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Court of Darkness (chapter five): Kill Switch
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hboff
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:11 pm    Post subject: Court of Darkness (chapter five): Kill Switch Reply with quote

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Court of Darkness (chapter five): Kill Switch
Posted by Chuckles
14 December 2006, 4:22 pm

http://halosn.bungie.org/fanfic/?story=Chuckles1214061622181.html
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Azrael
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're a Chuckles fan, you understand that he has very distinct styles. This chapter somehow incorporates all of them seamlessly.

First, I'm getting tired of saying how good your openings are. Take a perfectly normal, though very detailed, observation and then warp it into the most horrifying thing you can imagine, and you've got Chuckles. But this time, I think you really got us by addressing the readers. I felt like pointing at my chest, looking behind me, and then mouthing "Me?" to the screen. Yes, you. My name is Chuckles, and we're going for a ride. There are few better than this man at openings.

Per usual, you spoon feed us the information you want us to know; and you usually do it through brilliant or grisly (or brilliantly grisly) interrogation methods.

Frankly, I like Wiley better than Helljumper. There's something about a man who's more than man but not Spartan that...I don't know...I just dont' really identify with him. I don't suppose we should, after all, getting shot through the eye and soldiering on isn't exactly freaking normal.

But Wiley's intellect, his concern, ESPECIALLY his dilemma about whether or not to shoot Black, that was great stuff that we don't always see from you. Everyone, it seems, is vulnerable in this chapter. Even HJ. But I think Wiley stole the show today.

And then, just as you think it's safe to move on to the next story, Chuckles throws in that plot twist/character addition/cliffhanger that makes you say "Oh, come ON!" out loud.

Great chapter. Oh, and Black's dialouge is perfect. I was really jealous about how you made Black sound. I wish I had thought of that.
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SeverianofUrth
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, like with Azrael's ongoing masterpiece, I'm sure I've missed a couple of chapters--I'll be catching up, so sorry about the lack of a review, Mr. Clown. Please don't kill me.
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CoLd BlooDed
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
First, I'm getting tired of saying how good your openings are. Take a perfectly normal, though very detailed, observation and then warp it into the most horrifying thing you can imagine, and you've got Chuckles. But this time, I think you really got us by addressing the readers. I felt like pointing at my chest, looking behind me, and then mouthing "Me?" to the screen. Yes, you. My name is Chuckles, and we're going for a ride. There are few better than this man at openings.


Couldn't have said it better myself. Except, pretty sure he was addressing me. Wink

Seriously, I can't really think of anything to say. The interrogation was perfect; although everytime Mr. Black slurred his words it made me think of him talking in a childish, high-pitched voice. Maybe that was the intent? Oh, well.

I liked how you omitted the story of ONI and the bwack pwague. In fact, I liked pretty much everything that you threw at us in this story - but I especially liked the ending. With you, it's difficult to expect the unexpected, because even when you know something crazy is about to happen, you don't know how or why or what or... oh, darn; I've gone cross-eyed. Razz

The most vivid part of this was when Helljumper was talking to the tied up rebel, who sat helplessly in a tub with his heels cut away and his hands bound, informing him of his potential doom. I loved how something so simple - like keeping the front door open - could possibly spell a gruesome death. I can just imagine the thoughts racing through the rebels head as the sun slowly sets, casting a jagged array of shadows across the floor. And then finally, darkness, accompanied by a mysterious mist flowing into the house.

Well, enough of my rambling. Brilliant. I don't really want to say anything else in case I spoil this for anyone else.

Great freakin' job, Chuck.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Due to my limited time, there aren't many authors that can get me to just click on their story and read it through in one sitting. You're one of 'em, Chuck. I'm with the others, Black's dialogue was hilarious, and I especially liked how you introduced Wiley's "honor code" if you will. It makes him twice as interesting to me, because he's no longer just a simple hired assasin. He's more like a Ronin now. Excellent twist there. Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to thank Radont for taking the time to proof this for me several times in various states of completion. He is the only person who ever helps me in that regard, and his assistance has meant a lot. If any of you haven't been reading his series Fallout (which just added a chapter two weeks ago) take some time to check it out. He is my favorite fanfic author, and writes some of the best stuff I've read on here.

