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 In the vain hope of getting some actual feedback, or at least jogging loose this writing roadblock I've got going on, the opening of that Fallout story I mentioned...             Zach Wilson mopped his brow as he led the trading caravan through the scraggly wood. This place might have more trees than the Commonwealth, and see rain more often, but the sun beat down just as unrelentingly. He’d heard the Old Guy’s stories of pre-War weather, when the east coast saw really cold winters and even snow all the way down at the bottoms of the mountains, but he wasn’t sure he believed them, and this stretch (what the Old Guy called “West Virginia”) wasn’t doing anything to change his mind.             Behind him, his brother Jeb was twiddling the dials on the old Pip-Boy they’d scrounged from the wreckage of Vault 111. “Hey, Zach,” he called out, “think I got somethin’ here.” He turned up the volume.             The speaker crackled with the ambient radiation that kept radio from bein
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Worldbuilding Notes

 I'm working on a story set in the Fallout universe, about ten years after the Sole Survivor destroyed the Institute. Curious about what might have cause the climate we see in the game, however. Massachusetts is depicted as hot and arid, at least in the summer and autumn, with dry stream beds in many places and ponds with neither inflow nor outflow above ground. I've done what research I can regarding weather changes in the wake of an all-out nuclear exchange like the Great War, and I think part of it would be a weakening or loss of the Gulf Stream, which among many other effects would result in much stronger winter storms striking the coast. (They didn't get the famed "nuclear winter" that real-world physics would predict, although records from a survivor in Zion National Park in the Fallout New Vegas DLC Honest Hearts would indicate that the first snowfall after the War didn't let up until the middle of June in Utah.) The question I'm left with is, would


  "We've pinpointed the correct point in your timeline, Admiral. Do you have the device?" "Right here. I just hope I can remember what I'm supposed to say." "Don't worry too much about that, sir. History has a way of papering over the cracks. Just make sure you get this into his hands, and let him know what he's supposed to do with it. Your return will be initiated automatically a few minutes after you get there - or rather then. After all, we still need you here." <sigh> "Okay, let's get this under way, then." Starfleet Academy, April 15, 2409. 0800 hours local time. Ch'rowl loped across the Academy grounds. Most of the assignments for his cadet cruise had been posted, but the captain of the training ship Daedelus was being very cryptic about his position. All the young Caitian knew was that he was not the tactical officer, and that the Captain wanted him to take the advanced phaser marksmanship course

The Long Road

The man with the improbably black eyes sat in a chair on the other side of the comfortably-appointed room. "Now, Mr. Burwell, just relax," he said soothingly. "My name is Jorel Dael, and I'm a counselor. We just need to go over a few things." Ensign Iain Burwell laughed hollowly. "'Relax', he says. My grandfather told me once about this book he read when he was a kid, written way back before the wars - before even the Eugenics Wars. It was called 'Future Shock'. He said he thought that when the Warp 5 project went online, he finally understood it." He shook his head. "He had no idea. Alvin Toffler's got nothing on me, I can tell you that!" There was an edge to his voice. He wanted to laugh again, but he wasn't sure he'd stop this time. "That's part of what this interview process is about, Mr. Burwell. May I call you Iain?" "Sure," Iain shrugged, "why not? What's my

20. Reports

Admiral Grunt, Starfleet Intelligence Personal Log Drake's charming turn of phrase is "come in from the cold." Not entirely sure of the provenance, but it seems appropriate. Now that the whole "rogue agent trying to kill us" thing is over with, and the Iconians have taken a direct hand, the crew has been recalled from the Latinum Princess (which I'm going to keep running as a merchantman, with a well-selected civilian crew) and returned to active duty. Our declassified records show we've been cleared of all charges, although my rank has supposedly been reduced to Captain. And of course we've been given a new ship. This one is, I think, a sign that someone in Starfleet has a sense of humor - the guys at Utopia Planitia have apparently been conferring with Ferengi design engineers, and come up with a variant on an old armed cargo hauler, a large, agile craft they're calling the Nandi -class. Guess what our ship is? Since we're

19. Rule 88, Part II: Enemy Of My Enemy

Personal Log, Grunt Commanding RXS Latinum Princess It's been months now, and Witzick hasn't made his move yet. On the plus side, our trade has been largely profitable - currently, we're ferrying troops and supplies to a Starfleet base on Kobali Prime, in the Delta Quadrant. The Human at Traffic Control made his displeasure at letting the likes of us "cashiered personnel" through his precious gateway, but orders are orders, and he had his. We should arrive at Kobali Prime sometime tomorrow evening, ship's time; we're having a special meal in the officer's mess tonight, for all passengers who've coughed up the minimum five-slip fee to dine with the Captain. Yes, there's an admission fee - I am Ferengi, after all. "And that's when I bought the horse a prostitute!" Ruben Manalang finished. The table erupted in laughter; even the Klingon first officer Roclak, normally reticient in the presence of passengers, roared h

18. Rule 88, Part I: Subterfuge

The advanced escort USS Pournelle sped through the void, bound for the gateway to the Solonae Sphere on a mission to survey the Delta Quadrant. Its decks bustled with people of various species, mostly humanoid, preparing for the unknown. Deep within the bowels of the Engineering computer systems, a trojan quietly set to work. It wasn't truly intelligent, nor self-aware, but had it been, it might have felt a moment of pride as it expertly sliced into the control circuitry for the warp core and altered certain parameters... "Admiral!" the helmsman called out. "We're experiencing a fluctuation in the warp drive!" Admiral Sajak pressed the comm stud. "Sajak to Engineering. What is your situation?" "I don't know, sir! A runaway reaction just started - antimatter injectors are jammed full open!" "Power down the warp drive. Mr. Emerson, please prepare for sublight." "No good, sir - it won't shut down!&q