Friday, November 9, 2012

Writing Blitz, Day Nine

It's now day nine of NaNoWriMo, and I am officially three days behind. I do have a new installment for you, though:
Chapter Three 
Tahmid leaned back in his chair and looked up at me. “What’s your birthdate?” he asked cheerfully.

“September 13, 1985.” On a Friday. I’d never been superstitious about it, but now I was beginning to wonder.

“Explain,” he said.

Explain what? I wondered, but didn’t dare ask. “I was born on September 13, 1985,” I answered.

“Is that a date?”

Back to the obvious questions, again, or else he was just badgering me. “Yes.”

“By what calendar?”

“I think it’s called the Julian calendar,” I answered, getting sick of these obscure historical questions, “or possibly Gregorian? I’m sorry; I don’t know much about calendars.”

Tahmid had something on his desk that looked like a game controller, and he touched a button on it. A rod began to come down from the ceiling. It was nearly directly above me and pointing straight down like the rod the fan had been on in the restaurant. But there was no fan on this one. I tried to back up a step, in case it came down too low, but the guards held my arms. It kept coming, six inches in front of my face, and finally stopped when it was about at the level of my chin.

As soon as it stopped the guards grabbed my forearms and raised them, fitting the end of the rod into a small hole in the middle of the handcuffs. They locked together with a metallic click. Then the one on my left pulled my shoes and socks off and the one on my right made five quick cuts with his knife, and I was naked.

“I hope we’ve been able to come to an understanding,” he said in a friendly tone. “Think back to the last thing you remember before Terra Knorr. You got out of the cab, and then what?”

“I paid the driver…No, I paid the driver before I got out. Then I got out, and I walked. I had had him stop in front of the wrong building, so I had to walk a little.”

“Go on.”

“I got to my building and I was just about to go up the steps.”

“Your building?”

“The building I was staying at.”

“And then what?”

“That’s all I remember. I was turning to go up the steps.”

“And your next memory is of being on this station?”

“That’s correct.”

“Tell me about that.”

“I was lying on the floor, and I saw a lot of people.”

“What were they doing?”

“Just walking around, I guess. I didn’t have a lot of time to watch them.”

“Go on.”

“Well, then the people started crowding around me, looking at me.”

“What species were these people?”

Oh, no, back to that game again! “Human.”

“They were human?”


“They looked like you?”

“Pretty much, yeah.”

“Did you scan them?”

I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it didn’t matter because he didn’t wait for an answer anyway.

“Did you bring a tricorder?” he asked.

“No.” Whatever that was, I didn’t bring one.

“What did these humans look like?”

“They had scars on their noses.”

“So you came this station and saw humans with scars on their noses,” he mused. “What species am I?”

“Human,” I answered, with a little hesitation. The last time we’d talked about his origins, he’d had one of his guards give me a bloody nose. And the stakes were higher now.

“Have you heard of a people called the Kardashians?” he asked. Only he pronounced it ‘Kardassians.’


“Tell me about them.”

“They’re a family. Three beautiful women who got famous on reality TV.”

“What is TV?”


He shook his head. “That word’s not translating. But are you telling me you think that the Kardassians are three beautiful women?”

“Yes. Well, they’re a whole family. But the famous ones are three women.”

He touched the scar above his left eye. “What is this?” he asked.

“I’m not sure.”

“What do you think it is? Give me your best guess.”

“A scar?”

He touched the scar below his right eye. “And this?”

“Another scar?”

He touched the fin-thing on the right side of his neck. “And this? Is this a scar, too?”

“I…don’t know what that’s called.”

“What happened after you saw the people with the scars on their noses?”

“They left, and two other guys showed up.”

“What species were the two other guys?”

“Human.” I was getting used to this bizarre question, and I wasn’t sure that was a good thing.

“Did they look like you?”

“Not really.”

“Go on.”

“They looked like you.”

“Oh,” he said, “did they have three beautiful women with them?”


He took his eyes off me again and looked at something behind me. I didn’t turn and follow his gaze this time because my wrists hurt and my hands ached. I’d been moving my fingers a lot to keep the blood flowing, and it had worked to some extent, but it hurt, too.

“How old are you?” he asked after a long pause.


“Do you know today’s date?”

“September 18, 2015.”

“So you turned thirty, five days ago. Happy birthday.”

“Thank you.”

“I have no more questions for you at the moment,” he said, getting up and coming toward me with the controller in his hand. He touched the controller to the handcuffs and immediately my wrists were free. The handcuffs remained locked to the rod. “You’re welcome to have a seat,” he offered politely, and went back to his own chair.

We must have sat for about ten minutes, while I rubbed the feeling back into my hands and he busied himself with a couple of off-brand iPads. Finally he said, “We’re about done here. The gull wants to see you.”

I wondered what the chances were that he was referring to a shore bird. Not very good, I figured, but anything was possible.

He must have read my face again, because he asked, “Do you know what a gull is?”

“A bird?” I ventured.

“Perhaps in your universe, where Kardassians are all beautiful women, gulls are birds,” he conceded. “But in our reality, Gul is a military rank. There is only one Gul assigned to this station, and he is its commander. I know it doesn’t come naturally to your people, but if I were you…” He paused and drilled me with his gaze. “…I would be very respectful.”
To read more of my NaNo-novel An Analysis of the Cardassian Language, see my website,

Related Posts:

Writing Blitz, Day Four

My NaNoWriMo 2012 Project

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