I Dare You To Move

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I Dare You To Move

Unread postby Bob Whitely » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:38 am

This is an off-the-cuff story, with no editing and almost no planning. Feel free to jump in and post more of the story, bearing in mind what's gone before...

Jord McGunderson glanced around and frowned, convinced the call must have been a hoax. Out in the middle of nowhere with his hover tow truck and not a cred to be made off it. The sun was dipping low on the horizon as he parked on the side of the road. it was an old road, rarely used, and not one of those smart roads neither, but the older kind, for those that didn't have Braincars. He kept hoping the customer was over the next hill, but he'd stopped telling himself that after the last five hills and now didn't know why he kept driving, but something moved him to keep going.

"Do a U-e" Jord said.
"Please rephrase."
"A U-turn."
"Ok, performing a U-turn now." The vehicle slowly made a U-turn.
"Great," Jord said with no enthusiasm and sighed.
"Please rephrase."
"Nevermind ... Park. AA off.
"Are you sure you want to do that?"
"Yes, please. Off. Just off!" He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, as if parsing it, not sure he'd get another breath, as the vehicle parked. He was feeling edgy, uptight, and wished he'd remembered to take his meds before leaving home.

"I really need to stop using this antiquated piece of crap auto assistant and get me a real one," he thought, taking a sip from his jug and glancing around again. Darkness was setting in fast. There were few markers on these remote roads, he thought. Maybe there really was someone out here, but hell if I know where.

Why anyone would drive when they could relax hands free was anyone's guess, but Jord had never looked back when he'd bought the hover truck. It had served him well, and enabled him to catch up on his sleep, for he had a bad habit of staying up way too late when he had to get up early to go into work. These days there wasn't much need for indie tow trucks, but he enjoyed a job where he was his own boss, and he made up for the lack in customers by doing some handywork on the side.

His family had long since moved off-planet and he wondered if anyone would even miss him if he just sat here till he died. "Probably not," He voiced, tired of the quite and said, "Audio On. Number 3, volume 7, cranking the music up louder than he normally would. He stared down at the wheel, rotated up and out of his way, trying to remember the last time he'd used it. He glanced around the cab, lingering briefly over the passenger seat where his partner once sat before cancer took him away, and he sighed again, wishing Jakes hadn't been so stubborn and gone to the doctor sooner.

Something caught Jord's eye out of the passenger window. There was nothing much out there, just desert for miles and miles, dotted with the occasional large boulder and those organ-pipe-like cactus that Jord could never recall the name of, not that he cared. But for a moment, he thought he saw a flicker of light. He looked again, but didn't see anything. He was about to head back into town when he saw the flicker of light again out of the corner of his eye. Squinting to see in the fading light, he saw a bright flash several hundred feet away in the desert.

"What the Gyria is someone doing way out here in the middle of nowhere?" As he watched, he saw what appeared to be a humanoid stand up, a mere silhouette at this time of the day. Whoever it was, had a powerful flashlight and little common sense. He spotted a vehicle though he couldn't tell what make or model. It was weird looking. "Probably broke an axle! What mangy fool goes joy-riding through ..." he trailed off, shaking his head. With a sigh, he pulled the wheel down, locking it into place, and flicked on the manual drive.

Just as he started navigating across the deep trench on the side of the road, he spotted it, a hover bike on its side and smashed to hell at the bottom of the ditch. A hundred feet away was its rider, in a pool of blood, not moving.

Jord swallowed hard and glanced back up the ridge where he'd seen the humanoid, but whoever it was must have wondered over the ridge and out of site, or ducked down for some reason, for he couldn't see a thing, just that big vehicle off in the distance. He backed up, back onto the side of the road, parked and hopped out, clamboring down into the ditch. When he reached the bike's owner, Jord saw that he was dead, an open cell phone beside him.

