I’ve been perusing the internet seeing what people have to say about NaNoWriMo and I have to say that I am very disappointed in some of the things my fellow authors have to say. So, I’m going to give my opinion.
Who cares what you think? If you decide don’t want to take part, that is fine. You don’t have to spend thousands of words, which could be used in writing a story, disparaging people who want to actually put pen to paper. It’s not up to your standards? Poor baby. At least these people are giving it a shot. At least they are trying to fulfill a dream. Your holier than thou attitude is what makes people not want to read your works.
I’m done with that now.
Today was day one of NaNo. I was expecting to have a little trouble getting started but I’m happy to say that I didn’t. 4242 words on day one. I doubt that I can keep that pace up, I still have a lot of figuring to do with this story. Anyway, here is the first taste of The Remembered Past. Remember, this is a ROUGH draft.
“Sir. Sir, you need to get up, we’re almost there.”
“Almost where Andrews?”
“Home sir. I didn’t want to break atmosphere without you being up.”
Home. We were home! I jumped out of bed and looked in the mirror. What a mess.
“Give me a couple of minutes and I’ll meet you on the flight deck. Have my coffee ready please.”
I took extra time getting ready. I had shaved the night before, so after a few minutes I was ready. I hadn’t set foot on Prime since leaving two years earlier. I wondered if anything had changed. I guess I would find out in a few minutes. Looking one last time in the mirror, I mock saluted myself and headed for the flight deck.
I walked on to the flight deck and found my coffee waiting for me. What a fantastic drink it was!
“Okay Kid,” I said as I sat down, “take us in.”
“I’m nervous now sir. It was all just flying until now. “
“Take a deep breath Kid and do what you know how to do. Just think, within a few minutes you’re going to see your family. Did you have any problems finding the gaps in the sensors?”
“No sir. Like you said, they haven’t changed. It’s kind of stupid if you think about it.”
“Let’s not think about it. Just be happy they are the same and we can fly through the holes in it. I don’t want anyone to know we’re here, other than our families.”
“Here we go sir.” The Kid said.
I sat back and waited out the turbulence of re-entry. It was about the only thing I really hated about doing any kind of flying. It was never bad, the Kid had a natural sense of where to fly, but we still hit a little no matter how hard he tried.
“We’re through sir. My parents farm is about fifty clicks to the north of us. If nothing has changed, we should miss seeing anyone. It’s a good thing it’s so early, it might be another story if it were later in the day.”
“I imagine your parents have some kind of barn on their land.” I said, trying to figure out a way to hide the Rose while we were on Prime.
“Yes sir. I should be able to set down right next to it. We’ll have to figure some way to hide the girl, but it shouldn’t be to hard.”
It shouldn’t be hard? The Rose was over sixty feet long and around twenty five feet wide. Maybe he was right. Other than the farms I had seen on earth, I had never been on one. All my studies were done in industrial greenhouses.
We were in an area I had never been to. That wasn’t saying much, I really hadn’t been to too many places on Prime. It was really kind of beautiful. I could see fields with crops growing for miles. Way off in the distance I could see a large forest. I didn’t even know there was a forest on Prime.
“I’m going to go low to the ground. I want to make sure no one detects us.” he said.
“That’s fine Kid, but don’t you think we should slow down some?”
“Sorry sir, just getting excited.”
“It won’t do any of us any good if we crash Kid.”
I sat back and relaxed. I knew the Kid was excited and flying too fast, but I trusted his ability. I trusted him with my life. It’s funny how you can learn to trust a complete stranger in such a short time. I looked out the windows as the land flew past us. If it weren’t for the government, I could see myself living out here. Prime had its beauty, but I think I’d prefer earth more.
“There it is sir, just up ahead. It doesn’t look like anything has changed in two years.” the Kid said.
Up ahead I could see a house with fields all around it. Not far from the house were a few out buildings, including a large barn. The different shades of color lulled me into a semi sleep and before I knew it we had sat down beside the barn.
“My whole family will be out here in a minute to greet us, sir. I would imagine they are going to have guns, so we’re going to stay in here until they see me. Okay?”
“That sounds like a plan Kid. I don’t feel like getting shot today.” I answered, fully understanding why they would do what the Kid suggested.
After a short time I saw a group of people, with guns, standing in front of The Rose. The men all had scowls on their faces. They all had the same build as Andrews, short, but powerful. The older woman standing there was looking in and I saw her face change from concerned to overjoyed in seconds. She started pointing at the Kid and shouting. I couldn’t hear what was being said, but it wasn’t too hard to figure out. The men all lowered their guns and I saw big smiles come onto their faces.
“You ready to meet my family sir?”
“Yea Kid, I am. Let’s go.” I answered, truly ready to get out of this boat for a little while.
