Come The Revolution – Snippet 01

Come The Revolution – Snippet 01

Come The Revolution

By Frank Chadwick

There was a young lady of Niger

Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;

They returned from the ride

With the lady inside,

And the smile on the face of the tiger.

-William Cosmo Monkhouse

Chapter One

I killed twenty-two people by the time I died. Hadn’t killed any since. Some claimed that was due to a lack of opportunity, but I wasn’t so sure.

I was only dead for a couple weeks, and I spent almost all of that cryogenically frozen, so some folks treated the whole thing as just another complicated medical procedure, but I didn’t. Dead is dead, and take it from me, it’s not for the faint of heart.

After resuscitation there were months of rehab, physical and psychological, but in the two years since my life had gotten back to “normal” — whatever that meant — my existence had been sufficiently non-violent to satisfy a Buddhist monk. That’s exactly what I’d wanted and I wasn’t complaining. The problem was, as I looked out the shuttle window at the sprawling night-lit landscape of Sakkatto City, the beating heart of the political and commercial Varoki engines that drove the Cottohazz — the Stellar Commonwealth — I had the growing feeling my peaceful interlude was nearing an end. A storm was gathering, had probably been gathering since before I was born, but now it was close. I could sense it, like smelling rain just before it starts to fall.

My parents named me Aleksandr Sergeyevich Naradnyo, but friends called me Sasha.


Our executive shuttle flew lazy ovals for ten minutes while municipal traffic control figured out which approach pattern they wanted us on. The Wanu River beneath us shone like a silver ribbon in the reflected light of Hazz’Akatu’s largest moon.

I’d seen big cities on Earth but Sakkatto was different, dominated by seven enormous arcologies, each of which housed from half a million to over a million people. As we circled the city, the massive, towering structures already glowed from interior lights, washing out the last dull red traces of sunset. Each arcology was unique, built at different times over the last three hundred or so years. Styles changed, material technology changed, but the Varoki desire to live in those giant anthills never did.

Not all of them could afford to, though. Several kilometers separated each of the arcologies from its neighbors. Slums filled the spaces in between, a jumble of lower buildings and twisting streets, at this altitude looking like piled-up refuse that had just blown against the base of the arcs and then settled there. High speed maglev train lines fifty or so meters above the rooftops of the slums linked the arcologies. All of the big cities I’d seen on Hazz’Akatu, the Varoki home world, were pretty much like this.

“Tee-Traak One to Traffic Con, acknowledged,” the shuttle pilot said into his comlink, “Inbound for Katammu-Arc on corridor Seven Niner North.” He turned in his seat and held up two fingers, visible through the open door to the cockpit, and I nodded. Two minutes to the executive landing pad of the Katammu Arcology, an enormous five-sided metal and glass pyramid almost three kilometers across at the base and two kilometers tall.

“Perimeter team up,” I said to my own embedded commlink on the security detail channel.

Our three security people closest to the exit hatch, the three in tactical gear and heavy body armor, checked their Mark 19 RAGs — which stood for Rifle, Assault, Gauss — one last time and then slung them and drew their neuro pistols, non-lethal stun weapons. They’d stay behind with the shuttle once we disembarked and were sure the landing bay was secure. The other six security folks would accompany us to the reception at the uBakai Ministry of Knowledge. I wasn’t expecting high-firepower trouble, but it always paid to be prepared. I closed my eyes and leaned back against the seat cushion. What was I expecting?

Nut jobs. Angry demonstrators. Lone wolf with a death wish. Sniper. Those were all in the realm of possibility. They’d never exactly happened to us here on Hazz’Akatu, but they sometimes happened to other “high profiles.” The fact that a ten-year-old Varoki girl and my pregnant Human wife were “high profiles” who might need this sort of security was proof enough to any sane person that this world had worms in its head.

But that wasn’t exactly news.

Marrissa must have sensed my thoughts. Her hand touched mine and I opened my eyes and smiled at her.

“Hey,” I said.

She squeezed my hand. “Everything will be fine.”

“I know. Just doing what I’m paid for — worrying.”

That’s part of what the chief of security for the two highest profile targets in the whole Cottohazz got paid for, but not all of it.

