For as long as he can remember, Derrick Hart always wanted to be a hero. Hearing stories about hist country’s military fighting foreign pirates and slavers, he wanted nothing more than to become a soldier in the New Duron Army. After being chosen to participate in a special military training program, Derrick cannot pass up such an opportunity. Joining four other cadets, Derrick becomes a member of Fire Squad. With his fellow cadets, and a war looming over the horizon, will he be able to become the hero he always wanted to be? Or will he discover that life of a soldier is not like the stories he fantasized about?
Targeted Age Group:: 14+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My inspiration for my book is from a game I used to play with my Dad when I was a child called Deus Ex. I have fond memories of that game and I wanted to create something that reflected my love of those times into writing. Having a game be a primary source of inspiration for a novel may seem unorthodox, but I believe it provides a different and unique style that I hope people will enjoy.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Coming up with characters was definitely the hardest part of my writing experience. I started by focusing on one personality trait unique to each character and build from there. Eventually, I started writing extreme events that change them as people, but still value their original selves at their core. Sooner or later, I realized that I could simply go with the flow and let the characters write themselves. This allowed me to write more natural and organic characters, but still still have them be a bit zany and larger-than-life to compliment the genre.
Joseph opens the door at the far end of Fire Squad’s headquarters. Inside is a small hallway with three doors. One door lies at the end and the other two doors face opposite each other on either side of the hall. Derrick follows Joseph inside. Joseph peeks into the nearest room on the left-hand side.
“Looks like this is Naomi’s room,” Joseph comments. “Only one bed in here.”
Derrick looks into the room across the hall from Naomi’s sleeping quarters. Inside are two double bunk beds, enough for four people. This is obviously where the men of the squad will sleep. Derrick expected more from this room. Its size is barely enough for a closet, let alone a bedroom for four. The metallic, stacked beds take up most of the room, leaving just enough space for the occupants’ personal belongings as long as they have only a few bags.
“Let’s check out this door,” Joseph says to Derrick, pointing to the door at the end of the hall.
Derrick opens the remaining door. A bathroom is on the other side. The floors and walls are tiled in red and white. Five lockers line the right side; five sinks atop a large counter are on the left. Two signs point towards two hallways branching off the main room. One sign spells out “Shower” while the other states “Toilets.”
“Looks communal,” Joseph points out. “I wonder if we share a shower with ….”
Before Joseph can finish his comment, Naomi walks in. She stares maliciously at Joseph.
“Share a shower with whom, McCain?” Naomi asks, warning Joseph to choose his next words carefully.
“Just concerned with a lady’s right to privacy, is all,” Joseph assures her.
Naomi narrows her eyes, clearly not convinced in the least by Joseph’s explanation.
“We’ll discuss bathroom schedules later. For now, I suggest we all get settled in.”
With that, Naomi leaves the bathroom and shuts the door behind her, leaving Joseph and Derrick. Derrick shrugs and heads to the room that he will share with Joseph, Peter and Warren for the entire time he is training at The Facility.
“I claim top bunk!” Joseph shouts.
Joseph shoves Derrick aside and climbs up the ladder on the nearest bunk to the top bed. In his rush, Joseph hits his head on the ceiling with a loud thunk.
“Ow! That hurt!” Joseph whines.
“Serves you right,” Peter comments while leaning against the doorframe.
Peter wanders into the bedroom. His head almost touches the ceiling. Needless to say, he will be taking one of the bottom bunks. Climbing to the top would be disastrous. All that leaves are Warren, who does not seem to be present, and Derrick.
“Hey, Pete, take the bunk below me. You’d make a better cushion if I fall than Derrick,” Joseph pleads.
Peter groans with irritation but decides to take Joseph’s offer. It would be better than listening to Joseph complain for an hour afterwards. Derrick approaches the last remaining bunk. He still has not decided which one to take, nor does he know which one Warren will prefer. Derrick glances back at the entrance, hoping that Warren is there, but he is not.
“Where’s that mousy-lookin’ guy?” Joseph asks while hanging from the edge of his bed.
“Not sure,” Derrick answers.
Tired of waiting, Derrick claims the bottom bunk as his own. He rests his head on the plushy pillow and lies on top of the red cotton blanket. He stares up at the bottom of the bed above. Nobody in the room says anything. An occasional squeak of bedsprings is heard, but that is it. It is hard to tell what has brought this silence. Perhaps fatigue.
Derrick waits for someone to say something, but a snore suddenly echoes through the room. Derrick turns to his side and glances over at Peter and Joseph. Both are fast asleep, Peter being the one who is snoring. Even though they are all still in their warm clothes, nothing can deter their tired minds and bodies. Derrick slips his shirt off and tosses it to the foot of his bed. He also unties his shoes, takes them off and tucks them underneath the bunk. He does not bother pulling up the blankets. Soon, his eyes start to drift close and his whole body relaxes into sleep.
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