Treading Air

A reminder what the Maker’s Marcail looks like: http://mcqueconcept.blogspot.com/2010/06/harbour.html

At the step-ledge she hoped to see Captain Munro again, but the swinging rope ladder must have wound down, and, if she was still there, she hung out of view. Partly turned to face out from the gunwale clutching the stanchion behind her and inspecting the leap she’d have to make over to the galley window. When she was first moving around the Marcail, the walkway back to the pilothouse ladder had felt dangerously narrow; she expected to slip at any step and slide through the haphazard gunwale into the air and to the ground far below. Looking at it sideways like this—having to get from the outside to the inside—it now looked impossibly wide.

Partly tried to keep her focus on the step and the window, but she ended up looking past her feet anyway. Below her the gunwale railing curved to meet the starboard railing in a muted point at the bow of the Marcail ten feet below. There, the secondary wheel sat disengaged and locked at the apex. She imagined herself tangled in the bars and spokes of that crevice with a broken leg or two if she fell. Then she imagined herself bouncing off the wheel, past the Captain, and into the sky below. The veneer of calm Mr. Cameron’s words had placed on her transformed to a flop sweat.

“Good. Good.” Above, Mr. Cameron’s face showed in the pilothouse door like she’d summoned him. He hadn’t asked if she was doing ok or if she was scared, he had just assumed she was and praised her efforts thus far like she was doing math at the kitchen table. He was gone again before she could speak.

“Dude!” Partly huffed. She wanted help. She wanted someone to tell her to place her right foot on the step and leap across with her left. She wanted someone to count her down and say ‘go’. She realized with a half-grin that she just given herself all the instructions or encouragement she was going to get. She edged her right foot over as far as she could on the step. Captain Munro couldn’t wait for help much longer.

“Onetwothree!” Partly pushed off with the left. From the instant her foot left the gunwale railing she knew it would not reach the window ledge. It was going to toe the edge and bend back painfully or hit just below on the flat wall with no grip or it was going to wiff into nothingness and she’d crack her chin before tumbling to her two broken legs in the wheel below. Partly gave a little hop on her right foot at the peak of her too-short leap and threw her upper body at the window. It ended up both worse and better than she first thought. Better because she didn’t cartwheel to her death, worse because all the weight that didn’t fall on her armpit threatening to sever her right arm from her body as she hit the edge was divided evenly between her chin clonking that edge and the fingers on her left hand slapping and scraping and missing their grip. The rounding curve of the galley bulkhead meant her toes tread air.

533 words on day 812

Impossibly Wide

“The Captain and I have drilled for this, so bobbing the Marcail is unlikable but not unplanned. Take a deep breath, please.”

It was hard not to do as she was told, so she did take a breath.

“You did this on purpose?”

“The hull is thicker and the raiders are now behind us. And you were in a harness.”

“Sorry.” The wind swirled Partly’s brown hair into her face, and she tucked it behind her ears.

“No matter. You’re still with us and you can help. I need to you reset the [brackets] so we don’t have to stay bobbed. You’ve seen that trapdoor in the galley?”

Partly nodded. She had an idea what he was going to say next.

“I love your smile.” But she was wrong. “Climb down the railing there to the step in the deck. You can now use that as a ledge to slide over to the galley window where you get in. Climb over to that trapdoor—it should be open already. If not, get it open. Sit on the door to latch the four [brackets] back in place. It doesn’t matter the order you do them, but I find it easier to do the bottom ones first. OK?”

What he’d just described sound impossible, Partly nodded anyway because it all made sense.

“I’ve got to go.” And he did. [Partly was alone.]

She aimed her face to the front to blow her hair back, then began climbing down the gunwale railing. At one gap where a bright blue plastic panel and a terracotta red metal one met she spied a raider air-bike keeping pace with the Marcail. Long coils of rope trailed back from the woman riding it. Partly continued down to the step-ledge.

