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Writing update #1 (includes small excerpt from Legacy of Earth!)

03/15/2017

So, among other things I wanted this site as a place to talk about the writing process and as a whole just tell people where I’m at in my writing. Today, it’s more of the latter.

So, what is ol’ Dani up to at the moment? Well, currently I’m knees deep into Legacy of Earth, the sequel to Battle for Earth. Part one is finished in the sense that it has a beginning and an end, but needs some editing and a few minor additions here or there. I’m some 23,000 words into the second part and I’m fairly close to the halfway mark. This series should be at least four parts perhaps longer.  Each part will be between 40,000 to 60,000 words and will be posted as a serial.

I’ve already uploaded some of the cover art to the website, if you wish to view it go here and scroll down to Legacy of Earth Covers and Legacy of Earth bios.

So, what is Legacy of Earth about? Well, it picks up some 160 years after Battle, and tells the tale of a descendant of Lexa and Lily who has the unfortunate luck of being named Jellfree after his rather famous great-grandmother. He’s not exactly too happy about this, so he starts calling himself ‘Jek’ instead. He’s none too fond of the K’teth or the conclave which represents them, since his grandmother, the woman who raised him and also Lexa and Lily’s daughter, is the chairwoman of said conclave you could imagine this creates a few conflicts.

Angry at the world, Jek leaves home and makes a new name  for himself, even going so far as to claim he wasn’t related to ‘those Briggs’. The actually story picks up a number of years after he’s left home and successfully distanced himself from his family’s legacy. Unfortunately, for him, his obsession with a certain famous lost ship throws him right back in with the conclave and is forced to join a fight against a frightening new enemy.  When the story draws to a close the story will have answered one of the biggest questions left open by Battle for Earth, what the hell happened to the Phyrr Lesch?

And just for fun, here’s an excerpt from Legacy of Earth: Birthright, the first part of the series. It basically consists of the entire second chapter. It hasn’t seen a lot of editing, so please forgive any grammar and spelling errors you might encounter.

I panted, coming to a stop in front of a door. “I really, need to spend a little more time in the gym.”

“Jek?”

“Forget about,” I shook my head and gritted my teeth. “I think this is it.”

“Are you sure… I mean how can you tell?”

“The door marked ‘Research Area: Authorized Personnel Only’ kind of gives it away. If shit is going down, its gonna be in there.”

It made a certain amount of sense. The Endeavor had been research ship on a very specific mission, if something freaky had been brought aboard it would be taken to the one place on the ship where it could best be examined and contained. I placed my hand on the controls, cursing when it failed to comply with the command to open and took a few steps back. I whipped my pistol out and removed the energy cell. I was really keen on blowing the door to shit, but you know what they say about desperate measures and all that.

Energy cells were purposely designed to prevent idiots like me from doing just such a thing, but when you spend enough time with sleezebags and lowlifes who live on the outskirts of their respective societies you picked up a few tricks and frankly I’d lived a pretty sheltered life until striking out on my own. Tanner was the one who’d shown me that particular trick, who had taught her was a matter I hadn’t quite figured out.

I finished the modifications and ducked around the corner, just seconds before the resulting explosion rocked the corridor. Okay, so rocked was too strong of a word, it was more like a little tremor. Either way, once I ducked my head back around the corner and got my first good look the huge freaking hole in the door I didn’t stop to argue semantics. I just took action, running toward the opening and crawling through without hesitation. Stopping dead in my tracks as I stared across the scene laid out before me with eyes as wide as saucers.

“Mom.”

I should have figured that my mother would be at the source of the shit I’d stepped knees deep into. That didn’t mean I understood what the hell any of it meant. My mother’s corpse was sprawled out on the ground, covered in blood, and would have looked unbelievably lifelike if it weren’t for the huge gaping hole in her chest. Her dead eyes stared out into nothingness, and I knelt down a sigh escaping my lips as I looked upon her body. Tears cascaded down my face as I finally found the closure I had sought for so long.

She looked exactly as I remembered. I was only six years old when she went missing, but I had long ago etched the image of her face into my mind. She looked young, perhaps in her thirties, but I knew better my mother had been close to eighty years old. Medical technologies had progressed a lot since the occupation and each successive generation lived longer than the last. I stroked her blue hair a telltale sign that, in life, she had been joined to a K’teth and reached a hand out to close those striking magenta eyes.

