Kojima: A Thriller

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Kojima: A Thriller

Post by TrespasserGuy »

This is not related to Trespasser or even Jurassic Park as a whole, but I assure you that it does involve dinosaurs in some way :wink: .
I've been working on a novel for the past several months. It's a sci-fi horror in a similar style to Crichon's work. I've written around 25,000
words so far, and I would like to share the prologue here on TresCom. I'm still on the first draft so I would love some feedback on this,
and I could upload some more chapters if anyone is interested :D .
Click on Image
(Click on thumbnail for full size)
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KOJIMA

Prologue: Hell

Simply put, the man thought he was dead. He thought he had died and was now being dragged to Hell. That was the only explanation he could come up with for his current situation.
He should have never stepped foot on that island. He tried speaking to the two figures that were holding him by his underarms and escorting him through a dark passage, but his
tongue was bone dry, and stuck to the roof of his mouth. He felt dizzy and nauseous, his heart pounded in his chest, and perhaps worst of all, he felt so thirsty.

He wondered how he got to this point. Barely half an hour ago he was braving the dark jungle when he came across a bizarre looking bird in the moonlight.
The bird had a stunning plumage of blue and green feathers. It might’ve been a peacock, were it not for the fact that its legs were longer, and its eyes and head much larger.

The mystery of that strange bird had been the last thing on his mind before his apparent death. The man looked around and realized he was being dragged through the same
wooded path he had walked through several minutes ago, but it had changed. Even in the darkness he could see the tree trunks contorting into faces, and their branches
articulating into arms and hands that made attempts to grab him.

Demons, manifesting before me, he thought.

His heart would not stop racing. The man looked at one of his captors, and tried to make out their appearance. They wore an all-gray uniform, with some sort of brimmed hat,
a button-down jacket with double breast pockets, slacks, and black boots. To his horror he saw that they had no eyes, nose, or mouth. Their whole face was a wall of flesh.
The man tried to scream, but all that came out was a whiny squeal. He shut his eyes tight, and found that he was no longer in the dark jungle, but in a dimly lit room.
The room was full of people the man knew. His grandparents, from both his mother and father’s side, huddled in one corner. He knew three of his grandparents had already
passed, but he could have sworn his maternal grandmother was still alive. Perhaps she had passed away in the time since he last spoke to her.

I’m sorry we had to meet again like this.

His grandparents stared at him with disappointment in their eyes. Slowly they turned their attention away, but still stood in the room along with dozens of other familiar people.

Why are you here? he thought. Why are you all here in Hell with me? What have you all done to deserve this?

The man opened his eyes again, and found himself back with his two captors. They were now heading down a tunnel of carved out rock. Fluorescent light fixtures were
embedded into the wall at regular intervals, and each time they passed them they seemed to burn the man’s eyes. They had reached a locked door. One of the captors’
fingers fluttered over a metal panel, the door opened, and the three of them stepped into a large room.

To the man it seemed as though the whole room was melting, but he could still see that there was what looked like diving equipment on the walls, and in the middle
a rectangular pool that housed a floating white object.

Again the man closed his eyes and found himself in a new place. It was a classroom, full of students. The students were all chattering and laughing with each other,
and the walls, windows, and chalkboard seemed to pulsate with each giggle.

The man’s heart kept skipping a beat. He was always shy when he was in school, and his heart sank when he saw his old friends talking with the upperclassmen that used to bully him.
He felt so incredibly thirsty. He then noticed the exit to the hallway. Maybe he could find a drinking fountain out there. The man made his way towards the door, and as he exited the
classroom he could hear the voices and laughter get even louder.

The school corridors seemed to go on forever. Every once in a while dark figures darted in and out of the man’s peripheral vision. He pictured his bullies playing a prank on him,
and his so-called friends acting along with them.

At last, a lone drinking fountain jutted out of the wall. The man stood huddled over the fountain, with his lips touching the spout for what seemed like an eternity. No water came out.
His vision became more blurry. Slowly he began turning his head away from the fountain, and found his whole body shifting position. As the man regained his vision he realized he was in a new location.

The man was now lying on his side on a metal bench. He looked across from where he lay and saw one of his captors sitting, on another metal bench, with their arms crossed.
His captor now had a face, but it held an emotionless, indifferent expression.

The man jolted up and saw to the left of his captor a large, stork-like creature coated in all black feathers. A stark contrast to the bird from before. The guard paid no attention to the
creature as it began pecking itself.

He looked around the space he was in, and saw that it was more confined than any room he had been in before. He heard the whir of a motor and the sloshing of water.
Water. If he did not get to drink anything now he would certainly die.

The bird screeched, stretched out its wings, and managed to fly through a small passage that had opened up in the wall. That was when the captor sitting the bench across
got up and looked over the man. The captor now looked concerned. He tore his attention away from the man, and stuck his head into another compartment of the room.
He spoke rapidly to some unseen person in the compartment. The sound of the motor increased.

This was it. The man felt his life slipping away. He was dying again. He felt like he had died thousands of times before, and he would die a thousand times more after this.
But this time felt different. The last things he felt before lapsing into a deep sleep was the cold hard floor, and hands running down his arms and chest.
Last edited by TrespasserGuy on Fri Feb 16, 2024 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

Post by Draconisaurus »

Nice to see some fiction on the forum, thanks for sharing.

Very moody setting. I like it. Have a theory about what species the black bird is... Pacing seems pretty good. I like the switch between things he is experiencing.
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

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Hmm. Pretty moody setting, interesting concept...demons from Hell? Or something else? And I'm definitely getting an Eastern-esque vibe, perhaps it's just the title. I had an image of one of those Japanese boarding schools in my head the entire time, with the shadows of those mythical Japanese demons that lurk in the shadows of the traditional paper houses drifting around. I'm also reminded slightly of Dino Crisis/Resident Evil for some reason. I'm wondering what is even going on at all (in a good way)!
TrespasserGuy wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 9:30 pm This is not related to Trespasser or even Jurassic Park as a whole, but I assure you that it does involve dinosaurs in some way .
I wouldn't be fussed if there were no dinosaurs at all. Crichton's novels delve into all manner of sci-fi, it could be demons manifesting from the sixth dimension for all we know!
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

Post by TrespasserGuy »

I am glad you guys like it so far.

