sa07 is off to see the wizard

17 10 2010

The less than wonderful wizard of Australia.

This was a bit of an odd update to write. I needed a good transitional scene to carry us between missions, and explain why they were veering off course from their charter a bit. Also, I didn’t want it to become a finger-waggling political rant about Recent Events That Shape Our Very Lives, but it was kind of inevitable. No idea if it worked out. Guess we’ll see.

The new update schedule is in place (Sunday and Wednesday) and it’ll help me get these out the door with less craziness in my life. I don’t know why I thought Tues and Fri would work, given Tues is my Hell Commute day which saps my will to live. I know weekdays are probably more convenient for you all (who the hell reads the web on a Sunday? other than me, for I have no life) but it’s how it’s gotta be.

I also took down the poll on the anachronauts home page. In the end it gave me the result I was hoping for… a smooth U shaped curve from “Haven’t started” to “caught up on everything”. Half of my readers were in fact right here in the blog, true, but the other half were browsing away at many different points within the series. And that’s a good thing… it means that regardless of how many feedback posts the blog gets, there ARE readers out there, even if they aren’t at the cutting edge of the story. A very good thing.

Week after this coming one, Rock Band 3 hits, and that may impact our update schedule a bit. I’ll try to write up a bit in advance. We’re coming up on the end of sa07 with only two more missions (albeit the last one is the ‘second half’ of the story) so hopefully I can at least go out with a bang before going on pause.

Feedback, as always, is most welcome.

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23 responses

17 10 2010
cmdr_zoom

Louis was right, and if Elisa can’t see that, she shouldn’t be on the team.

17 10 2010
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Speaking as the author, I agree. Elisa has a bit of a blind spot here since she’s pretty much PTSD regarding zombies and let Maria color her view of saving people from them, but I think she’s reasonable enough to understand his logic, even if she doesn’t like his attitude. My thinking is her report was filed immediately after landing, when she was still stewing in anger.
Things always get worse before they get better. The team’s got some more speed bumps to go before they can knock one out of the park.

18 10 2010
ranneko

Australia!
Huzzah, Australia is finally covered.
So it was taken over by communist era AI driven robots? Neat!

18 10 2010
lirazel

Sentence needs an edit
A tough one. Elisa let tact slip a bit further, putting aside her official instincts to maintain the dignity of the office.
When I first read this, I read it as Eliza put aside her official instincts in order to maintain the dignity of the office. It’s not really tact she’s letting slip — more like discretion. And I’m not sure an instinct can be official.
Something like:
A tough one. Elisa let discretion slip a bit further, even though officially she ought to maintain the dignity of the Presidential office.

18 10 2010
poet_ninja

Oof. This is just not going well for the team.
I’m not sure I’d have gone down into LM again without some sort of orbital fire support, survivors or no survivors. Granted, there’s details we don’t know here, but it just seems like that just couldn’t have gone well.
I’m only about 50/50 on Louis’ solution there. Critically necessary? Probably yes. Warning the others? Probably not an option (likely to lead to arguing, and then a turned zombie in the cabin if that took too long). Even so, it feels… wrong. Probably unavoidable, but wrong. Curious to see if even he thinks so. He’s the character we have the least insight into just now.
Love the Australia segment. Zombie Robot Ike just tickles me pink.

18 10 2010
cmdr_zoom

Everybody likes I.K.E. :)

18 10 2010
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Sentence needs an edit
Yeah, that’s a better rewording. I’ll run with that when I do my final edits. Thanks!

18 10 2010
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Anybody who doesn’t like I.K.E. hates freedom and mom and capitalism and apple pie and baseball.
I want Louis’s solution to be viewed differently depending on the reader’s standpoint. So, glad to hear that worked. I know up above I said I agreed with him, but I should’ve added an addendum there that Elisa’s right that they didn’t even bother exploring alternatives, he went straight to execution. There could’ve been other ways to immobilize and contain the boy for transport. Dangerous, inadvisable, impractical, but Louis didn’t even stop to consider a humane solution.
He went straight to protocol, because that’s his job. All he wants to do is show up, do his job and do it well, and go home. Nothing matters beyond that.

18 10 2010
Anonymous

I just caught up with the entire story, and I must say, bravo. (: Your story definitely deserves more attention than it’s been getting, and certainly more than other serial webnovels I’ve seen -cough-.

18 10 2010
cmdr_zoom

I don’t believe there were any realistic alternatives, given the stakes and timeframe involved.
The boy was going to turn in minutes, if not seconds. Elisa should know this; she was THERE the last time.
If immediate action is not taken, they’ve just placed the fate of the entire North American continent in the hands of whatever quarantine procedures NASA might have waiting when the Wagon returns in deadman mode.
The only alternative I see is just throwing/kicking the boy out the hatch. Which saves a bullet, but risks him infecting whoever does it – a false economy if there ever was one.
Yes, they have a cure… back home. They apparently didn’t have it with them, and it can’t be administered in seconds. Louis DID have such a “cure”, and they’re all lucky that he did. Everyone is.
For the record, Elisa was also right: they shouldn’t have gone under those conditions. The mission was set up to fail.

