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Jamboree
June 30th, 2016, 01:53 AM
Hi all,
This is the first chapter of my novel which is a sci-fi adventure story. I've taken in the comments from the first attempt at this chapter (some thread several down from this one) and hopefully it is an improvement! Many thanks in advance for any comments.


January 2059

The first thing you notice about being a Superhuman is that people like to remind you of your ‘Superhuman’ abilities.

“It’s incredible how strong you are, 127”

“Thank you”

“No but really, it is awesome”

“Thank you”

“Stop hassling the poor lad, Terry”

“Sorry, 127”

We are in the cargo bay. Myself, Mike, Terry and Jason are unloading containers from a lorry. Sam, Tabish and Hassan carry the crates to the

store room. Dr Stark supervises us. The 120 kilogram crates are carried in threes. I carry two at a time by myself. With my fifteen year old

body.

Hence why Terry made the comment.

Hence why someone always make a comment in these situations.

It is not a job that we should be doing. But logic does dictate that there is less of a chance of a secret government-funded laboratory being

discovered if there are fewer members of staff.

‘Logic always holds the correct answer’ as Dr Stark would say.

As a result, the guards carry out various other jobs on the complex. And I am asked to assist.

Not that I really have a choice. But it is not that I do not want to help.

It is just not really a job for a Superhuman.

Yet here I am, confined to the boundaries of the laboratory complex, unseen and unknown to the outside world, unable to harness the full

capabilities of my extraordinary body.

There is a loud crash from behind me. The guards have dropped a crate during the handover from one team to another. Immediately they start

arguing amongst themselves.

“Ruddy hell,” Mutters Dr Stark. He runs his hands through his thinning ginger hair. “Stay there Mars.” So I do. I do not move from inside the

lorry.

The crate in question is outlined in red meaning that it’s for the laboratory and extremely dangerous. It is almost definitely why Dr Stark is

strolling over towards the dropped crate. The guards stop arguing as soon as he approaches. Dr Stark has no official power over them as

Chief Scientist but few people argue with him. He steps up to inspect the crate. It does not appear to have been damaged in the drop.

He takes a torch from the closest guard and peers between the narrow gaps in the bars. All around the box he moves, staring intently into

the crate. When his back is facing me he jumps back slightly. The guards do the same even though they can’t see what Dr Stark is looking at.

The crate begins to rock slightly. There must be a live creature inside. It is probably another Chimpanzee for use in their tests. The box keeps

on rocking, the movement steadily becoming more vigorous. Dr Stark points his arms at the guards and then towards the metal box.

“Get it inside, now!” The guards are hesitant at first but quickly move after Dr Stark shouts at them again. He does not sound happy and that

is not a good thing. The guards often shy away from Dr Stark and I have overheard the rumours of an incident at his previous job. The guards

however struggle to pick up the vigorously shaking box. The metal clangs loudly against the concrete floor. Even when Dr Stark tries to

intervene it is impossible for them to pick up the crate, it is just shaking too violently. The creature must be really distressed.

There’s a loud bang and the clanging stops. The box lies still yet the guards around it are retreating, their guns raised. Even Dr Stark is

stepping backwards, his body blocking the majority of the crate from my eyesight. Then he takes a step to his left, moving towards Tabish.

The metal crate is in full view. A hairy arm disappears back into the box through the fist-sized hole. The number 57 is branded on its forearm.

That is no Chimpanzee or monkey in that crate. If anything it belonged to a human’s. Either way, neither could have punched a hole through

the thick steel cage.

Yet something did.

Dr Stark steps up again, this time with a gun in hand. He blocks my view again but appears to point the gun through the hole. Two quick

shots are fired off. Whatever the creature was it is now dead. He gives back the gun to Tabish.

“Just get it out of here,”

The guards snap back into action and the all six of them lift the crate up and carry it through to the store room. Julia Sanders appears from

around the side of the lorry. Her heels kick up the snow as she heads towards Dr Stark. I don’t know whether to move or not. I have received

no instructions. The guards return and carry on as before. Dr Stark watches them carefully before turning to talk to his boss.

Their conversation is brief before she points at me. They turn in unison and stare straight towards me in the lorry.

