Tag: UnderCity

Day 06 –Sjana of Upper City from my novel “Mentor”

| November 6, 2011 | 2 Comments

2011 Day 06 --Sjana's Last Look Back, from my novel "Mentor"

Sjana of Upper City takes a last look back …
before leaping into the unknown.

Sjanatha A’tan Re’ khalanth, only daughter of widower Kinsaar A’tan Re’kalanth, Governor of the Lakes Region of  Vindertrest on the Rim planet T’rest.
Always a handful to manage, one always had the feeling the child had been born in the wrong time. Willful and petulant when balked. Inclined to go her own way regardless of the effect on others. Though to her credit, she never meant to cause grief to others. It was her passion for knowledge that caused her to seek ways around the safety protocols, precautions, and barriers. Se sought knowledge born of experience, rather than that readily available on the Grid, or from MAICS’s archives. She did gain knowledge from both those sources, but somehow it was not enough. Somehow she had to get herself physically inside a subject and turn it inside out until she really felt she knew it.

But that was a hard thing to do on T’rest. Especially since the war, after the ships stopped landing here. After the Bubble went up. Sjana’s Aunt, Renala del Re’sjahlak, Sister to Sjana’s mother Deira, had done the best she could to give Sjana the kind of loving guidance that her own sister Deira would have given her. And the two adored each other. But Renala was a fairly conventional woman. Though she had admired her sister’s bravery and forth right nature, she had often harboured thoughts that perhaps her sister’s untimely death had something to do with that nature. Her inability to let a thing go, let it ride…

Sjana took after Deira. Openly standing up for the weak. Loyal, bold and honest and forth right most of the time, but not afraid to go behind one’s back in order to fulfil  a perceived obligation. At this age, the tender age of seventeen, what Sjana thought was right and proper, she also thought everyone else should think was right and proper. It just never occurred to her that other people had their own agendas, and was surprised when people were offended or angry with her. She was often full of remorse to find that her actions had negative effects on others, and did what she could to make amends. But she wasn’t sorry that she’d done it. Because, well… she needed to. She was just very sorry that her needs had hurt others. All this coupled with her inexhaustible energy, sooner or later Sjana was bound to make trouble in a big way.

And so it was no surprise when Sjana’s synthdroid mentor, a’tannattal, reported her missing, last “seen” by MAICS over thirty hours ago heading toward the promontory. No Grid activity since then. Somehow, to Renala’s horror, Sjana had finally found a way to have escaped the Grid as she had often threaten to do. That or she was dead. How could a child survive with no Grid to guide her? The Grid was the one topic that Renala and Sjana could never see eye to eye. To Renala the Grid represented safety and freedom. You could never be alone. And that was just the opposite of what it represented to Sjana. To her it was stifling and intrusive. And you could never be alone. You could never experience anything or yourself, first hand. It chafed and she plotted ways and means to escape such benevolent tyranny.

Excerpt from “Mentor”:

She woke a long time later, stiff and sore with her head on her pack and her knees pulled up to her chest. She’d been dreaming about her mother again. Her mother who was smart and brave and beautiful and who loved her, just like Auntie had told her so often. She herself hardly remembered her, but dreaming about her was like a benediction.

She sat up working her neck muscles, moving her head from side to side when a gleam of pale light began dawning, not from above as she had expected, but from somewhere over there to her left; from the wall of the gap she had fallen into. She scrambled to her feet and slung on the pack. She stumbled over the stones and broken bits of marble to the light and found that there was yet another hole, this one big enough to swallow three of her.

She poked her head through the hole and looked around. There were other holes, like large broken windows, across from where she stood. The light was coming from there. They really looked like they might have once been windows. She’d learned about windows years ago when she’d asked why she couldn’t go to the places she saw on the windows, and was told they were only projections on screens that MAICS put there for us. Real windows were holes in the walls with an almost invisible substance fitted into it. to keep the outside outside so to speak. Those holes over there looked like that and that the light which was coming through them at angle was really somewhere outside. Light was coming in from outside. Was there no end to the wonders?

There was a whirring sound above her head. She ducked instinctively as something soft scraped across her hair.  there was a blur in front of her then a second later was somewhere else. So fast that she couldn’t focus on it, but it seemed to be a small bird, flying.

“How did you get out of your cage?” She murmured at it. Startled, it flew up out of her sight and she craned her neck to see where it had gone. There were hundreds of them up there, wings vibrating faster than light it seemed. And then she looked down. And gasped. It was a long way down. In fact it was so far down that she couldn’t see the bottom. The area that she could see, the part that held up the marble floor above her, was about forty feet  by sixty feet, she estimated.  There was a wide ledge, maybe six feet wide just below her hole, and the window holes on the other side, not all of which let in light, went down and down and down until you could no longer see any. What was this place? Did MAICS know about it? Why were there cageless birds here? Could they be wild birds? like they’d sometimes seen on the promontory?

Wonders! And nothing could have stopped her at that moment from climbing out through the hole and dropping the few feet to the ledge.

A Slither, a monster from my novel “Mentor”

| November 5, 2011 | 2 Comments

A Slither, a monster from my novel, "Mentor"


Mentor: A science fantasy adventure, by J S Rowe


These reptilian predators were thought at first to be those that escaped from the BioSynth transport container that was delivering a shipment of designer DNA “snakes”  to the Ancient Wonders Theme Park. That BioSynth container had been derailed by a small earthquake which opened up a large sinkhole that swallowed parts of two buildings as well as the part of the stasis tube that separated them. The container crashed through the tube and shattered itself on the ground, releasing it’s charges to the wilds. There were six “snakes” as they were dubbed, though no one had a description other than they would grow to be up to four feet long and eight to twelves inches in diameter. Thought to be engineered to be sterile, Ancient Wonders was sent another batch fresh from the Vats by way of compensation, and the lost snakes became no more than an entry in a ledger subtracting their cost in engineering and bio mass from the main stores and the profit and loss paras.

But as usual nature has its own commitment to keep regarding the viability of her creatures whether conjured through evolution itself or by the helpful hand of  intelligent monkeys. Some how  they did manage to breed, and along the way, grew legs and claws, four of them, and grew to a much larger size than predicted and spread themselves through out the Under City.

Under City inhabitants hunted them to keep their numbers down and found that their meat was very tasty as long as the creature was fully bled at its death, and as well, that it’s venom was a useful numbing agent for practical medical applications. Once a way was found to pierce the scales, those too were found to be useful for both ornamentation, and protective coverings.

The Slither prefers the darkness, hunting its prey by smell. The poison secreted from long sacs on either side of the head, paralyses the prey of the Slither instantly. Though it looks clumsy and somewhat comical, it is lightning fast and deadly. The unhinged jaw can open wide enough to swallow a fully grown Wamba bear, but it’s preference is for the tender flesh of  babies and young humanoids, and any other smallish mammals.