Mix of Fantasy and Sci-Fi

night_wrtr

Non-human Protagonist
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Apr 18, 2017
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338
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#1
I have been working on a short recently that is taking me out of my comfort zone. I am much more comfortable with swords and battles, but decided to try some futuristic fantasy with guns and cyborgs. Set something in the near future on an alternate earth.

I am open to any and all feedback, but I am mostly concerned if the story flows well and keeps your interest. Also, does this opening give you a good idea about what the story is about?

****

The alert beacon on Dost’s forearm vibrated in short bursts. He forgot to remove his comms sleeve before falling asleep in the truck. To his credit it had been a long shift. He grimaced as the seat clicked upright, putting stress on the bruise in his ribs where a poacher’s bullet struck a few hours earlier.

He tapped the open mic control on his sleeve. “Kent,” he yawned, “what's the problem?”

Silence.

“Kent, why is the alert on?”

He rubbed his throbbing temples a moment before pressing the truck’s display. 3:18a.m. Less than an hour of sleep. He smacked the steering wheel and pressed the ignition button. The truck roared to life, and he backed out of the garage into the darkness of a far too early morning.

He pressed the comms for Saanna and was answered with static. “Where the hell is everyone?”

Dost arrived at the command bunker and skidded to a halt by the front door. He was tired, hungry and in pain. He was in no mood for this sh*t. Thick vegetation clung to the bunker’s walls and roof, allowing it to blend perfectly into the forest. Useful, when trying to stay hidden from the Olzobeast. The last thing they needed was for the monster to come knocking on their door with its tree sized limbs.

He lifted the hanging vines blocking the door and reached for the handle. He stopped short. The door was dented at the lock and wasn't completely shut. The grip of sleepiness let go of him then, goose bumps tickling his flesh.

Footsteps behind him, coming fast. Faster than he could spin around. A sharp crack hit the back of his skull and knocked him into the heavy steel door.

Pain erupted, surging down his neck and spine. Two men in camouflage grabbed him by the arms and dragged him inside.

Thankfully numbness took a bite of the pain, allowing him to focus on the room before him. It wasn't good. The two holding him down to his knees were dressed in Special Forces gear. Commando boots, green camo tactical pants and bulletproof vest. Each wore a mask with wide polarized visors. They would be hi-tech, capable of rendering night into daylight and set up with data screens on the inside that could give the wearer all the information they could want. Right down to someone's heart rate and mood.

He knew the type well. He had been one of them, but why were soldiers from the Empire of Nations on their reserve?

A third soldier had his helmet off, frowning at Dost while he held Saana at gunpoint. Kent lay on the floor, unmoving. No sign of blood, but he was clearly unconscious.

“Is this the one from the radio?” The gunman said.

“He came from the barracks,” the soldier to his left said.

“Just kill them and get me out of here.” Lucien, the poacher, stood at the door of the holding cell, forehead pressed to the bars, an eager expression on his face. No, not just a poacher. Dost’s mind worked to connect the pieces.

Dost studied the gun bearer’s movement. A slight nod, nearly indistinguishable. Shoulders dropped, a turn of the left foot, a shift in balance.

He was going to shoot. Saanna first, then him. As the gunman turned his head back around, Dost raised his right hand and grabbed the only exposed flesh the soldier had. The wrist, between shirt and glove. It was a soft touch between index and thumb, but it was quick and unnoticeable to the others in the room.

As soon as their skin touched, Dost surged, forcing a push of commands to the soldier’s brain. The soldier became sluggish. He tried to reach for the gun holstered at his side with his free hand, but then slowly relaxed, his mind unable to fight off Dost’s control. Dost was out of practice, but he held on, sending a second more powerful surge.

“Nothing personal,” the gunman said. “We don't leave witnesses.”

“Please,” Saanna said. “You don't have to kill us. Lock us in the cell, we could-”

The gun fired with a silenced pop. Blood spattered across Saanna’s face as the gunman fell from the wound in his neck.

“What the-” The soldier to his left gasped, releasing Dost as he reached for his own weapon. The soldier to his right looked down at the fired gun in his hand, shock and horror on his face. Dost let the surge go, grabbing the soldier’s arm and twisted, wrenching the pistol free.

Dost fired twice, knocking the soldier backward and down to the ground in a heap. The other man had recovered, slamming his fist into Dost’s jaw. Pain exploded as he fell onto the concrete floor, nearly blinded by the much bigger man’s punch. The soldier yanked the pistol out of Dost’s hand.

“What did you do!?” He said. “You made me…I-” He looked at the two bodies and screamed in rage. He pointed the gun at Dost. The shot came from the far end of the room. The bullet struck the soldier’s vest. The second hit his arm, the third through his visor. He crumbled to the ground, dead.

Saanna held the gun in trembling hands. He knew she'd never killed anyone until now. She was a Park Ranger, not a soldier. He raised his hands and walked forward. “Saanna?” She stared at the soldier lying on the ground. She broke her gaze and looked at him.

She came back to the moment, remembering Kent and rushed to his side. “He’s alive,” she said a moment later. Grabbing a med kit from the nearby wall, she flipped the latches and started to pull the first aid kit apart.

Dost checked the bodies one at a time, careful to keep out of reach. If any had been cyborgs, they would be much harder to kill. He relaxed. They were all dead. He accessed his chip enhanced memory and replayed the scene, looking for as much detail as he could, then he heard the sobs from inside the cell. Lucien, the poacher.

“Start talking,” he said stepping toward the cell.

The poacher trembled. “I'll die in a cell just like this. They promised me I'd go free!”

“Who?”

