Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Beginning 695

"What we have here is paradise... not lost but regained." Tex sat in the remains of the Quonset hut and scanned a memory card retrieved from Team Alpha's waterproof safe. Dash sat behind him, reviewing message logs and reports from another memory card. Billy, their point man broke the silence of mosquitoes buzzing and ocean waves lapping over the edges of the atoll.

"What we gots he-ah, is a dump-pah." Billy said as he searched through the ruined equipment.

"No, paradise... Betwixt them Lawns... and flocks, grazing the tender herb... flowers of all hue, and without thorn... the Rose... Paradise," Tex recited. Billy pushed back his nose and snorted.

"Soo-we, wee goin' all intellectual? Team Alpha is done gone. Sold their souls to Korean goonie-loonies or Chinee Yellow Piss-pots or Al Kai-Eeda ragheads to mounds of gold an' jewels swinging from their Bene-dicked Arnolds. In short, bugged out."

"Jesus, Puckerbutt, could you try not offendin' half o' mankind in a one breath?" Tex paused a single heartbeat and described the files he just read.

"What we got he-ah, is some digitized video. Lemme see... It says 'Paris Hilton's Simple Life, Complete Seasons 1, 2 and 3.'" Billy looked up in horror. Tex closed his eyes and said, "Through me the way into the Suffering City... Through me the way to Eternal Pain... Through me the way... that runs among the Lost..."

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: anon.


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

"Okay," he said. "Says here, in order to reach the next checkpoint, we got to head north, crossing the river at Claw Rapids. Billy gotta be blindfolded, and from this point forward we must talk in fake Russian accents and work in sketches from Monty Python."

Tex sighed, wishing he'd never signed up for this stupid, God-damned game show.


Brock, of Team Rho Ceta, pushed through the bushes. "To be or not to be" he read off a data disk, as he approached the ruined hut. The lithe branches snapped back into place in his passing. A school of fish leapt in the shoals.

"I dinna ken what wee Team Alpha 'twas aboot," commented Scotty.

"Cherchez La Femme" said Pierre.

-- Kathleen

Evil Editor snorted. "I hope you realize that as soon as I learn how to use that memory card reader myself, all you clowns are outta here."

--Paul Penna

Aimee States said...

I like it.

Anonymous said...

The country bumpkin dialect is not working.

Evil Editor said...

I assume the second "to" in Paragraph 4 should be "for"?

And there's an extra word "a" in p.5, unless that's dialect.

Matthew said...

I wanna sock Tex and Billy, but I think that's what Dave wants me to think, so I would read further.

Steve Wright said...

Things I'm wondering:-

- How mosquitoes can buzz and waves lap silently.
- What, exactly, "Billy pushed back his nose and snorted" means. Because I can think of several visual images to go with that sentence, and none of them are pretty.

Things I'm hoping:-

- That the quotes from Milton have something to do with the files they're reading. (Otherwise, I'd have to think Tex really does believe a ruined Quonset hut is Paradise. And even I have higher standards than that.)
- That Billy gets shot through the head within the next couple of paragraphs, because I've already had more of his dialogue than I can take. Heck, I'm half-way ready to climb into the text and kill him myself. Phonetically-rendered dialect for comic effect needs to be done sparingly. Please.

_*Rachel*_ said...

I don't know about the dialect; it's hard to make work. And the, um, racial slurs aren't really mitigated by taking the Lord's Name in vain.

Sarah from Hawthorne said...

I love the combination of cowboys, literary quotes, and futuristic computer equipment, but I have to admit I found this tough to follow. The dialect was over the top and there were quite a few typos:

In P1 there should be a comma after the phrase "their point man". In P2 that should be a comma, not a period after the word "dump-pah". There's no audible difference between "we" and "wee", so I'm not sure why you used "wee" in P4. Also: "Billy pushed back his nose and snorted"?

Love the continuations, especially the game show one!

150 said...

Oh Dave, I immediately knew it was you.

Eric P. said...

I'll cast my vote with the "The dialect is ridiculously over the top" bunch. However, if the effect you want is of somebody attempting a bad and annoying comic impression of an iggernant hillbilly, then it does kind of work.

My other observations have already been observed. I'd read on, principally to discover what "Team Alpha" is all about, but would lose interest quickly if somebody doesn't give Billy a good smack upside the head.

Dave F. said...

Paris Hilton's Simple Life, Complete Seasons 1, 2 and 3
I shiver in dread at the thought...

EE -- both are mistakes. Artifacts of editing that creep in and hide.

Matthew, Steve -- Billy and Tex are 10/12 years older than "Dash" and are being obnoxious to bait him. Billy is like a Sylvester Stallone character - rough, crude, over-the-top and likes throwing bricks at authority. These two actually understand what they are doing. "Dash" is still young and starry-eyed. He's going to be faced with a big change and he's not ready for it. But he thinks he's ready.

Steve -- good points about the quote. I'll make it work better. As for "Billy pushed back his nose and snorted" like a pig. It's really childish and obnoxious but a bit later, Dereck has turned the table and is teasing Billy who stands mute because he realizes what dastardly deeds (assassins, saboteurs) they will be required to do.

For the rest of the story, Billy only drops the ending "g".

Rachel - sorry, I might cut back on one of the ethnic slurs or the dialect a little, but these two men are foul-mouthed and hardcore. I won't write "Goodfellas" where nearly every third word is a vulgarity, but these guys curse and swear.

Sarah -- I can fix all that. I was worried if the dialect was too much. I didn't want to make these three bland but I also didn't want them to be overwhelming.