“Mars, why don’t you head over to the gym now? We no longer need your help here so you are free to go” Says Julia Sanders. There are still

fourteen crates to be removed from the lorry but I do not argue with her. She is my creator after all.

I hop down from the lorry. Dr Stark has a drop of blood forming on his forehead.

“Sir, you are bleeding.” I poke my own face to where the cut is on his. His face flickers before he smiles and pulls a handkerchief out of his

trouser pocket.

“Bloody monkeys” He reaches up and touches the oozing wound. I move past them and around the side of the building out of sight. It was not

a monkey in that crate. I pull up the left sleeve of my thermal top to reveal my left forearm. The 127, branded into my skin on the day that I

was created, prickles with an itch. It is identical to the one on the creature in the crate. Logic would dictate that we are linked together in

some way. I want to find out how.

Logic always holds the correct answer.

And I want to find that answer.

Harper J. Cole
July 12th, 2016, 06:28 PM
An interesting start, establishing your main character, a setting and a mystery. I particularly liked the last two lines. The paragraphs do seem a trifle short, though this may be caused by formatting problems. Consider adding some more description of the cargo bay and the people inside it.

Here's some SPaG thoughts ...


“It’s incredible how strong you are, 127”

“Thank you”

“No but really, it is awesome”

“Thank you”

“Stop hassling the poor lad, Terry”

“Sorry, 127”

You need full stops for all these quotes.


It is probably another Chimpanzee for use in their tests.

Animal names aren't capitalised, so a small "c" here.


The guards are hesitant at first but quickly move after Dr Stark shouts at them again. He does not sound happy and that is not a good thing. The guards often shy away from Dr Stark and I have overheard the rumours of an incident at his previous job. The guards however struggle to pick up the vigorously shaking box.

Variety makes a story easier to read. Three out of four sentences here begin with "The guards"; consider tweaking a line or two to eliminate this.


If anything it belonged to a human’s.

This should simply be "human".


“Mars, why don’t you head over to the gym now? We no longer need your help here so you are free to go” Says Julia Sanders.

Comma after "go" and small "s" in "says".

I hop that some of this has been helpful.

HC

Jamboree
July 17th, 2016, 05:09 PM
Hi HC,

That's very useful, thank you! I'm pretty poor at spotting any SPAG issues so those comments are very helpful.

I didn't include much description of the area or people because it is not an area that is really explored again in the story and apart from Mars, only Stark and Sanders appear again in the story. However, I'll give it some thought.

Thanks,

Jam

avestHom
October 16th, 2016, 05:11 PM
Wow. This is a great start. I've a few suggestions. From the beginning of this to the end your writing I found a lot about your main character. I suggest you that much or less or more of your character's past. Especially 127's relation to the Doctor and Julia.

Jamboree
October 17th, 2016, 10:55 AM
Thanks for the comment avestHom. Out of interest why would you suggest showing more of my character's past? I understand why you would suggest showing less but I am intrigued. His relationship with both characters, particularly Julia, is built upon in the following chapters, although you wouldn't know that.

Thanks again!

Jam

Jamboree
January 27th, 2017, 05:16 PM
This is the follow up scene from the first Chapter of Mars-127. Together with the scene above it completes Ch.1 of the story. For this I'm interested in how well people think that this follows on from the first scene and whether they work well together, keeping the flow going and Mars' narrative. I'm also slightly worried that this scene has a little too much information dumping in it (specifically with regards to the fact he's a Superhuman). Any other comments would also be greatly appreciated.
Cheers, Jam :-)


I jog across to the Sports centre, one of three areas that I am allowed to visit freely on the complex. The other two being the Cafeteria and the

second and third floors of the main laboratory. Everywhere else is off limits unless I have special permission from Julia Sanders. That rule applies to

almost everyone though.

Snow graces my leg as I cross the carpark. The temperature is at least minus 10 degrees Celsius but I do not feel cold in my full body ability suit. I

never do.

Warmth washes over me as I step inside the centre. The advantages of being government funded means that we are not subject to the power cuts

that the rest of the country faces. Which is an advantage I suppose. However, it means that I may have to work for them in the future once I

graduate. It has been said that I will be allowed to choose my career with freedom. It is a human right after all. But it is not like that has ever stopped

governments from enacting their own will in the past. And whilst it does make sense logically for a superior human to help run the country it just does

not give me much freedom. Which is the problem I face here in my home.

