Saturday, May 30, 2009
When a story doesn't work, part two
First off, jazzed to say Twist was nominated for a Prism in the Time Travel category. Fellow blogger Linnea was too. Thanks for posting this earlier this week.
Now more on the journey of my proposal. Below is chapter one. When I envisioned this story, the world was a dark and dreary place. I cannot imagine one part of this story taking place in the sunshine although I'm sure I would have worked some in. Its just the overall concept is just dark.
While I usually am pretty regualr at writing stories from the H/H pov, (unless in first person like Twist) I decided that I needed to do some pov of the antagoist. You will noticed the tone is omnipotent, which is how Swaim sees himself.
Also adding, I am dyslexic and horrible at grammer. The follow has not been edited.
They were like insects scurrying to their holes. Vile creatures. If only they could be exterminated. But even insects served their purpose and these would serve his. He watched them move from his position fifty feet up in the air, safe on his thoptor as the LED’s tracked back and forth on the uneven ground below.
Swain turned from the view port to the console where a young techno, fresh out of academy, stood over a holi-vid. His nostrils flared as he approached the younger. Only purebloods were allowed to be near him. He smelled the usual array of bodily odors, more so since the younger was nervous. But no admanium. There was not any mechanized enhancements on this techno as there would be none on anyone else aboard this craft.
“Here,” the techno said. His finger trembled as he pointed to the ruins of a building. It cut through the blue line of the three dimensional representation that hovered over the surface. Inside the building a lavender blob could be seen, accompanied by a smaller red blob. They moved quickly through the ruins on the surface as if they knew where they were going.
Luckily so did he. Swain allowed himself a small smile.
“We’ll take them here,” he said and pointed to a place where three paths converged upon the ruins. The techno tapped the screen of his vid and the image was transferred to the terrain transport below along with an image of his finger, pointing out the places where he planned to lay his trap. “Place your men,” he said to the land unit below, as usual being proper in his address even though his skin crawled at the thought of referring to the hybrids awaiting their orders below as men. But even one of the members of the Protectorate must obey the chosen guidelines of society so that no grievances may be filed against him. “Here and here,” he continued.
“Command accepted,” the ground commander said as if he had a choice in the matter.
“These readings are off the chart,” his assistant, Foster, hissed in his ear. “I’ve never seen anything like it except for…”
Swain turned quickly less Foster give something away. “Show me,” he said and Foster turned his scanner so the screen was visible. The lavender blob covered most of the screen, greatly overshadowing the companion red blob. “Any way of knowing which one it is?”
“Not until we’re on the ground and I can separate the scans.”
“Make sure they are not harmed,” Swain said.
“Ground.” Foster tapped his earpiece. “Both are to be taken unharmed.”
“Accepted,” ground came back.
“Get me down there,” Swain barked. “And quickly.” He didn’t trust the hybrids with his find. Especially if there was a new one among them. There had been occasions when their programming was faulty. There had been occasions when the “Kill” order was the only thing they could comprehend. He was not one to trust others to do something when he was capable of doing it himself. It was the only way he could be assured that it was done the correct way. His way.
The thopter moved quickly, arcing up then quickly down to a wide empty space among the ruins of the former metropolis. At one time it had more than likely been a parking lot. Now it was simply a flat place covered with a thick and cloying grass that encroached upon the pavement instead of sprouting from it. Not that it mattered to him what was beneath his feet beyond the fact that his shoes would have to be destroyed upon his return. The Real was dirty, unkempt and wild. Swain preferred the orderliness and cleanliness of the Dome.
“Savages,” he spit out as the thopter settled. Yet they did have their uses. Where else would they find workers for the lesser jobs since those on the inside had long ago learned the consequences of going against the gentle reminders of how life should be inside? Peace must be maintained. Those who did not maintain the flow of peace would be assigned a better way to serve the general populace.
The truth be told, they needed them as a barrier between the Dome and the droves of bandits called Scrabbers that roared down from the mountains every time the full moon came round. They needed them to replenish the army that was the only barrier between civilization and chaos.
The same army that awaited his orders as he stepped out of the thopter. He looked right and left. The squads had better be in place and waiting to ambush the two that would be coming this way or there would be a reckoning.
