a06 is ready to rumble

5 08 2009

Also, startling revelations.

This went in a totally different direction than I was expecting.

I cut out a Faerie nobleman who was going to take an interest in Una, as mentioned. That meant the entire scene I had planned where he shows Una and Nel what’s in the basement had to be tossed. That meant the dialogue I’d written was scrapped. That meant I was improvising. That meant I accidentally did a big reveal as I was just poking through “What would these two talk about?” and decided… hell, why not? I’ll leave that in.

It’s a “reveal” some of you probably figured out already, since it draws almost entirely from the facts we already know so far. The nice thing is it’s only a HOW, not a WHY or a WHO (which the characters acknowledge) so while it furthers the plot, it doesn’t take away from the mystery. I think it works. I hope it works.

Oh, and there’s a big fight scene.

Don’t forget, I’m running a readership poll which certainly isn’t closing just because I’m posting again in the blog. I’ve got 44 people as of this writing reading the story, which makes me a happy camper.

I have no idea if the book will be profitable, given my research is showing that with the sheer amount of pages involved I’d make a few dollars off each sale and only eleven people so far have firmly declared they’d buy it… but I think I’m still gonna try to find a way to make it happen, if only to say I have something in deadtree format, after years and years of being online-only. And if it works well, I can look into Unreal Estate or maybe (given that it’s hardly a pile of straight formatted prose) Sailor Nothing. We’ll see.

Meanwhile: a06. Enjoy. Feedback welcome.

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17 responses

5 08 2009
storytellersjk

You are really enjoying your teleportation cliff hangers lately aren’t you. :) Good chapter with a nice finish. The fight scene was well handled. I love it when it when seemingly unimportant plot points from earlier chapters come into play and you even foreshadowed it in this chapter. Nice. My mind is whirling with the possibilities of where the story could be going from here and what exactly the end game is going to be. As it should be.

5 08 2009
eyeless1

Ha! I knew Perfectea had more uses than just the gag! …though admittedly at the time I was more concerned with the magi-technological implications than use as a combat spell, but whatever!
So, at this point we have tentative confirmation that the Orbitals–or at least a group of beings with comparable technology–caused the Pandora Event on Earth. If it is indeed Una’s Orbitals who did it, two hundred years ago, it is at least possible that they really are eaters of worlds, as Emily speculated, and intend on vacuum-packing current-Earth into its mass capacitor lunchboxes after ridding it of its current population,
There are quite a number of holes in that theory, however:
1) It begs the question of how Una’s own people could remain largely unaware of this fact: what we’ve seen of their culture doesn’t particularly hint at nomadic warrior tribe.
2) If the Orbitals intended the Pandora Event to end life on Earth, it’s sure taking its sweet time.
3) There’s a timeline problem with #BE12, in that it managed to vanish sometime in the last ten years (after Una’s family went there for picnics, before Austin was invaded) and yet nobody noticed it was gone. It seems unlikely at best that Una would be entirely unaware of the disappearance of her favorite vacation spot.
4) There’s a similar mystery surrounding Una’s mother’s death. Assuming Una’s own hindsight was correct in naming her mother a murder victim, it is unlikely in the extreme that nobody else could come up with the same conclusion upon recovering the body or looking through the security video (an airlock would definitely have some sort of security feed, at the very least to prevent children from crawling into one).
So, mysteries abound. Let’s see how the next chapter comes together; a look into more of Orbital culture will hopefully shed light on some of these questions.

5 08 2009
Anonymous

“…Oh, and Lilith? Up yours, bitch.”
With a light flick of the wrist, the splashed the tea directly in Archmagus Lilith’s face.”
Oh my god, has there ever been a greater moment of awesome ever?

5 08 2009
luridel

I had a feeling the Pandora Effect was something along those lines after exactly what shifting meant was made clear…
Also-
“comparment” is missing a t in there somewhere, when Una draws her blaster.
Also, very proud of Emily. I think she’s my favorite of the trio. I love how she goes from ‘we all have to be suitably paranoid, this whole place is a trap’ to ‘let’s purposefully provoke the powerful Archmagus’ over the course of this chapter. She continues to be a smart and resourceful “utility witch” even in crazy situations. I’ve always been fond of magic-using characters who don’t need big flashy spells to get things done, and the holstered spellbook is an adorable touch.

