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6/28/2018 c22 47Thescarredman
Welcome back.

This chapter was short, and didn't involve much character development, but it did move the story along somewhat and built a little suspense. Will the mercenaries actually work with their new 'employers,' or will they bug out first chance to continue their real mission? Are they prepared to betray them for their own advantage? Can't wait for the next installment.
11/16/2017 c21 Thescarredman
This story is chilling. The 'lost' squad of ex-Imperial renegades is more disturbing the farther along it gets. Don't know how long it will be before something breaks, but it certainly feels as though the story is headed toward revelation and conflict.
12/22/2016 c17 Thescarredman
I've never played the game or watched the anime; coming into this story cold at the recommendation of a friend, I find it more than a little disjointed and confusing (aside from the excellent 'All Quiet On the Western Front' prologue). Only in the last couple of chapters. has the story line begun to come together. I might have given up on it, if not for the emotional investment I had in the Corporal, an apparently combat-fatigued sniper in the mysterious 'third army' the writer has created. The characterization of this tortured man is detailed and heart-rending, and I fgeel a positive need to see what becomes of him.
9/7/2016 c15 7DC20
Hello again! I've finished reading everything posted this far, and I think you're right—the story is starting to fall into place a little better. I think Chapter 9 or so on the story starts to get a little more direction, and I found that finally getting even a few details as to what exactly is going on helped me get into the actual content of the story quite a bit. I still think a few of those details would have helped if dropped in a little earlier, but I will say that once the story started falling into place and I got a little more grounding as to what was happening, I really enjoyed it.

You did a good job with the firefight that runs over chapters 9 and 10, and then the following cleanup in chapter 11. As I said in my last review, I'm not big on the Heavy Armor Units, and while your writing and situation throughout the battle kept the pressure on, it didn't appear to me that their situation was as dire as I think it actually was. I don't think that's on you—you wrote it well. However, the bullets glancing off their armor made me feel they weren't in as much danger as they actually were. That said, I think that can mostly be attributed to glancing blows, and would assume the armor can't take a straight shot from a high-velocity round (or would hope). Additionally, I liked the observation that although armored, physical blows would still do damage, and the physical fight with the Imperial trooper put the character in enough jeopardy to keep me on my toes.

In addition, I really liked the way you wove in the Imp's radio chatter through the fight. Having the characters able to tap into their communications and listen to their cross-talk was a great idea. While the Imperials didn't receive too much character development themselves (and for their limited purpose shouldn't have), I did feel for them throughout the battle, and realized part way through that I didn't actually want them killed. That's a good thing.

I'm also very happy to see Squad 7 actually appear—I wasn't expecting that from the first 6 chapters, and I'm very excited to see what you do with them. As much as I love all of the new ideas and characters that fanfic writers here introduce, I'll admit that I still want to see the canon characters in some capacity. I've got no worries about that here!

As a personal note, I'm also a massive fan of your choice of Squad 7 characters to highlight. Ramona is my favorite Squad character from the game. I was pretty pumped when I saw she was not only showing up in the fic, but is also your choice for Squad 7's main point of view character. Mad props.

Your characterization of the Squad 7 characters is something I'm really looking forward to. The game doesn't go into characterization for them beyond a short blurb and a general idea, so as far as I'm concerned, anything involving them is free game. Your Ramona is a good deal darker than most fic writers portray her—I like that, and that's actually pretty close to how I've tended to write her myself, so I'm all on board to see where you take her and the other Squad members.

For the most part I found the writing in the second half to be better than the first (not including, perhaps, the re-written prologue). There's a good balance here between what's going on around the characters and what's going on within them. You don't seem to be taking a paragraph to state what could be taken care of with a sentence. Pacing is much better.

However, I do still feel some of the descriptions are overdone—though much less so than before. Specifically, the one that really got me was the multiple descriptions of eyes as “orbs” or “orb synapses” and such.

In any case, I've enjoyed reading! Keep it up!
9/4/2016 c6 DC20
Hello! How goes it? I've seen this fic up for a while, and I read the first chapter or so when it was originally posted. I didn't pick it up then, and I'm kind of kicking myself now for passing it over—I'm enjoying this story quite a bit now. I think the edited prologue really helps. While I don't remember exactly how the original one went, I do remember thinking it was overwritten. It looks like you've gone back and taken out a lot of the unnecessary over-descriptions and purple bits, so to speak, and I found it much easier to get into this time around. I also really like the prologue itself—it made me care for the character featured, and that last line was the kick in the teeth needed to make it a memorable opening. Props on that.

