View Full Version : Fight Junkies: The Tools of War (Prologue) (1924 words)

April 9th, 2014, 01:55 AM
This is the Prologue and first chapter of my novel. Edit: I couldn't get the paragraphs to indent. Is there a way?


For the longest time a Grand Republic stood.
Like all governments before it corruption was present but unlike the governments before, this Republic worked.
There was peace across the Universe.
There was security.
Planets were happy. Planets were strong. Most importantly planets as a whole were content.
A Universal Senate helped govern any problem that arose between planets. Rick or poor each planet had an equal opportunity it the senate. Rich or poor, each planet was treated fairly.
As expected there was still crime across Republic Space. Police chased down these criminals and when and where they felled, Bounty Hunters finished the job. Working both sides of the law most Bounty Hunters prospered.
Looking across Republic Space you saw nothing special. It was normal. Everything went about as normal. Beings worked, lived, and died. And that normality was the downfall of this Grand Republic.
The Republic was caught up in the normality of their situation. They had grown accustomed to their lives and felt safe and secure. And then they were caught completely off guard.
Before anyone could blink a universal war broke out.
An alien race called the Takot, led by their King, decided the Universe was theirs for the taking. And take they did.
The Takot were massive aliens. Black leathery skin covered their ultra-muscular frame. A boney tail as long as their entire body ended in a sharp spear-like tip. Dog-like heads were void of eyes or noses. Their sharp powerful heads ended in a vicious mouth, filled with hundreds of brutally sharp teeth.
The Takot King on the other hand looked very different from his foot soldiers. He was smaller and much more humanoid. While most other species would have considered his frame fragile, weak, and runt-like, the other Takot view him as more than a god. And the entire species fanatically followed his every word.
Millions made up the numbers of the Takot army. And while the number of their army were already outstanding the massive aliens were near impossible to kill. A hail of gunfire barely slowed them down.
Because of those two reasons Republic marines nicknamed the Takot, Immortals.
For almost an entire standard year the Grand Republic Military managed to hold off the Takot’s blood addicted army. But eventually the Takot overran everything and the Republic Military managed to hold out for little more than a few months before surrendering.
As soon as the King was enthroned anything with ties to the Republic was quickly removed and destroyed.
Once he finished cleansing his government he turned his attention to his already massive military force. With his own force he began to enslave the more violent species across the Universe. Forced to do his will they made good cannon fodder.
With everything tied to the former Republic gone the King set up a “cult like police force” of gifted beings. Most of these beings were able to control aspects of the elements. With their powers they were able to manifest almost anything they could imagine. This “police force” quickly grew in numbers and blindly did anything the King ordered. They were his boot, stomping out anything that stood in his way. Soon they were given the responsibility to hunt down all Bounty Hunters, Pirates, and Raiders. Any violent scum that floated around the Universe, it was their job to hunt down and kill.
After countless run-ins between the Bounty Hunters and this “police force”, and many victories for the latter, they were given the nickname Bounty Killers. Because these Bounty Killers slaughtered so many Bounty Hunters with ease the smart hunters retired. And the stubborn hunters continued their trade. The Bounty Killers continued to hunt down and kill Bounty Hunters as well as keep the Pirates and Raiders pushed back into the other reaches of the known Universe. And again there was peace and security.
For three years there was peace under the King’s rule. But a few of the wealthier and stronger planets became restless. They wanted to become part of the government. They saw an opportunity to make money and felt they were being cheated. They cried rebellion if the King didn’t change things.
As easily as he could have destroyed those planets the King have them what they wanted.
A senate.
The King saw this for what it was, an opportunity to gain trust with his new people, as well as knowledge. The King was also smart enough to realize it was cheaper and less time consuming to give them what they wanted.
After he had created the Senate, the King renamed the government an Alliance. But with the introduction of Senators, greed and corruption spread once again. Money ruled everything. The richer planets needed nothing and were first in line for everything. The poorer planets were left to fend for themselves. Soon most of the poor planets were starving, diseased, and under constant attack from Pirates, Raiders, and Slave Traders.
Some of these planets tried to revolt but with the Kings daunting military force it was no use.
What presented more of a problem then the Immortals were the Bounty Killers. They took it as their sole duty to hunt down and butcher all of the Rebels.
Fortunately for the few remaining Rebels there were a few young Bounty Hunters that started causing problems and served as a much needed distraction.
With all of the Bounty Killers busy hunting down Bounty Hunters, more and more pockets of Rebels started to sprout up. But even with those reinforcements the Rebellion did little more than irritate the Alliance.
This pathetic little band of rebels had no true leader to unite, inspire, or organize them. Soon they became discouraged and began to settle down. And for a short time there was peace. The tension was high but it was still peace.
Wonderful peace.
Now it’s said that the Rebellion didn’t truly start until an old alien named Dawon Katara. Dawon was from a race called Kekker’s. A species that is said to have fought in and won the first war in the Universe’s history. Dawon began to unite the Rebels and teach them how to fight a real war. But Dawon’s Rebels were outmanned, outgunned, and out resourced. Soon his Rebels were resorting to sad hit and run tactics.
Dawon Katara knew they were fighting a war that they could just now win. And all they had managed to do was get loved ones killed and place very large death warrants on their heads. So Dawon did something that surprised everyone. He struck a deal with the warlike species of Troas.
Troas’ were from their home planet of Troas. Troas was one of the two planets not under Takot control. There people were born fighters and the King was wise enough to leave them alone. Majority of the population were made up of human or human subspecies but there were a few random species mixed in. The people were led by their own Royal Family, which, as of now consisted of a King, his wife, and their son and daughter. A Master General advised them in all military aspects.
The Troas military was small, only consisting of several thousand men and women. But with the Troas’ help the Rebels started to win meaningful battles and gain ground in the war. These Troas warriors helped the Rebellion become something feared.
One reason the Troas were so destructive was due to the efforts of the 30th Battalion. Leading that battalion was a brash young warrior. Alongside him the men and women in his Battalion did the impossible, winning battles that should have been lost, defending strongholds when the odds against them were outstanding, and liberating planets when all hope had been lost. In effect they had sent malicious blows to the Alliance.
After two years of fighting in one of the bloodiest wars the Universe had seen, the Rebels along with the Troas were ready for a final strike. They were ready to bring the Alliance to its knees.

