|Reviews for false light|
| DezoPenguin chapter 10 . 5/9/2011
A fairly smooth epilogue; as your author's note says, functioning more as a transition to the next story than it does to wrap things up for this one, but it does provide for a nice, relatively relaxing "wrap-up" after the all-action previous chapter. I especially liked Celica and Victor's scene at the bar; these two are fun together and the course of true love (or the course of friends with benefits, as they agree to remain here while they work things through) never did run smooth...
One typo: Hayate refers to the "five" people who arrived early but names only four.
All in all, though, this has been an excellent series. It's been very nice to read a full-length (at just over 70K words, it could be considered a short novel rather than a novella) story which involves the NSIS concept with actual espionage, secret investigation, and conspiracy, and your adding Celica to the Shadowverse went quite well, integrating her (and your villainous OCs as well) with the existing 'Verse characters, and adding several new adapted-from-canon ideas as well (I think everybody loved the idea of Cinque as a Shadow!). If and when you choose to revisit the setting, I'll be eagerly waiting to read it.
| DezoPenguin chapter 9 . 5/8/2011
Aw, man, I hope you forgive me for this unspeakably late review...more than two months late! ; I'll take my comments one by one:
The initial section is interesting for how it sets up the plot of your proposed sequel as well as deflects the political fallout of Hayes's internal revolt within the NSIS (as Lindy noted, Celica's mission, ironically, was what gave the Bureau the unconnected information to distract the Council from the issues that Celica's mission was actually about...), but also for what it tells us about the IAFW/TSAB governing structure. The canon franchise in notoriously short on information about how the government actually works, and you're one of very few fanfic writers to attempt to formalize it, then use that formalization in the plot (and I can only expect more of that in "the truth" since that actually deals with the attempts to bring Earth into the IAFW). The part about Lindy and Chrono rarely seeing Amy and the kids was nice...of course, by now, Chrono's kids are in their teens or so, so they're probably serving officers in some Bureau unit, which would just aggravate the situation even more.
The Hayes/Stele scene immediately following (as you'll probably note, I'm commenting on scenes in order) was good not only to set up the "uh-oh" suspense later (which is good, because while Stele is a serious threat "as is," it's absurd to believe he could stand up to Lutecia, Signum Teana, Vivio, Victor, and Celica all at once as a normal mage (Signum on her own being basically equal to Nanoha, who serves as the universe standard for mage power), but giving him access to potential game-breaking powers changes things in a hurry, and you've done the ground work in earlier chapters to make sure that these powers don't come out of the blue but have in-story justification) but because of the thoughts on the nature of power and their reasons for acquiring it. The POV was a bit shaky in this scene, though-it appears more of an omniscient perspective since it shows the thoughts of both men.
Celica's magical hacking helps remind us of what her specialty really is...
I almost missed (indeed, I *did* miss the first time) the drink that was "remarkably similar to an obscure brand of fruit-flavored soft drink on Earth"...Chrono got into Lutecia's Cherry Coke stash, didn't he? _
And then we have the actual fight with Stele. Good stuff, there! Having him start off the actual fight by OHKO-ing Garyuu certain set the stage well! Lots of spell-tossing and Stuff Blowing Up. I admit, when Stele began shifting into his "walking ball of mana" form, I thought that possibly the situation was going to be resolved by Teana casting Starlight Breaker and draining his existence into the power source, but the actual solution was suitably epic. I especially liked Lutecia getting the ability to contribute in ways other than merely summoning up large things to fight for her, and "Die, you son of a bitch" was suitably-timed badassery.
(Teana's line at the end, "Even if he survived, he'd never be able to escape." does worry me somewhat, though. That's the kind of thing that tends to set up obscure deaths and people coming back from apparent deaths in sequels...and we know that there is a planned sequel!)
Tizona is right...it's just Celica. After all, Gil Graham was a high-ranking Bureau officer who was a powerful mage who ended up betraying them, too! _- (I do note, however, that all the high-ranking betrayals and conspiracies seem to be led by male military officers. Maybe Letti needs to lead an evil conspiracy or something...)
Hm, "Accela"...another Solty Rei import name!
