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  #51  
Old 05-02-2015, 11:15 AM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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It's even more obvious in the colonists dilemma, if you stand by the colonists the infestation is mild, a cure is found and the protoss don't mind your defiance at all and consider the battle to be a glorious test of their mettle (despite presumably losing many valuable pilots and soldiers).
If you decide that they are beyond saving, protoss don't engage, you face a massive infestation, no cure is found and the doctor/love interest turns out to be infested and Raynor has to put her down. : /
*raises hand* Doesn't Hansen have to die either way? That would make the Swarm lead-ins really awkward...

I wonder if the "reality warping" has anything to do with the company philosophy about right answers and wrong answers.
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Old 05-02-2015, 01:56 PM
C9H20 C9H20 is offline

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*raises hand* Doesn't Hansen have to die either way? That would make the Swarm lead-ins really awkward...

I wonder if the "reality warping" has anything to do with the company philosophy about right answers and wrong answers.
Actually Hansen survives canonically, but again the message was that Raynor just can't go back to a normal life... except with Kerrigan apparently

Despite what it might seem, I am not one of the haters. I don't even dislike the romance plot but I do think Blizzard might be focusing on it too hard.
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  #53  
Old 05-02-2015, 02:31 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Actually Hansen survives canonically,
But Project Blackstone said-- Oh, never mind. The joys of multi-author franchises.
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Old 05-02-2015, 06:27 PM
C9H20 C9H20 is offline

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But Project Blackstone said-- Oh, never mind. The joys of multi-author franchises.
Actually you mixed up Ariel with Maren (short story, Broken Wide), the former is mama Hanson's daughter and the latter, who is dead, is Ayers'.

/only nerd things
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  #55  
Old 05-02-2015, 07:09 PM
Malygos Malygos is offline

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They're both quite dead. What I found funny is that Talen never finds the fate of Maren, who is definitely dead. This follows the cleanse path.

edit: Did Chen leak Nova's breakdown or the incident of jumping off Sky Temple?

edit2: I misread the exchange. Meinhoff is the Outbreak mission, which is pre-Haven. She's alive, although her mother thinks she isn't.

Last edited by Malygos; 05-02-2015 at 08:58 PM..
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  #56  
Old 05-03-2015, 05:44 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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edit: Did Chen leak Nova's breakdown or the incident of jumping off Sky Temple?
Just the breakdown. Not even Valla knows about Sky Temple yet. The point is that word is out about Nova's goals.

In analysis, the exchange between Nova and Sgt. Hammer is a disaster because each pushes the other's triggers. Bama will never give up her tank, and Nova is offended by implications of weakness. Why didn't I notice that before?
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  #57  
Old 05-26-2015, 02:11 PM
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Orb of Frost Dispatch #15

With fully open beta under way, it's time for another Dispatch. This ended up being late because my initial idea didn't pan out. I ended up having to start in the middle and write the beginning last -- which seems to work rather well, actually. Just as a heads up about future plans, I'm aiming to get Nova "outside" in time for the official launch next week. Better get a move on...
* * * * * * *

Personal log, November Terra:
Seven matches after my first sortie outside a battleground, I tried again. I was playing Blue Team on Blackheart’s Bay. The battleground is built around boardwalks, with architecture ripped straight from a cheesy movie. We’re supposed to collect gold coins and give them to the crazy pirate captain so he’ll turn his cannons on the enemy. Real original, right? The Nexus is like some kind of twisted theme park.


Under the boardwalk, though, is water. Lots of water. How hard could it be to swim around the back wall of our base? Pretty damn hard, as it turns out. Those sharks up on the docks? The bay is full of them. They were on me seconds after I hit the water. There are no fun ways to die, but it seems like escaping is always worse than staying and fighting.


After that, I went back to playing along. I relieved a few skeletons of their gold and headed for the battleground’s namesake. Blackheart is always standing in the middle, waiting for us to drop our loads in his treasure chest. I was about to make the drop when I had a thought: if Uther and Diablo have been here since the beginning, how long has Blackheart been here? In light of my encounter with Uther, I was considering how to pump him for information—but he started things for me. “Ye gonna gimme yer gold, poppet, or keep it fer yerself?”


I’m a Ghost. I don’t like surprises—and I certainly don’t like being caught off-guard—but the filthy cur managed to do it. There is no way anyone can see a cloaked Ghost without special equipment, and this guy is a few centuries behind. Yet somehow, he knew exactly where I was. There was nothing to do but decloak and make use of the opening. “You know, I really can’t decide.” That’s how trade negotiation works, right? Act disinterested, get him to sweeten the deal. I think. I haven’t had much use for niceties since…becoming a Ghost.


Captain Stereotype glared at me. “Ye don’ have no use fer it, poppet. Give it here and I puts it toward yer team’s count.”


I gave him my best coy smile. “Maybe I just think it looks pretty.”


He retaliated with a grin full of rotting, broken teeth. “Red Team’s tally be ten doubloons. Your pieces makes it a tie. How far ye want to fall behind, poppet?”


At that point, I lost it. Whatever a ‘poppet’ is, it sounded pretty condescending. He had to be on to my game anyway. “How the hell can you see a Ghost?” I demanded.


