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Thread: Cloak and Dagger: The Athena Corp

  1. #1
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    Default Cloak and Dagger: The Athena Corp

    Cloak and Dagger: The Athena Corp

    Chapter 1, Part 1

    Captain Harry Bierce placed his ungloved hand on the cold metal of his rifle bolt, wincing briefly in shock. As the designated marksman for team Alpha-Ena he was currently participating in a solo cold weather exercise in the frigid tundra of Oriens. Where the equatorial regions were cool, rarely rising past freezing, the tundra of the north was bone chilling, dropping as low as -60 degrees on the customary temperature scale still used by the military in place of metric.

    He was an older man for military service, being almost 40 years of age, but that age gave him a level of experience unheard of in the Transcendii military. His scruffy beard was frozen solid and dotted with white particles of snow and water ice, and his skin, pale on the best of days, was almost as white as the reflective snow that surrounded him.

    He wasn?t wearing as thick of protective clothing as one would expect in an environment as cold as the northern tundra, and while partially it was an effort to harden his body against the cold, the lighter clothing served another purpose.

    The physical exertion required during most of his exercises in the tundra was immense, and with heavy protective clothing on would cause him to sweat immensely. This sweat would later freeze when he wasn't as active, and very easily freeze him to death. By keeping himself cool, he kept himself from freezing.

    That is not to say, however, that he was completely exposed to the frigid tundra. His cold weather kit included a jacket of synthetic fibers with heating coils that kept his body at a constant temperature of 35 degrees, which included a facemask that was currently removed so he could effectively use the telescopic sight on his rifle. His pants, thick gloves, and waterproof boots were similarly equipped.

    For a moment he thought about replacing his gloves, before dismissing the idea. He had long ago learned that it was better to have cold fingers than gloves when doing something like this. While there was a fear of his fingers freezing to the rifle, he would rather have that happen than accidently pull the trigger and reveal his position. He couldn't even activate the heating unit on his rifle, for fear of enlarging his thermal footprint, having his heating coils active as pushing it as it was.

    Glancing through his scope he viewed the barren and lifeless tundra that stretched out before him. He was positioned at the top of a dune of snow, one of many that dotted the region, and had a commanding view of the flat and open desert below.

    Directly ahead, at a range of 4 miles, was his target. The problem was that while he knew the range, he didn't know the exact location of the metal sheet and there were a lot of places it could be hiding, in a crack in the ice or barely hidden from sight behind a dune.

    For a moment he entertained the thought of switching his scope to the IF setting, but quickly dismissed the idea. Infrared radiation from the sun would reflect off the snow and the IF snow blind could oftentimes be worse than the visible variety.

    He turned his gaze above, looking for the observation drone that would no doubt be circling overhead. From their nice and warm commander center, his COs would no doubt be reveling in his torment via a live video feed. He quickly shook the thought from his mind, this was not the time or place.

    Turning his gaze back to the field in front of him he pulled out a pair of binoculars and surveyed the region again, letting his eyes lose focus and looking for any hint as it the targets location, a flash of reflected light or a slight movement in the wind.

    Suddenly he saw it, a particularly bright flash of reflected light. To the untrained eye it would have been inconsequential, but decades of experience had honed his sense to be perceptive of even the slightest changes in surroundings.

    He swung his scope around, maxing out the zoom on the target area and saw it clear as day, a large steel target with a bulls-eye painted onto it. He checked the wind briefly and adjusted his scope for the range and lined up his shot, taking into account the wind speed and direction, the Coriolis Effect, and a variety of other minor variances that would result in his shot going wide at this extreme range.

    Thirty seconds later he squeezed the trigger of his T-3 Sniper Rifle and winced as the massive recoil of the 20mm rifle drove into his shoulder, no amount of practice could harden a man to that force, and sent the round rocketing downrange at almost a mile per second. The sound of the rifle firing was tremendous and rang out for miles in all directions. Harry allowed himself a break in his serious demeanor for a smile as he saw the round punch a hole only a few inches off the center of the target, before quickly replacing his gloves onto his hands and grabbing his thirty pound rifle. He had a long hike back to basecamp before he could finally relax for a few hours in relative comfort.
    Last edited by Heraclius; 11-07-2010 at 12:59 PM.

  2. #2
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    What's with all the stories popping up all of a sudden??? Oh well, it gives me something to keep me occupied while I'm trying to think on writing my own.

    Anyway. This looks like the kind of intro that serves really to just ingratiate the reader with the main character, so that we can start to actually empathize with him when he gets into dialogue, or gets into action later on. Probably even starting with the next paragraph. Because otherwise, who's going to care what he does next?

    The problem for me is, I'm not getting any sort of that kind of connection. To be blunt, Captain Bierce seems a little flat to me.

    Now, the description is great. In fact, I'm getting a really good impression of the surrounding terrain. The character? Less so.


    That kind old lady stopped the rain for us.
    She said it would only make us cold, and miserable, and sick.
    We thanked her and hugged her and she walked away smiling warmly.
    I miss the puddles...

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