I jump up the stairs, five at a time, until I reach the third floor. The floor only contains one room and its sole purpose is for my training. The south

facing wall is made up of three large solar panel windows that overlook the perimeter and forest below. A row of reinforced machines and gym

equipment is spread out in front of the view. The rest is an empty space which today has a gym mat and cricket bowling machine ten metres apart

filling up the space.

“What time do you call this then?” Demands Lottie Harper, one of my two personal trainers. She throws a yellow ball at me from across the room. I

catch it of course. I prefer Lottie to Mr Black, my other trainer. She is less strict and less demanding than Mr Black, who never gives me the chance to

rest during our lessons.

Which I do not really need. But it is nice to stop for a moment every so often.

I know that Lottie’s question was rhetorical. That much I can work out since I am twenty five minutes early. However, it is confusing as to why she

asked it in the first place. I am never late to any lesson.

“A slight change of plan today Mars. Instead of avoiding the balls coming at you from several angles you need to catch them and then throw them into

that,” She points towards the small grey bucket at the other end of the room. It seems simple enough in theory, almost a step down from the

exercises of last week. Perhaps they do not want me to injure me. Not that I have ever done that in my entire twenty two month lifespan.

Because simply put I am a Superhuman. The only Superhuman. Considerably faster, stronger, smarter and healthier than any other person on Earth.

The treadmill softly hums as I start the 20 minute pre-set warm up regime. I was created, not naturally born, by Dr Julia Sanders, Dr Stark and their

team of specialist scientists in 2057. They had succeeded, where many others had failed, in creating the Superhuman clone as theorised by Edward D

Screen in 2044. Most believed that I could not be created, and that genetic enhancement was a step too far in human cloning, the latter of which

had been outlawed three years prior to Screen’s paper. Yet here I am, Mars-127, almost two years old in my fifteen year old body. My feet hit the

ground rhythmically as I build up to 30 kph on the treadmill.


“Oooooone hundred and fifty!” Cries Lottie as the ball is placed into the machine. A second later it shoots out a mere two metres to my left. It’s a

simple jump and catch before I launch the ball down the room. It would have gone in the overflowing bucket but a large pile of balls blocked its route.

I spring upwards to catch another ball, this time in my right hand. Before I touch the ground the ball has left my hand and sails on top of the pile of

balls.

“Very nice, Mars, excellent work. No need to start showing off though” She steps down off the step ladder behind the bowling machine and walks

away from me. “I remember when you were just a few weeks old and caught your first ball.”

I remember the day exactly. My eidetic memory does not forget. I was just twenty days old at the time but catching a tennis ball is not exactly a hard

skill. Even for a normal human to achieve.

“I’ll be sad when you leave, Mars.” Lottie returns with the bucket of balls.

“Why?”

“Well it will mean that I won’t get to work with you anymore. Plus it’s pretty soon now.”

Soon? From what I know I have at least 26 months left in this complex, if not longer. She must be mistaken.

“When do you think that I leave? I was told that I had over two years left here.” She steps back up the ladder behind the bowling machine.

“Err yeah, that’s correct.” She avoids my eye contact.

“But you said that I left pretty soon. That cannot mean over two years’ time surely?”

“I suppose.” Lottie picks up a ball from the bucket. “It was just a poor choice of words, Mars. I mean these two years have gone by quickly, haven’t

they?” She drops the ball into the machine. It fires out, straight at me. There is no bucket to throw it into so I drop it to the floor.

“Time has not gone by any faster or slower than it normal.”

“You know what I mean though, 127.” She looks past me, high up at the wall. There is a CCTV camera positioned there and they will be watching.

Which means that I cannot do anything too drastic. But she called me by my number. Lottie has never done that before. This topic is clearly above

her security clearance.

“No, I do not Miss Harper.”

She looks back down to me and then back at the camera. Another ball comes whistling towards me, this time low down to my right. Still a simple

catch.

“Let’s just focus on your training 127. Your leaving date is not something that we should be discussing.”

