Joined: 26 Jan 2009
|Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:07 pm Post subject: Ghost Writers?
|I suggested to Albatros that he use a ghost writer or writers to finish the story. Obviously, any writer would need to stick to the story line and stay as true to Alb's vision as possible.
Alb responded by saying that if anyone is interested in ghost writing for him they should introduce themselves to you, the community.
So, here I am. Hi. I am Elonna, a long time WoW player and amateur writer. I have written is a couple of different genre.
To give you an idea of my writing style and (cough, ahem) talent, I am posting one chapter of a scifi novel I have written. I know you will be getting just a tiny taste without getting any clue where you are in the whole, but this is not to get you to read my book, it is to put myself out there to be critiqued as a writer in general to see if I might be worthy of helping with the "Murloc is Lonely."
So critique away...please be clinical without being brutal and I will try to take it like a ..... well, I'm not a man .... but, well, there you have it. This is chapter 12 of 36.
Tony stood on the gently rocking deck of catamaran number one. He watched the far wall of Test Cube Eight Two. The soft predawn light was giving way to a glorious golden sunrise. Yellow sunlight filtered through a layer of moisture in the upper atmosphere giving the world a brilliant glow that reflected off the water like thousands of highly polished diamonds.
It amazed him that the cube engineers could simulate anything so beautiful, he marveled at the technology that made such a sight possible in a manufactured environment.
“Catamaran number two safely in the water,” Tanaki reported to him. “All gear safely stowed on board.”
“Good,” Tony turned his sharp mind to the task at hand. “Let’s start getting readings on this cube.”
“Acer and Jo have set up sonar and laser scanners on number two and they are starting to gather data.”
“There is enough wind for us to use the sails instead of the electric motors,” Tony observed. “We’ll save the batteries for emergency use.”
“Aye, sir,” Lexi grinned as she unlashed the sail so Tanaki could raise it.
“I sure am glad that I’m not sailing on number two today,” Lahani whispered in Tanaki’s ear. “Brea is spitting out orders like Captain Bligh, and she’ll probably have a mutiny on her hands in under an hour!”
“Maybe they’ll make her walk the plank!” Tanaki chuckled.
Lexi was sitting cross-legged on the netting strung between the twin hulls of the catamaran watching the interplay between her teammates. She had long sensed that there was something between Tanaki and Lahani. She also knew that neither would act on their feelings until the Cube competition was over, neither one would risk the distraction of relationship when they needed to be totally focused.
She rocked with the gentle rise and fall of the of the boat, letting her mind drift, mentally listening for the mind to mind contact she had sensed yesterday.
They were closed to her. Lexi was sure they knew she was there, but they remained aloof, distant. She was saddened and felt the loss, deeply.
She opened her eyes and studied the surrounding water. It was as empty as the clear sky.
“What needs doing?” she asked Lahani.
“All under control here,” Lahani answered. “You want to get the readings from the sonar and the underwater cameras?”
“I’m on it!” she checked the equipment and studied the feedback. There were some small shapes in the water and she aimed the underwater camera to view them. The recorder focused on some brilliantly colored fish, compact and streamlined for speed. They darted back and forth in a coordinated school. “Lahani, could you sprinkle just a little of the small fish pellets off the bow, starboard side? I’m tracking a school of fish and want to record them feeding.”
Lahani sprinkled a double handful of food into the sparkling waters. Instantly the surface of the water became a roiling mass of tiny flashing bodies as they competed for the food floating on the water.
Lexi watched in fascination as they fed, mouths snapping greedily on food and on other fish. When the food was gone and the frenzy had abated she noted that dozens of fins looked ragged and tattered. She made a note to check the recording for their condition before they fed.
A slight movement in the water caught Lexi’s attention and she shifted the camera to record the new life form. It took a little effort to find and to focus because the new creature in the water was essentially transparent. It appeared to be little more than a membrane drifting along in the water. Lexi watched patiently as it drifted along with the flow of the water. The school of fish she had recorded earlier darted back into view. One of the fish on the outside edge of the school swam directly into the membrane, unaware that it was there. The membrane folded gently around the fish, draping like a soft fabric sheet over the end of a stick.
