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Jeko
March 20th, 2012, 05:50 PM
They thrust him into a bright and pristine office that smelt of orange and disinfectant. Nathan stumbled – almost fell – as the doors shut behind him with a bang like a giant’s roar. He steadied himself and scanned the room; it had calm chrome walls and a shiny silver floor, with a large circular window at the other end that looked out into the smoggy sky. Beneath the window, sitting at a barren desk robed in a spray of shining sunlight, was a tall and venomous man.

His hair was black and cropped like a perfectionist, a stormy cloud above his pale face with eyes and lips of a vile prudence. There was not a spot or blemish, no scars or shards of flaking skin scattered on his face; just that youthful complexion that was so striking and strange. He looked like the dealers Nathan’s men did business with, except for his choice of clothing – a spotless suit that kept with his style and trousers to match, with shoes shining like a mirrored void – and his long, audacious staff that he held in both hands, fingering it, as Nathan stood there and met his cold, demonic gaze. Then he stood up, took a sip from his crystal cup, and the desk folded into the floor.

‘Nathan Danes, ex-Force and expecting to just walk away from it all.’ He said, striding across the room, the gold tip of his staff tapping on the floor. ‘You are a bold one.’

‘Who are you?’ Nathan asked bluntly.

‘Can you read?’ he replied with a gesture to the window.

Nathan stepped towards the window like it was a portal into another world. The sun had disappeared behind a cluster of clouds, leaving a thick dusk over the New Chicago metropolis. He stared bleakly down onto the neon-drenched cityscape that sprawled beneath the highest window of the tallest ‘scraper in all of Emerica. It was filled with the usual throngs, flowing down the skystreets from one place to the next, each with their own mindless media-suffocated life to live as if the world was their oyster and they were its pearl – as if they were Gods – but without any real satisfaction. That had all dried up long ago.

But what were his eyes supposed to find that his heart hadn’t already certified? Suddenly, it all changed; up high on one of the scrapers – no, all of them – was that man’s face, illuminated in burning crimson and lapis lazuli lights; every one of them stared at Nathan like they were watching him – like they had always been watching him – and beneath each image of the same flawless figure was a name embossed with a shine like the stars.

‘You’re Taylor Ward.’ Nathan stated. ‘Of WardCorp.’

Taylor Ward nodded.

‘I thought WardCorp was a silent op.’ Nathan said.

‘It was, until we were brought by the pols and lassoed into the bigger picture.’

‘So you have been busy lately.’ Nathan noted boldly.

‘Yes. We are now a militant operation for civilian control, with connections to the Force and all its Sections, the Superior Morality Bureau, and of course, all our newly established units.’ He downed the rest of his drink.

‘New units?’ Nathan said.

Taylor coughed – he obviously wasn’t drinking water – and said, ‘You must have seen them, Nathan. After all,’ the door threw itself open as he paused, ‘they were the ones that brought you down.’

Then, in strode two of those dreaded mechanicals with stainless red armour. Nathan had hoped he’d never see them again; their faceless stares gave him a cold, dead feeling inside – that and the way their weapons were pointed towards his forehead.

‘Easy, my beauties.’ Taylor said sincerely. ‘Leave us.’

They left with heavy footsteps that resounded on the metallic floor. The door shut again, no softer than before.

‘Where did you get them?’ Nathan asked strongly.

‘That is none of your concern.’ Taylor sharply stated. ‘What should be is why you are here.’

‘Okay. Why am I here?’

Taylor summoned the desk again. It reconstructed itself quickly and spat out a few sheets of datapaper. Sitting down, Taylor swept up the sheets and began to scan them methodically, brushing each with his hand to make little 3-D holograms pop up here and there.

Nathan was getting impatient. ‘I killed a man. I know.’

