From My Writing Playlist

Yes, yes, another Sabaton. Still, an awesome song about my Grandfather’s unit (albeit the wrong War).

When to listen: General playlist for me, though this could work as a battle scene building song as well.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Good Story Writing Inadvertently Reveals Incompetence #Writing #Author #Advice #Opinion

Sometimes, really good story-telling can backfire… BADLY!

The perfect example of this is on Law & Order SVU… Honestly I dislike this show. I know it’s popular, but honestly it’s barely a cheap dime store replacement for the original and for many reasons. Most notably in my case, the characters (except Munch) are NOT likable. They are grossly incompetent, way over emotional for their jobs, and too quick to judgment. This is made abundantly clear in the 2005 episode entitled ‘Contagious’

The Episode Info

Where do I begin with this Episode…

Well let’s take a look at the plot:

A drunk driver causes a car accident with a family of three in Central Park. The family survives the crash, but are taken to the hospital to have their injuries treated. As a doctor tries to change Holly’s clothes and replace them with a hospital gown, the girl immediately panics, impulsively and frantically kicking at the doctor. At this point, it’s assumed that there has been sexual foul play, and the hospital contacts SVU… and here’s where the fun begins…

With her parents unconscious and undergoing surgery, the hospital finds that they can’t get permission to take a physical exam in order to determine whether or not she was assaulted… since they appeared to be awake a few scenes later, you would think that they could wait to get that info… However Detectives Benson and Over-actor… ahem, I mean Stabler are called and Casey Novak, who’s own incompetence I will get into later, gives them court-ordered permission to carry out the exam. Hendrix still needs the presence of the police to document the progress of the examination of Holly, and though she prefers not to have any strange men in the room, Holly seems to take comfort in the presence of Detective Stabler… wonderful… it’s going to be a stabler drama episode… Here we go…

As their worst fears are confirmed, the SVU tries to find out who molested Holly… without… you know, looking into any residual DNA evidence that could still be present or anything like that. After revealing the abuse to her parents (wait, weren’t they out cold?), they claim that her injury was due to a bicycling accident, and medical records confirm this, which rules them out as suspects.

Despite their concerns over her psychological well-being, they agree to let Benson interview her, and eventually, she breaks down and finally admits she was molested, but refuses to reveal the culprit, because he threatened to shoot her and her family. To make matters worse she also reveals that he killed Laura Swift, a girl around Holly’s age who is the subject of a widely publicized missing persons incident who hasn’t been seen since she was in Flushing Meadows – Corona Park. So things are heating up. Time to take the kid gloves off and do some actual, professional, proper investigation, right? Oh ho ho, you clearly don’t know Law and Order SVU my friends…

The detectives now realize that besides finding out who molested Holly, they also have to find Laura Swift’s body and drama ensues. During another psychological exam, Dr. Hendrix (another one whose incompetence we’ll get into later) gives her the opportunity to draw, and is quite impressed with her artistic skills, yet blatantly ignores some very telling evidence in the pictures that could have helped solve this a lot sooner… moving on…

Meanwhile, Benson and Stabler interview Mark and Julie Dobbins a couple who are friends of the Purcell family and have daughters of their own. While interviewing Holly’s art teacher, Fin and Munch find that Holly deliberately injured herself to get out of gym (problem #1, we now have psychological issues that need to be addressed… but won’t be.). Benson and Stabler then interview the nurse to see if she thinks the injuries were an accident and the nurse says no. What they do find out is that Holly had been injuring herself for the past three weeks to get out of gym class. They also meet a boy on Dobbins’ lacrosse team named Kevin Wilcox, who reveals that Mark Dobbins is the gym teacher and a substitute is filling in for him right then because he had a game that night, which gives them a reason to suspect Dobbins.

