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(LMSVI) The Ruptured Shadow, Chapter 3.2

by KateHardy


Sally grumbled. “You never have to.”

Ray didn’t respond to that, walking towards the door. “You know which room to go to.”

“Regrettably I do. You’ve disturbed my day off multiple times now.”

Ray rolled his eyes. “No one ever guaranteed that those days would actually be off.”

“I know, I know.” Sally waved her hand in front of her face. She needed this perfectly sound logic out of her face now. She had some newbies to terrify.

“Try not to terrify them,” said Ray as he walked out.

“I wasn’t…” Sally shot out. Every time. Every single time. One day she’d keep her mischievous smirk hidden well enough. One day.

Shrugging as she shook a theatrical fist in Ray’s direction, Sally got up from her chair. It was time to haul herself in the direction of the new trainees and try her hardest to look alive and non-sleep deprived. Thankfully the caffeine was already working its magic. All she needed was a cold splash of water from the nearest water fountain and she’d be as good as new.

With that goal in mind, Sally set off. Much like she had grumbled about earlier, this was far from her first time picking up this particular shift although usually the agency wasn’t simultaneously chasing down a mysterious problem at the same time. Maybe she should actually avoid terrifying the newbies this time.

She still hadn’t come to a sufficient conclusion on that matter when she opened the door to the room they’d be in.

Immediately four faces turned towards her. She grumbled only slightly as she got a glimpse of Jake and Stacey. They were good kids. Just not good enough. She immediately snorted at her thoughts. Kids. They were hardly a year younger than her. What was becoming of her?

The two new faces were much more interesting. She recognized one pretty quickly. Safiana Vialena. That name had made a few rounds for graduating that young. For someone who was supposed to be a terrifying force of nature she looked much more like someone better suited to be a pre schoolteacher. That was not the sort of face that could terrify your neighbor’s cat, much less a seasoned killer. Sally knew better than to judge from that though. Rumors didn’t form in these channels without good reason.

The other one was different. Instantly Sally could tell this one had seen the uglier side of life. She would not be one of the two who got to stay behind in this room.

“Hello. Were any of you expecting me?” asked Sally, keeping her voice casual.

All of them shook their heads, as they should have.

“Good. No one expects me,” said Sally, plastering a sufficiently evil smirk onto her face. “That aside. I’m here to look over some potential training here. Jake and Stacey you two already know the drill, but I’ve heard we’ve got some fresh blood today.”

Safiana squeaked. An honest to goodness mouse like squeak. Who was this girl? And more importantly did her powers involve mind control? There was no other explanation Sally could see for those rumors from earlier.

The other girl got to her feet immediately, walking over. “Serafina Gianova.”

Sally nodded. “Sally.”

If the girl was even remotely surprised Sally couldn’t tell. This one was very good. “And you miss?”

Even if she knew the girl’s name, that was just a matter of principle.

Safiana stood up, a little shaky on her legs as she walked over to offer a hand. Sally shook it with some apprehension and had to immediately hide here surprise. Damn the girl had a grip and a half. She could give Anna a run for her money.

“Safi,” she supplied. Her voice matched the face and the expressions, but Sally had to bite back a proud smile at the introduction. The firm handshake, the use of the nickname, this girl was playing games like nobody’s business. The rumors did have substance after all.

Sally nodded. “Wonderful. All right everyone back to your seats. We’ll start with the very, very basic stuff. Well, not like I’m going to go over it or anything. If you’re sitting here, you would’ve spent plenty of hours in simulation rooms identical to this.”

Everyone nodded.

“Yeah, so sit down. I’ll talk you through well whatever comes up. If you’re lucky there won’t be any and you can all spend the day figuring out where exactly the mess hall is, trust me that is a much more vital task that you might think.”

No one batted an eye, besides of course Safi who proceeded to make some sort of high-pitched squeal of surprise before a very poor attempt at masking it.

Everyone resumed their seats as Sally walked up to the massive screen in the center. Thankfully the thing was currently on. They’d remembered to do that at least. That was always a positive sign.

Currently it was dark, as this part of the map usually tended to be. These things didn’t have any direct links to sensors in the field. All the alerts that came to this particular situation room had to be routed through another sector after they’d been identified as menial enough…correction… safe enough to be handed to the newbies.

Sally changed a glance back at the new squad. Everyone was looking intently at the screen, or possibly her, Sally could never quite tell the difference.

“Alright you’re lucky, it won’t be li….” A loud beep interrupted her. Sally sighed. She just had to go and jinx it. Of course. Why ever not? Resisting the urge to mutter a choice word or two, Sally continued. “Correction, You’re unlucky. Get ready. We might have to actually get out on the field here. It varies from mission to mission of course, but there’s no telling with these things.

On that note, Sally spun around to look at what exactly the notification was. She raised her eyebrows. Purple. That was rare. Normally they only get yellow class anomalies down in here. The number of teams tied up in whatever chaotic nonsense was happening at the moment had to be ridiculous for a purple class to sneak down here. Either that or someone in the middle of whatever stress that caused had made a mistake. Whatever it was, Sally just shrugged, tapping the dot on the screen. They could probably handle a purple class.