But no e-cookies for me, although at least I have the excuse of not having played that game...
| GeshronTyler chapter 10 . 3/1/2011
Well, a nice wrapup to the story. I enjoyed it very much. I'll have to go back and read some segments again, for the details of what was discovered on earth, and how that will impact the IAFW/TSAB, and earth, to get an idea of what our heroes (and the shadows P) might be facing. Celica is an interesting character, but I'm pretty open to original characters anyway. I hope to see Nanoha having to take a another look at her conceptions concerning the Shadows in the next fic. I'm looking forward to the continuation of "Altered Course" as well. It's nice that the Aces get to work together again- since they're also the ones with the most Earth experience, it stands to reason. I might have expected Lindy to be tapped as the ambassador, also having quite a bit of experience earth-side.
Heh, that comment about Lutecia- her bed or Vivio's.. P How old is Vivio now? There was something about Lutecia wanting to wait until Vivio was 18, right?
I like the insight into Celica's relationship issues. It will likely come up again in "the Truth"
Thanks, read you next time.
| GeshronTyler chapter 9 . 2/25/2011
A nice, rousing action laden finale. I'm looking forward to the sequel, since your characters have been enjoyable, and to the implied adventures concerning the new mission to integrate Earth into the IAFW. Which is going to go _so_ well. _ Especially if the IAFW/TSAB only wants to deal with earth through something like the UN. I can think of so many countries eager to give up some of their sovereignity for a chance to join an interdimensional political polity (one that frowns upon mass-based weapons, no less) P
Can't say I know what Stele's "trancension" form was inspired by. I'd need a further hint or two. Game, movie, anime? Too bad Signum didn't get to take him down by herself, but at least that worked out without further casualties (at least no fatalities). I'm also glad to see that Lily was saved from being sanctioned. That might make for some awkward scenes in the sequel at some point, should Unit Epsilon existance, and dissolution, come to the forefront. Especially for a former commander of a black agency.
I expected Celica and Tizona to have more difficulty reintegrating, but it's only a small detail. The rest of the "rogue" NCSIS operatives died in the explosion of the base then?
Vivio might be able to work as a liason as it were, between the Shadows (at least when Lutecia is involved) and the "light" forces, as it where. Especially if Nanoha does get tapped for a team to open a dialogue with Earth. As a combat instructor, she'd be able to find some common ground with her opposite "mundane" numbers, as well as being an earth native, and being able to lay out the advantages and disadvantages to magic in combat tactics. Not to mention, how important proper training of those with magical potential would be.
Thanks for the chapter, read you next time.
| B.B. Rain chapter 9 . 2/23/2011
Harbinger, from Mass Effect 2, right?
Good update, nice to see eveything wrap up. Like the Chrono interaction, too.
| DezoPenguin chapter 7 . 1/16/2011
Again, I will be lazy and copy-pasta the review I already gave this chapter elsewhere!
That didn't feel like six months... _-
Hmm, upgrades for Celica. Good to see her doing something within her captivity to try and escape (we'll see if it works), and fairly creative stuff as to what kind of thing she did and how her core skill package ties in to her ability to do it.
Otherwise, hm, cameos for Lindy and Fate (nice to see Fate going along with things as a Reasonable Authority Figure instead of throwing nonsensical roadblocks in the heroes' paths). I note that with regard to Lindy's thoughts about Vivio, isn't Vivio 19 in MC0088? That makes her older than S1/A's Chrono, Nanoha, Yuuno, and Fate, and all of the StrikerS Forwards, and of course the same age as Nanoha, Hayate, and Fate at that time, so the thought about "no concern for Vivio's safety" seemed a bit out of place...(that is, Lindy's reaction was not out of place for all the reasons Chrono noted, but the fact that Chrono noticed Lindy's reaction was). Good characterization of Jail as, well, jailed.
Very nice work on Lutecia and Victor concerning Victor's worry over Celica, and a significant point. Kidnapping Vivio would lead to trouble that basically amounts to a civil war coming down on the kidnappers' head, while Celica has three people that genuinely care about and believe in her (Victor, Lulu, and Chrono, as you say...Vivio's willing to help, but she's doing it for Lutecia's sake, as much like her mamas, friend-of-a-friend is enough to motivate her to chip in, not for Celica the person).
I think Tea's a good choice by Fate to join the rescue team. Not only is she good at blasting things (you realize that you are contractually obligated to include at least one Starlight Breaker, now!), but her known emphasis on tactics over raw power makes her a good fit for working with Victor and Lutecia (hopefully Vivio is a bright enough girl to follow orders from her combat-seasoned companions).
