1398: Terminator: Robot Storm – Chapter ThreePosted: April 27, 2016
Title: Terminator: Robot Storm
Author: Tha Shadow 750 / Comrade Jerkov and Volkov
Media: Video Game / Movie
Topic: Command and Conquer: Red Alert / Terminator
URL: Terminator: Robot Storm
Critiqued by TacoMagic
Welcome to the main event, folks! Today we finally hit the first, and only, real chapter of this fic. The first two have served as a kind of extended prologue, with one being stolen and the other actually being written by the author, but today we get into the meaty fail center of this fic.
Last time we waded through an intensely vague scene where the thing was made to do the stuff because the guys hooked it up to Nexus. The result was that the thing made the other thing happen, which caused the people and some of Nexus to teleport away to scenic “the place,” which is apparently located in the Terminator universe sometime after the robot apocalypse has already started there.
That was about as specific as I could reasonably be.
With that out of the way, onward to chapter three!
Chapter 3: Hell March
Place your bets now as to whether this chapter actually manages to have marching in it. I’m betting against it.
A thunderous crack ripped the air around them just a the earth to their left exploded. The truck swerved viciously to avoid the impact.
How the hell do you swerve something “viciously”? Is that like merging fanatically or yielding mercilessly?
Behind them, hovering in the sky, was a Hunter Killer.
It’s like you can actually see it!
For those who don’t speak Terminator, this is what an HK-Aerial, also known as a CS-Dragon, looks like:
The truck convoy was travelling at night, true to do so made it easier for the HKs to track them but it also gave them an advantage.
Wuf. *Rubs throat*
Leaving everything else aside, it was established in the first Terminator movie that humans do not move around during the day, only at night. It’s never really expanded upon why they don’t go out during the day, and by the time Salvation rolled along, it was largely forgotten. But, presumably they hid during the day because it’s harder for the HKs to track them at night.
As the truck rounded a street corner a man stood up, in his hand one of the recovered flares.
Recovered? Recovered from what? And what bearing does the flares being recovered from something have on the scene?
Authors! When you use flavor words, make sure they actually add something to the story beside extra words!
He pulled back his arm, ignited the flare and threw it at the pursuing Hunter Killer.
Who? Is this the same “he” from the last chapter (John Connor) or is this a new one?
To the Hunter Killer, who was operating on thermal vision because of the lack of sunlight, the world became a bright white light.
They use infrared tracking, which is related to, but not the same as, thermal imaging. Point of view shots from terminators are inconsistent on which they actually use, but true infrared is more likely given what we get to see in Terminator 2. Still, close enough for most of the population in this case.
Canonically, HK units are described as being pretty stupid and easy to trick by Kyle Reese, so I’ll allow this. Still, seems like you wouldn’t use a truck for this particular job.
By the time it recovered enough to switch to visible light detection and turned it’s floodlight on, it was faced with the impossible challenge of evading a building approaching very, very fast.
Again, they’re supposed to be stupid, but I don’t think they’re supposed to be THIS stupid.
WHAT THE FU-
*The Library is experiencing technical difficulties. Please standby*
Okay, I’m better now.
So much fail here. First off, what the hell is it with authors and their over-elaborate line breaks? In order to do that line break, the author needed to bold it, type all that out, and then end the bold. That’s nineteen keystrokes. An <hr> tag takes four keystrokes. And even if you don’t know how to do those, the old reliable of three asterisks takes five keystrokes.
Second, what the hell was the point of that scene? You showed red-shirts in a truck throwing a flare at a thing, which crashes. All that adds to your fic is about a hundred words.
Third, your narrative prose is inconsistent and horrible. That’s just a general comment about everything you’re written thus far.
If fic authors would just stop trying to be so fancy with everything, that would solve like a third of their problems. The other two-thirds involves not being so lazy when they’re writing. A weird dichotomy that 99% of badfic issues can be lumped into a mixture of laziness and trying too hard.
So this was what was left of Russia, the motherland.