I cupped my gloved hand in hers, only realizing, as I did so, that there was something clenched in her palm. I pried it loose, careful not to break or damage her hand. It was a stasis pod no larger than an medium-sized orange, the sort used by scientists to preserve organic samples for later study. I had no idea what she was doing with the thing, but judging from the way she had it clutched in her hand, something told me it was important.

“Jek!” Tanner’s voice cried frantically and my mind instantly returned to the present. “Energy levels are building to dangerous levels. If you’re going to do something it better be soon.”

The only reason I had run towards the source of the energy buildup was to prevent the ship from being destroyed and along with it whatever hope I might have of discovering what had happened to my mother. I hadn’t expected to find her corpse within its vicinity, but now that I was there I knew I would go to whatever means I had to, even sacrifice my own life, to ensure the ship remained intact. The family of the crew deserved to know what had happened to their loved ones.

I craned my neck, to the only item in the room that looked liked it could be anything of importance. It was a plain unadorned box, that probably wouldn’t have looked very out of place in the Centennial Hawk’s cargo hold if it weren’t for one small little detail. It looked positively ancient, like it had been buried for thousands of years and only recently unearthed. There were even a few clumps of dirt still affixed to its surface, but what really caught my eye where were a pair of blinking lights, which alternated between, green, yellow red and orange, on the front along the seam. I couldn’t guess the box’s significance, but if I were a betting man, which I was, I’d say it was the source of all the interference.

I secured the stasis pod to one of the clips on my waist walked over toward the box, reaching a hand out to touch it, and felt the the hairs on the back of my neck rise up as the whole room started to quake.

“What the hell?” I turned toward the source, just in time to watch as the opposite wall collapsed and shot toward me with sudden violent force and a loud metallic shriek.

A figure stood in the new opening, a hulking creature with muscles bigger than my head. I didn’t get a very good look at it, but I knew one thing without even having to ask, it wasn’t friendly. I snatched the box from off the counter, and booked it the hell out of there through the entrance I’d made the comparatively tiny little hole in the door. A high-pitched wail followed me out the opening, followed by the collapse of metal on metal as the creature, unable to fit through the opening, tore the door free from its frame.

Distantly, I heard Tanner’s voice over the roar of the creature as it came tearing after me, but it was not even remotely intelligible. I craned my neck around to get a better look at it, but it was moving so fast that it was little more than a blur. It was big, gray, and had lots of teeth. That was pretty much all I needed to know. I didn’t stop to examine it or try to reason it, assuming it was even a sapient being. For a change, I didn’t do the stupidest thing humanly possible, I did the exact opposite. I ran like hell.

“Tanner. I uh, think I just made a new friend.” I panted rounding a bend just barely managing to evade the creature’s fist as it came crashing down.

“Good lord, what the hell is that sound?” She replied as my pursuer let out a blood curdling scream.

“My new friend, don’t you listen, Tanner?”

“Uh huh, and this new friend is trying to kill you isn’t it?”

“That’s why I like you Tanner, you’re such a smart cookie.”

“You realize I can’t help you, don’t you? I can’t read a damn thing on my end.”

“Figures, I’m being chased down by a massive gray blur with muscles that would make any man tremor in his little booties and teeth big enough to bite me in two and all you can do is provide commentary. Story of my life.”

“Why don’t you shoot it?”

“Can’t, I already used my energy cell to blow a hole in the door of the research area and my only spare one is inside my suit. I think I might have a plan… I won’t speak it aloud in case smiley understands me, but assuming he doesn’t get to me before I manage to institute it, it should work.”

“Why doesn’t that fill me with confidence?”

“You know Tanner, you really need to–” I stopped short as a sudden and very violent force yanked me back and slammed me into the wall.

“Jek? Jek? JEK?!” Judging from her screams, I’m sure Tanner had at least an inkling that something had gone wrong, but the cold acceptance I felt as I stared into the eyes of the creature was far and beyond the most terrifying feeling of my life. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it’s like my mind had been divided into two. One half was scared beyond measure and the other half had already accepted I was going to die.

