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Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7032] Sat, 21 January 2012 12:11 Go to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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Registered: April 2006
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This is a crossover between the Tuck Saga and my not-yet-published novel. The earlier drafts were developed with Ellen's participation but any errors are wholly mine.
Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7033] Sat, 21 January 2012 13:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
No part of this work may be distributed as an original work by
another person, persons or group. Permission is given to
redistribute this by electronic means, as long as the entirety
of the work is distributed, and credit is given to both the
original authors. This work is based around "The Tuck Saga,"
Copyright Ellen Hayes, and the Certus stories, Copyright Marten
Kemp. Any resemblance between the writing in this work, and any
actual persons or places, living or dead, are purely
coincidental, except when used for satirical purposes.

All rights reserved.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
1738 18 June

Phillip Matuchek, the Queen's Press Secretary said, ". . . Her
Grace Mariko, Grand Duchess of Certus Gamma, will be arriving
here on Alpha later in the week. She'll be staying in the Palace
for the first few days for informal visits with the Royal
Family. I'm told that there will be at least one formal ball
given by Her Majesty and the Prince Consort. Her schedule hasn't
been finalized yet but I should have something for you in a day
or two."

He looked at his audience with a slight smile. "And finally, for
something completely different: while in transit along the Beta
Corridor the Oxford Navy's heavy cruiser *Agamemnon* detected
what seems to be a derelict version of a very early, highly
experimental warp-drive vehicle. Its warp signature was so weak
and inefficient that they didn't think it was an unexploded
munition. Once they were sure it was safe Captain Throckmorton
had it taken aboard and delivered to the Deep Space Force
orbital shipyard Vulkan here on Alpha. The Palace has received a
preliminary report and I'll answer what questions I can. For the
rest ask the Deep Space Force."

"Is this the same *Agamemnon* that. . . ?"

"Yes. Captain Throckmorton seems to lead an interesting career."

"Was a crew aboard? Originally, I mean."

"It had accommodations for six people and supplies for a month.
There were also six stasis boxes, with extensive instrumentation
that suggests that they were prototypes. Three of the boxes were
activated and seem to contain crew members. The boxes were left
activated and brought to the Certus Kingdom Medical Center where
it's planned that they'll be opened and the crew revived if
possible. I have no other information about the crew, and I'll
remind you that Privacy applies to them whether or not they
survived."

***
0940 29 June

The doctor (scrubs, white coat, ID badge reading 'DR. DAWSON')
gently turned a control knob as he watched a display screen.
Once a wavy blue line turned green he said, "Mr. Johanssen, wake
up."

Mike's eyelids fluttered a bit then opened into slits. In a
thick voice he said, "Uh, ack."

The doctor said, "Don't try to talk just yet; your mouth is
pretty dry." He helped Mike drink from a plastic squeeze bottle
with the stereotypical hospital bent tube. "Better now?"

Mike cleared his throat "Yeah, better." He tried to sit up but
his abdominal muscles didn't have the strength. Even lifting his
head was difficult. He looked around the room - plain and
institutional but with the unmistakable signs of a hospital, as
opposed to a detention cell or interrogation room. The only
jarring part was what looked like windows were an opaque pearl-
gray. "This isn't quite what I expected. It looks like the
suspension modules worked."

"We call them stasis boxes. They work just fine for inanimate
objects but reviving people is a bit tricky, Mr. Johanssen."

"Call me Mike. Who are you, and where am I?"

"I'm Doctor Dawson and we're in a hospital."

*I could have guessed that from your nametag and it's fairly
obvious this is a hospital.* "And this hospital is where?"

"I'd rather wait a bit for that, until your other companions are
awake."

Mike asked coldly, "Am I a prisoner here? All the windows are
blanked out." *Shit, am I gonna have to break out? When I'm
able?*

"Oh, sorry." Dawson looked up and said sharply, "Windows,
clear!" The windows became transparent in an instant and
sunlight flooded into the room. "You are free to leave at any
time but you really need to stay for a while -- you're in as
close to perfect health as we can manage but you won't have much
stamina. We removed your original clothing getting you into
regen but we'll find you something to wear while you're here."

"Okay." *For the moment, until I catch you in a lie.* "Now,
where *is* this hospital?"

"This is the Certus Kingdom Military Medical Research Center, on
the planet Certus Alpha, about a year's warp from Earth. Ten
thousand light-years or thereabouts."

Mike heard Dawson's words up to that point, then lost anything
else as his mind began racing over the meaning and the
implications. He let his head fall back as he thought, *A year's
travel and 10,000 light years from Earth? Oh, Ghu, that means
this is at least a year since we left, and more probably a lot
more than that.*

He looked at Dawson again. "All right; now for the big
questions: *When* is this? How long has it been since we left
Earth, and how can we get back?"

Dawson sighed. "It's been a long time, and you really can't go
back. Can you accept that for the moment, until your friends are
out of regen? I'd like to only do this once."

"No! Tell me now."

Dawson shrugged, as if to say, 'Well, you asked for it.' "From
what we can tell it's been about three hundred years since you
activated the warp drive on your vehicle."

Dawson's words hit Mike in the solar plexus. "Oh, Lord God in
Heaven," he said, lapsing back to his earliest programming.
*Gods, Goddesses, Buddha and the Great Spirit all be with us
now.* Mike shook his head. *Back to the big questions.* "And
getting back to Earth?"

"We lost contact with Earth over a hundred years ago and haven't
heard anything since then. We think civilization collapsed."

Mike felt as if he'd been on a ledge while rappelling down a
cliff and somebody just tossed the rope down to him. *We're all
alone, without a planet to call home. Shit, right out of any
number of cheesy SF stories.* He took a deep breath before
asking, "How are Tuck and Amy?"

"We'll be able to awaken your companions in the next few days.
I'd rather awaken them one at a time, though, either Amy or
Eugene-"

"He hates that name; call him Tuck. Him first and I'll need to
be the one who does it. Both of us will need to be there when
you wake Amy."

"Very well. All three of you should be ready to leave in a week
or so." Dawson looked over Mike's head toward the wall of the
room.

*Instrumentation on the wall behind me. Remember that.*

"You'll need to spend the night here but we can move you to our
rehab center tomorrow."

A female medical type with an ID badge that said 'ANDERSON, V.'
moved into Mike's field of view. "Who are you?" *She looks kinda
like Kim. Kim's dead by now. Shit, think about something else.*
He didn't remember seeing his pack or anything else. "Where's
our stuff?"

She answered, "I'm Vivian, Mike. Your effects - backpacks,
clothing, jewelry - will be here tomorrow."

Mike was fighting to keep his eyes open but he was able to say,
"Good, that'll be good."


Dawson said, "Mike, don't fight it. Go back to sleep. We'll
continue this later."

Mike nodded with his eyes closed. He mumbled, "Okay," as he fell
asleep.
Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7034] Sat, 21 January 2012 13:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
0935 30 June

Mike was awakened by a female voice saying, "Michael, time to
wake up." He cracked one eye open to find Vivian Anderson
looking disgustingly awake and chipper. "I have a nice breakfast
ready for you."

Mike levered himself up on an elbow without opening his eyes
more than slits. He was able to say, "Uh, is that coffee?"
*You'd better hope that it is after waking me up. Coke would be
better, and a Dew would be perfect. Gotta do something about
that.*

Vivian replied brightly, "Oh, yes. Dancing Goat coffee, the best
in the Kingdom." She tilted her head as she regarded Mike.
"You're one of the ones who require rocket fuel to wake up,
aren't you?"

"Are you usually this dense, or is it something that you study
in medical school?"

Vivian grinned at him. "Oh, tormenting patients is something
that comes naturally to some of us." She became more serious.
"Since this is your first day out of regen I'm going to be with
you all day. We, the two of us and Dr. Dawson , will wake your
friend Tuck, then I'll get you settled in the rehab center and
show you around the hospital. Patients usually run out of energy
after a few hours on their first day."

Mike blinked a couple of times and looked around the room. He
spotted a cart in a corner with three backpacks and some other
things on it. "Hey, is that our stuff?" He grabbed the top edge
of the sheet, then looked down. "I really hate these drafty
hospital gowns."

"They really don't do much for modesty, do they?" Vivian nodded
toward the door to the room. "I brought you something better to
wear. I'll wait outside while you get dressed. Call if you need
help."

A chair near the door held a set of scrubs, boxers, a pair of
high-top sneakers with stick-together straps instead of laces,
and an ID badge with his name and face on it. Mike took a moment
to wash his hands and face before dressing.

The cart held their backpacks and clear plastic-type bags with
their earrings and pocket contents in them, plus their helmets,
boots and Nomex flight suits on a lower shelf. Each backpack had
a red-bordered note on it:

-------------------------------------------------
WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING

During the recovery operations our Ordnance Technicians
detected pyrotechnic materials and small-arms ammunition. To
ensure the safety of the ship they were discarded. This
unfortunately included the loaded automatic pistol
magazines. Replacement pyrotechnic items were supplied from
our stores.

Our Small-Arms Artificer is of the opinion that the
automatic pistol will need refurbishment before use. A
temporary replacement firearm and suitable ammunition have
been supplied.

The pyrotechnic items and firearm ammunition are carried on
the ship's books as 'expendable munitions' and need not be
returned. The firearm itself, however, is not an expendable
item and its return to any vessel of the Oxford Navy is
expected.

James Throckmorton,
Captain of the List,
Oxford Navy
Heavy Cruiser Agamemnon

-------------------------------------------------
Packing list:
1 EA LAUNCHER, FLARE M487
24 EA FLARE, FOR M48x FAMILY LAUNCHER
12 EA ROCKET, SIGNAL M1226
1 EA REVOLVER, WEBLY, CAL .455 MK19
SERIAL NUMBER 7391485
1 BOX AMMUNITION, REVOLVER, CAL .455
50 ROUNDS
-------------------------------------------------

Mike put the note in the pocket of his scrubs for later. He
opened his backpack and inventoried the contents by feel.
*Great, everything else is still here!* He contemplated changing
into a t-shirt and jeans but rejected the idea. *Better wear
what they're expecting and keep these in case we have to
escape.*

***
0942 30 June

Breakfast was as uninspired as the coffee was delicious. Mike
asked Vivian, "Why is hospital food so awful?"

