CW9 – Enlisting

Tada! Eighth creative writing post. Wow, that’s a lot. And, as I promised, this is the next part to CW8, so enjoy. (The descriptions are a little graphic, so younger people might want to avoid this post). Oh, I nearly forgot, this week’s assignment was to write the same scene from four different points of view, so those of you who have read this, or glanced through it, might be saying, well there are only three points of view. The problem with this was that I did not wish to tell anything about Jana. She’s supposed to be the “mystery person.” So, in my actual submission for this assignment, I put in a paragraph just for her, but you guys won’t get to know anything about her– yet. Also, this is quite a long post, just as this background paragraph is a long paragraph, and let me know if you guys want the sequel to this. Also, one last note, some of the references, like Galactic Regime, and Arie Outpost, and enerblade, and Defen, and Imperetor Malvolent etc. Come from a story I am currently writing and posting on this blog. If you want to see more about it, check this out. 

His surgical operation complete, and his new identity finalized, Liam had enlisted under the Galactic Regime. He had been assigned to the Arie Outpost, and was now headed down a hall with his dog to report for duty. He paused at an intersection to study the digital placards. His dark cloak wrapped around his ankle as he did so, and he brushed it away with a small practiced motion. The dog, a large breed, with a lot of German Shepherd blood in it, settled quietly beside its master, all a result of its good training.

Footsteps echoed from the hall to their right, and Liam’s dog rose to attention quietly. Without looking away from the hall from which the sound had come from, Liam put a comforting hand on his dog’s head. The dog, reassured that he had alerted his master, shook his mottled brown coat, and settled down again.

Liam stared from the impenetrable confines of his mask at the person approaching. She carried herself with an air of command, and he could see the enerblade that swung on her hip. He judged her to be about forty, yet she moved quickly, quietly, and smoothly. Her feet seemed to glide above the floor, rather than actually touching it, though Liam knew that the illusion was a result of years of practice in silent movement; not that silent movement would have affected Liam in any way. His keenly honed senses stretched far beyond those of ordinary humans, and he had felt her presence fully ten seconds before the quiet footsteps had reached his ears.

Even now, as he watched her approach, he recognized the subtle carriage that discerned a fighter from a civilian. Then, as she got closer, Liam realized that he had assumed a fighting stance, and smoothly changed his position so that he now stood in a neutral posture. His neck muscles tensed violently as his nose picked up the scent of blood, and it was all he could do, along with the aid of the suppressants, to withhold the outburst that roared to be released. Liam felt the gentle probing of his dog, checking to see if he was okay, and he quickly sent a telepathic wave of reassurance. He noticed the change in manner of the approaching stranger as he did this, and silently berated himself for his carelessness. If anyone here caught on to who he actually was….

“You there,” the sharp, crisp voice cut his train of thoughts in half the same way an enerblade bisected a human. He internally cringed at this gory comparison, and switched it to something else.

“Yes?”

“Are you Liam? The new radio engineer?” The strong military posture of the general, for she could be no one else, never faltered, and Liam vainly attempted to mimic it.

He was about to answer when he sensed another presence, another female human. But this was not right. There was only supposed to be one female human here. Liam could feel his dog’s uncertainty as well. He attempted a short mental message to his dog, then checked to see if the Defen had detected it. She hadn’t, and he was about to add on to his message when he saw a figure emerge from a side door.

It couldn’t be, but it was– it was his mother. After all these years of agony at their separation, his mother had found him! He had been one of the fortunates, accepted into a family with his mother. She had taken care of him, watched over him, and educated him. He still remembered her loving face, and her smile; every time he saw her smile, it made him so happy he felt like he would burst. He remembered his useless efforts to smile back, and how saddened he had been that his facial muscles allowed for no such contortion. The best way he ever managed to express his mutual affection had been to hug her.

Liam jerked subtly as his subconscious mind registered a shout. Yes, then there had been that fateful day, when he had been shouted at by his neighbor’s daughter. Something inside him had snapped. His fury had boiled over the edge, and his true form had been released. He still remembered the look of horror on her face, he could still feel the terror emitted by that girl, even though that had been ten years ago. He had ripped her apart. Her screams were still embedded deep in his mind; she had been the first of many.

