30 Oct 2015

Crossover - Chapter 11

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade

Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, mid-morning

Meredith sipped her second coffee of the day.  I can't believe he left.  An entire convention, and he's back in the freaking Yugo.  She threaded through the crowd to get to the video room.  He's missing out on so much.  I mean, when was the last time any of these shows were on the air?  It's been too long since Heroes of our Lives was last shown.

As she sat, her cell phone vibrated in her pocket.  Meredith leapt at the unexpected disturbance.  She fumbled to get the phone out.  This better not be Mom.  Meredith flipped open the phone.  A text message appeared on the tiny screen asking her to put on the BIKINI's visor.  Oh, for . . .  Keith, this better be important.

29 Oct 2015

Crossover Chapter 10 - Commentary

Meredith gets hooked into the plot!  Welcome to the commentary for the tenth chapter.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

It's a brand new day at the convention, and Keith has made the discovery that lets Meredith get involved in the plot.  Yes, it took way too long to get to this point.  I consider Crossover to be a lesson in pacing.  I needed to make the mistakes to realize that they were mistakes.  Crossover was my third NaNoWriMo project and my third major work.  Prior, most of my writing consisted of short stories and serials.  Switching from shorter formats to the longer novel was a paradigm shift.  I've improved on pacing; I know how to not get bogged down in the details.  Still working on chapters, though.

One of the core ideas of the Subject 13-verse* was that, over time, different people would take up the mantle of the heroes.  I then go and create a title where the titular character couldn't have a new person take over the role.  That was the reason I created the Peregrine role in Subject 13, to show the changing of the person underneath the costume.  While not initially planned on being the replacement, Keith's new friend, Naomi, could become the new Prototype Alpha.

Keith's explanation is the best I could do to get across the idea of how the dimension breaching ray would appear.  Yes, it does appear to break the laws of physics, but the breaching introduces energy from an external source.  I'm sure someone has given thought to how to break through to a new dimension and how that would affect physics on both sides of the barrier.  There's math involved, and possibly coefficients to adjust numbers between dimensions.  It'd make fluid mechanics and dynamics look simple.

The panel is a staple of science fiction, fantasy, and comic conventions.  Panelists talk about a subject of interest to attendees, and ask and answer questions about the subject.  Can*Con, where I'll be a panelist this year**, is representative, with panels on writing, reading, and even blood spatter analysis***.  The panel Alec and Pierce put on, "Effective Costumes: How to Keep a Secret ID Secret", may not be typical, but it fits the setting, where budding artists, writers, and heroes alike can use the information.  The entire scene could be lifted and turned into a non-fictional treatise on costuming and secret IDs.  There are reasons to maintain a secret ID, most of which boil down to protecting oneself and one's loved ones.

Again, I went with Vicki's point-of-view instead of Nasty's.  Part of it was to show Nasty as Peregrine, the heroine.  Vicki knows the person underneath and can comment about Nasty's discomfort.  She also will be paying attention to what's going on up front.  Nasty's POV would be a running commentary punctuated by expletives and missing out on some of what Alec and Pierce are saying.  The POV also leaves a bit of a mystery for readers on what is happening when Peregrine is called away.

Quick rundown of the heroes namechecked in the panel:
  • Blaze, from Alec and Pierce's comic, Hero Ablaze!, has fire powers.
  • American Eagle, from Subject 13, part of the American Eagle Foundation for Justice in Rochester.
  • Major Flagg, from Alec and Pierce, an in-universe fictional version of heroes like Captain America.
  • Q-Ball, part of the Global Vanguard, powerer armour wearer and developer.  The Vanguard are a team I started working on for a potential title, and fill the role of the Justice League and the Avengers.
  • Crimson Shadow, a Chicago-based crime-fighter by night.  No real plans beyond namedropping, but the Shadow fills in the role of the likes of Batman, Daredevil, and Moon Knight.
And the "very incredibly well done" movie?  Pixar's The Incredibles, with Edna Mode's rant against capes being the specific reference.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 11.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, comparing the Fifties to now.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, Spaced Invaders.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

* If I had a better name, I'd use it.  For now, the first series gets to name the setting.
** My blog, my choice to advertise blatantly.
*** Writers tends to research a lot of subjects that could get them on watch lists and even do-not-fly lists.