Azrael wrote:
Quote:
If you're a Chuckles fan, you understand that he has very distinct styles. This chapter somehow incorporates all of them seamlessly.

I didn't really think about it until I read your comment, but I guess I did use a "sampling" of my favorite devices and styles. A dreams sequence, an ominous opening (that's a given), a person who can't speak as he normally would, an allusion to torture, scary whispering (always drawn out and put in italics Very Happy ) and a twisted ending. Dang it, you know me better than I know myself.

Quote:
First, I'm getting tired of saying how good your openings are. Take a perfectly normal, though very detailed, observation and then warp it into the most horrifying thing you can imagine, and you've got Chuckles. But this time, I think you really got us by addressing the readers. I felt like pointing at my chest, looking behind me, and then mouthing "Me?" to the screen. Yes, you. My name is Chuckles, and we're going for a ride. There are few better than this man at openings.

Thanks. I wondered how addressing the reader would go over. It seemed to fit, but you never know.
Quote:

Frankly, I like Wiley better than Helljumper. There's something about a man who's more than man but not Spartan that...I don't know...I just dont' really identify with him. I don't suppose we should, after all, getting shot through the eye and soldiering on isn't exactly freaking normal.

Yeah, Wiley seems to be a growing favorite. My sister's favorite character is Helljumper, and she has made it known that she will not be happy with me if he meets an untimely end. Personally, I like them both. Yeah, HJ is a bit larger than life, but like you said, he has vulnerabilities too.

Quote:
But Wiley's intellect, his concern, ESPECIALLY his dilemma about whether or not to shoot Black, that was great stuff that we don't always see from you. Everyone, it seems, is vulnerable in this chapter. Even HJ. But I think Wiley stole the show today.

I agree. With so many "tough" folks floating around (O'Carrol, Sean, Helljumper, Sagus, Wiley and our mystery guest) I am doing a bit extra to give them distinction. And since my next chapter will start with them all in roughly the same place, feel free to wish me luck.

Quote:
And then, just as you think it's safe to move on to the next story, Chuckles throws in that plot twist/character addition/cliffhanger that makes you say "Oh, come ON!" out loud.

Very Happy

Quote:
Great chapter. Oh, and Black's dialouge is perfect. I was really jealous about how you made Black sound. I wish I had thought of that.

I liked that scene, but again, was not sure how it would be received. I had to walk a fine line between silly and serious, and that can be tricky. My friend Radont proofread this for me, and he is not very critical. I kept asking him if it was too silly and he kept saying no. I finally said, "You need to be more critical!" to which he replied comically, "Okay, I hated the whole thing!" Patient guy, that Radont.

Thanks for the review, Az. I'll be reviewing your latest some time this weekend. Needless to say, there is a lot of stuff to read.

Sev wrote:
Quote:
Well, like with Azrael's ongoing masterpiece, I'm sure I've missed a couple of chapters--I'll be catching up, so sorry about the lack of a review, Mr. Clown. Please don't kill me.

Fine, I won't kill you Wink Good to see you around, and I'll be reviewing your chapter this weekend.

CoLd wrote:

Quote:
Seriously, I can't really think of anything to say. The interrogation was perfect; although everytime Mr. Black slurred his words it made me think of him talking in a childish, high-pitched voice. Maybe that was the intent?

That would work too, but I meant it as sort of a childish, giddy Elmer Fudd. Whether that would mean a higher pitch in the voice, I'll let the reader decide.

Quote:
I liked how you omitted the story of ONI and the bwack pwague. In fact, I liked pretty much everything that you threw at us in this story - but I especially liked the ending. With you, it's difficult to expect the unexpected, because even when you know something crazy is about to happen, you don't know how or why or what or... oh, darn; I've gone cross-eyed.

