Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Science Fiction


The Secret of Tayburn Zoo: 26.1

by ExOmelas


Dexi wasn't sure if this counted as finally seeing the light of day. She was standing behind the pilot, a dark-skinned human named Eloise. She was French, apparently, but Dexi didn't really know what that meant. Curled up on a worktop behind Eloise's chair, Dexi could see through a wide many-times-glazed window into the endless night of space.

Another pilot, Justin, a tall skinny guy with floppy brown hair and slight stubble, mumbled an apology as he nearly bumped into Dexi's paws on the way past. They were hanging just over the edge of the shelf, crossed over each other lazily. Dexi had barely stopped stretching out since getting on the ship - the expanse of space was far less claustrophobic than the metal box at Neuromax... or the van, or the weirdly wallpapered room at the government mansion, or all the other windowless vans that had taken them from London to wherever they'd taken off from.

Justin leaned over Eloise's shoulder and whispered something in her ear. Dexi didn't really mind the way they weren't kept in the loop, only really being spoken to to be given orders. But this time, she heard her name.

"Oh, dammit, I forgot," Eloise exclaimed.

"It's alright," Justin said, glancing back at Dexi. "I got it."

Eloise nodded as Justin sat down a chair next to hers, strapping himself in tight so he didn't float away. He put his hands on an identical set of controls - a rectangular steering wheel, just above a big bank of buttons. He flicked a flappy paddle on the back of the wheel, and a little green light blinked on just beside his right hand. Eloise yawned and stretched, standing up from her chair. That was how they switched shifts without ever having to leave the controls unmanned - two identical sets, with a ten second overlap between which one was in use.

"See you, Dexi," Eloise said, ducking down to get through the low, circular doorway that led to the storage area.

When she'd drifted off down the short corridor, and off around to the left, Dexi pushed herself up into the air a little so that she could meet Justin's eyes in the mirror mounted on the side of the window.

"What's going on?" she said.

Justin glanced at the mirror and gave her a quick smile, then looked back out the window as he talked. "It's... you're not going to like it."

Dexi rolled her eyes. "You can tell me. I won't bite."

He chuckled. "Very funny. Well, Captain Barrett finally settled on jobs for you all."

Dexi's ears pricked up and she accidentally whacked her front feet on the edge of the worktop, causing her to reel backwards and gently knock her head against the wall. As she righted herself, she tried to calm her breathing. There had been an announcement that a select group of animals would be chosen to shadow the six crew members - out of the fifteen animal on this particular ship - and Dexi was desperate to be chosen as Shadow Captain.

"I didn't get captain," she realised. "I didn't get picked."

"Well... you got picked," Justin said. Dexi's heart started to flutter judderingly back to life. But then he said, "But not as captain."

"Please stop messing with me," she growled.

His arms tensed, the veins popping out. She'd frightened him again. Over the past couple of weeks the human crew members seemed to have got used to this rather ridiculous career development, but being around so many life forms who could theoretically tear them limb from limb evidently hadn't stopped being unnerving.

"You got picked for pilot," he explained, "You're shadowing me and Eloise."

"Oh," Dexi said, finally managing to settle down somewhat flat on the worktop.

"Well, come on. Come forward." He jerked his head forward, then nodded towards the chair Eloise had used.

Dexi's eyes widened. "Really?"

"Of course!" Justin exclaimed, as she slowly drifted forward.

She managed to settle herself in the chair, but the lack of opposable thumbs made it difficult to get the seatbelts to work.

"We'll figure that out," Justin said, "Maybe put some easier to use handles on them or something."

Dexi frowned. "But why me? Why not choose someone who already has opposable thumbs, like Chip?"

Justin shifted in his seat. "Ah, well, Chip already has a job. He's going to - Dexi, I'm so sorry - he's going to shadow Captain Barrett."

Dexi felt a low, rumbling growl begin to build up deep inside her, but a quick glance at Justin showed her his already pale face was blanching even further. God, for an astronaut he really was a wimp. A lovely guy, but a wimp. Just like Chip. This didn't make any sense.

"Would you like to know why you were chosen to be a pilot?" Justin asked. Dexi wondered if his voice was loud because he was trying to mask the way it croaked.

"Sure," Dexi said, throwing him a bone.

"We found your Mario Kart scores." He giggled. "Captain Barrett's convinced you're going to be the best driver he's ever seen."

Dexi frowned. "Wait, how the heck did you get hold of that? We never got any of our stuff out the zoo. The games are probably all still there."

"Crap," Justin muttered. "I forgot we hadn't told you about that. The, uh, the zoo's empty now. Once the buzz died down a bit, apparently the police went in and just emptied the place. Mario Kart was in the Wii when they unplugged it."

Dexi leaned back in the chair, pressing the back of her head into the headrest. So that was it. Tayburn was gone.

