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Author Topic: Project Serentedia - Week 16  (Read 14508 times)

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Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #105 on: February 29, 2024, 07:45:12 AM »
Oops, had a delay over the weekend  :ninja: I will be pushing the deadline for the vote to March 10th Sunday to make up for this unexpected delay  ::)

Week 15

Leah contemplates her options. What could she lose if she gives them everything? Is there a reason to trust them? They’ve been nothing but kind and protective of her since she’s been here. Maybe they really mean to help her.

But memories of Leah’s time before Kubozaki begin to pull her back to reality. The grief, the loss, the betrayal. All too familiar for her. Leah rechants Talon’s words: do not trust anyone. Even now, his words echo in her mind. Did they really capture Talon? Where is Mr. Takami? She too had questions, and perhaps their answers will let her know what their true intentions are.

“How do I know this isn’t some trick?” Leah asks.

“Would I bother asking if it wasn’t true?” Dobashi answers.

“I don’t know that for sure… How do I know you’re not just one of them, and you’re not just trying to pry me for something?”

Dobashi exchanges glances with Kichiro.

“Mr. Watabe, why don’t you leave us for a moment?”

Kichiro blinks. “Me?”

Dobashi grunts. Kichiro clears his throat and stands up from his seat.

“Excuse me,” he says before departing the room.

Dobashi then takes a pen and notepad from his coat and begins to write something down behind his hands before tearing a piece of paper and sliding it face-down towards Leah. She first looks around the room, glancing at the cameras behind their tinted black spheres, then at the large mirror covering the side of the wall. She then swipes the paper into her palms before slowly revealing its contents.

A drawing of a long and twisting cone, in the shape of a seashell.

Leah’s eyes immediately light  up, and she nearly opens her mouth to speak before Dobashi gently touches his lips with his index finger, all whilst pretending to wet it and turn another page in the notepad.

After another bout of scribbling, Dobashi then tears another piece and slides it across the table to her, this time with a spare pen. Again, she swipes the paper and pen into her palms before peeking underneath.

“What do you know about that symbol?”

Leah writes down her reply, folds it up, and slides it back to Dobashi. He takes it back and unfolds the paper.

“It’s their mark.”

He writes another question and tears another piece.

“Whose?”

Leah jots it down.

“The people after us.”

Dobashi scribbles another.

“Why do they want you?”

Leah hesitates here. She scratches a lot more in this instance than the last few notes.

“Don’t pry any further. They’re watching you too.”

This time, Dobashi is the one eyeing the cameras and back into the gleaming mirror. The girl has a point. He gets up from his chair and loudly proclaims, “Thank you for your time, Ms. Takami,” before heading out of the room.

Outside, Kichiro shares some small-talk with Eiko, who had just returned with Leah’s fork in hand.

“They let them go,” says Eiko.

“What!?” Kichiro exclaims. “When did that happen?”

“Just now. Some higher up from the mainland suddenly showed up and ordered them released.”

“Wanted fugitives, foreign agents, and now this? Just what is going on?”

Dobashi interrupts. “Who’s been released?”

Eiko bows her head. “Commissioner, Superintendent Harada suddenly showed up and ordered the men we detained to be released.”

“The superintendent is here?”

“Not anymore. He left as soon as he came.”

“He dropped everything to come here to Kubozaki just to do that and then leave?”

“That’s what happened.”

Kichiro then asks. “So what did Ms. Takami say?”

Dobashi shakes his head. “Can’t say. But I know for sure we won’t get to the bottom of this ourselves.” He then takes out his phone and begins dialing.

[] [] [] [] []

After some time, Kichiro and Eiko enter back into the room, but not before a man in a bleach-white suit, slick combed-back hair and a velvet briefcase barges right in behind them.

Kichiro begins. “Ms. Takami, this is…”

“Ms. Takami!” the man says with open arms. “There you are! My star of the day!”

She blinks a few times, confused at who this puzzling character is.

“Do I know you?”

“You do now, sweety!” the man proclaims, before gripping Leah’s hands together. “Ota Yuzuru, attorney-at-law!”



Talon groans as he awakens from his dazed slumber. At first, the sight before him is a large blur of white, but as he clicks his eyes, he could make out a figure sitting in front of him. He raises his hands to rub clear his vision, but finds one of his wrists cuffed to the table.

