I’ve been working on this recently. Looking for feedback, because there are several parts I am not too fond of right now. I intend to make this into a visual novel style game, and any parts you see in italics will not be seen by the player, they are merely notes to myself for when I move onto other steps, so don’t bother discussing those. This is meant to be chapter one, with a quite a bit of (not yet written) prologue leading up to it. I am segmenting it across a few posts.
It is also worth noting this is my first major attempt at writing, so I don’t know much.
If the formatting is messed up originally, (which it probably will be), wait patiently while I fix it up.
Sleek white and glass buildings rise tall into the sky. You are rather high up yourself, with only the upper portions of these lofty buildings visible. They have quare glass ridges going up and down the sides, which are evidently elevators located on the exterior. They seem pristine, and simply too clean to be of this world. White monorails of a similar style connects these buildings, and manages to be composed of almost entirely straight lines. Something is off though. The entire scene lacks any “human touch”. They are completely lifeless. There are no people visible on the trains or in the buildings, but the distance is too great to tell for sure. There is not a single bird in the sky. The idea is that people will feel that something is slightly wrong with this picture, but are unable to put a finger on what. Our perspective is fixated solely on this scene for a few seconds. Then, to the left, we hear a “ding”, and the familiar sound of elevator doors opening. A familiar female PA voice comes from the elevator.
“Welcome to floor 100.”
“Please stand back while passengers exit the elevator.”
You do not shift your gaze in the slightest. One set of footsteps leave the elevator and fades into the background.
“You may now board the elevator”
You do as she says, moving quickly, and never glancing to your side, giving you the same view of the city. You are the sole passenger. The elevator is on the exterior of the building. Following the similar sleek white design, has roughly twice the volume of your average elevator today. All but the inside wall are glass, with the corners rounded, tight but smooth.
Silence for a few seconds.
“Descending to floor one”
The elevator doors swoosh close behind you. Your first thought crosses your mind.
I hate elevators
Downward movement begins.
Well, that isn’t entirely true. I hate going down in elevators. I don’t know why. I simply always have. And it only gets worse every time. I always get this sinking feeling.
The text disappears. A dark crossbar enters from the bottom of the screen, moving its way up. As the bar progresses, the background image under it is refreshed to reflect your lowered hight. Use some point of reference in the picture and remember exactly how many pixels lower it is, to ensure equal increments. Text is refreshed after the bar passes fully through. (Each bar at about 10 stories)
Dad didn’t say why he wants me down there. I am glad he wants to see me, but I wish he’d tell me why.
Again, the dark bar makes its way up, moving faster than last time. The time between the appearance of each new bar decreases, the elevator clearly accelerating.
I never seem to see him anymore. Maybe he realized that?
Again, sooner, faster.
Nah, he is far too absorbed in work to notice.
The elevator is now moving at a constant speed, no longer accelerating. The speed at this point is rather fast. For the average person, maybe worryingly so. You can tell that the sun is about to go behind a building, blocking it from view as we begin to see what is below.
And he’s never been good with that sort of stuff.
As we get closer to the ground, it becomes increasingly apparent that the city isn’t all sleek white. The base of all the buildings are solid blocks of concrete, 10 stories high. The base of these are covered in dirt and graffiti. There are several dirty brick buildings, all 10 stories or less. Connecting the lowest floors of the building are larger, more utilitarian monorails, for the transport of industrial goods.
At least he got me out of school for the day.
Any excuse to get me out of biology is welcome.
I don’t seem to enjoy biology nearly as much as he does. I try to like it. I really do.
But I don’t find it interesting in the least. I have no idea what he sees in it,
what makes it so important to him. He puts so much time into it.
And I know he is not forcing me into biomedical stuff.
I’m sure he’d let me do what I wanted. Its just that—
A sudden jolt as the elevator suddenly stops. The lights flicker off.
Before you can even finish the thought, the elevator starts up again.
That usually doesn’t happen.
What was that? A power surge or something? Is there some sort of power maintenance going on today?