"I'm impressed, for what it's worth," Justin said, "When I was a kid I played it constantly but I could still never win Rainbow Road on one-fifty-cc."

"Uh-huh," Dexi murmured.

Justin sighed. "Hey, come on, buddy, the decision's been made. You've been spending a lot of time in here anyway. Now it'll be your job to look out at the view."

"Yeah," Dexi said, staring out at the stars. They never moved - they were so far away that even their weeks of travel never brought them any more meaningfully closer. They had gone much further from Earth than any spaceship Dexi had read about, and none of them had had these enormous windows either. But then again, Earth had never been contacted a mysterious, far off source before.

Because that, as it turned out, had been the nature of the disturbance they'd all been told about.


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
851 Reviews


Points: 93724
Reviews: 851

Donate
Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:11 pm
View Likes
HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

And the last four that you have uploaded. Are you planning on posting more of this?

First Impression: Well...okay...still not too sure about the total change in tone although I get that you wanted to have all that Mario Kart backstory. Now that first part is starting to feel like the world's longest prologue. But as a scene in this new space story this does a great job introducing our two newest characters to the story.

Anyway let's get to it,

Eloise nodded as Justin sat down a chair next to hers, strapping himself in tight so he didn't float away. He put his hands on an identical set of controls - a rectangular steering wheel, just above a big bank of buttons. He flicked a flappy paddle on the back of the wheel, and a little green light blinked on just beside his right hand. Eloise yawned and stretched, standing up from her chair. That was how they switched shifts without ever having to leave the controls unmanned - two identical sets, with a ten second overlap between which one was in use.


Nice bit of description there although the worldbulding could have use a bit more subtlety than that.

"Well... you got picked," Justin said. Dexi's heart started to flutter judderingly back to life. But then he said, "But not as captain."

"Please stop messing with me," she growled.

His arms tensed, the veins popping out. She'd frightened him again. Over the past couple of weeks the human crew members seemed to have got used to this rather ridiculous career development, but being around so many life forms who could theoretically tear them limb from limb evidently hadn't stopped being unnerving.


If he's afraid of Dexi and this is a serious mission anyway why does he play around with that answer anyway? Also did they not bother to train these people to be less jumpy around the animals? Seems like this sort of thing could be very detrimental to space travel.

"We'll figure that out," Justin said, "Maybe put some easier to use handles on them or something."


Do they have a space Walmart or do they just have this stuff lying around in preparation for this?

Dexi leaned back in the chair, pressing the back of her head into the headrest. So that was it. Tayburn was gone.


*sad face*
Also doesn't that make the title defunct now?

Because that, as it turned out, had been the nature of the disturbance they'd all been told about.


Ohh...looks like we have our cliffhanger for this plot.

Aaand that's it.

Overall: Okay all tone changes and abrupt twists aside I like the direction this is going now. It sounds pretty interesting. And you do a good job introducing our two pilots and what sounds like a major plot point. Let's see where this takes us.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




User avatar
782 Reviews


Points: 30963
Reviews: 782

Donate
Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:18 pm
ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Heya Bisc,

Shady back for another review this fine Review Day evening! Let's get started...

Dexi could see through a wide many-times-glazed window into the endless night of space.


You've got a lot of descriptors in this sentence. I think the "many-times-glazed" is what makes this sentence a bit unruly, and I recommend you either find a way to rephrase that sentiment or just split this into two sentences or something.

Dexi's eyes widened. "Really?"


Aww, this is wholesome <3

"We found your Mario Kart scores." He giggled. "Captain Barrett's convinced you're going to be the best driver he's ever seen."


I don't know why but the "giggled" in this sentence really isn't sitting right with me. It seems to be a completely tone than the rest of the passage around it. Like, he's nervous and tense, but giggling kind of seems like a care-free sort of action. I would think something like "chuckled" or "scoffed" or something would convey his nervousness a bit better than giggled.

~ ~ ~

I like this chapter!

I like Justin. He seems like a bit of a wimp and like his personality could quickly become tiresome if it continues at this pace -- but in this chapter, he seems like a nice guy who is earnestly trying to be kind to Dexi and just a bit less than self-confident. It was a pretty sweet scene of him trying to sell her role as a new animal pilot.

Eloise didn't sit quite right with me, and I'm not sure why. I think it was because when they whispered and then Eloise left, I got really tense, and especially when Justin was talking about her not going to like it. I thought more nasty experiments were getting ready to happen, and that Eloise was wandering off into a back room to get some instrument of torture or something like that. It made sense that she was disappointed about being pilot rather than captain, but it felt super ominous for Eloise to be leaving just then under those circumstances, and as such, I do not trust her even a little bit.

I'm really looking forward to reading more about space adventures, though! This is certainly an interesting twist and I'm excited to see where you take this!

