Author Topic: Untitled Novella  (Read 1576 times)

Offline Jacknife

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Untitled Novella
« on: December 26, 2007, 02:05:50 PM »
<<FOREWORD>>

Since everyone I know has gone away with their parents or whatever to see their families in the middle of nowhere for Christmas, I have a lot of time on my hands. Most of that time I spend sitting around watching TV or playing a colony game in OP2 (damn lightning storms :P), but for an hour or so today I was particularly bored. I started writing something, and added something onto that something, and kept adding on somethings until I ended up with... well, something. I thought it was kind of neat, and I like the way it sounds, so I figured I'd share it with you guys.

It's based around the very-first Disaster Instant Response Teams (back when Eden was the only colony, and the thought of terraforming was little more than Nguyen's crazy dream). It's got no title and might not make sense right now, but everything would come together later in the story. Assuming I continue it, anyway- figuring that I'll wait for your reactions before I go on typing more of this nonsense.

Oh, and HEPA stands for Hazardous Environment Protection Armor (kind of a rip from Half-Life, I know, but for now I'm using it as a placeholder until I can come up with some kind of acronym/backronym for their suits). I don't know how well that fits in with the actual OP2 story, so I'll probably either end up changing it or removing it altogether- it just doesn't make much sense to me that a unit that's supposed to respond to all emergencies is equipped with just a spacesuit and a floating truck. The truck's still there, too, but it's a little beefier than whatever reference I'm remembering right now (I think it's the Tales from New Terra for the DIRT building, not sure though).

So whatever, here is my no-name. Try to be nice with the comments, please. ;)

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Vincent Ackerman stood at the Observation Deck, watching the three young men of Disaster Instant Response Team Alpha run through the holographic Command Center. They moved quickly and quietly, using hand signals and secure communication channels to coordinate with one another as they headed through the virtual complex. They leaned up against walls and peered around corners and covered one another as they made their way further and further into the structure.

This was only the second time they had gone through this simulated environment, but they knew every conduit, corridor, and maintenance access junction as though it was second nature, thanks largely in part to the flash-knowledge etched onto their minds before birth. Many things were familiar to them- mathematics, physics, chemistry, language, history, how to use their equipment, and the schematics to just about every possible structure layout known to Eden, imprinted onto their minds and lying dormant until they needed it. From then on, they knew it like the back of their hand- just one touch or sight or sound, and it was theirs.

Every bit of information available to Eden- knowledge that would take a lifetime for anyone to analyze, comprehend, and memorize; Alpha Team was able to do it in only fourteen years. Now all they were doing was biding their time, waiting for the day when Nguyen declares the project a success and authorizes their deployment into Eden as a full-fledged Disaster Instant Response Team.

But for now, they were still in training. And training, specifically for Alpha Team, meant drills upon drills upon drills. Not only to keep the information fresh in their minds, but to remind Ackerman that what he was doing was right; that it would save hundreds of lives down the road, even if it meant wasting hundreds more in the process.

Alpha Team stopped at the sealed pressure door leading to the communications relay in the basement of the Command Center. The leader, identified by the blue stripes on his HEPA suit's shoulders, began issuing orders with his hands and fingers- the others nodded and got into position, one at the left side of the door and the other on the right. The leader pulled out his Electronics Code Breaker and pointed the small red laser at the computer's infra-red receptor.

Suddenly, the door exploded in a yellow-white blast of flame, spewing chunks of red-hot metal onto the floor and sending two members of Alpha Team flying backwards. Alpha Point, stunned, turned to face the explosion- behind him, an exhaust grate in the ceiling fell to the floor, followed by an enemy soldier coming down on a line of steel cable.

The soldier, before even touching the ground, unloaded round after round into Point's back until he was completely still, lying face-down on the floor. The two others picked themselves up and brought their weapons to bear on the soldier, but before they could open fire they were cut down by the repetitive tap-clap of assault rifles- their assailants were in the cloud of smoke where the door had once been.

Atmospheric stabilizers kicked in and pulled the thick gray smog into vents along the floor. There, standing at the doorway, were the three men of Omega Team, each sheathed in near-identical HEPA suits and armed with the same rifles as their opponents. The only difference was that instead of being colored silver and blue, Omega Team's armor was coated in a holographic bronze-red overlay to resemble Plymouth soldiers.

The walls and ceilings and conduits of the Command Center- along with Omega Team's color overlay- blinked and then disappeared, leaving behind only the poured concrete floor of the Virtual Reality Training Center and the six men in silver HEPA suits.

Ackerman smirked. Alpha Team might have been good, but Omega Team was Vincent's pride and joy- they were the real best of the best. They were his three boys- he taught them things that their flash-knowledge didn't. He showed them how to ambush and how to hide in plain sight; he taught them how to be polite and social; one of the many things, however, that Ackerman taught them without necessarily teaching them was how to set a reverse door breach.

Omega Point pulled his HEPA suit's helmet from his head, slapped his assault rifle into the magnetic holster on his back, and helped Alpha Point up onto his feet. Although the bullets were technically low-velocity training bullets, and their HEPA suits protected them from the projectiles themselves, the kinetic force of each round still hit them like a hammer attached to a mass driver.

