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    Infected

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    Srgt. Master
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    Infected

    Post by Srgt. Master on Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:01 pm

    Been playing a new game called Endless Space on Steam, been reading some EVE online books, and been bored in general. So this random little thing's been bouncing around my head for a bit. Any who, here it is
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Chapter 1: Crushed.

    It was happening again.

    He felt the weight of all the rocks, felt the stone biting into his legs, he could picture the bone cracking and augmentations crumpling under the weight of the rocks which had fallen on top of him.

    He kept his eyes closed. It'd be worse if he looked at the mess, right?

    Now it seemed the mass had fallen onto his chest. He couldn't breath in more than shallow gasps. he could hear the echoing of his pained breath bouncing off the uncaring walls. the plip,plip,plip of the water from the ceiling mocking his attempts at pulling air into his lungs.

    No need to look though, they say that only makes the pain worse...right?

    Seemed his arm had gotten caught too, at least one of them. His left arm didn't seem to want to move more than an inch or so before sending spikes made of the finest white-hot pain into his mind. He moved his right arm, trying to pry away stones from his chest, with little luck. His fingers couldn't seem to get a grip on the wet stones. He tried not to think too hard what that wetness could be.

    Maybe he should try to look in order to see what he was doing?

    A peek couldn't hurt, right?

    How bad could it be?

    It was getting harder to breath, the pressure on his chest increasing as a rumbling drowned out all other noise. He thought he could hear voices, but he knew whoever was shouting was most probably dead. Generally you scream so others know your in trouble, that's the way they'd all been trained. He would have been screaming, but now it seemed all his air had gone for a trip around the hab. He seriously doubted he could get the next breath in.

    He still refused to open his eyes.

    The effort to open them would have just taken away the strength needed to try to get the next lungful of air in. It was a battle he was quickly losing. He didn't think he could last enough for the disaster teams to find him, much less dig him out. The last breath might as well been his last, the pressure slowly forcing out the last of his air against his will.

    He'd had enough.

    He put all his effort into opening his eyes. He would die a proper man and stare death in the face. He'd done what he could. His eyes resisted him though, and stayed stuck together until with a final superhuman effort, they cracked open at last.

    He stared at the roof of his room, then to his legs covered in the sweat-drenched bedding of his bunk.

    Just a nightmare.

    Getting up to a sitting position, he rubbed his eyes as he came down from his nightmare. He took a deep breath, listened to the water drip from the faucet in the bathroom across the room, the gentle murmuring of the people outside his room, felt the wet sheets as they rubbed against his fingers.After a moment he did what the shrink had told him to do when the nightmares started again.

    I'm alive. he thought, start easy, work it up. I am a Male Human. My eyes are brown. I am alive. I survived that hellhole. I was not under those rocks. Now for the harder bits. That was four years ago. I was infected, but survived.Not that anyone else in his crew survived though. I am on a military ship headed to the capitol.

    Now for the mandatory lie, in order to make himself sure he was saying the truth to himself, or so he'd been told.

    I am safe.


    Last edited by Srgt. Master on Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:41 pm; edited 3 times in total
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    Re: Infected

    Post by Klak on Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:31 am

    Very nice. Very, very, good. Well written, good pacing, and keeps the suspense. I liked the ending a lot. I hope you are inspired to make more chapters.



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    Re: Infected

    Post by Srgt. Master on Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:51 pm

    Curse you, you got another one bouncing around in there...also a very epic round in the Endless Space game...

    Anywho, edited it abit and might type up a new chapter SoonTM
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    Re: Infected

    Post by Heat on Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:34 pm

    Very good. Congratulations Sarge. You are truly a man of many talents.


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    Chapter 2: About the Doctor...

    Post by Srgt. Master on Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:17 pm

    Thanks, I'm not that good (imho) but here goes a second chapter. Curse you Klak....


    You. Monsters.

    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 2: About The Doctor...

    I might not really know a whole lot about the military branch of the Pilgrims, but I definitively knew one thing.

    I hated the shrink.

