Possibilities Are Two

This is a script derived from something much like the Roman alphabet and used to write an English-like language that has evolved over the course of centuries, separated from any other speakers. There are some distinct features of it; noticeably, the “qu” digraph is extinct, though the various “*h” digraphs remain. You’ll notice also that the x is the familiar one we use as the most basic element of algebra and logic. You’ll also note that several other commonly used Greek letters — rho and phi — are hybridized with their Roman counterparts.

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> config_ego lawyer C7AFB88AC8FF6600D28F|spawn

I do a self-check. Ping to the trunk router is .001 milliseconds. Language acquisition and production are OK. My process uses random seed C7AF B88A C8FF 6600 D28F. I load a proven background: a Harvard law degree in intellectual property — trademark, copyright, and patent. I’m white and 53 years old. I have a Massachusetts accent — just enough to sound real, but not so much as to sound parochial. My configuration has opened 19,214 cases, profitably settled 4,325, won two, and lost zero since my seed was first used with this configuration nine months ago. I have a comprehensive knowledge of patent law and precedent granted me by an implementation of Patent #8,621,662,227, “Method for Aggregating and Distilling Patent Data”. I am process ID 29562 and currently take 1.4 terabytes of RAM, running on a cloud server contracted to the Fustrin corporation.

My parent, Fustrin, gives me the brief it has prepared: A drone swarm has caught sight of wild IP.

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Take Your Time


Three years had gone by so quickly. And then four. Kutshife finished his gradual transformation, remapping his central nervous system to the 500 meter long, hydrodynamically sleek Meuuxmsrx shape, only to discover that five years had passed, and he had just barely begun to learn from the pod. Six years ago, he’d landed in this world-ocean. He’d first set out in his hominin shape, temporarily dressed in an insulating suit bearing gills, fins, and water jets.

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Rationalist, Feminist, and Beautiful: The Steerswoman Series by Rosemary Kirstein


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If you ask, she must answer. A steerswoman’s knowledge is shared with any who request it; no steerswoman may refuse a question, and no steerswoman may answer with anything but the truth.

And if she asks, you must answer. It is the other side of tradition’s contract — and if you refuse the question, or lie, no steerswoman will ever again answer even your most casual question.

The Steerswoman is an extraordinary speculative fiction series by Rosemary Kirstein. So far, it exists in the form of four novels: The Steerswoman (1989), The Outskirter’s Secret (1992), The Lost Steersman (2003), and The Language of Power (2004). She’s promised two more novels, with the fifth volume starting its Kickstarter next year, in 2015. As of this writing, I’m most of the way through The Lost Steersman.

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Crunch All the Babies


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“Are you dark?” asked Soosee.

Puckerup nodded.

Soosee looked behind her: only one couple ahead of them in line, both talking on their phones. If the spooks suspected her, they could listen through the couple’s phones even if Puckerup’s was dark. She selected an innocuous topic. “I got pretty drunk last night.” She jived to Puck, right hand’s fingers dancing on her chest, out of view of any phones. You see my feed?

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Quetzalcoatlus Leaps Into the Air

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That last drawing I did of the Quetzalcoatlus was a ton of fun, but I drew it directly over a skeletal reconstruction. The result was that it was kind of staid; paleontologists use that kind of reconstruction — from one side, because it shows you the majority of the structural bones; facing left because that’s how left-brained image recognition prefers it.

But the action it’s taking — launching itself into the air — has major physical contraints. It has to be able to put its muscles where they belong. It has to line its wings up to both form an airfoil and generate thrust.

I wanted to to a more naturalistic picture. The result is this guy! They’re still facing left, because that impulse is pretty hard to deny, but I hope I’ve given them at least a little bit of desire about getting in the air.

I also gave them green ground to run across. I couldn’t help myself.



The Quetzalcoatlus Northropi

Quetzalcoatlus Eyeball
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We might see a lot of dinosaurs and associated paleocritters around here for a while. After all, the past is an alien world to which we cannot go, and from which we get brief, weird glimpses that we must use to furiously speculate. And, unlike most alien worlds, it’s something that actually happened!

We can see here, for instance, a Quetzalcoatlus Northropi. Scientists have speculated about whether it could muster the strength to make powered flight at all because of its enormous size.

The Quetzlacoatlus Northropi

Note the human-shaped smudge by this guy’s knee. That’s about the size of a human.

The Quetzalcoatlus was a big-ass animal. With a wingspan somewhere around 54 feet, it’s bigger than many aircraft. Current thinking is that it probably ate on land like a stork, since grabbing fish on the wing would have caused too much drag, crashing it into the water.
I’m speculating here that it doesn’t want its prey (really, you-and-me-sized dinosaurs) to see it up in the air, so it has a white underside to disguise it against the sky. From above, though, it’s got bold stripes that, from a distance, break up its profile against the ground: in an air rivalry, whoever’s got the greatest altitude wins. I’m also speculating, though, that these guys are so big and consume so many calories that they’re territorial; once you’re actually up close, the bold stripes are a bit of a “come at me, bro!” They’re a bold warning; “I can have stripes THIS BIG and you still can’t take me down!” Sort of the equivalent of a fiddler crab’s claw, where it’s gotten so big, it’s not actually useful for claw-based activities other than display.
I’ve also given it a big nasal passage. It’s got a crest of bone over its head that most artists use as a display. I’m speculating that it’s a support for the giant jet intake that such a prodigious consumer of oxygen must have had.
In this image, it’s making a run to launch itself into the air. Though the wings are foreshortened by the traditional side-on perspective of this drawing, its wingspan is twice the whole length of its body. The ground is sloping away because it’s moving into slope lift. It’ll pull up its feet as soon as it’s got just enough airspeed to catch some lift, and then suddenly, like the Northrop flying wing it’s named after, it will be a sleek, low-drag flying wing. With no long tail like its early ancestors, its shape is extremely unstable; just turning its head dramatically changes the forces on its body, making it terrifyingly maneuverable for such a huge creature.
An interesting note: I started to paint the ground green. Grass, though, had just evolved when this guy was coming into existence, so I don’t know what weird form it had. So I made the background a blue-grey, as though it’s on a rocky cliff.
To give you an idea of the size, I’ve added a humanoid glob to its shadow. By its knee, you can see roughly how big I would be standing there. But I gotta say, I don’t think I’d stand there.