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April 13th, 2003, 11:39 PM
Hey there,

I really enjoyed the critique thread that ran earlier, so I thought I would get another one going. I'm going to post one of mine, and then I would love to read some others.

Here's a little background on what I am posting.
It's from the eighth chapter of my book Outerlands.
Kari is a slave worker liberated by Daggs. Daggs works with Earth's Diplomatic Corps Intelegence Division, and is taking Kari to a genetics clinic to get treatment for a defect her masters have encoded into her DNA.
Daggs real name is Darwin Briggs III and is a member of Earth's elite Ruling Caste.

The point of this scene is to build on Kari's character a little bit, and to reveal a little bit about Daggs' notoriety among Earth's elite. It is also the beginning of Kari's infatuation with Daggs.

Again thanks a bunch, I would like to hear what you think, and would love to read some of your stuff.


April 13th, 2003, 11:46 PM
“How long have we been sitting here?” she asked.

“About ten minutes,” said Daggs, wiggling his fingers. “Arm fell asleep.” He smiled as he opened the door of the taxi.

“Is this it?” she said looking up at the pale pink and white building next to them.

“Yep,” said Daggs stepping out. He took her hand and helped her out. He leaned in again and mentioned something to driver that she did not hear. “This is the most advanced genetics clinic in the Corelands, I booked you the most expensive and luxurious suite in the entire place.”

“How long will it take to get me fixed?” She gripped his hand as they walked up the carpeted path to the main entrance.

“They’ll take a few days to run all the test they need to do, after that-” He paused in mid sentence. Something she had never heard him do. She looked at his face and saw him staring off to the left, just past her.

“What is it?” She turned and looked off in the direction he was staring. The sight made her gasp. A mile or two down the road from the clinic stood a huge, silver and gold office building. The massive letters at the top was read: Greenway. Daggs ushered her along to the entrance of the clinic.

“It’s the corporate headquarters.” Said Daggs as they passed the doors, ignoring the greetings from the staff. She could feel her breathing increase and her heart seemed to leap into overdrive. “They don’t know you’re here. They don’t know if you’re even alive right now.”

“What am I going to do?”



“Sit down in that over stuffed chair and wait while I make a call.” He pointed to one of the lobby chairs and she obediently followed his command. He then turned and walked back towards the door tapping on his cellink. She sat nervously and watched as he disappeared from view.

“Can I get you a drink?” said a woman in front of her.

“What?” she said.

“You look a little upset, I thought you might need a drink or something. You’re Kari right?” said the woman. She was somewhere in her early twenties and wore a short lavender and silver dress. Her black hair was done up in an elaborate braid. “I didn’t catch your last name, only that you’re named Kari. That’s an unusual name. I’m Silvia,” she said offering her hand. Kari shook her hand and tried to sink further into the folds of the comfy chair. As far as she could tell Silvia was the embodiment of female perfection, from her build, height, makeup and apparently verbal exuberance.

“Silvia Kern. I heard your name from the reservations clerk. I don’t know what family you’re with but I heard you got the Prime Minister suite, and I just had to meet you.” She sat down in the chair next to Kari’s. “I guess you must really be connected to get set-up here on such short notice. Serves me right for not getting a reservation, but I was out at our country estate and the next thing you know I am coming down with a cold. You know how it is. Every time someone catches one it’s our duty to come in a get it isolated and coded in. I am all about doing the right thing for The Caste. But anyway I got it treated and the geneticists have the pattern down so our kids will never have to worry about catching that strain again. So, why are you here?”

Kari blinked at Silvia for a second before she realized that she was given a chance to speak. “Oh,” she said. “Well, I’m not really supposed to talk about it.” She smiled apologetically at Silvia.

“Well,” said Silvia. “I can certainly respect that. My family is really discreet; I mean we hardly talk at all. I was just telling my sister the other day that- Oh My God!”
Kari jumped at Silvia’s outburst. Then she realized that Daggs had walked up beside her. Silvia seemed shocked to see him.

