Hope you all enjoy it.
Right now, the next chapter is with the Editing Gang and I am finally working on several other pieces.
Hopefully, out this weekend. We’ll see. It is not as long as other chapters, but I think it’s interesting enough for the length.
Haven’t done much with the site recently… times have been somewhat straining, both financially and emotionally. I’ve never had a good update schedule but I’m aware one update a year isn’t a good look.
Depending on how things go over the next year, I could push out things faster or struggle with writer’s block and other issues until November.
Thank all of you for patience and understanding.
Unless you live under a rock, you will know by now that
- Apple is launching the new iPhone
- I work in a business that deals with returns and reverse logistics
- Verizon and Comcast have trade-in plans
- Everyone wants a new iPhone
This translates into a massive spike of incoming returns to where I work, GXO. By ‘massive’ I mean dozens of 18-wheeler trailers with 20-25 pallets of phones.
Millions of phones.
While we normally have ‘peak’ in late November in prep for Christmas, this year we are kicking off our intense work period very early — the Death March, as it is called, known for 14 hour work days, very short SLA turnaround, and madness.
As such I expect that my time and effort on working on the fic may suffer. I am just now recovering from my back messing up and hopefully this won’t set it off again.
The next chapter of TWCD is about half done. I have several docs by DarkHorse that I can put up as well as a large amount of Bird of Hermes stuff I may get out, but I don’t expect a chapter coming out in September at all.
Took a lot longer than it should have, mostly due to work and family events. I am working on the next chapter now, but I was working on this on in February, so…
Haven’t posted anything in months since my schedule has been so hectic I haven’t done anything in months. For now, I’ve finally caught up on sleep and sent the first half of the next chapter to the Editing Gang.
As always, April sucks, but I’d like to get this done and out by May at the latest. We’ll have to see.
Almost 20k words. The chapter after this is when Liara and Shepard re-bond, and that’s about a third done.
The goal is to get at least a couple more chapters out then work on Lions in Blue and Silver. We’ll see how that goes.
Once again, thanks to the Editing Gang.
Also wrote an article touching on some of why I wrote the reunion the way I did.
The next chapter is about 5k words in, and I don’t think I can get it out in the next two weeks — we’ll see. It will cover a lot of the media reaction, insight into the turians and salarians (since most of the viewpoints have been humans and asari) as well as the krogan, and the first appearance of the real players on the stage showing up.
It will also contain memes, lol. At any rate, enjoy the chapter and Happy New Year.
The reunion of two lost people illustrates that which cannot die should not be vengeance, or despair, but love. And yet nothing of value was built without pain and struggle and even loss.
I’ve long given thought to the structure of my fan fiction, given that it was intended to ‘fix’ the stylistic flaws, plot holes and shortcomings of the original Mass Effect storyline.
By the very nature of it being a video game, some of those shortcomings were by nature, and the series should get a pass on those. Others were due to changing directions of the writers and directors, still others were due to what I can only assume were bad choices in how a scene was storyboarded.
But the way OSABC has developed lead to a new line of thinking, one I long pursued with Progman and Owelpost in the start, and more recently with nimiraj, Quentin and others — the nature of Liara and Shepard, and what it means for them to reunite.
I went down a very… extreme path in terms of ‘bringing the gang back together.’ This was done on purpose, but also to remove the almost railroaded feeling of how the game reunited you with Garrus and Liara.
One of the most fundamental questions I struggled with when outlining this trainwreck was how to put Shepard and Liara back together again. There were several ideas:
- Have the bond start working again (somehow) after they got close enough. Discarded due to the fact that both Shepard and Liara have massively changed, and I already used the bond to quickfix some things in OSABC. Also, this left no reason to develop the characters, and no reason why Liara would leave Shepard’s side.
- Have the bond not work at all, and due to frustration and misunderstanding on both their parts, have them not get back together. Shepard would have a fling with Jack (Subject Zero Jack) and Liara, upset and hurt, would withdraw to become the New Shadow Broker, and we’d resolve things in the linking piece. Discarded due to needless angst and not fitting the characters.
- Have the bond work sort of but backfire, leading to them both feeling at fault.
The final choice is sort of what I’ve gone with, mainly to deal with a pair of ugly fundamental questions:
First, what is the nature of ‘love’ when an asari bonds with another being? Is it mind control or natural and real? Doesn’t the fact that two minds are interlinked in this fashion sidestep all the things love is supposed to be about? If the bond is broken, is the remaining affection and love one feels ‘real’ or an artifact of having one’s mind forced into connection?
Two, is fate and destiny real, or is everything merely chance? Are you fated to a particular soulmate, a person who completes the person you want to be or should be — or is everything random, love the biochemical randomness of survival instincts? Is there any greater purpose to why one suffers so much for love, or is it mere mortal choice?
I do not plan to make things ‘easy’ for Shepard and Liara. I intend very much to explore the nature of the bond, how it works and doesn’t work, and what happens when two people fundamentally change in outlook and thinking and yet want to come together.
It may displease people, especially those who want pure romance. And yet, I think in the end a relationship that is forged from shared pain and effort and working to truly get another person is a more honest and mature way of looking at things than mind magic.
In a way, the title of the story, That Which Cannot Die, could be interpreted to mean lots of things. It could be Shepard and her friends. It could be the idea of decency and doing what’s right is immortal. I could make an argument that the title applies to revenge, or justice, or even destiny.
But ultimately, the title should refer to the love between two people, who are neither perfect nor whole, but who in the end create something greater and more beautiful than the sum of its parts. Love does not die. If it withers, if it fades, if it surrenders to the mists of time and memory, that is the choice of those who let it go — and if you never let it go, it is always with you.
It’s been about a month since I pushed out the last TWCD chapter and the STG Field Guide. Work has kept me busy as has preparations for vacation later on this month.
