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  #101    
Old July 1st, 2009, 04:54 AM
BeachBoy's Avatar
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You gave me a freaking heart attack there, I thought you'd kill Lan! ;o; Oh thank Kyogre. I must thank you and your clever mind.
I've read through nine to fourteen this entire morning (and coupled with breakfast, made this all quite delightful) so I've got so much to just... I don't know, correct and reorganize? XD Your work is never predictable, I swear. :c

Chapter nine was loaded with suspense, holy cow. To branch off that, this entire piece of literature isn't just suspense, you've kept me both laughing and biting my lip, sometimes at the same time. (well, okay, that sounds odd, but still) Example: "Adam scoffed. Yes. Congratulations. You figured out how to execute a useless maneuver."

I have a question though, in one of the chapters, Adam goes on to define Bill's strength as "refined" and not "superhuman" ... but didn't Bill hurl that rock-type/ground-type in the earlier chapters? (*doesn't remember since he read them so long ago*) Maybe I'm just recalling incorrectly, but his strength seems to be... um, off? Either that or he's just really strong as refined.


I loved your writing Jax, far too much.

Thank you for the both entertaining and emotional morning, Jax. XD <3

edit: of course I knock it off. :c
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  #102    
Old July 1st, 2009, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeachBoy View Post
Spoiler:
You gave me a freaking heart attack there, I thought you'd kill Lan! ;o; Oh thank Kyogre. I must thank you and your clever mind.
*bows*

Spoiler:
Of course I wouldn't kill Lanette. Bill needs the sexual tension!

...I mean, what?


Quote:
I've read through nine to fourteen this entire morning (and coupled with breakfast, made this all quite delightful) so I've got so much to just... I don't know, correct and reorganize? XD Your work is never predictable, I swear. :c
Thank you. =D I try not to let it be predictable. Because building clichés and then pulling rugs out from under people is fun.

Quote:
I have a question though, in one of the chapters, Adam goes on to define Bill's strength as "refined" and not "superhuman" ... but didn't Bill hurl that rock-type/ground-type in the earlier chapters? (*doesn't remember since he read them so long ago*) Maybe I'm just recalling incorrectly, but his strength seems to be... um, off? Either that or he's just really strong as refined.
It's partly this, but also, what actually happened then wasn't entirely revealed. I totally will show you how Bill did that and how Oak lost his leg once I screw around with Professor Oak's group enough to trigger a flashback in Oak, but until then, it's okay to think it doesn't make sense. *thumbs up*

Good eye, though.

Quote:
I loved your writing Jax, far too much.

Thank you for the both entertaining and emotional morning, Jax. XD <3
Thank you for the compliments. I'm glad you liked it, and I'm glad to have made your morning. =D ♥
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  #103    
Old July 1st, 2009, 09:53 AM
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On the rewrites, I say they're better than the original ones. On Chapter 11, hah I guess you went for anime!Bill huh? Love Veronica's reaction there. On Chapter 13, nice that you indeed expand on that scene and also put a little info on how Nurse Joys can tell not only each other but also the Jennys apart.

Okay, now to Chapter 14. On the first part, why didn't Lanette just tell Kadabra to go to Littleroot Town too? I guess part of the reason is Kadabra might hurt Bill once again. Not too much of a problem though as I"m interested on what the two sisters will go about on that plan.

I have to say, woah on Bill being so uptight that Lanette might be in danger. Yeah, he doesn't know he has feelings for her. Poor him. I have to say nice development on Rose though. About time she does sometime brave! XD

On the last scene, interesting that the two orbs are there. Hm, something tells me they're be very important later on. I think the red orb might play a bigger role because she examined that orb more than the blue one. Kyogre is better.

In any case though, nice chapter here and good work on the rewrites. Can't wait for the next chapter!
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  #104    
Old July 1st, 2009, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Bay View Post
On the rewrites, I say they're better than the original ones.
Thanks. I'm glad you think so. =D I did my best to fix the problems people've brought up already, and I wasn't too sure if I'd inadvertently opened up even more problems. ._.

Quote:
On Chapter 11, hah I guess you went for anime!Bill huh?
Oh, definitely. XD He's a lot more fun to work with, if only because he's not at all psychologically normal like Special's Bill seems to be.

Quote:
Love Veronica's reaction there.
Thanks. That was a lot of fun to write, if only because it smacked on two tropes at once. (Hanging lampshades... and also subverting tropes. I figured that having Bill not react by freaking out the way some humans-transformed-into-something-else tend to do in fics like these -- and that is a trope, right? -- would be a rather nice touch, but then I thought it would be fun to have Veronica explicitly point out that he was acting against the norm for this genre.)

Quote:
Okay, now to Chapter 14. On the first part, why didn't Lanette just tell Kadabra to go to Littleroot Town too?
This is actually a good question, and it has to do with a piece of information I'm still trying to place. (As in, I'm not sure if it should be edited in this chapter or brought up later.) Basically, the reason why is because of the way Teleport works. Teleport, according to the games at least, depends on the trainer or Pokémon's own memories to transport themselves from one point to wherever they're envisioning. Kadabra himself had never been to Littleroot, and it's partly implied that Bill hadn't either. (This is why Lanette proposed that any Psychic-type Pokémon they use to get to Littleroot should be linked to Kirlia: because while Lanette had been there before, Bill hadn't.)

However, up until the accidental switch, Kadabra had been Bill's Pokémon, which meant he didn't possess strong enough ties to Lanette as he had with Bill. Hence, even if Lanette could have thought of Littleroot, she wouldn't be able to get Kadabra to take her there. On the other hand, if Bill had asked Kadabra to take him to a place he had gone without the psychic, Kadabra would have been able to do it because Bill had been with him for years. It partly goes back to the idea brought up in anime that the longer a trainer has been with a Psychic-type Pokémon, the more the psychic can bond with the trainer's mind. Lanette lacks such a bond because she was Kadabra's trainer for all of a minute. (Which also means there's something else that should be explained here a bit later, but that's off-topic.)

The short of it is that Lanette couldn't ask Kadabra to Teleport to Littleroot because:

1. Kadabra had never been there.
2. Kadabra isn't close enough to Lanette to access her mind and figure out where Littleroot is. He might have been able to do this if he had more time, but he really didn't.
3. The fact that this isn't clear in the story is definitely my fault, although it will probably be explained later, once I touch upon some other important game-related mechanics some people might be able to figure out right about now. (I'm not even sure why I'm being secretive about this point because it really doesn't have too much relevance in the story, but yeah, that Kadabra just evolved too, if anyone's really curious.)

Quote:
I have to say nice development on Rose though. About time she does sometime brave! XD
Yeah, that's probably going to be a rarity, sorry to say. XD Poor girl is a firecracker away from having a nervous breakdown sometimes.

Quote:
On the last scene, interesting that the two orbs are there. Hm, something tells me they're be very important later on.
Indeed they will be, but not in the way you might think. *evil grin*

Quote:
In any case though, nice chapter here and good work on the rewrites. Can't wait for the next chapter!
Thank you. =D I've already started on it.
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  #105    
Old July 2nd, 2009, 03:23 AM
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I noted but two grammar oddities big enough to remark on:

Quote:
Behind her, she heard the scraping of talons on stone. Turning, she saw the silhouette of her visitor, a flying-type ixodida who she knew had traveled halfway across the region to see her. As soon as she was noticed, the harpy who dropped to a knee and bowed her head.
This word is obsolete, I think. It has no place in a sentence of this structure.

Quote:
"Perhaps it was, but we still live on. The Interplanetary Alliance and that senate of theirs—" She spat the words into the open with as much venom as she could muster. "—may try time and time again to kill our entire people, but now, we are spread among all of their planets and scores of unaligned ones. We can rebuild a thousand empires like the one we once had, and they could never possibly wipe us all from existence. So, we should really have our former lord to thank for giving us more prosperity than any emperor before him could have dreamed possible."
Making that into a separate sentence makes me a little uneasy, because my understanding of the grammatical systems around dialogue revolves around assuming both the reported speech and the words attached to it as one flowing sentence--in which case "She spat...she could muster" cuts the dialogue sentence in half at a very odd portion. I think it would go smoother if that sentence was a sentence-portion enclosed in the dashes. What do you think?

Humans have the most popular fads. Everybody's starting to take a leaf from them and name themselves something symbolic, even if they had no conception of names before. =P

I really haven't seen a story that plays around with misinformation/uninformation/implied information/inferred information/whatever more than AEM. Bill assuming the Ground-type ixodida are calling him the rogue, and later presuming Lanette in mortal danger, everybody and their mom going kamikaze on Bill because he's a dirty ixodida, the whole world acting without an inkling of Adam's monarchial will. Your mind in this fic doesn't quite work like normal authors. *grins* It's a buzz of separate messy circumstances that never seem to care how inconvenient it gets for the characters to be this causally absolute. That's scary.

Of course, Hoenn being my favourite region, my heart does sink a little every time you describe how badly the ixodida ravaged each individual part of it. I'm glad Littleroot is still mostly undefiled. *imagines the cheerful Route 101 music punctuated by evil shrieks and the sound of shredding flesh* There are times, though, that the surroundings suit the resident aliens perfectly. Lilith wouldn't have had as much of her treacherous grace without that introductory pararaph about the nature of fog twiting around her form, and the idea of pulsing red parasite lights gleaming in the fog of the Mt. Pyre exterior is one of the more wonderfully creepy things I've imagined. There's a surprising lot, when you think about it, that the ixodida might find interesting on earth. I never knew this planet was so influential in such subtle ways.

Well, three new ixodida distinctions are a little clear now with this newest conversation. We have Monarchs, apparently the highest level, with power never really limited to type, and apparently a vast store of resourceful intelligence to get by in a wide variety of environments. (I'll have to see quite how they accumulate this.) There are Guardians, lesser regional heads taking control of one type of ixodida within a region appropriated to them (or obtained by them). From their name, I imagine their role is fairly passive: that of watching and taking care of threats and anomalies that threaten their realm. Knights, I presume, are important combat units for the military work. (Human quarantine doesn't really mean much to them, does it? Here they are, off to storm the Polaris fortress for the Fire Guardian as though fetching sugar from the convenience store down the corner.)

I puzzle at the business around Adam being responsible for their planet's destruction. It somehow doesn't seem quite in keeping with a calculating and preservatory mind, particularly if he's in danger of doing it again in the near future. Of course, no one has specified which planet, so it could just be some interesting coup de grace from afar on his part--only it doesn't quite seem like it.

It seems to be an infuriating habit of all proper fictions to switch the POV to the surrounding characters the moment an otherwise main character undergoes a dramatic or particularly interesting change in behaviour. =D Clearly Bill's judgment has been significantly undermined, and rather suddenly (for another coincidential Aftershock parallel, both of us posted a chapter two days apart where the MC turned suddenly dangerously willful and unpredictable in front of a more careful friend, in much the same way), but we don't know whether it's all nerves because of his overwhelming crush on Lanette, or part of his mind bleeding into his parasite/symbiote, or some new odd effect of Adam's recent attitude towards his host (whatever it may be), or really anything at all. What does Bill think about it, if he's thinking at all? I'm almost sure he wouldn't be this unreasonable in his right mind.

The shadow that was hanging more and more imminently over this chapter in particular is the one I'll touch on last. What is Adam up to? Currently we're at that rare phase where I find it pointless to begin speculation, but the conversation between Lilith and the Wind Guardian was informative, and I suspect I should have enough material for initial theories if you reveal just a little more. For now, though, I'll concede Lilith's point with a reference of my own: "Son of Húrin and Morwen, how it will be with your heart Labadal cannot guess, but seldom and to few will you show what is in it."
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  #106    
Old July 4th, 2009, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luphinid Silnaek View Post
This word is obsolete, I think. It has no place in a sentence of this structure.
Yeah, I'm not sure how that who got in there. O_o Then again, my second proofread through (i.e., I proofread the fic twice: once before I send it to my beta and once after.) revealed that I was clearly high when I was doing the first proofread through. I mean, seriously, it was kinda lol-worthy. I think my beta was being a bit kind this time around (though she really does an awesome job, and I love having her go over my work).

Uh, anyway, that will get fixed as soon as I can get a chance to sit down and screw with the documents.

Quote:
Making that into a separate sentence makes me a little uneasy, because my understanding of the grammatical systems around dialogue revolves around assuming both the reported speech and the words attached to it as one flowing sentence--in which case "She spat...she could muster" cuts the dialogue sentence in half at a very odd portion. I think it would go smoother if that sentence was a sentence-portion enclosed in the dashes. What do you think?
That might actually work better, especially considering the entire sentence is supposed to contain that venom anyway. It's another thing I'll play around with when I get a chance to edit.

Quote:
Humans have the most popular fads. Everybody's starting to take a leaf from them and name themselves something symbolic, even if they had no conception of names before. =P
Well, more like Lilith's been reading the mind of her host/listening in on conversations a little too much. For the others, the humans are like, "Hey! We've got an idea! Let's be overly cheesy and name these things after first people!"

And then the Ixodida are like, "Pfft, silly humans."

And meanwhile, Adam is like, "You know, Bill, your kind's pretty weak and incapable of functioning without us, and I really don't know what the hell this actually means, but you know what? You're probably going to call me 'that thing' in your mind if I don't give myself a name, so this is it. Now stop calling me 'that thing,' or I'm telling Veronica what strange things sexually arouse you. Also, pfft, silly humans."

Quote:
I really haven't seen a story that plays around with misinformation/uninformation/implied information/inferred information/whatever more than AEM. Bill assuming the Ground-type ixodida are calling him the rogue, and later presuming Lanette in mortal danger, everybody and their mom going kamikaze on Bill because he's a dirty ixodida, the whole world acting without an inkling of Adam's monarchial will. Your mind in this fic doesn't quite work like normal authors. *grins* It's a buzz of separate messy circumstances that never seem to care how inconvenient it gets for the characters to be this causally absolute. That's scary.
*evil giggle*

Seriously, you hit on an interesting point about how Bill knew they were calling him a rogue. He was right, but it's also a hint to something that I've been implying since the prologue. It's interesting to know that the Ixodida can operate as one being almost without speaking coherently to each other, isn't it?

Quote:
Of course, Hoenn being my favourite region, my heart does sink a little every time you describe how badly the ixodida ravaged each individual part of it.
Thank you. It's always fun to know that someone's horrified by what I'm doing to a perfectly innocent franchise. XD

Quote:
I'm glad Littleroot is still mostly undefiled. *imagines the cheerful Route 101 music punctuated by evil shrieks and the sound of shredding flesh*
XD Well, I suppose it's better than trying to imagine Route 1's cheerful music.

Quote:
There's a surprising lot, when you think about it, that the ixodida might find interesting on earth. I never knew this planet was so influential in such subtle ways.
Oh yes. It's one of those things that really make writing sci-fi fun. There's the cliché that aliens are trying to take over the world, yeah, but some writers (like, for example, Octavia E. Butler and Orson Scott Card) have remembered that aliens are pretty much tourists. Things that we'd think are totally normal would probably be elements of fantasy and intrigue.

So, while the Ixodida are bloodthirsty, ruthless invaders, on a level, the intelligent ones are like, "Oh, that's kinda cool. Such a shame we have to kill off half your species for the sake of our own survival, but still."

Quote:
Well, three new ixodida distinctions are a little clear now with this newest conversation. We have Monarchs, apparently the highest level, with power never really limited to type, and apparently a vast store of resourceful intelligence to get by in a wide variety of environments. (I'll have to see quite how they accumulate this.) There are Guardians, lesser regional heads taking control of one type of ixodida within a region appropriated to them (or obtained by them). From their name, I imagine their role is fairly passive: that of watching and taking care of threats and anomalies that threaten their realm. Knights, I presume, are important combat units for the military work.
Dagnabit, you really make me want to spoil parts of this fanfiction because you're luring me into fun conversation. XD

But to make it easier…

Spoiler:
Don't be confused by the terms "monarch" and "empress." You'll learn what a monarch actually is as early as the next chapter, but it's actually a separate category from empress. Empress, meanwhile, is another name for "queen," so…

Otherwise, you're right on a level. Guardians are of a higher rank than knights. But it gets even more complicated than that because I love not making things straightforward.


Quote:
(Human quarantine doesn't really mean much to them, does it? Here they are, off to storm the Polaris fortress for the Fire Guardian as though fetching sugar from the convenience store down the corner.)
Yeah, it really doesn't. XD 'Course, it sort of figures, considering humans still haven't figured out that it's not easy to take down an Ixodida. (Remember Veronica attempting to shoot bullets at a Grass-type? Fun times.)

Quote:
I puzzle at the business around Adam being responsible for their planet's destruction. It somehow doesn't seem quite in keeping with a calculating and preservatory mind, particularly if he's in danger of doing it again in the near future. Of course, no one has specified which planet, so it could just be some interesting coup de grace from afar on his part--only it doesn't quite seem like it.
Again, you make me want to spoil the rest of the fic because you ask awesome questions, but unfortunately, this particular one should be one of the two most important questions you guys should be asking right up until the final chapter.

Spoiler:
Let's just say Adam is a bastard.

And also, the other question has to do with the bit I keep hinting at about how the Ixodida society is structured.


Quote:
(for another coincidential Aftershock parallel, both of us posted a chapter two days apart where the MC turned suddenly dangerously willful and unpredictable in front of a more careful friend, in much the same way),
I swear to God, I'm going to read this at one point.

Quote:
What does Bill think about it, if he's thinking at all? I'm almost sure he wouldn't be this unreasonable in his right mind.
Oh, he wouldn't, and he definitely knows that. Chapter fifteen should offer a small hint as to what's going on.

Quote:
What is Adam up to?
Something delicious, I assure you.


That said, once again, thanks for the awesome review. I'll go ahead and edit those little weird bits you pointed out, and I'll definitely be thinking of the questions you asked as I'm writing the next chapter.
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  #107    
Old July 5th, 2009, 02:01 AM
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I started reading this chapter a few days ago but I’ve only just posted this because in the span of 5 days, procrastination was at an all time high. But yeah, I was eager to see what the next chapter was going to be after the cliffhanger from the last.

Finally, after weeks of waiting Jax surprises us all with another chapter.

About Bill, are you going for the angle in which he’s slowly becoming an Ixodida because in that case you portayed his transition from man to beast perfectly. It’s almost scary. My heart goes out to Hoenn to see it getting ravaged like so (because it was one of the best games I’ve ever played/longest running one I’ve played too) but at the same time, one side of me can wait to see what gruesomely blood chilling deformation have you brought upon the Hoenn franchise.

I have to say, even though the transitional period was perfect (man à Beast/Bill àIxodida) it was kind of short. Only in this chapter have we witnessed a change in Bill’s mentality (not perception/outlook on life because that’s something totally different) and before this it was barely shown –unless I’m missing something. Adam on the other hand seems to be acting suspiciously secretive all of a sudden. Is this something to do with him destroying his planet?

About the teleporting thing(needing to be in contact with Kirlia), is this really canon or are you just borrowing from Harry Potter(i.e. portkey)?

Also,
Quote:
And meanwhile, Adam is like, "You know, Bill, your kind's pretty weak and incapable of functioning without us, and I really don't know what the hell this actually means, but you know what? You're probably going to call me 'that thing' in your mind if I don't give myself a name, so this is it. Now stop calling me 'that thing,' or I'm telling Veronica what strange things sexually arouse you. Also, pfft, silly humans."
Lulz. Couldn’t stop laughing and my mouth ulcer ached for hours afterwards.
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  #108    
Old July 5th, 2009, 06:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo Groudon View Post
Finally, after weeks of waiting Jax surprises us all with another chapter.
Yeah, sorry about that. I'm really trying not to fall back onto old habits, but with work leaving me wiped out sometimes and other projects I'm scrambling to finish (including your beta, which as a side note, I received A-OK), it's sometimes a bit difficult to get myself to sit down and write. On the other hand, there's a number of awesome things I have planned for fifteen (or sixteen), so I'm hoping to actually get to work a bit quicker on it.

Quote:
About Bill, are you going for the angle in which he’s slowly becoming an Ixodida because in that case you portayed his transition from man to beast perfectly. It’s almost scary.
Thank you. =D

Truth be told, he's sliding that way, but of course, he's going to put up a fight. Whether or not he wins that fight is another story.

Quote:
but at the same time, one side of me can wait to see what gruesomely blood chilling deformation have you brought upon the Hoenn franchise.
*evil cackle*

Quote:
I have to say, even though the transitional period was perfect (man à Beast/Bill àIxodida) it was kind of short. Only in this chapter have we witnessed a change in Bill’s mentality (not perception/outlook on life because that’s something totally different) and before this it was barely shown –unless I’m missing something.
Yeah, I do admit it was pretty blinking sudden on my part. Hopefully, the hint-of-an-explanation in fifteen will be able to poke the story towards a logical explanation because otherwise, there might be some more toning down I'll be having to do.

Quote:
Adam on the other hand seems to be acting suspiciously secretive all of a sudden. Is this something to do with him destroying his planet?
Oh yeah. Among other things. ;D

Quote:
About the teleporting thing(needing to be in contact with Kirlia), is this really canon or are you just borrowing from Harry Potter(i.e. portkey)?
If I'm remembering things correctly, it's a bit canon. In "Sandshrew's Locker" (the episode with Mira), the gang had to touch Mira's Abra in order to Teleport elsewhere. Yeah, I just realized that's not exactly true for pretty much any other instance of teleporting (as far as I can remember, although did Togepi use Teleport a few times and accidentally end up by itself?), but eh.

Quote:
Lulz. Couldn’t stop laughing and my mouth ulcer ached for hours afterwards.
*bows* Although ouch. Sorry about that mouth ulcer.


Thanks for the review, by the way. I'll be working quickly on fifteen.
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  #109    
Old July 26th, 2009, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Best Fanfiction Author Ever
He turned his head to give her a curious glance. "A crowbar?"

"Mr. Smashy."

For a second time, Bill winced. "Oh. That crowbar."
Am I missing something here?

Quote:
Shrieks rose from the first floor as plaster fell in a white snow onto the five travelers.

I'm pretty sure that that's meant to have two l's...

Quote:
and the bones of the elderly couple who tried to protect one of Hoenn's most sacred places.

They were killed? You're so evil... But maybe "had tried to protect" would make more sense... Or "had tried, and failed, to protect"

Can't actually find any more there. I had to go through with a dictionary to find those, so...
Good work!

Now finish that next Chapter...
  #110    
Old July 26th, 2009, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Pich_u View Post

I'm pretty sure that that's meant to have two l's...
Not in the US of A, Pich_u.
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  #111    
Old July 26th, 2009, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Pich_u View Post
Am I missing something here?
Admittedly, that one's more of an inside joke for my RL friends. Basically, it has something to do with the fact that every tabletop roleplaying and LARP character I've ever had did more damage in fights using crowbars (aptly called Mr. Smashy, after Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Mr. Pointy) than actual weapons, including guns, swords, and one monk's own fists of fury.