There’s another thing to hate about elevators. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in one.
There is a “ding” as the elevator slows to a complete halt. The doors slide open.
“Welcome to floor one. Please stand back while passengers exit the elevator.”
You turn around and do as she says. The room that faces you is some sort of lobby. The walls, unlike others you have seen to this point, are solid light grey, along with the floors There are same chairs around a coffee table. Steel/black/glass materials. Beyond those is a reception desk, but there is nobody there. The phone on the secretaries desk is ringing.
“You may now board the elevator”
The elevator doors stay open for a few seconds, before sliding closed.
This is the first time I have ever seen the front desk empty. The unattended phone is giving me a bad feeling. Maybe I should answer it. It could be important.
1) Answer it
2) That isn’t really my job.
This part I am particularly unhappy with. Not sure how to make the action less sudden. I added in that entire elevator stop scene to make it less sudden, but I feel like I might need to entirely rework this.
You answer the phone.
A familiar voice asks
“Who is this?”
It is Dad. But there is something strange about his voice. It is panicked and fast. This is the first time I have heard Dad be anything but calm. I can hear banging in the background.
“Dad! Is something wrong?”
But as I say that, I hear a muffled.
“Open this door now!”
“There isn’t time to explain. You have to get to room number 132 now. Password is 1-4-8-0. Read the notes there, and take everything with you. Use the vents to distribute. They are operating out of the loading bay”
The banging noises are getting louder and louder. Still, you hear shouts of “Open the goddamn door!”
“Who is? What the hell is going on? Are you alright?”
“They’re rebel terrorists. Everyone else is being held hostage already. I am fine for the time being.”
The banging is still in crescendo. It doesn’t sound like the door can hold much longer.
“What am I supposed to do? Can’t you call for help?”
“Outside lines are cut. Just do what I said. You must-”
A loud crash as the door gives way. “Put down the phone now!”, and “Get on the ground” is heard on the other end, followed by silence.
This is bad. This is really bad. I have to
1) Get help
2) Get to room #132
I think I need to work on writing action a bit
I have do get to room #132, like he said. And I better do it quickly. Going toward my left I sprint toward the main hallway, and go down it as quickly as my legs can take me. I have to get there now. Suddenly, my eye catches something– movement, at the far end of the hallway. Somebody is turning the corner, clad entirely in black– the color of the resistance.
The hallway is rather long, with two branches going through, evenly spread out. Footsteps can be heard ahead. In the first branch, you can barely see on either side: 100-125 left
I have to run faster. I’m almost at the turn. They’ll definitely notice me. I’m almost there. I won’t make it. Just another step…
I sprint around the corner, going so fast that I brush up against the wall and push off of it with my arm. Did I actually manage to remain-
Fuck, they saw me after all. I’m screwed. I need to get into the room. They’ll catch me If I don’t get into the room.
I am not sure why, but I almost listen to that order. No matter. With every step, the voice grows closer. I don’t have much time Continuing down the hallway, I reach the door.
“Get back here!”
They’ll be here any moment now. I need to enter the code as fast as possible without fucking up. Pounding on the keypad, I enter 1-4-8-0 as quickly as I can. A flash from a green light accompanies the distinct click of the lock. I rip open the door and look down the hallway in one swift motion, and just as swiftly close it behind me. I saw nobody. They did not see which room I went in. For now, I am safe.
“Haa – haa, haa.”
That sprint took all of the air out of me. I don’t think I have ever ran so fast in my life. My throat feels unnaturally cold and dry, begging for water.
The room is a small office. There is a vial of something, a canister, and a syringe with some notes scattered around them. Behind the desk is a large window. Behind the glass is a man, but he doesn’t appear to see you. Must be a one way mirror. He appears to be a test subject.
But I cannot let that hold me back. The notes, where are the note- Ah, yes. Right on the desk. Let’s see what is so important about these.
