Mar 20 2010

Brontes’ Review Forum

Published by at 9:30 am under Review Forums

Please see the comments below.

41 responses so far

41 Responses to “Brontes’ Review Forum”

  1. Bronteson 23 Jun 2010 at 2:01 pm

    -I have no title for this yet. Suggestions are appreciated!-

    Premise:

    Damien Hall is an old man and a complete moster. He has an academy for hitmen, spicifically for superpowered humans. Before the story begins, Damien rapes the child of Earth’s greatest hero, who in turn sets Damien up (this is where the first issue begins). Damien falls in the trap, and by law of the academy, his apprentice must kill the master (or viceversa) if a person misses a hit (which is what happens). The hero does this as not to tarnish his public image. Still, there is hope which takes form in the Palace of Exile. If Damien is able to get there alive, he’s free; but, will he?

  2. Roon 23 Jun 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Sounds pretty interesting. Does Damien have abilities and what kind of character is he?

  3. Bronteson 23 Jun 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Damien is a marksman. He does not have abilities because of his age. A younger generation started developing powers after an accident caused mutations. So because he was born before the accident he doesn’t. He is highly trained and in good condition in spite of his age (around 60). He was trained as an anti-supervillain operatives. This is due to the fact that the first powered individuals became villains. After heroes began to surface and became legalized as part of the goverment, the group became disbanded, and thus his institution is born.

  4. B. Macon 24 Jun 2010 at 7:08 am

    I think it’s an interesting premise. However, Damien appears to be the main character, and I don’t know if readers will actually want him to succeed.

    “Before the story begins, Damien rapes the child of Earth’s greatest hero, who in turn sets Damien up (this is where the first issue begins)”. Two things. First, I think it would help if he were a bit more likable than a rapist. Could I suggest doing something more morally ambiguous, like a killing or attempted killing? I think that would fit a master hitman a bit better. (Plus, depending on the circumstances, you might be able to make readers root for a cold-hearted killer, but I think a rapist is hard to root for under any circumstances).

    Second, I think it might help the pacing of the story if the event that incites the grudge between Damien and the superhero is presented as frontstory (in the “present” of the story) rather than as backstory (what happens before the story starts). Does that make sense?



    If this is a serious story, and the hitman-as-main-character and rape lead me to think it is, I think it might help to come up with a name more sober than “Palace of Exile.” (Unless there’s an in-story reason for such a name?)



    All in all, this looks promising so far. Good job.

  5. Bronteson 24 Jun 2010 at 8:51 am

    I never wanted to portray Damien as a likable character, but I think you are right. I think murder is strong enough. I never intended for Damien to survive thats for sure. The motivations for the killing may as well be that the hero’s child was going to be one of the most powerful heroes and the fact that the hero was the reason the group was disbanded. Oh, and powers in my story are hereditary. Powers passed down will vary a little but maintain consistent through the generations, so a pyromancer’s genetic line will never produce a electric manipulator unless for the genetic input of a mother or father outside of the line, in which case the power could go either way.

  6. Bronteson 24 Jun 2010 at 9:50 am

    I was thinking of showing what hapened through a news paper headline, which may read something like: “Earth’s greatest hero mourns dead son.” or something. This could be the in the first panels, not revealing the identity of the reader yet.

  7. Bronteson 25 Jun 2010 at 9:16 am

    I just noticed that what I said above may be a case of YouFailBiologyForever so yeah. Children of powered individuals get a random power, but the powers get stronger with each generation as a evolutionary response to the stronger villains. Paradoxical evolution I guess…

  8. B. Macon 25 Jun 2010 at 9:58 am

    “Powers passed down will vary a little but maintain consistent through the generations, so a pyromancer’s genetic line will never produce a electric manipulator unless for the genetic input of a mother or father outside of the line, in which case the power could go either way.”

    “I just noticed that what I said above may be a case of YouFailBiologyForever.”

    I think it would be believable if powers were hereditary, either completely or mostly. (For example, dimples are completely hereditary in real life, and athletic potential is affected by your genes but not completely*). If we’re talking about something complex, like a combination of genes, you might even have a few flukish cases where the parents have powers and the kid doesn’t or vice versa. Genetics is a sufficiently complicated field that you can convince people of pretty much anything you’re inclined to. 😉

    *Even if you have great genes and you practice ridiculously hard, that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have tremendous success as an athlete. For example, Michael Jordan’s son was pretty mediocre in college basketball. Joe Montana’s son was a walk-on quarterback at Notre Dame in 2008 and he still hasn’t thrown a pass in a game.

  9. Bronteson 25 Jun 2010 at 10:20 am

    You’re right. Thanks. I’ll be posting the first pages shortly.

  10. Bronteson 28 Jun 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Page 1:

    1. A big newspaper takes the whole panel. Two robust hands hold the paper by the sides. The headline on the first page reads: EARTH’S GREATEST HERO MOURNS OVER LOSS OF SON.

    2. Same image as above but in the cross-hairs of a scope of a sniper rifle.

    3. (Side P.O.V) Damien Hall is seen. He is an old man wearing glasses. He is looking through the scope of a rifle. He is lying flat on the floor. He is bald except for a few wisps of white, thin hair stuck on his sweaty face.

    4. Close-up on Damien’s bony finger squeezing the trigger.

    5. Bullet seen from the side, whizzing through the air leaving a streak behind.

    6. (Side P.O.V) a man is reading a newspaper. The bullet is tore a hole in the paper, it is between the paper and the man.

    7. The man goes limp; the newspaper has fallen on his lap. His arms are on the sides, lifeless. His head is tilted backwards hanging over the edge of the bench.

