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Chapter 3
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Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:01 pm    Post subject: Chapter 3  

Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6
Chapter 3


His throat was dry. A slight tremble was shaking the piece of paper in his hand back and forth, the piece of paper that was signed by the branch manager of the strongest bank known to the colonies, the piece of paper that was a legal and binding document saying that he, William Kent, was entitled to 700 million Regulated Dollar Certificates. Sweat from his fingers was smudging the ink of the signature, but Kent was more concerned about the increasing speed of the heart rate monitor, and the cold itchy contacts stuck to his skin.

The cause for his concern smiled magnanimously at him from across the room, a white flash matched only by his white tie, both eclipsed by ebony skin, a pitch shirt, and a blood red coat. “It is quite a shock, I am sure, Mr. Kent. It’s understandable that you have doubts. It is what you have been searching for all of your life, after all… isn’t it, Mr. Kent?”

Kent tried to nod. Then he realized that the man in the suit would take that as an acceptance of the check. His throat clutched, obviously remembering that it had some normal function he was forgetting about, but despite having spoken himself mere moments before, Kent gagged on the sand he was sure he must have swallowed at some point.

He sipped at his water again, buying a precious few moments of time. Every part of him wanted nothing more than to thank the man and shake his hand. But it seemed too good to be true. Kent didn’t trust luck like that; it was out of character for him. More to the point, he just plain didn’t like the man. But did he dare throw away an opportunity like this? Did he dare take it, and throw away any other chances the sample could bring him? He didn’t like having to choose in the state he was in, and didn’t like losing that sample. He had unfinished business with it.

The man who gave no name sat on the edge of his bed and rested his chin on his loosely folded hands. “Mr. Kent… as I have said, your hesitation is understandable. To a degree. But it is approaching inappropriate in its length. The man I represent does not have such a surplus of time as would merit that kind of patience. This is not a courtesy call, or a visitation. It is a business transaction, and I’ll need you to make a decision. Now.”

“It isn’t up to me. My crew worked just as hard to get that thing, they have a say in this too.”

The man did not look pleased. He slowly folded his arms across his lap, very neatly, precisely. “You are saying no, then?”

“Not exactly… I’m saying maybe. I want to talk to my crew first, so let’s call it no for now.”

The man’s head jumped sideways, half tick, half laugh. It reminded Kent of nothing so much as how he might grimace when he cut himself shaving. He quickly retrieved his quiet articulate manner, though, but it was too late; the illusion had lapsed, and Kent was all but certain that something far louder roiled beneath that calm surface, that whoever this stranger was, he required a certain discipline to keep it still.

“No for now? Let me explain something to you, Mr. Kent,” he said slowly, his voice soft and low. How could so much menace fit in such a soft voice? “There is no maybe, here. There is yes, and there is no. Now.”

Who the hell was this guy? “You know what pal, I’m not sure I like your tone. You’re being goddamn pushy, and I don’t like that, either, check or no check. I’m not stupid enough to throw it away, but if you think you can sit there and be rude to me, you can take your check and--”

“Fine, Mr. Kent. Good luck finding another buyer so generous.”

“You think I’m bluffing? I’m willing to bet if you’ve got 700 million RDC to throw at me, that I could easily get half of that from someone you don’t want to have it. And I’m willing to do that for a little common courtesy. You want your rock or not?”

“This is not a negotiation…”

“A business transaction, isn’t that what you called it? I think I have room to negotiate. I want to talk to my crew, now, or I find another buyer, it’s just that simple.”

Another twitch, a smaller, more controlled one, but Kent saw it. “Maybe. But what about your D.O. problem?”

“I’ll take my chances.” Was he bluffing? He honestly didn’t know. He couldn’t say for sure how he would react if the stranger turned around and walked out, carrying this opportunity away with him. He was even less sure how happy he would be with half--or even all--the money, if he had to spend it from prison for his D.O. violations, unlikely as that was. It was a risky gamble. If he hadn’t developed a good poker face in his pursuit of wealth, then he probably wouldn’t have taken the chance… but he didn’t usually read people that wrong, and he was the only person who had what they wanted. If he didn’t take charge early, when could he? His find, his rules, damn it.