TI you are right in picking up on the Japanese vibe to the whole setting. Yes, I did have the Japanese style of high schools in mind when writing that one hallucination scene.
TheIdiot wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 6:00 am I wouldn't be fussed if there were no dinosaurs at all. Crichton's novels delve into all manner of sci-fi, it could be demons manifesting from the sixth dimension for all we know!
Have you ever read his nonfiction book "Travels"? It showed me that Crichton was just as much versed in mysticism as he was in science. There's several chapters of him detailing how he learned to see auras, and how as a young child he was able to engage in remote viewing. I'm surprised he didn't incorporate some of that stuff into his novels.

EDIT: Well, I was working on the formatting of the next chapter, intending to save it as a draft, but I posted it by mistake. :yum:

Part I: Okinawa

Autopsy

Hinata Kishimoto hummed to herself as she drove her Prius to the United States naval hospital in the Okinawan city of Ginowan.
Hinata was twenty-seven and had lived on the Japanese island of Okinawa her whole life. She kept her hair tied up in a scrunchie, wore the set of teal-colored scrubs
that she usually wore at her veterinary clinic, and had on a pair of dirty Reeboks.

It had been a slow day at the clinic, so she was surprised when she got a call from a military official asking her to come down to the hospital to assist in a case involving
an animal. Apparently the body of an unidentified creature had been found on a local beach in the early morning by an elderly woman. When the military got involved
the body was airlifted to the naval hospital where it was now being kept.

In truth, Hinata felt a little daunted. If the animal had been found on the beach, it was most likely a marine animal. For the better part of her career Hinata had mostly
worked with dogs, cats, hamsters. People’s pets. Small mammals. The thought of some bloated deep sea fish’s corpse filled her mind, and she shook her head. They would
have been better off contacting a marine biologist. But maybe Hinata was the only animal expert they could get on such short notice. And the people on the phone said
they would appreciate any help they could get. Well, there was no point in turning back now. She was now only a quarter mile away from the hospital. And besides, there
wasn’t anything else to do.

* * *

Marcus Simmons, Chief Petty Officer, was leaning against the cold metal counter in Okinawa Naval Hospital’s mortuary. Near him, leaning on an autopsy table, was Quincy
Johnson, Medical Corps Officer.
Simmons was fifty-two, had thinning gray hair, and a hooked nose with a brighter pigment than anywhere else on his face. With his arms folded he kept glancing at the door
to the cold storage room.
Johnson was thirty-two, dark-skinned, had a well-kept beard, and a full head of hair albeit buzzed short. He stared at the tiled floor with his hands in his pockets.
Simmons broke their silence. “You see the match between Italy and Sweden last night?” he asked.
Johnson looked up, gave a half smile as he shook his head. “I don’t follow soccer, Marcus.” There was a half-second’s pause. “I’m waiting for football season to come, really.”
Simmons was about to agree when someone appeared at the room’s entrance. It was a woman wearing teal-colored scrubs, worn-out sneakers, and a blue surgical mask.
“Officer Simmons? Dr. Johnson?” the woman inquired. “I’m Hinata Kishimoto, we spoke on the phone.”
The three professionals shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.
“I want to thank you for coming here Dr. Kishimoto,” Simmons said, “on such short notice.”
“Oh no, it’s okay,” Hinata replied with an inward laugh. “I wasn’t doing anything anyway.”
Johnson laughed. Simmons nodded politely while grinning his teeth. They then went over the details with the vet.
“We’ve sent photos of the body to some American institutions, to see what they think,” Simmons explained. “We’re still awaiting their responses.”
“May I see the body?” Hinata asked, with a hint of timidity.
Johnson nodded, and looked at Simmons. The two men donned face masks, and all three put on latex gloves. Simmons walked over to the door to the cold storage room,
and pulled it open. Johnson pulled over a metal stretcher, and pushed it through the threshold. Simmons walked into the room after Johnson, and Hinata was alone for
a moment. Soon the two men came out, and wheeled the stretcher back into the room, with the body resting on top of it.
Hinata’s eyes widened. The two men wheeled the body forward and brought it perpendicular to the astonished vet.

At first Hinata thought it was a dead ostrich, with its long legs, extensive feathers, and overall size. But the more Hinata looked at it, the more she began to doubt herself.
It had to be some other kind of bird, though. The bird had a mostly brown plumage, with the feathers becoming lighter in color near the mouth, feet, and tail.

The tail. That was one of the most bizarre parts of the body. If the body on the table was actually an ostrich, then the tail would be short, about a third of the length of the
ostrich’s neck. But the tail of this creature was long, over twice the length of its neck, which was not nearly as long as an actual ostrich’s.
And then the feet. Ostrich feet have two toes, with the larger toe being closest to its body. But this animal had three toes, and its largest one was in the middle.
But the worst part was the mouth. Its mouth was less like an ostrich’s beak and more like a reptile’s snout. And instead of being a bright pink, it was a dark gray. This creature
didn’t look like any ostrich species known to science. In fact it didn’t look like any other living bird in the world today.

To Hinata, the animal before her looked like something she had seen in the picture books she used to read in primary school. It looked like… a dinosaur!
She returned to the feet, and noticed an aluminum ring that was wrapped around the ankle. She turned the ring around, and saw, in faded lettering: VLCR/005. She didn’t
know what the letters stood for, but she had a guess as to what the ring was.

Professional bird watchers, especially those who belonged to environmental societies, would catch wild birds in fine mesh nets. They would then attach a small numbered ring
on the bird for individual identification. The unique code on the ring would help in tracking the bird throughout its life. Similar methods were used on other forms of wildlife.
Again Hinata’s astonishment grew. Who could have tagged this animal that so clearly resembled a dinosaur? She looked up, and saw Simmons frown. Had he noticed her utter confusion?
Johnson spoke up. “Can you guess what this is?”