“No,” Lucien said to himself. “No, they’ll realize some are missing. They’ll come. I'll be fine. I’m fine.” The man smiled then, grabbing the bars and bearing his teeth. “You might have bought yourselves time, but they will come. And when they do, you will be dead.” The poacher laughed and leaned in. “Your creature is likely dead by now. They won't leave survivors. No witnesses.”

“You were the decoy.” He glanced at the dead soldiers. Without a thought, Dost felt a surge tickle his fingertips. His hair stood on end and the powerful flow of energy made his hands shake. He took a step toward the cell and lunged forward, grabbing the poacher by the hair.

The sudden movement caught him by surprise and the man yelped. He forced the energy through his fingers and into Lucien’s head. The poacher’s struggling grunts turned to screams as Dost bored into his mind, digging out memories to sift through. He needed answers, and wasn’t afraid of cutting this man’s mind up to find them.
 
Last edited:
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#2
I am open to any and all feedback, but I am mostly concerned if the story flows well and keeps your interest. Also, does this opening give you a good idea about what the story is about?
I've read the piece twice, but I'm afraid I'm not sure I follow the story yet. I think it's interesting, but in my opinion, the writing needs some attention for it to flow. In the first half, there are an awful lot of "He..." and the action scene comes across as a bit stilted.
 

tinkerdan

candycane shrimp
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#3
After reading it several times; I decided that I like what's going on, though I had trouble with a few things.

He pressed the comms for Saanna and was answered with static. “Where the hell is everyone?”

Dost arrived at the command bunker and skidded to a halt by the front door. He was tired, hungry and in pain. He was in no mood for this sh*t. Thick vegetation clung to the bunker’s walls and roof, allowing it to blend perfectly into the forest. Useful, when trying to stay hidden from the Olzobeast. The last thing they needed was for the monster to come knocking on their door with its tree sized limbs.
In this part here, I think, that from Where the hell is everyone to the next paragraph is a bit more distance than it is on paper. Usually it can work--perhaps with a bit of extra space between paragraphs to show a scene change.

I read this a number of times trying to figure out what and why he moved the truck and then was suddenly on the ground arrived at the command bunker.

Maybe the space would help; however you might consider putting in another line such as.
At this rate he'll reach the bunker before he gets answers.

That way I won't be confused thinking he's at the bunker already and then again ask why he had to move the truck.

Did I mention I get confused easy?

This next paragraph highlights something you do that to me is again confusing.
The sudden movement caught him by surprise and the man yelped. He forced the energy through his fingers and into Lucien’s head. The poacher’s struggling grunts turned to screams as Dost bored into his mind, digging out memories to sift through. He needed answers, and wasn’t afraid of cutting this man’s mind up to find them.
The way the first sentence starts confuses me about who is doing what to whom.

Might help if you:
Dost's sudden movement caught the man by surprise and he yelped.

Unless it was really the mans sudden movement that caught Dost by surprise.

Otherwise I can sort through Poacher, Man and Lucien for the varied nouns of the one character.

I'm sure it could be more confusing, however it caused me to read that line several times and several ways.
 

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
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#4
I could follow what was going on, but particularly towards the end there are a lot of instances where I found it confusing -- I think you need to use names a good bit more to make clear who is doing what to whom. I'd also suggest giving at least one of the baddies a name to help avoid confusion.

Re your specific questions:
  • story flows well? To be brutally honest, no, not for me. It felt very jerky, with no smooth linking between actions, and on several occasions I had to stop and work out what was happening, as it felt like I'd missed something.
  • keeps your interest? Yes and no. I was very interested in the end when he exhibits his mental abilities, and the last para was very intriguing. The beginning was less gripping to my mind, and I struggled with it. Partly that was due to not knowing who/what/where and having too few clues to form any ideas and partly because there were for me far too many grammatical, tense and word use errors which always drags me out of a story. If no one else does a nit-pick I'll try and find time to go through the opening paras at the weekend to show you what I mean.
  • does this opening give you a good idea about what the story is about? What I've picked up is Dost and his two colleagues are conservation/game wardens protecting/studying this Ozlobeast, but the military want the beast killed and have used the poacher as a distraction, so they're not caught. That right? What the story is actually about in larger terms, though, I've no idea.
Overall, yes, it was interesting and I'd like to know more about Dost and who he is/what powers he has, but to my mind it needs to read a lot more smoothly, and the actual prose needs some work. But it's a useful first draft on which you can build.
 
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night_wrtr

Non-human Protagonist
Joined
Apr 18, 2017
Messages
338
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#5
Thanks guys. That is exactly what I need to know. My focus right now is going to be put into making my writing a lot smoother as it needs some help.

You make good points on the confusion level and it’s apparent after being pointed out. @The Judge , I’d rather get the honest opinions! :) And yes, your summary is what I wanted to show at this point. The plot thickens later.
 

The Big Peat

Darth Buddha
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
1,815
#6
The story trips up on the level of explanation in there. I'm not sure how much of it is needed - and whether it wouldn't be better to kick it together in a neat little paragraph. For instance, I don't need to know about the commandos' helmets, and I'm not sure I need to know he forgot to remove the comm sleeve, or about the Olzobeast yet.

I am interested though. The opening scenario is an interesting and clear one, although I do have one quibble which is -

Surely a former soldier's first reaction on getting an alert that no one's answering is to assume the excrement has well and truly hit the rotary oscillator?
 

Shorewalker

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Oct 25, 2017
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#7
I liked the idea and I liked the set-up...intriguing and worth reading on. Dost is somebody who interests me and there's enough to want to dig deeper.

However...and you knew there'd be an however...this didn't flow as well as it could. Some bits are too much information and others, I didn't feel as though I had enough and the action was cluttered.

That's all fixable, though, and I'd suggest a rigerous edit, simply to get a flow going. This is certainly worth persevering with.
 

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