Writing Small: Elevator Challenge

I’ve come up with a cunning plan for this blog: On Mondays, I’ll post one of my Writing Small challenge stories (or maybe some other piece of my writing); on Wednesdays, I’ll post some general something about writing; and on Fridays, I’ll post something more personal about me and my writing. Some posts may show up a day early or a day late (especially Monday and Friday posts), because I’m not always going to be available, but at least I have a plan. Now all I have to do is stick to it. One week down; lots to go.

This being Monday, here’s my Writing Small challenge story for this week:

CHALLENGE: When the elevator goes sideways…

Layers of thick cotton enveloped me, muffling my senses, and my body buzzed with a peculiar numbness. I struggled through the cotton to something vaguely resembling consciousness . . . and immediately wished I hadn’t. Red-hot pokers seared the tops of my eyes, and it felt as if someone were using a dull spoon to dig my psi-tech implant out of the base of my skull.

I struggled to focus past the pain. For a terrifying instant, I found nothing, not even a sense of identity, then awareness of who I was seeped into my consciousness.

Lissa Westlex . . . captain, Alliance navy . . . pilot of an AVN psi-tech starfighter.

The memory floodgates opened.

We engaged the Geddon-hir over the planet Relton. I knew the instant my fighter launched that this was no hit-and-run raid; this was a full-on Ged attack.

Despite the size of the swarm, we held our own, then took the offensive. Not a single Ged ship reached the planet, not while I was in the fight, anyway. But what took me out of the fight? What had happened since then? And where the hell was I now?

A sharp electric jolt told me my implant was still in place—and online again. I eased my attention back to my aching head and found the pain tolerable this time.

Another memory came: a strange energy spike on my fighter’s sensors, fired by one of the Ged swarm, a burst of agony from my implant, then my ship skewing out of control as the psi-link shattered.

I recalled the report about Commander Jarvis, a psi-tech pilot lost during a Geddon-hir raid and presumed captured, and the worry that the Ged’s might learn something from the implant tech.

Clearly, they learned a lot.

Where did that put me? I’d spotted at least one Ged cruiser during the battle. Cruisers were small (although they were the largest vessels the Ged used) and rarely seen outside of Ged-occupied space, but they were big enough to take a disabled Alliance fighter into a bay.

My heart began to race. I forced myself to calm down and focus. I needed to know what was happening.

The strange cottony feel continued to muffle my senses. I saw nothing but darkness and heard only an unintelligible garble of something that might be voices, but by concentrating hard, I managed to pick up a few clues.

The ghostly, telltale caress of a transdrive field shivered against my skin, informing me I was on a ship. No surprise there.

I lay flat on my back, but my inner ear told me I was moving horizontally, head-first, and the incoherent sounds around me echoed from close on both sides. It took a moment for my fuzzy mind to put that together into the conclusion that I was lying on something being moved along a corridor.

The object I was on eased to a stop, turned ninety degrees, moved a short distance, and stopped again. The vague sounds tightened around me sharply, suggesting close walls on all sides. A lift or elevator, I guessed.

A moment later, I sensed sideways movement again, but in a more general sense than before. The platform I was on wasn’t moving; the room was.

I drew a deep breath, released it, and let all of the tension drain from my body.

When the elevator goes sideways, it’s a good bet you’re on a huge ship. The Geddon-hir don’t have any.




About Mik Wilkens

Writer of fantasy, science fiction, and other speculative fiction. Author of The Silver Cage, a fantasy novel, coming 12/1/10.
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