We made our way to the rear of the Rose and the Kid opened the bay door. I could hear his family running to greet him. When the door was fully opened Andrews stepped out and was rushed by his entire family. I decided to hang back for a few minutes and give them some privacy.
“Get out here sir!” I heard Andrews yell.
I made my way down the ramp. I had gotten a little better being around people while on earth, but I still wasn’t the best around a lot of people. Standing in front of me were four men and four women. The men were all carbon copies of each other. The women were as different as you could get.
“Lieutenant Levy, this is my family. Family, this is Lieutenant Levy, my commanding officer.” Andrews said with a smile on his face.
I had never seen the Kid smile so broadly. Looking in his eyes all I could see was the utter joy he was feeling with being with his family.
“It’s a pleasure to meet all of you. Andrews has told me all about you all.” I stammered, not really sure of what to say.
The older man looked me up and down, smiled and stuck out his hand in greeting. I took his hand and shook it like I had been taught as a kid.
“You brought my boy home. You are always welcome in my home.” he said, with tears rolling down his face.
The older woman ran to me and hugged me like I hadn’t been hugged since I left Prime two years ago. At first I was hesitant, I didn’t know this woman other than from the things the Kid had told me. After a few seconds though I could feel tears coming into my own eyes and I held her as tightly as she was holding me.
“John showing emotion, that’s not something you will see everyday people.” the Kid said, smiling, with tears running down his own face.
“Welcome home boys.” Andrews father said.
“Thank you sir.” I replied, letting go of the mother. “I really don’t want to end this right now, but we have to hide the Rose. No one can know we are here.”
The look on his fathers face changed almost immediately.
“Are you boys in trouble?” he asked.
“No dad!” the Kid replied. He looked over at me and winked, “We’re on a secret mission. No one can know that we are here because we will give everything away.”
“We heard the Flower had blown up. We thought we lost you.” his mother said.
“I know mom. Let us hide the Rose and we’ll sit down and have a very long talk about what’s going on. Okay?”
They all nodded and the brothers set out covering the Rose with tarps and hay bales. In a matter of half an hour, the Rose was almost invisible. They left the bay door clear of obstructions, but covered it with a tarp.
“Okay boys, you have some story telling to do.” he said to the Kid and I. “Boys, get your chores done and then come in.” he said to the brothers.
They made their way off and we made our way inside.
“No talking yet!” Mrs. Andrews said. “I have to feed my boy and his friend. They must be starving.”
“Yes mother” Mr. Andrews said.
The house we were in was huge. Everything in it looked homey and comfortable. I think the Kid was going to have a lot harder time trying to convince his family than he thought he would. I was led to a dining room table that looked like it could fit twelve with no problem.
“Mother said no talking yet, but I want to make sure you boys aren’t in any trouble. If you are, we will figure out what to do.”
“Dad, we really aren’t in trouble. We’re here for a reason. I want everyone here before we start talking, so that everything is out in the open and you can all analyze what we’re going to say to you. There is no trouble.” he paused, “Well, there is no trouble as long as people don’t find out we’re here.”
He looked over at me to see if he was saying the right thing.
“Listen Kid, we’ve had a while to think about how to tell this to our families. I still haven’t figured it out. You’re doing fine.”I told him.
“Listen dad, let’s put this all aside for right now. As soon as the boys get in and we eat, we’ll tell you everything.”
“That’s fine son. I just want to make sure my boy isn’t in over his head in something.”
We both laughed at that. In over our heads? Yes, we were, but not in the way he was thinking.
“I don’t know what made you both laugh, but I am intrigued. We’ll put it aside for now. You boys seem close. Have you known each other long?”
“No sir.” I answered. “We only met a short time ago, but the circumstances we found ourselves in made us depend on each other more than we would have thought. I truly think of Mike as my brother.”
“It’s nice to know my boy had someone to depend on in whatever you two found yourselves in.”
“Sir, can I ask a favor of you?” I asked.
“Absolutely John. What is it?”
“Could you discreetly find out if my family still lives outside of Capitol City?” I asked, giving his the address I had for them. “I’m sure they haven’t moved, but I want to make sure.”
“That will only take a moment. The new communication devices will tell us who lives at whatever address we put into it.”
He got up from the table and walked over to a vid screen and typed the address I had given him in.
“John and Mary Levy and a little girl named Sonia. That your family John?”
“Yes sir.” I answered
I felt a tug of excitement pull at me. Soon, soon I would get to see my family. I hoped they were ready for what I had to tell them.
“Would you like me to send them a message?” Mr. Andrews asked.
“No sir, but thank you. If there is a chance someone outside of my family can read that message, it can’t be sent.” I said.
