I wasn't going to post any excerpts from my NaNo (working title Children of the Stars), but this bit turned out to be really good. The overuse of dialogue tags and absence of contractions is a bit distracting, but perfectly fair under the rules of NaNoWriMo. So, it's Chapter Eleven, and Aidan and Savana Qqayle (our heroes from Countless as the Stars, reprising their roles) are contemplating their adventures so far...
'It has been quite a trip, hasn't it?' Savana said, sitting in the small but comfortable guest quarters in the Lomas Two settlement.
'You can say that again,' Aidan said emphatically. 'I think the only thing that might have made it more interesting would have been if my wormhole trip had ended up taking me further afield than it did.'
'Not too far afield, I hope,' Savana said. 'Not back to Tellus, I mean.'
'No,' Aidan agreed. 'Nor as far in the other direction.'
'What were you thinking then?' Savana asked.
'Oh, maybe if it had left me out by the outer rocky planets. Then I could have explored some really new territory,' Aidan said. 'That would have been really interesting.'
'You should do that,' Savana said. 'Take Gally with you though. You two could do with a male bonding trip.'
'Oh, oh,' Aidan said excitedly. 'What if we ended up at Lomas Five or Six, and found the missing StarCities out there.'
'Why would they still be out there? Wouldn't they be able to tell the rest of us were nearby?' Savana asked.
Aidan shrugged. 'Maybe they are trying to get here,' he suggested. 'Or maybe they are deserted. Maybe everyone died by now.'
'Everyone on a StarCity cannot die,' Savana objected. 'They are designed specifically so that cannot happen.'
'Maybe they contracted a virulent disease form a dirty telephone,' Aidan suggested. 'Or had a bloody civil war. Or encountered a stray wormhole...'
'All fairly unlikely,' Savana said.
'Yes,' Aidan agreed, 'but it would have been an interesting trip.'
'Granted,' Savana agreed. 'It would have taken a long time though, wouldn't it?'
'Well, yes,' Aidan agreed, 'but on the other hand, there is no way we should have been able to see as much of the system as we have done in so little time.'
'Hmm,' Savana said. 'So what you are saying is that you should have taken Gally off on your little wormhole trip, harnessed the power of sub-space travel-'
'Sub what now?' Aidan interrupted.
'That is what we will call it,' Savana said. 'The place where the wormholes go will be called sub-space.'
'Isn't that a bit Star Trek?' Aidan asked.
'Well, yes,' Savana admitted, 'but that also makes it a well known and readily identifiable mechanism.'
'Right,' Aidan said, bemused.
'So anyway,' Savana went on. 'You two discover this, then go off and explore the outer planets-'
'And discover a ghost city,' Aidan interjected.
'If you insist,' Savana said. 'And then we go off on our jolly across the system.'
'Exactly,' Aidan agreed.
'Actually, that would make more sense,' Savana said.
'In what way?' he asked.
'Well, Gally and I came out on this big quest,' she explained. 'To try and cure the infertility on Lomas Prime.'
'Yes,' Aidan said. 'What happened with that?'
'Well, nothing,' Savana said. 'Which is my point. Maybe the big quest should have been to find you.'
'But that would be impossible,' Aidan said.
'Not if Gally had been researching wormhole phenomena all his life,' Savana said.
'Yes,' Aidan agreed. 'That could be what he was doing at the beginning of the story, when the lights went out.'
'Aidan, stop talking as if you're a character in a NaNo novel,' Savana said.
'Ok, sorry,' Aidan said.
'Did we ever hear what happened there?' Savana said. 'About the power cut?'
'We did not,' Aidan said with a smile. 'But the readers did.'
Savana threw a cushion at him. 'Nobody reads NaNo novels,' she said.
'Well, if they did,' Aidan said, risking her wrath again, 'they might have seen that Gally was blamed for the power outages by his boss, and he volunteered to come with me in order to get away from her and the settlement that she turned against him.'
'That could be awkward when we get to return,' Savana said.
'Extra point of conflict,' Aidan said, knowingly. 'Just what a NaNo novel needs!'
'Er, quite,' Savana said, bemused.
'Well go on then,' Aida prompted. 'What would you have put in if our lives were a NaNo novel?'
'I think Gally needs a girlfriend,' she said.
'I think he needs two,' Aidan said. 'Conflict, remember?' he added in response to Savana's glare.
'Whatever happens to the Straker twins?' Savana asked. 'Weren't they supposed to appear in this boo- er, part of our lives?'
'Good question,' Aidan said. 'Still, there, er, would probably be a good twenty thousand words to go at this point, so they could still turn up.'
'Twenty thousand, you reckon?' Savana said. 'Well, what do you think will happen to us next then?'
'Well, I imagine that we will press Gally into a relationship with that Sharita girl,' Aidan said.
'Oh, she is nice,' Savana said.
'But she will turn out to be barren,' Aidan said, 'so Gally will hook up with one or more of his virtual girlfriends as well, you know, to-'
'Broaden the gene pool,' Savana interrupted. 'I bet that rule was thought up by a man.'
'That is not very fair,' Aidan protested.
'Says the man with a son by another woman,' Savana grumbled.
'That was your idea,' he reminded her.
'That is another story,' Savana said.
'Yes,' Aidan agreed. 'Countless as the Stars by Steve Trower. Available from stevetrower.co.uk.'
'What are you talking about?' Savana said.
'Sorry, that was not me,' Aidan insisted. 'It was the author, putting a piece of blatant self promotion into my mouth.'
'Should self promotion not be hyphenated?' Savana said.
'In all probability, self promotion should in fact be written with the use of a hyphen,' Aidan said.
'A simple yes would have done,' Savana said.
'In retrospect, I would anticipate that a simple affirmative would have provided the information after which you were inquiring,' Aidan said. 'However, it is my belief that the author is desperately trying to drag this segment out to a nice round one thousand words, and merely wished to ensure the best possible use of the phrase self promotion in the context of the written page.'
'Sorry what?' Savana said.
'I said,' Aidan replied, 'in retrospect, I wou-'
'Now you are just taking the mickey,' Savana interrupted.
'Fair point,' Aidan agreed. 'Is there anything else you would have liked to have done during the course of this nov- er, portion of our lives?'
'How long have we got?' Savana asked.
'About ten words,' Aidan said.
'Well then, no,' Savana said.
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