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I'm pretty sure that that's meant to have two l's...
Sparkling Dragon's actually right here. In every other form of English except American, you're right in saying it's traveller. In America (*insert YGO Abridged joke here*), it's traveler. Don't worry about it. We Americans are weird.

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They were killed? You're so evil...
:D

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But maybe "had tried to protect" would make more sense... Or "had tried, and failed, to protect"
Ooh, good point. Probably the former's best here. Thanks for that. I'll edit when I get a chance.

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Good work!
Thanks. ^_^ And thanks for the compliments via VM as well.

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Now finish that next Chapter...
Working on it. I promise. XD;
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  #112    
Old August 3rd, 2009, 09:19 PM
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I came across your story and was surprised at the depth and skill put into it, so I felt I owed it to you to offer my thoughts. Hopefully you wont mind a late opinion.


Prologue:

A very good beginning to the story. Generally, a prologue of any sort is the sign of an amateur writer incapable of finding the correct time and character to being their story. The prologue becomes a crutch to describe any main characters and the general setting as if a report, which only removes any flair where the story is "supposed" to begin. You, however, understand that a prologue is only meant to establish the setting that the story will develop on, and should never focus on the main character. If a character is used at all, it should be throwaway and a means to further establish the setting. You've done that perfectly, using an Absol that gives voice to the setting when otherwise would be dull description. Reading of the red parasites immediately brought to mind fire ants working to clean the meat from a carcass. Quick, methodical, and most importantly coordinated. This is a comparison I admire, and very subtly foreshadows future developments in the hierarchy and mentality of the parasites.

The writing was excellent, with my reading smooth and my mind entirely involved in the story. The only sentence that brought a bump to that smoothness was: "Gingerly, he limped on his twisted paw for what felt like an immense distance towards the lip of the crater. His throat whined, not because of the pain shooting up his leg but instead because of the familiar, cold feeling that seeped into his bones." I feel the sentence would have been much smoother without "instead" (bolded).

Other than that, you seem to use many adjectives to describe things. However, you don't rely on them and they only further help the reader visualize what's being read. There were only a few parts where I felt an adjective was not needed.

Moving on...


Chapter 1:

The first paragraph is written in the past tense, while the second starts with "Ten months have..." This switch to the present tense jerked me right out of the story, and I was confused for the next few paragraphs. I wasn't sure whether I was going to continue to be notified of things that had happened, or if I was moving into the story of what is happening. Try to transition more smoothly when it comes to time.

"Good morning, Bill!"

Bill lifted his eyes towards the end of the room, past the rows of strange,
flickering machines. A dark window spread across the far wall, creating a deep, crimson gap in the otherwise white wall. At it, an old man with near-black eyes stared at him. Professor Oak's wrinkled face drew into a wide grin as he motioned for Bill to come forward. With a small nod, Bill took a few more steps into the laboratory, but before he could go any further, another voice rose from the side.
You've already established that someone has made contact with Bill, so I feel the bolded sentence pulls your expectations away for needless scene describing. I probably would have still included the sentence, but ended it about "the far wall". Another slight nit-pick is that Oak begins smiling after Bill looks towards him. Am I to believe he waited to smile? I would assume he would already be doing it.

From
behind a pair of oval-framed glasses, her hazel eyes flashed angrily at Bill.
From where else but behind her glasses? "From" isn't necessary.

Her thin face contracted into a deep frown as she drew her hands from her lab coat [specifically "lab"] pockets and crossed her thin arms. As you can probably tell, the adjectives (bolded) are extremely prominent in this sentence alone. It pulls me away from the character of Yvonne and towards how she looks, which I doubt is more important than her personality.

The long fingers of her right hand began to drum on her left elbow. "When were you scheduled to arrive here?" Sorry, but I couldn't help myself... I meant for the previous example to show your tendency to over-describe, but this stood out in a different way. Was it really necessary to specify which hand and which elbow? Seems like you're trying to show exactly how you visualize the story, when times such as these either aren't relevant or would be much more fun for the reader to visualize. It just makes you seem like a controlling writer.

Although the director probably didn't realize it, Bill had definitely heard that line of encouragement before, uttered to another researcher who felt the cold, hard snap of the voice of another team leader. Nonetheless, Oak's smile and tone were enough to let Bill ease from anxiety caused by humility and into a slightly more comfortable zone. He returned his own smile – albeit a significantly more timid one – and nodded. This pulled me out, making me re-read it a few times. I think "from anxiety caused by (shy) embaressment" would be more direct. The reader is intelligent, so assume they can tell from context why Bill is embaressed instead of outright telling them.

She had previously been a professor of psychology at Celadon University and before that, a field researcher like Oak himself, known mostly for her endeavors to understand the jynx communication patterns. It was a whispered joke that she communed with the ice women well enough; to the men, she wouldn't hesitate to handle them just as frostily as she frequently did with Bill. To women, she had her harsh moments, but she often restrained herself just enough to give the members of her own gender something resembling mercy. Hmm... Interesting. Hinting at sexuality, are we? And the comment at "jynx communication patterns intrigues me. It both inspired an idea in my own developing story and makes me hope it comes into play later on with Nettle.

So, when she swept her hazel eyes from the back of a trembling scientist to Bill, he was only slightly surprised that his colleague visibly relaxed. This is the second time you've noted her hazel eyes. Is it really necessary to remind us? Appearance shouldn't be described unecessarily, and is usually only done for the benefit of characterization. (Example: "She spun, her fiery red hair twisting with her." for a character currently arguing or intensely angry)

Bill had seen a vast number of different things since he became a pokémon researcher, but never had he seen a pokémon consume live prey with such clean efficiency.
Subtle, but are you hinting that the parasite is a Pokemon, or is Bill just comparing it to Pokemon that do consume live prey? If the former, the implications are extremely interesting if developed.

Squinting (mostly because fully opening both eyes would send pulses of pain through his head), he propped himself up on his elbows to face his superior. I'm fine with the use of parenthesis in stories, but usually only relegated to more experimental pieces with narration and characterization far more different than what you're writing... You've used them earlier, but they worked for what they were containing. Simple commas would have sufficed this time around.

He was about to finish the sentence with "more time," but before he could, alarms went off. What Bill was going to say could easily be inferred from context, and if not isn't really necessary to be known. Unless the character is going to say something important, and only in rare cases, the finished sentence shouldn't be told... I would have written it as "He was about to finish the sentence, but was interrupted by the sound of alarms."

"...finding himself face-to-face with the dark cap and face of a Team Rocket henchman." He's black?

A grin spread across her pale face, nestled evenly between the locks of blonde hair caressing her rosy cheeks. She crossed her white-clad arms as she eyed Oak. Sorry. Just so many descriptors in one place I had to say something.

"He's just an innocent, ambitious new addition to the team, isn't he? Cutting his life short, if not a few appendages or fingers, when he hasn't even reached his prime…" Fingers are appendages. Sounds redundant.

Was protecting that information worth risking someone else's life or limb? "or limb" reduces the seriousness of the situation and is unnecessary in getting the point of danger across.

At this point, I feel bringing up anything else would be unnecessary, especially since I found so few problems after the last example.

Overall the chapter was good. It was effective in introducing the main characters and the setting, adding the beginnings of plot to the story you set in the prologue. Everything I would expect in the first chapter of a good fan-fiction.Since it is a longer work than the prologue, your writing mannerisms slipped in more obviously and I was able to pick up on that. My main complaint is the overuse of adjectives and adverbs, which I feel I gave the best examples of. I understand I'll be running into the same thing more or less in the following chapters, so I'll overlook them unless they stand out exceptionally and focus on story and stylistic issues.

I could tell when you enjoyed writing certain characters, especially Oak and Nettle. You tended to drag the action tags related to them during dialogue far longer than necessary. Yes, action tags are there to avoid ping-pong dialogue... But the reader should be following the conversation, not every physical nuance and description of the room they're in.

Other than that, I picked up on a few examples of words you tended to overuse.

After awhile I became annoyed with the many times Bill was referred to as Oak's "young colleague". You also constantly noted the color of different characters eyes, which was unecessary. Finally, "let's see how many variations of tyrannitar I can come up with!" wasn't doing it for me.

Chapter 2:

The past twenty-four hours had been chaotic in Polaris Institute. The Rockets eventually disappeared from the complex, no doubt retreating to prepare for another attempt. The Inner Ring was in shambles. Most of the data the research team had gathered was lost to the destroyed computer banks, and the laboratories were left in debris (mostly caused by the chaos and panic of an army of Rockets storming the halls). Already, many members of the team relocated to the Median Ring while many others struggled to salvage anything they could from the destruction. Seems overwritten. You're re-capping something that just happened, so it's not necessary to go into so much detail. I'm sure the reader can infer that **** has gone down, and only need a short explanation of what people are doing to move ahead.

Bill could hear the elder's voice, but it said nothing to him. It was gibberish, spoken with a distant tone. The "it" indicates you're referring to Oak's voice, which is confirmed in the following sentence. However, at a first read I wasn't sure if you meant Oak himself... Voices don't speak, people do. I would re-work it to say "but it was nothing to him."

Nettle seemed to know this fact, even if he never voiced it. I at first thought you typoed and referred to Nettle as being male. Replacing "he" with "Oak" would make it much clearer.

Since I opted to avoid commenting on every little issue this chapter, I'm pretty much done and will move onto talking about the chapter itself.

Suffice to say, it was good. Though long, it felt quick and smooth and successfully continued the story on a personal level (Oak and Nettle's reaction, Bill's awakening) as well as subtly hinting on future things to be elaborated on.

The transitioning between the first chapter and this was good. I'm hoping this trend continues and you know the right time to start each chapter, which is something not many people are capable at.

Towards the end several things bothered me. I can understand Oak wanting to move Bill to a more suitable observation room, but the fact it contains a window seems absurd to me. Are they baiting the parasite to attempt escape? It seems utterly contradicting of what they're trying to do there.

It was bad enough that Bill awoke and was able to get up and move around. I imagined he'd still be strapped down, until I realized they want him to move about so they can study him. Still, the window seems off... Wouldn't they want to hide him from majority of the scientists and workers to keep hysteria down? They're working in a dangerous environment as it is.

Finally, I was peeved by Bill realizing "in horror" that the gas pumped into his room is sleeping gas. Okay? I'd be calmed. At least it's not some nerve toxin about to melt my brain. Who would really be horrified at sleeping gas? Yeah, I get this is when Bill realizes he's no longer a "colleague" and now a subject, but the gas itself, not what kind, should bother him.

Chapter 3:

Certain things have begun to be clarified or explained in this chapter, which I appreciate. Any further and people may have become irritated in not knowing what "XP-494" means, if anything. The suggestion that there are different forms of the parasite is something that entices further reading, to find out more. Great timing.

I don't quite get the Samsa reference. Is Bill as ignorant abuot Kafka as most people are?

This is a bit unrelated to the current chapter, but I just realized something: what was the point of the Team Rocket assault? Obviously on the surface it was "Team Rocket wants XP-494", but plot-wise the only thing they did was cause Bill to be infected by the parasite and start the story in relation to his character.

Team Rocket was merely a plot device, suddenly appearing and used to advance the plot and just as soon discarded. That's rather weak, if you ask me, so you'd better suggest that something happened at the complex we've yet to see. Bringing them up and merely having them say "We failed. That sucks." would only sever any importance they would have initially had.

With a nod and a "yes, sir," the intern pulled a remote out of one of his pockets and pressed a button to open the door. I don't agree with this. I imagine a two-way radio, with the intern requesting to be buzzed out from the room, would be more appropriate than to have a key on his person.

Minor thing I caught: Professor Oak is usually described as "Oak", which is fine but weighs on me in its monotony. I would suggest at least slipping a "Prof. Oak" or "Professor Oak" in whenever it feels right. There weren't many opportunities where other things would fit (Example: "Okay," said the dark-browed researcher.)

And finally, another break-in so soon! Using action to keep us pressing on to the next chapter is good, if done right, but all these mid-conversation alarm bursts can add up quickly. I'd make the next one at least in the security room, so they know it's about to happen, or just avoid it altogether.

Chapter 4:

The break up of this chapter into three parts is a good technique. If I'm correct, this should be the point when we follow the progress of a different character in each chapter. I imagine this would be difficult to keep up, so I'm expecting "shared" chapters.

The revelation of Nettle's involvement with Team Rocket is genuinely surprising. I want to say it's bad generalizing a bad character as a bad person, but you handled Nettle's personality well enough that she doesn't seem entirely cliche. I'm hoping your choice to reveal her ties so early is a tactic towards allowing the reader to believe she truly is a "bad guy'", only to have us caught off guard when you further characterize her and make her a real person. We'll see.

Chapter 5:

Squinting, he saw Officer Jenny, pale-faced and still with a gloved hand still on the light switch a short distance from the front door. Her brown eyes widened at the sight of not only Bill's blood-stained claws and face but also the two bodies – one of the ixodida and the other of Nurse Joy – lying oddly still between them. I understand the different uses of "still", but I'm surprised this wasn't caught before. There's just too many in such close proximity.

End of chapter, so here's my post thoughts:

"Ixodida" is a fairly long word, considering the syllables involved, so I should expect it shorted in future speech. Seems appropriate that characters would call it " Ix' " or " 'dida "; whichever suits the character's speech mannerisms.

The chapter was a bit shorter than what's come before, which helped me realize the overwhelming length your chapters tend to be. If in printed form, I imagine the chapters would be near that of typical chapters in novels, but for a fanfiction they simply feel too long. A guy can only sit and read a computer monitor for so long... I would suggest taking a good look at your chapters and seeing how they can be shorted (there's a slight tendency to drag it on, especially towards the end), or divvy up the scenes into smaller, mini chapters.

Chapter 6:

This is my first time commenting on one of the chapter quotes, but this time I feel The affable Archangel had forewarned Adam to beware. merits it. Your shortening of the original Milton line seems to lose some of the original meaning. It's dumbed down a little.

"Nurse Joy," he whispered.

Jenny stopped. "She's dead. Poison."
I'm proud that you didn't relegate Joy's death to that of an over-blown Redshirt, but the fact that her death was caused by her own stupidity (why did she go into the building for no reason? If Rosie had run in first, maybe) makes it seem you were rushing her death without much planning.

It was faint – earthy and sour yet, at the same time, sweet. I feel this would flow more smoothly if an "and" was present between sour and yet.

Rose clutched his neck tighter, and he felt her hot tears trickling across his metal skin. Okay, this is really bothering me... I wasn't going to say anything before, but every time you mention tears they're "hot". I, nor have my friends, ever known tears to be hot, so it seems to me you're just letting a common expression slip into your writing without thinking. (Example: the common and weak expression of "A chill ran up his spine")

As soon as he unwrapped his tail from her waist, she yelped and reached up to shove him away. He stumbled backwards in surprise for a few steps and watched with wide eyes as Rose darted behind Officer Jenny. Too many verbs coupled with adjectives makes for a bulky read.

Good chapter. Gets the ball rolling, pushing the story ahead for Bill and two new characters. I find it a bit quick, but for a parody of standard-fare sci-fi done through fan-fiction I can understand why. You focus on the action and sneak in character development when you can, and you're doing that masterfully. So no complaints here, really.

Only issue that really stood out for me was the constant reminder of eye color for Joy and Jenny (and later, other characters). "Coffee-colored eyes" tends to be annoying, especially since coffee has a variety of colors.

Chapter 7:

Probably just personal taste, but I found myself becoming annoyed at the constant smiling during Oak and Riko's conversation. The action tags simply felt forced and unnecessary. The dialogue should have been the chief focus of this part, and from context the reader can infer how it's said. (This is also a problem throughout your writing, with constant smiling an action tags for the sake of action tags)

The people were long gone (no mystery because the ixodida preyed on the people

who lived in isolation)
, but the things they left behind were more than useful to

herself and the child with her.
I'm pretty sure the reader is intelligent enough

to make a guess as to why the people are gone from their cabins, so the in-

parenthesis sentence is unnecessary.

The only person who got a sound from her was Ellen Joy, the local nurse and the one who took care of her after the girl was found wandering along the edge of the city. Wow. Really? This just happened one chapter ago! Not only that, but you constantly reminded us about it in the last chapter. Unnecessary.

In every direction, all he could see was gray. The soft, forest floor was carpeted with dead, gray leaves. Overhead, bare, gray branches laced like old fingers across the gray sky. There was nothing else there. No wind. No pokémon. Nothing. Nice use of repetition. Most people don't know when is the best time to use it... My only suggestion is working around the word for variations in the future, such as "greyed", "greying", "faded", "slab", etc. so it's not so obvious.

The longer he spent, the more he realized the latter was a very likely option... This is the third or fourth time you've used "latter" in this chapter and the previous and it's becoming more obvious as you go on. I generally wont use it unless in an essay or other paper, or in a dialogue specific to a character's mannerisms.

Probably my favorite chapter so far. A lesser writer would have shipped Jenny and Bill by now, and I have the feeling you were just aching in amusement at imagining the readers expecting something to happen. The dream sequence was spot-on and made the chapter worth reading in that it hinted at the parasite's nature, which should be cleared up soon enough.

Chapter 8:

As an embarrassed flush colored Bill's face as he turned away. I'm sure you can

see the problem here.

Chapter 9:

For a moment, Veronica believed the worst as her heart skipped a beat. Missing

letter added in bold.

I find the part dealing with the Machop unrealistic in two ways: Machop looks almost exactly like a human, so Jenny and Bill should be far more apprehensive about killing/eating it. I would imagine Jenny would have let it go and gone for something more "animal". Secondly, if killed wouldn't the Machop's circulatory system immeditately shut down? Simply biting into it wouldn't do much as far as getting blood. Bill would have to practically eat the flesh to get to the blood.

"Test it on Adam," Nettle hissed. At this point I am officially bothered by the constant hissing. Synonyms, maybe?

Chapter 10:

I like how you've started this chapter. Again, most writers don't know where to begin and fall short with dialogue, but you tend to vary how your chapters begin.

Watching from the viewpoint of the Zigzagoon was a good change of pace, and I only felt it lasted much too quickly. An additional paragraph would have sufficed, but otherwise the concept was realized skillfully enough.

At that, Bill was shocked into silence for a beat. Like the constant hissing and note of characters' eye color, the use of "for a beat" is another mannerism I've taken notice of in your writing. Interestingly enough, it's usually coupled with a character becoming silent. I just thought I'd bring this up because, though it shows up almost as much as the other two examples, it doesn't annoy me nearly as much. You tend to vary its use a bit more.


"'Getting inside its skin helps me get inside its head,'" Adam recited. "You said that once to a child. Do you remember? What if I wished to understand you? Would you not wish to understand me?" Brilliant! and utterly amusing. haha

There was a beat of silence. Just giving you an example of how often your mannerisms crop up. If this was on paper, I imagine the two examples would be no farther apart than a single page, or possibly even on the same.

Chapter 11:

He tilted his head. Just one of many. Lots of head-tilting going on in this chapter, though it's certainly not the first time you've written a character doing it. Again, action tags aren't always necessary during dialogue and in this instance just make the characters seem absent-minded, or, worse, stupid.

My new favorite chapter. Just the little things add to it overall, and the short length is a welcome change. Mini-chapters like this should always play a part in such long fanfictions, though I understand they can't always be fitted.

Chapter 12:

But, of course, this one wasn't run by her best friend. It was Joy's sister-in-law, and that made it feel a bit wrong. Sister-in-law? Now, logically-speaking, that implies incest, right?


He realized then that it was the first time he's really seen his reflection since he was infected. "he's" should be "he'd".

Without skipping a beat, Bill answered, "Her name is Lanette Rousseau. She's a colleague of mine." The "skipping a beat" issue that fills your writing, as well as the "colleague" one that I mentioned many chapters ago, but is still common enough to your writing I'm bringing it up now as a reminder. (Note: After this point the "skipping a beat" issue plagues your writing so much that it any time it comes up, which becomes very often, annoys the **** out of me and I stop reading for awhile)

Generally the use of "clans" of any sort, whether in published work or amateur is very off-putting. It brings to mind teenage attempts at being cool in creating "complex" ninja or vampire society, and ultimately just makes me want to gag. Luckily for you, your use of the term only pushes me forward in reading. I want to see how you make it your own.

Chapter 13:

His tail curled around his waist to rest on his lap as he waited patiently. I would remove the bolded and change "rest" to "rested", since in its current state the sentence is too wordy.

He bit his lip. And at this point I officially recognize another mannerism typical of your personal style of writing: constant biting of lips. It's fine to use every once in awhile, but at this point you've had every character blink/widen their eyes, tilt their head, and bite their lip. These mannerisms individually are not typical of humans in the real world, so it's far more jarring that every character exhibits not just one, but every tic in their behavior.

Good chapter. More transitional in purpose than most, but it succeeds in introducing a new character and preparing us for things to come. Only major issue is the, once again, usual cliff-hanger of a scream or explosion. This time, you've done both.

Chapter 14:


With a growl, Veronica stood. "This is ridiculous."

She stood and stomped towards the door with Growlithe's poké ball enlarged in her hand.
The second instance of "stood" is redundant.

Without thinking about it, he growled – actually growled. "What are you planning on doing?"

Veronica paused, startled by the sound
that came just before his words. We were here when this happened, just one sentence ago. The bolded part is unnecessary because of this.


"Calm down," she said. "Lanette's a smart girl. She'll figure out a way out." Remove the bolded "out" for a more smooth read.


When the image of the caller appeared on the screen, Brigette was surprised for two reasons. First, it was her sister, who had sworn never to leave Hoenn until she gathered enough data on the ixodida. Second, the brown plaster walls, the dim light, and the red carpets of the all-too-familiar backdrop told Brigette she wasn't looking at the cottage near Meteor Falls. Instead, she recognized it immediately as the Sea Cottage – Bill's lighthouse. Why two reasons? I find it hard to imagine Lanette wouldn't call her sister at all, so seeing her on the phone shouldn't be a surprise.

Reading that Lanette had been left behind was the one time in your story when I felt my body react in excitement, eager with each word to find what would happen next... To tell the truth, I was pretty disappointed to see her make it out of there. A cliff-hanger would have made a good cut-off point for the chapter, and would have pressed us to eagerly await the next chapter. Unfortunately, you took that suspense from us and immediately told us what happened.

The rest of the chapter, the introduction of Lilith, was intriguing and I can't suggest it find its way into a chapter of its own, so I feel that it could stay as is. Only thing that would suit this chapter better is if you saved the Lanette scene for later.


And that concludes my critique of each chapter you've as of yet posted. I hope you appreciate my time and feel I've helped in some way, since I really enjoyed both the read and the critical thinking. Feel free to respond to any of my points for clarification or comments.

