Author Topic: Into the Night: Shadows  (Read 4029 times)

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Offline Polpolion

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Into the Night: Shadows
The big question. What is that old scoundrel up to the next act in this neat little mod here about? Fortunately, our team has already figured that out for you! While we're well on our way with fredding (though we could always use more fredders), we decided that we'll show you what true firepower Shadows is all about.

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7th Jan 2335, GTD Haydon behind Vasudan lines

   “Doing good – almost there – nose up 20 degrees and retro for two seconds and that should put you in the net pretty gently,”

   Mitchell pulled up slightly and yanked the throttle all the way back, trying to ease his mangled Apollo into the Haydon's recovery net. Easing his way into the net was the easy part, however. The hard part was not hitting any of the extended fighter gantries on his way to the back of the bay. Normally they wouldn't be extended, but the Haydon seemed to always have a couple flights getting armed and ready to fly.

   Mitchell's Apollo hit the recovery net at the back of the bay loudly and less easily than he had hoped, but he managed to avoid smacking his head too hard on the electronics in front of him, not that it mattered. Both the equipment in his helmet and in the cockpit was almost worthless after that little incident. Most multifunction displays built into the cockpit had stopped displaying even one kind of thing, and his helmet mounted display only worked if he had his chin touching his right shoulder. And as luck would have it, one of the systems out was the system that could dock his ship for him. It's not an easy task unless you happen to be a computer built to be able to compute just how to go from a zero-g environment to an environment that has high enough gravity to maintain an atmosphere at 1 atm against a vacuum to an environment at 1 g. No, Mitchell was lucky enough to have his wing leader tell him what to do.

   He had been fortunate enough to miss everything except for what he was supposed to hit on his dogged return to the Haydon. Fighters and supply ships were nearly always coming and going, more so during the past few days than Mitchell had ever seen. It was a daring attempt to sabotage the Vasudan's supply lines, and the Haydon was in the thick of it. While larger fleets held down Vasudan front line battle groups, as they had seemingly been doing for years now, the Haydon and a small group of cruisers jumped just between contested planets and Vasudan controlled jump nodes. Then, in an entirely different system another intense, but short, assaulted began just long enough for the Haydon to slip through a Vasudan controlled node while Vasudans themselves weren't coming the other way.

   Mitchell didn't wait for the ladder to be brought for him to climb down, he blew open the cockpit and climbed down the net itself to the floor of the fighter bay. He backed up a few steps and watched repair crews scurry around making sure that things wouldn't explode too much. Mitchell hoped that they had finished because in nearly no time at all the cranes had shimmied their way over to the net and they were being hooked to his Apollo so they could lift it and carry it off to the repair bay. For some reason unknown to him, Mitchell had no problem being thrown around in that Apollo by warheads that could destroy cities if detonated in an atmosphere, but seeing a crane lift that 200 something ton work of metal by just a couple strands of magic seemed weird. Even the net was bigger and thicker than those cranes.

   But he didn't stand there in awe for too long, he was shooed away by the bay crew because the rest of his squadron and six resupply ships still needed to dock in the fighter bay, and a pilot with a gaping mouth doesn't make that go any faster, especially when a good three more ships need to run themselves into the net.

   The debriefing seemed like the usual. Things were going poorly. But anyone could have assumed that based on how Mitchell and some of his squadmates needed to use the net. Unfortunately, that's not why things were going poorly.

   “Gamma wing, Lieutenant Beacher wants to speak to you all, back-ups included after we're done here. Alpha two and Beta four, the Captain wants to speak to you two after we're done here. Other than that, the mission portion of the mission went relatively well. No losses, we managed to make a clean run against the depot. If all of the Haydon's raids went like that I'm sure we'd be back behind our own lines in no time. But upon RTB...”

   The Commander stood up, and the half of the squadron that wasn't new all leaned forward. And watched as he started pacing. Eventually, he stopped walking back and forth in front of the display normally used for briefings. Using the grid as a guide, he slowly and carefully drew D... O... N... O... T... F... I... R... E... U... P... O... N... T... H... E... H... A... Y... D... O... N.

