This is the very first chapter of a novel I’m writing and that I will be sharing with you here! My goal is to monthly upload one or two chapters and to create an interaction where you readers can follow and comment the story. I’ve started a project on Kickstart so I can raise some money to pay artists to create some artwork, so the whole experience improves. I cannot pay this by myself since I don’t have money for that. Hope you enjoy it!
Share it with your friends if you liked it! Would really appreciate that!!!!
I’m not a native english speaker, so any tips about the writing or the flow of some sentences and how could they be improved would be very much appreciated!!
Yesterday, I saw an old lady picking dry skin out of her feet. Such a despicable image that had to come to my mind. “It feels good”, she said “makes me feel like a snake losing its old skin”. But why am I even mentioning this? I don’t know. I’m bored again. So, I went out today. To the Alfredoj’s “junkyard”. I don’t really get why we call it “junkyard”. Like if this whole planet is not a junkyard by itself. Full of garbage, rubbish, we use both words here; we are not really selective on that regard. They describe the same thing after all. As I was walking along the rusty remains of old spaceships from the golden times of the Federation, an everlasting itch started tormenting my soul, making me duel over my deepest desires for escapade. Maybe it was the rain. Maybe it was the view from the top of the piles that was making me question my own existence. Who knows. Here I stand, mind raging against this dreary and pesky world where I am cursed to live in. I was born here, to a very poor family living on a very small house. And that’s middle class by Alfredoj’s standards. We are not really allowed to dream here. Those who do so are called crazy. It’s not that we are censured. It’s just that the majority of us have some sort of a so-called realistic sense that keeps reminding us we will never leave this piece of crap of a planet. But still, hereby I stand, looking up at the sky and wondering about my place among the stars. Through the infinite vastness, through the darkest of nights, my mind travels, wavering in a silence of nothing prays; graving near death of soul, blinded by the sun in the sky, raging against the sheer and mere existence that bounds me to this very pitiable world. My undefinable will to travel screams for release, and how she screams, hefty, robust she spikes, and I, with fierce tears I say, “like a particle of dust I wish to live”, always sure of my path towards the imaginable adventure that is to travel along the stars. To those who can hear me I say, oh I say, with cried tears in a restless face, please, let me go, let me go. I lower my head. What do I see? Nothing. Nothing that can fit my approval. These people want a world without change. They constantly seek for happiness in the mundane pleasures of life. But, in fact, I do see something. I see dirtiness. A dirty and a filthy corrupt society where the small are not allowed to climb, to improve in their society standards, whose hopes and dreams are merely steam for aimless fiction. But even though you bury me down, I raise. And I shall raise as many times my mind requires me to, because above all, I’m free.
But this was before we found them. We touched places in the Universe that are just not meant to be touched. The Federation fell, and with it most of its planets and cities were stripped out from our hands. Centuries of Earthling’s progress, achievements and expansion broken down, and no more than fifty years were necessary to confine us to a small city in a Neptune-sized planet called Sistehåp. Vakten is Earthling’s last hope for redemption. After the fall, we were able to keep some colonies, but we couldn’t hold them for long. They now just represent small pieces run by broken people that can barely sustain themselves. They had the numbers, the technology. But still, we didn’t perish.
“It’s not worth, it won’t work”
Noah could see sparklings leaving the spaceship’s motherboard on the pilot’s cockpit.
“We need to find another way to get to the city”, continued Elliot.
“Is she dead”, Noah asked as he saw Tulia’s brown hair tanned by her blood.
“She is dead”, Stella replied, “or maybe she is alive in another universe. Who knows now”.
Noah kneed close to Tulia’s body. Her green eyes were still open, like if her soul was never even able to leave her inner body. “Sometimes I ask myself if death isn’t the best way out for this endless fighting”.
“She is on a better place now. We have to believe on that”, Stella said, with her head down, looking for the best way to atone for her companions grief.
“Every place is better than this hell of life, isn’t it?”
“We should burn the body”, Elliot mentioned, knowing about the danger of the things about to come.
“Nothing is more quiet than a man in his grave. There’s no need for that. The dead tell no tales”, she kneed close to the dead body and removed Tulia’s Marker from her wrist, “This they can’t have”.
“But her parents, and her sisters, her brothers, they will all grieve her. Just a name, without a dead body or a dead face”.
“Then it will be like that. The dead are dead after all”.