Again, that disgusting grin. Don’t they have dentists where he came from? “For starters, me love, I be a ghost too.” He meant it. Literally. The man turned almost transparent right in front of me. Look, I’ve had to put up with a lot of crazy, supernatural shit since coming here, but his tone was intolerable. I slapped him—only for my hand to go right through him. He laughed like it was the funniest thing ever. “I see ye befit yer combatant’s mark, poppet, but ye can’t lay hand on me. ‘Tis the rules.”


“My…what?”


“Yer mark.” He traced a shape in the air. “All of ye bear the mark o’ the combatant. It defines yer role in the magic that governs this place. It keeps track o’ who be on what team, who be heroes, and who be minions. That be how I spot ye, me love. I don’t need to see ya to know where ye be.”


“That’s how they’re tracking us!” I said out loud. “This mark, would it activate defenses to keep us from leaving?”


I’m really starting to hate that grin of his. He flashed it again. “Aye. As I believe ye’ve found, the waters in the bay make fer difficult swimmin’.” His laugh told me he knew about my experimental foray.


“Is there any way to remove this mark?”


He leaned closer. “Nay. Far as I know, it be indelible.” Boy am I glad Captain Stereotype is a literal ghost. He had to have smelled wonderful in life.


“I see. Have you seen any holes in these defenses?”


“Also nay, poppet. Our hosts be quite thorough about ensurin’ we all fill our proper roles. Reminds me o’ how I run me own ship.”


I looked over his so-called ship. “Uh, huh. Sure you wouldn’t be better off mounting your cannons in a pile of scrap wood?”


Blackheart glared dangerously. “It ain’t be wise to go insultin’ a sailor’s ship.”


I glared right back. “Yeah? Come at me.” If he hit me, there was a chance he’d face our captors like I did.


Unfortunately, he didn’t take the bait. He leaned back and laughed again. Come to think of it, his laugh has to be even more annoying than the grin. “Full of fight, aren’t we, poppet? Me bonnie lass be like that too."


I was utterly appalled. “Bonnie lass? You had a girlfriend?”


“Aye, and she’d be in her rightful place at me side if that bumbling cretin hadn’t come between us. I spent years a-fightin’ the guy. ‘Brush him aside!’ I says, but no, the fool just keep comin’ back. If-” At that point, he stopped talking and started laughing again. Why? Because shards of ice somehow rained from the sky on a clear day and cut me to pieces. The last thing I saw before I died was a blonde woman in a hood making a deposit for Red Team. I haven’t seen her before, which makes the ambush all the more embarrassing. Okay, so it was stupid staying out in the open for so long, but I got some useful information for once. Something about that symbol he traced seemed very familiar, like I’ve seen it everywhere.


In the meantime, Blondie is going to die—a lot. Nova out.


* * * * * * *
So, anyone catch the reference to a certain pirate-themed puzzle game franchise? I can't be the only one who got that from Blackheart. Unfortunately, I had to let Nova slide out of character a bit to pull it off. She really doesn't belong conducting interviews without the subject being on a rack.
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  #58  
Old 05-31-2015, 04:07 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Lumber (War3) Dispatch #16

I can't believe it! I actually beat my deadline! Not only that, I did while taking things slowly. Hopefully, this is a bit higher quality product as a result.
* * * * * * *

Personal log, November Terra:
Nova, if you’re listening to this, ditch your hearthstone. Do it now and don’t look back. This is a confirmed lead. I am making copies of this message on every device that can store data, just in case. If I get caught, there’s always the chance they’ll miss one. These jailers are powerful, but not infallible.


Confirmation came in the very next match after my breakthrough with Blackheart. I got stuck with Red Team on Cursed Hollow. Nothing unusual about that. But who showed up on Blue Team? Kerrigan. Look, I know we weren’t friends before we got captured, and our introduction here in the Nexus wasn’t exactly a happy one, but this is uncalled for. Listening to her, you’d think I took a crap in her cereal every morning for a year. Bullshit. I only ever did my job. Nothing more, nothing less. If she can’t deal with it, that’s her problem.


Things got so bad I had to start avoiding her because she’d focus everything on me the moment I took a shot at anyone. It’s just plain stupid. You can’t pull out of an active engagement to chase after some petty vendetta. She’s as much a liability to her own team as to the enemy. Still think she was worth saving, Cowboy? I hope you’re happy.


I was staying under cover in a circle of stones when a red cape caught my eye. Valla was back. Sure, we were supposed to be enemies in this match, but I decloaked and waved her closer. What was the worst she could do? Kill me? Besides, I needed to know if she was still on my side. The long time since our last contact had me wondering.


She gave me that half-smile of hers. “Nova. It’s good to see you again. Much has happened since our parting.”


I nodded. “Same here. Did you get anything out of Uther?”
Her smile vanished. “There is little to report, I fear. Lord Uther speaks of many changes that have happened in his time here, though none are truly useful to our cause. It seems the minions have been through many changes of appearance. Broken cores once yielded crystals, not gold. This,” she gestured around, “was once the only battleground there was.”


“That would get boring. I thought this place was bad now.”
The smile returned, I think. Glow-eyes can be so hard to read sometimes. “Indeed. Unfortunately, it appears he never had an interest in escape.”