Hinata looked up from the body. “Dr. Johnson…” she began to say. Then she looked back down. Maybe this was some practical joke? Was the body some sort of elaborate model,
made to be a hoax? Dinosaurs were extinct, and had been for over sixty-five million years. She knew that.

“Excuse me, just one second,” Hinata told Johnson. The two navy men exchanged glances. Hinata turned her attention back to the creature’s snout. She gingerly exposed the
gums, to show sharp, backwards facing teeth. Teeth. Birds didn’t have teeth. But dinosaurs did. Hinata realized with a rush of excitement that the body wasn’t a fake model.
It was a corpse that had once been a real, living animal.
Hinata composed herself, and explained what she thought to the two men.
“But that’s… impossible,” Johnson said.
“I thought dinosaurs looked more like lizards,” Simmons added. “This thing looks like some weird emu.”
Hinata explained further. For the better part of the twentieth century, scientists and the general public did think dinosaurs looked like lumbering behemoths with scaly,
featherless bodies. But beginning in the nineties and into the turn of the century, paleontologists discovered fossilized remains that showed dinosaurs with feather impressions.
These discoveries led to dinosaurs being seen as more akin to birds than with modern day reptiles. Despite the scientific consensus that some dinosaurs had feathers, the mainstream
media continued to portray them as monstrous scaly beasts because it just looked cooler.
Phylogenetically speaking, all living birds were actually dinosaurs. The creature in front of the trio, however, looked more like a dinosaur from prehistory.
“I don’t believe it,” Simmons said.
Hinata had nothing more to say. The two men thanked the vet for her help, and after exchanging awkward farewells, she left the mortuary and the hospital altogether.
Hinata was in deep thought as she drove back to her clinic. There was no doubt that what she had seen was a dinosaur. It just had to be one. But just how a living dinosaur
had died in the twenty-first century, she had no idea. She just hoped that those two naval officers would figure out that mystery.
Last edited by TrespasserGuy on Wed Feb 14, 2024 2:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

Post by Draconisaurus »

TrespasserGuy wrote:Have you ever read his nonfiction book "Travels"? It showed me that Crichton was just as much versed in mysticism as he was in science. There's several chapters of him detailing how he learned to see auras, and how as a young child he was able to engage in remote viewing. I'm surprised he didn't incorporate some of that stuff into his novels.
Drac looks forwardly blankly. I considered buying Travels recently, but opted to by the book full of interviews with him instead, to get a broader scope on his career. But, you've made this book sound quite interesting. I too am now surprised, that such things aren't more in his writing.
Part I: Okinawa
Wow hmm. Are you attempting to emulate Crichton in this writing? I myself have been trying this recently, with I feel some general success. However reading your chapter here, I immediately notice you've gone to the trouble of implanting knowledge-material about science and whatnot, as Crichton does, as well as elaborating parts of the dialogue in description rather than quotation. What I see here just looks great.

There were a couple points I was minorly confused at for a moment, probably just me. You said the stretcher truck was placed perpendicular to the doctor... Both possible arrangements seemed perpendicular to me, wasn't sure what you meant. Tiny detail.
“Excuse me, just one second,” Hinata told Johnson. The two navy men exchanged glances. Hinata turned her attention back to the creature’s snout. She gingerly exposed the
gums, to show sharp, backwards facing teeth. Teeth. Birds didn’t have teeth. But dinosaurs did. Hinata realized with a rush of excitement that the body wasn’t a fake model.
This moment, I felt was missing a point of exactly what convinced her it wasn't fake. We can imagine it was something like how realistic the gums were, but it isn't said. Just my perspective on the point.

This is great. Looking forward to the following chapters.
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

Post by TrespasserGuy »

Wow hmm. Are you attempting to emulate Crichton in this writing? I myself have been trying this recently, with I feel some general success. However reading your chapter here, I immediately notice you've gone to the trouble of implanting knowledge-material about science and whatnot, as Crichton does, as well as elaborating parts of the dialogue in description rather than quotation. What I see here just looks great.
Yes, I mentioned it in the first post, I'm trying to incorporate Crichton's style of writing by including medical and other scientific knowledge. Thanks!
There were a couple points I was minorly confused at for a moment, probably just me. You said the stretcher truck was placed perpendicular to the doctor... Both possible arrangements seemed perpendicular to me, wasn't sure what you meant. Tiny detail.
You're right, that part is a little confusing. I guess I meant to say they brought the stretcher lengthwise towards her. I've fixed that in the master copy.
This moment, I felt was missing a point of exactly what convinced her it wasn't fake. We can imagine it was something like how realistic the gums were, but it isn't said. Just my perspective on the point.
I guess you're right. The implication is that nobody would be so willing to put gums on a fake dead dinosaur body if it was never meant to open its mouth.
Thanks for the comments, Drac! I'll be posting the next installment soon!
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

Post by Rebel »

Interesting read, T.I. Intriguing enough that I will definitely read the next installment. ;) It never ceases to amaze me as to just how many people dabble in writing around here.
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

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Shing

Johnson and Simmons had put the body back in storage. They felt like they had dug a deeper hole, and had even more questions than before.
“What the hell?” Simmons exclaimed, slapping the front of his thighs in frustration. “Did she even know what she was talking about?”
Johnson shook his head and sighed. “She did seem confident in what she had to say. But I’m having a hard time accepting it.” He then checked the time
with his smartphone. Then he checked his email to see if any of the biology institutions had replied. “Nobody’s responded yet.”

“We’d better get back to the base, we’re just wasting our time here,” Simmons said.
“Well, I do know one other person we could contact.”
“Who?”
“Well, at first I thought he wouldn’t be much help. But I forgot just how much of a genius this guy is. I think he’s part of Mensa, or something.”
Simmons waved his hands in anticipation. He was getting annoyed.
“He’s a CIA analyst,” Johnson explained. “He might actually know what we have here.”
“You want to bring him here? Or just send him the photos?”
“He’s currently stationed in Tokyo. Not far away.”
“Go for it, contact him,” Simmons shrugged.

