Characters & Plot Devices


These are some of the characters and other plot devices used in the Quantum Series of novels:

Characters and Objects are listed separately and in alphabetical order.

Characters:

  • Adriano Lupini, the very first colonist to set foot on the surface of Deanna. He was also credited with discovering crabbygrass, the grass-like life-form that disliked being stepped on (and consequently, setting the record for being the first person to actually swear on Deanna). He still lives on Deanna, and attends the Founder’s Day Ceremony every year, in safety boots.
  • Albert McIntyre-Smythe (General, ret) officer in charge of the Imperial Officers Reserve on Deanna, which consists mainly of pensioners.  A spry young man for his age (74 years), having retired only twenty years previously after a career spanning 36 years in the Starmarines.  He’d been decorated with various – um, decorations – including among others, the Silver Cluster (Gold) with bar and several other good attendance medals, which just meant he was at work most days without screwing up badly enough to get fired.  He’d seen action in several incidents in the Empire’s short history of just 80 years and had been an accomplished soldier in his time.  He’d got the purple-heart thirteen times.  And he got the nickname of ‘Fucking Bullet Magnet’ early on in his career (from what was left of his platoon).
  • Bartholomew Farrow – The Managing Director of Mace-Polythorp Inc. At 47 years he was riding the crest of the wave of success. His company had controlling interests in the local mining industry, construction, destruction, information technology – you name it.  The whole office building belonged to him too, as a matter of fact.  It was also no coincidence that it was the tallest in the area, providing him an excellent view of the surrounding city and the bay, which was laid out before him and created the impression that he could just reach out and take something if he wanted it – which is why he comes to a sticky end of note in ‘Dead Mans’ Hammer’.

 

  • Brad Xyl, one of the founding members of the Time Saving Agency and a co-inventor of time travel.  He is a really bad man who managed to escape from the Limbo Practicale, a really, really escape proof para-dimension where Time Offenders are sent on a permanent basis to teach them how not to mess with Time again.  It took about twenty years for the TSA to capture him in the first place, while he merrily romped through Time setting himself up as Absolute Dictator here, and Emperor For Life there, sparking a few minor cases of genocide and wantonly declaring unnecessary public holidays.  Sorting Time out again took some, well – time. He appeared on Deanna, disrupting a Puritan church service as well as Atro City traffic, narrowly avoiding several fines for Walking While Shedding Sparks and Leaving Smoking Footprints In Public. When his misguided plan to blow up Deanna failed, he found his little place in the sun (or should that be Ramalama?). Gary Beck and Johnathan Scrooby finally managed to sort him out in ‘The Time Saving Agency’.
  • Bran Johannsen, 25 year old captain of the TR74 Duval, a Bannor class loderunner belonging to the Beljan Interstellar Mining Company.  (This ship is the one that brought Cindy-Mei Winter and Fred to Deanna in ‘Black Sunrise’.)  He has a slight aversion to plant life in general ever since a certain potted passenger was awarded a medal for intervening in the Ruminarii invasion of Deanna.  Consequently he also harbors feelings of resentment for having slept through probably the only really interesting thing that would happen in his career as a merchant starship captain – and he missed it.

