View Full Version : Part One of my short story, Harsh critisicm welcome.

01-09-2005, 23:07
Part One

Pvt Harker of the 2nd Callisto Drop Infantry sat aboard the dropship, reminiscing over his life. Heíd lived a simple life, up until he was recruited 3 months ago. After those three months of training, he was given his one way ticket one the Dragonbird class dropship. His regiment upheld a 60% casualty rate for new recruits. Currently all 30 of his platoon were intact, pulled out of quiet lives in the hills of Callisto. And oh, Callisto was beautiful! Harker remembered last summer, spent lazing in the planetís twin suns.

He was jolted back into reality by violent shaking. High calibre rounds slammed into the side of the carrier, spraying shrapnel. Outside, an aerial battle could be heard, buzzing, roaring and booming. Harkerís fatigues were soaked in the remains of his friend Hauptmann. Through the gash in the fuselage, Harker could see explosions, bright flashes of noise and death. Like a ship out on a stormy sea, he was tossed about as the pilot jinked enemy fire. Their briefing had been short, they were to para-drop into an enemy encampment and fight for the Emperor. Harker didnít even know who they were fighting. Not that it should matter. A banging noise resounded through the carrier, the cries of a dying leviathan. A blinding light filled his eyes, and he grasped for a handhold as the mighty Dragonbird fell from the sky, belching smoke. His scream was drowned out by the air rushing through the cabin, whipping ammunition boxes around. Looking round the plummeting compartment, Harker watched in perverse amazement as dead bodies flew to the rear of the plane. Counting mangled bodies, he realised half his squad were dead, and the rest were on the way to an untimely demise. He overheard the vox in the cabin screaming out for help, and he realised this was it. He was going to die aboard this plane, before even setting foot on a battlefield.

Darkness. Was he in heaven? He couldnít feel anything. Then, suddenly, touch returned. Harkerís entire body writhed in pain. Smell returned. Burning kerosene. The ringing in his ears subsided. The first thing he heard was one of his comrades crying out in pain. Smoke. Blood. That was his taste returning, then. Slowly, painfully, complexly, Harker managed to open his eyes. Just a slant at first, then fully. He wished he hadnít. Around him was an orgy of destruction, a cataclysm that was once the inside of an Imperial Dragonbird. Dead bodies lay amongst ruined ammunition boxes, smashed chairs, broken glass, wrecked lasrifles and other mangled pieces of kit. As the true horror of the crash flooded in, he gasped a prayer of horror to the Emperor, and fainted.

For the second time in his short career, Harker came to. BY now, the screaming had stopped Ė as had the screamerís heartbeat. Amidst the blood and gore of the plane crash, the survivors had rounded themselves up, and were searching for anything of use. Bones aching and creaking, Harker got up and cracked his neck. Groaning, he was handed a lasgun. Checking the power, Harker tested the weight of the weapon, tossing it in his hands. Compared to the training rifles, it was relatively light. They said lascarbineís were a drop troopers best friend. Harker disagreed, saying parachuteís were more important. For that heíd been given 5 hours in the detention cell.

Harker looked around at his companions. The once-glorious squad of 30 men, comfortable in their freshly laundered uniforms, was now reduced to ten ragged, bload soaked men, scavenging their dead comrades weapons inside the gutted troop carrier. Not one of them was free from bloodstains, mud or tears in their combat fatigues. The Callistan grey-blue and white on their uniforms was now closer to dark red and black. Hoffer was missing his left arm, somewhere amongst the burning jetsam around them. Eddings had snatched a Heavy Stubber from its mounting at the rear of the aircraft, and was holding it steady. If anyone ever asked Harker to provide the ten most incompetent men in the Emperorís great armies, he would have directed them to the crash site. With great reluctance, and no idea what they were fighting, they began to fortify the plane into a defensive position, wary of every shadow they saw in the forests around them.

07-09-2005, 16:45
Not bad at all, but some dialogue would have been good. Also a couple of minor gliches: grav-chutes might have been more appropriate than parachutes, and "Harker got up and cracked his neck". Say what?

17-09-2005, 00:00
Delete everything up untill the fourth paragraph
'For the second time in his short career, Harker came to.'
That is where the story begins. The wiriting from this point on is excellent, witty and stylish with just the right amount of grim-ness. (I almost felt that I was reading two different authors' work.)
Immediatly you have two questions, Who is Harker and why was he unconscious?
A reader will want to know and will continue reading. The details of the crash can be filled in retrospectively.
In that way you can build a better emotional response to Hauptmann's death.
Who is his friend Hauptmann? Does a reader care that he just died? no. Should they? yes. His death was handled in roughly the same way a person might write about lighting a cigarette.
We learn too much about Pvt Harker of the 2nd Callisto Drop Infantry too soon. no mystery, no incentive to continue.
Details of his training, the reason he is on the plane etc etc don't need to be laid out from point one. You can introduce these character building elements slowly during the story.

For me the first paragraphs just didn't work. I've lost count of the amount of gw stories that begin with 'Sgt someone looked at something or other'
'Brother gothic sat somewhere doing something.'
It gets boring. You lost me and probably a score of others with the first few words.

I hope that this is usefull to you and that you don't get too disheartened. As I said, you have an excellent style of writing at some points and I think you owe it to youself to improve those elements that work and get rid of the bad habits.

Colonel Walker
01-10-2005, 22:56
Nice Story you got there. However, i think grav-chutes would have been better to put in there then parachutes