Snippet of Family Law 4 – rough and unedited as always

“Message coming in for Talker,” Jon Burris said. “Big message coming in,” Jon said, amazed.
“They couldn’t wait until we were close enough to speak around the speed of light lag,” Talker said, with a resigned sigh. “Go ahead and put it on an open channel and a real time translation. It’s going to be a hundred thousand words that say – We will take over now. You are being replaced.” Talker predicted.
“You want to move up to a console with a screen to read it?” Gordon offered.
“No, I’m not hiding anything from you or your crew. Unofficially, you are going to be my allies against the bureaucracy,” Talker told them. “I am certain they will try to undo everything that doesn’t have their imprimatur on it. I’ll try to be as polite as possible, but I need you to appear ready to abandon the entire enterprise if they don’t keep prior agreements. If they try to say I had no authority I suggest you appear incredulous. Ask them how I could muster ships and resources to come with you if I had no authority. Stand firm that if they don’t keep agreements, then you have no confidence any pacts they make can’t be swept away by somebody else just as easily.”
“I don’t have to play act,” Gordon told him. “That’s a pretty fair assessment of my feeling.”
Talker, rapidly skimming the message, informed them. “I should tell you that so far the message is just a detailed accounting of who they sent, and exactly what their authority is. When that section ends I’ll put a page break and a yellow highlight bar across it from my personal pad. They have sixteen officials on board with sufficient power to get their names on the list. It’s interesting the order in which they appear, each with their own header before their name and credentials.”
“Yep, dominance games,” Thor said. “All our politicians do that in some form or another.”
“Indeed,” Ha-bob-bob-brie agreed, “among the Hinth the last listed would be said to have the fewest tail feathers from their struggles for position. The big boys will have pulled them all out.”
“Ah, here we are. Twenty three pages in, they finish telling us how important they are, and get around to telling you I didn’t have any authority to make treaties and agreements with you.”
“You are The Voice of Far Away are you not?” Thor asked Talker, gruffly.
“I am, and besides being the executive I speak for the judiciary both high and local, if they have a case important enough to demand a reading from the executive. I am authorized to speak for the species to all the other races in residence and visiting ships and merchants. I suppose they didn’t foresee the possibility an entirely new set of aliens would appear and I’d have opportunity to speak for more than Far Away. But my charter and office in no way preclude doing so.”
“They’re slow to learn then,” Gordon accused them. “The arrival of the Biters and the troubles they’ve brought you were plenty of notice that such things happen.”
“True, although nobody has had much success talking to them,” Talker admitted.
“Explain something for me if you would,” Thor requested. “I’m not trying to be argumentative. But I’m curious. Why does the court ask you to do a public reading or a face to face with somebody impacted by their decision, but not others?”
“As Commander Gordon has mentioned, government is force,” Talker said. “It should be applied with some delicacy. Why don’t you beat your children with a club when they fail to have perfect table manners? Things should be… proportional. If a worker creates a fuss by being drunk in public or puts his ground car in a ditch, a judge will fine him, or perhaps even just issue a public reproof. One does not expect defiance at that level from our people. But if someone causes bodily harm to others or steals from others with a criminal scheme – well that is at a much higher level. The judge will ask me to read their decision so the miscreant knows the court is willing to have me as executive enforce their judgment. They are put on immediate notice that I can send officers to arrest the person or seize their goods.”
“Wouldn’t the judge do that if the fine was ignored for a lesser offense?” Ha-bob-bob-brie asked.
“Yes, but then it isn’t for the original offense,” Talker said.
“I don’t understand,” Ha-bob-bob-brie said, puzzled.
“I do,” Jon Burris spoke up. “In human courts if you ignore a minor judgment they call it contempt of court. Ignoring the authority of the court and defying their decision is much more serious than the original infraction.”
“Exactly,” Talker agreed. “I was short of words to describe it. I believe I’ll try to have that language added to our statutes when we have an executive convention. It translates very well.”
“Nothing about that diminishes my view of your authority,” Gordon said. “These fellows are going to get a pretty thorough grilling from me if they try to dismiss your authority and recommend their own as superior. I’ve had to make decisions out on the pointy end of things plenty of times myself. When all the dust is settled, and the issues are safely decided, you don’t need a bunch of desk pilots second guessing you,” he growled.
Talker was trying to cover his mirth with both hands, but couldn’t. “Another graphic expression I’ll borrow,” he promised. “It transliterates beautifully, but better if you introduce them to it than me.”
“Desk pilots?” Gordon asked, to be sure.
Talker could only nod yes, still giggling.
“Give me a picture of a Badger desk and I’ll have somebody sketch it with oversized thrust nozzles and a wind canopy,” Gordon offered.
That didn’t help Talker stop laughing at all.

15 Responses to Snippet of Family Law 4 – rough and unedited as always

  1. Ed Patterson October 28, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    Reading your snippets and the comments are appetizers as I await the next meal of your book. It slightly keeps the hunger at bay but I still look forward a full meal.

  2. Chuck C October 28, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    Thanks for the fix!

  3. Katie October 29, 2015 at 4:18 am #

    Every snippet makes me want the main story more! Thanks for the teaser!

  4. Melvyn October 29, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

    Great to see you’re getting straight on with it. Does this mean the new April is finished and off to the editor?

    • Mac November 1, 2015 at 7:33 am #


      • Melvyn November 2, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

        Bugger! Still I suppose having you multitasking between the 2 series is better than you waiting to finish the next in one before starting the next in the other. More snippets this way.

  5. Cheryl October 30, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

    You painted great mind pictures of that conversation

  6. James Darrough November 10, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    Which of your book series are complete? I’d like a series to read that I can finish while I wait for the next Family Law book(s). Well written series, by the way. Technically expansive and definitely thought provoking. Good work.

    • Mac November 11, 2015 at 8:47 am #

      I’m not done with either series. The April series has six books out and another in a few months. That will keep you busy awhile if you want, but I expect to write a couple more. “Paper or Plastic?” is a stand alone if you like. It was my first published book and pretty rough around the edges, but a good story. There are two collections of shorts which are quite done.

      • Jim Darrough December 6, 2016 at 9:16 pm #

        Thanks Mac. I hope you are doing well, and I am happy to get updates. I can’t wait for the next installment of Family Law. I really enjoyed the interactions among different species, and you have a peculiar insight on the mannerisms we might encounter. Who knows, maybe when we DO encounter another intelligent species somewhere in the universe, the people who meet them will have read some of your speculative ideas and taken lessons from those.

        Kudos as always, Jim

    • Mac December 6, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

      I have two series I’ll eventually merge. Neither are complete yet. The first book I published is a stand alone – “Paper or Plastic?” I have my doubts I’ll get back to do a sequel. Why not try my collections of shorts?

  7. Chuck C November 13, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

    Any prospect for another snippet fix?

    • Mac November 16, 2015 at 12:29 pm #


  8. Jason K December 6, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

    Any update on family law 4?

    • Mac December 6, 2016 at 7:31 pm #

      I’ve been working on April 9 since I was sick. When I hit a bump and feel uninspired on that I’ll go back to FL 4.

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