Overall the story is coming along well. Your writing shines in terms of characterization and transition, though your prose could use some work. Despite that, you know which words you want to use and bring them together well enough to create a mostly smooth read. The story is enjoyable, but I'll wait until the end before I comment on the plot and final (if there will be) development of the characters.

I couldn't help compare, from the moment Bill started to metamorphose into an ixodida and his parasite allowed him free-will, your story with the manga Parasyte. If you haven't heard of it, I recommend looking into it. It's almost spot-on the same as your story, but without the Pokemon.
  #113    
Old August 4th, 2009, 08:24 AM
JX Valentine's Avatar
JX Valentine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redstar View Post
Hopefully you wont mind a late opinion.
I usually don't so long as it's not going to risk getting my thread closed due to the forum rules. However, there's a few things I'd like to say. While I appreciate a lot of your suggestions, there's a few that were taken out of context or might make sense if looked at from a different angle.

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The first paragraph is written in the past tense, while the second starts with "Ten months have..." This switch to the present tense jerked me right out of the story, and I was confused for the next few paragraphs.
That phrase is not really a transition between the present of the prologue and the present of the story, if that's what you were saying. It's actually setting up the time frame, whereas the first paragraph establishes the physical location. In other words, the first two paragraphs of the first chapter are divorced from the events of the prologue in order to set up where and when the action of the first chapter occurs.

Quote:
You've already established that someone has made contact with Bill, so I feel the bolded sentence pulls your expectations away for needless scene describing.
What it's trying to do is actually let the reader see through Bill's eyes for a moment. Bill doesn't automatically know where in the room Professor Oak is except straight ahead. So, he looks up and sees the window first before following it to find Oak.

Moreover, the extra description is included to make the sentence itself seem slightly less abrupt to the reader.

Quote:
from her lab coat [specifically "lab"]
It's meant to specify what kind of coat these scientists are wearing. Yes, I felt the need to specify, especially given what Bill's normal choice of attire would be if there was no dress code. *motions to "Mystery at the Lighthouse"*

Quote:
It pulls me away from the character of Yvonne and towards how she looks, which I doubt is more important than her personality.
As terrible as this is going to sound, if I recall correctly (because there's been several different revisions of the first chapter), I go on to explain why I overemphasize the fact that she's thin and possesses a lot of angles on her body: I'm comparing her to shards of broken glass. As in, by showing the reader what she looks like, I'm trying to convey that she looks just as much like a sharp-tongued ***** as she actually is.

Moreover, Nettle is an original character. She actually needs to be described simply because the reader has no idea what she looks like otherwise.

Quote:
This pulled me out, making me re-read it a few times. I think "from anxiety caused by (shy) embaressment" would be more direct.
Embarrassment and humiliation aren't exactly the same thing, though. Embarrassment implies a sense of awkwardness, like you'll laugh about it in hindsight. Humiliation is shame and despair – verbal castration, basically. Bill's not embarrassed by Nettle's criticism. He's outright humiliated. To call it embarrassment is actually pretty much toning down what he's actually feeling.

Quote:
Subtle, but are you hinting that the parasite is a Pokemon, or is Bill just comparing it to Pokemon that do consume live prey? If the former, the implications are extremely interesting if developed.
Bill's naturally assuming he's studying a Pokémon. As a Pokémon researcher, it wouldn't be logical for him to be there if it wasn't or if the possibility didn't exist. (There are other forms of researchers in the institute who are prepared to approach it as if it was any other kind of life form, but the scientists Bill encounters throughout the beginning chapters are all fellow Pokémon researchers.)

Quote:
He's black?
Tanned.

Seriously, the face is shadowed by the cap.

Quote:
Sorry. Just so many descriptors in one place I had to say something.
While I do feel as if I could take out "rosy," the reason why I describe this character in detail is because she's not an original character, but I don't actually give her a name beyond something that not many people know her by. It's meant to egg the reader into figuring out who she is and seeing her as a cameo.

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But the reader should be following the conversation, not every physical nuance and description of the room they're in.
The physical nuances you're describing are there to indicate that body language is just as important in this fanfiction as actual spoken word. It's implied as early as chapter two (with something I'm going to be touching upon there), and it comes up later on when Adam controls Bill's body from time to time. Think of it as a Chekov's gun of sorts.

Moreover, there were cases when the action was actually important, like when Oak took off his watch to show Nettle. The rest, yes, body language.

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Finally, "let's see how many variations of tyrannitar I can come up with!" wasn't doing it for me.
Which is ironic because you've told me repeatedly in the rest of this review to use the thesaurus. (Just saying.)

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You're re-capping something that just happened, so it's not necessary to go into so much detail.
Actually, I'm adding onto what happened in the last chapter, not recapping what happened. At the cliffhanger, the Rockets were being chased by the guard Growlithe, only one room of the Inner Ring was destroyed, no one knew how much work they'd lost in the battle, and the team had yet to move to the Median Ring.

In other words, it's not meant to be a summary of "**** went down." It's meant to be a bridge between what happened as of the end of the first chapter and what happened right at the beginning of the second. This information is necessary to further explain where the action of the second chapter is taking place and why it's there and not the more secure Inner Ring.

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Voices don't speak, people do.
One thing you probably should note is that Bill is really mentally messed up at that point. He sees Oak. He hears his voice. He doesn't connect Oak's voice to Oak. Hence, the voice is speaking because it doesn't register to him where it's coming from.

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Towards the end several things bothered me. I can understand Oak wanting to move Bill to a more suitable observation room, but the fact it contains a window seems absurd to me. Are they baiting the parasite to attempt escape? It seems utterly contradicting of what they're trying to do there.

It was bad enough that Bill awoke and was able to get up and move around. I imagined he'd still be strapped down, until I realized they want him to move about so they can study him. Still, the window seems off... Wouldn't they want to hide him from majority of the scientists and workers to keep hysteria down? They're working in a dangerous environment as it is.
One of the things I was trying to convey about the entirety of Polaris Institute is that every single person in it (interns, scientists, et cetera) are devoted to one thing: Project Stardust. What Project Stardust is (which I've tried to explain in the early chapters, particularly with what Oak says during the first) is a group effort funded by the government to study the Ixodida in order to learn how they behave so the government can have a means of either eliminating them or at least curbing their threat. So, when an Ixodida parasite latches onto a human and suddenly transforms him from a sweet and relatively harmless colleague to a vicious mutant, that's not something they're going to want to keep hush-hush within the institute itself. Oak doesn't realize at that point, of course, that it's happened elsewhere (because at least the Committee wants to keep secrets), but he knows that such a serious development could completely change the strategies of the military/whoever the hell is going to be taking out the Ixodida. So, yeah, he's risking mass panic, but on the other hand, he knows that withholding the obvious might actually hinder their studies more than help it.

Moreover, that window isn't glass. (The one in the Inner Ring might have been because they didn't expect a tiny organism to break out. Sure enough, they were correct in this assumption, but they didn't take into consideration someone bringing a Tyranitar to Hyper Beam the window.) This is something that's actually brought up in the upcoming chapter fifteen, but even then, it should be noted that the Median Ring isn't as secure as the Inner Ring in all aspects. This fact comes up repeatedly throughout the rest of the fic. The logic is that the Inner Ring is completely out of commission, but the Committee/the government are right now facing a crisis, what with having realized alien parasites have taken down a region and are threatening to move beyond its borders. They're trying to maximize manpower in order to produce some kind of result before the Ixodida can escape to the rest of the world, and few places are as isolated as a highly secure citadel on an island.

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Finally, I was peeved by Bill realizing "in horror" that the gas pumped into his room is sleeping gas. Okay? I'd be calmed. At least it's not some nerve toxin about to melt my brain. Who would really be horrified at sleeping gas? Yeah, I get this is when Bill realizes he's no longer a "colleague" and now a subject, but the gas itself, not what kind, should bother him.
It's not the fact that he's a subject so much as at that very moment, he realizes Nettle has absolutely no intention of helping him. After all, he did try to reason with her, but then she decided to completely blow him off. Notice she wasn't panicking when she saw him. He certainly did.

To further detail why he's reacting at the fact that it's sleeping gas, he's suddenly realized that Nettle is drugging him after he tried to appear calm and about as far from feral as he could get. (He even greets her cheerfully, despite the fact that he doesn't particularly enjoy being around her.) Yet, she still drugs him. It's not even out of fear, really, and considering he's more than willing to cooperate, it's not because it's necessary. She's doing it for no reason, and that's what's scaring Bill so much. Hence, yes, he reacts to the fact that it's sleeping gas and not some toxin because either way, it's the same point: Nettle screwed him over.

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I don't quite get the Samsa reference. Is Bill as ignorant abuot Kafka as most people are?
Non serious response is that Bill was never an English major.

Serious response is that despite metaphors or what certain critics might say, the most familiar image associated with Gregor Samsa is the idea of a man turning into a cockroach. Bill is referencing that mostly. I say "mostly" here because if Bill recognizes the metaphor behind it (which I'm not sure if he would), then he's also making a very, very pessimistic statement about himself in an upbeat manner. Which actually is in-character for him, considering how he is in the games.

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This is a bit unrelated to the current chapter, but I just realized something: what was the point of the Team Rocket assault? Obviously on the surface it was "Team Rocket wants XP-494", but plot-wise the only thing they did was cause Bill to be infected by the parasite and start the story in relation to his character.

Team Rocket was merely a plot device, suddenly appearing and used to advance the plot and just as soon discarded. That's rather weak, if you ask me, so you'd better suggest that something happened at the complex we've yet to see.
Well, first off, Team Rocket appears later on in the fic, as made obvious by Nettle's conversation with Giovanni and the later attack by the Rocket mecha. The conversation alone should be enough of a hint that something else is going on, as should the fact that the second attack resulted in the presence of the NDF when the Committee didn't call them in.

Second, there's another element that was going to be brought up eventually, but I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it. Basically, recall the fact that there's Team Rocket operatives in Polaris Institute (present tense for a reason). The truth of the matter is...

Spoiler:
It turns out that this wasn't the first institute that Team Rocket infested. They were also a part of Valencia Center, which means they already knew about Pandora. The entire point of the assault was to get a controllable specimen (as in, someone who would be able to survive the transformation but still bend to the will of Team Rocket) infected and capture them in order to train them/breed little Ixodida parasites/turn them into Rocket soldiers. In this manner, they could forcibly "recruit" anyone who got in their way.

So, the assault was to put everyone on lockdown, break free the parasite, and get it to attach to the person that the inside operatives had chosen. Then, the next step would have been capturing the victim while they were still dazed and confused and blasting out before anyone starts to think there might even be moles.

Unfortunately, the victim wasn't supposed to be Bill (which also explains why I put an inordinate amount of description towards Professor Mulberry), and the Inner Ring wasn't supposed to explode. So, the Rockets left their specimen behind, and Nettle was left trying to clean up the mess they'd left… by repeatedly attempting to either kill Bill herself or get other members of Polaris Institute to do it for her.


Like I said, it's possible this might not make it into the final version of the fic. There are still things I'm working out about the plot. It's very likely that it will, however, because Team Rocket actually is supposed to play a vital role in this entire fic.

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I don't agree with this. I imagine a two-way radio, with the intern requesting to be buzzed out from the room, would be more appropriate than to have a key on his person.
You have a point, but on the other hand, it would most likely not be a good idea to force the intern to be buzzed out in case the specimen went off the deep end. The time between the intern using the radio and someone actually unlocking the door could cost the victim's life. At most, I could offer a compromise in which the intern would be able to get out with a key but need to be let in.

Otherwise, there's very little chance of a theft because everyone with access to the laboratories (note the description of the lock in the first chapter and remove the part about the eye scan, essentially) would also be able to access the room anyway. Moreover, Polaris Institute is locked down, which is why there are dormitories and why Team Rocket's presence was so unusual. No one can go in or out without permission, so it's not like anyone who screws up in the institute can get away with it.

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Minor thing I caught: Professor Oak is usually described as "Oak", which is fine but weighs on me in its monotony. I would suggest at least slipping a "Prof. Oak" or "Professor Oak" in whenever it feels right.
The problem is it doesn't particularly feel right that often because it's a given that Oak is a professor. Hence, what I'm basically doing is just using one name for him -- shortening it, basically.

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And finally, another break-in so soon!
It wasn't a break-in. *motions to the scene with the janitor*

If it was outside, that'd be one thing, but considering what the attacker is, there was really no way to see it coming. Furthermore, the Ixodida's attack was completely necessary to the story itself, considering it's a fight between Bill, Oak, and the Rock-type that result in Oak being forcibly retired from Polaris and Bill being quarantined. Considering things happened so fast, it didn't make sense to randomly jump out of the scene to take care of something else in another part of the institute and then jump back in to essentially the exact same place and moment in time.

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"Ixodida" is a fairly long word, considering the syllables involved, so I should expect it shorted in future speech. Seems appropriate that characters would call it " Ix' " or " 'dida "; whichever suits the character's speech mannerisms.
The long (Latin) name is actually a reference two other anime series, Elfen Lied and Blood+. As far as I can recall, no one really calls the diclonius "di" or "clonius." Same thing goes for the chiropteran. It's always the full name. (At least, from what I remember of both series.)

Besides, it's a Pokémon name. Serious question, but do people shorten "Feraligatr" (five syllables) or "Ariados" (four, same as Ixodida)?

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The chapter was a bit shorter than what's come before, which helped me realize the overwhelming length your chapters tend to be. If in printed form, I imagine the chapters would be near that of typical chapters in novels, but for a fanfiction they simply feel too long. A guy can only sit and read a computer monitor for so long... I would suggest taking a good look at your chapters and seeing how they can be shorted (there's a slight tendency to drag it on, especially towards the end), or divvy up the scenes into smaller, mini chapters.
It's something I've been trying to do this since the beginning, but to tell you the truth, I have to say I haven't been able to find a way to break up chapters without sacrificing meaning. Each scene is meant to be glued together the way they are so that no single scene is simply floating in the middle of nowhere without any accompanying commentary or event happening simultaneously or near-simultaneously. At most, I could refine the narration, but most of the scenes can't stand alone.

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This is my first time commenting on one of the chapter quotes, but this time I feel The affable Archangel had forewarned Adam to beware. merits it. Your shortening of the original Milton line seems to lose some of the original meaning. It's dumbed down a little.
I'd hate to be blunt, but that's not the point of the chapter titles. The point isn't to make a literary analysis so much as it is to borrow words in order to describe something about the chapter itself. In many cases, it's a scrambling, a paraphrasing, or just an excerpt from a longer quote. It's a butchering, yes, but that's really just one of the themes of the fic itself.

[quote]
Quote:
(why did she go into the building for no reason
It wasn't for "no reason." It's her duty to protect the Pokémon in the center, and her Chansey was in there. Additionally, note where she was going after she got inside: to the light switch. (If you'll notice, she's headed towards a wall. In fact, it's the same wall Veronica automatically heads towards when she turns on the lights.) She doesn't know that Bill can see in the dark, and she knows the layout of the center better than he does.

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I feel this would flow more smoothly if an "and" was present between sour and yet.
"Yet" is also a conjunction, so this would be grammatically redundant.

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Okay, this is really bothering me... I wasn't going to say anything before, but every time you mention tears they're "hot". I, nor have my friends, ever known tears to be hot, so it seems to me you're just letting a common expression slip into your writing without thinking.
Oddly enough, you might be reading it backwards. Notice that it's not Rose who feels that her tears are hot. It's Bill. This also adds to the part where he becomes aware of the temperature of the asphalt earlier in the chapter. Normally, to a human, sure, the asphalt would be hot. To Bill, it's like his sensitivity to temperature has been heightened. This also explains why fire hurts like a mother to him.

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Too many verbs coupled with adjectives makes for a bulky read.
…Considering there's only one adjective (two if one counts "surprise") here, are you seriously suggesting that I should remove a description of what's actually happening in this scene? Because, yes, all of those small actions are necessary to convey the fact that Rose is terrified of Bill while Bill is surprised that she is.

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Probably just personal taste, but I found myself becoming annoyed at the constant smiling during Oak and Riko's conversation.
The reason why there's so many action tags is actually fairly simple: it's to prevent the narration from becoming nothing but dialogue because in most scenes, you're actually meant to see the people. (Nothing but dialogue or limited action tags – like in the Committee scenes – implies you can't.) That and the body language bit I mentioned before.

In the meantime, the only one who's doing most of the smiling in that scene is actually Riko (and even then, it's not mentioned in every paragraph and comes shortly after a change of expression). It's meant to show that she's inordinately calm about the situation, despite the fact that she could have possibly lost two of her children to the Ixodida. In that sense, it's meant to be character development. Oak, meanwhile, only smiles at the end. This comes after a long period of being traumatized and stuck in a darker mood than is usual for him, so it's a symbol that he's finally returning to his normal composure.

To put it simply, I don't throw in a phrase or an action for no apparent reason, Redstar. Single words, maybe, but longer phrases or an actual action, no. It's one of those things you'll want to keep in mind when reading my work, so you'll want to actually really look at things and figure out why they're there.

When it comes to smiling, it's usually bookended by changes of expression, and it hints at what the character is thinking without actually saying what they're thinking. For example, if Oak is smiling, he's trying to be a pillar of sanity, or he's offering comfort to someone. If Adam is smiling, start running.

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I'm pretty sure the reader is intelligent enough to make a guess as to why the people are gone from their cabins, so the in-parenthesis sentence is unnecessary.
Considering I don't believe I've actually mentioned that the Ixodida have spread northward from Mauville? In fact, when Joy explains it in the fourth or fifth chapter, she's implying that Ixodida only go east, west, or south because north is nothing but mountain ranges, not fields necessarily full of Pokémon. This ends up being somewhat supported when I go and describe the ash fields and Fallarbor Town itself.

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Wow. Really? This just happened one chapter ago! Not only that, but you constantly reminded us about it in the last chapter. Unnecessary.
I see your sarcasm and raise you a "being a sarcastic reviewer makes it less likely for the author to take you seriously."

That said, the point of including that was because I never mentioned Nurse Joy's first name. Hence, the phrase actually identifies who the person is so the reader isn't left feeling like it's just a random name, not to identify what she did for Rose.

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Nice use of repetition. Most people don't know when is the best time to use it... My only suggestion is working around the word for variations in the future, such as "greyed", "greying", "faded", "slab", etc. so it's not so obvious.
For once, the word "gray" is meant to pound the reader over the head to convey both a starkness and the unsettling feeling of absoluteness Bill experiences right then and there.

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This is the third or fourth time you've used "latter" in this chapter and the previous and it's becoming more obvious as you go on.
I use it twice in a chapter that's over ten pages long, with several pages in between uses. Moreover, the word "latter" is a very valid way of saying "the second option, not the first."

I'd hate to be extremely blunt, but I can't just replace words that have no exact synonyms or that actually have a meaning in the overall paragraph/story/sentence/what-have-you. I appreciate your criticism. I really do. However, if you could, please actually really look at what's being said and what sort of images you get from them, rather than whether or not you've seen it twice in the past ten pages.

That and it feels like you're sifting through my writing to point out things I only actually use once or twice a chapter. With eye color and the beats, I can understand it, but for things like actual actions or, in this case, something that's seriously only used twice in a chapter (and not even consecutively), I feel as if it's a bit less reasonable.

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Machop looks almost exactly like a human, so Jenny and Bill should be far more apprehensive about killing/eating it.
I think this is more of a matter of opinion. It doesn't really have a human face, its skin is gray, its hands and feet are simplified (i.e., no toes and only four fingers), and to top it all off, it has bony crests on its head and a stubby tail. If anything, it strikes me more like a lizard than something that sprung up from Uncanny Valley, despite being in the humanshape egg group.

Another thing to note is that Bill is generally apprehensive about eating Pokémon and that it should actually disturb him just as much as eating human flesh because, as he's said earlier in the fic, Pokémon are his life. It is, for him, a lot like taking a chunk out of your best friend. Or, at least, it was up until awhile ago. The time lapse between the Mauville chapters and these ones aren't just to show that he's been knocked out. They're actually more to explain that so much time has passed he doesn't hesitate as much as he used to. As in, although he still feels uncomfortable with doing it, he realizes drinking Pokémon blood is something he just has to do, and (with a little help from Adam), he just does it. Or, in simpler terms, he would always recoil at the idea as a human, but he's used to it by now. Sort of.

Veronica, meanwhile, just doesn't care either way because that's how she is. It's implied she's got a sense of species-based egocentrism (i.e., prejudice against anything that isn't human) at the start of the fic up until Fallarbor Town.

Quote:
Secondly, if killed wouldn't the Machop's circulatory system immeditately shut down? Simply biting into it wouldn't do much as far as getting blood. Bill would have to practically eat the flesh to get to the blood.
Or, you know, rip it open and suck on the tissues at multiple points of the body. (I never do completely show the kiddies how the characters take care of the dead ones. Just the lives ones, really.)

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At this point I am officially bothered by the constant hissing.
I'd really, really hate to sound unappreciative of criticism (because you bring up interesting points), but if I use a word only once or twice a chapter, I don't believe it's necessary to call on the thesaurus because, then, things start leaning towards purple prose. It's only if an author uses it several times in the same page (particularly consecutively) that it might beat a reader over the head.

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Watching from the viewpoint of the Zigzagoon was a good change of pace, and I only felt it lasted much too quickly. An additional paragraph would have sufficed, but otherwise the concept was realized skillfully enough.
About what, though? If I went on longer about Bill's apprehension, it'd make him seem overly angsty. If I went on about the action, it'd seem overly sadistic and bloody to a ridiculous degree.

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in this instance just make the characters seem absent-minded,
Well, to be honest, he is absent-minded. *motions to the end of that particular chapter* So, making him seem like he's leaning towards that probably only helps what I'm trying to say about him.

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Sister-in-law? Now, logically-speaking, that implies incest, right?
Actually, it's canon that Joys and Jennies have sister-in-laws who are also named Nurse Joy or Officer Jenny. It's possible that Joy and Jenny are simply common last names, but otherwise, it isn't explained canonically, either. Here, it's just a continuation of the same joke.

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The "skipping a beat" issue that fills your writing, as well as the "colleague" one that I mentioned many chapters ago, but is still common enough to your writing I'm bringing it up now as a reminder. (Note: After this point the "skipping a beat" issue plagues your writing so much that it any time it comes up, which becomes very often, annoys the **** out of me and I stop reading for awhile)
...Seriously? How many times do I actually use this phrase? Because I certainly don't use it in every scene.

Or are you referring to the fact that I use the word "beat" a lot?

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And at this point I officially recognize another mannerism typical of your personal style of writing: constant biting of lips. It's fine to use every once in awhile, but at this point you've had every character blink/widen their eyes, tilt their head, and bite their lip. These mannerisms individually are not typical of humans in the real world, so it's far more jarring that every character exhibits not just one, but every tic in their behavior.
You mean to tell me you've never widened your eyes with surprise or general excited emotion? Nor have you ever bitten your lip in anticipation?