Victor Shing was also thirty-two. He had worked with the Central Intelligence Agency for the past five years, and had acted as a liaison for the US Navy for the last two.
It was a full day later when Shing pulled up to Naval Hospital Okinawa. The CIA analyst wore a light gray business suit with brown loafers. He had a head of jet black hair
that was well-combed, a clean-shaven face, and a friendly expression.

He met with Johnson and Simmons in the same mortuary. Johnson introduced Simmons and Shing to each other, and the group got down to business.
“She told you guys it was a dinosaur?” Shing asked.
“Yes,” Simmons replied. “At first I thought she was pulling our leg. But she seemed completely serious.”
“Well let’s see the body and I’ll try to figure out what you guys really have.”
They brought the body back out again. It rested on the metal stretcher. Shing’s eyebrows perked up for half a second. Simmons had noticed this, but remained silent.
Shing stood looking at the body for several seconds. He appeared to be in deep thought. Then he laughed, and looked at the two officers. “Yeah, I don’t know what that vet was talking about. This
definitely isn’t a dinosaur.”
From behind his mask Simmons breathed a sigh of relief. He knew what Kishimoto had said was impossible. Just how could this thing be a dinosaur?
“Well then, what is it?” Johnson asked.
“It’s a rhea,” Shing said. “A type of large flightless bird, like an ostrich or emu.”
To prove his point he asked for one of their phones. He googled an image of a rhea, and showed it to the officers. Indeed the rhea was a large flightless bird. Like the corpse, it had brown feathers,
long legs, and three toes. Simmons felt completely convinced. But Johnson began to have his doubts. He looked at the image of the rhea, and then the body in front of him. “Wait, what about this
thing’s tail? It’s a lot longer than this rhea thing.”
Shing looked back at the body. “I would say,” he said, “that it’s likely a genetic mutation. Some sort of birth defect that caused this animal’s tail to grow longer than its actual species. Same thing
goes for the oddly shaped mouth.”
Simmons had already taken off his gloves and clasped his hand onto Shing’s shoulder. “I’m glad you came by when you did. We were at our wit’s end,” the naval officer laughed.
Johnson kept looking at the body. “So you’re saying these things live around Okinawa?”
“Oh no,” Shing said, after a pause. “Rheas are native to South America. I suspect this one must’ve somehow escaped from a shipping vessel that was passing by the island. There’s a zoo here, right?”
“Yeah, in a nearby city,” Simmons said.
“Some cargo ship definitely lost one of their animals then,” Shing assured.
“Guess that explains the tag.”
“So, what do we do, contact them?” Johnson asked.
“Just leave that to me,” Shing said coolly. “Did you contact anyone else besides that vet?”
“We’ve sent several of the photos to a couple institutions,” Simmons said. “In Hawaii, Sacramento, Yale New Haven.”
“I’ll make sure to contact them as well, can I get their information?”
“Of course.”
“For now, gentlemen, what I would do is dispose of this animal.”
“What would you say about disease?” Simmons asked. “That was something Johnson was worried about.”
“Have you cordoned off the area the rhea was found in?”
“Yes, as a precaution,” Johnson said.
“I would get rid of it,” said Shing. “I understand that this island depends heavily on tourism. We wouldn’t want to cause an uproar that prevents people from
coming here. Heaven knows how bad the economy of these places were hit during the pandemic.”

Johnson and Simmons had to agree. The two of them greatly thanked Shing, and soon the CIA analyst was on his way.
The body was promptly incinerated. It turned out that several photos of the animal had been taken before it was recovered by the military. The best efforts were made to keep these images
from the public eye. Any burgeoning stories reporting the animal were quickly expunged, and the news never reached the world wide media or even mainland Japan for that matter. However,
this did not stop the photos or knowledge of the creature from reaching more clandestine organizations. Ones that weren’t under the authority of the United States government.



Hong Kong

Nighttime. Hong Kong’s vibrant colors had turned the city’s sky into a blue haze. In a little bar located in the Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district, in the southern part of the Kowloon urban area,
a man was nursing a glass of gin and tonic. The man stood while leaning his body on the counter, and slowly stirred his glass as he watched what little ice he had left clink against each other.
An old Peter Gabriel song played throughout the bar, and the man bobbed his leg up and down to the fast beat.

The man looked quite out of the ordinary. For one thing, he was the only person by himself, as all around him were groups of university students, tourists, and even some local businessmen.
He also towered above most of them. He was about six-foot-two, with a lean muscular build to match. The man was also a foreigner. Or a wàiguó rén, as the locals would put it. He had
distinctly Western European features, with wavy brown hair, light brown eyes, and a couple days worth of stubble. From the glances he made around the bar he would have wagered to
guess he was the only person there that was exactly thirty-years-old.

Even his attire made him stand out. While the businessmen wore sleek suits of either gray or black, and the college students wore either polo shirts or Hello Kitty sweaters, and the tourists
wore ill-fitting t-shirts with American name brands on them, the lone man wore a short sleeve button-down draped over a sleeveless undershirt, with tan colored slacks and a pair of scuffed
brown wingtips. It was a style that the man liked to call “half law degree candidate-half drunken sexpat.”

These were his normal, everyday clothes. The ones he wore when not working. When he did work, he usually wore a tactical vest, with black garments, and boots to match. He might’ve
also carried a semiautomatic rifle in his hands, and kept a 9mm pistol at his side.

He downed the rest of his now flat drink and called over the bartender.
John Eric Reyes was the only child of a Spanish industrialist and an English biologist. He was born in Spain, but never lived there long enough to call it home. Reyes seldom stayed in a
place that he could call home. He kept a British passport, and had an apartment in London, but he had not been there in over a month. And his occupation rarely had him stay in one
location for more than two weeks at a time.

Reyes was a member of the Ares Group, a private military company based in the United Kingdom. On paper, the Ares Group was an assembly of around two dozen military personnel that
offered security and protection to any nation or entity that contacted them. Clandestinely the members of the Ares Group also engaged in both espionage and private investigation. The
company sometimes relied on the help of scientific experts for these special operations.

