Ghost sneak peek: Boomer

Tabitha’s third sci-fi epic, Ghost, is taking shape. Random thoughts are growing into paragraphs and chapters. Vague ideas are morphing into characters. (Just trying to document the process as I go).

One such character belongs to Serenity’s Guardian marines. He’s Boomer.

A tank drone stared with a cold jerking lens; a twelve-foot giant twitching and turning fearsome guns with a dozen whirring servos. Moving too quick and coordinated to feel animal, though the troops seemed attached to it. Tabitha thought of Seven, and guessed she knew where they were coming from. If this thing had fought alongside them, and taken hits, and saved lives… hard not to feel that special connection, she supposed.

‘That’s Boomer,’ said a passing marine. She was smiling, with more than a hint of pride. Setting down a crate to scratch her oil-smeared forehead. ‘He’s high maintenance. Getting old,’ she confided. ‘But, I wouldn’t want any other heavy with me in a fight.’

‘He’s been around for a while?’ said Tabitha, studying its mismatched limbs and plate armour.

‘Since the unit started,’ the woman replied, with a dimpled grin. Her eyes were lighting up as she came over. ‘He’s had so many custom updates and part replacements, he’s not even the same mech any more.’

‘You’re his mechanic?’ said Tabitha.

‘Nah, just partner in crime,’ she replied happily. ‘I was there when he took an airstrike to the head, during the pirate conflicts,’ she chuckled. ‘Turned him into burning scrap, and a big ugly crater. But that gatling still had power, and his brain was still plugged into it. He just kept firing, until we won the checkpoint. Big dumb bastard,’ she said fondly. ‘But, he’s our big dumb bastard.’

‘I know what you mean,’ Tabitha replied, with a smile. Watching Seven lazing like a crocodile across the hangar.

‘Guess he’ll need a new upgrade now?’ said the woman. ‘You gonna work your magic on him? Bring him over to the land of the living?’

‘…I can try,’ Tabitha admitted, with a smiling shrug.

‘Ok,’ said the woman, hesitating. ‘But… with respect, ma’am, I’d appreciate if you did more than just try. We’d hate to lose him.’

‘I understand. I’ll be careful,’ Tabitha assured her.

‘Appreciated, ma’am,’ the marine said with a smile. Hefting up her crate again to carry it off across the hangar.

Well, no time like the present, Tabitha told herself. Walking up to the tank drone as she pulled a piece of the volt-tree from her belt. Boomer’s whirring lens stared coldly; the rest of the metal monster stood stock-still. The clear rubbery bark stuck and spread against the drone’s side; feeling and creeping with glowing tendrils to mesh with its joints and circuits. Tabitha watched its progress intently. Pressing a hard sparking hand against the material to direct its growth.

God, I hope this works.

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