I started writing "Lost" in August 1996, during a particularly slack time at work, as a means of finding something to do. I was originally intended to be just another short story, but as you can see it has expanded somewhat from then.
The chakat race and the planet Chakona are creations of Bernard Doove of Melbourne, Australia, and are used with permission.
I would like to thank the following people for their assistance in writing "Lost".
This was the first story that I felt was sufficiently good to publish to the 'Net, and was posted initially to alt.fan.furry around 1995. I wanted to come up with a possible explanation for the rise of an alternate anthropomorphic society that was credible. I got some good comments about this story, which was encouraging.
"My Flatmate Kathy" was set in this world as well, though it was aimed as being more of a prequel to "Awakening". I also tried to write another story based on this "world" - a detective story - but it didn't quite work. Maybe some other day.
There used to be a BBC radio series called "My Word!", where the contestants were given a common phrase or title of something and had to come up with an "explanation" of the origin of it. It was one of my favorite radio shows when I was a kid (hey, it wasn't that long ago, the radios had transistors you know! :) ), and I love bad puns as well!
Well - it just had to be done, hadn't it? The Vorlon is just too mysterious...
As stated, this is a 'prequel' history to two of the characters from "Lost", Captain Walker and Chakat Commander Dawnfire of the TDSC ship Isaac Asimov. After finishing "Lost", I was intrigued by exploring some of the history of this couple, where they had met and some of their experiences prior to meeting up with MayFurr, Ranthe and Sundown.
This story was started in January 1997, and most of it was written then. The reason for the big gap in completion was that I had taken a new job with IBM, and didn't have the time or the PC tools until September this year in order to complete the story. I actually finished writing this on a company laptop on the train between London and Milton Keynes, England!
I'm planning on there being more stories featuring Keith and Dawnfire during their time at the Academy - assuming I get the time! The characters developed during "Lost" have developed a momentum of their own which is really pleasing. I just hope that my writing will continue to improve as I get more practise.
Technical notes - Cape York Spaceport was an actual proposal in the late 1980s, using the type of launchers mentioned in the story. Being of Australasian (not Australian!) extraction myself, I thought it would be nice to see the Down Under aspect of space travel highlighted. Who knows, it may come to pass after all.
This story was co-written between myself and Grant Preston over email during the early part of 1997, as a result of discussions as to how Grant's FurryMUCK character Lindgold came to be in Furryspace.
The reason there had been such delay in this story getting published is simple. At the time of writing the story, the intention was for the story to be illustrated, and to get the story published in print media - preferably South Fur Lands, but YARF! had also been approached. However, the size of the story made it prohibitively big to go into a single SFL issue, it was too small to be properly serialised, and it was doubtful as to whether it would be viable as a stand-alone book.
Once it was decided that "Gambit" would probably not be published in hard-copy form, we took the decision to publish it on the Internet.
The original concept of this story was a follow-on to my previous writing efforts, this time becoming inspired after discussions by email with my friend and Filipino furry artist Rommel Karlo C. Ignacio on the possibility of my characters and his meeting in artwork or a story. One of Rom's characters, Tamara Fox, originally appeared in the "Midnight Sonata" writing and art shared-universe created by Mark Barnard and others, but with the demise of the project Tamara (and other characters) had been left high and dry. So, after some discussion Rom agreed for me to start a story featuring Tamara, and I set it to be some time after the events in "Midnight Sonata" so there would be no conflicts. The outline of the opening chapter where Tamara is discovered in space, is revived and screams in terror was initially suggested by Rommel, who also supplied various character details about Tamara for completeness.
This story had its origin in noticing that in virtually all the Chakat stories written around 1998, none mentioned anything about the place of older citizens of Chakat society - all depicted so far were young, healthy and active - and, while there was a plethora of stories depicting the birth of Chakats, there was nothing about how they handled the death of their own. It got me to thinking about what the senior citizens of such a genetically-engineered race would be like, and I wrote a story snippet to explore the idea. The snippet languished for a while until Bernard updated his "Introduction to Chakats" page with information on the two 'varieties' of Chakats (single-heart and dual-heart), and I got inspired to add this factor into the twilight days of an elderly chakat.
"Season" was a story that, once re-started, demanded to be finished, and in some parts I got quite emotional while writing it. Hopefully, you'll experience the same feelings as well while reading it.
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