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18+ Language Violence

Orion Legacy: Artemis (Chapter 1)

by Your Friendly Writer


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.

I constantly hear people say that this universe is magical. Trust me, by all means it is far from magical. Sure, it may look pretty with the stars, galaxies, nebulas etcetera all painted up on that night sky of your planet, hell the old ruins on Horizon are grand enough to give your eyes an erection. But behind all of that, you've got everything out here trying to kill you; whether that be Zoraks, crazy space dust, or some random rip in reality if this cruel plane of existence felt like it. Yeah, it's absolutely batshit isn't it? And that's coming from some bloke who had travelled across a small chunk of the Milky Way (which by present technological standards is pretty huge). There isn't a great plan for anything, so don't suddenly think you have plot armour because you're under the impression that you have some great destiny ahead. Only thing you can do is live in this cold and uncaring universe for as long as possible, inside a crowd of your fellow specks, make the most of it, and hope for the best. For me, so far so good, lucky to have been born within the utopian solar systems of the UN, having a good life. For you, not a clue I don't fucking know you.

This story isn't and won't be one of those stupid cases where you have a 'chosen one' prophesied to save the entire galaxy through and epic journey or something else absurd, be serious, this is real life. And you and I both know that real life is one giant clusterfuck hell-bent on just ruining your day. Yeah, I don't like it either. No, the story you're about to read is more or less what I, and many others, had been up to all those years ago, at a time when the United Nations were locked in a long stalemate against the Zorak Empire, and how many of us took advantage of that.

12TH AUGUST 2460 (EARTH GREGORIAN CALENDAR)

BIRMINGHAM (BRITISH COMMONWEALTH CITY), EARTH

It was never-ending. The constant blaring felt like it was going on for eons. Its ear-bleeding pitch was enough to force any unaware individual through a period of true hell; whether that would have been through its ineffably screaming audio or abruptly ending your own sense of peaceful control, reminding you we're all in the same shitty boat sailing this universe. Somehow, nobody felt paranoid whenever the source was in their restful possession, nor even the slightest bit regretful of its presence. Nevertheless of their opinions, I loathed them more than the cruelest of those who roamed the Milky Way.

Alarm clocks.

The true bane of my existence.

"Bloody hell," I muttered. My eyes were almost glued shut, body felt like it had underwent a traffic accident too, repressing any movement within my body. Dammit, there went any chance of me throwing that nuclear warhead of a machine across the room. Hell, we should've used those machines against the Zorak Empire, bled their ears to death.

I swear it blared for about five minutes. All that lingered on in my mind were the mental voices that continuously screamed 'shut up' over and over again. And yet I only gained the energy to have stuck up my middle finger. But alarm clocks clearly had no soul, so what good that would have done?

"Shut the hell up!" I mumbled. It was strange, I was almost thirty years old, lived on the UN's Capital Planet, yet I just couldn't be asked to just get out of bed at my own will.

A few more minutes had passed, and I was pretty sure all sense of my audible sanity had upped and buggered off home. I thankfully gained the energy to move my right arm, but only with intense strain, yet I had no choice if my mind was to become this piece of a future scarecrow's own personal nightclub. My arm managed to be positioned on top of the alarm clock, and with a simple smack on the floor, the beeping had finally met its end.

"Finally," I muttered, in comfort that the great metal beast that had disturbed our peace had been slain.

Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep.

Shit.

Hatred suddenly burned through my veins, building the energy to rip me straight put of bed, and storm into the living room of my flat, tossing the prick out of the window. I poked my head outside, unfortunately noticing it fall onto some person's head.

He stared up at me in disgust, but instead of titling me a twat, he just remarked, "Who the hell still uses separate alarm clocks?! Hell, thing's got to be bloody centuries old!"

"Umm, sorry?" I said tiredly, confused by his choice of words.

"Whatever, twat!" Yep, there it was. He walked off, giving me the middle finger before he went out of my sight. I sighed, and collapsed down onto my sofa, banana ready there om the table.

Hi, I'm Nolan Kumar, and I had been a wreck for months.

I groaned staring across my mess of a flat, crisp packets scattered all across the floor, empty coke cans creating a sticky mess all around, place smelled like a ton of rats died in the ventilation shaft too. They say a house represented your spirit, or soul, or however the saying went. Well people, welcome to what was left of my dignity - if that even exists anymore.

It wasn't always this depressed environment I forced myself into. Used to work at this arms manufacturing company called SECTOR, not surprised if you haven't heard of it, the business only owned one office building and a few factories on Mars, but worked well with UIN Militaries. I used to be one of their best weapons designers. It was me who created the ZX-09 Submachine Gun, just to let you know. Great job, great pay, and completely modernised to millennial culture (I could go to work in a hoodie, have a can of coke, present my design for a chemical warhead that could melt a Zorak's skin, and that was my usual Tuesday. Not as militaristic as it used to be).

At least until my whole department got sacked.

A disorganised business merger, it was. More financial problems instead of solutions ensued, screwing people like me over. There were meant to be regulations in place in case things like this happened, but absolute bugger-all happened. Not even the unemployment agency could help us out because they were too busy dealing with the poor sods in the outer systems; the lost and the hungry. (Actually, I couldn't really blame them).

I dabbled with a few other careers on my own: telemarketing, shopkeeper, caretaker, weapons designing again before realising this new company was involved with a drug cartel from Trappist-1. But since then, I was stuck at home, the clear opposite of your typical, privileged Earther, and watching the few good shows Netflix has out of the millions of other shit they produced. I still went out to places, living off the funds the unemployment guys actually bothered with, visited my younger sister studying down in London too.

I switched on the HV (Holovision for those of you who are still stuck with a TV in the lesser developed nations), news was all the same war stories and political bull, except this group who was against the war, taking up popularity online. 'Peacemakers' they titled themselves. Their aim was to urge peace between the United Interstellar Nations and the Zorak Empire. Bollocks, I say.

The Zorak Empire was the first form of intelligent life we encountered after centuries of cosmic colonisation. Bunch of warrior-cultured reptilians with territories possibly spanning beyond Orion's Arm. A fleet of technologically superior ships appeared in the Gliese system. It was a grand milestone for our people, stepping into the wider galactic stage. Yet all we gained was a decimated Eurasian Fleet.

We were lucky to have held them back at Gliese after losing about five fleets, actually it was where all the conflict took place since it was the furthest system out. The problem with actually trying to make peace with them was that they would only accept on their terms, which was to commit a galactic-wide reverse Jurassic Park, like the dozen other sentients they've enslaved. And I didn't want to be risked at dinosaur chow every waking morning. How those 'peacemakers' couldn't see that was beyond me, as well as the fact they were gaining popularity online. Then again, most of them were teenagers, and from experience their minds were often still loose and stupid, so it's not that surprising why they thought that way. No offence to any teens reading this.

I decided to go down to the pub that evening after being an introvert all day, couple friends of mine I hadn't seen in a while, thought we could hang out. Now, on Earth, pretty much everybody around you was meant to be successful given the fat that we lived in a utopia and all. But, as you already know, I was no longer that person. And I didn't want to look like a hobo in front of my friends.

Anyways, the pub was called Alford's Drinks. Chips were excellent, so I would recommend it. The place was quite crowded, lots of people wanting to watch the football game on the large HV with some mates and a pint. I sat in the corner, far from the patriotic chaos, hoping to not look like the black sheep for long until my friends arrived.

Ashley and David finally arrived, sitting down right in front of me after ordering a few beers.

"Hey, Nolan. You look like shit," Ashley smiled. Did I really look that bad? Was it the scruffy beard I had? 'Suck a cock,' I thought, draining all my energy not to say it out loud. It was pretty much culture here to cuss on a casual occasion, even with your friends.

