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 LES ETUDES: The Mission

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Owle Gray

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PostSubject: LES ETUDES: The Mission   Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:25 am

The cold, hard outer suits of my partners rubbed against mine in this small, confined space. Stifled by all the bodies around me, I tried to get a sense of where we were. It looked like an incubator – barren, well-lit, long, with a low ceiling. It had the smell of clinical cleanliness; blazing white light shone right through the clear glass-like plastic. My partners stood around me, perfect clones of one another, completely covered in their tough white outfits. Their faces, if any existed, were hidden from view. They were as unresponsive as the Queen’s guard. My reflections of the place and my partners turning up nothing, I turned my attention instead on the Mission. Nobody talked of it; nobody talked at all, but I knew we all thought of it.

“The Mission”. It was a vague term in the least. I had only heard rumours of it back in the Development Factory – you know, that place with all the noisy machines, where we were transferred from one level to another, under constant close surveillance, as part of our Preparation. I only remember that I did not believe it at first. I just wanted to see Space, but the idea of a destined goal appeared too good to be true even then. And yet I liked it. There was something great in those wild dreams of exploration, a sense of the magnificent awaiting its discovery, a new way of life which we will indubitably find in the greater world. The notion of expanding one’s horizons appeals to the youth, especially when taken in combination with vigorous training and repetitive daily routines. Now, so many days later, I stared around at the set of my round-shouldered companions. The feeling of anticipation hung heavily in the aseptic air of the container.

A violent shake rattled our suits against one another. In the commotion that ensued I managed to get closer to the only visible exit. My stiff neighbours pressed their bodies against mine as another violent shake nearly swept us off our feet. Just a little turbulence, nothing unexpected. The White Wall in front of me presented a solid, majestic and impregnable obstacle, closed in by partitions of translucent plastic. I looked around. These four simple barriers of polypropylene served as our only protection from the World lying without. And yet, off to the left, the white concealed a faint trace of an oval grey crack – the only sign of a hermetically sealed hatch connecting us to the rest of the universe. Another shake, a tilt to one side, and I was sprawled over the hatch, pushed by the collective mass of my fellows. I heard a faint click as the hatch was opened from the other side.

Blazing light fell once more onto the polished shell of my tough space suit. I was the only one now directly facing the door, and a further shake threw me from my latest home onto a strange leathery floor. The hatch closed behind me. I was now among the aliens.

This bizarre platform rose, elevating me above the incubator I was so crudely forced to leave. I had landed flat on my face, but rolled over slightly now, only to glimpse the blinding white light I had witnessed before. There was no escape as the strange pink elevator carried me higher and higher. I could just discern a dark chamber that I was apparently carried to. It had a horizontal entrance, like some strange, neomodern, sci-fi house; I had time enough to note that the doors were padded with the same fleshy-coloured material as the platform that I was on. I peered into the ominous darkness. It had a rancid smell, rather like something rotten. Warm, moist air gushed over the base and pushed against the slimy walls of that chamber. My instincts stirred, but too late: the platform had connected to the door and its other end was elevating, forming a slide directly into what I now knew to be my Death Chamber.

Myriads of thoughts, infinite yet insignificant in their rampant race through my head, stirring me to the core. It was as if, within the last moments, I meant to think a lifetime’s full. The hatred of the aliens, with their secret plans and strange ways, was surpassed by a brief recollection of my trials in the now-futile Preparation. I sneered at “the Mission” – so silly an idea I had never before seen, how could I ever have believed it? And yet, I must confess that my last moments were filled with a numb blankness, whence my mind refused to produce any final food for reflection. Unknown liquids issued from somewhere in the chamber’s floor. I would have died like this, nobly but stupidly, with nothing but a want of an idea within the chambers of my blank head, had not some divine spirit sent a final message to fill my empty head: its meaningless blabber filled my spirit with unexplained and foreign happiness. From beyond the room’s wall, a young child’s eager voice cried: “Me too, me too, I want a tic-tac, too!”


Last edited by Owle Gray on Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:39 am; edited 2 times in total
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Owle Gray

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PostSubject: Re: LES ETUDES: The Mission   Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:34 am

OK, explanations:

The title is actually: A Talkative Tic-Tac, but I thought it would be too much of a giveaway.

I don't know why I'm posting this. I really don't. I didn't even proofread it properly. And I agree, it is too much like the other story, and therefore quite unoriginal.

