This is my very first attempt at TF2 fic, and is a oneshot. Please be gentle.
I don’t remember all that much. I don’t remember my name, for example. Sometimes when I try the fragments fly around like leaves in a teacup.
I recall being relieved when the van stopped for me on the highway out of town, and the thin one looked out. He said I could hide with them as long as I needed to, and laughed when I hid my head under a blanket in the back. I don’t remember what I was running from, only that I did not want to remember.
The soft one is almost as small as I am, and always comes to me naked. I hear the door open and close, then rustlings of fabric and metal on the stone as he strips while walking. He smells like engine oil and soap, and says nothing until afterward. He likes to touch me everywhere, with both his warm and cold hands. He learned one day that if he used his fingers inside me when I came, my cries poured forth babbling, fluting chirps. Once, when he didn’t stop I fainted, and when I woke up he was gone.
This room has no windows, and the light that shines through the frosted glass in the door can come on at any hour. I wake instantly at this, and can even steal a minute or two to groom myself before the door opens. I don’t remember how I arrived. Or what happened between that day and when I woke up in this room, on a pile of blankets in that corner behind the boxes. They come to me here when they can’t sleep. Many nights can pass where they don’t come, but those are rare. I guess they don’t sleep well.
The big one is the nicest. He almost always asks first, and never goes on top since that first time. He always sneaks in honey for the grain paste that is all I am can really eat now, and always brushes my hair while I clean up. He tells me stories in his own language, which is wild and choppy like a ravine in flood. I can hear his smile when he teases me into breathy laughter. He likes me to bite him in little pecks all down his chest and promises one day to show me the moon.
The thin one has only seen me a handful of times. Since he discovered that I could speak with my lips, he has always whispered to me. He likes me to lick him everywhere, and cries when he comes. His accent is lilting and syncopated, but he lives and breathes guilt. He was angry when he found the cold one had removed the nails from my fingers, but it didn’t stop him making me use them inside him to make him fly.
I do remember the first changes. These things on my back, the scarring over my shoulders, the ropy flesh. The cold one cut me again and again to make them work. I’m small but still too big to fly with these wings. The ends drag on the ground if I’m not stretching them out and the tips of the feathers break. Some nights when I can’t sleep either I pace and make songs with the scraping ends on the floor.
The hard one smells like soap, never takes his helmet off and likes to call me ‘Lady’. He is slow but methodical and very, very warm. He talks at me, not to me, as if I were a statue, and pulls at my limbs to pose me like a doll. He strokes my wings and never tries to take my hood off. I’m not sure he even knows I hear him. He always thanks me and brings me a flower. The last time, it was some sort of lily. It died after two nights and the quiet one took it away.
Sometimes I hear noises from the room beyond the door. Voices mainly. When I hear laughter I shiver in my corner. I can usually tell when it’s night time; when it gets quiet and the screams and the explosions stop. They think I can’t hear it, but I can. Even through the thick walls. It is a recurring song every day, varying minimally like ripples on a stream.
The old one smells of cigarettes, cologne and dust. His hands are soft, and he always takes his gloves off. He likes playing with my nipples, tugging at them until they stand up stiff enough to pinch between his fingers when he cups my awkwardly soft breasts. He uses all my openings, favouring one or another from time to time. He likes to bite and suck hard at my skin to mark me. He likes to tell me scandalous things about the others, but I don’t know if any of them are true. Some of them frighten him.
The young one comes to me most often, but doesn’t say much after that first time. His breath always smells sweet and chemical, like some sort of candy. Sometimes he just curls up with me in the corner and holds me. Sometimes he is rough and wanting, and I can hear the tears in his breathing as he shouts his release. He always takes my hood off to see my face, even though the cold one tells him not to. His eyes are full of many things when he looks at me, besides just the anger in his voice.
The cold one frightens me. He insists on my wearing the hood whenever anyone comes to me. He smells of bleach and metal and never takes his gloves off. He always makes me stand for his inspection beforehand, impersonal fingers pinching and tweaking for closer observation while he mutters under his breath. Sometimes he pets me like a beloved cat, and sometimes he hurts me. He delights in my fragile bones and paper thin skin, and is endlessly inventive. He whispers tenderly in my ear when he sends me voiceless into the dark, and when I return I am always covered in drying fluids and new scars.
The singing one comes to me often, his voice seemingly harsh but so very threaded with melody. He smells of smoke and pepper and alcohol, and it makes me sneeze. He keeps his boots on when he mounts me, and laughs heartily while holding me spreadeagled by the jesses on my ankles. He calls me things I don’t understand, and always offers me drinks from his bottle. I learned quickly that that makes me very sick. He once took my hood off, stared at my face then turned away. He has always made me keep it on since. I’m not sure I like him.
I don’t know what else has been done to me. I know that when I am agitated the wings on my back flutter and thrash uncontrollably, and my heartbeat clatters like raindrops on a tin roof, much faster than the hoofbeats I was used to. I don’t know how long I’ve been here. I remember being wrapped in blankets and locked in a box at least once.
The quiet one touches me like I am a strange new thing. They smell of smoke and rubber, and make me lie me down on the blankets while they pace around me restlessly. Their gloved hands stroke me like a sheet of paper, then slide curious fingers into every orifice. Sometimes they break off the pacing abruptly, spread my thighs, then lick and suck until I am delirious, fingers in my mouth to choke off my noises. Sometimes I lie there and listen as they lean against a wall, rhythmic wet noises and groans signalling their solitary pleasure.
I don’t remember much. But at least here I’m not the only one without a name.
....I have one word to say and that's whatthehell.
Beautiful. You've taken a writing style/story/perspective that is very often horrible and a bitch to get through for the reader and somehow made it very lovely. I can't believe this is your first fic.
[spoilers] Archimedes?! [/spoilers]
Okay, you've caught my interest. I managed to guess who each of the teammates were, now what the Jesus is the person...bird...thing?
I'm just gonna sit here and fail all night. Derp.
Well, since I'm here, I might as well applaud both your style and the way you describe the characters. That can't be easy when you're writing from the perspective of a bird...person...possible horse...thing.
Ah crap. I wrote that and forgot to fill in my name. What a wally. Oh well.
I only manage to write fic when bitchslapped by vivid, borderline-surreal dreams. Which then get splatted across the page un-beta'ed, because I'm crap like that. Sorry. I'm still wincing at a couple of typos that I've only just noticed.
Essentially the protagonist is a nameless hitchhiker, probably female, that Medic kidnapped and modified in the image of one of his beloved doves, for eventual use by the rest of the team. I tried to leave as many details open as I could.
Sorry about the clumsy 'hoofbeats' metaphor.
So are they all fucking a harpy or what?
More like they're fucking the closest thing Medic can make to an angel. Still has arms. I deliberately didn't describe her feet to leave it vague.
I can dig that. And no, it wasn't a clumsy metaphor, it's three AM and I'm at the 'drunk' stage of tired. :)
IIIII loved this, for many reasons.
So even though parts of this really BOTHER me, I like it! My first reaction about reading the part with the Heavy was, "aww, I love that he's so nice!" but then I remembered that, oh wait, they're ALL taking advantage of/possibly raping a kidnapee that was brutally mutilated for their own desires.
It's super dark, but there's a really interesting look into all of the characters that I just really like for some reason. So great job, you've written something that legitimately has me pondering things, and that's always a sign of a nice work.
soo will there be a second part to this? id kinda like to know what happens to that strange creature.
I won't lie. For a bit there, I thought it was FlyEngie.
It's certainly interesting, though. I'd also like to see more.
Wow...I've spent the better part of the day thinking about this fic. Even published authors tend to forget about the psychological aspect of captive fics, but I like the way you've characterized each class. Moments like Spy using more variety than the others and Sniper feeling both lustful and guilty are pretty horrifying, but they feel terrifying in-character; it's like each class reflects a different type or aspect of domination.
The scariest part of the fic for me is that AngelCaptive here seems to have a beak. o_o Keeping a captive? Bad, but who doesn't want to feel powerful? Turning the captive into an angel so Medic can feel like he's fucking over God? That's actually a bloody brilliant concept that'd make complete sense for him. But literally giving her a beak? I'm playing through Bioshock right now, and this still scares me.
tldr; Awesome fic, scary, great character moments, prolly turned me on more than it should have <.<
Hood? Jesses? Medic doesn't know if he wants a dove or a falcon?
>>12 Dunno. Mus said it was a one shot.
>>14 She is described as having lips so I don't think she has a beak. But it looks like Medic swapped out her voicebox too. Poor thing.
Captcha: ydesc surgeon
This was quite good, all around. Dark, but very good.
>>15 Oh. There were lines about the how she can only eat grain paste and kissing some of the characters in little pecks, so I assumed she has a beak. I suppose "pecks" could be figurative, though, and the Medic could've done something weird to her digestive system. Still, there's a line about Sniper ("thin one") that her lips could speak, which implies that if she doesn't have a beak, the Medic has at least tried to modify her lips somehow.
*Sniper surprised that her lips could speak
I've read hard core gay rape without a care in the world, but this?
This makes me feel unclean.
Take that as a compliment.
The strangest thing for me is that I dreamed it, and despite the vividness of the imagery, the most horrific aspect for me is the protagonist's detachment. That this is their life and they know no other.
Thank you. As a relative newcomer to the fandom, I don't really feel confident yet in direct characterisation of the actual Classes themselves. I do have a bit of an understanding of the Mad Scientist mindset though.
Thank you. I guess my forte may be less the guro than the shapes-of-shadows sort of horror. I certainly can't match the lyricism of writers like Toxo - the writing in "Snuff" still makes me shiver.
All that being said, could I possibly ask for concrit?
One concrit coming up:
From the writing style, it was sometimes hard for me to tell the overall intelligence/learning of Angelcaptive. On one hand, she's a captive with few memories of her previous life; on the other hand, she sometimes uses pretty phrases like "lilting and syncopated" and "fragments fly around like leaves in a teacup," even though you wouldn't expect a sheltered slave to have such eloquence. Does the medic allow her to read? Maybe it can explicitly be stated that she likes forming poetic phrases without without remembering how she learned to do so. Or maybe one of the classes can sometimes sneak her a book and a light source without or without the Medic's permission. (The Heavy does have that pHD in Russian literature.) Basically, I think the captive should either use simpler language or there should be an explanation for her relatively strong grasp of language.
My other suggestion is to ask for even more detail in a couple of places than is already there. Perhaps you can explain what things Demoman says that Angelcaptive can't understand, or give examples on the scandalous things Spy says about his teammates. >.> What I would most like to see is a description of how the Sniper shows that he "lives and breathes with guilt," especially since it seems that the Sniper drove Angelcaptive to the base out of the kindness of his heart without any idea of what Medic would do to her. There's a lot of potential for implied delicious psychological torment there.
i read this story and immediately knew what its about!
sage(SORRY, BUT IT'S TOO SOON FOR SAGING)
The story is only one day old. Frankly, I'm not going to ask people to sage any sooner than three days to a week after an update.
I know I said it was a oneshot, and it stands as it is, typos and all (dammit). But the voices in my head won't leave it alone.
Poulette - En brisant - Un
Yeah, I like her. So what? She’s real pretty, especially when it’s kinda dark and you can’t see all the scars. I mean, I dunno what Medic’s got goin’ on in dat weirdo head of his – when he’s got that scary faraway stare I ain’t gunna argue with him, yanno? – puttin’ wings on her an’ all like she’s one o’ his fuckin’ pigeons. But with his medigun, you’d think he could at least heal her properly without the scars an’ all. She’s covered with ‘em! At least they’re all faded white instead of angry and red; otherwise she’d look like a fuckin’ candy cane. Fuckin’ small mercies.
No, I don’t know her name. How the hell would I know? It’s not like anyone ever fuckin’ tells me shit. And around here, if you talk about goin’ ta see Her, everyone knows who you’re talkin’ about anyways.
It’s fuckin’ sweet knowin’ I can see her whenever I want, and she’s always smilin’ and happy ta see me. Especially after I started takin’ that fuckin’ stoopid leather helmet-thing offa her head. It’s gotta weigh, like, three or four pound or sumthin’; I always rub her neck after I help her get it off, and it gets her all hot and then she kisses me like she’s tryin’ ta breathe me in and it gets me all hot like bejeezus. I mean, fuck, she’s all bendy an’ she makes dese really hot high noises like she’s tryin’ ta keep it in, an’ gets all tight around me when she comes an’ bites my neck an’ I fuckin’ pound her ‘till I come so hard I fuckin’ see stars, man.
She’s real soft an’ likes ta cuddle afterwards. I don’t blame her fer dat – I’m fuckin’ amazin’ at everything I do o’ course – and it’s really nice. I’m not some kinda girlyfag kinda dude who talks about feelings and stuff, but I’ll fuckin’ beat your head in if you ever tell anyone what I’m gonna say now. Sometimes y’know, a guy can’t sleep, and I go see her and just.. have her put her arms around me. And I look at her face an’ dose big grey eyes an’ dat sweet dusty birdy smell of her an’ I drift right off right there in dat nest of blankets. Heh. Nest? Like a bird? Hehe..
Umyeeah. Like I said, brudda? Tell anyone, and I’ll shove my bat right up yo’ ass.
It's kinda sweet in a strange sorta way...
This was something I typed up before this next chapter of Poulette, but couldn't put up because I was traveling for a while.
I can't explain why, but I don't really like this fic. It's not that it leaves me feeling really "unclean" or anything - on the contrary, it feels really emotionally distant like a lot of the Ikea fics I grew up seeing on FF.net. It brings up a lot of interesting concepts, but just leaves me feel really meh about everything.
Maybe it's because you're trying so hard to keep things "Vague". Maybe it's because your character is shellshocked or something. But I'm sure the real reason is because you tend to "tell" us everything that happened and the character's feelings instead of "showing" it. Some things work better as a oneshot, and this is just not that kind of story. If I were you, I would do this all over again and dedicate at least a chapter to each of her (first?) experiences with the guys.
With that being said, it's a real disappointment that no one has given the crit this story needs. Mimi came the closest, but I'm just in awe that people continued to lavish this fic with praise and say it's really spectacular, when it, in fact, needs a LOT of work, and I think is subpar to Chan standards.
Mus, don't take this the wrong way. I'm happy you're here, and happier that we can help you improve. I just feel like the chan has gotten a little complacent and gives out compliments more freely now, as opposed to REALLY making you work for it. Troll fics and obviously bad neko kawaii bullshit aside.
Okay, I see you've added a chapter of narrative from someone else. It's pretty good, considering we can tell who it is without them expressly having their name mentioned, but it's still a little too much. Scout doesn't feel like a real person here - he sounds like a character, which is not what you want. Remember - all good things in moderation.
Tone down his "voice" - once we get the first few hints, you don't have to keep bashing us over the head with THIS IS SCOUT. The last little sentence... paragraph thing could have been left out completely in my opinion, in fact. But I'll cut you some slack since it seems you just weren't too sure where to end it.
This doesn't quite resolve all of my issues with this fic, though. One thing I'd also like to mention is that I'm not a fan of first person narratives. They are anus-burningly hard to do, and, honestly, I don't think you're there yet. Not even close. Try Third person. ALWAYS start with third person, then branch out.
Like I said, still not sold, but I'll keep my eye on this, sense I think you have potential.
Thank you for your help, Mimi. I really appreciate it. I actually had a backstory worked out for her, but am trying to find a way to let it show bit by bit, given her chemical- and trauma-induced partial amnesia.
Oh. Um. Really not. Really, really not.
Anon, firstly, thank you for your input. I am trying to be honest about being new to this and to the fandom. And I am glad to be given a chance to try and to improve. I have very little experience in writing, per se. Got to start somewhere.
I can confirm that the idea of the original piece was to emphasise the dreamlike, PTSD-disjunction of the protagonist. Especially the fact that the only strong emotion she was capable of in her damaged state is her fear of Medic.
I guess I was trying more to convey an emotional impression rather than characterisation. If you were looking for a sense of solidity for the individual classes, you might indeed consider this subpar.
With regard to the second 'chapter', again I was aiming for an interview-style monologue for Scout. He always seems to me to project a character first off, with character insight coming when his speech slows.
...Is that you, Cat Bountry?
...Is that you, Cat Bountry?
Haha, best compliment ever.
No, I'm not (Cat Bountry wouldn't go anon anyway - they've got bigger balls than me), but I am a writer who's trying to make a name for themselves on the chan and is always looking to help out others when I can. That's all I'm really going to say, but I'm pleased you didn't just disregard all of my advice. Thank you, and I look forward to seeing where you go.
As you say you are a writer who's trying to make a name for themselves on the chan, I would love to know what name you write under so I can learn more. I'm only just starting out here.
I will admit this, I like it but don't. Strangely enough. I have read this a few times, mixed reactions each time. Sometimes I can read it the whole way through and nod at the end with understanding. Sometimes, I just can't stand starting it. It might be me and my fickle reading moods *shrugs*.
Im surprised that one of them wouldn't use a name or something. It feels as if she was being vague intentionally. But then, I don't know if it is intentional.
Meanwhile, I will have to say this, writing third or first person has different challenges but are not potentially easier or harder than the other. For instance, at times, its easier for me to write first, and times third. Since the character here is not portrayed by the game, it would be just as hard either way. But if the writer sees it in first person, then thats what you should write.
One thing I love is her language. I love the idea of a person using quite sophisticated language. The eloquence is beautiful that her internal voice has. She is your character - remember that.
But I don't like how I can't feel her. I can't feel her expressions. She sounds as if she would be rather intelligent, but doesn't actually seem to try to acquire her previous intellect. She doesn't seem to try to understand them either. Stockholm Syndrome is something whereby she should be relating to her captors - especially if this has happened for a while. Her captors do seem to be bonding with her, but not to the level that I would expect. Does Heavy speak to her often? If she knows what he is saying, is it in Russian or in English?
The bit that is the Scout - I would agree its a little over the top. But in saying that, you can craft it that it isn't. Being so short, is it an interview? Writing a book? Chatting to her? Monologues are strange to read without some kind of reference for us. He might be slinging it with someone - your character even.
Overall, I find it lacks that little oomph that would take it from feeling a little disjointed to something that feels more complete. Or maybe I am just not relating to her enough
By the way, this took me ages to write - because I had to think about this a lot.
Meanwhile, my work is rather atrocious, so maybe I shouldn't write out this kind of review, but I know what I like.
As funny as it is? I think the original portion of the story should have been a second-person narrative, actually. It adds to the dream-like quality, the sense of here and now, and decreases the distance between reader and narrator (even if only in an artificial way.) That said, I think having full amnesia was a mistake. Not only is it unrealistic (real amnesia is typically partial) but it's especially frustrating when she's the one narrating. It's fine as long as one of the men is the narrator but with her in the driver's seat, it simply leaves her empty. I think ignoring her name was fine. She might have wanted to forget or else crafted a new name for herself that she isn't willing to share or even simply but slyly glossing over it would work out. Giving her some vague memories of her past is more important. It doesn't have to be anything poignant. Simply something to make her feel like a person, in spite of everything that the Medic has done to her. Perhaps something to tie into her impressions of these nine very different people.
