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18+ Language Violence

Murder By Starlight (Part 3)

by cidrianwritersguild


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

Ed woke up rather earlier than was normal for him. He rolled out of the bed and went to check on Alex. He had fixed the dent very well and buffed out some of the scratches he noticed. He ran another systems check on it and found that it was still in the "unconsciousness" mode. He patted it on the head.

"Sleep well. You had a rough night." He walked into the bathroom and stared at himself in the mirror. His own sleep-deprived, bewhiskered face stared back at him. "You sir," he said to the mirror, pointing at it, "need a couple days of paid leave." As he was just zipping up his uniform, he heard a knock at the door. He walked to it and pressed a button on the wall to open it. It slid open to reveal the Commodore and two security officers. He leaned against the door frame and greeted the Commodore. "Good..." his voice trailed off as he leaned back to stare at the clock on the wall. "early morning Commodore. What do you need?" The Commodore stared back at him.

"There's been an inquiry Buck. The Company has gotten word of what's happened here and after hearing everything, they've launched an investigation."

"Excuse me?"

"Two people are dead Buck, one gravely injured, The Company is putting a stop to it."

"May I ask why the security officers are here?"

"Command wants to question you and the sec officers are here to make sure you come peaceably." A voice issued from behind Ed:

"Engineer Buck won't be leaving with you, Commodore." said Alex. Ed turned around to look at it.

"SECBOT, you do not have authority over anyone on this colony. Return to your charging receptacle." responded the Commodore.

"Engineer Buck won't be leaving with you, Commodore." it said again, this time with a slight edge.

"Return to your charging receptacle SECBOT" said the Commodore angrily. 

"Enginer Buck will not be..." Alex was cut off as the Commodore ordered the security officers to hit Alex's power button. 

"You get your goddamn hands off it!" shouted Ed. The Commodore grabbed hold of him as he tried to get to Alex. Alex fell to the floor with a loud crash and the officers jumped on it, wrestling it back into the charging alcove. Ed broke free of the Commodore and tried to run to it, but the officers caught him and shoved him out the door.

"Buck!" shouted the Commodore, "Damn it man! You are not in trouble but you will be if you do not come quietly and peaceably." Ed looked at him, paused for a moment and sighed. He shook off the hands of the security officers and walked out the door. He could practically feel their hands itching for their tasers. He walked down the hall in front of the Commodore and his officers and was shown to a large conference room. A makeshift court had been set up in it and Buck was put in what was supposed to be the witness chair. One of the people up on the bench turned to him. 

"You are First Class Engineer Edward Walter Buck?" she asked him.

"I am"

"You are the one who decided to take this matter into your own hands?"

"I did"

"Well Engineer Buck, it seems that you have quite a bit of explaining to do."

"I don't understand madam."

"It is the opinion of this court that it is highly suspicious that you were the only person to have discovered these...ah...incidents. You are hereby charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and one count of assault." She turned away from him. Ed was shocked.

"Your honor, I assure you..."

"Silence! You shall not speak unless addresses with a question!" boomed the woman. Ed sat back in the chair, the futility of the situation worming into his mind. He sat there, vacantly staring at the prosecutor. He let the questions wash over him.

"Where were you at...? Do you know anyone who...? What made you decide...?" After a half hour, they all seemed to meld together. The two thoughts swirling around his mind were that he couldn't prove that he hadn't committed these crimes and he had no means to hire a defense that would try very much to get him a lightened sentence. He sat there, aimlessly answering questions, not even noticing the figure that appeared in the door.

"Engineer Buck is a vital asset to this colony and his absence from his position is a threat to it." Alex had somehow removed itself from Ed's dorm and had come into the room. All heads turned to it, including Ed's who lifted his head off the witness stand. Almost everyone had looks of confusion across their faces.

"Whose SECBOT is that?" asked the chief justice.

"Uh...mine..madam." Ed turned to Alex "Alex, what are you doing here?"

"Engineer Buck must return to his position to ensure the safety of the colony."

"Unless it's a witness, get that bot the hell out of here." ordered the chief justice.

"Withers, Tanner, remove the bot." the Commodore motioned to them. They confidently approached Alex, sure in their ability to repress it again. As they  drew nearer, Alex issued one final message:

"Any attempt to inhibit a SECBOT is a punishable offense. Please cease your activities or I will be forced to take action."

"Come on your old box of screws, get back to your wall." said Withers. He approached the bot and made a grab for its arm. Alex lunged at his arm and bent it back. He screamed in pain. With its other arm, Alex grabbed Tanner by the throat and lifted him off the ground. He choked and scrabbled at his neck. Withers was cradling his arm. It picked him up and slammed him into Tanner. It let go of them and they fell to the ground, unmoving. Alex stayed where it was.

"It is the prime directive to let harm neither befall me or my quarry. Engineer Buck must now return to..." Alex was cut off as the Commodore shot it in the head with a shock round from his sidearm. 

"Get that piece of shit somewhere it can't harm anyone. Buck, care to explain why the hell your SECBOT just disobeyed a direct order?" Ed shrugged, racking his brain for and answer.

"I couldn't say sir. I did some light personality adjustments when I first got it, but other than that, I have no idea."

"Regardless of what happened, I should think that there might be some new developments in this case. What do you think, your honor?" asked the Commodore, turning to the chief justice.

"I wouldn't go so far as to say that, but I should like to interrogate the SECBOT." she responded. "Engineer Buck, you may return to your quarters. You are ordered to return here at 0800 tomorrow morning in order verify statements made by G-38-7. After that, you will be charged with tampering with Company property. Return to your quarters." Ed left feeling even worse than before. Somehow, he had dragged his SECBOT into this mess. He felt like he betrayed it somehow. It was ridiculous that he thought that way, he knew, but he couldn't  help it. Alex had been his first friend here before he met Dave a few days later. He headed down the hall back into his dorm. As he stepped over the threshold, the normal whoosh of the pistons operating was joined by a low metallic click. The door had been overridden and locked behind him.


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Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:07 pm
starlitmind wrote a review...



Hey there! This has been in the Green Room for awhile now, so I decided to help nudge it out c: I haven't read any of the previous installments, so if I say something dumb, please pardon me xD But the title is quite interesting and caught my eye - I love how you put a pretty thing like "starlight" next to a heavy word like "murder" -> pretty interesting! :p

Ed woke up rather earlier than was normal for him. He rolled out of the bed and went to check on Alex. He had fixed the dent very well and buffed out some of the scratches he noticed. He ran another systems check on it and found that it was still in the "unconsciousness" mode. He patted it on the head.


Two things I thought of pointing out!

1.) I feel like it moves a bit quickly in the beginning. He woke up and then he's checking out a robot? or something, I'm not really sure since I haven't read the previous parts cx (I'm assuming it's a machine of some sort, which is super cool!). I think you could slow down and add some descriptions. Is the sun streaming through the blinds? Or is it heavy, dark, and grey outside? I'd recommend slowing down a bit throughout the whole chapter, just so the reader is able to envision the setting in their minds and doesn't get too lost in the action. I feel at one moment something is happening, and the next second something different is happening.

2.) If you read this paragraph, a lot of the sentences are about the same length. I think it's very helpful to vary your sentence length so it doesn't make you feel drowsy. So if you could throw in some longer/shorter sentences or do whatever you want to add variation in the length, I think that'd be awesome! ^^

BUT OOH I'm super curious to read about Alex! c:

"You sir," he said to the mirror, pointing at it, "need a couple days of paid leave."


Omg xD

"Two people are dead Buck, one gravely injured, The Company is putting a stop to it."


Oh dear :c That does not sound good

"Return to your charging receptacle SECBOT" said the Commodore angrily.


Ah, so Alex is a bot; super neat!! I love how it is protecting Ed in this scene, or it seems like it is c:

"Enginer Buck will not be..." Alex was cut off as the Commodore ordered the security officers to hit Alex's power button.


