Word count is doubled.


What others said in reviews ...

"I think I love it already." Rootlessdream, 2008-12-07

"Lol Max bit Fang." Eighthnote, 2008-12-07

"Well, the one thing I love about this story is the craziness!" Kris{(^.^{), 2009-03-22


November 29, 2010
This contains two versions of Chapter One: a present tense re-write, followed by the original past tense version.
Chapter One is the only present tense chapter posted to date.


WRITING LESSONS LEARNED

Check out the differences between past and present tense versions.

Past tense allows for a more literary tone.

In present tense, I want to describe everything, especially character's actions, instead of just telling the reader something.

Ex. 1, Fang was deep in thought was omitted because a reader knows this simply by reading: Fang stares at Iggy with a peculiar expression on his face.

Ex. 2, Fang flew off immediately was replaced: Without any more words, Fang flies off.


COMPLETE CHAPTER ONE AUDIO AVAILABLE NOW.

You can download or stream 3-minute mp3 files at {http:/ yourlisten. com/ user/ public/ ?username= Dee%20Zoble} (cut and paste inside the {funky brackets}, and remove the spaces to get the correct web address).

This is my first ever audio recording. I edited the audio, but there are still some weird sounds mixed in like the crunch of my headset's microphone arm when it jiggled during recording.

The audio quality gets better as the tracks progress. The worst audio is track 1. I mixed the music into the track before I learned how to edit the spoken audio.

[Audio track numbers will be shown, centered above the text.]


- 2,330 Words -

[Track 1]

UNHEEDED WARNING: SYNERGY
A Maximum Ride Fan Fiction

by DZMom

Audio recording by Dee Zoble [author's voice acting name]. Royalty free music downloaded from {www. musopen. com} [(cut and paste inside the {funky brackets}, and remove the spaces to get the correct web address]. Sonata 14 in C Sharp Minor Moonlight Op. 27, No. 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven, contributed and performed by Paul Pitman.


[Original] Author Note

It is so much fun to play with Max and the Flock on their days off that I decided to submit my own fan-fic. The characters and concept of the Maximum Ride series belong to its rightful owner, James Patterson. A special nod of thanks to Fang's Blog for pointing me to this site. Many Maximum Ride Fan Fic stories by other authors have inspired, intrigued and captivated me. Thank you for all of your imagination and playfulness.


Chapter 1

No Worries

The Flock stands around drooling as Iggy and Angel unpack a picnic basket. Iggy, a lean and tall boy, is one of the oldest members of the Flock. He holds up sandwiches, one at time, announcing, "Whole wheat bread, white … who used pumpernickel?"

The Flock snarfs down the sandwiches. Smells of peanut butter and strawberry jelly waft through the crisp air. Nudge's stomach grumbles. The rumbling echoes around in her air sacs.

"I'm hungry," she shrugs sheepishly. She is probably eleven or twelve years old, but no one in the Flock knows their ages for sure.

Angel, the youngest, drops a half-eaten sandwich onto the ground. She stands up stiffly. "Where are they coming from?" she asks.

The rest of the Flock stares at her.

Angel scrunches up her cute face. "They think like a commune … led by radio signals."

Iggy is frozen, standing beside the picnic basket. His head tilts to one side, listening. "It's not alive - not like an Eraser. These are tiny living organisms, working together. A computer. Or several computers."

[Track 2]

Angel's voice trembles, "They're creepy. Their only thought is, 'Kill it.'"

So much for a quiet afternoon in the glorious sunshine. Max is the appointed Leader of the Flock. She slides next to Angel and hugs her closely. "Kill what, Ange?"

Angel creases her eyebrows in concentration. "Mostly they will kill something … I don't know what they mean. It sounds like dyoxy and nu-clee and acid."

"DNA," Iggy says. "Deoxyrihbonucleic acid."

Max shoots him a look. "And you know that because?"

"I'm smart," Iggy states.

Max rolls her eyes and looks at Fang. He's the same age as Max and Iggy. Fang stares at Iggy with a peculiar expression on his face.

Turning her attention back to Angel, Max prompts, "Okay, so they want to kill any DNA they find? Everything in their path?"

Angel slowly says, "They know exactly which string of DNA they are looking for. They will only destroy that kind. Other DNA they will ignore. They can read it somehow."

