Wednesday, 27 March 2013

I love writing

Very obvious statement I suppose saying ‘I like writing’, but it’s very true.  I am immensely enjoying writing.

The 2nd Draft of the 2nd Novel has been printed off and I am reviewing and editing all 86 pages.  Still a lot of scenes to fill in and fill out but definitely on the right track and more importantly, on schedule!

Likewise, big news this week is I have signed up with the author and readers website run by Harper & Collins publishers.  This website allows authors to upload their books, get them reviewed and if enough positive comments are passed on about the book, the editors at Harper & Collins may take an interest in it.  You never know.

So I’m going to make at least a few of the chapters of the first book available on Authonomy and if there is enough interest maybe the whole book depending.  You can only view the book on the authonomy website, not download or otherwise, so it should be ok.  We’ll see.

The book will of course still be available for purchase on Kindle.

I also have plans to make the book available on Kobo, Google Play and WHSmith but I need to investigate just how their own upload processes work.  This will happen sometime in May as I’m still tied in with Amazon Kindle till then.

Finally, as usual, a little short story for you all.  It’s another Infinity the game themed story, part based on the campaign we are running at the wargaming club.  For those familiar with the infinity background, this doesn’t tie in with the official background but was a nice little experiment in character interaction in a Sci-fi setting.  Hope you enjoy, even those who may not be familiar with the infinity background and setting.

Till next time.

* * * * *

The clear windowed doors of the plush high rise office slide open soundlessly, and Chandra Spec-Ops commander Jane Halliday marched in.  Clad in the full battle uniform of the Assault Sub Section, Jane looked out of place amongst the sickeningly peaceful setting.  Her sharp silver eyes told of a battle hardened warrior woman, her short blond hair pulled back in a ponytail and her face hawk like.  She had a bored disinterested expression already prepared.

Here we go.

“Jane!  How lovely to see you.” beamed Diane Kildra, standing up from behind her expansive office desk and walking round to meet her colleague. 

The two women could not have been more different.  Diane was dressed in a figure hugging light grey dress, trimmed in the traditional ALEPH purple.  It was designed to perfectly emphasis her curvaous figure, in stark contrast to the angular battle armour Jane was clad in.  She had high cheek bones, a wide friendly (if false) grin and bright, captivating blue eyes.  Her face was framed by short brown hair, and her long eyelashes and expertly applied eye-liner spoke of a woman used to being obeyed without question and swooned over without argument.

Jane rolled her eyes.  “I see you’ve gained a few pounds since last we met.”

Diane stopped mid stride.  She burst into laughter. 
“We are witty today.” She said, rolling her own eyes in mock annoyance.  The remark, after all, referred to an impossible situation.  Both of them were installed into the latest L-hosts; the very best synthetic bodies ALEPH could provide.  Diane was crafted within the most advanced civilian diplomatic model, built as the perfect unit to conduct business with; particularly for men.  Jane, meanwhile, was in the female variant of the special operations combat L-host.  Immensely strong, formidably well engineered and battle tested in a dozen different war-zones.  One to kill, the other to captivate; two different styles of warfare, at least as far as ALEPH was concerned.

“I’m in the mood.” Jane remarked.  “At least for now.  That is unless the reason you’ve brought me here turns out to be another one of your pointless little face-to-face visits.  In which case, I fear, my mood will darken.”
Diane pouted.  “Touché.” she remarked, spinning on her heel and swaying her hips as she returned to her table.
Hasn’t she ever heard of jeans and T-shirt? Thought Jane inwardly
“I would offer you a seat but you never accept one.” Diane said over her shoulder
“Yeah, I’m that kind of girl.”

Jane approached the table, allowing Diane to activate the holo-imager attached to it.
“What do you want Diane?”
“Patience Jane, patience.” From a desk drawer Diane retrieved a small paper packet.  From the plain none-descript packet she retrieved a cigarette.
“You don’t mind?” she asked Jane.  Jane raised an eyebrow.
“Is there really any point?”

Dianne shrugged, lighting the cigarette with a small golden lighter she had taken from the same drawer.
“It’s a good question.” She took a puff, letting the smoke waft from her mouth and nostrils.  “The tobacco and nicotine don’t affect my synthetic body in the slightest.  The various chemicals in this pointless smoke stick are completely nullified by my built-in scrubber and detoxification systems.  I can neither taste nor smell the smoke, and neither can you, as your automatic systems phase out the horrible chemical taste.”
She regarded the cigarette for a moment, before taking another puff.
“And yet…”

“You know I can come back if you and the cigarette need a moment alone.” Said Jane, deadpan.
Diane smiled without looking up.
“Actually, it illustrates a point rather well.”
She turned toward Jane, the smile on her face now changed; to one that suggested that at last, she was getting to her point.
“Mankind, indeed woman kind, has a terrible tendency to continue doing things that are either bad for them or pointless.  Or both.  Take for example our current situation on Paradiso.”
She waved a hand at the holo-imager.  The gesture recognition systems activated, uploading and displaying the pre-programmed video holographic replays.  Suddenly across the front of the table various security camera video feeds appeared, suspended in mid-air as if by invisible threads.  Visions of war played out in front of Jane.

