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Joe_Bassett
August 5th, 2015, 08:24 PM
This is the intro to a story I'm writing.


At 3500 feet and going 575 miles per hour the sleek Boeing VC-25, also known as Air Force One, soared through the sky like some strange exotic bird. Their destination: Tokyo. Aboard the plane was the president, his attendees, other officials of the political variant, and of course, the secret service.

Maria Tanaka, age 25, Air Force Engineer, was the only one who didnít quite belong. Her Japanese heritage had left her shorter than the average but she made up for it with personality and athleticism. That wasn't the reason she stood out. She was no politician, nor was she Secret Service, just a normal Mechanical engineer. A mechanical engineer who designed the first functional Military Exosuit.

The suit in question was staying belowdecks in the Boeing's massive cargo hold. The purpose of this presidential excursion was to negotiate some policies and also see about creating an exchange program designed to improve and manufacture more Exosuits. Maria knew more about the inner workings of the suit than anyone else and as a result was given orders earlier that day to accompany the suit to Japan.

Maria had boarded the plane after a very thorough security check and after making sure her creation was securely stowed. It was nowhere near finished. The suit still lacked an AI system and was incredibly inefficient. Currently it could only run three hours before needing to charge for six hours. In the weeks before the trip she had been looking into ways of improving the suit with a team of like-minded engineers. The exchange program would allow for the suit to be improved faster.

Another reason that Maria had been ordered to come along was that she was the only person to test the suit in a combat-like operation. That had been strictly off the books but she proved herself a very capable Exosuit pilot and engineer.
Maria looked about the cabin. It was nicely decorated, definitely a few steps above that of the standard civilian class plan. It had been a long flight and they had stopped in London to refuel. That had been hours ago and they were nearing their destination. Breakfast was being served.

Maria got up to use the washroom. Passing by Secret Service men and their proteges she noticed the sun was just beginning to rise over the curve of the horizon. The land below was still wreathed in shadow. The last time she had seen a sunrise like that had been far too long ago. She hadn't gotten out of the R&D lab very much. In fact she had practically moved into one of the storage closets and subsisted on delivery pizza and whatever any of her co-workers brought in. When she went to her apartment to pick up a nicer set of clothes she realized she had forgotten which floor it was on and had to ask the manager.

Her train of thought derailed when she was pushed roughly to the side by a well dressed man. He looked like some sort of Aide. When Maria first saw him he had been carrying a briefcase and had looked very nervous, constantly fiddling with the handle. The man rushed back to the general seating looking rather pale. Perhaps he was air sick.

As Maria walked towards the washrooms she noticed a door to a compartment had been left open. What intrigued her was that the lock system seemed to have been cut away. Cautiously she went in and noticed a panel of the fuselage had been cut away exposing the wires. The wires had been severed. Nearby was the briefcase she had seen the Aide carrying. It was propped open and it didnít take a genius to figure out the contents. The countdown read 1:30.

Bard_Daniel
August 6th, 2015, 04:02 AM
Interesting. I like how you kept the science, so far, of the exosuit simple while driving the narrative forward. Also, the line "The lan below was still wreathed in shadow" was especially pleasing. Your style is direct and to the point and, for this type of story, I think it would work. The crisis that occurs quickly in the story, of the bomb, also serves to drag the reader in.

Overall, good.

DATo
August 6th, 2015, 06:47 AM
A very nicely "engineered " story! *L* This story was an example of saying much by what is not said. I also liked the touch of the description of rising sun given Maria's heritage.

Nice story. My compliments.

Moody
August 8th, 2015, 06:56 PM
Well-written and interesting. I'd suggest telling a lot of backstory and details in a more subtle way. At the beginning we're just getting listed a lot of details and information about Maria, a character we don't even know or care about yet. Details like she's short, athletic, and makes up for her shortness with personality fall kind of flat when they're just being told to us in a list. Then we're told she designed the first functional exosuit which is one reason she's aboard the flight oh, and she's also there because she's pretty good at operating one.