This … place.
The author might, might just have a small problem with being specific.
The place he had grown up in, the place he had fought for, the place he had undergone the experiments that changed him into what he was today for.
Aha! Not just this place, but THE place.
The final straw snapped upon seeing the once glorious hub of the empire in ruins like this.
The final straw? What final straw!? We need to know things, author! Vague is not the same as interesting!
And wait, presuming this is Volkov, he should have already seen the Soviet Empire in ruins. That was one of the major plot points set up in the prologues! It was replaced by the Freedom Brigade or whatever it’s called.
He turned to his left.
Which is pointless to mention when there’s no setting. He could be spinning like a top for all it matters.
“Right, set up base in the heart of this city. Make sure it is heavily fortified as it will be our staging post. Have engineers repair surrounding buildings and scouts squads hunt for survivors. We probably going to need Medics in the squads as well.”
Yeah, he certainly sounds like a dude whose final straw has snapped. Truly a man at the end of his rope.
Pay attention to what you’re writing! Words mean things!
I mean crap, dude, 80% of what you write is vague as shit, and the other 20% is just flat-out contradictory and wrong.
He then turned back to the rest of the army, artificially enhancing his voice he began to speak.
So, he turned from Colonel Vague to the Army of the Indistinct.
Also, apparently voice enhancement was something the Soviets decided to include in the super-soldier package because reasons. They must have linked his ability to shout with his utility as a special forces unit.
“People, the time has come!
The time for us to do the thing!
For those of you from the Soviet Union, the Union rises again, starting with the motherland!
It’s going to be rather awkward for those of you who aren’t. And also rather awkward for anyone who wants food.
For those of you from outside the Union, welcome to your new home! Let’s get moving people, Nexus is still out there!”
Translation: Fuck you guys.
It’s interesting that he just sorta assumes the majority here are going to be fine rebirthing the Soviet Union. Given the setup, it seems way more likely he’d be overruled and/or nailed with an RPG round before he can finish the speech.
Of course, because plot, everyone from the Freedom Court will be fine with abandoning their new government for the old, failed one.
As amazed survivors looked on an MCV deployed, people starting mining some of the more radioactive areas, power plants were built, soon where once lay a broken wreck stood one of the strongest military bases outside Skynet’s control.
Hoooray for video game mechanics! Without those, there would be no hope! There might also be tension without them.
It was also massively lucky for them that they happened to have a Mobile Construction Vehicle with them when they were transported. Without one of those, interesting plot might have happened.
Tanks armed with Quad-rocket salvoes rumbled past on patrol, accompanied by ones with dual anti-aircraft cannons pointed skywards. Other, lighter, faster tanks scouted around the area whilst behind them heavily armed APCs could be seen, on occasion, transforming into surrounding rubble.
Anyone else getting the feeling that this fic is being set up for the Red Alert folk to look badass at the expense of shitting all over the Terminator franchise? Must be my imagination.
Towards the heart of the city massive towers crackling with electricity and huge cannons dominated the skyline. Whoever these newcomers were, they spelled hope.
Sometimes I wonder just how much of C&C’s fanbase don’t realize that the Red Alert franchise is supposed to be satire.
The Hunter Killer continued on its course, straight into the building.
So we’re back to the first scene already in progress. Why the fuck did we not finish it in the first place!?
AUTHOR! This is not a movie or TV, scene transitions need to be more carefully considered in fiction! You can’t just flash back and forth Willy-nilly!
And you very strongly implied that the HK-A smacked into the building when you broke from the scene. This is one of the few times where you could have just left it as-is and expected the audience to fill in. Of all the times to be specific, it was when you needn’t have been.
For all its efforts it had only been able to turn sideways and get one last shot off. But that had been enough, the ground underneath the truck exploded and sent the truck spiralling through the air. Before all systems were lost the Hunter Killer relayed its position and all relevant data back to Skynet central.