"Oh be nice," David said. "So, Nolan, how's everything been going with you? Here you've been a weapons engineer?"

"Designer actually. And uh, I'm actually between jobs at the moment."

"The job agency giving you any offers? Lots of companies out there with your expertise."

He wasn't wrong, I've had plenty of job offers. But none of them as good as the job I had. I was a fool to have not taken those jobs straight away when I needed the money, but my ego unfortunately had other plans.

"They're about as useless as... I don't know, men's nipples?" Yes I actually said that. Don't question it, I was as big of an idiot as anyone else back then. "Just been living off what finance they could give me. Enough for me to pay the bills and that."

"Well better than nothing, I guess." It was actually much better than nothing, but I held my tongue on the comment. "How's Amilia? I did get your your sister's name right?"

"Yeah, yeah. She's fine." I replied, "Worried about exams, but fine."

"Oof, sorry to hear that," Ashley said. "Always hated exams, you know. Made me feel like school was more about passing than learning."

David chuckled, "I can barely remember a thing from school. Don't even understand the point of cramming the entire structure of a plant cell into my head. Like how does that help? Not everyone wants to be a biologist!"

He had a point, actually, pretty much everybody had been speculating this for centuries. And still, nobody has bothered to deal with it despite how much we had advanced. We focused too much on colonisation, technological and economical progress instead.

The whole pub cheered when Aston Villa scored a goal. A shaven man gave us our beers after. Ashley stated, "Never understood the appeal of some blokes kicking a ball around. Five or six hundred years of this game's existence and people would go to the lengths of beating up the other team's fans for the sake of it."

"Sports, politics, the lot, people have a habit of clinging to a team. To feel like they belong somewhere just out of satisfaction, thinking that their team makes them whole instead of the millions of other things they could do. Problem is, if the team's challenged so's the supporters. People make up their own realities and little cultures just to cope with their group's nature and to stick it to their opponents, constantly thinking that they're right and everyone else is wrong..." I paused. Bloody hell, I barely had a quarter of a pint, where was all this random bullshit coming from? Did my body react that badly to beer? "Sorry, don't know why I said all that. Anyways, how's everything going with you guys?"

We exchanged stories for the next half an hour. Ashley's uncle apparently established a new fishing business over in Plymouth, David was just telling a hilariously unfunny story about... gah, can't remember. I was too busy downing my pint just to ignore the guy, which only ended up with me muttering some more philosophical things and a half-drunk Ashley just telling me to shut the hell up.

After a few more pints and me becoming fucking Socrates or something, another person with a large body structure decided to join us. I could barely see his face, wearing a cloak like in those old fantasy movies, trying to conceal his identity from... a pub filled with football fans? What was he, wearing a West ham shirt? Even then, a cloak in the summer did not do well at all if you hated smelling like your drunk dad.

"Uhh, can we help you?" David asked quite drunkly.

The cloaked being stared at me, not paying attention to the others. He spoke in a deep voice, with an accent sounding almost alien across the UIN. "You create weapons, yes? I hear you're one of the best in this quadrant of the galaxy."

I was baffled by his question. What the hell did this guy want with some ex-indie weapons designer like me? On a planet where there were tons of people much better at my job? (Then again most people with my speciality are already happy in their careers). And quadrant? We'd been stuck on the Orion Arm for centuries with only one hostile empire as our only knowledge, not like anybody's been to... I don't know, the galactic centre?

"If you want to get a gun or something, there's a Tesco down the road." I said to him after taking a sobriety-pill. And yes, Tesco sells guns now. "Otherwise, stop bothering me and my mates."

"I believe I have a job you might be interested in," he said to me.

"Listen, I'm currently out with my friends at the moment." I leaned back on my seat. "If you want to speak with me, then call me on the phone (like everybody else on this planet). This isn't Mos Eisley Cantina, mate."

"I see. Very well, I will call you tomorrow. What exactly is your number?"

I sighed, and gave him one of my old business cards, with my number and address imprinted on it. "Very well." He left, leaving the three of us to continue our night.

