Monday, August 20, 2018

FIRE ESCAPE First Draft Update for 8/19/18: Who DOES Jill Trust?

Interesting news: I just conceived of the ending of this book.  The whole time I was wondering where Jacob was writing all of this from.  Today I figured it out and I can't wait to write it!

Just a quick reminder: pretty much everything you're going to read on this blog or its PDFs is an absolute first draft.  In most cases, you're reading these pages before even I do as I write them and post them without even checking for typos.  The whole point is to write every day and worry about editing later.  If you want to read something from me that has been proofread and edited (WOW!), please check out manfromzero.com and buy my most recent novel.  It's good and takes place in the same story universe as Fire Escape--just way in the futrure.  In the meantime, if you want to make it easier for me to write, why not support me on Patreon? Just go here: patreon.com/petenicholls. Don't want to commit to Patreon?  Then buy me a cup of coffee!  Or hay, just let me know that you like my stuff.  That means so much, too. Find me on TwitterIG, or FB.

Get the most recent draft here:

fe2018.pete.ink

Read the latest words below this line:


“That sounds about right,” I said.

“You still haven’t answered the q—q-question—what do we do now?”

“I don’t know.”

Julio threw his hands up again. “Great. He’s got information but just enough to still know nothing.”

“This is not nothing, what he has taught us,” Green said.

“Oh yeah? So there was definitely an invasion force, two actually, and we don’t know where the violent one is and the other one has already infiltrated Earth society! How is this helpful at all, Dr. Green?”

“We know that the Conva village probably evacuated to the valley. OK. Maybe Mr. Wing is wrong. Maybe his beings, his team, evacuated to the valley also?”

“That is a theory based on wishful thinking.”

“Wishful thinking?” Green said.

“He means you only say it because you wish it was true,” I said.

“Of course I wish it was true! My point is, he gave us information. Now we need to be sure.”

“So we have to go back again,” I said.

“Should we reach out to Manchester and see if she has anything to offer?” Kate asked.

“At this p-p-point the situation is too fluid.”

“Word—all the more reason to know as much as we can.”

“Not sure what else there is to kn-kn-know but I can reach out while you and Jacob go back to the FED and find those villagers.”

“And those soldiers, please,” Wing said.

“Why don’t you go too, man?” Kate asked.

“Without an arm? How do I fight with one arm?”

“Don’t fight. I don't fight. I'm a tech.  Yo, the better question is how are we going to get around without knowing the valley? You could be our guide.”

“I still would feel strange with one arm.”

“You only need one arm to point, bro,”. Kate said. Wing grinned slightly but then looked to Green and pointed to where his left arm and shoulder had been before I tore it out. “Is this OK if I go?”

“Not right now, but I can look at it. If it’s ok, you can go but I need you to be careful and only be a guide. No action.”

Wing nodded.

Jill pulled me aside later and asked me how I was doing with my morphing.

“Definitely getting the hang of it. Why?”

"Just want to make sure my brother is going to come back from all these missions.  Also, Green and I were talking--keep an eye out for any symptoms that the FED's characteristics are changing your guys' DNA.

"I think mine is safe," I said, knowingly, almost cockily.

"Alright, well, everyone else then."

"Well, Julio and KJ are staying this time so have Green check them out.  Anything else?"

"Yeah, keep an eye on our soldier boy.  He seemed to turn fast."

"You think he might double cross us?"

"I have no idea.  I just know that a minute ago, he was part of an invasion force."

"Not sure how he'd betray us.  All he knows is that we legit want to solve this problem and maybe save his dimension."

"Maybe."

"I got you--you don't trust anybody and I don't blame you."

"I trust you little brother."

I smiled.

You know, it's funny.  I can't remember Jill stuttering when she was sure of something.  Then again, maybe that's just how I remember her?

Sunday, August 19, 2018

FIRE ESCAPE First Draft Update for 8/18/18: Meet the Conva.

Get the most recent draft here:

fe2018.pete.ink

Read the latest words below this line:


"You know English?" Julio asked.

"Yes.  A little.  Everyone in our team learned."

"You should not be up."

"I was bored and your machines we're working to keep me... asleep."

