Saturday, 11 June 2016

Writing game

Our writing group had an interesting writing game last month. We had to pick the following: -
  1. A scientific theme
  2. A prop
  3. A line of dialogue
The three that I got assigned (randomly), were: -
  1. Scientific Theme: Digital Preservation
  2. Prop: A walking stick
  3. Dialogue: "You fool, you've doomed us all!"
So, we had twenty minutes to come up with something. This extract is a little piece from an idea I have for a space-based science fiction story...

An Unexpected Find

"How long have we got?" asked Sam. His first time as an ARC agent had not started so well. Three teams, all spread across the largest continent of this unmapped, seemingly desolate planet, and now it turns out they've hit the mother-load.

"Ninety three minutes, sir," replied Ensign Grant, her face illuminated only by her mission tab, a holographic computer that projected a hard-light interface into the air in front of the user, allowing them full size access to the Arc ship's database and logging tools.

The pair stood in a giant metal cavern that shouldn't have existed. It showed all the hallmarks of being machined, engineered, constructed, but so far they hadn't found any evidence of a civilisation that could have created it.

They moved further in, their boots ringing out on what sounded like hollow metal on the floor, lending even more credence to the notion that they were somewhere that had been deliberately created. All around them, the darkness crept back, following their lights, nipping at their heels, daring them to look around and find themselves back where they started.

After another three minutes of walking, Ensign Grant held up her hand. "Sir, energy signature fifty feet ahead of us."

"Copy that," said Sam, and he drew his own scanner from its hip-slung holster. As they got closer, the air seemed colder, wetter, and a soft wind seemed to breathe past them.

"This gives me the creeps," said Grant.
"Yeah, me too," replied Sam. "What about a flare, we could at least see where we're going a bit easier."

Ensign Grant selected a holoflare from the mission tab, and directed it upwards and out at a sixty degree angle. "Ready when you are, sir."
"Fire," said Sam.

The flare shot up, a glimmering stream of photons, a digital firework that shone brilliantly for a few seconds, showing the pair the scale and grandeur of the bizarre metal vault. High curved ceilings seemingly carved out of a single solid piece of metal loomed overhead, while in front of them, a three headed statue of... something, sat on a giant throne, its three-fingered hands clutching what looked like an ornate walking stick.

"What the hell is that?" Ensign Grant craned her head back trying to take in the full scale of the vault and statue.

"Start logging everything, we'll have to get a digitising team down here inside of half an hour. They'll never be able to preserve all of this in time."

"Ninety-one minutes, sir, surely we can stretch it?"

"No," Sam uttered the word too harshly, and he saw the shock on Grant's face. "Just no. We can't cut it fine again, not after last time."

"But sir this is our mission, preservation..."

"Ensign. Listen to me. In ninety minutes the star this planet orbits will explode and become the brightest thing in the universe. We have to be gone before that happens."

"Okay, I get it."

"No, you don't." Sam produced his comm unit from his back pocket, and selected an audio recording from the archive. "This is what will happen if we stay."  

He played the clip. The screams were awful, pained, terrifying, as if the people knew suddenly that there was no way they could ever get away in time, no way they could live. The last piece of the clip was Captain Jensen, with what sounded like a punctured lung, wheezing. "Run you fool! You've doomed us all."

© Craig Romans 2016

So, give it go yourselves: a scientific theme, a prop, and a line of dialogue. And only twenty minutes.

Happy writing!