They had found him, the people from his village; they had found him, sitting in the middle of a mess of human entrails; blood still dripping from his hands and arms. He remembered the pain etched on his mother’s face, the sorrow, made all the more acute by his heightened senses. He recalled seeing the barrel of the gun come up, and his mother’s desperate leap in front of it to save him – this worthless piece of nothing. He had seen the man squeeze the trigger; heard his mother’s cry of pain that struck a chill into him like nothing else ever could. He remembered, looking into her eyes before she passed, her failed attempt at a final smile, a final sentiment of forgiveness.

She had died that day, and so had the others who had come with her. He had saved the one who had killed his mother for the last, and he put him through the same pain that that man had put him through. But no, nobody could have experienced that exquisite excruciating agony that he had experienced that day. He hated the people who had made him what he was, he hated everyone; everyone but his mother.

Liam was brought back to reality by the barking of his dog. He instantly remembered where he was, and his head snapped around to face the general.

“Sorry ma’am, what did you say last?” He asked. “I had a long night an–”

“No excuses!” Liam let the sharp voice of his commander imprint itself in his subconscious memory, while he threw a quick look to the side door. There was no one there.

“That’s bunk duty for the rest of the week. You will report to the head of cleaning at five am tomorrow morning; sharp! If you do so faithfully for the rest of the week, I might not extend your duty.”

“Yes ma’am,” Liam said humbly, bowing slightly. The general turned to leave, then, as if she had read Liam’s mind, turned back around.

“And you might want to consider taking off that mask once in awhile, if you want to have an easy life here.”

“Sorry ma’am, but its a biological implant, it can’t be removed.” Liam said, a slight undertone of resignation in his voice.

“We’ll see about that, I’ll have the doctor look at it in the afternoon. In the meantime, you better get some rest, you have a long day ahead of you tomorrow.”

***

Cassie, or General Vahn as she was more commonly known, stepped quietly down the hall from a quick look into the record room. Years of care had begun to take their toll on her, she realized, as she glimpsed her reflection in a corner mirror. She noticed a puddle at the entrance to the M Bunks, and made a mental note to talk to that division about it.

Her bright green eyes searched every nook and cranny of the hall to check for anything the coms might have mixed up on. She was doing just as her master had taught her, she realized with an internal sigh. The enerblade that swung so freely at her hip seemed to double in weight as she remembered those final moments she had had with him. She could still remember every ridge of the enerblade, just the way it was when he first presented it to her at her graduation.

Her joy, his pride, and a little something else. The missions they had accomplished together, the numerous lives they had saved. His deep understanding of duty, and his sea of sorrow that only she had ever been able to cross. She remembered his horrible sense of humor, and the rare laughs she had shared with him. Then she recalled those final few moments, when he had declared his love for her, just an hour before he had sacrificed his life to save her from that monster.

Blood surged through her veins at the thought of the creature who had killed her master; her teacher; her friend. She involuntarily clenched her fists sorrowfully– frustratedly– when she remembered seeing the wistful smile on Richard’s face, just seconds before he had hit the ground at the feet of that– She could not name it. Her own helplessness came back to her, when a surge of pain burst into that void that had been left at his death. She searched her memories, and found the one where she had hunted through the rubble, to find one last piece of Richard that she might keep in memory of him. But it was all gone.

Her reverie was interrupted when she detected the presence of two living beings just ahead. She quickened her steps. It must be the new recruit, but why were there two? She only remembered seeing one in the logs. Then, she did not know why, but a feeling of relief and calmness filled her, and eased her painful thoughts about the past. Her footsteps faltered at this, and her nether lip trembled slightly, as she remembered feeling that same feeling, just before the death of Richard. He had given that to her, in a last act of sacrifice.

Then, as quickly as she had hesitated, she regained her confidence, and continued towards the two. She could see now that there was really only one person, the other was a dog. She scanned the man as she approached him, noting his gloved hands, cloak, bodysuit, and his mask– That mask– Something stirred in her subconscious memory. She had seen that mask somewhere. But her efforts to recall where were futile, and she was within talking range of them anyway.

She hailed the stranger, at the same time noticing his slight change of stance. He answered in the customary military manner, and she noticed with no little amusement his attempts to mimic her military air. She had no more doubts about his identity, but had to make it formal.

“Are you Liam? The new radio engineer?” Cassie asked.

