EV charging

Tesla went hard building charging stations. They picked their own connection style, made a lot of patents open, and built a ton of chargers.

No one else did.

Now Tesla is winning the EV charging format conflict.

Sounds like the way things should go. Hopefully, their no-dealership model wins as well.

P.S. I guess I’m not against dealerships. I’m against haggling. I want click online, get a price, and be done. I don’t want to come in and get a price. I don’t want to go back and forth, agree on a price, to later discover fifty different ways dealerships describe their tacked on fees. I’m not against dealers making profit, but I want it laid out, clearly, up front in an email. If car A costs $Xk or $X+1k, I want that in writing!

And I can’t get that unless I buy a car from a company with a direct sales model. So down with dealerships.

‘Read an article that said tacked-of-fees work for retailers. Good on them. I’ll go to other retailers.


I’m updating individual chapter posts and my working files.

Going through in order of my working files, so out of numerical order, I’m adding a ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ tag to each post of TiH with appropriate links. All chapters are now linked in the ‘Fiction’ text box, and in general you can click to any of them via the calendar. TiH updates Wednesdays and Fridays, and has for a while.

With regards to working files, I’m organizing and simplifying, but hopefully that will all happen backstage.

Twlight in Heaven: Chapter 28


Chapter 28

The door opened and a new guard walked in. He looked like the other two had: different boulder, same rock. I snoozed without sleeping, and wasn’t so much awoken when he appeared as alerted. He pushed a cart to the edge of my bed and left it.

“Historiography just came in clean. You fought the dragon. You’re free of custody.

“Most places around here are controlled, so don’t go wandering off. You’ll be debriefed when someone gets around to it and escorted back to Meru when someone makes the trip with an open seat. You’re not allowed to stay in Medical, though. Clarification on where you can wait is coming.

“Eat up, some clean clothes are in the cart, and take a shower.”

That seemed straight forward. I had no questions, he had nothing else to say, and that breakfast wasn’t going to eat itself.

In an hour or so, I was ready for the day, and orders had come down.

“You’re going to be stuck in Emerald Hinton Tower until someone’s ready for you. Emerald Hinton has the gym, the library, a cafeteria, and a few nice parks. You can kill some time there.”

Boulder Number 4 had come in when I was dressed. The clothing they’d provided was gray and loose: pants, undershirt, a sweater, textile belt, and sandals. Everything was made of silk or wool. I’ve never had silk underwear before, but I could get used to it.

He dropped some green cards on the bed. “These are your meal cards. You won’t get more until tomorrow, so don’t lose them, but you should be back in Meru by then, so it won’t be an issue. We’re going to Snow Winston to see if they’re ready for you, but if they’re not, you are officially confined to Emerald Hinton and the grounds. You also can’t walk out of here, so saddle up. The staff wants you gone so they can clean the room.” And he rattled the folding wheelchair conspicuously.

I moved over. “Sally forth, Greevs!”

“Don’t call me Greevs.”

Greevs was a famous butler and chauffeur, and I needed something to call these guys instead of Boulder Number Whatevers.

Fate’s medical center took up the first few stories of the Chestnut Augustus Tower. Augustus had been a Fate operator years and years ago, famous for doing his paperwork well, and had died in battle. The periphery held people who needed long-term care (they got windows), and the inside held us short timers. Supposedly the interior is closer to everything, so if a critical patient (me) needed to be rushed to a specialist, I could get there faster than if I had a window-room across the building. I’ll allow it, but it seems awfully convenient as a way to deny me my window.

Greevs wheeled my chair out of Chestnut Augustus Tower and along a paved walking path outside the towers. Fate’s complex stood high in the mountains of the Firmament, the great sphere that held the Outer Ocean out. Beacons shined on the summits of each mountain, the great stars of Pallas’s sky.

