Worlds Collide

Just when I thought my NaNo was finished… I am having fun with this section, though.

**

“This is Alexander Pemberton, on the Lady Sarah,” he said, as he keyed the button to answer the call.

Immediately, a familiar voice came over the comm.  “Hello, Al,” the caller said.  Alexander smiled as a face appeared on the screen in front of him.  Cyrus Greyson gave him a wry smile.  “Just calling to bring you up to speed on some new developments back home.”

“Go ahead,” Alexander said, as he made ready to record the information, so that he could pass it on to the others later.

Cyrus nodded.  “Director Haruko was arrested – turns out he was the mole that your cousin kept going on and on about,” he said, nodding.  When Alexander looked at him in surprise, he gave a weak laugh.  “Yeah.  I don’t think anyone saw that coming, but that left Keenan with a hole to fill.”

“There’s a new deputy director in charge of Special Intelligence?” Alexander said.  When Cyrus nodded, he felt a trickle of dread.  “Do I want to know who that might be?”

“Michael Graves, Junior,” Cyrus said, smirking.  He shrugged and then shook his head.  “He’s the head of an Organization family centered in Ameria.  Keenan said that it’s all kind of foolish that we have this animosity towards all the families.  After all, they were fighting the Berklians, too.”

“So, his solution is to get rid of an Organization mole and… replace them with an Organization Boss?” Alexander said, his voice soft.  He shook his head.  “What’s his game, Cyrus?”

“Graves runs his family on the straight and narrow,” Cyrus said, nodding.  “If he’s going to ease everyone into an era of peace, this is a good start.”

“Right,” Alexander said, although he was a bit doubtful.  After all, he’d been undercover to stop members of the Blair family.  Part of the reason he’d joined the crew of the Lady Sarah in the first place was because he and Robin had a price on their heads.

How far we’ve come…

This was, I thought, the end of my NaNo.  Then, I kept going.

**

Kit wasn’t especially surprised to learn that Lizette had lost her seat as mayor soon after her return.  After all, she’d basically betrayed the Confederation, even if she had done it to protect her people from another tribute.

He headed down to the medical bay and smiled when he nearly ran into Julian, who was just coming out.  He ended up catching the other man before he fell.  “Everything all right, Master Southmaid?” he asked, as he released his hold.

Grimacing, Julian nodded.  “We’ve got to stop meeting like this, Captain,” he said.  “People will get the wrong idea.”  He shrugged and added, “I was just checking in on Emma.”

Kit smiled faintly.  “How are things between the two of you?” he asked, arching his brows.

Shaking his head, Julian said, “Moving slowly, but… that’s about right for me at this point.”  His brows furrowed.  “Will Master Willows be punished for her duplicity, Captain?  I mean… Dr. Noel died and Alexander was badly injured because of what she did.”

“I expect so,” Kit said, nodding.  He shrugged and added, “As far as the Confederation is concerned, it’s an internal matter – one for the colony to deal with.”  He still hadn’t decided what he would say to Noel’s parents.  It wasn’t the first time he’d lost a member of the crew, but it was the first time one had died on this voyage.  He hoped that wasn’t a sign of what was to come.

Julian touched his arm and gave him a weak smile as their eyes met.  “It’ll be fine, Captain,” he said.  “Whatever happens, this crew will rise to the challenge.  There’s really no such thing as luck, after all.”

“We make our own luck?” Kit said, smirking.

Shrugging, Julian said, “Something like that.”  Then, he nodded and stepped away from Kit.  As he headed down the corridor, he began whistling.  It was a tune that Kit had heard often.

“Let’s see how far we’ve come,” he murmured, as he headed into the medical bay to check on his people.  They had come pretty far, but he knew they could go further still.  After all, there was still the Delta Sector to explore.

The Bear!

This scene was insane fun to write!

**

Alexander ducked into a room with Raven close behind him.  Then, he slammed the door shut.  He had just enough time to get out of the way before Raven shoved a table up against the door.  “Oh, my God,” he breathed, as a crash reverberated outside the door.  He looked at Raven and shook his head.  “It just doesn’t quit!”