Reality soon sets in, and Talon breaks into a panic as he recalls what happened. He tussles at the cuffs at the vain hope of slipping out, before a woman’s voice calls out to him across the table.

“It’s no use.”

Talon looks up to see a woman in a white lab coat and green turtleneck sweater. Pinned to the lab coat’s breast pocket is an ID-card with a long and twisting cone in the shape of a seashell. And underneath that cone is an acronym: S.P.I.R.E.

“Who are you? What is this place?” says Talon.

“Don’t worry,” she says. “You won’t be harmed. I guarantee that.”

Talon narrows his gaze. “That wasn’t what happened the last time around.”

“And on behalf of the organization, I apologize for your sister’s… poor treatment. It is not our intention to harm you.”

“You’ve already done just that. You killed my parents, the people that meant everything to me, and you just expect me to forgive you?”

“We’re not asking for forgiveness. We’re here for much more important reasons.”

Talon scoffs. “Go to Hell.”

The woman, however, appears unphased by Talon’s defiance, and reaches down into a briefcase.

“I’m sure that you must still be upset about your parents’ deaths…”

Talon shakes his head. “More than upset.”

“...but we had no choice. They forced our hands, and now we both find ourselves in this unpleasant situation.”

She brings forth a large folder containing what appears to be dozens of pages with the word “Top Secret” stamped on its cover. The woman places her hand atop the folder, and continues.

“Do you know who your parents are?”

“What kind of a silly question is that?” Talon asks. “They’re just people. They worked normal jobs like everyone else.”

“That’s what they’re meant to tell you. Your parents are much more important than they let on. They worked for us. On this.” She pats the folder. “A small sliver of the truth, but it is work that goes beyond anything anyone can imagine. It has the power to change the world, but because of their reckless actions, this work now endangers everyone. And it all leads back to you and your sister.”

“That’s insane. We’re just kids! How are we responsible for anything?”

The woman pushes the folder forward. “Don’t you want to know?”

What shall come next? Take the Week 15 Survey here!
« Last Edit: April 05, 2024, 06:00:48 PM by Operative13 »
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Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #106 on: March 04, 2024, 01:09:22 PM »
Voting for Week 15 ends in 1 week! Be sure to get your votes in on March 10th!
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #107 on: March 07, 2024, 11:36:19 AM »
Voting for Week 15 ends in 3 days! Be sure to get your votes in on March 10th!
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #108 on: March 08, 2024, 08:34:39 AM »
overall a nice new section of story, as always I want to read more and learn what's really going on behind the scenes.

you wrote Talon "clicks his eyes", do you mean blinking rapidly? I'm pretty sure eyes aren't meant to click XD
Also in the previous chapter he wasn't knocked unconscious, he was only wrestled to the floor? So it seemed unnatural that he was waking up for this scene start, maybe having them remove a hood from him while he was awake would have made more sense.

I found the interaction between Talon and the labcoat lady a little unnatural, he seems to engage in the conversation a little too easily,  given that he seems to view her (as an extension of this organisation) as responsible for their parents deaths.
Perhaps more description of his thoughts/feelings/tone of voice etc would show for example that he's trying to stay calm to get information out of her.
for instance, "You killed my parents, the people that meant everything to me, and you just expect me to forgive you?"
it seems more likely that he would respond "I'll never forgive you!!" rather than forming it as a question.

“I’m sure that you must still be upset about your parents’ deaths…” also seemed super obvious? given that this organization is the one that killed them, it's kind of a (heavily sarcastic) "you don't say??" moment. Also use of the passive "deaths" makes it sound like they aren't taking responsibility for it. Like from her point of view, what did she expect him to respond with? maybe that line and his response could have been removed and she just goes straight into the “...but we had no choice"

"That’s what they’re meant to tell you." I think you meant they were?

looking forward to the next chapter and I've casted my vote!
« Last Edit: March 08, 2024, 08:41:02 AM by Suuper-san »
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Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #109 on: March 11, 2024, 04:26:11 AM »
Week 15 Voting is now closed! Stay tuned for announcements!
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Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #110 on: March 11, 2024, 06:22:11 AM »
@suuper Appreciate the feedback!