Flippin' fantastic. Max gently turns Angel's chin up. She searches Angel's fearful eyes. Touching a wisp of Angel's blonde locks, she promises, "Don't worry, sweetie. We can handle anything Itex sends our way."

The kids in the Flock are 98% human and 2% avian, thanks to recombinant DNA experiments performed on them as in utero test subjects. They have been on the run, avoiding the whitecoats that had treated them no better than lab rats for most of their lives.

Max straightens and glances at Fang. His face is so damn unreadable. It would really help to have his opinion. Right now!

Max takes a deep breath. "Split up! Iggy, Gazzy and Total. Fang and Nudge. Me and Angel."

The mutant hybrid Total, who looks mostly like a black Scottish terrier, scratches his ear and says, "For once I'm glad Akila was too moody to accompany me on this outing."

"I want to be with Total," Angel whimpers. She was the one who had discovered Total and seized him from an experimental laboratory in New York.

[Track 3]

Max says firmly, "Iggy has the best chance of keeping Total safe with that carrier he snagged from Mom's place."

Angel morphs into a perfect cherub, halo and all. She can change into whatever she wants, if she practices enough. She also is capable of manipulating people's thoughts. Angel's voice softens and she coyly demands, "But Max, Total is coming with us. I know you want Total with us."

Max flashes an angry look at Angel. "No!" Then Max sends a thought to Angel. Never try that again! Not on the Flock. Not even on your brother Gazzy. Do you understand?

Angel frowns and returns to her normal adorable appearance.

Max looks over at Nudge, Gazzy and Fang staring into the sky. Everyone in the Flock, except for Iggy, has hawk-like eyesight. Max just barely detects strange floating clouds approaching from the Southwest.

Iggy senses the movement of the particles, even from such a distance. He muses, "Is that how a virus moves through air?"

"I wondered when they'd loose a bird flu on us," Fang mutters, barely audibly.

Total grumbles, "I rather preferred the torturing and killing. Watching all of you die of the flu will be terribly boring."

"I hate this part," Gazzy peeps. He is Angel's eight-year-old brother, older than Angel by two years.

Fang snaps at Total, "Watch your mouth, dead weight. Whatever it is will have to get through me before it hurts anyone else."

Total lifts up his tiny wings and stretches them out in protest. He really should just leave them tucked in, because he still can't fly with them.

Max casts a sideways glance at Fang, curious about how he plans on protecting everyone. She feels the adrenaline surge of her fight or flight defenses boiling over. "Go! Go! Go!" she shouts. "Report to the eaglet ledge by dawn."

Angel nervously fingers her teddy bear's fur. Max snatches Angel into her arms. Then she goes airborne and uses her unique high-speed flight acceleration. She leaves the Flock behind.

Once in the calming, cold sky, Max slows and turns to look back. The Flock on the ground looks like frozen specks.

[Track 4]

"Get out!" she shouts, knowing that her voice will be picked up by their keen hearing.

Max quiets her voice and gives Angel a tight hug. "Angel, we both gotta fly now."

"Okay, Max," Angel says with complete trust in her voice. When Max lets go, Angel stretches out her snowy wings and flutters below Max.

Fang watches Max disappear into the cottony white clouds. He abruptly looks away and grabs Nudge's light brown arm. "Heading west?" He grins, unfurling his massive, black wings.

Fang lets go of Nudge and leaps into the air. "Nudge …" he urges gently.

Gazzy flicks out his wings and hovers above Iggy's tall height. "To the river?" Gazzy suggests in a quiet, nervous voice.

"To the river," Iggy confirms. He holds out his arms and Total leaps into them. Then Iggy stuffs the dog into a baby carrier while running and leaping into the air. His long wing span elevates him above Gazzy quickly.

Fang flies in a circle above the wide-open plateau. Swooping low to the ground, he warns, "Nudge, we have to leave now!"

Nudge stares at the sky and points. "Look, Fang! It's turning away from us. It's heading for … Max. Or Angel. Poor Angel, I hope she doesn't get hurt. But what would we do without Max? Fang, what would we do?" Nudge tries her best to hold back the horror in her thoughts. Her voice betrays her failed attempt at bravery.

