Creative Journey: 15 Weeks and Counting

Creative Journal #7

I have to be honest. I’ve had this blog edit tab open for more than a week. I’ve got a lot I want to say but if I don’t post something, I think I will never publish this progress report. SO……here is a quick post and Chapter 3!


  • Dialogue
  • What is Meaningful?
  • Bogging Down

I’m starting to get a feel for how much dialogue I like to write and what feel appropriate for the conversation. I think the major lesson is, I need to think about how natural the conversation feels? Think about the conversation I am writing and imagine myself in that conversation. What are the words I would shorthand? Would I shorthand those words with anyone or just a friend? What do I already know and how does this affect the timing and the length? Writing dialogue is still slow, I’ve embraced that but thinking about dialogue as a conversation I’m listening too rather than a story I’m trying to tell makes it easier. I don’t know if that makes sense……

There were a few times where I was moving from one scene to another and I had to think about how to start the next scene. I know what the milestone was I needed to hit in the chapter, but the extra stuff happening on the scene needed to take root to set the backdrop. This was also a problem when I would take a step away for a day or two and needed to pick up where I left off. I would have an idea of where I wanted to go one day, and when I came back I would have a different idea. I was fighting myself on how to make the progress needed to get to the next scene. It became less of a fight when I started asking, “What is meaningful to the story?” If I had two or three competing ideas, what had the most meaning and what was going to make getting to the next step smoother. I don’t yet know if these are the right decisions, but they are decisions, which I think not letting myself get bogged down in the details will be the thing that allows me to finish this first draft.

Speaking of getting bogged down, if I was hitting a wall, I started writing mini outlines to get myself through a scene. I can’t tell you how valuable that has been for the last two chapters (as of this post I am into chapter 6). Sometimes, when you need guidance, create it for yourself with a mini outline!

Chapter 3 Below! As always, unedited and notes included. Please feel free to leave comments.

Chapter 3

“I didn’t want to move your bots to the airlock until you had a chance to look them over so I had Darren set them up in here, your workshop”, Tarik said.

While the space was small, it was perfect for her needs. 10 meters below the Trade Moon surface, Sarah had a four by four meter space with a bot control panel on one side and a workbench on the other. The control panel had 4 monitors which could be tuned to any bot the controller wanted to control [##make specific camera bots]. There was the interface controls where she could work on the programming for and bots connected to this particular port.

“If you write some programming you think would be good for the whole crew, we can move it to the master panel in the main dock.” tarik said as he continued the tour

Her work bench was an L-shaped desk with a modular tool kit on one side and open space on the other.

“You can move the modules around depending on what hand you prefer” Tarik said.

Being left handed, Sarah was looking forward to moving the tools and parts from the right side to the left. Being able to play around with where each item was best located for its intended purpose and how often the item was used was oddly exciting for the new controller.

“”Most of the smaller parts you will need are here, or in the storage room down the hall” Tarik said.

While everything Tarik was saying made it to her ears, she didn’t hear any of it. She understood what she was being told and later she would weirdly remember what he had said, but in the moment, she was in her own world of possibility. “This is my space” she thought to herself.

“I know the walls are bare and I encourage the rest of the lads to decorate, but other than Darren and his [sports team] poster, the rest of my crew don’t seem to bother with the decorations.” Tarik said as he looked onto his datapad to see what was going on in the main dock. “Tell you what, I need to introduce you to the crew at some point, but I don’t want to shock them by taking you out there now for a dock tour. Get yourself situated in here. I will give you the dock portion of the tour next shift. Tomorrow’s early shift I will call the crew together and we can formally introduce you”

“I trust your judgement, but just so I know, when and who should I be careful around?” Sarah asked

“When would be now and who is everyone, I’m sorry to say. The boys who work for me are good people but who know what they will say when they are out and about. We are one of the smaller docks so the boys don’t spend a lot of time with the larger crews. Those are the guys you want to avoid. It is best you avoid the worker common areas at all cost. I’m sorry it has to be that way but there is no telling how they would react. I don’t think they would be violent on the spot but they will try to intimidate you and break your spirit. My crew has 4 people, including yourself. Darren you know, Cammo, goes by Cam, and Franklin you will meet. Get yourself settled in, next shift starts in 4 hours. I’ll let Darren cut his shift short so he can stop by, say hello and bring you up to the dock to wrap up the tour. Really happy to have you onboard” Tarik said

##Give some details on C & F via Darren

Tarik left Sarah in the workshop with her 10 bots, each of them had been unpacked. Each hanging from the ceiling inside an adjustable mount. She wanted to get started on her workbench set up right away. She took down the last bot she had updated on planet and placed it in the open space. She went though all the updates she had made to this bot using all the same tools she had used at home. These were the baseline tools she would need for most of the work she would do on her bots. In the course of 30 min, she has the base setup for her workbench. The tools and parts she would use the most were the closest to her seat. She then laid out all the tools she was familiar with but didn’t use often or hadn’t used yet and gave them a common area in the workshop. As she integrated them into her process she would add them to her base setup, but for now, they could all live together in one are. Next were the tools she was not familiar with. She organized them at the end of her work bench and set up an open area on the table where she could work on side projects in order to get familiar with what these tools were, It was no accident the scrap pile and garbage bin were on this side of the bench. Mistake would be made on the side of the shop, fun would be had as well.

Darren arrived 3 hours later. “What up Cuz?”