Well, if nothing else, you gotta give that unit some credit. Not only did he get the shot off, but he hit his target while managing to get relevant data to HQ. Thus far, that HK-Aerial is the most competent thing that’s wandered its way through the fic.
Granted, it should have just switched to hover mode when blinded instead of barreling toward a building that it would definitely have seen prior to the blinding, but I’ll take what I can get.
“Damn it!” The man who had thrown the flare yelled. “I knew this mission was a bad idea.”
“Use the truck to throw a flare at a Hunter Killer” does strike me as a pretty stupid plan. Generally you do that kind on foot from some kind of cover.
“Remain calm, the truck can still be recovered and the mission successful.” A female voice calmly informed him.
GAH! Corporal Disembodied Female Voice, don’t sneak up on me like that!
“Okay, okay.” The said between deep breaths, “That HK has probably transmitted its data files before the crash so expect Skynet to be en-route. People, for a perimeter whilst the truck is repaired.”
The people for the perimeter later would form the People’s Republic of Perimeter.
Also, the smarter thing would be to scavenge whatever is useful from the truck real quick and skedaddle on foot while looking for a new truck. That’s probably why they’re not doing it.
“Um, sir?” Another, younger, male voice trembled, “I don’t think that’s going to do much.”
Dammit, Private Disembodied Young Male Voice, do your job and leave the thinking to somebody else! Thinking leads to plans that work, and we can’t have that!
“What do you me-… Oh, yes. I see.
Well in that case, RETREAT! EVERYONE RETREAT TO A BUILDING, I DON’T CARE WHICH SO LONG AS IT’S FORTIFIABLE!”
Maybe you should instead look for a way back to the underground. That’s really the only thing the humans have going for them in Terminator. They’re highly mobile and use guerrilla tactics. Generally whenever the humans stand and fight, it ends with them all dead.
Over the horizon was a full Skynet contingent.
Aha! A thing of things!
Several HKs, a harvester, transport ship, mototerminators, they stood no chance in the open.
See! Things! Lots of them!
And they stand no chance if they stand and fight. Being out in the open will just speed up the inevitable.
This better not be a setup for some Red Alert troops to come to the rescue.
As it was they still probably had no chance in the building, but it was less of a no chance.
Which is why, in guerrilla tactics, you split up and try to regroup away from the front line. That way at least some of you will usually make it when the shit hits the fan.
And so they hid in the building the HK had crashed into.
Whoever the commander of this unit is, he’s bad at his job and should feel bad. He just made sure that all these people are going to die.
Hunter Killer Alpha Sierra Sierra 101 scanned the area with its thermal sensors.
*Facepalm* *Headdesk* *Bodywall*
For the love of fuck, author! Alpha Sierra Sierra is the godsdammed military phonetic alphabet! It would not refer to itself that way! It would use ASS, which is delightful that you didn’t realize was what you named the thing. These humans are literally going to be killed by the ASS 101.
It followed the residual heat signatures left by the previous HK and was lead to a truck.
You would think a sophisticated AI-controlled VTOL with multi-optic sensors would be able to see a flaming wreck right away without having to use a thermal trail left by engine wash to find it. You would be wrong.
It scanned the truck, finding nothing of value, then blew it up with a burst of weapon fire. It rounded a corner, still scanning for infrared signatures, when it can across a burning hot source, it had located the crash sight.
It couldn’t see the smoke or detect the huge heat signature before now because BLUE.
Or maybe it was because of the disco variety. I’ve lost track.
Detecting movement the HK intensified it’s thermal scans but it was just a flame erupting into life.
Whew, that was close. The scene almost kinda sorta got close to a thing nearly related to being tense!
The HK flew on. Behind the white hot wreck that hid their heat signatures, the humans let out a breath they had been holding. But outside Skynet still searched.
I’ll give the author that one. That’s something that could actually work. Well, unless the HK units routinely blasted high-heat sources in the off-chance that humans would try to use it to hide.
I can’t call that one either way, honestly. If I were Skynet, I’d have my units firing missiles into fiery wrecks just in case, but there’s no indication in canon as to whether Skynet had thought of doing that.
