5 Minute Fiction -Broken Ace

There were only three times in his life that he had ever cried.

The first was on the first time he had ever touched the sky. His father had kept an old TBF Avenger from the glory days that had been rebuilt from a rusted hulk in honor of his father before him. When it was ready, he sat in the rear gunner’s seat and could barely contain the butterflies long enough to strap himself in. The old piston workhorse had roared for them as it lifted them skywayrd and had taken his heart with it, the joy streaming from his eyes and rising in his throat. As soon as his feet could reach the rudder and his eyes could peer through the propwash, he had worked and earned every moment in the air behind the stick of the old war machine. He had found his home.

The second time had been in conflict. Not in sorrow, but in sadness and respect, as he fought the man he once called a brother over the skies of Avalon Dam. This man had betrayed him, shot him in the back, and then run away under the cover of chaos. Still, they had been brothers for so long that he could not simply bring himself to hate him. Even now, as they clashed in dazzling displays of dogfighting, dogma and death, he did not hate the man who had once been his squadmate. He pitied him, because he understood him. Men in their line of work who fought for something greater than money were one in a thousand, and to fight beside him had been a privilege. But purpose was something that could so easily be tainted or taken away from them, that when conviction set in, there was no turning back. So when he had fired that final missile from his F-15C/Eagle in a screaming head-on pass and ended the legend that was ‘Solo Wing’ Pixy, he had wept for the loss of a comrade in arms.

Today, however, there was no joy, and there was no pity. Only heartbreak.

The sky was a darkened grey and cold when the heavy transport plane came into Valais Air Base. He was already outside, waiting for the wail of burdened engines and screeching tires. He had to see it for himself, he had to see her. He had to know, because his heart and his mind were never going to be satisfied with just rumor and fragments of conversation he probably wasn’t meant to catch. Whispers of an ambush in the mountain range that formed the ‘Round Table’, a natural arena of death where he had been first crowned the ‘Demon Lord’. Quickly silenced conversations of new war drums beating to the north of where he stood, making all of the struggles and death this place had faced only a year ago seem irrelevant in the face of human nature.

In an instant, however, all of that thought, all of that weight was taken from his shoulders and driven into his stomach. Emerging from the maw of the larger transport came that ivory white skin that wrapped the once so beautiful in the curves of her Su-34/FULLBACK. Only now, it wasn’t so much that it had been struck down by a lucky blow, it was like she had been eaten alive. Metallic bones tore through skin at jagged angles and angelic wings had been ripped into by some great hellbeast. But it was the burnt out hole in the side of her cheek that was most damning of all, as if she had been lanced out of the very sky.

Try as he might, he could only stand by the scene for a moment before his feet propelled him back into the hanger where his own F-15C/Eagle stood, parts and pieces removed for sorely-needed maintenance. Still, the aircraft seemed to beckon Cipher into her shadow, as if she knew he couldn’t stand on his own anymore. There, in the darkness of what earned him his title, the Demon lord screamed in pain.


So, this is a in part a sequel piece to my last post, but it is also something more, at least I’m standing up the foundations to make it more. This is a story I hope to see unfold more in the future, (in part, because I still haven’t worked out all the character names yet) because this world means a lot to me. I’ve spent a lot of time here, and have taken you all through only a small piece of it. So I hope, that by having this here now, I can look back on it and create the journey as to how we got here, and what happens next.

 

I hope you all enjoy.

5 Minute Fiction -A Demon Lord’s Companion

It wasn’t the way she scrunched her eyes when the sun finally hit them that made him realize it. It wasn’t the way she rooted her nose into his chest so she could shield her face. It wasn’t her shaggy golden hair that clung to the back of her neck, or the swell of her chest against his side. It wasn’t even the way her fingers tugged unconsciously at his chest that made him realize he loved her.

