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[Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak 
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Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:35 am
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Post [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
Hi all

Also, the only reason I came up with the thing is because I thought to myself "Telepaths fighting aliens... where have I heard that before?" and remembered Anne McCaffrey's The Tower and the Hive books. Following the McCaffrey books, I'm going to use italics for thoughts and telepathysanzai.

I should warn you now that this is a practice / warmup piece and the plot will fall apart in short order.

This is the first story I've written in a long time, so I'd appreciate some constructive feedback.


I hate this place. I thought as I walked to the amplifier room. Nothing good ever happens here. The whole station was boring: it was clean, it was quiet, and every day was the same. I had hoped to be posted to a planet, preferably on Maia with the nice weather and other civilians. Not a boring military space station where the weeks of boredom were only broken up by days of fear and emergency ship repairs.

Actually, that was wrong. I had hoped to become a Teidar like my mother. But that was never going to happen after my crèche aunt realised that I could be a Farseer.

I tried to set my bad mood aside. It saw no-one on the station's fault. And being a Teidar these days was probably too exciting. The Doranzers tried to be quiet, but we had felt their sadness as they listed off those they couldn't save. Ah, now I've set aside one bad mood for another.

The Tiedars - today it was Stormcloud and Jade - outside the amplifier room both nodded to me. A Farseer was not military caste and therefore did not rate a salute. I nodded back and walked down the coridoor to the amplifier chamber.

Right on time sanzaid Thorns as I stepped to the door. Nothing much to report - the usual movements at the far edge of the steppes. She looked tired and rubbed at her neck. There may be something off to coreward, but I could just be imagining it. Are you ready to take over?


Then the duty is yours. She tapped a note into the console and rose off the couch. I'm going to bed.

And now it was my turn on duty. The Teidar would be more formal, with an exchange of salutes and ritual thought, but we cut right to the heart of the matter: Thorns signs off, then I sign on. The couch is a bit warm from her body heat.

And here is the truth of being a Farseer: it's a critical job, but most of the time we're not actually Farseeing. Ships don't move very fast, and every solon I use the amplifier is exhausting. So the standard method is to stay calm, read the tracking plots, and carefully use the amplifier array for a few tens of solons per target to update tracking plots. I am good at the tracking and bad at the calm. Once a shift I ran a fresh scan to look for any new lives.

My duty shift was uneventful: Umiak forces move and Loroi forces move. Our supply ship came out of jump quite well placed, so our new supplies will be here a cycle early - hopefully they have some fresh food.


My next duty shift was uneventful too. A Umiak force moved into the Steppes, and I relayed this information to the sector commander. I don't decide what happens after that.


During the following shift, I had brief moment of hope before the supply ship docked, but I could feel the disappointment of the dock crew from clear across the station. No fresh food, then.


Before the shift, Thorns and I discussed the situation at our shift handover. We've both felt something out in the wasteland for several cycles now, so it bears closer watching. We added it to the tracking list, and called the station commander. She was unhappy to have a tracking target in the Great Wastelands, but the whole reason we were on station was to see these things coming.

Late that shift our patience paid off. The new tracking target jumped. In terms of the tracking data, it was nothing: the target jumped from one star that only rated a catalog number to another star that only rated a catalog number. In terms of information, it was huge: there was someone out there, and they were moving.

EDIT: fixed some tenses and 1 character name.
EDIT2: fixed autocorrect “start” to “star”, 2 instances

Last edited by kiwi on Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:07 am

Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 2:14 am
Posts: 870
Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
So, tell us, what is it that's moving?

Thanks for posting.
Not a writer myself, can't give you constructive advice in that regard, but you got me wanting more.

Vote for Outsider on TWC: Image
charred steppes, borders of territories: page 59,
jump-map of local stars: page 121, larger map in Loroi: page 118,
System view Leido Crossroads: page 123

Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:57 am

Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:35 am
Posts: 86
Location: New Zealand
Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
All right, no-one's throwing vegetables yet... on with the motley


Within a few hundred solons, Torret Stillwater called on the communicator.

"It seems you have confirmed a tracking target."

"Yes." I was self-conscious about my voice, so I spoke as little as possible. "They seem to be jumping in the Great Wasteland."