Raven gave a nervous laugh and then screamed when the door shook with the force of the thing outside attacking.  “Go away,” she screamed.

Giving a weak chuckle, Alexander said, “Go away?  Is that all you’ve got?”  The beast outside let out a vicious roar and he looked around for some kind of weapon.  “Never mind,” he added, as she began piling more furnishings against the door.

“Al?  Raven?” a voice said.  It took Alexander a moment to realize that the call was coming from his wrist-comm.

Tensing, he hit the button.  As before, it chirped twice and then fell silent.  “Are you kidding me?” he rasped.  He tugged the wrist-comm free and slapped it on the table.  Then, he hit the button again.  “Kit,” he cried when the wrist-comm made the single chirp that indicated it had opened a comm-line between them.

“Al?” Kit said, sounding surprised.  “Where are you and Raven?  What’s your status?  Why haven’t you answered?”

“The stupid wrist-comm clearly wanted a bear to eat us,” Alexander said, when the door shook under another attack from the beast outside.  He glanced around and then heaved a sigh.  “We’ve locked ourselves in a room – the record’s room, by the looks of it.  There’s a vicious bear outside – in the corridor, that is.”

“Are either of you hurt?” Calleigh asked.  She sounded a bit out of breath.  Obviously, they were running to get to the town hall.

“We’re fine,” Raven said, shaking her head.  She gave a weak laugh when the door cracked under the constant onslaught from the bear.  An enormous paw reached through the crack and flailed around for a moment as the bear tried to reach them.  As the paw withdrew, Raven said, “Go away!”

“We’ll be there in a few,” Kit said, his tone strained.

Alexander heaved a sigh of relief.  “Our weapons don’t seem to work on it,” he warned them.  “I don’t know what the bears on Anchorage have been eating, but they shake off our lightning guns like they’re nothing more than a bee sting.”

“Hurry,” Raven said, as the bear reached in and grabbed the door, trying to break the opening wider.  She grabbed a ruler off the wall where it was hanging and struck the beast in the paw.  It roared and pulled away.  When its face appeared in the opening, Raven poked it in the eye.  That time, it pulled away with a cry of pain.

“He’s huge,” Matthew cried from outside the room.  This was followed by the sound of several shots from their lightning guns.

Alexander rolled his eyes.  “Yeah, those don’t work so well,” he called.  He looked at Raven and shook his head.  “I’m fairly sure that I mentioned that.”

“You did,” she grimaced. Shouting through the opened, she said, “Don’t die on us, guys!  Once it finishes with you, it’ll come after us again.”

“Actually, this might be our chance to escape,” Alexander said, shrugging.  “When there’s a bear chasing you, you don’t have to outrun the bear, after all.”

“Right, just the people with you,” she finished smirking.

Real Aliens…

A scene from my NaNo.  I really like writing these characters…

**

Kirei was on duty when they reached the planet that was called Oceano.  One look at it told her why it had such a name.  There were small landmasses, but most of the surface was covered with water.  The first thing that she did was attempt to make contact with the colony.  Her first hails went unanswered.  However, after trying different channels for half an hour, she got a response.  The only problem was: she didn’t understand what the person was saying.  Her brows furrowed.

Turning away from the comm, she looked over towards the captain’s chair.  At that moment, the captain was in his study.  Calleigh was sitting in the chair, reading something off a datapad.  “Commander Skyler,” Kirei said, her ears flicking back.  When the woman looked up, Kirei heaved a sigh.

“You got a response, Ensign Firetail?” she asked, moving to her feet.

Kirei nodded.  “A response, yes,” she said.  Then she shook her head.  “The problem is, I can’t understand a word they’re saying and I’m not finding any of the phrases in our language database.”

Calleigh hummed thoughtfully and stepped over to the comm.  She took the earpiece and closed her eyes.  After a moment, she shook her head.  She turned to Kirei and nodded.  “Tell them who we are and that we’re sending a team down.  Even if we can’t understand them, there’s a chance they can understand us.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Kirei said, nodding.

