Surface – An Original Novel

Book cover with name

Tuesday, September 13th 2022.

It was the day the city of Johannesburg descended into chaos.

Reports of a virus had surfaced—a virus that had apparently come from nowhere and was now spreading like wildfire through the neglected and dirt poor townships of Southern Africa. At first, these reports were nothing but banners on the evening news— lines of scrolling text barely noticeable against the garish colors of the news room or blurred lines running beneath the visage of the heavily made up lady reporter as she stared through the camera lens and read meaningless news reports.

It was not until the virus made an untimely appearance in one of the wealthier suburbs that people started to pay attention. Two young girls contracted the new sickness, putting schools into lockdown and citizens into a paranoid suspicion of anyone that so much as coughed.

A week later, the looting started. People fought each other like rabid dogs for the last few remnants of canned goods and bottled water. Riots blazed through the streets, causing smoke, death and destruction. Laws and common decency were ignored in place of every man, woman and child for themselves. Anarchy reigned. A man’s home became his fortress, and if they were unlucky, their graves.

News of the virus were eventually taken seriously by the world at large, the powers that be, and borders and shipping yards were closed. Skies were classed as no-fly zones. Around the world, curfews were enforced. Martial law became the only law. Reports of the disease spreading in Cairo, Somalia and Dubai came to light. Then it was the United Kingdom’s turn to suffer, followed by , China and South America.

The world was in chaos.

Two and a half months later the planet was a dark, lifeless place, inhabited only by those select few who were immune to the disease— and the ever- lasting cockroaches that scuttled among the dead and the barely living.

According to news reports, the virus was attributed to the operations of one organization. CURE. A large military medical facility that had risen to power in 2011. Its leaders had boasted to the world about a new vaccine being developed in the early twenty first century. simply named: Genesis. It was supposed to be a miracle cure for malaria; a vaccine deemed impossible by the scientific community.

It was not until the vaccine was first administered that the symptoms of the virus started to appear. The unfortunate recipients were suddenly struck down with violent coughing fits, vomiting, loss of sight and sudden acts of aggression. Not only did it affect them, but everyone in the vicinity. Like the Bubonic Plague, the disease ran rampant through cities and towns. No one, not even CURE’s esteemed scientists, made the connection between the new virus and the new vaccine, until it was too late. By then, half the world’s population had either died or gone completely insane.

As in every catastrophe, there are always survivors. Those lucky enough to be immune to the effects of the virus. Those lone survivors, desperate to get away from the violence and the stench of death, found their weary way into a new safe haven, a place they would be welcomed providing they met the stringent tests of being allowed entry.

This place was called Catacomb.

It was located deep within South Africa’s largest gold mine. Its tunnels stretched for miles extending through the slums of Soweto and meandered under what used to be the busy streets of Johannesburg, now nothing more than funeral pyres and habitation for rats.

Life on the surface was traded for a safer, if more controlled life underground. The world above was now dead and harsh, overrun by the stench of death and destruction.

Catacomb was now home, and, people feared, would remain so, for now, and for always.

Click here for more and tell me what you think.

N7 COSPLAY BUILD – GAUNTLETS

Mass Effect N7 Armour build – Gauntlets

I have finally done it. I have finally finished…one piece of my armour. Raise your hands and shout hallelujah!
I didn’t screw it up…well that’s a lie, I screwed up a little, but still, I actually managed to make something, look like the something it’s supposed to look like. Whoop Whoop!

‘Clears throat. Composes self’

Right…

Celebrations out of the way, I want to show the gauntlets I made for my N7 armour. Which, in my opinion, were the easiest thing to make and paint. Below are some pictures of the gauntlets all shiny and new, painted with red and white acrylic paint.

Unfortunately in my haste to finish my gauntlets, I neglected to take pictures before I painted them, but just imagine them grey and…foamy.

ArmsThe process of painting is a long laborious one, but it pays off in the end as the foam looks shiny and holds a metallic tint, without you spending money on a metallizer.

Firstly, cover the foam in two coats of PVA and water, waiting for them to completely dry before painting over them. Add a thin sheen of Plasti-dip and wait another four hours for the foam to completely dry.

Next, spray paint the entire piece with a silver spray paint, (I just use fast dry project enamel.)

Lastly, spray paint over the silver, whatever colour you want your armour to be, the silver undercoating leaves a metallic shine under the second layer and even aids to adding battle damage such as scuffs and weathering.

