Hmmm. Today’s Discover Challenge may not seem on the face of it to be geared to continuing the Neeka story from last week’s cliffhanger… but I guess we’ll see!
It’s all about obstacles to creativity today. As the post says:
For this week’s challenge, tell us about a time when you had to deal with an obstacle in your creative process, whether it was a bad case of writer’s block, some rigid rules you had to work around, or some other limitation — financial, technical, mental — that set you back (bonus points if you share or link to the work in question!). Did you manage to transcend the obstacle, or was it too much to deal with at the time? More important: what did you learn about yourself and your creativity in the process?
I originally created this blog to keep myself on a schedule and to be accountable for completing the first draft of my Finding Dragons novel over the course of this year. That plan quickly fizzled out as I found myself with writer’s block in chapter three, and instead turned my attention to curating artwork — a daily dragon to share with other dragon fans, to serve as inspiration and to remind myself why I want to write this book.
Now with the April AtoZ Challenge, I’ve found myself not only posting a dragon each day, but then often using that image to write about my life, my writing, or whatever other topic grabs my fancy, and because of this, I’ve discovered that I really enjoy daily blogging. I had already had a self-imposed daily deadline, but this month has certainly sparked my creativity. I’ve created more writing in this last four months than I had in the previous year.
This is both a blessing and a curse, however. Making sure I have a post done every day has seriously curtailed my novel writing time, so while I look at pretty pictures… my novel languishes.
And that’s where the Discover Challenge comes in. Because I decided, very foolishly, that I should post a segment of this Neeka story every Tuesday despite all the factors against me, including not getting the challenge topic until midday, and having a bar trivia league I play on Tuesday nights, I’ve pushed ahead with this story I know nothing about with miraculous abandon. I hope you enjoy this segment!
Normally my image for these posts is smaller, since it’s not the focus, but I absolutely love this one so much I couldn’t bear to make it smaller. See the full image credit at the bottom of the post for more details.
To recap: After the big UAV race at the mall, Tolo and Neeka took a walk, and decided to break into the waterpark section of a large hotel nearby. They’ve been walking by the swimming and landing pools, chatting.
* * * *
Their voices echoed strangely off the tiles as they wandered past the shallow wading pools and deeper swimming pools, all glowing softly from underwater lighting dimmed for the night. One section was all landing pools for the multiple water slides that took up the entire north side of the massive room, easily the size of a small city block, with an impossibly high glass ceiling and tall potted palm trees scattered throughout. A seating area with patio tables and chairs was tucked to one side, near what Neeka thought must be the entrance to the hotel proper.
“So, when did you get your first UAV?” she asked as she shifted her carrying case to her other shoulder. He had not offered to carry the bag for her yet, she had noted, which was a mark in his favor — she hated being treated like a frail elven waif, a popular but inaccurate stereotype of her kind.
Tolo looked at her, then looked away, across the shimmering water. It was so warm and humid in here she could see a faint sheen of sweat clinging to his neck. “My father got it for me when I was thirteen,” he said after a moment, then turned back to her, smiling. “You?”
Neeka wondered for a moment what kind of baggage he was carrying having to do with his father, since the gods knew she had her own father issues, but smiled back at him all the same. “My mom got me a mini when I was seven. My uncles flew, and after watching them, I wouldn’t stop begging for one, the way she tells it.”
“Wow. So I beat a prodigy then, eh?” Tolo laughed, and Neeka smirked and lightly pushed his shoulder, careful to be sure he was no where near a pool’s edge before she did so. She briefly wondered if the humidity would bother his cybernetic arm, but most newer cybertech was designed to withstand moisture, and she thought he wouldn’t have suggested the waterpark if it was a problem.
“No, I just love to fly. It’s such a rush,” she said. They were wandering back for the second time past the landing pool of the largest waterslide in the place, and Neeka watched the faint stream of water dripping from the mouth of slide. All of them were turned off, but Neeka saw control board podiums near each of the stairways leading up to the heights, presumably where riders waited their turn to careen down the twisting tubes.
She started subtly guiding their path closer to the stairway of the slide, looking out the large windows in an attempt to hide her true destination. Then she stopped and turned to Tolo again.
“So… have you ever been on a waterslide?” Neeka asked coyly, letting her eyes travel up past her companion’s face to the twisting coils of slides.
Tolo’s eyes widened, and he glanced at the stairway she had led him to. “Uh, no.” He looked back at her, uncertain. “Have you?”
Neeka grinned impishly at him. “Not yet.” She stepped past him to the podium control board at the bottom of the stairs and quickly realized it was no more secure than the door entry pad had been. She pulled up her virtual display and airjacked the board, but she found she only had control over this lower portion of this slide. She frowned, disappointed.
