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Messages - Operative13

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Develop Your Story / Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« on: February 15, 2024, 08:54:28 AM »
Week 14 Voting is now closed! Stay tuned for announcements!

break Room / Re: The Status Of Our Fellow Raiders
« on: February 13, 2024, 10:05:06 PM »
Boom: https://youtube.com/shorts/YEjIiQNQhvs?si=1c31MsU9kD8Qlcg7

Only career advice you need. Everything else follows after.

Develop Your Story / Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« on: February 13, 2024, 03:45:27 PM »
@suuper always great to have your support!  8)

And yey, we're finally getting more votes!  :dance: As a last callout, voting closes by tomorrow midnight PST, so if you've been sitting on the fence until now, get 'em in now before the choice is locked in  ;) You always have a choice to edit your submissions up until the midnight deadline, so go out there and make your voice heard!

Develop Your Story / Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« on: February 12, 2024, 07:22:33 PM »
Now where's the fun in RNG? If I wanted to roll a dice on every choice there is, I wouldn't even need an audience!  :D

No no, chaos is only half the fun. The other half is knowing there's power in your choices, yet still choosing the suboptimal route. For fun 8)

Develop Your Story / Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« on: February 11, 2024, 11:03:00 AM »
Well, if I jerry-rig the polls so that people always chose a favorable outcome, it's not much of a choice there, now is it?  ;D

I revel in the chaos. Chaos makes things fun (and gives me much pain...  :ninja: )

Side note: Polls are closing in 3 days, and no one has voted yet!  :ohmy: Will I have to continue this story on my own? Perhaps that might be the case.  :hmm: Then again, not having an audience to vote with rather defeats the purpose of this project, and so if there's a lack of engagement, I might have to reconsider continuing this venture...  :-\

No pressure.  :biggrin:

Develop Your Story / Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« on: February 08, 2024, 07:01:33 PM »
Thanks for reading @Nabe Man!

Yes, with this story, the choices are dictated by the audience. Which choices are good or bad is up to the audience to decide, and it's the challenge on my part to create an interesting, yet impactful consequence on that decision. For example, the audience initially chose to go the underground route as the characters' support group, but we saw how one of the characters eventually backtracked on that anyways and is now considering whether to double-down on the option to work with the other side or retract and keep to themselves.

From the polls, it's evident the audience for the most part tends to choose an option that I myself wouldn't have chosen, but the choices are what they are, and it is my duty to write to the best of my ability that choice's result. And yes, that means there are going to be times when the choices just don't make sense, but that comes as a given for any Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories. The choices are the main interest  8)

I do have a community poll up to gather feedback and improve the project, so if you'd like to give more input, it'd be a great help if you could fill it out!  ;) Every bit helps! (https://bit.ly/3TzuHMV)

Develop Your Story / Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« on: February 08, 2024, 07:32:33 AM »
Voting for Week 15 ends in 1 week! Be sure to get your votes in on Feb 14th!

Develop Your Story / Re: Writing Slice Of Life Story
« on: February 06, 2024, 11:40:28 AM »
Your own experiences are perhaps the key to creating something that differs you from the rest of the crowd. No one else has the same story as you have, after all. Having some self-reflection on what makes certain stories a memorable one or a forgettable one for you would get you to the path where you need to be.

And of course write! Don't just sit around dreaming about the story!  8) Writing is a continuous process of drafting, revisions and critique. Many well-published authors go through several drafts before it even makes it to the final cut, so be sure you remember you aren't forced to stick with something in a story if it doesn't work. You are after all the literal god of your characters.  ;)

Develop Your Story / Re: Writing Slice Of Life Story
« on: February 04, 2024, 11:15:03 AM »
I'll preface by saying that genres are like ice cream flavors. People will like particular genres more other than others, and if you're feeling uncomfortable because people are teasing you about it, trust me, it's not you, it's those people's problems. Gotta learn to be comfortable in your own skin and own it. It's not your job to tell others how to live their lives, so the same applies to yourself. They can't tell you either.

