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Sunflower (part 1) - The Desian Universe
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deskitty
deskitty
Des
Fri, Jul. 16th, 2004 10:44 am
Sunflower (part 1)

I was in a nasty mood yesterday, for various reasons I won't go into ... so I thought for a while, and then I wrote, and now I feel better. Maybe there's something to this fiction thing after all. ;)

This isn't the story I was talking about earlier. It's ... well, I'll let it speak for itself.

Hopefully I'll finish part 2 sometime this weekend.



Bret sat down on a convenient planter box in front of a small, seedy restaurant in the cheaper part of the City. The planter box, like the rest of the City, was worn and showing its age; no flowers grew there anymore, the wood was rotting and the paint was cracked and peeling. The sky was overcast, almost dark enough to be nighttime. (Or maybe it was night; he couldn't tell.) The smell of burnt trash mingled with human sweat and spent ammunition was pervasive, permeating everything around him.

It was raining again. It always does that on this godforsaken planet, he thought to himself. But nothing ever seems to grow here.

Archos was well-known for its raging storms, storms that would besiege the whole planet for days at a time. Its two large moons would constantly wreak havoc with the planet's geological forces, causing frequent earthquakes and huge tsunamis that made the coastlines uninhabitable. But it was a strategically valuable planet, so it had been settled; first by the Thuran, who brought along the humans and then abandoned it, then by the Denebians, who used it mainly for weapons storage and a source of cheap labor.

Bret watched as two rival gangs started taking potshots at each other across the street. People dove out of the way as the first shots rang out, harmlessly striking adjacent buildings or going through windows. They were using particle weapons, probably stolen from the Denebian storage depot. Both gangs scurried for cover in doorways or alleys; it looked as if this would quickly turn into a protracted battle.

A shiny black armored car moved down the street, temporarily blocking Bret's view. There were very few working vehicles anymore, and those that still functioned were seldom seen within the city limits; they were owned by the Managers, who invariably lived a safe distance from the City. Shots bounced harmlessly off the car as it continued down the street. Bret shifted position on the planter box to get comfortable. The gang battle was turning into excellent entertainment.

As he watched, a young girl whom he judged couldn't have been more than 12 or 13 Earth years old poked her head out from behind an open shop door. Her long, silky brown hair fell to just below her shoulders; it seemed to shine with a radiance that set it apart from the dirty, grungy mess of the City. She wore a striped blue scarf around her neck, identifying her as a member of the gang further down the street. One of the older boys in the closer gang saw her, and squeezed off a pulse that hit her right between the eyes.

She fell. As she hit the pavement, her carefully-combed hair spilled into the gutter in a tangled mess. Her blood mixed with the trash strewn about the sidewalk, and stained a pavement already dark red with the blood of those who lost their lives in many previous battles.

The rain continued to pour, drenching Bret and the gangs across the street. The sky flashed bright white for a split second. A deep peal of thunder rang out, shaking the buildings to their very foundations. He heard a sharp crack in the distance, then a booming crash as another old building caved in on itself. The battle continued; neither side seemed to have noticed.

Bret giggled as he lounged comfortably, his feet stretched out into the sidewalk. The stupid brats were going to die anyway, so what was the point? There were three ways to die on Archos; die in a gang, die working for the fat cats, or die enslaved to the Denebians.

He sauntered up the street, leaving the gang battle behind him.



Constructive feedback/criticism is always appreciated. I'd love to hear what (if anything) you get out of it.

Also, many thanks to northing for editing.

-- Des

Current Mood: cynical cynical
Current Music: Evanescence - Going Under

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elocinoco
elocinoco
Elocin Oco
Wed, Jul. 21st, 2004 08:06 am (UTC)

Excellent beginning! Attention to detail, descriptive and I like the cynical undertone of the main character. Just got a geeky question. Particle weapons? Like Star Trek phasers, right? Would you bleed from a particle weapon hit? As I understand it, you wouldn't. And depending if you had a neutral or charged particle, wouldn't such weapons produce an EMP, thus having an effect on the the vehicle moving down the street? I could be waaaaaaay off. But I would like to know more about the weapons. LoL

Okay, enough geekiness. *grins* I'm looking forward to reading more!


ReplyThread
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Wed, Jul. 21st, 2004 08:30 am (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback. :)

I believe a phaser is a pure energy weapon, though it's been a while since I looked into that sort of thing.

My understanding of a particle weapon is that it would be a stream/pulse of charged particles fired at high velocity ... so think millions of microscopic, really hot magnetically-charged rifle bullets instead of one big neutral one. There could well be bleeding from that, at least if you stretch the analogy. ;)

On the other hand, a quick search of Everything2 on particle weapons seems to bear out your thoughts to a degree. So I don't know ... chances are the target would get more of a burn, perhaps a 3rd degree burn, which would indeed be bloodless, but still likely fatal if it happens to the head.

In any case, it's easier to just get the reader to suspend disbelief and focus on the blood imagery ... and remember to pay more attention to that sort of thing in my writing next time. ;)


ReplyThread Parent
elocinoco
elocinoco
Elocin Oco
Wed, Jul. 21st, 2004 09:31 am (UTC)

Oh! I hope I didn't upset you! And I don't doubt that a particle weapon would be fatal... not at all! I write Star Wars, and it amazes me the number of writers that have people bleeding from lightsaber wounds. No. Deep burns, and sliced up..but no blood. The blade would cauterize as it cut. That's my take anyway, so I'm just hyper aware of such things. And yeah, I agree the average reader wouldn't have thought a thing about it. I'm a geek. What can I say. ::grins::

When are you posting the next part? I wanna know more!


ReplyThread Parent
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Wed, Jul. 21st, 2004 09:55 am (UTC)

Oh! I hope I didn't upset you!

No, not at all. :) You just reminded me that there is a technical aspect to writing, too. Since I'm a geek that way, I like to be as true to reality as I can without horribly compromising the story.

I could have just as easily made it a projectile weapon, and it wouldn't have detracted from the story at all. But I like shiny new tech, so of course it had to be a particle weapon. ;)

Deep burns, and sliced up..but no blood. The blade would cauterize as it cut.

Exactly.

That's my take anyway, so I'm just hyper aware of such things.

So am I, usually ... but I forgot just how aware one needs to be when doing the writing. :) I'm new to this whole "writing" thing ... Sunflower is the first "major" piece of fiction I've attempted in many years.

When are you posting the next part? I wanna know more!

Whenever I get it finished. :) Hopefully today or tomorrow, depending on mood, how far I get when I sit down to write, whether or not I can get Rob to edit again ...

But it's already been sitting unfinished longer than I wanted it to; I was hoping to finish it last weekend, but kinda lost the mood I had when I started. So I want to get it done relatively soon.


ReplyThread Parent
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Wed, Jul. 21st, 2004 08:33 am (UTC)

Oh yes, as for the vehicle ... well, it IS an armored vehicle. :)

One can harden electronics against EMPs ... it's done routinely nowadays, mainly for equipment that's going into space. Nobody on Earth bothers with it though because it's expensive and bulky, and generally not worth the effort.

I can't imagine that an EMP from a handheld weapon would be that strong to begin with, anyway.


ReplyThread Parent