Cindy-Mei Winter arrival

  • Cindy-Mei Winter, an ex-Colonial Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative (and former male). She has much in her past she would prefer to forget and write off to having happened to someone else, instead of her.  She wants to start over in life and is just looking for her own little share of happiness – but the rest of the universe just keeps getting in her way.  As a man she was a go-getter, ambitious and effective in her work.  Now she prefers to live and let live, preferring to remain anonymous and live under the radar.  She is fairly financially independent, thanks to some wise investments she made during her clandestine career and manages to live rather well off them.  She first appeared on the scene in ‘Black Sunrise’, as a sort of tourist-cum-holiday maker while recovering from her surgery. When she arrived on Deanna she stumbled into all kinds of strange situations and adventures.
  • Danielle Grauffis, a young 19 year old, also a transgendered character, who is virtually a complete opposite to Cindy-Mei, in that she has always lived as Danielle, has had understanding parents and friends and has had an ‘easy feminine’ life. Where Cindy-Mei had a good deal of hardship and danger in her past, Danielle is an innocent, who also just wants to be happy as her true self.  She first makes her appearance in ‘Black Sunrise’. In future stories, she and Cindy-Mei become good friends. Cindy-Mei takes her under her wing as a protégé.  Later, in ‘Dead Mans Hammer’ she has an unfortunate encounter with the assassin Villainessa Tittel, but survives.
  • Doktor Heinrich Septimus Gleichstein speaks with a heavy German accent. He is the only quantum physicist to ever come near Deanna, possibly because the planet has a quantum factor of 220.67 out of 10 (which quite honestly, was just too good to pass up) and to almost blow it up as well. He lives in a run-down house where even the mouse holes should have blast doors. At any rate, the mice gave up and moved out years ago. He conducts experiments in the lounge, having already blown up the garage. Several varieties of mutated cockroach have been discovered there by Interstellar Geographic in recent years.
  • PG2He spends a considerable amount of time putting off visits from ‘Interstellar Geographic’. His favorite advice, given quite seriously, is that “in a controlled environment it is far more difficult to lose your eyebrows”.  His companion is Vluffy, a grumpy little black dog of uncertain breed who wears a flame-proof doggie jacket for safety reasons.  Dr Gleichstein is most notably remembered for inventing the Luminous Paperclip and also the Self-Cleaning Mouse Trap – which isn’t saying much.
  • Dorian Wintermuller (Dory), a pre-op transsexual romantically involved with Timaset Skooch, the lead character of ‘Loderunner’ for more than two years. Dory has lived most of her life trying to find her place in the gay world, under the impression she needs to be a drag queen until she realizes she wants to really be Dory all the time.  Described as ‘good with a frying pan – and I don’t mean cooking’, Dory has her own part time home and interior decorators consulting agency.  She spends much of her time trying to explain the subtle differences between lilac and cerise to her clients.
Fred tends to cause people to wonder what is in their drinks...

Fred tends to cause people to wonder what is in their drinks…

  • Fred (the Arborian), a sentient plant that can move and talk. Watching him walk on his lower branches and carry his own pot is indeed a sight to behold. When he’s around people tend to scream or faint for no apparent reason or to study the labels on whatever it is they’re currently consuming. He provides comic relief in subtle ways and in unexpected situations and also plays a key role in ‘Black Sunrise’, the first book in the series. He has in the past been a passenger/occupant of the potted plant rack in the rec-dec aboard a loderunner, and has since moonlighted as a security guard (under-cover – er, camouflage division) at a shopping mall in Atro City. Fred, as a member of the species Sapiens flora silicae, doesn’t seem to be burdened by many of the moral dilemmas or hang-ups the human characters seem to have.  As a result his approach is far more direct and pragmatic – and unusually effective.  He is also a singular wit, dropping bad puns like well, dry leaves.  His main talent though, seems to be camouflage.
Gary Beck, a.k.a. Beck the Badfeller.

Gary Beck, a.k.a. Beck the Badfeller.

  • Gary Beck a.k.a. Beck the Badfeller, a good looking and talented bounty hunter with a legendary reputation for always getting his man. Er… except in that other case where his ‘man’ turned out to be a woman.  His reputation claims he’s so good he could find the missing day in a leap year. He is a resident of Lugaluru (a less-affluent lower-class suburb of Atro City), living in an immobilized mobile home in – well, these days we would call it a trailer park. He becomes involved with Cindy-Mei Winter towards the end of ‘Black Sunrise’. He’s the kind of good guy who values a clear conscience and likes to have a peaceful night’s sleep while affording his “clients” the same luxury.  He believes in principle that a live man is far easier to carry than a dead one (and could be worth more in the end because in theory he could always need to be caught again in future – thus generating more income for him.)  He is fundamentally opposed to the idea of killing – unless it’s in self-defense or by complete accident.  He is supposed to be the “knight in shining armor” in the story, the wholesome good guy any girl would love to take home and introduce to Mama.

