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The Beginning of the End [The Agency, Chapter 1]

Discussion in 'Stories' started by W32Coravint, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. W32Coravint

    W32Coravint New Member

    Blog Posts:
    May 8, 2016
    Likes Received:
    My first story! Inspiration was taken from the SCP Foundation. There is some violence.

    Attempting to catch: Shinx [Simple]
    Required characters: 5,000
    Character count: 5,135

    Chapter 1
    The Beginning of the End

    Narzu Bolkuile knew his job at the Anomaly Control Agency was critical to the continued existence of civilization. The Agency was actually a secret society of researchers and scientists working around the clock to keep the world from falling apart at the seams. Only a few outside of the Agency knew of its existence.

    The Anomaly Control Agency, in effect, kept the world normal. They eradicated things that refused to conform to the laws of existence, kept their existence a secret, and covered up anything abnormal, all while orchestrating many of the world’s politics and happenings.

    Narzu turned to his computer. Reports had come in of various Gym Leaders throughout the world having their Pokémon overtaken by an unknown compulsion during gym battles. The latest report was in Jiukgieng Gym in Jiunkuet, led by Ground-type trainer Leik Laukqiet, where a challenger had been brutally murdered by the Gym Leader’s Sandslash despite Laukqiet’s efforts to stop it. He claimed that the Pokéball was unable to recall the Sandslash and that the Pokémon did not respond to any commands.

    Narzu had been researching the patterns governing the incidents. He had figured that every attack happened fifteen or sixteen days after the previous attack. The first incident was in Kjulimet Gym, Eirulente, led by Aleksantre Aemirtun - another alliterative name. Scrolling down, he realized every affected Gym Leader’s official name consisted of two words, both of which started with the same letter, and that the initial letters followed the order of the English alphabet.

    Narzu searched the list of Gym Leaders in all regions and entered a regular expression. To his surprise, only one name matched the pattern: Maakun Makwu’una, leader of Kani’ikwu Gym, the only gym on the island nation of Kani’ikwu and part of the A’akwaqma Island Chain Pokémon League.

    Immediately, Narzu arranged for Maakun Makwu’una to be removed from his position at the Gym. Makwu’una soon retired from Pokémon training entirely, under the supervision of the Agency. Kani’ikwu Gym was then taken over by Makwu’una’s son, Taku’utaqa Kwamuta’a. Narzu figured that the anomaly would stop if there were no Gym Leader fitting its criteria.

    Two days later, which according to Narzu’s predictions was the day on which the anomaly would take effect, the Gym Leader of New Spoltcha Gym resigned from his position. His successor, Malcolm Marlienson, took over the position hours later.

    Narzu immediately sent troops embedded in the Spoltcha police force to barricade off the New Spoltcha Gym under the guise of preventing a terrorist attack and flew out to New Spoltcha himself to supervise the operation.

    Being the first gym of the Spogutte Pokémon League, the Leader used weaker Pokémon than the leaders in the rest of the region, and Malcolm had brought with him a Shinx and a Pikachu.

    Narzu walked into the Gym and his jaw dropped in surprise. A small boy had slipped through the police barricade and had entered the Gym; Narzu had walked in on the boy challenging Malcolm to a battle. Malcolm sent out his first Pokémon, a Shinx, while the boy had come prepared with a Sandshrew.

    “Marrett, Bite!” Malcolm shouted.

    The Shinx, Marrett, ran up to the Sandshrew and pounced on it, sinking its jaws into the Sandshrew’s skin. It was then the anomaly took effect.

    Marrett channeled electricity through its tail, paralyzing the Sandshrew while Marrett tore away at its flesh. The boy started desperately shouting at his Pokémon. “Do something, anything, just do something to get him off!”

    “Marrett, no! Come back!” Malcolm shouted, but it was too late. Marrett threw the Sandshrew’s bloodied corpse off to the side and rushed at the boy, who sent out his second Pokémon - a Pansage. Malcolm fumbled to press the recall button on Marrett’s Pokéball, but it had no effect. The challenger screamed as Marrett electrocuted his body.

    The Shinx charged at the trembling Pansage and landed on it from above, sending current through it and into the ground. The Pansage was electrified to a crisp as Marrett pressed his paw to the Sandshrew’s blood and began to write a message with the blood left on its hand: “Do not try to stop us. You will only make it worse for yourselves.”

    Narzu called out for help from the troops, but none of them came. It was later discovered that they had left as soon as Narzu entered the Gym, claiming that Narzu had sent an order to disperse. No such order was registered on the Agency’s systems.

    Marrett then pounced on Narzu, who sidestepped the attack and pulled out his standard-issue pistol and fired a warning shot at the Shinx; however, he was not discouraged and proceeded to jump at Narzu, sparking with static electricity. Narzu screamed in pain before Marrett bit into his arm, electrifying him while speaking in perfect English, a near-impossible feat for most Pokémon. It was later found that Marrett had not been taught how to speak human languages, nor was it able to speak any such language after the incident.

    “We see everything. Your Agency will fall.”

    The last thing Narzu saw before he blacked out was the Shinx, its face warped and its eyes pitch black.
    Magikchicken and Johnbdm like this.
  2. Magikchicken

    Magikchicken Prince of All Blazikens!

    Blog Posts:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Greetings, Trainer, and welcome to the Stories board!

    I'd like to say right now that I'm intrigued and looking forward to seeing more of your stories. Your description of the Agency evoked a kind of mixture of "Welcome to Night Vale"-esque 'World Government' with an element of "Cabin in the Woods." No doubt as the plot progresses, we'll learn more about the Agency and also about the mysterious, dangerous anomaly that seems to be intentionally opposing it!

