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Rewriting/revisiting old stories? (Story now included)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:08 am    Post subject: Rewriting/revisiting old stories? (Story now included) Reply with quote

I'm curious how often people do this. I almost never let a story idea or setting die. Even the really awful stuff I used to make up as a kid often gets revisited, rewritten, and turned into something readable. Am I alone, or do you often go back to your old stuff?

I'm currently doing that with a sci-fi story that I wrote in my first year of college. It was just a short story, and not a very good one, but lately I had some better ideas, and am working on making it into the first chapter of a novel. But first I have to re-write it entirely, because there's hardly a line in it that couldn't use some serious fixing up.

Fuzzy stuff!

Last edited by SPark on Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well i don't know about redoing anything in its intierty but i do like to go back though and add little things that usualy just make the sory longer and most of the time have no real meaning to the story but i thought would be funny.
to each their own
"a riot is at bottom the language of the unheard." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"you can get more with a kind word and a gun than you could with just a kind word." Al Capone
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh I keep every little orphan I put to words. I may not always use them but the ideas that sparked them tend to get used over later.
"Liven a dream, Oh you're on top. My mind is aching, oh it won't stop. That's how it happens, living life by the drop."- Life by the drop. Stevie ray Vaughan.
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Sparky Lucario [TGL]
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's a good idea to rewrite a story, if you've improves your writing skills. Take my "The Legend of the Magical Eevee" story I done back in February/March, that was typed up in SCRIPT form, since at the time that was the only way I could do things. Now I can do paragraphs and so on, so I'm gonna rewriting the story, but keeping nearly everything, except it'll be in paragraphs.
TGLucario - Scouse About!

R.I.P. Rocol - Only The Good Die Young
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I figured I'd share the one I'm currently working on. Opinions on the old story are welcome of course. Opinions on the new story are more useful though.

Old Version wrote:


She looked very fragile and small in the big empty room. She was young, not more than twelve, perhaps thirteen years old, slender, pale skinned, with big green eyes that made her look very vulnerable if you didn’t look too close, and short cropped red hair. Hardly the image of a dangerous warrior. But the guards who stood outside the door had been warned to take no chances with her. They wondered at their instructions, but followed them carefully. The child prisoner was given no opportunity for escape. But even had the door gaped open she might have made no move toward it. From the moment she had entered the room she had done nothing but lie on the cold metal floor and weep. Her sobs were broken occasionally by a single word, uttered with heart-wrenching grief. "Sister."


From the first moment that the tiny spark of intelligence that was Lauren could recall there had been the two of them. Her unformed mind had reached out instinctively and found another mind, a mind just like hers, yet different. A mind that, upon being touched, responded with a flow of joy. Lauren returned that joy in full measure. Together the two of them quested outward. There they found a third mind. But this was a cold mind, indifferent to their touch. It neither recognized their presence nor responded to it. It was thinking strange things that they couldn’t understand.

They withdrew from that alien chill into the wordless warmth of their togetherness. They did not count time in the world where they were. They floated in a warm dark nothingness. They saw nothing, smelled nothing, felt nothing, and heard only a soft humming that didn’t even register as a sound, since they had never heard anything else. Than all at once there was light and noise, bombardment from all sides. They were removed from the dark warm place and brought out into the air by mechanical things with no mind spark to hear their wordless protests.
Their minds rebelled against the air, but their bodies knew better and each took a breath. In unison they squalled, suddenly able to express themselves in a new way. Their minds clung to each other for reassurance. Together they found equilibrium and ceased crying.

Impersonal hands picked one of them up. Aware now of physical separation as well as their mental individuality, the nameless infant who would be Lauren watched through eyes just learning how to focus as a large white shape picked up another infant. The link between them told her that this squirming thing was her as yet unnamed sister who would someday be called Saren.


Saren... Saren gone, Saren surely dead. A dull ache where the familiar mental presence should be. Lauren shook with another sob. What was the point of continuing? Even if, by some miracle, she escaped, even if she accomplished their goal, what then? How could she live with her soul cut in half?

Her small frame shook with sobs. One of the guards peered in the tiny dura-glass window with an expression of pity on his face. But he had his orders. No matter how much he pitied this tiny sobbing girl, he would still obey them. He checked for the thousandth time a winking indicator light on a bulky machine that sat next to him outside the cell. This, more than the walls or the door, was what held the child prisoner. Satisfied that it was working he turned again to look in the cell.