Reyes had been in Hong Kong to act as the bodyguard for a wealthy Korean businessman and his band of cronies. By now the men were on a flight back to Seoul, and so Reyes was left to
his own devices.

The music in the bar had changed to a Korean pop song. Reyes turned his head back to see the girls in Hello Kitty apparel squeal in delight as the lyrics to the song began. He got off from
the counter and made his way to the exit. He had paid his tab; it was time to leave.

Reyes felt rather good as he walked the streets of the former British colony. His last gin and tonic had actually been his sixth of the night. Not to mention the four shots of soju his latest
clientele had offered him before they left for the airport. Reyes usually drank after a successful mission, regardless of how dangerous it had been; although more harrowing adventures warranted
a greater degree of drinking. Tonight's celebration had been rather tame in comparison. For example, had he just got back from taking out a drug lord in a country bloodied by civil war, he wouldn’t
be walking as smoothly as he did now, and he would wake up, with no recollection of the night before, to a brand new kind of danger.

Back in his hotel room, Reyes stared out the window towards the inky blackness that was Victoria Harbor, the city’s main port. The mix of gin and Korean liquor made him thoughtful. He was a man
good with weapons, who had killed before. But he was also well read, and fascinated by the natural order of things. While waiting at the airport he would sometimes pore over a scientific journal,
or brush up on a foreign language with a stranger.

His love for knowledge had been cultivated by his mother, his penchant for toughness by his father. In fact, he only became a private military operative from his father’s connections to several
defense contractors. And that was after serving for a time in the British Armed Forces. It was always sobering for Reyes to reflect on his life, and what had led it to its current point.

He was ready to go to sleep when he received the email. He took out his cellphone, and saw that it was from his superior.
The email read: “New objective. Naha, Okinawa by 1100 tomorrow. Further instructions will be placed alongside your equipment in the package located at the Naha Central Hotel. Reservation under DQ.”
Japan, huh? Reyes thought. I guess I’m not getting out of Asia anytime soon.
He was intrigued at the vagueness of his new mission. Since the hotel reservation was under DQ— “Daniel Quinten,” Reyes’ go-to alias, it seemed that he was about to do some form of espionage.
He enjoyed these types of jobs. It was a lot less dangerous than armed combat, that was for sure.

He had enough time to get some rest and board a plane to Okinawa the following morning. A flight from Hong Kong to Okinawa would only take about three hours, as it was one of the southernmost
islands of the Japanese archipelago.
Reyes popped into the bathroom for a quick shower, then vigorously brushed his teeth to get the smell of alcohol out of his mouth. Walking around completely naked he fell into bed as the thoughts
of having onigiri served with Spam whirred in his mind.

By nine the next morning Reyes had checked out of the hotel and was on his way to Hong Kong International Airport in a taxi cab. He was in a new set of clothes, and the ones he wore the night
before were stuffed haphazardly, along with his other belongings, into a small suitcase that he had sitting at his feet. He had on a pair of sunglasses that helped combat the rising sun, and the
headache that came with it.

When Reyes arrived at the airport he made his way to the Japan Airlines check-in, obtained his boarding pass, and snaked his way to his gate. He had a meager late breakfast that consisted of
jiaozi—pan-fried dumplings, and sticky rice, both of which tasted like nothing but plastic. Within the next hour Reyes was seated on his flight. From his window view he watched the streets of
Hong Kong melt into the rest of mainland China. As the flight continued, Reyes could only wonder what the details of his next mission entailed.

NOTE: I've added a mockup book cover to the first post, just to set the mood a bit more. Also, I plan to rewrite the majority of the "Shing" chapter, but I decided to include it to bridge the gap between
that chapter and the Hong Kong one, which, if you can guess, introduces our protagonist.
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

Post by Draconisaurus »

Drac is in the middle of reading.
This is quite nice... Case of dashing reader hopes and making them say "noooooo--" as they read, on the mis-ID of the animal...
This:
TrespasserGuy wrote:Johnson and Simmons had to agree. The two of them greatly thanked Shing, and soon the CIA analyst was on his way.
The body was promptly incinerated. It turned out that several photos of the animal had been taken before it was recovered by the military. The best efforts were made to keep these images
from the public eye. Any burgeoning stories reporting the animal were quickly expunged, and the news never reached the world wide media or even mainland Japan for that matter. However,
this did not stop the photos or knowledge of the creature from reaching more clandestine organizations. Ones that weren’t under the authority of the United States government.
Sounds great except for the last line. I am not sure how hard a critique you're interested in? The last line seems to go very quickly over a crucial detail. Possibly Crichton would explain this part a bit more.
what little ice he had left clink against each other.
Ice here is singular, then it turns into plural with "each other".
Reyes usually drank after a successful mission, regardless of how dangerous it had been; although more harrowing adventures warranted
a greater degree of drinking.
I think the semicolon works here if you add a comma after "although". Drac admits he misses editing papers.

...Really nice, I like it. The things listed above are out of respect for how cool the rest is Lol. I quite like the book cover... Does seem like something a later-years Crichton novel could receive.
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

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Rebel wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2024 11:15 pm Interesting read, T.I. Intriguing enough that I will definitely read the next installment. ;) It never ceases to amaze me as to just how many people dabble in writing around here.
Thank you, Rebel. I always welcome feedback from you :) I guess we're just a community of very creative people. :god:
Sounds great except for the last line. I am not sure how hard a critique you're interested in? The last line seems to go very quickly over a crucial detail. Possibly Crichton would explain this part a bit more.
I understand that that portion of the text was pretty rushed. But, what's the crucial detail that got left over? I understand that Crichton would probably have an extra chapter where another group of scientists look at the photos of the dinosaur, and someone concludes that it really is one, but I feel it would be too similar to Jurassic Park.
Also, thanks for looking at the book cover Drac. I did try to mix the minimalist style of a Crichton cover with something reminiscent of James Rollins:
Click on Image
(Click on thumbnail for full size)
Image
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