I nod whilst rubbing my left forearm. I am not a mere number like that creature I saw earlier today, I am a Superhuman and I deserve to be treated like

one.

watermark
January 29th, 2017, 01:45 PM
Hi. I think the second section connects well with the first. It's a continuation of 'A Day in the Life of 127' and does not seem odd. I think you have several interesting ideas setup for a superhuman/hero story. Good job!


A thing I would like to mention is 127's personality. I found 127's personality confusing because there are some conflicting traits. Is 127 subservient, logical, or arrogant? These lines:

"Not that I really have a choice. But it is not that I do not want to help. It is just not really a job for a Superhuman"
So does he want to help or is he forced? Or does the job grudgingly but feels the job is beneath him?

"Logic always holds the correct answer."
This line appears in various places and seems to indicate 127 is a Spock-like, emotionless creature. Yet he also complains about his work. Why? Complaining is emotional. It's not logical.

"I am not a mere number like that creature I saw earlier today, I am a Superhuman and I deserve to be treated like one."
At the end of 2 he appears arrogant. Then why is he acting subservient? Why is he not ordering his trainer around instead of speaking to her like a student? I am having trouble connecting with 127. In other words, I'm not sure why he's thinking what he's thinking. Perhaps you are trying to make him emotionless and perhaps alien in thought?

Jamboree
January 31st, 2017, 06:43 PM
Thanks for the comments Watermark,

I suppose with 127's personality he is an extremely logical person (that is just the way he has been brought up), however he nonetheless is prone to bursts of emotion which can override his thought process, although rarely and often he reverses his decision to a more logical one.

He is arrogant in the sense that he believes that as a Superhuman he shouldn't have to do certain things (like unload the lorry) and that he should be treated in a certain way (not being called 127/being told the truth and not having things being withheld from him). I don't particularly want him to be subserviant really but I can see how it comes across. Since he has only been alive for two years and his life has been very carefully managed and monitored he doesn't really know any different and therefore doesn't really have a problem with how things in the laboratory work. He just believes it to be normal human behaviour. Hence why he calls teachers sir and miss. But also why when things go wrong (as they do in this opening chapter) he can react quite oddly to them, since nothing has really ever been out of place before.

That's what I was trying to achieve anyway. Thanks for your comments. Jam

H.Brown
March 2nd, 2017, 08:22 PM
This is the follow up scene from the first Chapter of Mars-127. Together with the scene above it completes Ch.1 of the story. For this I'm interested in how well people think that this follows on from the first scene and whether they work well together, keeping the flow going and Mars' narrative. I'm also slightly worried that this scene has a little too much information dumping in it (specifically with regards to the fact he's a Superhuman). Any other comments would also be greatly appreciated.
Cheers, Jam :-)


I jog across to the Sports centre, one of three areas that I am allowed to visit freely on the complex. The other two being the Cafeteria and the second and third floors of the main laboratory. Everywhere else is off limits unless I have special permission from Julia Sanders. That rule applies to almost everyone though.
You leave me wondering who is Julia? Why can't he go everywhere? What is on the other floors? It keeps me hooked.
Snow graces (why does the snow grace his legs? I think there could be a better word?)my leg as I cross the carpark. (The temperature) It is at least minus 10 degrees Celsius but I do not don'tfeel cold in my full body ability suit. I never do.

Warmth washes over me as I step inside the centre. The advantages of being government funded means that we are not subject to the power cuts that the rest of the country faces. Which is an advantage I suppose. However, it means that I may have to work for them in the future once I graduate. It has been said (that I will ) I'll be allowed to choose my career with freedom-it is a human right after all- but it is not like that (has) ever stopped governments from enacting their own will in the past. (And) whilst it does make sense logically for a superior human to help run the country it just doesn't (not) give me much freedom. Which is the problem I face (here in my) at home.

I jump up the stairs, five at a time, until I reach the third floor. (The floor) It only contains one room and its sole purpose is for my training. The south facing wall is made up of three large solar panel windows that overlook the perimeter and forest below. A row of reinforced machines and gym equipment is spread out in front of the view. The rest is an empty space which today has a gym mat and cricket bowling machine ten metres apart (filling up the space).

“What time do you call this then?” Demands Lottie Harper, one of my two personal trainers. She throws a yellow ball at me from across the room. I catch it of course. I prefer Lottie to Mr Black, my other trainer. She is less strict and less demanding than Mr Black, who never gives me the chance to rest during our lessons.

