I know what you're thinking. . . the title of this post is gibberish! But if you're a writer - it's not. If you're a writer, you know it's a glove thrown down. An open invitation to embrace a challenge that calls your name. You see, NaNoWriMo is code for National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is for every writer wishing to engage to write 2,000 words a day. Assuming you're successful, you will have 50,000 words by the end of November. And this, my dear friends, constitutes a novel.
The Mr. answered the call to this challenge and is working toward writing his first novel. It is a novel that's been stewing in his head for years. But now, putting fingertips to keyboard, his thoughts are taking form, being recorded keystroke by keystroke. And, what's more exciting is he wishes to share his work with you! We'll be posting his novel, chapter by chapter, here on Wolfe Stew. To quickly find it, go to the label button and click NaNoWriMo. You'll find all his works sequentially listed there.
One quick favor before I share the first chapter, he is interested in your feedback. So, if you have anything to share regarding his first work, we'd love to hear from you! You're welcome to comment (at the bottom of the post) or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org).
And now, without further ado, here's the first chapter of the Mr.'s first working novel.
Mission Born: Space Twins
Written by Sean Wolfe
© 2019 Wolfe Stew
“When do we land, Jess?!” Walter looked over his lowered left shoulder, since he couldn’t look over his hulking right shoulder. “5 and counting Wally, GET REAADDDYYYYYY!” They could both feel and hear the roar of the engines as the ship came to a thundering stop. “MOVE OUT!” Walter flipped a switch that folded the outer door downward and out toward the surface of the moon. This was a much-changed moon, the scars of the Aftermath made into huge caverns of dark and light.
Walter maneuvered down the ramp in a suit made of fibroflesh, something the Elders on Earth had designed to fit over any tissue and help it adapt to severe environments. He couldn’t even feel the freezing cold of space. The mission was important. Everyone who had accepted the mission did not expect to live. The randomness of the moon scared anyone sane. The portals that could pop up anywhere, the living stars that could vaporize even the toughest material, and of course there were the ghosts. No one was really sure what the ghosts were exactly. They were apparitions of people who most likely died on this moon. Vengeful spirits that had no care but to tear the flesh from your bones, trying to replace their own. At least, that was the superstition.
Jess moved the shuttle out of the vicinity, guiding it quickly around a portal that appeared on her port side. “That may have messed the paint job, buddy.” She grunted as she had to haul hard against the steering mechanism. “I’ll be back in about 10 Wally, you gotta get it and send me a feed of your ords.” She could see him trotting across the jagged surface as his voice came over the comms in ragged breaths. “You got it girl! I’ll get it!” His pace quickened as he kicked in the cybernetic enhancements to his legs.
A few kilometers later, Walter arrived near a set of portals orbiting a glowing orb of an almost liquid sort of light. “I’m here Jess…there’s a problem.”
“What kind of problem? Please be more specific, we are seriously running short on time!”
“There are two portals surrounding the dang thing Jess. If I siphon, I could trigger a portal.”
His voice was edged in tension. She could hear the real concern in his voice. They were all ‘they’ really had in this life. A brother and sister that survived the trials on Earth, and they had bested the best to get into this mission. Walter and Jess were probably the only two that had gone into this thinking that they WOULD make it out alive.
Jess lowered her voice. “Okay you big lughead, this is what we are gonna do. I am gonna use the crane and lower you in, to siphon. The ether will either come with us, or both of us go where the portals pull us.”
Walter smirked, you could hear it in his tone, “Alright, Sis, you’re the boss!” They were probably both insane; but knowing that neither would have to go on without the other helped alleviate some of the worry.
The shuttle roared into existence overhead, and Garr could see the glinting shine of the clawhook glide down on a silver streaming chain. The chain was made of living metal, energized and motivated by nanites. The hook struck Walter in the back, latching onto the hooks made for such a maneuver. Jess kicked in the thrusters and Garr was lifted high into the atmosphere of the moon. As Jess moved into place over the ether, Walter could see two indistinct forms residing beside the ball of ether. White and writhing skeletal forms stood between Garr and his final goal. “Sis, we got ghosts…”
“Just shoot the tube down and siphon. If they come after you, we leave. Whatever we get, we get.”
