Author Topic: Writing Extract  (Read 343 times)

Offline beast4321

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Writing Extract
« on: January 31, 2019, 02:17 am »
So, I'm an aspiring Author, as you lot should know. I do a lot of writing, I've done five or so projects, finished a five hundred page book and harassed some Publishing Agents with it. And, as befitting of my benevolent nature, I decided to share with you all a little extract from said project. Whether you actually read the extract or not is up to you, it's a bit long, but I'm proud of it and I'd love to hear any feedback on it (and if you leave some, I promise you a signed copy if it's published!) So, onwards to the extract...

Broken Extract

Day 3

  She lay there a few moments, on the edge of consciousness. She was in bed, in her barrack in the Ravenfall Command Centre, relaxing at the lightness of clothes instead of light Myriad armour. It was astonishingly quiet. She knew her squad well after a year of living with them. Frethargard would always be starting in his sleep and quietly whispering to himself. Gordaine snored. But, now it was blissfully silent.
  Her head began to throb and she stopped smiling when she remembered what’d happened. Her eyes darted open. The roof was metal, made of small square plates that formed a grid. She knew her barrack block roof. After long nights staring at it, she had memorised its pattern, but this was unfamiliar. The lights were brighter and they all worked. And where was the black stain on the roof, three squares across from her bunk?
  This was not the barrack block.
  She looked around.
  It was a small, square room, a couple of metres across each way. There was a door shoved into the far corner, and metal tables beside it covered it medical equipment. There were bottles of colourful liquid with labels in a language she recognised but didn’t understand; Ryssien, from Old Earth. Few people red it these days, because it was a relic of a dead world. Then there were several machines; Wires fanned out from a metal orb beside another piece of equipment she didn’t understand, but she did understand where she was.
  The medical wing. This alone was worrying. The medics were a branch of the Science Department and infamous for their cold, calculating pragmatism. They refused to waste time and medical supplies on anything but a dying individual. Both were in short supply and much too valuable to waste unless absolutely necessary, or at least that’s what she’d said. She started to feel the first tingling’s of fear as an image of an early retirement came to her. There’d been old war veterans on Myri from the frontiers, with wheelchairs and prosthetics and white unseeing eyes, those too battered to fight any longer, who instead burned away their time drinking and whining.
  She briefly ran a hand over herself, searching for cuts and bumps. There was a large lump on her forehead. Nothing more. She appeared to be fine.
  Perhaps it was nothing.
  With a hiss of hydraulics, the door in the corner hissed open.
   “Gordaine!” She said.
  She stepped inside, the door hissing shut behind her. She took her helmet off, revealing her sweaty, red face, short black hair plastered to her head. She set the helmet down on the table with a flourish.
  “You have no idea who hard it was to get into here.” She said. “I swear, disband the Arkanna Senna Guard and just have the medics protect the Heart System. They’d keep order much better than the elite Myriads ever could!”
  Charlise laughed. “If only you were a strategist during the Star Pirate raids! All the lives that would’ve been saved!”
  “Indeed, they would’ve. I’ve spent so long trying to persuade them to let me in, and I swear they could see into my soul. But anyway, how are you feeling?”
  Charlise shrugged. “Fine. Nothing wrong with me. Why am I here?”
  “Do you remember what happened in the scout mission?”
  “Yes. We were shot at, then a thing appeared. It hit me in the head then someone stabbed it.”
  Gordaine nodded. “That was Sione, of course. She’s an ace with a combat knife.”
  Charlise grinned. Sione, despite her mysterious past and refusal to answer questions about anything but the mission, was by far her best soldier. “I know. Why am I here though?”
  “That thing that appeared out the mist hit you pretty badly.”
  Charlise raised an eyebrow. “I don’t remember that.”
  “That was because you were unconscious. It damaged your visor, and when the air got to you, you collapsed. We managed to get you back to Ravenfall without you dying an early and painful death.”
  Charlise snorted. “We were miles from Ravenfall and the acid in the air is supposed to kill in seconds. Are you telling me that you got me all the way back here without me dying?”
  “Yes. We managed to sort of fix your helmet… the visor wasn’t broken, it was just a bit cracked. We covered the gaps, stopped you breathing the poison.”