18 10 2010
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying the story.
If you want to help us get more attention, help spread the word. I’ve got a reward in it for ya if you do. :D

18 10 2010
kamalloy

Man, seeing this one and the beginnings of the mutant civil war in fs02 make me realize how lucky the a0/fs crews were. And they went through quite a lot of hells to get where they ended up.

19 10 2010
jengagne

Thought others might appreciate this convo I just had with 2f:
[17:54] Jen Gagne: I’m kinda surprised they’d send a team to Brazil without a Lion of Summer. Hmm. OTOH if they LOST that lion to the zombies that would be Bad all over again.
[17:55] Stefan Gagne: Yep.
[17:55] Jen Gagne: But anyway, the colony _seemed_ stable. And yet I can totally picture how it all melted down, too.
[17:55] Stefan Gagne: yeah, it seemed like a sure thing. The place had survived two centuries.
[17:55] Jen Gagne: Colonial infighting because some people wanted to escape on their shuttle, etc… a breach in defenses due to inattention…
[17:56] Stefan Gagne: I didn’t wanna go into specifics because it’s “if you’ve seen any zombie movie, you KNOW that eventually tensions go up and they turn on each other and then it’s all over”
[17:56] Jen Gagne: Yep. And the fact that they were able to keep stability for so long shows they had a really good perimeter with aggressive population control and farming/water internally. But that kind of discipline is bound to cause certain people to jump on what they see as opportunity for change.
[17:57] Jen Gagne: You don’t need to say it explicitly in the story, it works.

19 10 2010
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Yeah, sa07 is very much the realistic end of the spectrum when it comes to small groups of wacky misfits taking on impossible odds. PROTIP: It Doesn’t Really Work!

19 10 2010
lirazel

Re: Sentence needs an edit
And thank YOU for letting me be the Word Monster.

19 10 2010
eyeless1

Absolutely appreciated.
Really the last two missions shows what the lack of Pragmatists in power can cause. In both cases you have well-meaning people making rash decisions without fully considering the consequences. Both outcomes were obvious in hindsight, and possibly could have been obvious in foresight, but for the fact that all three nations involved have full-bore Idealists as their ruling parties.
Una’s mom and Emily’s grandma must be spinning in their graves. :)

19 10 2010
flyingcar

That’s a he’ll of a speedbump. It will be interesting to see how they handle the fact that they made the situation worse rather than fixing it. Creepy scene.

19 10 2010
pyromaniac_ks

I suspect Elisa did forsee how the Australia situation would end, at least to an extent.
The “We came to liberate them. We did not come to guide them afterwards — that would have taken a long-standing peacekeeping force, which they would have actively resisted every inch of the way given their understandable distaste for foreign power figures. Not that we even had the ability or resources to institute ourselves in that manner.” suggests she at least suspected that there would have been issues after freeing them in the planning stages, and knew that the Welcome Wagon wouldn’t be equipped to deal with them.
On the other hand, she may have thought Nel could see that too. And to be fair, fractious warlords trying to build up their own little islands of stability among the lawless masses probably is still a step up from “Robotic Deathbot Overlords”.

19 10 2010
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Yep. That’s why she tells Petersen that it’s HIS job now to keep the door open to Australia. It’s gonna be an ugly time for them, but at least now they have a chance at freedom. Without intervention the best America could hope for was opening relations with irrational killbots who probably would’ve seen them as a blood enemy, a pretender to the American throne.

19 10 2010
kamalloy

I meant lf02 in my original comment, not fs02, but I think everyone knew what I was talking about. ^^;

20 10 2010
ranneko

Re: Australia!
I do have a quick question. Where was the message probe sent to? Why Sydney rather than Canberra? Sure Sydney is the most populous, but Canberra is the capital, if you are going to send a diplomatic message I would expect it to be sent to a place close to the seat of governance.

20 10 2010
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Australia!
Honestly? Name recognition value.
These stories are VERY quick overviews of the Planet of Hats concepts that I’m choosing for their territories, so I want to make sure that it’s clear to the reader no matter their geographic knowledge what’s goin’ down.
For situations where I do need more in-depth on the ground detail, like the sa05 where I did some research into cities in Mexico until I found the perfect layout for the plot in Veracruz, I’ll be venturing away from the Postcard Capitals.

20 10 2010
eyeless1

Well right, but at the very least they could have tried to lay the groundwork for a post-Deathbot society. Civil war is not the inevitable result of ousting a dictator, even if it is an all-too-frequent occurrence.

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