After much prodding by Dr. Hendrix… who again ignores the pictures, Holly tearfully claims that the man who victimized her was family friend, Mark Dobbins. Benson and Stabler arrest Dobbins in the middle of a football game. Later they interrogate him and find that his activities includes hosting sleepovers and a summer camp in The Poconos for girls, and teaching gym… you know, things that normal family men do…

Dobbins was among many who were interviewed, and when he reveals his assumption that Swift is dead, the detectives think they have further proof of his guilt… circumstantial at best, but that’s apparently all you need in this ‘reality.’ Stabler suggests that he killed Laura and raped Holly and his own daughters, and he finds the notion so repulsive that he demands a lawyer for any further questioning… after both physically and verbally abusing him to the point that any normal cop would have been on desk duty AT THE VERY LEAST, as a result.

News of the victimization of Holly gets around as well as that of the missing girl (Thanks to Holly’s parents), and other soccer moms come forward,  thus preventing Dobbins from making bail. All the girls tell the same story as Holly Purcell, which seems to give the detectives an open and shut case… despite not looking into how the girls found out about Holly’s victimization in the first place which would have been a key piece of info in properly vetting their testimony… but who cares about police work? We’ve got assumptions, the testimony of an emotionally distraught child that’s in fear for her life, and circumstantial evidence, so we’re good.

The problem… and another tell-tale sigh of how the case is flimsy is that nothing they say reveals the whereabouts of Laura Swift or any other girl who’s missing, nor does it soothe Holly’s fears, which is typical, but still should have been something they look at twice… I mean it’s just a man with a family whose life we’re ruining, right?

When the news media gets word of the spree of molestation at the school Cragen tries to keep as much info from them as he can… again, without asking where they got the info in the first place! During the search of the Dobbins’ basement, Julie Dobbins pleads her husband’s innocence, insisting that she was an eyewitness to the activities at the household, which Stabler misinterprets as an absurd sexual fetish, and chastises her so severely, that it almost seems like he’s ready to attack her. Yay!!!! More overacting from Stabler that shows that he has no business wearing a police badge and should have been discharged long ago. This scene alone would have had him out walking the streets, but hey this is good drama right? So we’ll give it a pass…

Realizing that he may be a danger to the public, Stabler tries to calm down… key word; ‘tries.’

Benson suggests that he goes home to his family, but he’s torn between his family troubles and helping Holly (… no wonder his family eventually leaves him). On the way out though, Fin finds that Mark has a sealed arrest record from the Erie County District Attorney, which he explains, despite advice from his attorney not to do so. Due to some circumstantial evidence by a teenage prostitute and a “drunken cop,” (Oh great… more inept police work) Mark was falsely arrested (although the charges were subsequently dismissed), and revealed that he had to forge documents indicating he was allowed to work with children. Novak thinks she can use this to get a confession from him on the whereabouts of Swift, but he still adamantly denies raping or killing anybody. At which point she threatens to ask the judge for the maximum sentence.

I’ll stop right there. The show took a nose dive when Novak joined the cast. I always thought that she was way overzealous and went too often on her own opinion and values instead of actual evidence and fact. Nothing gave me greater viewing pleasure than watching the episodes where she crashed and burned. She was a poor ADA at best and it really shows here…

But I digress…

Stabler tries to break himself away from the case in order to maintain (smirk) his sanity, but Benson insists that he should help Holly prepare for Mark’s trial, and this is where things get really interesting!!!!

Before he even has a chance to get started, she breaks down again and reveals that Mark is completely innocent. She cries that she doesn’t want to get in trouble… not because she sent an innocent man to jail, not because she’s ruined the lives of close friends, no no no, it’s because she doesn’t want to get in trouble… yeah there was a kid that was well raised, no remorse whatsoever… just fear. (Yeah I know she was a victim and in fear of her life, but that’s not an excuse for destroying someone else’s) Moving on…

When one of his other alleged victims reveals that her mother pressured her into accusing him of sexual abuse… nothing happens… We see no repercussions on the two soccer moms that blatantly exposed their children to something that no one that age should be exposed to and then made them lie to city officials thus wasting police time while the true killer/molester still roamed free. No DSS involvement, no civil suite, no charges filed, NOTHING except for Stabler overacting in their general direction.

Then Dr. Hendrix comes out and with a sheepish look on her face said that no one could have seen this coming… except for… you know… a psychiatrist who is trained to work in cases like this with years of experience who had the evidence right in front of her damn face, but we’ll get into that later!