“So, we’re doing this then,” Tolo asked, and Neeka turned to see him now wearing the ultrathin vglass hardware she’d only read about in specialty tech emags she browsed at work when it was slow. His tech was like a pair of old-fashioned glasses, hooking over both his ears and resting on the bridge of his nose, but it was one continuous wire with no lenses. Although she couldn’t see because it was on the side of his head not facing her, she knew the far side of the wire would be plugged into the datajack behind his left ear, and he would be seeing a virtual heads-up display very like the one her cybernetic eye implant showed to her.
Neeka saw his signature pop up in the control board as well, so to cover her surprise and the many questions that bubbled up insider her after seeing this tech on top of his state-of-the-art UAV earlier, Neeka nodded. “Yeah, we are. The cameras are still busy with my NAT from when we came in the door, so if there’s no one to catch us, why pass up the opportunity?”
“You’re stuck, though,” Tolo pointed out unhelpfully. Neeka was about to roll her eyes at him, but he quickly redeemed himself, continuing, “Wait, look. There’s a second control board at the top, see that?” He indicated a code string that seemed to run up the grid with the distinct purpose of connecting to a primary board, and Neeka nodded, having dismissed that as connecting to the main grid instead. “If I set up a delayed RPGG here,” Tolo continued, “We can get up the stairs, reprogram the alpha board, and it should turn on the entire slide long enough for us to get down, I think.”
Neeka was again impressed despite herself, as she ran through the options in her head and came up with the same solution. She smiled, and he grinned at her while his hands worked in front of him, typing furiously on his virtual keyboard to program the RPGG that would turn on this portion of the waterslide. They were looking at each other when something seemed to occur to them both simultaneously, furrowing their brows in unison, but this time Neeka found the solution first.
“I know,” she said, forestalling Tolo’s question, “But even though they’ll know we’re here, what if we route a TIE through the sidewall, which should pick up where my NAT leaves off with the cameras and also freeze all the outer doors except, ah,” she glanced around quickly, then nodded to a door nearby leading out of the waterpark and into the parking lot near where they’d first entered. “That one. Then we can head back to the mall where I’m sure Unknown still has the lights and cameras off, and make a clean getaway?”
“We’ll be soaking wet, so I don’t know how ‘clean’ it’ll be, but good plan.” Tolo laughed and then focused on the control board for a few more moments. “All right, it’s set,” he said finally. “We don’t have a ton of time, so here, gimme your bag–”
Reflexively, Neeka shied backward as he reached for her shoulder bag carrying her UAV, stepping out of his reach. Tolo saw the movement and reacted just as quickly. “Hey, sorry,” he said, smiling sheepishly and pulling his hand back lightning-fast. “That was dumb. I should have asked first. I was thinking I could put the bag by the door while you get up the stairs to program the TIE, unless that’s a waterproof bag…?” He trailed off.
It wasn’t, and Neeka had only been vaguely thinking about how she’d safeguard the UAV when she’d come up with this crazy plan to go down the waterslide. “Ah,” she hedged, while she instantly debated the two likely scenarios in her head — either this had all been a ruse for Tolo to steal her second-place UAV, and he was about to run off with her prized possession; or, more likely, he really did just want to help, and he was going to set the bag by the door as he said, and meet her at the top of the slide.
She wasn’t naive, and she knew there weren’t many circumstances when she would willingly let this bag out of her sight. But as she glanced at the control board and read Tolo’s code again, code she could clearly see was going to work with a TIE she could set up to let them pull this off without a hitch, she decided to take the risk.
“All right,” she said, shrugging the strap over her head and pushing the bag holding her UAV toward him. “You’d better meet me up there, or I swear to all the elven gods I’ll find you,” she said, but she grinned at him to take the sting out of the threat. Tolo looked relieved as he took the bag, and then Neeka was sprinting up the stairs a few at a time and leaving him to take care of the getaway.
* * * *
Ahhhh!!! I ran out of time again! I promise, I will be continuing the story from here, and will be posting the next segment soon. What do you think — does Tolo follow-through and meet her at the top of the slide? Or is he actually going to bail on her, and confirm her worst fear? Tune in next time — I can’t wait to find out myself!!
Continue this tale in the next chapter, [will be updated when it’s posted!]…
(for now, you can go on to the next written scene, called Tuesday Discover Challenge: Witness in the sky…)
This post is copyright © Jamie Lyn Weigt. All rights reserved. Please do not share without credit and a direct link back to this post and my site, writingdragonsblog.com.
Image credit: Today’s image is called Dark obsidian dragon by the amazingly talented Russian deviantartist Alvia Alcedo. I am so in love with this design, I might have finally found a winner for what kind of dragon tattoo I’d ever get! The artist herself says (and forgive the slight typos, as English wouldn’t be her native language, I’d assume):
Like snow obsidian, just black and white.
Many times different people asked me for a simple, small, but beauty “serious” dragon tattoo design. I did this one for you (: I keeped it simple, only black and white colors.
I encourage you to check out her gallery, but I also plan on sharing more of her beautiful art in the future, so you could also just stay tuned! Thanks for reading!
6 thoughts on “Tuesday Discover Challenge: Obstacles”
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