View Full Version : Critique: The begining of...something.

Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum

December 4th, 2005, 12:37 PM
Hi everyone. My name is Charlie and this is my very first post.
Well, I am not a writer by trade. I am actually an independent computer game designer. I have a project going right now that takes place in space. Capital ship versus Capital ship. That kind of thing. So, I have read at least 45 sci fi books in the last 2 months or so for reference and ideas. Mostly military science fiction. (ive always read scifi and fantasy but im on a real reading marathon now!)

So, after reading all these books I figured it might be fun to try and write a story based in the universe we are making the game in and I posted it below. Guess what? It was fun!

Anyway, I’ve never written anything like this before. I’m usually writing design documents, ramp up documents, yadda yadda. This was a nice change of pace and I think I’d like to continue with it.

Well, I posted it below to hopefully get some criticism and critiques. I love military sci fi and I'm taking my Army experence and bringing it to the story as best as i can. I know my grammar and punctuation is atrocious. Try to look past that…lol. And I just left it hanging cause that’s all I have so far. Its not much but am I on a good track? Am I making any serious mistakes? Thanks in advance.

Commodore Henderson strode onto the bridge and stood beside the captains’ chair. He was sparkling in his dress whites with gold trim, high roman collar and multicolored cords hanging from his left shoulder. He stuck out like a sore thumb. The rest of the bridge crew were wearing the uniform of the day, the uniform of everyday, their duty blues. The bridge crew pretended to not notice his entry.

Normally, on a fleet vessel when a Command Class Officer entered a room everyone would stand at attention. Traditionally that is not so in a vessels’ wheel house. The bridge was sacred. The bridge belonged to the Captain.

“So Captain, the refits seem to be going well?”

“How long am I going to have to pander to this pony show fool”. thought Captain Persu.

“They are going well Commodore. The new 88’s are mounted, gunnery is running through the checks and my chief engineer ensures me the new sensor array should be completed in the next 12 hours.” He gestures to the new, and half unpacked, sensor console to the right of the bridge. “We’ll be going for a short shake down around the third moon and if all goes well we will be back to the front in a few days time.”

“The front. Captain, there is no front in space.” Lectures the Commodore as if to say “Quasi-intellectual quips made me a Commodore. They didn’t just give me this uniform, you know..”

“True, Sir. So very true.” The Captain said with deliberate intent, feigning deep thought about the Commodores statement.

There were distinctions between Command Class personnel and Fleet Class personnel. Captain Persu always tried to minimize his crew’s exposure to the Command Class. They were almost bred for high echelon command and reeked of excess and pomp.

The Command Class was the corporate arm of the Concerns Naval Fleet while he, and his crew, were the military arm. The Command Class basically served no military purpose. They were high level corporate executives. No Fleet education. Never saw combat. No military training at the Academy whatsoever. They were worse than useless. They were useless people with power. Power over him. Power over his crew and ship.

But they were good at reading financial reports, having power meetings, and their expertise at enjoying corner offices with their military attaché/secretary under their big desks was unmatched in Second Fleet. Oh, and they get to wear nice military uniforms to boot.

Understanding the Captains tone, the Commodore went on. “It is my fiscal duty, Captain, to weigh the expenditures and benefits of each vessel refit in Second Fleet. Perhaps you will remember that the next time the LNC Pilesti has earned a refit, eh? The Lycen Naval Concern simply can not afford to upgrade every vessel in the Fleet.” Persu gave nothing away. His face was steel. But he understood, all to well, what the Commodore was hinting at. If the Commodore wished, if he felt it made no fiscal sense to refit this vessel, he could deny the LNC Pilesti her refits and even pull subsystems and components from her to be fiscally recycled and placed in other vessels where it would be more economically and tactically viable to corporate profits.

At that, the Commodore briskly left the bridge and Persu sat back in his captains chair and muttered to himself, “No way to run a military.”

“What was that Capt’n?” Persu looked over his crew. Those that heard him were smiling.

Persu exhaled deeply. “Nothing. Carry on.”


Full Lieutenant Sanders banged her fist on the engineering island console. “I cant believe the Captain would do this! I cant believe he would sell us short like this.”

“He has choices to make Ella. He can only requisition so much for a refit.” said Brian Eldridge. Sanders’ Number Two engineering officer. “After the repairs to the Pilesti and the 88’s there wasn’t much more to go around.”

The constant hum and soft thump of the ships power plant played in the background. Neither of them, nor any of the engineering officers, heard it anymore. But they all felt somehow ill at ease when it wasn’t there.

