Come The Revolution – Snippet 17

Come The Revolution – Snippet 17

Chapter Eleven

I woke up in an unfamiliar room and it took a few minutes of shuffling around all the scrambled memories of the previous day before I got them into a sequence that made sense. I was in a cheap hostel in Katammu-Arc. It was charging four times the going rate because of all the displaced people from Prahaa-Riz looking for a place to flop. I at least blended in with the other Human refugees, especially with my recent injury, rumpled and dirty clothes, and floppy black fisherman cap. I paid cash and when the clerk started ragging me about taking carryout fried tofu up to my room, I shut him up with another twenty cottos. Cash is eloquent, more so than me.

I’d gone to my drug-dulled and exhaustion-driven sleep with Marr’s words replaying in my head: If you get killed, I will never forgive you.

It sounded like the sort of fake-angry threat people make as a token of love — if you die I’ll kill you. It sounded like that, but it wasn’t. She meant it.

Marrissa was an only child. Her parents both died when she was about seven, leaving her to be raised by polite but unloving relatives. She had never forgiven her parents for abandoning her like that. I know. My parents and my only sister died when I was eight, left me to grow up on my own in the nightmare slums of Crack City on Peezgtaan, and I guess I’d never really forgiven them either. They should have taken more care, been more mindful that their lives weren’t just theirs any more. I wondered if Tweezaa, who had lost both of her parents, would ever forgive them.

The point is, there is a certain type of abandonment for which death is an insufficient excuse. Marr, Tweezaa, and I all knew that, and that common knowledge bound us together in ways powerful enough to transcend blood and even species, but it didn’t give any of us a free pass, especially not me.

So I had to get out of Sakkatto City, somehow, and get back to Marr and Tweezaa. The question was, how? I thought that over as I showered and made breakfast out of the cold left-over tofu. I had some cash, I’d gotten a good sleep, and physically I felt a lot better aside from the banged-up arm. Those were about the only assets I could muster, aside from wit, pluck, and boyish charm.

I was in Katammu-Arc, which was in some ways the epicenter of Varoki-dom. It was the largest arcology in Sakkatto City, and held the municipal offices as well as most of the governmental ministries of the Commonwealth of Bakaa. The other six arcologies of the city spread around Katammu-Arc forming the points of a very irregular hexagon, the arcs linked by maglev rails high above the sprawling slums below.

That really wasn’t my concern at the moment, though. My target was the uKootrin border, six hundred kilometers to the north. That sounded like an impossibly long distance at the moment, though, since I wasn’t even sure how to get out of Katammu-Arc.

My best hope was that a good night’s sleep had done everyone else as much good as it had me, that people would wake this morning as if emerging from a bad drunk, shudder at the hangover and at the half-remembered folly of the previous night, and then prepare to go about their business as usual.

I still didn’t want to activate my commlink so I used the room viewer to access the public float feed. A note from the management apologized for the smart wall being down for maintenance and offered a hand-held viewer as a substitute. I noticed it was attached to the desk with an anti-theft cable, the sure mark of a high-class joint.

The first image I hit on the news feed stunned me: Prahaa-Riz arcology was burning. The structure itself wasn’t flammable, but someone had torched all that beautiful greenery which covered it. It made me want to cry. Prahaa-Riz was more than a cool-looking arcology; it was home, and not just because we had one of our residences there. Human and Varoki aesthetics were different, and Prahaa-Riz was designed by a Human architectural firm thirty years ago. There was just something Human about its look and feel. Maybe that’s why they were burning it.

I scanned feed lines, the avalanche of images looking less like news than some nightmare scenario from a bad disaster holovid: Munies in riot gear storming Prahaa-Riz, shops in the lower levels of the archologies looted, buildings burning in the slums, and bodies — bodies everywhere. Thugs from one political faction vandalizing political offices of its rivals, Varoki mobs killing Humans, Munies firing on other Varokis — other Varokis! I never thought I’d live to see the day Sakkatto City Munies would defend Human slums against a Varoki mob, and do it with live ammo. The entire city had gone mad overnight.

I tried to make sense of the flood of information, all of it distorted through the lens of the panic or rage or political agenda of the freelance feed heads interpreting it all. Everyone called them feed heads because usually all you saw was their head down in a corner of the vid feed, telling you what you were looking at and what it meant. Most of them were Varoki but there were a few other races and even a fair number of Humans.