The fish began to struggle frantically, trying to escape. It twisted and struggled against the transparent membrane, which enclosed it completely. The membrane seemed not to move or exert any effort at all, but the fish could not get free of it. Its struggles became weaker its gills desperately tried to draw the oxygen rich water denied to it inside the folds of the membrane. Eventually, its movements slowed, then ceased all together.
She kept the camera focused on the membrane and noted that the fish was losing its bright coloration. Tiny dark spots began to appear on its skin, slowly growing and spreading. Lexi believed this was evidence of the membrane digesting the fish.
She put on protective gloves and grabbed a net. Even knowing where to look for it in the water Lexi found it difficult to spot the membrane as it drifted along. She spotted the dead fish and drew them closer with the net. She swabbed the inside of the membrane, the outside and she took a piece of the dead fish. All items went onto sealed specimen bottles. Once released from the net the membrane and its meal drifted away from the boat completely unaffected.
Jo and Acer were getting depth readings, Brea was converting them into a map of the sea floor. They managed to get a camera deep into the water and got some amazing shots of deep-water marine life and debris.
“Tony,” Acer called over their communication set. “There is a boat hull down there and it looks like human remains. Should we go back for another pass?”
“No,” he replied. “Stay with us, whoever they were, there is nothing we can do for them.”
“The depth is decreasing,” Brea advised. “We are getting close to the island.”
“Roger that,” Tony keyed his microphone off. “Are you getting any impressions, Lexi?”
“None,” she shook her head. “I’m staying wide open, not even blocking out team members. It’s exhausting, but I’m getting nothing from the minds I sensed yesterday.”
“Keep me posted, Ok?” he looked concerned.
“Always, boss,” she grinned back. “We’re getting close to the island, are we going ashore? I would love to get plant samples.”
“We’ll go ashore, carefully,” he looked over at the island that was getting closer. “I wonder what it could possibly hold for us.”
“At least I am not sensing anything like that huge sand crab in the last cube,” Lexi sighed. “I just wish the other creatures here would open up to me.”
“Get ready to beach the boats,” Tony spoke into his communicator. “Is anyone getting any readings on the animal life here?”
“Nothing significant, sir,” Acer reported back. “I have some readings on insects, maybe a few small lizards, no mammals that we can detect.”
“Be careful when we go ashore,” Tony warned his team. “Remember the lizard in Cube seven eight? And be careful of the insects.”
“Yes, sir,” came back through the communicator from several team members.
Lexi sat down on the net deck strung between the twin hulls and pulled on land shoes. She left her wet suit on, it was comfortable and they would not be on land long enough to require a complete change of clothing.
They all felt the first soft brush of sand against the hulls, then a jolt as the next wave forced them higher up the sandy slope of the beach. One more wave push and they all jumped into the shallow water to pull the boats onto dry sand. They ran rope lines to the nearest trees to anchor them.
The creamy white sand was soft and loose, they sank nearly ankle deep with every step. In no time they all began to feel the burn of exertion in their leg muscles as they walked along the beach.
The team made their way up the sand to an area where the grass began. Jason helped Lexi collect plant samples and take digital pictures. Brea digitally mapped the area and collected soil samples. Jo and Acer collected dozens of tiny insects, photographed them, ran tests and released them back into their environment. Lahani took weather readings and collected data on past weather incidents. Tanaki took water samples from around the island and from a small rock pool he found on a slight rise of land in the center. He also collected data on possible volcanic activity.
They took a break, eating a midday meal sprawled on the sand. Brea passed out sun filtering lotions for all exposed skin.
“OK, break’s over,” Tony brushed sand from his wet suit. “Get back to work. Load up the boats and push off.”
“I would still like to get some video of the fish and aquatic animals in this area,” Acer told him. “Have we got time?”
“Yeah,” Tony nodded. “You’ve got time. I want two people watching from a boat for every two in the water. So you can put two teams in, if you’ve got the volunteers.”
“I’ll go in the water,” Jason offered.
“Me, too!” Lexi jumped up. “I would love a chance to get in the water.”
“No deep water diving, stay close to the boats,” Tony instructed. “Get your video shots and samples and get back on the boats.”
“I charged all the underwater breathing devices,” Lahani told them. “You’ve got an hour of air.”
