theprodigalson's First Fanfic Attempt

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theprodigalson's First Fanfic Attempt

Post by theprodigalson on Tue 2 Nov 2010 - 23:01

Here I am going to post the (hopefully) ongoing saga of Nikias and Anastasia. As always, feedback is appreciated. I want to produce good work, so don't be shy on the negative either!

Prologue:
Spoiler:
Lorenzo finished scrawling his name on the bottom on another piece of beaurocratic nonsense and set down his pen. He removed his glasses and gently massaged his eyes with his fingers. The evening sun cast an orange glow in his finely furnished office that told him how late it was without even looking at a clock, but he looked anyways. Already this late, he thought with an unpleasant grimace, If I don't get moving there will be Hell to pay when I get home.

He had only managed to slip on his coat when a timid knock on the door stopped his escape. Suppressing a frown, he called the perpetrator in.

Rather than a desheveled handler coming to report the most recent damages as he had expected, the man coming into his office was none other than Dr. Donato. He had a small, black three-ring binder in his right hand with a white label slide behind the plastic covering along the spine and on the front. Lorenzo started to get a sinking feeling this was going to take longer than he hoped.

"Evening, Sir. Sorry to bother you on your way out. I know it's late, but there is something I need your approval for. When I saw your car was still outside, I thought now might be a good time. It should only take a moment"

Lorenzo suppressed a groan. This was almost certainly going to take more than a moment. It always did with doctors.

"Of course Dr. Donato.", he said, faking an understanding smile, "What can I help you with?"

"It's about the new fratello I am working on right now."

Sighing inwardly, he set his coat back down and motioned the doctor to close the door and take a seat, "I just wanted to make you aware of his requested specifications for the new cyborg."

He placed the binder on the desk and turned it for Lorenzo to read. The lettering on the front read: 'Anastasia' in big bold letters. Underneath it, in much smaller letters was written 'Handler: Nikias Stavropoulos'. Lorenzo opened the notebook, irritation knawing at his already thin patience. He was fairly sure what this was going to be about now., "I am surprised you of all people would be showing me this Doctor. Was it not you who pushed to encourage the handlers to take part in the design of their cyborg?"

Undaunted by the venom in Lorenzo's tone, the doctor just shrugged, "I know, but the specifications he gave...well, I think it's best if you look at them yourself."

The Chief shot a look over his glasses to show his annoyance with how vague the doctor was being and tell him to get on with it. This time, he took the hint, "Ok. Let me show you." He came around the desk and stood over Lorenzo's shoulder as he flipped through pages of the profile. "Here."

Lorenzo skimmed over the medical jargon, picking out the words he knew and before long, he began to see what Donato was getting at, "This is closer to Generation One designs."

"Yes sir. And the parts are likewise very expensive. When I told him this he actually waved me off and said he would 'take care of it'."

Donato frowed in disappointment as the Chief signed his approval on all the forms without even reading them. Lorenzo handed him the notebook without a word and stood to retreive his coat. The doctor stood silently while Lorenzo gathered his things.

"Is there something else?" the older man asked.

"We know about the recent large donation from that Greek company sir. And then we suddenly get a Greek handler who gets whatever he wants signed off? We are not blind Mr. Lorenzo." He turned to make eye contact with the Chief to add effect to his next question, "Are we just selling these girls off now sir?"

Lorenzo met his gaze for several moments before he sighed and looked away. He turned to look out the window at a large tree sitting not far from his office. Most of the red and gold leaves still clung desperately to their branches against the powerful winds. The setting sun's orange glow gave the whole scene a poignant atmosphere, but such a thing was wasted on these men.

Seeing him hesitate, the doctor continued, "You won't find a heavy conscience among us sir. We abandoned that the moment we agreed to do this work. But even we feel a little disgruntled about this."