The AN makes me curious as to whom the fifth team member will be. Chrono, motivated to personally help (and pull his agency's ass out of the fire)? Yuuno, eyes ablaze with the desire to get a look at the Al'Hazred Lost Logia (come to think about it, his professional skill as an archaeologist might well be useful)? One of the Wolkies, sent by Hayate under a pretext of investigating/resolving the Celica incident (since you note that it has crossed her desk) but really to beef the team's raw combat power since, y'know, Stele plus unknown, possibly enhanced support units trouble (I vote Signum!)? Well, I'm sure we'll find out in a chapter or two in due course! _
| GeshronTyler chapter 7 . 1/15/2011
Cool, I hadn't expected an update this quickly. Apparently, things are coming to a head, with the increased pace of the story, Celica managing to change her magic system, and a few more familiar faces added to the mix. Celica's kicked the ant-hill for sure now, I wonder which of our heroes will get the honor of taking Stele down? Will the Rogue faction try to put asasination contingincies into effect, with their main "tool" proving her uncooperativeness? Not only that, but having proved they were on the right track? That should piss them off.
thanks, read you next time.
| GeshronTyler chapter 6 . 1/10/2011
Ah, a new chapter! Thanks, I've been hoping to read more of this. So, the conspirators are moving into their endgame phase. I'm not so sure that Stele would be so successful in his mission to actually carry out those threatened assasinations, since he's already marked as a rogue (not officially yet, but Chrono would probably at least let Hayate know) but that's up to the author in the end. _ Celica's a tough cookie, despite not being a combat powerhouse. I hope we'll get to see her have her "engineer's/technicians revenge". Hm, a Stele-Vivio matchup would be interesting, to see how her Mamas' training matches up to Stele's. If nothing else, Vivio's "Saint Armor" ought to be a tough nut to crack. A slight possibilty of Stele's Ancient Belka device balking at attacking "Royalty", even. Not a plot device I've seen used so far, but that may be too far fetched.
Thanks, read you next time.
| DezoPenguin chapter 6 . 1/10/2011
Because I am lazy, I will repeat myself from AnimeSuki!
Excellent; you're back! It's odd; I re-read "The Call" just this afternoon for the first time in months, and now here's a new false light chapter. Hm...so Hayes is a typical "use the Lost Logia to create an unstoppable, guaranteed-loyal army with which I will dominate the cosmos with an iron fist and enforce the way of life I am trying to create" conqueror-type? Or is he just stringing Celica along, hoping to provoke her to some reaction to his apparent megalomania? Time will no doubt tell. I'm kind of hoping for the latter...
Solid props to Celica for not giving in to his demand but instead playing along with no intention to actually help; it would be rather unlike her to be cowed by a threat like that (also, given the list of people that Hayes intends to sic Stele on...and the list of people whom those already-strong people could call on for help and support...quite frankly, if he could guarantee the validity of that threat, he wouldn't need an army of mind-slaved SSS mages to conquer the universe; Stele could do it himself), but very much like her to try to gather as much information as possible and then attempt to become a spanner in the works.
(I am somewhat surprised that Celica's computer skills-particularly without Tizona to help her along-are so amazing that Hayes needed to kidnap her to help him, rather than, say, some civilian expert that would be more likely to bend to pressure as opposed to a trained spy who has personal contacts with Serious Potential Rescue Forces, which sets up both internal and external problems. This is one reason why I'm wondering here if there's still more going on than has thus far been revealed.)
Looking forward to further chapters, further explanation of mysteries (including how deep the rot has spread in the NSIS and the political fallout therefrom), the inevitable big throwdown between Stele and Lutecia and Vivio* (and possibly Yuuno, Chrono and one or more mamas, if necessary; this boy will require considerable befriending. Particularly if he gets some nasty Al'Hazred augmentation worked on him before the fight starts.). Bring it on!
*I'm assuming that Celica isn't going to be part of that fight, since, well, she's not a frontline warrior; her greatest strength is in her head, not her magic...and her enemy isn't Stele anyway; it's Hayes. Supporting cast gets to pile on the Dragon; but the Big Bad is always the Hero's business.
| IzanagiMikoto chapter 5 . 6/13/2010
This is a very interesting and suspenseful story. However, I've got a few questions.
First off, when did the Precursor Artifact get named? I mean, in your author's notes at the end of chapter 2, you mentioned we'd find out what Celica found out about the Lost Logia while at the Infinite Library, but I can't recall that scene.
I like your characterization of Lutecia and Vivio, which seems in line with Radiant's established verse.
Celica's an interesting character, although I felt the fact that the third mage she killed after the assassins was a bit of a cop out. Although I felt less sympathetic I thought Celica killing an "innocent" in order to escape was something more in line with the black ops and shades of gray business that the Shadows normally deal with.
