[Fan Fiction] Predecessor, pt 2

No Mans Sky Atlas Rises

Sixteen. Over and over and over. Through finding Artemis, putting up with Apollo, getting my footing with Nada and Polo and their strange space station, it’s always been sixteen. Across the worlds and systems of the Euclid Galaxy, that number has shown up everywhere. Gek and Vy’Keen never remembered speaking about it, though they did, and with voices not their own. The Korvax never spoke of it, but they were closer to the Atlas than anyone but the Sentinels. And I’ve found no evidence that the Sentinels have ever spoken to anyone.

Since my last communication, I’ve made it back onto the anomalous station. Something drove me to keep trying, despite the threat of painful discorporation. It wasn’t the blueprints, and it wasn’t the frantic hustle and bustle of all of the Travelers. Maybe it was Nada’s sad acceptance of the multiverse’s fate. Maybe it was the rich, chocolatey scent of Polo’s continued hope. Ah, I’m skipping ahead.

I couldn’t shake the pull. I hadn’t seen any other Travelers on Akrodne X, except for Elearu, in ages. They could have left for other systems, or perhaps they’d slipped out of our reality, like Artemis had. Who could know? I’d find myself staring out through the glass of my grow domes, at a countryside littered with abandoned bases, slowly being reclaimed by the environment.

I could no longer find the solace in building that I once had, that Elearu still did. I had put so much of myself into creating these sprawling pods, glass-filled corridors, and underground concrete. I had built something beautiful, but it was complete. My compatriots, Gek, Vy’Keen, Korvax, and whatever the Overseer was, could operate just fine without me. They had their own project and own lives, despite Attendant Eil’s implications.

I looked to the stars next. I’d explored several nearby systems, but each was so like the last. There had to be more. There had to be.

There was. I had been told that many Travelers had ventured toward the center of the galaxy, in search of the Atlas itself, but that few returned. Perhaps they’d found renewed purpose, a place to call home, or something more sinister had happened to them. Nada had expressed their misgivings about seeking it out, and I’d put together some of the why. The Atlas was tightly linked to the Korvax hive mine, and Nada had been split from it for a very long time. Most didn’t survive that sundering, let alone thrive. Nada was afraid of being forced to rejoin, and of losing their individuality among the many. And they were right to fear.

The Sentinels were designed to answer directly to the Atlas, and they had wiped out entire universes of living beings. The ancient Gek had been punished by the Atlas, reduced from a mighty empire to trade-obsessed merchants, for their transgressions against the Korvax. It mercilessly hunted any being that rebelled against it or sought to escape it. Fearing the Atlas was wise.

And yet, the visions I’d received from the ruined monuments told me that there was more to it. The appearance of shattered worlds told me that something was wrong. And Null had said the Atlas was in great pain. Were we, the Travelers, not the Atlas’ way of knowing itself? Were we not its curiosity? Its drive to understand? That’s why the Gek fear us. That’s why the Vy’Keen aid us. That’s why the Korvax revere us.

And maybe that’s why I had to know for myself.

Writing Journal

My No Man’s Sky character doesn’t really have a personality. He’s made choices, buffeted by the story line and the revelations that came from finishing quest lines, but he’s never been active about it. He’s never had a driving goal, or something to accomplish for himself. A completely passive character isn’t compelling, and isn’t fun to write.

The game has been fun to play, don’t get me wrong. There’s no way I’d have as many hours into it as I do if it wasn’t. I would never have stuck around through the bugs, the graphics clipping, and the new bugs introduced (and then subsequently resolved) with every major update. I’d have never weathered the game’s detractors and the controversy surrounding its launch that still hangs on, four years later. My favorite aspect of the game, base building, is still hobbled by the game’s inability to negotiate between terrain modification and terrain regeneration/respawn.

And yet, it’s fun for me, and I stick around.