Lorenzo turned back to him and spoke in his usual commanding tone, ever the chief of a morally ambiguous organization, "I understand your concerns Dr. Donato, but there is no use complaining about it. The fact is, the government funding can only last so long. In her current state, Italia is not exactly the most financially stable nation. The boy came to us at a time when the need for more money was becoming increasingly apparent. If it were just as simple as him trying to buy a cyborg I would have laughed him out the door and let Jean handle the rest. But, his mother stepped in. She met with the prime minister's wife and set up a steady donation from her husband's Greek company, among other things I'm sure. You might recognize her name: Cristina Moretti."

Donato nodded his understanding. It was very clear now. He did not know Cristina specifically, but the Moretti family was deeply entwined in Italian government. None of them held any positions of power by themselves, but as a whole, the Moretti's were everywhere. He was certain there was more to it then just money.

"I tell you all this in confidence doctor. I was told he is not to know of these arrangements."

Donato was surprised to hear this. "Of course sir. But may I ask why?"

"You may not be able to see it when you talk to him, but the boy has quite the independent streak apparently. I suppose Cristina wanted to cater to that."

Donato scratched his head, "Do you honestly think this kid has what we are looking for in a handler?"

Lorenzo shook his head, "I doubt it. But we have to put him in charge of a very powerful weapon. I intend to use him, of course, but not in the way he is hoping. Rest assured doctor: he will have to prove himself before he gets any action."

"Forgive me, sir, but it still leaves a sour taste in my mouth."

Lorenzo smiled, "I will forgive you. But only if you keep it to yourself from now on. Now, if you will excuse me, I would like to get home before my supper gets cold."

He herded Donato out and turned to flick off the lights just as a strong breeze scattered another batch of leaves from the tree outside his window. A small sacrifice, he thought wryly, to save the whole.
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theprodigalson

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Re: theprodigalson's First Fanfic Attempt

Post by Alfisti on Tue 2 Nov 2010 - 23:18

Good start mate. It quickly gives a little background on the SWA and its financial situation for those new to the fandom... and also gives those of us already familiar with it an idea of how you see the SWA's postition. Consequently it quickly gives us an idea where you fratello fits into the whole works.

I do think that the first paragraph or two is a bit pronoun heavy. It feels a little disjointed and doesn't quite capture that sort of "evening, end of the day" type mood I think you were aiming for. You know, that feeling when you're just about done and basically running on autopilot. As such the intrusion of Donato isn't as jarring as it could perhaps be.

That said, definately a strong start. I like Lorenzo's sort of "loosing the battle to win the war" line at the end as well... that's the SWA (in terms of its somewhat morally ambiguous operations and from a political standpoint) through and through.

Looking forward to more.

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Re: theprodigalson's First Fanfic Attempt

Post by ElfenMagix on Tue 2 Nov 2010 - 23:27

looks great, TPS. Good

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Re: theprodigalson's First Fanfic Attempt

Post by Robert Frazer on Thu 4 Nov 2010 - 16:25

I don't mean to crticise the authors by it - good writing is good writing - but one detail that you have to remark about as a little strange in fanfiction is just how international the Social Welfare Agency has become. In some stories there'll be entire branch offices in other countries! I did find it interesting, then, that your setup draws attention to this peculiarity with the Greek handler being seen as a cuckoo in the next. Also, the prospect of a Greek handler is interesting in itself as although Voodoo has nibbled at the edges of Croatia I don't think that we've ever seriously turned towards the Balkans before.

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Re: theprodigalson's First Fanfic Attempt

Post by theprodigalson on Tue 23 Nov 2010 - 12:38

This is an excerpt from a scene I am in the process of writing. I am posting it now to solicit some reviews. Anyone who is intrested in giving me some feedback please pay particular attention to the descriptive text. Am I being clear and ordered? Am I giving enough description? Too much?

To set the scene: The SWA are raiding a warehouse that is known to house arms for a terrorist cell. Anastasia and Nikias are given the undesirable job of guarding the back door to keep them out of the way. When the assualt teams encounter stronger resistance than expected, Ana sees an opportunity to prove herself and takes the initiative.


