It’s a silent day in the middle of the ocean, the birds are flying in sky and the dolphins are swimming in the ocean, when an explosion breaks the silence. I am [.1] standing on a concrete platform in the middle of the ocean no bigger than half a soccer field surrounded by nothingness. Tony is hovering above me, waiting for me to make a move. Tony is not human. He is a Neffexyion, a robotic species that is as close to God as we can think of. A creature, millions of years old, with powers, no one can equal. [.2] Before they came to Earth, they had these huge robotic alien bodies, but they can transform into almost anything. They usually take the form of a car to fit in with humanity. They can take the form of a robotic human body too, but they would be several times bigger than us. They also are a big fan of the large variety of cars we have on earth as we design and make new ones every year. So this way it fits better with our lifestyle. Tony has many designs in his inventory, but he mostly looks like a fast and elegant black sports car, which is pretty cool.[.3]
He is not like us[.4] humans, but he is my friend and maybe more than that.
I run toward Tony, using my surroundings to take off in the air and move in his direction. Tony defends himself by countering me and we hit each other. I lose my balance and fall to the ground[.5] . I am a little disoriented[.6] and look around. The bright sun standing high in the sky blinds me, and it suddenly becomes dark, but I can see Tony dropping down on me from above.
I use the side thrusters on my boots to take off and get away just before Tony drops right on top of me.
“Is that all you got, Dan[.7] ?!” Tony shouts at me.
“Oh, I’ve got plenty more to come!” Tony is coming for me, so I look around and try to figure out what my next move should be. Tony is a skilled and experienced fighter. He always knows his opponent’s next move before they even know it themselves. So what should I do? How can I surprise him? Can I even surprise him? There are three barrels with fuel standing on the corner of the platform. I look at them and back at Tony. Shit, he knows what I’m up to! Tony points his guns at me and starts to rapid fire. I run toward the barrels as fast as I can while counterattacking him with the plasma guns strapped around my arms. They’re one of my favorite kinds of guns. Fast fire and powerful shots.
I’m nearly out of ammo, [.8] so I have to stop shooting and make a final sprint for it. I’m not going to make it. Not before Tony gets there anyway. I use all the energy left in my thrusters to make a big jump. Tony and I meet just in front of the barrels. I reach for Tony’s back[.9] , and he tries to push me off, but I grasp hold of him.
“Hope you like this.” I take an explosive out of my back pocket and slam it on his back. I jump off and make a flip before landing on my feet again. Tony turns around, but by that time I have already equipped my grenade launcher. I shoot him. He falls back. That was it. Only got one shot left so I need to make that count. I make it to the barrels to hide behind them. [.10] and see Tony shoot a grappler toward me. I take the detonator out of my pocket for the explosive I just placed on top of him and I push the button. Tony’s grappler hits me just as Tony gets blasted away by the explosion. He carries me with him and I get pulled over the barrels and land in the water next to the platform.
I gave Tony a big hit, but he’s strong—too strong for me at least. He falls from the sky and lands on the platform[.11] . He regains his position in the air and hovers above the water near the barrels, waiting for me to come up.
“Show yourself kiddo. Don’t be afraid.”
Just as it looks like it’s over, I charge up my guns with the last bit of ammo I got and shoot through the water, penetrating the platform from below, hitting the barrels. They explode[.12] . Tony is blown away and falls to the ground about a hundred feet away. I had been hiding below the platform, right below the barrels filled with highly explosive fuel. I knew I could not defeat him, but I knew I could outplay him. I climb out of the water onto the platform and walk toward Tony.
“You lost,” I say.
“I let you win.” He always hates to admit when I win, but what did he expect? He is the one who taught me to fight.[.13] “Okay alright… one for the record,” he finally admits.
“Thank you,” I say with a smile.
“I see I have trained you too well.”
“A student is only as good, as its master.” He chuckles, and we both look out at the ocean. Looking off into the far distance, I feel a ring. I put my hand in my back pocket and pull out my Signature [.14] scanner. It’s a small device that Tony designed for me to monitor my illness. It’s about the size of phone and has a display and a button. I press the button and a small pin comes out of the top, which I stick in my finger and pull out again. It takes my blood and scans it. I lick the remaining blood off my finger and wipe my hand on my pants. It’s done scanning.
