Author Topic: Road to Dystopia  (Read 1905 times)

Offline msannomalley

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Road to Dystopia
« on: September 15, 2016, 07:23:24 CDT »
I'm going to take a page out of TJ's book and post installments of a story that I've been working on, got stuck on, and I'm doing this in the hopes that this will help me finish it. I'm posting it here because there's definitely swearing in it and maybe some adult themes. I also want to do this as a countermeasure against all the academic writing I get to do this semester. By the time November rolls around, I will be up to my eyeballs in APA formatting and research papers.  ;D

The basic premise is that this is an alternate universe. I will try to post something once a week (but probably not on Thursdays). Feedback is both welcomed and encouraged.



Of all the places to break down, Jason had to do it in No Man’s Land.  What made it worse was that the car he was driving reminded him a lot of his old Nissan Skyline. He hated to part with it, but the water pump went out and there was no way for him to have it fixed. He would have to make the trip on foot until he could find another car. It was too risky to hitchhike to his destination.  He was headed towards Ventis Est, one of the few space ports on Earth that Spectra hadn’t closed yet. 

He quickly went through his meager belongings and took only what he could stuff in a pocket or carry: a fake ID he’d acquired, a pair of sunglasses, a canteen, a handgun and some ammo, and a burner phone. A secret pocket in his jeans held a few feather shuriken and his cable gun, the last remnants of his former life. Both weapons were of no use to him, as using them would give away his identity as a member of G-Force, but Jason held onto them anyway. 

It was summer. The sun’s heat and light were crushing. Jason’s t-shirt and jeans were beginning to feel uncomfortable as fabric and his sweat joined together to cover him in that clamminess he could never seem to wash off.  Worse, that sweat was a magnet for dust and grit. The gravel crunched under his worn, brown leather motorcycle boots.  He’d got them a few years ago because he liked how they made him look. Jason wasn’t a vain person, but he did allow himself to have a few moments. 

It was easy to lose track of time in this place. Jason’s best guess was that he’d been on this leg of the journey for eight weeks at best. He was already quite tanned and the sun had left its mark in his hair. It was lighter than it’s normal, tawny brown.

Jason had no idea where his teammates were or their fates. It had been a long time since that last battle. Sometimes, when he was trying to fall asleep at night, his mind would replay that final battle with Spectra over and over again.

“Tiny!” Mark said. “Retreat! That’s an order from the Council.”

“What???” Jason exploded. “You got to be fucking kidding me, Mark! Can’t you see that the mech is still attacking?”

Mark wouldn’t or couldn’t look at his second. “We have our orders.”

“Yeah, well, your orders are wrong. The Council is wrong. What the fuck do they know? Are they here? Do they see what’s going on?”

“We have our orders,” Mark said.

“For fucks’ sake, don’t retreat.”

Then a nauseatingly cheerful voice came into the cockpit of the Phoenix. It was 7-Zark-7, the robot coordinator for G-Force. Jason couldn’t stand the damned thing.

“G-Force,” the robot said. “I will be initiating phase warp in 2 minutes.”

“Big ten,” Mark replied.

Jason had enough. “Fuck the chicken shit Council. If you won’t give the order to take out the mech, then I’ll do it myself.”


Jason remembered how furiously his blood boiled as he stalked out of the Phoenix’s cockpit and made his way down to the bay where his car was. They’d given his car some ridiculously stupid name which he refused to use.  The car was not capable of space travel in the first place, and for the life of him, he couldn’t understand why someone would want to call it the Space Mobile. 

When Jason initiated the separation sequence and the car was lowered to the ground that was the last time Jason saw the rest of G-Force in person.
Witty saying goes here.

Offline ElectricWhite

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 08:11:02 CDT »
I'm hooked!

I hope this helps you to continue and finish this piece -- it promises to be an excellent story!
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Offline KT1972

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2016, 08:18:16 CDT »
Totally agree, can't wait to read the next part!
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. - Epicurus

Offline msannomalley

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2016, 11:55:13 CDT »
I've got some of it written. I'm hoping that posting this will give me the kick in the pants to finish it and work on it.

Thanks. :)
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Offline Transmute Jun

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2016, 15:12:50 CDT »
I'm glad that I've inspired you! There is no greater compliment for me.  :)

This is certainly a great beginning, and I look forward to seeing what develops.