“There’s always that chance John, since you’ve been gone the government has gotten worse. If there were a way for me to leave this God forsaken place, I’d do it in a second.”
I looked at the Kid and smiled. Maybe it wouldn’t be as hard as I thought.
“Breakfast is ready!” Mrs. Andrews yelled. All of the women started bringing in platter after platter of food.
“You’re in for a treat Levy, my mom is the best cook in the world.” I saw him turn red, “You’re a good cook to Levy, but mom is the best.”
“I can’t wait to try the food than.”
“The food was delicious Mrs. Andrews.” I said. I hadn’t eaten that much in, well forever.
“I’m glad you enjoyed it John.” she said.
I couldn’t help but wonder if I would get the same reception when I got home. If I did, I was going to be an overweight leader of the new community.
“Okay folks, the greetings are done, the food is eaten, it’s time for some talk.” Mr. Andrews said.
The Kid looked over at me, I think unsure of where to start.
“Do you all know the story of how we came to be on Prime?” I asked. They all nodded. “I’m going to go over it a little just to refresh your memories. It is pertinent to everything we are going to talk about.”
With that I went over a brief history of the things that had happened on earth that caused us to flee and find a new place to call home. I went over the wars and natural disasters and everything else I could think of.
“When we got to Prime the Academy and Corps were set up. Our restrictive form of government came into being. The freedoms we thought we were fleeing to, became a thing of the past. True freedom isn’t something that we truly know or understand here.” I said.
“We know all of this John. How is this helping us understand what happened to you two?” one of the brothers asked. I’d really have to try and remember their names if they were going to come with us.
“Just over two months ago the Kid and I were sent to do an exploration of a planet that we found. While we were on the planet, the Flower exploded, killing those on board.” I paused to let that sink in. “Andrews and I were stuck on a planet with no people and no knowledge of the flora and fauna around us. All we had was The Rose, and she was a close orbit explorer.”
“You survived though.” Mrs. Andrews said.
“Yes we did mom, but barely.” The Kid took over. “We did everything we could to survive. A lot happened though. We almost starved. The Rose caught on fire. We were almost attacked by wild animals. It wasn’t easy.”
“I’ll let Mike tell you the details of what happened to us if he wants to later on. The most important thing is, we were close to starving, we had finally found something that would feed us for a few days and we were overjoyed. As we were pulling the animal, we now know it is a turtle, out of it’s burrow, a group of men surrounded us. To say we were shocked would be an understatement. None of the readings we took showed any form of human life, but we were surrounded by a group of twenty men..” I paused, thinking over what had happened. If It hadn’t been for John and his people, my people, I don’t know if the Kid and I would have survived.
“Who were these people? I imagine they were primitives.” said Mr. Andrews
“That’s what we thought. They saved our lives even though their leader wanted to just kill us at first.” I said.
“Why would they want to kill you though? Had you done something they considered illegal?” asked Mrs Andrews.
“Yes, we did. They consider certain areas of the planet sacred, though not in a religious context. Mike and I had trespassed onto one of those areas. We had taken food from it, though very little. Those things are illegal in those sacred areas. John, their leader accepted our apologies. We later learned exactly why, but I’ll tell the story in order.”
“These people sound kind of heartless if you ask me.” one of the brothers said.
“No Magnus they aren’t. Once you get to know them, and they you, they are the most loving and kind people I have ever met. They just protect those certain areas, if that means killing the people who trespass, so be it. You just wait, no I’m not going to tell you yet.” Andrews said to the brother that I thought was the oldest.
The Free People are very loving and kind, there was no doubt about that. They could be cruel, but only when it was deemed, after long consideration, that it was the only way to deal with a given situation. At first I thought they were very unfair in the way they cast judgments, but as I learned their society, I learned that the way they did things was the most fair way of doing things. Thinking about them made me miss being with them. Soon I hoped.
“Go on with your story John” Mr. Andrews said.
“Your son, being the person that he is, had been giving me most of his share of food without my knowledge. After their leader had accepted us, Mike passed out. I saw the first true sign of the compassion these people really have. They took us back to the camp we had set up and after a day, had us healthy and a full of food for the first time in days. If I’m honest, I was suspicious of them, especially their leader John. Our camp had been destroyed and the fire on the Rose bothered me a lot. I found out that while they had destroyed our camp, to try and get us to leave, they had nothing to do with the fire. In fact, if it weren’t for them, we would have probably lost the Rose all together.” It seemed so long ago, but it was just over a month ago when all this happened. So much had happened, I still had trouble taking it in.
“That doesn’t sound like the Mike I know. He always tried to hog all of the food.” One of the other brothers said. Andrews punched him in the arm and started to laugh.
