Tag Archives: Teaser Tuesday

The Return of Teaser Tuesday

I’ve ignored Teaser Tuesday for the last few weeks for a number of reasons, many of which are boring and not worth mentioning. One is not. I’ve been in Plot Mode: tinkering with some things, fine-tuning others. I took an old short story I wrote (a snippet of it was posted here) and started re-working it into a larger story. Anyway, here’s a little teaser from early in the new, larger WIP:


Molly Schuster checked the navigation panel as she increased power to the out-dated runabout’s single turbine engine. Even though the runabout hovered on a cushion of force created by its antigrav units, Molly felt the entire vehicle shake with the increased speed. She tightened her restraints, but didn’t ease back on the thrust. She knew the runabout—which was older than she was—would hold together, mainly because it’s her job to make sure every piece of equipment on this rock worked when it was supposed to.

It was not an easy feat.

Menkib IV was a tiny rock of a planet with a thin, arid atmosphere made even less inviting by frequent sandstorms. These storms, which would hit several times a day without warning, could deposit several kilograms of sand and grit in even the tiniest spaces, making Molly’s job as the camp mechanic a never-ending nightmare. In fact, she had spent the better part of the day cleaning sand out of the engine’s intake and compressor—it really didn’t take much sand and grime to clog up the innards of the old turbine—and the arid climate wreaked havoc on an antigrav’s magnetic field coils, requiring constant realignment. Of course, after flying through this maelstrom of swirling sand and dust, she’d probably have to spend the rest of the day doing it all over again.

It was unwise to go anywhere on Menkib IV without goggles and a breathing mask, but Molly did wish she had remembered to bring something to keep the dirt out of her hair. Pulling her long, strawberry blonde hair back into a ponytail helped, but a cap would have been much better. She’d also like to find out whoever thought bringing an open-topped runabout to a planet plagued by sandstorms was a good idea and beat them senseless with a wrench. Yes, that would probably improve her mood quite a bit.

Since visibility was practically non-existent, Molly had to rely on the runabout’s rudimentary sensors and navigation equipment as she guided it along the floor of the wide canyon that cut across most of the planet’s northern hemisphere. Between the steady, low thrum of the turbine and the high-pitched whistle of the wind as it whipped through the canyon, Molly almost missed the ping of the runabout’s proximity alert.

Glancing at the small display screen built into the runabout’s console, Molly saw the flashing red triangle that represented the transponder signal assigned to one of the exploratory teams. Menkib was a small operation, with only enough personnel and equipment for one working mine. But, the camp’s two geologists were constantly looking for the next big deposit of duranium ore. Ahead, the canyon forked and Molly nudged the runabout down the right-hand path. Despite her goggles, Molly still found herself squinting against the abrasive tempest as she came within visual range of the blinking indicator on top of the portable transponder’s antenna. She powered down the runabout as a large figure approached through the swirling sand, a single hand raised in greeting.

“Molly! You didn’t waste any time getting out here, did you, girl.” Even though he wore a heavy breathing mask, the man’s voice boomed when he spoke.

Grabbing her toolkit off of the passenger seat, Molly took the man’s offered hand and climbed down out of the cockpit. “No rest for the greasy,” she said, showing off the fresh lubricant and hydraulic fluid stains on her dark gray coveralls.

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Teaser Tuesday

I blame Kristin for posting a teaser from her NaNo project last week. If she can get momentarily sidetracked by another project, then why can’t I?

Since college, I’ve been tinkering with three different series–one was the superhero series I posted a teaser from last time, a second is a sword and sorcery series, and the third is a sci-fi adventure series.  On some level, I’m always thinking about each of these, and it doesn’t take much–a movie, a TV show, a book–to send me off on a creative tangent.

Anyways…the other day I must have seen or heard something, because these characters started talking to me again.  And they are pushy.  And armed.

For the longest time the only sounds Cooper could hear were the beating of his own heart and the hissing of the surviving reptiles just around the bend in the corridor. He and his crew had fallen back to the side corridor that allowed access to the stasis chamber and Cooper had taken up position outside the hatchway while Laura and the others headed back through the chamber in an attempt to reach the Jamestown’s airlock undetected. Cooper knelt there, clutching his pulse blaster in one hand and holding Shaard’s grenade belt in the other. He checked his wrist-chrono. Laura and the others should be on the far side of the stasis chamber by now.

His comlink beeped twice. He threw the grenade belt over his shoulder and fished for the device in his pocket. “Go,” he said.

“We’re at the opposite end of the corridor,” Laura reported. “I can see the airlock hatch from here.”

“Okay,” Cooper said. “I’m going to send a little present around the corner in sixty seconds. Be ready to hustle.”

