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Old 07-08-2009, 01:45 PM   #1
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author's note: apologies for the minor sweary. all the serious ones are asterisked, if only because i'm not well up on star wars cusswords.

darkness, so thick i can almost taste it on the tip of my tongue, lolling out of my mouth. things hurt; everything hurt. going to try and move hea-

-not going to try moving head. blacked out. everything still hurts, minutes later, hours, twitched a finger. hurt, but not as much as moving the head. how did I get here?

He crouched in the swaying greenery fronting a high, bronze wall, several hundred metres across in each direction from the middle, where he was crouching. It was an impressive wall, tall and imposing, with an overhang at the top to discourage the native wildlife, and anyone trying to get in. Like him.
But however impressive this wall, however steep its overhang, or smooth and groovy its exotic material overlay, it would not keep him out. After all, was he not Alian N’trufh del Liant, famed and feared bounty hunter, doer of bad deeds and facilitator of felonies? Why yes, he was, thank you for asking. His paymasters knew all this of course, and had promised to pay him a lot of money to kill the occupant of the gaudily intimidating fortress in front of him. It was a lesser facet of his talents, assassination, but one that he was as adept at as he was all his other pursuits. So he had enlisted the help of some Associates, capital letter emphasised, to get the blueprints of the building and some serious hardware, most of which was slung over his back, or hanging from his belt, or protecting his torso and head. The rest of the hardware was, in fact one very impressive and high-tech piece: a jetpack. Which was why the wall was not the obstacle its steep, gleaming face would imply. In addition to being a jetpack – good enough one its own for most people, admittedly – it was a silent jetpack. And had no engine flare. Lord knew what technical gee-whizzery the guys had done to pull that off, but they had done it. What this meant, of course, was that he could float over walls, silent and deadly, like an owl wraith swooping on a mouse.
He sidled – quietly – through the mist-wreathed reeds, the mist parting and reforming behind him like a vast crowd of ghosts, rippling in his wake.

hmm. the jetpack can’t have been the cause of this… unless it backfired spectacularly… but my back doesn’t hurt. must have been something further one…. fast-forward…


Now he was crouched on the flat, square roof of one of the buildings inside the walled compound – a similiarly tasteless shade of bronze, incidentally. There was a bulging dome in the centre, with a faintly glowing, circular ring of light emanating softly from the rim. There were several stepped ledges on the next level of the building down. He stealthily swaggered over, and using a small hook on his belt, which you could throw and it would latch onto things – just like the movies! – and you could swing across chasms, or lower yourself from a roof.
Glinting in the glow from the dome on the roof, slightly to his left, was the criminal’s best friend – a grating. He crept over on velvet-soft feet, and prised it open. Then, unhitching the jetpack and leaving it in the shadows for his escape, he crawled into the vent, and along it until he came to the end of the tunnel, and another grate leading into a darkened corridor.
So far, so easy.
bit further…

Several loping steps along the corridor was another doorway. He nudged it open with the toe of a boot. It led to one of two routes down in to the interior of the main complex, one used by the guards, the other – this one – used by house personnel and servan-
He looked up into a circle of confused faces on top of gleaming, armoured bodies. No-one moved for an eternity of seconds, before one guard shook off his paralysis, took out his gun and fired. It glanced off the armour, but it shook the others – perhaps twenty – out of their respective stupours. Alian took out both of his guns and fired away, killing one with a shot to the forehead. His armour, however, already cooked from the streams of bolts, gave out, overheated, and stopped, keeling over in a slow and oddly graceful arc, landing on the floor with a loud, inelegant clunk, Alain trapped inside like a turtle on its back.
Several seconds of feeling foolish, vulnerable and betrayed before, predictably, darkness. And pain.

…****! those guards should not have been there! it was layperson’s entry! … wasn’t it? wasn’t it!?! those idiots! that glowing dome was the barracks! the other one was dark! they gave me the map flipped! the one palace in the galaxy famed for its symmetry and they don’t even bother to check! ****!

…how ignoble.

A low hum built up slowly – finally!, he thought - in the chain-metal jail – charged with super-ionised protons or somesuch to deter escapes – shaking dust from the roof, settling on his head and shoulders like gold dust. The hum built, and built, until he could feel it shaking his teeth. It also rose in pitch, reaching a climax, before the wall vanished. Replacing the wall was a turmoil of dust, sand, molten glass, smoke, rubble and fire. He shrank back against the wall.
After several seconds, through the conflagration, strode two shimmering, dark figures in body armour and helmets, carrying big, big rifles. He stood up.
“You bastards! What took you so long!”
“Sorry, sir, bu-“
“Sorry! Now he’s sorry! You know why I’m in here?”
“But, sir- what?”
“Do you?”
“No, of course you don’t! Because you don’t think! You don’t check! Or use initative! Or guile! You just plod around from little job to tiny job! You don’t bother to check, for example, whether detailed blueprints are the right damn way up! Great lord in space man! I fester in a jail because you guys don’t know – literally – your up from your down. It makes me sick, frankly.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Now get me out of here. Don’t leave a tip.”

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Old 07-15-2009, 08:14 AM   #2
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i've just noticed i've repeatedly put 'one' in the place of 'on'. i can only apologise.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:36 PM   #3
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I like this. The writing is generally good and engages the reader easily; the descriptions are good and the dialogue is effective and used well.

I do, however, have a few criticisms ( ). First, and most noticeable, are the rather large blocks of text in this one, particularly the first paragraph. For ease of reading, splitting that into smaller chunks of text would be preferable, IMO. The description is mainly pretty good, managing to strike the right balance, and the strong sense of voice is good, although it slips at times ("how ignoble").

The lack of capitalisation in the italicised segments is a little annoying, but that's a pure nitpick on my part. It's also not entirely clear what the fast-forwarding and accompanying noises refer(s) to, which is a little irritating, and I think the dialogue at the end could have been spaced better. There are also in places too many consecutive sentences ending in exclamation points for my taste! But that may just be me! I don't know! The references to "Lord" were a little strange in an SW-fic, but nothing major.

Overall, this could do with a little cleaning up and perhaps some expansion, but it's eminently readable at the moment and has a real strength in its pacing and structure. 7/10.

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That's what Control said.
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Darth InSidious View Post
I do, however, have a few criticisms ( ).
but of course :P they're all fair points guv. i'm just glad i avoided the JediAthos treament
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:36 PM   #5
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how nice...I have a scathing critique named after me...that's so cute

Now...as for the piece itself...I can't find too much that hasn't been mentioned. The alignment itself almost looks centered which kind of threw me off a bit, but its not a big deal.

Nicely done.

"You'll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

Last edited by Bee Hoon; 07-20-2009 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:30 AM   #6
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Quite enjoyable. JI nailed this one.

DI I should say. DI nailed this one.

Last edited by Bee Hoon; 07-20-2009 at 05:32 AM.
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:29 PM   #7
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'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

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Old 07-26-2009, 04:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Salzella
smooth and groovy

I'm not sure that lolling is the right word to use (especially after looking up the definition, but I closed the tab, so look it up yourself ). That having been said, I really enjoyed it! The style is good, and I definitely would have voted for this

The sun goes down and the sky reddens, pain grows sharp.
light dwindles. Then is evening
when jasmine flowers open, the deluded say.
But evening is the great brightening dawn
when crested cocks crow all through the tall city
and evening is the whole day
for those without their lovers

-Kuruntokai 234, translated by A.K. Ramanujan

[Fic] Shreds of a Dying Belief
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