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A Janitor's Adventure: 2.1

by DougalOfBiscuits


Janny peered over the chair in front of him, the one occupied by the Scentian named Grescin. The single green cube in front of her wasn’t obviously a joystick, but Daerian limbs could carefully apply pressure to any surface by jutting out muscle tissue with incredible precision. A screen in front of Ennet’s chair flashed some radar signals with irritating little beeps, but neither Scentian said anything much about this. Grescin would occasionally glance towards Ennet, but there were veins popping about an inch out of Ennet’s neck and it didn’t seem to be voluntary, so she stayed quiet.

The result was a strangely peaceful cabin for a ship being hotly pursued. Janny couldn’t really see Ennet’s screen from the angle he was at, so he turned around, pretty sure that he had noticed a window on the way in.

“Oh good Gods!” he cried, “It’s right on us!”

The disc shaped craft chasing them had the closest point of its circumference roughly two metres away. It was a good bit larger than them too - maybe twice the width, though very flat.

“Hush!” Ennet snapped, as Janny spun around.

“The window is closer in. We… must view… the hole!” Grescin explained, her words coming slowly as her eyes screwed up. Janny reckoned that meant the window was showing a zoomed in display, like on a computer screen. Though he wasn’t sure what the hole had to do with. He certainly hoped it wasn’t some sort of hole in their craft.

“The hole?” he asked.

But this time Grescin didn’t reply. She took a deep breath and squeezed the cube tight with both hands. A moment later the back left corner of the craft, just about where Janny was standing, juddered and tilted downwards. But immediately it sprang back up, overcompensated slightly, then righted itself.

Janny gasped. “What was that?”

“Turn, buddy,” Grescin said.

Janny stepped back around again and peered off into the distance to see the pursuing craft; the zoom must have been reset. He thought maybe something glinted near the bottom right, but it could have been just the starlight on the shiny side of the silver saucer.

“Indeed!” Ennet shouted, punching his hand into the air and brushing the ceiling. Janny was becoming more and more certain he was translating that word wrong. Ennet turned to face Grescin. “Applied job, Grescin! Paralysis delivered.”

They continued forward though, just as fast. Both Scentians had returned to almost complete silence, with only one exchange in the next ten minutes or so.

“Which spot?” Grescin asked.

“Spot five seems deadest,” Ennet replied. Alright, Janny thought, that definitely meant quickest.

Eventually they started to approach a thin asteroid belt, hardly a belt really - more like a necklace. Except, the string was invisible and the beads were craggy lumps of rock floating along in space.

“Hi, Janny, that ship still hidden?” Grescin asked. Janny supposed Grescin was probably asking if they were still hidden from the ship.

Janny couldn’t see anything behind them for miles, lightyears or something he supposed, nothing but the stars. “Yes… er, indeed!”

“Perfection!” Ennet cried, and Janny was fairly certain that was actually the word he had used.

They swept around to the other side of the nearest rock, which as they got closer was revealed to be about the size of the big Endoleon cargo ship Janny had been on. There was a small - in relative terms - circle on this side that was darker than most of the pits and craters on the other side, starkly lit by the tractor beam the Scentians’ craft had suddenly started to point forward. The craft glided forward with a low hum, heading straight for the patch of darkness.

As they got closer Janny started to notice a few more shadows within that patch of black, and after a moment Janny realised that you couldn’t have shadows in a big black circle. Shadows had to have light on either side in order to be picked out as shadows and that meant… there was the light! Now that they were level with the black hole - because it clearly was the opening of a tunnel - Janny saw that there were the ends of some fluorescent tubes poking out from around a sharp bend. He was staring straight down a rough black tunnel, with enough light coming around a corner to cast shadows.

“Are you aware you’ve been speaking aloud?” Ennet asked, frowning up at Janny.

“Oh, sorry, I do that sometimes when I’m working things out,” Janny said.

“Proficient logic though,” said Grescin.

“I have to do a lot of deduction at work.” Janny nodded. “Working out who’s best suited to what, which locations have easiest access to other locations. It’s quite a large ship. You have to make sure you don’t waste too much time walking up and down the corridors.”

“What do you earn for?” Grescin asked.

Janny drew himself up to his full height and straightened the creases on his jumpsuit. “I’m a janitor. Everyone calls me Janny.”

Grescin grinned at Ennet, who continued to stare straight ahead for a moment as they floated forward into the tunnel, and even for a few moments afterward. Then he slowly turned to the left to face the smiling Grescin.

“I believe I know what you’re thinking,” Ennet said.

“Well?” Grescin prompted, smile spreading wider. This looked incredibly strange on a Daerian, because of the points of the lips on either side often stretch beyond the width of the face.

Ennet pursed his lips as he rounded the corner, but his whole body relaxed as the tunnel quickly opened out into a dimly lit cavern. The lights behind them clicked off, the cavern before them lit up, and a cornucopia of mess was visible at the far side. Janny’s eye was immediately drawn to it.

Ennet parked the craft on a ledge just to the left of the doorway and looked up at Janny. “The object you’re seeing over there is the mound of stuff brought to us last cycle by a passing SRA cell.”

