Snippet Time!

Author forum: Sandra Barret

Snippet Time!

Postby sbarret » 24 Aug 2010, 11:58

Okay this is the latest snippet from the SF WIP (working title - Blood of a Traitor). Lemme know if yer feeling the dread by the end:.


Kay stood in formation with the rest of her platoon, one of four shipped out from New China. So far, they'd received minimal mission details, just as her PM predicted. Someone was keeping a tight lid on wherever they were going. They'd spent five long weeks on an amphibious assault vessel that wasn't meant for long trips. 200 marines bunked out in an emptied munitions bay didn't make for a comfortable trip. Their rendezvous point was in the middle of dead space with a massive Naval transport ship. It wasn't until they docked and came aboard that they found out the name of the ship - the HMS Siria, a Latakia-class super transport. It had swallowed their ship and a material support vessel that had already docked. From the look of the dock, it could swallow at least one more.

Platoon rank put them first in line and Kay stood to the right of Jax, with her dufflebag at her feet. Their C.O. and the other platoon commanders formed a short line perpendicular to hers, and two steps behind a grey haired woman in Captain's stripes, their company commander. Kay hadn't been on many missions with their full company, but she recognized the Captain's face from communications vids. From the size of their transport ship, and the expectant faces of her commanding officers, she guessed theirs wasn't the only company going on this mission.

The deck beneath her boots shook, preannouncing the arrival of another ship. All eyes turned to the opposite end of the dock on her right. The air pressure shifted, popping her ears as a grey Class A Special Warfare ship slid into dock a half-kilometer away. The engines quieted to a low rumble and the deck settled. Jax let out a low curse. Kay shot him a quick glance, but his eyes were glued to the latest arrival. She looked back and this time noticed the tell-tale black stripe painted across the bow. That was a damned important detail her PM left out.

They weren't alone in their shock. Her company Captain took an involuntary step backward as the ship's hatch opened near the stern and lowered an access ramp with a metallic thud. For a minute, maybe two, there wasn't a sound in the dock except the hiss of the distant engine as it stopped completely. Then there was movement in the dark shadows of the open hatch. The rhythmic clack, clack, clack reached Kay's ears first. Then she, and everyone else, saw the origin of that noise.

Two columns streamed out of the ship in double-time, setting up a rhythm that Kay felt all the way up through her skull. Squad after faceless squad in massive black exoskeletons formed by rank as one full company stretching from their ship to the farthest edge of Kay's company. They were Black March troops.

Kay could smell the scent change in everyone around her except Jax, the scent of fear. She knew her own scent was changing too, but that was plain old body odor. Jax would be all but pissing himself as he stared back at a full company of his worst nightmare. Kay wasn't too happy about their mission partners either, but she knew there was more to come. Her PM told her that much.

Another moment of silence fell on the landing dock and then, in perfect unison, the Black March company parted down the middle, forming a walled corridor reaching back to their ship. One lone figure emerged from the darkness, fitted in a less-massive but more elaborate gray exoskeleton. Unlike the rest of her company, she left her helmet in the care of one of her two aides, who followed behind her like a pair of obedient mice. She marched slowly through the ranks of her own company looking neither left nor right.

Details emerged as this woman approached. Her face was narrow, and the darkest of brown that spoke of an Old Earth African connection in her bloodline. Her eyebrows arched in perfect symmetry over black eyes that bore into Kay's company commander. She wore the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with two differences, one subtle, one not. She had the crescent and star of her rank, but in red instead of silver, and strapped to her side was the ritual blade of the Hassiens. This wasn't just any Hassien, this was a member of the ruling family, Hassien of Hassien, the only ones who wore those blades, shaped from the purest obsidian to a razor edge shaper than any surgeon's scalpel.
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Re: Snippet Time!

Postby deej » 24 Aug 2010, 12:36

I'm not sure I was scared, but I like it. I'd read more definitely. :-)
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Re: Snippet Time!

Postby Unata » 24 Aug 2010, 15:49

Me also, gimme! :bounce:
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Re: Snippet Time!

Postby Unata » 24 Aug 2010, 15:50

Please :duh:
"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."
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Re: Snippet Time!

Postby Kimiko » 24 Aug 2010, 18:52

Hmm, I think I remember reading a similar scene some time ago. Was it in one of your books or something?

Anyways, I'd say this snippet is a little heavy on the description. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as this is one of those time-passing-slowly moments, but some of the details are just technical stuff which might distract from the *gasp*-fearful mood you're trying to evoke here.
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Re: Snippet Time!

Postby ElaineB » 25 Aug 2010, 01:22

Cool! Totally feeling the dread! I liked it a lot. I thought the description was necessary, this being SF and all.
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Re: Snippet Time!

Postby sbarret » 25 Aug 2010, 05:45

Thanks everyone, glad some of the dread sneaked thru ;-) As for the level of description - it's a deliberate effort this time 'round' to put in more description. I tend to be very sparse on the details so I'm trying to remedy that, w/o going overboard. That said, this snippet is on the long side w/o and real direct action (it's all indirect action) so it may need some changes along the way.

And yes, Kimi, the scene should be hauntingly-familiar if you've read FACE OF THE ENEMY. There is a linkage there, but hopefully it'll come out smooth and not too heavy-handed in the final version.
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Re: Snippet Time!

Postby ElaineB » 25 Aug 2010, 08:53

Good memory, Kimi. I believe I've read two version of FOTE (Academy's Finest, or something, right?) and don't remember this. But then again, it's the sort of scene you always expect in military stories.
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Re: Snippet Time!

Postby Kimiko » 26 Aug 2010, 05:39

Well, I was Sandra's beta reader for FotE, so I've read most of the book twice at least Image
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Re: Snippet Time!

Postby sbarret » 26 Aug 2010, 08:48

...and an excellent beta reader at that! And if I EVER finish this next WIP, you know who's door I'll be knockin on...
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