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Thread: Evaluation - a short story

  1. #1

    Evaluation - a short story

    EDIT: TO SEE REVISED VERSION
    CLICK HERE


    Hey look, another short story! This is also a rough draft, so any input is appreciated, and I've attached the .doc file to this as well. You all should instantly recognize the setting of this story, so humor me and pretend it's original (I DID use other real-life references, but if you see the major influence, the other references become lost). There's an interesting follow-up post to this as well:

    Evaluation

    “Yulee Morris, please report to Sector C of the Administration Department.”

    This is the second time now that the intercom has called for her name. She would be more worried, except she knew that the automated voice was programmed to deliver messages every five minutes or so until discontinued manually. Today was evaluation day for her “department,” the day where the higher-ups would ask questions they already knew before confirming whether they would fire the person in question or not. Funny thing, Yulee is virtually the only employee in her “department” – the library – so the intercom often acts as her personal pager. Today will be rather boring, even if her employment was in danger. Government environments have that effect on people.

    Yulee taps some buttons on the secured phone to play an automated message of her own, if by some blue moon someone actually calls. The library “department,” small and deep in some unknown, obscure part of Fort Newell, which had been built sometime in 1955 as a missile silo complex, but converted easily enough to scientific research after the Cold War. The underground facility challenged even the most seasoned veterans of government mazes in finding the place. That’s what Yulee prefers, though. It’s not that she dislikes being around people, even if she did manage to find herself with the Annoying more often than not, only that there’s something to be said about being by yourself, and unlike even seasoned veterans of government mazes, she has little difficulty finding her way through the halls of Fort Newell. When people did find their way to their department, it had almost always been to file something away. Since the advent of the personal computer, the facility had made its slow progression into entering the Information Age, turning the small library into more of an archives department. Yulee brushes her finger across the top of her desk. The place could use some dusting.

    The intercom calls again with the same automated message. Yulee scans the place once-over, to make sure everything is in place before heading to the Administration department. There is her desk, now with a helpful “Be back at 1” sign she made with paper and a sharpie, there’s the plaid-green couches, having never likely seen sunlight since the late seventies, and the shelves of reports, more reports, and even the occasional hardback resource materials. She turns to a tall, rectangular mirror that covered one of the sides of a pillar (the facility had mirrors in the occasional spot to help spread light around, as it was cheaper) and examined herself. With her finger, she pulls a strand of hair that had escaped from her black bun and fell in front of her face behind her ear. She tucked her blue-collar work shirt into her khaki pants, straightened her badge, and tightened the laces on her black combat boots. The shoes were not part of the dress code, but she has a preference for the footwear the security men and occasional military presence wore around the place. In any case, Yulee is quite young, and most of the men at Fort Newell don’t look at her feet. She grabs her white lab coat and exits the room.

    In her obscure end of the facility, the hallways were not quite as solid in their grey, concrete blandness, as the rock itself often made a chunk of wall or ceiling due both to age and unfinished construction. It’s the cavernous spaces deep in the canyon earth of this South-Western facility that Yulee felt connected with, the parts that Fort Newell never fully conquered. She would never call this place home, however, as that would always be Seattle for her, but at least it was comfortable. “Kept at a comfortable sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit,” she remembers the intercom on the train-systems in the facility saying. Maybe in Administration it was sixty-eight degrees. Yulee didn’t mind, though. Striding down the halls, where the fluorescent lights occasionally flickered, she lets herself forget why she is heading for the Administration department, and hops at whim with the grace of a ballet dancer. Her body had not forgotten her ballet lessons in school.

    After about ten minutes of turning down hallway after nearly indistinguishable hallway (but not entirely, as some of them would have brightly painted colored stripes that would say “Sector B - Dormitories” or “Area 4 - Recreational Facilities”), Yulee arrives at the train-system station. Since the underground facility was so vast, a system of small, monorail cars had been built to transport people from one end of the facility to the other. If she were not concerned with arriving in a timely manner, Yulee would have walked the distance, through strange tunnels and paths used only by the maintenance staff, if anybody. She sits on a bench and waits for the next train-car to arrive. Eight minutes later, at 10:45AM, a train-car screeches to a slow stop, and she walks on. Yulee sighs. There’s a man already on the train-car.

    “Hello Yulee,” the man said. His name is Dr. Vance, and she saw him on the train-car on her way to and from her shifts. He too was dressed in the required attire: white lab coat, blue-collar shirt, and khaki pants, completed with what everyone considered a ridiculous tie. Yulee didn’t think she’d have the blind luck to be on the same train-car as him during her shift. He was a nice guy though, and so she managed a smile.