Fang reluctantly turns his gaze away from the menacing cloud chasing Max and Angel. He tells Nudge, "First, let's get the guys to turn back. You'll stay with Gazzy. I'm going to need Iggy to follow me to Max." He cruises toward the boys.

Nudge wipes a stray tear from her cheek. She unfolds her wings and runs after Fang, until she lifts off.

Nudge follows Fang to the squiggles in the sky that are Iggy and Gazzy. As they close the distance, Fang shouts into the wind, "Iggy. Turn back. Now!"

Iggy hears and whips around immediately. Gazzy soon follows.

Fang looks Nudge in her eyes. In a gentle voice he commands her, "Nudge, listen closely. I want you to stay with Gazzy and Total on the plateau. But if anything unusual approaches or you think there's a threat, fly to the river. Hide behind the waterfall if you have to."

Nudge's eyes are wide. "'Kay," she nods. She is unusually silent.

[Track 5]

Iggy approaches. Gazzy flaps his wings frantically, trying to catch up.

Fang tells Iggy, "Total and the Gasman stay with Nudge. You're comin' with me."

Without any more words, Fang flies off. Iggy opens the baby carrier and drops Total into Nudge's arms. "Bye," Nudge manages to say.

Iggy swings back around and assures her, "You'll be safe. We'll be back right away. I promise, Okay?"

"Uh huh," Nudge whispers.

Iggy turns to pursue Fang but hesitates. He swoops over Nudge once more, angling the tip of his wing to gently breeze over Nudge's black, frizzy hair. Then he shoots after the sound of Fang's wings beating the air.

When Fang sees Iggy above him, he shouts, "The organisms turned to follow Max and Angel. We have to reach them first so that we can shield them."

Iggy shouts back, "We can cut a course through the high pressure air current. It's the only way we can beat their time."

"Good plan. You take the lead, Ig. Keep your bearing so that you can find your way back. Without me, if necessary."

Iggy pushes forward with determination. "What about Max?"

"You'll take Angel. I promised Max that I would never leave her."

Iggy frowns and says in an angry, low voice, "Now is not the time for chivalry."

Fang ignores him. "If those organisms are after Angel, it's up to you to protect her. Max and I will join you as soon as I know Max isn't their target."

Iggy pushes forward through the heavy drafts. He grouses, "They're after Max. You'll both be gone, and the rest of us …"

Fang grimaces. "Ig, you're the leader of the Flock now."

Iggy reminds himself to flap his wings. He bends his head down as he resumes his pace and takes back the lead to press across the air current. He has an innate sense of the direction Max was flying in, which is why he, the blind kid, is leading through the current.

They break through the high pressure current and Fang sees Max a mile ahead. In a low, commanding voice he says, "I'm going to send Angel your way. Don't lose her!"

Iggy is startled by Fang's voice. "Yeah," is all he manages to say.

Fang bursts forward on his powerful wings. Iggy hears their wings beating. He lags behind Fang. Not because he can't keep up. He knows he could out fly Fang. He just realizes that it is essential to protect Angel. And the only way Angel will turn away from Max is if she thinks Iggy needs help with navigating.

[Track 6]

Angel glances back and sees Iggy flying alone, aimlessly. "Max, Iggy's here and he's scared because Fang made him leader of the Flock." Angel glides next to Max.

Max looks behind her. Fang flies above her, out of Max's range of sight. She fixes her eyes on the menacing cloud of organisms that steadily approach. "Those organisms … they followed us! Angel, listen to me. You have to go with Iggy, okay sweetheart?"

"Okay, Max." Angel begins to veer away from Max but stops. "Those clouds are getting awful close to Iggy now!"

Max gives Angel a reassuring look. "Honey, Iggy will protect you. Just tell him you're coming – in your mind – and tell him where the clouds are headed."

Angel nods. "I love you, Max," she whispers as she flies away.

"Oh Angel, I love you, too," Max says under her breath, confident that Angel will hear her words.

The clouds of particles don't shift direction when Angel flies to Iggy. Max knows that she alone is their target. "Let's have some fun," Max jeers as she draws the clouds further away from her beloved Angel.