I got my first good look at the creature, as it’s hand grasped tighter and tighter around my neck. My original assessment had been correct, but as my eyes filled in the gaps my imagination hadn’t, I realized just how much shit I was in. It was like someone had taken a Qharr warrior and crossbred it with a Dre’k. The result, the most horrifying and fearsome creature I had every laid eyes on. One who was all, scales, teeth, muscle and claws.

Shit, it was like the living-embodiment of the fucking boogeyman.

I probably would have died there and then, but as my bowels evacuated, the part of my mind that was terrified beyond measured did something completely and unexpectedly rational. I kicked out with my legs, hitting the huge bastard where it counts, that’s right, square between the legs. The effect was nearly instantaneous, the fucking beasts dropped me like a ship ejecting its cargo and I hit the floor gasping for air. I struggled to my feet, shaking my head as I struggled to fight the remaining effects of hypoxia.

I was back on my feet before the beast had recovered, but only just barely. I snatched the fallen mystery box from the ground and took off down the corridor. Moving at a speed that only adrenaline could sustain, I screamed at the top of my lungs as my pursuer jumped  toward me with one spectacular and impressive leap. It struck so much fear into me, that it actually prompted me to run even faster, moving at speeds I never would have believed possible without the aid of a K’teth symbiote.

I felt the creature’s hand on me again, but before his grip could tighten I spun around and forced the box into his hands. “You know what, you can have it.”

The ploy worked, sort of, the creature’s hand slid away as it fumbled to grab hold of the box and I scrambled away, once again launching myself down the corridor. The creature roared and resumed pursuit, and I screamed louder. Why couldn’t he just have been happy with the damn box?

Pretty soon I reached my destination, which was surprising since I was pretty damned turned around. I didn’t exactly stop to celebrate though, I made a beeline right for the cargo dock release controls, but before I could get there the creature stopped me slammed the box square into the center of my back. I went down again, this time I slid across the floor and slammed my head into the nearest bulkhead. The collision had me seeing stars, and before I could even think about getting back up, I felt something press against my back.

I thrashed about, trying to break free, but the more I struggled the more the pressure tightened. I cried out begging for mercy, in a vain hope that the creature actually understood me, but if he was able to comprehend, my cries either went unnoticed or he just didn’t care. I squeezed my eyes shut, preparing for what must surely be my end when a voice cried out screaming the most beautiful words I’d ever heard.

“Hey, fuck-face! Over here.”

Phase fire illuminated the corridor, as the creature lifted its foot off my back and went tearing down corridor after his new prey. I rolled onto my back, just in time to watch Tanner’s fabulous ass, displayed prominently even through the thick fabric of her EVA suit, disappear down the corridor followed closely by the beast. This time I had a lot more difficulty clawing back to my feet, mainly due to the throbbing pain in my back. The fact that I could move my legs, meant he hadn’t injured my spine, at least not to the point I’d been paralyzed, but there was some definite damage somewhere in the mid-back region. One thing was certain, there was no way I’d be doing any running anytime soon.

“Tanner, goddammit, I told you to stay on the ship!” I spoke into the comm. “Do you have any idea how dumb what you just did was?”

“As opposed to your brand of stupidity?” She replied back. “Besides you’d be dead right now if it weren’t for me so I fully expect to here the words thank and you sometime in the not so distant future.”

I grimaced shaking my head, rubbing a hand up and down my back hoping that it would help ease the nearly overwhelming pain and thus help me move better, but the fabric of the suit was too thick for me to feel much of anything. “Right, just get back here, would you? And have a tether ready, things are gonna get pretty… turbulent in here.”

“You’re one crazy motherfucker, you know that, Jek?”

“Yeah, well I wasn’t expecting you to be here.”

“Need I remind you? Tanner here… Jek not dead”

I hobbled over to the controls trying to hurry, but unable to produce more than a crawl. Whatever the hell that thing had done to me it had really fucked me up. I was having a hard time just walking in a straight line. I did finally manage to reach the control panel and was glad to find that it was ready for my commands.

I glanced through the transparasteel doors, into the cargo hold beyond. It was dark, probably to conserve power. Not a surprise, cargo holds didn’t see a lot of foot traffic compared to the rest of the ship why keep it lit all the time? Tanner and I did the same thing on the Centennial Hawk.

