Snippet Sunday 2/3/14

Ok, so remember last week’s Snippet Sunday, which was a very brief introduction to another Development Hell novel about a crashing space station on a virgin world? I mentioned in the comments that I had an interesting story to tell about it. Well, it might not be interesting to anybody but me. Please first read this very rough snippet. The date tag on the word file says I haven’t touched in since 2009 – eek!

‘Damn it!’ she shouted. ‘You are not going to beat me, not after surviving this!’

She took in a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. It was times like this, admittedly very few in her life so far, that she really wished she had taken the cognitive meditation classes that she had been offered prior to the assignment. They were now essential for new recruits; over a quarter of a million years confined to one planet and the weather cycles and natural sunlight was never going to mean a quick species-wide adjustment to living in tin cans for months or years on end. She wasn’t sure if they would actually help anyone, fight or flight being hardwired into human evolution, but she would have liked the opportunity to put the method to the test.

She tried again to lift the beam off of her chest, it moved little more than a few millimetres. It wasn’t crushing her, if she could just lift it a centimetre she might be able to slide out at the same time. She wriggled slightly, trying to move the beam closer to her head. From that angle it would be easier to push the beam off without too much strain on her back. A few centimetres would do it. It had probably taken her the best part of five minutes but finally the beam was exactly where she needed it to be. She bent her legs for extra leverage and with all the strength that she could muster, she pushed.

The beam lifted a few more centimetres and her body slid away from it. One more push and she would be free. Steadying herself and regaining energy, she paused momentarily.

‘Now move you bastard,’ she exerted what seemed like all of her remaining strength. Finally her body slid free of the trap.

She had no idea how long she had been trapped there, minutes? Hours? Days? She suspected it was closer to the former than the latter because she felt neither dehydrated nor hungry. Either way, it would be stupid to just leap to her feet and cause a sudden rush of blood to her head. Slowly she rolled over onto her front and took a deep breath. ‘One thing at a time,’ she muttered and then brought her knees up to her stomach. Next she eased her torso upward until she was sat up on bended knees.

Her head swam with the rush of blood and her vision briefly went green-black. When her body had finally settled down and her blood had stopped acting like a panicked school of fish scattering before a shark she finally climbed to her feet. The caution never stopped her from swaying slightly as she stood. At first she thought it was the precarious nature of the structure beneath her but only when she started to move around did she realise how stable it was.

She checked herself over once more and finally turned her attention to her surroundings. It was a complete wreck. Cables dangled from the ceiling, consoles were now missing their monitor screens which as she remembered correctly had all exploded outward. Solid yet lightweight metal structures had been crushed and warped beyond recognition and the familiar sound of power pulsating through the technology was replaced with deathly silence. She clambered over fallen debris in her desperate search. There had been at least three other people on the bridge with her at the time of the crash, two junior officers and the Second Officer.

This is Commander Julianne Owen – nearly thirty years old, feisty, slightly imposing in stature though of slight build (think of her kind of like a younger, blonde, slightly sharper-featured Sigourney Weaver), won’t take shit from anybody, ambitious military type but doesn’t eat, sleep and breathe “The Service”. She has a bit of a temper when pushed, is determined and strong. Not particularly a role model because her temper (and sometimes her dispassionate nature) can be her downfall – and I intend for her temper to lead to some poor choices in the book. She’s definitely the sort of person you can rely on and somebody you want on your side.

She first appeared in an alien invasion novel I wrote some 15-20 years ago. It really wasn’t very good and sadly I lost it to a corrupted disk transferring from an old desktop to a new one. There wasn’t much good about it, apart from her. In that book she was the Deputy Commander on a European military space vessel that was attacked by an unknown alien species. When she took her report to her superiors, nobody believed her and she became a pariah, lost her ship (when she expected promotion when the Captain was killed in the attack) and almost took her own life. Then the alien species turn up offering us all sorts of help and though she says she recognised their ship designs, still nobody believed her. I may rewrite it one day, but it will look different from the original edit.

Her character was still very vivid in my mind and I felt a tale of survival on an alien planet with hints of Lord of the Flies would be the perfect setting for this intriguing woman. Expect more… when I get to do some work on this (which isn’t likely to be any time soon!)

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