Be a Supporter!

Home - Teaser/Short story basis

  • 414 Views
  • 4 Replies
New Topic Respond to this Topic
Shivers616
Shivers616
  • Member since: Sep. 29, 2007
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 09
Blank Slate

Hey guys, this is just a bit of writing I did as either a premise for a book, or the basis for a short story of about 26-30 pages. I'm just looking for a bit of constructive criticism as to how I could improve my writing. This particular excerpt is meant to leave gaps in the reader's knowledge pertaining to background so if you don't understand everything, don't worry. Thanks, and enjoy!
P.S. - It does include elements of science fiction, so be forewarned.

The firing tube's far door slammed open with a roar as atmosphere rushed out. Nathanial's pod rumbled and shook as it shot down the long magnetic rail towards the vacuum. The shaking didn't last long though, and soon the pod met empty space and began its descent. He found that this was always a good time to think, with all the silence and the great view of the starscape. But today, the stars' cold light only served to darken Nat's thoughts. A single tear welled up in his eye and floated away, arcing slowly towards the base of the pod as he approached the planet.
A low rumbling shook him from his gloom; almost there. Nathanial could see the thin glow of atmosphere materializing at the base of the pod's main view port. The low rumble quickly became a roar as the drop pod screamed across Home's sky, wreathed in flame. Not much longer, Nat thought.
Keeping a close eye on his altimeter, Nathanial drummed his fingers on the drag flap release switch. As the pod approached Home's troposphere, Nat flicked the switch, shooting an x-shaped drag flap straight out of the back of his pod. Twenty seconds later, the drag flap was ejected and quickly replaced with a high-velocity parachute. As his acceleration continued to decrease, Nat waited for impact.
The parachute ripping away, Nat anticipated the landing. Gripping the arms of his chair, the pod slammed down. Understandably, one would usually wait for their pod to cool down after landing, but this was a special occasion, and hostages were involved. Nat eased back the safety on his pod's door bolts. Taking a deep breath and shouldering his rifle, he pulled down hard on the door's emergency release. A series of small, synchronized explosive bolts blew the pod door off. As the door flew away, Nat was blinded by direct sunlight. Home's sun was just setting and Nat's pod had come down directly facing it.
Jumping clear of the pod, Nat crouched and took stock of his surroundings. He'd landed right on target, in a field about 200 meters out of the city. With a burst of static, his radio crackled to life.
"Nathanial, report."
"Sir, I've landed right on target. I can see John coming down now."
John's pod slammed down hard, sending up a cloud of debris and forcing Nat to shield his eyes.
"Good, go get him and regroup on my smoke." Lieutenant Davis was about 60 meters to the east and he could already see his green smoke clearly against the darkening sky.
Steam curled off of John's pod and floated away, straight up. As the door blew off of the pod, Nat squinted through the heat to see if John was alright. He was taking it slow, but he was alright. Nat waved him over and looked hard at his visor as he approached.
"Just got orders from the LT; regroup on his smoke." Nathanial said, motioning toward the green smoke over his shoulder.
"Guess we'd better get going then. Are you alright, Nat? You seem... distant." John looked down at him.
"I'm fine." Nat glared at John.
"Hey man, just making sure."
"Here, I'll tell you all about it after the op, okay?" Nat gave John a half-hearted smile.
"Nevermind, let's get going. You set the pace."
They set off at a light jog with Nathanial leading John slightly in his haste to reach the rendezvous point. They covered the short distance quickly and Lieutenant Davis was waiting for them.
"Alright, now that we're all here, we can get started. Jackson, Carter, I want you stationed at the embassy's southwest door, ready to breach on my signal. John and I are going in through the second floor window on the west side of the building. Nat, I want you somewhere with a good view of the lobby. No one fires a shot until my signal, clear? It's a klick and a half to the embassy, so let's get moving. Any questions?" There were none.
With John setting a quick pace, they arrived at the embassy ten minutes later, slightly out of breath. The embassy was a small, expensive-looking building surrounded by a solid concrete wall, roughly four meters in height. A large, wrought iron gate stood open in front of the embassy, giving Nat a view into one of the embassy's many offices. The light had been left on and papers were strewn about the room; signs of some tenacious diplomat resisting younger, stronger insurrectionists. Looking at the building, it seemed out of place, an ominous presence on this calm, homely street.
"It's going to get dark soon. Better get inside." Lieutenant Davis said, looking up at the darkening sky.
Jackson and Carter darted off to the back of the building as John and the LT looked around for a place to climb up to the second floor. Nathanial lingered behind, eyeing the embassy's front door. On either side of it stood massive plate glass windows meant to display the prospective power and wealth of Gateway. Nat coughed lightly and looked up at the stars materializing out of the night sky in the hastening dusk. Not much longer, Nat thought.
As the rest of his unit filtered off toward their respective positions, Nat remained motionless in the shadow of a small hotel's doorway as the sun finally disappeared behind the horizon. A puff of static and the lieutenant came over his radio.
"Okay, we're in the window. Heading towards the lobby."
Nathanial shivered in the doorway, allowing his dark thoughts, once again, to cloud his mind.
A few minutes later, Nat's radio once again crackled to life. "Okay, the second floor's clear. I can see down into the lobby. There's - seventeen hostiles scattered about. Nat, how many do you count?"
But Nat didn't answer because his radio was no longer in his ear. It sat squawking next to his rifle in the dark doorway. Closing his eyes and forcing out another tear, Nat started his run towards the embassy door. As his pace picked up, so did the chatter on his forgotten radio.
At a full sprint, arms shielding his face, Nathanial crashed through a pane of plate glass window and into the embassy's main lobby, much to the dismay of seventeen very surprised rebels. Huge slivers of glass flew in every direction, cutting Nat's calves, back and arms. Grunting with pain that wasn't purely physical, Nat turned swiftly and charged straight at the nearest hostile. The rebel, barely nineteen years old, hefted a large caliber pistol and raised it level with Nathanial's chest. Blinking away a final tear, Nat forced a smile to his lips and continued running.
Gunfire broke out from the second floor balcony and the world seemed to move in slow motion as Nat closed the gap between himself and the rebel. He saw the slide tilt slowly back, muzzle flash escaping the pistol barrel. And then, suddenly Nat felt as if he'd been hit in the chest with a sledge hammer. It hurt a lot more than he'd anticipated. Falling into a sitting position, Nat bent over forwards, cupping his stomach. The bullet had ripped right through his kinetic barrier and shredded his Kevlar vest. His abdomen was gushing blood.
"Oh, my God..." the young man, shaking, dropped his pistol and stared at what he'd done. He didn't live long enough to regret it though, as another hail of gunfire came down from the second floor.
Nathanial tasted iron at the back of his mouth and closed his eyes. Not much longer, he thought, one last time.