"We need to get you back to bed," Green said.

"No.  My people are in trouble."

"How long has he been standing there?!? Green, get this guy out of here!" Julio said, sounding like there had been a huge breach of security.

"You need information.  I have it."

"Alright, young fella.  Tell us," Dot said.

"You already know some.  Our dimension--it's failing."

"We've already figured that out."

"You said that the place where soldiers sleep was empty--yes?"

"Yes.  Very.  And so was the village below, by the water."

"If the place we sleep is empty--"

"The barracks," Jim said.

"Barracks is empty, then the invasion has already begun."

"That's nonsense," Jim said.

"Word! Where are all your buddies, man?" Kate asked.

"All over your world.  That was the plan."

"I've been monitoring CCTV from the present relative to everyone here and I see no evidence anywhere of an invasion, sir."

The Conva seemed surprised.  He stammered for a moment and spoke.  "I have been here, they maybe changed their plan? I don't know."

"What about the people in the village?" I asked.

"I don't know.  We were only told about our missions."

"So much for this guy having information," Julio said, throwing up his hands.

"I haven't told you all yet!  Those people in the village, they probably evacuated to shelters in the valley."

"And why would they d-d-do that?"

"Because the, the dimension is falling--collapsing."

"That agrees with my findings so far," Green said.

"And there's no way to stop it?" I asked.

"No," our Conva friend said.

"Not that I can find," Green said.  "Like I said, the Fire Escape Dimension isn't anchored to the greater universe.  If we could somehow anchor it, we could save everyone."

"Our smart people--"

"Scientists," Jim said.

"Yes, scientists, they tried to find a way, but they couldn't."

I rubbed my face with my right hand, trying to massage the tension out of my head and try to absorb all of this at the same time.

"So, what should we d-d-do from your perspective?" Jill asked the Conva.

"Wait, hold on--who is this guy?" Kate asked. "As in, like, what's your name?"

"Arkus Wing is my name."

"Alright, Arkus, I'm Kate.  Nice to meet you.  Now, what my boss said--what do you think we should do?  Is this invasion avoidable?  Is it even a violent kind of invasion?"

"Of course it's a violent invasion, Kate!" Julio said, scoldingly.

"Hey, you don't know if they need violence to invade.  The Beatles didn't. You don't know."

"Yes, it would be violent.  But there is a not violent invasion force, too.  They already came over for years."

"Why the violent version at all?  Why not just have everyone come over?" I asked.

"Your people not like each other.  You not like us, too, maybe."

"It's true," Green said shrugging.  "Most beings stay away form Earth because humans are so violent."

"It's true," Dot said.  "Earth is like the seedy part of town.  Aliens come here, but only because they have to or can't be seen anywhere else."

Saturday, August 18, 2018

FIRE ESCAPE First Draft Update for 8/17/18: Things in the Fire Escape Dimension get Curious

I'M BACK POSTING!

Work, family, life got in the way for a bit, but I am back posting.  Tell your scifi friends!

Just a quick reminder: pretty much everything you're going to read on this blog or its PDFs is an absolute first draft.  In most cases, you're reading these pages before even I do as I write them and post them without even checking for typos.  The whole point is to write every day and worry about editing later.  If you want to read something from me that has been proofread and edited (WOW!), please check out manfromzero.com and buy my most recent novel.  It's good and takes place in the same story universe as Fire Escape--just way in the futrure.  In the meantime, if you want to make it easier for me to write, why not support me on Patreon? Just go here: patreon.com/petenicholls. Don't want to commit to Patreon?  Then buy me a cup of coffee!  Or hay, just let me know that you like my stuff.  That means so much, too. Find me on TwitterIG, or FB.

Get the most recent draft here:

fe2018.pete.ink

Read the latest words below this line:


"This is where you jokingly tell us, it's not really nothing, but is metaphorically nothing, right?" Dot said.

"Yeah, pretty much.  We saw no people--no Conva.  It's like they'd abandoned the barracks completely and when I looked down at the seaside village at the bottom of the purple grassy mountain the Hub/structure was built on, I saw no one down there, either."

