PDA

View Full Version : The Last Remnants: Second Chance (Sci-fi; Language Caution)



KJ1001
March 23rd, 2015, 10:01 AM
I will release few more chapters here, as well as some excerpts in later date. Prologue is subject to change as well!

I will gradually update it, instead of making new threads. Thanks and enjoy!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prologue



Wars, conflicts, famines, and diseases; these are the burdens of mankind.
By the year 2016, analysts and experts around the world have come to one single conclusion: The mankind will be buried underneath its own burdens. The inevitable will come and won’t be stopped. Something must be done.

In the year 2017, a top secret project is initiated around the globe, with the help and cooperation of the world’s leaders. Out of six million candidates from around the world, only seven hundred are chosen to participate in the Project Second Chance. Meanwhile, the foreign relation of the world’s community deteriorates and possibilities of global conflicts increase. The situations around the world worsen and are barely contained.

By the year 2019, the race for colonization of Mars begins and Project Second Chance is completed without the public’s knowledge of its existence. Securities around the world are dramatically increased, personal freedoms are confiscated, and diplomatic talks conclude in stalemates while tanks and jets scramble. Public’s trust of their leaders decreases while terrorist activities increase exponentially. The world becomes a ticking time bomb. Alliances and promises may be kept within certain groups, but their common foes become more relentless and uncontainable as days go by. The world is on edge and everyone is watching their leaders to make the right move.

By the year 2020, the world is on edge and everyone is watching and hoping that their leaders make the right move.


One wrong move could make the entire world explode.






Chapter 1


World Peace Please?




I never had a memorable experience with my parents. My father is a Nobel Prize laureate and my mother is as timid as ever, but very nice person. Both were always too busy, even to this day. They were supposed to retire two years ago, so why the hell are they still working? I despise them so much. No matter how much they try to love me or be nice to me, they never brand a single memorable experience into my head. What, who thinks going to Disney World or road trips with people like them are memorable experiences? They can’t fool me. They never could. And here I am, looking at myself in the rear view mirror, disgusted at my parents and myself. I will never become like them. Oh, I should just focus on driving. But still, that doctor what-was-his-name’s questions still ring in my head. What can I do about it but contemplate?
‘What’s your most memorable experience with your parents?’
‘Will you ever miss them?’
Such silly questions. The only reason I can’t shake these thoughts out of my head is because of what I got myself into. No, it wasn’t even me. It was the society! Yes, the society is to blame for my deteriorating sanity. I’ve known my only love and fiancée, Alana, for almost three years now and she’s already pregnant. We are going to start a family and what happens? The society happens! The society is all to blame. I can’t lose her to the likes of this rotten world. My dream of becoming a father is all I have. Not even the six figures from my job can change that. Nothing in this filthy world could ever take me away from Alana. But there isn’t much choice, is there?

Great, traffic. Christ, not another protest. These damn protestors get on my nerves. All they do is whine and cry, but they don’t do anything productive. People like these are the ones making the world worse, by poking into businesses they don’t even know about, like politics. Do they even know the basic to world peace? Why must they do this? Why are they aggravating the police and making things worse? Why are they holding up traffic? I wish I had a machinegun so I can mow them down. Damn it, I can’t miss the News, it’s almost 9 o’clock!
I press on the horn as hard as I can and lower my driver’s seat window.
“Get the hell out of my way!”
Oh no, they are throwing shit at my car now. I just had this car washed yesterday! Maybe I should just run them over. But wait, here comes—
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car.”
A police officer is asking me to step out, but why? And here I thought he would stop those mangy little protestors from being so unruly.
“Is something wrong, officer?”
“I noticed you honked at the protestors. You caught my attention that your car isn’t on auto-drive per regulation. I am going to have to ask you a few questions. Please step out right now.”
The officer’s expression is blank just like any other officers I’ve come across in the past. I step out of the car gently and I can see the protestors grinning at me and mocking me. The day just gets better and better. The officer proceeded to handcuff me and says, “Sir, please cooperate with me here. You are under suspicion of terrorism right now.”
“Terrorism? That’s ridiculous. Do you have any idea who I work for, officer?”
I chuckle maniacally with a bit of anger mixed in.
“Jacob Price, male, age 27. You are a contractor for DARPA.”
“That’s right. I build shit to keep you and your family safe, so fuck off!”
I wail at the officer with uncontrollable rage. I can feel the officer’s grip on my arm tighten. But his face was still blank and seemed unusually mellow.
“Sir, since your auto-drive is disabled, our computer can’t determine your destination. You gotta help me out here.”
The round-eyed officer stared into my eyes. No, he was staring into my soul. Chills run down my spine and I couldn’t look at him in the eyes anymore. I breathe in deeply to calm my anger and said, “I’m going home to see my fiancée. Under the new federal employee protection law, you have no jurisdiction over me.”
I turn towards the protestors who are mocking me and scream from the top of my lungs.
“God bless America!”
The faces of the protestors turn sour and angry as they boo me.
“Do something piggy!”
One of the protestors shouts at the police officer.
“Under the newly updated Patriot Act, any and all individuals under suspicion of terrorism are subjected to arrest. That includes protected federal employees, sir.”
The officer’s eyes widen. His face remains blank, but I can tell that he is definitely pissed off. I better cooperate with him before I get myself arrested and sent off to jail.
“Okay fair enough. Like I said, I’m going home.”
I feel tired and defeated; I wish this would end already. I better check my blood pressure when I get home.
“What was the reason you disabled the auto-drive, sir?”
“Because I hate this god damn traffic and I like cutting people off.”
The officer is standing silently as he stares at me with a look that either seems to be a worry or puzzled; I really couldn’t tell. With a silent nod, he finally spoke.
“All right, you can go now. But please turn on the auto-drive. Thanks, and have a safe trip home.”
I am so damn relieved this ended. I still have time to get home and watch the News, thank goodness. I’ve been into a situation like this before, and I expect the cop’s drone to tail me all the way to my destination.


