Monday, January 28, 2013

Talkin' Heads #22

TITLE: Doomsday's Wake
GENRE: Science Fiction

Dylan and Kat go way back, and now she's been shot in an alien wilderness. She's fallen, he has to get her to safety before more bad guys show up, and it's definitely that kind of day.

He knelt and cradled her face between his filthy, gritty hands, pushing her eyelids up with his thumbs.

“I didn't know you loved me,” she sassed.

He would always love her, but it wouldn't do answering sarcasm. As he turned her head back and to the side, first one way, then the other, her pupils reacted to the sunlight. That didn't mean much, though, and with her implants fried, there was no telling what condition her insides were in. He released her and started looking over her injuries.

“Name?” he asked.

“Katerina Duncan,” she said, rolling the “r” in proper Russian form, “but those who want to live call me—”


“Civilian you dumb-ass. What's wrong with you?”

“You may not remember this, but you just fell off a mountain. Head trauma's a common complication.”

“I feel fine. Well no, I feel like s***. What do you mean, I fell off a mountain?”

“Technically, I dropped you. Are you going to throw up?”

“Not if you don't tell any jokes. Are you—you dropped me?”

“You fell and hit your head. A sniper was shooting at you. I dropped you so you'd be safe. What's pi?”

“You dropped me so I'd…what?”

“What is pi?”

“Apple or—”


She looked at him for a moment. “3.14159…265. The mean gravitation on this planet is 9.76 meters per second squared. I measured it on my way down. Avogadro’s number is 6.022 times ten—”

“That'll do.”


  1. Wow. This exchange pulled me right in. The only criticism I might have, in the spirit of feedback, is that she seemed a little too perky to be hurt. Perhaps, if her early comments are more sluggish then she is full throttle by the time she gets to pi...the contrast would be effective and more believable, imho.

  2. Adored this! Agree with previous comments. I didn't like the "sassed" right at the beginning. Maybe she should have mumbled or slurred it.

    Really got the chemistry between the two.

  3. Good eye. Actually, this isn't the beginning of their exchange. She starts out a line or two earlier, "groggily". I'll read through it again with that angle in mind though.

  4. I really like this too. I agree with the two previous commenters and can only add I had trouble with Dylan moving Kat's head around. Speaking as someone with a backcountry first aid license, the last thing you want to do in a situation like this is manipulate the spine. Of course, there may be a reason in this story why that wouldn't be an issue...

  5. Great exchange, their banter pulled me right in and I loved her response to pi.

    Keep it up.

  6. This was fun and I was totally sucked in. Loved the pi exchange!
    Apple or?
    Totally grinning. :)

  7. Very good dialog. But despite what you see in Star Trek, you don't grab an injured person's head and turn it side to side. Covering a person's eye with a hand, then removing it, is a better way of checking the pupils.

  8. Loved this. Agree with what everyone else said above. Great banter, character shows for both, their relationship feels realistic.

    I'm trying to find something more to add to what's already been said, but really there's only a small thing: Why do you repeat the phrase "Are you -" ? I don't think you need to.

    Nice work!

  9. Great energy in this passage. The dialogue is sharp, believable, and conveys a clear sense of the characters' personalities.

    The only tiny stumble I had was the phrase "it wouldn't do answering sarcasm." Why not? Does Kat's sarcasm always bug Dylan, does he just think it's inappropriate to their current situation, or is there a bigger reason -- maybe sarcasm is taboo in their society? I would like a few words to clarify.

  10. Fun read-- ery fun. I didn't get bogged down in the head moving part. Since this is science fiction, they may not be human and their biology could function differently. This pulled me right in. again, fun.

  11. Thank danika, the "Are You--" was a typo. Just goes to show, there is no substitute for a fresh pair of eyes. THANK YOU ALL.

  12. I liked this. I could definitely feel the chemistry between the two characters and got a sense of the world without anything seeming out of place. This short passage definitely made me want to read more. Good job and good luck with this one.