A fairly big snippet of Family Law 4 – A Hop Skip and a Jump

Raw and unedited as always.
……………………….

Bacon’s office was cool with a ceiling a good four meters overhead, and a few short windows for light near the ceiling. Most things Bacon needed to read would be shown on a modern computer monitor he could adjust. A modern light fixture over his desk was turned up just enough at the moment to make it a pool of light in the gloomy room. There was a lounge of low upholstered furniture off to one side with tables and a buffet table against the wall behind them. A couple Derf sized chairs faced the desk, and behind the desk a wall held shelves of old fashioned bound books, both in the Derf and Human styles. The Human sort arranged vertically and the Derf stacked flat.

At first Born thought something had happened to cause the mysterious visitor to leave early, then a small pale face looked from behind the chair back. It was a Human, and the shoulder high chair for a Derf was high-backed for him. He hadn’t seen his legs dangling in the dark room, though his eyes were still adjusting when he came in. The man, young man Born judged him to be, was more surprised than Born. However he was staring mouth dropped open in surprise at Musical not Born.

“Are you a Badger?” the Human asked, surprised and maybe a little excited.

“Yes, we got stuck with that label by the Humans,” Musical admitted. “Looking at photos of the animal it’s not a bad comparison. Badgers seem to have decent press, I mean, we could have been tagged as rats or possums. Badgers seem to be regarded as whimsical and intelligent. The Derf have nothing similar to us, thus the Derf word for Badgers is . . .Badgers.”

“What a treat! Not one in a million Humans have ever seen your race in the flesh. This is my first trip off Earth, well except for the Moon which isn’t any big deal, it’s like visiting your back yard, and here I get to see not only Derf that are uncommon enough, but a Badger!”

Musical did a shallow plié with a little bow like a ballet dancer for him. It wasn’t any cultural thing, he was just cutting up. Bacon stood up, worried the Human would take offense if he understood it for a jest, and suggested they move over to the lounge where everyone could be seated.

“This is Mr. Ambrose . . .”

“Doctor Ambrose,” the Human interrupted.

“I neglected any titles because I’m sure Musical isn’t familiar with the Earth system, and even Born might think you a physician,” Bacon said. “Musical is the Badger, Born is the Derf.”

That was apparently as much introduction as it Bacon was going to offer now. The terse manner was probably because he wasn’t used to being curtly interrupted. Whether the Human could tell Bacon’s brevity was a sign of irritation Born couldn’t tell. The man’s face betrayed no strong embarrassment, and he certainly didn’t apologize. Normally when introducing colleagues Bacon would have said a little about each one’s area of study and perhaps even offered a thumbnail history with their professional relationship to him.

A staff member came in and put a coffee service on the table. Bacon made a subtle gesture to him with a cutting motion of one hand. The server twitched slightly in surprise, but made a single short nod. Born suspected that meant their luncheon was cancelled.

“Is your area of study in quantum phenomena such as I do?” Born asked after an awkward silence neither Bacon or Ambrose seemed inclined to end.

“No, I’m an astronomer. Bacon called you to help me because he said you are working with Miss Anderson of the High Hopes Exploratory Association. It seems I timed my visit very badly. I’d hoped to inquire of that association and all the principle directors just left for Earth. We crossed over actually,” Ambrose said with a wry expression. Born had just recently learned to recognize that subtle twisted smile for what it was.

“And you ended up here, how?” Born inquired.

“Well, the gentlemen I came to investigate is an academic,” Ambrose said, “so when the directors of the Exploratory Association proved unavailable to find him it seemed natural to seek help at the largest and oldest institute of learning that just happened to be close at hand. Bacon seemed to be the dean of the College of Sciences as close as I could tell by auto-translation. I’m trying to find a fellow named Ernie Goddard. He submitted several papers to The Fargone Journal of Astrophysics that are quite interesting. He had a unique opportunity to make observations across an unusually long span of light years. He proposed a number of mechanisms in the formation of brown dwarfs by super nova events. It will likely be some time before others are in a position to peer review his theories by direct observation.”

“But you’re from Earth,” Born noted. “Do you subscribe to the Fargone Journal? Is this an area of particular interest to you?”