For example, a lot of the times you rarely ever want to just say
"chloe was not a morning person"
when you could say
"chloe often hit her snooze button several times before waking up" or "chloe always looked like a zombie when I first saw her in the morning"

And then we jump from exposition to narrative in the following two lines:
That had been strictly off the books but she proved herself a very capable Exosuit pilot and engineer.
Maria looked about the cabin.

That jump, to me, isn't very effective and could maybe be handled better in a couple ways. Making the exposition more efficient. Making the jump more evident with spacing. Making the introduction to narrative more interesting or remarkable.

Joe_Bassett
August 9th, 2015, 04:43 AM
Thank you, I have a hard time trying to sound more active when writing. Perhaps my grasp of English isn't all there yet. Would you happen to have any suggestions on how to phrase things better?

DATo
August 9th, 2015, 01:28 PM
Thank you, I have a hard time trying to sound more active when writing. Perhaps my grasp of English isn't all there yet. Would you happen to have any suggestions on how to phrase things better?

Your grasp of English is fine ... better than most of my fellow Americans. *LOL*

Joe_Bassett
August 15th, 2015, 01:38 AM
Now, my biggest problem is figuring out how Maria can reach the exosuit before the plane explodes completely. Any suggestions? haha

SummerPanda
August 18th, 2015, 08:06 PM
Not really my usual choice of reading material, but I admit you've got me curious to see where it goes. I'll be curious especially to find out how that man got past security.
Thanks for sharing.

Joe_Bassett
August 18th, 2015, 08:10 PM
Oh, I'll share the next part as soon as I come up with it. I, for once, have a plan as to where I'm going for this story.

Tbird0000
August 21st, 2015, 08:20 AM
I like it, Yes. Was hoping after reading the title that its not like the similarly named movie "Ex Machina". Glad to know it was different. I know some people, by accident, tend to write about ideas they have already seen whether they know it or not. Anyways...

I used to live in Japan for 3 years and next year, I'm going back for another 3. So I love the heritage, people, and culture. So as I read that the plane was flying to Japan, I was pulled in on a personal level. Thanks for that.

I think that some descriptions can be left out. For me (personally), I think long drawn out explanations or descriptions are a deal breaker. I get bored quickly. Build the character and details bits at a time when its necessary, not because you want everyone to know right off the bat that Maria is from Japan, she's 5'2", 130lbs, loves baseball, etc, etc. But straight to the point details that are gripping and worded correctly can do a lot for me. I always have a thesaurus open when writing. Try not to use the same words over and over. Its a useful tool and elegant words could possibly pull me in more. (But this is me personally)

The story overall, interesting. Not slow; not very rushed. There is a right balance of the two. I think for the character to reach the exosuit in time with only 90 seconds remaining is where some of that thrill is gonna come from. Maybe the exosuit can fly? But with no AI, she has to manually navigate the skies, quite possibly falling to her demise. But maybe its a chance she's willing to take? If so, does the aircraft explode with the entire Presidential cabinet aboard and thrust the country into a state of turmoil? Who gets the blame if so? Does the bomb get defused? Is there a single moment where it becomes apparent that the bomb wont be deactivated in time, giving that "God help us" moment? I think the mass of your suspense will come in the next 90 seconds of time. Written correctly and fast paced but not (does this make sense) rushed, I think you will/can pull a lot of readers in.

Olly Buckle
August 21st, 2015, 09:26 AM
I always have a thesaurus open when writing. Try not to use the same words over and over. Its a useful tool and elegant words could possibly pull me in more. (But this is me personally)Careful with this, use it as a reminder of what you already know, if it is adding words to your vocabulary get used to them before you use them yourself, it is very easy for such techniques to become very apparent in the writing.