The internet has made you stoopid.

ZeeAk
ZeeAk
  • Member since: Mar. 7, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 20
Art Lover
Response to Home - Teaser/Short story basis 2011-01-16 09:48:53 Reply

I'm sorry that this review isn't as comprehensive as others I've written, but that's mostly because you're lacking a lot of the issues that they had.
That said, it's not perfect - nothing is - but it's pretty good. You mentioned that it's going to be part of a bigger story arc, and I'm interested to see how it fits in, especially as Nat has been shot in a fashion that seems to be lethal. I'm also curious to find out how and why the insurrectionists attacked the embassy. The reference to the kinetic barrier is also interesting, as it teases a time frame that's not currently our own without explicitly stating a year. Personally, I think that works better as a narrative hook. Show, don't tell.

I also enjoyed the way you opened the story. However, I think you could have made it a little more striking, visually. This is especially important if it's the first instance of his occurring. I can imagine that forcibly returning to atmosphere from space would be an absolutely gut-wrenching experience every time, and that's something you could really nail down to add that extra layer of believability.
The above point is also relevant to the way Nat storms inside the embassy; having shards of glass slash at your skin would hurt like damned hell. You should really get the reader to feel the visceral nature of this kind of injury, because it's not a little paper cut. This is also applicable for the gunshot at the end. The reader needs to really feel him die, not just watch him, or it feels too empty.

This also raises a small inconsistency that I only noticed when I reconsidered it. When Nat storms through the glass, why are the shards not harmlessly reflected by the kinetic barrier that he tots literally seconds later? I can understand the creative license because you want to put him through hell, but it seems a little odd that if the bullet hadn't been so damn powerful, Nat would have been saved by that same barrier.

I know that you're not intent on explaining all the back story, but it's also a little odd that a young, inexperience insurgent - as you stated - has such a powerful, high-calibre weapon. If the terrorists were serious about their cause, it seems odd to provide something that could very easily kill of the hostages to such a trigger-happy young soldier.

Aside from those issues, you don't have glaring spelling or grammar issues, though there were some slight cases of awkward sentence structure. Overall, you've done well and I'm pretty interested to read the rest of what you've cooked up.