I'm usually not a fan of stories focusing on special forces groups, nor am I generally a fan of the Jin-Roh style Heavy Armored Units, but despite that, there was more than enough here to keep me interested. Namely, you spend time focusing on what your character is thinking and his state of mind moreso than what exactly it is he's doing. That's a huge point in this story's favor, and something that is missing in a lot of stories-it speaks to your writing ability.

That said, I feel the story keeps itself a little too vague as far as what is actually going on. While I feel I know a little bit about the character (despite not even knowing his name, which is another thing I'm generally not a huge fan of), I don't feel like I know about what he or his unit is supposed to be doing—or even what they are. A few chapters in and I'm guessing they're Atlantic Federation, but there's nothing confirming even what faction they belong to other than knowing that they're fighting the Imperials.

There's a lot of benefit to keeping your cards close to your chest in a story. I like the air of mystery surrounding this unit, and I think that's what you're going for, but I also think you're a little too far on the vagueness end of the scale. You don't have to show your full hand, but right now I'm six chapters in and have absolutely no idea what's going on, who these guys are, or what they're supposed to be doing, and I feel giving a little bit more information on these guys would help without destroying the mystery. As it stands, I really can't care if they fail or succeed when I have absolutely no idea who they are or what they're trying to do in the first place. You have a character I'm growing to like, but he has no goal that I'm aware of. I'd kind of like to know what he stands to gain or lose (beyond, of course, not getting killed-which, if that were the route you wanted to take, could be his goal in and of itself if fleshed out).

However, you've definitely got enough here to keep my interest, and I'm looking forward to reading more! The writing overall is surprisingly good, and while a few of the descriptions are still a bit overcooked, they're all interesting.

I also really like the tone you've set. It's oppressive, and your writing, pacing, and word choice work together to keep the mood. Again, that's not easy, but you've done a great job of it here so far. Nice work!
7/11/2016 c14 8Fanwright
While I'm inclined to believe that Gallia has some kind of underground radio program that reports the "real" news without government censorship, I wouldn't be surprised if this radian program (written in bold) was some kind of Imperial counter-propaganda channel specifically to undermine the morale of the soldiers and civilians living in Gallia with a personal touch.

So there was an incident that happened and many Gallian civilians were killed by the soldiers that were supposed to be defending them. We get the "official" report that's cordial and a little skewed and playing down the event, while the underground radio is absolutely livid. While this is an interesting touch that colors the chaotic situation Gallia is currently in, fighting invaders while trying to reign in its apparently unreliable troops, I'm seeing how this has anything to do with the characters. I can imagine them huddled around and listening to the radio, I'm just having trouble figuring out if this incident they allude to here will have any affect on the story.

Its a good touch that helps the setting, I'm just trying to understand what its for.
7/11/2016 c13 Fanwright
So, we get a lot of development here from Ramona and she's definitely different here from what the game portrays her as. She's on edge and has a cold of some sort at the beginning of the chapter and even more on edge before its over. She's a bit cynical too and even unintentionally defensive to those around her. Its as if she can't really trust anyone, or at least that's the feeling I'm getting, and she misreads the intentions of those around her, Like Audrey and Cezary. Must be that cold or the "battle fatigue" setting in.

The Corporal seems to be on edge as well, but for a different reason. The situation he finds himself in is completely different to what he's experienced. Everything seems to be shifting and changing around him, as if this mission going wrong has literally thrown his world into a kind of chaos. He's flinching small twigs breaking, practically tenses up when he sees a tree shaped like hand brush against his armor, and the quietness of the march even seems to unsettle him. A peaceful setting is not something for him.

There's also some dissatisfaction building within his squad. The Captain knows this is a bad situation and he seems to be playing it by ear, trying to keep his squad alive. They question him on critical things: the objective, their escape, the possible animosity built up between them and the Gallians. Even the Corporal asks a question, arguably his most meaningful conversation so far, despite how brief it was.

Things are certainly moving along and I'll be looking forward to what you have in store for Ramona with this new characterization of her here.
6/18/2016 c1 6BurgerAuFromage
4/3/2016 c12 8Fanwright
We're getting somewhere now and I like it. Plus we finally get to see Squad 7 and from the perspective of the Corporal see just how utterly detached he his from his own humanity.

