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View Full Version : Life as a Dogman sci fi, 3000 words.



Daniel Loreand
July 26th, 2015, 12:09 AM
As with all my work, this is abit rough around the edges despite being around the billionth time Iv'e edited it :D I posted this work onto this forum a while ago and got some fantastic feedback and have (hopefully) improved upon this story based on that feedback. The story was initally meant to be an experiment with a truly apathetic character but I think Iv'e steered away from that initial vision. I added a significant segment to the middle of the story to pad it out a bit and hopefully make it feel a bit more of a whole story. I'm hoping to hear how you guys think it flows, how the characters and world feel and if it is at all entertaining or made you want to read on.

sidenote: This story is part of my 'Expansive Era setting' being part of the same universe as the short story Tribute (http://www.writingforums.com/threads/158741-Tribute-%284600-words%29-Sci-fi).

Life As A Dogman

Much like anyone else life as a Dogman has its ups and downs. Most people’s ups and downs are the product of promotions or demotions. Perhaps a bad trip on Trick or a relationship coming to an end. At worst for me the arse end of my day is spent chasing or helping a life come to an end. My whistle blows. Like the flick of a switch my thoughts activate the nano chip and the call is answered promptly. No need for finicky holo devices. Professionalism is key. The nano-tech was expensive to buy and even more so to illegally modify. I walk the crowded streets of Rodust and hear only the contact. The custom chip blocks any interference or prying eyes. Not many folk have the Creds for such things but my contacts needs be assured their conversation stays where it belongs.

The voice is unfamiliar and his tone direct and formal. I accept the contract. A hundred thousand Creds. A retrieve along with an axing, taking a life is never something one should rush into. The call ends and my ears are greeted by the roar of the three points. Relic-4 used to be a frontier planet until the Earths United Nations set up camp. Unlike most frontier planets Relic-4 was a relatively easy catch for the EUN. Thing is people here know no matter what banner this planet fly’s under, business’s gonna flow as usual. That was fairly recent as recent goes. Rodust is Relic-4's biggest city and here old habits die hard. Famed for its black market goods and a racketeering business so rooted into the city's history you’d think it was a tradition. Rodust is Relic-4’s biggest and shadiest ant colony.

People like me are common on Rodust. Dogmen been round long before the EUN began spreading like a plague. Things need gettin' we're the ones to go fetch, things need killing and we’re ones that bite. We work alone no connections, invisible. Droves of people squeeze and shuffle past me, all blots within a sea of writhing flesh. I keep my hands where they belong - inside my duster and close to my holster. The hums of patrolling EUN assault cruisers hang in the hazy orange sky above, gargantuan sentinels of alloy looming down upon the whiz of non-stop air traffic. Holo boards expunging the latest and greatest of the most superfluous products can barely be heard above the cacophony of noise. Towering blocks and sky scrapers covered with flashy signs offering everything and anything. Shady figures reach out from the shadows promising the best of bad goods while street wise locals lead bright eyed off-wordlers down secret passages to browse illegal goods while seedy clubs flaunt their newest girls. Dots in the sky smoke out of the small windows of their apartments that sprout up from the ground in tight formations, compact and cost effective.

Bug eyed Orbaros lay out cheap jewellery throwing about their gangly arms and shouting their overpriced goods in high pitch shrieks. Some reach out, get in my face. A flash of the iron sends em' packing, a crude necessity I take no joy in. Life is a blur to me. Getting caught in the street shuffle costs time and money I refuse to lose. Pairs of slumped and stocky Tourn poke at cheap meat frying behind ramshackle stalls while hunched silhouettes eat from atop crooked stools. I wander through the streets and navigate through the herd driven highway. I get to a small alley and stop underneath an apartment’s railings by a hissing steamy grate. With a thought I bring down my cyber HUD. I sift through the translucent menu until I get to the info my contact linked to me - the Intel is detailed. It must have taken months to accumulate. Whoever hired me went through hell to get it all.