I looked up. Pallas was dead overhead in the center of the sky, a huge ball of blue and gray. Her Sea of Clausius faced me with brown and green bits around the edge, while in the center clouds and fumes hid the Clockwork Gods working. Down there seawater fell over the edges of the unfinished surface of Meru to the underworld beneath. If I could look through clouds and mist, I would be able to see the scaffolding and winches, the huge gears that drive the continents, and the construction of islands and seabed slowly reaching across gap. Somewhere in there the geigun worked for the world’s Clockwork masters. They were something other than mortal or Celestial, but I knew of them only abstractly. They swung the hammers and moved the iron as the Clockwork Gods directed. I’d never met one. The Sea of Clausius was the last part of the world unfinished, and the clouds seemed to cover about half the ball.

I looked back down at the Firmament. On the shell of the sky, the Sun never set, but it did move around. Right now it was peaking around the mountains, and the shadows were dwindling. This was morning. I tried to think something deep about life, but only got, ‘Great things are a lot less great when you’re in them.’

They wheeled me around the hanger to the Snow Winston Tower. Winston was…similar story to Augustus actually. Good at paperwork, died in battle. Huh. Anyway, the Snow Winston was finished inside with marble and limestone, the floor was a form of hard white agate, and the ceiling had reinforcement spars of aluminum. The walls had more decorations than Chestnut Augustus. Framed pictures of people getting medals, giving speeches, or sitting at desks, working studiously, lined the halls. A lady with dark braids smiled above a plaque naming her, ‘Admiral Tiana, first operator to achieve 100% budget request submissions on time.’ She faced a portly man who was, ‘Grandmaster Marcus, on completing one century of perfect attendance.’ They looked pleased, honored, and motivated.

I had no awards. My attendance had been shtuttick.

In Snow Winston an attache with a clipboard took my name, ticked a box, and told Greevs to take me to Rec. I asked if I could walk. The attache, Ezekiel, said I could.

I got out of the wheelchair, and the other guard, call him Betty, took it back toward medical. Greevs escorted me to Emerald Hinton and handed me over to a young lady behind a desk. She actually had a name tag, so I didn’t get to make anything up for her. Her name was Aubrey, and she looked concerned.

“Is he supposed to be in jail?” she asked. “There are no cells here.”

“No, no,” said Greevs. “He’s free to go, but he can’t go anywhere controlled. Historiography and maybe Obscene Beasts is going to interview him later. He just needs a place to stay so they can find him.”

“Oh. Okay. Well, he can use the recreational facilities, and the cafeteria is in the basement.”

“Thanks.” He tried to smile at her, but I think his face would have cracked. He left. She looked at me as if perplexed.

She was actually fairly cute with light brown hair, a round face, and slim-fitting green uniform.

“I fought a dragon, you know,” I said.

“That sounds outstanding,” she replied and opened a book.

Frankly, she wasn’t really that attractive. I wandered off.

The recreation facility had a few dart boards, billiards tables, and various board games. There was a room for parties and an area for quiet reading. Up a flight of stairs, the library seemed unchanged from the one-time I’d looked in here before, during my internship. It had immense volumes on tax law and hierarchical etiquette, but nothing with a murder or a little smooching. Up another floor was the gym, and I did have some familiarity with that. Still, I had recently come to the edge of death. I spent half an hour stretching before getting bored. Nothing was going on in the martial arts area.

The cafeteria blew my mind. They had spreads of ambrosia and wine of nectar and honeydew. All things considered, I avoided the latter, but ate what might very well have been the best meal of my life. The counter lady looked at my meal ticket but didn’t take it. I felt better than I had since all this foolishness began, and that was with bruises, cuts, and a fatal cold bane hanging over my head.

Without much idea what to do next, I approached Aubrey and asked if anyone had come looking for me.

“Nope,” she said without looking up from her book.

That hadn’t seemed like an unreasonable question to me.

I didn’t quite know what to do or where to go next. The ambrosia was working, and I wanted to give it time. I didn’t think I could sleep right now, even in a quiet area, and I felt like I’d be wasting an opportunity if I just slept through my time up here in Fate. I had wasted a lot of time working, and I wasn’t working now. Should I be?

I was throwing darts for no reason when inspiration kissed me.

I should go to the files room, see what they had on me, and burn it.



Are there website lists for serialized fiction? There have to be.