  • Giggling Harry – an underworld figure on Deanna, what some might call a big fish in a little pond, a small-time crime boss.  A leader of a small enterprise that dabbled in this and that.  Giggling Harry dabbled in shady imports.  (Which co-incidentally, happened to be the name of his largest business enterprise.  Shady Imports Inc.)  And Giggling Harry was called Giggling Harry on account of what he did most of the time.  He giggled.  It was sort of a nervous tick.  One that would suit any self respecting mad-scientist or any person on the verge of potential insanity.  And yes, his name really was Harry.
  • Horst van der Ku (Captain), commander of the Imperial Star Ship Antares.   A man who takes pride in his achievements and decorates his office walls with them.    Along one part he has a set of chrome and glass shelves which he decorated with defunct old weapons and other items of interest. Among these was a heavy looking flintlock pistol which lost pride of place after it cost him a fingernail when he accidentally caught his left thumb under the hammer.  The current pride of his collection is a curiosity, a thing that reminds him simultaneously of both human ingenuity and stupidity and the inane ability of an entrepreneur to – no matter how good an idea may seem – find a way to blow his head off with it just to make a quick buck.  He is a single-minded martinet who spends his spare time dotting t’s and crossing i’s.  He succeeds Mykl d’Angelo as commander of the starship Antares after thirty years of service.
  • Jaymie Vallantdorf  a young pre-op transsexual kidnapped by a dastardly group headed by Jones, his family’s former butler who turned out to work for the Olduvai Trust.  Frederyck Vallantdorf, the mayor of Mars City is her father. She is rescued by Timaset Skooch and his crew in ‘Loderunner’.
  • Johnathan Scrooby, is often described as a man more out of time than a one-handed drummer. One of the best agents the Time Saving Agency has, had or will ever have. (Their core business being Time Travel, we should assume they know what they are talking about.) He is the kind of man who will drop an apple out of a tree onto Isaac Newton’s head just to make sure gravity gets invented.  (After all, people would sort of silly just floating around in mid-air.) His favorite advice is to “never ever try to explain Ursa Minor to anybody wearing a uniform.”  He appears in a story every now and then just to bail the author out of difficult corners she has written herself into (Like for instance, when Bobby died and then one day months later, it was all just a bad dream.) He also shows up for those somber occasions when a man in a yellow polka dot dress is just what the doctor ordered.
  • Johannes Albrecht.  An entrepreneur who sells exotic coffees and deserts from his small shop on Lupini Square (Atro City), which is frequented by regulars as well as strangers.  Albrecht’s Takeaways is known especially for his famous Hot Dogs and Cold Cats (the way his a’mamma made a them) – and for Hot Stuff Blend, a strong coffee which is meant to be drunk while standing up, which has sometimes had fatal consequences.  Poor Albrecht was recently an inmate of the Willow Gardens Resort For The Temporarily Insane after a visit from Brad Xyl, who arrived, trailing smoking black footprints and shedding iridescent blue sparks – and promptly drank two cups of Hot Stuff Blend – and then asked for something stronger.
  • Jenny Grauffis, elder sister of Danielle.  A tough rancher type who keeps running into funny characters even stranger than her younger – um, brother who has far more fashion sense than her.  She takes Marsh’k in after he saves their lives when they are held captive by men in the employ of the mines on Deanna.