“What do you think?” Sarah asked motioning to her neatly organized workshop

“Good God… must have had fun with this project” Darren said

She didn’t answer, she just stood and stared at the results of the last few hours.

“Are you ready for the rest of the tour?” Darren said

“Yes…….I was afraid to go outside the workshop before you or Tarik came back”

“Yeah, I get that. Tarik asked me to show you around the rest of the workshop and office area. He also wanted me to show you the living levels. It’s a nice little perk, being a smaller dock, that we have our own rooms. The larger docks will have guys sharing rooms so they don’t have to excavate so much regolith. Our rooms are small but we spend so much time in the workshops and in the dock office, it isn’t a big deal.”

“I’m ready for the next part of the tour if the coast is clear.”

“Haha, I know the rest of the guys on the Trade Moon are assholes, but I hope you are able to get comfortable here. Cam and Franklin are good guys, the not the brightest stars in sky but they are cool. Cam likes to spend a lot of time outside with his bots. He is a strong dude with a bit of an invincibility complex. He doesn’t seem to have any fear for what space can do to your body if you lose the protection of your suit. I understand how one can get that mentality when working around the docks. There are debris sweepers flying around to protect the equipment…..and us. I try telling him he should at least recognize the danger but I don’t want to fight that battle too much. It’s a losing battle. Franklin has been our main programmer. He is ok, not as good as you but he likes the construction & repair jobs. I had to help him build up his transport fleet. He got to the moon with a set of 20 constructors and  when the build job he was recruited for was completed, he needed my help to convert some of them to transport bots. We wanted to get started on some inspector bots but the programming was a little more advanced than Franklin wanted to take on and most of the inspection jobs are taken care of by Evan’s crew.”

“Who is Evans, I’ve heard his name a few times…” Sarah asked.

“He is the co-owner of the dock we work in. He isn’t here very much. Here being the Trade Moon and when he is on the moon, he is in the business center working on deals and getting the latest of the comings and goings of the Trade Moon. I’ve not had a chance to get a feel for the guy. I met him once when I was brought on but I’ve been on shift all the other times he has been here. Did Tarik say he was going to introduce you to Evan’s crew?”


“Hmm, I’d stay clear of them until you have to interact with them. That won’t be too difficult. You will see during Tariks dock tour, Evan’s half of the dock and our half are separated. The dock office is shared, which is why they co-own, but Evan’s crew spend all their time in the main dock our out with their fleets. You can also work off shift to them and I’m sure you can set up a remote station for yourself just in case.”


“Yeah……let’s go check out the parts storage and living quarters”

Darren took her on a mini tour of the storage area with parts they could use to upgrade or make new bots. A lot of the parts in storage were foreign to Sarah has her experience was based on planet based bots and out of the box Trade Moon bots. It was clear, she would have the chance to build all kinds of bots for the dock’s fleets. Between her technical knowhow and Darren’s hardware skills, this was going to be a fun job.

The living quarters were modest but as Darren had said, a space to yourself on the Trade Moon was something special. This gave Sarah a feeling of comfort as she would have a space to not only make her own, but a place to hide when the time came.

The way the docks were built in levels. The level closest to the Trade Moon’s surface was where the main docks were located. Anyone orbiting close enough to the Trade Moon would see various holes in the surface, each one being a different dock. The patterns made it look like each dock was it’s unit but there was more under the surface. SInce the Trade Moon workers would be exposed to radiation on a regular basis, their working and living areas were built underground. After the docking bay levels, the workshops, dock offices and transport tunnels were dug into the regolith. A lot of this building phase was lead by the [AA]. Which humans had no problem digging in the Trade Moon regolith, however building stable tunnels and underground rooms was a different story. The [AA] had the ability to easily make walls stable and keep progress moving on the initial building of the Trade Moon’s business sections. It was assumed the workers would sleep in their offices until they were able to build the next layer down. This is where the living quarters were going to be located. Bedrooms to start but as time and money allowed, there would be common areas and living areas to make the Trade Moon feel more like home, as much as this meant to the men on the moon.

“Three levels, that was the plan for the pre-government expansion,” Tarik said. “I don’t know if this will be meaningful to you for at least a while, but that there is where you can hook up to the Hook Travel Net, we call this HTN.”

While the [AA] wanted to have the humans build as much of the Moon Base on their own. The [AA] built the HTN to connect the different parts of the Trade Moon as is grew. The HTN was made of billions of carbon nanobots that could make themselves into any structure. In this case, they created towers with wires made of the same nan-bots that workers could hook up to and travel anywhere the network would take them. While the [AA] could set the nanobots to power themselves, they didn’t want to make things too easy for the humans, so they sent the nanobots to be limited to how well the humans could build their power infrastructure. The humans decided they would grown the power grid for the nanobots to match the edge of dock operations.

“I will let one of the boys show you how the specifics work, but the short of it is, extend the hook in your backpack, type in your destination and you will be taken to the main wires. The mains move faster than the local dock wires. It’s the best way to get around if you don’t want to take the underground passages.” Tarik said.

It was decided they would all meet first shift in the next cycle. Sarah had seen all the there was to see in the Dock and the workshop. She was tired and wanted to get some sleep in preparation for her first day. There would be a staff meeting first shift tomorrow where Sarah would meet C&F and Tarik would set the expectations now that Sarah was on board.

Sarah fell asleep that night to the visions of bot fleets working as a group and lines of code running through an interpreter.



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