As I came to write this, I realised that this is my 200th blog post and felt that I should celebrate somehow. Or, at the very least, write something suitably awesome to commemorate the occasion...
However, I'm not quite sure I've managed it; another evening of lots of work - not to mention catching a chicken (long story, but it turns out they are a lot harder to catch up with than Legend of Zelda might lead you to believe) - ensured that I couldn't get started on my writing until very late.
Today's challenge was In the style of a favourite writer and I chose to have a go at Iain M Banks whose writing I adore for its grand scope, dazzling inventiveness, imagination, verve and general panache. If I've managed to capture even 1% of all of that in the brief sample below, I'll be rather pleased...
When the Plate-class General Systems Vehicle Promises Are Made To Be Broken began a braking manoeuvre at the outer edge of the Tarquin system, Y’Lin Costreen realised that the Culture were taking this very seriously indeed. Six trillion tons of superstructure rapidly decelerated to less than half its normal operating speed; all to ensure that the ship she was travelling on, the Deep Picket Lunacy Has Found Me, which had ridden inside a launch bay of the far larger GSV for the last two weeks, would be capable of exploiting the optimal launch window.
“And this is all for us?”
The drone’s aura field flickered briefly between rose amusement and aquamarine modesty, before finally settling back to a more neutral cobalt blue.
“Trust me, Y’Lin, this is the very least that they were prepared to do.”
“I knew when they dug me out of a long-term SC assignment on Graedyl it had to be for something important; I just didn’t expect it to be something this important.”
“Well, now you know. And you probably need to think about getting into your gel suit about now. We’re only three minutes out from launch and I can’t promise it’s going to be gentle. At this speed, we’re only going to get a four second window to evade the attentions of the Foomolitian scanner array.”
“Look, I really want to know what’s going on.”
“Yes, yes,” replied the drone, flashing a field of cadet grey that hinted at its displeasure. “I do think we’ve already discussed this. Need to know, and all that.”
“I don’t even know where it is that we’re going.”
“Which is something that, at the moment, you don’t need to know.”
“Drone,” she said, with steel in her voice. “You need to start telling me more about what I’m getting myself into here.”
“Drone?” it repeated back at her, a wash of purple and yellow rippling across its fields. “And here was I thinking we were on first name terms by now.”
“Traviir Kalesen Smalt-Dah-Don Charnas Li,” she pronounced with overly excessive precision. “I want to know why I have been dragged off an assignment, flown half way across the galaxy and am now having a fucking GSV chain braking at the edge of Foomolitian space to allow us – and by us, I mean me – to ride shotgun on a Deep Picket who seems several sandwiches short of a picnic. And I want to know now, before I put that gel suit on.”
The drone fluttered in the air, its smooth white casing reflecting her face back at her.
“Fine,” it said petulantly. “Fifteen years ago, you worked with an SC operative by the name of Tyrel Scaa.”
She felt her breath catch inside her chest at the mention of his name.
“From the elevation of your heart rate and increase in skin galvanisation, might I infer that the name is still familiar to you?”
“I remember him, yes.”
“Two year relationship,” said the drone, before noting the fractional widening of her eyes. “Oh yes, we knew of course. Dear me, Y’Lin, surely you’ve learned by now that we know everything?”
“What’s he got to do with this?”
“Ah, now that’s a long story,” said the drone, wearily. “And we’ve only got one minute and forty four seconds.”
“Give me the short version.”
“Mr Scaa has been something of a naughty boy of late. Ostensibly, he’s still on the SC roster but, frankly, he’s way off the reservation. It started with helping over-rung some low tech civilizations and got altogether more complicated when he stumbled across something pre-Culture tech that we don’t yet understand. He ditched his drone and the Torturer class ship he was assigned to and he’s headed into Smelt Space.”
“That is what we intend to find out. Fifty eight seconds. I’d hurry.”
“But why me?”
“Oh,” said the drone, pulsing gunmetal grey puzzlement across its field. “I thought that would have been obvious. We want you to kill him.”