Honestly, I feel perhaps it would've been better if it was more fleshed out. More showing, as someone else mentioned. I think the idea is fine, in and of itself. It might have even been extremely interesting if it had a twist at the end, where the main character actually woke up to find it was a dream. Either an IRL player or Ms. Pauling or even the Administrator. It being Admin would be weird as fuck and her reaction to it would be very interesting... It's definitely not how she'd act in that situation but dreams often contradict reality, so it's not impossible for her to have a dream that was obscenely weird and somewhat degrading. It might be even more interesting trying to explain why she'd ever have such a dream, though that would only work well if a) it was simply amateur guesses that 'd make sense to anyone or b) you felt like digging through some psychology for a 'better' answer. Off the top of my head, perhaps she was starting to feel trapped by her job as the Admin to their battles and she feared she was losing control of the mercenaries?
Sorry I took forever to respond to this story, Mus. I had to think about this for a long time and look at other people's replies before I could even form a concise opinion. I love dreams in stories. Unfortunately, once they're in a story they need to abide by more literary qualities than an actual dream has or they need to be tied into such things, in order to make them truly amazing.
A serious question then. Do you have any tips for writing first person? I rarely use it but sometimes it feels right and I am always looking for ways to improve. I think everyone here would be grateful for anything you could recommend, actually.
Forgot to add, I totally agree with Mimi. Especially regarding Demo, Spy, and Sniper. :1
Read this when it was first posted, but I'm lousy with criticism and didn't have anything useful to offer in that respect. That said, this is beautifully written, but it creeps me the hell out. Up to you if that's a bad thing or a good thing.
Hmmm...now that people have brought it up, I suppose I feel more ambivalent about the so-called "vagueness" of the story. I'm a fan of classic modernist and post-modernist work, so I've read far more abstract pieces that contain less plot and more stream of consciousness that are much harder to get through. >.>
In terms of characterization, I personally don't feel it's vague. For the captive, it seems that she has to squash the individualistic parts of herself in order to survive in her current environment. If we don't know much about her as a person, then it's because those parts can only be coaxed out in an environment healthier than the one she's currently in. I'm personally glad that her back-story will be filled out bit by bit; perhaps then we can see her gradually remember more and thus become more rebellious as the story continues. Honestly, if she'd begun the story as full-fleshed as a person who's been free all her life, I wouldn't have believed her as a character.
In terms of plot, I guess I might be able to call it vague. After I first read the story, I kept imagining scenarios in my head: the captive's first meeting with Sniper in the van, her first meeting with the Medic and how he subdued her to turn her half-bird, what would happen one day if the opposing team attacked and unintentionally destroyed part of the base thus leaving her to run free, etc. I suppose characterization and the shell-shocked mood of the story could have been enhanced if there had been more concrete plot details, but the fact that some of us were fascinated enough by the story to start imagining stuff on our own is great. The initial one-shot could've provided more detail, but the details it does provide create a surreal mood with interesting psychology; it creates a protagonist who senses that her current circumstances are wrong even as she pines for affection from her captors, and it portrays the classes showing different kinds of guilt and predatory behavior. I personally can't see how the one-shot is "subpar," but I suppose to each their own. :)
One critique I'm going to make in addition to the stuff I already said about style and showing is to give a description of what the Captive does in her spare time. Since she presumably doesn't spend all her time being fucked by the TF2 boys, I wonder what she does trapped in a lightless room all day. Sing songs and translate them into foreign languages she knows? Do math problems in her head? Make up stories about the bugs she sees in her room? Describing what she does in her spare time would add more concrete plot details and flesh our her character, making the one-shot overall less "vague." I'm also curious as to how she manages in a lightless room. Does she have a slight light-source? Has the medic altered her eyes so she can see in the dark like an owl? <.<
(One critique on the Scout chapter coming up soon)
>>32 ...for some reason, I did not even consider the Administrator wanting to fuck the captive. How did that happen?! When I pictured the Administrator investigating the captive's presence, I imagined Admin being cold and ignoring a prisoner since she can just fuck Saxton Hale instead. And I completely forgot Ms. Pauling's reaction. Good call there.
If I had written that as subpar for a one shot, I should explain what I meant. A one shot, in itself is something that should be completely stand alone. No further work would be entered into it. As such, it is hard to feel this as complete. That would be a serious injustice to Mus's character. This needs some sort of continuation in my mind. Especially because it has so many things that could be explored. Would the empathy that the team gets from her cloud their idealistic view of the medic? Soldier would be fun with that, be able to call him a Nazi?
So there is some more of what's in my head. Read it again this morning, having a like day for it.
Mimi, please keep emotes (<.< :) o_o etc) to a minimum. Your concrit is just as enlightening without them.
>>37 Ah, apologies. I was under the impression that emoticons were associated with being underage, but figured it wouldn't be a problem if the words I said had thought behind them. For me, posting here is a chance to unwind after a long day of studying lit. at university; I love the subject, but I hate the stuffy formality. I suppose I use emoticons because I like how casual they feel by comparison, and because I felt more free to use them here than in other places...only apparently I'm not. I still feel that not all emoticon usage is dumb, just informal. Just like how not everything on a chan is inherently badly written. I'd hoped this chan would judge on a case-by-case basis, but I have more important things to fight for than the right to use smileys. I'll refrain from doing so in the future.
I have to disagree that the one-shot didn't work on its own. I thought more detail in specific areas would have improved it, but I was still enthusiastic about the whole. Take the line: "He was angry when he found the cold one had removed the nails from my fingers, but it didn’t stop him making me use them inside him to make him fly". In one sentence, it shows that the Sniper is so lust-ridden he'll let his lust override his guilt and take advantage of a prisoner, maybe even using his guilt to add to his lust. It offers a look into his messed up mind and evokes horrible imagery (of the captive's fingers, of how the Sniper fucks her even when she's in pain, etc.) without needing to go into step-by-step detail. Now, if Mus chooses to add more step-by-step detail, that'll be more than great, but I think the one-shot says a lot with relatively few sentences, which is a good technique to have in writing.
But again, that's just my opinion. What one person finds to be a delightfully understated sentence that evokes a dozen fascinating scenarios could just seem vague to someone else. What one person finds to be an eloquent, detailed line could seem stuffed and gratuitous for someone else. Of course, it's up to Mus to decide which is which, but I'm glad you have taken the time to express your opinion articulately and politely. It's always interesting seeing what other people think about the things I read.
(Scout concrit coming up. Soon...)
Thank you, Mimi. I admit while I admire intricately evocative writing like Toxo's, I have no confidence in my ability in that direction. I tend to rely on pared back sentences. I strive to reach elegance one day.
I am still trying hard to improve my writing, but it's going slowly. Not only is Poulette my first TF2 fic, but it is my first ever fic in any fandom. I am deeply appreciative of all this amazing concrit I'm receiving. The fact that so many people are sharing ideas and feelings about this is wonderful. Thank you everyone!
Poulette - aveuglant - deux
Sometimes when ah can’t sleep fer the dreams, I go see her, yeah. So maybe I do, like the rest of the guys. Danged nights get cold out here in the desert. What’s it to ya?
Yeah, none taken. I like her, okay? She’s kinda like a good luck charm, maybe like a mascot fer the team. No idea where Medic found her – mebbe she’s one of his, mebbe he found her out there. We ain’t that far from White Sands, and I’ve read those pulp SF novels Demo leaves lying around, fulla aliens and mutants and suchlike. I don’t get either why he tells us ta keep the hood on ‘er either; it’s not like we haven’t all got a few scars here and there, and she’s really pretty anyhow with those huge pale eyes. It’s a pity she seems ta get sick all the time. Medic’s got her in sickbay more often than not, and she doesn’t really like it in there. Can’t say I blame her, his bedside manner’s not the best ah’ve seen.
She’s real sweet and …enthusiastic, if ya know what ah mean. It’s always good with her, and I like to think she enjoys it too. I love how hot she feels, y’know, inside and out. Medic says her internal temp runs higher than human normal and it’s really nifty how fast sweat dries off. Afterwards I like to rock her to sleep. When she’s all curled up under the feathers she looks no older than one a’ mah own kids. I comb her hair back and croon a little lullaby and sometimes she joins in with a sleepy warbly harmony. She likes music, ya know? I’ve heard her singing to herself many a time, walking past the storeroom door. I always cover her up well with the blankets before I leave. Can’t have our little angel getting cold on us.
‘Nyways, lookit me jawin' away when there’s work ta do. I got sentries ta fix and dispensers ta build. If ya got any more questions, ya'll can come back later.
Heh, the Engineer. Could see it coming as soon as I read the first sentence. This guy is my baby, but I can not do his speech patterns in words. This sounds good. Very good. You definitely got this voice to my happiness...
Why did that sound like an interrogation? Now, you have my gears going...
Constructive things... hmm... Again its a monologue and they are not my most favourite things to read. Probably because they are a word dump - no advancement by themselves. This would make a good 'why do you have a lady here' interviews for medic disciplinary hearing or something.
So I love the tone, just confused to where its going to.
I like the overall feel of the Scout's character, and I especially like that you're tackling each class' accents. Colloquial dialogue isn't something all writers can do. Scout here seems to be a nice balance of cocky and affectionate (well, as affectionate as you can be to a prisoner). Descriptions like the part about "candy canes" are vivid without the Scout sounding uncharacteristically book smart. The part where he describes what it's like when he's with Angel made me shiver. It's scary how she's so nice to the Scout for taking off her hood even though she shouldn't have needed to wear it in the first place. Stylewise, it's quick with relatively simple sentences and packed with color, like you'd expect from the Scout. (And "hot high noises like she's trying to keep it all in"? Brrrr.)
In terms of content, I'd like to see Scout and each of the other classes address the fact that they're taking advantage of an unwilling captive. It would add more tension to the plot and increase characterization; plus, the fact they're keeping and raping a slave should be too big for them to ignore. For Scout, it can be short, with something along the lines of "Yea', I know it's iffy keepin' a broad locked up and all, but she likes it! She likes ME, so it's ok." More self-aware characters like (I'd assume) Medic, Spy, and Sniper could understand that she only likes it due to Stockholm Syndrome and extreme psychological conditioning, and they could react with varying levels of guilt (or lack thereof.)
I also have a few gripes with style. A few places seem too poetic for Scout. "Scary faraway stare" could be replaced with something like "creepy stare." "Instead of angry and red" could be replaced with "so they're not big and red." Other times, it seems he's overdone it on the swearing. As much as I love swearing, they sometimes cause the dialogue to flow awkwardly. I found the rhythm gets awkward when Scout uses the word "fuckin" twice too closely together. I suggest removing the one that comes before "pound" in the last sentence of the third paragraph and either replacing the one that comes before "candy cane" with "freakin" or removing the adjective entirely. (Yes, I am telling the Scout how to swear. I am that kind of person. Um...sorry?)
Glad you appreciated my earlier critiques. I write them because I want them to help. I hope you don't think my own earlier Scout impersonation is that horrid, and I'll have the Engie crit up soon.
Mimi, I very much value and appreciate your crit. I promise not to take it for granted like some sort of after-the-fact beta! With the Scout fragment I do admit to a little overdoing it on the profanity. I was hoping it would add to the momentum-rush of his pent-up speech, but it didn't quite make it.
>>36 >>38 >>40
I am taking all the concrit and suggestions from everyone on board, honestly. I am trying very hard to balance subtlety with detail. All I can say is I hope my writing is improving from a reader's point of view. I'm certainly learning heaps, here! Thank you all again.
Poulette - Ferraille - trois
How are you? I am good and we are fighting well every day with few losses. But I am not thinking you are coming to talk over tea and biscuit. You want to ask about molodoĭ tsyplenok, yes? I am expecting you. Was only matter of time before questions come.
Very long time ago. I remember. Tiny devushka hiding in storeroom, coming out at night to kitchen quick like little mouse, many many months ago. Big dark eyes, long hair blonde like winter wheat. I talk to her, she is sharp and bright like knife. Studying Russkiĭ at kolledzh to talk to Brezhnev to ask for peace not war! I promise not to laugh, and I teach her and give songs to sing. But quiet. Devushka is smart and sad and brave to hide on base with men who fight cowards every day! Then one day is gone. Find torn skirt with blood. Sniper says taken by dingo, is very sad. Whole team is sad for few days, then forget. Go back to fighting. Then Medik spend many weeks working, sleeping in lab. Tell team, have present for good job. Find molodoĭ tsyplenok in sickbay storeroom. Rest of team say they not know where she is from, but I know. They think that my words are slow so thoughts are also slow, but they are wrong.
I always take leather hat off. First time, I see her face and I know. First time, I hurt her and am very sad. She can only make noise like birds, crying is like zyablik, little.. Finch, is word. I think. Medik is do bad things to devushka, and I tell him, many times. Even the hat and the leg strap, is like his bad dreaming, I say. But he gives look and shouts at me with Ubersaw to go, so I go. What can I do against vrach Medik? And now with wings she is like bird in cage, will die if free. I am gentle for tsyplenok, I try not to hurt her now. I tell story sometimes in Russkiĭ, about Sadko, and Ded Moroz, and I think she remembers. Tilts head like ptitsa and blinks big eyes now silver like owl. Sometimes if I am lucky I get smile I remember, white like new moon. I bring honey and sugar for her kasha, and I brush her winter wheat hair. And maybe new blanket to keep warm.
Is not much, I know. But is something. I try.
Now, you might think Im going to say monologue bad.
Well, this time, I absolutely adored it. Made me all sad inside. This is so beautifully written. His Russian suits this. So very very much. He speaks with a slow lilt that you have got here. I can just hear him telling me this, integrated with the Russian. And theres no breaks, so it feels like a single piece of dialogue. This.
It just makes me happy. Very very happy. Thank you!
Still alluding to this interview! I just want to see the other person. Just to perspective it... Soldier next?
This story is freaking me out. It's not even the kind of thing I generally like (except for the psychotic Medic). However, I find myself eagerly waiting for more.
My reaction to the Engie section was basically "Awww, Engie's relatively nice to her...wait she's about as small as his own kids? This Engie has kids? He's fucking the Medic's slave while a kid's waiting for him back home?! Ack!"
Great Engie accent. I like the part where he just brushes aside all questions about the morality of him and the Medic's slave with "What's it to ya?!" Sounds like something the practical, non-philosophical Engie would say.
The Heavy's section is very moving. You can tell that he cares for the captive and is very intelligent behind his bad English. I love how we now know the protagonist had political and linguistic aspirations and a love of music; Heavy made her sound like a cool and admirable person, which adds to the horror of what Medic did to her. The owl eyes were a nice touch, because it implies how she can see through her dark room.
The Russian words look and sound so pretty, even if I couldn't find translations for all of them on Russian-English dictionary sites. I tentatively suggest including a list of translations for foreign words, although it would be perfectly fine if you want to leave them ambiguous.
I do have questions about the plot. If the whole team knew the protagonist was hiding in the base and the whole team was sad when she disappeared, it's odd that Scout and Engie still insist they don't know where the Medic's captive came from. It seems they'd realize that the runaway student disappeared right before their mad scientist began working on "a gift," and they'd put two-and-two together, especially Engie. If an extended time period occurred between the protagonist disappearing and the Medic staying up late in his lab so they didn't automatically connect the two, that should be clarified.
I also suggest placing more emphasis on the fact that the protagonist looks drastically different from the way she used to, beyond wings or eye color or scars. That would explain how some of the team weren't able to recognize her.
Still, I like that the team is basically split into those who knew where the captive came from and those who don't. It helps us tell who's more perceptive and involved with the captive (in either a good or bad way) from those who are innocent/oblivious/in-denial. I hope you play with the idea that some of the team are in-denial because they want to enjoy guilt-free sex without facing up to the idea that the Medic might have involved of them in rape and kidnapping. (I guess I like complex psychological torture in my afanfics, for some reason.)
A more minor plot question is that I'm unsure of why Heavy had to quietly teach the protagonist if the whole base knew she was there.
Ah yes. Must confess to Google Translate abuse. Am big fan of phonetic spelling setting. Here's a list of (probably bad) translations of terms used in the bits. If I got it wrong, any native speakers are welcome to let me know.
I must also admit to a near-fetishistic love for wordplay, hints and multiple meanings. Sorry.
poulette - pullet, adolescent chicken. Also slang term for underaged whore.
un, deux, trois - one, two, three
en brisant - shattering
aveuglant - blinding, obscuring
feraille - scraps, leavings. Usually referring to metal debris.
molodoĭ - fledgling, youngling, adolescent
tsyplenok - chick, chicken
devushka - young girl. Usually unmarried.
Russkiĭ - Russian language
kolledzh - college, university. English loan word.
vrach - doctor
ptitsa - small bird. Usually songbird.
Sadko - Russian fairytale hero.
Ded Moroz - Grandfather Winter. Akin to a badass pagan Santa.
kasha - buckwheat porridge
Thank you Mimi. Let me just clarify a few of your questions.
Medic was working away in the lab for several weeks before announcing the 'gift' to the team. They're used to his periodic projects.
Scout never denied knowing where she was from, but dodged the question. He probably prefers not to think about it, invoking the wilful ignorance so easy in youth.
Engie isn't saying much, but has no problem with lying; he's found it's easier to get along with everyone else if he plays the genial good ol' boy, even if he knows much more than he's letting on.
The runaway-that-was mainly hid during the day, and came out after dark to forage in the kitchen. Mainly in an effort to avoid being spotted by Admin. Most interactions with her therefore (Heavy's among others) took place late at night. Heavy knows his voice gets loud, so he tried to keep it down to avoid waking anyone.
This next bit I've taken as far as I can at the moment (brain fried from work, alas). Apologies for perceived lacks. :(
Poulette - critère de Griffith - quatre
You requested this meeting, RECRUIT. I am in the middle of patrol, so make it SNAPPY. I have things to do! Rockets to polish and boots to FEED to THOSE SCUMBA-
What do you mean, her? You WILL ADDRESS HER AS BEFITS HER RANK, RECRUIT! The LADY JUSTICE is SWEET, and PURE, and ON OUR SIDE. We are HER SWORD and her SHIELD. Though blind, her HELM will SHINE before us, her WINGS will carry us to VICTORY and HER SONG will ECHO over the sunrise. Like at Iwo Jima. YOU KNOW IWO JIMA, DON’T YOU, MAGGOT? HER SCARS are marks of VALOUR, signs symbolic of our SUFFERING for her CAUSE. We are LUCKY to have her, RECRUIT. She has manifested and BESTOWED upon us her OWN WHITE LIMBS as our REWARD. Her presence bodes WELL for our SUCCESS! Capturing all the intelligence and BLOWING our enemies to BLOODY SMOKING GOBBETS! Because SUN TZ-
WHAT. Oh. Um. RIGHT. When I go to see the LADY JUSTICE, I make sure everything is CLEAN and and parade ready. A GOOD SOLDIER ALWAYS KEEPS HIS KIT READY! I’ll even SHAVE! Shave and POLISH EVERYTHING! And I always fall out after battle to bring her a flower. Ahem. Ladies like flowers. The last one? I marched out sixteen miles to find, and carried back in my canteen. THE BEST MILITARY MINDS ARE FLEXIBLE! AND IMPROVISE! And ARE NOT DEFEATED IN ADVERSITY. We are here to BALANCE her SCALES!
