z
  • Home

Young Writers Society


18+ Violence Mature Content

The Lie that Saved the World Chapter 1: The smoke in the forest

by VengefulReaper


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for violence and mature content.

A/n: This and the next two chapters require some editing with regard to the story. They were written first before I had a plan for the novel. Now that I do, there are some plot holes I need to fix and some things I need to polish up so that they make sense.

Ethan wiped the sweat from his brow as the sun’s heat beat down on him. Three months had passed and nothing had come his way. He had tried to get funding from different organizations but one look at the blemish on his record was enough for them to turn him down. He had one last laboratory he could possibly try his luck at. If that failed, he’d have to drop the project permanently. There would be nothing else he could do.

With not a single cloud in sight to give him shelter, he crossed the noisy street and found himself in the shade of a building that could only be described as pristine. Dressed in a black suit with a maroon tie, Ethan looked up at the tower. Alliance Laboratories and University. It shot up into the sky, Ethan needing to lift his head up to an uncomfortable angle to see its tip. He couldn’t imagine a laboratory better than this. Five stories of Labs, and the rest offices. It was one of the Big Three of science academia.

A partially working, yet inefficient design of his invention without Secronium sat sealed in a metal container with a lock. An inkling of Ethan’s soul told him that there was a chance for him to get in. An inkling he held onto with all his strength. It was the only thing he had left.

The scientist entered the building, the glass door closing gently behind him. He walked up to a board with a map of the facility telling him what was on each floor.

Consult room 125, the third floor, left-wing, he deduced from the map. He took a quick jog to catch the elevator in time and slipped through the closing doors. He adjusted his tie and tapped his feet, impatiently waiting for the lift to open.

You got this, Ethan, he told himself. He ran through his presentation in his mind, collating all the various interview questions he was asked in the past. His mind overloaded with information, he resorted to clearing his head for the remainder of the trip up the elevator.

Once open, he peaked his head down several hallways looking for the consulting room. Ethan eventually asked a janitor on that floor to direct him and soon found the consulting room. The scientist checked the time. He was ten minutes early. So Ethan took a seat outside the room, waiting for his interviewer to arrive. Sooner than expected, a lady dressed in a suit arrived and invited him in. She introduced herself and they both sat on opposite sides of the table. She put on her spectacles and flicked quickly through her notes.

“Well, Mr. Rider,” she began. “Let’s start with the recent research you’ve conducted.”

Ethan nearly chuckled. It was over before it even began.

***

The scientist relaxed his shoulders the second he exited the room. That was the worst fifteen minutes of his life. It felt more like a cross-examination than an interview. I didn’t think it was possible to sweat that much in an air-conditioned room, he thought walking out of the building.

A growing sense of anxiety filled his stomach the longer he thought about what had just happened. He had nothing to do. No aspirations, no ambitions, no dreams, no purpose. Ethan was nothing more than a piece of paper, at the mercy of the wind, drifting wherever it took him. What did he want to do before his mother died? He couldn’t remember.

Could he just stand every day cooking the same dishes for the same people over and over again for the next three years, trapped in a mundane cycle? He felt as if everyone around him was moving forward, yet he was trapped in the same position, unable to accomplish a single thing.

The anxiety grew, his doubt fanning its flames. He was afraid. For the first time in his life, he couldn’t control nor could he see where he was going. He could be heading towards heaven or hell and not know which was which until it was too late.

Ethan looked back at the elegant building sparkling against the sunlight. He pulled the schematics out of his bag. A white ream of paper rolled into a cylinder and bound by an elastic band. He unraveled it and looked at his own invention. A beautiful image of his failure.

Ethan rummaged through his pants pocket and pulled out his lighter. A spark and then a small flame ignited at the tip of it. The flame jumped to the paper turning its edges black and slowly fizzling away. The ash piled in his palm and a white sliver of smoke trailed into the midday sky, disappearing before his eyes.

