Below is a test scene that I wrote to bet a feel for writing fiction a bit more. It’s not the first time I’ve done it but it’s still rough as hell and the balance between exposition, action, dialog and thought isn’t there yet. I am not explaining everything in it yet cause that’s not what it was for but I just wanted to see what it would sound like. How bad it is so I can improve.
This isn’t a short or a story at all, there is very little tension, it happens really quickly but since its just me working more on my voice and how to frame the science the only thing I am trying to do is learn how to balance all those elements which I am a novice at, at the moment anyway. If anyone has any feedback please let me know, whether its good or bad especially if it’s bad I want it and need it.
When the End is the Beginning
The line is quiet, almost the entire facility has already been packed up and the bots were just preparing to move what was left out of here. Will’s grandmother Vivian York had started Flight Span decades ago as a custom ship yard whose prices for ships where a third less than that of the big companies.
Will father sold the company to Thaden Areospace when he retired and the only condition was that Flight Span would remain independent and Will did a great job of making Flight Span relevant but times have changed and the name wasn’t enough to save it. So after years of downsizing this is the end.
Laura and I were watching everything being packed up and the last bit of work being completed, Will was pacing in his office yelling at someone over the comm.
Leaning over and seeing the near empty hanger I said “I can’t believe it’s over.”
Laura’s eyes were still red from the farewell party yesterday. “Me too, we gave it everything we had.”
I couldn’t look below of what had been my life for the last 5 years and longer for a lot of us. Thaden Areospace told Will and the entire company that they were looking to downsize or sell off Flight Span a year ago. We were hoping for a sale but there were no buyers at the price Thaden wanted.
Flight Span has a great reputation for our ships but the revenue had been dropping as most people went to AI based ships that were so good that space flight training wasn’t even required. I hate that shit, what is the point of being in space if we can’t fly. That’s why I worked my ass off hacking my way here to one of the few organizations outside the military that still does manual piloting.
A month ago this entire facility was humming with activity but now it was an empty husk, as if we were never here to begin with. The board had decided to close our division, Will had tried everything he could to convince the board that we could continue but they went with the AI projections over all of us.
Suddenly my ARM band started to flash. “Hmmmm I have to go.”
Laura stood up straight “What’s going on?”
I had no idea why Will would want to talk to me and seeing him pacing in his office didn’t exactly make me want to go over there but he was still our boss. “His AI told me to get to his office right now.”
Will was a great boss, he cared for everybody here and the last few weeks have been hard on him because he thought he failed to keep Flight Span alive.
Laura gave me a little smile and held me shoulder for a sec before walking off back to work.
A few minutes later I was almost in front of his office and I could hear his screaming “Everyone gets an 18-month severance, they’re some of the best in the business.”
I really didn’t want to interrupt and was about to turn around and walk away when his damn AI opened the door.
“Look we’ll finish this later, this isn’t the end of it.” Before the person on the other end of the comm could respond he hung up.
Will took a breath as I stood in the door fame “Come on in Eric, take a seat.” Motioning me to sit not in front of his desk but on the couch instead.
As soon as I took a seat he collapsed in the recliner and just then you could see how much the fight to keep Flight Span operation had exhausted him.
He skipped his ARM band and suddenly instead of a clear view of the hanger floor became blurred. He had turned on the privacy shield.
“How long have you been working on Red Shift?”
Leaning forward and looking him in the eye I still didn’t have any idea what this was about. “It’s been about 4 years.”
“What do you think about or little tech demonstrator?” His eyes gazing at a model of the Red Shift that sat on the coffee table.
“She’s fast, modular and has adaptive I’d say you can’t have better.”
He smiled and picked up the model and tracing its lines with his thumb. “You know I designed and built her, worked on her with my mother before we were sold.”
I was still not sure what this had to do with me. I was a mechanic who worked on ships but I preferred to be called a pilot no matter how archaic that title may have today.
Looking at the model in his hand “Well she’s brilliant, a joy to sim with but even better in vacuum.”
He put the model down and looked me straight into the eyes “You know everything has been sold, all the assets and IP but as the former owner and CEO I retain certain rights and assets and Red Shit is one of them but I can’t do her justice anymore.”
Will then brought the coffee table into display mode showing a list of everyone whose worked and piloted Red Shift. “Impressive you’ve clocked in more hours working on her, in the sims and in flight than anyone.”
He was right, Red Shift was rare in today’s market a completely modular design framework that seems more military than commercial or private.
“You and the rest your team have made extensive modifications to it on your off time, why?”
Before I could respond will leaned in “You knew that it wouldn’t fly again, we told you that, so why continue working on her?”
I knew the answer before I said it. I grabbed the model and said “You have a crew of tinkers and I can’t now work on her while I have the chance. Laura’s been able to get military like performance out of a commercial SCD. Mohammad’s AI work has been amazing we are all going to keep on going until you kick us out.”
Leaning back in his chair he slid something to the display, it was the ownership certificate “Red Shift is yours.”
Just then my AI said ownership transfer complete. “But why me?”
He stood up and the privacy shield went down and the hanger floor came into focus. “There are few pilots out there, everything is done by AI but I didn’t make Red Shift for those people I made it for people like you and me.”
“Flight Span may be done but Red Shift is mine and I want you to keep on flying her since I can’t.”
Everything that is left here now is you and your team’s.
Suddenly a manifest appeared on my terminal of everything in the hanger. There was a custom frigate in the aft hanger which was put on hold 3 months ago.
“Your giving us all of it but why?”
Will turned around to face me, putting his hands on my shoulders. “I’m still CEO and most of the assets that belonged to the company have been moved. My AI caught wind of what was happening and I bought out as much as I could. The Odyssey became Flight Span’s when the clients cancelled their order we returned a portion of their funds minus a substantial fee and I bought it instead and had it finished. Now it’s all you and your team’s free and clear. Think of it as a fuck you to Thaden.”
I couldn’t process what I was hearing Will had just given us 3 ships and enough material where we could start our own company. I had to pick up my jaw off the floor.
“Everyone on your team has just got the notices, Red Shift is yours and yours alone because you treated her like a lady should be treated and I’ve created a company out of the transferred assets with you being the majority shareholder, so the Odyssey is yours free and clear of Flight Span.’
“So that’s why we are here and no one else, that’s why they’ve been packing up everything and putting onboard the Odyssey.”
“Yes but I wanted to tell you first, your team is coming up now and I’ll go over everything with all of you but you’ve been great to my ship and I am happy it is now yours. The ships are yours, the rest of it has been deemed as scrap. I had my AI doctor the results, so to Thaden everything that is lest is worthless even though you and I both know better”
“Why me, why us?”
He motioned the screen up and flipped a video so I could see “Because of this.” The video just showed cameras from all the labs in the complex. It showed our team in our lab working. There was always a few of us in session, that I knew because I clocked in a lot of all-nighters as well working on Red Shift.
“You were working on the engine module and you guys got near military grade performance on what once was just a standard commercial SCD. That is unheard off. That kind of work is why I did it, why I know you’ll do Flight Span and me proud.”
He shook my hand and smiled “Now let’s tell your team.”