mark

  • Marsh’k (Mark), the commander of the Ruminarii warship, named the “Black Sunrise”.  He first arrives in ‘Black Sunrise’ as a member of a warlike reptilian race whose moral values mirror our own, as well as those of every other known species in recorded history.  For them evil is good and vice versa, which later leads to some interesting experiments in theology and sociology.  He alone survives the botched invasion of Deanna and goes into hiding on the Grauffis farm outside Atro City and begins his education in Human Culture 101. He enjoys cooking, which makes a nice change from eating things raw, bloody and sometimes still living. Called Mark by the Grauffis sisters, because it’s easier to pronounce, the former enemy alien now lives in a storm shelter under the Graufis farmhouse as a literal illegal alien.
  • O’Donnell, Maxwell Sullivan (Sheriff) – a man of genuine Irish American descent (with maybe a little Cherokee thrown in).   He arrived on Deanna twelve years previously as an over-eager Colonial Deputy with a head full of dreams and a wallet full of zilch.  Twelve years later, he is the Sheriff of San Fedora and a man now rich in law enforcement experience.  He dealt with murders, robberies, hi-jackings and other varied violent crimes that plague Humankind at home before also following him into deep space. He has extensive experience with numerous auto accidents and crow-related mishaps on the roads under his jurisdiction. He is no newbie when it comes to death.  
  • Peggy-Ann Muller (Peg), Sheriff in charge of the AtroCity Sheriff’s Office Deputies (S.O.D’s). A tough girl who has had a secret crush on Gary Beck for quite some time, completing the quintessential love triangle. She sometimes acts as his agent in finding him bounties. When she inadvertently introduces him to Cindy-Mei in ‘Black Sunrise’ (under the impression that she is in fact a CIA agent) and they fall in love, she is somewhat distraught. She becomes a little bitter towards her, but they eventually settle down into a fairly comfortable friendship, even assisting each other in a professional capacity from time to time.  The two stand together and develop their relationship in ‘Dead Man’s Hammer’.
  • Ramsley Valcovar The Third (The Very Reverend), a minister in the Reformed PuritanChurch of Deanna.  He is based in The Chapel Of St Lucienne The Prostrate in an upper class suburb of Atro City, where he passes his time comforting widows and making the name of the girls’ youth choir (Virgin Snow) into a complete – um, fallacy.  Ramsley Valcovar graduated from the PuritanSecularSchool on Uripides with honors, top of his class in ’69. Born into a wealthy family, he always wanted the kind of posting where he could settle into a routine of comfort and class, where he would have three services every Sunday and be invited round for dinner by the well-to-do members of his congregation.
  • img105He enjoys the reputation for having once performed a wedding ceremony in pig-Latin, just to see if anyone would notice. After an odd disturbance in the chapel he spent a good deal of time in the Willow Gardens Resort For The Temporarily Insane, where he now has a chair reserved in the Group Therapy Room with his name on it. He likes sitting in the garden listening to the Flatular Canaries in the Ploplar trees. The nice doctors also let him play with clay.
  • Timaset Skooch, the man you want to hire if Beck the Badfeller is otherwise occupied.  A private investigator by trade, this former cop decided he had enough of getting shot at for not much and went to work for himself.  Lately he even gets shot at for free.
  • Villainessa Tittle – if poets write about Helen of Troy as the face that launched a thousand ships, then they would write about Villainessa Tittle as the bitch that sank them.  She started out as a professional assassin in the employ of the Terran Colonial Intelligence Agency.  Ever since she turned professional and went freelance she’s been making a killing.  She thinks of her profession as a form of frontier art and considers it her true calling in life.  She likes to read books from the back because she prefers endings instead of beginnings. She displays a deeply sadistic streak and innovation in nail fashion. She takes on slightly too much in ‘Dead Mans Hammer’ when she comes after Cindy-Mei and Gary Beck.

Objects:

  • Astroplex – a theme park on Earth all about space travel and the colonies. Most of the important colonies are represented there. The simulations are very accurate. Their representation of Deanna shows everything from crabby-grass to strato-penguins and features a simulation of one of Dings’ many visits to the surface.
  • AtroCity, a place name derived from the designated landing zones (Alpha, Tango, Romeo and Oscar) of the original settler landings approximately twenty standard years before ‘Black Sunrise’.  It is considered rather appropriate. Otherwise, make of the name what you will. The capital city on Deanna and a medium sized city by current standards, consisting mainly of smaller colony towns that sprawled into each other as the number of colonists increased over time.

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  • Atro City University – In recent years, Atro City University had become quite an academic force.  Graduates from this institution were becoming well-known across the Terran Empire – heading blue-chip companies, holding prominent government positions, winning Laureate Awards and sometimes, on rare occasions, even getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar.  It is a place where people from all walks of life mingle more-or-less as equals. (Recently, some scholars anonymously drew unwelcome parallels between the University and prisons based on this similarity.)  It is said that ATU teaches everything from Quantum Physics to Advanced Stamp Collecting.