    Page 2:

    1. (Aerial P.O.V) we see a gray rooftop, and Damien still lying down looking through the scope.

    2. Damien goes up on all fours; rifle sideways on his left hand and heaves upwards with a GROAN.

    3. (Profile) close-up on Damien’s face.

    Cap.: (Top-left) too soon. Double check
    Damien: You said something?

    4. Damien looks over his shoulder, a vague feminine figure can be made against the clouded sky; it’s Obituary.

    Obituary: I said that it’s too soon; you should double check. Always.

    Page 3:

    1. We see Damien from behind; rifle still in hand. He is walking towards Obituary. She is wearing a pair of black jeans and a black long-sleeved shirt. Her hair is long and blonde. She is very pale.

    Damien: Have you been here all this time?
    Obituary: Of course.

    2. Damien reaches the edge, going down on one knee and looks through the scope.

    3. In the cross-hairs of the scope we see the same bench. It’s empty.

    4. Same as second panel, only the rifle is tilted a little bit downwards.

    Damien: What the Hell? I saw him go limp!

    5. We’re looking through the cross-hairs again. The man who got shot is walking hurriedly, amongst a throng of people.

    6. (Both on profile) Damien puts the rifle down. Obituary is to his right, in the same position.

    Damien: I didn’t miss the shot!

    Obituary: But you failed to make the kill. Gatling’s coming for you now. It’s your rule after all. Better start running.

  11. B. Macon 28 Jun 2010 at 5:47 pm

    –“EARTH’S GREATEST HERO MOURNS OVER LOSS OF SON.” I think this is too directly expository. In particular, I think you can show us that he’s regarded as a legendary hero rather than tell us outright that he’s Earth’s greatest. It might be smoother to suggest his high status by referring to some particularly notable accomplishment or a nickname or honorific commonly applied to him. (For example, in basketball, I think you could imply that LeBron James or Ervin Johnson are REALLY good by using their nicknames, Magic Johnson and King James).

    –“Mourns over loss of son” is sort of passive. I think a sentence construction like “SON OF [PHRASE DESCRIBING HERO] BRUTALLY MURDERED” is a bit punchier, sets the tone, and helps us understand the backstory better. You can show us that this is really hard for the father with the picture on the newspaper rather than tell us that he’s mourning.

    –I really like panels 3-7 on page 1. When you work it out with your artist, I’m not sure you’ll have enough space to fit all 7 panels comfortably, though.

    –I’m not sure what’s happening in page 2, panel 3. Is “Too soon, double check” internal monologue from Damien? Internal monologue from Obituary? Something Obit says to Damien?

    “Damien: Have you been here all this time?
    Obituary: Of course.” I think this response by Obit could be more stylish. What’s her personality like? Would a rhetorical snapback like “What do you think?” fit her?

    –If Damien is supposed to be a master assassin, establishing him in this way might be contradictory. Right now, it seems like he makes an amateurish mistake (not checking that the superpowered guy is actually dead?) And he doesn’t notice Obituary just waiting there? (I think it’d be a bit more badass if he notices her but goes about his business all the same. It’d make him seem more focused, for one thing).

    –There’s no sound-effect for him pulling the trigger. Is his rifle supposed to be silent? (Usually, sniper rifles are depicted as ****ing loud, but since this guy is a super-assassin he might have a freakishly silent gun).

    –I think you could introduce the “if you don’t get the kill, your comrades will turn on you” element more artfully. Also, how does Gatling know so quickly that Damien failed to make the kill?

    –These pages are pretty good! I think it’s generally a pretty interesting introduction to the story.

  12. Bronteson 29 Jun 2010 at 7:09 am

    Thanks as always. Just wanted to establish the fact that Obituary is in his head, she is the reason why he makes the mistake but she’s supposed to keep him alive long enough for the end. She’s a non-existant double crosser. Also, Gatling would know because all of the missions are being monitored for this exact reason. If they fail, they’re gonna go after them. But as I said, thanks for the flawless advise.

  13. Bronteson 29 Jun 2010 at 7:30 am

    Page 1:
    1. A big newspaper takes the whole panel. Two robust hands hold the paper by the sides. The headline on the first page reads: SON OF FIRST HERO HAS BEEN BRUTALLY MURDERD.

    2. Same image as above but in the cross-hairs of a scope of a sniper rifle.

    3. (Side P.O.V) Damien Hall is seen. He is an old man wearing glasses. He is looking through the scope of a rifle. He is lying flat on the floor. He is bald except for a few wisps of white, thin hair stuck on his sweaty face.

    4. Close-up on Damien’s bony finger squeezing the trigger. BOOM!

    5. Bullet seen from the side, whizzing through the air leaving a streak behind.

    6. (Side P.O.V) a man is reading a newspaper. The bullet is tore a hole in the paper, it is between the paper and the man.

    7. The man goes limp; the newspaper has fallen on his lap. His arms are on the sides, lifeless. His head is tilted backwards hanging over the edge of the bench.

    Page 2:

    1. (Aerial P.O.V) we see a gray rooftop, and Damien still lying down looking through the scope.

    2. Damien goes up on all fours; rifle sideways on his left hand and heaves upwards with a GROAN.

    3. (Profile) close-up on Damien’s face.

    Cap.: (Top-left) too soon. Double check
    Damien: You said something?

    4. Damien looks over his shoulder, a vague feminine figure can be made against the clouded sky; it’s Obituary.

    Obituary: I said that it’s too soon; you should double check. Always.