150 -- thanks, I guess.

I put "Dash" in quotes because I ultimately changed his name to Derreck. He's the nephew of the military man supervising this contract. They are civilians, BTW.
"Dash" started out as "Philippe D'Artagnan" and was leader of the group but that didn't last. Then he was "Johan" and finally demoted to being the newby or rookie and named "Dash"... I hated that name and spent an afternoon changing it, finding his last name and creating his history. I finally devised the backstory that Derreck forced his Uncle (the Admiral who supports this contract operaton) into letting him join Billy and Tex after they lost a man to a Russian nuclear accident.

I try to give my characters appropriate names and back-stories well beyond the back-story of the actual novel or short story I'm writing. I started out with five characters on the team and knocked out two real fast. I have last names and short histories for these three characters. The reader will never know those last names and much of their histories, but I will. Billy is modeled after a real person who did and said the things Billy does in the story. I still despise him. I made Billy the son of a Texas pig farmer, an emotionally satisfying revenge.

A friend suggested the idea for the story. But all he gave me was what happened to Team Alpha. IT was the typical Guy finds aliens artifact. ARtifact does weird things to his body. Guy finds he can talk to aliens who suddenly visit. Guy leaves earth. Or in this case, they all become dolphins and live in the sea happily procreating.
I thought that was a tired and sleepy plot. This begins after the first team just disappears. Plus, the military wants two things, "deniability" and to use these transformed men for secret weapons. So I took a lesson from Bourne and thought about what would happen in the future of the second team. I can create a future world of rising seas and people living on boats (Thanks to global warming, the icecaps melting and the continents flooding). I can put the team into watery situations like piracy, drug running, smuggling and other dastardly deeds. These aren't frogmen but half-dolphin, half-fish creatures. Billy and Tex want this life. Derreck wants to be on any team. Derreck's Uncle (the Admiral) wants a secret weapon or something like it.

Dave F. said...

somebody attempting a bad and annoying comic impression

Yes, but I think I over did it.

One more thing. This part of the story ends when the three men discover the transformation can be left halfway between man and dolphin. That will give the three the ability to stay underwater in semi-human form.

Remember I said earlier that this is after global warming floods the land and civilization is living on city-sized docks floating on the oceans.

The next chapter would be these three men as half-human sea creatures thwarting crime at sea while remaining hidden. But I can tell it with all new characters.

I don't need any of their story in between those two events.

_*Rachel*_ said...

It bugs me, but I'd still keep reading, if the dialect was a bit less prominent.

12 days to NaNoWriMo! Who's with me? Oh, and I'm A. Nony Mous on the NaNo website.

pacatrue said...

For better or for worse, as soon as the ethnic slurs came, particularly since they were Asian ones, I knew it was one of Dave F's. Dave will have to decide if he wants that to be a distinguishing characteristic of his writing. I am aware he's using it to effect.

Matthew said...

"...global warming floods the land and civilization is living on city-sized docks floating on the oceans.

The next chapter would be these three men as half-human sea creatures thwarting crime at sea..."

That sounds a lot like Water World with Kevin Costner.

Dave F. said...

Yes, but the plot of Waterworld was searching for a land mass or something like that. I ay something like that because one is never sure of what Kevin Costner intended in the film. But Waterworld was set in a world unlike our own. This story is not.

Much of the land mass still survives but it is either farmed for food (rice) or is new forest grown to reduce carbon in the carbon cycle. The governments are attempting to fix as much carbon in wood as possible so that the Earth cools and icecaps reform, theus exposing what has been flooded.

"Cities" anchor off the Rocky Mountains and the Baja from San Francisco down to what once was the isthmus of Panama.
Unlike the film, the population is not restricted but growing. People are assigned to the land based jobs.

Unlike Waterworld, both land and water farming exists. There is a yachting class that is as broad as our current middle class. There are regattas, yacht races, etc... No golf courses. The world is not post-apocalyptic but adapted to living on water.

Why am I telling you this?
Because it focuses and clarifies my ideas.

Paca -- Billy and Tex are not good guys. They want to be half creature and special tools of the authorities. Both of them are antisocial jerks. They are not "V" on a vendetta. They are not the anti-hero Wolverine. They do not fit into society and they know it. They carved out this contract and volunteered for it, gleefully and happily. They are the stone killers and bad guys of many plots.

I picked the three big villains of the modern political world -- Al Qaeda, the vast population of china and the living-god-like empire of Korea. One of them is going to be behind terroristic events. It's not personal. There are fairly obvious reasons as to why those three groups make good villains. It's a McGuffin.

Xiexie said...

I like this and the minions have addressed my grievances and Dave, you've responded in kind. I'd read on (and after the explanation of the plot I want to even more).

Rachel, I'm with you on NaNoWriMo. I'm Xiexie on the website.

Anonymous said...

If the story is not set in this world, why not make up stereotypes relevant to the future/alternate world it is set in?

Dave F. said...

But it is set in this world just about 15 or 20 years in the future.

And rest assured, not matter how passionately I might defend my writing, I know when to change it. The line in question will most likely become something close to this:
"Soo-we, we goin' all intellectual? Team Alpha is gone. Bugged out. Sold their lazy asses to some gummint spies or an Al Kai-Eeda stinkpot for a bucket o' gold an' bejeweled bimbos swingin' from their Bene-dicked Arnolds."

That will make Billy just as unlikeable without being overly offensive. And the changes helped me tighten up Billy's buffoonery and make his change from buffoon to serious all the more striking.