 

  • Battle of Atro City, The – When a Ruminarii Hammerhead arrives to invade the tiny third-rate Terran colony of Deanna, bombs the city and then makes a landing at Atro City Space Port, a mixed group of people arrive to welcome them with open arms. Make that exposed arms. Civilians, SODs (Sheriff’s Office Deputies) and the Skegg’s Valley Dynamite Fishing Club – and Fred, in orbit. The battle takes at least an hour – and the poor Ruminarii don’t really stand a chance.

TR714 Alliance

  • Beljan Interstellar Mining Company.  Said company specializes in deep space mining operations.  They are the largest, having a fleet of mineral survey ships and loderunners almost an eighth the size of the Imperial Star Fleet.  If there’s a demand for it, they’d be out there digging it up. TR74 Duval, the carrier Cindy-Mei Winter and Fred the Arborian arrive at Deanna on, is one of their ships.
  • Braking Dolphins, cute little marsupial dolphin-like marine creatures, about hand-sized.  The strong freshwater currents pull the creatures backwards because of their pouches, which tend to slow them down quite a bit, hence their name.Tourists come from everywhere just to watch them as they accidentally swim backwards through the tour boats propeller.

Deanna tourist boat

  • Buffer, The , a device which protects the TSA temporarily, from what they call UTE’s (Unforeseen Time Events), or in other words, screw-ups.  It provides a grace period to sort out the timeline before it catches up.
  • Cocka-snoek, a local fish renowned for being tasty but yet incredibly hard to kill as well as for being unusually resourceful.  In fact, the best known way to catch cocka-snoek is to dynamite them, then scoop them up while they’re mildly stunned and floating on the surface. Droves of experienced fisherman have come to visit Deanna just to hunt these elusive creatures, just to return home with naught but an empty fish-box and bits of shrapnel in their butts.  There is something disconcerting about a fish so tough that it has to be stunned with a hand-grenade before you can catch and eat it.
  • Colonial Intelligence Agency (The) – (known as ‘the CIA’) a clandestine Terran government agency involved in law-enforcement, counter-terrorism, intelligence gathering and possibly even stamp collecting.
  • Crabbygrass, the native semi-plant life form on Deanna.  It is naturally aggressive and tends to go for anything living with piranha-like vigor. It is a well disguised animal form that bites and snaps at livestock that tries to eat it, causing havoc and nervous disorders for livestock farmers to worry about. Crabbygrass generally subsists on small bugs living in the soil but it seems to favor the pigeons inadvertently imported from Earth as its staple diet. It has been described as “it looks like grass, it smells like grass, it even feels like grass – but just you step on it!”  As a result, most of the poorer population, who actually walk outdoors, wears safety shoes.
  • Deanna, a third rate colony world on the borders of civilization, where strange things can happen and often do.  It has been described as the centre of the universe as far as weirdness is concerned.  (It has become famous throughout the Terran Empire because it has a small moon that falls down occasionally.)
  • Denosius Gulf, a treacherous dog-leg piece of space that used to be part of what was known as the Omegan Quadrant.  Not terribly long ago, this used to be a very, very dangerous place. Ships would go in and never come out.  People would disappear in its black empty space.  The cause of this phenomenon? The Corsairs. Probably. 
  • Ding and Dong, the two mad little moons of the planet Deanna.  Inspired by Mars’ Phobos and Deimos (Fear and Panic).  Dong is a chunk of rock about a kilometer around, while Ding is made of solid titanium and is only about 50 feet around.  Ding has a tendency to get knocked out of its low orbit by visiting ships every now and then.  The Tourism Office keeps polishing it and having it put back again.
  • Duval – Loderunner, Bannor Class. Civilian Freight Carrier. Registration: TR-424. Crew: 10. – The ship that brought Cindy-Mei Winter and Fred to Deanna.
  • Editor – a Time Editing Tool similar to a Projector, but with features the other device doesn’t have.  It can make changes to a particular timeline such as cut, copy and paste – and of course undo.
  • Flatular Canaries, I think that description is pretty much self explanatory!
  • Haha Birds, a native bird from Deanna, about two feet tall.  The species is unusually accident prone and psychotic, having to deal with the profound insanity of throwing itself from a perfectly good rooftop every morning just to find breakfast and a good place to crash. (Showers of yellow feathers are not uncommon.)

