29 Jan 2016

Crossover Epilogue

Natasha heard the door to the visitor's booth lock behind her.  She sat down on the lone beige plastic chair in the stark room.  A stray lock of red hair fell in front of her bandages and eyes.  She tried to blow it out of the way, but the wild lock stayed dangling.  The door on the visitor's side opened.  Natasha glanced over and saw a tall man wearing a well made business suit enter.  She kept watching as he set his briefcase on the ledge on his side of the Plexiglas.  "What's all this?" she asked.

The tall man ignored the question as he opened the carry-all and brought out an electronic device.  He flicked a switch on the side.  The device began humming.  "There.  We should be able to talk privately now."

28 Jan 2016

Crossover Chapter 23 - Commentary

The ladies say their goodbyes.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

It's autograph time!  Nasty gets to wear out her hand as she signs for her fans.  The scene finally wraps up the story, at least for the heroines.  It's been a long time coming.  In a novel, it'd fit better.  Serialized, probably too late.  That's the risk of turning a a story set as a novel into a weekly serial.

The other goal of the final scene is to make sure that the connections made will last.  While Meredith is from Toronto, Nasty and Vicki live in New York.  They can talk to each other whenever they want, barring Eric monopolizing Nasty's time.  If Subject 13 were to continue and Youth Brigade got off the ground, the scene would set up future crossovers, allowing Nasty and Vicki to appear in each others title.

While chapter 23 wraps up the story for the heroines, there's the epilogue coming to put a final end to Crossover.  I didn't intend for the ending fatigue to set in.  The characters tend to take over the story at times.  Sometimes it works; other times, they just really should be reined in.  Crossover was written during NaNoWriMo 2008, with the last few chapters near the end of the month.  I didn't want to rush the ending, but after reaching the 50 000th word, I just wanted the writing to be over.

Tomorrow, Crossover Epilogue.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, Thunderbirds Are Go.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, the Back to the Future cartoon.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

22 Jan 2016

Crossover Chapter 23

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade

Dealers' Room, Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, early afternoon

Vicki slipped into the Dealers' Room and was dismayed at the length of the lineup she faced in getting to see Peregrine.  She swallowed a whine she felt building.  I should've expected this.  I knew this was going to happen.  I should take a photo of the line to show Dad so I can tell him, "I told you so."  Sheesh.  She took her place in line.  At least Dad found a place to stash the luggage.  I hope there's time to hit the rest of this place.  Thanks to my mirror self, I never got a chance to look around and get stuff.  Someone tapped her on the shoulder.  Vicki squealed and turned around to see Meredith standing behind her.

21 Jan 2016

Crossover Chapter 22 - Commentary

The Cleveland HeroCon Guest of Honour finally gets to speak.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

The villains have been stopped.  Why hasn't the story?  Because the story arcs for the characters haven't.  Not that I knew that I was working on character stories at the time of writing, mind.  Each character, though, major and minor, did have a story of their own along with the major plot.  I have improved in that area; Unruly shows different arcs for each girl, from Laura trying to fit in to Caitlin's war with Verity to even Jenn's quest to claim her own name again.  Thus, I need to wrap up the story arcs for the heroines still, including Nasty's turn as a guest of honour at a convention.

Eric has found a new way to distract Nasty from panicking.  It's super effective.  Nasty's self-esteem, as shown in Subject 13 isn't high, but she also has a low opinion of people in general.  The people she knows, she hold in high esteem, so if one of them calls her cute or kisses her on the cheek, it's enough to focus her mind on something else.

The question and answer session is more or less what you'd find at a convention.  Charles is moderating because Nasty has never handled a crowd before.  Switching from one line to another lets people clear away from a mic and still keeps the questions going.  It's efficient, from the moderator's view, and makes sure that anyone who has a question can ask.  Moderators are good at getting the questions going; sometimes, a little prodding is enough to get a guest to ramble on about something that the audience hadn't heard before.  Given Nasty is new, the audience is getting a lot of new information.

The reactions Nasty mentions of her family has been partially written.  Those of you who have read /Subject 13/ will have noticed that Maria isn't married.  Maria knows who Nasty's father is, but Nasty doesn't.  Not going to spoil the reveal here, but suffice to say that superhero stories are the teenaged boy version of soap operas isn't that far off from the truth.  Lives get complicated, but some questions will get answered.

Having Pixie and Prototype Alpha also at the convention means I could throw them into a crowd scene any time I wanted.  I wanted to add Vicki to the Q&A.  She was trying to put Nasty on the spot about joining the Youth Brigade.  Nasty dodged out of the trap and gave Vicki an ego boost while she was at it.  That probably won't stop Vicki from trying to recruit Nasty, but she'll know why the offer is being turned down.

There's more cosplay in the crowd.  Feral is from the Global Vanguard, my analogue to the Justlice League and the Avengers.  Feral fills in the Wolverine niche; the scrappy fighter can keep going despite the pounding received.  Nasty would fill that role as well if she was ever on a team.  Q-Ball, also from the Vanguard, fills the Iron Man and Rocket Red niche; the power armour creator.  The name Q-Ball comes from mixing cue ball and the character's name, Quentin Q. Quinn.  Major Flagg, a solo hero from in-universe comics, is a Captain America analogue.  I populated my world with heroes to make it feel a little bigger.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 23.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, Star Wars: The Role-Playing Games.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, Thunderbirds Are Go.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

15 Jan 2016

Crossover Chapter 22

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade

Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, morning

Nasty paced behind the dividers.  Eric watched as she made the turn for the return trip.  "Tash, you'll be okay, really."  He pulled out a chair.  "You should relax."