"You know that guy?" David asked me after taking a sobriety-pill too.

"Probably one of those militia weirdos from the outer systems. See how he spoke? Acting like he wanted to recruit me for this 'grand adventure across the cosmos' to do something like throw the one ring to rule them all into a lava pit."

"Guy was probably on drugs, sounded absolutely knackered," Ashley said.

"You know, maybe you should take whatever job he was offering. You're 'between jobs' at the moment, aren't you?"

"Fine, I'll see what the hell he wants."

The next morning came, and I was in a much better mood with my tiny nuclear warhead now out the window. First thing I heard was the ringing of my doorbell. Probably the mailman.

I opened the door of my flat, the same cloaked being stood before me. Face still all concealed. Was he completely oblivious to the fact that I had a fucking phone?

I tried to act polite, bottling up the negative attitude from interaction. "Hi, I thought we were going to chat over phone?"

"I believed that speaking face-to-face was more efficient. This is your abode, I believe?" His choice of wording still confused me. This was Birmingham, one of the most insane cities in Britain, not the bloody Victorian era.

I glared back at the mess of my apartment, before deciding we should have met at a much nicer place. I mean I didn't want this guy to think of me as some

We moved off to a Cafe down the road, having a coffee as we spoke, except he didn't seemed to have bothered with any of the food.

"So, you were offering me a job yesterday?" I asked him.

"As I had said yesterday in that 'pub', sources informed me that you were one of the best available weapons designers within this quadrant."

"Why do you speak like that? All formal and all?"

"Apologies if my choice of wording sounds strange to you. I am not from around here." He said that last sentence as if it was poorly staged, then again, everything he said had sounded poorly staged, like a bad actor. Tommy Wiseau for example.

"Right, right. Before we get to the job, what's with the cloak?" I looked around me, wondering if anybody was eavesdropping. "You a criminal?" I whispered.

"No. I am wearing this because my skin does not react well to sunlight. I... grew up on a dim space station."

Bullshit.

"Right. So, what's the job?"

"Although I came to you, I must say it is a dangerous job for an Earther. How often do you travel off-world?" I knew he wasn't going to jump straight to the point of the job, like we were doing an interview the other way around.

"I mean I visit my parents in New Gujarat every now and then, it's in Alpha Centauri. But no, not often."

"Understandable. You have all your luxuries here at home."

"Why? This job going to include space battles? You want me to blow up the death star?"

"Please stop referencing pop culture. And to answer your question, possibly conflicts in space. How much weapons experience have you had, given the fact you design them?"

"Well, I played an awful lot of holo-games. Amazing at them when I was younger, could take out an entire platoon with one magazine. And I obviously tested my actual weapons at the shooting range in my spare time."

"So, you're skilled?"

I mean I would have been skilled in my aim at that time, but to be honest, your aim doesn't matter that much when your own life is this close to the end of life. "I'm all right I suppose," I simply lied. "Can we please skip to the point? What's this job you're offering me? You don't have to be so vague, you know."

"You mostly qualify. All right, the job's a position on a scavenging ship."

A scavenging ship position? Offered to an Earther? What the hell was this guy's mindset?!

He continued, "I understand that might sound too good for a 'utopian' like you."

I cut him off, "Yeah yeah yeah, what's the pay?" That was what I unfortunately only cared about, as you know. If the money wasn't as good as my last job then it would have been a huge no.

"On average... I believe one-hundred and twenty thousand interstellar credits, or in your currency, eighty-seven thousand Commonwealth Pounds. But it honestly depe-"

Once more I cut him off, like the obscured arsehole I was, "Say no more, I'm in."

"Just like that? All right then."

"When do I start?"

"What day is it on your calendar?"

"Thursday."

"We'll be off planet on Sunday, then. Our ship's landed at the Dover Shipyard. Bay Six, the ship's called the Artemis."

I smiled, "Cheers, mate. By the way, what should I call you?"