"That village is a ways down there, Jacob--how could you see all the way down there?" Julio asked.

"I was Super Me and squinted.  Their homes were empty.  What looked like food was still on what looked like their tables."

"They dropped everything and b-b-bolted," Jill said, looking off into space, probably trying to find a reason for them to drop everything and leave.

"Why would they even do that?  Is that town called Pompeii?" Kate said.

"Dr. Green, any progress on solving their problem?" Dot asked.

"Not much.  It's been a struggle keeping the Conva soldier Jacob brought back in a stable coma."

"Why bother?" Julio asked.

"Because, Mr. Gutierrez, he's a sovereign being."

"Thanks, Doc," I said.  "Hey, Hu--what's your problem?"

"What? He's a soldier--he was going to kill us if we let him.  You didn't let him."

"Just because he was going to kill us that doesn't mean we have to kill him," I said.

"Well, maybe we need to focus on saving the lives of the rest of his people?" Julio said, shrugging.

"Word.  This is where KJ would make a Star Trek reference.  We need him down here--he's good at psychology and whatnot.  Dropping everything like that?  Food on the tables?"

"I'm good at psychology," Jim said.

"You're an AI, no you're not," Kate said.

"Why do we need a psychologist? To work out why they dropped everything and abandoned their homes and their plan to invade?" Dot asked.  "You don't need to be a shrink to know that."

"D-d-d-o tell."

"They're scared.  Safety in numbers.  They're off someplace together.  Or they already have an escape route from the FED.  Duh." Dot shrugged as Green began to speak. "From what I have been able to get from the data from both environmental devices we sent over, the dimension is not structurally sound at all.  It is not anchored properly within the, well, you don't have a word for it in English, yet, because Earth science is not advanced enough to even recognize the other twelve naturally occurring dimensions."

"Hey, we're w-working on it, OK?" Jill said, adding: "Just do your best to simplify it for us stupid p-p-p-eople."

"I think the closest word I've come across is a kind of 'super structure' that the naturally occurring dimensions are anchored to."

"So, the Fire Escape D-D-Dimension is not anchored p-properly?"

"It's not anchored at all.  It was forced into existence between the other existing dimensions."

"The FED is not anchored at all.  Great," I said.

"Wait, so what's stopping it from collapsing?"

"We've been using generators to keep it stable," another voice from the hallway said.  We turned to saw the now human Conva soldier I'd brought back.  He looked pale, leaning against the edge of a book case.  Green immediately ran to his side, lifting his one existing arm over her shoulders and helped him to a couch.

Friday, August 17, 2018

FIRE ESCAPE news update! Still Writing! About to be Posting again, too! UPDATE

So, toward the end of July, things got pretty hectic in my personal life.  Had a visit to family, lost work because of it, and for some reason I can't stop following the news every day, which just adds even more stress to my life.  And while I stopped my daily fiction posts a few weeks ago, I never stopped writing.  The good news is, I'm about to start posting up dates again.  The official PDF will be updated first with all the words I've written since July 24, 2018.  As of this post, the update hasn't happened, but it's coming today for sure.  Tomorrow, daily first draft updates will begin and continue as best as I can for the rest of the year.  Hopefully, I'll finish before 2019 begins.  If I do, I'll write something else.  I hope you've been missing these posts!!  Please let me know what you think of things so far.

Thanks for following along!

-Pete Nicholls

UPDATE: The PDF is now up to date with the latest words!  Download it now!


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

FIRE ESCAPE First Draft Update for 7/24/18: Escaping the Fire Escape Dimension

Get the most recent draft here:

fe2018.pete.ink

Read the latest words below this line:


It was another minute before Julio was done with the bring-home device. It was a long minute.

“Hurry up, Dr, Julio!” I said, adding: “I can smell them on the other side of the bunker!”

“DONE!” Julio yelled as I tore apart the door leading back into the building and ran inside with Julio following me. Suddenly sparks flew as Conva bullets slammed into me. I motioned for Julio to turn around. “Can’t get out that way!”

“This way!” He yelled, I turned as more sparks flew off of the armor I’d generated for my back and followed him into something that looked like a closet but turned out to be something that looked more like a hospital room. I saw symbols on medicine bottles that looked like things from Earth. The red plus sign was everywhere. The text was almost our own alphabet.