Twilight in Heaven: Chapter 27


Chapter 27

“Sleep first or food?” asked the Celestial orderly, getting immediately to the most important of matters.

“Food.” I decided.

We moved through corridors of some brown material that looked like polished stone. It didn’t seem to be in blocks. Praus, the orderly asking the good questions, was a small swarthy man. He smiled a lot, but I was a job for him. His friend had left without giving his name, and Praus had said he was taking me to a guest room.

I doubted leaving the guest room would be encouraged.

After several turns, he stopped in a hallway with a counter. I smelled frying meat and butter, heard sizzles and drips, and splashes and sloshing. Praus tapped the counter. Before anyone said anything, a burlap wrapped package appeared. He hung it from a hook by my head and pushed the bed off down the hallway.

That bag smelled of rice. I sniffed. Vegetables. I sniffed again. Butter. More vegetables. I needed that package inside me.

Within a few minutes, Praus wheeled me into a small room. It had no windows but did have a water house. The walls had stripes of pastel paints over the brown stone. Praus poured three cups of water and laid them on a table that pivoted over the bed. He moved the package there too before cranking a wheel below my head. The bed lifted me into a sitting position.

“Try to drink all three. If you need help making it to the water house, someone will be right outside. If you can handle things on your own, go ahead. Eat, sleep, eat again, and we’ll see how you are later. Anything else you need, Vincent?”


“I’ll put a change by your bed. Sleep well.”

He left. I ate, drank all three glasses, dragged myself across walls, and hung on hand-rails to make it to the toilet. When I was done, I felt weaker than I ever had. But I could move.

Dr Thay had said whatever had left that injury on my side would kill me. Hoarfast had, and he was up here, somewhere, with me. Thus, after eating, contrary to doctor’s orders and my own desires, I did not go to sleep. Winching the bed into a more vertical sitting position took all my effort, but I was able to do a little thinking.

All right, self, what are we trying to do here? I thought.

No thoughts, no voices that sounded like thoughts, urged death and murder in my head.

That was terrifying, I admitted to myself. To suddenly find out the thoughts in your head weren’t yours, and they meant harm to others, meant to use you to do harm to others, it was mind-horror. That sword–

I was pretty sure the Drowning Breath of Ogden was dead. I’d stabbed it into the dragon’s head, and last I’d seen, fire had erupted around it. Could I kill a sword? I don’t know, but I was glad it was done.

And at least the sword died doing what it loved: killing.

What was I going to do about this side? What was I going to do here? Hoarfast had seen me. Would he talk?

I doubted it. I couldn’t imagine he’d say anything to Fate about our shared treason.

Someone knocked on the door and a moment later opened it.

The door opener was a big, meavily muscled man with extremely short hair, thick beard, and no neck. He went from shoulders to head with only a few rolls in between. He wore a white underlayer and gray armor: shoulder pads, elbow pads, knee pads, boots, a neck protector, tombstone chest piece, gloves that looked more like gauntlets, and an iron hanging from a carabiner by his shoulder. I didn’t recognize the gun type. He had a knife on his chest too, set up for a vertical draw. He even had shooting glasses: an amber, one piece lense that wrapped from temple to temple. He looked deeply, extremely bored, and his other hand held his place in a book with one finger.

“Vistor,” he said.

A woman walked in carrying a glass vase of lilies. She was a small person, fair-skinned, with her hair in a bun. She wore normal clothes: pants, laced shoes, and a formal sweater. The lilies were pink, yellow, and orange.

Smiling, she asked, “Good morning. Are you Vincent?”

“I am,” I replied.

“I’m Samsara. I’m with hospitality. These are for you.”

“Thank you.”

She put them on the table, fluffed the flowers, and breathed deeply a few times. “They’re nice.”

“Thank you,” I said again, slightly confused. “Who sent them?”

“Hospitality. We try to give everyone flowers, but we made you a special bouquet.” She wiggled her eyebrows and leaned close to whisper. “It’s because you don’t have a window.”

“Oh.” I was on full alert. She might be an enemy. I was prepared to falcon-dive in an instant, and with all the strength in me I’d… flail uselessly. She could beat me to death with her clipboard right now.