“Alana, I’m home!”
Ah, it’s good to be home. I inhale deeply of this delicious scent of Alana’s cooking. My mind is finally at peace.
“I would hug and kiss you right now, but I’m making dinner!”
Alana shouts from the kitchen. She sounds delighted as ever.
“Oh, don’t you worry; I’m going over to you.”
I smile and hum with joy as I walk to the kitchen. I see her chopping up some green onions next to diced apple. That’s some strange combination, but I bet it’s still good. I slowly wrap my arms around her waist and kiss her neck. She drops the knife and turns to kiss my lips. Suddenly she looks worrisome.
“What took you so long? You are later than usual.”
She swipes my hair as her eyes examine my face closely.
“Ah, there was a huge traffic because of some stupid protest. Anyway, smells delicious!”
She smiles and says, “You should get ready for dinner. It’ll be done in a minute.”
“Not before I say hello to my son!”
I kneel and put my ear onto Alana’s pregnant belly as she giggled.
“You don’t know if it’s a boy yet.”
She chuckles as she pats my head.
“You are so silly Jake. It hasn’t even been a month. You can’t hear anything.”
I frown jokingly as I get up. I kiss her once more and walk to the living room. I think I’m going to vomit, but I have to make sure. Just like before, Jacob. You can do this. I sit on the leather couch and turn on the TV. Yes, right on time.
“-First, the world news. President Collins announced an even more pressing sanction this morning against the self-proclaimed Republic of Texas. According to the President, Texas will face a deadly consequence unless it releases nine million Americans still imprisoned there.” The anchor speaks calmly but with serious expression on her face. She looks as if she’s about to cry in anguish. I understand, because I know her relative is one of those nine million Americans trapped in that terrorist state.
“We should not, and will not reintegrate into the United States until President Collins changes his policies. Until then, the voices of the majority of Texans will be law!”
The ignorant cheers can be heard from the clip of the Texan president’s speech. This world is so broken. Can’t they see that their own selfish desires are what’s dividing and ruining this world? I can’t believe this crap.
“In another news, the royalist rebels supported by the US and allies in Saudi Arabia have recaptured the province of Hejaz, a province that holds an ancient and holy city of Mecca. The rebel spokesperson says that this move will bring even more legitimacy to their overthrown king.”
I quickly turn around when I hear a sigh from Alana, who is standing behind me.
“Watching the News again?”
“Yeah, I can’t help it.”
“News is so depressing. I don’t know why anyone would watch News these days. The meal is ready by the way.”
I walk to the table quietly without a word. I am quite relieved that nothing serious was reported on the news. It’s all done-this done-that. I shouldn’t worry so much about old news. This is just another night. How long was I at this, a year? Two years? I’ve lost count. My sanity is slowly slipping away as my worries stack. I wasn’t always a mean piece of crap to everyone. I used to be an optimist, but what have I become? Today, I was so angry at everything for no reason. I should see a therapist soon, but I can’t tell anyone about Project Second Chance, not even to my wife or especially the therapist. Will I ever be a sane man ever again? Do I have to watch the news until I am six feet under? This is never going to end, is it?




Chapter 2


Fat Chance






No… This can’t be happening. Is it finally begun? Has the day I’ve wanted to avoid finally come? Is this the end? The society will take away my precious Alana?
I can see the very definition of horror on Alana’s face, reflecting back to me. I drop my fork and I’m frozen in place. I am not even looking at the TV, but I can hear everything. And what I’m hearing, it makes no sense at all. I can see Alana covering her mouth as she can’t take her eyes off the TV. She is sobbing now. She’s not the one who should sob though, because I am the one who should. But I can’t. Instead, I have this strange feeling that I’ve never felt in a long time. Similar feeling was experienced when I was a little boy, when my grandmother who technically raised me passed away. Why? Why now? Why today? Can’t it wait just a bit longer?

It was three years ago. I can never forget that night. It was the night that would change me and everything around me forever.
“Jake, can you pick up the phone? I’m in the shower.”
Alana shouts from the restroom.
“Yeah, sure thing.”
I walk over to the ringing home phone to pick it up.
“Hello?”
“Mr. Price, come out of your house in exactly 30 seconds.”
“Who is this? Hello? Is anyone still there?”
Huh, that’s strange. I wonder who that could be. Should I call the police? What if it’s some creep trying to rob me or kill me? Bah, I should just ignore it. It could be a prank call. But then again, how the hell did he know my last name? Yellow Pages maybe?
I am dozing off while watching the most boring show I’ve ever seen in my life. Alana is already asleep in the bedroom. She probably thinks I’m working late in my study. Suddenly, I hear three loud knocks, coming from the front door. Who would want to visit at this hour? Gee, it’s 1 AM already. I approach the front door and look through the peephole. I see two men in long black raincoats over suits and ties. Behind them was a black SUV, blocking my driveway. Red, blue, red, blue… The police? I open the door and—
“Is anyone else in your house?”
“Uh, yes. My girlfriend. What’s this about?”
Two men flash their badges to me. They are from the FBI. It must be work related somehow.
“I’m special agent Jeffery and this is special agent Allan. I need you to come with us, Mr. Price. We’ll answer your questions on the way.”
“Okay, let me get my coat.”

