Effing Feline ponders dogs #wewriwa

Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, have been thinking about Twiggles the Dog. I may have looked like I was sleeping, but really, I was pondering whether I should treat Twiggles better. First, I came up with reasons why Twiggles is inferior to me:

  • She barks at passersby
  • She smells
  • She’s so eager to please she debases herself
  • She gets to go for walks outside and I don’t
  • And the clincher — she’s so dumb she can’t even use litter!

Once again, today’s snippet is from Ed’s Valentine’s Day sci fi romance, Constellation XXI. We’ve seen how her spaceship has mysteriously died, but this week we move back in time to the lead up to that terrifying moment. Heroine Sienna Dukelsky turns on the ship’s sensors for spotting incoming ships that will need to be guided to the space station orbiting her home world. Here we learn how her tugship, a crucial character in the story, operates using thoughts.

“Step thirty-nine: upon reaching alpha position, turn on gravitational-wave sensors.”

She thought a sequence of letters and colors to activate the grav-wave grid. She would’ve preferred flipping switches with gratifying clicks, but DA387 was a Thought Ship, with a limited array of manual controls. It had been delivered only two months ago with every bell and whistle, costs be damned. And it was hers, all hers.

In response to her brainwaves, a grid showing the scanning sensors glowed on her helmet’s visor. She thought with sufficient force to send a command through the bioelectrode nanos in her neurons. The nerve impulses leaped at the speed of light through the finger sockets in her gauntlets and then to the ship’s computers.

A request for confirmation appeared on her visor.

“Aye, aye,” Sienna said, though she could’ve thought the confirmation, instead.

Effing Feline here again. Being a fair feline, intellectual honesty compelled me to come  up with a complete and comprehensive list of Twiggle’s strong points:

  1. She means no harm, except to the mailman

I’m sure you agree with my scientificational proof that cats are superior to dogs! Right?

Be sure to check out the other great writers in Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday.

Constellation XXI

Rediscovering Love at the Worst Possible Time

Although Sienna Dukelsky had been the most promising student pilot at Keening AstroSpace Academy, she inexplicably settles for a routine, unglamorous job guiding incoming spaceships to safe berths at Farflung Space Station. Rumors blamed her startling decision on heartbreak after Crispin Hunt, the love of her life, got expelled.

Approaching Farflung years several later, Crispin’s freighter is met by Sienna’s tugship. Love rekindles, though dampened by old betrayals. And when her ship loses power while aimed straight at the space station, Sienna must confront astonishing secrets about Crispin and his cargo—secrets that make hers the most important job in the galaxy.

Constellation XXI is a standalone book that continues the saga of the Dukelsky family begun in The Guardian Angel of Farflung Station and Escapee. It will be released February XIV. Until then, pre-order it from these fine sites:

36 comments

  1. I’m with her. There is something gratifying about flipping switches. 🙂 However, what an amazing ship! Great imagery.

    1. All this gee-whiz technology isn’t just backdrop. It become crucial to the story.

  2. At least the ship is responding. Is the crisis averted for the time being?

    Effing might also want to compare how many words dogs understand vs cats understand. I must admit, though, Effing does seem to have a superior command of the human language. lol

    1. This is a flashback, of sorts, although I know there’s another name for starting at a riveting moment then circling back in time until you eventually get back where you started and continue from there. I think of it as Robert J Sawyer opening, because he’s the writer I learned it from.

  3. Really love the cover, Ed!

    1. Jaycee did a great job. I love her use of color.

  4. It seems to me that having to think through every action would be inefficient. Doesn’t the ship have automation? Like – go through the same procedure we used for the previous ship? Or is she refusing to use it?

    1. That’s a very keen, insightful question, Aurora. The thinking through and memorizing each step . . . that tells you more about Sienna than it does about the ship.

  5. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    Sometimes more bells and whistles means more things to break down. And what happens when her thoughts go awry? Will the ship as well? I wonder if that’s what happened. Intriguing!

    1. Good ideas, Jessica, and all very reasonable. Wrong, but reasonable nonetheless.

  6. Cathy Brockman · · Reply

    I think cats are superior too. Great post!

    1. A woman after Effing’s own heart!

  7. Controlled by thought! A neat idea, one that I suspect leaves all sorts of potential for unintended disaster though 🙂

    1. Considering the way the book opens, with an unintended disaster, that’s a good guess.

  8. Now that would make me really nervous. Did she think the ship into shutting down?

    1. New technology often makes people nervous, it seems.

  9. Sounds like super cool ship tech! Also, I forgot to change the time on my post, but it’s live now!

    1. That’s the idea, Amy — to create neato tech that is firmly grounded in current possibilities. “Thought passwords”, a precursor to this kind of tech, are already under development.

  10. Always exciting situation. Way to go, Ed

    1. Thanks, Charmaine.

  11. Cara Hartley · · Reply

    I am very glad I don’t have to use thought to make my transportation get to the intended destination. Who knows where I’d end up?
    In my experience with dogs, Effing Feline is right about at least a few of them. I used to have a pair of miniature dachshunds. They were both very affectionate. The male was dumb as a box of rocks but lovable. The female was intelligent enough but so hyperactive that her body tended to get ahead of her brain! Sadly, I ended up having to rehome them. They ended up with a nice retired couple where they lived happily for the remainder of their lives.

    1. You are now officially Effing’s favourite person, Cara!

  12. Elaine Cantrell · · Reply

    That’s a wonderful ship, but I’d be afraid I’d think the wrong thing at the wrong time. There’s something to be said for switches and buttons. It’s a very nice excerpt.

    1. Ah, but one can hit the wrong button by mistake, or sneeze when reaching for the throttle.

  13. Technology is wonderful–until suddenly it’s not. And a thought ship, though it sounds like a secure proposition, could still be hacked by the right person. I’d take flipping switches over thinking/doing it every time.

    I have to say I am with Effing in the matter of cats vs dogs. I have nothing against dogs, but to me, cats are just easier to deal with. I like their independent natures. 🙂

    1. Actually, current research that could some day develop into Thought Ships is an attempt to develop hack-proof code. People’s brainwaves are unique too complex to be counterfeited.

  14. LOVE the Thought Ship! Very cool world building and details – excellent excerpt…

    1. Although this story is set around 1000 years in the future, thought-operated commands probably won’t take that long to become practical. It’s not too much of a stretch to say that modern design is already trending in direction, with things like televisions having few if any discernible buttons. Wouldn’t a person’s mind make a great remote control? It could never slip down between the couch cushions . . . I don’t think.

  15. Effing, you are my favorite feline online. Twiggles is bound to have her moments. So glad you have a place to vent. I get it you own the house and so rock! Awaiting Ed to write a book about you. Ed, I am so excited you have another adventure awaiting your readers.

    1. Favorite online feline? Wow — I can see Effing using that as his new tagline.

  16. I’d prefer switches, too, data entry is not my thing 🙂 Great snippet, liked the descriptions.

    1. Great! In this story in particular, readers need to have some sense of what the technology is like.

  17. Diane Burton · · Reply

    I can’t wait for this to be available. 2 more days, right? My thought was the same as Jessica’s–too many more things to go wrong. But what a cool ship! Does it “talk” back to her?

    Effing needs an attitude adjustment. Dogs are much better than cats! Although cats can be fun, too.

    1. Effing — need an attitude adjustment? How about a personality transplant?

  18. That is an awesome way to control a ship! But all the ways it could malfunction make me so nervous for her.

    1. Especially as the opening scene shows one of the malfunctions . . .

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