The dark skinned stranger leaned intrusively into Kent’s space and forced eye-contact. He did not speak, he did not make another move; he simply stayed as he was, evidently wanting to impress the depth of his capacity for control, though whether it was his intention to demonstrate that control over himself or of circumstances escaped Kent. He would have found those moments uncomfortable if not for how clear the menace of this behavior was. He liked it when people got hostile. It was familiar territory for him.

“Look, I really ought to gargle or something first if you’re planning on kissing me, but if you’d like, I can make a--”

An arm lashed out with serpentine speed, and Kent’s own fisted arm was held up in a stupidly protective place between their faces before he could realize that the man had not moved to strike him, but to push the call button. His brain caught up and told him he had flinched at the noise. He held back a laugh, not wanting to share any good humor with the man.

“Yes, Mr. Kent,” asked the feminine voice of the speaker. Kent wondered if it was an actual nurse or a program.

“Mr. Kent will be needing his discharge papers. He’s taking a trip.”


Jerry sat up. The fillings in his teeth weren’t humming. It had only been a slight sensation, but after being exposed to all manner of signal and frequency for most of his life, he had developed a keen sensitivity in his fillings to when certain ones were in use. He was by no means good enough to identify the culprit of each hum--and there were a lot of them--but he was good enough to recognize one hum or another after being exposed to it repeatedly, and observe patterns associated with it. The hum he was now no longer feeling is one he had come to associate with a protective field that prevented anyone from approaching the door of his holding cell, inside or out.

The door swished open maybe half of a second after Jerry realized that it would. Not long to gather your thoughts, but his awareness was often ahead of others, even if it was in such small steps… and with his mind being his only advantage, he was going to take any victory he could. Half a second was long enough not to be taken by surprise and put on the defense; it would have to be good enough.

“Jerry Sykes?” The officer who had entered his cell stood in the doorway, dressed in a starched gray uniform, and offering no further explanation for his visit.

“What, you don’t know?”

“Come with me,” he said, seeming not to have gotten the joke. “You’re being interviewed.”

Interviewed? Jerry fell in step behind the officer, taking note of the absence of stars on his shoulder. As undecorated as the uniform was, it was laden enough with pins and small chains that they could be heard jingling like keys as they walked down the hallway.

D.O. was not officially Colony Military. Company funding and legislation had kept it privatized. But C.M. had provided the starting manpower in exchange for a cut of all tax proceeds on dive goods, and D.O. took advantage of their experience when developing a training model for their civilian employees. Factor that with most of their cut being funneled right back into the D.O., and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why they remained so militarized. Lately though, they were making a show of it and putting on airs. Jerry found the whole thing flustering and distasteful.

He wasn’t sure where they were going exactly. It wasn’t that he couldn’t have memorized the layout of the area, given the chance, but the confusion and exhaustion of their first day here had left him feeling rattled, distracted and plain just too tired to make a decent effort. In the days that followed he had no idea where he was in relation to the previous day, and without that reference point, those details became moot.

The officer stopped short and Jerry tripped sideways to avoid running into his back. He turned abruptly to one side and opened a manual metal door, then gestured that Jerry was to enter. A quick glance told him that Sarah waited inside.

“What, she’s gonna interview me?” The officer said nothing, and continued to stand there holding the door open. He gestured again, and Jerry decided to just let it go, and entered the room. Inside, Sarah sat at a generously sized table, in one of the three chairs placed around it. Generally speaking, the room was a relative comfortable space compared to his cell. Jerry joined her at the table and pushed in his glasses. The door he came in through slammed shut behind him. “You asking me questions, or are we in this together?”

“You and me against the world, Jer. I hope you don’t mind waiting though, they seem to be particularly good at making us do that.”

“I don’t mind. I was starting to go a little nuts in my room anyway. Who do you suppose the third chair is for?”

Sarah clucked her tongue and took in a breath between her teeth. “Trying not to think about that, Jer. My best guess is the Colony General for this D.O., but I didn’t think our transgressions were so great.”