This place is pitch-black. Just where are these guys taking me? We’ve been driving for almost an hour now.
“Agents, where are you taking me?”
“Mr. Price, you are needed at a black site. We cannot disclose the location.”
“A black site? Why?”
“You will be briefed when we get there.”
Okay, something is definitely up. I am getting really nervous here. A black site? Really? The projects I work on are usually top secret, but they aren’t “nonexistent” as a black site. This is beyond top secret. The sheer nervousness is making me cold. I am shivering even with my coat on and I’m grinding my teeth. Is this anticipation or fear? I am confused.
“We are here.”
Agent Jeffery got out of the SUV and signaled me to get out as well. I get out, but Agent Jeffery gets back into the SUV.
“Hey wait a second, what the hell is this?”
It’s too late, they took off. It’s pitch-black here, and I can’t see anything. All I can feel and hear are the rain drops and sound of crickets. I must be in the middle of nowhere. Am I in the wild? No, I can feel flat concrete on the ground. This definitely isn’t a road though. All I could see are tiny specks of blue lights that are perfectly lined up. Wait, am I standing on a tarmac?
Bright white lights shine on my face. I put my hands around my eyes to see who’s shining that light. I can definitely see one or two people behind one of the spotlights.
“Hello, Mr. Price!”
“Who’s that?” I ask anxiously.
My vision readjusts to the light, and I can see a man walking towards me. The man is bald; he is possibly around his 40s. The man offers a handshake, but I hesitate.
“Who are you?”
“I am not that important, Mr. Price. What’s important is that, you are a winner.”
“What for?”
The man hands me a piece of newspaper article, a pen, and an umbrella.
“Please write this number down. The number is six-two-six.”
I write down the number on the newspaper article while holding the umbrella between my cheek and shoulder.
“May I have my pen back please? You can keep the umbrella.”
“Can you explain to me what I’ve just won?”
“I was getting to that. You’ve won a seat in the shuttle. Six-two-six is the number of the shuttle.”
“Wait, what shuttle?”
“The space shuttle of course!”
I can barely make out the face of the man due to the lighting, but I can tell that he is smiling at me. His partially lit face reminds me of thin crescent moon.
I chuckled and said, “Nice one. Now seriously, what’s this all about?”
The man’s supposed smile disappeared. The man’s once joyous voice turned cold and flat abruptly.
“Please raise your right hand and repeat after me.”
What the hell is going on? Why am I swearing an oath, and to what?
“I, Mr. Price, will not speak of this meeting to anyone.”
“I, Mr. Price, will not speak of this meeting to anyone.”
“I will not speak of the existence of the Project Second Chance to anyone, not even to my friends or families, for the sake of humanity.”
“I will not speak-”
Wait a minute. Did he just say Project Second Chance? But, that was just a rumor amongst my colleagues. A rumor… Doesn’t exist… A black project?
“Please repeat after me, Mr. Price.”
“No no no no no. This can’t be happening. I never signed up for any-”
“No one signed up for this project, Mr. Price. You were simply chosen.”
The man’s tone became even colder and impatient.
This can’t be happening. This must be a prank by my colleagues.
“No, you don’t understand. I don’t even know what this project is about.”
“Yes, you do. You work at DARPA don’t you? The rumors of the project aren’t just a coincidence. It’s all factual. We just like everyone else to believe that it’s just a rumor, but it’s actually not.”
The space shuttle, hibernation technology, preparation for the end; they are all true?
“W-well what if I don’t want to be a part of this?”
“You know what Mr. Price? You should be honored to be a part in this project. Just imagine, when the events are set in motion and our predictions come true, and the project is initiated-”
“I know. I know that this project is for humanity. Your goals are truly noble sir, but I want no part of it. Just take me back home, I won’t tell anybody I swear.”
“You of all people should know that you can’t just walk away once you are in the black.”
The man walks closer and the shadow consumes his entire face, nearly resembling a solar eclipse with the spot light behind his head. The man’s shadowy arms point out towards the source of the spotlight.
“At least thirty rifles are aimed at you right now, Mr. Price. If you walk away now, you will never see Alana again.”
“How did you-”
“I took you for a patriot, Mr. Price. You are such a gifted young man, developing technologies for defense of this nation. The future of humanity is grim, and that is why when everything is on reset, we need people like you rebuilding and reshaping humanity.”
They are threatening me. They are forcing me to accept at gun point. I can’t even see anyone pointing guns at me. How do I know this guy isn’t bluffing? But then again, he probably isn’t.
I ball my fist tightly and bite hard.
“Okay fine! Let’s get on with this oath.”

“Oh my god, Jake! Can we just turn that damn thing off?”
Alana won’t stop crying, and I just can’t stop thinking.
“Jake, is this really happening? I can’t watch this anymore.”
“No! Leave it alone. I have to watch this.”
“Jake, you’ve been acting so strange lately. And you never ever watched the news as frequently before. And now it’s as if you were waiting for this to happen! Do you know who did this, Jake? Was it the government? Answer me!”
“I don’t fucking know!”
My god, this is the first time I ever raised my voice to Alana. We are not even married yet, and I’m making a scene as if we are going through midlife crisis.
“I’m sorry Alana. I didn’t mean to-”
She quickly walked away. I could hear the bedroom door slam a moment later.
I don’t understand. This isn’t even that personal.
“We are reporting to you live on the current situation in New Delhi. The Indian air force has finally disclosed the aerial footage of the massive nuclear explosion in the city of New Delhi. The footage you are about to see is highly disturbing and we advise-”
I quickly turn off the TV. I can feel my warm tear running down my cheek. I rest my head on my palm, as I stare blankly at the unfinished meal. I don’t even want to eat anymore.

I don’t understand. This isn’t even that personal. Alana, please don’t let me leave like this. It’s not my fault. It’s the society. Yes, the society is all to blame.






Chapter 3
Off You Go




My paranoia grows every minute. I need to plan an escape, if I want to see my own child born. Maybe Alana is right. For some reason, it's as if I've been waiting for a news like that to appear. I strangely feel relieved like I solved the biggest mystery in life.
I walk over to my study. The place is a mess as always, with paper works and folders jumbled about. A newspaper article which I put neatly on my oak desk is juxtaposed amongst less important ones. On it, I see my dad smiling along with six other Nobel Prize laureates, as well as the numbers I've written down in red ink on that rainy night three years ago. I put the piece of the article into my pocket and head for the bedroom. I slowly open the door followed by silent creak.
"Are you asleep?" I ask Alana.
"No." She quietly responds.
I can barely see her. She has the lights off in the room, but I can see her shadow on the bed.
"Alana, I'm sorry I yelled at you. I didn't mean to."
"I'm sorry for overreacting because of something that happened half a world away." She replied. Her voice is still raspy. She must've cried a bit more in the room.
I silently sit on the bed next to her, feeling apologetic.
"We have to leave the country. I'm sorry, I don't want to-"
"What are you saying, Jake?"
"My brother joined up with the Texan militia about a year ago. I'm going to give him a call."
"Why are we going to Texas, Jake? What's going on?"
Alana quickly gets up from the bed. I can tell that she's afraid. I am afraid too; I don't know what's going to happen next.
"I'll tell you everything once we get to Texas, I promise."
"But what about our jobs, our families and life here?" Her voice grew louder and contending.
"We just need to be in Texas for about a year or two, and we'll come back. Please, Alana."
I wish I can get through to her, but she's already shaking her head. I've failed to appease her. I can feel another of her cries coming right about now.
"Just leave me be, please." She replied after a moment of silence as she got back on the bed.
This is bad. I can't go anywhere without her. But If I stay, I will still lose her. There aren't many options left. I guess this is inevitable.
I walk back into the living room and turn on the TV. I lower the volume so that Alana can't hear anything.
"-National Security analyst Stephen Mitchell will be joining us tonight. Thanks for joining us, Mr. Mitchell."
"Glad to be here, Frank."
"So could you tell us more about what's most likely going to happen next?"
"As you can tell, this is a highly delicate matter. And there aren't any proofs as to who committed this atrocious crime against the people of India as of yet. The US and-"
They don't know who did this yet. Is that supposed to be good news? At least we can avoid a total nuclear exchange, which also means that I can avoid that god forsaken project.
'Beep-beep-beep-beep'
My eyes widen and my heart starts to race quicker. Everything around me is falling apart. I know that sound.
"We interrupt this program. This message is broadcasted on behalf of the United States civil defense. A nuclear explosion has been detected in the Southwest and Northeast of the United States simultaneously. A mandatory evacuation will be issued in states: California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington-"
I have to wake up Alana.
"Alana! Wake up right now!"
My legs are shaking, but I run towards the bedroom as fast as I could. I push open the bedroom door as hard as I can, making it bang on the wall.
"What now?"
"There was another explosion. We are going to Texas right now. Pack your stuff!"
"Wait, hold on a second!"
I can't! There isn't much time!
I hear three loud knocks coming from the front door. This takes me back. It's all over now, isn't it?
I kneel and kiss Alana as hard as I can.
"I love you." I try not to sob, but it can't be helped.
"What's going on, Jake?"
I walk away from her without saying anything.
I can see two men in long black raincoats over suits and ties. It is just like that night three years ago. Once I open this door, it's all over. Everything I love and care about will forever disappear.
"Good evening Mr. Price, it's time to go."
I turn around and see Alana standing there, confused and clueless.
No, I won't go!
"Let me hug my fiancée one last time, please."
"Sure thing, sir. But we have to get a move on, so make it quick."
I walk towards Alana, but quickly turn to the lamp next to the couch. I grab it and yank the plug out of the outlet. I find myself charging towards the agents with the lamp in uncontrollable rage. Is this instinct?
I smash the lamp as hard as I could on the agent's head. Now my feet are off the ground, floating in midair. A shock wave of pain spread from the back to my chest as I fall to the ground. I open my eyes and Alana is standing there and looking at me in shock, covering her mouth with both hands. The agent is on top of me. I can see him taking out something shiny from his coat.
"Sir, I'm going to have to cuff you."
I have to say something, but I can't.
My body is levitated as the two agents lift me up. My sight fixes onto Alana's horrified face. I wish I could stop looking at her, but I just can't look away. Not now, not ever. I don't want to lose her.
I feel the cold air outside as I'm dragged to their vehicle. Alana drops to her knees and I can no longer see her as the agent gets in the way to close the door.
So, this is it then?