“Enjoy,” she said. “And try to get some sleep.”

‘Samsara,’ if that was her real name, left. She knocked on the door before going out.

Self, you’re being a little paranoid, I thought.

Was I going to kill Hoarfast?

The thought frightened me. Hoarfast frightened me. Thinking about killing someone frightened me. What if this was another impostor thought, the echoes of the sword in my head? It wasn’t. The thought felt like me.

But the decision exceeded me. What was I going to do now? Fight him? When I’d just admitted to myself the nice lady who delivered flowers could beat me up?
The flowers smelled wonderful, and the room felt warm.

What was I going to do if Hoarfast tried to kill me?

I staggered out of bed, shuffled into the change of clothes, and hauled myself to the door. I knocked twice and pulled it open.

The human boulder watched me from above his book.

On the other side of the door, another equally prodigious human boulder was filling out paperwork on a clip board. I glanced at the form. How Much House Can You Afford? it said.

“Are, ah, you guys going to be here for a while?” I asked.

“Yup,” said Boulder Number 1.

“Need something?” asked Boulder Numer 2.

“Just wanted to see if anyone was out here,” I said.

“We are,” said Numer 1.

“And if your concern is medical in nature, we can assist with that. We’re both medics.” said the other.

“Really?” I sounded way more skeptical than I meant to.

“Yep,” said Number 1.

“Fate has a surprisingly good education plan,” said Number 2. “Free ride to medical school if you meet time-in-service requirements.”

“What’s worrying you?” asked Number 1. He lowered the book to his lap, holding his place with a finger. I glanced at the title. He was reading Sweeps From Guard
With enough truth to hide my evasions, I said, “Everything, in general. I’m worried something is coming after me.”

“Is this a precognition, and if so, do you often have visions of the future?” asked Number 1. He did not sound like he was joking.

“I can find the worst possible girl to be interested in with precognitive accuracy,” I replied somewhat bitterly.

Number 1 went back to his book. “Yeah, join the club, buddy.”

“Get some sleep. We’ll be here,” said Number 2.

He was still watching me, but our conversation had ended. I shut the door and shuffled back to bed.

Weird as it was, I felt a lot better.

I gave myself permission to sleep and began to drift. I felt like a toy soldier in a leaf boat, floating over a deep pond. Through a patch of lilies, a stream emptied into the dim water. Ripples pushed my little leaf boat around, but I stayed above water, thinking of worries, enemies, and things that could go wrong. But a few drops made it over the railing at a time, the little boat settled deeper, and the ripples of the small stream kept building until the boat was gone. I sank from awake and worried to dead-to-the-world unconscious in half a blink.



I never know how silly to get in fiction. I want it to be dramatic, but I got jokes.

Eat and Sleep

It’s stressful to stop doing something unhealthy. If you go from eating garbage to healthy stuff, that transition hurts. Same for sleeping. When you’re exhausted all day, every day, you get into a rhythm. A few days of sleeping well and being rested really throw you off.

Twilight in Heaven: Chapter 26


Chapter 26

The Bureau of Fate building is an ugly, bumpy thing in the mountains. It can’t even pick a shape. Seven-sided towers rise tall and wide, around central pillars of stairs and hoists. There are seven such towers, each forty nine stories tall, and you, gentle reader, might think that, Oh, we have a thing going here. Same number of sides and floors, so it’s probably a numerology theme. Pragmatically, seven-sided towers make for a lot of windows, and the bureau is on the firmaments, so the scenery of space itself, Pallas and its neighbors, and all the other stars are worthy of a lot of windows.

The problem is the middle.

All of the interior space between the seven towers is filled with one giant hanger, completely ruining all of views to the inside, and the hanger isn’t even seven sided. It’s square-ish. Why -ish? Because the seven towers are in a vague circle, and the hanger is just sort of shoved in there. Some of the towers stick out of it, some of the hanger walls have to bend to touch the others, It’s mostly shorter than the towers, except where the mountains rise it’s taller, and completely ruins the view.