I'm a little curious about the United States secret facility, although I question how important they are to the overall story or whether they'll make future appearances, given that the Precursor Artifact is no longer in their hands, unless their base is a front for Stele's group.
I liked the fight scene, but Stele seemed a little too stupid and arrogant. He let Lutecia, Celica, and Garyuu ambush him. Letting them ambush him while he's unaware is one thing, but it's completely different when they show up in front of him. He took significant damage before turning the tables with a single move. Isn't he supposed to be a professional soldier? Why expose himself to that much risk?
I question why Stele didn't just kill Celica. I can't imagine why they'd want to keep her alive at this point.
Given that Lutecia was easily defeated by Stele, even though she wasn't at 100%, is there any chance she'll receive backup? You mentioned the issue of secrecy and trust, but now that Celica's little shootout at NSIS has gotten out, I'd assume that Chrono might be more willing to bring in backup since its not exactly a private affair anymore.
When the protomages were taken down, I'm surprised Lutecia didn't use her insects to take control of them. One of her summons was able to take control of damaged/destroyed gadgets in the canon, and I thought that was a pretty useful/cunning ability.
Looking forward to the next update.
| Moczo chapter 5 . 6/11/2010
Hmmmm... honestly, I haven't actually got anything to say that I didn't already say in my review of the chapter over on the AS forums. The plot is still mysterious enough to keep me guessing, the characters behave believably and react in interesting ways, Abraham Motherfucking Stele wins a very nice action sequence (I'm sure it helps that he clearly has years of experience in dealing with two women at a time. Some nights he goes for as many as five).
Really, just felt like making that little number go up. We writers have to stick together.
| DezoPenguin chapter 4 . 6/9/2010
Overall, another awesome chapter
I think my favorite part of this chapter was Celica hacking the Unit Epsilon HQ. Not only do I enjoy those kind of scenes anyway (too much cyberpunk fiction during law school, I think), but I find it almost approaches the level of irony that Celica is carrying off these kind of Magical Computer activities...with a computer that is actually, in fact, magical (which also nicely explains little things like how Tizona's OS is compatible with alien technology that uses an entirely different set of physical laws-it's nice to see how MGLN's magitech society can be put to different effects that can actually justify some SF tropes).
My second-favorite part was Celica fighting S-Rank, elite assassin Lutecia and...losing. Without Hakutenoh or a squad of Jiraio being involved, even. So many times we see writers create OCs whom they fall in love with and immediately have them start kicking around the main cast, so it's really, *really* nice to read an OC-centric story and have the OC be kept to the appropriate power level.
Also, bonus points for introducing the protomages to help the Unit Epsilon forces level the playing field, and for good writing in the battle scene by introducing the armor's backpack in the initial scene (where my first thought was, "doesn't that make it a bit too vulnerable to attack, having the power source on the outside like that?") and then promptly having the characters exploit that weak point. Good work there.
Meanwhile, the plot thickens...which brings me to the down side of this chapter. There's a distinct sense here of the author's knowledge of the story creeping in for the characters. For example, there's the scene where Lutecia and Celica are discussing the plot, and they're discussing the "Precursor Artifact"...except, of course, this is the first time in the story either of them has heard the name (I went back and checked through the earlier chapters). Now, it's possible that Celica could have learned the thing's formal name in her discovered file in Chapter 2, and then Tizona told Lutecia while Celica was out cold, but the problem is that the scene where Celica deciphers the file specifically avoids giving the artifact a name (and, indeed, the lack of a name was effective in that chapter as presenting the Lost Logia as strange and unusual). Now, the Unit Epsilon team might have decided to call it the Precursor Artifact (because stuff needs names), and the Hayes/Stele faction might call it that because they actually know what it is, but not Celica and Lutecia. So it comes off as, because *you* know that the Precursor Artifact is, in fact, called the Precursor Artifact, you accidentally let that knowledge leak to the characters.
Contrast how you introduced the term, "the Factory" in the Unit Epsilon scene: here it was done very naturally; *they* know what the Factory is (or at least have some idea) and therefore talk to each other about it, not needing to insert any definitions, and introduce the name to us, the readers. And now *I'm* wondering just what the heck the Factory is, because with unscrupulous humans and equally unscrupulous Midchildans after it, it can't possibly be good news...
| Moczo chapter 3 . 5/24/2010
Okay, so there's the usual 'oh, what a great chapter, please write more' stuff that is essential to positive reviews, you've heard all that before. This story is very good. But I have something IMPORTANT to say:
Abraham Steele is one of the most impossibly manly names in existence. It's even better if you use his full title, Naval Special Intelligence Service Agent Abraham Steele. I feel extra testosterone pumping through my veins just from reading about this guy and his unspeakably manly name. I wish I was named that; my life would be infinitely more awesome if I were.