‘And not for the first time, it seems. And as usual, it wasn’t any old ‘man’. Nor was it without being where you shouldn’t have been.’ A few icons appeared on the desk. Taylor rearranged them as more popped up, and then he tapped a few. Documents popped up on his display. ‘Three dead in South Mettersfield raid. Suspect unknown.’ He read from one of the documents. Several more appeared in its place. ‘Double homicide in WardCorp warehouse. WardCorp database hacked – analyst killed in proceedings.

Six disappearances in the Niterun WardCorp sector. Must I continue, Mr Danes?’

‘I am not alone.’ Nathan deadpanned.

‘I know that. What I do not know is what you are after. For three years you and your friends – and I know who they are too – you and your friends have been plaguing my business with your regular infiltration and disruption of our operations. Three years! The Force are still without any justice, but they would never look among their own ranks.’

‘Are you going to turn me over, Mr Ward?’

‘You know that you are a dead man the second you leave this building. The Penetrators want your head on one of their pikes. The SMB has a murder file on you the size of a skystreet. You’ve even pissed off the residents of 249 street with your little episode earlier. The world wants you gone, Nathan. You haven’t got a snowball’s chance in hell.’

‘What about Kata?’

‘She’ll do time for infringement of territorial law, like the rest of your friends. That is, apart from your illustrious leader. I would like a private word with him. Lucky they didn’t kill anyone, isn’t it?’

‘I don’t kill because I want to, Mr Ward. Sometimes I have to.’

Taylor rose from his seat. ‘Those are good words. Words of an honest man. Let me show you something.’

The desk folded again, taking Taylor’s empty cup with it for secure storage. Taylor Ward snapped a remote control off a panel in the wall and pressed a few buttons almost mechanically while facing the left wall of his office. The wall split into plates and panels which flipped to reveal a vast array of ornate weaponry.

‘I am no stranger to battle myself. I know what it is like to face your foes. The law doesn’t see it that way, of course – those SMB morons with their lemon tea and cosy blankets, all too comfortable to respect the truth of what it is to be a soldier.’

‘These don’t look...’

‘Human?’ No, they’re more special than that. This is my favourite.’ He returned his staff to the display and then plucked a long, silver sword from an adjacent panel, clasping it firmly in one hand while brushing the flat with the other.

Then it caught fire. Nathan was unperturbed.

‘Ancient.’ Nathan muttered.

‘So you’re part of that 0.001% that still wants to be out there, eh?’

‘No. Just did my homework, that’s all.’

Taylor Ward put the sword back on the wall. It extinguished with a hum and a hiss. Then Taylor took his staff again and walked over to the window, staring out like Nathan had before.

‘They all think they have it all. Life in its greatest luxury. Unemployment’s gone, disease is dying... it’s all so perfect. Bet you if they saw a flaming sword, they’d want one. Nathan, put down my gun.’

Nathan hadn’t been able to stop himself. He’d seen the onyx and ruby revolver waiting within his reach, fully loaded, and had snatched it silently before pointing it at Taylor and priming it with a click.

‘I could just kill you now.’ Nathan said, slightly trembling but still maintaining the military precision he still had in his soul. Taylor didn’t turn. ‘What does it matter? I’m a dead man anyway, right? I might as well go out in flames.’

‘So what are you waiting for?’

Nathan fired. He pulled the surprisingly stiff trigger, sending a bullet straight into Taylor’s skull. It bounced off like it was made of plastic. Then a hand met Nathan’s arm, and it was Taylor’s; he was behind him. Nathan’s eyes met his as Taylor tore the gun from his hand. But how - Nathan looked back at the window, and there was no-one there.

‘How-‘ Nathan started, breathless, as Taylor Ward holstered his gun and began to advance, forcing Nathan back until he was pressed against the window. Taylor nearly stepped on the bullet on the floor, but instead swept it away with his shoe. It hit the wall with a click.

‘There are a lot of things you do not know, Nathan. Pray that you don’t find them out.’ Taylor kept his stare steady. He didn’t blink at all; like a cold, stone statue he bore his gaze deep into Nathan until it was burning him inside. ‘I hope you enjoy going out in flames.’

