The Awakening

Vastet's picture

The deck shuddered as an impact shook the floor. A siren blared and all lights save the emergency lighting had failed. The man awoke with a start to find himself alone on the floor, surrounded by broken glass and a sticky liquid. Slowly picking himself up, he looked around the small room. In the centre was what seemed to be the remains of a broken glass cylinder connected to pipes and wires. It looked like he might have been in it when it shattered. The perpetrator of the damage appeared to be a large block of deck plating for which there was a corresponding hole in the roof. There was a door on one of the pure white walls and some cabinets and shelving seemed to make up the rest of the room. As he gained his feet, he heard a voice sounding rather desperate and mechanical from above: "All hands abandon ship!" The man realized with a start that he didn’t know where he was, or who he was. Let alone how to get off of the vessel. He took stock of his situation, and wasn’t pleased with his options. No clothes, no equipment, and no idea what was going on.

Suddenly the door collapsed inward with a shower of sparks and a loud crash. The man desperately looked around for a weapon or place to hide, but the room was empty. Not that he really had time to hide, as 4 armed men in military uniforms quickly stormed the room and took up defensive positions at the door, as if the room had something of import within. Following them in was a man wearing what appeared to be the uniform of a military scientist, carrying a robe and a blue metal circlet with circuitry embedded around it’s circumference. "Rooms clear sir!" one of the guards said with the clip of a well trained officer. "Good," said the scientist, "Next step is getting to the escape pods. I want two of you to go ahead and ensure the route is clear. Captain, you and one of your officers will remain here and escort us out when they report the path isn’t blocked by the enemy." All four of the officers responded "Yes sir!" Two of them quickly left the room, moving leap frog down the corridor outside the room, while the other two, one of which was wearing a slightly more elaborate uniform than the other three officers, set about setting up a small communications centre.

Feeling unsure of himself, and a fair bit out of place, the man who’d watched all this happen slowly backed himself into a corner of the room as the scientist’s attention became centred on him. "I’m very sorry for this kid, things weren’t supposed to happen this way." The scientist moved closer. "My name is Beltath, and I work for the Valkethian military. You were supposed to be given more time before being awoken, so I’m sure you’re quite confused right now. Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to bring you up to speed. Our ship is under attack and will not survive for much longer. We have to go as quickly as possible." Handing a robe to the man he quickly explained that he was the Valkethians last, best hope for winning the war. All of this was a bit much for the man, and in a daze the only question that came to mind was a simple one: "What is my name?" "Vastet" replied Beltath.

Seeing that Vastet had put the robe on, Beltath motioned to the Captain. "Progress?" The Captain replied "There is too much damage on deck 5 to get past. We’ll have to use the pods on deck 4. But the way is clear, we can go whenever you’re ready sir." Beltath sighed in relief. "Lets go then, we don’t have time to waste! Come Vastet, I’ll give you more answers when we get off the ship!" Though not particularly pleased that he would have to wait for more answers, Vastet recognized the sound of the impacts on the ship somehow, and knew that the scientist wasn’t lying. The ship wasn’t going to last very long. "All right." he said to Beltath. "Move!" said the Captain, and his officer moved out into the corridor, taking a hard right and moving cautiously. Beltath followed, motioning for Vastet to keep up, and the Captain took the rear guard position.

Moving quickly through the corridors that all looked the same to Vastet, he noticed a conspicuous absence of anyone other than their party on the deck. The sounds of impacts against the vessel had subsided as well. The Captain shouted into his communicator for a status update as they approached a door at the end of the corridor. The response was not a pleasant one. "Enemy troops have taken the bridge! Repeat, enemy troops have taken the.." the Captains communicator broke off in static. "Sir, they’ll be activating the self destruct now." "Yes Captain," Beltath responded, "it’s good we’re this close." Beltath quickly swiped a data card across a reader on the right side of the door, and the doors opened, revealing a lift that could take them to another deck. All four of them got into the lift. The Captain quickly pressed a button on the wall as the doors closed. Vastet could feel no movement from the lift, yet when the doors opened a moment later it was clear they had moved to a different part of the ship.