That plot element has been intended since the very beginning, and I thought it was high time to let it out. But, as Wiley so sincerely asked, why would ONI do that? We'll see Wink

Quote:
The most vivid part of this was when Helljumper was talking to the tied up rebel, who sat helplessly in a tub with his heels cut away and his hands bound, informing him of his potential doom. I loved how something so simple - like keeping the front door open - could possibly spell a gruesome death. I can just imagine the thoughts racing through the rebels head as the sun slowly sets, casting a jagged array of shadows across the floor. And then finally, darkness, accompanied by a mysterious mist flowing into the house.

Gah! Stop reading my next chapter to everyone! Dang, that hit so close to the mark that I might have to change it! Read minds much?

Quote:
Well, enough of my rambling. Brilliant. I don't really want to say anything else in case I spoil this for anyone else.

I have appreciated the fact that everyone has avoided giving up the big spoiler. That is more restraint that I usually see on here. Thanks for the help.

I appreciate the review, CoLd. I was hoping to post this the same week that you posted your last one, but a sick baby and an array of other obstacles intervened.

Sterfrye wrote:
Quote:
Due to my limited time, there aren't many authors that can get me to just click on their story and read it through in one sitting. You're one of 'em, Chuck.

Thanks, Ster. That means a lot to me.

Quote:
I'm with the others, Black's dialogue was hilarious, and I especially liked how you introduced Wiley's "honor code" if you will. It makes him twice as interesting to me, because he's no longer just a simple hired assasin. He's more like a Ronin now. Excellent twist there.

As I said to Azrael, I'm glad the Wiley/Black dialogue went over as well as it did. I half expected folks to say it was too far out, and was happy when I heard different. As far as Wiley goes, I wanted to make sure that I was clear about his character, especially after his stone-cold actions in previous chapters. Yeah, he's a killer, but he's not an emotionless monster like Simjanes or Thanatos.

I appreciate the review, Ster.

C.T. Clown
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Ster, too. I always click on your stories, and despite the length, still manage to read the entire thing in one sitting. Like Ster said, you're one of the only authors on here who can do that.

Quote:
Gah! Stop reading my next chapter to everyone! Dang, that hit so close to the mark that I might have to change it! Read minds much?


Oh, woops... I'm really sorry. Shocked I guess horror writers are just telepathically linked?
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooooh, Lexicus takes on Wiley...

Great chapter. I still think it's a pity that Thanatos isn't around anymore...that guy made me check updates more obsessively than anything else has ever done. But Wiley's good enough.
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me
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed this, but unfortunatley I am all out of kiss ass or poetic phraises right now.

You'll have to settle for a "I liked it" and a "MAKE MORE NOW."
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Arthur Wellesley
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read both the fourth and fifth chapters, so this review will pertain to both. I'll start with "Aimee and the Clown."

Great introduction. Very reminiscent of events that have rocked our own world, detailed with unsettling expertise. The following scene showed your prowess at action scenes; tense and involved without getting stale and boring. I thought the death of Helljumper was rather abrupt... I guess I should have seen the truth of the matter quicker.

I really loved the cynicism you injected into this one with the nicely realized corrupt Governor system:

Quote:
Since Tethra was one of Earth's colonies, it was not ruled by a sovereign government, but rather by a governor under the authority of the UN. Although Don had held that high office for nearly fourteen years, today it was different. It was no secret to him or his superiors back on Earth that the real leaders on Tethra were the industrial owners and executives. They made sure Sisson had a fat bank account and a nice house, and he made sure that policy never got in the way of large profits. It was a fine tradition that had existed uninterrupted for decades.


I really thought this added a lot to the world you envisioned, by making a believable governing system with equally believable accompanying corruption. It gives a good backdrop to why some of the events you describe were allowed to happen. Altogether a well fleshed out universe.

Mr. Black's scene was slick and chilling, and actually had me feeling a little bit sorry for the ONI agent. Lastly, O'Carrol's interaction with Sagus was interesting and was accentuated by the twist ending.