I never take anything for granted, but tonight I figured the biggest threats were political, not violent. We were always prepared to deal with direct violence, but so far never had to. The political stuff was unrelenting, though, like mold, like rust. But politics was Marrissa’s department, not mine. I reached over and rested my hand on the swell of her belly, felt our future son kick, then kick again.

Sitting on the other side of Marr, Tweezaa leaned forward and looked at me, her face serious, thoughtful. Then she leaned back in her seat.

Tweezaa had just turned ten the week before, which made her about thirteen in Earth years. She’d shot up so fast the last two years she nearly reached my shoulder. When we first met I carried her on my hip with one arm.

Externally, Varoki are a lot like Humans: upright bipeds with a head on top holding a brain and the same sensory organs we have. Their sloping foreheads and lack of a protruding nose, their hairless iridescent skin, the large leaf-like ears, and those long slender fingers, made Humans take one look and think lizard, even though Varoki have far less genetically in common with terrestrial lizards than we Humans do.

Tweezaa was dark of skin but still richly iridescent, and when the light hit her just right she seemed to glow. Even when she was a little Varoki girl, she’d had an unselfconscious dignity that had me calling her The Dark Princess within a week of meeting her. I still thought of her that way.

Tweezaa e-Traak was heir to probably the biggest fortune in Varoki history, and Marrissa was her legal guardian, actually sat on the board of governors of AZ Simki-Traak Trans-Stellar, the corporate crown jewel of the e-Traak family empire. She was the only Human ever to have done so, and the only female. The idea of females having that much power in male-dominated Varoki society, and in Marrissa’s case a Human female, pissed off millions of Varoki in more ways than I could count.

That was one reason I was such a tight-ass about security, that and the fact Marr and Tweezaa were the only family I had still alive.

The shuttle lifted its nose and decelerated, pushing us forward against our seat restraints, but we didn’t level to land. I keyed my embedded commlink and pinged the shuttle pilot.

“What’s up, Kamal?”

“We’ve got a temporary hold, Sasha, some kind of disturbance at the VIP landing bay.”

“Okay,” I answered and looked around the cabin: perimeter team still up at the main hatch, six other bodyguards in formal wear still strapped in, all but one of the team Human, everyone waiting for something to happen.

Something wasn’t right about this

“Kamal, how long does Traffic Con expect us to just hover out here?”

“Um, the flag-off wasn’t from Traffic Con. It was on a Munie tactical band.”


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8 Responses to Come The Revolution – Snippet 01

  1. Gary D says:

    Oh no something Boom this way comes

  2. Lyttenstadt says:

    First of all – I’d like to say a heartfelt prayer for the Internet. This amazing wellspring of knowledge and a truly amazing way of connecting people throughout the World.

    Amen. Amen. Amen!

    And now, I’d like to address some issues already rearing their not so beautiful (don’t worry won’t call them “ugly”!) heads in the very first snippet of this upcoming novel. I understand perfectly well, that mighty authors are way, way more better than anyone from their readership. We are the hoi polloi, the low and uneducated masses who’s job is only to read, buy and praise the products of true geniuses from the Lit. Olympus. I get that! And from the very beginning, I admit – I’m not worthy! I’m an unworthy worm, one of the multitude, a mere dwarf not deserving a glance from such spiritual glance as Mr. Author.

    Nevertheless, I’d like to exercise my still allowed right of the free speech and comment on the upcoming novel.

    I didn’t praise the Internet just for nothing. I really mean it! I like all options that are now open to any human being thanks to Internet’s existence. I also wonder why some people can’t utilize them to the fullest. Really.

    The one thing that got me all “judgmental” and full of facepalming incredulity was this one short phrase:

    My parents named me Aleksandr Sergeyevich Naradnyo, but friends called me Sasha.

    Well – harrumph! Here, lady and gentlemen, I’d like to show you a Forbidden and Mind-Blowing Knowledge, which have lied in just couple of clicks away from you. Amazing, I know!

