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Thread: Mostly Harmless - an Elite Dangerous novel

  1. #1

    Mostly Harmless - an Elite Dangerous novel

    Angel pulled the keyboard out of its storage slot and tucked it under the rattling flight-desk clamp in front of her, leaning back in the command chair as she checked the ship’s forward display. She looked down at the ‘H’ key, worn to a sheen and no longer actually showing the letter 'H' at all. Most people used voice-control these days but she’d never fancied that upgrade, even though it wasn't expensive. As if to prove her point the conscience-bot her step-mother had foisted on her piped up.

    'It slows you down, you know?'


    'That keyboard contraption that looks like it belongs in a museum. ‘QWERTY’; it was designed to slow down human typists in the age of mechanical typewriters.'

    Angel glanced at the plastic relic on her dashboard, accumulating dust and grime from years of hauling minerals and rock.

    'Two and a half millennia later, despite a mountain of peer-reviewed evidence showing there are far more economical and ergonomic ways to interface…'

    The robot let the inference hang in the air like an annoyingly self-righteous parent who thinks the lesson is so obvious you will figure it out for yourself. Angel glared at the floating biscuit-box of well-reasoned arguments, which seemed to hover even more indignantly in reply. The tension was eventually broken by the soothing, synthetic voice of SysCon requesting details of her jump destination so that she could be ushered into the correct lane.

    Orbit was busy today.

    A fleet of vipers stalked across the horizon; probably off to chase down some Thargoid invaders wreaking havoc elsewhere in the solar system. It was of little consequence to her anyway as she wouldn’t be back round these parts for a while. Her stepmother had seen to that when she’d sold her precious rare silk for a steal to one of her friends – claiming not to know its true value until the cloth had already been cut and sewn. She’d invested a lot into that silk and quite frankly she was broke.

    Now her shaky old Cobra had only gold in it's belly instead of granite and black marble, and she was travelling 10 times the distance she would normally go to trade. She didn't have the credits for much gold so the ship was running light and she had a full tank of fuel. She could probably make 8-light years in her first jump.

    She checked the map on the side display then tapped some co-ordinates into the computer. Her vision blurred with the reverberation of the cockpit as the engines roared and the Cobra shifted lanes, accelerating through the traffic to get ready for the jump. She just hoped to land in safe space so she could fuel up and keep moving as quickly as possible. She didn’t like making herself such a juicy target to any stray bandit with a galactic wanderlust and a fancy for gold bulleon, but she’d been resisting a trip like this for a long time, and now her bank manager was all but insisting on it. She was aiming for the Hedeonic IV system, 80 light years back across the heart of the galaxy where a strange and costly matrimonial tradition of having the entire wedding-party dress only in gold leaf had evolved, resulting in severe shortages of the precious metal for several dozen light-years in every direction. Their fervour for tying the knot hadn’t dampened however, and neither had the size of their families since they were free to marry as many times as they liked (and very often did). It was a sweet deal if you were carrying gold. You could pretty much name your price – as long as you could get it safely through pirate infested space.

    'Well buckle up Doris, because antique interface or not, this puppy’s about to jump into Witch-Space and your moral compass won’t sound so clever with it's **** in its mouth.'

    Angel smirked at the effect this had on the robot, which hummed darkly as it activated its magnetic safety strip and was summarily stuck to the cabin door for its own good. Angel turned back to the front view display.

    'Let’s get this show on the road,' she said to herself as she leaned forward and punched the ‘H’ key.

    **Disclaimer, those **** ****'s were nothing to do with me, apparently my mouth is too potty for the FD forums **

    Welcome to the forum post about 'Mostly Harmless', where you can do all the stuff Drew told you it was OK to do at his place

    If you haven't already looked at my Kickstarter please do, because it still runs until Feb 4th... I hope what I have written above has piqued your interest because we're headed for a stretch goal that will mean a free unabridged DRM-free audio book - fully produced by a professional studio - for everyone who has pledged 25+ (with a cameo by David Braben himself!)

    I've also started a Facebook page and will be setting up a website where you can follow the story of this story soon too...

    To finish with a flourish, as this page will be so kindly pinned to the top by @Michael (I'm going to find it hard not to add the @ on when I meet you in real life at the launch party by the way @Michael), here's the teaser video I remixed to introduce my planet.

    'Slough' is a planet on the edge of explored space, a mining penal colony where people live underground in huge industrial mines because the air is so acidic on the surface that life-expectancy is only about 20 years. You'll have to wait for the book if you want to know anymore than that...

  2. #2
    Ooh, very nice. I like the keyboard, nice touch. I imagine most players will be able to relate to that

    Does she use a mouse or a joystick to fly her Cobra?

  3. #3
    Thanks.. I see the interior of the cabin being a mix of old skool stuff with upgrades bolted on in a very Heath Robinson way

  4. #4
    Nice work Kate

    Was this to be stickied with the other book projects?

  5. #5
    Very readable prose, feels very much like "The Dark Wheel" in spirit and that should be taken as high praise.

    Really hope you get to the audio book goal. It sounds like it will be fantastic.

  6. #6
    Like the look of this. Be interested to see some more (hint)

    And I've always seen the older ships on a Heath Robinson way as well. Lots of string

  7. #7
    Lovely exposition that crackles with electric contrast descriptors and simile.
    Also self-knowingly funny on the edge of 'fourth wall' but not overly so.

    "Potty mouth" Miss Russell...well butter wouldn't melt...

  8. #8
    A very enjoyable read!

  9. #9
    Casting a critical eye, if that's ok..

    Typewriters : It wouldn't be 3,100 years later. Typewriter invented 1860 or thereabouts, and Elite 3250, so only 1,390 years.

    "Rattled like a bag of old bolts" is a bit of a cliche.

    “Let’s get this show on the road," - the same. Roads? In 3250? For a spaceship pilot?

    Other than that it was fun, but these were immersion breakers for me. Hope that helps.



  10. #10
    Great comments Drew. This writing thing is far more complex than many give credit for, especially if done well.

  11. #11
    Originally Posted by drew View Post (Source)
    “Let’s get this show on the road," - the same. Roads? In 3250? For a spaceship pilot?
    Hold your horses there. We do still use quite a lot of antiquated language, as I've just demonstrated.

    (or should that be "quod erat demonstrandum"?)

  12. #12
    Nice one, enjoyed that little teaser.

    Just noticed KS has passed the 11k mark.

  13. #13
    Originally Posted by Crayfish View Post (Source)
    Hold your horses there. We do still use quite a lot of antiquated language, as I've just demonstrated.

    Yeah I agree, some phrases we use today originate way back.
    I don't think it's too far fetched to assume that we'd still be using some of them in the future.

  14. #14
    Stickied this thread for all 'Mostly Harmless' chatter

  15. #15
    Nice introduction to the writing style.
    But i wants the audio version. Seems like im going to have to put my money where my mouth is and hit the 25 pledge button and X my fingers we hit the Audio goal!
    Worst case is im now an "attention seeker"

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