Where am I? Who are you?
Welcome to Eighth Angel Studios. We're going to write a novel.
This is a collaborative project- contributors (like you) provide characters who are woven into the story as it progresses. But your involvement doesn't end there- as the story progresses you can give feedback on your character, developing them further, influencing their decisions and guiding their actions. The more feedback you provide, the more development your character can receive.
If you want to join in, please follow this blog and comment on this post with a thirty-second description of your character- a name and enough to describe a first meeting. That'll get the ball rolling.
Anyway, enough rambling- on to the plot!
Friday, 10 December 2010
As the train pulled out of the city, cutting and covering through ancient thoroughfares, Carter rested his eyes for a moment. When he opened them, the black sky was beginning to be tinged Prussian blue.
Youla sat opposite, still and almost serene, eyes closed. As Carter looked at him, his eyes opened, looking back. "You snore." He said simply.
Carter had to smile. "I'm Claydon. Gabriel, wasn't it?"
"Yes. Gabriel Youla." He nodded in lieu of a handshake.
"So, where are you from, Gabriel?"
"Brixton. Before that, Sierra Leone."
"Ah. I was there briefly, a few years ago. Interesting times."
"That is not the word I would use. I like Brixton. It is nice to be able to sleep well."
"So, what brought you to England?"
"There was nothing left in Sierra Leone but gunpowder and blood. I was given the opportunity to leave as payment for a job. My sister and I came to England. She is studying to be a doctor."
"A noble calling. What do you do, when you're not catching trains to the middle of nowhere?"
"I work in the docks. It is simple work, but safe and it pays well enough. My sister wants to study at Cambridge in a few years, I must save for her to afford it."
Carter nodded appreciatively. "There's not many people who'd go that far even for family these days."
"There is not, but there should be. But what of you, Mister Carter?"
"Me? Well, I used to work for the Government, mostly abroad. It used to feel like it meant something, but after my grandfather died, well, I felt like the part of me that had enjoyed the work went with him. I worked for myself for a while, then this came along, and they offered me what I missed."
"And what was that?"
"Revealed secrets. I missed knowing the truth behind the lies everyone got told, and they promised to give that back to me. What about you? What did they offer you?"
"Mostly it was the money. But in Africa I did things I would rather forget. I cannot forget them, but I hope I might be able to balance them out."
Friday, 3 December 2010
Carter half-fell out of bed as he clawed over to it, stabbing the green button on the flashing screen to answer the call. "Hello?"
"Carter, we've got a crash situation. Get to the office now."
"It's oh-three-twelve in your time zone. This isn't going to wait for you."
"Who is this?"
"This is Sakura. I'm your operations handler. Enough questions already, put some clothes on and get moving."
"The tube'll be shut."
"I'm sure you can improvise. Office, fast as you can. Freya will meet you there to brief you." The line went dead.
Carter swore, quietly but repeatedly, as he shuffled into the bathroom and flicked on the light. The fluorescent tube hummed and flashed a couple of times before igniting, serving to ruin Carter's night vision as well as temporarily blinding him. He blinked a couple of times, then filled a sink with tepid water to splash his face. This was too bloody early.
Returning to the room he picked up the phone and, while hunting through the wardrobe for something comfortable to wear, called a taxi. This time of night was about the only time you could do that in the city.
Finally he grabbed the go-bag from the bottom of the wardrobe and slung it over his shoulder as he headed for the door. The time on the clock as he left was 03:18.
The taxi pulled up Outside Waterloo Station ten minutes later. Carter paid the taxi-driver, a short, swarthy man with an impermeable accent that sounded like an Indian man trying to speak Welsh, and extricated himself from the black cab. At least the weather was better than the last time he was here.
The short walk round the corner to the Necropolis Railway building served to allow Carter to finish waking up. By the time he stepped through the open door he merely felt a couple of coffees shy of human. On instinct he headed upstairs.
Freya was there, slim, pale hands clasped around a large, steaming mug that smelled mostly of lemon and sugar. "Mister Carter, good morning." She smiled. "We're just waiting for one more to arrive."
There was the sound of a bike engine outside- high revving, probably a supersport. A few seconds later, the door, footsteps, stairs.
Another man entered the room- tall, dark-skinned, shaven-headed and lean, he wore jeans, work boots and a biker jacket. Carter had seen the look in his eyes before- the look of recently-caged animals, or that of veterans from Africa's many recent wars. A soldier?
"Claydon Carter, this is Gabriel Youla. You two will be working together in this matter."
"Mister Youla," Carter shook the man's hand. Firm grip, calloused palms. "Miss Douglas, forgive me for asking out of line, but are we going to be told what's going on any time soon?"
"Of course. Just over an hour ago, a radio distress beacon was detected from a United States Air Force bomber, just off the South Coast of Cornwall. The bomber itself was on a training flight, though it was detected descending to low level not long before the signal was picked up.
"The aircraft in question, callsign Bone Nine Six, was being used under the auspices of a project named Pave Spider, and we believe was carrying a prototype weapon system that poses a significant risk in both the right and the wrong hands; as such we are obliged to treat the aircraft's loss as suspicious.
"We need you to go to Porthallow, where you will act as initial crash investigators for the Civil Aviation Authority. The Air Force is in the process of sending its own team to secure the crash site- you need to get in there before they clear up any evidence. If there is a larger issue at hand, you are to take any steps you deem necessary to resolve it, as long as you do not compromise this organisation. If you need anything else, contact Sakura through the speed-dial on your phones- she will be your handler for the duration of the operation. Any questions?"
"How do you know all of this?" Carter responded, his mind reeling. To have put all this together in an hour...?
"Our access to national and corporate intelligence is extensive; you gentlemen may be the tip of the spear, but the implement itself is much larger. Suffice it to say that should Western intelligence agencies learn something of interest to us, we would learn of it with them."
"You say there will be American soldiers there?" Gabriel spoke, his voice deep and flavoured of central Africa.
"Yes, we believe troops from RAF Mildenhall will already be en-route to Porthallow, the closest point of civilisation to the crash. They will likely be in position before you arrive, however a legend and the required identification will be provided to you before you arrive. Here are your train tickets- I would advise you to move quickly, your first train leaves in twenty minutes.
"Oh, one more thing," Freya called as the two men began to make their way downstairs, "Please be discreet. Our organisation has freedom to act because we do not draw attention to ourselves or to the matters we are involved in. And this, like other instances you may be asked to handle, is likely to be something best hidden from the world."