"Kill Switch:"

Again, the opening was impeccable, setting the tone unmistakeably for the rest of the story. Bone chilling concepts woven together with bone chilling prose made for an introduction that was positively... well, bone chilling. An excellent clarification to the plague situation as well, revealing the story in tantalizing bits and pieces. Well done.

A lot of people seemed to be experiencing some pretty extraordinary pain in this chapter, and that was well portrayed in the writing. The gritty detail in the scenes with Benny's torture and Helljumper's agony made me cringe as I read. Black's interrogation was handled interestingly, at a different angle than normally seen. His befuddlement and apparent joy at answering the question were well conceived details. Sean and O'Carrol's conversation was well done and incorporated backstory in an organic and seamless way. And ending with another cliff hanger to leave us all wanting more. Wonderfully done all around!

GPS wise, both stories were essentially immaculate. I only have a few minor quibbles:

In Aimee and the Clown you wrote:

Sometimes, life just sucked.


In Kill Switch you wrote:
It was like getting ten minutes worth of technical jargon out of a drunken Elmer Fudd.


These, combined with Black's slurring, were the only things I wasn't too fond of in your writing. They seemed to be moments of levity inserted at very tense moments, and I didn't think the contrast was a very flattering effect.

Quote:

Wiley loved what he did, and assassins who killed their employers invariably found themselves unemployed.


How about assassins who blow off their employers' arms? That might make future clients a little nervous too Wink

Quote:
Beautiful, numbing relief was a mere injection away—but the ODST knew he couldn't do it. Any drug strong enough to put a dent in his agony would also render him useless as a soldier.


The pain of a blownout eye would comprimise his soldiering as much as a drug that would put a "dent" in the pain, I would think. That, of course, is pure quibbling.

Overall, these were fantastic works. Thanks for giving me and others such a great read.

Just keep writing!

- Arthur
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Chuckles
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comment Arthur. I'll reply to the entire thing later, but for now I wanted comment on one part of it. You said that you didn't like Mr. Black's slurring or the reference to Elmer Fudd. I had actually expected that a lot of people would feel that way, and was pleasantly surprised when most people who have talked to me about the story (both on here and in person) loved the whole slurring bit and had nothing negative to say concerning my favorite cartoon foil.

Personally, I love both the slurring and the Elmer Fudd reference. I am a big Looney Tunes fan--the sort who can tell you who directed which ones, knows who my favorite toon story writers are, etc--and even though it is unlikely the Elmer Fudd character will still be a cultural icon in the 26th century, we are left to what we have now, and I'd rather be less realistic than less vivid and fun to read. Not that you disliked it for that reason, but those things did occur to me while writing. As far as the slurring, I just get a kick out of putting strong, cruel, dictatorial characters in predicaments where they look like fools. I did it to Stephen Thanatos in Ghosts of Erebus and loved it then too.

So, yeah, I loved both things but I understand why others might not. Again, thanks for the detailed review. I'll get to the rest of it soon.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am really running out of words to describe your chapters without starting to sound redundant, but what can a guy do when every single chapter is brimming with quality? I really like it when people get punched in the mouth or take some kind of mind altering drugs in your fics because then I get to read the 'tough guys' talk like little children. It makes them seem more human, which is always good.

Like many have stated already, you have a knack for creating openings that hook the reader instantly. The only thing better than the openings are the cliffhanger endings, I don't think I have ever read better endings anywhere.

I also really enjoyed hearing more about Helljumper's background, it almost made him my favorite character, but Wiley still takes that prize. I'm looking forward to everyone meeting up at the same place, will there be a tense moment where everyone has a gun pointed at everyone else? Those are always fun to get out of.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha! You thought I'd never make it, eh? Well let this be a lesson to you, sonny, I always make it... no matter how late I may be... (cue superhero entry music) Wink

You wrote:
Can a vendetta be born in a grave? Deep within the pitch black of Tethra's moonless nights, the court of darkness answers through decaying lips and toneless whispers. Listen closely: does it whisper your name?