One thing I knew for sure: until all this bullshit settled down, it would be pretty hard to just slip unobtrusively out of the city. When Varoki mobs filled the streets, a Human like me couldn’t exactly blend in.

There was a strain of news feed blaming yours truly for the riot, and that made my chances of slipping away in all the confusion even harder, what with my picture spread all over the feed. They actually had an interesting sliver of evidence: the vid of me yelling at the staffer who drew the neuro-wand, saying, “Put that away, you moron!”

How could Sasha Naradnyo be the only person in the meeting to notice someone drawing a concealed weapon unless he knew of the weapon already?

Would anyone give orders in such a commanding and confident manner to a stranger — or was it to someone in his secret employ?

I’ll tell you something, I always know when someone’s bullshitting me: they don’t tell me what they think, they just ask these leading questions and hope my imagination fills in the blanks the way they want. I figure my imagination’s not there to do other folks’ work for them, but not everyone sees it that way.

To be fair, there were some skeptics out there, most of them Human but a few Varoki as well. One of the Human feed heads got my attention, maybe because of her intensity, maybe because of her dark good looks, assuming you like your women hard-eyed and tight-lipped. I’m generally open to the idea, but in this case she reminded me too much of me.

There is no real evidence that Sasha Naradnyo was the architect of this riot, and strong reason to believe it was simply a falling out between the mercantile interests of the eVarokiim, and the Varokist anti-Humanist followers of Elaamu Gaant. But nothing is certain, and if it should turn out that Naradnyo had a hand in this, he bears the crushing burden of guilt for all the Human lives already lost in these riots, and many more to come.


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4 Responses to Come The Revolution – Snippet 17

  1. Frank Chadwick says:

    I just started reading the earlier comments on the snippets–wow, quite a dust-up! I debated not saying anything–probably not much chance of convincing Mr. L. of anything. But for those of you not quite as wound up, I thought you might be interested in Sasha’s name, especially since no one has ever asked about it before.

    Sasha was born on Peezgtaan in 2093, two years after his parents and older sister emigrated there from Ukraine. His parents were Ukrainian, born and bred, but his father was of Russian ancestry and his family still used Russian naming conventions–as some Ukrainians of Russian ancestry do–but his father spoke Ukrainian in regular conversation (so, for example, the use of aparatnyk instead of aparatchek). Sasha speaks very little of either Russian or Ukrainian. He once described his parents as Ukrainian but himself as “second generation Crack trash,” (from living in “the Crack” on Peezgtaan). Nevertheless, he likes a weird bastardized version of Hutsul cuisine, which is fairly widespread on Peezgtaan due to the large Ukrainian immigrant population.

    His last name, Naradnyo, means (very roughly) Everyman. Mr. L. cites a rule that you should never mess with an ethnic name to produce a specific meaning. Rules are good. I have a bunch of them myself. That’s not one of them.

    As I said, this is not meant to prove anything to anyone (and I’m definitely not going to argue any these points), but I figured some of you might be interested in where some of this comes from and why it is the way it is.

  2. Lyttenstadt says:

    Mr. Chadwick, I’m really glad to see your response and to learn that you care about the feedback from yours (even potential) readers. Personally, I think that the fact that the “bridge” between various artists and their intended audience can be brought so easily via the Net – is a truly amazing development. So thank you for that – devoting you time for some “bridging” with your readers.

    I guess you will agree with me, that any self-respecting author should always strive for self-improvement. It’s impossible to know everything – but other might know just this one vital piece without which your masterpiece won’t look complete – or beautiful. That’s why the information (and opinion) sharing is so important.

    But enough with the discussion of the self evident things, Mr. Chadwick. I won’t go into details about how its important to be responsible in the choice once made – like when you decide to have a protagonist of the particular ethnic/cultural/racial background (especially – very different from your own), you’d better be competent enough to portray they both in the most respectable way possible, but also by making them believable – and using this opportunity to introduce your audience (the people, who quite possible don’t share the same background as this protagonist) to new ideas and enlarge their knowledge about the world at large. You already said that you’ve read comments in previous snippets.

