Nequam95 Avatar
A science fiction story by


Submitted Aug 22, 2016, 10:29:14 AM

The ghost of time - Chapter 1

This my first original story in English, I apologize for the grammatical mistakes in the text, I tried my best to get rid of them. :)

Chapter one:
Agent K.I.A.

She lives, I die, that was the plan. Most would resent this idea. Thing is, I love her more than life.

It felt like we were lifelong lovers. Two people who were meant to be together. The fact is, I didn't know her for such a long time; in fact, I only met her after the war broke out. Sylvana lost all she had after the Japanese lords of Takeda attacked her homeworld, and destroyed pretty much everything on it. She wanted to take revenge on them; luckily the United Earth Coalition was recruiting to fight their biggest rival. So she learned our language, mastered our methods of fighting and became the second best special agent in our ranks. That's when she met me, the number one agent.

She became my rival, but after a few months of senseless hatred, the war went sideways, and we realized, we have to stick together in order to succeed against a superior foe. We did what we had to do, and in the meantime we recognized, we like each other a lot more than we thought we would. We knew we shouldn't be together, it was completely against the rules, and it was an interspecies encounter after all – despite the fact she looked like any other human being. But that didn't really stop us; we were two badass special agents after all.

Since both of us were experts in hiding things from others, no one knew what was going on between us. Despite that, we couldn't stay together for a long time; fate had other plans for us. Sylvana got caught after a risky operation, and I myself got lost in a large scale battle between the Japanese and the Coalition. We lost it of course, and by the time I could help her, she became a prisoner of war.

Naturally, I decided to rescue her.

Despite the fact that she was a very important agent, I was the only one who could save her. The others in the Coalition didn't even know where the Japanese held her. Most suspected they would take her to one of their extreme-security prisons placed at the crown jewels of their interstellar empire. But instead, our sworn enemies decided to hide her in the remote colony of Sendai. No one would look for her there, and since it had the equipment to deal with her, Sylvana had no choice, but to wait for her execution.

I couldn't let that happen, and I couldn't get help with my mission either. After our recent failure to stop the enemy, the Japanese were ready to take Earth. All of the Coalition prepared for that battle, since losing it meant losing the whole war against the Takedan Protectorate. But I didn't care about the war, at least not as much as I cared about Sylvana.

After arriving there with my cloaked ship, I realized the Invisible Judgement couldn't get her out of there. Not without one hell of a distraction. So I landed the ship on the frozen planet, slipped into my good old battle armor, and embarked on my suicide mission. Hidden from enemy sight, I went around the prison complex in the deep snow. Walking straight to their gates, I pulled out my plasma guns and started shooting like a madman.

My pistols quickly took the better out of the perimeter guns. Without them the enemy had to send their guards at me. The large duranium gate opened with surprising speed. At the other side, eight armored soldiers aimed their lasers at me.

I knew how to fight them; I had faced Takedan soldiers many times before. Their weapons were extremely accurate and fast, but you didn't have to worry about a thing, if you knew where they aimed them.

The enemy soldiers pulled the trigger with near perfect unison. I quickly leapt to the side, avoiding every single shot. It took a few seconds until they could fire again, by that time I threw a plasma among them. Most ran away, only a few of them escaped death. They were drawing back from me, I didn't expect anything else from a bunch of rookies.

I knew they will get reinforcements, so I made my move before that. I got the signal to the ship, and then, as the Invisible Judgement rose up from the ground, I started to run to the center of the complex; just like an idiot would, who wants to die at all cost.

That's what love does with you.

A dozen soldiers surrounded me within an instant. As a hail of laser beams approached me, the Judgement stepped into action. Appearing from nowhere, the Stargazer class vessel shot a piece out of the prison complex. The plasma bolt shot a clear way through the cell block, opening an escape route to Sylvana. I knew exactly where they held her, yet I could only hope she was in the right place at the right time. She will be pissed as hell otherwise.

Nothing left for me, but to hold out until she boards the Judgement and gets out of here. Tough job, even for a hero. But not for me. My instincts didn't make much of a difference in this situation, but my personal shield made up for that. The blue energy field protected me from incoming fire, and I proved to be surprisingly good at dodging enemy fire. But I couldn't avoid everything, and my shield started to drain rather quickly. I had no chance to win against forty enemy soldiers; and that's how many men were garrisoned in here.

I took out as many guards as I could, ducking from a series of shots, killing everyone around me with deadly shots. Surrounded by the black armored troops and sweeping red energy beams, I knew my luck wouldn't hold out for long... And then I heard the sound of an approaching grenade, well capable of breaching my shield.

"Watch out!" I've heard a familiar sound. It was Sylvana...

The agent jumped right beside me, holding a laser rifle in her hand, kicking the plasma grenade back to the enemy. Part of me was glad that she saved my ass, but deep down I knew, this was all I wanted to avoid.