Lauren lay still. Her sobs had given way at last to exhaustion and she slept.


Childhood had been a happy time for the two of them. They learned quickly about the world they had been born into. The cold mind full of strange thoughts was Professor. His emotions were dull, but his mind dazzled with words. At first they were puzzled by this. A mind so full of things that meant nothing, but gradually they figured out about words and sounds. Long before their untrained vocal cords and clumsy tongues could string words together they understood speech. Professor, who had another name but didn’t think of it much, was always measuring things. Mostly he measured them. He didn’t think of them with names for a long time, they were Specimen 12A and Specimen 12B, but by the time they understood that they knew enough to know that those weren’t really names.

Eventually they chose their own names. Winnowing through Professor’s mind they came up with names they liked, Lauren and Saren. About that time they started to master talking in sound words as well as mind words. They had already discovered that Professor was deaf to mind words.They were eager to be able to communicate with him. But all that happened when they spoke was that he wrote down more measurements. They tried to tell him things, but he didn’t really listen. He just put down “Speaking in full sentences at eight months, an unprecedented development. Obviously the mental enhancement techniques are a success.” Which they didn’t really understand or care about.
They gave up on Professor after that and just worked on learning. And growing. Their physical development was not nearly as fast as their mental development, but as children will they grew quickly. They discovered there were some things Saren liked better and some things Lauren liked better.

Saren figured out the house computer as soon as she was tall enough to reach the keys when standing on a chair. Lauren on the other hand discovered a gym behind one of the many doors in the place where they lived. Sometimes she wondered why it was there, since Professor never went there, but mostly she just enjoyed the many games that the gym machines could play with her. She would occasionally join Saren on her computer as Saren sometimes came and played in the gym, but they each knew what they liked best.


Lauren woke and, unthinking, reached for her sister, only to find that aching blankness. She put her head back down and sobbed some more. Saren was her other half, strong where she was weak, weak where she was strong. What could she do now that her other half was dead? That thought triggered the memory of her loss over again. Her sister’s cry or surprise, her last thoughts suddenly cut off, as if the bond between them were a rope that could be cut by some knife wielder. Suddenly she was filled with fury. A knife wielder, yes. Her sister was gone and someone had taken her away, had killed her. Maybe there was one thing she could do without Saren. She could avenge her!


Things didn’t change in the place where they lived. They didn’t think of it as home, exactly. Professor thought of it as The Lab and since Saren had discovered the computer she knew that it wasn’t like a real home where ordinary people lived. Still it was the only place they knew and they were happy there. They continued to learn from the computer. Some of the things they learned seemed to have no practical use, though that didn’t seem to bother Saren, but Lauren was delighted when one day she discovered the computer had an extensive library on a subject called martial arts. She talked Lauren into programming most of the information into the gym robots. Then she happily spent hours learning kicks, blocks, punches, and forms from all the different styles. When she discovered a particularly ancient discipline called Tai Chi that was more like a dance than a fight she even managed to get Saren to participate.


If she had known more, if I’d insisted, maybe... Lauren shook her head. Maybes weren’t going to do her any good, and it was already too late for Saren. With a determined expression on her twelve-year-old face she set about examining her prison. The room had obviously not been intended to hold prisoners. The bars covering the ventilation grill near the floor showed every sign of being hastily welded in place. No doubt the locks on the door had also been added, though Lauren couldn’t see them from the inside. Her search turned up little else. Whatever the room had held before, now it held nothing at all but her. Not even a pallet for her to lay on, just a smooth metal floor.

A smooth metal floor that vibrated faintly. Lauren blinked. She put her ear to the floor and listened. Yes, a regular vibration. A familiar vibration. There was no doubt about it, she was on a spaceship!


The first time the twins had seen a spaceship had been when they were eight. Lauren had felt Saren reach out and touch her mind. The touch was full of excitement, wonder. [Look at this!] Lauren looked out through her sister’s eyes and saw what was on the screen in front of her. It showed the barren plain that was the world outside the Lab. The sun was high in the sky, but the thin air meant that the stars were plainly visible. Neither of them had actually been outside, that would have required a space suit and there was only one, Professor’s, which was hopelessly big. But the state of the atmosphere outside was the last thing on their minds at the moment. A brilliant waterfall of fire was pouring down onto a flat area that bore the black marks of many such flames. Perched on top of the incandescent tail was the slender silver shape of an interstellar ship. They both had seen pictures of them before, but this one was right there! The roar of its landing was dulled by the almost nonexistent atmosphere, but they could feel the deep vibration through the floor.