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Only major issue is the, once again, usual cliff-hanger of a scream or explosion. This time, you've done both.
I don't end every chapter with an explosion or a scream. Then, the chapters that end with a scream don't end with the same kinds of screams. Twice I've used the Ixodida's way of communicating, which is not a scream of fear so much as one of a threat. And even then, keep in mind that I just said "twice."

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We were here when this happened, just one sentence ago. The bolded part is unnecessary because of this.
It's specifying what Veronica was startled by. Bill did more than one thing a line ago, and she's not at all startled by his speech. Leaving it without that phrase implies that she's startled by everything he's just done.

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I find it hard to imagine Lanette wouldn't call her sister at all,
What I was trying to say was this:

1. Lanette swore she would never leave Hoenn until her work was finished.
2. The Sea Cottage is not in Hoenn.
3. Therefore, what is Lanette doing calling from the Sea Cottage?

Clearly, it's something that's lost in translation, though, so I'll go back and try to fix it up a bit.

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Reading that Lanette had been left behind was the one time in your story when I felt my body react in excitement, eager with each word to find what would happen next... To tell the truth, I was pretty disappointed to see her make it out of there. A cliff-hanger would have made a good cut-off point for the chapter, and would have pressed us to eagerly await the next chapter. Unfortunately, you took that suspense from us and immediately told us what happened.
Do me a favor and remove the entire scene where Brigette receives the call from Lanette. Now, while the suspense of chapter fourteen is heightened, do you notice how the scene is anticlimactic, no matter where you put it? I did, but it had to happen. So, in order to show that it's happening pretty much at the same time as Bill's little tantrum (because it essentially is), I actually have to place it where it is because anywhere else pulls it out of the timeline and because leaving it out altogether isn't an option.

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I couldn't help compare, from the moment Bill started to metamorphose into an ixodida and his parasite allowed him free-will, your story with the manga Parasyte. If you haven't heard of it, I recommend looking into it. It's almost spot-on the same as your story, but without the Pokemon.
I've heard of it, but I'll admit I've only read summaries and the first volume. It's actually one of the many inspirations I had for this project.


Now, after all of this, I have to say don't get me wrong. I do appreciate the time and effort you put into this review, and you do point out a lot of things that I'll be going back and fixing. However, there's a few things I'd like for you to reread from a different angle because you're the first one to see them the way you did. Maybe they really aren't as clear as I tried to make them or maybe you're reading further into them than you probably should. I really don't know either way because I'm the writer, but with all of the above in mind, I want to know if that changes any views of what's going on.

That and at times, I feel like you're asking me to sacrifice finer details that actually add to the story more than they seem to in favor of oversimplifying the story itself. For the first chapter, a lot of it is valid, but for others, there's reasons why things are said the way they are.

Or, rather, it's either you want me to oversimplify or you want me to go in the completely opposite direction. You've even pointed out words and phrases that only actually happen so few times with so much space between each instance that it shouldn't normally be noticeable unless you're actively looking for it. As I've said above, in some cases (like for the beats and eye colors), you're actually making a valid point. In others (like the use of the word "latter" and using screams as cliffhangers), I'm inclined to question what you're saying a bit further, which is also why I'm asking you to go back and read a bit more carefully.

I do thank you for the compliments as well and for the advice that's pretty straightforward and wasn't questioned above in the meantime.
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Last edited by JX Valentine; August 4th, 2009 at 08:39 AM.
  #114    
Old August 4th, 2009, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
I usually don't so long as it's not going to risk getting my thread closed due to the forum rules. However, there's a few things I'd like to say. While I appreciate a lot of your suggestions, there's a few that were taken out of context or might make sense if looked at from a different angle.
To be honest I haven't looked at the rules at all. I just go by what's common-sense, and I felt four or so days between the last post in this thread and the (soon-to-be) mine wouldn't be a problem. If it was several weeks, I would have just waited for an update or PMed you. So no worries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
That phrase is not really a transition between the present of the prologue and the present of the story, if that's what you were saying. It's actually setting up the time frame, whereas the first paragraph establishes the physical location. In other words, the first two paragraphs of the first chapter are divorced from the events of the prologue in order to set up where and when the action of the first chapter occurs.
No, I didn't mean a transition between the tenses of the prologue and the story. See... In the first paragraph of this chapter (chapter 1), all verbs are written in the past tense, while the first verb of the second paragraph is in the present ("have"). Immediately after, the past tense is brought back in. "have" is the only instance of present tense in that section, which is what confused me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
It's meant to specify what kind of coat these scientists are wearing. Yes, I felt the need to specify, especially given what Bill's normal choice of attire would be if there was no dress code. *motions to "Mystery at the Lighthouse"*
I'll give you that one. My other points still stand, but reading it again "lab coat" definitely needs to be in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
As terrible as this is going to sound, if I recall correctly (because there's been several different revisions of the first chapter), I go on to explain why I overemphasize the fact that she's thin and possesses a lot of angles on her body: I'm comparing her to shards of broken glass. As in, by showing the reader what she looks like, I'm trying to convey that she looks just as much like a sharp-tongued ***** as she actually is.

Moreover, Nettle is an original character. She actually needs to be described simply because the reader has no idea what she looks like otherwise.
Ah. That certainly makes things clearer. See, I'm used to reading works where characters are described for no reason other than to fill space. Because of that I ended up underestimating you and overlooked any attempt at symbolism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Embarrassment and humiliation aren't exactly the same thing, though. Embarrassment implies a sense of awkwardness, like you'll laugh about it in hindsight. Humiliation is shame and despair – verbal castration, basically. Bill's not embarrassed by Nettle's criticism. He's outright humiliated. To call it embarrassment is actually pretty much toning down what he's actually feeling.
I understood that "embarrassment" would take away from the original meaning, but my point was it felt over-written and I just went with the quickest route in making it read smoother.

Tanned.

Seriously, the face is shadowed by the cap.[/quote]
I figured that, but there was always the off chance you were trying to make a "sly" note of skin-color. It's been done before, and in this instance I couldn't imagine a small beret putting a face in shadow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
While I do feel as if I could take out "rosy," the reason why I describe this character in detail is because she's not an original character, but I don't actually give her a name beyond something that not many people know her by. It's meant to egg the reader into figuring out who she is and seeing her as a cameo.
I see where you're coming from. This excuses some of it, but I feel you could better get your point across that this isn't a background character through her interaction with Oak. Though that would probably be more forced and undermine the whole thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
The physical nuances you're describing are there to indicate that body language is just as important in this fanfiction as actual spoken word. It's implied as early as chapter two (with something I'm going to be touching upon there), and it comes up later on when Adam controls Bill's body from time to time. Think of it as a Chekov's gun of sorts.

Moreover, there were cases when the action was actually important, like when Oak took off his watch to show Nettle. The rest, yes, body language.
I get what you're saying here. I'm not saying you remove all the body language, but some of it seriously does feel like needless action tags. I certainly wouldn't want you to fall into ping-pong dialogue, but I'm sure you're perfectly aware that some great writers manage to keep without action tags, or very short ones, for a few instances.

(Though I may be biased because I don't look at people when I talk to them)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Which is ironic because you've told me repeatedly in the rest of this review to use the thesaurus. (Just saying.)
Well, yes. I recommended a thesaurus for other instances (I believe hissing) because those are common to your writing, while in this example ("variations of Tyrannitar") you've done the opposite and given several names to a one-shot character that doesn't stay in the story for more than a few paragraphs.

For something you do all the time, yes, but for something like the Tyrannitar it simply wasn't necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Actually, I'm adding onto what happened in the last chapter, not recapping what happened. At the cliffhanger, the Rockets were being chased by the guard Growlithe, only one room of the Inner Ring was destroyed, no one knew how much work they'd lost in the battle, and the team had yet to move to the Median Ring.

In other words, it's not meant to be a summary of "**** went down." It's meant to be a bridge between what happened as of the end of the first chapter and what happened right at the beginning of the second. This information is necessary to further explain where the action of the second chapter is taking place and why it's there and not the more secure Inner Ring.
It still felt like a re-cap. As I originally said, some of the information was viable while the rest was telling us what just happened the last chapter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
It's not the fact that he's a subject so much as at that very moment, he realizes Nettle has absolutely no intention of helping him. After all, he did try to reason with her, but then she decided to completely blow him off. Notice she wasn't panicking when she saw him. He certainly did.

To further detail why he's reacting at the fact that it's sleeping gas, he's suddenly realized that Nettle is drugging him after he tried to appear calm and about as far from feral as he could get. (He even greets her cheerfully, despite the fact that he doesn't particularly enjoy being around her.) Yet, she still drugs him. It's not even out of fear, really, and considering he's more than willing to cooperate, it's not because it's necessary. She's doing it for no reason, and that's what's scaring Bill so much. Hence, yes, he reacts to the fact that it's sleeping gas and not some toxin because either way, it's the same point: Nettle screwed him over.
That's exactly what I said. I easily inferred what was going on, but the fact that Bill freaked out at sleeping gas just seems off. All you had to do was have him freak out about gas in general, since it's the gas (not what kind) that helps him realize Nettle is not helping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Non serious response is that Bill was never an English major.

Serious response is that despite metaphors or what certain critics might say, the most familiar image associated with Gregor Samsa is the idea of a man turning into a cockroach. Bill is referencing that mostly. I say "mostly" here because if Bill recognizes the metaphor behind it (which I'm not sure if he would), then he's also making a very, very pessimistic statement about himself in an upbeat manner. Which actually is in-character for him, considering how he is in the games.
Yeah. I would have been very surprised if Bill was referencing Kafka correctly, and I would have had to seriously re-think his character and what he meant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Well, first off, Team Rocket appears later on in the fic, as made obvious by Nettle's conversation with Giovanni and the later attack by the Rocket mecha. The conversation alone should be enough of a hint that something else is going on, as should the fact that the second attack resulted in the presence of the NDF when the Committee didn't call them in.

Second, there's another element that was going to be brought up eventually, but I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it. Basically, recall the fact that there's Team Rocket operatives in Polaris Institute (present tense for a reason). The truth of the matter is...

Spoiler:
It turns out that this wasn't the first institute that Team Rocket infested. They were also a part of Valencia Center, which means they already knew about Pandora. The entire point of the assault was to get a controllable specimen (as in, someone who would be able to survive the transformation but still bend to the will of Team Rocket) infected and capture them in order to train them/breed little Ixodida parasites/turn them into Rocket soldiers. In this manner, they could forcibly "recruit" anyone who got in their way.

So, the assault was to put everyone on lockdown, break free the parasite, and get it to attach to the person that the inside operatives had chosen. Then, the next step would have been capturing the victim while they were still dazed and confused and blasting out before anyone starts to think there might even be moles.

Unfortunately, the victim wasn't supposed to be Bill (which also explains why I put an inordinate amount of description towards Professor Mulberry), and the Inner Ring wasn't supposed to explode. So, the Rockets left their specimen behind, and Nettle was left trying to clean up the mess they'd left… by repeatedly attempting to either kill Bill herself or get other members of Polaris Institute to do it for her.


Like I said, it's possible this might not make it into the final version of the fic. There are still things I'm working out about the plot. It's very likely that it will, however, because Team Rocket actually is supposed to play a vital role in this entire fic.
Go with what's in the spoiler tags. My whole point was that Team Rocket acted as nothing more than a plot device. They came in, did nothing in particular except get the story moving for someone else, then leave. If you were to reveal later, for example, that while the little hostage-negotiation was going down there was a TR technician in the background planting a virus, then it would establish that TR was there for something other than advancing the plot.

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Originally Posted by Valentine
You have a point, but on the other hand, it would most likely not be a good idea to force the intern to be buzzed out in case the specimen went off the deep end. The time between the intern using the radio and someone actually unlocking the door could cost the victim's life. At most, I could offer a compromise in which the intern would be able to get out with a key but need to be let in.

Otherwise, there's very little chance of a theft because everyone with access to the laboratories (note the description of the lock in the first chapter and remove the part about the eye scan, essentially) would also be able to access the room anyway. Moreover, Polaris Institute is locked down, which is why there are dormitories and why Team Rocket's presence was so unusual. No one can go in or out without permission, so it's not like anyone who screws up in the institute can get away with it.
My issue is not the key being stolen by another employee of the base, but by Bill. Why would they reasonably send a guy into the room with an alien killer and a means to get out? Whether it takes him 1 minute or 5 to get buzzed out via radio, it shouldn't matter if he dies... He's just one person over the safety of the rest of the base.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
The problem is it doesn't particularly feel right that often because it's a given that Oak is a professor. Hence, what I'm basically doing is just using one name for him -- shortening it, basically.
In novels, characters aren't always referred to by their first name by the narrator. Sometimes they throw in the last name as well, or their profession. (Example: Dr. John Watson rested in the chair, his mind heavy with thought. In this case, the "Dr." could be used to remind the reader of his profession to bolster the current emotional/intellectual turmoil of the character in relation to that profession) Of course the reader knows by now, but the writer does it anyways to break up the monotony.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
It wasn't a break-in. *motions to the scene with the janitor*

If it was outside, that'd be one thing, but considering what the attacker is, there was really no way to see it coming. Furthermore, the Ixodida's attack was completely necessary to the story itself, considering it's a fight between Bill, Oak, and the Rock-type that result in Oak being forcibly retired from Polaris and Bill being quarantined. Considering things happened so fast, it didn't make sense to randomly jump out of the scene to take care of something else in another part of the institute and then jump back in to essentially the exact same place and moment in time.
I'm aware it's not a break-in. "Attack" would have been more appropriate, but you get the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
The long (Latin) name is actually a reference two other anime series, Elfen Lied and Blood+. As far as I can recall, no one really calls the diclonius "di" or "clonius." Same thing goes for the chiropteran. It's always the full name. (At least, from what I remember of both series.)

Besides, it's a Pokémon name. Serious question, but do people shorten "Feraligatr" (five syllables) or "Ariados" (four, same as Ixodida)?
Well, no. People don't shorten those names. But Pokemon names tend to come easily and quickly from the mouth, while "Ixodida", at least how I pronounce it, comes out as two words (Ix-oh...dida). It makes sense to me that people would shorten it, just like alligator is shortened to 'gator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
I'd hate to be blunt, but that's not the point of the chapter titles. The point isn't to make a literary analysis so much as it is to borrow words in order to describe something about the chapter itself. In many cases, it's a scrambling, a paraphrasing, or just an excerpt from a longer quote. It's a butchering, yes, but that's really just one of the themes of the fic itself.
Oh, yes, I know the point of the chapter titles. It's just that in this instance I was like 'What?' In every other instance the chapter title stood well on its own, as well as being a reference to the coming chapter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
It wasn't for "no reason." It's her duty to protect the Pokémon in the center, and her Chansey was in there. Additionally, note where she was going after she got inside: to the light switch. (If you'll notice, she's headed towards a wall. In fact, it's the same wall Veronica automatically heads towards when she turns on the lights.) She doesn't know that Bill can see in the dark, and she knows the layout of the center better than he does.
Good writing. A character dies through their own flaws, not through the writer's machinations.

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Originally Posted by Valentine
Oddly enough, you might be reading it backwards. Notice that it's not Rose who feels that her tears are hot. It's Bill. This also adds to the part where he becomes aware of the temperature of the asphalt earlier in the chapter. Normally, to a human, sure, the asphalt would be hot. To Bill, it's like his sensitivity to temperature has been heightened. This also explains why fire hurts like a mother to him.
Intriguing. It sounds like just sudden rationalizing, because there was no way to infer that through the reading. It was just "So-and-so cried hot tears." But I would certainly like seeing this expanded on in the future.

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Originally Posted by Valentine
…Considering there's only one adjective (two if one counts "surprise") here, are you seriously suggesting that I should remove a description of what's actually happening in this scene? Because, yes, all of those small actions are necessary to convey the fact that Rose is terrified of Bill while Bill is surprised that she is.
No, I'm suggesting you re-write it so it's not so clumpy. Yes, thoughts must be conveyed and in sort action scenes the best way to do that is through physical reactions and terse thoughts, but it shouldn't be a hassle to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
The reason why there's so many action tags is actually fairly simple: it's to prevent the narration from becoming nothing but dialogue because in most scenes, you're actually meant to see the people. (Nothing but dialogue or limited action tags – like in the Committee scenes – implies you can't.) That and the body language bit I mentioned before.

In the meantime, the only one who's doing most of the smiling in that scene is actually Riko (and even then, it's not mentioned in every paragraph and comes shortly after a change of expression). It's meant to show that she's inordinately calm about the situation, despite the fact that she could have possibly lost two of her children to the Ixodida. In that sense, it's meant to be character development. Oak, meanwhile, only smiles at the end. This comes after a long period of being traumatized and stuck in a darker mood than is usual for him, so it's a symbol that he's finally returning to his normal composure.

To put it simply, I don't throw in a phrase or an action for no apparent reason, Redstar. Single words, maybe, but longer phrases or an actual action, no. It's one of those things you'll want to keep in mind when reading my work, so you'll want to actually really look at things and figure out why they're there.

When it comes to smiling, it's usually bookended by changes of expression, and it hints at what the character is thinking without actually saying what they're thinking. For example, if Oak is smiling, he's trying to be a pillar of sanity, or he's offering comfort to someone. If Adam is smiling, start running.
I can buy the smiling, since I remembered the initial narration dealing with Oak's smiling in chapter one. It just seems very overdone. I've never read, watched, or seen anyone smile so much. It's unnerving.

And, as said before, action tags are necessary (of course), but at the same time many writers function just fine with letting dialogue, and how it is said, carry more meaning than simply telling us "He stirred in his chair" could.

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Originally Posted by Valentine
Considering I don't believe I've actually mentioned that the Ixodida have spread northward from Mauville? In fact, when Joy explains it in the fourth or fifth chapter, she's implying that Ixodida only go east, west, or south because north is nothing but mountain ranges, not fields necessarily full of Pokémon. This ends up being somewhat supported when I go and describe the ash fields and Fallarbor Town itself.
Regardless if you specifically said where the ixodida have spread, considering the theme of the story (alien/zombie-thing invasion), it wouldn't take much of a leap for the reader to assume the occupants of the cabin either A.) Fled, or B.) Were killed.

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Originally Posted by Valentine
I see your sarcasm and raise you a "being a sarcastic reviewer makes it less likely for the author to take you seriously."

That said, the point of including that was because I never mentioned Nurse Joy's first name. Hence, the phrase actually identifies who the person is so the reader isn't left feeling like it's just a random name, not to identify what she did for Rose.
I apologize for the sarcasm, but when I get into "writer/editor mode" I can be pretty harsh. I'm not trying to be malicious, though I am trying to convey my general feeling at certain writing tics that aren't too enjoyable for me to read. I feel that carries more than "This is wrong, but since it apparently doesn't bother me you can overlook it".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
For once, the word "gray" is meant to pound the reader over the head to convey both a starkness and the unsettling feeling of absoluteness Bill experiences right then and there.
Yes, that's exactly what I said. Hemingway did the same thing in the beginning of A Farewell to Arms, but he also used variations of his key word "dust". I wasn't saying you should have done the same in this instance (four examples of a key word are not enough to vary without defeating the purpose), but that if you were to try again in the future, that variation of the central word would work well.

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Originally Posted by Valentine
I use it twice in a chapter that's over ten pages long, with several pages in between uses. Moreover, the word "latter" is a very valid way of saying "the second option, not the first."

I'd hate to be extremely blunt, but I can't just replace words that have no exact synonyms or that actually have a meaning in the overall paragraph/story/sentence/what-have-you. I appreciate your criticism. I really do. However, if you could, please actually really look at what's being said and what sort of images you get from them, rather than whether or not you've seen it twice in the past ten pages.

That and it feels like you're sifting through my writing to point out things I only actually use once or twice a chapter. With eye color and the beats, I can understand it, but for things like actual actions or, in this case, something that's seriously only used twice in a chapter (and not even consecutively), I feel as if it's a bit less reasonable.
You haven't used the "latter" method of comparing two thoughts extremely often, but you have done it enough that I took notice. I don't sit around looking for words and seeing how many times you use them; I read and after awhile I go "Hey. Hasn't she done this before?" then I keep reading until it happens again, and after awhile I recognize it as a mannerism of that person's writing and I take note of it.

Again, I'm not trying to be malicious, but you have used it at least once (dare I say twice) per chapter, and even though the chapters are quite long I still know how to pay attention when I read and I notice when things happen often enough to not be unrelated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
I'd really, really hate to sound unappreciative of criticism (because you bring up interesting points), but if I use a word only once or twice a chapter, I don't believe it's necessary to call on the thesaurus because, then, things start leaning towards purple prose. It's only if an author uses it several times in the same page (particularly consecutively) that it might beat a reader over the head.
Simply exchanging one word for another would not constitute purple prose. So far I have not seen any examples of patchwork in your writing, so I'm not worried about it coming up any time soon. (You are not a fangirl crooning over such-and-such characters)

Hissing is just a word that strikes me as something not many people would do. It's a sneaky, malicious, and highly agitated word and you've applied it not only to several "bad guys" but to at least one main character. There's more than one way to said "S/He said", and "hissed" doesn't always have to be it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
About what, though? If I went on longer about Bill's apprehension, it'd make him seem overly angsty. If I went on about the action, it'd seem overly sadistic and bloody to a ridiculous degree.
I felt that you should have gone into the Zigzagoon's actions a bit longer. Yes, it would have seemed "sadistic and bloody", but it would have served a purpose: in presenting a short glimpse into the Pokemon, we would have far greater sympathized with it and in turn understood Bill's internal struggle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
...Seriously? How many times do I actually use this phrase? Because I certainly don't use it in every scene.

Or are you referring to the fact that I use the word "beat" a lot?
In a quick text-search, chapter 12 turns up 3, 13 turns up 1, and 14 turns up 7 instances of variations of "for a beat". It's very commont to your writing.

And if you're referring to your use of "colleague", it's generally used every single time Bill or another researcher thinks of someone they work with.

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Originally Posted by Valentine
You mean to tell me you've never widened your eyes with surprise or general excited emotion? Nor have you ever bitten your lip in anticipation?
I may have widened my eyes in surprise or "general excited emotion" at one point in my life, but it just doesn't seem like something I or anyone I've interacted with would do/has done. And I've only ever seen one person in real life that bit their lip.

You're more than welcome to have any of your characters do any of these three physical tics, but the fact that you've made almost every single character do all three just makes me question the validity of it. It just takes away from their physical personalitys' individuality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
I don't end every chapter with an explosion or a scream. Then, the chapters that end with a scream don't end with the same kinds of screams. Twice I've used the Ixodida's way of communicating, which is not a scream of fear so much as one of a threat. And even then, keep in mind that I just said "twice."
I didn't say you ended "every" chapter with an explosion or scream, though it does crop up quite often at chapter and scene ends.