“They weren’t.” Sarah looked at him doubtfully. He licked his lips and took a breath. “What, you think they’re keeping us here eight days over a safety lapse, when only our captain is hurt? Not likely. If others had been involved, then maybe, but they weren’t. No Sarah, this is big; it has nothing to do with protocol and everything to do with that rock we fished out of Sector 17. Should have never sliced the corners on the way back. We should have left that thing where we found it.”

He’s right, Sarah, said a speaker hidden somewhere in the room. Before Jerry could spot it, a third door swished open and Kent walked in.

“Will!” Sarah nearly jumped out of her seat, ready to launch herself at Kent, but she stopped in mid-stride. Maybe it was the condition he was in that made her think twice. People often came back from hospital level looking a little worse off, but usually there was an illness involved or a long stay. For someone who had been out for just over a week, he looked ridiculously like shit. One seizure shouldn’t age a man that much, or take that much weight off of him. He even walked with the gait of the chronically infirm.

“What,” Kent asked, looking like a stunned animal. “You guys don’t look too happy to see me.”

“It’s nothing Boss,” Jerry lied, “hey, it’s good to see you among the living.”

“It’s good to be among them. I haven’t really been filled in yet, what’s been happening with you guys?”

“Why don’t you sit down so we can figure this thing out,” Sarah contributed.

“Yeah… yeah, my legs are a little tired.” Kent took the open chair and leaned heavily on the table. Afraid of making things more awkward, Jerry avoided eye contact with Sarah. Kent had one arm on the table, palm down flat, and was absently rubbing it with his other hand. “So… what happened?”

Jerry cleared his throat. “Well, after your… fit… we got down there as fast as we could. We dragged you out the room and away from the sample, got all your gear off. You were out cold. It wasn’t until we got you back here to base and the medics took over that we found out you were catatonic.”

“What happened to the sample?”

“Who cares? After what it did to you, I nearly flushed it. The only reason I didn’t was in case it could be useful in figuring out what was wrong with you, but you’re fine now, so I say destroy it.”

“Not happening, Jer.”

“You’re telling us,” Sarah said. “D.O. confiscated it after we came in.”

“Confiscated it? How?”

“The whole thing was a big stupid mess. We came in under emergency protocol, the priority was medical assistance for you. They came in, asked a few questions, and we were temporarily detained while things were being sorted out. We figured there would be some fines or penalties, standard violation stuff, you know? We were ready to deal with that. We just wanted to get done so we could find out how things were with you, and everything was fine at first…”

“Until someone figured out the sample was worth something.”

“That’s what I figure, Boss.” Jerry scratched the back of his shoulder. “We were detained for two days, way out of the ordinary for a safety violation. I thought it might have been justified because of the unusual nature of the sample and your condition, but then they threw another violation at us; failure to declare.”

“What? Those sons of bitches!”

“Exactly. Of course we couldn’t declare the sample while we were detained, and after holding us for two days, our thirty-six hours were up. So they confiscated the sample, and now we’re all looking at losing our licenses, our jobs, possibly even imprisonment. Whatever this thing is, Boss, it has the power to move politics. I’m afraid of it either way.”

The breath seemed to go out of Kent, and he sagged in his seat and did nothing but stare at his hands for a few moments. “I’m sorry, guys. This is all my fault.” His voice was jagged and raspy, sounding twice as aged as he looked. Sarah leaned in and rubbed his back.

“You didn’t make us do anything. If we really wanted to, we could have stopped you. We’re just as responsible for this as you are.”

Jerry wasn’t so sure he agreed with that. He had protested Kent’s decision loudly, and it hadn’t seemed to make a difference. Sarah sat the fence on the surface, but when it came down to it, she was glad it happened. Would she have been an ally if Jerry really tried to stop Kent? He wasn’t so sure. That’s probably what stopped him from trying, anticipation of how difficult it would have been. Did he fail in his job? As a safety division engineer, pleasing his crewmates wasn’t a priority. Keeping them safe was, no matter how difficult it had been. He’d worked with Kent for too long, that had to be it. He had seen him break protocol a million times before, and nothing ever came of it. He got used to it, and when it came right down to it, he expected everything to work out because it always had. But it didn’t this time, and maybe they were just as responsible. Maybe… but what difference did it make now?

“Listen guys… I can get us out of this. But I’m not sure I want to.”