Fang intercepts Angel, grabbing her waist and stopping her in mid-flight. She looks into his fierce eyes. "Go with Iggy and don't come back!" he says firmly. Angel is shocked by the power in his arms as he throws her in a wide arc above the approaching clouds.

"Look out, Iggy!" Angel screams as she is propelled in the air toward him, unable to manage slowing down with her wings. Max turns toward the sound of Angel's shout. A brief flash of black covers her vision. She doesn't see Angel at all. Straining her neck to search for Angel, she feels her wings retract involuntarily. Steely hands pin her arms against her body.

Max waits for her body to plummet to the mountains below. Instead, she is whisked along by a silent predator. She struggles against the vice grip. "Not going to another School," she spits. "And not going to die a fourteen-year-old, either." She curls her head forward and sees wiry arms holding her. With a feral grunt she clamps her teeth on the flesh of her attacker.

Whatever it is, her attacker doesn't flinch. It seems to Max that it doesn't even recognize pain. Not another Gozen.

Max looks up and sees the tops of trees zooming toward her face. She tries to free her arms and kick with her legs. Her effort has no result. She feels powerless, for once. "If there is a God …" she whispers.

A soft laugh breezes past her ear. There is something familiar about that laugh that makes her even more terrified. Her muscles begin to lock down. She curls into fetal position. She doesn't want to play dead, but her body takes over.

[End of audio recordings]

- - End Chapter One - -


- 2,180 words -

Original Chapter One - late December 2008 edits applied
(with minor corrections *blush*)
- true original version has been lost - - if you have a copy, contact me so I can post it -

The six bird-kids in the Flock stood around drooling as Iggy and Angel were unpacking a picnic basket. Iggy was one of the three oldest members of the flock. He held up sandwiches one at at time, announcing, "Whole wheat bread, white … who used pumpernickel?"

The kids in the Flock were 98% human and 2% avian, thanks to recombinant DNA experiments performed on them as in utero test subjects. They were on the run, avoiding the whitecoats that had treated them no better than lab rats for most of their lives.

As the Flock started snarfing down sandwiches, the smell of peanut butter and strawberry jelly wafted through the air. Nudge's stomach grumbled and the sounds echoed around in her air sacs. "I'm hungry." She shrugged sheepishly. She was just three years younger than the oldest teens.

Angel, the youngest, dropped her half-eaten sandwich onto the ground. She stood up stiffly. "Where are they coming from?" she asked. "They think like a commune led by radio signals."

Iggy stood frozen. His head titled to the side as he listened. "It's not alive, not like an Eraser. These are like tiny living organisms, working together like a computer. Several computers."

Angel's voice trembled, "They're creepy. Their only thought is, 'Kill it.'"

So much for a quiet afternoon in the glorious sunshine. Max was the appointed Leader of the Flock, the same age as Iggy. She slid next to Angel and hugged her closely. "Kill what, Ange?"

Angel creased her eyebrows in concentration. "Mostly they will kill something … I don't know what they mean. It sounds like dyoxy and nu-clee and acid."

"DNA," Iggy said. "Deoxyribonucleic acid."

Max shot him a look. "And you know that because?"

"I'm smart," Iggy stated.

Max looked at Fang, the third teen who shared Max and Iggy's age. He was deep in thought, staring at Iggy with a peculiar expression on his face.

Turning her attention back to Angel, Max prompted, "Okay, so they want to kill any DNA they find? Everything in their path?"

Angel slowly said, "They know exactly which string of DNA they are looking for. They will only destroy that kind. Other DNA they will ignore. They can read it somehow."

Flippin' fantastic. Max gently turned Angel's chin to her face. She searched Angel's fearful eyes. Touching a wisp of Angel's blonde locks, she promised, "Don't worry, sweetie. We can handle anything Itex sends our way."

Max straightened and glanced at Fang's now impassive face. His face is so damn unreadable. It would really help to have his opinion. Right now!

Max took a deep breath. "Split up! Iggy, Gazzy and Total. Fang and Nudge. Me and Angel."

The mutant hybrid Total, who looked mostly like a black Scottish terrier, scratched his ear and said, "For once I'm glad Akila was too moody to accompany me on this outing."

"I want to be with Total," Angel whimpered. She was the one who had discovered Total and seized him from an experimental laboratory.

