Here's a first draft snipped from my in progress sci-fi novella, To Win a War, which will be available on the nook in the near future:
The prisoner of war camp was not remarkable. Except for the energy fence and the Khig manning the widely spaced guard towers, it could have been any of the human run camps for Khig prisoners that he had chanced to see over the years. Somebody had flown in to this dry mesa, scratched some lines in the dirt, dumped out a load of lumber in front of a gang of POWs, and said “This is a street. Build your huts there.”
When he could find no valid excuse to stay seated longer, he sighed and rose, feeling the persistent, sharp ache in his knees and hips that had begun to develop, anti-aging treatments notwithstanding, in the last half decade. A fifty meter open lane paralleled the perimeter fence. As old char testified, the Khig evidently kept it clear by the simple expedient of burning down offending constructions. He ambled toward an opening in the irregular wall of huts that he took to be a barracks street. At the head of the street, a large sign decorated the end of a hut:
ALL NEW INTERNEES CHECK IN HERE.
Originally, the sign had been shop work, stenciled letters on a plastic panel. Over the years, cracks had been caulked and touch up paint of different colors used to refurbish it, but, like the building it advertised and just about everything else lately, it had been allowed to weather and decay unmolested for some time. Now, it was barely readable.
As he climbed the steps to the entrance, Jonnan admired the hand-crafted wood door. He did not recognize the grain; it was probably a native species. The carpenter had lavished exacting detail on the six-panel creation, carving a separate bas-relief battle scene on each section. Not unusually, the wood had not been varnished or sealed and thus had already washed out to a roughed gray, but to Jonnan’s eyes at least, it was a masterpiece.
He stopped before he stepped inside to check his insignia; he certainly wanted to make claim to any benefits that rank might provide in this camp. Any notions of false noblesse oblige that he might once have fostered had been washed out of him by twenty years of bad rations and shoddy supplies.
His right epaulet still boasted the three gold concentric circles with the pip of red in the center, but his left shoulder was missing both the insignia and the epaulet. He must have lost it in the battle before his capture. But, now that he thought about it, he could not remember when he had seen it last. Maybe he had lost it to that near-miss shell fragment a year ago on that warm planet Asshi? Or had that been on Paenl IV? He just did not remember, but it did not matter -- the one was proof enough.
As he opened the door, a wave of warm air puffed out, flushing the skin of his face. He had not realized that this area of this planet, whatever it was called, was in its cold season. He was more or less inured to the cold; aside from the brief journey in the Khig prisoner ship, he had not slept inside in more than two years.
“SHUT THE BLASTED DOOR!”