Cipher knew he loved her because she could dance the dance of aces. He’d watched her roll the eighty thousand pounds of death that was her Su-34/FULLBACK until her china belly kissed the sky to dodge a missile even he barely saw, before she went in screaming with cannon fire. She had tucked in tightly to his wing as they barreled through the forests of Belka, just barely high enough to avoid the leaves, for a clean getaway after raining fire on an incoming army formation. She raced him into the middle of a hurricane to pounce on a flight of Chinese fighters testing their teeth, leaving nothing but broken metal and stained water.

And though it all, there was a joy in her voice. A light in her wake, and a smile both for the sky and just for him.

The alarm began to buzz on the table next to the bed, making her scrunch her nose and causing him to smile wider as he kissed her forehead. “No, I refuse,” she mumbled.

“But the sky’s awake now, dearie. It’s time to head on home again.”


This is in one part a companion piece to something I did a while back called “Home Above” https://shadetheraven.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/five-sentence-fiction-1-of-2-home-above/

But it’s also something that I’ve wanted to explore in this universe before, and I think it’s a question that comes up a lot with a nameless/faceless protagonist. At the end of the day, what do they really have?

I hope you all enjoy

 

5 Minute Fiction – Conundrum

Blue eyes squinted into the darkness as he tried to resolve in his mind what it was he was looking at. It didn’t make any sense, and he didn’t want to believe the nonsense that was staring back at him. Yet, what wasn’t supposed to be there was there, and just that implication concerned him greatly.

A knock on the door snapped his frozen concentration, “You called, boss?”

“Come on in Wes, Hobbie. Lock the door behind you.”

That perked the junior flyer’s interest. Sure, Tycho Celchu was a man who could be to-the-point sometimes, even painfully so. Still, it was rare that Wes Janson’s mere presence couldn’t at least get an insufferable grin.

“Uh-oh, what’s the bad news. Wedge finally fly off the deep end and become Chancellor of the Galactic Senate?”

The senior pilot shook his head, “I wish. That I could make sense of. This is an image he patched to me about half an hour ago from one of our corvettes before it was destroyed. Take a look at it and tell me why that’s a bad thing.”

Both men leaned in close, with Hobbie calling out the obvious first in a typical blunt manner, “It’s an X-wing, I think. But what’s that coming out of its nose?”

“That’s a phaser beam. Like the Feds use, isn’t it?” Wes deduced, and Tycho nodded his confirmation. “Now, take a look at the next snapshot, the last one we got.” The computer flickered to the next image, showing the snubfighter in its full glorious top-down profile. Immediately, the crimson stripes and roundels made the two men step back. “Son of a Sith! Those are our markings!”

“Wedge is meeting with Admiral Ackbar right now to talk details, but you can bet that this has his attention. I mean, look at this thing,” Tycho enhanced the image of the fighter to show as much detail as was recorded, adding grim detail to their worries, “Someone’s updated the armor, the weaponry, the sub-light engines, and probably a whole lot more we didn’t catch. This isn’t just some pirate and his patchjob, this is professional. This was commissioned and built.”

“You think Starfleet built their own X-Wing squadron to pose as us?” Wes asked. “Why? And why go after one of our ships?”

“That’s one of the things Wedge and the Admiral are going to hash out before this goes any further. Better start brewing some caf and get the rest of the squadron up here before he gets back. We’re going to have a long night of questions.”

—————————————————

Because sometimes, those friends you make aren’t always what they seem… >:)
This is another part of a bigger universe that I like to bring into the light, because it’s a lot of fun for me.  It’s an idea that goes back to my days as a young boy, watching these two juggernaut franchises back to back and always wondering “what if”, “how” and “why”. Many have had their theories, and this one is mine.

I hope you all enjoy

5 Min Fiction -From Bad to Worse

“Bridge to Captain al-Imir! Sensors detecting two inbound subspace wakes inbound to orbit! Classified as one Star Destroyer, one large cruiser! Estimate arrival time in 90 seconds!”

It was the one call Shin had been hoping to avoid, and he practically leapt over the desk in his ready room when it came, “Blue Alert! Shut down all exterior lighting and switch SHIMMER to Mode One!” By the time the Captain arrived on the bridge, the crew was almost silent as they concentrated. “Approach vector on those ships?”