Now, boy, you’ll give HER RESPECT, or I will ask Sargeant Shovel here to have a real in-depth-RESPECTFUL CONVERSATION with your BRAIN PAN! DO YOU HEAR ME? DIS-MISSED.
Thank you Maelgwyn. I'm trying but it's getting tougher as I keep choosing and discarding plot filaments..
Thank you TeratoMarty. That's an awesome compliment. I hope my bitewise writing is getting better.
Heh, almost just the right amount of crazy for Soldier. You seem to keep him even keeled, he should be tangent-ing much more. Soldier is fun to write, especially if you choose RED soldier from the Meet the Series, and you know a few people who just remind you of him. But he has... issues... with keeping on any topic, or changing the story to what he wants to talk about. Thats his challenge to write with, to meander him but not too much. But this is defiantly commendable!
And don't worry about discarding threads of stories. I do it all the time. They kinda meander until I really get my butt into gear and keep them on the straight and narrow. That is the hardest part, writing to make sure that you get the right direction for what you are doing. Like, for instance, I am writing something for the SS and it has changed probably close to 10 times (and blowing through words - I need to make sure I get it done in time!)
Damn...out of all classes I had absolutely no idea how Soldier's chapter would turn out, since I didn't see how you could reconcile the soldier's austere personal code with his treatment of the captive. But now it makes sense. The soldier would totally believe that she is the incarnate of justice come to reward him; only way he'd agree to it; I'm a bit mad I didn't think of it myself. Loved the line about bestowing white limbs. Now, I'll just have to settle for wondering what the Pyro's part would be like (It would be like waiting for the Meet the Pyro video twice. Yay?)
Consider the fact that I love the soldier chapter a huge compliment, since I normally hate him in fanfic. The problem is that his main character trait is insanity, and insanity is like a sex scene: Utterly putrid in the hands of bad writers. I tend to find fanfic Solly either too sane to recognize or too pointlessly aggressive (Not to mention homophobic. Ron the Death treatment hits him even harder than Scout in slashfic, but that's neither here or there.) The point is, I've only ever liked Solly in maybe...two fanfictions, but I guess now I have to make it three. Yay!
>>48. Thanks for clarifying the plot points and the translations. Now that I know what it means, I love the title of this thread even more.
To respond to the clarifications, I think it should be made clearer in-story that Medic's long work hours weren't unusual and that the protagonist was trying to hide from the Admin instead of the team, just to avoid confusion. For Scout, I assumed he was indirectly denying that he knew where she came from when he said he didn't even know her name. I really should have figured out that Engie was lying, though. His description of their encounters has him covering her with blankets, while her description has him fisting her with Gunslinger. In hindsight, the contrast is so great Engie had to have been hiding things.
>>50 Yeah, pretty much every writer worth their salt prunes away plot points when writing/editing. Not a bad thing so long as you produce consistently good work.
Thank you both! I never dreamed I would wind up with regular readers when I started this, let alone continuing crit. This is a wonderful, rare thing.
I worked really hard on that one. Depicting insanity with multiple fault lines I find really difficult. It's so much easier when there is some sort of unifying internal logic, no matter how disparate from consensus reality. I know I should have made Solly more unhinged, but I kept losing control of the piece, so I pared it back.
With reference to my treatment of the classes in general, I'm probably making unnecessary work for myself by striving to give complexity to their inner dark side. But then again, I have never been known to do things the easy way. I'm not sure I really conveyed Scout's self contempt, for one thing. But I'm kind of happy with my tweaking of Engie. Why should Spy be the only one who gets to lie? And lying is easier if noone suspects the untruth behind an amiable grin.
while her description has him fisting her with Gunslinger.
I think fisting her with a Gunslinger would have a very strong chance of killing her with air embolism. Her description only mentioned using fingers inside her, which can simply mean sliding them in to stroke the G-spot area, and didn't specify which set were used when making her faint. My assumption after reading that paragraph was that he simply didn't stop after she reached orgasm and the intensity afterwards was too much when he kept going, trying to get her to reach multiple orgasms, though maybe that's merely an inexperienced and stupid guess on my part.
Dove, you're right about that. I was trying to convey that Engie went about play with the captive the way he would in testing the specs of a new system. Namely, see how far he could push it in terms of performance. Given her current structural fragility (Medic's been tweaking his pet project for quite a while), fisting would do real damage, let alone if he used the Gunslinger.
Also, some of my self indulgent wordplay wank, translated:
critère de Griffith (French) - Griffith's Criterion, a seminal equation in stress mechanics, predicting fracture propagation in brittle materials. I thought it was appropriate for Solly.
Poulette – La Fenice – Cinq
Hallo. Yes, I do go see her, like the others do. What? Wait, let me just take this off. Can you hear me now? Good.
Like I was saying, I do visit her, like the others do. Not often though. She’s always there, and always the same. I like to look at her, all glimmering pure white. She’s so pale I don’t even have to swap out the dark lens outserts when I walk in, y’know? I touch her all over and trace the scars everywhere they go. They’re so different from mine. Hers are mostly all silvery and faded, and she’s so tiny and thin that on her they look like frost on the windows in winter, only big, like climbing vines on a wall. She seems to like it, anyhow, from the little noises she makes. I guess we’re the only ones she gets to see, the only ones here to touch her. So of course she likes us. Even me.
I remember Medic coming into the mess with that shit-eating grin, slapping his gloves into his hand, to tell us that his latest up-all-night project was a gift from him and the Microphone Bitch for a Job Well Done. Hell, you could hear the capitals all crunchy in his Kraut accent. We all rushed in when he threw the storeroom door open and there she was sitting on a dusty table, wings all rustly and shimmering pearly grey. Everyone speechless staring for a long minute, before Scout breaks the spell with a whoop about how ‘we got a chick now’. Medic shoos us back out, closes the door and gives us a big lecture about rules. I remember zoning out; I couldn’t stop seeing her in my head, all pale and clean like some sort of angel, so different from us with our oilstains and powder burns and grubby nails. Why do you think I keep the gloves on? I even try to get clean rags to replace her old ones, when I remember. Occasionally I’ve seen her trying to wash them in the water bucket.
Oh, I keep that hood on her head. It’s a funny looking thing. Together with the ankle jesses she’s always got on, it makes her look like the falcons I saw at a Ren Faire once. Guess that’s Medic for you. He gets some weird ideas in his little dungeon of a sickbay. I don’t know if she can see through it, though I know she can hear fine. It doesn’t look like it gets in her way much, anyway. And to be honest with you, I’m not sure I want to see her face. Maybe it’s like mine; maybe hers is scarred far worse and that’s why they have to make special food for her, and why she can’t talk properly. Or maybe it’s not like the rest of her; maybe it’s perfect and beautiful and terrible. I’m not sure if I wanna find out, or to see it either way. So I never ask her to take it off. Actually, I don’t really talk to her. She doesn’t seem to want me to. Engie says she likes to sing, but I’ve never heard her doing it.
Um. Can I have my lighter back now?
Self-indulgent translation wank: La Fenice (Italian) – The Phoenix. Also an opera house in Venice that was burned down and successfully rebuilt in both 1837 and 1996.
Pyro. This one is hard for me to critique. I just don't get Pyro. Technically it's great. This one would be the hardest for me to do because I just don't hear Pyro when I have ever tried to write him.
>>53 and >>54
Ah, my mistake. The one-shot line "once when he didn't stop I fainted" didn't exactly create a sweet and tender image, so I suppose reading it caused me to assume the worst. I didn't take any scientific aspects into consideration because, well...TF2. Half-bird-person fanfic.
My favorite part about this scene has to be the flashback with Medic. The details about his grin and accent and hands really cinch his character. It's easy to picture him bragging and showing off his "creation" while being either dismissive or amused by the rest of the team's reactions. I gotta wonder what the "rules" he set for them are, and if he really has the Admin's endorsement or is just saying he does; either way will be good intrigue. Scout would absolutely be the first one to act ok about the whole thing.
As for the Pyro him/her/itself...I'm ambivalent as to what to make of it. The first one-shot does a great job of making Pyro seem like a distant, personless mask to the captive who comes for momentary curious pleasure and then moves on; it succeeds so well I think you could've replaced Pyro's pronoun with "it" instead of "they." After the one-shot, it's strange to see that this personless mask is actually...kinda shy, and thinks of the captive primarily in how she relates to his/her own insecurities about appearance. But I guess even an insecure person would gain a sense of vague power when given a slave.
If there's one complaint about the Pyro chapter, it's that the Pyro here seems almost entirely defined by insecurity. I can't see this Pyro dressing up as a devil or raising a flamethrower in the air while laughing like s/he has done in-game. Perhaps this chapter would be better if it combined the Pyro's insecurity with at least a more obvious pyromania.
Minor style critique: I think the term "crunchy" in the line about the Medic's accent added an awkward rhythm to the sentence. Plus, it's difficult to imagine a capital letter as "crunchy."
There is so little canon about Pyro's backstory that there is almost infinite scope to play with. Or, in corollary, it's hard to know where to start. Kind of interesting either way. I had a bit of fun here.
Heh. I always thought a the overenunciated guttural 'ch' sounds in Meet the Medic sounded almost abrasive. Not quite the right word there, I guess.
It amused me to contrast the crazy in-game Pyro with a treatment showing possibly the least creepy character of the lot. I did try to hint not just at an insecurity/purity link to the pyromania, but also at a touch of OCD ('pure', 'clean', 'grubby', 'perfect'). Especially since the Pyro here consciously chooses to isolate themselves from interacting with Angel as a person.
Bah. Brain fried by hot spell in the local weather. I'm going to go melt quietly somewhere.
Where I'm at now, it's cold and rainy. Wouldn't mind a trade-off.
May I suggest "capitals crunching in his Kraut accent" instead of "crunchy"? It's only a few letters but it would make a difference. "Crunchy" is a word that's overused in kid's cereal commercials, but "crunching" sounds like the Medic snapping his teeth shut and crushing something, which is prolly more of what you're going for.
I don't necessarily mind the idea of a Pyro obsessed with cleanliness and shyness; I just think it would've been more in-character if there had been addition lines about the Pyro's love of fire than just the final sentence about the lighter. It's the Pyro's only trait we know is canon, after all. Plus, it'll be hard to portray Pyro as the least creepy around Angel with the Heavy around. His chapter was a pretty sad and heartwarming one.
I hope for the Demoman and Spy next. Since Sniper and especially Medic seem to know the most about the circumstances surrounding Angel's captivity, I hope you save them for last.
Thanks for that Mimi. I did think about putting in content about Pyro's love of fire, but they seemed awkwardly shoehorned and arbitrary. I thought perhaps by accenting Pyro's shyness and instability of self-image, I could hint at the power/destructive impulses that would come from being faceless in the suit. Oh well. Rewrite time.
I am having a hard time writing the other classes at the moment, due to the clamour of the shrieking plotbunnies around my head. Order and timing are just part of it all. Doing my best.
"..I don't like this music. Let's change the beat."
-- Zorg, Fifth Element
Poulette – acciaccatura dal niente – Interlude
The room is almost the same. I am used to the spaces changing as boxes and cases are loaded and unloaded around me. The burned out bare bulb that hangs from the vaulted ceiling is now visible, however, in the light from the tiny window far above. I don’t remember there being a window there before. Things must have changed yet again and I shrug away a prickle of mental disquiet. Maybe I was moved while asleep. It has happened before. Better than the box.
The light is watery and dim, but just enough that I can fumble through the pile of blankets so I can look at the gift that was left for me.
The dusty paper bag is crinkled and soft with wear as I pull out a small book. The cover is long gone, and the edges of the pages are stained and buckled from smoke and water, the binding cracked and shedding crumbs of old glue. The smell of dusty wood and pressed flowers. Something stirs in my throat as I carefully open the pages.
Pictures. No, drawings. Of children. And a dog. And a ball. My eyes ache – probably the unaccustomed light, the effort of focusing – as I painstakingly piece together the letters and numbers in the speech bubbles, words springing ex nihilo into my mind. (piano. beagle. Red. Baron. ) It quickly gets easier, and before I know it, I have finished. And for no impulse I can name, I flip it right over and start leafing through it again from the beginning. And again.
And again. Faster and faster.
bird. blanket. Beethoven.)
Fingertips are bleeding again, leaving bloody smudges on the yellowed paper(umber? fawn. no, ecru. ). It seems harder to read, somehow. Oh, because my hands are shaking. It’s getting cold. And I can’t seem to bring my eyes into focus. Face feels hot and cold and tight, and I’m breathing hard. There’s a heaviness under my breastbone, burning where my atonal heart flutters like a trapped (me. you. us.) thing. I knuckle gracelessly at a tickle where thick scars stretch over cheekbone and into the hollow beneath and my hand comes away wet. Drying fingers aimlessly on the edge of a wing, heedless of the smears (carmine. scarlet too pink. crimson too bright.) I'm leaving on the crushed grey (dun. pearl. dove. silver. slate.) feathers with a too-tight grip. Dry mouth. A ringing in my ears.
The book falls, trailing ghosts of itself. Gracelessly, I follow.
Translation wank notes:
acciaccatura (Italian) - bruise, crush injury. In musical notation, a form of ornamental flourish or grace note.
dal niente (Italian) - out of nothingness, out of silence. In musical notation, a sudden phrase that is not foreshadowed.
I love how the book triggers her vocabulary and linguistic skills. I've always been fascinated by scenes where art/fiction/learning help reconfigure prisoners with the outside world, prolly because there's a lot of truth to them. And there are potentially meaty plot and character developments which could derive from this chapter: How will her retriggered learning affect her behavior as a captive? Will it make her more rebellious? How will the Medic and Co. react to an object that connects her to her life outside captivity? Who gave her the book? Did one of the classes draw the pictures for her, or did she draw them herself before the Medic turned her into an Angel? I hope you pick up at least one of these threads, though no doubt you've planned to already. ;)
One critique I have for the style is that I'm unsure of whether the Medic's operations have caused Angel to genuinely forget her (considerable) vocabulary until the book helps bring back her cognitive skills...or if Angel simply hasn't had a chance to use her vocab for some time, and the sudden opportunity to do so both excites and frightens her.
I think it's prolly the former, since words are described as leaping to her mind "ex nihlo" and "with no impulse I can name," but if that's the case, then her normal narration outside of parenthesis should be plainer. The descriptive words she uses in parenthesis are sophisticated and beautiful, ("Ecru," "carmine," "dun"? Wow.) but they'd stand out and have even more impact if she didn't already use fairly big words like "atonal" in her regular narration.
Best wishes with sorting out the plot bunnies. If you like, maybe you can share conflicting plot ideas on this thread for us to discuss?
Glad you liked it.
The book was a Peanuts comic compilation (piano. beagle.), which is a bit of license - the actual compilations weren't released until the 1970's.
Apologies for the wanky little bits of translation stuff. It amuses me, if nobody else.
This post has been deleted.
>>62...I cannot believe I missed that. I remember reading the Red Baron line and thinking "Hey, Snoopy had a make-believe enemy called the Red Baron. I wonder why it's mentioned here?" So close, but the neurons didn't fire. I'm able to pick out all sorts of allusions in James Joyce novels but I'm somehow thrown off by this?!
In my (admittedly poor) defense, if this had been a realistic fiction story, I prolly would have caught it, but my brain couldn't process the idea of Peanuts and TF2 existing in the same universe. Prolly because, like you said, they're in different time periods...and because the world would explode from awesomeness if I could read Peanuts comics in the morning and fight with Medic and Sniper in the afternoon. So, the only gesture of kindness someone has for the captive is giving her a Peanuts comic? That's...pretty sad.
No need for apologies with translation. I think they're a nice touch. If they're inaccurate, they'll just be as accurate as Valve-canon anyways. ("Oktoberfest!")
If someone gave her a Krazy Kat compilation instead, she'd have such a headache... but it would be fitting IMHO. Or perhaps Pogo, that would be less of a pain to read. Hah hah. I don't find it sad, personally, but then I've always loved cartoon strips and comic books. I sort of wondered and I kind of guessed. Glad to know I was right.
I liked the idea of the book stirring up her vocabulary but I'm not sure the synonyms were as effective towards the end. On the whole, I'm just not sure why she suddenly had her adverse physical reactions unless it was a general response to her wounds?
I liked all the other classes before this btw. I forget if I said but I adored Soldier's.
If they're inaccurate, they'll just be as accurate as Valve-canon anyways.
>>64 Peanuts ran from 1950 to 2000 so they're pretty much accurate for period. The only license I used was the compilation release dates. I'm currently giggling at a mental image of you fighting with Medic and Sniper - over who gets which bits of the weekend paper at the breakfast table.
>>65 Huh. Wonder what that was about?
Poulette – Gnomon – Interlude
To:Miss R. Pauling
Senior Executive Assistant
Re:Adjunct request to existing assignment
Dear Miss Pauling
Always nice to hear from you, Rhonda darling. It is good to hear that you find yourself in good health. I hope that circumstances are going well; how are your other pets doing? It is always a pleasure to assist you in your endeavours.
It is quite unfortunate to find that your previous intervention seems to have spawned further …complications. Sometimes in-house solutions can seem deceptively attractive. As I mentioned to your superiors when they contemplated operations in their current format, excessive sentiment is a characteristic quirk of mercenaries. I did advise the use of indentured staff at the time, but they decided on siting it all in this regrettably individualistic country. Let me just reiterate my previous offer of access to our organisation’s pool of subjects – impeccable plasm lines and ironclad imprinting, nothing but the best for you, my dear.
It will of course be no trouble to extend the current assignment to cover a complete clean-up of the situation. However, I cannot guarantee the utmost discretion if the local Spies interfere with our Agent. Needless to say, it will be your own responsibility to ensure that your lady Supervisor does not learn of your other fascinating projects. The standard consultant rate contracts will apply for the interim, with additional wetwork stipends and rebates for costs incurred. I shall forward the addendum to you for your consideration as soon as our Legal are ready.
I remain, as always, your Humble Servant
S. R. C. Marshall
Marshall, Carter and Dark
Gnomon – The part of a sundial that casts the shadow. From the Ancient Greek, meaning "indicator", "one who discerns," or "that which reveals." Also indicative of self-referentialism in mathematical and literary theory. (Woo, super meta!)
Oops, hi Dove-the-Unoriginal! Guess I saw the your post before you reposted it. Really meant >>63. How does one delete a post anyway? I can't seem to figure it out.
With regards to the physical symptoms, they were due to adrenalin. Sudden stress, panic attack, then a faint. Her fingertips bleed on and off and have done since Medic removed her fingernails.
Now please excuse me while I flail in n00bfanshock at the thought that I have regular readers. Dove, I love your writing!
Haven't read the updates yet (about to, I'm one of your regular readers too) but I'm about to go into happyshock at the SCP reference you ended it with. Do you write on there? I'd love to read your SCPs.
Hallo there Anon! This is me waving, friendly-like.
I have been a loyal SCP Foundation reader for yonks, but I don't write there. I'm glad someone else picked up my shout-out.
I'm late to the party here, but I honestly adore your characterization of Pyro. I read it for a while and wondered so much as to who it was, but I was so delighted when the last sentence was read!