28 Oct 2015

NaNo Prep 2015 - The Characters

Time's ticking away.  Three ideas, three days to decide, and a convention* to start NaNoWriMo off.  What have I been doing?  Converting BattleTech to Firefly and writing a new Unruly chapter**.  I am so not prepared.  Or am I?  I know what I'm missing, but if I have a good handle on the characters and an idea of the ending, I'm good to begin.

The Clockwork Avenger
Three central characters, including the pilots of the Clockwork Avenger suit and the villain.  Both pilots will have a supporting cast.  The ending involves a battle that ties in both times to defeat the villain, somehow.  Explosions, probably.
  • Bernard Newton, machinist in Bristol. England.  In his mid-forties.  Served in Her Majesty's Expeditionary Forces (specific unit to be researched), mustering out as a Captain.  Handlebar mustache.
  • Marissa Beaumont, grad student in Ottawa, ON.  In her mid-twenties.  Descendant of Bernard's brother.
  • Vernon Waller, occultist.  Age indeterminate.
Bernard should have an apprentice while D'arcy has a close friend helping her.

Colony Base 183
One central character, the newly graduated main character, plus a host of supporting characters.  I've found a document I created for a different setting that I can pillage for details, such as rank structure.  Beginning will be the main character's arrival.  Ending is up in the air and will depend on how things go while writing.  Since the colony is near the intersection of several space-faring nations, I will need some aliens, ideally not just humans with stuff pasted to their heads.***
  • Delphine Piper, Subaltern, Confederate Combined Armed Forces.  Freshly graduated from the Confederation Military Academy on Greydon.  Early to mid-twenties.  From another frontier colony along the border with the Altair Triumverate, whom she suspects as causing the colony's failure.
  • Vina Minoru, Technical Officer, Confederate Combined Armed Forces.  Early to mid-twenties.  Another fresh graduate and Delphine's roommate on base.
  • Vintner, Lieutenant, Confederate Combined Armed Forces.  Early thrities.  Delphine's CO.
I'll need some colonists and the alien delegations at some point, but I can get Delphine to settle in first.  Rank structure is a little scattered, but it'll work for an established military.

The Elf's Prisoner
Ultimately, there will be five people gone a-questing.  The climax involves snake-people, cast family members, and sword & sorcery action.  The goal here is to file off any and all serial numbers.
  • Jyslyn, dark elf refugee.  Studied magic illicitly.  Can be sneaky when she wants.  Has family hunting her.
  • Bellus Starpetal, high elf priest of The Lightbringer.  Grandson of the matriarch of the Starpetal family.  Not fond of Council politics, mainly because he gets pulled in so often.
  • Nyssa, Dame Kellus, Knight of the Realm.  Human.  Late-forties.  Has slain a dragon.  Royal pain in the ass.
  • Leomund, squire to Nyssa.  Mid-teens.  Much put upon.
  • Wren, elf lass.  Sole survivor of a village massacred by dark elves.
Already, there are some elements of the world that need detailing, but that can wait until the need becomes critical.

Of the above, I've already had a scene worked out in my head for The Elf's Prisoner, featuring Jyslyn and Wren.  It was an odd one, where Jyslyn both wasn't and was serious.  I've had the lawyer scene when Marissa receives her package play through my head a few times, working out just how the package managed to survive until 2015, through fires, bankruptcies, and the Blitz and how the law firm found Marissa.  Suffice it say, someone had to keep a good family tree even after some of the family moved overseas.  I am tempted to have a scene with Bernard and Marissa where she passes some investment ideas to him, but that could lead to an investment that shouldn't be possible.****  Colony Base 183 has the least work done, but I may have a good handle on my lead.  Just have to work out some events to toss at her.

