Monday, December 1, 2014

12-1-14 Writing Warm-up
10:45 AM

12-1-14 Writing Warm-up


12-1-14 Writing Warm-up
Artwork © gerezon, All Rights Reserved - http://gerezon.deviantart.com/
Characters and Story © Brannon Hollingsworth, All Rights Reserved
Brought to you by Four Fools Press: “Crazy Good Stories”

Red ran for her life. She stumbled, she scrambled, she fell and clambered back to her feet again. Whatever she had to do to put as many miles of Martian hardpan in between her and the Agency Outpost as possible. She knew that she had precious little time. Sweat blossomed inside her EXOS-1, pouring in rivulets down her face and spine, pooling in the small of her back. She wished that she could just rub it away and out of her eyes, but breaking the seal of the External Operations Skeleton would end her far quicker than anything the Agency would do to her. While the EXOS-1 made her far stronger, faster, and more resistant to damage—even the tiniest crack in the rubber seals or the reinforced T-glass would result in her horrifically quick and painful asphyxiation.

‘Which…’ she mused grimly to herself, scrabbling over a red ridge of iron-oxide rock, ‘…might be a preferable option to slow torture and death at the Agency’s hands.’ That is, if she was able to make it to the Drop-off.

Which was a big ‘if’; a really big one.

Red checked her Inth-gauntlet, swiping away all of her bio-stats and enviro-readouts that appeared by default. Her fingers danced across the built-in screen, summoning the satellite imagery of her current location and calculating the distance to the Drop-off. She knew that it would only truncate her timeline. The moment that the Agency detected the satellite linkage, they would track it back to her, find her position, and if they’d not already discerned what she’d stolen, they would quickly begin putting all the pieces together. In short, Red had just upped the ante in a major way. It didn’t matter, however, as Red had to know where she was and where she was headed. She was flying blind. The Agency had rarely let the Agents outside of Areas, and they never let them enter into the Deserts, not even with an escort.

To make matters worse, the sun was beginning to rise.

Red depressed her thumb and index finger together on her right hand and the EXOS-1 deployed its Sol-shield Unit: large, mantra-ray-like-wings extended from the neck of the suit, affording dorsal protection from the fierce, sizzling solar radiation while simultaneously using the sun’s blazing rays to add to the power cells within the protective suit. Ironically, the end effect of this cutting-edge advancement looked like something out of the Middle Ages: an old-fashioned hood and cloak.

Red keyed her built-in mic. “Red to Black. Red to Black. You out there, Black?”

The reply came in thready. Black was using that low-powered portable unit. “Black here. We are in place, awaiting your arrival. What’s your outlook?”

Agent Red galloped-slid down a scree-filled hill, scattering rocks and dust in a mini-avalanche. Panting from her exertion, Red replied, “Not good, Black. Coming in with company. Still one click outbound.”

There was a long pause and then the single word, “Damn.”

Red didn’t bother to reply, opting instead to channel her precious breath towards furiously pumping her legs to drive her up out of the crater, beyond the next rise, to the expanse of stone-strewn flats beyond. Every step decreased the distance. Every breath drew her closer to her destination. She had to make the Drop-off. She had to get there in time. Too much depended on it. The future—everyone’s future.

Like a comet, a black object rocketed down from the hazy red Martian sky and slammed into the small crater like the punch of an angry god. The sheer force of the impact blasted Red forward, tossing her like a straw-filled doll. As she scrambled back to her feet, still crab-walk-running towards her destination as quickly as possible, a massive ebon behemoth rose from the cloud of dust and ash.

A booming voice that caused the very rocks to shudder and vibrate stormed out of the titanic robot. “Cease, Officer-Agent Red 13. By the Authority of the Agency, you are under arrest for theft of Agency Secrets and High Treason. Cease now or be annihilated.”

“Bite me, Bucket-head,” Red replied, making sure she keyed her mic for external projection. She knew it was an empty threat. With what she was carrying, there was no way they would take her out.

Emotionless blue eyes blazed like lightning behind a thunderhead with a surge of raw, churning power. Massive legs began pounding the red Martian soil like colossal jackhammers, sending plumes of white, red, and grey dust into the air. The Wayward Officer Locator/Fetcher, or W.O.L.F., gave chase to the rogue Agent Red.

Red ran.

***

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