    Characters, Backstory:
    A concise and intriguing introduction of Narzu Bolkiule— and the Agency he belongs to— serves as a solid start to your story, building interest in the world before drawing the reader in further with the beginning of Chapter 1's plot!

    I also like the internal consistency of the various characters' names! I take it they're part of a constructed language (ConLang) like the ones you were talking about on Discord? ;)

    Plot Content, Plot Flow:
    You produced a nice flow in the story so far, since the chapter starts with the premise and the foundations of a mystery, and then progresses to answer our questions about exactly what these 'mad Pokémon' anomalies look like from close-up. Despite how short your story is, you managed to include more than one twist— one when the Agency's best efforts fail to prevent the expected anomaly entirely, and another when their emergency response is foiled by the failure of Narzu's Agency troops to arrive!

    Grammar, Sentence Flow:
    No serious complaints here, though perhaps do watch out for confusion of pronouns (he, him) and action verbs paragraphs in which two characters are acting. For example:
    The use of "...he was not discouraged" made it unclear who the 'he' is because it came right after referring to 'the Shinx' but having had Narzu as the last character to act.

    Run-on sentences happened once or twice in your story; as a general sign to watch out for, if you're using "and" more than two or three times in a single sentence, consider splitting it into multiple sentences. You can put in some descriptive words, or even dialogue, if this would make the new sentences too short.
    This could be rephrased as something like:
    Marrett pounced at Narzu, who sidestepped the attack with practiced ease born of a long career in combat against humans and Pokémon alike. He withdrew his standard-issue pistol from its holster and fired a swift warning shot at the Shinx; however, Marrett was not discouraged.

    The Electric-type, undaunted by the sound of the gunshot and ricochet, proceeded to jump on Narzu, visible arcs of static electricity sparking from place to place amongst his bristly blue fur.

    Detail, Description:
    Descriptions were not bad! That said, descriptions and detail are something I feel very strongly about, so please excuse me if I go rather in-depth here!

    As is the case with almost every story, a bit of added detail could be a good thing— the more you do to paint a picture for your reader, the more likely it is they're seeing in their mind the "movie" that plays in your head when you think about your story! For instance, you have the option of describing the exterior of the Gym when Narzu and his men approach it; imagine you don't know what the Gym looks like (because your reader doesn't!) and describe it: perhaps it has pillars leading up to the entryway, perhaps there are large oak doors, or perhaps they're nice convenient sliding glass doors instead. When Narzu gets inside, what does he see? It's an electric gym, but is this gym a technological puzzle of moving floors with a battle ring in the centre, or perhaps a fully equipped recording studio with a stage in the middle? Maybe it's very simple: an empty room where battles take place on a metal plate that conducts electricity. Up to you, but if the details aren't there at all, the reader is forced to imagine the locations themselves (and might get confused later if a newly revealed detail conflicts with their mental image, such as if Marrett dips his paw in a pool of blood to start writing with it, but the reader had imagined the ground being sand and having absorbed the spilled blood.)

    The above is just a suggestion that I give almost every writer I meet; the level of detail in your story is absolutely sufficient for a Simple, and would possibly be enough also for a Medium catch (if everything else measures up well!)

    I noticed that you made good use of a mixture of actual dialogue ("Marrett, no! Come back!" and "We see everything. Your Agency will fall.") and described dialogue (Narzu called out for help from the troops, but none of them came...) Both have their place, and were used well here. =)

    I felt a bit jarred, though, as a reader, when "Narzu screamed in pain before Marrett bit into his arm," because the use of the preposition 'before' made it look kind of like Narzu screamed in pain in response to the bite, before he was even bitten. (I'm guessing the intent was that Narzu screamed in pain from the electric shock that had happened a moment before.)

    If your uses of 'then' and 'before' were purely to make it clear that one thing happened earlier than another, I'd suggest omitting such uses of prepositions entirely in favour of 'and.' As your reader, I'm going to assume automatically that the first thing you say happens, happens first! ('Narzu screamed in pain, and Marrett bit into his arm."

    Also, in the same paragraph, Marrett "bit into [Narzu's] arm, electrifying him while speaking in perfect English," a phrase which confused me because the use of 'while' meant there was no point when I imagined Marrett letting go of Narzu with his teeth; I had trouble reconciling the idea that Marrett was still biting down on Narzu's arm while also talking. (If that's actually what happened, or if the voice was never coming from Marret's mouth in the first place, perhaps something like "through rigidly clenched teeth" or "as though the Shinx's body were merely a speaker system" would be a detail to add to the description of Marrett's dialogue!)

    In a short story like this, it's crucial to have the conflict be meaningful; you'll likely only get one shot at a climactic moment! In this case, you did quite well.

    There was one part of the fight that was confusing in terms of my mental image while reading, and it has to do, again, with order of events and how you used prepositions (on, at:)
    Try to keep a clear picture of what your reader is supposed to "see" in their mind's eye when reading your story. I stumbled a little when Marrett "pounced on" Narzu but the attack was sidestepped; reading that Marrett pounced on Narzu had me imagining them making contact, but the sidestep contradicted that impression. "Pounced at Narzu" might have been a better choice here!

    Character Count:
    I counted 5,219 characters, which does indeed exceed the minimum recommended character count for a Simple Pokémon catch!

    I really liked this story, and look forward to seeing more from the Agency, Narzu (if he survives,) and the mysterious and sinister source of this anomaly!

    Shinx: Caught!