Then I heard a gurgling moan. I looked toward one of the beds and saw a wounded Conva soldier just short of the bed. It looked like I’d torn his arm off just inside of his shoulder.

“Oh, damn, Little Jacob, you really messed that dude up.”

Anxiety filled up my insides. I imagined what he felt like and I knew I could not just leave him there. “We gotta find another way out of here.”

As I looked at the windows I could see the lights dimming again. 

“No no no no,” I started saying under my breath. The door Julio had barricaded with big Conva chairs and the big Conva-sized bed was now starting to shudder under gunfire.

“Do something, Super Jake!”

I was trying hard to fight the lights dimming and turned to see a large desk. I approached it, lifted it up and threw it at the windows. They shattered instantly.

I looked out and down and saw the desk rolling down the purple mountain.

I ran back to the wounded Conva and heaved him up onto my shoulder sending a good amount of his purple blood across my self-generated plates of armor. I walked over to the window and climbed up onto the sill. I reach out and above the window and jammed my right claw into the wall above the window.

“Come on! Grab onto me!” I growled. Julio looked petrified, but managed to get a grip on my other shoulder. I could see the door give way to more Conva soldiers who were shoving the furniture out of the way.

I pulled up and amazingly, I was able to pull my weight and the weight of the wounded Conva and Julio. I pulled up with my right claw and reached my left as far as it would go and then jammed it into the wall.  I pulled up with my left claw and had to push the poor wounded Conva’s head against the wall to stop it from sliding off my left shoulder and then repeated this process. Just as I got my right foot claw jammed into the wall, I felt the left foot, which was still in the window begin to tingle.  I assumed that was from bullets hitting it. 

After a moment we were all out of the way of direct fire and heading up to the windows of the hub.  I was so tall that in moments I had hauled us up to said windows. There was about six inches of concrete (?) in between each window, so I was able to jam a claw into there and hold us up.

“Almost!” I said. I could hear the Conva guy on my shoulder groaning still. 

“Hang in there, buddy!” I snarled. “I’m gonna do my best to make it up to you! Almost there!”

“Ok, now what? How do we get through the windows?!” Julio yelled.  I started pounding on the, what I assumed was, glass.  I couldn't get up enough strength to actually break it.

"I can't get through--not with you guys." 

“Ohhhh, Little Jacob—behind us!” Julio said patting me on the head. 

“What is it? I can't see!"

"I think they're Conva ships.  They look like gunships to me."

"Perfect!" I growled confidently.  "Get between me and the wall!"

He did and I pulled the Conva's one arm and slid him mostly off of my shoulder, in front of me, so he was also in between me and the wall.  Then, gunfire erupted, shattering both windows. 

"I can make it!" Julio yelled as he leapt from me through the window to my right.  As gunfire continued to bounce off of me (thought I could feel it through my back plates), I managed to get my right foot through the broken window, where my foot claws grasped the bottom of the window frame, allowing me to pull myself and the Conva guy to the window.  I was then able to  pull my claw from the concrete and quickly grab onto the edge of the window frame and pull us through and back into the hub.   Once I hit the ground, I was saw Julio waving me to follow him.

"This way!" He was guiding me through the Fire Escapes, but I was almost too big to fit.  
Luckily I made it back to where we were.  Then it hit me--I had lost track of the Accessory back when I morphed into to Super Me.  "Wait! Where's the Accessory?"

Julio turned to me and looked worried.  Then he reached behind him and pulled my black draw string backpack off of his back and pulled out the Accessory.  "I grabbed this when you lost it."