Out of an entire section of superb, descriptive writing, you end it with a beautiful, nearly poetic paragraph to both hit home to the characters this insinuates and to the reader. I almost felt like I had a finger pointed in my face, with a few vaccines hidden in my pockets. In this section you have the lies, the truths, and almost a threat to those who participated in this greedy massacre. I love it.

You wrote:
"Let me go!" Mr. Black yelled, pulling against his restraints. "Let me out of here now!"


I'm so proud of you, Chuckles. What may seem as minute to others is a significant detail to me. Since this is the second time you did this, I felt compelled to point it out: including the punctuation in italics. Let this be a prestine example to everyone... make sure that the punctuation (yes, even quotation mark if the italicized word is at the end of dialogue) is italicized as well.

You wrote:
"T. Stephen Bwack." Mr. Black giggled. Answering questions was fun.


Too good, Chuck. Laughing

You wrote:
Wiley loved what he did, and assassins who killed their employers invariably found themselves unemployed.


I thought that was a little strong. For someone to love killing people for money, there's got to be something extremely wrong with them, yet he was compassion and sorrow for the millions that died during the Silent Plague. Now you did define him having an extreme reservation for killing children and women, but I don't necessarily see that as being enough. Either the millions that died are a notable but nonetheless insignificant factor to Wiley, or he recognizes the evil there and doesn't love his job. Just why I think that is a bit contradictory.

You wrote:
"Good. Of course, if something unfortunate should happen to me, you'll be on your own." The ODST walked to the bathroom door, looked back and somehow managed a smile. "Wish me luck."


I'm loving your scene endings. Always something smart or damning. Here, you just made the bad guy hope that Helljumper would survive, as opposed to merely hoping that he'll get killed and someone will come rescue him.

Overall, excellent chapter. Great plot progression, no GPS errors by my count, and a nice ending. You're setting us up for a very big, complex story, and doing it all superbly. Can't wait until your next.

-R
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Azathoth wrote:
Quote:
Ooooh, Lexicus takes on Wiley...

Great chapter. I still think it's a pity that Thanatos isn't around anymore...that guy made me check updates more obsessively than anything else has ever done. But Wiley's good enough.

Judging from the comments, apparently Wiley is good enough. I always loved Wiley, but I didn't expect him to become so popular. He is becoming far and away the favorite character in this series. My sister still prefers Helljumper, however, and has threatened all but bodily harm if I kill him off. We'll see Very Happy

me wrote:

Quote:
I enjoyed this, but unfortunatley I am all out of kiss ass or poetic phraises right now.

You'll have to settle for a "I liked it" and a "MAKE MORE NOW."

Thanks, and yes, I WILL endeavor to make more.

Arthur wrote:
Quote:
read both the fourth and fifth chapters, so this review will pertain to both. I'll start with "Aimee and the Clown."

Great introduction. Very reminiscent of events that have rocked our own world, detailed with unsettling expertise. The following scene showed your prowess at action scenes; tense and involved without getting stale and boring. I thought the death of Helljumper was rather abrupt... I guess I should have seen the truth of the matter quicker.

I really loved the cynicism you injected into this one with the nicely realized corrupt Governor system ... I really thought this added a lot to the world you envisioned, by making a believable governing system with equally believable accompanying corruption. It gives a good backdrop to why some of the events you describe were allowed to happen. Altogether a well fleshed out universe.

Creating a believable cultural background is a challenge. You can't go in too deep or it drags the story down, and you can't neglect it too much or your characters will seem to be acting in front of a literary blue-screen. I try to give the reader a thumb sketch of the society's disposition, and then let them fill in the rest for themselves. Thus far, it seems to be working.

Quote:
Mr. Black's scene was slick and chilling, and actually had me feeling a little bit sorry for the ONI agent. Lastly, O'Carrol's interaction with Sagus was interesting and was accentuated by the twist ending.

Thanks. Those scenes were a bit tricky, and I wasn't sure how they would come off. That's one of the reasons I appreciate comments so much. Without feedback, it's hard to tell.