Post by Draconisaurus »

So this:
TrespasserGuy wrote:However,
this did not stop the photos or knowledge of the creature from reaching more clandestine organizations. Ones that weren’t under the authority of the United States government.
It just feels to go a bit too fast over a sudden world-story point. I am imagining two or three more sentences elaborating on, perhaps, what sort of organizations would be interested, how they would be related to the general potential pool of entities who found out about the information, or whatever you think might fit in.
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

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Naha

Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost and westernmost prefecture. Its island lies along the tailend of the Japanese archipelago as part of the Ryukyu Island chain. Because of its location
in the East China Sea, Okinawa and its neighboring islands enjoy a subtropical climate, which makes it an ideal vacation spot for the mainland Japanese. Its capital city is Naha, and
offers first time tourists a good taste of the rest of the island, as it is the site of many festivals, cultural landmarks, and shopping centers.

Okinawa was also the site of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War’s Pacific theater, with over one-hundred thousand casualties from both American forces and the Imperial
Japanese Army. Even after Japan’s surrender, the American military presence never fully went away. Currently the United States Armed Forces operate a number of military bases on
the island, for both strategic purposes and to provide Japan allied protection.

As American presence on Okinawa continued, it has resulted in an odd fusion of cultures. With the arrival of American GIs in World War II, the canned lunch meat Spam has become a
main ingredient in many Okinawan dishes to this day. In many Okinawan towns one can find pizza shops, McDonald’s chains, and military surplus stores. The United States naval bases
and “American style” villages have also brought amusement to Japanese vacationers who wanted a glimpse of America and confusion for non-American tourists who wanted to find a
ramen bar.

However, this cultural and political cooperation is not without its downsides. A good number of Okinawans resent the US military presence as the numerous bases encroach on the local
land. This resentment reached a boiling point when, in 1996, three American servicemen were found guilty of raping a twelve-year-old Okinawan girl. After the trial concluded an
overwhelming majority of the island, and even its local government, clamored to remove the United States’ involvement altogether. But the Japanese supreme court has since ruled
in favor of continuing to provide the US military the land needed for their facilities, as a way to guarantee protection and contribute to Okinawa’s economy. Despite the 1996 incident
and many others like it, the island of Okinawa still hosts around seventy percent of the American forces in Japan. If anything, this continued collaboration between two nations has
symbolized an odd clash of differing cultures.

* * *

It was one o’clock the same day when John Reyes’ flight from Hong Kong International landed on the tarmac of Naha Airport. After leaving the terminal Reyes made his way to a car
rental agency. There was no way he was going to rely on a taxi or any other public transport while on the island.
As Reyes exited the airport through its automatic doors, he felt the humidity wash over him, and then immediate relief from a gust of ocean breeze. It was bright, brighter than what
it had been in Hong Kong, so he put his sunglasses back on. He found his rental car, a white Nissan Altima, in a parking lot just outside the airport’s shuttle service.

Reyes got in and drove to the Naha Central Hotel, which lay in the northern part of the city. When he arrived he managed to park in the frighteningly compact car garage that stood
just across the street. Reyes walked in and was greeted at the front desk by a young receptionist, who had to crane his neck up to make eye contact.

Reyes checked in under his special alias. “I also believe you have a package for me in my name,” he added.
The young man gave a toothy smile, nodded, and called over an older woman, who after a short exchange went into a room behind the counter. She soon returned carrying the
package using both her hands, and set it on the countertop. The package was a white box, about a half a meter in all dimensions, and with way too many stickers and labels on it.
The man handed Reyes a keycard. “Would you like us to bring the package to your room, Mr. Quinten?”
Reyes thought for a bit, then shook his head politely. “No thanks, I can manage.” And with one hand he scooped up the box under his shoulder and walked over to a set of elevators.
In his room Reyes flung his lone suitcase onto the bed, and gingerly set the package on a sofa chair. He opened the package that was appropriately addressed to a “Daniel Quinten”
and found a backpack inside.

Reyes smirked. He opened the backpack’s smallest pocket and pulled out a smart tablet. He turned on the tablet and unlocked it with no need for a passcode. Inside the tablet were
only three apps: the Internet, a calculator, and a notepad. Reyes opened the calculator, entered in a string of numbers, and the screen suddenly changed. There was now a word
document with images attached. Reyes sat down on the edge of his bed and began to read through the document.

The following photos were taken three days ago on a beach in Okinawa by a local resident. They were found on an online server belonging to the Biological Institute of the University
of Hawai’i. The photos, at least the more incriminating ones, have already been censored by the Japanese media.


What Reyes saw made him bring the tablet closer to his face. The photos were taken on a smartphone, and showed what most people might have said was a giant dead ostrich. The
“ostrich” was sprawled out against the wet sand, with its body curved towards the water, as a result of the waves that had carried it to shore.

The body was peppered with dried sea salt, and bits of seaweed that clung to its feathers. Nothing was right about this animal. The tail was too long, the beak too lizard-like. It
just didn’t look like an actual bird. But rather something else. Is this animal what he thought it was? Reyes kept scrolling through the document.

Photos show what appears to be a genetically modified species of large, flightless bird. Modifications of the tail, feet, and snout have likely been performed on the animal for it to
more closely resemble a maniraptoran dinosaur. Origin of the animal is unknown. Animal’s body was reported to be taken by the United States military half an hour after the photos
were taken. Sources say that the body has been kept in cold storage at the Okinawa Naval Hospital in Ginowan.

Reyes paused. So they thought the same thing he did. The creature, which looked like a mutated ostrich, was actually a dinosaur. Or at least someone’s attempt to recreate one.
He had heard of something like this before. The last he heard, an American paleontologist was looking into modifying a chicken’s DNA to make it look more like its prehistoric ancestors.
The project was called “Chickenosaurus,” but hadn’t yet come to fruition.