The Kerberos Captain negotiates with Welkin over the radio on what I think is an open frequency. The corporal listens in as he sits with his back against a tree, black armor and red goggles covered in blood, holding a pistol as the Gallian militia have their guns trained on him and in one case a lancer pressed firmly into his chest armor. Clearly they don't want to take chances here. As the Captain and Welkin negotiate amid this tense stand-off in Kloden, we see something peculiar happening to the Corporal.

He seems to be experiencing and seeing little things that he doesn't quite understand. He's almost like a shadow of a former human that is trying to comprehend the people around him, focusing on the details of their faces and the stark contrast between himself and them. He notes their facial expressions and is unsure what to make of them. He sees Ramona holding his rifle, sees how orange her hair and how green her eyes are. He notes the strange feeling he gets when he doesn't have a gun and struggles to comprehend this. All this, when interacting with Squad 7, feels strange to him. We even get the sense that the members of Squad 7 that are around him see him as being strange and dangerous.

I think some good moments here are when he talks at length with Ted Ustinov and trying to understand, and then finally realizing, that Ted blinks. Its almost like he remembered that humans can blink. That moment when Ted asks for his name was even better and his response is, for me, a high point in this chapter.

We even get a some solid background as to why the Kerberos are in Gallia and its good that you at least portrayed the Militia not buying his story as mercenaries working for the Empire. Even the Corporal knows he's lying. At this point, the Kerberos Captain is trying keep his squad alive so they can get out of Gallia. Welkin's offer for a contract with the Militia instead is bound to complicate things for the Kerberos.

A good chapter.
3/25/2016 c11 Fanwright
Okay this was a pretty good chapter all things considered, but I felt there were a couple of problems.

First off, let me say that it is always good to see the canon characters in action in a story and am interested in the selection you have in store for us readers. So far we get a perspective on Ramona Linton, mentions Marina Wulfstan, Largo, Rosie, probably Jann, and of course Welkin. As you said to me before your selection of characters is fine and am interested in the others you will introduce.

We go from a hectic firefight in the woods that conclude with the Imperial squad chasing after the Kerberos being annihilated, get a pretty bloody one-on-one melee between the Corporal and a crazed Imperial, who is shot soon after, and now the Corporal seems to be caught in between Sqaud 7 and his own group, with a dead Imperial's brains splattered over his mask. We also get Ramona's POV for a bit and she seems to be traumatized by the bodies of imperials around her, with some of the squad trying to whats wrong with her.

Cut back to the Corporal and we get a dialogue between Welkin and the Kerberos Captain over an open channel, trying to negotiate a kind of truce to keep the Corporal out of harms way. Well, perhaps just to get him cleaned off. I like the brief talk between them though. There was a sense of tension and uncertainty in it that you portrayed well through their dialogue, Welkin questioning and the Captain giving short responses.

In fact, you do pretty good with dialogue in general and you can convey a lot just by what the characters are saying and how the reader thinks they say it. Honestly I can't complain about it. I'd caution against relying too much on cursing with all the characters you will introduce though. Some, like Largo and others, I can see cursing a lot more than some of the other members of Sqaud 7, like Ramona or Ted. Use it too much and it will reflect a different personality on some of them which can lead them to being OOC. Other than that its really good.

You really scaled back on the purple prose since the first chapters, which is a big plus. Really, good job with that. Especially now that we are getting more into the story and concentrating on character actions and development rather than world building, this is a good turn around. I feel there are lingering problems in certain descriptions, especially from the Corporal's perspective - but at the same time its somehow in character for him? I'll explain…

When the corporal is surrounded, with the body over him, his pistol out and ready, caught between two sides as he lays low in the bushes, it was at times hard to tell what he was feeling in that moment. Its almost like he's trying to understand the new sensations he's experiencing and struggling to come up with a comparison, as if he'd never experienced what he is feeling now. I had to read through some of these scenes a second time to get this down before understanding. I believe in future chapters that a simple, clearer style for descriptions would be recommended.

Ramona's scene was good in that we got a Squad 7 POV and that we got to see what she was feeling. She looks at the mangled corpses of the dead imperials and gets disturbed. What I did like is that handled it in a way where you get the sense that this isn't her first time seeing bodies - she just hasn't seen them mangled up like that before. What I thought was confusing however was the use of some of italics with some of the lines. It was hard to tell whether I was reading her thoughts, reading dialogue, or something else. This has popped up a number of times in other chapters and it becomes difficult to understand what the reader is reading. Might need to clear this up in other installments.