HOW DARE YOU COMMODORE

"It is the opinion of this court that it is highly suspicious that you were the only person to have discovered these...ah...incidents. You are hereby charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and one count of assault." She turned away from him. Ed was shocked.


Hm, perhaps it works differently in your world, but is it possible for him to be charged with all of those things without a proper trial?

He approached the bot and made a grab for its arm. Alex lunged at his arm and bent it back.


Ooh okay, os I just realized I have no idea what the bot looks like. I'm sure you described it in other chapters, but I feel like I should be able to get a general idea of what it looks like, even if I haven't read any of the other chapters. So I think it'd be cool if you could give him a bit more descriptions and "life" (even though he's a robot lol).

"I wouldn't go so far as to say that, but I should like to interrogate the SECBOT." she responded.


Oh dear, I hope Alex will be okay

"Engineer Buck, you may return to your quarters. You are ordered to return here at 0800 tomorrow morning in order verify statements made by G-38-7. After that, you will be charged with tampering with Company property. Return to your quarters."


Just wanted to point out that repetition <3

As he stepped over the threshold, the normal whoosh of the pistons operating was joined by a low metallic click. The door had been overridden and locked behind him.


OH NO WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ED :O

This chapter was definitely quite interesting! Even though I jumped in a random spot in the novel, I still got a general idea of what was going on and was introduced to your world, like the robots. You seem to have an established conflict, which is great! c: My only suggestion for you would be to slow down a bit and consider how you want to pace your story, but other than that, I truly enjoyed reading this! I hope this helped! :D






I totally get the confusion because I wrote all of the chapters to build off one another so to get most of what's going on, you would have needed to read the first two. For example, the reason he's immediately checking out Alex is because of something that happened at the end of the second part. And, I never really get around to describing Alex (or literally anyone else) but in my mind, Alex looks a lot like an Assaultron from Fallout 4 but a lot boxier. Thanks for the review by the way!



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Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:06 pm
Plume wrote a review...



Hey! Plume here, with a review!

Wowie! Things are ESCALATING and getting pretty spicy! This was a very fun part to read, I can tell you that.

You've got great style and voice, I'll tell you that. This, while being a murder mystery/sci-fi thing is also pretty funny. I can clearly picture the tone with which things are said, and your witty interjections and actions that pair along with them are absolutely stellar. One of my favorite examples include:

"Good..." his voice trailed off as he leaned back to stare at the clock on the wall. "early morning Commodore."


(Though I would edit it so that it looks like this-->)

"Good..." His voice trailed off as he leaned back to stare at the clock on the wall. "...early morning, Commodore."


One thing you might want to look at again, however, is your pacing. Like I said before, things escalate very quickly, and it's almost too quickly for my liking. One moment Ed is just waking up, and suddenly he's in court? Also, court proceedings usually happen quite slowly. I know this is a fictional world, but usually they notify people of their charges beforehand and also allow them to get a lawyer. If there's a judge in this world, I assume there are lawyers.

I'd also suggest reading up on commas and their usage. You have a recurring issue where you don't place commas where they should; most of the time it's when one person addresses another, with either "sir" or "madam" or a name, like Buck, Ed, SECBOT, or Alex. Here's an example:

"Two people are dead Buck, one gravely injured, The Company is putting a stop to it."


should be

"Two people are dead, Buck, one gravely injured. The Company is putting a stop to it."


(It also had a comma splice, which I fixed for you.) You don't always forget it, so I know you know the rules, but I'd suggest better proofreading and overall more commas.

Also, a side note: I'm really glad you made the judge a woman. Sci-fi has always really been a male-dominated genre, and I'm glad to see a woman in a position of power where she's not just looking pretty.

Other than the comma issue, great job! I'm thoroughly engrossed in this story and I can't wait to read more!!






I wholeheartedly agree with you on the pacing. Like I told Zoom, I quickly realized I don't have the patience to write murder mysteries. The pacing is off because I didn't want to drag it out. You're totally right there. Also, thanks for the punctuation edits! I really do need them. :)




If you're paranoid that you're making your novel worse with each passing decision clap your hands
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