Young Writers Society



(LMSVI) The Ruptured Shadow, Chapter 2.3

by KateHardy


“I have no doubt Agent Hardy,” said Curly Hair. “Well. I’m reporting a problem from Section X4 – C.”

“Alright. That’s. That’s a boring one, although interesting…” She chuckled. “…if you were there a few centuries ago. Although you might call it more terrifying than interesting really. Those creatures are an acquired taste.”

Curly Hair exchanged a horrified look with Glasses, their earlier laughter now long gone at that opening from Agent Hardy.

Maybe noticing their silence Agent Hardy continued. “Sorry I’m probably boring you with those things. You don’t need to keep that nonsense in mind.”

Curly Hair and Glasses exchanged another look.

“So about that,” began Curly Hair, “we’re calling you because that section of the map that’s been abandoned since forever just lit up with a notification. The map is back on the active setting and there where sounds I have never heard before coming from the console.”

“Well… I jinxed that one hard,” said Agent Hardy. “Don’t worry. I’ll send someone to look at it. Special attention does have to be given if only to verify if this warning is legitimate. Right. Right. Don’t worry about what happens next unless the people I send actually tell you to be worried about it. Stay put.” The line went dead.

“Well… I guess we know for sure that we did the right thing,” said Curly Hair, with a shrug.

“Yeah,” said Glasses. “Let’s keep an eye on that console. I have a feeling this isn’t going to end well.”

“You said that about Glen’s birthday party.”

“I have bad feeling a lot okay, get used to it.”

Curly Hair rolled his eyes. “Come on.”

(Serafina)

Serafina almost sighed in relief when Ray cleared his throat behind them. She was starting to feel more and more like a fool the longer she ended up looking at the machines in front of her. It wasn’t like she didn’t know what they did or why they were here. She was fully aware of exactly what each of them was capable of. That was part of the problem though. It was all familiar things she’d seen a million times in practice. When Ray said this was a low tier room he wasn’t kidding around. Either that or the agency wasn’t as high tech as everyone expected it to be. It was definitely not the latter, not if that door from earlier was any indicator.

She was broken out of her spiral from the second clearing of Ray’s throat. She whirled around to see two new people standing by him. She looked around for Safi and nearly jumped back to see her standing quietly to Serafina. How was this girl so clumsy but at the same time so quiet when she wanted to be. She was also staring at the newcomers.

Ray, on seeing that he had both of their attention, stepped forward.

“Ladies, let me introduce you to your companions for the next… well that depends on how well you do.” He waved a hand in the direction of the two.

“That’s Stacey Laarve,” he said pointing to a bespectacled girl that looked like she might somehow be shorter than Safi.

“And we have Jacob Verle.” The other one was of more normal proportions and surprisingly thin and wiry looking. No one she’d so far was that skinny. It was impossible to be that skinny when you went through the academy.

Both of them nodded in their direction. Serafina nodded in response, resisting the urge to glance at Safi to gauge her reaction.

“And you two, meet Serafina Gianova and Safiana Vialena. Our new trainees. Have fun. Do not send anyone to their deaths. And call me if anything need clarifying.” With that Ray proceeded to walk out.

The two agents exchanged a glance with each other before they walked over to them.

“I guess you guys had a bit of time to get a feel for things,” started Stacey.

Serafina nodded. “It’s pretty…”

“…much identical to what they have at the academy.”

“Yeahhhhh,” said Serafina.

“Yeah, first thought everyone has trust me. I think they just want to make sure there’s no actual learning curve when you first get into the job. Not the sort of thing where you can afford to make mistakes you know?”

“Right.”

“So, I go by Jake,” started Jacob, holding a handout to shake. Serafina took it. It was a firm handshake, not what she’d expected given the whole skinny frame situation.

“Serafina,” she said.

That started off the process of several more handshakes until everyone had been properly introduced to each other.

“So… I suppose we should be getting started,” said Stacey, moving to one of the machines.

“Yes. We probably just wasted like ten minutes there, “said Jake, “not that it matters too much out here. Barely anything actually happens in these sectors, but then punctuality is something they count.”

“Right,” said Serafina. “That certainly sounds like something that they would count here.”

Safi didn’t add anything. So far the only words she’d managed were her own name earlier at the handshakes.

“This here is my station,” said Stacey pointing to the one she’d moved to. It was the one right at the front on the left.

Jake pointed to the one next to it. “And naturally that one’s mine. We’ve got six more in the room, so feel free to pick whichever one you want, just make sure it’s the one you really want because you don’t get to change it.”

Stacey rolled her eyes. “He’s joking. You can whichever one you want whenever you want provided no one else is using it.”

“Fine. That is true. Although you probably should not be changing machines like every thirty minutes, that can get a bit annoying, and it also wastes a ton of time.”

“I pick that one,” said Safi, speaking up finally. It was the machine smack in the middle of the room. Serafina raised an eyebrow. That was very random. Unless Safi knew something Serafina didn’t.

“And I’ll take that one,” she said, jumping in right away and pointing to the one next to Safi. The girl didn’t say anything and the other two nodded.

“Cool. You guys know how to get it started and stuff right?” asked Stacey.

Serafina nodded.

“Right, let’s all get that done then. We can discuss other strategies once its all up and running.”


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157 Reviews


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Sat Dec 17, 2022 3:51 am
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Spearmint wrote a review...



Hiya, mint here with another review from team Chicken Heist! =P I'm still very curious what exactly this job entails... will this group be the ones sent to investigate the warning? And what do those machines do? >.>

She chuckled. “…if you were there a few centuries ago. Although you might call it more terrifying than interesting really. Those creatures are an acquired taste.”