Sarah also looked confused, and she did make eye contact with Jerry then. Just how much did this thing affect him?

“I mean, I want to, I’m just not sure I’m happy about the way I can. I want your opinions...” He went on to explain a strange meeting that he had earlier in the morning with some kind of business man, his employer’s interest in the sample, and most importantly, his offer. Jerry was stunned to say the least. Not at the offer, but at Kent’s hesitance to take it.

“So what’s not to like? Even if there wasn’t 700 million R.D.C. on the table, we need the get out of jail free card.”

“I know, it seems like a dream come true. I just wanted to talk to you guys…”

“What the hell is there to talk about? Take the damn money, Kent, take the whole offer, kiss the rock goodbye, and get us the fuck out of here!”

“Alright, alright! You know, it’s not like I don’t want it, I just thought I should show some respect to my crew, after before.”

“Respect? You wanted to show us respect?”


“Oh, come on, Sarah, you really believe we had a choice before? Fine, ok, maybe. But someone dangles our freedom, our good names and all the money in the world in his lap, and he has to talk to us before he can figure out whether we would agree with it or not? Come on.”

“Hey, Jer, enough man. Look…”

“No, I’m tired of listening to you, that’s why we’re in this mess in the first place. It’s bullshit.”


Kent put his face in his hands.

“It’s bullshit, Sarah! He’s playing some kind of angle.”

“God damn it Jerry, I get it, I screwed up, okay? But now I’m trying to help you, so just shut up and listen for five seconds. I’m here, aren’t I?”

Jerry raked his fingers through is hair and leaned back in his seat, staring straight up at the ceiling as he tried to catch his breath. Why did he let Kent have this effect on him? Why was he so bad at dealing with it?

“…Aren’t I?”

“Okay. Okay, fine, I’m listening. So… well damn it, Boss, why hesitate? Why talk to us first?”

“Because it doesn’t sit right with me. And there’s something else, too; any way you look at this deal, that rock makes a big difference to at least two other people or groups. You don’t take these kinds of measures if you’re not being competitive. So we’re in the middle of this thing, whether we like it or not, and I’m sorry, I just don’t think taking the buy-out keeps us safe. We could easily be seen as threats or liabilities to either party involved. Who knows where they’ll draw the line to keep us from talking? These D.O. charges won’t stand up in court, not if we get lawyers. So we don’t need them to clear us. But they definitely need us to think we do. They have someone on the inside, or this guy wouldn’t have known squat about any of this. Those are major violations of their own, but they're hoping we’ll be too scared of these charges and jump at that offer--and the money--to give them their rock.”

“But it isn’t even ours to give at this point, the D.O. confiscated it. Right?”

“Actually, Jerry, Will made a good point. If the charges won’t stick, then failure to declare is void, and their grounds for confiscation go out the window. But if they’re counting on that not mattering by the time those charges would come to court, then maybe they need this to be swept under the rug just as much as we do. Doesn’t that give us leverage?”

“Leverage for what, a better offer? We cut our throats if we back out, and I don’t see an advantage. Let there be a mystery.”

“You weren’t in the same room with this guy, Jer. He’s a cold sucker. What are we really dealing with here? Here’s what we’re looking at, the way I see it: We take the offer, or we keep the rock. Either way, we probably deflect these charges. Either way we could be rich--their competitor will probably pay a good price too, and there’s a chance they’re more trustworthy. There’s no way to find that out without shopping the sample around. But either way, no matter what this guy says, we have no guarantees, and we need to protect ourselves, and the only way to do that is to learn more. Now you tell me, Jerry, how do we learn more about this thing?”

“…No. No, forget it.”

“If we could just get a small sample of the specimen--”

“I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation. What you’re asking me is illegal.” For the first time, Jerry wondered if they were being recorded or monitored. Kent had spoken through a speaker before he came in, hadn’t he? So he heard them from outside the room. His palms started sweating as he thought about their conversation so far, about whether or not he’d incriminated himself.

“Relax, Jer, they can’t hear us. I had surveillance switched off when I came in. There’s a box in my pocket that will vibrate if they turn it back on… this conversation is clean. So no one has to know.”

