The Iskarian Gambit


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Thread: The Iskarian Gambit

  1. #1

    The Iskarian Gambit

    Here are the first 1000 words or so on my book. Initially this was the beginning, but I've written another section that will be as it happens before this. I've also included a brief description of the aliens race here.



    Long patrol sucked. Yet it provided ample time and opportunity to do training and finish up on all the paperwork that goes with being a captain. Senior lieutenant Draven Knorr thought on this, as he was doing it. The person who can invent a mental computer so my thoughts can link with one and get this damn paperwork done faster will be set for life or just make it one sheet saying; like simple cruise no problems. It was at this point his chime sounded. Ka’ Jol Zang, his communications and sensor officer, said. “Captain, your presence is needed on the bridge, we’ve detect a battle.”
    “On my way lieutenant.” and with that he left his room and a few minutes later reached the bridge. “Report, all stations” he barked
    Ka’Jol was first. “Captain, while there is heavy ecm and it is at long range, 25LS, there is a battle between three ships, it’s two on one, the one is the larger.”
    “Lt. Jurack, I want ¾ speed as soon as possible.” Draven hit a button and announced over the ships internal speakers as the alarm lights and horns sounded. “This is captain Knorr and this is no drill. All crew to battle stations, fighter crews to their ships and launch when ready and clear. Seal all hatches and make ready for possible vacuum and zero-g conditions. Captain out.” Then he turned to Katho Theng, his 1st officer who was also the tactical officer. “Katho, id those combatants and bring up my sit map. Ka’Jol, send INC a report as follows, I have encountered pirates attacking an unknown merchant, going into help, further details to follow. Draven Knorr.” He then punched in the intercom, “B’thel, sorry about this but you’ll probably have to practice your art.” he told the ship’s doctor, B’thel Illyng.



    “I was afraid of that, well were ready captain.” was the reply in his typical gravelly voice.
    “Captain, power is up and armor is charged, what little we have that is.” that was Brin Ilthon, the Krang’s chief engineer.
    The Krang leapt toward the maelstrom accelerating at ¾ speed. Still the distance they needed to travel took time and 45 minutes later Katho spoke up. “Sir, I have ids on the participants. The larger ship is a Zaheriani vessel, a light raider. The other two are old Kalvari class light cruisers of the Dushakk class about 30 years old. Normal armament would be 8 5cm lasers and 3 double rack 4cm missile launchers. As for the Zaherian, their armament could be anything but, on light raiders it was almost always in the CL range.”
    * *

    On board D’thoak clan ship War Challenger a brown furred khalvari tech spoke from his chair. “Sir, we’re detecting an approaching ship. At extreme range and with all of this electronic clutter, I can’t tell much about her.”
    Captain H’Mik Sulthan swiveled in his chair. His face showing a snarl of anticipation. “Is it the one we are expecting? I don’t care about electronic interference Shinjin.”
    Shinjin began refining his signal and entering computer commands before replying. “Captain, the computer feels that there is a 27% chance that it is and a 69% chance that it is an Iskarian patrol ship, most likely one of their new light cruisers.”
    Captain Sulthan just scowled at the screen showing their current Zaherian enemy. “That would mean two of those Cave Lord cursed fighters. Can we out run them?’


    Shinjin was checking the numbers and wondered how the captain knew that there would be two fighters. The answer was quick in coming; “Maybe if we leave in the next five minutes.”
    “Not enough time, we need to destroy the Zaherian prince and his ship first. Okay, ready crews for the new anti-fighter defense and concentrate all missiles of both ships on that approaching Iskarian ship. Launch on my order.”

    “Okay. Ka’Jol, open channel all ships.“ after a nod form Ka’Jol he continued, “Attention pirate and Zaherian ships. This is the Iskarian naval ship Krang. You are ordered to cease combat. Iskarian space is a neutral in your conflict and failure to abide by this order will result in the internment of your vessels.”

    Sulthan said one word. “Fire!”