"Awful or not you sure ate it all."

"Calories are calories. If I get hungry I tend to get testy with
people."

"And how this is different than your usual mood?" She looked at
her left thumbnail, which had a clock face on it. "It's about
time to wake up your friend."

*I've gotta get one of those thumbnail watches.* Mike asked,
"You're gonna lock this door, right?"

"Once the door's closed nobody can get in without one of our ID
badges: yours, mine, or Dr. Dawson's. Your friend Tuck's room is
right next door."

Before they left Dawson came into the room. He said, "We'll go
wake up Tuck in a moment but I wanted to brief you on your
regen." He glanced at Vivian and she left the room. "The only
things the regen did was adjust your eyes a bit, to about 20/15
by your measurements, and repair a little hearing damage. You'll
need to have your piercings redone because the regen healed them
closed."

Mike waved that off. "Not important; we used the earrings hold
communications earpieces and microphones in place." He showed
Dawson the note. "How can we get our guns repaired? I really
don't want to fool around with a Webley revolver."

Dawson looked at the note in puzzlement. "A Webley *revolver*?
Caliber .455? .455 what? It doesn't make sense."

"Inches, probably." Mike tried to remember the conversion
factor. *Fifty cal BMG is 12.7, so .455 is about. . . . "Uh,
bout eleven and a half millimeters. Big bullet, low velocity,
from what I remember ."

Dawson shook his head. "Only the Oxfordians." He answered Mike's
baffled expression with, "Their planets were originally research
outposts run by universities from someplace called Britain. They
still carry on a lot of the traditions from that area, like
calling their Space Force a Navy."

***
1033 30 June

Dr. Dawson turned a control knob as he watched a display screen.

"What's that?" Mike asked, pointing at the screen.

"It's a display of Tuck's brain function. When it turns green
he's ready to wake up." The blue line turned green and he said,
"Like that. You can awaken him now."

Mike moved the sheet away from Tuck's sides and took Tuck's
hands in his. "Wake up, Tuck."

***
1037 30 June

*Oh, Ghu, where the hell am I? No tubes that I can feel and
nothing hurts, so this can't be a hospital.* "Uh."

"Hello, Tuck," Mike's voice said from above me. "Welcome back."
I tried to say something and he said, "Don't try to talk just
yet." He maneuvered a straw into my mouth and helped me drink.
"Better now?"

I cleared my throat. "Yeah. Where are we?"

"We're in a hospital, on another planet a long way from Earth.
It's 10,000 light years away and a year by warp drive to get
back." Mike let go of my hands to sign, <People look human, not
been outside but look habitable>

"Can we get back?"

"Nobody thinks we'll want to; it's been three hundred years
since we left and they lost communication with Earth a hundred
years ago." I was picking up strong 'stay focused' vibes from
him, so I did my best to push this into a buffer for later
processing. He signed, <Have backpacks, stuff. People friendly,
not caught lie yet.>

"How's Amy?"

"Still out. We, you and me, are gonna wake her up tomorrow
morning."

I signed, <Where ship?>

<Ship in orbit.>

To divert attention from our ASL conversation I said, "Wow, a
trip to the future just like all those SF stories."

After another couple of minutes I started to fade out, so Mike
and I locked up and I took that calm, centered feeling with me
into a dreamless sleep.

***
1110 30 June

Back in Mike's room Vivian unclipped a small box from the cart
carrying the backpacks and pushed a button on top. Mike asked,
"What's that?"

Vivian clipped the box to her belt. "A follow-me box. The cart
will follow it while we get you to the rehab center."

As Vivian led him through the hospital corridors Mike was on the
lookout for technology that didn't exist on the Earth that he'd
left. About the only thing he noticed from a walk-past
examination was one person riding in a motorized wheelchair-type
thing, except that it didn't have wheels and floated serenely
down the corridors about three inches above the floor. He tried
to surreptitiously put a foot under it but failed because the
chair seemed to sense his foot and avoid it.

One thing he noticed was the number of people in uniforms -
about one in four wore obvious uniforms (in the equivalent of
class A with patches and name tags, he didn't see anyone in camo
or fatigues) and most of them were wearing gun belts. Two had
some kind of submachine gun. There also probable civilians
carrying guns, including some in lab coats and scrubs. He
carefully suppressed his reaction. *I guess this place really is
a military hospital, with all the uniforms and guns.*

The 'place' in the rehab center was a three-bedroom apartment.
The main room had a couch, chairs and coffee table under a long
window. An open kitchen area and breakfast bar took up the other
side of the room. The left wall had a very wide flat-screen
television. The right wall had a long table with three
flat-screen PCs set up on it and a door leading to the bedrooms
and bath. Vivian nodded at the PCs. "Terminals for the hospital
server. Your user name is 'Michael.J' and the initial password
is 'Johanssen'. You should have basic net services but no
paysites."

Mike investigated the bedrooms and appropriated the smaller one
with a window for himself. *Tuck and Amy can use the master
bedroom. We can use the one without a window for secure storage,
once we get some real locks. No need to let Viv or Dawson know
too much. Need to investigate the security of the windows.*

After putting the backpacks in the bedroom closet Mike
suppressed his urge to investigate the PCs and asked Vivian,
"Can we go outside? I'd really like to get a breath of fresh
air." *Fresh air from another planet! Why on the planet?
Wouldn't doing this in orbit be better? Evidently the reentry
stress didn't hurt us. I also need to know where the doors are
'cause I haven't spotted any yet. Have to find a floor plan.*

At the door to the building (there was a reception desk but the
people behind it weren't obviously guards and he didn't spot any
other security) Vivian took follow-me boxes from a pair of
regular wheeled black-fabric-and-chrome-tube wheelchairs among a
group parked in the foyer. Mike asked, "Do I really need one of
those?"

"Not to ride in, but they're a lot more comfortable to sit on
than a bench."

The chair's rear handles had tapered holes in them. *Motor
drives with charging ports,* Mike thought. *They probably go
looking for a power source when they run low.*

They walked out onto a sidewalk and into a low humming sound.
Mike looked up to try to determine where the sound was coming
from and saw car-type vehicles flying overhead. He stopped
abruptly, felt behind him for the wheelchair and dropped into
it.

Vivian asked anxiously, "Mike, what's wrong?"

Mike shook his head without lowering his eyes. "Nothing's wrong.
Dawson said it's been three hundred years since we left Earth,
but seeing flying cars makes it real." He forced himself to look
at Vivian. "Tuck and me always liked science fiction -- books,
television, movies; all stuff about the future. No matter what
anybody said, seeing flying cars makes it *feel* like the
future."

Vivian asked, "Do you want to go back in? I can give you
something to calm your nerves, if you think you need it."

Mike made a chopping motion with one hand and barked, "No!" He
took a deep breath and continued a bit more calmly, "No, I need
to get used to this before Tuck and Amy are up and around.
They're gonna need me, especially Amy. We all sent goodbye
messages before we pushed the button, but I don't think Amy took
it very seriously. And I don't think she has the, uh, background
of thinking about things like this."


Mike noticed some vertical contrails that seemed to originate
from the west, appearing behind vehicles that glinted in the sun
but he couldn't make out. He pointed at one and asked, "Viv,
what's that? They keep coming from over there."

Vivian followed his direction. "Oh, that's the shuttleport. The
trails are really pretty around sunset."

"There's no noise." He felt almost offended that whatever
propelled the shuttles did so with so little fanfare.

"A shuttle's just a big aircar. The only reason they have pilots
is for maneuvering around in orbit."

***
1155 30 June

After watching the aircars and shuttles for a while Mike had
accumulated more questions than he could stand. "Viv, can we to
go back to the apartment? I need to figure out how to use the
net." On the way back Mike noticed a low table just outside the
door with a sign 'CLEAR WEAPONS HERE.' As they approached Mike
watched a woman in a red uniform clearing a riot gun. The
ejected shell slowed down and hovered just above the tabletop.

Back in the apartment Mike found the terminal keyboard was
unrecognizable. "Uh, Viv, I'll need to call somebody about this
keyboard."

"What's the matter with it?"

"The keys are different from the ones I'm used to."

Vivian called up a config screen full of keyboard layouts. "Are
any of these what you need?"

"Yeah, the one all the way down at the bottom, with the label
DVORAK. Won't we need another keyboard with matching keytops?"

Vivian glanced over at him. "Nope." She selected the layout and
the keytop legends changed.

"Wow! That's impressive, especially without a system restart."

"Certian computers are the best there are," she smirked. Vivian
coached Mike through logging in to the server and getting to the
network, then started to use one of the other terminals and left
him alone. One of the first things he found was a floor plan for
the facility. *Hmm. Reception desks inside the entrances but no
marked guard posts. Doesn't show any internal sensors, not that
I'd expect a publically-available floor plan to show any.*

The next thing Mike looked for was some sort of description of
this Kingdom of Certus. *I can't go to CIA.GOV but maybe there's
something like their world factbook.* He tried the search string
'planet factbook' and one of the first hits was 'An Overview of
Inhabited Planets and Political Entities'. The Kingdom of Certus
had five planets, boringly named Alpha through Epsilon. The tech
level of the Kingdom was high and the planetary populations were
all below two billion. *Wow. Reading between the lines it looks
like they're really into planning for sustainable levels. I
wonder how bad it was on Earth when they moved here, to scare
them so bad that they're still worrying about that after two
hundred years. And how they keep the population down.*

On a whim, Mike searched for 'oxford navy agamemnon' and found
several hits. One was the press conference announcing
*Agamemnon* finding *Pterodactyl.* Another story made his hair
stand on end: the previous Crown Prince of Certus had been
assassinated, blown up with his transport and two of three
escorting destroyers in an ambush while going from Certus Beta
to Alpha. The third destroyer had been badly damaged and the
only reason that there were any survivors at all was due to the
intervention of *Agamemnon* and Captain Throckmorton. That
incident started an interstellar war that was still going on.
*Holy shit! This place is a fucking war zone. It's a wonder that
we weren't just vaporized when they spotted us.*

Mike shook his head and thought, *Since we're stuck here I'd
better find out what kind of place it is.* He spent some time
looking for this society's Correct Thoughts and Proper Attitudes
without finding any definitive answers.