The Control Nanomachines
The tests are going wonderfully. The subject is completely submissive to any commands given to it by the carrier of the Controller nanomachines. Even things any normal person would not do, such as crushing mice to death in their hands, is accomplished quickly. Some psychological trauma is suffered afterwords. The machines also appear to increase the abilities of the subject to accomplish things they wouldn’t normally be able to. Only about half of the subjects could climb up a rope to the 20 m. mark while not under the machines influence, whereas almost all of them could make it there while influenced by the machines. The only exception, a rather obese man, got up a couple meters before passing out from the pain. He had pulled several muscles and dislocated his shoulder.
After running a few experiments, some of the subjects were driven insane by the lack of control over their own actions, especially when forced to do things they wouldn’t normally want to do. Among them, a few have gouged out their own ears so they can no longer receive commands. We are looking into alternate ways to give commands.
When the controller gives commands it is necessary for them to identify a group. Whoever is intended receives this command must know that they are part of the group. Telling a subject “You are number ten” will make them comply to all commands addressed to number 10. Likewise, getting subjects into a group and saying “You all are group alpha” will make them respond to all commands addressed to group alpha. All natural identifiers work fine, as long as the subject knows they are part of that group. “All the short people” or “All the white people” will work on their respected groups. Giving a blanket command to everyone works just fine.
I think I have read enough. I have the basic idea, and I can read the rest later. I had no idea dad was running experiments like this. It seems… rather unethical. The thought of anyone having that sort of power— especially someone like IX corp.— is frightening to say the least. And he expects me to use this?
No, I have to use it. This is the only way.
How am I supposed to use it though? He said something about vents, but the soldier is still in the hallway. There has to be another way to get between rooms.
View shifts around room, eventually settling on a vent, low on the right wall. Alternately, turn this part into an escape style game.
That is the only way I can see. Grabbing the vial, container, syringe, and notes off the desk any putting them in my pockets, I remove the vent and manage to (barely) squeeze through it.
You enter some sort of utility room. The back of the room is an array of AC tubing. All are crudely labeled. There are shelves with various tools and materials on them.
All the air conditioning and heating vents for this floor go through this room. I guess this is what dad meant by vents. This certainly is convenient. Now which one is for the loading bay…
LO, H1, H2, H3, L1, L2, SEC, LB…
LB is probably it. At least I hope it is. Looking at the duct, there isn’t any easy way to add in the nanomachines. I search the nearby shelves, hoping to find some things that will be of use. I spot a box cutter and take it. With a little more searching, I manage to find some duct tape.
I am able to easily cut a hole into the aluminum duct, first cutting up, the right, then down. To create an ample opening. Thinking that tho box cutter might be useful later, I pocket it. I might as well keep the tape too, because duct tape solves everything. I put it in with the boxcutter. My pocket bulges uncomfortably.
I carefully open the container which holds the control nanomachines, toss it down, and fold the section of aluminum back up to cover the hole. Finally, I seal it with the tape. That should distribute them throughout the loading bay. This is probably the time that I should inject the controller nanomachines into myself. There is a slight problem though…
I am not the biggest fan of needles. I might go as far to say that I have a fear of needles. But it is going to be alright, %%. Pull yourself together. I need to remember, there are lives at stake here. It is an irrational fear. No need to worry. I am simply injecting myself with what is probably well tested nanomachines. Don’t I trust my own father’s research? He wouldn’t have told me to use it if it weren’t entirely safe. Remaining calm, I open the vail and stick in the syringe, then slowly draw up the plumber. When it finishes filling with liquid, I push it down a little to ensure there are no air bubbles.
“Why couldn’t they make these airborn the control nanomachines? Or even ingestible?”
It doesn’t matter. I can do this. I cautiously draw the needle closer to my arm, until it is resting over a vein.