I'm -extraordinarily- dumb for taking that long to figure that out, but obviously that goes unsaid.
Anyhow, I can't wait for more. I love the experimental venturing in your approach to each of the characterizations, down to how you deliver each chapter. Good stuff.
Just before I start - captcha has 1968 in it. Awesome.
Yes. I will just say, I like the interludes - they're very nice. Loving how she is reading Snoopy... just yeah.
Im drunk. No comment. Will do something pretty later
...And the plot thickens, to use the cliche. I love almost all stories w/ a not-so innocent Ms. Pauling. I'd say this part is confusing, but I guess it's supposed to be, you horrible, horrible tease. Anyway, I love how it foreshadows that some shit is gonna go down, and can't wait to see the fallout.
And yup, fighting over cartoons with my favorite TF2 characters would be great. You can join us!
I deleted my post by checking the box at the far right of the post title and hitting "delete." If that doesn't work, type in your usual password in the box next to "delete post" first.
Also, please recommend a good place to start reading at SCP. I just checked out the site, and it looks cool.
Usual password? I don't have one. Unless you mean the appears-as-dots shared one in the delete post window? I can't seem to use it; I keep getting the wrong-password message.
I admit it, you might get an increased sense of foreshadowing if you looked up Marshall, Carter and Dark on the SCP website (under Groups of Interest). All part of the fun.
Mimi, the SCP website is a timekiller, I should warn you right now. Not quite as bad as TV Tropes, but close. To start with, I would go to the dropdown bar at the top and read 'About the SCP Foundation' under Information. Then go to the Classes dropdown and read about the categories of SCP objects. Then wander around the various SCP Series listings. There's over a thousand there. The rating in the top right corner of each SCP object listing shows its voting level; the higher the better rated. (SCPs 294 and 914 are two of my favourites.) Just be aware that some of them are quite effective as nightmare fuel.
While the objects and their incident reports are internally consistent, the Foundation Tales fics are subject to no continuity or canon, and are often full of in-jokes. And the SCP Foundation has its own listing on TV Tropes.
I started out with this one: http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-093 , and it's possibly the best thing I've ever read in my life (read the exploration logs in order).
For me, I mostly read them in order, (OCD like that), http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-series
But check out SCP-050 and SCP-682, they both link you to a lot of other ones, and they are good places to introduce you to both the characters and the procedure/terminology. A couple of my favorites are SCP-112, SCP-087, and SCP-899
Heh. Just so that I don't derail my own thread, here's the last installment for some time. My offline plate is filling fast, and I can't guarantee I'll be able to keep writing at anything near this pace. My apologies. (If only those damned plotbunnies would just.stop.screaming!) Here we go.
Holy crap that’s a lot of apostrophes. If I messed up with the accent I’m sorry.
Poulette - délai chaîne de fusion - six
Guid mornin’. Ye look surprised tae see me up so early faur a blether. Ah’m no stranger tae irregular hours; when y’ve done everythin’ from cleanin’ skyscrapers tae demolishin’ lighthooses, ye get good at showin’ oop when y’re called f’r. Cuppa tea? ‘Ere, have a biscuit. One o’ Sniper’s stash, I think ‘e calls ‘em “Zacks” o’ summat. Ah won’t tell if ye won’t, aye?
Right. Aboot our wee Fionnuala. Fuh-nell-ah, yus. Ye’ve seen herself, I take it? Sae tiny, but fierce. Jes’ the way I like tha lasses. I was one o’ the first tae gae see her, an’ I made the mistake o’ pullin’ out a feather. An accident, it was. It was dark, an’ I jes wanted tae get a better look at one. She almost broke m’wrist with her great grey wings. That’s when I took tae callin’ her after the swans of Lir, y’ken? Nivver piss off a swan! I din’t think she meant tae do it, but, ‘cause she clung tae me an’ made all these whimpery flutey noises and hugged m’hand between those lovely white bewbs o’ hers. It’s noo wonder Medic’s taken tae makin’ her wear th’ hood an’ jesses; she’s plenty wick enough furra crowd o’ hawks! An’ those jesses, they make guid handholds, y’ken? Heh.
Aye, I know herself’s covered in scars. So’m I, an’ so’s the rest of us, y’know! ‘S not like we came tae this job with peel like babies’ bums. On her they look guid, tho’. All like tha’ lacy stuff that th’ lasses wear. An’ ‘cause they’re all silvery, when we’re sportin’ aboot they gleam and flash in tha gloamin’. She seems tae like it wit’ me well enow, an’ leaves little marks all ova’ me. I’ve taught her a few songs, like soom by The Corries, an’ she whistles along wi’ me. But she doesna’ seem tae git the bits in Gàidhlig at all. An’ she jes’ cocks her heid like on’a me Nan’s auld pullets. She’s a wee bit spooky when she does tha’, I reck’n. But then, anythink tae dae wit’ tha Medic’d be more than a mite touched, in any case. Himself’s a’ways a-doin’ things in th’ lab I’m wiser than tae ask aboot. Tha’ cacklin’ o’ his inna middle o’ the night – brrr! – makes a body try not tae think too hard on it.
Oncet I went tae see her an’ walked in when she was washin’ some rags in th’ water bucket. With her grey feathers a’ swirled aroun’ her like windin’ sheets, the very image o’ a bean nighe – I tell ye Gawd’s truth, I almost had a heart attack reet thar, ha! But lemme tell ye summat strange furra minute. Jes’ a body tae another. A long tiym ago, more’n a year I trow, we had a lass hidin’ on tha base wit’ us ferra coupla’ weeks. Bonnie thing, hitchin’ a ride faer th’ town, a’ tall an’ danger'us curves, like Heavy says, “Pull many ploughs,” d’y’ken? Ach, we had many a chat aboot uisge beatha an’ civil rights in this backward land – noo offense – before she ran away an’ got takkin an’ kilt’ by summat in th’ desert. Verra sad, an’ I miss her of a night sometimes y’knoo. So anyways I once tried takin tha’ leather hood off of herself one night ah went tae see her. And th’ wiy she tilted her heid an’ shone those great moon eyes at me, ‘twas like I saw ae ghost o’ tha’ lass in tha’ profile for a moment. Then I blinked an’ it was gone. I’m no’ daft, ‘tis no’ like they’re anything alike, an’ I know very well th’ lass is long gone, but I felt th’ chill f’r days after. Nivver took th’hood off her ag’in nor since. Our Fionnuala’s a sweet wee thing, but sometimes I feel th’ sport’s lost a certain spark f’ me, ‘specially if a body finds herself weepin’ inna corner like she’s bin lately. Puir thing. I keep offerin’ her some o’ me private stash, ‘t certainly helps me forget m’own woes, y’knoo? But f’ nowt, an’ Ah’m oot o’ ideas.
...Och weel, I need m’self a drink noo, I think. Y’want one? Might go well wit’ tha’ biscuit. No? Y’r loss, laddie.
Translation wank notes:
délai chaîne de fusion (French) – Delay chain-fusing. Pyrotechnics term in which more than one item is linked by a slow fuse, to be ignited in series. Notable in that once initially lit, the operator has no more control over the ignition of the items.
Bean nighe (Scots Gaelic) – psychopomp spirit, similar to a banshee. Appear as an emaciated old woman in graveclothes washing bloodstained sheets in the stream. Signifies the death of the viewer or one close to them.
Gàidhlig – Gaelic language, specifically Scots Gaelic.
Uisge beatha (Scots Gaelic) – Water of Life, referring to whisky.
Lol yea sorry about helping derail the thread (I'm Anon 68 and 75). Haven't much commented on the stories themselves, but honestly you've improved so much since the beginning thread and the Demo might have been the best installment yet. His accent was as thick as the real one's, but not cluttered up excessively or hard to read at all.
Am exhausted and in very bad mood. Sorry. Here's one I prepared earlier. I'm probably going to regret this.
Poulette – Totgeschwiegen - Sept
I believe you vish to discuss my vork, ja? So. Vhat do you zhink of my little creation? I have been vorking on her for a long time now. I confess I had started with the zhought of making her eine taube like ze others, but ach, her temperament! I had to declaw her early on, after she managed to inflict some scratches zat got infected. Ze medigun does not vork as vell on infection as it does on frank injury, of course. It is strange however, zat vonce ze nail plate is removed, ze nail bed did not thicken or callus; zat vas most unexpected. Her system has tolerated ze orbital implants much more readily – of course you have seen for yourself, Herr Klinge. I think I can be justifiably proud of the job I have done vith meine kleine turmfalke. Vhile the wing grafts did not proceed qvite as I hoped, the endocrine changes are coming along quite vell, if I do say so myself. And I have also achieved fine control of the osteoclast cultu–
Ahem. Of course, you did not come here to discuss the finer points of ze surgical procedure, did you? I do refer to her as my little turmfalke. Just a small conceit, if you like. Like ze lederkappe and jesses I had fabricated for her. It is not as if she is who she was, to be called what she vas called, after all. I did not have much to do with her before, when she was creeping around the base at night and hiding in a storeroom by day. For someone who was meant to be hiding avay, she spent a lot of time talking to the rest of the team! It vas very amusing to vatch her evade ze frantic overtures of ze Scout, I must say. She came into the sickbay once or tvice vhen I vas up late mit papervork, I suppose, and we conversed on recipes for hamantaschen und kuchen, of all things. I do have some small ability vith ze pastry-making; I learned at meine Oma’s knee. A man should be able to feed himself more zan just sanviches und cornflakes, ja? In any case, she did not get underfoot, and I hardly noticed when she disappeared from ze base.
It was only some timelater, after some zhinking, that I decided to exert my considerable skills, I must admit. I am far too busy to simply make empty plots like some dummkopf from der Ahnenerbe! Der Spitzel arrived vone evening vith her unconscious body und strong suggestions from Die Hexe that ve “resolve the problem of her presence”, if not her existence as such. I had at ze time found myself with some considerable spare time on my hands, as well as noted the recent murmurings among ze team. So in a stroke of inspiration I decided on ze elegant solution of simply recycling her for my next project und boosting morale amongst ze men in vone stroke. Vaste not, vant not, as zhey say. Ach, how she fought vhen she voke from sedation. I have not seen ze like since Scout huffed ze outgassing vapours from Demoman’s alembic. Even zhough ze Engineer helped me adjust ze sensory deprivation chamber, still I nearly exhausted my stocks of neuroactives and narcoanalytics on her in ze ensuing veeks. Pharmaceutical amnesia is usually impermanent, as you vell know. I regard ze resulting derealisation und depersonalisation as some of my finest vork. And maintenance of ze state is easy zhrough mere dietary supplementation.
I have seen to her training myself. She has showed no hesitation in performing in any vay requested, vith a pronouced degree of engagement und vith increased bonding criticality. I do remember to put her zhrough her paces from time to time, und I have heard no complaints from ze ozhers. Lately, her presentation has seemed somevhat erratic, so adjustments in ongoing dosage have been necessary. Unfortunately, ze extensive musculoskeletal modifications I have made have also resulted in certain …physical limits. Alzhough I did not build in planned obsolescence, I admit zhat I vill feel some slight regret at her senescence. But zhen, sometimes vone has to make sacrifices for vone’s art, ja?
Ahnenerbe (German) – German think tank founded in 1935 by Himmler, among others, to research the anthropological and cultural history of the Aryan race. Often strayed into pseudo-mysticism, but not as badly as the Thule Society.
Die Hexe (German) – witch or harridan
Hamantaschen (Yiddish) – “Haman’s hats” – triangular pastries, usually filled with jam or preserves. Traditionally eaten at the Jewish festival of Purim.
Kuchen (German) – cakes and baked goods
Lederkappe (German) – leather hood or cap
Der Spitzel (German) – Spy. Connotations of informer, stool pigeon, traitor.
Taube (German) – dove or pigeon
Totgeschwiegen (German) – hushed, quieted. Connotations of suppression and cover-ups.
Turmfalke (German) – kestrel
I love the German. I tried to read it without the wank notes, but I couldn't. Damn its rusty for me.
I love how he depersonalises her at first. She is a thing, a series of procedures. Then he tries to emphasise with her, but fails. He sees her as a bird, something he owns, something thats no longer a person. It fits well, has great tone, good headspace. Is it me, or your development of these characters is getting much more... good... ech I can't think of the word. Or is it that now, I can see what she sees, I can see the things that she was subjected to? Her pain is understandable. Her previous state more correct?
Eh looks like Im talking out of my ass there. Sorry. But I think that now, its starting to pull together, the bits I didn't like, her vagueness has been fleshed out by the other men. I can draw on how she sees them to how they speak of themselves and her. Its becoming almost symbiotic in how to read this. <3
Wow. This version of Medic is good and deranged, possibly moreso than any I've written. I'm afraid, now. Well done, Mus.
simply recycling her
Utterly matter-of-fact. Utterly chilling.
Vaste not, vant not indeed.
Hiya Mael. Thanks for reading along with me all this time! I'm glad the edges of the picture are starting to fill in for you.
Thanks guys. I personally love how internally consistent Medic's professional narcissism is. I only really had to nudge him a little further down the road from the MtM canon and make him a little prissier and more meticulous. Unlike in SirKai's Indoktrination up-page, I tried to show that he really is as good as he thinks he is. And my medical background came in handy here.
...Could I possibly get some concrit on the Demo piece, pretty please? I found that one really hard, so I'd like to know where I missed stuff.
I have no idea. I thought it was amazing. Same for Medic. I wish I could handle dialect that well. I especially like how she doesn't know what to think of Demo but he's really no worse than anyone else has been. I'm a little surprised when Scout and Heavy realized it but Demo didn't. I suppose he didn't interact with her as much before her change or else he was doing his best to fool himself or feign ignorance because that's easier to live with.
I'm afraid I didn't get Pauling's letter at all. But then I don't know what SRC stands for...
Thank you, Dove-The-Unoriginal. It took weeks of research to write that dialect mishmash, so I'm really a happy you think so well of it!
Heavy is far smarter than the rest of the team often give him credit. Scout may not have twigged; if he does realise, it's probably not something he has allowed himself to admit. Medic's done a good job of obscuring her identity by changing her appearance. While still blond, he swapped out her eyes and larynx for bird parts. As Demo said, she started out quite statuesque, verging on Amazonian. Now with depersonalisation, extensive keloid, emaciation and induced bone loss, she's shorter and frail of stature. (Although it clearly amused him to keep her tits intact. Fanservice?) Add to that the dark environment, the hood, and the ease of denial in the human mind, it's a wonder anyone figured it out at all.
SCP stands for 'Secure. Contain. Protect.'(http://www.scp-wiki.net/about-the-scp-foundation) and refers to a fictional shadowy quasi-scientific organisation that finds paranormal artifacts/creatures and either contains or destroys them. Marshall, Carter and Dark are one of the groups of interest to the SCP Foundation. (http://www.scp-wiki.net/mc-d) Tiny little shout-out and crossover for my amusement.
It took weeks of research
It definitely shows! I mean, I'm not an expert or anything remotely close to one (I've heard Demo and I've heard a few other, possibly more accurate but not necessarily, Scottish accents in the past) but it looked pretty legit to me.
I don't understand though. Is SPC purely an internet thing or is it inspired by something? (Frankly, I've always wanted to see a Hellboy or Sandman crossover.)
And I wasn't trying to suggest that Heavy or Scout were dumb. I simply wondered what the key distinctions were. Though yeah, that's a considerable difference in appearance.
The Demo mishmash I wrote is actually an unholy mix of Glaswegian, Irish and a smattering of Cornwall. There's remarkably little out there I found on Scottish myth though, so the Fionnuala and the Children of Lir is an Irish tale. And typically tragic.
SPC actually started out as a creepypasta site, that later grew further and larger. So there are shout-outs galore. Part of the fun is seeing if you can spot any reinvented mythic or fictional content in the SCPs.
I don't personally see any of the team as dumb. I like to think that Heavy has a much more analytical mindset than Scout does, which leads to pattern recognition with fragmentary evidence. Mind you, it's all too easy for anyone to dismiss hunches through overenthusiastic use of Occam's Razor, like Demo did.
Where did she go?
Did the SCP website eat her? :P
SCP stands for Secure. Contain. Protect.
Which, I'm sure, is where SighFie found inspiration for Warehouse 13's "Snag, Bag and Tag."
Ok...I'm back from a long week of finals! It's been three days since I last posted but I don't think I could've missed that much in thr--
Ack! +15 posts and two updates in three days?! What happened?! (And Mus has a medical background? That's awesome!)
Sorry. It was one of those weeks where I went for 33 hours without sleep. It was actually pretty awesome since I finished writing a short story about a man who was solid in a world where everyone is transparent on the same day that I performed at an end-of-the-year literary reading where I read another one of my stories about a girl in a mental asylum. So it was a pretty creative week for me, but I guess it's been bad for my internet life.
I'm about to go out with friends, but I have a lot to say about the Demo and Medic posts and will type them up quickly as possible when I get back. I'm also flattered that my presence here can be noticed and missed, and that my critiques have apparently become a natural element of the thread. Thanks, Mus!
Oh, I didn't mean the mythology. I meant the accent. I knew the mythology wasn't Scottish because I've had the same problem before. I suppose being able to read the Scottish Gaelic language would help but I'm not in that position.
And though Miss Pauling called the mercs dumb in Meet the Director, I've never been able to see them that way or write them that way (not really; contradictory and reckless but not strictly speaking stupid.) Very good point about dismissing hunches, as they are all too easy to dismiss.
Was it the language or the content that was hard to write? If the content was hard for you, it doesn't show. This chap. pretty much builds and expands on how he was portrayed in the first one-shot. There he was cheerfully perverted, and here he is cheerfully perverted. I like how it's confirmed that he inadvertently hurts Angel less out of sadism and more out of ignorance. My favorite line is the part where Angel "comforts" Demo for "hurting" him. It's the kind of thing I've imagined for her, and it just shows how far gone she is that she's apologizing to her captors.
Since the language is a mish-mash of dialects in and around Scotland, it's prolly hilariously wrong, but this is still TF2. So I'll just pretend that Demo's parents made him get jobs across the UK as the kid, and that's where he got all the broken dialects. At first, I wished the Demo had recognized something tangible about Angel instead of seeing a vision, but if there's one guy on the team who'd turned his subconscious conclusions into hallucinations, it'd be Demo.
One possible concrit for this chap. is that it doesn't necessarily add depth to Demo's character; it shows that he lusts after Angel without thinking of her mental health and that he's not involved in the more sinister aspects of her background, but that was already established in the one-shot. He remains a simple character. On the other hand, this simplicity could be a good thing, since it distinguishes Demoman from those suffering lust/guilt/denial and those directly assisting in Medic's sadism. I agree with you that none of the classes are dumb, but I think some are more simple than the others, so perhaps it makes sense that characters like Demo would have less introspection and complexity.
(Holy crap, the Medic's chapter already?! His sadism and "FOR SCIENCE" mindset is my favorite part of TF2 /afandom/!)
The fact that you do a good job of showing his mad doktor mindset should go without saying, what with all the technical terms he uses and the way he discusses Angel's "conditioning" as if it were just another academic presentation, ground-breaking but normal. And the plot developments here are just thrilling. (Spy and Engie not only knew, but they actively helped him!)
