Plot summary of Alouette's Song Edit
Multiple first person narrators Edit
Each character an individual perspective contributing to the overall story in some way.
The girl recalls her childhood. She was abandoned by her parents in Washington State for having a non-verbal form of autism. Margie receives an experimental form of education based on hypnotic medication and sensory bombardment, to learn how to communicate with the outside world. She gets bounced around the foster care system until one university physics professor teaching math middle school classes pro-bono, Dr. Marc DuQuesne, notices Margie has undiscovered mathematical talent at an extraordinary level. Marc, outraged, begs to take over Margie care. She happily accelerates her education while under his protection, beginning college as an honors math major at 15. During the summer session after her second year of college while still 16, Margie notices a mistake in a proof Professor DuQuesne makes during a seminar and corrects him. The professor, completely astonished, immediately hires her as his research assistant for a special project involving a clean power theory he developed, while at the same time having her instantly admitted to the graduate department in the fall. She is now 17 years old and working on her master's degree in mathematics.
Rick, 16 years old and a sophomore in college, has also been radically accelerating through school but for far different reasons. His progress is based far more on his determination than his intellect, even though he is still highly intelligent. He is born and raised in a Conservative Jewish family. His father is alcoholic and a child and wife beater. Rick consistently daydreams in Hebrew school and watches anime evenings after his homework his done. From the anime he gains the inspiration to accelerate his own education, intending to study hard not to attain high grades, but so he might leave his family on honorable terms but years ahead of schedule, graduating with only a "gentleman's C". Because his parents are working class, Rick leverages his natural talent for sculpture into a full scholarship. He can how begin boarding in college at 15 as a freshman, majoring in history and art, far away from the chaos and pain, though he must return home on weekends.
An 18 year old engineering freshman, her only real friend from Margie's childhood, and her one protector from the schoolyard bullying she would often endure. Martin is the third-generation heir to the Crane fortune. He's being raised by his parents in Idaho, to have as normal a childhood as possible and thus he has no real access to luxuries outside the normal middle class. Martin's father also has a family friend, an old Army buddy from Vietnam, Shiro, who plays the role of family bodyguard and also as a combat instructor for Martin. Martin has a natural creative talent for electronics and mechanical engineering far beyond his years, but otherwise has average intelligence. He's also been long-distance friends with Rick since meeting him at summer camp years ago.
19 year old violin virtuoso from Amarillo, Texas. Also the concertmaster for a small public orchestra there, as well as a teacher traveling across the United States holding violin clinics and classes. Dotty was born and raised in a loving Orthodox Jewish family. Her father is a Texan cattle baron, and her mother is an accountant for the family business. While growing up she would perform some ranch duties part time, while also assisting the shochet in a nearby slaughterhouse. The family made a decent profit sending ritually slaughtered carcasses to her grandfather's meat market chain in New York City. Her family discovered Dotty was a potential prodigy in violin by having performed a crude rendition of "Memories" (by ear, from listening to records) on a country player's instrument while the band was on break during the family's dinner out and the girl was curious with the instrument. Tutored extensively at home in violin and voice while also home-schooled by the best teachers money can buy. Recently got her GED at 19. Cursed with unearthly beauty and a voluptuous figure having nearly perfect conditioning from singing, playing, and ranch work, she's very highly sought after by high-status potential suitors.
The quartet forms Edit
Two lives collide Edit
Rick is nearly done his sophomore year in college when his father discovers his long range plan to escape his family and destroys it. His father will no longer sign off on scholarship disbursements while he is still underage. Rick will instead be expected to start in his father's business as a mail-room boy. To take his mind off his grief he attempts to finish an electroplating project a copper candlestick, but the instant he turns on the outside lighting from his craft shed and applies current for plating, the candlestick disappears and later is found to be in orbit in the junk belt. The next day, a federal agent named DuQuesne confiscates all of Rick's materials but the lighting.
On his way back to college to finish the final semester out, Rick decides he will suicide by jumping onto the subway tracks to be crushed by the next train. The moment Rick decides this, he hears a girl screaming. Dotty was visiting Philadelphia, got mugged, pushed onto the tracks, and left to die. Rick instantly makes the decision to risk suicidal odds for her and go out a hero, as a valid alternative for the end of his life. They live. They recognize each other as Jewish. They begin an on-line relationship, but Dotty resists her feelings as she suspects the truth: his motives for saving her life were not from bravery.
A dream begins Edit
Margie's professor (DuQuesne) had always told her his clean power theory was just theory but still a useful research topic for her possible math thesis defense. During a private meeting with Martin and Rick where she learns this is not pure theory after all, Margie's subconscious explodes into thought and overwhelms her, causing her to faint. Coming to, she makes the connection that minerals from an abandoned mine belonging to Martin's family are responsible, that this is not theory but real. Margie believes Rick outside lamp is more than it seems as well, and so that also is included in the project. The three together decide to make DuQuesne theory work for real, so as to eliminate human poverty on earth through unlimited clean energy. During dinner, they discover through Martin's father Robert that DuQuesne besides being a professor is also evidently a covert operations agent, since Robert witnessed DuQuesne committing a war crime. Rick deduces DuQuesne is assigned to suppress the technology. The family forms a conspiracy to defy DuQuesne by building a spaceship rather than building a device to generate free power.