After a while he ran out of energy and Vivian encouraged him to
go to bed.

Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7035] Sat, 21 January 2012 13:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
1038 31 June

Mike woke me up and introduced a medical-type named Vivian
Anderson, a woman who looked a lot like our high school friend
Kim. *Our dead friend Kim. Shit, I need to focus better.*
They ducked out of the room while I got dressed in a set of
scrubs and tennis shoes and came back with a rolling table with
the usual covered plates of a hospital breakfast for Mike and
me.

About the time we finished eating, a doctor-type came in. He
said to me, "I'm Doctor Dawson, and we're going to wake your
companion Amy Wallace in just a bit, but first I need to brief
you on your regen." He looked at both Vivian and Mike. She gave
Mike a smile and left.

I responded to the unsaid command, "Mike knows all about my
medical treatments, so he stays."

Dawson didn't look particularly pleased but he said, "Tuck, we
got rid of your asthma and that histoplasmosis in your lungs.
You won't be as allergic anymore, possibly not at all. Your
norepinephrine/cortisol ratio was somewhat out of balance so we
adjusted it a little - from what I've read about the medicine of
your time they adjusted such things with medication. We didn't
want to do anything now but later on we can adjust your body
toward the more functional male or female ends of the spectrum."

"Yahuh," I answered blandly. It wasn't anything I was interested
in. "What ELSE can it do?"

"Tuck?"

"Bioware," I grinned at Mike. I turned back to the doctor and
asked, "Claws? Night vision?"

"Eff that, Tuck, how about some armor, an auxiliary heart,
better routing of the head pipes-"

"So what else can this regen do? Modifications?"

Dawson looked at me. "Do you have claws or night vision now?" He
looked at Mike. "Armor? More than one heart?"

Mike protested, "Not YET, which is-"

Dawson overrode him. "Regen isn't magic, it only works within
the original body parameters."

I'm sure that we looked rather sour at that.

"We can regrow parts that have been lost or damaged or aging,
repair things like your hearing or Tuck's lungs. We can adjust
some things to optimal function, such as your eyes. We can
enhance or change things to a limited extent for cosmetic or
other purposes. Extensions or additions are *possible* but all
of them involve splicing in genotypes-"

My eyes lit up, and I'm sure Mike's did too.

"-and none of them have very successful."

"Shit," me and Mike said at the same time. Mike punched me in
the arm, but I ignored it.

***
1047 31 June

Dawson took us into Amy's room. He woke her up and I reassured
her that both Mike an me were just fine. She faded back to sleep
without asking any difficult questions. That was good 'cause I
wasn't sure how she'd take the news about where we were and how
long we'd been in stasis.

***
1105 31 June

Back outside in the corridor Vivian said, "Tuck, you're going to
run out of energy in a couple of hours so I'm going to stay with
you and Mike. You really need to stay on the hospital grounds on
your first day."

Before we left Mike mentioned all the uniforms and guns. Vivian
responded with, "Well, this *is* a military hospital. And there
really aren't that many more guns around here than you'll see on
the street. You're not afraid of them, are you? I know that some
other planets have a problem."

Mile told her, "Oh, no; we're not afraid. Remember the firearms
we had in our stuff?"

While we were walking through the corridors to our apartment in
the rehab center I noticed a lot of wireless laptops in use
along with desktop workstations. All the desktops had wireless
keyboards with built-in touchpads and must have had wireless
networking because I didn't spot any cables.

After Mike showed me where he'd stashed our stuff the three of
us went outside. Mike was right, seeing aircars really made it
seem real.

While we were watching the aircars Mike started signing about
what he found while he was looking around their net. <Place
really strange, no drug laws, no gun laws, health care for
everybody. . . .>

I signed back, <Show me on net when go back in, right now want
watch air cars.>

***
1157 31 June

After a while my curiosity outvoted the wonder of watching the
aircars. We went back in and Mike started showing me what he'd
found. He was right, this place is a constitutional monarchy;
their Bill Of Rights, they call it a Charter of Rights and
Responsibilities, had enough stuff in it that would make a
small-"l"-libertarian happy: no drug laws, no gun laws, no laws
about sex and marriage. Other stuff was pure socialism:
universal health care, free education up through college or
trade school level, a guaranteed minimal income, retirement like
Social Security.

They seem to have learned from some of the larger financial
fsckups of our time: what was described on one site as "the
usual suspects gambling with other people's money" and extreme
disparity in incomes.


I wondered if this was the real network or a fake, like those
fake Russian villages. Potemkin? I called up a command line
window (I had to use the Help feechur but some things never
change in proper operating systems), pinged some sites and
compared the latency against the distances as displayed on a
world map. The ping timing was consistent, traceroute looked
reasonable. I came to the tentative conclusion that this place
was real.

After a while I ran out of energy and Vivian tucked me into bed.

***
1343 31 June

Mike asked Vivian, "Can you stay with Tuck while I look around?"

"Sure. You might want to stay on the hospital grounds; you won't
have very much endurance yet."

Mike explored the hospital and grounds, looking for escape
routes, surveillance, guards, etc. He ran out of energy after
about an hour and went back to their apartment.

Vivian left after wishing Mike a good evening.
Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7036] Sat, 21 January 2012 13:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
0912 32 June

Me and Mike woke Amy. After breakfast I held her closely and
told her about where we were and how long it had been since we
left. I was unprepared for the severity of her reaction.

"Oh, God, Tuck! Oh, my God! Everyone's gone - all our families,
all our friends . . . . Even my dog Sparky. . . . Oh, God; what
are we going to do? How will we live? Oh, God, everything's all
gone - the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the
fall colors, your family, my family, Sparky. . . ."

Amy's distress washed over me like a bucket of cold water. She
was in my arms in an instant, her face buried in my scrub top. I
concentrated on holding her, comforting her, being there for
her. I hugged her as closely as I could and finally she ran down
and was just crying and making a keening noise that I'd never
heard before. It broke my heart and started me crying too.
Eventually she calmed down a little and I got us both into her
bed.

I don't know if it was emotional exhaustion or something that
Dawson did but we both fell asleep.

***
1044 32 June

Mike went back to their apartment, feeling as if he'd finished
an emotional marathon and didn't have the energy to take another
step. He was standing at the window when there was a knock on
the door and Vivian entered. He said, in a not-very-nice voice,
"What do you want, Vivian Anderson?"

"Nothing. I thought you could use some company." She crossed the
room to stand beside Mike. She nodded at the window. "It's not
any different than it was yesterday."

"Do you read minds, Vivian Anderson?"

"No, but I can imagine something about what you're feeling."

Mike's voice had an edge to it as he said, "Ever lost your
planet and family and culture all at once?"

"No, but my consort was killed on Beta and I just couldn't stand
being on that planet any more."

Mike wasn't really sure how to respond but he fell back on a
phrase that he'd heard his father use. "My sincere condolences
for your loss, Vivian."

Vivian responded, "Thanks. How are you feeling? Seriously." She
shook her head. "I'm not a trained counselor or anything but I'm
really good at listening."

Mike said, "How am I feeling?" *How *am* I feeling?* "Um. Still
kinda numb, like it hasn't really sunk in yet. Kinda alone."

"Alone and just a tiny bit angry at your friend Tuck because
he's so focused on Amy and doesn't have any attention to spare
for you?"

Mike said calmly, "Why don't you shut up? Door's that way," he
added, imitating George - who was long dead, now - and jerked
his thumb at it. "Use it."

Vivian ignored him. "A tiny bit jealous of Amy? And that makes
you feel guilty for thinking that way?"

Her comment sparked an instant rage in Mike. He balled his fists
and shouted, "Shut up, just shut the hell up!" Vivian stood her
ground and tilted her head at him. His rage deflated as quickly
as it had formed. "Yeah." He sighed deeply. "Yeah, that's pretty
much it."

"I think that those feelings are natural, when a best buddy's
found a woman to share his life."

"You don't quite understand. Amy's his first cousin - their
mothers are sisters - and what's going on between them is, hell,
I don't know. They act like they're in love and sleep together
and shower together, but it ain't sexual 'cause they both just
about took my head off once for suggesting it."

"Love doesn't have to be anything sexual. You love Tuck, don't
you, and from what I've seen you don't want to have sex with
him."

Mike said, "You're right; he's been my best buddy since we were
eight. We've been there for each other most of our lives."

"And now Amy needs him to be there for her, just like you need
to be there for both of them." Vivian sidled over to Mike and
put her arm around his waist, her shoulder perfectly positioned
for him to put his arm around her.

Mike obliged and hugged her a bit then put his hand to her chin
and tipped her face toward his. "Is this pity, or something
else?"

Vivian rubbed her cheek against his hand. "Not pity. I just
thought that we could give one another a bit of comfort. It's
been a long time since I've felt this way, that I could offer
someone something. Just being there for someone."

Mike said, "That'd be good. We can watch TV and you can explain
things to me."

"Oh, the vid. Yeah, there are probably lots of things that'll
need explaining. I hope that there won't be anything that'll
offend you."

"Probably not; I'm not very sensitive to a lot of things that
people get upset about."

Vivian and Mike spent the afternoon eating a pizza delivered by
one of the rolling carts and watching TV. They tried to watch a
show that seemed to be a comedy but Mike said, "Do you mind
watching something else? Maybe I'm missing something but I don't
think this stuff is funny."

"I don't think it is, either. I don't like watching people
acting stupidly."

"Some things haven't changed."

Vivian found something else. "This is a love story that takes
place on the Kaleidoscope space station. It's not that bad and
it'll show you something about our culture."

