Category Archives: Other People’s Actually Decent Art

Current State of the Premiseverse

My fellow (insert your nationality here), the only thing we have to fear…is Conrad Verner.

HEALTH: Additional problems with the herniated/bulging disc in the spine. Surgery does not always fix the core problem that caused it to herniate in the beginning. Right now, sitting for long periods of time tends to aggrivate it, and given my IT job, by the time I get done with work I am usually not in a good place to try to sit down and write. I am going to a chiropractor (one who is shorn of idiotic bullshiat like homopathy and goddamned reiki) which has reduced some of the issues, but I may not be back up to full condition for another week or two.

I may (or may not) feel like writing short pieces in Memories, One Single Raindrop, or Lions in Blue and Silver — work is also pretty hectic.

PERSONAL CRAP: My mother gets final analysis done today on whether or not the lung cancer has been blasted into remission (four weeks of chemo and seven of radiation, we can only hope). Obviously how I end up spending the next several months hinges on whether or not she’s healthy or will need to endure more chemo or possibly surgery. I will admit it has been distracting me (along with the back pain) and if she’s healthy I will have a much clearer head.

If not, I don’t know what will go down. While I make a good amount of money, the costs so far have driven me to almost $15,000 on the credit cards with only about $6,000 in the bank. I still have car payments, bills, insurance and my own medical costs to deal with. If I have to start cutting costs or taking a second job that will obviously preclude much more writing.

FAMILY: My family members in France are, for the moment, safe. My cousin was actually going to go to the Eagles of Death Metal show before he sprained his ankle — he might have died if he had gone as planned. Given the insecurity some of them are feeling some have called me to crash in the United States for a while — another distraction.

THE WORK ITSELF: TWCD is going well enough — it has already surpassed ATTWN in reviews, even though it is 100k words shorter at the moment.  I have most of the Omega chapters at least outlined, as well as the sections after that.

I have made no progress on any of the documentation works (Cerberus Files, Biotic Encyc, STG Files) because of no time to do any research.

No Single Raindrop, Lions in Blue and Silver, and Memories we Forget to Remember have chapters partially done but no serious work finished on them.

 

I wouldn’t expect much out of me this week, as I am hoping rest and ice and chiropractic adjustment to the region will calm things down. I am also on-call this week for work, which means I don’t have a lot of time to sit back and write.

Now that you have listened to a bunch of shit no one cares about, here’s what I need from you:

Two questions.

  1. I have an artist who can do portraits of various OCs — which five do you think should be done first? EX: Dragunov, Cole, Sedanya, Pel, Kyle
  2. I’m looking for anyone interested in overhauling and polishing up the full text of OSABC I and ATTWN on AO3.

On Victor Manswell — a gift from my friend

Victor Manswell n the Chapel at the Holdfast accompanied by his wife Margareta.
Victor Manswell n the Chapel at the Holdfast accompanied by his wife Margareta. Image by Tyler Kelting.

I’ve written a great deal of the Premiseverse, from the backstories and histories of the Thirty to figuring how eezo works. A great deal has been not invented from whole cloth, but rather co-opted by me from existing materials Bioware never used.

Once such element that I have altered is Victor Manswell.

The following are snippets about Victor. They are not by me or my hand, but by someone who read my works and presented their own take on Saint Victor. And yet, such is his iron will, vileness and determination — that I found myself only having to alter the concepts put here in the very smallest of manners.

It is the work of a friend named Julian, and I am interested in thoughts upon it.

From the Historical Annals, Post Reaper Views on Critical Points of History

“… the enigmatic individual usually known as “Victor Manswell” (March 28, 1998? – November 14, 2095). Also known as Markgraf Viktor Alchsneiss Schlossvogt von Hechingen, or as Sankt Viktor der Feuersbrünste. He claimed to be part Prussian, part Baltic German, and able to trace his line back to the House of Hohenzollern. He provided what seemed to be valid genetic proof of his claim, saying that he himself had only recently grown curious enough to run such genetic tests and that therefore he not not previously known of his ancestry. He spoke and moved and behaved every inch like a man telling the truth. But then, Franziska Schanzkowska (1896-1984) very likely believed herself to be truthful in saying that she was the Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov. If the Margrave’s statements were untrue, perhaps he believed them truthful….”