Stabler rushes to get Novak to drop the charges and set him free. As the trial case is dismissed, the best line ever, which goes to show Novak’s own incompetence is uttered by the defense…

“We’re stunned that the people charged my client with the heinous crimes without proper investigation!”

THANK YOU!!! Finally someone said it!!!

After his exoneration hearing Larry reveals he and Sonya (Holly’s wonderful parents) may have been responsible for inadvertently creating the persecution… and that’s it. No repercussions for the false accusation, no civil suite, no reparations, just a half-assed apology which turned into Larry yelling at Dobbins.

Even with the presence of her parents, Holly is still afraid to reveal who molested her again, totally understandable, but it’s a lot more difficult to feel sorry for her at this point… Hendrix suggests that the family take her on vacation in an attempt to make her feel safe, but it doesn’t lead to the whereabouts of Laura Swift. This is so stupid that even NY’s most incompetent detectives object!

After re-examining Holly’s artwork, Hendrix suddenly realizes that she made a grave error in her analysis… if you can even call it that. She notices that the uniform of the person that she suspected was not a coach’s athletic uniform, but that of a student, particularly, a lacrosse captain. She actually admits her own incompetence… After a thorough and very well thought out review of the other pictures…

“Oh no… I assumed that was Mark Dobbins, because I accepted what Holly told me without even considering that it could be someone else.”

Like you know, ANY REMOTELY COMPETENT PSYCHIATRIST WOULD HAVE EFFING DONE!!!

Holly finally reveals that she was molested by Kevin Wilcox, who is arrested on the spot. During his interrogation, Stabler and Fin reveal that their evidence against him is solid and threaten him, unless he reveals the whereabouts of the girl he killed. After Wilcox’s confession to Holly’s rape and Laura Swift’s murder, Fin joins other officers to exhume Laura’s buried body in College Point.

On his way home, Benson stalls him so she can direct him to his family who are throwing a birthday party for him at his desk. Unfortunately the happiness of the moment is shattered, when the Dobbins couple reveal that Chestnut Academy dismissed Mark, for forging his letter destroyed his integrity which could be an endangerment for the students (UGGGGH!!!). As a result of this, he will never get another teaching career and he and his wife are selling the house and moving upstate with his in-laws. Stabler rightly takes the blame thinking that this wouldn’t never happen if they could have realized who Holly’s abuser was (though Hendrix shares a ton of the blame here).

Mark agrees, and walks away. Benson reminds him that his family is still there to celebrate his birthday… for now…

So now you have the Episode… what’s wrong with it? Nothing. This is actually one of my favorite episodes!

We’ve all heard real-life stories about people being falsely accused of child sexual abuse and what happens to people as a result. Even if they’re proved innocent in the end, by that time they’ve been put through the wringer both financially and emotionally, and their lives have been utterly wrecked. Once a person is labeled a sex offender, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of it, ever. It will be on their record and even if they can find a way to get it expunged, they will never get away from it entirely.

This episode stands out in that there was no doubt Holly Purcell had been sexually abused; the question was, who did it. Naturally everyone wants to nab the perpetrator, and in their determination, they press Holly almost as hard as they would a toughened criminal. This is something that is completely inappropriate to do with a child and… again, that any half-competent psychiatrist would have known better! Since there is no doubt that the abuse definitely happened, it never occurs to anyone that Holly’s genuine fear of her abuser’s threat to kill her if she talked, could cause her to lie about his identity. Which is something that would have come up if the police handing the case had been anything resembling competent.

This episode wonderfully leaves the viewer feeling everyone’s pain and remorse from the entire ugly affair. Coach and Mrs. Dobbins have totally lost the life they’d struggled to rebuild after a prior nonsense charge.

Holly, who pointed at Dobbins to get SVU off her back, never dreaming they’d go after him with murder in their eyes… though this one get’s harder to feel sorry for by the end… and wrongly…  Dr. Hendrix, who didn’t look at the forest before focusing on individual trees. How she got away with her license from this episode is beyond me, but whatever.