    Katho Theng saw the blip and announced, “We have missile launch. 4 5cm missiles headed our way. AML’s on line and evasive action being taken. Fighters have been launched, orders?”
    “Tell them to concentrate on enemy two, we’ll take enemy one. Now, get us in range. I don’t want be a target for those longer range missiles. Get us in range to return fire.” Draven replied


    “Report Kelvarn” Volthan Dyell said, seemingly oblivious to the sparks, fuzzy or blank screens that were the majority of those on the bridge. In fact he seemed to be enjoying himself.
    “Yes, high captain. The new ship is an Iskarian ship, I have no size at this time do to our damage. Of our attackers, alpha is hurt but so are we. There is a crack in our power core. Moderately damaging as it is causing us to lose power, the leaking power core is allowing radiation into the ship and we will not be able to replace it here. Our bridge has suffered moderate damage as well. Our long range sensors and communications are heavily damaged. Three of our main turrets are out of commission as well as six of our secondary's, 38% of our AML’s are on line. We can only make 58% of normal K-drive and our H-drive is damaged to the point I’d rather not use it. One launch bay is destroyed. Our crew loses are bad high captain, 187 dead or severely injured and another 57 with moderate injuries. Our Master healer, Jhymdar Cheng says that one of his assistants is dead and two are injured.”
    “Why she’s still got some life in her. Besides, it would be less than honorable to not show our appreciation to our rescuer’s by not helping them. Concentrate our attacks on the more damaged Kalvari cruiser.”







    Zaherian Physiology and description

    Average height is 2.2 meters and weight is 105kg. The most common hair colors are Black and red, followed by yellow(blond) and orange. For the eyes, the most common colors are green, brown blue and red in roughly equal proportions.

    The face is wider than human norm and their lips are thin. The nasal cavity/nose is wider. They have eye lids but can also ‘close’ the cartilage around the eyes if the need arises.
    The eyes are more to the side and more flush to the face and are capable of independent movement. They have a ‘uni-brow’ eyebrow. They have an extra set of incisors on each side.
    Their blood uses iridium as its oxygen transporter. This gives it a brilliant yellow color in arteries, when it is oxygenated and a dull orange in veins when its oxygen content is low. They have three lungs that work as a system of replenishment, blood flows from one back to the heart then to the second and finally to the third. They have a three chamber heart.


    Iskarian physiology and description

    The average 2 meters in height and 90kg in weight. Their face is more elliptical than round. The nasal bone blends into the brow ridge that runs above the eye socket and then down the side of the face, tapering to the back of the neck. Their ears are also elliptical in shape, though not pointy, they are set at the same level as the jaw bone. Lips are average.
    Head/facial hair, though beards and mustaches are less common than human normal. Common colors are: Black, brown and red. Rarer are amber and pink, blonde is very rare.
    Eye colors are: Violet, blue, yellow, mauve, violet-yellow an blue-yellow. Those with blonde hair almost always have black eyes.
    Iskarian blood has cobalt as its oxygen transporter. This gives it a light pink to clear color in arteries and an amber color in veins. Their heart is located more central in the torso, near the base of the sternum within a bone cage. They have three fingers and an opposed thumb, this leading to a base 8 number system. Hearing is a bit better than normal at the higher pitches.





    Kalvari physiology and descriptions

    Kalvari are an animal, humanoid life form, descended from a hunter/trapper stock. Basically carnivorous in diet, yet they are actually omnivorous. They average 2.4 meters in height and 150kg for weight.

    Very strong and having a better than normal resistance to diseases. Kalvari have a small protruding snout/jaw. Their eyes are normal set and the ears are more to the back of the head and they stick out vs. up.
    Their fur is a fine outer layer and a coarse under layer. Their teeth are what you’d expect from an animal, sharp and a lot of them.
    They have retractable claws on all four of their appendages as well as a series of retractable spikes/quills on their arms.
    Fur colors are: Black, brown, red, white and dark blue. Eye color is almost always black and brown.