From the Salarian Discourse on Humanity, Volume XII:

“Apparently, “Manswell” had been a close associate of a group of human industrialists and millionaires known as the Bilderburgs. It is disputable if such association translated into influence. What is beyond dispute was that he had over a trillion dollars in gold and in commodities essential to human life — food, water, weapons, prefabricated structures, protective equipment, and other materiél. He controlled where the things he had went, and he controlled where they did not go. The man called Victor Manswell was the richest surviving human being anywhere, and bad things tended to happen to those who questioned him….

From the Systems Alliance Uplifting Infantryman’s Primer:

“… Remembering the enormous contributions of experienced professionals like Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben to the American Revolution, Manswell made use of his personal cadre of expert private military contractors, whom he had handpicked long ago. As he reached out to more and more military contractors on Earth, he recruited them with the food, gold, arms, and medical supplies that he had stockpiled in advance. In particular he recruited from among German, Austrian, French and American mercenaries and defectors to his cause. Then he passed these personnel to his training cadre and send the program’s graduates to train and recruit others, who in turn trained others, and so on. Safe in space, Manswell already had all the necessary specialized support facilities for his new troops, with lavish accommodations for supporting them and their families. This let him control whether those families stayed healthy. Manswell also used a carefully considered system of collective discipline and corporal punishment, one derived from the traditions of Prussia. He moderated his disciplinary system by allowing unit members to reduce   others’ punishments with a voting system, and also to volunteer to endure part of a punishment that another unit member would otherwise receive. …”

On Saint Viktor:  A collection of the Will of Iron:

“… He earned the gratitude of countless Alaskans when he annihilated the so-called “Coordinators.” This tenacious group of organized extortionists, formed from rogue emergency management units, had seized almost all of Alaska’s remaining power and fuel infrastructure. The thugs also had centers of power in other states, and were able to call on thousands of combatants from as far away as Cuba. They were led by the unstable “Chief Commissioner” of the “National Emergency Resource Coordination Commission,” William Cosgrove Hammond, who at times imposed barter prices so high that many people were left burning human waste just to survive the cold. Finally, the Iron Guard under the equally ruthless Mickey Rourke tracked Hammond down as he attempted to flee all the way to a bunker complex in Nevada. He failed to get that far — Manswell had him drawn and quartered.”

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO MANSWELL

To the Archbishop of Germany, on the eve of the assault on France:
“You ask me whether I kill the innocent? Do you make a joke of this? The burning wave of all the works of the wicked is coming to the shore of mankind. It is taller than fifty buildings; it is wreathed in smoke and cinders.  If I do not act to turn that wave aside, then in short years everyone left alive on this planet will be begging me to help them die. And you ask me whether I kill the innocent? What would you do?”

To the refugees of the so-called “Central Authority” of Romania, who protested his heavy-handed rule:

“Until the faces of the debt collectors are reflected in the eyes of burning corpses, humans have a nasty habit of forgetting they’ve even visited the bank. Humanity’s debt now is in a broken planet, in dead populations, in a land that cannot produce food, in air we cannot breathe, water we cannot drink!

I am just the guy restructuring the debt to save your sorry asses. And you’re arguing.”

Excepts from the Journals of Jacen Manswell, on a call from the Family to set aside the SSA war against Earth:

“Neither I nor anyone in this family will stand by while all sinners and all innocents burn alike.  Neither I nor anyone in this family will put down this burden, will look away from the pain, or will disown the Motherland. Neither I nor anyone in this family will shrink from consequences. Neither I nor anyone in this family will suffer disobedience!

Iron does not bend, and it does not break. This meeting is adjourned.”

Excepts from the Journals of Darcen Maxwell, unpublished:
“By the leave of this family — and its many sacrifices —  you are numbered among those who give orders, or who will grow to give them. No one is born with the skill for such, you must learn how to give them.

Sooner or later, you will have to face the microscopic issue of what to do when you are disobeyed by your lessers. In such a case you may well be forced to eliminate the offender — even perhaps to slaughter his defenseless animals, kill everyone he ever knew, blast his homeland to cinders, exterminate his culture and people in their entirety.

