Agent of Order

a Sci-Fi Adventure by mizal

Commended by BerkaZerka on 11/11/2018 10:49:29 AM

Player Rating6.63/8

"#70 overall, #8 for 2018"
based on 108 ratings since 10/28/2018
played 3,674 times (finished 134)

Story Difficulty3/8

"trek through the forest"

Play Length6/8

"It'll be a while, better grab a Snickers®"

Maturity Level5/8

"aren't you a little too old to be trick or treating"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG-13.
Orbiting a barren planetoid in a system full of nothing just past the edge of the frontier, The Last Outpost is just another refueling station. Strategically important, true, but on a routine stop you never expected to spend longer than a couple hours there, let alone a couple of days fighting for your life...

There are five epilogues, but some may be difficult to discover. Note that actions have consequences, but not always immediate ones. (And if you just need an End Game link, go play around with the probe.)

Player Comments

As per usual, spoilers will be present so read the story before you read my comments.

I haven’t found all of the endings yet, but this is really good! The whole story had a mysterious tone that started right from the first page. There was just enough information to take you into the setting, without overloading you with details. I will say I personally like more details, like what does the main character look like? Or what is the main characters job? It was talked about a lot, and never defined. I also didn’t realize Zee was an Android until really far into the story (I think it was implied and I missed it though). None of this is necessary, or takes away from the story though. The way it is written may have added to the mystery and been better, but I felt I wanted answers to those questions sooner personally.

I loved the characters and subtle humor. It was funny, without breaking the tone. The characters were memorable, relatable, and all very different! Their dialogue was well done, and the whole story was very engaging from start to finish!

Some things I noticed that could be improved (although this story was a 7/8 in my book and really well done):
- there was some repetitive language. I think on one of the ‘Aftermath’ pages there was a paragraph that the first 2-3 sentences all ended with “, anyway.” Not a huge deal, but mixing up the words or sentence structure can make it easier/more fun to read. My eyes jumped from the end of one sentence to the other, and I read those 2-3 sentences a few times before realizing what was happening (lol).
- I have not tried every ending, but I found a few! They were good but one big issue was the option to investigate the freezer. If you did it, that made it so you could not lose to the pirates no matter what, locking you into an ending regardless of choices, and you kill matti to stop the virus from spreading. If you don’t there is one one path that the pirates win, but the bigger issue for me is it never addresses that matti is infected! You don’t notice unless you do multiple paths, but does she infect people? Does not noticing matter? I felt that should pop up somewhere is all.
- Again I have not tried all the endings, but part of me wished I could do something more about the feelings and memories Zee has. Like defect to the pirates and help them spread the plague. I did like that Zee kept a vial, so it is implied she forcibly enacts change! It is a very clever ending that works. I just think one ending that is more dramatic would be fun (although the game was already so branching with different endings and possibilities I realize it can’t have literally every option).

Summary: very good, very clever, very engaging. I will read again and try to find more endings! Thank you for the story Mizal!
-- Shadowdrake27 on 9/4/2019 12:45:39 PM with a score of 0
The starting and setup for this story are more than enough to bring the reader into the story and want to read it. It sounds like a simple routine stop that’s clearly going to be more than routine. The reader is immediately grabbed by the story and they will want to read it simply to find out how. After all, it’s just a simple refueling stop, so what could go wrong? It’s an excellent hook and an invitation to the story.

The setting and writing on the first page set the scene nicely. There are good descriptions and details and enough information to feel like the reader is really in the story here. The only part that was slightly confusing (did you really think that wasn’t going to happen?) was the hero’s job. Maybe I missed it, but at one point Hinsman is keeping me away from the public. Then I’m supposed to protect people, but it’s not clear if it is protecting the public or Hinsman’s people. But also the hero destroyed a cruiser in the course of his job recently, too. But Hinsman has a badge and the hero has worked with a pilot before. But he’s headed to the outer rim for work, whatever that might be.