Quote:
How about assassins who blow off their employers' arms? That might make future clients a little nervous too

It's hard to believe it took so long for this comment to pop up. Like so many things, this didn't strike me until after I submitted. Yeah, you've got me: Wiley can stop worrying about how his actions with Mr. Black will effect future employment, because that boat has definitely sailed. Nice catch.

Quote:
The pain of a blownout eye would comprimise his soldiering as much as a drug that would put a "dent" in the pain, I would think. That, of course, is pure quibbling.

I think the reasoning was that even though he was in pain, he wasn't unconscious or so impaired that he could not function; whereas if he took the medication he had, he would likely be knocked out by its effects, or at the very least too light headed to do what he needed to. Hey, he's the career ODST; I leave those decisions to him Wink

Thanks for the comments.

Radont wrote:
Quote:
I really like it when people get punched in the mouth or take some kind of mind altering drugs in your fics because then I get to read the 'tough guys' talk like little children. It makes them seem more human, which is always good.

Oooh, me like it too!

Quote:
I also really enjoyed hearing more about Helljumper's background, it almost made him my favorite character, but Wiley still takes that prize.

Wiley, Wiley, Wiley. In a fic that includes Helljumper, Sagus and Lexicus, the most popular character is a stone cold assassin. What is wrong with you people?!? Just kidding. Yeah, he's turning out to be a fun character. I wonder what his life expectancy is at this point? Who knows.

Thanks for the comment, Radont, and for the many proofreads. I'll be getting to your chapter very soon.

Russ wrote:
Quote:
I thought that was a little strong. For someone to love killing people for money, there's got to be something extremely wrong with them, yet he was compassion and sorrow for the millions that died during the Silent Plague. Now you did define him having an extreme reservation for killing children and women, but I don't necessarily see that as being enough. Either the millions that died are a notable but nonetheless insignificant factor to Wiley, or he recognizes the evil there and doesn't love his job. Just why I think that is a bit contradictory.

Let me start by saying that this is definitely contradictory--no doubt about it. But the thoughts I wrote were Wiley's, and in order to retain some semblance of humanity, he has had to do a lot of rationalizing. He tells himself that he doesn't do it for the money, but for the challenge; and, of course, he is hired to kill the hardest of targets. He tells himself that the people he eliminates are "players" and not helpless victims. He tells himself that men like him are necessary and even provide a balance to society. But even as he says it, he knows that he grows colder with every kill, and even finds himself crossing the line into stylistic cruelty. Just look at what he did to Phil Beerman, and what he put Mr. Black through. Sure, his conscience is still alive enough to make killing children repulsive to him, but how long will that last for someone who does his killing for dollars? In the movies, it can go on forever; but in real life people become more and more bent. Nice comment.

Quote:
Overall, excellent chapter. Great plot progression, no GPS errors by my count, and a nice ending. You're setting us up for a very big, complex story, and doing it all superbly. Can't wait until your next.

This next one will be a challenge, but also a lot of fun. Up until this point I've really held back on the action. It just wasn't time for it yet. Well, it's time now, so let's hope that I'm up to it Very Happy

Thanks to Russ, and everybody else for the comments. I appreciate each and every one of them.

C.T. Clown
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:07 pm    Post subject: killz svitch Reply with quote

Chuckles,

Great chapter.

I am curious about a few things, and since I don't ever get to talk to you about your fics in person anymore (so it seems), I'll ask my queries here.

If Lex has a kill switch, why wasn't the beacon disabled or already turned off? He was obviously watching the right frequencies to notice its emission. Or is it obvious to Spartans that their beacs have been activated? I presume that the activation of the beacon does not inhibit the Spartans (although if it did, that might be staying closer to the normal purpose of a "kill switch").

Obviously the rebel in the tub is now afraid of the plague that stalks by night. But he didn't used to be, as in just a few hours ago. What changed? Simply Sean Flannery telling him to be? He was terrified of the dark before he heard a whisper.

Finally, are the people of Tethra really superstitious, or have you broken your long-held rule about not dealing directly with the supernatural?
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