Stella raised herself from the floor, turning into Noah’s direction, “Would you like to say the words”
Noah, still kneeling close to the dead woman’s body, waved in an affirmative way.
“May your name never be forgotten”, they all followed his lead, words echoing in unison, “May your sacrifice be remembered by those who fought with you, your soul held by the stars, your atoms spread by the winds that blow in the universe and your dreams carried by us who stay bounded to this cursed existence, from this day, until mankind’s last sigh. May you be the shield of the weak, the sword raised on the darkest of nights, the face that protects those who have departed. For your watch has ended, but your name has yet to be avenged. Until we perish, we remember”, he straightened her hair and closed her eyes, raising himself from the floor, “and now it ends”.
“What should we do now”, Elliot asked, as the dead girl’s subject faded.
“There’s an old Federation cosmodrome close by”, Stella mentioned looking to her watch. A blue tridimensional hologram emerged from her wrist, “it’s five kilometers from here. Maybe there’s something there we can use”.
“All the launch stations were destroyed. Only wreckages and old ships were left behind”, Noah looked to the SOS-signal blinking on the control panel, “we should wait for help”.
“Our dive could be seen from miles away. Besides, we are deep into enemy territory”, Stella grabbed her weapon and headed to the spaceship’s entrance, “In a matter of minutes this ship will be surrounded by enemy patrols”. Brown dust and sand were brought by the wind into the bridge as the door started to open, “We are leaving”.
Elliot followed her, “deploy the rover”, he told Noah. Noah reached the manual emergency hydraulic panel to open the room in the back of the ship where the rover was parked. When he finally got out of their ship, both Stella and Elliot were already waiting for him in the exploration vehicle, “Hurry up”, she said, “Elliot is driving”.
“Then we will surely die today, if not at the hands of the enemy, then by car accident”, Noah said as he walked towards them. He jumped to the back seats, always keeping his weapon close to his chest.
“The energy cells are running empty”, Elliot mentioned, “We won’t go further the cosmodrome with this one”
“No, we won’t”, Stella replied, “but at least we won’t die in the cold harsh desert”.
For 20 minutes they drove, always aware to see if some enemy patrols would show up, until a small grey dot showed in the horizon, which quickly turned out to be a big fortification made of metal, with canons in the top of the walls. The cosmodrome was old, his buildings and control towers were showing up like there,
so big, so tall, standing high, untouchable, like pride old dames showing their most valuable jewelry, but yet so fragile, as if a single stroke was enough to bring down all those archaic patches over your head.
They drove along the wall, looking for an entrance or a small breach they could use to get in.
“There”, Noah said pointing to one of the entrances whose doors were broken down, probably by the ones who sacked the old cosmodrome.
They drove over the mountain of trash that was surrounding the entrance. Noah could hear the sounds of the old metal creaking while the rover’s tires stepped into them, echoing in the silence of the desert and with the old walls of the abandoned place. There was no one there. At least not in that specific part of the station. They parked the rover and jumped out of it immediately turn on their weapons’ flashlights.
“We should try to find the way to the control towers”, Noah said.
“Let me see if I can scan this place with the Marker”. Stella pressed a button on her watch and once again a blue hologram showed up with the map of the building. In a matter of seconds the hologram became bigger and bigger until it had all the area mapped. A red dot was indicating their current position.
“Here”, this seems like a tower, “Noah said”, once we turn on the power sources we can try to communicate by radio with Vakten”.
“Wouldn’t it be better to just look for the hangars to see if we can find anything”, Elliot asked.
“We could”, Stella started to walk ahead of the group, towards an empty corridor hall full filled by darkness, “But from the tower we can actually get an overview of the runways and launching sites”. Noah followed her, “Besides we cannot really distinguish where the hangars are in the Marker’s blueprint”, Noah pointed, “It’ll be easier to pinpoint them from there. And we can use the tower’s radio to let Vakten know that we are here”.
The three started to walk along the corridor, in a very steady way, always paying attention to the even the most ordinary sounds.
