5 Nov 2015

Crossover Chapter 11 - Commentary

Fight!  Fight!  Welcome to the commentary for the eleventh chapter.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

The mundane technology is starting to be dated.  Meredith has a flip phone.  Sure, there's text messaging, but today's standard is a smartphone.  And the less said about her roaming charges, the better.  She's looking at a huge bill.  The advanced tech of the BIKINI, though, makes up for it.  It is a smartphone with extra elements, like heads-up display and no roaming fees.

I gave Meredith the news about the havoc first to preserve the mystery a little longer and to avoid a bogged down repeat of what everyone knows is happening.  Two altered humans causing chaos in downtown Cleveland?  Who else could it be?  There's no need to toss in a new antagonist here.  Though, just two.  Meredith has no idea why that number is wrong.

In a world with superpowered humans, it's inevitable that police will have a plan in place when facing them.  Their Plan A is to evacuate the civilians before moving in.  Plan B is evacuating the civilians while letting someone also superpowered do the fighting for them.  Plan C involves calling in the Reserves.  It all depends on who is being faced.  An unknown person gets watched; a known costumed villain will have senior personnel reading files before making a decision.

Nasty has a huge limitation in the superpowered world.  She has a singular power, two if you count her constant swearing.  Against a normal person, she has the edge.  Against other powered people, she's working with a handicap; she has to hit someone to have her power punch go off.  If an opponent can throw energy blasts at range, Nasty may not be able to get close enough to be effective.  A thought crossed my mind at the time of writing, that Nasty would realize that she might be able to toss energy bolts, too, after seeing Natasha.  During the climactic battle, Nasty had other ideas of how to fight.

Pixie has her own handicap, as Nasty demonstrated.  When shrunk down, it's easy enough for someone to grab her with one hand.  Most of the time, Pixie's other power, her Pixie Dust, lets her get out of the grasp.  Grabbing Pixie is like grabbing an angry cat; you have her, but she can still fight.

The last paragraph with Nasty and Pixie was the scene that had me writing Crossover.  Long before NaNo 2006 started, the idea of Nasty and Pixie getting ready to deal with villains and being shocked by a third hero zipping past played over and over in my head.  The rest of Crossover came about to get that one scene used.  It too many many words to finally get it in.

The big fight, the big action set piece, has everyone talking while battling.  It's a staple of the comics, exemplified by Spider-Man, who natters opponents into surrender.  The battle let me contrast everyone's abilities.  Nasty has to hit people; Natasha zaps them from a distance while wearing a corset and leather pants.  Vicki shrinks; Tori grows.  Alpha has power armour based on agility; Omega's is brute strength.

With the heroines finally together, it was time to consolidate the supporting cast.  Vicki only has her father, conveniently sent to a baseball game.  Meredith has Keith, who is her partner in fighting crime.  Nasty has the Foundation, including Micki and her assistants.  Splitting time between Keith and the Foundation looked daunting at this point.  However, the Foundation has the gear to find Keith.  It's not like he can escape; he drives a Yugo.

Back when I started writing Subject 13, I played Champions, a superhero RPG.  The game let me try to define the characters' abilities and let me see where there were deficiencies.  Nasty really only has one power, her Power Punch.  In Champions, that would be a Hand-to-Hand Attack with the special effect of the purple flare when Nasty hits someone.  Pixie is more robust, having Shrinking and her Pixie Dust.  The Dust, though, is a harder build.  It doesn't really do damage, just puts people to sleep.  Champions is good at modelling, even if a player has to get creative with the modelling.  Two possible powers could work.  One is Transform, turning an awake target into a sleeping target.  That can get expensive and is all-or-nothing.  The other is Mind Control, with modifiers to make the the attack physical instead of mental and for just one command, "Sleep!"  Prototype Alpha is a variant of a power armour user, taking what's known as a Multipower to reflect directing energy into the BIKINI's subsystems.  Keith's tinkering is a Gadget Pool, slowly growing as he makes modifications.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 12.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, Spaced Invaders.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, The Bionic Woman.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

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