Therefore, you had better be damn sure of what you say, what you don’t say, how you say it, and when you speak. You are both blessed and cursed. You have fewer chances to make mistakes than does the man in the street, and sometimes you have no chances to make mistakes at all. I won’t always be here to help you understand the situation.

God help me, sometimes I … don’t … I don’t even … ”

Deathbed conversations : the annals of Maxwell Manswell:

“Enough. Max, you will listen to me. In the cell at the end of that corridor there is an organically alive but societally dead creature, the kind called an enemy of the people. If ever we can no longer kill the few to save the many, then we ourselves must expect death. That is how it must be for me — how it must be in the time of your heirs, their heirs, and theirs, and theirs. You know what is required. Soon I will return here. Don’t make me summon the part of myself that will kill you if you fail.”

The Sermon on the Hill: Victor at the dedication of the Statue of Christ Tormented at Arlington National Memorial:

“God sent his Son to die for our sins. God took back from His Son’s experience a firsthand familiarity with the experience of death, and death holds for Him no fear.

But mark well that for his part, Satan fears death. When we ask why this is so, we must see that unlike God, Satan has no part of himself that has experienced death. What he does know is that his existence is finite. Someday, souls will escape him simply because he is no longer there to turn them to him. This is one reason why, like God, Satan trains humans to magnify his work.

Satan fears death, and knows in advance the shame he will feel for each soul ultimately escaping his grasp. He knows he will not live forever, and from his fear and shame at this, he yearns to guide us to hurt and destroy ourselves.

Satan strives to encourage our belief in disinformation about sin. Satan’s propaganda on this subject falls into four main categories. First is the lie that God does not exist. The second is the lie that there is no sin. The third is the lie that when God promises to forgive the sins of the repentant, God intends to go back on his word. The fourth is the lie that God is some sort of incompetent or charlatan, lacking the power to forgive sin at all.

I find the worst of those who have been convinced by such falsehoods as these. Then I kill them … before they can kill our race.”

Conversations in Yellow: Accumulated memoirs of Shi Kon Chu, First Gong of Family Chu

“I think the risk of one family going to Hell is an acceptable trade for the preservation of humankind. I think the risk of fifteen being cursed for all time by historians and the weak is of no moment.

Extinction threatens us. And it is not an option.”

Another outstanding artist and rendition of Windsor

Thanks to a contribution by Liehtr, I was able to commission, among other things, the following piece.

The artist in question, one mickytaka558, is extremely competent and well worth your money if you are looking for portrait work.

Prince James Windsor, by mickytaka558
Prince James Windsor, by mickytaka558 

 

I’m a bit on fire when it comes to writing today, so expect more stuffs later on.

Working on next TWCD chapter this weekend

I feel like doing so, although I have some running around to do today. Hoping to have something ready to go late today or by Sunday.

I’m still replotting some things in the outline so don’t expect 10k a day blasts anytime soon.

I’m also thinking of adding a ‘donation’ button to defray the cost of paying for related art. I was thinking of having a series of facial sketches done for most or all of the OC’s of importance, but the cost for such a thing is around $40 a pop from most of my favored starving artists.

Considering my finances , I can’t really afford that kind of outlay any time soon. Comment if you think this is worth it or not.

More Trellani and update

I had teeth extracted last week — looks like more problems with the crown I had done. Had another one extracted yesterday, appearantly the crack in the crown let the roots get infected, even though there is nothing wrong with the tooth itself.

*sighs* So that’s another $1400 down the drain. On top of helping to pay for my mother’s cancer, fixing problems with toilets, water heaters and the calipers on my brakes, I estimate I’ve gone through something like $25,000 since December. Ugh.

Given that, I’m not sure how much time will be devoted to writing for the next few weeks, as I’ll need to put in some extra hours. I did a  bit of Naruto writing but only because I’m still having a block on the next part of TWCD.

It’s coming together but the outline I had worked out is not really where I want it so I’m doing some work on that.

Since I wasn’t feeling well, LuckyFK decided to surprise me with some more Trellani, which is (as usual for him) awesomely done. Between that and enough vicodin to bring down Big Boss, I think I’ll be okay to try and write something tomorrow.