“Forget it, I said! How can I even get close to that thing?”

“You’re an engineer, you’ll figure it out.”

“That’s not what I mean, Boss, and you know it. I can’t believe you want to go near this thing, have you looked in a mirror since you woke up? You look like the grim reaper’s little cousin. Even if I could figure out a way to get to it from here, without even knowing where they’re keeping it, how do I get close enough to take a sample without ending up like you did?”

“I don’t know.”

“Damn it Boss, it’s my neck if I get caught.”

“I know you think I’m selfish, Jerry. But I’m trying to protect all of us here, and you know I’d do this myself if I could, but I’m not staying. That makes you the closest person, and the only shot we got at this. When the bogus charges are thrown out, anything you do in response to them will be seen as justifiable resistance, so any more charges they drum up won’t stick either. Just think about it, huh?”

“Think about it.” Jerry looked to Sarah. “Think about it, he says.”

“Will… this is taking a really big chance. I mean, discounting your own safety is one thing, but you’re asking Jerry to put his life at unknown risk, for a very sketchy theory that we’re in danger. That’s what it comes down to. What the hell is wrong with you, what are you thinking? Did that rock scramble your brains?”

“I don’t know Sarah, I can’t remember anything after walking into the room. No, wait, I do remember something, I remember… a weird kind of keening in my ear, like a high pitched whine.”

“And that doesn’t scare the shit out of you? ‘Cause I’ll tell you what I remember, I remember you foaming at the mouth, bleeding out your ears, and going into a coma for eight days, that’s what I remember. And I am scared by that thing. I say take the offer.”

“Like feedback on a radio?”


“You said you heard a whining noise… like signal feedback?”

“Yeah, Jer, kind of like that.”

“Well whatever it was, I don’t see why any of us should be exposed to it again. It’s insanity. I’m certainly not doing it, and Jerry, I don’t think you should either.”

Kent sighed. “Maybe… I don’t know, maybe you guys are right, maybe I’m not thinking clearly. I just… want so badly to know more about what’s going on, and it seems too good to be true. But you’re right, Sarah, I have no right to ask Jerry to do that. I couldn’t live with myself if something happened.”

There was a knock at the door Kent had come through, and before anyone had time to respond to it, the door swished open, revealing a D.O. officer. Behind him stood a man who could only be the stranger who spoke with him earlier in the morning.

“Time’s up, Kent. There’s a shift change coming, and your friends need to be back in their accommodations.”

“Yeah, two seconds.” Kent turned back to face them and dropped his voice to a whisper. “So what do I tell the suit? We’re taking the offer, right?”


“Wait,” Jerry said.


“Wait. Stall them… say we’re thinking about it or something.”


“What, you don’t know how to hold out for a better offer?”

Kent smiled. “Think we got a shot?”

“Let them stew for a couple days, then give me a call here and tell me how they’re taking it.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Come on, Kent,” the officer chided. Kent got up and walked towards the door.

“Oh, Boss!”


“That noise… was it like, super high, or just kind of high?”

“I don’t know, it… uh, I could barely hear the thing, so I guess it was pretty up there. Why?”

“No reason, just curious.”

“Huh. Gotta go, I’ll talk to you in a couple days.”

“Yeah, see ya Boss.”


“Take care Will, get some rest.”

“No promises.”

The door closed behind him, and they were left alone.

“What are you up to?”

“Me? Why should I be up to anything? I’m the one with common sense, remember?”

“Except you kept asking about--”

“Yeah, I know what I asked about, how about shutting up?”

“Jerry, you’re not…”

“Look, frequencies can be countered. That reduces the risk.”

“What are you gonna do?”

Jerry cleared his throat and swiveled back and forth in his chair. “I’m only gonna do what he asked me to, Sarah.”

A door creaked open behind him, and Jerry was sure there was an officer waiting there to take him back to his ‘accommodations’.

“I’m gonna think about it.”

Chapter 4

Okay, so the DP is for Jerry this time around. He obviously has some idea, but what will he ultimately decide? Will he take a chance and try to sneak off with a sample of the specimen, or will he play it safe and let the deal go through after a couple more days? Or some third option? Maybe he does nothing at all about the sample at this time, but explores different kinds of options first... you decide.