"I hate public speaking."

"I know, Tash.  Just remember all the stuff I told you for all those speeches in English.  You're going to be fine."

Nasty stopped short.  "I don't know what I'm going to say.  I'm not prepared."  She tried to wave her left arm in the air, prevented by the sling it was in.

"Don't get agitated.  You're going to hurt your arm."

14 Jan 2016

Crossover Chapter 21 - Commentary

It's a brand new day.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

I did absolutely no research for the first part of the chapter.  I probably should have checked on hospital procedures in the US, especially considering that healthcare there isn't a matter of showing a health card and waiting for treatment.  I should have looked up the treatment of dislocated shoulders and whether painkillers would be prescribed.  Instead, I went with the flow.  I needed Nasty back at the hotel with her arm in a sling.  Probably overkill for the shoulder, but the sling works to show that she was injured and is recovering.  I did keep in mind triage; Natasha was far more injured than Nasty was, with a possible concussion at the very least.

Something I don't know if it's noticeable, but I have Nasty make an effort to refrain from swearing around Eric.  She is trying to impress him, so she tries to clean up her language.  The puddle of goo she turns into after the kiss might not have been noticed by Eric, but it was by Micki.  A giddy Nasty is outside normal experiences.

Micki's comment about clich├ęs reflects the level of genre savviness the average person might have in a superheroic universe.  That person lives in a world where costumed crooks and caped crusaders fight each other, where would-be world conquerors lurk and scheme, and where dimensional breaches are a possibility.  To what degree would the average person accept, "I was kidnapped by my evil look-alike and held in an alternate dimension," as an excuse?

Vicki really needed someone from her supporting cast around.  She got the short shrift, so to speak.  No one to confide in, no one explaining, just her thrust into the middle of a plot.  Fortunately, Sandra, aka Kid Inscrutable and the leader of the Youth Brigade, has ways to call without needing a phone.  Today, Sandra would just send Vicki the link to the video online instead of recording, though it's always nice to have a copy of the video around.

The Naomi sub-subplot wraps up.  I'll leave it to the audience to imagine what Keith and Naomi did all night.  Meredith has her own ideas, though she's not awake enough to entertain them enough at Keith's expense.  The Yugo, well, it's not a big car.  It was a compact import, so leg space is there  for sitting, not sleeping.  Need a car to sleep in?  Try one of the American muscle cars from the 60s.  The Chev Impala sleeps two comfortably, three if someone sleeps in the trunk.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 22.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, a terminology primer.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, Star Wars: The Role-Playing Games.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

8 Jan 2016

Crossover Chapter 21

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade

Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, early the next morning

Nasty rolled over in her bed.  A tinge of pain shot through her left shoulder.  She groaned and tried to get comfortable.  As she settled in on her back, more discomfort coursed through her.  Annoyed, Nasty threw the covers off her.  She fought to sit up.  From beyond the end of the bed, she heard Eric mumble her name.  Nasty stopped her struggles as she realized where she was.  "Yeah?"

"Tash, you okay?"  Eric's voice was more awake.

7 Jan 2016

Crossover Chapter 20 - Commentary

Time for a breather and see just how battered everyone is.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

Nasty finally came out and talked to Eric.  She realized in chapter 15 that she was denying her feelings.  That realization wound up triggering the big fight.  With the fight over, the two teens now get to try ot resolve their unresolved sexual tension.  Nasty's a little out of it; she's probably going into shock and the adrenaline is wearing off.  Will the relationship last?  Through high school, but not likely too far beyond.  They're each other's first significant other, so they're going to make mistakes.

Vicki still has issues about not being recognized as Pixie.  She has an effective power, but she's tiny.  Pixie just doesn't show up well on film, especially not when the camera operator is also trying to get a giant girl in the same frame.  Such is the life of the tiniest of the Youth Brigade.  Richard got to give the ironic line; that's what secret IDs are for.

The return of Boob Girl, as Meredith calls her, wasn't planned, but was a dangling bit that needed to be wrapped up.  Naomi, last seen in chapter 10, had been given the grand tour of the Yugo.  I do have plans for Naomi, but those hinge on actually getting around to writing the Protoype Alpha serial.

The loose ends are being tied up, mostly.  How, well, that's for the next few chapters.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 21.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, looking towards 2016.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, a terminology primer.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

1 Jan 2016

Crossover Chapter 20

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade

Parking lot, Hank Cheetas, Cleveland, evening

Nasty watched as the Cleveland police SWAT team swarmed over the parking lot.  She looked down at her injured arm.  "Mom's going to kill me."  She rested her head on the metal of the car's hood.  "This was my favourite shirt, too."  With her right hand, she tried to fix the tears on her t-shirt.  Seeing that part of her bra was still visible, she folded her right arm over the hole.

"Tash?"  Eric ran out of the restaurant.  "Tash, where are you?  Are you okay?"