    1) Eastern Slavic naming customs

    2) Russian Naming Convention

    3) And the last – but not leat! – article: Ivan Volkovich Kalashnikov: How NOT to Name Your Russian Characters

    So, just from reading this articles we can gather that “Alexander” can be nicknamed in many, many different and unique ways – like Sasha, Sanya, Shura, San’, Sashko (ukr.), Les’ (ukr.). I have a rhetorical question to ask – will the Esteemed Author even try to do portray his protagonist as ethnically appropriate? The answer is obviously – nope. There will be nothing to highlight that the protagonist is somehow different from the vast majority of the readership except by using of some “exotic” name. The Esteemed Author could have make him German, Korean or Yoruba for all I care and still present him in the same generic “protagonist” manner. Because, sadly, this is the common trend nowadays – when some “exoticism” is added for the sake of “tokenism” instead of trying to explore something new and unknown and also try to introduce your readership to this new knowledge. What precludes the Esteemed Author from saying out loud via his artistic endeavors that “Yes, there are some other people out there on the planet called Earths, and, no – they are different from you folks, albeit this doesn’t mean they are worse than you!”?

    Also, I’ve done the unshakable. I actually Googled the protagonist’s last name! Tell you what? I came back with nothing. Nada. . No-thing.

    Usually, when I use the combined power of the Internet to serch for the origin of my surname, of the surname of my friends and relatives, I don’t have trouble at all. The answer will come up quickly and be really informative and interesting. But this time, I have a nagging feeling that our Esteemed Author just pulled a surname out of… thin air and decided that as long as it’s sounding foreign and his intended readership can’t use the basic utilities provided by the Internet no one’s gonna call his bluff.

    Well, I’m calling his bluff right here and now. There is no such surname as “Naradnyo”.

    In the end, I’d like to quote some powerful and really wise phrases from Jim Kovpak’s article that I’ve linked earlier:

    ” Unfortunately, long after the fall of the Iron Curtain writers haven’t learned much about Russia. They have learned so little, in fact, that simply finding names for their villains and other characters has often proved to be a problem.


    Dear writers, this isn’t difficult. You can give your Russian characters realistic names. Here are a few tips:
    — Don’t name your characters after guns. No Kalashnikovs, Makarovs, or Tokarevs. The two exceptions are Simonov and Sudaev. The former is pretty common and the latter’s connection with firearms is more obscure.
    — Don’t get fancy. Stick with conventional –ov and –in surnames. Remember that for female characters they need to be –ova and –ina.
    — Some common first names these days are Andrei, Sergei, and Dmitry for males, and Olga, Lena, and Katya for females. Ivan will seem too cliché, as will Natasha.
    — Resist the urge to choose names based on their meaning, especially if you don’t know Russian and you’re translating from English. If you’re not overly concerned with the root meaning of your American characters’ surnames, you shouldn’t be with Russian surnames. Russians aren’t like mythical beings whose surnames reflect their character and personality.
    — If you’re looking for more ethnic names, such as Chechen or Ukrainian, Google, Google, Google. It’s not hard.”

    I remain yours truly, humble and undeserving Lyttenstadt.

    • Drak Bibliophile says:

      Not enough coffee to read this. [Wink]

    • Terranovan says:

      Could Mr. Naradnyo’s father/grandfather/some ancestor higher up have made up the name? Possibly as part of a not-too-well thought out attempt to fake a Russian identity?

    • Johnny says:

      He was born and grew up on a different planet. This isn’t “Sum of All Fears”, this is a sci-fi adventure where the dude is centuries removed from modern Slavic naming conventions.

      • Lyttenstadt says:

        I don’t think that any amount of “handwavium” can salvage this.

        I’m really tired of hearing this explanation: “Well, this is future/Galaxy Far Away/Fantasy”. As if it can miracliously change the basic laws of the logic!

        The thing is – naming conventions in most of languages didn’t change that much at all for the last several centuries. Why should they change in an unpronouncable, fake, unrealistic way after the intruduction of interstellar travel?

        Alexander is, probably, the most videspread Greek name. Scottish Alistair, Ukrainian Oleksandr and Central Asian Iskander are just the local adaptations of this Greek name. They follow local naming conventions.

        And we know that the protagonist follows Russian naming convention, because he (correctly) uses patronym as his Middle Name.

        Once again:

        1) What does his “surname” means? What are its origins?
        2) Did his friends hate him so much that they can’t use other diminutives aong with “Sasha”?

        • And the unchangeable naming conventions here in the United States: What are they?
          I will be an octogenarian in less than 5 weeks, and I keep encountering names (mostly women’s and girls’ names, but some boys’ names too) that I have never heard of before.

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