Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Secret Agent #34

TITLE: Trust
GENRE: Science Fiction

Anastassia Kazan thrummed her fingers on the table between us. “Could you kill someone if I asked you to?”

“You mean, if they attacked you?” I’d accepted the job of acting as her bodyguard, but I didn’t see myself as a thug. I glanced around the hotel room, wondering why she chose to interview me here. Surely the advisor to the entire Narvan System had an office somewhere.

She sat back, shifting her armored coat. “Vayen, you’ve worked in security. Surely you understand the necessity of taking preemptive measures.”

“Yes, of course.”

“Good. First order of business.” Her human mind opened a telepathic connection to mine. The light-skinned face of a Jalvian with white hair and a determined gleam in his eyes popped into my head. “If you see this man, kill him.”

“Not a problem.” I’d waited for orders to kill one of them for years.

“Second.” She pulled a gun from inside her coat and slid it across the table. “Once he finds out you work for me, he’ll want to kill you too.”

Great. From bodyguard, to thug, to target all in less than an hour.

“The good news is you won’t be working alone.” She stood and led me down the hall. After she entered her security codes, the door slid open.

The hotel room, identical to the one we’d met in, contained another Jalvian, younger and muscle-bulked. He tossed his blond hair over his shoulder as his bright blue gaze met mine. My fists clenched.


  1. I'm curious about where this is going, but am a little confused. Is there something about the telepathic link that makes it so only images can be shared and not words? Also, if this is an interview for the job the main character's just accepted, wouldn't it make more sense to have this kind of interview before accepting the job? Still, the situation is intriguing enough I'd like to read more.

  2. I'm intrigued by the situation here, but I'm also a little confused. I agree with Yttar that it seems like there should be something more. It's like this scene is going too fast. The character is making decisions without any reason the reader can discern. Why is the MC willing to go from bodyguard to thug in just the flash? How does the MC feel about it, shoot, what's the MC's gender?

    I find this scene very interesting, but I'm also confused by it. I think a little more grounding would help that out a great deal. I would read more.

  3. This is well-written, but doesn't work for me as an opening. Something compelling is happening here, but at this point why should I care? I don't know these people. I don't know what they want, what they're motivations are. I don't know what's at stake in this killing that they're contemplating.

    Not knowing your plot I don't know what to suggest, but I just generally feel that what we've got here is a second or third scene, not an opening. What I like in an opening is to get some sense of the MC's voice, what motivates them, etc.

  4. I think Andrew put his finger on the problem I was having. There are definitely interesting things going on here (the MC's reaction to the image of the Jalvian piqued my interest), but I feel like I need to know more about the characters (referring to Anastassia's "human mind" was a nice bit, a subtle suggestion that the MC isn't human). A little more on the setting would also be nice. You mention a hotel room, but you don't describe it at all. Is it luxurious? seedy? anonymous? A bit of description would make this come alive.

  5. This is really great. I'd read on. I like the tension building, and that he has to work with a Jalvian

    My only points of confusion are these:
    Why was he being interviewed if he already got the job? Wouldn't it be a meeting, not an interview?

    Second, when you say "human mind" I assume that our Main Character is not human, however it's possible that the MC is human too, and the Jalvian is non-human. If you clarify this in some way, then it will flow more smoothly for me.

    I also agree with the above comments about getting a bit more into the character's motivations. Maybe this is a second or third scene.

    Great job, I'd read more.

  6. I think the opening here was strong (although I'd put the dialogue before her movement, in this case, to bring out the shock value of the question). But I felt like the rest of the excerpt moved too fast. I wanted to learn more about the character, how he got this job, and how he feels about being asked to kill before we get the details of the job. His transition from being skeptical about being asked to kill to being happy to kill a Jalvian also goes by too quickly. I think you need to take much more time to linger setting the scene and showing us more about the narrator, to draw us in, before rushing into the plot. If your writing and voice are compelling, I'll follow you and wait for the action to start!

  7. I thought this was a great start, and I liked the pacing. I was intrigued enough by the opening that the things that bothered other commentators didn't bother me. I figured I'd need to read on to learn more about it all.