March 2022 Archives

Today through Friday April 1st, Building The People will be 99 cents for the e-book, at Amazon and all of the Books2Read retailers (Books2Read also covers three library services so you can ask your favorite library to get it instead, in paperback or e-book).

Throwing off the Demonic Slave-Masters!

Joe and his native wife Asina have spent the last twenty years helping the natives of Wimarglr Continent on Calmena throw off their overlords, both demonic and human. Now it is time to spread the rebellion to the rest of Calmena, which requires bringing the art of shipbuilding to a world that has never known a boat more advanced than a canoe.

But the demons are not willing to give Calmena up easily, and a counteroffensive is on the way that will rock the free humans to their limits.

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The first thing I remember was a sword in my hand and a corpse in front of me.

The corpse looked human, but wasn't. Judging strictly by outer appearance, it would have passed. Looking inside at the organs and genetic material, a star dragon was more closely related. At least a star dragon came from a three dimensional being. This corpse in front of me was from a different sort of place entirely. The body I was looking at was put together in a place of differing geometry. Fractal iterations within it said that it came from a place where the third spatial dimension wasn't as developed as we're used to.

My sword was real, but felt wrong. It was a standard charged bondsteel blade, a glossy dark gray in color. It should have been sparkling blue and silver, but it wasn't. What had initially appeared to be blood dripping off it was now changing, reverting to its true state - a two toned ugly blue and blackish green - as the glamour faded.

How did I know these things?

Good question. I could not remember anything that had gone before. Not who I was, not what I was, not where I was, where I was from. Nothing. I couldn't remember anything about how my dead opponent had gotten there, how I'd killed it, how or why we'd fought.

Logically, my memories should have been accessible to me through auros, even if I couldn't remember normally. But they refused to come. I tried perception, hoping to read the molecules themselves, only to discover I didn't have any. I wasn't material at all; simply a self-perpetuating energy pattern.

That wasn't right, or at least wasn't the whole story. I thought of myself as human, I identified as human, my mind told me I was a loyal adherent of humanity and the Human Empire. I was, at some level, both human and somehow important within that Empire.

There had to be an explanation that made sense, I just didn't know what it was at the moment.


Copyright 2018 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved

Fountains of Aescalon and its sequel, The Monad Trap, are available through Amazon as well as the Book2Read retailers and library services


Today through Friday March 25th, Preparing The Ground will be 99 cents for the e-book, at Amazon and all of the Books2Read retailers (Books2Read also covers three library services so you can ask your favorite library to get it instead, in paperback or e-book).


It started innocently enough. Joe was the engineer on one of Earth's first explorations beyond the Solar System, using borrowed Imperial technology. Captured on a hostile planet, he has to make a plan for his crew to escape - and then he discovers his real mistake!

He becomes a Missionary of Civilization on a primitive planet caught between massive empires - and the enemy has to think it's all native ingenuity!

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It never begins dramatically.

It started on an ordinary day, when I'd been doing the perfectly ordinary thing of gathering evidence for a hearing. The case I was investigating had to do with the tort of infringement. In this case the plaintiff was alleging the defendant was generating excessive noise and interfering with the plaintiff's enjoyment of their property. Evidently, the defendant had refused negotiation on the subject and so the case was going before the relevant Primus the next day.

Both were out on the fringes of Sumabad, out in the hills, out where the towering arcologies holding tens of millions each petered out, and the residents generally had reasons to need or want ground space. The plaintiff was an academy for self-defense, with classrooms for hand to hand disciplines and ranges for things like disruptors, lasers, flechette guns, and even the occasional firearm. The other was the Grubaro Club, a nightclub catering largely to the Tumar culture which had a large presence in Sumabad and environs. Tumars liked explosions while they were eating and dancing. Tumars thought loud noises were exciting and envigorating. Unfortunately for their neighbors, these explosions and other noises often reached ear-splitting levels, and it was not only disrupting to the peaceful conduct of the instruction at Hills Academy for Preparation and Discipline next door, many of the patrons and instructors were combat veterans. It wasn't my place to judge, but I was pretty sure the Primus was going to mostly rule against the Grubaro Club - they had a responsibility to see that any noise they generated did not disturb their neighbors, and my spak recording was getting readings consistently louder than an original Learjet on high-power takeoff.

Scimtar himself contacted me. Grace, I have a job if you're interested, or rather a series of jobs. Mixed family and imperial. It involves demonic traces, mostly spraxos and nephraim.