The arrival at The Last Outpost is fun. Well, maybe not for the hero, but reading the words and descriptions around it work very well. It is almost difficult to step out of the story to write this review because at that point the story is engaging and the reader really wants to stay in the story to find out what’s going on and what happened – and we’re not even in the meat of the story yet! The writing here is similar to that book you start to read just before bed and end up reading way past midnight because you just wanted to find out a little more about what was going to happen next.

There was some nicely woven-in backstory throughout the pages as it led through the story. I was hoping for a few more choices, like when the hero was asked whether they should move on or secure the station, but there wasn’t an option to just run away like a little girl and hide, so I didn’t get to choose to do that.

The story does continue with an excellent plot and tension. There were great options and logical choices throughout the story and often not a clear foreknowledge of which choice should be taken – which was a good thing because it really did create the idea that the reader was in control of the story and could really decide where the story would go. The discussions and dialogue were crisp and detailed – once again the reader is really taken into the story and feels like they are there in the room listening to the stories first-hand.

The story also had a number of twists and turns that were not expected. I could see connections from some of the decisions that I had made early in the story affect things much later in the story. And it really did keep me reading and want to read more in anticipation of what was going to happen next. I also really liked the sub-text and story that was happening in the background with the memories. Could that lead to another story? We can only hope and wait…with the hidden vial…
-- Ogre11 on 4/2/2019 4:43:15 PM with a score of 0
Well well, another great story by Mizal.

The plot, characters, and mystery was great, my only complaint however is that the protagonists gender is...GENDER LOCKED. Like come on, man.

Just joking, of course, no one here gives a shit about any of that. Seriously though, I think one of my favorite parts of the story was the mystery aspect....a murder mystery in space!

I had it all figured out, except that I didn't at all lol.

I kind of wonder what exactly the effects of the Hunger Virus were though, I don't remember seeing too much detail on that. So for now my assumption is they go crazy like Matti and just eat all the food in the refrigerator...those animals!

The space battle was pretty cool, not quite how I expected. For some reason I assumed it was going the route of "space pirates are going to board and eventually kill everyone". But luckily this is probably the most realistic depiction of a space battle out there, and they got shot at and hauled ass like anyone probably would.

I liked how each character had their own distinct personalities, Karoff was just weird and goofy, Hinsman was a good guy just trying to do his job, really.

The whole aspect of Zina going crazy every once in a while and having hallucinations was great. At first it seems like she is just regular crazy, but I had great enjoyment in finding out she was an android and was suffering some side effects. Side effects that they were slowly trying to weed out with each....reboot?

Any ways, great story, it followed the themes of the contest in an unexpected and fun way.

-- corgi213 on 10/29/2018 12:11:56 PM with a score of 0

This is some of the best work that I've read on the site (to be fair though, I've only read like 10 stories, so...)! It's not as long as some of my other favourites but the storytelling is worth it. The characters are not as 1-dimensional as they may first seem (maybe except Karoff) and we begin to learn their personalities (a bit) as the story goes on. I feel that Mizal made a great choice to limit the number of characters as the story focuses on them (except maybe Karoff) just enough for adequate character development.

A bone I have to pick with Mizal, though, is that I only found out that Zee was an android very late into the story. If I were being really honest, it hardly changes anything story-wise, but it would have been nice to know that she (or it?) wasn't human a bit earlier.

The writing is sublime and the only nitpick I have here is that some of the sentences were a bit repetitive, but I don't really care about that (my 11th grade English teacher would be so disappointed in me).

Another positive is that the story has a very high replay value for those who've gotta catch'em all - all the endings, that is. I managed to find all 5 epilogues (although 2 were a bit easier to find than the others...) after a moderate amount of digging and I was not unhappy or disappointed with any of the paths I took.