All of the above said, I still have no idea which one to write.  A poll won't work; I tend to be ornery when told what to write, as my English marks can attest.  I could roll a die, but even that may not work.  My tenth NaNo is turning out to be be less organized than my first.  At least Lethal Ladies started with a solid idea.

Feedback is more than welcome here, especially if there's something I may have missed.

* Not only am I attending, I'm a panelist.
** Among other things that seldom make it to the blog.
*** While the approach works with television series like Star Trek because of budget limitations, there's no reason for aliens to have evolved like life has here on Earth.
**** Temporal anomalies weird cause and effect.  I first saw the  of the Bootstrap Paradox expressed in a beta reading of Time & Tied, but a recent Doctor Who episode, "Before the Flood", used the idea of a Beethoven-loving time traveller who met his idol who had never written a note, leading the traveller to write the symphonies he enjoyed.  In both cases, there was no point where the apple or the symphonies existed prior to the loop.  A stable paradox, but do I really want to risk that?

26 Oct 2015

Cortext+ BattleTech - A MechWarrior Detailed

Not long ago, I blogged about converting BattleMechs into Cortex+ as seen with the Firefly RPG.  I mentioned a sample character, a Magistracy of Canopus MechWarrior with an antique Hussar 'Mech.  I present now, that character.

25 Oct 2015

Cortex+ Conversion - BattleTech/MechWarrior

A week or two ago, a friend was trying to figure out a tabletop RPG system that would work for the BattleTech setting with a quicker, less involved creation system than the official A Time of War rules.  A Time of War has some great information in it, but character creation gets involved, with players spending 5000 points in a lifepath-style* generation system.  He wanted something more streamlined.  We've discussed using the Pendragon system for the BattleTech setting, having each character be the head of a minor House with the goal being to build up holdings while playing The Great BattleTech Campaign.  This time around, though, he wanted something for when players weren't in their 'Mechs.  His plan was to use the wargame for 'Mech-on-'Mech battles and something else for other nefarious deeds.

23 Oct 2015

Crossover - Chapter 10

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade

Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, early morning
"Meredith, I don't see why you're so upset."  Keith rushed to keep up with the brunette.

"Of course you wouldn't."  Meredith stabbed the elevator call button.  "Keith you are so flipping blind at times."

"You're jealous."

"What?"  Meredith spun around to face her roommate.  "I am so not jealous.  Keith, you were out all freaking night!  I got worried!"

22 Oct 2015

Crossover Chapter 9 - Commentary

What a difference a dimensional barrier makes.  Welcome to the commentary for the ninth chapter.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

The bit where Nasty wriggles her toes in the rug does indeed come from Die Hard.  John McClane was given the advice on the flight to LA.  He then spent the rest of the movie barefoot.  It did cross my mind to have Nasty spend the rest of the story the same way, but then she said no.  Forcefully.  The advice does work; it works the foot muscles, easing them after a long day.  Even works after car-, bus-, and train trips.

The last dance Eric mentions is one of the lost issues of Subject 13, and, by that, I mean I've lost the story somewhere in a computer failure and cannot find it again.  The issue had Eric and Nasty at a school semi-formal - Nasty's first, with her in a long green dress - that was interrupted by one of the other Subjects, leading to a brutal fight.  Nasty won, but barely.  Last woman standing.  I may try recreating the issue if/when I return to Subject 13.  The other fights are mostly detailed in the existing issues.

Those of you who suspected that the condoms were a Chekhov's gun*, congrats on being savvy about storytelling techniques.  Nasty still has issues, mostly coming from her mother.  She isn't quite comfortable with her sexuality yet.  A detail I should have added in the bathroom is the lack of steam.  Nasty wasn't in the right frame of mind to notice, though.  Maria is sympathetic, but she is disappointed that her daughter still hasn't had sex.