At the step-ledge she hoped to see Captain Munro again, but the swinging rope ladder must have wound down, and, if she was still there, she hung out of view. Partly turned to face out from the gunwale clutching the stanchion behind her and inspecting the leap she’d have to make over to the galley window. When she was first moving around the Marcail, the walkway back to the pilothouse ladder had felt dangerously narrow. She expected to slip at any step and slide through the haphazard gunwale into the air and to the ground far below. Looking at it sideways like this—having to get from the outside to the inside—it now looked impossibly wide.

407 words on day 810

Imperturbable Calm

“I’ll get Mr. Cameron! He can help.” Partly moved from prostrate to upright so quickly she never heard the Captain croak, “No, wait.”

Partly sprinted around the galley to the pilothouse ladder. A series of four pops and four clangs rang out below deck. The Marcail pitched sharply to a dive as she grabbed a rung with one hand. The deck underfoot became a hill and the ladder overhead an impossible set of monkey bars. For a moment she hung by one hand on the ladder parallel to the Marcail’s deck sharing Captain Munro’s fate, but she caught her toe on the railing next to her. Once she stood to get a second hand on the ladder rung, she also got a better footing on the rail.

Mr. Cameron cursed in the pilothouse above her. She was sure it was one of the few times in his life he’d done so. It was meaningful and brief.

Partly looked down past her feet and past the bow of the Marcail to the trees below. They weren’t coming up—rather they weren’t going down. The Marcail maintained it’s altitude and direction, but it did so bow down and stern up. Then Captain Munro pendulumed into view. Good, Partly thought, she’s still there.

“Mr. Cameron!”

“Just a moment, please,” he replied gently. She heard him grunt and despite clinging to the edge of the ship felt a little embarrassed interrupting his efforts.

“Miss Partly?” Partly manuevered around to see Mr. Cameron had appeared at the doorway at the end of the ladder in what was now the ceiling above her. “I’m going to need your help.”

“The Captain needs you. She’s…” Mr. Cameron put up a hand and stalled Partly’s words.

“Is Captain Munro on this boat?”

“Yes, but…” He slightly moved his palm-out hand. She stopped speaking again.

“Is Captain Munro alive?”

“Yes,” Partly said. Mr. Cameron’s steady voice and imperturbable calm warmed a part of her she hadn’t realized had gone cold. She removed one hand from the rung and brushed the grit and chilled sweat on her shorts.

“The Captain and I have drilled for this, so bobbing the Marcail is unexpected but not unplanned. Take a deep breath, please.”

369 words on day 809

Munro’s Death

Another shell from the would be raiders burst on the port side of the Marcail. The krunk of stone pellets hammering the hull immediately followed. The Maker’s Marcail rolled to starboard then. Partly heard Mr. Cameron’s curse from behind and Captain Munro’s shrill gasp from below at the same. She thrust her head through the break in the gunwale where the rope ladder hung by one of the two rails; Captain Munro swung at the end of the ladder like a knot or the hanged.

“What happened? Are you OK?” Partly yelled down.

The Captain looked up, but whatever it was she was going to say turned into a gulp of air like a drowning woman. The starkness of indecision pressed Partly’s flattened body further into the deck than she’d already pressed herself and the coursing trees and buildings below became a blurred background to the one-woman tableau clinging to the end of the rope ladder. Reaching out was useless; climbing down was impossible; getting up was abandonment. But just watching was worse Partly thought.

“I’ll get Mr. Cameron! He can help.” Partly moved from prostrate to upright so quickly she never heard the Captain croak, “No, wait.”

Partly sprinted around the galley to the pilothouse ladder. A series of four pops and four clangs rang out below deck. The Marcail pitched sharply to a dive as she grabbed hold of a rung with one hand.

233 words on day 808

The Lull on Gondola 92

“What the hell?” you ask yourself. “Didn’t he say he was going to write up these plots of his?”

Yes, I did, and I have been. I did also say unless I didn’t. In yesterday’s and—you’ll soon learn—today’s I’ll be didn’ting. I’ve found tons of inspiration in Ian McQue’s illustrations and try to conjure something each time he gins (perhaps I should say ‘scotches’) up something new. He scotched something up yesterday and I want to followup today as well.