Then he raised a hand, and Nathan was blasted out of the window by a blazing inferno of unnatural force. He fell like a meteor, and there were shouts and screams as he plummeted, and then he was dead on the street with his clothes still burning like a bonfire.

__________________________________________________ ____________________________________________

That's the whole section. What do you think of him?

Now that it's all up, it's way more than 208 words...

Edits:

1) Added a mention of him sitting, and a mention of the desk, before describing him.
2) Changed pugnacious prudence to vile prudence - I don't see him as a guy who's going to pick fights anymore...
3) Added the next part, up to the mechanicals leaving.
4) added the rest of the section

Outiboros
March 20th, 2012, 07:31 PM
Are there giants in this story? Does he know what they sound like?

Wait, do giants sound like bang?

I was kinda surprised when he stood up, as I didn't know he was sitting. Also, I'd remove 'demonic' and 'venomous' and let us figure out how bad he is otherwise.

I like the perfectionism part a lot.

Cefor
March 21st, 2012, 12:14 AM
I agree, I had no idea that the guy was sitting down... so the 'he stood up' part really threw me.

Nah, don't remove 'demonic' and 'venomous', just make sure that we eventually learn that that is how the narrator, I assume Nathan, sees him. I prefer villains that aren't necessarily evil through and through. Throw in some grey areas, it makes them more realistic, which is always great - cause it makes their villainous deeds all the more horrifying.

I love how the desk folds into the floor. That just screams "AWESOME" at me.

abuistrago
March 21st, 2012, 03:55 AM
I agree with Outiboros... But the thing is, does Nathan (and the reader) know who this person is?? If he does, ok, venomous and demonic may be good a good description of this guy. If not, then, to me, it's just a little over the top, like you're trying too hard to let us know that this guy is EVIL. Also, it would be nice to know what Nathan felt and thought when he saw the guy and not just a description of him. To me, what you feel sometimes says more than what you see.

Jeko
March 21st, 2012, 09:39 AM
Thanks for your feedback everyone!


Are there giants in this story? Does he know what they sound like?

Wait, do giants sound like bang?

Nathan isn't actually the narrator in this story, but when things happen it is usually related to his experience if he's there. The giant's roar was meant to give an impression of a dominating noise, as a giant dominates a scene. A bit of hyperbole, I guess.


I was kinda surprised when he stood up, as I didn't know he was sitting.

Oops. I stated that he was beneath the window, but didn't say he was sitting beneath it...

Neither Nathan or the reader know who this man is. With the words like 'venomous' and 'demonic', I wanted Nathan, and the reader, to instantly see this guy as the most evil thing on Earth (to contextualise, Nathan just got chased down by this guy's men and brutally arrested), and to then develop his character on that foundation through what he says/does in the chapter. I'd have to write that chapter to see how that plays out, since I don't want a 1-Dimensional 'he's just evil' character. Nathan's feelings of the man will probably come into the scene when they start conversing.


Thanks again for your feedback. I think I'll make sure he's sitting now...

Chaeronia
March 21st, 2012, 12:32 PM
The old showing versus telling thing rearing its head again. I'm not in either camp - they both have their place - but, as mentioned, I think the description of him as venemous is too easy, too much of a short cut. Same goes for his demonic gaze. From what you say about your plan to flesh him out as the chapter goes on - combined with the preceding forcible arrest of Nathan - I'm sure the reader will pick up on your intent.

I like the florid style, the affectations, but I think some attempts are a little discordant. As mentioned, the door closing like a giant's roar is jarring, as is the calm chrome (chrome, to me, suggests future, edgy, industrial). Plus the cropped, perfect hair seems at odds with its likening to storm clouds, which are more indefinite, less manicured.

I wonder about your method of describing him by telling us what he doesn't have - the lack of scars or flaked skin - as if the reader thinks he should naturally have these things. I think it's enough to highlight his flawless complexion and youthful features, and perhaps further explain how his appearance seems incongruous to his high rank and exacerbates his evilness.