Lauren asked curiously, [I wonder why it’s here?]

[Well,] replied Saren, [There are only three of us on this whole planet, and I don’t think the ship is because of you or me, so it’s for Professor.]

[Hmm... Would it be worth it to try and pry the reason out of him?]

[You can try if you want, but his mind is such a mess I don’t really think it’s worth it.]

[What about the people in the ship? I can tell it’s not just a drone.]

Saren considered that for a second. [No. It doesn’t really feel right to rummage around in people’s heads for no good reason. You know how much we hate Professor poking at us, and he can’t even get at our thoughts. I bet other mind blind people would really hate it.]

[You’re always too ethical! We poke around in Professor’s head often enough.]

[Yes but he doesn’t really think about anything private, just all that science and confused glory dreams all the time. For everything I’ve read I imagine that most people do have private thoughts. Besides, it’s only just revenge considering the way he tries to poke into our private thoughts. You know if he wasn’t mind blind he’d be in our heads all the time.]

[You have a point. All right, we’ll wait and see if we can con it out of them verbally.]

Lauren let got of her link to Saren’s eyes and left the gym, headed for Saren’s room where she was sitting in front of the computer screen. A few minutes later Professor came into the room. There were two men with him, both dressed in some kind of uniform. They looked coldly at the two girls. The girls looked back, turning on their considerable eight-year-old charm.

"These are the wonder kids?" The man who asked that was the older of the two, with close-cropped black hair streaked with silver.

The Professor nodded. "They are."

"They don’t look like much," said the younger of the strangers. His hair was just as short, but it was blond and untouched by gray. "Are you sure they can do what you say?"

"Oh yes!" Professor seemed almost pathetically eager to please his guests. "They can. I’ll have them give you a demonstration."

Lauren was irritated. [We’re not machines. Why are they talking about us like we don’t exist?]

[To Professor nobody exists but him, I think these are like that too, in a different way.]

[Why should we do what they want then?]

[I have a feeling that if we do things are going to change.]


[Possibly. It’s hard to tell this time.] No sign of this inner conversation showed on either of their faces. While they’d been speaking, the adults had come to a decision.

"Saren, Lauren, let’s go to the gym and show these nice men what you’ve been learning."

New Version wrote:

Chapter One

The room was small, barren and quiet. Not because it was a cell, though it was, but because it had been a store room not long ago. The contents had been removed, the door had been fitted with a sturdy lock, and the vent that gently wafted fresh air into the room had been closed off with hastily welded bars.

Outside the room stood a pair of guards, looking quite bored. They shuffled their feet or conversed in low tones now and again, but mostly they were silent. Next to them was a machine, a waist-high block of metal studded with indicators, buttons, and read-outs. It beeped softly every so often, letting the guards know that it was working as intended.

Inside the room a little girl lay sobbing on the floor.

She appeared to be about ten or eleven years old, sturdy but not stocky, with fair skin and short-cropped strawberry blonde hair. Her eyes were vivid green when they were open, but now they were shut tightly, and tears trickled from them. She cried quietly, the sobs of one who has cried herself to exhaustion.

There was a narrow slit of a window in the door, added when the lock had been, and every now and then a guard would peer in at her. But she never moved and never spoke a word, she simply cried endlessly.

Finally her sobs quieted and she slept, still and silent, on the bare floor of her cell.


They could not remember a time when they had not been together. From the instant the forming spark that was Laren became capable of thought, Saren had been there. They had reached out to each other in the warm darkness that held them, each finding a mind like her own, and yet different; self and not-self touching and communicating without words. Something like joy flowed between them as their minds joined, two separate beings who were nonetheless one.

They floated thus for a span of time that was impossible to measure. At length they gradually became aware of another mind. It came and went, passing often beyond their reach. It did not reach out to them, it stayed within itself, contained and mysterious. They were afraid and yet curious. Eventually they reached out to it, touching it as one. It did not respond to their touch. It did not even seem to recognize their presence. It was a strange mind, and the thoughts it thought were even more alien, full of things the twin minds did not understand. They had no concept of sight, and little notion of sound, so the words and images that filled the other mind seemed chaotic and senseless. More frightening still was that this mind was without joy. The emotions it felt were dark, complex, and alien, terrible and fearsome to two who had known nothing but comfort and joyful union.