Emptying the palm into the nearest trashcan, he set his sights on the teleporting station standing tall a few streets from him. Closing his eyes for a moment, he exhaled through his nostrils and continued walking. 

As he entered the station, he pulled the card out of his pocket with a picture of his ID imprinted on it. Three months ago, three years would have been too short of life but now... Now it was far too long of a wait. He examined the card. The edge was sharp... Perhaps sharp enough to cut through his skin. Or perhaps his desire for it to be sharp made it seem so. But from inside his gut, a spark of vitality remained. Something inside him wanted to live but he couldn't decipher what that was.

With the crowd of people approaching him, he attempted to slip through the crowded station to reach the terminal he wanted to reach but inevitably bumped into a few people on his way. Rolling his shoulder that had been rammed into by men and women of all sizes, he finally approached the teleporter terminal still confused as to why he was still alive. 

Mr. Singh believed in destiny and at the time Ethan thought it to be foolish, but now... Destiny was all he had. Perhaps he was still alive because he was destined to live. Perhaps there was still hope even though he could not see it. Hope? Ethan questioned. Hope for what?

Teleporting in 3…2…1… Please remain calm and keep your arms inside the terminal!

The machine began to beep rapidly, and the display screen flashed red. Before Ethan could check the message, he vanished from sight as the terminal activated. Not even a moment after his thought, he was deposited 6 feet off the ground and fell clumsily on what was the last thing he thought he’d fall on; snow.

I must’ve hit my head too hard. Snow? In South Africa?

Ethan pulled up his link and turned on his GPS. There was no signal. He held it up in the air hoping to at least load a map to see where he was, but luck was not on his side today. Ethan’s heart sunk into his chest. He could not believe that one swipe of his card had sealed his fate. He didn’t plan on dying today nor was he ready to.

The only places in the world that never had any GPS signal were also the most dangerous parts of the world. The Abandoned Regions. Sites of past wars and battles involving nuclear or biological bombs that left heavy traces of radiation. Spending too much time in any of these regions spelled certain death.

Ethan hugged his body to insulate himself from the icy breeze. He would have never thought he’d freeze to death. He thought he’d die a peaceful death or a swift, painless one. Just atop the base of the hill, he was standing, was a trail of smoke amongst the snow-coated forest. Ethan began to ascend the hill in hope that the smoke would lead him to people, however unlikely that was in this part of the world.

He sank his feet into the thick snow trying to walk up the small, white hill. The cold pierced his clothing, and Ethan could feel every part of his body grow numb. Despite the fierce pain, he couldn’t stop now. He was almost there. He just needed to peek over the hill and walk up to the impenetrable smoke. At the very least, it would be a pleasant place of warmth for him. If he was going to die from radiation poisoning, he’d like to die warm. His head peeped over the hill ever so slightly.

Bang! A blue laser bolt shot past him grazing the left side of his face. The bolt had grazed his vigilant eye, but a graze was enough to render it useless. His vision immediately halved and a fierce wave of pain sharp as a needle’s tip rushed from his eye to his head. The pains crept across the left side of his face as a crack creeps through the glass.

The blaster bolt was the first of a continuous barrage of laser bolts approaching at lightning speed in his direction. Ethan ducked behind the snowy hill. The bolts continued to zip past him. The hissing sound of hydraulic pistons and the crisp zipping of grappling guns rattled Ethan’s alert ears. The shooters ceased fire to reload their used rifles. The ruffling of glossy leaves coupled with the sound of an energy sword being unsheathed came stealthily from deep in the desolate forest.

The unknown shooters flung another relentless barrage of blaster bolts. This time, it was directed toward the depths of the wilted forest. A squad of armed soldiers in exo-suits darted from the treetops towards the shooters. A bulletproof, tinted glass shield covered their faces as they bounced from tree to tree at blistering speeds the eye could barely track.