Dulles International Airport. Departing.
"Mr. Price, we have agents at your house gathering essentials for you. The bags will be waiting for you at the Kennedy."
I feel completely numb and powerless to speak or ask questions.
"Mr. Price, are you okay? We have to make sure you are okay."
She's pretty and well dressed. Why is a pretty thing like her working for people who tear lives apart?
"It won't be a long flight to the space center. You'll be briefed there, okay?"
I can hear the engines of the plane firing up. I look around and no one else is here. No one else but me and that pretty lady. I should do something horrible to her. Maybe it's not too late to escape.
"Hey buddy!"
I unbuckle my seat belt and look behind me. A young guy, nerdy looking glasses, neck beard all around, messy hair... He is definitely not one of them. He must be another victim, like me.
"What's good, man? You look all worn out. You okay?"
He gets up from his seat behind mine and sits next to me. He offers his hand.
"Hey, I'm Daniel. You?"
I shake his hand. His hands were sweaty. How disgusting.
"I'm Jacob. Nice to meet you."
"I'm so excited about this. I always wanted to go off into space, you know."
I let out a huge sigh. Either I'm sitting next to an idiot, or a man who has nothing to lose.
"I have to get back home. I just had to leave my fiancée."
"Gee, I'm sorry. I had to leave my wife and kids."
Is this guy serious? How is he so calm and composed? How is he managing himself so well?
"You are not bothered at all?" I ask him anxiously.
"Of course it bothers me, but you know at the end of it all, you are only trying to save the world. We all are."
The plane grew louder and started to move.
"Well, off we go!"


Chapter 4
Dream



There must be at least a hundred people in the room. Everyone in the room looks tense. We all sit in the chair, looking at one man in the front, like students listening to teacher. The middle aged man with the crew cut looks solid and well fit. The man is obviously a high ranking officer in the military, judging by his military uniform. He is escorted by a much shorter and unfit man in lab coat.
“Listen up, gentlemen!”
The lax people in the room suddenly snap to attention.
“I am Colonel Garcia, and this is Dr. Shammas.”
Colonel Garcia swung around his swagger stick in frustration.
“We will be briefing you of the current situation and your future missions. Listen carefully, because I won’t repeat myself and you won’t be hearing this later on either. Understood?”
That’s the doctor that asked me those silly questions. I thought he was my therapist.
The colonel points his stick to the doctor, signaling him to speak.
The doctor spoke gently, unlike the colonel.
“For those of you who don’t know, we had to rush the preparation for this operation. The higher-ups made an incredibly difficult judgment call and have authorized us to initiate the Second Chance protocol.”
The doctor became apologetic. He cleared his throat and continued.
“There has been a slight change to the mission, folks.”
The crowd starts to murmur as their faces start to darken. My heart raced faster and adrenaline rushed in. It was the exact feeling that I’ve experienced right before getting into the rollercoaster ride.
“The original mission duration was thirty years.”
The crowd became quiet as they anticipate the part where the doctor says ‘but’. The doctor starts coughing and quickly walks out the door. People start to murmur even louder this time. They are confused just like me. The colonel turns towards the door looking pissed.
“I will continue the briefing. The mission duration has been increased to eighty years!”
No way.
It isn’t murmuring anymore, it is shouting and rioting now.
Someone in the crowd shouts to the satisfyingly smiling colonel, “You can’t do this. I want no part of this. Please, let me go home.”
The sense of excitement must have dissipated from Daniel completely. He is leaning back on the chair in total despair.
“Everyone, be quiet!”
The hotheaded colonel’s face is glowing red as he snaps.
“Four hours ago, both Los Angeles and greater Boston area were bombed. This mission is a go. You are all part of it and it can’t be stopped. So sit down and listen!”
I could hear one or two people behind me sobbing as everyone shut their mouths.
“On your desks, there is a pencil and a blank piece of paper. Each and every one of you will write a final letter to your loved ones.”
Colonel Garcia slouched into his chair.
“In the meantime, the President himself has spoken on behalf of all of you. He thanks you for your bravery. And so I expect you to respect what he has to say, by paying attention.”
The colonel reaches out for the projector’s remote controller and turns it on. The president’s face is projected onto the white wall of the room as the lights dimmed.
“Dear youngest and brightest future of this nation and the world. If you are watching this, you are about to embark on a long journey to do the unthinkable and something that has never been done in the history of mankind. By the time you return to this great planet of ours, all your loved ones and everyone you have ever known may be gone-”
I still feel like I’m in a dream. None of this can be real. I stare at the blank paper and wonder what to write. What can I write? How can I even write that I’m sorry for leaving Alana? By the time I get back, she’ll be gone. She’ll be consumed in the nuclear fire while I’m floating in space, alive.
“-God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America.”
The president’s speech has ended. When the lights came back on, I look around to see everyone’s faces. This didn’t look good at all. Talk about the morale. In the midst of grief and frustration though, I see a single person’s face across the room that stand out the most.
She looks familiar. I swear I’ve seen her before on TV.
The young woman is sitting there without emotions. It makes her look tough. I tap on Daniel’s shoulder to ask him about the woman.
“Hey Daniel, I know this isn’t a really good time to ask about something like this but, doesn’t that girl look familiar?”
I whisper to Daniel while pointing at her, and he snaps out of his own contemplation about the situation. He holds up his glasses and squint his eyes to study the girl’s face.
“No way dude, she’s on this mission too? So that’s how this country treats war heroes, huh?”
Daniel is disgusted for some reason. He hints at my confusion.
“That’s the sniper chick, man. I forgot her name but, she blew Daud’s head off. And she said it was an accident.”
“You mean Daud Al-Amin?”
“Yeah, not even the CIA knew his location and she just happens to come across him then bam!”
“Ah, now I remember.”
The colonel taps his stick loudly three times on the table next to him.
“I expect you all to have finished your letters by now. But if you didn’t, too bad!”
Isn’t this a bit of a harsh treatment towards people who are about to go on a mission?
Dr. Shammad enters the room and whispers to the colonel’s ear.
“All right folks! Line up in single file line over here!”
Colonel Garcia points his stick towards the door in front of him.
Daniel taps my arm and says, “I think it’s time to go now. I hope you finished your letter.”
I had nothing to say to Alana. But I have to write something before I regret it forever. I quickly scribble ‘I’m so sorry Alana’ and disappear into the bustling line.