Haha Bird #2

It is the only known bird species with an inherent fear of flying, and has been described as the only birds that could “actually crap themselves in full flight” and often do.  If you thought Red-horned Wildebeest were funny, wait till you see a haha bird.

  • Hot Stuff Blend – the strongest nonalcoholic concoction known to humankind.  It contains well, coffee naturally, but the kind grown by a mad scientist who might’ve added various outlawed chemicals.  (This could be likened to say, taking LSD for a headache.) It’s excellent for fixing hangovers, if you didn’t mind losing your sense of taste or not sleeping for a week.  It could prove fatal if taken on top of certain medication for heart conditions or chronic depression.  Generally it is accepted that nobody can drink more than one cup in a single day.  The effects of two or more could be described as unknown, ‘what?!’ or most likely fatal. 
  • Japp’s Saloon and Speakeasy’, a small bar in the northwest corner of the only legal red-light area of AtroCity (Lugaluru). (The S.O.D.s believe in crime management.)
  • Jeepo,  a cheap and common form of transport on Deanna.  A typical off-road vehicle designed for a frontier environment.  It can be described as a cross between a low end 4×4 and a beach buggy.  Usually they are electric powered as more expensive SUV’s are hydrogen fuelled and much more fun.
  • Loderunner, a name for a freighter or freight carrying star ship.
  • Lugaluru – a suburb of AtroCity populated mostly by trailer parks and low simple wooden buildings mostly left over from the early days when colonization just began on Deanna.  It is most famous for having Beck the Badfeller as a resident.
  • Limbo Practicale.  No, not a badly named Latin style dance, it is in fact a chrono-spacial phenomenon where time runs in short loops and everything happens over and over again in different combinations of upside down, backwards and inside out. The TSA use it as a prison for time offenders. It is considered a just punishment and an ironically satisfactory one by TSA agents (who face the same risks on a daily basis).  It is a one-way trip (which is just as well because anybody would be certifiably insane after a lengthy exposure to the Limbo Practicale) and would teach the bad guys to mess with Time in the first place.
  • Lulu Penitentiary – A large prison complex in the wilds surrounding AtroCity. Sometimes the wardens would let the odd prisoner out for some air, just to give the dogs some real exercise, that sort of thing.
  • Martian Quail When humans began terraforming Mars, Martian Quail was one of the native Martian species that awoke from prolonged hibernation.  Martian Quail roughly resembles Earth quails except they are the size of a bull and slightly more aggressive. Apparently it can take a high explosive shell from an elephant gun to bring one down.
  • Obsidian Crows, are possibly the laziest birds known to Humankind. The hard bodied creatures are far too heavy to fly, or run or even to move at anything faster than a modest shuffle.  They are a major road hazard because they tend to walk straight, as the crow fl – walks, more-or-less. In any case, they will usually just shake the dust off their stony scales and climb out of the crater in the road and wander off again. It has been said the only thing that can frighten an Obsidian Crow is quicksand. The safety bars on Deannan vehicles are named after them (“Crow-bars”).

Obsidian Crows are a known road hazard on Deanna. Please ensure you have a spare tire when traveling.