The decision to follow up with Natasha was a spur of the moment idea.  With NaNoWriMo, there are two types of writers, planners and pantsers.  Planners get all the details nailed down, including outlines, before November 1st hits.  Pantsers write by the seat of their pants, with no clue of what is supposed to happen next and going by instinct.  Naturally, there are few people who are purely one or the other.  I prefer to know who the characters are, the start point, and the desired ending when participating, but I remain flexible.  I've outlined once, with By the Numbers, but even there, I wound up improvising when events started ignoring the script.  Characters will go where they want, plot and author needs be damned.  I attribute this to experience as a games master.  You get good at improv when a team of shadowrunners decide to create a Godzilla flash mob at The Rubber Suit to extract a scientist instead of just breaking into corporate facilities**.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 10.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, wrapping up the History of Adaptations.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, comparing the Fifties to now.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

* "One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it."  The term means any prop that gets attention drawn to it.  If the prop is described, it must get used at some point.  Not to be confused with Chekhov's phaser.
** Shadowrunning as Dadaism.  Security's confusion was genuine.  I had no idea what the players were doing, so how could the security guards?

21 Oct 2015

Can*Con and Me

For those of you who will in the Ottawa area October 30 - November 1st, Can*Con, the Canadian literary science-fiction and fantasy convention, will be at the Sheraton Hotel, 150 Albert.  I will be there, not just as an attendee but also as a panelist.

Friday night at 8:00, I'm part of the "Science Fiction Readers" panel with four others, discussing works of science fiction.  That could get interesting, especially since most of my more recent reading has been urban fantasy or genre mash-ups.

At noon Saturday, a NaNoWriMo panel, "National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo): Strategies and Emergency Inspiration" with four others, including two of Ottawa's Municipal Liaisons.  The panel will have tips on how to get to the 50 000th word and other survival techniques.  No sanity required.

Not interested in panels?  The dealer's room is open to the public.  No membership needed.

20 Oct 2015

Election 2015 - Yet Another Post-Mortem

October 20th.  Canada has a new government.  A sea of Liberal red swept in, pushing out Conservative blue.  But this wasn't the expected result.  During the 78 day long campaign, the polls showed no clear winner.  What happened?  The results can't be due to strategic voting; some long-time NDP ridings, like Ottawa Centre voted in a Liberal MP.  Pundits and the electorate were expecting a minority government; if the Conservatives had the lead, the NDP and Liberals were expected to form a coalition.  Last night's results laugh at that potential outcome.  I'm not a political scientist, nor am I a pundit or even a pretend expert on Canadian politics.  What follows is my attempt to figure out last night's results.  My breakdown after the cut.

18 Oct 2015

NaNo Prep 2015 - Mind the Gaps

Not long to go.  Is it time to panic?

Of course not.

First, if I panic now, I won't have any panic left for the last week of November.  Peaking early with panic is a rookie mistake.

Second, I have three ideas to be filled out.  Yes, I know last time that I narrowed things down to two, but a fantasy idea returned.  Its characters started having interesting scenes.  So, three.

If now isn't the time for panic, then what is now for?  Right now, filling in details.  Colony Base 183 and The Clockwork Avenger have settings and casts to be worked out, which is what follows.  This is the pre-writing stage.  The more I can work out now, the fewer stalls I'll have while writing.  This isn't to say that I'll have a full outline worked up.  That's just crazy talk.  What does help me, though, is knowing how the characters behave.  By the Numbers brought that home and Unruly proved the point.  That's not to say that characters won't appear out of nowhere as needed.  My 2013 NaNovel, The Devil You Know, wound up with Mara, a succubus, added because Jack's private jet* needed a co-pilot.  After her first appearance, Mara remained and became important to the plot.