"Okay. You can fill in the blanks for me."

The vid feature was fairly close to "When Harry met Sally". It
was natural that the two of them moved a little closer together
during the romantic interludes and wound up with Vivian leaning
back on Mike's chest with his arms around her.

The end of the story, however, ended with some very explicit
sex. As the scene became more explicit Mike sat up straighter
and his eyes opened wider.

Vivian felt the increase in his respiration rate and turned
sideways on the couch to put her legs over his. She took his
head in her hands and gave him a kiss.

Mike responded to the kiss but after a while he pushed her away
far enough for his eyes to focus on hers. "Am I reading the
signals correctly? I'm not very good at this kind of thing."

Vivian got up from the couch and took his hands in hers.
"Sharing of warmth and comfort and companionship."

Mike stood. "Like I said, I'm not good at this kind of
thing. Not like that," he said, indicating the vid.

Vivian said, "Vid, off!" She went on, "No expectations, Mike.
Just friendship and closeness."

***
1807 32 June

Mike and Vivian got up to have dinner on the rooftop cafeteria
of the hospital and watch the sunset. After the lights of the
city of the city came on and the aircars started to stand out
against the gathering night, they got up to leave.

Vivian said, "I need to go home for a bit. May I come back
later, maybe spend the night?"

"Of course you're welcome to spend all the time you want. This
is really a new thing for me."

"Well, for me too, at least since. . . ."

Mike caressed her cheek. "Remember, only Good Thoughts."
Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7037] Sat, 21 January 2012 13:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
0915 1 July

The next morning Amy and me were awakened by somebody named
Glenda Paisley saying, "Tuck, Amy, time to get up." Two of those
self-propelled carts were standing by - one with a pair of
breakfast trays and the other with fresh sets of scrubs.

After we'd showered, dressed and eaten the the usual awful
hospital breakfast Dawson and Mike came in. Dawson said, "Miss
Wallace, I need to discuss your regen with you."

Glenda left but Amy said, "Tuck and Mike can stay."

Dawson said, "We had to do a bit of regen on the three of you.
The normal process adjusted your eyes a bit, to about 20/15 by
your measurements. You'll need to have your piercings redone
because the regen healed them closed. Amy, you had a heart
murmur. . ."

I interjected, "Hey, and I always thought it was your MOUTH
mumbling in your sleep."

Dawson continued as if I hadn't interrupted, "- that we
repaired."

Mike said, "They can't do anything interesting like claws or
enhanced night vision."

"Variable boobs?" Amy asked, grinning.

"WHAT?!" Mike and me shrieked at the same time as the doctor
looked at her.

"I- there's times you want 'em bigger and there's times you want
'em smaller!" Amy protested, "Ow!"

"BAKKA!" I shreiked as Amy slapped back at me, and then the two
of us were slapping at each other.

Mike turned to the doctor and waved a hand in his face to get
his attention. "Curious social interactions of our time; don't
worry about it.

"Hmmm." Dawson's eyes unfocused for a moment. "Hmmm. Variable
breasts... It *might* be possible to devise a, um, mechanism for
enlargement, probably tied to the nipple erection response.
There may be some loss of nipple sensitivity and the enlarged
breasts may not have the same tactile characteristics. I can't
make any guarantees, but are you serious about pursuing this?"

Amy said, "LOSE sensitivity? I don't think so!" She turned and
said, "Tuck, YOU could- ow!"

I twisted her arm a little and she got me with an elbow.

***
0931 1 July

Mike led us from Amy's room to our apartment. The breakfast bar
part of the kitchen had the remnants of two meals on it. A
woman, a medical type named Vivian Anderson, came out of Mike's
bedroom. Mike took her hand and introduced her, "Amy, this is
Vivian Anderson. Vivian, this is Amy Wallace. You remember Tuck,
don't you?"

"Hello, Tuck and nice to meet you, Amy. Has anyone welcomed
either of you to Certus?"

Amy and I both said "No," but I was wondering what Vivian was
doing in our apartment. I generated a cluon once I realized that
she'd come out of Mike's bedroom and connected that to the odd
grin that Mike had on his face.

I turned to Mike but before I could say anything he said,
"They're not pods." He was still grinning.

"Or they've infected you," I grimaced as I walked up to him and
sniffed around his neck, but he smelled the same as usual. Well,
almost, but I sniffed her too, and that was the other scent on
Mike's skin.

"You WHAT?" Amy gasped as she finally caught on. "Mike!" she
admonished.

"We are the Borg, resistance is UHhh!" he stopped as we both
kicked him.

"Resist this, aluminium boy," I told him, but he blocked the
second strike and dodged behind Vivian. "Coward! 'Scuse me," I
told her as I faked one side and kicked past her on the other.
Mike, annoyingly, did not run into my foot but went past the
first way and sneered as he dumped Amy on the floor.

***
1015 1 July

The first thing that we did with Amy was to take her out to see
the aircars. She watched for a while but she really wanted to
search the net for current events around the kingdom.

***
1220 1 July

Mike told us that his friend Vivian had mentioned trouble
someplace called 'Certus Beta' and he was watching over my
shoulder as I surfed around the net to find out what she was
talking about. We found that 'trouble' was a generous
understatement - it turns out that a religious dingbat had
stirred up the lunatic fringe and tried to replace the Monarchy
with a theocracy, with himself in charge, of course. The trouble
started out small but Queen Bethany's oldest son Prince Theodore
was in charge at the start and he made things worse instead of
better. Queen Bethany sent Prince Jarrett to take over and he
really turned it around. The dingbat focused on Prince Jarrett
and tried to assassinate him a couple of times; the last time he
had a mob of two thousand guys charging the front of the Palace
and another mob charging from the back.

There was even a video of Prince Jarrett and Princess Alice
using SMGs to mow down a bunch of bad guys who had broken into
their underground redoubt.

The coverage of the whole crisis was amazingly detailed,
including the final human-wave attack charging across the back
lawn into machine gun fire.

"Wow," Mike said deadpan, "three hundred years in the future and
people are still stupid enough to try that."

"Must be Marines," Amy smirked.

"FUCK you, Amy," I sighed. "Only mobs are that stupid, charging
a pre-warned fortification like that."

I clicked on the NEXT SEGMENT button and didn't really believe
what I was watching: a mob got spashed with some kinda slippery
stuff that made a lot of them fall down but not before the first
ranks ran into something that literally sliced them into pieces.

Amy got a little green after she saw the clip. "Gah. Not even
Marines would be that stupid. What happened to the chief Bad
Guy?"

I clicked on the NEXT SEGMENT button and we all watched as the
Bad Guy in Chief got blown off the top of a ten-story building
and did a face plant in the parking lot. Instant road pizza.

"Schweet!" Amy said in a weird accent.

Mike said, "Perfect example of Terminal Deceleration Syndrome.
Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. By the way, did you
notice how a lot of the earlier coverage was credited to
somebody called 'D. Williams?' I wonder who that was."

While Mike and me were figuring out what was going on in the
Wide World outside the hospital, Amy musta gotten tired of my
elbow every time she slapped my shoulder and started researching
the Certus Royal Family by herself. She found the Family's web
page and called us to come look. She commented on what actors
and actresses they looked like, something I hadn't thought she
paid much attention to. The Royal Family was Queen Bethany and
Prince Consort Bernard ("Really like Stockard Channing and
Martin Sheen in The West Wing"), Princess Caroline and her
husband Matthew ("Jeri Ryan and a big guy like Michael Dorn"),
Prince Jarrett and Princess Alice ("Elizabeth Roehm"). The page
with the Prince and Princess had a crest at the top with the
label "Prince of Beta," which seemed to be kinda like the Prince
of Wales in Britain.

There were also the twin daughters of Prince Theodore and his
wife Marcia - Princesses Elizabeth and Kathryn who looked
vaguely like shorter versions of Kathy.

Mike called up a picture of the 'D. Williams' he was interested
in. The description line read, "Dame Droewyn Williams, Bart."

Amy said, "Oh, she looks just like Anna Belknap from one of
those CSI shows. Hey, click that link."

The link led to a vid of Prince Jarrett proclaiming, "...By my
authority as Prince of Certus Beta, it is my distinct privilege
and high honor to dub you Baronette of the Kingdom of Certus,"
and touching her on the shoulder with a sword.


Mike whistled, "These guys really know how to put on a show."

Amy hit him on the arm. "Don't act jealous." She called up
another web site and said, "Look at this." The web site
advertised a 'full service entertainment resort' on a tropical
island, complete with courtesans of both sexes, a gambling
casino and a drugstore with 'the widest range of recrational
chemicals in the Kingdom,' featuring something called Hilltop
Cannabis.
Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7038] Sat, 21 January 2012 13:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
1015 2 July

Dawson called a meeting with me, Mike and Amy in a conference
room. We showed up and were drinking coffee and wondering what
was going on when a guy opened the door and said, "Prince
Jarrett and Princess Alice."

Mike and me popped to attention and Amy and Dawson followed a
second later.

The Prince and Princess wore white shirts and blue blazers with
gold piping on the seams and the Prince of Beta's crest on the
front pocket. Princess Alice had lovely green eyes - the vid
images didn't do her justice - copper-colored hair and was
wearing some emerald earrings that matched her eyes. Prince
Jarrett was wearing dime-sized round gold earrings with his
crest on them. A guy in a dark blue uniform followed them in and
introduced himself as Admiral Owen Matthews, the commander of
Alpha's orbital shipyard. Another guy in a brownish tunic and
trousers that seemed like a bureaucratic civilian uniform
introduced himself as Nasir Fitzpatrick from the Immigration and
Citizenship Administration.

I spotted guns on the belts of the Prince and Princess when they
unbuttoned their blazers to sit down. I asked, "Sir, you're both
wearing guns. I thought you'd have something better than that,
like ray guns or phasers or something."

Prince Jarrett asked, "What's a phaser? Some technology from
Earth that got lost?"

"It's a Star Trek superweapon. You could either vaporize your
enemies or just stun 'em and they'd fall down unconscious."