"Why the Gyria didn't you call for an ambulance if you were this bad off," Jord heard himself say, blanching at the blood. He checked the pulse, but the hand was cold. The sound of movement snapped his head back toward the lip of the ditch. "The other guy. I wonder ...," he paused, suddenly thinking up all sorts of reasons why the biker had called for a tow truck instead of an ambulance. Maybe there was an accident and then an argument and a gun was pulled ... or it was a drug deal gone bad, or spit! This is bad! There's still somebody out here. A flash of greenish light shot past his head, scorching a rock. His eyes locked onto the humanoid at the top of the ridge some fifty feet away and with sudden realization, he ducked behind some bushes lining the nearest wall of the ditch, leading up to the road.

Another shot fired, missing. He scampered up the side of the ditch and bolted toward the truck and got inside when the window exploded. That was a different weapon altogether, he realized, and punched it, driving like a mad man down the road.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
I spent no time figuring out what I was going to write or editing it. I just knew I wanted to start an interactive story. But if you don't interact and write some more of it, I'll write some more myself. You can join in at any time. You can have fun on this site if you want to. It's really up to you. I only ask that you retain whatever tone is presented, be respectful of what's gone before, and make good use of it.

So, you can either help tell the story (have some fun playing, or simply use it as a journal to practice your writing, or just read along. Whatever you want to do. heck, you can start your own story if you want to. :)
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Re: I Dare You To Move

Unread postby Ragnarok » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:25 pm

Rubbernecking for trouble, Jord kept an eye on the side mirror as he zig-zagged down the street hoping to avoid another shot, and was thankful when he saw the humanoid make his way down into the drainage ravine and out of sight. Jord slowed down, only a little, now a good distance away and both scared out of his mind and more than a little curious. In a few more seconds, the location where the hover bike went off the road, the vehicle in the dessert, everything would be tiny and hidden from view.

"I need to call the police. Call somebody!" He continued driving erratically, hardly watching the road, his eyes glued to the rear view mirrors.

When he figured he was a safe distance away, and just out of view, he pulled over to the side of the road, still breathing rapid fire, and tried to calm himself and think. That guy was no human, nor did he recognize the weapon. Probably from Alliance Space. Who can keep track of all those aliens over there? He told himself and regained a splinter of his nerves. "What's that guy doing? Why'd he fire at me? What the heck's going on back there?"
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Re: I Dare You To Move

Unread postby Bob Whitely » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:21 pm

Curiousity forced Jord to remain on the scene. He pulled over, shut the engine down, and quietly exited the vehicle, leaving the door open. He decided not to call the police yet, being reminded of the fact that he still hadn't gotten around to registering the truck and the questions that might arise if he brought them into it. No, he was safe for now, and would just take a peek. I can always call them later and tell them anonymously, he thought and slowly made his way to the edge of the road, stooping down, hoping to see what was going on. Nothing. Too far away or the humanoid was down in the drainage ditch still, and out of site.

Jord went closer, then closer still, though remained at what he felt was a safe distance, prepared to high-tail it back to the truck if the maniac started shooting again. The sun was dipping ever lower in the sky as he waited nervously, crouched low. Finally, after about 20 minutes, he saw the humanoid, nothing but a silhouette now, appear on the edge of the drainage channel heading back toward his vehicle. It glanced around, but didn't seem to notice him, and he was glad he'd parked the truck where he did.

"Now to find out what you are up to, you mangy son of a ––" Car lights far in the distance, past the humanoid, came into view, maybe a mile down the road, causing Jord to forget what he was thinking. "I hope ... I hope that guy doesn't start shooting at them," He heard himself say, worried and wondering if he should warn them. Ultimately, he realized he could do nothing but watch, and did just that.

The humanoid turned, watching the car as it approached. It was one of those big family hover campers, and as it drew close, the humanoid pulled out a gun or some other small object and aimed it at the vehicle, as Jord watched in horror. There was no sound, but the headlights went out, dying with the motor, and the vehicle screeched to a halt. After a few moments, a confused man stepped out of the vehicle and started walking around the vehicle looking at it. Then a woman joined him.