Enjoy 😀

Trellani, Travelling by LuckyFK
Trellani, Travelling by LuckyFK

Collectors and the Premiseverse

Horror is like a serpent: always shedding its skin, always changing. And it will always come back in the way you least expect it, catching you by surprise.

 

The funny thing about ME2 is how much sheer potential was allowed to fall by the wayside, and how easy it is to put it back where it belongs.

I’ve had more than one person ask me about why the Collectors wear robes in my story. That’s because they were originally designed that way. The image is from a picture I took from one of the ME Art books.

I have a hobby in collecting the ‘art books’ that come with games. The ones for ME, ME2 and ME3 were particularly fascinating as they showed a ton of content that had been sidelined, ignored, changed or re-shifted to fit the game we know today. Some of the most profound changes came in the ones made to the Collectors.

Sure, the Collectors of the games are creepy — giant insect flying things with glowing eyes, bug-like clouds and weird ships. But they simply don’t back up their smack. Unlike the geth of ME1 and the Reapers of ME3, even on insanity Collectors simply fail to truly cause terror. And in the end, it’s shown they are little more than tools, perhaps without even the ability to alter their fate.

I really have no damned clue what Bioware was intending for them, but it doesn’t matter much as I’ve changed up the nature of what they are. The Collectors will be the first ‘taste’ of the true power of the Reapers, and all the crazy big resources I’ve thrown at Shepard in the lead-up into TWCD will be used and probably not enough to take down the threat. But I also want to explore what it means that they survived, and give a hint of why Saren and Benezia felt the way they did.

I’ll do that in three ways.

First, the Collectors are actually going to demonstrate the crazy technology we keep hearing they have. I won’t spoil anything, but the goal is to make the technology of the Collectors as creepy, sickening and unnatural as the bug-men themselves. Given their tight resources, they are masters at recycling biomass and wreckage, and some of that will bleed over into their tech.

Second, I want to give them a rationale for both continuing to exist and a reason for their activities. We’re told in ME2 that they are twisted, indoctrinated Protheans. But the Codex later tells us that the Reapers left the indoctrinated Protheans to die, so someone is confused. In my version, the purpose of indoctrination remains to break minds and make them obey. But the Reapers are managing more than one galaxy and they need tools to monitor events, identify the best choices for ascension, and act as a back up in case things go wrong. That can’t be done with mindless remote controlled drones, dammit. So they have … something like a culture. Even in the state they are in.

Finally, and most importantly, the Collectors are there to introduce the idea that some of what the Reapers and Leviathans are doing is simply … beyond our comprehension. Some of the science the Shepard Team will find or have to do will uncover really disturbing things, and even the tiny amount of power the Collectors can draw upon to use will be terrifying to deal with. Nazara was an arrogant ass who was completely unaware until too late that he was being played — if he had known he could have wiped the entire Citadel Fleet by himself with a single use of the Godpower.

The Collectors have an identity as tools, but they are ‘smart’ tools. They are looking for their own answers, and have their own plans separate of that of the Reapers. The Collector General is the son of the Prothean who came up with the Beacon project, after all. They made a gamble when it was clear they would lose, and the destruction of Nazara is the first sign the gamble might pay off.

That being said they would never even think about allying with or working with the ‘natives’. They see the Citadel races as barely any more advanced than vorcha, but they don’t dismiss them as a threat, only as being of any real use.

Ultimately, as the heralds of the Reapers, the Collectors and their goals should be horrifying. If you put a few things together it isn’t hard to figure out just what they are planning to do. But the Collector Agenda adds one more layer of things Shepard has to figure out, and is a big part of the divergence in my AU from canon.

Artwork Suggestions

My personal situation is not exactly getting better, as since I make just enough to not qualify for any kind of subsidies, the cost of insurance, prescriptions and just basic living is eating at my savings.

Thus a lot of the highly disposable income I once had is not so disposable anymore. That means, for all of 2015, I will probably only commission one artwork (either from Armesan or NikitaStewart)

It’s a toss up between three choices:

1) The Wedding of Sara and Liara and the Processional of Blades

2) The Final Moment of Benezia

3) A series of colorless sketches for Dragunov, Branson, Tetrimus, and other characters.

 

Interested in people’s thoughts.