Alice laughed. "It would be nice to have something like that but
we haven't found anything better than plain old chem-powered
slugthrowers, at least with a reasonable power-to-weight ratio."
Jarrett asked, " What is 'Star Trek'?

"A futuristic fiction television, vid, series; well,
'futuristic' for the times that they were made in. There were
actually several series set in the same universe during
different fictional eras. A lot of the science was total magical
nonsense but it was fun to watch."

Nasir Fitzpatrick cleared his throat. "Your Highnesses, if I may
interrupt-"

"-this fascinating but useless conversation," his tone said. I
decided he was a typical self-important bureaucrat.

"...- this will only take a few minutes." Prince Jarrett nodded
to him and Fitzpatrick opened a small case and put three of what
looked like PCMCIA cards with our names on them on the table,
along with three business cards. "Mr. Johanssen, Mr. Tucker,
Miss Wallace, these are your Universal Identification Chips." (I
could hear the capital letters) "They have been encoded with
your basic information: images, height, weight, finger- and
footprints, original hair and eye color."

I asked, "When will we need 'em," having visions of the NKVD and
the STASI and checkpoints and "Your papers, citizen."

"Whenever the situation requires positive identification, such
as voting or a court appearance. Most residents have them
encoded with their blood typing, DNA sequences, regen
characteristics and medical history. Oh, and marital status.
We'll need to update them when your immigration status changes."

Jarrett said, "What *is* their immigration status?"

"Visitors for the moment, sir, changing to Permanent if they
elect to remain here and Residents if they make an affirmation
to seek citizenship."

Mike said, "We can't do that until we know what's involved."

My estimation of Nasir went up when he nodded at Mike. "And we
wouldn't expect you to, sir. Treating you like any other
immigrant is just the simplest way to handle the situation." He
gave us a small smile. "It's also the simplest way to handle the
bureaucracy. I'd rather not have to explain this to every dolt
in the Administration."

I was glad that I hadn't been drinking anything when he said
that because I probably would have sprayed it all over the
table. *This guy's a lot smarter than he looks.*

Nasir asked us, "You needn't answer this, but are the three of
you in a marriage relationship?"

Amy answered, "Uh, no. Why did you ask?"

He shrugged. "It was a reasonable question, with three people in
a small spacecraft. It's quite common for crews like that to be
married."

"But there are three of us."

"So? Marriage is one of the things in which the government is
prohibited to meddle. Any group of consenting adults may
register a marriage." He closed his case and stood. "The cards I
gave you have both the Administration's comm code and my own. If
you run into any problems please don't hesitate to call me." He
gave Princess Alice and Prince Jarrett a little bow. "Your
Highnesses, this concludes my business with our newcomers and I
beg to be excused."

Prince Jarrett gave him a nod. "Thank you for coming,
Fitzpatrick," then turned to Admiral Matthews. "Admiral, you had
some questions?"

Matthews said, "Our records of your period are pretty spotty.
Will you tell us how the three of you wound up in an
experimental starflight vehicle?"

Mike and Amy looked at me so I guess I was elected to start off.
"Um, well, Mike was going to MIT and Amy and me were at Cal Tech
when Professor Herndon made his breakthrough in quantum field
manipulation. All three of us wound up working on the prototypes
at Cal Tech. The first prototype melted down when the drive was
turned on, we think it was because of interference between the
Herndon quantum..."

"We just call it the warp drive."

"Uh, between the warp drive and the Val Allen Belt. We were
going to launch *Pterodactyl* - that's what we named our
prototype - straight up toward the pole instead of out along the
plane of the ecliptic to avoid most of the Van Allen Belt. Then
we, uh,...."

I kinda stalled out a little and Mike took up the story. "The
Air Force boosted *Pterodactyl* into orbit from Vandenberg with
a chem-powered rocket. Tuck, Amy, me and another guy, Gary
Kazak, rode up in a spaceplane from Florida to do the checkout.
Just after we got there the Sun let out this enormous flare and
a coronal mass ejection." He shook his head in disgust.
"Frackin' figures, doesn't it? And yes, we DID check the Solar
weather projections." Mike said before anyone had a chance to
ask the obvious and stupid question.

"Anyway, the three of us decided to take a chance on
*Pterodactyl* instead of riding the plane back down 'cause the
timing was just too close. Gary didn't want to take a chance on
an untested vehicle and rode down with the pilots, uh, Norman
Lewis and Jerry O'Keeffe. We don't have any idea if they made
it."

Matthews nodded. "High-rad environment that this plane couldn't
protect you from?"

"Yeah. Dork thing had too much aluminum framing, and we were
afraid of secondary scatter. Not much water tankage, either.
*Pterodactyl's* mostly composites - no scatter - and we
maneuvered it to put the water tanks between us and the Sun. It
was kinda our baby and we didn't want to run the risk of rad
cooking the electronics. The warp drive nav system was already
set up to get us about as far as the orbit of Neptune and we
checked it again before we started. It could get us there in the
blink of an eye and the rad would have dropped off to nothing at
that distance, once it finally caught up. The drive was mounted
in a nacelle so if it melted it wouldn't compromise the hull."

Amy added, "The backup plan was to use the stasis boxes. We
figured that they'd protect us even if the warp drive didn't
work. They'd worked for lab rats."

I took up the narrative again. "We rigged manual go-switches for
the warp drive, on-switches for the stasis system and rad meter
readouts on the insides of the stasis boxes. The plan was to get
into the stasis boxes and push the warp drive button. If it
didn't work, melted down or something, we'd hit the stasis
button to turn the system on for an hour. When it turned off
we'd look at the rad meter to see if we could get out or if we
had to hit the button again. We thought about having the rad
meter turn the stasis system on and off automatically but we
weren't sure it'd work right, I mean turn off when the rad level
dropped. The rad meter was really climbing when we hit the
go-switch. The next thing we knew we woke up here."

Mike asked, "Now what? What do we do now?"

Alice answered, "Cal Tech established a research installation on
its own planet and MIT moved here to Certus. They'll be having
knife fights over *Pterodactyl*"

Amy said, "*Pterodactyl*'s OURS. It's the only thing we've got.
We can't make any hasty decisions, especially since we have to
pay for this stay in the hospital."

Jarrett waved his hand dismissively. "Don't worry about that.
The Kingdom has healthcare that covers anything that's not a
cosmetic procedure."

Mike and I looked at each other, and I thought, *Yeah sure, I'll
believe that when I see the bill.*

Mike asked, "Where is *Pterodactyl*, what kind of shape is it
in, when can we get to it?

Matthews motioned with a thumb toward the ceiling. "It's aboard
the space station Vulkan up in orbit. I had it put in an empty
shipping container flooded with Argon to inhibit any more
corrosion."

"'Any *more* corrosion?' What kind of shape is it in?"

"I doubt that it could be made warp-capable again - from our
preliminary examination there are many components which have
failed. Some are vacuum welded together." He shook his head. "It
was an act of a deity that the drive activated your stasis boxes
and they stayed activated because all of your atmosphere had
leaked out."

Amy asked, "What will we do, though? I don't think we have any
skills anyone will want."

Mike said, "Well, we could start a restaurant, with Tuck
cooking."

I elbowed him and said subtly, "Yuck FOO, chink!"

Dawson said, "The first thing you need to do is get back into
shape. We repaired your bodies but you're all pretty
deconditioned."

"Yah, I noticed," Amy complained. "All that ground work before
the launch! And it's GONE!"

With a twinkle in her eye Alice said, "I'd be honored if you
came to my farm for that. I was pretty badly injured a couple of
years ago and Glenda Paisley and her wife, who's a professional
torturer - I mean physical therapist - got me back into shape.
In the worst case you can always stay there and work on the
farm."

Jarrett nudged Alice a bit. "Of course, working on Alice's farm
might be good for you. She's also Countess Hilltop, and her
County produces the best cannabis in the Kingdom. The Crown will
probably award you a stipend, as distressed travelers under
extraordinary circumstances-"

"Like how much of a stipend?" Amy asked before I could.

Jarrett glanced at her. "Enough to live comfortably. As I was
saying, once the news gets out you'll be in demand on the
lecture circuit and vid shows, talking about what it was really
like back then on Earth."

"Hah! They can't- Wait, do we HAVE to talk to them?" I asked
carefully. "'Cause I don't want to."

"No, you don't. The only thing we've told the press is that
three of the stasis boxes were activated and seemed to contain
crew members. After the first flurry of interest the whole thing
seems to have dropped off their sensors. They don't even know if
you survived."

Mike and I both said, "Good." I went on, "We really don't want
to be in the public eye."

"You'll need to talk to people from MIT and Cal Tech about the
future of *Pterodactyl*." He grinned a little. "If they get
annoying you could mention three hundred years of back pay. One
thing that I'd like to ask," He held up his hand to forestall
protests, "*Ask,* is that you at least consider invitations from
history departments."

Alice said, "I think it may be helpful to allow at least one or
two interviews with the press. Phillip Matuchek, the Queen's
Press Secretary, could set it up with a few, two or three,
newsies who'll arrange things to maintain your privacy." She
dimpled. "Jarrett had a couple of, um, forceful conversations
with newsies back before we made our relationship public."

Jarrett added, "Plus the Charter's Third Article assures
citizens the Right of Privacy. If a newsie or anyone else
becomes too intrusive all you have to say is 'Privacy.' They'll
leave you alone after that or face a Crown's Adjudicator. And
speaking of the Crown, Mother asked me to extend her invitation
to come to the Palace for Fourth of July lunch with the Royal
Family at about fifteen and then stay for the big celebration
with fireworks after dark. Totally informal."

Alice added, with a quick grin, "At least for you, the rest of
us are going to have to dress up for the celebration that
evening. I'll have someone from the Palace come by - Annabelle
Mukerjee, I think - to get something fabricated for you to
wear."


Jarrett and Alice made motions to end the meeting. I blurted
out, "Wait. What happened on Earth that makes it impossible for
us to go back? We didn't find any really detailed info on the
web."

