The Safety of the Wheelhouse

“Mr. Cameron, warm up the guns if ye please.” The guant man dropped through the hole in the floor with a smile. Munro turned back to [main character], “Lassie, you go up with me. Best to keep as much metal between ye and their bullets as we can.”

[main character] tilted her head back and scanned the ceiling. Finding no hole above nor any ladder or stairs she turned over her hands and spread them wide to encompass the whole of the room in her question.

“Outside. Follow me,” Munro said. She grabbed up the coffee thermos and slung a black canvas duffle over her shoulder then stopped. “Actually, ye need to go first. Out this door and back to the left and around. Ye’ll see the ladder up.”

[main character] jetted through the door with her left hand grabbing the edge to help swing her momentum the right direction. Around the corner again she saw the ladder and dashed over the deck. The gaps in the railing disappeared with her focus on the ladder. Her hands hit the rungs welded to the bulkhead with a clong. They stung as she climbed, but she moved like a ratchet trying to reach the safety of the wheelhouse.

Her eyes drew even with the bottom edge of the door seal. The rungs had run out before she made it to the top. Shots popped below her. She shifted her weight to free her right hand and pushed on the door. It didn’t open. Another rat-a-tat rang below her. She tried to use the rim to as another rung but couldn’t get her grip.

Looking below her she didn’t see Munro on the ladder or on the deck. Where had she gone?

[main character] took another step up the rungs till she stood up on her left hand over balanced hoping to get a better angle on the door but expecting to fall back down. Reaching above her with her right she grabbed onto the [wheel-like door opening handle thing]. It turned; the door swung in.

It seemed best to stay low so she stayed on the floor pushed into a corner and under something. She’d left the door swung open so Captain Munro could get in but she hadn’t appeared as quickly as [maing character] expected. Munro’s face crested the rim with a smile. She shook her head with a snort. “Ye’re fast. Sorry to scare ye. We needed to be quick but not crazy quick. Take this.”

I’m forcing some of this. Need to relax.

425 words on day 555

A Welcome to Terminus

I was hoping to write something useful today, but it’s the weekend. I’m lucky to make any time writing at all. What I’m up to today is codifying the wanderings my brain took me on while driving around last night.

I’m not convinced off all of this. And I’m not sure I like the solution I’ve come up with thus far, so I’ll let this stand till I can devote time finding a second, more pleasing, option.

So far what I’ve got is this: there’s been an incident called The Skip. It’s like the entire world—people, places, and things—woke up from a coma with amnesia. They can remember how to ride a bicycle or plow a field or how to do quadratic equations, but they can’t recall their names or the people they once knew. Since places and things don’t have that sort of memory to mess with, they’ve ‘woken’ up with new arrangements as well. Alternate universe type stuff, but without any WWII-never-happened type inciting incident. This all alleviates most explanations but doesn’t get rid of all of them I might need to make.

So I stole something I recently read where the author used the Large Hadron Collider to skip  to an alternative universe. My theft is inelegant and not yet pleasing to me so I’m working on other ideas.

But here’s some stuff that doesn’t rely on How It All Came to Be…

There is a contentious symbiosis between the Pilots and the Landies. Pilots assume Landies would like to be able to fly. Landies for the most part treat Pilots as stuck up pussies who couldn’t hack in on the ground in Terminus. Pilots bring in necessary goods for Terminus and generally may go wherever they please in this land because of it. The residents of Terminus mine|produce|imbue some material for the pilots to use in their ships. There’s a good deal of honor on either side of the relationship. These groups are rigidly separate. There is crossover and that’s fine but by and large the Pilots prefer to remain skybound while the Landies prefer to stay earthbound.

Outsiders to this arrangement do not distinguish. Politically all of Terminus, ground and sky alike, are treated as one faction.

Both groups eschew the do-it-yourself lifestyle as evidenced by their flying ships and by their homes.

Terminus is a bit of a favela. Hard to know how such a place ‘runs’. Who’s in charge. I have a sense that no one group is in charge and that necessity and ‘island life’ balance well. So, while you might want something badly, the outcomes of theft over hard work or favors are rather harsh. Despite my rough version of utopia I think maybe having several groups (skill sets not classes) of people might provide infrastructure both on the ground and in the air.

As is my wont, the main character is of the innocent stripe. I kinda lean toward the babe in the woods folks. I suppose they mirror my own feelings about the fantasy that lays before me in these stories. Maybe she could do with a little taint somehow?

Let me round out this entry with some questions I need to answer before I get too far down this path…

Where’s the conflict in this? Why are there well armed gunboats? Why|how are some of them huge? Why do the guns of the smaller ships point groundward?

Where did the salvaged material come from? How do you get such a mass of ship, helicopter, and plane pieces in one place? How post-apocalyptic is this place? Where’s the joyful day? What do my characters need in order thrive?

616 words on day 554

Before The Skip

“Do you remember before The Skip?” asked [the main character]

“Nae. Known a few what did though. Nae much mind ye. [couple good examples]. One guy I ran into even knew his mum’s name…”

[main character] draws a breath.

“…Did him nae good though. Spent five years looking for her then got shot up in a Landy bar in Terminus.”

This is coming together better than it seems. My thanks to the Internet for helping me out with the dialect; my apologies to everyone else.

74 words on day 553