The humanoid began walking toward them slowly, putting away his weapon, or whatever it was. Jord took off running toward his truck, fearing the worst and wishing he hadn't stupidly left his cell on the seat. "Will the police even believe me and what would I say? This is mangy. Completely mangy!" Before he could reach the truck, he heard a shot, then another. He jumped into the vehicle and glanced back. "Engine on." He shouted, and the vehicle revved to life.

When Jord looked, he saw there were two lumps on the road. The humanoid, a little bigger than a man, or perhaps wearing power armor for all Jord knew, stepped over one of the bodies and entered the vehicle. Jord was horrified as the headlights came back on and the vehicle began moving up the road toward him. Ordering the car to head back into town, Jord noticed that the camper was gaining on him, and he finally kicked off the autopilot, ignoring the computer's reminders about safety and the law, and punched it.
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Re: I Dare You To Move

Unread postby Ragnarok » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:33 pm

Jord didn't slow down till he got back to town. At his first opportunity, he pulled down a side street and sighed in relief when the camper kept going. "So he's not after me," Jord said aloud. "I have to follow him!" Without bothering to think it through, he turned the truck around, went back to the intersection, but the streets were clear. No camper in sight. He frowned. Psycho must have pulled down an alleyway or into a parking garage, but which one? Better not find out!
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Re: I Dare You To Move

Unread postby Bob Whitely » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:38 pm

He waited there several minutes just staring down the road, till some guy honked behind him. Startled, Jord pulled out without looking, almost ramming a hover car coming the other way. Shaken, Jord started off toward his apartment, placing a call to the cops as he went down one street then another. They sounded skeptical, but said they'd check it out and asked for his number. He gave it, hoping they wouldn't look him up to see he still hadn't paid a parking violation or registered his truck, and made a mental note to do that the following day.

Three blocks from his apartment, he saw the camper parked on the side of the road. Someone was laying on the side of the street, a young woman! He just stopped in the middle of the road, wondering if the guy was still around. Better safe than sorry, he figured. Finally, he pulled over, worried that if he waited any longer, even if the woman had been alive, she might not be for much longer. He thought about calling the police again, but there was no time. She could die at any moment, if she isn't dead already! He ran toward her, casting a weary glance at the camper. No movement. Not a sound, then he saw the girl move slightly, as if trying to sit up.

“Easy, girl. Yer gonna be alright,” he said, truly having no idea whether or not he just lied to her. Get out of here. You have to get out of here now! Then he reminded himself that you could get sued moving someone, if they claim to be hurt later. “Ah, you Ok, right?” He wasn’t looking at her, he was staring at camper. The guy must have ditched it.

“Mangy jerk stole my car!” she said, startling him out of his daze. She whinced in pain and clung to him, breathing heavily. Then, realization came over her. This was some stranger holding her, and she tried to pull away, feeling light-headed and suddenly panicking, finding it difficult to think. “Let me ––“

“It’s Ok. It’s going to be alright. Move slowly, you could be hurt and ––“
“I’m fine!” She said, finding strength, and tried to stand, then whinced again.
Jord tried to help her to her feet, but she pulled away, then a pain shot up her leg and she fell sideways, but he caught her.

“I’m sorry, I …” she started to say, catching her breath. “I was talking on my cell phone and the guy just reached in and pulled me out of the car and tossed me like a doll onto the curb. Stole my frikkin’ car!”