Returning the comlink to his pocket, Cooper picked up the grenade belt. He grabbed one of the thick cylinders and pressed the arming switch. The fuse indicator flashed green, then yellow, then red and the detonator began to beep steadily. He counted to ten and rolled the shock grenade around the corner. He could hear the creatures hissing and wreathing with excitement at the arrival of a possibly tasty new treat. Their tails sliced through the air, whipping against the bulkheads; their claws clattered against the deck plates. Cooper just hoped that he had gotten the grenade close enough to take out as many of the monsters as possible.

“Three…two…one.”

The entire corridor shook with the force of the explosion as an invisible wall of force and heat slammed into Cooper’s chest, throwing him back and knocking the breath from his lungs. Through the ringing in his ears, he could hear several of the creatures shrieking in agony. The smell of scorched metal mixed with charred flesh bit at his nostrils and a cloud of fine debris stung his eyes. Blaster in hand, he charged around the corner. Most of the creatures were lying scattered in the corridor, dead or dying. Cooper could hear some of them gurgling as blood and other fluids filled their lungs. Further down the corridor, Laura stood by the open airlock, waving him on. He made for the airlock, trying his best to sidestep the puddles of blood and gore collecting on the deck. Just to be on the safe side, Cooper squeezed off a quick shot into each creature he passed.

“How do you like my plan now?” he asked when he reached the hatch.

Laura just rolled her eyes. “Brag later,” she said. “I really don’t want to be here any more.” She disappeared into the airlock.

Cooper holstered his pulse blaster and started through the hatch when his boot caught on something. He looked down and saw a slender purple cable coiled around his ankle. As he tried to tug his foot free, the cable glistened under the overhead lighting with a metallic iridescence. He felt the hooked talons sink into his stomach before he heard the high-pitched shriek.

“Sonuva—” The warmth of his own blood was spreading across the front of his shirt and down his trousers. Cooper’s elbow instinctively shot back, connecting with the tight, muscled body of one of the creatures. He could smell its foul, fetid breath when it hissed in his ear.

The last thing Cooper felt before everything went black was a mouthful of needle-like teeth sinking into the flesh of his shoulder.

Teaser Tuesday

After a bunch of folks have started posting teasers of their WIPs, I figured I’d throw my hat into the Teaser Tuesday ring.  Since this is my first stab at posting a teaser, I’m not sure how much background I should provide.  I’ll just say this is from an early chapter of my current untitled WIP, which is (theoretically) the first book in a series of superhero novels:

The force of the blast had thrown Douglas clear across the cluttered basement, where he landed amid a stack of musty old cardboard boxes.  He was soaked from head to toe.  His shirt clung to his body and water ran in tiny rivulets down his face, stinging his eyes.  Droplets clung to the lenses of his wire frame glasses.

Now he understood why they used to use water cannons as crowd control.  You put enough pressure behind it, and water could hit you like a speeding bus.  Not that Douglas had ever been hit by a speeding bus; but, after today, he was pretty sure he knew what it would feel like.

“Why did you come here?”

Douglas blinked, trying to focus on the source of the voice.  His head was still a little foggy after slamming into the boxes at several feet per second.  The specks and streaks on his glasses didn’t help.

Byron.  Felix Byron.  Right, now he remembered.  That creepy son of a bitch blindsided him as soon as he got to the bottom of the stairs.

That single recollection seemed to flip a switch and Douglas’ vision came into sharp focus.  The figure standing over him was of average height and build.  His black hair hung in a long, greasy mane that just about reached his shoulders.  He studied Douglas with dark, heavy-lidded eyes set into a face that could have been considered attractive if it wasn’t covered in grime and stubble.

“You’ve got to stop, Byron,” Douglas said, not noticing until just than that his breathing was still somewhat labored.  “You’ve been a bad boy.  And you have to stop.”  He almost added “Because you’re ruining it for the rest of us”, but decided maybe now wasn’t the best time to be snarky.

Byron chuckled.  Actually chuckled, but without the slightest emotion-neither mirth nor malice.  If it had been a maniacal chuckle that wouldn’t have been so bad.  But, a cold and emotionless chuckle was just…wrong.

Byron tilted his head to one side and studied Douglas.  His eyes moved quizzically, the way you look at something right before you rip it open to see how it works.  “And who’s gonna stop me?” he asked, coolly.  “You?”

Deciding it was time to cut a slightly more dashing figure, Douglas extricated himself from his nest of soggy cardboard and got–rather shakily, he had to admit–to his feet.  “If I have to.”

Again that chuckle.  “Unlikely.”  Byron’s right arm snapped out, the palm facing Douglas, and a jet of water erupted forth.

Not again, Douglas thought, as the near-solid stream of rushing liquid hit him square in the face.  His nostrils burned as the water forced itself up his nose and down his throat.  He coughed and gagged as the continuous torrent of water started to fill his lungs.