I knew what was on the far side of the cargo bay concealed by the shadows without being told, the bay doors. I know it’s just a stroke of brilliant deductive reasoning, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to congratulate myself. A blood curdling scream cascaded through the corridor hitting my ears and producing a shiver down my spine.

“Fuck it.” I anchored my tether to the console and turned my head just in time to watch Tanner reappear followed closely by the creature.

I opened the doors leading into the cargo hold and Tanner took her cue, latching her own tether in place. Before I could open the exterior doors the creature’s eyes locked onto me again and it let out another howl as it came charging straight toward me, again.

“SHIT!”

I slammed my hand down on the emergency override mechanism, but he was on me before the doors had started to open. Tearing into my chest, with claws that looked a whole hell of a lot more menacing than a phase pistol. I screamed out blood splattering all over the place, but it was to no avail the creature was relentless. He slammed me into the console, and I cursed spitting blood into his face as he raised one of his massive arms to make a swing at me.

He never had the chance, the doors finally slid open with so much force that it produced a loud clang and the whole ship rocked. Everything in the area that wasn’t bolted down or tethered was sent hurtling through the new opening. Most of that included the contents of the cargo hold and the mysterious box, but what it didn’t include was my buddy the grotesquely terrifying creature from the deepest darkest recesses of my mind.

No, the bastard had managed to grab hold of my ankle and was holding on for dear life. I did the one thing I could do I kicked the bastard with my one free leg. The blow wasn’t as hard as I liked, but his hand had started to slip so it must have done some good. Three successive kicks, his hand slipped a little further until finally he slid free and was sent flying into the deep abyss of space.

Blood was everywhere, and I could feel the darkness creeping at the edge of my vision as I struggled to pull myself close enough so that I could toggle the emergency switch again. I was just barely able to grab hold of it, and force it back into place before my hands went limp. Even as the room re-pressurized and my lungs filled with air, unconsciousness continued to creep away.

It was all the blood I lost and there wasn’t a whole lot I could do. I should have been completely out of my mind, but somehow I remained lucid. Something clicked inside my skull and I finally realized why my mother had been clutching the stasis pod so obsessively. Somehow I mustered enough strength to yank it free from the clip on my suit and slam it down to the ground, shattering it into a thousand pieces.

Tanner screamed my name, but by then it was already too late. The darkness had come to carry me a way, but just before it took hold there was a blur of movement from something that looked like an awful lot like a little ball of gelatin. Maybe, I was hallucinating or maybe it was the one thing I knew that could save my life. Either way, I didn’t remain consciousness long enough to see what happened next.

As my mind receded, I heard a voice calling out. Speaking words I had heard a thousand times over, but always in my dreams.

‘Find her, set her free.’

That should do it for now, everyone have a delightfully demented day,

 

D.A.W.

 

P.S. Remember to check back Saturday for the next installment in my Ragnarok Rising trilogy!

 

  • Reply
    Jacob Hoa Bang 龐國華 (@JacobBang)
    06/04/2017 at 5:05 am

    Yes, I read about Battle For Earth, but wouldn’t you write the new story?

    • Reply
      DAW
      06/04/2017 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Jacob, please try to understand. I am working on a sequel to Battle for Earth, but writing a story of the length and scope as these tales takes time especially when you work a full time job and do this in your spare time like I do. Battle for Earth took me more than two years to write, format and edit and I had a lot of help on the editing part so it was no small undertaking. I’d imagine that the sequel will take a similar length of time.

      • Reply
        Jacob Hoa Bang 龐國華 (@JacobBang)
        06/12/2017 at 12:47 am

        I understand what you mean, so I also am a writer. But I only wonder about the length.

        • Reply
          DAW
          06/12/2017 at 1:04 pm

          Lengthwise, Legacy of Earth will be of similar scope to Battle for Earth. I think all five parts of Battle were something like 250,000 words. Expect something that’s in the ballpark of at least 200,000 words.

  • Reply
    Jacob Hoa Bang 龐國華 (@JacobBang)
    05/22/2017 at 4:10 pm

    WOW!

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