Other than that it is a solid chapter overall and its good to finally see the Kerberos interacting with the stars of the game. Keep up the good work.
2/27/2016 c10 3NoNameAvailable Bis
Hmmm. I think I see what you're trying to accomplish, but I'm afraid it doesn't work so well. I'd blame the lack of characterization ; I don't know those guys, and since every single chapter is grit, doom, and blood, I don't particularly want to know them. They're just some faceless cogs in the war machine, so there's no emotional investment on my end ; and since the tone is non-stop gloom, well, everything feels numb anyway. You can't have a sense of tragedy if you're already at the bottom of the emotional ladder since day one.
2/19/2016 c9 8Fanwright
An action packed chapter! Finally we see some fighting and the story really starts to pick-up. We now see how our mysterious Kerberos Squad operates in the field and we see their team dynamics.

The Sergeant seems to be the most critical of the squad, while the Corporal is our silent drone and sharp-shooter. The Captain is calling the shots, but its interesting to see a little of his personality here on display, especially when talking to the Sergeant. Other than that we are still getting to know these guys and so far, other than the Corporal perhaps, they are still strangers to us.

I'm guessing they have some radio sets that help pick up on enemy signals. Either that or the Imperials are talking on an open frequency. Bad move on their part. This imperial squad is done for either way.

So now we see how the Corporal handles himself in a fight. Very mechanical, very unquestioning. The orders are given and he obeys. I'm wondering if at some point he'll come to seriously question what he is doing, perhaps breaking this routine to rid himself of his hallucinations.

A solid chapter.
2/19/2016 c8 Fanwright
Well, like you said, its a filler chapter. Not much going on here other than them getting out of the truck and getting back in, listening to the radio play.

The Corporal seems to have a moment when he almost feels "disconnected" but it doesn't go anywhere.

All in all though its a very short chapter.
1/26/2016 c7 Fanwright
Okay, this chapter was good. I mean particularly good. Here's why...

You got away from focusing on the setting and now put your focus on the squad. We are allowed into the Corporal's mind not only through a dream but also through his immediate thoughts after being asked unusual questions, we get to see the squad interact while not in combat, and we even get the Corporal's indirect opinion of him being a sniper. Now I'm starting to get a feel for this team now. Four heavily armored and armed soldiers, on a secret mission, who, under the best terms, would rather keep to themselves or, in the case of the Lieutenant and Sergeant, are bitter toward each other. If it doesn't concern the mission, they don't want to talk and it shows in the awkward silences over long periods of time.

Another moment I thought was interesting was the radio interview with the sniper, possibly one of the four snipers in Squad 7. Its most likely Marina. What really interested me is the way you let the conversation play out by the interviewer asking questions and the sniper giving very short answers, making the whole thing awkward. The moment I especially liked was when the Corporal blinked while listening in, as if something clicked in his mind and, somehow, he had made a connection with that other sniper. Yep, I liked that. From there on out it was like we were also getting into the Corporal's mind, as if he was being asked his opinion on being a sniper. This makes the previous chapters centered around him, while he's sniping in the ruins of Bruhl, all connect. The response at the end was like the Corporal denying he was slowly losing himself.

The brief conversation in the truck was also telling. They maybe a team, but they're far from friends. Two of them insult each other when they speak, one prefers to stay quiet, while the captain finds it draining just to manage the team. They're not like Squad 7. They're just brutal drones allowing orders.

I like this style here. It was much smoother to read, I got a better look at the squad, and I even got a good idea of the setting. This was, honestly, a solid chapter for me and I want to make that clear.
1/26/2016 c6 Fanwright
Ah. So this is what they're listening to on the radio. Sounds like one of my grandfather's AM political talk programs he listens to. Full of energy and blowing hot air, always unsatisfied with how things currently are.

In this case its in Gallia. Its surprising that they would let someone come on the air and voice opinions like the ones in bold. They're at war. Censorship and morale are important.

Regardless, it seems like its a mixture of different broadcasts they're hearing, as if turning the dial of the radio to find interesting to listen to. Seems like who ever is doing it seems to like the speaker in bold, since he always seems to go back to him from time to time. There are references to Squad 7, the Battle of Vasel Bridge, as well as to the political situation in the country. Honestly I'm surprised Gallia wasn't overrun based on what they were saying. I mean, sure, Serbia held out three times against a force four times their number during WW1 when they fought the Austro-Hungarians, but, c'mon.

This would have been a good opportunity to have some dialogue between the characters, talking about Gallia as the Gallians talk about themselves and their war, probably complain about the rain, or even feel some reluctance to even talk.

Good chapter for giving us a broader perspective on the war, but it had more potential. I'm excited for them to get to Squad 7.
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