“I know. You said that already.”
“Sorry, I’m a little out of it.”
“Understandably. You’re lucky he didn’t kill you.”
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Re: I Dare You To Move

Unread postby Bob Whitely » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:39 pm

“You can let go now.”
“Sorry,” Jord said, releasing her.
“Wait, you know him?”
“No! I mean, if he stole your car … I’m just sayin’.
“Oh. Right. First sygman I’ve ever seen close up.”
“That’s what he was?” Jord had never known a sygman, those flesh-sculpting, machine-grafting xenos … what was he doing here anyway? So maybe that was a crashed space ship I saw then.
“Do me a favor would you …”
“Jord.”
“Jord. Call the police for me, will you. My phone was on the seat…”
“Sure,” He said, and made the call. There was a chill in the air, but he didn’t think she’d want to sit in his truck waiting for the police to show, since she really didn’t know him, so he suggested the café on the corner, a block away.
“You mind if I just sit in your truck,” she said. “I don’t want to walk on my right ankle. It’s killing me.”
“Oh, sure, I just thought … you don’t know me, but … that’s fine.”
“You gonna try to mess with me?” She said matter-of-factly.
“No. No. that’s fine.” He reached to give her a hand, but it was clear she wanted to walk on her own, so he went over and opened the truck door for her. She climbed inside, leaving the door open.

Jord got in the driver’s seat and they waited in silence for several minutes before she spoke.
“Just bought that thing. Hamarahdi 5000.”
He nodded, impressed. After a moment, he said, “Nice.”

She pushed her long dark hair out of her face, pulling it behind her on both sides and smoothing her skirt, her legs swung slightly toward the door so she could get out quickly if need be, he figured, though it would probably hurt her to do so. She didn’t realize how safe she was with him. Jord wouldn’t hurt a fly.

“Expensive, but yeah, it’s nice alright. Was.”
“Did he say anything? Did you see what direction he went?”
“Nothing. He went up the street then turned left,” she said.
“What’s … what’s your name?”
“Kamine. Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it. Scared the hell out of me.”
“I’m really sorry, Kamine. You want me to call a friend ... your ... husband?"

“She looked oddly at him for a moment and seemed about to say something, then she saw headlights out the driver’s side window. “Well, that’s faster than I expected,” she said and gingerly climbed out of the vehicle and waited on the curb. Jord got out as well, and flagged down the cop, not that he needed to, but he didn't know what else to do.

An officer on a hover bike pulled up behind the truck and got off. Jord waived at the man and nodded, genuinely thankful to have the authorities present, and seeing no reason why his own ID or registration would be required. He stood off to the side, close enough to hear, but didn’t offer anything. Not yet…
The woman reported the crime, detailing information about the car and answered questions, glancing back once or twice at Jord. He nodded sympathetically.

"Do you want me to call an ambulance for you?"
"No, that ... that won't be necessary. Just a little scuffed up. Think I twisted my angle."
"That's a nasty bruise on your arm. You sure?"
"Yes ... thank you. I'll be fine, at least if you can find that jerk that stole my car!"

Jord glanced up at the office building, then around, seeing only some elderly woman walking her dog and some guy on a bike half a block away. The moonlight glinted off something on the road. He walked over and knelt down, picking up a small wedge of metal, bearing a logo on the top. A thumb drive. He stared at it for a moment, glanced back up at the building, and then walked back over to wait by his truck.

You need a ride home?" the officer said, glancing briefly at Jord. "I can't take you on the back of my bike. Against regulations, but I can call you a cab."
"I'm just down the street ..." she glanced back at Jord, and smiled appreciatively. He smiled back, just now noticing how pretty she was. "It's only a block. I can walk."

"I can take you home," Jord heard himself say.
"Ma'am, if you'd rather," the cop paused looking for the right words, "Do you know this man? I can call a cab and wait with you, if you like. You probably shouldn't be walking on that ankle."

She dismissed him with a smile and shake of her head, turning to face Jord. "That's very kind of you, Jord, but you've done so much already."
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Re: I Dare You To Move

Unread postby Bob Whitely » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:10 pm

"Not really. It was nothing. You're only a block away as you said. It's no trouble, but if you'd rather wait for a cab...."
"Alright then. Thank you again," she said and turned back to face the officer.

"You sure, Miss. Just squeeze my hand if you want me to ... to intervene," He whispered calmly.