    “Off for the evaluation, I take it?” he asks. Yulee nods.

    “Well, best of luck with that, then,” he continues. “It would be a shame not to see your face around here. As for me, well, I’m heading to the test labs in Area 6, but you didn’t hear it from me. You understand.” Fort Newell operated under different levels of security, and without the proper clearance, she nor anyone else would be allowed. Technically, Yulee had one of the highest clearances, but only because of the department she worked in. She isn’t allowed in virtually any other part of the facility, not open to the general public at any rate, not that it stopped her from exploring on her own. The train-car jitters its way past vast aircraft chambers, over the underground rivers, and through mammoth silo doors. At one point, they run parallel with another train-car, which carries some guy with slicked-back black hair in a blue suit that she could only describe as “sketchy.” Had she seen the guy before…? Yulee brushes the thought aside. The facility is full of questionable things, as far as she could tell, but the government maze has that effect on people. The important thing is that her job pays well, and it’s secure… She hopes.

    After about fifteen or twenty-so minutes on the train-car, it wails to another slow stop at the Administration department. She waves goodbye to Dr. Vance and hops off onto the metal catwalk that hangs over the darkness below. A security guard walks her over to the door, punches in a pass on the key-lock, and opens the door for her.

    “Have a nice day,” he says. She notes how out of shape the guard is – guess the physical requirements weren’t as rigorous as she thought they were. Down more hallways Yulee strides, noticing the lack of rock cropping anywhere, and the number of others in white lab coats walking here and there, greeting her along the way. She follows the bright red line running along the wall to Sector C and into a lounge area. She signs in at the desk, walks up to the office door she had been told to go to, and knocks.

    “Come in!” says the voice behind the door. She enters, and sees an older man with white, balding hair behind a desk.

    “Have a seat, Ms. Morris,” he says, gesturing to the rather uncomfortable-looking chair in front of her. Only another year, and then he’ll have to call her Doctor Morris. She sits down, and is forced to play the waiting game as the man writes some things down onto a clipboard. Some long minutes pass, and then he looks at her.

    “As you know, Ms. Morris, the Administrator of Fort Newell requires the best from each and every one of us.” Yulee does her best not to zone out.

    “The Administrator has asked us here in Administration to evaluate everyone currently employed here at Fort Newell,” the man says with what seems to be an attempt at caring. Yulee notices, however, that the man stops the speech he is so used to giving, and looks at her more intently.

    “Look, Yulee – may I call you Yulee?” the man asks, but doesn’t wait for an answer. “You can call me Carl, or Mr. Hill, if you wish. Let’s cut to the chase, shall we?”

    Yulee scrutinizes Mr. Hill as he gets up from his chair and begins pacing. This wasn’t normal, or at least Yulee hopes as much. Something didn’t seem right.

    “You work in the LIS department, and we both know that even just one person is one too many in that place. The Administrator isn’t going to pay people for dusting some books. Frankly, as it stands right now, we should fire you.”

    Confusion drops heavily on Yulee. It was true enough that she was not being pushed to her mental limits by a long short, but as far as she had known, she hadn’t been given any sign that Administration would be terminating her position anytime soon. She begins thinking of where she could look for jobs when her thought process is interrupted.

    “However,” Mr. Hill says, “there is a good chance for you to still work here, Yulee. After all, it is through no fault of your own that we would fire you. We would, though, ask you to do something… special.”

    Yulee stares at Mr. Hill. Was he sexually harassing me? She turns her head and looks at the door.

    “I can’t give you the details here, I’m afraid to say,” Mr. Hill continues. “But you would be selected for a new program, one that the Administrator himself is very interested in. I can’t guarantee anything, Ms. Morris, except that you will still have your job. Well, you can assume that the Administrator will look very favorably upon you, and that is no small matter. Your future could look very bright, Yulee. I see you’re in very good shape. The Administrator will be pleased with that. Have you been going to the physical training sessions here?”

    For some reason, Yulee thinks that this isn’t, in fact, any form of sexual harassment. Something about the man’s voice, it doesn’t hint at any form of mere male advancement, but something more hidden. It reminds her of the sketchy government man in the blue suit she saw before. She nods in response to his question.

    “Good, that’s good,” Mr. Hill said. “And, uh… your health care won’t be covered under this program, I’m afraid. Your clearance will have to be altered to cover this new program. Whether you accept or not, you are required to sign this release form here that says you are not to disclose anything about our conversation.”