Now that that's out of the way, if you're really looking to dive into slice-of-life, the easiest solution I'd say would be to pick up a few SoL stories that you adore and see what you would change to make it better. And watch it critically, not just for fun. Everything you watch has been crafted by an artist or a writer somewhere in the world, and they chose those scenes and those dialogues for a particular purpose. Copy that, then change it up, and eventually you'll build something that's reflective of your preferences.

If you're looking for a hard solution, refer to IRL and what speaks to you the most. It's the most visceral example you can have, but it's also the most natural. Stories are manmade. Nature speaks for itself. Capture what you like about the real world and emulate it in your story.

Diving into any new genre is tough at first, but it can be softened by doing your due diligence and studying up on it. However, no amount of study will replace practice. Be sure to actually put your story down and write, or you won't ever see where things work and things do. Experience helps make the theory become second-hand nature.

Best of luck to you Indigo, and hopefully we'll get to see your work around here soon!  ;)

Develop Your Story / Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« on: February 04, 2024, 09:55:29 AM »
As a side note, since it's been over 6 months from the last update, I'd think it's fair to give people time to vote before getting the next piece up and running. We'll be closing Week 14's vote on February 14th, with an expected resumption to our weekly updates by Feb 21st.

Thank you for your continued support!  8)

Develop Your Story / Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« on: February 04, 2024, 09:48:33 AM »
After a half-year hiatus, we are back in business. Let's see what we've got ourselves into this time  8)

Week 14

Talon observes the men in navy-blue caps and coveralls as they clattered away diligently at the keyboards, speaking in code about what he could assume is Leah’s situation. If they knew he was heading their way, they’d already be looking for him. Instead, they’re preoccupied with whatever’s on their screens. They haven’t seen him yet. Perhaps he could use that to his advantage.

He looks around the server room, carefully studying its layout. The bleached-white floors and tiles reflect the dim fluorescent lights illuminating the rows of tall metal cabinets of loud whirring fans and blinking status lights. Each row has a number labeled at its end, with the two men seated at the third row.

“Maybe,” he tells Ms. Yoshida. “But they’re stuck like glue to the console. I need a distraction. Something to pull them away.”

A brief silence follows.

“I think I have an idea,” Ms. Yoshida replies. “The server room has wires running up into the ceiling connecting to the building’s internal network. There’s a maintenance vent not far from where you are that’ll take you up to the ceiling space. I’ll need you to switch some wires for me.”

Talon raises a brow.  “I can do that... But are you sure it’ll work?”

“It will. The servers need a stable connection to maintain a live feed of the system. It can’t do that if the connections are interrupted. If you switch them to the wrong ports, they’ll be totally blind. They’ll have to go and rewire the connections themselves.”

“Won’t that just tell them I’m here?”

“Then you better be quick, kid.”

Talon gives a low grumble. “Isn’t there a better idea? I’d like to stay alive if that’s not too much to ask.”

“You want me to flip another lock open? Because there’s nothing else around.”

With little options left and time running out, Talon lets out a heavy sigh and yields. “Fine. Tell me what I have to do.”

A few moments later, Talon finds himself standing before a large metal slab, its slight protruding outline and a small offset keyhole the only distinguishable facets from the silvery pipes and panels lining the corridors. He sets to work on the keyhole with his twigs, and within seconds, the door jolts open. A much easier job than the server room doors, for sure. Talon pries open the door and peers his head through the dark drop. He could faintly see a yellow-painted ladder in front of him. He pulls his cell phone out and flips open the cover, pressing a few buttons until the front flashlight turns on. It’s a very dim light, but better than trying to feel his way around the dark drop. Poking his head through the opening, Talon sweeps around the shaft with his light to gauge the surroundings. Above, a small opening: the vents that lead back to the server rooms. Below, a few stories drop, leading to who-knows-where.