“Weird. You’d think with all his knight-in-shining-armor act he’d be obsessed with freeing the captives.”
She raised an eyebrow. “My thoughts exactly. There is something not right about that man. I suspect our hosts had to alter him far more than you.”


I snorted. “Serves him right.”
Valla fixed me with a piercing glare, like she was looking inside me. “Nova, if there is anything I have learned from asking these questions, it is that we will need as many helpers aiding us as we can find. Understand that the Nexus requires us to do unpleasant things to each other. We cannot afford to be…judgmental.”


“And what makes you say that?” I said dangerously. What is it with this place? First Chen turns on me, now Valla too?


Her expression was unreadable. “Just moments ago, I met a most agreeable young lady by the name of Jaina Proudmoore. It appears the two of you already have a history.”


Seriously? She was siding with Blondie over me? “Yeah?” I shot back. “She didn’t seem very agreeable when I met her.”
“That’s what I mean. A search for allies requires you to overlook things.”


I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “Are you seriously expecting me to start kissing asses? I–”
She held up a hand to cut me off. “No. I am simply asking you not to make so many enemies.”


I scowled, maybe more that I intended. “It’s not my fault I’m surrounded by assholes.”
Valla just gave me that same unreadable look. “That may be so, but–” She stopped suddenly. “Kerrigan is coming.”


“How…?” I made a quick tac anal. The results weren’t good. Our meeting place was accessible only by a narrow passage. Best hiding place in the battleground if you’re trying to stay invisible, deathtrap if you’re seen.
Valla turned. “I will lead her away. Use your hearthstone.” She was away like a shot before I could respond.


There was nothing to do but do as she said. I pulled the rock out of my pack and activated it. As so many times before, the carved symbol glowed brightly. That was when I saw it. The mark—the one Blackheart traced in the air—was in my hand. Valla was gone, but I shouted after her anyway. “Valla! Your hearthstone! It’s the chain keeping you here!” I have no idea if she heard me because that was the moment everything went white. When I found myself at the hall of storms, I did the one thing I could: I headed straight for the south lane.


The moment I was out of town, I went for the trees. I didn’t expect to reach them, and I wasn’t disappointed. The invisible wall was right where I expected it to be, complete with nasty shock. I checked my rear. My only company was the minions in the lane. I reached into my pouch, pulled out my hearthstone, and let it drop. I reached forward again. Nothing. I reached farther, waving around just to make sure. Nothing. I took a step, then another. Still nothing. I made sure my cloak was up and hit the treeline.


Sitrep at present: I am in a forest with only the vague sense of being southeast from where I started. I have no maps and no navigation. A thick mist rolled in over the last hour, but my IR is cutting through it with no problem. It feels like it could start raining at any moment. If it does, I’ll have to stop—not that I know where I’m going anyway.


I can only hope Valla heard me. Having a partner would let us both cover more ground. That’s assuming she’s still on my side, though. After our last contact, I’m still not sure. Why did we have to leave things like this? No. Just keep going, Nova. That’s what you’ve always done. It’ll have to be enough this time too. Nova out.

* * * * * * *
Whew! That turned into more of a characterization exercise than expected. That's good, right? Then again, I had intended for Nova to at least say something about what she discovered. Instead, she got all defensive and the conversation never had the chance to go there.
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  #59  
Old 05-31-2015, 08:46 PM
Cemotucu Cemotucu is offline

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Awesome, awesome, awesome! Can't wait for more
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  #60  
Old 06-01-2015, 10:50 AM
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Awesome, awesome, awesome! Can't wait for more
I would never have thought of it if you hadn't wanted to know more about Raven Court! You never know where a good idea is going to come from.
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  #61  
Old 06-05-2015, 06:21 AM
C9H20 C9H20 is offline

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I've loved the last two updates but I just didn't have anything to say, basically I am checking in and letting you know its awesome and you should keep going.

I wonder if your Jaina is like the one I envisioned, hmm.
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  #62  
Old 06-16-2015, 07:25 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Bloodlust Dispatch #17

Ladies and gentlemen, we are back with more of the story! The argument could be made for splitting this up between two installments, but it felt like they needed to be together. While the result is long, I think you will find it very fun.
* * * * * * *

Personal log, November Terra:
My device clocks have reached almost twenty-four hours since the start of my last match, the first time they’ve gone much beyond twenty-four minutes since the Nexus took me. Things have changed so much in that time I don’t even know where to begin. I can confirm Raven Court exists outside the Battlegrounds. It’s a whole other world—hell, a whole other universe. Maybe it’s best if I start from the beginning.

I wandered through the forest more or less at random for the first two hours after my escape from Cursed Hollow. It was eerily silent. I’m certain I was the only thing moving in that mist—and, if half the things I’ve been told are true, I’m lucky to be alive. I guess I should be thankful my cloaking field takes so little effort now. Just when I was starting think the forest continued forever, I stumbled on a road. It wasn’t much, just a dirt path cut through the trees. If I hadn’t had my IR, I’d have walked right past it. But, it meant I wasn’t alone out here. I picked a direction and started following it.

An hour after that, the path brought me to a village. It wasn’t much either, just a collection of wooden shacks. From what I could tell, it was as deserted as the forest. I was wrong. There was no movement the whole time I staked out the perimeter, but things got ugly the moment I ventured inside. I happened to turn around as I was taking inventory of the buildings. A man had come out of one of the shacks after I’d passed. How he managed to move so quietly is beyond me. Old, wooden buildings are full of creaks, something a smart Ghost avoids.

