Pippin and I started this thing last summer, a writing challenge. There were a hundred themes, and we would write 2 pages or so, something short, for each one. We would read and critique each others’ work. It actually was neat to write again, things that didn’t require a mega attention span, things that didn’t require commitment. I could sit down and think about a one-word prompt, and take it wherever I wanted. I played around a lot with different styles, since I enjoy doing that… And I discovered that I enjoy writing shorter stories! I may share some of the few themes we did before we got busy later too, but I wanted to start with these.
This was the first theme and the first segment I wrote, although I’d had the scene floating around in my mind for a while. But lately, as I’ve revisited the two themes I wrote around this story, I’ve really loved the feel. I adore science fiction, if you didn’t know already… and I wanted to try my hand someday.
This didn’t really get off the ground though, until I took a separate idea, also science-fiction-y or at least futuristic, that had come directly from a dream I had. I’d been the main charrie in the dream, but had certainly embellished it and thought it through more thoroughly after waking up, haha. I didn’t realize until now how well they fit together…
So anyways, the next couple of posts will be bringing you up to date with what I’ve already written, and then I’ll post the next bits as I get them done. No promises, I get tired and bored and I can only write when I’m in the “feel” of the book. I can’t really explain that, never have been able to, so I won’t try now. Of course, all writings on my blog (c) 2011 Lydia DeWolf, hands off me buckoes! Without further ado…
Sector 4A Bartholomew; on board the USSC Alabama; Vector Computation Station 1
All was quiet on the 4A deck. A few sniffles sounded, mainly newbies still recovering from initial space-sickness. I tucked my hair behind one ear and bent over some scratch paper. Jules started humming “La Marseillaise” under his breath.
Spike honed in on one mathematical argument. “Aw, crap, guys, seriously!” she groaned.
I slid out of my chair and walked over, skirting wheeled station chairs. Scanning the highlighted text on her eScron monitor, I reached to my belt and flicked a switch. Instantly, a yellow light bathed the 4A deck, making everyone look as if they’d suddenly contracted jaundice. Crewmembers bolted from their seats and held their hands where I could see them. New recruits fumbled to copy their motions, reeling in the unfamiliar pull of gravity.
“Nothing to be alarmed about,” I said clearly, “at least not this time around. We go through this at least once every new batch. Just don’t change a thing in your vectors and for gosh sakes, don’t bump the simulators.” I leaned over, the only movement in a group of statues, and scrolled through the screen with one fingertip. “Who ran Test Set 3.8?”
Nobody owned the scratch.
“Permission to introduce the freshies to space ice?” Spike growled, her cold blue stare sliding from face to nervous face. Sometimes I wondered if she enjoyed her role a little too much….
Someone swallowed loudly in the silence. “Here, ma’am.”
I turned to the recruit. “Name, rank, condition, all that jazz.”
“Raleigh, engineer third class,” he warbled, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “Division four-ought-seven, scared stiff, ma’am!” He ventured a grin and a few of his divisionmates chuckled.
“You should be!” I snapped, cutting through the sound. “You scrambled your signs. We’ve got an extra negative swimming around out there in Sets 3.9 through 4.5! Company, rework! Raleigh, follow me.”
“Aw, shucks,” he groused, slinking after my heels as the others seated themselves and began to check and recheck. I led him around to the observation dock and placed him with his back to the wall of windows. Nothing like a sheet of very clean acrylic at your back with only ice cold space beyond to make you feel at ease.
“Raleigh, this is serious. You get that, right?”
“Sure, Chief.” He accidentally leaned against the cold glass and started forward an inch or two in surprise.
“No, I don’t think you do. Did you care about your grades in school?” I asked him.
“Well, sure, Chief, that’s why I’m here.”
“Explain why you’re still an engineer third class after six years’ service?”
The line of his neck hardened, but his expression remained submissive, if a little sleepy. “What I did just now, Chief. Losing track of stuff.” He tried a rueful laugh. “Kinda sucks, you know? One stray mark and bang, my record’s lost another point.”
“Your record. So you worried about your grades and now you worry about your record, and holding onto enough points to make the next promotion.”
He smiled and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Sounds about right, ma’am.”
“Idiot. Back in elementary school, a sign error will cost you half a percent. Here, it’ll cost eight guys their bloody lives!”
His face became a mask, like hardened wax. He swallowed once and licked his lips.
“No one’s ever told you that, huh, Raleigh? Well then, time to wake up. You ain’t in simulator school no more. Out here, you mistake your epsilon for a three, and you can explain to a mother why her boy isn’t coming home. Would you ever play with someone else’s life?”
“No, ma’am,” he whispered.
“Then don’t play with your numbers. That clear?” I laid a hand on his shoulder.
“Good. Now run along. Rework 3.8. Remember, my crew doesn’t make mistakes.” I sent him an encouraging smile and let him lead the way back to 4A.
All of my seasoned troopers looked up and stared as if it were the first offense in the history of man as Raleigh made his way back to his seat. I smirked.
“Aw, come on, Chief, no blood?” Spike whined.