“The University of Toronto is the home of the Trans-Solar Journal of Astrophysics,” Ambrose said. “It’s an open journal subsidized by the university. They do subscribe to the Fargone journal and we get summaries of several other related Fargone open journals. We did inquire about Mr. Goddard and they replied the paper was submitted from Derfhome and they had no personal information about him. They indicated Mr. Goddard made a submission by ship mail and a rather generous contribution to help cover publication costs. They don’t require that but welcome it. It took a month to get that reply, so it seemed best to come make a direct inquiry when a back and forth by ship mail could drag on quite a long time and the expenses would end up a significant fraction of just sending someone. I was also currently available and willing to come right now.”

“Are you an editor of the Solar Journal then?” Born asked.

“Oh my goodness, no.” Ambrose did manage to look embarrassed at that. “I’m not nearly far enough along in my career to have such a prestigious position. I’m simply an adjunct instructor of Introductory Astronomy at Toronto. They follow a traditional calendar and I wasn’t scheduled to teach for three months in our summer, so I was available to come. In fact I probably would have had to claim negative tax income to get by, which really looks bad on your record. Fortunately I recently became engaged to the daughter of my dean, who is an editor of the Trans-Solar Journal of Astrophysics. My fiancé asked her father to find something for me. He very kindly found this assignment to keep me busy and employed. I’ve always wanted a trip outside our Solar System too. It will be the Fall semester when I get back and I’ll be back teaching again.”

Bacon and Born exchanged a glance. Bacon seemed subtly amused. Born could guess why. When a clan Mother didn’t approve of a declared intent to marry they often found an urgent necessity to send one of the happy couple off to trade town work. Romance, like air, abhors a vacuum, and a void is often filled by another partner, or such a removal affords one time for contemplation, uninfluenced by the other’s hormone stirring presence. Born had to wonder if Ambrose was naive and didn’t appreciate the risk of having neither fiancé nor post upon his return to Toronto?

“Our university lacks entire departments some larger institutions have. Or several areas of study may be consolidated under one school. We don’t really have a course in astrophysics. I assume you checked the composite list of all papers on our local net?” Born asked Bacon.
“Indeed yes. “A Wave-front Compression Model of Brown Dwarf Formation” was not listed. I did a partial title search just to be sure. There was nothing,” Bacon said.

“I know the fellow who approves and archives papers for Astronomy,” Born said. “He’s the sort who feels no urgency to file something if he’s continuing a dialog with the author. Let’s inquire and see if perhaps he has something pending by name.”

Bacon waved at the large wall screen by way of permission to Born to do such a search.
His pad address book contained the fellow he had in mind and he was soon connected.

The Derf answered his own com. He was a grizzled old fellow, gone to full white all over the muzzle and ear tips. He had to be a hundred and twenty if not thirty. His eyes were sharp and his head erect however. He started to greet them in Derf and then seeing Ambrose switched to English. “What can I do for you boys?” Given his age it was no insult.
“Flavious, are you by any chance processing a paper on brown dwarf formation by Ernie Goddard?” Born inquired.

“Ah yes, Earnest Goddard,” he corrected. “Informality is all well and good for musicians and air car racers, but higher education should maintain some veneer of formality. It’s a marvelous paper,” he said, despite the fussiness. “He draws some very interesting extensions of his ideas for us without falling into the error of stating them as facts.”

“But you haven’t posted it as published?” Bacon asked.

“No, it had several typos, a sentence that wasn’t at all clear, and a phrase with a common homonym I suspect is a joke. I’d really like to discourage him from doing that. It not only lacks somber scholarly tone, but in a hundred years it may be puzzling to a new generation with different usage. It doesn’t even translate directly to Derf. I generally hold off from publishing until I can resolve any issues with the author. I’ve published with editor’s notes before but I find it upsets people. I’m willing to let him speak for the co-author too since he isn’t available.”

“There’s a co-author?” Born said. “Does anyone know anything about him?”

Ambrose and Bacon both shook their heads no.

“He is John Burris, who is obviously a shipmate,” Flavious said. “He hasn’t been co-author on any of Goddard’s’ other papers in the University net.”

“He has other astrophysics papers of which I wasn’t aware?” Ambrose said, distressed.

“No, he has papers with co-authors that deal with planetary formation, xeno-archeology of alien mega-artifacts, and a number of lesser reports. Though I have to admit they tend to the economy of touching on several fields in one paper instead of breaking them up.”

“So, the man isn’t actually an astrophysicist?” Ambrose demanded. He seemed upset.

“Formally educated as one? Not to my knowledge,” Flavious agreed. “But them neither was he schooled in archeology or planetary formation.” Flavious seemed amused at Ambrose and Born hoped the Human couldn’t read that, but then Flavious went ahead and made it obvious with his next observation.