  Charlise shook her head. “Do you remember the experiment the scientists did with the air?”
  “The one where they left a dead parrot in the air overnight and in the morning, there was only ash left?”
  She nodded. “If I’d had only a few breaths, my lungs would’ve turned to mush, and it was an hour’s journey back to Ravenfall. How did you do it?”
  Gordaine shrugged. “I don’t know to be honest. We all thought you were going to die. The helmet didn’t look airtight when we fixed it at all… still though, I  don’t know why you’re complaining, you survived. I guess you’re just immortal.”
   “I must be. I bet the medics loved it when you brought me here.” She smiled. “They actually had to do some work for once.”
  Gordaine shrugged. “Looks like they just left you in a bed to die to me. Seriously though, you weren’t moving and we couldn’t see you breathing. We were pretty sure you were dead. You’ve been for a while.”
  “How long?”
  “Two days.”
  She winced. “Two days? I didn’t think it’d be that long. It must’ve been bad.”
  “Oh, it was. There’s not a mark on you though, I don’t know how you do it. The medics must’ve given their usual, first class treatment. They must’ve spent hours operating…” Her grin was playful.
  She smiled back and felt around her jawline, feeling a familiar bump below her right cheek. “Too bad they didn’t do anything about my birthmark.”
  “I like that birthmark! There’s nothing wrong with it.”
  “It looks like a burn!” Charlise said. “It’s horrible.”
  “Birthmarks are fine! In fact, I like birthmarks! I remember a boy at in my old orphanage had a birth mark in that exact same place. It suited him.” She smiled.
  Charlise groaned mockingly, knowing what was coming. “Was that Michael?”
  “No. The other one.”
  “No. The other other one.”
  She frowned. “Is there another other one?”
  “Of course, Charlise! I can’t remember his name, it’s been a long time.”
  She shook her head. “I can’t keep track of your love life.”
  “It really did suit him though! He had such beautiful hair and he was just adorable. I haven’t seen him for ages.”
  “I’m so glad you’ve come to gossip at me while I recover.” she said with a smile.
  “Sorry. I’d forgotten, you nearly died, and here I am ranting about my husband. So, shall we go back to complaining about your birth mark?”
  “Yes. Let’s do that. It’s horrible.”
  “It’s not! It emphasises how tough you are. Makes you look like a fighter, and the Ravens always need fighters.” Her eyes lit up. “Actually, there’s something I need to tell you. Major Jembreyald wants to see you?”
  She groaned, not sure why, but sure it couldn’t be for anything good. “Why?”
  “He wants so more details on the mission inland. I wrote him a report and answered the questions he gave me, but you got closer to those creatures. One broke your knife and visor, then nearly killed you, and I told him as such.”
  “So, what does he want? Am I supposed to go to his office? What did he say?”
  “He didn’t specifically say anything, he just mentioned that he’d need to talk to you. I don’t know the details. Sorry.”
  “Woo, a meeting.” She said. “Something to look forward to.” She stretched her weary muscles. Her head was aching.
  She shrugged. “Not like it’ll be too bad a meeting either, Major Jembreyald isn’t the worst officer, he’ll probably want to see you to make sure the medics haven’t made to much of a mess of you. It’s been a long time since a Sergeant or even a scout has been in the medical wing. Nothing’s happened for a while.” She yawned.
  “Oh no. I’m sure you miss being a human target for rebels, mercenaries and vampires. Good lord, it must’ve been months since your last fatal wound…”
  “Exactly! What am I supposed to do with my spare time without targets lining up to take a bullet from me?”
  “I’m sure you’ll cope somehow. Have you been keeping good care of my squad?”
  Gordaine sucked her lip. “Yeah…”
  Charlise looked at her. “Really?”
  “Jesus, I hate my rank! All those soldiers always looking at you and hanging of your every word… And then you’re supposed to do little speeches, like the ones you do to fire them up! And I just can’t do it, I’m not an orator, I can’t do fancy tricks with words to make soldiers love me. Then there’s the scout meetings, where everyone’s supposed to have a report then argue about scout tactics and supplies and whatever… How do you even write a report!”
  Charlise laughed. “Experience.”
