Sunday, July 11, 2010

Earth Wake


Here's the first chapter of one of my short stories.

Captain Jamieson jumped down from the ship, his feet crushing the long, spiky blue grass as he landed. He scowled as he looked around and spat out a wad of well-chewed tobacco.

“Welcome, Captain.” Ricard looked at the shining, foamy brown lump the Captain had spat, which now slid slowly down the broad leaf of a low growing bush.

The Captain saw where Ricard was looking and had him sussed in an instant. An Indij-lover. He’d met a few on different planet hops – where they go ‘native’ and forget just who they are working for.

“Come this way.” Ricard led the way to a clearing. In the middle stood a sturdy hut that looked like it was made of mud, sticks and grass. This was Ricard’s home on the planet –in fact (since the first contact team had left) it was Homeworld’s planetary embassy. Ricard smiled to himself, thinking how unimpressed his visitor would be with the local facilities.

Jamieson spat again, the small blob raising a puff of dust as it landed on the dry, yellow earth. “Summary.” He barked as they entered the hut.

Ricard turned on the solalight with a wave of his hand. “Highly evolved society, good natural resources, simple balance of nature equation.” Ricard knew that the Captain would have had a full briefing already, what else did he want to know?

“Can we drill?”

A silence hung between them. Jamieson assumed Ricard’s reticence was his indigenous-loving attitude.

Ricard saw the greed and exploitative streak in Jamieson and didn’t like it. “No.” he said.

Jamieson snorted. An ‘I knew it’ type snort. A tiny dribble of brown liquid ran from his nose into his grey moustache.

Ricard’s stomach clenched in revulsion. Even though Angolican tobacco wasn’t carcinogenic, the habit of chewing or smoking the stuff still disgusted him.

“Why?” said Jamieson deliberately.

Ricard let out a huge sigh. “Geo. The ground isn’t stable.”

“Evidence?” Jamieson said.

Ricard had already sent reports to Homeworld that he knew Jamieson would have seen, but he also knew they would just consider his reasons ‘excuses’. “No solid evidence. “The locals talk of regular earth wakes…”

“Earthquakes?”

“No… earth wakes. No matter how often we ask or whatever the context, our translator says they definitely call them ‘earth wakes’.”

“And?”

Ricard was beginning to feel irritated by Jamieson’s brusque manner, but he had expected no less from Homeworld. Despite thousands of trans-world treaties, one way or another they usually found a way to exploit new planets and tap into their natural resources. No matter how carefully phrased to protect the indigenous species, planets usually ended up in a sorrier state for their alliance with Homeworld Federation.

....

I need to work on the rest of the story - it's finished,just needs polishing. Any comments welcome.

The most excellent illustration is from Kellie Kougioulis - found here: www.photoshopcreative.co.uk/show_image.php?imageID=16757
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