However, I don’t want to do the typical narrative I’d normally do. Back during NaNoWriMo 2009 when I made a half-hearted and ultimately failed attempt to participate in that event, I got to a point where I no longer wrote but instead wrote what I would write if I could write. At the time it felt like cheating. I neglected the material afterward thus retroactively making it cheating. Two days back I read something that placed that kind of effort in a different light. I no longer consider such meta-writing cheating as long as I come back to the meta and actually write the narrative.

What follows _could_ be cheating. But it might not be.

From yesterday…

http://mcqueconcept.blogspot.com/2011/02/gondola.html

Mr. Cameron—at least—knew enough to stay away from me. I doubt the other refugees, our accidental comrades, even noticed me on the bow [boat part I couldn’t find the name for]. And the six person crew of Gondola 92 were either too busy or too scared to warn me off to a safer spot. But Frakes noticed me right away, and once he was no longer busy he came to get me down.

Gulls shrieked and swooped and slid under me. They rose up from under the ship on swells of air I never felt on my face or in my hair. Occasionally one might churn it’s wings but only to gain better advantage on another or to make an abrupt turn. As long as I watched I never observed one to stroke it’s wings to fly. These white birds just glided.

Behind me, a woman we pulled from the caravan redescribed the events of the [some group] attack and the rescued rescue to Mr. Cameron. It was a tribute to his stoicism that she prattled on ignorant of his loss and oblivious to his pain. I wanted to push her off this boat and into the smoke and fog buoying below us, so I could hug him or hit him. I wanted to bring back Captain Munro too. I wanted to tell him it wasn’t his fault she died. I wanted to tell him it was me, but I wasn’t even able to convince myself of that; I think he may have been convincing himself it wasn’t me.

This scene is what I’ve come to call The Lull in the plot narrative I’ve been cleaving to for comfort lately. A time to think, a time to reconsider, and a time to decide to go tot he next level…or not.

Prior to illustration Partly, Munro, and Mr. Cameron were involved in some sort of attack from the [the guild?]. During the attack and subsequent flight Partly’s fear and anger increase until she’s unable to contain her rage and she erupts with power (yeah, I don’t know when/how/why she got powers either, but she seems to in this version). The result of that blast is that Captain Munro is killed saving Mr. Cameron [the guild?] is mainly thwarted and the two that live get mixed up with some Lander caravan they were trying to rescue or help out in some way.

Yesterday I didn’t have a reason for that Lander involvement, but now it suddenly strikes me that these Landers had the [McGuffin] and the crew of the Marcail were bargaining with them to get it or were trying to find them and only did so just as [the guild] attacked. In any case, it seems appropriate for the [McGuffin] to have gotten lost or to have been picked up by [the guild]. So no Munro and no [McGuffin], and Partly is probably responsible for both.

Anyhow, the Military who also wants Partly but has thus far been a bit more polite in their pursuit of her and truly doesn’t have nefarious plans (just conflicting ones) rescues the rescuers. [The guild] are run off or scattered or at least escape the military intact. Partly, Mr. Cameron, and the surviving Landers from the caravan mingle on the deck of Gondola 92. A garrulous Lander woman from the caravan buttonholes Mr. Cameron, and, ignorant of the facts and his grief, precedes to recount the marvelous and frightening events which just transpired. Partly wants to go to Mr. Cameron and help him in some way but she’s afraid of what to say and there’s that chatty woman.

Lt. Frakes, whom we’ve met earlier but I don’t know how or why, goes to Partly to talk and to get her off the bow [thing I still can’t find a name for. Would it kill you nautical bastards to provide a freaking picture with your voluminous glossaries!!!]. Where she’s perched like a gargoyle or a figurehead happens to be dangerous itself, slightly distracting to the boat’s pilot, and because of it’s lever-arm distance from the boiler could easily jostle her off into the clouds even if Partly were being careful not to fall off on her own. Frakes does the scared-dog conversation to coax Partly to safety. He lets her think she’s decided to come down.