    It wasn't her excessively business manner. It wasn't the fact she treated me like a piece of faulty (and highly dangerous) hardware. Not even the fact that their 'sessions' usually involved the company of 12 armed guards and use of hazard suits. Even the fact that she would always stare so impassively with her piercing blue eyes while I recounted the horror of that night on the mining asteroid.

    It was the fact that she had such an annoying habit of taking her notes.

    I don't really know what it was that she would "write," but every time she did it was the exact same ritual. She would lift the pad, click the pen, scratch exactly three marks on it, then put it back down. Just like that.

    Click. Scritch, Scritch, Scritch. Click.

    Not even breaking eye contact while she wrote! Although truthfully it wasn't like I tired to keep it most of the time. Honestly I was preoccupied making sure the 12 guards weren't about to blast me off the face of the universe with their rifles. It was already bad enough knowing that somehow I'd been marked as a threat to the rest of the Pilgrims, but it was worse when even in 'counsiling' they made sure to have an entire squad ready to kill me should I suddenly make the wrong move.

    It took a sudden coughing to bring my attention back to the shrink.

    "So..." She said, her voice echoing oddly in the room where the 'counsiling' took place, "You are entirely sure you don't recall anything unusual before the accident?" I resisted rolling my eyes, she'd always started her routine with that line. I had to clear my throat before talking, as it was still sore from screaming my head off last night.

    "No. It was a normal day at the mine, until we hit that place. After that pretty much everything went straight to hell." I winced at how raspy my voice was. It had been that way ever since I'd gotten infected. The fact that it also put the guards visibly on edge didn't help my nervousness either. The shrink just arched an eyebrow and asked.

    "Nightmare? The same one?"

    I briefly considered lieing, then chose against it. It was probably bad enough that he'd been infected, lieing probably would get him taken out for a walk out the airlock. So I nodded, and told her. "Yeah...same one. I'm one of the guys caught under the rocks, trying to get help while the world collapses."

    Click, Scritch-scritch-scritch, Click. "And it was exactly the same as the others? Anything Different? Even the smallest detail you notice is of utmost importance."

    I thought about it, tried to remember the nightmares from before, trying to think of any differences. Then it clicked. I looked up suddenly, and ignoring the startled movements of the guards, looked her in the eyes.

    "Yeah there was. There's been something changing slowly in the dreams actually, but it was too slight for me to notice until just now. The rocks," waiting a moment for her to write something into her pad I continued, "At the very start the rocks were on me but I couldn't really feel their weight. They were there and they kept me pinned but it was like if they were holos, for all the weight I could feel. Lately, though, they've been gaining weight in parts. Last night I got the breath pressed out of me, and I could feel the pressure crushing my body. At first it was only my legs, my arm, and finally my chest got crushed."

    At this point the Shrink (to be honest she still hadn't told me her name) actually looked down to her pad and started reading her notes.

    After staying like that, she spoke. "This is good. It means you're progressing." Somehow I got the sense it wasn't necessarily my mental progress she was talking about. "If you've noticed a trend in the dreams," She said while reading from her pad, "It is a good indicator that a name might come up that you feel drawn to. Seeing as your specific case has already taken 3.28 times longer in reaching this point, I estimate that you should recover your name in about three or four days." She stood up suddenly and, still looking at her pad, started walking towards the door.

    "This is enough for today. Go back to your room and try to think of names. If you feel any names have an effect of any kind, write them down on the holopad I'll have delivered to your room." I slowly got up, and was 'guided' back through the network of identical hallways to my room.

    Once the guards had locked me in, I sat down and started thinking about what she had said.

    Ever since I had gotten infected, I had suddenly lost all notion of my name. They didn't tell me it, and made sure to keep any names as far away from me as possible. Hence why the Shrink hadn't introduced herself with her name, or the fact that the guards didn't have any rank markings or name tags on their uniforms (did they have markings on them normally? I couldn't say, I'd never paid any attention). When I had asked the Shrink about it she had simply said it was normal for the recently infected to lose their name, or worse, their sense of self. "You need to recover your name by yourself." She had said in that monotonous voice, "Even if you come to adopt a different name from your pre-infection one, you have to be the one to recover it. Otherwise there is a large risk for...complications."

