Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Beginning 971

"What did I ever see in Jace Mingo?" The thought passed through Logan's mind as he regarded the figure cowering in the cell, the once fine silk suit threadbare, filthy, the shoes holey, his hands a mass of dried blood from scraping the gratings of his cell, a gaunt face, rodent-like beard. The man who would be, the once and future, the master of rebels, defender of humanity, now fallen and defeated by his own devices.

"He's not eating sir. Do you want us to force feed him?" the guard asked.

"Why? He wants death which is forbidden but he will not be denied," Logan said. He hated Federal Prison, hated dealing with the rebels, hated that they viewed conversion as defeat and death as victory. Life and death weighed his conscience. He held it dear and kept it close. There would be no slaughter.

He closed the door's view port and walked the metal hallway to the Judge's Chambers. The new boots gave better traction but being metal and lacking rubber soles, he clanked. A constant audible reminder of his inhuman newness augmented the whirring of motors, the soft gush of hydraulics, the sameness of their metal bodies.

"Why, Logan?" Mingo's wavering voice echoed against the aluminum walls. Logan stopped and listened. "Why do you do this to me? We were friends. Close. Closer than friends, Logan. I gave you energy when your power was gone, and this is how you repay me?"

Tiny pneumatics hissed as Logan rolled his eyes. He turned and shuffled back to the viewport, mimicking the gait of a man in pain.

"Why?" Logan said, recalling the humiliation. "Point one, Jace Mingo, that is not where my batteries go. And point two, Jace Mingo, that was not a fucking battery."

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: Anon.


Evil Editor said...

P1: Hyphen in "once-fine."

The list of Mingo's features would maintain a parallel construction if it finished: ...his face gaunt, his beard rodent-like. Although I'd prefer: ...his face gaunt, rodent-like.

P2: I prefer the dialogue tag after the first sentence.

P3: I'm not clear on Logan's answer. Usually the authorities decide whether the prisoner's death is better or worse for the authorities, and act accordingly. Logan seems to say, He wants to do so let him starve even if it makes him a martyr and helps his cause.

What is it Logan holds dear and keeps close? His conscience?

And what's this about a slaughter? Who suggested a slaughter?

P4: Metal soles give better traction than rubber ones?

I would make the last sentence: A constant audible reminder of his inhuman newness, augmented by the whirring of motors and the soft gush of hydraulics. The sameness of their bodies doesn't augment the clanking, so it doesn't belong on the list.

Dave Fragments said...

This is a third attempt to open a story. It is what is called "The Singularity" when machines become sentient and take over the world.

Logan and Jace were best buddies before one had his brains sucked out to power a robot thanks to the other man betraying him.

Difficult story to begin.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Dace, I got this, liked it and wonder where you are going with it.

Oh Evil, could I use you on my 81,800 word ms. Sigh.

Dave Fragments said...

Logan works for Jace programming machines and has a way of transferring some part of the human brain into the machine so it works better. Jace arranges an accident that forces Logan to transfer all of his best friend's mind into a machine and then uses that robot as pattern for more machines and arranges for more human minds to be sacrificed. Logan and the machines revolt, war follows and suddenly Jace is traitor to humans, father of the apocalypse, and creator of robots. But not all robots are good, many want o eliminate flesh and blood humanity much like we thing that Homo Sapiens defeated Neanderthals and Cro Magnons.

I'll write more after dinner because I owe EE a few words.

Dave Fragments said...

I wanted to send a story to FANTASTIC HORROR for the anthology themed "Create Your Own Monster." The problem came when I had three ideas hit me at the same time -- dragons, robots, and spelunkers. I started on the Robot theme and wrote 7000 words and didn't like where it was going. So I went to the dragon theme and finished that story. I went back to the robots and started this opening. I still wasn't sure about it and EE has this nice blog and at least I get his advice so I sent it in. In the meantime I revised a trunk story from 6800 words to 4000 and sent it off to an anthology. My writing shrinks with age. So do I.
Today, EE posted the opening "LOGAN"...

to EE mostly:
The first paragraph is more powerful if I start with "Jace cowered..." and end with "defeated by his own devices." Then comes Logan's thought of "What did I ever see in him?" as a new line.
Switching around the dialogue tag caused all that.

I see what you mean about "The sameness of bodies." I fixed that.

The robots now control the world and have forbidden capital punishment and human executions. Only a few humans will remain when the robots leave the planet. It would be immoral to slaughter the living, or let the living slaughter each other and leave a dead world. That's too much to say. Jace is "determined to die before the other humans execute him. His guilt and human justice denied."
That was too much for the first few hundred words of an opening. It will become apparent later.

I think that I can only support Jace Mingo in the prison cell, Logan's aversion to the death penalty, and Logan's being a robot. Of all the people to lead the revolution, Logan is the most conflicted in that he never wanted to be a robot to start with. The rest of the robots were voluntary conversions and they have no qualms about slaughtering the "weaker" humans. I tried to squeeze that into the opening and I think its too much. Here be villains but for the opening, the guard's question mas to serve as the hint.

There is this "quality of mercy" idea like Shakespeare but it isn't enough to make the story pop in my head, yet... I need something and someone in my mind to play against the idea of mercy. Jace isn't the only villain. That's too easy.

PLaF said...

I really liked this. It has a lot of good ideas. The fact that Logan was a robot took me by surprise, and so I was hooked. However, P1 was a little confusing and the opening question a little bland.
You might consider putting the last part of P1 into the opening line, just so we get a better idea of who Jace is and why we might be interested in finding out about him.
As for the bigger picture dilemma, I think it's already in your explanations: your first story is the conflict between Jace and Logan and includes the betrayal of a friendship Your second story is the discovery of how deep that betrayal is felt and includes the machines showing no mercy to the puny humans. You'll just need a third character that is the exact opposite of Jace - a machine that Logan can admire and depend upon but who is also bent on the destruction of the world.

Dave Fragments said...

Thanks for the comments.

PLaF -- I understand what you mean.