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  • Writer's pictureJon Bolitho-Jones

A little Preview - "Untitled Sci-Fi Detective Project"

I might have already mentioned it, but with Covid taking over 2020 I managed to get quite a bit of writing done. With 2021 shaping up to be similar, hopefully only for a short while, it looks like I might be continuing this trend. However it occured to me that next to no one has actually read any of this material, so I thought I would share a little bit with you. Bear in mind these are all wips - any helpful feedback would be much appreciated.

Anyway without further ado let me present to you my first writing extract from "Untitled Sci-Fi Detective Project". Though finished I have yet to come up with a name. The greatest of all writing challenges! If you like classic film noir mysteries, Rick and Morty, The Fifth Element, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, I think you'll enjoy this.

"My partner was dead. There wasn’t much left of him. You see, when an Andraxian Vaporizer hits someone it doesn’t leave much behind but a pile of warm goo. It’s painful as heck. Everything melts. Kneeling down in a dark back alley of Istavvia Prime, with the usual corrosive smog hanging heavily in the cold night air, I inspected what remained of him. The micro identifier bleeped away, confirming my thoughts. Poor bastard. One too many drinks or puffs on a Hjash pipe and then a bit of bad luck maybe? He was on a case too, might have been something to do with that? He was always too private at our agency - for my liking anyway. And now he was dead. I needed a drink. So, rummaging through the inside of my leather coat, I pulled forth my hip flask, unscrewed the top and took a few swigs of the Gybliksian whisky. The bitter aftertaste punched at my frontal lobe. Dammit! With my partner dead I was alone, the only human on Istavvia Prime. That wasn’t good, not at all. I took another swig.

I needed to get back to the office. Putting both my flask and identifier away I pulled myself back to my feet. My body felt heavy, weighed down by my numerous scars, a reward for many years of military service and the ravages of age. My round stomach, and the alcohol bubbling around inside it probably wasn’t helping either. It was the only way to get through the day on this dreg ball of a planet. Precariously, I was on my feet again, body cold, and still staring at my ex-partner below me. Removing my Stetson I rubbed my fingers through the thin coat of black hairs I had left, which were retreating towards the back of my head, and let out a deep sign. Damn it, damn it to smethin hell!

Two Garblabbian cops gossiped away behind me. They were the first ones on the scene. I didn’t like them one bit. They looked identical, short and round, like big overstuffed brown root vegetables wrapped in the trappings of their uniforms and thick fabric pads of armour. Their large toothy mouths flapped away, their fangs clattering as they did. The thick sinewy spines on the top of their heads rustled as they chortled, their lips flapping sickly against each other. Both had four black eyes a piece, which glistened in the light of the planet’s two moons. They seemed to be finding the whole thing quite amusing. I felt sick and I knew it wasn’t the alcohol talking.

“Do you mind! What’s so damn funny?” I growled.

They went silent, their beady eyes staring at me. Neither seemed pleased at my interruption. I guess none of the cops on Istavvia liked to be so rudely spoken to. I was bigger than them, by a good two feet, and thick with old muscle. But they were armed. Two heavy bolt pistols hung from their sides. It probably wasn’t the best idea to rile them up. The cops were never known for their good behaviour. In fact they were known for their brutality, especially the Garblabbian ones.

One of the cops moved towards me with a confident waddle, toying with its weapon while eyeing me up and down. Then with a heavy deliberate sniff, its stumpy nostrils flickered with a squelch. It grimaced, a smile creeping onto the corners of its face.

“Grabba blarb blab?” it shouted, small balls of saliva splatting on mine.

Something was wrong. I couldn’t understand the thing. My translation implant was malfunctioning, again. I hit myself on the left side of my head, hoping to get the blasted thing working. The grease ball leant in towards me, the stench of its sweaty leathery skin danced up into my nostrils.

“Glarba, glarba rub darb?” it said, body heaving, as if it were trying its best to stop itself from laughing.

The other cop couldn’t control itself and was roaring with laughter. They knew what was wrong.

“Blarba grum dab? Dab?!” it went on, its mocking words reaching a bestial scream, throat choking with laughter.