But apparently someone else had succeeded, and their creation had wound up on a beach on the island of Okinawa. Reyes couldn’t help but chuckle. It was funny. Like many his age,
dinosaurs had been one of his childhood fascinations. That, and stream trains. His mother being a biology professor, he would often gain free admittance to natural history museums,
and he would rush to see the enormous dinosaur fossils that were on display. He still remembered so many of their names. Brachiosaurus. Triceratops. Carnotaurus. Tyrannosaurus rex.
His favorite was Allosaurus, a meat-eating theropod from the late Jurassic period. And the animal in the photos looked similar to a dromaeosaur. Commonly known as “raptors,” they
were a type of swift hunting carnivore from the Cretaceous period. Reyes continued reading.

Despite the Japanese media and United States military’s attempts to censor public knowledge of the animal, several inner circles are already aware of its existence, and want to get a
hold of it. The bioengineering company, VarsoGen, is particularly interested in this specimen, and has contacted the Ares Group to obtain DNA samples from it.


Reyes had read about VarsoGen before. It was a Polish bio startup based in Warsaw, founded five years ago. They were mainly invested in developing biologic drugs to aid in cancer treatment.
Reyes was intrigued that someone there was eager to obtain the dinosaur’s DNA, especially to the point of hiring a PMC’s special operative. Well, every company had their dark side. He pressed on.

Once you are able to access this animal, your objective is to obtain a blood sample, tissue sample, feather sample -anything that can provide viable DNA. After you obtain these samples you
must keep them in cold storage and send them to the enclosed address where they will be delivered to VarsoGen’s lab in Warsaw. Your equipment is located in the backpack sent to you.


Reyes put down the tablet and again turned his attention to the backpack. In one of the larger compartments, he found a small flask that acted as a cooler. In the same pocket was a plastic
bag that had the biohazard symbol printed on it. The bag contained a ten milliliter syringe, a sealed disposable needle, a disposable scalpel, smaller plastic bags, and a pair of blue surgical gloves.
In the other large compartment he found a green t-shirt and a United States Navy uniform with a woodland camouflage pattern. The name patch on the jacket read “Vargas.” Tucked in the
left breast pocket of the uniform was a pair of non-prescription glasses with a thick plastic frame. On the bottom of the pack was a pair of US size twelve black military boots, and the naval uniform’s cap.

In another pocket Reyes found a fully loaded SIG Sauer M17, the sidearm of choice of the United States Armed Forces. Along with the pistol was an extra fully loaded magazine.
Reyes picked up the tablet again and scrolled further down. In the same document was an evacuation map of Okinawa Naval Hospital. It showed all four floors from top to bottom. The cold storage
facility, where the animal’s remains were supposedly being kept, was located in the basement of the hospital. Under the map was a link to a spreadsheet. Reyes tapped on the link and found a list
of current inpatients of the hospital, their current condition, assigned physician, and room and bed number, updated to the last half hour.

Reyes nodded to himself. He knew what his plan was. He studied the map and parts of the patient list thoroughly before putting the tablet and the rest of his gear back in their respective pockets.
He then exited the room with the backpack slung over his shoulder on a single strap.
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

Post by Draconisaurus »

Drac is in the middle of reading.
That, and stream trains.
Hmmm stream trains... heheh.

...Great chapter. Still enjoying the technical details. Didn't expect the chickenosaurus element. Now as the reader I am wondering if that's what it is or not. Also, the spam thing was mentioned in Micro, wondering if you read it there or elsewhere...

Hmm as a side note, I heard one or the main problem of making a chickenosaurus turned out to be, that they don't know how to give it a tail again. I guess because it is such a gross anatomical difference.
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

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Okinawa Naval Hospital

He had to find a good place to change. After driving around Reyes found a public restroom in a secluded part of the city. He walked into the men’s room with the backpack
slung over his shoulder, and locked himself in a stall. He stuffed his regular clothes and his shoes into the pack and changed into the naval uniform. It fit pretty well, and so
did the boots. He fished the pair of plastic frame glasses from the breast pocket and put them on.

He exited the stall and looked at himself in the mirror. He already looked quite different. Then he took out a bottle of men’s styling gel and a plastic comb, and started to
slick his hair back. When the gel set Reyes took out the naval cap, straightened it out, and put it on.

He definitely now looked the part. Satisfied with his disguise Reyes gathered the rest of his belongings and made his way back to his car, hoping that he did not attract any
attention.
The US Naval Hospital was located about half an hour away from the capital city. To an outsider, the hospital campus looked forbidding. The area was surrounded by barbed
wire fence, and was actually part of a larger military base, called Camp Foster.

Reyes pulled into the parking lot of the hospital. Before he got out took one last look at his reflection in the rear view mirror. He had put on a surgical mask, the top of which
fell just above the thick pair of glasses. With the mask on he was unrecognizable to anyone on the island who had seen him several hours prior.
He got out of the car, and walked towards the entrance.

“Excuse me sir, may I help you?” the receptionist asked. She was white, American, and wore a bright yellow blouse with a yellow mask to match.
Reyes walked over to the front desk. “Yes, I’m looking for a Mr. Gomez,” he said. He had assumed a New England accent. “First name is Peter.”
“One moment please.” The receptionist turned her attention to a computer monitor. She tapped away at the keyboard. “Yes Mr. Gomez is still awaiting surgery, but they
say he can have visitors. Do you want me to notify him you are coming up?”
“No thank you,” Reyes smiled. “I’d rather surprise him.”
Peter Gomez, Engineman Third Class, was at Naval Hospital Okinawa for surgery on his left eye. His glaucoma medication had not been as effective as the doctor had hoped.
So the next option was minimally invasive surgery to lessen the pressure in his eye. Reyes had no clue how Gomez was feeling at that moment. He did, however, think that
the sailor should be honored to play a part in his undercover ruse.

He had studied the hospital’s layout thoroughly. He knew where all the emergency exits were, and he knew how far the morgue was from the nearest elevator. He made
his way to the basement, walked down the hallway that had one or two flickering light fixtures, and found the entrance to the morgue’s anteroom. He peered in through the
door’s window, and saw a man slouching on a swivel stool. He was holding his phone horizontally and had it brought close to his face.

