I think this blog post is less "inspired writing" than "parental catharsis." I'm dealing with a teenager at home, and if any parent can attest, they are somewhat braindead.

In a flash of rage/brilliance I got an idea for a character in the story. Her nickname is Airlock, and she looks EXACTLY like our main character. (Because they are identical twins/clones from the same program.) Her real name is Amelia, but while Emily managed to tap into the brains of the family, Amelia is the manifestation of Chaos and Mystery.

Never told in so many words to the reader will be that there were 7 clones created. Amelia, Betty, Carol, Donna, Emily, Ferne, and Gianna. Each is infused with the imprint of a different practitioner of magic. Except for Gianna. She is an experimental control.

Amelia (yellow) was infused with a legendary explorer. She was adopted by a family of space explorers. She grew up as a maverick risk taker. But her reliance on luck turned into a gambling habit.

Betty (magenta) was infused with the memories of a legendary illusionist. Her charisma led to her getting an early start in show business. But like many child stars, she has burned out. Her antics (and arrests) put her picture on the front pages of gossip columns regularly and often.

Carol (cyan) was infused with a legendary scientist. She grew up as the child of scientists. In her teens she fell in with a religious cult.

Donna (red) was infused with a legendary athlete. She was an olympic star in her youth. But now her body is worn out from all of the exertion, and she has retired to be a housewife.

Emily (blue) was infused with a legendary mathematician. She was raised in a boarding school, and made her way to the military academy. While she trained to be a fighter pilot, she ended up changing majors to Astrogation. (A combined study of astronomy and a practical matters of orbital mechanics and spacecraft propulsion.)

Ferne (green) was raised by a religious order. She was raised in a cult, but left to pursue science. She has a Doctorate in Psychiatry, and works to help people with psychological problems. Her speciality is deprogramming people from cults.

Gianna had no magical alterations. She was adopted out to normal parents. She works in the human resource department of a lithium refinery.

Interactions in the Story

My vision for the story is that Amelia took a job with a contracting firm as a shuttle pilot. Amelia ends up on the C├ęzanne to escape from gambling debts. Because it is a hardship post, the job pays well. But it also keeps her out of civilized space for months at a time. But deep space is not her passion, and she takes that frustration out on the rest of her shipmates.

She is known around the ship as Amelia Airlock. (A play on Amelia Earhart.) It's unclear if the Airlock refers to the fact she always seems to have one foot in the airlock, that people want to throw her our of one.

In a strange twist of fate, the explorer she was imprinted was actually the Amelia Earhart from our world who crossed over to the Sublight Universe in 1937. As a celebrity and explorer, she was one of the first people imaged with the (then) cutting edge soul imprinting technology.

Yes, it's a set of contrived coincidences. But, as Amelia's superpower is luck, that is exactly the sort of thing that tends to happen. And yes, I do feel inspired by Teela Brown of Ringworld.

Project Antigone

The seven sisters are the result of Project Anitgone. The intent was to demonstrate that Holographic Imprinting on developing fetuses gestating in an artificial womb could impart specialist skills. Normally magical powers require a lifetime of experience to manifest properly. But starting these children off with a lifetime of experience, it was hoped they could develop powers even beyond what is considered expert.

Magical training is highly regulated since the Great Cataclysm (Star date 29508 through 31683). People in the Sublight universe learn magic in the same way that people in our world pick up a career or a musical instrument. Theory and practice. Lots and lots of practice.

ISTO has a small population compared to Krasnovia, Earth, or the Circle Trigon. Their human resource practices basically involve running a haberdashery. Every member of a crew wears several hats. From one person to spend a lifetime developing one and only one skill would be unsustainable. Their hope was to find a way to shortcut the process of developing deep talents.

Several years after the 7 sisters were created, the Organization browbeat ISTO into cancelling the project. They Blue Collars didn't want to see the creation of piles and piles of mass produced evil geniuses. ISTO and the Organization hammered out an agreement. ISTO traded future development in a project (that was having questionable results) for a future commitment to the Organization providing magical training in ISTO space.