And - though this is probably says more about my puerile sense of humour - the idea of someone fingering their long, audacious staff makes me giggle Homerically (Simpson, not Iliad).

Also, you mention smoggy sky and then a shining sunlight. Not necessarily an oxymoron, but not far off. I like the sunlight though - a nice theology-soeaked metaphor. You could maybe play on this more, describe the sunlight piercing the otherwise grey skies, as if sentiently basking him. A sense of deification.

Love the crystal cup and folding desk: bond villains of the world unite! Two small touches that speak much more interestingly of his villainy and character than 'venemous' or 'demonic' ever could.

Jeko
March 21st, 2012, 04:58 PM
Thanks Chaeronia. Yeah, there are a few juxtapositions in there that I didn't inten, the cropped hair being a stormy cloud for instance. I'm not sure what it is, but something inside me loves that - might be the way the hair, though perfect, still reeks of a chaotic nature... like it's too perfect.

The lack of features on his face is a nod to the worn, fragmented state of civilization at the time and how he isn't really a part of it. One of the first things I'm going to do when they start talking is have a moment where they both look out of the window, and employ a little narrative to show the city, which has a deep feeling of collapse beneath all the excitement and advancement of the past few decades.

It would be nice to play on the sunlight a bit more (sort of intended to be theological or imply something of this man that isn't natural).

I still like the use of venomous... 'demonic' might change... but I can't imagine the piece without the first mention of this man being related to something deadly and destructive.

Similarly, I love the giant's roar when the door shuts. It brings about connotations that the building Nathan is in is hostile and powerful, which relates to the man who owns it and contrasts to the calm interior of that man's chambers.

Chaeronia
March 21st, 2012, 05:50 PM
The lack of features on his face is a nod to the worn, fragmented state of civilization at the time and how he isn't really a part of it. One of the first things I'm going to do when they start talking is have a moment where they both look out of the window, and employ a little narrative to show the city, which has a deep feeling of collapse beneath all the excitement and advancement of the past few decades.

Ah, I really like that. The too-smooth face hinting his aloofness. Nice touch.

And I look forward to your description of the city. Always intrigued by people's take on the urban landscape - lots of scope for socio-political allegory. Plus it offers a great canvas to flex those prose muscles.

itsraining
March 22nd, 2012, 08:31 PM
Cadence! Your "evil guy" seems just like my type! I love the clean cut bad guy that just wants to be bad! :D Over all your writing style is very neat and I think you have great potential!

Here are some recommendations I have for the piece. They are just my opinion and nothing absolute. But I think it might be helpful to your description. I left some notes at the end. Just my thoughts on your work.

"They thrust him into a bright and pristine office that tickled the nose with the smell of citrus and disinfectant. Nathan stumbled – almost fell – as the doors shut behind him with booming thud like a giant’s footstep. He steadied himself and scanned the room; within was edgy chrome walls and a shiny silver floor, at the end of the room a large circular window that looked out into the smoggy sky. Beneath the window, sitting at a barren desk robed in a spray of dull sunlight, was a tall and malicious man.

His hair was black and cropped short like a perfectionist; it was a stormy cloud reeking of chaotic nature surrounding his pale face with the eyes and lips of pugnacious prudence. There was not a spot or blemish, no scars or shards of flaking skin scattered across his face; just a youthful complexion that was so striking and strange. He looked just like the rest of the dealers Nathan’s men did business with, except for this one’s choice of clothing – a spotless crisp suit and trousers to match. His shoes shining like a mirrored void. In his hands he held a long, audacious staff, fingering it as Nathan stood there and met his cold, upsetting gaze. Then the man stood, took a sip from his crystal goblet, and the desk folded into the floor."

