I've decided to number the scenes and not worry about chapter numbers. If you would like to read the first scene about my pompous A.I. (Zamler) click here. Scene 1.
It will be interesting to see if I can keep this up, or perhaps the story will fall apart at some point. The good news is I do have an outline and have written various chapters already.
Zamler continued driving the jeep closer to the Noctis Labyrinthus. A light ripple of dust blew across the ground as the sun rose in the orange sky. He often enjoyed overlooking this area and being further out would give Nick more of a challenge. He stopped the jeep several meters from one of the canyons, grabbed an extra oxygen pack and led the way several feet from the jeep.
Zamler handed Nick the oxygen pack. “You may begin.”
Nick reached for it with a shaky hand.
“Being nervous isn’t going to help.”
Nick took the pack. “Sorry, it’s just this fear of suffocating that’s hard to ignore.”
“My goodness, what if you were here alone? Not only that these oxygen packs are so much easier than the ones used back in the day. I mean there’s no valves, no gauges. It simply snaps into a compartment on a backpack, which handles everything. Besides, I’m here in case of a freak malfunction.”
Nick still had a good deal of sweat dripping down his face beneath his shield along with light brown hair stuck to his forehead. “Actually, something like that happened to my older brother last year. The headsup display said he had two hours of oxygen when really he was running out. He barely made it back inside on time.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, but you must try to not be emotional over it. As I understand, you have a test to pass and it’s mandatory for graduation.”
“Yes sir.” Nick removed the backpack and he had plenty of time.
Even with the backpack disconnected there was about ten minutes
to put it back on. Still, Nick looked at the pack, turned it around and proceeds to put in the wrong chamber.
“What are you doing?" Zamler asked. "That one goes on the right,”
“Oh yeah. I guess I really am still nervous.”
Zamler held back a sigh. Watching the continual mistakes made him wonder how humans could function at all. Yet, somehow after thirty minutes, Nick managed to connect the packs of oxygen to his suit with better speed and skill.
“At least you’ve stopped fumbling."
“A few more times, and you should be good for the test.” Zamler glanced toward the Noctis Labyrinthus. A vision sensor picked up a piece of metal on the ground near the edge of a canyon.
“How did I do that time?” Nick asked.
Zamler checked his internal clock. “It seems you’ve mastered changing oxygen packs.” He wandered off toward the part.
“Where are you going?” Nick hurried after him.
Zamler picked up the tiny part. It was a circuit only found on shuttles related to the environmental systems. He looked over the edge, down into the dusty canyon and detected more pieces at the bottom. Zamler used his long range scanners to search farther. A larger piece showed up about a kilometer to the east. Something was down there.