Colony Base 183
Cast needed :  The newly minted Ensign.  Her department head.  Possibly the base commander and his executive officer.  The head of the colony.  The alien ambassadors.
Sets:  The security office.  The colony base itself.  The colony and its main settlement.  Landing area for starships.  Possibly an orbital facility.
Details:  Rank structure for the military.  Traveller-style UWP**.  Colonial government, if any.
What I have:  The Ensign herself, though she may be renamed.  The security office will resemble a small police office as seen on TV, possibly an update from sheriff offices in Westerns.  I may have a rank structure on hand to modify, loosely based on the Canadian Forces.

The Clockwork Avenger
Cast needed:  The Clockwork Avenger from the Victorian Era.  His descendant in the modern day.  The villain or villains, though if there are more than one, they are working together.  The descendant's good friend.  Lawyer.
Sets:  The Avenger's lab in London or maybe Bristol.  The descendant's room.  A university lab.  The villain's/villains' lab.
Details:  The looks of the Clockwork Avenger, both steampunk and modern versions.  The load-out of the Avenger, both versions.  The villain's/villains' plans.  How the law office managed to keep the blueprints over one hundred years.
What I have:  The first Clockwork Avenger armour - steampowered power armour with ether canister launcher.  The second Avenger armour, less bulky and using 3D printing techniques, replacing the ether canisters with TASERs.  How the descendant can afford to make the new armour.

The Elf's Prisoner
Cast needed:  High elf priest.  Dark elf magician.  High elf rogue.  Human knight.  Human squire.  Villain.  Dark elf's sister.  Cannon fodder.
Sets:  Elf town.  Forested area.  Human city.  Villain's lair.
Details:  How magic works, both arcane and divine.  The villain's plan.  Where the various locations are relative to each other.
What I have:  How elf society works (matriarchal families coming together for a council of ruling families).  The heroes, except for names.

Maybe I should panic...

* I needed a small enough private jet that could still fly Ottawa-Paris non-stop.  The best fit still required a co-pilot.  Research!
** Universal World Profile.  It's a shorthand way to get general details of a planet in the Traveller role-playing game.  Covers things like world size, population, government type, and law.  The UWP might not even appear in the story, but it'll handy to have a seven-character code when writing.  Earth of today has the UWP E-877A74-7.

16 Oct 2015

Crossover - Chapter 9

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade

Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, late night
Nasty entered the hotel room she shared with Eric.  He followed inside after her.  "Tash, are you sure you want to come back here?"

"Yeah.  I'm tired.  It's," Nasty checked the time on the room's alarm clock, "past midnight.  You can stay at the dance longer if you want."

"I'm fine.  It wouldn't be as fun there without you, you know?"

Nasty dropped on to the couch and kicked off her shoes.  She wriggled her toes, working out the kinks.  "It didn't go as bad as I thought."

15 Oct 2015

Crossover Chapter 8 - Commentary

The invaders discover the convention.  Welcome to the commentary for the eighth chapter.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

The first night of the CHC finally comes to a close with a dance.  At least the three main characters are in the same room and talk to each other.  Security having red shirts was deliberate.  It'd be expected, really.  Also means that the security staff might feel a little under-appreciated.

Meredith hasn't heard of Nasty, though she is aware of both Eagle and Peregrine.  She knows that Peregrine unmasked but who Peregrine was has slipped her mind.  The animated Justice League Unlimited series had a similar take, when Lex Luthor swapped bodies with the Flash.  When Luthor unmasked himself to see who the Flash really was, he never recognized the face beneath.  Wally West wasn't a household name, unlike Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Oliver Queen (Green Arrow).*  Nasty, despite the big splash, isn't a household name.  Her neighbourhood and her school are well aware of her celebrity, but the further away from there, the less people know about her and her life, even if they do know Peregrine unmasked.

Keith's dancing was inspired by The Sims 2.  In the game, Sims that are outgoing but new to dancing tend to make bold moves that cause them to fall.  Keith is using a few moves from the game.  He may even have learned from the game; Keith much prefers a simulation of social interaction to the real thing.