"No. It's alright," she said, looking over at Jord again to confirm in her mind that he was safe enough. "Please call me as soon as you hear anything at all about the car."
He nodded as he said, "Will do, Ma'am," and climbed back on his cycle. "Make sure you have a doctor look at that ankle."
Kamine nodded and turned to walk back toward the truck.
Jord waited by the driver's side door. "Is this yours? I found it on the street.
She nodded, palming the thumb drive gratefully. "Must have fallen out of my pocket. You're a life saver. Thank you so much!"

The drive to her apartment was too short, and he barely had time to say much more and then she was gone. "A nice girl," he thought as he drove away. He wondered if he'd ever see her again, and hoped that she'd get her car back. His mind drifted back and forth between replaying the encounter with the sygman in his head, and thinking about Kamine.

When he got home to his apartment, he dropped down onto the sofa to watch the news, in case someone reported about the sygman, but fell asleep almost right away, overcome with exhaustion.
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Re: I Dare You To Move

Unread postby Bob Whitely » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:38 am

[ooc]Thanks for posting, Ragnarok. Anyone else want to post on this story? This is all off-the-cuff. If nothing else, this sort of thing is good practice for those who like to write. Not worrying about editing or anything, nor much planning for that matter. Just having a little fun. You can join in whenever you like, posting as little or as much as you want. Short posts, long posts, frequent or infrequent. Whatever you want. :D[/ooc]
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Re: I Dare You To Move

Unread postby Ragnarok » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:47 am

Waking up sore and grouchy, Jord sluggishly dressed, ate and drove to work, though he didn't actually recall how he got to work as he realized when he was pulling into the yard, that he hadn't been paying a whole lot of attention. He went through the motions of a normal life, but couldn't get the woman out of his head, nor the strange alien who tried to kill him. That night, he took the long way home, winding through the city and driving past the woman's apartment. He didn't know what he was doing. It was over. There was "nothing to see here," and he knew he'd never see her again.

Then he remembered the logo on her thumb drive and the location of her work. What he didn't know was what he would do with that information, since he didn't really know her, nor why she'd want to see him again. He slept poorly and dragged himself through another uneventful day, but this time, on the way home, he got an idea and headed out of town, driven by curiousity, despite his mind telling him it was a bad idea.
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Re: I Dare You To Move

Unread postby Bob Whitely » Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:13 pm

It was dark before he reached the site. Pulling over, he stepped out of the truck and made his way down into the ditch where he recalled having seen the hover bike. It was still there. The body, however, was nowhere to be found. Wolves? Ionized by some nutter from another world? A sliver of ice ran up his back as he ascended the far slope and made his way out across the dessert. He couldn't see the vehicle the alien had left behind, but with flashlight in hand, thought he'd check out the area anyway, to see if he could sort out anything.

Jord felt foolish poking around at night, and paused several times over the next hour, telling himself he should just go home. He hadn't spotted the vehicle anywhere, nor even the tire tracks it had made to get up on the ridge. Had the authorities already found it? What the heck was going on here? As he was about to turn back, he tripped over something and stumbled forward into a tumbleweed, cursing softly for his clumsiness. Glancing back to see what he'd tripped over as one is prone to do, just for just a moment, he saw the air shimmer and something strange came into view. There was a one-man ship, unknown design, sitting right there. The image generator began to reassert itself, the vehicle slowly faded out of view. He didn't look back again, but started running down the hill toward his truck, spooked and thinking how the alien could just as easily be hiding the same way.

After a hundred yards or so, he calmed down and stopped to catch his breath, turning around. The ridge of the hill looked clear again. As he stood there asking himself if he was really going to check out the hidden ship, already knowing the answer, he saw that the light was on in the cab of his truck.

"That's odd. I don't remember leaving it ––" his words stuck in his throat as he saw someone standing beside the vehicle, and further back up the road, the camper itself. Jord nearly fell over backwards with fear. What the hell am I gonna do now? Is this just a coincidence, or has this guy been following me all this time? He backpedaled back up the hill as quietly as he could and went back to where he'd seen the vehicle and hid.
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