Garr took aim with the siphon gun that was slotted on his right shoulder. He triggered the device and it shot a thin tube through the air, a thin mesh lined the entire tube. When it reached within the ball of ether, he flipped a switch that enlarged the tube by five times, then the siphoning started. That’s when the ghosts took full notice of Walter and seemed to howl into the deadness of space. Their socket-less eyes stared through him, sending a chill down his spine. “Um, Sis, we done yet? They…I think they’re coming.” And sure enough, the two wraith-like forms slithered through the air. They seemed to be picking up speed, and their forms began to become more focused. A giant tug on Walter’s back told him Jess was starting the process of pulling him in. “Hey Wally….could you stop the siphon so I can get you out of there?! LIKE NOW!!!”
He flipped the kill switch and the gun returned the tube to normal size and started to retract into his shoulder. The pull on his back became enormous as he literally felt like he was on a leash being dragged into the ship. As his suit entered the darkness of the cargo bay of the ship, the door slammed closed and the lights kicked on. He felt a lurching inside his guts and knew that his sister had activated the translight engines. These were dangerous to use near the surface of any object, let alone a moon. The energy that swelled from the engines could ignite any material. She would be lucky if the moon didn’t literally explode from right underneath them.
“Jess, are we out of the thick of it yet?”
“Yes, brother, we are clear.”
The sighs were echoed, and both Garr and Jess let the comms die for a moment.
“How much did we get?”
Jess flipped a switch and read the dials. “A quarter of a tank, more than I thought we would get honestly.”
“How long till Earthbound?”
“You sure do ask a lot of silly questions, kid.”
“Stop calling me kid, Jess! How long??”
“Two hours, get in here and take a nap. You always like to nap on the clock.” She literally sounded like she was about to guffaw.
“Yeah, yeah. Make fun of it if you will, but a good nap is just like Heaven right about now.”
When Walter woke up, the ship was still and his sister was flipping all switches downward. “Hey sleepyhead, we made it. Time to go let the Elders chew on our ears for a bit.” Her voice had an energized bounce in it, which told him she was going to probably get them in trouble with the leadership. Sighing, Walter jumped out of bed, pulled his mission suit on, and started following his sister out of the ship.
They didn’t get too far before a tall, young man stopped them in the landing bay. He was a randomly put together man, with big ears, a long nose, and eyes that seemed to be spaced too far apart. “Good Morning Cadets! Looks like a somewhat successful mission! Too bad you had to turn tail and run back to Mother’s Nest. Bahahahaha!” Captain Argent was in charge of all space missions to the moon. He was annoying, but he was supportive of the lieutenants that managed their own spacecraft, always in pairs. “Cap, you know we ain’t Cadets. We are Leweys. Get it right man!” Jess spewed it all out before her brother could stop her. Walter closed his eyes and gritted his teeth, waiting for the fallout. He was surprised to hear the Captain belt out another “Bahahahaha!!” followed by a “Right-o! Have fun in debriefing!” He literally winked at the both of them as he continued on his way.
“I’ll never get used to that guy, Jess. He is way too happy all the time, and his sense of humor bewilders me.”
His sister laughed and said, “Wally, you gotta learn to play the person, not the game.”
“Huh? Seriously…you gamble way too much Sis!”
“I do it all day on missions with you, ya lughead! What else am I supposed to do?”
“Read, maybe, I love reading. The academy’s library is huge, and everything is free to view. You know you could learn something every now and again.”
He was being sincere, but his sister wasn’t having any of it.
“If it doesn’t have a schematic of a spaceship or a new maneuver in zero-g, I really ain’t got the time for it.”
She walked past him and hit the button to the elevator that would take them deep into the heart of the structure of the Academy of Colonization and Exploration. It was good to be a part of A.C.E. The people associated with this organization were truly the aces of the final population of Earth. And they lived not in wealth but in the ability to adventure into space and attain the knowledge needed for such missions. This was a luxury in and of itself.
One day, the twins hoped to escape Earth altogether. They wanted to find the colonies which had been established hundreds of years ago. The great Exodus, a peace-minded separation of faith-seeking folks and the scientific community, had ended sadly. Several Arks, huge defenseless spaceships, had wandered out into space, before the Council of Science had put a stop to it. The last Ark being blown-up and the innocents onboard becoming martyrs for a new movement. The fanatical Seven Swords springing up to inflict vengeance on the Council. Finally, an evolution of the Council transpired and the faith claimed several seats of power on the Council. Over several decades the Council was transformed into the Council of Elders, containing both scientific and faith-based leaders.