  • Olduvai Trust, The,  a major interstellar crime syndicate based in Mars City, Mars.
  • Ossifar Distana one of the most luxurious deep space liners of its kind.  It ferries the cream of society across the void in opulence and style.  Only the wealthiest could afford an apartment on this ship for a trip of any duration, even a short one around the proverbial block and  even the crew is obliged to pay rent. On any given day this gargantuan ship of the Red Star Line, the largest and most successful Star Line Company in existence, carries 5000 passengers, the actual figure varying slightly depending on where she is on the vast elliptical cruise that takes her around the Terran Empire. 
  • Plaza, The  – the main shopping mall in the central area of AtroCity.  It is a five story high building laid out in a triangle pattern with glass sides, and it’s a very busy place.  It’s a hub of social life in AtroCity, and consequently, Deanna.  There are close to a thousand shops within its five tiered levels, arranged round the triangular courtyard and the garden at its center. Among these are boutiques, café’s, jewelry stores, restaurants and all sorts.
  • Polymetric Life Ender – a rather intriguing device, even to agents of the TSA.  This is mainly because it comes from the 30th century and strictly speaking, hasn’t been invented yet.  It is, as its rather straightforward name suggests, an instrument of death. It has two distinct advantages, being both silent and virtually instantaneous. It applies compressed sound waves, which at close range (i.e. when pressed up against a human body), sends a single pulse of sound energy through the body cavity which instantly ruptures the internal organs.  It is for this very reason that the Polymetric Corporation deemed it prudent to print ‘Keep Out of Reach of Children’ in very small letters on the inside of the battery cover.  It was the weapon of choice for most common or garden Time Terrorists, because aside from the previously mentioned reasons, it is also easy to conceal and makes no visible mess.  
  • Projector – a Time Editing Tool used by the TSA agents for scanning the time stream.  To cut to the point, agents use it when searching for an event or person in a timeline, skipping through the DVD of Life – or ‘fast-forwarding the video machine’.  It isn’t quite a DVD player or video machine, but it’s a fitting description to use when trying to explain the idea to a Time Native.  To people of the earlier 20th century it was a Flick or film projector.  Natives of the 18 and 19th, having less developed understandings of technology find it more difficult to understand such complicated explanations. (Sometimes these involve drawing little pictures.)
  • Ramalama, the star of of the particular star system which is home to the – er, unusual Terran colony of Deanna.  The name of this star coincides with the two moons of Deanna – Ramalama-Ding-Dong.  (This is a local joke.)  Local inhabitants drink Ramalama-downers and eat eggs Ramalama side up.
  • Red-horned Wildebeest are lab-bred, genetically engineered cattle, sporting cute little red horns and a tendency to fall over on even slightly uneven terrain because of their top-heavy build.  They are extremely rectangular in shape, which makes them easier to stack while in transit. Unfortunately this also results in steaks with corners and square ribs instead of spare ribs.  The milk variety is known as ‘milk cartons’ because of their shape.
    slide-14

    Red-horned Wildebeest.

    Most of the creatures are somewhat jittery and suspicious of any innocent looking clumps of grass, which might turn out to be crabbygrass – which has a tendency to bite back. In fact, the majority of farmers have their Red-horned Wildebeest so hopped up on sedatives they usually don’t even notice they’ve been to the abattoirs until the day after.

  • Reformed Puritan Church something like the old Puritans, except they tend to be a little more camp and colorful.  Rather pretentious too.  They stand high on ceremony and ritual.  There are ceremonies for everything.  There is a ceremony for lighting candles, one for walking safely under a ladder and another for those possibly about to fall down stairs.  It borders on the ridiculous.  There is even an absolution ritual for committing adultery – except in the case of minors – for which there is another. img104Weddings and funerals are performed often and with full ritual, lasting several hours.  Weddings pay better than funerals and they are far more numerous, whereas most people only die once. Anyway, it is an internal joke that the funerals last longer than some marriages. The standard divorce ceremonies are small private affairs and there are even more of those.  Nobody attends the divorce ceremonies, but there is usually a small retinue consisting of two lawyers and a pair of big burly men and one or two trauma counselors who hang around in case any brawls broke out. (Paramedics usually wait outside in the ambulance.) The mothers-in-law often attend, looking rather pleased and self-satisfied and wearing smirky ‘I told you so’ expressions.  
  • Ruminarii Hammerheads – Cruiser, Hammerhead Class. Ruminarii Space Navy. Registration: Unknown. Crew: 500. The main warship of the warlike Ruminarii, so named because of its peculiar hull shape.  (The current advice in general circulation would be ‘if you see one, look for a hole – crawl into it and then pull it in after you.’) A hammerhead is about a kilometer long and is a dark shiny black, as black as space and – as some whisper, as dark as the souls of the Ruminarii themselves.