They withdrew from the cold confusion, frightened and upset by what they had touched, and retreated to their warm, comfortable darkness.

Eventually there came a point where they were forced to learn what sight and sound were, and something of discomfort as well. They were pulled from the artificial womb where they had grown and introduced suddenly into a world of light and noise. Their minds rebelled against the air that now surrounded them, but their bodies knew better and each took a breath. In unison they squalled, suddenly able to express their displeasure at this change in a new way. Their minds clung to each other for reassurance. Together they found equilibrium and ceased crying.

Impersonal hands picked one of them up.

Aware now of physical separation as well as their mental individuality, the nameless infant who would be Laren watched through eyes just learning how to focus as a large white shape held another infant. The link between them told her that this squirming thing was her as yet unnamed sister who would someday be called Saren.


The girl woke some hours later. She reached for her twin, as she always had upon waking, but found nothing there. Nothing but gaping blackness. Her other half, who had always been there, was gone. She began to sob again, curling up on the floor. One of the guards outside the door peered in on her, his look having something of compassion in it, but his fellow shook his head. In a low voice he said, “It's necessary, so don't start feeling sorry for her.”

The guard nodded and looked away from the window slit to check the machine that still beeped softly beside him.

Inside the room the girl stopped crying. There were no tears left. The horrible ache of aloneness was still there, but it was joined by something else.


Someone had taken her twin away. Presumably the same someone who had put her in this cell. She would find out who, and why, and then... Then she would avenge her sister's loss.


They had been together before birth, and after birth they were joined together still. But though they were physically identical their minds were different in many small ways. So as they learned and grew they developed into distinct, though connected, individuals.

Early on they mostly learned together. They gathered courage to touch the cold, strange mind again when they were still infants, and although it was never pleasant, they gradually began to understand some of the things they found there. Images were easiest. The other mind thought mostly of incomprehensible things, thinking in sounds, and in diagrams and charts, but he pictured concrete images often enough for them to begin to learn. Their learning leaped ahead when they realized that the sounds had meaning. Long before their bodies were capable of speech their minds understood it, and in addition to the feelings that flowed between them they began to communicate with words, speaking to each other mind to mind.

The word for the cold, strange mind was The Professor. That was how he thought of himself, though he occasionally used another word, a name. He thought of the twins as Specimen 12A and Specimen 12B. He gave them no names.

They chose their own, once they had the resources to do so.

They tried to speak to him as soon as they could form words. But although he was elated when they began to ask him fumbling questions, he did not answer them. He didn't reply to them at all, his excitement was directed entirely towards his research and his records. He took extensive notes every time they spoke for the first few months, but his replies were cursory at best. He was not interested in communicating with them, only in documenting them. So they quickly stopped trying.

It was Saren, though she was still nameless at the time, who realized that they could use the lab's computer. The lab was how The Professor thought of the place where they lived. It was not a home, it was simply the lab, a modest complex dedicated to his research and isolated from all else. He had not left it in years. The computer was there primarily to help The Professor in his work, but it held an extensive encyclopedia and a small catalog of standard programs, and as soon as the twins could toddle to the keyboard and climb on a chair to reach it they were both using it to look up anything and everything. It was easier to speak to the computer, who always answered their questions, than to try and talk to The Professor. And it was more comfortable to speak to the computer, who had no emotions, than to delve into The Professor's mind.

The computer was where they found their names, picking two that sounded good to them.

The computer's world of facts and ideas was what Saren liked best, from the moment she first discovered it. Laren enjoyed reading and exploring the vast realms of history and science nearly as much, but she was less inclined to sit still. So when she discovered that the lab had a training gymnasium, full of wonderful physical games to play, she was thrilled. She spent endless hours in physical activity, running and climbing through the computerized gym's endlessly re-arrangeable obstacle courses and playing sports against the padded robots.

Then she discovered that the robots had martial arts programming, and she was in heaven. She had a competitive streak that her sister entirely lacked, and so it was wonderful to be able to test herself physically against the machines. Saren joined her often, she liked physical activity, but she wasn't as driven to beat the computer as Lauren was. Laren spent every day in fierce competition and only stopped when she was too tired to continue.