Talon carefully reaches over to the ladder, keeping a steady foot through the maintenance door before he has a firm grasp on the handle. With a single motion, he throws the other arm and leg over to secure himself completely upon the ladder, but nearly slides his foot off the bottom handle. He grits his teeth, cursing as he looks down at the deep drop below him.

“I hate heights…” he quips, before shutting the door behind him and hopping over into the vent opening just above him.

As Talon makes his way through the vents, a large open area begins to open up ahead. Soon, he finds himself entering a crawl space just high enough for him to stand with his head nearly touching the top. And within that space, pillars of colored tubing and wires lined the area, with the occasional vent grating allowing Talon full view of the floor below: the server room where he can see the men staring at the console… and the camera feeds fixed on Leah.

Talon’s eyes widen as he watches men in suits flood the console and fast approach Leah’s location. They could be on her at any minute now. He rushes over to a stack of yellow wires sprouting just above the row where the console is, flips his cell into flashlight mode, and begins picking through the labels stickied onto each wire as he holds the cellphone’s dim light between his teeth.

“Come on, come on…” he mutters under his breath. “Where’s that damn wire?”

He rummages through each and every one, chanting the numerics Ms. Yoshida gave him.

“Three One Four… Three One Four…”

On the fourteenth wire, he finds it. He takes the wires next to it and follows them down to a slot at the base where all the wires are connected. All that’s left is to switch the connections.

At the very moment he disconnected the wires, Talon could hear the panic in the men’s voices beneath him.

“The feed’s down,” the man at the console says.

“What? What happened?” the other man grunts.

“I don’t know. It just went out.”

“Restart the connection.”

Quickly, Talon moves to switch the wires into their separate slots. He then hears their panic replaced instead with confusion.

“It’s back now.”

“That must’ve fixed it… hold on, that’s not right. Get us back to the first floor.”

The man rapidly taps the keyboard, flipping the screen through each camera. “Something’s bugged out. This is the second-floor feed.”

The man’s eyes then shoot up towards the ceiling, causing Talon to snap back from the vents. Did he see him?

The man then drops his gaze back down. “I’m going to check the wires up top. You stay here and get us back those feeds.”

“Yes Sir.”

The man marches out of the room, heading for the maintenance door Talon had just left unlocked. Talon breaks into a sweat as his heart pounds furiously within his chest and his mind begins to race through his options. He now only has a few minutes before the window to act closes. There’s still a few more wires to switch. He takes some of the wires at the connector junction and begins to pull more out, before scooting over to the next pillar and switching the wires there.

“Damn it!” the man below him cries out, before calling on his radio. “Sir, all the connections are fubar’d. I’ve no lock on the assets.”

“What do you mean you have no locks?” the other man shoots back. “Restart the program.”

“Already did. I’m getting no connections.”

Another voice then buzzes into the comms.

“Charlie, this is Alpha 6. Bravo has breached the stairwell door. Clear the area and rendezvous at rally point. How copy? Over.”

The absent man answers over the radio. “Alpha, this is Charlie 1. We’re encountering technical difficulties and need more time to fix. Over.”

A brief pause.

“Negative. Charlie Actual, disengage immediately. Over.”

“Roger that. Charlie 1 is moving to rally point.”

The man on the console then replies likewise over the radio. “Charlie 2, roger. Moving to rally point.”

The man then plugs out what looks to be a small USB and retracts the console back into its compartment within the server racks before picking up a large duffel bag near his foot and heading out of the room. All clear now, but the other agents will be there soon.

Talon waits a few seconds to make sure no one else is around before kicking one of the vent grates open and dropping down into the server room. He rushes over to the console compartment, pulls it open, then looks behind the console case for the extra blue wire from Yoshida’s instructions. He traces the white wire back into the server slot it’s in and switches the connection to the slot right over. A red light illuminates the wire connector, before turning green.

Talon turns to his cellphone and calls back Ms. Yoshida. “I’ve made the switch.”

