The Dream Mirrors – Pilot Chapter

In March 2019 I thought about writing a sci-fi book, and kicked it off with a pilot chapter to gauge my writing, audience interest, and my own interest in converting this idea into reality. Unfortunately this didn’t get much attention, and I also realised I was nowhere near good enough at writing haha, so I dropped the project. Am archiving it here for whoever may be interested to read 🙂


Encounter

A jet-black craft with no markings screamed past Triton City. Close in pursuit were five mX-3 Triton Police Interceptors, each weaving past the skyscrapers of Triton.

“This is your last warning! Land NOW, or we will open fire!” the mX-3 Squadron Leader blared on the radio.

“Sorry buddy, my clients kind of really want this stuff, like, on time, dude”, came the cheeky reply in a young male voice.

With sharp precision, the five Interceptors spread out to an attack formation, four in front, equally spaced like a square, and the leader at the back, in the middle of the square. This was known as the Claw, and was usually the attack formation of choice due to its manoeuvrability and large attack area. The attack command came over the radio:

“Fire at will”

Immediately all five Interceptors started lashing out at the unidentified craft with unerring efficiency, lasers and cannons unleashed like there’s no tomorrow.

“IC-1, main lasers, firing on all turrets!”

“IC-4, main lasers, firing on all turrets!”

“IC-2, switching to Gauss Cannons, aiming… Fire! Damn, I missed. He’s good. Using secondary pulse lasers while reloading the Gauss”

“IC-5, pulse lasers overheating! Should I use the rockets?”

“Negative, IC-5. We don’t want more collateral damage around the city”

”Copy that, sir. Switching over to main lasers”

“IC-4, main lasers not appearing to have much effect. Switching over to rapidfire Small Turrets”

“He’s still avoiding all our shots, sir! Should we try Formation Spear?”

“Negative, we still need a lot of practice. One mistake and it’s kaboom for all of us”

”But sir, he’s just too fast for us!”

”Continue firing at will”

And so it lasted for ten whole minutes. The black craft skilfully evaded all their shots, diving in and out of the trees, between buildings, suddenly soaring high into the sky only to dive straight down by the time the cops caught up. Even some city folks were starting to cheer for the black craft, just so they could see more of his/her acrobatics.

The mX-3 Squadron Leader got a message on the radio:

“Hey buddy, aren’t you kinda tired of this? Come on, what say we put this all away, you let me deliver my cargo, and I’ll take you and your buddies out for a drink, eh? I know this great new stall which just opened up – “

“Men, execute Formation Spear. I’m tired of this shit”

“But sir, you just said – “

“I KNOW WHAT I SAID, DAMNIT! JUST EXECUTE THE DAMN FORMATION!”

“IC-2, copy that”

“IC-3, copy that”

”IC-4, affirmative”

”IC-5, roger”

With that, all five planes lined up in one smooth line, one behind another, with the leader at the back. The first four planes closed their wings inward so they only were half their original width – enabling them to fly much faster but disabling the use of their weapons. The leader remained with his wings outward, all weapons disabled except the Gauss Cannon, specially selected for this formation due to its special property of being able to fire a massive ten-inch projectile at near-light speed. A very damaging weapon – if it hits.

“On my mark – Three, two one, BLAST”

There was a sudden boom. Immediately all five planes went supersonic, catching up to the craft in 0.8 seconds. At the 0.81th second, the four planes in front suddenly swerved outwards: one upwards, one to the left, one to the right and one downwards. What remained was a semi-vacuum zone of air between the mX-3 Interceptor and the black unidentified craft.

At the 0.93rd second, before the surrounding atmospheric air could rush in to fill the semi-vacuum, the Squadron Leader fired the Gauss Cannon with amazing precision. From the belly of his plane, there was a mighty controlled explosion which started the movement of the ten-inch projectile. Accelerating to two thousand meters per second, it passed through the Gauss Rings, which further accelerated it forward to eighty thousand meters per second. By the time it left the plane, ten meters since it was fired, it was already travelling at close to the speed of sound, relative to the plane. Factoring in the speed of the plane at Mach 1.3, and the semi-vacuum left behind by the four planes, the Gauss Projectile travelling at would need only a little over one second to reach the black craft.

The black craft’s pilot was obviously very skilled with his craft, and very experienced with police tactics. The moment he saw the five planes line up together, he already devised a plan to escape the sure-death Gauss Cannon. From his rear view camera, the exact moment he saw the four planes evading, he shot straight up towards the sky. Such a manoeuvre was generally considered suicide because the human body was simply not suited to handle the 8-Gees of pressure it came with. But there was no other way to avoid the shot, so he tried his luck.

He didn’t even hear the cannon fire. In fact, he didn’t hear anything; it was as if the whole world blanked out on him. All that was, was him, and his craft.

