AROW80 Round 2 Check In for 4/4/2018 & WIPpet Wednesday

First check of the round! Currently, I’m at my local library, typing up my WIP (Omegas: Cake Walk) and trying to make some headway on the chapter I’m working on (which is Chapter 18).  The major difficulty at the moment is that I’m writing technobabble and trying to make it seem plausible. Also doesn’t help that this is the chapter where Things Get Real and lead to the protagonists Learning The Truth about who the antagonist is, so if things here don’t make sense, what comes next won’t make sense and my ending will be nonsensical in a bad way.

Omegas: Cake Walk is set in a universe where superhero tropes are real. The action is set during a super-scientist convention and involves a group of private security contractors being tasked with rescuing and protecting a super-scientist’s daughter from a group of cultists.  The rescue goes off without a hitch, but keeping the girl safe is much more involved as shenanigans are afoot!

Omegas: Cake Walk is set in the same universe as my Gem City snippets that are available here.  It’s currently the longest and closest to complete work set in this universe (I’m still trying to finish the story that led to the creation of the Gem City universe…) and I’m having a lot of fun with it so far.

Note: if you read the older Gem City stuff that’s posted here, be aware that some of it may be retconned/altered by me in the near future.

Goals: So far, so good! Hoping to get out of the current spot I’m stuck in by the end of today so *fingers crossed* here goes nothing!

Ok, getting back to the writing! See you next update!

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WIPpet Wednesday Math: Today’s the 4th day of the 4th month, and 4 x 4 = 16. And this is the first WIPpet of the year (for me at least), so here are the first 16 paragraphs of Omegas: Cake Walk. I hope it gives a good flavor of the kind of universe we’re dealing with.

“And, based on my findings, it is blatantly obvious to anyone with sense that our universe was created at some point between late fall 1932 and June 1938,” Dr. Josephus Zilsch sounded perfectly sober, except for a slight slurring in ‘sense,’ ‘universe’ and ‘some.’ The sound echoed faintly in the rotunda of Grant Library and was almost lost in the startled murmur from the assembled crowd of reporters here for the opening press conference of the 2007 Centillion Society’s Polymathetics Association Meeting. Zilsch continued speaking as if there had been no reaction.

“The exact date is, of course, hard to pin down. Particularly since ‘beginnings’ in the cosmic scale owe more similarity to making the decision to leave a room rather than actually walking through a door. But, beyond a few fiddling details like that, my calculations are correct and they show without a shadow of a doubt and with a margin of error of only a few weeks’ time here or there that the creation of our universe lies somewhere within that period of time.”

Zilsch stopped speaking and peered at the audience with an owlish confidence. Ordinary speakers would have asked for questions, but Zilsch didn’t. He never did. Either his audience followed his reasoning – and therefore didn’t need to ask questions – or they hadn’t, in which case they wouldn’t know the right questions to ask. Or understand the answers. Better that they simply take Zilsch’s word for whatever he’d said being right since it was, as always, a foregone conclusion.

Dr. Sarah Lawrence stood off to one side of the speaker’s podium that Dr. Zilsch was currently leaning on as if it were his only friend in the universe. Her vantage point allowed her to keep a weather eye on him and on the collected reporters and be close enough to intervene when Zilsch said something truly outrageous, incendiary, or insulting.

Fortunately, for the moment, both sides seemed content to wait for the other side make the first move.

“He’s kidding, right?” Beside her, Katheryn Cleland, one of the university’s security people, nudged Sarah gently as she asked the question. “That’s…that’s not possible….”

“No, he’s not.” Sarah scanned the reporters, trying to judge which one would be the first to break the stalemate and ask a question. Based on her personal experience, she was betting it would be one of the video journalists – those who worked in print could afford to be patient, they could always paint a word-picture that played up the silence for dramatic effect. The video guys on the other hand, couldn’t do much with Zilsch just standing there, staring back at them like a mildly annoyed statue. “He’s as serious as a heart attack.”

“But…that’s impossible!” Katheryn made a distressed noise, as if the illogic of Zilsch’s theory were causing her actual physical pain – which, Sarah realized, it might be.  Zilsch had that kind of an effect on people.  “Isn’t it?”