    Page 3:

    1. We see Damien from behind; rifle still in hand. He is walking towards Obituary. She is wearing a pair of black jeans and a black long-sleeved shirt. Her hair is long and blonde. She is very pale.

    Damien: Have you been here all this time?
    Obituary: You must be senile. You saw me when you came in, was already here.

    2. Damien reaches the edge, going down on one knee and looks through the scope.

    3. In the cross-hairs of the scope we see the same bench. It’s empty.

    4. Same as second panel, only the rifle is tilted a little bit downwards.

    Damien: What the Hell? I saw him go limp!

    5. We’re looking through the cross-hairs again. The man who got shot is walking hurriedly, amongst a throng of people.

    6. (Both on profile) Damien puts the rifle down. Obituary is to his right, in the same position.

    Damien: I didn’t miss the shot!
    Obituary: But you failed to make the kill. Gatling’s coming for you now. It’s your rule after all. Better start running.

  14. B. Macon 29 Jun 2010 at 7:34 am

    Obit’s in his head? Like an imaginary friend that doesn’t actually exist, or more like a telepath mentally projecting herself there? If she’s just imaginary, I would recommend making a note of that in the script and maybe asking your artist to depict her in such a way that she looks like she isn’t real. (For example, she might look more blurry or brighter or more cartoonish than the rest of the art, or her clothes might look fantastical, etc).



    If she is purely imaginary, I would recommend rewriting the line “Have you been here all this time?” because I think it suggests she has an existence independent of him.



    One alternate way to introduce the “miss the kill and you will be killed” rule would be to have Obit ask him about whether he regrets any of the times he’s killed one of his students for screwing up. (I think that’d be a pretty fast way to introduce what sort of person Damien is). If she feels a bit guilty about the concept of killing failed assassins, that would explain why she seems not entirely coldhearted despite apparently being part of the setup. (IE: she warns Damien that Gatling’s coming, which suggests SOME degree of sympathy for Damien and/or uneasiness about the setup).

  15. B. Macon 29 Jun 2010 at 7:42 am

    “SON OF FIRST HERO HAS BEEN BRUTALLY MURDERD.” If the public doesn’t yet know who killed the son of the first hero, “has been” could probably be replaced with “found,” which is shorter and suggests that that the identity of the killer is not yet known.



    I think Obituary might benefit from a clearer opinion on the situation. For example, does she think that Damien deserves to die for missing the kill? Does she regret that he’ll probably die now? Does she think it’s fitting that a man who killed people for failure will die the same way? Why does she tell him that Gatling is coming, rather than just let Gatling kill him? (This suggests some regret/remorse, but making it stronger/more obvious would probably help).

  16. Bronteson 29 Jun 2010 at 8:26 am

    Obituary is a mental construct created by the son of the hero, projected before his death. It is all part of the hero’s Xanathos’ Gambit, he uses the illusion to manipulate Damien into failing. The child’s death is also part of the hero’s plan. He is doing this as not to ruin his reputation because he wants an Ozymandias like utopia and the only person able to destroy that is Damien, who he has to kill before he die, for his powers are killing him.

  17. Ragged Boyon 29 Jun 2010 at 10:22 am

    It looks like I’ve come a little late to input anything. As a general statement, I also like this introduction, it’s very stylish. And I admire your story-telling methods with your non-verbal panels, it reminds me of the Silent Daredevil comics where there is no dialogue, but there’s still a rich story.

    Now that I think about it writing without dialogue would be a great way to practice visual story-telling.

    Oh, this panel confused me a little:

    6. (Side P.O.V) a man is reading a newspaper. The bullet is tore a hole in the paper, it is between the paper and the man.

    -So the bullet is in motion and in this frame we see the bullet as it’s just about to enter the man’s body? Also, I think it should be ‘has’ instead of ‘is’ before tore.

    Anyways, keep it up!

  18. Bronteson 29 Jun 2010 at 11:05 am

    Exactly, oh and thanks for noticing the typo.

  19. Bronteson 29 Jun 2010 at 11:07 am

    How does the headline sound now?: SON OF FIRST HERO FOUND BRUTALLY MURDERD.

  20. B. Macon 29 Jun 2010 at 12:01 pm

    “SON OF FIRST HERO HAS BEEN BRUTALLY MURDERD.” Should be “murdered.” 😉

    “Obituary is a mental construct created by the son of the hero, projected before his death. It is all part of the hero’s Xanathos’ Gambit, he uses the illusion to manipulate Damien into failing.” Hmm. Does Damien know that Obituary was created by the son’s imagination? If so, and if Damien killed the son, I imagine the conversation between Damien and the creation could be more stylish. (I’m guessing that Obituary would have at least some personal attachment to the son, so she would presumably have something interesting to say to the son’s killer. Damien killed the son, right?)

    I’m cautiously optimistic about the plot (a secretly sinister hero using his son’s death to destroy the only person that can stop him), but cautiously so because I think the twists and misdirection will make it a bit harder to keep readers clear about what’s going on. Now that you’ve explained it, I think I understand Obituary’s role so far, but I would recommend rewriting the script before you send it to publishers so that editors will have a pretty good idea of what is going on at first glance. (If anything, I would imagine that it would be even harder for readers because only have the book to go on, rather than the full script).

  21. Bronteson 29 Jun 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Ok, thaks. I’m gonna work on that. I’ll be posting soon.

  22. Bronteson 29 Jun 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Page 3:

    1. We see Damien from behind; rifle still in hand. He is walking towards Obituary. She is wearing a pair of black jeans and a black long-sleeved shirt. Her hair is long and blonde. She is very pale.

