Opening of my sci-fi novel

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Opening of my sci-fi novel

Postby von Zoyton » 15 Aug 2013, 09:40

Dave

London was moving very slowly that day. On the offside front lookout Dave looked over the jungle landscape. Far off: New York. It had not come close for some weeks. He trained his binoculars on the distant city, about 50 miles away, it was clear that its massive caterpillar tracks were not moving. Then, as he watched, a fleet of scouts became visible approaching from the stationary city. Dave typed into his console the report data. All around London similar look outs would be posting the same info. Coldwar would correlate the info and track the scouts. As they became clearer he could see they were genuine scouts and not battle equipped F10k attack flyers. This he also entered, taking a delight in imparting the info.

Then he bought the lenses down to the jungle, sweeping it in sections. The truck tribes had long ago masked their vehicles to infa red: stealth was a way of life for them. Once the binoculars would have had many gadgets to watch down there, now it was just his eyes and lenses. Budget cuts had taken away the extras. He had plenty of time to finish the sweep before looking back at the scouts. This also went into the console. To his left Mandy was performing similar operations. In all the years he had worked here he had said no words to her. A speech credit would have cost too much for him on his small wages. Better to drink coffee. They both wore the regulation boiler suits; good protection against the cold air conditioning in the glass lookout pod.

They now looked at the scouts in unison. Dave was then aware that they were weaponed, it had not been a mistake on his part; just that these were less burdened than usual. He inwardly groaned that he had been wrong; it would mean a pay cut that month. It would not matter if the other look outs had been wrong as well, it did not work that way. Steadily the weaponed scouts came closer. Usually they would not attack. As a precautionary move the big guns ranged across the offside were swung round to track them. London interceptors then shot up from the military silos. Dave watched them launch from about twenty miles down the offside.

He could see that London had stopped; his binoculars briefly rested on the closest caterpillar track far down below. They were not as big as New York's but still taller than a mountain or two, forged in ancient times, so the history data went: by the great engineers. He knew some of the other cities were bigger than New York, but he had never seen them.

Now the London interceptors had reached the weaponed scouts. London leader fired bullets across the nose of the New York leader; they veered away slightly but came on as if to attack the city. It never happened. Once a week the same ritual would play out, sometimes, but rarely, a scout would get shot down, to become a victim of the truck tribes in the jungles. He had seen it so many times. Never in his memory had either city actually been attacked.

The New York scouts came on. Like a little dance between the two squadrons. Posturing cats, he thought. He could tell London squadron was getting more volatile. Another shot across New York leader, but closer. The usual form was to escort them away with force. This time the attackers were getting close; Dave had never seen them get as close before. Then New York leader turned his nose and shot a deadly hail of lead into London leader; Dave found himself shouting, lucky the sound was not addressed to anyone, it would have cost him a lot.

London leader was hit hard, it had been unexpected. Dave and Mandy were furiously entering report data. London 2nd fired back at New York leader but missed. New York squadron came on towards the city. Dave watched London leader pitch down. The interceptor was critically damaged, clearly power was gone. The craft stalled and whipped downwards, spiralling fast towards the jungle distant below. Dave lost sight of it out of range of his lenses; he entered his assumption that the craft and pilot were lost.

Instantly the interceptors were chasing New York attackers. No longer with an upper hand they were reduced to following the aggressive squadron; the others had great speed on their side. London pursuit fired in vain at the fast scouts: range was too great now. Dave looked at the big offside guns wondering why they did not fire. Like him they were not worried, New York ships would not attack the city, but it was unusual. Soon the scouts would be too close to London for it to be safe to fire the guns. They were so close he had no need of his binoculars: still he was confident. They came on and on, details becoming clearer. They were on course directly for his position. Right until lead started to smash the glass around him he was convinced they would not open fire.
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von Zoyton
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