A critique I've made earlier continues to apply here: more specific detail. The scientific terms you have in spades, but I would like to see more examples of dialogue and behavior: the exact steps the Medic took to change Angel (and he personally "trained" her, eh? Is that we're they're calling it now? Brrrr...), what he says to Engie to get him to go along, etc. This is especially the case for our protagonist; I want to see how she rebels, what she says and does, and how her actions change as she gradually becomes replaced by her Angel persona. If you can't fit that into Medic's interview, perhaps you could add chapters with "transcripts" of voice or video recordings that the Medic might have kept as he was operating on and conditioning her.
I feel weird requesting to see more of a lady getting tortured and depersonalized, but I guess there have been worse requests on this chan? Plus, a large part of why I'm interested is the psychology of it all. It's scary to think of a strong person being broken, and I guess I deal with scary things by learning more about how they happen. And showing Angel fighting, showing her before she became Angel, would be a form of respect, right?
Also, what's this about senescence? No, Angel, don't die!
I have decided to shoehorn space for plotbunnies. Because they bite if I don't. It's not like I fucking need sleep or anything anyway. Now, with 70% more trauma! Extra points if you spot the references.
ETA: Reposted to erase typos. Woohoo, it worked!
Poulette - bissen - huit
I can’t stop moving. My clattering heart has sped to almost a hum, and my lungs ache. I have no appetite, and eat maybe every two or three daynights. I scrape the dish into the slops bucket in the far corner. I am always drinking; my mouth is constantly dry with nausea.
I can see now, even in this dim light. I can see what has changed. I remember being taller. I remember when I didn’t have these scaled, leathery shins like greaves. I remember when I could walk with my soles flat on the floor, not this awkward teetering on the balls of my feet, knees bent and shaking. These two heavy breasts drag at my breathing, miraculously unscarred islands on my laced and scribbled body, malign globular jokes on this traitor emaciated frame. I don’t know if I hate them; I try to forget them.
I can remember things I wish I didn’t. Cut and cut and cut again, drugged half-awake in the swirling, sparking clouds of vapour. Thankfully the voices come and go. (“..Nie wieder allein, nie wieder frei sein..”) My nails were removed like a housewife would peel an onion. Used and used and used and thrown away, an empty skin full of static and screams.
My mind shies away from remembering the God Box. I remember waking after the first time, drinking in the taste of salt and bitter almonds. Mouths and words I could not hear. Moving in slow motion; drowning in oil and white light. Blood heat and fluttering steel fingers. I dare not sleep, even if I wanted to; h(a)unting, recurrent visions of a huge tree draped in (alien) bones, and the pitiless bright (blue) eyes of a brace of great, black birds.
I’ve tried to tear apart the book, to throw it away, but every time I touch or even look at it, I start crying. I have hidden it in a crack between the wall and some shelves, so I do not need to see it. I have not seen the grey one who gifted it more than that once. My skin feels hot, then cold. I fling myself at the wall and flail, slamming again and again on rough cut stone. Last week, I kept at it until bones shattered and grated, until I fainted. When I woke and looked up, the broken skin had left feathered wing prints. My fingers are bleeding again. I’m painting with them, as high on the walls as I can reach. Lines and shapes and figures. I’m approaching (geometric) true circles; I made one yesterday and couldn’t stop looking at it.
I am creating beauty in this place.
The last time the big one came, he wrinkled his nose at the scent, and walked out again. I heard voices roaring in argument while I hid. He returned with the vapour (gun) device, playing its sparks over where I lay. The tickle of knitting tissue (ligaments) left me with a vague sense of disappointment. He bathed my back for long minutes to rinse off the dry blood and crooned a story of a fox, a rabbit and a rooster. He just held me, and left without using me. Sometimes a new thing; sometimes he comes now with the thin one, and they just sit and wordlessly stroke my hair and my hands and feet, until I fall into blessed dreamless sleep.
The loud one doesn’t come any more.
I've been having a lot of trouble reading this fic because the characterization of most characters is so utterly and completely different from my personal interpretation of canon that I feel like they are different characters entirely.
Of course, given how little canon we are given to begin with, it's just a matter of different personal interpretations, not OOCness in and of itself, so this isn't a criticism, it's just an explanation for why I can't give this story as a whole any objective constructive criticism and have to focus on details.
So here is my crit: Spy's actions, which trigger the whole story, seem illogical to me.
He received orders from the Administrator to "resolve the problem of her presence," so he knocked her out, left her torn and bloodied skirt to make it look like she was taken by wild animals, and gave her to Medic. Even if we assume that Spy is a total 100% sociopath, the last part simply makes no sense in a purely practical sense.
In order to "resolve the problem of her presence," she had to either be killed or kicked out of the base. About the former, the simplest way was for Spy to kill her himself, and about the latter, the simplest way was for Spy to tell Sniper to drive her to the nearest town. Giving her to Medic just seems completely unnecessary, roundabout, and even potentially dangerous.
If the point was that Spy expected Medic to kill her and dispose of her corpse, doing that himself would have been much simpler; she is a defenceless and unarmed civilian with no Respawn, and they are in the middle of a desert with canyons and wild animals.
If Spy felt bad about killing her and wanted to make somebody else do it, then Medic would have been by far the last person on the list, as Medic happily tells his teammates about his hobby of experimenting on people in horrible ways (patient with no skeleton, anyone?), so if anything giving her to Medic would have made Spy feel even worse.
If Spy wanted to make her disappear quietly, again it would have been much simpler if he had done it himself, and again Medic would have been by far the last person on the list as his experiments tend to be very noticeable and attract a lot of attention.
However I look at it, there is just no reason for Spy to involve Medic at all.
Hey Millia! Great to have you on board all this time.
Wow, you have clearly put a lot of thought into this. I agree with you that there is no real reason for Spy to involve Medic, given the facts so far. However there is more to come.
Teaser point: Engineer upthread mentioned that they were "not far from White Sands", the Trinity testing site in New Mexico. But Heavy said that "Sniper said taken by dingo". Someone's not telling the whole truth.
Oh look... its progression!
And its our strange bird lady.
Ok, I know why the bracketed dialogue is there. But don't like it. It breaks the flow. Actually, I'm not a fan of the use of brackets but then thats another pet gripe.
This has more motion. The idea she is becoming something is stronger, but I feel now that I have more of an idea of whats going on, Im feeling that this is part of a crescendo - something that is part of a larger missing piece. I don't know if I like it because Im expecting something that isn't going to happen yet? Am I reading too much into this?
Also, I will add, that because I feel that its part of something a little bigger, its missing the core elements of what the start is. In saying that, its getting earthed. Its becoming more real, breaking that ethereal link to the mind. And its a little jarring.
Technically, theres something there that's not quite right. I need to think on this to work out what that is. *muses*
There might be no reason for Spy to involve Medic except he might be just a prick. I dunno.
Meanwhile, god Im tired. Read this, listen to Requiem, and now I will have strange dreams. Awesome!
Guess I owe you some answers. Post viral fatigue is the worst for making one's head feel stuffed with lint.
Poulette - Coup d'œil
Yeah, I remember driving her back to the base. Fine, strappin’ sheila like that, any bloke’d stop fer that big smile, and no mistake. Picked her up on the side of the road a little ways outta town, said she was headin’ over East. We got ta chattin’ in the cab up front and before I know it, I find meself offerin’ ta let her lob in and bunk down in one a’ the storerooms on the base fer a few. I mean, s’not like she’d be around long, and she swore up an’ down that the blue she was dodgin’ wasn’t anything ta do with the coppers. Guess I’m a bit of a soft touch fer charity cases, eh? ‘Specially those that ain’t shy about pretendin’ not ta spot me havin’ a bit of a perve at their curvy bits. Bloody funny it was, when we got in, the looks on their faces! Like they’d never seen a pair before, much less attached to a livin’, breathin’ girlie. Scout practically dropped like a rock; I reckon all the blood left his head in one go, the silly dill. The poor girl had to keep fobbing him off, and that bastard Frenchman got all huffy when she turned him down too. And as fer Truckie and Solly, bloody hell. As if the blushing an’ stammering weren’t bad enough, the helmets full of flowers that kept randomly turning up in the kitchen were just priceless. Like when I overheard them arguing over whose turn it was to guard th’ showers so Scout wouldn’t sneak in on her. Heh.
She liked nothin’ more than ta sit with Heavy or Demo, yarning of an evening over a stubby or two. Her impression of Medic spitting the dummy was hilarious. I think I pissed m’self laughing once or twice. She would listen all night ta stories of back home, and I swear it was a near thing the next day fer us more than once, the number of times we stayed up late blabberin’ away. A really sweet girl, y’know? And not bad with the throwing stick, for a beginner. I think the leaves out back are still feelin’ it. Anyway, so after a coupla weeks the sheila was a bit sloppy about hidin’ away, and the Slapper Upstairs spotted her on cam and got her little typist ta ring up and let us know that she’s ropeable about it. Demo managed ta talk her down, saying the sheila’d be gone soon, and the Boss shut up about it right enough. That poor secretary – ya gotta feel fer her sometimes, having ta put up with such a right whinger for a boss. She sometimes rings up for a chat; nice girl. Our sheila however, caught wind of the call and it damned near scared her white. She did a runner, heading back out towards the highway. Next thing I know, the Spy’s draggin’ me off ta track her down fer the Dragon Lady, dribbling some shit about how the sheila’s not allowed ta talk about us to any civilians, and I do my nut. Didn’t want ta have a bar of “disappearing her” or nothing, I mean, she’s just a kid in uni ferchrissakes. So the bloody Frenchman fed me some crap about getting Medic ta give her some sort of Forget Juice before we let her go off again, and I believed him, like a fuckin’ dickhead. So we found her, knocked her out, and he took her to the sickbay.
Had no idea what the bloody madman had planned fer her, I swear. Dead set. I can’t even believe that I forgot all about her in there after a week, goin’ back to the fighting like always. Didn’t even twig when Medic showed up with a faceful of bloody scratches an’ muttering in German. And when he took us in to show her off, I knew. She’s sitting naked on the table, and even with that stupid helmet thing, and the wings, and the scars and everything (an’ I know this is going ta make me sound like some pervy sicko), I knew. The Scout starts hollerin’ about getting’ his rocks off, and I actually feel downright sick to my stomach. It’s all I could do ta stand there and not punch him out right then and there. I mean, we should’ve known. I should’ve known. We’ve all seen the things he does to those pigeons he says he loves so much.
I do go in to see her, even though it fair breaks me heart every time. I mean, it’s my fault she’s here, and my fault he turned her into that thing. Every time, she’s still sweet and warm and lovin’, like before. I like ta think she remembers me, you know? In spite of everything that bloody wanker has done to her. Remember those scratches? That freak pulled out her fingernails just because she got in a lucky shot! He even butchered her throat so she can only make bird sounds. But I found she can still whisper so we talk some that way. I don’t even want ta think what else she’s gone through. Heavy was tellin’ me the other day that it’s getting worse, that he went to see her and she was all broken bones and blood. He actually snatched the medigun off Medic to give her a dose. He was just going to leave her lying there – Oh gawd. Hang on. Give us a mo’.
Yeah, mate. ’M okay. I just got somethin’ in my eye, 's all.
Coup d'œil (French) – A blow or strike to the eye (literal), a glimpse (figurative). Refers in a military setting to the ability to discern at a glance the tactical disadvantages of a given terrain. Considered an important skill in artillery troops and snipers.
This is good. He tied together some of the threads, to show when things happened to her. He also has filled in the beginning bits rather admirably.
And Sniper crying - awwww...
Eh... Sniper is just too wanker for me... to review... cause seriously, this reminds me of people I serve at work...
WARNING: the following comment is tl;dr. I mean it, it's really f-ing long. Do yourself a favour and skip it if you don't like rambling and ~ opinions ~.
I don't really know how to say this... I'm sorry, but I just can't keep reading this story. As I said before, there is too little canon to say that the characters are OOC, so this is just a matter of different personal interpretations. But the dissonance is so strong, it puts me off too much.
My subjective problem with your characterization of Medic, Engie and Spy is simply that they are "too evil" to me, so it's a just matter of ethics rather than attitude as a whole, and I could with some difficulty buy it. I've read fics where Engie is a sadistic rapist, I can buy an extremely evil version of a character as long as their attitude as a whole resonates.
But my subjective problem with your characterization of Heavy and Sniper is that their attitudes don't resonate at all. I just can't see them being such doormats.
I mean, Heavy was just a child when he was deported with his family to what was effectively hell on earth; three months later, the Gulag was burned to the ground, all the guards tortured to death.
Considering how common rape was in the Gulag, I always imagined that some guards probably either raped Heavy's sisters or tried to, which caused child!Heavy to go on a roaring rampage of revenge and kill them all in horrible ways and then destroy the whole place.
Because of that headcanon, my mind just ouright rejects a portrayal of Heavy where he basically watches helplessly as a young girl is kidnapped, imprisoned in a hole, mutilated and repeatedly raped by 9 men himself include (sure, the rape is non-violent as she is mentally unable to say no, and he almost always asks this personal who is incapable to say no first, but rape is rape).
All his protests are silenced with a look, and he acts as if there was absolutely nothing he could do about that. It took Angel nearly dying slowly and painfully in her own filth to get him to take a little action, and even then it didn't go past forcefully borrowing the Medigun for a couple of minutes and stopping raping her.
Again, that's not to say your portrayal is OOC. There is like a 30 years gap between the Gulag and TF2, for all we know Heavy has repressed his memories of the time and would do anything to avoid reliving them, and Heavy's reactions in Meet The Medic could be interpreted as him being afraid of Medic. And I guess he could somehow convince himself that it's not rape if she doesn't say no, much like so many people seem convinced that sex with a woman who is too drunk to stand up is totally not rape.
But my headcanon conflicts too much with his portrayal in this fic, I just can't read it. I tried re-reading Heavy's chapter a few times and everytime I kept wondering who that guy is, as surely the "real" (read: the one in my personal headcanon) Heavy would immediately go berserk and bring down hell to avenge Angel the moment he first saw her in the sickbay, seeing his sisters in her. I can buy a evil Heavy, but I could never buy a helpless Heavy. At this point even if he does bring hell down in future chapters of this fic, to me it would be too little too late.
Then there is Sniper. He was born a farmer, but he took the initiative to go out on his own and become an assassin.
In canon he is portrayed as an extremely straightforward and headstrong guy, who never hesitates to do what he feels is right (even when the world insists that what he feels is right, like say becoming a hit-man and casually murdering people, is actually very very wrong).
His chapter says that he had to fight down the urge to punch Scout, and all I could think was "why wouldn't he at least tell Scout to STFU? More importantly, why would he not kick the shit out of Medic and Spy while he is at it?"
The orders were to get rid of the girl, but (as far as he knows) they didn't specify how, so it wouldn't be unprofessional of him to get pissed at his teammates for deceiving him and picking such an unnecessarily horrible way to do it. If anything I'd say that his high standards and motto of professionalism would demand that he kicks their ass for being such unprofessional scum as to lie to their own teammate and massively overdoing their task.
Why would somebody who prizes high standards and professionalism so much let Medic and Spy get away with basically fucking over their own teammate? Why would he allow them to lie to their other teammates too?
I can't buy that Sniper didn't react violently to the reveal of Angel in the sickbay, and I can't buy that he didn't tell the truth to the guys who haven't figured out that Angel and the runway girl are the same person, let alone lie to them himself and say that he doesn't know where Angel comes from. Evil I can buy, helpless no.
Sure, telling them the truth would have caused discord among the group, even potentially caused them some losses against the enemy team; but it would have been the professional thing to do, as employees deserve not being lied to. And if their boss had a problem with their poor performances on the battlefield then professionally it's neither Sniper's fault nor his problem, and she could mostly solve the matter by firing Medic and hiring a replacement. Also, telling them the truth could have convinced them not to rape her, as they would have been aware that what they thought was harmless sex with a supernatural creature was actually rape with a brain-damaged and mutilated slave who was their acquaintance; Demo did stop after he got a hunch of the truth.
Granted, Sniper himself still raped her while knowing the truth, even making her use her mutilated fingers inside of him (which is another thing my headcanon outright rejects, as I believe he has infinitely more self-control than that), but it was much rarer and he eventually stopped. Simply by telling his teammates the truth, he could have made a HUGE difference. Sniper is a hardcore mercenary and an extremely active man, but he would rather weep over her situation than do the barest minimum to help?
It's not impossible that, past the guns and knives, Sniper is really just a spineless wimp. His phone calls with his parents could easily be used as basis to support your portrayal of him as a man who means well but ultimately lacks the guts to take a real stand. So, again, I can't call it OOC. But the dissonance is staggering.
So, conclusions. You are extremely talented at writing beautiful phrases and conjure evocative images. You can efficiently weave a good story, as shown when you had Engie lie in his chapter, and the readers first didn't figure it out and later recognized that it made perfect sense. You can skillfully go from writing a heavily-accented interviewee to another different heavily-accented interviewee to the flowery mental rambling of an educated brain-damaged person. You are also good at portraying genuinely creepy minds and moods.
Objectively, your story is good.
But I just can't get past your characterization. And even if I could, the "helpless doormat" is one of my least favourite character archetypes ever, one I have nothing but scorn for. Since the characters in this fic are either insanely evil, or oblivious, or horrifically abused victims whose best hope is euthanasia, or candidates for spine surgery... Even if this were an original story rather than fanfiction, I still wouldn't want to keep reading it.
Conclusion-conclusion: this fic is good but not for everybody, least of all me. I wish you the best with future chapters, though :)
I've never been a fan of "every single team mate wants the same girl/boy" in these sorts of stories, whether they're ordinary or not. It generally feels forced in my opinion. Not that it can't work but it's harder to pull off in my opinion. Finding out that they reacted to her like this from the beginning puts me off a little but that's just my feelings about that.
I was actually a tad disappointed some of them didn't refuse to have sex with her simply because she looks like a monster after what Medic has done to her (angel or harpy; it doesn't matter. She's still inhuman looking.) Or even refused because they didn't feel comfortable at all. Not that such a thing is necessary but it's just a little doubtful everyone would've found her beautiful or simply been happy for free sex with anything female. I simply think it's a realistic reaction, regardless of the reason, for at least one person to go "Nah, I'm good. None for me."
I didn't mention it sooner because the dream-like quality of the one-shot softened that significantly. It was also the point of the one-shot to explore a difference in how everyone would use her. I'm also generally a sucker for fantasy creature sex. Sniper's bit simply made the whole idea more pronounced and a little harder for me to swallow for the sake of the story but that is just my opinion anyway.
As for going on a rampage, I'd also say it wouldn't be impossible to consider Heavy or Sniper killing her because they thought it'd be an act of mercy (well, Millia did mention euthanasia and I'm agreeing but more specifically.) They have no way of knowing or even presuming if she'll have a normal life again and clearly the Medic puts her through a lot of pain. Not to mention, if they know or found out it was technically Admin directed, it'd still keep the Administration happy with her gone. Medic and some of the others might be angry but the Administration wouldn't be.