Reyes knocked on the glass firmly. The man inside the room practically jumped out of his chair. Apparently he had not noticed Reyes in his periphery. The man buried the phone
in his pocket and stood up from the stool. Reyes opened the door, stepped into the threshold, and raised a hand up.
“Good afternoon,” Reyes said.
“Uh, hey what’s up,” the man replied. He was American, rather short, and had a noticeable amount of acne around his cheeks. He wore a rumpled set of blue scrubs, and thin-framed
glasses. “Can I help you, sir?” he asked.
Reyes walked fully into the room. This man had to have been watching some type of heinous shit on his phone. He also seemed to be someone who readily answered to authority figures
and would not ask any questions. Just his luck.
He decided to be direct. “I was told by my CO that you guys still had the body that was found on the beach. Is that right?”
The man stared. “You mean that giant bird thing? They already got rid of it.”
Reyes frowned from behind his mask. The Ares Group had not been aware of that. Perhaps that information had not been logged by the navy yet. Or perhaps they wouldn’t put it in
writing at all. “I guess they were misinformed,” he said innocently. “When was it disposed of?”
The man shook his head. “I don’t know, a day or two ago.”
“Did they say what type of bird it was?”
“Uh, no. Not to me anyway.” The man broke eye contact with Reyes and stared off into space.
“We were hoping to take some pictures of it,” Reyes pressed on. “I guess some professor at Berkeley was interested in it.” He realized all too late that he had glanced to his right when
saying this. A telltale sign of fabrication.
But the man didn’t seem to notice, or even care. “Sorry, I just can’t help you with that,” he said. He sat back down on the stool.
Reyes lingered in the room for a couple seconds too long. He was about to ask if he could check the storage units. Finally he said, “Well thanks anyway. Have a good one.”
“Uh-huh, yeah.”

The parking lot again. He made his way to the rental car. It was almost three in the afternoon now. The late summer heat was unrelenting. His boots were beginning to feel uncomfortable.
Then he noticed his stomach growling. He hadn’t eaten in a good five hours.
Reyes tumbled into the driver’s seat and slammed the car door shut. He had to think about what to do next. But for now, he needed something to eat.

Cafe

For a late lunch, or rather early dinner, Reyes went to a small cafe in Naha. He ordered a serving of Okinawa’s version of onigiri; which was basically Spam, egg, and rice sandwiched between
sheets of nori seaweed; a bowl of soba, which is a noodle soup made with fish cakes, pork, and light broth; and finally a can of the local beer to help wash it all down.
He took one final swig of his beer and held up his hand for the check. He was sitting outside, and had a good view of the city street.
He had changed back into his regular clothes. He dreaded the idea of being caught while wearing the uniform. For whatever reason getting caught in his naval disguise off-base sounded worse
than getting caught on-base. He had also ruffled his hair back, and nearly snapped the crappy pair of glasses in half in frustration.

He reclined in his chair, and bobbed his leg up and down rapidly. What was he going to do now? At first he thought about contacting the Ares Group and saying that the mission was a bust. No,
giving up now would be too easy.

Reyes scratched his unshaven chin. He picked up the can of beer and smelled the remnants of it. Reyes claimed it made him think better.
Think about it. A genetically modified bird, made to look like a dinosaur. Found on the shores of Okinawa. The dinosaur had to have come from somewhere nearby, like an offshore island. Maybe
that’s where they were also created? For that to be the case, the island would have to be big enough to house a biolab, and a place for the animal to be held. There were hundreds of islands in
the region, although only a handful were still unpopulated.

The check came. Reyes put the can down. After paying he continued to ruminate in his chair. He looked at the light traffic from where he sat. Across the street was the convenience store where
he had purchased the cheap comb and styling gel. He now held the comb, which still had the five-hundred yen price sticker on it, and was running his thumbnail through its teeth.

Out of that same convenience store he saw a group of four men walk out. They were obviously tourists, and were all chattering and laughing to themselves. The men looked to be about college-aged,
and were all wearing Hawaiian shirts and cargo shorts of varying color.

The man in the back of the group was holding what appeared to be a DSLR camera, and was filming his three friends. He had brown hair, similar in length to Reyes' hair except it was parted in the middle.
In front of him, one of his friends shoved his face in the camera, stuck his tongue out and made sideways peace-signs with both of his hands. This man had black hair, which was braided into dreadlocks
that reached his earlobes. He wore plastic frame glasses, similar to Reyes' fake pair.
Walking in front of them, but not paying attention to the camera, was another one of their friends. This man also had black hair, although it was finer than the other man’s, and had a dyed-green streak in the front.
Right next to him was, what Reyes had figured, the leader of the group. He had dirty blond hair, a thinly-shaved beard, and had on a pair of aviator sunglasses. Suddenly he turned to face his friends and the camera that was pointed at him, and began talking into it.
Vloggers, Reyes thought. They were definitely American too. Reyes could hear their distinct accents as they ambled down the street.
The blond man continued talking to the camera while walking backwards. Once, he almost tripped, which prompted snickers from his friends.
Well, as long as they weren't causing a nuisance and harassing the locals.
Reyes got up from his chair and shut the American vloggers from his mind. He knew what to do now.
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Re: Kojima: A Thriller

Post by Draconisaurus »

Liking it...
TrespasserGuy wrote:He had brown hair, similar in length to Reyes' hair except it was parted in the middle.
In front of him, one of his friends shoved his face in the camera,
Due to the mention of Reyes again, the following use of "him" and "his" seems potentially unclear, even though it's easily guessable. More of a grammatical thing.
Suddenly he turned to face his friends and the camera that was pointed at him, and began talking into it.
Hmmm talking into a camera? This sounds a bit jarring as I read, as if he is talking into a microphone next to his face. Think it could be worded better.

Great chapter. Did enjoy the tension as he talked to the guard in the basement, even as it was brief. Am really curious what he plans to do since the specimen is said to be destroyed. I guess it reminds me of how the aberrant forms are destroyed in TLW novel.
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