Elliot totally shot off his mouth at Mrs. Dobbins when searching their house after arresting her husband… which should have cost him his job…  And Casey, who should have been the cool head here if any one person was, wasn’t.

These protectors of the innocent and law-abiding completely lost their perspective because there was no question the crime had occurred. As a result they rushed to misjudgment, and now they have to live with having wrecked some of the very lives they were entrusted to protect. THIS IS NOT HOW PROFESSIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTS!!! We’ve seen this idiots dole out their cowboy justice before and get away with it, but here we seen what actually happens when this is how business is conducted.

My only complaint about this episode is that Hendrix and Novak weren’t there for the final ribbing out by the Dobbins. They deserved it as much as Stabler.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have multiple published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

From My Writing Playlist #Writing #Author #Advice

 

I love this song. This is not just on my writing playlist, it’s on my driving playlist. This is something I like to listen to when I’m out driving at night. It makes me feel like going and hanging out with some friends at a Boston bar, like in the old days.

 

When to Listen: Either when your main character is returning to their normal life or when you’re story-building. This is something you listen to as you’re putting your characters together, establishing their existence and their personalities.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

From My Writing Playlist #Writing #Author #Advice

So death and/or despair.

Hoo boy… um… well… I’m going to give you a few before I go back to Romance tomorrow.

I suppose I should post this one for death:

What the hell???

Before you all go scratching your heads, hear me out. I’m not referring to the entire song. Just the opening vocalist.

Still don’t get it? Listen to the opening vocalist again. Now close your eyes and picture a young maiden, maybe a character of yours walking through an open field its pretty, there are flowers, the sun is bright, everything is tranquil. Then she get’s either hit with a spell or shot and falls to the ground in fairly slow motion. Tell me it doesn’t fit.

[Spoiler Alert]

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That number is responsible for Lia’na’s death in Tears of the Fallen. It’s how I came up with the idea.

Second song:

This song is off of Evanescence’s little-known Origins Album, well before they became famous with ‘Wake Me Up Inside’ and then quickly faded into obscurity.

Honestly… this is a funeral dirge. This is a song for despair and loss. It’s technically not on my regular playlist, so it won’t come up automatically, but I go to this song when writing a post disaster/death/tragedy scene. It helps with the aftermath.

The first time I heard this when I started writing, I took it and placed the last 20 seconds or so (the harmonizing at the end) over Padme’ Amidala’s funeral scene in Star Wars… and it matched perfectly. Seriously, try it out. Start at about 2:38 (You can do…) and play the funeral scene with no audio:

Anyway like I said, definitely not a casual listen, but it works on many levels.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Drakin, The Orphans of Haven, Sample Chapter #Writing #Fantasy #SciFi



Drakin: The Orphans of Haven


Book Synopsis:

The Red War may be over, but not all wounds have healed. For Sergeant Radley Zall, the nightmares never end. After years of struggling for survival, he finds himself in a dead end job, deporting wayward dragons to the Exclusion Zone. The horrors of his past have left him a broken man, slowing killing himself in a bottle of whiskey. It’s a wearying existence that many former soldiers have been subject to since the war ended, but for Radley, that is all about to change. Throughout his life, Radley’s hatred of dragons has been unmatched until one evening when a small one shows up on his doorstep. The pathetic creature is emaciated and begging for shelter. Her appearance reminds him of his younger self, compelling him to help her. That uncharacteristic decision forces him to confront his past actions— some of which may have contributed to a sinister plot to reignite the Red War and wipe out the few remaining dragons on Earth.


Chapter 1

“Let us overcome these obstacles together, in the spirit of what our forefathers, friends, and neighbors fought and died for!”

It was a good speech… too bad that’s all it’ll ever be. I remember the cheers. I remember the savior standing off to the side before she disappeared… It was only ten years ago, but I remember it like I remember my childhood… as a distant memory.

“Radley? Sergeant Radley Zall, are you with me?”

Radley felt a gentle elbow to the midsection, “Sarge, snap out of it!”

He immediately came back to reality and nodded, “Yes, sir. I’m ready, sir!”