THE VERDICT? I deem this story to be better than Reese's Cups! I would have rated the story 8/8 if not for the Zee-Android thing, but if non-integers ratings were allowed, the story would've gotten 7.49/8 from me.

[Seriously though, who am I to talk? I am nowhere finishing any of the books I've started...]
-- Ytterbius on 5/21/2020 12:30:05 PM with a score of 0
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead

This story had me immersed straight from the beginning. The writing was quite pleasant to read, and always kept me interested in what happened next. The dialogue felt realistic – I could feel the initial distrust of the two Order agents for Ms. Oswen, as well as the protagonist’s slight guilt (or disdain?) over laughing at the acronym civilians had made for the “HUNGER” virus. There is a creative use of adjectives that helps the writing to flow nicely (e.g. “…a haggard-looking blonde woman with high cheekbones and thin lips appears on the viewscreen with a crackling of static”). Overall, the voice of the author gives the setting a rather life-like aura.

The grammar was much better than I’ve seen in most stories on this site. I did spot a few errors on occasion, though these were few and far between. For example, you sometimes used commas to connect independent clauses (e.g. “…for many more this was their home, this was just what they did” should have a period or a semicolon instead of a comma). You also occasionally forgot to use commas to connect independent clauses that were separated by a conjunction (e.g. “About the only thing anyone could agree on was that the Order were the only ones equipped to really do anything about the Hunger virus and so they should be left to it, no questions asked.” should have a comma before ‘and’.)

I have noticed a few minor bugs. The first is one that I noticed by accident; if you are looking up the incident reports, and you click on three names, it allows you to proceed. (It doesn’t matter if you’ve simply clicked on the same name 3x). Also, if you choose to ‘inspect the bodies’, in a later scene (‘inferences’) my character tells Hinsman I’ve never seen them. Finally, I’m not sure if I misread something, but I don’t understand why Matti claims she initially cut her arm open while assisting Markov, who tried to kill her (supposedly one week ago), and then was fine on the intercom when we arrived. However, we soon find her unconscious with her arm gushing fresh blood.

I think the fact that the protagonist was actually a cyborg was well-foreshadowed, though I initially expected an AI (as opposed to a robot with a human brain). I also liked how the protagonist’s ‘hallucinations’ turned out to be actual memories. I felt like I could empathize with both sides of the conflict, between the Order and those now seeking revenge. I enjoyed the wide diversity of endings (I got the one where you destroyed the probe, and 4/5 epilogues.) My favourite is the one where you can avoid killing Matti and maintain a secret vial of the Hunger virus, to potentially use against the Order later. I wish there was some sort of way to aid Hinsman while having my character side against the Order more explicitly. The only other anti-Order epilogue I’ve found is one in which I allowed the pirates to spread the Hunger virus across the globe, which sounds like a nightmare. I would love if you made a walkthrough to explain how to access all the epilogues, as I can’t seem to find the fifth one.

Overall, for the excellent writing style and maintaining my interest for several hours, I rate it a 7/8. Good work!
-- Reader82 on 11/22/2019 1:19:30 PM with a score of 0
There's some good detective bits in this story, and action, and... what more could we want? Well written, bringing out the real-time ethical dilemmas.
-- JohnX on 10/1/2019 3:05:26 PM with a score of 0
The writing in this story is very smooth. Miz was able to grip my attention with concise details and a spooky atmosphere.

The characters worked and you were able to spin a cool backstory without overwhelming the reader with exposition. I'm going to go back.and re-read this.
-- 3iguy on 5/15/2019 9:46:33 AM with a score of 0
Wow that was just crazy. I loved it though.
-- Unkindcrab on 3/10/2019 9:29:11 PM with a score of 0
-- Scott on 12/28/2018 1:42:45 AM with a score of 0
The storyline felt linear, there wasn’t much of an introduction and there were a few grammar and plot errors, but other than that good concept and beautiful story.
-- Story reader on 12/6/2018 5:21:12 PM with a score of 0
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