I like some of what you've done Mus. You have a pretty good flare for making each POV distinctive and it's obvious you put a lot of work into this. But I'm not entirely behind the plot so far. It's not tense enough IMHO. It'd be more interesting if some of the characters started acting on the knowledge and those who don't know enough or who feign ignorance had to decide who to side with or were trying to figure out what was really going on. That's not to say this couldn't still happen but it would've been better if it had happened sooner rather than later.
I also am not entirely certain I care for some of the characterizations but I can generally be lead along in most cases, as long as the rational is there. I think the real issue is that the whole thing feels too loosely plotted and that's why their actions come through as odd. Everyone is merely reacting and no one is taking any action, overall. Even Medic is simply reacting to the Administration's orders or reacting to having this woman dumped into his lap, no matter how unusual his reaction was. Same with Spy, Sniper, and plausibly Engie. Other than fucking her, none of them are taking any initiative.
Not to mention, if they really liked her, couldn't Sniper have done something on his own or grabbed the team mates who would have backed him? Even if it was to have her removed under his own terms? These are all what-ifs but they're interesting what-ifs and missed opportunities. Things still could have worked out the same, with most of them not knowing, but letting the others in on what happened is a chance for some really glorious strife and turmoil that I hope you do choose to explore eventually.
In general, I think most of these problems stem from not having the characters actively interacting with one another. We get to see how they interact with her but not each other and it limits things significantly. Admittedly, this is probably because of the constant POV shift and the interview style of the chapters to some extent. Also the fact the whole thing started out as a one-shot, so obviously most of this wasn't initially fleshed out.
I'll stop rambling now.
(Warning - this is also rather long)
Gah. My brain is currently sitting on the bottom of my skull like some sort of sad beached whale.
Milia and Dove, you both raise some very valid points. I am taking it as a huge compliment that you both think highly enough of my first ever fic project, that you are giving this carefully articulated and incisive crit. Thank you both so much.
Milia, the framework I have for Sniper in this piece is of a man who teeters daily on the brink of deep depression, who tells himself that the isolation between himself and his peers is by choice, and who agonises over the rift between his parents (and past) and himself. And the professionalism and tenuous camaraderie of his daily job is all that is keeping him together. Right now I see him as hesitating about acting because he fears losing this family-in-combat, and because he's afraid that it would do no good. However, as you can see in >>99 he has learned that Heavy feels sympathy for Angel as well. He does not yet know that anyone but himself, Spy and Medic are aware of Angel's origin.
As for Heavy, I see him as having been "drafted" at a young age (maybe 14-15?) from gulag to shtrafbat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shtrafbat), and being deeply scarred with regards to obedience to superiors. Medic's canon militaristic demeanour can be triggering, and I see it as sparking a dimly remembered fear in Heavy. Heavy is a very intelligent man but not necessarily self-analytical, let alone about his PTSD.
All that said, I'm sorry to lose you as a reader. I understand when a piece just hits the wrong note when read, and I'm sorry for that. Thank you for your kind words, though! I do appreciate them.
Dove-The-Original, you are right in saying that the pieces I have written so far depict the classes as reacting rather than acting. Essentially I strove to set the scene with the interviews and the shifting POVs. Maelgwyn (>>98) is right about plot progression starting to happen. Up 'till this point, the classes haven't really talked to each other about Angel except in the most superficial way (I chose this as a reflection of manly closed-mouth-ness in 1968), but things will change now that Heavy and Sniper are starting to talk.
All said and done? The loose plotting here can definitely be chalked up to my amateur writing. It's purely my fault that I haven't managed to flesh out the ideas quite as well as I'd like. :( Angel is basically a distorted reflection of the women used as 'comfort women' by the Japanese, and in the concentration camp brothels (Lagerbordell) in WW2. I'll be working harder on the next bits, I promise.
Also to add, I did try to keep in mind that attitudes toward sex, consent and emotional communication in the 1960s were somewhat different from attitudes today. In the light of Angel's overt "positive" response to the classes' visits, I assumed that the idea of Stockholm Syndrome (which was named in 1973) would not occur to men who would consider lip service to consent to be consent enough.
If that was a mistake, I'm sorry.
While I can definitely see how this could be considered rape, I never thought of it as such. Angel seems to be appreciative of every visit, if only because she is bored or lonely otherwise. Sure, she might not necessarily be able to vocalize her consent, but I'd think that reciprocating their actions should speak that for her.
She's not happy, obviously. I think that has less to do with the mandatory sex and more to do with how Medic treats her, and how she is trapped in that dark place, and how she can't remember who she is. I think also that she cares for the men, and is affected by their stress and guilt. It must be hard.
I hope she gets a happy ending.
If that was a mistake, I'm sorry.
No, no. I think, after having read everything that you've said in your replies, the key problem is that you have a very complex and complicated idea that is having some trouble showing through in the narrative because of the format. It's fine to leave some things in the dark or purely based on contextual reading or to leave it up to the reader to decide. But you have thought this through and you have some very clear concepts backing up your story, which do make a lot of sense and explain the parts that lead to confusion and possible frustration. I think it's simply harder to show in first person, especially if the POV character simply can't or won't explain these things as directly as possible to whoever is interviewing them. I think the vignette format, which breaks it up into pieces, is also ruining the pacing somewhat because there's very little sense of time.
Up 'till this point, the classes haven't really talked to each other about Angel except in the most superficial way (I chose this as a reflection of manly closed-mouth-ness in 1968), but things will change now that Heavy and Sniper are starting to talk.
Hrmmm. I can see that. It's also kind of a weird topic to broach. I guess my real question is... are they angry and do they have anyone they view as an actual friend amongst the team? This is the real issue that holds me back from suspending disbelief, as I have vented before when I've simply had all I can take. Things one doesn't necessarily discuss with acquaintances may be spoken with even semi-remote friends, so long as they're viewed as friends. I pretty much have and do live the plight Sniper has (though I couldn't say how deep a depression I get into.) Even if he feels the rifts between himself and everyone else, he may have formulated what is ostensibly friendship with at least one person (he may even be fine at making friends but horrible at keeping them or something like that. It depends on why the rifts are actually there.) Especially if he views the team in a familial way.
Then again, none of my personal experience has really dealt with rape. I recognize that silence specifically regarding that does happen even when it shouldn't. But if they liked her before, I simply feel the breaking point would have been reached sooner with someone they're comfortable talking to. Not necessarily to the right person but someone at least. I suppose it depends on how close they were to her to begin with.
Again, I feel this is an issue brought on more from the narration technique and prior planning. It's a matter of trying to add the answers in after the fact and being forced to work with what came before so that it feels less organic even when it is entirely the result of an organic attempt to extrapolate. If, as a random example, most of it had been from in-depth alternating POVs by Sniper and Heavy it might have helped. It would show they were simply trying to bide their time, to get a feel for what exactly was going on and who would back them, before taking decisive action. Some of the interviewing, to give the other classes's POV, would have been lost but not all of it. Then the character interaction, as they tentatively spoke with the rest of the team about her, would help to bring a lot of things to light.
It would make the pacing and flow of time more apparent and also make it clearer why Sniper and Heavy didn't act immediately. They're trying to combat the wall of silence surrounding them and they are smart enough to make plans before potentially throwing themselves to the wolves. If they can get Demo and Scout to back them, they have a force to be reckoned with but they still might be facing five of their own team mates. There is also plausible suspicion regarding any interaction with Spy or anyone else if they think Spy might be onto them.
That said, regarding the theme of forced sexual slavery for various real world armed forces, I think it's best to keep in mind that these men aren't an actual army. In some ways they are but in many other important ways they aren't.
Of course, I might be talking out of my ass regarding everything. These are my thoughts and every single one of them might be incorrect.
I hope she gets a happy ending.
That sentence made me laugh. I'm sorry. I have a horrible mind.
All that said, I'm sorry to lose you as a reader. I understand when a piece just hits the wrong note when read, and I'm sorry for that. Thank you for your kind words, though! I do appreciate them.
Hey, you haven't lost me as a reader. I may not be into this fic, but I do like your writing, and I'll definitely check out your next works :)
Dude, sex with a person who is incapable of consenting is rape. There is no "could be considered," it just is.
Angel might seem appreciative of each visit (she doesn't sound appreciative to me, she just listed the things the guys like to do but gives no indication of liking them herself; but just for the sake of argument, let's say that she is appreciative) because she has been physically and mentally tortured until she lost her mind and the ability to discern her own thoughts and emotions. Medic explicitly say that he "trained" her, he forcefully programmed her to be responsive to sexual stimuli.
It's the sexual equivalent of the Stockholm syndrome. You even call it "mandatory sex" but don't think of it as rape?
There is nothing wrong with using fiction as a means to explore deranged and abusive relationships and behaviours. But you are reminding me of those people who read Lolita and insist that the little girl didn't really mind it.
I have to agree with Millia there. Not only has she been tortured and conditioned to respond "positively" to the team, Angel has to accomodate them because she's like a prisoner who depends on her guards to keep her alive. To continue the Nabokov parallel, it's like when Humbert relishes that child Lolita "has nowhere else to go," and that's why she doesn't run away until she's much older. Choosing between death/torture and sex isn't really a choice at all; I don't see how it could be considered anything other than rape.
So, if I haven't responded to recent chapters until now, it was due to the holidays, returning home from a different country, losing my multi-paragraph critique TWICE due to misreading captchas (those things are less legible than my own handwriting), and the fact that chapter 8 really CREEPED me out.
I can't remember the last time I was too creeped out by a fic to critique it, but you've done it. I blame the line "miraculously unscarred islands on my laced and scribbled body, malign globular jokes on this traitor emaciated frame." I don't think there could be a more disgusting phrase to describe a body part. I'm not even sure how realistic it is; it reminds me of ugly mythological creatures who say things like "my hairy fist" or "my monstrous snout" even though they'd realistically say "my fist" or "my nose" since the characters would be more used to their bodies than the human author writing them. I guess you could argue that Angel's traumatized mind does genuinely view her chest as ugly and foreign, but the line only makes sense since you've told us outside the story that the Medic has kept her breasts intact while letting the rest of her body starve; there should be something IN the story indicating this fact, so it could stand on it's own.
I also wish there was more overt anger in the chapter. If Angel's reached the point where she thinks lashing out against walls and drawing with her own blood is better than quietly sitting in the cell, then there should be more overt anger. The trauma and despair is conveyed well though, hence why I was so creeped out. As always, we have your prose to thank for that. ("Blood heat and fluttering steel fingers"). There are also probably many plot hints/references that I didn't understand, but will credit and applaud later.
On a less serious note, Heavy's ability to handle the Medi-gun boggles my mind. I always thought only the Medic could use it. Otherwise, there's nothing to stop every class from potentially replacing their secondary with a Medigun so they could whip it out and heal a teammate whenever they want. Medic players like myself would be obsolete! And that would be terrible!
I love the Sniper chapter. It furthers Sniper's character (he...cries?! Awwww...) and continues the plot. For instance, now it makes sense why Spy didn't immediately kill future Angel. He needed Sniper's tracking skills to find her in the wilderness, but Sniper didn't want to kill her directly.
Mus, you've spent several paragraphs defending your characterizations of Heavy and Sniper. May I suggest including them in the story? Portraying Sniper's dependency on his mercenary job and Heavy's military-instilled obedience in-text would prevent such confusion in the future. I also suggest a stronger in-story hint that Heavy and Sniper are going to work together to help Angel. The scene where they comfort her in Ch.8 is an outwardly nice one, but it doesn't inherently indicate that they're about to take action other than temporarily soothing her at that moment.
I also agree that I think it's unnecessary for so many of the team to have developed crushes on FutureAngel, especially to the point when they're arguing about guarding her showers so Scout won't sneak in. It makes sense for the canonically flirtatious Scout and outwardly romantic Spy, but I definitely can't see deranged "LADY JUSTICE!" Soldier blush or stammer about anything. I could see the outwardly chivalrous Engie making polite gestures towards FutureAngel, but again, not to the point where he's arguing with Soldier about guarding her bath. Maybe crazy Soldier could've insisted on guarding her bath while Engie tried to talk them down and Sniper walked in on the conversation, but a scene like that works better in context than briefly thrown into this flashback narration.
That being said, I like how it seems that Heavy and Demo seemed to become non-romantic friends with FutureAngel instead of just two more guys with a crush. And it could be suggested that Sniper is a biased narrator who remembers FutureAngel as more popular and desired than she really was.
I gotta say that if Soldier and Engie were randomly leaving flowers in helmets for FutureAngel to find, then no wonder she eventually got caught by the Administrator. But more importantly, to put flowers in their helmets, Soldier and Engie would've had to take off their hats and then LEAVE THEM OFF. A TF2 character without a hat? TWO TF2 characters without hats?! Mus, this is the worst idea you've ever had! Soldier doesn't even have an equivalent of the Slim Dome Shine. I don't think he's allowed to be hatless! ;)
Hello Mimi, and welcome back. I thought about including overt anger in that chapter, and came to the conclusion that Angel would not necessarily identify or acknowledge it as such. In fact, the ingrained self preservation instinct that has her depending on the classes would prevent her from turning her anger on them. The only legitimate target therefore would be herself.
With regard to the 'crushes' on futureAngel, I thought it would be a natural reaction to having a novel, reasonably attractive, personable female appearing on the scene. After all, the classes had been essentially cloistered in an all male setting for who knows how long. FutureAngel would most likely have been around for weeks only; if she had been around for longer (like a period of months, say), the male flocking behaviour would have faded well away.
As for the body part creepiness, I thought that it would be self evident that the lack of scarring on her breasts would indicate that Medic had refrained from altering them. Everything else is scarred due to his surgical intervention. Also, I hoped for it to further underline his objectification of her; when turning her into a service toy for his teammates, it would seem logical to emphasise the obvious secondary sexual characteristics.
Do you have a blog anywhere out there, Mimi? I'm Justamus on Tumbl r.
Poulette - Rheopexy
[This is what happens when motivation and force of will intersect. All concrit gratefully received, as usual. :/]
The carefully folded copy of Le Monde was all of a week old by the time it reached his hands, but was no less precious for being a window into the recent past. Spy turned the pages leisurely, carefully keeping the creases razor-straight as he luxuriated in once more being immersed in his native language. Those cosseted students are rioting again. And over mixed-gender dorms, of all things. It will be over in another week or so; de Gaulle will never stand for it- A knocking at the door. Assertive, and barely short of being a hammered demand. No chance they were likely to go away. Sighing inwardly, the Spy closed his paper and went to the door, which opened just as he reached it, revealing the grizzled face of the Sniper.
“Well, Sniper? What compelling reason do you ‘ave for disturbing me at this time? It is late, and we all have to get some sleep if we are to fight tomorrow.”
“Yeah, I know. Was wonderin’ if we could have a word or two with ya, if y’ don’t mind.” Sniper’s expression was even more shuttered than usual.
“But of course, if it is so important that you could not wait. Come in.” Spy swung the door further open, to see the looming shape of the Heavy in the corridor outside. Curious.
They entered, the Russian as always moving more quickly and silently than his build would suggest, and stood awkwardly between the wardrobe and the bed. The Spy sat back down on his chair, slouching carelessly. “Gentlemen. What is it you want to discuss?”
Sniper rubbed the end of his nose pensively. “We need to do something about our girl. She’s not in a good way.”
“How so? Last time I visited La Princesse Perdue, she seemed fine. More than fine, in fact. “ Spy allowed the corner of his mouth to lift in lascivious nostalgia. “If she is ill, it is a simple matter to bring her to ze attention of ze Medic. “
“No. Is much worse than just sick. “ Heavy interjected deliberately, brow furrowed with worry. “I saw lying in own blood and vomit. I use Medigun. She has no Respawn.” Heavy said little off the field, as a rule, and eyes widened around the room at this uncharacteristically long speech; it was as if the wardrobe behind him had spoken.
“Your concern is touching, ‘sieurs.” Spy’s tone was coolly sardonic as he leaned back in the chair. “Zis is not ze first flawed project of the Medic’s. Doubtless she will not be ze last either. If compassion truly is a factor, it would be a simple thing to cleanly put La Poulette out of ‘er mise-“
Spy suddenly found himself tipped to near horizontal in his chair, the tendons in his thighs screaming. The edge of a kukri materialised at his throat and a pair of slitted hazel eyes behind amber lenses glared into his own. “Her. Name. Is. Carol. And she is not your little princess whore,” hissed Sniper from between gritted teeth. “She should never have been brought back to base. “
Spy felt the warmth as the skin of his neck parted slightly. Breathlessly, he choked out, “And whose fault is it zat she came here at all, mon ami..?” The kukri vanished as swiftly as it had appeared, the Spy thudding back down to verticality with a jarring clatter as the Sniper turned away abruptly. “There really is no need for zese theatrics, Jarman. If you feel so strongly about ‘ow I name La Fille, you only had to mention it, “ Spy murmured blandly, hiding his annoyance as he rubbed at his neck, examining the smear of red on his fingers.
Sniper spun back round, eyes suspiciously bright. “Aw, shut the fuck up about the name thing, Spook. Look, I know it’s my fault, orright? I brought her here. But she wouldn’t be here now if you hadn’t lied like a bastard. Did you bloody deliver her to that butcher with a bow around her neck?!” He spat and waved a hand in the vague direction of the medlab, voice cracking at the last.
Stung, Spy exploded out of the chair to prod Sniper hard with a finger to the chest. “Do not seek to blame me for zis, Bushman! I knew as little as you did about ze Medic’s plans for her. I thought also that she would be given amnesiacs and taken to town. I can only guess what demon whispers zese warped ideas into ‘is ear, to pervert God’s creation so!”
Sniper slapped away the prodding hand before Spy could do it again. His lips thinned and twisted in self loathing. “So you’re tryin’ ta dodge the blame for this one too. How fuckin’ typical-“ A huge hand landed on both Spy and Sniper’s shoulders and prised them apart with irresistable yet gentle strength. They were reduced to grimacing at each other from opposite sides of the tiny room like petulant children , past the watchful bulk of Heavy.
“Enough. “ The rumbled word fell like a boulder into a pond. “Medic did bad thing to leetle devushka. Medic will fix.” His jaw set like granite. “Has gone on too long. No more fighting like babies.”
“And how are you planning to get him to ‘make it all better’, Gospodin?” shot Spy mockingly, still resentful at all the manhandling. “Are you planning to send him a fruit basket?”
“No. “Heavy’s fists clenched, the glove leather creaking ominously. Sniper smiled viciously at Spy’s sudden shiver and at the implacable set of Heavy’s shoulders. “Doktor will not say no. I am sure of this. “
Rheopexy – Materials science terminology used to describe strain, flow and viscosity behaviour. Denotes a fluid that increases in viscosity when subjected to shear forces. This can result in a liquid momentarily behaving like a brittle, friable solid. Examples include latex or cornstarch slurries.
Gospodin (Russian) – Respectful form of address to adult males, more formal than the English “Mister”. Considered archaic.
No one says no to Heavy! Yay I hope she gets help.
Here's a sampling of the sort of references I keep stuffing into the installments. This one a little less than others.
Bissen (German) - morsel, bite, mouthful
"..have no appetite..every two or three days" - Medic maintains her drug regimen in her food. Angel is showing signs of classical opioid withdrawal.