Max said firmly, "Iggy has the best chance of keeping Total safe with that carrier he snagged from Mom's place."

Angel morphed into a perfect cherub, halo and all. She could change into whatever she wanted, if she practiced enough. She also was capable of manipulating people's thoughts. Angel's voice softened and she coyly demanded, "But Max, Total is coming with us. I know you want Total with us."

Max flashed an angry look at Angel. "No!" Then Max sent a thought to Angel. Never try that again! Not on the Flock. Not even on your brother Gazzy. Do you understand?

Angel frowned and returned to her normal adorable appearance.

Max saw Nudge, Gazzy and Fang staring into the sky. All of them except for Iggy had hawk-like eyesight. Max just barely detected strange floating clouds approaching from the south-west.

Iggy sensed the movement of the particles, even from such a distance. He mused, "Is that how a virus moves through air?"

"I wondered when they'd loose a bird flu on us," Fang muttered, barely audibly.

Total grumbled, "I rather preferred the torturing and killing. Watching all of you die of the flu will be terribly boring."

"I hate this part," Gazzy peeped. He was only two years older than Angel.

Fang snapped at Total, "Watch your mouth, dead weight. Whatever it is will have to get through me before it hurts anyone else."

Total lifted up his tiny wings and stretched them out in protest. He really should have left them tucked in, because he still couldn't fly with them.

Max cast a side glance at Fang, curious about how he planned on protecting everyone. Then she felt the adrenaline surge of her fight or flight defenses boiling over. "Go! Go! Go!" she shouted. "Report to the eaglet ledge by dawn."

Angel was nervously fingering her teddy bear Celeste's fur. Max snatched Angel into her arms. Then she went air born and used her unique high-speed flight skill to accelerate. She left the Flock behind as tiny specks.

Once in the calming, cold sky, Max slowed and turned to look back. The Flock on the ground seemed like frozen specks. "Get out!" she shouted, knowing that her voice would be picked up by their keen hearing.

Max quieted her voice and gave Angel a tight hug. "Angel, we both gotta fly now."

"Okay, Max," Angel said with complete trust in her voice. When Max let go, Angel stretched out her snowy wings and fluttered below Max.

#####

Fang watched Max disappear into the clouds. He abruptly looked away and grabbed Nudge's light brown arm. "Heading west?" He grinned, unfurling his massive, dark wings.

Fang let go of Nudge and leapt into the air. "Nudge …" he said gently.

Gazzy flicked out his wings and hovered high above Iggy's tall height. "To the river?" Gazzy suggested in a quiet, nervous voice.

"To the river," Iggy confirmed. He held out his arms and Total leapt into them. Then Iggy stuffed the dog into a baby carrier while running and leaping into the air. His long wing span elevated him above Gazzy quickly.

Fang flew in a circle above the wide-open plateau. Swooping low to the ground, he warned, "Nudge, we have to leave now!"

Nudge stared at the sky and pointed. "Look, Fang! It's turning away from us. It's heading for … Max. Or Angel. Poor Angel, I hope she doesn't get hurt. But what would we do without Max? Fang, what would we do?" Nudge was trying her best to hold back the horror in her thoughts. Her voice betrayed her failed attempt at bravery.

Fang told Nudge, "First, let's get the guys to turn back. You'll stay with Gazzy. I'm going to need Iggy to follow me to Max."

Nudge wiped a stray tear from her cheek. She unfolded her wings and ran after Fang, until she lifted off.

Nudge followed Fang to the specks in the sky that were Iggy and Gazzy. As they began to close the distance, Fang shouted into the wind, "Iggy. Turn back. Now!"

Iggy heard and whipped around immediately. Gazzy soon followed.

Fang looked at Nudge in the eyes. In a gentle voice he commanded her, "Nudge, listen closely. I want you to stay with Gazzy and Total on the plateau. But if anything unusual approaches or you think there's a threat, fly to the river. Hide behind the waterfall if you have to."

Nudge's eyes were wide. "'Kay," she nodded. She was unusually silent.

Iggy approached, beating his wings powerfully. Within a minute he was already much closer to Fang and Nudge than Gazzy. Fang told him, "Total and the Gasman stay with Nudge. You're comin' with me."

Fang flew off immediately. Iggy dropped Total into Nudge's arms.