Today, that same Council ruled over the entire planet and the galaxy. The extended universe was still unknown and just starting to be categorized and analyzed by a few key scientists and military personnel. The most famous scientist being Arthur Grant. Some of Grant’s communiques started to arrive this decade. They were not looked upon with favor by the Council. His ideals and love of old myths were looked down upon. He had been the main geneticist, geologist, and leader in nanorobotics of the time. So he had been given whatever assignment he asked for; the first one being a deep space exploration of the colonies he had helped plan the parameters within. The science and the philosophies that returned, through the endless void of space, were read by one and all. The Council had recently started preparing military missions into colony space.
As the elevator came to a stop, the doors swished open and a gust of stale air hit them full in the face. “Welp, I’ll bet that’s the mummified smell of our fearless Elders!” Jess walloped her statement into the moldy air. Walter did not think she should so openly insult their leaders. He felt it was rude, but more so, he felt a nagging fear at the base of his neck. Something that pulled at him. At this feeling, Walter put his hand on his sister’s shoulder to make her pause. She turned brashly, but when her eyes met his, she calmed herself and closed her mouth. Identical nodding resulted, and the twins continued their walk to their destined meeting with the Elders.
As their journey continued, the walkways turned from the useful and durable materials of steel and concrete to the more ostentatious marble and brass. This was where the leaders of the new society lived, worked, and relaxed. The twins recognized just how much society changed within the halls of power. This only brought more feelings of trepidation to Walter. Things were changing. This used to be a rugged structure built for the design of missions that could be harrowing but would also reward the humanity still left on Earth. This structure looked more like the opulence of Rome than the usefulness of a mission control.
The hallway opened up into a large room, with the ceiling arching high above. The ceiling had a beautiful, slowly changing night sky. Constellations swirled like strands of gems in the velvet background of Earth’s old night sky. Anyone that looked upon the night sky of the current Earth’s age would be sadly disappointed. Shards of the moon hung in an almost Saturn-like ring around the Earth. This made the viewing of stars difficult if not impossible.
As they looked upon the magnificence of the chamber, Walter noticed that the Elders were positioned high above everyone on the meeting floor. Jess nodded in disgust and bowed, “Oh hail, you’re very fine majesties.” Smirking, she looked to her brother for confirmation of the joke, but what she saw there was only a severe look. She stumbled in her stance and looked up. “Um, sorry. I get worked up after a mission. Won’t happen again.” She winked and looked up at them with an innocent air.
The main chair stood in moonlit ambiance, as if the station itself rested in an unearthly environment. That main chair held Ambrosius Shaw, the exalted chairman, leader of the Council and all that it oversaw. It was hard to see his exact look, but as still as he sat, you could tell he was weighing Jess’ words carefully. Contempt was not a charge you wanted sitting over your head. The chairman seemed to nod his head and then took up his gavel and slammed it onto the surface in front of him. “This council is now convened.”
All members stood up at their places, bowed toward Ambrosius and then sat ceremoniously.
“We will hear from the pilot, first. What say you of your brash actions of today?”
He stopped and looked down upon Jess, waiting for her answer.
“Uh, I’m sorry, what do you mean, sir? Everything in our mission required a brash action, so I might need some specifics…”
One of the other members answered her, an older man, seeing as he had white hair. “Child he is talking about starting the translight engines so close to the surface of the moon. You could have easily incinerated the moon, causing more destruction. And we cannot afford more devastation to the moon, as the oceans are already unruly enough.”
Jess paled. She had known at the time it was an offense against the law, but necessity had erased that thought. She was now truly aware of the trouble she was in. She looked to her brother, who was now staring at the floor.
Sighing, Jess started into her apology, “Sirs and Misses, I am sorry for my brashness. I wanted the mission to succeed, and I was worried for my brother’s safety. It will not happen again.”
“Yes, you are correct in that thought, girl. It will not happen again, for you will not be piloting a shuttle ever again. Your brother will join a different squad, and you will be placed on the maintenance crew.”
With that, Chairman Shaw slammed his gavel down, adjourning the council session.
Many of the members muttered loud enough to be heard on the floor of the chamber. Walter realized that the chairman had made a mistake in not asking for a vote. There was room here for some maneuvering…if his sister kept her mouth shut. He looked over at her, and immediately saw that her reaction was going to be one of contempt. Reacting quickly, he yelled into the courtroom as loudly as he possibly could. “Nooooooo! Please Chairman, please change your mind.” His sister was caught off guard and halted what she was about to say in stunned silence.