“Thirty-two percent disorder.” It means that I can still walk around normally without being too dangerous to humanity. Once it crosses the fifty percent mark, my anger will become stronger than my will and I could lose complete control of myself. We have been looking for many years, Tony and I, to find a cure. Because of my disorder, I’ve never really felt home anywhere, at least not until I met Ariana. She brings peace to my life and calms my mind, but I’m afraid of the day she will find out. who knows what will happen or whether she will still want to be my friend[.15] . I might become a threat to her, but I try not to think about it. I’ll only make myself crazy. We just have to find a cure. We will find a cure.
“No change?” Tony asks about the result of my blood test.
“Too much change every day if you ask me.”
“You’re going to be alright, Dan, trust me. Just a little….”
“We don’t have forever, Tony! Sooner or later, it will happen.” My reaction renders him speechless. Maybe I reacted a little too harshly toward him, but he has been doing that for my whole life and it doesn’t feel like we are getting any closer to solving it.[.16] I know he’s just trying to stay positive. “Sorry,” I say.
“Don’t be sorry, you have every right to be angry.”
I take a step closer toward the edge of the platform and look into the far distance.
“Tony, if it ever happens, promise me… you will do it, won’t you?” I know I’m asking a lot of him to take me down when I lose control, but he is the only person who knows about my condition and who could bring me under control. Yet we are also like family to each other, even though we are not even close to being related. He is an intergalactic old robotic alien species, and I am just human.
“Dan… I don’t know if I can.”
“You can, and you will. Because you’re the only one that might be able to. Please, Tony, promise me.”
Tony is silent for a couple of seconds. “Okay, I promise.”
“I think it’s time to go. She’s probably awake already by now.” He means Ariana. We live quite close to each other, so I always pick her up to walk to school after my early morning training sessions with Tony.
“All right then, let’s go back. Ariana can’t be late today. It is a big day for her today.” Today is the day that she’ll sign her team up for the Arena Championships[.17] . She has been training extremely hard for it with her team. The games are held every year. Schools across the world compete against one another. It’s an annual event similar like the Olympics, only this is for schools.
Ariana wants to participate in the team competition, which is the most popular competition of the entire games. Teams of three battle a three-round game until the best team remains standing. If you win, you go to the finals. And once you win the finals, you are crowned champions. The champions also get to participate in the galactic championships, which is against creatures from other planets and is even more challenging. For a long time, team Invictus [.18] has been the champion. team Invictus comes from the same school as us, but Ariana is planning on taking that title from them this year. She is committed to winning.
Tony brings me home. It’s crazy to think how normal it has become to live among such an incredible and advanced species as Tony. But Tony is different. He is a Genesis, which means he is a leader of his species. At least that’s what everyone calls him. His role as a Genesis is to protect and watch over all life in the Orakel[.19] , including life on Earth. The Orakel, a story on its own. We live in a Universe, yet there is something beyond that. The Neffexyion’s Thought us about the many more universes out there, and how they are all coming together, creating the Orakel. It’s an amazing thing to think about. It’s such a responsible job Tony has. To watch over the entire Orakel, but he spends most of his time hanging around with me. Well, not always, in the past, he has stopped many wars in the Orakel, but now he spends most of his days parenting me. And I’m happy about that because if he didn’t chose to become my watchmen and parent me, I might never have met him.[.20]
“Tony, I forgot to tell you, I got a present for you.”
“What?” Tony replies.
“Happy birthday!” While saying, I send him a message, which he receives and opens. I designed a special car for him for his birthday, but he isn’t going to get it any time soon.
“Well, well, what is this? Funny joke, Dan.” I put a time delay on the package before he can open it. It will take him decades to even download the design so he can see it and actually use it.
“Jokes on you for believing I would give you a real present for once.”
We arrive back in town. Our hometown, Los Angeles. It is so beautiful to look at it from above. Tony descends into the street where Ariana lives and drops me off. He opens the door for me to get out, and I take my backpack. Tony drives away and takes off into the air again, and I walk down the street toward Ariana’s house to pick her up. It’s always quiet during the mornings here. Just some birds whistling and the first couple of neighbors leaving for work. She has a very peaceful neighborhood. The houses are all the same type of houses, all bungalows. Some have a garage next to them; others use the space as a driveway. Ariana’s neighbor just came out around the same time as usual. He’s a middle-aged man, and he always wears a black, tight-fitting suit. Every morning when I see him, he waves before he gets into his car and drives away. Even though we see each other at least a couple of days a week, I don’t know his name or what he does for a living. I just always imagine that he works at an important office or something like that. He must make good money or he wouldn’t go to work every day in a black suit. Maybe he is a director or CEO of a company.