Lt. Roval was quick to the plot, overlaying the data on the main viewscreen. What was coming was coming right at Vawarc, above them and at a thankful distance. If SHIMMER was to be believed, then the U.S.S. Artemis would be almost invisible to the Imperial ships now without actually having a cloaking device of its own. But would it be enough? A Nebula-class starship was not exactly small…

“Recommend we reverse our orbit, sir. Low impulse. Put ourselves further into the planetary shadow,” Commander Suvan proposed, eyes locked on the display attached to her chair to keep up with the flow of status reports and alerts as a first officer would. “Agreed. Mr. Labonte, back us off. One-quarter impulse power. Mr. Roval, if SHIMMER starts to fluctuate at all, report immediately.”

An order that took only seconds to come back at them, “Captain, I’m detecting an output fluctuation in the forward and aft masking arrays, increasing with our momentum. Recommend we cease engines.”

The Captain cursed under his breath, “Understood. Helm, all stop. Commander, get a team looking at this immediately. We need to be able to move while using Mode One.” Though she didn’t look up from her display, Suvan quickly moved to her new task. All al-Imir could do now is hope, and to trust in those around him.

The Star Destroyer thundered into view, a shining dagger in the black. Everyone on the bridge flinched the moment it came into view, waiting for it to come about and face them. Yet it did not, only hovering with its bow pointed at the planet.
But whatever dread it generated by its presence was nothing compared to what thundered out of hyperspace next. At less than half the length of the Star Destroyer, the profile of a disc-shaped saucer section trailing elegantly down to a smoothed secondary hull sweeping up to two brightly glowing nacelles froze the bridge of the Artemis in silence.

“Impossible…that…that can’t be!” Lt. Labonte stuttered out.

Though clenching his fist to keep it from shaking, Shin kept his voice, neutral, “Ops, give me a sensor readout. Tell me we’re not seeing what is on that screen.”

The silence returned as Lt Cdr. Terin and Cdr. Paige checked and rechecked their sensors, finally locking eyes in realization for the senior member to report, “Confirmed, Captain. One Imperial-class Star Destroyer, callsign Maleficent Wind. One Sovereign-class Federation starship, U.S.S. St. Petersburg, NCC-74773.”

———————————————–

So, this is just a sample of a much greater storyline/series of storylines I’ve been dreaming since I was a wee lad. I love Star Trek. I love Star Wars. To put these two giants of imagination together has been a thing many sci-fi fans and over-dedicated nerds like me have been waiting for. Its contentious, likely impossible and even ludicrous, but still I swirl them together like flavors of ice cream🙂

I hope you all enjoy.

5 Min Fiction -The Morning’s Touch

He had known she was angry from the moment he first touched her that day. Perhaps it was something in the dawn light that had stirred within her, or something in the brisk breeze of the mountains around them that had caused a twitch in her heart, but he could tell that she was unsettled. He felt it as he caressed her cheek, a cold energy that spurned most away from her. He had felt it as he climbed into her, taking her every surface under his touch. He heard it in the way her heart quickened as he commanded her. She had awoke not with a smile to greet the sun, but bellow as if to curse that golden light that beamed down upon them. And as the F-15C Eagle had screamed skyward once again, Cipher felt the quiver of her body in the morning and heard the low snarl in her roar. By the time the sun set tonight, it would be bathed in crimson, he did not doubt.

——————————————————-

So, I’ve been sitting on this idea for a bit, as the best times I have to actually find my zen to write are often on the drive home. Today, I came up with an idea, or maybe better stated, a challenge. How much can I put to paper in just 5 minutes? That one coffee break or space to breathe, what will come to the pen?