Ackerman recognized Omega Point as 2F5B-1C13-904F. Before the age of six 904F had a mop of dusty brown hair atop his head and shimmering blue-green eyes- after the biological augmentations, however, his eyes were the same stone-gray as all the others, and his head was shaved bald to make sure that his HEPA helmet fit on his head properly. On the back of his neck was a bar code tattoo with his hexadecimal identification tag underneath, with two circles on either side of the bar code. One was filled- representing the first of his augmentations- the other was not- representing the one that had yet to be done.

Something was different about 904F, though. The others had given themselves nicknames to try and make themselves unique, but 904F had a name assigned to him by his two Omega Team companions- he had no interest in giving himself a name, so the others made one for him. They called him Torn, a name that didn't exactly fit the mold.

“Well, he's kind of like two different people,” 2F5B-1C13-88AC- commonly known as Marker, Torn's second-in-command and close friend- had told Ackerman when he confronted him about the name. “I mean, when he's at work he's cold and tactical, but when he's not he's nice and relaxed. It's almost as if there's a switch on him that clicks him into work mode when he's got his suit on.”

Ackerman sighed and allowed the thoughts to slowly fade from his mind as he watched Torn exchange words with his team and Alpha. He was a natural leader, much like his two teammates were natural followers- it was in their genetic material. Torn donned his helmet and slipped a fresh magazine into his assault rifle as the holographic environment reappeared, this time of the busy construction floor of a Structure Factory. The tables were turned now- Omega Team's objective was to eliminate Alpha Team before their improvised explosive device went off and destroyed the Factory.

They were amazing- damn near perfect in Ackerman's eyes- but there were still many months to go before his six cadets were ready for their debut. "All in good time," he muttered under his breath. "They'll be ready all in good time."

Offline Hooman

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Untitled Novella
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2007, 03:34:27 PM »
Hmm, this stood out to me:
Quote
(back when Eden was the only colony, and the thought of terraforming was little more than Nguyen's crazy dream)
Quote
Omega Team's armor was coated in a holographic bronze-red overlay to resemble Plymouth soldiers

Seems a little inconsistent there. (But easily fixed considering one of those lines isn't even in the story).


Plus, the idea of people killing people just seems so wrong in the Outpost world. We're talking about the last survivors from earth. Not that many of them either. Seems reasonable that everyone would know everone else. I just can't see soldiers ever being a part of the colony, nor people killing any of the few other people, which they've probably known their entire lives. So in that sense the story doesn't seem to fit right with what I view as the Outpost world.

Also,
Quote
They leaned up against walls and peered around corners and covered one another as they made their way further and further into the structure.
doesn't sound at all like the activities of a disaster response team. At least not if we're talking about natural disasters, which seems to be an underlying assumpion.


I'd also thought the bar code tatoos seemed a little cliche, and kind of groaned at the whole "best of the best" thing, which I hear way too much in movies. (Particularly low budget ones). :P


But, other than that, I thought your writing style was pretty good. It seemed to flow well, and contained some very good descriptions of some of the action. I definately see some potential. My biggest issue was just that I didn't see this particular story fitting in with Outpost due to the strong military aspect of it. If this was in a different setting it'd be good. Or if it had a more civilian feel, particularly along the lines of man vs. nature rather than man vs. man than it'd fit better.
 

Offline Jacknife

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Untitled Novella
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2007, 09:47:39 PM »
I didn't even notice the little contradiction I made there... good spot there, Hooman. And the reminder of the bar code thing- I never realized how common it truly was until I did some searching around. I probably overused the best of the best thing as well. +3 points to you! ;)

And I know it seems a little too close to the soldier side of things, but there are reasons for it- I'd tell you the main one, but that would spoil the plot, if there is one. I'll tell you that Ackerman has a military past and that Nguyen is tied in with the creation of the clones, but nothing more. From a colonial standpoint, look at it this way- I envisioned the DIRT as a police department, a fire department, an EMS, and a bunch of other real-world emergency response organizations all rolled into one, including a force like SWAT. Sure, maybe with one hundred people it might not be practical, but with the population increasing and knowledge of Eden's secret research on the brink of public knowledge, it's always a possibility.

Here's a list of reasons that I would specifically want a military trained unit, even if the entire human race was narrowed down to a hundred people or so:

- In the event that two people threaten the lives of the entire colony, I would want those two individuals taken care of, even if it means gunning them down.

- In the event that the wrong information got to the wrong people- as in, word of Nguyen's terra-forming research or his "other" projects- and acted on that information in a destructive manner.

- There might not have been a practical reason to the military training in itself, but instead the process in which they learned it (flash-knowledge). Possibly it could have been a test of the system, to see if it could handle such demands.

- Alpha and Omega Teams were the first of their kind, hence them being clones with flash-knowledge in the first place. It's like those Toyota truck commercials where the pickup flat-out accelerates and comes to a complete stop right before driving off a cliff- sure, it may not be practical, but what better way to impress those that you wish to win over than with something that extraordinary?

You do bring up solid points, Hooman- so solid, in fact, that I'll probably give the story a complete overhaul later. Check back tomorrow or something and I'll have it make a little more Outpost sense then.