First, the supporting cast. I’m slowly populating Darkside One, the lunar base that will be home to the Flight. I still haven’t figured out who the commander is or if it’s a joint command (American-Russian). I am trying to keep in mind that, if the story is ever adapted, some characters may become composites to save on casting. However, at the same time, the option now exists that if an actor isn’t available for a role, a different character can be swapped in. Major Joan di Carlo, whose name is handy for word count purposes, is turning out to be a key supporting character, providing a sounding board for Darcy (Beaver Flight’s commander) and being the voice of authority. A Russian survivor, Yulya Emelin, came back as another supporting character; hooray for conservation of name space! I have one more key supporting role, a Russian captain who is the base’s chief engineer, who needs to be named. With the exception of random pilots met in the corridors and mess hall of the base, few other characters will be needed.
Second, names. I’m using some short cuts for now, but I prefer to use an actual name instead of a placeholder. For Russian surnames, I can always go to a NHL team’s lineup and choose a name from there. In fact, Yulya’s surname came from a Montreal Canadiens player. My main cast has last names now, which is good. Darcy is only using their last names when addressing them. Meanwhile, the others have worked out nicknames where possible (Tori, Dom). Call signs are also in use – no giving away ranks over an unencrypted comm channel. Darcy’s callsign is “McGee”, after the Prime Minister. Victoria is getting called “Geek”, because she is one. Dominique is getting her old on-court basketball nickname, “Dominatrix”. (Yeah, the innuendo wasn’t supposed to exist in the story, because of the title.) Renée… needs a call sign still. I think her personality needs to develop a little more before I can properly give her one. I’ve dismissed “Shrieker” for her, mainly because I want the innuendo gone, but have it on reserve for either an American or Australian pilot.
Third, details. Little things are starting to pop up. What do the staff of Darkside One eat? How does it get there? Where does the water come from? How are patrols scheduled? Do the various nations’ pilots fly together or only with their own countrywomen? Did I end a sentence with a proposition back there? What brand names are around? How is the air recycled and refreshed? The International Space Station (ISS) gets regular supply runs from Earth. Darkside One, though is out of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and is, as the name implies, on the dark side of the moon. What I’m picturing is a lot of food gets delivered either in powdered form or as basic proteins that are then run through a 3D food printer. Of course, this means a shipment of real fruits and vegetables would be a huge cause for celebration, especially by the teams that were on the base from the beginning. However, I have made the coffee there not the greatest, with tea being the preferred drink.
Lastly, the nations involved. So far, I’ve introduced American, Russian, and Indian crew. There are Australians (Kangaroo Flight), but none have popped up yet. That needs to be changed. Japan is providing the power suits (hey, mecha!), and I’m fairly sure that the UK, France, and Germany (among many others) are assisting in their own way. However, China… The story is about 100 years from now. I’m being generous in assuming some of the countries involved (Russia, the US) will still be around. China is one of the countries whose structure I don’t see as being stable after another generation. At the same time, there are outside interests that need a unified China; most of them don’t want a civil war upsetting factories. And that brings me to corporate involvement. I’m trying to picture current companies that would still be around in a hundred years. Off the top of my head, IBM. Big Blue has adapted before and will adapt again, usually surprising people. Beyond that, it’s hard to tell. There are no hundred year old computer companies because the industry isn’t that old. Puegeot, Skoda, Mercedes, Buick (GM) and Ford are the only car brands over 100 years old today. Older companies are financial. So, yeah, work to do there.
And that’s where I stand near the end of the first week. Plot is starting to pick up, with the first time Beaver Flight meets the invaders coming up soon. I’ll also need Darcy to loosen up a little with her team, at least off-duty, and get Renee to stop being easily annoyed.