Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Drop the Needle: Death #28

TITLE: A hell like any other
GENRE: Scifi

Ends a patrol plot arc, starts a survival one.

Topping the rise Gideon lurched to a stop, taken aback by the scene before him. Supply buildings sat torn and melted, their broken contents littering the area. The barracks nothing but a blackened shell. Flames still rolled through great gashes in the sides of the command center. Broken vehicles littered the landscape.

Then there were the bodies.

Dozens of torn insectile bodies formed ragged lines from the shattered ring of bunkers that had once encircled the base all the way back to the ruins of the burning command center. Scattered here and there amongst them armored figures of his comrades in arms lay forever motionless, weapons still close at hand.

His eyes grew sharp as his mind took in what remained of the base. With a trained eye he followed the flow of the battle that had been fought here. There had been no rout, but a series of retreats until there was nowhere left to fall back to.

Picking his way through the carnage he slowly made his way to the burned out husks of a pair of ore transports. To the place where the marines had made their final stand. The bodies of nine marines lay intertwined with over a dozen of their killers.

Amongst them was one he had dreaded the most, Lieutenant Kerrik, twin blue arm stripes standing out. There's a reason family shouldn't serve together. Telling his sister her husband was gone was not going to be easy.

"Corporal! Get me an uplink!" Gideon called, a single tear rolling unnoticed down his cheek.


  1. I want to see more of the after effects of this death, of the brother-in-law. This is just ok. I think just a little more tweaking and it could be sharper.

  2. This was nicely done. The emotion could be shown in a little more detail, though I understand a soldier has to keep control to focus on their job. He may vent later in privacy.

  3. I liked the coldness of the scene, I thought it was very well done. 'A single tear' is a little cliche, maybe just a tear? Of course, that's just personal preference. :)
    Also, something about the first couple of paragraphs seems a little overdone. Just a teeny bit, and I wouldn't have noticed it if the writing wasn't as good as it was. So, fantastic job!

  4. I'm going to nitpick a little but it's because I honestly really love the scene and where it's going. I'm an armed forces sort of girl, lots of family members serving, so this really draws me.

    1) You used the word 'broken' twice in the first paragraph. 'Broken contents' and then 'Broken vehicles' I mention it because it pulled me out of a scene I was already absorbed in. It's something I do myself, and I usually only notice when someone else points it out.

    2) 'comrades in arms' felt awkward to me. I think I'd go with 'bothers in arms'. If you by chance worded it that way to be politically correct, I say stuff PC and still use 'brothers in arms'. It just sounds better to me, and I'm a girl.

    3) I might change 'His eyes grew sharp as his mind took in what remained of the base' to 'His mind sharpened as he took in what remained of the base' simply because at first his eyes 'growing sharp' confused me.

    4) I'd change something somehow in the paragraph that begins 'Picking his way through the carnage' because you've got Marines twice and it sounds redundant. If the Marines made their last stand there, it stands to reason that it's the bodies of Marines that were strewn about.

    5) The sentence 'There's a reason family doesn't serve together.' is grammatically incorrect, I think. There's is a contraction for 'There is' which would put the sentence in present tense. I think it has to be 'There was'. I'd look it up though because I'm hardly an expert.

    I want to reiterate that I nitpicked because I REALLY enjoyed this and I would read on without hesitation! Keep writing! :D

  5. Very nice. I like the controlled burn. I kind of want to get inside his head a little more, but that's me. I think what you are doing is great for your character.
    I was going to nitpick a bit, but the post above took all of my points, so "See above" and well done.

  6. The language felt a little awkward to me at times such as "His eyes grew sharp" or when he picked and then slowly made his way, which is a bit redundant, but as a introduction to a difficult situation it works well.

  7. You have the bones of a really great start. I'd watch some of the more cliched words like "rolled" for things like thunder and all. Keep it simple but fresh.

    I think, strongly, you should try this in present tense. I think that would really make it easier to write as the reader can then be with the speaker in the here and now :)

    Keep at it!

  8. This isn't what I normally read but it grabbed me. I'm guessing it's an early draft as I can see a number of spots where it can be leaner. Think that would strengthen it and give it even more of an edge.

    I like it.