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My first (and best) DZC Story

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MajorMcNicol

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My first (and best) DZC Story

PostTue Oct 27, 2015 2:19 pm

When the first writing competition was announced, I wrote this story for it - but it was 1000 words, and I couldn't bring myself to cut it down. It is my favorite piece of writing I've done in the DZC universe.

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Through the alley, then left. Through the alley. Then left. Duck through the window panes where the glass was punched through by overgrowth, and then across the street. She knew the way home.

Xu was running, but she moved quietly, instinctually avoiding the fallen slate and broken rubble that might trip her or make too much noise. Noise was how they get you, she knew. Her posture was low, restrained, both ears and both eyes alert for any danger. Above the alley the sky was overcast with pale, distant clouds. She stole a glance toward them before crouching through the window frames that stretched almost entirely to the alley floor.

Resting against the far wall, Xu listened through an open doorway. Her left hand, covered with dust and grime from the trek, gripped the edge of her stone-grey jacket. She didn’t want it to show in the opening. For a moment she was silent. She allowed herself a few breaths and brushed the stringy black hair from her forehead, unsuccessfully trying to lodge it behind an ear. Then she was off. She knew the way from here.

Keeping along the outside of the building for a jaunt, she made her way down the street almost a block before darting silently across its open, empty - vulnerable - asphalt expanse. Without even a look behind her she glided through a doorway and into a dark, unlit room. Her eyes would be slow to adjust to the sudden change in light but she had been through this ruined shop many times. Heading through what once might have been a backroom, she made her way towards the rear alley. That was when she heard it.

At first it was small - it just sounded like a good sized rock hitting the ground a block or two away, maybe a roofing shingle. Xu froze. Rocks and shingles don’t just fall on their own. Carefully she approached the back door. Kneeling next to it, she began to ever-so-carefully edge it open, her other hand braced against the wall. An inch, two inches, a hand’s width and then she could finally see past the corner and out into the alley.

It was a wide alley, crowded with detritus and covered with blue-green moss, but the buildings were spaced rather far apart. Xu could see plenty of the distant clouds overhead. Carefully she leaned further forward to get a better view. She could see nothing remarkable, except maybe some pale rockdust swirling towards the rear of the alley. The girl stood carefully, holding the door in place. She took a breath and was about to go through the door — but was interrupted by the ripping sound of an old two-wheeler engine. It startled her and again she froze in place. The sound was coming from down the alleyway. It was getting louder. A single two-wheeler?

Suddenly she heard a sound like a pile of bricks being crushed by a falling stone wall and a thick dust cloud blew through the alley from the left. Whatever had happened was out of sight. Then, through the cloud sped the motorbike, its engine continuing to rip through the sullen silence of the deserted city block. She glimpsed its green metallic frame and a man in black and brown rags crouched behind the handlebars before it was again out of sight. Only then did she realize something else was moving in the alley.

It was large, and though twice Xu’s height it skittered forward on four robotic legs with surprising speed and agility, chasing determinedly after the rider. But then it stopped. And started to turn. Was it turning towards her? She fought the instinct to slam the thin metal door and flee. But just as she began to back up, just as the metal monstrosity was about to get its five red eyes on her, firm, human hands slid around her mouth and waist and held the girl against the wall. The grip was unyielding but not ungentle. Xu, sweating and afraid, could only watch as the alien contraption took a step towards her.

Xu jumped at the sudden sound of machine gun fire, and the whining sound of ricochets as the bullets spit off the enemy. A second later a number of other automatics of smaller calibre added their voices to the song, and the prowler turned frantically to locate the source of the fire. Before it could, the distinctive swoosh of a tube launcher sounded a brief moment before an orange, fiery explosion ripped through the top shell of the beast. Xu tried to shield her eyes and pressed harder into the safety of the wall. A moment passed, and as her hearing returned she realized the hands that had held her silently in place had gone.

Turning, she found a tall woman behind her, a long brown trenchcoat obfuscating a network of body armor, belts, and pouches around her body. A well-oiled rifle hung by a strap behind her back. Xu looked at her face and was surprised to recognize the red-brown complexion and dark hair of Adria, a fighter who had often visited Xu’s homestead. With a set jaw the warrior nodded at the girl, then sidestepped her and made her way into the alley, bringing the gun around to her hands in a fluid, graceful motion. Xu watched her go.

Outside, the split, smoking metal of the alien prowler lay still, its glassy eyes inert and showing no red. How long had it lain dormant by this alleyway? Had she passed it when she went out that morning, and not even known? Xu watched as the few resistance fighters she could spot melted away into the darkness of the surrounding buildings.

She realized she needed to move. The firefight, albeit brief, had featured a lot of noise. Noise was how they got you. The girl jumped into the alley and slid past the wreckage. From here, she knew the way home.
instagram.com/whateverimsealingit

Wargaming Plog: https://andygomez.wordpress.com/

Check out my brother's novel on Amazon: Out From the Chasm by Keenan Cross.
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SwordOfJustice

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Re: My first (and best) DZC Story

PostFri Oct 30, 2015 2:47 pm

Very cool!
We have evolved beyond mere flesh and bone. We are the Post Human Republic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBC9LIUpKeo
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MajorMcNicol

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Re: My first (and best) DZC Story

PostFri Oct 30, 2015 3:33 pm

Thank you!
instagram.com/whateverimsealingit

Wargaming Plog: https://andygomez.wordpress.com/

Check out my brother's novel on Amazon: Out From the Chasm by Keenan Cross.
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Archangelcondor

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Re: My first (and best) DZC Story

PostMon Feb 22, 2016 6:00 pm

Thats AMAZING! Good Job!
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Thunderboy

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Re: My first (and best) DZC Story

PostTue Feb 23, 2016 8:59 am

The noise is how they get you. Nice one!
For Humanity!
26th at Autum Invasion 2016
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ObliviJohn

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Re: My first (and best) DZC Story

PostThu Mar 10, 2016 11:59 am

Wow, you write very well. Nice presentation of character attributes and environment without making it obvious you're doing so. I find it hard to get such a nice flow in the text.
I wish Xu all the luck, it's a rough world for the people of the resistance(?).
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MajorMcNicol

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Re: My first (and best) DZC Story

PostWed Apr 20, 2016 1:44 am

Thanks, all! Sorry for the delay, been off the forum for a bit. Nice to hear the positive feedback!
instagram.com/whateverimsealingit

Wargaming Plog: https://andygomez.wordpress.com/

Check out my brother's novel on Amazon: Out From the Chasm by Keenan Cross.

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