    Damien: Have you been here all this time?
    Obituary: I’m always here. You know that.
    Damien: Ever sin—
    Obituary: Ever since you killed that kid.

    2. Damien reaches the edge, going down on one knee and looks through the scope.

    3. In the cross-hairs of the scope we see the same bench. It’s empty.

    4. Same as second panel, only the rifle is tilted a little bit downwards.

    Damien: What the Hell? I saw him go limp!

    5. We’re looking through the cross-hairs again. The man who got shot is walking hurriedly, amongst a throng of people.

    (Off-panel) Damien: I didn’t miss the shot!
    Obituary: But you failed to make the kill. Gatling’s coming for you now. It’s your rule after all. Better start running.

    6. (Both on profile) Damien puts the rifle down. Obituary is to his right, in the same position.

    Damien: I don’t need your help.
    Obituary: Yes you do. I’m also aware of your overconfidence. Damien, you may think that because you’ve killed; what is it? Thirty six of your—
    Damien: Thirty five.
    Obituary: Is that what you’re telling yourself now?

    Page 4:

    1. Damien is now aiming for Obituary’s chest. She is painfully close.

    Damien: Shut up or I’m going to shoot!
    Obituary: You liked the last one didn’t you?

    2. Close-up on Damien’s face. It is worried and worn but filled with rage. It is now that we can truly appreciate how old he is. He is still looking through the scope.

    Damien: I said shut up!
    Obituary: You sure you can kill me?

    3. Obituary gets closer to Damien. The rifle presses against her chest.

    Obituary: Can you kill me- –

    4. Close-up on Obituary’s lips closing in to Damien’s ear.

    Obituary: – -like you killed them?

    5. Close-up on the rifle against her chest. Damien squeezes the trigger, but CLICK, CLICK, CLIK. The rifle is empty.

    Obituary: You couldn’t even if you wanted to. You even forgot to reload. Damien, you’re old and I am all in your head.

    6. Damien falls to the floor on his knees. The rifle falls with a THUMP next to him. He is crying.

    What do you think now? Should I make more clear the fact that the kid she mentions is the hero’s son?

  23. B. Macon 29 Jun 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Ah, I think this has cleared it up quite a bit. 😀

    This isn’t a major issue at this point in the writing process, but when you have a draft of the issue and are ready to rewrite, I’d recommend thinking about showing vs. telling. For example, “I don’t need your help.” “Yes you do. I’m also aware of your overconfidence.” I think that you could probably imply more and say less here, particularly about his overconfidence. For example…

    DARIEN: “I’ve killed [a big number of] people. [Smaller number] with [some exotic weapon]. [Smaller number] [while doing something extraordinary, like skydiving or rappelling down a building or barrel-rolling a car]. Not ONCE have I needed help.” Maybe something like “I’ve killed 308 people. Twelve while parachuting. Two with the parachute. I’ve never needed any help.”
    OBITUARY: 307, I’d say.
    *Darien jerks his head around to see the bench.*
    *Panel where Darian stares dumb-foundedly, realizing that he has failed to kill the target.*
    OBITUARY, rubbing it in: “I bet you didn’t live this long by forgetting to reload your gun, either.”



    “Ever since you killed that kid.” I think readers will know which kid we’re talking about. Especially if the newspaper shows the hero’s son (the murder victim) to be young.

  24. Bronteson 29 Jun 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Ok, thanks.

  25. Bronteson 10 Jul 2010 at 7:46 am

    Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, been kinda busy. I’m gonna post a short sci-fi story that I wrote. I would just like a sincere opinion, as always. Thanks.

  26. Bronteson 10 Jul 2010 at 7:51 am

    “Make way for the Mages!” screamed Johansson over the com-link. The makeshift army ran forward, taking cover in the debris of their flaming equipment; artillery and carriers, ground mobility units, all blackened by the corrosive acid of the creatures that had destroyed the colonies’ food supplies.

    Johansson went down on one knee to reload his automatic. The dry crust of what was the bread basket of the sector cracked beneath his weight. “Two meteor impacts will do that to you.” said the Major. He pushed the magazine up, and the gun clicked reassuringly. Johansson remembered the time he visited Alpha Vega as a child. He didn’t think that one day he would be the one leading the defense against the monsters which emerged when the second meteor destroyed the vast underground system the first colonizers had delved into after the first meteor destroyed the surface.

    Johansson had been sent in with a brigade of three thousand men to suppress what was thought to be a rebel uprising utilizing some type of biological warfare. Something which turned people into vampires; those had been their words. The brigade arrived on the planet, prepared for something else entirely but they were in for a big surprise. In the course of three months, the whole army was reduced to maybe a hundred and fifty men, while all the highest ranking officers orbited the planet. They had no way to get out; the creatures had destroyed their equipment and vessels.

    Johansson took the lead, and with the rescued survivors, he put together scavenger parties, who would go out during the day, search for usable weapons, tools and resources of the previous colonizers in an effort to resist what came out at night; Hunters they were called and it’s what they indeed resembled. The hunters had inhabited the complex cavernous system beneath the planet.
    Johansson screamed again. “I need some suppressive fire! They’re gaining ground, we need more time.” An unrecognizable voice came through

    “Sir, we just lost Jimmy, Keith and Johnson! We’re out of ammo and tanks. We’re pulling back!”