Here are my finished gauntlets with battle damage. To make the cracks, simply cut the foam with a crafting knife then heat the area

Arms damagedwith a heat gun, the foam will expand from the head and open up, leaving a gash in the foam. Simply paint the inside of the cracks silver, rub in the paint with your finger and leave to dry.

If you wish to create scuffs, get a bit of masking tape, stick it on to the place you want to create a scuff and rip it off. The masking tape will rip away the second layer slightly, leaving specks of silver underneath.

This is only one way of creating scuffs and battle marks.

N7 BUILD – Greaves

Building the Greaves – First try (Still need to be painted) 

Boots2

I spent most of the day yesterday building the greaves for my N7 armour and I have to say, I am pretty happy with how it turned out. The picture on the left is the unpainted base for the N7 greaves, made with a Nike shoe spray painted black, and a shin pad.

I did not use any templates for the foam, so I was expecting the greaves to be a disaster, but I am pretty happy with them. The next stage is to paint them red and add battle damage. Boots 1

The engraved lines were created by cutting the foam with a very sharp knife, then heating the foam so it expands.

This is what they look like when I put them on. As you can see they still need to be painted and the laces need to be changed. When it comes to finishing them, I shall be painting them red and black. Attempting to add battle damage and weathering.

Wish me luck!

N7 Armour build update!

Building the weapon

Having to put the armour build on hold until I get paid, I have decided to build a weapon to go with my armour. I did not have enough foam to build a weapon, so I decided I would create my own shotgun with a Mass Effect look and feel using a water-gun!

I started out thinking it was going to be a disaster, but it actually turned out looking pretty good. (I think)

I used the M-300 Claymore as a template for my own weapon build, then tried to find a water-gun that looked similar in shape to the weapon shown below.

This is the M-300 CLAYMORE

This is the M-300 CLAYMORE

I then painted the water gun with black, silver, red and white, creating my own spin on the M300 Claymore, painting the distinctive N7 stripe down the side.

Below are pictures of the gun before it was painted and after it was painted. Hope you like it!

Water gun before

After

Day 2 – N7 Armour build!

Sorry for the massive delay, I have been super busy!

Anyway, the armour build is going well, much better then I expected. You can see the progress below, along with some descriptions and pointers of how to make your own. As I said in my previous post, I am using EVA foam for this armour build.So far, I have not had any problems with it. It’s easy to cut, east to shape and holds a good, sturdy shape when the foam cools.

Chest

Chest

What you see here is the chest piece. I know it looks a little wonky, but when it’s wrapped around my torso, it looks pretty good, I must say that I am pretty proud of it. The bottom piece is just a template for the lower torso. As you can see, I have not added the detail yet.

To make the chest piece, I used a thick bit of wood and two circular sauce dishes. (See below.) I glued the dishes to the plank of wood. (Which was originally a door to…something ) and put paper-mache over the top to make the flat bottoms of the the dishes more rounded.

Sauce dishes for boobs!

Sauce dishes for boobs!

I then took my flat chest template, and heated it under the grill until it was soft enough to mould.

WARNING: Wear gloves and a face mask, the smoke  the EVA foam gives off is toxic. Make sure you ventilate your workspace. Do not let the foam burn.

After the EVA foam is soft, it will become floppy. Mould the foam to the breast template as quickly as possible, making sure to press down hard on the bits you wish to mould. Weight the foam down, or have a friend help you. If you don’t do it the first time, repeat the process, but flatten out the foam first before giving it a second try.

This took me six tries.

Chest piece on its own

Chest piece on its own

Twinkle toes and I attempt an armour build!

Firstly, let me make one thing clear…I have no idea what I am doing. In fact, when I first attempted to build my N7 armour, it ended up looking like a hat a member of the royal family would wear…I was trying to make an arm guard.

So when my best friend flew in, in a flurry of flamboyant excellency, offering to help me build the armour like my very own fairy god mother, I was more than happy to let him help me.

Me and my fairy god mother

Me and my fairy god mother

This project could go one of two ways. Either, we build some amazing N7 armour, I become the prettiest gal at the fair and live happily ever after as long as I shall live…

Or…we do a a terrible build on the armour and are forced to cross the border to live out our lives as fugitives in Mexico!

Either way…it should still be fun. 🙂

I will keep this page updated as often as I can with the build. So wish me luck! Because I am going to need it!