That conversation likely has overtones of suicide and grief. I’ll probably have to do at least a couple of the stages of death related grief. Once off, I think Frakes will do tough-love to get her to chat with Mr. Cameron. Of course that means that somehow Frake needs n to know stuff I hadn’t planned for him to know. (Maybe there’s some pre-Partly relationship between he and Munro (and Mr. Cameron)).

So eventually Partly and Mr. Cameron talk. It seems likely that Mr. Cameron will entreat Partly to keep fighting ‘because that’s what Munro would want.’ She’ll be ready to decide to become The Martyr, but won’t decide such till after facing Tsien.

How much more will we need to engage the rest of the crew of Gondola 92? Probably some since I imagine there will be a few members introduced in the prior rescue scene.

I’ll need to sort out Frakes’ agenda. I think he’ll be more aligned to Engineer Coffee’s faction than to the straight Tsien line. Which would be great if I knew what those were. Whatever they are to them, to Partly they are nearly identical, so convincing her to side with Frakes or with Tsien will be a true struggle for Frakes.

1132 words on day 685

The Rescued Rescue

http://mcqueconcept.blogspot.com/2011/02/gondola.html

Mr. Cameron—at least—knew enough to stay away from me. I doubt the other refugees, our accidental comrades, even noticed me on the bow [boat part I couldn’t find the name for]. And the six person crew of Gondola 92 were either too busy or too scared to warn me off to a safer spot. But Frakes noticed me right away, and once he was no longer busy he came to get me down.

Gulls shrieked and swooped and slid under me. They rose up from under the ship on swells of air I never felt on my face or in my hair. Occasionally one might churn it’s wings but only to gain better advantage on another or to make an abrupt turn. As long as I watched I never observed one to stroke it’s wings to fly. These white birds just glided.

Behind me, a woman we pulled from the caravan redescribed the events of the [some group] attack and the rescued rescue to Mr. Cameron. It was a tribute to his stoicism that she prattled on ignorant of his loss and oblivious to his pain. I wanted to push her off this boat and into the smoke and fog buoying below us, so I could hug him or hit him. I wanted to bring back Captain Munro too. I wanted to tell him it wasn’t his fault she died. I wanted to tell him it was me, but I wasn’t even able to convince myself of that; I think he may have been convincing himself it wasn’t me.

I’m strangling this one a bit too much tonight. I’ll come back to it in the morning.

268 words on day 684

Partly Plotted

OK. Just gonna lock my shit down and write something about Terminus regarding the Partly plot.

Plot – Escape.

Hook – Initally chased up a fire escape in Chicago, Partly finds herself climbing a rope ladder and boarding the Maker’s Marcail instead. And into an attack by raiders.

Plot Point 1 – Partly discovers the fact that she’s not as unfamiliar with Terminus as she’d originally thought when a tattoo/marking/memory matches with something she finds in Terminus.

Pinch 1 – The guilders, looking to maintain their grip on flight-rod commerce, find out Partly is probably the Harbinger and try to kidnap her but end up harming or taking Capt Munro instead.

Mid-point Twist – Mr. Cameron is revealed to have outted Partly and inadvertantly harmed his beloved captain.

Pinch 2 – The guilders find where Partly and the Maker’s crew are holed up in Terminus and burn the place down. Partly either escapes or finds herself away from the hideout at the time, returning too late.

Lull – Holed up with newly met Bogdan and Cyril feeling rather ‘woe is me’.

Plot Point 2 – Via Bogdan, Partly learns of the [priests] who also need the information Partly has in order to help return the Settlers to Earth. But she has to get to them before the Guilders get her.

Conclusion – Partly is able to narrowly escape the Guilder’s grasp and make it to the safety of the [priest]. We learn that her ‘knowledge’ is that of a timestamp. WHich now all parties know the deadline they are working to.

261 words on day 660