Her Japanese heritage had left her shorter than the average This is not entirely true, Traditionally the Japanese are a vegetarian society with a large population living on an island with little agricultural area, quality food was always short, that was also true immediately post war. Modern Japanese are a lot taller than their predecessors, they field a world class basket ball team for example. I am taller than my father's generation too, but better food happened sooner here, my first wife was from Tokyo, born in '46, she was short, our sons are not especially so.

It is an intro, cut to the chase as much as possible, people want to find what is going on at this stage, compare these two;

At 3500 feet and going 575 miles per hour the sleek Boeing VC-25, also known as Air Force One, soared through the sky like some strange exotic bird. Their destination: Tokyo. Aboard the plane was the president, his attendees, other officials of the political variant, and of course, the secret service.

Air force one, at 3500 feet, going 575 miles per hour, was heading for Tokyo. The sleek Boeing VC-25. had the president, his usual retinue, and of course the secret service, on board.

I have instantly reduced it considerably, and lost that terrible clichť about 'sleek, exotic bird'.
Part of the 'less is more' thing, if you make a list it will probably be incomplete, noteveryone will notice, but someone will, a catch all,like 'his retinue' catches all.

John Oberon
August 21st, 2015, 08:23 PM
I think you include a lot of unnecessary detail, the information about Maria is disorganized, and you can combine some of those paragraphs. You use the wrong word occasionally. Read it with those problems and others addressed:

At 35,000 feet and 575 miles per hour, Air Force One soared through the sky toward Tokyo. Aboard the plane were the president and his typical entourage.

Maria Tanaka, age 25, Air Force Engineer, was also there on special assignment. She designed the first functional military Exosuit, which she herself stowed in the cargo hold. The suit was nowhere near finished. It still lacked an AI system and was incredibly inefficient. Currently, it ran only three hours before needing to charge for six hours. One of the purposes of this presidential excursion was to discuss the creation of an exchange program to improve and manufacture more Exosuits. Maria knew more about the suit than anyone else, and she was the only person to pilot the suit in a combat-like operation.

The cabin was nicely appointed, definitely a few steps above the standard civilian flight. They stopped in London to refuel hours ago. and neared their destination as breakfast was being served.

Maria got up to use the washroom. Passing by Secret Service men, she noticed the sun just beginning to rise over the curve of the horizon, the land below still shrouded in shadow. It was far too long since she’d seen a sunrise like that. She didn’t venture from the lab often. In fact, she practically lived in one of the storage closets and subsisted on delivery pizza and whatever her co-workers brought. When she stopped at her place to pick up a nicer set of clothes for the trip, she forgot which floor her apartment was on and had to ask the manager.

Her train of thought derailed when a well-dressed man pushed her roughly aside. He seemed like an aide. When Maria first saw him, he carried a briefcase and appeared very nervous, constantly fiddling with the handle. The man no longer carried a briefcase and rushed back to general seating looking rather pale. Perhaps he was air sick.

As Maria headed to the washrooms, she noticed an open compartment door. Upon closer inspection, she saw the lock system was cut away. Cautiously, she entered and noticed a panel of the fuselage cut away, exposing severed wires. Nearby was the aide’s briefcase, propped open. It didn’t take a genius to figure out the contents. The countdown read 1:30.

MousePot
August 22nd, 2015, 12:08 AM
Hi Guitarhiro

Fun story! I really enjoy the little details you added, the stop at London for refueling for example, adds a nice sense of length to the journey ^^

The only thing I would mention, which hasn't already been said, is be careful about your sentence length. The first half of your story is technically quite slow, it's a long boring flight, but for most of the first half you're using very short sentences, which is usually used to raise the pace. This is a little jarring at points, and takes away from the action when the pace actually does speed up.

This however is a very minor thing, really enjoyed the read ^^

As for the bomb, well I'm not sure if I missed something in the story, but wouldn't it make more sense just to throw the thing out the plane? It's what I would do xD