Chapter One

“Our job is wrong, so wrong. As a bounty hunter we see and do some horrific things. I mean to do this for a living we have to be sick.”- Minter Shakur to Ji’ang Braler

Home of Ji’ang and Tav Braler
Ji’ang Braler sat on the edge of his bed. His room was completely dark. It was silent except for the spinning blades of the ceiling fan and the slow steady breathing of his wife. She was sleeping peacefully.
Ji’ang’s right leg felt like it was on fire. He rubbed it. Parts of it were still blistered and most of the skin was still peeling off. He flexed his calf muscle and regretted it. Pain shot through his leg. He stood up and ever so gently put his full weight on the damaged leg. The pain was far more than intense. Ji’ang gritted his teeth and limped out of the room. He flipped a light on in the kitchen, grabbed a bottle of beer from the fridge, and sat on the counter top while he drank it.
He stared at his leg. It was red and dry. The skin graft had taken well. Ji’ang had to look closely just to see where the skin seemed together. Once the red flakey blisters healed you wouldn’t be able to tell that his leg had ever been nearly blown off.
Three standard weeks ago Ji’ang had been stationed on a Mid-Rim planet when the Forward Operating Base he was working out of was attacked. An enemy’s grenade took a bad bounce and the explosion shattered every bone in his leg all the way up to his knee, while the shrapnel shredded both his ACL and MCL and everything else that was important in his leg. All his tendons looked like cut ropes that were unraveling. Skin, veins, and some meat were all that kept his leg from falling off. He was bloody fortunate that he didn't lose his leg.
Now after three long weeks of intense healing on Troas, Ji’ang was ready to get back to the war. He would have been back on the battlefield faster but by chance his wife had been given leave while he was banged up.

