Friday, 12 April 2013

My first writing challenge

Whoops! Forgot to post this on Sunday but here it is anyway, my first writing challenge completed.

I know a few bits I'm not happy with (primarily a lot of repetition of 'realised') but I'll work on that, not aiming for a perfect story straight away, need to get myself back into writing shape first and these little practice runs are fun :) The formatting might also be a bit wonky (that's my term) but I wrote it in wordpad and it didn't copy/paste over correct

So to recap, the challenge was:
The theme of this story: epic conflict. The main characters: sickly manager and militant servant. The start of the story: natural disaster. The end of the story: insight.

And here is how it went...


“EARTHQUAKE!” Davidson yelled as he ushered the last of the team into the protection modules. That was the last thing they needed right now as the sound of the PGI gunfire was heard as the building started to shake.

“Move Jim, come on! Don’t go back for anything!”

Davidson looked down the corridor and realised he was the last one left. The emergency evacuation handbook didn’t cover what would happen if the PGI attacked during an earthquake but he had to improvise, his team depended on him as the only manager in that day. The local news had predicted the earthquake would happen over the next couple of days so there was only a handful of staff in, enough to keep the paper work under control otherwise they’d be back in next week with the executives complaining at them from the safety of the bunkers.

As he was about to go through the door Davidson coughed and stumbled, that familiar taste of blood and mould told him he needed to take a tablet before the virus got worse. Checking his pocket he realised his tablets were in his suit jacket back in the office.

“Damn!” he cursed out loud, realising he had not taking his tablet this morning. He needed to get one within the next hour or he’d pass out. Realising there was a chance that the protection modules wouldn't have any tablets and the PGI keeping a presence in the zone would hinder rescue attempts he decided to run quickly back to his jacket to get one before meeting the rest of the team

The building trembled and he heard PGI soldiers as he ran down the corridor. It wasn’t far but the voices meant they were nearby and he hoped  they wouldn’t notice him Ducking between the desks he made his way toward his own but stopped short, there was something there, a massive, grey metal figure with a skull head. Davidson coughed and it turned around and looked directly at him. It was a CY-pher, a virtually unstoppable robot, designed and built by the PGI to put fear and terror in the free world.

The CY-pher stared directly at Davidson as it lifted a rifle, pointing the barrel at him.




Then the floor collapsed.

Davidson rolled over, sitting up, dust and glass covered him. His body ached from the fall and he coughed up blood, the viron was getting worse and the last thing he remembered was the floor collapsing . Looking around he was trapped in the floor below, it looked like accounts but he wasn’t sure, the exits were blocked by rubble and the only way out was through a window, a sixty metre drop. His jacket was nowhere to be found, probably under rubble or still in the floor above. Looking over he seen the CY-pher lying there, its right arm torn off, caught under masonry. Then the eyes lit up an unholy red.




## AMBIENT TEMPERATURE 18C. LOCAL TIME: 1147. POSITION L=56.11 -3.15 N=0.08 0.39 ##

Davidson looked at the CY-pher as it stirred then darted behind some rubble that had fallen and held his breath.


The CY-pher stood upright and scanned the area. Beads of sweat formed on Davidsons forehead as he remained motionless, the taste of blood almost making him gag.

Identify yourself” the CY-pher asked in a computerised voice.

Davidson remained silent, he knew he’d die here, murdered by the PGI.. Alone, away from his wife and kids. This was it, this was the end.

Identify yourself” the CY-pher asked again.

Exhausted, Davidson exhaled and spat out the blood. Lifting his hands above his head he emerged from behind the masonry

“Please don’t hurt me PGI. I do not want to get involved in your war with us; I just want out of here and back to my family. Please let me go” Davidson pleaded

I have no intention of hurting you. I simply asked you to identify yourself” replied the CY-pher

“Michael” Davidson replied “Michael Davidson… I work here… Invoices on the 8th floor” he dropped his arms and tasted the blood and mould.

Where is research and development?” the CY-pher responded

“I.. Uhm.. I’m not sure.” Davidson hesitated and thought to himself”I think R&D moved to Sector 23/R a couple of months ago but we didn’t really see them they were on floor 12”

Damn… What a waste, what an absolute waste of life” swore the CY-pher. Davidson looked at the robot and edged back, something wasn’t right about this ‘killing machine’.

“What are you?” he asked

What do you think I am Michael Davidson?

“A robot, programmed to kill anyone that falls under the WDA”

I am not a robot and I will not kill you unless you attack me” came the metallic response

“So what are you then?” Davidson coughed, tasting that familiar blood and mould taste only this time it was stronger, much viler and he realised he had limited time left


You have the viron?” the CY-pher asked

“No thanks to you PGI that dropped it on us. Innocents died that day PGI… My sister was one of them. I was caught in the infection fall out and now I’m going to die because of it. Your attack on innocents only resulted in us showing that we would never give in to your demands” Davidson snapped back

That's what the WDA told you, what you wanted to hear.” Retorted the CY-pher

“I seen the planes. I seen the bombs. I seen the people dying and YOU.. Death bringer” Davidson spat “You might be a mass of metal and death sent to kill us and I might just be a manager here, sending out forms to barracks telling them they’ve spent too much on ammunition killing scum like you . But I was there CY-pher...” Davidson paused, getting his breath back as he leaned against the rubble, his head sinking.