But now that I think about it, this being a parody of sci-fi and action, among other things, that really seems like an amusing touch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
It's specifying what Veronica was startled by. Bill did more than one thing a line ago, and she's not at all startled by his speech. Leaving it without that phrase implies that she's startled by everything he's just done.
That may be true, but the way you wrote it it wouldn't take much for the reader to automatically know that "sound" referred to Bill's growling. If you meant Veronica to be startled by his speaking, you would have written "voice" or "words" rather than sound. Also, I imagine his talking would also be of a "growl-like" quality, so removing what I specified would actually be supported in two ways by what you already wrote.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
What I was trying to say was this:

1. Lanette swore she would never leave Hoenn until her work was finished.
2. The Sea Cottage is not in Hoenn.
3. Therefore, what is Lanette doing calling from the Sea Cottage?

Clearly, it's something that's lost in translation, though, so I'll go back and try to fix it up a bit.
First, it was her sister, who had sworn never to leave Hoenn until she gathered enough data on the ixodida. Second, the brown plaster walls, the dim light, and the red carpets of the all-too-familiar backdrop told Brigette she wasn't looking at the cottage near Meteor Falls. Instead, she recognized it immediately as the Sea Cottage – Bill's lighthouse.

Again, I knew exactly what you meant. But what you wrote makes it seem like there's two reasons, when actually reading it supports only one reason: Lanette isn't in Hoenn. What is the other reason Brigette is surprised? Because your text doesn't support anything else besides the fact that she obviously isn't in Hoenn.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Do me a favor and remove the entire scene where Brigette receives the call from Lanette. Now, while the suspense of chapter fourteen is heightened, do you notice how the scene is anticlimactic, no matter where you put it? I did, but it had to happen. So, in order to show that it's happening pretty much at the same time as Bill's little tantrum (because it essentially is), I actually have to place it where it is because anywhere else pulls it out of the timeline and because leaving it out altogether isn't an option.
From what you're saying, yes, it would make little sense to re-arrange it. But to me it seems perfectly logical to remove the Lanette-calls-Brigette scene and just stick it in chapter 15 as the first scene, or otherwise place it at the end of 15.

This would both add a cliffhanger of sorts to chapter 14, and simply placing that scene later on unedited wouldn't disrupt the flow of things at all. (Unless your work on chapter 15 completely negates the possibility, but from a reader's viewpoint it's the most logical path)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Now, after all of this, I have to say don't get me wrong. I do appreciate the time and effort you put into this review, and you do point out a lot of things that I'll be going back and fixing. However, there's a few things I'd like for you to reread from a different angle because you're the first one to see them the way you did. Maybe they really aren't as clear as I tried to make them or maybe you're reading further into them than you probably should. I really don't know either way because I'm the writer, but with all of the above in mind, I want to know if that changes any views of what's going on.

That and at times, I feel like you're asking me to sacrifice finer details that actually add to the story more than they seem to in favor of oversimplifying the story itself. For the first chapter, a lot of it is valid, but for others, there's reasons why things are said the way they are.

Or, rather, it's either you want me to oversimplify or you want me to go in the completely opposite direction. You've even pointed out words and phrases that only actually happen so few times with so much space between each instance that it shouldn't normally be noticeable unless you're actively looking for it. As I've said above, in some cases (like for the beats and eye colors), you're actually making a valid point. In others (like the use of the word "latter" and using screams as cliffhangers), I'm inclined to question what you're saying a bit further, which is also why I'm asking you to go back and read a bit more carefully.

I do thank you for the compliments as well and for the advice that's pretty straightforward and wasn't questioned above in the meantime.
Getting the writer's insight into her work, yes, I can honestly say that my feelings towards some of the things I brought up have been recanted or changed. What's left may or may not sway your feelings now that I've clarified a bit, but ultimately it's one writer to another with one functioning as a reader at this point. There's bound to be stylistic differences in how we percieve writing/reading, especially considering our roles.

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every chapter and have come to respect you as a writer. But at the same time I'm also a writer, and an editor, and I just brought up what I noticed. Whether I have higher expectations or a keener eye than most, I just said what came to me in hopes you could take something from it.

I especially don't want you to "simplify" your work. Yes, there are subtle nuances and stylistic choices unique to each writer and generally they do not want to put up with crap to re-write, or, worse, remove it. Heinlein went through that when he first began, writing his Juveniles and attempting to break into more serious work, and it was an utter nightmare. But at the same time an editor has a different perception from a writer and can spot what would work better if done differently, and I feel in few (very few) instances you could do it better differently.

So, again, I hope you appreciate my thoughts as much as I appreciated your work and I look forward to your response/rebuttal.

Last edited by Redstar; August 4th, 2009 at 12:10 PM.
  #115    
Old August 4th, 2009, 09:28 PM
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JX Valentine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redstar View Post
I understood that "embarrassment" would take away from the original meaning, but my point was it felt over-written and I just went with the quickest route in making it read smoother.
Even the quickest proposed route seems a bit off in meaning, rather than actually smoother. Maybe it might work if I took it out altogether.

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I figured that, but there was always the off chance you were trying to make a "sly" note of skin-color. It's been done before, and in this instance I couldn't imagine a small beret putting a face in shadow.
It's also canon. Although, in hindsight, it's a bit cheesy and could be taken out.

Quote:
It still felt like a re-cap. As I originally said, some of the information was viable while the rest was telling us what just happened the last chapter.
See, here's where I'm confused. As I've said, all of what was said in that beginning wasn't actually established at the end of chapter one. I don't quite see it as a recap, then, because I'm not actually retelling anything.

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That's exactly what I said. I easily inferred what was going on, but the fact that Bill freaked out at sleeping gas just seems off. All you had to do was have him freak out about gas in general, since it's the gas (not what kind) that helps him realize Nettle is not helping.
Actually, it is in part the gas. After all, what he's saying is, "Oh crap, she's not listening to me, and I'm getting tranquilized," not "Oh crap, I'm getting gassed." As I've said before, he's freaking out over the idea that Nettle wants to knock him out, regardless of whether or not he's trying to be reasonable.

Quote:
My issue is not the key being stolen by another employee of the base, but by Bill. Why would they reasonably send a guy into the room with an alien killer and a means to get out? Whether it takes him 1 minute or 5 to get buzzed out via radio, it shouldn't matter if he dies... He's just one person over the safety of the rest of the base.
Because they're assuming Bill is a mindless killer at that point and therefore doesn't have the intelligence to get out. After all, for the past couple of weeks, he's done nothing but attack anything within arm's reach. Although Oak believes he can be reasoned with if enough time is spent with him, for everyone else (and for Oak up until Bill snaps out of it), it's essentially like giving a Kabutops a remote control and expecting it to know what to do with it.

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In novels, characters aren't always referred to by their first name by the narrator. Sometimes they throw in the last name as well, or their profession.
They're not always referred to by their profession, either. In a lot of the books I've read (aside from the Harry Potter series, at least), the profession is only mentioned in the introduction of the character. (For example, in "His Last Bow," Watson only refers to Holmes by his full name or "Mr. Holmes" twice in the entire story, one of which was Holmes's introduction. For another comparison, "A Study In Scarlet" has Lestrade mentioned as Mr. Lestrade once. He's never even referred to as "Inspector Lestrade" anywhere outside of quotation marks.)

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I'm aware it's not a break-in. "Attack" would have been more appropriate, but you get the point.
Either way, the scene takes place in rapid succession. Breaking it off to look at something else and then going back to the same scene would probably be rather awkward. Likewise, as I've said, it's necessary, and it's unlikely it'd be something that's particularly foreseen, considering the fact that the attack came from a janitor who's already within the complex.

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Well, no. People don't shorten those names. But Pokemon names tend to come easily and quickly from the mouth, while "Ixodida", at least how I pronounce it, comes out as two words (Ix-oh...dida). It makes sense to me that people would shorten it, just like alligator is shortened to 'gator.
If it helps, the way to pronounce "Ixodida" is "ihk-so-die-dah." The first two syllables are almost blended together because of the X sound, and then right after the second syllable (as in, almost blending with it as well) comes the third.

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Oh, yes, I know the point of the chapter titles. It's just that in this instance I was like 'What?' In every other instance the chapter title stood well on its own, as well as being a reference to the coming chapter.
Considering this title is, in itself, a complete sentence that describes the action of the chapter, I'm not really sure I'm following what you mean about it not standing on its own. I mean, your original criticism was the fact that it was dumbing down a poem by being taken out of context (even though a number of other titles are actually lines of poems or short stories that are also taken out of context).

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Good writing. A character dies through their own flaws, not through the writer's machinations.
Pretty much. Thanks.

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Intriguing. It sounds like just sudden rationalizing, because there was no way to infer that through the reading. It was just "So-and-so cried hot tears." But I would certainly like seeing this expanded on in the future.
Wasn't the quote that you were asking about "and he felt her hot tears trickling across his metal skin"? Granted, there was an earlier instance of hot tears (which is a cliché that can't really be explained), but if we're just looking at this instance specifically…

Incidentally, oh yes. It will definitely be explored.

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No, I'm suggesting you re-write it so it's not so clumpy. Yes, thoughts must be conveyed and in sort action scenes the best way to do that is through physical reactions and terse thoughts, but it shouldn't be a hassle to read.
I don't know. That's a rather vague way of putting things, especially considering all of those verbs (except, arguably, "reached up to shove," which could be shortened to just "shoved") are actually necessary to name what's going on. Are you suggesting adding more to the sentence to separate the verbs or just find another way to describe what's happening without so many in rapid succession?

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It just seems very overdone. I've never read, watched, or seen anyone smile so much. It's unnerving.
In the cases of certain characters, that's the point. For example, Riko's a mother who just learned that two out of three children (one of which is her only son… who is also infected by an alien parasite) are trapped in a quarantined region. Yet, she's smiling. And being rather upbeat about things. If this doesn't creep you out or at least make you wonder about her, then I really need to rethink how I write things.

Although with Oak, you're right in that it is overdone a bit, particularly in the first chapter.

Quote:
I feel that carries more than "This is wrong, but since it apparently doesn't bother me you can overlook it".
Personally, it really would tell me enough if you just said something along the lines of, "You do this, and for me, it doesn't quite work because of (specific reason)" or "You do this, but in general, it's not a good idea because (specific reason)." The fact that you bring it up at all in a review and offered something that wasn't ending with "but it's okay to keep in if you want" tells me it bothers you enough.

Keep in mind the fact that I wrote the guide on reviewing in the first place with particular detail about how reviewers should offer honest opinions. Ergo, you don't really have to worry about me discounting what you say just because it's not told with the exact degree of disgust, annoyance, or what-have-you you're actually experiencing simply because I already know the basics of why you're here.

But either way, no offense taken, and I hope I didn't seem confrontational in response.

Quote:
Again, I'm not trying to be malicious, but you have used it at least once (dare I say twice) per chapter,
Actually, this is how it stacks up:

Prologue, One, and Two: 0 times
Three: 2 times
Four, Five, Six: 0 times
Seven: 2 times
Ten: 0 times
Eleven: 2 times
Twelve: 2 times
Thirteen: 2 times
Fourteen: 1 time

So, in the course of fourteen chapters (which is well over one hundred pages of material), I use the word a total of nine times, with literally half of the chapters not containing it at all. I'm not really sure this warrants removing it altogether (or at least lessening the usage of it). This basically means I say it once every ten to twenty pages, which is a lot of material to separate instances of a word.

Quote:
Simply exchanging one word for another would not constitute purple prose.
Although doing it every time you want to use a certain word to the point where you go to the thesaurus more frequently than you use the spell check would.

Quote:
I felt that you should have gone into the Zigzagoon's actions a bit longer. Yes, it would have seemed "sadistic and bloody", but it would have served a purpose: in presenting a short glimpse into the Pokemon, we would have far greater sympathized with it and in turn understood Bill's internal struggle.
Well, if we're talking about the Zigzagoon's struggle, then my main concern isn't so much the sadistic and bloody part as it is making her seem like a slightly ridiculous character. Not too much detail is put into the wild Pokémon because they're portrayed as simple creatures. I'm hesitating a little because the last thing I'd like is to make one of them seem more like a cartoon character than something more like a raccoon you might see in the forest, though I see your point.

Quote:
And if you're referring to your use of "colleague", it's generally used every single time Bill or another researcher thinks of someone they work with.
…Because that's the only word I know of that could describe their relationships, really. They're not exactly friends (because a lot of them just hold professional relationships), and they're certainly not companions. The only ones who might be able to be described as partners are Bill and Lanette.

Quote:
I may have widened my eyes in surprise or "general excited emotion" at one point in my life, but it just doesn't seem like something I or anyone I've interacted with would do/has done.
On the other hand, it is a subtle reflex. You may not have been conscious that you do it, but it happens now and then.

Quote:
What's left may or may not sway your feelings now that I've clarified a bit,
Despite what I say above, it does. It might take awhile to revise and meditate on the things I don't mention or the things we're still discussing, but I am definitely getting something out of it.

Thanks again for responding.
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  #116    
Old August 4th, 2009, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
It's also canon. Although, in hindsight, it's a bit cheesy and could be taken out.
lol. Blatant disregard of a light source to produce a symbolistic effect. Well, now I know what you were going for, but it really works better for visual art.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
See, here's where I'm confused. As I've said, all of what was said in that beginning wasn't actually established at the end of chapter one. I don't quite see it as a recap, then, because I'm not actually retelling anything.
The past twenty-four hours had been chaotic in Polaris Institute. The Rockets eventually disappeared from the complex, no doubt retreating to prepare for another attempt. The Inner Ring was in shambles. Most of the data the research team had gathered was lost to the destroyed computer banks, and the laboratories were left in debris (mostly caused by the chaos and panic of an army of Rockets storming the halls). Already, many members of the team relocated to the Median Ring while many others struggled to salvage anything they could from the destruction.

I feel the bolded is a recap (especially what you put in parenthesis), the underlined is a recap of something that wasn't entirely clear in the last chapter but is confirmed now, and the italicized is new information. Obviously all three acting together present a decent chapter-start, but I feel that the entire paragraph could work more efficiently if slightly compacted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Because they're assuming Bill is a mindless killer at that point and therefore doesn't have the intelligence to get out. After all, for the past couple of weeks, he's done nothing but attack anything within arm's reach. Although Oak believes he can be reasoned with if enough time is spent with him, for everyone else (and for Oak up until Bill snaps out of it), it's essentially like giving a Kabutops a remote control and expecting it to know what to do with it.
Well then they don't seem like smart scientists. I wouldn't leave anything to chance if I was in that situation, since I've watched and read enough to not put myself in a situation to die if I can help it. But, unfortunately, people don't always think of everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
They're not always referred to by their profession, either. In a lot of the books I've read (aside from the Harry Potter series, at least), the profession is only mentioned in the introduction of the character. (For example, in "His Last Bow," Watson only refers to Holmes by his full name or "Mr. Holmes" twice in the entire story, one of which was Holmes's introduction. For another comparison, "A Study In Scarlet" has Lestrade mentioned as Mr. Lestrade once. He's never even referred to as "Inspector Lestrade" anywhere outside of quotation marks.)
It was an example. I assumed that I didn't have to go further than "Dr." for you to understood my point extended to "Mr.", "Inspector", and so on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
If it helps, the way to pronounce "Ixodida" is "ihk-so-die-dah." The first two syllables are almost blended together because of the X sound, and then right after the second syllable (as in, almost blending with it as well) comes the third.
Strangely enough, that's exactly how I was pronouncing it before... But now I don't have the same irk about it being "long" in casual speaking.

Wasn't the quote that you were asking about "and he felt her hot tears trickling across his metal skin"? Granted, there was an earlier instance of hot tears (which is a cliché that can't really be explained), but if we're just looking at this instance specifically…

Incidentally, oh yes. It will definitely be explored.[/QUOTE]
I believe you described tears as "hot" three times, so I was speaking of all examples.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
I don't know. That's a rather vague way of putting things, especially considering all of those verbs (except, arguably, "reached up to shove," which could be shortened to just "shoved") are actually necessary to name what's going on. Are you suggesting adding more to the sentence to separate the verbs or just find another way to describe what's happening without so many in rapid succession?
The latter. (I could try my hand at re-writing it, but I doubt I would suceed. Just take note for the future, I imagine)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Personally, it really would tell me enough if you just said something along the lines of, "You do this, and for me, it doesn't quite work because of (specific reason)" or "You do this, but in general, it's not a good idea because (specific reason)." The fact that you bring it up at all in a review and offered something that wasn't ending with "but it's okay to keep in if you want" tells me it bothers you enough.

Keep in mind the fact that I wrote the guide on reviewing in the first place with particular detail about how reviewers should offer honest opinions. Ergo, you don't really have to worry about me discounting what you say just because it's not told with the exact degree of disgust, annoyance, or what-have-you you're actually experiencing simply because I already know the basics of why you're here.

But either way, no offense taken, and I hope I didn't seem confrontational in response.
My way of thinking is much different than others I've come in contact with. You'd be surprised (or, rather, with your profession and hobby you've probably had the same issue) at how mind-numbingly obstinate and childish people can be about their "work".

I tend to be very logical and I usually don't let my emotions get in the way when I'm in writer/editor mode, unless I'm trying to stress a point or elicit a reaction. I like passionate discussions, but I've become increasingly aware as of late that people are more likely than not to direct their passion into being an ******* instead of intellectually discussing the topic at hand.

Your work on here dealing with writing is becoming more astonishing. It's really a pleasant surprise to see someone else taking it seriously, even more so that it's on a Pokemon-centered forum. XD I'll be sure to check out said page to see what you look for in case of my future reviews/critiques.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Actually, this is how it stacks up:

Prologue, One, and Two: 0 times
Three: 2 times
Four, Five, Six: 0 times
Seven: 2 times
Ten: 0 times
Eleven: 2 times
Twelve: 2 times
Thirteen: 2 times
Fourteen: 1 time

So, in the course of fourteen chapters (which is well over one hundred pages of material), I use the word a total of nine times, with literally half of the chapters not containing it at all. I'm not really sure this warrants removing it altogether (or at least lessening the usage of it). This basically means I say it once every ten to twenty pages, which is a lot of material to separate instances of a word.
To me that is a lot of instances. It would be different if it was a mannerism attributed to a character (the hissing issue comes up, which I almost over-looked but decided it was common enough to list), but your "latter and former" method is almost equally divided between narration and internal thinking. For the many intellectuals acting as characters in this story, I can understand because it suits that type of thinking/discussion. But it's too formal, in my opinion, for narration and could probably be excised from one or two instances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Well, if we're talking about the Zigzagoon's struggle, then my main concern isn't so much the sadistic and bloody part as it is making her seem like a slightly ridiculous character. Not too much detail is put into the wild Pokémon because they're portrayed as simple creatures. I'm hesitating a little because the last thing I'd like is to make one of them seem more like a cartoon character than something more like a raccoon you might see in the forest, though I see your point.
I wouldn't want you to delve into the anime "sentient Pokemon" theme at all, since them acting as animals really suits the purposes of this human-focused story.

I realized what you were doing with the Zigzagoon scene, but it just seemed like there was a little left yet untapped. Like you'd stopped just short of its full potential.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
…Because that's the only word I know of that could describe their relationships, really. They're not exactly friends (because a lot of them just hold professional relationships), and they're certainly not companions. The only ones who might be able to be described as partners are Bill and Lanette.
Well if you can't find a suitable synonym (and I can't either, off-head) then that should be evidence enough its at least slightly over-used. Look into it, maybe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Despite what I say above, it does. It might take awhile to revise and meditate on the things I don't mention or the things we're still discussing, but I am definitely getting something out of it.

Thanks again for responding.
  #117    
Old August 5th, 2009, 08:44 PM
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To help make things a bit clearer, lemme take apart that paragraph you quoted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redstar View Post
The past twenty-four hours had been chaotic in Polaris Institute.
Establishes how much time lapsed between the action of the first chapter (henceforth, One) and the action of the second (Two). So, it's not a recap. It's actually setting up the setting of the chapter.

Quote:
The Rockets eventually disappeared from the complex, no doubt retreating to prepare for another attempt.
In One, Rockets were still roaming the halls, and the guards were trying to take them down. This line establishes that this attempt failed and that there's no (obvious) Rockets in the facility. It's new information because, otherwise, the alternative is that the Rockets are incarcerated somewhere inside Polaris Institute.

Quote:
The Inner Ring was in shambles.
Also new material. Only one laboratory was wrecked at the end of One. So, this establishes that there is no Inner Ring anymore, which then explains the last line of the excerpt.

Quote:
(mostly caused by the chaos and panic of an army of Rockets storming the halls).
Provides new information in that it informs the reader that the Rockets continued a path of destruction beyond just one laboratory. There are, after all, numerous labs in the entire Inner Ring.

So, it's really not meant to be a recap because all of this is actually new information that expands upon where One left off, really. Only with fast-forward pressed down firmly. (I suppose this might be a summary of events that weren't mentioned yet, then?)

Quote:
Well then they don't seem like smart scientists. I wouldn't leave anything to chance if I was in that situation, since I've watched and read enough to not put myself in a situation to die if I can help it. But, unfortunately, people don't always think of everything.
Let me put it to you this way. Imagine you have a key to your house in your pocket. Your loved ones are just inside, and there's a rabid dog right in front of you. The rabid dog goes for your throat and rips you apart. If the dog sees the key, it's probably not going to know how to use it to get inside your house and at your loved ones.

The point is that at that particular moment, Bill has only done one thing: slash the crap out of anyone within arm's reach. It would have been more likely that he'd destroy the key than he would actually use it because he was not an intelligent creature. Ixodida, upon their creation, are just berserkers. They kill, but they don't exactly have the logic to put two and two together. The researchers have already realized this in that Bill did not actually think his attacks through.

Or, in shorter terms, baby Ixodida = bloodthirsty mutant that only thinks about ripping things apart with no further intelligence. The scientists had two weeks to figure this out, so they knew for certain there wasn't any chance of him escaping.

Quote:
It was an example. I assumed that I didn't have to go further than "Dr." for you to understood my point extended to "Mr.", "Inspector", and so on.
Don't worry. I understood it was an example. I just was responding with another example from the same canon to state that even in Holmes, Watson doesn't refer to the people he knows by profession or title frequently (outside of quotes), either, and when he does, it's usually an introduction. Of course, Holmes literature also tends to be in first-person POV, so using Holmes literature as an example tends to be shady in this situation because of the fact that it might just be the character's voice, rather than a norm someone using third-person perspective should follow.

Quote:
I believe you described tears as "hot" three times, so I was speaking of all examples.
The reasoning I offered (in response to your correction) only really applied to one instance, which you've said seemed like sudden rationalization. So... yeah.