One of them pierced a shooter’s skull with their grappling gun. He used a thruster on his back to boost himself toward the band of shooters. Another from the squad zig-zagged between the dying trees to avoid the bolts being shot at them. The Exo-suit fired their weapons. Slicing the frail barks of the trees to provide cover on the ground, the trees on either side of Ethan collapsed. Ethan heard the cracking of the bark as two towering stumps fell toward him.

Ethan wasn’t sure where to run, but he knew he desperately needed to use every ounce of energy he had left to run. He picked himself up and tried to escape the plummeting tree. His wounded leg was caught between two branches making him fall to the ground. The prickly thorns from the tree dug deep into his skin. Ethan screeched in pain as he forcibly dragged his foot out. His legs were bleeding and barely functional as the thorns ripped out of his bleeding flesh. The exo-suits that were near him turned sharply to look at him.

Great! Now both of them know I’m here… One of the soldiers closest to Ethan’s position ran over to him searching for his body. Ethan, in desperation, lay flat on the ground vainly attempting to play dead.

Before the soldier could extend a gentle hand to Ethan, his head was blown off by a bolt and was pinned to a tree. The exo-suit, along with the body inside it collapsed to the ground, blood spraying out of his neck like an overflowing fountain. The blood sprayed over Ethan’s body as if it came from a hosepipe.

He tried to move away from the body, but Ethan was barely conscious at this point. He felt as if his entire body was being ripped apart. His helpless legs burned like hell, his fingers were frozen, his ears nearly deaf, his sight blurred, and his head pounded. Ethan was somewhat surprised he nevertheless had a heartbeat.

Shit! I’m going to die.

“Kane is down, John! Kane is down!” shouted a feminine voice from the exo-suit across from Ethan. There was a momentary silence as the lady received orders while taking cover.

A humongous exo-suit that could have passed for a mech, leaped off the parched ground and over the smoke. With the help of a booster and grappling hooks, it skid across the shallow snow throwing two flashbangs into a small cavern where the shooters were hiding. As two of the shooters emerged from the cavern disoriented, he cleaved them in half with his massive energy sword.

The first soldier that had shattered a shooter’s skull with his grappling gun emerged from the raging flames flicking the blood off his gun blade. His exo-suit was dripping with it as he paced towards the rest of his squad. A trail of dismembered bodies trailed him like dominos as the squad regrouped at the cavern.

“Where’s Kane?” asked one of them frantically.

“He’s…dead…” she muttered. “His head was blown off over there.”

The squad ran over with their suits towards Ethan who didn’t possess enough energy to panic. He could indistinctly hear sounds, barely making out what they were saying. He was fading in and out of dull consciousness as he lay helpless on the ground.

“Amber, get this man to base! Now!” screamed the bleeding man.

“John, he’s an outsider. You really want to bring him in?” questioned Breach.

“He’s got radiation poisoning and an open wound in a biohazardous environment. No hospital is going to save this man,” replied John.

“Bu­-“

“Now, Amber!” yelled John.

Ethan felt himself being picked off the ground as he was thrown over Amber’s mighty shoulders.

“Get him home, Amber. We’ll retrieve the data and meet up with you,” John said.

Amber nodded and instantly switched on her backpack. In one swift motion, Amber leaped nimbly off the ground and into the treetops. Using the thrusters on her backpack, she maneuvered herself through the forest and landed at a deserted teleporting terminal just outside the Abandoned Region.

Her exo-suit released steam as the pistons clicked into place and her air thruster powered down. Just before Ethan blacked out Ethan caught a glimpse of a distinctive insignia on the back of Amber’s exo-suit. A roman shield covered in golden feathers that were encased in the medic sign, a red cross. Even in his distressed state, Ethan knew that insignia. He’d seen it every day on his way to and from work. It was on his bedroom window. He saw it every day he entered his office. But what on Earth did they have to do with a high-tech skirmish in the Abandoned Regions? Didn’t the war end? Weren’t they the ones who ended it?