“He seems to be too busy schooling us to have sat at anyone’s knee himself.”

“We do not publish dabbling dilettantes and amateurs,” Ambrose said. “That opens your journal to ridicule. I’d as soon publish scholarly papers from an engineer.”

Born had never seen that expression on Musical. The dimpled muzzle and tips of the incisors just showing didn’t look friendly however. He’s been taking it all in but silently. Born held his breath, hoping that held.

Bacon rose quickly, thrusting a true hand out for Ambrose to shake. “So sorry such a long trip turned out to be a dead-end.” When Ambrose took it Bacon gave it a couple short pumps and then without letting go pulled him to his feet. Born and Musical, Flavious even, still on com, watched in wonder as Bacon walked him to the door, hand still clasped in a true hand and his heavier lower arm around the man’s shoulders propelling him irresistibly.

Bacon massed over half a ton and Ambrose was going wherever he walked him. He kept up a babble of nonsense about how he commiserated with his wasted time and trip, never giving the man a chance to speak. At the door he handed him off to his secretary and closed the door before the man could even turn around to protest. Born heard the lock bolt slide home too, just in case the idiot tried to come back in the room to protest. It wasn’t quite a bum’s rush.

Born’s housekeeper appeared at the door from his quarters, looking amused but expectant.

“Now we’ll have some lunch Norman,” Bacon instructed. Norman nodded, smiling. He obviously anticipated that.

The tables turned out to be built to rise to a comfortable height for dining, and Norman came back with a cart to load the side board.

“Serve yourselves. I prefer a casual meal over a stuffy formal one with everything appearing over your shoulder. Everything is safe for you,” Bacon assured Musical.

“Thank you for your restraint when Mr. Ambrose insulted your profession,” Bacon told Musical.

“Doctor Ambrose,” Musical said haughtily. They all cracked up laughing.

“That’s as much humor as I can take for a day,” Flavious said from the screen and signed off, but he was smiling when he did so. They’d forgotten about him.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to dissuade him,” Musical explained. “When we came here from Far Away, Gordon the Fleet Master encouraged us to make a side trip, outside the cone of ownership ceded to the Little Fleet. We used Ernie Goddard’s charts based on his theories to locate a brown dwarf system worth trillions of your dollars. Why should I encourage that jackass to take a second look at such a powerful tool? I’m happy to keep it for ourselves, the Derf, and much more reasonable Humans like Miss Anderson and the Fargoers.

“I’ll drink to that,” Bacon said. “I recommend the dark beer in the short thicker bottle.”

They all relaxed and ate for a moment.

“If you do find some answers for your patron Miss Anderson,” Bacon said told the two of them. “I stand ready to make the College of Practical Applications, the Engineers in plain English, available to design and fabricate such mechanisms as needed to test your theories.”

Born looked a question at Musical and got no objection.

“We’ll certainly make that kind offer to her when she returns from the Earth system.”

Bacon nodded, satisfied.

54 Responses to A fairly big snippet of Family Law 4 – A Hop Skip and a Jump

  1. Chuck July 9, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

    Good Deal! I like your attitude, I have always hated the division between academic and vocational. And the blatant bias that academics are more valuable. Vocational is real, and academics are dreams with very little contact with reality.

    • Esther Willson July 18, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

      Time out for a Mike Rowe moment…

  2. Christin July 9, 2017 at 9:46 pm #

    Any idea when you will publish the book 4? Can not wait 🙂

    • Mac July 9, 2017 at 10:13 pm #

      Is 2/3rds done. Guesstimating 2 months.

  3. aimee July 9, 2017 at 10:58 pm #

    cool! I love your books.

  4. Matt Malkin July 10, 2017 at 1:32 am #

    Looking forward to the next book. I confess snippets aren’t my thing so I haven’t read the above. I prefer to wait for the whole book. Great to hear it’s coming along though. Great stuff. Thank you

    • Anonymous July 11, 2017 at 5:43 pm #

      Mac has good snippets. There is some meat to sink your teeth in.

      If you really want to hate snippets with a passion, you should see one liners that Sharon Lee and Steve Miller drop for their Liaden Universe stuff. I am sure some people find them fun, but I decided long time ago that I am not one of them.

    • Mac July 14, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

      I entirely understand. Glad you have the willpower to refrain.

  5. merr July 10, 2017 at 5:42 am #

    Thanks for the update.

  6. Melvyn July 10, 2017 at 9:38 am #

    Thanks – looking forward to it and waiting as patiently as I can. I’ll give it about 6 weeks before re-reading 1-3.

