The following is the opening of my started but quickly abandoned novel for NaNoWriMo 2012 which I will refer to as ‘PSW’. This is still in draft form so I welcome feedback of any kind. Except proofreading, that’s annoying. I guess proofread if you can’t help yourself. I’ll just be a bit annoyed by it.
Captain John Burtford wiped the sweat from his brow. This was going to be a rough landing.
He tapped the talk button on his intercom. “This is going to be a rough landing,” he said. He looked over to his co-pilot, Dante Reed.
“I told you we should have made the repairs before entering the atmosphere.” Dante said.
“Your told you so’s do us a hell of a lot of good now! Save them for after we set this bird down. Do you see a suitable crash, er, landing zone?”
“There looks to be a clearing about 50 kilometers to the north.”
“Give me a bearing, damn it!”
Dante quickly scanned his instruments and jotted down some calculations on his note pad. “Seven point five degrees.”
“Hold on tight!” Burtford gripped the controls and pulled hard right. He ignored the clattering of equipment bouncing around behind them as the ship quickly lost altitude. “This is going to be a rough landing.”
“You already said that.”
The clattering of loose equipment grew deafening. Burtford couldn’t help but think there should be a mandatory procedure for all crew members to strap down their instruments when not in use so there would be less clattering in the future. Someone is likely to lose an eye to a rogue pen, or god forbid a scissor. He reached up and slid his goggles over his eyes.
“Good idea,” Dante said. “Should I make an announcement?”
“Sure, go ahead. The faintest level of safety might increase morale at this point.”
Dante tapped the talk button on the intercom, “Attention crew, it is highly advised that you wear your flight goggles for impa– er, landing. For your safety.”
“For our safety!” the muffled chant of the crew came through the closed cockpit door.
“We need a new chant,” Burtford said.
The clearing Dante identified came into view on the horizon. “I think that’s it,” Dante said.
“Good lord, it’s a field of ice!” There was no way to know what laid below the ice, at least not without some kind of scouting excursion. “There’s no time, we’ll have to take our chances.”
The ice could be a thin layer on top of a deep acidic lake capable of spawning primitive life with the slightest push from an electric discharge. On the other hand the ice could be hundreds of kilometers thick providing sufficient enough resistance to significantly crumple a large portion of the ship’s body upon impact. Burtford was hoping for somewhere in the middle.
Dante had an idea. He flipped open the cover of the controls for their defensive laser array.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
“You’ll see.” Dante aimed the crosshairs at the projected impact point and activated the lasers. A moment later a tight grouping of lime green beams of light shot out from the top of the ship, focused directly in front of them.
“Ah ha, brilliant idea! A water landing I can deal with. Divert 50% of our power to the laser array and the other 50% to the reverse thrusters.”
Dante slid a few levers as he kept the laser array on target.
“Hey, we can’t see in here!” A voice rang out from beyond the cockpit door.
“Oh. Reroute 1% back to the crew’s light fixtures.
Dante tapped one of the years just barely.
“Thank you!” said the voice.
Burtford tapped the talk button again, “Don’t thank me yet.”
The field of ice was quickly becoming a beautiful blue lake at the center of a quickly diminishing glacier. The ice around and beneath the water began to crack and break apart.
“Hold on, what’s happening there?” Burtford asked.
Dante released the trigger for the laser array and leaned forward to get a closer look. The ice began to swell upward as if something was rising from beneath. “Is the ground moving?”
The cracks widened as the ground rose further, the recently melted water rushed into the depths created by the broken ground, steam began to pour out. “I’m… I’m pretty sure the lasers didn’t do that.”
“Reroute all the energy back to the main engines, now!” Dante frantically slid the levers.
“Hey, we can’t see again!”
Dante bumped a lever ever so slightly.
The main engines rumbled as Burtford attempted to keep the ship aloft and away from whatever was emerging from beneath the previously icy plain. It was too late, a gigantic geyser erupted beneath them sending the ship into a tail spin. The clattering was louder than ever. Most of the crew blacked out before the ship finally hit the ground.