Alright guys, here are a few more first draft scenes from RIFT. As always, this is for those interested in the writing process. If you´d rather just dive straight into the finished book, here are the main links: http://www.amazon.com/RIFT-Andreas-Christensen-ebook/dp/B00RM5HDYC/ (US and international readers) or here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/RIFT-Andreas-Christensen-ebook/dp/B00RM5HDYC/ (UK). If you do read these posts be aware that once the final scene is blogged I will start taking them down (beginning with scene 1 of course, so you will have some time to catch up). Once they´re gone from the blog though, they´re gone. :-)
I´m currently juggling several projects at once, mainly publishing related stuff more than actual writing, like the RIFT paperback and the Exodus omnibus edition - and a couple of surprises as well. If you sign up to my (irregular but relevant) newsletter, you´ll be the first to know what´s up! http://christensenwriting.com/signup.
Since the actual writing is what I like the most, I can´t wait to get all those other tasks out of the way, but it is necessary work too, so...
Well, enough of my blabber, here´s RIFT!
RIFT - Scene 39.
Mark Novak chewed his lip, pacing the room. This wasn´t going according to plan. In fact, this was the worst possible outcome. Ivanov had always been unpredictable. Worse, he had the ear of Head Servant Lunde. He looked at his guest. The young man sat in his lounge chair, and seemed to be making an effort to remain calm.
«What do you want me to do?» he said. Hordvik stared back at him.
«What do you think? Counselor, you know she´s no traitor. But she must have seen something she wasn´t supposed to. You know what they do to people who do, especially if they aren´t Moon blood.»
Mark nodded, though he had no illusions that Moon people would be exempted if someone like Ivanov found out they were a threat. So the question remained, should he write her off, or take a risk trying to save her?
«But what do you want me to do?» he repeated.
«I want you to go right now and stop this. Go to the First Janissary, or above him if it´s necessary. If anyone could do it, sir, it´s you.» Hordvik said. Mark continued pacing. He knew the young man was right. Susan Atlas was too special to let go so easily.
«If you need a character witness, I´ll be more than willing.» Hordvik said. That made Mark chuckle.
«No thank you, Head tacticus. That would only put you on the spot with her. No, I want you to stay here, and stay out of this. I do appreciate your concern, but like you said, if anyone can do anything about this, it is me.»
Mark stopped pacing. He suddenly knew what to do. It was a risky option, and it depended on finding out if blood really was thicker than water, something Mark wasn´t entirely certain of. Also, there were a lot of unknowns and even more guesswork. He couldn´t see any other options though. He smiled at Hordvik.
«First of all, relax. She´s a known heroine, remember? The ceremony was broadcast all over the Covenant. They need to take that into consideration.» Mark said. The young man shook his head.
«That won´t save her.» he said. Mark nodded.
«You´re right, it won´t save her. But it will buy her some time.»
Mark saw the confusion in the younger man´s face. In fact, it was Mark and young Hordvik who needed time. Time to put Mark´s plan into effect.
«Your father has access to security level four, right?» he asked. Hordvik nodded. Of course. The Hordviks were a prominent family in the Covenant, had been since long before Descent, and Even´s father sat on the Luna Council, an advisory board that some thought had far too much influence over the Head Servant. Mark, though not a formal member of the Council due to his lack of Moon heritage, had often consulted with them, but as time went by, he tended to work more directly with the Head Servant, especially since Alexej Lunde trusted his advice and the two had developed a good working relationship.
«It is time for you and your father to reconcile your differences.» he said. Hordvik just stared at him.
«I don´t care what you have to do. But after all, you already took the first step coming here to Legacy. Now, all you have to do is reach out personally.»
«Why?» Hordvik said. Mark furrowed his brows.
«Your father has a level four security access. I do as well, but I am monitored. Your father is in charge of all top level security monitoring. I´m sure, if you showed an interest in intel and security work, you could manage to persuade him to let you into level three.»
«I could get level three easily without asking him for it.» Hordvik replied. «I already need that clearance in my current work, so I was planning on getting it from the personnel security office.»