I hope you all enjoy

 

 

Strike The Hour

In the first hour, I did not know me
The world was new
Cold and unrelenting in its mercy
Who I would become did not matter
Just that I was to be had to be enough

In the second hour, I discovered me
Came to know the senses and sensations
Introduced to pain and kindness alike
And when I figured out what it was to be me
I discovered so much more to expand on

In the third hour, I understood me
All the realms at my touch
The vastness was mine to conquer
If only I knew how to count them
And I found I was not alone

In the fourth hour, I was tricked by me
Imagination had outrun potential
Others grew where I could not
Yet I expanded where they would not
And what we found was the sum of structured chaos

In the fifth hour, I restrained me
Wrapped a chain around my neck and bolted it
For what had awakened, I did not understand
But only in part would myself be calmed
And I knew I had met another facet of me

In the sixth hour, I studied me
As the observer tracks the jackal
The packs changed, the targets acquired
But the chain held strong
And I watched me strain the locks

In the seventh hour, I wounded me
A great gash carved from snout to tail
To rip away what made me
To replace it and renew me
Only too late did I see myself bleed

In the eight hour, I met myself
Stitched together and re-branded
A wolf carved from lesser dogs
And so the locks were undone
The intelligent predator set loose

In the ninth hour, I lost me
The jesters of decadence had pounced
No longer intelligent, no longer proud
The wolf was tested and defeated
But my chains could no longer reach myself

In the tenth hour, I killed me
Torn apart by what had once been bound in iron
A broken dog, left to whimper and rot
The only instinct left, to fade into the black
So it was I laid me down to die

In the eleventh hour, I forgave me
Wrapping up the scraps of bone
With unkind thread and serrated needle
A shell became a blanket for me
The new egg to grow and bloom into me

In the final hour, I accepted me
Part wolf, part jackal, part imagination
Because now I am myself
And that self is not alone
A noble pursuit ended in victory
——————————————————————-

A little something that hit me while on a long flight with no room to move. An interesting summary to say the least.

I hope you all enjoy.

Beginning of the End – Act 1, Scene 1

OPENING SCENE:

Featured Characters:
LANCE (MAIN) – visitor
BRYAN (MAIN) – patient
NURSE (BIT)

BRYAN MCPHERREL is on that edge right now, for he is currently asleep in the hospital bed. Barely 30 years old, his service in the military in Iraq have aged him beyond his years. A clean-cut man, with short brown hair and equally brown eyes, the only tell-tale mark that he has been through some form of Hell right now is the scar that starts above his right ear and circles around to the back of his head.

LANCE BRIAR –his oldest and closest friend since childhood. After their teenage shenanigans, LANCE enlisted in the military with BRYAN and the served in the same unit in Iraq.

SCENE SETTING: A HOSPITAL ROOM in BANGOR, MAINE. It is just past MIDNIGHT, the sky is clear and the moon hangs outside (LEFT SIDE WINDOW) as if watching the occupants of this room. The steady beeping of medical instruments are normally a good sign for the patient, but are of little comfort to those who would know why he is even here right now. Because when the world comes crashing down, sometimes these chirps and beeps are the last thing one hears before the end.

SCENE OPENS: BRYAN is in the hospital bed (CUE LIGHTS-CENTER STAGE). BRYAN appears to be asleep (CURTAIN RISE COMPLETE: he awakens, then scans the area to figure out where he is, only to slump down in defeat once he figures it out)

VOICE IN DARK (LANCE): You know, you’re pretty heavy.

BRYAN looks to his LEFT to see the second person in the room, seated in the chair next to the bed. LANCE reaches over and lays a hand on BRYAN’s shoulder, as an old friend would do.

(SOFT SPOTLIGHT FADE ONTO) LANCE: But it’s okay, I forgive you.

BRYAN (surprised, but happy): Lance? That you? What are you…? How did…?

LANCE: You were expecting your Fairy Godmother, maybe? Sorry to disappoint, I don’t have the legs to wear heels. I just work the magic.

BRYAN then looks away from his friend and out toward the moon.

BRYAN: It’s good to see you again. Been, what, two years now?

LANCE leans back in his chair in a relaxed poise.

LANCE: Yeah, sounds about right. Ever since you left Charleston to come up here and take care of your mom. Wanted to come sooner, but I knew you were…busy.

BRYAN’s nods to himself, staring at nothing now.

BRYAN: She fought till the end. Wouldn’t have been her, otherwise.

