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jecht12
July 10th, 2014, 09:24 PM
"Move yourselves." They said as my family were evicted from our home on that cold night. Our one bedroom apartment held us together as a family but we could do no better as being different in this time meant your class, stature, income, and life. But I knew where we're going to on this night, the same place they eventually they take all of our kind. My father looked at his sister, me and my cousins with eyes of sorrow, eyes like a suffering mother who couldn't make a living for her children. "Sumner," he called to me. "Take care of your cousins." I knew where he and my aunt were being taken. And I knew where me and my two cousins, Jariah and Essala, would end up.

Those people, dressed in all black come and take our kind from the middle of the night and separate us, the kids are forced into the academy while the adults whom are already attuned with the crystals are sent into the Core where they accelerate the city's power. With shock batons in hand they forced us into separate vehicles, the youngest, Essala crying out for her mother whom did not dare to look upon her child's face. She then busted out into a flow of tears. My father, a single tear fell across his cheek as the door to the black vehicle slammed shut. A man distinguished by his emblem and wet black suit, a white empty circle, symbolizing New Haven, called for the men to move out and the vehicles drove away in different routes. I looked from the window as rain drizzled upon the window and lightning flashed off in the distance.

It wasn't rare for rain in New Haven, it rained almost everyday but this was different. The rain was especially cold for that night, it pierced the skin turning me numb. I could almost feel the anxiety in the torrent above but I thought of my father's words 'take care of your cousins' and I looked back at them in the seat next to me, Essala still bawling her eyes onto her hands, Jariah staring back at me with a hopeless and plain look. I had to be strong, one day my family will be reunited I continued to think but I deep down, I saw despair in my thoughts and nothing seemed to be plausible. My father would eventually be wasted along with my aunt when their life energy depletes and they can no longer uphold the crystal. I've heard stories between my father and his friends from the Veleros Ghetto. The officials pick the old and week off the streets, throw them into cars and drive off to camps on the outskirts of New Haven, secret from public eyes. None are heard from again. I could not understand why at that age, I could not understand why they hated us so. Was it because of our eyes? Our hair? Our skin? We're human just like them, the only creatures alien are the animals. Unless we're considered the animals. But then I realized, our attunement with the crystals was incredible and my people were secretly forced into slavery to uphold the infrastructure of humanity. To accelerate humanity's way of life, a source of infinite power bred for one purpose.

That was how the New Earth Republic saw my kind. My name is Sumner Kevros, age sixteen, race, Astarti, eligibility, confirmed. My cousins, Jariah, age thirteen, Essala, age ten. And we're all eligible. The men escorted us into the academy. It wasn't really an academy but more of a research and training center. In an attempt to access the true abilities of the Astarti, humans began to research us and thus they send the next generation of Astarti to the academy and discard the old. A man in a white coat came before us, "Welcome", he looked at me. I stared at him coldly and said not a word. "Here's the new shipment Doc," the man with the emblem said."Come now, they aren't objects, they are the future of the human race." I couldn't tell if he was bluffing as he said that with a serious yet calm tone. "I don't care what they are, as long as they know their place and work for us." He turned to me. "Don't worry, I'll take care of your father and especially that pretty sister of his." "Sergeant," The doctor said. "That's enough." In a rage I clenched my fist and landed a blow on the right side of his jaw. "Bastard," he said spitting blood onto the floor, hunched over from the pain. He unsheathed his baton and struck me three consecutive times. The shock from it paralyzing me, but I suddenly fell into a deep sleep, tired from what had happened that day, tired of the world in which I lived. One day I thought before I passed out, one day I would change this city.