"..scaled shins..on my toes.." - Medic trying to surgically mimic bird legs with scaly skin and digitigrade posture.
"clouds of vapour" - Medigun/ Kritz fumes
"..Nie wieder allein" - lyrics from And One's Traumfrau, about making the perfect woman in a factory.
The God Box - Reference both to sensory deprivation tank (Medic got Engie to calibrate it), as well as to Medic's megalomania and God complex (http://lefthemispheres.blogspot.com/2011/10/god-box.html).
"..I have not seen the grey one" - "Herr Klinge", the interviewer/POV. Subversion/Intervention Agent from Marshall, Carter and Dark.
"..feathered wing prints" - think the marks left by bird strike on a plane or car.
Oops, I forgot one.
The references to the tree hung with bones and the two ravens are allusions to Norse mythology. The ravens are Odin's companions, Huginn and Munin, or Thought and Memory.
Hey! Great to have you back, with an amazing addition once more!
This is a great way to send me off into the new semester. (We start late.) I know I should be thinking about what the Sniper's and Heavy's plan is, but what strikes me most about the new section is Spy's comment on de Gaulle. I love it more than you can imagine. Too many TF2 fics neglect the outside world. But I find it fitting that the isolated, personal tragedies of Carol and the TF2 team would happen within widespread politics. That's how it works in real life, no? It's scary how easily the Spy can switch to defending rape immediately after musing over the weekly news like you and I might. Plus, this chap. portrays him as the condescending, upper-class elite I've always suspected he was. If TF2 took place today, I can now imagine him casually dismissing Occupy Wall Street.
I do wish I saw more characterization of Sniper and Heavy in this chap, but both characters serve the plot fine and now we're all looking forward to the next installment.
I think "the male flocking behavior" (nice phrase) would've been alright on it's own, but so many bad Mary Sue fanfics have male flocking behavior that smart fanfic readers develop a knee-jerk reaction against it, even if it's used by a more trustworthy writer whom they logically know can handle the trope well. I think if you had a more cynical class point out that the team's fascination with Carol was temporary and based in circumstance, then there would've been fewer critiques because it would've made clear that you were subverting a common Mary Sue trope. The Medic's earlier chap. would've been good for that. ("Everyvone else seemed to love her, but I knew zat that zey vere only excited by the novelty of a voman in the base." Something like that, only with a less crappy grasp of accents.)
Thinking about it now, I guess I might've inferred the Medic's selective scarring without your stating it. But that's only a "might." I might also have been too distracted by the grotesque descriptions of globular pieces of flesh to focus on the word "unscarred" and figure out what it means. I suggest making it a bit more specific. Perhaps something like "The cold one marks me everywhere, but he never cuts me here. Why doesn't he ever cut me here?" You make a good point about Angel not being capable of expressing anger towards her captors, though. I suppose that was just me WISHING she could.
Also, I do not have a blog...yet. I've been keen on starting one for awhile, but I'm not sure where to start it. I wish Blogger had tumblr's post-sharing system, but tumblr seems very quick and visual, so I'm not sure if my longer, text-based posts will work for it. Maybe I'll have a blog on both and post snippets/links for my Blogger posts on tumblr?
Either way, I'll prolly start a tumblr next week since so many of my school friends and apparently all of the TF2chan big names have one.
Heh. Mimi, that's exactly why I started a Tumblr myself. A quicker way to catch sight of TF2 fanfic and art. Longer, text based posts are not a problem; there is a cut-to-read-more function that is easy to use.
Where are you on Blogger? Most of my non TF2 fandom friends are on Facebook, Twitter or Livejournal. Tumblr tends to be for pretty pictures.
Actually, I wouldn't mind your advice on whether Livejournal might be a better place to blog than Blogger, and what makes the two different. The community-blogging efforts there are starting to look interesting. I think I now won't be able to start blogging until next week, though. I just found out I needed to drop a satire course to fit a pre-med course, and I'm pissed I'll be looking at lines and circles all semester instead of studying John Swift and Jon Stewart. The last time I took organic chemistry I think it came close to sucking out my soul, so don't be surprised if I drop off the face of the internet for a week and miss your updates while my brain adjusts to the constant enervation.
But before that happens, I must say I'm a bit disappointed that Traumfrau doesn't have an orchestral backing. More violins and organs, and it'd be pure Medic.
It's also good that you linked to the God Box. Not only was the article interesting, it helped me understand a scene I saw in a London play. The play "13" had a Strawman Atheist college professor who said (paraphrased), "I'm holding a box that contains the face of God. If you open the box, you will burn up from his intensity. But if you don't, the curiosity will haunt you for the rest of your life." Then he opens the box and says, "Hah! It's empty! God doesn't exist and you're all idiots for believing me!" I had no clue where the playwright got the idea for such a badly written character, but now I do. It's apparently the writer's interpretation of the God Box argument: a very mangled, horrendous interpretation of the God Box argument.
Essentially, I'd steer clear of LJ. Since Six Apart bought it, there have been lots of problems due to their fiddling with the code. Everything from breaking the comments system, to issues with member privacy, to forcing sponsored outbound links. (That last one was retracted so quickly, you bet there was a sonic boom.) The overenthusiastic corporate action is why lots of people have abandoned LJ as a platform. Advantages of LJ include the ability to set viewing permissions on posts (via friendslists and filters), searchable archives/calendars and such. If you do like that kind of interface, I would recommend Dreamwidth instead, which is very similar in features but not corporate. DW also has a filtering system ('circles') that allows someone to subscribe to reading your posts without actually being privy to the private stuff. I crosspost to LJ from DW, which has an invite code system to join. Let me know if you would like a code.
I must say that while I do like the functionality and versatility of Blogger as a platform, I'm a little leery of joining another member of the Google empire. That's why I cleaned out my Google+ account (they insist on real names only). I maintain my LJ connection mainly due to several friends' presences there, and because it has traditionally been where fannish community blogging has been located. I don't know much about the community factor of Blogger, I'm afraid.
All that said, I haven't found much TF2 fandom on LJ or DW (yes, I've looked) except for roleplaying shared communities. It does look like Tumblr is where it's at. If you do start up a Tumblr, feel free to drop me a line! :)
Yes, I do agree that organic chem can eat neurons. I hated Biochem for the same reason. I accreted all the cycles together once before an exam, and had paper literally carpeting my bedroom floor.
I'm glad you liked Traumfrau! I'm guessing you speak German too, or you wouldn't have picked up on the subtleties. And One is frequently silly and whimsical, but are very good at being creepy on occasion.
Sweet. Should I send you my email for the DW code?
Errr...I actually do not speak German, though if you ever need help with Mandarin Chinese or very, very elementary French, I can do that. What I did was look up Traumfrau on the internet, and one of the first hits was a German-English translation. Any subtleties I got from the song was thanks to whomever got them conveyed in the translation.
No problem, Mimi. I've enabled anonymous messages in my Tumblr askbox (justamus.tumblr.com/ask) for the time being, feel free to leave me your email, and I'll get that done for you!
Wow. I am so uncomfortable with Carol's situation.
But I'm still reading.
The characters are interesting, and the entire thing is just...
Like a facinating nightmare. In a good way.
You really don't want the person to suffer, but if you look away, you kind of feel you're doing them an injustice.
That's a terrible simile, but it'll have to do.
... Also, I'll just come out and ask this, is (this) Sniper gay/prefers anal stimulation? see below.
he lives and breathes guilt...
well, that was more fully explained later,
it didn’t stop him making me use them inside him to make him fly.
... so yes. Question stands.
...I guess the answer's "yes"? On one hand he could just like licking her fingers like some people do...but on the other hand, this IS tf2chan.
Hey Mus, I think you should know that your tumblr's "Submit to me" and "Ask me" sections have consistently been giving me error messages so I can't submit anything. (At least, this site's back up, so I actually have a place to tell you that.)
Gotta say that the more I listen to Traumfrau the more I love it. I wrote a ten-page play involving a captor and captive last week and I just played the song over...and over...and over...to set the mood; it still gives me chills. Can't wait for your next update.
Hallo, Two-of-Hearts! Nice to have you onboard. I was striving for a compelling story, so it's nice to hear that I succeeded somewhat. Thank you for that.
Sniper likes all kinds of things. Enjoying sucking fingers or anal stimulation doesn't impact on one's sexual identity. Given that he was full of remorse and affection from the beginning towards Carol, he was probably trying to passively accept her attentions when the lust took over. The fact that in her recollection she felt that he had made her do it, I hoped would imply that deep inside she understood that it was still abuse and manipulation.
Hey Mimi, I have good news. I contacted the Dreamwidth people and was told that the invite system has been waived, and you can go set up a journal for free. So the problems with my Tumblr ask should be moot. When you do, please let me know and I'll friend you with my DW.
With regards to the next chapter, my muse is on hiaitus for the nonce. As she's been a rather hardworking bint, I'm happy to wait for her to return. Honestly, I'm dealing with a whole bunch of offline issues right now, so I'll get onto it as soon as I can. I really hope that's soon!
I can't wait for the next chapter! What does Heavy do?
Poulette – Strange Attractors
We're getting there..
A chipped beaker splintered in the stained steel sink, as a tray full of soiled metal instruments was dumped on top of it with a crash, the tinkle of breaking glass going unheeded. The omnipresent cooing of doves had stopped, and the silence was oppressive like an indrawn breath. At times like these even the birds kept watch, to see which way to dodge.
Medic was angry. Angry and frustrated, to the point of embedding forceps in the wall, point-first. It had all started because those misbegotten dummkopfs had dared to question his abilities, his qualifications! And after all he had done for them, all the little gift projects he had slaved over! When the Engineer had come to him privately, asking for help in securing the labyrinthine sewers against incursion, where his sentries could not reach, he had provided. His lips thinned cruelly in a smirk of pleasurable nostalgia as he recalled the poetic use of the opposing Spy for raw materials; what better use for a thief than to catch another? Medicine for him was about fusing poetry with Science. The beauty of transmutation was ecstasy and agony and transcendence.
So when the Sniper and the Spy had confronted him in this, his sanctuary, the trespass was worsened by their accusations. Not only had they questioned his motives and hurled gross insults, but slyly implied that his skills were fit only for breaking, not making. To make matters worse, they had brought along the giant Russian, who did nothing but stand and grunt like paid muscle, cracking his knuckles in some parody of a physical threat. Let him see if he got within sniffing distance of an Ubercharge anytime soon. As if any of them could have done better, as if any other doctor would have the inspiration, the sheer genius to create fantasy out of whole cloth, to craft meat toys for the ungrateful passel of brats he had to call his teammates! Medic grunted with effort as he hurled a warped bonesaw, teeth clogged with dried blood and tissue, into the sink to follow the other implements, then stripped off his latex gloves.
The sudden spurt of rage died as quickly as it had come, leaving Medic exhausted with its passing. He sat down on one of the laboratory stools, scrubbing tiredly at his face, ignoring the stickiness of drying blood on his forearms. He looked up at the viewport on the incubation tank – hastily and grimly rejigged from the sensory deprivation chamber it had been, by the harried Engineer – watching the his little Turmfalke. She floated, curled foetally, the nerves and ligaments trailing ragged from the bone stumps where he had broken off her wings, pale hair hanging like horsetail cloud in the currents from the circulation pump. She had fought when he had come for her, like she had not fought in many, many months, and he had been forced to sedate her with the syringe gun. Her gaunt face lay slack under the breathing mask, deceptively serene. Her resected fingers and flayed palms waved in the currents in an uneasy mimicry of gesture, the overgrown blood vessels fanning out like tendrils from the raw tips.
It was not going well, Medic was forced to admit. His Turmefalke had been his most ambitious project yet, a twisted Galatea he had created to be pliant and joyous in her servitude. Every line of her had been meticulously moulded to design, and here he was destroying his artwork. He had teared up in the reconstruction of her legs, removing the graceful scaling, grounding her flatfooted to earth again with tendon implants. He had sobbed when he had removed her shining owl eyes and replaced them with her own prosaic, peasant-brown orbs. As if to add insult to the injury of engaging in this destruction of his glorious creation, the fact was that it was proving downright impossible. It had all seemed so easy, so smoothly in his recollection, when borne along on the wings of inspiration. But his hands now felt clumsy and awkward as he dismantled structures, planing back scar tissue in sheets and ropes.
At the beginning, he had taken the bit furiously in his teeth. The first regrafts had gone well, but the regeneration bath had done its work too well, her healing tissues overgrowing into puckered, wattled tumours. The Medigun’s vapours would only have exacerbated this, so he had painstakingly excised every growth with his own blunting scalpel, day after day. The chemotherapy and adjustments he had made to the tank had other effects too, sending her metabolism into free-fall. He had been battling infection in the bedraggled Turmfalke for the weeks he had been working to return her corpus to mere clay. It seemed as though every other day he was racking his brain to invent new cocktails of antibiotics and worse to preserve her collapsing immune system. Medic sighed and rose from his moment of rest, tossing the soiled gloves – more to keep his nails free of debris than anything else – into the incineration bin next to the sink. With easy familiarity and without turning, he opened the glass-fronted fridge and lifted out three vials from their accustomed spot, preparing a transfer syringe for administration to the shunt port installed under his Turmfalke’s thin collarbone, via a line through the tank’s port.
In this his inner sanctum, Medic in his ongoing exhaustion allowed himself to be less vigilant, more cavalier in his methods. This reliance on habit, on the way things always were, would most likely be the reason why he did not notice the carefully resealed vials in the boxes, not even a mere hair out of place. Why he did not notice the tiny smudges around the gauges of the regeneration tank, or the slight alteration in the tint of the liquid in the tank, that could not be attributed to the fluorescent lamps. Or perhaps, to give him due credit, he had simply become accustomed to the infinitesimal accumulation of tiny changes, of smeared fingerprints and hairline scratches where none had been before. It was a war zone, after all, and there was seldom time for regular audits or inspections. As Medic depressed the plunger to dispense the fluid in the syringe into the shunt, his free hand tossed the now empty vials into the bin, followed by the transfer needle. With weary motions, he loaded the metal instruments into the autoclave, setting the sterilisation cycle, before proceeding to wash his arms clean at the sink. His foot nudged the sterilisation bin as he scrubbed, the clinking of settling glass loud in the quiet laboratory. As he strode out of the room, one hand reaching for the light switch, to join the rest of his team mates in the night’s slumber, it never occurred to him that the bin had been, perhaps, a little fuller than it should have.
Ohh yes. Is she rebuilding herself on the sly, or is someone else helping? I eagerly await the answer.
Ya know, somehow I don't hate Medic. He's so obviously Not Right In The Head, and he doesn't seem to realize that what he has done to Carol isn't morally right. All he sees is a medical work of art. I even feel a little sorry for his crazy ass. He just doesn't get it.
(bit late replying) Looking back on the piece, I think I misread a couple of lines... (kind of biased on Snipers bi/homosexuality...) Also, many people, especially in their time period, feel shame over their kinks, so, I was just trying to interpret that, sorry if it seemed like I was judging or something.
Update. I've been waiting so long for this. Owl eyes? huh... Medic's a nutter alright... He doesn't see people as People, I guess, just, "raw materials."
(Late response ahoy!)
I love the hints that Medic's equipment is being tampered with. The descriptions are as nice as ever ("prosaic, peasant-brown orbs"). I do think, though, that this scene would've been more effective if you'd actually shown the group confronting Medic. He's been shown to be so obsessed with his Turmefalke and so successful in warding off previous complaints that it's difficult to believe he'd give into their demands now. Showing how Heavy and Sniper coerced Medic into changing Carol back would help us get over out doubt.
That being said, it's good to see an update of Poulette again. I've really missed it, Mus. Most fanfics aren't written as elegantly as yours, and most stories about captivity focus on crude torture without the depth required to write torture well. It's fairly rare that a story manages to capture the complete confiscation of a person's life. And in that, Poulette stands out.
I bet it was Scout. He's fallen for Carol the Angel.
In which 8 men abduct a university student and brainwash and surgically alter her to become a communal whore.
I honestly boggles my mind that even the "nice ones" that knew the truth STILL rape her...I don't even have a word for the disgust I feel.
I'm more disappointed with Heavy and Sniper than any of the others.
Well written, well polished and engaging enough to continue to the current end but jesus christ...I'm not sure if I want to complain about the unclean feeling or the stench of awkward rape culture that the fic emmits.
However, had the victim been the other team's scout or medic (minus the whole bird thing, I know for a fact that fics have been written like that time and time again on this chan), I don't think there would be hardly any hard or awkward feelings ...
So not sure if hypocritical or if having a female victim is simply hitting too close to home.
Regardless, I have to say good show.
I think I'll forever re-think non-con stuff from now until forever.
I wasn't sure whether I should comment or not, since technically I stopped reading this story a long time ago, and isn't it rude to comment in a thread of a story you are not even reading just because you checked the latest commentary out of curiosity? I'm really hoping I'm not making a faux pas >_>
But I just wanted to say, Distasty, while I completely understand your feelings about this story (heck, I myself felt so strongly about it I had to stop reading many months ago), and especially about Sniper and Heavy (bad people do bad things? That's expected. Good people do bad things? Unforgivable!), one thing I strongly disagree about is that this fic has anything to do with rape culture.
Rape culture is the normalization of rape. It's a net of ideas that rape only happens to those who ask for it (by wearing revealing clothes, by walking alone, by leading men on, by making mistakes that only idiots and sluts would make so if you are a good smart lady you'll be safe for sure), or that rape doesn't happen at all (arousal is the same as consent so if you feel physical pleasure it's not rape, your body expresses what you really want so if you don't fight back when you are drunk or drugged it means that deep down you really want it, women cry rape to get back at innocent men when they feel slut regret, men can't be raped because they always want it).
In this story, at least up to the chapter I read, nothing of the sort was ever even hinted at. Angel got in her horrible situation out of sheer misfortune: she was a perfectly normal girl who clearly rejected sexual advances from the very beginning, she only accepted Sniper's help because she was apparently running away from something terrible and she was forced to choose between going with an apparently kind guy or walking alone in a deserted road in the middle of the night, she ran away from the men at the first sign of danger, and she only got caught because her pursuer happened to be an extremely experienced bushman. There is no victim blaming anywhere, Angel did nothing wrong, she was just extremely unlucky.
Also, Mus went out of her way to show that the sexual slavery had horrible psychological repercussions on Angel (it affected her so badly she tried to kill herself by slamming her head against the wall, and she was disappointed when she didn't die in her blood and vomit), so it was most definitely unwanted in every way even if her (drugged and tortured to insanity) body took it without complaint.
Regardless of how I personally feel about the story, the fact that so many people who are used to gangrape darkfics were deeply disturbed and upset by Angel's fate shows that Mus did a fantastic job deconstructing rape culture. The disgust and unclean feelings are the natural result of Mus not sugarcoating the topic.
P.S: just in case it wasn't obvious, I was being sarcastic with the "ask for it" list.
Women "asking for it" is just one side of the rape culture coin... The other side is the demonization and the general accepted distrust of men. If there is no one to do the raping, you have no rape culture.