Noah saw Stella almost jumping after some debris fell from the ceiling. The noise of the old concrete hitting the floor spreaded throughout the walls, reverberating all over the empty place. Almost as a response, a piercing sound shrilled over the corridor’s air, seeming to have been generated from a not so distant place. The three rapidly pulled their guns, trying to find the source of the mysterious sound. “What was that”, Elliot asked. Noah was able to pick a slightly taste of fear on his tone. “Nothing like we’ve ever heard before”, promptly replied Stella, “Don’t lower your guns men”. They keep quite for a while, scavenging every single centimeter of the place with their guns’ flashlights, as the dust generated by the debris settled down. “Is the Marker picking up any heat signal”, he asked, “No, everything clear”, Stella replied at the same time she slowly started to move, “Keep it steady. We need to find our way out of here”
The three walked over the empty corridors, maybe just for some minutes, maybe for a whole hour, Noah couldn’t really tell. Their focus was just on trying to find their way to the control tower without having any unwanted encounters. They went up and down old stairs, walked through empty corridors and scavenged big rooms where their steps were used to echo in the silence of the halls, looked and looked, until they finally found the stairway that leaded to the control tower. They immediately swung into the quiet room with the old controls and computers, room which had certainly once been one of the busiest places on that planet.
Stella quickly approached to the control table, trying to use the radio to contact Vakten. On the other hand, Noah decided to take a look to the surroundings of the tower. Through the nasty windows he was able to see the old runways and the vertical launching systems. This place seems too clean, he thought to himself, while he realized that neither the runways nor the surrounding spaces had old debris blocking them. “When was this station abandoned”, Noah asked. Elliot reached his wrist and started browsing for the answer at the same time we walked in the direction of Noah. He could see that Elliot also got why he was asking that by the expression on his face, “97 Earth years ago”, Elliot said while looking to this Marker with a very tightened expression. Noah could hear a fuzzy sound coming from the back of the room. Stella had finally established contact with Vakten, “Mayday Uå, Mayday Uå”, Stella was almost shouting to the small microphone in the control table, “Lissabon has crashed, I repeat, Lissabon has crashed. The crowns are fed and waiting in 4245B, I repeat, The crowns are fed and waiting in 4245B”. The fuzzy sound returned as he started to walk towards her. “Lissabon”, they heard on the radio, “Do… re…, Liss…on”. Stella immediately pressed the button close to the microphone, “We read with a lot of interference, I repeat, We hear you with a lot of interference”. Noah started suddenly feeling weird sensation on the room, the air getting heavier and mournful, eerie, like if the particles themselves were about fall to ground all at once.
Noah could feel Elliot getting nervous.
“Lissabon, do you read me”
“We read you”, Stella immediately shouted.
Elliot quickly turned to them. Noah detected a jumpy expression on his face.
“Something is wrong”, Elliot said at the exact same time Stella was told by radio that an huge interference was being detected on their current location.
Out of nowhere, the ground started to shake, so violently that the windows of the towers broke into a thousand of tiny glass pieces, dust was raised from old computers and out of the ceiling. The sky turned dark and then red, which was followed by a huge blast that could have been heard miles away from there. Four grey huge enemy ships had appeared out of nowhere.
“We are doomed”, Elliot said, with a pallid expression on his face.
“Can you see the hangars”, Stella shouted, “We need to get out of here now”
Noah got once more closer to the broken windows. We started to look all around as little dots where leaving the spaceships standing immobile in the skies. “There”, he shouted. He rapidly reached his wrist and saved the location on his Marker, “Let’s get out of here”. They quickly got out of the tower, following the direction the Marker was indicating as fast as they could. As they turned in one of the corridors, an armoured tall figure with a helmet covering his face showed up in front of them. Stella quickly fired her weapon shutting him down. The figure readily fell on the corridor’s floor. “ Let’s go, let’s go”, she screamed. The three jumped over the fallen enemy and kept running towards their final destination, with their guns always close to their chests hoping to not have any more unpleasant encounters.
He could not tell how much time it took them to reach the hangar, as no one can do when one’s adrenaline levels are touching the roof. The main hangar was a long empty building with hundreds of storages, rooms where planes and spaceships once rested while waiting for their next flights. The whole room was quiet. Weirdly quiet.
The three look around. Some of the garages were locked, but apart from old spaceships parts and rusty pieces, there seemed to be no ships the crew could use.
“There’s nothing here”, Elliot nervously said, “We are doomed”.
“This is a graveyard”, Stella said.
On the exact same moment, all the three markers on their wrists started to beep, indicating a very strong heat signal coming on their way. The silence disappeared and in front of them dozens of enemies appeared.
“Run”, Stella ordered as she started to fire in the direction of the enemy group.