    Ghoram

    Descended from saurian/insectoid stock. Their eyes are compound eyes, and are located on the top rear of their head. They have no neck. They are capable of seeing 300 degrees without the head/face turning. These eyes are similar to that of a praying mantis, in that their eyes have a ‘flat‘ zone that when viewing the direction they are viewing, gives them very acute vision. As with all compound eyes, they do lack on details yet they are able to ’shift’ their sight that is go from apposition to superposition given some preparation time. They have three sensor organs on each side of their neck that function as ears.
    Their face has a ‘beak’ like jaw that opens/closes sideways and is more mandible like than teeth, like as in many fish and insects. They have a tail used for balance and it can be used to lash out at those behind or to their side. Openings above the mouth serve as olfactory sensors.
    Skin is a tough and leathery. They molt from one to three times a year, depending on their age. It’s coloration can be: Gray, green, tan, rust, brown and white. Eye color is black. Their hands end in claws that need to be trimmed once a month as they constantly grow and aren’t retractable. Average length with tail is 2.2 meters, they stand 1.8 meters tall and weight on the average 110kg.
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."
    ​Virgil

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush



  2. #2
    For me the story throws too much information out in too short a time. It feels as if you have rushed it and are trying to cover too much. IMO (humble as it is) I would have found it more interesting if you had concentrated on one ship at a time, in detail, with the "action" by the others more peripheral but ultimately the story coming together after a chapter or two perhaps. Are you intending to include an appendix with the descriptions of the various factions (something I personally hate). If not then I would suggest that it would be better to describe them as you go along (not all at once but in context to the story/action). Also you would have room to describe the various ships & their functions as you go along if you cover one ship's perspective at a time. You also seem not to have decided whether to go with fictional distances etc (ie. 25LS) or "our" understanding as you us cm & minutes thus creating another confusing aspect to what your trying to achieve.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the read and comments. A point I need to correct is that "LS" is light seconds indicating distance. Focusing on one ship is something I hadn't thought of so I'll try it and see how it looks and feels. Again thanks for the comments.

  4. #4
    It seems like you've put some thought into the world you're creating, it is noticeable in much of the info dump that you posted as well as the consistent naming style for the characters. However the story part itself needs heavy revision, it feels like it is a first draft that was not read/edited at all prior to posting it. I understand being excited and wanting feedback but this is rife with formatting/grammar/typo issues which made it difficult to read. Due to this I had trouble understanding what was going on, who was speaking, etc. For example, it says "...finish up on all the paperwork that goes with being a captain. Senior lieutenant Draven Knorr thought..."; the confusion between captain and senior lieutenant itself is not so bad but it caused additional confusion in the following dialogue with his communications/sensor officer when the dialogue says "On my way lieutenant."

    I think you've done a good job developing a sense of drama that goes well with the Space Opera battle scene, if you clean it up then it will be easier to enjoy your story.

  5. #5
    My friends who were in the navy informed me that 'captain' is a title for the ship's commander and could also be a rank. So I had the rank of the ship' captain a senior lieutenant. Yes, I spent time fleshing out the worlds as several other friends, who all like sci-fi, had told me that if the world isn't believable it loses something. My wife and daughter didn't like the names as thy found them confusing and hard to pronounce, they are not fans of sci-fi however. What would you suggest as to revise or clean up? Grammar, typing and English were my worst subjects. My thank for the read and comments.
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."
    ​Virgil

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush



  6. #6
    Creative Area Specialist (Fiction) Folcro's Avatar
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    First of all, the ambition of taking on a space opera is... well, ambitious. And harrowing. The willingness to take it on is more or less the only thing you need. The rest will come when it comes.

    But since patience is overrated, allow me to help you along.

    First thing's first, as this is the opening of your story, purge the phone book--- all names and numbers go bye-bye (only for now. You can lay them on us in doses later on). Instead of saying "X number of people died," say "We lost half our crew!" This way, you paint an even clearer, darker picture, and don't even need numbers.

    As for names, we need an introduction to the races first before you ask us to start remembering names. So it would take the burden off the reader to say "three races inbound," instead of three names never before heard. I know this can make the scene less clear, but the names wouldn't help. And fortunately, you don't need to be clear. It is not important for the reader to know everything that's going on just yet. In fact, it's best they don't. So long as your hero(s) know, the reader can catch up later. All they need now is a good action scene.