“Silvia right?” Daggs smiled at her and Silvia seemed to collapse back in her seat.

“Y-yes,” she stammered. “You went to school with my brother.” She gazed up at Daggs with a dreamy look in her eyes. “You’re Darwin Briggs right?”

“That’s right,” said Daggs nodding. “You’re Michael Kern’s sister. How’s he doing these days?”

“Good,” she said. “He just finished his service.” She looked him up and down. He was wearing a white puffed shirt with an open collar and loose cuffs, tight black pants and knee high dress boots. Kari could understand now why Silvia was so attracted to him, but there seemed to be more than just his looks that Silvia liked. “So,” Silvia continued slyly. “Are you out of service yet?” She crossed her legs flirtatiously. Kari almost snorted.

“No,” said Daggs running his hand through his hair. “I had to cut my hair for my assignment.” He smiled at Silvia and then turned to Kari. “Can I borrow you for a second?”

“Sure,” Kari said blushing. She couldn’t believe he was making her blush by just talking to her. They talked a lot. It wasn’t like they were doing anything different. He offered her his hand. She took it and walked with him toward the door.

“It goes without saying that you are not to discuss your situation with anyone.” He said to her in a hushed tone.

“Yeah,” she said. “I figured that out already.”

“You’re going to be surrounded by the Ruling Caste. They’re nice enough but gossipy and extremely curious. Stick to your first name only and don’t say anything.”

“I’m just telling people that I’m not supposed to talk about it.”

“That’s good,” said Daggs. “A truncated version of the truth is better than a comprehensive lie.” He smiled. “I just got off the link with The Division. I have assigned a full security detail to you. You’re going to be as protected as the Prime Minister and his family.”

“Thanks,” said Kari, remembering how scared she was.

“This is an omega level team. They are the best, of the best, of the best. They’re invisible, capable, and will lay their lives down for yours.”

“Great,” she said, forcing a smile. “I guess I have nothing to worry about.”

“No you don’t.” said Daggs. He handed her a credit card. “This is yours. The clinic has shops, stores and some great boutiques. Treat yourself. Get one of Caste chicks to teach you to shop outrageously, it’s all on The Division’s account so don’t feel like you have to hold back. It’s part of your cover. If you act shy and introverted then you might raise some suspicion. I recommend you don’t leave the campus though.”

“Don’t worry,” she said putting the card in her pocket. “I’m still a little frightened.”

“Fear is your ally,” said Daggs. “That’s your instinct telling you to be careful. But don’t let it control you. You control it.”

“Easier said than done boss,” she said grinning, trying to look as though she had control of her fear. Daggs’ cellink beeped.

“That’s the signal,” he said tapping a button on it. “They’re in place.” He gave Kari a kiss on the cheek and a hug. “Gotta go, I have to get to the house before Ziggi steals all my parents silverware.” Kari giggled. “Hey,” he said, touching her chin. “That smile suits you, I think you should keep it.”

He shot out of the lobby and was gone. Kari watched through the window as he crossed to the taxi and opened the door. He looked back and waved, still smiling. She wiped a tear from her eye and waved back, her smiled still plastered on her face. She was more frightened than she was when she was first pulled from the mines, or when Steph was burned, now she felt the fear of losing him, not just her freedom.

“My God,” a voice came from behind her. She turned to see Silvia, who still looked as though she had been hit with a stun gun. “You know him?”

“Yes,” she said. “We’re friends.”

“What do you know about him?” Silvia started guiding Kari back toward the comfy chairs. “I mean,” Silvia said as the sat down again. “I’ve heard stories before, but how do you know what’s true and what isn’t”

“What have you heard?” Said Kari.

“Well,” said Silvia. “He was once in love with Shea Adair, you know, Speaker Collin Adair’s daughter.”

“Yeah,” said Kari. “What else.”

“Her family made them break it up because of his…” She nodded her head closer to Kari’s “You know, mother.”