[Learn anything interesting today, sister?] Laren flopped on her bed in the little room they shared. She was six years old, slender but already surprisingly muscular.

[Actually yes. I have a guess about why we're telepathic.]

[Oh?] Laren looked up at her sister, her interest piqued.

[Yes. I mean we both know it's because The Professor designed us to be that way, though I don't think he knows he's succeeded yet, but I found something really interesting that suggests a reason why somebody would want to make psychic humans.]

[Do tell!]

[Okay. You know about the Galactic Council.]

[Sure. They're the ones that make and enforce the few big interstellar rules, about no genocide and that kind of thing. They're all super-beings.]

[Indeed. You know what exactly is so super about them?]


[Psi powers. And telepathy is the one absolute requirement for being allowed into the club.]

[I see.]

[I think it's more complicated than that, but the mass media articles on it are pretty dumbed down, and I couldn't make heads or tails of any of the technical literature about it, not even the few pieces written by humans. But as far as I can tell in order to join you have to have racial telepathic unity. A lot of them are high-powered in other ways; telekenesis, teleportation, precognition, all that stuff, and they're mostly really high tech too. But telepathy is the must have.]

[So you think The Professor is trying to get humanity put on the Galactic Council?]

[I think The Professor is just trying to show the universe that he's a genius. But we know he gets paid by somebody else, and I think they paid him to get humanity on the Council, yes. Or at least their piece of humanity.]

[Their piece?]

[Well, we're telepathic, but the races on the Galactic Council all have racial telepathy. Each race is one big happy overmind. Obviously humanity as it is now can't do that. But if we're the start of a plan to make a group of telepathic humans... I don't know enough about the rules to know if just a group would be let in if the rest of the race isn't on board, I'm not sure. But it's possible. And then you'd have one bunch of humans who'd have nearly absolute power over the rest of us, if they cared to use it. You've read enough history to know how much some humans love that sort of thing.]

[Ugh yes. But this is all just a theory, sister dear.]

[Yeah. To confirm it I'd have to go rummage around in The Professor's head.]

[Double ugh.] Laren made a face.

[Lend me support while I do?]

[Well... okay. I'll admit you've got me curious. I never thought a lot about why we were made, but now that I have I kind of want to know.]

They joined mental hands and reached out to the professor. He was thinking about the university where he had once taught when they touched him. He thought about it a lot, and the thoughts were always bitter and full of frustration. He felt that they had wronged him by forbidding him to experiment as he wished, and that they had wronged him further still when they had thrown him out for going ahead with his research anyway.

Saren touched his thoughts gently, delicately. She did not want to give away her presence in his mind, but she wanted to direct his memory towards her question. For what purpose were they, his specimens 12A and 12B, created? It was easy to nudge his mind from the university to them, for the experiments he had performed there were the groundwork of what he had done six years past when he made them.

Saren watched and listened as he remembered his early days after losing his tenure, how he had struggled for the funds needed to continue his work. And how he had been contacted clandestinely by several people who were interested in said work. Saren focused on a particular scene, carefully urging The Professor to recall it more fully.

“You understand I can't promise anything. With your resources I will be able to get the necessary genetic information, certainly, but whether it will prove compatible with human DNA, that I don't know. Can't know, even, until I venture the experiment.”

“I understand. But they say that you are the foremost expert in species morph genetics.”
It was a woman speaking. The Professor remembered her only dimly, he had not seen her often. But this conversation was vivid in his mind.

“Yes.” Saren could taste his pride. “Partly, you no doubt know, because morphs of sentient species are now illegal to make, so few bother to experiment any further. But yes, there is no one else with my knowledge and expertise.”

“Then you are our best hope. We have... lofty goals. Someday humanity will stand on the Galactic Council,” the woman said.
Saren nearly broadcast her excitement to The Professor, but choked back the mental “Yes!” just in time. “If we leave it in the hand of nature that day may be thousands, even hundreds of thousands of years away. But if we act now our children might be second only to God. The Council doesn't forbid morphs, after all, that's a law of the Empire, and the Council cares nothing for such things.”

“Indeed, indeed. I would be proud to be part of such an endeavor. To jump ahead half a million years in human evolution in a single generation... yes, I would be very proud.”

