When the world is running out of options man looks further afield for survival….
An interactive projection of Nova Vita’s terrain flickered to life as he switched on his helmet’s COM.
“Madelyn—Charlene, move into position on the eastern flank and wait. Markus and I will flush out Chiara and Mitzu; that will teach them to take up the same position for more than one round.”
Madelyn’s voice responded as he pointed to the place he wanted Markus to move, holding up three fingers to signal the count down.
But shots from his left lit up Markus and took him out of the game, several nearly hitting Alexander as well. He jumped back, trying to sight the direction of shots fired. Whoever took them had done so from cover and moved on because he saw no one.
“New plan. I’m going to make a mad dash for that huge tree near the center of the room. I think someone is trying to pick us off from a distance.”
“So when you make the run, we figure out where they’re shooting from?” Madelyn asked.
“Exactly. It’s a risk, but I’m fast and won’t be running in a straight line, so it would need to be one hell of a shot to lead me.”
“Ready when you are,” Charlene chimed in.
With a deep breath he was sprinting, his body blending through the projected grass and bushes. Shots rained down at him, but he was always a few steps ahead. Return fire came from the position he guessed Madelyn and Charlene had taken up as he jumped behind the tree and fought to regain his breath, but a footstep behind him ended the opportunity.
He trained his weapon toward the sound and sidestepped, moving quietly to avoid giving away his position in the same way his target had.
A single shot to the chest took Peter out of the game, which was confirmed on the top left interior of Alexander’s visor. He took cover and waited to make sure no one had tracked his shot, then reached out to see if his other teammates were still in the game.
“Madelyn—Charlene, do you copy?”
“Do you copy?”
“I’m here,” Madelyn said. “Charlene was just eliminated.”
“Okay, link me your position. I’ll come to you.”
“Not a good idea.”
“They’ve got the area covered then.”
“Yep. And I took Denton and Lexi out of the game, so I think it’s got to be Chiara. She’s playing smart, relying on her shot accuracy and avoiding the close combat that got her knocked out of the last game.”
“Agreed. Let’s make her pay for holding position.”
“I’m locked in over here, so whatever you do, I won’t be much help.”
“Just hold tight. When I say ‘now’, light up the last area you saw weapon fire from.”
Not positive how many were left on the north side of the map, Alexander made sure he moved carefully from one area of cover to the next, keeping his footsteps silent. Someone crouched behind a tree became his next target. A headshot ended Nolan’s game.
Alexander reached the far wall and crept in an easterly direction, saying ‘now’ as he went.
Laser fire from Madelyn’s position baited return fire. He seized his chance and closed in at pace, waiting for a clear headshot before pulling the trigger.
Chiara Carli has been eliminated.
A bite of… Ian Bristow
Q1: This is the first sci-fi you have written, what was the biggest difference between that and fantasy writing you are more familiar with?
Great question. In many ways it was similar because I put characters first and the genre I’ve placed them in second. But probably the biggest difference I noticed was in the use of more technical means to bring the story to life, rather than magical elements. But I did get to play with some of the elements of fantasy I love in small ways as the crew explore a new world. So it was really a fun blend of something new with a bit of something I know I already love.
Q2: What did you find the best and worst moments in writing the book?
Another great question. I’ll be candid here, this book pushed me to the outer reaches of my willpower and self-confidence. It was immensely difficult to write at times. Some of the content was not anywhere near my wheelhouse, so it wasn’t just research that I needed to do—I needed to gain an understanding of certain things, like character archetypes I’ve never gravitated towards, etc. I had a small critique/support group that I can’t thank enough for all their hard work.
Q3: Coffee or chocolate? Or something else…?
Well, beer really… LOL! But I’m trying not to drink as much these days, so my second favourite is coffee. Love a good cup of tea as well.
Ian C. Bristow is a freelance artist and the author of Contact (Instinct Theory #1), Hunting Darkness and the Conner’s Odyssey trilogy. He is currently working on the second and final instalment of the Instinct Theory duology. When he isn’t writing or creating works of art, he enjoys playing music or spending time with his family and friends. You can visit him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.