Friday, May 13, 2016

New Beginning 1057


I dreamt of earth again. The ground smelled of fresh rain, spring flowers, damp earth, green sprouts, and cool breezes. I could read Shakespeare's sonnets and diplomatic cables, before entertaining foreign ambassadors, and spend my nights in love or at least infatuation with the ones that might be. That life is gone, gone a millennium, countless light years ago. For I am alone and Earth’s ambassador to the stars.

A shadow appeared over my shoulder as I waited for the signal the Aldebaran ambassador would receive me.

“Another report? I can just hear the Secretary of State for Interplanetary Affairs screaming: ‘Who does think he is, Shakespeare? Tell him knock off the hearts and flowers,’ ” Gordon Parvathy the Deputy Associate Director for First Contacts swished his hands in circular motions.

“She’s a Philistine. Her staff assistant can summarize it.” I answered, slamming the cover on my tablet.

“She hates her staff assistant worse than in her words your florid prose.”

“Gillian Twickersham-Bostwick is a hack.” Even to my ears my voice was sharp, cutting, laced with anger. “Karma’s a bitch. She had balls getting appointed Earth’s representative to our interplanetary neighbors when she hates aliens and the Aldebaran alien knows it.” I never let Parvathy see my anger. He raised his hands, indicating he didn’t really care. A stupid, careless gesture.

The diplomatic cable arrowed through the room, a three-inch thick steel snake festooned with Aldebaran prayer flags. I swear they shot those things from harpoon guns.

"!@#$%!" Parvathy reeled back, blood spurting from the place where there used to be a hand. There was a reason I never raised my hands out here in the stars. I like my body parts where they belong. Mainly, with the hemoglobin inside. 

"Karma's a bitch," I repeated, wondering if that in his ears constituted florid prose.

We didn't have any earth to bury him in. But I sent hearts, flowers, and what the heck, a few green sprouts. It's just me and the sonnets now. 


Opening: Dave Fragments.....Continuation: Anon


11 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:


But a pointless careless gesture was all it took. The hovering ground shook, their thoughts, oh supreme, wavered in the gravity meme and were sucked into the other useless attempts at making sense of gravity, the all to end all. All the dereliction of deciding and diction, those determiners of right and wrong and worthy of decision were sucked into nothing as all things of matter. The End. Sorry. Not that I was there to witness it.

--JSF

Evil Editor said...

P1: "with the ones that might be" is vague. You could do without it or make it more specific.
If "earth" in the first sentence is the planet, capitalize it as you do in the rest of the piece.

P3: Put "Gordon Parvathy the Deputy Associate Director for First Contacts swished his hands in circular motions." after "Another report?" so we know who's talking sooner. Also, Gordon would just say "the Secretary," not "the Secretary of State for Interplanetary Affairs." Or he'd just use her last name. Period after "flowers."

P5: Put commas around "in her words."

P6: the Aleebaran, not the Aldebaran alien.
"I never let Parvathy see my anger." Apparently you just did. Do you mean you'd never before let him see your anger?

Mister Furkles said...

countless light years ago. -> countless light years away.

Dave, you must know that use of 'light years' in reference to time annoys those who know it is a measure of distance.

davefragments said...

I see that someone guessed Gillian Twickersham-Bostwick and Parvathy will die and Mark (the narrator) will become immortal. I'm going to use those tentacles in the next chapter. My thanks to Anonymous.
All suggestions and comments are welcome. Even late comments.
I can do all sorts of changes. Thanks.

IMHO said...

In the first para, the narrator says he is alone and is earth's ambassador to the stars. Which made me think he was the last human, or at least all alone. Then Parvathy shows up and we hear about an entire bureaucracy that is presumably earth-based and/or staffed by humans. So there is a disconnect to me, as a reader, between the first para and the direction the story takes.

AA said...

My take is that there's too much going on and not nearly enough scene setting.

“I could read Shakespeare's sonnets and diplomatic cables...” I was unaware Shakespeare wrote diplomatic cables.
“That life is gone, gone a millennium,” This person isn't human? Or do humans live this long?
With no details, I can't visualize this character.
I assumed this person had just then dreamed of Earth and was still at home.

“A shadow appeared over my shoulder as I waited for the signal the Aldebaran ambassador would receive me.” Okay, where is this person? In some sort of official building? Is this a space station or planet or what? 

“Gordon Parvathy the Deputy Associate Director for First Contacts swished his hands in circular motions.” I can't visualize him, either.

“She hates her staff assistant worse than in her words your florid prose.” Had to read this twice. Wasn't sure where to accent. I would write: “She hates her staff assistant worse than, in her words, your 'florid prose.'”

“Gillian Twickersham-Bostwick is a hack.”  Who are you talking about? I thought it was the Aldebaran but you then you say she hates the Aldebaran. I thought the MC was taking the report to the Aldebaran- but he is taking it to Gillian? Assuming Gillian is Secretary of State for Interplanetary Affairs.

There doesn't seem to be any sensible structure. Character dreams of Earth, suddenly exists outside Ambassador's office. Is bringing a report to Gillian but must see the ambassador to do so? Gordon shows up for no stated reason. (Or is it his office?) They start arguing about third party who is not present.

davefragments said...

IMHO:
I fixed that. It was an artifact from my first thoughts and drafts of the story. There is a line that I deleted because I didn't like what it said about the narrator. Consider the first paragraph as an epigraph.

davefragments said...

AA:
The first paragraph will appear in the text as an epigraph. That's the way it will work. As for where the narrator is sitting, he's in a waiting area a few minutes before he is introduced to the Ambassador from Aldebaran. After that, they take off in the Ambassador's space shuttle.
I will think about how I want to say "circular motions" in other words. My first thoughts He acts like a spastic clown) are too crass for the narrator.
He's not taking the report to anyone. He's leaving it behind. I'll fix that.
Parvathy is Twickersham-Bostwick's loyal lapdog and toady. That becomes apparent as the scene develops beyond the 250 words here.
As for structure, there's thousands of words yet to write and dozens of revisions. It will work itself out. Even if I rewrite this beginning. This is the place in my mind that it starts and without the start, there would be no story. So if I do either of the two alternatives -- keep it (revised) or throw it out -- it will have served the purpose of being the place to start.


AA said...

Well, that makes sense. If you remove the first paragraph from the beginning it is not as confusing. I'd still need a few more details to get a handle on who and where they are. I do think it is serviceable if slowed down a bit. You may just decide on a different beginning anyway. I frequently do.

ebendas said...

I like the opening, but I think it would be a nice juxtaposition for you to also give the reader a taste of his new life in space. Tell what it's like to live surrounded by the complete darkness of space, describe the spaceship/space-station interior, how bright the moon looks from his point of view, or describe the other planets he's been to, if any. Then we'll be able to empathize more with him missing Earth.


Green grass and a cool breeze are nice things, but as a reader I want to know less about the normal world that he's missing and more about his new life as a space ambassador. Just like a fish your readers need to be hooked by a shiny lure within the first page. Reminiscing about earth and his love of Shakespeare is effective in establishing his personality, but if you show us a glimpse of his new space life right away we'll be hooked!

davefragments said...

Emends, I see your point. I put your comment at the bottom of the text. That way, I'll remember it at the time I have the story completed.