A gruff-looking commander eyed him suspiciously, “Are you sure, Sergeant Zall? I mean we can wait. Whatever you’ve got going on is clearly more important than doing your job. No rush, you know? It’s just a dragon after all. It’s not like the men rely on you to back them up.”

Radley felt his face heating up and was sure that it was turning red, “Sorry sir.”

“Are you feeling sick? Do we need to have Sergeant Bosell check you out?”

Radley felt the tension in the back of his neck. When Commander Miles decided to mock someone in his unit, the man would push it as far as he could. The worst part was that it worked. The officers did everything they could to stay on their toes and avoid it.

“No, I’m fine, sir!” Radley replied as he straightened himself out. He could hear a couple of snickers coming from the ten armored men standing with him.

“You sure?” The commander asked.

“Yes, Commander Miles… I’m sure.”

Commander Constantine Miles eyed Radley for a few moments. The younger officer blinked as he waited for the commander to finish. His blue eyes felt dry under his protective goggles. He could feel his brown hair matting to his head under the heavy helmet he wore.

Commander Miles had been his commanding officer since he joined the security division. The man knew him well, too well. He clearly didn’t buy that Radley was all there.

Finally, Commander Miles nodded, “Well… All right, let’s go.”

He flipped on the radio wired into his vest, “Command, this is Security Group Alpha, we’re in position and ready to move in.”

“Copy that, Commander. Proceed with caution. Good hunting.”

The group entered a massive cave that was hidden deep in the Yellowstone Canyon. The cave walls were as black as coal. The stone floor had once been molten rock, flowing outward. This gave the floor an almost organic look.

Radley carefully balanced himself on the terrain that looked like it had been frozen in time and petrified. He planted his legs between to inclines and raised his bolt rifle.

Six of the other officers followed close behind him. One, a younger man jumped up behind Radley “I thought we’d be waiting out here forever. Finally, we can get this over with.”

“You may hope you’d been able to wait even longer, Kevin,” Radley replied as he removed his goggles, revealing the burn over his left eye. “These dragons usually do not want to come willingly. Often they’re protecting a nest.”

“Is it going to attack us?”

“Hard to say. That happens from time to time.”

“Oh boy…”

“Stay close and keep your weapon ready, Rookie. You’ll do fine.”

“Cut the chatter,” Commander Miles called out from the front. “Let’s get in and out as cleanly as possible. We don’t want a repeat of your first time, Sergeant.”

“First time?” Kevin whispered.

“It’s a long story Rookie, and I’m tired of telling it. I’m sure someone will fill you in before too long.”

The group separated into two as they entered the cave. One proceeded left, while the other went right, forming a pincer. Radley led the second group, closely behind Commander Miles’s. Within moments, both groups were cloaked in almost total darkness.

A staticky sound filled his helmet as the groups kept moving. It was quickly replaced by Commander Miles’s voice, “Okay, everyone… lights on, stay sharp, and keep focus! –Command, this is Unit Commander Miles. We have confirmed the location of an illegal dragon roost. We’re moving into position now.”

The sound of the officers’ footprints was quickly replaced by the sound of throaty breathing. The sound resembled the growl of a lion, only deeper. It echoed through the cave like a shockwave rushing to the entrance.

Radley clenched his rifle as they stepped closer to Commander Miles group. He’d seen this situation play out before and it was nothing new. They’d go in, surround the dragon and take him down from either side. If he tried to fly, they’d shock his wings. If he tried to fight, they’d incapacitate him. It had all become perfectly routine.

“Member of the Dragon species, my name is Commander Miles, Western Coalition Internal Security. You are in direct violation of WestCon Provincial Edict 453, stating that no dragon shall roost outside of the designated dragon zones. This is several miles outside of the Exclusion Zone and your designated areas. You are ordered to surrender and submit to processing. Once you have been tagged, you will then be transferred to a designated holding facility for processing. Please understand, we do not wish to harm you and if you surrender peacefully, you’ll be treated with care.”

The low breathing turned into an angry growl, “The Exclusion Zones… you mean the barren wastelands that your people have set aside for us… You mean the lands with minimal food and few ideal places for us to build roosts! Lands that we have to fight cannibalistic humans for. You offer us amnesty and then force us into the worst possible living conditions!”