    Mr. Hill slides a paper on his desk towards her. She looks at it. Standard bureaucratic red tape, though she notes its mention there will be no trial if she is to break her contract.

    “If you do accept, you will have to sign this,” he says, and turns his clipboard over to her. The most informative thing she can read from the form is “Experimental Hazardous Materials Program.” She opens her mouth to say something, pointing at the clipboard, when she is interrupted.

    “We can’t speak about that. I must ask you now to decide. I can tell you that, if you do agree to enter this program, the government will take good care of you. Your help in this matter will not go unnoticed.”

    She looks at Mr. Hill, then at the papers, then at the door. The door would be her only escape, back to what she knew was safe. But was she really interested in safe? She thought about the hallways that she walked though, her dance through the mysterious maze. She thought about the rock walls that she saw. She thought about the darkness below the catwalks. Grabbing a pen from the desk, Yulee signs the papers on the clipboard.

    “A wise choice, Ms. Morris,” Mr. Hill says. “Follow me.” He walks over to the door, and opens it for her. Her life was on the line, and Yulee Morris would be dancing on it.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Gebohq; 12-13-2005 at 10:35 AM.
    Featured ISB thread: The Never-ending Story Thread^2

  2. #2
    For some of you, this should look like a very familiar character. Yulee Morris is a character I've grown to really like. Originally created for a NeS-inspired novel (one that I still hope will be picked up on again), I started developing her a whole bunch about last summer via different pen-and-paper RPG systems, one of the major influences being Half-Life (I was in a short-lived home-brew HL2 game online, which might pick back up as a modified Spycraft game).

    This short story, while purposely written in an attempt to be on its own, obviously has its roots in Half-Life. In many of the "incarnations" I've made for her (the HL2 game, Spycraft etc.), she has a cybernetic "center" very similar to Gordon Freeman's HEV suit, and this story hints at how she became a test subject for such technology.

    Attached to this post are several different profiles, which are variations of this character, Yulee Morris, listed in general order of her theoretical "life" from childhood to early 30's, though each variation usually assumes that the abnormal events prior did not happen (minus the cybernetics for spycraft). For instance, in the World of Darkness profile (WoDYulee), we can assume that, though she was a librarian at a government facility, aliens from another dimension never invaded Earth. Hopefully that makes sense.

    EDIT: I've uploaded a slightly updated version of SpycraftYulee.doc and of OverviewYulee.doc in turn. Also edited the WoDYulee.doc.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Gebohq; 12-01-2005 at 07:43 AM.

  3. #3
    The last profile in the order above, plus some drawings I've done, including a concept sketch of the original protagonist of Prospero, one of two games that later became Half-Life (the other game being Quiver, which was a "little Quake"). She was called "Aleph" and "The Librarian"... you can see where a chunk of my inspiration for this character came from.
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  4. #4
    One word, Geb... Tenses.

    :p
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    Lassev: I guess there was something captivating in savagery, because I liked it.

  5. #5
    Yes, I know. Tenses can go to hell and die. I've always sucked with tenses.

    Edit: UGH! This short story is a lot rougher than I thought it was. There's run-on sentences and complete thoughts in the wrong order and tangents that aren't streamlined...

    If you all can get past those particular technical aspects, I'd like your thoughts on the character and story itself. I'm still open to ANY suggestion, technical or otherwise, of course.
    Last edited by Gebohq; 11-29-2005 at 11:02 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Sarn_Cadrill
    One word, Geb... Tenses.

    :p
    That's what I was going to say!

    The enraged Mr. Numbarz seized Gebohq roughly by the collar and pulled the unlucky writer toward him.

    "Tenses! Tenses!" he screamed, his putrid breath blasting into Geb's face with each syllable. Numbarz began to slap Geb viciously, repeating the word over and over until the NeS hero collapsed to the floor in a quivering heap.

    "And you," Numbarz said, turning to Cardrill with a rusty blunderbuss in his hand, "As an intern, your job was to make me coffee and urinate on the worst copy. If there's one person harassing Geb around here, it's going to be me. I'll give you three seconds to get out of this publishing office before I come after you."

    ****

    The shot rang out across the neighborhood, but little mind was paid by the citizens in their homes. Such things were almost expected...

  7. #7
    Revised version to be posted tomorrow
    Featured ISB thread: The Never-ending Story Thread^2

  8. #8
    exciting.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    Lassev: I guess there was something captivating in savagery, because I liked it.