5 08 2009
jengagne

I figure I’ll type my series of reactions as I read. :)
You know, I bet Una has a deeper understanding of Nel’s former predicament based on her one experience with Dennis. To live like that all the time…
“Far from Lady Summer’s core power base” — where IS that, do we know?
“that strange monster, pulled away from all it had known and loved” — trust Una to be sympathetic for the Nazi T-rex. XD
“no reaction whatsoever” — guess Una is more focused on recent revelations than on whether Nel should fetch tea. (P.S. I love the foreshadowing of all the tea references in this chapter.)
“the bad guys?” — Quelle horreur!! XD
“Isn’t it nice, having friends?” — OHH SNAP
“Lilith? Up yours, bitch.” — … clearly I should have saved my OHH SNAP. Although arguably a snap is more for cutting insults. Hrm.
And there goes the chandelier! Ooohohohoo. I halfway expected that the chandelier would survive, that you were just teasing us. But yay, payoff. :D
Perfectea = brilliant application. Emily, you rock hard. But I’m not sure if you do chest compressions on a drowning person — aren’t they primarily for when the heart stops?
I would hope that “safe passage” translates into not being dropped into the vacuum of space! But yeah, Emily maaaybe should’ve been more specific as to methods…
P.S.: I wouldn’t have minded a reaction shot from Emily’s old teacher in the crowd… either worry about the duel, or a satisfied look when she takes out Lilith, or that she saves her from drowning. He must be there, right?

5 08 2009
jengagne

Regarding #3, I don’t think there’s a timeline problem there — Pwq said, “we were on schedule to leave the fleet, a routine shift of resources… We are unable to contact the fleet for assistance.”
So nobody in the local Orbital fleet would be surprised that BE12 abruptly vanished from communication and didn’t return. Una says they used to go there (past tense) and didn’t sound puzzled by its absence.
#4: The probability of a security video and recovering the body doesn’t preclude them deciding it was indeed a suicide.
The idea of using/abusing the headbands in such a way is clearly new, at least to Una. If they’re a common learning/teaching tool, presumably the idea of someone wearing one is not suspicious.
To draw a modern analogy, it’s like she was found wearing a Bluetooth headset. So I’m not surprised the inquiry didn’t go “But wait!!”
The only reason Una realizes it’s suspicious in hindsight is because she has recently seen the headbands abused. And she must have a sense that her mother’s “unnatural” marriage to an Optimist wasn’t causing a massive depression.
As for the security video, what would that show? I doubt her mother was stuffed into the airlock by force. She wrote her own suicide note. Una was there and _saw_ her go out without panic, etc… hmm, this calls for my Death Note icon. :D

5 08 2009
shachihoko

Still spotting quite a few typos; this needs proofreading before it gets tagged “final version”. As I offered before, I can go through and pick out the typos for you if you’d like.
I still think Una’s gambit to win Nel away from Lady Morgana is one of the most awesome scenes in the series.
Basement: “…. …. aw crap” sums up my reaction. The revelation is very well-handled, and once again, my hat is off to you, 2F.
Followed, with Lilith’s arrival, by an even more enthusiastic cuss of surprise. And what happens from there … damn. XD Remind me never to play poker against any of our three hero(in)es! Or chess. Or, well, anything.
(“Lilith Goatmother”. OUCH. XD)
Y’know, I’m just gonna declare this a Crowning Chapter of Consolidated Awesomeness.
…. including what may have been Lilith’s parting shot. O.o;;

5 08 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

But I’m not sure if you do chest compressions on a drowning person — aren’t they primarily for when the heart stops?
Wikipedia was a bit puzzling in this regard. If anybody who’s an expert on saving a drowning victim could lend a hand here, I’d appreciate it. I can get by with the technique working thanks to Faerie physiology being superhuman, but I need to make sure I’m using the right technique in the first place to keep it plausible.

5 08 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

As I offered before, I can go through and pick out the typos for you if you’d like.
Would be welcome, especially ones that Dreamweaver’s spellchecker won’t pick up — because the words are spelled right, just aren’t the right words to use. Like pouring a tall, frosty bear into a mug, for instance.
I couldn’t find a good spot to point it out, but her name actually IS Lilith Goatmother. It’s why she never uses her last name, ever. She hates it. Her own name is an insult against herself.

5 08 2009
benabik

As far as I remember…
Current theory is just to do breathing. Stopping the flow of oxygen is more damaging than doing the chest compressions is useful.
But if you are doing the classic CPR, you do chest compressions any time the heart has stopped which is probably going to happen shortly after drowning.

5 08 2009
cmdr_zoom

I already gave you my initial reactions (and one correction); here’s another nit.
The result of the Perfectea is described as “warm, steaming” – one of those implies a much higher temperature than the other (and would probably, in a mortal, leave some serious lung damage even after the current crisis has passed).