Finally, well not finally because I’m going to mention the worst thing last but almost-finally, the ceiling leaks because the walls were clearly joined by idiot masons. Competent masons would have made things fit better. The damp gets into the walls, runs down through the stairs, and the basement is basically a dark swamp. Obviously, the dark swamp is where they keep all the paperwork, because only when you truly internalize that thought have you begun to comprehend Fate. My office was in the basement. It smelled of feet.

Personally, that’s the worst thing, but I’ve got to mention the official worst.

The hanger is empty. There’s no reason for it at all.

One of the other interns said he got drunk with his team, and while they were playing That’s My Butt his boss mentioned that while the world was being built, the hanger was a warehouse. The Clockwork Gods stored a lot of the cabling that held the world together before they’d finished the frames. After they’d build the frames, they took the ropes down and threw them back here in a huge jumble. The ropes got so tangled they formed two heaps, and the Clockwork Gods threw them out into space where they got caught on the feet of Canopus. That’s why you can, occasionally, find bits of thread or string if you look in the corners.

So why don’t they take it down? Its roof hangs from the seven towers, and it pulls them together so the towers leak. No one’s used it since the world was made. Just take it down!

There is actual paperwork to get that done, and it’s moving through the Bureau at the speed of bureaucracy.

I’m mortal. I’ve got at most eighty years, and my theoretical children’s children’s children will not see this useless building get removed. And that’s a best case scenario, because if I’m honest, the odds are I’ll die within a week, sans children, and I’ll die knowing this worthless building will still be here.

Forgive me. I have a lot to say about that stupid hanger.

Anyway, the dragons of lightning landed outside the hanger, the giant great-for-dragons hanger which the dragons did not use, and let everyone disembark. The dragons flew off.

I’d lapsed into near catatonia, dreaming of bad architecture, and they carried me off in a stretcher. I’m only peripherally aware of what happened next. It’s like finding out what you did when you were drunk. I might have been there, but that person wasn’t me.

My stretcher was carried to a place, where four people rolled me out of the stretcher into a bed. They must have been Celestials because they held me like I weighed nothing. After that several people cut me out of my clothes. Things were pretty foggy. Someone’s face appeared with lights like extra eyes, and a mask. The Celestials held me still. The doctor checked me over with long, thin fingers. Another doctor appeared, and the two conferred. They departed.

A woman appeared without the headgear, and she poked me too. Her hands felt normal and soft.

“My feet, my feet,” I remember saying and may have been saying for a while.

“No, not yet,” she said.

And she drew a sliver of metal like a bent needle from my body.

I sighed. I had felt nothing.

She pulled another and another. Someone placed a metal basin by her side, and one by one she laid dozens of those arced needles in it. They were coated in blood and dirt, and seemed to come from my hips. Into another basin she tossed wadded up bits of black stuff, and often rinsed her hands with a fluid someone provided.

I felt nothing when she began, but when she finished, I felt better.

She moved toward my feet. She didn’t attend the burns that throbbed and ached. Instead, she started on something else, something like little threads, and pulled black streamers from my body. It was a strange, splotchy network of threads, something like tangled hair, and while she tried to get it in one piece, it often broken in her hands. The tangled hair seemed to go from my ankles to my right arm, and she collected it all to discard it into the basin with the bits of black stuff from before.

After that she addressed my stomach and took out what I only saw as a green light. She tsked and blew on the green light like a soap bubble. It vanished, and several of her assistants smirked.

“That didn’t happen,” said the surgeon, and then, finally, she turned to my feet.

The burns…I cannot describe it. Words like ‘they hurt’ aren’t meaningful.

She reached down and began doing something around my right foot. I had to see. I sat up just a little, and a man didn’t quite stop me as much as immobilized me with my head just above my stomach. The attendants said meaningless reassuring things. My feet were ruins. They were black and gray. They were gone.

The surgeon got her fingers under the ruinous burns as if she was putting her fingers under a tight glove and slowly, carefully, meticulously pealed the burn off. It came loose in one floppy chunk like a gruesome sock. She tossed it in the discard basin.