Questions

1. With the extended prologue connecting with the first chapter here, what was your overall impression of the extended prologue? Anything you think should have been there that wasn't or vice versa?

2. Is the change of pace mid-chapter too abrupt?


Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
51 Reviews

Points: 222
Reviews: 51

Donate
Sat Dec 17, 2022 11:12 pm
fantasies wrote a review...



very interesting piece here! i immediately thought of Avatar when i read the first sentence. i’ve never really liked Avatar, but i was into it right away.

i also have a lot of questions. who were the unknown shooters? why were they shooting at him? i have plenty more, but later chapters will most likely answer them.

some mistakes, but the below review explained that. just edit a little!

anyway, i enjoyed this! i’ll definitely read the other chapters. :)




VengefulReaper says...


Thanks for the review Paige! You actually jumped in the middle of things. The novel starts at the chapter titled prologue followed by Chapter 0 and *then* this one %uD83D%uDE05



fantasies says...


ahh that makes sense now%u2026i shall read those!



User avatar
178 Reviews

Points: 34
Reviews: 178

Donate
Wed Mar 23, 2022 7:10 pm
MaybeAndrew wrote a review...



Andrew here with a review! Here to return the favor of the excellent reviews I have gotten from you.
My first impression is that this story is interesting the setting seems cool, and the futuristic tech is fun. Sometimes the wording was a bit clunky, but nothing terrible. I'd just advise taking your time
Into specifics:

The sun rose shyly from the horizon. Its rays scattered across the clear blue sky painting the clouds a bright orange. It had ushered the chirping of birds years ago, but not today. No bird had chirped in years. Not since the nuclear war ended. In fact, much of nature had been destroyed with the nuclear bombs dropped over civilizations. Rainforests were barely stable with the animal life dying out from radiation. The beasts that once roamed the Earth had their utopia ripped from them to serve the whim of men. A tall, brown-haired man with jade-green eyes gazed at the sun through his bedroom window as it greeted the world. Ethan, an MIT graduate, had returned to South Africa. It was here that he joined a relief organization known as The Alliance.

There is always the show don't tell rule in writing, and here you have gone pretty hard on some narrated exposition, just telling us what the basic backstory of the world is. I like that you've slipped it in between two descriptions, that's nice.
Honestly, I never was of the opinion that all telling is bad. Every Jane Austen novel starts with a couple pages setting up how everyone knows everyone and who is related to who, and they are still some of the greatest novels of the past 500 years. This is a book after all, you're allowed to narrate some things.
I'd only say that my problem with the opening isn't that we're telling (though some showing would be nice) it's how direct and quick all this information is. In many ways, it leaves little mystery, and just says it outright. I almost feel like I'm reading a high schooler's paper on the fact on the effects of the nuclear bombs. I like the emboldened parts, adding a bit of poetic language in there can be stronger and break up that effect a bit more. Remember, you have a whole novel left to give us backstory, you don't have to drop your biggest info bombs here... if you will (;
Many philosophers, journalists, and economists bickered over whether the war was justified or not. To Ethan, it never mattered. Ethan was not a man who viewed morality in bright light. He believed that if the goal was good then the means did not matter. All means were moral if the goal was moral, and all means were immoral if the goal was immoral. All but one. Shedding the blood of innocents was always wrong in his mind. Why? Because his mother was innocent, and she was ripped away from him. She was snatched away from a helpless 5-year-old boy through the worst means possible; biowarfare. Ethan watched his mother suffer as her organs exploded and failed. He watched her skin rot, and her eyes fill with tears of pain as her soul struggled to tear away from her deteriorating body. The thought of that day would be enough to make him cry. Joining the Alliance, an organization focused on curing and eliminating bioweapons across the globe, was his way of honouring his mother. He would do whatever it took to eliminate every last bioweapon and lock away every last monster who used it.