"Whew!" I growled.  I snatched the Accessory from him and activated it.  Just as we stepped into the Fire Escape, I saw more Conva rising from the barracks.  Luckily, they were gone before they spotted us.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

FIRE ESCAPE First Draft Update for 7/23/18: Out of Control Morphing

Get the most recent draft here:

fe2018.pete.ink

Read the latest words below this line:


"You are?  Oh, crap." I could hear him say as the darkness blocked out my view completely.  
The next thing I was aware of was being covered in what, I was pretty sure was alien blood. It was purple and slick and disturbing. I looked forward and saw Conva body parts everywhere. The floor was a biological debris field. I started to feel nauseous but then I realized I was still Super Me. I was big—six or seven feet tall. My skin had scales the size of poker chips. Some were shattered with bruised gray skin underneath. My fingers were elongated and thick, with my nails extended and tough—perfect claws. My hands hurt—like I’d held onto a rope too tightly while sliding down it in gym class. I turned, and looked behind me to see Julio holding a mean looking rifle, his face spattered with purple, with the white of his eyes looking up at me with great hesitation. That hesitation made me feel shame, out of control, and I felt nauseous again. I turned away from Julio and tried to vomit, letting the urge have free reign but something was literally stopping me. I stuck two of my clawed fingers down my throat and tried to encourage myself.

“Little Jacob, that won’t work,” Hu said.

“What do you mean,” I growled, completely unintentionally. Julio cleared his throat nervously. “During the fight you generated a abdominal plate that must be anchored to your skeleton in a way that is stopping you from bending enough to allowed you to—“

Before he could finish, vomit exploded out of my mouth, around fangs I only then noticed. I looked over at Julio who had managed to back out of the way of any of it splattering. He looked up at me with an awkwardly embarrassed and grossed-out face. 

“Sorry...” I growled. Apparently, at that moment I was incapable of speaking without growling.

Definitely bringing a towel next time,” Hu said, quickly adding: “We’ve got to get outside to take the readings your sister wanted.”

“I don’t think they were for my sister...” I started clearing my throat, hoping that it would 
somehow get rid of the growl a bit.

“Are you OK?” Hu asked.

“Yeah, I just wish I could stop growling! It’s really annoying!”

“It’s OK but let’s do the science stuff and get out of here!”

Jill had given us two devices to use in the FED. One was to take general readings on the spot and the other we were to leave powered on and in active mode so it would take readings until we come back for it.

From the barracks we were able to find an exit out onto the purple mountain. As I stepped outside, a blast of wind hit me in the face and if I hadn’t known better, I’d be sure I was on the side of a mountain back on Earth. Well, my Earth. Not this weird purple-tinted planet. I stepped forward and felt the purple grass between my toes. Yep, my shoes were shredded. 

“Good. They have dirt here,” Julio said from his knees digging a hole for the leave-behind device by the wall.

“Why don’t you morph back to normal?”

“My clothes are gone.” 

“Oh yeah, right. Well say the word and I will say the words to help you wind back down.”

“Yeah, don’t do that yet.”

Julio was already using the bring-home device to gather data. 

“That’s for Dr. Green by the way.”

“Huh?”

“The data we’re getting with those devices, man. It’s not for my sister.”

“Oh yeah—the doctor whose name can’t be mentioned.”

“Have you heard it?”

“No. No one will say it for me.”

“Ask her. She’ll say it for you. I bet she misses hearing it.”

“You know I’m a doctor.”

“You are?”

“Is that your surprised growl? It’s true—I went to school for it and everything.”

“Now you sound surprised in yourself.” He smiled with pride. I tried to smile myself but based on Julio’s reaction to it, I was not successful. “Sorry—did that not look like a smile?”

“Uh, no. Might want to practice that in front of a mirror a bit before you try again.”

“Doctor Julio, huh? That’s kinda cool.”

“Almost done with the bring-home device.”

I nodded and looked out over the slope and the purple ocean and the purple city. I felt that wind again and couldn’t help but take a deep breath. As I did I got such a high off of it. It was like every cell in my body took a huge hit off of an oxygen joint. 

“So much oxygen in this atmosphere,” I said. 

“You can smell it?”

“I guess I can.” I inhaled again and I could tell the air had been changed slightly. I tried to focus on what was different. What had been added to it? I inhaled again and the difference scent was stronger. “Hey Hu, we may need to go.”

“Almost done.”

I suddenly recognized what the change was—I had a flash of a scent I’d smelled on that Conva ship. “They’re coming!”

Monday, July 23, 2018

FIRE ESCAPE First Draft Update for 7/22/18: Into the Fire Escape Dimension!