The commander of the ground forces stood well away from the thopter blades with his expressionless face turned towards him. Swain saw the thin red beam cross over his goggles which meant the commander was scanning him for proper identification. The lights from the ground transport shone across the area and cast distorted shadows upon the cushion of sprawling grass.
He would have to make sure that all records of his actions here tonight were erased. There was nothing to worry about. Foster would see to it. He could feel him on his heels even now.
“Squad Four and Five is still in pursuit sir,” the commander of the troop said. The voice sounded familiar to Swain and he spared a look at the square jaw and mobile mouth that showed beneath the visor. He must have come across the hybrid at sometime. Possibly in his youth before the soldier was adapted. The society in the dome was such that it was possible. The hybrid had been in the service long enough to rise to commander.
Why are you even thinking of this metal remnant? He is not important.
“You are positive that all other escapes routes are covered?” Swain snapped.
“As you ordered,” the commander said without a sound of emotion in his voice.
“Foster,” Swain said. “As soon as you are sure.”
“I will let you know,” Foster said. Was there a note of surliness in his voice? Swain refused to turn and look at his assistant. If there was, he would rout it out later. What was about to happen was too important. “The only way to tell is to separate them.”
Swain motioned upwards with a finger, casually turning it in the air and the thopter lifted off to hover above and await his next order.
“This way sir,” the commander said and turned to lead them to a safe place to watch the proceedings. Four men closed ranks around them. The transport backed away and turned off its lights. The only sound to be heard was the soft thump-thump of the thopter’s blades.
The commander was one of twenty-five in a squadron which consisted of five five man squads. Each member was designated as a number depending upon seniority and each squad was numbered. The commander was known as One-one, if he needed to be called by name which Swain was disinclined to do. The Squadrons all had different codes to discern them from the others. There were 100 squadrons in all, each one named after cities from the old world order. This squadron was called Dallas. Something he needed to remember for later, when their work was done for the night.
“Reissue the no-kill order,” Swain said. If Squad Five was in pursuit then it was the least experienced squad and the most likely to make a mistake.
“Accepted,” One-one replied. “No kill,” he said into his mouthpiece. “Repeat. No kill. Acknowledge.”
Swain heard the strange chirps that signified a response as a litany of Accepteds coming in through One-one’s earpiece. Foster’s echoed the same, only without the chirp. It was something in the hybrids programming. Something he found strangely annoying as if they were privy to some sort of secrets. Perhaps he should look into it upon his return.
There was nothing to do now but wait. He stood off to the side with the five mechs surrounding him with their Lasters charged and ready. Foster squirmed in anticipation beside him and kept up a running monologue with his scanner as if it would reveal more about the two that would soon fall into his hands. They had too. There was no place else for them to go.
Swain studied the layout once more. The ruined buildings that surrounded him seemed strangely elegant in the dim glow that shone from the dome in the distance. Almost as if they could come to life at any minute. Ivy twisted around columns that arched over broken steps and the trees that grew against the buildings swayed gently in the breeze created by the thopter that hovered above. Generations ago this had more than likely been a center of learning for the old world order. A college or university of some sort. Now it was nothing more than a haven for the rebels that roamed the real and tried to eke out a life among the ruins.
A strange shiver ran up his spine and he felt as if he were being watched. As if the buildings around him stared him down and whispered threats into his ear.
Nonsense. It was more than likely there were people inside, hiding in fear, watching and waiting, just as he was. He would order the area purged when this was over. When he found what he wanted.
One-one turned to him, his face strangely vacant beneath the visor.
What does he see? Does he see what I see or an image translated onto a screen? What was behind the visor? Would One-one’s eyes look upon him with respect or contempt for what society made him? What he made himself…Swain corrected his train of thought One-one chose his path. He knew the consequences of breaking the laws.
What is wrong with you? For some strange reason he felt morbid tonight. He was seeing motives that could not possibly exist; he was assigning emotions where there could be none. Why did he feel so unsettled when he was on the verge of finding the very thing he’d been searching for?
“The target will be acquired in mark ten, nine, eight…One-one intoned.
Swain kept his eyes locked on the building before him. From his peripheral could see the two squads on either side move up on the building. He saw lights flashing across the black holes that at one time were windows. The squads were herding them out, right into the trap. One-one motioned his squad forward.
Swain stopped when Foster touched his arm. He looked down at the offending hand and his lip curled in contempt.