Nasty's making a leap in her logic in assuming that Vicki's counterpart is helping her own.  To be fair, it's not a bad assumption.  For all she knows, mirror-Vicki could be the mastermind or could just be an innocent bystander.  Bringing in Pixie isn't a bad idea; two heroines are better than one, and Pixie can remove people from a fight without hurting anyone.  Vicki is taking full advantage of the situation; she's never heard Nasty ask for help before.  She wanted to hear it again.

The alternate universe Vicki went on about is from fanfiction.  Alternate universe (AU) fics take the characters from one work and transplant them.  Another example would be taking the characters from Jane Eyre and placing them into a modern day high school with Mr. Rochester becoming a sparkly vampire that never grows old**.  Vicki's example with Lost is a little dated, but works.  Today, she'd use Harry Potter or Big Bang Theory for her example.

Or maybe not.  Vicki explicitly references the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror", where Kirk and a landing party are sent to a mirror universe because of a transporter accident.  The Spock of that universe sports a goatee, launching a meme that is still going.***  Eric would get the reference.  Nasty?  Not so much.  This is setting up their eventual break-up down the road.  Nasty and Eric are good friends and are a cute couple, but there's enough differences to cause problems.  Besides, they're still young.  There's no need for them to become lifelong partners.  Plus, added drama!

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 9.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, the History of Adaptations continues with the New Teens.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, wrapping up the History of Adaptations
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of /Lost in Translation/.

* Lex did have Wally's fingerprints at his fingertips.  With some effort, he could have discovered who Wally is, if he cared enough.
** I never said anything about the quality of AU fics.
*** Evil-Kirk didn't have a goatee, but Leonard Nimoy's portrayal and striking looks cemented the image.

11 Oct 2015

NaNoPrep 2015 - Update

With just three weeks to go before NaNo November, I need to figure out what I'm doing.  Somehow.  I don't need to know what happens in the middle, but I need to have at least characters, a starting position, and a direction.  It's easier for me to hit the ground running* after letting the characters form in my head than it is to stare at a blank document waiting for an idea to strike.  I have had a few ideas already, summarized below.

Unruly:  Students at a school for girls who are trouble.
Streetwise Valkyries:  Street-level teams of heroes masquerading as one superhero.
The Clockwork Avenger:  Steampower power armour, with the action split between two eras.
Colony Base 183 (working title):  Set on a frontier base near borders with other star-faring nations.
Lakehead Shield (working title):  University students solve mysteries and fight crime in Thunder Bay.
A fifth idea came to mind, an science fiction espionage story, melding the two genres.
A sixth, essentially a Shadowrun webcomic, is also playing through my head, but isn't under consideration.

This will be my tenth year participating.  I'm placing some requirements for this year.  First, the work must be novel length.  That lets out Unruly, unless I work on an end-of-year story, which I'm not ready to do yet.  Streetwise Valkyries also falls off the chart here; its nature leads to a serial instead of a full-length novel.  The SF/spy story isn't quite ready; there are details being sorted out.  That leaves Clockwork, Colony Base, and Lakehead.  With the latter having some work done, it's sort of out of consideration for now.

Both of the remaining two have core characters in mind and a rough direction.  Clockwork has the smaller cast so far, but will involve writing a story spanning two eras.  That's a feature, though.  Colony Base 183 needs some extra world building and some serial numbers filed off, but could be doable.  Both should work as a self-contained novel, though with room for more later if I felt like it.

The next step I need to do is work out the cast for both, then see how the various elements work out.  The ideal situation is where I get the characters to find a direction that can be exploited.  Failing that, a new idea comes to mind based on the attempts to get a plot going.

All in three weeks.  Easy.

* Running from behind, technically.  Can-Con runs October 30 to November 1 this year.  I may get a few words in somewhere, but no guarantees.  Won't be the first time a convention had me working from a deficit, though.

9 Oct 2015

Crossover - Chapter 8

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade
Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, early evening
Nasty shut off the tap.  Water dripped from her bare hands into the ladies' room sink.  She looked up into the mirror, the featureless mask of Peregrine's helmet looking back at her.  Why couldn't Doll-girl have been invited?  I'd be better off as just another face in the crowd.  It's not like I need this costume anymore.