An image of her rotates slowly in my vision. Shellice Means, a managing director for Bright Star Industries Nanoscience division. The woman whose life I must take, I look deep into her eyes and wonder if she has any inkling what’s coming. Has she spoken to her family recently, does she have a child. None of this matters to me anymore, it’s not my weight to bare. She resides eastside in the EUN funded projects, a fancy district reserved for first class EUN citizens. Her schedule, habits and work hours are all there. The target is a data drive resides in her home.

I close down the holo HUD and get absorbed back into the organic wave. I trudge on the strip for no longer than half an hour before deciding to take a detour. Side alleys run through Rodust like rivers through a forest, scattered with low lives and trick addicts. None of them give me any hassle, most are lost in a world of euphoria and pain. After trekking down countless winding alleys I come out at Yartel Street, my last stop of the day. The hum and bustle of the city dies down in this area, the obvious danger of the place does that.

Three sorts come to this place the armed, the connected and the stupid. I’m known for being the latter so the packs of human and Tourn bruisers that stalk the street settle with just throwing me venomous glances. I stop at
Snickers Assortments an unassuming shop at first glance offering repairs and standard off worlder junk.

“No entry.” The voice is toneless and empty.

Jimmy had taken to repairing robots he had his goons scavenge to guard the shop. Programming proves more reliable these days than trust. It wasn’t a very advanced model. Its outer shell was made of weak two year old plastic-metal alloy. Made it flexible but also vulnerable. My eyes narrow and my hands hover over my holster.

“Jimmy you hear me in there! You put worse things than this hunk’ a junk in front this door and I’ve gotten through. Don’t make me ruin your day!”

The bots rectangular head twitches to the side.

“No entry.” It repeats.

My hand reaches for my pistol but before it’s out the holster a familiar voice bursts forth from the tannoy hanging above the brightly coloured canopy. “Alright dammit come in come in!”

The bot still stands there and I consider blasting it just to send a message.

“Stand down Vic dammit! When I say someone can come in that means LET THEM IN!”

At the sound of the command the bot stands aside immediately and nods to me. “Happy browsing sir.”

The inside of the shop is like a tech junkie’s wet dream. It’s small but full to bursting with parts of machinery dangle from the wall like metal intestines. Computer chips and cooling devices adorn the counters along with oddities like electro candles and holo cigs. The whole place is lit by blue lights that shift in hue and brightness at random. A shuffling sounds comes from the back of the shop and Jimmy snicker came stumbling out rubbing his sweaty palms on his cargo pants which were overflowing with gadgets and spare parts for this and that. His tar black hair was held back in a ponytail. The room shifts to a darker tone of blue and he’s hard to make out at first but it’s defiantly Jimmy.

“I eh, didn’t expect to see you so soon.” He said in that irritating voice of his.

“No one ever does.” The room shifted into a darker shade of blue and back again.

Jimmy’s sharp nose twitched involuntarily. His messy stubble never seemed to suit his sunken and rat like complexion.

“Well eh, it’s a bit late for you to drop in don’t you think?” he said wringing his hands together.

“You try stop me from coming in here again and I’ll send a grenade through that window. Understand.” I don’t wait for him to answer but the beads of sweat dangling from his stray strands of hair confirm my threat lands home. “This jobs big. Means your cuts going to be big.”

Jimmy’s gaunt checks seem to wobble like a gold fish trying to speak.

“Y-y-you got to understand though I can’t keep taking these things in advance, I need upfront payment!” the room shifts to a lighter tone of blue and I take the opportunity to rest my hand on my holster.

“We’ve discussed this Jimmy. But calm your boots, I’m going to cut you in for three big ones on this job along with the cost of the equipment.” Before the room returns to a darker shade I get to see a sparkle in Jimmy’s eyes.

“Well, what is it I can do you for?” Jimmy said throwing out his hands and making an exasperated but optimistic noise.