    “Fuck!” screamed Johansson, more to himself, half hoping to scare the beasts, who appeared transparent in the sunlight. Their organs and fluids churned inside the hideous organisms. Johansson emptied his last magazine on the closest enemy. It kept shambling forward only to plummet, dead, on top of Johansson that had began to run for his life. He knew that his fate was sealed when the corrosive substance that the creatures used as a defense, dribbled from its bullet wounds into Johansson’s legs, leaving them badly scarred. The monsters would enter The Bastion where the last traces of humanity were found on top of the wretched planet, before the heavy-hitters entered the fray. He knew, with mild contempt, as he began to lose consciousness because of the fact that his chest was pinned against the bloody hide, that the mages were going to be too late. The world faded black along with the faint screams of despair over the com-link. Too late…; thought Johansson before fainting.

    An explosion in the distance rocked the bed, the clinking metal woke Johansson. The night’s air was stale. Johansson recognized his surroundings immediately. He was in the Bastion’s medical ward. It was the last stronghold against their assured death. A nurse came rushing in, as Johansson sat up on the bed.

    “What happened?” managed Johansson, weakly.

    “You were almost dead when the mages found you. You weren’t breathing.”

    “Did we win?”

    The nurse backed away. She clenched her uniform, knuckles white.
    “Well, Sir…”

    “Goddamn it woman, speak!” lashed the Major.

    “The Mages got here in the nick of time, most of our army died before they did though. We have seventy four men left, all of them injured. As soon as they arrived, the mages set up a tachyon network and flushed the hunters with light. They went berserk. We discovered that they absorb the sunlight, it accelerates their metabolism, but too much of it sends them into shock. The hunters went crazy, managed to kill one or two mages before they collapsed. The men took this opportunity to retreat” Johansson began to look relieved, but it was short lived; the nurse went on.

    “But as I said, we thought we had won the day, when the sector you were fighting in collapsed into the underground system. A cave-in, Sir. We lost the Mages. Then, the hunters started flooding out from the caves, hundreds of thousands.”

    Johansson looked grim, he fought back tears. Years of harsh battles had hardened him, but he felt human again, and what a moment to, he thought. “Have you been able to communicate with anyone at all? We have to initialize an evacuation immediately!”
    “Communications was able to contact the officers in orbit. The planet has been quarantined; the orbiting Federation ships have established a barrier around the planet; Sanitation Protocol.” said the nurse, choking, almost crying, but held herself with vehement composure.

    “They’re just going to kill everything, just like that?”

    “I’m afraid so; it’s the lesser of two evils, Sir.”

    Johansson jumped from the bed. He started to limp painfully towards the exit. “Need to get to the com-link, we have to evacuate now.” said Johansson, with difficulty under his breath. The nurse was almost running a few steps behind him.

    “Sir, we cannot! They have cut off all communications. Nothing comes in, nothing goes out. It’s all standard sanitation protocol!”

    “We have to do something! This planet was the only food source for the whole of this system. Millions are going to starve before enough supplies can even get to them.”

    “I know! But there is nothing that we can do! We are going to die anyway. And besides, you don’t even have men to accompany you. Major, you cannot do this alone.” replied the nurse. Her lip quivered, her eyes implored for him to stay.

    Johansson put a hand firmly against the metal door which connected to the rest of the medical ward. He could hear the screams of agony of the men, the friends, he thought, who had battled along him for the last six months.

    “I’ll make due, besides, we’re all going to die.” said Johansson before pushing the door and entering into the bloody Major room, where the surgical teams were scrambling frantically between the people. Most of them wouldn’t make it until dawn. Neither one of them would make it to the end of the next three days, unless, thought Johansson suddenly. A grim smile of macabre realization blossomed on his battle scarred lips.

    “Anyone who has use of his legs and at least one arm will come with me right now. We are soldiers for God’s sake. They paid us to die. Now let’s go.” The soldiers who were able to stand up followed him. They were no more than twenty.
    The room went silent, even the medical apparatus that littered the room. The soldiers looked grim but the medical staff was bewildered.”Are you out of your mind?” the major consensus of the doctors and nurses was summarized behind those words. Johansson stood in place, motionless.

    Between their dried blood, and the contorted features where the hunters’ acid had left its mark, Johansson barely recognized any of them. They went to the hallway outside under the protest of the medical staff. What the hell, thought Johansson, we are going to save more lives than they ever will. -If it works-. Said a little voice from deep within his brain, “If it works.” he repeated under his breath. The hallway glowed with a reddish hue that came from the fires of war which lit the night with its bloody light all across of what had been the capital of the once lush planet.

    Johansson stood giving his back to his men, looking through the steel-tough eight-inch thick glass that overlooked the miles-wide crater. Thousands upon thousands of monsters prowled, like mad ants, across every surface. He could feel the stares of his men boring into the back of his skull. Johansson turned around, addressing his men for what felt like hours. “So this is what we have to do: we are entering their world, as they entered ours: without mercy, without regrets. We are going to be to them, the animals that they are to us. We are twenty men against hundreds of thousands. I assure you, that we are going to die, even if this works. We just have to make sure, that they die first. Understood?” “Yes, Sir” screamed the men. “One more thing:” -Johansson proceeded to address one of his men- “I need you to stay behind to speak with the orbiting officers and inform them of the situation once the shields are down. Tell them that we need to evac before they blow this bitch up.” The soldier nodded and ran to the communications center. The rest walked in silence behind Johansson through the naked corridor. No one dared to look through the windows at the right. Each step brought them closer to doom, even if they won. They knew it. Johansson led them silently to the armory, where the scavengers were able to recover a few pieces of weaponry. They would have to make with whatever they were able to get their hands on.