"Get out of here!" I yelled at the raven haired, pale skinned woman, as I took out one of the guards. The poor guy just lent out of his cover, he didn't stand a chance.

"I'm not leaving you, Michael," she said, then a laser beam hit her in the face.

I was scared for a moment, then I remembered something, looking at her half molten face. She wasn't human, and at this point I couldn't say she was completely organic either. The cyborg barely felt the shot; her synthetic blood quickly surrounded her duranium strengthened bones, agglomerating around them within an instant. It still wasn't a pretty sight, but none of us were disturbed by it – except from the enemy.

The poor guards couldn't think of anything, but to fall back from the monstrosity that escaped from their hands. But then a part of their honorable past kicked in. They stood at their place firmly, fighting on at the face of death.

We made a good team with Sylvana; we knew each other as no one else ever could. With our combined expertise, no enemy could stand in our way. The enemy tried of course, losing one soldier after another. After a certain point, I started to think we could pull this thing off. But then I realized it won't be that simple after all.

"Bring the Judge in!" Sylvana broke the sound of the energy beams sweeping the cold air.

"Can't do that," I told her instinctively.

"Why not?"

I didn't want to explain it to her, it was too late for us anyway. There was no chance to win here... Not with a Protectorate cruiser around the place.

The black ship appeared in the sky as it descended upon us. It took the Judgement apart with a deadly burst from its laser cannons, then it turned them down toward us. The guards stopped firing; they ran wherever they could go. But I didn't run, and neither did Sylvana. Now we both knew there was no sense to run.

I looked up, seeing the blazing pieces of my ship going down from the sky and the black monstrosity towering above me. The long, robust cruiser was preparing another shot, igniting its long cannons right above us.

"I love you," Sylvana told me, stepping closer to me. She didn't want to die, not without taking revenge for everything the Protectorate had done with her. However, she had no saying in it. And if Sylvana truly had to die, then she wanted to be with me.

Just as I wanted be with her.

"I love you too," I answered as the cruiser obliterated the place, killing the both of us within in instant.

It didn't matter how fast or how peaceful I died, it felt awful to wake up afterwards. All my muscles were aching, I couldn't even think without feeling intense pain. But it got better within a minute or two as I was floating in my tank filled with some sort of blue liquid.

After my unusual associate felt I was ready to go, she opened up the canister. I was dedicated to not fall out of it, but I was too numb once again. I quickly found myself on the floor, lying on the blue, stinking liquid covering the floor.

"One more time, huh?" The thin, blond woman told me with a smile on her face. I stood up from the ground, looking into her blue eyes.

"Since when you are allowed to mock me, Synthia?" She grinned at me, putting her right hand to her hip.

"Since you are overstaying your welcome, Mr. Best of a Coalition. Or should I say, Agent K.I.A.?"

It's an understatement to say, I wasn't impressed to hear this. I was looking at her like I wanted to kill her, but deep down I had to admit, she had a point. This wasn't my Timeship, it belonged to her, and my people didn't even understand how time-travel works. And she didn't just let me in here out of her kindness...

Originally I took my gun in my mouth after we lost the war and Sylvana got executed in the prison complex. Synthia saved me, and she did that for a reason. Her civilization was exterminated by the same race that will eventually exterminate mankind as well, and I had to turn this around, if she was to avenge her people.

And why me? She stated that her people are beyond rescue, and the best way to save mankind is to let the Coalition win the war. Obviously, you can't find a better person for the job than the best special agent in the whole goddamn Coalition.

In return of my cooperation, Synthia agreed to help me to save Sylvana. I tried it over and over and again, but I failed every time, dying in many interesting ways. Thus earning the name, Agent Killed In Action.

I guess, it is Synthia's turn now, and I should help with her problem. Regardless of that, I still looked at her like I wanted to murder her.

"You realize you can't kill an AI, right?" She contracted her eyebrows.

True again. Synthia was nothing more than a projection generated by the ship's systems. Originally she didn't even look like a human being, just some strange thing with long tentacles. The Japanese might have liked it, but I had my own preferences. Thing is, she did a good job with seeming to be a human being, thus I unconsciously started to treat her as one.

"Alright, you win. What do you want me to do?"

"Go to Earth, win the battle. It won't win the entire war for the Coalition, but it will be a good start. Once you did that, I will give you another go with Sylvana, alright?" she said getting back to her usual calm and kind facade.

"That's our best chance to turn it around," I told her, shaking my head. It might seem like a good idea, but as far as I understood this time travel thing, I couldn't try the same thing twice. So if I manage to fail, it will be a lot harder to reach our goal. And this plan sounded way too easy for me.

"Then what do you suggest?" she asked me like she were reading my thoughts. She couldn't do that, but I have to say, she had some excellent predictions.

