Best and Worst of the Second Week: In Which I Had Forgotten about the Dead Guy’s Body and Had to Shoehorn This Crucial Thing In

15 Nov

I interrupt this Best and Worst of the Week to tell you about the brunch my dad and I had this morning.

Because it’s the actual best part of the second week.

This is how he opens conversation with me today:

Dad:  What do you think about your dad having a girlfriend?
Me:  I think my dad’s a grown man and can do what he wants.

So then he tells me about the woman whom he calls Double D–which kinda grosses me out/offends me, but I don’t say anything–and then we finally get to talking about stuff that isn’t as awkward.

I told him about National Novel Writing Month.  I started by telling him about my spite novel, and he loved that I had decided to write a novel for spite, and then he got on a tangent about how to train horses.

And then we got back on topic when I told him I knew all that stuff already (half a lie) and that the horses were already domesticated (didn’t go into the details they were Martian horses commandeered by the crew in a pinch).

And then I was telling him about the main-ish character, Captain Vera Martel, the roguish lady starship captain whom the Space Service distrusts and gives shitty old vessels and stupid assignments to.  He saw in her a kindred spirit and asked if she was red-headed.  I told him no, unfortunately, and did not go into detail about how I could not make her too much like Captain Janeway, for I knew he would not understand, alas.

So then I told him about the character I based on him and read him part of a chapter, and he laughed SO MUCH.

So that was the REAL best part of the second week.

As for the writing, here’s the best and worst parts and why, as per usual:


In this section, The Persuasion’s doctor appears unexpectedly in the prim rear admiral’s office, requesting that she be interviewed for the investigation.  Note: Commander Jeffs = the XO who died mysteriously at the beginning of the mission

“Forgive me, Admiral Stoljarov, but I assumed my testimony would be needed.  I did perform Commander Jeffs’s autopsy, after all.”  I looked at her face, which to my untrained eye appeared to show a cross of earnestness and cockiness, and I fought down the rising bile in my throat, which was spurring me on to say spiteful things.  I hadn’t much medical experience, but I did know a “hack job” when I saw one, and her report was both short and uninformative.  I assumed this was because she had not performed a full autopsy and planned to supplement the report later.  They had not given Jeffs a space funeral.  For all I knew, his body was still on board The Persuasion; the thought of which painted a grotesque and almost phantasmagorical picture in my brain of rotting cadavers amid broken glass, perhaps haunting the unwitting crew.  I shivered anew.

“Yes, of course,” I said as I put on a smile.  I felt unease creeping into my veins, and it was not all because I had allowed my thoughts to drift to Jeffs’s unaccounted for corpse.  As I looked into this woman’s clear green eyes, the goldenish depths of which seemingly twitching in something akin to anticipation or perhaps challenge, I hadn’t the slightest idea why she put me off.  She was attractive and pleasant in her manner, but something about her–something I could neither see nor smell but merely keenly feel–alerted me to a strange sense of danger.  Her request was neither illogical nor outside the realm of protocol, but I simply didn’t like it.  Surely it had been an oversight not to include this integral player in the investigations–that much I could concede; however, I had not been in charge of making the lists, and I had no real power over the final list, and I suddenly did not want this woman in my space any longer.

“Have you brought your concerns to Admiral Charbonneau?” I said.  I was trying very diligently to keep the ice out of my voice, but it was a futile endeavor because of my growing anxiety at this woman’s presence.  She seemed to suspect something of my emotional state and smiled what–to most–was probably a dazzling and disarming smile–although to me it was certainly disarming but not in the positive and charming and reassuring way she had undoubtedly intended it.

“I talked to him.  He told me to come see you.”  I could not shake the feeling she was lying, and I wanted her out of my office.

“Well, let me put you on my list, and I will contact you forthwith.”

“Maybe you could put me in touch with your investigator?” she said in a lovely–but to my ears intensely grating–mezzo soprano.

“Yes.  I’ll give you his transmission number,” and I did so with much haste and sent her on her way.  Perhaps Commander Kinjo was not a man I would have ever imagined myself having a close connection with–let alone a kinship or friendship of any kind–but I did find him a useful ally, or perhaps tool, on this occasion, for I supposed he would be able to make heads or tails of this woman, and hopefully I would not have to deal with her again.  I did not know what it was about her, but I felt she was–for lack of a better term–bad news.

This is not the worst because I hate it.  I don’t.  It actually cracks me up, honestly.  I absolutely love writing the Admiral Stoljarov character, and I love making her emote ridiculously.  What makes this the worst is that I decided I wanted another bad guy, and I threw this doctor in.  Right now, there’s no reason for us to mistrust her at all.  Also, I had neglected to do anything with Jeffs’s body.  He’s been dead for a month and some change by this point, and his body, so far in the story, has been MIA.  I introduced some thoughts about it here and had a lot of fun making Stoljarov a Gothic heroine in the process, but it’s still ludicrous for a civilized, bureaucratic, futuristic society to not have done anything with this dude’s dead body yet.  Bad planning, Al!


So, we know this thing has four narrators; it will also eventually have three parts and a prologue and an epilogue.  All of these will have inanely gigantic titles and will be followed by a song or a piece of poetry or what-have-you that adds to the setting and the mood and the theme of the section.  Here’s the opening of part two.

Part II: The Return of the Downed Consolidated Terran Space Service Vessel CTS Persuasion and the Postliminary Investigation Thereof in Accordance with the Ongoing Investigation into Mission 4640-Alpha of the Aforementioned Vessel

“This Vermillion Orb”
A poem by Major Chester Kinlan of the Confederate Terran Republic, c. 2108, published posthumously upon his courageous death during The Battle of Tithonius Lacus, the final battle of The Great Civil War

Oh grass, thou art red
with blood and dust and tears of the

Oh wind, thou art dry
without rain, without mist, without tears of the

And I hear–oh do I listen for–thy
voice, my dear
est one.

Thou art fighting and blind
I am fighting and blind
They are fighting and blind
We are fighting and blind

This world is not our own, yet we possess it.
Thy hair is not mine own, yet I caress it.
And I’d rather caress thy sweet hair than possess this
vermillion orb

that has so long possessed my dreams–
waking and sleeping dreams.
When I open or close mine eyes,
thy red dust I see,
thy red dust I feel,
thy scarlet lands I steal
away from.

And now, mine enemy, my friend,
we come to cross at The Rift–
thy flag held high and my flag held high.
We see each other’s faces clearly, though the dust be thick
and red.

And though we be separated
on this vermillion orb
by this vermillion orb
for this vermillion orb
our hearts are one,
and they beat on until
they beat no more.

Deliciously maudlin!  Isn’t this the best war poem you’ve read in the last 30 seconds or so?


Current Wordcount:  22,464

2 Responses to “Best and Worst of the Second Week: In Which I Had Forgotten about the Dead Guy’s Body and Had to Shoehorn This Crucial Thing In”

  1. silverscreenings 18 November 2012 at 9:06 AM #

    Woo hoo! Look at that terrific word count! Also, I really like that you’ve added a bad-guy doctor. An evil doctor is especially sinister.

    The description of the brunch with your father was very amusing.

    As for the poem, it actually made me a little verklempt.

    • TheBestofAlexandra 19 November 2012 at 11:36 PM #

      Thanks so much! Yes, I’m pretty excited about my evil doctor. She’ll be up to many dastardly deeds.

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