LANCE chuckles

LANCE: Yeah, she was a one tough dame all right. I kinda thought she and Dick Van Dyke drank from the same fountain, you know. Would’ve sworn that she was immortal. Or maybe a robot.

BRYAN smiles again at that, though with sadness.

BRYAN: Nah, just stubborn. You know she bought a Viper? A freakin Dodge Viper!

LANCE looks humorously stunned.

LANCE: No shit? Wow…that’s both awesome and terrifying. Then again, she didn’t wrap her old Mustang around a tree, did she?

LANCE cocks an eyebrow and BRYAN, who just laughs and shrugs at that.

BRYAN: Worth it. Just driving that ol’ pony taught me what it was to be a man.

LANCE laughs.

LANCE: Yeah, how to scream like a girl and how to fail miserably at drifting. You’re lucky we couldn’t pull that shit in those steel death-machines we had in Mosul. We’d never have been able to explain you pulling that off again.

BRYAN turns pack over and “sternly” points at LANCE

BRYAN: Says the guy who drove his stepdad’s Suburban home with a tree though the windshield and out the back. How you explained that one, I’ll never know.

LANCE nods and shrugs himself

LANCE: Well, doing that convinced me to follow you into the Army, so it was for the best.

Both laugh at that.

BRYAN: You ever think about…

LANCE cuts him off, now looking out the window himself

LANCE: Every day. I still hear the explosion in my nightmares sometimes.

BRYAN: I thought we were all dead. Garcia went down so fast, then the Lt…

LANCE: Yeah. I don’t even think she got her rifle up after we bailed. Sombitches were ready for us. Hope the Devil had a nice warm firebrand for them after we sent them down.

BRYAN: Yeah.

There is a pause in the conversation, and while only a few seconds, it feels like the temperature suddenly drops (SHIFT SPOTLIGHT COLOR TO PALE BLUE. FOCUS ON CHARACTERS ONLY). LANCE folds his arms over his chest, and BRYAN rolls onto his back to stare up at the ceiling. There is a question on LANCE’s mind, one he doesn’t want to ask, but has no choice.

LANCE’s question comes softly

LANCE: Is that why you did it? Why you tried to kill yourself?

BRYAN winces at that and is silent for a moment, shifting his jaw back and forth

BRYAN: I didn’t think you’d find me. I didn’t think anyone would.

LANCE leans in

LANCE: Yeah, well, I wanted to surprise you with some real Carolina seafood. Not this ‘Nor’eastern’ slop. (His voice gets louder and more shaky)Instead I find your ass barely alive on the floor and covered in puke. I mean, Christ, man! Why?

BRYAN’s shoulders slump, and he shakes his head.

LANCE continues: After everything we’ve done, after we fought through Hell to make it back here, you just give up? No, I don’t buy that shit for a goddamn second. Something happened to you.

BRYAN turns over quickly to look at LANCE, tears in his eyes and yells:

(SPOTLIGHT ON BRYAN ONLY)

BRYAN: Don’t lecture me about who survived what and how! I had to watch my mom wither and die thanks to dementia and MS! Shit, I watched YOU (angrily points at LANCE) eat a chest-full of shrapnel! And now the docs say I got a goddamn tumor in my brain that they can’t touch! And I’m just supposed to skip around like La-De-Freakin-Da?! I…I just…

(SLOW FADE SPOTLIGHT BACK ONTO FULL SCENE)

The conversation breaks there. BRYAN is shaking now, with equal parts sadness and anger. LANCE is stupefied at the revelation.

LANCE: So you just gave up?

BRYAN rolls back onto his back, as he simply can’t face LANCE right now.

BRYAN: I’m, I’m sorry…I was scared…

Another pause in conversation as LANCE stands up (SPOTLIGHT FOCUS ON LANCE ONLY), walking to the window to look out into the night. He shudders a bit, whether from the chill in the room or his own sadness at his friend’s plight is not quite clear.

It is then that the idea hits LANCE and lights up his face. The plan begins to form.

