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MoonScape

MoonScape

Continuation,

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Fantasy / Sci-fi


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Bobby W Lee (United States)


Chapter 3: Space Truckin'
Sitting in deep space, aboard the "Speckled Bird"...a Dinamic Mining Asset Recovery Vessel (Or DMARV for short) assigned to this vector of space...Tommy Gray, or Tom-Tom as Bill Stratt called him (Tommy called Stratt numerous things), worked feverishly on a keyboard console linked to the ship's central computer system.
The six foot four scarecrow of a tech spun his chair around to another keyboard,and after guzzling half a can of soft drink...began typing. He glanced up at the flatscreen monitors on the adjacent wall, his curly brown hair falling into sensitive hazel eyes. Impatiently he brushed the inevitable curls aside.
"Five foot to your right...Stratt...see it? Right there!"
He spoke into what appeared to be thin air...but in reality...a chip imbedded in his ear relayed sound between them. By pinching his ear, Tommy could shift between fifty two channels.Not that he needed all of them...but he had them...just in case.
Right now he was connected to William (Bill) Stratt, the forty six year old pilot of this glorified tin can. Stratt was an ex-combat pilot who had flown with the Cosmic Marines under the Galactic Coalition of Planets...more simply known as GCP.
Stratt was five foot ten and in superb physical shape without being muscle bound like a lot of the Special Forces soldiers. He was a bit of an eccentric, a sharp mind that absolutely hated authority of any kind...but one damn fine pilot with razor instincts. The GCP had gotten the worst of the deal when Stratt's C.O. finally racked up enough violations to drum Stratt out of their space fleet.
Not one to idle...Stratt immediately went to work for a group of pirates that hijacked ore shipments...more importantly...diamond shipments. One of them was an old flying buddy of Stratt's. Ray Smith...a twenty four year old escapee from Cryogenic-Prison, and ex-Cosmic Marine.
A couple of Ray's old street buddies were notorious hackers. They had engineered Ray's escape and made it look like a legal parole. Ray had stolen an Australian transport ship and hauled all of his hacking buddies to an asteroid that had been terraformed as a remote prison before the cryogenic technology. It was now owned by Warren Miller, part of his vast holdings, bought through one of his splinter companies.
Privately...Miller was financing Ray to recruit fighter pilots and wreak havoc on the rival mining companies...specifically the Australian and Chinese. On Ray's recommendation, Stratt was promoted to a quasi-legal operation that protected the Moon's interests.
Stratt had been paired with Tommy Gray...one of the best techs to ever hit space. The two had immediately formed a bond, becoming fast friends. But to hear them sometimes...one would think them bitter enemies. It was just their strange way of having fun...and letting off stress.
One of their main jobs was to monitor the GCP'S twelve battle cruisers, and the myriad assortment of fighter craft the US, Australia, and the Chinese employed to protect their interests in space mining operations. Their other main objective was to destroy anything that remotely threatened the Moon or Miller's interests...and whatever else Miller told them to do.
Australia and China already had a few conflicts over 'who owned what' vectors of space and which asteroids. Ray's pirates had nudged them ever closer to the brink of all out war. The GCP had it's hands full just trying to prevent war.
The US predictably was trying to play both ends against the middle. It had planned on terraforming Mars and building military bases there to protect it's interests and nine prototype 'Battle-Miners'...armed transport ships. The rub came in when it was discovered that Mars was inhabited...and destroyed Earth's exploratory spaceship.
Now the US President Conners took an even harder look toward the Moon. They began a campaign to try and oust Miller from his beloved Moon...citing that the Moon was crucial to the US's national security, and the fact that they already had a military base there before Miller bought the Moon with it's strategic position.
The GCP sided with Miller and determined that the Moon deal was a valid acquisition. That didn't stop Jimmy Conners. He knew there was more than one way to 'skin a cat'.
Australia managed to make friends with the Martians...which infuriated the Chinese...strengthened Conner's resolve to take back the Moon...and made Miller 'pour on the coals' to further his various projects and re-evaluate his position.


Competition: The Pen Factor 2016, Round 1

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Review 1:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • The grammar, typography, sentence structure and punctuation would benefit from a further round of editing to avoid distracting from the quality of the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • Your story struck a good balance between narration and authentic dialogue.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
Characterization
  • Make sure your characters are multidimensional. Do they have strengths and weaknesses? Mere mortals make the most interesting stories because they are like you and me and we are able to empathize with their journey. That’s how the connection with a character is formed.
Main character
  • Connect us to your main protagonist with a deeper characterization. Could your protagonist have a few more distinguishing character traits?
Character conflict
  • The reader’s experience of the story is heightened when the characters’ goals, conflicts and purpose are clear. Perhaps giving this aspect of the story further attention could be worthwhile.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a difficult balancing act. Are you sure all the material is relevant to the plot, setting and atmosphere? Make sure each sentence makes sense to the reader, and each paragraph moves their experience forward.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. The build-up was intriguing and I felt the tension mounting with each word.
Technique and tight writing
  • The writing was tight and economical and each word had purpose. This enabled the plot to unravel clearly. Your writing exhibits technical proficiency.
Point of view
  • Point of view helps the reader identify whose perspective we are engaging with, i.e. who is narrating the story. It can sometimes be helpful to double check that the point of view in the story is successfully handled. Ensure you consistently use the same point of view and tense throughout.
Style and originality
  • I loved your fresh approach. Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose requires both skill and practice.
Atmosphere and description
  • A writer’s ability to create mood and atmosphere through evocative description is vital to the reader’s experience. It’s a real skill to craft out how the characters react to the setting and atmosphere and perhaps your story could go further in its description. The reader wants to experience the same sensory and poignant journey as the characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The scene needs to be vivid and realistic in order to hold the reader’s attention. Being concise and plausible at the same time is tricky. Giving this further attention could perhaps be worthwhile.
Opening line, paragraph and hook
  • Your strong opening was a promise of wonderful things to come!

Review 2:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Technique and tight writing
  • The writing was tight and economical and each word had purpose. This enabled the plot to unravel clearly. Your writing exhibits technical proficiency.
Atmosphere and description
  • Your story was a feast for the senses. The atmosphere wrapped itself around me and transported me onto the page alongside your characters.
Opening line, paragraph and hook
  • Your strong opening was a promise of wonderful things to come!

Review 3:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • The grammar, typography, sentence structure and punctuation would benefit from a further round of editing to avoid distracting from the quality of the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • There needs to be more balance between narration and dialogue. Avoid overdoing the narrative and remember that dialogue can diffuse long claustrophobic text.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a challenging balancing act. The story had a clear and coherent progression with a structured plot.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. The build-up was intriguing and I felt the tension mounting with each word.
Technique and tight writing
  • When writing is tight, economical and each word has purpose, it enables the plot to unravel clearly. Try and make each individual word count.
Opening line, paragraph and hook
  • Great stories, nowadays, start with a powerful opening line and compelling hook in order to keep the reader engaged. Have you baited the reader enough?
General comments from your fellow writer 3:
The beginning could be improved by taking out the 'information' eg abbreviations, nicknames. Some would be okay here, others could be introduced later. It would benefit from dialogue, otherwise it tends to read like a report. stick at it. good bones.