“Shouldn’t we stay back?” Foster asked. “In case they are armed?”
Swain swallowed his temper. He was too anxious. Too excited. This was too important. “Of course,” he said. He allowed Foster a reassuring nod to let him know he was forgiven for encroaching upon his personal space and moved to the side to wait.
He heard a crash. Swain willed his eyes to pierce the darkness and was suddenly blinded as the transport and the thopter lit up the area at the same time. He squeezed his eyes shut and then opened them.
Two figures ran across the front of the building. A man and a woman. The man held the woman’s hand, keeping her close to his side. She seemed ethereal against the dark color of the building. The light shining upon her enhanced the white of her dress along with the shimmering silver of her hair. Both flew about her body as the thopter hovered overhead.
“Anything?” Swain had to raise his voice to be heard over the thopter.
“Still too close,” Foster said.
The three squads converged upon the duo. The man feinted one way, turned to run the other. He kept hold of the woman’s hand until he realized there was no escape. He pushed her behind his body and backed her to the wall. Swain willed his body to stay at a walk as he and Foster moved toward the two who were now surrounded. At least twenty Laster’s were aimed at the two.
“Metals!” Swain spat out curse in disgust. “We’ll be lucky if they don’t kill both of them.”
“Stand down,” Foster yelled into his earpiece. “They’re not going anywhere.”
The Laster’s were lowered as he walked into the circle of mech’s. As one they stepped back with their weapons pointed safely upward.
The man stood tall and strong. His chest moved with the exertion of his flight but his dark eyes betrayed no fear as they moved back and forth across the mechs, seeking an escape route. There was none, still his hands curled into fists as if he would fight his way through. Swain saw a spark of hatred as he stepped forward. The man knew Swain was the one responsible. He knew the mechs were just following orders. He knew where to direct his frustration.
“What do you want?” the man said. The woman peered over his shoulder, her eyes wide and pale in the light. They shone with something… not fear… was it anger? She had spirit. He felt something he had not felt for a long time. A challenge? How extraordinary. His loins tightened suddenly. The feeling was a pleasant surprise because it was not something that happened for him, at least not this easily and never without a certain type of outside stimulation.
Which one? No matter which, he would keep the woman. If it was her it would certainly simplify things.
Swain kept his eyes on the man but he spoke to Foster. “Anything?”
“We must separate them,” Foster said.
“Do it,” Swain ordered.
“Two-one, Three-one,” One-one said. “Take the male without regret.”
“Accepted.” Swain watched as two of the mechs from either side of the circle handed their weapons off and moved to take the man.
They approached him from both sides. He watched them warily with his eyes darting back and forth between the two. Suddenly he moved. He dropped into a leg sweep and with his shoulder shoved the falling man into the other one while removing the stunner from the mech’s hip. Before Swain could blink the man fired and rolled. He came up beside another mech and caught the Laster before the hybrid hit the ground.
“It’s her,” Foster hissed as the woman moved after him.
“Are you sure?”
The man leveled the Laster on another mech and fired. The proton blast hit the man square in the chest plate and he fell backwards and shook violently. A scream tore from his throat as the admanium in his system exploded from the minute nuclear blast and he was torn apart from the inside out. It happened so fast that there was no time for the mechs to react as they had not received new orders from One-one. They were still on stand down mode. Held in place by the No-kill warning.
The man handed the downed mechs Laster to the woman.
“I’m sure,” Foster said. He ducked as a Laster blast went off over their heads, aimed toward the thopter. The thopter pulled up and away as another blast followed it.
“Take out the man,” Swain said.
“Revoke kill on male subject,” One-one said calmly. Instantly weapons were leveled. “Take the female unharmed. Repeat. Kill male subject. Take female subject.”
“No!” the woman screamed.
The man shoved the woman forward and swung the Laster in a wide arc, firing the entire time. Swain and Foster both dropped with their hands over their heads as if that would protect them from the blatant destruction of body that the Laster would cause. One-one and the rest of his squad took up defensive positions around them.
“Dax!” She screamed it. As if she were the one dying.
If they hurt her I will tear each one of them apart bit by bit…
Swain looked up. The woman was on the ground, cradling the man against her chest. The man’s face was twisted in agony and Swain realized the man’s right leg was gone, blasted away by a Laster at mid-thigh. Still he was able to reach for his Laster and he held it steadily in his hands as the mechs approached.
