Work in process Nyx adjusted the attitude of cutter’s plasma head, aligning it with the hull coordinates in his helmet display. When he got a lock he passed off control to the cutter. All that remained was to relax and enjoy the light show. Last Cut was always satisfying and this one even more so. 167 days was a long time breaking a ship apart but then this was one of the old earth colony ships, the Goliath. He’d looked up the origins of the ships’ name and except that Goliath was a giant, the rest was lost on him. Goliath had fought on the opposite side of one of the Human’s many God’s and was killed by a young warrior with a rock. Not a name he’d chosen for a ship, but when did humans ever make sense to him.
Posts: 104 | Registered: Jun 2011
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Vessel breaking is a long and ignoble practice. Salvaging reclaimable materials increased during the industrial age and is even more active currently. The ignoble part is the actual breakers have been and are disenfranchised workers, indentured servants whose life expectancy is among the lowest worldwide for vocational activities.
Nyx doesn't seem posed that way. Contrarily, he's on the delighted and successful side. I wonder if there's more dramatic benefit to the former breaker paradigm than a seemingly self-employed and successful breaker.
Either way, the inspiration and premise is fresh and potentially dynamic. I have a sense Nyx will discover human life in the wreckage, which suggests a potent dramatic complication of coping with the discovery.
A shortcoming I see in this opening is Nyx's voice contests with the narrator's. The first two sentences summarize an external perspective seeing Nyx from a slight remove as if from a bystander's perceptions. The third and fourth sentences slip partly toward Nyx's character voice, internally, summarizing his thoughts through overstatements. Fifth sentence in Nyx's voice through understatement type of irony in the second clause follows "but."
Then the second paragraph returns to narrator voice without developing the vessel's meaning in the moment for Nyx.
If "Human" is capitalized, perhaps "earth" should be too. Number agreement conflict in "Human's" causes a speed bump, singular or plural? As it is, "Human's" seems to refer to Goliath.
Also, "Not a name 'he'd' chosen for a ship," causes a speed bump too. "He'd" seems to refer to the "young warrior." "He'd" could be read as either he would or he had. If this clause is meant to be from Nyx's thoughts, the tense of "chosen" might be another speed bump.
I'd like a few more telling details about the Goliath (vessel names italicized), the cutting apparatus, and the breaking yard. I'm projecting from personal experience, seeing a beached supertanker on a Bangladesh shoreline swarming with manual laborers beating at the hull plates, ribs, and keel beams with hammers and chisels. That image conflicts with a robotic plasma torch cutting a space-faring vessel perhaps in a vacuum dock, micro-gravity space station salvage yard.
I'd like to see more of Nyx's hopes and motivations. Why did he work for 167 days? and since, presumably, he's in space, how do they measure a day? Last Cut was capitalized as if it was a celebrated event. Maybe he could be looking forward to the celebration or payout or going home or something to let me know what he's thinking and feeling. He's obviously non-human, work with that some more.
Posts: 34 | Registered: Feb 2013
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hey pidream. I rarely find enough in thrirteen lines to give really solid advice on technique/style etc, only a generalised feeling. The one thing I would say though, is that the last section could do without the lines:
Goliath had fought on the opposite side of one of the Human’s many God’s and was killed by a young warrior with a rock.
It feels like an "As you know, Bob..."
The passage can do just as well without. IMHO
Posts: 1683 | Registered: Aug 2004
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I get that Nyx is non-human. Is he an alien or an android? He seems to enjoy his job and it would be interesting to expand on the reasons for that.
Carl F mentioned that Last Cut sounded like a special occasion. I agree. It would be interesting to know more about what Last Cut means to Nyx.
As the Goliath was an old world colony ship, what were Nyx's impressions of it compared to more modern ships? As he works in a breaking yard he is unlikely to be sentimental about the ship's history but he might note, for example, antiquated construction methods or living arrangements. I'm seeing Battlestar Galactica in a breaker's yard having it's low tech comms system being ripped out.
"...but then this was one of the old earth colony ships, the Goliath" makes me wonder what happened to the others.
I am already assuming that Nyx is going to find something exciting in the hulk!
I agree with Hoptoad that you probably don't need the explanation about Goliath. The previous sentence "He'd looked up the origins ..." is good as it holds enough to convey that Nyx is unfamiliar with old Earth culture but information about it is still current on Wikipedia of the future.
"...but when did humans ever make sense to him." I like this as it's such a normal thought - just the sort of comment that people make at work every day about their bosses. It gives a sense of hierarchy and the distance between management and the shop floor and has potential for further elaboration on Nyx's role in society.
Posts: 16 | Registered: May 2013
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Nyx adjusted the attitude of his? cutter’s plasma head, aligning it with the hull coordinates in his helmet display. Cool, with you so far.
When he got a lock he passed off control to the cutter. All that remained was to relax and enjoy the light show.So, I get that the technnology works like this, but already you've doomed you character to passivity. He's not doing anything.
Last Cut was always satisfying and this one even more so.This would seem to be an ideal point to introduce some conflict. Last Cut is satisfying, but "Oh crap, my suits on fire! Somethings wrong." etc.
167 days was a long time breaking a ship apart but then this was one of the old earth colony ships, the Goliath. He’d looked up the origins of the ships’ name and except that Goliath was a giant, the rest was lost on him. Goliath had fought on the opposite side of one of the Human’s many God’s and was killed by a young warrior with a rock. Not a name he’d chosen for a ship, but when did humans ever make sense to him.Classic info dump. This info does not increase tension or set a hook. It can add color when sprinkled in later, but I think it's too early here. I lost interest in this paragraph
Overall, I like the ideas and setting presented here, but you take a little too long to mention the "story". Give us a hint of why this ship is not what it seems, or what he fears to find, or something.
Posts: 323 | Registered: Feb 2008
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