  “I can’t do it!”
  “It’s just practise, really!”
  “We’ve been in the Myriads for the same amount of time. We’re both on our eighth year. So how are you good at it and I’m not?”
  “Just practise. I’ve been an officer a long time now. I was given the rank almost as soon as I joined up. Then when the 4th scout wing was stationed to Arkanna Senna I must’ve led a dozen operations…”
  “I was stationed on AS as well!” She said. “We’re both veterans, or at least you are.”
  “Ah, but have you been a Sergeant as long as I have? Leading and just following orders are very different. I was just as bad when I was first given the rank.”
  “You? A bad officer? I can’t imagine that.”
  “It happened. You didn’t know me when I first joined. We weren’t even in the same squad on Arkanna Senna, even though we were friends then. How long ago that seems...”
  Gordaine nodded. “I remember Arkanna Senna.” She said distastefully. “If only time would erase the memories of that foul place.”
  “Aye.” She nodded at the memory. The capitol of the Coalition had long since become overpopulated and polluted. Before being relocated to the West, the wing had been stationed there as an Auxiliary unit. They weren’t memories she liked, but they were much better than those of serving in the West. “Far too many buildings and too many people. The sea was actually brown from all the factories on the shore! The Council Complex were the only part of the city that lived up to its golden reputation.”
  “Woah.” Gordaine said. “Surely you didn’t see the Council Complex? Is a mere mortal allowed in a mile’s radius of the Council Complex?”
  She smiled. “The 9th squad was attached to an Arkanna Guard Squad as an auxiliary unit. You remember the bomb scare? Some idiot thought he could detonate an explosive there. That was when you were sorting out the drug dealers on the coast, you’d have been miles away. I was stationed there for a day or two after it.”
  “I don’t remember that.”  She shrugged. “Sounds like something that would happen though. For such an elite Urban Warfare Division, they always seem to have trouble.”
  Charlise nodded. “I was called to action most nights. Still though, ever since that terrorist organisation was caught trying to bomb the Starlight Corps Head Quarters, it’s calmed down. Most the rebs were caught and the rest lost heart, I think. Most nights after that it was just drunken brawls to break up for us.”
  “And oh, there were a lot of them.” She shook her head. “Lucky us. From the looks of it, the Fallout Border is the only civilised part of the Coalition.”
  Charlise laughed at the amusing idea. “I like that area.” That was where her home was. It was a band of systems on the fringes of civilisation, where the nuclear radiation from the Old Earth Civil War had suddenly checked the colonists. They’d reached it, took the worlds, and when they’d realised they could go no further, left to go elsewhere.
  Gordaine straightened. “Do you miss home?”
  She nodded. A familiar ache inside her begun. “Myri.” She said, her mind drifting. “Of course.”
  “I’ve always wanted to visit it. I’ve seen the pictures. It’s beautiful there.”
  “It is. There’s hardly any people there. It’s just empty islands and forests. And the sea is such a colour…”
  “ And then you have the Malakye system.” She shook her head. “Maddest place on the Fallout border. You won’t have heard it, happened only yesterday. There’s been more riots on Kul-Krore-Ek.”
  Charlise raised an eyebrow. “More riots there? When was this?”
  “Just received news yesterday, so it probably happened a few weeks ago. A peaceful protest went violent. I don’t know the details, but a few buildings were burnt and then they were broken up. The Myriads had to fire into the crowd to do it. The rebs seemed really fired up this time.”
  “Not good. Anyone you knew hurt?”
  Gordaine shook her head. She had been raised on Kul-Krore-Ek, and although she hadn’t taken part in the bizarre Star Pirate rituals that characterised their childhood, her time there meant she was more Star Pirate than the most of them. As she always said; she was born a Star Pirate and would die as a Star Pirate. “I may have been raised there, but I don’t remember anyone. I don’t even remember where the orphanage was. Or why the rebels keep trying there. If the rebels had any sense they’d have given up a long time ago. There’s no way they’re getting Kul-Krore-Ek back.”
  Charlise nodded. They’d complained many times about the many rebel movements sweeping the civilised worlds. “The planet hasn’t been Star Pirate for thousands of years, and the people there consider themselves part of the Coalition. The planet isn’t going to be their capital again. But people still die there because of the riots of a few angry Star Pirates.”