The difficulty with my fan fiction idea is that I chose to make my PC the main character, when he’s just a thin veneer laid over whatever neat thing I want to accomplish next. That leaves two options that I can see:

  • Write stories about another Traveler out in the No Man’s Sky multiverse. That leaves me to continue playing as I have, and allows freedom to stretch that might not exist if I’m constrained to writing about what happens in-game.
  • Take the opportunity provided by switching to playing on PC to actually play a character. I’ve started over in the quest and story progression, which means I can play a character in the game, rather than letting the game drag me along.

I should give this some thought, and find out what my streaming community thinks.

[Fan Fiction] Predecessor, pt 1

Three switches was all it took to relinquish control of my faithful ship, the Crystal Song, to the station’s auto-docking system. Once again, I flipped them, the motions burned into my brain from what seemed like years of piloting. The ship and station seemed to spin as they negotiated a common horizon. I focused on slowing my breathing and keeping my muscles relaxed. If it happened again, it was likely to hurt just as bad as the last several times. Unfortunately, the Anomaly, as it was commonly known, was the only place in this universe or any other where I could exchange the salvaged tech I’d dug up for blueprints. And I REALLY wanted those blueprints.

The outside doors opened, and the Crystal Song was through. Incomprehensible machinery moved, switched, and rotated around the ship as I slowly drifted forward, toward the inner doors. Maybe this time would be different. I’d gotten in once since this had started happening, but I didn’t have anything to trade. Of course, now that my hold was full to the brim, as they say, I couldn’t get in. And each attempt was more painful than the last.

The inner doors cracked open, spilling out warm, intense white light. This was it. Moment of truth. The doors slid all the way open, and the Song’s instrument panel faded to the light filling my vision. So close! Just one more second, and I’d be through…

The warm white changed to a cold, harsh blue. Every nerve ending lit up in pain. It felt like being torn apart and being pulled away, like every atom in me screaming away from ever other, but I was still alive enough to feel it. Then all I could hear was my own screaming voice, and my body was rebuilding itself inside my base on Akrodne X. It took only a moment, and then the pain was gone as if it had never been.

I was breathing so hard that my faceplate was fogging up. How many times was that? Five? Six? I haven’t tried it again since. The Anomaly hovers there, hanging in space next to the system’s station, taunting me. But I’m not risking it again. Not for a long while.

There’s those words again.

THE END.

I got to write them again. I’ve finished the first draft of another novella, and I’m still surprised that this is a thing that I can do. That this is a thing I’ve chosen to do. That this is a thing that I’m still doing.

Something was definitely different this time. This story wasn’t a re-work of something I’d written before. Like The Remembrance, it was a story that I needed to tell, and had characters that I wanted to visit for a time, irrevocably changing everything that they knew. This time, which was different from every single other time, I saw places that would need to be improved as I wrote them. I looked forward to revising. I didn’t just know that revising was a thing that I was going to have to slog through, but I knew that it would give me an opportunity to make it better.

This is something that usually has to be drilled into me from the outside. And from the outside, it’s usually been Nikki.

But, this time… THIS time… it was just a thing. It was “I’m going to make a note about this here, and it should be fixed like this, and I’ll take care of it on the next pass.” So, the plan is to do a light revision when I move the story from paper notebook to digital, and then send it out to my steadfast alpha readers. If you’d like to be added to that alpha reader list, drop me a line!

Writing Journal

Originally written on 13 February 2018

Notes:

How do I want to handle the “last” conversation between Susan and Nat? Nat will have done her homework, and tried to prepare for her journey as best she could, without worrying the police officers too much.

Adam’s not with them, and is likely still sleeping back at the apartment.

Susan is exhausted, even after a day’s sleep. She’s traumatized, much like her sister, and is barely keeping her cheese on her cracker. She knows that “losing” her sister is inevitable, at this point, but it doesn’t make any of this easier.