Generally, though, Skynet is pretty adaptable. They’d only be able to get away with this trick a few times.
Stop doing that!
“Commander, we have arrived. What shall we do?”
Um, who’s talking?
“Set up base here. Once that’s done send out search parties to L.A. And other previously major population areas.”
Okay, who the hell is talking now?
“Sir, yes sir!”
Who the fuck is talking!?
WHAT THE FU-
The Mototerminator was scouting when it heard the noise.
For those having issues picturing what that is from the description, here’s what they look like:
It’s basically something created because half the Terminator franchise is just there to satisfy Rule of Cool.
The noise of treads on ground. It veered of to investigate. Rounding the corner it was able to determine the vehicle in front of him as a tank before everything went black. The last images were transmitted along with coordinates.
Fuck. I’d be more surprised if it was even a little surprising that I was right about the Red Alert crew showing up to save the day.
The survivors watched from their hiding places as a hunting spot changed course and headed towards Moscow.
The hell is a “hunting spot”? I don’t remember seeing it listed as part of Skynet’s contingent of vague.
Scouts reported back from across the country of Skynet’s incoming attack on Moscow.
Why? This is Skynet. It’s pretty much attacking anywhere that there might be humans all the time. It wouldn’t be worth the communication that Skynet is moving its units around because it’s always doing that.
At Resistance Command, their was as a flurry of activity. Skynet had not diverted so many units to one area since it wiped out the last military base it knew of.
That’s extremely vague. But, given the known timeline, this could be a reference to Skynet destroying the USS Wilmington. Which doesn’t make any sense since Skynet destroyed it using a single torpedo fired by a lone HK-A unit.
It could also be reference to the Kansas military base that served as the early Resistance headquarters before it was destroyed.
Most likely, though, this was something pulled right out of the Author’s ass and will never be mentioned again.
It’s also very whiplash inducing that Skynet has moved from sending only a contingent toward Moscow to sending a huge chunk of its forces.
In the Moscow base, a large shape appeared on the radars; Instantly the base went on red alert, ready for war.
Not only is it a thing, but it’s a big thing!
The building around them began to rumble; after being hit by a HK it was a miracle it was standing and now with all the movement outside?
WOOF! *Rubs throat* Sweet crap that was awkward! I think that sentence is missing more than a few things.
Well it was likely to collapse anyway, the rumble was just a warning.
It’s very nice that the building is taking the time to warn them. Usually they just collapse whenever they want. Buildings are jerks.
And so it was that the survivors of the LA Resistance scout party found themselves running across the open street to try and get to another building.
Gah! This prose is all over the map!
Also, how is this related to what is going on in Moscow!? Why are we getting these two scenes intertwined? It’s making everything disjointed. It’s hard enough to make sense of this mess without the scenes being deliberately confusing.
Unfortunately luck wasn’t on their side as another HK chose that moment to round the corner.
I have to reiterate: your narrative prose is awful. When it isn’t being exceptionally vague, it’s bouncing between being conversational and archaic.
In an instant the HK’s floodlight was on them, quickly followed by its turret. On the ground, the commander closed his eyes and prayed, whilst awaiting the Hunter Killer to finish him.
Not to mention that the point-of-view bounces around like a mouse on speed.
Cue being saved by Red Alert troops in 3…2…
It was not until there was a massive explosion, rapidly followed by another, that he opened his eyes. The Hunter Killer was no more than a smouldering wreck on the ground infront of him but for once, that was not the source of his amazement.
For once? Does this kind of thing happen on a regular basis with … whoever this is?
Also, it’s amazing that something as insubstantial and hard to follow as this fic would also be so painfully easy to predict. And by “amazing” I mean “sad.”
Surrounding the crash sight stood six tanks in gleaming blue and silver armed with several rocket batteries.
At this point I think it’s important to note that in a LOT of the Terminator timelines, the humans ultimately win the war against Skynet without any help from extradimensional sources. It’s a hard-won victory, but they succeed in the end. In fact, the the events of the very first movie are kicked off by the final defeat of Skynet’s forces. Skynet, in a desperate last-ditch effort to save itself, sends a terminator unit back in time in the hope that preventing John Connor’s birth will change the timeline and allow it to win.
So it’s pretty insulting to the Terminator franchise as a whole that the author would choose the Resistance as the fall guys for his need to jerk-off the Red Alert canon.
We’ve had a strange rash of these fics lately for some reason. Enough that we need to develop a terminology for this kind of fic. It’s also possible that we already did and I missed it.
As he watched a hatch opened and a man dressed in silvery-blue armour emerged. The man quickly walked up to him.
“Hey, we’re the Allied forces who are here because [error: reason stupid]. Don’t mind us, we’re just gonna have a Gary Stu festival all over your canon for a few minutes then be on our way.”
“Are you okay? Any of you hurt or missing?” The man quickly asked.
“Oh, only a few billion of us. That whole apocalypse thing, you know.”
“We’re all here and in good enough shape.” The commander responded, quickly followed by, “Who are you?” and “Can you give us a lift out of here?”
The man was quick with his answer, “We can explain who we are later, for now just hang tight until transport arrives.”
It’s so weird that the prose is more animated and conversational than the dialogue. It’s like the author put the quotes in the wrong place.
Wait, why can’t he explain while they’re waiting for the transport? Is there some kind of anti-explanation field in this area?
He then proceeded to talk into a radio, presumably to summon reinforcements.
You know, sometimes it’s okay to paraphrase stuff. Skipping dialogue that might actually have made your fucking fic NOT a vague pile of wishy-washy ass is not the place.
Sorry, a vague pile of wishy-washy ASS 101.
What happened next made the Commander’s jaw drop, no easy task considering he lived through a nuclear holocaust only to fight robots.
Just because you point out that something in your fic is stupid and implausible doesn’t make it not those things.
Author, maybe you should take your hands out of Red Alert‘s pants for a few minutes and actually try to not write like shit. First, jaw dropping has no place in a fic that is pretending to be serious. Second, if the Commander really HAS lived through all this, he’s likely pretty hardened. He might be relieved, surprised, excited, etc. But he’s not going to be jaw-dropping at anything short of Jesus riding down out of the sky on a jet-propelled narwhal that’s farting laser-guided missiles all over Skynet’s troops.
And if anyone with some artistic talent wants to draw that, I’ll buy a print, frame it, and hang it in my living room.
But as the big, coach sized vehicle materialized out of thin air before him he could not help himself.
Just like the author can’t help himself. He needs the feel of that long, hard … canon in his hand.
“If you could all get on the transport,” The man announced, “then we shall be on our way to the base.”
He sounds like a freaking tour guide! This dialogue has less life to it than Robert Peel.
The Resistance scouts were in position.
Are these the ones in Moscow, LA, or some other scouts?
Or are they all the same scouts and you really aren’t good at geography?
They were under strict instructions; Record any conflicts and remain unknown.
So essentially their orders are to scout stuff.
Right now they were setting up for their first order, filming the battle about to unfold infront of them.
Where is this? What battle? And why do they feel the need to film it? Do they really need some kind of video evidence that the Red Alert factions are enormous Team Stus?
A Skynet hunting party had just come across one of the scout tanks for their unknown enemy.
Do we really need to be shown this? We all know how this is going down. Soviets own all the Skynet troops and the Resistance spends the rest of the day gushing about how “OMFG AWESOME” they are for beating Skynet with minimal losses.
Because tension is that thing OTHER authors use. Authors who are concerned with paltry things like interesting writing.
So anyway, we launch into a predictable, poorly paced, and extremely boring “action” scene.