  Gordaine nodded. “It’s hindering the war effort as well. The Blood Legion are just about finished. It’s just the Star Pirates in the East that are putting up more of a fight. The Divisions stationed in Kul-Krore-Ek are needed in the Eastern Frontier.”
  “The Star Pirates will be driven away whatever they do at this point.” Charlise said. “They live on borrowed time. They’ve been retreating for millennium now. When was the last time they had a proper victory? If the Myriad’s weren’t so thin stretched, they’d have been broken long ago. But, with the war in the west almost over, it will free up more troops for the East. You saw how it was on Throrne; the Blood Legion were losing, and Myriads are already landing on Ayaashmir.”
  “I remember the West.” Gordaine said distastefully. She looked as if she wanted to spit into the corner but restrained herself. “You nearly died there. It’s something you’ve been doing quite a lot recently. I hope you don’t make a habit of it.” She forced a smile, but there was sad note to it that she knew well.
  Charlise sighed. She felt a familiar fear spark inside her. “Aye. That did happen.”
  “When we were supporting the invasion force, a few months ago.”
  “I know.” She said, wishing Gordaine would stop.
  But Gordaine wasn’t stopping. Her words washed over her, each syllable said slowly and carefully. “It was during the invasion of Throrne; we’d captured about half the planet and were stationed in a twitchy base beside a burned-out city while the Urban Warfare Division were campaigning against the Blood Legion. The XXXVI Golems I think they were.”
  Charlise nodded. “I remember it there. A dead planet if there ever was one. Nothing but bones and blood and corpses.”
   “But they still made us pay in blood every inch we advanced on that dead soil.” Gordaine said. ”Do you remember the day we were sent into the ruins of the city? Scouts had reported seeing a retinue sneak into the city at night. Command didn’t know what they were doing, and it was probably nothing. Someone had to be sent to stop them doing whatever it looked like they were doing anyway though, because that’s how war works. Two squads were sent to sort it out.”
  She nodded. “Me and you. The 9th and the 5th of the fourth Scout Wing. Twenty scouts. I remember it.”
  “I was in the 5th then, you the sergeant of the 9th. You were given command of the operation, as the most experienced officer present. They were in short supply during the invasion. You had us wait until night, then sneak through the city. It was dark and cold.”
  She shivered at the memory, of the dead empty tower blocks teetering amidst the cold wind on the flat, grey ground. They were the ruins of the Shadespear Empire which had ruled the galaxy millennium ago, extinct even before the Old Earth Civil War. Nothing but dust and shattered

Offline beast4321

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Re: Writing Extract
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2019, 02:17 am »
homes, left of their once great empire, their dead long decayed.
  Every single one of them was dead.
  “That was when the 9th was still at full strength.” Gordaine said, remembering. “Not how it is now. Before it happened.”
  Charlise said nothing. She was cold. Outside, the poisonous threw itself at the walls of Ravenfall, but
  “We found the retinue.” Gordaine continued. The room had faded around Charlise, and she was back on Throrne, marching across the grey stone with her scouts behind her, crumbling buildings surrounding her. “We found a ruined tower block. There was a dozen of them outside. Blood Legion. Mercenaries, one or two of them drunk, gambling. Then a few vampires, growling, chained up. We stuck to the shadows as we were trained to do, circled around the rubble. They were too drunk to notice us until we had a cross fire on them and wiped them out, guns blazing, before they could even react.”
  Charlise nodded. She stared at the wall, the energy gone out of her. “I remember it. It’s so vivid…”
  “And then we went inside. Shot a few more mercenaries… Saw the Seeker…”
  “And he was kneeling over the pentagram…”
  Silence blanketed the room. A bed spring jabbed her elbow. A pipe creaked in the wall.
  “Do you still blame yourself for what happened?” Gordaine asked.
  “Of course, I do. If we had been there a moment earlier…”
  “We couldn’t have been though. We scouts are fast, but not fast enough to do the impossible. You did the best you could.”
  A silence again.
  “Do you remember it?” Gordaine asked.
  She nodded. “Perfectly.”
  “And what it did?”