Apologies to everyone who voted for getting a sample. This was really the only way to sensibly resolve the tie, since seeing them and trying to get the sample would have required different actions. At least this way he expressed the idea.
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Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:30 am    Post subject:  

Something tells me that it has to be to get near the sample. We know he's sensitive to various frequencies due to his fillings. We weren't in his head the first chapter, but why else would he specifically ask about the high frequency - other than perhaps he'd experienced it in the sub when Kent had gone to have a look?

Jerry's obviously the man for the job, he's quick, and can act on a moment's impulse.

Go for the sample, I say.

I enjoyed that chapter!

(edit to add) Wait a minute. Jerry and Sarah went into the sample room and dragged Kent away from the rock? And they didn't feel any ill effects themselves? I'm interested about this high frequency sound. I think Jerry is the man to get to the bottom of it.

Oh yeah. Was meaning to ask - when do we learn about the effect that lever of yours had on this SG? :-D
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Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:19 pm    Post subject:  

Soon Crunchy, soon. I'm still working out the finer points of the chaos you created!

I wanted to run something else by everyone, too. I'm getting a little concerned that if I don't strongly bring the focus back to Kent, that Jerry could take over the story. His character is coming easier for me, for some reason, but our main character is Kent. So I'm not sure if I should just let the writing go where it goes, or if I should actively bring the focus back to Kent, and squash any attempts by Jerry to steal the spotlight. Not sure how I feel about it either way, but I would very much like feedback and opinions from you all, to sort of gauge where we want to take this SG.

Also, my DPs have been admittedly narrow, even for beginning DPs, so I'm also thinking about broadening this one by adding an additional DP about what kind of excuse Kent gives to stall off Rafi and his boss's offer. What do you guys think?
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Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:12 pm    Post subject:  

I think that you could make it a multiple focus story. I mean, all three of the characters are important, in their thoughts and opinions, and at this point the only reason you could call Kent the main character is that he went and picked up the rock.

Sure that's a huge overbearing reason, but you could increase the importance of the other two, making them other main characters, or at least very strong supporting ones.

Or you could fade Kent into the background as just the guy who first picked up the rock. (i suggest having him get taken out by the dudes with the money; they'd obviously be impatient for him to get out of the way, and killing him, while messier, is faster.)
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Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:45 pm    Post subject:  

So first let me say that the "fillings phenomena" was a stroke of genius storytelling, its such a unique thing that makes the reader much more interested in what in the heck is going on with that in itself.

As for you concern about the spotlight going away from Kent to Jack. Like Deadman said, considering that it is early in the story there is no shame in slowly moving the spotlight over. There have been several books that I have read where in the beginning you think that the main character is one person but by the middle you realize that it was someone else entirely. With that said, if you are really concerned about it you can take the approach of having alternate "point of view" changes, where you are in the head of one character for one chapter and then in another for the next. Its more work but you don't lose anyone and if the others aren't working out you can just fade out the frequency of the switches. I hope any of that helps.

Good stuff!
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Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:33 am    Post subject:  

Dammit, and I was going to nominate Jerry as best supporting character for the IFYs, lol!*

First let me ask - would you have been so concerned about switching the main character to Jerry if you hadn't have done so much work on the pre-storygame polls? From memory at least two of them determined Kent's sex and his drive (money)

Whether or not you decide to switch to Jerry bear in mind that those two pre-polls will still have an effect on the story. His lust for money probably spawned the introduction of the 700million cheque, and influenced the way you've set up the organisations and the characters within them, which are already establishing themselves well.

Having done a similar character switch (spookily enough at the end of chapter 3!) the one thing I would suggest is if you want to keep Kent in the picture, perhaps just do the occasional interlude of what's going on in his world every few chapters. It's something I wish I had done, because now my 'main' character has made a reappearance after 30 or so chapters, I think most people have forgotten who he is. :D

*still going to, though.
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Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:03 am    Post subject:  

Deady, I find it very interesting that not only could you let go of the 'main' character so easily, but outright suggest his death as a plot device. Is he not interesting, or difficult to connect with? Or is it just that he hasn't been developed far enough yet? What about the rest of you, anyone else feel this way?

