Thanks, Cheez! It's the little things that count.
Anyway, here's the first two chapters of my story, Flare.
They've been heavily edited, but they still suck, so I'd greatly appreciate any help you guys can give!
Welcome to the Galaxy.
This is space. Mostly it is nothing more than a vast, unending emptiness, spreading out in all directions, an empty, weightless wasteland. But in other places, Life thrives. A million stories could be told, at any second. some so fast, they would hardly dignify a sentence. Some so large, that all the time in the universe would not be enough to adequately describe them. What follows is a tale of one galaxy, one universe, one system A small planet with a population of sentient beings, known in but one of their many languages as 'humans', are one of the many inhabitants of this system. They call it, in their own tongue, 'The Milky Way'.
One of this 'human' kind's greatest dreams since primitive beings looked up at the night sky, space travel, has been fulfilled. Now, metallic monstrosities, starships, regularly move from planet to planet, using the Earth as their hub. Naturally, people looked even higher, from leaving the boundaries of the little blue sphere they called home, to building massive, self-contained cities on other planets and colonizing. These magnificent colonies have been built within the star system, and human science is making grand new advances seemingly every day.
Explore as they might, humankind haven’t discovered alien life, but they are confident that technology they have invented may eventually discover traces of it. Until that day arrives, however, humans have been doing their daily business as normal,and been moving on with their lives and routines as they always have.
For all of their technology and advancement, they are still a frail, superstitious, and self absorbed species, and so the grandeur and splendor of the universe is rather lost on them, as they simply live their lives.
Until, in the year 2216, when a chain of events came crashing down on these people, and shattered those lives.
This 'human race' has a long and magnificent history, filled with grand discoveries, first contacts, unimaginable technology, and among the most savage and barbaric wars ever to be seen in the universe. There are, among these, many things that humanity would like to forget, and erase from the past. Oftentimes, as the years move on, these events fade into obscurity, known only by the most dedicated of scholars.
But, this is not always the case.
This is a tale of warning, of adventure, of terror and fear, and of human nature.
It is a story of what happens when the past comes back to haunt us.
Let us follow the life of a young citizen of one of the aforementioned colonies, one man, Kale Andare.
Kale stood on the walkway over one of the massive, multicolored gardens. The leaves and fronds spread out for miles beneath him, stretching beyond his vision. Gardens, which grew almost all of the food for his colony. For, you see, Kale lived and worked on the planet Mars.
The red planet had been finally conquered by mankind, and they built massive, domed shaped colonies across the red, harsh landscape. The human population had been growing hugely ever since, because of the growing housing problems on earth, the comfortable living in the colonies, and the plentiful job opportunities provided to their citizens. Kale had come to the planet over ten years ago, a young immigrant with his family, from that overpopulated, unyielding urban sprawl they called Earth. He had come to Mars, to his current home, seeking his fame and fortune. After deciding that maybe this lofty goal was a little out of his league, he eventually settled for a job as a police officer in the colony of Arisea, one of the largest colonies on the planet, with a population well over one billion.
Kale was a well-meaning, quiet young man, with pale blond hair and a slightly shaggy goatee, and went about his job in a relative calm. He walked the streets of Arisea nightly, keeping the peace in his own, quiet way.
He was on guard duty on this day, on late watch over the sprawling gardens, and enjoyed his time as he watched the white suited workers tending the beautiful plants. The colony, being almost entirely self-sufficient, grew millions of plants and vegetation in the huge plantations, some of which were for consumption, some for medicine, and others just for the natural beauty that Mars and it's sandy surface was so devoid of. The buildings of the city rose around Kale, their gigantic, gleaming bulk towering over him as He scratched in his uniform of a blue shirt, black vest with the letters A.P.D. emblazoned on the front, with some over-starched black pants and a slightly smudged badge on his lapel. He scratched somewhat more, both admiring the view and wondering if the local dry cleaners were doing such a thorough job with the starch just to spite him.
Kale’s uneventful, quiet shift ended a few hours later, with only a minor incident involving a worker losing control of a small cargo truck and plowing through a field of cabbage. It could have been a lot worse, thought Kale as he wrote up his report. A few weeks back, he remembered, a series of solar flares had started up. This made travel off of the planet nearly impossible, and also torched most of the communication satellites in orbit around mars. People had been getting more and more tense as the colonies remained cut off from Earth and off planet transportation, and crime had been on the rise.But, thought Kale, you wouldn't know in this part of the city, thanks to him and his fellow officers. He finished writing up his report, and started the short walk back to his apartment, observing the sights. He took his time walking back towards his home, greeting the people he knew in his neighborhood, and watching the ones he didn’t. He tuned his police cap's built in radio to a local music station, and let himself slip off into a relaxed mood as he passed by the towering glass and gleaming metal buildings lining the streets, like trees in a very organized forest.
After a short stop at a local cheap takeout for a snack of some crunchy, slightly soggy rolls, he stood at the door of Galactic Apartments, which was one of the cheapest and corniest named chains on the planet. But he liked the price, and his room was perfect for him. He took the stairs up to the top floor, greeted a few of his neighbors, whose names he could never quite recall, in the hall, and entered into his small room. He greeted his only roommate, large brown mutt named Bandit, with a scratch behind his floppy ears and a tired 'good boy', and went into his small bedroom. He threw his policeman's peaked cap onto his bed, changed into his red nightshirt and some soft pants, and lay down on his small bed, looking up at the white, smooth roof of his apartment. He flicked a switch on the nearby wall, and the whole roof started to almost magically change. A set of black and white tiles at the top slid aside, revealing a beautiful view of the stars and black sky.
“Wow.” he breathed, marveling at the sight. It never ceased to amaze him after a long shift. “It gets more and more beautiful every day.”.
