6 Nov 2014

Beaver Flight Commentary - Chapter 2

Welcome back to the commentary track.  As always, please read the chapter before continuing.

Chapter 2 involved more world building, providing the readers and me an idea of the layout of Darkside One and who else lives there.  To be clear, since it gets a little confusing, the Beavers are all part of the Canadian Forces.  Darcy is career Air Force.  Victoria and Dominique went with the default, Air Force, when given the choice while Renée opted for the Royal Canadian Navy.  The main reason for Renée's choice was to avoid writing "Lieutenant" all the time.  Renée's full rank is Acting Sublieutenant, which really didn't solve the issue.  Since Renée is Quebecoise, she could have gone with Enseigne de vaisseau, deuxième classe.  In hindsight, I should have, just for the boost to word count.  For the record, Dominique and Victoria are both Second Lieutenants, equivalent to Renée and Darcy is a Lieutenant.  Just wait until the other nations appear.

Victoria is not military material.  She's in the Flight because she sees the adventure potential in going to the moon.  The nature of the mission required getting specialists who may not be in the military.  Granted, given the likes of the Royal Military College, I had to really consider possibilities.  Other countries have similar education available.  Irene and Pranaya, though are civilians.  The breadth of degrees on the base may give an inkling about what Darkside One is facing.

Darcy confirms the above with Major di Carlo in her scene.  As well, Darcy makes the formal complain about the name of the flight.  She also shows sign of decent leadership; she has a problematic command, with non-military personnel getting on each other's nerves.  Basic training, in one of its many goals, forces a disparate group of young people and gives them a reason to band together despite their differences.  Victoria, Dominique, and Renée haven't gone through the full training, just enough to survive on the moon.  Time was of the essence.

The conversation Dominique and Renée have was based on one I have had.  I read a lot as a kid, but the reading material tended to from England.  Books like The Famous Five contributed to my vocabulary.  I've broadened my range a lot since then, but I'm not thrown when I read anything by Terry Pratchett or JK Rowling.  So, words like "horrid" tend to get used.  The rest of that conversation is more about dealing with aspects of life that people take for granted.  Most people have their own home, or at least their own room, and can go out and see men and women around.  The mission has no men.  While not everyone in Darkside One is straight, most will be, and, depending on each person, needs happen.

The big reveal, for those who remembered the prologue, is Yulya Emelin.  Yulya was the survivors of a previous attack, the only person left behind.  She's been made an officer and given a promotion.  Yulya doesn't talk about what happened.  She is happy to warn people about the coffee.  The talk about Tim Horton's was inspired by the Canadian Forces' mission in Khandahar, Afghanistan.  Tim Horton's had an outlet there; job postings included mention of moving expenses and danger pay.  Made the Canadians popular, though.  Tim's is everywhere, possibly more common than Starbuck's.  I am within a fifteen minute walk to at least three, one being three doors down from me.  On my last contract, there was a Tim's in each building, plus one over at the mall across the highway.  Tim's is everywhere.

The rest of the food discussion was based on the idea of printed food.  What I hadn't considered was Schmeat, artificial meat force-grown from stem cells.  Shipping cuts of meat to the moon is wasteful, due to the mass of the cargo.  Shipping stem cells and the equipment to grow the meat requires an initial cargo to get things started, then just resupplying the stem cells and growing solution.  Add 3-D printers with flavour nozzles, and you get proper meat.  While Schmeat is beef, other artificial meats, like pork or chicken, should be possible.  Hydroponics provides vegetables.  The biggest issue, really, is water.

Tomorrow, Chapter 3, New Equipment.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, The Wolverine.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, a second look at Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

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