Given the choice, EVERY MAN IN THE STORY RAPED ANGEL no matter who they were or thier circumstance. Men that had daughters, men that cared for the victim before the transformation, and men that had genuine pity for her situation. Even worse, it took self inflicted near death injury before they really acknowledged that HAY THERE MIGHT BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH WHAT WE'RE DOING HERE.
I'm not saying that men with the above stated circumstances don't rape women, but it's pretty fucked up that every guy in the story happens to fit the exception.
Just wanted to clarify what I ment and say we should be using this fic to sell rape whistles with angel wings on them...
We could call them...."Guardian Angels"
But to be fair, nearly half of the men were tricked into raping her.
Demoman, Scout, Soldier and Pyro had no way of knowing that the supernatural creature who appeared to willingly accept their advances was drugged and brainwashed; as far as they knew, she was an alien or a fairy and she truly appreciated the sex.
Granted, Scout's very first comment when Angel is shown to the Team is pretty damn aggressive, but reacting with a stereotypical "ohhhhh, I'm gonna get some!" comment when presented with an apparently calm naked beautiful woman isn't evil. It's not like she was tied up or screaming for help or anything, as far as he knew she wasn't in distress.
And Demoman in particular, as soon as he got an inkling of the truth, immediately stopped. Frankly, I'd go so far as to say that Demo is a victim too, as he was tricked into hurting a friend he loved.
Five of the men are guilty: they were either perpetrators or accomplices (Sniper in particular even lied to his oblivious teammates when they asked him if he had any idea where Angel came from, helping the deceit along). But the other four are basically innocent bystanders, it's unfair to blame them.
Anyway, I don't know if you are new here, but if you are posting in a thread where the latest chapter is more than a few days old, you have to sage.
Saging means putting the word "sage" in the email field, so that your comment doesn't bump the thread to the top of the Forum page. That way people who are waiting for the new chapter of this fic won't be disappointed when they see it on the top page again, only to find arguing instead of more story.
I agree with Millia. I'd also like to point out that I don't think this fic is normalizing the idea of "men as monsters" because the men aren't in a normal situation. They're isolated from the rest of the world in a series of military bases and are paid to kill the same people over and over again. It's implied in ch.1 and at least one of the team outright admits that some of them go to Angel for "comfort" after a long day of killing and being killed. When surrounded by that much violence, it becomes easier to think "I've already killed X many people. Why not rape them too?" Would a couple of them be sexually violent even if they hadn't signed up with the Announcer? Probably (I can't really see the Medic acting any way else), but their mercenary careers have put them in a mindset where they're more likely to be violent and more likely to get away with it for a long time.
Therefore, I don't think Mus is implying that all men are rapists. I think she is in fact, showing how the violence of their jobs and environment is making them more likely to be violent towards Carol. She's not condoning it. If anything, she's critiquing it like you are.
Also, this isn't the first gang rape fic to be featured on this site, but I've noticed that most of them don't wring nearly as much of a visceral reaction. The general reaction to rape fics seems to be "This is useless but hot" or "This useless and un-hot, but I've been around the Internet for so long that I don't find it scary because I know it's fantasy and I've seen dozens of fics like it." Basically, they're either written to lust or apathy. They generally don't have multi paragraph discussions where people discuss and defend the fic and analyze it beyond a superficial level. I think the fact that Poulette has actually made people think means it's done something right.
Scout said he liked to cuddle.
But Demo doesnt seem to have figured it out. He just hadn't wanted to rape a crying girl.
But who gave her the book?
Can't help but notice Spy's POV is the only one we haven't seen so far...
Poulette - Sennit
As always, the hissing shimmer of decloaking reminded him of the rattling slide of snow off the eaves in the winter; the recollection was so familiar now as to be nearly devoid of emotional resonance. He had lain awake the last few weeks, thinking about the girl, unable to get her warm crooked smile out of his thoughts. He had resorted to long walks down deserted corridors until fatigue rendered sleep accessible. But despite the direction of his musings, his feet had not taken him down this hall until tonight.
Spy looked around the darkened medical laboratory, his eyes acclimatising to the steady glow of the readouts on the incubation tank. He looked for a long moment at La Poulette – no, he corrected himself, Carol; he should use the proper label – and suppressed a shudder. There was little trace of the eager sylph on which he had lavished his attentions previously; what floated in the tank was a travesty of life, thick with rippled, ribboned growths waving in the currents. It was a blessing that her face was obscured by the breathing mask, he thought – any beauty in proximity to such horror could break a man.
The weight of the metal in his gloved hands seemed heavier than normal, the thin calfskin sliding over the familiar buttons and corners. He crept around to the side of the tank, busying himself with removing the cover to the instrument panel, leaning it carefully against the wall next to his crepe-soled shoes. The wiring, once tidily hanked by colour, was a knotted jumble in the dim light, dotted with twisted cable ties and lumps of solder. He wasn’t sure what to do first. He needed to find an unobtrusive spot to attach the sapper. He adjusted its placement twice, three times, then straightened, pinching the bridge of his nose with long fingers.
It should not be this hard. He had done similar things hundreds, if not thousands of times before, under heavy fire and daily! But this was different; nobody was trying to kill him, in the heat of battle, excesses of zeal were all too common. This was calculated and deliberate. An assassination, a resolution of mistakes compounded into abomination, of crimes against God himself. He took a deep breath. No, he corrected himself. This was not murder, but mercy.
With a steady hand, he wedged the sapper into position. Before he could toggle the switch, however, pain bloomed with a meaty, metallic thunk along the side of his head, and the shadows rushed forward to pull him to the tiled floor.
“Amateur.” A murmur under his breath as he folded the unconscious, lanky Frenchman double and wedged him under the bed in his own room. “Lessee y’get outta that quick, ya interferin’ frog.” The sapper was tossed under the bed to join him with an efficient flick of the wrist, sliding to a stop next to one pointed shoe.
“Neatly done, eh, Ted? Didn’t even break the skin. Used the back of the wrench, like you said.” The stocky Texan grinned and left the room, closing the door softly behind him, before making his way to the medlab. The smile on his face did not budge as he moved soundlessly over the tiled floor, rubber-soled boots hardly squeaking, as he contemplated the monkey’s nest that was the spill of wiring still protruding from the side of the tank. A brief glance over the tangle told him much, the smile widening a hair, as he picked out two wires from the mass. A quick twist of the Gunslinger, and the two wires were artistically frayed, insulation rubbed away. “Stupid Frenchie was going to spoil it all. Then Medic would just yell at me to build it all again. Like I have nothing better to do than to jump when he says ‘bullfrog’. This way’s much better,” he whispered to the little bear in his pocket , patting him fondly with his other hand.
“..This way, it’ll fail niiiice an’ slow. And nothin’ he c’n do’ll work,” crooned Engineer, packing the wires back into their recess, and replacing the cover panel. The hairline crack he’d placed in the sterilisation shunt tubes last week had ensured the irreversible contamination of the feed lines, and would render the tank permanently unusable inside of a month. The grey man had a point; if Medic’s latest endeavours failed spectacularly enough, the damned Kraut’s confidence would be shattered, and he would probably mope for a good long bit. Long enough for Engineer himself to actually get done some of his own projects. And, if Lady Luck was smiling, perhaps the pretend-doctor would stop roping him into his hairbrained schemes.
With a hushed chortle, Engineer dusted himself off, and headed back to his room.
It was a lonely night, and the moonlight spilled through the window of the medlab like a milky shawl, limning the sleeping doves on the windowsill outside in silver. They stirred slightly as another set of footsteps came to a quiet stop in front of the incubation tank.
“Ah, lass. ‘S me agin. An’ stone cold sober this time. I dinna think y’ever got tae see me straight-oop like this, in m’ proper tartan, like I promised ye. An’ sad tae say, ye nivver will. An’ ahm sorry fer tha’.” A deep sigh, and Demoman perched on a nearby laboratory stool, the scratchy woolen folds of his kilt bunched around his knees. His gaze took in the whole of her without flinching, his weathered face pinched with regret.
“Ah’m sorry ferra lotta things, lass. Ah’m sorry f’r not believin’ ye. F’r not knowin’ ye. I shoulda known, dammit. An’—an’ I should’ve been better tae ye. ‘F I c’ld, ah’d wisht ye awai, safe’n soond, nivver havin’ met us, nivver havin’ the knowin’ o’ this messed oop place an’ us crazy f—“ He choked off the whispered words thickly, knuckling at his stinging eye as he stood, fumbling at his sporran, pulling a slim metal flask from it. He sidled slowly to the access panel, wrenching it easily from the column. “Huh. Lookit tha’. ‘Twas easy.” Propping the panel against the wall, he rested his forehead against the cool surface of the tank. “An’ I’m sorry, d’y’ken? This sh’ld nivver ha’ happened, lass, “ he whispered, tears smudging the smooth glass. “Y’ w’re nivver safe ‘ere.”
With a deep breath, Demoman bent to pull a pair of wire cutters from his sporran, reached deep inside the recess, and commenced snipping at every wire he could find. Readouts flickered and died, while other indicator lights flashed red, the buzz of alarms beeping softly in the hushed lab echoed off the tiled walls. The steady hum of the pump fell silent, the glowing filtered through the tank fading to black. He stowed the cutters, and unscrewed the top of the flask, inhaling the rising fumes – single malt, from his private stash, that none but he ever saw – and spilling a mouthful across his tongue. Demoman bowed his head for a moment, the whisky burning his lips, then poured the rest of it into the panel recess as a libation, flinching at the resulting shower of sparks. “Time tae goo, lass. Time t’ fly home wi’ ye’. “
The access panel lying forgotten against the wall, the Scotsman turned crisply on his heel and walked out of the medlab, ignoring the wisps of smoke curling from the wrecked tank.
Sennit – Cordage or rope made by plaiting together strands of fibre or grasses. In knot terminology, refers to a knot composed of a number of lines, woven in a complex pattern.
Roaming restlessly on /afanfic/ at 3am and wandered in. I am utterly floored to be namedropped twice in this thread, so many humble thanks for that.
Secondly, the rape bugs me too, just because I hate seeing characters I love doing things I despise, but this is a story about war. And part of war is and always has been the exploitation of the populace for the entertainment of the soldiery. That the team are mercenaries and not "soldiers" is irrelevant. All our grandfathers and great grandfathers helped themselves to the local girls, and while they may have been smiling, there is no question of consent in occupied territories. This is not the same thing, of course. But the realism of a squad of hired killers accepting the presentation of a monstrous sex slave at face value is, in my opinion and my experience, chillingly realistic. And yes, it is rape culture. It is a portrayal of rape culture, not an endorsement, and not a normalization. And I think it is portrayed effectively.
Since you've been asking for crit: the first chapter stood perfectly well on its own and I somewhat regret the expansion. While the readers always want more of the same once they read something good, I believe your initial instincts were correct--this is a one shot. Horror must be vague, must be narrow, in order to be truly effective. You mention SCP in your comments and you're exactly right, SCP accomplishes everything through its generous use of [REDACTED]. I don't think your expansions have told me anything that wasn't already clearly conveyed--through implication or tone--by your first story. That's me, though. A large number of readers board are not into moody setpieces and stories that provide room to move around in--they prefer denser narratives and that's valid too, obviously. But for me, this story will have ended where it was initially intended to.
Secondly, and I've already been contradicted on this so don't take it too seriously, I despise telegraphed accents unless the intent is to make the character less understandable, from the point of view of a separate narrator. Here's why: the Demoman would not write himself saying "nivver"; in his own mind and in his own writing, he says "never". Only people who have a hard time following his speech would hear him say "nivver". Talking to himself, in an empty lab, with no one to hear and misunderstand him, he says "never".
Which is not to say that I never ever write phonetic accents; I do. But I try really hard to use the bare minimum required to do so, and to do it mostly with word choice and sentence structure rather than literally spelling it out. Terry Pratchett is the master of this. He implies accents using very very scattered clues, unless the characters are truly distant, personally, from the observer/narrator (like an Igor or a gargoyle).
This is just something that you see a lot in fanfic, and very rarely in actual books, but I find it slows down my reading and frustrates the heck out of me when I'm trying to absorb a story.
In closing, I was ready to do some real big eye-rolls about a monster girl fic on MY chan, like a huge snob or something, but I got told. Good one.
Wow. Comment and crit from Toxo. I am feeling humbled and fangirly, honestly.
Thank you for your kind words; I have worked very hard on this story in its various iterations, and it feels good to hear what I have succeeded in. And I appreciate your constructive criticism on accents. I shall endeavour to rein in my urge toward phonetic colour.
Thank you again.
I want to emphasize strongly that my opinion on accents is not the opinion of many, many good readers on this board. And also I noticed you have already received compliments for your accent writing, which is, it's true, very well done. So take my POV on the issue with many grains of salt.
I also would like to emphasize that I think all of this story is very good, regardless of whether I personally thought it was necessary or not. I just thought your writerly instincts about the completeness of your initial chapter were very sound! c:
First kidnapping and mutilation, then rape.
Lovely. Never reading anything by this author ever again.
I feel like any time there is rape involving a vagina on this board, everyone gets their underoos in a tizzy. Raping guys is okay, even encouraged, but raping chicks is RAPE CULTURE this and RAPE CULTURE that. Come on bros, consistency.
As for the actual story. The original one shot took my breath away, and I love it. The rest is acceptable and your errors are understandable. I really like the overall idea and plot, but it could be executed more gracefully. You've done a lot of explaining in comments and replies, which is a great start. The next step is incorporating that into the story itself so that there is no need to explain later. It's difficult, but it's just the next step.
Don't get upset over comments like >145, it's not worth your time (or theirs, really, but who am I to make that decision).
146> Implying that most people here enjoy rape fics. Which we don't. I personally refuse to read anything further if it has rape, regardless of gender.
But I agree with everything else you said about telling us what happened in the actual story.
145: Glad you stated your opinion here. This ain't a hugbox. If you write a rape fic and someone criticizes it or you as an author get the fuck over it. You should know what the hell you're getting into when you tackle these issues.
If you get your feelings hurt because someone didn't respond positively to you having their favourite mercenaries torture a young woman/man they picked up off the streets then you need to try writing something else for a while.
If you get your feelings hurt because someone didn't respond positively to you having their favourite mercenaries torture a young woman/man they picked up off the streets then you need to try writing something else for a while.
Are you saying that the author is #146?
No, they're saying that if an author writes a rape fic and then gets upset by a comment like >>145 , they should try writing something else for a while.
I definitely agree with >>146;
As for the actual story. The original one shot took my breath away, and I love it. The rest is acceptable and your errors are understandable.
I look forward to the finishing up of this fic (here I'm assuming that it's close to done, but I could be wrong) and what you write in the future.
I honestly don't consider this a "rape fic". To me, rapefic dwells almost fetishistically on the act of rape itself, either as horror or titillation.
In this story, while the rape of Carol is a significant part of the psychological landscape, it is not the point of the thing. It is what came before and what comes after. Lead-up and consequences.
I think that is what makes it different.
Is this finished? Or not?
Someone needs to learn to sage
Not just someone, I think at least 3/4 of Chan's population has to.
Is that ment to be a funny clip?
Epilogue - Denouement
And with this, we are undone. And done.
It hadn't been really worth the trouble, mused Miss Pauling, as she fumbled the lighter off the bedside table and applied herself to her menthol filter. To be fair, she thought, the sex was every bit as good as she had anticipated. She stretched lazily, relishing the masochistic aches and twinges from the weekend's acrobatics - the bites on the back of her neck were going to bloom into bruises, for sure - secure in the knowledge that she had given just as good as she had gotten.
She exhaled, the cloud of smoke glowing faintly in the moonlight streaming through the motel window as she idly admired the long, lean length of the slumbering Australian next to her. He was deeply, bonelessly asleep, and drooling into the pillow with exhaustion. The way the moon picked out the planes and hollows of his delightfully flexible body almost hid the marks she had left; she had carefully placed them to be easily hidden, even the ones he had begged her ever so humbly for. At least this time he hadn't wept in afterglow, not as he had during their first few trysts. She certainly had her work cut out for her to get him back and sniffing on her trail, after the interfering civilian had gotten her hooks into him. Miss Pauling was quite certain that the Sniper had never managed to consummate his infatuation with the girl, not all the way - there was no evidence on the surveillance tapes - but it had taken months of work before she succeeded in his turning to her for comfort.
What a mess. The Agent that Marshall, Carter, and Dark had sent was as good as promised, and every bit worth his princely price, vanishing with the lion's share of her Mann Co. skimmed profits for the financial quarter. But he had also done not one whisker more than contracted, leaving her to tidy up the other fallout from the trollop's inadvertent and unfortunate intrusion. The unwelcome surprise had been in how long it had taken her to tie off the loose ends. Her lip lifted unconsciously in a silent snarl. Her in-tray had been filling uncomfortably fast with transfer requests from the mercenaries; the Medic's copperplate-inscribed forms cited irreconcilable differences with his coworkers, and the Soldier's, painstakingly written in near-typeset capitals, simply suggested that the loss of the base's Winged Victory merited investigation. It wasn't surprising, she reflected, that the deeply flawed warrior children of her little hothouse war had projected their own wishes on the whey-faced bint.
On her last inspection visit to the base months ago, she had had to invent a story about how the scientists who had spirited the girl's distorted remains away for disposal had given her full burial rites. The Demoman and Scout had seemed to believe it, but the Spy had refused to either speak, or to meet her gaze. The huge Russian however, had glowered wordlessly, even more taciturn than usual, conveying his deep suspicion at her involvement in the events; it only served to confirm her suspicions that he was more astute and thus more dangerous, than she had previously believed. The Engineer had simply tipped his helmet like always, but with an unsettlingly knowing look of acknowledgment.
Enough with the self-pity, she decided, stubbing her cigarette out in the tin ashtray. It could have easily gone much, much worse. She was still in a good position, pulling the strings from the shadows behind her figurehead of a boss, playing all three sides against each other, playing God as she wished. More pies than fingers, these days. She picked at a fleck of dried blood under a manicured nail. At least this one doesn't snore, she thought, casting a lazy, proprietary glance at the Sniper's form. She had always preferred to watch the quiet ones.
So is Miss Pauling a good guy or a bad guy?
Hello. New, curious anon here.I'm not sure whether you'll ever read my comment or not (wish I had a time machine...), but I'll leave it here anyway. This was a great story and I'm a bit disappointed that it wasn't discussed anymore after the last part was posted. Though I've read and liked every part, I'm afraid I have to agree with Toxo; the piece would have been better as a oneshot. I think the rest was a bit forced here and there because you tried to explain and write down everything your readers wanted to know. Please don't get me wrong, I still believe that it's a good thing you care about us this much and you are opened to new ideas and critics :) Again, this fic was amazing, I especially loved the detailed characterization and the clever titles. thanks for writing it!
I don't think I will ever be clean again after reading that.
Oh, wow. I'm new here, and it seems like this thread is long dead, but this story was enough to prompt me to make my first reply/post on here. I'll probably never get a response, but does anyone know where I can find more of the OP's work, or their tumblr? I'm sure this fic will haunt my subconscious for quite a long time.
OP's tumblr is Justamus, and they don't seem to have written much in a long while. That said, their Secret Santa fic a couple years back was also quite horrific.
Yep. I'm pretty sure they left the fandom for good over a year ago.
OP is also on AO3 apparently.