Welcome back! As always, please read the chapter first. Mild spoilers abound.
The events in Chapter 10 weren't supposed to happen yet. I did have a plan in mind when I started writing Beaver Flight. What I hadn't counted on was finding that the story didn't work as a novel. I've mentioned it in previous commentaries, but as I wrote the story, the more obvious it became to me that the novel was the wrong form for the story. The visuals would work better as a webcomic or TV series, while the pacing works better as a serial. By this point, I was getting close to the end of the 50 000 word goal NaNoWriMo sets out. If I had considered the idea of a serialized story, similar to Subject 13 or NaNo2014's Unruly, Beaver Flight would have developed in a different way.
What I would have preferred was to have more alien appearances, working out why they showed up each time. Other arcs would have focused on the workings of Darkside One, highlighting the different flights and how they made the best they could on the base. Each of the Beavers could have had an arc of her own for character development, something Dom and Renée could have used. The third week of November was too late to revamp everything.
Chapter 10 shows the aliens being effective. There's enough appearing that Bear and Tiger* Flights need the Eagle, Kangaroo, and Beaver Flights in the sky to assist. The aliens also shoot to hit for the first time. In a webcomic, the battle would start with a splash page, showing the combined Flights in their colours approaching the aliens. Can't quite do that in text form.
I had two goals for this chapter. The first was to show that the aliens were effective. The best way to do that was to have someone get hit in the fight. Darcy drew the short straw. Yulya Emelin, commander of Bear Flight, was the sole survivor from the prologue and was determined to get payback for the loss of her squad. Darcy was the closest and did what she could to prevent Yulya's powered suit from being destroyed.
The second goal was to lose one of the Beavers. The original plan was to have the loss happen a little later, but, as mentioned above, that plan changed. I had two choices in mind for the lost pilot, Tori and Renée. Tomorrow's chapter will show why I chose Tori, with next week's commentary going into further detail.
I've set up a conflict between Darcy and Yulya. It was building for a few chapters, but with Tori missing and Yulya on her own mission, it should ramp up. Darcy is also out of the fight for a bit. Each powered suit was designed for a specific pilot. With her suit usable only for spare parts, Darcy has to sit out missions, which doesn't help her mood. Beaver Flight is down to half strength, not enough to patrol and respond properly. Where Dom and Renée wind up will be seen soon enough.
Tomorrow, Chapter 10, "Piece of the Action".
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, looking forward to the movie meltdown of 2015..
Saturday, over at MuseHack, Wonder Woman.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.
* India's contribution to Darkside One.