"It's Ezex. Ezex Uknov."

"Where's that from?"

"It's Russian?"

Once more, I called bullshit. But at this point, I honestly didn't care if this guy was lying or not. I was just glad I got a new job.


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Sat Dec 04, 2021 3:41 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi YourFriendlyWriter,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

This is quite a big first chapter, where we are partly overloaded with a lot of different information, so that I honestly don't know where to look in order to remember everything. D But in itself, it seems like a good start and I like the way the narrator presents the story here.

It seems to me that - just from reading the first chapter - you've done some really outstanding world-building to set all this up, but are still a bit too stuck in this world to reveal only the most necessary information to the reader. I like this overload of info on the one hand, but on the other hand it also scares away a lot of readers who just want something to read without thinking much about whether they've already heard that one term or not. So in short; I would work on showing as much information as possible, but not naming it. That way the reader already has a picture in their head before moving on to the actual term.

You also assume many terms, such as astronomical terms like zodiac signs, that the reader knows. Again, you may scare some away because they can't switch between fantasy and reality. But that's where it would help if you put in an Author's Note where you just talk about the necessary information before you start, like that it's set in the real world, and that some things actually exist.

Another thing I liked was the narrator's voice. It gives a lot away and you can already read a good character out of it, but in some places it already seems very hectic. For example, I like your first paragraphs. You start in this quiet way, sometimes with a sarcastic humour, which on the one hand is a bit clichéd, but on the other hand is captivating enough to read on. Then you throw us from one point to the next without giving the reader a real "break". I would try to divide it a little better, even split the first chapter into 1.1. and 1.2. so that the reader can take a break in between.

Apart from that, I actually like the beginning. You start with a science fiction adventure of a special kind and can surely win over some readers. :D

Have fun writing!

Mailice






Cheers, mate. Though I have been rewriting the entire thing for the past few months lmao.



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Fri Sep 10, 2021 7:07 am
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If anyone wants to read the rest of the story it’s available on fiction press and quotev.

https://www.quotev.com/story/14006052/O ... cy-Artemis

https://m.fictionpress.com/s/3357579/1/ ... cy-Artemis




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Fri Sep 10, 2021 3:19 am
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Broady771 wrote a review...



Hi there, Broady here with a short review!

Firstly, that's quite an information overload there. I mean, yeah it's the first chapter of a sci-fi story but there seems to be a little too much information for me to process. For example, what's or where's "Trappist-1"? Maybe you can try to simplify things or elaborate more on things in the first chapter, or just remember to elaborate more on these in the next chapter, it'd be better for us readers so we would have a better understanding of what's really going on. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I'm also a sci-fi fan, and I write sci-fi stories myself too, so I have a better understanding of what your story is about. But there's quite a few people who may not be very familiar with sci-fi stuff, so yeah just take note about that (they might be turned off from reading if they can't really understand what's going in the story especially in the first few sections).

Secondly, I have a question, a lame one. Why is Netflix still around in the future? I'm not sure how far the story is set in the future but yeah that's one question I have in mind. Would be cool if you could elaborate more on how Netflix has evolved too (only if you want to, since it isn't exactly the main part of the story).

Thirdly, about "I mean I visit my parents in New Gujarat every now and then, it's in Alpha Centauri. But no, not often.", yep that's a pretty good way of introducing and explaining a location in the story. But I guess you can try to explain what's the Alpha Centauri (I know what it is, but non-sci-fi readers may not know about it).

Lastly, I like your storytelling process and the way you portray the characters. It starts off with an alarm clock ringing and then as the story progresses, you add more stuff into the mix, and the characters are pretty interesting too, hope to see more of those in the next chapter!

Overall, a pretty decent chapter. I hope my reviews don't sound too aggressive or assertive in any way, just thought I should post some of my thoughts and advice here. Hopefully they help! Keep it up man! :D






Cheers




If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven - and very, very few persons.
— James Thurber