About the Author…
from the author’s website:
I began writing fiction a couple of years ago, after artist Iain McCaig dared (and inspired) me to write a screenplay. I wrote two, and then a handful of stories, and show no signs of stopping.
My stories The Union of Soil and Sky, Slow Boat, and Freia in the Sunlight appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction in 2010; all three made Honorable Mention in Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction, and “Slow Boat” was reprinted in Russian in the November 2011 issue of Esli Magazine.
l attended the Clarion 2010 Writer’s Workshop in San Diego, with Delia Sherman, Ellen Kushner, George RR Martin, Dale Bailey, Samuel R Delany, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer and seventeen extraordinary new writers. Click here for updates on my amazing Clarion colleagues!
I work as a researcher and designer for motion pictures; my credits include Beowulf, A Christmas Carol, and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. I currently work in the story department at Lucasfilm Animation. I work as well on independent films. I design and build experimental musical instruments, and play music with them, for some definition of “play” and “music”.
About the Narrator…
Shaelyn Grey has been active in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, mainly as a singer and actor. Recently she has expanded into voice over work and is currently a part of the cast of Aurelia: Edge of Darkness, which is an online interactive web series. Shaelyn plays the part of Thais ven Derrivalle, a self centered member of the aristocracy who is more concerned about her tea than her city’s loss of power. Aurelia can be viewed at http://www.theatrics.com/
aurelia and Shaelyn can be reached through shaelyngreyvocals.com.
Freia in the Sunlight
by Gregory Norman Bossert
Freia is beautiful, and she knows it. Richard Wooten says so, at 0:47.
Wisps and curls whip overhead, limned blue by starlight; the fog ceiling is lowering, the top tattered by the offshore wind. She drops another three meters, switches on ultrasonics. There are patches of trees here — “unmarked obstacles up to thirty meters” the map says — and she is skimming just twenty meters above the ground. The woods show up as ghostly towers in the sonics, blurred and dopplered by her two hundred thirty meters per second; further to her right the hills run parallel to her course, solid in passive radar and the occasional glimpse in visual light through the fog.
That occasional glimpse is a problem, of course; what she can see can see her back. Her beauty is hidden, these days, wrapped in night fogs and silence, not like the Demo in the sun. But today is different. Her Intelligence Package has been pulled, and the Extended Performance Metrics Recorder; a single unit fills her payload bay, an isolated control subsystem and minimal I/O. The last time she’d flown without the IntPack was at the Demo; it is possible, she thinks, that the mission today might be another, that the target will be a wide field in the sun, a billowing crowd, a platform and podium and Richard Wooten. She’d replayed the video during the long incoming leg over the ocean, rebuilt her profile of the Demo field, ready to find a match in the terrain ahead.
Richard Wooten says at 5:49:
What you are about to see is a first here at the Paris Air Show. In fact, it is a first at any public event, anywhere in the world. What you are about to see is fully autonomous flight. We’re not talking about an autopilot, or a preprogrammed route, or a replay out of one of the overused attack libraries our competitors are demonstrating at this same show. The mission parameters we’ve given are simply to maximize visibility to the target –that’s all of you (chuckles) — while covering the full range of flight capabilities, minimums to maximums. Those parameters were provided in natural language by the ApInt Director of Marketing. Yes, that’s me, ladies and gentlemen, Richard Wooten. No pilots, no programmers, no technical staff. Everything, from the analysis of the terrain and weather right down to the choice of route and individual maneuvers, _everything_ you are about to see, will be determined in real-time by the onboard systems of this extraordinary unit.