Friday, August 13, 2010

Robin Bonnett (#FridayFlash)

A response to T.S. Bazelli's "Author Aerobics: Make It Fresh Challenge" posted in her blog, Ink Stained. The Challenge: Take a stereotype, cliché, or topic that's been done to death, and write a scene (1000 words or less) that infuses a fresh spin on things. The theme: sparkle? hah just kidding! "Thirst".

Robin and her merry squad squeezed into Sherwood Badland's crevices as Midge, the lookout, measured the klicks traveled by the Sheriff's armored hovercar hauling excessive taxes. A final tap as the car entered the final klick radius and Midge dropped under a ledge. Robin glanced up at the mirror affixed to an outcropping that caught the sun's light to reflect onto her laminbow's cartridge. Her merry squad mirrored her actions as the ground rumbled with the exhaust from the hovercar and its escort.

The first hovercycles passed their positions and as planned her squad took aim on their preassigned vehicle, letting all of the escort enter into the mouth of the ambush. She nodded and as one her squad drew the string on their laminbows and released the string to power a laser flash that perfectly blasted the hovercycles while Robin waited a breath for the armored hovercar to pause. As it began its retreat, the blast engines expelled sand grains to suffocate any guards who had lived while the grains of sand clattered over Robin's goggles and breathing mask. The ship cleared away the previously deployed mirror underneath and Robin fired her laser bolt off the mirror into the hovercar's engine. It shuddered once, twice, and then crashed against the edge of the badland ridge. A half squad of six sheriff agents swarmed out of the armored car laser rifles propped against a shoulder. Robin and her merry squad pinned them with shots from their laminbows as they waited for the federal agents to exhaust their gun's battery packs.

Robin tore the goggles and face mask off leaving them to careen down the side of the badland ridge. She walked forward while her merry squad covered her. Robin recognized Gisbourne, one of the sheriff's men, by his cheek tattooed with glowing phosphorous numbers.

Gisbourne shouted, "Should've known it was you. Robin, you won't succeed. If you leave now, We'll overlook this incident."

"Incident?" Robin licked her lips as her merry squad emerged from their hiding places. "A nice offer, but you're taking that water from a desiccated village. They need it, you don't."

Brother Tuk sidestepped Robin to deliver a spinning backfist to Gisbourne's jaw. The punch's momentum lifted Gisbourne off the desert floor to fall lifeless. The Thai Brother bent in a deep wai of respect to the fallen agent. Brother Tuk kneeled and searched the man, finding a silicon drop. "Bugged."

Robin cursed their luck; the g-force from Brother Tuk's punch would've transmitted a call for assistance. "Scarlet, I need that hovercar moving. The rest of you, back to your ambush positions."

Two of the Merry squad guarded the remaining Sheriff agents, while the rest of the tan-clothed highwaymen disappeared into Sherwood's shadows. Robin paced as Brother Tuk stood behind her.

Robin approached the hovercar. "You got it working yet?"

Only Scarlet's legs extended beyond the hovercar's frame. "Did you have to burn the sucker so thoroughly?"

"Never do anything halfway."

A disc, flown in by five helicopter troopships with the Sheriff's N emblazoned on the side, eclipsed the sun leaving the badlands in darkness. "Surrender yourselves," echoed the Sheriff's voice over the loudspeaker.

Robin guessed the Sheriff hadn't seen the men hiding in the badlands, but with five troopships the Sheriff could rappel sufficient men down the cliff to deal with all of her squad. Not a gamble she was willing to take without laminbows.

The hovercar coughed and raised with a shake as Scarlet slid out from under it.

Robin walked forward tossing her laminbow into Sherwood's sand. "Sheriff, I'll make you a deal. You can have me, without a fight, if you let my men go."

Brother Tuk exhaled. "No, you can't let him have you."

Tortures to crush Robin's spirit. Robin imagined the Sheriff drooled thinking about how he'd break her. She grimaced. "Tuk, promise me. Get this water to those who need it. When you rescue me, don't take chances, but get me out of his clutches soon."


  1. Nice work. Some of the technical talk was a little much but it had a good, almost Mad Max vibe.

  2. Thanks Valerie. I'll evaluate the technical talk. I'm traveling this week and finishing the story and particularly the editing didn't feel as straightforward this week

  3. I was a bit confused by the first paragraph (the references to Klik's really threw me), but it got clearer after, but it was fun to see where the story went. A female Robin, with a diverse cast of merry men!

  4. TS, good point; especially with tapping in front of it.

  5. Wow. That was truly a unique take on a classic tale. I especially love that Robin was female. :)

  6. Indeed, quite a different sort of Robin Hood. Also that Robin was a lady... although that makes me wonder about Maid (or Mr?) Marian...

    @Bazelli... I believe a Klick is the military term for a Kilometer.

  7. A fun change with Robin and her Merry Men. There was so much going on here it could actually be a longer story.

  8. It's very frightening to use Merry Men in such a world, but the whole re-invention of the very cliche Robin Hood mythos is really entertaining.

    I just thought that the ending was a bit too sudden and rushed. You'd also want to figure out whether the dialog fits the story's vibe, because the repartees are very classic medieval fantasy and the setting suggests a futuristic world. Or was this juxtaposition intentional?

  9. Ganymeder, thanks. TS is partially responsible for that with her contemplations on a female Don Juan; however, it felt natural to me. I tried to call the merry men, merry squad everywhere because I wanted there to be both men & women in the group.

    Stephen, yes there should be a Marian (I'm leaning toward a Marty...)

    Laura, thanks.

    Harry, thank-you. I agree and unfortunately, the latter part was written in jet lag which may have also affected it and in a hotel room. You have some excellent ideas for revision and I naturally see this piece as expanding out into a short story where I may address some of your points.

  10. Very cool idea! This is a neat take on the classic tale. I loved the future/dystopian feel and the water as the prize -- nice touches. Nicely taken. :)

  11. This was a fun read. Once I got into the flow of the sci-fi instead of fantasy elements of the tale, I really enjoyed it. Well done!