“This is bullshit. The old man’s going to owe me for this”
I draw in a deep breath, and tightly close my eyes. I force the needle into my arm and push the plumber down in one swift motion. Maybe I was a little too swift. I whimper a bit from the thought of the injection, and the sensation of the slightly cool liquid entering my arm. I manage to get it all in, before quickly removing the needle and quickly and frantically toss the syringe aside. I did it. Now I can save them. All I need to do is say the word, and everyone will be alright. But they have to hear it. I need to either get into the loading bay or access the PA system to do that. There are no other floor vents in this room, but…
Looking up, I can clearly see a ceiling duct. It isn’t connected to any of the AC vents. Instead, it is connected to a large machine labeled “ventilation”. Unlike standard ceiling ducts (which, contrary to what Hollywood would like you to believe, are far too small to actually maneuver through) these ventilation ducts are made larger in order to safely carry out any noxious fumes that might result from experiments in the labs. I can easily climb up the shelves and get in, and climb through them to get to a different room. Unfortunately, it probably won’t go over the security room or the loading bay, as it is meant only for the labs. Still, it is better than risking the hallway.
I climb up the shelves, remove the vent, and go in.
The first thing that I notice is that it’s rather dark. A couple of yards down the I can see the dim light from a vent, but I cannot tell if there is anything beyond that. I try to make my way toward the light with as little noise as possible.
When I make it to the vent and look down, I can tell that it is one of the chemistry labs. I do not see or hear anybody down there, and I have no where else to go, so I lift up by fist and…
it bounces off harmlessly with a loud metallic “bang”.
“Dammit, that hurt”
I am not the badass action hero I think I am. Noticing that the correct way to remove the vent is to lift it, I manage to slip my fingers under it and lift it out. Sticking my head down, I see that the noise fortunately didn’t attract any unwanted attention. I drop out of the duct, onto the table below.
It is easy to tell that the room was abandoned in a hurry. There is a solitary broken beaker on one of the tables. This room is larger than any of the others you have come across so far. The wall in front of you is covered in cabinets and various machines. There is a row of black tables down the room. To both your left and right are plain walls with a door. Don’t spend too much time drawing this, you won’t be here long.
Alright, I can finally get into another hallway. I open the door that was on my left just a crack, and peek through. At the end of the hall, there is a steel door clearly labeled security. It is open a crack. I don’t see anybody between me and the door, and that is good enough for me. I make a break for it.
As I sprint out the door, I sneak a glance behind me. I see no one. Good, that will make this much easier. Hold on. Shouldn’t the rebels have a guy inside watching over things? There have been no signs that I have been caught on camera. But I haven’t been avoiding cameras at all. Fuck, I should have been doing that. Something isn’t right about this.
Is it a trap?
But by the time I had finally put two and two together, I was already through the doorway.
And then I stop dead in my tracks. There is no trap. But it isn’t because the notion of there being a trap was a bad one. By all means, there should have been one. But, instead, there is two dead bodies. One of them is facing toward the door with its throat cut. The other still has the knife in his chest. I gag a bit reflexively. Although the dead bodies are not those of security guards, but those of the resistance soldiers, I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for them.
I do my best not to look at them, instead turning my eyes to the array of flat panel TVs on the wall, which show footage from the security cameras. From a quick glance, I can already tell that the hostages are being kept in two different conference rooms, one much more crowded that the other. The one with fewer people looks like it is where the high-profile hostages are being kept. I see dad among them. He is being questioned by a resistance soldier, but he looks alright, given the circumstances. As far as I can tell, nobody is injured. The monitor showing footage of the loading bay seems to prove that what my father said was right. An important looking figure is walking around with two armed guards, checking with various groups that are searching the shipping containers. There is a row of containers stretching the full length of the room, two containers high, and two wide The train is in the bay, with its own set of containers. There must be 100 in all. It would be impossible for the rebels to search them all, but they only seem to be checking the white containers.
I turn my attention to the PA system. Next to the microphone, there is only one button. As soon as I see that button, I realize the faultiness of my plan. I cannot send a message to just one room. Whatever I say will be transmitted to the entire floor. I cannot simply give a command, that would be too obvious to those not under the influence of nanomachines. Perhaps I can try to conceal the purpose of the message, so others won’t notice. How am I supposed to go about doing that?