Mark sat down next to him shaking his head.
«Even better, but don´t go to PS. Instead, go to your father and make up. Then, once you have gone through the motions, done all the crying and embracing and all that, you mention your work. He has level four, there is nothing you need to hide from him. Work, got it?» he said. Hordvik just stared in front of him, and Mark knew this had to be difficult. For many years father and son hadn´t spoken, and now he expected the young man to try and heal such a wound in what must seem like an instant.
«From there, you have to feel your way forward. And when the timing is right, you complain that personnel security has given you an inadequate clearance. No bitching, just hint at not being able to do a proper job.» Hordvik turned toward Mark. It looked like he was beginning to grasp what he had in mind.
«So, instead of PS granting me level three access, I circumvent them by going through my father. That way, I would get clearance immediately, and they wouldn´t even know I had it until he remembered to inform them.» Mark grinned, nodding eagerly.
«And even if he did it at once, with all the forms and the bureaucracy it would easily take two to three days until monitoring took effect.» Mark leaned back. The young man was a good ally; intelligent, well trained, and he had very good connections. This could actually work.
«In that time, you can move undetected all over the level three system, as long as you cloak your movements. And you will have time to hide your tracks afterward.» he said.
«Don´t you think my father would be monitoring me personally? You know how he can be.» Hordvik said.
«Sure, that can happen. But in that case, you will have to make up a story and stick with it. Curiousity, perhaps, or a more desperate need to know. But whatever you do, don´t let him see your connection to me, or to miss Atlas. Remember, he wants to believe you´re back on track. And he might even help you hide some of your moves, as long as he believes your story.»
«So what is it you want me to do once I have access?» Hordvik said. Mark walked over to his desk, and scribbled a note. He handed it over to the young man, who looked at it.
«A name.» he said. Mark nodded.
«Level three includes certain drone footage from Warden territory. In at least one of those files, this person should be part of that footage. I want you to get me the location of that particular file and the key code for it.» he smiled.
«You find that file, and I will take care of miss Atlas.»
RIFT - Scene 40.
«Get on your feet.» the guard said as the door burst open. Sue jumped. She had been so lost in thought, she hadn´t noticed the buzz of the locks or the ping of the key.
«You´re lucky, Tacticus. Someone up high decided to give you a second chance. Probably since you´re a decorated hero. So let´s move it, shall we?»
Sue got up. She didn´t have any of her things here, and come to think of it, she didn´t own anything important anyway. She exited her cell, and saw there were two more guards outside. She let them lead on, and they all walked down the hall and into an elevator. Once the doors slid shut, one of the guards touched a panel and the elevator began moving. Up, she thought.
The doors opened, and she felt the breeze blow straight through her clothes. It was a cold day, and she wasn´t dressed for it. The chill felt good though, after three days in a cell with no windows and no communication except for a few short phrases with the guards. First Janissary Ivanov hadn´t even come to gloat, which surprised her. She squinted in the harsh light, and looked at the skyline of Legacy, the capital city of the Covenant. The view, even from inside the elevator, was magnificent. The Moon people had built an empire out f the ashes, and if she hadn´t know of the cost, she would have been impressed. Now though, after learning of the slavery and the mass murders and the way they controlled people´s minds with indoctrination and medication, all she felt was disgust.
She took a few steps out of the elevator and saw the tethered airship off to the right. And a man in long robes standing beside the boarding basket. A man she had seen a few times before. The man who had sent for her to come to Legacy. She walked over to him, the guards two steps behind. Counselor Novak motioned for the guards to stand back, and they left her alone with him.
«Counselor.» she said, dipping her head slightly.
«Atlas.» he replied, his face grave.
«Some predicament you got yourself into.» he said. She didn´t know what to say, so she kept quiet.
«Luckily, I managed to persuade the Head Servant that neither imprisonment nor execution of a decorated heroine, whose reputation is known throughout the Covenant, would serve to please the public. So we found another solution.» A half-smile appeared on his face.
«Suffice to say, First Janissary Ivanov wasn´t pleased.» he said, and winked.