  9. #9
    (Non-story post: I did my best to fix all the tenses to present tense, and to clean up the sentence structure stuff especially towards the beginning. I also attempted to add some more concrete details about the setting, but I had difficulty really re-working it to my satisfaction, at least with the time that I had for it. Hopefully the technical editing in itself will make it a strong enough story of its own.)

    Evaluation

    “Yulee Morris, please report to Sector C of the Administration Department.”

    This is the second time now that the intercom has called for her name. She would be more worried, except she knows that the automated voice is programmed to deliver messages every five minutes or so until discontinued manually. Today is evaluation day for her department, the day where the higher-ups will ask questions they already know the answers to, before confirming whether they will fire the person in question or not. Funny thing, Yulee is virtually the only employee in her department – the library – so the intercom often acts as her personal pager. From here on out, today will be rather boring, even if her employment is in danger. Government environments have that effect on people.

    Yulee taps some buttons on the secured phone to play an automated message of her own, if by some blue moon someone actually calls. Not likely, since she is so secluded where she is. The library department is small and deep in some unknown, obscure part of Fort Newell (which had been built sometime in 1955 as a missile silo complex, but then converted for scientific research after the Cold War). The underground facility challenges even the most seasoned veterans of government mazes in finding her department. When people do find their way to her department, it has almost always been to file something away, not to deal with her (since the advent of the personal computer, the facility has made its slow progression into entering the Information Age, turning the small library into more of an archives department). Yulee prefers the seclusion, though, not that she dislikes being around people (even if she does manage to find herself with the Annoying more often than not). Besides, unlike even the seasoned veterans of government mazes, she has little difficulty finding her way through the halls of Fort Newell. Yulee brushes her finger across the top of her desk. The place could use some dusting. The stale, dusty smell of her department bothers her.

    The intercom calls again with the same automated message. Yulee scans the place once-over, to make sure everything is in place, before heading for the Administration department. There is her desk, now with a helpful “Be back at 1” sign she just made with paper and a sharpie. There are the plaid-green couches, having never likely seen sunlight since the late seventies, and there are the shelves of reports, more reports, and even the occasional hardback resource materials. She turns to face a tall, rectangular mirror that covered one of the sides of a pillar (the facility had mirrors in the occasional spot to help spread light around, as it was cheaper) and examines herself. With her finger, she pulls back a strand of hair that has escaped from her black bun. She tucks her blue-collar work shirt into her khaki pants, straightens her badge, and tightens the laces on her black combat boots. The shoes are not part of the dress code, but she prefers the footwear the security men (and occasional military presence) wear around the place. In any case, Yulee is quite young, and most of the men at Fort Newell don’t look at her feet. She grabs her white lab coat and exits the room.

    In her obscure end of the facility, the hallways are not quite as solid in their grey, concrete blandness, as the rock itself often serves as a chunk of wall or ceiling, due both to age and unfinished construction. It gives off a rough aura to her travels. It’s the cavernous spaces deep in the canyon earth of this South-Western facility that Yulee feels connected with, the parts that Fort Newell have never fully conquered. She will never call this place home, however, as that will always be Seattle for her, but at least it is comfortable. “Kept at a comfortable sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit,” she remembers the intercom on the train-systems in the facility saying. Maybe in Administration it was sixty-eight degrees. She feels the wind brush past her through the hallways, carrying a mix of artificial heat and calming cool. Yulee didn’t mind, though. Striding down the halls, where the fluorescent lights occasionally flicker, she lets herself forget why she is heading for the Administration department, and hops at whim with the grace of a ballet dancer. Her body has not forgotten her ballet lessons in school.

    After about ten minutes of turning down hallway after nearly indistinguishable hallway, Yulee arrives at the train-system station. Since the underground facility is so vast, a system of small, monorail cars has been built to transport people from one end of the facility to the other. If she were not concerned with arriving in a timely manner, Yulee would walk the distance, through strange tunnels and paths used only by the maintenance staff, if by anybody. She sits on a bench and waits for the next train-car to arrive. She listened to the echoes of the flowing water in some distant part of the facility, blending with the hums of mechanics and distant voices. Eight minutes later, at 10:45AM, a train-car screeches to a slow stop, and she walks on it. Yulee sighs. There’s a man already on the train-car.

    “Hello, Yulee,” the man says. His name is Dr. Vance, and she has seen him on the train-car before, on her way to and from her shifts. He too is dressed in the required attire: white lab coat, blue-collar shirt, and khaki pants, complete with what everyone considers a ridiculous tie. Yulee didn’t think she’d have the blind luck to be on the same train-car as him during her shift. He is a nice guy though, and so she manages a smile.