Still... something stirred me to write it after I found an empty tic-tac box, and I wanted to see what it would look like.

Since I read Emma and watched Hamlet in a short period of 24 hours, the language in this is...um.... weird.

I promise this is the FINAL time I will make you bear with a description of food and mouths. It is getting old. Sleep
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Dark S3cret
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PostSubject: Re: LES ETUDES: The Mission   Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:48 pm

Okay. So I definitely thought astronauts when I was reading this. Very Happy Especially with the mentions of space suits and extra-terresterial beings .

So is this your extended metaphor?

But then it made me laugh when you said it was Tic-Tac.

Also liked the capitalization of "White Wall"

I don't want to be super repetitive, so... you know, everything is in order. Your prose is as great as always. ;]
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Owle Gray

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PostSubject: Re: LES ETUDES: The Mission   Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:55 pm

hee-hee. Thanks Smile Embarassed

No, interestingly enough this was not the extended metaphor.

This was just an I-m-weird-and-I-must-throw-out-a-tic-tac-box-that-I've-hoarded-for-a-while-so-I'll-now-write-a-story-about-it-and-looking-through-it-the-opening-looks-like-a-spaceship-hatch-so-let's-write-and-see-if-I-can-trick-anyone-without-being-too-misleading.

In the beginning, I tried to be careful: 'It looked' rather than 'I saw' 'I tried to get a sense of ' rather than 'I looked around'

But then midway through I got tired (this cold is seriously draining me), so it turned into a conpiracy, and at the end I actually believed tictacs were tiny creatures encased in sugary suits with tiny-tiny holes for eyes. 'Cause, seriously, who ever takes the time to look closely at the insides of a tic tac >.>
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The Blue Box

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PostSubject: Re: LES ETUDES: The Mission   Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:25 pm

Will comment more later.
But, I got halfway through before thinking, "Waiiiit, there is something more going on here."
Partially because I knew it was you who'd written it Wink I think it was the 'strange pink elevator' that really got me thinking.
Be back soon.

um.
after 2 King Lear passages and a phone call >.>
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The Blue Box

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PostSubject: Re: LES ETUDES: The Mission   Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:42 pm

Mmmkay. (I gave up on Lear ^^) I am going to be nitpicky, because I think that the perfectionist in you might like that Smile and go through and suggest edits. Because it's how I feel like doing it. So there.



[...] Their faces, if any existed, were hidden from my view. They were as unresponsive as the Queen’s guard. Love this simile Very Happy My reflections on my surroundings and my partners turning up nothing, I turned my attention instead on the Mission. [...]

“The Mission”. It was a vague term at the very least. I had only heard rumours of it back in the Development Factory – you know, that place with all the noisy machines, where we were transferred from one level to another, under constant close surveillance, as part of our Preparation. ---> I appreciate that you are sick. But I find this very awkward. It doesn't fit at all with the rest of the piece, I find. It's the conversational tone that does it. [...] I simply wanted to see Space [...] The notion of expanding one’s horizons appeals to the youth, especially when combined with vigorous training and repetitive daily routines. Now, so many days later, I stared around at the set of my round-shouldered companions.Ahahaha, love it Smile "round-shouldered"=brilliant. The feeling of anticipation hung heavily in the aseptic air of the container.

[...] These four simple barriers of polypropylene As you know, I love it when you use big science words in writing Smile served as our only protection from the World lying without. And yet, off to the left, the white concealed a faint trace of an oval grey crack – the only sign of a hermetically sealed hatch connecting us to the rest of the universe. Another shake, and a tilt to one side, and I was sprawled over the hatch, pushed by the collective mass of my fellows.

[...] I was the only one now directly facing the door, and a further shake threw me from my latest --> I find this implies that it hasn't been in the box long - perhaps you could say, 'what had been my home for so long' or something? home onto a strange leathery floor. The hatch closed behind me. I was now among the aliens.

This bizarre platform rose, elevating me above the incubator I had been so cruelly forced to leave. I had landed flat on my face, but rolled over slightly now, only to glimpse the blinding white light I had witnessed before. There was no escape as the strange pink elevator carried me higher and higher. I could just discern a dark chamber that I was apparently being carried to. [...]

Myriads of thoughts, infinite yet insignificant in their rampant race through my head, stirred me to the core. [...]



