Wednesday, August 15, 2018

WEP - A Change of Heart - Discovery

OUTPOST STATION NO. 6

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A CHANGE OF HEART - DISCOVERY

In the last segment of this story, Odiwa, the station manager, told Noot and Mondero to scout the lower levels to determine if a 'radio' message about a raid was an actual threat. 

***


Noot and Mondero walked to a deserted part of Level 8, down through a maintenance corridor and stopped at an elevator. It didn't appear to be operational. No lights. No noise. Entry screen dark.


"What's this? Is it working?" Mondero asked.

"See that sign, it says Freight Only. That means I need a key, which I have, and I control which floor we stop on. Odiwa told me about this elevator a few months ago. Not many know it works. We can block certain floors if needed."

"You're a cagey one, Noot. I like that. So what's the plan?"

"Plan? I don't need a plan. We're scouting out the area. No one has been down to these levels for a couple of years now."

"That's reassuring. . ."

The mid levels contained much of the still operating machinery which powered the station air, the water and waste systems and a few isolated areas which had been designated as restricted. An empty holding area composed of individual cells was kept for the criminal elements.

"How do we know what's on all these levels below the main, Noot?"

"Exploration was a necessity when we first came here. Odiwa found an old map in what used to be the administration centre on this station and we went out in small groups. The first ten is where the existing population including us lives, the second ten is maintenance and holding cells. After those, we have made a buffer zone of ten more levels. No one should be in those levels, but there could be things like  radio transmitters, which could have been used by the controllers."

"Controllers? Who or what is that?"

"Nothing ominous.  The workers who guided the ships onto a beam for docking were called that. And below that buffer zone, we aren't sure what, who or how many may be living there. The air supply and other systems for water are still working. That's about it."

"It's just a matter of time before someone is going to get curious if the other levels are working. Do we take prisoners or talk to the perps?"

"Neither one. We are here to see what is going on. And that's all we're going to do this time, Mondero. Odiwa said to look, get as much info as possible and get back to him when we returned."

"That's fine with me. You lead when we get there, I don't know my way around. And Noot, if anything does occur, you can count on me to have your back."

"You do that."

Mondero kept silent as they left the elevator and Noot locked the control board.


***

With weapons drawn, the two men stayed together and began surreptitiously checking corridors to be sure they were empty. Noot put up a hand and signalled to the pilot to be quiet and listen. Some faint footsteps could be heard. They crept back into an indented doorway and waited.

CLICK. . .the two men heard just before a couple and a small figure came into the hallway. They were armed, but one was carrying a small child.

"Hold your fire, we mean no harm," Noot said before he stepped out in front of the man holding an old style laser gun.

"Who are you?" the man asked. "You're not a renegade, are you?"

"You'd be dead if we were. We're looking for those renegades you mentioned."

"Oh. You're from the upper levels?"

"That's right. How did you get that museum gun?"

"We found it, but it's got very little ammo in it. We're living in a hiding spot on this floor, and we keep moving about if we hear something we can't identify. I thought I heard some strange sound."

"The freight elevator made that, most likely. How did you get here?"

"We were with the 'Lost Ones', the colonists that left Terra during the final stages of evacuation, looking for a place to live. We had no luck but kept searching until our starship floundered. It was  taken over by renegades and we and others were brought here to be used as slaves."

The little boy, not more than four years, walked up to Noot. "Are you my grandpa?"

For a moment, Noot felt unsteady, a flash of deja vu enveloped him. Then, he stooped over to ask the child his name. It brought back memories of his own son. . .

"Me? I am Moby," said the child as he fixed his large eyes on Noot.

Noot felt a change of heart when he saw the small child, a little boy. He had a family, long ago, before he became a wanderer. Before his wife died, his world caved in and he went searching for the kidnapper of his son. He never found his son.

"My name is Mondero and this is Noot," the pilot said. "We're looking for raiders, someone we heard over an old radio receiver."

"We can give you information, as much as we have. I'm Dev and this is my partner, Jio," said the man.

"Good, but save it for the captain of the station. Is it safe for us to check without more people?"

"I wouldn't recommend it. The men we have observed don't look too accommodating, and they would likely shoot on sight."

"Fair enough. We will take you with us, under protective custody, and Odiwa can determine what we can do for you. I'd like a larger group before we proceed further."

"I don't know, Noot," said Mondero, "are you sure Odiwa will be okay with that?"

