by Robbie Clyde
"Good morning, your majesty." Darla said as she bowed in front of the throne.
"Good morning, Darla what news do you have for us today?" Shara said as she looked at Darla, she only needed to incline her head slightly to look in Darla's eyes as she stood in front of Shara as she sat on her throne.
"The child will be removed from the birth chamber this morning." Darla announced with a smile.
"Very good, when should I get there?" Shara asked.
"Uh, ah, your majesty should be there at mid day, the child should emerge soon after that." Darla stammered.
"Very well, expect us then." Shara said and turned to a small person standing just behind the throne. "Cindy, have my birthing gown made ready."
"Yes, you majesty." Cindy said and quickly made entries into the console she was sitting at.
"I too shall make all preparations for your visit, your majesty." Darla said bowing then she turned to leave via one of the doors at the other end of the grand chamber.
"Cindy who needs to see us now?" Shara asked once the door closed behind Darla.
"The only other item on your morning agenda is the delegation from the alien species monitoring department." Cindy said after referring to the read out.
"Very well, I can tell them about the progress we are expecting at mid day and then I should have time to get ready for our new visitor. Show them in."
"Very good your majesty." Cindy said and pressed a button on the console, which opened one door at the other end of the court, to revel three individuals.
Once the door was opened they advanced into the room and approached the throne.
"Your majesty we have completed our study of the vessel that crashed on our third moon." The tallest of the delegates said.
"Very good, how soon can you have the information transferred to a learning growth chamber so that the child that the will exit its birthing chamber today, can learn of its home as well as ours so they can be our lesson to this people."
"We can have the information transferred to the learning center by this time tomorrow, your majesty." The smallest delegate said when the other two turned to her.
"Very well. Your name is?"
"I am called processor, your majesty."
"That may be your title, what is your birth name?"
"Ah, my birth name is .. Erica." She replied.
"Hmm, we have met your parent. It is good to see that you have done well. Keep up the good work."
"Thank you, your majesty, I shall." Erica said with a bow.
"I will let you get back to your work, and I shall go prepare to greet our new arrival."
They all bowed and the tallest one said. "Thank you for your time, we shall have everything ready by tomorrow."
As they turned to leave. "Erica we expect to see you tomorrow with the training module."
Erica turned to face her majesty and said. "Yes your majesty." She then turned and quickly followed the other two out the door.
Once the door closed.
"Cindy we need to get ready. Take us to our bedchamber so we can prepare."
"Yes your majesty." She said as she rose from the console and offered her shoulder for Shara to rest her hand on.
They exited the throne room via a door behind the throne and traversed a short hallway to another chamber; this was a much smaller room with a bed on one side and a medium sized pool on the other. On the bed could be seam a collection of blue scarves and a matching dress.
Cindy began to remove Shara's gown. Once undressed Shara moved to the pool as Cindy stepped to the console next to it and dialed in Shara's preferred settings.
"Ah, yes that is just right." Said Shara as the worm and perfumed bubbles coursed over her smooth skin.
After the wash and rinse cycle were completed Cindy made a few adjustments as the water drained away, and warm air was directed over her body, soon Shara was completely dry.
Shara stepped out of the pool and approached the bed. Cindy left the console and picked up one of the scarves from the bed and gently placed it across Shara's head. Then she helped Shara wrap the dress around her torso allowing her breast to remain exposed.
Cindy applied the appropriate amount of markup to Shara's nipples and areoles with a few quick brush strokes.
Then she filed Shara's nails to the appropriate shape.
"Hmm, yes, that looks just right." Shara said as she turned in front of the mirror inspecting the results of Cindy's handy work. "How much more time do we have?"
"If we depart now we should arrive just as they are going through the final checks."
"Very well, notify my driver that we well be leaving at once."
Cindy taped a code on her wrist com link. When the indicator turned green. "Your driver is waiting for you now, and all preparations have been made for the escort needed for the trip."