Okay, apologies for the abrasive red... But you asked so nicely for criticism that I felt I should be thorough. And the vocabulary at the end (i.e. 'whence') is just entertaining. Too much Emma/Lear? Perhaps :] not that that's a bad thing.
Hope you feel better soon. But take time while you're feeling sick to write us something psychedelic Wink
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Dark S3cret
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PostSubject: Re: LES ETUDES: The Mission   Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:53 pm

Sweet.

But now I feel guilty. ;]
Only not really, because I used to do in-depth editing suggestions like this only no one ever used it. HOWEVER, since you two wonderful talented writers are now so prolific and HERE, I will resume doing so when possible.

KATIE. Nice crit. *gives you candy*
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The Blue Box

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PostSubject: Re: LES ETUDES: The Mission   Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:25 pm

omg yay candy Smile

Not that I didn't do it out of the goodness of my heart or anything, but mostly it was cause I didn't want to do Lear Wink
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Owle Gray

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PostSubject: Re: LES ETUDES: The Mission   Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:14 am

WOW. It's like a christmas present, all white and red, waiting for me. Please hold while I read.
Thanks. I like it. And I like the fact that I don't agree with much of it. Surprised

I think my key point of conflict is changing the conversational tone. It's neat how you object to my lack of use of the conversational tone in the piece, and then proceed to fix some of the intentional mannerisms of my character's language. He's meant to be a factory drone tictac, so his english is not well (<-- which MAKES me want to finish him off by way of digestive juices). Thus there are phrases which don't tie in grammatically - I am keeping 'stirring', 'the place', 'in the least', and 'just' where there really should be 'simply'. And I've kept 'the youth'; it needs to be a little spiteful.

faces = will change, thanks
Extra 'and' = will delete, thanks
I decided against opting for 'combined'. I put 'taken in combination with' as a slight association with pills, which you would take so many times a day, and which resemble tictacs. It's one of the subtleties I want to keep.

Now this I want to discuss. You say 'my latest' should be changed because it implies that they had not been in the box for long - but they haven't; Who would want stale tictacs?

I am honoured that you took that kind of time. Smile Care to give the same attention to 'People-less'? Very Happy
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The Blue Box

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PostSubject: Re: LES ETUDES: The Mission   Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:56 am

Hee hee, glad you liked it Smile

I guess my issue with the conversational tone, despite the fact that it makes perfect sense the way you explained it just now, is that it doesn't seem to carry through the whole piece. I can only really see the "english that is not well" ( Razz ) in that particular sentence - and then at the end it goes all 'whence' and it just feels like it's a different voice. The larger criticism, then, would be that the tone should be more consistent.

Re. stale tictacs (do you know, I've actually never had a tictac?) - I guess I would say that they've been in the box a while because it takes time for tictacs to go from factory to store and then sit on the shelf at the store and then be bought and THEN be eaten... And also because I imagine that for small things, time moves more slowly than for big things. e.g. a day for a baby is a lot longer than a day for an old person. You're the one taking physics, you can tell me whether that is true or not, but that was my logic.

I can have a go at "People-less" - it's shorter than this so that should be fine Smile
I'm not making a habit of this, mind. It's too time-consuming and I am too busy.
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Owle Gray

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PostSubject: Re: LES ETUDES: The Mission   Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:46 pm

Yeah. The whence is going to have to go. Sad

I agree about time; not for small things in general, because that's not physics, that's neuroscience, how we perceive time to move, I think it has to do with new incoming events, ...Ok, trying to stay on task. I just found it strange how quickly our tictac supply at the local store gets renewed (because people are constantly buying them), so I picture this more as a they-were-made-shipped-and-now-arrive-at-the-store-and-right-away-they-were-bought scenario. I claim artistic license there Smile. Besides, I thought of the tictac box being in a package as kind of the space trip (because it is dark, and they can't tell if they are moving or not), and then, when the package was unfolded, it's this bright blazing light, like they are flying directly into a star or a supernova, and because now the tictac box is shaken (it's impossible to open packages without disturbing its contents), it's kind of like turbulence and acceleration, see? And then, taking the one box out is like the spaceship kind of releasing a probe. And then after they get used to the white light, they think they got captured by aliens.

OK, conclusion, this is my last post in a while - I'll get to your latest piece in about a week, NOT THIS WEEK; here's hoping I survive; it was nice knowing you. Smile
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