There. I just had to say it.
| Moczo chapter 1 . 5/23/2010
Now, why haven't I been reading this? I like RB's Shadowverse, and this is... well, the quality of the writing certainly stands out on this site, let's put it that way. Even better, this is darker than Nanoha in the way I LIKE; gritty rather than angsty. Not that angst doesn't have its place, it just pops up too often for me. Vastly prefer the sort of noir-feel you've got going on here.
Very good first chapter, and looking forward to the rest!
| DezoPenguin chapter 3 . 5/20/2010
Okay, I'm now officially in love with this one. We've got Celica, in over her head in pursuit of a dangerous secret. We've got Lutecia, pursuing Celica for the sake of the good guys. Now we're introduced to Stele, pursuing Celica for the sake of the bad guys. We've got a secret plot of yet-unexplained nature which involves an (apparently) morally corrupt faction within a group already known for its dubious morality, bringing in the classic case of when government spooks go bad-though it's yet to be determined if this is a case of idealism gone wrong or just a naked power grab. Not that there's necessarily that much difference between the two.
Celica's engagement with the sentries on Earth was fun in that it showed her weak side: she actually had difficulty with a group that Nanoha would take down with a single cast of her weakest spell, Divine Shooter (one homing bullet per sentry, no magical defenses, six unconscious targets). I liked her momentary confusion at why Ion Cannon hadn't done anything to the soldiers themselves.
I'm somewhat less sanguine about the fact that she immediately switched to lethal fire (three kills out of six enemies) against non-hostiles (that is, hostile from a political sense, presuming that the U.S. government has no idea that their secret facility is about to become the battleground between opposing factions of magitech-wielding aliens). Was this choice meant to reflect Celica's callousness to human life in pursuit of her goals, the limitations of her combat magic (i.e. does she even have effective non-lethal techniques?), or some other factor?
(I'm also slightly confused by the fact that the first sentry, who was sent to run back and report her presence, she killed to keep her presence secret, but the sixth sentry, the one who just ran away in fear-very likely to go to the exact same place and make the same report, only with more hysterical yelling and more accurate information about Celica's threat factor-she simply lets go. Is this merely another example of her lack of combat seasoning coming to the fore-that is, under the effects of the adrenaline rush and the stress of life-or-death combat, is she simply not thinking clearly as Tizona seems to be suggesting? I guess we'll see in future chapters...)
Stele's encounter with Vivio and Yuuno is handled excellently; without any previous encounter to show his competence you still manage to imbue the scene with a sense of lethal menace. Yuuno is a master of defensive and barrier magic, to say nothing of instant-escape teleportation, and Vivio may well be the single most indestructible person in the cast, and yet reading the scene the reader...well, me, at least...feels that in an eyeblink one or both of them could be a stain on the bookcases.
I like how you describe Lindy's job; it nicely puts into some fanon 'verse context what "Liaison Officer" is supposed to mean.
Stele's apparent Ground Forces affiliation is nice, in that it emphasizes the secrecy and sub-rosa nature of the NSIS. At first I thought it meant that Hayes simply has a right-hand pawn from another service branch, but when Lutecia recognized him as an agent, it makes it appear as if NSIS personnel have (relatively) innocuous cover identities within the military bureaucracy.
The ViCia scene was cute and fluffy, with the requisite angsty/thoughtful Lutecia and perceptive/worried/reassuring Vivio. Nice exchange on the "nature of the Shadows' existence" debate, too, since that's a central question of RadiantBeam's mainline ViCia fics in this 'verse (I do note with disappointment that, however, you're supporting her on the "Cia" issue, heh! ;) ). Lutecia's concern for Storm is cute, too; it's nice to see her worried about what a friend would think to find out that the woman he likes was in trouble.
Two apparent typos: in the fourth paragraph, I think "destruction or objectives" should be "destruction OF objectives," and Celica gets misspelled once in the paragraph beginning, "The sentries were completely cut off."
Unfortunately for you, the continued quality of this story has signed you up for a supply of endless nagging for the next chapter (seriously...ask RB if you don't believe me)! So update soon, THEN reward yourself with videogaming! :)