She chanced a look back at the newbies. Now wasn’t that an enlightening picture. Stacey looked on the verge of screaming. Jake was squinting like he was trying to get his eyes to refresh their image. Serafina looked bored. Bored. That girl was something else when it came to emotions.

And then there was Safi. That was the look a five-year-old gives a chocolate cake. Sally didn’t know if she should be happy about the enthusiasm or genuinely terrified. She decided to go with happy for now. It was the safer thought process to be wandering down.

They could definitely handle a purple class.

Sally turned back to the screen, reading through the details. Decoding the coded jargon, she mentally took the important things down. Murder. Mysterious Circumstances. Magic. Odd Patterns. Oh, this was very, very doable. It wasn’t an active situation, just some good old fashioned detective work. Who had even marked that as a purple class. Maybe that was the mistake. A yellow class being accidentally tagged as a purple class.

Just as she was about to announce that particular idea the door behind her opened. Sally spun around on instinct, expecting Ray to be the one standing there, probably there to check if she’d gone through with her threat of terror after all.

Instead, she took a double take as the ridiculously tall form of one Scillianna Sylvianna, officially the most unpronounceable name of this entire agency made its way in. Anna walked up to Sally, and she had to try very hard not to shiver as she looked up at the giant.

It wasn’t enough that the woman was a solid seven feet tall, she could give the Hulk insecurities with the amount of muscle she possessed. Sally tried her hardest not to make a peep.

“Sally. Hii. I’ve been looking for you,” she announced. Sally was never, never ever going to get used to how friendly and soft that damn voice sounded. It did not belong coming out of a body like that.

Sally took some comfort in the very clear squeak by one Ms. Vialena from behind her. At least she wasn’t alone in this.

“Anna, to what do I owe the pleasure?” asked Sally once she finally managed to get herself completely under control. One day she was going to casually high five Anna and not freak out. That day was extremely far away, but that was something to worry about at a later date.

“Its about that actually,” said Anna, pointing straight over her head towards the screen. Sally found herself twisting into an even more uncomfortable position than her current one to look at it and frown.

“Huh?” came her highly intelligent response.

“That one’s mildly urgent. And this is the only set of agents we can call, so you need to suit up, grab two of this lot and get over to the other situation room.”

“Wait what?” asked Sally, the shock of that statement finally snapping her completely out of her Anna induced trance.

“I think you heard me, Sally. I’m not joking. This is pretty bad. The sector lighting up is just twisting so many things into a mess right now. The whole agency is like the spool of wires in one of those old supply closets.”

“Right. Right. Right. Because today of all days is the best for that to happen.”

Anna shrugged. “Bad guys don’t take days off or consider our feelings on literally anything.” She placed a massive hand on Sally’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. We’ll be fine. Get over to the room okay. And bring two of them. Its their lucky day, I guess. Especially if we succeed.”


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Sat Dec 17, 2022 9:52 pm
Spearmint wrote a review...



Okay, I'm running out of things to say in this intro paragraph, so I'll just list some of my favorite parts of this chapter. xD First off-- Anna! Glad to see our lovable giant here. :D And it looks like things are picking up... While it looks like the new recruits won't be the ones investigating that initial alert, I'm excited to read about how their mission will go! (Will Safi reveal her supposedly terrifying abilities?? 0.0) Anyways, now for some specifics...

“No one ever guaranteed that those days would actually be off.”

T-T Actually, Ray, I'm pretty sure normal companies do basically guarantee that off days will be off... But I suppose things are different here. (RIP Sally-- here's to hoping she gets a nice long rest after this, or is paid for overtime, at least.)

“I wasn’t…” Sally shot out. Every time. Every single time. One day she’d keep her mischievous smirk hidden well enough. One day.

XD I like how this establishes that Sally and Ray know each other pretty well. It adds to the view of Sally as an experienced agent!

Shrugging as she shook a theatrical fist in Ray’s direction,

Super small thing, but I'm having trouble visualizing Sally doing both of these actions at once... Maybe just shaking her fist would work? Or she could shake her fist, then shrug?

The firm handshake, the use of the nickname, this girl was playing games like nobody’s business. The rumors did have substance after all.

Now I'm even more curious what Safi's thinking about all of this... How many more perspectives do we need to cycle through before we get to Safi again? >.>

you would’ve spent plenty of hours in simulation rooms identical to this.”

I thought it was called a situation room?

She chanced a look back at the newbies. Now wasn’t that an enlightening picture. Stacey looked on the verge of screaming. Jake was squinting like he was trying to get his eyes to refresh their image. Serafina looked bored. Bored. That girl was something else when it came to emotions.

And then there was Safi. That was the look a five-year-old gives a chocolate cake. Sally didn’t know if she should be happy about the enthusiasm or genuinely terrified. She decided to go with happy for now. It was the safer thought process to be wandering down.