Miles didn’t appear to be moved, “I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them. We gave you nearly the entire western coast of this hemisphere all the way down to Mexico. Many dragons have found ways to cultivate a living. If you can’t do something with that, it isn’t my problem. Surrender now, and we promise you’ll be treated fairly!”

This isn’t going to end well… Radley thought as he raised his rifle. This dragon is going to escalate!

“Get out of my home!” The dragon roared before a plume of flame shot past the officers, out of the cave.

The cavern walls lit up orange and revealed the large green dragon that was curled up in a small nest. There were no eggs and no sign of a mate, so this was likely a rogue.

Radley’s eyes widened, “Alpha class. Watch it, everyone! This guy is going to be tough!”

Miles dove away from the flame and hit the ground hard as a second plume passed over him, “Light him up! –Command, we’ve got a code 42. Engaging hostiles!”

The orange hue was replaced by momentary white and blue blasts that spread throughout the cavern as the officers let loose with a spray of electrically charged pulses. The loud pops from the guns echoed off the walls creating a deafening cycle

The dragon’s scales glowed as the pulses electrified them. Little beams of blue and white static outlined each scale. The dragon let out an intense scream as it immediately fell to the side. Its body trembled but otherwise did not move.

The moment the dragon’s head hit the ground, the officers gather around it. The sparks slowly died down as the group moved in. Commander Miles stood in front of its snout and turned to the man closest to him, “Get the shackles.”

“Yes, sir!”

As the man went back to the tunnel to fetch the large metallic rings, Commander Miles read the dragon the required statement of rights, “Illegal dragon, you are hereby under arrest. The charges are illegal roosting, desecration of human territory, and resisting relocation efforts.”

The dragon looked menacingly at Miles as it was shackled. The stun bolts had done their job as it was unable to even lift its head. Smoke emanated from its mouth as it spoke, “May you burn for this…”

“Not today,” Commander Miles replied as he switched on his shoulder radio, “Command, mission accomplished. The dragon has been subdued. We’re looking at an Alpha class, so you’re going to want to bring in the heavy hauler.”

“Acknowledged,” replied a staticky voice. “We were starting to worry about you for a moment. Good work.”

Commander Miles nodded, “Sergeant Radley, let’s get cleaned up here.”

Radley sighed as he turned to his group, “All right men, we’re done here. Let’s head back to the entrance.”

The rookie officer’s eyes focused on the dragon. He remained still as the others moved towards the exit. He was like a statue, frozen in place as though forever contemplating the universe around him.

Radley stopped in front of him as the rest of the group continued, “Hey Rookie, you okay?”

“It’s… it’s not what I expected at all,” Kevin replied.

“What do you mean?”

Kevin beckoned to the dragon’s eyes, “Look at it… I always thought they were giant killing feral machines, acting on instinct like a shark. Now… they actually…”

“You’ve never been up close to one of them, have you?”

“No, I mean I’ve seen pictures and all, but they always flew overhead or were at a distance.”

Radley nodded that he understood, “Right, that’s how it always is. It’s easy to take them down when they just look like mindless killing machines, but when you see them and see the life and intelligence in their eyes, all that changes. Still… it’ll pass and you’ll see them for what they really are again.”

“Really are? You mean…”

At that moment, the dragon came to life and snapped at them, “Inanimate killing machines? We are living creatures, just like you! We think and we feel things. All we want now is peace!”

Radley ignored the dragon’s words. He turned calmly and gave Kevin a gentle push, “Come on Rookie, let’s get out of here so that the relocation team can get in and do their jobs.”

“All right…”

“You can’t ignore us forever!” The dragon roared. “Someday you will pay for what you’re doing here!”

“We already did,” Radley shot back, “5.5 billion times over.”

Outside, Radley closed his eyes and sucked in a breath of fresh air. For years, the air had been badly polluted from dragon flame and an extreme reduction in plant life. When the war ended, the coalitions put their combined science teams into creating massive air filters that were placed all over the world. They would clean the air until new plant life could take over. Is this what fresh air is like? It doesn’t smell like burnt wood or like something’s being cooked… it’s actually kind of nice.