"Are they Umiak?" The Torret asked the obvious question.

"Likely not."

"Are they coming towards us?"

"More towards Tithric."

"How many are they?"

"Few. Around 64, I think."


Whoever they were, they went to Tithric for several cycles. At that range, there was no way to locate them more accurately than 'in this solar system.' No matter how much Torret Stillwater wanted to know more. I didn't blame her, because horrifying news had reached us; the Umiak could somehow evade Farsight, and had launched a major offensive at Seren. I was obsessively trying to observe them, but all I could see was Loroi lives winking out.

The Torret met me in person at the end of my shift, and sanzaid Are you sure they're not Umiak?

Mostly. After all, we can sense them.. I gently held out what hope I had.

I will take what I can get. Most of our system fleet is being dispatched to Seren to fight the Umiak. If that contact is part of a new group we are doomed.


The unknowns finished whatever they were doing at Tithric and came for us. Thorns was the first person to realise that their jumps were regular after leaving Tithric. Whether the system was large or small, the new contacts jumped every 87,560 solons. After the third jump, the Torret commented that seems to be a schedule, which suggests that they could go even faster if they wanted to.

They clearly weren't Umiak; no Umiak fleet could possibly go that fast.


And now they were one system away. Finally close enough that I could refine my count: 50. Maybe it was just one ship. One impossibly fast ship. Any moment now they would jump to our system and we'd finally get a good look at them.

I was nervous as the time approached. Their cycle length was different to ours, so their jump schedule happened to fall just after shift change. Thorns made it quietly clear that there was no way she would leave before they jumped, so both of us waited and watched. The Torret waited outside, impatient but safely clear of the active zone of the amplifier.

The moment came, and only 3 people jumped. We scrambled to find them in our incoming jump zone, but could not. It was technically my duty, so I updated the tracking plot.

Thorns gasped aloud. Impossible!

What? I asked, but I had already seen it. They had somehow, impossibly, jumped into interstellar space outside the incoming jump zone. 50 or 60 whole light-cycles out into interstellar space. Where no Loroi ship could reach them in a reasonable time frame. They could study the system at leisure.

I was just starting to update the tracking plot again when a new voice, with a tone and accent I had never felt before, sanzaid Hello.

Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:49 pm

Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:35 am
Posts: 86
Location: New Zealand
Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
And here's part three. The balance issues will rapidly become apparent, but I've tried to be fair to the capabilities of McCaffrey's characters.

Edit: is there a table of times and units somewhere? I'm not sure how long a kilometre is in Loroi units...



It simply had to be someone playing a prank. There was no way that someone could safely sanzai all that way. In the corridor, Torret Stillwater swore out loud.

Thorns mentally nudged me. Reminded, I made a brief report. Toret, three people have jumped to interstellar space some light-cycles outside this system. They are totally outside the incoming jump zone.


Stillwater sanzaid, confused and angry, WHO IS DOING THAT? THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR A PRANK!

Hello? Came again. We have heard no response. We intend to visit the system space station in 24 hours[/I]. Please do not be alarmed. We come in peace.[/I]


We had no way of knowing what an hour was, or any way to prevent the aliens from doing whatever they wanted. The Torret was in a foul mood, but had passed the warning throughout the system: possible alien visitors, identify targets before firing.

Half way through my next shift we found out. The unknown contacts jumped again, half the remaining distance to the system primary. 160 solons later, a small ship - barely the size of a shuttle - simply appeared around 768 light-solons away from the station. I scrambled to open a communications channel to the bridge.

Hello? Came the call again. Please do not fire. We come in peace.

"Torret Stillwater. The unknown contact has arrived approximately 768 light-solons away from the station. It seems the unknown sender from yesterday is aboard." I reported to the Torret.

"How close?"

"Approximately 768 light-solons. They are right on top of us. I believe I can safely attempt contact at this range. Or we can wait... "

Hello? Please do not fire. We come in peace.

"...for radio."

The Torret stared briefly at people off-screen. Some debate happened in sanzai I was too far away to hear. "Ask their intentions. And tell them to stop yelling."


I took a moment to be calm, and reached out. Hello. This is Loroi Union station 7334, Farseer Stonefield sanzaiing. Please state your intentions. And stop yelling.

I am Afra Lyon of the Nine Star League The voice was quieter now, and frighteningly directed. It felt as if he - yes, there was a feeling of maleness - was standing right beside me. We wish to establish diplomatic relations.

I relayed that to the Torret, who said "Please ask them to continue this conversation by radio."


After a few thousand solons, they came to the station. I was excited for first contact. First contact with other telepaths.. This would be historical.

I was on duty, which meant that while I had no hope of seeing the arrival in person, I did have access to the tactical net. In fact, I made the second entry: Unknown vessel has jumped. Now adjacent to station. Confirm FTL jump within solar system. 3 persons on board, including 1 non-Lori telepath.

The first entry - only because it was faster to type - was less impressive: New vessel sighted at ??? 1000 km ??? from station. No jump flash.

Mine was better.

Imagery came in, supplemented with tactical analysis. The vessel was tiny, and fired crude oxygen-hydrocarbon engines for thrust, but who the cared when it had an impossible jump drive. It accelerated towards the station at a pathetic rate, with a long ballistic phase.

I assume that they sucessfully docked in a shuttle bay, because I heard an angry sanzai from Torret Stillwater: you said three of them!

I was surprised her range was so long. There are three of them!

Wrong! I see four! She sent me a mental image, which was a bit fuzzy, but showed four figures in bulky pressure armour. Five! There's a pilot in the cockpit.

This was a surprise. Torret, I only 'see' three. May I come down there and check in person?


I logged out of my duty station and ran for the shuttle bay. Soroin lurked in the hallways, and a small knot of Mizol and Teidar stood next to the hatch. I slowed to a walk as I rounded the corner, telekinetically smoothing my clothes back into place.

It was very strange. I could clearly see four people - and the head of one more in a cockpit - but only Farsee ... two of them. Two more stepped out, wearing a non-armoured pressure suits with larger, clear faceplates. They looked amazingly, disturbingly, like Loroi. One was normal sized, and looked like a brown Loroi female. The other was tall, and slightly green and had yellow eyes. He showed up on my Farsight, and two of the armoured figures, but that left four people I could not see.

The woman spoke out loud: "I am Patricia Givens. I am an ambassador of the Nine Star league. Thank you for allowing us on board." She spoke Trade, but with an accent.

Why do you speak aloud, instead of using sanzai?

There was a pause. The male made a sort of coughing noise. After a few subtle movements, he, too spoke.

"I am Afra Lyon of the Nine Star League," he said aloud. "Thank you for allowing me on board. Ma'am, Ambassador Givens is not a telepath. She can't 'hear' you."

Then why does she hold a lotai so strong that she cannot hear?

"She is not a telepath. That is why she can't 'hear' you."

And why do you speak aloud. What lies are you trying to tell?

At this point, he said "Please wait a moment," and began to speak to Ambassador Givens out loud in some other language.

Before the Torret could become more angry, Mizol Parat Trustfire spoke, also out loud and in Trade. "It seems we have a minor disagreement. I am Mizol Parat Trustfire. My caste is Mizol, my rank is Parat. I am the station diplomatic officer."

The Torret stared at her. Yes, typical of a Mizol to use words rather than truth.

Tustfire continued, undaunted. "It seems that the Loroi distrust spoken words. Words can lie easily, but sanzai makes lies hard." She stepped closer. "Also, Ambassador Patricia Givens, your lotai seems to be concealing something from us."

"I am not a telepath. Mister Lyon, do I have a natural shield?"

"No more than usual. Most humans are not telepaths."

The Torret lost her patience. "WHY will you not sanzai?"

"It is rude among my people to..."

The woman interrupted: "If it will ease matters, Mr Lyon, please 'sanzai' with them."

"Very well."
Very well He managed a suprising double-speech, both vocally and in sanzai. His sanzai was the same as that which previously called the whole station from many light-solons away. Up close, it was very well controlled.

I though to myself, He must be a Farseer.

But it's not polite for me to 'speak' like this when others cannot hear the conversation.

Why is she the ambassador if she will not sanzai? The Torret had calmed down, but was so blunt I saw Mizol Trustfire wince.

