The star of this chapter was the hanar's friendship with the quarian. I was waiting the whole time to see what Pallo had cooked up. Also, Ganorn's pimp hat was friggin' awesome.
I'll do this in reverse this time and mention the tweaks first, then my overall impression at the bottom.
"artefacts" incorrect spelling
- It had only been a few hours since she had been in another man’s cabin,
Considering the character and her subject are neither of them human, using a term like "being" will bring more authenticity into this scene. I've noticed several times that your characters use human euphamisms and it helps deepen the characters and the immersiveness fo the story if they speak from their unique cultures and environments.
- Again, you have the elcor stating his emotion "with so-and-so"; elcor would just say the emotion without the "with".
- No, he told himself, best to leave that particular mollusc with its shell on.
Nice tie-in with the aquatic world by using this phrase.
- Through the heavy, round bottle, everything appeared warped, misshapen. It seemed to be a perfect representation of her thoughts.
A nice turn of phrase that becomes even more effective with a bit more spartan use of language, as in: Through the heavy, round bottle, everything appeared warped and misshapen, just like her thoughts.
- Milana’s thin legs swung out and she dropped the last few inches, staggering slightly as her dark heels hit the ground awkwardly.
Your adjective placement sometimes makes the scene a little difficult to picture. In this case, it would read more cleanly if "her dark heels awkwardly hit the ground."
- Rima bit his bottom lip in worry, turning the dark flesh an even richer hue of red.
If his blood is green, wouldn't it turn a dark shade of green?
- In that same scene, it would be better if you prefaced the conversation with freeman with Rima sending his friend to the clinic so we aren't jumping back and forth in time; every time you do, there's a drop in tension. I learned that during my "flashback" chapter of TOTGA. Also, going to rehab for a sports drink is pretty funny; you should play it up a bit more.
- Though she didn’t drink herself anymore
- Ganorn grinned.
Can turians grin? Fluttering mandables, a tilt of the head, maybe, but they have no lips to bare teeth in a grin. Bring the species' characteristics into it more.
- Grinning Ganorn, pulled her firmly into his nude grasp, making her gasp aloud with excitement.
A few misplaced commas in this sentence.
- And just like that, Xantar was gone.
Since an elcor can hardly make a quick exit, having him make a statement like he did and then everyone stare as he slowly lumbered away extends the tension of the moment, making it more funny.
On a side note, I was really sad to see Rima killed. And Mila was taking red sand... from a shot glass? Seemed odd, but I liked the visual. Loved the wrap-up statement at the end, it was almost cinematic. Very cool. This chapter definitely brought the story to a close and tied off the loose ends, though the humor was less evident than in the previous chapter.
Overall, your plots are well-thought-out and the characters interact convincingly. The scene comes more alive when you fully use the characteristics of the aliens in the genre, and you slipped out of character a bit more in this chapter than in previous chapters.
You could stand with quite a bit of tightening up in sentence structure all over, working towards clarity of expression instead of a complete picture; a thin line to tread, I know. May I recommend a course in haiku? XD
No seriously, you should try some short form, if not poetry than something with severe character limits. Then graduate to word limits of 100, 500, and 1000 words. Three of each, I'd say. By the end of it you'll appreciate each and every word on the page. Remember that every word is a second of your reader's time, and if you waste their time they'll just click away. It's even easier to do online than it is when they're holding a print book in their hands.
Thanks so much for your time and attention with this, you've highlighted some flaws that I knew existed, reinforcing my resolve to work on them and brought a few others to my attention which I'll duly correct.
Your last point has now become my main focus as far as improvement goes and as I've mentioned, Dark Saga is my effort to address it. A 5000 word chapter split into sections of 500, 600, 1000 words apiece has been a real challenge so far but it's already been worthwhile. A lesson I've been needing to learn for a while, I think.
That said, I do still like a slightly more methodical pace for the most part given my natural tendency towards fantasy and adventure but I've definitely learned there are times and places to be plodding and others for more snappy writing. For me, it's a case of reconciling those two different ways of working and hopefully I'll be able to pull it off.
When DS comes out I'd appreciate it if you could take a look, if only at the first couple of chapters and let me know if I've succeeded?