Just a quick reminder: pretty much everything you're going to read on this blog or its PDFs is an absolute first draft.  In most cases, you're reading these pages before even I do as I write them and post them without even checking for typos.  The whole point is to write every day and worry about editing later.  If you want to read something from me that has been proofread and edited (WOW!), please check out manfromzero.com and buy my most recent novel.  It's good and takes place in the same story universe as Fire Escape--just way in the futrure.  In the meantime, if you want to make it easier for me to write, why not support me on Patreon? Just go here: patreon.com/petenicholls. Don't want to commit to Patreon?  Then buy me a cup of coffee!  Or hay, just let me know that you like my stuff.  That means so much, too. Find me on TwitterIG, or FB.

Get the most recent draft here:

fe2018.pete.ink

Read the latest words below this line:


The main thing about the reconnaissance mission was that we needed as few people to go as possible. Julio had been able to round out Jim’s simulation of the hub with the facts he knew. Turns out that while he was working for M, he’d been in contact and even worked with some Conva. In the interest of diplomatic relations, for a time, Julio and the Double-Oes (as he continued to call them) shared information and even did military exercises with them on both sides of the Fire Escape. It also turned out that the Conva could open Fire Escapes with their mind. I’d seen a Conva pilot do exactly that when I was taken back into their custody. 

Julio and I stepped into the center of Jill’s lab and chose the chronologically most recent entry for the hub on the Accessory and we were gone. 

When we came out of the Fire Escape on the other side, we found ourselves in a familiar corner of the hub. It was the same area we left just as Julio was getting attacked by those Conva that one time, but it must have been a different time. Then again, there were a lot if landmarks in the hub. It was more about recognizing how far we were from the walls and where the pillars were. Ultimately, it was hard to be sure. The only problem was that we were far from that door in the floor that led to what we assumed were the Conva barracks. 
We the bulk of the hub stretched out in front of us with those faint blue flashes popping off in the distance. The door in the floor was about midway toward the other side of the massive hall and all the way to the right. 

Julio had informed us that there were specific channels designed to allow safe passage through the hub should the need arise. The reason was that this hub was a place for “connection flights” effectively. Get in the way of someone passing from one to the other and you could both end up someplace you don’t want to be.

So I let Julio lead me down those channels, avoiding the areas set aside for the actual work of the hub. It was an odd path that seemed to vary between right-angle turns and wide curves I tried to picture in my mind but lost track before I had any real picture in my head.

When we reached the the far right wall, I noticed the floor door was already beneath my feet. Despite that we were far away from it according to Jim’s sim. I looked down and saw the floor door there. It was more octagonal that it was in the sim. I looked around and saw Julio standing on another octagonal floor door looking down at it.

“There’s an access port here,” Julio said pointing at a small control box. “I’m going to see if we can make happen by messing with it.”

Believe it or not, this was part of the plan. He was the tech expert here I was just the guy who know how to work my sister’s interface.  I kept looking around, keeping an eye out for any Conva but the coast was pretty clear. I glanced out the window to see a sky clear of those big box things. Did that mean it was night time in the Fire Escape Dimension? I kept looking out the window as Julio kept messing with the control box. I looked down and saw a massive, well, what looked like an ocean of like a purple liquid. This dimension liked it’s purple.  On the shore of this ocean at the very bottom of a very steep and long and purple slope was a village or town. It seemed like this facility was either on top of a mountain or was built in a massive tunnel through the mountain. 

Just then sparks flew from Julio’s control box, the door beneath his feet opened, and he fell through it.  I looked down to see Julio scrambling to his feet and looking around--I could tell he was spotting potential threats.  I dropped to my knees and looked craned my neck so I could see what he was looking at.  I saw several Conva soldiers, in various states of dress turning and approaching him. Then, the lights started to dim--only, I knew that's not what was really happening.  

"Uncle Julio--watch out--I'm changing!"

FIRE ESCAPE First Draft Update for 8/19/18: Who DOES Jill Trust?

Interesting news: I just conceived of the ending of this book.  The whole time I was wondering where Jacob was writing all of this from.  T...