I am a civilian. Because of my Talent, it is not appropriate for me to hold a government role. I am here as a transportation and communication specialist.

After a stern look from the Mizol, the Torret regained some politeness.I am Torrai Torret Stillwater. I am a Loroi. My caste is Torrai, and my rank is Torret. I am the commander of this station.

I am Afra Lyon. I am a civilian. Humans have no castes. My rank is T-2.

What does that mean?

T-2 is the second highest rank of Talent.

What is Talent?

It is a collection of mental abilities which include telepathy. He was clearly omitting something. Among other things.

The Mizol smoothly interrupted the conversation. There will be time for more discussions of this 'Talent' later. She turned to look at the ambassador. "Why did you come ahead of the rest of your people?"

The ambassador smiled. "We didn't want to alarm you, so we came ahead in a small vessel as a peaceful gesture. Should we ask them to come ahead?"

The Torret and Mizol consulted briefly, privately. I caught a brief leak: Better to have them where we can see them. "Yes."

"Very well. Mr Lyon, please establish contact and tell the task force to come ahead."

"Yes." He spoke some words in that foreign language. I will go into the shuttle to make this call. Please do not be alarmed.. He returned to the shuttle, and then, Damia! Damia! Please respond. The strength of his sanzai, even directed away from me, was staggering.

There was a brief pause, as if someone replied, and Message from the Ambassador: bring the task group forward.

You can sanzai at interstellar ranges? Asked the Torret, suprised.

Yes. That's why I'm here.

Sun Aug 18, 2019 2:39 am
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
Great so far ! ;)

Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:43 pm

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Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
I concur.

Once thing though, the story so far caused a question inside me, which actually should be totally disconnected, but you triggered it anyway:
When will "Bester" come on board (the PSI-corps boss from the Bablyon 5 TV-series)?

Also: I'm waiting for motives for Humanity to make contact now.
(And I still don't reognize the "9 Star League" - sounds like Humanity has 9 Stars under its control?)

Also: I started looking 9 star league up, and anne McCaffrey.
Sounds like I need to order some books.... :)

Vote for Outsider on TWC: Image
charred steppes, borders of territories: page 59,
jump-map of local stars: page 121, larger map in Loroi: page 118,
System view Leido Crossroads: page 123

Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:50 am

Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:35 am
Posts: 86
Location: New Zealand
Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
I'm working up the next instalment, but I should say that it will contain spoilers for the Tower and the Hive books by Anne McCaffrey. (Which does indeed feature the Nine Star League.)

The bemusing thing is that the forthcoming reveal for my little effort is simply part of the background for the McCaffrey books.

Re Bester meeting Loroi: I have no idea how that would go. Here are my (spoiler-tactic guesses):
Spoiler: show
On the one hand, he might want to emigrate to a psi society. On the other hand, he might want to conquer the Loroi for the Psi Core. On the third hand, he might get challenged to a duel and crushed into pulp by a Teidar when he trots out "Trust the Psi Core. The Psi Core are your friends."

Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:17 pm

Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 2:14 am
Posts: 870
Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
"The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father."
The PSI corps is your friend. Trust the corps"

Well, the military castes of the Loroi don't work that different...
They might understand Bester's attitude better than us baseline Humans (besides the apparent necessary emotional connection to a "father").

Also, I don't mind a few spoilers.
I did not like learning who dies in the 6th book of the Potter series beforehand (which was well hinted at thoughout the book anyway), but otherwise I don't mind spoilers of how things work in a certain "universe", or some events...
And since I'm not sure that I can still GET those books, I'll live with whatever you throw my way. :)

Vote for Outsider on TWC: Image
charred steppes, borders of territories: page 59,
jump-map of local stars: page 121, larger map in Loroi: page 118,
System view Leido Crossroads: page 123

Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:24 am

Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:35 am
Posts: 86
Location: New Zealand
Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
Krulle wrote:
Also: I'm waiting for motives for Humanity to make contact now.

Yes, motives. One of the very best books I've ever read was called The Windup Girl (Paolo Bacigalupi, 2009), where pretty much everything in the book happens because people want stuff. It's amazing.