They could definitely handle a purple class.

I love this. XD I do wonder how Stacey graduated, though, if she's that terrified every time a situation comes up... But Safi's reaction is the real stand-out here. Ahh I can't wait to see how she does in the field! :]

“That one’s mildly urgent. And this is the only set of agents we can call, so you need to suit up, grab two of this lot and get over to the other situation room.”

Okay, so this part wasn't completely clear to me. What was Anna pointing to? At first, I assumed it was the purple dot, but then it seemed like she told Sally to split up the recruits. So were there two alerts?? Some clarification or more description would be appreciated here! ^^

“I think you heard me, Sally. I’m not joking. This is pretty bad. The sector lighting up is just twisting so many things into a mess right now.

Ooh okay, I think this helps with the context thing I mentioned in the previous review! If I had to guess, I'd say this kind of thing happens once every few months, or maybe a couple times a year. They don't seem to be in full-on panic mode yet, but it does seem busier than usual.

Anyways, thanks for the fun chapter part, and onward to the next one! =D




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Sun Dec 11, 2022 1:23 pm
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi Harry! Lim here with another review!

First Impressions

I really like Sally and Anna. Sally’s POV is interesting and lively – I kind of like the feeling that I’m somewhat ‘in the know’ since I’m reading from the perspective of someone who’s already been working for the secret agency, even though in actuality there are plenty of parts where what’s going on is still being kept mysterious xD I also like Anna’s character – I think I’ve mentioned in a previous review that I like characters that incorporate contrasting traits, like her imposing build versus her soft voice and demeanour.

Plot and Characters

Rumors didn’t form in these channels without good reason.

It was interesting finding out there were rumours going around about Safi. That would make sense of why Serafina seems to intimidated by her! Now I wonder why the rumours started in the first place <.< Maybe Safi really does have a scary side? Or did she plant the rumours herself so people wouldn’t mess with her?
“Hello. Were any of you expecting me?” asked Sally, keeping her voice casual.
All of them shook their heads, as they should have.
“Good. No one expects me,” said Sally, plastering a sufficiently evil smirk onto her face.

Hehe – this one got a good laugh out of me!
I like that there’s a rating system introduced for anomalies. I wonder how exactly purple relates to yellow? I’m guessing purple is more dangerous than yellow, but I’m not sure by how much exactly. I guess we’ll find out! :D
And then there was Safi. That was the look a five-year-old gives a chocolate cake. Sally didn’t know if she should be happy about the enthusiasm or genuinely terrified. She decided to go with happy for now. It was the safer thought process to be wandering down.

What *is* going on in Safi’s brain actually xD Was she worrying about not having a chance to prove herself and that’s why she seems happy at the challenge? Or is she actually not happy and Sally’s just reading her face wrong? So many questions I won’t have the answers to until we get back to Safi’s POV, I guess!
I kind of noticed a pattern here about luck, lack thereof, and jinxing things.
“Alright you’re lucky, it won’t be li….” “Correction, You’re unlucky.

And
Its their lucky day, I guess. Especially if we succeed.

Seems kind of fitting for an organisation trying to contain anomalies? Since you need quite a bit of chance to get an anomaly c:

Dialogue

I didn’t have much to critique or suggest this chapter that I haven’t already mentioned in a previous review, so I thought I’d have a go analysing your dialogue here.
I think the wittiness and jokes in the dialogue makes it seem very energetic and so suitable for action/adventure. It also sounds very much like real conversation, with all of the pauses and filler words involved in that. For example:
“Wonderful. All right everyone back to your seats. We’ll start with the very, very basic stuff. Well, not like I’m going to go over it or anything. If you’re sitting here, you would’ve spent plenty of hours in simulation rooms identical to this.”

Phrases like the stuff I bolded don’t add any ‘information’ per say, but they definitely make the character’s speech sound more natural/ speech-like. I wouldn’t go overboard with them, since this is a novel and not an actual transcript of someone talking, but I think it works in this case!
Somewhere where it would work less well would be if a line of dialogue is supposed to be a dramatic one-liner or a transition from one scene to the next.
“Don’t worry. We’ll be fine. Get over to the room okay. And bring two of them. Its their lucky day, I guess. Especially if we succeed.”

For example, if this continues to be the last line of dialogue in this chapter part, I think it would flow better if the “okay” was cut out, and maybe some of the instructions left unsaid, since they are repeats from a previous line. The “I guess” works well here though, since it shows that “lucky” is kind of dubious :D

Overall

I like that the conflict is starting to develop and the characters are heading to the site of action. There’s also quite a few teasers for future character development or backstory reveals perhaps.

Hope this helps and let me know if you need more feedback!
-Lim




KateHardy says...


Thank youu for the review!! These are all really helpful!!



Liminality says...


Ah yay! Glad to hear :D



KateHardy says...


:D




Percy fell face-first into his pizza.
— Rick Riordan, The Mark of Athena