I walk up the driveway toward Ariana’s front door. She used to live with her parents, But ever since we moved to a new school, it’s easier for her to have her own place nearby. [.21] Her front garden has beautiful yellow-colored flowers. That’s her favorite color. She has a tiny house but its fine for her. A simple bungalow with a big garden. She even has a pool in the back. I usually come around a couple of times during the summer to hang out in the pool when the sun is burning down on us.
I ring her doorbell and she opens the door before it even stops ringing. She was just walking through the hallway. She opens the door and without saying anything, she keeps on walking toward the kitchen. Just like always, she’s late. She stays in bed as long as she can, down to the very last minute, so she always needs to rush to make it to school in time. I’m used to it. I say hello, but she’s busy putting her hair up while getting her lunch out of the refrigerator.
“Hello? Good morning, Dan, how was your night?”
“I don’t have time right now, Dan. I’m in a hurry can’t you see?” she replies.
“Yes, as always.” She knows I’m right, but she doesn’t care. I walk around her living room waiting for her to get ready. She packs her stuff and walks out of the kitchen into the living room, where she grabs the rest of her stuff for school. “Big day today, huh!” I say.
“I know, so it would be a shame if I got there late. Can you hand that to me?”
She points to a book lying on the couch poking out from under the pillows. I grab it and throw it towards her. “Thank you.”
“Good, ready?” I wait for her to be ready to go. She puts her backpack on and walks toward the door.
“I’m already on my way, hurry up! Now I’m waiting for you.”
She likes to joke with me. We joke with each other all the time. I follow her out and close the door behind me. She’s already started walking down the street so I walk quickly to catch up with her, and we walk side by side down the street. “So, did you do anything special this weekend?” she asks.
I think back over the things I did over the weekend—traveled through the universe, fought some alien terrorists on a very dark and Volcanic[.22] planet with [.23] Tony, almost died from the Volcanic ash that fell on us during the battle, saved the planet. Yeah… nothing special this weekend, at least not like other weekends, but I can’t tell her that. “What about you? Trained I supposed?”
“Yeah, I did.” I’m not surprised. She’s been looking forward to the Arena Championships for over a year. It’s all she’s even talked about for the last couple weeks. She trains almost every day with Jane and Kelly, the other two players on her team, and now it’s getting closer, they train at weekends too.
“Jane and I made some mistakes, so we wanted to try some new techniques together, but we were off-balance, not in symmetry you know.” I know what she means, Tony and I have the same problem sometimes when we both want to take on an enemy but forget to look at one another so we end up messing up. We always win, but it’s not the most flawless way of battling and isn’t good, especially during the Arena Championships. One mistake can make all the difference between winning and losing.
“I can understand why you feel disappointed about it, but these things happen. No one is perfect, not even me[.24] . Mistakes are meant to help us learn and to improve, just remind yourself that.”
“Yeah, maybe you’re right, thank you.” She seems to perk up. “Maybe want to play a round with me in the arena? Just for fun, of course, to see how long you can keep up with me.” She doesn’t know anything about my secret life with Tony. She knows Tony because she has also seen him many times at school. Tony organizes lots of events and he’s even organized the arena party, which takes place just before the start of the championships, but she doesn’t know that Tony and I secretly live beyond Earth and fight criminals almost every week. If I ever told her, what would she think of me? I would be a monster in her eyes.
“Nice idea, but maybe later.” She has wanted to play a round with me for a long time; she has hinted about doing it a lot recently, but I can’t, it would be too dangerous to fight her.
“The arena is open for free play every Friday, you know, so you know where to find me if you ever change your mind, Dan.”