I have tried to give the characters motives, which I think is one of the hard parts of writing. In the past, when I've tried to write things, it sadly turned into "Character A lectures at Character B, is right in all particulars, and is generally an awesome person." It's not good writing. So something I want to work on is to have characters that want things, and the interactions of those wants should cause the story to happen.

Here's the second to last part.


A few moments later, Mr Lyon sanzaid: The task group will arrive shortly.

Torret Stillwater conferred with Parat Trustfire, who then spoke to Ambassador Givens. "We have a tracking mechanism which can detect our enemy, the Hierarchy. We detected your approach some time ago using it. But the Hierarchy have recently learnt a way to avoid this."

"Interesting." The Ambassador said.

"You also seem to have a way to avoid this."

"You just said that you detected us coming."

"Our system can only detect some of you."

"Ah," interrupted Mr Lyon. He looked straight at me. "She can only see Talents."

The Parat flinched. There was another conferral with the Torret. "How could you know that?"

"I was told, the one by the door could see into the distance."

"Who told you that?" Barked the Torret. "What game are you playing and why are you lying?!"

The Ambassador made a chopping motion with her hand. "..."

"Torret Stillwater," Mt Lyon supplied.

"Torret Stillwater, we are not lying. We are not playing a game. We have come a long way to meet you."

"How do we know you are not some trick by the Hierarchy?"

The Parat attempted to sooth the situation. "Ambassador, we are concerned that you can evade our tracking mechanism as our enemy can do. Your lotai is also concerning; it seems deceptive, even upsetting. In addition, your environmental suits are also concerning; are you hiding something from us?"

"I see," replied the Ambassador. "I understand that this is difficult. However, I am not Talented. That is what I am, and it will not change. The environmental suits are for your protection and ours. We do not want to find out about a virus or bacteria the hard way."

"Our medical staff are excellent. I am sure there is little danger."

"Our medical staff are concerned. For now, we will wear the suits."

The Mizol tried a different path. "Your appearance is remarkably similar to ours. It seems very unlikely. Also, the Hierarchy have recently begun to evade our remote detection systems, and some of you can do the same."

The Ambassadors face took on a hard and stiff tone. If she were a Loroi, I would say she was preparing for a fight. I wanted to creep towards the door, but couldn't sneak through because Teidar were flowing in. "We are not part of the Hierarchy."

"Have you met the Hierarchy?"

"Yes. They came to one of our worlds. At first they thought we were a Loroi trick, which didn't make much sense until later." She gestured to her face, which had relaxed a little, and then back to the Torret and Parat. "The resemblance is amazing. Mr Lyon, how do they seem to you?"

"It is remarkable, Madam Ambassador." He turned gestured in a short circle, as if to cover the whole room. Then he did the strange double speaking. "They look so similar to us." They look so similar to us. "Their telepathy feels similar to ours." Their telepathy feels similar to ours.. "Even their facial expressions are familiar." Even their facial expressions are familiar.

The Parat turned the conversation back. "What about the Hierarchy?"

"After they came to understand that we were not Loroi, they immediately tried to recruit us to the war." The ambassadors face remained tight. "They told us you were impatient and disagreeable." She fixed a look at the Teidar fanning out into the room. "They told us you were prone to violence." And now she looked directly at the Torret, challenging. "They told us that we could not be neutral."

And now she gestured, imperiously, at Mr Lyon. "Play the imagery, please."

He pulled a small brick-shaped device from somewhere, and slowly pointed it at the wall next to his shuttle, opposite us. An image appeared - apparently the device was a projector - of a planet, but not one I recognised. At first it looked like an inhabited world to me, then the view changed to a series of still images, showing debris fields in space, great craters, wrecked and burnt buildings, and dead aliens. "They told us about Tithric."

Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:10 pm

Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:35 am
Posts: 86
Location: New Zealand
Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
OK, now we're getting to the heart of it. This will likely be the past part, because this whole story's a warmup effort and the things that the characters want are likely to pull the story apart.


The Parat looked sad. "The Tithric claimed to be a neutral party, but they acted as a staging area for Hierarchy attacks. We could not allow this to continue."