I woke up in a white cell, upon a white bed,, decorated with a desk, bedside table with a lamp and a bookcase. On the desk was a computer and a self automated proxy station. The bed had white sheets, in fact nearly everything was white. Enclosed it felt like an asylum. A place where they send those who cannot function in the world, people like the astarti. I got up from the bed and sharp pain struck me in the back, pulling up the shirt there was a large bruise on my back from where that officer struck me. Rising from the bed, the lights turned on. I walked towards the door attempting to open it but of course it was locked, they’d be crazy to not leave it locked. “Due to your safety and the safety of others, Sumner Kevros, you are unable to leave the confinement of this room till further notice.” The voice spoke from the proxy station. A holographic of a robotic man appeared above the station.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I am an A.I. program designated as Atmos, I am your attendant for this room and your hub of information for this facility.”
“How am I to leave this place?”
“When Dr. Floren designates it.”
“Where are my cousins? Jariah? Essala?”
“They are with Dr. Floren as we speak.”
“Do not worry Sumner Kevros. You will be safe here at this facility, I am programmed to keep it that way.”

I looked around the outside of the room through a glass inlet that was on the door. Outside the walls were barren and of course white. I could not see anything in a ten feet wide view from the glass. I wondered if the doctor would open my cell now that I have awoken. Across the hall looked to be another cell as similar as mine. From the door I looked up towards the glass and saw another pair of eyes staring back at me. I could not tell if it was a boy or a girl but they seemed scared, or angry. I turned back and walked towards the desk and sat down. I stared at Atmos.
“Atmos, what is this facility?”
“This is the Astarti Academy, a place of research and development for the astarti race where you are tested and honed for your skills as a crystal bearer. You are the future of the human and astarti race.”
“Then why remove my father, and my aunt…”
“They are ineligible.”
“What does that even mean?”
“They are not honed, their skills as crystal amplifiers were never pushed to the extent and therefore would never be eligible as a true astarti.”

Still confused I grabbed one of the books from the shelf and opened it on the desk. It was a research book of the crystals themselves. I put it back and grabbed another, the front read ‘The History of the Astarti’. Another was a calculus book, another was advanced physics, ‘History of Space Travel’, ‘History of New Haven’, ‘Intergalactic Travel’. Many of these books would be seen in an advanced high school classroom. Bored once more I turned on the computer, the clear glass awoke with high quality colors and sounds, a holographic keyboard appeared at the bottom. The computer had my name at the top on the screen. It asked for a password that I did not have.
“Atmos, what is the password to this computer?”
“Dr. Florens is required for that information.”
“No help are you.”
“I am only programmed to do what the programmer wishes me to do, Sumner Kevros.”
“Smart too.”
“I am advanced model, Sumner Kevros. My programming allows the development of relationships and feelings based on the actions of the one that I am to guide. You are the one, Sumner Kevros.”
“Interesting.” I said.
“Tell me Atmos, am I being watched?”
“There are cameras stationed in every room, floor, and area. I am unable to designate where they are.”
“Then why haven’t they come for me if I am awake?”
“Unable to answer.” Atmos said.

I decided to just lay back into the bed and stare aimlessly at the white ceiling, hoping to see my little cousins again, thinking back on what my father told me. Although this facility was designed for safety, it certainly did not feel as such. These people were my captors, they stole my family and they are dangerous until proved otherwise in my mind. I restlessly returned to my feet and paced back and forth, back and forth, for what it felt was like an hour. Bored hopelessly out of my mind. My curiosity of what this facility was bugged me until I passed out again onto my bed.
“Sumner Kevros.” Atmos spoke.
“Dr. Floren is here.”

I anxiously looked up. I heard the sound of a child laughing and the swipe of an object at the door. The door slid open automatically and I saw my two cousins standing and front of me. The ran towards me and hugged me. A tall man with medium long black hair and wearing glasses and a white lab coat with an I.D. tag. He must have been Dr.Floren I thought. Essala spoke.
“Sumner, we’ve missed you all day. Dr. Floren, the nice man there said you were feeling sick after that mean man hit you.”
Jariah knew I wasn’t feeling sick but simply knocked out.
“I’ve missed you too.” I said hugging her.
“Next time I’ll always be with you two.”
Jariah didn’t speak and remained silent. Probably still in shock of the events that occurred last night.
“Sumner.” Dr.Florens said. “Follow me.”
And I did, to quench my apetite of what this place was. My two cousins followed behind me. As I walked from the room, the doors shut behind me. I looked at the room across from me and no eyes appeared to be at the glass.