“Yes, but so are a lot of things in this world, Katheryn.” Sarah turned back as a flurry of hand-waving set off the entire group of reporters. “Didn’t you tell me you’re going to Mars for New Year’s Eve? By any logical assessment, the FTL drive we use to go between planets doesn’t make sense either, but it still works.”

“Yeah, but – well, the FTL drive makes a hell of a lot more sense than what he just said!” Katheryn said.

Sarah was about to answer when Zilsch stabbed a finger at the mob of reporters. “You!” he said with the long-suffering tone of a parent who knows they’re going to be asked, yet again, to explain why the sky is blue.  

A reporter, who may or may not have been the ‘you’ indicated, stood up. He was a lanky man, with the faintly pinkish cast to his skin that indicated possible extraterrestrial ancestry – Sarah guessed from one of the Centauries, probably Proxima. “Garb Boffman, ZBC News,” he said and while Sarah couldn’t see his face, she could sense the plastic artificiality of his smile in the tone of his voice. “Dr. Zilsch, how exactly do you reconcile the creation of the universe in the 1930s with the fact that – well, with the fact that we have recorded history dating back thousands of years. Not to mention geological evidence dating back millions of years before that? The memories and personal experiences of several people in this room alone would seem to refute your theory. Can you explain the discrepancy?”

Dr. Zilsch frowned at the reporter, his lips puffing up into a pout and Sarah could see his irritation building like the pressure in the caldera under Yellowstone. “Time,” Zilsch said, his voice sharp and all trace of his earlier slurring gone for the moment. “Time is an illusion and not a good one either! It’s the sort of performance you have to suffer through when your girlfriend’s kid wants to show off the dime store trick he just learned and you have to make nice if you want a chance in hell of getting into her pants. Like it’s your fault her idiot ex forgot whose weekend it was supposed to be.” His scowl deepened. “Again. Next question! No, not you, idiot! Her! Mona Marks! She’s the only one of you worth my time anyway.”

Mona Marks, the Grand Dame of the Super-Science Adventurer beat and rumored to be about ninety percent of the reason why the Weekly Sun was still a going concern when so many other print newspapers were going under, stood up.  She was dressed in her trademark 1980s-style purple power-suit, complete with shoulder pads broad enough for her to play quarterback with the Shikagou Bruins, and her ruby-red sneakers. She faced Zilsch with the cool calm of a woman who’d faced more dangerous adversaries and still met her deadlines. She didn’t even so much as glance down at her notes as she considered her question.

“All right, I’ll bite,” she said. “How did you arrive at this conclusion, Josephus? And how does it relate to the Crazy Quilt Universe Theory that was announced back in February at the University of Lakota in Porcupine?”

Zilsch sighed at Mona, puffing out his cheeks, all pretenses of paternalism briefly gone. For a moment, he looked like a moody teenager – albeit one who was trapped in the body of a greying, sagging, pudgy-bellied adult. “You’re referring to the “Mosaic Multiverse Theory” not “Crazy Quilt,” he said. “I realize you can’t possibly hope to understand the science behind what I’m talking about, Marks, but is it so much to ask that you at least get the names right while you’re being wrong? The Mosaic Multiverse Theory isn’t even my work; it’s my assistant’s hobbyhorse.”

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WIPpet Wednesday was begun by  K. L. Schwengel.  and is currently hosted by Emily Wrayburn of Letting the Voices Out and A Keyboard and an Open Mind.  If you want to participate, post a snippet from your WIP, related in some way to the date and link back to here — where you can also read and comment on others’ excerpts.

4 thoughts on “AROW80 Round 2 Check In for 4/4/2018 & WIPpet Wednesday

  1. Well,I found your snippet delightful. Intriguing characters, great dialogue, real world-building with suspense, and I so much want to find out more about this world that ‘began’ in the 1930s. Maybe I’m too willing to believe in this fantasy, because of the genre,I’m anticipating that techno-babble. I hope your coffee-shop writing led you out of that writer’s doubt. Write on!

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