My first thought was to withdraw. The moment I turned, though, it became obvious that wasn’t an option. There were three of them on my first count, which jumped to five on the second. They were all coming from different buildings. I was surrounded. There was nothing to do but stay put and wait for an opening. I studied them as they came closer. They were dressed like the peasants you’d expect in a place like this, but something was horribly wrong. They all looked like they hadn’t bathed or changed clothes in months, but that wasn’t what put me on edge. It was the way they moved. It was like they were all brain-damaged, yet every motion was utterly silent. There were no birds, no rain, no wind to make the shacks sway. The only sound was me.

I held perfectly still. I even restrained my breathing, but they kept inching closer. They couldn’t see me, but it was like they could smell me. They knew I was there. I could only wait for them as they closed into point-blank range. It was only a matter of time before one bumped into me, and that would be too late. The C-10 is great for long range shots, but it’s more useful as a staff in close quarters. The only option I had left was to fight my way out before they got that close—and that was stupidly risky.

I turned in a slow circle, sizing up my opponents. One of them was a woman in a tattered dress. Figuring her legs would be restricted, I put my back to her and fired as fast I could. The first three took headshots in under three seconds. Good thing I’m such a damn good shot. However, all five of them charged the moment my cloak dropped. They were much faster than I’d expected. Number four got close enough to grab my rifle if he’d wanted to. I had just enough time to put two rounds in his chest.

That left number five. She was on me before I could do any more than swing my rifle between us. She grabbed a hold of it, and a brief shoving match followed. I lost. Hard. Something was very, very wrong. She looked emaciated, but she threw a trained Ghost in peak condition around like a doll. She snarled, revealing fangs of at least four centimeters. Whatever these things were, they weren’t human.

Flat on my back, I raised my rifle and squeezed off one more round. The recoil made it go wide. Yes, I know rifles don’t work one-handed, but I didn’t have time to aim properly. Even if I’d made the shot, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Somehow, my previous targets, each of which took a killshot from the Dominion’s finest assassin, were moving. Not only were they moving, they were getting up. I was surrounded by impossibly strong, impossible-to-kill creatures. I was dead. No question.

Except I wasn’t. My attention was pulled from my attackers when something wet splashed over me. I heard a scream. It was a weird, animal scream. The woman, about to come down on top of me, suddenly pulled back, her flesh blistering. Ever seen an old vid of a firebat at work? It was kind of like that—except with water instead of fire. Something purple vaulted over me, landing in front of the rising creatures. A pair of one-handed crossbows unfolded from it with practiced ease. Before I could even get up, all of my attackers were impaled with wooden stakes. This time, they did not rise.

My unexpected backup walked over and offered me her hand to help me up—for her it was. “You fight well, stranger, but your weapons are useless in this war.”

I knew that voice. I looked into her eyes as she pulled me up. They were glowing. “Valla?” I asked. It was her—and yet not her. The face was the same. The voice was the same. The outfit was mostly the same too. The main difference was that the reds had been replaced by purples. Instead of a hood, a brimmed hat overshadowed her face.

She immediately stepped back and drew one bow. “You know my name. How?” she demanded.

I decided reaching for my rifle would be a bad idea. Besides, at this range, her reflexes wouldn’t be able to pull the trigger before I redirected the shot. I am a trained Ghost. “Valla, it’s me, Nova.”

Her eyes narrowed. “You speak as if we know each other,” she observed.
“Of course we know each other! We’ve been fighting endless battles since we got here!”

“Unlikely. You are not equipped to fight vampires—as your encounter here just proved.”
“No, you idiot! In the battlegrounds!” I pointed in the general direction I’d come from.

She was unmoved. “An escapee from the Battlegrounds? Interesting. We were told that was impossible.”
I took a step back. “You’re not the Valla I know…are you?”

“Apparently not. Tell me, Nova, how is it you escaped when all others have failed?”
I paused. What if she was working for the jailors? “My hearthstone.”

“Your what?” It was almost amusing to see the confusion cracking through her mask.
I tried to explain as quickly as I could. “My hearthstone. We all carry this little rock that can teleport us back to our base. Apparently, it also triggers the defenses that keep us in. I got rid of mine and walked right out.”

I could see the wheels moving in her head, and not in a good way. “So…more could follow—if they knew.”
“Wait, who’s side…”

“Here, put these on.” She tossed a pair handcuffs at my feet.
I looked at her. “Excuse me?”

“I don’t know if I can trust you, and we mustn’t linger here. The Countess’ collectors are everywhere.”
She was nuts, plain and simple—just like everyone else in the Nexus. “Absolutely not!” I said, stamping my foot. “We’re on the same side here!”

Valla just stared back, perfect poker face. “Shall I leave you to your friends, then? You have seen for yourself that you cannot fight them.”
I sighed. There really wasn’t a choice here. “All right, fine. Just make sure you bring my rifle with us.”

“Understood. You first.”
I reached down and picked up the restraints. They were not handcuffs like we use. These were heavy, iron shackles. I glared at her as I clipped them around my wrists. I don’t think I need to mention that she was unmoved. Once I was bound, she indicated for me to move away from my rifle, which I did. She seemed to find it heavy. Serves her right.