The tank had been destroyed but more could be heard en-route. Just then the Harvester exploded as twelve rockets found their marks on its surface. Panning the camera towards the source, three tanks could be seen quickly retreating, obviously to reload. However, one of the tanks exploded, caught out in the open as Skynet’s troops open fired. The hunting party began to advance when a hail of shells began pummelling their ranks. One of the Hunter Killers had its wing clipped and it spiralled into an uncontrolled crash, further wiping out their troops. As Skynet was stalled by the cover fire, a weird tank, with a hub crackling with electricity converged towards them. As the tank reached Skynet’s forces it let off a power pulse of electromagnetic radiation, wiping out any surviving ground units. In the air, the Hunter Killers quickly relayed everything back to Skynet flagged at a priority equal only to John Connor’s being found, this enemy was a serious threat. Just as the HKs open fired on the tank below, devastating it, a massive airship appeared over a building across the street. Without warning, the blimps equally oversized quad-machine gun open fired, tearing the Hunter Killers to less than shreds.
If I hadn’t have recently riffed Eighth Spirit, that would be the worst action scene I’ve ever read. It’s just so uninteresting. Losses on the Soviet side are token, and it’s really just a daybook regurgitation of Skynet getting its ass handed to it in the most bland way possible.
It’s like reading a play-by-play of a quick-play match against a computer opponent set to very easy.
Only less tense.
Back at Resistance Headquarters there was a stunned silence.
Oh right, almost forgot about the bit where the Resistance gushes about how awesome the Red Alert troops are. Can’t forget that. Otherwise the author wouldn’t have a reason to slip his hand around Red Alert‘s huuuuuuge … plot.
Not only was there another military force out there defying the machines, they had firepower and technology equal or even exceeding them.
No, not even close. By the end of Red Alert 2, the most advanced thing the Soviets can field are based on Tesla coils, which are just glorified lightning generators. Conversely, the Resistence has access to plasma weaponry, which is a far more advanced and dangerous technology.
Now, the Allies’ chrono-technology is arguably more advanced than plasma technology, but they weren’t part of this fight, so that point is moot. And even then, most of the forces in Red Alert 2 use ballistic technology decades less advanced than even the weakest weapons in Terminator. At the right scale these might prove effective in combat since missiles and explosives still work pretty well in the Terminator universe, but to claim that the Soviets have technology that comes even close to equaling what the Resistance has access to is going way beyond the realm of disbelief into an area of blind canon wank into which I’d rather not venture.
The Soviets shouldn’t even have the manpower to be all that much of a threat to Skynet. They had a single base worth of stuff and personnel transported by the accident. Single. One! If anything, they should be up a certain famous creek without a very well-known rowing implement.
Unfortunately, seeing a Soviet splinter get stranded in another dimension where they’re out-gunned and on the brink of death against an overwhelming force would be interesting to read, which is why the author chose not to write that story.
Inside the Moscow Base everyone was less than excited.
We lost two whole units! Woe is us!
Not only was there another homicidal machine force out there but there were lots of them, heading this way.
And none of them posing much of a threat. Ho-hum.
You can’t expect to fabricate tension just because you tell us that things are bad, author. It dun work like that.
“Prepare the defences.” Volkov commanded, “This war’s just begun.”
Of course, the chapter has to end with a Hollywood-inspired variation of: “And so it begins.” If this thing were any more cliché, I’d actually have to come up with an analogy to describe it.
Welp, that’s the end of the –
So how do you like it so far?
You can read everything above, if you like. Otherwise, if you want the short version: It’s excrement.
Also, I will answer most questions asked if they are related to the story, but not in a major way.
You were vague through this entire fic. I don’t think anyone is surprised that you plan to be vague when answering questions.
Additionally, I am looking for someone who can actually write battle scenes for help.
You might also want to find somebody who can do narrative, dialogue, setting, and plot.
Oh, and also, first war fic! :)
And it really, really, really shows.
Anyway, that’s the end of the chapter and the entire fic! Join me next week as I do … something. Not sure what it’s gonna be, but it’ll definitely be a thing.
Until then, patrons!
I was right, that chapter didn’t have any marching in it at all.