See Spot Run

Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Armburster paused to sip water from a fountain then grasped a doorknob at 07:59:58 allowing two seconds to breach that threshold and enter the hanger bay. A mixture of civilian contractors in blue button-downs and khakis and Marines awaited him politely or at attention.

Lieutenant Colonel Denise Armburster, test pilot, dropped her chin to her chest to sip the last of the water from a tube. Today or tomorrow would bring her death; she wanted to be hydrated for the coming fight.

Doctor Calvert’s near final words to her continued repeating in her head. They chanted like monks on a hilltop: incessant and oblivious. At times those words were as unnoticeable as her breathing at others as unignorable as her panting. Always involuntary. For several hours yesterday or the day before—sleep loss made her unsure—she intoned the words aloud just to hear someone speak. Even though she mouthed the words, Armburster heard Calvert’s voice in them. He had said, “Arm, I know what you’re thinking. It’s what I thought too. Suit up and be wrong for the first time.” But two words burst out of that string like a police siren in a crowd simultaneously drawing her attention yet warning her away: be wrong. Be wrong. Be Wrong. BE WRONG.

The progression of this story over the past few days evolved more than I wold have expected at the onset. This is good because at the end of this week I finally have a place ot start and a place to end. I just need to firm up the vaporous middle.

What I find most interesting is how parts I added to resolve initial problems ended up neutralizing those problems and requiring me to insert new ones to better meet the challenge. I’m not pleased that the none of the motivating scene I wrote back in December—the one that got me writing this story first of all the ones I selected—will be used in the final draft, but I am happy I’ve got something writable.

One funny thing I’d like to capture here if no where else is that my initial thinking put this at a much longer story than I was prepared to write. Explaining and setting up the motivations of the antagonist bloated the plot. Mostly, I think, because I wanted to be classier than, “Hey Reader! Here’s a bone. Go get it Boy.” I realized keeping the story short nessecitated motivation simplicity. So, still a bone to chase, but hopefully I’ll be able to include a zig if not a zag along the way.

Day 413