He looked ready to answer her, when his head pivoted suddenly. Cassie sensed another presence, and recognized the familiar aura of her second pupil. She looked up at Liam, for he was above two meters in height, and noticed his eyes, dark orbs, peering intently at her student as she walked out of the weapons room.

Cassie wondered what Liam found so interesting about Jana doing a routine weapons check. Then, a suspicion slowly crept into her mind.

“We don’t have time for romantic attachments here at Arie Outpost,” she said matter-of-factly, watching closely to see how Liam would react. He never moved, and she wondered if he had heard her. She vaguely registered the dog’s shift in posture, as she waited a few more seconds. Then, in customary military style, she barked a short, one syllable sentence.

“Liam!”

The man in front of her shifted slightly, but made no move to acknowledge her. She was preparing for another shout when the dog began prancing about madly, barking at the same time. This seemed to snap Liam out of his trance, and he turned apologetically to her. He asked her what she had said, excusing himself with the excuse that he had been tired, but she knew that was a lie.

She instantly assigned him to bunk duty, noting with satisfaction that he was in the M Section, and that she would not have to find somebody else. She saw him steal a quick glance down the hall where Jana had been, and risked a quick mental scan. She found all her efforts rebuffed however, and so turned to go down another passage. Slightly miffed, she turned back around saying:

“And you might want to consider taking off that mask once in awhile, if you want to have an easy life here.”

His reply caught her off guard. A biological implant? Since when was a face mask a biological implant? She could not detect if he was lying or not, and this did little to improve her temper. She told him that she would have the doctor look at it, then left the intersection abruptly.

***

Mako padded quietly beside Liam, his quick but quiet steps keeping up easily with the long strides of his owner. His tail wagged side to side, expressing his appreciation at being allowed out of the spaceship. Saying that he did not like space travel was an understatement. If it was not for his deep affection for Liam, who had rescued him when he was only a pup, Mako would never set foot in one of the rumbling, vibrating, unstable aircraft. And when Liam had to take evasive action to dodge enemy fire; that was the worst.

Liam paused in an intersection to study the signs, and Mako settled quietly beside him, his tail thumping the ground softly. His hackles rose slightly as he heard footsteps, and he got to his feet, his muscles slightly tensed and ready for action. He felt Liam’s hand come to rest on his head. This was an indication that Liam realized the situation, and that he, Mako, had done well. He wagged his tail happily at this, and settled back down at Liam’s feet.

Mako watched his master silently, and realized that Liam was observing the approaching person like he would observe a target. Old habits die hard, Mako realized. One step at a time though. Liam had taken the biggest step when he had decided to no longer be a killing machine, and now they just had to progress slowly, and if all went well, Liam would be able to live like a normal person again.

Mako was about to settle himself more comfortably when he felt the indistinct change in Liam’s posture. He recognized instantly the bloodlust, and barely restrained a whine at the pain he knew Liam was going through to hold himself back. The isolation from humanity helped greatly, Mako realized, and he determined to keep Liam away from others as much as possible, until Liam had greater control over his condition. Then he felt the reassuring pulse that Liam sent out to comfort him, and if they were not in a public place, he would have growled at Liam for his lack of judgment.

The Defen had now reached them, and Mako studied her carefully. He noted the wrinkles in her face that were just beginning to develop. Wrinkles caused by care and sorrow. He could see the minuscule hunching, that came as a side effect of a great burden. The dark circles around her eyes told Mako of sleepless nights, and the imperceptible way she favored her left side revealed to him a well-healed injury that must be housed there. Yes, he was a very observant dog.

He ignored the conversation between Liam and the general. He knew it would be standard protocol, and of no interest to him. Instead he studied their surroundings. The intersection was well built, part of an underground section of the base. He noticed with mild interest that one of the tunnels led to the detention level. Then a memory clicked, when he recalled from his training that the Arie Outpost had been destroyed during an initial raid by the late Imperetor Malvolent. The Galactic Regime had done a good job of rebuilding it.

Mako felt rather than heard the break in the conversation, and his keen sense of hearing homed in on a door opening. He felt the uncertainty coming from Liam, and rose to see what was the problem. It was a very big problem indeed, he realized, as a slight figure emerged from what he judged to be a weapons room. Mako realized that Liam thought the person before them was his mother, and this made him worry all the more. If memories like that came back to Liam now, what would happen when the urges that came with those memories arrived as well?