“I have to tell you Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, if it weren’t for your son, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you. He’s young, but he has a heart of gold. You should be proud of the man he’s become. If we were going to the authorities, I would tell them that he needed a promotion and a commendation for the things he did.” I said.
“Shut up Levy, they don’t want to hear that.” the Kid said, his face turning all shades of red.
“Yes they do Kid. They should know who you have become since you’ve been away.” I looked over at him again and put a stern look on my face, “Don’t tell a superior officer to shut up either. I’ll have you thrown in the brig for that.”
“Oh, I’m real scared Levy. Just remember, you need me to make your way back!” he said with a smile.
“Boys! I see you two have become close, but there is a story being told.”
“Yes ma’am. Sorry.” I said. Everyone was smiling and I could see that Mrs. Andrews was holding back laughing.
“You’re always getting us in trouble Levy!” The Kid said, laughing so hard he almost fell of the chair he was sitting on.
“It was decided,” I continued, “that some of us would head back to the Rose, and the other part would go and break down the camp of the people who had found us. Mike asked for permission to go and I gave it to him, reluctantly. I still wasn’t sure of the people we were dealing with, but your son can be annoying when he doesn’t get his way, so I let him go. He can tell you the story of his trip later.” I hated doing all this talking.
“We journeyed to the Rose and I welcomed them to our camp and offered its protection.” I said
“Wait a minute!” Magnus interrupted. “How were you communicating? You are acting as if you all spoke the same language.”
“We were. John and his people, they are called The Free People, speak perfect Anglic.” I let that set in for a few seconds.
It had been a surprise to us too. We couldn’t figure out how they spoke the same language as we did. It was helpful, but it hadn’t made much sense to us.
“I will get to exactly why later in the story, just be patient. John sent a couple of his men out to gather food and we had a feast. We had decided to leave for John’s village the next morning. The next morning, Mike and the people he was with were late. One of the men had been showing off to Mike and had dislocated his hip. Once they got back to the Rose Mike and I were able to get it back into place and get the man comfortable. John asked if the hurt man and a few others could stay until the man was fit for travel. I agreed. Mike asked if he could stay because he felt partially responsible. I agreed with that as well.” That had been a hard decision to make.
“Did you trust them” Mrs. Andrews asked
“I was starting to.” I paused to think about that. “To be honest, I actually did, there was something about these people that made them trustworthy. They were keeping secrets, I knew that, but I trusted them with my life, and more importantly, with Mike’s.”
“What secrets?” she asked.
“A lot of them. They were doing it for a reason though. They wanted to learn what kind of man I was. They accepted Mike almost immediately, I was another story. I was the leader. They wanted to see how I handled myself along the journey to their home. They are very particular about whom they let into their home.”
“They don’t seem that trustworthy to me” said one of the brothers.
“I can understand why you would think that, but you would have to know them to understand what I mean. It was just the way they carried themselves. Every action they took was never meant to harm anyone, just to see our reactions. At first, I didn’t show myself very well, but I was afraid, and other than the Kid, I felt completely alone, so I lashed out. Mike was the one who showed me the proper way to act.”
My actions would have cost us our lives if it hadn’t been for the Kid. He somehow intuitively knew what to do. He saved us more than once on that rock and I don’t think there will ever be a way for me to repay him.
“The journey from the Rose to the Free People’s village took a couple of days. Along the way I learned about their government, which I find very appealing. I also learned about their justice system and the way their villages are set up. They are a very interesting people. They also have a very good sense of humor, I was on the receiving end of that at least one time that I can remember. It made me angry at first, but after thinking about it for a while, I saw that the reason they did it was because they liked me.”
“What did they do?” Mr. Andrews asked.
“There was this river we had to cross. It wasn’t very wide, but it was fast and deep at the place we needed to cross. They had set up a rope bridge to cross it. I’m really not one for heights and the thought of crossing that river on a bunch of ropes scared me. I did it though. I conquered my fear. When John and I got across everyone started laughing. I was confused and I thought it was some ritual they had. It wasn’t. If we would have traveled a few miles south, there was a ferry we could have used to cross. They did it as a joke and to see how I would handle it, to say I didn’t find it very funny would be an understatement. It took me a few hours to get over that.”
Everyone in the room had smiles on their faces. Thinking back to it made me smile myself. They were a great group of people and I couldn’t wait to get back to them. I glanced up at the clock and realized I had been talking for an hour. I don’t think I had ever spoken for that long in my life.
“Do you folks mind if we take a break so I can get my thoughts in order?” I asked
“Absolutely John. We need to get a little work done. How about we come back and finish this after lunch.” Mr. Andrews said
We all got up and everyone went to do whatever it was they did. The brothers grabbed the Kid and took him off and I just wandered out the door.