This is a really interesting character study and looks at philosophy, the question of the eternal moral law is one of my favorites, so this is fun stuff. I would only say, once again, you have a whole novel here, don't drop this all in one go. You don't have to tell us everything about the main character from the get-go, let us learn this slowly. Once again, this paragraph feels like a highschoolers paper on a very good book, summarizing the characters motivations. I want to see Ethan struggling with these ideas, I want to love him before I feel the pang of this terrible loss, I want my own brain to slowly draw the connection throughout the story of his mothers death and why that brings him to believe in complete moral law wrongness in the killing of innocents.
The green-eyed man, who had watched the sun rise, drifted to his bedside. He rummaged through his drawers before grabbing a breathing pump. He placed the breathing pump over his mouth and switched the pump on. The pump shot a burst of air into his lungs that would clear him of any inhaled impurities from the suffocating atmosphere outside. Ethan threw his backpack over his shoulders and headed out for work. His house was only two blocks away from the teleporting station which meant he didn’t need to use fuel to get to work. He walked down the deserted street passing by the junkyard before stopping off at a small, face-brick house with a thatched roof. He walked up the steps to the house and knocked on the oak door.

oooh, teleportation?
The first emboldened section feels pointless, we already know that, no need to establish it again... unless this a stylistic thing where you will always be bringing us back to something he sees to show something about his character... then keep it that could be really interesting. The Odyssey does this, it's always, "Grey Eyed Athena," or "Oddysous of many devices," To remind us of things about those characters. It's a stylistic choice... really you can always ignore individual critiques of mine if you are intentionally doing something weird in service of something you are building up that I will understand later XD
“Hurry up, Sarah. I’m getting late! Don’t make me come in there and drag you out again!”

There was a thud that came from the other end of the door followed by a screech that Ethan could only presume, was Sarah tripping over her own shoelaces. Sarah graduated with Ethan, and they had both been employees at The Alliance building in Durban. Sarah, however, was in the medical building and Ethan was in the nano-tech building. The door creeked open as Sarah fixed her hair and dusted her coat and jeans.

“Okay, let’s go.”

Sarah, who was just a few inches shorter than Ethan was wearing a long beige coat with a blue shirt and jeans. Her brunette hair was tied up in a ponytail and draped over her shoulder. She carried a briefcase with her lab coat wrapped around her waist.

“Glasses? Link? Lunch? Papers? Card?” asked Ethan, counting the items on his fingers.

“Yes, yes, yes and… yes,” she responded locking the door behind her. “To the station!” she exclaimed.

Great job of showing Sara's personality, now I feel their dynamic, and you never even had to say it. I feel he's the organized one who keeps her on rails, and she's a little bit scatterbrained... but maybe has more hope? We'll see!
The streetlights turned on as Ethan passed by them. The lights in several houses on the street flickered on as more people rose for another day of work. The station was a tall, elegant building with numerous floors. The physics-defying design was one any engineer would marvel at. The building was shaped like a baobab tree. The main building was like the bark and only consisted of multi-directional lifts while the branches held different teleporters for different stations. Teleporters were not like those in the movies. Each teleporter was linked to another teleporter at a different location which meant that people could only teleport between these two terminals using that teleporter. Ethan looked at the back of his access card. It read ‘Teleporter 9088-4’.

Using a baobab tree as a metaphor is a cool idea, the only problem is I had no idea what a baobab tree is XD. This could be because I'm dumb, but to idiot proof your story, I'd advise giving a description that would also work if we didn't know what the tree looked like (but I just googled it so it worked out in the end)
I feel like the emboldened part is a bit clunky, and could do with some editing.
“The 88th teleporter on the 9th floor in branch 4,” Ethan said, analysing the numbers. He tucked the card into his back pocket to use at the terminal.

“I’m in branch 3,” she said. “I’ll see you in the evening then?”

“Yeah, have a good day at work!” Ethan shouted as he ran to catch the elevator that was about to close.

