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Fits and Starts

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New Day Dawns

Chapter One
--- Quote ---“I have my whole life invested in this company. We produce products people want, even if the other manufacturers are out of business,” Darrell Heine explained to me once.

His company bought assets of companies that had fallen out of favor with the Power, for whatever reason. It kept production lines going and most of the staff employed when possible. For a while this kept people employed and products on the shelves through adversity.

It was obviously a downward spiral.

Darrell Heine won Businessman of the Year and was able to give a speech to a national television audience about working hard and the value of a free economy. He only stumbled once, even though he was not a trained speaker and suffered from stage fright.

“Companies in a free economy competing for the approval of the consumer, not the government, is how innovation and advancement of the economy happens!” one line of the speech went.

Little did I know at the time that my friend had stepped in it badly.

That one line in a pretty ordinary speech was enough. First there was online chatter and raised eyebrows that this was implicit criticism of the Power. Darrell Heine had dared to suggest that his company only needed the approval of the consumers and not the Power?

Within hours the President himself had released a message that sent DH Inc shares plummeting and calls for partnered companies to cancel contracts. Supporters of the President were calling for boycotts of DH and “allies who hate the President”.

Meanwhile the Power media had began reporting that a big DH competitor's CEO had paid a visit to the leader and said complimentary things. Within days it was announced that the competitor would receive favorable tax rates and incentives.

Meanwhile one of the unfavored companies that DH had purchased the assets of was being accused of off-shoring. It was now a real possibility that DH Inc could be slapped with a 35% tax that unfavored companies were subject to at the whim of the Power.

The next time I saw Darrell it was in the back of a greasy café where he told me of plans to hide out in the wilds of Alaska. “It's a favored state, they supporting him in the election. I think I can find a safe haven there for me and my family, Matthew, if we lie low,” he said in a way that sounded like he was asking if I agreed with the idea.

With DH Inc on the outs with the leader, there was no reason not to resign and go into hiding. He just could never be safe otherwise.

“As good a plan as any,” I told him, “You should go as soon as possible.”

On the way home I ignore the panhandlers and beggars. I didn't have enough to support my own family in this failing economy, much less others. Even though it pained me to see so many feet wrapped in old clothes for the lack of shoes in this cold weather, it made me wonder how long my old pair would hold out. Snow was coming soon, after all.

I looked both ways before pushing my way into the nondescript barn-like building behind the blue house. Inside I found a hidden shop but the goods therein were becoming scarce. There were only a few canned goods, not much choice.

A few days ago I had looked in the cupboard to find a can of corn and a can of green beans. My wife hated corn, so that had been my dinner. I count the notes in my pocket before grabbing two green beans of different brands, then a box of powdered milk and one of instant mashed potatoes that was dented in one corner.

“Hi, Matthew,” the old woman Lisa Carnes said as I handed her the mess of notes, “How is little Bobby doing these days?”

“He's gotten better. Still hasn't gone back to school, though” I tell her. She nods as she counts the paper money, we both know that schools weren't a good place for kids but at least they usually got to eat something. Well, something better than we got at home these days at any rate.

Bobby usually sat on the mattress in his room and looked out the window most of the day. He had become a reclusive shut-in. Me and my wife were sort of grateful, because the world was not a nice place. We were also worried about his emotional and mental state, this was not normal for a fourteen-year-old.

“Bethany,” I say to her in a low voice after dinner.

“Hmm?” She asked, sewing a patch on one of my old pants.

“What would you think about getting out of here and trying to start over somewhere else?” I asked her, she looked alarmed at first and then her face softened and she smiled.

“Where could we go? How could we get there?” She asked wistfully and dramatically, “Didn't you apply for a job at the Infrastructure Bank?”

I look down at the hands on my lap, “That was never realistic. I made too many comments about the President online, I can't keep them from finding out. None of the state enterprises or favorable companies are going to hire me.”

She sighed, “I guess so. Still, there has to be something.”

I didn't always have the heart to tell her that I expected things to get much worse before there was a chance for it to get better. If that chance ever came, who knows when it might come?

“Alaska might be a good place,” I say and shrugged my shoulders.

“Are you planning to walk?” she asked, her eyes were smiling though.

--- End quote ---

Nice!  Thanks for posting. 

I'll update when I can, at least weekly

Setting & character intro

rough draft

No real story plot yet

---- @sneakypete


Stanley opened the file cabinet and thumbed through the contents to find the right spot to slide the folder into place. With it he closes his briefcase. It was this thing about his job that brought him satisfaction, putting things where they belonged.

Stanley is a short bespectacled man with thinning hair. He wears a crisp white button up shirt and a bow tie. The bow tie is not an affectation or a sign of character, it was just than a dangling tie could get caught up in a drawer or one of the machines he was in charge of when necessary. Stanley wouldn't hear of going without a tie at all, though; shudder the thought.

In fact not only is Stanley of the most white-bread, vanilla personage, he utterly lacks ambition and imagination. If he were the King of the Vikings, they'd never have invaded the English isles or discovered Nova Scotia. He is made of such stuff that abusing his power, even to retain the throne, would be unthinkable.