Beep. 

Huh?

Beep. Beep.

Beep beep beep beep beepbeepbeepbeepbeep – his altimeter was warning him that he was about to leave the atmosphere and should change to Spacecraft mode. He opened his eyes. He made it. He was already too far away for the Triton police to regroup and launch another attack.

Exhilarated, he switched off his altitude warning, switched over to Spacecraft mode and set a cruise for the Centauri System Saddle Point. Hah! Beat you again, you slow suckers! Reid – 1, Police – 0! He opened up the radio to transmit a goodbye message.

“Hey losers! Next time try using Spear after I’ve celebrated my hundredth birthday! ‘Cause I’m just too fast for you! Hahahahaha!!”

“Reid Valko – We’ll get you next time. You can count on that!”

“Okay, one, two, three, four, five, – hey you forgot to tell me, count to what?”

No reply.

“Hello? Helooo….?”

Damn losers. Can’t take a joke.

Reid sped off with his black GX-3 Stealth Scout Ship towards the Saddle Point of the Centauri System, where the Centauri Carael Ring was located.

A star’s gravity is immense, powerful enough to hold multiple planets in orbit. This gravitational field around the sun can act as a spherical lens, which magnifies the intensity of the light of a distant star. At the point of focus of the lens, the gain can be hundreds of millions, thus making it possible to communicate between stars using equipment no more powerful than those needed to communicate between planets. This solar focus is called the Saddle Point, and this was precisely what enabled the Carael Ring teleportation.

The Carael Rings were developed by the Chinese in the year 4788. They could only exist in pairs, one to transmit and the other to receive. Basically what happens when matter passes through the ring is, the matter is split into its individual atoms, compressed using a thousand-page long algorithm to remove redundant data (similar to data-compression technology used in computers), and transmitted using a wormhole ten microns thick, to the receiver ring, which will uncompress it and ‘recreate’ the matter at the other end. Many had the misconception that wormholes work instantaneously – it doesn’t. It turns out that atoms transmitted over these man-made wormholes move at roughly thirty times the speed of light. Not exactly instantaneous, but good enough for inter-system travel – which it pioneered.

This technology was what started the Colonisation of the outer solar systems. The first of the gateway systems was between Sol (Earth’s solar system) and Alpha Centauri, four light-years away. That distance means that even if one were to travel at light speed, one would need to travel for four whole years to reach the destination.  Using the Micra engine, the fastest at that time, Earth’s first colonists placed a ring at the Centauri Saddle Point before colonising Rhean, the only habitable planet in Centauri. The journey took five and a half years, at an average of eighty percent the speed of light. There are now four such gateways to four solar systems colonised by humans – Sol, Centauri (four light years away from Sol), Cruix (six light years away) and Andromeda (nine light years away). And Reid Valko was about to use the rings to return to Sol.

The ship began its countdown to the rendezvous with the ring. Five minutes to Ring contact. Reid made all necessary preparations – all weapons were deactivated, everything stored in its compartments, all rubbish discarded to space – hmm did I forget anything? – took a piss and flushed it into space. Yep. All set.

Approaching Centauri Carean Ring. Entrance, in Five. Four. Three. Two. One.

A flash of blue light.

Forty eight Earth days later, Reid rematerialised at the Sol Saddle Point and promptly set a course for Earth, where his client awaited. He shivered a little and his spine tingled – a minor side effect of Ring Travel. He liked it, though.

“REIDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!!!! WHAT THE HELL TOOK YOU SO DAMN LONG???!!!” a deafening scream blasted into his ears.

“Ahem. Hello dear Sallyn, good morning to you. Or night, depending on which side of the planet you’re on. Where are you, anyway? Had breakfast yet? Or is it supper, hmm, I don’t know. Hey wanna grab a bite when I reach? I know this great stall which just opened up –  ”

“Don’t patronise me, Valko. You know I keep my whereabouts secret. Did you bring it?”

“Of course I did. Ran into a bit of trouble over at Triton, that’s all. What, you thought the cops were gonna let me off so easily? Hey I should be paid extra for this.”

“You’ll get what we agreed on. Deliver it to the coordinates I just sent over”

Reid checked his console and retrieved the destination address from his inbox, then inputted it into his flight computer.

“On my way, milady. Thank you for using Reid Express – The delivery service that’s faster than a police raid.”

“Just come, damnit. I don’t know why I even bother talking to you. You make me sick.”

“Aww come on. Deep down you really feel that warm fuzzy feeling whenever you hear me talk, right? Come on, just admit it – you love me and you’d love nothing more than to be held in my embrace, in the penthouse of – “

Bleep– The connection was terminated.