    Now the races--- Leave what they look like on the back burner. Instead, choose one distinct physical characteristic (for now) and tack it to a short paragraph about the race's struggle. Why should we love them or hate them, sympathize with their struggle or wish them wiped from the galaxy. For example, if you played Mass Effect, the Krogans were interesting because they were afflicted with a disease called the Genophage, slowly driving their species to extinction. It built sympathy for them, whereas the Reapers were a force bent on the destruction of the galaxy for no reason, bringing the audience to hate them.

    Overall, heaps of potential for a good story. I'll certainly stick around to read more.
    Last edited by Folcro; April 28th, 2013 at 11:06 PM.
    For any who are wondering...

    Show: Stephanie's eyes rose and her lips curved down as Melanie ambled through with intentional grace. Men's eyes widened ablaze; Stephanie's narrowed in darkness. Her snarling lips caressed the edge of her glass.

    Tell: Stephanie was jealous of Melanie.

  7. #7
    Space Opera is my kinda thing too - i hope to write in that genre. Honest critique here: the names sound a little too generic. Draven - sounds like a name from any sci-fi/fantasy book. Shinjin - sounds like he's from Japan! Ka'Jol / H'Mik - a pet peeve of mine is apostrophes in sci-fi names. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with them, they just seem over done. Zang - i've used the same name! (except i spelled it 'Xang').

  8. #8
    Creative Area Specialist (Fiction) Folcro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jared77 View Post
    Zang - i've used the same name! (except i spelled it 'Xang').
    Well, dang!

    On a more serious note, I do have to concur with the apostrophe problem. I never know how to pronounce them and they drive me n'sane.
    Last edited by Folcro; April 29th, 2013 at 03:57 AM.
    For any who are wondering...

    Show: Stephanie's eyes rose and her lips curved down as Melanie ambled through with intentional grace. Men's eyes widened ablaze; Stephanie's narrowed in darkness. Her snarling lips caressed the edge of her glass.

    Tell: Stephanie was jealous of Melanie.

  9. #9
    @Folcro: My thanks, death by details in a story, oh well I hope my remaining 35k words aren't as bad, hate to delete them. I included the races description in the post so as to give something to them, it's not in the book but as mentioned for an appendix. Should've left it out then. On names for the races If I don't describe them yet I shouldn't name them. Seems confusion do this but don't that unless you do this. Maybe just call them Thing 1 and Thing 2.

    @Jared77: As for the names, I thought that reader attachment comes from familiarity. If he' just a 1st officer who dies or gets hurt so what, but if he has a name you identify with them. Oh well I was wrong. Also, working with just one language, English, despite how I mangle it typing. There are few options available. However, here are the next 1000 words or so.





    The pirate missiles speed in and as they reached attack range, the Krang’s automated defenses clicked in and began the computerized task of defending the ship, AML’s were slaved to its thoughts, ecm and eccm conducted their own battle , yet two of the missiles still got through. One detonated close by about 200km doing some surface damage and jamming the traverse mechanism of a secondary turret. The other slammed into the stern of the ship destroying one fighter bay a secondary turret and opening some of the ship to space as well as causing a fire. In response, hatches sealed, bulkheads slammed shut to isolate those areas. However another salvo of missiles was on its way. Yet this time the Krang was close enough.

    “Captain, the Zaherian is attacking enemy two.” Katho said, his monotone almost soothing.
    “Okay, concentrate our attacks on number one as previous.” A series of buttons were pressed and the Krang launched 6 4cm missiles at her target. Her two likhat fighters were also in range, yet they weren’t following normal doctrine and closing. Instead they were staying at a small distance and attacking in tandem, operating as if they were one ship and not two. They launched 4 2cm missiles at the other ship and were strafing her with their 3cm laser bar-bet.
    Another pirate missile struck the Krang, this time amidships causing some of the ship to lose power, the destruction of a missile launcher, some AML’s and another secondary turret.
    The Krang’s missiles also had their say as two of them struck and another one was a near miss. The pirate cruiser lost a main battery as well as a strike near engineering. Debris was thrown into space and the pirate ship went dark for fifteen seconds, before bouncing back to life. She had three fires raging. Her speed slowed as she was no longer under acceleration and she began to drift.
    The ships were now in laser range and the Krang’s two 4 gun turrets, each with 6cm lasers turned their attention on the same pirate ship and eight streaks of mauve-red energy lanced through space, 4 of them hitting. Metal vaporized, as the lasers struck punching holes in to the target like a flaming sword, being stuck into a mythological beast. Yet the Krang was herself a target of pirate lasers as three of them slashed her side, one in engineering, one amid ship and one on the bridge.