5 08 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I’ll clarify it in the text, but the +2 CON racial bonus for Summer Court Faerie helped out there. Plus, there’s always magical healing once the smoke clears from the situation.
(For the record, I think the bonuses are:
Human: No Bonus
Orbital: +2 INT, -2 CON on account of martians
Summerfae: +2 CON, -2 WIS on account of pride
Winterfae: +2 CON, -2 CHR on account of creepiness)

5 08 2009
cmdr_zoom

and to clarify my point a little better (duh), I think you might want to change that to either “hot, steaming” or just “warm”.

5 08 2009
tozetre

“Perceptive changes.”
I think you mean “Perspective changes.”
“So, Una, laid out what she saw,”
imho, you should leave out the second comma, and change the tense. “So, Una laid out what she’d seen and deduced.”
Good stuff!

5 08 2009
tozetre

Steam depends on ambient air pressure and temperature as well as the temperature of the liquid. Steaming tea can be anything from barely more than warm through barely less than boiling. A perfect tea would come out warm enough to sip without burning the lips, mouth, or throat, and so probably cool enough not to scald the lungs.
/teageek

6 08 2009
Anonymous

If the orbitals are behind it intentionally, my best guess is that they’re doing it as part of their research. You could finally control variables for social experiments! What knowledge loving people wouldn’t use that to gain more knowledge?

7 08 2009
shachihoko

Proofreading run
You asked for it, you got it. ^_^
– You’re inconsistent about hyphen placement in “earthly/Earthly/Earth-ly” at the start of this chapter; you should probably pick a spot and stick to it, unless there’s some emphasis that I’m missing. (Also, if we’re being technical, a comma will do in place of the ellipsis in the first sentence of the second paragraph. You may be overusing ellipses generally; for some reason this is jumping out at me now that I’m proofreading.)
– “When the agricultural industry bored her (which was frequently), the Lady would throw a lavish party of games; various Faerie styles …” Adding the comma after the parenthesis, swapping the dash out for a semicolon. The ellipsis later in the paragraph is all right, I think.
– “… is an elaborate games of cat and mouse …” (“Game” should be singular.) “… the dress you show up on …” (Change “on” to “in”.)
– Stylistic note: the ellipses in dialogue to indicate pausing or hesitation are good, you don’t need to change those.
– “Two… Solstice was a week away.” Swap the ellipsis out and use a comma, so you’re consistent with the previous paragraph (“One, the House itself …”)
– “human-sided Faerie” – Should that be “human-sized”? The first couple of times I read this I wondered if it meant “a Faerie with a human side,” such as the offspring of a human/Faerie coupling, but there are clearer ways to put it if that’s what you meant. In context, with the contrast against the minuscule Pixies, “human-sized” makes far more sense.
– “simple hygene apparatus” – It should be spelled “hygiene”.
– “wonderful-looking” should probably be hyphenated.
– Last bit of Scout’s preparation scene: Capitalizing “my Lady” one place and then leaving it lowercase in other spots, even when Scout’s referring to the same person, is … I don’t know if it’s confusing per se, but it feels a little odd. It’s probably okay as it is.
– It feels like there’s another case of ellipsis-abuse in the first few paragraphs of the first Ball section (after everyone’s preparations). Once you get down to “No. No fretting.” and after that, it’s okay.
– Nitpicking: the chairs are good for kicking over if you need cover? Moreso than the tables? You might want to double-check that bit …
– “If Una and Scout opened eyes” – Shouldn’t this be “If Emily and Scout opened eyes”? Otherwise you’ve got Una coming in twice … or something along those lines.
– I’m not sure if “du jour” should be spelled out, or whether it’s okay to have it abbreviated as you’ve put it.
(Not proofreading related, but the “maybe you could wrestle an alligator and we could eat it” line is highly amusing in light of the first part of the next chapter … XD)
– “a long, tension-releasing exhale” – Can “exhale” be used as a noun? I’d have figured “exhalation” is the proper form here, although I admit it doesn’t flow as well.
– “airborne assault with winged pegasus” – I’m pretty sure the plural of “pegasus” is “pegasi”.
– Somewhat late in the chapter, but you need to be consistent about spelling “glamor”/”glamour”. Seeing the latter spelling where I was used to seeing the former from earlier in the chapter threw me just a little, but it was noticeable.
– “parting for effortlessly” – Should be “parting for her effortlessly”. (Or “parting effortlessly for her,” perhaps.)
(Again, not proofreading, but on the subject of CPR for a drowning victim: you’d really have to get the liquid out of the lungs one way or another, and I’m not sure if chest compressions would help with that or not. If there’s room in the lungs for some amount of air, then normal CPR would do some good, but if the lungs are full then blowing more air in won’t do much good, will it?)
Nothing else jumped out at me on the proofreading.

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