I guess I’ll have to go down to the loading bay after all. I need to plan things further ahead. Well, at least coming here wasn’t a complete loss. I was able to see that everyone is safe. At least, for the time being.
“Delta, how are things going up there?”
The voice comes from right next to me, catching me off guard. I quickly realize it is from one of the rebel’s radios. That’s it, the radio! My ass is saved once again. I am a bit ashamed I did not thought of it earlier. Looking at he cameras, I see the important looking person talking into his radio.
“Delta, Status report”
Man, am I lucky. I pick up the radio, and reply:
“We need to evacuate immediately. Security forces are on their way to your location.”
“Hey, you aren’t delta! And nobody else reported enemy movements!”
Shit, it didn’t work. I’m screwed now. It must not work over radios. Or it didn’t distribute properly. Either way, I’m fucked. They know where I am. They’ll come after me now. What am I going to—
“Everybody, we must escape now! Security forces are on their way! I repeat, evacuate immediately!”
Once again, an overwhelming sense of relief washed over me. There was only a delay. I guess I am alright now—
I wrote the latter half of this while half asleep
“Turn around slowly.”
As I turn around, I notice that the dead rebel beside me was armed. If I reach for the gun, he’d certainly kill me though. Completing my turn, I verify my suspicion: this man is pointing a pistol toward me. Strangely, he is not dressed as one of the rebels. But he certainly isn’t part of the security team either. Who is this man?
“That was a neat little trick you did there. Mind telling me how you did it?”
I can’t tell anyone about this. This is too much power for one man to have.
“Oh, don’t worry, I already know. Nanomachines, right? That is what I was sent here for. I’ll cut you a deal. You give me the nanomachines, and I let you live”
I don’t know how long he’s been standing there, but he probably saw me give the order. There is no use trying to deny it.
“I used them all.”
“Well, that’s too bad. I’ll just have to take them from your blood.”
I glance back at the dead rebel, his gun just a little to far away. There is a chance the first shot won’t kill me. If the other option is certain death, I might as well—
For a moment, I thought he noticed what I was thinking. But this is a different voice. An oddly familiar voice. Far behind the man in the doorway, a third figure now stands. He jerks his hear around.
“What the hell…”
I take the opportunity and grab the submachine gun. Noticing my movement, the mysterious man drops his pistol, and appears to put his hands up in surrender.
“Well done! I know you two aren’t working together, but that was well coordinated. But I always have a backup plan”.
He slowly lowers his arms, and lets his white jacket fall off. Underneath the jacket is a vest made of C4. There is enough explosives there tot take out all three of us, and then some. As the gravity of the situation sinks in, he speaks.
“We appear to have reached a bit of an impasse. As I am sure you can see, If either of you shoot, it will detonate the C4, and all three of us die. So, why don’t you two let me walk off quietly, while I leave you alone to settle your own little problems. Do we have a deal?”
As much as I hate to let him go, we don’t have much of a —
A sudden burst of rounds erupts from the rebels gun, as I reflexively hit the ground. But there is no explosion.*
When I look up, I see the mysterious man lying unmoving in an expanding puddle of blood. I can also see the resistance soldier start to walk away. Should I
1) Call out after them
2) Let them go.
*I will be testing a new way to show quick thoughts like these, but it doesn’t translate well onto paper
So, i think it is entirely mediocre, so I really need your suggestions and tips.
I have no experience at all writing present tense so I can’t help you with creating action or anything, but I can point out some typos and stuff.
Before that, my thoughts.
I rather enjoyed the story and I couldn’t see much wrong with the core of the writing, a few missteps here and there but nothing major. I always find it fascinating to read present tense work as I’m fairly bad at it myself. And I hate you eternally for the injection part, it really made me flinch.
Some tips/suggestions I’d give you. Vary your vocabulary, on a few occasions I noticed the same word being used to describe similar things. I believe you used “crack” a couple of times to describe the state of some doors, just try whenever possible to use different adjectives. I think the overall description is apt for a visual style game or whatever you’re going for but some parts could definitely be improved.