Both groups exchanged fired for ten or twenty minutes until Noah saw a group of four or five red barrels standing next to a big column whose job was to hold the entire ceiling over their heads.
It’s gasoline, he thought to himself. With a clear shot Noah fired to the direction of the red barrels making them explode. The blast made the column fall and with it debris of concrete fell revealing the sky above their heads and burying their enemy down into the hangar’s floor. A big piece of the column hitted a wall so violently that it completely broke it apart, revealing a hidden hangar with its door closed.
Elliot got closer to the hangar’s door and started to inspect it. He found a control panel on the wall next to the door and pressed a button to open it. The opening of the door was slow and magistral: the room revealed a white shiny plane with a elegant delta wing, sharp nose and thin fuselage, three long landing gears making the plane stand as a pride old dame. The words ‘British Airways’ from head to tail’.
None of them could hide an uncontrollable sense of surprise.
“This is…”, Elliot said, stuttering.
“A Concorde 003”, Noah said.
“This plane is 400 years old. Will this even fly”, Stella asked.
“Only one way to find out”, Noah said as he rushed to find a way to get inside the old plane.
The Concorde was parked on a lifting platform, which was controlled by a wide panel standing on it. Elliot approached the controls, which were all turned off. With the help of the Marker, Elliot was able to re-direct some input power to the room, provided by one of the many backup generators that used to be found and used in launch stations, in situations when electric power delivered by the normal network would fail. Light illuminated the whole room as energy was being delivered to it. Elliot’s first preoccupation was to close the garage’s door. As he did so, Noah rounded the majestic airplane, trying to find a way or some stairs that would allow them to climb on it.
“Here”, he shouted close to the Concorde’s front door, “there is something here on this part of the platform. I think it lifts itself as stairs”
He saw Elliot scavenging the control panel, looking for some button or control that would elevate that tiny portion of the floor. “Here”, Elliot said. At the same time, a small platform within the bigger one where the plane was parked lifted itself, taking the form of stairs that connected the floor to the old Concorde’s right entrance. As the stairs connected with the white fuselage, access was provided, allowing Noah to climb in. Stella followed him as he got into the passenger’s cabin. All the passenger seats were sharp and clean, awfully clean, like if time never went through them.
The cockpit had thousand of dolls and switches in front of the pilot, first officer and flight engineer seats. The Concorde was one of the only planes in the early 2000s that was still using a flight engineer as a permanent crew member. She was also one of the very few planes who never got an onboard auxiliary power unit installed, meaning she was reliant on electrical ground power once on parking position. Additionally, she also needed an air starter to start the engines. All of that had to be somehow provided there, if they were to have any kind of hope to get to Vakten alive.
Using his marker, Noah asked Elliot to look for some switch that would deliver electrical power to Concorde. In a matter of seconds, light involved the whole cabin and illuminated the buttons all around the plane’s cockpit.
Noah took the left seat.
“This piece of crap is too slow”, Stella argued as she took the flight engineer’s seat, “Can you even fly it”
“Her”, Noah took the V-shaped wheel onto his hands, “It’s a she and she is not slow. The ships you see outside are for transport, not for pursuing, They will take time to deploy the rangers, so we might have a chance.”
A strong beep signal started to shout from their wrists.
“They know we are here”, she pointed, “lots of them”
“Elliot”, he was screaming to the Marker, “get us to the runway”.
In an instant, the sound of hydraulics started to be listened throughout the entire room where they were. The platform started to lower itself and soon they were swallowed by the floor.
“Starting the inboard engines. Full break power”. A very strong and loud sound started to get out of the inboard Olympus 593 Mrk610 turbojet engines, so loud that it could be heard throughout the entire room.
“Power to the inboard engines”, Stella said.
Elliot closed the cabin’s door and swung onto the first officer’s seat.
“Inboard engines on, starting the onboard engines”, ordered Noah as he received clearance from Stella to start the most outer engines of the plane.
“Engines on”, Stella said as the platform started to rise itself towards the runway.
“Nose down to taxing position”, he ordered Elliot, “that lever on your side. Third position. How are our fuel levels?”.
“Not the best”, shouted Stella, almost screaming, due to the fact that the cabin was being invaded by a very fuzzy sound generated by the four Rolls-Royce engines.
Fuck, Noah thought to himself, these engines are highly fuel inefficient. Reaching cruise altitude will burn a lot of fuel and we will never reach Vakten. On the other hand, if we fly too low the plane will literally melt, due to the fact that the air is much denser at lower altitudes.
