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Author Topic: EP431: The Golden Glass  (Read 1185 times)
eytanz
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« on: January 17, 2014, 11:12:13 AM »

EP431: The Golden Glass

by Gary Kloster

read by Matt Haynes

--
“The jump-pilot,” said Alejandro, “is sleeping with Leo.”

“You just noticed?” Glory said, tugging off her pants. “And now these are getting too tight. That’s it, I’m upping G in engineering. It’ll skew the efficiency but my ass won’t fit through the access panels soon if I don’t burn some of this off.”

Alejandro ignored his wife’s attempted diversion. “How long has this been going on?”

Glory shrugged. “The kids? They’ve been flirting since Evy came aboard. I’m not exactly sure when they actually started sleeping together. Probably during the flight here to Valhalla.”  She dropped her clothes and stepped into the head. “Why’s it matter?”

Alejandro sat on the bunk and pulled off his slippers. “You’re okay with this?”

Glory leaned out the door, toothbrush in hand. “They’re consenting adults, and it’s impossible to stop ship romances. As long as it doesn’t effect their work, it’s not our business.”

“I don’t like it,” muttered Alejandro, staring at the stars that filled the wall screen. “Leo’s a dreamer. He should be with someone grounded. Evy’s nice, but she’s not right for him. Damn good jumper, but an air-head.”

“Cheez nah…” Glory spat and tried again. “She’s not an airhead, she’s just young and… cheerful.”

“She drinks too much.”

“She has wine with dinner. Her parents owned a vineyard on Laramie.” Glory walked back into the cabin and sat next to her husband. “Alejandro, she’s a nice girl and she’s here on the ship. You have to know that Leo’s been thinking of leaving.”

Alejandro frowned. “Why? He has a good life here with us, learning the trade, and when we finally retire the Evanston will be his.”

“Yes, but that won’t be for a long time. He needs to build his own life. Hell, why do you think I pressed you so hard to hire that newly graduated jump-pilot anyway?”

“You said she had great ratings and a low pay-scale.”

“Yes, but the real reason is that our son was lusting after her the minute he saw her. Thank the gods that it’s working out and we’re not dealing with a harassment suit. Now brush your teeth. Launch tomorrow, and we’re going to be busy.”


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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skeletondragon
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2014, 12:41:09 PM »

I liked this story a lot, especially at the end when the parallel universe inhabitants revealed the reasons for their ship's strange and seemingly useless cargo. Why would anyone transport fireworks between star systems? Because one universe's trash is another's treasure, apparently.
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Thunderscreech
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2014, 01:09:07 PM »

I was thinking we'd find out at the end that the jump pilot swapped over too on purpose...  and that the Captain's gut reaction/disapproval of her and his son was valid.  Perhaps he would find the 'alternate universe' version of her more honest (if flawed) in a way that was acceptable.  

It was interesting that she grew up in wine culture and is unfamiliar with Dom Perignon.  What if...  WE'RE in the dirty alternate universe and New Provo + Alejandro & Friends is actually the alternate from our perspective.  Perhaps the value placed on the champagne is because it comes from Earth and not recognition of the brand, to anticipate a logical rebuttal.
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albionmoonlight
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2014, 11:36:16 AM »

I thought that the narration of Evie's voice was excellent.  I wanted to jump into my radio and smack her in the face.  Which is I am sure how Alejandro felt about her.  Basically, she had to prove to him, through her actions, that she was more qualified than her valley girl persona let on.  And the narration forced her to have to do the same thing to me.  I wanted her to be the bad guy just so I could root against her.  She had to prove to me that she was worth putting up with that annoying voice.  And, in the end, she was.

Great job and a fun little story.
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matweller
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2014, 10:20:54 PM »

It's funny, I had a very similar reaction when I heard it the first time while producing it. The first couple times he did that voice, I was saying in my head, "Oh no...I don't think that's what the author intended...I can't use this, people will be so mad." But by the end, I came to the same conclusion that you did and decided -- whether it was intentional by the narrator or not, I'd like to think it was -- it had it's own special genius to it.
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Unblinking
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2014, 10:35:02 AM »

I didn't get into this story, though I've liked some of Gary's other stories strongly.

I think the reason that I didn't like the story is that the focus of the story seemed to be on the least interesting parts of the story.  The part that I thought was the most interesting was Evie's desperate and successful effort to save everyone on the ship, but which had some unintended consequences.  That set of events where Evie is trying to salvage a situation gone horribly horribly wrong was my main point of interest in the story.  That was badass, but happened entirely off-stage, and instead we are left with only the dull and uninteresting consequences of the ship swap.  