Troas Medical Center
A young male doctor was scanning Ji’ang’s leg. Tem Mulling was stitched into the right side of his lab coat.
Tem was not Ji’ang’s usual doctor.
Ji’ang’s usual doctor was on a battlefield somewhere in the Mid-Rim.
“Well both your ACL and MCL are completely healed.” Tem informed.
Ji’ang nodded his head: “Good.”
“What are you taking for the pain?” Tem asked.
“Nothing.” Ji’ang answered.
That answer completely threw Tem for a loop: “Why not? I can only imagine the pain you’re in.”
Ji’ang: “I have my reasons.”
Tem: “Reasons you’re not going to tell me?”
Ji’ang nodded his head: “Am I cleared?”
Tem: “Yes but I am advising you to at least wait another week.”
Ji’ang: “Not going to happen.”
Tem: “Do you realize what kind of injury you just endured? You were unbelievably lucky to have kept your leg and foot. If you don’t give it enough time your leg could relapse and reject all the work put into it.”
Ji’ang stood up: “I understand that but I know my limits and this isn’t even close to them.”
Tem: “Trust me on this.”
“I don’t.” Ji’ang responded and did the best he could to walk out of the room without limping. He rode home to spend his last few days of leave with his wife.

Please tell me what you think. Don't be afraid to really did in and tell me what i did wrong. Side question for when i post the next chapter: about how many words should i post?

April 16th, 2014, 02:08 AM
Soooo...what do I need to work on?

April 16th, 2014, 06:40 PM
For your formatting issue, no one indents paragraphs here. Just use two hard returns. Don't know why, but something about the forum software(?) doesn't like indents. That would go a long way toward making this more enjoyable to read.

I spaced out after a few paragraphs of the prologue. Until the aliens showed up, I thought this was Star Wars with Jedi knights. Maybe you have something completely different, but it feels so derivative of Star Wars that I couldn't get past that. Also, the prologue is an unwelcome and unnecessary info-dump. The entire thing is passive, telling us the history and setting the scene for your universe. It seems that this is probably very important for your story, but there are much better ways to accomplish this through educating ignorant characters, referencing past events, etc. In short, this sort of information should be delivered to the reader as actively as possible because when someone picks up your book, they don't want to find out that it begins with a history lesson.

April 16th, 2014, 08:46 PM
All of your prologue information needs to come out in scenes from the point of view of one side or another. At least you have that history built, and that will make your story more interesting as you weave it into your characters' interactions. Your protagonist can deliver or observe one side, and scenes from the point of view of the Takot King or one of his generals can fill in the history and observations from their side.

Consolidate the descriptions of the damaged leg into just one paragraph. The observations from the second paragraph could be made as he rubs his leg in the first paragraph.

Ji’ang had to look closely just to see where the skin seemed seamed together

Three standard weeks ago, Ji’ang had been stationed on a Mid-Rim planet when the Forward Operating Base he was working out of was attacked.
Reader will assume that he was at the FOB when it was attacked, especially when the grenade appears in the next sentence. Added comma is optional since opening phrase is short.

while the shrapnel shredded both his ACL and MCL and everything else that was important in his leg. All His tendons

Now, after three long weeks
prepositional phrase needs to be set off by commas at both ends

In the next part, the major sin is the Name:"Dialogue" construction. It really only works if there's some sort of transcript involved, like it a character is looking at a transcript of a 911 call or cockpit voice recorder.

You need to show this scene much more from inside Ji’ang’s head. Instead of, "A young male doctor was scanning Ji’ang’s leg. Tem Mulling was stitched into the right side of his lab coat." Start with something like
"Are you a doctor or did you just get lost on a field trip?" Ji'ang asked.
"Huh?" The kid entering the exam room looked up from his clipboard. Black stitching in the right breast of his white lab coat said "Tem Mulling."
"Does Dr. Mulling know that some teenager has his lab coat? And where is Dr. Feelgood?"
The kid smiled. Maybe he wasn't even a teenager. "Dr. Feelgood is off to war, and I am not as young or inexperienced as I may look to a feeble old man like you."
Apparently, the doctor could take a joke and fire right back; had to admire that, but Ji'ang knew what the doctor's advice would be; and he knew that he wouldn't be taking it.
I hope that makes sense. Instead of a narrator telling us that the doctor is young and that the usual Dr was off to the battlefield, we observe and learn from just inside Ji'ang's head.

-- Trygve

April 16th, 2014, 10:20 PM
Thank you guys very much for posting. It means a lot to me.

@ riven_hands was it the politics that felt like Star Wars? The senate and republic? Also all the big sci fi medias did influence me, including Star Wars, but the more you read the more fantasy aspects are thrown in.

@ trygve thank you for showing me those mistakes. I also like what you wrote and I'll rework it because Ji'ang is young himself and knows where his dr is. (Obviously you couldn't have known I'm just putting that out.) the reason I wrote the dialogue the way I did was because I dislike when writers set up who is talking and then drop the names. But I am a minority in that.