I was no longer the barely trained woman who'd been nervous about facing a terostes by herself, but neither was I a Sixth or Seventh Order Guardian. I was mid-range Fourth Order - albeit trained by House Scimtar. Furthermore, if I were observed taking on spraxos, that could be the end of me pretending to still be Second Order. What's it entail?

We're seeing a surge in the number of demonic traces, not only here in Indra System but everywhere in the Empire. The conclusion is obvious.

Trolling for traitors. It was what the fractal demons did. The vast majority of their troops would be easy pickings for Imperials when the inevitable confrontation came. Unless they could get us to turn on each other, the eventual war would be notable mostly for a lopsided casualty count. They'd seduced the old stons without anyone realizing it until the old Empire was already gone, resulting in a civil war that ended up destroying the Empire - and afterwards, almost the entire human species. This time the leaders of the Empire were alert for their tactics.

The assignment?

Match demonic traces to human contacts by Event Line congruency. Investigate the human contacts by behavior. If you happen to destroy demons, we'll pay a bounty - nephraim are worth three fourths, spraxos thirty. Ancillaries too, although manesi and lemuure aren't worth much. What we're looking for is evidence to convict or exonerate treason, and we'll double your normal rate for results.

The money was nice even if Asto and I could live very comfortably off investments if we wanted, but demonic nobles were dangerous - and they had a habit of bringing in help when threatened. Still, I didn't think Scimtar would be offering me the job if he didn't think I was able to handle myself doing it - I'd given the family five children thus far, all of them above average tracking metrics for Seventh Order Guardians their age thanks to yours truly carrying them naturally instead of using artificial gestation. I'd done it for my babies, not for House Scimtar, but I knew Scimtar valued my efforts.

Grandfather is offering you a way into the Guardian's Ears if you're willing, my husband Asto put in his two cents.

I thought the Guardian's Ears didn't accept candidates born outside the Empire?

Maybe not, but it's worth pursuing if you want to win appointment as a Primus yourself someday.

That was a carrot that had my eye. Most Secundus-in-fact had more applicants for Primus-in-fact than they knew what to do with. Even a 'might be' defect like being born on Earth before the Empire arrived could be enough to make them pass you by. Also, I was a di Scimtar, which had advantages but also carried baggage. I wasn't really qualified yet - but I needed something to counter-balance the possible defect I couldn't cure, and it was never too soon to pick up that extra little something that would put me over the top when I was. I already had work in the Merlon's Eyes to my credit. Add something equivalent to the Guardian's Ears and that might be enough.

Why me? I asked Scimtar.

You've had ten years' experience as an investigator now, and we both know you're Fourth Order. Most of our investigators are Second Order, and weaker than average Second Order at that. They might be able to handle a nephraim, but a spraxos would squash them, and if they stumbled across a jopas it would be hopeless.

If there's a basileus?

You've survived two confrontations with them. There isn't another active investigator who can say that anywhere in the Empire.

I'd rather not risk it a third time.

So be careful and don't confront anything you're not certain of. Scimtar never had any sympathy for getting caught by your own mistakes. If there's the possibility of jopas, basileus, or something even stronger, bring it to my attention and I will use an appropriate agent.

When do you need a decision? I asked Scimtar. Who are you trying to fool, love? Asto asked me. I want to talk to the kids about it, I told him.

Tomorrow, I could tell Scimtar wasn't fooled either, fifteen hours from right now. He knew this was an opportunity as well as a risk. You can bet he thought he was doing both of us a favor. He broke contact without further complication.

Copyright 2022 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved

The die is cast.

The Empire has caught the fractal demons marshalling troops for assault, and there is no avoiding the decisive Armageddon between humanity and the fractal demons. Both sides have their strengths and there is no certainty about the outcome. While the Empire is free-falling towards open war, Grace is tasked with nudging the odds a little bit, ferreting out traitors to humanity, bribed with the seeming of the most precious gift possible but with a nightmare catch.

Then at the moment of the first skirmishes, personal tragedy strikes, clearing the way for a long-delayed impulse, which results in horror and more personal tragedy.

But out of the disaster, a new Grace emerges - one ready to stand on her own, fully realized as a potent force in her own right.