"I say we should visit Imahara Kotara, and solve his headaches with a good old bullet in his temple." I couldn't help, but smile at this thought. He wasn't just another admiral, being the head of the Protectorate Starforce, this little guy proved himself as a genius in space warfare, turning even the hardest battles into one sided massacres. If I took him out in the right time, this war would go a lot better for the Coalition.

"I assume, you can't just go to his mother and shoot her in the belly, when Imahara was just mere embryo. You humans are resourceful in terms of finding war leaders," she said pretending she was thinking. In reality, she calculated out everything at the very start of this conversation.

"No, but if I take him out before his first big victory, it would give a Coalition a head start." By the time the enemy finds someone else to replace him, we might have a significant advantage over them. Although I doubt I could turn everything around with a single mission.

"That means you will need to board the Kegare, the biggest ship made by man in this era. If you wouldn't know, that thing is moving fortress in terms of internal security. Also, I think it's worth mentioning, that the Coalition led almost two hundred assassination attempts against Imahara during the war, and no one even got near him."

I nodded; I knew how much he was obsessed with security. It might sound like an overstatement, but he paid way too much attention to these things for a high ranking military genius that happened to be the number one target of an entire colonial alliance.

"I wouldn't say it will be easy. But I think a forever-dying-time-traveler might stand a chance against him. Trust me on this one, I have a lot better luck in terms of high-risk missions," I told her, trying to look like someone who knows what he is doing. Despite that, none of us believed it.

"Like this time? For God's sake, I told you exactly where Sylvana was held, how many guards were there and I even told you when the enemy cruiser gets there. Despite that, you managed to get reduced into a pile of smoking ash. Tell me, how in the world will you succeed with that mission, if you couldn't even figure out this one?" she questioned me with irony in her voice.

"Like hell."

Thank you for reading it! I hope you liked it. Give me feedback if you can, constructive criticism is always welcome :)


W namsom Avatar

W namsom

Commented Sep 2, 2016, 10:40:45 AM
It almost felt like I have this kind of story many times. Their was nothing new or original in this story. But the way you tell your story is smooth, and easy to understand.
 Just my view.
Nequam95 Avatar


Commented Sep 2, 2016, 12:21:03 PM
Thank your very much for your review! What do you think, how could I make it more original? What would make the concept and the plot itself better in your opinion?
phillips_brian Avatar


Commented Sep 3, 2016, 3:16:26 AM
The flow seemed to switch back and forth between an action scene, and a character telling a story that happened far in the past. Also, the relationship details with Sylvana were kind of dismissed. There seems to be a lot of backstory here (e.g. How did the Japanese Lords take over her home world?), but I have no idea what it is. Probably needs one or two more times through the revision mill, but this story has promise.
Don Roble Avatar

Don Roble

Commented Sep 4, 2016, 10:34:49 PM
I wouldn't worry too much about originality. The last original idea came from Jules Verne. They say there are only seven different plots in fiction.

It's not the story but how you tell it:
A man slips on a banana peel.
A man steps over a banana peel and falls into a hole.

Throw in something unexpected to keep the reader's attention. You don't want the reader to be ahead of you. Don't worry about a linear story. Go a bit off the path but don't get lost. There are always sidebar stories in any writing if you want to go there.

Avoid repetitive words. That's an easy trap to fall into.

As to editing, I edit my stories as often as need be. I edit until I know it's the best I can do. One edit for spelling; one for grammar; one for structure; one for flow. That's one way to do it.

When you finish, leave it alone for a week. Read it again. Is it as good as you thought? Don't look for perfection, look for your best.

Write your own style. It has to be readable and follow normal rules but be yourself and write as naturally as you can. I write short sentences and short paragraphs like Hemingway did. I'm not him. It my style and his style.
Nequam95 Avatar


Commented Sep 5, 2016, 4:19:09 PM
Thank you for your advice, I really appreciate it! I think the first chapter of a book should be as good as possible, so if someone says there is nothing new or original in it, I really get curious about the reasons behind it. It can be the concept itself or maybe I've just presented it in a bad way, I don't know that. But I do know that a bad first chapter can kill a book right in the beginning, which would be sad in my opinion. This is the reason why I've uploaded it before I wrote anything else to the book. Right now I can change - and I am willing - to change almost everything in here in order to write it right. So I think this is the perfect time to collect as many constructive criticism about it as possible :)
aSin Avatar


Commented Sep 6, 2016, 12:16:07 PM
I'm an overall sucker for a love story... even with the sci-fi background, I love that the main character is doing what his heart pulls him to. Great first piece I would say, don't worry too much about familiarity to other stories. Everyone writes something similar, its all in the way you get it across. Keep it up
kt6550 Avatar


Commented Sep 14, 2016, 10:04:00 PM
You have got an awful lot going on here in Chapter 1. I could easily break this into three chapters, fill in the missing backstory, and add a bit of color and detail.

Why not give that a try?