The memory drifted away into dreams of honor and power. The university had rejected him, and the laws of the human Empire had taken everything away from him, but the other races of the galaxy would one day hail him as the true genius he was, and they would force humanity to recognize his greatness as the man that had uplifted humans to the next level of civilization...

Saren pulled free of his mind with a grimace of distaste. [Well, looks like I was right! Man, he sure has a one track mind.]

[Yeah. I don't think it's worth touching him again, frankly. It's almost creepy how obsessive he is. And how little he thinks of the law. I've looked that one up, I know you have too. It's there for a reason! The horrible failures when they made things that didn't actually work, the slave wars and all the chaos that came from them, and the way morphs still get treated today... Humanity doesn't need any new morphs!]

Saren sent a wordless assent and sighed. [But this means we're morphs you know.]


[The memory. The Professor said something about getting genetic material from somewhere else that might not be compatible with human DNA. That's what he used to make us telepathic. So even though we look human, we're not really. We're morphs.]

[Oh. Well, but people won't treat us any differently, they can't see it.]

[Yeah. Though maybe that's worse, kind of. It's not fair to the morphs who do get mistreated.]

[Yeah.] Lauren shrugged. [We can't do anything about that though.]


Saren was silent for a while, thinking. Laren could feel that she was trying to make a decision. She could have looked into her sister's mind and seen what, but she didn't. They were always connected, but they were still two separate people. Their concept of privacy was fairly unusual, but they had one. They seldom took thoughts not willingly shared.

[I think I want to know what we are,] said Saren silently. [We're mostly human, but what is the other piece, the bit that makes us morphs?]

[That means going into The Professor's mind again though. I really don't want to.] Laren broadcast her distaste. She hated The Professor's obsession with fame and success, and she hated even more the way he constantly thought bitter, angry thoughts about nearly everyone in his past. It disturbed her.

[I don't like it either sis, but I really want to know. I can go alone though, if you like. Just be here, to be sane and not crazy like he is, when I get back, okay?]

Laren sent her sister a silent chuckle. [Sure thing.]

Laren waited as Saren reached out. She couldn't see The Professor's thoughts, but she could still, as always, sense Saren's reactions to what she found. At first her twin simply concentrated, no doubt guiding The Professor's thoughts in the desired direction. Then Laren felt a jolt of shock quickly followed by a wave of horror sweep through Saren. Her twin flung herself into Laren's mental arms, and Lauren quickly went to sit by her physically as well.

[It was awful! How can he be that way? How can anyone be that way?!]

[I'm here sis, it's okay. We already knew he was crazy.]

[Yes but this!] Saren's thought was full of jumbled images, she was too upset to give Laren a coherent narrative. Laren caught snatches of an alien face, huge green eyes framed by short, golden fur. It was a Tcherik, one of the few races on the Galactic Council that dealt regularly with “lesser” races. They were highly social, and extremely fragile, the product of a low-gravity world. They were also pacifists. But the face in Saren's mind was blood-stained, the eyes staring blankly. It was dead. And mixed in with the tumbled images of plots and violence that surrounded that one vivid picture was the hot-and-cold ambition of The Professor. His only emotions about the dead alien were regarding what he would do with its genetic material. The secondhand emotional traces that Laren sensed were the same feelings he always had, pride and bitter hatred of those humans who had wronged him. For the murdered alien he felt nothing.

[We're part Tcherik then,] Laren sent. She pictured the images she'd seen on the computer screen, and sent the pictures to Saren, along with soothing feelings of calm. Saren should think of all the things she knew about the Tcherik, she should replace that dead image with living images of the wonderful things their almost-relatives had done.

Eventually Saren calmed down and smiled at her twin. [Thanks.]

[No problem. Now that we know about this, you should read up on the Tcherik. I hardly know anything about them, other than that they're on the Council and that they build wonderful sculptural buildings on low-grav worlds.]

[I should, you're right.] Saren hugged Laren and rose from where she'd sat on her bed. [I'll let you know what I find.]

[That's fine. I just want to lie here and do nothing for a while, I'm still tired.]

After her sister left Laren lay and stared at the ceiling. It really upset Saren to see that dead alien, she thought quietly, just to herself. But it didn't bother me. I wonder if I'm like The Professor then? I can't see myself ever killing somebody. Certainly not just for some stupid research project! Maybe if it was to defend my life... Or to defend Saren. She's so smart, I think she's smarter than I am, but she seems so much more fragile now. I've never seen her that upset. But then maybe I'm wrong about all this, and it's just that she saw it direct from The Professor's mind, and I saw it indirectly, so it didn't affect me as much.