Touching the internal comm on her wrist, Calleigh said, “Captain…” she trailed off when the device chirped.  She was about to touch the comm again when the Captain entered from his study.

“Did you need me?” he asked, tilting his head to one side.

More

Unlikely…

An excerpt from my current NaNo…

**

Julian stepped out of his little house in the cliff and blinked at the clear blue sky.  Behind him, Marissa giggled and scampered outside.  It was the first clear day in a week.  She hurried over to where a few other children were and they began to play a form of tag.  However, there were other things on Julian’s mind.  He knew that this was the day he’d seen in his vision.

He hurried down the steps to the building where the equipment was.  “Master Westerburg,” he called, as he entered.  He stopped when he noticed that she wasn’t there.  He frowned and looked between Brent and Roberts.  They were the only ones there and Roberts was convinced he’d had something to do with the crash.  Brent simply thought he was insane.  He wasn’t sure which was worse.  “Um… where is Master Westerburg?” he asked, as he looked between the two men.

“Westerburg went with Bailey,” Roberts growled.  “They’re looking for something they can use to extend the life of these batteries.”  He crossed his arms over his chest.  “What do you want, Southmaid?”

He took a steadying breath and closed his eyes.  “I – I had a dream the other night about a ship,” he said, clenching his hands together.  He forced himself to meet Roberts’s gaze.  “It’s out there and – and the stone here will make it impossible for the scanners to find us.  We need to call them!”

Brent growled and stalked over to him.  He shoved Julian hard enough to knock him into the wall of the little building.  “If you think we’re going to let you anywhere near that communications equipment, you’re as crazy as I’ve been saying for the last two years.”

Julian felt his cheeks warm as Brent turned to stalk back to where Roberts was.  He was tempted – sorely tempted – to back down.  He’d done that numerous times over the last two years and, each time, something horrible had happened.  The first time had been when Alyssum was killed.  As he thought of his late wife, he also remembered his daughter.

Marissa was depending on him to see this through.  If he backed down this time, everyone would die.  This might be their only chance for a rescue.  She needed him to act.  He didn’t want his little girl to die on this godforsaken world.

Squeezing his eyes shut, Julian surged forward.  He pushed between the two men and grabbed the communicator blindly.  Trusting his instincts, he flipped it on and turned it to a frequency he prayed would work.  “Lady Sarah,” he said, his voice cracking.  “Please come in.  This is Julian Southmaid, a passenger from the Cruiser Alistair, requesting assistance.”

“You fool,” Roberts growled, grabbing him.  He pulled Julian away from the table and threw him against the wall of the building.

“You and your dreams,” Brent snapped.  He stepped up to Julian’s other side and added, “You don’t even know that there’s anyone out there!”

As Julian winced, bracing for one or both of them to start hitting him, the comm crackled to life.  “Master Julian, this is Alexander Pemberton, on the Lady Sarah.  We have your location.  Help is on…” the voice trailed off as the battery finally died.

Julian lifted his head and released a shaky breath.  Meeting Brent’s gaze steadily, he said, “What were you about to say about my dreams?”  Without waiting for a response, he spun away from the pair and headed out into the sunshine.

He looked across the clearing at Angie Hogencamp, who was watching over the children.  “Which way did Master Westerburg and Master Bailey head?” he asked, his voice pitched just loud enough to carry to her.  “There’s been a development that they need to know about.”

Even as she pointed the way for him, Angie said, “What’s happened?”

Julian smiled.  “Help is on the way,” he said, shrugging.  He heaved a sigh and looked up at the clear blue sky.  “After two years on this rock, we’re about to be rescued.”

The Only Thing to Fear

Here’s a nice little vignette with the prompt of: write about a fear your character is ashamed of.

**

“You could go up and get a birds-eye view, so to speak,” Kit suggested.

Calleigh looked sharply at Kit.  “It’s dark,” she said, her voice strained.  She flushed when Kit regarded her with a curious expression.  In a soft voice, one she could barely hear herself, she said, “I don’t fly at night, Kit.  I could damage my wings.”

