Series: District Alpha: Government Mandate Zone
Apparently the thing to do these days is write a catchy pseudo-sci-fi dystopian future novel and then have that novel adapted into a movie. I’ve therefore started working on a new novel, which is entitled District Alpha: Government Mandate Zone. It’s about a young woman, named Kate, who gets swept away from her simple life on the robot farm to a grand adventure in a district where they control everything up to how much soda you can drink. Also there’s a hot guy named Matt in there. Anyway, here’s an excerpt from early in the book, where Kate and Matt are running to a safehouse where they can get some forged documents to help them escape District Alpha. Remember, this is a work in progress - some of the product placement and character descriptions might change as I get a better understanding of what would be best or most profitable in a movie. Also remember that the movie rights are still up for grabs!
District Alpha: Government Mandate Zone
Excerpt from Chapter 5
. . .
Kate and Matt were running through the streets of District Alpha, conspicuous among the Government Mandated zombies shuffling through the street. The Peacecorps airship, which could also just be a car or tank if an airship cost too much to do, scanned the alleyways with its searchlights for any sign of Mandate Runners.
Kate looked over at Matt, a single bead of sweat running down her perfectly curved forehead. She marveled at his ability to keep his hair really well styled in exactly the fashion of the early to mid 21st century, about as much time after this book comes out as it takes to make a movie. How does Matt know so much about the past? Kate thought. He insisted once that he collected books and movies from the period, and that if his great-grandparents hadn’t bought as many books and movies as they could - several copies of each, in fact - he never would have been able to survive. If it wasn’t for heroes like Matt’s great grandparents, the Government Mandate might have completely wiped out society as his great grandparents knew it. Matt was always grateful for his ancestors buying as much as they could all the time.
Ducking into an alley, the two of them crouched behind a dumpster, because even in the future they still have garbage. The irony - if there was any, I don’t really have time to check - was lost on them, so consumed were they by their fear of the Peacecorps Airship (or car, as the case may be).
Suddenly their fears ran straight into cold reality like someone realizing that a mirror was actually a doorway with their long lost twin standing in it. A really, seriously bright searchlight swept the alleyway, and Kate could hear a technotronic voice call out from behind the glaring flash.
“Hey, somebody get that ironic dumpster out of the way!” The robotical voice proclaimed. It was a Peacecorps Officer, speaking through his standard issue voice modulating, robotic face mask. Matt had heard rumors that the officers didn’t even control the voice which was emitted from their own masks, but it was actually a voice transmitted from the great Peacecorps Central Control Bureau, far away in District Omega. Matt whispered that thing to Kate, in fact, because this is important exposition that anybody would need to hear. Kate was not wondering if it was true, though, as another officer casually walked to the dumpster and began moving it out of the way. Kate was far too scared with fear to be concerned with rumors.
“Hello” the Officer said to the two main characters huddled behind the now moved-out-of-the-way dumpster. The officer’s menacing robot-like helmet made him look a lot like a robot. This allows Peacecorps officers to be killed en mass without necessitating an R rating.
Even though they were supposed to be crouched in garbage after having run for maybe miles, Kate and Matt still looked really good, like two high-profile movie stars. They were both acting scared, but not acting so much that they would have necessarily been up for an Oscar or anything. They were just regular, normal budget type scared.
“Well, lookie here, Officer Traldo,” said the lead Officer, hopping down from the airship / car. He was recognizable because he wasn’t wearing a mask like the others. He had the grizzled appearance of a guy who has been cast in a lot of movies as a bad guy, and as she looked up at him Kate got the feeling that this instance was no different.
“A couple ‘a’ Mandate Runners I’d say,” the Peacecorps Leader said. He spoke with a thick accent, to be determined later.
The Leader had the same imposing armor that the other Officers had, except he didn’t have a helmet as previously mentioned. The standard issue Peacecorps Officer armor had big plates of futuristic techno metal on important areas - Kate thought it looked like the robot feeding troughs they used to use on the robot farm she grew up on. Each Officer had a neat utility belt with all kinds of things that don’t really need to be described in detail, except for a gun which is holstered at their hip. The Leader had an additional feature on his left Forearm, a fancy computer interface, which he could use to do all sorts of computer tasks wherever he was. In all, the Leader of the Peacecorps patrol looked really, really cool. Kate thought to herself as he slowly walked toward them that he would be an excellent costume for somebody to go as for Halloween or to a comic convention or something, if only times weren’t so dark and dystopian.
The officer who moved the dumpster out of the way - who was apparently called Officer Traldo - looked over at the leader, who was standing in front of a billboard for the Nissan Leaf, a really great car that they still sell in the future because of how great it is. Traldo’s robobotnic voice crackled out an affirmative.
“Better have yer shootahs primed to lightnings, mates,” the Leader said. The other Officers flipped some switches on their really high tech looking guns, and held them ready in their hands. With a high-pitched whine, each pistol foreshadowed its dangerousness to Kate as she crouched behind Matt in fear. She did not know, as Matt did, that the pistols were high-power peace enforcement techno blasters, able to be switched from shooting geometric laser energy to high-voltage incapacification lightning, at the will of the officer carrying it. In lightning mode, anybody shot by the thing would collapse to the ground in pain and then be dead. Even Matt, with his good looks and knowledge of early 21st-century culture would not be immune to the lightnings’ literal power.