Spoiler:
Ana entered the combat zone with the sort of reckless confidence only a superhuman body and a lack of experience could create. She moved into the unsecured portion of the building, trusting her speed and durability to compensate for her tactless entry. The building’s power had been cut. Only a few beams of weak moonlight coming through the high windows offered any illumination at all, but her cyborg eyes could see in almost total darkness. She sprinted between tall rows of shelves stacked high with boxes and crates as her eyes adjusted to the low light environment; casting the world in a shimmering lime-green.

She slowed her pace and surveyed the layout of the building as she drew near team Two’s position. Someone had managed to throw a number of road flares for some light. They hurt her eyes and Ana had to avoid looking right at them or risk being blinded. Directly in front of her lay a short hallway leading to the front entrance where the two assault teams had entered and the offices they were supposed to have secured. From the hallway, the wall that formed the rear of the office ran all the way to the side of the building. About halfway a small restroom jutted from the wall. Alongside that was the break room, extending out farther still, creating a sort of stair step design. The enemy had managed to flip a table and drag some heavy crates around the break room door. It made for a makeshift but respectable bunker. Ana could count at least three men: one shotgun, one MAC-11, and one pistol.

Through the massive storage racks, Ana could see the whole scene unfolding without revealing herself. A distressed looking Jose stood in the hall. Ahead of him was the source of his distress: Henrietta’s advance had been cutoff and she was forced to duck into the crook between the rear wall and the restroom. She was out of sight, but the angle of fire from the fortifications kept her from retreating. To her credit, the cyborg was doing a worthy job keeping the terrorists from breaking out of their shelter to expose Jose’s flank despite her poor position. Both factions were firing sporadically to save ammo.

Ana noted her allies’ position and turned her attention to the enemy. The hastily assembled bunker provided good cover from the western side where Team Two had tried to flank them. The southern approach (which was the only way Ana could attack) was partially open, but she had a long run down an open space between the racks to reach it. The darkness would cover her for awhile, but she didn’t like being that exposed. Her grand plan had only included her running in and saving the day. How she was supposed to do that wasn’t an issue until now.

Ana chewed her lower lip in consternation. Any moment Jean and Rico would be arriving with Rico’s MG3 and these paltry barricades would be chewed apart. A stray bullet hit a crate above her and a stream of cheap wine trickled down on her head. She stepped back and looked up with a glare. The glare became a thin smile as a crazy idea began to form. If Monique can do it… she thought as she flipped the strap on her SOAR so it hung on her neck and the gun rested in the small of her back. Then, she braced her leg against the rack next to her, stooped low, and bounded toward the rack on the other side. After three powerful strides, she leapt to a small open space on the second level. She hopped onto another wine crate that stuck out over the edge and almost pitched backwards when her weight caused it to shift. Her hands shot out and grasped the floor of the third level just in time to catch her balance. After steadying herself, she caught her breath and scrambled clumsily onto the top of the rack. With a new found respect for gravity, Ana gave a silent nod to Monty’s abilities. Climbing was tougher than it looked.

Her eyes went to the hallway where she saw Jean and Rico getting updated by Jose. There was no time left. If she wanted to show them what she could do, it had to be now. Ana’s heart pounded as she made all the room she could. Four rows lay between her and the bunker. Each row was separated by at least twelve feet of concrete floor. With little more than half a step to build speed, it was a difficult leap even for a cyborg. Add to that the uncertain footing and Ana’s own tendency to screw up and there was a good chance she was going to end up with her face on the concrete. There was no time to hesitate however.

She built all the power she could in her legs and with one foot on the very edge, leapt through the air. Her outstretched foot barely made the ledge and she had to stagger on her first landing, but with one full step she built speed and the rest became easier. By some miracle, much of the top space was unused and her way was clear. One, two, three, she counted. Her heart beat faster with each exhilarating bound. On the final leap she could contain her excitement no longer.

“RRRRRAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!” The battle cry came unbidden as she soared into the open air above the enemy. And it was a good thing it did. As luck would have it, Henrietta had just released a volley of suppressive fire so Rico could get into position. The same volley that kept the terrorists’ heads down would have hit her had not Henrietta been as surprised as everyone to see her flying through the air.

The look on the first man’s face as Ana landed squarely on his shoulders would be forever etched in her mind. She felt the crunch of bone when her weight and speed drove them both to the ground, hard. She stumbled forward and had to use her left hand to keep from falling over, but managed to bring her SOAR to bear with her right. She aimed low and let the gun climb. At least half a dozen rounds found their mark, killing the man instantly.

She had landed on the shot gunner and killed the man with the pistol, but her momentum sent her tumbling. She instinctively dropped her gun and brought her right hand down to stop her fall, leaving her defenseless. Mr. MAC-11 was crouching behind her. He turned and aimed. Time seemed to stretch forever. All Ana could do was grit her teeth and wait to get shot in the ass. Time resumed abruptly with a burst of MG fire exploding through crates and man alike.

Ana stumbled on all fours into the break room before she could regain control. She stood in time to see a man with another MAC-11 come running from the adjourning office to check what was going on. In a flash, she drew her Tanfoglio Force and put two rounds in his chest before he could react. When he fell, Ana realized she was staring down the barrel of an AK-47 across the room. She stood, frozen. Her chest and stomach muscles tensed as if they could stop a 7.62x39mm round. A single bullet whizzed by her head before a blast of buck from Triela’s shotgun stopped the shooter for good.

The cocky blond stepped through the far door and winked, “Looks like you owe me one ‘Lullaby’.”

Ana bristled at the use of her nickname “Well I wouldn’t have needed to be here if someone had been able to do their job.”

Triela scowled and opened her mouth to retort, but was cut off by an annoyed bark from Hillshire “Enough! Stop your posturing and count the bodies.”

His cyborg had the grace to look embarrassed “Yes sir.” Ana sneered and strolled out the way she came in just in time to meet Jean Croce. “What the Hell was that?” He demanded.

“Just a little exhibition.” She said, smiling proudly. He began speaking in a harsh tone, his voice rising in intensity as he went, “You mean to tell me you disobeyed orders, abandoned your post, and put yourself in extreme unnecessary risk to show off!? Or was that an exhibition for your incompetence? Because that I can see.”

By the time he finished, Ana’s smile had long since evaporated. She had expected him to be angry, but he had to concede her results. “I, I…was trying to-”

“Trying to what? Get yourself destroyed? You are Government property and I expect you to treat yourself as such.”

Triela, who had been leaning against the wall watching the exchange, suddenly spoke up, “Lay off her a bit Mr. Croce. She did manage to pull it off. Who knows what would have happened if she didn’t show up when she did?”

Ana glared at her, “I can take care of myself, thank you.”

Triela shrugged “Fine. You're a big girl after all.” The obvious shot at her size infuriated Ana.

Jean frowned and spoke again, “Where the hell is your good-for-nothing handler, anyways? You need to be disciplined.”

His fury had caught her off guard, but an insult to Nikias was unacceptable. Her anger reached a fever pitch, “Don’t you talk about him like that you-” A wave of nausea hit her like a brick. She had never back talked a handler before and this was the result. She was spared some embarrassment once again by the arrival of Hillshire “Save it for later Jean. We have four bodies outside, two in the office, and three here. That leaves one more unaccounted for.”

Ana’s blood froze in her veins. Nik. She had left him alone. Normally, she knew he could take care of himself just fine. But in the state of mind he was in when she left…he might not even take his own safety seriously. Forgetting her momentary sickness and not even bothering to pick up her gun, she bolted from the destroyed bunker and dashed once again down the dark rows.

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Jet: "Betrayal may come easily to women, but men live by iron codes of honor."
Faye: "You really believe that?"
Jet: "I'm trying to. Real hard."
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Re: theprodigalson's First Fanfic Attempt

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 23 Nov 2010 - 12:47

Solid start!