“It’s not that dark, Calleigh,” he said.  His tone was gentle and reasonable.  He was also absolutely correct.  It wasn’t so dark that she risked flying into anything.  She couldn’t think of any other excuse for not doing exactly what Kit had suggested.

“I could do a spell,” Alexander offered, looking from one to the other.  He smiled at Kit.  “Commander Skyler would see further with a bit more light.  Wouldn’t she, Captain?”

“Yes,” Calleigh said, nodding.  She gave Alexander a weak smile.  “Thank you,” she said, her voice soft.

“Do the spell, Al,” Kit said, nodding once.

Alexander wove the lighting spell and the area where they were – where Calleigh would need to fly – brightened noticeably.  A moment later, Calleigh flew up and got their bearings.  After she’d landed and the spell began to fade, they set off once again.

Alexander let Kit a bit ahead of them and then smiled faintly at Calleigh.  “I’m afraid of the dark too,” he murmured.  Then, he shrugged.  “It’s less frightening when you aren’t alone.”

A faint smile touched Calleigh’s lips.  Taking his hand, she said, “Your secret’s safe with me, Al.”  She knew that he’d keep her secret as well.

Fearless

The prompt was to write about someone who wasn’t afraid of anything.  The first person that I thought of was Gretchen…

**

Gretchen frowned as she listened to the captain’s warning over the internal communications system.  She knew that it was meant to prepare them for the worst.  However, she could only see it as a way to scare the people in her area.

“See here,” she said, as she turned to the other people in engineering.  As all eyes turned to her, she said, “Let’s show these so-called pirates what our little ship can do.”

For a moment, no one moved or spoke.  Then, one of the engineers said, “We can’t hope to outrun a ship like that.  Aren’t you afraid of what they’ll do to you when they catch us?”

Rolling her eyes, Gretchen shook her head.  “Captain isn’t going to let that happen,” she said, as she turned away.  “Focus on your work or you’ll have more to fear that space pirates.”

“You?” one of the other said.

She grinned and arched an eyebrow.  “What do you think?” she asked, grabbing up a wrench.  “Now, get to work!”  She nodded as the members of her team hurried off to see to their appointed duties.  With this team and her captain, Gretchen knew that she didn’t have anything to worry about.

To the Teeth

Another fear-related prompt (write about teeth) for my NaNo 2016 characters.  I babysat for a little girl who did what Isaac does in this story…

**

Kit grimaced as he sat at the table with Isaac.  “Stop, please,” he said, glancing at the little boy.  His son giggled and then the terrible screeching sound came again.  He winced and shook his head.  If he told his son not to grind his teeth, then the situation only became worse.  It became a game.  He had to ignore the sound.  That, however, was easier said than it was done.

There was, of course, another solution to the problem.  He pushed the bowl of apple sauce and the spoon over to where Isaac could reach it.  “Apple sauce?” he offered.  Finally, the screeching sound ceased.

Heaving a sigh of relief, Kit went back to eating his own dinner.  At least until the meal was over and he could give Isaac a different game to play – one that didn’t involve teeth grinding – he just had to keep the food coming.

Applying Percussive Maintainance

I’d actually written this earlier in the month, bit it fit the prompt so well: Write about your character’s most terrifying experience so far.

**

Gretchen growled softly as the ship suddenly slowed to impulse speed.  Somewhere, there was a chirp and she heard the captain’s voice.  “Commander Neary, we’re going to be in worse trouble if we go at this snail’s pace and they catch us.”

“I know that,” she grumbled.  Then, she hit the comm button and said, “I’m doing the best I can, Captain.”  Grabbing her wrench, she released the button and struck the engine housing with all her might.  “Run, you piece of shit,” she snapped.  There was a hum as the starlight engines kicked back in and Gretchen nearly fell over when the ship lurched up to starlight speed once again.

Tossing the wrench to one side, Gretchen heaved a sigh of relief.  They weren’t out of the woods yet, but at least they wouldn’t get caught because the damn ship was creeping along at impulse speed.

 

On the bridge, Kit gave Calleigh a tight smile.  “So,” he said, “we both know those pirates aren’t going to leave us alone just because we’re cruising along at maximum speed.  They’re ship is faster than Hannah.  Give me options, Commander Skyler.”

