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Starting New Story -- Chapter 1 Revised

Robert Zwilling

Well-Known Member
Jun 12, 2018
I put the directly related info junk into actions, left out unneeded descriptions, that shortened it up.

Cycle walked briskly down the hallway of his apartment building towards the Seventh Story M-train station, located on the seventh floor. He got on the train which had just arrived, plenty of free seats to choose from, took one next to the door with a view of the entire car.

He was on his way back to Free Space, just as well, another twenty one day storm was approaching. Earth weather was horrible when it rained, people always died.

He looked at his wand, clicked on secure projector, read Lector’s message again. Someone was selling bad food out of Elevator City, the Justice Machines wanted a crew on line who weren’t known at the fabulous business center resort flying high through the skies.

Cycle popped out of the train car moments after it stopped, flew through the station’s doors and down the wide ancient marble tiled hallway stocked with offices of well connected businesses.

Heading for the Glass Walls Bar where all the food and drink was synthetic and safe. All the bar’s walls, floors, ceilings were made of glass fortified with space dust, stronger than steel, completely transparent.

Hitting the main room Cycle spotted his partner Lector, and Alfred, a good friend, sitting at a booth. Standing at the table was a burly man waving his arms at Lector and Alfred.

Brushing a waiter aside, Cycle walked over to the table, stood next to the rude man. “Hey Woolly, does your boss, Vicey Mars, know you got out of your cage?” Roaring with laughter, the large man turned to face him.

At that moment, Cycle saw the woman seated next to Alfred, her name was Sheely, and that meant there was another one of Greenie’s thugs somewhere in the background. Greenie’s crews were thorough, smart, always in control of the situation. What could they care about bad food. The job was spiraling out of control already. She winked at him.

Woolly was poking him hard in the collarbone, Woolly was that tall. “No one needs you or your friends at Emerald City, you got it,” Woolly was spitting words, solidly thumping Cycle’s chest.

Cycle looked down at Sheely who was shaking her head, a smile on her face, “Having troubles cowboy?”

“Tell your boss, I don’t like him playing games with my friends.” Cycle leaned forward and punched Woolly hard in the nose, whose head whipped back sharply. Out of nowhere one of Woolly’s cohorts popped into view, taking Cycle by surprise.

Before the newcomer could lay a finger on anyone, Sheely had flashed out from behind the table and laid low the newcomer. No one saw it happen. The miracle of lightning fast reflexes courtesy of Martian Maintenance Microbes. She sat down again.

Pulling the Weedy Lab natural fiber table cloth up to his nose, spilling the dishes onto the floor, he dabbed the blood away. “You shouldn’t a done that,” he mumbled. “Mr. Mars isn’t going to like your answer.”

“It’s just about food, I know bad food trafficking did your last boss in, but you got no right to tell us what we can or can’t do.” Cycle looked over at Sheely, “We don’t need your help either, so scram.”

“Just a social call, nothing more,” Sheely answered.
“I hope you don’t mind but I just don’t believe you,” Cycle replied.
“Just so long as it’s just food and you’re not dealing in ruby slippers, I’ll let your rudeness pass.”
“Yeah, right, goodbye.”

As Sheely got up, another woman materialized out of the booth next to them, walked out with Sheely. Woolly ripped off a square of the table cloth, held it to his nose, picked the man on the floor up by his jacket collar and walked off.

“How she’d know about ruby slippers?” Lector asked.
“I don’t know and I don’t care, we got Horaces backin us, she can go jump in a dry lake,” Cycle answered.

“They’re also backing Greenie’s outfit, don’t get caught in the middle,” Alfred said.

“Yeah, well, we work for the Justice Machines.”

“When we work, which ain’t often anymore, not since we got rich.” Lector laughed, “How come you want to do this bad food job?”

“We got to show somethin once in a while for those machines, just to keep our hands in the pot,” Cycle yawned. “We like the free ride we got, those shuttles don’t grow on trees.”

“Bet you could grow one on a, a Weedy Lab tree, they can grow anything on them,” Alfred snorted.

“Let’s order breakfast again, so we can get off this planet before the rain starts,” Cycle wiped the table top clean, tapped in his order. The others tapped in their orders. The waiter brought over a fresh table cloth. The food and drinks slid out of the wall onto the table, they grabbed their plates and started eating.

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Nov 10, 2008
nearly the New Forest
I found this much easier to read than the first version, but the non-standard punctuation and grammar once more caused me problems. Again I don't know if you are deliberately breaking the rules for effect, but it hinders my reading, and I really don't think you'd lose atmosphere if you reverted to standard usage. (If you're not sure what I mean by non-standard, just say and I'll nit-pick a couple of paras to pin-point some of the issues.)

This time round I also had problems with the relentless short sentences. Cumulatively, they created a rather frenetic sense of pace which might well be what you intended, but which I found unsettling in the extreme, and which made me give up before half-way through. Story-wise the same, it was all just one thing after another after another, with no pause or thought, and nothing that actually hooked me or made me want to read on.

Sorry. Still not one for me, but good luck with it.


Nov 10, 2018
I'd agree with the grammar issue. There seems to be a lot of unnecessary commas in there.

"your boss, Vicey Mars.." sounds very unnatural. I would reword this. He surely knows who his boss is.

Also, not sure about the idea of "space dust". Sounds a bit clichéd.

Personally, I'd echo the above comments. I'd say slow it down a bit and maybe pack in less action and go into a bit more depth to give us some idea of who these characters are and what they want. There's a lot of characters introduced here, do we need to be introduced to them all here?

I think you've done a good job of efficiently setting the scene in terms of location/physical setting/world but it needs to be filled with rounder characters.