Laren considered that for a while. There was a way to find out if that was the case. She had said she wouldn't touch The Professor's mind again. She didn't like it at all. But this seemed important enough to try. She reached out. The Professor was still thinking about the work he'd done, merging the alien genetic material of the Tcherik with human DNA. It was easy enough to nudge him gently to recalling that image. Laren saw it directly, and she felt a sort of sick horror at how cold The Professor was about it. He'd needed something, and he had gotten it, that was all. He might as well have slaughtered an animal, he would have felt just the same.

Yuck. Laren withdrew. I'm not touching that again. But I'm still not as bothered as Saren was. I guess we're different that way. Maybe someday I'll find out if I can kill somebody. But I kind of hope not. Or at least not any time soon.


The girl, who still lay on the floor, opened her eyes and began to look around. She gathered her anger to her as a shield. It would protect her from her grief, at least until its purpose was served. She had wondered once if she could kill. Feeling the hot flame that burned in her now she knew she could.

She rose to her feet and went to the door. The small slit of a window there provided her with a narrow view of the hall outside. She had to stand on her tip-toes to see out, but she could just spot the two guards and their accompanying machine. She reached out to touch their minds... and found nothing. For one disorienting moment she wondered if they were androids. Then she looked again at the machine that sat and beeped quietly. She had never seen a machine like it before, but she knew that there were machines that could provide a limited sort of telepathy to ungifted humans. Perhaps then there were matching machines that blocked the minds of those with telepathic abilities.

She sat down on the floor to think this over. Without her mental abilities she was handicapped. But she had other advantages. She'd been designed to have them. As she was mulling over possibilities something else suddenly sprang to mind. If the machine outside was cutting her off from touching other minds, then... then it was possible that her twin was still alive!

She shook herself. She couldn't pin her hopes on that chance. It might be true, but it might not. And in either case she needed information, which meant either computer access or, barring that, getting out of range of the machine. Hopefully the fact that it sat directly outside her cell meant that it had a limited range. But to get out of range she would need to get out of the cell... The air vent was big enough for someone as small and slender as she to crawl into, but the bars on it might be a problem.

The girl levered herself up off the floor, but as she did so she finally noticed what had been there all along. The floor was vibrating with an all-pervasive hum. A deep, multi-toned, almost melodic hum. A familiar hum.

The hum of a spaceship in flight.


[Laren! Come look!] Saren reached out and pulled Laren in to look through her eyes. She was looking at a screen, where a camera outside the lab showed the barren surface of the moon it sat on. A brilliant waterfall of fire was pouring down onto a flat area that bore the black marks of many such flames. Perched on top of the incandescent tail was the small, dark shape of an interstellar ship's landing shuttle.

[Another supply run?] asked Laren.

[No. There are minds out there. Feel them?]

[People! But nobody has ever come here before.]

[Yeah. I wonder why they've come?]

[We could find out,] suggested Laren.

Saren hesitated. [I don't know...]


[Well... I'm not sure it's right to read people's minds without permission.]

[Huh?] Laren was puzzled. [But we used to read The Professor's mind all the time.]

[Yeah. But that's different. We usually needed to, for one thing. And given the way he constantly pokes and prods and questions us, I think it's only fair. These people haven't done anything to us.]

[Well... They don't feel hostile at least. I can't help but read that much. So I guess it's not a matter of life or death.]

[Yeah. They're probably here because of The Professor. I guess we could pull it out of his mind...]

[You shouldn't. You know how much it upset you the last time.]

Saren sighed. [Yeah. But I want to know things! And when it comes to things about us he's the only source. Anyhow it's been nearly two years since the last time I touched him. Practically forever ago. I think I'd be fine if I did again...]

[I'm just as happy not knowing any more than we do, you know that. Leave it alone.]

Saren gave in, as she usually did, to Laren's determination. [I guess. Hopefully we'll get to talk to them and find out why they came the usual way.]

They watched together as the shuttle settled delicately to the ground and masked figures emerged. The air outside was too thin, and had all the wrong gases, for humans to breathe it, so the masks were a practical necessity. There were only two of them, one was slightly taller than the other, and balding. The sort one had a thick crop of sandy blond hair. Both were in some sort of uniform, fairly plain and practical, of deep navy blue accented with gold.