  7. Ann July 10, 2017 at 8:24 pm #

    It wasn’t too soon – Thank you, thank you.
    ~2 more months – does that mean 1-2 more snippets?

    • Mac July 11, 2017 at 5:14 am #

      Only if they aren’t spoilers.

  8. Mike M July 10, 2017 at 9:43 pm #

    Thanks for keeping the free beer flowing.

  9. Bree July 12, 2017 at 5:30 am #

    yes yes yes cant wait to read it. so excited.

  10. Eric July 13, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

    I’ve enjoyed all of the snippets so far. I’m happy to hear FL4 is so close, maybe even by my Birthday!

  11. Fred Riley July 14, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

    I’ve just binge read all the books in the April universe including the Family Law series. I love them! I’m wondering when you will do the Eric applying for adulthood? I’ve thought this an interesting concept but you haven’t really discussed or shown the process since it was created. Is this done during the Assemblies? And the battle between Eric and his mother should be very interesting! Also, don’t you think it’s time to move that family to the move? Jeff is a good guy and all, but I’m not sure he expected to allow them to keep his home for years.

    • Mac July 14, 2017 at 8:58 pm #

      Interesting ideas. I like Eric and need to do something with him again.

      • Ann July 15, 2017 at 1:08 am #

        Why is there over crowding on M3
        With two rings there was 2,000 people, 3 rings 3,000 people seems fine but not crowded.

        Now if a lot of cubic in ring 3 isn’t available for residential use (or much less proportionally than ring 1 and 2) then there could be crowding but there should be mention of the missing cubic (either unused or used for alternative purposes). This also assumes ring 3 was built like ring 1 and 2 with the same variable g levels.

        But we know it wasn’t as Ring 1 has both the main cafe and the beam dogs cafe and the 1 G kids sleeping place and the Coms room, etc that aren’t Ring 3 fully mirrored (just the Cafe). So from what we know Ring 3 should provide relatively more available cubic than Ring 1 and 2.

        What is making alternative use of Ring 3 to reduce its ability to house people far below the average of Ring 1 and 2.

        • Anonymous July 16, 2017 at 12:21 am #

          It sounds like you are assuming that each ring can hold 1,000 people. Ok. I can work with it.

          So. We have super deadly contagious disease. All people die. But… gene mod. people die at a rate of 100%. 2 or 3 THOUSAND of these people show up in a matter of 4-6 months. Where are you going to stuff them? Basically your population just doubled in a matter of a few months instead of a few DECADES.

          • Ann July 16, 2017 at 2:25 am #

            I’m not assuming anything. I wondering about data in the books that says there is over crowding when there should be relatively more cubic with the third ring.
            Your comments about people dying, etc are all irrelevant to the books as no-one died on M3 from a contagious disease.
            What is the cubic used for that is better than housing people. Much of ring 3 is owned by the company not privately.

          • Chuck C July 16, 2017 at 5:13 pm #

            Ann, people dying on Earth was the motive for thousands of people to suddenly move to M3, basically as refugees.

            Mackey has not said how many move back after the contagion on Earth dies down and there are good virus detection capabilities. There will be some, but what they did is effectively an admission to using LET, so people can only go back if they can hide having been on M3, or LET is OK in their country.

    • Jeanne July 21, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

      Lol! Fred, I was rereading the series for the 4th time and had the exact same thoughts! Get out of Jeff’s apartment already…you have PLENTY of land on the moon! Mac, do you get credit if I reread through kindle first, even if I own the books?

      • Mac July 30, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

        Yes if you read the book through the KULL program and then buy it I get paid for both.

  12. Cheryl July 16, 2017 at 11:10 pm #

    Thanks much, love your snippets

    • Ann July 17, 2017 at 8:08 pm #

      Chuck C, The issue was why was M3 crowded with 3,000 people and 3 rings when there was no crowding with 2,000 people and 2 rings. Mackey said ring 3 ownership rested mostly with Mitsubishi so the overcrowding was probably due to their decisions in Japan. However as there was money to be made from renting the ring 3 cubic for residences what was more important to them that it didn’t happen.Only Mack knows that.

      As to where the thousand residents came from that is unknown. We know some came from Earth and some came from other orbital habs but a total breakdown isn’t known although an earth origin for most is suspected.This however wasn’t and isn’t my concern.