Excellency, glad I can still surprise you once in a while, though I wouldn't go as far as calling the fillings thing genius. They started as an interesting way to begin his section of the chapter, and may or may not grow into something else... this whole frequency thing with the sound the specimen made is happily coincident.

Crunchy, yeah, you definitely nailed it, one of my major concerns was not wanting to go back on the whole point of the polls. But you also made the good point that our story has it's beginning and where it goes from here should not necessarily be limited by a fear of changing things, especially when inspiration strikes.

Ok, well my biggest concern was that anyone would be bothered by Jerry having so much focus, and as long as no one does, I will mostly continue on as I was, and hopefully we'll all be a little surprised to see what happens. I haven't written off Kent yet, I need more time with his character before I know what I want to do with him. He's there, he's just... being difficult.

Even though no one discussed it, I am officially going to have two polls anyway. The first will be for Jerry and his obvious choices (so far), are:

Run with his idea and try to get a sample
Let Kent make the deal without a sample

His less obvious choices might be something along the lines of trying to report this whole sordid affair to someone outside D.O., seeking out an informant, trying to bust out of the place, etc...

The second poll for Kent will deal with how he stalls while Jerry is figuring this stuff out. So far, the only obvious choice is to pretend to be holding out for more money. Other choices could be demanding to meet Rafi's employer, demanding further incentives, getting assurances in writing, etc.

There. Now you've got a few more things to talk about.

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Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:22 am    Post subject:  

Actually I got more of a buzz from Jerry than I did either Kent or Sarah. He's the 'Spock' of the crew technically speaking, and Kent's not living up to his Kirk role, because we made him get too close to the sample. Kent's main drive is money, as you say, so he may even turn out more of an anti-hero, spurred on by greed.

Now what I want to know is, its all very well Kent walking in without anyone guarding him and it is also rather interesting that he as an alert to when the intercom starts working. Even more of a pisser for Jerry and Sarah for him to walk out saying 'I'm not staying' - like, its up to you guys to find a sample that you don't even know the whereabouts of - chip a piece off it without getting hurt, bust your way out of here etc. etc. - where on earth is he off to anyway? Back to hospital?

Maybe while Jerry is cogitating in his cell he starts to - rightly or wrongly - resent his boss. It is a tall order after all. Perhaps he might think that the risk attached to whether the 700million was real (and if they'd try and assassinate them afterwards to keep quiet) is Kent's problem. Perhaps the best thing he can do is break out and find a good lawyer - and not tell Kent what he's up to. Perhaps he really does think that Kent is losing his marbles.

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Joined: 24 May 2006
Posts: 1005

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:21 pm    Post subject:  

It's not that i don't find our main character undeveloped or any such thing, just that i believe that the other characters could also be developed and that all characters should be developed. I enjoy the kinds of stories where the fact that you know someone's name or backstory doesn't mean they won't be killed horribly soon.

And it would make sense for him to be killed by the company trying to bribe him.
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Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 471
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:10 pm    Post subject:  

Quote: Excellency, glad I can still surprise you once in a while, though I wouldn't go as far as calling the fillings thing genius. They started as an interesting way to begin his section of the chapter, and may or may not grow into something else... this whole frequency thing with the sound the specimen made is happily coincident.

Well if it's not genius storytelling then it's a genius use of a storytelling device. And of course this is just one opinion but if you don't develop it further, spotlighting this little quirk at "plot appropriate" times can't hurt.
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Joined: 16 Oct 2004
Posts: 5215
Location: UK

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:04 am    Post subject:  

Aaah, I do like settling down and reading a S17 chapter. Thoroughly enjoyable as per usual, Reiso. As has been the discussion afterward.

A quickie before I get into the meat of the stuff :

Quote: and with his mind being his only advantage, we was going to take any victory he could.


There's a book series, by George Martin I think, called A Song of Ice and Fire. No other series I've read comes close to this guy's ability to build up vivid 3D characters and then chop them down without warning. Every chapter is from another's point of view and on all sides of the story. There's no 'goodies' and 'baddies' as such, although in the first 2 books you might call some worse than others. One of my all time favourite series.