Ethan squeezed into the congested elevator before the doors closed. Ethan waited silently in the elevator as it made its way up the building. The station was the highest building in the suburb which meant that on the 4th branch, Ethan could see the entire city. Perhaps a few decades ago, it would be something worth seeing but now, you’d rather look at the blank floor of the elevator than the view outside. Ethan tried his best to avoid it at all costs. It just reminded him of how much he hated the war.

I like terms like, "The war" keep it vague, keep us wondering. Also, I like the idea that in the post apocalypse people still work in bureaucratic systems with stuffy elevators. Orignal.
The elevator reached the 9th floor and Ethan’s card pulsed red telling him it was his time to get off. Ethan pushed his way through the people in the elevator and barely slipped out before the doors closed.

“88th terminal…88th terminal… Please don’t be busy…” he muttered to himself. He walked around the corner of the building and spotted the terminal he needed to enter. “Yes! No line!” he whispered under his breath. Ethan scurried over to the terminal and swiped his card to auto-select his destination.

Teleporting in 3…2…1… Please remain calm and keep your arms inside the terminal!

Ethan rolled his eyes. He had to listen to that cursed automated voice at least twice every day. The machine began to beep rapidly, and the display screen flashed red. Before Ethan could check the message, he vanished from sight as the terminal activated.

I hope to God it’s not an error message, prayed Ethan. Not even a moment after his thought, he was dropped 6 feet off the ground and fell face first on what was the last thing he thought he’d fall on; snow.

Snow? In South Africa?

Ooooh, could a teleporter mishap be the start of our story? That'd be interesting.
Ethan pulled up his link and turned on his GPS. There was no signal. He held it up in the air hoping to at least load a map to see where he was, but luck was not on his side today. Ethan’s heart sunk in his chest. He could not believe that one swipe of his card had sealed his fate. He didn’t plan on dying today nor was he ready to. The only places in the world that never had any GPS signal were also the most dangerous parts of the world. The Abandoned Regions. Sites of past wars and battles involving nukes that left heavy traces of radiation making the place uninhabitable for years to come.

Ethan hugged his body to shield himself from the icy breeze that pierced him like daggers. Ethan never would have thought he’d freeze to death. He always thought he’d die a peaceful death or a quick, painless one. Just atop the base of the hill he was standing at, was a trail of smoke amongst the snow-coated forest. Ethan began to climb the hill in hope that the smoke would lead him to people, however unlikely that was in this part of the world. He sunk his feet into the thick snow trying to walk up the small, white hill. The cold pierced his clothing and Ethan could feel every part of his body grow numb. Despite the pain, he couldn’t stop. He was almost there. He just needed to peak over the hill and walk up to the smoke. At the very least, it would be a place of warmth for him. If he was going to die from radiation poisoning, he’d like to die warm.

I like the idea of these wastelands. My biggest complaint with this section is I'd like a more overall description of what the environment looks like. This could be a good time to show not tell. Show us the scares the bombs have left on the landscape, show us how terrible the war has been, and the ruin it has left behind.
Just as he peaked over the hill, a blue laser bolt shot past him scraping the left side of his face. The bolt had grazed his eye, but a graze was enough to render it useless. His vision immediately halved and a wave of pain sharp as a needle’s tip rushed from his eye to his head. The blaster bolt was the first of a barrage of laser bolts approaching at lightning speed in his direction. Ethan ducked behind the hill before realising the shooters weren’t aiming at him. The hissing sound of hydraulic pistons and the crisp zipping of grappling guns rattled Ethan’s ears as the shooters seized fire to reload their rifles. The ruffling of leaves coupled with the crisp sound of an energy sword being unsheathed came from deep in the forest.