Janny frowned. “And you haven’t sorted through it?”

“I have been intending to for a lengthy time.” Grescin shrugged, which for a Daerian is frankly just hilarious.

“But she’s been leaving it off,” Ennet said, undoing his seatbelt.

“We are in need of a janitor.” Grescin nodded vigorously.

“In particular one who appears in no race to get home,” Ennet murmured.

Grescin nodded and raised an eyebrow. “Or enquire questions what the SRA is…”

Janny tilted his head to the side. “Oh, I guess that is a good question. What is the SRA? And wait, were you not planning to take me home?”


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Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:48 pm
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mellifera wrote a review...



Hey Bisc!

(sorry I've been slacking on my reviewing duties!)

but Daerian limbs could carefully apply pressure to any surface by jutting out muscle tissue with incredible precision.


This is really fascinating! I love how you've slipped in details like this about all the different characters/species you've created??? it's super interesting!


The result was a strangely peaceful cabin for a ship being hotly pursued.


I'm not sure what you were going for with this line, but this struck me as an odd line? Is peaceful really what you meant? I think you could go for something more like "hushed"? I mean, quiet or silent wouldn't work because of the buttons beeping, but the way Ennet is reacting (his body language), it seems like the cabin would be tense, not peaceful (regardless of being chased! I have no qualms with it seeming peaceful even if they're being chased, it's the internal situation that made me bring it up here).


Now I haven't gotten very far (they're yelling about the other ship being close and so forth), but I would kind of like to see Janny's reactions? So far, I've no idea how he's reacting to the situation. He seems to... well, not react at all in this situation, which strikes me as incredibly odd considering his reactions to later events. Is he 100% ok with this? Is he freaking out? Is he in shock? I wish this went more into Janny's reaction and how he's feeling.


I do love Janny's running (internal) commentary on translations though. It's funny and it makes me smile so A+ for that!


This looked incredibly strange on a Daerian, because of the points of the lips on either side often stretch beyond the width of the face.


I thought Grescin was a Scentian though, and Janny was the Daerian? I'm,, a little confused by this line. This line too:

Grescin shrugged, which for a Daerian is frankly just hilarious.


Because at the beginning, you have the line "the one occupied by the Scentian named Grescin." I thought the whole thing was that Grescin and Ennet were Scentians, and Daerians are apparently incredibly similar in appearance to them (I'm ASSUMING because Lestili confuses him for one later), but Janny was chosen to talk to them because of where he grew up and possibly being able to translate. Unless I am... completely misreading this.

“Oh, I guess that is a good question. What is the SRA? And wait, were you not planning to take me home?”


Wait so... he didn't find it odd at all that the ship he started on began pursuing these two Scentians? He didn't think that was strange, or think something was wrong? He was... fine with that?

Grescin would occasionally glance towards Ennet, but there were veins popping about an inch out of Ennet’s neck and it didn’t seem to be voluntary, so she stayed quiet.


psst this is technically a pov change from Janny to Grescin! I think you can still include the veins popping out of Ennet's neck and so forth without adding in what Grescin is reacting to/deciding not to do and so forth

(also yes I've gone back to the beginning I'm trying something new for reviewing out)

pretty sure that he had noticed a window on the way in.


This is kinda filtering? I'd maybe remove that and just mention the window ("so he turned around. There had been a window somewhere, hadn't there?"). But that's up to you!


Really quick as I do this reread- am I misinterpreting the situation? Is there a completely different ship chasing the Scentians now that has nothing to do with Janny's ship? I'm realising now that Janny is the one who said: “Oh good Gods!” he cried, “It’s right on us!” And now I'm confused about the situation. I'm sorry if I'm not interpreting this correctly, I'm just not quite sure what's going on.


Alright, Janny thought, that definitely meant quickest.


"Janny thought" is filtering again! His thoughts also shouldn't really be impeding on the line that Ennet has dialogue on? So, I would put this on a new line without the break in between. So, something like:

“Spot five seems deadest,” Ennet replied.

Alright, that definitely meant quickest.

You can still tell that it's Janny's thoughts without requiring the filter! Thoughts don't function the same as dialogue. You don't need dialogue tags in the same way (not that you need dialogue tags for all dialogue either but that's not what I'm getting into here), or really, at all.


Again, I noticed a few filler words scattered around (2 "really" and 1 "very"), which I wouldn't comment on if it was in dialogue, but since it's not, it doesn't add anything to the story or your prose, and just blunts it instead.


I love how you slip in Janny's characterisation! I think there's still room from improvement, but I think you're handling his voice and writing it really (<-- oh no I'm a hypocrite rip) well! While, again, I would really like more of how he's feeling incorporated into the story because I feel it's lacking, I still love how you write in his voice and how easy it is to recognise this in his voice.


I think that's all I have for you today! Hopefully I'll get on some kind of more consistent schedule, but I won't be as active as I was during RevMo. Still, having pieces to review is super helpful, so I'll catch up as soon as I can :)

I hope you're have a wonderful day! <3






Hey, thanks for the review! So, a Daerian comes from the planet Daer-Ta, but Daer-Ta has more than one sentient species. Janny belongs to one of those species, Fladians (from Fladaer) and Ennet & Grescin belong to another, Scentians (from Scentaer). So like, they're all Daerians, but different species.

