8FOLD/HCC: Orphans of Mars # 1, "Imperatrix Rex!"

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Mon Jul 15 00:12:05 PDT 2013

On Mon, 15 Jul 2013 03:45:32 +0000 (UTC), Tom Russell wrote:

WOOHOO! <3 <3 <3

>    But this gloom of hers is equally unfit. Self-pity and malaise are not
> their way. If it was, they would still be on Mars. They would still be the
> slave-children of their mothers. Gladiators, housekeepers, whores and
> toilers. Their mothers gave them no choices. Their mothers didn't even give
> them names. So they chose their own.
>    Well. Except for Nerrine. Garaka chose her name for her. It means
> "wife". And now she's not even that.

This is fascinatingly intriguing worldbuilding.

>    "A lot of the others scare me." That Nerrine doesn't buy for the
> second, and yet, Ress is the youngest of them, and neither she nor her
> sister are warriors. Maybe she is scared, if only a little. "Everything
> about this place scares me. It's a long way from the White City. But you
> don't frighten me, Nerrine. There is something about you that I can trust.
> Whether you trust me or not. It would be a great comfort to me if you were
> there at the meeting."


>    "Let's not wait for Quasha," says Ress.
>    "For once I agree with Ress," say Petara. "We waited quite long enough
> for Nerrine." She gives a snide little nod. "Beg your pardon."

Let's see if I untagle these names!

>    "Our mothers said much the same thing to justify their actions," says
> Petara.
>    "Hold your heresy, apostate. Garaka might have brooked it, but Quasha
> shall not. I take this chair, unless one seeks to take it from me."

And immediately mad with power. I see!

>    "A prototype weapon," says Quasha. "I had it made before we left." She
> shakes the object and a long tendril of erratic blue light spills out. She
> flexes it back, and makes it crack in the air like a whip. "It is bonded to
> my mind. I can make it as thick as my hand or as the air, its kiss like
> thunder or like rain."

But I thought electric whips were banned in Angelic Layer!

> Quasha makes it a point to take the lead. "Much warmer here than on Mars. 
> Even before the bomb. Just as green, though."

Hmmmm, yes, more worldbuilding.

>    "I do not need you to be with me or against me," says Quasha. "There is
> but one vote, and that is mine alone."
>    Jarissy nods her head in submission.

Everybody seems to have signed onto this really quickly!

> As they stalk about the plains, the quartet spies in the distance about a
> dozen of the biggest living things they've ever seen. Sixteen meters from
> the tip of its long, heavy tail to its relatively small head, each stands
> perhaps six or seven meters tall.  Necks are long but well-muscled; legs,
> stout but thick. These are the Alamosaurus: not just the largest sauropods
> to have made their home in North America, but indeed the largest of all
> known North American dinosaurs.
>    "That," says Quasha. "That is our prey."

*sad trombone*

>    But the Alamosaurus chooses this moment to start walking. The whip is
> yanked from Quasha's hand. Unhinged from her consciousness, the blue light
> crackles and fades. The black cylinder falls to the ground, and with the
> same step that rendered it moot, the beast crushes it underfoot.

*even sadder trombone*

>    The Alamosaurus does not appear to do any such thing. Instead, he keeps
> moving, until he steals behind another of his race. He rears up on his hind
> legs a moment (Jarissy hangs on for dear life) and then brings his forelegs
> back down, having now mounted his mate.

They are really bad at this!

>    "They, they have two genders," realizes Nerrine in disgust.

Well, really, two sexes. We don't know what they identify as!

>    Ress smiles. "The word is the law. Imperatrix."
>    Then, ten voices, all but Nerrine's and Quasha's: "Imperatrix!"


> There are some elements of Martian physiology and society that every
> Daughter of Mars would know but would never comment on. 


> A hybrid race from the red planet, the Daughters of Mars in many ways
> resemble female homo sapiens, with the same secondary sexual
> characteristics. Their skin colour varies from a light pink to dark
> reddish-brown, though they make no societal distinctions based on skin
> color. 

Hmmmmmm, I see. I actually imagined them alien-er, though to be fair not in
an especially concrete way.

> Interesting, as established in JOURNEY INTO # 12, Ress isn't able to
> modulate her eye-glow with any particularly finesse, and so she finds other
> ways to get her meaning across.

Hmmmmm. Makes sense.

> As established in the previous Orphans adventure, the Daughters of Mars
> have two throats-- that is, too narrow esophaguses within a single neck.
> Both lead to the same stomach, and there are no other duplicate organs, and
> so even to the Martians the reasons for the dual tubes is a mystery.

Huh! Not even duplicate lungs and such?

> A Martian year is approximately twice as long as one on Earth. The
> Daughters mature and age at much the same rate as homo sapiens. However,
> because they measure time in Martian years, their "age", as a number, is
> half of ours. Ress, the youngest, appears and acts as a girl of eighteen,
> but by Martian numbering is "nine years of age".

Hmmmmmmm, I see.

Naturally I love this world. <3 And I'm pretty excited about these
characters, too. The plot was a bit predictable, tho, after it became
obvious Quasha was powergrabby without a huge amount of competence.
Overall, though, I'm DEFINITELY looking forward to more.

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, hm hum hum

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