Ethan soon saw the source of these sounds as the shooters finished reloading and began to shoot from the smoky building once more. A squad of soldiers in exo-suits darted from the treetops towards the shooters. A bulletproof, tinted glass shield covered their faces as they bounced from tree-to-tree at speeds the eye could barely track. One of them pierced a shooter’s skull with their grappling guns and used a thruster on his back to boost himself towards the band of shooters. Another from the squad zig-zagged between and around the trees to avoid the bolts being shot at him before slicing the barks of the trees to provide cover on the ground. The trees on either side of Ethan collapsed forcing Ethan to leave his hiding spot and run blindly to avoid the trees.

This part is cool, I'd just say it feels a bit rushed, and I'd like to hear more of how Ethan feels. Is he panicking? Is his throat closing off? How did he know it wasn't him who was being shot at?
Ethan wasn’t sure where to run, but he knew he needed to use every ounce of energy he had left to run. He picked himself up and tried to escape the plummeting tree. His leg caught between two branches making him fall to the ground. The thorns from the tree dug deep into his skin. Ethan screeched in pain as he dragged his foot out by force. His legs were bleeding and barely functional as the thorns ripped out of his flesh. The exo-suits that were near him turned sharply to look at him.

Great! Now both of them know I’m here…

One of the soldiers closest to Ethan’s position ran over to him searching for his body. Ethan, in desperation, lay flat on the ground attempting to play dead. Before the soldier could extend a hand to Ethan, his head was blown off by a bolt and was pinned to a tree. The exo-suit, along with the body inside it collapsed to the ground, blood spraying out of his neck like a fountain. The blood sprayed over Ethan’s body as if the blood came from a hosepipe. He tried to move away from the body but Ethan was barely conscious at this point. He felt as if his entire body was being ripped apart. His legs burned like hell, his fingers were frozen, his ears nearly deaf, his sight blurred, and his head pounded. Ethan was somewhat surprised he still had a heartbeat.

Shit! I’m going to die. I don’t want to die!

Once again, this feels a bit rushed. I'd like to slow down and see this a bit more, play-by-play. Also, there a couple of places where certain words, (blood, ran, body) or repeated a lot, to make your writing smoother, consider using synonyms or rewording the sentence so you don't have to repeat them.
“Kane is down, John! Kane is down!” shouted a feminine voice from the exo-suit across from Ethan. There was a short silence as the lady received orders while taking cover. “Breach! Flank left and meet John at the outpost!” she yelled once more.

A humongous exo-suit that could have passed for a mech, leapt off the ground and over the smoke. With the help of a booster and grappling hooks, Breach skid across the snow throwing two flashbangs into a small cavern where the shooters were hiding in. As two of the shooters emerge from the cavern disoriented, Breach sliced them in half with his massive energy sword. The first soldier that had shattered a shooter’s skull with his grappling gun emerged from the flames flicking the blood off his gun-blade. His exo-suit was dripping with blood as he paced towards the rest of his squad. A trail of bodies fell behind him like dominos as the squad regrouped at the cavern.

“Where’s Kane?” asked one of them.

“He’s…dead…” she muttered. “His head was blown off over there.”

The squad ran over with their suits towards Ethan who didn’t have enough energy to panic. He could faintly hear sounds, but he couldn’t process any words. He was fading in and out of consciousness as he lay helpless on the ground.

I like how you are beginning to show more of Ethan's state here. I'd say, maybe even lean into this, if Ethan is our POV character, then maybe show the world the way he sees it. Maybe use some strong descriptions and poetic language of a panic of sounds, movement, blood, and pain. Flashes here in there in Ethans confusion. That way, you wouldn't have to describe absolutely everything and could really get us in ethans head.
“Amber, get this man to base! Now!” screamed the bloody man.

“John, he’s an outsider. You really want to bring him in?” questioned Breach.

“He’s got radiation poisoning and an open wound in a biohazardous environment. No hospital is going to save this man,” replied John.

“Bu­-“

“Now, Amber!” yelled John.

Ethan feels himself being picked off the ground as he’s thrown over Amber’s shoulders.

