The fifth episode of The Human Division, “Tales from the Clarke“ takes us back out to what I’m now thinking of as the A plot and gives me, the reader, that little bit of forward momentum I needed–the CDF finally comes out and says that they know that someone’s got a cunning plan and that they’re trying to figure it out.
Captain Coloma of the Clarke has been relieved of duty as the decision has been made to scrap the ship. And instead, they have this crappy old ship they want her to have–just temporarily, of course, as they’re selling it to a bunch of Earthlings at a good price as a goodwill gesture. Coloma feels like sharing the misery, so she decides that Harry Wilson can come along as well.
I kind of sort of totally love this wreck of a ship they’re given. It’s so old that parts haven’t been made in at least a decade and it’s terrifically inefficient. The hardware is too old to run the latest software so their engineer has to create a virtual machine in his PDA to upgrade it.
It’s just like where I work! Except I don’t work on a spaceship but at a manufacturing facility where both these problems are something that my co-workers deal with on a daily basis (I am the person yelling at them for overrunning their budgets). So I don’t know who Scalzi’s been talking to about this stuff, but he’s got this part absolutely dead on right–if there’s any way a capital budget can be safely cut, it will be. Which is cynical, but that’s what 10 years at my job tells me. Bubble gum and duct tape and maybe a little bit of string.
Anyhow. I really enjoyed this–I enjoyed the interactions between Harry and Coloma, I liked the contrast between new and old tech, I liked the sleuthing, I like that we’re starting to see thing coalesce a bit more, and I really liked the bits about the Cubs. This episode worked a lot better for me than last week’s did, that’s for sure.
And this is sort of what Coloma looks like in my head now. FOR REASONS.