odd sense of humour that one.
“Excited?” she asks, checking her gun is cocked and loaded, but doesn’t wait for an answer. Ice-covered towers of metal, dead ships, their guts spilling out, covered in oil that oozes like blood, line the path to the warehouse out back. She has a face on her like eating chocolates: delicate, expensive truffles. She fires once, and the doors shatter, splinters flying like deadly rose petals.

He’s sitting behind a desk, and there are two of his friends standing in the shadows. Trick has three slugs of lead in one of them before he can even reach for his weapon. The other one fires back, but only has the chance to hit the door frame before I get one in his eye. He goes down crying blood. Trick stalks over to the first. He’s bleeding all over the bare boards. She kicks him in the balls, watches as he squirms, then finishes the job. In all this time, the guy behind the desk has barely flinched. Either he’s cleverer than I thought, or he doesn’t know what’s coming.

He’s a weedy little rat, eyes covered in that white paint, silver space-boy suit, thinks he’s so damn cool playing with the big guns doesn’t know what he’s doing, and would never have come here if he didn’t think here he was beyond the law. But he’s made a mistake. He made a mistake way back when he thought Lesley Delaney looked a nice bit of a thing one night in some seedy space bar serving cheap-ass battery acid and rocket fuel to drink. He made a mistake when he didn’t listen to her say she had a girlfriend. He made a big mistake when he drugged, raped and murdered her. And he made the biggest mistake of his life when he ran to the dark side to get away from the law, because now Trick doesn’t have to wear her badge and haul him in. Her bed’s been awful cold these last few weeks, and if she hasn’t been getting her kicks there she’s going to get them somewhere else.

The fucker flinches when she turns that gun on him though. Hell, you’d have to be insane not to flinch if some crazy bitch in black Kevlar is pointing a magnum between your eyes. It’s her favourite gun that. She calls it Nemesis. I call it a big fuck-off piece of metal. Anyone who gets in her way would call it trouble, only they generally don’t have much chance. This guy isn’t going to get a chance at all. Trick took Lesley’s death hard.

“Don’t tell me you don’t know why we’re here.” She says.
“Why not?” Jesus, he’s trying to be clever. I’m going to enjoy watching this.
“Ooh, you’re so sharp,” she says, “Watch out I don’t cut you.” Yeah, she’s a twisted little bitch is Trick.
“If you’re looking for a confession…”
“Nope.”
“Don’t really need one,” I say, lighting up a fag. “We’ve got three witnesses fingered you for the murder. And this being the dark side, we don’t need any more evidence than that to laminate your brains on that wall behind you.” I take a long drag, pausing dramatically. “’Course, actually, we don’t even need that.”
“But you’re cops!” he yells
“What, and you think we aren’t people as well?” I ask, “With our own personal feelings and vendettas and girlfriends?” light begins suddenly to dawn on him.
“She was your…?” he points wordlessly, and with that half-sentence condemns himself.
“No.” Says Trick. “She was mine.”

She takes her time with him. It’s only when I remind her that we can’t be safe here for too long and we have to be back on shift in an hour that she finally puts a bullet where it counts. Not that it matters. I think he’d been dead in his own mind for a long time before she finished him.
“Job well done.” She says as she comes out of the warehouse, cleaning the blood off her glasses.


November 09, 2005

The Girl Who Looked Up

Nobody ever thinks to look up. It’s the weight of all that empty space hanging right above your head, full of great balls of white hot rock that only the magic of science, physics, is keeping from falling down on top of your skull. Hell, I wouldn’t look up if I weren’t me, if it weren’t my job to do things like that. Other people, they just don’t.

I’m not much of a writer, so you’ll have to bear with me. I mean, I’m learning and all; that’s the second part of what I do. There’s not much point in having a load of ideas if you can’t write about them afterwards. For now though, I’m just trying to tell a story, and it’s one that really happened, so I suppose I won’t have to elaborate. Or do I mean exacerbate? Exaggerate. Embroider. I will dispense with lace and trappings and try and tell this story as simply as I can.

I probably should start by telling you something about who I am, but I don’t really want to. This story isn’t about me anyway. It’s about a girl who liked looking up. And about a boy who looked up and found her. But I’m skipping ahead of myself. It was the bright side of the moon – Satelite 15 – and she had just moved there. She was from a diurnal planet and unused to the constant daylight of a world that turned so one side was always facing the sun. What was an evening ball felt quite odd when it looked like lunchtime outside. Her parents kept everyone indoors so they wouldn’t have to look up and see the sun at it’s zenith when reason told them it should be the moon in the sky.

Sami stood by the blacked out windows. I think I remember she was bored. She hadn’t had much to do all day except fuss and be fussed over. Embassy folks fuss a lot, but you get some beautiful dresses in return. Sami had a big blue dress. It’s my favourite colour. And it was long, with big full skirts, and a low neckline that she had fought with the dressmaker over. It was a beautiful dress, just right for an embassy ball when the night outside should have made her look as if she had been cut out of the night sky to grace the room. Instead she served small chocolates wrapped in gold foil to the important people. Diplomats from off-world and their husbands and wives and a few older children. I’ve never really liked those chocolates: too nutty. But all this is just scene setting really. I suppose a proper storyteller would tell you all about the ballroom, and describe all the people in it, all those diplomats and rich merchants and pirates and ambassadors, and all the young men she should have fallen in love with on that night. But I’m not a proper storyteller, so all I will tell you is that there was a massive chandelier hanging from the ceiling unsupported that made all the gilt in the room glitter like it was made of real gold, and Sami’s beautiful dress look the blacker against it. Sami wondered what held it up, and why.

He said five things to her. The second thing was “Nobody ever thinks to look up at these do’s, do they? No-one except you and me.” He told me later that he’d seen her staring at the ceiling when the room was full of pretty things that everyone else was staring at. He wanted to know who this person was who was different. Which makes it quite odd that the first thing he said to her was “That’s quite a chandelier, isn’t it?” she agreed with him but there wasn’t really anything else she could have said. I think he realised that, which is why he made his second comment, by way of explanation. She said to him, by way of reply, “It’s my job to look up. I am to be a philosopher. If I don’t look up then I can never see the sky, I can never dream of things that could be, I can never see infinity.” And he smiled because he understood a little bit more about the woman he was going to fall in love with. He said, “When I look up, I see your eyes, and the lights in your eyes that must be the ideas forming from infinity. They are beautiful.” And she wasn’t quite sure if he meant her eyes, or the ideas he fancied he saw, but she smiled anyway, because either way was a compliment. He of course meant the ideas, which is more credit to her. But that was the third thing that he said to her.

I suppose he must have asked her if she wanted to dance, but I don’t remember who made the first move, so I won’t count that as one of the five things he said to her. But the fact remains that soon they were dancing: Sami, the ambassador’s daughter and philosopher in training who had ideas like stars in her eyes, and Darin-Li, the diplomat’s son with a pocket full of good intentions and a heart ready to be lost to a pair of eyes that looked the right way. Yes, I remember, that was the fourth thing he told her – his name.

Memory tends to grow fuzzy with age, so forgive me if I forget a little about what happened that night. I don’t remember what time he had to leave her, or whether she had to leave first to go to bed. It might have been her first grown-up ball. It might not. When I asked Darin about it, he had forgotten too, but he never had the eye for detail that I did. But he remembered the fifth thing he said. I had almost forgotten, so he put his hand under my chin and lifted my head up and said, “I asked you if I could kiss you.” And I said, “Yes. Yes that was the fifth thing.”


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