Matt slowly stood, his hands raised in a clear sign of non-hostility. He wanted to speak to the officers, but he was a very courteous young man and knew that young adults should wait to be addressed by the older, wiser, officers before he could talk back. What a courteous young man, thought Kate.
“So, thinkin’ you could run your way out ‘a’ District Alpha: Government Mandate Zone without any official permits, aye?” the Leader eyed Matt up and down, giving him the business.
“No, sir,” responded Matt, with clear respectfulness and acquiescence in his voice. Reassured by his calm and courteous demeanor, Kate slowly rose to stand next to him in defiance of these Officers. “We were just looking for a little privacy,” Matt added.
The Leader eyed Matt with a stern eye. Then he eyed over at Kate with the same eye, still just as stern. Kate still had a look of fear on her face, because she was still afraid. The Leader didn’t think it was a look of fear, but actually embarrassment, you see. He then came to a conclusion.
“Oh, I see what’s -a- goin’ on heah,” the Leader said with a grin. He elbowed the Officer next to him, sliding his high tech pistol back into his really cool looking hip holster. “we better be leavink these love birds alone, Traldo!” At that, the other Officers holstered their pistols, some of them even chuckling to themselves, which Kate could tell because their shoulders were moving up and down rhythmically.
Officer Traldo looked at the Leader with an important thing to say. Then he said it, by saying - in his crackled roboticon voice, “sir! Protocol indicates that we scan these civilians for Mandate Conformation.” Officer Traldo emphasized his pronunciation of “conformation” because you can tell it’s not “confirmation” when it’s written out like this, but if it were actually spoken it would be much harder to tell the difference. They use that word because it’s futuristic and cool sounding.
“Ack, so we should!” The Leader stepped forward and flipped a technoswitch on his wrist computer input panel. A large beam of orange or blue - whichever would read better on a movie screen - light swept over both Kate and Matt. Then, a readout appeared like a hologram - because it was a hologram - in front of the Leader’s face. The effect of the hologram-like hologram was really quite special, and Kate had never seen a special effect quite like it, growing up on a robot farm as she did.
Matt also thought the effect was special, but he had seen it before so it wasn’t quite as impressive to him. He stood there, staring into the special effect. His face, which looked just like either Ryan Gosling or Robert Pattinson, looked very determined and chiseled. He knew what the readout was saying to the Peacecorps Leader.
“I‘says ‘ere that you’ve ‘et your quota of soff‘rink for this month, you,” the Leader said, looking past the hologram at Matt. “You better not be thinkin’ about enjoying any more delicious, refreshing Coke if you don’t want to see my pretty mug again.”
Kate took note that the Leader used the term “enjoy” to refer to the delicious Coke-a-Cola that she had only recently become acquainted with. She remembered that “enjoy” was exactly what she had done when she first tasted it. She knew that one of Matt’s big character things was that he really enjoyed a good Coke, despite whatever the Government Mandate Zone specified their quota was per month in this terrible District they were stuck in - District Alpha.
“Ha ha ha!” the Leader laughed at them. Through a combination of being the future and because he’s obviously not a very kind hearted character, the Leader thought what he said about his mug was really funny. His laughs echoed off the alley, which, remember, had a billboard for the Nissan Leaf on it - a really great car of the future. The Officers all climbed back into the airship / car and flew / sped off. If it was an airship, the anti-gravity propulsion system kicked up a bunch of dust and stuff, almost like it’s spitting at the two of them in a big insult. I guess a car could do the same thing. Off the Officers went, shining their bright spotlights into the other alleyways ahead of them.
Finally, Kate turned to Matt, confusion replacing the fear that was painted all over her face in the medium of wrinkles and face muscles instead of oil or water colors. “I don’t understand,” she said to him, “I thought we had it for sure.”
Matt looked down at her. She was cute, like Zoey Deschanel, even though she probably wouldn’t take a role like this one. Matt was still realizing just how innocent Kate was, having grown up on a robot farm in District Epsilon. Did she really not understand what the Officers thought they were doing? Neither of them, of course, would have dreamed of doing any private type things for real just yet, even though they were both extremely beautiful and in their early- to mid-twenties, which is the most sexually attractive age, according to focus groups.
She looked up at him, patiently awaiting his answer. He looked at her features, which were really well defined and for a moment thought about how great they would have looked on a big movie screen.
Finally he responded to her. “I’ll tell you later, Kate,” he said. “Now, we’re almost to my old friend’s apartment, so let’s get going.”
They left the alley, running the last few blocks to Matt’s friend’s place. He hoped that she wouldn’t be put off by his friend’s awkward appearance, because he looked just like Steve Buscemi. He knew he would just have to deal with that as it happened, just like he had dealt with the Peacecorps Officers, when that happened a little while ago. He could deal with anything, except for the feelings he was now starting to have about this really pretty girl who - he didn’t know this yet - would probably be sleeping with him later in the story.
Off they went, on their way to the next adventure as they tried to escape District Alpha: Government Mandate Zone.