Aww she’s shy… hahaha. Reid grinned all the way to the spaceport.

 The landing procedures were executed flawlessly. Reid parked his ship in an open spot at the site, and proceeded to unload. He opened his cargo hatch and went to take his package – a large flat box about the size of an ordinary adult human. He then loaded it onto a hovercar and pushed it to the customs counter for declaration.

Processing his entry took a whole hour, throughout which Reid was having difficulty sitting still. A look of total relief came over his face when he was finally given the green light to leave the spaceport with his cargo.

Grinning with delight while imagining how he was going to spend his pay, Reid sped off on his hovercar towards the direction of his employer. However, barely twenty kilometres from the spaceport, a shadow loomed over him from behind. He turned – and met with a knee in his face. CRASH! He lost control over the hovercar, and it crashed – rather smoothly, due to its build-in stabilisation routines – into a nearby motel.

What the hell…?

His assailant was sprawled beside him, dazed, but regaining consciousness. Reid crawled closer to try to see who attacked him, and perhaps get an answer to why he was attacked in the first place. But he was suffering from heavy blood loss, and his consiousness was fading. In the few seconds that he managed to look at the person’s face, he saw that there was hair, lots of it, draped down to the person’s midsection. And there was a bulge at the front…

Female…?


Author’s Notes

Character Sheet

Main character: Reid Valko

Supporting character: Alexa Hawke

Reid Valko

Main character of the story, 23 year old (22 years old in 4999) unlicenced space pilot, self trained in self defence, gunslinging and piloting since young by his father who went missing when he was 16 years old. Has accepted the loss of his father and feels no detachment or sadness for him. Has honed his skills to perfection during his 7 years of self-sustinence. Currently travelling alone from place to place as a transporter using his modified GX-3 Stealth Scout Ship originally scavenged from the Panon Planet rebellion war in the year 4980.

5000 – Reid age 23

4981 – Reid’s mother ‘died’ at 33 years old (Father was 36 years old)

4977 – Reid was born (Father was 32 years old)

4972 – GX-3 obtained (father was 27 years old)

Alexa Hawke

For the girl with mesmerising eyes to fill up 🙂

Story outline:

It is the end of the year 4999 and people everywhere are gearing up to celebrate the 5th millennium of the modern age. The human race has extended far beyond Earth, and currently inhabit 5 planets spread out over 4 solar systems – Earth (Sol), Rhean (Centauri), Crytea (Cruix), Panon and Erpen (Andromeda). Space travel is now possible after the invention of the Micra Engine (developed by the Americans in 3371) which enables travel at 80% the speed of light, and the Chunsee Teleport Ring (developed by the Chinese in 4788) which enables teleportation at 10x the speed of light (requires a transmitter-receiver pair of rings).

Reid sees the Quilennium (fancy name people call the 5th millennium) as a chance to earn some extra cash when he overhears some people talking about sending ‘sensitive cargo’ to a ‘secluded area’ but not being able to find the right candidate for it. Obviously, he strikes a deal with the person and heads off with a huge wad of cash waiting for him in the ISBS – InterSystem Bank of Sol.

En route, he gets curious and opens the cargo, finding only a mirror. In all appearances the mirror looks perfectly normal – ordinary, even. One major difference though – it did not reflect him. However no matter what he does, nothing seems to happen so he puts it aside and continues his journey.

Upon landing in Crytea, he rises to put the mirror back into the cargo box, only to meet with a fist in his face. A fight ensues, and he manages to subdue his masked opponent – barely. Upon removing the mask, he is shocked to discover that the assailant is female.

End of chapter 1 🙂

Future twists:

Naturally, Reid and Alexa fall in love somewhere down the story – although it seems unlikely to happen as they are portrayed in the early chapters.

Reid finds his father in a very totally unbelievable situation – and discovers that his mother is still alive.

The mirrors are actually gateways, to where, not decided yet. However the person must ‘navigate’ his way through a subconscious awareness while inside the gateway (hence the name Dream Mirrors), it is very dangerous as you can get lost in the ‘dream’ and never find your way out.At first Reid thinks it is a one-entrance/one-exit gateway, but later in the story he finds out that there are more than 2 mirrors and there is actually a network of gateways.

Alexa has an interesting past – up to you to decide. Heck you can insert vampiric blood/relations here if you want 😛

Big dark scheme behind everything, someone is up to very bad intentions. Who? Why? Later decide.

Alien contact – yes or no?

Perhaps in the end, they discover a fresh new world devoid of humans and aliens and technology and stuff, and choose to live there together. They still keep the ship tho 😛

Michael

Michael

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About Me

I’m the Head of Tech at Traworld, a travel startup in Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur.

This is a place for me to pen my thoughts… and sometimes sell my second-hand stuff.

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