Jarrett ran his hands through his hair and Alice bit her lip.
*Uh oh, bad karma,* I realized, and Mike and I looked at each
other and Amy.

Jarrett finally said, "I did several papers about this for
history classes when I was in school. Certus was colonized in
the middle of the 21st Century, about 50 years from the time you
launched from Earth, with a plan to be self-sufficient at an
Earthlike tech level within about thirty years. The bootstrap
process, making tools to make tools, got delayed due to the
situation on Earth. Tech knowledge and things that we couldn't
make ourselves got so expensive that we diverted part of our
industrial development to products that brought a premium on
Earth." He shook his head. "Can you imagine a situation where it
made economic sense to ship oil, grain and other foodstuffs from
here to Earth, with a year-long round trip? The prices we got
kept climbing but some ships just disappeared and others came
back with stories about fighting off hijackers so we finally
decided the price wasn't worth the risk. About thirty years
after that we lost contact with Earth; there's a wrinkle in the
Herndon Equations that gave us FTL communications-"

"What?" I interrupted. "Wait, what wrinkle?"

"I don't know; you'll have to ask a warp physicist. Ah, we lost
contact with Earth-"

*Ghu, get on with it* I raged internally.

"-and it seems as if civilization collapsed there. The last
communications were rather, um, grim. It took us another hundred
years to get back to a pre-Collapse level because of the
technology and knowledge we had to re-invent and re-discover.
There have been several research expeditions but there's too
much stuff floating around, all the way from low orbit up
through cislunar space. Some of it is just debris but they lost
the first half-dozen automated probes to active satellite
killers so they stopped sending any. We don't want to put people
down on Earth because we don't know if the plagues were
engineered or naturally ocurring. Some of the settlements on the
Moon and other planets were destroyed, others have all their
doors open and others are closed up but totally unresponsive -
we don't know if they were depopulated or simply abandoned. The
last expedition left some stealthy reconsats in polar Lunar
orbits transmitting to a relay on the back side of the Moon that
communicates with an FTL station out past, ah, Uranus. It sends
data - images, any intercepted video or voice broadcasts, that
kind of thing - to Cal Tech which sends a copy along to us."
Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7039] Sat, 21 January 2012 13:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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1015 3 July

The next morning the three of us were interrupted by someone coming in. "Hello, I'm Annabelle Mukerjee. Princess Alice sent me to help you get ready for your trip to the Palace."

Annabelle was about my height but a bit heavier. She had the features and coloring of someone from the Indian subcontinent, and was wearing a collarless maroon jacket, ruffled white blouse and something I'd never seen anybody wear - puffy maroon breeches and white stockings, like the guys in the Declaration of Independence painting.

Amy perked, "Do we get to go shopping?" and Mike and I cringed a little.

Annabelle smiled at her. "Well, it would be easier to choose something and have fabricated here in the hospital. The fab center will have all your sizes. I brought some fabric
samples." She picked up the controller for the television. "Here are some things I think you'll like." She used the controller like a cordless mouse to call up a display of several outfits for Amy. Amy picked one with a shin-length full skirt with a handkerchief hem in light blue, a midnight blue open jacket with silver braid along the seams and a scoop-neck blouse, with some strappy blue pumps with inch-and-a-half heels.

Annabelle called up a generic female image that walked and turned to show how it would look.

Amy said, "Ooh. That'll look really good."

"Like to see some jewelry to go with it?"

"Won't that be expensive?"

Annabelle smiled at her. "No. We'll transmit the pattern to the Wardrobe Department at the Palace, they have a fabricator optimized for jewelry. Why not a simple gold chain necklace
and earrings in the shape of *Pterodactyl*?"

Mike chose charcoal trousers and a mandarin-collared shirt with a jacket like Amy had, with *Pterodactyl* earrings and cufflinks.

Annabelle turned to me but before she could say anything Amy raised an eyebrow and asked, "Tuck, wanna join me? I think it'll look good on you." She signed, <Val?> and smiled a little.

I said, "Sure," then signed, "<Say Tuck, not say Val.> I told Annabelle, "I'll wear the same thing as Amy."

Mike looked a little embarrassed but asked, "Uh, Annabelle, can I bring someone with me?"

"Certainly. Who?"

"Uh, Vivian Anderson. She works here. I'd like to ask her but I don't have any way to get in touch with her except to wait until she's off duty tonight."

Annabelle unclipped what looked like a cell phone from her belt and spoke into it, "Connect Vivian Anderson at Certus Kingdom Military Medical Research Center. Vivian, I'm Annabelle Mukerjee calling for Mike Johanssen. This is an invitation for you to
accompany Mike and his party to the Palace for Fourth of July lunch with the Royal Family and then stay for the big celebration with fireworks after dark. Totally informal. Return
this call, please, if you can attend."

We were all watching Annabelle. She saw this and smiled at us. "You don't have comms yet, something we need to set up in the next day or two."

Mike said, "Extremely cool voice recognition."

I added, "That's a highly non-trivial problem. How'd you-"

Annabelle's reply was interrupted when her comm sounded. She listened to it and told the caller, "Thanks for responding so promptly, Ms. Anderson. We'll be delighted to see you tomorrow about thirteen." She smiled at Mike. "Ms. Anderson will be attending. She'll see you tonight after she's off work."

Amy said, "And while you're here, can you explain the local time and date system?"

"Certainly. Seconds, minutes and hours are the same duration as they were on Earth; I guess it was too much trouble to recalculate everything. A day here on Certus Alpha is
twenty-six hours and twelve minutes, from 0001 to 2612-"

Mike said, "We know about an hours-since-midnight clock."

"-and thirteen is in the middle of the day. Most planets divide the year into twelve months. Certus Alpha's year is 381 days which makes for three 31-day and nine 32-day months. Um-" She counted them off on her fingers, "January, May, and September are 31 days; all the rest are 32."

I asked, "When's the year start? The Winter Solstice?"

"Yes, Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Years are counted since Establishment Day, starting with zero." She shrugged. "Year Zero didn't have a full year's worth of days
but the Founders chose it to make the seasons line up with the ones they were used to back on Earth."

"What about leap years? Extra days some years?"

"Oh. December has an extra day when the year is divisible by five, except when it's divisible by a hundred."

I said, "Ah, 381.19 days per year."
Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7040] Sat, 21 January 2012 14:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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0922 4 July

The three of us were desultorily having breakfast in our suite when Annabelle, Vivian and somebody with a nametag that read PAISLEY, G. came swooping in followed by two carts loaded with tackle boxes and another with clothes. Annabelle warned us, "We're going to do some serious party face on the three of you. If we don't everyone will wonder how we let you out without supervision. Your hair is too short to do anything with." (We'd cut it in preparation for the shuttle mission).

Mike tried bolting for his room but Vivian stopped him with, "Michael, a little something to bring out your color is normal here. Don't be squeamish."

Amy said, "Don't squeam."

I added, "Yeah, take it like a man."

Mike collapsed back into his chair with laughter and gave up.
The three women started by using a laptop and the TV screen on the wall to try out various color combinations. Once they'd determined how they were going to attack Amy and me, they
started on Mike. What they came up with was really understated and just made Mike look like an optimized version of himself.

Mike looked at the image and said, "Not too bad, but it's incomplete." He extended the eyeliner back halfway to his ears. "Egyptian streamlining," he said, "something we did on
formal occasions."

The next item on their agenda was the clothing. They had Mike change into his outfit and examined it minutely for errors in the size or fit. Mike asked, "Is this the real thing? The fabric feels kinda odd."

Annabelle replied distractedly, "This is a test version that we can crimp and stretch. Once we're satisfied with the fit we'll transmit the final form to the fab center. The final ones will only take about fifteen minutes. We dump the test version in the
recycling oublette."

Once Mike's clothing fit perfectly they clipped a sensor on it to read the changes they made. He retreated to his room while they started on me and Amy. One thing that bothered me is that the blouses were pretty thin and they didn't have bras or anything for us. I asked, "Aren't these tops a little thin to wear without anything under them? I'm used to wearing something like a bra on top."

Vivian said, "We were going to get to that later - a little invisible support and some trompe-l'oeil makeup. The point is to make guys wonder how much is clothing and how much is paint." She gave us a grin and added, "And it's fun letting them find out, especially since the makeup's flavored. However-" She used the laptop to bring up an image on the screen. "How about this, a camisole with some support built in?"

"Good. I'll feel a lot better."

Amy added, "Me, too."

Vivian used the keyboard and, true to her prediction, fifteen minutes later a delivery cart glided in with the camisoles on it. Mike's outfit was on the cart, too, and she sent it in for him to get dressed. After the outfits for Amy and me were pronounced acceptable and we were dressed in the final versions, Vivian called Mike out of his room and the three of us were wrapped in sheets and perched on those wheelchair-type things while our makeup was applied. Mike's didn't take as long as Amy or me, so when he was done Vivian left saying, "I need to go get ready; I'll be back in a few."

Our makeup was done and Mike and I were experimenting with the controls of the float chairs (they didn't have the maneuverability or altitude for dogfights, darn it) when
Vivian returned in a white pleated skirt and white heels, with a backless halter top. She had a gold shawl over her shoulders. She whisked off the shawl and turned her back to us. "Like it?"

Across her back was a multicolored pen-and-ink representation of *Pterodactyl* with small cameos of Mike, Amy and me below it. She looked at Mike with a twinkle in her eye. "You can wash it off later."

Mike was a little tongue-tied but I said, "Wow, Vivian, that's really cool. You look good."

She pirouetted, causing the skirt to flare out. "You think so?"

"Our starship would make ANYBODY look good," Amy smirked cattily.

"Yo girl!" I said to Amy, and we slapped the backs of our left hands together.

Mike was able to respond, "Oh, yeah. Extremely good."

Vivian said, a little sadly, "Thanks. I haven't felt much like dressing up since I left Beta."

Mike gave Amy and me a little "don't pursue this" shake of his head and took her in his arms. He said in a low voice, "Hush, Viv. Nothing but Good Thoughts allowed."