For me, I write about a half-dozen stories each year, and almost all of them are well-planned out, with a strong outline. Being a planner by nature, that's just the way I tend to do things. The weekly fic on Gatchamania was a way for me to write a story with little to no plan of what was going to happen, to exercise some writing muscles that I didn't get to use very often (thinking on my feet and writing whichever way the wind blew me). I used to do that a lot more back when we had IFs on Gatchamania (don't get me into why we don't any longer, because that's another whole can of worms) but rarely do it now. So that was *my* inspiration for doing the weekly posts.
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Offline msannomalley

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2016, 15:14:48 CDT »
I'm glad that I've inspired you! There is no greater compliment for me.  :)

This is certainly a great beginning, and I look forward to seeing what develops.

For me, I write about a half-dozen stories each year, and almost all of them are well-planned out, with a strong outline. Being a planner by nature, that's just the way I tend to do things. The weekly fic on Gatchamania was a way for me to write a story with little to no plan of what was going to happen, to exercise some writing muscles that I didn't get to use very often (thinking on my feet and writing whichever way the wind blew me). I used to do that a lot more back when we had IFs on Gatchamania (don't get me into why we don't any longer, because that's another whole can of worms) but rarely do it now. So that was *my* inspiration for doing the weekly posts.

If you ever feel the urge to write more of those weekly posts, please feel free to do it here. :)
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Offline Transmute Jun

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2016, 18:48:42 CDT »
I'm glad that I've inspired you! There is no greater compliment for me.  :)

This is certainly a great beginning, and I look forward to seeing what develops.

For me, I write about a half-dozen stories each year, and almost all of them are well-planned out, with a strong outline. Being a planner by nature, that's just the way I tend to do things. The weekly fic on Gatchamania was a way for me to write a story with little to no plan of what was going to happen, to exercise some writing muscles that I didn't get to use very often (thinking on my feet and writing whichever way the wind blew me). I used to do that a lot more back when we had IFs on Gatchamania (don't get me into why we don't any longer, because that's another whole can of worms) but rarely do it now. So that was *my* inspiration for doing the weekly posts.

If you ever feel the urge to write more of those weekly posts, please feel free to do it here. :)

I might! For the moment, I have a lot of stuff going on. I'm trying to get my Christmas fic written, and I've also been writing a lot of articles for the Friends of Comic Con blog. And there's work and family too. ;)  For now, I think I will take a break from it.
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Offline msannomalley

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2016, 19:59:59 CDT »
I'm glad that I've inspired you! There is no greater compliment for me.  :)

This is certainly a great beginning, and I look forward to seeing what develops.

For me, I write about a half-dozen stories each year, and almost all of them are well-planned out, with a strong outline. Being a planner by nature, that's just the way I tend to do things. The weekly fic on Gatchamania was a way for me to write a story with little to no plan of what was going to happen, to exercise some writing muscles that I didn't get to use very often (thinking on my feet and writing whichever way the wind blew me). I used to do that a lot more back when we had IFs on Gatchamania (don't get me into why we don't any longer, because that's another whole can of worms) but rarely do it now. So that was *my* inspiration for doing the weekly posts.

If you ever feel the urge to write more of those weekly posts, please feel free to do it here. :)

I might! For the moment, I have a lot of stuff going on. I'm trying to get my Christmas fic written, and I've also been writing a lot of articles for the Friends of Comic Con blog. And there's work and family too. ;)  For now, I think I will take a break from it.

I know how that goes. I have an entire class this semester in research methods for psychology and I've got papers to write for that class. I'm already diving into the Wonderful World of Academic Journals and Scholarly Sources. ;-)
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Offline springie

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2016, 22:08:26 CDT »
Great beginning, msann!! Loved this line: "The car was not capable of space travel in the first place, and for the life of him, he couldn’t understand why someone would want to call it the Space Mobile. " ROFL!
I'm interested to see where this goes!

Offline KT1972

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2016, 07:38:51 CDT »

If you ever feel the urge to write more of those weekly posts, please feel free to do it here. :)

I might! For the moment, I have a lot of stuff going on. I'm trying to get my Christmas fic written, and I've also been writing a lot of articles for the Friends of Comic Con blog. And there's work and family too. ;)  For now, I think I will take a break from it.