The team quickly pushed the boats into the water and climbed on. Those going into the water prepared by removing shoes, slipping on fins and getting their UBD’s ready. A UBD operates by separating the oxygen molecules found free-floating in water from the water molecules, pumping the water molecules out and filtering the oxygen to the swimmer. The entire device is the size of a full-face swim mask, a very ingenious invention.
“Jason,” Lexi pulled him aside. “If the sea animals that attacked Tim Walker’s team come up to me, don’t pull your knife unless I give you a sign that I am in trouble. I think they are intelligent, but they are keeping their minds closed to me.”
“I’ll follow your lead,” he looked skeptical. “But if they do attack I will fight back.”
“I’m hoping that they will make contact with me and it will be a meeting, not a confrontation,” Lexi admitted. “Jason, you and Tony are the only two team members who can pick up my mental contacts without me turning into a psychic bullhorn. I am hoping to keep communications low key.”
“Do you have your video unit ready?” Lahani came up behind Lexi.
“We’re ready,” Jason nodded tensely.
“All right,” Tony stepped in. “Into the water, and don’t take any chances.”
Jason slipped into the water first, moving away from the boat to let Lexi slide in safely. He slowly turned in a complete circle just under the surface of the water, scanning for danger.
Lexi joined him and they swam in a grid pattern, recording the various undersea life forms they found. They collected small samples of water, plants, rocks and tiny bits of strange looking coral. The crystal clear water flowed around them like warm silk slipping over any exposed skin.
They completed their assigned grid and had just turned back towards the boat when Lexi ‘felt’ a presence. She turned in the water, looking for the source of this feeling and she saw a sleek, dark aquatic body rocketing directly at her.
She barely had time to turn away from the oncoming creature. It blew past her at a high rate of speed as she paddled back from its trajectory.
Jason automatically reached for the knife strapped to his belt.
“No, Jason,” Lexi mentally sent a warning. “Do not draw a weapon, trust me.”
Jason merely nodded, trusting her judgment.
The creature came back around and Lexi projected a sense of questioning to it. This time it slowed, circling round and round the two swimmers.
Lexi looked into its eye as it was going around and projected a sense of curiosity and interest.
The creature continued to circle.
“Lexi and Jason are in trouble,” Lahani reported over the communicator.
‘Tony,’ she thought. ‘Keep everyone back and do not use the stun sticks or guns. Let me try to communicate with these beings first.’
“Everyone, stay back,” Tony ordered.
Several members of the team grumbled but no one questioned his order.
Lexi focused all of her mental energy on the sea animal. She reached out to it as it slid past her in the water. It eyed her and came back around more slowly. This time her fingers gently brushed over its skin and she allowed a sense of wonder and excitement to project to this amazing creature.
It came around once more, but this time its mouth closed over her left forearm. Lexi became very still. It bore down a little and she projected pain. Its sharp teeth did not penetrate the tough fiber of her specially designed wet suit, but the pressure of the bite was nearly enough to break bones.
It eased back the pressure of its bite but still held her firmly in its jaw.
“I’m fine,” Lexi reassured the other team members via the microphone in her mask. She could feel their tension and fear mounting. “It is testing me somehow. Just stay back.”
She used her right hand to stroke the head and side of the animal. She noticed it did not have gills. She thought she saw a breathing hole between its dorsal fin and head, but the angle was wrong for her to get a good look and she could not be sure.
The animal seemed very distrustful of her, but it did not increase its aggression.
She continued to project interest. She ruthlessly pushed down her own fear and left herself open for communications. She felt curiosity from several minds and was startled to see at least six additional creatures circling them.
She reached out with her free hand and drew Jason very close to her side. They moved together in the water almost as one.
The other minds began to reach out to them. They focused strongly on her, seeming to sense Jason’s lesser psychic ability. They were very interested in these two odd animals in their domain.
Lexi felt a small nudge under her arm and looked down to see a miniature version of the adult sea mammals. The delight she projected was instantaneous. The animal holding her left arm released it and Lexi reached out and gently stroked the sea baby. It nudged her again and she laughed in shear wonder of this trusting infant. It swam very close to her and she caressed it lovingly.
The adults watched her closely but made no move to intervene. Her pleasure in the interaction was obvious. She could sense that they were less tense.