Following the doctor through the facility, I could tell that this was well invested by the government. Camera’s layered upon each other at every entrance and every corner. It was more like a prison than an actual academy, but paid no mind to their watchful eyes as I could do nothing to prevent it. The walls were white and blank, plants occasionally lined the walls. Walking from the housing and through its hallways were lined with many doors like that of my own. There were others here.

We came upon a set of large doors, at the top of the archway was a sign that read ‘Study Hall’. It must have been where the classes took place, I thought. We walked through and came to a larger hallway with what it seemed to be classrooms on each side, the first one to our right was my cousins classroom, mine was further down the hallway near the end.

“Sumner, little ones, this where you will spend most of your days and studies.” Dr. Florens said.
“However, occasionally we will run diagnostics on your eligibility as an Astarti, we must upkeep your amazing abilities as the future of the human race.”
We didn’t say a word and reply, instead agreeing with body language as he went on explaining the facility.

“This academy is purely for development of the future and for scientific progress of the space age. Now as you follow me, I will take you to the Science and Development sector.”
“What is it that you people do there,” I asked. “Is it where you experiment on our people, turn them into slaves, what, why are we here doctor, why are we deprived of a normal life?”
“Sumner, I am not here to deprive you of life, my job is to reinvigorate it, to change it, revitalize, to save as many of your race as possible. I am not your enemy Sumner Kevros, I am not the government.”
“Yet you are funded by them, are you not? The guards wear the emblem of New Haven and I can smell the cameras lining the facility.”
“Yes, you are right, but our government benefactor sees your people as an investment for everyone. Those imbeciles that forcefully remove the Astarti are not part of this program, those that deliver you to us are not part of us, we have no control on how they transport young Astarti, I am sorry for your loss Sumner, and you too little ones, our superiors assume they take young Astarti from families that can no longer upkeep such a family, yet of course money blinds all.”
His voice was sincere and sorrowful. I could tell by his look and posture that he did feel sorry for us and that he did not enjoy those he worked for but Dr. Florens seemed a trustworthy overall from our discussion. And so we continued.
“I….I understand, Dr. I will be more considerate of your views.”
“It is quite okay to question.” Dr. Florens said back at me.
“And on that note, let us continue the tour.”

On the right corridor at the end of the hallway near my classroom there was another set of large doors. The sign read Science and Development and opened into a large elevator. My cousins scurried behind me as the doors shut. Dr. Florens placed his hand on a panel, it looked to be a hand scanner, it was obvious that they did not want ordinary people or Astarti to enter this part of the facility. As we went lower, glass panels opened on all sides of the elevator and we saw out from all sides of the massivity of the research center.
It made me wonder just how many Astarti were enrolled. Suddenly my eyes caught glimpse of large crystal above a spring pool. We were far below ground and caverns walls surrounded the spring.

“Is that an Astral Crystal?” I asked.
“How do you know of such a thing?” Dr. Florens said.
“My father would tell me stories of my grandfather whom was one of the first Astarti and one of the first to discover such a thing. This is one of the rarest crystals on Taurus Prime. It’s bluish radiance is said to be of starlight, as if a sun itself was stored within. My father also said that it’s power remains infinite.”
“I see, interesting knowledge. We may put it to the test if you are truly able to wield such a force.”
“Me?” I stood shocked.
“Why yes, this why this facility was built. After the discovery of this crystal, New Haven immediately issued a research project to protect and hide the crystal from private companies, according to evidence, this crystal could solve our power struggle for the next several centuries. Of course it must be wielded, but all of our attempts by veteran Astarti, have proven...fatal. That is why we built the academy, to harness this power and to propel us into a newer future.”
“Why not use the abundance of other crystals.”
“We have, unfortunately the Astarti have rebelled and terrorist groups have stolen the reserve and hidden them within the wastes. Oh, I can not say anymore.”
“So that is why laws have been stricter upon us…”

