The Sailing Landscape

Again and again and finally the answer

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

“It’s his first year!”

“Yes,” Newton agreed. “And he won’t miss this good old country, no matter how badly he weathers.”

Two miles outside of town on Walker’s left flank, at a safe distance, an airfield sniffed for a radar contact and blew it on a radar track; Newton watched, wondering if the aircraft were still at the base. Then he drove east, over the border, and into Oregon County, where Earle Stevens owned many hatches and condominiums.

“Down over there! Hurry!” He lifted his phone, and Newton yelled, “Mr. Stevens!”

The thin, dark man’s subject looked up from his book and said, “Who am I?”

“Mister General Stevens. Say!”

He snapped his fingers so crossescrusted they scarred the edges of the screen. “Who am I?”

“Don’t you know?”



“Listen, friend. This is an international phone, remember? We have a national security issue to decide. Who’s on my side? Whatever side does it belong to?”

There was some moaning, and some retching sounds. The screen went dark. The next he saw was a small empty room, with polished marble table, sofa, chairs, TV, tiny side fireplace, and a framed picture. The picture was extraordinary. It was a copy of a photograph from space-exposure mast-height in a space station-bright bird viennets, all worn out except the square spotting that indicated it was a land wreck. Almost charred gray, but otherwise just the same color and a soberly sorry atmosphere. He looked up at Newton.

“Listen to this,” Newton said. “Twenty thousand credits for forty days.”

“That’s a long time. Will you work for it?”

The photograph proved he was married, and diseased. The sun, a pit green and dry, showed great disjointed angles in a heavily overdeveloped landscape. The widow walked behind a grim-looking man, who in turn stared up at the landscape.

“Five thousand, isn’t it?”

The man thought, Yes. Who will work here after this? Certainly not Walker. Newton glanced at the man’s card. Yes, he thought, and rang off without even mentioning the superintendent’s name.

To Mrs. Hayden, Mrs. Cain said, “Uh, we’d better get it for us, Long. What about this Routine Business Administration” Mrs. Cain sat down on her womanly rose to get a clearer picture of the business business and the official. After a bit she said, “For one dollar in advance.”

Mrs. Cain produced her twenty bills. “Five thousand.”

“If it proves no good, five thousand hands will be paid to twenty thousand dollars.”

“What I want to know,” Mrs. Hayden, the unappreciative, said, “is whether we’re going to see Mauna Loa following the Sargasso Sea.”

For a nearly day the representatives of the S.N.C. continued to arrive, and it was as if the new balance in the colony ship was finally destined to fly away from the colony. But to every hope in her head a champion now issued: GOLD IN ~$1480 was engraved on the transparent envelope, and the motto on the coin was “Again and again and finally the answer.” Most of the bribe-payers were so demoralized at the chance to lose the last quarter of the world, brought almost to a state of mind that the ship was doomed to waste indefinitely.

“Again and again and finally,” Mrs. Cain repeated and reiterated during the five minutes that followed the first “He must seek Help coming from the clouds, but where are the sails?”

The proposal died away almost at once because Mrs. Cain was sensitive about the particular lighting of the sagging antennae-and-buckles effect the Sargasso drew on the ground in response to nuclear reaction. But, one by one, they turned up.

First one to fly out, then another, here, there, and every time-they were sucked down into the maelstrom where even QT’s star-shining light could not shine. Some of them were in the air for three minutes; to a power source it was a moment of no consequence, being preoccupied with the task and unaware of whether his proposal could be put to the vote. But of course; neither the shuttles to the moons nor the atomic bomb-are they forbidden to all mankind, from the beginning? He tried again.


Editor’s Notes

Written by AI, generated as a sample during around step 1,180,000 on run 2 of training my general fiction model by fine-tuning gpt-2 774M.


Removed some garbage symbols, deleted last two orphan words after last sentence ended. Replaced all character names with randomly generated ones. Added line returns, since the generator spat them out all crowded together.

Randomly Generated Characters

Generated here

Newton Prince
Walker Lester
General Earle Stevens
Nora Hayden
Rachael Cain


Plagiarism Checked

Plagiarism checked with my module-in-progress dupecheck-py against the dataset, and grammarly against other sources

GPT-2 Settings
default gpt-2-simple generator settings