It’s Friday! And as well as meaning it’s the end of the regular working week, it also means it is time for the update on how Use’Ara: Harm is going. Maybe you can guess from the title that the latest thing I wrote was the part where things (start to) go wrong for the crew of ZHaCC 193-II.
I hadn’t used to write out of order. I used to be strictly a ‘start at the beginning and write until the end’ kind of girl. That has changed while I’ve been writing Use’Ara, in a lot of ways mostly to just keep up the momentum. So when, the other day, I came to a grinding halt with the knowledge that I had to write through a couple of scenes before I got to the part where the crew wake, bleary eyed, from Stasis Sleep to a ship in crisis, about to crash on an alien world and wildly of course; a scene that was very clear in my mind and ready to be written, I put in two placeholder sentences for the missing scenes, and then set to work on the ‘disaster’ moment for the crew.
Time to atmosphere: sixteen minutes, forty-five seconds.
Lin staggered as a wave of dizziness assaulted him, and reached out a hand to steady himself against the back of a chair as he lurched across the bridge.
“Tactical confirms, Commander.” Hunt’s voice sounded stronger and steadier than a man rudely awoken from Stasis Sleep had any right to sound.
He glanced at his crewman under the deep red of the tactical lighting conditions. The shadows made the other man’s ordinarily sculptured features look gaunt and drawn, belying the officer’s wellbeing. Hunt looked up then, and his serious expression softened as he met Lin’s gaze. The colonel experienced a brief, shared understanding of how lousy he felt and offered the man a wan half-smile, and a curt nod.
As with the ‘launch’ scene, this was a very clear, very vivid scene in my mind. I knew where every person was at every point of the scene on the bridge – knew what the bridge looked like and how the ship would respond – how to hint further at the ‘alien tech’ aboard ZHaCC, and how everything would progress to the inevitable moment where they would realize that no effort of theirs was going to change the outcome, after the explosion injured Kolya and nothing they could do would make the ship respond and pull them out of danger.
“Get Kolya back to his LiSSSC. Enact emergency protocol seven.” Lin slipped his way past the ruined interface station to let Ashton help the doctor move Kolya. He still had bridge duties as part of that protocol. “Release the Protected Pods, get to the drop modules and abandon ship.”
“Aye sir,” Ashton responded with a frightened glance his way. “Emergency protocol seven.”
So now, I get to play in my sandbox that is Use’Ara Prime, and explore.