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Mars 127 - Prologue - Feedback appreciated
September 14, 2014
6:48 pm

Points: 1912
Thanked 49 times

October 2058


“We’re sorry,” Mutters the creature. “What we did, well, what we tried to do was wrong.” His head bows in shame. It’s incredible really, the amount of knowledge that these creatures have learnt by themselves without help. It would be fascinating to study them.

Sadly that won’t be a possibility.

Not after what they did.

The creature is technically a human being. The basic body shape is correct, although the limbs are a little elongated. The head is all wrong though. Tiny in proportion to its body and contains three enormous eyes. All of them with the same dusty red coloured irises. The only similarity that he shares with the rest of the failures. And Mars-127. He is attempt number eighty five, as shown by the number permanently branded on his left forearm.

He is the leader of the little rebel group. Exceptional brain capacity, the only one on par with Mars-127. Physically inept though. Muscle degradation and hyper active ageing stop him from being as strong as Mars-127. Close but not close enough. It would take another 42 weeks to perfect it.

“I know that you’re sorry.” The creature looks up in surprise.

“Really?” He asks. The chair scraps against the stone floor as I sit down opposite him. He stares at me, his three eyes blinking separately to each other. “How can you tell?” Interesting. He suffers from the same problem as Mars-127, Social-Emotional Agnosia. The inability to perceive facial expressions and body language. I wonder if they all suffer from it.

“Your body language, the way you spoke. It’s full of regret. You are suffering emotionally as a result of your group’s actions.” His expression changes. There’s a clinking of chains as he shuffles in his seat.

“Suffering comes from pain which is as a result of physical contact with an object. How can one suffer pain from an emotional response?” My eyes wander around the tiny room as I consider his question. It is exactly how Mars-127 would have interpreted it.

“Why are you smiling?” I look back at him. This time I answer.

“Your comment, Eighty five…”

“Please, call me Trigg.” There’s a forcefulness in his voice.

“Your comment, Trigg, is exactly how Mars-127, or 127 as you know him would have said it.”

He considers this for a while.

“Well we are brothers.” He stares at the blank table between us.

I feel sorry for him, for all of them. They had no hope, nothing to live for. And Mars-127 had it all. He still does. Their hate grew out of jealousy for what they almost had. And all because Mars-127 had simply had the luck of being the one that worked. The genetically altered human with a fully functioning body and brain. No side effects unlike his brothers. A perfect ‘Super’ human that I had helped to create.

“So then, Dr Sanders, what now?” He asks still staring downwards.

“You know my name?” The knowledge of it takes me by surprise.

“Obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t have just said it,” He replies. I shake my head. So literal and so exactly like Mars-127. He doesn’t notice the movement but continues speaking. “However, I assume that we will be killed. We aren’t assets to your company now that you have Mars-127.”

I smirk, little does he know.

“Neither you or your group are going to be killed or harmed by us in anyway. I’ve managed to convince the board otherwise.”

Trigg looks up. Suspicion spreads across his face.

You convinced them? Why?”

“I believe in redemption. I am giving you a second chance.” My eyes skirt around the room. The many boxes and cases have been pushed to the sides to create space for Trigg. This room was never designed to be a prison.

“Why would you risk so much for me when I could just try to kill Mars-127 again? The biggest asset to your company.” There’s hatred in his words. He thinks that we see him and his brothers merely as objects for research. Perhaps he is right about that. He is wrong about Mars-127 though.

“I’m not risking anything. You aren’t staying here at all. I’m sending you to Brutalia.”

“Where?” His face is blank. A gap in his knowledge exists. Geography isn’t a priority when you are stuck in a cage in a dark room for months.

“Brutalia. An abandoned country previously known as Russia. No one sane has lived there since 2046.” His face remains blank. “Everything you need to know about it is in here.” I slide over a two-page document across the table. It’s only now that I wonder if he has somehow obtained the ability to read.

At first he seems to stare blankly at the paper and my hopes appear to be dashed. Yet his eyes begin to move across the page. He’s slow, clearly a beginner at reading. I observe him closely as he struggles over certain words, trying to form the sound of the letters with his lips. Occasionally he asks for help. Enigma is the first word that he seeks my guidance on.

It takes him fifteen minutes to read the entire document before he places back down on the table. Afterwards he sits still for a moment.

Finally he speaks,

“You have that sorted out very well. Your offer is accepted.”

The quick acceptance startles me.

“Really, no questions?”

“None. It’s a chance to be free, to live a life without being judged by your kind. With that chance for redemption.” I breath a small sigh of relief. I doubted that he would accept the offer and choose heart over head. But then again he is a creature of logic so his choice is not unexpected.

The chair screeches as I stand to leave. I knock on the metal door to be freed by the guard outside.

“Dr Sanders” He calls as the door clunks with the sound of keys turning the lock. I spin around. “Thank you.” He says. A smile escapes from inside of him. “And don’t you worry, we’ll keep our eyes on the skies.”

'Books aren't written, they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it... Michael Crichton
September 18, 2014
10:12 am

Points: 11785
Thanked 228 times

Thoughts as I read…

The “they” in the first three of paragraphs is confusing. Maybe that’s on purpose, but I went back to reread and still wasn’t sure if the “they” are victims or bad guys.

“The only similarity that he shares with the rest of the failures.” Is a little vague. Maybe you need an em-dash between that and the sentence prior.

Again, pronouns are uncertain… “He is the leader”? Who? Mars-127? It gets clarified a bit right after, but causes the reader to look back and see if anything was missed. Maybe naming him sooner?

Physical descriptions and imagery are great!

Is the creature the “he”? Now there’s an I person, the speaker… yeah, getting lost in this a bit.

Very creative and the mention of scientific details like the “Social-Emotional Agnosia” is a great detail!

Dialog is also natural and well-written.


OK, that's all I've got time for... this is wildly creative... I don't read much of this genre, but I think you've got great stuff here!

The following users say thank you to tlhopkinson for this useful post:

Wine is bottled poetry. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
September 20, 2014
4:03 pm

Points: 1912
Thanked 49 times

Thanks for the help @tlhopkinson 

I did wonder whether people would get confused between he/they/Mars-127. It seemed fairly simple to me upon reading it but then I did write it and know it inside out. I'm glad that you struggled on that and I shall try to clarify it when I redraft it.

'They' at the start, and even a lot of the way through the prologue, is supposed to be vague and confusing. I don't want the reader to completely understand who they. I want to give them small details, like the fact that they are all brothers, but not give away completely what they are. I just hope that I haven't over done it.

I may redraft those first three paragraphs and post them here to see if you think if I have improved on it at all.



'Books aren't written, they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it... Michael Crichton
September 20, 2014
4:13 pm

Points: 11785
Thanked 228 times

Sounds good! Glad it was helpful.

Wine is bottled poetry. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

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