The Line

Just another day on the flight line, in the hangar of the StarCarrier Indomitable. Fifty years after a mysterious alien species has arrived in the Sol System to enslave the human race, the launch of this brand new ship begins the fight to take back their home. But time isn’t on their side. The humans must throw all their hopes into the Indomitable to run the aliens off, before their backup arrives.

Does this description grab you? Does it make you think “WOW! I want to read that book!” or “That sounds cool, I’ll give it a shot.” What could be done to make it better? I’m requesting feedback on these descriptions so I can refine them.

This is an excerpt from the free form writing I did to get the idea started. It was a “behind the scenes” idea that came from my time as an F-16 Avionics Technician in the AirForce. So many stories are from the pilots perspective, but the maintenance crews can have amazing stories to tell, and tension is always present of one sort or another, even when there is no attack. I only got 787 words out of this idea before it petered out, but it keeps popping into my head, demanding an outline.

Chapter 1

We all miss you, hope you are being safe, you know how we all worry.

I tell everyone at the plant about my son the fighter mechanic. They are all proud of you too. Florence is so jealous, her son could only get into admin on one of the cruisers. Oh, Jarod said to give you a message, “Kick their scaly tails”. He didn’t say tails, I changed it to that, I’m sure you know what he said. Do they even have tails? Oh goodness! The little time warning is beeping at me. I love you, be careful, and tell your commander I said if anything happens to you I’ll personally come there and…

Ethan couldn’t help but smile, even with the tail end cut off he knew what she would say. Empty threats, but he’d tell the commander, he always likes hearing those.

“Fighter mechanic, hah! We are glorified parts changers.” Ethan looked up at the chronometer and cursed, tucking his pad into the pocket on his suit. Grabbing his helmet and slipping it on he palmed the controls for the airlock.

Locking the bottom collar down and hearing the air seal pressurize, he noticed movement on his right. The suits the crew of SMU used were made to be flexible, they had to be to allow for access to tight spaces, but one design flaw was the need to turn the body the look. Ethan made a mental note to tell his mother about the need for a pivotable helmet in the next models.

Turning he saw the very commander his mother had just threatened. Flicking the switch to the comm unit on he heard Commander Sykes in the middle of a sentence. “…uting it kinda close don’tcha think Banks?”

“Yes sir, it was mail call earlier today, lost track listening to a letter from my mother. She sends her love and death threats as usual.”

Ethan could hear the big man’s laughter in his mic, loud dimming to quiet as the vocal balancer kicked in. “I love that woman, you’re lucky to have her. I guess I’ll let this close call slide, but it better be the last one.” Sykes rumbling voice made him nearly lose control of his bladder the first time he heard it, now it just reminds him of one of those Talk to me Teddy’s he had when he was a boy. Gods that thing seemed huge.

The green light above the airlock lit, signaling the vacuum successful, the door opening onto the flight line. The firefight outside the ship barely caught his attention, green, red, and blue blaster bolts flying past his small view of the battle. Strange what you can deem normal everyday behavior, Ethan thought to himself.

Finding his bay for this shift he started walking, weaving in and out of the crews rushing back and forth to repair, refuel, rearm, or retire the fighters at their individual bays. He hated being on the end, hell, everyone did, more of a chance to get hit. Though the “corner office” as it was nicknamed did have more space since it was on the corner of the hangar that wrapped around the ship.

That extra space ended up mean absolute jack of course as every station sought to store commonly used parts in the extra space. In the end it was the same workspace no matter what the floor plan said. Still, parts were close at hand, belonging to a different bay or not. It was a known allowance, ‘You use my space for storage, you parts might get used’ that was just an unwritten rule everyone followed.

Passing each bay he automatically got jacked into their comms by the AI, that kept the chatter down. You could always patch directly to a person or bay upon request, but the AI just added another level of efficiency.

Walking through bay 12 he heard “Gramps” training a brighteye. “These blaster cannons are sure sweet alright. When I was a brighteye they were still using 80 cal rounds. Hardly ever had to reload those, Pilots hated flying through homemade shrapnel. Gave us all kinds of headaches too.” That’s also where the idea for that missile fighter came from.” Ethan saw the kid nodding in his suit, “Right! I saw those in the museum when I was a boy!” “Go get the vacuum brighteye, you got a waste system to clean out.”

Bay 30 A.K.A. the hell hole had poor Megan dealing with the Captain’s boy. “Yes, sir, I’m working on that loose HUD connection now.” That got a laugh from Ethan, The HUD ran nowhere near there. “Is that better?” Megan asked, getting a thumbs up from the pilot.


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