Something different to kick off the second half of 2010, and to show what I’m going to be up to for the next few months. A teaser for my current project – and debut novel – God’s Switch, hopefully being published in 2011.
Simon gazed down across Bristol’s abandoned office blocks, silently wishing for the sound of sirens to shatter his boredom.
The net-partygoers had gathered into a few scattered groups across the slopes of Brandon Hill Park, the largest one stood around the organisers, who were sat cross-legged on a few old blankets, hunched over their ageing laptops and tablets. Just about everyone wore spex, and Simon smirked as he realised that for most of them doing just that in public was perhaps the most dangerous and rebellious they had been in their short lives. They looked to all be students from the nearby University, and freshers at that. Being part of a flash mob adhoc-net gathering was probably still exhilarating to them, and the fact that they had found it through actual word of mouth and printed flyers made them feel included in some exclusive club.
He had seen it all before, though. Right now the only thing that would exhilarate him would be if the police turned up, with seizure notices and riot gear and EMP grenades. But like the organisers he’d had a tip-off about equipment and data raids in Knowle this afternoon, and knew there would be no chaos in the park today.
Before he could leave his spex chimed, and a roar of anticipation went up from the crowd. Fingers pointed to the sky.
Slowly descending from the ceiling of cloud was a fleet of a dozen alien battleships, vast long, angular affairs that looked like assault rifles with the hand-grips sawn off. They were studied with pod like appendages, which silently started to fall away, reminding Simon of a dying flower losing its petals. As they fell they spun and twisted, before opening into twirling sycamore-leaf like parachutes. From each four-leaved canopy hung a spindly, ten-foot tall figure; slightly insect like in it’s appearance and carrying a huge, aggressive looking weapon.
Another roar went up from the crowd, and all around him the partygoers started morphing into battle-ready forms, their scruffy but over privileged clothes being hidden by unfurling power armour as they raised ridiculously over-sized firearms to meet the descending invaders.
Simon sighed. Another shoot-em up. He turned to leave, but as he took his first step someone tugged at the sleeve of his jacket.
Emma, he thought her name was. It could have been Sarah. Or Rachel. During Fresher’s week it all became a blur. He’d woken alongside her this morning, and all she had been able to talk about was this illegal net-party. Up the park, she’d repeated mantra-like, in broad daylight. At first he’d been intrigued and charmed by her enthusiasm, but now looking into her dull blue eyes he realised she was just the same as all the rest. Predictable, unchaotic.
“Where are you going?” she asked him, the disappointment apparent in her voice.
“Home” he replied, as the first barrage of alien fire impacted the ground near their feet, throwing up a cloud of virtual soil and turf.
The girl flinched, but instantly tried to disguise it, tucking coils of blonde hair behind her ear. He could tell she wanted him to stay, but at the same time she didn’t want to seem to keen, too needy. She could have only been at the university for a couple of weeks, but she was already learning the rules. Don’t show too much passion. Don’t let anything seem like a big deal. Stay aloof. Stay disinterested.
Be predictable. Be unchaotic.
“Look,” she said, choking back her obvious attraction for him, “I know, it must, like, seem a bit old hat and naff, but lets stay for a bit, yeah? Then we can go home together, maybe? I mean look, this could be fun?”
“I’m sorry,” Simon smiled at her “but it’s never fun for me unless it doesn’t work. Unless it’s broken.”
And he turned away from her and walked down the hill in the direction of Knowle. Chaos hunting.