Cooling off, Sanders said “I know that Brian. I know we need the 88’s. We were so outgunned at the Trilnay Sector acquisition. We were torn apart.” She picked up her steaming mug of green tea and stepped over to the large wall console which showed dorsal and port views of the Pilesti. Showing the plasma feed lines in red and the heatsink and liquid nitrogen conduits in green. The soft blue tint and white light of the console played over her face and white uniform jumper. “But we lost to many good engineers in that battle. To many veterans and elite’s. Johnson, Tolors, and Remmie. We barely held her together as it was and now we’re under strength.”

Still starring at the wall console she held the mug with both hands and brought it up to sip slowly. Then she abruptly turned, slammed her mug on the island console and hit it with her fist again. “And instead of requisitioning new engineering staff for us he goes and gets a new sensor array which would have been installed yesterday if I had the crew to do it! And he has the nerve to push me to complete it ASAP?! Please, this ship is going to hell in a hand basket.”

“Ella, please. The junior officers are gonna hear us.”

“To hell with the juniors. They're all cadets. They don’t know their ass from a plasma coil.”

“You know as well as I do that it was that frigate that ran silent behind one of the big ‘roids that got under our sensor net and tore up the aft section. If we had the sensor array we do now, that would never have happened.”

Sanders eyes went wide “I don’t give a flying…”

“Full Lieutenant Sanders. This is the Captain. How goes the sensor array refit Lieutenant?” chirps the Captains voice over the intercom.

Making a sarcastic face of joy, stressing facial muscles Brian didn’t know Ella even had, Sanders replied entirely to chipper like, “Yes Captain Persu. Lieutenant Eldridge and I were just discussing the sensors.” This brought a smile to Brian’s face. “They ought to be operational in the next 10 hours barring any unfortunate circumstances.”

“Something in your tone gives me cause for concern Full Lieutenant.”

Before she had an opportunity to answer, the intercom said “I need you to come to my chambers immediately. Persu out.”

Throwing her hands up in resignation she says “Wonderful. Maybe he’s got engineering bugged.” as she walked down the corridor towards the lift.

“Maybe he just knows you to well, Ella!” Smiling, Brian yelled after her and went back to work.


Walking down the corridor, still fuming after the conversation with Brian, she entered the lift.

The corridors were not built for comfort. Nor was the ship as a whole. It was a military vessel. Tried and true. Steel gray walls. Same for the floor. Not quite wide enough to walk two abreast. Incredibly bright lights illuminate the corridor from the floor boards and from the ceiling. Shadows were almost nonexistent on the Pilesti. It kept people alert. Consoles dotted the walls every 5 meters or so. Actually, the Full Lieutenant knew it was every 4.93 meters between each wall console. She was the Chief Engineer after all.

Ella was a petite 1.57 meters in height. She said she was 28 but her corporate records said she was born on the LNC Birthing ship Triesta in 897 CT which would make her 32 years old. No one on this ship but the Captain would see those records if she had anything to say about it. Even at 32, she was the youngest Chief Engineer in the LNC Fleet.

She had a complexion like that of honey and long wavy dark brown hair which corporate standards said must be worn up “…in one bun or two and never no more than two. If two buns are desired then they must be worn one on either side of the head. Right above the ears. If one bun, then it must be worn at the back of the head. Not off center or at the top or front of the head.” She wore two buns…at either side. Her cultural background was a mystery by just looking at her. Was she Asian? Ebony? Caucasian? Indian? All of the above? None? But none of that really mattered anymore. After the world went to **** and the Dark Times came, human became human and nothing else mattered. It was a issue of survival for the race. It mattered even less when you were born, lived, worked and died in space. But most everyone agreed that Ella was a cute one.

For being as small as she was and as cute as she was, Ella was considered a firebrand. Chain of command? Not an issue. Respect for authority? Not an issue. If she felt she, or anyone she cared about, was wronged, she would take up pitchfork and torch or missile battery and laser array or anything else that was handy, to right a wrong.

And now she was about to attempt to right a grievous wrong in engineering.

The lift took the Full Lieutenant, not to another corridor, but right into Captain Persu’s chambers.

Unlike other Captains Ella had served under, Persu’s was quarters were spartin. Looked just like everyone else’s quarters onboard. Gray walls and floor. Desk. Bed. Shelving unit. Not much else. He prided himself in that. Normally, Ella respected that in him. But at the moment, none of that “one with the crew” bullshit mattered.

As the lift door opened, Persu rose and began to say “I’m glad you made it Sanders. I have to…” but was cut short by a very short woman briskly walking toward him, screaming at the top of her lungs.

“My god Manny! How the hell could you hamstring engineering like this? We lost to many good people for you to get new toys like the sensor array!” she strode up to the desk opposite him. “And another thing! You demanding me…”

“Sit down Lieutenant.”

“…to get your precious sensor array…”

“Sit down Full Lieutenant.”

