The Kenzie Twins: Pilots of the Star Force

I’ve been trying to think up a good way of indicating when one of these Story Time posts is set in the Chronoverse.  I also want to make sure you know how each story relates to the others within the Chronoverse timeline.  I think the best option is to just tell you all that up front.

Today’s episode of Story Time is set in the Chronoverse, almost 14 billion years after the previous story.  By Earth calendar reckoning, it’s the 44th Century, the age of galactic imperialism.  Without further ado, allow me to introduce:

The Kenzie Twins: Pilots of the Star Force

It goes against regulations, I know. We don’t assign family to the same ship or even the same squadron.  Too many attachments, too much emotional baggage.  It complicates the chain of command, it can cloud an officer’s judgment, etc, etc.  I get it.

But I made an exception.  These two aren’t just family; they’re sisters.  And they’re not just sisters; they’re twins. There’s a strange connection between them.  It’s not telepathy. I had the medics test for that. No, they simply—it’s hard to explain.  They simply understand each other.  It’s like they’re of the same mind, two parts of a single whole.  I’ve never seen a pilot/co-pilot team like them. Maybe that’s to be expected of two people who’ve known each other since the womb.

Listen to their comm chatter and you’ll see what I mean. They communicate lightspeed fast. It’s hardly words.  It’s not even battle code.  One of them will give a yelp, or a grunt, or a sigh, and the other instantly knows what to do.

And, well, yes… the two of them do have a reputation for insubordination.  Minor insubordination, I assure you.  A few adolescent pranks against their fellow cadets; nothing more serious than that.  As I said, it’s like the two of them are of the same mind.  It’s true when they’re in flight, or when they’re in the simulator, and maybe when one of them’s feeling a little impish, they’re of the same mind about that too.

So yes, it was against regulations, but I authorized those two to train together and run the combat simulator together and take all their flight tests together.  And now, even though this is also against regulations, I’m recommending that you assign them to the same squadron, the same ship.  Demote me if you like, or lock me up in the brig if you think that’s necessary.  But if you send the Kenzie twins to the front lines, if you put them together in the pilot seats of a star fighter, I promise you the Hykonian Hegemony won’t know what hit them.

#IWSG: Tomorrow’s Writer Today

Welcome to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!  If you’re a writer, and if you feel in any way insecure about your writing life, click here to learn more about this awesome group!

Gosh, 2012 seems like such a long time ago….

Way, way back in 2012, I wrote a series of short stories about a time traveling news reporter.  A few of you have been Internet friends with me long enough to remember that project.  It was called Tomorrow News Network.

I say these were short stories, but actually they were kind of long, more like novelettes.  The challenge for myself was to produce ten of these stories in a year.  It would have been twelve stories, but I wanted to give myself a little leeway in case anything went wrong.

And things did go wrong.  I missed my self-imposed deadlines on several occasions, and there were a few stories that really didn’t turn out the way I wanted.  But still, by the end of 2012, I’d learned a lot about myself and my writing process, and I felt really proud of my accomplishment.

Now here we are in 2019, and I am officially rebooting the story universe I created for myself way back in 2012.  I’ve had a lot of time to think about how I could make Tomorrow News Network better. Also, I’ve had a lot of time to think about the continuity problems I wrote myself into in the original run of the series.  And of course, my muse is here, providing me with all her wisdom and guidance, as she always does.

So now I’m really excited to get the ball rolling again.  I’m also kind of scared.  I still remember how hard 2012 was and how emotionally drained I felt by the end of it. This time the plan is different, easier in some ways, harder in others.  Perhaps much harder.

So in conclusion, wish me luck.  I’m going to need it!

P.S.: I realize how busy everyone is on these Insecure Writers’ Support Group days, but if you have a few minutes to spare, please click here and check out the first little piece of the revamped story universe I’ve created.  Thank you!

Time Index Zero

Time Index Zero

We were all that ever was, all that ever is, all that ever would be.  We were everything and we were nothing, and we were content.  To say that we were alive would be misleading, for there was no meaningful distinction to be made between life and non-life.  To say we were conscious or self-aware would equally be a mistake.  Nothing existed for us to be conscious of, and we had no meaningful concept of self to be made aware of, for there can be no concept of a self without a concept of others.

That changed when we… perceived the broadcast.  It would be wrong to say we saw it or heard it, for we did not yet have physical senses of that kind.  But we did abruptly become aware of it.  The broadcast commanded our attention:

“This is the Tomorrow News Network, bringing you tomorrow’s news today since 17 billion years from now.”

We did not understand what this meant.  We had no concept of a tomorrow or a today, no concept of time in any sense of the word.  Even the idea of words, of communication, of information that could be passed from one individual being to another—why should such a thing be necessary when all is unity, all is harmony, all is one?  These ideas were strange and fascinating to us—and frightening.  The broadcast continued.  It could not be ignored, nor did we wish to ignore it.

And that, we would later come to understand, was the trap. The future is, by its very nature, an unknown quantity, a changeable quantity.  But to learn of the future, to be informed about future events (or in our case, to become aware that future events exist at all) transformed this unknown, changeable quantity into an inevitable, unchangeable fact.

One of the Tomorrow News Network reporters was explaining what religion would be.  She was a confusing creature.  We did not understand what she was.  We did not know yet about humans, or females, or eyes, or the color violet; and yet the instant we perceived this female human we knew the color of her eyes was wrong.  Unnatural.  A sign of danger.

“The birth of the universe,” this violet-eyed creature was saying, “will be known by many different names among many different peoples: the Rifting, the Great Hatching, the Big Bang, the Primal Illumination. But the most widely accepted name, at least among chronotheorists, will be Time Index Zero.”

We were appalled.  Not only would there be separation and division, a plurality of people spread across a plurality of worlds believing a plurality of things—but all those people could not even agree to call a singular event by a singular name. Could nothing in this new universe be unified?  Could nothing be made whole?  We refused to accept this… or rather, I refused to accept it.  The new universe was wrong.  It should not be allowed to happen.

And yet, even in thinking that thought, a thought distinct and separate from the thoughts of the others, I realized the damage had already been done.  We were no longer one.  I was myself now.  The others were others, and we no longer existed together in a state of harmony.

“What shall be must be,” one of the others assured me.

“No, it must not,” I replied, but it was too late.  Our quiescent non-existent existence was over.  Our slumbering pre-universe was coming to an end.  As separate entities, we all experienced the irresistible force of time: a sudden rushing-forward sensation from which there could be no escape.  And then, it all began.