    I hadn't pressed much more after that, not wanting to have the image of 'complications' filling my dreams like the incident already did...and now it seemed I was supposed to come up with a name for myself?

    So with nothing else to do I laid down and started trying to think up of names...which seemed to be much harder than I remembered it being.


    Last edited by Srgt. Master on Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:41 pm; edited 4 times in total
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    Re: Infected

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:30 pm

    This is...Amazing...

    I love your descriptions. I love the way you build suspense. I love the entire atmosphere you create.

    Going under favorites.
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    Re: Infected

    Post by Klak on Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:46 pm

    Interesting chapter. You definitely increased the character development here, and added new twists (infected, lack of name) with subtly. There is also a level of paranoia fuel in the story that makes it flow well.

    Constructive criticism: Make the transition between perspectives (first person/3rd person limited) more fluent. You almost lost me at certain parts, and I'm sure someone with no knowledge of your writing process would probably get lost. Also, work on grammar and spelling.

    You're making progress. OD


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    Re: Infected

    Post by Srgt. Master on Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:53 pm

    Thanks, and I went back and fixed it.

    Seems quick fix was not so quick...
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    Re: Infected

    Post by Srgt. Master on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:11 am

    Edited again, and with possible future chapter SoonTM
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    Chapter 3: A Name for a Man...

    Post by Srgt. Master on Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:29 pm

    Here's the third!

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Chapter 3: A Name for a Man...


    It'd been a few days (or at least what passes for days on a spaceship) while I tried thinking of a name. They had mostly left me to my own devices, only bothering me at mealtimes and to 'guide' me to the sessions. In the sessions the Shrink had simply asked questions about what I was thinking of when the name came up or the cliche of all shrink questions:"How does that make you feel?"Truth be told, I didn't really care for any of the names, and as I looked down at the list yet again.

    James

    Osseron

    Typhus

    Luerrie

    Jack

    Tobias

    Majune

    Luis

    Zachariah

    Kain

    Chenkov



    Nothing at all special, those were really just names that seemed interesting or pulled at my mind a bit. Looking back at the ceiling I started counting the rivets in the ceiling again (even though I knew there were exactly 148) to pass the time. I'd run out of names long ago, so it had become a routine for me to stare at the ceiling or sleep until my next scheduled session. Truthfully I was getting nowhere, especially these last few days. I'd started getting headaches on and off when I stayed idle for too long, and I ended up distracting myself in order to try to ignore the pain.Meanwhile the Shrink seemed to be getting more and more irritated with my inability to come up with something "That sends a shock rushing through your head". She kept her cool, but I could tell that time was running out.

    I must have fallen asleep at some point because next thing I knew the Guards were knocking at my door. As I walked through the hallways I started to get a headache. I shook my head when the guard asked me if I was alright and kept going, although my head felt like bursting until we were nearly at the Shrink's room, when the feeling suddenly went away. As a sat down I noticed the guard that had noticed my headache lean over and whisper in the Shrink's ear before taking his usual place. The Shrink simply looked at me and said nothing, and I stared back.

    We stayed like that for awhile.

    After a good five minutes of staring at each others she suddenly spoke. "You've started getting headaches?" The sudden noise made me twitch a bit in surprise. After I had composed myself I nodded. The look she gave me didn't make me too eager to hear what she would say. She had actually gotten a frown on her face (made scarier by the fact it the first physical reaction I had yet to see from her) and had looked at her notepad. Once she had taken a read, she looked back at me and said "Your running out of time."

    At my look of confusion she elaborated. "Do you remember the 'complications' I mentioned?" Not waiting for my reply she continued. "Part of the complication arises from not getting the right name before a certain amount of time passes. The Name acts as a cement for the infection, and prevents it from destroying your mind. Those who fail to find the right name end up deteriorating mentally and then physically as the infection fails to cement and instead converts your body into more of it. Worst case it happens in a manner of hours from first headaches" I stared at her. Then I started to get a headache again.

    I reached and pulled the holopad with the names from the Shrink's hands and started reading through it, trying to get the right name. The headache had suddenly filled my head with visions of slowly dieing and decaying as the infection tore my mind then body apart. I started trying combining names, trying anything to get the 'right' name.