Vivian gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Okay, Mike," she replied quietly. She looked at Annabelle and brightened. "I know it's a little early, but can we leave now and give everyone a look around from an aircar?"

Annabelle smiled. "I have a bubble-top limousine waiting on the landing pad."

***

1214 4 July

The flying bubble-top limousine was everything I'd hoped it would be, with wonderful visibility all around. Annabelle sat up front next to the chauffeur and pointed out various things while we flew around the city: the baseball stadium, the bustling
downtown of office buildings, the "sin strip" of brothels, casinos and drug shops with some of the most amazing illuminated, animated and extremely explicit signs I'd ever
seen.

"Ginza strip down there," Mike commented.

"Did they have animated people doing things like *that* on the signs there?" Amy asked, and pointed.

"Uh," Mike said. Several seconds later, he finished, "I don't think so, no."

I added, "They did have vending machines with used-" but stopped when Mike hit me.

"That is SO gross," Amy assured me.

I shrugged and pointed. "Not any grosser than that billboard blowing smoke rings."

As we flew, we seemed to be between two layers of aircars. I asked the chauffeur about it and she answered, "Inside the city there are automated traffic levels up to 1,500 meters and between 2,000 and 3,000. Manual traffic has to stay above 3,000. The airspace between 1,500 and 2,000 is reserved for emergency and official vehicles. This is a Palace vehicle so we can wander along at 1,700 meters as we please." She told Annabelle, "Heading toward the Palace Complex now, ma'am. We'll have time for a turn around the bubble before we land, though."

***
1230 4 July

The chauffeur announced, "Don't be alarmed at the tones you'll hear. It's a normal part of entering the bubble of airspace around the Palace Complex." About ten seconds later we heard a "beeeeep, bip, bip, bip" sound. I noticed that the chauffeur tensed up a little at the first long beep and relaxed after she heard the short ones. I made a mental note to try to find out about it, and wondered if I could.

The center of the Complex was dominated by the Palace itself, a six-story rectangle oriented north and south, with short wings to the east and west. It was surrounded by lawns and formal gardens inside an obvious fenceline and an extensive wooded park
outside the fence on the south. The north featured a large cleared area that had the unmistakable look of an airstrip. The chauffeur pointed it out as, "The new shuttleport for the Complex, much more convenient than the commercial one on the other side of the city. They converted some soccer fields and baseball diamonds."

As we approached the south wing, descending for a landing, we passed by a grassed-over crater in the lawn. Annabelle said, "That's the Memorial Crater. It's three meters deep and twenty meters wide and was made by a bomb during the attack that wounded Princess Alice when she was in the Protective Service. Queen Bethany had it sodded with Earth grass and left as a memorial for people killed defending the Royal Family. There are reliable reports that she wanted to set up a guillotine on the lawn and fill it with the heads of anyone associated with the attack, but the Prince Consort talked her out of it."

Mike and me said at the same moment, "Too bad," and "Pity."

Annabelle grinned at us. "Bloodthirsty creatures."

Mike drew himself up within his simulated dignity and declaimed, "Madam, we are primitive barbarians, not creatures."

"And blood's tasty," Amy smiled toothily, dipping her head a little as she did.

"And yours," I purred, "looks very sweet indeed..." and ran a finger along her neck, which - as I'd hoped - made her flinch. That made Amy laugh in a totally non-scary way, so I pulled my hand back and smiled innocently.

We landed on the top of the south wing. We got out and were greeted by an older guy in a uniform like Annabelle's, except with trousers instead of breeches. She came almost to attention and said, "Here we are, sir. Thank you for the opportunity." She turned to us. "Ladies and gentleman, Hodgkins is Her Majesty's major domo and is in charge of the Residence. Sir, these are Her Majesty's guests Michael Johanssen, Vivian Anderson, Amy Wallace and Eugene 'Tuck' Tucker."

He replied, "Welcome to the Palace," then told Annabelle, "Well done, Mukerjee. I am commanded by Princess Alice to tell you that you may consider yourself off duty for the rest of the day, and that you are welcome to join Captain Browning for lunch with
the Royal Family."

Annabelle's face lit up. "He's back? Oh, how wonderful. MayIbeexcusedsir?"

Hodgkins nodded and gave her a little "go ahead" motion and she took off at a very quick walk. He smiled indulgently at her rapidly-retreating back for a moment before ushering us along at a more sedate pace.

Amy called after her, "Annabelle's got a boooyyyyfriend!"

"And you've got me!" I grinned at Amy as I put an an arm around her waist. Then I let go and yelped as she succeeded too well in slipping a hand over my buttocks inside my clothing.

Hodgkins turned back and made a pointed throat-clearing noise. "Miss Wallace," he said in a 'we are not amused' tone, "Any relationship Mukerjee may have with Captain Browning is decidedly not a proper subject for sophmoric schoolgirl humor." He swept an Eye of Parental Authority across all of us. "A bit more decorum in behavior would also not be amiss."

Mike protested, "Hey, I wasn't doing anything-"

"At the moment. I have no doubt that you're biding your time to do something wildly inappropriate and spectacularly embarrassing." His voice took on a 'I *will* be obeyed' tone. "That will not occur. Do I make myself clear? To all of you?"

We all looked at the floor and mumbled something like, "Yessir." Hodgkins didn't look anything like Sarge Lanier but he had the same command presence.

The hallway of the Palace was easily twenty feet wide and fifteen feet tall. Every fifty feet or so a six-inch bit of wall stood out into the hallway, like a wide doorway without a door, to divide the corridor into sections - each section having a different kind of flooring, carpeting, woodwork, and ceiling decoration. One of the sections had wooden inlays of Escher's interlocking lizards pattern on the floor.

"Now THAT is interior decorating," Mike commented, and I agreed and started looking for staircases on the ceiling.

We came across a gadget shaped like a truncated pyramid, about eighteen inches square on the bottom and about half that on the top with a half-dozen little headlights illuminating the floor in front of it, moving along the corridor making a low humming sound. The top had an exhaust port with a stream of air coming out, and a red ball dancing in it. I slowed to watch and Hodgkins stopped. "Sweeper. Watch this." He dropped a coin in
front of it and it stopped. All the little headlights focused on the coin for a bit, then a pair of little arms came out, picked up the coin and placed it in a tray on the top. Mike and me were amazed at the technology involved in the vision and eye-hand
coordination. Hodgkins just shrugged as he retrieved his coin. "Robot. Really handy."

We finally reached our destination and Hodgkins opened the door, stood to one side and announced, "Your Majesty, Your Highnesses, Your Grace: Michael Johanssen, Vivian Anderson, Amy Wallace and Eugene 'Tuck' Tucker." We entered and stopped in amazement - everyone in the room was in a costume from the Trek Universe!

I said something that The Great Bird would NEVER have approved, and Amy slapped me.

Tuvok and Kes from Voyager approached us. As they got closer I recognized Prince Jarrett and Princess Alice. The Princess said, "We thought that dressing up in something familiar to you would cushion the shock a bit."

"Ah hah!" I tried to laugh appreciatively, which came out really bad.

She gave us a dimpled smile. "Besides, Jay and I like the ears." Jarrett wiggled his ears at that. "Come meet the Family."

Queen Bethay and Prince Consort Bernard were dressed as Kirk and Nurse Chapel from ST:TOS. Chapel's uniform still looked ridiculous. The Queen said, "You're looking well, Michael,
Amy, Tuck. I'm so very pleased that you were able to attend."

We all mumbled something about being glad to be there. Prince Bernard grinned and added, "And you gave us such a good excuse to dress up. Watch this." He brought out something that looked like an original Star Trek communicator and flipped it open with the appropriate chirping sound. "It actually works."

Princess Alice said, "Too bad the phaser doesn't. That 'phasers on stun' bit would be really handy at times."

Prince Matthew was a perfect Worf from DS9, complete with the chainmail baldric and deep, rumbling voice. He had large, warm hands but knew his strength because his touch was quite
gentle when we shook hands. His wife Princess Caroline was an equally perfect Seven of Nine from Voyager, complete with the facial hardware. Her version of Jeri Ryan's costume was a lot less rigid and her nipples tented the material. She told us, "While you're here, have the three of you thought about a vid production of your adventures? 'The Adventures of the Time Travelling Trio' or something like that would be a sure-fire hit all over the Kingdom."

I mentioned, "Your treasury doesn't contain enough money for that."

"Tuck! We could do the SCRIPT," Mike explained patiently.

"Oooh." I reconsidered. "Maybe..."

Amy observed, "Only if somebody besides Tuck does the typing. He's the fastest typist I've ever seen but he can't spell *at all.* It's *so* bad that a spell check program can't fix
it."

The Princess waved aside our concerns. "We have writers who can come up with a script or book from interviews. Besides, you can train a vocotyper to understand you."

Grand Duchess Mariko, a lovely black woman from another planet of the Kingdom (Certus Gamma), dressed as Uhura from ST:TOS but without the earphone thing.

A breathtakingly beautiful woman with platinum-blonde hair made up as a Trill from DS9 was introduced as, "Mrs. Katerina Fayeed, one of our friends from Beta who's making vid productions now."

Droewyn Williams, *Dame* Williams, was there as Intendant Kira from the DS9 Mirror Universe, with the funny nose, earcuffs, tight black leather clothing and her Baronette's sword.

A couple of civilian Bajorans were introduced as Chuck Green and Jennifer Sanchez, Jarrett's and Alice's personal assistants, respectively.

The two Princesses wore brilliant green bolero jackets, green satin breeches and white stockings, and short blonde fur all over with pointed, tufted ears and yellow eyes with vertical pupils. And tails. It took a second before I came up with the answer: Kzinti.

Mike came to the same conclusion a moment sooner. He stroked his chin and intoned, "Exceedingly well done, but the wrong series."

The two of them gave him feral smiles complete with large fangs. "Would you like to reconsider that, Earthling?" one of them growled dangerously.