I hope to see more of your weekly stories eventually, TJ, but at the moment I'm just thankful you were able to conclude the last one before Gatchamania went down :)
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. - Epicurus

Offline msannomalley

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2016, 08:02:07 CDT »
I will be posting installments on Mondays. :)


Jason began walking to the south and west. He knew he was in the middle of what used to be the United States, but he wasn’t sure exactly where.  The land was wide open and hot winds blew from the south. The grasses had long ago turned yellow from the unrelenting wind and sun.

Along the way, Jason was able to glean information about the current status of his home planet. Earth had fallen to Spectra and her conquerors changed the planet’s name to New Terra. Zoltar had put General Kolakas, one of the highest ranking officers in the Federation, in charge of Earth. Jason remembered Kolakas as one of those regular military officers who looked down upon G-Force because they were above and beyond the conventional military. Jason hated the smug bastard from the moment he first saw him. Jason was not surprised when he found out that Kolakas was a traitor.

Unfortunately, he found little to no reliable information on his former teammates.  The flow of information was controlled by the New Terran Government and they made sure that nothing got out that reflected badly on the regime. 

Then one day, he saw his own “Wanted” Poster.

It was G-2 of G-Force they were after and not Jason Anderson.  There was an artist’s rendering of him in full Birdstyle, but the poster did not indicate specifics like eye or hair color. However, there was a price on his head. Jason noticed that there were wanted posters of the rest of the team. He felt a perverse sense of satisfaction when he saw that the price on his head was higher than Mark’s.

You finally beat Mark at something. Spectra thought Jason was more of a threat than golden-boy, perfect, G-Force Commander Mark. 

#

Traveling on foot meant Jason was losing time. He lost even more time when the auras appeared and the nausea hit him right before the migraine kicked in. Jason couldn’t travel until the worst of it passed.  The heat and the beating sun just made him feel worse. He started having these migraines before the end of the war. Migraine meds hadn’t helped him then and he had no way to get his hands on any now He had to let it run its course.

Jason traveled across the back roads that took him into smaller towns that seemed relatively isolated and untouched from the New Terran Government’s reach. However, he wouldn’t allow himself to be lulled into a false sense of security. Wherever he was, he made sure to pay attention to what was going on around him, especially to what the locals were saying.

One morning, he decided to splurge a bit on breakfast in the local diner in one of those many small towns whose names he would forget.  The local citizens still used the old Federation currency, either because they didn’t have access to the new money or as an act of defiance towards Spectra and New Terra. The coffee, though weak and kind of stale, was ambrosia. It had been so long since he’d had coffee of any kind.

As Jason waited for his food, he learned something that was both interesting and unsettling. G-Force was not held in very high regard by the locals. He heard the old men complaining about the team over their coffee and cribbage game.

“All that tax money spent to train them and they were so damned useless.”

“They would have been more useful if the damn Federation actually let them fight.”

Jason silently agreed with the person who said that. If that old man only knew that I tried.

Mark never acted fast enough for Jason’s liking and Jason wasn’t shy about letting Mark and the others know this. They, the Chief, fucking Zark, the damned Council, always called him “hot-headed” or “impulsive” or even “rebellious”. Then he would be reprimanded. Nobody was interested in hearing his side of the story. Rather than waste his breath trying to sway people whose minds were already made up or point out their own hypocrisy whenever Mark ran off on his own, Jason took whatever was handed to him.  It was easier that way. He’d rather save his energy for the battles that actually mattered.

Because they were never interested in hearing Jason’s side, they did not know that Jason was someone who could not sit by and wait for Mark to grow a pair and do something while Spectran mechs destroyed cities and murdered people right in front of them. Helplessness was not in Jason Anderson’s vocabulary. The more helpless he felt, the angrier he got. The angrier he got, the more inclined Jason was to act.  Jason had been this way for as long as he could remember. He didn’t know the root cause for why he reacted like this. He wasn’t going to waste time with navel gazing, trying to figure this out, either. It was just who he was.

Instead of bothering to understand, everyone else just judged, convicted and punished him without knowing his motivation.  That last argument on their final mission was no different.

Jason was brought back to the present when a thin-voiced older man put in his two cents. “I heard a rumor that they weren’t even human. They were robots or cyborgs or Terminators.” 

You know that Terminators aren’t real, right? Jason thought as he suppressed the urge to laugh out loud.