“Merritt,” he said. “Go. I’ll hold them off.”
“No,” she cried out.
Swain approached the group.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Foster said from behind. “Her PNA is off the charts.
“Excellent,” Swain said.
“GO!” the man roared.
“If you move we will kill him,” Swain said calmly to the woman.
“I’m dead anyway,” the man spat out. How could he talk? His leg was gone, nothing but a bloody and charred stump remained. The front of the woman’s dress was covered with blood. It showed black against the pristine white of her long white dress. The LED’s from the thopter shone down upon them and she stared up at him with eyes that flashed with silver.
“What do you want with us?” the woman asked.
Swain looked at her and smiled. “Why Merritt,” he said. “Didn’t you know? I want you.”
She looked at him curiously and he saw the realization settle over her face. “If I go with you, will you let him go?” she said.
“Merritt,” the man ground out between clenched teeth. “You can’t trust him.”
“Will you get him help?” she continued. “Make sure he lives?”
“Of course I will,” Swain said. He held out his hand in what he hoped was encouragement.
She looked at the weapons leveled on them. The building was at her back. There was no place for her to go and no hope of help coming from any direction. She bent her head and gently kissed the man. “I love you Dax,” she said. “Never forget it.” She slid from beneath him and lowered his head to the ground.
“Merritt!” he yelled as she stood and straighten her dress. He struggled, bracing himself up with is arms. It was if he could stand up with determination and stubbornness. Neither was a sufficient replacement for a leg.
Swain shook his head in surprise as he looked at the woman. If he didn’t know better he would swear it was a wedding dress she wore. It resembled the ones that he’d seen in the vids from the past. She stepped away and was instantly flanked by two mechs. As they walked her to him a team of mechs yanked the Laster from the man, Dax, she’d called him and trained their weapons upon him.
“Merritt,” Swain said when she stood before him. “I am most happy to meet you.”
She punched him. Hard. His head snapped back and he felt a crack in his jaw along with the coppery taste of his own blood. He swiped a hand over his face as he tongued the inside of his cheek. Was that a tooth? He spit it into his hand. Anger swelled over him and he clenched his fist over the tooth as he felt his cock harden. It took every bit of his will not to strike her.
She had no fear in her eyes. Only anger. Her white blonde hair tumbled around her shoulders and her bosom heaved with emotion. Her pale blue eyes bore into him, daring him to strike her.
“Orders?” One-one asked him.
Swain looked beyond Merritt to the man who obviously wanted to kill him. If he could do it with a look then he would most certainly be a dead man. A smile moved over his face as he realized that he could strike out at her, without actually lowering himself to show violence in front of his men.
“He’s yours,” Swain said. “To replace the one you lost.”
“No!” Merritt said. “You bastard!” She lunged for him. She sunk her nails into his cheek and raked them down. Swain staggered back with his hand over his cheek. He realized that he lost his tooth.
“Do something about her,” Swain said as he stumbled toward the thopter that had settled behind him.
“Stun her,” Foster said. Swain heard the charge of the stunner. He heard her fall and he heard the man, Dax struggle and calling her name. A hand reached out to help him into the thopter but he slapped it away and settled into a seat. A medic was there, waiting. He sprayed steriskin on his cheek and the burning immediately went away.
One-one stepped inside with Merritt in his arms. He placed her in the chair beside him and turned away without a word. Foster climbed in after One-one stepped out. Swain arched an eyebrow at him in silent communication. Foster handed him the port key.
Swain pushed the key into the admanium simport that was buried in his temple. The LED on the end glowed green to show it was communicating with the computer on board. As the thopter took off, Swain saw the mechs freeze in place as they received their orders to forget everything they’d seen tonight. When questioned about their activities Dallas squadron would report that they had captured a thief and rehabilitated him. “Make sure there are no witnesses,” Swain said to Foster. Foster immediately tapped his earpiece and ordered another squadron out to sweep the area.
Swain looked at the woman that slumped in the chair next to him. She was young, he realized, younger than the fight she’d shown. She was also exquisitely beautiful and once again he felt his cock harden. He would have to make sure the pleaser he used tonight had the same silvery blonde hair and pale blue eyes.
Not that it would matter what she looked like when he was done with her.