    “Off for the evaluation, I take it?” he asks. Yulee nods.

    “Well, best of luck with that, then,” he continues. “It would be a shame not to see your face around here. As for me, well, I’m heading to the test labs in Area 6, but you didn’t hear it from me. You understand.” Fort Newell operates under different levels of security, and without the proper clearance for the destination, neither she nor anyone else would be allowed to pass. Usually, she isn’t allowed in virtually any other part of the facility other than her own department, though it hasn’t stopped her from exploring on her own in the past. The train-car jitters its way past vast aircraft chambers, over underground rivers, and through mammoth silo doors. At one point, they run parallel with another train-car, which carries some guy with slicked-back black hair in a blue suit that she could only describe as “sketchy.” She wonders if she has seen him before… Yulee brushes the thought aside. The facility is full of questionable things, as far as she can tell, but the government maze has that effect on people. The important thing is that her job pays well, and it’s secure… She hopes it’s secure.

    After about fifteen or twenty-so minutes on the train-car, it wails to another slow stop at the Administration department. She waves goodbye to Dr. Vance and hops off onto the metal catwalk that hangs over the darkness below. A security guard walks her over to the door, punches in a pass on the key-lock, and opens the door for her.

    “Have a nice day,” he says. She notes how out of shape the guard is – guess the physical requirements aren’t as rigorous as she thought they were. Down more hallways Yulee strides, noticing the lack of rock cropping anywhere, and the number of others in white lab coats walking here and there, greeting her along the way. She follows the bright red line running along the wall to Sector C and into a lounge area. She signs in at the desk, walks up to the office door she had been told to go to, and knocks.

    “Come in!” says the voice behind the door. She enters, and sees an older man with white, balding hair behind a desk.

    “Have a seat, Ms. Morris,” he says, gesturing to the rather uncomfortable-looking chair in front of her. Only another year, and then he’ll have to call her Doctor Morris. She sits down, and is forced to play the waiting game as the man writes some things down onto a clipboard. Some long minutes pass, and then he looks at her.

    “As you know, Ms. Morris, the Administrator of Fort Newell requires the best from each and every one of us.” Yulee eyes something to the side, though not because she’s interested to see what’s over there. She couldn’t even focus on what she is looking at.

    “The Administrator has asked us here in Administration to evaluate everyone currently employed here at Fort Newell,” the man says with what seems to be an attempt at caring. Yulee notices, however, that the man stops the speech he is so used to giving, and looks at her more intently.

    “Look, Yulee – may I call you Yulee?” the man asks, but doesn’t wait for an answer. “You can call me Carl, or Mr. Hill, if you wish. Let’s cut to the chase, shall we?”

    Yulee scrutinizes Mr. Hill as he gets up from his chair and begins pacing. This issn’t normal, or at least Yulee hopes as much. Something doesn’t seem right.

    “You work in the LIS department, and we both know that even just one person is one too many in that place. The Administrator isn’t going to pay people for dusting some books. Frankly, as it stands right now, we should fire you.”

    Confusion drops heavily on Yulee. It’s true enough that she isn’t being pushed to her mental limits by a long shot, but as far as she knows, she hasn’t been given any sign that Administration would be terminating her position anytime soon. She begins thinking of where she could look for jobs when her thought process is interrupted.

    “However,” Mr. Hill says, “there is a good chance for you to still work here, Yulee. After all, it is through no fault of your own that we would fire you. We would, though, ask you to do something… special.”

    Yulee stares at Mr. Hill. The thought that he might be sexually harassing her passes through her mind. She turns her head and looks at the door.

    “I can’t give you the details here, I’m afraid to say,” Mr. Hill continues. “But you would be selected for a new program, one that the Administrator himself is very interested in. I can’t guarantee anything, Ms. Morris, except that you will still have your job. Well, you can assume that the Administrator will look very favorably upon you, and that is no small matter. Your future could look very bright, Yulee. I see you’re in very good shape. The Administrator will be pleased with that. Have you been going to the physical training sessions here?”

    For some reason, Yulee thinks that this isn’t, in fact, any form of sexual harassment. Something about the man’s voice, it doesn’t hint at any form of mere male advancement, but something more hidden. It reminds her of the sketchy government man in the blue suit she saw before. She nods in response to his question.

