4 Dec 2014

Beaver Flight Commentary - Chapter 6

As always, please read the chapter before continuing.

With the test flights out of the way, the Beavers are added to the patrol roster.  The Canadian flight teams up with the Australian to shadow the more experienced team.  This means that there's still a rotation of four patrols, but once Beaver Flight is up to speed, the other patrols can be given a day off each week to rest properly.  With the Aussies down one pilot, with Peri in sickbay due to injuries, the Canadians can bolster the patrol.  Darkside One has a skeleton staff.

Back in Chapter 4, Kangaroo Flight used numeric designations, Roo One, Roo Two, and so on.  In Chapter 6, I gave them call signs and started working out names for them.  Roo One, the leader, is Baz Minogue, call sign "Kylie", after the singer.  Roo Four is the injured Peri, call sign "Pipsqueak".  The other two members are Hue Ng, call sign "Koala", and "Shrieker", whose name hasn't come up in conversation.  Koala got her name because her fellow pilots thought she was cute and cuddly.  Shrieker's comes from her shrieking in training.  There is a reason why Bear and Tiger Flights don't get as much attention; that's eight more names needed, plus a way to introduce the characters.  Beaver and Tiger are on opposite shifts, not running into each other.

As mentioned in previous commentary, the civilians were recruited for their knowledge.  Shrieker is a computer technician with a doctorate, good for not just designing but for analyzing.  Dom's aerospace engineering helps her understand the design of spacecraft from the materials used to the shape of the craft.  The ring Dominique mentions is the iron ring engineering graduates receive as a symbol to remember the price of failure.  The iron ring is rough and is said to be made from steel from a collapsed bridge.

Renée and Hue bond over their dislike of the names of their respective flights.  Kangaroos aren't known to be fierce.  The drop bear is a fictional animal, based on the idea that there's no such thing as a safe animal in Australia.  The pair find other things to bond over, like personal needs, including coffee.  Despite, or maybe because of, being tiny, Hue strikes at the heart of matters.  She's boisterous and knows what she wants and how to get it.

When I wrote Beaver Flight during NaNo 2012, artificial meat was just being worked on.  Schmeat was still being grown  I figured that, if it worked, all that had to be transported were the stem cells for the animal and the solution for growth.  After that, 3D print a steak of a chicken breast and then cook as normal.  Since then, Schmeat has been cooked.  The flavour was called bland; there's no fat in the Schmeat to add flavour.  What's to stop the makers of Schmeat or the food printer from adding flavour nozzles?

The political ramifications of Darkside One come up.  Secrecy is critical; a leak that aliens are kidnapping astronauts will cause an uproar, from people wanting to surrender, people wanting to make first contact, and people wanting to violently retrieve the kidnapped.  There are also places that would dismiss the need for the all-woman force.  While the Americans and the Russians are being cautious, other nations and elements within those two countries, will push to send a "proper" armed response.

Darcy learns that Yulya Emelin wasn't the first woman to meet the aliens.  Another, in an earlier attack, went missing.  Darcy then makes a connection; Yulya was left behind on purpose, without serious injury.  With questions in her head, she gives Victoria something to do.  Why Tori?  Tori needs to be kept busy.  The assignment will keep Tori out of trouble, something desperately needed.

Renée's tolerance for being on the moon hits its lowest.  She's the least happy to be on the moon, preferring to see it in the sky instead of under her feet.  Going through a bout of homesickness, especially when the long distance charges are astronomical, is difficult.  The gravity is wrong, there's no windows, there's no proper day/night cycle.  Renée is having problems adjusting.

The paragraphs where Tori watches the video of Yulya getting shot took some planning.  If /Beaver Flight/ was in a video format, Tori could rewind the playback easily.  In a text format, getting that detail is difficult without outright saying so.  If you compare the first playback with the two times Victoria rewinds, I use the exact same wording.  A cut-and-paste to make sure that the phrasing never changed.  Did it work?  You tell me.

Tomorrow, Chapter 7, "Farther and Further".
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, the 2014 Godzilla.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, Jack the Giant Slayer.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

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