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Re: theprodigalson's First Fanfic Attempt

Post by Alfisti on Wed 24 Nov 2010 - 8:05

And that's the coffee kicking in. So, longer thoughts:

@theprodigalson wrote:Ana entered the combat zone with the sort of reckless confidence only a superhuman body and a lack of experience could create.
Great opening line, you've set the scene and told us more about Ana... desperate to prove herself, but inexperienced and possibly trying a bit hard. That continues well through the segment as well (I'm going to say that here as otherwise I'll just be repeating myself over and over) from her assetion that "if Monty can do it so can I" to her burning desire to beat Rico and Jean to the chase.

The building’s power had been cut. Only a few beams of weak moonlight coming through the high windows offered any illumination at all, but her cyborg eyes could see in almost total darkness.
That first sentence feels a bit out of place, I think it might work better run into the second. Actually, to be honest I'd move it to earlier in the piece, surely if Ana and Nikias had been waiting outside the back door they'd have seen the building's lights go out. There possibly in-lies the danger of posting short segments of story, suddenly setup needs to impinge on the action rather than being dealt with beforehand.

She slowed her pace and surveyed the layout of the building as she drew near team Two’s position. Someone had managed to throw a number of road flares for some light. They hurt her eyes and Ana had to avoid looking right at them or risk being blinded. Directly in front of her lay a short hallway leading to the front entrance where the two assault teams had entered and the offices they were supposed to have secured. From the hallway, the wall that formed the rear of the office ran all the way to the side of the building. About halfway a small restroom jutted from the wall. Alongside that was the break room, extending out farther still, creating a sort of stair step design. The enemy had managed to flip a table and drag some heavy crates around the break room door. It made for a makeshift but respectable bunker. Ana could count at least three men: one shotgun, one MAC-11, and one pistol.
I'll admit it took me a couple of goes through the story to build in my head what the warehouse's layout was. No pointers on how that could be improved though I'm afraid sweat

The hastily assembled bunker provided good cover from the western side where Team Two had tried to flank them. The southern approach (which was the only way Ana could attack) was partially open
Ah, here's something that could help. You've started using compass points. If you're going to use that it might work better if you use them from the beginning to keep everything cohesive in the reader's mind. Remember: we don't have a floor plan to look at. Alternatively I guess you could post the floorplan Matthew Reilly style (don't know how that'd interface with ff.net though if you decide to use it) Razz

Her grand plan had only included her running in and saving the day. How she was supposed to do that wasn’t an issue until now.
This line cracked me up, perfect character moment.

Nitpick though, "wasn't" I think would be more correct as "hadn't been"... in this particular sentence "wasn't" is reading like present tense, but this is a problem now.

If Monique can do it… she thought
Sorry luv, but Monty's significanlty smaller, lighter and more practiced than you are Razz

Seriously though, loved the little shoutout.

Add to that the uncertain footing and Ana’s own tendency to screw up and there was a good chance she was going to end up with her face on the concrete.
Considering that you said Ana's built tough, there's a good chance the concrete would come off second best in this scenario. Perhaps she could join Marisa's "broke the fall with my face" club.

“Looks like you owe me one ‘Lullaby’.”
Looking forward to finding out how that came to be.

But in the state of mind he was in when she left…he might not even take his own safety seriously.
I take it Nik was a little riled at being cut from his chance at glory by being posted to the back door?

Anyway, overall like Kisk said: solid start. Your action flows well and one of your real strengths seems to be character portrayl through what they do. I wonder a bit about Triela butting up against Jean, but each to their own and it was a good excuse for Ana to snap at her and help build that relationship.

To answer you questions, I think the mix and sequencing of description and action was pretty much on the money. A little more cohesion with the initial layout of the warehouse (compass points and so on) may have helped legibility for the reader. Perhaps even giving a general overview of the warehouse in a briefing or something earlier might help get the context initially into the reader's head, then what's here could then solidify that for them. I dunno.

Great stuff though mate, looking forward to more.

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