He heard Liam’s questioning message, asking him about the intel he had retrieved, but before Mako could answer, he realized that Liam was too deep in his trance to hear any mental messages he might send. Sometimes, Mako thought disgustedly, he felt like he was in a one sided conversation. Then his feelings softened as he felt partially what Liam was feeling.

Mako’s hackles rose slightly as the Defen spoke. He realized that she was suspecting Liam of ‘love at first sight,’ as if the cool-headed person beside him could ever let that happen to him. No, this Defen viewed things at too shallow an angle, ignoring the important details, and going after what she could see, instead of searching for what she should know. Then Mako realized he had to give her some leeway. He could feel the strain radiating from her whole frame, and realized that she was exhausted.

Then she shouted. Mako stood up angrily. Did this woman know no better? Then he realized that she did know no better. But he shrugged that fact aside. He could feel Liam’s change of attitude. He knew the path that Liam’s thoughts must be taking, and realized he had to do something quick, before Liam’s own memories broke past the suppressants.  With this thought in mind, Mako began prancing about, barking madly.

He noticed with satisfaction that Liam broke free from his trance, and settled down again quietly. He saw the officer Liam had been looking at round a corner in the corridor and disappear from sight. He would have to find out more about this person, Mako realized, with a haggard sigh. More work for him again, and just when he thought he was going to have a holiday.

He noticed that the conversation had ended, and that the general was leaving. Then Mako saw her pause and turn. What now? He wondered silently. Then he groaned when she spoke of Liam removing his mask. Both he and Liam had been hoping she would overlook the fact that Liam wore a mask, but she had not. He sensed the resignation in Liam’s voice, as he answered with the answer they had planned out. Hurriedly, he sent a mental message to Liam, telling him of the alternative to sealing the mask permanently to his face. Liam did not seem to receive it, and he realized disappointedly that Liam had not reopened mental communications.

Sort of what I imagine Mako to look like.

Sort of what I imagine Mako to look like.

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8 thoughts on “CW9 – Enlisting

  1. This is so awesome! I love the imagery your descriptions evoke — “A surge of pain bursting into that void that had been left behind at his death.” I can really feel what Cassie is feeling from that sentence. I also really appreciate how you give some background on each character. It helps me understand each of their personalities a whole lot better because I know where they are coming from and it shows that you have really thought these people’s character’s out.
    I am curious about two things: first about Jana (naturally). I’m looking forward to whenever you post the fourth perspective. And secondly, about Mako. You mentioned in class that he wasn’t fully a dog and here he seems to have a sense of awareness and thought capacity that you wouldn’t expect your average dog to have.

    ~Kaytee Green

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    • Thx! Yeah, I was trying to give you guys what really was going on ‘behind the scenes’ in each one of their minds.

      Well, curiosity about Jana is expected and allowed, but that doesn’t mean I’ll give you any spoilers. *evil grin*

      And for Mako, well, lets just say that he could be classified as a similar thing to his master. If that confused you even more, than allow me to refer you to chapter 6 of my story Galactic Battles: The Dark Menace. I hope that will explain some things. 🙂

      ~Michael Hollingworth
      Disce Ferenda Pati – Learn to endure what must be borne

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      • How long will I have to wait to find out about Jana? 😀 I’m heading to chapter 6 of Galactic Battles right now to satisfy my curiosity concerning Mako.

        ~Kaytee Green

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        • I don’t know… Maybe second semester novel project? *evil laughter* No, not really. I’ll probably work on a full chapter during Thx giving break, so you could look forward to that. And if I feel particularly inspired, I might do it earlier. You never know with me. hehehehe.

          ~Michael Hollingworth
          Disce Ferenda Pati – Learn to endure what must be borne

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        • Whew! You just about had me there saying I’d have to wait till next semester. 😀 Looking forward to Thanksgiving. I’m also hoping to get some more relaxed, fun writing done over the break.

          ~Kaytee Green

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    • Thx. Yeah, I’m not hiding anything, cos this is mean’t to be more than just a sic-fi story. I’m trying to be real, to really picture life in three thousand ad or whatever it is. I never can keep the dates straight, even the ones i make up. 🙂

      ~Michael Hollingworth
      Disce Ferenda Pati – Learn to endure what must be borne

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