A short corridor opened up in front of them with doors along one of the walls. But this corridor was not empty. A flash of light shot out from a group of three shadowy beings that were staking out the lift, and the Captain went down with a groan. Beltath jumped on Vastet and dragged him down to the floor as the other officer aimed his rifle and started to fire return bolts at the trio. Whether he got them or not, Vastet couldn’t tell, but the fight was a brief one. The officer, sounding a bit panicked, yelled at Beltath to get up. As Beltath did, he grabbed Vastet’s arm and dragged him to his feet, then towards one of the doors in the corridor. He swiped his data card across the reader for this one as well, and shoved Vastet in. Vastet barely had time to turn around when the door slammed shut again, and Vastet was grabbed by a soft but firm restraints that bound him to the lone chair in the pod.

With a loud thump, and a feeling of dislocation, Vastet realized he’d been shoved into an escape pod, and that it had been ejected from the ship. He felt a slight feeling of weightlessness, but the restraints kept him from floating around. Not that there was much room to float around in. The interior of the pod was no more than two metres in height, half that in width and length, and contained only one cabinet and the chair Vastet was in. There were no windows, and Vastet found himself feeling rather helpless. What was going on anyway? He’d gathered that there was some sort of war going on, and he had recognized the uniforms being worn by those who helped him into the pod, but nothing was clear. He could give name to the uniforms only because Beltath had mentioned some Valkethian military, but he had no idea what exactly that was. He had no memory of anything. And yet, he could speak and understand at least one language, and he had enough basic knowledge of things to identify people, places, and things. That Beltath character seemed like he could have helped, but he would obviously be in a different pod.

Vastet resigned himself to having to wait for his answers. Perhaps for quite awhile. A computerized voice buzzed "Reentry sequence initiated. Firing braking thrusters." A slight shudder ran through the pod, and Vastet realized that he must be in orbit around a world. He wondered if it was the Valketh that the military he encountered was from, or if instead it was the enemies world, of which he had no impressions other than the shadowy and hostile reception he’d received in the escape pod launching bay. He supposed he’d find out soon enough.

 

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Answers in Gene Simmons's picture

Nice work dude. One

Nice work dude. One question comes to mind though:

 

The escape pod is large enough to stand up in but it only has space for a single occupant and then the automatic system grabs that person and straps them in. Unless the unstated depth of the pod is small, I don't see why that should be.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

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Vastet's picture

A good point. The depth of

A good point. The depth of the pod on this deck is indeed small, meant to incorporate one person only per pod. I'll see if I can find a way to seamlessly incorporate that.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Vastet's picture

Hmm. Upon further review, I

Hmm. Upon further review, I notice that while I didn't note the depth of the pod originally, I did define it's dimensions in the following paragraph. Perhaps you could make a suggestion as to how I may lay it out better?

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Wonderist's picture

Well-written, action-packed,

Well-written, action-packed, pretty tight little nugget of story. I guess the only way to critique it would be to see the next section and see what comes next. I could nit-pick the text for you if you wanted, but it's late and I'd rather do it some other time when I'm up to it.

Is it intended to be a short story, a novel, or what? Do you have the overall story (i.e. how he can help win the war, or whatever) worked out already, or is this pretty much it so far? Are you stuck like Nikolaj, or just working away at it?

Genre? Hard SF, space opera, epic?

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Vastet's picture

I have about 40 pages of

I have about 40 pages of outline, back story, technical info, and character info(though characters is where I have the most work still). The tale takes place over a 10 or so year period, with a back story that stretches for about 10,000 years. I originally, ten or fifteen years ago, intended for it to be a 6 novel series. Though after the work I've done on the outline, it became clear that 7 novels would be required.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Vastet's picture

Oh, I missed the bottom of

Oh, I missed the bottom of your post. The genre is epic action/adventure with a bit of sci-fi and fantasy thrown in. Though at the same time, I'm going to be keeping it as scientifically accurate as I can.

*Spoilers:

The setting for the first chapter or two is a space setting, but it won't return to one until the end of the first novel or the beginning of the second.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Tapey's picture

sounds like the begining of

sounds like the begining of an episode of the outer limits.... which btw is a good thing in my books. (no particular episode just some senario they would dream up. Could pick nits at some phrases that don't work so well but over all i like the effect even if space is one of my least favourite settings for a book. aslong as its planet side most of the time future i can deal with.

Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.

Randall-Doc-Fleck's picture

I'm curious... Who's writing a book?

That's pretty interesting reading.  Fast stuff.