29 Mar 2018

Mecha Academy Episode 1 Chapter 5 Commentary

Time for the squad to learn to be solderies.  Dare Rhiannon take advantage of being in the same ring as Dusty in Chapter 5?

At some point, I needed to show my cast in training.  I figured, why not continue the inter-personal conflicts in a situation where the tension can become physical?  Other than I may lose a main character far earlier than anyone would expect.  But, before the main event, the warm up act.  Ric and Lars.  A little bit of action, more for me than the reader.  I wanted to exercise my action writing chops.  This is a preview for what's coming up later.

Miyami doesn't get to show off her skills.  While rewriting and updating the original idea, the idea of Miyami not fighting fair entered my head.  She doesn't have a reason to fight fair, as far as been revealed.  Miyami has already been shown to be bending regulations, having changed her birth records to get into the Academy.  However, because she doesn't get to fight this chapter, I could only hint at what she is capable of.

Rhiannon and Dusty's match could only go one way in my head.  Dusty has reasons for not wanting to hit Rhiannon, the big one being not wanting to cause any more pain in the young noble.  Rhiannon, though, has a reason to beat Dusty to a pulp.  Dusty has her limits on what she will allow.  Sergeant Chang has no idea of what's happening behind the scenes and can only react to what she sees.  While technically, the cadets outrank her, she has the authority to send them for laps.  Mind, Dusty isn't seeing the running as a punishment.

In the original idea, Ric was designated as the squad's leader.  However, there wasn't anything written down showing that he had leadership qualities.  He was just there by writer fiat*.  The rewrite/reboot/restart took what I had and found it lacking in areas.  Ric, though, decided to be the soul of the team.  He is sociable and friendly, which helps when referring to help from a senior officer as "bafflegab".  Commander Haag, fortunately, is easy going and understands the problem, far more than any of the squad.  The scene let me show a pleasant relationship, one where neither person involved is getting hurt in any way.

Rhiannon and Miyami's description of Suzanna Schroeter - "Valkyrie" and "Amazon", respectively - gave me pause.  Both descriptions come from Terran myth.  The question that leaves is, "Does Earth exist in this story?"  I don`t have an answer, still.  In Chapter 3, I called the setting the Poulos Nova Empire, after the main stellar phenomenon within the borders.  The Empire's main rival is the Grand Republic of the Coreward Worlds, so, again, no Earth.  Yet, I've been using names from Earth for characters and, now, made references to myths and legends from the real world.  The answer is a definite maybe.  There could be a Terran Coalition of some sort, but it's not important to the story I'm writing.

The subject of technology returns.  I may have mentioned before that I like my space opera to look like it's in the future.  Why have cars when I can have anti-grav sedans?  Same thing goes with weapons.  Why have gunpowder firearms when I can put in laser rifles and gauss pistols?  Thus, the cast gets trained on weapons based on magnetic acceleration of metal.  As officers, they are expected to at least be armed with a pistol, a tradition in officer corps even today.  As part of the Foot Guard, they are expected to be able to shoot a rifle.

Of course, once something gets introduced, it needs a name.  I knew the weapons were going to be gauss weapons, but militaries don't have platoons where each soldier has a different rifle.  Standardization means that parts and ammunition are interchangeable.  The military I used as a base standard was the Canadian Armed Forces.  The Canadian army has a selection of weapons which are used in different situations, with one main rifle in use for deployments, the rest being used in specialized situations**.  This gives me an out later if I find I need something else, but for now, the two main weapons are around.  The rifle, the Imperial Military Arms Model Seven Mark Three, gets its name after the weapon the British army used in World War II, the Lee-Enfield Number 4 Mark 1; there's no need for the weapon to have a fancy commercial name given that the main buyer is government.  The pistol's name - Horvath and Lung Model Fourteen Army - was inspired by the manufactuer Heckler-Koch and the Colt Army pistol used by the 19th Century US Army.  All this for two pieces of technology that are just going to be references as "rifle" and "pistol".  At least the description added to the NaNoWriMo word count.

Friday, Mecha Academy, "Roommates" Chapter 6, "Life in the Halls".
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, Josie and the Pussycats.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, Kingsman: The Secret Service.

* The FIAT made an appearance in The Devil You Know Chapter 2.
** For example, the .30-06 bolt action rifle is used by search and rescue operations to protect both the rescuers and the rescuees from Canadian wildlife.

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