“Got it!” she exclaims. “Nice work, kid. I can see the stairwell up to 1J is clear. Make your way over, head straight and turn left on the second corner. It’ll take you right down to 1G.”

“Thanks a bunch, Ms. Yoshida.”

A slight chuckle from her end. “Don’t mention it. Now go get your sister.”

As Talon heads for the exit and opens the door, the hope in his eyes fades to terror as the two men in coveralls suddenly tackle him to the ground, guns drawn as they wrestle Talon into cuffs.

“Alpha, this is Charlie 1,” the man with the stubble radios in. “Subject 1 has been apprehended.”

Inside a pure-white room, a single table stands with a few folding chairs tucked against its sides. Leah, wrapped in a thin brown blanket, sits nervously upon one of the chairs facing the steel door leading out into the hallway, and picks up the small paper cup of steaming hot tea before gently blowing across the liquid surface and sipping the tea at the cup’s rim. She turns toward the mirror, gazing upon her reflection, though she knows there are people watching her from behind it. Even the camera atop the corner of the room, with its beaming red lights, recorded her each and every movement. Not that there’s anything for her to hide.

This time, however, feels different. No dread or terror. No crying or shivering, curling up in a ball and shutting out the sights and sounds around her. This time Leah feels safe. Peaceful, even. Yet the one constant thought bugging her mind is her brother Talon. She hasn’t heard from him since this morning, and although the others have tried to comfort her of the fact, deep down she knows something has happened.

The door clicks open, and the strong whiff of cooked eggs suddenly flood the room. It’s Kichiro and Eiko. Kichiro walks in with a jubilant smile as he dangles the steaming take-out bag before Leah as Eiko stoically takes her seat at one of the empty chairs and sets her tablet down.

“Hungry?” Kichiro asks, offering one of the omelet rice plates to Leah.

Leah shakes her head.

“You should eat. Helps calm the nerves.” Kichiro places the dish before Leah before unpacking  a second plate and breaks open a pair of chopsticks before helping himself.

Leah stares at the warm, succulent plate steaming before her. At first she hesitates, but her gut betrays her restraint with an obnoxious growl.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a fork with you?” Leah asks.

Kichiro blinks. “Fork?”

“I don’t know how to use chopsticks.”

“Oh silly me. I should’ve thought of that.”

Eiko stands up. “I’ll go get some. There should be a few in the break room.”

As Eiko walks back to the door, it swings open with Commissioner Dobashi right behind it.

“Commissioner!” Eiko yells, before bowing her head.

Everyone turns toward the doorway.

“Oh, Ms. Hinohara. I didn’t see you there,” Dobashi gleefully says.

“Pardon me, Commissioner. I’m heading to the break room to fetch Ms. Takami her fork.”

“Ah, I see… Well, don’t take too long. We’ll be out of here shortly.”

“Yes Commissioner.”

The door locks as Commissioner Dobashi enters the room.

Leah immediately speaks up. “Where’s my brother?”

“Your brother’s alright. But he’s in custody. Not with us though.”

A grim look paints over Leah’s face. “In custody? How? Who has him?”

“He’s on InterPol’s wanted list, and so are you. And since our government wishes to honor the warrant, we’re obligated to follow their demands.”

A tense stare between Leah and Dobashi.

Dobashi then breaks contact as he exhales. “But we won’t do that just yet. There’s a much more serious matter to address.”

“If you’re not turning me in, then what are you doing?”

“We’re keeping you. In our custody, of course.” Dobashi then takes Eiko’s vacant seat next to Kichiro.

“You’re not going to put me in a cell, are you?”

Dobashi chuckles. “No, of course not! I’m not mad enough to lock up my son’s only girl. He’d give me a scolding if I did.”

“Now that you mention it… where is he?”

“I sent him home. He’s got more important things to worry about than dealing with the mess we have here.”

Leah looks off to the side, gathering her thoughts before turning back to Dobashi.

“If you’re keeping me in custody, and you’re not locking me up, then what’s next?”