Not that I care, sometimes, he thought.
after a few minutes of quietly gazing and contemplating his day, the events of the week, and the neighborhood, he got up, had a nice warm shower, watched a popular comedy on his little flat screened television, and walked back, tired, to his bed. He lay down onto the soft sheets, flicked off the lights, and with bandit curled up beside him in a warm ball, soon drifted off into a peaceful, dreamless sleep.
Kale awoke the next morning from his slumber to the obnoxious beeping of his little alarm clock. He stopped the beeping annoyance, and slowly got up. He sighed, his recognition of a new day, threw off his soft, warm sheets, and showered. After a short trip out of his room, he turned on the news channel as he ate a fresh, hot pastry he had picked up from a Vendi-Fresh machine in the hall.
He heard the familiar, droning tones of the news anchor, continuing a report Kale had already missed most of. “…and scientists still aren’t sure as to what is causing those signal disturbances between us and Earth. They are saying that the effect is a lot like that of a solar flare, only much, much larger and longer. As you've probably seen and observed, it has knocked out most of our satellites, and ships are staying grounded. We currently have no method of communication with earth, but our experts say that it can’t last too much longer.”
Kale groaned at this. He leaned back in his chair, swallowing the chewed remains of his breakfast.Way to make everybody less tense, news guys. Remind them of what they're missing at every turn. The flares were still a major problem, he knew, but they usually didn’t last this long. They were also supposed to be predictable, he knew, so why weren’t they warned about it?
He shut off the screen as it went into a report about a meteorite landing in the southern city, undetected because the array designed to do so had been fried by the flares.Worrying about things which he had no control over was a futile excersize, at best. He had to get ready for work, regardless of the flares.
He walked slowly and groggily into his washroom, and looked at himself in the small, smudged mirror.
He looked pretty haggard, he thought, his blue eyes half-closed, his short hair and goatee in a mess, and he still had that nasty scratch from when the ratchety elevator in the hall malfunctioned and slammed him face first into the ceiling. Twice. He winced at the recollection, and got back to work. He contained his tangle of hair in his cap, tucked his black, electrically tipped baton into its holster on his side, got into his uniform, still starched within an inch of it’s life, and stepped out into the hall. He enjoyed the moment for a second. the starch seemed to have worn off, for the most part. It was a new day, and he could go see his friends back at the station, now. Maybe catch a movie later, maybe see Julie.....
Suddenly, his cap’s built-in police radio sent out a blare of life, startling him into leaping back into a wall. It shouted:
“all units in area B-43, please report to 1859 Jenkins’ residence, we have reports of an accident at the scene, and need clarification.”
Kale broke into a run down the hall, hardly even thinking as he did. He was operating almost solely on his instincts as his thoughts arrived back on track. He was in the area in question, and he had no doubts he'd be the first at the scene. Whatever it was, it didn't sound too serious.
You never know, though, he thought grimly. It was part of a cop's life. always be prepared, no matter what it could be. He ran down the stairs, not trusting the elevator, and sprinted through the crowded, sparsely decorated lobby, much to the annoyance of a group of tattooed teenagers in the doorway. “Scuse me, sorry, police business. Sorry”
The automatic door opened, and kale ran out into the white, smooth streets, towards the Jenkins’ residence. It was just a block over, and soon he stood at the scene, eying the large, grey house. He was the only officer there so far, and, to his relief, the Jenkins’ family stood outside the house, all evidently unharmed.
“Officer Andare! There you are!” wheezed Patrick Jenkins, an elderly man with a potbelly and little hair gracing his gleaming scalp. “You have to come quickly! I-it’s in the living room!” and with that, before Kale could ask him what was wrong, he ran back into the house, Kale following him. The living room was a wreck, Furniture flung around the room, and with the wall between it and the kitchen demolished by a huge, shiny stone, a meteorite, at least a meter wide and long. It glowed red hot from it’s entry through the dome, and later, the Jenkins’ roof. Kale was stunned. "Is that a meteorite?". The little man beside him groaned, and responded sarcastically "Of course not. it's my new coffee table. Of course it's a meteorite!". Kale gave Patrick a glare, and responded "I am an officer of the law, Jenkins. I was just expressing surprise at the large, glowing rock in your kitchen. There's no call to be rude."
Mr. Jenkins sighed, and rubbed his forehead. "I know, Andare, and I apologize. It's just, you know, with the flares up and everything, and my family kind of being delayed from our yearly vacation to New York on Earth, things have been kind of tense here." Kale nodded, he knew how the man felt. People had been fairly tense and a bit belligerent since the start of the flaring, and seemed to be getting more so by the day. But enough of that, thought Kale as he glanced up at the colony's vast 'roof', to check for damage, but the emergency airlock system already had the hole sealed with thick metal plates, and a vahicle with 'MAINTENANCE' was fast approaching from the east. besides the surprisingly un-damaging rock, there didn’t appear to be any other problems. Kale turned to Mr. Jenkins, who stood there looking worried, and cleared his throat.
“Pat, this is certainly an amazing thing, but I can’t really do anything about it. I’ll call in some techs to take it away, and you get your insurance checked out. I’ll write out my report, but I’m already late for reporting into the station.” Mr. Jenkins gave a look of horror, possibly concerning the part about insurance. He bid Kale goodbye, and wandered back out to talk with his family.
Kale walked out, flagged down the nearest yellow taxi, and told the man inside to get him to the local station as fast as possible. A few minutes later, Kale stood outside The massive marble building, still shaking from the lightning quick, terrifying ride, remembering to always end any request of the sort with 'as legal' than 'as possible'. He shook it off, and wrote out a quick speeding ticket to the irate cabbie before reporting in.