For the next week or so, I'll be involved in yet another UCF community-building exercise. This one is called "Get Me Rewrite" and it's basically a tandem story with some specific rules. Each participant will be writing up to 500 words of a story and posting them in their blogs (or in our host Nathan's blog, if they don't have one of their own). Each of us will be going twice. I'll be pasting both of my portions in this entry.
It's open for anyone to sign up, with or without a blog, up until Sunday 4pm GMT. People who are coming into it from mine may send their parts to me and I'll put it in here if you'd rather not use your own.
"Mom, what are you and Dad going to do when I go off to the Space Force?" Sophie asked.
"Oh, I think we’ll be fine, dear. The one I’m really worried about is Blink. Are you sure you don’t want him to stay here? No one is really sure if they can survive off planet, and you might not see him for months."
Part Three (written 29 Mar 3:30pm)
Meanwhile, 217 floors down in the alley behind the skyscraper where Sophie and her mother sat, Blink nuzzled forlornly through one of the dumpsters. Nobody believed him when he tried to warn his family that Sophie wasn't really Sophie anymore. Not Dad, who kept saying "What? Timmy fell down a mine shaft?" Not Mom, who just stuffed Blink's mouth full of shrimp crackers. Not the guards at the Academy's front gates, who laughed as they threw him into this dumpster in the first place. Only Sophie herself knew, and she didn't like him knowing. By the cold, menacing way she stared at him when no one else was looking, Blink was certain she was plotting to kill him.
Something scampered across his foot as it darted from one end of the dumpster to the other, under piles of crumpled papers that fluttered in its wake. Blink blinked. Was there an exit to this giant metal box after all? Did he still have time to find someone in this huge sprawling metropolis that could stop Sophie before it was too late?
He dug down through the heaps of discarded sandwich wrappings and improperly shredded confidential documents, past the unidentifiable sticky gooey stuff that stuck some of the deeper layers together, and finally found a small hole in the bottom corner. There was a small brown creature stuck in it. Its little legs waved frantically as Blink nuzzled its rump, and from the outside of the dumpster he heard frightened squeaks.
Part 19 (written 5 Apr 10:30pm)
Majel woke with a start. Jerking bolt upright in bed, eyes snapping open, she exclaimed at the top of her lungs, "OH THE UTTER HORROR!"
"What's that?" said the sleepy voice of her husband Pike. He sat up beside her, rubbing his eyes. "What happened?"
"I just had the most horrid dream!" cried Majel. "We were back on Manhome, and I was a literary agent with a cybernetic boytoy for an assistant, and I dreamed that I was reading the most appalling piece of trash you could ever hope to imagine - only it was all about our poor dear Sophie being taken over by aliens! It was horrible!"
Pike put his arm around her comfortingly. "Now now, calm down honey. It was just a dream. Everything is fine. See? We're here in our UCF-issued home on Chenolla. Sophie is safe and sound at the Spaceforce reprogramming hospital."
"What about Blink?" Majel looked frantically around the bedroom. "Did he really fall down a radioactive mine shaft?"
"Of course not," Pike said soothingly. "He's missing, but the Academy guards said they were doing their very best to find him again."
"And Raven? What about her?" Majel's voice was still alarmed but starting to calm down.
"What do you mean, who's Raven?" Majel's voice rose in pitch, and Pike hurriedly squeezed her shoulders. "The alien! The one that took over Sophie! Oh my good lord, we have to go find her before it's too late!"
"That was part of your dream, honey," Pike said reasonably, keeping a firm hold of her shoulders so she wouldn't bolt from the bed.
The prompter chimed, flashing that an urgent message had arrived. Pike let go of her shoulders and they both climbed out of bed.
White gauze curtains fluttered in the midnight breeze that drifted in from the tiny open window. Under the cold, pale light of a full moon, the message glared up at them from the screen in large orange letters.
"IT IS WITH OUR SINCEREST REGRETS THAT WE INFORM YOU OF THE FINAL FATE OF YOUR DAUGHTER SOPHIE. SHE IS GONE. PLEASE ACCEPT OUR MOST HEARTFELT CONDOLENCES."
"No," Majel sobbed. "No, that can't be what happened."
Pike sighed deeply beside her. "We knew it might happen, especially after the complications set in."
"No," said Majel again, her voice edging toward hysterics. "We have to go to her and let her know everything will be all right."
She tugged herself loose from his grasp and moved toward the door. Pike followed hastily after her, saying something about getting dressed first, but she wasn't paying attention to him anymore. As her hand closed around the doorknob, there came a loud, harsh knock. Majel jerked back with a squeak.
"Colonial Forces Enforcement Services," a man called from outside. "Permit us to enter at once!"
"Now what could they want at this time of night?" Pike wondered. "Something more about Sophie?"
He moved around Majel and opened the door. Majel took one look at the armored officer and screamed. "It's MOWAT!"
Pike blinked in confusion. "What?"
The officer raised his hypersonic blaster rifle and aimed it at Majel. "By official decree of the Spaceforce Magistrate of Defense, we hereby must terminate your existence on Chenolla VI immediately."
"EEEEE!!!" shrieked Majel.
Pike blinked in alarm. "What??"
At that moment, the moonlight abruptly went out. All three of them looked up, just in time to see an enormous latticework icosahedron as it descended from the sky right over their house.
"That looks oddly Tragethen," said the armored officer in confusion.
"EEEEEEE!!!!!" said Majel.
Pike blinked in confused alarm. "What???"