    So, I must presume, Mr. Chadwick, that you are posses the adequate knowledge to portray an Ukrainian – even one who lives a century in the future. And then, you post this:

    ”Sasha was born on Peezgtaan in 2093, two years after his parents and older sister emigrated there from Ukraine. His parents were Ukrainian, born and bred, but his father was of Russian ancestry and his family still used Russian naming conventions–as some Ukrainians of Russian ancestry do–but his father spoke Ukrainian in regular conversation (so, for example, the use of aparatnyk instead of aparatchek).”

    Did I tell you how I love the modern age and all new incredible ways you can use to garner more knowledge – or to check the info? Of course I did! Naturally, pretty much anyone can use them – they all are just “a few clicks away”. And it was thanks to these user-friendly net-sites, I’ve managed to learn some new things! For example that the ubiquitous “aparathcek” – meaning some stuff-shirt bureaucrat – has two “p” in it and is spelled in Russian “apparatchik”. It even has its own Wikipedia article wit the same name. But in Ukrainian it is not “aparatnyk” – it’s “aparatnik”. Huh… Are you sure that Sashko’s father spoke Ukrainian – and not surjik?

    ”Sasha speaks very little of either Russian or Ukrainian. He once described his parents as Ukrainian but himself as “second generation Crack trash,” (from living in “the Crack” on Peezgtaan). Nevertheless, he likes a weird bastardized version of Hutsul cuisine, which is fairly widespread on Peezgtaan due to the large Ukrainian immigrant population.”

    There several things wrong with this bit of the official bio of our hero. First of all, you claim elsewhere in your book that he became an orphan at the age of 8. How can a child so old speak only “a very little of either Russian or Ukrainian”, given the fact that his parents spoke (at least Ukrainian) regularly at home and with others of their diaspora (you said it yourself – “large Ukrainian immigrant population”)? Really – how could he survive in such “Little Ukrajina” and fail to learn the language? While in many, many modern big cities people from the common ethnic backgrounds who manage to establish “their” quarter in some big city still manage to keep the language – even after 2-3 generations born on the “foreign” soil?

    And now about… sigh… “Hutsul cuisine”. Mr. Chadwick, can I ask you – because you are such an expert on socio-economic dynamics of migrants, linguistics and Ukraine – what do you know about Hutsuls, their culture, cuisine and connection with the rest of Ukraine? At the moment of writing this there are reportedly c. 25 000 of them left. They are rather distinct ethno-cultural group which is related – but noticeably distinct from Ukrainians.

    Their cuisine is… hardly widespread. It’s not McD or KFC, or the Thai food or the Italian. Even in Ukraine it’s primarily spread in Transcarpathia, Western Ukraine and Kiev. How such very niche thing could replace a real and very much alive Ukrainian cuisine amongst the Ukrainians (whom, I remind you, there was a “large immigrant population”) is well beyond me. Maybe you can explain it?

    And the way HOW you describe this indeed “weird bastardized version of Hutsul cuisine” in the previous volume, well, should this whole scene deal with a person of a different ethnic background/race could very well be considered borderline racist. I mean – Ukrainians drinking vodka allegedly “Cossack-style”. Mr. Chadwick – have you ever heard about horilka? Does the word “Nemiroff” ring any bells?

    I also couldn’t find a recipe for the “the hutsul omelet, egg whites only”. Found a lot of other amazing yummy stuff though. I also have to wonder – where would local humans find special mushrooms, lots of cabbage, special goat milk, their local maize, various berries local only to them, and, most importantly for any Ukrainian no mater where born – the salo? Can you help us here? I honestly want to know – how the national cuisine can survive in such an alien ecosystem.

    ”His last name, Naradnyo, means (very roughly) Everyman. Mr. L. cites a rule that you should never mess with an ethnic name to produce a specific meaning. Rules are good. I have a bunch of them myself. That’s not one of them.”

    Mr. Chadwick, you may be amazed once again, but I (once again) decided to employ the collective might of Some Other People Experience – the Net – to check it out. Turns out, that “Everyman” in Ukrainian is “objivatel”. Entering the last name “Naradnyo” in various translators or encyclopedias didn’t produce any meaningful result. As if such a surname was absolutely artificial. The closest I came in my searches, was some hints on its Bosnian roots… and surprisingly enough – an ancient Mayan city of Naranjo.

    You last phrase is rather sad for me. Honestly. I don’t believe that amongst the rule that you have for yourself you have a “special edition” of algebras, chemistry, biology pr physics rules. I honestly don’t believe that you’ve “ruled” for yourself that 2+2=5. I’m also fairly sure that you don’t mess with linguistic rules in your own “set of rules”. Once again – I’m fairly certain that you call the water – “water”, and not “aargh”.