"Nope. But we will deal with that if we need to. I'm trusting you two know what will happen to you if you're lying to us?"

"We tell the truth. We want your help."

Returning to the upper levels Noot reports to Odiwa and turned the couple over to the captain for debriefing. A council meeting of the working crew was called. On this outstation there were no police, just experienced ex-military who acted as a reserve group.

***

This story series continues. . .is this couple legit? What type of armed group can they muster? Come back next time to discover tales of outpost life in the outer reaches.

***

How would you like going into a unknown area, not knowing what you might find on an abandoned outpost station? 

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for stopping by to read my entry.

***





WEP Write, Edit, Publish, a flash challenge



It's time for another WEP challenge - with the support team of Nilanjana Bose and Olga Godim adding their imaginings and creativity. Thanks to Denise for being the host. We also want to wish Yolanda a swift recovery.

***

52 comments:

  1. Love your skill in continuing this story with the WEP prompts.
    And yes, there are questions I want answered so I will assuredly be back to read more...

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    1. Good, EC, I have more to come for this set of characters. Please do check in when there's a WEP prompt.

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  2. It would be hard to trust the strangers in such a situation, but with a child involved, what choice do they have. Your story is getting exciting. I can't wait to see how it turns out. Another great continuous story for the WEP!

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    1. It's always hard to trust strangers, unless you have no choice. Then it's by instinct or gut feeling. Thanks for the kind words.

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  3. I can see this couple regretting their departure from Terra if this is how they have to live--hidden from the renegades & from those on the upper levels. As far as Mondero, I'm not sure why he's had a change of heart--about what? Was this mentioned in a previous section? Interesting concept. The writing flows, and the story is intriguing. (BTW, your link goes to your June post.)

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    1. Not Mondero, but Noot had the change of heart, that's why he's reminded of his lost son. Maybe that needs to be clearer. Thanks for the feedback.

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  4. Hi DG - I too picked up that Noot and the child could be family ... and thus the Change of Heart was for Noot re-evaluating his life. It's interesting to know there are more levels on the 'ship' - and wonder what happens in them ... and where are the renegades. I hope Odiwa and his team can look after the couple with their child, Moby ... interesting developments. So far I'd trust what I heard here ... but what do I know! Take care - cheers Hilary

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    1. Time and story will reveal how complex this outcast group can be. The child itself causes this urge to protect the innocent.

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  5. So many questions. Who is who, and what is what, and how to discover the truth? And what is the truth, for that matter. Great post.

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    1. In a place where no one knows your name, you have to go with caution. Truth is something that warrants much discussion. It can also create trust.

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  6. The child would make them somewhat trust worthy, but then maybe that is what they are banking on. Would sure have to remain suspicious.

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    1. What you don't know or expect can hurt you. A child softens the edges of our suspicion, at least in this case.

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  7. I like the way this story is developing, DG. Intriguing and gripping. Does Noot's change of heart and memory foreshadow something that might develop between him and the child? Is the boy his kidnapped son?

    I always enjoy reading your entries.

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    1. The boy may have a connection with Noot, or he could be just similar to his son. Time will tell.

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  8. A suspicious mind is one that usually manages to stay alive ... with ulcers. Children manage to draw us to become more than what we think we can be. Love this segment. :-)

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    1. It's a hard heart that isn't moved by an innocent child, especially one that asks if you're his grandfather.

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  9. There is definitely suspense about what or who is lurking in those lower levels. That would be creepy, to be occupying this space station and not know what is on those lower levels. They should check them out to be sure they are secure. This makes me curious about what will happen next.

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    1. This story looks at how societies, even of outcasts tend to work together if they want to survive. Some choose to pilfer, and some choose to make their own successes.

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  10. A great story that expands on the previous entries from the contest. I'm curious to see what will happen next. What will they find?

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    1. Trouble usually results when you don't know your enemy or your antagonists. But there are some jail cells if what they find turns out to be a dangerous group.

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  11. Or is there a connection between Noot and the boy...?

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    1. Maybe. The child seemed drawn to ask that question about his grandfather? Noot seems to act out of character. We often feel connections to people that we can't explain.

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  12. Hello DG.

    Trust is a huge issue here, but adding the child should help ease the wariness somewhat. Really, what choices do they have? I love how your story is growing each prompt, like a slow reveal. Like others, I can't wait to see how it turns out. Thanks for posting your great continuous story for WEP!