This…other Valla marched me west from the village to a hidden cave in the woods. She told me to stay here until she returned. She still hasn’t. I am currently tucked behind some barrels, hoping to get the drop on anyone who comes. My hands may be bound, but I can still cloak. I guess nobody told her a Ghost is almost as dangerous with her hands bound as free. The one thing I don’t have is my rifle, which is locked in a heavy box—though it looks like I could break it out if I really wanted to. That’s one thing that isn’t going in my after-action report. A Ghost is supposed to die before surrendering her weapon. Heh. Actually, I guess I have—quite a few times.

Still, I do wonder about these two Vallas. How can two people have the same name and the same face? Did someone set up a cloning operation around here? What happens if the Valla I know follows me and meets her other self? It would be nice to have a clear, concise mission briefing for once.

It’s funny, but I find myself hoping my Valla does come find me. I just wish I could’ve told her properly. I have a feeling she’ll connect the dots eventually, though. She’s not stupid. Agh. I’d better shut up before I get too sentimental. Nova out.

* * * * * * *
So, yeah. We're going off the reservation. Way off. Slight character deviation at the end there, though. Nova buries her regrets and most certainly doesn't get philosophical.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:18 PM
Cemotucu Cemotucu is offline

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I love, love, love this. I wondered when we would start seeing the Alternates! Well played. Can't wait to see Nova's reaction when she learns about Countess von Kerrigan.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:19 PM
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edit2: I misread the exchange. Meinhoff is the Outbreak mission, which is pre-Haven. She's alive, although her mother thinks she isn't.
Someone's got to update the wiki.


Also, any thoughts on the 'teams' as they appear in the trailer?

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Old 06-17-2015, 03:45 AM
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Great update, and it was certainly not too long
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:53 AM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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I love, love, love this. I wondered when we would start seeing the Alternates! Well played. Can't wait to see Nova's reaction when she learns about Countess von Kerrigan.
I originally was going to ignore the alternate skins to keep the cast roster under control. However, once we went out into the realms, it was a must. That's where all the lore is. There may be a Ghost Nova versus Spectre Nova subplot in the future...

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Also, any thoughts on the 'teams' as they appear in the trailer?
Evil:
  • The Skeleton King
  • The Butcher
  • Diablo
  • Sylvanas
  • Prisoner Tychus
  • Kerrigan
  • Arthas
  • Zagara
  • Azmodan
  • Abathur
  • Anub'arak
  • Illidan (shows up for charging shot)

Good:
  • Johanna
  • The Monk (Mikulov?)
  • Tyrael
  • Amazon Nova
  • Thrall
  • Malfurion
  • Zeratul
  • Raynor
  • Jaina
  • Tyrande
  • The Lost Vikings
  • Tassadar
  • Muradin
  • Chen (shows up for charging shot)

Looks to me like the "evil" group consists of demons, undead, and zerg -- the bad guys in their respective universes. The "good" group is a showcase of unambiguous hero archetypes. Both groups also include a new skin, which has the bonus effect of replacing the antagonistic Nova with a D2 hero.

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Great update, and it was certainly not too long
When a diversion eats two days, it's too long. No good way to separate the fight from the rescue, though.
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Old 07-02-2015, 11:37 AM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Something interesting I happened to notice:

Nova is right handed (SC2):


Nova is left handed (HotS):


From this, we must conclude they are not the same person! Thank you, Novazon, for bringing this to my attention.

In other news, further updates may be delayed due to me getting hired to work on a project. And I was so looking forward to Valla's vampire-hunting crew!
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Old 07-03-2015, 04:04 PM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Orb of Lightning Finally caught up

I like the idea of this project, but it suffers from inconstant vision and occasionally stilted writing. I’m very glad you decided to switch out the “Nova talks to herself” plot for the “Nova and possibly others seek escape from the unending nightmare that is the Nexus,” but the shift in tone and direction is somewhat marked. If I were you, I might have taken some time to reevaluate my narrative intentions and then revised the first few entries according to the new vision, but I’m both obsessive and compulsive.

Maybe I’m just adjusting to your voice, but it seems like your writing gets stronger with subsequent dispatches. In the beginning there were bits, particularly in dispatch 2, which sounded pretty awkward.

You’ll probably get away with a few liberties with regard to Nova’s personality. She doesn’t really have any characteristics in the games. But I think your attribution of a concern for child soldiers early on was misplayed, and I think if you had the current plot in mind from the start you might have done interesting things with the gradual degradation of her mental health, taking her from a cold, cynical, stoic killer in dispatch 1 to the impulsive and mentally frayed state she seems to be stabilizing toward.

I like the ironic hypocrisy Nova sometimes exhibits. Like when she calls out Tyrande and Furion but balks at the prospect of killing Mengsk, or when she bitches about Kerrigan holding a grudge and then fights Valla over whether she should let go of her animosity toward Jaina.

It’s fun to imagine how other characters might react to the knowledge of the masters and what they’ve done. I think Abathur would sympathize. Illidan would covet their power for himself, but convince himself he seeks it only so he could free the captive heroes. Lobotomite-Uther is an interesting character.