There it is. There is the shuttle with the label 626. The giant shuttle is lonely sitting on the launch pad, pointing its sharp nose towards the night sky. Multiple panels are attached to its main body for solar energy generation. A priest, a scientist, and a ceremonial marine are standing side by side next to the small hatch leading into the shuttle. Among the twelve of us in the line to enter this shuttle are Daniel and the young war hero I saw earlier. The priest is chanting prayers; the scientist is giving some kind of injections; and the marine is saluting to those who entered the shuttle. There are some of us who saluted the marines, and those must be former soldiers.
It’s my turn to enter.
“Mind if I ask you what this is for?” I ask the scientist.
“This drug is for hibernation. It will help you stay in hibernation for a longer period. Don’t worry too much, this thing stays in your system for a really long time. It’s better if you don’t know further details.”
The scientist smiles and pats me on the back as a good luck, after stinging me with the shot.
The shuttle is more spacious than it looked from the outside. There are more scientists inside who are assisting others into the hibernation tanks. There are six hibernation tanks attached to the wall on either side of the shuttle. The interior is filled with wall containers, computers, and other electronics I am not familiar with. The pilot seats above me are vacant. I am assuming it will be on autopilot for a really long time then.
I sure hope the system doesn’t go awry.

Noises from outside the hibernation tank came to a hush, as the scientist closed the lid. Through the tiny hole of the lid, my eyes met the girl’s. The soldier winks at me and closes her eyes. I close my eyes too, hoping to see the images of Alana and all the friends I’ve ever known.
Will I dream of her?






Chapter 5
The First Sun




My entire body is in pain and I am gasping for air. Everything is dark and blurry. There must’ve been a huge earthquake, because I swear I felt huge shakes and tosses. I just know, from the back of my head.
What the hell is going on?
I hear a clang and then scorching air and unbearably bright light greets me, followed by loud muffled noises. It’s too damn loud. Turn off the alarm for me, Alana.
I can’t see anything, it’s too bright. Shut the blinds for me, Alana.
“Wake up, right now!”
Not yet, Alana. Not yet.
‘beep-beep-beep-beep.’
Please turn it off!
Air! I need air!
I quickly get up, gasping and choking. My vision tries to adjust, but fails. I can partially make out the figure of a person, but I knew it was the girl. She is already dressed up in her uniform and holding-
Why is she holding a rifle?
“Thank god!” She exclaimed.
I groan and mumble, “Where am I?”
“You have to get up right now. Take my hand.”
The muffled sounds around me ring in my head, but as I look around to assess the situation, I can hear them clearly.
‘Alert. Alert. Alert. Beep-beep-beep-beep.’
The entire interior of the shuttle is on fire and everything is broken. The alarm and the noise of the shuttle’s broken engine aggravate me.
“I need to get my stuff!” I shout at her, as I can barely hear my own voice.
“I got your stuff so let’s go!” She shouts back at me and then disappears into the light, outside the hatch. I follow her outside and into the light.
“Keep running!” She shouts at me but I couldn’t see, so I just run towards the sound of her voice. I can feel her hand grabbing mine and I try to run at her pace. Moments later, the ground shakes and all I hear is a sharp ring. I can smell fuel and things burning, and feel the hotness from behind me. Tears gather in my eyes as my vision readjusts to the light. I quickly turn around to see the shuttle set ablaze. The thick black smoke is rising, completely covering the sun.
We are home.