So it should be no surprise that I have no problem you switching to Jerry, switching back to Kent, rotating through them, or leaping to Sarah or even Rafi. I tend to like a switch in point of view, so long as it is well done (and in this chapter it was). My 'The Time Before' made it a feature of the story to have two points of view, (becoming three later on) and in my latest story the next chapter is going to be from inside the head of a supporting character (incidently Jerry's competitor for the best supporting character IFY - it seems the pressure is on for me to get my chapter out so Mart stands a chance against Jerry ;) ).

You seem to be feeling it for Jerry right now - so run with it.

I have to point out though, I would guess the reason you're finding Jerry easier is because he has (from what I know) more of you in him than Kent. Kent is far from the 'you' I know, so I'm not surprised he's more of a stretch to write for.

And for that reason I would highly recommend not killing him off. Jerry is great, and I want him to stay around. But Kent is where you're going to grow as a writer.


Ok - the decision points.

Jerry : Getting out his 'accomodations' should be possible. Lurking by the side of the door, his 'half second' filling warning should be enough to alert him and make ready to strike a guard bringing food in or whatever. Hopefully that would buy him time to scout around for the rock.

I'm not sure how he plans on 'countering' the frequency. From my basic knowledge, a frequency can be countered by its inverse wave - they hit and cancel each other out. I can accept Jerry might be smart enough to recognise the frequency and even work out what the inverse is. But how he plans to produce the inverse I'm not sure. I doubt he could do it vocally, as he'd need to stop to breath at the very least, during which time he'd be vulnerable. I'm sure our author had a cunning plan though.

As for Kent's excuse for more time. Demanding to see the 'boss' sounds like fun but ultimately futile I believe. Kent has demonstrated he is clear minded enough to realise the charges against them are trumped up and basically nothing. Rafi must know this. But should he think Kent is actually thinking pretty straight and realises this he might just switch to more brute force ways to get what he wants.

I think Kent needs to act vulnerable. Appear aggitated, anxious and still a little foggy. Beg for reassurances, written or whatever, that the legal mess will be taken care of. This should dupe Rafi nicely, and thinking himself so smart for fooling Kent, perhaps make him more willing to be patient and see his current plan through, even if it requires a few more days waiting. Killing people is so messy afterall ;)

Keep it coming Reiso,

Happy Writing :)
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Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 471
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:19 am    Post subject:  

Quote: There's a book series, by George Martin I think, called A Song of Ice and Fire. No other series I've read comes close to this guy's ability to build up vivid 3D characters and then chop them down without warning. Every chapter is from another's point of view and on all sides of the story. There's no 'goodies' and 'baddies' as such, although in the first 2 books you might call some worse than others. One of my all time favourite series.

I was going to reference Martin also, for it is on of my favorites and I know Reiso enjoys them as well. The only reason I didn't is because I'm always referencing that peice of work, so I'm glad you did it for me Smee. I knew I could count on you.
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Joined: 27 Oct 2004
Posts: 917
Location: Western North America

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:27 pm    Post subject:  

Hahahahaa, Martin. Don't get me started on that guy. I go back and forth between loving his work (for the characters he creates), and hating his work (for mercilessly cutting them down). Sometimes I wonder if he actually has a plan at all, or if he is just stringing us along to sell as many books as possible. But what can you do? If the writing is good, it's good.

I'll change that we to he--thanks for catching it Smee, and I'm sure with a deliberate and focused treatment of Mart in the coming TW chapter, that he'll more than be able to give Jerry a run for his money. I mean, come on, he's in space, and possibly some kind of alien. That immediately makes him at least 30% more interesting, right?

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Joined: 16 Oct 2004
Posts: 5215
Location: UK

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 2:18 am    Post subject:  

Ooooh shiny new forum!* :D

* Thanks to Crunchy. Damn work proxies! It's almost like they don't want me on the internet! ;)
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Joined: 27 Oct 2004
Posts: 917
Location: Western North America

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 8:24 am    Post subject:  

Ok folks, bear with me while I re-organize and update links. Smee and Crunchy; good Mayor/Vice Mayor teamwork on getting this up so fast despite work servers! Yay us!
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