The consequences of the ship swap could be summed up as:  "If you unexpectedly find yourself in possession of a bunch of crap you don't care about, it would be a good idea to research whether someone else cares about it enough to pay you monies for it."  Which isn't all that novel of a concept--that's what shows like "Antiques Roadshow" are all about, finding huge money in crap you've got lying around.  Which, in both universes, they are traveling merchants, so they bloody well ought to have known that already.  Traveling merchants aren't producers, they are movers of goods, and they add value to their goods by moving them from a place which values them less to a place that values them more--basically it is the potential difference in cash value that powers their ship.  The only thing that defines value is whether someone is willing to pay for it, so you're a really poor traveling merchant if you don't do a little research when you get a load of junk.

The fact that Evie was from a booze-hounding planet wasn't really all that important, apart from the fact that her prior knowledge would minimize the amount of research needed to find a potential buyer, but that information could've been found by Alejandro with a little effort if he didn't spend all of his time playing Angry Lazy Eeyore.  I would say that Evie's origins were a convenient plot contrivance to make her seem valuable to Alejandro, but one could reasonably say the presence of rare booze was a consequence of her counterpart having similar origins, so the plot details justify that reasonably well.  

I want a story that focuses around the important and novel part of the story--accidentally colliding with your parallel universe counterparts and having to jury-rig a solution to allow everyone to survive.  
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albionmoonlight
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2014, 12:42:02 PM »

Angry Lazy Eeyore.

Thank you for helping me come up with the name for my fantasy team next season.
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PotatoKnight
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2014, 01:02:28 PM »

It was interesting that she grew up in wine culture and is unfamiliar with Dom Perignon.  What if...  WE'RE in the dirty alternate universe and New Provo + Alejandro & Friends is actually the alternate from our perspective.

I assumed this was the author'a intent when Dom Perignon got mentioned.
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2014, 05:06:35 PM »

It was interesting that she grew up in wine culture and is unfamiliar with Dom Perignon.  What if...  WE'RE in the dirty alternate universe and New Provo + Alejandro & Friends is actually the alternate from our perspective.

I assumed this was the author'a intent when Dom Perignon got mentioned.

That was my impression too.
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Varda
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2014, 01:20:19 PM »

This one was just kinda meh in my book. On the one hand, I enjoyed the first half describing the jump-ship technology and the way Evie was recruited into being a "space trucker". But the story just kind of petered out for me when it became about the cargo instead of the disaster that dimension-swapped everything to begin with. I wanted to know about THAT, so was underwhelmed at the less-interesting direction the whole thing took. Which is pretty much what Unblinking already said, so I'll be joining his crew for this episode, where we'll sip Dom Perignon and debate whether our dimensional doubles are wearing lizard-green tube tops while loving or hating this story in another universe. Smiley

It's funny, I had a very similar reaction when I heard it the first time while producing it. The first couple times he did that voice, I was saying in my head, "Oh no...I don't think that's what the author intended...I can't use this, people will be so mad." But by the end, I came to the same conclusion that you did and decided -- whether it was intentional by the narrator or not, I'd like to think it was -- it had it's own special genius to it.
I had this reaction to the narration too. At first, I disliked the valley-girl accent, then warmed up to it by the end. I tip my hat to you, Mr. Haynes!
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evrgrn_monster
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2014, 08:40:51 PM »

I'm going to be in the minority it appears, but I hated this narrator's choices in character voices. It kind of ruined the story for me; the valley girl voice was nails on chalkboard, and Leo's Harvard frat boy voice wasn't doing it for me either. Maybe the point was to make me overcome my initial reaction to Evie to realize how smart and capable she is despite her accent, but since we were just told that she was a super awesome pilot, instead of shown how quick her reactions were and really getting immersed in her supposed bad ass side, I missed that completely.

The story itself was quite bland. There were some cool ideas pushed into it, and I think Unblinking said pretty much all I was thinking when this wrapped up. I was left with too many questions; for example, why was it easier to do a specific dimensional hop with your double to get cargo instead of, I don't know, just getting the cargo yourself? How did the "evil" Evie even know that the other Evie would have it? I find that way more intriguing then a long discussion of how normal Evie figured out their cargo wasn't worthless or what colour her tube top was.
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2014, 07:18:07 AM »

for example, why was it easier to do a specific dimensional hop with your double to get cargo instead of, I don't know, just getting the cargo yourself?