All of a sudden, a huge rage comes over me and my energy lights up inside of me. I’m triggered by her words that remind me of the last criminal I fought. I was on a rescue mission with Tony to save some hostages taken in exchange for some money. Tony wanted to flank them from behind, so he went around the building and I went inside. It was a storage and shipping station, a galactic assembly point where all kinds of stuff were brought together to be shipped to the next location. It was a central location where criminals operated and shipped many illegal packages. I walked around the corner and looked him dead in the eye—the guy we were looking for. He was holding the [.25] hostage in his arms with a gun pointed at the woman’s chest. Most terrorists would shoot the head, but some species can survive a headshot because the center of our energy is in the center of our bodies; it is our Spark[.26] .[.27] This energy center in the middle of our chest is our most powerful yet most vulnerable spot. It is seen as a second heart. Every living creature in the Orakel has it. And everybody is able to use it in its own way. As the Neffexyion’s learned us about what the Spark is and how to use it when they came first to earth, humanity has grown a lot since then. We became a stronger species. Yet my Spark, is damaged and unstable.
“Let me go!” the hostage [.28] screams.
The terrorist knew I was there to take him down, but I lowered my gun as I was afraid he would shoot the hostage.
“It’s alright,” I said, walking slowly toward him.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“My money and a safe ticket to get off this planet.”
“Sorry that isn’t going to happen.” Tony and I were not planning to let him walk away. He had been holding people hostage for many weeks now, and this was our chance to get him. The criminal cocked his gun to show that he was not afraid to shoot the hostage[.29] .
“Maybe you want to change your mind,” he said.
It was those words. [.29] When Ariana said those words, it all just came back, reminding me that we were running out of time; he was about to shoot. At that point, Tony came in from the back. The criminal turned around and looked at Tony, and I saw my chance to pull my gun and shoot him, just missing the hostage[.30] .
“Dan? Dan, Dan!” I wake up from my daydream and realize I had stopped walking “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I keep walking, pretending as though nothing happened. We arrive at school and split up. Ariana goes over to Jane and Kelly to talk about the championships. They immediately go inside to sign-up for the qualifications. I walk over to Steve, a friend of ours. We’ve known him since he joined the school three years ago, though we’ve known each other longer. I meet up with Steve, and we enter the school together.
[.1]I have taken Dan’s name out here because he is referring to himself.
[.2]In what way is this species close to God? Are you perhaps implying God-like perfection or does this refer to his power?
[.3]Suggestion: which is pretty cool.
[.4]Perhaps clarify what “us” is. Are they humans?
[.5]I have amended to ensure a consistent tense is used throughout the book.
[.6]I have amended this to the US English version of the word.
[.7]I’ve inserted Dan’s name here so the reader knows what his name is.
[.8]I have added “nearly” because he uses some more just below.
[.9]Is he in the form of a car at this point? Perhaps his form needs to be clarified at the start of or at some point during this fight.
[.10]There met just in front of the barrels, so it isn’t quite clear why he is making a run for them. Perhaps he should try to grab one of the barrels or hide behind them?
[.11]Please check my assumption is accurate here.
[.12]What caused the barrels to explode?
[.13]This could be deleted as the information contained here is conveyed in the dialogue.
[.14]Is this the name of the scanner? If not, please use a lower case s.
[.15]This is nice foreshadowing.
[.16]I have moved part of the text here for a smoother flow. Please check that you agree.
[.17]As the official name of the championships, I have applied this capitalization consistently. However, I have used lower case when referring to the arena in general. Capitals are only used for an the actual name is used. If the name of the arena is Arena, it might be better to come up with a different name for it, such as City Arena, to use when referring to its name.
[.18]I have assumed that all team names include the word Team and have thus capitalized it. If it is not part of the team name, please write in lower case.
[.19]What is the Orakel? Consider whether this needs to be described or is left to the reader’s imagination and understanding based on context.
[.20]This logic is unclear because they had to meet anyway so that Tony could parent him.
[.21]I get the impression that they live alone, but aren’t they children? Perhaps this backstory needs to be made clearer.
[.22]Is Vulcan the name or type of planet or did you mean “volcanic”?
[.23]“Together with” is typically thought to be redundant because they incorporate the same meaning.
[.24]The deleted text here is not needed as much of it is conveyed in the dialogue.
[.25]Who was he holding hostage?
[.26]I have capitalized Spark because it is an important, named feature of the story.
[.27]This is an important part but it lacks clarity and leaves the reader asking some questions.
Most what would shoot the head of what?
And are they creatures or humans that have this Spark?
[.28]Was this the hostage that screamed? If it is the criminal who they are after that screamed, it isn’t clear why he screamed as they haven’t grabbed him and he is still holding the hostage.
[.29]Would it not already have been loaded? Perhaps he cocked it ready to fire instead.
[.30]I’ve reworked this part. Please check you agree with the changes made.