Quote:
The latter. ;)
In that case, we've already established that all of the verbs are necessary to convey what's going on. Padding out the line would actually make it wordier than it should be. Perhaps in the future, it's something to keep in mind, but even then, overusing other parts of speech (nouns, prepositional phrases, et cetera) just to avoid overusing verbs would just introduce further problems in the prose -- as in, same problem, different part of speech.

Quote:
You'd be surprised (or, rather, with your profession and hobby you've probably had the same issue) at how mind-numbingly obstinate and childish people can be about their "work".
Oh yes. I've encountered many people like that.

Quote:
Your work on here dealing with writing is becoming more astonishing. It's really a pleasant surprise to see someone else taking it seriously, even more so that it's on a Pokemon-centered forum. XD
Thank you. To be honest, I invest a lot of time and effort into fanfiction itself (because I like writing communities in general and because I actually want to go on to do something involving writing later on in my life), so I end up taking it seriously. Sometimes, a bit more seriously than I really should, but.

Quote:
I wouldn't want you to delve into the anime "sentient Pokemon" theme at all, since them acting as animals really suits the purposes of this human-focused story.

I realized what you were doing with the Zigzagoon scene, but it just seemed like there was a little left yet untapped. Like you'd stopped just short of its full potential.
I'll take a look at it, but yeah, my thoughts exactly about the first paragraph there.

Quote:
Well if you can't find a suitable synonym (and I can't either, off-head) then that should be evidence enough its at least slightly over-used. Look into it, maybe?
I'll check it out.
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Last edited by JX Valentine; August 5th, 2009 at 08:49 PM.
  #118    
Old August 5th, 2009, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Let me put it to you this way. Imagine you have a key to your house in your pocket. Your loved ones are just inside, and there's a rabid dog right in front of you. The rabid dog goes for your throat and rips you apart. If the dog sees the key, it's probably not going to know how to use it to get inside your house and at your loved ones.

The point is that at that particular moment, Bill has only done one thing: slash the crap out of anyone within arm's reach. It would have been more likely that he'd destroy the key than he would actually use it because he was not an intelligent creature. Ixodida, upon their creation, are just berserkers. They kill, but they don't exactly have the logic to put two and two together. The researchers have already realized this in that Bill did not actually think his attacks through.

Or, in shorter terms, baby Ixodida = bloodthirsty mutant that only thinks about ripping things apart with no further intelligence. The scientists had two weeks to figure this out, so they knew for certain there wasn't any chance of him escaping.
Well now I understand where you're coming from, but I do have a habit of overthinking things... And with Nettle having Team Rocket ties, it wasn't much of a leap for me to assume other agents involved in the project (Committee, maybe), and after Mewtwo, anything left to chance seems stupid of them.


Well looks like we worked out all the issues between us concerning the story, so hopefully you've come out with a different mindset in your writing and I in my reading. Looking forward to the next chapter. =]
  #119    
Old August 11th, 2009, 09:56 AM
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So, the scene ended up staying where it is at the moment, not so much because the events here prevented it from happening but instead because the chapter turned out to be nineteen pages after proofreading and spacing things out. Yeah, sorry, guys. It's nineteen pages long. I can't really move anything to a new chapter because from here on out, things are going to start moving.

In the meantime, lulz at the fact that the beginning scene turned out to be completely different from what I'd originally planned, and edits will come after I come back from romping around in another country.



Fifteen
(Fire is only as dangerous as you let it be.)

Bill opened his eyes – or, rather "opened" them, as he was instantly aware that he wasn't actually in a physical place. It was the white room he'd seen once in an earlier dream, but this time, it was darker. The bed was harder, and he realized he couldn't move, save for turning his head. Out the window, he could see the blood-red light of a sunset, and between him and it, there his body sat.

Clenching his teeth, he looked hard at himself as the figure leaned back in a wooden chair. His legs crossed, and his dark eyes steadied themselves on what should have been their owner. Pale hands folded neatly over a red-clad knee as the human waited.

Staring at the blank, neutral expression on the face, Bill knew at once who it was.

"You made quite a scene out there," Adam commented.

Bill struggled to shake his head. He felt like something was sitting on his chest.

"No," he rasped. "No, you made me do that."

Adam raised an eyebrow. "Made you? What makes you think that?"

"I would never hurt anyone like that. Not Veronica. Not anyone," Bill replied. "You did something to me."

With a shrug, Adam answered, "That, Bill, was entirely you. Well, rather, our body. Bestial instincts. You see, my kind is very protective of anyone we see as a potential mate. You've chosen a candidate, but you didn't realize that would trigger… your baser self."

Bill felt something cold hit his chest. He had watched the parasite manipulate his form, watched the expression change into something so blank it scared Bill to look at his own face. The thing was a monster, yet… it was him.

He turned his head away and stared at the ceiling. With a squirm, he struggled against his invisible binds and whimpered. After the sound died away, he felt hands gently touching his arm. He didn't want to look, so instead, he turned to stare at the wall. In the meantime, Adam leaned to rest one knee on the bed as it lifted the arm by the wrist.

"The reason why you can't move isn't because of the spores," Adam said. "Look."

Bill's curiosity got to him, and he turned his head to glance at the arm Adam held. There, instead of skin and human fingers, he saw metal and claws – his ixodida arm. A shuddering cry tore from Bill's throat.

"What is this?" he whispered.

"Our form," Adam replied. "You see yourself as one of my kind now. You're adapting."

"Adapting? What do you mean?"

Adam sat on the edge of the bed. "You're beginning to change to become a creature better suited to that body. That is why my kind chose to fuse with yours. Your kind changes so easily."

"Changes… in…" Bill paused briefly as he suddenly felt cold. "In mind?"

Adam nodded. "Of course."

In the next instant, the silver hand curled around Adam's wrist. The parasite frowned.

"I don't want this," Bill hissed. "Please. Don't change me that way."

Adam's hand reached up to grab Bill's. The researcher found himself surprised by the alien's strength; he felt as if his bones were being crushed beneath its grip.

"Were you not listening?" it asked. "I am doing nothing to change you. Your mind is reshaping according to our body."

Despite the pain of Adam's grip, Bill clenched his teeth and grasped Adam's wrist as tightly as he could.

"Then, change me back," he replied. "You started this. Can't you make me human again?"

Suddenly, Adam grinned. Bill faltered as an uncertain frown grew across his face, and in the process, his grip on the alien loosened.

In the next instant, something erupted from the bed. Startled, Bill gasped and released Adam altogether as black hands burst from the mattress to grab his limbs. Adam calmly rose to its feet and watched Bill struggle as the hands pulled his arms and legs down to hold them down. Another wormed upwards beside his head and slipped its long fingers across his mouth before he could turn away from it, so instead, he screamed against its cold, stony skin as he stared helplessly at Adam.

"The process cannot be reversed," it said calmly. "Even if I had the power to begin your transformation back to your original form, you would die halfway through it, and in doing so, I, too, would no longer be able to live. The process would be far too traumatic to the both of us." It paused to lean over Bill. "Now, I must tell you something, and you will listen. If you refuse, you put us in grave danger – something far more serious than you may think you are in now."

Bill closed his eyes and tried once more to shrug off the hands. After a moment, he shuddered and relaxed in defeat. Adam straightened.

"First, you have noticed that other members of my kind call us monarch and rogue. Both are incredibly important terms, Bill. They define us. Literally. Neither are truly bad.

"The first concerns natural order – biology, really. Among my kind, there are two types of adults. There are monarchs, intelligent creatures born to lead our species. Then, there are drones, mindless, violent servants of the monarchs. This is how you know which is which."

Adam reached over Bill and grabbed his tail. Bill winced and twisted under the grip of the black hands as cold pain raced up his spine. Opening one eye, he saw Adam hold the arrowhead tip of his tail between two fingers.

The parasite released it and continued, "Drones lack a pointed tip on their own tails. Of course, you will also find that our fellow monarchs are superior conversationalists."

Pausing, Adam studied its host. Bill furrowed his eyebrows but made no attempt to look amused. Adam huffed and looked away.

"To understand what a rogue is, meanwhile, you must know how we organize ourselves socially," it stated. "Adults of the same type thrive in groups with others like them. We rely on each other to survive, to hunt, and to raise our young, and we can only trust those who share our abilities and weaknesses. Thus, all steel-types like us – drones and monarchs alike – live with each other in the Iron Clan, but this is only one out of sixteen different races within our species.

"The strongest monarch in each clan serves as its leader. These leaders not only maintain order within each clan, but they also form a court of sixteen representatives, one for each possible clan.

"At the lower end of the court, there are the knights, twelve individuals who govern only their respective elements. They serve the higher circles as both messengers and soldiers. Above them are the guardians, the four strongest clan leaders who not only lord over large swathes of territory but also serve as personal body guards and advisors to the strongest ixodida in existence."

Adam paused for dramatic effect. Glancing at Bill, it found its host still. Adam's eyes moved to its lap, where it folded its hands once again.

"The empress. Or the emperor, whichever the case may be. Our ruler. All of our kind answers to her without question… except people like us."

It turned its head to look at Bill one more time to ensure that it ensnared his full attention. Bill had no choice but to stare at his partner. His mind was already blank, his thoughts shocked until the only thing running through his head were Adam's words. At that point, Adam spoke with a low, hushed tone.

"We are rogues," it said. "We are monarchs capable of intelligent thought, and as such, we can decide for ourselves whether to follow our empress or to defy her. Defiance is rare, with good reason. Those who refuse the empress are labeled traitors. Many do not live long after that. The court guarantees this."

Shuddering, Bill closed his eyes. He realized the arms weren't about to let him go. Squirming, he switched to the silent channel he shared with the parasite.

Why…?

Adam rested its chin on a palm. "I assume you are not questioning the obvious of why we should not expect to exist in quiet safety, so instead, I will answer other whys. There exist many possible reasons why a rogue chooses to defect, but mine is very simple. The empress that sits on the throne now is corrupt. She oppresses my people and turns them into her personal army to eradicate or enslave your kind. Believe me when I say we are not normally a cruel race. We do only what we must to survive and nothing more."

It stopped to look over its shoulder again. Adam knew all too well that it made Bill feel like he was being addressed directly, and sure enough, the researcher stopped struggling or looking terrified. He instead fixed his gaze on his partner and did nothing more.

"Bill, you are a unique human," it told him. "By luck, I found someone with impressive intellect and a passion for advancing his species. What I gave you should not be considered a curse. It is a gift. Combine that cleverness and will you possess with my strength and understanding of my species, and together, we will protect the remainder of your kind by stopping the empress herself."

There was a long pause. Slowly, one of the black hands slipped from Bill's mouth, and he took a shuddering breath.

"I…" He swallowed. "I…"

The fingers of each hand holding him down tightened. Adam watched them twist around one of Bill's arms, and upon realizing what was happening, it jumped. As it knelt over him, it slammed one hand down on either side of Bill's head and leaned close to his face.

"You will not refuse, and you will not retreat. You will understand that there may be no one else who will save your people. Do you forsake them?"

Bill shuddered and closed his eyes. "Adam… how can I help them when I…"

Adam frowned. "You believe that little scratch you gave that silly girl means your human self is getting weaker, but the assumption makes you an idiot. I refuse to have a weak host; you cannot remain the tender-hearted mouse you were as a human. Experience reshapes the minds your people possess, and it is the human gift to adapt and control what your kind becomes. You already know this. I know you do."

Staring steadily at his partner, Bill opened his mouth slightly in surprise. "What?"

Sighing, Adam responded, "There are two ways we may proceed. The first is that you allow yourself to go feral. Your body will dictate what it needs, and your human self and I will live like drones, trapped within your mind until something finally kills our body. The second is that you realize that no matter what happens, as a human, you possess the ability to learn and grow. All of this is you. Conquer it and control it. That is how you will become strong enough to survive."

Its words hit Bill hard, and he felt as if the wind was knocked out of him. Exhaling, he watched his partner carefully. Slowly, Adam pulled away from him and moved off the bed to stand beside it. It looked down, locking its eyes directly on Bill's as it stood over him.

"Well?" it drawled.

For a long moment, Bill froze, uncertain of what Adam wanted. Then, the hands holding them tightened their grips until he could feel sharp pain emanating from his arms and legs. Wincing, he craned his neck to examine them. They felt like ice against his skin, and their nails were digging into him, piercing his armor and his flesh like thousands of hypodermic needles. At that very moment, he began to feel them, countless worms under his skin, wriggling in an attempt to consume his body from the inside out.

It was then that he realized what they were, and they were no extension of Adam. They felt natural, like they were always there, but at the same time, he could feel the creature crawling towards his brain from a place somewhere in his chest. He could only imagine what it would do if it succeeded in burrowing into his brain, in seizing control of him and forcing him to do whatever it wanted.

The sensation was him, but at the same time, it wasn't. It was the urge to rip apart another living creature, to hunt, to fight, and to be free. More than anything else, it was something that wanted him, something that desired to ensnare him and make him part of its own. He closed his eyes. To him, it was intoxicating, a temptation that felt like it would fill an emptiness he hadn't realized was inside him. Below that, however, he felt the pain of something cold.

In response, he balled his hands into fists and tightened his muscles.

"No," he whispered. "I won't let you have me."

Adam crossed its arms. "What?"

Drawing in a breath, Bill pushed against the hands still outside of him. At first, nothing happened, and after a few moments of no progress, he relaxed, briefly spent.. Closing his eyes, he gathered as much strength as he could muster, digging deep into himself to summon everything he had, everything that wasn't yet touched. Then, he pushed.

The arms cracked, and the fingers retreated, rushing out of his body like a breath. Their grip on the outside of his flesh loosened.

Bill screamed through gritting teeth. "Get… OFF!"

With one more push, the arms shattered, raining black shards all over him and across the bed. He sat up, panting and staring at the shards as they turned liquid and rolled into the hard mattress. His limbs felt numb and useless at his sides.

Adam took a step back. "Congratulations. Perhaps you are not as weak as you seem. I may just be impressed. However, the struggle is hardly over. You drove it back, but that part of you will return. Do not let it control you, and do not exterminate it altogether. It is not entirely bad, either."

It turned. Bill forced himself to look at it, but he felt an overwhelming wave of weakness wash over him as soon as he moved. Adam didn't look, although it seemed to notice.

"Rest," it said. "Now that you know everything, we must begin training as soon as we are released."

Breathing hard, Bill found he didn't have the strength to argue. Instead, he lay his head on the pillow and stared at the white ceiling for awhile.

Soon, although he didn't realize it, everything went dark and silent.

---

Veronica made a mistake. She should have known it was going to be a mistake as soon as she saw the silhouette of the security booth outside Littleroot Town. Yet, for whatever reason, she didn't think much of it until she approached its square walls. Almost immediately, the lights from the booth flashed on, and in her squints and flinches, Veronica couldn't see the forms of two men stepping out of the booth. If she had, she might have seen the green uniforms of the NDF, but even then, she really didn't need to see to know who they were. After all, before she had a chance to say a word, their voices boomed for them to freeze on order of the military.

The next few moments were a jumble to Veronica. She remembered being taken at gunpoint past a tent city just beyond the chain link fence to a building just south of it. The place had once been a home, but the family had fled before the quarantine came down. Soon after that, the NDF took it as the center of their Littleroot base, but the possessions that the family owned and abandoned in the rush to leave still decorated the house. In that house, as family pictures on walls stared down at her, Veronica remembered being stripped, being poked, and being examined, and finally, a dark-haired doctor came along to look at the cut across her arm. She didn't know what they did with Rose. Rose was led to another room, and no matter how much Veronica demanded to be placed with the girl, the NDF ignored anything that didn't answer their questions.

Even as the doctor was busy examining the cut, there was a man in uniform, one with bars on its sleeve, standing in front of Veronica as she sat on a queen-sized bed. In the corner of the room, another man in a uniform sat on a wooden chair with a laptop on his lap. Every so often, the doctor would reach behind him for an instrument on a metal tray placed on the dresser, but Veronica wasn't watching him. Instead, her eyes were fixed completely on the lieutenant in front of her.

"Name and occupation," he demanded.

"Veronica Jenny of Mauville City," she replied. "Former police."

The lieutenant frowned. "Why are you not in your precinct?"

"There is no precinct in Mauville anymore," Veronica growled. "Every citizen except me is dead or infected. It didn't make sense for me to stay."

"How did you get here?"

"On foot. I've been traveling with that girl for a couple months now."

"That girl?"

Veronica winced, trying to pass the expression off as a reaction to the pain from the doctor cleaning her wound. She knew better than to argue with an officer of the military, but she was heavily tempted to ask him if his colleagues weren't already drilling the girl enough as it is.

"Rose McKenzie," she finally replied. "Pokémon coordinator. I don't know where she's from."

The lieutenant nodded. "What is your business in Littleroot Town?"

"Where else are we going to go? Ixodida are infesting the rest of the region. I thought an NDF zone would be ixodida-free. Rose is just a kid. She can't be anywhere where she's not going to be protected."

At that point, the lieutenant glanced over his shoulder at the other man.

"Are you still recording, private?" he asked.

Without hesitating, the subordinate nodded. "Yes, sir!"

"Good. Starting the main questioning." Turning back, the lieutenant frowned. "How did you injure your arm?"

Veronica's eyebrows rose as she glanced towards the doctor. He was busy threading a needle in preparation for the first stitches. Glancing back, she did her best to keep her face neutral.

"I fell," she said without reacting as the needle went through her skin the first time.

"Fell?" the lieutenant asked.

Veronica nodded. "It's really dark out there, you know? I couldn't see a ledge, so I ended up falling onto something sharp. I guess there was some sharp rock under the ledge, but I couldn't really see it."

"What were you doing traveling at night, then?"

"We had to get here as soon as possible. It's Hell out there, sir. You don't know if there's an ixodida lurking around, so you're always on guard. Here, you don't have to worry so much."

There was a long pause after she spoke as the lieutenant stared at her. During that time, the doctor finished her stitches and cut the final thread, and at that, Veronica felt a sense of relief. Yet, on the other hand, it was quickly replaced by discomfort towards the lieutenant's stare – one that was unwavering. Eventually, he finally turned to the doctor, glancing at him with gray eyes.

"Well?" he asked.

The doctor shook his head. "The wound doesn't match."

At once, Veronica's heart nearly stopped as she turned towards the doctor. "What do you mean, 'The wound doesn't match'?"

"You said you fell on a rock," the doctor replied with a shrug. "That would be a laceration. This is an incision."

One word traveled through Veronica's mind at that point: Shit.

Shaking her head free from the thought, Veronica narrowed her eyes at the doctor. "Who said I stopped? Sure, I fell on a rock, but then I sort of slid a little more down the slope. It caught my arm. There you go."

Calmly, the doctor grasped her arm and examined the stitches. "What's strange is that the cut is deep and clean. I didn't have to remove any soil or detritus that would indicate the patient fell on the ground. Moreover, the cut was to the muscle, and the edges weren't ripped. It was like she got it from a knife."

Shit, Veronica thought. Shit, shit, shit, shit! I'm supposed to know what this kind of thing looks like! What's wrong with me?!

The lieutenant nodded and stepped forward. "As a former officer of the law, you should know that it's illegal to withhold information from an investigation."

"This is an investigation?" Veronica snapped. She wasn't in the mood for protocol anymore.

Ignoring her tone, the lieutenant responded as if he was reciting something he'd said countless times. "All military personnel here are required to inspect thoroughly all arrivals to Littleroot Town. Moreover, we are ordered to investigate any suspicious behavior in any arrival, as this may indicate a possible threat to the security of this base." He leaned in, placing his hands on the bed on either side of Veronica. "So, I'll ask you plainly, ma'am. What attacked you in Littleroot Forest?"

"And I'll say it plainly," Veronica replied. "Nothing did. There was an accident. That's all."

The lieutenant straightened with a frown. His eyes fixed on her as he thought for a moment. Then, glancing back at the private, he jerked his head towards Veronica. Nodding, the private stood and made his way towards her.

"What's going on?" she demanded.

"Confiscate her pokémon," the lieutenant ordered. "This woman and her companion are to be detained until we can get a proper answer."

Immediately, Veronica was on her feet. "You can't do that without a warrant! Don't touch me!"

However, her protests were ignored. The private pulled Growlithe's poké ball from her belt and turned away from her. She, meanwhile, tried to reach for it to take it back, but the doctor and the private grabbed her arms. Turning away from her, the lieutenant walked nonchalantly to the computer and tapped a few keys.

"Lieutenant Black to Major Hawker," he said. "We've got uncooperative detainees in Sector 1. The doctor's analysis of the injuries one of them has sustained indicates a possible threat outside the northern border."

Upon hearing the statement, Veronica shrugged the hands off her. "There's nothing up there! I fell!"

Out of the computer's speakers, a female voice drifted. "Excellent work, lieutenant. Reinforcements will be sent to the northern border to investigate. Until then, I want to meet these detainees."

"Yes, ma'am," he said.

Then, with a press of a button, the screen of the laptop went blank. The lieutenant turned towards Veronica, who took a step backwards.

"Oh, no, you don't!" she snapped. "Give me my growlithe. You're not laying a hand on me!"

Lieutenant Black shook his head. "Restrain her. I'm going to confiscate the girl's pokémon."

"Don't touch me!" Veronica barked.

The doctor and the private reached out to grab her, but Veronica swung around, letting her leg cut across the air in a hook kick. Her strike didn't land on either of them, but it caused them to hesitate just enough to let her rush after Black. She tried to grab his arm, but before she could, he slipped out of the room and walked to the next door down the hall. This time, Veronica had time enough to seize him, which resulted in him executing a palm strike to her chest so quick she didn't even see it happen. She only felt herself slam into the opposite wall and slide down as a pain radiated from her sternum and her breath came in short gasps.

Looking up, her eyes fixed on his back. She heard him bark an order to grab the girl's pokémon, but she couldn't force herself to her feet just yet. It was the private, after darting out of the first room and to her side, who grabbed her by the arm and yanked her to her feet. From that angle, she could see a woman in camouflage garb grabbing five poké balls from a man standing with his uniformed back turned to the door. Veronica froze, knowing that the balls contained Rose's team and Kirlia. The two of them would be unprotected for whatever the NDF had in mind.

Then, something worse happened. The man drew out a sixth poké ball from Rose's pocket.

Drawing in a gasp, Veronica yanked at her arm, trying to pull away from the private. It only resulted in the military officer tightening his grip on her arm. Veronica clenched her teeth and stared helplessly at the ball as it was handed to the woman. She knew that if she said anything, there was a chance they'd open it. On the other hand, there was another chance they'd open it without them present, and Veronica knew Bill couldn't defend himself while he was paralyzed.

Unfortunately, before she could make up her mind about what needed to be done, Rose screamed and reached for the last ball frantically. The man who had taken them from her grabbed her wrist with one hand and wrapped his free arm around her waist. Rose tried to pull away, stretching her other hand towards the ball while she shrieked and cried. Taking a step back, the woman looked toward her superior. Black shifted on his feet.