NOTE:
I added “edgy chrome walls” because chrome walls to me never feel “calm”.
BTW I LOVED the description you used for the sunlight “a spray” very beautiful!
I wasn’t quite sure what happened to the desk? I’m guessing that it collapsed below his feet?
I also feel like using the words “pugnacious” and “prudence” together to describe him might be an eye stumbler. They also are completely contradictory to each other. Which might be what you want, but I would suggest a better use of words?
Great job over all! :D Let me know what you think.

Jeko
March 23rd, 2012, 04:13 PM
I've just started writing the next section of this... slightly stuck on how to present everything, but I'll get around that soonish.

Thanks for your feedback itsraining. I noticed that you changed the most debatable words (venomous and demonic) to malicious and upsetting. I'm not too sure about malicious, as that makes me feel like he's about to stab me, which sort of loses the professionalism of the character, but upsetting seems more along the right lines - I want the gaze to reflect on Nathan a bit without drawing the attention away from the villain.

I'm considering changing the but about pugnacious prudence - it only works if you define prudence in a certain way...

itsraining
March 23rd, 2012, 06:17 PM
I do get what you're saying.... Malicious probably isn't the appropriate word. You're trying to say he's snake like right? Like as if he hides the power he can control. I think you're right.

Yeah... Prudence could be perceived as being reserved. OR it could be perceived as him thinking he's better than another. Like prejudice right?

I can't wait to read the rest of this! It's sounds very interesting! Make sure you post it up here for us to see! :D

Jeko
March 25th, 2012, 06:20 PM
Well I've written the next ten or so lines, but now I'm stuck on the content of the conversation - what to explore and how. Started reading some more professional sci-fi to get me inspired on how to shape the discussion.

Jeko
March 26th, 2012, 08:44 AM
Hooray! I wrote the rest of this scene yesterday, slightly inspired by Source Code. Will type it up immedately (i.e. in a few days...)

Jeko
March 27th, 2012, 04:29 PM
The first part of the rest of this section is now up. I decided not to do an epic narrative of the city yet, to let it slowly form rather than displaying it all at once in detail. Instead, I wrote a short passage that both explores the city and the character in a general way, to be developed later. Do you think I need more? Also, I've tried to show, not tell, the emotions coming through this conversation, which should be evident to some extent even at the beginning of it. Are they shown well enough?

Jeko
March 28th, 2012, 04:12 PM
And that's the rest of it. Hope you enjoy reading it!

I was wondering how well I presented both Taylor Ward and Nathan's view of him through their conversation - as I said before, I'm trying to show, not tell. So overall, how well is everything shown, and to what extent (because I don't want to show too much)? Also, what do you think of the pacing of the last part? And does it have good imagery to further explore Mr Ward?

torosuperfly16
April 3rd, 2012, 07:58 PM
That guy is just so blatantly evil and well-written I love it. I love the whole background story, too. I don't know what's going on(I assume this is an excerpt from another story) but it's really interesting. I liked Nathan a lot, too, and how he seemed so rebellious of the Taylor guy. He died though, so Taylor is definitely more badass. Even though he's evil. Good job, I think you introduced him very well as an evil character. Although I also don't really like the use of 'venemous' and 'demonic', they seem kind of like a stretch. Also, when he says, "Easy, my beauties" it kind of sounds like it's out of character for him. He doesn't seem like the type that admires much of anything in that way, even if they were his own creation.

Jeko
April 5th, 2012, 03:21 PM
Thanks torosuperfly16. Yeah, I've been looking into words to replace the signposters like demonic, although I still like venomous. The 'easy, my beauties' line came from an idea to suggest a sudden exuberant style but to have it brought down by the way he says it 'sincerely', as if he has admiration for them but not in a joyful way. He has a very strong connection with them throughout the story.

torosuperfly16
April 5th, 2012, 06:16 PM
Ah, makes sense then. And actually, if you still wanted to use demonic you could simply place it somewhere near the end of this passage, it would make more sense since the reader already knows what the character is like (:

StareDecisis
April 8th, 2012, 10:07 PM
I liked the premise of the story and I think it has potential, one thing I would say is that in my opinion some of your description is a little heavy handed. For example the line about the desk bathed in a spray of shining sunlight, I would take out the shining, everyone knows what sunlight does anyway. Other stuff like the door sounding like a giants roar, it just seems that some descriptions are overly extreme.

