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Gower's Contest motivation/feedback thread

10 days ago

Decided to do this because I've been finding it hard to juggle the absurd amount of work I have from school and writing my entry for Gower's inter-site contest. Hopefully with some place to keep track of my progress and get some feedback I can push myself to keep writing.

Anyway, the story is, at least for now, called "The Day His World Ended" a sci-fi that tells the tale of a special forces operative from a galactic empire and his team. Both the character's empire and the rival Kalarian Empire built a lot of their technology based on the remains of an ancient, now extinct civilization called the Forefathers. As a result, both empires are constantly fighting each other over the acquisition of new Forefather tech, in hopes of getting a technological advantage over their rival. 

Wordcount: 1,326

Gower's Contest motivation/feedback thread

10 days ago
Commended by mizal on 9/6/2019 8:24:45 AM

First page, and all I have so far. I haven't been able to completely proof-read this except for grammar. Hopefully over the weekend I'll have time to make it better and ideally write more pages.

 

The last cargo ship of the day flies over you and soon disappears above the planet's never-ending storm. Dozens of these freighters arrive each day, loading up on whatever mostly worthless minerals the excavation crews dig up and taking what little useful stuff they can salvage to other parts of the Empire where they might be needed. Meanwhile, you and your team of trained special forces of the Directory of Intelligence must waste away on this worthless planet because of some bullshit regulation that states the Directory of Intelligence must maintain a presence during the potential acquisition of new Forefather technology. It is always exciting when the long-range radio telescopes scattered across Empire space pick up the distinct transmissions the Forefather's ruins and artifacts emit. A lot of times the signal will turn out to be worthless because the artifact emitting it is too badly damaged to be of any use or it is the equivalent of a Forefather toothbrush. Other times, the rival Kalarian Empire will zero in on the transmission and send a massive fleet to keep it out of your reach and use it for themselves. Most of the times, however, both Empires will engage in brutal confrontations over the secrets of the Forefathers.


This particular planet, X-002, is a strange case in that despite the fact that the readings it gave off were off the charts, it is completely empty of any sign of Forefather technology. In fact, the Kalarians have so far showed no interest in this place. In consequence, most of the ships initially assigned to defend this place have been discreetly sent elsewhere, while still maintaining the illusion of a large force in orbit through the use of signal emitters and other devices. The eggheads over at the Directory of Reclamation nevertheless seem convinced that this place is a hidden trove of Forefather artifacts and have brought massive drilling equipment, suspecting that whatever the sensors picked up must be deep underground. Until they find it or give up, you and your team must remain here. By now, you have become pretty much become common guards around the science facility and the constantly moving digging equipment. Setting up perimeters, keeping watch and delivering daily reports to the Directory of Intelligence has become your daily routine and you can tell your team doesn't like it. After all, as DIRI Special Forces you were all trained to adapt to a multitude of combat situations, able to be deployed anywhere at any time and turn the tide of any battle. You were taught to be deadly with every weapon, starting with your own body. And yet here you are, guarding a glorified hole. 


Caught in your thoughts, you almost miss the light signal, notifying you to return to the science facility. The way back is a little treacherous due to this planet's rocky, barren terrain but you are already used to it after two weeks stationed here. Your walk back is uneventful, except for spotting the member of your team taking the night watch from afar, your second in command Karl. He is a dedicated soldier with record scores in marksmanship. The two of you went through training together and developed a good relationship. Karl is without a doubt your most trusted man and he is as respected as you are by the rest of the team. He's too far away to talk to without shouting, so you simply raise your hand in greeting. He raises his own hand, which is missing two fingers ever since a mission the two of you did deep in Kalarian space. Continuing, you soon find yourself standing in front of the facility. It is nothing fancy and consists of a bunch of prefabricated structures that where brought here when research into the planet began. The scientists from the Directory of Reclamation mostly ignore you as they wander around the place, entering and exiting the assortment of structures each housing different science equipment that is being used in the search of Forefather presence. Wiping your wet face with your sleeve before entering the building assigned to Intelligence, you are greeted by Delta Team. Comprised of ten skilled DIRI Special Forces operatives including yourself and Karl, Delta Team is one of the Directory's top teams. With a success rate as high as Delta's, it's no wonder all the members are disappointed about being stationed here. 


Almost instinctively, everyone inside rises in attention as you enter. "At ease," you assure them. Most go back to what they were doing, checking on their equipment, chatting quietly with each other or simply resting. Irina, your youngest member and your protégé of sorts approaches you immediately. "Sir," she says robotically. "Recruit," you reply in kind causing her to smile faintly. "How much longer are we going to be stuck here?" she asks with visible desperation. She is a fiery, energetic young woman and being basically locked up in this research facility has certainly put her on edge. "As long as the Directory wants us to," you say sternly, though deep down you can't help but agree with her. "A good soldier, above all else Irina, follows orders. I know you yearn for real action but believe me when I say that someday you'll learn to appreciate these moments of rest and calm." Irina was drafted into the academy just as you and Karl were graduating. She went on to ace every test, getting near perfect scores and praise from the instructors and overseers, much like you did during your time there. Ever since she was assigned to your team, she has made it clear she has great admiration towards you and is always sticking around you, hoping to learn new things. In turn, you have clearly showed more attention to her than the other members since she joined and always make an effort to turn as many situations as you can into lessons. In a way, you figure you are grooming her to one day lead her own team. Perhaps even Delta Team. She sighs. "I know. I just don't think we're doing any good here," she says looking down at her feet. Patting her shoulder, you speak in a quieter voice, "As long as we are serving the Empire, we're doing good." Irina seems to spark up at your words, raising her head and smiling. 


You walk past her and lay down on your bunk, taking off your boots and tactical gear. Soon, against your wishes, you find yourself dozing off. Hours pass as you blissfully sleep off hours of hard work. However, at some point of the night you are shaken awake. “Sir! Wake up!” a familiar voice shouts as you groggily open your eyes. The first thing you see is a blurry image of Karl holding your shoulders tightly. “What the fuck is going on?” you ask with genuine concern as you sit on the edge of the bed and rub your eyes. Karl hands you your gear as he answers as best as he can. “The Directory of Reclamation scientist are asking for you. There’s something going on with the Forefather readings.” You silently curse at the interruption of your sleep, but still put on your clothes in record time. “Did they find something?” you ask, perhaps a little excited. “I don’t know,” Karl answers as both of you begin walking towards the exit. “All they told me was that the readings where going crazy, and to get you.” Karl and you exit the DIRI building and make your way over to the Reclamation building. Whatever is going on, it must have some level of danger if the scientists want you there. After all, Forefather technology is still not fully understood and can sometimes cause disastrous consequences if handled incorrectly. In any case, this is probably a good thing since it means there is actually Forefather tech in X-002. You reach the science building and push the doors open.

Gower's Contest motivation/feedback thread

9 days ago
Off to a good start as far as establishing the setting goes...it's tough to find the right balance between background exposition and active events.

You're supposed to break dialogue off onto its own line though. It would help break up some of these fat paragraphs and (at least on a phone) make this a lot more readable.