So given that Janny's character arc is about him learning to question things more, I'm starting with him sort of assuming that everything will be fine. I guess I need to make this more explicit? My thought has been like in this last part where they acknowledge that there's questions they'd expect someone to have asked that he hasn't asked. But I dunno, maybe if his internal narration is decent I could slip in a few occasions "but Janny was sure it'd be fine".

Thanks again :D





Oh also yeah it's a different ship. It's Lestili, actually. She was chasing Ennet and Grescin when they got to Janny's original ship. Maybe I didn't make that clear :/



mellifera says...


Gotcha! Sorry about the confusion! I was thinking they were all different species for some reason :P

Yeah, I think that would work well! Maybe slip in that he thinks that Ennet and Grescin will bring him back later? It's revealed at the end, but maybe it could be mentioned earlier? I don't think it's dire, but it might help just to give a little insight into what Janny's assuming about the situation!



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Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:44 pm
fraey wrote a review...



Hey there Bisc! Figured I'd swing around to kick off Review Month with the next part of this story.

First of all, let's find out how Janny is faring here since the last chapter had ended with the new ship he had arrived on being pursued by a mysterious third ship. Sound the increasingly loud music in the background. I'm happy to read that he's doing as well as he can and is seemingly striking up fun conversations with the Daerians.

It's certainly a little weird that Janny is so calm, or removed really, from the situation that his narrative seems quite smooth compared to what I imagine are panicked sounds from his fellow passengers. The rest are using exclamation marks and trying to get across the direness of the chase while he's just describing everything and trying to translate what they could be saying. Good old Janny. Never change.

I really do like how he views their current situation though - it's really different to jump into his mind and try to imagine how he could think so matter-of-factly in a potentially dangerous scenario, let alone the fact that there's still that translation divide that's very apparent between the three of them. Also, the characters do seem to have a cool vibe surrounding them - they're admiring of his own skills and he's definitely appreciative he hasn't died yet (or at least so I assume).

Also, being offered a job??? On some random ship where there's a translation error??? But the passengers seem really sweet and like his skills??? I much like this plot development XD and how blase Janny is going through what that means - "And wait, were you not planning to take me home?" Absolute classic.

With that last few paragraphs to this story though, the plot is once again added to and weaved through the story nicely.

I will be trying to get to the next part of this story later today as I do like it a lot.




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Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:02 pm
Dossereana wrote a review...



Hi @DougalOfBiscuits I am here to do a review on your chapter. So first things first lets get starting.

The lines that I like most out of the chapter

Janny peered over the chair in front of him, the one occupied by the Scentian named Grescin.
I love all the names in this one line you have a great start to another chapter.

A screen in front of Ennet’s chair flashed some radar signals with irritating little beeps, but neither Scentian said anything much about this. Grescin would occasionally glance towards Ennet, but there were veins popping about an inch out of Ennet’s neck and it didn’t seem to be voluntary, so she stayed quiet.
Great Description I like every line is just great. I feel like I always say that lol. But anyways, this chapter is still great I like always feel connected to the characters. I feel the images wash across my head and my heart can just feel and hear everything that is like happening.

Okay I no I really go on about his a lot I am sorry but, I really think that going in to the characters head is going to do you some good, I will also love to hear of what some of them are thinking. But that is okay I no I go on about it a lot. Also quick tip if you put characters thoughts in then just well its best to put the name in bold.

But everything else I love you are great at writing and I just think that you should keep on writing chapters. I

@Dossereana Out In The Sky Of Reviews






Hey, thanks for the review! I've been meaning to say, I wasn't sure what you meant by "go into characters' thoughts" for ages. Something you said on a Tayburn Zoo review made me realise that you meant literally saying the words of the characters thoughts. This is a technique I do use sometimes, and I usually use italics, but I like to use it sparingly. I think you can fall into the trap of telling what the characters are feeling rather than showing through their speech, their body language etc. I also think that most people don't go through life narrating their own lives in their heads, and it's usually just flashes of like "oh no" or "gotta get out of here", so having the characters spell out their lives too often feels for me pretty unrealistic.

Also, in reply to the other review you left, you mentioned that the flow is lacking at the moment. If you mean the dialogue this is because as mentioned Janny can't speak very good Scentian, so his translation is a bit stilted. This should have gone away towards the end of the chapter as he found the translation ring (totally not me just not wanting to write the dialogue like that anymore xD). Oh also they were in a ship when they flew in, sorry that wasn't clear.

Thanks again for the reviews! :D



Dossereana says...


You welcome, also thanks for explaning that it makes a lot more sens now to me, I understand, also its good to put a little bit of thoughts from your mane character a little it can be like twice in the chapter it dies not have to be a lot it just has to be there sometimes, bit thanks for explaning every I understand a lot more now. :D
also you are welcomed again for the reviews.




Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
— Voltaire