“Well,” another person said. “I heard a rumor that they were actually Spectran plants whose mission was to sabotage everything from the inside.”

Jason bristled, but tried not to show any outward sign of his anger.  He focused on his coffee cup instead.  That criticism stung him more than he wanted to admit.

There was rumbling from the group. Whatever they were saying, they didn’t want the rest of the diner to hear. Then a portly man declared loudly, “They never should have let that girl be on the team. All that pussy is nothing but a distraction.”  A few of his companions nodded in agreement.

“Yeah,” another person chimed in. “Her job was probably to see to ‘morale’, if you know what I mean.” Several other men guffawed and elbowed each other.

Jason clenched his jaw as he silently seethed, but he kept his counsel.  They were old men, not in very good physical shape, and most likely were all talk and no action. It wouldn’t look good for the stranger in town to start picking fist fights with men who were old enough to be his grandfather. Even if he was doing this in order to defend the honor of someone who wasn’t actually present to hear the disgusting things being said about her.

But would she defend you if you if the shoe were on the other foot?

His food arrived and as he ate…real eggs and real steak…he had time to ponder that question and he came to the conclusion that Princess would only stand up for Jason if doing so made Mark jealous.  Despite his best efforts, Jason couldn’t always avoid being dragged into their insecurities or their against regulations non-relationship.

And yet, Jason was labeled the “promiscuous one”.  The tabloids and the gossip web sites had a field day with that one. G1, the lily-white hero vs. G-2, the Casanova.  If they only knew the truth.

Jason kept his focus on the plate in front of him. It’d been awhile since he had a meal this good. He was so engrossed in his food, he was caught off-guard when someone came up to his table.

“There you are, Jason! Why didn’t you wake me up?”

Jason looked up at the speaker. He knew her.

« Last Edit: September 19, 2016, 08:11:54 CDT by msannomalley »
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Offline msannomalley

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2016, 08:50:06 CDT »

The voice belonged to a female and she spoke louder than normal. She was a brunette with hazel eyes. She wore jeans, a brown leather jacket, and lug-soled boots. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, which she’d threaded through the back opening of a cap bearing the logo of a team from some professional sport that Jason didn’t care about.


Jason glanced up at her, then narrowed his eyes suspiciously.


The woman kept chattering. “You should have woken me up,” she chided him as she slid into the booth so she was seated across from Jason. There was something maddeningly familiar about her, but he decided that his guard would stay up until he could figure out why she was so familiar to him.


“I thought I’d be nice and let you sleep in,” he said.  Then he remembered he’d seen her around Center Neptune over the years. She was Federation. But he couldn’t remember her name.


“Awww,” the woman cooed. “You’re too good to me.”


The woman’s voice caught the attention of Joyce, the waitress. She came over to the booth and then asked, “Good morning, honey,” Joyce said, handing the woman a menu. “Can I get you anything?”


“Coffee is fine,” the woman said as she rewarded Joyce with a smile.


Joyce returned with a brown ceramic cup and she poured the liquid into it. Then she looked at Jason. “More coffee, sweetie?”


The young woman was hit with a sudden coughing fit.


“Are you okay, honey?” Joyce was concerned.


She nodded. “I’ll be fine.”


Joyce turned to Jason and held out the coffee pot.


“Yes, please,” Jason said. Joyce poured the coffee and then was off.


Lina. That was her name. Agent Carolina Renato. She worked as a Gal-Sec Intelligence Officer before the downfall. Jason had seen her in passing, usually as he was being summoned to Chief Anderson’s office for a reprimand. She was usually part of the intelligence briefings that always seemed to precede Jason’s own disciplinary meetings.


Lina began speaking again in that annoying, overly bubbly tone. “I appreciate you letting me sleep in, sweetie.” She put extra emphasis on the last word as she tried to keep the corners of her mouth from quirking up.  “But it means we’re going to get a late start this morning. We can’t be late for my sister’s wedding.”


As she spoke, Jason noticed that she had produced a ball point pen and a napkin and she began writing something on the napkin. He couldn’t see what she wrote.


“I think it’s so nice my sister decided not to let all the politics and stuff like that keep her from having her special day, don’t you?”
“Yes,” he agreed. “It’s a nice break from all the recent turmoil…honey.” 