If we’re casting votes for the Warcraft character we’d like to join our heroes, I'd vote for Kael or Illidan.
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Old 07-05-2015, 04:00 PM
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I like the idea of this project, but it suffers from inconstant vision and occasionally stilted writing. I’m very glad you decided to switch out the “Nova talks to herself” plot for the “Nova and possibly others seek escape from the unending nightmare that is the Nexus,” but the shift in tone and direction is somewhat marked.
That inconsistent vision is largely because the vision changed. While the original concept was funny, the lack of narrative direction made it hard to keep reading. That's probably the biggest "lesson learned" from this project. Having an actual plot was something I stumbled into more or less by accident, but once I realized it was the missing element, I started running with it. Thus things transformed from a project done strictly "4 teh lulz" to one with at least some serious aspect. The addition of some degree of logic also helped.

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If I were you, I might have taken some time to reevaluate my narrative intentions and then revised the first few entries according to the new vision, but I’m both obsessive and compulsive.
Second drafts are very hard to justify for a work of fanfiction. When you're doing something strictly for fun and for the experience, you have to accept your losses and move on.

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Maybe I’m just adjusting to your voice, but it seems like your writing gets stronger with subsequent dispatches. In the beginning there were bits, particularly in dispatch 2, which sounded pretty awkward.
Part of the problem is that Dispatches Nova was "born" at roughly the same time as an original character with substantial similarities. It was sort of inevitable that the two would start bleeding together, which I consider another lesson of this project. However, one is a trained, professional killer; the other is merely a teenage sociopath. (I seem to be going through a bad girls phase.) While I like to think I've managed to separate them now, you correctly identify Dispatch #2 as the low point in that respect. In my defense, Raynor is also out of character when he does these things, and the same responses have to be triggered.

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You’ll probably get away with a few liberties with regard to Nova’s personality. She doesn’t really have any characteristics in the games. But I think your attribution of a concern for child soldiers early on was misplayed, and I think if you had the current plot in mind from the start you might have done interesting things with the gradual degradation of her mental health, taking her from a cold, cynical, stoic killer in dispatch 1 to the impulsive and mentally frayed state she seems to be stabilizing toward.
Maybe it's just me, but I have difficulty seeing Nova's stone-cold persona as being much more than a front. She's just too young. At least Valla can claim to have been through an intensive, discipline-focused training (like that nifty self-deceit trick). Manga-era Nova could be quite impulsive, though I have no idea if she mellowed out later. Instead, I focused on the idea that being a professonal killer forces you to avoid making friends and imagine everyone else as inferior. That habit of making up derisive nicknames for everyone she meets is almost endearing.

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I like the ironic hypocrisy Nova sometimes exhibits. Like when she calls out Tyrande and Furion but balks at the prospect of killing Mengsk, or when she bitches about Kerrigan holding a grudge and then fights Valla over whether she should let go of her animosity toward Jaina.
Glad someone noticed. It's one of those funny things I've noticed about people that they tend to see their own shortcomings in others. I was sort going for that idea with the child soldier thing too, but it was a bridge too far, looking back. Then again, that was in the "in no way serious" era, so there was no reason not to.

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It’s fun to imagine how other characters might react to the knowledge of the masters and what they’ve done. I think Abathur would sympathize. Illidan would covet their power for himself, but convince himself he seeks it only so he could free the captive heroes. Lobotomite-Uther is an interesting character.
Ooh! Good idea! Now the villains club can have a purpose. It'll be quite a while before they show up, though.

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If we’re casting votes for the Warcraft character we’d like to join our heroes, I'd vote for Kael or Illidan.
I'm starting to like Illidan more and more.
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Old 07-05-2015, 04:20 PM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Orb of Lightning

As word spreads regarding the function of the Hearthstones, I think it would be cool to see other groups of heroes going rogue in addition to Nova and Valla and whoever else. Seeing multiple parties of escapees ending up fighting both the Masters and each other in a kind of zombie-apocalypse with-us-or-against-us sort of way might be lots of fun.

But whatever happens, I look forward to seeing this story play out.
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I was probably just upset about the Horde fleet in the Second War.
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  #71  
Old 07-22-2015, 11:28 AM
C9H20 C9H20 is offline

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Moar!
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Old 07-22-2015, 07:33 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Lumber (War3) Dispatch #18

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Moar!
Your wish is my command. Actually, I just happened to have time to squeeze this in yesterday. You see, my client has been keeping me very busy, so my apologies to anyone who posted in hopes of a critique. The only consolation I can offer is that this is probably the longest Dispatch yet.

Sometimes (my) Nova is very much her own worst enemy.

* * * * * * *
Personal log, November Terra:
My equipment clock has now reached twenty-eight hours. I now have company here in the cave, but the mood is grim. We are all going to die. It’s just a matter of time—and now I might not come back. At least I got them to take off the handcuffs.

It took quite a while to get to this point, though. It was over three hours before the other Valla returned. That’s three hours with nothing to do but explore the cave. I knew better than to go outside. Our cave is filled to the brim with barrels and crates, so it was only logical to examine their contents. The first barrel I opened was filled with apples—real apples, not the paste you get in field rations. Others contained salted meat and some kind of rock-hard bread. I quickly surmised the cave was being used as a supply cache. Maybe that should’ve been a red flag. The only reason to conceal a supply cache is when you’re behind enemy lines—or losing. Of course, it’s too late to worry about that. I’m stuck here now.

It didn’t take long to get through every container. A few held antique weapons like Valla and her partner use, but the vast majority were food storage. After that, real boredom set in. There’s only so long you can stare at a wall of rocks before you have to do something, and the gigantic pile of food was making an obvious suggestion. Things reached the point where I just couldn’t fight it any longer. There just wasn’t anything to distract myself. I went back to the first barrel, grabbed an apple, and sank my teeth into it. The funny part is I wasn’t really hungry. It was more a matter that I hadn’t eaten any real food in so long. I’d had nothing but field rations for over a month before I was taken, and you somehow don’t need to eat in the Battlegrounds. No, really. You just don’t get hungry. It’s weird, but I didn’t even realize it until it was gone. And you know what? I enjoyed every bite. That’s something the civvies never seem to understand: Ghosts are people too. We may not complain about the rations we’re given, but we do appreciate the chance to get something better. It was so good I kept a second in my ration pack, despite the tight squeeze. I thought I might need to…reward myself at some point.

Everything was wonderful until I happened to think that the only thing better than apples is framberries. Damn these memories! At least in the Battlegrounds, there’s always a fight to keep you busy. Sitting in a cave with bare rock walls, there’s nothing to distract yourself. You have nothing to stop you from going from framberry mealbars to framberry cakes to thinking of home to coming home and finding-- No. Not going there. The cracks. I resorted to finding as many cracks in the rock as I could and following them around the cave. Luckily, there were plenty, enough to keep me occupied for hours.

I was almost grateful when Valla returned. Almost. I still can’t quite trust her—and she wasn’t alone. There was a man with her, wearing more or less the same outfit. He had a slight build, long hair, and a goatee. I could also tell he was very full of himself—no psionics required. They were arguing in hushed voices, but I could hear just fine. I put my cloak up and started closing in.

“I don’t know what you saw,” he was saying, “but people do not appear from nowhere.”

“I swear to you, she did. You can ask her yourself.”
Her partner looked around. “Really? I see no one.”

Valla did the same. “She may be hiding. I do not believe she would be so foolish as to leave the cave after her experience.”

“Or maybe she was never here at all. You’re cracking up, Valla.”
“Fine. Perhaps her weapon can convince you. It was unlike any I’ve seen.” She bent down and unlocked the crate holding my rifle. Her partner moved beside her—on the interior side.

That was my opening. The moment she stood up, my shackled hands were pressing the bar against her neck. All I had to do was back up a few steps, and the narrow entrance passage covered my flanks. “All right, you two,” I said dangerously. “I want some answers.”

Goatee went for his weapons. He was a very fast draw, but the geometry of the space made it impossible to hit me without taking Valla too. He seemed to realize this, since I could tell from his posture he wasn’t about to shoot. “So, you exist after all,” he said evenly.

“Damn right I do. And unless someone explains to me what’s going on here, there’s going to be one less person in this cave.”

The look he gave me was a lot like Valla’s mask. “Are you sure it’s wise to threaten the people keeping you alive?” He took a step closer.

“Stay where you are!” I shouted. “That goes for you too,” I added to Valla. Her hands were getting way too grabby on my utility belt.

Another step. “You know, I think you’re the rudest guest we’ve ever had.”
I pulled the bar against Valla’s throat tighter. “Do you know what sound it makes when someone’s windpipe gets crushed? It’s not something you forget.”

“Delios,” she managed to squeak, “just talk her down.”
Goatee ignored her. “You want information? Release my partner, and we shall talk.”

I glared back. “I don’t think so. You’re going to be without a partner in a minute here.”

Then, he did something I wasn’t expecting. He turned his back and walked away. “Go right ahead. I care not.”

Valla stiffened. She wasn’t expecting that either. “Delios, why do you always have to—”

“Be quiet!” I ordered. “You don’t have leverage to set terms here, bucko. Now get back over here and talk to me.”

Delios sat on a crate and put his hands behind his head. “If you want to be alone and defenseless in a world filled with vampires, be my guest. It is you who lacks leverage here.”

I thought back to my experience in the village. He was right, dammit. “Those things were…vampires?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said, his face unreadable. “But you won’t get any more than that while Valla’s life is under threat.”

I paused a moment. There’s no such thing as vampires, of course; but this is the Nexus, so anything is possible. “How do I know you won’t just hogtie me the moment she’s free?”

“Because,” he stood up, “we are going to remove those shackles.”
Valla twisted in my grip. “Have you gone mad, Delios? This woman has just proven herself a deadly threat.”

Delios smirked as he came closer. “She needs us far more than we need her, cupcake. She will not harm us.

“How many times do I have to tell you to stop calling me that?”
I pulled the bar up again. “Quiet. Here’s what’s going to happen, Valla. You’re going to pull out the key—slowly—and hand it to Delios here. This bar is what’s holding you, and when it comes off, you’ll be free. This all happens where I can see it. Got it?”

“Understood.” I could tell from her tone she was not at all happy about the arrangement, but there was no reason to care about her opinion. She wasn’t my Valla.

She did as ordered and soon was free, though she hasn’t spoken to me since. Like I care. Delios returned to his perch on the crate, but I preferred to stand. Valla sat away from us, rubbing her throat. “All right,” I started, “why is this place crawling with vampires?”