“…up and running ASAP with the limited crew I’ve got, already with their hands full with critical repairs…”

“Sit down right now Full Lieutenant Ella Sanders. Right now!” he met her nose to nose over his desk. Him looking almost straight down and her almost straight up. Her eyes went wide. She forgot he was a drill instructor back at the Academy a long time ago. He still had that fire in his eyes.

“..I…yes Sir, Captain.” Said Ella, obviously stunned. She took her seat.

“First thing is first Lieutenant. You know I don’t play that superior officer game some ships captains do but you busting in here, yelling at me like we’re married is a whole different level.”

“Yes Sir. I’m sorry Sir. I didn’t mean to…”

“And you know I have to take care of my crew otherwise they wont take care of me.”

“Yes Captain. I know that and…”

“Shut up Full Lieutenant!”

Not knowing weather to answer or not, she just nodded.

“Now listen,” Persu sat down behind his desk. “I need that sensor array up ASAP because as soon as that’s complete we can leave dry dock and make the rest of the repairs underway.”

Sanders hazarded a reply. “Underway to where, Sir?”

“To the starbase in the Ozalla Cluster, of course.”

“Captain, we don’t have a starbase in the Ozalla Cluster.” She was becoming comfortable again like she always was around the Captain. “There is almost nothing in the whole of the Ozalla Cluster. Just pre formed stars. Nothing of Concern value.”

“Exactly why there is a starbase there. Who’d think to look for one?”

“What are we going to be doing there, Sir?”

“We will be picking up your new crew. To bring you and engineering up to 140% strength. Among other little things like a Cruiser class vessel.” He was rewarded with a slack jaw and bulging eyes.

“We are being transferred? To a Cruiser class? I…I didn’t think you had any requisition pull left after the repairs, the 88’s, and the sensor array. And, if we are getting a new ship, why repair the Pilesti and upgrade it?”

“Because, Lieutenant. It’s a short term transfer. Think of it as a loan. Off the books too. The Cruiser is hot. Packed with the latest sensor equipment, 125mm high velocity railers, and ablative composite armor. She’s a beauty, and a killer. We just gotta give her back, preferable in one piece.”

“But why? The Lycen Mining Concern just doesn’t give vessels away, unless…”

“Unless there was a profit to be made. Right. We have been given a special mission from the Concern. A real hush hush job.”

Sanders said “This sounds like Fourth Echelon stuff. Don’t they get the blacker than black missions? Cloak and dagger stuff?”

“That they do but someone somewhere wants this away from Fourth Echelon. Apparently they have a leak and they cant be trusted.”

“Oh? But they can trust a line ship and her crew? That doesn’t add up. Why?

“I don’t know Ella. I’ve been running that through my head too and I’m coming up short. Maybe using a line ship is a good cover or maybe because a line ship is very expendable.”

“Oh god. Use the Pilesti then throw her away. No witnesses.”

“No witnesses.” Persu reaffirmed. “But, lets hope it doesn’t come to that.”


Yamamoto Yukio sat at his enormous steel and glass desk before the backdrop of deep space. 30 years ago when the outpost was built in the Delneb Sector for ore processing and shipping it quickly became a sort of cross roads for the Yamamoto Mining Corporation. The outpost later became an orbital station, then a fully functioning starbase. Eventually it became Yamamoto Yukio’s Corporate headquarters and he has not left the structure for over 15 years.

Technically, Yukio was the Full Admiral of the Sasaki Corporation as well as the President and CEO. He was entitled to wear the black and red uniform with the gold sash of Admiralty but Yukio shunned such pomp. Yes, he was the head of the military as well as the corporation. Yes, he had great tactical prowess and strategic understanding. But to Yukio it felt wrong to wear the uniform of a military man.

The Yamamoto family was one of the few families that could trace their ancestry back before the Dark Times and they took great pride in that. Yukio took even more pride in the fact that his distant relation was Admiral
Yamamoto Isoroku. The greatest Japanese fleet commander in the second world war and in history.

Yukio felt he was a business man first, military leader second. That was why he rejected the uniform. It would shame the great Yamamoto Isoroku and his family to masquerade as such. Instead, he wore the standard business attire of the day which hasn’t changed for men for hundreds of years. Shirt, tie, and jacket.

As a result of keeping the family name and being able to trace it back through history, the Japanese culture was kept alive as well. Morning Rallies, where military and business personnel line up, face their managers or officers, and chant their corporate slogan over and over “Bringing Honor Yamamoto! Being the Best We Can Be! Succeed! Profit! Battle!” in Japanese is done every day. Deferring to elders, the Yumi or bow, and learning to read and write Japanese is a must for all military and business employees.

While most people today are of mixed decent, people of pure Japanese blood are highly regarded and often excel in business and the military rank structure faster within the Yamamoto Mining Corporation. More often than not, most pure Japanese within the Corporation are part of the Yamamoto family and are born into position of power either in the military arm or the business arm.......more later. :D