Two lives unite Edit
Dotty agrees to help on one condition: that besides exploration that it will also be used to help Jewish people establish their own colonies off-world so they can finally be invulnerable to extermination.
Dotty takes Rick on her first world tour as a performance artist, this serving as a shell game to obtain vital equipment and electronics for the spacecraft, which she dubs "Alouette", a symbol for the joy of human freedom throughout space.
Meanwhile, Martin builds the engines from Margie's instructions based on the math she's worked out. As they do so, they fall very passionately in love, marry, and decide to take Alouette for a shakedown cruise around Jupiter as a honeymoon vacation.
Alouette is hijacked Edit
Dotty and Rick reluctantly part after the tour is over, but Rick never makes it home. He's intercepted by DuQuesne. DuQuesne forces him along on a trip to stowaway aboard Alouette the night before the honeymoon launch. Once Alouette is in synchronous orbit around Jupiter, DuQuesne uses a captive Rick as leverage against Martin and Margie to secure the ship.
The rescue mission Edit
Dotty hasn't heard from Rick in days. Dotty is nearly captured by some of DuQuesne's agents invading her home under color of law, but is instead rescued by the Japanese charge's diplomatic aircraft. She's flown to the Marine base in Okinawa, where it turns out the Japanese and United States governments have been working together in secret. Margie created a contingency plan to provide Shiro, the Crane bodyguard, with the basic materials to pass on to the Japanese government to build a rescue craft. Only the Japanese have a pacifistic constitution and can therefore be trusted with the awesome power Alouette represents. The United States is involved because Shiro has an inactive commission as a Navy flier. He will pilot the backup craft so Dotty can sneak aboard the Alouette and possibly retake it from DuQuesne.
One terrified young lady Edit
Dotty, upon being briefed by the President of her role over speakerphone, briefly loses her nerve. She's terrified not for her own life but for being responsible for the deaths of all her friends should she fail. The President assures her she's still brave enough for the job, because Dotty's fear is not focused on herself. The plan is set in motion. Given the minute's warning she had by the Japanese, she brought along her father's sawed-off shotgun and shells just on general principles, but points out her weapon will be useless in space. The Marine ballistics research and development department at the Okinawa base quickly remedies her situation with as many various types of lethal, non-lethal, and trick shells as they can improvise which won't need atmosphere to ignite in. They also lend her a combat knife, even though Dotty has only killed and skinned animal predators on her ranch, she has never learned how to fight with knife but they suggest it to her as a final resort. Shiro will fly her to Jupiter orbit in the backup craft, she will board through a software backdoor programmed into Alouette's airlock, and then she will deal with DuQuesne.
Star Child emerges Edit
Martin's unconditional love for Margie has caused more of her stupendously high intellect to gradually emerge as her confidence in herself builds. Martin had given his new wife the name "star child" as a pet name, in honor of her genius, but little does he know Margie's hidden depths have a true will of their own. Star Child, who had once been Margie at birth, decides upon being loved and healed to trust Martin indirectly through the surface Margie with the ultimate secret behind DuQuesne's clean power equations that not even DuQuesne has worked out: interstellar drive. A ship can at sufficiently high relativistic speeds overtake the dimensional distortion Martin's engines generate and jump through it into another part of the universe entirely.
DuQuesne gives Margie the order to set a collision course for the sun. If parties on the ground still hear DuQuesne's radio beacon in a few hours, they are to destroy the Crane, Seaton, and Vaneman families. Margie obeys in despair, then her hands are tied up behind her chair. Margie soon notices Dotty is concealing herself behind a ladder on the bridge. Star Child causes Margie to pronounce a dire warning to DuQuesne that humanity is now under her protection. DuQuesne ignores the warning. Star Child causes Margie to use her feet to jam the control yoke to maximum thrust along the course to the sun Margie was forced to set, toppling DuQuesne to the deck, then screams at Dotty to attack DuQuesne.
Alouette reaches the necessary speed to leave normal space just inside Mercury's orbit. No meaningful steering of any sort is being performed, so the ship is performing a faster-than-light jump completely blind.
Rick briefly becomes Osnome's Overlord
The party find themselves trapped between two opposing sides in a war on an alien world. Ultimately, the enemy kingdoms have fire nuclear missiles at each others' territories. The crown once belonging to Mardonale was confiscated by the founder of Kondal and is still under guard by the its founder, now its patron saint, who will stop the heart of anyone who so much as touches it. Rick needs this crown to outrank the rulers of both belligerent nations so they may be commanded to destroy their missiles in mid-flight. Rick dies for 30 seconds, but is restored to life by the saint who blesses his mission. Once Rick ends the war, he devolves the title upon all the people of the world (ending monarchy everywhere on that world forever), then calls for elections.
Rick and Dotty, happy at last Edit
They decide due to Rick's accumulated post-traumatic stress from his childhood and his deeds saving millions on Osnome, that they will marry on Earth for the sake of their families, then abandon that world forever and settle on Osnome. They celebrate Sukkot several weeks late on an island ceded to them by a grateful populace. They conceive their first child, Sarah, on that island after building a temporary dwelling (a sukkot) on the beach.