The elevator reached the bottom. Dr. Florens ahead of us asked us to come closer. Within this building underground, there were many researchers outside, studying the crystal with strange suits on and instrumental tools that are probably virtually useless. A large glass window shown the lake and the crystal above it. It glimmered from the energy within it and the reflection off of the water below. It radiated a light blue aura that illuminated most of the cave. Mesmerized by the site, something took hold and I pressed myself up to the glass, trying to catch every glimpse that I could. I felt attracted to it, as if it was calling me to it like I was developing an artificial voice and my head. I inched closer and closer and I caught myself running towards the door, but it was locked.
“It has the same effect on Astarti’s around your age, that is why the little ones are acting normal to its embrace. Do not be alarmed however, it is natural for an astarti to seek the crystals as you are of course its bearers and wielders.” Dr Florens said.
“Let us not waste anymore time here young ones, you will return here soon, and I’m sure you are all tired, so I shall take you back to the dormitories with the others, you will meet them tomorrow for that will be your first day of class.”

We walked back into the elevator, watching the crystal as we returned to the surface. Walking back through the hallways, I attempted to remember every little detail of my surroundings, keeping a watchful eye on the security while they do the same. Arriving at the dorm hall, Dr. Florens and my cousins bid me goodnight as he took them to their rooms. Before the door shut, I checked over across the hall at the window, and there was a pair of eyes, ever so watchful, but when we met they disappeared into the darkness of the room.

oggmeister
July 14th, 2014, 08:27 AM
I think you have a good story here and there are parts of it that work for me. But there were a couple of things that stood out to me. First, there are a number of places where the punctuation and word choices are off (either a word is missing or there are too many pronouns). I'm not going to try to cover them here because it looks like it might have been how this got pasted into the thread. But I would suggest going back over it to clean up those instances.

On a general note, I got the feeling that you were more describing things to me, sometimes in great detail and other times, simply to push through the story. In the beginning, I found myself wanting to know more about how Sumner and the cousins were taken away. I was imagining that it would be confusing for the cousins, stressful for Sumner and a death sentence for the adults. So I expected to get more out of this section, especially since you lead off with it. But it reads more like you want to state that this happens so that you can get inside the academy. And if that's your true destination, I'd probably re-work the story so that I start inside the academy because that's where I felt the strongest parts of the story lie.

Inside the academy, I had a problem with how quickly Dr. Florens was to offer up information. I would think in this setting that the doctor would be more guarded in both the information he offers up and the parts of the academy he shows during the tour. Specifically, showing the Astral Crystal didn't seem right to me. It seemed too easy for him to show it and then to have Sumner be knowledgeable in it, especially given that it's so rare and potentially powerful. I would think this is something that Dr. Florens and Sumner discuss later on when a level of trust has been established between the characters.

Overall, I think you have some good images and interesting characters. But the pace of the story didn't always work for me - sometimes too much description, other times all dialogue. My suggestion there would be to experiment with different methods for writing this scene (this is something that has helped me in the past). Perhaps look at writing it from a dialogue and short description only perspective?

Hope this helps.
-Og

-xXx-
April 27th, 2015, 11:50 PM
Hi Jecht12.

I have read this piece several times.
I've decided to make a few comments, initially, and return to edit in a few more.

In these two examples, my goal is to eliminate the "which they" question, align verb tenses and/or simplify:


Those people, dressed in all black come and take our kind from the middle of the night and separate us, the kids are forced into the academy while the adults whom are already attuned with the crystals are sent into the Core where they accelerate the city's power.

Alternative word suggestion:
In the middle of the night, dressed in black, come people to take and separate our families. The academy will confine our children. Already attuned to crystal working, our Core incarcerated adults will accelerate the city's power.



With shock batons in hand they forced us into separate vehicles, the youngest, Essala crying out for her mother whom did not dare to look upon her child's face. She then busted out into a flow of tears.


to be continued