Micki's voice sounded in her ear.  "Peregrine, are you there?"

"Yeah, I'm here."  Nasty grabbed a handful of paper towels to dry her hands.  "Tell me you've found the signal again."

8 Oct 2015

Crossover Chapter 7 - Commentary

Nasty works out who crossed over and Vicki meets people who have heard of her.  Welcome to the commentary for the seventh chapter.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

The bits featuring the convention are purely for colour.  I tried to get the feel of a con in, even if the action leads elsewhere.  The goal was a feeling of immersion for the readers.  Whether this is working, that's something that the reader, er, you, can tell.  Mind, each con has its own feel to it.  Even two major cons covering the same subject will have separate personalities.  This is a feature; if every con seemed the same, no one would travel past the closest convention.

Part of the unwritten backstory is that Nasty and the Youth Brigade have run into each other in New York.  Nasty doesn't do the costumed hero bit, but steps in when she needs to, as seen in Chapter 1.  Vicki embraces the idea of the costumed hero, as does the rest of the Youth Brigade, and she is always on the lookout for new recruits.  Nasty fits several of Vicki's criteria - has a power, has worn a costume, and is under twenty years old.  Much to Vicki's dismay, Nasty isn't a joiner.  She prefers to work alone.

The first scene with Vicki had a part removed.  Originally, Vicki complained about still being on Eastern time.  Turns out, Cleveland is on Eastern time.  Fourteen hour drives do not get you out of a time zone.  She was in the air maybe two hours at most, though time spent at the airport may have been longer.

The discussion Nasty and Eric have about baseball is the split between the National League and the American League.  The American League has the designated hitter (DH) rule, where pitchers have someone else take their at-bat.  It's a very specialized position; the DH doesn't take the field.  Nasty is a Mets fan, and Mets pitchers do take their turn at-bat.  Most pitchers* are a guaranteed out at the plate, but they usually try a sacrifice hit to move runners on base along.  The scene sets up some longer-term plans, too.  Nasty and Eric will be a couple for a while, but will break up.  They're both young; they'll mature, grow, discover other people, drift apart, and all that other fun stuff.

Vicki and Meredith are just there for now.  They haven't been brought into the Foundation's operation, in part because the Foundation is unaware of them.  Nasty knows about Vicki, but Meredith is the outsider.  It's a drawback of crossovers.  Unless the characters have met previously and trust each other, someone gets left out, at least at first.  Meredith is aware of Peregrine's existence, barely, but she and Nasty haven't met.  Thus, Prototype Alpha gets left out for now.  Meredith's scenes are more character building and showing off more of the convention.

Nasty's dread of a dress and dancing comes from a lost issue of Subject 13.  While Nasty hates short skirts, as seen during her Rochester adventures, she isn't comfortable when the hem falls below or knees or longer.  In the lost issue, she and Eric go to a school dance that gets interrupted by Subject 7.  Subject 7 challenges Nasty, and the battle becomes a beat down, leaving Nasty's dress ruined, along with numerous injuries to both fighters.  Fortunately, Eric's experience at conventions helps.  Fancy dress at a con means cosplay, not a proper dress.  Nasty can get away with jeans and a t-shirt, provided both are clean.

Vicki, not being involved in the main drama, decided to start some of her own.  Eric is oblivious to what's happening, but Vicki has set her sights on him.  She does have a sense of self-preservation, though.  Vicki is well aware of Nasty's violent past and thus won't push too hard.  If Eric happens to leave the door open to future liaisons, though, Vicki won't complain.