Huh?  Dimensional hopping was used as a routine method by everybody of getting from planet to planet without having to obey FTL restrictions--it's a kind of Hyperspace thing that by this point has become routine.  The running into your double thing wasn't planned, and has only ever been rumored to happen before by people who have near misses--likely other people have collided this way in the past but didn't have a pilot who could salvage the situation even this well.  In this context I don't get your question--it's like asking "Why did you use the Interstate highway to go get your cargo from California to New York when you could've gotten it yourself?"  They were using the most expedient method known to their society.  Unless I'm misunderstanding you or the story.

How did the "evil" Evie even know that the other Evie would have it?

I don't think she did.  Both Evie's just made the best out of the situation they were given.

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evrgrn_monster
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2014, 11:48:12 PM »

for example, why was it easier to do a specific dimensional hop with your double to get cargo instead of, I don't know, just getting the cargo yourself?

Huh?  Dimensional hopping was used as a routine method by everybody of getting from planet to planet without having to obey FTL restrictions--it's a kind of Hyperspace thing that by this point has become routine.  The running into your double thing wasn't planned, and has only ever been rumored to happen before by people who have near misses--likely other people have collided this way in the past but didn't have a pilot who could salvage the situation even this well.  In this context I don't get your question--it's like asking "Why did you use the Interstate highway to go get your cargo from California to New York when you could've gotten it yourself?"  They were using the most expedient method known to their society.  Unless I'm misunderstanding you or the story.

How did the "evil" Evie even know that the other Evie would have it?

I don't think she did.  Both Evie's just made the best out of the situation they were given.



See, for some reason, I thought the other Evie had done it all on purpose. I wasn't questioning the dimensional hop, I was questioning the complicated way of getting the cargo, if she had done it on purpose. I could've been mistaken, but that's just how I interpreted the end.
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Unblinking
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2014, 10:26:11 AM »

for example, why was it easier to do a specific dimensional hop with your double to get cargo instead of, I don't know, just getting the cargo yourself?

Huh?  Dimensional hopping was used as a routine method by everybody of getting from planet to planet without having to obey FTL restrictions--it's a kind of Hyperspace thing that by this point has become routine.  The running into your double thing wasn't planned, and has only ever been rumored to happen before by people who have near misses--likely other people have collided this way in the past but didn't have a pilot who could salvage the situation even this well.  In this context I don't get your question--it's like asking "Why did you use the Interstate highway to go get your cargo from California to New York when you could've gotten it yourself?"  They were using the most expedient method known to their society.  Unless I'm misunderstanding you or the story.

How did the "evil" Evie even know that the other Evie would have it?

I don't think she did.  Both Evie's just made the best out of the situation they were given.



See, for some reason, I thought the other Evie had done it all on purpose. I wasn't questioning the dimensional hop, I was questioning the complicated way of getting the cargo, if she had done it on purpose. I could've been mistaken, but that's just how I interpreted the end.

It's possible that you're right--I listen while commuting so it's easy to miss a half-minute here and there.  If it happens to be an important half-minute, then I just misinterpret everything--sometimes with spectacularly exaggerated tangents, or sometimes not.  Smiley  If the story DID say that the other Evie had done it on purpose, then I would be questioning that for the same reasons you did.  At the very least it would be extremely risky to the point of being suicidal to aim for this end--like intentionally causing a head-on collision on the freeway with the goal of looting the other person's car.  Sure, it might work, but most of the possible scenarios involve you being dead afterwards.
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matweller
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2014, 11:33:40 AM »

What I can't quite wrap my head around is, assuming by "dimensions" were talking about accidentally hopping between universes in a multiverse/infiniverse scenario, then doesn't it seem that this kind of thing should be happening more often?

I mean, it's one thing if there is only this universe and Bizzarro universe. In that case, you would only risk crossover when the fates of everybody's and everything's opposite doubles happened to line up in the same opposite physical space at the same time. The chance would be infinitesimally small.

But in a multiverse where every second spawns countless other futures, then at least a handful of those futures are going to be traveling together in close proximity at any given moment. So, if that bleed-over was possible, why wouldn't it happen all the time? And, if it's possible, wouldn't encounters with dopplegangers that are almost exactly the same be far more likely than opposites that would be following a widely divergent path? Or are we assuming that if that did happen, the differences would be so subtle that they would hardly be noticed? That they would be deja vu or misplaced items or small glitches like that.

If that's the case, let me introduce myself, I'm  Mat. We're never met before. You've only ever known me(v2483), but we switched places as we slept last night. I know because my phone was 2 inches left of where I had placed it before bed. Hopefully, you and I will get along famously. I'm a bit stubborn at times and given to whimsy at others, but I think you'll find me generally more agreeable than that other guy.

Yippie-skippy!
Mat
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2014, 12:48:32 PM »

What I can't quite wrap my head around is, assuming by "dimensions" were talking about accidentally hopping between universes in a multiverse/infiniverse scenario, then doesn't it seem that this kind of thing should be happening more often?