Jason tentatively reached out and stroked the animal nearest to him. He subdued his own fears, sliding his hand along the smooth, leathery skin. He grinned.
The mood changed and several adult animals nudged up against them, seeking attention, keeping Jason and Lexi quite busy touching and petting, their only ability to physically communicate. Lexi and Jason stayed in the water until their UBD’s where nearly spent.
They projected regret and started to swim towards the boats. The animals stayed with them until they were almost within range of stun sticks, then swam away.
Jason hauled himself out of the water and reached back to pull Lexi out.
“Wow!” he exclaimed. “That was the scariest, most amazing thing I’ve ever seen!”
“Are you two nuts?” Brea shouted at them from the other boat. “Those were the monsters that tore up the boats from Walker’s team. They could have torn you to pieces!”
“But they didn’t,” Lexi grinned. “Because we did not threaten them in any way and we kept all knives, stun sticks and guns put away. If any of us had drawn a weapon Jason and I would have been fish food. Well, not fish, I think they are mammals.”
“I think so, too,” Jason agreed. “I saw blowhole on the top of the big one that was holding on to you.”
“I think he was the Alpha male of the pod,” Jo observed. “The others seemed to take their cues from him.”
“Are you hurt?” Brea demanded from the other boat.
“No, my wet suit protected me from his sharp teeth,” Lexi answered. “He didn’t bite down hard, if he had he could have crushed the bones in my forearm and wrist. I believe that he was just testing me…testing us. So far, we are not reacting like any of the other teams that have gone through here. I think they will leave us alone.”
“I’m keeping a stun stick handy, just in case,” Brea announced.
“Keep it hidden and don’t use it unless I give permission,” Tony growled. “We have made significant progress with this species. Do not endanger that.”
“Just how strong of an empath are you?” Lahani whispered suspiciously.
“When I am not blocking, and I block nearly all of the time,” Lexi answered vaguely. “I’m a pretty strong empath.”
Lahani just nodded and eyed her thoughtfully.
“OK team,” Tony spoke into the communicator. “We still have several hours of exploration and documentation ahead of us. Let’s get to work!”
The rest of the day went on as it had begun. They took photos and videos, charted, graphed, tested, observed and kept careful notes. They charted the ocean currents they encountered and water temperature readings at multiple depths. The sea mammals occasionally swam near the two boats but they did not attempt to attack or to come too near. Lexi could sense lingering distrust but at least they were not fully blocking her and she was able to interact with them on some level.
“We’re almost done,” Tony informed them. “Keep alert and we’ll finish up safely.”
“We’ve got all of our readings here, Tony,” Brea reported. “We show the water depth at the exit door to be just over a meter. Deep enough for the boats.”
“Roger,” Tony acknowledged. “You go ahead, get the boat out of the cube, we’ll be right behind you.”
Lahani, Tankai and Lexi stowed all equipment, dismantled the sails and prepared the boat to be taken apart.
Moving quickly they shoved the rigging through the open doorway. The equipment was stacked off to one side. In under a minute the first boat was nearly completely out of the water.
Lexi sat on the edge of catamaran and removed the footwear from her wet suit and pulled on an athletic shoe. As she reached for the second shoe the boat bumped hard against the wall, throwing her into the water.
The water was warm and shallow. She stood up and walked the few meters to the door to boost herself in. As she got to the door she felt a sharp stabbing pain in her unprotected heel. She hopped quickly to the door and pulled herself out.
A four inch long barb was imbedded deep in her heel. At the end of it was a small pulsing sack. A stinger with poison sack.
“Brea!” Lexi barked an order. “Get me a circulation restrictor for a leg, two specimen bottles, mini pipettes, tweezers and a small scalpel. I need them now!”
Brea ran. Jason and Jo both started towards Lexi but she waived them back.
“Get the boat out of the cube,” she told them. “I’ll be fine.”
Brea brought the items Lexi asked for. She fastened the circulation restrictor just below Lexi’s knee and switched it on.
Lexi picked up the scalpel, pulled her heel up onto her opposite leg and sliced into the sole of her own foot. She handed the bloody scalpel to Brea and used the tweezers to remove the barbed stinger.
“Put pressure on that wound,” she told Brea.