“Good job in there, Sergeant Zall! For a moment, I thought we’d lost you,” Commander Miles said in a light tone.

“Sorry sir, I just… I was thinking about everything that’s happened since the dragon horde left Earth.”

“You certainly chose an interesting time to become reflective,” The commander chuckled.

“Sorry sir, it won’t happen again.”

“That’s fine. You’ve been at this longer than most, a little backward thinking is normal every now and again. Just try to save it until we’re in a little safer circumstance.”

“Yes, sir.”

Commander miles nodded, “Good. –How about you Kevin, you were all excited about getting to see some action, this everything you thought it’d be?”

Kevin frowned, “No sir…”

“No?” The commander asked, surprised.

“I joined the force to help fight canbans and raiders… I didn’t want to be assigned to the dragon core. This was kind dropped on me by command due to a lack of volunteers.”

Commander Miles nodded, “I understand, it’s not the most appealing work. Sometimes I wonder if the danger is even worth it, but it’s work that needs to be done.”

“Does it?” Kevin asked. “Do we really need to hunt down these dragons? Is it really necessary to force them to live in sectors that are cordoned off from the rest of the world? I’ve heard stories…”

Radley scoffed. His lips twisted into a menacing grimace. He’d heard people talk about dragon rights before and it always got him heated, “Have you forgotten the war that literally just ended ten years ago or how many people they wiped out?”

“No, I haven’t,” Kevin replied sternly. “But those dragons are gone. We built ships for them and they left as quickly as possible. It’s been years since then. These dragons didn’t want to fight anymore and requested amnesty, which we granted them.”

Commander Miles nodded, “Yeah and when the new government came to power, they enacted policies to protect dragons and humans. There’s still a lot of bitterness between dragons and humans, and rightly so. This is as much for the dragons’ good as it is our own.”

“You sure about that?” Kevin asked. “I mean…”

Kevin’s eyes darted between Radley and the other men. He quickly shrank back a little, “I’m sorry sir, never mind.”

“Speak your mind, Rookie,” Commander Miles said. “Tomorrow’s too late.”

“Sir, the dragons have done everything we asked them to right up until they were segregated. It was only after we pretty much banished them to the Mojave Wastelands that they began to try to find roosts elsewhere. I’ve heard of what life is like there; it’s hot, nothing grows, and finding food is difficult.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that… maybe we’re part of the problem?”

“You think humans are part of the problem…?” Radley asked in a state of disbelief. “They came here uninvited, attempted to steal our world and wipe out our entire population. After they lost the war, we did what they asked and built them a ship to get back to their own world. We should never have allowed some of them to stay here, but we put aside our differences and allowed the ones that wanted peace. Now they’re hiding outside the designated area. They should have been a lot more grateful than that!”

“But maybe if we didn’t segregate them and allowed them to interact with humans, this wouldn’t be a problem,” Kevin shot back. “We want peace, yet we continuously take rights away from others, breeding hate and resentment! How does that make us any better than them?”

Radley clenched his teeth as he ripped his helmet off and brushed back his brown hair. His cheeks felt like they were on fire as the hair on the back of his neck bristled. He had to hold himself back from striking Kevin across the face, “Watch it, Rookie! You were only old enough to experience the ass end of the war. Watch a dragon torch a shelter for children and mock them as they burned… then we’ll talk!”

Kevin fell silent and lowered his eyes. Commander Miles stepped between them and spoke with a stern voice, “That’s enough, both of you.”

Radley nodded and stepped back, “Yes, sir… Sorry, sir.”

He flashed Kevin an angry look. It was momentary so that Commander Miles wouldn’t see it, but Kevin clearly got the message. The rookie lowered his eyes and bit down on his lower lip. Neither one of them said anything else.

Commander Miles turned and began to walk back to the other group, “Radley, head back to the carrier. The relocation team should be here any minute. It’s just about time for us to go home. You look like you could use some rest. –Kevin, I want you to wait here and go with the extraction team. This will be good practice for you.”

“Yes, sir.”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
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Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim