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Old 07-24-2014, 11:17 AM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Crossed Swords Dispatches from the Nexus (HotS)

Another story idea occurred to me last week. In essence, I found out Vaeflare is actively seeking fan projects for Heroes of the Storm. I started thinking about what I could do, and ideas started coming to mind.

This is actually the third start on this story. The first attempt got bogged down in pomp and bombast (totally wrong feel), and the second made the protagonist seem ineffectual. I ended up reconceiving the entire undertaking as something more along the lines of All I Ever Wanted to Do Was Study, so perhaps some credit is due to Bolvar for inspiration. What's important is that I succeeded in capturing the zeitgeist of the game (I think).

If anything was demonstrated by writing that opening scene over and over, it was that there needs to be a Nova/Valerian shipping fic. I even outlined it in my head. Why do I think of these things?

In this story, however, we start with the tutorial experience in three parts. That much is written. After that, I would be profiling another character each episode. And yes, there's a bit of headcanon in this opening.
* * * * * * *

The following was transcribed from a recording device found in the caverns beneath Ulduar.

Personal Log, Agent X41822N:
Since my equipment is still working for the most part, I have decided to begin keeping a personal log. I’m sure the handlers back at the Academy would be horrified, but I feel this is this best way to maintain some measure of sanity in this place. Besides, it’s not looking like I’m going to see them again anytime soon—if ever.

I can’t say how long I’ve been here. Time doesn’t exist in the Nexus as we usually think of it. I know only that I’ve been through twenty-five “matches,” the battles we are forced to fight. Somehow, all the clocks on my kit keep getting reset to zero every time a new match begins. The last date I can remember is 04.11.2505, so I assume it must be a few days from that at most. Who knows? If Uther is right and the Nexus really does exist outside time, it could already be a thousand years later in the Koprulu Sector.

I’m making this entry is to record how I got here before I forget. The matches we fight are starting to blur together—to the point I’ve actually resorted to cutting notches into my rifle like a common grunt. I’m a Ghost, dammit! The best Ghost. My mind is my first and best weapon, and here I am struggling to keep my facts straight.

Anyway, my journey to the Nexus started a few weeks before I actually ended up here. I was carrying out Emperor Arcturus’ personal command to find and kill the Queen of Blades. You could say I failed the mission, as seeing the monster laid waste to Korhal IV and killed the emperor. However, I am still alive. My target is still alive. That means it’s still possible to complete my mission, and so I must try.

I had tracked Kerrigan to Agria; why she went there of all places is beyond me. The point is the zerg hive there is small and poorly defended. It was quite possibly a one-time opportunity to take her down. Of course, this would’ve been easier if I’d still had a Dominion task force at my disposal. Unfortunately, our new emperor, Valerian, decided the Queen of Blades was not a threat. In fact, the little bastard sided with her against his own father. What can I say? Dynastic politics creates perverse incentives.

Needless to say, he wasted no time pulling my troops. He tried to pull me too, but I didn’t fall for it. I pressed on. What I hadn’t counted on was that my headset doesn’t allow me to block the emperor’s personal channel. I had to listen to him go on and on for hours about why I didn’t respond to the teep recall, how he needs me to intimidate his enemies, how I’m the only PI 10 humanity has, how my people need me. Did the pampered brat really think my skills could be better applied than by hunting the worst enemy humanity has ever known?

I should’ve known he wouldn’t give up easily. When he called the next day, he had my root code, the secret words that make a Ghost’s orders truly binding. He was babbling something about neural conditioning making me rationalize when I felt it: a strange psionic disturbance forming just meters away. I say strange because a psi disturbance is always accompanied by a linkage back to a psi presence. This one was not. It was just there. The closest thing I can compare it to is when the protoss warp troops directly onto the battlefield, but even that has a linkage back to a place of origin. This was quite literally a portal to nowhere.

The disturbance started to become visible as a shimmering effect in the air. I can’t describe it other than to say it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. It was mesmerizing. It called to me, somehow. The feeling was almost like the order Valerian was trying to get me to break. He’d started reading the words by the time I reached it—I didn’t hear him finish.

Words can’t really describe what happened when I touched the portal. One moment, there was ground under my feet; the next, there wasn’t. I was falling—in all directions at the same time. I had to keep my eyes closed because there was such bright light. It was like being in the middle of a flare—no, a lightning bolt. It was blue. I could sense featureless tunnel walls rushing past, pulling me through more twists and turns than I could count.

It all stopped just as suddenly as it started. I slammed into something—something hard. I was so disoriented, it took me while to figure out that ‘something’ was the floor. Yeah, remember what I said about a Ghost’s mind being her best weapon? If somebody had wanted to finish me off at that point, I wouldn’t have been able to stop them.

Apparently, though, that in itself wasn’t embarrassing enough. There was a man standing right next to me, and I didn’t even realize he was there until he spoke. Where this guy came from, I have no idea, but you should never let someone get the drop on you like that—especially not when you’re a Ghost.

“Greetings, hero, and welcome to the Nexus.” That was all the farther he got before I activated my cloaking field: I was much safer if he thought I was still sprawled on the floor in front of him. My sudden disappearance didn’t have much effect disposition, though. “That’s quite a talent you have there, lass,” he said with a chuckle, “one that will serve you well.”

By the time he finished saying that, I was back on my feet, sizing him up. He was a big man, tall and obviously no stranger to working out. I’d put his age in the mid-forties. He was wearing golden armor—sort of. He had strapped metal plates to his body, with the right shoulder beaten into an eagle. At the time, I thought he was just weighing himself down, but I know better now. That hammer at his side? Very effective.

“I’ve been sent to help you get acclimated to the Nexus,” he continued, “where the greatest heroes from across all of existence are being summoned to fight for honor and glory.” At least, I think he said something like that. The memory’s fading so fast I’m not even sure it was real anymore.

Whatever. While he was busy talking to the floor, I started looking for a way out. The two of us were standing on a metal platform, with strange machinery at each end. Each of them had a frame over a swirling vortex of light. The architecture looked most like dark protoss, but there was something distinctly terran about it. It’s entirely possible I was seeing some far-future creation of our species. It’s also entirely possible I’m trapped in some elaborate protoss mind game. The joys of being a Ghost.

The metal wasn’t the crazy part, though. That’s what was happening around the platform. There were great big pieces of…something drifting up and down. They looked like parts from some shattered surface. Beyond that, there were whole planets circling around, like I was standing in space.

My new friend didn’t seem to think our environment was at all remarkable. “The Nexus is the convergence of all possible realities, so there are some things that may take getting used to,” he said. That’s probably the biggest understatement I’ve ever heard. “My name is Uther—once called the Lightbringer. I was the first to be chosen, and I suspect that’s why I keep getting sent out here to welcome the new arrivals.” That was the first thing he said that didn’t sound scripted.

I tried to get a read on his intentions, but his mind was closed to me. In fact, I haven’t been able to pick up anyone’s thoughts since arriving here. It’s kind of refreshing, actually. I’m starting to think my abilities have been somehow reduced—or, maybe I just can’t read beings from other realities. Somebody in our research department should get on that.

“You know,” Uther said into the silence, “it’s terribly impolite not to tell someone your name once they’ve identified themselves.” I said nothing. The old man seemed friendly enough, but I wasn’t stupid enough to give away my position. Trust me, a split second is all it takes for a subject to go hostile.

I let the silence stretch on. Eventually, Uther hefted his hammer and started walking the perimeter. He probably figured out I wasn’t still on the floor. “I’ve been through this drill before, lass.” He was still friendly, but starting to get an edge. “I know both of us don’t get to leave this little portico until you give me your name.”

I decloaked directly in front of him, rifle aimed for a one-shot kill. “You can call me ‘Nova,’” I told him, “That’s what everybody else does.”

He was surprised—I could tell—but he wasn’t afraid. “Easy, lass. I’m trying to help you.”

“Then you can help me by telling me how to get out of here,” I said. I let him know I meant business.

The look he gave me was so pained I actually lowered my weapon a bit.

“Nothing gets out of here, Nova,” he told me. “All you can do is survive.”
“That…can’t be right,” I said. “Just because you haven’t found the exit, old man, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.”

“Fine,” he said with a resigned look, “go exploring on your own. I should warn you, though: it doesn’t matter which of these portals you take, the Nexus will send you where it wants you.” He gestured to the machines at either end of the platform.

I backed away, keeping my gun trained on him. “These ‘portals,’” I said, “Are they like teleporters?”

He nodded. “You enter in one reality and exit in another. You could say they bind the Nexus together.”

“So if I jumped in there,” I said, risking a glance inside the nearer machine, “where would I end up?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know, lass. You never do. For everyone else, the training ground has been Ravencourt, but you never know when something is about to change.”

I gave him another raised eyebrow. “Rave-what?”
He chuckled. “Go ahead, Nova. I have a feeling I’ll end up right behind you.”

Damn! The golems are up. We’ll have to cut this short. Nova out.

* * * * * * *
While I originally had visions of making a blog and attracting the attention of someone in Irvine, I don't think it's quite that good. Perhaps you can convince me otherwise.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:06 PM
Cemotucu Cemotucu is offline

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I like it. It would be interesting to see how Nova reacts to individuals such as Rehagr Earthfury of Tyrael.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:28 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Orb of Fire Dispatch #2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cemotucu View Post
I like it. It would be interesting to see how Nova reacts to individuals such as Rehagr Earthfury of Tyrael.
Thank you for your interest. Funny you should mention Tyrael, though. Nova is following her own version of the tutorial mission, so he makes an appearance in Dispatch #3. I remain undecided about whether to extend into the "advanced topic" tutorial, just start profiling the other heroes, or just leave it be. I am trying to write an original novel.

I'm not sure why I interpreted Nova as being so sarcastic, but it makes her a blast to write. I don't think Dispatch #2 works quite as well as the other two. The "distractions" are, well, distracting. Also, whoever is playing these heroes really sucks at the game.
* * * * * * *

Personal log, Agent X41822N:
I have now experienced twenty-six matches. With something of a waiting period before the next match begins, I will attempt to finish the record of how I came to be here. Understand this will be an active combat zone as soon as the barrier drops. Distractions are to be expected.

I happen to be standing not far from where I arrived after taking the portal from the arrival platform. It’s hard to tell; nothing ever stays the same for long. At least it was more dignified than my first trip through. Entering a new environment in a standing position is always a plus.

Exactly as he said, Uther was right behind me. He didn’t look the least bit off-balance. “Yes,” he said, looking around, “Ravencourt. This is Diablo’s favorite place to take over.”

I likewise examined our surroundings. We were standing on a dirt path in a forest. “Diablo?” I asked.

“Our second-longest resident,” the old man explained. “Every time there’s a new arrival, I get sent to greet them—and Diablo takes control of the minions in this realm.”

I gave him a skeptical look. Most people don’t openly refer to their employees as minions—but, as I said, things don’t work quite the same way in the Nexus.

Uther just pointed ahead of us. There was a creature milling about, but there was something wrong about it. It was almost like a terran, except its body was grossly misshapen. It moved with a slow, shambling gait like it wasn’t quite sure where it was. Hell, I’m not sure I know anymore, but at least I’m still kicking ass.

“Why don’t you push ahead and destroy a few of those undead minions?” Uther suggested. “We need to let Diablo know you’re here.”

I gave him an even more skeptical look. “I don’t know about you, old man; but last I checked, you don’t win battles by announcing your presence.”

He sighed. “This isn’t really a battle, lass. Think of it more as a training exercise. Minions shouldn’t pose much of a threat to you.”

Turns out he was right. One good hit from the ol’ C-10 and the thing collapsed in a pile of broken bones. There were three more farther down the road, and I started toward them—but the old man stayed right where he was. “You gonna help with this?” I called back.

Uther just laughed. “I’ve had more than enough training, lass. You seem like you can take care of yourself well enough. Besides, I’m going to reappear the next time you need me. That’s what’s always happened before.”

I shrugged and pressed on. I’ve always preferred working alone anyway. Cutting through the minions was childsplay–

Ah, the barrier’s down. Here’s where things get interesting. Sure, you could say it’s stupid to record an audio-log in the middle of combat, but I can probably get away with it, considering what I do. Take shot. Disappear. Take shot. Disappear. It’s what a Ghost always does.

Anyway, I laid waste to the stupid minions. Frankly, they’re the most ineffective army I’ve ever seen, but that’s another rant. The one good thing they did was introduce me to regen globes. These little things have to be the best medical technology in the universe, and our battles would be a hell of a lot more painful without them.

What the– They’re pushing forward already? The towers will cut them to pieces! Take this, moon princess!

Heh. That was fun. As I was saying, there was a town at the end of the path. There was a cobblestone plaza, some vintage buildings, and a squad of troops that looked like they’d walked out of the Dark Ages. Did I mention reality doesn’t work the same in the Nexus? Technology isn’t an advantage here.

Sure enough, Uther was right there. “I’m glad to see you’re progressing, Nova. Diablo has been attacking this town all…whatever time of day it is.” At least the old man has a sense of humor. “He should be…ah.”

Right on cue, lights started swirling at the far end of town. The stones actually melted into a pool of lava and a red, hulking…thing came crawling out of it. Let’s just say Diablo gets pretty damned powerful when a new arrival comes through. “You dare stand before the Lord of Terror?” he challenged. “I wonder…how tastes your fear, mortal?”

I lifted my rifle and took aim at the crystal rammed through his head. “Is that supposed to scare me?” I taunted. “I don’t know what you are, but I’m a Ghost. Eliminating unknowns is what we do. Care to try me?”

Big Red just laughed. He can be really unsettling when he does that. “Fear masked with aggression—my favorite kind!” More swirling lights, and he was gone. That happens a lot here.

I looked over at Uther. “Let me guess: I’m supposed to kill him now.”
The old man smiled. “That is the end objective.”

“Well,” I told him, “I’m sort of an expert at that.”
He chuckled. “Then go to it, lass. Keep trying out your abilities on the minions, and you should know what to do by the time you reach him.” The last thing I heard him say as I moved out was, “Just like Valla.”

Ooh, tributes are spawning. This is where things get interesting. Time to get in position. When I reached Diablo, our minions were zerg-rushing him in his own town. They were no more a match for him than they were for me, but it was enough to leave him injured—sort of like what Brightwing and Li Li are doing with Stitches over there. Let’s see if we can even this up, shall we?

That’s better. I announced my presence to Diablo in my favorite way: with a killshot. Well, it would’ve been a killshot on anybody else. Big Red is really tough for some reason. I also discovered opening fire breaks my cloak—which it’s been doing ever since I got here. On the other hand, it’s gotten so easy I don’t really have to think about keeping it up anymore. An acceptable trade, I suppose.

Needless to say, my target wasn’t too happy about getting shot. Nobody ever is. “This realm—and all the misbegotten souls within it—are mine!” he proclaimed. He has thing for souls, I guess. He started to charge me, but I pinned him back and got off a few more rounds. Speaking of which, that tribute is mine, thank you!

Anyway, when he died, his body dissolved into thin air. At least the Nexus is clean. Somehow, he managed to yell his last words: “I will hunt your soul across eternity, November Terra!” Hey, Diablo is creepy, but you learn to ignore him after a while. It did set me wondering who this ‘November Terra’ was, though. Was that my name before I became a Ghost? How would he know that? If I ever get out of here, maybe I should take Valerian up on his offer—before I kill the bastard, of course.

Dammit! Zeratul’s on my tail. This is gonna take everything I’ve got. Nova out.
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:07 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Haste Dispatch #3

In resolution to my own dilemma, I took the liberty of expanding this entry to include the second tutorial mission. It turns out there isn't much in it. I should say the Nova I'm writing here lacks the "deadly focus" in the character description, but she's just so darned funny I can't help myself.

Also, it's a weird feeling when you have to stop and ask yourself, "What would Diablo say to that?"
* * * * * * *

Personal log, Agent X41822N:
I have now experienced twenty-seven matches. This is the third installment of my arrival account. It will hopefully be the last; there’s not too much left to tell. Once Diablo was down, Uther had me teleport back with my hearthstone. This little rock is amazing. It’s quite literally a teleporter in your pocket. All you have to do is activate it, and boom! You’re back at the hall of storms for your team. No idea where it came from: it just appeared in my kit sometime after I arrived.

Unsurprisingly, Uther was beside me the moment the flash cleared. The two of us were standing in front of the biggest portal I’d seen yet, my first time in a proper hall of storms. “You’ve done well, lass,” he said, “but this is not over yet.”

I will admit I actually facepalmed when he said this. “Not over?! I just killed him! How much more ‘over’ can you get?”

The old man gave a pained smile. “Death doesn’t work quite the same way in the Nexus. Diablo will be back. To truly defeat him, you’ll have to win the match.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Okay. How do I do that?”

Uther gestured around where we were standing. “This is the hall of storms. Heroes are summoned here when a battle begins,” he explained. “The objective is always to destroy the enemy’s core, while protecting our own from their attacks.” He pointed to the giant bird statue in the middle of our base. “Both cores summon minions, who travel down the pathway in endless waves. Left to their own devices, they’ll just stalemate in the middle; but–”

“If we help them, they’ll push through and take out the core,” I finished. “Not my first time in a battle, old man.”

He nodded. “Good. Go out to the front lines and start making an impact.”

That was no problem for me. Breaking an impasse is the job Ghosts get on the battlefield. I only got to the front gates of our base before I was confronted with yet another one of those things in the Nexus that takes getting used to. See, the Nexus is the convergence of all possible realities, so some of our so-called “heroes” can be a little out there. There was—quite literally—a pile of rotting meat walking toward me. “Stitches want to play!” it shouted.

“Not very bright, that one,” Uther called from behind. “Attacking a fort by yourself is practically suicide.”
I shrugged. “I guess that’s one thing that’s the same here.”

The old man wasn’t kidding. The base defenses tore our friend Stitches to pieces in a matter of seconds. Uther shouted some final advice as I left. “Stay behind the minions; let them soak up the damage. The enemy towers will always target them first.” That’s one of the most important lessons in the Nexus: minions equals meatshield. They’re sort of the marines and zerglings of the Nexus. No assault should be staged without them.

Naturally, I let the minions take the brunt of the enemy fire while I worked on the towers. Who knew a sniper rifle could be so effective against a fortified emplacement? Once his front gate was in ruins, Diablo came out to meet us. “Your minions pose no challenge!” he declared. “Now, I will feast upon your terror!” Believe me, the guy has a serious ego problem.

“You won’t be getting any terror from me,” I told him. “In fact, I have half a mind to rip that crystal out of your head and use it to make sure you won’t be feasting on anything.”

Big Red started toward me, trying to look imposing. “You please me, November Terra. Fear fills every fiber of your being, so much a part of you that you aren’t even aware of its presence.”

“Stitches love fiber!” shouted a voice to my right. Suddenly, I got a sinking feeling. I was facing both of them at once. The only option was trigger my cloaking field, but Meat-Pile was too fast for me. The one thing he’s good at—aside from clearing rooms—is hauling things in on his hook. I landed directly between Stitches and Diablo, never a good place to be. They both took swings at me and–

Everything went white. For a few seconds, I couldn’t see, hear, or feel anything at all. The next thing I knew, I was standing next to Uther back at the hall of storms. I appeared to be uninjured, though I will admit to being pretty shaken—which is saying something for a Ghost. “Did I just…die?” I asked.

“Yes,” the old man replied. “Luckily, death in the Nexus is no more permanent for you than it is for Diablo. It’s just a setback, really.” He smiled knowingly. “How about if I join you for the next sortie? That ought to even the scales a bit.”

He was certainly right about that. Remember what I said about his hammer? Stitches didn’t last long; neither did the inner defense tower. Trust me, Uther may be over the hill, but he’s no pushover. We don’t have those here in the Nexus.

Diablo went down soon after his lackey, leaving his core undefended. Maybe if they’d, you know, faced us together, they’d have had a chance. I guess demon lords don’t think about cooperation. Like I said: ego problem.

When he respawned and found his core destroyed, Big Red practically threw a fit. “This cannot be! I am the Lord of Terror! The Burning Hells march at my command!”

“You’re seeming less scary by the minute,” I told him. I briefly considered shooting him again just for being such a jerk.

Diablo’s most annoying habit, though, has to be his love of sweeping proclamations about future events. “I will have my vengeance, November Terra! This is not over!” I still don’t know what he did, but there were more flashes of light. In seconds, we were facing not two, but five opponents.

I wasn’t liking those odds. I was about to suggest a retreat when a voice spoke behind me. “Still picking on mortals, are we?” I risked looking back. Apparently, Uther called for reinforcements too. The speaker was a black-armored woman with a red hood and cape.

“Fairness has never mattered to demons, Valla,” said a golden-armored man with wings. Did I mention he was flying? It’s things like that that keep me wondering if I’m going to wake up in a psych ward somewhere.

Our third backup was wearing blue CMC armor with the serial 435 and a decal of Kyla Velassi on the left shoulder. I couldn’t help but turn to him in shock. “What the hell?” I shouted, “You’re dead!”

He just hefted the sizable autocannon he was carrying. “Do I look dead to you, missy? Now, let’s get this done.”

As much as I hate to admit it, Findlay was right. The five of us got to work on Diablo and his henchmen. There were casualties, of course, but we all kept respawning. I was not pleased. Being an assassin is very frustrating when nobody stays dead. It makes life pretty pointless.

Luckily for us, Uther had a plan. While our backup covered the lanes, he showed me how the locals could be “recruited” for our cause. I can’t say they’re pretty, but they’re damn good at throwing rocks. Their psychology leaves something to be desired too: knock them around to show them you mean business, and suddenly they’ll fight to the death for you. Were they abused as kids, or something?

Anyway, once the siege giants were on our side, the whole team formed up around them and made a concerted push into Diablo’s base. And exactly as before, Team Red didn’t pull together until it was too late. Later, I found out he’d stacked his team with other world-destroying rulers, so maybe that’s not so surprising. The result was the same, though: loss of the match. Since then, I’ve been reappearing at one hall of storms after another.

Since I appear to be the last member of Team Blue left alive, I suppose it’s time to get back in the fight. Nova out.

* * * * * * *
And now I leave it up to you, dear readers. Do you think this is worth continuing?
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:56 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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Who's Vaelflare?
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:20 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Who's Vaelflare?
Kimberly LeCrone (aka "Vaeflare") is a CM for Heroes. She makes me seem quite sane by comparison.

EDIT: 70+ views on this thread and NOBODY has an opinion?
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:23 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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Kimberly LeCrone (aka "Vaeflare") is a CM for Heroes. She makes me seem quite sane by comparison.

EDIT: 70+ views on this thread and NOBODY has an opinion?
It's good writing so far.

I don't personally really picture Nova as giving that much of a damn about Arcturus dying or Valerian not going after Kerrigan but that's pretty subjective stuff.
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:45 PM
Cemotucu Cemotucu is offline

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Kimberly LeCrone (aka "Vaeflare") is a CM for Heroes. She makes me seem quite sane by comparison.

EDIT: 70+ views on this thread and NOBODY has an opinion?
I like the writting. The challenge for you, now, is to create a history that develops in a nexus of dimensions where infinite nonsensical duels take place.

I mean... the scenario is cool, but there is not a lot of lore/history (apparently) to follow. That might be good: think of it as a tabula rasa for you to fill. However, I think that if you engaged in some kind of quest for answers, you should try not to explain it all: the Nexus' charm is its mistery.
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Old 08-01-2014, 06:05 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Originally Posted by Mutterscrawl View Post
It's good writing so far.

I don't personally really picture Nova as giving that much of a damn about Arcturus dying or Valerian not going after Kerrigan but that's pretty subjective stuff.
Well, there's bit of implied headcanon going on there. The idea was that Dominion officials would "program" the Ghosts to think their current mission was all-important. Naturally, the emperor would want his most powerful agent to think he was some kind of infallible god.

When Valerian took power, one of his first acts was to call all Ghost agents still in the field back to the Academy so their neural conditioning could be undone. He's trying to build a "kinder, gentler Dominion," after all. This was issued as a mandatory telepathic summons that left the receivers powerless to resist; hence, Winneleah's behavior in Project Blackstone.

Nova, however, did not respond to the order because Arcturus had given her a binding "kill command" that could only be cancelled by himself personally. With him dead, there is no longer any way to remove the imperative short of forcibly shoving her into the re-socialization rig -- which is pretty hard to do with a PI 10. This was a major plot point in the earlier, third-person drafts. Sadly, it got glossed over in the perspective-change.

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Originally Posted by Cemotucu View Post
I like the writting. The challenge for you, now, is to create a history that develops in a nexus of dimensions where infinite nonsensical duels take place.

I mean... the scenario is cool, but there is not a lot of lore/history (apparently) to follow. That might be good: think of it as a tabula rasa for you to fill. However, I think that if you engaged in some kind of quest for answers, you should try not to explain it all: the Nexus' charm is its mistery.
A "quest for answers" plot wasn't really what I had in mind. It was more Nova relating her perceptions of her fellow-travelers and the experiences she has with them -- with plenty of snark, of course. I'm still unsure why that happened, though. The canon Nova is arrogant and headstrong, yes; but she hasn't been sarcastic, to my knowledge. It was just one of those "story takes on a life of its own" things. Maybe it was the cinematic?

Now, I had just resolved not to take this project any further when I came back and found your responses. Thank you for your encouraging words. I will give another round of consideration to either getting to work on Valla or just posting my unused ideas.
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:15 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Orb of Slow Dispatch #4

Ladies and gentlemen, I have come to a decision. There will be at least one more post after this one. It turns out these personal write-ups don't take all that long, so this shouldn't interfere too much with other work.

There's less snark in this one, but people generally don't make jokes that the expense of those they like. "Silly Nova" was laying it on much too thick in Dispatches 2 and 3 -- to the point I have half a mind to re-do them to dial it back. Unfortunately, that's probably not a good use of time in a "blow off steam" project.

As a general rule, November Anabella Terra does not respect anyone who isn't November Anabella Terra. It was an interesting exercise to see how she handles the exceptions.
* * * * * * *

Personal log, Agent X41822N:
I have now experienced thirty-one matches. With the report on my arrival done, I’ll need more material to keep these entries coming. “Just find something and write about it;” that’s what Valla says. Well, the obvious “something” is motley collection of other prisoners. Uther doesn’t like it when I use that word to describe us, but that’s the one that fits. The old man just can’t seem to get it through his head that some alien entity is holding us here.

In any case, Uther said the Nexus was abducting the greatest heroes from all possible realities. I’m not sure I’d agree. It’s more like the rejects of all possible realities. Why I was included in this apparent band of misfits is beyond me. I had a job, a purpose. At least there’s one other person here who slipped through the Nexus’ questionable tastes.

I first met Valla when she showed up as reinforcements in the final showdown with Diablo, though we didn’t get the chance to talk. She’s quiet—and more than a little on the moody side. Most of us are larger-than-life personalities. Valla just blends in. She caught my attention because she does something nobody else here does: before every match, while the barrier is up, Valla takes out ink and a quill and writes a few lines on paper. It’s old-fashioned, but it fits with her kit.

I asked her what she was doing. She said she’s writing letters to her sister. I’d been through enough matches by that point to realize the improbability of escape, which I pointed out. She gave a barely perceptible smile and said, “It helps to keep me sane.”

About ten matches later, I started to see what she meant. The Nexus is a battlefield. You kill. You die. You come back. The action only ever lets up for a minute or two at most. Then, it’s off to the next match, where you do it all over again. To make it even worse, we’re doing it just so Team Red or Team Blue can claim a victory. It’s like some kind of sick game.

That’s why I’m glad to have someone who understands me. Even back in the Dominion, I didn’t have that. One look, one smile, and I know exactly what Valla’s thinking—no telepathy required. She’s saved my ass more times than I can count, and I’ve returned the favor. Sure, her eyes glow and her crossbows are antiques, but I’m always happy to have her on my team.

Now, if only she hadn’t gotten a whole match worth of Murky kills without me. It's not fair! Wait, did I just see– Well I’ll be damned. Fish-boy is here and Valla is not. All right, glow-eyes, let’s see who gets over a hundred first. Nova out.

* * * * * * *
For some reason, it only made sense for the "ranged female assassins" to become friends. Having a competition to kill Murky more times seems like the sort of thing a pair of "hunter mentality" characters would do. Does it fit? I don't know. The canon Nova would be very slow to let down her guard -- as would canon Valla. Maybe they were drawn together by their mutual standoff.

The next entry will probably be a fair bit bigger, as it involves interactions among quite a few more characters.
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:36 AM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Panda Dispatch #5

Well, it took a fair bit longer than expected to get around to this again. As promised, Dispatch #5 is considerably longer than its predecessor. I think you'll understand why this was necessary.

Actually, the writing of another entry in a mostly-abandoned project had more to do with the realization of a joke. It suddenly occurred to me that one of the big perks that would come from working a Blizzard is the ability to tease people about future content. Even if it's just temporary, the inside information, combined with personal connections and the infamous NDA, creates an opportunity for a lifetime of taunting, as Omacron has so ably demonstrated. I just imagined myself saying, "I don't dare say any more than that, man. Last time I flirted with the NDA, they sent Nova to knock me around a little. I mean, as much as I actually kind of enjoyed that, she said next time I get Kargath -- and I really don't want to find out if she was serious."

Naturally, having mentioned you-know-who, I started thinking about this again. This will have to be squeezed in where possible among other things, of course, but I now intend to do some more with it. Things will likely start drifting toward Cemotucu's idea, so thanks for that.

EDIT: A potential variation would work great for live interviews. Start to answer the question, then suddenly look up in the rafters. "Uh-oh. I just caught a blonde ponytail up there. I think that was my warning." Do it, Metzen!
* * * * * * *

Personal log, Agent X41822N:
I have now experienced thirty-six matches. Things are really starting to blur together, and the Nexus is taking a toll on me. I’m a Ghost, dammit. I have years of mental conditioning that would drive an ordinary terran mad, but even I’m starting to wonder how much more of this I can take.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m fine with fighting. A Ghost very much is a weapon. It’s just all so…pointless. In the Dominion, my job was obvious: find, kill, disappear. Everything I did helped the emperor rule the sector. In the Nexus, there is no cause to fight for, or even an emperor to serve. You just keep killing and dying—only to switch sides in the next match. Strange as it might sound, just fighting with the same group would make me feel better. At least then we could be doing it for each other.

Whoever is in charge of this place is one sick bastard. I say that because one of the teammates I’ve had over the last few matches is a little kid. Kids do not belong in combat zones—and certainly not in futile ones. At least I think she’s a kid. She claims to be eleven years old. She looks and acts like a kid, but I’ve never met a “pandaren” before. Li Li looks like a cross between a terran and some kind of carnivore, perhaps a bear. It’d take someone with a degree in Old Earth biology could say for sure.

What sets Li Li apart is her incorrigible personality. I didn’t even think it was possible for a kid to have this much fight in her. Maybe that’s what attracted the Nexus. She actually went toe-to-toe with Arthas. Okay, what she really did was set a dragon on him to cover her exit, but she wasn’t afraid of him. I might add that was a very stupid thing to do. Let me assure you, Arthas has a much bigger dragon at his disposal.

Speaking of dragons, one thing you don’t want to get Li Li started on is pets. She’s apparently had a lot of them, and she can go on for hours about each one and all the adventures she had with it. I’ll admit her enthusiasm was kind of cute at first, but she’ll keep going for the whole damn match if you let her. More to the point, having someone talking at you is not at all helpful when you’re trying to disappear. To make matters worse, she’s still hellbent on collecting more pets—and she has her heart set on Brightwing. That evil bug needs to be kept as far away from children as possible.

Ugh, there I go again. Li Li seems to have that effect on everybody, though. We all feel this weird need to protect her—or at least go easy on her. I guess I can’t quite say all of us. Diablo has made a point of harassing her, for example. I should add that anyone who does manage to hurt Li Li will have to answer to Sonya, her self-appointed guardian. Trust me, that’s one crazy bitch you don’t want to piss off.

Li Li herself seems amused by the protection she gets. In fact, I’d say she actually kind of resents it. She openly taunts anybody she thinks is holding back on her. On the other hand, she never hesitates to run when the situation turns ugly. She’s certainly far from helpless—I’ve seen her pull off some surprisingly advanced martial arts moves—but she’s in trouble against any opponent who isn’t caught by surprise.

If you’re willing to let her tag along with you, though, Li Li can be a big help. Her little dragon and ability to conjure windstorms out of nothing are perfect for distracting opponents. But where Li Li really shines is in healing. Ask her to toss you a drink (no idea where she’s getting the stuff), and you’ll be back on your feet no matter what just hit you. I can’t say much for the taste, but it’s a hell of a lot less painful than dying. Li Li says she learned to make her magic potion from her uncle Chen, who she practically worships. Uncle Chen this, Uncle Chen that. He’s the other topic you need to steer her away from. “When Uncle Chen gets here…” is her go-to threat any time things don’t go her way. I hate to break this to you, kid, but you’re not going to see him again. The Nexus doesn’t work on wishes.

Having Li Li around did make me wonder if I was like her once. Then I remembered that I asked to be mind-wiped, and suddenly I wasn’t so nostalgic. I must’ve been abused or something. I always say looking forward is more important than looking back, and I wouldn’t mind a few more matches with the kid—if she could shut up for more than a few seconds at a time. Nova out.

* * * * * * *
As you can see, my Nova is still quite a bit off from the established one, but she's pretty much taken on a life of her own at this point -- which is really the more important consideration. Every so often, though, I do make corrections about "Nova wouldn't use that word" or "Nova wouldn't phrase it that way." For example, an earlier draft of this dispatch included the line "What kind of sicko kidnaps children and forces them to fight? Well, aside from the Ghost Program, of course." As hilarious as that was, I eventually decided Nova's sensibilities would be a bit more jaded than that.

Still, in my experience, people who go around acting tough are really just covering something up. Even if she doesn't remember it, there's a part of Nova who is still the terrified girl lost and alone in the Gutter. Li Li kind of forces her to face that -- if only she knew what was happening.

Now, since the "poll" feature only allows twelve options, who would you like to see Nova profile?
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Old 10-16-2014, 04:21 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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In this story, however, we start with the tutorial experience


Let me find a Youtube video of the tutorial, before I check this out...
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Old 11-06-2014, 05:39 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Lumber (War3) Dispatch #6

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Let me find a Youtube video of the tutorial, before I check this out...
You don't NEED to see the tutorial experience to understand; you'll just find it more funny if you do. Go ahead and start reading.

General Announcement: Since "November" happens to be someone's name, I will try to put up a Dispatch every week this month. And you'll all be so preoccupied with BlizzCon hype, you'll never even know! Hee, hee.

At this point, I've pretty much given up trying to keep Nova in character. I'm just doing what "feels right." Maybe I should've chosen one of the new characters to be my lens in the world. The Nexus According to Sgt. Hammer would've been interesting.
* * * * * * *

Personal log, Agent X41822N:
I have now experienced thirty-nine matches. I’m counting the last one, even though I wasn’t there for all of it. It seems I landed myself a spot on the welcoming committee. Not sure what—if anything—I did to deserve the job, but there I was, porting in behind the new guy—exactly as happened in my first match. The interesting part was his identity: the illustrious James Raynor. He seemed surprisingly happy to see me, considering our last contact was me hauling the cowboy in to face execution.

On the other hand, if the Nexus pulled him from a year ago, his good-natured response to my teasing would make perfect sense. Valla noted once that even though she’s fought Diablo a few times, the one here as no memory of her. She said his appearance better matches a drawing from twenty years ago. If the Nexus is pulling people in from different times, that would also explain how Tychus is alive here.

Whoever’s calling the shots around here, I must be in their favor. Being one the first friendly faces a new arrival sees means they want people to see me. I’m less certain how to feel about the whole thing, though. How do you react to someone who should hate you when they don’t hate you? Anyway, I guess I have night terrors to hunt. Nova out.

* * * * * * *
So, that was a bit short, but cranking these things out is going to do that. Just so you know, there's a plot point coming, and I'd like to have at least one more character profile before it happens. Suggestions, anyone?
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Old 11-07-2014, 02:03 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Started reading; quite enjoyable!

I'm curious if they will encounter Chen or, gasp, Kerrigan. Not sure what you can do when your stated mission (assassinate Kerrigan) is infinitely possible and impossible.
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Old 11-13-2014, 05:51 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Orb of Frost Dispatch #7

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Not sure what you can do when your stated mission (assassinate Kerrigan) is infinitely possible and impossible.
Glad to see I'm not the only one thinking ahead!

So... A funny thing happened on the way to this post. I was going to write about how Muradin still has a vendetta against Arthas. Instead, this came out. I'm still scratching my head.
* * * * * * *

Personal log, Agent X41822N:
I have now experienced forty-one matches. All this pointless fighting is wearing on me again. See, fighting side-by-side is a bonding experience. We’ve known that for thousands of years. But bonding one moment and then killing them the next is pure torture. I…suppose that’s why Ghosts are taught to avoid emotional attachment. You can’t really help it, though. Ghosts are still human, after all.

I shouldn’t even be thinking about this. Get in, do your job, get out. Infiltrate, kill, disappear. Never think more deeply about it because the results are too painful. That’s what they taught us at the Academy, and I’m increasingly convinced they were right. Discipline, Nova, keep yourself under control. You’re a Ghost—the best Ghost.

And yet, the Dominion feels more and more like another life. What’s the point of following rules set by someone I’m never going to see again? Well, maybe not never. Who knows? Raynor and Findlay both showed up. What’s to stop the next arrival from being Emperor Arcturus? Damn. I’d have to kill him! I couldn’t do that—even if I had to die over and over for ten matches straight. He’s our strength, our rock, our savior. We can’t survive without him.

No. No personal feelings. Do your job. Your mission is all that matters. Pull yourself together, Nova. Ugh. It’s like my controls are slipping. Is this why it’s standard procedure to wipe a Ghost after every mission? I’m starting to think I need it. Nova out.

* * * * * * *
Like I said, I'm not sure where that came from. I did intend to show Nova's humanity beginning to conflict with her programming, so things got carried away, I guess.
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Old 11-23-2014, 02:18 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Orb of Frost Dispatch #8

First, let me apologize for being so late with this. In RL, I got a new job and moved to a place that had no internet access for the first week. Things have been set up now, so hopefully there won't be another delay. As things stand, it appears the last post of my "November in November" special event will now be in December. Oh well.

This post grew out of what I intended to do with the previous one. It ended up going much longer than expected, which delayed things even further. Whether intentionally or not, some of Nova's closing philosophy in the previous post forms an ironic contrast with the attitudes she expresses in this one. I think that's actually a good thing, as I've found nothing humanizes a character quite like a healthy dose of hypocrisy.
* * * * * * *

Personal log, Agent X41822N:
I have now experienced forty-five matches. Having fought beside almost all the other prisoners more than once, I’m beginning to find many of them have prior relationships. I’ve always been a proponent of leaving the past behind, but it seems like the Nexus has a funny way of throwing the past in your face. Take, for example, an encounter I observed between Muradin and Arthas. Being cloaked has its advantages.

First, understand Arthas is an armored colossus who creates ice out of nothing everywhere he goes. You can feel him coming from a good fifty meters out even if you don’t see him. Then again, having seen what he can do, let me say he has no need to hide himself. Muradin is a burly man with an axe and a hammer who actually seems to be enjoying his time in the Nexus. He’s obviously crazy—considering that and the amount of time he spends styling his beard. Oh, and I should probably mention he’s short; as in barely taller than my waist. I would never have expected these two had anything in common, but it appears they have quite a history.

I’d followed Shorty down into the Haunted Mines to collect skulls for our team’s golem. I’m still not clear on how this works, but let’s just say whichever team kills more of the walking skeletons gets a bigger bone-monster to crush opposing forts. Me going down was a no-brainer: scoring quick kills is sort of my specialty.

As you might expect, I was laying waste like nobody’s business. Suddenly, I came around a bend to find Shorty and Iceheart going at it. Now, most of the fights that happen during our matches have a degree of “I’d rather not be here doing this” to them. Not this one. Those two were really, truly trying to kill each other.

“Should ne’er told ye about that blade, Arthas! I turned a good man intae a monster.” Yes, Shorty really does talk like that.

“Nonsense, Muradin,” Arthas replied. “Frostmourne was my destiny even then. You have my thanks for helping me along.” Iceheart has a flare for the dramatic—not quite the level of Diablo, but there’s nothing he loves more than delivering a physical and verbal riposte at the same time.

“Oh, yes? Was that the part where ye left me tae die? Some gratitude ye have there, princeling!” Shorty tried to charge him again, probably to deliver one of his famous punches. Believe me, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of his fist.

Before he could get there, though, Arthas froze him to the spot and delivered a heavy blow of his own. The duel went from a tossup to decidedly in Iceheart’s favor. “Well, had you actually died, I could’ve given you a place of honor in my kingdom. Unfortunately, you did not. A pity.”

Why he stopped there, I don’t know. See, that’s one of those things I’ve learned about the Nexus: the bigger and scarier somebody looks, the more likely they are to waste time on making speeches. Ghosts don’t do that. We may stop and observe when something unexpected happens, but it doesn’t put the mission on hold. That’s why I wasted him right there. No speeches, no grand entrance—just straight-up surprise. Iceheart was already pretty banged up from his altercation with Shorty, so he went down fast.

Muradin was glaring daggers at me for the entire rest of the match, even though I’d turned a Blue Team kill into a Red Team kill. I think he was angry at me for stealing “his” kill, which is stupid because he did it himself five more times before the match was over. Personal scores have no place in combat.

Neither do personal attachments, I might add. You should see how Tyrande and Malfurion avoid each other every time they end up on opposite sides. There was one time, in Blackheart’s Bay, when Malfurion went running by, loaded with Doubloons. He had exactly enough to satisfy the captain’s demand for tribute for the Red Team. Tryande was right with me on Blue. I would’ve had him if she’d dropped one of her marks on him—but no! She just stands there. Our forts took a serious beating from Blackheart’s guns because Moon Princess couldn’t bring herself to harm her precious manbearpig. Jerk.

Later, Valla told me they were married before they got here, but that’s no excuse. We have new lives now, just like when I became a Ghost. The past is the past, and you have to leave it behind. If you don’t, it’ll destroy you. The present is the only moment that matters, and it’s where your mind should stay. In my present, the Dragon Knight is heading up my lane, and I have no support. Really? Looks like I have the worst team yet. Nova out.

* * * * * * *
In closing remarks, I want to point out this is my first time working in first-person. This has been an eye-opening experience, much like my first attempt at a short story. This much I can say for sure: Your choice of protagonist matters WAY more in 1st than it does in 3rd. A character like Nova is actually more interesting when we can't see what's going on under the hood. Her mystique is a big part of her appeal.
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Old 11-23-2014, 05:40 PM
Cemotucu Cemotucu is offline

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I absolutely enjoyed all the entries. Hope we'll se more of them coming!
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Old 11-23-2014, 07:08 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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I absolutely enjoyed all the entries. Hope we'll se more of them coming!
De nada. It was you first gave me a push toward doing something bigger than the original concept; and now that the battlegrounds have some lore attached to them, I will. Let's just say some big changes are about to drop.
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Old 11-23-2014, 09:01 PM
Cemotucu Cemotucu is offline

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De nada. It was you first gave me a push toward doing something bigger than the original concept; and now that the battlegrounds have some lore attached to them, I will. Let's just say some big changes are about to drop.
Interesting. Can't wait to read about those changes.

I have to say that I can't wait to hear more about the universe of Raven Court. I wonder if it will be explored in another IP.
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Old 11-24-2014, 11:40 AM
C9H20 C9H20 is offline

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I absolutely enjoyed all the entries. Hope we'll se more of them coming!
Likewise.

I figure HotS is an excellent setting to explore the silly ideas Blizzard has surely amassed over the years as they wrote their franchises. To be honest I think Warcraft is already a joke, they can at least let go fully in HotS.
Interactions between various beings that now inhabit it and the inherent absurdities of their situation and mutual differences is comedic material that just writes itself. I hope Blizzard capitalizes on this with short stories now and again.

I am completely happy if HotS "story" never leaves the realm of one shot comedy, just funny story after funny story without ever advancing anything. Given their latest stories, this is probably for the best as well.
BUT, as you DarkAngel have begun exploring, there is a dark side to this all. An existential nightmare that Nexus represents if taken seriously. A place of no escape, no rest, no purpose... no hope. Just endless, arbitrary war and pain, no real chance to get close to someone lest you need to shoot them moments later.

There is a story there, of people either giving in to despair and insanity or trying to make sense of it all, try to normalize this place as much as they can and just maybe figure it out and escape... or at least change the rules.
That approach reminds me a lot of Erfworld, a good webcomic. It too explores the inherent horribleness of a gaming system that is also a functioning universe. You might want to check it out, its a great comic and maybe it gives you some ideas.

Anyhow, enjoyed it quite a bit and I hope you keep on writing. I might focus more on your writing next time rather than overarching story principles but I will say that your particular take on Nova doesn't matter as much as keeping that particular take consistent, which you do.
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:45 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Panda Dispatch #9

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you the finale to my "November in November" special event, complete with promised "bold new direction." Thanks to all of you for inspiration.
* * * * * * *

Personal log, November Terra:
It sounds strange to hear those words, but that is—was—my name: November Anabella Terra. These memories…I can see why I didn’t want them. Getting them back so suddenly was a shock I can’t even describe. It was like all that pain I’d skipped by having them wiped got delivered all at once. There are exactly fifty notches in my rifle, but I know that’s not an accurate count. There’s no telling how many matches I spent curled in a fetal position bawling my eyes out. Yes, me. The Dominion’s best Ghost, reduced to a useless, blubbering mess in front of her peers. I should be angry, but I’m just so…numb.

Pull yourself together, Nova. Deep breaths. You are strong. You can handle this. I am recording this message to remember how I reached this state. Chen says any major failure in life must be followed by careful reflection, or you’ll be doomed to repeat it. I will try to take his advice. I owe him that much.

Things went out of control when I arrived in Cursed Hollow for what would’ve been my fifty-first match. I was nowhere near a hall of storms, so it was obvious I’d landed a second stint on the welcoming committee. I couldn’t believe who was standing in front of me: the Queen of Blades. After all this, there she was, handed to me on a platter. She wasn’t even aware of my presence. Something clicked in my mind. I had my shot, and I took it.

I don’t know what happened next. There was a blinding light, a sensation like the tunnel that brought me here—except I wasn’t moving. I was suspended somehow. An incomprehensible presence touched my mind. No, more than one. More like five—maybe ten?

Come on, hold yourself together. I am a Ghost –the best Ghost. As a PI 10, I am the most powerful Terran known to exist. I have spent years honing my mind and building defenses against mental attack. These beings tore through them like they weren’t even there. I’ve never been caught in a Protoss psi-storm, but that’s the closest thing I can think of.

There was a time I would’ve called a papercut “pain.” After this, I don’t think even being shot qualifies any more. It felt like these beings were doing surgery on my mind—with no anesthetic. It was the most horrific, searing pain imaginable. No, it wasn’t imaginable. I certainly couldn’t. It was so horrible I wanted to die, but they wouldn’t let me. All at once, my wiped memories—these awful memories—came rushing back. I guess they were never really gone, just blocked somehow.

The next thing I knew, I was at a hall of storms in the Garden of Terror. The beings—whatever they were—expected me to just go on as before. I couldn’t do it. I collapsed on the ground and cried like a baby. I have no idea why. The match ended, and I got moved to the next one. It was Blackheart’s Bay, I think. I hadn’t gotten up. I still didn’t get up. I just couldn’t do it.

Matches went by, one after another. I don’t doubt the teams unlucky enough to get me weren’t doing very well. I got yelled at a few times—someone even kicked me. I just sat there, useless. I have no idea how many matches passed this way, but it was a lot. I haven’t felt so helpless since…well, let’s not go there.

Then, I heard a strange voice. “You look like you could use a drink.” I looked up. My vision was too blurred to make out much more than a cup being thrust in my direction. Everybody knows accepting drinks from strangers is a really bad idea, right? I guess I just didn’t care any more. Whatever was in that cup, it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted. Something about it made me feel better almost instantly. Chen certainly knows his brew.

I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? When I got my first good look at the stranger, I realized he was big—and hairy. In fact, he looked a lot like what Li Li might grow into someday. “Thank you,” I said, “whoever you are.”

“Chen,” he replied, “Chen Stormstout.” He sat down beside me and poured a round for himself. Something about that name was familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it. It only hit me later that I'd just met the missing Uncle Chen. Well, I'm sure they'll find each other eventually.

I looked out across the battleground. The match had already started. “Shouldn’t you be out there?” I asked.

Chen shrugged. “I belong where I am most needed. Right now, that is here. It is part of the Wanderer’s Way: to help those who are in distress.”

I shook my head. “Yeah, I suppose I qualify at the moment.”
My new friend chuckled. “You certainly do. Tell me, what happened to you?”

So, I told him. I told him about my former life as a Ghost—and the neural conditioning that went with it. I told him what my conditioning had made me do. I told him what happened as a result. I told him how the Nexus makes you kill your friends. I told him how it’s impossible to escape. I told him everything. I know: stupid, stupid, stupid. But somehow, it made me feel better even more than the drink did.

Chen didn’t interrupt or try to make me feel small or weak. His only reaction was to show concern about the last parts. He just sat there, patiently listening to my troubles, even as our team’s core was destroyed in front of us. I don’t know where he is now, but Chen gave me the strength to keep going. I’m going to have a lot of work to do to rebuild my reputation, but that’s just a matter of time. I do still have my Ghost training after all. Nova out.

* * * * * * *
So, when videogame characters don't behave as expected, they get reprogrammed. Get it?

Now, re-reading this, I kind of feel like it came out choppy. This was sort of intentional, in that Nova is upset. I envisioned her taking a lot of calming breaths and suffering disjointed thoughts. That doesn't come out so well in print. Oh well, this was an experiment to begin with. This is, as I've said, my first time working in first person. It's also my first attempt at an asshole protagonist, though that may be lessened now that she has some trauma issues to work through. Or, was her former superiority complex simply a defense mechanism she developed the first time she faced these memories? Hmmm. I guess you could say that you have to lose yourself before you can find yourself, and our friend November may have to construct a new identity.

Also, I'm starting to wonder if I should make a fanfiction.net account to use as a portfolio. I don't mean it's bad to link people here, but it's not..."reputable." The drawback is that it doesn't let you backdate things to when they were actually written.

And finally, "Chen Rescues Nova" needs a picture. Anyone?
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Old 01-04-2015, 07:04 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Orb of Fire Dispatch #10

Just a heads up to everybody: these posts will dial back to about one a month now that the special event is over. There is a story arc in motion here, but it may take some time to develop. This post turned out short, in large part because the other ideas it was to use grew into items that warranted their own dispatches. Besides, ten is a nice round number that makes a better beginning than nine.
* * * * * * *

Personal log, November Terra:
I have endured five more matches since my encounter with the strange beings. Having some space from the incident has allowed me to reflect. Actually, I can’t stop thinking about it. Whatever they did left a mark in my psyche as deep as anything the Dominion did. It’s weird. I was somehow able to sense their minds—something I haven’t been able to do since the Nexus took me. What I saw there is etched as deeply as…that other day.

The beings weren’t “punishing” me; they were “fixing” me. I acted in a way they didn’t expect, and they wanted to stop it from happening again. I guess they succeeded on that part. But there was more: I got the impression they’ve been pulling people and places from everywhere in an effort to create…something. There are more of us coming, many more. What are they building? Why? Had I been rational at the time, I might’ve gotten answers on those questions. Needless to say, I wasn’t thinking rationally. You try to have a logical investigation while someone is flaying you alive.

For the moment, though, it’s obvious we’re expected to behave in a certain way—or we’ll be “adjusted” until we do. We’re supposed to fight, as we’ve been doing. I can do that. The trick will be making it look like I’m fighting while searching for cracks in our prison. These beings are unbelievably powerful, but they’re not all-knowing. Somewhere in this hellhole, there is a weakness, and I will find it. Nova out.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:13 PM
Cemotucu Cemotucu is offline

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Ah, so you are going to star addresing the masters of the Nexus. I am really interested to know your take on that obscure matter. Congrats for the last two dispatches, BTW!
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:41 AM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cemotucu View Post
Congrats for the last two dispatches, BTW!
Um...why?
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:56 AM
Cemotucu Cemotucu is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
Um...why?
They are great as usual! Sorry if the phrase was weird; I think I unconsciously translated it from Spanish.
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