This made Stanley the perfect figure to keep order in the Universal Exchange that links and keeps track of pretty much everything that happens everywhere, all the time. A person with imagination or ambition would use such a position to, perish the thought, change things. Play God or at least play favorites and enrich themselves.

The filing cabinet was just one of trillions that Stanley is responsible for. Also he has been responsible for them for as long as he could remember. Not that it mattered. It could have been decades or centuries or epochs, but time didn't exist in this place as it did elsewhere.

A distant alarm sounded, sort of like the bugle of war but very far away. Stanley checks the readings on his holographic wrist computer.

“Oh dear, this is out of place!” Stanley utters to himself. Things being “out of place” is one of the worst possible things in his mind, the other was being “out of time”. Space and time are like longitude and latitude on a planet, they are like coordinates for the universe.

Quickly Stanley moves toward his waiting conveyance, which resembles a 1929 Ford Roadster convertible with the top down. “Sagittarius Majoris,” he intones to the vehicle, “2123832-1232”. This completes the coordinates and the vehicle takes off toward that sector. Although the vehicle was moving fast enough that everything else became a blur, it still took a good minute to reach the desired place and time index.

Stanley exits the vehicle and runs up the path between two tall rows of filing cabinets and assorted other things, as he turns a corner he spots the disturbance. Meanwhile the details of the incident appear within his briefcase, but Stanley paused long enough to take in the sight.

The creature was nine feet tall, humanoid, except that it's head was six heads all meeting at the center where they shared a mouth. Six noses and twelve eyes and six bushy heads of hair that sort of gave the impression of some bad artistic impression of a flower. This was a Sagitarian. A very confused and lost Sagitarian who was in a mild state of shock, unfortunately he wasn't the only one.

Stanley walked purposefully toward the creature and waving the file he had retrieved from his briefcase. “It says here that some sort of anomaly whisked you away from Sagittarius Majoris and deposited you into the closet of one Maylilin Disli of the planet they call Aslastia. The poor child was frightened out of her wits and nearly fell into a coma by getting a glimpse of you.”

The large Sagitarian responded, but it was short.

“Yes, yes, you've never seen a three-eyed being before and it's not your fault that you were there. The problem is that the anomaly must be hanging around your planet, possibly in some kind of orbit. It must be studied and rendered pacified,” Stanley tried to explain.

Obviously Sagitarians won't do it, being beastly and stupid. You would think they'd be more intelligent with six brains. All that wasted potential just waiting for evolution.

The creature responded again.

“About that, yes come with me. I'll get you back home to your...” Stanley checks the file, walking back toward the vehicle with a confused creature following him, “Two wives and seven children. I can't believe you can afford to support them on your waste retrieval salary.”

The creature responded.

“Oh, I see, you make them work and support you.”

The creature climbed into the passenger seat of the Roadster as Stanley got in on the opposite side.

“I'll have you back in your time and place in no time,” he assured the Sagitarian who was starting to become more animated as the shock of his circumstances wore off. They arrived at a large column-like fixture with a large transparent door.

“Just step through the door and you'll be home.”

The Sagitarian walked around the column and sniffed the doorway suspiciously.

Stanley checked the readings on his holographic wrist computer, “It's perfectly safe, I've used it often enough to send wayward beings back to where and when they belonged. All you need to do is step inside and you will be home again.”

Twelve eyes became suspicious slits for a moment but the creature sighed through its mouth and stepped inside and made a noise. The door slid shut again.

“Well, no, I didn't say it was painless. It's not completely painless,” Stanley explained as he hit the ENACT key and began walking back to the vehicle without even looking back and the creature was sucked upward with the sound of a pneumatic tube before a bright light erupted for a second and his atoms were separated and then compressed before being shoved through a singularity set toward his appointed time and place.

The Sagitarian had been properly filed back to his own time and place, where he belonged.



Reads pretty good,but if it were me,I'd loss any hint of homosexual affections like "Oh,dear!" Most file clerks all over the world are no more homosexual than most truck drivers. It's just a job/career field they "fall into" early,and the job security is what lulls them into staying. The job may not pay much or have much status,but at least the work and the pay are stable,and they can begin to think about starting families based on that stability.  Most people aren't into taking chances. They will go for the sure thing every time over taking a chance that could pay them several times more IF it works out.  They are not risk takers/adventurers. That is pretty much how it has to be because it is these people that provide the stability you need to establish and maintain a civilization. If risk takers/adventurers were the majority,chances are we would all still be members of wandering tribes.

In MY opinion,which is free and worth every nickel it costs you,if you demean the character of your main character you will alienate the majority of your readers who would have identified with him. Everybody may want to be the hero,they they identify with the typical man or woman. Pull them in with a "hero" they can identify with,and then you can get them emotionally involved as he or she evolves and morphs into becoming a risk taker and leader instead of a human drone and follower.

Don't get me wrong. Most people don't hate a homosexual of effeminate male,but they damn sure don't identify with him,either. You might as well have a main character with a third eye in the center of his forehead so he can see better. Make his foes abnormal to your hearts content. It would even help your story line because it gives you a wider world of possibilities for the personalities and actions of the opposition characters,but you can't do this with your main character any more than you can start your main character off as a Ben Hur character. Readers need a main character that grows and evolves so they get interested in following him to see "where" he goes and the process that takes him there.


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