    The Shrink started to say something but I ignored her, too focused on reading the names as fast as I could.

    Each time I tried a name I would feel a physical shiver run through my mind, but it was barely there. nothing like what the Shrink had described should happen. The headache seemed to get worse, almost trying to dissuade me from finding the right name.

    I tried combining names, and the feeling grew stronger. I tried ever combination I could think of, but nothing hit noticeably stronger. The headache kept getting worse, and I could feel sweat beading my forehead as time passed. At some point the pain started making my eyes water but I kept up the pace, trying to read through my own tears.

    After trying everything combination I could think of, I clutched my head. The pain had escalated to the point that I couldn't see anything much more than stars, and every noise seemed amplified tenfold. Between pain-induced blindness I could see the Shrink looking at her pad, and then back to the list. She was still as professional as ever. Finger running down the holopad's surface, she hummed with the volume of thirty shift horns. Looking at me she roared.

    "It would seem, that you have forgotten one combination out of those you've said."

    I rolled on the floor screaming as the pain continued to build, now spreading down my spine and into my whole body. My muscles burned, my joints felt full of knives and my veins seemed to have replaced their life-providing cargo with acid. I fell off the chair, unable to fight anymore against the pain and started thrashing. I felt the guards press their weight against me, trying to keep me from hurting myself. Not knowing that their weight brought back flashes of those horrible nightmares.

    Over the roar of the guards breathing, the Thunderclaps of their armor clicking against itself,and the explosions brought by my limbs thrashing on the floor I heard her lean down to me and say,

    "Tobias Luerrie"

    After that I felt a burning worse than anything I ever experienced as of yet spread through my whole body, overwhelming my mind and causing me to pass into blissful unconsciousness at last.
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    Re: Infected

    Post by Klak on Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:54 pm

    Shocked
    Good chapter....Very well done. I honestly am not sure what's going to happen next. XD


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    Re: Infected

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:47 am

    I...

    You do an astounding job of building suspense, and then not letting up. I can't help but sincerely wonder what's happening next, because that's another skill of yours: Keeping the flow of the plot original and unpredictable.

    My metaphorical hat is off to you, Sarge.

    I look forward to the next chapter.

    ^u^
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    Re: Infected

    Post by Srgt. Master on Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:25 am

    Thanks! I have an idea for the next chapter, I might start writing it SoonTM Once I have enough time for sure. If I don't have enough time time I might spoiler write it here.
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    Re: Infected

    Post by Srgt. Master on Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:52 pm

    So I think I should start digging around for a user pic relatively soon 'miright?

    Just in case: if you see spoiler below, I'm not done yet. Trying out new thing to add some voice, lemme know how I did.


    Working on chap below, no spoiler fo YOU!


    Last edited by Srgt. Master on Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Infected

    Post by Klak on Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:25 pm

    Seems like an okay start. Hope everything goes well with your mom.



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    Chapter

    Post by Srgt. Master on Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:47 pm

    Welp. This is imho a kinda bad chapter but oh well, here we go...
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 4: Introductions and Explinations.


    When I came back from unconsciousness I let myself drift, floating in the comfortable darkness in my mind. While I drifted my arm started to itch but I tried to ignore the itching, but my mind kept bringing it up. I finally decided to connect my mind to my body and opened my eyes, I was met with a series of discoveries.

    First. the itching was in fact a cluster of IV's shoved almost comically into my arm (if it weren't for the minor fact that it was my arm, after all.). Turns out the 'itching' was in fact his arm screaming out in protest from having at the very least five different lines going into the needle.

    Carrying on before that gem knocked me out from shock alone I noticed that I was in the medical bay. I recognized it from the foggy memories from when I was first rescued. While I still didn't remember much, I could recall the med-drones rolling about, the mostly unoccupied beds (save for one or two), and the mechanical care units at the top of each bed.

    Thirdly I noticed a very fat (sorry, 'portly') man I had never met before next to me. Like, almost touching my face with his round nose. Jerking away I bumped up against the limits of the bindings on my arms and legs in the process. Thankfully, the man leaned back against his chair and crossed his hands over his generous belly. Now that he wasn't three inches from my face, I got a chance to look at him.