She finished writing and pushed the napkin towards Jason while she kept talking.


I need your help. Spectra is after me. I need to get to Ventis Est City ASAP.


Not this again. Jason had to struggle to not blurt that out. Instead, Jason looked at her quizzically. Lina pulled the napkin back and wrote some more. She pushed the napkin back towards Jason when she finished.

I have information that could bring them down.


Jason looked up and saw the pleading look in her hazel eyes. He had a weakness for damsels in distress, which usually came back to bite him because those distressed damsels ended up being Spectran. Lina Renato neither fit the damsel in distress stereotype nor was she Spectran. He made his decision.


“You’re right about the late start,” he said. “We should get going.”


Right on cue, Joyce showed up at the table with the bill. Jason paid it, made sure to leave Joyce a good tip and then, taking Lina by the elbow, headed out the diner.


“Sweetie?” Lina snorted and then laughed.


“Speak for yourself, honey,” Jason retorted. “I don’t have a car,” he added. “If you’re going to come with me, we have to go on foot.”


“I have a car,” she said. Then Lina turned off the main street onto a side street and walked up to a Jeep Cherokee.


“Yours?” Jason asked.


“It is for now.” Lina pulled out a set of keys and then tossed them to Jason. “Here you go, Speed Racer,” she said. “You can drive.”


It felt good to drive again, although Jason wished the vehicle was a car and not a Jeep. But a Jeep was better suited to the terrain. Autumn and winter were coming and this region could be inhospitable.


Jason noticed a rucksack on the passenger seat. Lina grabbed it and put it on the floor where it rested next to her feet. While he adjusted the driver’s seat, she was reaching into the sack. Then, as he pulled the Jeep away from the curb and onto the street, he felt her pressing something into his hand. It was two dollars in Federation currency.


“For the coffee,” she said.


“Coffee’s on me,” Jason said. “I want to know what’s going on. How did you know I was here?”


“I didn’t,” Lina said. “It was purely chance.” She shifted slightly in the seat, making herself more comfortable. “I’m going to be upfront about this,” she began.


“Okay.”


“I’m on the Most Wanted List.”


“Well, that’s definitely being up front,” Jason nearly chuckled.  Then he grew serious.  “Is this because of that information you have?”


Lina nodded. “I was asked to do some… ‘research’…on the side. In fact it was Chief Anderson who asked me to do it.”


Jason frowned. “Why?” Anderson was always a tight-ass about doing things by the book. Jason also felt an uncomfortable prick of regret that he tried to stuff back down into whatever depths the emotions had come from. The man did raise you, after all.


“He suspected there might be a mole inside of the ISO and Gal-Sec. I was able to hack into various databases,” Lina continued, bringing Jason back to the present. “I found classified information on The Luminous One, the Federation and G-Force.”


“What kind?” Jason’s stomach felt leaden. Whatever it was Lina discovered, it couldn’t be good.


“Too much to talk about right now,” she said. “All I can say at the moment is that things are not as they seem.”


“Could you possibly be any more cryptic?” Jason said sarcastically.


“I’m in intelligence,” Lina retorted. “It’s my job to be cryptic. I have a contact in Ventis Est City. Then I’m supposed to go on to find an Aren Kearney and give the information I found to him.”


“Who?” The name was unfamiliar to Jason.


“I don’t know much about him other than what Chief Anderson told me. Kearney is old school ISO. Allegedly, he worked with the Science Ninja Team.” Lina sounded doubtful about that last claim. People made many claims about the Science Ninja Team, most of them unfounded. Nobody knew exactly what happened to them after their final battle with Sosai Z. Officially, they were missing and presumed dead.


“I was told there is still an ISO base that was not under Spectran control and that it’s home to a resistance movement,” she added. “I don’t know how accurate that is, either.”


There being an ISO base that hadn’t fallen to Spectra was news to Jason. So was the news of a formal resistance movement. What little news he’d managed to glean made things sound like Spectra had captured all of the ISO bases. A base meant sanctuary. Whoever was left there would be happy to know that not all of G-Force had surrendered. Maybe the Chief is there? 


The part of him that missed his family was hopeful. There was another part, a small, spiteful, vindictive worm that gnawed at him that desperately hoped for the chance to say I told you so. The “proper” way…Mark’s way…the Chief’s way…was a colossal failure. Even at the very moment he was driving a stolen Jeep across the plains, he felt somewhat vindicated.