“I need an EMP grenade linked up to my HUD.”

It’s harder to see Jimmy in the dim light but I can see that his expression has soured.

“The grenade is easy enough but it’ll set you back a fair few creds… linking it up to that HUD of yours. I don’t know, it’s such a new model the security is pretty tight.” I knew Jimmy could get it done, he just enjoyed drawing the whole thing out, made his part in things look a little more important I think.

“Just name the price and how long.” I said cutting Jimmy off mid rant.

He signed and thought for a moment. “For the whole thing, two thousand. Should take under three hours.”

“Done.” Jimmy flinched, clearly expecting half an hour of bartering. Usually I’d whittle him down to half that price but with how much this job as paying I could afford it.

I never liked the whole upgrade process. Jimmy’s operating room was located at the back of his shop behind his office. After hours in silence with the only noises being the beeping from Jimmy’s computer while he linked it up with my nano device he got up from his desk, stretched and announced the whole thing done. The grenade was small and disk like, it fit snugly into my dusters inner pocket. After talking me through how to set the thing off I nodded and paid the two thousand upfront. Snicker was as happy to see the back of me as I was of him.

My apartment was a modest thing located west of central it was just another crumbling old ear spire filled with the usual shades of colourful Rodust characters. I decided tomorrow would be the day. No point delaying anything. Laying down on my single bed I toyed with the disk like grenade in my hand and smiled. The noise of hover cars whizzing past my window served as my alarm. I bring my HUD down and check the time. Half six in the morning. More than enough time to get to Erswell and get the job done. Today a woman dies for good or ill. As I get ready I recount the days when I would put off jobs such as this. Now it is nothing to me, the whole thing is almost in retrospect.


The air is cold and brisk outside. I reach a cab point and order a Manta. It takes five minutes to arrive. The Manta's auto-pilot guides the cab effortlessly through the chaotic blur of air traffic. The door whizzes open and the onboard AI asks for my destination.

"Erswell, south side entrance." I say.

There is a small hum as the Manta lifts off. The ships sleek and graceful design is based on an Earth sea creature of the same name. I believe they are extinct now. That morose thought lingers in my mind for the duration of the ride. The cab gives me a decent view of Erswell: flooded with security. They're all private military goons - OneCall by the looks of things. With the rushed expansions the fleets and troops have their hands full trying to govern EUN space these days, leaving former frontier planets to the neglect of PMCs. I pay the fare and get off at the western checkpoint. There I am approached by a lurching Tourn. He stands about six foot in height slightly slumped with a strange boulder like head and narrow suspicious eyes. His skin is hard and cracked, the texture of ash.

I give him a good once over. 780 MM laser rifle a quality weapon and not something you see every day, decent make military grade alloy body armour too. His right arm was prosthetic a sleek chrome alloy that promised to pack a nasty punch. OneCall are being paid a pretty credit to keep Rodust under heel. The Tourn snorts and asks me for ID. I chuckle a little inside, the irony. Most of these OneCall uniforms are off-wordlers and aliens protecting the interests of wealthy first class human citizens. I place my thumb on his scanner while he stares disinterestedly at the screen. A small flicking noise, then the scanner flashes green. Custom ID is risky and expensive. But a Dogman worth calling can get around and to get around you needed custom ID.

Erswell is a world different to Central. White arbors coiled in vines and bright flowers lead to small garden pods in the apartment courtyards while soothing music floats softly throughout the whole district. People weren't rushing. They walked slowly and languidly reading or chatting in calm hushed voices. I follow the directions until I arrive at apartment 6C. They all look the same bar the numbers. The Intel included her apartments pass code. I punch the code in and the door opens soundlessly.