    “Good, that’s good,” Mr. Hill says. “And, uh… your health care won’t be covered under this program, I’m afraid. Your clearance will have to be altered to cover this new program. Whether you accept or not, you are required to sign this release form here that says you are not to disclose anything about our conversation.”

    Mr. Hill slides a paper on his desk towards her. She looks at it. Standard bureaucratic red tape, though she notes its mention there will be no public trial if she is to break her contract.

    “If you do accept, you will have to sign this,” he says, and turns his clipboard over to her. The most informative thing she can read from the form is “Experimental Hazardous Materials Program.” She opens her mouth to say something, pointing at the clipboard, when she is interrupted.

    “We can’t speak about that. I must ask you now to decide. I can tell you that, if you do agree to enter this program, the government will take good care of you. Your help in this matter will not go unnoticed.”

    She looks at Mr. Hill, then at the papers, then at the door. The door would be her only escape, back to what she knew was safe. But was she really interested in safe? She thought about the hallways that she walked though, her dance through the mysterious maze. She thought about the rock walls that she saw. She thought about the darkness below the catwalks. Grabbing a pen from the desk, Yulee signs the papers on the clipboard.

    “A wise choice, Ms. Morris,” Mr. Hill says. “Follow me.” He walks over to the door, and opens it for her. Her life was on the line, and Yulee Morris would be dancing on it.
    Featured ISB thread: The Never-ending Story Thread^2

  10. #10
    much better... still a few things:

    She turns to face a tall, rectangular mirror that covered* one of the sides of a pillar (the facility had* mirrors in the occasional spot to help spread light around, as it was* cheaper) and examines herself.
    * covered should be covers, had should be has, was should be is... Also rather than "one of the sides of a pillar" try "...that covers the side of a pillar..."

    It’s the cavernous spaces deep in the canyon earth of this South-Western facility that Yulee feels connected with, the parts that Fort Newell have never fully conquered.
    *have should be has

    Yulee didn’t* mind, though.
    *didn't should be doesn't

    Her body has not forgotten her ballet lessons in school.
    consider rewording.. somewhat confusing... "Her body has not forgotten its high school ballet lessons." as a suggestion.

    She sits on a bench and waits for the next train-car to arrive. She listened to the echoes of the flowing water in some distant part of the facility, blending with the hums of mechanics and distant voices.
    might want to combine this into one sentence.. Makes it a bit long, but flows much better imo... "...waits for the next train-car to arrive, listening to the echoes..."

    Eight minutes later, at 10:45AM, a train-car screeches to a slow stop, and she walks on it.
    rather than "walks on it" consider "steps aboard" or something.. "walks on it" sounds kinda weird.

    At one point, they run parallel with another train-car, which carries some guy with slicked-back black hair in a blue suit that she could only describe as “sketchy.”
    "some guy" is a weird way to introduce a new character. Also, you can do better than describing him as "sketchy." Consider "...parallel to another train-car. Aboard the other car is a man with slicked-back, black hair, wearing a blue suit. Even from the other train-car, the man seems to exude a dark aura that makes Yulee uncomfortable for the brief time the cars are in proximity"

    After about fifteen or twenty-so* minutes on the train-car, it wails to another slow stop at the Administration department.
    Drop off the "-so minutes on the train car" It's redundant, and the sentence flows better without it... "After about fifteen or twenty minutes, the train car wails to a slow stop..."

    Yulee eyes something to the side, though not because she’s interested to see what’s over there. She couldn’t even focus on what she is looking at.
    This needs to either be dropped or extrapolated. As a reader, I'm thinking, "What the heck is he talking about?"

    “The Administrator has asked us here in Administration to evaluate everyone currently employed here at Fort Newell,” the man says with what seems to be an attempt at caring.
    Drop "here in Administration." It's redundant, and that's implied anyway.. "The Administratior has asked us to evaluate..."

    The Administrator isn’t going to pay people for dusting some books.
    Possibly reword to drop unnecessary words: "The Administrator isn't going to pay people to dust books."

    Her life was on the line, and Yulee Morris would be dancing on it.
    This sentence is confusing.. Had to read it several times to know what "it" was referring to. Also, tense is past tense.. Try: "Yulee Morris' life is on the line, and she's dancing on it." at least.. Still kinda confusing, but I can't think how to word it and still get the coorelation between dancing on the line and her life being on the line...

    Anyway, that's all I have for now. Hope some of it is helpful. I won't consider it plagarism if you use my exact quotes, but you don't have to. Hopefully that at least gives you a few ideas.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    Lassev: I guess there was something captivating in savagery, because I liked it.

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