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Offline msannomalley

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2016, 06:53:17 CDT »
Here's this week's installment. If you're new here, I'm posting a story in parts (kind of like what TJ did) on this forum once a week in the hopes that this will make me finish it and as a counter to all the dry academic writing I will have to do in school. It's a bit rough around the edges, I'm doing this mostly by the seat of my pants, and maybe, when this is all finished I'll edit it and polish it up. Feedback and con-crit are appreciated. :)




Lina had food and maps in the Jeep. They were old-school paper maps. She had a smart phone and a charger, but she wouldn’t use them. The phone looked to fairly new. “The encryption doesn’t work on this,” she told Jason. “I don’t want to take any chances of Spectra tracking me through this thing. Can’t use the maps without the GPS.” She frowned at the paper maps. “I guess horribly outdated maps are better than nothing,” she said.


It turned out that they weren’t too outdated. Since the region was fairly isolated, they had been slow to change their road signs to from the old ones to the new that bore the current place names assigned by Spectra.


Lina played navigator for Jason. “How far do you think we have to go until we get to Ventis Est?” he asked. They’d been on the road for about an hour or so. It was mid-morning.


“Two days, at least,” she said. “That’s just a rough guess. Depends on whether or not we have to take the scenic route.”
Jason didn’t have to ask what she meant by the scenic route.


“Does the radio work?” he wondered. It was too quiet in the Jeep.


“Depends,” she replied. “If you’re in the mood for Spectran propaganda, you have plenty of stations to choose from. If you want music, not so much.” She pointed at the USB port in the radio console. “And this is useless. Even if I turned off the GPS on my phone, the signal is so weak, I couldn’t stream music if I wanted to.”  After a few beats, she added, “I’m sorry I’m not better company.” She sounded tired.


“Don’t worry about it,” he said, not taking his eyes from the road.


#


Most of that day’s ride was in silence. Jason drove all of it because it felt so good, so familiar and safe to be sitting behind the wheel. Even the act of putting pressure on the gas pedal felt reassuring. Driving for him was escape and happiness and freedom. It was life. He felt alive.


Periodically, Lina would doze off. The crown of her head touched the passenger side window and she still wore that baseball cap, which shielded her eyes from the brightness of the sun. She would wake up whenever Jason stopped the jeep.


“I can drive,” she would say.  “If you need a break.”


“I’m fine,” was his reply.


Lina had a bunch of protein bars in her rucksack which she readily shared with Jason. “I don’t have much cash,” she said. “And what I have, I’m trying to save for when I really need it.”


“Federation cash,” Jason said. It wasn’t a question.


Lina nodded. “Federation currency is worth a lot out here.”  Jason knew that to be true. Flash a handful of the old money and people suddenly became very cooperative.


“What about gas?” he asked. “For this?”


Lina reached into her jeans’ pocket and she pulled out what looked like a credit card. 


“Stolen?” he asked.


“Fake,” she answered. “It’s kind of like a skeleton key. It unlocks the card reader. Some of these abandoned gas stations still have gas in the tanks,” she said.   


Jason pursed his lips. He was about to say something about ethics, but then he remembered that he was currently driving a stolen Jeep.
 “You’re not going to lecture me about ethical behavior, are you?” Her tone was as razor sharp as her glare. “Because if you are, save your breath.”


Jason opened his mouth to offer up a retort, but nothing came out. Lina was right. Platitudes were never Jason’s thing.
Lina turned to gaze out the window, leaving Jason to silently nurse the wound she’d inflicted to his pride.  He was always criticized for not being like Mark and the one time he was just like Mark, he was criticized for that, too, by someone who didn’t know him. It always seemed to him that he was trying to live up to someone else’s unrealistic expectations. I can’t win. 


#


“Here,” Lina said as she pointed to the gravel road that came up suddenly on right. “We can stay here for tonight.”


Jason said nothing, but turned the Jeep onto the gravel road. Lina scouted the area and when she found what she was looking for, she pointed towards it and said, “Over there.”


“There” was an old shelter belt near the ruins of an old farm house. It was far enough away from the road that nobody would see them.  Supper consisted of more protein bars.


“You can take the sleeping bag,” Lina told Jason.  “You need the sleep more than me. I’ll keep watch.”