I enter as if the place is my own. The room is an eye melting combination of white and black walls and floor. The living space is large and open. I stand there for a moment, take it all in. There is a small dint in the seat facing the large rectangular window. Bowls and other appliances are left scattered about and a long smart black overcoat is hung on the door. I look for the access point. Access points fulfil many needs including a distress alarm for security, my main concern. Points can be accessed manually or by an integrated nano device such as the one sitting on my frontal cortex. I spot it by the door on a small terminal. I bring down my holo HUD and connect it to the device. I begin the hacking process. It doesn't take long. Reams of code and digital information scans by my vision in seconds. I'm past her security. Shut it all down.


"Nice place isn't it." the voice is calm with a touch of sadness to it.

I look up sharply, gun at my hip. Even for a Dogman plasma and laser weaponry is hard to come by. Military boys like it that way, gives em’ the edge. Besides I've become accustomed to my Colt single action - a replica of course. My mind wanders to the grenade in my pocket. Even with the access point down these places usually have other security measures. Shutting them down with a good old fashioned EMP would save me some time and perhaps even my skin, if needs be.

"I was getting curious how long it would take for a dog to wander in." She stood one foot crossed over the other in high heels that gave her a foot of height over me. Her raven hair knotted in circlets looks like a nest of adders while her bleach white dress clung to her curved frame.

"I'm here for the data drive."

"I know." She takes a seat on the couch which faces a large window. The world outside is calm.

"You weren't supposed to be here," I say blankly. She chuckles. "It will be easier if you hand over the data drive."

"I suppose it would, wouldn't it." She replies sounding unconcerned.

I move closer and stand over her. See her reflection in the mirror, steely blue eyes stare right back at me.

"Do you even know what is on that data drive?"

"I'm not paid for my curiosity." I mumble with a cursory shrug.

"We knew someone like you would be let off the leash. So, you’ll track me to the ends of the universe for your employer. That’s what I’ve heard of you Dogmen. True?"

I can’t help but let loose a crooked smile.

"Yes, of the good ones ma’am." She folds her arms slowly "And not once are you curious about what it is you are chasing?"

"I'm not the curious type." Within the reflection I see her brow curving downwards in a frown.

"What type of man are you then? The type negotiable to new employment perhaps, Bright Star could make use of your talents."

I softly place the barrel of the gun against the back of her head

"I'm the professional type. The data drive, please."

"Let me clue you in on what’s going on here. You are going down a rather steep rabbit hole that ends in a sharp drop. I’m offering the only clean way out." Her eyes narrow ever so slightly from within the windows perfect reflection.

"Last chance Miss Means." My finger hovers over trigger. It’s an approach I’d rather not take as security could be here leaving me less time to crack the safe. In a demonstration of surprising agility Shellice Means twists her body around and sends my iron half way across the room with the lash of her hand, the force sending a quake of pain through my body.

Caught off guard. My first mistake of the day.

Like a panther Miss Means lunges at me from over the couch and is on me in seconds. I throw my best punch I’ve got at her but it doesn’t even elicit a blink. Her elegant pale hands reach out for my throat but I manage to wriggle backwards suddenly feeling very out of control. I turn and crawl on all fours to my gun which is beginning to look like a shining beacon of hope. Inches away from the grip I feel a cold grasp take hold of me. A cold and calculative expression is on the face of Miss Means as she crawls her way up my torso like a spider, hands reaching out seeking to choke the life out of me. I try throwing myself backwards, buy myself a few more inches closer to my weapon but her grip is one of iron. She is on me, those cold dead eyes staring down as her hands wrap around my neck like a cobra squeezing the life out of a helpless goat. My hands are flailing about like a fish on water. I feel something between my fingers as black dots creep at the corner of my vision. I grab hold of it and pray it's my gun.