Keep writing!

~Shady 8)




User avatar
304 Reviews


Points: 20007
Reviews: 304

Donate
Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:41 pm
View Likes
Vulcanite wrote a review...



Hello again @ExOmelas I am back here to do another review on your chapter, also I have finally curt up with everything again witch is good to no. so with out further or do lets get right into it.

Also just like to say that I loved this chapter just as much as the last one, I can really see every thing coming to gather now, and I hope the story ends well for all of these good characters in this story.

Dexi wasn't sure if this counted as finally seeing the light of day. She was standing behind the pilot, a dark-skinned human named Eloise. She was French, apparently, but Dexi didn't really know what that meant. Curled up on a worktop behind Eloise's chair, Dexi could see through a wide many-times-glazed window into the endless night of space.
that is just a great way to start this hole chapter, and I really do like Dexi I have grown to like Partrick, Treego and Dexi the most, it took sometime but I cannot imagine the story with out them all. I can really think of this bit Dexi must be wondering what the differences is with French and English people. Well I can see this thought roaming around in her head right now.

Justin leaned over Eloise's shoulder and whispered something in her ear. Dexi didn't really mind the way they weren't kept in the loop, only really being spoken to to be given orders. But this time, she heard her name.
I really understood this line, Dexi must be wondering why she heard her name now I no I would if I was her. okay also getting to why both of your to are in bold, it is not because is spelt wrong or anything it is just because I want to make sure that you no you put both of them there strait after each other. if this was on per pis then I completely understand it. Its just that it is not really seen that words are the same and there right after each other like this. but if if was on per pis then you mite want to put this , sine in between both of them. but other then that the lines are great.

"Oh, dammit, I forgot," Eloise exclaimed.
Oh dear sounds like they forgot something that should have really been done this was a very unexpected out burst from Eloise.

"It's alright," Justin said, glancing back at Dexi. "I got it."
This is making me worry a little about what there going to do to Dexi, or if it is even really something worth worrying about.

"See you, Dexi," Eloise said, ducking down to get through the low, circular doorway that led to the storage area.
This is just making me worried for Dexi even more. the way I am thinking of Eloise just saying this is creeping me out.

Dexi's ears pricked up and she accidentally whacked her front feet on the edge of the worktop, causing her to reel backwards and gently knock her head against the wall.
XD this was really funny like she said I won't bit then this happens and she snaps. will this is bad news but its better then what I thought would happen.

So this is all that I can say about this chapter, it was great believe me, I would have done a longer review but I did not have much more time to spear. and again just a reminder pleas tag me for the next chapter when you post it. :D I also really liked reading this chapter and look forward to the next one. also thanks for reading the hole review, I no that it uses a lot of your time.

@Dossereana Out In The Sky Of Reviews




User avatar
740 Reviews


Points: 11008
Reviews: 740

Donate
Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:29 pm
View Likes
CaptainJack wrote a review...



Image


Hey there bisc. It seems like I've read a little bit of each of your stories.

I'm trying to remember the plot line of this story but drawing a little bit of a blank. With the first line at the beginning of this part you instantly grabbed my attention once again. The one thought that I had about this line is that it might be good to separate it off from the rest of the first paragraph. And that's not something that I recommend very often. It;s definitely a very fine line to walk with emphasis and I'm not sure if you want that in this chapter part.

For the slightest second I forgot that your characters were animals. And I think that my confusion as a reader trying to dive into yet another one of your storys adds to the comedy that was already in place. I'm really enjoying the slight of hand comedy that happens in your stories. There are just very casual references in place and they make the story all the more interesting. Just like the issues they run into with a lack of thumbs. Or the ongoing discussion of mario kart. I assume that there is some accessibility within this world but clearly there's not enough.

I'm sorry to see that this is the present end of this story but it has gotten my attention. It has definitely gotten enough of my attention to convince me to go back and read the rest of this story, and I'll see if I have any more solid commentary at that point in time.

Have a happy rest of your review day, my boy Doug.
- Jack <3




ExOmelas says...


ahaha this is such a strange point to enter this story at xD the chapter before had the biggest reveal in the entire story, like the moment it was all leading up to, so starting after that must be one hell of an experience

accessibility actually comes up a lot! there's some stuff about how the humans, when animals start to speak, start to make some changes, but most of the changes are only useful for the most human-like animals, eg monkeys. It's probably my secondary theme ^.^

There is more of this but my two reviewers dropped off so I haven't wanted to fill up the green room. It's a finished draft at like 78k, so it's all sitting there waiting for whenever each chapter gets out the green room.

Thanks for the review :D




Mr. Scorpio says productivity is up 2%, and it's all because of my motivational techniques -- like donuts and the possibility of more donuts to come.
— Homer Simpson