It was still an interesting read and I'll be keeping an eye out for any updates you may write.

Jeko
April 14th, 2012, 02:50 PM
Thanks for the feedback StareDecisis. The giant's roar of a shutting door has taken quite a lot of flack... I might remove it. Any ideas for some other simile for a sudden, overwhelming sound?

Capulet
April 15th, 2012, 12:55 AM
Hey, not bad. Seems like there's a lot that's already happened, and a lot that's going on now. There's a lot of feedback already on a lot of what I saw and would comment on, so I'll offer this:

You've mentioned your narrator is actually someone, and they narrate from their point of view. It may be that your narrator knows what a giant's roar sounds like, but would it be so familiar that's it's his (her?) go-to when making references, particularly with something like a door banging shut? The analogies and similes used, especially when made by a particular character, sets up a lot of expectations as far as how the world runs. If your narrator says a place reeks of fae, it sets a bias against them, if something smells foul like a goblin's britches you get a sense that goblins are smelly, and at least wear underwear.

Also, if your narrator is an actual character, I hope you explain how they're aware of the events that are transpiring, especially since one of the two witnesses seems to be busy expiring! Moving in and out of the first person could get very challenging when trying to maintain consistency through the entire story.


Playing with a staff while seated doesn't seem very comfortable and I'm not sure what it's adding to the scene. Perhaps replace it with Ward polishing the gun? It'll introduce it earlier in the scene, setting up for the later confrontation.

Grammar point: there's some case issues on some words, like Gods and Sections. Once you've settled on the shape of the prose I'd give it another grammatical dusting.

Keep up the good work!

Notquitexena
April 16th, 2012, 04:18 PM
This isn't entirely me cup of tea, so I wasn't going to comment, but on scanning it again one anachronism shouted at me: the "revolver". I think you mean handgun or pistol, not revolver. A revolver would have a rotating barrel, which is never used anymore. (and if this is an antique it wouldn't be made of onyx and ruby)

Jeko
April 16th, 2012, 04:36 PM
Thanks for all the feedback. This is really helping!


A revolver would have a rotating barrel, which is never used anymore. (and if this is an antique it wouldn't be made of onyx and ruby)

Well, it isn't human. The ancient species of the galaxy prefer to craft their weapons from jems and crystals, as they are abundant in their worlds.


I probably will change the giant's roar bit...


Playing with a staff while seated doesn't seem very comfortable and I'm not sure what it's adding to the scene. Perhaps replace it with Ward polishing the gun? It'll introduce it earlier in the scene, setting up for the later confrontation.

The staff is more for contextual purposes. It is a symbol of power among the Ancient community, and helps to always connect Ward to them. The reader doesn't know of the Ancients yet, but it does create that mysterious sense of something greater and more elaborate than humans being involved in this story.

StareDecisis
April 17th, 2012, 04:40 PM
Just thought I'd chip in about the revolver and argue for the hunble revolver, I talk of course in real life terms because the author seems to have a lot of extra canon forumlated for his universe.

Revolvers are not an obsolete design, they are still very relevant. If you were to have a gun for home protection you are far better off having a revolver over a more conventional handgun with a sping loaded magazine. Reason being 90% of stoppages are the fault of the magazine, if you leave a regular handgun loaded the springs that push the rounds up will be under tension for a hell of a long time and will more likely result in a stoppage, unlike a revolver which will be just as reliable as the day you left it in the drawer/ under the bed.

Not really criticism or a majorly useful comment, but yeah...the more you know...

Jeko
April 18th, 2012, 04:38 PM
Wow, that's some useful stuff about guns. I always like researching guns - you never know when it'll come in handy...