“That was not supposed to happen.” The girl said faintly as she leans against a giant boulder. I am suddenly alarmed as I realize that we aren’t wearing the hazmat suits, along with the oxygen tanks.
“Radiation! We have to get our equipment back!” I panic.
The girl exhaustingly waves her hand around, as if saying ‘no thanks’.
“Don’t worry about it, they are all gone. All I could get my hands on was this Geiger counter.”
I look up to the blue sky in disbelief, but she looks unusually composed.
“There isn’t enough radiation to harm us. The readings are pretty normal. Here, take a look.”
The girl tosses me the Geiger counter. I take a look and she is right, the readings are normal. She finds me relieved and smiles.
“When I opened the hatch, I didn’t know there would be any radiation or not. It beats being burned alive than dying of radiation. I might as well breathe in some fresh air before I die, don’t you agree?” She chuckled softly.
“And before you ask, we are the only survivors from the crash. I’m sorry.”
That’s right; I had just realized that we are the only ones out here. Daniel and others are gone, just like that. The shuttle was supposed to land safely somewhere in the Southwest. So something did go wrong with the system then.
“Yeah, I’m sorry too.”
She starts laughing like a maniac and it catches me off guard.
“Oh man. We are so screwed.” Her wide smile quickly faints away.
I offer my hand to her and she looks at me bewildered.
“I’m Jacob. Jacob Price.”
She gasps in surprise and then shakes her head in dismay.
“Oh right! Sorry, I’m Carly. Uh um Wilson. Carly Wilson.”
She rubs her eyes and inhales deeply.
“Sorry for being so awkward. I just don’t know how to make of this whole situation.”
She smiles cheerfully and asks, “So, what do you do Jake?”
No one but Alana called me by that name.
“Uh, you okay?”
I collect myself as I snap out of the moment of melancholy.
“Yes, I’m fine. Sorry about that.”
“So um.”
“I used to work for DARPA as a contractor. My job was primarily a project leader. And I already know about you. Partially, that is.”
She chuckles at my response. She sure must be an optimist, as I was once before.
“Did you volunteer for this, Jake?”
“I thought people are chosen for the ride. You volunteered?”
“Yep, primarily because of my dad. He’s done something great in his life, so I wanted to make him proud.”
“Wait, are you the Wilson? You are Samuel Wilson’s daughter, right?”
“You got me.” Her smile widens.
Samuel Wilson was probably the greatest man in my time; a man who captained a shuttle for colonization of Mars, although he never reported back to Earth. Carly painstakingly taps her finger on her watch.
“Great, my watch is broken.”
“Do you know what date it is?” I ask.
“I haven’t got a clue. Are you hungry by the way? I am.”
Everything that happened seems like yesterday. I feel like I took a nap for a single night. It’s hard to believe that it’s been eighty years.
She opens her large military bag and tosses me one of those packaged MREs.
“Wait, I don’t think this is good to eat. We should probably just get out of here and look for a town or something.”
It’s been eighty years, after all. I look around and I see nothing but open desert. Judging by the terrain, I feel like I’ve been here before. The grounds are red as well as the boulder Carly is leaning on. It is so peaceful out here.
Carly takes out a square device and a compact satellite from her bag. She opens the laptop and connects it to the satellite.
“Don’t you find it strange that we are not detecting any high levels of radiation around here?” Carly asks while she fiddles with the computer.
“Well, if you look around, we are in the middle of nowhere. Who would want to nuke this place?”
“I guess that’s true.”
I sit next to her on the dirt and curiously examine what she’s doing. Suddenly, Carly stops what she’s doing and looks at me with fearful eyes.
“Something’s not right.”
I look at her and back to the laptop screen. She’s correct, something is definitely wrong. There is not a single satellite in orbit.
“They must’ve all crashed. We could use a GPS but I guess we are out of luck.” Carly is displeased of the result. But it still didn’t make sense to me.
“No, there has to be military satellites in orbit. They are outfitted to last a hundred years. I know because I worked on them at DARPA.”
“Maybe they were all shot down. We should start moving, your call Jake.”
“I think a soldier with experience like you should lead.”
“All military personnel on the shuttles were instructed to protect, not lead.”
“Well, I think we could forget about the damn mission. The mission failed, everyone died.”
Carly became silent. I shouldn’t have been too rough on the words. She is staring at me blankly. She sighs and nods her head in agreement.
“It’s going to be a long walk, but I say we walk north until we see a road or something.”
While Carly is packing up her things, I open my bag to see what the agents brought me. A framed picture of Alana and me, taken in front of the Niagara Falls; a piece of note; a bottle of whiskey; sets of clothes; and folders containing my work. I have the perfect combination of sorrow here; the picture, note, and whiskey.
“Hey I got some whiskey if-”
“No fucking way!” Carly is really delighted. She brightens up my mood as well.
“Looks like the trip is going to get more interesting, huh?” Carly said cheerfully while poking me with her elbows.
“I don’t want you to drink too much, especially not with that rifle around you.”
“I can handle few drinks. It’s you I’m worried about.”
Very funny. This is the part where my colleagues laugh their asses off.

We walked for miles now, and the sun is starting to set. I throw the empty bottle of whiskey as far as I could. Carly is stumbling around, drunk. We both have our arms around to support each other.
“Carly, stop leaning towards the right. If you fall, it’s not my problem ‘cus I bet you are heavy as hell.”
“Where do you want me to go, huh? Should I go to the left? I don’t want to because that’s where you are.”
The world around me is spinning like crazy. I feel sick. I hold up my index finger to signal Carly to stop for a moment. I kneel down to vomit, and then I see an old bearded man standing there in shabby leather jacket and torn jeans.
“Pffft!” Carly burst out laughing at me and the old man as I vomit. She wraps her arms around the old man and points down at me. She slaps her thigh as she giggles uncontrollably.
I don’t find anything funny, because I am frozen at the sight of another human being.




Chapter 6



Old Geezer




“Carly, shush for a moment!” I snap at the drunken girl. She stops laughing and then quickly gets her arms off the old man as she falls on her butt. She must be back in the reality, thanks to the pain on her ass. She looks absolutely terrified; I don’t know if it’s from the pain or because of the old man. I am still kneeling and looking up at the man who is staring down at me.
“Excuse me sir, do you know where we are?” I ask anxiously, hoping for some answers.
The old man tilts his head, studying me and Carly as if we are aliens.
“Sir, do you speak English? Hablas Español? Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” I’m running out of patience.
“Can you speak at all? Nod if you can hear me or understand me.”
The man tilts his head once more, curiously. I see from my peripherals that Carly is slowly raising her rifle at the man.
“What do you think you are doing, Carly?” I get up from the kneeling position. Carly pokes the man’s head with the barrel of her rifle.
“What do you think I’m doing? I’m trying universal language.”
I palm my face in frustration.
“Okay, I don’t think that’s really necessary, Carly.”
She continues to poke the man’s head repeatedly with the rifle. The man’s expression suddenly changed from ‘confused’ to ‘annoyed’. The man reaches his hand into his leather jacket.
“Stop right there! Don’t fucking move!”
The man clearly doesn’t understand what any of us are saying. I quickly dash my hand and grab the man’s arm to prevent him from taking out whatever he has hidden in his jacket. The man doesn’t flinch nor does he resist. This guy is definitely harmless. I slowly and cautiously drag his arm outwards. What’s this?
“What does he have, Jake?”
“It’s an American flag.”
I let go of the man’s tiny arm. He unfolds the tiny American flag made out of plastic, and then points at Carly’s right arm where the patch of the flag is located on her uniform.
“Lower your weapon, Carly. I think we are making progress here.”
As she lowers her rifle, the man reveals his rotten teeth with a smile. He waves his hand at us, telling us to follow him.
“Hey, at least we found a survivor and know where are now, right?” I pat Carly on her back.
“Let’s not go through that again. I don’t want to die in a desert.”
“I thought you fought in deserts.”
Carly chuckles at my reply and says, “Not on the home front.”
I nod as I concern myself not to say anything wrong to a veteran, who has been through a lot. I am well aware of my surroundings, but Carly still seems to be drunk as she stumbles left to right. I put my arm around her waist to support her.
“Say, where do you think he’s taking us? I don’t see any roads around here.” I ask Carly.
“Shut up and look at that sunset. It’s so beautiful, isn’t it?” Carly drunkenly mumbles.
“I didn’t take you for a person to be interested in that sort of thing.” I chuckle.
“Oh, trust me. I’m more like my dad than mom.”
In the distance, a small brick home is standing alone surrounded by the desert.
“Is that your home?” I ask the old man.
“He doesn’t speak, remember?” Carly blankly replies.
“That’s a strange place to have a home. There aren’t any roads here whatsoever.” I mumble.
“This guy better have some water, I’m running low.” Carly complains.
“Were all the provisions in the shuttle?” I ask.
“They were all evaporated in flames. We had two years’ worth of supplies in there, including the seeds for farming.”