A Ruminarii Hammerhead

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  • Ruminarii, The, a warlike reptilian race.  In four short centuries they had managed to lay waste almost a thousand star systems, enslaving their populations and stripping them of all they wanted.  It has been said that if the Harrt’shisk Hab’arr’oun (Empire of the Golden Sun) ever had any allies; it would’ve been a short-lived alliance indeed.  Their ferocity was matched only by their boldness.  They display only the negative emotions.  How a race founded purely on hate, spite and evil managed to flourish as they did is a question on which few civilizations have survived to speculate.  The Ruminarii are bipeds.  They are a reptilian species (which probably goes a long way to explain their cold bloodedness.)  Suitably shaped is the best non-offensive description I can find.  Otherwise, they’re f***ing ugly.  At least by most standards.
  • San Fedora – a small city about fifty kilometers away from Atro City, on the other side of Skeggs Valley, smaller than the capital of Deanna. An industrial center that is fast developing.  There are several factories here, mostly automotive and related industries.  The local hat factory is of prime note. The Jeepo factory is here somewhere too. Right next to the Crow Bar factory which has a stylized obsidian crow as a logo on a big billboard just inside the fence beside the road.
  • ‘Shock Diamond’, The – a neat little night spot in downtown Lugaluru, a rather average suburb in AtroCity.  Average clientele, just your average Jane or Joe having an after work drink with a few mates or a few losers drinking alone.  The place was named after the intense little blue diamond shape that would appear in the flare of a rocket engine at lift-off.  Quite interesting, he thought, taking a seat at the bar.  Not many people knew that.  Not many people even cared, really, since the only rocket engines they still saw were in old movies or one or two surviving relics of the rocket era.  Antigrav and warp drive were the current modes of propulsion for all things vehicular and spacified. Except for Jeepo’s of course.  Often frequented by famous bounty hunter Beck the Badfeller who would pop in for a ‘cold one’ or two.
  • Skeggs Valley Dynamite Fishing Club, is made up of retired former military personnel, from the Space Fleet as well as the Starmarines.  They congregate every few weekends to go dynamite fishing on the Whatoosie River in Skeggs Valley and blow the crap out of cocka-snoek.
  • Slipped Disk, The, the wildest club on Deanna.  Need I say more? The Slipped Disk is in the basement parking levels of The Plaza, the biggest shopping mall in Atro City. 
  • S.O.D. – Sherrif’s Office Deputy, the law enforcement agency on most Terran colonies.  Most of the vehicles and badges bear the abbreviation ‘S.O.D.’ much to the amusement of everybody with a sense of humor.
  • Solus Gratuiti Award, The – A medal, which (aside from commuting a death sentence) is the highest honor that the Empire could bestow on anyone.
  • Strato-Penguins, a high-flying native Deanna bird species.  It flies using  some remarkable natural rocket propulsion that the author hasn’t quite figured out yet.  Perhaps it’s caused by a diet of Rabid Beans or high octane beetles or something.  They are known to explode if they stray too high up in the outer atmosphere.

Strato-penguins usually keep to the upper limits of the stratosphere.

They usually fly in a ‘c’ formation in their eternal east-west migration.  Strato-Penguins were named for their uncanny resemblance to Earth penguins, but with two main differences: Strato-Penguins are a good deal faster, and penguins don’t explode like that at high altitude.

  • Targa 800 – a hydrogen powered sports car capable of achieving speeds around 250kph, although on Deanna’s’ roads, you wouldn’t want to go much over 100 – there are a few pot holes here and there, to say nothing of what might happen if you hit an obsidian crow.  Good night.  And anyway, if you’re in that much of a rush, you can travel by airtaxi.

  • Time Saving Agency, The An organization from some distant future that that polices Time travel and whose agents went around fixing screw-ups, rectifying things that weren’t really supposed to happen – either because of meddling Time Terrorists or UTE’s (Unforseen Time Events, ie screw-ups.)
  • Typhus Bay – a wealthy part of Mars City, where many professionals live. 
  • UTE – Unforseen Time Event; ie. A screw up.  Usually when this happens time agents have to Go Back or Try Again Later to undo the damage done to Time by Time Terrorists, who alter the timeline for their own devious purposes, i.e. MG (Material Gain) or PM (Plain Malice). History is very, very susceptible to UTE’s.
  • Wertle soup, which is made from the yellow wertle, a tri-cotyledonous bean-like plant which grows wild on the plains of Mars. It goes well with a twist of lemon, which gives it a salty taste.  
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