Spring flowers are coming out here (including the non-native little white daffodil-shaped things) and not having a cold welcome from the weather at all. Dandelions, a honeysuckle that flowers in winter and smells like lemon, swelling buds on all but the most wary trees and bushes. So…what about Cold Welcome? You’ve seen both the covers. You’ve made “interesting” guesses at what’s going on. And some of it I can’t tell you because of spoilering too much.
But you might be interested in some of what’s happened between Ky’s victory over Gammis Turek & Co., and the start of this book. So here’s some background. I will be tip-toeing around the story that’s going to appear in the anthology Infinite Stars later this year. It’s in between the two, but fairly close to Cold Welcome, and is titled “All in a Day’s Work.”
As is often the case, the excitement and gratitude following that victory soon faded away, and with a big, obvious enemy vanquished, the political support for Space Defense Force diminished. Big space military organizations are even more expensive than ground forces of the same size. Governments began to find reasons why–with Turek dead–they thought they could make do with just the same local military they’d had before. How likely was it, after all, that another Turek would arise any time soon? The Moscoe Confederation, an early adopter/supporter, found that having a multi-system force based on Cascadia Station meant having even more foreigners who didn’t live up to the standards of Cascadian demeanor…with resulting legal and diplomatic problems. Ky was encouraged to keep the fleet’s ships in space–but that cost more, and nobody was really willing to have them all in active training all the time. Besides, Ky was also wanted for all the desk chores a senior commander must complete.
Eventually (I think this was mentioned in a bit I put here months ago) political pressure within the Moscoe Confederation government saddled Ky with a senator’s daughter as her aide. You will meet Jen in Cold Welcome. She’s a decade and a half, at least, older than Ky, and a woman with many talents that may or may not match with the skillset of an admiral’s aide. She’s taller than Ky, a poised, sophisticated woman completely at home in Cascadia’s very formal society. She’s very aware that Ky is younger, shorter, darker, and more famous, besides being less formal, and she regards herself as especially gracious for agreeing to subordinate herself to this outsider. She has received advice from her father the senator, and other elements of Cascadian high society, and is expected to report to them on Ky…which starts her out with divided loyalties.
The SDF is now working out of Greentoo, not Cascadia. Greentoo is farther out, but it does have superb shipyards. On the surface, it’s less attractive–Cascadia settled it to divert the some of its industry from Cascadia itself, so that more of the forest would survive. But its mores are more relaxed than Cascadia’s, and its three orbital stations do very well for their populations. In the few years since the Battle of Nexus, the SDF headquarters has developed into a typical military bureaucracy (smaller than ours!) including offices sized and decorated by rank. Although there’s not a lot in this book about the rivalry within the SDF, it definitely exists.
So for the past several years (when Cold Welcome opens) Ky has been dealing with situations she didn’t ask for or anticipate, and she’s doing so without working her way up through the ranks, without experience in staff work. She doesn’t get to go places on her flagship very often; she’s “stuck” as she calls it, with the dull side (to her) of being the top-ranking person. She deals mostly with political appointees and senior officers, and misses the interaction with “everybody” that she had when captain of a ship…because now, of course, there’s a flag captain who actually commands the ship. She’s finding it less satisfying, and she’s trying not to let herself realize that she’s bored.
And that’s enough for now (and I have an earache.)