“Oh yeah.”

“Anyway, Shea was devastated and to spite her father, she goes into service right after him. And then Darwin is still so angry that he goes deep undercover and disappears in the Outerlands.” She leans back in her chair and gazed upward at the ceiling. “He becomes this super brave and tough agent for the Intelligence Division, all the time throwing himself into his work trying to forget her. I heard he vowed never to return to Earth because of his heartbreak.”

“That’s amazing,” said Kari, trying to sound as though she had heard the story before.

“The Adairs are one of the most prestigious families in The Ruling Caste. Shea was the only woman that he could never marry.” Silvia sighed. “He could have just about any other woman in The Caste, but he only wanted her.” She looked back at Kari. “I just can’t believe that you know him,” she sighed again. “I mean no one knows him. What’s he like?”

Kari smiled at her. “When you talk to him he listens.” She said. “When you’re around him, you feel safe, you feel confident, and you just trust him. You know that he wouldn’t let anything happen to you.”

“My God,” said Silvia. “Are you two?” She tilted her head at Kari.
“No,” said Kari, a look of disbelief on her face. “I mean, really I’m just…sixteen.”

“Oh yeah,” said Silvia. “Of course, I mean you’re just a kid. He’s just so…”

“I don’t think they’ve come up with a word to describe him.”

“I could come up with a few. So is he going to be around for a

“I don’t really know.”

“So,” said Silvia, she was in full information retrieval mode now. “How do you know each other?”

“I’m not really supposed to talk about that.”

April 14th, 2003, 02:48 AM
I gave it a quick read (mind, a very quick read). It seems OK. The only thing I have to point out is... perhaps you could add more thoughts and/or descriptions in this scene, to break the constant dialogue going on.

Anyway, just a thought. Maybe I'll come back to it later, to take a good look this time. :)

April 14th, 2003, 09:01 PM
Okay, I want to know where's chapters 5 6 and 7!

*puts on his best angry face*

Oh yeah you wanted real critique... well I guess you've got fairly good story telling abilities. I think you've struck the right balance with explaining technology and not doing information dumps. Your characters have decent depth. It might be possible to improve them as they seem a little generic compared to other space adventures. However, I know I don't have to the ability to do better.

There's minor mistakes in your stories. Like I think you wrote "had" instead of "hadn't" in the above chapter (last "had" in chapter 8). Also I think I remember you using a word that sounded similar to the word you meant in one of your previous chapters.

I can't really help you. You need a better writer than I to give you critique. It's a good story and I enjoyed reading what you've written so far.


April 14th, 2003, 09:05 PM
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April 14th, 2003, 09:25 PM
Ooooh Man!! I hate it when it does that. accidently posted in mid-typing. sorry.

Any hoo,
The only thing I have to point out is... perhaps you could add more thoughts and/or descriptions in this scene, to break the constant dialogue going on.

You are absolutely right. I think I can write pretty good dialog, and that is how I see the story in my head. It bounces around when I'm driving to work, or when I'm lying in bed at night. My weak point is descriptive passages, and so I tend to shy away from that.
Okay, I want to know where's chapters 5 6 and 7!

I'm working on them. I have written most of them, but I am too busy right now to get them finished and up loaded.

... well I guess you've got fairly good story telling abilities. I think you've struck the right balance with explaining technology and not doing information dumps. Your characters have decent depth. It might be possible to improve them as they seem a little generic compared to other space adventures.

Thanks...This work is the first major work that I stuck with for any length of time. I know that this sounds silly, but I chose characters that do seem a little generic. Daggs is the lovable rogue, Kari the wide eyed kid, and Shea is the Damsel in distress. Damn, I guess that sounds really familiar come to think of it. These are classic character types, my plan is to take these people and help the evolve. Daggs is going to grow beyond his own selfish desiere, Kari is going to shed her naiveté and Shea is going to... oh well that would be telling.

Thanks for the critique guys, I would love to read some stuff soon.