    And thanks for getting this up even though it sounds like you had other demands on your precious writing time.

    Denise

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    1. I couldn't leave Noot and his people hanging off a cliff. . .but I was up til 3 am working on this story. I like writing this way for now (series) and I like Olga's chapter by chapter stories too.

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  13. This is intriguing, and it makes me want to learn more about these characters and the space station they are in. It would be hard to go into an unfamiliar place without knowing what you might find.

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    1. Yes, but this could happen after any major disaster. We work with people we don't know and we try to help strangers, hoping they would do the same if we needed help.

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  14. Kids seems to change ones heart
    be it for the good or bad
    Yet if we dont have a change of heart
    life would be really sad

    so much life on this station
    on many levels have been found
    tho food must be somewhere
    for it to go around

    And the ship goes on.

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    1. There is food, grown similar to what might be found on a new colony, this may have been left from the crew quarters of the station. I really like the 1st paragraph of your reply.

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  15. It would definitely be hard to stomach, having to creep around, not knowing what was on other levels, who to trust, etc.

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    1. Yes, I would think it's quite stressful. Look what happened in the Aliens movie. . .
      But sometimes it's better to approach trouble rather than wait for it.

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  16. Neat scene! I like exploration stories, they're thrilling because you never know what's around the corner, but at the same time, slowly a map is drawn and details begin to emerge. All very exciting!

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    1. I have the basic idea of how this will go. But in the outer reaches, life can be like the wild wild west.

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  17. This is a complicated situation with lots of tension. It cool how you use the promt to continue this story. I wonder where it will go from here.

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    1. I'm wondering how the Halloween theme can weave in, but I'm thinking about it. . .

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    2. The theme is DejaVu or Voodoo. Considering there maybe backstory here, dejavu with a creepy twist might work. Maybe?

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    3. It just might, Toi, thanks for pointing that out. Feedback is good.

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  18. They couldn't just leave those folks. Who knows what else they will find when they return.

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    1. You have a kind heart, but that's what I'd think too. No one wants to be a slave, and in my universe of the future, there may be many children without parents, due to their work being in unsafe areas, etc.

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  19. It's so impressive that you keep telling this story based on the prompts! I hope the couple are trustworthy, especially with a child involved, but you can never be entirely sure. Well done!

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    1. Sometimes you have to go with your instincts and trust a person.

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  20. I'm getting to enjoy science fiction now I'm reading more of it - it's not usually my genre. This is an intriguing piece, the bit about slavery - how did they escape being slaves?

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    1. That backstory would make another post. Might come out when they get debriefed.There's always someone who wants someone else to do the dirty work. . .

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  21. Good story.
    I love when the kid asked "Are you my grandpa?"
    Good use of the prompt, too.

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    1. A kid doesn't mince words. Poor kid probably hasn't had much of a 'normal' life. This could become the norm for some children if we become spacers.

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  22. It's hard to trust new faces in such a tense situation. I'd go with my gut, maybe have a change of heart - but I'm coming in from the outside.I can't wait to read more.

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    1. I do go with my gut instinct a lot and it's usually reliable. A policeman giving a course I took on Self Defense said to go with your gut instinct. I've always remembered that even though he was referring to unsafe areas or environments.

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  23. Children change everything, don't they? Loved the complexity of the choices needing to be made in this story. Really makes you think.

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    1. An innocent child can sometimes sway even the most hard heart. But not always. Noot is moved because he lost his son in a traumatic way.

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  24. Hi D.G.
    I am so glad I read your story. One, it reminded me of Star Trek Voyager and some of their episodes in the dark part of space. You got my attention with the space ship and the many levels. Your characters, Noot and Mondero support each other very well in their conversation. But the part that touched my heart was the young kid coming up and asking Mondero was he his grandfather. That hold interaction and then bringing in a small piece of backstory about how Mondero had lost his wife and had not found his son was excellent. That gave this story heart.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Hi Pat, Thanks for your kind words. It's my belief that when we do accomplish space travel, the children will be the ones who could suffer from parents lost on working starships and maybe even from changes to their still growing bone structure.

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  25. Intriguing! Obviously a lot I don’t know as I’ve not read the previous installments, but I’m definitely interested.

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    1. Glad you stopped by and found this interesting. The setting is on a space station, peopled by outcasts, or others with no particular address. I'll try to add the links to both earlier parts.

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