Go. Read. Now.
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.
I finally got the next chapter to the Editing Gang, albeit a week late. I strongly doubt it will be ready by Christmas (although certainly by New Years.)
To make up for my failure, here is our annual Cthulhu Christmas Carol :
Right now, I’m hoping to have it ready to go by Saturday night, or at the latest Sunday. Then I’ll do a bit more work on the STG Guide and Tech Guide before another chapter release before Christmas.
The next chapter of TWCD is with the Editing Gang. I need to add a couple of excerpts and have a final check for tone and all that by the gang.
The problem being I’m stuck at work today!
I would hope I can get the chapter wrapped up, edited, and published with bad ellipsis by tomorrow, sometime after church.
I’ve done a … really shaky history draft for the drell and I am working on volus biology. Once biology is done, Jacob has done a lot of the rest but at least one piece would need re-writes.
In other news my health is better, although I’ve had more family drama that’s been distracting me to some degree. Shouldn’t affect the work.
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.
I don’t give a fuck about your personal information.
I don’t believe I collect any. If I did, I guarantee I will only sell it to people not involved in the production or support of Kanye West videos.
On a more serious note, this is what I have:
- The website itself (which includes the forums) : I collect your username, a ‘real name’ (which can be anything), your IP (although this is not something I view or keep) and your email address. I currently only utilize the email address for the mailing list and newsletter. As far as I know, my security features (Wordfence and Akismet) ensure none of this is exposed. I certainly don’t sell it and the only time I look at your IP is in preparation for total exterminatus banhammerings, so I doubt it will matter much.
- Discord Chat: Discord handles all the data functions there. As far as I know they are GDPR compliant. If (how in fuck I have no clue) they are not and this becomes an issue we will look for alternatives.
- Google Docs: Google handles data functions for this. If you are in the Editing Gang and use Google, there’s a good chance Google is going to fuck it up. Just be aware it’s them and not me.
- Fanfiction.net Data: Who the fuck knows? In theory I can’t see much beyond your penname. I can see rough counts of where people are signing in from by country. Everything else is handled by FF.net.
If you have a concern regarding the GDPR and LogicalPremise.net feel free to leave me a reply here or an email. I can’t imagine anyone doing so, but I’m always prepared.
Enjoy, my friends. Thanks to the Editing Gang, and for all of you who read and review.
Admist all the chaos of this year I let myself fall out of the habit of updates.
Given TWCD hasn’t updated since February, and since I just finished up the climax of the Angstrofuck of Doom tonight, I thought an update would be in order.
Progress of the main fic: The next chapter is (finally) done, although of a monstrous size — very close to 30k in word length. The chapter after that is mostly fleet battles, reactions and aftermath, and the one after that is mostly positioning for the assault on the Shadow Broker.
After that is another few chapters on findings, the Citadel Council, and Shepard employing Jack Harper levels of sneak and snark. Then shit goes completely off the canon rails once and for all.
Progress of the side fics: Work is continuing on the krogan and volus pieces by other authors. I am in the process of gathering up what I need for the drell. I have all the stuff I need for vorcha, and the yagh, well… we’ll have to see.
After a couple of more updates to the Special Ops guide, once these races are done the Cerberus Files will (finally) be complete, except for the human one which has two more chapters.
I plan to finish up the Encyclopedia Biotica, the Tech Guide, and Ahern’s Guide after that. Once those are wrapped up I can work on Lions.
As usual Naruto fics aren’t officially on the schedule for years yet, although I will do sporadic updates.
Other issues: work is taking up more of my time as we have more contracts now (Comcast, Charter, Nike, and two more I can’t say anything about). Things are somewhat calming down, but they’re doing another set of reorganizations. While these reorgs won’t target my people or business unit, they are affecting the teams that provide support, DBAs and assistance to our team, so it will make things harder in the short term.
My health is… fair. My knee is beginning to cause me problems (I hurt it twenty years ago, when I was in the Navy, along with my back) and I’ve started using a cane when doing my walking exercise. My back is behaving itself — a few times it has hurt a little or felt stiff, but it went away.
My mother’s health is stable.
My finances are not so hot. I’ve had a rash of appliance issues and other problems this year already, not to mention issues with my car. This is the first time in my life I’ve carried more debt than I can simply pay off without ramifications and I find I dislike the experience intensely. I’ll wait and see what happens as the year develops after reviews are done — a raise would help.
Status of the Editing Gang: The EG seems to be doing well, although several of them are having issues (health, financial, mental, or punctuation insanity related) of their own. We haven’t put together a new crackfic eruption yet but give it time. Our listed specializations now include :
- particle and spatial physics
- advanced math
- chemistry (inorganic and some organic)
- metallurgy and ballistics
- psychology (aberrant and clinical)
- medicine (from an actual doctor, not a hack like me)
- cultural anthropology
Patreon and Art Efforts:
So far the Patreon is much appreciated and we are on target for all three of the quoted prices for the main art pieces this year:
1) An image of Shepard facing down Tetrimus at Ilium
2) An image of Tazzik, in the same detail as Tetrimus
3) Line art facials for five or six original characters as well as some canon immigrants (Rasa, Brooks, Pel, Kai Leng, and Ezno).
The original fiction is on hold, but the money has already been invested in the software, research books, and equipment I need to produce and if needed self-publish it. I don’t have a good ETA when I’ll restart it, but if I can get things steady I can give a shot at it by next year.
As always, if you have questions or concerns you can reach me by :
- Messages here or on the forums
- PM on Fanfiction.net LogicalPremise
- Email (viley at att dot net)
- Our official discord
I am giving serious thought to a subreddit, although I certainly won’t be the one setting it up or administering it.
Thank you all for your messages of support and the next chapter will be out as soon as the Editing Gang removes all the pieces I fucked up and makes it all shiny and chrome.
I’ve redone the Cast of OSABC tab completely.
I will continue to update as my patience with CSS continues and I get more artwork done.