  She felt a tear come to her eye. “It killed everyone. The 5th… the 9th… the squads I was supposed to protect…”
  “We did what we could.” She said grimly.
  “We should’ve shot the Seeker immediately.” She said.
  “Even then it would’ve been too late. The ritual was already finished.”
  “Then we should have killed it! We’re scout Myriads, Gordaine! We’ve spent most our lives training for things like that. We could’ve taken it…”
  She shook her head. “It was a demon, Charlise. Summoned from hells fire to kill and kill and then kill some more. What could we have done against it? Even artillery can barely put a dent in one. Scouts weren’t going to even hurt it.”
  “I know. Those were my scouts though. I was supposed to look after them.” Her voice was choked with tears. “They were my comrades. And they all died… All it took was a few swipes and they burned, all of them. I felt so powerless… I’d never seen that had that kind of power… It swallowed up our bullets like they were nothing.”
  “We survived.” Gordaine said.
  “Only just. It was going to kill you.” Charlise said.
  She shrugged. “It didn’t.”
  “You were on the floor, in their ash.” Charlise remembered. “It was about to stick you with its talons, but then it took a round in the back from me, and it whirled round and nearly struck me.”
  Gordaine set her jaw. “It did strike you.” She said. “It should’ve killed you. The other scouts had died from less. For them, it had flicked it fingers and they’d burnt. But for you… I remember it charred a hole right through your armour like it was paper, but the flesh underneath it was a clear as a baby’s. And after it touched you, it recoiled, screaming, as if by touching you’d hurt it.”
  “And it turned to dust like our comrades.” She said. “Ashes to ashes. Nothing left. And we’d both nearly died.”
  There was a silence. Charlise was on Throrne in the ruins of the office block, staring, frozen, as it sparked to life above the pentagram as the Seeker had escaped. It had slowly grown, limbs spreading out from it like fiery cracks in the darkness, two wings expanding and rising like a flaming angel. Bullet fire had flickered on its orange skin; it had scarcely seemed to notice. And when it raised itself to its full height, the building had shaken and her scouts had fallen.
  At that moment, the room shook. For a moment she thought it was her imagination as the images were so vivid, but when she opened her eyes, she realised it wasn’t. The walls were vibrating around her, like the entirety of Ravenfall Command Centre had been picked up by a giant. The earth roared below them. Pain blossomed in her ears and she slammed her hands on them, screaming at it to stop. Tables fell with thuds, shattering vials and medical equipment on the floor, liquid spilling everywhere. The bottle with the Ryssien label shattered into a puddle of red liquid like blood and burnt, the strange letters devoured by the liquid. Greens and reds and colourless liquids all combined on the floor. Charlise was thrown out of bed and hit the floor hard, narrowly missing a shard of glass digging into her side, head slamming into the wall. She groaned in pain. She managed to steady herself by grabbing hold of an upturned table and holding onto it, her knuckles white with the strain and her heart racing.
  Then it slowly died down, like the last ember of a fire.
  Charlise stood shakily, nearly falling. Her head was burning with pain. "What was that!" She demanded. her head was swimming as she surveyed the room in front of her. It looked like a war zone. Everything was broken. Gordaine had a table on top of her.
  "Ow." She said.
  Charlise pushed the table off her. Even that was an effort, and her head swam. “Are you alright?”
  Gordaine stood up angrily, swearing. “What was that?” She demanded.
  Charlise stretched her neck. She hurt. “I don’t know.”
  “That’s the third time that’s happened in the last week.” She said. “I don’t understand why that keeps happening!”
  It was at that moment the door hissed open and a medic strode in, wearing white robes that covered them like a shroud. Shortly behind him was a man in Scout Major armour; blue plates, lighter than Myriad plating but still as tough, strengthened with pads of black around his vulnerable areas, like joints and chest. There was a glint of amusement to his silver visor as he saw Gordaine and he moved slightly to the side.
  They stopped when they saw Gordaine. “Oi!” he shouted. “You’re not allowed to be in here!”
  “Oops.” Gordaine whispered. In a moment, she was on her feet and ran towards him, pushed past him and disappeared, as the medic hurled a string of threats and protocols at her that she would never hear.