Finally I hit the implant back in place. I could always find it, a thick clumsy scar still marked where it was inserted. A painful screech bounced down my ears towards my skull, scaring out the alcohol that had previously been hanging around. Everything became clear again.

“Aye? Pinky flesh prick?” the cop laughed.

I’d had enough already. I grabbed the creature by the throat forcefully, and lifted it off the ground. The smile vanished, as well as the laughter which transformed into a desperate wrenching sound. Ugly thing was helpless. Its body flailed desperately, trying to prize my thick fingers from around its neck. It was having trouble breathing. With a fumble and a clack the other cop pulled its bolt gun from its holster and pointed it right at me. I shouldn’t have done it. Stupid move. My emotions were messing with my head. That and my hangover. They were never going to help me now, not one bit. I should have ignored them and headed back to the agency.

I relaxed my hand and let the creature go. Panting, it gulped down mouthfuls of air. Its skin was even clammier than before. After adjusting its collar it stared at me. It wasn’t laughing now, in fact the thing looked as miserable as the shadowed streets of scum all around us. A moment later the cop slapped me round the face, its thin four fingered claw slamming right into my cheek. I stumbled slightly, but not much. I wanted to hit the fool back, but that wasn’t a wise idea. Its friend still pointed a thick stubby pistol at me. I ain’t some stupid Ooondoby youth.

Wiping the creature’s mucus off the side of my face in disgust I turned and headed for my car, my jaw clenched shut and my hands tight.

“Yeah you better get out of here you pinky sack of shit. And don’t let me see you poking them nostrils around you hear?” the cop shouted.

I pulled my flask from my inside pocket again, took a swig and continued to head for my vehicle. I needed to get back to the office. Things needed to be done. My partner had been murdered and in the middle of a case. The cops were threatening me too, which wasn’t good. God damn I hated Istavvia Prime.

Emerging from the alley I reached my vehicle. The smell of piss and garbage was replaced by that of petrol and the nauseating caress of warm synthetic light. Hover cars and vans rushed by, their lights pulsing in the haze, horns roaring. Hordes of all sorts of creatures strode along the sidewalks, pedestrian gangways and tubes. The soot choked buildings rose endlessly upwards: great monoliths of life’s ingenuity and decadence. The walls were illuminated by pulsing lights and provocative adverts, offering all sorts of sordid satisfaction. The world outside the alley was bursting with grubby desperate life, as it always did. The smog hung in the air, as if it were heavy from the desperate gasps and dreams of the inhabitants of Istavvia. My head rattled and rumbled, overloaded with spirits, noises and light. I needed to get back to the office.

I fumbled through my pockets, finding my key card. Pressing down upon it, a light flickered momentarily, awakening my vehicle from a dizzy haze. The thing was old, shaped liked the cars that were driven on old earth. It was a human mark 76. I’d seen old pictographs of the things, I thought it would make me happy, amuse me maybe, if I bought the thing. It didn’t. My partner thought it was ugly. But what did he know, he was dead. Pressing the card again the vehicle’s hover generators hummed miserably to life as if, like me, it didn’t want to be disturbed. With a dreary yank I pulled the door upwards and dropped myself in with a thud. The scuffed moxi-leather groaned underneath my weight. I guess I was getting heavy and fat. I still felt sick, my head full of booze. I was the only human left on the planet. I needed to get back to the office to sort this mess out. Sliding the keycard into its slot the dashboard lights burst on. I was ready to go. I needed to get back, go through things. Maybe look at his case, find some clues as to why he was now little more than sludge in a piss soaked alley. There was work to be done. But first I needed a drink. So pulling out of my bay I headed out into the night looking for a bar. The smog wasn’t meant to become corrosive that night, so I knew it was going to be a long one."

With that it's bye for now. I'll be back soon.


P.s my pandemic short story, Our Little Patch of Paradise, is free once again on Amazon. Link below...

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Jan 26, 2021

Really suspenseful, and I'd be intrigued to see a fuller development of the world building. By their language, the Garblabbians remind me of those Ricky and Morty creatures which keep exploding. I liked this teaser!

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