   “God knows the turret gunners are twitchy. You shoot anywhere in sight of them and it takes the gunnery officers twenty minutes to get them to actually believe that there is no hostile presence. But when you shoot at them, when you crash into them shouting 'GET EM OFF ME' because 'it's funny as hell,' this **** happens.” He pointed at the display as he pressed a button on the side a couple times, causing first the available ordinance to show up and then the available ships to show up.

   The Commander didn't really know what else to say. Mitchell lifted his head off of his palm and glanced around at his squad mates. Most had lost interest after it had taken the Commander 40 seconds to write on the display and had shrunk back down. One was even asleep. Two were even exchanging grins. Those two were usually doing something wrong.

        "By the way, expect another big briefing in a few hours. We've got a couple new pilots coming in and another raid in store for all of us. Dismissed."

   Mitchell had at least one more sortie to look forward to with the glorious 158th.

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1st Jan 2335, GTD Haydon Patrolling GTA supply lines

   Commander Grahm  sighed as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. In a few days the Haydon and a few other Destroyers would sneaking off behind enemy lines, sneaking as best they could. The 158th roster was paltry to say the least. While they were set to receive a shuttle full of replacements, his squadron wouldn't be at full strength for the first sortie of the operation, until the new guys had gotten the full run down of the ship and outfit.
   The Commander was still trying to figure out what to do with a couple of his pilots that had been caught trying to put alcohol into people's drinks before sorties. He needed every man he could get, and being fortunate enough to have no one else know about the incident, he had decided to let it slide.
   He pressed the intercom button for the squadron barracks and summoned them for a briefing on the Haydon's next operation, dubbed Thresher. It didn't look like a fun one, and Grahm doubted it would be even with a disciplined squadron.

23rd Dec 2334, Alpha and Beta wing on Patrol in a GTA supply depot

   “Oh man the space is black today,”

   “Euh... Say again Alpha 4?”

   “Well Commander it's just hard to see,”

   Commander Grahm broke hard and spun around, circling around Alpha Wing. There was nothing there except rows of cargo containers and a few Apollos. Beta wing was on the opposite side of the depot, doing their own thing.

   “Is there a problem, Alpha 4?” Alpha 2 had piped in, who was now upside down and directly above Alpha 4

   “Two, get back into formation, four should be all right. You feeling okay four? I'm not reading any problems with your fighter,”

   “Comrade, perhaps four is just a bit tired. It's almost Christmas Eve and you've still got us flying these god-awful patrols,”

   “For the last time, ensign, the Cmd in front of my name means COMMANDER, not comrade, which is what you'll call me in flight if not one,”

   Alpha 4 had just noticed something curious, though. On his hud, there was this circle, and in that circle there were these blue dots. But he thought they were confusing because they turned into red dots, so he decided to tell the commander.

   “Hey Comm-”

   “Shut up, four, I see them. Beta wing, withdraw to the center of the depot and take out anyone that gets past us. Alpha wing, engage enemy forces,” Alphas 3, 1, and 2 all broke quickly and sharply towards the red dots, confirmed for a wing of three Anubis-class fighters. A scouting party.

   Alpha 4, however, felt it would be wise to roll over a few times before crashing into a supply container as a diversion. If it weren't for his meager piloting ability, he would've been able to carry out this maneuver before the rest of Alpha wing had dispatched the enemy fighters.

EDIT: It's 4 hours before Christmas starts here so I'm not going to bathe in my own entrails even by technicality.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Into the Night: Shadows
I think there may be some tonal issues. It feels a little slapstick.

 

Offline Polpolion

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Re: Into the Night: Shadows
I think there may be some tonal issues. It feels a little slapstick.

I'll be able to respond when I'm not on my way out the door. Until then!


And here we are!
There are two things contributing to this, I feel: One, the subject itself which naturally lends itself when, two, I'm the person writing. Assuming we're talking about the same thing here, the voice I've developed writing short narratives for classes at 4 in the morning last year isn't the most... respectable. To be honest I don't think it's a bad voice, but I should've done more revision because "slapstick" isn't exactly what I was going for. Or are you talking about tone consistency issues? In any case, care to elaborate at all? :)

Another edit, to be fair, "slapstick" isn't what these pieces of fiction are supposed to feel like, "slapstick" does actually describe the intended personality of a couple characters pretty well. But you're not referring to that, I'm assuming, because I did minimal characterization of those two in these two pieces.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2010, 02:14:45 pm by thesizzler »

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: Into the Night: Shadows
I think that the biggest problem is this paragraph:

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   Alpha 4, however, felt it would be wise to roll over a few times before crashing into a supply container as a diversion. If it weren't for his meager piloting ability, he would've been able to carry out this maneuver before the rest of Alpha wing had dispatched the enemy fighters.

which is hilarious btw, but it is also slapstick ;)

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Into the Night: Shadows
To be blunt it reads like someone's been into too much Wraith Squadron.

 

Offline Polpolion

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Re: Into the Night: Shadows
To be blunt it reads like someone's been into too much Wraith Squadron.

I've never heard of Wraith Squadron, so I'll just assume that's a bad thing.  :nervous:

And assuming the meager summaries of the story actually reflect what Wraith Squadron is about, I can assure you that ITNS isn't like that. But the summaries are pretty meager and I'm honestly too lazy to read the book when I'm already reading Steppenwolf and the Roadside Picnic (neither of which should bleed over into ITNS).
« Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 03:55:14 pm by thesizzler »

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Into the Night: Shadows
Roadside Picnic is pretty ****ing awesome, and no Wraith Squadron isn't bad, it was actually pretty entertaining, it's just....not the tone I think you want

I dunno I guess my concern here is that it does not feel like a military unit that could exist. For example:

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   The Commander stood up, and the half of the squadron that wasn't new all leaned forward. And watched as he started pacing. Eventually, he stopped walking back and forth in front of the display normally used for briefings. Using the grid as a guide, he slowly and carefully drew D... O... N... O... T... F... I... R... E... U... P... O... N... T... H... E... H... A... Y... D... O... N.

and the following passage - I imagine any pilot that was involved in anything like that kind of 'practical joke' involving weapons discharge and collision would be cashiered in short order, even in wartime with a shortage of pilots. The narrative treats it as comedy but it breaks my suspension of disbelief.

 

Offline Nohiki

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Re: Into the Night: Shadows
The whole point of the first half of this act is that the banshees slipped from glory to being slackers. The'll get how they should behave over the time but not before you take a few puns :P
:::ALSO PROUD VASUDAN RIGHTS SUPPORTER:::

 

Offline Polpolion

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Re: Into the Night: Shadows
Roadside Picnic is pretty ****ing awesome, and no Wraith Squadron isn't bad, it was actually pretty entertaining, it's just....not the tone I think you want

I dunno I guess my concern here is that it does not feel like a military unit that could exist. For example:

Quote
   The Commander stood up, and the half of the squadron that wasn't new all leaned forward. And watched as he started pacing. Eventually, he stopped walking back and forth in front of the display normally used for briefings. Using the grid as a guide, he slowly and carefully drew D... O... N... O... T... F... I... R... E... U... P... O... N... T... H... E... H... A... Y... D... O... N.

and the following passage - I imagine any pilot that was involved in anything like that kind of 'practical joke' involving weapons discharge and collision would be cashiered in short order, even in wartime with a shortage of pilots. The narrative treats it as comedy but it breaks my suspension of disbelief.

I was thinking about this as I was writing it, too, but I figured that since you have plenty of latitude in game with firing upon friendly capitol ships, the similar amounts of latitude could be carried over into fiction. The real problem with pilot action here isn't damaging the Haydon, as with in game the problem wouldn't be damaging an Orion, the real problem is the breach in discipline by both the offending pilots which caused a further breach in discipline by a jumpy gunnery crew. The thing is that in game they assume that you do it by accident and they never include things like "by the way don't shoot at us" in any debriefings except traitor debriefings. And I've never seen NPCs fire at friendly vessels in canon FS, so there's really no set convention for dealing with it.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Into the Night: Shadows
Well, all I can give is my personal reaction to the fiction presented here.

 

Offline Polpolion

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Re: Into the Night: Shadows
Understandable. If I were a good writer I would've been able to disguise the justification I posted and slip it into the fiction before posting it, but oh well. :p

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Into the Night: Shadows
You are a good writer. That's very solid stuff.