“We could come about and blast them to kingdom come,” Ken quipped.

Kit looked over at him and nodded.  “We could.  If we had more than two torpedoes left and a better chance at actually making a hit on them, that would be a better course of action than running.”

“What if we increased those odds?” Calleigh said, her eyes twinkling.

A frown touched Kit’s lips.  “Listening,” he said, nodding.

“Come about and run at them,” Calleigh said, grinning.  She shrugged and said, “We can’t miss, even with our weapons’ guidance system down, if we get close enough.”

“They’d certainly never expect it,” David said.  He didn’t sound pleased with the idea, but he wasn’t protesting it as insane either.  That was a good sign.

Kit nodded.  He pressed the comm button to hail the entire crew.  “All stations, prepare to come about on my mark,” he said.  He looked at George and added, “You know what we’re doing.  Lay in the course.”

“Aye, sir,” George said.  His fingers flew over the buttons and after a moment, he nodded.  “Course laid in, sir.  Ready on your mark.”

Kit took a steadying breath and then touched the comm button once again.  “Mark,” he said.  He bit his lip as the ship spun around and then flew back the way they had come.  He looked over at Ken.  “As near as you dare, Commander Holmes,” he said.

“Aye, sir,” Ken said, his brows furrowing.  He had his gaze locked on the screen that showed him the pursuing pirate ships.  Then, he keyed the torpedo button.  “Firing one,” he said.  He nodded.  “Direct hit on closer pirate ship.”  He hit the other button and said, “Firing two.”  His brows twitched when nothing happened.  He slapped the console and hit the button a second time.  This time, the second torpedo fired.

Their ship rocked with the percussive force of the second ship exploding.  Then, it fell quiet and Kit relaxed in his seat.  “All hands, assess damage in your areas.  Any wounded, go to sickbay.  Commander Neary, start repairing systems by priority.”

“That was insane,” David breathed.

Calleigh chuckled softly.  “There’s no denying that it worked, though,” she said.  She got to her feet and smiled at Kit.  “I’m going to check and make certain everyone got through our adventure in one piece.”

Kit heaved a sigh and nodded.  “I’ve got to message Starbright Station and let them know about the pirates in this sector,” he said.  As he got to his feet, he said, “Commander Holmes, you have the bridge.”

He vanished into his ready room and sank into the chair at the desk.  He glanced over at the photograph on the wall.  “That was just a bit scary,” he said, his voice soft.  Pirates, if they’d taken the ship, would have killed him and all the men on board.  The woman, like Calleigh and Gretchen… he didn’t even want to think about it.

“The devil’s own luck,” he said, still looking at the portrait.  “Isn’t that what you used to call it, Sarah?”  He heaved a sigh and reached into his desk to retrieve a bottle of whiskey.  He poured just a bit into a glass and raised it to the portrait.  “To luck,” he said.  Then, he tossed the drink back.  After he’d tucked the bottle and glass out of sight, he began composing a message to his superiors in the Confederation.

Afraid of What?

Another fear-related prompt (write about an unusual fear).  Playing with these is really helping me get ready for NaNo.

**

“Trees,” Ryan said, without looking up from the datapad on which he was typing.  When Donna made a curious sound, he did look up.

She was looking at him with an expression of complete surprise.  “How… can you be afraid of trees?”

He set the datapad on the console.  “I grew up at Windstar Station,” he said, shrugging.  “The first time that I saw a forest – a real forest, not one in a book – I was curious enough to explore it.”  He shrugged.  “I got lost.”

Donna blinked at him for a moment.  Then, she nodded.  “When you put it that way, it actually makes sense to be afraid of trees,” she said.

“It doesn’t help that my father told me about trees that could eat people or, sometimes, do even worse things,” Ryan said, as he took up his datapad again.  “I never could figure out if he was just trying to keep me from doing it again or if he was serious.”

Robin grimaced.  Ryan did not need to know that his father was being perfectly serious about man-eating trees.  In a soft voice, he said, “I’m afraid of spiders.”

Previous Older Entries