“That depends on you, young lady. The men we apprehended claimed to have been working for InterPol, but our databases showed no records for most of them. And the ones we did find had no history until recently. Someone’s been pulling strings, and I’d hate to find out we’re being played for something nefarious going on. If you can answer some questions for me, then we can help you out.”

Leah narrows her gaze. “What about my brother? How are you going to help him?”

Dobashi rubs the back of his neck.

“That’s a tough one. He’s already in InterPol custody, so we’ve no control over what happens to him next. What we can do is negotiate for you. They want you both. And they can’t get to you so long as you’re with us. Now I won’t rule out that it’s impossible to get him out, but I’ll need your full cooperation in this. Are you with me?”

What shall come next? Take the Week 14 Survey here!

Manga Talk / Re: Japan's first script writing competition
« on: February 02, 2024, 05:34:14 AM »
Our team has downsized since last year, so at the moment it's just me in the writing seat and a handful of artists. This competition however I took as a personal side project, but oh golly did it eat so much time  :ninja:

Now that the deed is done, it lifts a weight off my shoulders, yet introduces more for me to carry. Project Serendetia is slated to resume this month, so I'm in full gear getting that back together for this weekend.   :-\

I have a nagging feeling there's going to be people out there that have written something that outshines everything, so I'll settle for an honorary mention. Aim for the stars, but temper your expectations  :sleep:

With everything settled, I would've loved to share what I've wrote, but alas, Japan's copyright laws are rather not fair use, and so I'm bound by silence until the competition is done to either reclaim my work and distribute to the public domain or if Fate has it, I go to start a series. Until then, it's all quiet on the writer's front  :-X

Manga Talk / Re: Japan's first script writing competition
« on: February 02, 2024, 02:37:10 AM »
It is done.

I've been ghosting this thread since its inception, and after a grueling 3 months, I'm pleased to announce that I have completed the submission for the Coamix script writing contest.

Now all that is needed is to wait another 3 months for the final results to come in. Best of luck to everyone that participated! May the best writer win! 8)

Develop Your Story / Re: [Project ATLAS] Curations of a Bibliotech
« on: January 12, 2024, 12:49:28 AM »
I rely on my team of artists to sketch, draft, and finish the artwork before I can go ahead and publish the work for others to view. The writing may be ahead, but the story depends on other hands to complete the rest of the work. That, and this is a side project to more serious projects we're currently handling. Thus, when I say it'll take a while before the story gets moving, I mean that in the most literal sense possible  :biggrin:

And while being a detective and scouring for lost clues and knowledge is part of the appeal, I do want to touch upon the larger picture of how ingrained and integral a library is to a community. We will definitely explore this aspect as the world around the Great Library of Atlas expands and more interesting characters and scenarios come into play. That said, I wouldn't get your hopes up just yet until the story starts rolling  ;)

Develop Your Story / Re: [Project ATLAS] Curations of a Bibliotech
« on: January 11, 2024, 09:34:02 PM »
You've probably already been exposed to the "Secretive" work librarians do. If you've ever watched educational channels such as CGP Grey, Veratasium, or Kurtzgesagt, their content relies heavily on in-depth research and a bit of detective work. The questions they seek to answer are definitely not something you can easily find by a simple Google search, and thus they depend on learned people such as librarians to find the relevant sources and point them in the right direction. How else are you going to know why a specific piece of trivia, such as where the name Tiffany came from, if you don't have easily-accessible records of them at your doorstep?

Indeed, this in itself lies the problem. There are countless pieces of literature that have existed for 10,000 years of human history, and only in the last 50 years have we begun to code works into the digital format. And these extremely rare pieces of art, literature, and information are not exactly in the best conditions. It is the tedious, yet noble task of librarians to be the "Giver" of these ancient and lost stories. To see the Red Apple for what it is so they may teach the colorblind world what it means to feel pain.

With some luck, hopefully I can turn this mundane topic into something that tickles your brain, but it's going to be awhile before this story gets moving.  8)

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