Yes, trying to write blinking your eyes in every scenario of blinking one's eyes ends up getting old quite fast, so some liberties are warranted  :D Though I feel I should expand my creative vocabulary somewhat  :-\

And yes! I should thought of putting a bag over him! Frankly, they should've done the double-take of drugging/bagging him just to be sure he doesn't know where he's at, but alas, we'll save the adjustments until after all is said and done. In the spirit of continuity, we'll continue as is until we may revisit this again.

As for the last point, I did consider that "I'll never forgive you!" route, but there's a few problems with that. 1. It shuts off any further conversation 2. It dictates the direction of the story by automatically assigning a hostile view to the org and 3. it doesn't add much substance to the character itself. In fairness I could try to switch the lens of the discussion towards the woman to determine the direction of the conversation and end up in the same spot, but then again this is all about choices, and if Talon isn't making his own choices, someone else surely will. Turning this conversation about him instead of her gives more power to the character, and thus makes his choices more meaningful than simply following along with what's given.

Indeed, you'll find me posing questions from characters more often than blurting out definitives.  8) Makes for more engaging dialogue than a simple "He said, she said" back-and-forth.

Otherwise, glad you're enjoying it so far! We're just barely touching the surface here, and surely we will find answers behind the drama soon!  ;)
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Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 15
« Reply #111 on: March 11, 2024, 05:45:13 PM »
my vocab is super limited lol
far better to be ambitiously creative than dull and boring I think.
sometimes writing the shot completely differently can help as well. i.e. say something completely different that conveys the same sort of thing.

Quote
there's a few problems with that. 1. It shuts off any further conversation 2. It dictates the direction of the story by automatically assigning a hostile view to the org and 3. it doesn't add much substance to the character itself.
Those are pretty reasonable, shows you're thinking about it which is good XD

Quote
we'll save the adjustments until after all is said and done.
100% agree, revision hell is a real place and many people are stuck in it XD
my soon to start manga will have a similar outlook, write it once and make a note of desired changes, but don't bother making those changes yet, carry on with more story.
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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 16
« Reply #112 on: April 05, 2024, 06:18:39 PM »
And we are back!  8)

I was worried about the abrupt weeks-long shutdown of MR, but I'm glad to see it's now back to normal. And with that, back to business as usual  8) We've got a lot of projects rolling up in the background, so I'll be looking to make some new updates in the near future, so stay tuned!


As for this week's vote, I will be pushing the deadline for the vote to April 14th Sunday to give people time to read and get reacquainted after the long quiet.  ;)

Week 16
With a cynical eye, Talon stares down the woman.

“Why?” he asks. “What’s the point of all this?”

“Of what?” she replies.

“Of all of this. Why put us through all this? Why kill everyone Leah and I knew and loved? Why chase us halfway across the world to catch us, just to give your spiel about how important two kids are to you?”

“If you want a simple summary, I’ll be happy to give it to you. But if you want to know the truth, it lies before you.”

Talon looks down at the massive folder. A torrent of memories flood his mind, from the quiet suburban home his family shared, to hiding away under a bridge in a homeless encampment, to the people that sacrificed themselves for them along the way. Was it all meant to end like this?

 “I don’t need any of your papers. I don’t need any of your ‘greater-good’ or moral high-ground BS you want to throw at me. I just want to know why.”

The woman listens to every word from Talon, her eyes fixed upon his, her hands folded together across the table, her ears leaning forward. A brief moment of silence as she gathers her thoughts, before inhaling and reaching into her coat’s breast pocket and putting on slim glasses.

“I’ll get to the point then…

"You and your sister Leah were never meant to exist.”

Disbelief overcomes Talon’s face.

“Don’t lie to me,” he says with a stern voice.

“It’s the truth. You and your sister are anomalies. Entities that should not exist in this world.”

Talon shakes his head. “That makes no sense... We’ve been here for ages! How is that an excuse to kill people!?”

 “It is necessary, but I cannot divulge the reasons why. All I can say is that you and your sister are the keys to the completion of this project. The details are within the folder.”

Talon pushes the folder away.

“Whatever it is you and your goons have planned, I want no part of it. And I’ll make damn sure that you pay for everything that you’ve done.”

“Then we are finished here.”

