Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Timed Writing: 6/12/2012
Time: 10 minutes
Prompt: "... I'd carry a knife, if I were you..."
Source: Solar by Ian McEwan
"I'd carry a knife, if I were you." I looked up from where my hands were busy re-checking the valves and manual command points on my suit's pressure cells. Burkson stood in the doorway, his burly frame dressed in the standard gray coveralls and his monstrous feet stuffed into a pair of ship slippers.
"I'd sooner have nothing sharp about me in this suit," I said, "and nothing that might be seen as a weapon."
"Wise measures, both," Burkson replied, "but I've been down there before, and you'd be wiser still to have this to hand." I saw then that he held a narrow metal box, a bit longer than his hand and only the width of a thumb. Two straps hung from it.
"Never you worry," he said, "they'll not see this as a threat. You're right-handed, no?" He approached and I extended my arm. He bound the straps snugly around my wrist, with the box positioned on the dorsal side and one end extending over the back of my gloved hand, toward my fingers.
"That's a knife?" I said. Burkson remained silent, but he extracted a wire from the near end of the box and inserted it into a free device port on my suit's sleeve.
"Alright," he said, "choose a command you're not like to forget when tight bound in creeper vines or kelp string." He depressed the program record spots corresponding to the device port and aimed my arm at the far wall, ten paces away.
"Burkson's Blade," I said. A red dot flashed on the wall and a metal rod shot from the box on my wrist. It extended to within a finger's width of the spot on the wall. It was no more than eighty hairs in diameter, and appeared to have a round cross-section. "Not very sharp," I said.
Burkson touched the subcommand spot and whispered, "tell it to cut."
"Sharp," I said, and the cross section of the rod instantly changed to a tear-drop down its entire length. Burkson picked up a role of patching cloth and slid it along the fine edge. Several split rings of the heavy fabric fell away as though sliced by razor.
"You see," he said, "it's a knife when it should be."
He touched the counter command spot on my sleeve and I said, "retract." The blade slid back into its box. "A bit long, perhaps," I said. "How do I control the extension?"
"Ah, that's the beauty of the thing," Burkson replied. He took my arm in his hands and pointed the box directly at his own chest, with my hand just a finger away from him. "Give the word, my boy." I tried to redirect my wrist away from him, but he held it firm. "Trust me, lad. I won't be hurt by a tool of my own making."
"Burkson's Blade," I said again. The red dot flashed on his gray top and the rod followed. This time it stopped much shorter though, just a finger shy of Burkson's chest.
"There, you see -- it'll never injure anything. It always knows it's proper size. Would the same could be said for some of the human folk around this place." He smiled and patted me on the shoulder. "Hurry up and finish dressing. You're off in ten."
(about my timed writing exercises)
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