"So you attacked civilians? Destroyed a world? Almost killed an entire species?" The Ambassador's face moved from furious to sad, and Mr Lyon stepped closer to her. He laid a hand on her shoulder and said something in a language I didn't understand. She held back something furious, and then finished. "Did you Loroi do it? Yes or no."

The shuttle bay was tense, and the Mizol Parat didn't even attempt to evade. "Yes."

"We would like to take a short break," the ambassador said. "I need to confer with my government."

"How long will that take?" The Torret clearly didn't like the idea of them leaving after handing out so little information.

"Moments. Also, our vessels have arrived in this star system."

The Torret looked to me, but before she could ask I closed my eyes and carefully looked inside the system. Mr Lyon was like a glowing fire to my sight, and out in the distance I could feel three groups of people, widely spaced apart in the incoming jump zone. I reported.

Meanwhile the Ambassador and Mr Lyon walked back into the shuttle, and closed an interior door. I had no idea how they would discuss this with their government, which was clearly many jumps away.

Obviously, the Torret sent, this is a ploy for time. There is no way she can 'confer with her government.' What a piss poor excuse.. The Parat quickly drew her into a private communication.

We waited. Technically I should log the system entry, but now that things seemed a little calmer I wanted to see what happened next. There was a brief flare of sanzai within the shuttle, but it wasn't directed at me and I couldn't interpret it.

About 128 Solons later, there was another flare, and a few moments after that they came out of the shuttle.

"I have a statement from my government," the Ambassador began. "It reads: 'We are saddened and concerned by the events at Tithric. We regard attacks on civilian populations as unacceptable, and will not participate in such actions. We wish to make contact with your senior government to discuss this matter further.'"

There is no way... The Torret began, and then remembered the Ambassador couldn't 'hear' her. "There is no way that you could possibly have 'conferred' with your government in that time. Stop lying and tell us the truth!"

"Torret Stillwater, this is the message." She held up a sheet of some material. "It is fresh from my home planet. Oh. Ah. So fresh, in fact, that we forgot to decontaminate it. Well, now you have a biological specimen to work with. It will be covered in viruses and bacteria. I hope your medics are correct." She held it out to the sheet toward the Torret. The Parat gestured, and a Teidar plucked it out of her fingers psychokinetically. The Ambassador didn't look very surprised, and Mr Lyon smiled strangely.

The Torret continued, "You have one choice; to join us or the Hierarchy. Which one is it?"

"Was the message not clear? We would like to make contact with your government and discuss this matter."

"If you are not part of our alliance we will consider you an enemy." The Torret began dangerously, and the Teidar tensed.

The Part leapt in. "Ambassador, did you join the Hierarchy?"


There, Torret Stillwater, we have an answer.

It is half an answer! She is trying to twist her words around. Why would they not send a diplomat who can sanzai? You! She stared at Mr Lyon. Why aren't you the ambassador?

I don't have the inclination. I would rather be at home raising my children. He smiled. I miss them. His mental tone warmed considerably, and he lent forward for a brief exchange with the Ambassador in that foreign language.

The Parat had clearly decided to steer the conversation to a safer area while the Torret calmed down. You are a male, yes? And you raise children?

Yes. It's one of the greatest pleasures in my life. My wife and I have three. It was hard to leave them behind for this trip.

What is a 'wife'?

How to put this? ... A wife is a woman who is part of a marriage, which is a long term legal and sometimes religious union between two people. He looked briefly uncomfortable. Sometimes more than two people. A man who is part of a marriage is called a husband.

And you raise children together?


At this point, the Torret realised that the conversation had been derailed by a temporary alliance between the Parat and Mr Lyon. I will have an answer; she began, will you ally with us or not?

I cannot comment on that. His 'tone' was suddenly cold and empty. You should speak to the Ambassador.

"Ambassador. I ask you one last time. Will you ally with the Loroi?"

The Ambassador stood up straighter. "Very well. We will not ally with those who commit genocide."

I was stunned. This Ambassador had clearly come a long way to do very little. And she clearly knew that this was not the answer that the Torret wanted.

"In that case you are now prisoners of war. Teidar!"

I prepared to rush out the door the moment the last of the Teidar came through it. And then a new presence came into the shuttle bay. A great wash of psionic force simply held me in place. I couldn't move my feet; I couldn't turn my head; I could just see off to the side of my vision that another woman stood behind the Ambassador.

