Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New Beginning 1005

The lights are dim on the bridge, its inhabitants lounging in their chairs, most of them comfortable and relaxed as they go about their routine. To one side, the youngest member of the crew scans through comms channels, listening to silence.

“Nothing. Every day, absolutely nothing.” He runs his hands through his hair in frustration.

From the engineer’s chair, the short blond woman opens her eyes long enough to give him a glare. “Some would say that’s a good thing, patrol where nothing happens. You’d probably say that too, if you’d lived through one that was exciting.” She raises her left arm slightly then returns it to her lap, her point made.

Ensign Crenshaw blushes a little at the admonition. He doesn’t know where or when she lost her real arm, and is so used to seeing the prosthetic he plain forgot about it.

He is about to apologize when he is struck from behind by Captain Kinkaide's titanium foot.

"Back to work, you shiftless whelp," Kinkaide harrumphs. "And be grateful I didn't break it off in your ass."

Yes, serving on the USS Prosthetica is a trial indeed, Crenshaw thinks, to himself this time.

Opening: Darci Smith.....Continuation: Veronica Rundell


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

A blue fairy, carrying a human arm, flits across the bridge.

The blond woman jerks in her chair, "there it is, still fresh after all these years."

"A fairy stole it from you?" Ensign says, "wait, what kind of bridge is this?"

"Have you ever been to the other side?" she studies him with one eye closed.

A few inhabitants with chairs stuck to their butts scuttle past.

"No," says Ensign.

"You up for an adventure? A get-my-arm-back kind of one?"

"Please, I'm bored as hell."

"Here's some beef jerky, wet wipes, a hatchet, and a flashlight. I've been waiting for this day. Follow me."


The Captain finished his bright blue ale. "All right, everyone," he began. "Someone needs to go out side this ship and see why were not moving. Crenshaw!"

"Yes, Captain?"

"I want you to suit up and go outside. Report your findings to me."

"Yes, sir!" Finally! Here was his chance to prove he had value to the crew. Adjusting his red shirt, he left the bridge for the suit storage.


Evil Editor said...

I would go with "occupants" rather than "inhabitants" in sentence 1. More interesting would be "inmates," but it's probably too early to be making a blanket judgment of the crew.

The phrase "lounging in their chairs" suggests people on a cruise, not crew members performing tasks.

Okay, maybe "inmates" would have been okay.

The engineer has a chair on the bridge? Shouldn't she be in the engine room monitoring the matter/anti-matter situation and shouting, "Warp 9?!! Captain, the hull can't take it!"

I don't like "You’d probably say that too, if you’d lived through one that was exciting.” Perhaps: "You'll probably say that too, once you've been in battle . . . if you survive."

I'd drop "a little." And you probably don't need "real." It's obvious.

Presumably this is more than a story about a crew nothing happens to, and all hell is about to break loose?

IMHO said...

My mind's eye went straight to ensign Wesley Crusher and stayed there. Not sure if this is what author wanted.

Unknown said...

Crew members on watch are required to be alert. That's the entire point of regular watch changes, no?

With a vessel of this size-based on the crew as described-I find it strange that they would be slumbering on the bridge.

I'm also hoping for some action soon. Right now the "calm before the storm" foreshadowing is making for heavy lids.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

It took me till the third paragraph to figure out that this wasn't the kind of bridge trolls live under.

Presumably once the book was published, this wouldn't be a problem because readers would be clued in by the big Starship Enterprise on the cover.

Anyway, this is not the right place to begin. Nothing is happening.

Dave Fragments said...

My problem is that being crew mates they would know their history and not forget about the disability in the way you manage the discussion. I know this because I worked with people with prosthetics and everybody knows the story of the other person. This woman with the prosthetic hand is too thin skinned or she is being a bully. That doesn't ring true to my personal experience. Sorry about that.

Tk said...

The ensign would think of his colleague by her name, not as "the short blond woman", unless this is his first day - which it's not.

I liked "listening to silence".

Why is the engineer asleep on the bridge?

CavalierdeNuit said...

It wasn't clear to me this was a military story, but that could be my fault because I had to look up the meaning of ensign. I thought it was a given name. Tom Cruise movies are my main source of martial knowledge and entertainment. It seems I pay more attention to Mr. Cruise than the story.

I think a better choice of words (see EE's suggestions) would make your opening more straightforward. And clueless people like me would understand right away what your story was about.

khazar-khum said...

I kept waiting for Picard to appear and tell the crew to get busy. You know it has to be Star Trek and not Star Wars, because nobody who values their life would be lounging on Darth Vader's ship.

Like Alaska, I too was confused about the type of bridge you meant. I don't find it boring as much as I find it confusing.

Mister Furkles said...

I thought it was a bridge like old London Bridge. People built houses on it and lounging in chairs watching the world walk by is something the inhabitants would do. Now, if you replace ‘inhabitants’ with ‘crew’, then we might know it is a ship of some kind: “… its crew lounging at their stations …” Then you could replace “… the youngest member of the crew…” with “… the youngest officer …” That eliminates the echo of “crew”.

PLaF said...

Loved the “red shirt” ending. Loved it!

I stumbled over inhabitant lounging and relaxed yet going about their routine, which suggests being busy. Also, “to one side” fell flat. To one side of what? “On the starboard computer bank” might lend a better visual as well as eliminate the “bridge” confusion.
When the crewman runs his hands through his hair and laments about nothing, I thought he was worried about his hair. Later, when “he plain forgot” something, he sounded like a hick. So now I can’t decide if he’s a wiseguy or a cowboy.
When the blond woman raises her left arm, that’s the best time to tell us it’s prosthetic. i.e. “She raises her arm and the lights gleam off the prosthetic limb.” Then you could lose the last paragraph. He doesn’t have to know her story yet especially if, along with being the youngest crewman, he’s also the newest.
I think you need to give us a little more in the first two paragraphs to hold our interest. Instead of “going about their routine” say something specific about where they are or what they’re doing: patrolling Sector 8 of the Gamma quadrant, or watching the no-fly zone for space pirates or stellar insurgents. Even if “absolutely nothing” is going on at the moment, the potential for impending disaster or action exists.

none said...

Crew members may be required to be alert in theory, but human beings are notoriously bad at that, so the idea that they're not isn't surprising. It's the irony of expecting computers to fly the plane and humans to monitor the computers. The other way round would make more sense. Human attention falls off very quickly. Until something moves.

But yeah. Something needs to happen.

Anonymous said...

To one side, the youngest member of the crew scans through comms channels, listening to silence.

“Nothing. Every day, absolutely nothing.” He runs his hands through his hair in frustration.

The the kid, the recruit scans comm channels."Nothing. Zippo."

He rakes is his fingers through his hair.

"I'm done. There is nothing I mean nothing going on out there." He slurps his cold coffee as he scratches his crotch.

"You sure kid?" says/said ...

"Yeah, I'm sure old man."

"You sure?" Then... spit, grabbed the headphones and cranked it. He closed his eyes as he studied the ...

Stronger sentences, verbs, open with the mc in a situation. Grab me by the throat, I'll follow the story.

Nice job KK.

Wilkins MacQueen

Darci said...

Thank you to everyone for your advice. I have been struggling with this, because I'm not sure if I'm, starting in the right place. The intention was to convey the calm before the (swiftly coming) total disaster. You've given me a lot of good advice to incorporate into my next editing pass, so thank you!