They’ll start just hugging, I think. Crying quietly. They’ll talk, sort of, about the demon. They’ll talk about what’s in store for each of them. Nat will reveal that she’s known about Susan’s other family, and urge her to leave. When they’re done talking, and Susan is leaving, she’ll turn back to say something, and Nat will be gone, along with the stuff.

Susan will stay upright, with the help of the wall, and then will head off to Yeong-Cheol.

Edits

  • The coffee bar needs to change to the Wormhole in Wicker Park. That neighborhood fits who Susan wants to be like a glove.
  • Car fire should be on the border of residential and industrial zones in the South or West side.
  • Nat’s house should be in Edgewater.

Writing Journal

With the rewrite finished, I’m back to the spot where I can start writing new goodness again. I need to do some re-ordering.

First, the phone call with the officer about Natalie clothes shopping for someone else needs to be moved later, much closer to where Susan has her last face-to-face with her sister. If not then, it needs to be right after the vampire vs. demon battle. Maybe then, so the tension about her sister is kept fresh. It doesn’t belong in the middle of Susan’s conversation with the scavengers, though. Also, moving it means that I don’t have to rush it.

Then there’s the battle itself. How do I work the transition between the conversation into the battle? Maybe I could have them knock Susan and Adam out and lock them in a room, then have them wake up mid-battle? How do you knock out a vampire? Well, it’s a place to start.

Did I have a reason for Susan to go and speak with/confront her creator? Other than displaying that she’s come into her own? I can’t for the life of me figure out why I put that in this chapter. Let’s not even mention the complication of writing a character that’s loosely based on someone else’s LARP character, when I was never super friendly with that someone. Better to remove that cameo entirely.

That also means that I won’t be splitting up the character party. Good Thing.

Writing Journal

Written 23 July 2017

So, there’s a really jarring jump in the first chapter between Susan struggling with her thirst and Adam’s arrival. She just completely drops everything that’s been tormenting her because she loses herself in the bike. I give the shift a half of a sentence and that is just not enough.

It’s got to be more gradual. The forces in her need to duke it out. The thirst vs. The mesmerizing, this Sunday, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!!!

Instead of one defeating the other, they should be neck and neck when he sits down.

Writing Thoughts

Originally written on 21 April 2017.

I’m avoiding writing fiction. I’m also avoiding working on re-doing the speech bubbles for the beginning of Fight or Flight. The gaming video and the blog and the shutting down of my LiveJournal have had my focus, not to mention the Disney trip and work and blah, blah, blah.

Second time I’ve sat in Fleetwood this weekend, and I haven’t written a word of fiction. Most of Friday was spent working, and the rest was finalizing the new home network.

Today, though, I’ve just been draining my phone’s battery “making sure videos and posts got to social networks.” That’s not another way of saying getting sucked into Facebook. Not at all.

And here I am, phone down, laptop put away, notebook open, and I’m putting down words, but none are fiction. Am I harshing on myself too much? Am I afraid to keep pushing at recovering my love for making stories? Am I just too distracted by shiny things?

That reminds me. Since it doesn’t look like I’ll have a pressing need to be in Chicago coming up, I’ll need to pick a weekend to roam the Detroit area. Holy cow, are a lot of my old people holed up int he suburban Detroit sprawl.

Should I put up in a hotel in downtown D-town, or should I couch surf, or a combination of the two? Guess I’ve got to pick dates first, before I even know who will be available. A three-day weekend, I’m thinking. Either take a day off, or work the Friday with Paul.

I can’t say that I’ll start writing on my little jaunt, either. It’s too long to put off writing until then, and it’ll put a ton of pressure on me to write, and that is kind of the opposite of the point of a vacation. On the other hand, there are a lot of places I’d love to sit and write in Detroit proper.

Shit, I think it’s time to start the Chicago Adam’s Name over and re-write it, now that I know who Susan is, and what kind of conflicts drive her. I may not know enough about real-world Chicago to know enough about my fake Chicago. I think it’s time to pester some Chicagoans I know, so they can school me on the Windy City. Research and world building are the answer, because of course they are.