"Bye," Nudge managed to say as Iggy's wings beat the air in powerful strokes.

Iggy swung back around and assured her, "You'll be safe. We'll be back right away. I promise, Okay?"

"Uh huh," Nudge whispered.

Iggy hesitated. Swooping over Nudge once more, he angled the tip of his wing to gently breeze over Nudge's black, frizzy hair. Then he shot after the sound of Fang's wings beating the air.

When Fang saw Iggy flying above him, he explained, "The organisms turned to follow Max and Angel. We are going to reach them first so that we can shield them."

Iggy shouted back, "We can cut a course through the high pressure air current. It's the only way we can make it there first."

"Good plan. You take the lead, Ig. Keep your bearing so that you can find your way back. Without me, if necessary."

Iggy pushed forward with determination. "What about Max?"

"You'll take Angel. I promised Max that I would never leave her."

Iggy frowned and said in an angry, low voice, "Now is not the time for chivalry."

Fang ignored him and replied, "If those organisms are after Angel, it's up to you to protect her. Max and I will join you as soon as I know Max isn't their target."

Iggy pushed forward through the heavy drafts. He groused, "They're after Max. You'll both be gone, and the rest of us …"

Fang grimaced. "Ig, you're the leader of the Flock now."

Iggy had to remind himself to flap his wings. He bent his head down as he resumed his pace and took back the lead to press across the air current. He had an innate sense of the direction Max was flying in, which is why he was leading through the current.

They broke through the high pressure current and Fang saw Max a mile ahead. In a low, commanding voice he said, "I'm going to send Angel your way. Don't lose her!"

Iggy was startled by Fang's voice. "Yeah," was all he managed to say.

Fang shot ahead on his powerful wings. Iggy heard Fang's wings beating the wind. He followed a bit slower than Fang. Not because he couldn't keep up. He knew he could out fly Fang. He just realized that it was essential to protect Angel. And the only way Angel would turn away from Max was if she thought Iggy needed help with navigating.

#####

Angel glanced back and saw Iggy flying alone, aimlessly. "Max, Iggy's here and he's scared because Fang made him leader of the Flock." Angel glided next to Max.

Max looked behind them. At the same moment, Fang flew in a wide arc above them, out of Max's range of sight. She fixed her eyes on the menacing cloud of organisms that were steadily approaching her. "Those organisms … they followed us! Angel, listen to me. You have to go with Iggy, okay sweetheart?"

"Okay, Max." Angel began to veer away from Max. Then her voice trembled as she told Max, "Those clouds are getting awful close to Iggy now!"

Max gave Angel a reassuring look. "Honey, Iggy will protect you from the organisms. Just tell him you're coming – in your mind – and tell him where the clouds are headed."

"I love you, Max," Angel whispered as she flew away.

"Oh Angel, I love you, too," Max said under her breath, confident that Angel would hear her words.

When Angel flew toward Iggy, the clouds of tiny particles didn't shift in her direction. Max knew that she alone was their target. "Let's have some fun," Max jeered as she flew away, drawing the clouds further away from her beloved Angel.

Fang intercepted Angel. "Go with Iggy and don't come back!" he said firmly. Angel saw his fierce eyes just before Fang used his powerful arms to throw Angel in a wide arc above the approaching clouds.

"Look out, Iggy!" Angel screamed as she was propelled in the air toward him. Max turned to see what happened to Angel. She saw a brief flash of black in her eyes. Suddenly her wings retracted involuntarily and steely hands pinned her arms against her body.

Max waited for her body to plummet to the mountains below. Instead, she was whisked along by this silent predator. She struggled against the vice grip. "Not going to another School," she spit. Finally she curled her head forward and saw the wiry arms of her attacker. With a feral grunt she clamped her teeth on the flesh.

Whatever it was didn't flinch. It didn't even recognize pain.

Max looked up in time to see herself being flown headfirst into the tops of trees. She tried to free her arms and kick with her legs, but felt powerless, for once. "If there is a God …" she whispered.

A soft laugh breezed past her ear. There was something familiar about that laugh that made her even more terrified. Her muscles began to lock down as she curled up into a fetal position. She didn't want to play dead, but her body took over.


© 2008-2010 Delia Noble Zhang