«Why did you do this for me?» Sue said.
«Well, that´s a long story. But let me just say this; I think you have it in you to bring about change. A change for the better.» And she realized he must know.
«But what can I do? I´m not even a citizen? And if I ever get there, I will still be English.» she said. She met his eyes, old and wise.
«And the Moon blood rules, right?» he said quietly. She nodded. He turned and looked at the skyline, and she came and stood beside him, covering herself with her arms to keep the cold out. Novak spoke again, while staring out at the sprawling city.
«Sometimes one have to take great risks in order to produce great change. By taking you out of the murderous clutches of Ivanov, I took a great risk. Some day there will be payback. And a common friend of ours - you don´t need to know the name - have taken great risks as well in the past few days.
Now it´s your turn.» he turned back to the airship.
«Once you get on that ship, your life is in dire peril.» he said. She looked at him, trying to read that look in his eyes. Concern, determination, he was a hard man to read.
«I they were smart, they would shoot it down today. But they won´t because they have another way. A way that will look better in the eyes of the public. But it can happen at any time. So be ready.»
For what, she was about to say, but an airman came out of the basket, and motioned for her to enter.
Counselor Novak leaned over and whispered in her ear before she had to go.
«Remember, Susan. Bliss is ignorance. Not the other way around.»
RIFT - Scene 41.
For the last hour Sue had been blindfolded, and she squinted against the harsh sunlight. The air felt warmer than back in Legacy, and for a moment she feared that she had been sent back to Charlestown, kicked out of Service. Or worse, that she had been sent further south, to the Corpus in the far south, to slave under the whip until she wasted away.
Then she saw the uniforms. Not spit shine, disciplined like the Janissaries, but rather a loose resemblance binding individualistic bents together. She looked around. Some of the men wore beards, and many were laughing or chatting loudly. A large, bearded man in a colorful shirt stood waiting, but she noticed that even he wore elements of uniform than identified him as part of this outfit.
It was the only logical explanation.
«Welcome, initiate Atlas.» the man said.
«Sorry about the rank, but our way is different. You´ll have to work your way up.» he grinned, a perfect set of teeth showing through his beard. And now that she looked closer, she saw that he was Moon blood, although the ruffled facade hid it well.
«Having read your resume, I have no doubt you will excel here as well. In fact, we have already decided on your specialization.» She looked at him quizzically.
«Why, you are a natural born ranger, of course. But let´s get you set up first.» He led her on, and they walked through the camp. The man talked and Sue listened. She was too stunned, realizing what lengths Counselor Novak must have gone to in order for her to transfer her instead of to the Corpus, or simply disappear.
«You will have a few days to learn the ropes. Then, in a few days, the rangers will come pick you up. You will be only a full Warden once you have field experience. Unfortunately, Warden experience is the only thing that counts. We´re quite busy these days though, so it shouldn´t take long.»
They reached a large building, red brick walls and few windows.
«Alright then, here we are. A senior Warden will help you get settled in, and then you will spend the next few days with the other initiates. Just follow their lead, but don´t let these slackers drag you with them.» He laughed.
«You see, most initiates from the last batch have already progressed to full Warden by now. Those who remain just didn´t make the cut yet. Oh, we will make wardens of them still. Sometimes it just takes a little more time.» he said. Sue smiled, and looked was about to open the door, when the man, who still hadn´t introduced himself, stopped her.
«And by the way, Atlas. I understand you have a friend here, Warden Wagner, right?» She nodded.
«He´s in the middle of his specialization, and made full Warden just a few weeks ago. He is very busy, so please, just leave him be for now.»
Then he turned and walked away, without waiting for a reply. Sue watched him for a moment, wondering what his role could be, and decided he looked like someone she ought to listen to. His natural authority needed no rank, and the way he acted left no doubt that this guy held a very high rank - he just didn´t have a need to flash it around.
She entered the building, wondering how her new life here would be like. She wanted to start anew, but in the back of her mind she knew there there was no such thing as starting anew. Every human being was a product of their experiences, and hers had already paved a path from which there would be no return.
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