Writing Exercises

Silver Pod Part 26: Besh’s Experience

Maybe its that the end draws near, but even as I enjoy the hell out of writing sections like this one, there is a certain awkward jank to the rhythm. I’m excited to complete this story online, then gather the gold and jewels into my lair and refine the pieces into… I dunno, a crown or something, that is to say, a polished novel. Thank you for taking the time to follow me on part of this journey. Who knows, maybe other writers can learn something by someday comparing this to the finished draft.

Link to part 1

Link to previous part: 25

Besh was made to experience of the universe. He had sat in orbit with his chin resting in his hands watching a volcanic eruption bless a cold moon with ephemeral atmosphere. He had walked barefoot before dawn on Mars and felt the sunrise banish the chill from the Martian air. He had heard the drum strike of fallen iron upon regolith. He had smelled ammonia life’s luxuriant belching. He had tasted Kepler-186f’s finest native seafood.

He found himself enjoying a new experience, company. He enjoyed the sensation through eyes and ears but primarily in the mind. The exchange was the thing itself, like the see-sawing energy of alternating current pulsing through wire and activating machines. He felt exhilarated.

Besh resolved to live, to see what new experiences he might discover. His ignorance of experience loomed as massive as the galaxy. His memories, the specks of planets.

He waited patiently beside the pool in the moody, dim room buried in the heart of the starship Silver Pod. Ohnsy stepped beneath a sonic shower. The water fled down her naked body in drops that joined into spontaneous rivulets. When she was dry, she dressed in the same stiff uniform she had worn before.

Besh wondered if she felt as refreshed as he did. She snapped taut the hem of her uniform. She turned to him. Her face had returned to a mask. The uniform ceased to be clothing. It infused her with a different energy. She was once more an object of duty.

She opened her mouth to speak. Besh found himself tense with worry, but she merely said, “We should get to the bridge. The sooner this is over, the sooner I get my ship back.”

*          *          *

When Besh bounced onto the bridge from the gravity lift, Beryl had already averted his eyes, ashamed. When Ohnsy appeared behind him, the mood changed. Fife stepped away from the ship’s controls, her stance low, her uninjured arm cocked, fist closed, ready to swing. Besh stepped between her and Ohnsy.

“She isn’t here to fight,” he said.

Beryl looked back over his shoulder, startled. He asked, “What’s she here to do?” Fife remained ready for violence.

Ohnsy stepped out from behind Besh’s shoulder. “I want this ship. I can help you get to the moon faster. The sooner we get there, the sooner I get my ship back.”

Beryl laughed, hands on his belly. “That sounds great, but we don’t trust you so how about we find some new restraints and lock you up for now instead?”

Ohnsy blew out her cheeks. “How about this, you lock me up and I’ll give you instructions for how to unlock this ship’s full potential?”

Fife growled, “Last time we did anything like that you coded in a timed lockout. How can we trust that you won’t do that again?”

“You can’t.”

Silence enveloped the bridge. The acceleration shells waited in perched anticipation. The exquisitely engineered air interchange breathed silent air through hidden vents.

Besh looked from Fife to Beryl. Finally he said, “I trust her.”

Fife glanced at Beryl, a frown creasing her symmetric features. Beryl scratched his head awkwardly.

Besh nodded, neither offended nor surprised. “You don’t trust my judgment.”

“It’s not that…” Beryl trailed off.

Fife cut in, “It’s just that you don’t have much experience with people.”

The fifth voice that interrupted the stalemate came from Silver Pod itself. Sensors slid focus away from the anomaly, bringing into stark relief two dozen flared plasma exhaust trails. Missiles boosted up off of the surface of the moon, shucking lift phases like so much scorched litter. The missiles emerged from their cocoons as sleek and deadly warhead-topped bishops. Silver Pod’s computer calmly informed them that they were under attack.

Link to next part: 27


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