Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Excerpt Two

Well, the second week of NaNoWriMo wasn't as successful for me as the first week.  I got bogged down in the middle of the week with family commitments, then my wife attended an out of town conference from Thursday through Sunday.  That didn't leave me much time to write, although I can't complain.  Hanging out with my son for the weekend was worth the missed writing hours.

I should be at 25,000 words today to meet the 50,000 word "finish line" or 30,000 to meet my self-imposed goal.  I'm at just over 19,000.  I think I can catch up if I don't miss too many days.  I knew I would fall behind during the first part of the month when I started and planned on catching up over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Here's the second excerpt from the novel.  The storyline concerns the crew of a starship who wake up from coldsleep on a planet.  They don't know where they are or how they got there and have to survive.  I'm alternating chapters between three viewpoint characters, who are on different parts of the planet when the book opens and whose storylines progress more or less simultaneously.  At the end of each major section, there will a flashback chapter involving a fourth character, the captain of the starship.  Where the captain is and what happened to her is going to be one of several mysteries the other characters will be dealing with.  The flashbacks featuring the captain will not be chronological, but instead will give a different perspective on events and discoveries in the section of the book each flashback concludes.

What follows is when we first meet the captain.

Captain Galina Vladimirovna Lyakhova would have paced her quarters if they had been big enough.  As it was, she had to settle for slamming her palm against the bulkhead and cursing Bixby again.  The first time she’d hit the wall, she’d done so with her fist.  The impact of the slap stung her wrist, and she suspected it was sprained from her initial strike. 
At the moment, she didn’t care, even though that was a mistake she wouldn’t repeat. 
The sealed orders had been waiting for her in an old fashioned envelope when she came out of coldsleep.  Bixby hadn’t wanted any electronic trace of them to be found and must have had them placed there after she entered the chamber.  She couldn’t bring herself to think of him as Fleet Admiral.  Only a bastard of the lowest class would pull a stunt like this, one that didn’t deserve such a title. 
At least this explained the makeup of the crew.  She’d noticed the unusual number of trouble makers and misfits.  It was her first command, and she’d gone over the list exhaustively, trying to familiarize herself with the people whose lives could depend on her decisions. 
It also explained some things about her recent promotion and why she’d been given this particular assignment.  She’d always suspected the smuggling ring she’d discovered and exposed went higher in the ranks than those who were court-martialed.  She’d just never dreamed it would have gone as high as Bixby. 
As punishment, she’d been given this command and a first mission that would get her and a number of trouble makers out of the way.  Permanently. 
Even the name of the ship mocked her.  C. S. S. Integrity.  What was the old axiom?  No good deed goes unpunished, that was it. 
She sighed and stared at the picture of her parents hanging over her desk.  Tears of sorrow came to her eyes, displacing the tears of frustration and rage that had been there moments before.
Oh, Papa, Mama.  Thank God you didn’t live to see this.  Not that they would have been able to see what was really happening.  Instead they would have gotten an official letter, also in an old fashioned paper envelope, only this one would be bordered in black.  Inside would be some official story about her ship being lost, either in an accident or just gone missing, containing the usual platitudes of “condolences”,  “service”, “debt of gratitude”, and the like.  And all of it would be a lie.  A coverup.
She stepped closer to the picture, and as she did Galina saw her face superimposed on first her mother’s, then her father’s.  She had her mother’s long, golden hair and voluptuous figure, while from her father she’d inherited his tall frame and grey eyes, as well as his sense of right and wrong. 
A number of men, and several women, had taken one look at her over the years and dismissed her as a piece of fluff who probably slept her way up the ranks.  Nothing could be further from the truth, but she’d let them think what they liked.  Never correct someone who underestimates you, her father had told her, not until it’s too late for them to do anything about it.  She’d outmaneuvered and outflanked them all.  At least until she met Bixby.  She was still realizing she’d never known who and what she’d been up against. 
“Rescue mission, my ass,” she muttered.
She put both her hands on either side of the picture, leaned her forehead against the plexiglass, and began to weep for her crew.
Eventually, she raised her head and wiped her eyes with her palms. 
The dozens of people in cold sleep were still her responsibility, even if they had all been sold down the river.  She’d be damned if she stood by and didn’t go down fighting for them. 
Captain Galina Valdimirovna Lyakhova headed towards the armory to obtain a sidearm.


  1. Sorry it took a while to get to this. Way to paint a character with an economical word count. Emotion and intrigue, a good hook.

  2. Thanks. She's my favorite character at this point because she's only going to appear in flashbacks, and what happened to her and where she is will become a driving mystery.