    The Krang floated motionless, to some perhaps lifeless. A doctor would almost say it would be like a heart skipping a beat, before returning to its assigned task. Captain Draven Knorr opened his eyes and began looking around his bridge. The sparks of damaged and malfunctioning equipment coupled with the yellow and pink alarm lights and limited emergency lighting, created a macabre setting. Several other bodies were starting to move when he heard a voice talking.
    “Krang! This is Krang-prime, do you monitor? You have heavy damage. I see two fires and one fighter bay is destroyed. Repeat. Krang! This is Krang-prime, do you monitor? You have heavy damage, two fires and have lost one of the fighter bays.”

    “Krang Prime. This is Captain Knorr. I copy you. Keep after those pirates. Ka’Jol! Get me a reading on the enemy. Brin, I need a damage report as soon as possible” he barked as he began removing his crash straps then heading for the navigation console.

    My left shoulder feels like it was yanked out its socket. He looked at the body laying there, its head smashed into a screen. He moved it from the chair and began using the key board. Kavath! He thought. H-drive off line and the K drive showing just ¼ power, targeting off line and most weapons. A voice came over the ships intercom

    “Draven, this is B‘thel. Glad to hear you’re still among us. Medical has power but were packed and I‘ve lost two of my interns and reports are indicating that there are a lot of injured, yet internal damage is keeping me from having teams reach some parts of the ship and the bridge is one of them.

    I’m forming contact teams using personal communications to direct them so everything isn’t all bad. Let you know more when I know more.”

    “Glad that you still have that optimistic attitude I remember from the academy. Take care of your patients and I’ll take care of mine.” 1st tech Ka’Jol then reported.

    “Captain, our situation is as follows. Enemy A appears disabled and is leaking air from several places and she’s floating free and on fire. Enemy B is streaming vapor but is accelerating away at .2c, our fighters are shadowing her. Neutral C is holding position. She has major damage, leaking vapor in several places, energy fluctuations from here power core and major leakage as well along with major weapons damage. Most of her main lasers are out of commission as well as over half of her secondary. Her communications appear gone as she has yet to respond to our communication attempts. I would also gather that her sensors are also gone. We‘ve identified her as a Zahirian light raider.”
    “Or armed merchant Brin, we need to remember that as it was the reason I ordered us into action. Now, anything good to tell me?” Draven added.
    “Sir, engineering has been hurt bad. We’ll only be able to make 1/5th speed for now and will be that way for at least another 15 hours. H-drive is off line and will need yard work I’m showing power outages to about half the ship as well as open to vacuum for about 20%. Turret B is off line, unknown status and turret A has only a 90 degree arc of coverage, three secondary turrets are also off line. Three of our missile launchers are on line but with only 6 missiles available as the reloading system is down.

    As for good news, 75% of our AML’s are on line and fully functional, don’t how that happened but I’ll take it. If you give me a few hours I’ll have a table with some Y’lare and salmon available.”
    “Brin, you have the most unusual sense of humor around, yet I may well hold you to it. I haven’t had Y’lare in some time.”
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."
    ​Virgil

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush



  10. #10
    This flowed better for me than the first posting and kept me interested. A much better disemination of information - enough to follow but not enough to overwhelm your reader. The sentance beginning with "My left shoulder" comes across as first person all of a sudden, I assume that it's a thought the Captain is having and, if so, needs to made clearer. IMO a good improvement.

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