“They’ve been busy then.” Remarked Jane, her built-in comlog already downloading the video sequences and attached intelligence notes for later analysis.
“Indeed.  That’s why you’re here.”
“In-fighting isn’t something new.”
“The reason for this in-fighting is.” Said Diane, her expression now much more serious as she set the cigarette in an ash tray that had rose up from the innards of the table, and started to pace.

“Let me tell you a tale.” She said next, clasping her hands behind her, tone now businesslike.  “Approximately a week ago an unknown data source was detected by several of our allies, originating within the Combined Armies zone of control.  Being the good little co-operators that they are, they immediately scrambled a variety of emergency retrieval teams.  Characteristically they then set upon each other like ravenous dogs.  At the various detected data sites, they tore each other apart in order to acquire the data source for themselves.  Some succeeded, some did not.” 

She turned on her heel, retracing her steps as she continued.  Jane tracked her movements.

“The data source lead to another site not far away.  Once again, retrieval teams descended, proceeded to kill each other and eventually, it was the Yu Jing who acquired something very valuable.”

She gestured to one of the replaying videos.  It grew in size and sharpness before stopping, magnifying on a Yu Jing Hackers data sleeve.  The enhanced holographic image focused and sharpened on what looked like a holographic representation of an organic, pillar like structure projecting from the hacker’s comlog.

“Cosmolite.  So far, so usual-business.”
“Yes, we thought the same.  But then we realised…this ones transmitting.”
Jane frowned.
“Go on.”
Diane, relishing her story telling, did just that.
“Unfortunately for the Yu Jing, the Old Man of the Mountain got wind of their little discovery.  He beat them too it and acquired, as far as we can tell, some kind of alien black box.  Even after a carefully executed ambush, the Japanese did not retrieve the alien artefact and the Bahram assassins escaped with it.”

Diane gestured to the display again.  A new video emerged from the background gaggle, melting through the first.  This one showed what appeared to be the inside of a building and Ariadna forces moving stealthy through the corridors.

“Our story gets better.  The Nomads retrieved vital data on the alien artefact even if they could not acquire it directly.  Two of their research sites on Paradiso, which happened to house the information, then suffered almost simultaneous biological alerts.  During one of those biological alerts, Ariadna and Pan Oceania forces infiltrated the research positions.  They acquired a great deal data.”
Diane chuckled for a moment.
“As well as providing me great amusement.”
Jane turned her frown toward Diane.
“I’m serious, watch the feedback.  Never have I seen a Black Ops operation turn into a comedy show so quickly.  I recommend watching the scene where the Pan Oceania hacker meets the Ariadnian Chasseur.  The two of them just don’t know what to do.”
Jane’s deadpan expression did not change.
“Anyway.” Continued Diane, taking the hint.  “The second infiltration will be of greater interest to you.”

By her command, the display now showed another video playback.  In holographic detail, it showed Nomad forces exchanging fire with figures in the distance.  A zoom in on a stilled image and a quick enhance…and the identity of the figures was suddenly apparent.
“Tohaa.” Growled Jane, crossing her arms.  “I thought first contact had not been officially confirmed with them?”
“It hasn’t.” said Diane, freeze framing the image of a Tohaa soldier in mid firing position.  “They shouldn’t be on Paradiso.  And they certainly shouldn’t be attacking their allies.”

Diane flicked her wrist and the display melted away before the two women.  At the same time, Jane’s comlog chimed internally, indicating that her download of the intelligence data was complete.
“Command wants you on standby, 24 hour notice.”
“For what?” queried Jane, eyeing her colleague
“For war, if necessary.  It has been decided that whatever that alien tech is, it is not to be left in the hands of one human faction or another.  And certainly not in the hands of the Tohaa.”
“When you say alien, you mean this tech is neither Combined Army nor Tohaa?”
“Yes, that is our assumption.” Confirmed Diane, taking a seat again and reaching for her still smouldering cigarette.  “Combined army have tried to retrieve the data and artefacts without successful.  Likewise, the Tohaa attack on the Nomad research station indicates that they, too, want that technology.  This is alien in the truest use of word.  Alien tech being pursued by other Aliens, as well as us.”
“I’ll assemble a team.” Acknowledged Jane, activating her comlog.  In her background vision, various veteran Assault section personnel profiles floated, ready for analysis.
“It’ll be rapid deployment on short notice I take it?”
“Yes.  Be ready Jane.”

With a curt nod Jane turned and strode from the office. 
“Diane.” She said over her shoulder as she entered the buildings lift.
Jane turned just inside the lift doors, the barest hint of a smirk on her features.  She paused for effect.
“Purples not your colour.”
The lift doors shut, just as Diane was opening her mouth.  She made a face as she flicked ash from her cigarette.
“I hate it when a Chandra grows a sense of humour.” She muttered to herself.

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