The Exalted Chairman looked down at Walter and then recognized the dissent among his peers. His shoulders dropped, seeming to realize that he had made a horrible mistake. He pointed his gavel at Walter and stated very slowly and in an even tone, “Son, you are at no fault, and seeing as you tried to control your sister, I leave her in your custody. Her flight status is under review; and will be handled at a later meeting of the council. Now, I suggest you both get some rest. Please, leave these council chambers.”
At the last utterance of the chairman, Walter directed his sister quickly out of the room. Walking quickly down the halls, and out under the shattered moon’s sky, he directed her to their personal barracks. Being in charge of a ship of mission status afforded them a nice cabin, for their private use. Walter threw on the lights quickly and shut the door. “What were you thinking?! Jess! We could have been landed permanently!”
Jess stumbled onto a plain-looking tan couch. The sobbing that started, wracked her body. Her breathing heaving in a cry that almost choked her. “I…I don’t know Wally, I just can’t handle the way they look down upon us, handing us missions that they could never handle. Then…THEN they criticize our actions!”
“Jess… I know… I know it’s hard…” Sighing, he just looked out the window towards the airstrip. The night popped with little pinpoints of light, directing huge stellar craft into hangars, or outward to missions of extreme danger.
“We have to be careful, Jess. We are one of the only brother/sister teams. Jack and Mitch are the only other ones, and they got there through their mom being on the council. We have to be smart! We gotta stay together sis…we just gotta….” He let his lecture trail off, as he felt the heavy burden of trying to keep his family together. Their parents had died seven years ago, on a mission much like the one they had currently been assigned. Their legacy was in space, which the council had recognized their early achievements and allowed them to become a team.
“It’s okay bro, from now on I’ll keep my mouth shut and my eyes to the ground.”
Jess had a new look of quiet calm on her face. She was different somehow. He looked at her sideways.
“Um, where is this actually coming from Jess? ‘Cause you don’t usually keep your mouth shut.”
Jess half-smirked and solemnly explained, “I love space, kiddo, and I ain’t leaving it anytime soon.”
“Okay, well, we are lucky the chairman went off and pronounced verdict on you without a vote. The other members were upset by that. So we might just have a hope.”
“Yeah, uh, Wally, I wasn’t talking about staying. I think we need to ask for a transfer to a colony ship. I could join the flight crew, and you could easily make it as onboard security. It’s time we left.”
Walter slumped down into an over-soft chair and put his face in his hands.
“I hate change, sis. I like what we do here. Why can’t we just keep doing this?”
“Well, for one, I just made an enemy out of the Exalted Chairman. For another, this is probably the fastest and easiest way to get us out of Earth’s atmosphere, before he tries to eject us out of it without a ship surrounding us.
After grumbling into a throw pillow, Walter pulled his head up and nodded. “Let’s do it. It’s time for a change… But, one thing, I want a ship of our own one day. I am tired of running by everybody else’s rules!”
She winked and whooped, “Yeehaw! We are goin’ to the frontier boyo!”
Walter just sighed and lay back in the chair, closing his eyes.
“I just hope we aren’t making a mistake…”
(Click to "turn the page" to Chapter 2)
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Congrats on first chapter done! Really enjoyed the twins' adventures, and now there are more to come.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Carla! Indeed there is more to come. I'm working to catch up with the NaNoWriMo challenge now!ReplyDelete
Sorry for the long delay in feedback but I'm here now. You have a real gift for coming up with some really cool ideas, relationships and world building. However there are a few things I would work on. You write like I did in the beginning, like you're relating the story through speech. That's not to say it's badly written on the contrary you have the bones of a good story. It's just some sentences were a little awkward and there were technical issues. Dialogue, while strong wasn't separated in a way that was natural, but the more you write the more you will gain experience. Again nothing terribly bad! Just things I noticed. Also in the vein of dialogue, when Wally mentioned the ghost "...." is a pause. A dash like "They-I think they’re coming" instead of a pause, like he can't think straight because he's scared. The pauses were effective in some areas. In others I would remove them. I would also rework a few sentences to flow better. Like: "Huh? Seriously…you gamble way too much Sis" and take out the "huh", remove the .... so the sentence flows "Seriously, you gamble way to much sis." Again this is personal opinion. You like the story just as it is, stick with your ideas. Anyway I'll try to read though the next chapters. I hope none of the criticism has effected your ability to write and that you found it useful. I'm also interested in what happens to the siblings next.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your detailed and constructive feedback! You're right: every time I reread I find something else to fix. I especially find your comments on dialogue flow helpful. When I next edit, your suggestions will provide a good starting point. Thanks again for your thoughtful critique.Delete