Alec and Pierce turned out to be mouthpieces for ideas.  This time, it's the nature of entertainment.  New York City was the home to both Marvel and DC Comics, though the latter has moved to the West Coast to join up with the rest of Warner.  New York is the home to several major publishers and newspapers, so having comic companies in the same city where the infrastructure is makes sense.  Time and technology marched on, though.  Movies and television grew since Action Comics #1, and Hollywood gained in prominence.  If comics were to come into existance today, Los Angeles could be the home for the publishers instead.  Or possibly Tokyo.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 8.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, the History of Adaptations continues with the Aughts.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, the History of Adaptations covers the New Teens.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

* There are exceptions.  Dan Schatzeder, a middle relief pitcher for the Montreal Expos, had a hot streak at the plate in 1984, hitting .314 and being brought in to pinch hit before taking the mound.

2 Oct 2015

Crossover - Chapter 7

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade

Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, mid-afternoon
The Opening Ceremonies started well, in Vicki's opinion.  The convention executive, all five of them, introduced themselves and let the opening video play.  Vicki wasn't enamoured with the music chosen, but whoever put the video together knew how to put the lyrics together with the spliced images.  The house lights came back up and Stuart, the exec designated to perform the ceremonies, returned on stage.  The guests followed him out in front of the crowd, the only one in costume being Peregrine.  Seeing how the heroine stood, shifting from foot to foot, Vicki felt some sympathy.  This is so not her.  Why did she agree to come out?  No wonder she didn't give many interviews in Rochester.

The guests were introduced one by one, each being given a round of applause when they waved to the audience.  On Peregrine's intro, the crowd went wild.  The heroine took an involuntary step back from the sheer enthusiasm.  They're going to eat her alive tomorrow.  I hope someone is going to help her with her appearances.  She won't survive.

1 Oct 2015

Crossover Chapter 6 - Commentary

Natasha makes herself at home, Nasty runs into a complication, Meredith runs into culture shock, and Vicki finds a potential love of her life.  Welcome to the commentary for the sixth chapter.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

Finally, the action revs up.  Natasha needs a base of operations.  An abandoned building, even if she has to evict squatters, suits her nicely.  She keeps her cool and just threatens.  Sure, there's a bit of violence, but Natasha kept it to a minimum.  She is in charge, as long as Omega agrees with her.  Tori isn't as patient, even with Natasha.  Their dynamic should be different from the one between Nasty and Vicki.

The meeting between Nasty and Vicki had some implications to it.  I went with Vicki's point of view here.  Part of it was that I've had enough scenes with Nasty and Eric discussing the mirror dimension that it'd be rehashing a plot point that's already been beaten on.  The other was to show how Nasty's reaction would look from the other person.  The implication here is that Nasty knows who Vicki is, already set up in previous chapters, and knows that she's superpowered.  Vicki doesn't know what Nasty does, so, in her eyes, the redhead is just being rude.  Eric is unaware of Vicki, so he can't say anything to her.

The scene with Alec and Pierce let me add some behind the scenes convention details at the expense of Nasty's sanity.  Alec and Pierce work in the comics industry and aren't based on anyone in the profession.  They're guests at the convention enjoying some down time before the chaos begins.  The panel will be coming up in a later chapter.  The scene shows the age of the story.  Today, going to conventions is far more mainstream than in 2008, with most major cities having at least one.

Meredith should've known better.  In Canada, the drinking age varies from province to province.  Ontario's is 19.  The US, however, is a blanket 21, regardless of state.  Some counties may be more strict and disallow alcohol sales completely.  The rest of her scene sets up the con, with people in costume.  Meredith isn't a good judge of age; Nasty and Eric are much younger than she thought.  Her not recognizing Peregrine goes to showing that while Nasty did make the news, the revelation wasn't as huge as it feels to her.

Tori's scene let me answer some questions I had about the nature of the mirror dimensions.  Tori and Vicki have the same bank account and the same PIN.  Vicki isn't going to be happy when she discovers what happened.  It is short-sighted, but Tori just came out that way while writing.  She acts without thinking.  It works both ways; if Vicki went over to the mirror dimension, she could use Tori's account.  Don't think about it too hard.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 7.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, comments on NBC's Hart to Hart remake.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, the History of Adaptations continues with the Aughts.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.