I mean, it's one thing if there is only this universe and Bizzarro universe. In that case, you would only risk crossover when the fates of everybody's and everything's opposite doubles happened to line up in the same opposite physical space at the same time. The chance would be infinitesimally small.

But in a multiverse where every second spawns countless other futures, then at least a handful of those futures are going to be traveling together in close proximity at any given moment. So, if that bleed-over was possible, why wouldn't it happen all the time? And, if it's possible, wouldn't encounters with dopplegangers that are almost exactly the same be far more likely than opposites that would be following a widely divergent path? Or are we assuming that if that did happen, the differences would be so subtle that they would hardly be noticed? That they would be deja vu or misplaced items or small glitches like that.

If that's the case, let me introduce myself, I'm  Mat. We're never met before. You've only ever known me(v2483), but we switched places as we slept last night. I know because my phone was 2 inches left of where I had placed it before bed. Hopefully, you and I will get along famously. I'm a bit stubborn at times and given to whimsy at others, but I think you'll find me generally more agreeable than that other guy.

Yippie-skippy!
Mat

Ha! 

I agree that it seems more likely that you'd collide with a version of you that's indecipherable.  And I don't think that this happens all the time in the story of the world because it was very clear that only by gargantuan skill was she able to make them survive it at all.  I found it a bit of a stretch that those same two people would end up together when both of them are so changed.

There could be various explanations to make the general idea make some sense that aren't contradicted by the story.  Nobody in this world really knows how the parallel world thing works, it seems like this was the first piece of solid evidence that there WERE parallel people out there.  It's possible that there aren't infinitely spawning worlds, only ones on major events, or only at some interval, or something.  Also, the rarity of the disappearances to me implies that collisions are very unlikely for some reason--perhaps both parties have to wander a bit off their charted course in a certain direction, or maybe a certain number of other things we don't understand have to be aligned, who knows.
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Varda
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Definitely not an android.


« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2014, 12:58:31 PM »

What I can't quite wrap my head around is, assuming by "dimensions" were talking about accidentally hopping between universes in a multiverse/infiniverse scenario, then doesn't it seem that this kind of thing should be happening more often?

I mean, it's one thing if there is only this universe and Bizzarro universe. In that case, you would only risk crossover when the fates of everybody's and everything's opposite doubles happened to line up in the same opposite physical space at the same time. The chance would be infinitesimally small.

But in a multiverse where every second spawns countless other futures, then at least a handful of those futures are going to be traveling together in close proximity at any given moment. So, if that bleed-over was possible, why wouldn't it happen all the time? And, if it's possible, wouldn't encounters with dopplegangers that are almost exactly the same be far more likely than opposites that would be following a widely divergent path? Or are we assuming that if that did happen, the differences would be so subtle that they would hardly be noticed? That they would be deja vu or misplaced items or small glitches like that.

If that's the case, let me introduce myself, I'm  Mat. We're never met before. You've only ever known me(v2483), but we switched places as we slept last night. I know because my phone was 2 inches left of where I had placed it before bed. Hopefully, you and I will get along famously. I'm a bit stubborn at times and given to whimsy at others, but I think you'll find me generally more agreeable than that other guy.

Yippie-skippy!
Mat

You can tell apart the different Mats by the color of their tube tops.  Wink
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Fenrix
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« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2014, 09:40:40 AM »


I agree that it seems more likely that you'd collide with a version of you that's indecipherable.  And I don't think that this happens all the time in the story of the world because it was very clear that only by gargantuan skill was she able to make them survive it at all.  I found it a bit of a stretch that those same two people would end up together when both of them are so changed.


Are you sure you don't mean indistinguishable? Assuming an infinite/multiverse scenario, if you're more likely to collide with someone who is only minorly divergent, then the changes between the people who swap should be very small.

However, this setting is perfectly consistent with the frame and mechanics of Star Trek alternate universes.
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Unblinking
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« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2014, 11:06:02 AM »

Are you sure you don't mean indistinguishable?

Yes, that is what I meant.  The wrong word popped into my head.  Smiley
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Conejo Gordo
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« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2014, 01:09:42 PM »

Thanks AlbionMoonlight. I too hated the Evie's voice (but loved the rest of the narration, in general). Then I read your comments and realized that her obnoxious valley-girl quality was a good choice, or a least a justifiable one.

Could anyone else see this story set dead center in a Joss Whedon future.  Images of Serenity, and her crew, and the enemies they faced kept coming to mind.  I could see this a series directed by Joss, and starring maybe Edward James Olmos. hahaha.
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