The brick home is two stories tall and looks brand new. My eyes widen as I see others plowing the field next to the building. Once the others working around the home sees us, they stop all motion and stares. Carly cheerfully waves her hand around to greet them, but their expressions remain blank. When the old man opens the neatly painted door, cool air rushes outward.
“Would you look at that, they have electricity. And electricity means shower!” Carly is joyous as she looks around inside the brightly lit house. The house is very spacious and could host probably around fifty people at once. Only thing this house lacked is technology. The whole place looks like a colonial plantation home from the 1700s, including the furniture. The old man leads us into the dining room and gestures at us to sit on the wooden chair. The surface of the table is smooth and well furbished. A woman in torn cardigan and neat dress pants brings us cups of water in each hand.
“Thanks. Can I speak to you for a moment, miss? I have so many questions to ask.”
The woman completely ignores me as she sits the cups down on the table and walks away quietly. I put my face down on the table to rest. It’s been a long exhausting walk.
“No one here’s exactly speaking type, huh?” Carly said as she stares at me while resting her chin on the table. Suddenly, Carly looks up in surprise. She wasn’t looking at me; she was looking at someone or something behind me. A thick voice from behind startles me.
“Specialist Wilson, I need to take that rifle from you.”
I quickly turn around and see three heavily armed soldiers pointing their guns at Carly.
They are US military! Why are they pointing guns at Carly?
I’ve seen those armors before. They were merely concept arts when I last saw them at DARPA. Their camouflage is slightly different from Carly’s uniform as well, but US military issued nevertheless.
Carly grins and says, “Whoa, hey guys. I’m glad to see you guys too.”
“Nice try. No sudden moves. Put your gun on the table, right now.”
I raise my hand up as I stand up slowly, and carefully examine the nametag on the giant man’s uniform.
Bronson huh? Mr. Bronson seems to be at least six feet tall with an imposing physique. His young dark skin is glistening with sweat.
“Mr. Bronson, I am Jacob Price. Can we talk instead?”
“It’s Sergeant Bronson. We know who you are, sir. Don’t worry, you are safe now.”
Safe from what?
Carly slowly gets up from her seat and removes the sling around her neck.
“Private, secure that weapon and tie her up.” Sergeant Bronson barks his orders to one of his men while looking down his sights without a blink.
When the private take away Carly’s weapon, Sergeant Bronson lowers his and presses on the communication device in his ear.
“Sierra, the package is secure and threat has been neutralized. We are bringing them home.”
The private forcibly wraps the zip tie around Carly’s wrists. She’s still grinning in amazement as her hands are tied behind her back.
The giant sergeant grabs me by my shoulders. The silent man appears as Carly is taken outside the house.
“Well, that went smoothly as I expected.”
Sergeant Bronson smiles in satisfaction. The third soldier brings in two boxes and throws them on the floor.
“Here is four weeks’ worth of supplies as a payment just like we promised, geezer.”
The old man reveals his brown teeth as he grins and smokes on his cigar.
“One extra week’s supplies if you can hold Mr. Price in your care for tonight.”
His nasty grin widens as an acknowledgment.
“Mr. Price, we’ll be back tomorrow morning to take you away. Nothing bad is going to happen to you, I promise.”
“Wait, hold on a second, what about Carly?”
“The bastard will be under our custody. She’s extremely dangerous and you are lucky she didn’t kill you already. Oh and thanks for getting her drunk. It saved us a lot of trouble.”
And with that, the men left the house and got into an old, beaten down red truck with Carly sitting in the back. She is staring back at me with starry eyes, wanting me to save her. But I stand idly, unable to do anything. The truck drove off and she was gone.
I need to find out why she is a threat to me.
My head is still buzzing from the alcohol.
“Jacob, that’s your name right?” The old man spoke to me in delight.
“You can talk!” I snap at the old man.
“No one knows that I can but everyone else that lives here. My name is Old Geezer.” Mr. Geezer spoke hoarsely.
I try to hold my laugh but fail. I laugh hysterically. That’s the best thing I’ve heard all day. The laughter is momentary as I am reminded of all the things that happened so far.
“What’s so funny, Jacob?”
“Is that even your real name?”
“Why, of course it is! Those Sierras call me that, so I just made it my name.”
“What’s a Sierra?”
“Those men are Sierras.”
“Oh, you mean soldiers?”
“What’s a soldier?”
“You know what, never mind.”
“They always say ‘sierra’ while touching their ear so I just call them Sierra.”
Old Geezer squint his eyes to study my unusually clean white shirt.
“You should stop sucking on that cigar, Old. Your teeth are already screwed up.”
“Oh but it’s so good!” He smiles. I can never get used to that smile.
Old Geezer kneels down to open one of the cardboard boxes. Its contents are cigars and gallons of water. He proceeds to open the second and third boxes, and their contents are the same.
“What are you doing all the way out here, Mr. Geezer?”
“Oh you know… one of those wall folks won’t stop bothering me!”
“What now?”
“I thought your friend was a Sierra, but turns out she’s a wall folk too!”
Old Geezer’s eyes got big. I hope that they don’t fall out.
“She doesn’t look like one of them wall folks, though. She’s wearing the wrong things.”
I decide to ask him about this ‘wall folks’ later. There are more pressing questions to be answered.
“Old, where are we?”
“We are at my house, of course! Are you stupid?” Old Geezer chuckles as he takes out another cigar from the box.
Oh, the irony! It’s not worth arguing with this guy at all.
I let out a long sigh and try to calm myself.
“Do you have a map, Old?”
“You want a map?”
Old Geezer puts his hands around his mouth to shout.
“TENATTA TEN, COME IN HERE!”
His raspy voice was loud for an ‘old geezer’. But he coughs as he pushes his limit. In a short moment, a young blond woman rushes into the house. She is shocked as she sees me.
“Grandpa, can we talk around that man?”
“Yes, darling. He is not a Sierra or the wall folk. The Sierras told me to hold on to him until tomorrow. Sooner or later we’ll have to speak to our family.”
Old Geezer signals the woman to come closer. She is wearing nothing but white panty and fancy bra. I can’t get my eyes off of her large breasts.
“Excuse me, Old. But she’s... exposed.”
“What do you mean?”
“She’s not wearing anything.”
“Yes I am!” The girl yells at me furiously.
“Okay! I’m sorry, miss!” I raise my hands in defense.
“That’s not my name! Stop calling me that!” The girl frowns.
Old Geezer inappropriately cups her breast to gently push her away from me.
“Dear, could you get me that old map I have in my room?”
She slowly walks backwards, frowning at me intensely, and then running up the wooden stairs. I could hear her angry stomps from the ceiling. Old Geezer turns back to me and smiles.
“Every time we see new Sierras, they call her ‘Tenatta Ten’. She used to be called ‘Baby Girl’ long time ago.” Old Geezer said as he stares at me. “The Sierras make her happy, so she likes them very much.”
“Okay old geezer, that’s too much information.”
“Do you want to make her happy as well, Jacob? She seems so angry at you.”
Old Geezer leans towards me with a concerned look on his face.
“She cries and screams with joy as-”
“I said that’s enough!” I bark at the old man.
Old Geezer bows his head in shame then says, “But the Sierras leave happy too.”
I roll my eyes and moan in frustration and Old Geezer becomes apologetic.
“Let me tell you something, Geezer. That girl is probably under aged. What she’s doing or what those ‘sierras’ are doing to her is wrong in so many ways. You should put a stop to that as a grown man.”
“What’s this ‘under age’ mean?”
I turn my head and wave at him as a dismissal.
“Grandpa, I found the map! I found it!” Tenatta Ten sounds excited as she runs down the stairs. Her smile fades away once she sees me.
“Thank you Tenatta. You can go back outside and play now.”
Old Geezer clears his throat as he hands me the map. Wow, a paper map. It must be as old as Old Geezer.
“Whenever that Bronson fellow comes along, I have to hide Tenatta, my darling.”
Does Bronson abuse her? He hardly seems the type.
“And why is that?” I ask as I unfold the old paper map carefully as to not rip it.
“He doesn’t want the other Sierras to be happy with her. He hates my darling Tenatta. He always whispers to me to hide her.”
That sounds about right.
“You should do as he says, Old. He’s a good man.”
“I suppose so.” He says as he stares at me suspiciously.
Old Geezer nods to himself in contemplation as he looks down. I sit on the dining chair and spread out the fragile map across the wooden dining table.
“Hey Old, could you point on this map of our location?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t know. But last time, I lived near this place called ‘Vegas’.”
“Vegas? You mean Las Vegas?”
“I think so. At least that’s what the green sign said.”
Vegas… The green sign must’ve been a traffic sign.
“Thank you, Old. I think I know where we are. I don’t know exactly where, but that should be enough information.”
I guess I am somewhere in Nevada then. It's good that the shuttle crashed into the Southwest area.
“I’m sorry!” Old Geezer cries out to me.
“For what?” I am confused.
“For giving you too much information.” Old Geezer’s eyes sadden.
“No, that’s not what I meant. Just… Don’t worry about it okay? There’s nothing for you to be sorry about, Old.”
Old Geezer opened his mouth wide as he nods at me.
“I am sorry, Jacob.” Old Geezer’s tone darkened.
“What is it now?”
“I never spoke to Sierras.”
“Yes, I know that already. Thank you.”
“I mean, they don’t know that the wall folks come to my house every night.”
“Okay, who are these ‘wall folks’ you keep telling me about?”
“The Sierras hate them. They both hate each other so much that they bleed each other out. I like Sierras better though; they are nicer than the wall folks.”
“Okay, I wouldn’t know anything just by that information.”
“I think I am going to have to hide you when the wall folks come by.”