She then takes off her glasses and tucks it inside her breast pocket. As soon as she does so, a surge of electricity courses through Talon’s veins. He tries desperately to scream from the pain, but he could only clench his teeth in agony as his muscles contract, unable to control his body. Through the pain, he barely makes out the woman getting up and walking through a doorway as two shadowy figures approach from the corner of his eyes, just as his conscience fades and everything turns dark.



Outside the entrance of the Kubozaki Police Department Headquarters, Leah watches as Mr. Ota vigorously shakes Commissioner Sasamoto’s hand with a gleeful smile on his face.

“I’m glad we could all come to a satisfying agreement,” the cheery lawyer touts.

An uneasy laugh escapes the commissioner. “Yes yes, I’m sure… now run along now. And don’t forget your end of the deal.”

“Oh, I’m sure the lady will! And more!”

Dobashi waves Leah and Mr. Ota farewell, as Kichiro and Eiko, flanking their superior’s side, smile back. Leah returns the wave just as the sliding doors close.

A black limo then drives up the curb, and Mr. Ota opens the door with a gesture inside.

“After you,” he says.

Leah looks around. Mr. Takami is nowhere to be seen.

“Where is Mr. Takami?”

“Oh, he has other business to take care of. Don’t you worry. I’m told he’ll be back to see you tonight.”

“Is it about…”

Mr. Ota waves his finger. “Nuh uh uh! We don’t say anything about that out here. You don’t want us breaking the deal already, don’t you?”

Leah sighs as she heads into the back of the limo, with Mr. Ota following suit. The doors shut, and the driver turns away from the curb as they head into Kubozaki’s shopping district. As they head through a busy intersection, Mr. Ota then begins to talk.

“I’m sure you have plenty of questions of what’s going to happen, and trust me, there’s a lot going on that you’re probably not too keen on the details about, but I assure you, when all of this is over, you and your brother will be back together again where you belong.”

“Is that a guarantee?”

“It’s more contingent whether you follow through with the deal or not. You see the Commissioner and Mr. Takami go way-ways back. Back when they were both serving in the Self-Defense Force. They’ve followed different paths since, but they’ve stayed in touch all the same. But with you in the picture now, that’s complicated things.”

A puzzled look from Leah. “How so?”

“Mr. Takami was meant to retire. But now he’s forced back into service by the Minami family. That means the Commissioner will be hot on his trail again, looking to shut down the family’s underworld business for good.”

“What does that have to do with the people chasing us?”

“And that’s what I’m getting to. You see, on the surface, that’s what the Commissioner seems to be after. But while he’s going on a goose chase with Mr. Takami, you’ll be working as bait for bigger fish.”

“The agents from before?”

“Oh, if you think they’re it, you’ve got another thing coming. No, we’re talking about the whole club. Executive suite. I was told that the superintendent showed up just for today, and then left without saying another word. Now what kind of people would have the power to boss around a man as high ranking as that?”

“His… boss?” she says with uncertainty.

“And so… if his boss is ordering him to do that on behalf of these men-in-black, then that means…”

Leah takes a moment to digest the idea. “You’re not saying the government is in on this?”

“Bingo. The motherload of all fish.”

“That’s insane. All those people involved just for us?”

“You must be some pretty important kids to have such important people after you.”

“This is just a bad joke.”

“I kid you not. And if it’s true… and that’s if this plan works… then we’re talking about the biggest conspiracy ever! Possibly in history! And guess what they’ll have to do when they’re found out.”

Leah simply stares. She has no idea how to react to this glib man at this point.

He raises his arms out wide. “Ka-ching! Payday! They’ll have to pay you back for everything they’ve done to you! You get to live the rest of your lives out in peace, and I get to buy me my own yacht.”

Her expression drops at the revelation. Of course, this man just wants the money.

“Yeah… that… sure. Why not.”

“Glad we’re on the same page! Now let’s rehearse what needs to go down…”

What shall come next? Take the Week 16 Survey here!
« Last Edit: April 06, 2024, 03:38:10 PM by Operative13 »
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Offline Operative13

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Re: Project Serentedia - Week 16
« Reply #113 on: April 13, 2024, 03:57:13 PM »
Voting for Week 16 ends tomorrow! Be sure to get your votes in on April 14th!
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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