    Then why are you disrespecting other people out there flaunting “unsuitable” rules? Why did you make a main character an Ukrainian if you can’t portray him as such? What you have right now is just another rather typical American protagonist of the oh so much of the sci-fi – and not only. But you felt the urge to add some “exoticism”, which, you though, won’t require any efforts from you (“He is basically Russian, right? Roll in Russian stereotypes!”) to portray him honestly, believably and in any details. After all, hey – who are these Ukrainians, right? Not like they can read it and get offended – and even if they get offended, it doesn’t matter. Right?

    In my opinion all artists, writers included, bear the responsibility for their work because it influences so much people besides them. All of them must ask themselves daily: is my art bringing something new and good to the people around me? Did they learn something new thanks to me? Did I changed the way they think – especially about other people? Did they become better?

    Ask yourself these questions, Mr. Chadwick – if you consider yourself an artist and a writer.

  3. Publius, John Q says:

    Directed at: Lyttenstadt

    May I suggest a few details for your edification?

    1 – The nice thing about authors is that they get to write as they see fit. Several of the observations made appear to be some one who is looking to find offense. If you do not like Mr. Chadwick’s writing, then go demonstrate how to do it right. When you out sell him, he may choose to revisit your concerns.

    2 – Note that language translation is not a one to one relationship. Your manner in English is indicative of some one who learned it as a secondary language or partnered with another. Even with the number of grammatical errors in your post, there is no doubt your TOEFL score is quite respectable. You still made errors. So does Mr. Chadwick in his with respect to another culture. Therein is the rub. Alliterations are not standardized. There are many ways to present an idea. Then when you move to another language, there is no exact way to convey a concept with perfect fidelity to how another would do so and view that concept if they come from that language as their home language.

    This is why I put my name here as John Q. Public. It could have been easily John Doe, Mr. Generic or John Smith. To anyone who grew up thinking in English, these are synonyms for “Joe Average”. To the none-native speaker this may not be obvious. There are many ways to translate OR transliterate a concept from one language to another. And you are having to gumption to take offense at one way of presenting a name or term in another language, based on Google? You may want to think about this.

    3 – Details on the food and other options. A human diaspora will include aspects of humanity’s civilization. This is evidenced by how many forms of different cuisines have made it from one part of the world to another. Humans do this. Don’t believe me? Go to Madison, WI and look up a restaurant: La Taguera. They serve great food all based on Venezuela cuisine. They have a lock on the market as their nearest competitor for Venezuelan cuisine is about 500 miles away. They are still doing a brisk business and employ roughly 4% of the local Venezuelan population! ( That’s the owner and 6 other Venezuelans who work for him ) Humans eat what tastes good.

    Where there is a demand, spices will be imported or replacements will be improvised. People do this kind of stuff. Some times they only keep the concept of the cuisine and improvise to meet local market conditions. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you visit either the Texas Embassy in London ( awful food, yet serves US beer and claims to serve TexMex food ) or better yet take someone who grew up on within sight of the Yangtze river, to almost any ‘Chinese’ restaurant in the US. You will learn all about how local market conditions have mutated the cuisine.

    Quibbling about Hutsul food not being a good fit or a sign that Mr. Chadwick does not know what he is doing, is just asinine.

    I will close with a comment to Mr. Chadwick:

    Sir, thanks for writing. Please keep it up, I have enjoyed reading your work and look forward to more. I hope you are making a small fortune at it, so you are motived to write prolifically. I hope the above commentary does not cause you to shy away from posting more details about your thought processes as you write and create your stories. As you note, there rules are good and that you don’t always observe them. One of the things I like about your writing that you create universes with consist rules and characters who live or die by them. Please keep up the good story telling and ignore the trolls you see.

  4. Frank Chadwick says:


    Very glad you enjoy my writing. Don’t worry, I intend to keep at it. After over forty years in the game business, I have developed an immunity to outraged harrumphing which exceeds even that of the dread Pirate Robert’s immunity to lidocaine powder.

    I’m currently wrapping up a book set in Sasha’s universe but featuring a different character, and with much more of a space navy theme. If you found the naval fight in “How Dark The World Becomes” interesting, you’ll probably enjoy this book as well.

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