Shivers616
Shivers616
  • Member since: Sep. 29, 2007
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 09
Blank Slate
Response to Home - Teaser/Short story basis 2011-01-16 10:01:07 Reply

Thanks for the review! The issue about the kinetic barrier is one I didn't think too much about, as I read quite a bit of science fiction. The reason the shards of glass sail right through the barrier is that kinetic barriers have a specific velocity floor so that the wearer can do things such as eat, reload a weapon, etc. So, objects passing through the barrier have to be above a certain velocity to activate it.

Thanks for pointing it out though, as I'm sure not all readers will be as avid sci-fi fans as myself; I'll be sure to explain it in the full story.

Cheers,
Shivers


The internet has made you stoopid.

ZeeAk
ZeeAk
  • Member since: Mar. 7, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 20
Art Lover
Response to Home - Teaser/Short story basis 2011-01-16 10:09:28 Reply

At 1/16/11 10:01 AM, Shivers616 wrote: Thanks for the review!

Absolutely no problem. The more I can help people write, the better.

The issue about the kinetic barrier is one I didn't think too much about, as I read quite a bit of science fiction. The reason the shards of glass sail right through the barrier is that kinetic barriers have a specific velocity floor

That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the clarification.

Thanks for pointing it out though, as I'm sure not all readers will be as avid sci-fi fans as myself; I'll be sure to explain it in the full story.

That'd be an awesome idea. That way, you avoid the confusion that might entail.
Good work, again.

Lessdodiss
Lessdodiss
  • Member since: Jan. 25, 2011
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 04
Blank Slate
Response to Home - Teaser/Short story basis 2011-02-24 21:43:06 Reply

i really liked it
while i was reading it i felt like i was watching a movie that was hype and tense with a lil of whats that called where you make people wait and stuff till the climax happens...ill find out as i wrtie i gess :P

its funny how he asks john i think? if hes ok when he himself is freakin out and shit :P

i saw how u explained the kinetic barrier thing to the other guy......SMART
i dunno if u saw that somewhere but thats a good explanation :P

oh and the terrorist surround the hostages is a "ITS GOIN DOWN " moment so that got m excited

then the dude runs for it..... why? i think he left his gun behind proly cuz he didnt wanna kill no one or he just wanted to commit suicide lol

dude went kamikaze and there asses lol
i can just imagine the terrorists face when they see his ass screamin through a window at them :P

perfect distraction XD

wat titles are u thinkin of cuz i wood call it "giterdun" LOL cool right :P

i really like it to the point where i finished it

pst....gess what.... i hate reading XD
but i kept going?

ALSO!!!!
the moment he left the radio and gun wit the tear WAS JUST BADASS!!!!
i can just hear the radio "can you hear me???DO NOT ENGAGE!!!I REPEAT DO NOT ENGAGE!!!!"
lol then nat goes KEEYAH threw a glass window

can u imagine the sarges are lts face hed be all like >:{O

im 15 and i luv science fiction with a hint of action..no..no...with action

OMFG THE WORD WAS SUSPENSE!!!!!!!! lol got it (me so smart) :D

lol i dunno what the other guy was talking bout i felt the dude goin threw the glass in slowmo
screaming epicly while the terrorist turn in confuzzlement

and also the shot cuz u said it was like a jack hammer to the chest OMFG!!!!
i opened my mouth at that moment cuz weve all been punched before but not by a jack hammer XO

only thing i gota say is make sure your story connects with every sentence with no missing scence unless its at a ifferent setting

cuz i dont think u said how the ship landed and what he felt like or what went on just that he got out fast
shuda been somtin like "as the pod landed he felt a shock throught his body as if becoming fully numb for a split second" i dunno thas just me i wooda like to wonder how that wood feel lol
i tryed it i just quit feeling and dropped then got up quick also when nat and john meet the dude it was very suddenly u didnt say what he was doing like maybe he was looking threw binoculars when they met him....i dunno just gimme an inderence to his personality...maybe he ran up to the guys when he saw them :P like hes ready to shoot some one

k i think im dun overall 1-10
i say 9.5 i dunno the other .5 is MINE ( im greedy like that :P)
naw its just i wanted to no him more but yeah it had gaps like u said so i cood be a ten i dunno

make the cover look like a galaxy view of the earth with an explosion somewhere on it or maybe at a view places

omg i wood so buy that :P honestly i judge books by the cover and color and somtimes cummary at the back

i loved the story keep it going :)