"Open that one," he said. "If it's small, we'll let her keep it during the interrogation. That should calm her down."

Reflexively, Veronica stepped forward. "No!"

The lieutenant turned, arching his pale eyebrows as he studied her briefly. Then, he turned back to his subordinates.

"Open that one," he repeated in a colder tone.

With a nod, the woman placed the other five poké balls on a nearby table, just beyond Veronica's line of sight. Then, the woman's dark thumb found the button on the front. The button clicked, and the ball enlarged in her hand. Her finger pressed the button on the front again, and Veronica could hear the unmistakable sound of the object popping open. White light filled the room before fading in seconds to reveal a lump that lay on the floor. That object, understandably, caused all three military officers who could see it to swear loudly and whip guns from the holsters at their hips. The private, as a reflex, did the same, releasing Veronica and allowing her to dart forward, shove past the lieutenant, and enter the bedroom.

It was a small place, possibly a room that once held a child, judging by the rainbow-colored pokémon paintings that still hung on the walls. A bed sat in the corner where a second doctor sat, stupefied by the thing on the floor. The main source of light in the room was the early morning sun passing through the windows in the wooden walls. A metal table had been set up near the door to hold a computer, a coffee maker, and now, Rose's poké balls. The floor had a rug, but Veronica could only see the red corner of it under her ixodida companion.

Bill was shivering, in part from the numb sensation running through his body and in part from fear. His muscles still felt stiff from paralysis, but he strained himself to look up at the lieutenant and the pistol he held. Veronica dropped to her knees beside him, but she stopped just shy of touching him. On his cloak, she could see a golden glitter of spores.

"Are you all right?" she asked.

"Step away from the ixodida!" Black roared.

Veronica turned to him. "Put your gun down! He's not going to hurt you!"

"Step away from it!" he replied. "Back away to the wall! Now!"

At that point, Veronica stood and opened her mouth to say something else when she heard a sharp scratching. Looking down, she could see Bill digging his claws into the floor as he fixed his gaze on her legs.

"Do what he says," he whispered hoarsely.

The female officer fumbled with her gun in surprise. "Jesus Christ."

Biting her lip, Veronica furrowed her eyebrows. Then, after a pause, she slowly backed away to stand next to the female officer. In the meantime, Bill struggled against the stiffness of his joints to kneel in front of the lieutenant. The latter cocked his gun with a click and kept his hands steady.

"Don't move!" the lieutenant barked. "Private Adler, call for backup!"

The man behind Black didn't hesitate. Fluidly, he raced towards the other room with only a "yes, sir" as confirmation. Bill, meanwhile, continued to stare at the gun as he quickly tried to come up with some way to get out of his situation.

"I won't hurt you," he whispered, although the pale expression on his face told Veronica that even he doubted that.

Before she could think about it, his body seized up again, and he doubled over as he felt a rush of numbness freeze his limbs. Veronica straightened.

"He's been paralyzed," she said. "He needs help!"

Black didn't move except to narrow his eyes. He kept his glance locked on the creature on the floor.

"What the hell are you two doing with an ixodida?" he snapped.

Rose shrank, unable to speak or do anything except shake on her feet. Veronica glanced at her first and then back at Black. She didn't dare step forward for fear that one of the military officers would shoot. It didn't help that her own gun had been taken from her along with her other possessions.

"He's our friend," Veronica replied. "Look, he won't hurt you as long as you don't do anything to threaten him, okay? Put your gun down!"

Black refused to look at Veronica. He could only stare at the trembling alien on the floor as he looked up at his companion. There was an expression on the ixodida's face that Black couldn't entirely understand. His eyes were wide, and his mouth was slightly open.

Surprise, Black thought as he slowly lowered his gun. It doesn't have its guard up. Careful.

Veronica took a step forward. "He needs help. He got caught in some Stun Spore. It was an accident, and—"

"It attacked you," Black said. "That's why it's looking at you like that."

Bill cringed, feeling his body locking on its hands and knees in that position. Lifting his head, he stared at the lieutenant with a mixture of helplessness and guilt. Narrowing his eyes, Black raised his gun again.

"You have no proof of that," Veronica whispered.

Black nodded. "Yeah, I do. Look at how it's reacting."

"You ever think that's maybe because he doesn't like being threatened?" Veronica answered icily.

Ignoring her, Black thumbed the hammer of his pistol. "It'll get all the help it needs." He glanced over his shoulder to the female officer. "Recall it and bring it to Birch Institute. See what Joshua has to say about it. The rest of you—" He glanced towards the other officers. "—will take these two into custody for further questioning."

Veronica shouted something, but before she could fight, two of the officers darted into the room to grab her. She struggled, trying to push forward to grab Black as he turned to the female officer. The latter lifted Bill's poké ball as the ixodida struggled to stand.

However, before he could make it to his feet, he was engulfed by a red light. Seconds later, he lost sight of the outside world.

---

Polaris Institute was smaller than when Professor Oak had left it. The Inner Ring was almost but not quite finished, and half of the Median Ring was closed off. That left only a handful of laboratories on the eastern side of the bull's-eye-shaped complex and the Outer Ring of dormitories and essential offices. At the same time, the lack of space hardly hindered the Kanto branch of Project Stardust. Oak wondered whether it was because the Committee was relying on data from other regions or if it was because Polaris was far too large for what they needed anyway.

In any case, Tracey wheeled him down the all-too-familiar hallways as they traveled beside Professor Nettle. The woman's face with its shadows beneath the eyes made her look slightly more tired than she had been when Oak had last seen her, but on the other hand, she stood straight and spoke to her teams with a sharper snap than she had ever used as simply the head of the psychology department. Oak could tell she was stressed by the way she carried herself, so that made his acceptance of her invitation – her plea for his help – a bit more valid in his mind.

Through e-mails sent to him in the past week, she told him about a problem without specifying what it was. All he knew was that it needed his presence and expertise, and she was, according to her letters, getting desperate. By luck, the Rousseau sisters had arrived earlier that week to join his efforts in discovering more about the ixodida, and the sisters were more than willing to take care of the lab for him, not that he really needed someone to watch over the laboratory. After all, both Riko and Delia were just as eager volunteers. Hence, he had no problem asking Tracey to help him travel to Cinnabar Island one more time to answer Nettle's plea.

"Thank you again for coming," Nettle said as she led him down another corridor.

Oak grinned. "It's my pleasure, Professor Nettle. From the way you were insisting on having me here, it sounds like you're in quite a jam."

"Well, we're not in dire need of help," she replied. "However, even after pushing my teams to their limits, we've only been able to come to a dead end."

She approached a door with a black panel next to it. Her hand slipped into a pocket and produced from its folds a keycard that she swiped in a slot along the panel's side. A small, red light shone on its face as a panel extended beneath it. Pressing her hand to the pad, Nettle watched the red light blink before a green light next to it lit up. Her free hand grasped the silver door handle and pushed it downward to swing the door open.

Inside, the room was just another observation room, much like the ones Oak had frequented as the head of the institute. Machines lined the left and right walls of the room while the far wall was taken up almost completely by a window next to a metal door. Most of the scientists in the room either huddled at the window or around a tank just to the left of the door. Passing by the latter, Oak looked through the group to see the box filled with red water. A pulsing light flashed across it every so often, seemingly in response to what was going on at the window.

Past the window, Oak could see that there was a room much like the one that held his former colleague at one point. It was only a small room with barely enough space for a bed, a table, and a chair. At one point, he knew it had pristine, white walls, but now, they had black and gray spots all over their empty expanses. After a few seconds, he could see why as a jet of flames burst upwards and struck the window, causing the scientists to take a half-step backwards.

Drawing in a breath, Oak put his hands on the wheels of his chair to signal Tracey to stop. His young assistant froze, moving his eyes cautiously towards the window.

"What was that?" Oak asked.

Nettle slipped her hands into her pockets. "That, Professor Oak, would be our problem. His name is Prometheus."

Turning his head sharply, Oak stared at Nettle. Then, cautiously, he tugged on the wheels of his chair, pulling himself away from his assistant to move closer to the window. The line of scientists parted with murmurs of surprise towards their former superior. Hardly noticing their reaction, Oak wheeled up to the window and peered into the room. From that angle, he couldn't quite see much of the space beyond the barrier, but as the flames died down, he could see what Nettle termed "the problem."

Prometheus stood tall, and judging by the muscles of his red-skinned body, Oak figured he might have been young before he was changed. Flames and smoke billowed from his flesh, climbing up his legs to engulf the bottom half of his torso and dance on his shoulders and upper arms. His head itself was almost like a torch, with fire dancing on his bare scalp and surrounding a pair of round horns. Claws on his hands flexed as he narrowed his blue eyes at the window. Across his long, pale face was a sharp frown while behind him, a glowing, orange tail flicked back and forth.

Oak tore his eyes away from the creature long enough to glance at Nettle. She crossed her arms.

"Prometheus is a fairly young addition to our studies," Nettle explained. "He was created only a few months ago. However, so far, he's been mostly uncontrollable."

At her comment, Oak thought back to Pandora, to Bill, and to the rock-type that was responsible for his missing leg. A small frown tugged at the corners of his mouth.

"It's possible that Bill's case was unique," Oak replied. "I haven't yet been able to find another XP-494B that wasn't hostile."

Nettle shook her head. "That isn't exactly the problem. In the past few days, Prometheus has become increasingly angrier. All he does is attack the window and the walls. He refuses to eat. He doesn't sleep. He simply stands there and attacks. It started ever since we brought our tank with XP-494A into this room to keep it here during the reconstruction of its holding tank in Laboratory 18. It's been acting strange as well, flashing now and then. We know there's a connection, but for the life of us, we can't find what it is."

Oak eyed Nettle carefully as he let her explanation sink into his brain. Then, he turned towards the window again, just in time to see another jet of flames pound the window. It lasted for a few seconds before dying down, revealing Prometheus standing calmly in the middle of the room again.

"Open a channel," Oak said. "Let me talk to him."

One of the interns at the control panel hesitated as she glanced towards Oak. Then, slowly, she pressed a button on its face. There was a click, and in a long quiet after that, Oak only heard crackling coming from the speakers.

Taking a deep breath, he took the first step. "Hello! I'm Professor Oak. I'm here to learn more about you."

Prometheus stared at the window and the professor for a long moment in complete silence. Behind the group, the ixodida parasite flashed once more, and the red gleam caught the adult's eye.

Then, the creature screamed.

In seconds, fire burst from his red skin, causing the scientists – Oak included – to stumble backwards. Flames quickly engulfed the ixodida as he launched forward, slamming both of his clawed hands into the glass separating him from the rest of the laboratory. Although his mouth couldn't be seen through the inferno, a piercing shriek shook the walls.

Tracey took another step back to stand closer to the middle of the room. His large hands flexed, and he tensed, prepared to dash forward and snatch the handles of his mentor's wheelchair.

"Professor, are we safe here?" he asked quietly.

Oak nodded. "Of course. The observation rooms were designed to withstand just about any pokémon attack possible."

The core of the fire began to glow bright red, as if the ixodida had turned into nothing but a pillar of flames. At that point, upon recognizing the attack, Oak shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

"Withstanding temperatures in excess of the ones on the surface of the sun, however," he murmured. "Tracey, stay back!"

In the next instant, orange-gold fire burst from the head of the ixodida and slammed into the window. At first, the inferno simply billowed outwards in all directions the instant it hit the barrier, and the window itself hardly moved. Seconds passed, however, and a black circle began to form where the attack struck as the window wobbled and creaked. Slowly, the ixodida leaned into the window to press his attack into the pane until each blast struck with resounding bangs.

Drawing in a breath, Tracey grabbed the back of Oak's wheelchair and began pulling his mentor backwards, through the crowd of retreating scientists. Oak looked up with knitted eyebrows.

"Tracey?" he asked. "What are you doing?"

The watcher shook his head. "Sorry, Professor, but—"

Before he could say another word, a large crack rose from the window. The fire pressed against it a little further, and with a snap, it broke and fell to the floor in large, jagged pieces. A fireball blasted into the room, engulfing both of the interns who had barely managed to miss being sliced in half by the pieces of the window just seconds ago.

The scientists scattered, some racing towards buttons while others darted for the door. Tracey swung around, wheeling Oak as quickly as he could towards the exit while alarms blared overhead. The roar of fire rose as screams and the smell of burning flesh gave Tracey enough of a reason not to look back. His mind blanked, and his vision narrowed to only the path straight ahead; he couldn't even hear Professor Oak's voice protesting the retreat, much less anything else.

Hence, he didn't notice that, as another blast – a burst of fire, the boom of a computer going up in smoke – rocked the observation room, the tank beside the door shook and shattered. He didn't notice, of course, until someone grabbed him. Oak, watching Tracey pull away and fall between scrambling scientists, cried out and grabbed the wheels of his chair, but before he could turn around, the swarm pushed him out of the room.

Tracey, meanwhile, hit the tiled floor in a puddle of water. He looked up just in time to see the face of Professor Nettle stare down at him briefly before she turned away and joined the crowds heading out of the room. In his distraction from the shock of hitting the floor hard, he felt something pinch his hand. Wincing, he tried to look down, but before he could, a flash of red approached and stood over him.

Prometheus's pale face swam in a sea of red and orange, and his eyes were sharp and clear as they fixed themselves on Tracey. For awhile, only a silence descended between them. The room was empty by then, and Tracey realized at that point that no one was going to come back in to save him. His hands pushed him backwards across the floor as the glass cut into his palms. However, he didn't have far to go. His back soon hit the legs of the table on which the tank formerly sat, and he was forced to remain there, staring up at the adult ixodida.

Then, Prometheus snorted and smirked. Without a single word or attack towards Tracey, the adult turned and walked out the door, his orange tail swishing behind him. At the door, he turned to the left and walked calmly down the empty hall and around a corner.

After a few minutes, Oak wheeled himself around a corner at the opposite end of the hall. It hadn't taken much to tear himself away from a panicked scientist, and at least the wheelchair rolled faster than he could run. By the time he reached the wrecked laboratory again, Tracey had managed to struggle to his feet and make his way to the door.

The young watcher leaned against the doorframe, his eyes closed and his right hand wrapped around his left arm. His clothes were still wet from the liquid on the floor of the observational room, and blood trickled down his fingers and dripped onto the tile beside his feet. He winced as sharp pains laced up his arm, and as he tightened his grip around it, he forced his eyes open to look at his mentor. Oak's eyes were automatically drawn to the watcher's left hand, and upon seeing it, his face paled.

"Professor," Tracey rasped, "are you all right?"

Oak struggled to find his breath, but somehow, he managed to inhale and speak. "Tracey… your hand…"

His assistant forced himself to lift his left hand and examine it. The gashes across the palm were still a bright, liquid red, and he was about to explain how that happened when something else caught his eye. On the edge of his left hand, something moved under his skin. His eyes widened as slowly, he turned it over and leaned all his weight on the doorframe. Gradually, he slid down until he sat on the floor, but all the while, he stared helplessly at the red jewel now embedded in the flesh on the back of his left hand.

Little by little, his gaze rose to look into Oak's face, but when he did, he could see the old professor stare back at him silently.

"Professor," Tracey murmured.

After a long pause, Oak exhaled.

"Not again," he whispered.
__________________
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Last edited by JX Valentine; September 30th, 2009 at 11:56 AM.
  #120    
Old August 13th, 2009, 01:57 AM
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Avey
Enter The Slasher House
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Okay, I'll start off this refuse by saying that I corrected the spelling errors I made the last time I posted here (what can you expect? It was ten to four in the morning ;-;), and that I'm sorry for taking so long to review a second time!

Right so. I really liked chapter ten. Bill learning to fly wasn't something I was expecting, but it was fun to read. The killing of the Zigzagoon was written brilliantly, too. I could feel Bill's anger and sadness from killing the wild Pokémon, and it sorta let me get inside his head a bit better. And Veronica's antics at the end were pretty funny, too.

Quote:
"Oh, you little twerp!" the voice shouted. "Smashing my mecha's visual sensor like that!"
The one thing that sorta made me frown was this line. A minute ago, the computer was instructing the robot to practically choke Veronica to death. Now when the visual sensor is broken, it shouts out 'twerp'? I dunno, I just thought there'd be a harder insult there than that. But in fairness, 'twerp' is the trademark Team Rocket insult, so I guess it's acceptable.

The start of chapter eleven was awesome as well, if only because it made me anxious of what was going to happen to Oak. Not so much Tracey because... well... watching him get tortured wouldn't really take away from the story, would it? And was I the only person who mistook the battle between Bill and Whismur to be a chase between Bill and another member of the ixodida family at the start? And I actually laughed out loud at Bill's reaction to being enslaved by Veronica. You're very good at keeping him in character, Jax.

Personally, I found chapter number twelve a bit dull. Not to say I didn't enjoy reading it, or that it didn't have a place in the plot... it just seemed to lose the feeling of constant worry and darkness. Even with the news of the dead Pokémon researchers, there seemed like there was something missing. Could be because the chapter was focused on Veronica more than anyone else though, seeing as she tends to be a no-nonsense sorta person.

That said, if twelve was a bit dull, thirteen was more than enough to make up for it! At the start, I thought Lanette was dead at the start, and when you described her appearance when Bill found her, I thought for a second she'd be infected by the ixodida as well! But I was wrong, happily enough for Bill. It was also good to leave the awkward feeling you can feel when reading the scenes between Bill and Veronica. Bill and Lanette seem to know what each other is gonna say before it's said, you know? And the cliffhanger didn't let me tear my eyes away from the story, too.

Chapter fourteen... awesome stuff. I nearly had a flippin' heart attack when I read that Lanette's grip slipped at the worst time possible. I was so sure she was a goner, but luckily for her she had your genius mind on her side, aye?

Chapter fifteen was great too. Adam finally explaining everything was good. For a while there I thought Bill would never be in the know and by the end, he'd be dead and Adam would move on, but this way worked better! The scene with Veronica and the police was quirky, and I couldn't help smiling reading through it. And lo, behold! You made my wish come through by destroying Tracey's life! A very gripping scene that was, too.

Too long; don't read: Superb storytelling, as usual. Still as enthralling as ever. The characters are all staying in characterer. The plot's awesome; the twists are better.

Great work!
  #121    
Old August 14th, 2009, 01:31 AM
Mizan de la Plume Kuro's Avatar
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I’d have to say that the plot is moving along smoothly as expected. XD
I really like how you opened the chapter with Adam explaining the Ixodida hierarchy to Bill and how Bill’s body is slowly adapting to fit the host.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Adam rested its chin on a palm. "I assume you are not questioning the obvious of why we should not expect to exist in quiet safety, so instead, I will answer other whys. There exist many possible reasons why a rogue chooses to defect, but mine is very simple. The empress that sits on the throne now is corrupt. She oppresses my people and turns them into her personal army to eradicate or enslave your kind. Believe me when I say were are not normally a cruel race. We do only what we must to survive and nothing more."
So you’re going for the sort of anti-hero angle are you. This explains a lot, I was wondering what Adam’s motives were. I’m still not sure but could it be something like a coup d'état of the Ixodida Monarchy/Hive/Whatever it’s called?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
The next few moments were a jumble to Veronica. She remembered being taken at gunpoint past a tent city just beyond the chain link fence to a building just south of it. The place had once been a home, but the family had fled before the quarantine came down. Soon after that, the NDF took it as the center of their Littleroot base, but the possessions that the family owned and abandoned in the rush to leave still decorated the house. In that house, as family pictures on walls stared down at her, Veronica remembered being stripped, being poked, and being examined, and finally, a dark-haired doctor came along to look at the cut across her arm. She didn't know what they did with Rose. Rose was led to another room, and no matter how much Veronica demanded to be placed with the girl, the NDF ignored anything that didn't answer their questions.
I like how you described Littleroot in this scene. It reminds me of E.T. for some reason or ‘28 Weeks Later’.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
"Good. Starting the main questioning." Turning back, the lieutenant frowned. "How did you injure your arm?"

Veronica's eyebrows rose as she glanced towards the doctor. He was busy threading a needle in preparation for the first stitches. Glancing back, she did her best to keep her face neutral.

"I fell," she said without reacting as the needle went through her skin the first time.

"Fell?" the lieutenant asked.

Veronica nodded. "It's really dark out there, you know? I couldn't see a ledge, so I ended up falling onto something sharp. I guess there was some sharp rock under the ledge, but I couldn't really see it."

"What were you doing traveling at night, then?"

"We had to get here as soon as possible. It's Hell out there, sir. You don't know if there's an ixodida lurking around, so you're always on guard. Here, you don't have to worry so much."

There was a long pause after she spoke as the lieutenant stared at her. During that time, the doctor finished her stitches and cut the final thread, and at that, Veronica felt a sense of relief. Yet, on the other hand, it was quickly replaced by discomfort towards the lieutenant's stare – one that was unwavering. Eventually, he finally turned to the doctor, glancing at him with gray eyes.

"Well?" he asked.

The doctor shook his head. "The wound doesn't match."

At once, Veronica's heart nearly stopped as she turned towards the doctor. "What do you mean, 'The wound doesn't match'?"

"You said you fell on a rock," the doctor replied with a shrug. "That would be a puncture wound. This is a cut."
Not many writers portray smart Doctors these days. Ones that can tell puncture wounds and cuts apart. XD. It’s nice to see someone actually giving credit to a doctor’s medical ability once in a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
One word traveled through Veronica's mind at that point: ****.

Shaking her head free from the thought, Veronica narrowed her eyes at the doctor. "Who said I stopped? Sure, I fell on a rock, but then I sort of slid a little more down the slope. It caught my arm. There you go."

Calmly, the doctor grasped her arm and examined the stitches. "What's strange is that the cut is deep and clean. I didn't have to remove any soil or detritus that would indicate the patient fell on the ground. Moreover, the cut was to the muscle, and the edges weren't ripped. It was like she got it from a knife."

****, Veronica thought. ****, ****, ****, ****! I'm supposed to know what this kind of thing looks like! What's wrong with me?!
Lol, swearing would have to be one of the keys (besides violence and mature content) to making any fic an R rated fic. Personally, I believe there’s no such thing as overkill when swearing in literature if done correctly. I still can’t get over ‘One word traveled through Veronica's mind at that point: ****.’

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valentine
Ignoring her, Black thumbed the hammer of his pistol. "It'll get all the help it needs." He glanced over his shoulder to the female officer. "Recall it and bring it to Birch Institute. See what Joshua has to say about it. The rest of you—" He glanced towards the other officers. "—will take these two into custody for further questioning."

Veronica shouted something, but before she could fight, two of the officers darted into the room to grab her. She struggled, trying to push forward to grab Black as he turned to the female officer. The latter lifted Bill's poké ball as the ixodida struggled to stand.