#
Carolina Renato heard the shifting in the back of the Jeep as Jason settled to sleep. She stayed in the front seat with a shotgun in her lap and slept lightly. It was easy for her to doze where she was because the front seat of the Jeep was not comfortable in the least.

It was pure dumb luck that she happened to run into Chief Anderson’s foster son in that diner. She didn’t know Jason Anderson personally, but she knew of him, had seen him around Center Neptune from time to time, knew a few things about him, but never interacted with him. 


Lina hadn’t planned on becoming an intelligence officer with the Galaxy Security Division of the International Science Organization.  She graduated from college with a degree in criminal justice and a minor in psychology and was headed to Quantico to train as an FBI agent. If she were writing her memoir, she’d say that the change in her career path was fate or because of a calling. That was too romantic and Lina was too practical to give into flights of fancy. 


Galaxy Security was begging for intelligence agents. They needed them so badly, they were willing to throw all kinds of money at her, including paying off her student loans, and train her in the fine art of espionage. Gal-Sec even kept the promise they made that she would get to see exotic places, both on Earth and in the galaxy.


There was one problem. The shortage of agents didn’t prevent the older, jaded and cynical agents from speculating that someone as young as Lina Renato had gotten where she was without a little “help” or quid pro quo.


That’s how Lina Renato got a chip on her shoulder. She felt she had to work even harder and longer to prove to everyone that she had earned her ranks and responsibilities because she was capable and smart and not because she was young or pretty or slept with the right person.


When Security Chief Anderson approached her about a year and a half ago with his offer to do some investigative work for him, she jumped at the chance. Anderson seemed to take her seriously and seemed to believe she was good at what she did as well as being smart and capable. She got along with him well. She was saddened and even sickened when she learned his fate. I wonder if Jason knows about--. 


It was difficult to know what Jason knew, and if what he knew was the truth. Not other people’s truths, but the actual truth. No, he wouldn’t know the actual truth. Chief Anderson himself didn’t know the actual truth. He’d only suspected it.


There were too many truths. She had those truths on a data stick that wouldn’t be in a safe place until she placed it into the hands of one Aren Kearney. She knew virtually nothing about the man, other than that Anderson trusted him. Before the world went to Hell, Lina had not had the chance to verify Anderson’s claims about Kearney’s connection with the Science Ninja Team before ISO Headquarters was bombed out and G-Force surrendered to Spectra. She suspected Anderson named-dropped the Kagaku Ninja Tai on purpose, to reassure her that Kearney could be trusted completely. Still...she would feel better if she could verify this herself.


Lina knew that Jason was suspicious of her. Maybe not suspicious, but wary. She didn’t blame him. She’d been in similar situations in the past where wariness and suspicion were her only lifeline.  She wanted to be able to tell Jason the entire truth, but she couldn’t. Not yet. She had to do as she always had done and play it close to the vest.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2016, 06:55:19 CDT by msannomalley »
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Offline Ebonyswanne

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2016, 21:46:06 CDT »
Msann,

Just commenting on the first part. I love this kind of story writing, reflection mixed in with a sense of something bigger, something happened and they're scattered with a gritty Condor and a broken down car... working it out. I had a bit of conflict with the Nissan Skyline.(Not my fave,) I admit its the country girl coming out in me or I've just spent last weekend watching V8 Supercars on TV with my DH who's a supercars fan never misses Bathurst. The big race in on QLD Gold Coast. I started wondering...what make was his Skyline that it was so special was it a convertible or one he'd revamped the engine to get more power beyond a domestic car. Yep I like watching Top Gear!  ;D

I'm enjoying your story!! I love how the Condor and Eagle stand out in how they work in the team.

Lots of good story lead up here with Lina. Great to see what happens next, especially with his old team mates and Jasons resentful feelings towards Mark. (Came back later to finish reading it.)
« Last Edit: October 29, 2016, 01:18:42 CDT by Ebonyswanne »
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Offline msannomalley

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Re: Road to Dystopia
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2016, 08:23:52 CDT »
Thanks. :) I'm kind of behind because I go to school full time and now all the papers and research stuff are getting into full swing. I'm hoping to be able to start posting again over the Thanksgiving holiday and over winter break. I know I said that I'd post once a week, but my school schedule said otherwise.
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