In theory, I will probably get one more TWCD chapter out this year. I’ll be putting up a lot of Jacob’s Volus files out in that time as well, and probably a tech guide update for battle-suits, mechs, and armor technology.
I’m still waiting on my two artists to have clear schedules, although money from the Patreon has already been set aside for several pieces to be ready by (I hope) February or March.
This is being dictated to Angel since I’m not able to sit at a keyboard. If anybody has called me directly in the past day or so, she’s the lady who answered the phone.
I’ve not been online much the past few weeks. I’ve not gone into details in public, but I’ve had a change of what I do at my job, no longer managing a team but now working on specific technical issues and trouble tickets impacting production for my company.
While initially this was a reduction on overhead workload, that didn’t last long as I discovered critical unaddressed issues.
Fixing those took a lot of manual effort, and this was made more complicated by the fact that the guy who ran the system was very ill with some kind of disease. His backup was killed in a car accident and that made everything kind of fall apart.
This culminated in me having to assist other IT/DBA’s onsite at corporate HQ in North Carolina. I haven’t done much business travel and every time is a mess. I was fatigued after this and planned to take off. The week prior I was occupied in trying to tie everything up and had issues with the home internet.
Long story short, I was rushing, pissed, and not getting enough sleep or rest. This is probably why I’m stuck in bed now.
Last Friday, I was finishing up work when I had a tearing pain in my left knee. I usually use a cane a friend of mine bought me, but as I was on the production floor and the cane incorporates metal, I didn’t have it. The knee itself was swollen and my lost balance meant I also twisted my ankle badly, to the point I could not walk.
This week was supposed to be my vacation — I’d rest a couple of days, do some cleanup on the fiction, work pieces put together by Jacob, Burnsidhe and other authors, and begin working with the guy who did the EGM mod for ME3 on a storyboard.
Instead, I’ve been in the hospital. There was ‘stress’ and deformation to my ACL with indications it may have a minor tear, and tears in the meniscus, which are pieces of cartilage connecting the leg bones in the knee. Initially I thought it had just given out, but in the course of an x-ray and exam by my doctor on Tuesday he found out more severe damage.
As such I have been in the hospital undergoing meniscus repair, fracture repair, getting the ankle worked on, and physical therapy. Obviously this does not allow me to get online and even when I could use my phone I can’t get a fucking signal in the hospital thanks to Sprint’s shitty coverage.
I’ve had repairs done to the torn menisci (Liethr can explain what this entails, it sounds scarier than it is). The ACL was evaluated as a Grade 1 injury, but the knee specialist was worried without treating the existing damage and given the poor state of the kneecap and the presence of microfractures this could get worse.
The microfractures were fixed with more microfractures to force healing, along with something they injected. This was explained to me as a technique widely used, but it takes time to heal properly.
The surgery went well, they fixed (sort of) the tear and addressed the microfracture, as well as ‘adjusted’ the ACL — my medical knowledge is on par with a very bad medical school student so there were some details I’m hazy on. I will be going back for follow ups next week and doing physical therapy ongoing for a while.
I came home from the hospital this morning — normally this is done outpatient, but the microfracture and ACL slippage meant they did more than just arthroscopy and I didn’t react well to the anesthesia.
I’m pretty tired. I’ll be on braces and crutches and all this fucked up therapy shit for weeks, which cuts into my free time. Work will also, I’m sure, be hilarious.
I am probably going to rest the next couple of days. My leg cannot be bent and I can’t really stand or walk much, so getting online would be problematic, although I will make a stab at being on discord via phone later today or tomorrow.
Bottom line, of course, is that this has derailed a lot of projects. Jacob’s piece ostensibly needs me to finish part of it, Burnsidhe’s P. snippet needs to be paired with an STG file I haven’t written the basics on for him to fill out, and I have not had any time to speak with or work with Master Kinkojiro on storyboarding.
Rather than scatter information around I’m posting it all here.
Editing Gang to-do’s : I need the team to do me a little prep work for when I can sit at a chair again and get shit done.
- Prepare a finished state document for ALL of the various pieces of work — P STG file, Aria STG file, Volus File, Krogan File, etc. That is, a list of what is done, what is not done, and for the stuff not done what is needed to be done.
- Jacob, I believe, has volus psychology done, while physiology is not done. I’d appreciate it if several of you took a stab at coming up with a physiology doc, at least rough outlines, and then I can take what research I have done and work those two.
- Ariel made a writeup of mech stuff on the forums — additional ideas and details that could go into a tech guide doc would be extremely useful.
- I need a meme list or ideas for reactions for the post-Ilium chapter in regards to the big televised fights.
- I need a EG guy or gal to step up and make a list of all hard conflict retcons that need to be clarified or re-written — such as asari / volus contact, early instances of hanar not being in line with my later changes, spots where things said in one place clash with another. This doesn’t have to be done soon but I want it cleaned up.
- Someone give me a status on the OSABC rewrites and where we are on those.
- The next chapter of TWCD is at 8,500 words and is no where near done. The next chapter of Lions is at 2,000 words but is clunkery. (I don’t think this is a word but he told me to put it there). There are very ugly drafts of the drell history and psychology chapters that I haven’t posted online. Anything you’d like to see in these would be useful feedback.
Given that I’ve just had knee surgery and a) can’t fucking walk or sit and b) am tripping on pain meds most of the day, I don’t expect to get anything accomplished today aside from drooling.
Best way to do feedback is to email it to me : viley at att dot net or henryviley at gmail dot com will both drive to my phone. If needed, both Comma and Nimiraj can contact me directly via phone. (If you are friends with me on Facebook, you can use that as well).
I do not have a good ETA to when the next chapter is done. I will update as I have more information and can think when the Vicodin wears off.