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Sound Check – Classical Swords

Christine Schaeffer was in over her head. Plucked randomly from the retail job that was paying her way through the academy, she’d been made the adjutant to a war hero. Her two qualifications: she was the daughter of well-remembered cruiser skipper, and she was an outsider –– safe from political corruption. As the threat of a coup clouded over Genesis, she was thus elevated rapidly to the ‘Top Flight’, and expected to help the Navy and the civilian government prevent a resurgence of the corrupted Church.

Tough summer job –– overwhelming, even –– and when she was under stress, Christine tended to revert to one of her favorite sports: fencing. So on an anxious early morning aboard Genesis One, she decided to head to the training gym to clear her head with some saber-work. Nothing remarkable about that… except that she accidentally mistook a General Beckett Lupus for a hologram. The resulting encounter (the excerpt for The Genesis Equation) was rather surprising for her… and fun for me.

I miss swords. I suppose that sounds weird, but there’s something particularly special about two characters staring at each other over the points of their blades, ready to settle some grand galactic matter with personal strength, skill and flare. But while the Earthers, Larosians, and even some humans had an affinity for them, none of the characters I’ve worked with since the end of the Equations have been willing to (or perhaps crazy enough) to carry swords into battle. The b’ys on the new world tried it briefly in The Grasslands, but they rapidly moved away from sabers, trusting in their SMLEs instead. Probably wise.

So I haven’t had the chance to write a good sword bout in quite a while, a fact I lament every time I hear my favored sword-battle-writing-music: tracks by the BOND quartet. Four classical musicians –– two violins, a viola and a cello –– they wrote and performed instrumental music unlike anything else I’d heard, and their high-tempo offerings seemed to demand classy, dramatic, and kinetic action… a complicated way of saying: sword fight!

For the above-mentioned duel in particular, their track Ride was the best: Ride

These days, YouTube has allowed classical music to be revitalized by all sorts of excellent musicians –– the Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling are two great examples. But a decade ago, when I was working on the Equations, BOND seemed to be blazing that trail on their own –– and they’re still going strong.

Clearly, I need to find someone –– anyone –– to carry swords again. Lady Alex was originally imagined to use some blades, but seeing how she turned out, that just wouldn’t be right. I’m sure some other character will take up the challenge… and when that time comes, there’ll be plenty of good dueling music.