Please keep posting your progress as I look forward to reading the rest. Below are some nitpicks I found. :)
I have do get to
In the first branch, you can barely see on either side: 100-125 left
I’m not entirely sure what you mean here. I assume the numbers are the rooms but the wording of this is awfully confusing.
There is a vial of something…Behind the desk is a large window…Behind the glass…
I’d suggest adding some more detail here, I can only assume that the items mentioned are on the desk pointed out after they are listed. Point out the desk first of all, and be sure to mention the glass as well as that. It may just be me, but if you refer to something as “the” then you have prior knowledge of it being there, otherwise you refer to it as “a”.
gouged out their own ears
Nothing wrong here, I was just wondering if that was even possible. XD
Whoever is intended receives this command
>Whoever is intended to receive this command…
>Whoever is intended, receives this command and must know…
the right, then down.
>to the right
then down. To create an ample opening.
Make this one sentence, perhaps “in order to create…” or “which creates…”.
that tho box
going to be alright, %%.
What do you mean here? I couldn’t figure it out and it’s annoying me. XD
make these airborn the control nanomachines?
Consider re-ordering the wording.
A couple of yards down the I can
I lift up by fist
And then I stop dead in my tracks.
Perhaps remove the “and then” to make it more sudden.
there is two
I did not thought of it earlier.
>did not think…
>had not thought…
at he cameras,
I see the important looking
Again, I’m not sure if this is just me but to say “the” implies we have met him before. I myself would use “an” but I may just be picking a bit too much.
As I turn around, I notice that the dead rebel beside me was armed.
his hear around.
Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it. I had given it a cursory once over before posting, but my proofreading skill is terrible. I’ll need to be more careful with that.
The repetitive use of vocabulary is often a problem for me, I already had caught myself a few times while I was writing it. Sometimes I am a bit intimidated by descriptions, as those are the hardest, but I see them beautifully done so often. I had started writing this after reading The Great Gatsby, intimidating me even more.
And I agree that I was abusing interjections. I have an idea that will eliminate many of them though, if it works out well.
I have my next update ready. It’s a less than I was hoping have finished, because I am having a bit of a hard time with the next part, and am not really in the mood for writing.
They pause for a second, but only a second, before continuing on down the hallway.
“Hey! I just want to talk!”
They are nearing the end of the corridor. I hastily lift myself off the ground and start stumbling out of the room. I’ll never catch up though, they are already nearly at the point where the hallways intersect, and I don’t think I can get them to stop. I have time for only one more phrase, so I shout out
The uniformed soldier stops for a second, and turns their head to face me. I too stop, but before I know it they have turned the corner and disappears from my vision, leaving me alone with three dead bodies.
I decide to look quickly at the body of the man in white, who now lays at my feet. I get on my knees and examine the corpse. The C4 on the vest has clear bullet holes through it, but never detonated. Plastic explosives must not be detonatable through gunshot. I count 5 bullet wounds, one of which is straight through the heart. Another had hit him in the very center of his neck. He must have been dead before he hit the ground. Blood slowly spills from the fresh wounds into an ever expanding pool on the floor. Overcoming my initial aversion, I go to search through his pockets, but I find that he has none, and appears to be lacking any form of identification. I pick up his once pure white jacket, now stained with deep red. It also has no pockets. Inspecting the jacket closely, I manage to find is a small microphone hidden on the jacket collar. He wasn’t working alone. Shifting my attention back to the body, I check both of his ears, but see no receiver of any kind.
I take a final, frustrated look at the body to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I still have no idea who this guy is, or if there are any more people like him here. Finding nothing, I get up and walk back toward the video feeds.
All the rebels are gone. I don’t know how they left, but I suppose that doesn’t matter much. The (former) hostages appear to be fine, and are beginning to wander the halls. Some appear to be hard at work attempting to reconnect the outside lines. Another group is beginning to make their way toward the elevators. I don’t see dad anywhere though. Where could he be?
“What happened here?”