LANCE: You still got the keys to the Viper?

BRYAN looks both confused and aghast at this question.

BRYAN: Yeah…why?

LANCE turns back to BRYAN with a smile

LANCE: Because we’re not going to let it just sit and collect dust. You and I are going on a trip.

BRYAN: To where?

LANCE throws his arms open wide

LANCE: Wherever the hell we want, man! We always talked about going cross-country in a badass car or two. Our own “Cannonball Run!” So that’s what we’re gonna do.

BRYAN smiles slightly at that, thinking back to when they were hard-charging teenagers and when this mission was created.

BRYAN: You know what? Why the hell not? My mom always wanted to see the Grand Canyon, or hit Vegas. It could be like taking a part of her with us.

LANCE is almost jumping with excitement.

LANCE: Now there’s the stubborn sumbitch I remember! Get a nurse in here so we can sign you out and you can put some damn pants on!

BRYAN pushes the call button.

(ENTER NURSE FROM STAGE RIGHT)

LANCE: Ma’am, could you please tell us where this guy can sign out so I can take him home?

The NURSE looks confused by this

NURSE: Ummm… I’m afraid I can’t do that. Since they brought him in as attempted suicide, there’s a mandatory 48-hour observation period now that he’s awake. Plus a consult with a psychiatrist hasn’t been scheduled yet. And then there’s…

LANCE waves a hand to cut her off.

LANCE: Yeah, yeah, okay. So, where do we start with that paperwork?

NURSE (looking down at her clipboard): Well, since no living relations have been contacted yet, I don’t think you are authorized to begin that process on his behalf.

BRYAN looks glum at that declaration.

LANCE: Alright then, how about I help you with that? I can make a few phone calls, see if I can get his sister over here.

BYRAN suddenly looks confused

NURSE: That would be fine, though I would ask you to do so from the main lobby (gestures to the door), please.

LANCE: Could you show me the way? I don’t think I came in the front door…(shy smile)

NURSE and LANCE leave (EXIT STAGE RIGHT)

BRYAN: But…I don’t have a sister.

LANCE returns from STAGE RIGHT

LANCE: Alrighty then, now where would they have put your shit? (starts looking around in various drawers)

BRYAN: Ummm, dude? What did you do?

LANCE (still rummaging): What do you mean? I’m trying to find your stuff so we can roll outta here. Unless you want to stay in that gown.

BRYAN: Hell no. But how are we going to leave? She just said…

LANCE: (stops and faces BRYAN)I signed you out.

BRYAN: Ummm, what?

LANCE: It was pretty easy, honestly. I just said I’d take care of you. Oh yeah, (he reaches into a pants pocket and tosses BRYAN a pill bottle), just in case you need them. (returns to the search while BRYAN examines the bottle)

BRYAN: Shit, man I can’t even pronounce these!

LANCE: Yeah, I didn’t think you would. That’s why I’m the smart one. (pulls up pair of jeans from cupboard near the bed) Ah-HA! Pants! (tosses them at BRYAN)

BRYAN: But you were only gone for about a minute.

LANCE: They were coming to give you these anyway. Supposed to help with the headaches, and we’re gonna need it on the road.

BRYAN: Handy. (pops the lid and takes one. Then he stands and pulls his pants up under his gown) You didn’t by chance find my…

LANCE jingle a set of keys

BRYAN: Well alrighty then. Lead the way.

LANCE and BRYAN leave (EXIT STAGE RIGHT)

(CURTAIN LOWERS FOR SCENE CHANGE. ON THE CURTAIN, A MAP OF THE UNITED STATES IS PROJECTED, WITH A STAR ON BANGOR. CUE THE TICK-TOCK OF A GRANDFATER CLOCK)

BRYAN (narrating): Hear that? That’s the sound of the beginning of the end. Honestly, between you and me, I have no idea if we can pull this off. But hell, what is there to lose?

(END SCENE ONE)

————————————————

My second attempt at screenwriting, and one born from an idea I mentioned a while back. And with any luck, there will be more of this to come.

I hope you all enjoy.