“Done”, Elliot replied as the platform reached its final destination, nose down to a five degree position. They were already lined up with the runway. The surroundings seemed to be clear and out of enemies. Grey clouds were building up on the sky as if a storm as going to struck them soon.
“Elliot, what is the probability of raining today”
Elliot reached his Marker.
“High, about per cent”, he said as he returned his hands again onto the Concorde’s wheel.
Good, he thought once again, we can use the rain to cool down the airplane, so we can fly low.
“Stella, do you see those four switches down the engine switches? They turn on something which we call reheaters. They will give us extra thrust during takeoff. I want you to turn them on once I say ‘now’; first inboard, then outboard reheaters”.
All the 3 Markers started to beep again. A wave of enemies was coming to their position
“We need to leave. Now!”
“Aren’t we even going to follow the checklist”, Elliot was visibly scared.
“No time for caution”, said Stella, with a tricky smile on her face.
“Breaks off. 3,2,1, NOW”
Stella pressed the inner buttons to turn on the two first reheaters. An even stronger sound came out of the engines as they as they started to move slowly on the runway.
“They are here”, shouted Noah, as a blue light came from the back of the plane, travelling through the cockpit’s right side.
“We can’t go back now. Turn the onboard reheaters on”
“Onboard reheaters on”
The whole plane started to shake as it was gaining speed”
“Building airspeed, 100 knots”, Elliott announced.
“It looks like it’s going to break apart”, she was hanging tight to her seat.
“She won’t”. Flashes started to come from the back of the plane started in a greater number as they were going faster and faster, “Elevons up 11 degrees in 3,2,1”. The noose raised itself from the runway and, in a matter of seconds, the whole plain had taken off.
“We are flying”, Noah said, “Visor up, lever fourth position now. We have no time to lose. Full thrust. We are getting out of subsonic as soon as possible”. The visor went up blocking the majority of the sound coming from the engines. It took them sometimes until they reached the maximum speed of Mach 2, plane shaking the whole way through.
“We are overheating. Air is too dense here, we need to climb”, Stella advised as she looked to the thermometers in the control panels that measured the temperature of the fuselage”
“We can’t, we don’t have enough fuel for that. You keep balancing the plane with what we have. The lift center is moving to the tale. Elliot, where is our rain”
“The relative humidity levels are on their highest. Any time now”
Once more, the three markers started to alarmingly beep.
“We have enemy ships on our back”, Elliot screamed.
Rain started to hit plane’s fuselage, regarding they were flying under the clouds level. Within five minutes thunderbolts started to rage furiously in the sky. The enemy ships were literally on their back.
“Monitor the backshots with the Marker. There’s no other way to do this”, Stella ordered.
“ROLL IT”, Elliot screamed, as Noah made the Concorde do a 360 degree roll. A burst of lights passed over the airplane’s cockpit.
How can they be here already, Noah thought to himself, “How far are we from the secure zone”
“Not far”, Stella replied, after checking the distance with her Marker. Once in the secure zone, the anti-aircraft artillery will take their enemies out.
“Can you contact Vakten with the Marker”, Noah asked Stella, “We are not as far as before”.
“Not yet, we need to be within a 20 km range from the secure line”
That’s close, they will take us down as well, “How long until we reach it?”
“64 seconds to reach the 20 km range. Then we have exactly 29.39 seconds to make contact with Vakten so they won’t bring us down”
“Elliot”, Noah was firmly looking to him, “count the seconds on your Marker”, he redirected his head again to the open horizon, “And pray”
Elliot marked the both times to reach the contact and secure line, as the plane was quickly flying towards the first one.
“NOW”, Elliot screamed. Stella immediately started to contact Vakten. They rapidly answer.
“Yes, I said white Concorde, I repeat white Concorde”
“What? How the…”, someone said on the other side.
“There’s no time for that. We ask for clear path and house cleaning on the secure zone”
“You are flying supersonic. Slow down or we won’t have time to contact the ground bunkers”
“There’s no time for that! We have them on our tail”. The controller took the order on the other side and hanged the call, on an effort to try to contact the ground times to not shot them down with their enemies.
“How much do we still have Elliot?” Noah asked, nerves spiking.
“May Tulia’s soul protect us”, Noah sighed, as they finally entered the secure zone.