I could see my unharmed foot. I could see my toes, toenails, the little hairs on my toes, and the tiny wrinkles in my toe-knuckles. My foot was completely fine. She had pulled the whole injury off, and it had come away like paint dried into a crust. I went from one kind of shock to another and watched her do it again. She just pealed the wound off. My foot had been burned to a nub, and she just removed the wound away like it was a mark on unbothered skin.

In moments, my feet were fine, and she went between the toes, checking for athlete’s foot. Her fingers were cold.

And she just wiped my injuries away.

When someone gave her a sponge, she wiped burns off my arms, leaving pale, pink skin. She wiped cuts off my face and hands. With a gentle but business-like manner, she removed remnants of dozens of impalements to my hips and lower stomach, where she’d removed the little needles. She was kind, compassionate, and caring, but this was very clearly her job. The procedure didn’t take too long, but would have been half as long if she hadn’t washed her hands repeatedly in a blue and silver basin.

While poking my side, she said, “That one you’ve had for a while.”

I was lying still, a little embarrassed to be naked around a bunch of people. Her question gave me something to do, so I asked, “Which one?”

“The cold burn,” she answered. “Right here.”

She poked me where Hoarfast had struck me several days ago.

She glanced up to meet my gaze.

“What happened here?” she asked.

There was absolutely nothing I could say to explain that. I didn’t have anything prepared. I was way too far off my footing to make something up. I stared at her like a dog confronting a doorknob.

“Hurts,” I said. This was somewhat true. It ached a little, but I’d forgotten about it with all my other pains.

She looked away, back at my side.

“I can draw my own conclusions,” she said suddenly.

And they all went back to processing me.

The surgeon went over me again with fingers and eyes. She poked, prodded, and explored. Her attendants and nurses wiped, bathed, and washed me down to make her inspection easier. They lathed and dried me, but finally provided a modesty towel. When she completed her inspection again, she washed her hands for the twentieth or so time and waved a dry, slightly raisined finger in front of my nose.

“I left some of the bruising. Bruises are tricky, and where nothing is broken, it’s far better you heal on your own. Likewise, some of the non-serious cuts I left alone. I got most of your lichtenberg scars, but you invoked that. You will bear some remnant of it for all your life. Your feet are fine. Your hands are fine. You have lost a lot of blood, and the best remedy for that is sleep and food. Pasta, rice, beans, and vegetables.” She waved her finger at me. “Lots of colors in the vegetables. The more colors the better.”

“Regarding your burn–” she paused to think “—it’s called a bane. It’s like a curse. It will fade slowly, but it will fade. Within a month or two it will be gone. In the mean time, avoid anything cold. Don’t play in the snow, don’t go outside without a coat, don’t drink anything with ice in it.”

“Why?” I asked. Everything was getting a bit much, and I was feeling foggy again.

She thought again. There were a lot of other people in the room with us. Assistants took care of equipment. Nurses pulled a blanket to my chest. Several assistants filled out paperwork. None of them seemed to be paying attention.


People were paying attention to me again, and my methods of becoming famous had not improved.

“You know how you got that,” said the doctor-lady. “You may not know what it was, but someone decided to kill you. I bet you know who.

“Cold banes are rare. Usually I see fire or lightning, but…” She obviously thought something and kept it to herself. “Cold will kill you, young man. Very quickly. Things that should never harm you, a brisk morning when you forget a coat, will make you injured or ill. True cold, like a snowball, a fall on ice, or whatever gave you that bruise in the first place, will bring you swiftly to a sure death.”

I asked, “And you can’t remove it?”

“Who cursed you?”

“Eh,” I stammered. “It’s foggy.”

“Ah.” She did not look convinced. “The bane will fade on its own. Every day, your body burns it away, and without a trigger, it poses you no harm. If we remove it suddenly, there is a chance it will activate. What’s your name, young man?”

“Vincent Rashak,” I replied. It was an Unnish name. I could pass for Unnish.

“Vincent, I’m Doctor Thay. I hope to see you again, just not like this. Get some sleep.” She patted my head like I was a dog, and two orderlies wheeled my bed out.