EOC Cover.jpg

It is available in both e-book and paperback from Amazon and all of the Books2Read retailers and library services (Apple, B&N, Kobo, Overdrive, etcetera)

The link for Amazon purchase is here

The link for all of the Books2Read retailers and library services is here

It was my intention to offer it for 99 cents in e-book for 24 hours. As of this moment, Amazon has not accepted that promotional price, but the Books2Read retailers have. So those of you who prefer an alternative to Amazon get a discount.

UPDATE: Amazon accepted the promotional price. It will take a while to be effective, so I will leave it up for at least 24 hours after I see it.

Basic

Imperial measure owes nothing to any Earth system of measurement. The Imperial system was designed in an already scientific and technological era for much the same reasons Earth's metric units were designed - to simplify a complex system of historical measures.

The numeration system is base sixty - 3 times 4 times 5. This makes numbers more easily manipulated than previous systems. It works upon the same positional basis as our Hindu-Arabic system, and the same concepts apply, with multiples of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 (and 10, 12, 15, 20 and 30) having intermediate importance in thought between the unit and the system base of sixty. For all units, the digital places are described thus:

Prime: 60 times the base unit
Square: 3600 times the base unit
Cube: 216,000 times the base unit
Fourth: 12,960,000 times the base unit, and so on.

For fractional numbers, iprime is 1/60th of the base unit, isquare is 1/3600th, ithird is 1/216,000th, ifourth is 1/12,960,000th, and so on. If there's an 'i' in front of the multiplier, it relates to a fractional number.
For situations requiring more precision than a single digit, the spoken convention is to specify the magnitude of the leading digit, and following digits are presumed to be immediately decreasing in magnitude. "Two minutes thirty" can be two and a half minutes of time, or two and a half light-minutes of distance. "Seven ithirds fortysix fourteen" would be seven 216,000ths, forty-six 12,960,000ths, fourteen 777,600,000ths of the relevant units. If the relevant digit is a zero, the zero is spoken, so "seven ithirds zero fourteen" would be seven 216,000ths, zero 12,960,000ths, fourteen 777,600,000ths of the relevant units

Most of the time, measures are context sensitive in translations to English. For instance, a range is assumed to be given in distance units, a mass or weight in terms of mass units, and so on. In Technical, the fact of what you are measuring requires the units of measurement to match, and this has, over time, leaked over to conversations in Traditional as well. In Mindlord, everything is context sensitive anyway, and nobody uses Concept for technical or technological purposes, as the 'language' is entirely unsuitable for that purpose.

Mass

The Empire actually uses two units of mass, the atomic mass unit familiar to Earth scientists (called the 'mass' if there is need), and the 'bar', which is sixty to the fourteenth power atomic mass units. The bar is far more commonly used as the mass is almost never called for except in theoretical chemistry and physics.
1 bar = 60^14 atomic mass units = 13.017303005980066445182724252492 grams
.4592 oz

1 prime = 781.0 grams 27.55 oz (1.722 lb)
1 square = 46.86 kg 103.3 lb
1 cube = 2812 kg 6199 lb (3.099 tons)
1 fourth = 168,700kg 186.0 tons
1 fifth = 10,120 metric tons 11,160 tons
1 sixth = 607,300 metric tons 669,500 tons
1 seventh = 36.438 million metric tons* 40.17 million tons*

Energy

Since the advent of siphons and converters, it has become common to refer to energy in terms of the rest mass required to generate it.

1 bar = 1.16993684898 x 10^15 Joules (roughly 11,700TJ, or 2800 kilotons of TNT)

Today through Friday March 11, The Price Of Power will be on sale for 99 cents in e-book, in advance of the release of The End of Childhood, third book in the series.

Price of Power Cover.jpg


For everything there is a price.

Grace has married into one of the most important families of the Empire. The Scimtars are wealthy and powerful in every sense of the term. Her five children will be among the Empire's elite when they are ready, and Grace herself is not without influence or importance despite her relative youth. But Imperial politics are deadly, and the more you have, the more your rivals want what you have.

There is no shelter from The Price of Power.

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Setting: The Empire of Humanity. The technology can move ships millions of light-years in quantum time, keep people young and healthy indefinitely, or destroy planets almost without noticing. But people are still human - or a little bit more.

 



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The Man From Empire
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A Guardian From Earth
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Empire and Earth
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Working The Trenches
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Preparing The Ground
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Building the People
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Setting The Board

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Moving The Pieces

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The Invention of Motherhood
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The Price of Power
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The End Of Childhood
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The Fountains of Aescalon
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The Monad Trap
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The Gates To Faerie
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