Mike and I answered in the only manner we could - we screamed and lept forward with our hands raised in the "claws extended" mode.

The Princesses made little surprised "Eep!" noises and jumped back into serious fighting stances.

Mike and I had the same thought the instant *after* we lept forward: "Do *not* make threatening motions in the presence of people who are probably armed and have to worry about assassinations." We stood very still as we put our hands down slowly. My hands were shaking slightly and I think Mike's were too. I took a deep breath and looked around - Jarrett, Alice, Chuck Green and Jennifer Sanchez all had guns out and Droewyn
had drawn her sword.

Mike said, "Sorry, but the only proper way to reply to a Kzinti challenge is to scream and leap. We thought you'd know that."

Everyone relaxed and the guns (and sword) disappeared. One of the Princesses said, "We didn't read the stories, we just looked for spiffy images from that period of literature."

The two of them purred a little and started toward Mike but before they could say anything else Vivian made a little hissing noise and they stopped.

One of the things that impressed me most about Prince Jarrett was a conversation I overheard between him and Vivian Anderson. The Prince asked, "Vivian Anderson? Consort of Phil Harris?"

"Yes, sir."

"My condolences on your loss, Ms. Anderson. Phil was a good man."

Vivian replied a bit bitterly, "He most certainly was, Your Highness, but how would *you* know? Did your personal assistant find it out?"

Prince Jarrett replied softly, "I knew almost everyone in the Second Battalion, Ms. Anderson, and I *definitely* remember the names of the people who were killed in our defense. You do Green and Sanchez an injustice by referring to them in that manner,
too. They were both awarded medals for the action around the parking garage."

Vivian looked down. "I beg your pardon, Your Highness."

"Tell me, did you receive Phil's Residence Defense Medal?"

"Yes, sir."

"You should wear it proudly in his memory, Vivian. The medal itself is an inexpensive trinket but the valor that earned it is priceless to me and to the entire Kingdom."

Annabelle came into the room dressed in a cloth-of-gold sari, towing an older - 35 or so - man behind her, wearing a red uniform tunic with rank badges on the epaulets. She introduced him as Captain Browning of the Monarch's Guard.

I noticed that I was saluting far too late to stop myself, and Mike and Amy followed suit.

He told us, "I've been followin' yer recovery from bein' in stasis boxes. I'm glad to see ye lookin' so good." Annabelle explained, "Captain Browning was wounded in the Redoubt on Beta and Droewyn dumped him in a stasis box." "One a the weevils was usin' hot armor-piercin' ammo and put a coupla of rounds through me vest."

Droweyn had drifted over. She added, "And almost through his heart, too. The stasis box was the only thing I could think of before he bled out. Lucky one was available."

Browing said, "Thank ye, lass." He looked fondly at Annabelle. "And thank *ye* for bein' around to hold me hand while I was in regen."
Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7041] Sat, 21 January 2012 14:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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*******************************************

And that's as far as it goes.
Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7042] Sun, 22 January 2012 23:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Rifkinn  is currently offline Rifkinn
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Ohhhhh, please, pretty please continue this Smile
Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7043] Mon, 23 January 2012 11:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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The only things left were Princess Alice singing the Certain National Anthem La Marseillaise[0], a conventional fireworks display and the planetary high school nuclear weapons shootoff[1] out in space past the farthest moon.

As for Tuck, Amy and Mike? I think it would be probable that Princess Caroline would talk them into some involvement in a vid feature about their adventures -- she's almost as persuasive as Debbie. It's possible that Tuck might create an online cookbook and maybe even a cooking site with vids of him making various things.

Other than that I have no idea.

I need to get the novel upon which this is based to a publisher. I only need a few finishing touches.

---------------------------------------------------

[0] Chosen because it's easier to sing than The Star Spangled Banner and none of the songs written for the purpose were very good.

[1] High School Advanced Placement Applied Physics class. Certians take their Second Article of the Charter of Rights and Responsibilities seriously.
Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7044] Tue, 24 January 2012 08:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
iWindoze  is currently offline iWindoze
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Rifkinn wrote on Sun, 22 January 2012 22:09

Ohhhhh, please, pretty please continue this Smile

I second this and add sugar on top....

--iWindoze
Re: Tuck and Certus crossover [message #7045] Wed, 25 January 2012 12:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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I really wouldn't be comfortable continuing this without consulting with Ellen about the further adventures of our Time Traveling Trio.

They'd definitely go to Princess Alice's farm to get back into shape, possibly accompanied by Princesses Elizabeth and Kathryn.
They could consult on Princess Caroline's vid feature.
They'd probably spend time on Cal Tech's planet.
I could see them doing a few interviews with tame newsies.
It's possible that their flight suits and boots would become a short-term fad and they'd get royalties from the fabricators.
A bunch of space enthusiasts might build a replica of *Pterodactyl* with modern electronics and warp drive.
Princess Alice's farm borders on a Militia training area and Tuck and Mike could have fun with them (note: there's an air-defense vehicle stationed on the grounds).
I don't know if Mike and Vivian Anderson are a long-term couple. I'd bet not; I think she'd want to go back to Beta.
Story [message #7123] Thu, 12 July 2012 03:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Eric  is currently offline Eric
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Interesting. Ably written, of course, with some cute touches.

One thing that concerned me: this struck me as the "sense of wonder" section that sets the scene and precedes the plot, rather than a story in and of itself.

That's especially true here, I think, since we're dealing with Tuck and company, for whom spending the rest of their lives playing by the rules -- however loose those turn out to be -- seems almost intolerable.

At some point, I think they'd want to get off the grid and escape -- maybe even see if they're on the wrong side in the current war. Space piracy, IIRC, was one of Tuck's longtime dreams; Tuck's liable to side with the outlaws here until/unless incontrovertible facts steer him away from it.

And I doubt that they've done so yet. It didn't sound as though the version of the Internet they encountered even had a propaganda site from the opposition. Tuck and Mike have no way of judging the credibility of the news services they found, and the folks they've met, naturally enough, are steering them to sympathetic media members.

Granted, a fanfic in another worldline doesn't have to play by those expectations. But it seems to me that at least half the fun of that sort of thing is to see how Tuck and friends subvert the system. I think that's why I was expecting more -- though I need to repeat that I'm glad about what we did get.

On another note:

One thing I wasn't sure of: was the "wrong series" comment because the Star Trek animated series that included Niven's Kzinti wasn't considered part of the canon, or did I misinterpret that?

Eric
Re: Story [message #7130] Thu, 19 July 2012 12:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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Eric wrote on Thu, 12 July 2012 08:43

At some point, I think they'd want to get off the grid and escape -- maybe even see if they're on the wrong side in the current war. Space piracy, IIRC, was one of Tuck's longtime dreams; Tuck's liable to side with the outlaws here until/unless incontrovertible facts steer him away from it.

Mike has a sense of morals/ethics, that Tucker kind of doesn't (or at least SAYS he doesn't). The only 'piracy' Mike would allow would be the sort of gentlemanly piracy that one might see in movies.
Eric wrote on Thu, 12 July 2012 08:43

Tuck and Mike have no way of judging the credibility of the news services they found,

"How do you know they're lying?"
"Their mouths are moving!"
On the other hand, there may be some sense of obligation for the revivification; it would be rude to assault the polity that rescued you from an accident.

Ellen
Re: Story [message #7151] Thu, 26 July 2012 19:32 Go to previous message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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Eric wrote on Thu, 12 July 2012 00:43

Interesting. Ably written, of course, with some cute touches.

One thing that concerned me: this struck me as the "sense of wonder" section that sets the scene and precedes the plot, rather than a story in and of itself.

That's especially true here, I think, since we're dealing with Tuck and company, for whom spending the rest of their lives playing by the rules -- however loose those turn out to be -- seems almost intolerable.

At some point, I think they'd want to get off the grid and escape -- maybe even see if they're on the wrong side in the current war. Space piracy, IIRC, was one of Tuck's longtime dreams; Tuck's liable to side with the outlaws here until/unless incontrovertible facts steer him away from it.

And I doubt that they've done so yet. It didn't sound as though the version of the Internet they encountered even had a propaganda site from the opposition. Tuck and Mike have no way of judging the credibility of the news services they found, and the folks they've met, naturally enough, are steering them to sympathetic media members.

Granted, a fanfic in another worldline doesn't have to play by those expectations. But it seems to me that at least half the fun of that sort of thing is to see how Tuck and friends subvert the system. I think that's why I was expecting more -- though I need to repeat that I'm glad about what we did get.

On another note:

One thing I wasn't sure of: was the "wrong series" comment because the Star Trek animated series that included Niven's Kzinti wasn't considered part of the canon, or did I misinterpret that?

Eric


You're right, this is more of the introduction than a full story. I thought it would be interesting to get Certus and Tuck together, and the stasis boxes were the only way to bridge the gap. They can go off the grid, even to the extent of buying a small starship and going off to look for colonizable planets.

About being on the wrong side of things, there's a vid of the dingbat on Beta declaring that the rest of the population will fall into line behind him once the figurehead of the oppressive regime is eliminated. This is during the human wave assault on the palace on Beta where Prince Jarrett and Princess Alice were. He was a minor-league con man who lucked into being a preacher because it was easier than working, told a very conservative bunch what they wanted to hear and finally wound up believing his own bullshit.

Certus' opponent in the interstellar part of the war is a planet in the thrall of an evil theocracy. There are reports from the Ambassador before diplomatic relations were severed and personal stories of refugees detailing public executions by burning at the stake (hang shackles and leg irons on hooks on an iron post then splash the victim with napalm).

I really don't see Tuck or Mike thinking they're on the wrong side.

As for piracy: all of the interstellar trading polities run anti-piracy patrols; most of what they find are gangs from (relatively) low-tech planets trying to get stuff they can't afford otherwise. I haven't worked out all the details of interstellar trade but starships need maintenance and fuel -- the kind of thing for which you'd need a base. Any polity living beyond its means is likely to get a cruiser squadron dropping by for a chat.

Other than that, I'm glad you liked it.
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