      Another concern from recent rereading of the series was the BBBC report in .April 8 – It’s Always Something that General Kilpatrick was assassinated but in April 9 – A Sudden Departure he is alive with no mention of any attempt. A jarring discovery that broke reading credibility as Mack had Bellini discontented with General Kilpatrick and consulting with a hardliner prior to the reported assassination.

  13. Blake July 30, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

    I was re-reading both the April and the Family Law books – they’re some of my go-to books for when I don’t have anything else that sounds good – and I noticed again how common Singh is for a last name. While I’m not familiar with the common Indian last names, I do work with a fairly large number of folks from India, and not a one of them has that last name, although there are several repeated last names in my admittedly insufficient sample.
    All that said, is there some reason we keep seeing the Singh name vs. introducing a new last name instead? Are they all related, and are somehow tied to Jeff’s family? Maybe a secret cabal of Singhs that nudge things along and keep society from self destructing? Or, more boringly, a person can have a lot of decedents over the course of a hundred years, especially with a frontier situation such as developing the new planets that Central and/or affiliated governments discovered in that time.
    Just curious.

  14. Jim Davis July 31, 2017 at 7:45 pm #

    According to http://forebears.io/surnames/singh, Singh is the 6th most common surname worldwide and is shared by almost 37 million people.

    • Blake August 1, 2017 at 9:00 am #

      All right, that’s an excellent possibility, although I’m still hoping for the secret cabal.

      Now that I think about it, though, that’s a good real world reason, but it might not be a good book world reason…authors very rarely reuse a name, in my experience, first or last. I imagine it’s to avoid any plot confusion, but what do I know, I’m a consumer, not a producer.

  15. Igors August 6, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    how long yet?

  16. Ann August 6, 2017 at 9:17 pm #

    Mack, is it snippet time again?

    • Mac August 8, 2017 at 10:37 pm #

      I’ll see if I can find something that doesn’t reveal too much.

      • aze August 9, 2017 at 6:32 am #

        Maybe choose something from the first 10% of the book that will be visible in the amazon look inside preview anyways?

  17. Cheryl August 7, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

    Where are you on the writing now? Anxiously awaiting the next book

    • Mac August 8, 2017 at 10:36 pm #

      Finished next book tonight. To readers and cover now.

      • Jenn August 9, 2017 at 6:51 am #

        Can’t wait!!

      • Joyce August 9, 2017 at 9:04 am #

        Oh boy, I can’t wait!!! My finger is poised over the ‘buy’ button!

      • Michael Horgan August 9, 2017 at 11:30 am #

        Hurray! Waiting with ‘bated breath for the release!

      • Anonymous August 9, 2017 at 8:50 pm #

        Hip Hip Hooray!

  18. Melvyn August 9, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

    Great news I’ll be looking out for it

  19. Aimee August 9, 2017 at 11:55 pm #

    Cool ! I can’t wait.

  20. Stew August 10, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    Holy Hinth! I’m ready for a wing dinger!

    • Eric August 12, 2017 at 4:50 am #

      X-) so bad. Pun of doom

  21. Cheryl August 11, 2017 at 9:33 pm #

    OMG I will be checking daily if not hourly

  22. Eric August 12, 2017 at 4:53 am #

    Refresh, refresh, refresh. We’re all gonna get repetitive stress on our click fingers and it’s not even back from the editor yet

  23. Aimee August 15, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

    Book please !!!!!

    • Mac August 16, 2017 at 6:57 am #

      Close…so very, very close.

  24. Igors August 16, 2017 at 11:17 am #

    so maybe a snippet to get us riled up 😀

  25. Silke August 16, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

    OMG Mr. Chandler isn’t only giving out teasers, he actually is one himself!
    Many thanks for the good news, looking forward to!

    P.S. For any chance something got lost in translation:
    this was meant with no disrespect ^^

  26. Eric August 16, 2017 at 10:43 pm #

    I think the taunting is his revenge for us asking over and over “when is it due?” . I wonder if that’s how pregnant women feel…

  27. Igors August 18, 2017 at 10:08 am #

    how far is that close?

  28. MG August 18, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    You know it is all relative……I guess you need grav tech for a good probability of it being close 😉

    • aze August 18, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

      Why grav tech? Just a short travel with a relativistic drive at a fraction of lightspeed should shorten the waiting time significantly 😀

  29. Eric August 18, 2017 at 4:48 pm #

    Close enough to get there in A Hop, Skip and a Jump? 🙂

  30. Aimee August 18, 2017 at 9:55 pm #

    Hop skip jumping away

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