Lexi used the pipettes to catch the poison that was still slowly pulsing from the end of the stinger. She placed them in a specimen container, her hands beginning to shake. The Stinger went into a separate container.
“I need you to get these to a toxicologist,” she looked and Brea and realized that her perceptions were getting hazy. “Get me to triage, Brea, I think I’m in trouble.”
Consciousness and reason, light and thought slipped away, sliding smoothly from her grasp. Lexi slumped over, unconscious.
“Tony!” Brea called. “Tony, help me, Lexi’s hurt.”
“Get the rest of the boat out of the cube,” he ordered and ran to his counselor’s side. “What happened?”
“She was stung by something when she fell off the boat,” Brea indicated the specimen bottles. “She said she was in trouble and to get this to a toxicologist.”
“Bring those and come with me,” Tony pulled Lexi up onto his shoulder in the traditional fireman’s carry.
He sped for the door. In the hall he ran for the elevator, pressing the button.
“Calling Central Medical,” Tony told the computer.
“Central Medical,” a voice came on line.
“This is Tony Maxwell. I have an incoming injury and need a toxicologist.”
“Toxicologist? Just a moment, please,” the voice replied. “Our best toxicologist is on your team, sir. Alexandra McFarland.”
“I know, but she is the incoming injury,” Tony huffed as he ran done the hall. “Get your next best toxicologist. We’re almost to medical now and we need a stretcher.”
“We’ll meet you at the door,” the voice confirmed.
Tony and Brea arrived at Central Medical and as the doors slid open he saw two attendants racing towards him with an anti-grav medical stretcher. They helped him ease Lexi onto the gurney then whisked her quickly to triage.
They drew blood for a toxicology screening, started IV fluids, swabbed out the incision in her heel for more samples and then lavaged the wound, washing away as much of the toxin as possible from the exposed tissue before closing the wound.
“Her breathing is getting dangerously shallow,” one of the attendants advised. “Let’s get a respiration stimulator on her.”
“What have we got?” Dave Pace asked as he walked in.
“Patient stung in heel by unknown source, venom samples available.”
“Time from sting to loss of consciousness?” he asked.
“Under ten minutes,” Brea responded.
“None, yet,” the attendant replied. “We have been working to stabilize her. Respirations suppressed by toxin, we have her on support.”
“Has anyone called McFarland? She is the one best suited to this type of analysis,” Pace asked. “She looks at the molecular structure of a new toxin and seems to understand exactly what it will do and how to counteract it.”
“This is Lexi McFarland,” Tony told him.
“Please tell me you are not serious,” Pace stopped and actually looked at his patient. “We’ll have to handle this by the book. Get me the molecular analysis of the toxin. All toxins fall into certain molecular pattern types. We will look at the dominant structures, tailor the anti-toxins to them, and hope they work. If not, we try anti-toxins for the next structure level and so on until we have counteracted the poison.”
“Whatever it takes,” Tony looked at him doubtfully. “Whatever it takes to save her.”
“Nice field work,” Pace commented as he looked at the surgical incision. “Clean cut and the barbs look to be completely intact.”
“She did that herself,” Brea informed him.
“She cut her own heel and extracted the barb?” He asked incredulously. “Amazing! We’ve got work to do. We’ll call you as soon as we have something to report.”
Tony and Brea reluctantly left Lexi in the care of Central Medical.
There may be typos...this is not a fully edited draft. Hope you enjoyed it."
Hugs & Prayers
Hugs & Prayers
Joined: 26 Jan 2009
|Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:31 am Post subject: Please Post Responses
|Ok, everyone. I know that this was a really long post, but you don't have to read every single word. Just read as much as you need to get a taste of my writing style then let Alb and I know what you think.
I know you are stopping in to look at the post...so please leave some feedback.
Thanks so much to all.
Hugs & Prayers
Joined: 17 Jul 2007
Location: Minestry of Truth-London
|Posted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:45 pm Post subject:
|*Crawls out of his cave*
Hello and welcome to -A-bits, things have died down quite a bit since the story ended *kinda* and there isn't much activity as you can see. Most of us still drop in from time to time to check things out etc.
I'll see if I can get in touch with any of the writers here, no promises though.
Nuclearbear, The breaker of forums and the Hitler of happiness
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