"Very good, let us go welcome into this world our newest family member." Shara said as she placed her right hand on Cindy's left shoulder and walked out of her bedchamber.
They proceeded down the hallway through the throne room and out the main reception hall. From the reception hall the exited to find the vehicle waiting that was going to take them to the birthing center. The driver opened the door and assisted Shara to enter and sit in the back seat, quickly followed by Cindy.
The driver closed the back door and entered the control cabin. Once sealed in she activated the controls and soon had the vehicle airborne headed for the birthing education center.
They landed at the front entrance and the driver quickly got and opened the door for Shara. She exited followed by Cindy.
"We shall need you for the return trip soon. Remain here." Cindy said.
The driver bowed but made no comment.
Just then the front door to the center opened and Darla came out.
"You are just on time, Shara. We are in the last stages and should be opening the chamber within a very short time." She said.
"Good. Is every thing proceeding normally?" Shara asked.
"Well the combination of the alien biomaterial with ours has created some strange effects and it seams that the child's brain development is off the charts." Darla said as she lead the way into the center.
"We don't know for sure but over the last few weeks we have noticed that there has been an extra drain on the learning systems."
"Any areas in particular?"
"No, in fact until this week there did not seam to be any correlation between the files that were accessed. Then after one file last week was accessed things settled into a pattern."
"Well the file was a advanced logic symposium lecture."
"Wait you are telling me that once that file was accessed that what ever was accessing your files learned what logic was and then went about logically accessing the rest of your files."
"That's the way that is appears."
"So what does this have to do with my child?"
"We believe that she is the one accessing the files."
"How can that be, she is in a birthing chamber and does not have access to a data console."
"We believe she is accessing the files via the interface in the learning growth chamber."
"But that is impossible; she would have to be in one of those chambers for that to happen."
"That's what we thought until today."
When the party entered the heart of the center, they all heard.
"Good morning, mother. Glad to see you have finally come to see me."
"I don't know mother but I can sense that it is time for us to meet."
"Just a moment, lets get the experts opinion on when it is safe for you to come out."
"Yes mother, but the equipment indicates it is time."
"That is ok for you but I don't want anything to go wrong with this. You should wait until they say it is time."
"That's better. Now who can tell me when she can exit the unit?"
"Ah, your highest, ah she can be let out now if you would like." Darla stammered.
"Very good. Proceed."
"See mother, I told you."
"That's nice dear but you need to let others do their jobs. It lets them feel important."
"Yes mother. Oh wow. It's getting cold in here."
"Yes dear, its time for you to come out and see us."
"Ok, here I come."
"This is not normally the way things work, right?"
"Correct, normally the child cannot talk until after their first learning growth cycle. We have been checking the equipment but have not found any problems and the others in their chambers have not showed any of the same symptoms."
"Very well. She was the only one with the alien biomaterial, correct?"
Darla nodded as one of the aids came up pushing a small bed with a small pink bundle on top.
"Ah, that is a strange color."
"Yes your majesty, but as near as we can tell, that is the normal color for the alien species."
"So she will be plagued with that her whole life."
"Yes, Shara. It will make her stand out with our people but she will be able to blend in with those of her home planet."
"Very good, that should help with the ambassador job."
The child looked up and smiled at Shara. "Hello mother."
"Oh, how cute. Is that normal also?"
"We believe so. There are hundreds of small mussels in her face that allow various combinations of, we believe, expressions. We will not know for sure until the alien department have completed their report.
"Can you explain her ability to talk at such a young age?"
"We have a theory, that her brain developed very early in the birthing chamber and she began to absorb the information from the system. At best guess she has absorbed the requirement of twenty learning cycles."
"That much? Do you have any idea what professions?"
"We have gone over all the records and the files accessed cover a wide range of professions but it looks a little of every thing."
"What, you mean."
"Yes mother, I have absorbed most of our people's knowledge even before leaving the birthing chamber."