KJ1001
March 29th, 2015, 11:33 PM
I am going to end it here. If you read it, thanks.

The reason why this had to be long is because of how slow the progression is, in my opinion. I wanted to reveal the earliest beginning in the plot of this story.

Although, I do need some critique on writing style and the progression specifically, but you don't have to since it's quite a long reading. It would be nice though :positive:

LMFlores
April 12th, 2015, 08:07 PM
Hey I noticed nobody had reviewed your work so I figured I'd give it a go.

Now, I only read your first chapter and I am new to writing myself but lemme just point out things that caught my attention.

I feel you threw in extra stuff that didn't belong with your story or that did it more harm than good. For example the part of not telling his wife and especially the therapist just feels poorly placed and like it really shouldn't be there.

Also there are issues with your tenses. Not little ones that smooth themselves out but ones that you read in your mind and instantly realize that what you read felt weird.

The dialogue seemed somewhat unnatural and kiddish. Not all of it now. Some stuff actually felt very legit. However, when he gets home to Alana it feels strange like it isn't real. It also surprises me that the main character doesn't even bother to mention the officers stopping him. Maybe he didn't want to alarm her? If that were the case the narrator should make it a point to say so, for example:

It crosses my mind but I refuse to mention anything about the cops that pulled me over. Alana worries too much as it is.

I dunno something of that sort. You feel me? Picture the scenes in your mind. This sounds like an attempt at serious writing so make it feel like real life. How real people interact. I'm still confused about why a man suspected of terrorism wasn't thrown straight to jail and was left off the hook so easily. It makes little sense and feels unnatural. I'm not trying to dog you out or nothing brother. I'm legitimately trying to help you. Dont stop writing and keep at it. I hope you can see where I'm going with this.

But don't become discouraged because I'll tell you what was really good in my point of view; the storyline. It seems interesting and I think it has great potential. The creativity isn't lacking in you. You just need to fine tune your skills.

LMF

canary
April 13th, 2015, 06:47 AM
I agree with LMF's points--definitely worth an edit for tense, best to choose either present or past (probably past) and be consistent.

Prologue: I'd like some specifics. We don't need a million details, but it would be more compelling if we had some idea of what the danger is, and especially--what do you mean by the world exploding? This may help with both realism and building tension (easier to be afraid of a more specific catastrophe). Or, you could decide to leave off the prologue entirely and not give away the secret project second chance idea too soon.

Chapter 1: I'd think about skipping the first two paragraphs, they feel a bit like forced exposition. You can work that information in later, if you feel it's needed. I'd guess you have a better chance getting your reader involved if you don't start with internal monologue. Especially since you're writing in first person, you have a chance to work in more sensory detail in the first scene--sights, sounds, smells. What are the protestors throwing at the car, what is it like to have a rotten head of cabbage hit your windshield, or whatever seems important to you. This might help with realism. The narrator also seems to switch moods with little in the way of transition--e.g. he goes from happy and silly with his wife to about-to-vomit when he walks into the living room. If you add something describing his tension rising again as he leaves the room, or how he acts happy with the wife but is hiding his tension, whatever you prefer. Similarly, his change of heart at the end of the first chapter ("I was so angry at everything for no reason", etc.) seems unmotivated. I'd prefer to understand a little more why his attitude changed. If you drop the prologue, this would be a good place to give us just a hint about Project Second Chance, as you have, without giving everything away.

A lot of this is personal taste, of course, but I hope it's helpful to you. Thank you for posting, I enjoyed the read!