Geonosis (A Ten-Minute Tale)
Bang! Clods of dirt everywhere, sprinkling down in a haze as the smoke clears. Light, red and blue, illuminates the particles as bolts go whizzing by. My heart is pumping faster than it ever has before. So many years of training, countless hours gunning down holograms. Still nothing prepared us for this. There are clankers everywhere, closing in fast. This is Geonosis. The war has begun.
The comm channels are flooded with voices, all of them alike, but subtly unique to the trained ear. "Grenade!" Another explosion, more crimson dust gently hissing to the ground.
I see a droid, a clanker close by. I take aim. Its skull-like face is right between my targeting sights for an instant. The trigger. No more clanker.
I can barely breathe. My helmet is filtering whatever I inhale, and still I'm practically panting. Despite my armor's temp regulators, I'm sweating. I have to keep advancing, I have to reach the objective.
"Your primary objective is to break through enemy lines, and advance toward these coordinates," the general, a Jedi named Asok Veld, had said as he gestured at a holomap of the planet only hours ago. "This will clear the way for a full-scale assault on the target. I've been told to expect heavy losses." He'd paused there, only for a moment. "May the Force be with us all."
Veld was nowhere to be found on the frontlines, now.
I'm trying to forge ahead, through the smoke, the debris, the voices, the chaos. An enormous brown spire looms in the distance. Every moment, I can hear another voice on the comm channels cut out. Then, a stronger one penetrates the static, shouting louder than the others that remain. "Move move move!" I can see my Captain's red-striped armor out of the corner of my visor, his hand waving wildly.
I'm not thinking. I'm just moving. More clankers, turning into more scrapheaps all around me. Which ones did I put down? Everything is a blur, everything instinct – it doesn't matter anyway.
There's a rocky outcropping. It makes for good cover. I slam my back into it, Caps does the same about a meter away. Everyone called him Caps, but he didn't like it; he clung to his ID number. My back turned to the enemy, momentarily safe from harm, I've reached the clarity that only comes amidst chaos.
What were those spec ops jobs talking about back on Kamino? Something about Mandos, that was it. They said the Mando didn't think it was fair, for clones to be used. We don't get the choices the mongrels do. They have to sign up, but no one asked us if we wanted this job. That's the Republic for you, one had said. Used? Mongrels?
Our purpose is to protect the Republic, at all costs. Isn't that the reason why we exist in the first place? We're honored with keeping the galaxy safe from the Seps. We're meant to do our duty, even if… if sacrifices must be made. Anything less would be a letdown to the Republic. What else could there be in the world for a clone? What else could a clone ever need?
"Alright troopers, it's clear, move out!" Caps barks. The clarity is gone. It takes me a moment to realize my legs are already moving again.
The voices of my brothers are almost deafening. "Medic!" More shouting, more comm feeds getting louder and more desperate, then suddenly turning to static like bubbles swelling and bursting.
I look ahead. There are three troopers in a crater about a hundred meters away, one lying prone with his helmet pressed to his rifle's scope. The other two are kneeling behind small boulders. A barrage of red plasma is coming from three directions; they're pinned down. Clankers are everywhere.
I'm crouching behind a rock, Caps by my side, mowing down more battle droids. For every one that falls, at least ten more walk into the fray. Suddenly, a Geonosian is in the middle of the crater, trying to spear the trooper lying down. I can't get a bead on it, chunks of red rock in the crater are obstructing my line of sight.
"Trooper!" Caps shouts. Then I realize he's looking toward me. "Get over there and kill the bug!"
The storm of red bolts that seemed to be magnetically drawn to the crater with the three stranded troopers created a menacing, high-pitched, energized hum. How could I get over there? It seems impossible. What if I got hit? What if… I don't make it? This is my purpose in life, what I've been training for. If I disobey orders, I'm just a defective waste of space.
"Move, trooper! Now!"
I'm moving toward the Geonosian before I realize I'm running. I'm barely conscious of the constant stream of blaster bolts rushing past my head. My shots are scattering too widely to hit the bug at this range, but I'm getting closer. Almost there…
It topples over, its head a puddle of green juice soaking into the sand. There's a rock in the crater with enough room to take cover from the blasterfire. I'm out in the open, too far from Caps. I have to get behind that rock…
There's a voice so loud it's almost inside my head. "Live one!"
Where? Where is it? The toe of my boot kicks something with a quiet clink, something that rolls.
This was a writing excercise I came up with called a Ten-Minute Tale (TMT).
The process to write a Ten-Minute Tale is broken down into six increments of ten minutes, for a total of one hour. Finding time to write can be difficult, but everyone has ten minutes! To write a TMT, simply complete the following steps, each in only ten minutes (separately or all at once):
1-Concept: Come up with a one-sentence summary of the story you want to write.
2-Characters and Plot Breakdown: List 3 characters that will appear in your story. Then break your story down into 3 acts (beginning, middle, and end), and write a one-sentence outline for each act.
3-Writing Act I: Take your one-sentence outline for Act I and write as much as you can in ten minutes. Repeat for Acts II and III.
4-Writing Act II: (see #3)
5-Writing Act III: (see #3)
6-Revision: Look over your draft, combine all 3 acts, make corrections, and add finishing details.
Follow all the steps, write quickly, and you'll have a nice short story in no time. It's fun, and great practice. If you write a TMT yourself, please copy and paste these directions at the end, and feel free to send me (the dude person) a link.