So was I.. I died there and I watched your government kill you ” the CY-pher said

“You don’t know...” Davidson lifted his head “ … what? You died there?”

You wanted to know what I am. Then I can explain but first take your anti-Viron

“I don’t have any… It’s in my jacket which was near you when it collapsed. Please, do you have any?”

The CY-pher looked around the rubble “No. How bad is it?

“It's blooded, maybe ten minutes left”

The CY-pher paused for a moment.

Then it will be too late. Even if the extraction team makes it here they won’t have anti-Viron

Davidson  suddenly slumped to his knees and put his hands to his face crying.

“So this is it? This is how I die… I fell out with Linda.. My wife this morning, we had an argument and I forgot to take my tablet before I left the apartment. She didn’t want me to go in today, she was scared something would happen with the earthquake..  Linda.. I’m so sorry.. I’m so sorry” Davidson wept. “My kids… Harry and Thomas.. Daddy will be gone.. oh god.. no… “ he checked his pockets “I have a picture of them in my wallet but it’s in my jacket.. I’ll never see them again” Davidson sobbed, his shoulders shook, he retched and coughed hearing the CY-pher walk towards him.

I know how you feel Michael. My family is lost to me as well” replied the CY-pher

“LIES! YOU’RE A MACHINE!” Davidson shouted

Listen to me Michael. Accept what has happened, the world isn’t black and white, I’m no killing machine.. at least.. Not right now

Davidson looked up, took his tie off and wiped his eyes and mouth with it.

“You’ve lost 'family' as well?” Davidson replied  “What is going on?”

I was a man. I was there at the V-Battle when the viron bomb was dropped

“So you admit at least you dropped a bomb and killed innocents?”

I never denied we dropped the bomb. We warned the WDA of our attack, it had become the only way to save ourselves. Under four buildings in the zone were Hyper-Plasma rockets. They were being primed by your military to launch in two days towards us. They would have killed around two billion civillians had they struck. We realised the only way to prevent them being primed was to make the area uninhabitable. Communications went to the WDA telling them to evacuate the area but as the hours counted down we realised they were using civilians as a human shield. We tried to drop personal in to evacuate as many as we could but we were shot down. I was in a VTOL and we were shot down early in the engagement..”

Davidsons eyes glazed over and he took a minute, steadying himself “Then how are you..?”

My body was dead. My brain was barely alive, drifting towards oblivion when a team moved in and recovered our bodies. We became part of a project, our brains placed inside what you see now to give the CY-phers the ability to learn and improvise. It was a success but many of us retained our memories and were driven insane, they had to be shut down and the brains destroyed .”

Davidson coughed violently, the CY-pher moved to steady him but he pulled his arm away “I can keep myself up PGI, but carry on”

"Eventually they discovered that we retained memories of our past and they developed suppressors that dulled our memory. Only when those were shut off or we were away from our unit did our memories begin to resurface and this is how I talk to you now. My unit is dead, the suppressor they carry most likely crushed and my internal suppressor must be damaged. I can remember faces of a woman, children and I know they are my family. Those that were taken from me because the WDA did not evacuate you

 The CY-Pher continued “My name is Jake. Jake..  I cannot remember now.. My family will believe me dead and I would never let them see me like this even if I could return

Davidson coughed up blood, and slumped to his side before rolling onto his back, his eyes were dilated and skin looked fatally pale.

Davidson quietly spoke “So we're dead to our families. Dead because of a war we had no control over, dead because both sides hate one another enough to put innocents at risk over selfish pride.”


Davidson closed his eyes and Jake knelt beside him “I'm sorry about this war... I have three minutes left before the extraction team arrive and my memories become suppressed. I have an idea though, for you friend

Davidson wearily opened his eyes and looked at him “Help me Jake”

Speak a message to your wife, your children, I will record it and  I will get it to them when the suppression next weakens but tell me where you live ” Jake asked

“477 Sector 43/H. Linda. Harry. Thomas. I love you.” Davidson coughed. “Linda, remember our wedding day... Harry, remember the bonfires and laughter and Tommy think of us building those blocks together, to make the world a better place. I love you all” Davidson closed his eyes, his breathing slowed and black blood trickled from his mouth.

Jake held Davidsons head in his hand, overwhelming sadness and grief hit him as memories started to return.

“Ka.. Cl.. . My love... I need to remember you, to find you as well” his thoughts were interrupted by the sound of engines outside the building and the CY-pher staggered to its feet.


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