Tuesday, 22 March 2011

From the bottom drawer

A chance mention brought my very first WIP, To Recover the Satellites, to mind. I love the characters in this incomplete space opera epic, to the point I've never really been able to let them go even when I probably should have.

Or maybe not. Reopening the first chapter in roughly a year, I realised that perhaps this messy NaNoWriMo creation isn't destined for the trunk pile after all.

Let's see what you guys think:
The satellite hovered in space, an innocuous grey globe for all intents and purposes, but the red lights that flashed around its centre warned against passing. To defy that warning one would have to be mad, bad or desperate.

Corin Arrack was none of those things, though he had a reputation for hard practicality that bordered on ruthlessness. He knew what he wanted and nothing – not even Protectorate Regulations – stood in the way of his getting it. His determination had gained him a handful of condemnations on his service record. It was also the reason he sat in the captain’s chair, Commander of a Protectorate Cruiser.

“Have we anything further on the signal?”

The young ensign, new to her position and nervous, gave him a frightened look. “No, sir; scans remain inconclusive.”

“Hm.” He propped his chin on one hand, thumb stroking his close-cropped beard. “Send a message to Genesis. Inform the Directorate of our findings and advise that
we are investigating further.”

“Sir?” She stared at him, wide-eyed with shock. “Do you mean to cross the Boundary?”

Corin rolled his eyes. “Yes, Ensign, that’s exactly what I mean. Or would you like to be the one to explain to the Directorate why we ignored a source of potential power?”

“No, sir, but... crossing the Boundary is against regulation.”

“Unauthorised, yes. Hence the need to send a damn message already. Have you done that?”

She bobbed her head. “Yessir.”

“Then raise the shields and proceed at mark two on a direct intercept course.”


The lights on the bridge turned yellow as the shields went up and the grating beneath Corin’s feet rumbled with the power of the ship’s engines. The Cruiser slid forward. At the second the boundary was breached, a siren wailed on the bridge.
Corin threw the communications officer a look and the man silenced the alarm immediately. Corin snorted a breath through his nose and then turned his little attention back to the readout on the screen at the fore of the bridge.

Results from the ship’s scan scrolled up one side, the rest was a projected view of the space in front of the ship. Stars, and nothing more. Not as far as he could see, but out there somewhere pulsed a source of undefined power.

It could be nothing, he thought. Or it could be the most vital find in Protectorate history. Either way, he planned to be the one who found out. Either way, it would be the recommendation he required to demand the Directorate pull him off these long-range guardian runs.

He smiled to himself, imagining their faces. They didn’t like him or his methods: he was too much of a loose cannon for their comfort. But those methods worked, as proved by the rods on his uniform.

He was still smiling when the proximity siren screamed its warning.