His expression turned grim. “They are the minions of the Countess. She converts some of her victims into mindless slaves, and sends them out to collect yet more victims.”

“I see. Who is this countess?”
“The Countess Sarah von Kerrigan.” He spat the name like any resident of the Koprulu Sector. “She is obsessed with living forever, and her spells require blood—oceans of it. Perhaps you noticed the lack of wildlife in this area? The animals have all been taken—and most of the people too. Those of us that remain are in hiding, though we are fewer by the day.”

“Sounds a lot like the Kerrigan I know. She could never resist a good massacre.”

Goatee stiffened. “You know her?”
“I’m asking the questions here, boy.”

He gave me that smug look again. “I am quite certain I’m older than you are.”

I scowled. “You ever fight with someone you can’t see? I’ll take you down before know I’m coming.”

Off by herself, Valla rolled her eyes and sighed loudly. Her partner looked over at her. “Excellent point, cupcake. It is terribly impolite to argue with guests. Now, where were we?” he added, turning back to me.

I thought a moment. “These ‘collectors’ are damn hard to kill. Do they have any weaknesses?”

At this, he smiled. “They most certainly do. As creatures of the underworld, holy water destroys them.” He sighed. “Unfortunately, since the Countess executed every cleric in the realm, we must use it sparingly. Aside from that, they cannot die because they do not live. The one thing you can do is pin them to the ground. They won’t get up.”

I rolled my eyes. “Great. Because more magic crap was just what I needed.”

Delios raised an eyebrow. “They have no magic where you come from?”
“I said I was asking the questions.”

He held up his hands. “All right, all right. There’s no need to be angry.”
My smirk felt good. “That’s better. Is there anything else I should know about our enemy?”

He thought a moment. “Beware the mist. The Countess always shrouds the land when her collectors are abroad. Sunlight weakens them for some reason.”

“So that fog wasn’t natural.”
“Correct. It is always best to take cover when it rolls in.”

Things were starting to make a twisted kind of sense, but there was still one glaring hole. “Except, apparently, for you two. What were you doing out there if it’s so dangerous?” I made no secret of my suspicions.

The grim look returned. “Valla and I are part of a resistance dedicated to protecting the people. We are trying to thin their numbers as much as we can, but it seems the Countess can create new servants far faster than we can slay them.”

“In other words, you have a zerg invasion.”
He looked confused. “A what?”

“Never mind.” I returned to my hiding spot in the back of the cave to think about what he told me. It didn’t sound good. Hell, the more I think about it the worse it sounds. I’m actually starting to regret leaving the Battlegrounds. Did I just trade a pointless fight for a hopeless one? These people are all going to die. It’s just a matter of time—and I’m about to go with them.

What happens if you die in the Nexus without a hearthstone? From the sound of things, you stay dead. That’s actually hard to wrap your mind around. I’ve died so many times I’ve lost count. Coming back seems…normal. Who knew you could get used to being immortal? Whatever. There has to be a way out of this. I just need some time. Nova out.

* * * * * * *
Something that's been fun about this project is the way it's been forcing me to research the StarCraft and Diablo universes. The good news is that their respective wikis have been getting steadily better every time I go to them. In particular, Diablo had almost no lore when I started this. Now, there's a wealth of info -- and I swear Nova's page is getting a new section heading every month. This has opened some very fun opportunities to make things "the same but different" in the alternate universes.

Did you know three quarters of named Diablo demon hunters exist only as quotes on item flavor text? That made it hard to have too many of them, but they'll get mentioned later.

I will confess to one glaring lore error in this chapter: there is no evidence of apples in the Koprulu Sector. There are tangerines, but not apples. However, let's just say there's a reason why it has to be apples. Also, "framberries" may be related to a certain Spanish word...
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Last edited by DarkAngel; 07-23-2015 at 03:57 PM.. Reason: Fixed dating
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  #73  
Old 07-23-2015, 08:10 AM
C9H20 C9H20 is offline

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Excellent! I am sated... for now.


But seriously, decent update. I was kinda expecting we would catch up fully with the two days jump forward by the end of this update but okay. In general a problem here is the slow pace, and it's a problem because you cover relatively little ground with each update and you update slowly. At this rate you will be writing this well into the 60s, and I'm not sure if I'm talking about your 60s or 2060s

I'd suggest either move things faster or writing more, I guess the first is more reasonable on your personal life
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Old 07-23-2015, 12:36 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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I was kinda expecting we would catch up fully with the two days jump forward by the end of this update but okay. In general a problem here is the slow pace, and it's a problem because you cover relatively little ground with each update and you update slowly.
Yeah... I realized the date thing after I went to bed last night. It's fixed now. The original plan was to have another conversation the next morning, but that got moved to the next entry. I can promise more action next time.

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I'd suggest either move things faster or writing more, I guess the first is more reasonable on your personal life
Agreed. It may be best if I stop playing with Overwatch ideas.
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:30 PM
C9H20 C9H20 is offline

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I've read up on demon hunters, seems Delios fell to corruption, I take it yours will as well? I kinda found him entertaining, oh well.

PS. Now that you've shortened the time span of this update also change the "two whole days" line maybe?
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