A couple of questions:
1. To my story what would be beneficial in the prologue?
2. When I post more of my story should I start a new thread or continue this one?
3. So I don't become an over poster how often should I post a chapter or a passage of the story?

April 17th, 2014, 02:17 AM
I dislike when writers set up who is talking and then drop the names. But I am a minority in that.
You just need to find a balance. Not every piece of dialogue needs a tag, especially when only two characters are talking. However, a long conversation needs an occasional _____ said tag or some action that identifies the speaker. Take a look at how some of your favorite published authors have handled dialogue.

1. To my story what would be beneficial in the prologue?
If anything, a conversation between the King and his lead Bounty Killer or commanding general that lays out what is happening in the conflict now and focuses attention on where Ji’ang is headed.

2. When I post more of my story should I start a new thread or continue this one?
I've seen both. I think a new thread with a link back to this one. That way you get critiques focused on the portion in that thread.

3. So I don't become an over poster how often should I post a chapter or a passage of the story?
Gauge it by how much more work you think needs to be done on your current submission. That way you can take lessons learned from one and apply them to the next before you post it. Other than that, you'll just have to trust your judgment.

April 17th, 2014, 02:47 AM
Yes, the politics feel copied straight out of Star Wars: an ancient, peaceful Republic; murderous, "alien" invaders; a Rebel Alliance. I'm not saying that you shouldn't use this sort of political set-up; if writers did that, we'd just be making up ridiculous systems by now. But the names of your entities are Star Wars, and that's a turn-off.

April 17th, 2014, 04:15 AM
@ trygve thank you. I really like the idea for the prologue. Side question is a prologue always needed?

@riven_hands when I wrote this I did take some of the politics from Star Wars and firefly. The republic from Star Wars and the alliance being the bad guys. Now politics in this story are very minor and take a back seat. If I rework the prologue do you think it will still be an issue?

April 17th, 2014, 08:53 PM
Side question is a prologue always needed?
In my humble opinion, a prologue is rarely needed.
I looked at a dozen novels that were lying around my place -- everything from long-dead Russians to Suzanne Collins --and the only novel with a prologue was The Fellowship of the Ring. I enjoyed that book, and didn't realize until today that I'd never read the prologue. I read a little of it just now and learned that I really hadn't missed anything by skipping it. I'm guessing that's why the prologue was placed before the Book I title page. So, the lesson I take from Tolkien is that a prologue is fine, as long as the reader can skip it and not feel like they've missed anything.

April 19th, 2014, 03:35 AM
I liked the feel of this story but I do agree with Trygve about what was found in your writing that got picked out. I also agree about the dialog setup. It seems like a play or script setup instead of a story setup. If you don't like un-tagged dialog lines trying using the dialog to add emotion, that's what I do. But, I got a little bit of a Star Trek vibe from your story and definitely see the Firefly influence. I am looking forward to seeing where this story goes.

April 20th, 2014, 10:20 PM
I was interested in the content. I agree with the above critiques. I can imagine it being difficult to come up with an epic galactic story with franchises such as Star Wars and Star Trek out there. I also am a big fan of the Mass Effect games and novels, and your piece had that type of feel to it, but that is fine for me as long as you can make it your own.

One part I couldn't quite get my head around is the success of a scrawny rebellion and a small, albeit very capable, allied alien army. You build the alliance to made of nearly invincible behemoths and merciless minions gifted with special powers. Also, I would suspect the rich worlds would also lend to the alliance their own forces as they are content with the current ruling power. Perhaps you could go into detail about how early victories cause others to join the fight. Maybe you could add a few more species with some special skills of their own, or even a mercenary fleet. If I commanded a rebellion, I would use any and every dirty trick and cheat to gain victories.

Well those are my two cents, but on the whole I enjoyed it and I am interested in seeing where you go with this. Keep at it.

April 21st, 2014, 02:38 AM
Thanks for the interest guys.

@wander- we'll I hope what I post next doesn't disappoint.

@candervalle- that's a good point never thought about that. All I can say is the Troas (the main characters) live to fight. The soldiers in their military are interested in nothing but war and they have skills to match their interest. And the 30th battalion takes that to a whole new level.

Hopefully as you read it will come together.