I fire the first two shots blindly, managing to put a hole in the wall and window. I barely manage to bring the next two into the woman’s stomach. Her grip does not loosen in fact there is no sign she registered the bullet wounds at all. Using what little strength remains to me I raise the colt action in a shaking hand. The raven haired woman glared at the barrel at her throat as if it were only a mild distraction for only a second before the shot was fired. She releases me from her grasp to slump to the floor. It’s like I’ve returned to the surface from the ocean floor, my breathing is heavy and my hands shaking. There are two bullets left and they have her name on them. The floor is stained crimson. Almost believable but at second glance the texture isn’t there – not as thick as blood ought to be. The hole went through her chin and out of the top of the skull. There's some cursory twitching of the body and one eye was darting about helplessly.

"You must have cost a cred or two. Bright Star sure ain’t handing Androids like you out in spades." I mumbled to myself.

Her core systems were exposed out of the wound in her chest along with red liquid, and her CPU chip was most certainly compromised. Even for an MD, to have possession of an Android double was exceptional as it was unusual. Most were used on colonies, manual labour or frontline grunt work. An excessive ploy to protect the data disk that was most certainly not in the apartment. I put two more bullets into the Androids head putting a stop to any further twitching. Gunshots set off spikes in these sorts of areas, show up on the security systems as red. I bring down my HUD and activate the grenade. Other than a fleeting hint of static there is no other indication that it worked but it would buy me some much needed time by taking down some of the nearby surveillance systems. They would take at least a minute to reboot. More than enough time. I rush to the doors, tails of my duster chasing behind. I make my way north side keeping to the shadows of the apartment complexes. Word to seal off the district exits would be buzzed in any moment now.

I'll need to call in a favour in order to sneak out. The real problem remains the data disk. I look up to the sky above. EUN cruisers yawn like huge metallic whales, slowly skulking in the sky above. The Creds should have been enough to let me know this would be no simple retrieve, I should 'a known better than to expect an easy ride. I straighten my jacket and calmly bring down my holo HUD. The data disk isn't going to find itself. It's like the Android said: to the ends of the universe.

MeowCaptain
August 8th, 2015, 04:49 PM
Nice. I really liked it. In fact, I want more. Care to make this a full novel? :) I really loved the part where we learn Miss Means was actually an android the whole time. It vcsurprised me. I honestly didn't expect that. Sure enough, the fact that she was able to fight him was a hint of this. Great work!

However...
"No need for finicky holo devices."
"With a thought I bring down my cyber HUD."
I would recommend calling these devices by their full name, like "holographic devices" and "heads up display", as some people might not know what the abbreviation mean. It could also be good to describe what these tools do. Do they show him the ammunition left in his rifle, his health or his mana?

Also, I saw some places where commas were possibly missing here and there.
For example :
"Its harder to see Jimmy in the dim light, but I can see that his expression has soured."

And...
"Earths United Nations"
Shouldn't it be "Earth's United Nations", since the United Nations belong to Earth? But if it is the organisation's name, it could pass.

Finally...
"Done. Jimmy flinched, clearly expecting half an hour of bartering. Usually Id whittle him down to half that price but with how much this job as paying I could afford it."
versus
"The door whizzes open and the onboard AI asks for my destination.

"Erswell, south side entrance." I say."

Here, the story goes from being told in the past, to the present. Keeping the same verb tense in a story is important for comprehension.


Other than that, the story was amazing. I would definitely buy this novel! :D

PS : Sorry if what I wrote was hard to understand, my first language isn't English.

Moody
August 8th, 2015, 06:34 PM
Awesome story. When I read the title I was half-expecting it to be about an actual man-dog hybrid, but it turned out to be a really cool name for hired men. Overall very well written, aside from some grammatical issues. I'd like to see you shoot even farther in your next story by adding more plot and characterization. You add a lot of detail about the planet and atmosphere of the world, but it served little purpose to the actual story. As it stands now the plot is dogman gets hired for contract --> gets emp upgrade and goes through unnecessary hassle with someone he's supposedly worked with many times before --> finds woman and a conspiracy of some sort is hinted at by her --> they get into a tussle which almost takes his life --> he kills her, founds out its an android --> sets off to find package

One of the hardest parts of writing short stories is rushing to complete a work. I'm guilty of it too, which is why when I see it I often recognize it. Looking forward to hearing more from you, great story!

