Starting Point: Tracks


Sergeant Greaves knew the enemy had come this way; the tracks had been smoothed by the desert winds, but the disturbance to the sand was still visible. A large group of men and machines had been here, but when? He flicked on his temporal lens and scanned back through the last 48 hours.

There they were! He could see them passing through the canyon a little under 36 hours ago. A contingent of around fifty men on foot, with supplies mounted on sand-lamels. The caravan was pointed by two heavily armoured DTVs and a large cuzuk followed behind.

One of the sand-lamels lurched right by him. Had he been stood there 36 hours previously it would have stepped right on his foot. Riding atop the animal and draped in a grey shawl was a man Greaves knew very well…

How would you continue this story? Who is the man Greaves recognises, and why is he tracking him? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

Written by Mark Ball

Artwork by Geoffroy Thoorens

  • Brayden Watkins

    Here’s how I would start:

    “Ryker!” Greaves shouted. “My old CO.” Just then, he looked behind him and saw about ten soldiers, armed with weapons. One of them was on a sand-lamel, chuckling. Then, the man lifted his hood and revealed a heavily, battle-scarred face. It was the only person Greaves recognize. “I was just talking about you, Ryker.” Ryker stepped down from the animal and chuckled. “Ryker, my man! How are things going? Taking care of the squad since I left?” Greaves held his gun closely. “You mean since you were court marshalled for mass murder?” Ryker patted the beast’s side. “It was either them or an entire planet. No excuses there, Greaves. Do you remember any of your military training?” Greaves lowered his rifle, but kept it drawn, not taking any chances. “What the hell were you doing, stalking on me like that? We’re in the middle of a WAR here!” Ryker chuckled. “Now don’t be so hasty, Greaves. This is a dangerous place, you’re not safe here, all on your own. You’re going to need help.” Greaves scoffed. “I’m a lone wolf. I don’t need help from people like you….” Ryker smiled. “Oh, but you do.” Just then, one of the soldiers pointed out as four crab walkers dropped down from the cliffs, weapons charged and ready. Greaves got out his rifle. “Never thought I’d form an alliance with THIS guy, again…” Greaves mumbled to himself. “But what the hell? Let’s get this over with!”

  • Leonardo Faria

    Second posting.
    Apologies for my possible spamming: Disqus keeps not displaying my comments.

    Temporal lens is so off the mark as teleportation so I’ll borrow from Star Trek.
    Sergeant Greaves is the commander of a special reconnaissance team of the Federation marines. She (we’ll come to that “she”) and her team have infiltrated a territory of X (pick a name from the planet name generator) in a mission aimed at gathering info about suspicious activities by the Y (pick a name from the alien name generator), an alien species formally joining the federation but with a reputation of shaky allegiance to treaties.
    The man riding the sand-lamel is nothing less than Jared Ximoa, a former lieutenant trainer that Sergeant Greaves knew when was a rookie in the special force unit she is now… Oh yes, SHE… Sergeant Greaves is a woman and quite an attractive one… and during the training program Jared Ximoa took some liberties with her, and when, run out of patience, she was about the report his sexual harassment on her and other comrades he tried to frame her planting drugs in her locker. She was lucky, a disciplinary commission believed her and the lieutenant escaped before arrest.
    As a commander now she has access to classified information and one day she came upon an Intelligence report describing Jared Ximoa’s second life like that of a renegade and a mercenary.
    Time for Sergeant Greaves to settle the score… and yet, she’s a commander in a very difficult mission, possibly rife of serious consequences… could personal motives get in the way of her responsibilities as an operative of the Federation?

  • Jawad Hodgson


    • Kinda. A bit. But not properly. I don’t really have time to run the site anymore, but I’ve got a few of these starting points to use up and may even write some more if I get chance

      • Jawad Hodgson

        Alright. Is it still okay if I send my alien profile to you on email, or are you no longer available to post ideas sent to you by members onto this site?

        • Sorry Jawad, I just don’t have time to handle submissions right now

          • Jawad Hodgson

            That’s a shame, but alright then. I’ll be waiting patiently for when submissions are allowed then. Anyway, just out of curiosity, what are you currently doing as a job/work?

            • I bought a business. I’m a potato merchant now. My dad sold the family farm and I used some of the money to buy my boss out. I’d love to devote my time to sci-fi writing but unfortunately life got in the way. My dream was always to be a sci-fi writer, but now I have an opportunity to make a good living in this way. Hopefully I’ll return to sci-fi in a few years when I’ve got some financial security

            • Leonardo Faria

              Best of luck Mark. I hope this site will keep working, if at a slower pace.
              I loved Scifi Ideas because it afforded a chance to talk with other people about scifi themes outside the fandom track (e.g “Is the Millennium Falcon faster than the USS Enterprise? And why?”), which I respect but I could never bring myself to take an interest in. And basically all scifi web communities I’ve come across where fandom domains (“How cute is Scarlett Johansson as a short haired brunette in Ghost in the Shell?”).
              I suppose people with a mind like that of Henry Ford, Thomas Alva Edison or Elon Musk could devote themselves to the potato trade and make it the most interesting thing in the word (possibly more interesting than spending hours and hours every day typing scifi stories on a laptop).

            • Jawad Hodgson

              Alright then. Best of luck.

  • Alexander Ranvir

    ‘His old pupil. Eli Sedaris. Raised from birth to be the greatest weapon in the Federation’s forces. Sadly, however, the loyalty chip implanted inside his embryo had bonded with Greaves, who at that time was a woefully inexperienced Private.
    Naturally, the training Greaves then had to give the young boy was horrifically inefficient and although the young lad had grown to be a skilled soldier alongside Greaves, it was mostly due to Sedaris seeking strength from other sources. One such source being the well known rebel leader Levi Dubinsky. The loyalty chip was destroyed and Greaves barely survived the surprise rebel attack. made possible thanks to Sedaris. It was now four years later and Sedaris had finally been tracked to this barren world. Greaves had volunteered to lead the mission and now, he had a score to settle.’

    you guys enjoyed and I am really glad to see this site is back in action! 🙂 any ideas where I could post something myself from the book I’m writing? 🙂

    • Leonardo Faria

      If by “where” you mean out of this website you might like to have a look at Wattpad, basically a huge web community for writers that allows fiction sharing. As far as I know scifi is brisk on Wattpad.

      • Alexander Ranvir

        cheers for the suggestion and I’ll definitely check it out but I was wondering how I could get it on here since I’d love to hear what people think about it so that I could improve 🙂 maybe I missed a post saying what I have to do?

        Edit: so… it seems as though submissions are closed at the moment…