I am Damia Raven-Lyon, and you will do no such thing. We asked for discussion, and you have demanded compliance. We have refused and you offered us violence. She sanzaid; her thoughts fell quietly, but with a weight I couldn't block out. Just like the Hierarchy. "Madam Ambassador."

"Mrs Lyon."

"What now?"

I realised that I couldn't breathe. This woman could kill us all by waiting. A whole squad of Teidar, and a Farseer.

"We should leave. But first, give them the marker." The new woman held out a hand, and a large metal plate simply appeared in front of it, then fell slowly to the deck. "We came here to establish diplomatic relations, not start a fight. We will receive diplomats if you send them. We do not accept your policy of non-neutrality and we will not support genocide."

They turned and walked back into the shuttle, at which point Damia Raven-Lyon turned to us. The shuttle will displace air from the bay. Please move them, Afra. He nodded, then simply glanced at each of us in turn, and one by one we disappeared. His eyes met mine, and then I was in the corridor.

A huge gust of air swept through the corridor, and then with a muffled clang the internal airlock doors snapped shut. But I didn't care because I could breathe again.

For the rest of my time on that station, I hoped for boring days where nothing happened.


So, what went wrong with this storyline? Well, I put it down to balance issues. With access to fuck-off Talents, the humans can tell both sides to fuck off.

Note: extremely fast system transits are enabled by using jump drives to get into a star system, followed by Damia and Afra teleporting the task force from the incoming jump zone to the outgoing jump zone.

Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:49 pm

Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 2:14 am
Posts: 870
Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
Indeed, the Loroi were very unpatient.
Just deciding that this Diplomat wouldn't talk to this group and send her on to senior government would have been a prudent choice, on top of that the senior government was the reason for the Tithric debacle, so let them explain this to potential new enemies or allies (or hopefully friendly stand-byers).

no "local" diplomat should decide to demand a decision NOW, not without full backup of the senior government.
Especially if the newcomer showed talents/Technology/abilities you don't have have, and which are dangerous for your kind of warfare.


Vote for Outsider on TWC: Image
charred steppes, borders of territories: page 59,
jump-map of local stars: page 121, larger map in Loroi: page 118,
System view Leido Crossroads: page 123

Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:58 am

Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:04 am
Posts: 4
Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
Ive been following every story you guys been posting so far tro the years, please dont stop, always looking for the next chapters.


Arent Historians also in a pseudo-neutral state on the Loroi Union?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:40 am

Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:35 am
Posts: 86
Location: New Zealand
Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
Krulle wrote:
Indeed, the Loroi were very unpatient.

Yes. Double plus unpatient. From a story perspective, I was a bit boxed in by the first person viewpoint and the knowledge that the wheels simply had to fall off. So rather than dragging things out I just ... umm ... railroaded it.

silentstormpt wrote:
Arent Historians also in a pseudo-neutral state on the Loroi Union?

I think so. But given the events of page 156...
Spoiler: show
... they don't seem to be playing it straight.

Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:14 am
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Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:57 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Denial
Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
Is that it or are you working on another part ? :?

Just asking cause I dig the story so far !

Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:02 pm

Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:35 am
Posts: 86
Location: New Zealand
Post Re: [Fanfiction] The Tower and the Umiak
Hi username

That’s probably it for this one, I’m afraid. The first thing that comes to mind is a prolonged diplomatic starting contest. Hmm, maybe the trials and tribulations of a Loroi diplomatic mission to the Nine Star League. Or possibly some kind of long-time-later story.

I guess the Nine Star League could try to interdict the Charred Steppes militarily, but that would be awful and no one would support it. Not least because the combatants would likely build larger and larger militaries and break through eventually.

Given the Anne McCaffrey setting, it would be plausible for the humans to set up infrastructure in deep interstellar regions. In the Tower setting, standard cargo shipment is by interstellar teleport between star systems, which would make a mockery of Loroi and Umiak logistics.

Spoiler: show
Also a major point issue in the books is that the only thing stopping Talents from simply teleporting nuclear weapons into enemy ships is ethics.

Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:07 pm
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