Daniel Loreand
August 8th, 2015, 07:16 PM
Nice. I really liked it. In fact, I want more. Care to make this a full novel? :) I really loved the part where we learn Miss Means was actually an android the whole time. It vcsurprised me. I honestly didn't expect that. Sure enough, the fact that she was able to fight him was a hint of this. Great work!

However...
"No need for finicky holo devices."
"With a thought I bring down my cyber HUD."
I would recommend calling these devices by their full name, like "holographic devices" and "heads up display", as some people might not know what the abbreviation mean. It could also be good to describe what these tools do. Do they show him the ammunition left in his rifle, his health or his mana?

Also, I saw some places where commas were possibly missing here and there.
For example :
"It’s harder to see Jimmy in the dim light, but I can see that his expression has soured."

And...
"Earths United Nations"
Shouldn't it be "Earth's United Nations", since the United Nations belong to Earth? But if it is the organisation's name, it could pass.

Finally...
"“Done.” Jimmy flinched, clearly expecting half an hour of bartering. Usually I’d whittle him down to half that price but with how much this job as paying I could afford it."
versus
"The door whizzes open and the onboard AI asks for my destination.

"Erswell, south side entrance." I say."

Here, the story goes from being told in the past, to the present. Keeping the same verb tense in a story is important for comprehension.


Other than that, the story was amazing. I would definitely buy this novel! :D

PS : Sorry if what I wrote was hard to understand, my first language isn't English.

Thanks for taking the time to read through Life as a Dogman and thank you also for the feedback! your English is impeccable and more coherent than my own so no worries there. I'll go back and amend some of the grammatical issues and thanks for pointing them out. In terms of expanding this story I have at times thought about doing another short story or perhaps a novella that deals with this same story arc as it were - however it would be from the real Shellice Means perspective - being chased by the terminator like Dogman presented in the story. I have no plans to expand upon the Dogmans perspective and this story arc may or may not be written any time soon as I'm writing some other things at the moment, but I do plan by all means to write within my 'Expansive Era' setting again :D Makes me really happy though that you'd like to hear more from this story as it means I must have gone right somewhere. However I do agree with Moody in that the story at present feels incomplete.






Awesome story. When I read the title I was half-expecting it to be about an actual man-dog hybrid, but it turned out to be a really cool name for hired men. Overall very well written, aside from some grammatical issues. I'd like to see you shoot even farther in your next story by adding more plot and characterization. You add a lot of detail about the planet and atmosphere of the world, but it served little purpose to the actual story. As it stands now the plot is dogman gets hired for contract --> gets emp upgrade and goes through unnecessary hassle with someone he's supposedly worked with many times before --> finds woman and a conspiracy of some sort is hinted at by her --> they get into a tussle which almost takes his life --> he kills her, founds out its an android --> sets off to find package

One of the hardest parts of writing short stories is rushing to complete a work. I'm guilty of it too, which is why when I see it I often recognize it. Looking forward to hearing more from you, great story!

Thanks for taking the time to read my story and give feedback Moody! its a big help. Thanks for the compliments its much appreciated. I totally get where your coming from in terms of the story being rushed. I finished this story in less than three days but I personally didn't feel I rushed it as I had a blast writing it but rather feel it is significantly incomplete. It's like it's missing a whole middle segment (which I tried to help by adding the part with the EMP) and I get that, I'm currently sitting on the fence as what to do to help pad out the story and give it a more rounded narrative.

FWriter
August 27th, 2015, 08:59 PM
I know it's been a few weeks since there's been a reply to this story, but I wanted to let you know that I really liked this story.

I second the suggestion to call the devices by their full names. At least the first time we see them.

I'd also like to see the story from Shellice Mean's perspective some day, especially if it delves deeper into that "rabbit hole". What is she hiding?

I would love to read more from this universe.

:smile2: