Subject: [FFML] Re: [Dark Matter / Sailor Moon][C&C] Double Exposure, Chapter 1
From: Slacker
Date: 11/12/2006, 1:57 AM
To: "Paul Durant" <>

So, then....  Everyone on board the C&C train!  Toot toot!
Also, these tracks carry you through landscapes made purely of my own
opinions, blah blah etc. etc.  Take 'em or leave 'em.

On with the show!

On 10/27/06, Paul Durant <> wrote:

"I take it you are the people sent from the Institute?" said the thin,
nervous looking Japanese man as he pulled open the sliding glass door.
"You'd be correct. Doctor Phillip Akens, Hoffmann Institute."
Dr. Akens extended an opened hand, which the Japanese man stared at
for a few seconds before Akens retracted it with a nervous
cough. "These are my colleagues, Doctor Neary, Doctor Truitt, and
Mister Wheeler."

The Japanese man bowed. "Doctor Akito. I thank you for coming on such
short notice, and only wish we could have met under better
circumstances." He ushered the four foreigners through the door, then
slid it shut and locked it behind them. "I have heard of your
expertise in these matters -- I trust you will be able to deal with
this situation quickly and quietly?"

"Discretion is our watchword, Doctor. If you could show us to the site
of the most recent incident?"

"And when discretion doesn't work, dynamite is our watchword."

"Ah, of course! Doctor Otoyo's office is -- was -- this way. Please,
follow me, I will explain what we know on the way."

Behind Akito's back, a tall, red-haired man whispered to the pale
woman next to him. "Doctor Truitt? Why do you get to be a doctor and I
only get to be a 'mister'?" She elbowed him in the ribs, but said

I suspect the medical degree she got from General Mills plays a factor.

"We've been experiencing problems with the electrical systems for
about a month," said Akito, unable to hear what was going on behind
him, "but the first fatality was a week and a half ago -- a student
working overnight in one of the labs was found Wednesday morning ,
covered in what looked to be severe electrical burns. At first we
thought it was some sort of power surge, much of the equipment was
damaged as well --"

"--but the maintenance staff said the power surge came from a
different machine in a different room entirely, right? One that had no
signs of damage -- the cyclotron?"

"Ah, yes, that is correct, Doctor Akens-san. We were concerned, of
course, but we examined the cyclotron and found nothing wrong with
it. We hadn't really had a chance to progress much further when the
second body was discovered, five days later. This time it was one of
our custodial personnel, in the middle of a hallway, with a similar
pattern of burns. Again, there was a power spike from the
cyclotron. We shut it down, even though there was again nothing wrong
with it --"

Akens interrupted again. "--But two days ago you went into Doctor
Otoyo's office, saw the good doctor's remains, at which point you
closed off the department and called us?"

You get the feeling they've seen all this before, and are just letting the
poor fellow babble so he feels useful, don't you?  I do.

"Ah, yes, correct. My assistant must have given you this information
over the phone. This was Otoyo-san's office, I have kept it locked
since that day. I hope you can make something of it, I find it most

Akito opened the door and winced at the sight within. Akens' eyebrow
arched, Neary looked queasy, and Wheeler let out a slow whistle. The
office was a shambles, papers and lab equipment lay strewn all
over. The doctor's large oaken desk had been overturned and splintered
in several places. Most notably, what appeared to be Dr. Otoyo hung
upside-down from the ceiling, covered in electrical burns, his legs
below the knee fused into the plaster above them with no visible means
of entry.

See, the only problem here is that they've got a dead body dangling from the
ceiling in (IIRC) a major university.  Wouldn't they have called the cops
FIRST?  You might want to add something to their introduction scene about
them being able to keep the police away for only so long, or the like.  I
know Japan has a habit of trying to keep crimes on the low-down, but......

"Doctor Akito, you've come to the right people."

Trust them.  They know exactly what they're doing.


Chapter 1: DOUBLE VISION * * *


"I still don't see why we have to hang around in here. We got all the
information we needed over the phone." William Wheeler picked one of
those clicking-ball devices off the floor -- Newton's Cradle, that's
what those things were called -- and started to play with it. "We
could be out right now looking for this thing instead of wasting our
time here."

"As much as I hate to say it, I agree with Bill on this one," said
Donna Truitt, standing by the door. "We already know how this guy died
and why, it's not like it had anything to do with what he was working
on. And the dead guy hanging out of the ceiling is really starting to
freak me out."

Philip Akens didn't look up from the stack of papers he was leafing
through. "I know we're not doing anything, but we have to anyway. It's
all about appearances. If we never looked at the office, it would seem
like we weren't serious. Give it another ten minutes or so, convince
him we're touching all the bases. Then we can get down to the real
business." He paused, flipping back and forth between a few pages. "No
wonder he had to pull an allnighter, this guy had no control over his
department. Labs cancelled, tests lost, professors missing, had to be
a lot of work if he's doing the work of six or more professors by
himself. Hell, he's got a Doctor Tomoe here who hasn't shown up in
over two weeks -- that's two weeks worth of three classes a week, labs
to run, papers to grade, equipment to schedule..."

"Vanished over two weeks ago?" asked Dr. Nadine Neary. "Didn't Akito
say that the bodies have been turning up about every five days? Could
be, the first victim they found wasn't the first victim it made."

"Exactly what I was thinking, Nadine," Akens said as he folded the
papers in half to place in his pocket. "And here we thought we were
wasting our time."

* * *

Across town, at the Mugen Academy for Gifted Students, a young woman
named Mizuno Ami is about to find out just how competetive private
schools can get.

Spelling: "competetive" --> "competative"

* * *

Glancing from mirror to mirror and back again, Dr. Neary backed a
Hertz rental van into the driveway of the missing doctor's rather
impressive two-story home. Nobody expects any trouble -- they don't
expect to meet anybody, as a matter of fact -- but she's learned the
hard way to always, always park for a quick getaway.

Hmmm.  Two things:

I'd suggest using "side mirror", it conveys the fact that they're in a van
better.  At least to my eyes. change tense in the second sentence.  As it is, it reads like
you're narrating the story to a group of players.  Which is a
tabletop RPG.  Not so much in a fanfic.  Simple suggested fixes: "don't" to
"didn't", "she's" to "she","expects" to "expected", etc.

"Akito said that Tomoe had a daughter," Akens said as Neary struggled
to get the aging manual transmission into "park". "If he's vanished,
and I bet he has, she may still be around. Wheeler, can you give us
your friendly uncle act?"

Manual transmissions don't actually HAVE a "park".  They have gears.  If she
was preparing for a quick getaway, she'd probably park it in first, and just
set the emergency brake.  If she's got an automatic tranny, THEN she'd set
it in park.  Almost all of them will only start in park or neutral, so she'd
have to have it there to start and flee.

"I don't know how well it will work if she can't speak any English,
but I'll give 'er a shot." Wheeler heaved the sliding door on the side
open, and it reached the end of its track with a muffled WHUMP. "Wish
I brought a gun, though."

Truitt rolled her eyes in the seat next to him. "Yes, I'm sure his
daughter would be so much more easily amused if you had a shooting
iron to show her. I know I ask this a lot, Bill, but just what the
hell is wrong with your brain?" Wheeler shot her a scowl set on

Neary spun the keychain around her index finger a few times and then
stuffed the keys into her pocket. "Get a room, you two."

"All right, here we go." Akens slowly, deliberately pressed his thumb
into the doorbell, greeted by a harsh buzz muffled through the front
door. He waited a few seconds, then held down the button for ten
seconds solid. "Looks like nobody's home. Donna, could you--"

Truitt shoved him aside with a hand curled around a locksmith's pick
set. "--Get the door? Why gee, I hadn't thought of that." She knelt
over and glanced at the doorknob, selected a pick from the fold-out
set, and started to line it up with the keyhole before she stopped and
just turned the doorknob. Met with no resistance, the front doors of
the Tomoe residence swung open.

The lights were off, and Donna slapped her hand against the wall a few
times before finding the lightswitches -- she flicked them back and
forth, to no effect. "Lights probably burned out," Wheeler said from a
distance that sounded like he was right in Donna's ear, and she
instinctively spun around and took a few steps backward, nearly
stepping on a table. "Car isn't in the driveway, though, so if he left
them on he was expecting to be right back."

"Or maybe he was too busy thinking about quarks and bosons to remember
to turn them off before he went to work. Whatever it is, we need to
check around for anything indicating where he was going or if he was
doing anything to attract outside attention. Probably best if we split

And at Dr. Neary's suggestion, they split up. They would remain split
up for no more than twenty-five seconds, which is how long it took for
Donna Truitt to go into the basement and find the lab. Once she did,
it was pretty clear that nothing else in the house was going to

Again, that second sentence seems more like you're narrating the story to a
group of players.  I'd suggest something like "They remained speperated
for...." or the like.

"Holy shit! It's like he's building a Goddamn Frankenstein down here!"

"Donna, that's absurd. I mean, Tomoe's field was physics, not biology,
and, and none of these things look like... I mean, if this stuff has
something to do with the Fader's appearance, that's still something
that would require... it'd need a totally..."

Tubes and beakers filled with unidentifiable substances littered the
several tables in the room. A mesh of copper wiring coated the walls
and ceiling. The far wall was cluttered with machinery of various ages
and applications. There was a Jacob's ladder, arcing electricity up
its twin antenna to no apparent purpose, a Kenmore refridgerator, and
a boxy device, painted with a star, that was either an autoclave that
looked like an Easy-Bake oven, or an Easy-Bake oven that looked like
an autoclave. A beige Hewlett-Packard was hooked up to most of the
devices, its monitor displaying a series of multicolored tubes snaking
around each other.

Hey!  A Faraday cage!  Nifty!

Donna didn't look away from the lab. "What? What would it require,

Phil didn't look away either. "...It really looks like he's building a
Goddamn Frankenstein down here."

Dr. Neary pushed them aside. "Well, whatever he was shooting for, we
know what he got. We'd better get an inventory of what he had, maybe
if we can figure out how he got the fader over here, we can figure out
how to kill it or drive it off."

They nodded in odd synchronicity and fanned out to begin looting the
lab of anything that could either provide insight into the doctor's
dimension-crossing ventures, or at least be sold. Dr. Akens moved to
the computer and began to tap at the keyboard, a few moments later,
Wheeler piped up.

Run-on sentence at the end there.  Suggest: "...keyboard. A few moments..."

"Try 'Hotaru'."


"His daughter's name. It's probably the password."

Akens let out a long sigh. "There wasn't a password, it was just his
screen saver. And that only ever works in the movies anyway."

Wheeler sniffed the contents of the flask he was holding and
grimaced. "Oh, you mean the movies, like the ones where crazy mad
scientists have labs in their basements with those little widgets that
look like rabbit ears with bolts of lightning zapping up them?"

Akens would have greatly loved to have a withering put-down to respond
to this, but damn if Bill wasn't right.

* * *

Upstairs, a black magic woman breathes a sigh of relief as she sees
the four strangers walking back out to the car, carrying Dr. Tomoe's
computer and several components of the lab. She was afraid that they
might be some as-yet-unknown allies of the Sailor Senshi, but luckily
they were just there to rob the place. They left behind the daimon
incubator, by far the most valuable piece of equipment, and nothing
they did take didn't already have four or five backups at the Mugen

It took all her restraint to keep silent when she heard them come in,
but she was pretty sure it was the right decision. If she killed them
and anyone saw or heard it, then Chibi-Usa might be scared off and
never come seeking her little friend. The doctor's personal computer
wasn't important, but the weak link in the Sailor Senshi's team was

* * *

"Okay, so we got the doc's research data. What now?"

"Well, there's a bunch of data on there about trying to bridge the way
to a sub-dimension of our own, and bring something over that's been
straddling between two planes. We know that the Faders are probably
from outside our dimension, and they need enormous amounts of energy
to maintain their existence, but nobody knows what would happen if one
were to be brought all the way into our reality rather than existing
halfway between here and there. As far as I know, nobody's ever tried
before Dr. Tomoe. Problem is, I couldn't find any actual schematics on
there, nothing about a device to acutally accomplish it. I may be able

"God DAMN it will you jackasses just let me TURN, or am I going to sit
here with my blinker on until I die of old age?" Donna slammed the
base of her palm on the steering wheel in frustration. "You don't get
a prize for 'winning' at traffic, so it's okay if you let someone in
front of you once in a while!" She paused. "I'm sorry, you were saying
something that I wasn't at all interested in?"

I like this woman.

Dr. Akens cleared his throat. "Erm, yes. Anyway, I know of someone who
may be able to take the data and help us make something to disrupt the
Fader and drive it back to its home dimension. If we can get in touch
with him, we might be able to stop the creature's next feeding cycle."

"If? Well, what do you mean, if?"

"Yeah... apparently, when I last talked to him, his financial
situation was less than optimal. His last few paychecks from the
Institute had bounced, and he suggested he'd flip a coin to decide if
he paid for his phone or his cable television. I think he was
joking. I hope."

Donna slammed on the brakes and drove her hand into the horn like she
was trying to tear through a human skull. "The light is GREEN you
idiot! Does everyone cross against the light here in Bizarro-Land, or
are you just retarded?"

The short, pink-haired girl that had nearly been flattened by the van
looked up at her as if in a trance, her red eyes distant and
troubled. "Yes, I am talking to you!" Donna continued. "Go! Move!
Motivate! Vamanos!" She began making wide hand gestures to illustrate
the point. "MOOOOOOOOVE IT!" The girl looked at her for a few more
seconds, then shook her head abruptly and ran to the sidwalk, hurrying
in the direction the rental van had just come from.

"Damn Japanese think that if they use enough hair gel it'll stop a
truck, apparently."

Well, she didn't hit the Spore.

...but I still like this woman.

* * *

Daniel Banks, the engineer to which Dr. Akens had earlier referred,
was not joking. But this time, his coin flip had resulted in another
month of payment to the phone company; all deviations from the
standard Earth-prime in this tangent can be directly attributed to the
results of this coin flip. It is why all night and into the early
morning of February 17th, 1995, as a cabal of sorcerors in the Mugen
Academy for Gifted Students place the final touches on the mechanism
of Armageddon, four underpaid agents are sitting in a circle on the
floor of the office of Dr. Mitsumo Akito, surrounded by various
electronic parts and components, one of them alternating between
listening intently to the phone cradled between his ear and shoulder,
tapping something into the keyboard of a beige Hewlett-Packard laying
on the floor next to him, and shouting commands to a loose assortment
of undergraduates to fetch for him the next part he will need. Four
undergraduates are missing, not that anyone notices, and those would
be the four of Dr. Akito's students that had taken part-time tutoring
jobs at the downtown Mugen Academy.

The long-distance bill alone from this night will be over one thousand
American dollars. The Hoffmann Institute will never see an invoice for
this, because every party involved is about to have much bigger

Somehow, I get the feeling that their bosses will not be too upset not to
have to pay that phone bill, either way.

* * *

"So that's it?"

"That's it."

Wheeler picked up the device and gingerly turned it over in his hands,
then placed it back on the table. "It looks like a hot dog

It did.

"It's a rotating magnetic resonance disruptor. It cycles magentic
fields on a certain frequency, attuned to the dimension the Faders are
from. If Dr. Tomoe's research was accurate, it'll force our Fader into
one dimension or another."

"And what will that mean?"

Akens shrugged. "Depends. If it is more in its dimension at the time,
it just gets driven back. It vanishes. If it's more in ours, it's
forced all the way in, and it should be unable to teleport or make use
of the energy it's been storing up."

Wheeler pulled the Colt Python out of his jacket and made a show of
twirling it back and forth between his hands. "At which point, I put
bullets into it until it falls down. I knew you guys kept me around
for something."

How the hell did he get a gun into Japan?  I mean, they're fairly hard to
get, and hella expensive in that part of the world.

"Don't get too trigger-happy. It could take some time to work, and if
we didn't get the frequency right, it could end up affecting a
dimension the Fader isn't even in. Shoot it when it's at normal power
and you'll just end up angering it."

"Phil, I don't know if you've noticed this, but generally when I shoot
things they aren't happy about it." He slid the gun back into its
holster, just so he could make a show of drawing it again. "So, I
nodded off at about four, what time did you guys end up going to bed?"

"Didn't. I drank about three pots of coffee, and plus the grad
students give me like twenty boxes of those little candy pretzel stick
things with chocolate on them."


"Oh no thanks, I'll just put on a jacket."

You know, by that point, I'm usually cutting out all those silly little
unnecessary words.  "Didn't.  Drank about three pots of coffee...."  And "No
thanks!  Got a jacket!"  etc.  Good ol' sleep deprivation, coupled with
caffeine and sugar!  They're my only friends.

* * *

Dr. Tomoe spoke softly, reverently, to his own daughter. "It is all
ready now. Now we need only to put the chalice into the decice, and
the light of darkness will illuminate our world. That illumination is
what is needed to show the way ot our great Master Pharaoh Ninety. And
when he arrives in our space, all will be destroyed and the Earth will
fall into Silence. The era ruled by the light of lies will end and the
era ruled by the darkness of truth will begin. "

"his own" seems a bit redundant and awkward.

She smiled, a dark smile that portented nothing but suffering and
sorrow. Her master would have smiled too, had he mouth or form. He was
in the same room as his mad servitor, and yet was an entire world
away. But soon, his nightmare would end, and he would surge into the
existence denied him thousands of years ago. Soon, he would enact his
hellish retribution on the world that had been his prison.

The time of the Silent One was soon at hand.

Other than that little quibble at the start, that's a nifty little scene,
there.  Very nicely evokes the mood.

* * *

"You're sure it's coming."

"Positive. It feeds like clockwork, every five days. Unless it's moved
on, and there's no reason for it to have done so, it'll be here

Dr. Otoyo's office was silent for a few moments.

"I'm bored."

"We're all bored, Bill. We're not all annoying."

More silence.

"Bill, animals of North America, seven letters."

"Nadine, we're supposed to be on a stakeout! We're making too much
noise as it is already!"

Ten seconds of silence, unblinking, unmoving, as inviolate as the
utter darkness they found themselves shrouded in.

"Gimme an 'E'."

"No 'E'. You've got the guy's head."

Truitt grabbed her temples and exhaled, slowly.

In answer to the silent question....

Yes.  Yes, that IS an aneurism you're feeling, Miss Truitt.  Don't worry,
it'll be over soon.

"Wait, you don't just start with the guy's head! You have to draw the
gallows first."

"Bill. Nadine. Stakeout. Talking. Stop doing it."

"I never played it like that. You always start with the guy's
head. Otherwise you get, like, twenty guesses!"

"Well, there's 26 letters in the English language, you can't just make
me lose after six wr--"

Ah, the endless boredom of stakeouts.  Everyone deals with them in their own

Truitt jammed a hand over Wheeler's mouth and pointed a finger up in
the air. He began to protest, but then he heard it too, the sound she
was indicating. A low buzz, a hum, permeated by the occasional
crackling. Quiet, but getting louder. The flourescent lights in the
office started to flicker to life, even though they were turned off.

"Showtime." Akens grinned before ducking his head slightly out the
doorway. "Wait for my signal, then activate the device."

He peered down into the hallway and spied a bluish glow coming down
another hall toward the cyclotron room. In a few seconds, he saw its
shource: a man, or what appeared to be one, faintly luminescent,
dressed exactly like a Naval crewman, of the USS Eldridge, on October
28, 1943. It moved with a quick, determined gait toward the cyclotron.

Akens pointed toward the decice without looking away. "Hit it."

* * *

"Sailor Moon! Are you satisfied now? Answer me!" There was no
response, there could be none. Sailor Moon stared in mute shock at the
end of the world coalescing before her. Sailor Uranus fell to her
knees and wept.

Another voice, gentle yet strong. It was familiar and yet it was
not. "Thank you, Sailor Moon. Thank you for protecting me. I am here,
thanks to you."

"Hotaru!" the doctor called to his daughter.

"I am not Hotaru any more. I am now the only one who can save this
world from the Silent One. Just leave the rest to me."

It didn't speak, for it couldn't. It emanated forth its hatred
directly, and its thoughts touched the minds of all in the room like
being splashed with cold, black oil.


Sailor Saturn gritted her teeth and stood resolute.



* * *

The device that looked remarkably like a hot dog rotisserie spun
slowly, emitting a light squeak every quarter-turn.

"What's happening? Let me see!" Truitt and Wheeler both moved toward
the doorway. Wheeler shoved her aside and peeked his head around the
doorway, just under the head of Dr. Akens. He saw a bluish,
luminescent man in outdated clothing walking up the hallway, in no
visible distress.

"Phil. It's not working."

"I am acutely aware of the fact that it's not working, William!"

"I think we've found a problem in the plan, the plan requires your
thing to be working!"

You know, I've had tabletop games that sound exactly like this, I really
have.  It usually ends badly for the PCs.

The Fader stopped next to the locked door to the cyclotron, and arcs
of blue-white lightning began leaping through it, into his body. The
flourescent lights all over the hallway began flaring and
sparking. Behind them, they heard a muffled voice say "I am the only
one who can save this world from the Silent One. Just leave the rest
to me."

Truitt and Neary tuirned to each other and said, in unison, "Did you
just say something?"

* * *

Nacreous black tendrils lashed out at Sailor Saturn, each parried with
a brilliant strike of her blade. Sailor Moon howled in frustration and
despair, throwing herself uselessly against a barrier wall of dark


Sailor Saturn scowled. Sailor Moon screamed the magic words again and
again, but nothing happened.

Then behind her, she distinctly heard someone say "I think we've found
a problem in the plan, the plan requires your thing to be working!"

Sailor Saturn and the Pharaoh, locked in mortal combat, heard nothing
but the sound of blades striking.

* * *

"Okay. Okay. Stay calm. It doesn't see us. We just let it feed and let
it leave."

See, this is a Good Plan.  A Wise Plan.  If you can't hurt the Big Bad
Thing....DON'T ATTACK IT.  Nice to see at least one of the agents has a
brain and the common sense to use it.

This time, everyone heard it, though only Dr. Akens and Dr. Neary
could understand the Japanese language in which it was spoken. "Moon
crisis make up!" howled a disembodied voice. "Moon Crisis Make Up!
MOON CRISIS MAKE UP!" More desparate and hoarse each time.

"Japanese language" is  redundant.  Kill one of those words.

Also, I'd suggest reworking the last line.  "Each howl was more desperate
and hoarse", for example.

And, to cap: "desparate" --> "desperate"

The fader stopped and turned toward the source of the noise, and saw
the heads of Wheeler and Akens poking from the doorway. It emitted a
crackle that could have been its species' equivalent of a snarl and
began to walk toward them.

"Okay, time for plan B!" Wheeler pushed Akens back, then ducked into
the doorway himself for just long enough to draw his Colt Python
revolver, and then leaned back out, exposing only his face and weapon
arm. He fired six times in quick succession, emptying the cylinder
into the advancing creature. It flinched slightly at the first hit,
but the rest seemed to pass right through.

And, when Plan B doesn't work?

Plan C: Bigger gun.

"Will, what did I say about pissing it off?" Panic was rising audibly
in Akens' voice.

"Well if you have any other bright ideas, I'm all ears!"

"I, I don't know! The device was on his frequency, it should have--"

"That's it! The DEVICE!" William shouted in a moment of revalation,
and yanked the device away from its wall socket.

Donna realized what he was doing and dove to stop him, but was too
slow, and she only got as far as "What are you doing you id--" before
Wheeler threw the rotating magnetic resonance disruptor at the
creature's head.


Yes.  So very yes.  I approve of his Plan C!  If the equipment doesn't work,
FIND a use for it!

* * *

"I am known as the Soldier of Destruction because I have been given
the power to destroy whole worlds. But when I use that power... even I
have no escape."

"No!" cried Sailor Moon, and she ran toward her ally, her friend, in
the hopes she could stop her from sacrificing her own life. Sailor
Saturn pointd her glaive at her, and she stopped short. The blade was
so sharp she thought it could cut space itself.

"Goodbye." Sailor Saturn took a deep breath, to steel herself for what
she knew must be done. And then she heard someone scream "What are
you doing you id--".

And then everything exploded.

* * *

Dr. Neary was suprised that such a flashy, catastrophic explosion
would be utterly silent. Then after a second she realized that it had
completely deafened her. She pushed a chunk of burnt acoustical tile
off herself and slowly rose to her feet to inspect the damage. The
spot where the fader had stood was now a radial scorch mark, there was
no sign of the creature or the device remaining. The wall that
previously obscured her vision of that spot had been blown to bits, as
had several other walls around the hallway, the cyclotron itself, and
a large part of the ceiling. She turned around to see which of her
teammates would need medical attention, and saw something unexpected.

See?  SEE?!  Plan C worked!  Never underestimate the value of hitting things
with heavy objects!

Lying next to her, unconscious, in the middle of a pile of debris that
seemed to indicate she'd been thrown rather bodily into the wall
behind her, was a small, frail little Japanese girl. Her plain black
shirt was tattered, revealing all manner of cuts and abrasions
underneath, blood was oozing down her face, and both her hands were
locked in a death-grip on a long, wicked polearm that still held a
perfect mirror sheen even as everything around it was coated in a film
of plaster dust.

Oh, sure.  You're probably going to try and convince us that it was actually
Saturn that did that.  Don't worry, we all know the truth.  Wheeler smacked
that thing with a heavy chunk of equipment and it worked!  He'll be so
proud....assuming he's still alive.  But still!

Anyways!  Final overall thoughts:

In some places, it feels as though you're transcribing a tabletop session
onto the screen.  Which means that some of the wording/tenses/phrasing used
is awkward.  Reading through it out loud and trying to find bits that make
you change the way you're expressing yourself might help eliminate those.

Second, descriptions.  You might want to flesh them out a bit.  I liked the
speed/flow of the scenes, but....  I'm having a hard time getting a mental
picture of the four Hoffman agents.  I get a bit of the attitudes, no
problem.  But I'm one of those people that need a face to go with it.
Wheeler, for example.  Is he a big, burly guy?  Beard, mustache, long hair?
Wears a jacket?  Or is he a former military, always cleanshaven with short
hair and his lucky boots that he got in the service and keeps together only
by the liberal application of duct tape and twine?  What color are his
eyes?  His hair?  His skin?  Nervous habits?  Is his voice high, low, tend
to breaking under duress?

You don't have to dump their whole life story in the first five minutes, but
a bit of character fleshing is always good.  Adding in nervous habits, such
as the stakeout chatter (excellent addition, by the way), is a great way to
get the audience familiar with the new characters and help them to relate to
them.  Admittedly, this is just the first chapter, but it's something to
keep in mind for later on.  If you're planning to have Hotaru get intro'd
around later on, that'd be a prime time to flesh them out more...unless
they're just here as plot devices to shuffle Hotaru along to where-ever
she's going.  Still, general concept stands.

Third...out of the mouth of babes and fools, and all that.  You should
probably pop a disclaimer in somewhere.  Top, bottom, author's notes,
whatever.  Sadly, some people are just too lazy or stupid to spend three
seconds hitting the internet to find out what Dark Matter is.

All that said..... As usual, your spelling/grammar was pretty good, and I'm
damn jealous of some of your phrasings.  The dialogue for Master Pharoah 90
is SUPERB.  The verbal interaction between the Hoffman agents was excellent,
as well.

And Wheeler sending the hot dog rotisserie at the Fader was brilliant.  My
cat looked at me funny, I laughed so hard.

Now, write more, damn your eyes!


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