Which I (do not) don't really need. But it is nice to stop for a moment every so often.

I know that Lottie’s question was rhetorical. That much I can work out since I'm (am) twenty five minutes early. However, it is confusing as to why she asked it in the first place. I am never late to any lesson.

“A slight change of plan today Mars. Instead of avoiding the balls coming at you from several angles you need to catch them and then throw them into that,” She points towards the small grey bucket at the other end of the room. It seems simple enough in theory, almost a step down from the exercises of last week. Perhaps they do not want me to injured (me). Not that I've (have) ever done that in my entire twenty two month lifespan.

I would rewrite the last bit such as, ...in mmy entire lifespan of twenty two months.

Because simply put I am a Superhuman. The only Superhuman. Considerably faster, stronger, smarter and healthier than any other person on Earth.

The treadmill softly hums as I start the 20 minute pre-set warm up regime. I was created, not naturally born, by Dr Julia Sanders, Dr Stark and their team of specialist scientists in 2057. They had succeeded, where many others had failed, in creating the Superhuman clone as theorised by Edward D Screen in 2044. Most believed that I could not be created, and that genetic enhancement was a step too far in human cloning, the latter of which had been outlawed three years prior to Screen’s paper. Yet here I am, Mars-127, almost two years old in my fifteen year old body. My feet hit the ground rhythmically as I build up to 30 kph on the treadmill.


“Oooooone hundred and fifty!” Cries Lottie as the ball is placed into the machine. A second later it shoots out a mere two metres to my left. It’s a simple jump and catch before I launch the ball down the room. It would have gone in the overflowing bucket but a large pile of balls blocked its route.

I spring upwards to catch another ball, this time in my right hand. Before I touch the ground the ball has left my hand and sails on top of the pile of balls.

“Very nice, Mars, excellent work. No need to start showing off though” She steps down off the step ladder behind the bowling machine and walks away from me. “I remember when you were just a few weeks old and caught your first ball.”

I remember the day exactly. My eidetic memory does not forget. I was just twenty days old at the time but catching a tennis ball is not exactly a hard skill. Even for a normal human to achieve.

“I’ll be sad when you leave, Mars.” Lottie returns with the bucket of balls.

“Why?”

“Well it will mean that I won’t get to work with you anymore. Plus it’s pretty soon now.”

Soon? From what I know I have at least 26 months left in this complex, if not longer. She must be mistaken.

“When do you think that I leave? I was told that I had over two years left here.” She steps back up the ladder behind the bowling machine.

“Err yeah, that’s correct.” She avoids my eye contact.

“But you said that I left pretty soon. That cannot mean over two years’ time surely?”

“I suppose.” Lottie picks up a ball from the bucket. “It was just a poor choice of words, Mars. I mean these two years have gone by quickly, haven’t they?” She drops the ball into the machine. It fires out, straight at me. There is no bucket to throw it into so I drop it to the floor.

“Time has not gone by any faster or slower than is normal.”

“You know what I mean though, 127.” She looks past me, high up at the wall. There is a CCTV camera positioned there and they'll be watching.

Which means that I cannot do anything too drastic. But she called me by my number. Lottie has never done that before. This topic is clearly above her security clearance.

“No, I do not Miss Harper.”

She looks back down to me and then back at the camera. Another ball comes whistling towards me, this time low down to my right. Still a simple catch.

“Let’s just focus on your training 127. Your leaving date is not something that we should be discussing.”

I nod whilst rubbing my left forearm. I am not a mere number like that creature I saw earlier today, I am a Superhuman and I deserve to be treated like one.


Another good section Jam, I have added my suggestions in red. The red brackets are words I would delete. I agree with avestHom I would like to know more about 127's past and the past of the world to be honest. Like what has happened, why does it have problems with power cuts??

It leaves me with more questions than it answer which at this stage I would say is a good thing as it makes me want to read more.

Bard_Daniel
March 7th, 2017, 03:09 AM
Hey Jamboree!

I read both sections and I think you've definitely got something to keep going with. Keep your SPaG in mind (some people have pointed out some errors) and formatting but I like what you're doing here. This sounds like something that I'd definitely keep reading.

Good job. Just keep at it!