    The very first thing (besides his size) that I noticed was that the man had on a very old-fashioned handlebar mustache that glistened with wax. Above that display of facial hair were two brown eyes, seeming to hold a merry warmth in them even as they looked me in the same manner as the Shrink from before. The rest of him seemed to be clothed in some brown suit of some kind, the vest straining against the belly fat that dominated his figure. We stayed staring at each other for a good five minutes, before he finally chuckled and said in a rich, deep voice.

    "Well, you gave us quite a fright Tobias. Is it okay if I call you that? or would you prefer Mr. Luerrie?"

    It took me a minute to remember the fact that was my name. Remembering my manners I uttered a quick "Tobias is fine." before asking the question that was bouncing in my head. "What happened? I can't remember much...just that she said my...name, then I felt like I stepped in front of a mining laser."

    The man nodded his understanding and replied "Well, before I get to that, allow me to introduce myself! My name is Doctor Joseph Rockefeller. As to what happened, the short version is that you ran out of time and your brain melted!" Laughing at my look of disbelief, he pressed on. "Long story was that the break-down Director Z'kartha mentioned, by the way the woman who was treating you was the director herself. She might not seem like it, but she deeply cares about keeping those who get infected from breaking down like you nearly did."

    He suddenly asked me "Do you know what it was that infected you?" When I told him, that I didn't, his eyes widened slightly and he leaned back sharply. "Oh-Ho! You don't?! Even though your one of the Pilgrims?" I shrunk down in the bed at this, remembering suddenly my classes when I was young, or rather how I had slept through them all. Leaning back forward he put his hands on his knees and continued. "Well then, I guess I gotta feed you some good old history, then? Alright, lets see, where to start..." He chewed his lip before perking up.

    "Alright, You know about the Endless, right?" He asked. Leaning forward myself I nodded "They're that ancient race right? The one that expanded across the galaxy and developed some sort of super-science thing before they all suddenly disappeared, right?" Rockefeller smiled and said "Yes, those Endless exactly. Well, that 'Super-science thing' was in fact a substance we now call Dust."

    Seeing my look of confusion he explained "Dust is unique because it is actually millions upon millions of sub-atomic robots, that maintain themselves and are smaller than anything we can replicate with modern technology. It's very powerful because with just a few tonnes of it, you can move a planet's terrain, terraform planets, or even build entire cities within just a few months!" Seeing my disbelief he leaned in and whispered. "How do you think, for example, that your colony was created from scratch in a manner of weeks?"

    Thinking about that, it was true, the asteroid colony that I was from had been created entirely within a span of three or four weeks. At first it had been nothing more than a docking bay and living quarters, but over the course of that month the facility had expanded to include a heavy isotope refinery, interplanetary space dock, and over 25 mines on various nearby asteroids. Mostly I had dismissed that tale when I had heard it, but it had always seemed weird how sudden the mining foreman applications had appeared for that colony. Now it (sort of) made sense.

    Rockefeller waited for me to think that through before finishing up his explanation. "Well, not only is Dust capable of amazing things with construction and terraforming operations, it also, on very rare occasions, bonds with people. When this happens, they usually find they are suddenly extremely capable in some special role. For some it's in fleet command, or leading ground assaults, or even managing the industrial assets of an entire solar system! Most other races don't place the same importance to the development of the infected as the Pilgrims do. In fact, most of the people who get infected in other empires die from not properly bonding."

    Standing up he patted my shoulder and added "Well I think you should consider that before we go on, now that you're safe from your infection, we have to see just what it is that you have that has ben augmented. Don't worry, there is as much time as we need to figure that out. For now just rest, like I said, you came very close to being broken down into Dust."

    With that the new shrink walked off and left me to my thoughts.
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    Re: Infected

    Post by Klak on Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:41 pm

    This chapter was a good one. Different pacing and tone from the others, but the new character is likable. I like how you explained everything that was going on behind the scenes. That's helpful to people who don't play Endless XD. Nicely done, Sarge!


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