"Yes, honey, so what are we going to call you?"
"Hum, oh I see, yes mother I like that."
"You where thinking that you liked the Astoria, I like it too."
"But I was just thinking it I did not say it."
"I know mother, I can hear peoples sub thoughts as well as their spoken ones, with a little effort."
"Well Astoria, you will need to learn to not do that to often, it is considered an invasion of privacy."
"Yes mother. I will be more respectful of others."
"That's good. Now we need to get you ready for your showing off."
Cindy picked up Astoria and they went back to the vehicle and returned to the palace.
The next morning in the throne room, after Shara had re-donned her birthing gown and Astoria had enjoyed her morning meal.
"Her majesty would like to present her daughter Astoria, the ambassador to the new alien race." Cindy announced as Shara came into the throne room caring Astoria.
Shara walked over and sat down on her throne, and turned Astoria to face the assembly.
As people stepped up to greet the two of them, Erica noticed something, but did not say anything.
"Mother, this one has a concern that I do not understand." Astoria said.
"Erica, you may speak."
"Your majesty, in my studies of this new race I have discovered that, unlike us they have two distinct sexes."
"Ah, the female of their race are called daughters."
"Well one of the distinguishing features of the males is a short appendage from their lower trunk."
Shara and Astoria looked down and saw what Erica was talking about.
"I don't care what they think, this child is my daughter and will be raised as such." Shara said as she wrapped her hands more protectively around Astoria.
"Thank you mother." Astoria said as she turned to look back at Erica, from the protective embrace of her mother.
This story has a lot of dialogue, and unfortunately not much else. It suffers from what I call "talking head syndrome" -- a long series of "he said, she said, he said, she said", with little or no description of what's going on in between. A story has to be more than talking to maintain a reader's interest -- and even when a given scene does contain a lot of talking, there are things you can do as an author to break up the monotony. Show people moving around; describe changes in expression, posture, or tone of voice; and intersperse exchanges of dialogue with paragraphs describing the thoughts of your viewpoint character. The only way to get good at this is to read a lot, take note of how skilled writers handle dialogue, and then practice incorporating those tricks into your own stories. You'll get better with time and effort.
You should also focus on strengthening plot and characterization. If you look past the dialogue, there really isn't much happening here; a story needs action to move forward. More importantly, it needs well-developed characters that people will care about. Ask yourself: what are my characters' personalities like? What are their hopes, their dreams, their fears? What do they care about more than anything else? What are they trying to do in this story, and why does it matter to them? Then, figure out ways to show the audience these aspects of your characters' personalities, by the things that they say and do and the ways that they go about doing them. Again, this is something you can learn by example: look at how writers you like make you care about their characters, and how they convey those characters' personalities through their words and actions. Then practice doing it in your own writing. It's often helpful to jot down some notes on each of your characters before you begin writing, making note of their key personality traits and any distinctive mannerisms they might have.
From a technical standpoint, your spelling isn't bad, though there are a few typos scattered here and there. You do, however, have a tendency toward run-on sentences. Try to keep your sentences clear, straightforward, and relatively short; remember that each separate thought should have its own sentence. It is possible to write longer sentences that flow well, but you need to learn to walk before you can run. You should also review the rules for punctuating quotations: if you have a "he said" phrase (or the equivalent) after a direct quote, and that quote would normally end in a period, use a comma instead. For exclamation points and question marks, leave them as-is. For example:
"Wow!" said Mary. "Raven sure does use a lot of long sentences!"
"Yeah, and look at all those dashes and semicolons," John said, rolling his eyes. "I swear, the woman can't write a complete sentence without trying to cram in half a dozen ideas."
"Do you think anyone is still reading this?" Mary asked.
John shrugged. "If they are, they have more patience than I."
Okay, my own characters are mocking me now, so I'd better cut this off. In conclusion: less talk, more action, and more personality. Good luck!
Final Score: 28 out of 50
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