However, before he could make it to his feet, he was engulfed by a red light. Seconds later, he lost sight of the outside world.
I wonder what’s going to happen to Bill now…

Overall, great chapter, can’t wait for more and thanks for ruining Tracey’s life. XD
I’m wondering if there’s a possible showdown anywhere in the fic.
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  #122    
Old August 30th, 2009, 09:08 AM
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Finally got around to replying. Sorry about the wait, guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Jack of Hearts View Post
Okay, I'll start off this refuse by saying that I corrected the spelling errors I made the last time I posted here (what can you expect? It was ten to four in the morning ;-;),
Aww, but the spelling errors make you look cute. ♥

Quote:
and that I'm sorry for taking so long to review a second time!
Totally okay. I'm just happy you actually took the time to review.

Quote:
I could feel Bill's anger and sadness from killing the wild Pokémon, and it sorta let me get inside his head a bit better.
Ah, good. I was hoping he'd come off as in-character and understandable. (One of the many points of this fic is basically to answer all those other fics out there that make him either a flat character or so far off canon it's not even funny. I've probably said that before, but in any case, yeah. It means I'm succeeding in more than one way if I can keep him in character, and a reader replies that they can get how he feels and thinks. So, thanks so much for this comment. Seriously.)

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And Veronica's antics at the end were pretty funny, too.
Thanks. It's always fun to write Veronica's Misato Katsuragi moments. (Oh, the day I can get her anywhere near a bottle of liquor…)

Quote:
The one thing that sorta made me frown was this line. A minute ago, the computer was instructing the robot to practically choke Veronica to death. Now when the visual sensor is broken, it shouts out 'twerp'? I dunno, I just thought there'd be a harder insult there than that. But in fairness, 'twerp' is the trademark Team Rocket insult, so I guess it's acceptable.
Oddly enough, I was going back and forth about exactly that before I finally posted. The original has the Rocket call her "little ****," but like you said, it's Team Rocket. So, it sort of felt out-of-character to have the voice go that far, but on the other hand, "twerp" also makes the line sound a little soft.

Then again, the line also sounds a bit forced to begin with. I'm inclined to take it out altogether, truth be told.

Quote:
The start of chapter eleven was awesome as well, if only because it made me anxious of what was going to happen to Oak. Not so much Tracey because... well... watching him get tortured wouldn't really take away from the story, would it?
I should hope not. It wouldn't be nearly as fun to write this if I couldn't torture every character remotely likable. Oak, meanwhile, gets his share, but luckily, he doesn't get turned into an Ixodida. Why? Because turning characters into Ixodida involves me imagining them naked at one point or another (because they eventually end up without clothes... probably because Ixodida don't believe in clothing or something like that), and unfortunately, Oak is not Patrick Stewart.

Uh… that was probably too much information.

Quote:
And was I the only person who mistook the battle between Bill and Whismur to be a chase between Bill and another member of the ixodida family at the start?
Actually, nope. My beta commented that she thought something big was chasing after Bill too, to which I responded with, "Ooh, then, it works!"

Because few things, in my opinion, are funnier than having a five-foot-something, steel-clad genius get owned repeatedly in the face by a foot-tall pink bunny that attacks by screaming at him.

Quote:
And I actually laughed out loud at Bill's reaction to being enslaved by Veronica. You're very good at keeping him in character, Jax.
Thank you. It comes from years and years of being a fangirl.

Quote:
Personally, I found chapter number twelve a bit dull. Not to say I didn't enjoy reading it, or that it didn't have a place in the plot... it just seemed to lose the feeling of constant worry and darkness. Even with the news of the dead Pokémon researchers, there seemed like there was something missing. Could be because the chapter was focused on Veronica more than anyone else though, seeing as she tends to be a no-nonsense sorta person.
I can definitely see where you're coming from, and it's pretty much exactly what you said it is. It's a filler chapter meant to take focus away from Bill and onto one of his companions. Mostly, it's because I felt like I was slipping into fangirl habits and giving my favorite character most of the spotlight while accidentally leaving the others with less development than they deserve. So, I wrote chapter twelve in an attempt to get into Veronica's head, in part to prepare myself for future scenes where she'd be the focus (like a third of chapter fifteen) and in part so I can work my way towards actually doing something with Rose, who is in bad need of attention.

As a result, though, nothing really happens other than character development for Veronica. I was considering doing something about that, but in hindsight, it's also a chapter that sports a milestone in her growth (namely, that she's started to think of the Ixodida as people in trouble instead of as monsters out to kill everyone in sight and that although she acts tough, deep down, she's really just a motherly figure to the group). So, for now, I'm probably going to leave it as-is unless I come up with something that conveys the same kinds of messages.

But I definitely feel like there's something missing here, too. I think you're right in saying that it feels like it's a bit number than the other chapters, probably because there's no real adrenaline rush here.

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Bill and Lanette seem to know what each other is gonna say before it's said, you know?
Oh yes. They've got a long and interesting history between them which leads up to this kind of relationship. I might bring it up later because it's actually rather sweet.

…And we all know what I do to sweet things.

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I was so sure she was a goner, but luckily for her she had your genius mind on her side, aye?
*bows* I can't possibly kill her off when I've got plenty of plans for her.

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Chapter fifteen was great too. Adam finally explaining everything was good.
Or almost everything, anyway.

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For a while there I thought Bill would never be in the know and by the end, he'd be dead and Adam would move on, but this way worked better!
Thanks.

To tell you the truth, I couldn't possibly kill off Bill. (Permanently, anyway. He's died how many times in the first three chapters?) Two reasons for that. First, it's much more fun to kick a live puppy than a dead one. Second, I can't imagine who would be better for the ending I have planned.

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The scene with Veronica and the police was quirky, and I couldn't help smiling reading through it.
Thanks. It was a lot of fun to write, in part because it was amusing to see Veronica flustered for once.

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And lo, behold! You made my wish come through by destroying Tracey's life!
I like reader requests. *thumbs up* Also, I had to agree something had to be done about Tracey.

I can guarantee that you will be seeing a lot more of Tracey (getting kicked by the universe) in the future.

Quote:
Too long; don't read: Superb storytelling, as usual. Still as enthralling as ever. The characters are all staying in characterer. The plot's awesome; the twists are better.
Thank you very much for the compliments, the crits, and generally taking the time to review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizan Nix Zamnie View Post
I’d have to say that the plot is moving along smoothly as expected. XD
Thanks. I'm glad to hear you think it is.

Quote:
So you’re going for the sort of anti-hero angle are you. This explains a lot, I was wondering what Adam’s motives were. I’m still not sure but could it be something like a coup d'état of the Ixodida Monarchy/Hive/Whatever it’s called?
*whistles innocently*

(Seriously, in a way. And that's all I can really say without giving away the ending of the fic.)

Quote:
I like how you described Littleroot in this scene. It reminds me of E.T. for some reason or ‘28 Weeks Later’.
I mean no offense here, but when I thought of ET and tried to compare it with this fic, I actually had to laugh. Which is actually a good thing because, now, I'm going to reference the crap out of it in the name of comic relief.

As for the comparison to 28 Weeks Later, exceeleent. *tents fingers*

Quote:
Not many writers portray smart Doctors these days. Ones that can tell puncture wounds and cuts apart. XD. It’s nice to see someone actually giving credit to a doctor’s medical ability once in a while.
In fanfiction, I've noticed this, and it's really weird, though, that not many people realize that doctors = intelligent, especially now that House is a pretty big fandom. >_> (And, uh, that, yeah, you kinda need to know your stuff to be any kind of doctor.)

Thanks for the compliment. *thumbs up*

Quote:
Lol, swearing would have to be one of the keys (besides violence and mature content) to making any fic an R rated fic. Personally, I believe there’s no such thing as overkill when swearing in literature if done correctly.
Amen. Some people tend to forget the "correctly" part and make it sound so unnatural and awkward, but if people could just remember to throw in swears wherever someone would naturally swear in a conversation, then it'd be something cool to make the adults a bit more believable. Not everyone is a rapper who cusses every five seconds, guys. [/mini-rant]

Quote:
I wonder what’s going to happen to Bill now…
Putting it simply, eventually, he's going to start wondering where all this bad karma is coming from, but the truth is the Powers That Be (which I guess would be yours truly) refer to him as "our little plaything." It's compensation for the fact that the gods were drunk for awhile and let him get away with defying the laws of physics. *motions to the storage/retrieval system*

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Overall, great chapter, can’t wait for more and thanks for ruining Tracey’s life. XD
Thank you, and you're very welcome. That kid just had it coming.

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I’m wondering if there’s a possible showdown anywhere in the fic.
Most likely, but rest assured that the outcome won't be what you might expect.
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  #123    
Old August 31st, 2009, 06:29 PM
Bay Alexison's Avatar
Bay Alexison
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The beginning with Adam and Bill is awesome. You already mention a bit about the hierarchy system in one of the reviews (I think it’s mine, not sure XD), but good there’s a lot more info about it. Hm, so Adam is one of the strongest monarch but also a rogue? No wonder the other ixodidas called Adam/Bill that. This should get interesting.

Love the part where Veronica is being interrogated and that the doctor is able to figure out what really caused her injury by looking at the wounds very closely. Nice. XD Also, have to say poor Rose, being interrogated and also unable to explain the situation after Bill is out. Can I hug Rose? ;

Something came up, though, and it’s the beginning of that scene:
Quote:
Veronica made a mistake. She should have known it was going to be a mistake as soon as she saw the silhouette of the security booth outside Littleroot Town. Yet, for whatever reason, she didn't think much of it until she approached its square walls. Almost immediately, the lights from the booth flashed on, and in her squints and flinches, Veronica couldn't see the forms of two men stepping out of the booth. If she had, she might have seen the green uniforms of the NDF, but even then, she really didn't need to see to know who they were. After all, before she had a chance to say a word, their voices boomed for them to freeze on order of the military.
You didn’t mention why Veronica was walking around Littleroot Town, unless I missed it from last chapter If so, my bad. ;

The Professor Oak scene is a very suspenseful scene. Don’t know why, but I’m quite surprised Professor Oak is willing to confront Prometheus, despite him in a wheelchair. After that though, you once again did the chaos around the institute very well. Have to say also dang that Tracey also got bit by those little critters like Bill did. You’re cruel, you know.

Well, nothing else to say but great work here and can’t wait for next chapter!
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  #124    
Old August 31st, 2009, 08:30 PM
Shrike Flamestar's Avatar
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Grah, three chapters gone by without me reviewing. I'm sorry! ;_; Since it's been so long since I've read 13 and 14 I won't be able to cover them so well but I'll go back and skim them to remind myself of what happened in each. Before that though, I just want to point out a typo I noticed a while ago when you revised some earlier chapters and that I see is apparently still there:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Revised Chapter 4
Nettled nodded, but she said nothing in response.
While on the subjects of the revisions they were all pretty effective, especially the ones that added new conversations and built up the characters further.

Chapter 13
I won't lie. The first thing I thought of when Lanette smashed Bill with the crowbar was Half-Life. I am now going to mentally compare this story with Half-Life forever. The Ixodida parasites are headcrabs (although they can attach anywhere); the adults vary between headcrab zombies, vortigaunts, and alien grunts; the NDF are the marines who are sent in to contain and clean up the mess; Lilith is, um, Nihilanth? Okay, so that one doesn't really work.

So yeah, the interaction between Lanette and Bill is good and all that but I can't dwell on it since I don't remember many specifics about the chapter due to the whole couple months since I read it thing. I will say though that I totally saw Kadabra rejecting Bill coming and don't know why neither he nor Lanette did. I mean, he looks pretty much nothing like himself.

Chapter 14
New Half-Life reference: Earth Ixodida = Houndeyes. (The dog things that create shock-waves)

So am I the only one who thinks Kirlia is absolutely adorable? I generally don't care for that entire line, but I love the way you described her. I'm just a sucker for cute things. Especially when they're being torn to shreds and devoured by a savage alien monster while still trying to hold onto life.

Did I just suggest something? No, of course not! I would never want you to do something so terrible. :O

Crazy Bill is crazy. :O He could really, um, do some harm in that sort of rage, huh? Could maybe, I dunno, seriously injure some people? If perhaps, say, some people and Pokemon are standing in his way and stopping him perhaps he could, you know, shed some blood? Rip some limbs off? Kick all sorts of ass while leaving behind a trail of blood and gore? All while, perhaps, trying to break free of the NDF in future chapters?

Come on, throw me a bone here. <_<

Oh yeah, this is where Lilith is introduced. I must say that I'm interested in your decision to go with Lilith rather than the more obvious and cliched Eve. Of course, name her Eve and I'd forever think of EVE Online when she's mentioned. Now I'll forever think of Neon Genesis Evangelion, though, which does fit quite a bit more since we already have an Adam. :D This story's like a Half-Life and NGE crossover!

Chapter 15
First, a typo!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chapter 15
Believe me when I say were are not normally a cruel race.
So the opening was interesting, although I had already pretty much worked out everything that was revealed. Having those suspicions confirmed was nice though. I liked how the scene played out with the hands holding him down and everything; it reminds me of something that I unfortunately can't remember right now.

Continuing on, some comments I thought of while reading!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chapter 15
"That would be a puncture wound. This is a cut."
Technically, hitting a rock while falling would result in, at minimal, some sort of blunt trauma from the impact that could result in an abrasion (if it doesn't break the skin and just scrapes it) or a laceration (if it does and actually tears flesh away). If whatever rock you fell on was pointed and stuck into you, I'm not sure it would be a puncture wound. I believe that puncture wounds are generally reserved for smaller wounds with a clean exit and entry, as from stepping on a tack or nail, being stabbed with a thin knife (think rapier) etc. The wound she does have would be considered an incision due to it being a clean cut, so the story still doesn't hold up no matter what terminology you use. <_<

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chapter 15
"Who said I stopped? Sure, I fell on a rock, but then I sort of slid a little more down the slope. It caught my arm. There you go."
And that would likely result in the bone being broken. :D She isn't too good at this whole lying business, is she?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chapter 15
****, Veronica thought. ****, ****, ****, ****!
And I thought I use swears too much in my fics. O_o You could bypass the censor if you want, BTW. It would look a lot better especially when you have four censored words in a row. I do it all the time and I don't believe Astinus or anyone else minds.

So I read this not long after watching an episode of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (I'm a few episodes behind...) and for some reason I ended up mentally replacing all the NDF troops with members of the state military. Notable, that female officer ended up as Riza Hawkeye, without that fumbling with the gun and everything. Hawkeye doesn't fumble because she's awesome.

And yay for Oak again. And an especially big yay for Prometheus! And again I have to question why no one saw the obvious with it breaking the glass. Of course, I'm going to have to assume here that Nettle intended for that to happen since she's all sneaky and evil like that. What really confuses me is why Oak objected to Tracey getting him away from the scene. What, did he think he could talk sense into it? He was attacked and rendered disabled by an Ixodida, you think he'd have a bit more caution. Then again, I guess he's Oak and probably believes in all that "love is power" stuff and such.

So, which type will Tracey be? Fire to match Prometheus and perhaps explain why it and the parasite seemed to react? Will he go insane and die a horrible death by Bill's hands? That'd be nice. >:D

So yeah, I think that's enough. I'll try not to take so long next chapter...
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  #125    
Old September 1st, 2009, 07:59 PM
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JX Valentine
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Okay, guys, I'm going to let you in on a little secret about this latest chapter. Due to the fact that I was leaving for two weeks shortly after and Gizamimi Pichu was having RL issues, I decided to go ahead and post it without it being beta'ed.

Now, I'm not trying to say this excuses the points that were brought up. In fact, I'm definitely going back and fixing the ones you pointed out, Shrike. I'm just saying this should be proof why I advocate heavily getting a beta. XD; (This goes especially for the part about logic. Gizamimi Pichu is in the medical field, so she would've been able to tell me what would've happened with that wound. Lulz, irony.)

That said, the specific responses:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bay View Post
Hm, so Adam is one of the strongest monarch but also a rogue?
Yep. ;D You'd think this means Bill's luck just increased by 9000 because he scored an awesome Ixodida partner, but no. It means he's going to get screwed over so many times it's not even funny.

Quote:
Also, have to say poor Rose, being interrogated and also unable to explain the situation after Bill is out. Can I hug Rose? ^^;
Sure. All the poor girl needs is a hug. Though preferably not by an Ixodida.

I get the feeling one of these days, that girl is just going to snap and go River Tam on everyone.

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You didn’t mention why Veronica was walking around Littleroot Town, unless I missed it from last chapter If so, my bad. ^^;
If I recall correctly, Lanette ordered Kirlia to Teleport to Littleroot just before she slipped out of the group. As a result, they ended up in the forest just north of there, so Veronica decided to head towards civilization because she needed stitches (and Rose needed a place to rest). That and Veronica heard that they were headed to Littleroot and figured this was another one of those "I'm a researcher, so I know every other researcher in this region and can find the ones who can help us" things that Bill pulled off in Fallarbor.

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Don’t know why, but I’m quite surprised Professor Oak is willing to confront Prometheus, despite him in a wheelchair.
Well, it's mostly because I interpret most of the canon researchers to be brave, brave people who would be willing to rush into danger to study a Pokémon and do what they can to help... but on the other hand, they also lack things like a sense of self-preservation (in some cases) or common sense (in others). XD

And if you meant at the window, I'll address that a bit more in response to Shrike's review.

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Have to say also dang that Tracey also got bit by those little critters like Bill did. You’re cruel, you know. :P
*bows*

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Well, nothing else to say but great work here and can’t wait for next chapter!
Thanks, and thanks for the review!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike Flamestar View Post
I'm sorry! ;_;
Aww, it's okay. I'm glad you came, either way.

Quote:
Before that though, I just want to point out a typo I noticed a while ago when you revised some earlier chapters and that I see is apparently still there:
Sorry about that. It's a small one, so I probably just overlooked it by accident. I'll go back and get it when I've got a chance.

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I won't lie. The first thing I thought of when Lanette smashed Bill with the crowbar was Half-Life.
As you should. XD

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I will say though that I totally saw Kadabra rejecting Bill coming and don't know why neither he nor Lanette did. I mean, he looks pretty much nothing like himself.
Lanette I can't explain, I admit (although it probably has something to do with the fact that she was assuming Kadabra would sense Bill psychically… which he didn't, of course), but Bill was more like, "You were my first Pokémon and we've been together for over eleven years and we're close and best friends, right? ;_;" And then Kadabra shot him into a stack of boxes.

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New Half-Life reference: Earth Ixodida = Houndeyes. (The dog things that create shock-waves)
…I should not be comparing this fic to Half Life: Full Life Consequences.

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So am I the only one who thinks Kirlia is absolutely adorable?
Aww, thanks!

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Especially when they're being torn to shreds and devoured by a savage alien monster while still trying to hold onto life. ;)

Did I just suggest something? No, of course not! I would never want you to do something so terrible. :O
XD *adds to the list*

(Lanette would probably be incredibly pissed if she found out Bill – not even the gang, here, because she's known Bill long enough to backhand him if she wanted – let something happen to one of her babies. …Which only encourages me to do something about this.)

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He could really, um, do some harm in that sort of rage, huh? Could maybe, I dunno, seriously injure some people? If perhaps, say, some people and Pokemon are standing in his way and stopping him perhaps he could, you know, shed some blood? Rip some limbs off? Kick all sorts of ass while leaving behind a trail of blood and gore? All while, perhaps, trying to break free of the NDF in future chapters?
I'll take this all as a suggestion and just say "wait and see." ;D

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Now I'll forever think of Neon Genesis Evangelion, though, which does fit quite a bit more since we already have an Adam. :D
XD As you also should. Because this fic also has Misato Katsuragi. And I might be able to coax Bill into quoting Shinji Ikari.

Alas, though. There will be no traumatic incidents where the entire planet turns into a pool of Tang.

Thanks for pointing out the typos in this one as well. I'll get them fixed up, and I promise I'll try not to miss one this time!

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So the opening was interesting, although I had already pretty much worked out everything that was revealed.
At this point, you're getting a cookie for being the first one to admit that. Seriously (although not about the cookie part because I don't really have cookies, but you get the picture).

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Technically, hitting a rock while falling would result in, at minimal, some sort of blunt trauma from the impact that could result in an abrasion (if it doesn't break the skin and just scrapes it) or a laceration (if it does and actually tears flesh away). If whatever rock you fell on was pointed and stuck into you, I'm not sure it would be a puncture wound. I believe that puncture wounds are generally reserved for smaller wounds with a clean exit and entry, as from stepping on a tack or nail, being stabbed with a thin knife (think rapier) etc. The wound she does have would be considered an incision due to it being a clean cut, so the story still doesn't hold up no matter what terminology you use. <_<
Actually, thanks for this. I admit this isn't something I didn't research thoroughly enough, so I figured puncture wound = sharp thing pushing in far enough to break the skin. I'll fix this part up as well when I get a chance, probably with the word "laceration" instead.

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And that would likely result in the bone being broken. :D She isn't too good at this whole lying business, is she?
Nope. XD That's what happens when you make your living out of upholding truth and honor. Or if you're just really bad at making crap up as you go along because you put most of your metaphorical stat points in strength instead of charisma.

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You could bypass the censor if you want, BTW. It would look a lot better especially when you have four censored words in a row. I do it all the time and I don't believe Astinus or anyone else minds.
I'll think about it, but for reference, how do you bypass the censor without inserting characters randomly in the middle of the word or screwing with the font tags? Honest question because those're the only two ways I've seen it done, and I'm not sure how that would look.

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So I read this not long after watching an episode of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (I'm a few episodes behind...) and for some reason I ended up mentally replacing all the NDF troops with members of the state military.
And this is a comparison I didn't think would come up. XD

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And again I have to question why no one saw the obvious with it breaking the glass. Of course, I'm going to have to assume here that Nettle intended for that to happen since she's all sneaky and evil like that.
Yep to Nettle. For the others, Oak sort of explained it when he said the window (which was supposed to be isinglas, if I recall my notes for the stuff I did research correctly) was supposed to hold up. The problem was in the fact that the constant impact combined with temperatures that rose to pretty obscene levels = lulz, what window?

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Then again, I guess he's Oak and probably believes in all that "love is power" stuff and such.
Pretty much. XD Oak figures that he nearly got through to Bill, so he might be able to repeat it with Prometheus. Of course, he's not taking into consideration that they're two different cases.

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So, which type will Tracey be?
If you think about it, it's probably going to be obvious. That's all I have to say. ;D

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Will he go insane and die a horrible death by Bill's hands? That'd be nice. >:D
Man, now what I really had planned feels like a cop-out. XD;

Thanks for the review as well!
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Need some light reading?
Anima Ex Machina (Chapter 20 now available)
The Leaf Green Incident (SWC 2012 winner)
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