    Johansson and his men entered the main hall of The Bastion. A truly imposing structure, a hundred stories high, with suspended corridors going in every direction, like the arteries of a huge creature. The place was deserted except for the few remaining civilians who worked frantically to barricade the entrances, if only to be able to drag their doomed existence a few more hours. And why not? Thought Johansson, pushing the same few tears that were trying to well in his eyes again. He walked briskly, the men behind followed without faltering. He had led them hundreds of times. Johansson never failed his men, not once.

    They reached the armory ten minutes after exiting the medical ward. Inside, they found a man sitting in a bare bench against a wall. He was dressed in a skin tight suit lined with blue circuit looking wires which came from the big cylindrical, chrome apparatus strapped to his back. The wires ran all the way to the hands where they connected big, metallic gloves which served for the manipulation of a Tachyon Field. It was a Mage. Johansson stopped in his tracks. “A Mage! They said you were all dead” “I ran.” The mage said simply.

    “We need to set up a Tachyon network with your generators to contact the Federation Officers. We have to evacuate everyone. Besides, anyone who is still alive is already here!”

    “I can’t do this alone.”

    “I know”- replied Johansson soberly- “that’s where we were going, to retrieve the generators and try to do something about it. I have basic knowledge of its operational system and we all understand what’s at stake.”

    “Is that so?” Began the Mage sarcastically, “And since we are going to die anyways, my name is Friedrich”
    “My thoughts exactly; Lt. Johansson at your service.”

    “So what’s the plan?” asked the mage looking a bit bright.

    “We run like hell, jump into the crater, grab a few Tachyon Field Generators to create a network to puncture the quarantine field so they can get out of here.” replied Johansson, trying not to sound as exhausted as he felt.

    “Sounds like a plan to me; let’s go!” replied Friedrich.

    The men headed out on foot. All the vehicles now served as burning heaps of twisted metal to illuminate the night. “Remember!” Screamed Johansson, as the reinforced, double doors opened to the night, “Don’t waste ammo, hide as much as you can, and run like the little girls that you are if they’re after you.” They jogged into the sticky heat of the night, taking cover behind everything and crawling through the floor whenever they ran into open spaces. Johansson held his wrist-mounted com-link against his mouth, “Protect Friedrich at all costs.” he finished in a hurried whisper. Already they could hear the snarls of the hungry creatures. They were less than a kilometer from the crater. Johansson prayed that the generators would still function under all that stress. The Mages built the generators tough for they were meant for combat purposes; but how much can they withstand? Johansson didn’t give it much thought. No time for doubt now.

    The men ran forward for another hundred yards towards a heap of rubble large enough to hide them from the predatory glance of the hunters, protecting Friedrich at all times. They were getting closer. The wet roars echoed through the hollowed earth beneath them. Johansson could see his men were getting more nervous by the minute, as they realized the fullness of their inevitability; even Friedrich looked out of focus. He hoped they could still function once they got there. But first, they had to reach their destination. Alive; hopefully, thought Johansson.

    “Binoculars.” whispered Johansson fiercely over the com-link. A soldier close by handed him a battle worn pair. Johansson grabbed them without another word and crawled on his belly to the top of the mound of rubble he and his men were hiding behind. What he saw scared him more than he thought possible. Johansson, whose medals and commendations were only matched by his scars, became immobile. The hunters were everywhere, no more than two hundred yards away from the men, still feasting upon the remnants of the previous battle; over the frenzied creatures, the crater opened no more than a few meters.

    “Men, prepare to fight. Friedrich if you dare die, before we can do what we came to do, I swear I’ll find you in Hell.” Friedrich smiled, coolly, trying to hide the obvious fact that he was terrified out of his depth. The mage did not say a word. “Let’s go.” declared Johansson. It fell like a death sentence over the men. They gripped their weapons, Johansson included, as to reassure themselves they were still there. They ran forward looking through their scopes shooting at everything that moved and wasn’t human. The hunters took a full five seconds before realizing that twenty of them lay already dead. Their corrosive fluids were flowing out of their ravaged bodies in a steaming blackened pool of rot in the ground. When the hunters noticed though, the men started to die.

    “Run!” screamed Johansson desperately, hitting with the serrated bayoneted of the empty automatic everything that crossed his path. The acidic fluid of the monsters washed over him as he clobbered his way to the crater which sloped down in front of them merely twenty feet in front of them. By now, his face had gotten as unrecognizable as those of the men who were probably dead behind him. Shit! Thought Johansson; “Friedrich, where are you?” a second passed, two, three more. To Johansson they might as well have been hours. “We are down here already; and I may say that you are an old, slow, son-of-a-bitch.” “How many?” screamed Johansson, trying to keep his wrist as close to his face as possible to talk through the old fashioned transmitter in between the brief seconds amidst the kills. “Only three of us left, of them, none. You have them all up there.” “I’m coming in; throw anything you have over the slope!”

    Johansson closed in quickly. Pulse grenades whizzed over his head, exploding over his head in a flurry of energy foam. That would keep the hunters away for long enough. It also meant that the warriors below had hit rock bottom. Pulse grenades released lethal doses of radiation. Johansson slid down the craggy slope. When he reached the bottom the men looked at him surprised; his face was contorted into a hideous phantom of its former self. Friedrich looked intact, except for where the acid had gotten into his suit, burning through and into the skin, where it turned dark, as if burnt.

    Johansson looked around the three men in front of him. Unrecognizable, all of them, with gleaming cylinders strapped to their backs, with wires running all the way to the hands. Johansson strapped his generator and faced Friedrich. “Well, no turning back now.” said the mage grimly.

    He opened his right hand a small, blue square screen materialized. Dexterously, Friedrich typed some codes into the holographic panel. Johansson did the same, and the two other men followed, watching closely. “Set the generators for a gravity-electromagnetic flux. It’ll obliterate the shield and it’s not harmful to solid matter.” said Friedrich. Blue, translucent spheres appeared in front of the men, who were now in a tight circle. The generators on their backs began to hum, drowning the roar of the beasts dying from radiation. A few seconds later a transparent jet shot upwards.

    *****

    “Captain, the rebels are attacking!” declared the bridge commander. “Initiate planetary sanitation protocol.” “Captain?” questioned the officer. “They’re all dead already. The Cargo men declared that civil war broke loose and the rebel faction utilized biological weaponry. Even the crops are dead.” “As you command, Sir.”

    *****

    Seconds later, the sky blazed in an incandescent white. A second after that, in the blink of an eye, Johansson, Friedrich, and everyone else, became dead men.

  27. Bronteson 10 Jul 2010 at 7:52 am

    The story has to be between 1,000 and 3,000 words.

  28. Ragged Boyon 11 Jul 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I read over it and I think it’s really good. I’m not good at giving details when it comes to novel pieces, but I can try to say a few things.

    – At first I was a bit confused about the Mages, but I figured it would be something that would be explained in-story. And it was, albeit, not very thoroughly. I can understand that they are sort of like the trump card/super-soldier/emergency tactics team, but I don’t feel that the reader will fully grasp their concept and function.

    – I really liked Johansson and his interactions. I feel he was thoroughly fleshed out which I think is difficult, but essential when writing short stories.

    – Friedrich’s character seemed a little flaky to me. He ran from the initial conflict in the beginning, but he doesn’t protest at all to going on the suicide mission. I’d recommend adding in an explanation that makes his initial retreat seem warranted by something other than cowardice (I presume that’s why he ran).

    – I was a bit confused as to what happened in the end when the P.O.V switched to the bridge of the ship. Did Johansson’s plan work? In the end, What was accomplished that made that whole suicide mission important if in the end they were killed and nothing seemed to change?

    – The ending is very bleak was this intentional? Given the nature of the story and their mission is seems acceptable, but again it makes me question what was accomplished in the end.

    – Overall, I enjoyed reading this. I think the story is well written and the writing is clean.

    Is this satisfactory?

  29. Ragged Boyon 11 Jul 2010 at 2:40 pm

    How long have you been writing short stories? I’ve been interested in writing some for a while, but I would like some advice. I’ve heard that, while not worlds apart, writing novels and writing short stories are two very different games.

  30. Bronteson 11 Jul 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks a lot Ragged Boy, that was exactly what I wanted. I’ve been writing short stories for about a year now. I had enrolled for a poetry workshop but ended in the short story one by mistake and I’ve had no regrets :D. And actually, one of the topics discussed was the short story/novel thing and indeed they are VERY different. For short stories you have a limited amount of space to work with, so one has to begin strong in order to capture the reader, one has to write at a much fater pace and end in a bang. It was said amongst the veterans there the “you begin to fly” at the end of the story. In the novel you have a lot of room to work with. Hope this has helped.

  31. B. Macon 11 Jul 2010 at 8:58 pm

    “I’ve heard that, while not worlds apart, writing novels and writing short stories are two very different games.” The markets are also very, very different. Not too many buyers for short stories.

  32. Ragged Boyon 11 Jul 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Well, I mostly just wanted to write some for leisure and practice. I don’t think I practice my novel writing enough so I think it would be a fun way to write without having to commit to the length of a novel. Basically, I can just come up with something and start writing. I like that freedom 😉

  33. Bronteson 12 Jul 2010 at 5:42 am

    Then you should try NaNoWriMo.

  34. Bronteson 12 Jul 2010 at 5:45 am

    As for that little push to start writing I’ve been using something that B. Mac posted some time ago now; its called write or die. You could also try that.

  35. B. Macon 12 Jul 2010 at 8:49 am

    Write or Die!

  36. Ragged Boyon 12 Jul 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I plan to do NaNoWriMo at some point. I planned out a story last year, but never got around to the execution. And I Was looking for Write or Die!

  37. Bronteson 14 Jul 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve been working on a poetry book for an upcoming contest. Here are the next two pages:

    Page 5:

    1. A man of about forty is doubled over a small bed. A little kid is on it. The image is blurry and surreal. Only the central figures are focused.

    CAP.: Nowhere

    Kid: Dad?

    Dad: Yes, son?

    2. The man picks up the boy from the bed.

    Kid: Can you tell me the story?

    3. (Side P.O.V) The child’s head is resting lazily atop one of the man’s shoulders. The man is hugging the child tightly.

    Dad: You want to know how daddy became a hero?

    Kid: Yeah

    4. The man begins to put the little kid back on the bed.

    Dad: Can you do a little thing for me first, champ?

    5. The man is kneeling besides the bed now. He is pulling the sheet over his son.

    Kid: Anything for you, dad.

    Page 6:

    1. (splash panel) The image is very clear again; it appears in contrast as if waking from a dream. We see the man from the dream from the side and from the waist up. It’s Entropic. He has very sharp features and brown hair. He looks very sad but somehow angry. He is sitting on a big chair. Entropic is wearing very obvious superhero clothes; blue, skin-tight spandex, with a black stripe running down the length of the arm from the neck. The background has a Batcave feel to it; high-tech devices litter every wall. In front of Entropic, there is a very big computer embedded in the wall. An electronic generated voice is coming from the computer.

    Entropic: Can you tell something to your friend for me?

    Computer: What is it daddy?

    Entropic: Just tell him that Entropic is coming for him.

  38. Bronteson 27 Jul 2010 at 9:55 am

    Page 7:

    1. Damien is standing up now, in the same roof he was in. Obituary is nowhere to be found.

    2. Close-up on Damien’s hand as he pushes a large caliber bullet into s port in the side of the rifle.

    3. Damien pulls a lever, closing the port, cocking the rifle.

    4. Damien starts running for the doors which leads to the stairs. The rifle is strapped to his back.

    5. He reaches the door, opening it forcefully using the butt of his rifle.

    6. We can see him from behind. Damien in standing in front of a guard rail. His hands are firmly fixed upon it. A massively long staircase is spiraling downwards in front of him.

    Damien: Crap…

    Page 8:

    1. (Side P.O.V) Damien starts running down the stairs.

    2. Damien stops abruptly. He is grabbing the rail with one hand while his other arm is limply hanging at his side. His head is turned, looking upwards.

    3. (First person P.O.V) the exit from where he came in is only three landings away from him.

    4. Damien is in the same position as panel two, but is now with his rifle in hand. He looks exhausted; the building is shaking violently.

    Damien: I was afraid this would happen!

    5. The wall at the side of Damien begins to crack heavily.

    6. Close-up on Damien’s fearful eyes.

    Page 9:

    1. An explosion rips through the wall. The shock wave sends Damien against the rail. He is in obvious pain.

    2. Damien shields himself with his arms and rifle; crossed in front of him.

    3. The smoke begins to clear. The darkened silhouette of a muscular man is visible.

    Damien (off-panel): Fuck!

    4. Damien begins to run down the stairs again, looking extremely worried. Behind him the dust has begun to settle. A man is revealed. His is wearing all-black spandex, with a Robin-esque mask covering his face.
    Man: It’s my turn now!

    5. The man picks up a large piece of the debris which covers the floor.

    6. He lifts the rock over his head.

    Page 10:

    1. Damien stops, turning to face the man.

    2. Damien starts aiming through his scope.

    3. We can see the man in black from behind. He has hurled the chunk of wall to where Damien is.

    4. Damien sees the incoming projectile. And dives to his right. He goes further down the stairs.

    5. He hits the landing with a THUMP and a loud crack.

    6. The rock smashes the place where Damien was just moments before.

    Page 11:

    1. Damien takes aim while still lying on his side.

    Damien: This is gonna hurt is the morning.

    2. Through the cross-hair we can see the ledge of the floor beneath the man’s feet.

    3. Close-up on Damien’s finger squeezing the trigger.

    4. The bullet flies out of the barrel with a BOOM.

    5. The bullet imbeds itself in the ledge. The man is looking at it with amusement.

    Man: That didn’t even work the first time! Oh and you missed old man!

    6. Damien has a small detonator in his hand. He is pushing the button.

    Page 12:

    1. The bullet BEEPS and blinks with a red light.

    2. Close-up on the man’s shocked face.

    Man: No way!

    3. The bullet explodes, sending a barrage of dust and debris as the stair where the man was collapses to the one below.

    4. Damien puts a hand inside of his coat pocket.

    5. Close-up on Damien’s open hand. He has a small vial filled with a green liquid.

    6. Damien pours the stuff into his gaping mouth.

    Page 13:

    1. The dust cloud begins to clear but before it goes completely, two small boulders rocket upwards to where Damien is.

    2. Damien sees the incoming attack.

    3. Close-up on Damien’s face. He is smiling.

    4. The man launches forward, grabbing the rail with both hands. It yields, bending in his hands.

    Man: I AM INDESTRUCTIBLE. FOOL!

    5. The man looks at the place where Damien was. He is nowhere to be seen.

    Man: Where are you?!

    6. As the dust behind the man settles we can see Damien, rifle sideways in both hands.

    Page 14:

    1. Damien loops the rifle’s strap on the man’s neck.

    2. Damien shoves the man the forward who tumbles over the rail.

    3. Quickly, Damien jams the rifle between two bars underneath the guard rail.

    Damien: No my friend, you’re just bulletproof.

    4. The man is kicking violently in midair, suspended by the strap.

    5. The man reaches upwards, grabbing and pulling the strap, which SNAPS.

    6. The man falls through the gap in the middle of the spiraling staircase.

    Page 15:

    1. Damien runs down the stairs.

    2. He reaches the first floor. The man is sprawled on the floor in a pool of his own blood.

    3. Damien is now standing over the corpse.

    Damien: Only bulletproof.

  39. Bronteson 27 Jul 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Should I put that the building is abandoned? Explaining why you don’t have alot of people escaping for their lives? Also, is it clear that the assailant is the man Damien tried to kill earlier?

  40. Ragged Boyon 27 Jul 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Hmm. I don’t think it was clear that the person he was fighting was the one he just shot. I had a hunch when he said “It’s my turn now” but I figured that it would be one of Damien’s superstudents that get you when you mess up. I didn’t think it’d be the same person.

    Yeah, you should definitely add that the building is abandoned. I was imagining something like a semi-fancy hotel or something.

    Do you plan on later explaining what the green liquid is? I reckon it’s some sort of temporary super-serum.

    On Page 11: Panel 1 the dialogue reads “Damien: This is gonna hurt is the morning.” I think you meant ‘in the morning’.

    Again, Very nice action scene. You’ve got a knack for these types of scene. The action was well-paced and fluid. Keep it up.

  41. Bronteson 27 Jul 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Its policy of the academy that no superhumans are allowed. So yeah, I should clarify those things. Yeah, the drug is a super-serum, but has some nasty side-effects that I haven’t come up with yet :p. Thanks for pointing out the typo and everything else. Will be posting soon.

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