The pair soon passed out of sight of the camera, and both girls could hear the sound as the airlock door cycled. They both hurried towards the sound, eager to finally meet someone other than The Professor.

He had beaten them to the door, and was standing there, shifting nervously from one foot to the other, while the two newcomers looked at him with hard eyes.

"General! What brings you to my doorstep today? I had not thought to see you in person for..."

The older man, presumably the general that he so addressed, cut him off sharply. "We are here for two reasons. The first is that your progress has been completely unacceptable."

"But I've made such great advances..."

"You have made nothing but two children in eight years. We cannot wait forever. By now we had planned on having a finished genome. Indeed by now we had planned on growing our own specimens. But we don't even know if your claims about your creation are true. And your excuses for failing to hand over their genome are growing thin."

"They're not excuses! You can't possibly put them into production when I don't understand why they succeeded and all the others from their and the subsequent batches have failed! Science demands that we not go forward without an understanding of the process."

"We don't care about the demands of science, we want results."


"No, no more excuses. You'll hand over the full genome for our own people to analyze and reproduce. And..." The stranger broke off and looked at the girls who were lurking in the doorway leading into the little antechamber off of the airlock. "And these are your specimens, I presume? They don't look particularly impressive. They look a bit stunted for their age, in fact."

The Professor brightened just a bit. "Yes! That's part of the design. They will always be frail and small-looking for their size. Even when they reach sexual maturity, they should go through a carefully limited puberty, leaving them looking not much older than they do now. But of course they're not frail at all. I've told you about the strides I made with muscular strength to weigh ratios in some detail. That has developed exactly as projected. Right now either of them could arm wrestle a completely unmodified adult and win. Give them another year or two and they'll be a match for anyone with the standard enhancements, such as yourselves."

"I see. I don't suppose you could arrange for some sort of demonstration?"

"Certainly! If you'll follow me?"

The professor led his visitors down a corridor, towards the gym. Saren and Laren followed behind. Laren shot her sister an irritated thought. [They were talking about us like we weren't even there. We're not just machines, even if The Professor did make us.]

[You know The Professor doesn't think of us as people. I think these others are the same way. And I'm not sure they even think of The Professor as a person. I think... I don't know. I haven't actually tried to read them, but I can't help but catch the edges of their thoughts. I think that you're not a person to them unless you're one of them.]

Laren considered what she could sense from the two strangers. [Yeah, I think you're right.]

[I wonder...] Saren's mental tone turned concerned. [If The Professor made us for them, someday they're probably going to take us away from here, to do whatever it is they had us made to do.]

[I don't really like that idea,] Laren sent. A shiver went down her spine at the thought

[Me neither.]

Their silent conversation ended when the little parade reached the gymn.

"Saren," said the Professor, "Would you mind showing these gentlemen how well you do on the ranged combat simulator?"

"Sure," said Saren. She was still unnerved a bit by the two strangers, but she also couldn't help but want to impress them. The Professor was never impressed by anything she or her sister did. Their greatest accomplishments only stoked his own ego, and he had never once praised them for anything.

That's as much as I have written on the new version. I have a little bit more of the old, but I didn't want to post the whole thing just yet.

Fuzzy stuff!
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK I haven't read through the work you just posted above, so please excuse my ignorance of the circumstance. But, as I myself am in the process of going back over some of my college work, I thought it relevant to dispense some of my wisdom.

keep in mind your work may have lesser circumstance in terms of material volume, My effing god I must have been an obsessive compulsive writer in college! (in case your wondering my college work accumulated in to three massive volumes with up to 12 short stories each.) None the less the same rules apply to this.

1. it never hurts to share a bit of your past with your readers by going back to your previous works. (I dig up a lot of childhood memories when I dredge through all of mine)

2. it can be profitable, if you are really looking to give it a go for the big game, it is always a good profit to go with material that is easily publishable and can be improved.

3. and this one is the absolutely most important, have fun doing it, and take your time! Masterworks take some serious effort, and even when most of the preparation and idea storming may be done, it doesn't necessarily mean the hard work is?

My hand hurts now I hate writers cramp. Laughing anyways hope you take my advise to heart who knows you might just get a bestseller like my work, if its sheer volume doesn't kill you first. Razz

"words are the window to the imagination."
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