13 November 2012

Hash browns?

Here's another excerpt from my NaNoWriMo work. I'm too tired to write, but copying and pasting seemed like a surmountable task.

            Berkeley was awoken by housekeeping banging on his door at nine o’clock. “Housekeeping” appeared to be a loosely applied term in this hotel; the maid wore jeans and was in the process of smoking a cigarette while she eyed him saucily from the doorway. Berkeley had fallen asleep fully dressed, so he picked up his bag and left after asking the maid if he’d missed the complimentary breakfast. She was still laughing when he walked out the door.
            Back on the road, he stopped for a fast food sandwich. It was highly unsatisfying, but it filled his stomach. He made a notation in his travel notebook. This morning, his hand was perfectly still. Berkeley felt confident again as he sped toward the shuttlefield for the spaceport. The squat buildings of the supposed Earthling military base were barely visible up ahead. A high electrified fence surrounded the complex; its only point of entry was marked by a small guard station with a yellow mechanical arm blocking the road. Berkeley knew the yellow arm was just for show in case an Earthling tried to access the spaceport; an invisible force field was the true means of keeping people out of Area 51. Pulling up to the small hut, he held out his credentials to the guard, who looked bored. Berkeley also switched off his white-vision cufflinks; they were unnecessary here.
            “Berkeley Waters,” he announced to the guard, handing him his Earth identification card, his planet-of-origin identification card, and a hefty amount of Martian currency. The guard, who Berkeley could tell was originally from Mercury from his dark skin tone, raised an eyebrow at the pile of bills.
            “I’m looking for a kidnapper,” Berkeley informed him in hushed tones. “Someone abducted an Earthling woman Friday night, and I’m tracking him down. What do you know?” 
            “Look, how many times have you been here?” the guard asked him sarcastically. “You prove you’re extraterrestrial, we let you in. I don’t check the trunks or nothing. It’s not my job to see if people are smuggling things into the spaceport. Talk to Customs.” He started to slide the window of his station closed, but Berkeley persisted.
            “Come on,” he pressed. “Anything out of the ordinary the past two nights?”
            The guard shook his head. “I wasn’t even on duty then. I’ve been off since Thursday. You want to talk with Ninford, he did nights this weekend.”
            Berkeley scribbled the name down. “Where can I find him?” he asked eagerly. The guard stared at him. Berkeley rolled his eyes and fished around the backseat of his car.
            “Energy drink?” he offered the guard. “I hear they’re pretty good.” The Mercurial accepted the drink. Berkeley waited patiently to hear Ninford’s whereabouts. The guard gave him the same blank stare.
            Berkeley looked wildly around his car. He hadn’t completely finished his breakfast. He crossed his greelae, hoping the guard liked Earthling fast food.
            “Hash browns?” he asked.

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