“Get him home, Amber. We’ll retrieve the data and meet up with you,” John said.

Amber nodded and switched on her backpack. In one swift motion, Amber leaped off the ground and into the treetops. Using the air thrusters on her backpack she manoeuvred herself through the forest and landed at a deserted teleporting terminal just outside the Abandoned Region. Her exo-suit released steam as the pistons clicked into place and her air thruster powered down. Just before Ethan blacked out Ethan caught a glimpse of an insignia on the back of Amber’s exo-suit. A roman shield covered in golden feathers that was encased in the medic sign, a red cross. Even in his state, Ethan knew that insignia. He’d seen it every day on his way to and from work. It was on his bedroom window. He saw it every day he entered his office. It was The Alliance. But what on Earth did the Alliance have to do with a high-tech skirmish in the Abandoned Regions? Didn’t the war end? Weren’t the Alliance the one’s who ended it
[/quote][/quote]
Good mystery to end on!
Overall, this story was good, if a bit rushed in places. A thing I always forget is I have a whole novel to work with, use the space allotted you.
But that's all just my two cents hope it helped!
I already like John, Ethan seems interesting, and I want to hear more of Sarah! Solid characters, an interesting setting, you could do worse!
Thanks, and keep writing,
Andrew




VengefulReaper says...


Thank you so much for the review! I'll definitely re-edit some parts to make it feel less textbook-like. Maybe sprinkle the details as and when necessary instead of an info dump right now. I'll make sure to slow down my pace when I revisit this chapter!



User avatar
52 Reviews

Points: 100
Reviews: 52

Donate
Wed Mar 23, 2022 1:34 am
SalisRuinen wrote a review...



Hey! Salis here with a review!

I take it the events in this take place before those in Agent Rider? I suppose so because Ethan still doesn't have the mechanical eye we see him with in the other story, knows far less about the Alliance's true nature and isn't living with Sarah. Whether my assumption is correct or not, though, this was a great chapter to start a story with!

Just one thing I'd like to point out. There are two instances were consecutive sentences start with the protagonist's name and as that name is used very often throughout the text, I get the feeling of too much repetition. You can try using some expressions based on the character's appearance/personality when reffering to him to change things up a bit.

The first three paragraphs presented a simultaneously concise and engaging summary of the world and the protagonist's story so far. The description of his mother's fate was so well done, it was heartbraking. I'm currently reading another story where the suffering of the protagonist's mother is depicted, so I feel like it's open suffering season for moms right now!

The detail with using the breathing pump to clear one's lungs of any impurities in the air as a natural part of everyday life was great as it's another example of the state of the world inhabited by Ethan. Incorporating the appearance of a tree from nature in the design of building created by science was ingenious, as was the explanation behind the meaning of the numbers on the access cards. Overall all the descriptions in the chapter were well written.

The best part about this chapter, however, was the sudden change of pace in the middle and the events from the second half, as they were so unexpected. The fight choreography was excellent and the way the people in the exo-suits moved and attacked around the trees reminded me of Attack of Titan. I also commend you for not shying away from any of the gory details, but instead going all-out in terms of brutality. It made the atmosphere of the battle that much more immersive.

I love how the final sentences show just how unaware of the current situation Ethan is and look forward to seeing him learn more, starting with the reason behind his teleportation in the midst of a battle. Was it a coincidence? I find that highly unlikely, but only time will tell.

Thanks for the great chapter and keep on writing!!




VengefulReaper says...


Than you so much for the review! Yeah, I scrapped Agent Rider and started over. It%u2019s a different story with the same characters and a new title. Just ignore everything you read about Agent Rider xD. Thank you for pointing out the repetition of character%u2019s names. I%u2019ll make sure to tinker with that to make sure it doesn%u2019t sound off.




It's a dramatic situation almost every time you answer the phone—if you answer the phone.
— Matthew Weiner