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Author Topic: Project Serentedia - Week 15  (Read 12810 times)

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Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« Reply #90 on: July 27, 2023, 04:04:07 PM »
nice to see you back in business, sorry I missed the vote. I'll get around to reading that latest chapter soon :D
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Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« Reply #91 on: January 07, 2024, 12:05:09 AM »
Oh how time flies...  :ohmy: I was not expecting to go into hiatus for 6 months, but here we are. A short explanation of why, a bunch of delays both in the writing and artwork ended up setting the next update back much farther than I'd like, and the next thing you know, 6 months passed without any substantial progress. But we've finally crossed over that hurdle in December before the infamous MR shutdown of '23 happened.

With that said, we have the next piece ready for sendoff, but I won't update just yet. The team still has other priorities to handle for an upcoming contest we're competing in (details to be shared later), and so we will resume work on February once our workload is cleared. Until then, keep an eye out on new projects we have on the horizon.  ;)
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Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« Reply #92 on: January 07, 2024, 05:18:55 AM »
yeah I've also experienced the one week hiatus that's suddenly a year long and you're like "huh?"

glad to know you're up and running again, and looking forward to any new content!!!
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Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« Reply #93 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!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2024, 10:40:55 AM by Operative13 »
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« Reply #94 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)
« Last Edit: February 15, 2024, 10:41:04 AM by Operative13 »
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Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« Reply #95 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!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2024, 10:41:11 AM by Operative13 »
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Offline Nabe Man

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #96 on: February 08, 2024, 02:28:24 PM »
So I read up to week 5 and the story isn't flat but I find it at times very unconvincing. When it gets unconvincing of course you cant get immerse in the story as much as you'd like to.

The characters are aware of parents death and that they are being pursued but they want to settled down and try to have a normal life... If you tell that to a detective they'd think that they were the  ones that pulled the trigger and that's just one of the examples in my opinion.

Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #97 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)
« Last Edit: February 08, 2024, 07:03:25 PM by Operative13 »
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Offline Nabe Man

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #98 on: February 10, 2024, 10:05:58 PM »
Ok cool. I don't particularly go for a choose your own adventure type story but I'd assume you're doing it radically different. The writers would have a lot of control to give the choices. Something like a corrupt voting system. For a moment there I thought there is a lot of behavioral things that don't add up.

I could see that this can be very helpful for writing practice. As someone would throw whatever they feel best for you to write and you have to adapt. That's democracy for yah!

Helpful link indeedy.


Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« Reply #99 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:
« Last Edit: February 15, 2024, 10:42:45 AM by Operative13 »
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Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #100 on: February 12, 2024, 01:25:11 PM »
wow must've missed you posting the most recent chapter! (and the reminder message as well :P)
I'll read it tomorrow and vote so you'll have at least one vote. I'll probably have to go back a few chapters to remind myself the characters and plot :P
Glad to see you back in business, picking up a project after a gap can be quite daunting I know.
In the event of not having a vote, a random number generator will give you just as much of a hard time as real people, take it from me :P
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Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« Reply #101 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)
« Last Edit: February 15, 2024, 10:42:33 AM by Operative13 »
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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #102 on: February 13, 2024, 03:38:47 AM »
Hehehe that's true I imagine you get a bit of a teamwork feel when you're working with other people's choices, like you don't feel you're tackling the project alone.
Funny you say with RNG you wouldn't even need an audience because I use RNG a lot and mostly I don't even post my work :P so you're definitely not wrong XD

I read the last few chapters and sure enough I barely remembered anything. Quite tense events as the action continues, nothing particularly out of place although a couple of places maybe a rewording might have flowed a little better but I think I'm nitpicking. Can't wait to see what happens next!
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Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 14
« Reply #103 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!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2024, 10:42:19 AM by Operative13 »
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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #104 on: February 15, 2024, 08:54:28 AM »
Week 14 Voting is now closed! Stay tuned for announcements!
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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