Kate is totally my favorite character so far. xD She has a quirky sense of humor, yet you can tell that she's competent. (Not to mention, her blue hair sounds fabulous.)

“Yeah,” said Glasses. “Let’s keep an eye on that console. I have a feeling this isn’t going to end well.”

“You said that about Glen’s birthday party.”

“I have bad feeling a lot okay, get used to it.”

I feel like one area you really shine in is dialogue-- what the characters say sound realistic and are fun to read at the same time. Also, Glasses is quite relatable. xD

Serafina almost sighed in relief when Ray cleared his throat behind them. She was starting to feel more and more like a fool the longer she ended up looking at the machines in front of her.

I'd appreciate some more description of these machines! Right now, the default image my brain is giving me is a bunch of gray boxes, lol. Are these machines like computers, or do they have random tools sticking out of them, or are they like sleek screens? It'd be pretty neat if Serafina could mention some of the purposes of the machines too! (Unless you're keeping what they do a secret for some reason, of course.)

“Ladies, let me introduce you to your companions for the next… well that depends on how well you do.”

That's... not ominous at all... >.>

That started off the process of several more handshakes until everyone had been properly introduced to each other.

I'm imagining each of them shaking hands with each of the others, like a counting problem. xD (If four people each shake hands with each other, the total number of handshakes would be six.) This is how much competition math has influenced my brain, haha.

Random thought, but I'm kind of wondering about each of these characters' backstories now. Where were Safi and Serafina before they went to the academy? I'm not doing very well at including backstory in my novel either, but just something to keep in mind. xD

“I pick that one,” said Safi, speaking up finally. It was the machine smack in the middle of the room. Serafina raised an eyebrow. That was very random. Unless Safi knew something Serafina didn’t.

Ohoho... Well, if the POV switches every other chapter, then it looks like I'll be finding out just how much Safi knows next... :D

Thanks for the great chapter, and I hope you have a terrific day/night! =D




KateHardy says...


Thank youu for the review!!

xD I will definitely need to sit down and figure out what exactly those machines look like at some point, they are gray boxes to me too :D



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Fri Dec 09, 2022 11:02 am
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi again Harry!

First Impressions

This chapter leaves me feeling excited. It looks like there’s two things about to happen: 1. The mishap in the control room might spiral or get resolved, 2. The test in the situation room is about to start. I could definitely relate to Serafina feeling suspicious. Just like in a school exam, if things look too easy, it’s a sign that they’re about to get much harder or weirder <.<

Plot and Characters

“Well… I jinxed that one hard,” said Agent Hardy. “Don’t worry. I’ll send someone to look at it. Special attention does have to be given if only to verify if this warning is legitimate. Right. Right. Don’t worry about what happens next unless the people I send actually tell you to be worried about it. Stay put.” The line went dead.
“Well… I guess we know for sure that we did the right thing,” said Curly Hair, with a shrug.

It’s a bit hard to guess at this point what the problem they’re going to fix is. Agent Hardy seems like a mysterious character from the dialogue (the one about ice cream in the previous chapter and also them talking about the strange creatures that were in this control room many years ago?). It sounds a little ominous. I’m expecting that if a character says they’ll notify you if there’s trouble . . . there will be trouble.
Safi didn’t add anything. So far the only words she’d managed were her own name earlier at the handshakes.

With all the quiet Safi parts this chapter, I was theorising that she must be thinking/ analysing something really hard or getting nervous about it or both – just that it’s all in her mind at the moment. I’m very curious about why she went for the machine in the centre. I would hope it’s some cool strategy she’s planning, or that the other two were being deceptive when they said that it doesn’t matter which machine you pick and Safi figured it out.
I like how Serafina thinks Safi chose that machine for a good reason and decides to try and follow her as closely as possible. After all, they did set a door on fire together with Safi’s perfume.

Improvements and Suggestions

“I have no doubt Agent Hardy,” said Curly Hair. “Well. I’m reporting a problem from Section X4 – C.”
“Alright. That’s. That’s a boring one, although interesting…” She chuckled. “…if you were there a few centuries ago. Although you might call it more terrifying than interesting really. Those creatures are an acquired taste.”

I’m not sure how tense the scene with the operators ‘should’ be, since like I said I have no clue what the emergency/ danger is going to turn out to be. The aside about the “creatures” would be a bit of an interruption though if this was supposed to be a tense/ actiony scene. I wonder if there’s a way to make it shorter or blend it into background a bit more?

Sci-fi Part

I like that we’re getting to see at least a simulation (?) of what the secret agency does! It’s also neat to see what some of their decision-making is like.
“Yeah, first thought everyone has trust me. I think they just want to make sure there’s no actual learning curve when you first get into the job. Not the sort of thing where you can afford to make mistakes you know?”

This seems very sensible – got to keep the universe safe after all! I like that there’s this more grounded aspect to them underneath the quirky façade.

Overall

I like the balance of information: since it’s a short chapter part, you’ve wisely avoided revealing too much at once! The only ‘new’ suggestion I’d make would be to consider if the comic relief bit in the dialogue I quoted fits with the tone you were going for with that scene. I’m interested to see how Safi and Serafina fare in their test.

Hope this helps and let me know if you’d like more feedback!
-Lim




KateHardy says...


Thank youu for the review!!



Liminality says...


You're very welcome!



KateHardy says...


:)




Il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux (One must imagine Sisyphus happy).
— Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus