Monday, May 26, 2014

Help Wanted: Title

Serial Anthology with Less Than
Three Press. Coming Oct 2014
I'm participating in a group sci-fi serial about white & blue collar workers of space (the laymen, scavengers, dockworkers, etc). I'm having a most difficult time coming up with a title. Usually, titles come pretty easily to me. The only other time I was stumped like this was when I wrote Ruby Red.

So I thought I would throw it out there and see what y'all could come up with. If I pick your title we could do something like a $10 gift certificate (for Amazon, B&N, ARe, Bookstrand), and a dedication at the beginning of the story. Sound good?

We need some clues, don't we? Regin is a remote crane operator for a mining company and our love interest is Makari, the investigating constable. Once they were deeply in love, until an accident that almost killed both of them, separated them. Now Regin is being investigated, and Makari's presence is reviving feelings Regin thought he had put to bed long ago.With a saboteur afoot, the chances of Regin and Makari making it off the station alive is beginning to dwindle. There's also a little bit of a mystery involved, not complicated because I only had 30k to work with.

Here's a quick, unedited excerpt.


Regin

I sat in the sterile room and waited. Waiting was the worst. I knew the constables did it on purpose for the guilty squirmed unless they were self-assured, or like me who had nothing to hide. I didn't know why I'd been brought into security for questioning but I was positive I had done nothing wrong. I couldn't get into any mischief when I kept to myselfmost of the time.

Tipping the cup back, I finished off the water. It had a slight mineral aftertaste but that was to be expected living on a space station orbiting an uninhabitable planet. Everything was recycled to the inth degree. I wasn't sure if the low-level tension sitting on my stomach caused the water to taste more chemical than usual or if I simply imagined it out of sheer boredom.

The veneer of the table top pealed, either from age or from those trapped in the room with nothing to do. I scraped a dark fingernail over the clear curling bits lacquer, mentally noting I needed to file my nails gain. They had grown out enough they were turning pointed.

The door to the interrogation room opened and two constables, a Nylithian and a Brakkain, wearing blue light armored environmental suits stepped in. Did they expect me to attack them? That I knew one of the constables, at one time deeply and intimately, should've caused an emotional reaction. 

I should've been relieved because after all of the time that had gone by, I still wondered if he was okay, or panicked because I wasn't ready to see him yet, or more than likelyno, definitelycussing because I had unwittingly been duped, and that caused me to give the constables a blank face. They wanted something from me, of that I was sure of now, but I wouldn't give anything away—I hoped.

I'd known they'd require I take a serum before the interrogation. They were constables from the Fraternity, and when they questioned you, they skipped over all the stages of the interview to 'give me the correct answers' in the first meeting. They were expedient. Constables didn't beat around the bush, they pulled it up by the roots to get to the meat of the matter. That I wasn't reacting to the sudden appearance of that particular Brakkain meant they had dosed me really good with more than something to loosen my tongue. Glancing at the glass of water, I called myself every kind of fool. I hadn't expected them to be sneaky about it.

I gave my attention to the Nylithian attempting to recall my humanitarian studies from college. Of the two, he was the real threat to me. I didn't move as I looked the reptilian over. His face—and I knew his gender because the females of their race had four arms instead of two—was partially obscured by a metal cowl that sat upon his head, with the gauze-like metal covering his large eyes. Only the flat nose and the wide thin mouth were visible. Glancing down to his hands I noted he wore gloves, at least for now. The danger would come if—when he removed them.

Reluctantly, I turned my gaze to the Brakkain. Perhaps, I was a wee bit thankful for the drugs that coursed through my veins. He wasn't surprised to see me which was understandable. No constable would enter an interrogation room without knowing the background of the person they planned to question. Any hope I'd harbored dissipated under the gaze of those dark eyes.

Purposely, I looked away, stowing my questions behind my many mental shields. Now wasn't the time to renew old acquaintances. I leaned back in my chair and simply waited as if I had all the time in the universe.

The Nylithian spoke first. "I'm Constable Kwan Warthunder and this is my partner, Constable Makari Gan'Sey. Do you know why you are here today?"

"No."

Kwan seemed to be waiting for me to say more. In any other situation, I might've laughed. In all honesty, I had nothing to give him. He moved over to the wall and activated a clear screen. The movement of his hands brought up and discarded files until my company documents were on display, including the five year old photograph. How young I had appeared when I signed on with Aurora Minerals and Rare Metals.

Kwan flicked a circular dial that began the recording. "Please state your name and occupation for the record."

I slouched in my chair, acquiring a bored air. "Shouldn't you have asked me if I knew why I was here after you started the recording?"

Kwan looked at me over his shoulder, as if I was supposed to know what his expression was with half of his face covered. "Please state—"

"Regin Valenta, crane operator."

"In the last 12 months, have you sent any electronic files to Aurora's board of directors?"

"No."

"Do you or have you claimed to have evidence of life on planet TN95623."

I scratched my nose to keep from making a rude noise. "No."

"Have you, acting as a representative of the union, issued demands to Aurora Minerals and Rare Metals to open up bargaining negotiations?"

I was so mellow I couldn't even lift my eyebrows. Even so, I quickly pieced where their questioning was going. "That's blackmail." Was I sliding down further in my seat?

"Why would that be blackmail, Regin?" I scowled, or thought I did, at Kwan. Didn't he know it was rude not to look at someone when he spoke to them?

"Because there is no indigenous life on that planet. Mining a planet that contains life is against the law. The company investigates thoroughly before they send down the mining equipment."

I scowled at the water glass again. I was surprisingly wordy when a 'no' would have sufficed.

"Are you a member of the union, Regin?"

I snorted. "You know I am. Why are you wasting my time, Constable Warthunder—"

"Kwan."

I blew out a breath, suddenly weary. "Kwan," I said, relenting. I attempted to push myself up, to sit straight and my muscles had the consistency of water.

Constable Makari finally moved, pushing up off the wall from where he leaned. I tried not to watch him, but suddenly I didn't care if looking at him hurt. His healthily gray skin seemed to shine. His long hair hung loose to his waist in hues of gray, white, and silver. I remembered all too well how it felt in my fist and I longed to slip my fingers through it again, to remind myself it was a detail I recalled correctly.

*****

So what do you think. I did consider "The Space Between" but when I searched GoodReads, there was 16 pages of books with that exact title or close to it. So I stowed it away.

I'll take suggestions all week until Friday's (May 30th) post comes up.

Whatcha got?  I'm all ears.  ^_^

10 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Try again.
    Jibbed love
    (Sorry, I love puns.)

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    Replies
    1. @leaningmyself - email me at lexi.ander.us@gmail.com and let me know where you want your gift certificate from. (Amazon, B&N, ARe, Bookstrand)

      Delete
  3. Countermine?
    Digging for Deceit?

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  4. The Galactic Divide
    Worlds Apart
    Cosmic Union
    The Aurora Conspiracy


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  5. Lifting Makari. Hard hats, soft hearts. Damaged in transit. Orbital difficulties. Heavy load. Betrayed reentry. Blue collar balls. Space for lust. Failed trajectory. Standard orbit. Miner's cosmonaut..

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  6. Toxic load. Ride my crane. Going down. Toxic load. Penetrating investigation. Movement below. Atmospheric burn. Cranes need lube. Shuttle arriving.

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